Monday, April 24, 2006

Port O'Connor Fishing Report April 2006

Fishing over the last week has been excellent with solid catches of Trout coming off of shell in San Antonio Bay. Airboat Redfishing has also been excellent in the back country of Matagorda Island. I welcomed Tim B. and buddy Mark in on Tuesday 4/18 for a two day trip. Coming off some tough weather during the past week we loaded up with PCS and managed to limit on Trout with an awesome bite. 4/19 we hooked up the airboat and headed to the back reaches of Matagorda Island for Redfish. The guys limited on Redfish including one 30” oversize fish and, three Black Drum. The guys also did some catching and releasing along the way. 4/20 I welcomed Ron Prellop and fishing buddy Archie in for some Trout fishing with PCS. Our first drift produced quick action but, as the wind ramped up the bite took a nasty turn. The guys ended up a few Trout short of limits but all in all it was a solid box of fish between 16 and 22”. 4/22 I met Andy Burson looking for big Trout on lures wade fishing lures. Andy stuck his largest fish of 22” on topwaters wading shin deep on area shorelines casting to pods of bait in shoreline guts. 4/23 I met Jim T., family, and guests for Airboat Redfishing. With overcast skies and the tide coming up slightly, I struggled to see fish. Despite some inaccuracy in my approaches due to visibility issues, the party of four limited with 12 middle slot and larger Redfish and three Black Drum.

There’s been a lot of excellent fishing this Spring and we are definitely saltier than we’ve been in years. That’s going to put fish in a lot of places and that’s a good thing!


Capt. Kris Kelley

Monday, April 10, 2006

Port O'Connor Redfish Tournament April, 2006

If the South wind at 30 didn’t get you last week, slick calm and a lack of wind did. Fishing took a nasty turn with the approaching front and it had more to do with a lack of conditions than the fish. Add this last cold front and already low water conditions, I pulled the plug on the weekend trips and opted to re-schedule for better weather. That was a good call with the raging North wind Saturday and shredded and gutted bay conditions.

Every passing cold front in the Spring brings us closer to weather stability and longer periods of stable conditions. I did manage to hit a “slick off” last week, mid-week with the bays smooth and low water conditions. I was scouting with a friend that was fishing the Redfish tournament in Port O’Connor over the weekend. While a slick off isn’t the best condition for catching fish, it can be beneficial when you are looking for fish. With the absence of a ripple on the water, cruising fish and schooling pods of the flats bruisers are easier to spot. We saw up a number of fish scattered here and there and then we hit the mother load. Tight moving schools of at least 100 or more Redfish “mowing the lawn” in search of food. We scouted a few locations and checked a Trout bite here and a Redfish hole there before returning to the fish we spotted. Finding them in the area some time later wasn’t difficult. When it’s slick, you can see these fish “hump up” on the surface of the water while throwing off a small ripple and nervous water as you approach.

I elected to hit the water “weight-less” throwing a Sand Eel with not jig head. The slicker the conditions, the more spooky Redfish can be. An un-weighted Sand Eel can be presented almost like a fly with a light presentation into the water. That was the ticket as I waded the area. We needed to get a handle on the size of these fish for tournament purposes. At one point, my buddy yelled “their coming at you”, as I turned toward him I was confronted with Redfish swimming around me at my feet. With the bulk of the school beyond me toward open water, I managed to hook my first fish. It was a solid 26” bruiser that put up a good fight. Re-grouping after that fish, the school was making a big hook away from me and then slowly turned back at me. As I got into position to make a cast, I watched as the water unfolded like a sheet of copper tin foil in front of me. That is a sight to behold to say the least. I let my first fly toward the lead fish in the pack and hooked up amid some juggling and jockeying on the part of a number of fish that were trying to take the bait. The fight was short-lived as the hook pulled within seconds of solid contact. The initial fight had spooked the school and I speed reeled to make another cast. This one landed toward the back end of the pack and I was very fortunate to find another taker. It was another solid fish but a little smaller than the first.

That was a lot of fun and it was enough to get a handle on the size available in the area. These fish weren’t in the best location for the 30 knot North wind predicted on tournament day and my buddy elected to fish another area taking 5th place. He told a friend about where the fish were located and wouldn’t you know it, they won it! That’s the way the tournament “cookie crumbles”.


Capt. Kris Kelley

Monday, April 03, 2006

Mexico Video Disclaimer

Disclaimer For Avid "Sportsmen":

Grab a beverage and enjoy the show.

