Moonlight Fishing

Fishing around a full moon has always given me fits. Couple that with the recent heat wave blasting Texas and you will soon understand why fishing the marsh under the moonlight sounded like a good idea. What I have learned over the years fishing around a full moon is that the bite is consistently inconsistent. One month the fish are feeding at first light and the next month they’re feeding midday. The tidal swings are at their greatest each month in the periods around the new and full moons, but its anyone’s guess which tide cycle they will feed on.

Full moon fishing…

Saturday, Mark and I decided to ferry the kayaks to a new area. The area looked similar to other spots that have traditional produced during the summer months. The area is near deep water and has reefs scattered throughout. The plan was to get there at night and fish into the early morning hours. The only issue with running at night was neither of us knew how to run the boat while dodging all the obstructions the randomly dispersed oysters created. I woke up at 12:30am after an hour nap and met Mark a little after 1:00am. We made it to the ramp about an hour and a half later. We decided to take it slow running into the area. After running aground and Mark getting turned around a few times we made it to our destination around 3:30am.

The tide was low but coming in strong. The low water and darkness made it difficult to navigate because we kept running over shallow reefs in our kayaks. We made several drifts and spooked a few fish but we didn’t land any fish. The wind blew 15mph all night and never diminished as predicted. Before first light I paddled to a protected shoreline and started fishing. As the sky started changing colors I started hearing fish crash all around me. I threw a topwater and got a few takers, but mostly small fish.

I kept paddling over fish that were pushing big wakes, but I only managed to catch small fish. Reds were backing and busting bait up and down the entire protected SW shoreline. Mark made his way over to the area I was in and he experienced much of the same. He caught a few small reds and one slot on a topwater. I lost count how many small reds we caught. They must have been a dime a dozen.

I kept moving and spotted and caught several more fish but again most were small. I was throwing TTF Flats Minnow in mumpy glo rigged weightless to backing fish and topwaters while drifting and fan-casting. I spotted some birds working about a half mile away to the north. I paddled over to find several schools crashing the surface. After I caught a few more fish with a shrimp fly and TTF Flats Minnow I put down my rod and picked up my camera. I followed the schools around watching their behavior and taking pictures. One school swam straight at me and several of the fish in the school bumped into my legs as I was sitting side-saddle taking photos.

Shortly afterward I parked on a reef to take a break and had a small red swimming parallel to me on the opposite side of the reef. I had my topwater rod in my lap, so I flipped my topwater out in front of the fish and twitched it slowly. The redfish blasted my topwater only feet from my kayak and swam over the reef into open water. It stripped off line quickly and felt heavy, which was surprising considering the fish didn’t look very big in the water. The fish ended up being just over the slot and 8.5lbs. Mark and I called it a day around 11:00 tired from the lack of rest.

Spooked school…

Few big ones around too…

Upper coast school…

Sunday, Raymond decided to tag along with me after backing out on the trip the day before. We decided to stay closer to home because we had to be off the water early. We got on the water about at 5:45 and fished until 11:00. The tide was lower than I expected and near wintertime lows but we managed to find a small slot reds in the remaining water crashing on shrimp. I caught one on a brown grass shrimp and the rest were caught on a TTF Flats Minnow in mumpy glo rigged weightless. Raymond only got one bite all morning but the fish broke him off. Tide was coming in strong all morning but the water level was still low when we left.

They’re feeding on small shirmp…

Plenty of small slots in the marsh…

Weekend Conditions:
Tide: running low; incoming tide
Water Clarity: Muddy
Depth: 2′ or less over shell
Wind: S/SW 10-15 MPH
Lures: Redfish Skitterwalk, Yozuri Jimmy, and TTF Flats Minnow (mumpy glo)

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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