NOW MUST BE ABSOLUTELY MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR! Wet-wading the hard sand flats, crispy air temps, cool wet feet and warming water while being surrounded by countless numbers of redfish with chances at BIG Bonus Trout…. need I say more??? Dinosaur Black Drum? Hummm?
It is happening now. The water temps are perfect for wadefishing and for redfish crushing large baits and wading is the absolute best technique for windy situations. Last couple days have been sick sight fishing and we are getting crushed. Rumor on the street is that the fish are hard to find and I couldn’t agree more. There is a recipe of environment variables that are crucial this time of year. Being in the right spot and AT THE RIGHT TIME will surely make a story to tell!
28 inches of fun
“The fleet of large black submarine redfish rise from the depths in formation, combing the shallows as they reach a comfortable hunting level, their food tightens formation as well and then absolute and utter mayhem ensue..”
I have a few dates left in February and March has more dates available.
We will be working this pattern as hard as we can, but its time to get your feet wet and get the numbers UP ASAP! I cant say how long this pattern will last!
Call me IMMEDIATELY for available dates and to get on board! Capt Kenjo 361-500-2552
Often-times I am amazed at what we learn when spending time in the outdoors observing wild animals in their niche habitat. If you can slow down enough you will be amazed. Somehow, there are times when I see a fish and begin reading its behavior and I soon anticipate that the fish is going to make a turn there, and then we will have a good clean shot with the fly.
Return guest Tom (6’3″), caught this redfish 20 feet from us only seconds after I dropped to my knees and went on point as this 29 inch over-slot redfish came barreling towards us in sock-deep water through a thin line of spartina grass. Despite cloudy conditions Tom has learned how to present a fly close range to a fish that is closing the gap fast. Come fish with me and learn how to keep from over-shooting the fish that are charging you head on.
Look at that smile!
First-time Guest Barrie worked well through a tough day and prevailed when he learned how to lay the fly gently on the water and tweak his fly selection to entice some very spooky fish that had been keeping him on his toes. Dark grassy bottom, cloudy skies with plenty of wind made it difficult to see the fish but once he knew what to look for in this situation he was soon taking shot after shot at fish left and right. You can just feel the sense of accomplishment Barrie has just by the look on his face! With no time to loose, Barrie will be back again in June to overcome a whole new set of challenges.
Gail stuck 3 trout in 3 casts. The big one ate first but got away under the boat, but the other two just wanted to a photo op with such a fun lady!
Spotted sea trout, or speckled trout, are one of the most difficult fish to sight cast on the fly. Their body shape and markings make them excellent at the game of hide-and-seek, and their patience to lay motionless for extended periods of why many fisherman pass over some fine trophies without hardly ever knowing that a big sow trout was laying in wait for its next meal. It is a true spectacle though when you finally get a legitimate cast at a big ole mamma trout and she charges your fly like lightning then turns away at 90 degrees without breaking stride in defiant rejection of the chosen offering. Rumor has it this is common for trout anglers to experience which is why so many of them wade very deep edges looking for “easy-pickins”.
Traffic be damned, we spotted this houndfish at 80ft, closed the gap to 65 feet and Jose threw the fly right where it needed to be!
Its always good to be ready and being able to throw a clean cast out of 80-90 feet will prove to be invaluable in the salt even if the majority of the time only 30-50ft cast are necessary. Some fish just wont let you get closer and this houndfish was the same, as we moved towards the houndfish, it moved away from us and we were barely able to close the gap enough for Jose to fire off a beautiful cast and get the fly right where it needed to be. On the business end of this fish, rarely spotted inside the bay.
The alarm on his smartphone springs to life at 0430hrs and is quickly silenced by stiff, dry and cracked fingers fumbling to get the damn touchscreen on his phone to recognize his gesture. Within minutes a fresh batch of coffee is ready and out the door the early bird flies.
