Clear Water, Sight Fishing, and a Score to Settle

Greg and I started the morning bright and early at a spot we hadn’t had the chance to check out this year. We were interested to see if we could pick up trout shallow along with some redfish. We started off throwing topwaters in 1′-3′ of water on main bay shorelines. Greg received a few blow-ups early and picked up one keeper trout up tight to the shoreline. I worked my way down the shoreline and managed one small slot red on top.

We saw birds working and bait getting busted up out in the bay in 3′-5′ of water. Greg and I made a few drifts through the area without a bump; it didn’t make any sense to see fish feeding aggressively without a bite, so we moved on trying to put something together. We headed to the marsh to look for reds and we stopped and fished a couple of drains along the way. Greg managed to pick up a keeper flounder after harassing one particular drain long enough. We also managed to pick up a few small trout in a deep gut that drained out of a cove.

We made it into the marsh and it didn’t take long for us to start spotting reds. They were all over the marsh but a majority of the fish were inactive and we were spooking a lot of fish, especially with the clear water. We had a couple of feet of visibility in most places. Most of the time they would spot us before we had a chance to spot them. I broke out the fly rod and started poling around looking for fish. After numerous spooked fish I was finally able to get a good shot and get one to commit, an upper slot brute that measured 27.25″‘.

We pushed further back into the marsh and we continued to see and spook plenty of fish. I landed another slot red and had one pull loose. Greg couldn’t stand in his kayak and doesn’t own a fly rod, so he elected to head back out of the marsh and look for a little dirtier water where the fish would hopefully be less spooky. I found a few small pods and plenty of singles, but I had trouble getting bites. I landed one more mid-slot before I met back up with Greg to discuss the game plan for the rest of the day.

Greg had a rough morning and most of the fish we were spotting were not actively feeding, so we decided to move locations looking for redemption and “dumb” dirty water fish: fish that are careless to our presence, easy to spot, and feeding aggressively. We arrived at our second location and spotted a school almost immediately. We made our way over to the school and made a few casts on the outskirts trying to pick up a loner. Within minutes the school disappeared into the mucky water without a sign of their departure. A short while later we spotted another school, but this time we weren’t even able to get within casting range before the school dispersed.

Tired of chasing finicky schools I elected to move into the marsh and chase singles while Greg decided to stay out in the open hoping the schools would regroup. As I made my way deeper into the marsh I get a call from Greg telling me that he’s surrounded by schools and things were getting crazy. I started making my way over to Greg but I spooked dozens of fish along the way that I had no idea were there.

As I’m about to make my way out of the marsh and into the open I had a small pod swimming straight at me. I landed back to back small slots out of two separate pods before I made it out of the marsh and into the open. By this time it was getting late but the fish seemed more active than they had all day, so I went back into marsh and chased a few really big singles around until dark without any luck. By the time we met up, Greg had put a beating on the redfish. He landed six mid-slot fish out schools in a couple of hours: score settled.

The fish have seemed more active and aggressive late in the day versus early morning, which probably has to do with the tides. We fished during an outgoing tide, but the tide really didn’t start moving until the afternoon. We ended the day one keeper trout, one keeper flounder, and a baker’s dozen of redfish up 27.25″. Greg caught his fish on a chicken-on-a-chain Bass Assassin paddle-tail and a pink Rapala Skitterwalk. I caught my trout and a small red on a liquid shrimp TTF Flats Minnow, one red on a Lucky Craft Sammy, and most of my fish came on a white grass shrimp¬†fly.

Big Fish of the Day: 27.25″

About the author

Jeremy Chavez is a full-time fly and light tackle fishing guide who hails from the Bayou City (Houston, Texas for those of you not in the know). He eats, sleeps and breathes fish. He left (he was laid-off but who's keeping tabs) his career as a bean counter (he has a master's degree in accounting) to chase his dream of becoming a nomadic fish bum.

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