Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

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Ron Mc
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Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by Ron Mc »

Wind and weather prediction from Friday night through Monday afternoon said stay away - 60 to 80% rain chance day and night for all 3 days. Saturday wind looked bad, Sunday wind looked like good fishing, and Monday was too far to know. The weather services were wrong about most of it. My buddy Stevo made the call - with the big automatic awning on his Oliver trailer, knew we'd have a good time even if we cooked and drank beer.
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With his boats in storage at Rockport, decided on two vehicles, mine to shuttle kayaks - his to haul the travel trailer and run errands.
We were staying at Palm Harbor RV park in Estes, with Estes Flats in our back yard. We arrived with dry and enough daylight to have our boats staged for Saturday morning.
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Crossing the ferry to Port Aransas to fish East Flats on Mustang barrier island was high on our list, because Steve had never fished there. We ran the drill early Saturday morning, driving through sheets of rain. Even with the wind shelter, 18 kt gusting to 26 was too much, with Doppler showing continual storms moving up the coast. We made the call at the marina ramp to return to the trailer.
I took this photo for Josh, because a different morning launching 9 kayaks here, my photo caught him in a nature call - hey, I cropped it before I published it.
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We were back in the trailer watching a movie, but Steve was watching weather updates and Doppler on his phone. At 10 am, he called a window in both the wind and rain, and we drove 200' to launch kayaks at the RV park bulkhead. While NWS was calling 12-kt SSE, we were getting 12-kt NNE - after 1 mi paddle across, and 2 mi into the wind, a perfect drift down our favorite Trout Bayou.

Dead center of Trout Bayou, I hooked up a dink. Nope - when it got close to the boat, it turned on redfish shoulders. Second time close to the boat, she did a tailstand flapping her head, and it was a major trout. Drift sock in, right now. She made at least four trips around my boat, two stopped attempts under, and was giving me a sleigh ride. I measured a quick 26", but you be the judge -
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- my beam is 28", and this is my lifetime speckled trout. Caught on Z-man Minnow-Z, Mood Ring, and 1/8 oz Texas-eye jighead. The lure color is my favorite in clear water overcast, reflects blue and transmits pink.
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This was a lot better than a bad movie. Our 2 hour window was over with the wind building to 18 kts, and a tough tack across Estes Cove to get back in. Calorie deprived and jonesing, we made a run to Steer Burger.
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We crossed the ferry again Sunday morning, and the weather prediction had everything wrong - no rain, and no wind - none to move us onto fish, and none for stealth cover. We paddled 8 mi to cover everywhere in the flat and shallow lake, mostly without fish. The hot sun and still air finally drove us in. Instead of predicted ESE, a light NW wind was enough to drift-fish the mid-depth shelf across the flat on our way back to the marina, and we found dink heaven. Almost every cast got small reds and trout -
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- a tail shot of the day's 16" red.
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Since Monday was a short day on the water, we chose to stay at Estes, and were joined by a new friend we made at the Redfish Rodeo last fall, with his son on a first paddle (Steve said, "you brought bait").
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We launched in calm at 6:15, expecting the predicted SE to come up later, and headed due E to Little Cut.
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Before we got to the cut, the shoal was black with bait, small reds tailing and slashing bait. Light NW glided us onto the fishing.
I was catching rats on my prop-tail topwater shrimp, and having a blast.
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Our friend and his son went in after 3 hours, and reported 3 redfish, two of them just 1/2" below slot. When we got enough ESE to drift, I drifted twice from the oyster close to Little Cut into deeper grass, and found those nice just-under-slot reds our friend had been into. Finished our last drift at the first duck blind and headed in to pack out. Different color Minnow-Z, green/grey with red flecks.
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Especially since I owe Steve for calling the 2-hr paddle window between monsoons and for my lifetime spec, a beer-thirty photo in his Outback before our last-mile paddle in.
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We finished packing out in light rain, and drove through walls of zero-visibility rain on the way home.
Great trip, would do it again in a heartbeat.
We outsmarted the weatherpersons.
Last edited by Ron Mc on Wed May 17, 2023 7:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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klonder
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by klonder »

Brilliant! Thanks.
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Ron Mc
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by Ron Mc »

thanks friend - it was fun to write, and 3rd edit for this audience is the best.
I always write my photo essay when I'm too tired to clean gear, and everything is fresh.
One photo to add here, which came off our friend's boat Monday morning.
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Mike N
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by Mike N »

Good story line and photos, Ron. Thanks for posting.


