There is nothing I like better than a grand adventure. I have always been a daydreamer, and my mind is constantly filled with places I would like to be or things I would rather be doing. Most of these “mental vacations” involve floating in my plastic boat, casting lures or whipping a fly line back and forth. This is usually how my urge to travel gets started, and soon enough the dreaming turns to trip preparation.
Red drum, redfish, spot-tail, puppy drum, drum, channel bass, red bass. There are so many names for this beautiful copper sport fish, depending on where you live. Their scientific name is Sciaenops ocellatus (Sciaenops – Greek word meaning perch-like marine fish; oceallatus – Latin word meaning an eye-like colored spot).They are arguably the most sought after coastal fish in Florida, which I (and many others) consider the Redfish Capital of the World.
I fish a few kayak tournaments each year, and each time I come away with more knowledge than I had before. This weekend was no different. I joined forty other anglers to try our hands at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, TX. It taught me several additional lessons, either from my own actions or observation of others. You may already employ some of these, but you should at least give them some thought.
Here in Texas, the winter has had its time and spring is showing up throughout the weekly forecasts. A week ago we were dealing with water temps around 40°F and the fish, not used to chilly water, seemed uncooperative. This week sees a large warming trend, and signals the beginning of hybrid striped bass season.
“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” That was the mantra for car racing for years. For the most part, it’s completely true. Competition not only creates fans, but spawns bigger, better and faster products. Angling - and kayak angling - has certainly benefited from the same cycle.
Last February accounted for more 20” river smallmouth in my trip report log than any month so far this year. I expect December to beat it. The pattern that works for so many big river smallmouth? To tell you “suspending jerkbaits over ledge trenches” would only tell you about 30% of the story. The other 70% - the important part - is how long between jerks. To be honest, unless the water is fairly stained, the jerks are inconsequential.
We are starting to see much cooler water temperatures and increasingly less sunlight. However, Fall is a great time to fish and is one of the best times to catch BIG fish. As their metabolism slows, they often look for bigger baits as water temps Fall (they are math geniuses, calculating calories spent versus calories to be consumed). With that in mind, big fish can often be enticed to attack larger lures compared to the warmer summer months.
Fall colors peak along the Gulf Coast in October. The color red, that is. After enduring a long and muggy summer, the angler is rewarded with great opportunities to find redfish as fall sets in.