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By brmcam
#2306256
My son wants to get out of the fresh water and catch some reds and trout in the kayaks.

Looking for advice on where to go between the Port Arkansas and Freeport area and what to use for a good day on the water. And hopefully find some fish along the way.
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By Neumie
#2306356
brmcam wrote:My son wants to get out of the fresh water and catch some reds and trout in the kayaks.

Looking for advice on where to go between the Port Arkansas and Freeport area and what to use for a good day on the water. And hopefully find some fish along the way.

Welcome to TKF.

For starters here's a link to a Google Map with Access Points for the section of the Texas coast you're looking into fishing: CLICK.

When starting at the coast I recommend fishing the same area instead of jumping from one spot to another every time you go fishing. When I first started fishing the coast I practically just fished Shamrock Cove near Port Aransas. By repeatedly launching from the same spot I was able to learn the structure of the area. And Shamrock offers quite a bit, channels, multiple flats of various depths, holes, drains, grassy bottoms, soft bottoms, etc. Fishing the same location lets you pattern the fish as well. As you understand the structure of the water and the pattern of fish you slowly hone your technique. From there you can then apply that knowledge to new spots. Keeping a detailed fishing journal is also important.

What to throw is subjective, because what works for me may not work for you. But, if I were building an intro to saltwater fishing box the following lures and colors are what I recommend. I list brands, but its merely an example of what's available and not necessarily what I throw every time I go fishing.
  • Paddle Tail Soft Plastics: Salt & Pepper/Chartreuse, Chicken on a Chain, Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse, Plum/Chartreuse, Strawberry/White, and Roach. Brand doesn't really matter, but over the years I've thrown Norton Bull Minnows & Sand Shad Jr.s, DOA C.A.L Shad Tail, Down South Southern Shad, and H&H 3" Cocahoes. If you're fishing more around Freeport and to the north leave the Salt & Pepper and bring either an all chartreuse, Red Shad or Morning Glory color instead.
  • Shrimp: 3" Berkley Gulp New Penny and 3" DOA Nite Glow
  • Topwater: You'll want at least two color patterns - a Bone or Pearl and a Chartreuse or Gold. I prefer Spook Jrs., but Rapala Skitterwalks and MirrOlure She Pups and Top Pups are good ones as well. If walking the dog isn't in your repertoire then look into wake baits such as the Strike Pro Hunch Back, Bandit Footloose, or 6th Sense Mvmt 80WK. I mainly throw topwaters but carry wakebaits as well
  • Spoon: 1/4 oz or 1/2 oz weedless gold and silver spoon. I prefer Johnson Silver Minnows.
  • Terminal Tackle: 1/16 oz and 1/8 oz jigheads, Cigar float on wire (I prefer H&H TKO Float Rig with the titanium wire) for fishing shrimp lures.

Like lures, rods, reels, and line are a personal choice as well. I prefer fast action rods with sensitive tips. Other may prefer a softer action. But if you're looking to invest in saltwater specific setups here's what I'd recommend.
  • Reels: Purchase a saltwater specific reels. There are great baitcasting options around the $125 range such as the Abu Revo X Inshore, Lews Speed Spool Inshore LFS, and Shimano SLX. A quality saltwater spinning reel can be purchased for around $100 such as the Penn Battle II and Shimano Nasci. There's no need to go larger than a 2000/2500 series reel for inshore fishing.
  • Rods: Again you don't really need to break the bank as there are a lot of great options in the $75-$150 range. I prefer baitcasting rods in the 6' 6" to 6' 9" range with Medium-Light to Medium power (If you're only investing in one setup go with a medium power). For spinning rods I like at least 7' 0" rod in either medium-light or medium power (If you're only investing in one setup go with a medium power). Some brands to look at are: Academy H2O Express Ethos or Inshore Series, All Star Classic Series, Falcon Coastal Series, Laguna Liquid Series, and Waterloo Phantom or Salinity Series.
  • Line: Again a personal choice. When working topwater baits a floating line is important, such as monofilament and copolymer. Softplastics a sinking line is OK, such as fluorocarbon and braid. Regardless if you're spooling up a baitcaster or spinning reel I recommend 12-15 lbs test line with traditional lines or 30 lbs if going with braid. A leader with braid is recommended but I don't think I have a different catch rate between tying straight to braid or using a leader.

Hopefully this isn't too much information all at once.

Ron Mc wrote:Josh is a great resource - he carries the whole TX coast in two binders.

Thanks for the kind words. I wish my aerial maps covered the entire coast, but they only cover the "Coastal Bend" portion from Padre Island National Seashore through Point Comfort.
By ben_beyer
#2306432
One of the things I've really learned from the Bite Me podcast is to pick a light, medium, and dark color soft plastics. I would focus on the light and medium colors for Port Aransas.

