But the stars (and schedules) aligned on Wednesday! A day off from work and an invitation from some friends put me on the water/ It was a little late start; the rest of the year you’ll find us out there at the break of dawn, but in the late fall and early winter we give the fish a chance to wake up first.
We were on the water by 10am and were almost immediately greeted by fish. The fist I spotted was a small black drum hanging near a bank. As I tossed a purple and chartreuse Matrix Shad “Vortex Shad" to him, I noticed a 30”+ redfish swimming up. I quickly reeled in and made another cast, but lost sight of the red. This situation got my blood pumping. At least I knew they were here!
I cruised down that shoreline a bit, and started blind casting around a point. It didn’t take long before I felt that familiar “thump” and had a red on the line! After a short fight, he measured in at 20”. Not the nice one I had seen earlier, but a decent fish.
I continued cruising that bank for a couple of miles. I was trailing behind my friends, who were at least a hundred yards ahead of me. As I headed into a canal behind them, I had to resist the urge to cast to a topwater hit I noticed out the corner of my eye. Normally I’d make a cast, but we were headed to “the spot”. I had unknowingly been to “the spot” before. It was one of the more challenging trips earlier this year.
We were soon portaging over a small piece of land, then winding our way down a canal that opened up into a marsh. This marsh was the place to be! Within ten minutes all four of us had hooked up with redfish! And if we’d spot a fish that was too far to cast to, we’d let each other know where it was going so that someone else might have an opportunity.
When the reds decided that they didn’t like the purple-and-chartreuse Vortex Shad, I changed it up and tied on a Buggs curl-tail jig. It was on again!
After a while of sight-casting to reds and picking up quite a few, we started the journey back to our launch. We came upon a barrier in one of the canals that had been broken through, creating a bottle-neck effect. Right here, the water was 10’ – 11’ deep. Everywhere else, we were in 4’ or less. I made a cast with a jig head into the bottle-neck and bounced the lure on the bottom and up the drop-off. I hooked up with a black drum!
Soon after, while throwing a Rapala "Skitter Walk®", I hooked up with a speckled trout. Unfortunately, while I went for my net, he was able to shake the hook free.
It was a great December day to be out, and catching fish is always a plus!
The air temperature when we got on the water around 10am was near 52°F. The peak temperature was 63°F. Water temperature was around 56°Fat 10am, and around 64°F at 3pm.