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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


By OldTownYakBoi
#2312853
I knew yesterday was going to be tough, but tough is an understatement. If you’re not aware but a few days ago we had about 48 hours of high NW winds and rapidly dropping temperatures; Just yesterday morning it was 41. I ventured out to my launch to see that it was nothing more than a mud pit. I managed to launch but there wasn’t much water. I would say that it was anywhere from 2-3 ft that was blown out of the bay. Below is an island that you can only normally see the top of the reeds.
Image



I searched everywhere for fish signs... I went mid bay, I fished miles of reef, drop offs, the old intercostal, soft mud, shell, you name it. I fished every single different piece of structure I was aware of and came up empty handed. Not just that but I couldn’t even buy a bite, not one. It was definitely the most challenging trip of the year. The combination of all the water being blown out + the rapidly dropping temps just shocked the fish.

Conditions: 10-15 mph SE
Water clarity : 2+FT
Bait: Non existent
Temperature: 61
Lures: Didn’t matter


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By karstopo
#2312855
Yep, I’ve done those water blown out, rapidly chilled water, post frontal shallow bay trips. Paddled around for hours and not even seen a mullet.

Nowadays, I try to find something with a deep gut or channel, and it sounds like you did at least some of this, and just bypass expanses of the shallow bays until a little warming trend sets in. Probably just didn’t find the right gut or hole, might have had fish stacked 3 on top of each other, lol. Usually, it does seem like the fish will be in or near some deeper water and maybe move up on some adjacent shallow spot, mud, shell, if the sun hits it or just after a warming trend.

Did you see any sheephead? They almost always seem to be milling around some shell this time of year.

I almost went yesterday, but the increasing afternoon wind scared me off. Tired I am of the MFing wind.

But, nothing wrong with an exploratory trip. I always tell myself when I’m not coming across any fish or sign. “I was going to find them, I just ran out of time”

The hunt for clues and fish is part of the fun. I’m going out there as soon as a reasonable wind forecast and time available converge. I feel I’m overdue for a bust out, fish slaughter, shooting fish in a barrel type of trip, haha! I just likely jinxed myself, but fish can get really concentrated this time of year, but that also means vast expanses got nada.
By OldTownYakBoi
#2312856
karstopo wrote:Yep, I’ve done those water blown out, rapidly chilled water, post frontal shallow bay trips. Paddled around for hours and not even seen a mullet.

Nowadays, I try to find something with a deep gut or channel, and it sounds like you did at least some of this, and just bypass expanses of the shallow bays until a little warming trend sets in. Probably just didn’t find the right gut or hole, might have had fish stacked 3 on top of each other, lol. Usually, it does seem like the fish will be in or near some deeper water and maybe move up on some adjacent shallow spot, mud, shell, if the sun hits it or just after a warming trend.

Did you see any sheephead? They almost always seem to be milling around some shell this time of year.

I almost went yesterday, but the increasing afternoon wind scared me off. Tired I am of the MFing wind.

But, nothing wrong with an exploratory trip. I always tell myself when I’m not coming across any fish or sign. “I was going to find them, I just ran out of time”

The hunt for clues and fish is part of the fun. I’m going out there as soon as a reasonable wind forecast and time available converge. I feel I’m overdue for a bust out, fish slaughter, shooting fish in a barrel type of trip, haha! I just likely jinxed myself, but fish can get really concentrated this time of year, but that also means vast expanses got nada.

Ya I tried some deep channels, but there wasn’t any signs to give me any confidence to stay there. I’m sure they were around, but I sure as hell didn’t find them. It’s funny you say sheepshead, I saw one lonely sheepshead on some oyster, couldn’t have been more than 13”. The wind certainly picked up in the afternoon to add to the frustration haha. One positive was I saw reef that I don’t think I’ve ever seen. Also I was able to spot breaks along this reef. Now that I think of it I should’ve video documented and dropped some GPS pins. I love the hunt, and I hope the post doesn’t sound too pessimistic, but I’m also competitive and always want to catch haha.


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By OldTownYakBoi
#2312861
Ron Mc wrote:tough day out and a good report - I like your photo, too.

The toughest of 2020 haha. Looks like we are in for it the next few days as well. More NW winds to blow more water out


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By YakRunabout
#2312864
Low water is tough for fishing, but like you say, one take-away is that you can see structure that you would normally not even know is there.

