Last Thursday started out as a normal day with plans of a relatively uneventful weekend until I received a last minute invitation to a fishing cabin in the Laguna Madre. And of course, when that kind of opportunity arises, you just have to figure out how to make it work. I am blessed with an amazing wife who also agreed that I couldn’t pass this up, even though we have a 7 month old at home. So after work on Friday I packed up a few things and made my way to Bird Island Basin looking forward to a cell phone-free weekend filled with good food, great company, and plenty of fish.
We arrived at the ramp a little later than originally planned due to a pretty good storm system in Houston that slowed traffic to a crawl. However, when you have already switched the flip to island time the clock becomes pretty irrelevant. After loading up our bags and getting the kayak strapped down we started the hour long boat ride to paradise. Now, I understand that a fishing cabin in the middle of nowhere isn’t paradise to everyone, but to me, it’s heaven on earth. We made our arrival just after sunset and wouldn’t you know, just in time for dinner. Waiting on the table were piping hot pork chops straight off the grill with all the fixins.
After dinner and clean up it was time for a quick flounder gigging trip on a nearby grass flat. Counting 5 in total we loaded up the lights, batteries, and gigs to make the short boat ride. Immediately after unloading I spooked up the first flounder that was laying just steps from the boat. Although not ideal, it was definitely a promising sign. We waded the shoreline for about an hour before taking a tally: 4 flounder and 4 black drum. The wind was picking up and clouding up the water so we decided to call it a night. Upon our return it was time to break out the speck rigs and do a little dock fishing under the lights.
As is typical for a trip like this we were in bed late and up early to go chase a few fish. The other guys headed out at sunup in the PB’s to a favorite wading spot while I elected to venture out in my kayak and see what I could find. I have fished the area before, but never from a kayak. The spot I had picked was a nice mud flat with some deep holes and a few barrier islands. The water was slick as glass and there were wakes everywhere. I spooked what appeared to be a pretty good fish, as determined by the size of the wake, and immediately hooked up on a short cast. The fish made a hard run peeling off nearly half of my spool and then “SNAP”. Seeing more wakes in the area I reeled in retied and made another cast. My bait was picked up immediately and the fight was on. After a few minutes I had my first fish of the morning a black drum. I was kind of surprised that he had picked up my Down South Lure. Usually black drum don’t show much interest in artificial bait unless it is a Gulp or a Buggs.
A few paddle strokes later I made a cast to another cruising black drum and to my surprise he too picked up the bait and took off. So at this point I am about 10 casts in and I already have to fish on the stringer. After standing up on the ATAK to get a better look I could see that most of the fish in the area were black drum and since I was on the hunt for redfish I decided to continue my paddle.
It wasn’t until later in the day that I finally located a few reds while I was making a slow drift across a grass flat. All of the fish that I located were seemingly in a hurry to get somewhere and were very disinterested in any of my offerings. Just before I headed in for lunch I located another cruiser and this time I decided to take a chance and see if I could get a reaction strike. I made a cast that thumped him right on the top of the head and my risk paid off, FISH ON! He was no monster by any stretch of the imagination, but he made the slot and was on the stringer.
After lunch and a quick nap I started looking at the map trying to decide where I might go for the evening fish. I picked a spot that would be about a 10 mile round trip paddle. On a full day this would be no big deal, but it was already 5:30 and there was just no way to make this paddle before nightfall. My buddy offered to tow my yak out to the farthest point which would cut my trip in half and make it much more feasible. I agreed with the idea, tied up the yak, and off we went.
I started my paddle at around six and began working my way back to the cabin across a pretty strong SE wind. It took two stops to pattern the fish. They were holding up on the angled shoreline of the barrier islands right where the current was being pinched. The one-knocker spook in pink and chrome was my bait of choice and apparently the redfish liked it too. I landed six fish, strung two to finish off my one-day-limit and left them biting. Darkness was quickly approaching and I was still about three miles from the cabin in unfamiliar waters.
We were in bed early after another wonderful home cooked meal so that we could get an early start on a day that would be filled with bag packing, floor sweeping, and fish cleaning. I was home by 3 on Sunday and in bed early. I would like to say a HUGE thank you to the Dodds Family for their hospitality and for the incredible accommodations. I had a great time and I hope to return again soon. I would like to get back out there and find those hungry reds I left.