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Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By quinton.schmelzenbach
Hey y'all, I'm new to kayak fishing in this part of the world (currently have a few yaks on loan from a friend)
I live and work on Surfside Island and would love to get out on the water now that it's finally starting to slowly warm back up.
Advise? I grew up fishing in Fiji, and Papua New Guinea as well as a few other places around the world. But my luck here has been spotty at best. Can't quite seem to find the groove.
TIA for any help and pointers.
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By Ultrastealth
The closest thing to a sure thing this time of year is whiting in the surf, and you don't need a yak for it. Use a light line with a sinker at the end and 2-4 small hooks on droppers up from the sinker baited with just a small piece of shrimp. You should catch a bunch and there's nothing better to eat.
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By Yaklash
Not sure how long you'll be in that location, but you'll be there for another month, I'd suggest you learn how to wade the surf and how to fish jetties. If I lived close to that little piece of heaven, every time the surf was green, I'd either be walking the second sand bar or fishing the Surfside Jetty. Christmas and Drum Bays are good for kayak fishing but the surf along Follett's Island can be outstanding when it's "green to the beach."
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By quinton.schmelzenbach
I should be here for another year and a half. I've done a fair amount of wade fishing over the past two summers, with good success with trout, Spanish Mac, and a few reds. The cuts and on the ICW have given me a few flounder (one was 24 inches). I haven't fished the jetties much, and I look forward to it. What do y'all suggest I use? I fish on the cheap, as a military budget with a family isn't the greatest.
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By karstopo
Any cut off the ICW going from the Freeport Harbor is good in either direction. I’ve fished from Cedar Lake Creek to up to Bastrop Bayou, every cut will have fish in it. Some are creeks, some are bayous, some lead to lakes or bays. Look for moving water next to oyster shell. I like to stake out and probe those areas with something that sinks. A lead head jig with a paddle tail. I like to bump these off the bottom which means getting hung up. Suspend gulp under a cork might help the hanging up. I just learn to manage my retrieve to minimize hang ups.

Sounds like you know about the cuts with the flounder catches. Every little system has fish, but it doesn’t mean you are going to get on them every time. High water levels spread out the fish, low water levels concentrate fish. .5 MLLW or less is what I’m calling low, 1.8 MLLW and above is high. In high water, I’m normally looking for water flowing over and around bars and reefs and choke points rather than chasing fish way up in flooded grass. In low water, I’m looking to find them in some drain, but they are rarely evenly distributed. The whole NOAA system will have the water levels. The Freeport USCG station is the chief one I look at.

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/stati ... id=8772447

But if I had one option, I’d have some soft plastic on a jig head. Look for bait doing things that seem to indicate that something is influencing them. Fish intentionally. Drifting isn’t bad, but set up the drift knowing something about the structure. Fish orient themselves to structure and it can be subtle.

In general, redfish tend to be in the smaller, more shallow systems. There could be some flounder and trout, but redfish seem to rule small shallow marshes. A bigger system like Cow Trap might have all three. An even bigger area like Drum Bay or Bastrop Bay will definitely have all three. It’s my belief the Fish use the ICW as a highway. Something might push them out of one place, a lot of fresh water runoff for one, and move the fish around to another system. Some places are better than others at different times of the year.

The surf is a great idea, but often it gets pretty chewed up by chop. That is why I would carry a kayak on some planned surf wading outings, although, I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing, from buoy data, when the surf will be wade worthy. The jetty is another idea. I’m not a big fan of crowd fishing so the jetty is usually not my thing. There’s tons of water around Surfside that’s marsh and great for a kayak. Pick a spot with a reef and work it. Or find a gut and work it. Or a drop off and try that. Move around if you like. I’ll move around often on the same structure looking for the sweet spot. Don’t say” well, I’ve stopped on one spot on a 1,000 foot reef and there was nothing so the fish must not be here”. I’ll move multiple times if the signs look right trying to get on the Fish.

I lived at Surfside for 3 plus years and have fished there for 12 plus continuously. There’s great water all around. There’s great water up and down our coast. You will have zero fish days and there’s potential for catching fish until you tire of catching them. The fish move around. There’s no set formula other than getting out there.
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By Yaklash
quinton.schmelzenbach wrote:.... I haven't fished the jetties much, and I look forward to it. What do y'all suggest I use? I fish on the cheap, as a military budget with a family isn't the greatest.

Most of my time fishing the jetties has been with live bait- piggy perch or live shrimp - free-lined or under a popping cork. A Fin fish trap that you can set out (where pirates won't find it) the day before you plan to fish, in a canal or near a bulkhead or pier, can save you a lot of money. A cast net for finger mullet is another cheap way to get good live bait.

I recommend a wagon, a bait bucket with aerator and a long-handled landing net.

For lures, a weedless spoon, topwater or a floater/diver.

Some of the regulars can be crusty, unfriendly & downright territorial, yet they won't hesitate to bid--dog you if you are catching fish. They do tend to know the best spots though. The outer third is where you'll find the better fishing, but the end is not the only or best part necessarily.
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By karstopo
quinton.schmelzenbach wrote:Thank you guys. Y'all have definitely given me some info to start casting on.

No problem. Kayaks are the best way to access the many marsh and shallow bays areas around Surfside. Some of the Creeks and Rivers and distant marshes are a little easier and Bastrop Bay might be easier to get to and fish with a boat, but a boat tends to be more of a liability in most of the marsh areas and parts of some bays there.

The problem with kayak fishing is a lack of range. You will have trouble covering as much water in a kayak as you can in a boat. But a kayak offers great stealth and access potential in a shallow system. What I have found is that any marsh or bay system, pretty much anywhere I’ve been even outside the Surfside area, can be a dud one day and on fire the next. I’ve fished pretty much every system from SLP to Cedar Lake Creek over the years and have had skunks in every one and double digit, never really stop catching them days in pretty much every one and in between days. The in between days are probably the norm. The more I fish, the more I get the pattern down and the more the catchathons happen. The less I fish, the less I get the pattern down and the more likely are the days that it’s a struggle. The surf, in my experience, is pretty much the same. It can be totally on fire and a complete dud.

Fish with confidence. I fish better when I’m confident. Maybe it doesn’t always work out, but there is a thought process and a method. I try to make adjustments when things aren’t working out so well, but I never just flail away hoping for the best. No bait, no sign, no compelling structure, I’m likely not wasting too much time in a spot like that. Good bait activity, good sign, good structure with water movement, I’m usually thinking the predators are close by and I’m going to do an all out search for them.
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