Posts Tagged With: marsh

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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Topwater Lure Painting

 

 

I was going through my tackle box a few months ago and came across half a dozen she dogs and she pups that were on their last leg. Most of them had large chunks of paint that had chipped away and I could tell that I was needing to replace them. While I love throwing she dogs and she pups for redfish, they usually don’t last very long.  The paint always seems to start chipping away once a few good fish are caught and often times they will not last more than a  trip or two.  I hate throwing lures away so I started thinking about what I could do with them other than just getting rid of them. I grabbed a sheet of 60 grit sand paper from the tool box and decided to see if it would remove the remaining paint. With a little bit of work the paint came right off leaving a nice looking bone colored lure that I knew I could use. I followed the 60 grit up with some 320 grit to give it a smoother texture and then started working on the others. By the time I had finished, I was the owner of four bone colored she dogs/pups. While I liked the look of them, I didn’t really need four of the same color.  I decided to experiment with coloring them in a variety of different ways to see what I could come up with. I added a little epoxy once I was finished to make sure they were sealed properly.  The epoxy was clear and would protect them with from chipping or fading away like before.  It’s a fun rainy day project when you can’t get on the water to fish.  The great thing about it is that you can choose whatever color you want and you are only limited to what ever your imagination can come up with.

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Removing the Paint

 

The first thing you need to do is remove the hooks and split rings from the lure.  You’ll have a much easier time sanding paint away without having to worry about them.

Once the lure is hook free you’ll need some painters tape to protect the eyes.  The material the eyes are made of will scratch easily if sandpaper rubs across them so covering them with the tape will keep them from scaring during the sanding process.

Once the eyes are covered and the hooks and split rings have been taken off you are ready to remove the rest of the paint.  You’ll want to use the 60 grit sand paper first to remove the larger portions of paint that are still on the lure.  Working around the eyes can be a bit difficult so tearing the sand paper into small strips or folding it will help.  Be sure to work carefully around the eyes so that you do not scar them in the process.

Now that the majority of the paint has been removed you can follow up with the 320 grit paper to remove any small amount of paint that remains and also to give it a nice smooth texture.  You are now ready to apply your color or design to the lure.

 

Bone She Pup

 

This one was the easiest to create because once the paint had been removed you were done.  The base color used when the she dogs are created is a good looking bone color, so once you complete the steps above you are finished.  I did not coat this one with any epoxy because it would not have served much of a purpose.

 

Pink She Pup

 

To create the pink she pup I decided to give spray paint a try.  I bought a can of the brightest pink I could find and added a design to the side before applying the paint.  I took some painters tape and cut small strips from the roll and placed a long skinny strip down each side of the lure.  Then I cut a few smaller strips and placed them on top and bottom of the first strip angled back towards the tail end of the lure.  I repeated this process on both sides.

I taped up the eyes so that they would remain red and hung it in the garage with a small piece of cardboard behind it.  I sprayed the lure on all sides making sure all areas received an even shade of pink and let it set for the night.

The next day I removed the strips of tape which left small white designs down both sides of the lure.  I thought this would look better than a solid pink one.

I applied the epoxy and sprinkled some silver glitter on the lure while it was still wet.  The glitter stuck to the epoxy and after it had dried the finished product below is what I had.

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Sharpie She Pup

 

My next lure involved a fine point sharpie and a good amount of time and patience.  I drew nearly a thousand small circles all over this she dog to make them look like tiny scales.  I started at the back of the lure and began by drawing a line of circles towards the head.  I stopped when I reached the eye and began branching out in all directions by connecting each small circle with the one next to it.  It took about thirty minutes of work but when I had finished I liked how it looked.

I was about to apply the epoxy to seal the lure when I friend mentioned that even though I used a sharpie which has permanent ink, the chemicals in the epoxy might cause it to run a little.  He suggested using a paint pen next time which I plan on doing.  I didn’t have much of a choice since I had done all the work so I went ahead and applied the epoxy to it anyway.  While the marker did run a little, it didn’t completely destroy the design.  Instead, I went from a white lure with small black scales to a gray lure with small black scales.  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but the end result still looked alright.

