I was able to get out and fish for the fourth weekend in a row, which is surely some sort of a record for toddler dads. I can’t thank my wife enough for that. Sunday’s forecast was too good to pass up so I headed to the coast for more bull red action. What has been nice about each one of these trips is that I’ve been able to explore new areas, fish new water, and still find some success at each new spot.
There was frost on the truck and the yak as I left the driveway early yesterday morning, temps had made it in to the 40s though by the time I arrived at the launch. It was chilly to start, but with a nearly three mile paddle ahead of me to get to where I wanted to fish, it never really felt that cold. I was appropriately dressed and was taking off layers before I even got in the kayak.
On my paddle I couldn’t help but notice that the marsh in January, despite the cold, is so full of life. Nutria, otter, dolphin, and countless numbers of birds had their morning activities interrupted as I glided through their habitat.
The tide was very low and the water was much dirtier than it was last weekend, but winds were light and it was a bluebird sky, so conditions would be favorable for some sightfishing, I just needed the sun to get up and warm up the flats. Surprisingly, it did not take long for me to see some activity.
I was in a canal making my way toward a large bay when I noticed a lot of nervous baitfish near the opening of a marsh drain. There was a big red chasing bait in some super skinny water along the bank of the canal. I had a rod in front of me still rigged from last week’s Minimalist Challenge and was able to flip a Vortex shad in front of the red and he inhaled it. This was a fairly narrow canal an without much of an area to run the fight was actually much shorter than you’d imagine, maybe just 5-10 minutes.
This red measured just over 42″ and I was back in the 40s for the first time in a long time. This red had to be fresh from the Gulf as it was covered in sea lice.
I put the spinning rod down for the rest of the day and picked up the fly rod. The next few hours were pretty quiet. Not many fish spotted and quite a few rejections from those I did see and was able to lay a cast in front of. Conditions were at their best about mid-day and things started to pick up. I made it to a point in a bay that was surrounded by shallow flats. The flats were loaded with skittish redfish. I caught a few fish, but had dozens of refusals, it was a very humbling experience to say the least.
I began the long paddle back to the launch and was a little bummed that I didn’t tie into any bigger bulls with the fly rod while conditions were at their best (Biggest I had caught on the fly so far was 31.75″). I had a few chances, but just couldn’t connect. As I made it back into the same canal I caught the big red to start the day, a chance at redemption floated to the surface. After a good cast and a slow twitch, the line came tight and I had caught another bull.
This fish was a fat 35.5″, which is the same length as the big red I had caught on my trip with Hays. I think this fish was probably heavier though, he had a full belly.
It was a great way to end the day and really made that three mile paddle back to the launch much easier.