Friday, July 11, 2008
Kayak Fishing - Texas Style!!!
It appears that the South Texas coastline has survived the Cajun invasion of kayak fishermen. We just got back from a fantastic kayak fishing trip to the Rockport area. Our group consisted of me, Becky, Wes & Chris Franciol, Michael Pears, Cheryll and Bud Guilbeau and Mike McDaniel. When we left Lafayette on Friday afternoon, we didn't have a clue as to what to expect when we arrived in Rockport.
Kayak fishing in Texas is very different from the fishing we've done here in Louisiana. First off, most of the waters we fished was very shallow (8-18 inches) and very clear. Our method was to quietly paddle into the flats keeping a keen eye out for bait fish breaking the top, and for redfish moving and feeding in the shallows. It took a little practice to be able to pick out tailing reds from other fish moving in the water. Becky (as usual) was the first to catch a fish - staking out in an area where a cut flowed into a lake.
Later that morning we came on a lake with about 8 or 9 inches of water. We got out of our kayaks and quietly waded towards some movement we had noticed. Tailing Reds! We were throwing very light 1/8 ounces spoons and plastic DOA minnows rigged weightless and weedless, so we were pretty limited on the distance we could throw our lures. We stalked until we were close and then threw. My line went right on top of the pod and they scattered. For a split second, I thought I had scared them off. Then I realized that I had a redfish peeling line off my reel like crazy. A few exciting minutes later Mr. Redfish was at my feet. Wow! What a feeling!
Later that day, Chris Franciol reeled in a nice flounder. To help her out, I grabbed the flounder with my new ($120) Boga Grip. Our guide wanted a photo of us, and just after she snapped it, the flounder flapped and the Boga Grip with the flounder attached fell into the waist deep water. I groaned thinking of my Boga Grip being gone (not to mention Chris' fish!). Captain Sally said "Feel around - I don't think that flounder could get far with the Boga Grip on it. I thought this was pretty hopeless, but I started feeling with my hands in the waist deep muddy water. After a couple of minutes Chris thought the flounder had just touched her foot - so I headed that way. By now (of course) all my supportive team mates were laughing their heads off at me. I had the last laugh though when suddenly I felt the rope that I knew must be attached to the Boga Grip. With a flourish, I pulled the Boga AND the Flounder out of the water. Everyone laughed, cheered and another picture was taken for posterity. Funny part: After this picture, the flounder flapped again and escaped the Boga. I guess he earned his freedom.
That night our group headed out to eat at a small local spot right on the bay. Everyone (except me) thought it was hilarious to watch me falling asleep sitting up at the table waiting for the food to come. Hey- it's tough on a guy to do hand to hand combat with an escaped flounder! After dinner, it was off to bed.
The next morning we were at the dock for The Skimmer at 6am. The owner of the boat (dubbed by Michael as "Cap'n Ron") met us and helped us load our gear and kayaks for a run out to San Jose Island. The sun was just coming up as we cruised across Aransas Bay. We arrived and all of us jumped into waist deep water off the back of the boat. The kayaks were offloaded along with all our fishing gear. Before long, we were fishing the flats of Fence Lake and the estuaries that run towards South Lake. We fished till around 2pm in crystal clear flats - casting to fish we could see swimming and feeding, catching several nice redfish as we went.
Too soon, it was time to meet The Skimmer and Cap'n Ron to head back to Rockport. On the ride back across the bay, I couldn't help but to think about the way that Kayak Fishing can open up portions of the natural world that we wouldn't likely have visited. We had the adrenaline of catching fish, but we had that good tiredness that comes with paddling hard for 2 days, seeing lots of birds, enjoying our fellow paddlers and meeting some really interesting new folks. Kayak Fishing truly does lend itself to weekend explorations all over the gulf coast - and maybe even across the nation and the world. Believe me - we'll be back!!!