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A Fish Story: Early Season Tailers

  • 3 min read

A Fish Story: Early Season Tailers

Slowly but surely, the days have gotten longer, the tides have gotten bigger, and the water has begun to warm up. Add all of these up and it can only mean one thing: the redfish will start hitting the flats just like the countless lowcountry fly fishing junkies in search of those happy tails. With the return of fishable tides in the evenings after work, yes some of us still have 9-5s, the stage is set for beautiful sunsets and even better scenes of redfish working the flats.

With intel from some buddies who fished the night before, we planned to check the same flats on this night. Even thought the tide was going to be a little later then we would like. But with the amount of tailing fish they saw, just the night before, it was worth a shot. Plus, the weather was amazing, and it was a Friday evening so we headed out because I’m not sure you can find a better way to spend a Friday night. After a short run, we pulled up onto the water-less flat, cracked open a couple beers, and begun the typical speculation of “Man, I wonder if the tide will actually get up enough tonight?” After an amount of time that could only be calculated in “one beer later,” the flat had seemingly filled up, and disturbances in the water that had the tell-tale red fishy vibe to it started showing up left and right. So, my buddy and I each took a corner of the flat and started casting.

I immediately had two tails working the short grass right in front of me. I was able to manage a half-decent cast in front of the fish but, as they do, the tail dipped beneath the surface and disappeared. Before I could even think about scanning the flat looking for another fish, I heard a deep “whoosh” of a splash, followed by a loud “Yeah!,” and just like that, our flood tide season was underway and my buddy was tied into a solid fish. After quickly releasing that fish, he started to make his way back to the skiff for another Miller Lite. Just as he was out of sight, another fish was pushing right towards me. A quick cast in front of it’s face, and a couple slow ticks of the fly, and boom...I was hooked up. Now instead of hitting that fish with a proper strip-set, I turned over my shoulder to let everyone know that I just hooked up. Well, that didn’t last long because that fish spit the hook just as quickly. All in all, it was a short outing, but it went just about as well as we could have hoped. We saw about eight tailing fish on one tiny flat and went 1 for 2 on hook-ups...a solid early summer tailing mission if you ask me.

On the way back home, I could feel it...the excitement that comes with chasing after these awesome fish in such a beautiful location. I’m already looking forward to when the tide, day of the week, and time, all line up again to get back out there and chase those tailing fish on a lowcountry flood. Although I didn’t land any fish, I feel like I learned something that night and that is always the key to improving as an angler: come out better then you went in. On this specific outing, I learned that the fish really seemed to be most active during those first twenty minutes when the water is high enough for them to swim up on the flat. Now I know that we should be ready to cast as soon as there’s enough water for a fish to physically get up there. Now it’s time to start looking at the tide-charts and scouting out new spots on Google Earth as we inch closer to the heart of summer!

Photography and Written by Ryan Gallagher of

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