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By Chubs
#2282037
I finally got out to go kayak fishing, it was a skunk so consider this my report in the wrong section, but really I'm looking for advice so I put it here ;)

I went to San Bernard finally, the water was completely Brown yoohoo I think due to the Brazos and San Bernard run off from all the rains recently.

A side note, wind was horrible 15 knots so boat poisoning was difficult at best and I did a lot of stick and pick.

I tried to fish with high contrast cocoho minnows, manns 1- wake bait, gulp on a drop shot. Everything coated in procure shrimp. I even tried dead shrimp pin the drop shot.

I don't think I got a single bite over the course of 4 hours.

Hindsight I think I should have tired on a gold spoon for vibration, and brought some spinner blades too and coated in procure, but I didn't :/

Not sure I ever found them, I did see a ton of dime sized baby white shrimp and birds galore. Surely there had to be fish on the area but maybe not.

main question though, how do you guys and gals fish that brown water?
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2282038
I can count on my fingers the number of times and places I've fished brown or even fully opaque water - Cavasso Creek, Nueces/Oso bays, Copano, Peyton Bay. Have always caught fish. It's kind of counter to why I go out - I like seeing the grass and the life in the flat.
If you can find the seams between the totally opaque and the totally clear, you'll find a concentration of fish feeding on the bait coming out of the opaque.
Drifting Green Island last November, there were no fish in the gin-clear water against the island, there were no fish in the opaque deep flounder hole, but the turbid seam in between was loaded with fish.
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By Jigawatt
#2282040
The time of the year was more the fault of your slow bite rather than the water color. I fish the Upper Texas Coast where opaque backwaters are common. Predatory fish have lateral lines, and they can (see) sound better than you think. It's not uncommon for me to drop a spook on the surface of the water and not be able to see the treble hooks dangling underneath. But walking the dog works just as well in brown water as in clear water. I've caught reds and flounders on soft plastics and 1/8 oz heads in opaque water, and you know those things don't push a lot of water. Yet they see or hear it coming. Confidence is your best tactic. Make every cast as if a fish is waiting there to bite. In the Winter, you have to slow the presentation down. And even then, they might not be interested in feeding. Either way, don't let the color of the water shake your confidence. The fish are still there, and they still need to eat. If it's any consolation, I rarely do well in the Winter myself.
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By karstopo
#2282042
I wondered if the San Bernard was Yoo-hoo, now I know. You saw bait and that’s good. I’d definitely be on the lookout for anything that stands out about the bait behavior. Sometimes the Yoo-hoo isn’t uniform so I’d look for water changes. Sometimes, the Yoo-hoo is more on the surface and it’s better below. I still would be concerned with water levels and water movement. Did you fish McNeil or the Cedars or stay in the river? Noisy topwaters are good for searching out fish.

I fish degrees of Yoo-hoo at times. Definitely fish water with sub-foot visibility. There is some of that Brazos Riverwater that is red tinted and very opaque that seems extra hard to fish. Sometimes getting back off the river channel into the bayous and lakes can lead to slightly better water. All that shell filters and allows for the silt to settle out some. I would have considered the area around the mouth or way back in cedar or McNeil and maybe you did.

My order of things is to look for fish, then fish and bait sign, then interesting structure. Opaque water makes seeing fish really tough. You might see wakes in shallow water. Opaque water makes seeing structure tough, especially if the water levels are up. You then have to infer the structure and it helps if you’ve fished a spot in the past. Paddling around scoping out for stuff that sticks out isn’t a bad thing to do. I seldom or never just fish the void hoping for the best. There has to be a reason to stop and cast.

But fish feed in opaque water. They will even take the small things that I toss with my fly rods. I don’t really know how they find a 1 1/2-2” piece of fluff in water with 8” of visibility, but they can. Seeing little shrimp hopping would lead me to try something along that line. I put Pyrex rattles in my shrimp patterns and I think it helps.

I don’t know what else to do, just have a plan and keep working it. Opaque water is a challenge.
User avatar
By Chubs
#2282046
Well that's some comfort, I was wondering if fish would even be able to detect a lure they can't see, amazing to hear they can find those little paddle tails and even find a fly in that stuff. A lot has to do with confidence and I was lacking that in that dirty water.

I'm a bit better at second guessing myself but I was tossing a dsl at first, but the tail is small so I swapped to a cocohoe. Didn't make a difference other than it made me feel better lol.

