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Thursday, September 3, 2009
Broke down in 'Bama

By Capt. Bryan "Bear" Holeman
ESPNOutdoors.com

Editor's note: Capt. Bryan Holeman is a competitor on the Redfish Cup, and guides out of Key West, Fla. Known affectionately as "Bear," Holeman and his clients enjoy year-round success on the flats surrounding Key West, making his insight to flats fishing invaluable to anglers everywhere. Bear's goal with his blog is to inform, inspire and entertain with weekly updates detailing his activities, be it guiding or tales from the RFC tournament trail.

The last Redfish Cup event at Biloxi went well, we finished 13th and are 21st overall in points. The fishing was unbelievable. There were schools of fish that had to number in the hundreds; it was a matter of picking the right ones out of the school. This fishing was a little different than normal.

The trick was to pick out fish that weren't too big, which can be tricky if you don't know what to look for.

Rather than finding tailing fish shallow, these fish were in deeper water, usually 6 to 15 feet around barrier islands 20 miles outside of Biloxi. They were chasing schools of bait down there and occasionally push them up to the surface. When they did get them up and actively fed, this is when you got to whack on 'em. They'd eat anything; topwaters, spoons, swimbaits, heck I even heard a guy was catching them on a bare ballhead jig. I believe it. It was a fun tournament. However, the real fireworks started while I was on the way home.

I made it to Foley, Ala., when my truck made an awful noise and quit running. I'm thinking the turbo took the day off. No good. It's at the dealership now and I'm holed up in a motel waiting for it to be done. Last time I had a major repair like this it cost me $3,900, I hope it isn't that bad again. I can't wait to get back to Key West, I've got a week of trips ahead of me.

Bear's What's working where: North Gulf coast
Since I was just in Biloxi, we might as well make stick with that area. Right now it's time to hit the redfish. If you're close by and can get away, it should be a lot of fun. Like I was saying, drive around until you see bait flipping and a sea of bronze around them. Toss anything you want at them, it should get bit. It really is that easy. There are some big ones, too.

After next week I'll have had a slew of trips in the books, some of which will be fly fishing outings. Those are my favorites. There's nothing like tagging a big permit on fly. I'll bring the camera along, so check back next week.