Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Coming in from three different directions, but all going the same place (the channel at Island Moorings), herds of redfish converged on us, passing us by like we were a duck blind or something! Getting only one or two shots at them, because they were moving so fast, we picked up a couple on topwaters, the biggest being 24". Congratulations, Jim, on the biggest fish. You have been rewarded!
Monday, October 19, 2009
The last hunting spot of the afternoon was a tank at sunset, which both dogs really enjoyed.
The next morning, conditions had done a 180 degree turn, with hard blowing north winds and cool temperatures.
My fishing clients for the day, Don and Mike, decided that they'd like to drift fish, so we picked a spot that was protected from the winds in Cayo del Grullo in Baffin Bay. Making multiple drifts, we picked up both reds and trout on soft plastics, but saw a bunch of reds and black drum in surprisingly shallow and clear water. Not many takers, though. Guess the abrupt change in conditions took them off of their feed. After a few hours of trying to keep our hats on, we headed back to the ramp for a little rest before our dove hunt that afternoon.
Another successful hunt for everyone, (which included an unbelievable butterfly migration that lasted several hours...) a long drive home and a great steak dinner and then something a little unexpected happened. Sitting out in the yard having a cold beer before turning in, we were all greeted by a javelina who entered our "camp". All the dogs went nuts and so did the javelina! Armaments where drawn by almost everyone in case the javelina had friends and got aggressive. We stood him down successfully and went on with the rest of our evening!
Next morning, blowing even harder that the morning before, we all decided to pile into Capt. Aubrey Black's big Haynie for the long ride to Nine Mile Hole. Half of our group waded, the other half drifted. A couple of reds, a big handful of trout, all on topwaters, but fishing was still a little slow. We all had a great time, though! I met some great new people and got a little more "Baffin experience". I'm looking forward to our next group cast and blast. Pretty soon duck season will open..... Kelly is going to be ready!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Ladyfish this morning as far as the eye can see in the Lydia Ann Channel. Fishing with a popper fly, fishing with Mike Collins. Look at the birds diving down in the background and a dophin who almost took my hand off while I landed a 23" ladyfish....
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Getting pretty used to the routine by now, I'm feeling a little more comfortable guiding in Baffin and dove hunting as well. My black lab, Kelly, is too. She's a lot of fun to hunt with and just can't get enough of the retrieve, of course.
After a big norther blew through on Friday, we all hoped that the wind would lay for our fishing trip to the Nine Mile Hole on Saturday morning.
Of course, Mother Nature did not cooperate, so we headed out across the Laguna Salada to the South Shoreline of Baffin, around Penascal Point and toward the Land Cut. Protected water was hard to find, but the trip was just a little wooley in a couple of places. After an hour's boat ride, we entered the Nine Mile Hole.
Windy and rainy, the fishing was challenging, but we did manage to catch 10 trout and 2 reds in the few hours we had to fish. Capt. Aubrey Black's group did a little better with 4 reds, two black drum and two trout.
Heading to the boat ramp, we got back around 12:30pm. After a little breather back at the house, we loaded up and headed to the dove field around 3:00pm.
Lush, green pastures and good flights of dove greeted us for the rest of the afternoon, with great comaraderie and lots of dove shot.
Kelly had a great time retrieving for everyone, she even took some time out to smell the butterflies....
The next day, another blast of rain greeted us at the boat ramp, so we all decided to hunt again instead of fishing.
The morning turned out to be beautiful for hunting with another great time in the dove field before calling it a day and going home....
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
The absolute wonder of the change of seasons was the quick transition from summer to fall that happened this year in just one week. From hot to downright cool, from south to north winds, from low water to high water, from drought to rain, the flip of conditions will put the fish on notice. All summer long, redfish in the shallow water have had nothing to worry about. Water temperatures dropping ten degrees will certainly change their mind! Get ready for an onslaught of redfish and eventually some great trout into to back lakes and marshes. Dropping water temperatures are the catalyst to ramp up fish feeding activities after a long, hot summer.
