Posts Tagged With: Astral PFD

JPI Invitational Day 1 Video

I put together a short highlight video of some of the fish from the first day of our annual camping trip down in Matagorda.  I fished an area that I’d never fished before and found plenty of schools and singles roaming the grass lines.  The bite was great on this day considering I only fished from about 11 to 1.  All fish were caught sight casting 4″ Bass Assassin Sea Shads in colors Fried Chicken and Candy Cane.

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Blind Casting the Marsh with 20/20 Vision

As an avid shallow water angler, I enjoy spending the majority of my time sight casting to fish that I can see, instead of blind casting for the ones that I can’t. Since the first day I pitched my lure into the path of a visible fish, I have been hooked (pun intended). Being able to watch a large redfish as it slowly moves through the shallow water, seeing it pounce on my lure, and then getting to listen to the sweet music made by my line, as it gets ripped from my reel, is an experience that I never get tired of. When the tides are right, the water is clear, and the fish are cooperating, this is the style of fishing that I prefer over any other.

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However, things don’t always work out the way you’d liked. Sometimes the tides are going to run a little higher than predicted, which makes spotting fish more difficult. You’ll also have to deal with dirty water, fish that are laid up and not feeding, and even ones that spook easily. The hard truth is that you’re not always going to be able to sight cast them. In the event that you’re forced to spend your day blind casting, make the most of each cast by putting your lure where the fish should be.

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DSC_0118 copyPlenty of anglers out there view blind casting as a style of fishing that requires a little bit of skill and a whole lot of luck. In their mind, blind casting is about tossing your lure in every direction possible, with the only emphasis being, “cast as far as you can, to as many different spots as you can”. However, the more experienced angler knows better than to believe that. He doesn’t make a lot of “random” casts. Each cast he makes is to a targeted area for one specific reason or another. He doesn’t put a whole lot of stock in dumb luck, and instead believes that fish tend to hang out in certain areas for a number of reasons. With this in mind, you should constantly scan the water (and shoreline) for places that are more likely to hold fish than others, and make casting to those spots a priority.

Points

PointAny and all points along a shoreline are worth casting to. By points, I am referring to parts of the shoreline that extend out towards the open water or a sharp bend in the shoreline. A good point provides redfish with a great place to ambush bait as it passes by. While some points are better formed than others, all deserve a cast or two as you paddle/drift by them. As you approach the point, be sure to cast several yards past it and work your lure back across the tip. I normally try to make at least three cast at each point. One where my lure passes within a few yards off the point, one where it is 5-10 yards away, and another that is 10-15 yards off.

Coves

While points protrude out toward open water, coves do the exact opposite. They dip inland, forming small half circle pools along the shoreline that are normally a little shallower than the surrounding area. The combination of the shallow water and ability to trap bait makes a good cove the perfect spot for a group of redfish to feed. They can corral the bait towards the back of the cove, or slowly roam the area looking for something to munch on. These coves also provide redfish with a great place to hide from strong winds and choppy water as well.

Windblown Shorelines

DSC_0153 copyMany anglers overlook a good windblown shoreline because the location of it changes as the direction of the wind shifts. These shorelines are also difficult to fish since the wind is constantly pushing you towards the bank. However, a shoreline that is being repeatedly pounded by waves as a result of the wind, provides redfish with a great place to feed.   Baitfish and shrimp that are seeking shelter along the shoreline get pushed up against the bank, where they become disoriented as the waves crash down on them. As they struggle to regain their sense of direction, redfish are able to grab an easy meal. If you’ve ever wondered why a specific shoreline only holds fish on certain days, pay attention to the direction of the wind and see if a pattern develops.

Wind Protected Shorelines

While windblown shorelines have been known to produce a solid bite on many days, sometimes fish like to go the opposite route and hideout against the wind protected shoreline. These areas offer calmer water that will be much cleaner than the windblown side. The fact that the water near these shorelines has less chop and current, allows redfish to remain stationary and conserve energy. Windblown shorelines are great places to start when you get on the water. However, if you aren’t having much luck, don’t be afraid to change things up and give the wind protected side a try. 

Drains

image2Drains within a marsh are created when a channel connects one body of water to another or when a narrow portion of the water branches off of a main lake, only to eventually come to an end a short distance later. Depending on whether the tide is outgoing or incoming, current will flow through these areas. Redfish, trout, and flounder all take advantage of the bait that gets caught in the current, which makes a drain an outstanding place to fish. I like to start by fan casting the area about thirty yards before I reach the actual channel. As I enter the channel, I’ll fish it as well, often times bouncing a soft plastic along the bottom. Since water is constantly being forced through these channels, you can expect the majority of them to be a little deeper than the surrounding areas. As I exit the channel and enter the lake it connects to, I like to work the area about thirty yards out once again. 

Shell

shellOne of the most productive types structure to fish around along the upper Texas coast is a good patch of shell. Baitfish and shrimp love hanging around shell for the protection and food it supplies them with, which of course, makes it a great place for redfish to feed. One of the main things to keep in mind when fishing around shell, is that size is not always the most important thing. A small patch of shell the size of your kitchen table can sometimes hold fish just as well as a patch that’s the size of your house. A good pair of polarized sunglasses will allow you to see the shell, and where to cast without getting your lure hung up. Cast along the edge of the shell and try to keep your lure running parallel to it. Often time’s redfish will roam the edges where the drop off from the shell to the soft mud occurs.

