Still Has That New Push Pole Smell

We went in looking for leaders and tippet. We came out with a new push pole. Now typically when you think of a point-of-sale purchase, you might think of gum, a tabloid magazine, nailclippers, or maybe those little air fresheners that hang from the rearview mirror. Not a push pole priced to sell. But hey, sometimes you come across a great deal that’s hard to pass up.

So the Professor and I drove off the lot with a push pole lodged on the dashboard and extending out the back tailgate with orange fabric wrapped around the Y-grip of the pole. Officially this was a safety precaution of course. But truthfully it was flaunting to everyone that we were headed over to the Pascagoula Marsh in Mississippi, searching for redfish.


We reached the launch and loaded our gear into the souped-up, tricked-out ready-to-ride skiff.


We played chicken with a 50% chance of thunderstorms — and won. We chased these clouds away early and had nothing but sun the rest of the day.


The water was pretty stained so we couldn’t really identify what we were seeing, but we found fish pushing around the marshy edges right out of the gate. There was a little cut between two grassy areas with some feeding action, so I tossed in a short cast from here to there as the spoon fly flies.

Boom! Tension. Fish. What was it? A flounder! A flounder? Oh, I was really excited. A new species for me on the flyrod.


After catching the flounder I proceeded to flounder, casting poorly in the wind. I was totally off kilter. We were seeing fish pushing around constantly but nothing would eat my fly. Lots of mullet were taunting me. Despite the fishing lull, the weather was sublime, the temperature temperate, and the scenery gorgeous.

I decided to take the push pole out for a spin. I felt like I did in the 6th grade when my dad let me drive the orange family station wagon up and down our dead-end street. Right out of the gate the fancy new push pole was much easier to hold than those heavy slabs of wood. It was so light – hey, this baby turns like it’s on rails! Woops, except it’s turning the wrong way.

It took me a few seconds to figure out how to get the bow pointed where I wanted it to go. But I’d say I got the feel of it, if only a test drive. I poled us along the edges and managed to keep us out of the grass, which was a coup.

The wind came along and that was a new challenge. After some experimentation I figured out to keep the pole downwind against the side of the boat to keep us from blowing into the marsh. Just as I read in Capt. Tony Patrella’s article on poling a flats skiff, “Don’t let stubbornness overwhelm common sense. Remember: the wind always wins.”

Unfortunately no fish were caught when I was behind the wheel of the push pole. But there was a natural intoxication to the beauty of the day so we decided to switch gears and dive into our picnic. Luckily there’s no law against push poling under the influence.

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After lunch my cast came back to me. We found some super fishy looking oyster bars and worked them over pretty good, not once but twice. Alas, no redfish. No trout. Just those pesky mullet. I may have seen a very small redfish spook from under the boat, but I’m not even sure about that.


Full and content with our day on the water, we decided to wrap up the poling and the fishing and cruise up river for fun. We were heading back to the launch when we spotted some bait busting on top of the water. Quick! Cut the motor, grab the pole, grab the rod!

We worked several patches of nervous water, trying to chase whatever was chasing these bait fish. Slowly pushing and gliding from one nervous patch to the next. I was about to make a cast when something crashed just to my left. I re-directed in midair and placed a sloppy, but efficient cast right into the action.

BAM! What the hell is it? Trout? No…a Spanish Mackerel!!! Another new species for me on the flyrod. And one with teeth!


Copy of P5160040

What a trip. We went to the shop looking for leaders and came out with a push pole. We went to the water looking for redfish and came out with Flounder and Spanish Mackerel. Somewhat like a used car lot, I suppose you just never know what gems you’re going to uncover in a Mississippi marsh.

16 Responses to “Still Has That New Push Pole Smell”
  1. Jay Davis (TexasTux) says:

    Enjoyed the post on the push pole. I really need to find out what a New one smells like…lol
    Also the pictures were great especially when I came across the one of the cold Kalik(makes me ready for return to my place in Exuma.

