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Fishing Hole
Palm Coast Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011 9 years ago

Seeing red in clear water

by: Capt. Rob Ottlein

Sight-fishing for redfish is what I refer to as “seeing red.” Now is the time of year when you have the best opportunity to actually see these fish in the water.

When the algae that cause the water to become a dark color are killed off by cold water, the water becomes clear. As long as there is no wind (a slight wind will cause a chop on the water, making sight-fishing difficult) or rain (rain can darken the water), your chances of seeing red are excellent. Low water levels also improve conditions. The deeper the water gets, the less clarity you have.

For example: I was out a couple of weeks ago and entered an area at low tide, when I found crystal-clear water conditions. I could see everything on the bottom; it was like looking into a glass of gin.

But conditions like that can also give the fish an advantage, as I soon found out. As easily as you can see them, they can see you.

I was casting a shallow shoreline for fish when I began approaching a creekmouth lined with oyster bars. I noticed some mullet acting nervous. As I got a little closer, a redfish exploded on one mullet and then another. At this point my adrenaline starting taking over, and I let myself get a little too close to the action.

Being in only about a foot-and-a-half of water, I looked down to make sure I wasn’t going to run up on an oyster bar. Then, I noticed the school of fish swimming by the boat. There must have been 50 of them, and not a one smaller than 25 inches.

On the bar, there was still one active fish left that ate the fly I cast. He took off with my fly, and the battle was on. I landed that fish, and it measured 28-and-one-quarter inches.

I found that school a couple of more times, but when the fish saw me, they took off before I had a chance to cast to them. Had I been on the poling platform instead of the fore deck, I probably would have had a better chance of spotting them before they spotted me.

Speckled sea trout season is once again open south of the Flagler County line. Trout up to 5 pounds have been landed in the Highbridge area along with some decent flounder. Berkley Gulp on a jighead or a one-eighth-ounce black bucktail jig is catching these fish.

Find a windless day and get out to “see red.”

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