Posts Tagged With: Skitterwalk

2016 Lone Star Kayak Series Event #3

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This past weekend I spent my Saturday fishing the 3rd event of the Lone Star Kayak Series.  After a rough outing during the last event, where I only caught one redfish thirty minutes before having to leave, I thought for sure that I had put myself out of the running for angler of the year. With that in mind, the plan was to go for two big bites and not play it safe.

I spent the majority of my summer chasing trout in Galveston bay instead of the marsh for redfish, so I basically had to gamble on where to fish.  We had about ten straight days of rain leading up to the event, so getting out to prefish was not an option.  I picked my location based on past results and arrived at the launch with a little less than ten minutes to unload my kayak and load up my gear.  By the time I finished situating my gear and parking my truck, it was 6 am and time to go.

I made the three mile paddle to the area I planned to fish and began working the shoreline, focusing on the various points, drains, and coves along the way.  I started off with a STX Tackle Popping Cork and Gulp Mantis Shrimp, but after an hour with no bites, I switched over to a Bone Skitterwalk for a while.  After an hour of continuous dog walking and no luck, I went back to my popping cork for a while.

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I picked up a 17″ trout at one of the drains I was fishing, but that wasn’t the fish I was looking for.  I kept grinding it out with my cork, hoping that I would come across a hungry redfish, but a bite never came.  I finally circled back around and started the same drift again.  Without much action during the first few hours, I decided to drag my popping cork and gulp behind me while working my topwater in front of me.  I figured two lures in the water were better than one on a day like this.  Ten minutes into my drift, I hear my cork rod screaming and reach back to grab my rod.  I’m thinking that I have a lower slot red, before finally getting enough line in to see the slime near my cork.  It ended up being a 4 lb gaftop, which was way worse than the previous trout I’d caught.

At this point I’m running a little low on time and have to be back at the truck early anyways because of a previously planned event.  I finally decided to throw in the towel and head back to the truck.  After paddling about a mile back towards the launch, I decide to stop off at one last spot for a desperate shot at finding a couple of fish.  I pull out the Skitterwalk and make a long cast down the wind protected shoreline and start walking the dog back towards me.  Twenty seconds later, my lure gets clobbered by a solid redfish and I can’t believe it.  Five hours straight of non stop casting tops and corks with no fish, and on the very first cast on the way back to the truck, I’m on the board with a chunky 25.5″ red.

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I string the fish and continue working the area.  Two casts later, and I have another chunky red on my stringer at 26.25″.  A half a dozen more casts, and I stick a thick 26.75″ red, giving me what feels like 14+ lbs. between my two heaviest fish.  I work the area for another twenty minutes, hoping to find an upgrade for the smaller of my two fish, but time is not on my side and I still have a two mile paddle to reach the truck.  I want to take it nice and slow to keep my fish alive for the half pound bonus, so I head in a little earlier than I’d like.

2nd place LSKS _3 2016

Because of my previously planned event, I was forced to weigh my fish and immediately get back on the road.  I received a text message a few hours later informing me that I had finished in 2nd place out of 96 anglers with 15.02 pounds, which included my 1/2 lb. bonus.  This finish brought me back into the AOY race, by jumping into a three way tie for first, followed closely but two others.

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The last event of the season is on October 8th, and will determine who takes angler of the year honors.  With that title on the line, it’s going to make it difficult to really enjoy the last event.

 

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University of Houston Cougar Saltwater Open

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This past weekend I had a chance to fish the kayak division of the University of Houston Cougar Saltwater Open.  Prizes were being awarded to the heaviest redfish, flounder, and trout in both the boat and kayak division.  They also had a heavy stringer award that would go to the angler with the heaviest stringer consisting of three redfish, trout, or flounder (only one red allowed).  This category was between both boat fisherman and kayakers.

After giving it some thought, I decided to try for a slam to see if I could win multiple categories in the kayak division.  My plan was to fish for my trout early, load up between 10-11, and head to a different spot for a redfish and flounder.

