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#2268033
Good evening TKF,

"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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sincerely,

_thirdcoastin
#2268041
I’ve opened up quite a few redfish stomachs to see what they are eating. Sometimes, it’s a mixed seafood buffet. There will be mostly small fin fish like mullet, blennies, mud minnows, or Shad mixed in with blue or other crabs and maybe a shrimp or two. Sometimes, it’s all crab. Other times, they are stuffed to the gills with small shrimp. They can have nothing in their bellies.

I’ve seen the shrimp pig outs more in the fall moving into December. Get a big front dump a bunch of water out of a marsh late in the year and there will likely be redfish with bulging tummies full of shrimp.

The last redfish stomach I looked into was last Saturday, a week and a day ago. Mixed bag of blue crab, shrimp and fin fish, not mullet, more like a blenny.

There aren’t a lot of crab lures out there. Gulp crab might be about it. Maybe a Buggs. Small Crabs, blue, mud crabs like Florida stone, and fiddler crabs are definitely a healthy part of redfish diets. If you want to match a crab, then crab flies most closely resemble those.

Image

Redfish stuffed with shrimp. Image

A redfish with shrimp belly.

I’d try to downsize when redfish aren’t responding to the normal tops and tails. Try a buggs or the smallest grub or tail you can toss. Maybe a gulp crab. Maybe a small spoon. Go to a fly rod if that’s something you want to try, although redfish can refuse a fly as well. Slot Redfish eat a lot of little things, fiddler crabs, shrimp, other little crabs and fin fish. I’ve definitely seen where a shrimp or baitfish fly half the size and a 1/20 the weight of a typical top or tail will get an eat and the others fail to draw a strike.


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#2268050
Welcome back and I can see by your writing skills that teaching reading is something your probably going to be great at. Very good read and great report. Sorry I can't help you much with you're quest as I'm a novice at the marsh fishing scene myself. Just wanted to say I appreciate the good read and look forward to your next report.
#2268160
What a great read and report. I really enjoyed that.
When I have had days like that the only thing I could think of was to downsize my lure. I don't have a fly rod so I chose a small 3" gulp mantis shrimp rigged weedless with a weighted hook like I was bass fishing. The time of year was late fall and all they were after then were small shrimp. That did work if I could get close enough to not spook them.
#2268163
Daaaang, karstopo! Her belly looks like the deck of Forrest Gump and Lieutenant Dan's shrimpboat after attending Sunday service! Hallelujah! I landed a pair of Reds the other week for dinner and examined what they had been eating. One had a half-dollar size blue crab and sand eel in her and the other had a half-dollar size blue crab and what appeared to be a mullet or shad (it was fairly decomposed).

Unfortunately, I have yet to learn to toss a fly rod but will definitely stock up on some Buggs and smaller lures in the meantime. Thank you for the info and advice. I look forward to applying it to my tactics out on the water.

Cityfisher, thank you as well. I appreciate the read, and I am glad you enjoyed it! You are the second member to mention going smaller, and I will definitely try that next time. Lol, every now and then I have to remind myself that I am not chasing bass out there (bigger bait, bigger fish)! I was wondering why D.O.A. just released a 2" shrimp on a weedless setup... looks like a trip to the tackle store is needed.

Thanks again to everyone for the read; hopefully, I can get into the fish consistently and keep the reports flowing!
#2268175
Definitely a fly when they are on small glass minnows and or shrimp.. When they are on the glass minnows you can usually get them to hit a finger mullet , but when on the shrimp they're focused on the little shrimp and they'll just ignore mullet plugs and even spoons..

yep, find a fly rod (doenst have to be a $400 buy for the first one.. there are inexpensize 2 peice models and you can make do with a 6 weight.. 7 weight is better.. 8 weight is good as well but probably don't quite need it. find any small shrimp pattern flies and you're good to go.

We have a shallow red fish instructional DVD that many, many, many kayakers have used and it has a section on flies and hunting both shallow grass and shallow marsh for reds. It's received recognition as one of, if not the top, shallow water instructional redfish educational dvd. https://troutsupport.com

I know the full spectrum of the forage species seasonal patterns through the year. There are reds on juvenile shrimp in the marsh right now. It's juvenile white shrimp. Part of that is in the Bays and Shorelines Redfish DVD but I can better divulge all the details in person. it's part of a training level though.

You don't have to perfectly match the hatch, you just have to get close. When both trout and reds are on glass minnows too many people try to go out and buy some 1-2 inch tiny plastic to match the little hatchlings and it's just sort of silly. Then again there are times when, like the shrimp bite, a fly is all they will hit.
#2312510
TroutSupport.com wrote:Definitely a fly when they are on small glass minnows and or shrimp.. When they are on the glass minnows you can usually get them to hit a finger mullet , but when on the shrimp they're focused on the little shrimp and they'll just ignore mullet plugs and even spoons..

yep, find a fly rod (doenst have to be a $400 buy for the first one.. there are inexpensize 2 peice models and you can make do with a 6 weight.. 7 weight is better.. 8 weight is good as well but probably don't quite need it. find any small shrimp pattern flies and you're good to go.

We have a shallow red fish instructional DVD that many, many, many kayakers have used and it has a section on flies and hunting both shallow grass and shallow marsh for reds. It's received recognition as one of, if not the top, shallow water instructional redfish educational dvd. https://troutsupport.com

I know the full spectrum of the forage species seasonal patterns through the year. There are reds on juvenile shrimp in the marsh right now. It's juvenile white shrimp. Part of that is in the Bays and Shorelines Redfish DVD but I can better divulge all the details in person. it's part of a training level though.

You don't have to perfectly match the hatch, you just have to get close. When both trout and reds are on glass minnows too many people try to go out and buy some 1-2 inch tiny plastic to match the little hatchlings and it's just sort of silly. Then again there are times when, like the shrimp bite, a fly is all they will hit.
Shrimp imitation to big?? (Doa, vudu shrimp)?

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