Making a Pod Cast

| November 4, 2022

CONTINUED from Ghosts in the Machine

Captain Machado was relieved to see we were the first ones at one of his favorite spots we j-hooked the Maverick HPX-T into the intracoastal facing, wind sheltered cove. I knew this place, formed by ancient spoils of the dredge that made the waterway what it is; a 3-thousand-mile barge highway that moves a huge portion of what makes the US go.

We waited for light. I must shamelessly say, some great coffee from Eiland Coffee Roasters heightened my senses … I may be getting a little snobbish in my old age. We marveled at the sound of bait in the water and flying over the water to splashdown. It was rich with those sounds that tell you, “at least we have bait,” but beg the question, “… but are they being chased?” 

As light hit the back corner, the reason for the bait’s calmness became apparent. Tails up, a pod was eating face down, totally ignoring the hot-dog-sized mullet all around, and concentrating on the bottom feed.

This was the first pod I had seen in years. They don’t seem to make themselves this obvious on the mid-coast anymore. Of course, there is always just the luck of timing, and maybe the pods are still grazing Port O’Connor and I just missed the timing by that much every time.

The skiff and poling gave nothing away, sweetly stealthy. These tails were big, so of course my first cast was short and right. Second cast long enough … and right. I was frustrated with the way the leader was unfolding, one of those that comes from a package, not personally tied. We were so close now, I could drop a 20-foot cast dead center and back of the pod. I jittered it into the circle, a twitch and on.

ANGLER NOTE: The first rule of pod casting: There is no pod. The Second Rule: Never drop in the middle of the pod! Pick your edge, and pick them off without destroying the pod. There is a sample of that in this old video where I landed three from the same Port O redfish Pod –

Of all the gin joints, a schoolie speck shows his silver side in the light as it races left, destroying the pod in a flurry of push-wakes to my own oblivion. Pod blown.

The rest of the day could have been a Debbie-downer compared to the first thirty-minutes, except for the fact we were in the Lower Laguna Madre poling around for redfish on the fly from a top-shelf skiff with an experienced pollster on the platform. 

We searched. The wind did not raise itself to the level of “factor” for a few hours, and we had the time to see, and for me to cast at, a few fearful reds running the sandy trough between the mangroves and the grass. Tide high. The sun never really came to our offense, and several times, the fish were scared only by seeing us roll right over the top of them … which was equally electric to me on the casting platform.

In all, I stuck two mid-slot reds that morning, but I was a victim in the end. One cut leader, let me draw back a nub after a strong set, oyster or gill plate score ONE. The second, no slack involved after another strong set, the fly simply came loose, gently flying back at me as if the fish was making the presentation.

An O-Fer day needed the perfect reason to let the fish win, and the wind did abide. We rolled up the Maverick and headed back up the Arroyo Colorado to Adolph Thomae Park.

END NOTE: Thanks to snookonahook’s Captain Mark Machado for the ride last week! You can book the Captain at – or by calling us at 956-596-0558 and Los Pescadores will help you get ahold of Captain Machado.

END END NOTE: Snook on a hook? Seems like we need to trust, but verify, right!? We’ll see if the Captain can bring us a snook to a hook sometime soon!

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Category: Adventure, Casting, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Redfish, Lower Laguna Madre, Saltwater Fly Fishing Texas, Technique

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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