This past Sunday I decided to make a long drive in order to avoid the Memorial Day Weekend crowds of Galveston. I was on the road around 3:30 am and launched my kayak at 6:00 am as the sunlight started to peak over the horizon. My goal was to locate some big marsh reds in case I decided to fish this area during the next LSKS. This was only my 2nd trip to this marsh so it was more of an exploratory trip than anything. With several square miles of available marsh to fish I decided to paddle a lot and fish a little when I spotted certain signs of fish. Temps were in the low 80s with a nice 10 mph breeze as I set off.
I entered by following a small channel that zigzagged back and forth for maybe half a mile before finally opening up into the first lake. I chose to fish the windblown shoreline on my right and started paddling parallel with it staying a good 20 yards away looking for wakes, bait, tails, or anything else that might give away the location of a redfish. I hadn’t seen much when I decided to stop and listen a little to see if I could hear anything other than the occasional splashing mullet jumping through the air. I repeated this process several times and finally heard a nice deep flush that no mullet could ever imitate. I moved another 20 yards in the direction of the noise and paused to listen once more. I heard the noise again and whipped my head around just in time to catch the splash made by a feeing fish. I made my way towards the splash and slid my foot over the edge when I was within 15 yards of it to hold myself in place. After a minute of observing the shoreline hoping to pin point its exact location a nice little tail flipped up in the air. I quickly grabbed my rod, made a cast a few yards past the fish, and slowly worked the chicken boy shrimp back in its direction. After a few twitches he turned on my bait and the fight was on. It didn’t take long to land the red that went right at 22”.
I continued the same pattern for a while hopping from lake to lake paddling, looking, and listening over and over without much luck. I finally made it to a lake that appeared to be slightly shallower than most of the others according to Google earth and found lots of grass growing on the bottom. While paddling through observing the area I heard the familiar popping sounds of bait being sucked down and knew exactly what was about to come around one of the grassy points. I headed in that direction and sure enough, I nice pod of reds was running the shoreline devouring everything in sight and they were big. I could tell the ones leading the pack were definitely over the slot so I decided I would cast towards the end of the commotion for two reasons. First of all I was hoping that by snagging one from the rear the others would continue on without getting scared and breaking up. Also, I was hoping that pulling one from the rear might give me a chance of catching one in the slot since the larger fish were in the front and the smaller ones should have been in the rear. A sort of pecking order amongst fish. My first cast sailed long and got hung in the grass. I tried to carefully pop it free but the pod had passed by the time it fell into the water. On top of that, my line had wrapped around my rod tip, which meant I had to untangle it before casting again. After getting the line free, I started reeling in the slack and found out my lure had somehow got caught on my shoestring. I quickly unhooked my shoe and fired a cast in the middle of the pod before they got out of casting distance. My lure was picked up in no time and after a lengthy battle I had landed a solid 32” red, my largest from a marsh so far.
After releasing that fish I looked up and saw another pod of over slots heading my way. I met them halfway and fired a lure out in front of them. After a few twitches I felt a thump and set the hook. The bare jighead came flying back at me because apparently the fish bit my plastic shrimp just right so that when I set the hook it ripped it free from the jighead. That commotion was enough to send that pod into a frenzy as they took off in every direction. The wind had been picking up slowly throughout the day and was now blowing between 15-20 mph with some stronger gusts. My trip back to the truck had me paddling into the wind and I had already covered several miles of marsh. I decided to call it a day and head to my parents house early to pick up my daughter. I’ll definitely be back to continue exploring this marsh. It has tons of potential and obviously big fish roaming around. It looks like there will be some nice low tides in the morning this upcoming weekend. I’m hoping to get out in the really shallow stuff to sight cast some crawlers if the wind and weather allows it.