Celebrating a First Redfish and an Anniversary

Written by: Kris Maurer, Manager of Orvis Sevierville

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After years of waiting, Kris Maurer was finally able to take a redfish on a fly. . .
thanks to his understanding wife.

photo courtesy Kris Maurer

First, let me rewind a few years. I was in love with the woman of my life. I had just bought a ring, and we were on our way to Charleston, South Carolina. I told her I was bringing a fly rod and had all the intention of the world to try and go redfishing. However, some other things were of more importance. My stomach was in knots the entire trip down, as I had no idea of how to pop the question, and fishing was the last thing on my mind. Long story short, I proposed to my wife during that trip, and we are still happily married.

So, fast-forward to the present day, and we plan a wedding anniversary trip back to Charleston for a few days. I had been saving for a new gun, but decided that I really want to try the redfish thing again. So there went the gun fund. A couple of phone calls later, I got in contact with Capt. David Camp, who had come very highly recommended by a co-worker and friend TJ Roy, manager of the Charlotte Orvis store.

I was very excited about the fishing trip as we made our way to the beach. When I was talking about it with my wife, she asked “What day are you fishing again?”

“On Tuesday”, I replied.

“You mean on our actual anniversary day!” she exclaimed.

Yes, like an idiot, I had planned the fishing trip on our actual anniversary day. Oh, no! However, I have one of the most understanding wives in the world, and she said it was no problem and not to worry about changing the trip around. I got very lucky when I hooked her.

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Redfish pull hard, and they don’t like to give up.

photo courtesy Kris Maurer

The weather leading up to our trip had been amazing. However, as we rolled into town, so did a bad cold front, and it became very windy and cold. I was afraid that my redfish trip would have to be cancelled due to weather. The day before meeting David, we spoke on the phone. I promptly asked, “So you’re going to turn the wind off right?” Which was followed by a large amount of laughter. David assured me that he had some places that we could get out of the wind, and we were still going fishing. I remained a bit skeptical and had low expectations due to the weather.

Finally, the day of the trip I met up with David around noon. The plan was to catch an outgoing tide in the afternoon. We started by running up into some creeks first. The thrill of flying by oyster beds and through small creeks on plane in a flats boat is fun just by itself. After David gave me a brief rundown of what to expect, it wasn’t long until I was hooked up with the first redfish of my life.

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This fish had Maurer’s Helios doubled over.

photo courtesy Kris Maurer

All I can say is Wow! I’ve caught a ton of different species of freshwater fish and even many in that 9- to 10-pound range, but none of them compare to the pull and fight of a redfish. They are relentless, and just when you think you have them whooped, they take another hard run and bust your knuckles. I had an 8-weight Helios completely doubled over. It was amazing.

I have been fly fishing since I was 15 and have had the opportunity to fly fish for many freshwater species, from panfish to steelhead, all over the United States. However, saltwater fly fishing is completely new; I may have a new bug, and I’m already dreaming about heading back to the marsh.

Also, I have to give Capt. David Camp a shout out for working his tail off! I’m sure polling a boat in 30 mph gusts is not easy!

Kris Maurer is the Manager of the Orvis Store in Sevierville, Tennessee.

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