Posts Tagged With: Trout

Trout Support Instructional DVDs

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Christmas day is quickly approaching with only 10 days before Santa Clause makes an appearance.  As I mentioned in my last post, buying fishing related gifts can be extremely difficult unless you’ve been told exactly what the person you’re shopping for wants.  Most veteran fishermen have already purchased every lure, rod, reel, and gizmo for his boat/kayak in existence while the rookie anglers have a hard time figuring out just what they really want/need.

One thing that every angler will never be able to gain enough of is knowledge.  At the end of every year, I’m always amazed at just how much new information I’ve gained.  In my mind, I’m always thinking to myself, “I’m not sure how much more I can really learn at this point”, yet every year I prove myself wrong.  In fact, I’ve come to realize that no matter how long I spend kayak fishing, I’m never going stop learning from all of my experiences while on the water.

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Whether you’re new to inshore fishing or you’ve been doing it for years, the Trout Support DVDs will make a great gift suggestion if your loved ones are asking you to toss them a hint.  As of right now you can choose between two different trout DVDs titled “Finding and Catching Big Speckled Trout” and “Finding and Catching Limits of Speckled Trout” and two redfish DVDs titled “Bays and Shorelines” and “Marsh and Grass Flats“.

As far as trout fishing goes, the “Big Speckled Trout” DVD is my favorite of the two since the areas that big trout like to frequent are very accessible for kayakers.  However, I’m way more infatuated with skinny water redfish, so the “Marsh and Grass Flats” DVD is hands down my favorite one to watch.

Marsh Trout

When I purchased the Marsh and Grass Flats DVD a few years ago I had already been kayak fishing for a few years.  I was having a good amount of success and had even started putting some of the information I was gaining on the water together. I was pleasantly surprised to have the DVD confirm so much of what I had already suspected such as signs that fish are present, areas to concentrate on, and bait that redfish like to eat.  What I hadn’t realized was that there were so many other factors involved when trying to locate and catch redfish.  The height of the tide, whether its ingoing or outgoing, wind direction/speed, and several other factors had never crossed my mind when it came to consistently catching fish.

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While the experience you gain while on the water can never be duplicated, the ability to sit in your home and watch some of the top guides/tournament anglers on the Texas coast explain things with actual footage and great animations will help cut the learning curve by an unmeasurable amount.  Tobin does a great job on the DVDs and will answer any and all e-mails you send him for clarification on the information provided.

If you see a DVD that you’d like to purchase, you can use the code “TailTailSigns” when you checkout to save 10% off your entire order.

http://www.troutsupport.com

 

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The Skiff Life

Photo Jul 18

It’s not often that I leave the kayak at home and fish from a boat, but his past Monday, David and I decided to do just that in his new Mitzi Skiff 16.  While this little skiff is going to be a redfish catching machine in the future, we decided to focus our attention on trout this day.

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We launched shortly after 6 am and made the short drive to our spot and set up for a long drift.  David went with his trusty Heddon Super Spook jr while I elected to go with the Heddon One Knocker.  It didn’t take long before we started getting some nice blowups, followed by our first fish of the day.  It was a small dink trout barely bigger than my One Knocker, but it gave us a little confidence knowing that fish were in the area.  David hooked up a few minutes later with another dink trout, followed by our first keeper trout of the day at 17″.  We spent the next two hours catching 10 keeper trout between 17 and 20 inches, 6 dinks, had more missed blowups then we could count, and lost a few that shook the hook at the boat.  Every fish we caught came on tops, so its tough to beat a day like that.

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We fished a small drop-off over a hard sand bottom in 3-4 feet of water, casting to the shallower water, then walking the lure over the edge.  We also spotted a few slicks and determined where they originated based on their size and the direction they were heading to catch a few fish.  Good info that I picked up from the Trout Support DVDs I picked up about 4 years ago.  It was nice to finally put some of that information to use. Don’t forget that you can save 10% off your entire order if you decide to purchase any of their DVDs by using the code “TailTailSigns”.

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Later, we spent a few hours running to a few different spots to explore, and called it a day before it got too hot.  I love kayak fishing, but taking a ride on the skiff on occasion is going to be nice!

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Another money saving code for anyone interested is with Dexter Outdoors Knives.  For the rest of July, you can use the code “Icast16” to save 20% off your entire purchase.  The code changes each month, but we normally post it on the Lone Star Fishing Team Facebook page.  Great knives for filleting fish!

