After catching only three solid trout at daylight on topwaters, but having been in the right place at the right time when a school of redfish showed up within casting range, we were into Plan C much too early. The limit of redfish and 15 minutes of chaos was already forgotten.

We were drifting through scattered slicks on a shallow flat when one of my clients noticed three anglers anchored up that were apparently having some kind of problem, but weren’t waving us over. Before leaving the area I felt obligated to at least make sure everything was okay and idled within shouting distance.

One of the three anglers was wading around in waist deep water without a rod in hand while the other two continued to cast in his general direction.“I am betting someone in that boat lost a rod,” offered Jonathan Prince as he speculated aloud as to what was taking place.

The young fisherman on the front deck confirmed his assessment.“I let $800 worth of rod and reel slip out of my hands and it has to be right around here,” said the obviously frustrated angler. The fish weren’t biting anyway so I buried my Talon anchor and we climbed out of the boat and joined in the search.

As if he thought we might find another rod, he felt compelled to point out that his was a Loomis rod and Shimano Core reel. I will admit that we got a little more serious about our searching as there was some serious money lying on the bottom.

It wasn’t until we had given up and were preparing to leave that the former owner of the rod and reel added one tiny detail as to how the rod slipped out of his hand.“I was trying to answer my cell phone when a fish jerked it out of my other hand, but he hit my lure right here by the boat.”

We enjoyed cooling off, but all three of my clients just looked at one another incredulously when informed as to how the rod actually left the boat. “I would not waste too much more time if I were you,’ advised Kelton while washing off his feet and sliding back into the boat.“If the line doesn’t break your rod may be in the Intracoastal by now!”

With the redfish schooling up and feeding on the surface as much as they have been for the past month, I am surprised that even more rods haven’t been jerked overboard. We very nearly lost one last week when I tried to pass a rod with a fish on to a client that didn’t cast well. He was surprised by the strength of the fish and the rod fortunately hung up on the grab rail.

I won’t mention any names to protect the innocent, but a good friend and experienced fisherman recently lost a rod when he laid it down for just a second to net his Dad’s redfish. A word of warning….schooling redfish almost always hit a lure headed ninety miles per hour in the opposite direction. They have no intention of sharing their next meal with the rest of the pack!

There have been occasions when I cursed redfish, but only after catching my limit. They are only a pain when the trout are doing their thing as well and the redfish continue to crash the party. I can assure you that they have saved a trip far more times than they have ruined one.

I don’t care how discriminating you are, if it doesn’t thrill you to see an acre of copper sides and black spots blowing bait out of the water then fishing is just not in your blood. Fishing is always more enjoyable when you know rather than hope that your next cast is going to produce a bone jarring strike.

The trout catching got much tougher for us last week and aside from some weak tide movements I really don’t know why. We went from a lake covered up with gulls to not even seeing any sitting around on the gas rigs.

The water was more off-colored, but the only time we notice that is when we aren’t catching fish. There were more folks buying shotgun shells and decoys than lures at Daley’s this week and that equates to far less pressure on the lake. One or two light cold fronts and we’ll see far more fish in the lake than fishermen.

Do not forget that your Texas fishing license has expired if you didn’t pay the extra fee to make it good from date of purchase.

Photo: Gene Locke with a nice slot red caught under the gulls.