Saturday, July 26, 2008

Best Fishing Day Ever

After being out of town all week, I was more than ready for a trip to Matagorda. Hurricane Dolly had come ashore well to the south and while we got some much needed rain the weather had quickly returned to hot and humid with no chance of rain in the forecast.

We were overdue for a visit to McNab Lake and I convinced Tracy that we needed to get up early in order to have the best chance at a fish. I was a little concerned that I was overselling the whole kayak fishing thing as this would be the first time the "Lady Trion" would meet the "Native Magic". Fishing from a kayak requires controlling a lot of chaos and I didn't want it to be a bad experience. The weather was still and humid and I worked up a sweat just loading the boats at 5:15 AM. We made sure the bug dope was packed in case the recent rain had produced a crop of mosquitos. Paul and I experienced the joy of M&M (mosquitos in the marsh) when we paddled Oyster Lake last year. They can be relentless!

Upon arrival, we found the water level to be high (due to the effects of Dolly) and the tide going out. There was just enough breeze blowing in from the south to cool things down and keep the bugs at bay.

The outflow was pretty strong as shown in this shot near the launch. This was also a good sign as the moving water pulls the baitfish off the protection of the oyster reefs. The predators take full advantage of this and position themselves in the buffet line.

We got to enjoy some nice close ups of this Spoonbill and gulls on the way in.

I think this is the best shot of a spoonbill to date. I kept a sharp eye out for Mr. Alligator but he must have moved on to seek fresh water.

Our game plan included paddling to the reefs near the first split which last time had produced a nice trout. We could see bait showering into the air as we approached and I was getting pumped about the possibility of catching a good fish here. I rigged Tracy up with a 2" white gulp under a pink cork and before long she had a good fish on! It gave a good fight and ended up getting tangled up in the brush along the shoreline behind Tracy. With a few anxious moments and a lot of luck I was able to get my 14' boat up alongside the 12' Magic and work my net in among the brush to finally retrieve her fish.

Not Bad... Her first fish caught from the yak and it is a 20" redfish.

Not to be outdone, I threw a redfish magic spinner bait and hooked up as well.

"Yee Haw" My own contribution to the stringer, another 20" red.

I switched to the MiroDine and was rewarded with an 18" trout. This was turning out to be a good spot and it was only about 300 yards from the launch.

I was thinking we may never make it into McNab Lake at this rate. The bite calmed down and we were thinking about moving when Tracy hooked up again. She had seen this big guy chasing bait and placed her cast accordingly. This time she got to enjoy a Texas Sleigh Ride.

This 26" red weighed in at 7.3 lbs. This is a major league fish under any conditions but in a kayak it was a real fight and Tracy handled him like a pro. I was trying to give instructions but as you can imagine, I got a little tongue tied when I realized how big this red was. "Don't horse him!" was about the best I could come up with...

Big red and a happy fisherman!

Here is the bad boy on the stringer. We fished a while more and went down the the next corner where I caught two more trout but both were just a little shy of the legal limit of 15". The morning had been productive to say the least and the sun was getting hot, The bite had completely died out so we decided to bag the paddle in to the lake and head to Cattails for a cup of coffee.

This shot gives a little perspective. Six inches difference on a redfish makes a lot of difference.

We had a nice stringer for a couple of hours of fishing. After coffee and an early lunch at Spoonbills we headed to the beach. Edie and Marie had filled us in on the events of the past week and told us that the tide had come in all the way to the dunes and really cleaned off the beach. The water was beginning to settle out but was still stirred up so we took a left at Three Mile Cut to see what the back lakes looked like. We found a nice spot to park and tried casting lures off the bank. I hooked up on a couple of trout using a small squid on a jighead.

I continued to see nervous water and an occasional bait shower on the opposite bank and finally landed one close enough to this 22" red for him to do the "grab & go". It was a little surprising to catch this guy in the blazing sun with no real cover. There goes my argument for getting up early!

We moved down and I next connected with this nice black drum on a gold spoon. Again, a surprise as drum are not known to chase a lure - even if it is a Nemire Red Ripper!

Tracy was feeling left out until she connected with this small flounder. The fishing forum folks call this a "potato chip flounder".

These are spectacular creatures and are perfectly camouflaged to ambush unsuspecting bait (or in this case a white gulp shrimp).

Tracy and I continued to catch black drum after switching to fresh dead shrimp. We put three in the ice chest along with the four reds and the speck I had caught earlier in the channel at McNab. We took a break and rode down the beach a ways. I foul hooked a horse mullet and caught a few hardheads before we called it a day.

Here is the shot from the cleaning table. It was a nice "Meat Haul" and lots of fun to boot.

I have caught fish in several states - in the mountains and in some pretty rivers and lakes. I have had days when I caught more fish and have even caught bigger fish then we did this day.

Being out in the fresh air - paddling, fishing, and walking on the beach are all fun and relaxing activities. Watching your best friend catch her first (and second) fish from a kayak made this by far the best day of fishing ever.


Renna said...

With the soaring grocery prices, I can see where a haul such as that can be a real blessing, as well as fun!

I'm not so sure I'm nervy enough to be in a lake with gators and no more between me and the water than what the kayak provides, though! ;-Þ

Paul Batchelder said...

What a great catch..makes me wonder what I was thinking!
Hot dogs..... who would have thought

Bawana said...

I knew this day would come grasshopper, now you may approach the urn of hot coals with the fish emblems amd burn them into your arms forever. Congratulations on a great day!