Posts Tagged With: Jackson Cuda 14

First Kayak Trip of 2015

Grant and I made a trip to Galveston yesterday to explore a new area and try and locate some fish.  I have virtually scouted this spot many times with Google Earth but always seem to talk myself out of making the long paddle that is required to reach and fish it.  The winds were predicted to stay relatively low and the temperature was going to climb into the mid 60s by noon so this was as good a day as any to put in some miles.

The plan was to search for trout on the way out but they weren’t really around.  Once we made the 5 mile paddle to our intended destination we focused on a deeper channel for the first few hours before moving over to the nearby mud/shell mix.  We had no luck in the channels, mainly due to the fact that by the time we reached it the sun was straight overhead, quickly heating the mud/shell mix and the water around it.  The reds had moved out of the deeper water and were sitting pretty shallow when we found them.  All of our fish were within close proximity to the deeper water (4-8 feet deep) sitting in about 2 feet of water with a soft mud bottom covered with a small amount of scattered shell.  This has been a constant pattern all winter long that will continue over the next month or two.  Find the mud shell/mix near deeper water, and you find the fish.

This was one of those days when I kayak you can stand in was key to catching fish.  While sitting, the fish were difficult to spot.  While standing, you could see them about 10-12 yards away and make a short pitch to them for an immediate hookup.  All fish were sight casted and were between 23 and 26 inches. Grant did manage to pull one that was a little over 30 inches for our largest of the day.  We also picked up a few trout where the deeper water met up with the shallow stuff and I spotted a 35″  black drum that was not interested in my trout killer.  All fish were released to fight another day.  Enjoy the video above since I didn’t take any pics on this trip.

Conditions:

Wind: 5 mph from North switching out of the east around noon

Weather: Mid 60s with sunny skies.

Tides: Outgoing until noon and then incoming

Bottom: Mud & shell mix

Visibility: Crystal clear

Depth: 2 feet but near channels that were 4-8 feet deep

Lure: Texas Trout Killer on a 1/4th oz jig head (Plum White)

Rod: 6′ 9″ Hook Spit Pitch Fork

Reel: Shimano Citica

Kayak: Jackson Cuda 14

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

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Willie Wimmer Slam Jam

This past weekend I competed in the Willie Wimmer Slam Jam Tournament out of San Leon, TX to help raise money for a local Galveston fishing guide who sustained injuries from a gun shot wound to the back.  Wade Bullard, the owner of the Hook Spit Fishing Store in League City, TX was hosting the tournament which included a boat and kayak division.  Aaron and I had already registered and with a little bit of coaxing, we convinced David to sign up on the final day.

We chose our location a week before the tournament based on past experiences and reports from friends that had fished the area recently.  For those who do not know, a slam tournament allows you to weigh in one slot redfish, one speckled trout, and one flounder with their combined total weight making up your stringer.  We knew the redfish would come easy since that’s what we spend the majority of our time chasing but were a little unsure about the flounder and trout.  I have a friend that has been killing the flounder in the area we were heading to that supplied me with some great flounder fishing tips including how to tie the same tandem rig he uses, what soft plastics and colors to throw, and a map where he had been having success.  Another friend told me a few areas that the trout had been hanging around the last couple of weeks as well, so we felt pretty confident that we would each get our three fish.

Tandem

When we woke up Saturday morning the winds were under 10 mph from the north and the temperature was holding steady around 50 degrees but would quickly climb to 70 as the day went on.  We arrived 30 minutes before the 6 am launch time, unloaded our gear, and moved one truck a little further down the road to a second launch point so we would have the option of making the shortest paddle back to a vehicle depending on where we were when it was time to head in.  At exactly 6 am we shoved off and made the 2 mile paddle to our first spot.  We were going to try and pick up our redfish first since they had been schooled up early in the mornings during previous trips.  About halfway to the spot David broke away and said he was going to fish a small drain that he’s had luck at in the past.  Aaron and I continued on our way and finally reached the lake we had been heading to.  We didn’t see much action so we decided to split up to try and locate some fish.  I paddled another 1/2 mile across the lake to the opposite shoreline while he worked the near side.  Aaron found a few schools and caught 3 or 4 reds with his largest being 26″.  My side of the lake was pretty slow with no schools in sight.  I decided to work the shoreline with a popping cork and gulp in hopes of finding a good sized single that might be roaming the area.  Ten minutes passed and I hadn’t had a nibble.  After a while I started looking across the lake for any signs of fish nearby and saw one tiny shrimp go airborne to my left about 30 yards off the shoreline.  Without taking my eye off of where it landed, I reeled in my cork and fired a cast in it’s direction.  A few seconds later my cork went under and what felt like a lower slot fish turned out to be a nice 26″ red that went into the fish bag.