  2. Tommy says:

    I hate you guys didnt get on the fish….. Word to the wise on fishing in Ms….. When its windy head to the shelter of those barrier islands. Check out Horn Island, Its better than Cat Ilse for wade fishing fairly shallow lakes within the interior of the island. Sometimes a natural land lock arises from strong changing tides and current and locks the fish up, but only for a short time. Reds frequent these places chasing glass minnows and finger mullet. South of these islands in the spring , pompano run the surf! Awesome fish on the fly. The crab flies work well. Clousers for the trout or the gummy minnows are a neverfail approach. If you want big fish hook the cobia around the channel markers running south of the islands between petit bois and horn! Try some Biloxi Bacon next time your down! Smoked mullet , the prise of Mississippi waters!

  3. Harry says:

    You are having just way too much fun! ( Ok-I’m just jealous)

    BUT! I get off work in 10 minutes, I’m 5 minutes from the river, the fly rod is ready to go, the river looked good this morning, let’s hope the smallies are in a cooperative mood tonight.

  4. Alabama flygirl says:

    Ahhhh…the Spanish mackerel. Who knew?? At least none of the fellas guessed right either!

  5. Allen-Fishing tackle manufacturer says:

    The smell of a push pole, would that be the same as a new car smell? lol

  6. Allen-Fishing tackle manufacturer says:

    Allen-Fishing tackle manufacturer: The smell of a push pole, would that be the same as a new car smell? lol


  7. I once met a Spanish mackerel at a little dive bar in Havana but that is a completely different story. Similar teeth though.

  8. Amy Wagner says:

    Hi there,
    This is the first time to your blog and I found you via so thought I would pop in and see what you have to say about the whole fishing thing as I am very new only started last year December but haven’t really had the time to go out again in a while to fish, but still learning and reading great blogs about fishing.


  9. Rodster says:

    Don’t turn your nose up to a fat mullet when nothing else is around. I’ve got the fly for those critters. They’re kick-ass on a 5 wt. By the way, where did you find a Kalik in a Mississippi marsh?
    Best fishes, Rod

  10. Papa says:

    Ok….c’mon Chick….Austin isn’t really near the salt and here you are bagging flounder and spainish macks? Uncanny!

  11. Rodster:

    Don’t turn your nose up to a fat mullet when nothing else is around. I’ve got the fly for those critters. They’re kick-ass on a 5 wt. By the way, where did you find a Kalik in a Mississippi marsh?
    Best fishes, Rod

    Well to be fair, the mullet were the ones that turned their noses up at ME!! They wouldn’t have anything to do with me.

    Glad you noticed the Kailk! The Professor heard you could buy them in certain grocery stores in FL. He was there a little while ago on a trip and went on a mission to find them. Such a treat!!


    Ok….c’mon Chick….Austin isn’t really near the salt and here you are bagging flounder and spainish macks? Uncanny!

    What can I say? I try to bring my A game whether playing at home or on the road…

  12. Monty Montana says:

    What…headed for Montana in a week…see I do read other blogs, but yours is still the cutest.

    Now on to more important s… ,is this going to be another 3 month sworay into the belly of Montana’s wonderful life, living all your faithful grumpy old codgers to wonder what our gal is up to…..girl we just can’t go that long without a picture of that smile.

    Loan you a laptop with Wifi if you needed it.

    Monty Montana

  13. you’re sweet as ever, Monty. yes I am headed to Montana next week but this quick trip is only for 5 or 6 days, I won’t be gone long. I doubt I will be blogging while I’m there, but I will trot right back and give yall a full report, I promise! in the meantime, I don’t leave for another week, so you’ll hear from me between now & then….

    (no more 3-month sebatacles, scouts honor.)

  14. Ed says:

    Wow! Look at the teeth on that Spaniard! Looks fun!

  15. You try polin that fancy skiff backwahrds? We was polin for gars on Tuesday and had so much fun I pimped the cooler into a casting platform but the only way my bass boat poles is transom forward. I have pole jealousy. The 16′ aluminum duckboat pole is losing its shine.

  16. Chad says:

    push pole smell = Nice Catch and jealous friends

    Loved the pics

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