“These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em.” These were words from Red, to his buddy Andy, in the famous movie “The Shawshank Redemption”. For those who have never seen it, the plot is about a man, Andy Dufresne, who has been wrongly accused of murder and is sent to Shawshank prison for life. After being stuck there, he goes crazy and escapes to his freedom.
I have never been to prison and nor do I want to go but where I have been confined for the past 7 weeks is close enough. I have been stuck behind the gates of my employer only to gaze out towards a rising sun and dream about freedom. Normally this would not bother me but honestly I can count on one hand of the days that have been overcast and rainy during this turnaround. It has been absolutely ideal weather in Texas the past month!
Thankfully there is a little group called O.S.H.A. that has made it a standard that for every 14 days an employee works, they shall have one day off, a “Fatigue Day” as they like to call it. So that being said, I have fished 3 days in the past 7 weeks, this is not my norm.
With every trip I took though, the fishing just kept getting better and better. My next outing would exceed my previous trip as if it was trying to top it. I had fished 3 different places and not once was I let down. I have fished the Neches River all the way down to the Sabine Lake area and have covered miles of water.
I found that the further in the marsh I got, the fishing just got better. I finally came across a small flat that was loaded with redfish! I quietly make my way around the backside and stand up to get a better vantage point and I began to grin. Not to often do you get to pick and choose which redfish you would like to take a chance at hooking. They were all in about a foot of water and easily visible. I pick up my fly rod and make some flawless cast, but the reds just did not want my popper that I had tied on.
So I snag my other rod, flip my fluke out there, 2 twitches and I am hooked up. A solid 26″ red that I landed and gave her a quick release. I stood up and continued to catch red after red, everyone of them was sight casted. Really awesome thing I got to do. It is different than just blind casting, feeling a thump, and then setting the hook. There is something about being able to see your target, having to make a precise cast, and then watching your lure get inhaled before you set the hook; It is a completely different experience. I think round trip that day was a little over 7 miles but was well worth it.
I thought for sure that my buddy had missed out because I left him back several bends and flats throughout the marsh, but nope he found the fish as well. Same thing, he got to sight cast all of his fish. I guess it is all about being there when it happens.
Also had a very photogenic Blue Heron wading around looking for shrimp along a shallow flat.
After getting back to work and reflecting from my last voyage, I diligently studied the weather and tides that would be awaiting me for my next day off. There was going to be a little cold front come in the day before I was off but that was not going to stop me. A buddy of mine wanted to go since we decided to skip duck hunting that morning. We slept in, loaded up and was headed south around 9 a.m.
This was going to be Rhett’s maiden voyage in a kayak, he is not new to fishing but kayaking was a first. Even though is was a little windy, he quickly understood why I do this. He realized how close he actually was to the water and how peaceful it is because you are not bothered by the sounds of a roaring motor going across the lake. We make our way back and fishing is not the best and the slight innuendos start coming. Kind of looking to see where we were at and when his guide was going to put him on some fish.
He hung in there and not long his effort was going to pay off. We made a bend and on old familiar sound caught my attention. As I looked up there were 2 schools of redfish heading our way. We gently paddle across to the adjacent bank and patiently await for them to come into casting range. We both cast and are hooked up right away. We get drug around for a little bit and land our fish and Rhett has successfully landed his first red in a kayak.
After a few pics and get our fish on the stringer, we decide to head a little deeper. A few more bends back and we spot another school! So we repeat the same course of action and double up again.
This is absolutely insane! The reds are piled up, almost stacked on top one another. They are blind to the fact that we are there hunting them. The only thing on their mind is eating whatever is in their path.
We continue to chase school after school of reds. We even have a school so close to us in a small ditch that we could not even cast, we had to flip our lure out as if you were trying to cast under a dock or tree limb. The fish are going absolutely crazy back in the marsh! On our paddle back I assured him that for his first kayaking trip, it was nothing short of being completely epic.
I got tired of catching fish and started trying to get a few pics and I got some good action shots.
Soon enough though all of this work is going to be coming to an end and once again my normal life will be back in place. I will have the weekends off and be able to spend my time on the water. I believe I will catch it just right for the winter time trout pattern to start.
When I finally get out from behind these gates and get to head to my honey hole, I will feel like old Red, headed to the Pacific to see his newly freed buddy, Andy Dufresne.
“I find I’m so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.”-Red