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Variety is the Fisherman’s Spice of Life

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Many guests book their trips to Redfish Lodge to coincide with the big Black Drum migration. Others prefer to be here for the fall arrival of the Redfish schools. Still others enjoy the start of croaker fishing and the Speckled Trout spawn. But there is another fishing event that Redfish Lodge guests can now look forward to, and it certainly is an exciting one.

Each spring, the currents in the Gulf change direction, pushing warm blue water up to the beaches and passes of the Texas coast. This happens sometime between mid-May and mid-June. With these currents come millions of baitfish, and of course where there are baitfish…One of the hungriest and most numerous of predators that flows in with these currents is the Kingfish, or King Mackerel. They swim up to and even inside of the Port Aransas jetties ferociously gorging themselves on everything in sight. Those teeth are not just for show, you know.

Kings have gained quite a reputation for their tenacious fighting ability, their willingness to take both real and artificial baits with almost any presentation, and their unusual accessibility for a pelagic fish. While you may run 50 to 100 miles in search of billfish, tuna, or wahoo, these silver beauties come right to the beaches and are usually caught within a mile of the jetties. They can range in size from six to 40 pounds, with the most common catches in the 20 pound range. Slow trolling artificial lures or drifting freelined or weighted live or dead bait are the most common techniques. They hit with the force of a school bus, often leaping high into the air like toothy acrobats.

As the spring breezes turn to the lazy days of summer, the Kings move out to the near shore oil platforms, shrimp trawlers, and ship anchorage area. Trolling these areas, four to 12 miles out of the jetties, produces Kings as well as Dolphin fish, Cobia, Bonita, and Spanish Mackerel. Combining a mixed bag such as this with Speckled Trout from the surf or jetties can make for an enjoyable “offshore” adventure.

A Kingfish trip, while usually very successful, is also weather sensitive. If this sounds like something you would enjoy, mention it when you book your trip, and if the weather permits during your trip we will gladly accommodate you. If the weather is not conducive, we will fish the bays for Redfish and Trout.

Redfish Lodge Boat Sales

As any of you who have been guests at Redfish Lodge know, our guides fish out of 21’ Shallowsport boats. What you may not know is that these boats are for sale! Redfish Lodge is continuously selling off our fleet and updating with new Shallowsports. If you have fished out of these boats and liked what you saw, why not look into buying one for yourself? The boats are fully rigged with Mercury EFI150 motors and controls, jack plate, poling platforms, push poles, a full compliment of rod holders, life jackets, anchor, compass, livewell with aerator, and best of all the experience of having caught thousands of fish. These boats are maintained to exacting standards, with a brand new motor every two years. The hulls are extremely durable fiberglass on plywood and have the patented Shallowsport tunnel design for extreme shallow water applications. As all of our guests can attest, this is the boat to have on the Texas Coast whether you are a lure, bait, or fly fisherman.

The retail value of one of these boats rigged out as listed above approximately $26,600. Our boats, which are from 1 month to 4 years in age, with a motor no older than two years, will be sold fully accessorized and ready to fish for $15,500-20,000.

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If you are in the market for a used boat and would like more information or a test drive, please call 361-729-8100 and ask for Brian. Inquire about rod, reel, and lure rigging.

The Speckled Trout Challenge

A Catch and Release Speckled Trout Tournament
July 1 – July 31, 2001

1st Prize – 2 day guided fishing trip for 2 at Redfish Lodge
2nd Prize – G. Loomis Rod
3rd Prize- Shimano Reel

No entrance fee – You are automatically entered into the Tournament by being a guest at Redfish Lodge.

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Redfish Rodeo

A Catch and Release Redfish Tournament
April 1 – April 30

1st Prize – 2 day guided fishing trip for 2 at Redfish Lodge
2nd Prize – G. Loomis Rod
3rd Prize- Shimano Reel

No entrance fee – You are automatically entered into the Tournament by being a guest at Redfish Lodge.

The Way of The Kayak

For years, fishermen on the Texas Coast have been inventing better boats and better ways to access the vast shallow water estuaries that redfish and speckled trout like to call home. Recently, this trend has taken a huge step forward by going in reverse, back to the simplicity of the kayak. Though technology has made them lighter, faster, and more stable, the kayak has been around for thousands of years. Their stealth, ease of use, and abilities to navigate shallow and narrow waterways has made them right at home in our coastal bays and estuaries. This is causing tremendous growth in popularity among South Texas anglers. What better way to sneak up on a tailing redfish in the middle of a shallow grass flat than with a kayak.

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Recent environmental concerns regarding the coastal seagrasses are causing many flats areas to be closed to motor boats. Kayakers are taking advantage of this new legislation by gaining nearly private access to some of the best shallow water fishing on the Texas Coast, without the competition of motorboats. Kayak clubs are springing up throughout Texas and kayak fishing tours are an everyday occurrence from Port O’Connor all the way to the Lower Laguna Madre. It seems that more and more people are discovering that kayaking is an effective, less expensive, healthier, and more environmentally sound alternative to motor boating.

Does this mean that motorboats are a thing of the past? Absolutely not, it seems as though we may have just discovered the best of both worlds.

Here at Redfish Lodge, we can read the writing on the wall. When a new lure comes out, we try it, a better fishing rod is made, we give it a go as well. So in keeping with giving our guests the best possible fishing experience, we have added a fleet of kayaks at the Lodge. Whether you are a seasoned kayaker or a first-timer out for a test run, we think you will enjoy our newest addition to the Redfish Lodge experience. For more information, check our website.