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3rd Annual Jiffy Pop Invitational Camping Trip

 

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This past weekend myself and 16 friends made our way down East Matagorda beach for our annual kayak/camping trip. We met up Friday around noon before making the short drive down the beach to the spot where we enjoy camping.

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Adam treated everyone to a delicious gumbo dinner on the first night from BB’s Cafe that went great with the keg of Saint Arnold Lawnmower that Michael brought.  We ate gumbo until we were completely stuffed and then ate a little more.  We sat around the campfire the rest of the night enjoying a few drinks along with the cool breeze before heading off to bed.

We woke up the next morning and enjoyed a few breakfast tacos that Tombo had prepared before hitting the water to compete in our 3rd annual lures tournament.  Each angler puts two lures in the pot as part of their entry and then tries to bring in the heaviest stringer of 3 trout, 2 reds, and 1 flounder.  The winner takes all the lures and the coveted trophy along with a package of Jiffy Pop Popcorn. The lures and popcorn are for the winner to keep while the trophy goes home with the winner for one year and then gets returned the following year for the next winner to keep.

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Fishing was pretty tough on Saturday, but everyone caught fish.  The winds were blowing around 20 mph and the tides were running about a foot higher than normal which was the complete opposite of last years trip.  When it was all said and done, I ended up with a little over 15 lbs. of fish and took home around $200 in lures, the Jiffy Pop, and trophy despite the fact that Charlie planted his Rastafarian Banana (Banny) in my front hatch.

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We cleaned a mess of fish Friday evening and enjoyed a fried fish dinner on Saturday night.

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I look forward to this trip each and every year, and next year will be no different.  A good time is had by all with plenty of good food, fishing, and campfire stories.

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Fly Fishing the Guadalupe River

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This past Sunday Aaron and I left the kayaks at home, grabbed the fly rods, and headed west to fish the Guadalupe river for rainbow trout.  While I’ve practiced at the local ponds, I’ve never actually caught a fish on the fly.  I’d like to spend some time this summer chasing redfish with the fly rod so this trip would allow me to learn  few things and practice on some smaller fish.

We left Pearland at 4:15 am and made a quick stop at Whataburger before reaching the river in New Braunfels around 7:20.  Temps were holding in the upper 30s with an occasional gust of wind but we had blue clear skies and temps that would rise throughout the day.  We hopped into our waders, rigged our rods for nymphing, and headed down to the river.  After a few quick tips from Aaron we got our flies in the water and had a double hook up on our 2nd casts.  Aaron had a nice fish to start the day while my first fish was in the 6 inch range.

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The action stayed pretty consistent for most of the day with each of us landing a little over 20 fish each.  The majority of the fish were in the 6-10 inch range but we caught half a dozen each that were around 16″.  The Guadalupe River provides some beautiful scenery and great trout fishing during the winter months for Texas residents.

 

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Five Christmas Gifts Every Kayak Angler Can Use

If you’ve ever tried shopping for your wife then you know how difficult it can be to choose the right gift.  There are certain items you know to stay away from because regardless of how well you know her, there are some things she would much rather pick out for herself.  For us guys, fishing gear is no different.  As far as lures go, we have certain brands, colors, and sizes we know will catch fish, and gear that we can trust to perform properly and last for a long time.  Christmas is a little more than a week away which means there’s a small chance someone you know is still searching for a gift or two for you.  If so, the five items listed below are less than $50 each and just about every angler I know could benefit from them. So if someone out there is still asking you what you would like for Christmas, send them a link to this article and sit back and relax knowing that on Christmas morning you’ll be well taken care of.


Grind Terminal Tackle Stringer with Spike Sheath

 

Whether your in a boat, kayak, or wading, every good fisherman needs a solid stringer.  The folks over at Grind Terminal Tackle offer a few different models of their stringer in 8, 12, and 16 feet lengths.  They are constructed using a 60 lb. Kevlar thread that is covered with an extruded polyurethane blend that won’t stretch or allow fish to twist because the stringer has no memory.  IMG_4646Each stringer comes with a 6″ brass spike allowing you to easily penetrate the mouth of your fish before effortlessly sliding them to the float at the opposite end.  You also have the option to purchase a spike sheath that will allow you to quickly and easily remove your spike, string your fish, and replace it in the sheath in a matter of seconds using just one hand. The sheath comes with a safety clip that can be attached to your wade belt or kayak that will automatically release if a shark pulls with enough force. I own several of these stringers since I only put one redfish on a stringer while tournament fishing and they have held up well against the saltwater over the years.  The stringer/sheath combo can be purchased from $31 to $46 depending on the length you choose and whether you decide to go with the fixed or quick release float.  Visit their website below to make a purchase.