Disclaimer For "Fruit Baskets":

The video clips may contain footage that is potentially morally offensive to someone in the liberal media busy talking out of both sides of their mouth and living in a glass house. There is a strong warning to anyone previously engaged in the duck hunting business that "couldn't cut it" and sold their airboat and got out after nearly killing me, my clients, and others through negligence. This would include those making bleeding heart "protect the seagrass" comments while their wife is spinning donuts on the grass beds in a scooter boat in the back lakes. This footage should not be viewed by anyone publishing a worthless fishing rag that nobody with any “Salt” bothers looking at much less “reads”. This would be especially true of one that pitches a lofty conservation stance from the top of Mount Everett while every advertisement features a picture of some “hero stringer”of shoulder strung fish. These clips should not be viewed by anyone that could never walk the walk and is only left talking or practicing some ridiculous limited harvest and excessive conservation ethic by default.

This video should not be viewed by anyone making ficticious accusations through editorial or otherwise of those engaged in the hunting or fishing profession. This video is not for those that do not research their subject before making condemning remarks about others. This video should not be viewed by anyone that can only achieve some satisfaction in the hunting and fishing business behind the desk on a keyboard.


Mexico Duck Hunting

Fly Fishing Port O'Connor 2006


Fishing has been wide open over the last week with Trout limits to near limits everyday. We’ve been throwing PCS (popping cork shrimp) with excellent results. Drifting reefs and flats has been most productive while dropping anchor on areas where fish are schooled up. When the action stops, jerk the anchor and get on the move again. Fish have been ranging from 15 to 23” and have significant egg sacks. Everything is coming off of shell in ESB and SAB. The wind has had us pinned down in a few areas at times. Trout are spread all the way up North past Seadrift but, we are unable to get to them with some wind velocities.

Fly Fishing Redfish

The last cold front ripped our Spring Tide out from under us. The water levels are kind of a summer time average depth at present on the low side. Despite this condition, the back country is holding quite a few Redfish in the middle slot and over. Many of these fish are located in deeper pocket lakes that lend themselves well to Airboat Redfishing. Sunday, I went after fish holding in ankle deep water looking to take some on a fly rod with my good friend and fly fishing mentor, Steve Fowler. We left the ramp about 8:30am on my airboat and headed for the Matagorda Island back country. Wind was blowing about 15 knots out of the SE and sunny. About the time I rounded the corner into the marsh, clouds moved in. We spent the next six hours fighting cloud cover and murked up water. The biggest concentrations of fish didn’t lend themselves to sight fishing very well. The fish were holding over mud and grass in knee deep murky water and not showing any “signs” at all. We slow played everything working some areas with fish. The first hook-up came when Steve walked over an island to find a 30” plus Redfish laying next to some old duck blind legs with its back out of the water. The fish took his Seaducer and promptly rapped him up in the pilings and broke off.

About 2:00, the sun started poking out and we knew things were about to turn in our favor. I fired up the boat and we made a run finding some fish as far back on the island as you can go. The water was clear and knee deep or less with scattered grasses. We had a number of shots at some decent middle slot fish but came up empty. I backed my first fish and spooked it. Steve managed to turn several fish that followed his fly. They wouldn’t hop on it and eventually spooked when he and the fish came eye to eye. We again fired up and I made a long run back towards Pringle and came up on some fish in about ankle deep water over sparse grasses. It was approaching 4:00 as we started stalking the flat. Working with the wind at our backs and the sun in front of us was pretty tough. I found some comfort level quartering the wind and looking over my right shoulder “semi upwind”. This offered the best visibility and water penetration. Roughly 150 yards into the stalk, I came across my first two fish slowly cruising together. As I stripped line and got set, the fish slowly made a hook away from me and headed for Steve who was about 75 yards in front of me.

I got on their trail but, still couldn’t ever get a visual on them. On the trail, I came across what looked like a decent fish laying still in front of me with the light colored tip of it’s aquamarine tail flagging light a “white-tail deer”. The angle was about 10 degrees or so, almost looking straight away from me. The wind was near perpendicular to the fish and my position about 15’ away. I crouched down a little bit and attempted to move a little to the right or slightly more up wind. I knew the target on the cast was going to be more right into the wind to get the fly in front of and not on top of the fish. I made two false casts making sure my lead was right and I let it rip with some up wind body English. Essentially when the fly hit the water, up wind and beyond the fish, he turned toward the Seaducer more or less broadside to me. I started stripping little three inch strips in a crouching position and could see him on the move toward the bait, contact, explosion! I jerked back on the fly line and set the hook while simultaneously flag poling the Temple Fork Outfitters #8. I dropped the line and enjoyed the ride for the next five minutes or so. As he wore down, I collected the 22” fish and posed for a quick picture while Steve and I discussed our options. I dropped him back in the water and watched as he cruised the flat for a meeting some other day.

That fish broke the ice for us on a tough day “condition wise” on the flats. Before it was over, Steve managed four fish to hand including one fish pushing 30”. I never had another decent shot despite coming across a tailing fish that vanished on me in knee deep water. In this game, you’ve got to catch a break and we did. The scowling 20 knot winds backed off us and when the clouds broke, we were very fortunate.


Capt. Kris Kelley

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