Place: Hunter Island South Carolina a.k.a “The Dirty South” 😉 December.
Fishing had been horrible even for the “live baiters” and guys with boats [ no boat for me and no $ for a guide right now so I was from-shore fishing only]. Having been eaten alive by mosquitos on long hikes to places with no fish I was cynical at best. But then I met this super cool local redneck chick [I’m a redneck so we had that in common]. She “hooked me up” with the general location of a solid spot and I fished there that evening on outgoing tide! Every cast I landed a speckled trout. My point? Be nice to the locals and be friendly to all on the road.
The next morning.
The tide was coming in fast around me and was standing on a island of razor sharp oyster shells, knee deep mud, and sea grass. I wasn’t in my waders, no stripping basket, nothing, just my rod – it was a spur of the moment decision. I thought to myself, “I had caught plenty of Speckled Trout there last night, I’ll see if anything is there on incoming tide on my way out of town.” I live in a tiny home / ford transit 250 so I pulled my home to the side of the road and ran to the spot knowing I only had maybe 15 minutes before the water would be too high.
Fly: Small: maybe a size 10 clouser. I picked it because it did double duty; part shrimp looking and part bait fish.
Rod: Beulah 6/7 switch.
I thought for sure I was out gunned when it hooked. I had never put this rod thru such an extreme test. Would the rod snap? I had to keep changing the angle. The fish went where it wanted to go stripping line and I ran up the bank and followed. I had no idea what I had hooked. A Red would have been too good to be true. I thought it was a black tip shark and said, “fuck it, I’ll see how long I can keep it on.” Then, the head and tail came out of the water and my heart stopped. Omg! My first Red and it’s a monster. Now I had to get it in and get a photo. But NO CAMERA WITH ME! I yelled to some guys passing in a small boat and asked if they had a camera. They said, “What the fuck are you some Hollywood celebrity, we ain’t got no camera. But whadda ya got there?” I ignored them and focused on the lug on the end of my line.
Fish: Red / Spot about 15 or more lbs and 30″. It’s hard to tell from the pict but look at my size 10 foot, the rod, and that huge 10wt Nautilus reel. < Yeah, I know it’s too big for this rod but I’m unconventional. No Rules.
*Note: Bogagrips just used to keep his head down for pict! #catchandrelease
I landed the fish and sprinted to my #vantagati to get my iPhone! Too big for a selfie but here you go. I was high for 4 hours after that, reliving every moment of the catch. I fish alone. I don’t have anyone to fish with most of the time so I got on the phone and sent a text to everyone and anyone I thought would care. I had to put it here too. This is why I fish. This is why I love it. Not just for big fish but for the entire experience and everything WE get to see while fly fishing that the rest of the world is missing!
For more on the van and life on the road:[ instagram sstevebbff ] I’ve been fishing my way from Maine to here and this was a highlight.