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American Flag She Dog

 

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This is by far my favorite lure that I have painted.  I used painters tape, finger nail polish, and small star stickers to create it.  I started off by wrapping a piece of the painters tape around the head of the lure going back behind the eye and stopping about a half an inch past the eye.  Once the head was protected I cut a few short but thin strips of tape and ran them back towards the back of the lure trying to keep them spaced apart evenly.

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I then took the red finger nail polish and painted the entire back end of the lure by covering the exposed areas of the lure and the thin strips of painters tape.  Finger nail polish dries fast so after 30 minutes I was able to remove the thin strips of tape which created the red and white portion of the flag.  I also removed the tape from the head of the lure and did the exact same thing to the back end of the lure.  I carefully wrapped the edge of the tape around the area I had just painted behind the eyes and covered the rest of the back end.  Now the only portion exposed was the head.  I took the small star stickers and carefully placed them all over the head of the lure.

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Once the eyes had been covered with the painters tape I began painting the head of the lure blue until the entire thing was coated, stars included.  I watched the lure closely as the finger nail polish dried and when it was nearly complete I used a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the stars.  I wasn’t sure how well they would come off once nail polish had completely dried and didn’t want to find out.  Once the stars were removed I let the head dry completely before removing all of the tape except for the eyes.  I hit it with a thin coat of the epoxy and the picture below is the finished project.

 

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Big Marsh Trout

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Yesterday David and I made an early morning marsh trip hoping to find some skinny water reds before the high tide came in.  An incoming tide has never been my favorite water movement for this spot but we wanted to make a short drive and the fish have been around this area for the entire month of July.  We launched well before sunrise and made our way through the marsh in the dark.  Once we reached the first lake we heard a few good flushes and the distinct popping sounds made when reds are podded up.  We paddle in the direction of the commotion pausing on occasion to try and see if we were any closer to the fish.  It never seemed like we made any ground on them and eventually the noise stopped and we decided to continue on our way.

We set up in an area that has produced for us all month and started throwing topwaters.  I was throwing my trusty MirrOlure She Dog (Bone) while David went with a Super Spook Jr.  As I fan casted my topwater I was constantly scanning the water looking for any signs of fish.  Seagulls were everywhere but they were only passing by instead of working the area for bait.  I spotted a few seagulls a quarter mile away that would stop and hover over an area for maybe 5 seconds before continuing on their way.  After seeing several seagulls repeat this process in the same general area I finally realized they were on a pod of fish but for some reason were not sticking with them.  I pointed this out to David and we made our way towards the pod.  As we came within 50 yards of the area we could see the pod of about 20-30 fish working their way towards the middle of the lake.  We closed the distance between ourselves and the pod and got ready to pitch our lures into the pod when they all of a sudden dispersed.  We quickly fan casted the area with me hooking up for 5 seconds before that fish spit my lure.  We continued to work that area for another 10 minutes but the fish were gone.

We decided to push further back into the marsh in search of some skinnier reds.  We split up for about 30 minutes to cover a little more ground with me heading west while David headed more south.  I found another pod of reds in a foot of water but they scattered before I could cast after I bumped a single red with my kayak which spooked him right into the pod causing them the explode.  I finally found a few reds backing in an area towards the back of the marsh.  Most were pretty spooky and would scatter anytime my bait got near them.  I did find a nice 26 1/2″ red that was willing to eat and had the camera rolling.  The unedited video is below.  This fish was caught on one of the new Hydra Buggs I have been using on the last few trips.

