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By Neumie
#2310432
An upcoming trip to Rockport for the 9th annual Rockport Redfish Round-Up with a few fishing buddies of mine from across the state got me thinking about sharing my thoughts, musings, and planning ideas leading up to the trip. A pre-report so to speak.

Maybe this post will be helpful. Maybe I'll just ramble nonsense. Maybe my heart is already down at the coast and I'm using this write up to avoid doing work which needs to be done around the house.

Let's start with tides.

I generally use the Port Aransas Tide Gauge when I'm planning a trip. I usually fishing around there. IF I'm back in Copano or on my boat more towards the north I'll choose a different gauge; one as close as possible to where I'm fishing. For this trip, we'll be kayaking around Port Aransas.

For the 5 days we're down there we'll be fishing a falling tide all morning.

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Then I'll look to see what the current actual measured tides are and compare them to the predicted tides.

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OK, looks like they're running 10-12 inches higher than predicted. Plenty of water to fish, but I don't want to head to a place where there's so much water the reds will be way back into the grass/marshes and more spread out.

Let's check on those winds.

This is what Wunderground and Windfinder were predicting earlier this week.

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That's quite a bit of Easterly and Northeasterly winds. I'm not sure I've ever fished so many consecutive Easterly winds before. What's the old fisherman's saying? "Wind from the West, fishing's the best. Wind from the East, fishing's the least?" Windfinder has the more promising wind speeds. Let's see what those websites are saying today.

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Looks like Windfinder was slightly more accurate. Other than the dominantly easterly wind directions the wind speeds are looking quite nice for the duration of the trip.

Saturday: Southeast winds
Sunday: East winds
Monday: Northeast winds
Tuesday: East winds
Wednesday: Northeast winds

With all that in mind, plus a meh solunar forecast for the trip. I start pinballing ideas within my head on putting together an attack plan for the group. Fishing close to Port Aransas to hopefully capitalize on reds staging to head out of Aransas Pass. During these I like to fish different locations unless we really get on the fish (which happened during the 2016 trip).

Well first off, I'm wanting to start out at East Flats. Firstly, it's a confidence spot for this time of the year. I can generally catch reds there with a sprinkling of trout every time during the fall. Plus, Saturday is looking like our windiest day of the trip and East Flat offers good protection from many wind directions. Day 1 set.

Sunday is forecast to be our lightest wind day out of the East. For me this is the day to get out and fish more open waters than we'd normally fish. I'm looking at launching and paddling east first thing so we have the wind to our back coming back in for the day. Estes is a tried and true spot launching from Palm Harbor RV. However, Dagger is another good spot. I haven't fished there in 6 or 7 years, but it doesn't get the pressure as Estes does. It's a smaller flat and it doesn't have as much shallow fishing as Estes, but I've got the itch to head that way. Good access too from Sunray Road. Hmmmmm.

Monday with northeast winds I'm liking to head back to East Flats. It fishes really well on a Northeast wind. So, unless it's a void of life when fishing there on Saturday I'm betting we'll head back there on Monday.

Tuesday is forecast with more Easterly winds. Another spot I haven't fished in awhile, but absolutely fished it hard throughout college are the flats around Shamrock. It surprisingly fishes well on an East wind. Shamrock really has tremendous amount of structure to fish. Lots of flats of various depths. Deep holes. Lots of channels. Tons of drains. Plus many islands to hide from any wind. Great spot. I'm eyeing Shamrock for Tuesday.

Wednesday, the last day of the trip. Which also means it's just a short morning adventure so we can be off the water in time to clean the cabin (and maybe fish???) and head on back home after a long trip. With the easterly winds I'm betting on the winds preventing Port Aransas from seeing its falling tide to its full effect. I'm hoping this means we'll have plenty of water left for us in Lighthouse Lakes. It's not a spot we normally fish on this trip, but it's easy on, easy off for a morning trip. And we don't have to deal with the ferry.

