This began 6 weeks ago, Josh and I wanting to plan a February trip for low tides, wading, and fly-rod sightfishing for reds.
I picked the 5 sequential best tides for the month to give us both current and sunny afternoon highs.
At the same time, Donny had been jumping through his computer wanting to kayak the TX coast flats.
A few weeks out, Josh and I made the plan to invite Donny down to Neumie's Copano Bay digs and paddle a long weekend.
The named winter storm that shall remain nameless hit just before our schedule, but that wasn't stopping us. The deep freeze hit the coast just as hard as the hill country, and reports of fish kill looked devastating. Still without water at home, and only recently with power restored, I headed south to meet Donny, who had swept west of the storm, and beat us both down there.
Compared to the second hard snow we got the morning I packed out, Josh's digs sure look inviting.
They had the same water problem, and it would be two days until we got a hot shower, slim pickings in the grocery stores, but we made do
The next morning, wind shifting from NNE to light E, we were launching at Palm Harbor to cross Estes flats.
The goal was to get to Little Cut for the late morning incoming tide current.
With a week of beating NW wind, water level on the flats was the lowest either of us had ever seen. My "bright" call, let's head north first to Trout Bayou cut - when we finally ran out of water and had to stand to float our boats, could see Trout Bayou was bone dry. It was a really tough trudge through the mud to float and then drag our boats back to Little Cut. So we should have gone due east straight to Little Cut, but maybe paying our dues this morning paid off.
It was a huge relief when we got enough water to float again, and as we paddled the inside of the cut - right where they should be grazing on the rising tide - we crossed 300 redfish.
Here's Donny hooked up, looking from the cut to the inside pass
Here's Josh at the center shoal facing Aransas bay and far-away San Jose Island.
It would be silly fish catching.
Donny was catching them on Vudu shrimp, which he handed me one and after a slot red, lost it from my paper clip. But the reds didn't care what lure, they wanted the mud balls from bottom-bouncing.
I did just as well on a pink Trout Support on weighted swimbait hook.
Almost all the reds were 18" - think I only caught two out of sixteen under that - I ended up with two slot fish to fillet, and Donny with a 3-fish limit.
A fond farewell to Palm Harbor.
We filleted the reds "on the halfshell" - skin-on fillets for grilling. That night, Josh made us shrimp and grits, and we floated the fillets in ice water overnight, but I wanted to show you Sunday night's meal with massive grilled redfish fillets.
They were amazing, and picking the charred meat from the ribs was the best part.
Have a couple of more days to talk about, but this is enough to get us started...