This past week, we’ve had strong east winds and mostly cloudy weather every day. Much was associated with a tropical wave coming across the state as we stayed sandwiched between low and high pressure.
For a moment it looked like Hurricane Nate might send us a wet and windy weekend, causing a few local tournaments to cancel their weekend plans. Despite, or perhaps because of this, the fish were hungry if you braved the conditions.
On Wednesday I hopped onto the 21-foot Shallow Sport “Bar Hopper” with Kyle Grimes for a quick evening trip to see what was happening on the water. I personally love fishing in poor weather because there is less pressure on the water from other boats, and the fish are usually hungry if you can find them.
It started well. We found bait by seeing pelicans diving on a flat in about 2 feet of water. In only two cast net throws, we ended up with a variety of baits and a blacked out livewell.
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A short move to a few oyster bars proved unsuccessful as the water pushed out toward low. We moved to the outside of a bar, protected from the wind, where one of the most incredible redfish bites awaited us.
Pulling up to the almost out-of-water flats on the edge of the hole we were about to fish I could see large underwater pushes close to the boat. It looked like dolphins in shallow water, with the lack of a dorsal fin giving me the funny feeling of big redfish. They pushed to deeper water, and we began to empty the live well, chumming baits all around the boat.
Before we could even ready our baited hooks, the chum we threw out was getting terrorized from fish below. The splashing, swirling and smacking of big fish eating was loud even through the whistling of the wind.
Grimes got a bait out first, and within seconds his rod was bent with a fish on. After a few minutes, an upper-slot sized redfish about 25 to 26 inches was landed and released.
Shortly after, we both readied baits, and a double hookup ensued. Grimes’ redfish was much larger this time, about 32 inches, while mine was down in the slow about 24 inches.
For the next hour, we fished as the tide turned back in, sun set to the west, and full moon rose to the east. The fish feasted on every bait until enough water came above the bar allowing the fish to push out of the hole we were fishing and onto the bar. Our chummed baits were being fought over as the fish were as hungry and ferocious as I have ever seen them.
The only break from the redfish was the occasional jack, ladyfish or trout, and one large snook that decided to part my leader in two.
It was one of those trips where people look at you a bit crazy after seeing the forecast. “You went?” they’d question. “And it was awesome,” I’d say with a smile.
Looking ahead, the bite should continue to be strong if we remain with warm temperatures and southern to east winds. Cold fronts are right around the corner. Redfish have made their presence known on the flats and are eating just about everything in sight as they school up for the fall.
It’s a great time of year to fish, so if you have the opportunity to get out, take it. Sometimes the worse the weather the better the fishing.