High Winds, Low Tides

Fat Redfish

 

My alarm went off this morning at 4 am with plans to meet up with a friend and take his new micro skiff out on its maiden voyage. I checked my phone and found a text message that was sent around 2 am saying that he had gotten sick and hadn’t slept all night. I knew the winds were predicted to be between 25 and 30 mph but this was my one chance to fish this weekend so instead of crawling back in bed, I decided to throw the kayak and rest of the gear in my truck and head for the coast. I had checked the tides for several places a few days before and knew where a nice low tide would be that was bound to have a few crawlers.

I arrived at my launch around 5:45 to a slightly lower tide than I had planned on. This didn’t bother me because the lower the water the better the fishing is in this marsh. The winds felt about right blowing close to 30 mph hour which meant the paddle out would be easy, but the paddle back in would be long and slow. I headed out in the dark and reached the entrance of the marsh in no time. I took a slightly different route than usual to reach my spot due to the lack of water and arrived as first light broke the horizon. I saw several wakes being pushed through the shallow water only to find out that most of them were stingrays feeding on small shrimp. I blew out a couple of reds but didn’t really have any luck around the areas that normally produce under these conditions. The strong winds were pushing the majority of the water towards the back of the marsh so I decided to follow it and see if the fish had done the same. As I neared the back lakes I spotted several groups of birds hovering near the water and expected pods. When I got within casting distance I didn’t find the pods of half a dozen reds I expected, just single fish crawling through about 4 inches of water with their head, backs, and tails completely exposed. The first cast was going to be directly into the wind but the red was only 10 yards away so it was doable. I waited for the fish to move left and right instead of towards and away from me and fired my chicken boy shrimp (morning glory) five yards past and in front of it. I slowly worked the lure back into its path, gave a couple of very small twitches when it was a few yards away and fish on. The fish went nuts running around the small lake causing the other fish to flee. After a 5 minute fight I landed a plump 25″ red, took a photo, and released it.

 

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I moved to the next lake where birds were working to find the same thing as before, several singles cruising a few inches of water. My next several casts fell victim to the wind causing each fish to blow out and disappear. I kept moving from lake to lake missing on about a dozen reds but after a while the birds stopped working and the fish stopped showing. I knew I had a long paddle straight into the wind so I started heading back towards the truck. As I neared the front of the marsh I spotted a single bird hovering close to the water in one of the last lakes before the exit. I decided to check it out and spotted a fat upper slot red coming down the shoreline right towards me. I set up and waited patiently for the fish to come within casting range. When it was about 8 feet away I fired a short cast that even the wind couldn’t screw up. One twitch of the rod and he was all over it, tearing through 5 inches of water in every direction possible. I landed the fish after a 5 minute battle to find out he went a little over 28 1/2 inches and probably weighed close to 10 lbs. judging from the size of its belly.

 

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It took another hour to get back to the truck but all things considered it was a fun day. 30 mph winds can be torture when kayak fishing, but I’ve never been able to resist a really low tide where I know redfish will be crawling through a couple inches of water.  Last time out I missed out on some good video footage because my Go Pro was pointed towards the sky instead of straight away.  This time I over corrected and pointed it nearly straight down and recorded nothing but my lap.  One of these days I’m bound to get it right.

 

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