The norm is one spot dead-center on a redfish's tail. But double dots aren't uncommon and, occasionally, one of these copper-scaled beauties comes boatside with more freckles than Howdy Doody.
So what's the deal with the spot variance? Can't tell you. Wish I could. I've even asked plenty of people a lot smarter than me and found the question a unanimous head-scratcher.
Most agree, though, the redfish's tail accents are intended to fool predators into zeroing in on the wrong end. Logic being, if a shark or porpoise thinks the tail is the head and directs its assault at the red's hindquarters, it'll miss entirely when the red retreats.
Also commonly agreed is that reds from the same spawn will have similar spot patterns. Might be singles, might be head-to-toe dottings, but reds with the same mama almost invariably will match.
Case in point: While fishing a dock with fresh shrimp, I located a bundle of reds that were nearly identical in size. Predictably, their markings matched. Each of these siblings had multiple tail spots and a few on their sides as well.
Guess I found the right, ahem, spot.
_ DAVID BROWN