I have a ton of soft plastics just because I'm like a kid in a candy store when at Rockport Tackle Town or Academy and my bass fishing background doesn't help either.

I like the DOA 3" paddletails and the Down South Lures but Jay Watkins fishes a lot of Saltwater Assassins in the Rockport area.
By ben_beyer
#2306433
One last thing to add to what Neumie said. I have bounced around a little bit but I've mostly fished Wilson's Cut and along that same mindset I'm going to focus more on Redfish Bay now. That being said Wilson's Cut is just south of Redfish Bay so it's not that different in my opinion.
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By Crusader
#2306452
Neumie wrote:Like lures, rods, reels, and line are a personal choice as well. I prefer fast action rods with sensitive tips. Other may prefer a softer action. But if you're looking to invest in saltwater specific setups here's what I'd recommend.
  • Reels: Purchase a saltwater specific reels. There are great baitcasting options around the $125 range such as the Abu Revo X Inshore, Lews Speed Spool Inshore LFS, and Shimano SLX. A quality saltwater spinning reel can be purchased for around $100 such as the Penn Battle II and Shimano Nasci. There's no need to go larger than a 2000/2500 series reel for inshore fishing.
  • Rods: Again you don't really need to break the bank as there are a lot of great options in the $75-$150 range. I prefer baitcasting rods in the 6' 6" to 6' 9" range with Medium-Light to Medium power (If you're only investing in one setup go with a medium power). For spinning rods I like at least 7' 0" rod in either medium-light or medium power (If you're only investing in one setup go with a medium power). Some brands to look at are: Academy H2O Express Ethos or Inshore Series, All Star Classic Series, Falcon Coastal Series, Laguna Liquid Series, and Waterloo Phantom or Salinity Series.
  • Line: Again a personal choice. When working topwater baits a floating line is important, such as monofilament and copolymer. Softplastics a sinking line is OK, such as fluorocarbon and braid. Regardless if you're spooling up a baitcaster or spinning reel I recommend 12-15 lbs test line with traditional lines or 30 lbs if going with braid. A leader with braid is recommended but I don't think I have a different catch rate between tying straight to braid or using a leader.

... or you may take my position and buy 2 cheap rods (smth medium-fast, like DAIWA Laguna 601MFS -- ~$30 each), 2 cheap reels (e.g. Shimano Sienna 2500 -- ~$30 each) with PowerPro 30lb braid. Don't take rods longer than 6.5' -- you will have braid tangled around the tip and it is PITA to untangle it on 7'+ rod while sitting in a kayak. This setup is cheap, almost as good as x5 expensive ones, you don't need to worry about throwing your gear around (which you will do at the end of the day being tired from dragging your ass and kayak through mud and against the wind).

These cheap reels will live for a season or two unless you dunk them into saltwater -- just buy another one. The thing is -- if you dunk expensive one, it will be as dead as cheap one (believe me! :mrgreen:) and you WILL eventually dunk it, 100%... Plus, with smaller investment it is easier to walk away if you decide that fishing isn't your thing.

Leader matters if you fish clear waters deeper than 6 inches. Use Bass Pro Shop XPS -- it has the best abrasion resistance. Never use Vanish (it is the worst). I use Red Phillips knot to tie leader to the braid.
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By Neumie
#2306468
Crusader wrote:... or you may take my position and buy 2 cheap rods (smth medium-fast, like DAIWA Laguna 601MFS -- ~$30 each), 2 cheap reels (e.g. Shimano Sienna 2500 -- ~$30 each) with PowerPro 30lb braid. Don't take rods longer than 6.5' -- you will have braid tangled around the tip and it is PITA to untangle it on 7'+ rod while sitting in a kayak. This setup is cheap, almost as good as x5 expensive ones, you don't need to worry about throwing your gear around (which you will do at the end of the day being tired from dragging your ass and kayak through mud and against the wind).

These cheap reels will live for a season or two unless you dunk them into saltwater -- just buy another one. The thing is -- if you dunk expensive one, it will be as dead as cheap one (believe me! :mrgreen:) and you WILL eventually dunk it, 100%... Plus, with smaller investment it is easier to walk away if you decide that fishing isn't your thing.

Leader matters if you fish clear waters deeper than 6 inches. Use Bass Pro Shop XPS -- it has the best abrasion resistance. Never use Vanish (it is the worst). I use Red Phillips knot to tie leader to the braid.