Tournament rules allowed you to launch whenever you wanted, but you couldn’t make your first cast until 6:00 am.  Grant and I launched around 5:15, reached our spot by 5:40, and sat around for 20 minutes just waiting for 6 am to hit.  As soon as it did, we started casting.  Grant went with his trusty pink Skitterwalk, which has landed him more big trout than I can count, while I started off with a bone super spook jr.  Winds were low and the bay was calm, so I went with the smaller, quieter topwater.

RedfishIt didn’t take more than 15 minutes before I had my first hook up which spit my lure after a short fight.  5 minutes later I netted my first trout, a decent 18″ fish.  I kept working parallel to the drop off I was near with a few more blowups, but no hook ups.  It didn’t take long for the wind to pick up a little and put a little chop to the water.  I grabbed my second rod with a Speckled Trout patterned One Knocker Spook and continued working the area.  With the added chop, I switched lures because I wanted one that was slightly larger and a little noisier.

It didn’t take long before I hooked up with a solid trout that succeeded in hanging me up on the bottom and escaping.  I was unable to get my lure back, so after breaking my line, I tied on a Bone colored One Knocker.  It was around 8:00 am by now, and the blowups and hookups had slowed down quiet a bit.  It had been nearly 3o minutes since I’d had any action when my lure was sucked down by a good fish.  It turned out to be a really fat 21+ inch trout, which gave me two trout in the fish bag.

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The wind continued to gain speed, which caused small white caps to start appearing on the water.  I decided to switch lures once more, and tied on a black/silver/orange MirrOlure She Dog.  The She Dog and One Knocker are similar in size, but the She Dog makes a little more noise.

Grant and I decided to leave the drop-off and fish some submerged grass in hopes of catching some redfish, and completing our three fish stringers.  However, all we found were more trout.  I netted my 3rd and 4th trout of the day over the grass and decided it was time to head back to the truck and look for some reds.

I reached the truck around 11:00, loaded up, and made the short drive to my redfish hole and launched again.  I started off throwing the She Dog with no luck, and decided to switch over to the trusty popping cork.  In the past, I’ve thrown nothing but Gulp under my cork, but have been using an Egret Baits Vudu Shrimp for the past couple of weeks with good results.  The vudu shrimp is tough, and so far, I’ve caught about a dozen reds on the same one, with no signs of wear or tear.  It’s also less likely to attract smaller trash fish, and doesn’t seem to catch less fish than Gulp with its scent.

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It took about 20 minutes but I finally boated my first red, a 17″ rat, which of course did me no good.  Five minutes later, I had a redfish attack my cork and take it under.  He quickly realized that it wasn’t something worth eating, and released it a few seconds later.  I gave it a gentle pop, and he turned on it and came back and grabbed the vudu shrimp this time.  He fought hard for several minutes before finally hitting the net.  I threw him on the check-it stick and he measured a hair over 26 inches, which I decided was good enough for me.

 

I had decent fish for two of the three species, so decided to make one last stop to see if I could grab me a flounder.  The flounder bite never came, but not for lack of trying.  I drug the bottom of my flounder spot with a tandem rigged pair of Gulp Swimming Mullet, but they didn’t want to play.  I picked up a few more trout, but they were all smaller than my previous fish.  I was satisfied with the fish I had, so decided to head over to the weighin.

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When it was all said and done, I had won big redfish and big trout honors in the kayak division.  My prize included two wooden trophies and two Bison 25 quart Coolers.  It seemed like most other kayakers had a rough day on the water, because not many fish were weighed in by them.

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My stringer fell a couple pounds short of the powerboat guys, do to the fact that my trout could not compete with theirs, even though I had the biggest red of the tournament.

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It was a fun day on the water, with a nice challenge of catching a slam during a tournament, instead of just targeting one species all day.  I’ll definitely be back next year to fish this event again.

