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Why Redfish Lodge?

Brian –

I just wanted to let you know again how much I enjoyed the trip this past week. I do not know when or even if I will get back to RFL, but if I don’t get back for awhile, this past trip was a great way to remember the relationship I have had with you guys over the years. This trip will go down as one of a handful of fishing experiences I will remember and treasure for a long time. The wade we did Friday morning along the St. Charles shoreline was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The setting, the weather and the fish all cooperated to make it a truly memorable event.

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Sheila Barley of Alto, New Mexico, does battle with a giant black drum in Corpus Christi Bay while her husband Milton looks on. She was fishing the March drum run with guide Brian Holden on a trip to Redfish Lodge. These drum make their spawning run every March and can vary in size from 25 to 70 pounds.

I think I have been coming to your place 2-3 times a year for at least 10 years. What I always tell people that I like about RFL is that you always know what to expect. You are reliable, consistent, and first class. The rooms are always immaculate, the food excellent, especially since Chris has been the chef, the service from the night staff very gracious, the people genuinely friendly and helpful, and on top of everything else, surprisingly consistent fishing. It is a place I can bring anyone from the most elitist fly fishing fanatic to the most novice non-fisher person and be assured that they will enjoy themselves and have a great time. Hopefully some of the recommendations I have passed around will generate you some additional business as it has with people like the Bamberger folks. Good-luck to everyone at the Lodge and especially to you personally. You are a fine person and I am sure you will be very successful at whatever you choose to do as your life unfolds.

Gary Miertschin
former VP of Commercial Operations for Solvay Polymers
long time guest of RFL

Shallow Minded

In the colder months of winter, it is easy for anglers to look to the steep drop-offs and mud holes as their first and last fish-holding structures. However, you may find yourself wading out deeper than the fish while they are in a feeding frenzy between you and the shoreline. There are some signs to tell you when it is time to shallow up.

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Look for the baitfish moving into the shallows. Often you will see a progression of the bait moving shallower as the day goes on. Be sure to follow them up, because that is what the gamefish are doing. Even if you have been having good luck most of the day in the chest-deep waters off the drop, start looking for the signs if the fishing slows down. The fish may have moved up shallow and left you behind.

This is especially true of winter days with lots of sunshine. On a sunny winter afternoon, the shallow water can be as much as five degrees warmer than the deep water. Take advantage of it before the sun drops and the water cools. The temperature of the shallow areas is just as fast to cool of as it is to heat up, so make sure your chosen fishing spot has easy access to deeper water with more stable temperatures. This is where the fish will retreat with the setting sun. Guts of deeper water that run parallel to the shorelines, especially those with dark, muddy bottoms, are a prime place to target winter fish. They can move into warming waters and leave cooling waters with minimal effort, giving them maximum comfort and accessibility to food.

Choose a shoreline or structure that appeals to the fish, not the fisherman. Protected shorelines and green water look great, but the fish want no part of them in the winter. Get on the windward shoreline, the water will be dirtier there and the bait will be thicker. Dirtier water means more particles of suspended sand and silt, which helps it warm faster. The light rays from the sun hit these particles and turn into heat energy, warming the surrounding water. The presence of more bait is due to the fact that they will take the path of least resistance, and that often means blowing with the wind. A fish’s metabolism is slowed dramatically in the winter, so it does not want to waste precious energy fighting wind and current. Predators know this, and will wait downwind for the bait to come to them, therefore applying the same energy conservation principles.

Now that you have the fish located, it is time to catch them. Shallow water presents some challenges for lure presentation. The water may be too cold for topwaters, and there is not enough water for the up-and-down motion needed to make a sand eel appealing. Swimming baits such as the Norton Bull Minnow or the Hogie Shad are great choices for aggressive fish as they swim well in shallow water and cause a lot of vibration. However, these soft plastics need to be reeled quickly to vibrate, and a lethargic winter fish may not want to chase something that fast. If so, try a curl-tailed grub like the CT Mullet or the Berkley Power Grub. They maximize motion and vibration with minimal forward movement, so they are very effective when retrieved at slow or moderate speeds. Twitch baits like the Catch 2000 or the Corky Fat Boy work well for a slow retrieve in water where the visibility is good, but stick with the vibrating soft plastics in water with poor visibility.

