Last good picture was Jan 4th, mostly the water looked good everywhere (expect Galveston).
Being a little fearful of run-ins with angry duck hunters, I decided to head over to Brazoria Wildlife refuge and launch from the Salt Lake access point on Saturday which apparently the fishing areas are off limits to hunting. Also it's just a hour-thirty from my house! I saw warnings from others on older posts here that the place is swarming with Gators. I didn't see any but I did spot a barnacle encrusted bump sticking out of the water than made me panic for a good 10 seconds!
Since it's winter, I decided to launch later in the day, my goal was 8:30ish, I didn't actually get to the launch till 9AM though, and not on the water though till 9:40. This is my 1st time to go kayaking in the cold so I was dinking around with my winter gear a lot and had a lot of indecision. Lessons learned!
I started out by trolling a 3" Cocohoe Minnow, Cock of the Walk color, on a 1/8oz rattling jig head. Trolled to the north east side Salt lake for about an hour with not a bite to show for it.
Saw a group of birds working an area when I tried to go to but the action died by the time I even got half way :\
Headed to the cut on the NE side and pissed off a whole set of ducks and pelicans!
I proceeded to waste the next 30 - 40 min tossing lures/ changing lures/ and stepping into some sinking mud near the "Do not enter" cut area with no bites.
Frustrated; I swapped lures again and trolled to the cut between Salt and Nicks. Again no bites, was trolling over oyster beds this time.
Took me about another 30 mins to get to the cut, and then to my great dismay, I saw a boat was in my spot I had planned to fish! And to make matters worse I saw them reeling in my fish I planned to catch! So I sat around and pouted for an hour while I tried various different lures again. This time wading in the water on solid ground as much as I could manage.
All kidding aside, I was setback when I saw the folks where I had planned to be. Chalk it up to being inexperienced at this, but I thought maybe I could pick off some fish on the outer areas they weren't fishing at. I should have just kept moving though cause all I did was burn time and swap out lures another round.
At one point I looked over at the boat and I saw they had a freaking turtle they were all taking a selfie with!!! They eventually had enough fun molesting turtles only for another boat to come up and mooch their spot. Lol. The other boat was having as much luck as I was so he eventually went to go too. He went the wrong way into the mud which I got to see for a bit, that was fun He did get unstuck though and headed out while creating a serious wake I would have been annoyed about if I was in my kayak at the time.
It was now about 12:40 and I had told my wife I'd head home at 2PM; so I made my way back to my kayak and tied on a 3/8 oz jighead with another cocohoe minnow in Pink with glitter belly and chartrues tail. Trolled around the cut making my way to nicks. I was about 10 mins into my troll and I wasn't getting bites so I stopped after I rounded a bend to make sure my lure was still there; and then the line pulled back!
Reeled this bad boy in; about 21"
Yes I screwed up his mouth with my boga's but I kept him so I can assure you he is not injured…
Getting the trout boosted my spirits so I went back to when I figured I hooked him; tossed the lure for about 10 mins with nothing, so I decided the trolling was working so I kept on through the cut. About another 10 min later I think I got a hit. Turned around to cast around but never got anything to bite.
Kept going. Made it to the exit and thought I was getting more bites. So I stopped and casted about a bit. I kept getting a lot of resistance while retrieving, lure kept bumping. I thought I was hitting the bottom or something; but just the same, I started trolling again. Kept seeing the rod dance but there was nothing on reel in so wasn't really sure what was happening. So I anchored and fan casted around.
18ish rat. I let him go and cast back to where I hooked him. Immediately my rod bends over!
I proceeded to reel in about 10 more redfish after that! Didn't take many pictures at that point because I was having too much fun.
I managed to score 2-3 keepers out of the group, I kept 1 of them; the rest were just almost 20" mark or just shy that I didn't want to risk it (up to the limit of course).
All of this was on the same pink cocohoe with 3/8 oz jighead. I decided it's time to try a different bait so I threw my Paul Brown "Soft Dine" bait - I'm not sure if that is considered a fat boy imitation or not? Also I couldn't guess what the specs are on the lure because it's been about 2 years since I bought it. It casts far, maybe it's 3" or more, and sinks slow.
Anyway, I tossed it and was trying to "walk the dog" underwater with no success. I changed up my retrieve to be just fast enough to take up the slack. That seemed to be the ticket because next cast I reel in this guy:
He was 22" so into the fish bag he went. He bent up my lure but I found I could flatten it back out. Not sure that is supposed to happen though lol.
Caught a few more with that lure but the action was slower but the fish were bigger so I think that was the ticket to picking of the big daddies of the school. Here was the biggest of the day 24 - 25":
At some point I looked at my clock and saw it was 2:45… Sorry honey!!! I left them biting with my tail between my legs and made like a bandit back to the launch.
Of course I trolled my lure back I hooked up with a rat red on the troll back where the turtle club party barge had been earlier.
Tossed him back and kept going. Was snagging bottom too much with the 3/8oz, so tried to troll the soft dine. That didn't produce anything the whole way back.
Go back to the launch by 3:49 and a large family was fishing the launch area. Chatted a bit with them, they hadn't caught much of anything but I figure the wind was wrong for them (east wind most of the day and they were on the west side).
All total I think I landed 15 fish, I probably hooked 20ish - some got away, including a big fighter right at the side of my yak
Anyway, Thanks to everyone for the pointers earlier, they worked out.
Lessons learned is I need to move faster if a spot is unproductive.
I need to trust in my lures I tie on and stop cutting line to re-tie at every spot, if they didn't bite the 1st time from a fan cast they probably aren't there.
Also I need to just move to my next spot is someone is in my planned spot.
Also I think next time I'll swap to a bigger lure faster if the bite is on fire with dinks and rats.
Note, I can't figure out how to upload more than 4 pictures I had a lot more the 1st time I tried to write this