Beaufort, South Carolina is roughly a 13 hour drive for me when you factor in a few lazy stops. Despite the long hike, as I wrote a few weeks ago, I was eager to get back out chasing redfish. My previous trip, and first time seeking to catch a few of these amazing fish, was fairly successful. Heading back during the prime season for redfish in South Carolina, I was pretty stoked. As it turns out, how excited you are for a fishing trip has no influence on how productive it is, a lesson I'm pretty sure I've learned several times before.
Every summer or autumn, I take a trip with 3 or 4 friends who only fly fish that one time each year. They always insist this is the year they stick with it for good, but I know better. One of them even bought a fly rod to demonstrate the seriousness of his intentions, but that rod hasn't seen the water once. Despite the lack of fly fishing prowess in the group, it's always a great trip. After all, long time friends + spectacular destinations + fly fishing is a recipe for success, even if that success isn't measured in number of fish caught. For a group of what typically amounts to 75% first timers, we've done fairly well. We've had success chasing steelhead in Oregon, chinook salmon on the Great Lakes tributaries and land locked salmon in Maine. It's also worth mentioning that this is the only fishing group I'm ever a part of where I'm the best fisherman on hand.
So, I sold the redfish trip to these guys based on my success fishing in the spring. I knew they couldn't cast the distances required when chasing reds from the boat, but we were headed out to stalk tailing fish on the flats, so 25-30 feet would do it. Throw in the facts that we were at the height of redfish season and had planned our outing on two days with perfect tides and we were all but guaranteed to have an epic trip. Right? Mother Nature begged to differ and the trip turned out to be a giant skunkfest. 5 guys, 2 days, 0 fish. Zero. Lightning kept us off the water more than half the time and rain pelted us when the lightning subsided. The few hours we did get on the flats were met with no fish or oddly behaving fish, and nothing came to hand. Nothing.
This is the part where I should go on to say that while the weather ruined fishing, it made for some amazing photography. Unfortunately, fishing comes first, and instead of putting down the rod and picking up the camera, I fought obsessively for two days to land that one fish.
In the end, we made do, and there are a few photos -- albeit unspectacular ones -- to memorialize our least successful fishing trip to date.