TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

Spent the long weekend with my buddies Lou and Steve in a canal house at Palm Harbor.
This is kind of a big deal for us, planned for two months since first scoping the rent properties and checking moon and tides. Two of our friends dropped out, and that's ok.
The moon was was waning to a new moon.
NOAA tides for Saturday were a high tide at 2am, a second high at 12:30, and a strong low tide at 8pm. The tide followed the same pattern, an hour later over each of the next two days. 40% rain chance the whole weekend, and the fresh water in the bays has definitely affected the spec population. We saw bait everywhere, Sat and Sun, nothing was feeding on it, but that was also likely affected by the power boat traffic.
The contrasting rainy skies made for some great photography.
The plan Saturday was to begin at Sandy Point, the southern tip of Talley Island, paddle the perimeter, fish the sloughs and especially the cuts, hoping to make Big Cut for the strong afternoon tide.
We were mostly fishing TSL grasswalkers and had fly rods rigged for the opportunity. I started the morning with tiny rat red in the first slough on Talley. The wading water in the back of Trout Bayou and the former cut to Aransas Bay was loaded with little stingrays and tiny reds, but nothing was feeding. Same story around to Little Cut, where we paddled through to Outside Beach.
ImageLittle Cut had a strong wind current going onto the flat, and below the surface, a pretty good tide current going out. Nothing but dink trout, so we ate our lunch, set our drift socks, and drift-fished Estes back to Sandy Point.
One thing this trip, first time we've had tail-after-tail bitten off TSL grasswalkers by dink trout (learned later the culprit were lizardfish).
By mid-afternoon, we were two-thirds through our drift and found fall redfish in trout bayou.
My first was a respectable 18-inch rat on chicken-on-a-chain
missed another on his run trying to get the hook set, and followed that on the same lure with a 25" red that took me round and round.
When we met up at sandy point, Steve had our dinner rounded out with a 22" red on pink trout support, so we headed in to make our grocery errands and cook.
ImageStrange thing when we filleted these fish and checked their stomach contents, new moon notwithstanding, neither fish had eaten a bite before they took our lures at 1pm. I'm chalking that up to the power boat traffic, too.
Steve poached the fillets in a cajun sauce on the grill
Lou handled the salad and garlic butter for the bread, I sauteed the green beans in olive oil and garlic - it was great and we ate too much
The canals have green lights on the bottom, which didn't draw much bait, but did draw all the resident tourist trout - all 14" and smaller
Image I've seen these canals when you could walk on the bait, and the schoolie specs would come in at night - I've sight-fished 22" and 23" specs here.
This one and 2 of his buddies chased a tiny popper, but they only fell for that once, and I had to switch to the slime line and tiny whistlers to turn more.
Sunday would be a weird day all around. We decided to paddle straight to big cut to see if the morning slack tide would draw something more off Aransas Bay than the dinks. Sitting for lunch, the sky was beautiful - and nothing but dink trout in the cut.
fishing lunch complimented with a Ballast Point Sculpin
Starting the drift home inside of Big Cut, the wind current and rising tide should have us on fish right away, and it did. My strangeness was a bigger redfish than the previous day's, a good 10-minute fight where I saw the fish 3 times. My line was carrying a huge ball of yellow grass. When I lifted the line, the grass ball slid right into the redfish's mouth, and he came unhooked like it was a hook remover. Within minutes, the rain wall hit us with a gale to 35 knots. Drift socks trolleyed to the stern rode the gale perfectly.
ImageLou and I actually enjoyed the rain, but Steve had just lifted his drift sock, the gale cocked him sideways, and a wave washed him off his boat.
His biggest concern was his I-phone in a ziplock, and he headed for the barn. Lou and I set up a second drift in Trout Bayou, but didn't find redfish where we did the day before. Lou did get rat reds on Sunday.
We made up for it with a great seafood meal at Los Comales in Rockport.