“I’ve got to figure out how to get that door to stop creaking!” he thinks to himself as he turns slowly to secure it behind him praying the rest of the family doesn’t wake up at such an ungodly hour. Replacing the hinges and even some oil just did not resolve all the horrific creaks this door makes. “This may require more research”, and he sticks the mental note in the back of his head, at the bottom of his priority list. Backing and Tailing Redfish are on his mind, consuming his thought processes.
Hooking up the boat trailer to the rusty old Silverado is a snap. Its been done so many times before. Locked and loaded, the Sunrise Guide is happy the garage door oil DID work well.
Another redfish release
SPLASH! The boat slides off the trailer and into the water, plugs? Check! The over-used engine fires up with ease and she idles dockside awaiting her passengers for the day.
As false dawn nears, part of the sky is illuminated between towering clouds providing just enough light on the water to race to the flats in search of tailing and backing redfish. “Hopefully we will see a school of redfish today” the Sunrise Guide thinks quietly as he begins to feed everyone’s imagination with “tips & tricks for redfish”. Within another minute, he can see on the face of his Anglers that it is already too much to remember. Experience is the best teacher sometimes.
Stalked this fine fish in a transition area where a steady flow of redfish and drum lasted practically all day. Nailed it!
Settled in on the flat, up on the pole looking for signs of life, a wake appears just ahead of the boat but on the upwind backside. “Damn near impossible shot. Gotta let that one go.” The guide whispers, and then suddenly another darts off in a long curving line to the left as it struggles to get outside of the Anglers casting range.
“Ya took too long to make a move on that fish but this is a good place to wade”, he mentions to his Guest. “Let’s start here. The Game has only just begun…” And the Sunrise guide knows just what is in store for his sleepy eyed Angler… A target-rich environment with lots of opportunities to sight-cast to redfish in such shallow water that their backs are in the air and if in a “deeper” spot, their tails will be waving for attention to the morning’s spectators.
What transpires over the next few hours for the willing anglers who are not afraid of a challenge, paints their imagination in full color through their own eyes engraving those moments in memory in vivid detail.
There are some quality sized redfish in the shallows right now and the tides are right for small groups to be found. I have a few dates open this week and a few in July, simply give me a call to get on board! Capt Kenjo 361-500-2552
Pat nailed this bronze 28 inch redfish on a PERFECT day
Spring has most certainly sprung on the Texas Coast and many first-timers have gotten exactly what they came for… to sight cast Texas Redfish along the coast near Port Aransas. Many thanks to those of you who have fished with me so far this year! It is you and the fish together that has made it so great to be a fly guide in South Texas!
The red drum, trout and black drum are in great shape due to the good rains we have experienced for the past three springs. This has helped keep the fish well fed throughout the low periods while spawning and during the somewhat colder winters. The fresh water that comes in the form of rain here promotes life and abundance from the smallest of organisms to the largest.
First-timer Wolf stuck this fine 27 inch redfish with a trick cast out from behind a a 3-stick mangrove at close range.
What this means is a better than average redfish run this spring (currently going on NOW). And of course, another banner summer and fall. Hell, I am already looking forward to the winter. But lets not rush the seasons please. We have ALOT of fish to catch this year!
Lets get one thing straight about the Texas Coast. The Wind blows. It doesn’t really stop. If it does and youre out there fishing in no wind, you certainly spend a fair amount of time outdoors because if you waited for it to stop, it would blow again by the time you were ready to go. AND on most days if the wind isnt blowing you will wish it was blowing just to help keep you cool. All the better reasons to learn to cast in the wind. You can fish just about anytime.
Cloudy with a chance of Redfish
I betchya a school of tailing top-slot redfish 30-ft upwind is a damn good reason to learn to cast upwind. I can help you with that too. But lets have the casting lessons off the water. All the more reason to take a few casting classes through your local fly shop. Remember the hand-eye-coordination thing takes time to master, be patient with yourself and practice a few minutes everyday which is better than 8hrs on Saturday (with you guide). Weekdays are better anyways for fishing!
Speaking of weather, I have said it before, dont worry about the weather when you book. Even the National Weather Service can hardly keep their forecast updated fast enough.
