Weekend before last, my fishing partner, William, and myself made our usual 240 mile trip from NW Austin to Aransas Pass, TX. We go down usually once a month for 3 days leaving on Thursday after work and returning Sunday afternoon. That gives us a full 2.5 days to fish. Since we have to travel and plan our trips anyway, we try to schedule trips based on moon phases, predicted tides, and weather forecasts. But sometimes we just have to go when we can.
That was the case for us in October. We only had one weekend where we could both go and it was the weekend of Oct 22-25. The fishing forecast wasn't looking that great. The tides were high but not a lot of predicted movement. We had a cool front coming through Austin on Wed and it was expected to make the weather on Friday morning at AP rainy and windy. And it was supposed to turn to Blue Bird Days (bright, clear, and windy) Friday PM and through the weekend. Well, this was our only weekend that we could go and we both needed a good saltwater bath for our souls, so we packed up Wed night and headed out right after work on Thursday.
The cool front did its thang. It swept through Texas and hauled butt much faster than they thought it would. We expected to drive down in rain and fish in rain on Friday morning, but it was clear by early afternoon on Thursday and clear all the way to AP. So the trip is starting off good.
We got to Dean's (Slowride) place after dark and it was clear and calm. GREAT!!!! This is going to be alright I 'm thinking to myself. That didn't last long. When we got to the waterfront Friday morning, the wind was howling from the north and it was a bright sunny day. It was the definition of a BBD. I immediately started thinking this is going to be a paddle day not a catching day. We had to rethink our launch spot and how we were going to fish that morning. We ended up putting in on Brown&Root Flats. Seeing the BBD conditions, I figured the day was going to be a wash. I didn't fish very hard Friday morning. I saw a few reds but didn't get a single hook-up. I spent the morning taking some photos and just enjoying the flats. William, on the other hand, hit it hard and found a couple of keepers, 1 trout and 1 red. So I was still convinced that it was going to be a bad catching day....
That evening the wind laid!!! It went calm about 2-3pm. We decided to give the South Bay flats a shot. So we launched about 3:30pm and paddled directly into a light north wind to the back of the flats. I started a long drift across the flats. William set up on the edge of a small sand hole in the grass flats. After about 30 minutes and a phone call from my lovely wife, I see William waving his arms at me. I can't hear him but it obvious something's up. So I paddle toward him. When I get in hearing distance, he starts telling me he has just caught the 3, yes, 3 of the biggest trout of his life, back to back. He explains he caught the first fish and put him on his boga to stringer him until I could get over to him for some pics.Then he catches another that its just a tad smaller followed by another that may have been bigger but he didn't want to risk losing both fish switching them on the boga. So now I am getting close and I want to see this fish. He raises up a beautiful fat yellow mouthed 26" speckled trout. A gorgeous fish! All of his trout came on a DOA CAL Shadtail in New Penny on a DOA 1/16oz shortshank jighead.
I take some pics for him and I turn my attention back to fishing. I had still been convinced it was going to be a bad catching day. Well, Willie's trout changed my mind. William wanted to share his spot with me, but I had topwater reds on my mind. I knew there were reds in the grass flats all around me and if those big trout were biting so would those reds. So I set up another drift with a bit more determination and effort than before. I wasn't 50 yds from William when a 25" red inhaled my redhead Spook Jr with single hooks. It was on like Donkey Kong!!!!
We fished until dark (7:00-7:30) that evening. I only caught the one red, but I had one of the most fished-filled evenings of fishing I have ever had. If I cast that Spook Jr 200 times, I bet I had 400 blow-ups. It was incredible. And the thing that made it really cool was the lighting. We had a north wind pushing us south and a setting sun in the southwest. Everytime a fish came to the surface to strike at the topwater lure, you could see them with the sun shining behind them. The sun shined right through their dorsal fins. It was awesome! You could tell which were reds and which were trout. And there were plenty of both. I had one big redfish that literally tore up about 10-15 yds of surface as he circled and struck at my lure 3 times while never leaving the surface. It was wild and extremely entertaining. That action lasted the entire evening until the sun went down. William had a hard time leaving his spot with good reason. He ended up with a limit of keeper trout ( all released) that evening.
The next morning we continued our fish catching. I had a limit of slot reds on the topwater and William caught several smaller fish including a Texas Slam (red, trout, flounder). Of those, he again had a keeper trout and a keeper red. The one thing I noticed on Saturday morning was that all 3 of my keeper reds were hooked on the first single hook on my Spook Jr. Well, it just so happens that my front hook is on backwards. It has been debated that the front hook can be placed in any direction with the same results. I don't think so anymore. I believe I missed all those fish Friday evening because the hook slipped right out of their mouth. They had the back of the hook against their jaw instead of the front of the hook. That hook will be changed before the next trip.
We skipped fishing Sat evening and hit it hard on Sunday AM. We launched at Terminal Flats this time. We had a light SE wind that morning when we paddled out. But within an hour, it had kicked up pretty good from the east. I had been drifting teh flats and as the east wind pushed against the shoreline, I found the redfish. They were hanging out from the bank about 25'-75'. I used a DOA CAL Shadtail in Copper Crush ( a new color of theirs' that is clear plastic with gold and orange glitter) rigged texas style on a wide gap worm hook. I had 6 reds from 17"-19" by 10AM. William found himself a couple of reds and a couple of keeper trout too. He again was using his new penny rig mentioned above. By 10am, the wind was howling again. We were off the water by 10:30. We were loaded and leaving Aransas Pass at 11:15AM and back in Leander, TX (my home) at 3:15.
Both William and myself were so pleased with our weekend that we had do a fist-bump leaving AP. We had expected the worse and ended up having a great weekend. It wasn't a stop-everything-and-get-your-butt-here kind of trip but it was a very satisfying trip with enough catching to make it really fun. We bathed our souls in saltwater arriving back in Austin renewed and ready to do it again.
So the next time you think the weather and tides are against you and maybe you shouldn't make the trip..... DO IT ANYWAY!!!!!!!!!!! Because you might just catch some fish and more importantly, you are still going to enjoy yourself!!!
Here are few of the pics from this trip....
A periwinkle snail .. a favorite redfish snack
William's PB Trout.... 26"
One more time with the boga laid back to show the size of the fish
The sunset we were fishing into
More of the sunset
Calm seas and tight lines to you all,