This was my first time to the area so I've got a limited idea on the lay of the land. I did pre scout on Google earth and pinned over 50 spots but I couldn't get to a fraction thanks to the wind. I've gotten rather lame again in distance I can paddle :( got tired after just 3 miles. Too many Christmas cookies to work off still... I intended to get to hit the river and cedar lakes but all I could manage was the top half of the river going south from the 4 way, and a long cut off to the east, so my search zone was pretty limited.

Water is very high I think. There was maybe 6" of water on a flat in that cut, that when I looked at Google earth that flat was dry heh. I figure most of the reds pushed way into the grass. The trout are hard to guess too if you don't know the structure and with the high water and dirty it's hard to guess where the normal edge and channel should be.

Oh well, next time. I just caught a 18" blue cat with the same cocohoe at my neighborhood lake as a consolation prize haha.
User avatar
By karstopo
#2282059
Yea, I usually go beyond that little stretch you mentioned, but the freaking wind can put a kibosh in any grand plans of covering water. The last and only time I’ve gotten out this year, the wind never let me stray more than maybe 200 yards from the launch. It wasn’t safe or smart to battle the angry chop so I didn’t. Live to take up the fight another time.

Fishing can be tough. Super clear and sterile appearing water is a potential red flag. Super brown and opaque water is an oh no, please say it isn’t so. Give yourself a break if it doesn’t happen on any particular outing. I love battling the elements and trying to find the clues, but some days the conditions are adverse and mostly stacked not in your favor. You can only cover a limited amount of water in a kayak. I tell myself I just ran out of time on a day things just didn’t work out. If things were automatic it wouldn’t be as much fun. I rate days more on what I figured out than maybe what I caught. I know if I have a good day catching fish, there’s going to be a day coming that I will not figure it out or execute like I want.

There’s the joy and excitement coming when you see the pattern and your plan comes together. That’s how I look at it. Do some of the right things and it should pay off. Some puzzles are more difficult. Some days are wide open can’t miss lay ups. Others are you are the Washington Generals and your are up against the Harlem Globetrotters. It just isn’t going to happen on those days. I don’t think anyone has mastery over all conditions on every outing. Even the best guides can’t get it done each and every time.
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By TroutSupport.com
#2282066
I've caught trout in water with less than 1" visibility. That's right.. less than 1 INCH. Think about how often our bays on the mid to upper coast are clear or even translucent? Fish would starve if they had to use sight to eat. They use their lateral line to feel bait in the water. I've caught trout in yoohoo using a clear softplastic... right at dusk. Find the fish and you can still catch them.

Probably your biggest concern on the san Bernard right now was that the water was likely fresh. Brown and salty = no problem. Brown and fresh = skunk or catfish or time to pig jig for bass.

How to catch fish in salty brown water. Focus on finding fish, just as always that's number one. You've watched our videos so just apply whats in them and ignore the water color. Personally I'd go looking for dirty water to fish compared to the other way around.

Use rattles and darker baits if it gives you confidence, but like mentioned above, fish can feel the baits and find food no matter the water clarity. Topwaters are great when it's warm enough; similarly, popping corks with gulp under it help as well.
User avatar
By Ron Mc
#2282087
The thing about a kayak Tobin, you get one shot today - it's not like a power boat where you can go hunting the next spot.
A good kayak trip, especially if you're driving a few hours to boot, takes a lot of planning, and there will be many skunked days. Have to the like the paddle as much as the fishing, and best not to measure success in how many fish caught.
Image
User avatar
By karstopo
#2282088
Right, a kayak can be a big advantage in a marsh over any given power boat. Most people aren’t hardcore enough to wade thigh deep mud, especially if there’s shell around. But no way can a kayak cover the same amount of water as a power boat. Some place like the San Bernard can be fresh for miles and you can just be s**ewed if that’s the place you choose to go.

I’ve done more power boat fishing the last few years and in my experience it’s a major advantage over kayaks in most places outside the marsh.
User avatar
By Chubs
#2282091
TroutSupport.com wrote:I've caught trout in water with less than 1" visibility. That's right.. less than 1 INCH. Think about how often our bays on the mid to upper coast are clear or even translucent? Fish would starve if they had to use sight to eat. They use their lateral line to feel bait in the water. I've caught trout in yoohoo using a clear softplastic... right at dusk. Find the fish and you can still catch them.

Probably your biggest concern on the san Bernard right now was that the water was likely fresh. Brown and salty = no problem. Brown and fresh = skunk or catfish or time to pig jig for bass.

