Flats Fishing, Kayak, Marsh, Redfish, Texas -

Redfish Explosion

Fishing has been flat-out ridiculous on the Upper Texas Coast. Huge schools of redfish everywhere you look. The water has cleaned up nicely with the passing of the last few cold fronts too making the fish a lot easier to spot and catch. It’s been a sight fisherman’s dream in the marshes lately. They’ll eat just about anything you throw at them when presented properly. In two days of fishing, between the group of guys I was fishing with and myself, we landed well over 100 redfish and nearly every fish caught we saw first.

Jason and I made plans to fish Saturday morning at a location we hadn’t fished in a while. The conditions were lining up to be almost identical to the last time we visited the area. The backside of a front along with low tide; some of my favorite conditions, especially once the winds lie down. We both had company that wanted to tag along. There’s plenty of water in the area, so we figured the more the merrier. We made plans to all arrive at the launch site around the same time.

Early morning paddle after a cold front passed through the Texas Coast.

Steam rising off the water due to the cooler temps and warm water

We had a couple last-minute back-outs, so the kayak armada was little thinner than what we expected but we still had five fervent fishermen out there before the sun rose on a cold, calm autumn morning. We had a diverse group that included two old (“seasoned” might be the politically correct term) anglers, Greg and Rick, and three of us young’ns, Jason, Chase and myself. The day started a little slow even though we saw singles everywhere. The redfish were slurping shrimp off the surface all around us but unless you placed the cast on the exact spot you weren’t getting bit. As the sun reach a higher altitude we noticed the water was surprisingly clear for the area. We stood up in our plastic boats and started scanning the water for irregularities: dark spots, moving objects, wakes, mud boils and anything else we could target.

We found fish concentrated in a few areas and we started catching fish. They were easy targets now that they were in plain sight. The bite stayed consistent all day long for all of us. The tide was low and falling out hard which played into our hands. We ran into scattered schools as well. The schools ranged from a dozen fish to some push well over a hundred fish. Three of us ended the day with over 20 redfish landed and the other two were not very far behind. A stingy estimate had us over 90 redfish landed between the group. Almost every fish was in the slot and we landed many fish on the upper end of the slot and one oversized pig of a red.

Jason also landed a nice trout and Chased landed a solid sheepshead on a bass assassin paddle tail. A difficult feat if you know how hard it is to get one of those timid fish to eat. Various soft plastics did all of the damage. Personally, I threw a TTF Flats Minnow in bone catcher on conventional and a pearl shrimp pattern on fly gear. Regardless of the numbers is was great day on the water with good friends.

Rick landed the biggest fish of the day with this toad, an oversized redfish bottoming out his 15lb boga grip.

My nice 8lb slot red

Chase’s sheepshead

The next day I fished with Mark and Brandon. With the results of the day before we had high hopes. I decided to keep things simple, so I left the conventional gear at home and only brought one 8wt fly rod and a box of flies along for the trip. We decided to fish a different area to see if we could find more schools. First thing in the morning we found schools of redfish underneath flocks of gulss.

The incoming tide overnight brought a lot of water into the bay which made the schools difficult to spot. The birds hovering over the schools kept them on the surface but once they moved lower in the water column they were impossible to see. Mark caught several redfish on soft plastics first thing that morning chasing schools and Brandon was able to land a few on the fly rod. I spent most of my time behind the camera filming. I got some awesome footage as a result.

A couple later the schools broke up so we moved shallower in search of visual targets in the form of cruising and backing redfish. With the strong outgoing tide we found plenty. We picked off redfish of all sizes one by one for the next several hours. We ended the day with about two dozen redfish landed to 28.5″ and over half were caught on fly. Another good day.

All the lures and flies I used are pictured below.

TTF Flat’s Minnow in bone catcher.

Hook straightened out on a redfish.

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