On the lowest of tides in South Texas the wildlife is thriving on most every flat. You can smell all the animals out there in the still clean air.
There is a plethora of migratory shorebirds of all sizes and colors, scrounging through the matted sea grass and mud of the flats that are now drained. Litle white-yellowish butterflies flicker about in the breeze looking for a mangrove blossom. The sounds of locuts and cicadas fgill the air but the cadence breaks everytime a redfish crashes on some bait along the shoreline.
For someone who has lived way out in the country and even in the big cities, the fragrance of Mother Nature is most appealing.
Aromas of fresh shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish permeate the morning air and my nose tells me it is going to be a fantastic day fly fishing the Lower Texas Coast.
Within minutes of setting up on the flat, we begin to see large fire-orange glowing triangles breaking the surface at over 100 feet away. REDFISH Schools! And Big’uns at that!
We are surrounded. There! 9 o’clock! 60 feet and closing! A fleet of six dark shapes emerges from the diamond glare of the sun. Swimming in a fighter-jet formation, heading straight for the boat are massive well-fed top-slot redfish sweeping across the flat crushing any bait that dares let them get too close.
Bah Bah Bah!!!! She ate with reckless abandon!
“Hey Man?” the guide whispers loudly, hoping the angler on point can hear him but trying not to spook the gang. “There’s a tail at 11o’clock, 40 feet from your tippy toes. See that sheepshead looking right at ya! CAST!” The fly lands a foot short of the fish, leader straight and the game of chase begins. The man on the bow starts stripping and stripping and the fish follows, slowing closing the gap. Then suddenly, just when we think the fish is going to bail, she commits to eating and just nailed the chartreuse shrimp fly throwing a rooster-tail of water behind the line as it ripped away from the boat. “Ahhhh! Sweet!” the man on the bow exclaims.
I Give me a call ASAP to get booked for prime fishing dates in August and September. NOW IS THE TIME! Capt Kenjo 361-500-2552 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
“There she is! 12 O’clock! 30ft and closing fast!” your guide says as you see him quickly drop to his knees in 8 inches of water pointing with the spare rod straight at the fish he just spotted. He secretly hopes you heard him and saw him go on point like a full-bred Setter. Your ears are in tune to his voice though, thanks to spending quite a few days together combing the flats on foot and fortunately, you hear him over the howling wind. A lone but large 30-inch redfish is barreling straight towards you out of the sparsely grown grass line and you barely have just enough time to make the cast. The fly lands right in front of the fish only 15 ft away from the rod-tip and she eats the little purple fly heartily.
Dates in June are still available. I have Friday/Saturday June 9 & 10 available immediately. Call ASAP to reserve your fun-filled day with target-rich environments, sight-casting to South Texas Coastal Redfish, Trout, Black Drum and Sheepshead.
Noah’s First Redfish
The weather has been excellent for tailing redfish as well. With below average winds right now we can fish from the skiff or on foot.
If you have the time in your day, extended day trips (12+ hours) are also available where we will make long runs to very isolated areas where almost every fish will try to eat your fly. Call Capt Ken direct for more details. 361-500-2552
Have you been thinking about fly fishing the Texas Coast? Do you have a desire to learn at an accelerated pace all the aspects of saltwater fly fishing? What are you waiting for? Are you wanting to go to some fly fishing school to learn more about saltwater fly fishing? NO NEED! You can do it right here with Capt Kenjo.
This one almost got away!
Come fly fishing with Kenjo Fly Charters now to sharpen your sight-casting skills. Working with the typically strong winds which are common in saltwater environments Capt Ken will work with you one-on-one to up your game.
With experience comes knowledge. That is, if you pay attention and apply the tips that your guide gives you play by play. to be clear, I am not running a formal school with “programs, curriculum, and classes”. Time on the water provides real-time experience and with Capt Kenjo as your personal teacher, he can help you speed through your learning curve with patience and sound advice. Consistently keeping you in front of fish having many opportunities throughout the day makes for good practice, and well… Practice makes perfect.
31 inch Bull Redfish, On The Fly, In Da Skinny, Flat Got Burned Moments Later Arghhh!
There are a few dates left in May (CALL ME ASAP FOR THOSE) and June is looking golden with good availability. Simply call me direct at 361-500-2552 to pick your date and place a deposit.
DON’T MISS THE BOAT! Get on board for a fun-filled saltwater fly fishing experience that will not only make you a better angler but also one that is quickly adaptable to the conditions and fish behavior as they change throughout the day.
Multi-day trips are available as well and are highly recommended for the serious angler who really wants to learn the fundamentals of saltwater fly casting and fishing. Time well spent on the water with an experienced guide and plenty of fish is what will make you a strong fisherman, and teach you the subtle tweaks and tricks that will put more species in your hands. Quite a few of my Guests come fish with me here on Texas Coast prior to their planned trips to more tropical latitudes to sharpen their skills. The conditions that the Texas Coast dish out will certainly challenge you and are very similar to anything you might face in more remote regions.
