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Fishing in Corpus Christi Bay around rainy weather

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Storms were all around us.  Dark swirling clouds were south over Corpus Christi Bay.  Rain toward Rockport.  Also ominous-looking weather hovered over Port Aransas. But it wasn’t raining on my friend, Michael Smith ,and me as we launched my boat at Hamptons Harbor in Aransas Pass. We stood on the dock a few minutes, watching in all directions.

“Let’s pull out to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) and fish nearby,” I suggested.  “If things get bad it will be just a short run back to the ramp.”

The tides were extra high so we began casting over some grass beds that are usually very shallow. The extra water made it easy to work my topwater lure above the grass without catching grass. Several small trout blew up on my bait but missed. Then a stronger explosion and the treble hooks stuck.  It wasn’t a huge fish but much larger than a little 12 inch speckled trout. Mike netted the trout for me. It was a nice 17 inch fish.

Both of us caught several small trout and Mike missed a big one on his soft plastic bait. By now conditions looked better down the ICW toward Corpus Christi Bay.

We stopped short of Corpus Christi Bay to fish around an island just off the ICW in a broad grass flat. Redfish were all around the island and we quickly caught eight on our Berkley Gulp shrimp.  They were all between 17 to 19 inches. No keepers. That 20 inch mark on the ruler ruled them all back into the water.

Next we eased into a hole in Corpus Bay surrounded by shallow flats. Several years ago Michael and I got trapped in this hole by a huge thunderstorm. Lightening, thunder, wind and torrents of rain lashed us. We pulled the boat against some low mangrove bushes, put on all our rain gear, hunkered down like two cows in a storm and waited it out.  No rain suit will keep you dry in three hours of that kind of rain. We were both soaked and cold. We finally saw a break in the storm wall to the northeast and made a run for home.

“Hope we don’t get in a storm like that day,” said Michael as we pulled into the hole.  Hopefully, today would be different.

Hurricane Harvey changed the topography of the fishing hole. A tiny, almost dry, creek was opened from the hole into the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. It’s now a deep creek.  And a massive sandbar was formed near the mouth of the creek. I’m still trying to learn how to fish what used to be a big pocket but now has an opening in the back end.

Mike and I caught several small trout and a tiny flounder. Normally, redfish are the number one prey in the hole.  After about an hour Michael hooked a good fish that we guessed to be a big redfish.  The fish powered under the boat but Mike put pressure on him. He turned and came up close to the boat. It wasn’t a redfish. The long beautiful speckled trout shocked both of us. I got the net under him and Michael really got excited when we put him on the ruler - 25 ½ inches. “That’s my personal best spec,” exclaimed Mike. “It’s always a great trip when you catch you biggest trout ever.”

Mike drove back to Rockport with the big trout and three other keepers in his icebox. He texted me later - “Fish tacos for supper.” 

That night out neighbors in Martindale, Tom and Cathy Ray, joined us in Aransas.  The next morning Tom and I were back in the hole looking for another big trout. But not this day. I soon hooked into a big redfish. Tom really wanted to catch a big red but it just wasn’t his day. He caught several nice 18 inch fish but not keepers.

I switched to my topwater after landing the big red on a Gull Shrimp. Topwater lures are so much fun to fish. Not only do you get the feel of a fish but all the senses get involved – sights and sounds.

A big red hit my topwater Zara Spook but missed.  I just let the bait lay there beside the reeds and he came back on it with vengeance. This time the big treble hooks found a home. During three days of fishing we didn’t catch big numbers of keepers but one friend caught his personal best and the other will take revenge on the red fish later in the fall.

Incidentally, we never felt a drop of rain.

San Marcos Record

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