What a week - it's always a rolling feast. Even has fishing.
I have to express gratitude to So Many people for last week. Josh, Nina and cousin Darrell for inviting, great hosting and making allowances for our traveling digs to fit.
Steve for going over the top hauling his travel trailer down for the week before he could return on Friday night. With so many people coming, 6 to 9 over the week, this also kept us from stepping on each other in Josh's cabin. Lou for putting up with me in the little trailer (though it's a Really Nice little Oliver trailer). And Dad for taking care of the cat while I was gone.
Can't do this all in one post, so I'll do my normal string of multiple day reports.
When Josh invited us to join the group this year, Steve came up with the idea of hauling his trailer down around his 4-day work week.
Plus his brother has a power boat in the shop there, still waiting on a lower unit, good boat storage to move his idle boat from the weather exposure, also where Steve wanted to move his kayaks, and they combined this errand.
So Lou and I went down a day early, hoping to fish Estes. We were planning to get an extra day of fishing, but the AP wind gage Tuesday morning was 24 kt NNE gusting to 28 - top that off with rain from 7 am to 4 pm. I brought DVDs and we broke the day up with a second breakfast in Aransas Pass, and a farther run to Flour Bluff to visit Texas-fishing-Mecca Roy's Bait & Tackle - Lou had a $100 Roy's gift card from his kids burning his wallet.
Sunrise on Copano
Our digs for the week, graciously provided and hauled down early by Steve.
Josh and Nina joined us Tuesday night. Estes still looked good on paper for Wed, our favorite low-teens NNE. Lou and I fished Estes while Josh and Nina ran up the coast to Indianola and brought home giant redfish from tiny marsh lakes.
Here's our Estes day - beginning with sunrise heading up Trout Bayou.
Lou and I paddled over 8 mi, and did everything you can do on Estes. We found the Trout Bayou cut to Aransas Bay dead. We drifted Trout Bayou down to Little Cut and the flat was dead - we saw fish.
When we got to the big bay side of Little Cut, it was Hot. Good tide current, good tourist trout and respectable rat reds (up to 16" on each) attacking anything deep that passed for a 3" finger mullet.
We made the mistake of not going first to Little Cut, where I caught 6 nice fish - the falling tide current from 3 am high played out in about 45 minutes after we arrived. If we had begun there 3 hours earlier, would have likely caught keeper trout and possible first-light snook.
We paddled back onto the flat to try the drifts between Little Cut and Big Cut - also dead, also saw fish - they just weren't eating.
Still, always a wonderful paddle on Estes Flats even if you don't bring home meat.
Thurs and Fri were such a wonderful contrast, I'll be back with my second report.
Josh had a plan this year, to mix "dirty" marsh water with the clear grass flats we normally fish.
Most of the group arrived Wed night, Josh cooked a feast of seasoned steaks, crab risotto, and Parmesan romaine leaves wilted on the grill.
For Thursday's S to SW mid-teens, we fished up the Aransas River delta in Port Bay.
Good start and a glorious sunrise.
We began the calm sunrise fishing between the deep piers toward the shallow beach with topwaters. No one got a keeper trout, but the topwater explosions were a blast.
Here's my best, and my lure for the trip by far - more on that later...
The wind took us into the marsh lakes and trails a couple of miles downwind from our launch, and would be a tough paddle home.
Water in the oyster marsh is really too deep to sight-fish, several nice reds were caught by the group, Whit brought home a 24" red, and Nina took the day with this 28+" red.
Friday's trip couldn't be farther from the marsh. A ferry ride over to Mustang barrier island (Port Aransas) to fish our favorite East Flats Lake.
A good early start.
Lou and I were determined this year to follow Josh to fish the cuts from the boat channel onto the flat.
We all staked our boats, waded the oyster reef, and caught our fill of dink trout.
Then we paddled as far as we could go across the lake and into the SW wind.
I got my redfish early on my topwater shrimp lure. Josh and Lou working the flat.
Here's a better photo of my trip-fish 24" red and the INX Supra 65 prop-tail shrimp from Japan.
Unfortunately, I dropped the lure from my titanium bite trace snap after working out both trebles from a second rat red.
(I came home and ordered more).
Lunch break with Lou, his first red of two, and the glorious clear grass (that's my fish on the stringer).
Back at Josh's dock, my big red and Lou's smaller two.