How to catch fish in salty brown water. Focus on finding fish, just as always that's number one. You've watched our videos so just apply whats in them and ignore the water color. Personally I'd go looking for dirty water to fish compared to the other way around.

Use rattles and darker baits if it gives you confidence, but like mentioned above, fish can feel the baits and find food no matter the water clarity. Topwaters are great when it's warm enough; similarly, popping corks with gulp under it help as well.


I really need to learn to catch Bass! The only other boat that I saw was unloading at the same time I put in - they asked me if I was going to try for bass. They said they caught a few fish, but I never asked them what - I think I learned a good lesson - ask what the heck did you catch!?
While on the topic - are there any good resources out there on how to catch tidal zone bass? I'm worried it involves covering a bunch of water heh.

And speaking of the water salinity, I neglected to mention the water as almost completely fresh. I always dip my finger in the water and taste then spit it out - is that a bad idea?? lol.
I thought that salinity shouldn't affect trout though in the winter, and in fact they seek out the fresher water because it's more stable in temperature (maybe the fresh stays on top of the saltier lower water, so less thermal transfer happens below and there is a more defined barrier??). However the river dumping a ton of water into the area could push them out because they would rather not fight the constant flow and it would surly make the water turbulent on the bottom as well as the top - so the temperatures would no longer be stable.
Those are just my thoughts on the matter - can't say I've proven any of it lol.
User avatar
By Crusader
#2282095
Chubs wrote:main question though, how do you guys and gals fish that brown water?

I look for fish, i.e.:
- find a good spot (some sort of drain, bayou mouth, choke point, water coming out of grass on falling tide, etc), ideally you should already know how bottom looks like there...
- fish it
- fish it real slow on the bottom
- if no bites -- go to next spot
- try going as far as you can into marshes (for reds)

In dirty water most fish are ambushers -- keep it in mind.
User avatar
By karstopo
#2282096
I've never caught a bass while fishing for things like trout and redfish. I fish a lot of rivers, bayous and creeks and sometimes pretty far inland. I've caught slot redfish in Oyster Creek at Lake Jackson, but that was a weird event once when the water got crazy clear during a drought. Seems like I've read about people doing the bass and redfish on one trip, especially in Louisiana, bass on one side of the boat and redfish on another.

People in boats at that launch at the San Bernard can easily run way down the ICW to Cow trap or the other end of Cedar lakes. It's like a 4 mile paddle one way just to get to the entrance of each. They could have run to Cedar Lake Creek beyond. They could have run out the mouth of the San Bernard as it may be open still on some tides. That's a shorter paddle, but maybe not be so great if the wind is in your face. I bet they found some redfish or something, but they could have found some Blue catfish too. I've been to launches where people have brought in freshwater catfish while not far away I've been fishing for saltwater fish.

When I go out in the saltwater, I want to get saltwater fish. I guess if the Bass fishing was crazy good it would be hard to ignore.

I just thought about a guy that fishes Oyster Creek in Oyster Creek with cut mullet. Sometimes he gets mixed bags of redfish and blue catfish.
User avatar
By TimmyT140
#2282110
Chubs wrote:
TroutSupport.com wrote:I've caught trout in water with less than 1" visibility. That's right.. less than 1 INCH. Think about how often our bays on the mid to upper coast are clear or even translucent? Fish would starve if they had to use sight to eat. They use their lateral line to feel bait in the water. I've caught trout in yoohoo using a clear softplastic... right at dusk. Find the fish and you can still catch them.

Probably your biggest concern on the san Bernard right now was that the water was likely fresh. Brown and salty = no problem. Brown and fresh = skunk or catfish or time to pig jig for bass.

How to catch fish in salty brown water. Focus on finding fish, just as always that's number one. You've watched our videos so just apply whats in them and ignore the water color. Personally I'd go looking for dirty water to fish compared to the other way around.

Use rattles and darker baits if it gives you confidence, but like mentioned above, fish can feel the baits and find food no matter the water clarity. Topwaters are great when it's warm enough; similarly, popping corks with gulp under it help as well.


I really need to learn to catch Bass! The only other boat that I saw was unloading at the same time I put in - they asked me if I was going to try for bass. They said they caught a few fish, but I never asked them what - I think I learned a good lesson - ask what the heck did you catch!?
While on the topic - are there any good resources out there on how to catch tidal zone bass? I'm worried it involves covering a bunch of water heh.