I was in a marsh a while back during super low water and could see some of the early marsh protection structure that was put out years ago. Now this is normally under water and perhaps no longer doing much to protect the marsh but it still works as structure for the fish. I have pics of some areas, but should have taken pics of more.
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By shoffer
#2312898
Don't be discouraged, YakBoi. I took my skiff out for a couple of hours on Wed before Thanksgiving, and for a couple of hours the Friday after, and fished East Bay. I did not manage a bite either day, and that was BEFORE the front. In my view, the only reason to be out now (after the big marsh dump that has already happened) is to check out the structure and explore, if you can find water deep enough in which to do it. Luckily, work is kicking my ass right now, so I don't feel like I am missing anything, so I thank you for your report for that reason alone.
By OldTownYakBoi
#2312903
YakRunabout wrote:Low water is tough for fishing, but like you say, one take-away is that you can see structure that you would normally not even know is there.

I was in a marsh a while back during super low water and could see some of the early marsh protection structure that was put out years ago. Now this is normally under water and perhaps no longer doing much to protect the marsh but it still works as structure for the fish. I have pics of some areas, but should have taken pics of more.

I believe that structure is referred to as “Breakwater”, I’ve seen it in some of the marsh I’ve fished.. and the fish seem to hold to it, I’ve caught Specs and Reds holding to it. That’s what I should do, just go out and document what I can. West bay is tricky with random shallow areas that can creep up on you. I can’t imagine the first time running a boat out there. Better know what you’re doing.


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By OldTownYakBoi
#2312904
shoffer wrote:Don't be discouraged, YakBoi. I took my skiff out for a couple of hours on Wed before Thanksgiving, and for a couple of hours the Friday after, and fished East Bay. I did not manage a bite either day, and that was BEFORE the front. In my view, the only reason to be out now (after the big marsh dump that has already happened) is to check out the structure and explore, if you can find water deep enough in which to do it. Luckily, work is kicking my ass right now, so I don't feel like I am missing anything, so I thank you for your report for that reason alone.

So how long do you normally wait after a big dump like this to hit the water again? Does any water come back into the bays after these events? If so I’m sure it’s only a fraction of what left the bay system originally. I’ve never fished the salt in the winter, so really not sure what to expect.


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By shoffer
#2312955
Personally, I think you have to wait for the water to warm up. After the first big dump, the mud gets cold, and even when the water comes back, it will be cold. You have to wait for a couple of days warm up, and then things get better. Fish return from the deep guts to the shallows to feed on warming trends, so your normal shorelines and reef will hold fish then.

On long, sustained cold periods, that's traditional winter fishing - deep guts and holes, etc. , but hit reefs and shallows during the warmest part of the day.
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By Ron Mc
#2312958
shoffer is pretty accurate there.
at California Hole, one day in the mid 40s, we pounded reds with shrimp on the bottom.
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By YakRunabout
#2312963
Water level can change very quickly, determined by winds and tides. Check the NOAA Tides and Currents site. These plots show water level and wind direction/speed. This is also a period of big tides with over 1.5' incoming/outgoing. These are from the Galveston bridge site.
20201204_082545.jpg
Winds


The winds - On Nov 30 there were strong north winds that kicked the water down. Then on the first the winds came from the south and built up to over 15mph. You see a corresponding increase in the water level, with the level at the peak of more than 2' above prediction.
20201204_082452.jpg
Water Level


Then on the 3rd the winds again are from the north and pretty strong but variable. This kicks the water level back down, first to just above the predicted level, then this morning to again go below prediction.

The next several days the winds will be from the north, not as strong as when the fronts first come through, but enough so that the water level may not return very quickly.

One thing this shows is that there should have been plenty of water on the 2nd - but rain got in the way!

Good Hunting!!
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By YakMack
#2312965
OldTownYakBoi wrote:
shoffer wrote:Don't be discouraged, YakBoi. I took my skiff out for a couple of hours on Wed before Thanksgiving, and for a couple of hours the Friday after, and fished East Bay. I did not manage a bite either day, and that was BEFORE the front. In my view, the only reason to be out now (after the big marsh dump that has already happened) is to check out the structure and explore, if you can find water deep enough in which to do it. Luckily, work is kicking my ass right now, so I don't feel like I am missing anything, so I thank you for your report for that reason alone.

