Fishing & Boating News

Cold Front Reds

by: Ed Snyder, Ed Snyder Outdoors

Redfish chilled off the marshflats hit our lures hungrilly
Photo by Ed Snyder
Rick hefting 60 lbs of redfish caught after coldfront.
Photo by Ed Snyder
(Dec. 14, 2010 - Gilchrist, TX) Cutting through 30 degree wind-chills kept us hunkered deep within our coats, when finally rounding a corner of the marsh we came upon a scene that put the brakes on the throttle. About 300 seagulls and terns were dipping, diving, and flaring over a huge school of surface feeding fish. This amazing sight was on a very chilly morning in December after strong artic cold front buffeted the bay area with near gale force winds.

On launching the next day from the Yacht Basin boat ramp lower than normal tides forced us to run to Stingray Marina in order to enter Galveston?s East Bay. Making the turn at Stingray we throttled out onto the bay steering towards a distant grass-line and the amazing scene we were about to experience.

After spotting the unbelievable bird and feeding activity we throttled down, dropped in the troll-motor and slowly moved towards the action so as not to spook the diving birds and feeding fish. Not knowing what species they were, thoughts of trout entered my mind at first, but our first cast produced a redfish, the second cast gave up another redfish, then on our third cast boated another redfish. We were pleasantly surprised to find the feeding school was a huge mass of redfish chasing and feeding on a huge pod of shrimp.

The birds were frantic, we were frantic, and the reds were definitely frantic after hooking up on our spoons. SILVER SPOONS that is, not the traditional redfish gold, but speckled trout silver. We had rigged for speckled trout and REALLY didn?t have the time to make the switch. We were literally hooking up with almost every cast. This would become a fishing day of days.

After inviting Rick and his "birthday girl" wife Nancy Bauchman (of Miss Nancy?s Bait Camp) along for a mornings worth of angling, we launched into the fading chill of winter that would soon have us warming from the HOT fishing action on a cold winter day.

What happened was the strong cold front winds caused a lower than normal tide in the bay, draining the shallow marshy area, which in turn forced the redfish out into the bay along with the shrimp they were feeding on. This in turn attracted flocks of sea birds that began diving and feeding on the shrimp trying to escape the hungry maws of the reds. Then, we arrived upon this amazing scene to start catching redfish who were greedily slurping the shrimp and our spoons. Natures cycle of "predator to prey" for sure but a very exciting cycle for us to experience. Lady luck was truly on our side this day

All we had to do was cruise up and down the yardage of feeding gulls with our troll-motor set on slow, casting spoons, catching reds, and dodging birds. The size of the reds varied from 30-plus inches to the rat reds below the keeper slot of 20-to-28 inches, to many redfish within the slot. After 2 hours of action without another boat in sight, we managed to box 3 limits (9 reds) measuring from 22 to 26 inches, of which our birthday girl, Nancy, landed a 26incher, our largest landed that day. We boated 27 reds, losing 5 really big reds to straightened hooks and or busted lines, with 15 of those 27 making the keeper mark, but boxed only our 9 redfish limit that weighed over 60 lbs. Very exciting action for sure. A memory shared and an experience enjoyed.

I was considering stowing my boat for the winter, but after enjoying this very special day, on the next series of wintering cold fronts guess where my boat will be?....UBETCHA!
Miss Nancy's Birthday red
Photo by Ed Snyder
Artic coldfront drained the saltmarsh
Photo by Ed Snyder