Monday, June 27, 2005
"Catching Up In July"
Starting Tuesday of last week and fishing straight through to Sunday, our clients managed full limits to 24" everyday with the exception of Tuesday and Thursday which produced "near limits". We are freelining live finfish over a variety of structures but primarily shell at this time. Depth hasn’t been much of a key as of late as timing, wind coordination, and current. Timing is catching the water improving or disintegrating; wind coordination is working with wind direction at certain parallel or perpendicular angles to structure, tapers, and drop-offs; and current speaks for itself, but we are focusing on current breaks if juxtaposed to the wind. Best case with the tide velocities I’ve seen this year, catch it running with the wind and get to the fish quickly for best results.
Maybe the fishing is going to get serious here in July, I’ll let you know.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Full Moon Rising
Success for the week depended upon a number of factors with "tenacity" being on top of the list. Half, near, and full limits of Trout were experienced through the week for our clients with wind being key. Sunday, 06/17/05, was the most impressive "rebound" with Trout to 24" and a strong feed over shell and improving water conditions. What the wind does during the day is and is not relevant. If the wind is 10 knots and "perfect" while fishing, it is of little relevance if it ripped at 25 knots all night. The damage is done overnight and "catching" will push late in the day amid improving water conditions. If the wind was slack all night and it’s blowing 20 at dawn, it’s very relevant. An aggressive approach is necessary to take advantage of disintegrating water conditions prior to total gutting and raking.
Water issues will be the number one focal point in success on the water this year. That’s a period and end of story for the ESB and SAB area presently. A quick read of what is "fishy water" and what isn’t has kept me in the numbers lately despite large voids and dead zones. Timing will be the second major issue this year of major importance to recreational anglers. Clearing or disintegrating water conditions are more productive at present than "water that looks great when you get to it". Gorgeous green water with little turbidity over prime structure is filled with hard heads and skip jack presently. Two choices, clear green or off color, you will find me in water that is "clearing" or "clear water that is murking or disintegrating". That’s a San Antonio Bay "fish catching 101".
Predictions I made earlier in the month "coming off the Full Moon" that fishing would have to improve on the "New Moon" ended up being "by default". I wasn’t impressed with the fishing in our area during the Full Moon amid strong tides and winds with excessive "gutted and raked water", and for June couldn’t imagine anything but improving fishing on the New Moon. This prediction was not correct and fishing remains a "day to day" challenge. We are still dealing with wind issues and water in San Antonio Bay that remains "unfishable" due to "excessive turbidity" even in the presence of slacking winds and strong tides.
Happy Fathers Day to everyone, good luck and good fishing.
Capt. Kris Kelley
Sunday, June 12, 2005
"Bobbing For Apples"
Fishing is unpredictable right now like bobbing for apples with your teeth out. When you think you’ve got them pinned down and figured out, they slip out from under you. I started out Tuesday w/Adolph Pena and guests limiting out on Trout to 27" over shallow shell in 2 to 4’ of water in SAB freelining live Croaker. I was off Wednesday and Thursday with a reschedule. Unfortunately for Capt. James Cunningham, he was working both days. He stumbled into an immediate nightmare freelining Wednesday 6/8 with gutted and shredded water at 17 to 25 knots. He tackled a shrimp boat for some "dead" and started working shorelines to piece together a solid box of middle slot Drum limits and Redfish limits, 15 and 9. James hit the same problem with gutted and shredded water in documented 17 knots steady and gusting to 25 knots on Thursday. He managed to pull together another "day saver" with 6 Redfish and 7 Drum working the same shoreline pattern. I told you the Drum were on the shorelines along with mid to upper slot Redfish. Why? Because the water in the back lakes is in the worst shape I’ve ever seen it. If they can’t get into the back country, they are going to be riding outside beaches until something changes with our water situation. It was over a month ago when I began voicing "trepidation" over the lack of quality water in our bay systems. The trepidation is growing at this point.
Kudos to James for digging the toe nails into the gelcoat and getting the rods bent! I hopped back on the water Friday for a tournament pre-fish with a Dr. and guests from Houston. We covered very little water under the conditions and managed three Trout short of limits to 22". Fishing was very spotty as evidenced by Capt. James Cunningham covering the same and similar water all the way to Mesquite for a tournament "pre-fish" for his party yielding 10 Trout and 3 Redfish. Pre-fishing numbers can be deceiving because often when fish are located, we are on the move leaving them for the big day. That is typically the wish of the customer and we are here to serve.
James and I fished a "multi-boat" party Saturday with some long time customers. We hedged our bets with Trout fishing up and down. James stuck with the Redfish and Drum program while I loaded up for freelining Trout. I chipped and chiseled my way to 40 Trout around 10:30am working shallow early then moving to deeper shell with a tide change to incoming. With the early reports on Trout, James was kicking himself as there was serious struggling with the Redfish and Drum bite. We talked several times and he wasn’t in the best mood. My only advice "stick with it Scooty". Sure enough he managed to slide into some fish after watching the area devastated early by Porpoises. He ended the day with 12 Slot Redfish limits, 1 oversized, 2 Drum, and 3 Trout.
To show you what kind of dilemma a fishing guide can get into, here is the best exmple. I felt like I was living under a silver lined cloud Friday with the success of the day. I knew the fishing was spotty in our area. Friday afternoon, after looking at wind projections for Saturday and Sunday, I called my customers for Saturday and Sunday and mentioned that things weren’t looking good. The multi-boat party for Saturday was committed regardless and appreciated the "fore-warning". My party for Sunday took the option to re-schedule. After limiting again Saturday and winds laying, I was kicking myself and felt for the customer. Enter a phone call from some very good clients that were in the area. I told them that I was off Sunday and they elected to hire me and I felt good about it. Sure enough, a combination of wind and tide had the water shredded and gutted today and the fishing was correspondingly "tough". We ended with 15 hard fought for Trout including two 23’s. Bottom line, we can’t do anything right at this time and I’m going to stop trying. Trying to outsmart these weather people has always been my weakness. Best bet now is to "prepare for the worst and hop all over anything better".
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Taking Air At Breaklight
"Consistently Large" would be the headline coming off of shell over the past week. Trout pushing 26" have been common and expected. With "sour black skinny water" dominating the back lakes of (Pringle, Contee, 5th) and "shallow" upper bays (Shoalwater, Dewberry), it seems they have little choice than to frequent outside beaches and shell structure at this time. 5/31 through 6/2 saw a continuation of full and near limits for Capt. James Cunningham, Capt. Scott Hataway, and I. With winds pushing 25 to 30 knots 6/3 through 6/5, I’ve seen a decrease in the numbers averaging around half limits over shell in both ESB and SAB. On 6/4, Capt. James Cunningham shifted gears to Redfish and Drum managing full limits of Black Drum to 28" with ½ limits of Redfish in the middle slot with fresh dead shrimp for his party of three. The Drum are on the outside beaches of SAB and ESB but you’ve got to find them and then try to keep up with them. Water was on the mend today, 6/5/05, late morning with Scott Smith and guests. We designed a strategy of "quick stick and move at dawn" last night to beat the wind. Taking 3’ of air and a constant saltwater Baptism at break light showed us that Mother Nature was one step ahead in winds gusting close to 30 knots. We managed a little over half limits for their party of four with fish to 23" as things settled around 9:00am. The weatherman is clueless right now when it comes to wind and I’ve seldom seen NOAA this far off as they have been lately. If the mending water holds for the week, I expect fishing to improve for "Freeliners".
Capt. Kris "Double K" Kelley