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Looking back to spring and forward to summer!

I tried my best to come up with a fishing report that would quantify spring fishing this year, and some pretty strange numbers popped into my head.

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The first is 29, representing the average number of miles per hour the wind has blown each day.  The second is 13, the number of degrees lower the water temperature was on May 27 this year than it was last year according to my log book.  The last is 1, the number of days I have left the dock in the morning without a jacket or sweatshirt on.

What does all this mean?  It tells me that what we have experienced in spring 2014 is so unprecedented  that nothing in my 21 years of log books even came close.  Lucky for me, I run in the same circles with some old salts that have forgotten more about fishing than I will ever know.  Unlucky for me, their reply was a shrug of the shoulders and a profanity (I did mention they are old salts) that I don’t feel compelled to type.  The best I can figure, 2014 is running about four weeks behind schedule.

We are just starting to see croakers big enough to put on a hook, and trout (when we are able to get to them) that are just becoming interested in said croakers.  March, April, and May consisted mainly of shrimp under popping corks, on bottom, or cut mullet or menhaden on bottom.  Results have been mixed, with one great day and one easy pattern followed by one bad day with no pattern at all, mixed in with a wind that seemed to change 180 degrees of direction every 24 hours.  One thing we learned for sure-don’t bother going where you caught them yesterday.  All this being said, some really good fishing was had during spring, with redfish and especially with black drum.

Now, what does this mean going forward?  Cooler than normal water temperatures can only help us as summer approaches, keeping fish active for a greater portion of the day.  Wind always lays down in June, so we will be able to spread out to some areas that have not seen a fishing boat in months.  80% of our fish have been unreachable, so once we can get to them fishing should be pretty great.

Also, it wouldn’t be a fishing report without the mention of rain.  The last two weeks have given us over 3” here in Rockport, but the watershed has gotten much more than that.  The rivers will again be flowing and the bay salinity will come down a notch.  That always does great things for fishing, shrimp, and crabs.  Maybe all the suffering and tough weather we endured all spring will pay some nice dividends coming up this summer and fall.  And even better news- in 33 years when we have a cold, windy spring I will have a log book that will give me some insight into the fishing!

Spring fishing is turning on!

It appears that we can finally put the winter of 13-14 in our rear view mirror and focus on the fishing ahead. Over the last few days, our spring tide came rushing in, bringing bait fish and much needed shrimp populations. While water temperatures are still chilly for this time of year, the fish do seem to be in great shape, fat and hungry.

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Our usual patterns are probably going to be about three weeks behind schedule as a result of the weather, but that will actually help us a great deal in the summer. Right now fish are feeding well on shrimp under corks or dead shrimp on the bottom. While drum fishing was good all winter, the reds just showed up with this tide push. The spawning drum run in the ship channel has been off the chart good this spring, and will probably go on for a couple more weeks. If you want to flex your muscles against some monsters, that’s a great opportunity!

As many of you may have heard, Texas Parks and Wildlife passed a law last week changing our trout limit throughout the Texas coast to five fish per angler, 10 possession. That goes into effect on September 1, and we at Redfish Lodge are delighted to see it. That will leave a lot more fish in the bays for our guests to catch and enjoy, as well as for future generations.

It took a long time, but spring has sprung and it is time to bend a rod!  Hope to see you down at the lodge soon!

We’re ready for spring at Redfish Lodge

The winter of 2013-2014 will definitely go down in history as one of the coldest, starting with the arctic front that came through on November 22 and ending (hopefully?) today, as temps are projected to skyrocket into the mid-40’s!  The long range forecast puts us into the high 70’s by the end of the weekend, and no major drop is expected after that. Maybe spring will get here after all!

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The best news in all this is the gradual temperature drop which gave the fish a chance to acclimate to the conditions, resulting in no loss of fish due to the extreme cold. The worst part is that with only two fishable days per month, the fish have been hard to keep track of. And with lots of days of highs in the 30’s and a water temperature below 40, finding them is only half the battle.

As a result, a shockingly low number of fish have been taken from our bay system this winter, leaving more to catch during the warm spring and summer. By the time the lodge opens in March for 2014, the fish will be hungry and active once again.

On another note, we just finished replacing all of the mattresses, box springs, linens and towels at both the main lodge and the Ruddy, so guests can expect a cool new look and great nights sleep.

Don’t forget to go to our website or Facebook page to vote for the winner of the 2013 photo contest. Also, be sure to bring your camera if you are going to be a guest at Redfish Lodge in 2014. Maybe you could win a free trip in 2015!

Book your trip soon. We hope to see you during our 22nd season at Redfish Lodge!