Doubled-up First Timers
Any forecast for more than a few days out is misleading because the patterns are just changing more rapidly than before. BUT, despite the weather, good and bad, or whatever other people call bad, it hasn’t really slowed the fish down very much. It certainly hasn’t kept us at the dock, as long as there is a favorable route to the fishing grounds to keep us safe we will go. Of course, I need to see some excitement in your eyes too when it is time to leave the dock. The water temperatures are PRIME right now and should remain prime for a while more before dead of summer really sets in.
This period is when the fish are eating everything from crabs to mullet to shrimp to you name it. The fish are schooled up thicker and thicker each day and tailing more and more too. Again, despite the clouds, wind, rain or sunshine. All this is going on RIGHT NOW!
I have immediate availability for this week and some availability through April and May on into summer but dates are steadily filling up so don’t hesitate to book a trip based on the weather.
Vibrant Colors from Schooling Red Drum
There is a damn good chance you’ll get to see some redfish action much like what you might see in some heavily produced DVD. The only exception is you’re going to get to witness these fish doing their thing first-hand. Nothing beats watching a school of redfish stacked tight enough together you couldn’t put your foot between them, all in 8 inches of water with their tails waving in the air, flagging you from 150 yards away.
Sight-casted Tailing Redfish
And then, half way there, the fish’s position demands that you circumnavigate a 100ft oyster reef just to get close enough for a shot with the fly rod. The pressure is immense and continues to build all the way up to the fish. 80ft and closing, 50ft now, 40ft, 30FEET! Your guide then whispers, “Hey, Are you gonna cast? Take the shot!” and then finally… a cast is made and a fish is hooked. The End. Now, lets do it again!!!
This year of 2016 has been fantastic with many wonderful days sight-casting redfish of all manners. We got to see tons of fish!
They were laid up, crawling, cruising, floating, tailing, schooled up and blitzing in schools down the grassy shorelines, crushing any and all of the helpless baits that were so abundant this year. Over clean hard sand, in clear water brown bottomed creeks, out among the turtle grass patches and tickling their chins over the fine-haired shoal grass.
By my observations, fish numbers are up, mostly thanks to all the rain Texas has received in the past couple years. This benefits the bottom of the food chain and over time the bounty moves up. 2017 will be another chart topper!
Many thanks to all the Guests who fished with me this year, every time, every one of us got in on some great days, and mad props to those who stuck it out during the more difficult days. The unpredictable weather is exciting and the Number 1 reason why it is important to learn a wide range of techniques in casting. We all still managed to get our hands fishy and learned quite a lot in the process adapting our equipment and techniques to get in front of the fish.
Admiration of the Redfish
There were many first timers as well who got their first taste of saltwater fly fishing, and I know for certain that they are just as hooked as the fish they finally caught! I cherish these moments because then, even a small fish is GIANT!
Looking forward to 2017, the early months in the year can have exceptional opportunities to sight cast. Timing with the weather is easier in Jan/Feb/March so don’t hesitate to call and get on the books to reserve your date. This past Jan/Feb/March was incredible and if you ask me, its quite the best time to fish.
Merry Christmas to you all, and a Happy New Year! Here is a little video from when the fish were blitzing down the grassy shorelines. Tight Lines and Sweet Fishy Dreams!
Going thru some client emails I found a sweet little video that a client put together very nicely of a fantastic day in May sight casting redfish about my old skiff, the 16ft Ankona Shadowcast. Matt had a quick learning curve and within short order was nailing fish left and right. I believe we got 9 fish to hand that day and missed at least 5 others. The big ones escaped without much damage from us but beware, we’ve got our eyes on you again now during the FALL RUN GOING ON NOW!!!
Schools of black drum and redfish all day in one spot. Only reason to change spots is to give the school you’ve been whacking a break.
Single and doubled up reds cruising the open sand flats midday on a slack tide crushing crabs.
Slurped a top water crab fly
Redfish working an isolated turtle grass bed nailing grass shrimp, crabs, AND silversides.
Gangs of redfish in the mud creeks racing the grassy banks busting shrimp. Their crushers doing major damage to the blue crabs.
