Waking up this morning, Austin of Salt396 and I start to chat and scratch our heads wondering what to do today. We’ve got 4 hours before punishing winds start gusting from the north… Its now or never… Well, at least for the next day or two until this short Norther passes through. OK, back on track, the clock is ticking. Tick, tock, tick, tock… The boat is loaded with safety gear in a heartbeat. Now, what fly rods to bring? Well, we’ve only got 4 hours, so we’ll keep the arsenal down to 2 rods. Hooked up boat and trailer to the truck and within 8 minutes we are fueled up and the boat is dockside while the truck and trailer are being parked.
Within another 5 minutes, we are outside of Port Aransas Harbor and up on plane heading towards an infamous spot where jack crevalle are known to frequent. On the second drift the fish appear crushing large baitfish on the surface at speeds upwards of what seems to be a racing 10kts spraying baitfish in all directions.
Hmmm, no strikes from these fish! Suddenly, we back out of the drift into safer waters where a fly change can be made with less stress, circle back and start another drift through the area. There! Cast! Cast! Cast! Oh damn! Why didn’t they eat?
We switch to a topwater popper, make another drift and again, the jack crevalle don’t seem interested in our offerings. We switch flies again, to a prototype which is yet to be named and has evolved several times in the last week, the tail secret of this fly is what has me confident that our next drift will finally produce the jack fish we have been seeking. With the off-color water and sea grasses stirred up, I mention that we are going to start the drift a little further up-current in hopes to intercept a cruising jack, one that isn’t in an ambush mode and more likely to feed at anything that passes nearby. Sure enough, with a well placed cast, the line goes tight as if the fly were hung on a rock that moves. I throw the boat in reverse to help clear the line from the deck and to prevent the current from pushing us into the rocks, we get tight on the reel with the fish while jack runs circles deep below the skiff. Keeping the rod tip in the water, never bringing the butt section above the horizontal plane, intense pressure is put on the fish.
Within a few more minutes, the dandy jack surfaces and is boated quickly for a photo shoot and then safe release. It is a Dandy Fish! INDEED.
With only 1.5 hours remaining before the horrific & frigid North winds blow upwards of 30mph, we race off to nearby flats, slide into polling position and start scanning the water’s edge for signs of redfish. Within a few minutes, a tail is spotted and Kenjo Fly slips into casting position. One. Two. Three, the ginger-pop flies into a hole and instantly gets a strong follow.
Cast again I say, there is another fish in there, and once again, the fly gets attention from an even heftier fish and slurps the ginger-pop down. A short tug-o-war ensues, and a colorful redfish is slid back into its watery home, just in time to seek shelter before the looming storm loosens its fury on the air stricken world.
Turning tail, we jump the skiff up on top and under full power we haul ass off the flat sliding back into the channel, then into the safe harbor of Port Aransas Marina. Safe and sound and only a little wet from the wild ride in, we load up the boat and head to the house to dry off and go get the meal we had waited for all morning. Its chow time for the humans and hard earned nonetheless!