R e d c h a s e r . c o m
w . w . w . r e d c h a s e r . c o m
Since Iíve become captivated by angling, and in particular fly fishing, my day dreams are often filled with visions of pursuing different game species at great fishing destinations. Some times in my waking imagination Iím casting to and jumping giant laid up tarpon in the everglades. At other times Iím casting miniscule flies to giant brown trout in Montana, or stalking wary permit and bonefish at Turneffe Island Lodge.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to a few great and unique angling destinations, and I have enjoyed some fine fishing at most of them, but how can reality ever compare to the fertile imagination of an angler? After spending weeks dreaming of perfect conditions and incredible catches, weather conditions and the limitations of my own ability always conspire to produce more ďrealisticĒ results. Not that realistic results are necessarily bad, quite the contrary. With one glaring exception, all of the ďdestinationĒ fishing I have done, has proven to be a great, fun, and educational experience often resulting in admirable numbers of fish caught. More importantly perhaps than fish caught, have been the places seen, experiences lived and friendships forged
...All of this taken into consideration however, there is a certain sense of comfort that comes with returning home to my familiar stretch of water. I am blessed to have practically at my back door an estuary that offers fishing that at times can be as good as anywhere on the planet. I call my home waters the 18 or so mile stretch of Calcasieu estuary running from about where interstate 10 crosses the Calcasieu River South to the Gulf of Mexico. It is in this stretch of water that I feel most at home and in my element.
The species of fish available on my home water are varied, and include bronze backed redfish, iridescent speckled trout, convict striped sheepshead, flounder, and massive black drum as well as others that get much less press. All of which, in their own turn, have provided me with countless hours of enjoyment, pursuing, and yes catching. Each of these fish has itís own charm, whether itís the incredible visual displays redfish offer, with tails and backs exposed high above the water, the surprise of the grab when a flounder eats, the gill rattling head shaking of a speckled trout, the end of sheer frustration when a sheepshead finally take the fly, or the freight train like pull of a giant drum. For all of the varied things these fish do and are, they are above all to me, familiar fish.
When Iím casting a line at home I donít feel the weight of having to justify an expensive trip hanging over my head. If I get skunked, all Iíve lost is a couple of gallons of gas. I donít even consider it lost time, as every trip offers something to be learned. On my home waters Iím in a comfort zone. I feel less rushed and can enjoy the view. Sometimes I can even put the rod down to watch redfish tail, osprey hunt, or otters play.
Wherever I fish, I feel like Iím in my element. Water has a calming effect on me, whether Iím afloat on it, or standing in it. Feeling current and tide remind me that there are elemental forces much greater than me and help me keep my place in the world. Wherever I fish, I see the hand of God at work, in the landscape, in the water, and in those precious living jewels we pull from it. Lately my dreams have been filled with visions an upcoming trip to Belize, but how great it is to wake up and realize that my everyday reality is a great place filled with familiar fish.
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