Cooler nights and early mornings drop shallow water temperatures dramatically. The fall Equinox is bringing in tons of extra water to flood grasses and dislodge more food. A new shrimp migration will be entering the estuaries, giving fish even more of a choice. In the fall, bait of all shapes and sizes are the prey of redfish roaming the shallows. Expect to see pods of tailing fish dislodging shrimp from the grass still thick on the bottom. Watch for smaller groups ranging along the edges of the flooded grass, hunting for crabs and killifish. No mullet, pin perch, glass minnow, shrimp or crab is safe in the fall, as all bait is fair game and in a big way. Predators turn on their competitive spirit and eat voraciously as water temperatures stay cool, in preparation for the upcoming winter.
Places like Estes Cove, the Lighthouse Lakes, South Bay and the Brown and Root Flats, with easy access to all kayakers, waders, drifters and polers, act like a staging area for large groups of feeding fish. With easy access in these areas, fish move back and forth from deep to shallow water, cruising and feeding.
St. Charles Bay and the lakes and shorelines of Carlos and Mesquite can be productive fall destinations that should be explored. Some places fish a north wind better than others, so analyze, on a map, how the wind will blow across and through your fishing spot. Look for jumping mullet and large pushes of water, diving birds and wading birds to locate more productive fishing places within your shallow water location. Shallow water fish like to feed into a current, whether wind blown or tidal, so plan your search accordingly. If it gets too windy, fish may fall into the deeper potholes in the flat. It’s time to change your thinking along with the conditions. Unlike summer, fall serves up a wide range of winds and temperatures. Adapt and read the conditions for best fishing success.
Topwater anglers may want to think about putting new hooks on their Super Spook, Jr.’s. Gammakatsu has a small hook (1/0) that has a little ring on it. Replace your treble (trouble) hook with this hook and you’ll collect less floating grass on the retrieve and you’ll have less hassle handling these lures and landing fish. Of course, the go-to colors are the “clown” (gold chrome, red head), black/chartreuse, bone/silver sides and the baby trout. Still, 1/8th ounce and ¼ ounce Bagley weedless gold spoons and small paddletail soft plastics in natural colors on 1/16th ounce jig heads continue to produce. Time to add a crank bait to your arsenal, either a Baby one minus or bring back the old-fashioned Cotton-Cordele broken back in gold/black. Retrieve these lures straight back or use the bass fishing technique of pulling the lure hard back to you, then pointing the rod back to the lure while you reel in the slack. At this point, the lure suspends, prior to the next pull. Both retrieving styles are deadly when floating grass is not plentiful.
Fly anglers toss that popper, clouser, crab and add a big ugly fly for big reds or trout. The fall is the time to throw just about anything.
Right now, besides the legendary fall fishing of Rockport, my mind is consumed with dove hunting and the prospect of the upcoming duck season. With my black lab pup, Kelly, I’ve had the opportunity to add some cast and blast trips to my repertoire. Kelly is a little over a year old now, and she has proven herself to be a fine dove dog on opening day, retrieving nearly 30 dove for our hunters. Working with Capt. Aubrey Black on Baffin Bay, this endeavor has been new, fun and productive. My Curlew is the perfect Baffin boat - no worries about those pesky rocks, not to mention the unmolested shallow shorelines and the magical Nine Mile Hole. If you would be interested in a dove or duck cast and blast in Baffin, just let either one of us know, there are lots of affordable custom packages to choose from which include food and lodging.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Launching at the Big Slough of the Lighthouse Lakes with three great clients, the morning was beautiful and the winds were light. Everyone was very excited at the prospect of topwater fishing. As we were unloading the kayaks, a big, ominous cloud from the north got closer and closer. I whipped out my iPhone to check the radar.
A tiny, tiny band of rain might just graze us and as we all looked at the radar, we agreed, "no big deal". Nothing was forecast for the day, in any event, just a perfect SE 10-15mph....
It was at that point that a gigantic gust of cold north wind hit us, along with a wall of smoke that turned the morning sky dark brown. Smoke, perhaps from a controlled burn at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge?
A heavy north wind blew all morning, but at lunch, it was calm and turning east. Taking a break from all that paddling (south of the boat), we enjoyed a great sandwich and some converation.
Just about the time we started to fish again, the north wind cranked up with a vengence and we found ourselves paddling straight back into the wind, back toward the boat. Fish feeding activity peaked during the storm, but totally shut down after it ended.