I spend most of my free time fly fishing here on the NC coast. Fly fishing for saltwater fish is difficult, at best. It’s more like hunting. You typically see the very fish your going to try and catch before you cast – more like deer or turkey hunting. It’s done in very shallow water and the weather usually has to be just right in order to find the fish and have a shot at catching one on fly. I tie a lot of my own flies (when the weather is crummy) and depending on the time of year – the flies are tied to look like a crab, a shrimp or a baitfish. For me, the most rewarding type of fishing is during a full moon phase when the tides are extra big. When this happens – the marsh inshore floods and red drum swim up on the flooded grass flats and feed on small fiddlers crabs. It’s a short window – usually only lasts about 2 hours – but it’s a full on buffet for the fish. When the fish goes after a crab – his head goes down in the mud and his tail sticks out of the water (see photo). It’s a heart pounding experience to be one-on-one with a tailing redfish.
Yesterday I had a really fun short trip by myself. I had never caught a tailing red drum (with a fly rod) alone. It’s really tough alone because you have to push the boat around until you find a tailing fish and then get out of the boat and wade to him on foot. I was out there alone with no one in sight hearing only the ocean nearby when I saw a tail pop up. I was pretty far away, so I poled the boat in his direction. He would go down after eating then pop up a few yards away minutes later. He did this for about 10 minutes until I got close enough to get out of the boat and go after him (after snapping a quick pic of his tail). I double checked my knots and the fly (which I tied the night before) and got in the water. It was about thigh deep and getting shallower as I got closer. He went down for what seemed like forever and I was afraid I’d spooked him. I was bummed. He felt my presence, didn’t like it and fled.
Well, as I turned to head back to the boat feeling defeated – he popped up again – in SUPER shallow water. He was so shallow his entire back was out of the water. He was moving fast – I could tell he was shallower than he wanted to be – but was on a mission to eat before the tide dropped out. Well, after 3 or 4 casts that were close – but not close enough – I finally out one about 2 feet in front of him – in his path. I let it sit there and as he got up to it I twitched it one time and he rushed up and ate it! The line came tight and I exhaled a giant YES!! In the marsh, alone, hollering and laughing all alone. Me and that one fish. I kept him tight while I moved towards the boat so I could take a pic. After a few pics, I let him go and then a thunderstorm to the south ran me home. I only saw that one single fish. It was incredibly satisfying to catch that fish!
On the ride in, I thought about all the customers we’re bringing on that are the kind of customers I pictured using Schedulefly when I sat down to develop it 6 or 7 years ago. It was like I was tying a fly for that one fish. I was thinking it’s not so different, the sport of fly fishing in salt water and our approach to our business. I was creating a software for one kind of place – the place I worked in college. So after finishing it I had to figure out how to find the restaurants that I had tied that fly for and present it to them. We had to do it carefully and present it to them in a way that would not spook them or cause them to flee. Well just like fly fishing, we are still figuring out how to present our offering – but we are learning – and getting better every season. We are learning what works and are excited each and every time a restaurant sees the fly, likes it and bites.
Until the next tide…