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Conditions:

Wind: Started off calm, but reached 12-15 mph

Weather: Sunny with temps around 90 degrees

Tides: Incoming in the morning, then slack for the rest of the day

Bottom: Quick drop-off and grass while going after trout, then soft mud for the redfish

Depth: 3-5 feet deep while trout fishing and 2 feet deep for the reds

Lures: Bomber Paradise Popper with Egret Baits Vudu Shrimp, super spook jr, One Knocker Spook, and MirrOlure She Dog

Rod and Reel: Cork – Daiwa Ballistic EX 2500 on a 7′ 2″ Hook Spit Zephyr Elite and Top Water – Shimano Curado HG on a 6′ 9″ Hook Spit Recon

Kayak: Wilderness Tarpon 140

Paddle: 250 cm Werner Cyrpus: Hooked

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Specks and Reds (7-2-14)

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Grant and I had a pretty good day of trout fishing with a few reds thrown in the mix.  It had been a while since we’d had a chance to get together to chase fish so with Grant just getting back from a week in the Bahamas, a trip together was long overdue.  We decided to head down to the Matagorda area since we hadn’t been in a while.  We met up at 5:30 am, unloaded the kayaks, and launched into the dark.  We made our way to the first area we planned to fish and found plenty of trout.  They had bait pushed up against a wind blown shoreline and were constantly darting through which sent them scattering in every direction.  We both started off by throwing topwaters with a few blowups that didn’t connect.  I switched over to one of my new Hydra Buggs and immediately hooked up with a solid 18 inch speck.  Grant was needing to restock the freezer so on the stringer it went.  I picked up another couple trout in the same area and all of a sudden they were gone.  Grant landed a couple trout as well on his Skitterwalk and we decided to move into a small cove since the trout bite had died.  I spotted a few reds crawling through a combination of grass and moss so I decided to see if I could pick a few of them off while Grant stayed in slightly deeper water.  Sight casting the reds was more difficult than usual because as soon as the lure hit the water it was covered in the moss.  I managed to pick up two reds by casting past the grass/moss and burning the Hydra Bugg past the fish and hoping for a reaction strike.  Grant managed a couple of reds and lost a another trout or two as well.  We decided to try our luck in slightly deeper water to work a few reefs for trout again.  At this point Grant could do no wrong and I could not do right.  He had plenty of blowups and landed another five specks up to 23″ while I couldn’t even get a nibble on my She Dog or Hunchback.  We ended the day with a combined 10 trout between 17 and 23 inches and four reds in the lower to mid slot.  All of Grant’s fish came on his Pink Skitterwalk while mine came on a Chained Beast Hydra Bugg with a white tail.  I also tried a Bone colored She Dog and ate-o-ate colored Hunchback with no takers.  It was a fun day on the water with a nice meat haul for Grant.

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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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Tough Trout Bite (6-1-14)

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This past weekend we had low tides predicted early in the morning for the Galveston area which had me wanting to visit the marsh and look for a few reds belly crawling through the mud. After speaking with a friend who had made the trip to the marsh I planned to fish and checking the actual tide heights I found out that the low tide we were going to have was not going to be as low as I’d hoped. The tides were running 6-8 inches higher than predicted which wouldn’t be too bad in the morning, but as it reached it’s highest point around 11 am the marsh would be full of water spreading the fish out and making them difficult to locate.

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I made a last second decision to cancel the marsh trip and search for trout instead.  I’ve never really devoted a lot of time to trout fishing but made it a point to learn a little more about them this year to become a more versatile fisherman.  I have a few friends that enjoy fishing for trout more than reds so I’ve been trying to take what I’ve learned from them and put it to good use.  I had a few friends that would be joining me on this trip so after informing them of the change in plans and setting a launch time I loaded up the gear and went to bed early.

