Monday, October 29, 2007

Full moon over the bays

I spent last Thursday through Sunday in Corpus Christi on a fishing trip. As it turned out, this was to coincide with the peak of the full moon cycle. This and the post-cold front "bluebird" weather would indeed have an effect on the fishing and not all for the best...

So, the first day at about mid-afternoon my cousin and I set out on our kayaks in Oso Bay to a power plant water discharge area. However, there was little water being discharged. In the past during cold weather, the trout and redfish migrate up to the discharge area to stack up in the warm water released. My cousin did catch one keeper trout in the first half hour and I landed my first flounder this year though it was just underneath the minimum length limit (MLL) so I released it. This would be the theme for this trip; plenty of fish but most a hair below the MLL.

I ended up hooking up with a large trout using a Corky Devil plug but I lost her before I was able to land her. We continued most of the afternoon and caught a couple more undersized trout but no other keepers.

As the sun started setting, the moon rose as bright as could be and the northeast wind started to die down and the water took on a glassy smooth appearance. There appeared to be a ruckus at the opposite bank, possibly some redfish attacking some mullet but we got no hookups. Switching to small top water plugs drew a couple of strikes but again no hookups.

During the evening, we had a young game warden stop by and check our catch and licenses which were in order. He mentioned having stopped by the night before and caught some fishermen there with some undersized black drum. Shortly afterwards we decided to call it a night and rest for an all day fishing excursion the next day.

On Friday afternoon we set out in motorboat to fish Nighthawk Bay. The water was cool and clear. We started of throwing top waters and I was the first to draw a strike from a large trout that chased the plug and we saw it clearly pull it below the water but I was too slow on the hookset and lost it! We did a couple of drifts in the area and had a few strikes but I was only able to land one undersized trout. Eventually, after having a couple of boats run in front of our drift, we decided to leave to rest for a night of fishing in the kayaks.

That evening, we set out on the kayaks to fish under the causeway that spans across Corpus to neighboring Portland and separates Nueces Bay from Corpus Christi Bay. There were 10 to 15 mph winds and there was good tide movement so we anchored up and shortly afterwards started catching trout. I eventually switched to my 5wt fly rod and tan colored shrimp patterns worked very well. I caught a lot of trout but most of them were 14 to 14 1/2 inches long which was just under the 15" MLL. Still, it was a lot of fun. In total we probably caught six keeper trout so at least we caught something.

On Saturday night we decided to head to Bird Island Basin on Padre Island and put out the sail line. It was possible with the Northeast wind but if the wind switched from the North then it was not going to work. While there we said hello to three elderly gentlemen that had two sail lines out before we set ours out. They had indicated that the lack of wind the nights before had made for slow fishing.

As we set out the sail line and the moon came up, the wind started to die a bit but there were enough gusts that kept the sail going out albeit slowly. It also felt colder compared to the previous nights. It was a good thing we had waders on to keep off the chill.

Sometime during the evening, a couple of fishermen stopped by on their way to wade a neabry point. One had waders on and the other just had a pair of sorts on. He was young so maybe he could take it. I was glad that wasn't me.

We were bringing in the sail line after my cousin detected there were fish on it. After checking it there was only a hardhead catfish and a small trout on it. It looked as if there had been a larger fish on it that got off since one particular drop was all twisted up. We had another drop that had the line broken off.

As we were letting the line back out it stopped and checking it found that a large crab had grabbed one drop baited with shrimp and had caused it to tangle badly. It took almost an hour to untangle the mess. About as soon as my cousin was done fixing it, the wind switched to out of the North. *sigh*. This was a sign that we were done so just before midnight we packed up and left.

Even though it may seem like this trip was a wash, I actually had fun and did catch a few fish. I have had much worse trips so I was grateful for what I caught. That morning, we stopped at a TPWD Shrimp Research location as they were selling shrimp at $2.50 per pound which was a very good deal. The shrimp were not that big but at least it was something I could fry up with the fillets I did bring back.

I hope I can get out to the coast just one more time before the end of the year.

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