In summary, always keep an eye out for the signs that tell you where the fish are and what they are doing. Apply observation of surface activity combined with knowledge of bottom structure to set up a drift or wade. Don’t get pigeon-holed by tactics that you thought always applied and waste a lot of energy casting to fish that are not there. Be a student and an observer, and the fish will show themselves.

Redfish Lodge Enters the 21st Century

Being in a remote setting sure has its advantages for quiet, privacy, seclusion, and of course…fishing. It is not, however, conducive to having state-of-the-art telecommunications at your fingertips.

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We can brag that we have all of the above but fortunately the lodge is close enough to Rockport that Redfish Lodge is pleased to announce that we have advanced out of the dial-up dark ages by installing high speed WI-FI at our facility. Our guests can now access high speed internet from anywhere on our grounds using the wireless set-ups in their laptop computers. Check emails, surf the net, and send fish pictures all from the comfort of their rooms without phone lines or DSL cables.

Casting with laptop in hand takes special training and coordination so guests may have to put down your computer to catch fish. Fish are difficult to catch on the web, particularly oversized. Isn’t technology wonderful!

Tournament

March 11 Redfish Lodge and Moondog Seaside Eatery played host to the Chuck Scates Benefit Tournament. This event was held to raise money for former Redfish Lodge manager and current guide Chuck Scates, who lost his entire 2005 fishing season due to a battle with throat cancer, a battle that he thankfully seems to have won. The event was originally scheduled for last September, but a lady named Rita prompted the rescheduling. It consisted of a fishing tournament, barbecue, raffle, live auction, and silent auction. Lots of people, many of whom were Redfish Lodge guests, helped tremendously by fishing in the tournament, donating items, money, or services, or by volunteering to help out. Thank you to all those who participated. Your generosity was greatly appreciated.

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The tournament itself was a big success, despite winds gusting in excess of 40mph. Twenty-three teams hit the water at sunrise on the 11th, 17 of which fished in the guided division and six that were unguided. The goal was to catch and release the most legal size reds and trout, record them on a score sheet, and “weigh in” a total number of inches. Prizes were given to the winners of each division, as well as largest red and largest trout of the tournament. Law Rogers and Wayne Snow of Houston took first place in the guided division with a total of 160.75 inches of released fish. They were guided by Redfish Lodge’s own Cupe Adams. First place in the unguided division went to Bryan and Ronnie LeVrier of San Antonio with 20 inches. Big trout was a 24-incher caught by Bill Lockett of San Antonio with guide Duane Flowers of Redfish Lodge. The winning red was a 28-incher caught by Jimmy Babbitt of Houston while fishing with guide Rhett Price. All winners received rods and guided fishing trips that were donated by local guides. Thanks to all the guides that participated and donated trips.

The auction and raffle were very well attended, with a crowd in excess of 150 people. Among the auction items were beautiful pieces of artwork, guided fishing and hunting trips, gift certificates to local restaurants and hotels, jewelry, fishing tackle, and much more. The big raffle of the night, a Hewes Tailfisher with a Yamaha motor and trailer donated by Maverick Boats and Ronnie’s Marine, was won by Victor Pena of Houston. The generosity of the people in attendance and of all those who participated and donated made the event a big success, and Chuck’s medical expenses are now paid. For a complete list of sponsors, donors, and tournament winners, please visit www.chuckscatesbenefit.com.

Intro – Newsletter 2006

A fishing trip to Redfish Lodge brings to mind visions of speckled trout tailwalking on a hookset and reds ripping line off of a light tackle reel. But did you know that there are other, bigger fish to be battled in the waters surrounding Rockport? March presents an excellent opportunity to land a huge black drum from 40 to 70 pounds during their spawning run. The trips to the gulf surf in July through September often produce kingfish in excess of 30 pounds, huge cobia, and sharks that can weigh over 200 pounds!

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Fishing in the flats throughout the season may have you fighting a monster jack crevalle or even a tarpon. All of these fish are caught at Redfish Lodge every season, and most by guests expecting a red or trout. The next time you are out with a lodge guide and get a bite, hold on tight. You may be in for more than you bargained for!