Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fishing South Bay at Aransas Pass, Texas

Probably the worst kept "secret", fishing spot in Texas, is the red fishing at South Bay. You can see the gaggle of boats as you drive across the causeway, heading to the ferry. I had always wondered what they were fishing for and now thanks to Lannie, I now know its redfish.
With the cold front finally passing, it had warmed up and a strong high pressure moved into the area. So it was no surprise that my thoughts turned to fishing. Pete. John, and I had gone out the day before and had caught a mess of big sheepshead, three were about 23 inches! So I had planned on going back when Lannie asked me if I would like to go out fishing in the Baby Cat.
It didn't take me much time to agree and so the next day we headed out for Conn Harbour. Stopping at a fish market we bought some fresh dead shrimp, and when we got to the harbor we discovered that they had live shrimp! With a quart of them swimming in the live well, we launched the boat at the Marina.
It was a really short run up the Aransas Channel and we then turned north to join about fifteen boats at South Bay. The area is amazingly shallow with sea grass everywhere, or almost anyway, and so taking care to not disturb it we used a Cajun anchor to hold the bow.
Casting out Carolina rigs, Lannie quickly had a fish on! He wound in a small red, called a rat, and had just released it when his other pole doubled over. This one was a keeper and as I wanted to grill redfish on a half shell he strung it up.
Another red hit his pole and another keeper. Meanwhile my two poles were acting like they had the most unpleasant tasting bait anyone could possibly have on. All the boats around us were catching fish and it was amazing to think of how many fish must be in the hole.
Lannie, ever the teacher, filled the air with stories of the area while I continued to not catch any fish. He suggested that I put on a popping cork with an eighteen inch leader, and showing me how to hook a live shrimp. I cast out to the area where he was catching his fish and the bobber went under!
Three casts and three redfish later I was feeling pretty good as I had learned a new technique, although it was one that I had used in Grand Isle, when fishing with my family last Christmas.
Putting a couple of more reds on the stringer, we had enough for dinner and released the rest. Most were just rats but it didn't matter to me as the catching was great and the circle hook was working, keeping us from injuring any fish.
The fish were so active that they were jumping around the boat and we could see them flashing nearby.
A flock of snowy egrets and white ibis joined us and everyone seemed pretty happy, except the dinner on the stringer. The tide changed and the fishing finally slowed. The birds soon left and we followed their lead, heading back home. We stopped at Palm Harbor. and I cleaned the fish, while Lannie visited with his guide friend.
It was a nice feeling to return home and have a fish story to share. The others had all gone out to Goose Island and everyone had stories of fishing and fun. Renita greeted me with her days beach glass wrapping, and so that afternoons happy hour was even more festive, at least for the fisherman! Clear skies

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