America is awesome and we’re reminded of that fact every July 4th. What better way to celebrate our freedom than to go fishing. So Blake and I decided to head down to the marsh and scout out a new area we’ve never fished. It turned out to be one of those rare holidays when the weather was right to make the run down to the coast.
It didn’t take long to get on a school of fish either. The tidal range was pretty good on the 4th and we were met with a hard, rising tide in the marsh. Blake and I set ourselves up in a cut where the water was moving at a pretty good clip. You could see small shrimp popping out of the water and fish slashing/rolling just under the surface attacking those shrimp. My first cast with a topwater produced a nice trout. Then it was ON. We proceeded to catch trout and ladyfish (and one big pinfish) on almost every cast for about 4 hours. A lot of undersized fish, but a lot of fun on the fly rod.
I initially was throwing a Top Dog and watching fish blow it up, which was a blast. Then I switched to the fly rod where a small charlie outfished everything else. Then I set up a popper/dropper type set up with a wiggle minnow top fly and the charlie bottom fly. Ended up with several doubles. I’ve never been on a school of fish like we were on in the marsh. It was amazing, a ton of fun.
Just as the bite was slowing down at our spot, a storm came through to the South of us that looked a bit menacing, with a couple of different fingers coming down threatening to touch ground, but never actually making the connection. After that passed we pressed on into the marsh, hoping to find some redfish we could sight fish.
Sheepshead were every where, big ones too, but they were just as stubborn as ever and I couldn’t get one to eat. I caught one red on the fly and blew a shot at a few others. I caught this black drum on the fly as well. Blake ended up catching a few on a spinnerbait. Conditions weren’t great for sight fishing as the water was high in the marsh and the sky was thick with cloud cover. Another storm came through to the south and had us heading back toward our launch.
Before we called it a day, we stopped at a different spot where the water was moving, similar to our first stop of the day. Blake had witnessed some boaters earlier in the day catch a few redfish at this spot and wanted to try it out. Lo and behold the redfish were stacked in this bayou. We easily limited out, catching slot sized redfish one right after another. The water was DEEP and the current strong, amplifying the already stellar fighting qualities of a 20″ redfish. Any fish caught felt BIG, but when they were boated everything was under 24″. I caught a nice white trout in that spot as well thinking I had a monster speck on – the fish was 13″.
So what started out being a scout trip to the marsh to sight fish for reds ended up becoming a meat haul. We finished the day with a two man limit of reds and a one man limit of trout, including one trout that I caught on the fly that was big enough to enter into the CCA STAR tournament fly division. Now it won’t win me anything as it is not big enough to overtake 1st place, but it will get me entered into a raffle for a brand new TFO BVK. I never thought we would get on a school of trout like that in the marsh, in the summer. It was the most productive day I’ve ever had out of a kayak meat-wise. It was also a pretty diverse day with the two of us having caught redfish, speckled trout, black drum, ladyfish, pinfish, white trout, flounder and needlefish. The fishing was just stupid easy, we basically sat in two spots and caught all the fish you see in the cooler below, from kayaks.
When cleaning reds, it is always fun to cut open the stomach and see just what they’ve been eating, most of these red’s stomachs were empty, one had a small crab in it (majority of the time all I find are crabs – good to know if you want to “match the hatch”, so to speak). This red below had something a little different. An entire jig head/soft plastic set up. Who ever tied this bait on tied a horrible knot. The hook was in good shape too, so it could have been from the same day we were there.
What a day! It started off at 3am with us heading down I-10 and ended with us frying fish at the house. Thanks to all the men and women out there who serve our country and fight to protect our freedoms on this day and every day. Days like this wouldn’t be possible without them.