On my very first outing nearly three years ago, I spooked two over slot redfish and later caught an 18" pup in a different location. It was at that moment that I knew the redfish would be a species on the short list that I would target in the future. Last year, I didn't even see one caught when I was on the water, so my confidence in the overall health of the population was shaken. Fast forward to this year. If the action of the last few weeks is any indication of the future, the redfish may yet again return to prominence in this region.
Well, I headed out with my friend Joe Underwood to target some speckled trout after reading several of the recent successes people have had in the area. Our original plan was to chase spades, sheepsheads, flounder and togs at the First Island, but the winds were blowing in strong and would have made fishing there almost too risky. We decided to stay a little closer to shore and target specks instead. I arrived at the launch 30 minutes ahead of Joe, so I headed out for a quick recon on the weather and found the winds to be a tad too strong for any of our planned drifts. The winds were 17 out of the SSW with gusts forecast to be in the mid to high 20's. I made my way back to the launch and waited for Joe. Along the way, I fished a grassy shoreline and quickly found a small school of reds that were hungry.
favorite jighead paired with a chartreuse Gulp swimming mullet and dragging it slowly with a subtle hop once in a while. With the winds blowing so strongly, casting was limited to strainght into the teeth of the wind or straight downwind unless you felt like dealing with a bunch of slack line and missing a hook set. I made multiple casts after each repositioning of the kayak to cover the shallow flat I was staked out on and landed a total of 3 under slot reds in a 10-15 minute window with the best one measuring right at 13".
Marsh Works Killa Squilla and Shrimp Hook tied on.
After a few minutes in the sheltered water area, I knew the high winds would not help me with my top water plans, so I simply drifted the popping cork rig giving it an occasional pop and cast the jighead rig into the banks and worked the slow hop/drag technique again. This technique proved relatively successful for the better part of the morning. I ended up catching 5 more using this technique, including my very first fish on a popping cork - way cool!! We would probably could have caught more if we weren't determined to stay out of the teeth of the wind so much. I know the shoreline leading up to the creek mouth is loaded with fish on calmer days.
Until next time, stay safe, take a kid fishing and leave the water a little cleaner that when you arrived.