Lately I just wanted to fish. I leave all the fancy camera gears at home and just concentrate on fishing. Sorry for the poor quality pics with the Iphone but I just wanted to Just fish.
My local waters of Tampa Bay has been fishing well lately. With fall passing and the fronts starting to come in our snook are starting to head into the rivers and the bait is thinning out.
This usually means low tide, the big trout are coming and the water clears up. This opening up room for sight fishing for reds and fly fishing opportunities. With all the bait gone fish are more apt to feed on the artificial as well.
The first day I took Jeremy and Todd out fishing in the Ranger Ghost. Jeremy was working as captain in Little Cayman for 8 years and he is back in his home town to fish a bit. His waters just so happen to be the Ruskin area.
We manage a few fish but the bite was a bit off but it was a good time on the waters. We caught reds, and black drum out on the flats. Little trout and jacks were also around to keep us busy.
This next trip I took the Hobie out to fish JD and Cameron. This was an early start for the half day fishing trip.
The bite the first two hours were dismal as nothing was feeding at all. By 10am though things started to turn on for us. We got into trout, lots of small snooks and towards the end redfish in the 22-24″ range.
What started off as a very poor start turned to be a good day. Some times it pays to stick it out.
Hilary is a girl from the running club. She started to follow me in instagram and wanted to try some fishing. You heard it, lives in Florida and has NEVER tried fishing.
Well she picked the right day to give a shot as it was chamber of commerce day. Seas were calm and winds were light.
It did not take long to get her fish fish ever. A little dink trout in the canal on the way out. As we tried for more trout we got a nice pompano out of it as well. This guy ended up going home for dinner I might add.
It being so calm we decided to make a run to a nearby reef. We got into Spanish Mackerel , baby mangrove snapper and I caught my largest Grouper this year.
I was drifting a shrimp on a 1/16th oz jig head and he came up on ate it. The fight was surprising brief considering I only had 15braid. By the time it was all said and one I had landed a 28.5″ Gag grouper.
After a few more spanish we called it day and headed in for some lunch. Hillary is now officially addicted to fishing.
This morning I took the kayak out for a spin. I only had a couple hours but with the tide so low and the sun forecasted to come out I wanted to see what is out there after the cold front.
I tell you it wasn’t much. I did hook a small redfish on a jig but before that eat it was tons of casting with out a hit or seeing any fish and bait.
Before heading in I decided to give up the my favorite winter jig and go with a mirrordine. After about 6 cast I hooked his 27.5″ redfish. After a few photo I released him and headed in. I made it my last cast.
Sweetwater Sanctuary with Captain Alan Zaremba
My trip this morning with Alan was perfectly-timed. Besides offering a refuge from the recent high winds, the trip was still during a time of moderate temperature- which in my opinion was more peacock-friendly. Alan reported that his recent freshwater canal fishing offered a chance of gamesters with an Everglades backdrop. Since Alan only fishes lures and flies, I looked forward to an added dimension of fun and challenge. I was disappointed with the poor lighting that the day afforded for photos but equally grateful that there was only a little drizzling under threatening skies.
Almost minutes after Alan launched his Gheenoe until four hours later, we had reliable action. Our tally was a mixture of about thirty fish comprised of largemouth bass, peacock bass, and mayan cichlids.
All of our fish were taken on either topwater or lipped swimming plugs.
Captain Alan Zaremba
Typical of our spooky Tampa Bay redfish these guys would not eat anything I would throw at them. I am referring the fishing I did last week when I got back in town all spoiled from fishing non spooky Texas fish.
I took out the Hobie Proangler on low tide and started poling the area. I started to see tailing reds but they will not eat anything. I even got desperate and tried dead sticking gulps to no avail. These guy know that there is a splash nearby they will refuse to eat and slowly move on.
Since I was suppose to testing out the Reddington Vapen Red Fly I had it with me. I tied on the weedless Meade’s Gutless crab fly. Since they was refusing pretty much everything(yes even live shrimp my friend was throwing at them) I figure I could not loose.
The first fish I saw that was in range here was the result.
So this is day 2 of my fishing Texas adventure. Today I fish with John West. I connected with John through a mutual fishing friend here in Florida, Kris Howell. We tried to get together before but circumstances just did not work out.
The day started off early for me. I was up by 4am to make the 1 hour 15minute drive over to meet John at his house in Beaumont. After quick stop ate McDonald for a chicken biscuit , a coffee and was actually on time. We loaded up the Ranger Phantom and was on our way in 15minutes. The drive was going to take us at least another 30 minutes. We were to be fishing Sabine Lake. Another random new place I have never fished so excited to see new scenery.
In the distance approaching the lake, I see lights high in the sky. I am thinking this looks like a big city, why have I not heard of this place? As we approach, it became clear these were not normal buildings at all, they were oil refinery structures. John explains, though the area has created a bunch of jobs for the locals the neighborhood itself however, is quite scary. Note to self: no hanging out in Port Arthur.
Driving through the structure it definitely is quite a departure from the boat ramps in Florida. I love it though, a change of scenery is always cool to see.
We arrived and there were a couple boats that had already a launched but definitely not busy day by any standards. With a surprising 5 to 10mph winds we were off as the sun came up.
The first thing we did after we launched was to look for birds feeding. Since fishing with Clint the day before I knew exactly what to look for.
We stopped at a point where the birds were feeding and we started to pull in small trout and reds. I had one blow up on the she dog and when I set the hook it took the top water with it. I must have had a nick in the line. I will never know how big that fish was. You know what they say “not makes a fish bigger than almost being caught.”