My alarm was set for 4:00 am but of course I woke up around 3:30 on my own.  I laid in bed for a while and finally got up, got dressed, and went and sat in the truck to wait for my friend Shawn to arrive.  He pulled up at 4:28, threw his gear in the back. and we were on the road headed for Galveston.  We met up with Jared at the launch around 5:40 and loaded down the kayaks pushing off at 6 am.  We had three spots we planned to fish in hopes of finding the fish.  On our way to the first spot we found lots of scattering bait near the surface and a few wakes running down a grassline so we stopped and threw pink skittewalks and Trout Killers for about 10 minutes.  We had a few blowups but nothing connected so we decided to move on.  More than likely these were dink trout chasing small bait fish.

We arrived at the first spot of the day 10 minutes later hoping to take advantage of the last hour of an outgoing tide by fishing a small shallow flat that runs along a few marsh drains.  I was hoping we could pick up a limit of reds here since the outgoing tide would have pulled plenty of bait from the marsh during the night.  The bait was there, but the reds weren’t.  We spent the next 30-45 minutes throwing the same lures as before around scattering bait.  It took a while but I finally hooked up with what we all suspected after half a dozen missed blowups each.  Lots of small trout were on this flat today eating baby shrimp and baitfish.  I picked up another dink and so did Shawn and we decided to move straight to spot number two.  This was another small flat that should have been around 3-4 feet deep but with the tide coming in quick and the elevated water levels, it was about 5-6 feet deep.  Still we gave it a shot for 30 minutes before moving on to the third and final spot which I expected to produce better than any of the others.  When we arrived the tide had already come up a good 6 inches and continued to rise.  We had about 2 hours before it started to taper off so we went to work fishing a sandy bottom near a drop off in about 5 feet of water.  Jared picked up a 17″ trout on his 2nd cast and we had high hopes that we were about to get into them.  Shawn followed with a 18″ trout a few minutes later and I lost one after a short fight.  Three fish had connected on our topwaters in 10 minutes and then nothing happened for a while.  I decided to move parallel with the drop off to hopefully locate more fish and did but they were few and far between.  The bite shut off completely around 10 am so we decided to call it a day.  We had five fish on the stringer between 17″ and 22″.  It wasn’t the best day of fishing, but there have definitely been worse.  On the way back in Jared picked up two more fish at our first spot but both were barely legal.  It was a tough day with a fish coming about every 50 to 60 casts.  They were all caught using a Rapala Skitterwalk.  Shawn and Jared threw the 4″ skitterwalk while a threw a smaller freshwater version. about 3 1/4″ long.

The 2nd event of the Lone Star Kayak Series is next Saturday with the registration cutoff on Tuesday at midnight.  If you haven’t signed up yet.  Be sure to visit http://www.lonestarkayakseries.com to do so.

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Topwater Reds in February


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A few friends and I made plans about a week ago to meet up on February 1st for a fishing trip. It was the first day of Kayak Wars and Grant and I had high hopes of piling on some points to start the month off right. Temps had dropped below 30 degrees only a few days before so we were all a little unsure of what that might do to the reds that normally roam this area during the colder months.

Six of us launched shortly after day break and split into three small groups to try and locate some fish. Grant and I went down a small channel that led to a few small back lakes but the falling tide had emptied the lake. After about 2 hours with no luck, Grant and I decided to pick up and move locations while the others would grind it out in the original location. If either group got on some fish the plan was to call the others.

We launched at our second location a few miles down the road but quickly realized this area would be nearly impossible to fish. We were on the north side of the lake with a 20+ mph wind blowing out of the south that had the water looking more like a washing machine. After less than an hour at this spot we decided to try one more spot on the south side of the lake in hopes of finding some protected waters and fish.