David caught up with me and we decided to push to the very back of the marsh.  We weren’t sure if there would even be any water but decided to do some exploring.  We could barely float through some areas and had to walk through shin deep mud on occasion.  We made it to the back of the marsh and found a few reds that once again wouldn’t eat but not as many as we’d hoped.  We worked our way back towards deeper water to see if the topwater bite had picked up.  On our way there we began seeing several mud boils in front of us and decided to work this area over.  On my third cast into this area I had what I thought was a nice red explode on my She Dog.  As I worked the fish closer to my kayak I could tell that it had some nice size to it but caught a glimpse of silver.  My first thought was that I had large gaff top because of the size and location of the hookup.  We were easily a mile into the marsh where the water was never really deeper than a foot.  It finally broke the surface giving some pretty violent head shakes and I knew it was a big trout.  It only took about one minute to get the fish next to the kayak in such shallow water so I netted her quick and began removing the hooks.  I wanted to get a quick picture of the fish and get her back in the water ASAP to give her the best chance at surviving.  This was a new personal best trout for me at 26 3/4″.  I placed her back in the water and held her tail for a few seconds before she took off.

26.75 trout measure

We continued to work the area but never found any reds willing to eat.  We would spook plenty as we made our way towards the truck but nothing would ever bite.  As we made our way to the deeper channels that feed the marsh we setup and worked the area for a few trout or maybe a flounder.  David picked up several trout sifting through a few dinks and put a few on the stringer.  I picked up a few dinks and had a ribbon fish nail my hydra bugg and immediately cut my line with its teeth as it went airborne on the hook set.  It was hot and past noon so we started heading back to the truck.  On the way there I heard a good flush in a small cove and went to inspect it.  I saw a red pushing a wake and pitched my Hydra Bugg in its path.  I gave it a couple twitches and thought he would ignore it but he turned on it quickly picking up the Bugg.  After a short fight I netted a nice little 24″ red that David took home to go along with his trout.  It was a pretty slow day but the fish we caught were pretty nice.

Hydra Bugg

We arrived back at the launch and loaded our kayaks into the trucks.  A recent thread of Texas Kayak Fisherman had prompted me to throw a trash bag in the truck last night when loading up.  David and I had decided we would try and pickup some trash around the launch before heading home in order to help keep the area clean and to hopefully keep some of our launches from being closed up due to the fact that many people will just leave their trash lying around instead of disposing of it properly.  We were both a little surprised when we filled our bag to the top and barely made a dent in the area.

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July Marsh Fishing

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Marsh action this July has been pretty hot over the last few weeks.  Lots of reds have fallen victim to the MirrOlure She Dog in about 2 feet of water along grass lines and in the middle of the open lakes.  Color hasn’t seemed to matter much but I’ve been sticking with bone and chrome She Dog.  During the week leading up to and after the full moon we’ve been having much better luck making trips in the evening.  The fish seem to be feeding the last few hours before the sun goes down and the last few hours before the sun comes up.  Most morning trips were a grind with a few pods being spotted at first light but disappearing shortly afterwards.  The more aggressive bite seem to be lining up perfectly with the major bites times which has made planning trips pretty easy.  Now that the moon isn’t so big and bright I’m hoping the morning bite will pick back up.  Below are a few pics I haven’t really posted along with a short video.

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Leaving The Shell For A Little Mud (6-12-14)

 

 

My last couple of posts have been pretty long so I’ll keep this one kind of short.  I’ll give the details on how we found the fish and let the video do the rest.

After more than a week of tides running over a foot higher than predicted we had a small storm move in on Tuesday bringing with it some crazy wind.  Not only was it blowing around 20 mph, but it came out of the West for the majority of the day before switching over to the northwest for a little while.  This shift in wind leveled out the actual tides with the predicted tides so I decided to get away from the heavy shell and fish a little mud on a really low tide.  The shell had not been kind to me over the past couple of trips with three fish breaking me off so my topwaters were probably a little relieved to know that they wouldn’t be needed for this trip.  The goal was to be in the marsh before first light in order to maximize our fishing time.  During the summer I try to start my trips early and end them early due to the 95+ degree heat we get here in Texas.  Fishing from 6:00 to 11:00 gives me 5 good hours of fishing before things really heat up and the fishing slows down.

