Posts Tagged With: Sight Casting

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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East Matagorda Camping Trip Video

It has taken a while, but my most recent video from our camping trip in Matagorda, TX is complete.  I decided to do things a little differently this time instead of going with the 3-4 minute video of highlights with background music.  The video above is nearly 20 minutes long and comes with a voice over of me walking you through my time on the water.  I tried to include plenty of tips and information about how we were locating and catching our fish.  Thanks for taking the time to watch, and I hope you enjoy it.

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July Marsh Fishing

Photo Jul 14, 7 16 53 AM

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.

Photo Jul 12, 11 59 20 AM Photo Jul 10, 11 23 48 PM

 

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An Evening Trip With The New Hydra Buggs

Hydra Bugg

Yesterday evening Jared, Heath, Clint, his son, and I took an evening trip to the marsh.  Conditions were near perfect with an outgoing tide, a major bite from 5:00 to 7:00, and low temps because of the recent rain.  We launched around 4:00 pm to catch the tail end of an outing tide and made the short paddle to the area we’ve been catching our fish lately.  Heath and I set up for a long drift towards a deeper channel, Jared made his way straight to the channel, and Clint and his son caught some bait with the cast net and fished some of the deeper areas to start with.  Heath and I made a long drift without a blow up or bump before spotting a small pod of reds nearby.  We chased them down only to see them separate as we arrive.  We blind casted the area to try and pick up a fish but had no luck.  I spotted another pod near the channel we were heading for and chased them down to pick up my first red of the day that went 25″.

Hydra Bugg Pod

 

Jared was a short distance away and informed me that he already had his limit and had caught them all on topwater.  I was pretty sure he was joking with me until he pulled up his stringer with 3 mid slot reds.

Jared's Limit

Heath joined up with us and we started fishing the channel where Jared had staked out and he picked up his first red of the day on a Curl Tail Bugg what measured 25″.

Photo Jul 16, 6 13 27 PM

 

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Clint joined up with all of us around the channel and informed us that they had come across a pod of reds that was about 20 x 20 yards.  Him and his son had pulled a couple of reds from the pod before meeting up with us.  On the way back to the truck they stopped and fish a deeper area and picked up a few trout and a nice 24″ flounder.

Heath and I decided to push further back into the marsh to look for some reds in skinnier water.  We picked up a few more fish while blind casting an area where we had both spooked several fish.  I did have the opportunity to sight cast a 27 1/4″ red in a few inches of water that put up a great fight.

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We spotted a few more crawlers but were unable to get within casting distance due to the extremely low tides.  It was getting dark and we had over a mile paddle to reach the truck so we decided to head back in.  We met back up with Jared and were about to exit the marsh when I realized my stringer had come untied from my kayak.  I paddled a half mile back in the dark to the area we had been fishing thinking there was slim to no chance I would find it.  I had just given up and started heading back to my truck when I spotted what I thought was my stringer.  As I made my way towards it the fish started thrashing and I knew I had gotten very lucky.  I retied the fish and headed back to the truck where Heath and Jared were waiting for me.

All of my fish were caught using the new Hydra Bugg which will be released in a few weeks.  I’ll eventually writeup a full review over this Bugg once I’ve made several trips with it but for now here’s a quick look at it.

Photo Jul 17, 3 24 37 PM

Photo Jul 17, 3 25 21 PM

It was a great day on the water with everyone taking home plenty of fish.  My best fish went 27 1/4″, Heath’s was 27″, and Jared’s was a little over 25″.

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Photo Jul 16, 5 45 48 PM (1)

 

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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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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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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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Muddin (5-3-14)


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Man, it’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to hit the marsh for some skinny water reds. April was a busy month without much time to fish so I’m hoping to make up for it during May and on into Summer.

David Calbert and I met up this morning around 6:00 am to fish a really low tide in the marsh. The goal was to locate reds in a few inches of water in hopes of getting in some sight casting. The water levels seemed fine as we launched but we soon found out that it was a little lower than I expected. With the water this low I knew exactly where the fish would be, the only problem was that it was about a half mile paddle through about 4 inches of water. Normally I would get out and drag the kayak through a few areas but there were litteraly hundreds of stingrays swimming around. Rather than taking a chance on getting nailed by one of these guys we decided to stay in the yaks and push through.


Stingray


We eventually made it to the area I was hoping to reach and it didn’t disappoint.  Multiple drains meeting in one spot have created a 5 foot gut about 15 x 15 yards that serves as a great area for reds to gather during extremely low tides.  They normally hang out in the deeper hole but will venture out within 25 yards of this area pushing through inches of water exposing their entire bodies.  While this sight is one of the more amazing things to see while in the marsh, it can be difficult to get a bite, especially this early in the spring.  As soon as I reached the area I happened to look down and see a red about 5 feet from the yak. I flipped my 1/4 oz Beastie Bugg a few feet in front of its face, gave a small twitch, and had the first red of the day that went 21″.


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David joined me a few minutes later and decided to focus on the deeper area with a popping cork.   It wasn’t long before I heard him holler “fish on”.  After a nice 5 minute fight he netted a nice 27″ red.


