Redfish Rodeo

Posted by Phil on August 23rd, 2010 | Fishing

by John Henry

The day began with the breakfast bell ringing at 5 am.  We were in the truck in no time and took the short ride down to Cove Harbor Marina in Rockport.  By 6 :15 we were in the boat and ready to go.  Little did we know the day would turn out to be one our best days catching Redfish.  As my brother stated, “This was the greatest day catching reds ever and you never forget your first time or who it is with,” referring to limiting out of course.  This was our 2nd trip on a guided bay trip and we were somewhat hesitant, not really knowing what to expect after our 1st trip 2 summers ago.  We had a different guide this time, long time Rockport guide Todd Adams.

We have become accustomed to fishing various reefs and shorelines ranging from Carlos Bay down to Redfish bay.  As Todd advised us, however, the trout fishing has gotten very inconsistent because of the recent tropical storms and heat.  He said we may catch 5 trout or 25 trout.  Our typical tactics were not going to get it done so we barreled (all 250 horse power) out of the marina across Estes Flats to the Lydian Channel.

We began by fishing the inlets into Redfish bay off the channel by free lining piggy perch.  Within 5 minutes, our dad had a nice one in the box.  We thought we may have one of those big days.  After several 14 inch trout, we decided we would move.   We moved a few hundred yards down the channel, anchored and had another 4 in the box within a few minutes then we got a nice surprise.  A group of kayakers paddled right by the boat to the inlet where we were casting.  These guys paddled right in front us and stopped.  We could have easily hooked one (and should have tried).  We knew they were professionals when they were stomping around and throwing a bobber with about 6 feet of leader about 5 feet in front of them.  We were sure they were going to limit out in no time so we left it to them.  By mid morning, we had 5 trout and decided to go look for the Reds.

Todd decided we would go sight cast for some reds before the Tide fell.  Red fish have without fail been, caught at low tide.  We were near the north side Hog Island, when we spotted a giant school of redfish, biggest school I had seen in nearly 3 years, likely several hundred.  By the time we spotted them, we were right on top of them so they were spooked.  We decided to loop back and trolled around for roughly an hour with no luck, Todd thought and they moved to deeper water.

It was 11 am and we moved over to South Bay and tried to get set up before the “Rodeo” as we called it, began.     The tide was slowly falling which is what we wanted.  We were on the outside edge of the break, near some sand pockets.  We spotted a few boats hooking up a single here or there but nothing major.  Being on the edge, we were just out of casting reach of the schooling reds.  By 11:30 the armada moved in and the boats began to line up, one right after the other, probably 15 across.  Everyone was learning about the school of nice reds that were being caught in South Bay.  It looked like bumper to bumper traffic in a major city.  It was crazy, one person hooking up after the other.  If you had a line in the water, you were going to land a 25” red, no doubt.  It looked like dominos.  Rods would begin bending on the boats to the west and would work down the line to the east.  Some boats were handing rods to each other in order to keep the fish out of the other boats motor.  Finally, one of the guides called Todd and said we could have his spot, so we trolled over and anchored.  It was long until we had our first on the line, unfortunately, it got in the motor and broke off.  Dad stated, he just lost his biggest Red ever.  After about an hour, a broken dip net, and almost lost reel, we had our limit.  We slowly moved out, and 2 other guides took our spot.  As we moved a way, we watched and those boats took their turn.

Quote of the Day:   “Turn off your motor, your scaring the redfish D_ _ _  HEAD” (This was in reference to one of the guides yelling at a tourist, defined as anyone who is not a guide, trying to get into the action and coming a little too close).

The day turned out exactly as Todd called it, Trout early, and then hammer the Reds when the TIDE falls.

"..You never forget your first time or who it is with.." - Special thanks to the author of this story, John Henry (right), his brother Stephen (left), and their Dad for their contribution of this article and overall support of The Sportsman Dispatch.

Leave a Reply