In college I used a $20 Tournament Choice rod and $15 Quantum Optix reel for about three years. I think I only got one year out each reel before two of the ceramic inserts on the rod fell out and I went to a nicer rod; a $40 Castaway. I use a 7' 2" spinning rod now and the extra length really helps tossing lighter lures for sightcasting to reds. I don't have issues with the line constantly wrapping around the tip unless I did a crappy job putting a soft plastic on a jighead and it causes line twist. When that happens the extra couple of inches isn't that much more to deal when untangling the end of the rod.

For many years I used braid tied straight to my lures with this setup and never felt I was not catching or missing out on fish due to me not using a leader. I admittedly do use a 10 lbs fluorocarbon leader now because I switched to a hi-vis braid, but now that the braid has faded some I probably won't go through the hassle and just tie straight to the braid again.

No right or wrong approach when investing in gear.
By DHardy
#2306598
For starting out I recommend a decent rod and reel combo. Mid-level - Lews or Shimano paired with a StCroix or Waterloo salinity. 30-40 pound braid with mono leader. 1/4oz on paddle tails in light to dark colors. Scent is helpful. Work baits fast and slow. Sometimes fish are lazy and you get a light bite, a decent Rod will help you feel the difference in bites so you can get a hook set. Find an area you like, fish the same areas for a while, keep a log, date, time, tides, etc. After Some time, you will have several areas and will consistently catch fish. I still use the log for consistently finding flounder. After a while you will want to upgrade equipment. I use upper end Lews on custom built rods, 40lb windtamer on yo-Zuri leader. I take minimal gear, wading boots, pdf and don’t like being weighed down with a bunch of stuff you won’t use.
By mwatson71
#2306610
I have nothing to add to the conversation or advice but wanted to welcome you and your son to the board and the world of saltwater kayak fishing. Be prepared to get addicted.
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By Ron Mc
#2306638
30-40-lb braid is perfect for bottom-fishing oyster.

But I've been fishing the grassy water around Rockport with 12-lb mono/fluoro since the 70s (also kings and jacks), and 15-20-lb braid is perfect.
This is also what your inshore rod rating should match.
This lets you choose lighter-in-hand tackle and, of course, cast farther.
There are times when you want to cast lighter or heavier lures and rigs, but generally, 1/4-oz to 5/8 oz will cover you inshore.
If you want to step up to MH rod with 3/4-oz lure rating, that will fish also.
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7' rods are the norm, but I also like 8-1/2' to 9' - every 20% increase in rod length doubles your cast distance, and higher rod tip helps you keep weighted lures above the grass.

I even fish UL in the salt, 6-lb braid, especially for imitating winter glass minnows, and getting those long casts on 1/16th- or 3/16th-oz lures.
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By Chubs
#2306650
Ron Mc wrote:

I even fish UL in the salt, 6-lb braid, especially for imitating winter glass minnows, and getting those long casts on 1/16th- or 3/16th-oz lures.
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Ron, what is your rod\ reel setup for ul fishing?
What lure is that you have in the pic, and I'm also curious why you use a steel leader? ( It looks like a steel leader in your picture.) My dad uses a steel leader in all his rigs because he's worried normal inshore fish will break his line, but I tell him they won't and I think it looks to goofy so I don't bother. I always out catch him but I'm not sure it's because of the leader or something else.
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By Ron Mc
#2306658
Hi bro,
the lure is the 3/16th oz YoZuri Sinking Pins minnow, and it was The lure on this March day.
Fishing the Little Cut slope, I could cast the width of the channel wading the center shoal, 2-3-second count down, and tourist trout impaled themselves on any retrieve.
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The rod is Korean, NS Black Hole brand, Dark Horse model, a nice affordable finish level ($100).
But it's really a copy of a Japanese light game rockfish rod.

These actually match progressive fly rod tapers, but that gives you a wide lure range, 1/32- to 1/4-oz (some even wider), a soft tip that will protect the lightest line, and still a stiff butt for turning fish when you need it. You could build your own from a 3-wt fly rod blank.
Most US spinning rods, in comparison, especially UL, are short para-taper rods for small stream fishing, narrow lure range, and have most of their flex in the mid and butt - that's exactly where these long rockfish rods are fast and stiff.

The reel can be any UL with 100-yd capacity of 6-lb braid and a good 2-lb drag. I use these so extensively in the winter (especially the Arroyo), and began using them dock fishing with my girls a dozen years ago. For reels, I have Stradic to Japan-model Vanquish in these sizes. Unfortunately, the world is currently sold out of Stradic.

I've been discussing these with Blake, and I'll copy you on an e-mail I sent to him earlier...
And sorry all about the distraction to UL - we'll take this to pm.
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