Wind: 15 mph from the northeast
Tide: Low was forecast at 11 based on Shell Beach station. Range was about a foot and a half. Rising a bit in the afternoon
Water Level: started low, was below grass line all day.
Water Temperature: 55 F
Water Clarity: dirty, about foot of visibility, clarity declined in windy areas.
Water salinity: no salt based on taste test
Weather/sky: sunny, with few clouds
Temperature: ~ 65 F for high
Moon: Waxing, almost full moon
Solunar period: modest period @ 11 a.m.
Time on the water: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Water covered: ~ 6 miles
Other fishers: solo trip
There had been a good cold snap earlier in the week, and the water was warming on Sunday. I thought it would be a good day to try Delacroix. I waited until later in the morning to launch, giving the water over the shallows time to warm. I was disappointed to see that the water did not clear up as I pedaled out from the launch. I frequently bumped bottom with the fins on my Hobie and had to paddle a bit today due to the low water levels. I tried a couple of closer spots without luck, so I headed on further out in search of the redfish. I was using conventional tackle (baitcasters and spinning reels) because of the wind and dirty water. I picked an inline Seein’ Spots spinnerbait because it can be fished slow and does not tent to hang up on debris in the low water. I also fished a chartreuse Nemire Red Ripper spoon for the same reasons. It is important to be able to fish lures more slowly this time of year, and it is critical to get the lure close to the fish since they will not usually chase it when the water is cold and dirty. I got to a shallow area where the fish like to sit and warm themselves and immediately got a strike and battled the fish for a few seconds before it pulled free. I let the wind quietly push me away so as not to disturb the fish. I circled around and got back above the strike zone, drifted downwind while casting, and hooked up on the same or a similar redfish. It was a nice 27” – perfect tournament fish of about 8 lbs. (released it). I repeated the process and caught another of about 24”. This fish had a nasty gash in its side that looked like something had tried to take a bite out of it. I released it as gently as I could by putting the lip gripper in its mouth and unhooking it without ever bringing it into the kayak (hope it survives). I did not want to pressure this spot any more, so I moved along through a large pond. I trolled a Gulp! shrimp for a while in the pond, hoping to find some speckled trout, but did not connect so I went back to fishing for reds.
I had a lull in the action for a while and then picked up on a pattern. I saw some fish (or rather their muddy trails) take off as I passed through some islands that had wind pushing water through the gaps between them. The redfish were just sitting on the bottom in the gaps, and the water was shallow – maybe a foot and a half deep – so they were warming up there and picking off any bait that passed by.
I caught 5 more keeper redfish of 16, 23, 24, 27, and 29” on both the spoon and the in line spinner (all released in good shape). It did not seem to matter as long as the lure was passed close to the fish so they could see it in the muddy water. All the fish were fat and healthy looking, and the 23” fish looked like a football. The fish had a number of parasites (leeches and lice) on them, indicating they had been hugging bottom during the cold weather.
Paddling and pedaling back in I passed a roseate spoonbill that was grubbing along the shoreline. The sun was setting and I took a photo of the almost full moon rising in the east above the Delacroix marsh.