78 degree, calf deep water.Tails up for hours and well past sunset.
Sight casting to tailing fish no more than 30 feet away every 3 mintues. Nailing a fish 8 ft from your tippy toes after 6pm. That’s not easy with a 9ft rod. It’s always good idea to work on your short game!
These are just a few highlights of how great the fishing has been lately.
Some exciting new stuff is cooking for 2016! Book your next Texas Coast Fly Fishing trip today!
“It has been crazy!” to say it in as few words as possible. Somehow I thought being a sleep deprived fly fisherman all these years would make being a sleep deprived parent easier but let me tell you folks… There is no comparison. October was by far the busiest month of the year. Thank you to all my clients who fished with me during a crazy month and through some wild weather patterns!
Cat and mouse was played with the weather (and fish) all season, some of us got out there on some fantastic days and others persevered through cloudy days. A few others have had to reschedule.
The fish are still very prevalent and I am seeing schools of fish again mostly black drum and redfish mix throughout the day. The most consistent and persistent casters on cloudy days are seeing good action with speckled trout.
The redfish have been upper slot fish and I am seeing at least one over slot red per day. There are plenty of ham sized black drum around as well. It is beginning to look like the weather trend is 4-5 days between cold fronts with the day or two after the front subsiding being the best weather days… the day or two before the next front are trending to be cloudy but we’ll see if this farmer’s forecast pans out!
I’ve got a few days in November available, particularly before and after the holiday. Give me a call to take your chance to roll the dice!
Lastly, here are some of the photos that actually developed into halfway decent shots
Redfish Head First
Hooked up again!
I sight cast to this 40-inch heifer from the rock with a crab fly! Thanks to Bob for leadering the fish and shooting this photo!
Tom & Jerry
Rich Waldner’s Spoon fly tricked this 29-incher with Outdoor Journalist Phil Shook on the long rod and with the fly of choice!
David worked tirelessly on some of the toughest fish I have encountered this year!
Port Aransas has a good bull redfish run but most notably in the deep channels, inlets and passes. Nonetheless, they do come up onto the flats at certain times (like NOW)! Sight casting opportunities have really kicked up lately thanks to a lack of clouds and the winds are more favorable in the morning making it possible to hunt for these bigger redfish.
If you want to get on board and take your shots a these big redfish give me a call! I’ve got a feeling August is going to be great!
Peek-a-boo Black Drum
September has some dates open also and October is mostly booked but I do still have a few dates open at that time too. Remember if you come down, plan your lodging far in advance as vacancy in town can be difficult.
Super stealth is key and having a boat that can take you way way back in the back is a must! It takes a bit of work polling into places like this but it is worth every ounce of the energy and time it takes to get in and out. Beulah’s new Opal Fly Rod (newest saltwater line up) delivers the fly well to these fish even in tight quarters. And if you need to take a long shot at a trailer or put some extra pressure on a bruiser, this rod has the backbone and finesse to get the job done. With a bit of care one can even manage to take multiple shots at fish and with proper presentation these fish are eating! Along with those hefty redfish in the super skinny water are also good numbers of schooled up black drum. They aren’t puppies and put up a good fight too.
Give me a call and lets go fishing! Capt Kenjo 361-500-2552
Big fish like to run these gauntlets right after the hookup
Speaking to a few local fly-flinging friends the other day the conversation turns to the topic of luck. Time and time again I wonder just how much luck we really have… and just how much of what seems like luck was good simply decision making and skill. Luck doesn’t seem to follow us every time we fish together, but I know how that can be… I usually only catch those coolest of fish when no-one is around to bear witness and there is no camera! And those are some of my favorite moments. Without the camera or witness it seems that the details of the catch are highlighted and stand out more vividly. Like the time a native Northeast Coast striped bass flew out of the back-side of a wave and smashed a white bucktail deceiver out of the air then slipped back into the water in an instant.
