I've written a number of reports mentioning fish concentrations "sticking" in the back lakes and holding tight to patterns one might witness during early Spring months. Picking up decoys the other day I came across a Stingray scurrying along the bottom. The last few days I've been noticing finfish including Mullet and other smaller bait fish balling up around low tide fallouts. Schools of bait fish in the back shallows is peculiar this time of year but to run across a Stingray is equally strange. Hard heads, stingrays and other such less desirables typically dump out of the back lakes and bays in general during Winter months. Their return around late March and warming temperatures in April are a sign of warming waters and transitional fishing approaches.
Their presence seems consistent with schools of Redfish working the back lakes. Under even the most adverse conditions, locating concentrations of Redfish has been like "Clockwork Orange". They've been adjusting to high and low water conditions but moving short distances from deeper water. One thing is certain, given rising water levels, the fish are pushing shallower. With water levels falling, they are concentrating in deeper pools or depressions near deeper water. Yesterday, conditions were pretty tough for locating fish visually with overcast and misting rain. There is one thing that can overcome these conditions and put the advantage toward the fisherman. That would be big fish stacked up in less than a foot and a half of water. Redfish pushing the upper end of the slot were shoulder to shoulder foraging on sand eels, crabs, and smaller finfish.
I don't think anything is going to break this cycle heading toward February. Even on gutted extreme low water, I think the fish are going to hold tight in the deeper areas of the back lakes. With the food source staying put, why relocate?
No complaints over the last week with our guests taking limits including fully mature Pintail, bull Redheads, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, and Mottle Ducks. We're looking at a pretty good cold front hitting late week and that should set the stage for a great finish to the duck season.
Capt. Kris Kelley
Castaway Lodge, Inc.