"Reel" quick, a reintroduction of sorts: my name is Eric and I have been kayak fishing for about two and a half years now. Previously, I had another account on TKF but over the last few semesters lost track of the login information and could not log on, so I created a new account. Recently, I graduated from college and I am currently waiting to start my new career as a seventh-grade Reading teacher! Although I rarely posted on my last account, the seemingly endless resources and always helpful members of this forum have proven to be invaluable in my fishing journey. I look forward to becoming an active and helpful TKF member both online and on the water! Now, on to more important business…
Recently, I caught a nice flood tide in some Galveston marsh and had the time of my life chasing tails throughout prime skinny water. On my paddle out, visibility ranged from poor to fair with darkness surrounding, but I could hear life all around me. From birds greeting the fast approaching day to bait busting throughout the moving surface water, this life sparked that initial rush of adrenalin and the familiar excitement of the unknown.
As I approached my intended location, the day’s first light crept lazily into the Texas sky and slowly illuminated the flowing life below. Drifting with the current, I observed a cluster of copper tails waving triumphantly in the water at the mouth of the wetlands, like a cavalry waiting to storm their next front. Restraining my zeal to the best of my ability, I carefully cast a weedless rigged DSL Super Model (Purple Reign) to the edge of the surrounding cordgrass and steadily retrieved right through the middle of the pod. Immediately, water started thrashing and visible tails morphed into bulging wakes shooting out in multiple directions, with only the sweet sound of peeling drag ringing in my ears.
After releasing this beauty, I continued tracking the pod throughout the previously inaccessible marsh, silently drifting into position and readying myself for another hook-up; however, I could not help but just slow down and enjoy the beauty of it all. The powerful stillness and calming peace felt in moments like these is something words can never accurately describe.
But hungry fish and forum members have little time for sentimentality, so I digress. I ended up landing another Red on the DSL but after this connection, the fish no longer paid any attention to my lure. Quickly, I tried my luck with another set-up, grabbing my rod that had a Cajun Thunder popping cork and a Gulp! Shrimp (New Penny/Chartreuse tail). Within a few pops of the cork, I landed another two Reds and, shortly after, a Speck.
While releasing the Speck, I lost sight of the initial pod but saw wakes and splashes almost everywhere I turned. Unfortunately, these signs of fish resulted in nothing on the other end of my popping cork. I decided to toss out a Super Spook Jr and try my luck with the top-water bite but had no success with this method either (admittedly, my dog-walking abilities could use a little more refining). Several Reds nosed my lure, but no blow-ups or connections, so I pushed my way further back in the area where a few more fish were working the shoreline and deeper area of the marsh.
At this time, I offered literally everything I had to the working Reds, from weedless copper spoons to D.O.A. C.A.L. Shads to suspending twitch baits, with no results. Eventually, I ended up reeling in another Red (pretty sure she was one of the fish I had caught earlier in the morning) on a Gulp! Shrimp rigged on a 1/16-oz jig head but other than that, the action dried up on my end.
Preparing for the paddle back to the launch, I attempted to figure out what turned off the aggressive bite while watching the fish and birds continue to work throughout the flooded marsh. These are the conclusions I came up with:
1) Singular Food Source: once further back into the marsh, the Redfish zeroed in on a specific food source and would not accept anything less than what they were hunting. While chasing wakes and tails, I attempted to make note of what bait was swimming around in the area. From what I could see, it appeared that either finger mullet or some other similarly shaped baitfish were all that were observably present in the water. For the most part, this area was covered in grass, with a few sandy pits mixed in. I did notice a big ole’ Blue Crab towards the back of the marsh, but she was dead on the bottom (with all of her limbs attached) but no others. The Redfish did not appear to be skittish or spooked what-so-ever while I threw various lures at them (I even poorly miscalculated a cast and dropped a spoon right on top of one. Essentially, she bumped the lure out of her way and went right back to where she was rooting around).
2) Light Conditions and Water Clarity: when first arriving at the location, the sun had just begun its ascent. Coupled with a reasonable amount of cloud coverage, light conditions were fairly low at the time of all but one of my connections. As the day progressed, the clouds cleared out and the closest star was shining big and bright, deep in the marsh of Texas. Additionally, the water clarity on this incoming tide was astoundingly clear, almost like tap water (probably actually clearer than some cities water supplies, depending on what part of Texas you live in…). This is something that I was ill-prepared for. Initially, I planned on fishing just outside of the marsh in a nearby cut. The water in this area is usually moderately stained, so I brought mostly dark or bright lures (Texas Roach, Purple Reign, Strawberry Wine, Nuclear Chicken, Root Beer w/ Chartreuse, etc.) The closest thing I had to a natural colored bait was DSL Chicken of the “C,” but even then, the lures have a chartreuse tail.
So, my skinny water Redfish related questions to all of you fine TKF members are these:
1) Is there any information available concerning seasonal patterns of various baitfish and food sources found within the Galveston Bay Complex and, to a further extent, on the digestive habits of Redfish working in shallow water marshes? I would like to use this information to stock my tackle box with a better selection of lures so that I may be better equipped to “match the hatch” throughout the year and in specific locations.
2) During high light and clear skies/water conditions, what are some lures/color patterns you would recommend, as well as retrieve styles, to entice a stubborn bite? Obviously, there are countless threads discussing this question throughout the 1800+ pages of TKF but just wanted to see if anyone had any recent ground-breaking discoveries or tried and true methods they would like to pass along to a green angler.
All in all, my trip was a truly amazing and memorable experience, as this was one of the first times in my brief kayak fishing experience where everything seemingly came together and fell into place at the exact right moment. Any time spent out on the water, experiencing all that nature has to offer, is a blessing and privilege that resonates with something deep within; furthermore, sharing in such experiences with those who share a common bond and passion such as TKF is something truly special. Again, I look forward to becoming an active member on TKF online and in the water, and I thank you for the read as well as any advice or tips you may have to offer.
Tight lines and blessings.