By: J. Dwayne Smith
Team Padrick and Smith
“The Redfish Guys” – PCF Pro Staff
North Carolina redfishing can be cyclical, the two usual causes are harsh winters that lower the survival rate or a poor spawn, both can decimate a whole age class of fish. These fluctuations can make the odds of catching a redfish low; unfortunately, a fisherman will not see much return for their fishing efforts. Add wind, rain, low water to this lean fishing, your motivation can leave quickly and break an angler’s spirt. Lucky for me, I have the advantage of fishing with the ultimate “Grinder”, Lee Padrick. I define a “Grinder” as a person that will leave no stone unturned to find a solution to a problem. Through hard work and research, he perseveres and develops a plan to put us in the best situation for success. Over the last few years, I have witnessed his tenacity first hand, here are a few of the lesson and observations that I think will help the reader learn to GRIND IT OUT when others give up.
Your attitude is very important, stay positive, long hours on the water prefishing for tournaments can take its toll. Having the confidence and experience to know that with hard work and relentless pursuit, a school of reds will be found. Sometimes it works for me to acknowledge that the fishing is bad, but with lots of determination and confidence that the preverbal needle can be found in the haystack. Keep calm and fish on, things will not always go your way but with tenacity the challenge can be overcome. I have lost what I knew to be a good fish during a tournaments and begin to dwelling on it too much. Lee will remind me that a NFL corner back has to have a short memory, he will eventually be beat deep for a touchdown. One thing is guaranteed as a NFL cornerback the opposing team will throw at you again until you stop them. The lesson being to forget and move on, don’t let past failures determine you future performance. Concentrate on what you can control like your nextcast, stay in the moment.
Eliminating the variables that could cause failure. One of the most controllable variables is knot tying. All year I practice tying knots while watching TV. Repetition breeds confidence, tying a complicated knot on a rocking boat is a whole different ballgame so practice, practice and practice some more. Another benefit is that your tying speed will accelerate giving you more opportunities to catch fish when they are fired up and biting. Another variable that can be reduced is glare from sunlight reflecting from the water surface that contributes to eye fatigue. A quality pair of polarized sunglasses will eliminate the lights reflection for the water surface. Lee and I choose to wear Salt Life Optics. Their lenses have unsurpassed clarity and provide 100% UV protection, which in turn helps reduce eye irritation. Plus, their anti-reflective AR5 coating reduces glare and bounce back without color distortion giving true color recognition, which translates into a reduction in eye fatigue. All these qualities will make time on the water more enjoyable and exponentially more productive. In addition, their lenses are scratch and impact resistant and will not delaminate when exposed to saltwater or extreme weather conditions, making purchasing a pair of Salt Life optics a good decision for any serious fisherman or lady.
Slow down and create momentum
You can’t catch but one at a time. Lee has a saying that helps us fish at a steady pace. “I’m going to catch one then I’m going to catch another. By doing this, he is concentrating on his next cast and not hurrying his retrieve. He is trying to create positive momentum that will carry throughout the day. A common Quail hunters antidote is don’t shoot the whole covey, shoot one bird at a time.
Duplicate success, pay attention to where your last cast landed and make a mental note of your rate of retrieval. These mental notes are imperative to duplicate success and create positive momentum. The power of observation is a talent that is often overlooked, learn to read the water, look for something different and immediately cast to it. Take what is given, the grass is not always greener. I watch too many anglers move too often not giving an area to settle down.
Make it personal
Finally, don’t let others dictate how you fish or where you fish. I believe that chasing the hot tip from a friend of a friend that overheard someone talking about a hot bite is a huge detriment to success. Do your own thing, and let others chase the hot tip! Also, take care of yourself drinking plenty of fluids, wear sunscreen, purchase comfortable shoes and UV protection clothing. Staying comfortable and hydrated will allow you to spend more time on the water hence increasing your odds of success. For example, Lee and I highly recommend Hook and Bones UPF50 performance long sleeved shirts during the dog days of summer. The shirts are breathable keeping us cool and protecting us from the relentless NC summer sun.
In conclusion, learning to grind it out when the bite is off or weather conditions are not great will make you a more successful fisherman. Experience though putting your time in on the water will directly translate into success if not today it will pay exponentially in the future. Building experience pays by helping you make to correct decisions or adjustment at the correct time. Timing is important when dealing with tide and fluctuations in water temps. But that’s another article. Finally, please take a moment and visit us on Facebook keyword The Redfish guys or on our website www.TheRedfishGuys.com. We would like to thank our sponsors without their help Lee and I would not be able to continue fishing competitively: Air Wave Rods, PointClickFish.com, Shallow Sport Boats, Power Pole Shallow Water Anchors, Salty Bay Rods, Fins Braid, Bubba Blade, Salt Life Optics, Bimini Bay Outfitters, Pro-Cure Bait Scents, Buccaneer Bait Company, Grundens, Hook and Bones, and Captain Gary’s Marine Care Products.
Lee Padrick & Dwayne Smith share a lifelong passion for fishing the shallow waters of North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Lee and Dwayne are accomplished light tackle fishermen who enjoy sharing their experience and knowledge of the Crystal Coast with anglers of all skill levels. They’ve spent countless hours studying the saltwater tidal flats, marshes and bays scouting for redfish, and have gained a greater understanding of the redfish’s habitat and their predatory habits. They are active, enthusiastic tournament competitors who support catch-and-release fishing, and are committed to preservation and conservation of coastal resources. They are the 2015 Riley Rods Champions, 2014 Carolina Redfish Series Team of the Year, 2013 Riley Rods Shootout Team of the Year, 3 time CCA Inside/Out Tournament winners and many more top 5 finishes including the Redfish Action Tournament Series, Eric Powell Benefit Tournaments and HT Tournament. They share a passion for shallow water fishing and truly enjoy talking about it with their fellow anglers hoping that their love of fishing becomes infectious and contagious.