https://grindtt.com/



Tailin Toads Face Shields and Fingerless Gloves

 
Netting Too Soon

If you’re anything like me, you’re always forgetting to reapply sun screen while fishing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home to look in the mirror and see that my face had turned a bright shade of red. IMG_4664 It would always drive my wife crazy and rightfully so since harmful UV rays can lead to skin cancer.  Enter Tailin’ Toads, a small company started by former Texan Manny Altman who now lives in Jacksonville, Florida.  Not only can you purchase face shields that will provide SPF 50+ UV protection from the sun, you can also get a matching pair of fingerless gloves to protect the tops of your hands.  All face shields and gloves are sewn by Manny herself using quality materials that are quick drying, breathable, and odor resistant giving you great quality combined with stylish patterns.  A pair of fingerless gloves costs $24 while face shield come out at $22.  A set can be purchased for $46 allowing you to purchase a great protective gift for just under $50. Visit her site below to see the patterns and place an order.


http://www.tailintoads.com/



Fish-N-Hunt Pro Floating Net

 

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If you’ve ever lost a nice fish at the kayak, you understand how valuable a good net can be.  I’ve been using the Fish-N-Hunt Pro Floating Net over the last couple of years and it is by far the best kayak net I have owned.  The rubber coated nylon netting is great for preventing your hooks from getting tangled in your net after landing each fish. This means you get to spend more time fishing and less time fighting with your net.  A float is attached to the top making it impossible to lose if it were to fall off of your kayak and it works great for landing flounder and trout but still has plenty of depth to handle over slot reds.  If you enjoy wade fishing, the net has a retractable clip that will easily attach to your wade belt and float behind you which keeps it within reach at all times.  At $19.99 this net is a bargain for any angler. You can visit the link below or purchase the net at most local sporting good stores.


http://www.fishandhunt.com/fishing/nets/floating-net-blue



Dexter Russell Fillet Knife

 

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One of the many things I enjoy about kayak fishing is the opportunity to bring home fresh fish that I catch myself.  There are few seafood meals that can compare to the one you catch and cook yourself after a long day on the water. IMG_4658 But catching fish is only part of the deal.  Once you arrive back at the launch, a good sharp fillet knife is needed to properly clean your catch.  Dexter Russell has a wide variety of fillet knives allowing you to choose a knife with the proper blade length and width for the style of fish you catch.  The blades are manufactured using high carbon steel with a textured polypropylene handle giving it a nice slip resistant finish. When cleaning redfish I like to use the Dexter Russell 8″ Wide Fillet Knife.  It has the proper length and width to cut through the large scales and bones on a redfish that smaller and thinner knives can’t handle.  My other knife is the Dexter Russell 7″ Fillet Knife.  The shorter and narrower blade is easier to control when cleaning fish with smaller bones and scales like flounder and trout.  The cost of most Dexter Russell fillet knives will run you between $25 and $55 dollars allowing you to purchase a quality knife at a great price. See their website below for a detailed list of what they have to offer.


http://knives.dexter1818.com



Insulated Fish Bag

 

An insulated fish bag has quickly become my favorite way to store fish while on the kayak.  During past trips when I planned on keeping fish I would place them on my stringer and drag them behind me for several hours throughout the day.IMG_4670  Pulling fish behind your kayak makes paddling more difficult do to the drag they create and also makes them an easy meal for nearby sharks.  Insulated fish bags are a cheap and reliable way to eliminate drag and protect your catch.  I keep mine behind my seat making it easy to reach when a fish is caught.  I simply turn around, unzip the bag, and place the fish inside where it will sit on top of a few pounds of ice and keep them nice and cool until I get back to my truck.   I didn’t list a certain brand here because these bags can range from as little as $15 all the way up to $300 if you were to choose a brand like the Yeti Hopper.  Check your local grocery stores like Sam’s Club, HEB, or Bucee’s for affordable bags that will get the job done.  The one pictured on the left is from Sam’s club and can handle three upper slot reds with room to spare.


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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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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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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.

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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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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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Five Tips For Every Kayak Angler

My latest article was released yesterday in the June issue of The Fisherman’s Journal. You can visit their site to see it along with other articles or read it below.