Recollections of the 2013 season from Brian

Looking back on 2013, a few key points come to mind. The first is rain, as we had more of it than we have seen since 2009. Lower salinity and cooler water meant more shrimp and crabs, healthier and happier fish, and a great crop of sea grass. All very positive things.

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2013 was also defined by a very late spring, where we did not see a consistent warming trend until mid-May, well over a month past what we consider “normal”. Croaker fishing did not get started until almost June, but shrimp under popping corks remained the best fish producers well into May.

The year, especially the latter part, was also defined by incredibly high tides not normally seen outside of a tropical storm. This forced guides to chase fish in areas we do not normally go, but the fish were there and more often than not they were hungry. It does spread the fish out a lot more, but as a rule the reds and drum like the big tides.

2013 also saw some HUGE reds, including the largest ever landed at redfish lodge, come to the boat. 3 over 40″, and several over 36 was an unusual and pleasant sight to see. Best of all, they were all released!

On the down side, this year had a noticeable fall-off in the trout fishing than we are accustomed to here in Rockport, with a few highlight months in June and July in an otherwise slow year. Ducks were also not very cooperative during the early season.  With so much water inland, they took advantage of the flooded crop fields throughout central Texas and took their sweet time getting to the coast.

The last defining aspect of the year was BUSY, as we saw more guests in 2013 than we have seen in any year since 2007. Thank you to all who visited Redfish Lodge this year and made it such s success. Happy Holidays, and we hope to see you again in 2014.

Looking forward to the fall season at Redfish Lodge

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Summer seems to have come to an abrupt end on the Texas coastal bend, where the effects of hurricane Ingrid have changed the hot, dry 90 degree temperatures to the rain-cooled low 80’s.  And with that rain, the coastal waters have risen tremendously, giving us a big flush of tide and fish.

Summer and early fall fishing in Rockport always hinge on rain and water temperature, and both are working in our favor right now.  Plentiful rains throughout September have fired off the redfishing, and in a few days when this storm tide drops out those fish will take feeding to the next level.  The rivers will start flowing, and the shrimp migration will  have all of the gamefish fired up and feeding.

This puts our expectations for fall fishing right through the roof, and with the very busy second half of September and entire month of October coming up that will mean a lot of happy fishermen.  Just in the last week alone, we have added 15 reds and two trout to the Wall of Fame.  What a difference some rain makes!

If there is a negative impact with the rain, the doves that were plentiful last week have begun to scatter, finding water everywhere they look.  The same is currently true of the teal, which have chosen the newly filled inland ponds over the salt marshes to make their stopover before heading south.  As the standing water starts to soak into the ground, the doves will once again concentrate but the teal will already be migrating out.   Not good news for bird hunters, but a blow we are willing to take to assure excellent fall fishing and a healthy fishery.

We still have some dates available for the fall especially for one night/one day fishing trips. And some great availability for the regular duck season which kicks off November 2. There is one weekend open at the Ruddy in October, so if October 18 – 20 looks good for your group, give us a call.

 

Surf fishing anyone? Cast and Blast anyone?

August has certainly snuck up on us here at Redfish Lodge. We had such a busy spring and first half of summer that one blink and WHAM! August!  We have been very lucky that Copano Bay has had one of its best years in a decade, and not much traveling has been needed to catch some really nice fish. Maybe it was the cool spring, or the welcome  summer rains, but for whatever reason the trout, along with some big reds and a bunch of black drum have made themselves at home in Copano this year.

With summer heating up, we may need to fish deeper water with more tide movement for August. Hopefully we will get a run of great surf weather, as a few trips out there in July gave us a taste of how good it will be.

One blink and September will be here and the water will begin to cool again. This means the redfishing will heat up, not to mention the opening of dove season!  Cast and blast!  Looking at our bookings, it appears that our fall will be just as busy as spring was, so if you want to make a reservation you better get on it!  Hope to see you soon.

A great letter from a new guest!

We get letters….glad they had such a great trip!

My husband and I recently stayed at Redfish Lodge to celebrate our one year anniversary (July 12-14) and had a wonderful time. We wanted to send you a note to tell you that our experience was above our expectations with not only the fishing, but during our time on the property as well.

Upon arrival Mary Helen greeted us on the grounds, gave us a brief tour and promptly whipped up a tasty appetizer for us to snack on after our drive in from Houston.  That evening we enjoyed many of the great amenities such as playing a game of ping pong while wishing we would find ourselves hanging a wooden fish on the wall of fame. Our evening host, Mace, took great care of us… Even going out of his way to purchase a loaf of bread for  me to feed the ducks after he saw how much fun I was having while feeding them left over rolls from our fabulous dinner.

