Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
Author Message
Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:20 am 
User avatar
Star Board Poster
Joined: 4/29/04
Posts: 2913
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
When I planned this trip with my buddies, it was dreamed from power boat runs from S. Padre 20 years ago. It was a totally successful trip, but more of a paddling adventure than kayak fishing adventure. One thing I knew that would work, and did.
Our fishing shack had a great lighted dock, fish cleaning board and sink - dock fishing was the highlight of this trip.
Image
The shack itself was a couple of trailers with an enclosed dog-run, a huge enclosed deck, and that great fishing dock. Bring your own kitchen stuff, towels. Good beds and bedding were the only thing provided, and lots of room for staging and laying out gear. Don't bring your wife or mother here, but this is an absolutely perfect fishing shack. Of course, it's a 5-hour drive from SA, we loaded our stores at the Raymondville HEB, and our arriving meal of grilled brats and spinach salad hit the spot.
Image
For several days' enjoyment, our score was miles of paddling, countless tourist trout, 15 keeper trout, and one keeper snook. I'll admit I took all but 3 of the keeper trout, mostly because I stuck with it - I was the guy who automatically got up at 430 am to fish the hour before first light. If it helps, every trout we filleted was a male, without killing a single female.

First night we went to work with live shrimp fished below a Mansfield mauler - no weight, 4' leader, 1/0 Kahle hook. The prevailing S wind let us chunk this light rig to the edge of the light. We were good guys, we released countless 14-1/2" specs, and I'm not accusing, but most people fishing for meat would put them on the stringer. With 4 absolutely legal fish from the stringer to fillets, my buddies were already happy with the trip at the end of the first evening - we had a meal floating in ice. I was fishing my 7'9" Japanese XUL salt rod with 3-lb test, so every fish was a blast, regardless of size.

I got up in the dark the next morning with a stinky pink Trout Support lure on a bay rod, and had a ball until first light. One buddy wasn't far behind me, chunking chicken on a chain, and between us, we took every nursery trout on the arroyo for a walk. Tobin deserves a lot of cudos for this lure. It's fun to fish, just about any retrieve draws action, and if there's a fish anywhere around when your cast hits the water, they will impale themselves on it. The next day on Rattlesnake Bay, I would miss my trout of the trip - she grabbed the lure as soon as it hit the water, charged hard and even turned, but I never quite got the hook set. Started the first morning with a good meal - my famous salmon omelettes, with the pre-flaked Nova salmon, and Mateo's Hatch salsa.

OK, Rattlesnake Bay- SSE wind, 15 kts - certainly the place to be for that wind and an all-day rising tide. The 1.4 mi paddle from the county park to the Intercoastal is a greater distance than you remember. An adventure going out, a chore coming home, even with a sailing wind. This seagull stole the heron's mullet, and the fight was pretty cool.
Image
There is no wading in Rattlesnake Bay - the bottom everywhere is quicksand. I really expected to find redfish here, and even more surprising because each of us saw a dozen stingrays.
Image
Each of us caught tourist trout (13-14"), I missed my big sow of the trip, and Steve drifted over a 30" trout. The water here was too skinny for his mirage drive, so he had to revert to paddle.
Image

Image
My 16' Tarpon, and our last breather on Horse Island before the long paddle home.
Image
We called it right, leaving the flat at 3pm - we just beat sundown loading the boats. We arrived dead-dog tired, but it felt really good to stand up, even if that meant loading boats.
Image
We would be too tired to cook our fillets, and left them floating in ice water (they just get better left in ice water for several days, anyway - washes out all the blood and bile).
So we hit Chili Willies in Arroyo City for burgers. This place is great, not just great burgers, but epic onion rings that compare to Hut's in Austin.
I suspect their fried fish would also be completely free of grease.
We bought another pint of shrimp in town and didn't quite fish through it - my buddies petered out just as the schoolie specs were coming to explore our light. Each Lou and Steve put a trout on the stringer and went to bed. Lou caught a fine, meaty 17" trout on the UL Penn I loaned him. I stuck with a bone diamond Trout Support, had great fun, and ended up with a few more to fillet before racking out.

