Testing the Waters

It’s pretty hard to believe, but prior to today’s trip, I haven’t caught a redfish in 2015 ūüė¶ ¬†The¬†weather finally cooperated…well somewhat, and I had a good yard pass (my wife was in Galveston). So I loaded the kayak on top the old suburban and headed south.

I had so many options. Should I fish a new spot (Delecroix)? Should I fish Dularge? How about the Highway 1 corridor? I chose the latter but as I was nearing my destination, I then wondered, “Should I should fish Golden Meadow, Leeville, or the Bay Laurier area?” I again chose the latter because I would be targeting redfish and the sky looked clearer the further south I drove. The weatherman predicted winds from 5 – 10 mph, but I guarantee you it was 10 -15 for most of the day. During one part of the morning I paddled through white caps in the bay. It was a bit treacherous but I didn’t have far to go. I hunkered down, keeping my center of gravity low and made it through dry. The morning was beautiful. The temperature was very comfortable. The sun peeked out for a couple of hours early but at around 8:30 or so,¬†the cloud/haze mix put a huge damper on any sight fishing I had planned to do.

I tied on a couple of spoon flies, some new colors to try (again, a great day for testing the waters and some new colors). First, I used one that I made that was gold on the bottom¬†side and pink on the top. The other was what many in the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club have dubbed the “black spoon of death.” Well, at least it was the fly fishing version of the BSD.

I probably went an hour and a half before I saw a redfish that I could cast to. The wind and rains of the previous week had stained the water up and I found that I wouldn’t see the reds until I was right up on them and I spooked two or three before I was able to cast to one. I was really getting kind of frustrated when I saw the tell-tale sign of an angry redfish feeding in a shallow duck pond. I made one cast to it and stripped my spoon pretty fast, to avoid getting caught up in the snot grass. When that red saw the spoon, it attacked like an angry pit bull. Five minutes later, I netted my first pumpkin of the year, a 23-inch beauty.

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No sooner had I snapped this picture, than the cloud/haze sky kicked in and the wind picked up. I covered a lot of ground, looking for redfish but the fish must still be in their cold weather pattern. I did see some mighty¬†nice sized crabs along the way (looking good for crab season this year) and a bunch of stingrays. Any day on the water is a blessing and today didn’t disappoint because there was plenty wildlife to watch. I actually think I saw two stingrays mating. A smaller one looked like it was attached to the large one (female, I presume). I also saw a pair of dolphin feeding in about a foot of water.

Well, I guess it was around two-o-clock before I was able to make a cast at another redfish. Actually, I did some fruitless blind casting to some cuts and points but didn’t get any hits. I found some clear water (lots of widgeon grass to clean it up) and I saw a redfish crash some bait on a point. He saw me and he spooked. After his initial run away from me, he slowed down a bit and I was able to put a lucky cast right in front of him. I say lucky, because remember, the wind is blowing over ten mph right now. I did have a little protection in the broken marsh I was fishing but it was a real challenge trying to hit a target with the fly in that wind. The fish ate, made a couple long runs, and then spit the hook. I was not to be denied though because about ten minutes later, I got his buddy to eat the BSD (Black Spoon of Death) and I landed another great-eating-sized redfish at 21 inches.

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You can just see the black spoon in his mouth. I had to edit the picture to get it bright enough because the cloud cover didn’t give me a good picture at first. I fished for another couple of hours and was able to spook a few more redfish. They were there but not in the numbers I had seen in the fall and early winter. Overall, it was a great day on the water. With the new daylight savings time hours, I didn’t have to wake up as early as I normally do so I’m not exhausted. I think the fish are starting to get on their spring patterns. In addition to the large crabs, I saw tiny shrimp jumping in the marsh. Soon, the speckled trout will be making their migration south to spawn. You’ve got to love our fertile estuary!

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Red, White, and Blue Independence Day Fishing

My wife and I joined my cousin and her husband at their camp in Dularge for a weekend of relaxation and fishing. After a late start Friday morning (July 4th) I paddled my kayak to some marsh within 10 minutes of their camp. There were already two boats with fishermen in them anchored in the canal when I arrived. I paddled into the grassy flats where the big boats couldn’t go and was greeted to the explosion of a hungry redfish as it angrily ate my frog popper. This frog popper was patterned especially for this area with its hook facing up, because of¬†its thick vegetation. After a nice sleigh ride, the fish got lodged in a thick chunk of salad and I knew it was going to get off. But, I was lucky and landed a 29-inch redfish.DCIM100GOPRO

Now, normally I would release a fish this big, but the long fight and the time out of the water taken for pictures had the fish entirely spent. Plus, I had brought along all the ingredients to make a ceviche and I knew that this fish was going to easily feed the six of us staying at the camp so into the cooler it went. 

I caught two more that morning and had another beast of a redfish break my tippet. All the other reds were caught while sight fishing with my gold spoon fly. Oh, and I caught a small marsh bass on the popper too. 

Three redfish that morning…Red

Now for the White…Did I mention I brought limes, an onion, jalape√Īos, cilantro, a cucumber, tomato, watermelon, and chips for ceviche? Well, after the redfish cured in the acid (lime juice) it produced a beautiful, fresh, white meat that was delicious with the chips. Everyone enjoyed that ceviche as an appetizer for supper Friday night and there was enough left over for for lunch on Saturday.

Now, the blue…I went back out to my spot Sunday morning and I skunked ūüė¶ I actually enjoyed my morning as I saw various marsh birds, gallinues, bass, a huge marsh turtle, numerous garfish, sheepshead, alligators, AND REDFISH! I must have spooked a dozen redfish in two hours of push-poling my way through the flats. I was being extremely stealthy but the minute I would raise my rod tip to cast, the redfish would high tail it out of there!¬†

On a good note, my son joined my cousin, her husband, and their 20-year-old son on an excursion to Lake Mechant Sunday morning and came home with 9 nice redfish and three flounder. My son’s flounder must have weighed close to 4 pounds! Oh, and the chinquapin bite that has been going on over here…well it’s ended. I did manage to catch and release 4 this morning in a new spot in the lower lake.¬†Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.25.45 PM