For those who don’t know, we offer four Go Play Days (paid workdays) a year for all employees to get outside and learn more about our products through personal experience. Of course, it doesn’t take much pushing to get ACK-ers outside. 

Here’s a blog by ACK San Marcos Store Associate Casey Billingsley documenting his experience kayak fishing on the Texas coast:

I enjoyed my very first Go Play Day in Rockport, Texas. I have a friend that is also a fishing guide in the area that I hit up for some good hot spots and tactics. For the first part of the day, I decided to fish in Little Bay close to Key Allegro. I fished this spot before and have had success. I decided to break up the day in two parts: I fished with live bait the first half and with lures the second half.

Fishing With Live Bait

The first half of the day proved to be amazing. The weather started out perfect. I was using live shrimp under a popping cork. The bite started slow at the stumps between “Speed Island.” I relocated to the newer man-installed oyster reefs shortly thereafter. My first cast to the edge of the reef produced a monster hit! Fish on! I pulled in a slot 22-inch redfish that put up a nice fight! It has been almost a year since I got to feel the redfish fight, and boy, did I miss it!

After a few more rat reds were caught, I moved back to my “stump spot.” A few casts in and, BOOM! Another great hit with a great fit! This time I had a slot black drum. The very next cast I caught a 12-inch sheepshead! I caught a few more rat reds there and then broke for lunch.

Fishing With Lures (And A Few Unfavorable Factors…)

Upon my return after lunch my luck completely changed, for the worse. At the time of my relaunch the wind picked up to 15-20 mph with terrible gusts. I have been in windy situations in my Hobie Pro Angler before and it always handles well.

My problem from here was trying to stay put! I was fishing with my shrimp lures but only in between the times I was trying to re-anchor with my pulled up Hobie stake out pole. To add insult to injury, the tide was out…WAY out and everything was super shallow. Nevertheless, I fished on as long as I could with only a few missed bites and no fish on lures.

Lessons Learned

Overall, it was a great day on the water! I learned a few valuable lessons:

1. Be sure to check wind and tide conditions before setting out on the coast.

2. Bring an anchor to replace or supplement the stakeout pole in windy conditions.

3. Research and practice with more lures in salt water.

“My comfort zone has always been with live baits on the coast and I need to try to branch out!”

ACK San Marcos Store Associate Casey Billingsley

The final part of the day consisted of washing off the salt from my Hobie and its components, which is always an important part of fishing, especially in salt water. Avoid the rust. 

A big thank you goes out to Austin Canoe and Kayak for allowing me to enjoy my favorite hobbies: fishing and kayaking! I am very thankful for the awesome opportunity of employment with a fantastic company and look forward to my next Go Play Day.