Beards, Big Bushes, & Puffers
A few weeks ago we said goodbye to 2017. If I said some BS line like “New year, new me”, “Big things coming”, “Blah, blah, blah”, then I would be spouting some marketing crap at you. Trust me, I’m sick of it too. To say that 2017 wasn’t one of the strangest years of my adult life would be a lie. I’m still thinking that any day I’ll just wake up in a hospital bed with a gnarly beard, a giant bush from out of the 70’s, and with finger’s crossed an adamantium skeleton. All this while, some quack doctor letting me know I’ve been in a coma the last year from an awesome snowboarding accident (1st world problems I know).
However, I’m really hoping that’s not the case (well except the adamantium skeleton). Even though along the Texas coast we were nearly devastated by Hurricane Harvey, a random snow storm, and a brutal year of bad PR for Corpus, I’ve survived another year as a fly guide. That’s right mofo’s, over 4 years now in the books!!! Do I miss my old job you might ask? The answer is still no, but on those months when it’s slow as hell sometimes I miss the money, travel, and the comradery that goes working in really bad environments with Alpha personalities. However, those nice days on the flats when everything is going perfect are hard to beat. Days when you are blessed to see life’s little miracles unfold in front of you: an Osprey grabbing a fish only a few feet from the boat, a huge hog blunders across a flat to bed down in the mangroves next to you, a mature Axis buck walk right up to the shoreline you are poling, a triggerfish on the flats, dolphins throwing flounder 10 feet in the air! Even on the bad days when the fish are picky and can go to hell, the wind is blowing out of every direction, the rain is out of a scene from Forrest Gump, it’s hard to beat the view from a poling platform.
Now that I’ve fluffed your mind with some word porn, let’s talk about these dang winter redfish and how to catch them. First off, I know it’s cold, get over it! I’m so sick of people bitching about winter weather in Texas! News flash dumbass: its winter, that shit tends to happen. Plan accordingly or die off like the dinosaurs. Now that we have gone over the mysteries of this phenomenon called “winter,” I’ll talk about the last few weeks on the flats. Since the water temperatures fluctuate here in the winter anywhere from a low 40’s to high 60’s, add the extremely low tide to that, and I could see how finding fish could provide a challenge to many anglers. In the winter months when everyone is targeting deep holes and reefs for fish, I have still been hunting them on the flats. We are not only seeing large aggressive redfish cruising the shallows but some whopper-sized speckled trout moving along some grass and sand flats around the afternoon. Areas I tend to fish in the winter time are muddy areas, the nastier the better. In the winter months the thick mud tends to hold geothermal heat in the morning then heat from the sun in the afternoon and evenings. If going after flounder, pay attention to what the tides are doing and the cloud cover for the last few days. I tend to find flounder on the edge of flats that have been dry most of the day and have had the opportunity to warm up over the course of the day by the sun. At night, when the water floods onto the flats, the heat from the mud will keep the bait and fish active most of the time. This leaves you the perfect opportunity to ambush fish on the falling tide. The flies that I’ve been throwing actually go against all my normal winter patterns, they have been heavy, really buggy, and almost 70-90% flash material.
Until next time, be safe and good luck on the water!