Saturday, March 22, 2008

Final Four

After a morning of yard work, (live oak trees drop their leaves in the spring) and a quick lunch, Tracy and I packed up and headed to Matagorda.

I was bound for McNab to see if I could figure out where all the redfish were hiding and Tracy was going to forgo the paddle for a walk on the beach. Our mutual love for the area and the diversity of activities makes this a pretty good place to spend the afternoon for both of us.

McNab Launch

I launched at about 1:30 pm and had three rods rigged up - one with a white Gulp shrimp, one with a bone Spook Jr., and one with a gold flake Salt Water Assassin with a chartreuse tail.

I saw a "Big Ugly" tailing near the first oyster reef but didn't spend too long fooling with trying to get him to eat a gulp.

Navigating the Reef

It had been quite a while since I had had a productive day at McNab and I felt sure that today I would find the fish.

The tide was low but beginning to rise when I headed in and the light wind at my back gave me time to do some casting at some likely spots.

I saw lots of big mullet and some bait but no reds on the trip into the lake. By the time I got to the open water the wind had picked up significantly so I parked and tried fishing the mouth of the main channel. As I was casting I spotted some birds that appeared to be diving on bait across the lake so off I went to see if they were telling the truth.

I set up a drift that took me right through the birds but there didn't seem to be any fish below the birds - they were just hitting some small, wind blown morsels.

I beached the yak at the little pier and got out to stretch my legs when I heard/saw what appeared to be a fish working the shoreline about 200 yards away.

I verified this with my new Bushnell binoculars I had picked up at Cabelas in Buda on our trip to the Hill Country earlier in the week.

I eased over and staked out such that the wind held me in position to cast. My first cast went wide but on my next one something BIG took the white gulp shrimp and began moving away from the shoreline. I held off as long as I could and finally set the hook only to hear my drag begin to scream. The big red took line for at least 100 yards before stopping and promptly spitting the hook! Arguhhhhhhhhh

I cast again to the same wind blown point and after a few unsuccessful tries again got a hit on the gulp. This time the fish was heading towards me and as I was reeling in he also turned loose. The pit of my stomach was feeling kind of tight at this point and I was seriously doubting the screwlock jighead I was using.

I fished the point for a while then made my way around the shoreline to the corner where I had caught several fish in the past. The wind was blowing water right into the channel and I tried to set up on the outside but the waves were high enough that they were coming onboard. After getting a wet seat, I let the boat drift into the far shoreline and came to rest against a stand of cord grass. I decided to change out my leader and hook and even put on a fresh new penny gulp.

I was taking a short break and having a nutrigrain bar when a feeding redfish made his appearance right in front of me. I quickly sprang into action and dropped the gulp right in his kitchen and in seconds it was game on! This was a nice slot redfish and I had him in close and was putting the pressure on him hard. Maybe a little too hard it seems as he popped my 15lb fluorocarbon leader like a 7X tippet!

Not again! This was beginning to seem like a bad dream...

I fished the corner a while then as time was getting away decided to work my way up the shoreline. When I got to John's Pocket I staked out once more and landed a perfect cast right at the mouth of the pocket. There was a willing participant waiting for an easy meal and that gulp fit the bill. I had this bad boy on for a good 5 minutes and got pulled around like I was on a dogsled in the Iditerod before - you guessed it - he came loose.

That's four keeper reds that I hooked and lost in the course of one short afternoon. And I might add that I worked pretty hard in the process of doing so. Let's see you top that one!

I finally ended up catching a flounder so the freezer will not be empty.

Stringer in Tow

Game Face

Flounder Fever

God's blessings come in ways you least expect. I wasn't expecting to catch a flounder after all.

The four reds had their way with me this time but I feel a re-match coming on.


Paul Batchelder said...

Sounds like you had some of my luck rub off!

Bawana said...

I'm speechless! Guess I'll just go back and take another look at that Native Watercraft ultimate 12. I like how the guy looks with the tripod set up in front of him. It's giving me ideas????