Sooooo, as some of you may know, I have not done “fishing charters” for about six years or so. Without my Termite deckhand, it just got to be too much for me, especially in the heat of summer. The charter guide’s day starts super early and doesn’t end when the customers get off the boat. There’s still the boat and all the gear to clean, tackle to replenish, reels to spool, refuel, and the list goes on and on. Well, those are my reasons, and I’m sticking to them! More power to the younger folks who are getting the job done.
Recently, my friend Debbie called wanting to go fishing, and my anxiety sky rocketed, because while I still fish occasionally for fun, I’ve not done a charter trip in all this time and don’t fish regularly in order to know where the fish are under certain conditions. Of course, the anxiety was unfounded, because I think she would’ve been happy for a boat ride and a picnic lunch on the water. But my (lazy) brain kicked in and I decided to give Capt. Steve Fleming of Game-On Charters a shout. He’s sort of the “new kid on the block” down here on the bayou, and his camp is across from my house, which makes it easy for me to see his boat coming and going.
His charters are a little different, and I’ve been wanting to fish with him, so this was a great opportunity. Capt. Steve offers “sight fishing” trips for red drum in the salt marshes down here. I think this type of fishing is very popular in Texas, but I don’t know any guides who do this down here, and it is his specialty. I gave him a buzz and in just a couple of days we were ready to rock and roll.
His “flats” boat is equipped with the helm about four feet above the deck level and then the “sight tower” another couple of feet above that. The first three photos below were taken from the helm, and you can kind of tell how high we were.
We met him at his camp right before 6 AM, and he greeted us with a hot breakfast of bacon, biscuits, jelly and OJ, which I was NOT expecting. The boat was loaded down and ready to go with ice chest full of cold drinks, cheeses and summer sausage for snacking.
Breakfast consumed, we quickly loaded up and headed out into the beautiful pink morning sky. The wind had picked up significantly more than the forecast predicted, so he opted to stay in the inland marshes, which was fine by me. Scooting across choppy lakes in a flats boat is not my idea of fun, and my back thanked him profusely for staying inland!
Capt. Steve has one go-to type spinner bait that he chooses for reds. I was impressed that there was no tackle box on board–only a couple packs of his favorite lure tucked away in his pocket, which he eventually tossed down to me since I was playing deckhand. Which reminds me . . . just to tell you how high that tower is, while standing down in the boat, I tried handing a rod up to him; and he had to reach down and I had to stand on tip toes!!!! Man, he was way up there! The elevation enables him to see the redfish swimming in the shallows. Once he spies a red, he then instructs us where the fish is, which direction it’s swimming, and where to cast. Click here if you’d like to see some video footage of his rig and fishing trips.
The day was overcast and windy, but that means two things. The clouds kept the sunburn away, and the wind kept the gnats and flies at bay. The temperature was so tolerable that I never removed my wind breaker.
We fished during the Milk Moon of May, which very likely means the reds were feeding at night, which explains why Steve saw way more fish from his tower than we were able to hook. We could cast the bait right in front of them but could not make all of them take the bait. Oh well, that’s why they call it fishing!
It was a challenging but fulfilling day of hard fishing. Debbie hasn’t fished in probably 30 years, and she was a real trooper. She fished the entire day, almost without a break. I have to say, I was impressed with her tenacity! And she had a blast!
And lastly, I must confess that the Bayou Woman did not catch one fish all day. N O T O N E, and I’m not ashamed to tell you that!
However, like posing with a celebrity, I just had to get my photo taken with this bronze beauty!
When we returned to Steve’s camp, he offered us more cold beverages to enjoy while he unloaded the boat (he would NOT let me help!) and cleaned and filleted the beautiful reds they caught.
It was a fantastic experience, and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who’s fished down here for years. Capt. Steve is a great guide, gracious host, and all around good fellow. I highly recommend him if you’d like to try sight fishing for reds! If you want to catch big reds over 30 inches, he recommends booking in October through December!
I’m working on a Mother’s Day post to follow! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend despite the lock-down.
Looking forward to reopening the state,