I launched around 9am, about the time the temperature was in the upper 40s. When I arrived at the main cove, I was met with a very strong wind out of the east. As usual, the weatherman was wrong. This was slightly disappointing; the cove is unprotected on the east side, which means I was met with whitecaps and very muddy water. Although hesitant, I decided to proceed to the mouth of a canal I planned to fish about three miles away.
While underway, I trolled a wake bait and hooked up on a small redfish, which I tagged and released. Eventually I arrived at the mouth of the canal. I decided not to fish there due to the high winds and strong outgoing tide, which made fishing almost impossible. I worked my way into the canal, and headed to a place where there are multiple cuts that feed into the canal from several shallow marshes. As the temperature climbed into the 60s and the strong outgoing tide began to slack, I noticed more action on the water. I made it to a cut and staked out, as I saw what proved to be smaller redfish attacking baitfish coming out of the shallow marsh. I started using a Matrix Shad “Vortex Shad” (black with chartreuse tail) and managed to hook up on some rat reds, which were all tagged and released. I was having a good time, but I didn’t have much hope for any larger reds because up until that point all I had caught was several big mosquito bites and a few small fish.
I then made a decision that turned out to be the best one of the day. I started working the deeper trough of the canal at the opening of the cut. As I worked the drop off, I felt a very light tug - so light I almost missed it. I set the hook expecting another rat red, but as I pulled a big mouth came to the surface and the fish began to skip across the top of the water, thrashing its large head from side to side all the while. It was a nice spec! After landing her, I immediately put her on my measuring board; she was 23” beauty. It was photo, tag, and release for this girl. Now I was even more excited, and I forgot about all the mosquitos.
I continued to work the trough with my Vortex Shad. It was not even fifteen minutes later that I felt that familiar light tug of a lethargic wintertime fish. It was almost in the same spot as the previous girl, right at the drop off into the deeper trough. I again set the hook, but this time there was no hydroplaning fish. She kept pulling and pulling into deeper water. Could it be a bigger red? After a nice fight, I saw the all-too- familiar sign of small black dots on a silver body. It was another nice spec, bigger than the first! After getting her to the kayak, she went to the measuring board. This girl went 25”! I didn’t want to discriminate so it was photo, tag, and release for her, too.
As a little more time passed, the tide had slowed and the water became stagnant. This one little hot spot turned unproductive as quickly as it turned on. The baitfish were no longer being forced from the shallow marsh. I managed one more 15” red, which proved to be more aggressive and put up more of a fight than any of the other fish that day. I decided it was time to head back to the launch, as I had lost a lot of blood from the mosquito bites. They were all worth it, after having had the experience of landing two nice winter girls from Louisiana!