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In the video below you can barely see the ripple made by the one little shrimp and will notice that I do not take my eyes away from the area until my cork lands.  By not glancing away, I was able to put the cork exactly where the bait had spooked.

I met back up with Aaron and we were both satisfied with the 26″ reds for the time being.  We decided to head over to the flounder hole Johnathan had told us about to see if we could get our flat fish out of the way.  We were fishing a small channel that turned out to be around 5 feet deep in the middle but closer to 1 foot near the edges.  There was a scattered shell bottom with a small reef near the bend.  Johnathan had told us to work the grasslines along the shallower water as slow as possible.  I had tandem rigged one of my rods the night before with two 1/8th oz jig heads that were about 6 inches apart.  I went with a bone colored killer flats minnow on the top and a Berkley 4″ Gulp Shrimp on the bottom.  I parked my kayak and fished from the bank making casts that were parallel to the grass while working my tandem rig slower than I’ve ever worked any lure.  I would basically give my rod tiny twitches and reel in the slack and repeat.  My twitches resmebled the way you might move your rod if you were trying to scare a dragonfly off of the tip.  The technique and rig paid off as my first flounder was caught less than 10 minutes after arriving.  At 16″ I was glad to have a keeper in the bag but at the same time, was worried about my chance to upgrade.  November flounder limits in Texas drop from 5 to 2 and you’re not allowed to cull them.  With only one chance to upgrade available I was worried I would catch a 17″ flounder next and be faced with the choice of releasing it in hopes of catching a bigger one or keeping it and being done.

I continued working the area looking for an upgrade and picked up a 20″ red before catching a surprise 19″ trout.  This was a decent trout which allowed me to complete my slam by 8:12 am.  Aaron was working the same area trying to catch his flounder but kept catching undersized reds and trout.  After bagging my trout I decided my best chance to upgrade my weight would be to continue working the area for a flounder and it finally paid off when I brought in a solid 19″ flattie.  All of my fish up until this point came on the Gulp Shrimp.

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As soon as I bagged that fish I left Aaron and decided to meet up with David and head out in search of a bigger trout.  When I found David he had a fat football shaped red that was right at 24″ and a 19″ flounder like me.

football

We made the short paddle to a nearby area in search of a trout but had trouble locating them.  We moved around to a few different spot but the trout didn’t seem to be around or at least weren’t feeding.  We decided to head to our last trout spot that was near David’s truck determined to camp out on this area and continually work it until we found the trout or ran out of time.

After five minutes at this area we started hearing the distinct sound made by feeding reds in a nearby lake.  I had my slam and was happy with my fish so I told David I was going to chase some reds while he worked for his trout.  Before I could get past him he decided to join me.  He said the thought of those reds feeding like that was to much to resist.

We spent the next hour or so sight casting lower to mid slot reds in shallow water with tons of shell.  I was having a little trouble keeping my soft plastic out of the shell and decided to switch over to a Strike Pro Hunchback.  Not only did this keep me out of the shell, but wakers are a blast to throw at shallow water reds.  I would cast in front of the  small wakes they were pushing and start reeling the lure in.  As soon as they spotted the hunchback they would dart from behind it and explode on the lure which was fun to watch.  After picking up about 4 reds each we decided to head back to the truck.  We arrived at the same time Arron did and found out that he had found a 17″ trout and a 16″ flounder to complete his slam as well.

We arrived at the weighin and visited with friends for a while before the weighin finally opened.  When it was all said and done, David had finished 3rd with 8.84 lbs, Aaron was 2nd with 10.10 lbs, and I had come out on top with 11.19 lbs.  We had a great time on the water fishing with one another, plus its always nice when the plans you make come together as well as they did.

 

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Reds On The Fly (And Conventional)



It’s been a while since I’ve been able to put up a post.  I picked up a few days of summer school over the past week and a half so fishing has been non-existent for me.  Summer school ended Wednesday so I met up with my friend Aaron to see if I couldn’t put him on a few skinny water reds.  Aaron enjoys fly fishing so with the low tides and possibility of seeing plenty of backing reds I figured this could be an interesting trip for him.