So, that's my prefishing trip thoughts. It feels like a solid plan.

But then again, I could get a whiskey or two in me at our cabin on Copano and throw all this planning into the bay this evening and start hungover fresh tomorrow morning.

Regardless, I'll have reports posted in about a week.
#2310437
Excellent calls. Saturday on Estes always has many power boats. We were actually lucky fishing there last Saturday - they were hunting around the strong SE wind and stayed away from us.
Wish I could get there for tomorrow, but can't do it.
Still too many things around here.
I'm finagling to show up Monday - not just because of Estes, but because of schedule...
#2310466
Kayak Kid wrote:Neumi, need I remind you that a 5wt fly rod with a small white anything (ask Ron Mc the name of a good fly) is a barrel of fun under the lights at this time of year in the Rockport area.

Fishing the canal lights in Palm Harbor was something that for the first time didn't work last week.
Again, the water level was gigantic right after TS Beta - could see occasional big shadows over the submerged green lights, but the bait was sporadic.
Did manage to get a handful of strikes on Flash J and UL, but only on neon prismatic - reflects green and transmits pink.
ImageImagelike my photo? I set that up with a milk jug and bike headlight.
Will make up for the dock-fishing dearth at Arroyo on Nov full moon - we'll be there for 5 nights, and night-lite dock fishing is the primary aim.
#2310800
Might be interesting to show how each day played out. Adjustments made on the fly. How each of us approached the conditions.
For me I have delt with the occasional N/NE wind but nothing like what we had this week. The real difficulty was just finding fish. Few were in their usual haunts. The only pattern I could descern was that every fish I raised or caught with the exception of one was within about 30 feet of a shoreline. Nothing in the middle of the flats except the last morning on LHL.
#2310813
spiny norman wrote:Might be interesting to show how each day played out. Adjustments made on the fly. How each of us approached the conditions.
For me I have delt with the occasional N/NE wind but nothing like what we had this week. The real difficulty was just finding fish. Few were in their usual haunts. The only pattern I could descern was that every fish I raised or caught with the exception of one was within about 30 feet of a shoreline. Nothing in the middle of the flats except the last morning on LHL.

I'll get to the report. Still too tired to want to look up all the data, download pictures & GPS tracks, and put my thoughts down. Fun trip, but I'm wore out after 5 straight days of fishing. I'll have something posted by Saturday morning at the latest.
#2310820
spiny norman wrote:Might be interesting to show how each day played out. Adjustments made on the fly. How each of us approached the conditions.
For me I have delt with the occasional N/NE wind but nothing like what we had this week. The real difficulty was just finding fish. Few were in their usual haunts. The only pattern I could descern was that every fish I raised or caught with the exception of one was within about 30 feet of a shoreline. Nothing in the middle of the flats except the last morning on LHL.

You definitely won't hear me complain about my results on Monday - I love East Flats - really wanted to fish that flat and, no offense, knew the result there would be better than East Flats Lake because of the sharply falling tide.

If instead we had gone to Estes for that tide and NE wind, I can tell you what would have happened.
Paddling to the Trout Bayou pass at daylight, we would have found a few big trout or two on Outside Beach (Aransas side of the pass) coming in from Aransas Bay to feed on the falling tide. Trout Bayou is shallowest at the top. Initially inside the pass, we would have found redfish, and as they followed the wind and tide down Trout Bayou we would have been right with them.
That was basically our same day on Sep 24.
It's a drill we try to run every fall Estes trip - we love NE wind for Trout Bayou, and try to plan around the morning falling tide. (doesn't work in low winter tides - not enough water in Trout Bayou)
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Monday on the lee side of Pelone island, was able to make multiple drifts from the clear shallow over two dropping shelves. The good reds were in the shallow clear while they had wind cover, most of the bait and smaller trout were on the first shelf, and big trout on the deeper shelf - because the falling tide and wind were both moving bait into the deeper shelf.

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