Monday morning, Steve decided to pack on home to get ready for a big deal at work, Lou and I decided to wait out this big wall cloud, so we had a great breakfast of salmon omelettes rolled up with tortillas and link sausage.
We were out by 10:30 and had a bang-up day. Same plan, paddled to sandy point fished a bit on the wind seam, but this time the bait was being slashed.
Anybody know what this is? We caught them all day, all across the flat (later educated - the culprit lizardfish)
along with dink trout
One more gratuitous Big Cut photo, and you can see the incoming tide seam
We had the flat all to ourselves - there were no power boats running, and the little fish there were attacking our grasswalkers - also had no tails bit off the lures.
I missed another big red - really thought I had this one set.
But made up for it with a 21"
I fished this lure all day, and you can see the abuse it took
For our last evening meal last night before packing out this morning, Lou and I drove into Corpus and ate at Thai Spice
I'm taking my 89-y-o dad to Arroyo next month.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
it's my kind of fun - thanks for the kind comments.
on corpus fishing, got an ID on the inshore lizardfish - aka diamond lizardfish, Synodus synodus - the red stripe gives it away - and 8" is a lunker. They're reported to be thick on the flats right now.
friend from FFR
AlgonquinFan wrote:... in Bermuda once a local told me that catching a lizardfish would "curse" an angler so they would catch nothing else for the rest of the day...

it didn't work - I caught my first lizardfish first thing Mon morning.

as long as I'm here, good photos that didn't make my Estes essay
this is the lee side of the wind seam at sandy point, steady 12-14 kt - there's always bait here
after the long upwind paddle across the flat, getting out on the hard pack of Outside Beach feels so nice - no mud, no quicksand
author, author
Stevo setting up for lunch - he can remove the seat from his Hobie
Last edited by Ron Mc on Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Great report on a fun trip, Ron. I live almost just across 35 from Palm Harbor, and don't fish Estes as much as I should. When I first moved here, I used to pay $5 to launch at PH, and it was scuzzy. I told everyone they should get a tetanus shot before launching there. It's a lot nicer in the canals.
TexasJim wrote:Great report on a fun trip, Ron. I live almost just across 35 from Palm Harbor, and don't fish Estes as much as I should. When I first moved here, I used to pay $5 to launch at PH, and it was scuzzy. I told everyone they should get a tetanus shot before launching there. It's a lot nicer in the canals.

last October, it was Steve, me, and our two friends who dropped out this trip - we had Randy's RV.
But you're right, stepping in at the Palm Harbor launch is all rotting grass - the prevailing wind puts the whole bay there.
Thanks for the report. Looks like a nice trip and nice food. Hope I'll get to do something like that one day, probably after the kids grow up a little more though heh.

Do you have the recipe your friend used to cook those reds? That looks good!
sorry - first thing, we attacked spices in the kitchen and found cajun - Steve could be a chef (he is a pharmacist), and he paddled that prepared spice thick with olive oil and butter - he said, here, taste this. It works. Before we started cooking, dragged our butts to HEB in Rockport and rounded out our meal and food stores. On the grill he kept the heat fairly low and it took awhile to cook the fillets.
But that's 3 ingredients you can always count on, cajun, olive oil, and butter.

From another trip, I have this grill pan made to saute veggies on the grill, and it's great for grilling fish
Last year's Rockport trip, smaller redfish fillets (2 20" fish) cooked on a Cobb grill - these little things are wonderful if your fillets will fit

A favorite photo I left out, redfish shoulders
Also just found out my sister and BIL are going to join us at Arroyo in 3 weeks - that will also be monumental.
Taking my dad's power boat. My BIL grew up with a cabin in Flour Bluff, they have a house on LBJ, used to have a house on Livingston, he and his brother have rented boats and guide time from Slow Ride, but surprisingly, we've never fished together.
BlessedAngler wrote:Great Report and Awesome pictures. Love eating at Los Comales in Rockport.

not to mention their margaritas - oops, just mentioned them, though I may not remember them very accurately - their sauces on seafood are so good, they do it right.

great trip down your way to Arroyo City just a few weeks after the Estes trip -
KingO'Dinks wrote:I've been there, and your picture essay made it seem like I was back there. Just beautifully done, thank you.

thanks - my friends often kid me about my relaxed fishing style, which always includes a camera.
(while they're also watching me out-fish them)
I try to write my essays as soon as I get home so the subtle details are still fresh.
The process and especially the photos helps me remember the trip in great detail many years down the road
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