We went to bed with great anticipation of the following mornings fishing trip not really sure what to expect with it being the middle of July in Texas and lets be honest… My husband is the experienced fisherman of the family and I wasn’t even entirely sure how to hold the rod and reel!  Heather, our morning host promptly knocked on our door that morning. For me, five am came very quickly! However, Jason was up out of bed and  eager  to get on the water. After getting ready, we enjoyed a tasty, hot breakfast and discovered the lunch selections laid out ready to pack for the boat trip. Heather was not only a great cook but she was so friendly and started getting us excited about the day on the water.  So far the trip had been a great success and we hadn’t even started fishing!!

A peaceful, relaxing vacation was underway and we had exceptional staff caring for us and we’d eaten wonderful food and drank plenty of beer and wine.  However, the real adventure really started as we stepped on Captain Joel’s boat before day break. He was very knowledgeable and got us right to work finding trout. He was incredible patient with me while teaching me how to cast while keeping my extremely talented husband baited up and reeling in fish!  That first day was a rough one as the wind decided to not blow leaving it fairly hot and the bottle nose dolphins were uncannily attracted to every good fishing hole :). While that was no issue for me as I thought it was fantastic to see one so close, I quickly realized it was bad for fishing!  Even with the odds not being in our favor, Joel worked us around the bay. My husband and I walked away with 14 keeper trout with one coming in at 23 inches! I have to admit… I contributed very little to the expedition as I found myself mostly pulling in ‘hard head’s or sub-15 inch trout. Yet still by the end of the day I had the biggest smile as I learned to cast on my own and could even untangle my reel should I find myself in an unfortunate situation my casting didn’t go well.

Our first day was a huge success all thanks to Joel for managing between two very different skill levels in tougher fishing conditions. Luckily, we(and by we I really mean Jason) were able to catch our own dinner and that evening the fish were amazingly prepared by Mary Helen. The new arrivals were very jealous of our pecan crusted trout and couldn’t wait for their turn the night after.

And if everything aforementioned wasn’t good enough, we still haven’t even gotten to the best part.  The next morning, 5am came and again we got ready, had breakfast and were meet by Joel ready to take us out for day two. I wasn’t really expecting to have a better time that day than we did the day before… But somehow we managed to do exactly that.  Joel’s coaching the day before must have sunk in overnight (combined with a lot of luck) because that day we worked the bay again and pulled 20 keeper speckled  trout, 1 sand trout and a 20.5 red fish!  Of the 20 keeper speckled trout over 7 where over 20 inches. (20 1/4, 23, 23, 23 1/2,  24,  24 1/8, and 24 1/4). Proudly I can say that reeled in five of the seven!! Jason and Joel were both equally impressed with my secret talent for bay fishing.  Joel truly made our fishing experience fun and memorable for both of us… Even stopping to let us take some great photos on the boat at the end  of the day! I’d love to share the photos with you showing Jason and my smiling faces and our mess of fish!Thanks to all of the staff at Redfish Lodge for making our experience so amazing.  Jason and I were very pleased and have some fantastic memories  from our first anniversary. It was truly one that we will both treasure and are sure to return in the future

July fishing report

And people think the fishing slows down in the summer…check out this 42″, 40# beauty caught & released by guest Cody Nath.Cody Nath 42inch 40lb

Celebrate Summer at Redfish Lodge

The winds of spring have crashed head-on into the heat of summer, leaving Rockport hot and breezy. The redfishing has slowed as is always true of this time of year, but the trout action has been good to excellent on the mid-bay reefs and spoil islands. Croakers are the bait if choice right now for trout, although good boxes of drum have been hitting the dock regularly using shrimp as bait.

 

If you are joining us, be sure to bring a lot of sunscreen and a big hat, as you will need both. The food will be spectacular, the air conditioning cold, and the hospitality wonderful so come on down and let’s catch some fish!

 

Dates are still available for this special offer ….

 

From July 3rd to September 9, 2013, Redfish Lodge is going to offer a very popular special that will make you want to join us this summer.

 

Book a summer outing and you will receive at no extra charge single occupancy for each guest in your party.  That is a savings of $100 per night per guest.  Bring 9 people and you will have the lodge exclusively for your group. Or just bring a few special clients who prefer a single room.

 

Remember that because Rockport’s climate is influenced by the Gulf, we rarely see daytime highs exceeding 93 degrees, a far cry from the 110 often found during these months in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.  Get out of the city for a couple of days and hit the bays with us, it might be the most fun you have all summer! 

 

Have a happy and safe 4th of July from all of us at Redfish Lodge.

Best of the day today…so far!

Today’s fishing report – a whopper 18lb, 36″ redfish caught and released by Joe Blount!

18 lbs 36 Joe blount