And speaking of the water salinity, I neglected to mention the water as almost completely fresh. I always dip my finger in the water and taste then spit it out - is that a bad idea?? lol.
I thought that salinity shouldn't affect trout though in the winter, and in fact they seek out the fresher water because it's more stable in temperature (maybe the fresh stays on top of the saltier lower water, so less thermal transfer happens below and there is a more defined barrier??). However the river dumping a ton of water into the area could push them out because they would rather not fight the constant flow and it would surly make the water turbulent on the bottom as well as the top - so the temperatures would no longer be stable.
Those are just my thoughts on the matter - can't say I've proven any of it lol.
Trout don't like fresh water, they run from it or go deep. The fresh water does lay on top of the salty.
By Tombo
#2282111
The conditions you describe, I rarely catch fish. And when I do, its usually dinks.
I suggest popping corks, I don't like to constantly stare at them, but they work. During a contest, i always have a popping cork rigged.
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By Ron Mc
#2282112
A pretty good popping cork rig is Shiney Hiney, which TTF bought the patent. Though the relatively clear water of Estes and B&R, I set up a novice with these year before last, and he caught the most reds on the trip, all with the lure at rest. The instructions I gave him was to pop it and make sure he let it sink all the way, add Procure every half-dozen casts. He caught fish trolling the lure.
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By TroutSupport.com
#2282154
TimmyT140 wrote:
Chubs wrote:
TroutSupport.com wrote:I thought that salinity shouldn't affect trout though in the winter, and in fact they seek out the fresher water because it's more stable in temperature (maybe the fresh stays on top of the saltier lower water, so less thermal transfer happens below and there is a more defined barrier??). However the river dumping a ton of water into the area could push them out because they would rather not fight the constant flow and it would surly make the water turbulent on the bottom as well as the top - so the temperatures would no longer be stable.
Those are just my thoughts on the matter - can't say I've proven any of it lol.
Trout don't like fresh water, they run from it or go deep. The fresh water does lay on top of the salty.


Yes to some extent that is true, but most people dont' truly understand the full extent of it. Trout can handle it to a point, they don't immediately run from it. BUT when it's fresh top to bottom.. there will not be any there.

As for sticking your finger in it and tasting it, that's playing with fire. There are so many microbes in seawater that you don't want to get. Its not like its a glass of tap water with salt in it.
User avatar
By TroutSupport.com
#2282155
Ron Mc wrote:The thing about a kayak Tobin, you get one shot today - it's not like a power boat where you can go hunting the next spot.
A good kayak trip, especially if you're driving a few hours to boot, takes a lot of planning, and there will be many skunked days. Have to the like the paddle as much as the fishing, and best not to measure success in how many fish caught.
Image


I know that Ron. Most anglers don't know all the parameters to plan for in order to avoid a skunk. We'll be teaching all those in a future course. Just because one has a kayak doesn't mean there will be a lot of skunk days, just have to know what the planning elements are. Most (boaters and yakers) think planning is picking a good spot from an aerial and going to check it out... there is much much more. I know a lot of kayak guys that don't get skunked or rarely ever.
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By TroutSupport.com
#2282156
karstopo wrote:Right, a kayak can be a big advantage in a marsh over any given power boat. Most people aren’t hardcore enough to wade thigh deep mud, especially if there’s shell around. But no way can a kayak cover the same amount of water as a power boat. Some place like the San Bernard can be fresh for miles and you can just be s**ewed if that’s the place you choose to go.

I’ve done more power boat fishing the last few years and in my experience it’s a major advantage over kayaks in most places outside the marsh.


Kayaks have huge advantages over powerboats. That is correct. Especially if one plans trips like Karstopo... oh wait... dang it.
User avatar
By Chubs
#2282157
TroutSupport.com wrote:
karstopo wrote:Right, a kayak can be a big advantage in a marsh over any given power boat. Most people aren’t hardcore enough to wade thigh deep mud, especially if there’s shell around. But no way can a kayak cover the same amount of water as a power boat. Some place like the San Bernard can be fresh for miles and you can just be s**ewed if that’s the place you choose to go.

I’ve done more power boat fishing the last few years and in my experience it’s a major advantage over kayaks in most places outside the marsh.


Kayaks have huge advantages over powerboats. That is correct. Especially if one plans trips like Karstopo... oh wait... dang it.


I think for the kayak, if you want to hit the bay it's a good idea to be within paddling/ peddling/ trolling motor distance to that Plan B marsh. And probably don't plan for multiple spots in the bay, just aim for a few but put the majority in the marshes/ shallows. Otherwise run the powerboat if you have it.
That's probably common knowledge. That was my plan too but I ran out of gas (didn't eat my Wheaties!)