We launched at our third location of the day around 1:00 pm to check out a small marsh drain. We saw pelicans diving around the area with a few mullet flipping across a mud flat around 2 feet deep. The bottom was covered with moss so soft plastics were out of the question. With the tide falling like it was and the wind blowing over 20 mph, suspending twitch baits had a hard time getting below the surface. This left topwaters as our best option. The key was locating multiple mullet that were flipping in close proximity to one another. It was difficult to move around or drift with the wind so we were forced to anchor up near the mullet and hope the fish that were spooking them would move our way. Grant hooked up first throwing a pink skitterwalk. A few minutes into this fight he realized that he had to pull anchor to land this fish. He’d lost a lot of line and wasn’t getting much back. The fish drug him around for about 10 minutes before he finally landed a nice 32 inch red.


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We moved about 50 yards from our original spot towards more fleeing mullet where I hooked up next throwing a black/chrome she dog towards the most recent mullet I had seen jump. After a couple of twitches my she dog was smashed by a nice 28 inch red putting me on the board for Kayak Wars 2014.


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After releasing that red I hooked in to another that went 23″ inches and on the stringer it went. I had been wanting to try blackened redfish for a while and this one was the perfect size. We fished for another hour but the mullet and reds seemed to disappear. We decided to call it a day and be thankful that we both avoided the skunk. We got back to the truck and talked to the others and they had scratched out 4 slot reds. Looking back now, I wish I had my popping corks with me on this trip. Gulp on a popping cork with a 1 foot leader would have been a great way to call in the fish on a day like today. We only caught a few fish, but at least they were on topwater which always helps.

The blackened redfish turned out great. I’ll post the recipe soon in case anyone is interested in giving it a try. Be sure to cook this outside because when the fish hits the white hot cast iron a ton of smoke and a few flames will occur.


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Topwater Trout Fishing (August 8, 2013)


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Of all the time I’ve spent fishing, I’ve never really targeted trout. When I started fishing the marsh I became completely obsessed with redfish and ended up with a little bit of tunnel vision. Now that I’ve figured redfish out for the most part, I’ve been wanting to spend some time learning the trout game. Yesterday I had the opportunity to do just that with Clint Barghi of Team Ocean Kayak.

We met up on the south shoreline of Galveston’s West Bay and launched into the dark. By the time we reached our fist spot we had enough light to get started. We anchored up, slipped out of the kayaks, and started wading an area where Clint has had success in the past. Clint hooked up with a nice 20″ trout on about his 10th cast using a Bass Assassin 5″ Shad (Red Shad), while I hooked into an 18 inch trout about 5 minutes later on the same bait. We spent the next 20 minutes working the area with no luck so we decided to try spot #2. After another 20 minutes with no fish we decided to paddle about a mile to another location. About halfway there we noticed slicks popping up all around us so we decided to stop and check them out.

Clint made a long cast with his topwater that happened to land about 5 feet in front of small pod of reds. After a few twitches and a couple missed blowups one of the reds got the lure in it’s mouth and Clint landed a nice 24″ red. We continued working the slicks from the kayak without much luck so we decided to get out and wade instead of fighting the wind. We threw soft plastics again with no luck and decided to switch to topwaters even though it was a little later in the day. It turns out that’s exactly what they wanted. We spent the next 2 hours from 9-11 catching 3 more reds and about 16 trout with lots of missed blowups.  We also had a few that came undone while bringing them in. After releasing the 10th fish we decided to string a few for dinner and ended the day keeping 7 trout and 1 red.  The trout ranged from 16 to 23 inches with only one dink.  The bite died around 11 and we had plenty of fish for dinner.  I threw a 4 inch Saltwater Skitterwalk (Blue Mullet) while Clint threw a Red/White topwater and I’m not sure of the brand.

I learned a lot about trout today and plan on splitting my time between them and reds in the marsh to learn even more.  My confidence in topwaters also rose after catching 2 reds and multiple trout. I plan to spend more time using one in the marsh for big redfish and not switching to a soft plastic so quickly.

I plan on hitting the water one more time before event #3 of the Lone Star Kayak Series.  I’m holding on to a 7 point lead for AOY honors which is better than I could’ve hoped for.  Hopefully the big reds don’t leave the marsh I’ve been fishing lately.


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SonnyABInst



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