I know the rules, I’ll try to keep it brief. However as the season is in it’s transitional time I have had plenty to think about 🤫 looking back and moving forward. I suppose it’s that time of year. Going through gear, tying flies, learning and studying new patterns with ideas of the coming seasons. Thinking back on the clients and gear that filled my season. All the while reflecting on all the fish and memories with each sunset 🌅. Yet somehow I look forward to the coming season with much eagerness.
Just yesterday I was talking to my good friend Capt. Bryan Goodwin whom is but one of the great guides I am fortunate to be affiliated with and have the luck to draw from his many years of experience. He asked what the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in a redfishes belly? He then told me, for him it was a belly full of little sand dollars. That really got me thinking. This time of year is tough for so many in our area. It’s been my life and likely centuries so before that. That’s why I try to stay busy. So what about those Reds eating sand dollars? Perhaps a coralation, we eat more spam this time of year, lol! I’ll tell you, it’s the nature of the Sea 🌊. All that is connected to it. So as odd as that may seem I’ll take that as a compliment. All this ties in to that time of reflection. Cleaning gear , looking back, looking ahead. My office , the ocean is doing the same. All it’s creatures feed up for this time. The lean, the waning. The great fall bites, the migrations. Man who hunts from the sea, much the same. It’s the nature of it. The balance.
One of the great game changers for me this year was the incorporation of the weighted weedless hook. Shifting my reliance to that really took it to a new level for me this year. I like using the gamakatsu or the slayer variety which are my preference , three or four ought seemed to work best for redfish. This time of year I’ll go all the way down to 1/16 or in other applications the heavier variety. I believe these make whichever soft plastic I was using perform more naturally, land lighter in the water and also operate weedless at a greater capacity. With the harder artificial like gulp, they throw surprisingly far and accurately. Well worth the cost in my book. Definitely an asset in various conditions and considered a game changer.
Some additional gear that made my life easier this past season that I’m looking forward to furthering my relationship with and turning clients onto this year are : fish monkey gloves, hatch fly reels, AFTCO performance clothing, and my preference of star rods. Fish Monkey gloves were for me, born out of necessity. As I have gotten older my hands get colder and stay that way. These guys are relatively new and really came on the market right. They make a huge variety of high quality, high performance, reasonablely priced gloves 🧤. Can’t say enough. It’s really hard to find functional cold weather , suitable for fishing gloves. They nailed it!
My hatch reel. I am a huge advocate for entering the fly fishing world without feeling like you have to spend $1000.00 just to put a whippy stick in your hands. I’ll save that soapbox for another day. But why I sought Hatch Reels out was from the need to up the game. I wanted made in the USA, good capacity , good durable service and a killer drag (not made of cork). My Hatch provided that and hopefully will for many many years to come. The fact remains I’m a professional I fish hard and spend most of my time out there and my gear doesn’t get babied.
AFTCO performance gear. For as long as I can remember I’ve looked at that name AFTCO. It’s been the standard for roller guides and gaffs for many decades now. Well there clothing is where it’s at! During old Drum season I wore a pair of their performance fishing pants every night for like 12 nights. (I washed them) No rips, no holes and barely any stains. A pair of their fishing shorts……went on every albacore trip this season. On and on. In fact that particular pair of shorts, nearly every fishing trip for two years. Yep I’ll take my oath on that, got the photos to back that as well. The list goes on and on.
Star Rods. Well that’s a long relationship. Not really even sure how far back it goes, but in my mind the quest for the best balance of quality and price goes back a looooonnng way for rods. I’ve tried so many . Lots of which are very dear to me in the memories they share. Some of which their failures are what I hold dear. They are born for a purpose though. Like a tank , destined to protect its operators but ultimately die on the feild of battle. So have many a good rod lost it’s life in service to me. Some more epicly than others sad to say. Well Star backs theirs with a warranty. Most of the time the dealer will take back without question. They are built well and balanced superbly. They are built for salt and designed to last.
Now I hope you have read enough of these to realize, that these simply aren’t the prompted rants of another puppet fisherman being pressed by his sponsors to plug their material. The reality, I get nothing for free from all but one of those companies. I like what works. Simple as that. What lasts and what performs best in the harsh environment I make my living. I deal with under equipped folks all the time . From their shoes to their glasses. The right tools make my life easier and better. Form word of mouth, to inter web research I am endlessly searching for what will make my life better or easier. If I learned anything in my youth it was “find the right tools for the job”.
Well I hope that held your attention and as I tie flies and clean and restock gear know that I am looking forward to the upcoming season with as much vigor and exitement as I can bear. This time of year, the waning as I believe I appropriately deem it brings to mind the endless connection mankind has with the Sea and it’s bountiful mystery. I hope in your upcoming tasks of spring cleaning and tax time your mind travels in a similar path as mine, toward the Sea 🌊 . It’s great treasures and many mysteries. I look forward to unlocking some of those with you in the year or years to come. Come ride with me and Carolina Traditions Guide Co. Let me show you the Crystal Coast from my eyes. I look forward to seeing you on the water.