Wind: 15-25 mph from SE and HOWLING
Sky: Mostly overcast, 20% chance of rain that never appeared
Temperature: 75-80 F
Water Temperature: About the same as air temperature (long warming period)
Water Level: about a foot or more above normal
Water Clarity: Very good, 3-4 feet visibility
Time on the water: 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Water covered: About 4 miles by map, but pedaled the Hobie Outback most of the day to maintain position
Other Fishers: Jeff and Justin Wickliffe
What would seem like really poor fishing conditions can always turn to good conditions in reality— if you happen to locate fish that want to eat. It also was a tremendous help to have the Hobie Outback, which allowed me to fish while moving and holding position in the stiff winds.
Today I threw a chartreuse Aqua Dream spoon and caught my first (27+”) redfish after about 15 minutes. I drifted and fan cast downwind and then pedaled back upwind while casting, crisscrossing an area of about 150 yards. This area was a bit more shallow than the surrounding water in the open pond, and perhaps that’s why the redfish were concentrated there. I alternated between the spoon and a Gulp! shrimp with a 1/8 oz jig head under a cork. The colors of the shrimp did not seem to matter – I tried purple chartreuse (my favorite one), new penny, and white. I also threw a chartreuse Nemire Red Ripper spoon, and they liked it but were knocking the paint off after a few bites. The Aqua Dream spoon was much more durable. (Side note: I’ve probably caught 30+ reds on this Aqua Dream spoon that Bob Russell gave me and it still looks new.) The reds would come around in little groups and pairs, and the others would hang around the fish that was hooked. I was moving upwind while casting the spoon and hooked a nice redfish that was running in big circles around the kayak. The Gulp! shrimp I was trolling behind enticed one of the hooked redfish’s buddies to bite as they went by without my noticing it. I got the red on the spoon in, released it, and then attended to the second rod. The second redfish had wrapped the line around the rods sticking up in the crate behind me and when I started to reel in the line went taught and it almost pulled the crate out of the kayak. I hit the line release and unwrapped the rods, repositioned the crate, and then tightened up the line to find that the redfish was still on the hook and managed to land it. After that fiasco I just fished one rod at a time. I caught several more redfish by moving around this area. Finally, I decided to stop fighting the wind and staked up on the lee side of a little island about three times the length of my kayak, providing some wind protection. I cast out the Gulp! shrimp under a cork at about 90 degrees to the wind and would let sweep downwind as I slowly reeled it in, chugging the cork every now and then. The reds really liked this retrieve and it allowed for lots of water coverage. I also experimented with some other lures, but the fish only liked the Gulp! and the chartreuse spoon today. The bite seemed to slow down about noon, so I explored some other spots. Drifting downwind, I saw a canal oriented E/W that was largely protected from the SE wind, and so I headed down that way. I got on a bite up in the little canal and landed three spunky little marsh bass. They liked the spoon, but would not hit a Gulp! Then the bite died and I had either caught them all or else they were spooked. Ended the day with 14 (? lost count) redfish and 3 marsh bass. Except for fat 22 and 24” redfish, the other reds were over the 27” slot and the biggest was about 31”.
I think the cold front coming through tomorrow is going to end the nice spell of fishing, driving the fish back to their cold water holes. On the up side: The ducks were flying well today (more activity toward midday and early afternoon). Saw lots of scaup, pairs of mottled ducks, and some grays and teal too. I think I’ll try one more hunt on Tuesday and see if any birds have started using the pond I’ve been unsuccessfully hunting this season.