As temperatures warm and spring begins to peer through the vail of the mild Southeastern winters, the spartina dominated salt-marshes of Northeast Florida begin the process of shaking off the cold, ready fora new year of growth. Statistically, salt-marshes provide some of the most biologically diverse habitatsfound on Planet Earth and providea haven for a multitude of organisms.
This astounding productivity provides ample opportunity for any outdoorsman to “get their feet wet”. Spring tides roar in semi-diurnal fashion, rising and falling twice a dayand on certain occasions when themoon phases are just right, one of the most amazing natural phonemes occurs, The Flood Tide. Sectionsof marsh generally out of reach from the lapping tides becomes inundated for several hours, setting thescene for a fly fisherman’s dream. Hundreds of redfish and sheepshead meander their ways throughaccessible finger creeks and overflows and spill onto newly accessible dining hall flats. Crustaceans of allspecies are now exposed to the voracious appetites and crushing teeth of some of our favoritegamefish.
The game is simple. Find a flat that looks like it’ll hold fish, let the tide make its move, andkeep youreyes peeled for the glistening tails of redfish looking for an easy meal. You’ve got your strong arm orfightin’ fiddler tied up and the fly line stripped out ready to beam a cast. Now, the adrenaline starts topump, heart rates rise, and you’re ready to feed the fish.
I’d also like to discuss the intricacies of the Flood Tide.
1)The comradery of good friends on a poling skiff is irreplaceable. Between the s**t talking, consumptionof your favorite light beer, and occasional landed fish true friendships are created and fostered. Thecliché of “its not just about catching the fish” rings true. The relationships and players of thegame aremore important than the actual fish-catching. These are the people that do this based on passion, forthe love of the sport. The ones who would go to bat to protect what’s worth protecting and some of thegreatest people I have ever met.
2) The salt-marsh is a crucial habitat that needs to be respected. Not only do we enjoy the bountifulopportunity offered here but so do many other creatures like the Marsh Wren or theAtlantic SaltmarshMink. I’ll keep is short and sweet, take care of the resource we have at hand.
3) Peace and patience are absolutes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve blown a shot on a fish...literallycountless. I say that to explain that we find ourselves out here to enjoy the outdoors, have a few laughs,and MAYBE land a fish. Don’t get wrapped up in the numbers, get wrapped up in good times.
Written by Ty Duplaga
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