 

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Over the past couple years I’ve discovered a few tricks while fishing the bays and marshes here along the upper Texas coast. Of the following, none will magically fill your stringer with a limit of fish. They may however help to save a little money, allow for fewer headaches, and achieve a better understanding of the waters you fish over time. The following are five tips that I feel are worth considering during your next fishing trip.

 

1. Old Soft Plastics

If you’re anything like me, you keep about one hundred bags of soft plastics somewhere around your house. softplasticsI can’t even begin to explain why I’ve purchased so many over the years, other than the fact that soft plastics on sale for a dollar are hard to pass up.  Between shrimp, paddle tails, straight tails, and curl tails in brands, sizes, and colors that I doubt I’ll ever use. I probably have more than I could use in a lifetime. Instead of getting rid of them, I like to keep a pack of my least favorite color/style in my soft plastic binder to use while fishing under the birds. This is a great time to throw on soft plastics you’d like to get rid of because fish working the birds will hit just about anything put in their path. By doing so, you can save your favorite colors and styles for days when they’re actually needed.

 

2. Launch Here, Exit There

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Taking out the kayak on really windy days can sometimes be a hassle. If you plan to cover several miles during a trip while the wind is blowing above 20 mph, you are going to have a tough time paddling into it at some point during the day. When these types of conditions occur I have found the best way to beat the wind is to use it to your advantage by launching from one spot and exiting at another. For this to work, you’ll need to fish with a friend and drive separate vehicles. You load both kayaks and gear into one vehicle and leave the empty one behind at the area where you plan to exit. You then drive back to your launch, unload, and start your drift, allowing the wind to blow you towards your exit. In this situation a drift sock is important because it will help slow your kayak which lets you really fish an area thoroughly; otherwise you end up drifting faster than you’d like. By using this tactic, you can cover several miles of water, fish the whole trip, and not have to paddle back into the wind. The key here is to choose your launch and exit according to wind direction. Of course, wind forecasts are not always correct so be prepared for anything.

 

3. Low Tide Exploration

Exploring a marsh during low tides is a great way to really learn the layout and bottom structure of an area you enjoy fishing. When tides run lower than normal, Low-High Tidethey will sometimes reveal various channels, guts, and structure that are often hidden from sight. This is a great time to explore different areas that could produce for you in the future when the water returns to normal.  One thing I like to make note of are the deeper channels that lead back into the marsh. These areas will still hold water during a really low tide and serve as a sort of highway that fish use to move in and out of an area throughout the year. Identifying the location of hidden shell is also beneficial. Shell that is exposed during a really low tide can be hidden by more than a foot of water during a normal tide. These areas serve as a great place to target redfish on a higher tide since baitfish like to stay near it for protection. The better you know an area you are fishing, the more success you are likely to have.

 

4. See With Your Feet

While shallow areas will reveal a lot during a low tide, deeper areas will not give up as much information. Even on a low tide, you’ll more than likely never get to see much of what lies below the surface. In this case, the best thing you can do to really get a good feel for an area is to get out and wade. By doing so you’ll discover things you never would while sitting in your kayak. For instance, is the bottom sand, mud, scattered shell, grass, or a mixture of some sort? You’ll also better understand the depth you’re fishing by comparing it to your own height. While moving around, you’ll find small guts, patches of shell, and other changes in depth/structure where trout and reds wait to ambush their prey. Another advantage is that you are able to cover an area more thoroughly since you won’t be moving as quickly. Wading also gives you the ability to move through the water with more stealth, which lessens the odds that you’ll spook fish.

 

5. Clean Your Vehicle

One of the great things about owning a kayak is the ability to launch from just about anywhere. The downside is that some of these areas are in the middle of nowhere which makes your vehicle an easy target for thieves. Up to this point I have not had a break in and consider myself somewhat lucky. However, I do not believe luck has everything to do with it. One thing I’ll do when launching from areas where few people are around is make sure my truck is completely cleaned out the night before a trip. When I arrive at the launch and my kayak and gear have been unloaded, I will open every storage compartments in my truck (which are empty) before locking my doors. This includes the glove box, center console, sunglasses storage, and any other area that a thief believes something of value could be hidden. If I happen to have a few things that I did not take out, I will hide them under one of my seats before leaving. By doing so, you might make someone think twice before taking a chance to enter your vehicle for what appears to be nothing.

Hopefully you are able to benefit from the above mentioned tips in some way or another. Always enjoy each trip and keep an open mind while on the water. You never know when you’ll learn something new that could pay off for you in the future.

 

See this article and more at The Fisherman’s Journal by clicking the link below.

TFJ

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