I met up with two friends at 5:15 and we launched right at 5:30.  We were in the marsh around 5:50 as first light began to show.  We had just enough water to float over the soft mud below our kayaks but still managed to hit a few low spots that required some poling or walking.  We had a strong incoming tide and the wind was blowing out of the south at about 15 mph pushing all of the water towards the back corner of the marsh.  We decided to follow the water because thats where the bait would be blown as well.  We knew if we found the bait we would find the reds and our prediction was right on the money.  The fish were stacked up at the very back of the marsh hanging out near the small islands as the water and bait were being funneled through them.  Most fish were not very active this morning but we convinced a few to eat.  The majority of the fish were just crawling through the shallow water against the wind protected shorelines or sitting in the deeper guts near the small islands.  All fish were caught on Chicken Boy Lures.  I started off throwing a Psycho Shad (Morning Glory) since the water was so dirty and picked up a few fish before switching over to the 4″ shrimp (White/Chartreuse) to see if a different color would work any better and picked up a few more.

The kayak will get a little rest this weekend since I’ll be meeting up with my Dad and Uncle tonight to start fishing a company tournament with them in the powerboat.  Tournament rules allow contestants to start fishing at midnight so we’re going to get an early start to try and pick up our reds over night before moving on to look for our trout at first light.  There are lots of categories in this tournament and we can choose to turn in a team stringer or individuals in order to maximize the prizes we can win.  There are also prizes for the biggest red, trout, and flounder so we’re looking to win all we can.

 

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Quality Over Quantity (6-10-14)

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Summer is here so fishing most Tuesdays and Thursdays will be the norm for the next two and half months for me. The first Tuesday of my summer break was almost canceled due to heavy rain in the early morning. Jared and I arrived our launch sight a little after 5:30 am only to sit in the truck for a while as the rain came down along with a little thunder and lightning. I’ve never been too thrilled about fishing the marsh after a bad storm rolls through. With the water so shallow, it seems to stir up the fish and send them running for cover until everything blows over. Once the rain stopped we checked the radar to make sure we were in the clear and would be for the rest of the day. First light had already broken the horizon so we quickly unloaded the kayaks and headed for the marsh. Although the rain had passed, the 20 mph west wind was still around and we had to paddle directly into it for a little over a mile. We reached the marsh and headed straight for a small lake covered with shell. The tide was running really high this morning so we stuck with throwing topwaters over the top of the shell with hopes that the fish would be feeding and not too scattered. We spent a good thirty minutes fan casting the small lake without a single blow up or sign of fish. We decided to try another small lake less than a 1/2 a mile away with the same results. No redfish around but plenty of big black drum. We decided to head back to the first lake to see if the fish had returned. On the way there, Jared spotted a 40+ inch black drum swimming in about a foot of water. He decided to pitch his Chicken Boy Shrimp at it to see if it would actually take the bait. I fish this marsh often and will throw at these big fish on occasion but have never had one eat. Jared convinced this one to eat on his first try and the battle was on. It headed straight for the bottom of a small channel in about 2 feet of water and just sat there. To keep this from becoming an hour long ordeal I waded out to the fishes general area with my net. Jared convinced it to come up from the bottom just far enough for me to see the direction its head was facing. I took my net and slammed it down in front of the fish in hopes that I would spook it right into the net. The plan worked and the fish was landed in under 10 minutes.

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After a few photos the fish was released to roam the marsh once again. We headed back to the first lake and repeated the previous process as before. Jared finally had a blow up on his Skitterwalk that didn’t connect. I quickly threw my She Pup in behind him and had a monster red crush my lure. I immediately got my rod tip as high as I could but after 5 seconds the fish broke me off on the shell. About a minute later the fish exploded on the surface of the water trying to throw the lure and did. We found it a few minutes later on our way to the third lake.  After speaking with a friend I decided that I will up my floro to 40 lb test to help keep from losing so many fish and lures.

We fished the third lake without much success until I spotted a little reef near the shoreline. I pitched my Pink She Pup towards the reef and had a blowup. I immediately dropped my stakeout stick and made a 2nd cast at the reef. This time I had two blowups that looked like a flounder trying to hit my topwater. I told Jared to watch because I was sure the fish hitting my lure was a flounder and I was about to make another casts. On this cast, I hooked up and quickly realized it couldn’t be a flounder. A few minutes later I had a nice red that went 26″ with a pinch of the tail.  I decided to string this fish and bring it home since I had been craving a little fried redfish burger.

