Returning the Favor

Who would have thought getting skunked could feel so rewarding?

This morning I hit the water with an old friend, Raymond, the person responsible for my addiction and passion for the great sport of fishing. He introduced me fishing over a decade ago and I have been hooked, excuse the pun, ever since. We went fishing nearly every weekend from spring through the fall. I still remember when we used to soak bait together at one of the local piers or popular wading destinations on those hot summer days growing up. When reeling in fish no matter what the species brought a smile to our faces, and bringing fresh fish home was a rare but extremely satisfying accomplishment. 

I learned a great deal about life spending all that time out on the water as an adolescent enjoying the outdoors and talking about life’s nuances, idiosyncrasies, and mysteries (usually women). I enjoyed being one of the “guys”, and hanging out with the grown-ups helped me become the mature young man who I am today. Times have changed since those early days, but one thing still rings true we both still enjoy to fish together.

This morning Chris, Raymond, and myself went out in search of bronze bruisers. Before this morning Raymond had never caught a redfish on an artificial lure or from a kayak. I have taken him out two previous trips recently without much success. I was really starting to doubt my skills as a “guide” as I’m sure he was starting to doubt my tales of all the redfish I’ve caught and seen lately. With the tides still running between 1’ – 1.5’ above normal and the amount of rain we’ve had recently locally here in the Galveston area I knew it might be a little tough to locate redfish in the marsh.

After discussing a few different options with Chris the night before we decided on a marsh that receives a lot of freshwater run-off. We chose this particular spot for a variety of reasons, but two stuck out. First, we wanted to fish an area that we knew was very skinny even on a normal high tide. This would make finding redfish somewhat easier because they would have less cover to conceal themselves. Next, our second criteria we looked for when choosing our spot was an area with plenty of freshwater run-off that receives good tidal flow.

When most people think of places to fish post-downpour they tend to focus on areas as far away from creek or river run-off areas because they think these areas are “too fresh” for fish to want to call home. This is usually true but the mouths of these areas are often good targets. Both bait fish and game fish alike both inhabit creeks and rivers during dry periods or periods of moderate rain when salinity levels are fairly stable.

When we get heavy showers like we’ve been experiencing lately the fish that populate these brackish areas tend to move only as far away from the run-off as they must to feed and retreat from the backwash. That place is usually near the mouth of these areas where bait tends to congregate. The success of this pattern relies heavily on finding an abundant amount of bait fish.

We, when I say we I mean everyone excluding myself, managed to catch a few redfish this morning very early on soft plastics and topwaters. Most bites came within the first couple of hours of fishing. We concentrated our efforts 2’ of water in an area with lots of scattered shell and plenty of bait fish. The particulars are not all that important. Me and Chris were both outfished by complete amateur when it comes to throwing artificial lures. And, I’m glad I was finally able to repay the goodwill Raymond sent my way all those years. There’s no sight much more rewarding than seeing a good friend with a smile on his face and fish on the end of his line.

Raymond’s First Redfish On a Lure and in a Kayak

Beautiful Morning

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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