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
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