The rain hit Texas hard this spring/ early summer and the rivers are overflowing their banks. It has messed up some of my favorite freshwater spots but it seemed to have changed things for the better (for my prospective anyway) in the gulf.
The dirty flood water is really out into the gulf at the mouth of these flooded rivers. Many people are worried about the impact this will have on the saltwater ecology. I can attest with first hand experience that it seems to be causing an “all you can eat” feeding feast at the mouths of these rivers. Normally, it is hard finding kingfish near the north Texas coast. You really have to travel out a great distance to find the clean water the kingfish thrive in. Right now, however, with all the bait fish being forced out of the rivers by this strong flood current the kingfish as well as other game fish have moved up close to feast on the buffet of bait.
We found ourselves fishing close to the color change caused from the flood waters.
At first we fished on the color change. And then we tried just outside the color change in the cleaner water, but we soon learned that the fish we sitting mainly in the dirtiest of water.
The kingfish were everywhere in the murky water. We witnessed them jumping 6-10 feet into the air as they chased their prey. I even had one jump over the bow of my kayak. Once locating the fish the action was fast and furious.
We trolled ribbon fish . You can purchase ribbon fish at almost any bait store along the coast, especially those located at a marina.
We placed the ribbon fish on the kingfish leaders pictured below.
It turned out that on this particular day. Pink leaders worked the best. (I wished I would have purchased more of that color.) My fishing partner, Grant, had mostly pink and he ended up having more hook-ups and ultimately more kings.
Once hooked up, hold on, for Kingfish can run with some real speed.
They can really put a bend in your rod and take you on a nice ride. However, their gas tanks tend to be short lived and after a couple of strong runs they die out.
Don’t be fooled they usually have a little in reserve when they get close to the kayak.
They sometimes even make a couple of dives and circle the boat.
Once they tire out I prefer to just reach in and grab their tails.
Reach in quick, close to your kayak.
Give it a good yank.
I recommend. Not keeping your hands in the water very long. My friend Grant had this happen twice.
Sharks stole his fish before he could get them in his boat. He prefers to use his fish grips for safety reasons. I had to do that once as I hooked a kingfish in the tail.
There was no grabbing that tail. And let me tell you a kingfish can run a lot longer when hooked in the tail.
Some people like to use gaffs. That is fine and dandy but you can only keep two kings per day in Texas. I want to catch, photo and release safely and as many as possible on my trips.
You have to work quickly to keep them alive.
A good long ruler is a must. All the kingfish I caught this day were between 37″- and 45″.
Taking pictures of fish that long can be a challenge. If you can’t use the view finder you end up taking lots of poor pictures.
I also use a GoPro mounted on a Railblaza (swinging) Camera Boom 600. This serves as my “selfie stick”.
It is great for documenting fish. And many times I don’t have a friend around to take my photos.
When unhooking these guys, take precaution. They have sharp teeth. Unlike a bass they can not be lipped.
I was wishing I had some longer pliers. I recommend long pliers. LOL.
I found if you work quickly, both landing the fish and during the CPR process (catch, Photo, and release) the fish can survive.
We did land 19 kingfish that day between the two of us.
We also caught a a few other saltwater critters. Grant landed two nice Jack Crevalle. These were hooked in the cleaner water.
We also each caught a handful of pesky sharks.
The sharks make it a costly venture. Every shark means you virtually lose your kingfish leaders as well as your bait.
The trip was fun and well worth it. If you go pick a day with nice (safe) weather. And please remember the current at the mouths of these rivers can be deceiving. Once the color change completely disappeared almost instantly and we found ourselves so far out we had a 90 minute pedal back to towards shore to find dirty water once again. We were so busy catching fish we didn’t realize how far we drifted. A second time we stayed closer to shore but drifted a couple of miles up the coast line. It took us another 90 minutes or more to pedal back against the current when the day had ended.
Bring lots of fluid and sun screen. Tight lines and good luck.
Operationfish.com signing out,