I look forward to being your preferred fly guide along the Texas Coast and who knows what awesome situation will present itself next! -Capt Kenjo
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!!!
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
“Boy am I going to miss that fly!” I thought to myself seconds after that big boy jack crevalle finally found the rock that would part the 20-lb leader. This came after a 10 minute dog fight where the brute nailed the red/white fly on the swing and instantly headed for the bottom of the channel. Into the backing, but only barely. I cant imagine who doesn’t love the stopping power of a Hatch Reel.
Fish pumping hard against the Beulah Bluewater 11wt rod, I cleared fly line and then suddenly watched the splice between fly line and backing smoothly exit the rod guides but the fish stopped short by the infamous 9+ Pulse Reel. Its no wonder though, all 9 of it’s bad-ass discs were working perfectly in unison and applied maximum force against the beast.
Back and forth, from one side of the jetty to another, down deep. I wasn’t worried about the fish finding that one rock that sticks out further than all the others until I saw my leader and some flashy white coffee table sized fish below it. Hues of green, blue and silver radiated up from 6 feet below the water’s glistening surface, and then, just as I felt the line begin to scrape against that invisible rock, the drag was backed off and very little pressure was applied to the rod in an attempt to let Max Jack swim out but the fish was straight down, tail still thumping. Trying different angles, and reaching out over the water failed to free the line from it’s snare, suddenly I felt a little pop just as the line went slack. Raising my rod tip I found a keenly abraded tag end to the leader, roughed up but severed in two.
Goodbye Mr. Crevalle. I shall call you Max Jack from now on.
As the excitement subsided, I realized that fly worked like magic, but I had just lost my only one in that pattern. So, I headed to the truck and drove home to fashion two more while the tying recipe was still fresh in my mind.
Within an hour, a turkey sandwich fell victim along with a few handfuls of Fritos corn chips, I was back on the rocks with two new freshly tied red/white flies in my shirt pocket.
As I walked along the stony path, the sea conditions were not as favorable as I had hoped for but as I continued, I decided that the exercise was worth the walk even if I didn’t make a cast. Then sure enough, I noticed cleaner water on one side of the jetty than the other. Taking plenty of time to study the wave patterns, the easterly swell proved that while the waves sets looked small, the sea retained its powerful rhythms. So, I found a familiar perch, and stripped out a lot of line onto the rock, then fed it back into my stripping basket to prepare for the first cast.
One cast… a little short based on my idea of the where is the strike zone.
Strip off a bit more line… recast for #2… Agh, but the wind caught the line as it descended on the water and put a big bend in the belly.
Recast again, looks good, and fly is in the zone… letting the line and fly sink a bit I worked the fly within a depth where the fly remained barely visible… Waves continue crushing the line of rocks as I setup for cast #3…
Good distance made here, the line zipped out of the casting basket during a brief lull in the wind and laid out nicely in front of me. Counting to 5 (one 1 thousand, two 1 thousand, three 1 thousand ect…) I began the retrieve…
Extreme Angles with a King on a Leash
Then it struck like lightning! 50 feet of line in the water, and 30 feet of line in the stripping basket, I pulled tight to set the hook with Airflo’s low stretch Tropical Intermediate line and on the second strip-set the fish’s adrenaline demanded even more line clearing all slack in the basket in half a heartbeat. I cheered for my fluorocarbon leader, as if encouraging the 30-lb tippet to hold fast, I checked the drag and found it nice and tight yet smooth as butter on Texas Toast.
She headed for the end, where I knew my odds of even seeing the fish were minus five to one, I jumped from my perch to the next, gaining as much line as possible and recovering the 30 feet of backing as well as some fly line that it had taken before the fly reel forced the fish to turn on its initial run. It turned sharply, and ran to the right, parallel to the rocks but still 40 feet out of sight. Jumping between perches, constantly changing angles and pulling low and hard to the sides, the fish finally succumbed to the relentless pressure that this fly gear was meant to serve to its opponents.
Surf’s Up for King Mack!
And then, as if time was standing still, the waves sets calmed and aligned with my attempts to land the fish in a safety zone. One the second wave, I coerced the fish up onto a kind rock relatively safe from escape. This fish weighed in on certified scales at 21.8lbs and measured 50″ total length. 30-lb leader was used with 50-lb bite tippet.
Reflect on a few things here with me if you will…
Your equipment must be in perfect working condition. Inspecting your setup frequently helps identify flaws in the system. Your rod should match the quarry you seek. Your reel must have super smooth drags and your leaders tied with properly formed knots.