So how long do you normally wait after a big dump like this to hit the water again? Does any water come back into the bays after these events? If so I’m sure it’s only a fraction of what left the bay system originally. I’ve never fished the salt in the winter, so really not sure what to expect.


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Water dumps below the prediction a few hours after the wind change as it did on 11/30 - 12/1 with the N wind. We had a S wind that started on mid-day on 12/1 and lasted for a day and a half and the water rose above the prediction. If one believes that fishing pre-front is best, then during that time frame we technically had 2 great opportunities to fish pre-front (on 11/29 and 12/1). We've now had 2 solid days of N winds which is pushing the water below the prediction now (as of early this morning).

One may argue that post-front conditions are tougher to fish (unless you are where the fish are and they are biting, of course).

What the data shows is a strong N wind combined with an outgoing tide ( strong south + incoming too) will move more water than the prediction. In the case in the picture I've provided, it appears to be true (ie...12/3 moved from 3.4 ft to .5ft). So yesterday had a lot of water movement, which probably means a lot of bait movement? I'd imagine if bait is moving, then it is a good thing for fishing (though it is technically post-front)?

Thus, anyone have any good luck around Galveston yesterday with the 3 ft water movement?
Attachments
27 nov - 4 dec.JPG
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By YakMack
#2312967
Ron Mc wrote:cold fronts are about the fish hunkering down to find earth-warm


Looks like we were thinking the same thing at the same time (NOAA data)! Good stuff.
By OldTownYakBoi
#2312970
Tons of good information here, thank you everyone for the replies. I definitely need some more time in the winter salt to pattern some things, but that’s the fun part of fishing! I’d really like to focus on the big trout the next few months, would love to scratch out another PB. I guess now is as good a time as ever to practice with the Corky


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By OldTownYakBoi
#2312971
YakRunabout wrote:Water level can change very quickly, determined by winds and tides. Check the NOAA Tides and Currents site. These plots show water level and wind direction/speed. This is also a period of big tides with over 1.5' incoming/outgoing. These are from the Galveston bridge site.
20201204_082545.jpg


The winds - On Nov 30 there were strong north winds that kicked the water down. Then on the first the winds came from the south and built up to over 15mph. You see a corresponding increase in the water level, with the level at the peak of more than 2' above prediction.
20201204_082452.jpg


Then on the 3rd the winds again are from the north and pretty strong but variable. This kicks the water level back down, first to just above the predicted level, then this morning to again go below prediction.

The next several days the winds will be from the north, not as strong as when the fronts first come through, but enough so that the water level may not return very quickly.

One thing this shows is that there should have been plenty of water on the 2nd - but rain got in the way!

Good Hunting!!

Thank you for the detailed explanation, it helped me get a better grasp on our levels. I think I should start using the NOAA site more, solid info there.


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By karstopo
#2312974
These fronts with the strong winds and colder air temperatures are enough to keep me off the water. My wife asked if I was fishing today. 47 degree air temperature at 0930 and wind around 15 knots, are you freaking crazy!? Fish might and should be stacked 6 deep in some deep gut or channel and willing to eat, but I don’t want it that bad.

Now tomorrow, that’s a different story. Winds forecast to be 5-10 kts last I checked. Slightly warmer air, too. Water levels somewhat depressed below astronomical tide predictions from the offshore flow. I don’t believe the fish will have escaped too far from the gut and channel hidey holes. Water will be falling all morning tomorrow into the afternoon and likely very low, could be easy pickings, in the right place.

Even this afternoon could present some opportunities if the wind tones it down some, maybe a channel edge with some fringing mud and shell. ~18”water.

Fish, I do believe, eat in just about any conditions. If there are any shrimp left in marshes, the redfish will gorge on them in these guts and drains. Some of the marshes shrink by huge percentages when the water gets blown out, practically no place for the predators or prey but a deeper drain, but they aren’t, in my experience, randomly distributed in the drains and it’s very specific and targeted presentations that get results.

