For the past few years I have told myself I would catch a fish every year on the 1st of January, it didn’t matter if it was a sunfish or a tarpon. I just wanted to be able to start the year off with some fish, maybe to set the year up as a fishy year. So I reached out to my buddy Marcos on New Years Eve and told him we needed to fish and that I was thinking of wading some of my local flats for Snook and Redfish along the mangroves. He quickly agreed and I told him to be at my house by 6:30am that way we could be on the water by sunup.
Prior to his arrival I managed to slam my thumb in the door while moving my camera and gear around. Marcos pulled in a few minutes before 6:30 and we were on our way to the river. A quick ten minute drive to the access area of the flats and we were unloading and heading down the trail. We made our way south first to some openings we had fished before from the skiff in hopes of finding some bigger stacked up Snook. Marcos managed to get a little guy right off the bat and was on the board with his first fish of the year.
We worked back north along the western shoreline of the Indian River hitting every little mangrove hole we could with a few small hits here and there. Marcos managed to hook up to what is probably the smallest Jack that I have seen caught on a fly rod, nonetheless he was stoked because he’s a huge Jack fan. We continued on in hopes of finding some bigger Snook and maybe some Redfish cruising the shoreline.
We came up to a very productive area of ours in the past for good sized snook where I hooked up to a stud Snook but after a few minutes and a few jumps he popped off. A few seconds later Marcos would hook up to what would be his personal best Snook and the battle was on. After a few jumps and a good fight he had the fish to hand, unfortunately before we could get any photos of the fish it was long gone. Marcos had dropped the fish by accident before I was able to get the camera ready, however I did manage to capture the following sequence of him losing the fish.
Luckily enough we managed to capture that awesome sequence of him losing the fish and we both were stoked to show what really happens when out fishing and not just the good stuff.
Another cast in almost the same spot just a few seconds later he managed to land another nice Snook and this time we got the shots.
I still was looking for my first fish as we continued up the shoreline. Coming up to what I would say is one of the areas best remaining Redfish holes, I started seeing waking fish pushing baitfish around the flats. I managed to spook every fish in sight before coming up to my last hope of the day, the final flat before a steep drop off. I then saw what would be the biggest Redfish I’ve seen in the area and what was definitely close to being a “Bull Red”, I laid my fly out to the fish and it slowly came over for a look but ultimately turned its head on my fly and swam off.
I pushed to the end of that flat in hopes of seeing some fish moving on and off the flat and into the mangroves where I saw a school of smaller “rat reds”, I made the cast and it was game on. I caught my first fish of the year.
With the stress of not catching my first fish of the year on the New Year day itself gone, we figured we would work some of the deeper flats along the mangroves.
With the morning nearing its end and no more fish besides the friendly oyster rock caught we decided to call it a successful day and head back to the car. We waded the flats back and talked about the year past and all of the exciting adventures we have planned for this year. It is crazy to think that this year we will be traveling to Slovenia, South Africa, Nepal, Japan, and Montana for the filming of our Chasing Natives feature film/series.
No fly fishing trip is finished without a stop at the local McDonalds .