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Light Stalker

by Dave Lear

fishing-with-lights-2011-3One of the best aspects of my job is that it lets me regularly fish new places. There’s something special about virgin waters. I pore over SWS back issues and web reports for background research. I triple pack rods, lures and gear to cover any contingency. When the time finally comes to get on the water, it’s pure sensory overload. The opportunity to learn different techniques and pick a guide’s brain has proven invaluable time and again.

With this in mind, I gladly accepted the invitation to attend Coastal Conservation Association’s recent media summit in Rockport, Texas. As a long-time member, I knew CCA would put on an informative event. Plus the chance to explore the middle Texas Gulf coast for the first time was too enticing to resist. The summit was held at the top-notch Redfish Lodge on Copano Bay. (

sunset-fishing-2011-2Between insightful presentations on the state of U. S fisheries and the feds’ poor mismanagement of such, the lodge guides put us on nice trout and drum despite challenging conditions. In turn, I peppered them with questions about the area, seasons and the Lone Star State’s infatuation with trophy “specs.”

An unexpected surprise, however, came at night. When the winds finally died at dusk, we took advantage of the dock in the back marsh and the stretch of illuminated beach out front. The submerged luminescent green lights off the dock were the best attractors. Reds and specs cruised in and out of the shadows picking off bait. Some favored the submerged amber lights, too, just not as much. Big white stadium spots illuminating the beach drew popping shrimp, screeching gulls and hungry trout for 100 yards.

Catching “light” fish isn’t a gimme, though. Stomping around the dock puts ‘em off; so does loud, long-winded conversations. A stealthy presentation is the key. Small flies that match the forage are quickly slurped down. Gulp! lures, DOA shrimp in glow patterns and noisy topwater plugs can be effective, too. Casting just beyond the light into the shadows typically draws the most strikes. And one more thing–cormorant crap and pelican poop stinks regardless of the moon phase.

Yep, Redfish Lodge is definitely on the short list for return engagements. It’s a great spot with a great staff. But on my next visit, I’m packing a spelunker’s headband and the No-Doze. The light stalker action there is just too fun to miss by sleeping.

Dave Lear is a fishing captain and editor of Saltwater Sportsman magazine.

Published in 2011 Redfish Lodge Newsletter