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We had reached the halfway point of this lake and had to make a decision. Head back to the truck earlier than predicted since the fish weren’t around or try the first lake one more time. We decided to give the first lake one more try.  If it produced nothing after about 30 minutes we would head in for the day. We reached the drain and started throwing topwaters along the shell near the edges of the drain leading into the lake.  Jared had a nice blowup on his Skitterwalk and the fight was on. After about 30 seconds the fish hit the surface and we could see lots of silver flashing. What we thought was a nice red turned out to be a really nice trout. I dropped my net off for Jared and backed away while he landed the fish. Soon as the fish hit the net his lure popped out. The Trout went 26″ and weighted right at 6 lbs. on the boga. After a few pictures we released that fish to be caught another day.

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We finished off the day with another couple blowups on the shell lake but the action that day was really slow. We headed back to the vehicles, loaded up, and headed back home. The amount of fish was disappointing, however, the quality made up for it. All three fish were of good size and helped salvage a tough day.

 

The shirt you see Jared wearing in both photos is from a company called FishHide Sportswear. The shirt is made of a quick dry material with two chest pockets and thumbholes on the sleeves to act as gloves. It also comes with a built in sun collar that will protect your neck or can be used as a buff. You’ll also see a large bright orange stripe down the back and on the sleeves which is great for getting boaters attention while wade fishing or kayaking. You can check out there gear at http://www.fishhidesportswear.com

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Overslot Pods

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”.

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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.

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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.

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Pierce Marsh (5-7-13)

3reds

I made an evening trip to Pierce Marsh in Hitchcock yesterday after work to try and pick up 3 quick reds. My wife wants to do a fish fry for her 30th birthday and we have no fish in the freezer right now which means I’ll need to make multiple trips over the next week and a half to bring in some meat. I haven’t fished Pierce this year but wanted to go somewhere close so that I could get there and back as quickly as possible. I launched around 4:00 and started making my way to the marsh. The tides are still running a little low from the last front we had so I figured spotting fish would be easy but quickly realized that getting to them would be difficult when I saw this.

Low Tide

With the tides as low as they were I knew of a few spots where the fish should be stacked up. I was able to paddle for a while but had to get out and walk about 300 yards through shin deep mud to get to one of the deeper channels before I could paddle again. From there I made my way to one of the deeper holes where a few drains empty into one spot and immediately saw fish feeding. I started off throwing a Gulp Pogy (Color: Cigar Minnow) on a 1/16th ounce jighead under a Midcoast Popping Cork Inticer with about a foot of fluorocarbon and that seemed to be what they wanted. On my third cast I was looking around at the grass lines for any other signs of fish when my rod was nearly pulled out of my hand. I quickly brought that fish in and it went 23”. Stayed for another 10 minutes but the fish seemed to have scattered after the fight so I moved to another drain close by to let things settle down. I found the same scenario at the second drain as I did the first. Paddled up to see redfish feeding where the drains emptied and on about the third cast I picked up a solid 25 ½” red. The fish seemed like they scattered again so I made the short paddle back to the first spot and the fish were back. Made about five casts and picked up a 27 ½” red and called it a day since I had my limit. On the paddle back in I saw about a dozen crawlers hanging around every piece of wind protected shoreline. I tried casting at about a half a dozen of them but they weren’t interested in anything I was throwing. I threw KFM, Buggs, Chicken Boys, and gulp in their path and they would either blowout as it hit the water or just look at it and swim around it. I had a long paddle back and knew I would have to walk through the mud again so I decided to keeping paddling instead of stopping and messing with them.

This was my first time using the Inticer Popping Cork and while I felt that I could cast it a lot further due to the cork being out front I didn’t feel that I got as good a chug as when I use the Evolution.  I also had the opportuniy to use my Grind Terminal Tackle Stringer today with the Stringer Spike Sheath and it’s pretty awesome.  I attached the spike sheath to my seat and it made getting the fish on stringer quick and easy.

rig

stringer

Pierce Tide 5-7-13

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