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The Wine Cork

In my limited experience, the easiest way to catch a redfish is at low tide, casting to pods of cruising fish in relatively shallow, but too deep to stand in, water. It's still not easy, but if you get your fly in front of the cruising pod, strip it properly and the fish are in the mood to eat, you stand a decent chance at a hookup. The most exciting way to catch a redfish, however, is casting to single, sighted fish in the shallows on a flood tide. If you've ever stalked redfish this way, scouting for tails, doing your best to determine where the plucky red you're targeting will be looking when you hurriedly toss your best cast in its direction, you know that eats don't come easily. Redfish can be choosy eaters, and the conditions can be difficult.

South Carolina Redfish Eating Shrimp
Redfish gorge on shrimp in muddy shallows outside Charleston, South Carolina (photo: Doug Roland).

Given such, the idea of catching redfish on a popper seems wholly unlikely, if not ridiculous. As it turns out, it's not, as guides and South Carolina redfish junkies Owen Plair and Harry Tomlinson recently showed. Word is, when redfish are gorging on shrimp in the autumn shallows, choosiness goes right out the window and they'll eat just about anything. And, not only will they take a popper, they'll take one fashioned out of a wine cork.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise. Not long ago I learned that, despite a typical of salmon fishing featuring countless casts and swings only to turn up nothing more than a few tugs, even salmon can be caught on poppers when the conditions are right. So why not redfish?

Pebble Mine Not Dead, Despite Looking More and More Ridiculous

Pebble Mine has always lacked for popular support. And, it has never really mattered who you asked. Whether you queried commercial fishermen, anglers, Alaskan residents or virtually anyone across the globe that wasn't directly invested in the mining industry, the answer was largely the same: Pebble Mine, the plan to build the world's largest open pit mine at the headwaters of the single most productive salmon fishery on the planet, is a preposterously stupid idea. Over the last few years, the already strong popular opposition to Pebble and the evidence against its viability has grown stronger and stronger, but the project's sole remaining investor -- Canadian mining firm Northern Dynasty Minerals (NYSE:NAK) -- refuses to let plans to develop the $500 billion Pebble deposit die.

Kanektok Chum Salmon
Teedie Beatty releases an Alaskan chum salmon (photo: K. Beatty).

The almost mythologically draconian figurehead of the Pebble Partnership (which, since last year's brisk departure of former partner Anglo American is no longer a partnership at all), chairman John Shively, recently expressed confidence that if the partnership is allowed to submit a permit application and have it reviewed, the state and its legislature is almost certain to approve the project. Shively explained, "The state has royalty, the state has taxes, the state’s going to get the economic benefit.”

Shively's comments and the insistence of Northern Dynasty to stay the course continue to ignore public opinion and the mounting facts that undermine the project's viability.

Everglades: America's Wetland

If you haven't already noticed, we've been on a bit of an Everglades kick this week. Owen Plair introduced us to fly fishing for snook in the glades and Chris Hunt detailed the opportunity to provide a major boon to Everglades restoration that Florida voters are hopefully about to seize. These two pieces provided compelling insight into of the issues that the Everglades have long been facing as well as their importance and value as a fishery. But the reasons to care about Everglades restoration don't end with its standing as one of the most spectacular saltwater angling destinations in the nation; the Everglades is the keystone of southern Florida's economy, is the source of drinking water for over 7 million people and is one of the most biologically diverse and beautiful wildernesses in the world.

Everglades: America's Wetland Cover

A new book by Gainesville, Florida photographer Mac Stone aims to introduce a wide audience to the beauty, splendor and importance of the Everglades. The culmination of over 5 years, 1,000 hours in the field, and the culling of more than 70,000 images, Everglades: America's Wetland contains over 240 photographs and 15 essays.

David Yarnold, President of the National Audubon Society calls Stone's book, "Fervent and stirring. Stone's visual storytelling is breathtaking. Everyone who treasures the Everglades will want to revel in this book."

Bitter Grounds

While there are still a couple of good weeks of fall trout fishing remaining, dates are being bandied about for steelhead trips to Lake Ontario. It's hard for me to consider these trips when the weather occasionally makes sunny spurts into the 70s and fall foliage is rocking. I'm terribly behind on visits to the Housatonic and there are plenty of local trout streams that are finally in shape after a long summer. Yet, I still find my mind wandering north.

Digging out a new pattern on the Salmon River (photo: Chad Shmukler).
Digging out a new pattern on the Salmon River (photo: Chad Shmukler).

The Salmon River in Pulaski, NY is my Steelhead stream of choice. I've fished others in the region but my limited knowledge of the Salmon exceeds many-fold my knowledge of the others so that, and habit, make the Salmon my usual destination.

By the time I get up to the Salmon River it's after the prime. Part of that is my fault. I'm not what one would call “hard core” so I start my planning much too late to secure lodgings during the sweet spot of the season. By the time I can clear a few days on my calendar and rooms become available I'm fishing at the tail; some would consider it offseason. Of course that affords me the opportunity to enjoy real Steelhead weather; single digit temps and double digit snowfall are not uncommon.

2014 Photo Contest Update: 1 Month Left

This year's photo contest is by far our biggest yet, with over $3,000 in prizes up for grabs. The grand prize winner will walk away with a big prize pack that includes an Orvis Helios 2 fly rod, a Cheeky Fly Fishing reel, a pair of Smith Optics ChromaPop sunglasses and a Scientific Anglers Sharkwave fly line. Three other winners will also take home a mix of prizes from Cheeky, Smith and Scientific Anglers.

Tricos on the Missouri
"Tricos on the Missouri" - last year's third prize winner.

Perhaps the best part of all the prizes - including the grand prize winning pack -- is that the winners can customize them as they see fit. Looking to put a bonefish outfit together? Pair the Orvis Helios 2 8-weight with Cheeky's Mojo 425 reel, a Scientific Anglers Sharkwave saltwater line and a pair of Smith Optics ChromaPop sunglasses with blue mirror lenses designed to perform on the flats. Or maybe it's time to refresh your trout setup, or build a roosterfish arsenal? You can do that too.