That's why I've shied away from a lot of areas that have good reports from other sites, or good zones that are spread out too far - I just can't cover the water to find them or get to them.
User avatar
By Chubs
#2282158
TroutSupport.com wrote: As for sticking your finger in it and tasting it, that's playing with fire. There are so many microbes in seawater that you don't want to get. Its not like its a glass of tap water with salt in it.


Tasting doo doo water every now and then builds character!!! :horse:
User avatar
By TroutSupport.com
#2282159
Chubs wrote:
TroutSupport.com wrote: As for sticking your finger in it and tasting it, that's playing with fire. There are so many microbes in seawater that you don't want to get. Its not like its a glass of tap water with salt in it.


Tasting doo doo water every now and then builds character!!! :horse:


LOL... yeah, ummmm You ever hear of the Bearded Dragon or the Double Dragon? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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By karstopo
#2282160
There's probably always a better plan than what I am able to come up with. Back when I fished the LSKS and a little cash was on the line, I'd spend some time cultivating a plan. Back in those days, 2 medium slots would put one in the money so that was a big part of the plan, go someplace where I can very likely get two slots. Another big part of the plan was to go a place that isn't a million mile paddle, time is short on a one day tournament situation. Put those two things together and that weeds out a number of places. I'd then watch the water levels prior to the tournament and, yea, keep an eye on the rivers to see if they are pumping out a bunch of fresh muddy water. That miles of dirty fresh water is a deal killer.

One of my acquaintances is a tournament redfish guy, but he and a partner fish out of a boat. I just talked to him a week ago and he said his spots with 11 pound slot reds(please do tell me where these places are! I wouldn't even dare ask) are all too fresh and muddy. They have run many miles up and down the ICW on tournament day looking for the right fish.

Heck, I'd just like to go. I've been on one 2.5-3 hour trip in 2019 total and that was a kayak trip on a windy afternoon. I knew because of how the spot laid out I'd have at least a little semi-protected water in spite of whatever the wind was going to do or how strong it ended up blowing. I knew this spot fished pretty well in the past with the water levels as they were. I knew that in the past, fish were often there in the winter. I hoped that when I arrived there would be bait present and other activity like birds feeding and as it turned out there was those things.

But then there is the execution factor. How well do you fish a spot? How well do you make your presentations? How well do you pick up on any sign that might be there? I got one little 22" slot right off the bat that was hunkered down in the current in about 15-18" of clear water and thought I was on to something. Then I spooked another red just behind the first one and generally struggled with presentations and getting comfortable in the wind the rest of the time. I got another good take but allowed too much slack in the line and missed the set. I dredged up a 13" flounder. I lost what I believe was a borderline trout when it came up to the surface and thrashed off. The tide kind of died on me and that's hard to predict away from passes.

I didn't go into the trip with especially big expectations with the wind and limited water available, but then I left thinking I could have executed better. There's sort of the how well did I plan and how well did I execute track and then there's the getting out in nature track and that one is always a winner. People say the fish are a bonus and that is true. I do like working on the plan and execution of the plan and the fish hunting aspect, though. The puzzle is part of the appeal for sure.
By Castblastkick
#2282220
First, why is the water brown? Is it wind blown mud and silt in the water? Or is it a brown tide algae bloom? Or is it a giant pod of reds beating the bottom (we can only hope) lol

Some guys can do really well in brown tide, but I’d rather avoid it all together and search for cleaner water. I’d search for good bait action if I had to fish it.

If it is a wind blown situation, then it can be utilized for better in certain situations.
A loud top water or piping cork over a tout can be a game changer in muddy water. Some of the best days of fishing I’ve ever had were on windy muddy days. The key was to get to an area the bait would either escape to, or be forced into such as a tidal edge or protected water. Finding the bait is king in these situations.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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By TroutSupport.com
#2282264
I've gotten to the point where I ignore the water color as long as its salty. The cool thing is that not many people fish it and you'll end up having the area to yourself. Topwaters are great if it's warm enough, lures with rattles also good. I'm less worried about color than I was before... I've caught trout on near clear baits in super dirty yohoo, and I've caught them on black in clear water. Find those fish gentlemen... then get a lure in front of them. But the main point is, that if it's entirely fresh, you'd do better not even launching and running somewhere you know might have some salt in it and fishing there. At least you are not going to be facing a devoid of salinity situation.

Karstopo, you plan better than most my friend. I've rarely seen you skunk if ever and you know the drill as good as or better than some of those tourney guys. Good job, Carry-on fine sirs.
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