Coming into hand for the release
Then there have been some epic tarpon moments too… And just about anytime you get a strike from the Silver King it is monumental. One moment in particular was when it was absolute gang-busters and three of us guys fishing together had lassoed 3 very respectable tarpon with estimated weights of 40-lb, 60-lb and 80 pounds. AT NIGHT. On the rocks. I can assure you we didn’t just stand in one place to fight these fish! There was tons of jumping and running, playing jump rope with our lines dancing with mayhem in out boots.
Sometimes I intentionally fish alone and leave the photo bomber in the truck to add to the mystery of what might come. But most of us have those lucky items which for some strange reason we think it helps us achieve our goals to catch more fish, win the lottery, or get the best parking spot in the lot. This usually comes in the form of some article of clothing or something you can carry in your pocket like a coin or stone. We have all heard stories of lucky socks, lucky hats, and even lucky underwear. But not being much of a superstitious person, I began thinking to myself about whether or not I had any items like this. Hats don’t normally last long, since the sun and salt bleach them white in a matter of days and then they get blown off my head while underway and sink like rocks. I wont comment on my underwear to keep it PG, but I remembered one of my favorite hats that had been hung on my fly tying desk to rest although it was given to me only months prior. While on hiatus, I had failed to clean it since taking possession even though it is a well-fitting ball cap. It was given to me by Travis Smith and Rance Rathie while visiting their bad-ass lodge, Patagonia River Guides in Trevelin Argentina. But before I could even think of wearing it again, it needed to be sprayed with some serious laundry cleaner juice and a splash of fresh tap water. Once thoroughly soaked, I threw it in a trusty old plastic grocery sack. “This hat is going to need to soak for a few days.” I quite thought aloud.
Lucky PRG Hat!
So when I returned from South Padre Island I rinsed it off after a good scrubbin’ and set it to dry in the handlebars of Sarah’s beach bike. Then I found this picture from earlier in the year when I was fishing locked drags and straight 50-lb leaders for big jack crevalle on the North Jetty in Port Aransas,
And wouldn’t you know it, there was my lucky PRG hat on my head and severely faded by the scorching Texas sun. The hyper-salty water, bleaching sun, and loads of fish slime had caused it to fade 20 shades lighter in only a few months but it still fit well and seems as though the luck in it is still kicking. I call it mojo, you call it whatever you like, but I am going back to wearing this hat day in and day out again!
So, now that it is past midnight I will leave you with one final picture of a fish with which I have had beef since February. The score isn’t settled yet by far and honestly this beast won as I had to forfeit my win due to a poorly placed hook. While working a nook and cranny near Port Aransas and time ticking fast I saw this big ugly black drum cruising lazily near the water’s surface and I ran to grab my fly rod, knowing it had just the right fly already tied-on to get this guy to eat! I quickly stripped line from the reel of the Hatch 9+ and placed the fly within a foot or two as the beast turned slowly away and began moving left to right. Again, the fly lands close to the fish’s “business” end but I just could not seem to illicit a strike! Then finally the fly landed super close to the fish but still far enough ahead to allow it time enough to sink into the beasts lair, I thought I saw its gill plates flare and BAM! I set the hook.
Huggin the Big Ugly
We came tight but the fish gingerly swam left, then right causally, as if my sharp hook had only slightly irritated it. In short order the giant black drum came right to hand and as I lifted it from the water I discovered that the hook had caught the fish just behind the lips on its right cheek, confirming it to be an unofficial catch. So, I gave the Big Ugly a big ugly hug and back into the water it went where it lazily and seemingly blindly, swam away as if we had never met. “See you again soon my friend, until next time” I said.
There are some dates open in September for sight-casting to redfish on the flats and I expect to see some big bull reds there too as they prepare for their annual fall migration by fattening up on the tail-ends of all the finger mullet that have been taking whatever refuge they can in the bay but also getting ready to head out into the gulf and then South.
Give me a call directly asap to get on the books and make sure to leave a message if I don’t answer! The phone stays on vibrate most of the day to keep from waking the family!
Keeping the hooks sharp,
Captain Ken Jones
Port Aransas, TX
Certified Tourism Ambassador
Certified Wildlife Guide