Texas Means Redfish! E-mail
Written by Jeff Herman   
Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:02

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“Things are bigger in Texas”, it’s a cliché as old as the state and in the case of Redfish it is definitely true. Whether you call them redfish, red drum, or just “reds” Texas kayak fisherman know the best pull in the bays is going to be behind the muscle of a redfish tethered to the other end of your fishing line.

Juvenile redfish spend the first 3 or 4 years of their lifecycle in the bays and inshore estuaries. The have a voracious appetite and can grow up to 30 inches in 4 years. (And they just keep getting bigger!) At which time they move offshore with the spawning population. Returning inshore after spawning there is nothing that compares to hooking a bull red (reds over the 28 inch slot) in a foot of water

Fishing in the shallow bays of Texas where the average water depth can be a mere foot or two makes redfishing even more exciting. An experienced angler will look for signs of feeding redfish. Tails and backs of big reds will stick out above the waterline making the endeavor more like hunting. Seeing a big tail out of the water can be heart stopping. Placing a fly or bait in front of a tailing fish can take practice and patience, but the pay off is always worth the effort. A good cast will result in a bone jarring strike. Then skinny water and mud explodes as line rips off your reel. It is one of the most exciting fishing experiences you can enjoy. In a word: Visceral.

You can target reds with almost any style lure. When they are on the feed they are pretty indiscriminate. Soft plastics, gold spoons, top-waters, all of them will work on feeding reds. Top water lures are an especially fun way to catch reds. Using a spook or top dog style surface walker seem to generate reaction strikes that are as thrilling as the fight.

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Other common fish in the bays of Texas include Speckled Trout (also a member of the drum family and not to be confused with freshwater trout), flounder, and sheepshead. Trout and flounder fishing are almost as popular as redfishing and trout fishing can at times be the so very similar to redfishing that distinguishing between the two can be unnecessary. Many of the same lures and techniques apply to trout, with the exception that you won’t see them tailing like a redfish. Trout fishing also differs from redfishing in the power department. Specks just aren’t as muscular. Still, specks are far more acrobatic than redfish and thus definitely fun and challenging in their own right.

Still, if you told me I could only chase one fish with my fly rod and kayak, I’d choose the good old Texas red without hesitation. Redfishing in Texas is as ubiquitous as oil wells, and cowboy boots. The clichés exist for a reason, and redfish seem to exist to get more anglers out on the Texas bays.

Catch and release!

 -Jeff Herman is a member of the Necky and Ocean Kayak Pro Staff. An ACA kayak instructor, and avid conservation minded fisherman. Jeff is the kayak editor of Gulf Coast Fisherman and a contributor to many national paddling and fishing publications.

 

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