Your level of preparedness dictates your success. And… the best way to gain confidence in a fly pattern is to fish the hell out of it.
IT IS ON FOLKS! Sharpen your skills as well as your hooks. Practice makes perfect. That’s why I fish in even the terrible conditions. Even if I don’t catch something I will have at least practiced the art of fly fishing. And that my friends, is what makes it all worthwhile. Train yourself in tough conditions, and you’ll be more than ready in excellent conditions. Every athlete knows this routine all too well.
Custom jetty trips can be arranged and dates in June on the flats for redfish are filling fast.
-Kenjo (361) 500-2552
Maximum tension and a quick hook-set kept this mouthful of razors from slicing the 50-lb bite tippet.
Jackfish. Yellow bellies. Jack Crevalle. Give’em any badass name you want!
It is undeniably only a primal act of natural instinct to wait patiently perched on the tallest of rocks scanning the water while wolf packs of marauding crevelle cruise just outside of casting range on the crowded tip of a mega shrine made of red stone. Here fisherman from all sorts of watery trails convene in one place for a holy experience with a ravenous Jack.
Many are sighted and hundreds of casts thrown as offerings with a mighty heart and sometimes in faint confidence.
Down in the S…
Then the brave soul encounters another soul of even greater brevity. It belongs to the fisherman. The best are patient. Keenly aware of their surroundings and quick to execute a precise cast and know when to retreat. That feeling, the twitch, the shake, the jitters and even the creeps, can make your hair stand on its end as if in anticipation of being jolted back to reality when the massive donkey jackfish crushes your fly out of nowhere and screams for the border. “HERE WE GO” he yells aloud!
A power and strength unrivaled in the saltwater world. Even the tightest drags and strongest of lines cannot seem to hinder the initial runs of these fish. Then, they get down and dirty and that is where you are most likely to loose. In the rocks, deep down on their flanking sides, the jack begins a process of swimming sideways and even in circles trying desperately to separate you from him. Talk about rocks being in hard places. It can end in an instant, faster than you can imagine or even react.
But with luck, a skilled angler can put maximum pressure on the fish from the instant you are hooked up together, to exerting maximum amount of turning angles on the fish when he is running from one side to the other, the techniques described below will certainly increase your odds at winning the jackfish lottery!
Fly Tech Section:
Since most saltwater fish are stronger and bigger, the butt section of the average saltwater rod is designed to do all the work. That is where your lifting power and turning capability stems from. For some people this is why they prefer fishing in saltwater over freshwater although many giants exist in sweeter waters.
Lets think about angles here for a minute, as it applies to the angle of the rod in relation to the angle of the water (horizontal) and in relation to the angle of the fish.
The most effective fish fighting method is to keep the butt section of the rod at a low angle to the water. That angle, in relation to the fish means that if the fish is moving left, your rod angle should be to your right, effectively putting pressure against the fish (from behind the fish) yet still off to its side (the fish’s left or right).
Hard low and left angle on fish running right and tight to the rocks
If the fish is running straight away out in front of you and you’re loosing line fast, angle the rod slightly to the left of right, but keep the butt section quite low to the water, yet keeping the vertical rod angle no higher than 45 degrees to the water. If the rod is lifted higher than 45degrees above the water (horizontal plane) when fighting a fish, the mid section of the rod has to do all the work then, and that section is not as strong as the butt section (bottom ~3ft of the rod). This prevents you from putting maximum pressure on the fish and increases the possibility of breaking the rods Gink & Gasoline wrote an article on that.
Hope you find this explanation helpful and with little effort and patience the mighty Jack will pay you a certain visit you cannot forget.
Until next time, sharpen your hooks and I will work to put together a video on preferred knots to connect the fly, and to connect leaders with bite tippets.
The early morning was rainy and achy on the Gulf of Mexico near Port Aransas but on my second attempt to get out of the truck I was able to buckle my Korkers to my feet thanks to a seriously strong coffee brew. Within an hour or so, I hooked two tarpon and lost them both, landed a 32incher, jumped a fourth (about 4ft long) and as it flew 8 feet in the air it threw the hook.
Fly caught 32″ Tarpon successfully released.
Then another schoolie tarpon eats my fly, jumps and is also free.
41 inches on this 12wt fly rod! The Hatch Reel stopped this fish within 121 feet.
Huge Bull Redfish and mini jack crevalle were literally blitzing on menhaden balls and I managed to land a 41inch redfish out of the melee. Then of course, I turned my back on the bulls to try to hook another tarpon.
Dates are open for charters if anyone wants to fling some flies and take a shot at any of these fish plus more! -Kenjo 361-500-2552
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?
There! 9 O’Clock! Cast! Cast! Cast!
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.
That’s a dandy!
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.
And the Release!
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.
Capt Ken at the helm
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!