We've stayed at this house before, and knew what to expect.
We were watching Tropical Storm Beta closely, the storm tide measured in the Aransas Pass water level, and of course the weather and wind prediction.
Tuesday, when Beta came ashore at Indianola, the AP storm tide peaked at 3' (above harmonic). Wednesday when we traveled, it was down to 2'
This was arriving at our Palm Harbor canal Wednesday, and this is 4pm low tide - a dock across the canal is partly swamped, and the water level is only a few inches below our bulkhead.
We staged our boats on the dock, but kept them tied overnight, just in case they floated in the high tide, which they didn't.
(those aren't our boats in the photo, but the two that came with the house)
We had good winds (NNE) predicted for fishing Trout Bayou Thursday and Friday, and back to prevailing wind on Saturday.
All 3 days, high tide was 1-3 am, and low tide 4-5 pm.
We launched every morning about 6:40, when we could make out Talley Island looking from a high point in the back yard.
Thursday turned out to be a really special day. The storm tide was still 1.5' and the harmonic showed the biggest tide swing of the trip. We launched in 8 kt NNE wind that would peak at 12 kt about 11am. It was Steve, Lou and me, and Thursday joined by our friend Randy from Kerrville.
Rounding Talley Island, and heading upwind to the top of Trout Bayou.
From first light until about 10:30 this morning, I've never seen so much life on the flats. When we approached the cut to Aransas Bay at the top of Trout Bayou, the bait was thumping our hulls and hitting rudders so hard you could feel it through your feet. After the 3-mile paddle, we normally get out of our boats and cast into the cut.
I began the morning fishing a Yo-Zuri Wake bait, Gizzard shad, which reflects green and transmits pink.
Fishing into the cut, I caught several undersized trout and a great 20" ladyfish.
Looking upwind from the cut on Aransas Bay side, saw some massive slashes, so paddled up a bit and drifted back into them. I was expecting a sow trout, but turned out to be a 25" ladyfish. I didn't care, it was a great ride. She flipped, made tailstands shaking her head. She was pulling my boat around, and when she shot across the bow, she sheared my bow a couple of feet to the side. When I finally had her controlled enough to get to the boat, she came unhooked, and that was fine, but a magnificent fish, and I didn't get a photo.
After a few more tourist trout on the second drift from Aransas Bay, we all decided to move back through the cut and begin our drifts down Trout Bayou. My friends all started at the first duck blind, but I began shallower at the mouth of the top Talley slough, throwing a red TSL grasswalker.
First cast downwind got my meat-fish of the day, a solid 23" red. You can see the first duck blind, and my friends beginning their drifts in the deeper water.
That was enough I made the drift between the slough and the duck blind a couple more times, and with the sun getting taller, to put away the red lure and switch to chicken-on-a-chain. A respectable rat on TSL chicken in the shallower water at the top of Trout Bayou.
When the normally skinny water turned off, I drifted past the duck blind to join my friends.
The lure that made my whole trip fishing the deeper storm tide flat was the Z-man Texas Eye jighead in 1/8 oz.
I had just a few TTF flats minnow tails, which matched this jighead perfectly. In the deeper water, I went back to red, and it lasted until the lizardfish got it.
Luckily, I had one more red (until the lizardfish got that one, too)
Even compared to the 25" ladyfish, this 18" red was my fish of the day, frenetic, hard to control, and really fast, running wide either side of my boat.
Until about 10:30, the farther we drifted Trout Bayou, the more fish sign we saw. I added a solid 20" red to my stringer.
Maybe we messed up with this food and beer-thirty break at our favorite Talley "beach" - except on our next-to-the-last drift, Lou would add a fine 25" red.
We normally stop on this great hard pack with shin-deep water and this day, it was over our knees.
A very nice 14" tourist trout I released on the same lure.
After a couple of more drifts, back to the barn. Randy did get a good trout, but decided to release it.
Steve ramrodded this trip, wanting to finally get his new Outback wet. He had a day of gear frustration, both his spinning reel and baitcaster. Spool shimming on the former, and side plate opened up mid-cast on the latter - both his reels birds-nested on him.
My chore at the dock, filleting Lou's fish of the day, and my two.
Since this first day, NNE 8-12 kts is already a long post, I'll come back with separate posts for Fri and Sat...
Also noteworthy on Thursday, the water was turbid for Estes and combined with the 1.5' remaining storm tide, we couldn't see the grass we were drifting.
As for the Z-man 1/8-oz Texas eye jighead, with the right lure body, it fits in the column right between the TSL grasswalker (shallower) and the way i like to rig a cocahoe with a 1/4-oz Stazo flex jighead and double hook for fishing deeper. I would discover both next two days it was very easy to keep this rig just on top of the grass with moderate retrieves in the elevated water levels.
Also like the flex jig, I think fish hang onto it longer, because it feels more natural in their mouth.
And here's a happy and worn out Lou.