David Hookup


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I decided to venture out a little to look for fish in shallower water. I hadn’t paddled but about 15 yards and found exactly what I was looking for.  At least a dozen single reds were pushing head wakes within close proximity to the gut we had just reached.  I spent the first 15 minutes watching and trying to film some of the action with my old Playsport only to find out later that zooming in as far as the camera is capable of makes everything really grainy which means I wasted 15 minutes of fishing and several shots at exposed reds.


Double


I finally put down the camera and took a shot at one of the reds with the same Bugg as before and hooked up.  The red went a little over 26″ and ended up being my best red of the day.  I thought I had captured some great video footage with my GoPro attached to my hat, but it was pointed a little too high and missed pretty much everything.  I should have connected it to my iPhone to check what was viewed but got a little too excited and hoped for the best.  A rookie mistake.


Sonny Red


We decided to move to another drain nearby and each had shots at multiple fish along the way but couldn’t get any takers.  On the way to the next area the wind went from nearly non existent to 20 mph with gusts to 30 according to my iPhone.  At this point the water turned brown, casting became difficult, and we began seeing less and less fish.  David hooked into another red down a narrow channel but lost it after about a 10 second fight.  We tried searching the area for more reds but the lack of water and high winds made everything difficult.  We decided to call it a day and headed back to the truck which took more than an hour paddling straight into the wind the entire way back.  The quality of fish was nice, however, we didn’t quiet catch the numbers I was hoping for.  The good thing is this is only the beginning of shallow muddy marsh season with plenty of trips to come in the near future.

This trip did allow me to really put my new Werner Shuna paddle through the rigorous abuse that occurs during marsh fishing.  Quiet often your paddle becomes your push pole when you are forced to fight your way through thick mud in shallow water along with hitting it against random patches of oyster shell.  The blades performed great and never showed any signs of breaking under pressure.


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Up


Up 2


Swirl



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November Marsh Redfish Action (11-17-13)


Reds with Cuda


November is more than half over and I’ve only been on the water a handful of times over the past couple of months. One weekend in Matagorda for our camping trip and once with my wife just last weekend. I love fishing during the month of November and no one will ever be able to convince me that there’s a better month in the year to chase reds in the marsh. I finally found a little free time on Sunday to make a trip in hopes of getting a few reds for the freezer since it’s completely empty.

I left the house early and made my way towards Galveston with high hopes of having a good day of fishing. The rain predicted earlier in the week had disappeared from the radar and the temperature had climbed back into the 70s. Tides were running slightly higher than predicted but that was fine for the area I was fishing. It was going to fall hard from the time I launched until noon which is when I planned on heading home anyway. Wind was predicted between 15-20 mph but was only blowing around 10 mph which was a pleasant surprise for once. I launched just before 7 am leaving my waders in the truck and made my way into the marsh. The water was nice and clear (for Galveston standards) and my kayak was floating a good 5 inches above the shell I was gliding over. No sooner had I rounded the first point and headed down a small channel, I could hear the distinct popping sound of a pod of redfish feeding down a grassline. I located the pod and made up the distance between us in less than a minute and launched my first cast of the day. The cast couldn’t have been better as it landed out in front of and past the group by about 5 feet. The lure and the pod met up and I had a 23″ red on the stringer. The pod scattered so I pushed a little further into the marsh. Since the wind was low and at my back I decided to stand and pole around a bit. This was one of those days when the ability to stand was a big advantage. The marsh I fished was made up of a couple dozen really small lakes with lots of broken islands and narrow channels all over the place. I could hear reds crashing bait from a distance that I could not locate while sitting. Once standing, I was able to locate the pods or splashes and make my way towards them. I found my second fish this way and made my cast while standing. After a short fight I had a barely 20″ red that I released in hopes of finding something a little bigger. A few minutes later I saw another pod while standing and made my way towards them. They were moving down the grassline as well and I pulled a 23″ red from that pod that also went on the stringer. From there, I moved into one of the largest lakes and started fan casting a bit and nailed a 26 incher to get my limit.

26 inch red


I hooked up with a few more singles throughout the day, but that all came undone. I saw a few more pods but they didn’t really stay together long and chasing them down while dragging 14 lbs of fish made it difficult. I sight casted another red that went 23″ while standing and released him and decided to head back to the truck. The pods were eating what appeared to be very small baitfish or shimp that were only about a 1/2 inch to an inch long each. When I got home and cleaned the fish I inspected their stomachs and found a 12 inch sand eel in one and lots of tiny inch shrimp in the other two.  Thanksgiving break is next week and I’ll be off for 9 days in a row.  My goal is to hit the water as much as possible before the reds clear out out of the marshes for the winter and I start looking for big winter trout.

I had my Playsport running during this trip but I think it’s starting to go out. Some of the footage was alright but most came out pretty fuzzy and it kept shutting off for no reason. At some point I’m going to have to get with the times and purchase a fancy new camera to film my trips with. Until next time, thanks for reading and tight lines.


Reds on a Stringer FX


3 reds FX



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The Fisherman’s Journal


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The October issue of “The Fisherman’s Journal” was released this morning and includes my “How to Fish a Marsh” article. This online fishing magazine based out of Florida focuses on kayak fishing for both fresh and saltwater species. It comes out once a month and includes great articles, tips, interviews, product reviews, and much more. Check it out, along with other great articles from accomplished kayak anglers across the country by clicking the link below.


http://thefishermansjournal.com/Magazines/October2013/main.swf



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