Wild Duck

  • 6 Ducks, breasts filleted (12 boneless breasts)
  • 1 cup Italian Dressing
  • 6 pickled jalapeno peppers, split in half lengthwise
  • 12 strips bacon

Lay breasts flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, filet breasts open like a book, leaving one edge intact. Marinate face down in Italian dressing for 2-3 hours. Lay one jalapeno half inside each breast, fold closed, and wrap with bacon in a spiral fashion so bacon does not overlap itself. Secure ends with toothpick. Grill over hot fire until bacon crisps (2-4 min. per side). Inside should be warm and red. Serve hot. For milder version, substitute steamed apple slices for jalapenos. Serves 4-6.

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2000 Duck Summary

The 1999-2000 duck season was as good a year as any hunter on the Texas Gulf Coast could remember. While breakfast tables full of naysayers denied that the 2000-2001 season could possibly live up to the past year’s billing, everyone secretly hoped that the ducks would give coastal hunters a repeat performance. The weather in mid-October was unusually cooperative, bringing a powerful cold front straight from the arctic, with thousands of ducks riding its winds south. The week before opening day gave hunters all the promise of the best year in the last 20, with unusually cool temps and ducks on every tidal pond and marsh.

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The problem that plagued the coastal bend area the past several years, hot weather and no ducks at the start of the season, seemed to be a thing of the past. Pintails, redheads, blue wing teal, and widgeon arrived a month earlier than usual, and the hunters were looking forward to a fantastic opening day. But as in any good story, the villain had to make a showing. This year it was in the form of rain. From the last week of October to the middle of November, the Coastal Bend received over nine inches of rain, leaving standing puddles and ponds in every rye field and inland marsh from Rockport to Dallas. The ducks were here, all right, but they flocked to inland water and grain fields. Even road ditches had gadwalls and shovelers enjoying succulent green vegetation and thumbing their noses at hunters driving past. The salt marshes and flats still proved good for the diving ducks, and redheads and bluebills did not disappoint, but the puddlers were noticeably absent from the saltwater hunter’s game strap.

The split in the season saw the rain stop and the puddles start to dry up, and great numbers of ducks came south with each cold front. By the start of the second season, the ducks were back in the salt marshes. Each passing cold front moved new birds in, and the hunting took a swing from so-so to fantastic. Large flocks of pintails, widgeon, and redheads provided some classic “big duck” hunting but the surprise of the year was the gadwalls. Lodge hunters went from one or two a day in past seasons to seven, ten, or more on any given day! This large, decoy friendly, and good to eat duck was a welcome newcomer to our flats.

As the weather got colder yet and the tides began to drop, large flocks of green wing teal made for most of the shooting during a typical day. Flocks of a hundred or more would dip and dive their way to a light speed buzz of the decoys, or would set up and land so fast that not a shot was fired. Their speed and agility tested the aim of all the hunters that had been used to shooting big, hovering pintails and gadwalls. The tides stayed low for the remainder of the season, making strategy the key to a successful hunt. Abandoning the blinds and picking the right puddles was critical, as the ducks had become as smart as the hunters who sought them.

While the first half of the season proved to be little better than fair, the second half more than made up for it in weather, ducks, and successful hunts. Although the season just ended, all the serious waterfowlers are already preparing their strategies and planning their trips for next year. Although there is no way it could be as good as it was this year …

The Lure of Spring Fishing

by Brian Holden

If you are the type of fisherman that subscribes to the idea that boats were made solely to take you to your wadefishing spot, spring may just be your season. If the idea of catching a giant pre-spawn trout on a topwater lure makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, spring may just be your season. If you want to fish the reefs and shorelines before the crowds and hot weather settle in, you guessed it. Spring.

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With the popularity of croaker fishing on the rise in recent years, people are beginning to overlook what has historically been the best time of year to catch big trout on artificial lures. In the period of time between February and the end of April, fishermen on the Texas coast are afforded the opportunity to take advantage of a change in the seasons that works in their favor. The water begins to warm up, and in turn the fish begin to search more actively for food and spawning locations. The low temperatures during the winter have driven the baitfish out of the bay system. This leaves some very hungry fish with very little to eat. Enter fisherman. Wading sandy dropoffs and grass beds near shorelines with large topwaters or jerkbaits is a lot more likely to draw attention when there are fewer baitfish in the water and big trout cannot afford to be as picky.

These trout come up to the shallows to put on weight before the spawn as well as to stake out their spawning location. Big trout get first choice of spawning areas, which means they will be up there early. They will also defend their area from any intruders, so big noisy baits fished repetitively over a promising location will almost always entice a strike. The strike and battle of a trophy trout in shallow water will make even the most experienced saltwater fisherman weak in the knees and slack in the jaw.

With a change in the direction of your cast, you can work the dropoffs adjacent to these sand flats to find schools of hungry trout waiting their turn to get to the spawning grounds and to get to your lure. In the spring, these fish sometimes school in astonishing numbers and are very eager to eat whatever you present to them. Finding a spot like this on a spring wade can make your day far more productive than even a croaker fisherman dares to consider. There is also the added satisfaction of knowing that the fish you are about to land was fooled with an artificial rather than live bait.

With the winter of 2000-2001 being generally colder that the past few, much of the baitfish that have stayed in the bays in past years have headed for warmer waters. This means the fish will have had slim pickens all winter and will be ready for some heavy duty feeding as soon as the water warms up and their metabolism increases. This is good news for fishermen who have been cooped up all winter with their rods and waders collecting dust. The first sign of a warming trend will send these fish into a frenzy that you will not want to miss!