Monday, January 30, 2012

Fishing South Cullens in January

Ah, winter fly fishing. Sometimes I think it's time to tell people "no" when they want to come down in midwinter. I know, I've often spoken highly of the remarkable opportunities during those sunny days in January and February. Indeed, you will never see as many huge trout as in the winter months. And the reds are usually larger and fatter. But it's hard to play the weather, especially when guys are coming down from central Texas and beyond, and are hungry for that good taste of salt air on the Laguna Madre.

I drove down on Friday afternoon to guide Bobby McConnell from Kerrville and his friend Greg. I'd never taken them out, but they'd fished out of Kingfisher with Roel V. previously. The weather forecast was iffy for most of the weekend, but there seemed to be a calm window developing for Sat. morning. Sure enough, it was glassy on the East side when we arrived on the flats. Reds and trout were plentiful just southeast of the mouth of the Arroyo, so we shut down and poled for a while. We got some decent shots at tailing pods, but the calm conditions kept us from getting more than one cast off before the group would turn and slowly move away. After several such encounters, I made the questionable call to move further south towards S. Cullens Bay, which is my favorite west side venue during the low tides of winter. The water was plenty clear on the west side of Cullens, and we pushed a lot of fish just as soon as we crossed into the shallower side. So we poled westward toward the shallower water. Reds and a few trout blew up as we moved into range, but they weren't doing much. With a low sun, and lethargic fish, we didn't have what we needed. So I ran a bit further west, thinking that if we could get the fish in less than a foot of water, then they'd show even if they were barely moving. We ran over some small groups, shut down and decided to wade because it was too shallow to pole over the turtle grass. I was in and out of the boat for a while, pushing the Stilt over piles of turtle grass. I was relieved when the guys opted to wade. But that didn't do the trick either. The reds were hard to see--no tailing or active feeding.

A cold front blew through about 11:00 am, putting the end to our sightcasting. The 25 knot north wind wasn't cold at all, but it gradually churned up the clear water until our chances of seeing fish went to zero. It was then that we headed home. Not a fish was landed, but many were seen. A typical result on an otherwise promising morning that was interrupted by an abrupt change in the wind.

I did see something in my running south early in the day that was confirmed by my buddy Skipper Ray the next day: There are pods of big trout on the east side. I may be out there for fun later this week.

No comments: