How To Spook Every Redfish You Cross

Guest post written by Mark Vlaskamp:

I wasn’t wearing it, but I might as well have been.

The freakishly realistic grizzly nails on it could have only helped with my quick retrievals. The fake bear fur would have been covered in my extra crab patterns and the oversized bear-mask hoodie could have been an SPF 500,000 buff to keep the sunburn off of my neck.

It all could have been, but it wasn’t. My Halloween celebration was over a couple hours before and my now-PBR-stained and sweat-drenched grizzly bear costume was in the Jeep.

I did just fine spooking the fish without it.

Two Fly Anglers Cast To Big Texas Redfish
To cast to feeding redfish, first you need to approach them without spooking them.

When the clock struck 6 am, I peeled myself off of the buddy-with-the-boat’s couch, traded the beer-stained Halloween costume for a beer-stained Simms butty, and feasted on the perfectly-room-temperature pizza left on the counter.

Pop some Advil: check. Delete unintelligible Snapchat story: check. Ignore bank notifications of ‘assumed fraud’ from the bar: check.

Time to fish.

A Fly Angler Strips In His Fly To Entice Cruising Redfish
Learn to stop spooking redfish and you’ll have a better chance of hooking one.

There isn’t a hangover in the world worth missing an October redfish trip in Texas. They’re out, they’re schooled up, and they’re hungry. They say it’s part of a migration from spawning in September to their walk-of-shame in November, but that doesn’t matter to me. Maybe it’s that; maybe it has a little to do with the cold fronts coming though and the north winds draining the marsh. I’m still learning and I’m fine with sitting through the science class behind it all if it means I can take my Sage/TFO combo and get comfortable on the bow.

The East Cape Glide was launched – all 18 feet and 25 horses – with a full supply of Gatorade and some saltine crackers to calm the swirling tides of a Fireball-damaged stomach.

Pole, cast, spook, laugh, repeat.

A Fly Angler Lands A Good Cast To A Big Redfish
Once you approach reds without spooking them, then it comes down to making a good cast.

When you spook enough redfish, you start to learn some things. You learn each one is different. Some bail at first sight – kind of like the girls at the Halloween party to the guy wearing a bear suit. Some watch you creep up from far away, let you get close, then slowly start to ease away when they get a better look – kind of like the girls at the Halloween party to the guy wearing a bear suit. Some scatter quick; some scatter slow. Some seem interested; some don’t even fake it. Some roll their eyes; some don’t even waste that much energy on you – kind of like the girls at the Halloween party to the guy wearing a bear suit.

Now that I think of it, Halloween on the Texas Gulf Coast hasn’t been too good to me.

Fingers crossed for Thanksgiving.


For more hilarity, photos and writings from Mark Vlaskamp, check out his website,

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