Saturday, October 04, 2003

Redfish Texas Migration

You can count the number of Trout on shell right now on one hand it seems. From Port O to Rockport if you are fishing shell chances are the target is Redfish. Water temperature is falling through the floor and the cooler climates that drew the fish to shell during the depths of summer appears to be driving them from it currently. Trout are patterning as they would in Spring with shorelines and the muddier grass environs of the back lakes holding them. I’ve seen big runs off of shell before but this Fall is not quite like others that I’ve seen. It’s pretty unusual to have an October cold front rage on with 20 knot winds gusting for a solid week.

Launching out of Goose Island on Friday, the water was just about in the parking lot. I was fishing a 4 boat trip for Capt. Brett Phillips and my marching orders in their country was “Redfish any way you can get them”. The boys down south were taking Croaker and shrimp but I drug a couple of boxes of Spanish Sardines down there. After a couple of bad stops over shell, I eased into a back marsh lake behind Bray’s Cove in Mesquite Bay. After a couple of misses, the Charles Philpot group got in a rhythm to full limits of Redfish to 28”. The winds were howling most of the morning but seemed to ease up a little as we approached the ramp at the noon hour.

Back to Seadrift for the weekend run and my bait man had me well prepared with the best live Croaker of the year. Whenever you have the best bait, things always seem to go the worst. Winds slacked behind the front as I welcomed the Bill Schmaltz group and we were left with slick water for much of the morning. That combined with clearing water and scattered fish made things a “pride swallowing siege”. We ended the day with 18 Trout and one lower slot Redfish for the trouble. Sunday, fishing the Schmaltz group again, we targeted Redfish a little harder. Best laid plans went to the wayside as our first stop in the Welders Flats area put us on a strong run at Trout and the best bite we’d seen. As the Trout eased up, we headed to Turnstake shell and started working on Redfish. Croaker out performed Sardines over shell this day as we ended with 16 Trout, 1 Flounder, and 5 Redfish in the middle slot. With freshwater fisherman encountering their first Texas Redfish, we won’t even talk about hook pulls and break offs. Let’s just say that we were going to be short regardless. As we approached mid day, I saw something I saw on Saturday as well. Slacking winds and a significant turn off in the fishing.

As we head to the weekend again, there is no telling what things are going to look like but I can just about guarantee your focus should be on shorelines and mud/grass back lakes and bays. If you target shell for Redfish, fish tight to the crest of the reefs or just off the drop and “HANG ON”. Good luck!

I’ve got pictures up from the latest trips on my web page at Check them out when you get a chance. Click on the photos to view an enlargement.


Capt. Kris Kelley

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