Monday, March 23, 2009

Redfish and Speckled Trout Fishing Like a Machine

By Captain Kyle Tomek

It isn't every fisherman who will look back nostalgically on the Spring 2008 fishing season - but there are a few out there who will smile fondly. Despite that, most anglers are just glad it's over. Spring 2008 was the windiest that has been seen in decades; there was just one baitfish which salvaged these horribly windy spring days for many middle coast guides and anglers.

We all know that summer is the time for tides and the shrimp migrate in the autumn; but spring is the season of the minnow - the glass minnow. These flashy little creatures show up in the shallows in schools of thousands. Drawn by this display, pelicans and other birds descend on the flats for weeks at a time. Speckled trout and redfish will be waiting for their chance to feed as well. If you can wait for them to get hungry enough, you can bring in quite a catch!

On the brink of one of the windiest days last spring, Capt. Ken Sabin and I guided a large group of fishermen from Dallas and Austin. Winds had just swapped from the south at 20 mph to the north at around 30. Mother Nature's last minute decision to alter the wind's direction did a fantastic job pulling out the tide and muddying up every inch of wadeable water.

Upon leaving the Matagorda Harbor, Sabin and I were ambushed with recommendations by returning guides to cancel rather than attempt to wade in the blown out waters. We opted to give the customers a fighting chance at catching a fish rather than sending them home from a fishing trip that did not even involve a boat ride.

A wide cove on the south shoreline with a waist deep western bank was full of bait that was situated over thick grass. Pelicans slammed the water with high dive assaults. Within casting distance of the baitfish school, we lined up and affixed our wading boots in firm mud. Despite a falling tide and decreasing clarity, I was confident fish would move in. Brown Lures makes a glow and chartreuse soft plastic lure that worked well to produce the initial strikes by matching the glass minnows' darting features. Dark strawberry and white succeeded in drawing undersized fish. A cruising redfish soon felt the hooks from a miniature chrome topwater. The bite remained slow, as I have seen it so many times before, until minimal sunlight remained. The real numbers of fish filed in.

The baitfish were now trapped by the receding tide and minnows jumped and flipped over while the trout jumped right out of the water to catch them! It was a full on feeding frenzy and we were in just the right place.

Typically, to draw the trout above water you would reel fast and keep the lure above the surface but the most solid hookups came when we slowed down the retrieve. As a token of the outing's success, we had full limits of redfish!

If you're still waiting for the right time to get out on the water, stop waiting; but don't be afraid of the dark - after dark can be the best time of all!

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