A few cast later John did that this slow red on the jig he was using. As the sun came up the bite slowed, the winds picked up so we decided to move on and fish the marshes.
The winds picked up dramatically as it went from 5-10mph to 15 to 20mph which made for some tough maneuvering in the mashes. We saw a few fish but I have to say, today the fish were a bit finicky. We would cast cast cast.. then we would drift over the spot and the fish would spook off. Quite frustrating knowing you cast there 5 times with out an eat right before.
Finally I found a small pod of fish that decided to cooperate. Success with the mirror lure Lil Jon.
The Lil jon worked out well for this flounder as well.
About noon we picked put the boat back on the trailer, grab some lunch and relaunched nearby . The tide at this point was slacked so we had to wait a bit. Since I had to be done by 3pm we were pressed for time. Once the tide changed though, the bite turned on quite nicely. John got 2 reds, miss a couple more and I landed my largest Flounder all in one stretch of shore line.
Logic lure jiggly wiggly jighead rigged on a gulp shrimp got this flounder to the boat and into the cooler.
After a couple photos it was time to head in … Thanks Jon for a great trip when I come back next time I promise to have more time to wait for the tide!
If you every used a truck bed extender then you are familiar with scrapping up your driveway and hitting speed bumps. Due to the design of the extenders under load the metal is sure to hit the asphalt sooner or later.
The guys at BooneDox Saw a need for a better bed extender so they came up with the T-bone. Again I say to myself “why didn’t I think of this!?”.
The concept is quite simple. Instead of heaving it squared off it curves upwards leaving plenty of clearance. It’s lightweight, compact and looks much better than the run of the mill bed extender.
One of the coolest thing about social media is the fact that you can network with almost anyone in the world. This networking came in handy when I was visiting Texas last week.
I was there for a week and did not really know the area. I message a few people I know in the fishing industry and in no time I had more fishing trips lined up that I had time for.
The first trip was kayak trip I got connected with was Clint. I got a hold of him through a fellow south east kayak fisherman Benton. Clint was super cool giving me tips and areas I should look this time of year to find fish in the Texas waters. This was very helpful when I fished myself later in the week.
Since we were kayak fishing I wanted to use a Hobie PA 14. With some help I found a place in Houston that rented them. Austin Kayak on Bissonnet had a PA14 bed extender and set up when I arrived. They had all kinds of gear inside for Kayaks I have never seen before. I wish I had more time to browse but time was wasting. I did buy a map of the area I was going to fish to get a better lay out of the land.
I drove from the Austin Kayak directly to the launch location to meet up with Clint. He tells me the area is good for big trout and that was what he was mainly targeting. Me I just wanted to catch anything.
It took an extra bit to rig up as this was the first time, but we manage to launch about 4pm. Clint tells me all he uses is She Dog, Corky and jigs with soft plastics. I always do what the locals tells me and add a couple of things I thought might work as well. This time I added a mirrordine and a doa shrimp.
It did not take long after the launch for us to start seeing life. Mullet everywhere and things getting chased. Clint tells me to look out for diving birds, this was a good sign for trout and redfish feeding on bait. Usually in Florida when I see that inshore I avoid them as they are usually lady fish or small jacks. He also tells me to look for slicks, as this was a sign of feeding activity. If I happen to smell watermelon this was also a sign of trout feeding. Wow the things you learn about species you thought you knew.
Not to be out done I catch a baby black drum on my DOA shrimp.
We did another drift with out any luck so we moved on looking for birds. Once the birds were found I peddle over and on the first cast got a nice slot red who was feeding under the birds. A few more cast resulted in more trout, but the small kind. We continued this strategy until we caught more trout and a couple more reds. Now it was time to look for schooling reds.
We drifted shallower and shallower. Clint manage to catch a couple more reds. The school of reds we were looking for was no where to be found however.
As the sun was setting we did a wading session that did not reward us. The sunset bite on the way in was pretty damn good though. The birds were all over and trout were feeding on top coming out of the water after my top water lure.
Almost every cast our lure was attacked. As we head in the mosquito came out and it was brutal. Wearing shorts proved a bad idea.
Thanks Clint for helping me out with shortening the learning curve fishing the Texas waters and showing me around. I will be back!
Stuff we used if you’re interested:
Today after fishing the Texas waters last week I was dying to get out and wet a line. The winds were blowing 20-25 mph so it was not pretty out side.
After a bit of contemplation I put my big boy pants on and hit the water in the Hobie PA14. Some times the weather man is wrong but he was spot on today with the 20-25mph winds forecast.
I drift the flats at hyper speed and stopped here and there at places that I thought looked promising but to no avail. I was running out of time since I know it will take me a bit to get back going against the winds and waves.
After 2 hours of casting and getting zero rewards and barely seeing any life on the flats I gave up and started to head in. I got to the point where the water was just too shallow for my mirage drive. I got out and tied the rope to my waist. Since it was sunny I could see in the shallow sand flats so I grabbed a rod rigged with a Logic Lure and a 1/4oz jig head.
To my surprise I started to see fish on the shallow sand bars where I was walking. First it was a small shark. Then a snook that was totally oblivious to me being there. I sight casted him while it was only 12′ from me and he did not hesitate.
The next fish not to long after I release the snook was my largest Florida flounder at almost 20″ on the same lure.
I packed it in so I could do some catching up. Some times it pays off to keep fishing when you head back in. Today was definitely the case.
This time of year I like low tide as the fish are concentrated.
I also like jigs as the fish are usually less aggressive and stay on near the bottom on cold days.
On the flats its 1/8th or 1/4 oz jig heads.
I like to fish 1 to 3′ of water, unless I am fishing canals.
These fish caught today were in less than knee high water.