We met up at 5 am and launched into the dark.  The winds that have been pounding the Texas coast over the past month or two had completely died the day before which brought the tides back to predicted levels.  Without the usual 20 mph wind we’ve had the water was like glass and paddling was easy.  The downside was the lack of wind made the temperature seem warmer than it really was and the mosquitos were out in full force.  Not even the 98% deet spray could keep them off of us throughout the morning.  We reached the marsh before first light and had about an hour and half before the tide bottomed out.  I realized that this was the lowest I had ever seen this marsh and with water continuing to slowly trickle out for a little while longer we decided to play it safe and headed towards a small channel that would be a foot or so deeper than the surrounding areas.  If the fish were around, they would be somewhere near this channel because the ability to move around the marsh freely was denied due to the lack of water.


Photo Jul 03, 8 52 02 AM


We pulled up to a small marsh lake with a deeper gut leading into it and could immediately hear bait being popped.  Half a dozen reds where in two separate locations and feeding heavily and small shrimp and bait fish.  We were unable to get a bite from these fish so we kept moving towards the deeper channel.  Aaron stopped to setup his Go Pro while I continued to work a shoreline that lead to the location we were trying to reach.  As I approached the channel I could hear several popping noises and knew a pod of redfish was right around the corner.  Sure enough, the pod came out of the channel and into the lake giving me a nice shot at them.  I tossed a 1/4 oz Beastie Bugg out in front of them and had a fish on.  While fighting this fish I saw another pod coming in my direction about 50 yards behind that one and another following it another 50 yards back.  I called for Aaron to catch up and get his fly rod ready.  As I was landing my fish he caught up with me and laid a small fly he had tied out in front of them and hooked up.  My fish went 25.5″ and Aaron’s went a little over 20.

We moved into the channel and found a few more pods roaming the area.  I got greedy and tried for a double hook up on two pods that were only 20 yards apart and lost the first fish I hooked while switching to my other rod.  Aaron moved over to a small lake with plenty of popping noise to find nearly a hundred reds over about 50 yards of shoreline.  I decided to hop on the island and film him while he tried hooking up with his 2nd fish of the day on the fly.  He hooked up after a few minutes and the rest of the fish went nuts.  With all of the fish in such a small area, locating one to cast at was easy, but when a hookup occurred or one got spooked a domino effect occurred spooking the others. After a nice fight with his fish that took him into his backing a time or two Aaron landed his biggest red on the fly to date at 29.5 inches and a little under 9 lbs.


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After that, the rest of the fish seemed to disappear completely.  The bite only lasted about an hour for us but it was fast and furious for that one hour.   A little more water to spread them out some would have been nice but it was still a pretty awesome day on the water and fun watching fish of that size in water so shallow.



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An Evening With Topwater Reds


Topwaterred


I finally had a chance to get on the water this evening for the first time in a while. All teachers reported back to work a little over 2 weeks ago so my summer break has officially ended. My daughter spent some time with her Granny and PaPa this weekend so while my wife was off picking her up I decided to make an evening trip to explore Chocolate Bayou.

Of all the places I’ve fished between East Matagorda and Rollover Pass I have never taken the time to fish this area. After a couple of tips on a few areas to try from a friend I loaded up the kayak and made my way to the 2004 bridge. I launched a little after 4:00 pm and started exploring the area while fishing a little here and there. I spent the better part of the evening checking out different areas and trying a few spots without much luck. On my way back to the truck I finally found the fish feeding against a shoreline protected from the wind. The tides were high and the grass in this area extended a good 10 feet off the bank giving the reds plenty of cover to hide and hunt. I could hear and see them busting bait up and down this area but all action was deep in the grass. I started off throwing soft plastics at the edge of the grass with no takers. The reds were so deep that I decided to stakeout a foot off the grassline and throw a topwater parallel with the shore in hopes that I could get their attention and draw them out. I made a few bad casts that landed about 10 feet off the mark, before finally putting my lure down a foot off the grassline. I started walking it back in and after about 5 twitches a red shot out of the grass and smashed my MirrOlure She Dog. After a short fight I landed the fish for a quick pic and released it.


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The key to drawing a strike was landing the lure within a few feet of the grass and keeping it that close the whole way in. I caught two more reds and had nearly a dozen other blowups that didn’t connect over the next hour before running out of daylight. I hate leaving when the fish are feeding like crazy but I was in an area that was new to me and I knew there would be lots of holiday boaters on their way in as well. I headed for the truck and made it back just as I ran out of daylight.  I’m glad MirrOlure makes their She Dogs pretty affordable.  They get beat up pretty quick.


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