Next morning - yes, I got up and caught some fish - it was time to regroup. The front was coming stronger than the early predictions, so our original plan to fish the east wind to Green Island would be a mistake. Over Steve's great eggs migas breakfast, we had to pick a place for easy paddle into the light north wind before the big blow would hit at 2pm. We chose to drive our kayaks to the S. Padre convention center
(and knew we could have a following feast at S. Padre Brewing Co.)
Low tide on the rise, and threat of rain, which never got us.
Image
We paddled to the flat north of the boat channel, got out to wade and, no surprise, caught tourist trout. I did put a fly rod together, but when Steve called out chicken on a chain was getting a bite every few seconds, I put it down for the bait rod.
Image
The weather was looking good, the N wind picking up, so we paddled a bit farther up the island, and set our drift socks to hit the point just above our launch at the Bay Access. It was beautiful.
Image
Truly beautiful.
Image
Image
And yes, more tourist trout - again Tobin's chicken on a chain is a perfect dog-walking lure on the shallow grass.
Image
Heading back in, Steve was happy to pedal his Mirage drive.
Image
The feast at S. Padre Brewing Co. met our expectation, and we arrived back in Arroyo City in light rain, big blow, and feeling really good.
Later that evening, between cold-fishing stretches, we sauteed a few of our fillets for truly great fish tacos with fresh chopped pico de gallo and avocados.

Fishing the light bait rig into the beating N wind would be out of the question, so we picked up some spec rigs to compliment our Trout Support lures, and fished our big bay rods. The rain would end, but the cold blow remained. We donned our weather layers, and alternated short stretches chunking lures, and sipping rum in the enclosed deck. Alternating lures, too, so we kept presenting something different to the hoards of fish drawn to our light.
The Trout Support lure would cast Into the teeth of the 20-25 kt N wind and still reach the edge of the light, and we could get half that far with a spec rig. Something else to mention about Tobin's lure. You can squeeze a little Procure shrimp gel into the hook slot - if you were being eaten by a spec, what would you do? - yes, exactly that.
Image
In the cold air and highly oxygenated water, any size spec belies its size, putting a great bend in the bay rods.

Yes, I loved this, too, and for my buddies, the highlight of the trip was watching me catch a double on the spec rig - a tourist trout in front, and a just-slot-limit snook in the rear. Not a great fish photo, but a great fish and yes, I'm happy as a kid.
I put on my paddling gloves to fillet it. It was tender to fillet, and got two beautiful pieces of meat.
Image

My highlight of the trip was getting up the last morning, while my buddies slept in. I woke up to schoolies under our light. Again, it was a blast to fish Trout Support bone diamond on a weighted swimbait hook under the light. My favorite retrieve was a crawling pump, feeling the smaller trout trying to eat it a half-dozen bites before the lure reached my view at the dock. Then at the dock, 4 or 5 schoolies would make their arcing shot at the lure right under my view. Yeah, the 20" got off, along with several classmates, but I filleted the last two nice fish of the trip.
Image
Maybe not the best kayak destination, but I can recommend an Arroyo cabin for a great landing and excellent dock fishing at night. Other short drive options to launch a kayak from here would be either Port Mansfield or South Bay. We could have caught a lot more fish if we had stayed up all night and waited for the schoolies to swing by. Nary a complaint, because we had a grand time. I took home a meal for my folks, and each of my buddies took home a meal to their wives, who will then let them out again next time.
Image
For every trout we put on the stringer, we caught and released 20, and a great outing with great friends.
Image
The last morning we had coffee and packed out, and headed toward San Benito looking for a tacqueria. If you're driving in S. Texas and see a tacqueria with many cars, don't pass it - that's where you want to eat. Ours was Blue Marlin restaurant in San Benito, where we had a fine breakfast, and later on the drive caught our favorite meat sandwich at Van's BBQ in Oakville.


Last edited by Ron Mc on Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:46 am 
Reel Talk Member
Advanced Board Poster
Joined: 9/14/03
Posts: 144
Location: Ohio
I usually donot read fishing reports. I always make it a point to read yours !! THANKS ! John


Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:48 am 
User avatar
Advanced Board Poster
Joined: 2/06/06
Posts: 133
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Looks like a great fishing adventure to me. I also fish a fresh-water kayak here on local waters, so it is interesting to see some of the differences in your rig. I may post some photos next spring on that subject, but would be great to see any other kayak rigs. I have never had a chance to do salt-water kayak, so your post is inspiring me to look for that in the future.


Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:51 am 
User avatar
Star Board Poster
Joined: 4/29/04
Posts: 2913
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
our boats are all about cheating the wind, because we're paddling a long way upwind to drift-fish home.

forgot to mention, where we were standing on Horse Island, we were looking at Ocelot tracks in the mud. Laguna Atascosa preserve, right behind us, has a good ocelot population.


Last edited by Ron Mc on Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:04 pm 
Reel Talk Member
Advanced Board Poster
Joined: 2/13/08
Posts: 422
Ron,
Not sure exactly what you mean here

"Yes, I loved this, too, and for my buddies, the highlight of the trip was watching me catch a double on the spec rig - a tourist trout in front, and a 21" snook in the rear. Not a great fish photo, but a great fish and yes, I'm happy as a kid.
I put on my paddling gloves to fillet it. It was tender to fillet, and got two beautiful pieces of meat. "

but the TEXAS Saltwater Fishing Regulations show Daily bag limit on snook is one and it has to be between 24-28 inches.

Why would you eat such a great fighting fish regardless of its size? There are just not that many in Texas.

Sorry, I just can't agree with that.

Colby


Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:09 pm 
User avatar
Star Board Poster
Joined: 4/29/04
Posts: 2913
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
it was a typo colby - it was a slot limit fish, measured first thing
not the only typo I corrected in this essay

I'm going to add this - I'm 9 hours and 2 states away from you here. neither ocelots nor snook are rare
Any S. Padre guide can put you on snook.

One more thing to add. If you had an actual concern or question, you could have taken this up in a pm to me, rather than accuse me of poaching in internet posterity.


Last edited by Ron Mc on Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:09 am, edited 3 times in total.

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:27 pm 
Reel Talk Member
Advanced Board Poster
Joined: 8/24/16
Posts: 128
Location: Windward Oahu
Thank you Ron. It makes me home sick. You must have been staying close to the shrimp farm.
-steve


Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:42 pm 
User avatar
Star Board Poster
Joined: 4/29/04
Posts: 2913
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
where we were staying is in the last block of Arroyo City, about a quarter-mile from where the natural Arroyo diverges from the shipping channel, and about a mile from the end of Marshall Hutts road and the busiest boat ramp in s. Texas. Not too bad on a November weekday, though.
As far as the live bait goes, someone hauls it from Port Isabel shrimp fleet 12 mi to a couple of Arroyo City bait shops. Though I did better on lures than my buddies did on live bait.

Image


Posted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:54 am 
Reel Talk Member
Advanced Board Poster
Joined: 4/15/13
Posts: 347
Location: East Texas Piney Woods
Looks like a fantastic trip Ron.

Thanks for taking us along for the ride.

William


Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:08 pm 
User avatar
Super Board Poster
Joined: 8/15/09
Posts: 848
Location: Virginia Beach
Ron...What a great post!

Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience!


Posted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:40 pm 
User avatar
Star Board Poster
Joined: 4/29/04
Posts: 2913
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
thanks again guys - it was a great trip and adventure

You'll be hearing more from this trio in the spring - closer to home, Aransas Pass and Estes.
This was Lou's first TX coast fishing, first kayak paddling, though he's a former yankee now naturalized with a lifetime of canoeing and outdoor adventures. He's so naturalized, he's fluent in Spanish, which bought us a lot of grace in (far) S. Texas. (to put this in perspective, we live in s. Texas, but this is 5 hours farther south)
Lou's also a natural fisherman, which I can relate.
My buddy Steve is boat rich, running out of places to put boats, and recently bought that Hobie. So when we arrived back in town, we loaded Steve's old 14' Emotion Fisherman onto Lou's truck - a gift for Lou to get ready for the spring (and he's hard after it).
Image
Here's the Fisherman on an Aransas trip about 8 or so years ago.
Steve in his old Aquaterra Kahuna was actually the first published photo of saltwater kayak fishing, in Phil Shook articles, Fly Rod & Reel (Apr '94), and Texas Parks & Wildlife.


Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
© 2016 The Old Reel Collectors Association, Inc.

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group