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Ron Mc
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by Ron Mc »

Thank you, Mike.
We only get a few trips like this every year, and it's nice when we can make lemonade from predicted lemons.
I'll take rain and coastal breeze over doldrums' heat any day, which is a big risk on the TX coast in May.
(another May trip - the morning began great, though, and we all have stringers).
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Much of this water is too skinny to access for much of the year. We count on fall "bull" tides and temperate weather.
May has its big tides and risky weather. But we'll fish the winter also, sometimes have to get out and walk.
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john elder
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by john elder »

Great outing, Ron! Thanks for the report and pics! Looks like fun. Ut not sure i have that kinda energy level anymore… just looking at that Yak makes my back sore :|
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Specializing in saltwater reels...and fly reels...and oh, yeah, kentucky style reels.....and those tiny little RP reels.....oh, heck...i collect fishing reels!...and fly rods....and lures
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Ron Mc
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by Ron Mc »

Thanks John, always good to hear from an old friend.

For this audience, edited out my friend Jim who lives 1/2-mi from Palm Harbor, but he joined us for the 8-mi paddle on East Flats.
TexasJim and RazorbackYak were both important on my TKF edit, because they are both on that forum, and added posts to my fishing report thread there.
Jim is 79, and put in a good day - he does this a lot, and the 5th trip to join Steve and me - his first time to East Flats. Next trip, we're going to ask him to take us to water we've never fished.

He caught fish, he had fun, he fished hardest and longest, and we had more fun after the paddle.
Steve treated Jim and me both to late (Mother's Day) lunch at Mickey's grill at Ransom Rd Marina in Aransas Pass, after we all cleaned up. Jim first mentioned that restaurant to us, and we've had many meals there. All the food is good, but their fish sandwich is double-stacked blackened flounder.

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I calculated Steve and I were over 20 mi for the 3 days. Neither of us were ever sore.

Paddling back down the long canals to the marina launch after 8 mi, Jim and I were talking about good paddling form. If you paddle with your arms, you're going to be both tired and sore before you get in. If you paddle from your core muscles, it's more likely the quads in your legs will be sore.
While Jim doesn't cycle, we compared it to cycling form, which also starts in core muscles, and which I Iearned chasing Steve on a bicycle from college days. Though Steve is out of shape on a bike now, and I try to get him out for a 10-20-mi ride every few weeks.

Never underestimate an old man on a bike - on in a kayak.
We went a little farther NW into East Flats Lake than this older GPS paddling trail shows
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Also noticed there's not yet a photo of my boat on this thread.
Getting in is always easy. At the end of the day, getting out takes a little strategic age-related weight shifting.
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by Paul Roberts »

Awesome outings. Great write~up. I try to recap soon after as well. Interesting how the narrative can narrow and solidify as time goes by and the myriad details melt away. Congrats on the PB speck. Even the little ones are wonderfully beautiful creatures though.
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Ron Mc
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Re: Coast-kayak-monsoon trip report

Post by Ron Mc »

Thanks Paul,
Friends and communication are always a big part of these trips, from the planning to the sharing.
If you notice, our buddy Lou was absent. He was in on this trip early, backed out literally on the last day.
He used his bike shop "retirement" job as an excuse, but it was the rain prediction that flipped his choice.

I was slated to pick up Lou and his boat on the way across town, and Steve and I decided to roll as loaded rather than move my 80-lb boat to his ladder rack. Another factor, my truck is the most comfortable chair I own, and Steve's truck isn't... (I like 60s R&B, Steve's truck plays '70s rock, etc.)
Certainly no hard feelings about Lou, made it easier for Steve and me to move around in the little travel trailer when we were rained in - we each covered our own fuel, and our split on the RV pad went up a little.

Audience and format is always a factor in editing a good fish story. TexasKayakFisherman was the first-target and most like-minded audience - you can be sure 500 people who visit TKF were following the same weather predictions and opted out of paddling.
Also contributing three more characters to the adventure - while the TKF format is limited on photo presentation. FiberglassFlyrodders format lets you use all your photos in a nice thumbnail priority. FFR contributed one more character, though we ended up never quite connecting.

When I learned Steve's trip weekend overlapped with ablecane's month on Port Aransas beach, we invited him to paddle with us. Mark and Donna were staying on the beach just rock-throwing distance from East Flats. Mark opted out with knee and shoulder injuries, but was there in spirit, will daily texts comparing notes.
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Then there's just the mental exercise of a photo essay. Something about the process burns into your synapses blow-by-blow details that will last for decades.
Rockport 1987, me, Steve, his brother Dennis, and our will-be guide buddy Tim is behind the camera.
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