Tuesday, June 03, 2008

South Texas Coast

The South Texas Coast is an area I have wanted to fish for many years. Stories of feeding red drum, or redfish, with their red, spotted tails waving in the breeze, finally pulled me to this coastal waterway.

It is hard to imagine a sand flat 40 miles long, and several miles wide, but drifting across the sandy south Texas flat, just north of South Padre Island, I became a believer.

My partner, Al Neves, and I were fishing with guide Eric Glass, and as we motored out of the marina, we were immediately greeted with cloudy skys, and winds between 15 and 30 mph. So much for "tailing redfish", in this wind. As Eric poled us across the vast flat, and we needed pinpoint casting, delivered in a second or two, to get a hook-up......not easy!!!
Now this doesn't seem too unusual, but given the boat speed, around 4-5 knots, a 20+ mph wind, and a moving redfish.....well it was tough to say the least.
Later in the trip, Eric and Al dropped me off for some wade fishing, and the expanse of this place seemed even greater!

We found several big schools of black drum, not an easy fish to catch. I was fortunate to hook one of this strong, impressive fighting fish.

Al, connected with several nice redfish, one almost 10 lbs.! Unfortunately, the redfish we caught at South Padre Island, were not captured on film.

Lady fish were very plentiful, and could be located following, and feeding, behind small sting rays. The speed of these fish was impressive!

While drifting across the flats, on our second day, I had a hilarious experience:
I was "up", waiting for a cruising redfish, and it wasn't long before two big reds came in. (It is important to remember that we are drifting at 5 knots!)
As the gap between the boat and the redfish closed quickly, I made the cast, and the big red pushed forward and ate the fly! Unfortunately, as the red grabbed the fly, only 8 feet in front of the boat, and moving toward the boat, he ran directly under the boat.

In order to clear the line I reacted and jumped out of the boat, in attempt to move the line away from the boat! No problem, right? It is only 18" deep, right? Well, all was well until I hit the bottom. Since the boat was traveling at 5 knots, I was also traveling at 5 knots!!! Before I knew it, I was falling backward, landing on my butt, rod in the air, redfish heading for parts unknown, and Al laughing histerically. As the boat continued on its way, I tried to get up, realizing my line was tangled in the boat. A frantic effort to clear the line failed, and the line parted. Fortunately, Al didn't have his camera ready, as I climbed back into the boat, soaking wet, and embarrassed. (You can't make up this stuff! Grin!)

Black Drum & our guide,

Eric Glass

After 2 days with a guide, we moved north, to Corpus Christi, and fished the beautiful mangrove lakes and ponds around Aransas Pass. What an awesome area.

We rented kayaks and fished "on our own" which proved quite a challenge. Redfish were not readily available, and considerable paddling, and searching, was necessary to find fish.

I decided to use a surface bug, the gurgler, and it proved deadly on big redfish, and speckled sea trout.
On the last day, as I paddled into a small duck pond, lined with mangroves, I noticed a big school of mullet finning and tailing in the shallows. Now, mullet won't eat flies or lures, but can indicate where redfish might be lurking. This was the case in this small pond, and I could make out several red forms in with the mullet. Easing up the side of the pond, I was able to get close to the fish, and cast the gurgler in front of the redfish...after 2 short strips of the line, I was solid to a 6 lb. fish.
Many locals fish for speckled sea trout, since they are great to eat! We were able to connect with some of these toothy critters, and you had to be careful handling them, for sure. Here is a picture showing the impressive teeth of a "trout". It was fun releasing this nice trout, as two "meat fishermen" looked on!

A small 2", 1/0 gurgler was the right bug for redfish.

Many thanks to my partner, Al Neves, for a great trip......Stop laughing, Al!