I’m very fortunate that with my job I get to meet a lot of people that love to kayak fish. I met Mike Morales from Fin Factory Kayak Charters in Corpus Christi when he and his wife visited the store. We’ve talked pretty frequently about getting offshore down to the coast, so when Mother Nature recently gave us a break with the surf conditions we decided to go for it.
We launched from just South of the Bob Hall Pier. Seeing the oil rigs from the shore really got me amped up for the trip; I’d never fished a rig before and I was dying to try it. Our group of five had a variety of experience levels, this would be my first TX trip but I have 400 hours/700+ miles logged on my Humminbird, however this would be the first offshore trip for a few in the group. All five of us were in Hobie Pro Angler 14’s so I had no doubt we could keep everyone upright through the surf with a little coaching, especially considering the mild conditions. Once everything was leashed down we broke through the small breakers and gathered up to get ready for trolling. We decided it would be best if everyone only trolled a single lure to minimize any possible tangles offshore and used a good variety of baits at different depths. One of the first things I noticed during the trip was a lot of bait getting dived on by birds and blown up by schools of Spanish mackerel, the other thing that caught my attention was the scattered clumps of Sargassum grass. The scattered clumps never materialized into a true weed line but it was encouraging. I cut my teeth offshore in Florida so I didn’t really know what kind of a hand Texas was going to deal me.
Closing in on the rig I decided to do some long and narrow NASCAR type loops past the rig heading directly into the wind and then letting the wind push me back past the rig. On my first pass I had a boat cut right behind me and almost foul my line, which most times is frustrating, but my rod quickly bent over and I am pretty sure the boat driver could hear my drag squealing over the sound of his motor. As the fish got closer I could see color but couldn’t positively ID it until it was beside the yak, I ended up boating my personal best 28″ spanish. The next kayak through hooked up with a king mackerel boating a nice healthy 40″+ fish. Taking a little bit of a break I moved in close to the legs of the rig and dropped down my bottom rig to see what kind of reef fish were hiding out. It didn’t take long to land a few undersized red snapper but I was pretty relieved to find that the things that work in Florida were also working in the cloudier water West of the Mississippi. Eventually persistence paid off and I landed a legal red snapper, so it was time to start trolling again to see what was lurking just off the rig. After a few passes with a king rig with a green skirt I decided to switch baits on my Tactical Anglers Power Clip back to a deep diving hard bait, this time a Yozuri. My first pass through the area where I caught my spanish and the rod again doubled over and drag started to peel. I knew pretty quickly this was a bigger fish and when I finally got eyes on him it turned out to be another king in the 40″+ neighborhood.
With about 6 hours on the water we decided it was time to head back in with a nice slow troll just soaking up the day and enjoying the gulf. Once we got close to the breakers we put everything away and made sure it was all leashed down again. A quick pep talk on how and where to attack the surf on the way in was the last thing we did before we had 5 flawless landings on the beach. All totaled we landed plenty of fish for the grill; final count was 3 kings, 2 spanish, and a snapper while having a great day on the water with new friends.
Manager, ACK-San Antonio
Photo Credit: Sandra Morales from Fin Factory Kayak Charters!