The next time you’re faced with unfavorable conditions on the water, spend the day making the most of each cast by tossing your lure into high traffic areas. You might realize that a little bit of knowledge plays a key role in what was once referred to as “a lucky cast”.

If you’d like more detailed knowledge of the information listed above, Tobin’s DVD (Shallow Redfish) is a great resource to consider.  It’s about 2 hours in length and covers everything listed above, plus more.  I picked it up a few years ago and still pop it in every now and then to review things.  If you decide to purchase one of the DVDs, be sure to use the code “TAILTAILSIGNS” at checkout to save 10% off your total purchase.

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Long Time, No See

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It’s been about 3 months since the last time my kayak touched water. Work, my kids, and other obligations kept me off the water during the really cold months, so I was badly needing a little saltwater therapy.

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David and I met up at Bucee’s for breakfast before making it to the launch around 6:45. We unloaded quickly and made the short paddle to the spot we planned to fish. With the warmer weather and low tides, we had high hopes of spending the day sight casting our fish. The problem was, 99% of the fish we came across were laid up and not moving. The only way we knew they were around, was by the insane amount of mud boils that kept popping up in front of us. We took our time, fan casting the area near all the mud boils and caught a handful of fish. We only seemed to get bites when we made a lucky cast, that happened to land on the fishes head, causing a reaction strike out of fear.

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After a while, we decided to cover some water, to see if we could find a few fish that were more active, since these were being stubborn. Later in the day, we ended up finding a few fish that were actively feeding along the shoreline, but the action didn’t last too long.

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Soft mud and partially exposed patches of shell were the key to locating fish. The only lures we caught them on were the Buggs 1/4 oz. Beastie Bugg (New Penny) and Buggs 1/4 oz. Curl Tail (Black Gold). Later that evening, while cleaning fish, I found a few 1″ mud minnows in their stomachs, which explained why the Buggs worked so well, when the cork, topwater, spinner bait, and soft plastic didn’t.

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Although I haven’t fished much over the last several months, I have stayed busy with fishing related activities.

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I spent one night speaking to the Houston chapter of the Saltwater Boys Kayak Fishing Club at the new Sugarland Fishing Tackle Unlimited. My speech was titled “Blind Casting the Marsh with 20/20 Vision”, which is an article that I have been working on for some time now. A few days later I had the opportunity to speak at the Hook Spit Junior Anglers Association Seminar in Seabrook about the joys of kayak fishing. We had great turnouts for both events and as always, I had a lot of fun.

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Last but not least, I am excited to join up with good friends Cameron Barghi and Justin Rich, as a member of the Lone Star Beer Fishing Team. Now that Spring is coming back around, I’m hoping to stay more active on the water and my blog. Here’s to a fun 2016.

 

 

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If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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One of the crazy things about fishing is how making a minor change on the water can have such a huge impact on the amount of fish you catch. Last month I made a rare afternoon trip to an area that I had fished once before, but had wanted to explore a little more thoroughly for some time now. I had put in some time on Google earth and found a few shallow patches of shell near the south shoreline of this small lake which made me think it had some potential. I had a decent south wind on this particular evening so I decided to seek shelter and take advantage of the protection that the south shoreline would offer.

I paddle straight into the wind to reach my destination and spent the next several hours casting around the edges of the shallow shell with a She Dog and a soft plastic, neither of which produced a single blowup or bite. I found it hard to believe that I hadn’t caught a single redfish, especially considering the areas I was fishing and the amount of casts I had made. I had an average depth that was between one and two feet deep, a soft mud bottom, small patches of shell, and plenty of bait in the water. And yet I didn’t have a single fish to show for my efforts.

I had been at it for a while now and started running a little low on daylight. I decided to head back towards the launch a little earlier than I had originally planned in order to keep from having to paddle back in the dark. The wind had finally let up a bit so I made a decision to give the wind blown shoreline a try before leaving.  I also switched over to a popping cork with gulp shrimp to see if I could create a little noise and bring the fish to me. The north side of the lake lacked structure so I had not planned on giving it a try. However, since it had been receiving a constant barrage of wind and waves, it only made since to give it a shot.

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I made my first cast and hadn’t made more than a few pops of the Cork, when it suddenly disappeared. I reeled in my line to find a nice little 18-inch marsh trout. Not exactly what I was looking for but it got the skunk off my back. After tossing him back, I made a few more cast and the cork disappeared once again. This time I a nice lower slot red was on the end of my line.

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For the next hour the action was nonstop.  I ended the trip with 10 reds and one trout before running out of daylight and being forced to head in. On my paddle back to the truck I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the change in location, the change in my set up, or a combination of the two that made the big difference on this trip.  I still haven’t figured that one out, but it was nice to be reminded just how much of a difference a small adjustment can make while on the water.

Conditions:

Wind: 15 mph from the south early on and 5 mph from the south at the end of the day

Weather: Sunny skies with temps around 80 degrees

Tides: Outgoing

Bottom: Mud with small patches of shell

Depth: 1-2 feet deep in most areas

Lures: Bomber Paradise Popper with Mantis Shrimp on a 1/16 oz. jighead

Rod and Reel: Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500 on a 7′ 2″ Hook Spit Zephyr Elite

Kayak: Jackson Cuda LT

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

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