Wind: started calm, around 10 mph from west most of the day, 30 mph in storm
Tide: range about 1.5 ft. at the Shell Beach station (but actually dropped, nixed by W wind)
Water Level: a bit below the grass line at start, got lower instead of higher
Water Temperature: ~ 83 F
Water Clarity: 3-6 ft visibility in spots, dirty in others due to wind and shrimp trawling
Water salinity: didn’t check
Weather/sky: good sunny periods, occasional overcast, then rain and thunderstorms
Temperature: ~ 70 F, going up to about 90 F
Moon: Waning, couple of days post new moon
Solunar period: major period at 3 p.m.
Time on the water: slipped the Hobie Outback kayak in the water at 6:30, off at 2:00 p.m.
Water covered: about 7 miles
Other fishers: solo trip
Game Plan: combat launch, look for redfish
Gear: one #10 fly rod, and medium action spinning reel with #15 braided line
Lures: purple/gold Waldner’s spoon fly, Seein Spots in line spinner with black/chartreuse Vortex shad
Total: 5 redfish from 17 to 30”. They were headed upwind along banks.
I broke one of my rules of kayak fishing today and paid the price. Usually I head upwind with the logic that I will have an easier trip back in with a tailwind. Today I went east with the forecast of rising westerly winds. I decided it was worth the risk of pushing back home into a headwind of 10 mph. But I didn’t factor in a storm and the 30 mph headwind it would create, nor that the tide would fall rather than rise as predicted. This predicament left me about 2 miles from the launch with a stiff headwind, thunder getting louder, and a pretty solid weedbed that I had to traverse without the assistance of the pedal drive on my kayak. Suffice it to say that after putting away my kayak and gear and eating supper I had one of the best nights of sleep I’ve had in a while.
I got on the water a little later than I had planned, and it was already getting hot at 6:30 as I paddled and pedaled out to redfish waters. It’s about a mile and a half out to the area I like to fish and it takes some effort to get out there when the water is low and the weedbeds are thick. I brought a 10 weight fly rod which is generally considered overkill for marsh redfish, but with the heat and the weedbeds it would be important to have the power to horse the fish in rather than play them. I had the spinning reel in the rod holder ready to go in case I saw a redfish in the distance and the fly rod was tucked under a bungee. The first fish of the day came up so close to the kayak that I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of fumbling for the fly rod and just flipped the spinner to it. A couple minutes later I released the 22” redfish without ever it leaving the water. A crimped barb on the hook and a Boga grip make this possible.
I made a few blind casts with the fly rod at some favorite spots but no one was home. So I hit some open water and was able to pedal to a favorite point. Some guys in a tower boat were working some of MY ISLANDS when I came around the point. I had seen a nice redfish working the point and thought it would be fun to show them how real anglers caught fish so I flipped the trusty spoon fly across the point and sure enough got a taker. I was a small slot red instead of the larger fish, but it got their attention (Dey over here, brah!). Pretty soon they moved on and left me to MY MARSH.
Lots of the area was choked with aquatic vegetation, but there was a rim of open water along the bank of some islands, about 50 feet wide, that was too shallow for the wind to push up the weedbeds and algae mats. It would be hard for a boat or even a pedal drive kayak to get into this little river, but I could paddle into it with a bit of effort. It was essentially a redfish highway. I spotted lots of fish and spooked probably a hundred or more that were resting on bottom. They would give a grunt (drum) as I flushed them off the bottom.
The first fish was easy. I saw it coming right at me and when it got about 30 ft. away I flipped the spoon fly across his bow. Perfect tournament red….right under 27” and 8 lbs on the Boga. It fought hard and was stressed from the heat so I did not fool around and released it quickly.
I missed several tries with the fly rod. I’d see fish and cast to them but I think they saw me too. They would not come back up for a second cast, and blind casting to where I thought they’d be was unsuccessful. The wind was rising and messing up my casting so I went back to the in line spinner. I landed another nice upper slot red and a baby bull red of about 30”. It was about 1 pm that I noticed the puffy clouds were showing signs of becoming organized. I was about 3 miles from the launch so I started back. The first mile or so back was ok, but then the wind picked up considerably, and you know the rest of that story.