The trout ought to be in some of the bay guts and channels or some creek or river ambushing things. I once watched a guy out in the old ICW, this was over a decade ago, catch a keeper trout every cast for many many casts. His boat mates barely caught anything. Same lure, same boat, same fish, but there was subtle difference in his presentation. The spectacle made a big impression on me. Presentation can make all the difference. Since then, I’ve seen this presentation make all the difference play out repeatedly, especially in wintertime fish concentrations. Fish from the same boat with fishermen of different experience levels and it becomes obvious how important presentation is.
By OldTownYakBoi
#2312976
karstopo wrote:These fronts with the strong winds and colder air temperatures are enough to keep me off the water. My wife asked if I was fishing today. 47 degree air temperature at 0930 and wind around 15 knots, are you freaking crazy!? Fish might and should be stacked 6 deep in some deep gut or channel and willing to eat, but I don’t want it that bad.

Now tomorrow, that’s a different story. Winds forecast to be 5-10 kts last I checked. Slightly warmer air, too. Water levels somewhat depressed below astronomical tide predictions from the offshore flow. I don’t believe the fish will have escaped too far from the gut and channel hidey holes. Water will be falling all morning tomorrow into the afternoon and likely very low, could be easy pickings, in the right place.

Even this afternoon could present some opportunities if the wind tones it down some, maybe a channel edge with some fringing mud and shell. ~18”water.

Fish, I do believe, eat in just about any conditions. If there are any shrimp left in marshes, the redfish will gorge on them in these guts and drains. Some of the marshes shrink by huge percentages when the water gets blown out, practically no place for the predators or prey but a deeper drain, but they aren’t, in my experience, randomly distributed in the drains and it’s very specific and targeted presentations that get results.

The trout ought to be in some of the bay guts and channels or some creek or river ambushing things. I once watched a guy out in the old ICW, this was over a decade ago, catch a keeper trout every cast for many many casts. His boat mates barely caught anything. Same lure, same boat, same fish, but there was subtle difference in his presentation. The spectacle made a big impression on me. Presentation can make all the difference. Since then, I’ve seen this presentation make all the difference play out repeatedly, especially in wintertime fish concentrations. Fish from the same boat with fishermen of different experience levels and it becomes obvious how important presentation is.

I’m right there with you, I hate cold weather haha, there’s a reason I live on the coast! I got some waders but am still in airing for a little warmth. I may try tomorrow where I know there are some deep drops from mud.


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By Dandydon
#2312977
Gee, guys, looks like you covered this post-front fishing conundrum so well that I'm at home on my warm couch just TAKING NOTES... Ha ha. Sometimes we old salts are happy for you young bucks to get out and determine our best avenue of attack.

Shoffer speaks with authority because he's now a "double threat" with his Stumpnocker powerboat and Hobie Outback. And thanks to young gun Yak Boi for hitting the saltwater spots even when the fishing sucks, then filing reports with useful information.

I'm looking forward to some limit-out reports so I can follow your lead! Image

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By Ron Mc
#2313047
if DD was out, he'd be napping, anyway - though he apparently wakes up when Big trout swim by.
But you gotta admit, he posts pfun pfotos
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By Dandydon
#2313050
Thanks for your support, Ron!

I may be old and need my man-naps, but I still catch fish and can beat the shit out of any 3 people. And now that I've been married (for 4 long days!), I can tell war stories about marriage, ha ha.

In this age of Covid and dirty politics that's about all I can ask for...

Let's go catch some gamefish and post our reports for all to see. Image

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By shoffer
#2313052
DD's man naps are actually good. We have often launched at midnight, fished the lights until 4 am or so, caught an hour or two nap on the yak anchored in calm water or a canal, and rested up for the sunrise bite from 7 am to 9 or 10 am. It actually helps me for the drive home so I am not sleepy driving. I recommend them to everyone for their own comfort and the safety of others.

Here's a screenshot of one of our worst trips ever - Goo Hole Road - Jan. 2, 2012. We launched into fairly low, but do-able water. 4 hours later, a huge tide shift and it became a complete mud bath just to get back to the launch. Water at the launch dropped 2 feet in the span of about 3 hours. We had to wait a couple of hours for the water level to increase so we could get back, so it was man naps for everyone.
Capture.JPG


I plotted the data from that day at Morgan's point, but that was on the bay. Where we were, the tide shift was more dramatic.
IMG_0475.JPG
Attachments
Capture2.JPG
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