New Areas, New Reds
Jake and I decided we were going to explore the bays by picking a starting point and working the shoreline all the way around. While working out of every nook and cranny, we threw new baits we had never used.
After the way the last tournament played out, we must find a plan C and D when it becomes a grind. We pulled up Google Earth, mapped a point and direction. We pulled the tides and had an incoming tide, so we could get about anywhere. Then we pulled the weather report and saw big storms would be rolling in about 4 p.m.
We headed to the starting point about 12:30 p.m., rigged up with new baits, found the wind direction so we could drift, and off we went. While we drifted and used the trolling motor to steer, we made mental notes of drop offs, pot holes, pockets, points and sandbars. We tried sight casting, but it was overcast and breezy and had limited visibility, so we fan cast and covered ground.
As we were about 10 minutes into the drift, I cast, one crank, and thump. I landed the first red. He was 22 inches. I didn’t bother weighing, but assumed he was about 3 pounds. I changed baits and we kept on drifting. We came up on a shallow point and Jake hooked up, about a 5-pound red. We made it around the point and started down this giant flat about a mile long with mixed bottom. We started catching every 10 to 15 minutes.
Once we caught, we measured, released, and changed baits and rigs.
We slammed reds and trout as we moved down the flats. We noticed cuts that would turn into veins that went way back in the grass. Sometimes they opened into ponds, other times they were just veins. Either way, they held a lot of reds and trout. Places like that, we would catch one or two and then move on. We didn’t want to harass and sore-lip every fish that holds in those ponds and veins.
The fish on the open flats move quite a bit and we probably wouldn’t see that same fish in the same spot on the same flat. While we were back in a slough, we started noticing the clouds getting dark in the distance. We thought we were okay since the clouds above us were moving away, but what we didn’t notice was the clouds across the bay moving toward us, until it was too late.
We started working our way out of the slough as fast as we could, since it was only 1.5 feet deep, and then we heard a low roar and felt a cold wind. We knew at that point to grab the rain gear, as it was about to monsoon on us. We slowly made our way back to the landing as the visibility was about 75 feet due to the rain and it stung if you tried to go fast.
Between us, we landed 13 reds, and lost or had bad sets on another 9. We landed 3 trout ranging from 15 to 24 inches. Some of the tougher soft plastics wouldn’t come unpinned. The fish would thump, set the hook, take drag for 3-5 seconds and then nothing. Reel the bait up and it would still be weed less and pinned in the back. We had a couple of jig heads, but the shanks were too small and caused the fish to short strike. We would feel the fish, set the hook, miss the fish and find marks on the bait just shy of the hook. Some of the baits were too soft and the tail ripped off at any strike, including pinfish. I would feel a bump bump and reel up missing tails.
This is the answer when people question us on how we learned, or how we know, etc. It is the time on the water, fishing new areas, trying new baits and setups. Regardless of the internet seminars, YouTube videos, books, watching people and talking to people, our knowledge has come from time on water and application.