Just Scratching the Surface... by Captain Lucas Bissett

Summer time in South Louisiana marshes can be a magical time for fly fishermen.  It marks the start of the redfish topwater bite.  Anyone who has seen a redfish attempt to take down a topwater fly knows it is one of the most exciting performances a fisherman can watch.  What redfish lack in ability to inhale a topwater bug they make up for in effort.  There aren’t too many other methods that top, surface bait action for redfish.  Watching that aggressive, over zealous, just plain crazy redfish come completely out of the water in order to get its inconveniently placed mouth around a topwater plug is awe inspiring.  Topwater action while magical can be less effective because of the before mentioned disadvantage redfish have at taking the bait.  There are a few tips one needs to keep in mind while dawning a topwater fly.  First, the cardinal rule of thumb, never ever ever let the fly sit on the surface allowing the fish to study it.  Redfish don’t respond well to a bait sitting there waiting for them to eat it.  In the fish’s world bait runs away and that’s all these fish know.  If you want your topwater moment to be cut short just hesitate the bait while a fish is chasing it.  Second, make sure you select a bug that creates a decent amount of surface disturbance.  When redfish are feeding well you might get away with a plug that makes small pops or chugs but, if these fish aren’t at the height of a feeding frenzy you will need a bait that gets their attention and holds it.  Lastly, color choice makes a difference.  Darker colors seem to create a better contrast with the above sky and hold a redfish’s ever fleeting attention span.  So, grab your 8 weight and your topwater fly and hold on, because if the redfish have anything to say about it your trip will be explosive!

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