It’s Cold Out There!

It’s Cold Out There!
Unless you are able to pick your days carefully, wintertime kayak fishing can pose some incredible challenges. Late-January and February often give us morning air temperatures dipping into the 30s and sometimes the high-20s along Texas' upper coast. Cold days for any type of fishing!

However, I have always said there are two kinds of people; those that tough it out and go fishing and those that are smart and stay home by a fire drinking hot cocoa and eating fish they caught on warmer days. I guess I do not fit the smart category because I am going fishing.

I know I have typed this in the past but of all adverse weather conditions, it isn't the cold that bothers me most, it is wind. I have some good cold weather layering clothes and waders and I can deal with being cold, but the dang wind is a hindrance to long paddling trips. Crosswind is bad enough, heading into a north wind always feels as though I am make only two strokes of progress for every four strokes I paddle. Anyway, call me lucky, the wind so far this winter has been rather cooperative on the weekend trips I have made.

For the most part I have been fishing more open water, doing the drift thing. Sight-fishing in shallow water will probably always be my favorite, and while I rarely get to see the fish I will cast to when drifting, it is still an enjoyable method. I like it for its rather calm and peaceful nature. You let the breeze and tide take you along slowly and just enjoy the crisp air. On one recent trip I netted a limit of reds and Cliff even got a nice trout.

A bit of a bonus in cold weather kayak fishing is the fact that you can keep your fish in your kayak with no need for a cooler filled with ice to keep them fresh. Every pound counts on a long adventure, so being able to ditch the cooler of ice is nice. How do you store your fish?

When I am drift fishing, I am usually targeting reefs and other structure in water that averages around 3-to 5 feet deep and usually rig my soft plastics heavier than normal to help it get lower in the water column. Rat-L-Traps work fairly well in this depth range although you have to practice retrieve speeds to make them effective. To slow things down, I am becoming happy with my Vudu Mullets. They suspend well and seem to have great action.

When the tides allow it, I still get into the back-country lakes and shallow marsh flats. Action has been decent. No shrimp-crushing schools of redfish this time of year, but some solo cruisers now and then.

I am enjoying the recent increase in reader comments and feedback I have been receiving. The past two months, especially last month's article, seems to have sparked a lot of interest. As always, thank you to those who have followed my articles and who send in fishing stories and photos.

I was contacted by a Mr. Guffey who shared a photo of his custom trolley system for his kayak anchor. I must say that this is one heck of a system. It looks very sturdy. He reports it to be very effective for anchoring management when holding position in strong currents at the mouth of the Brazos River. Mr. Guffey, thank you for the photo and kind words. Good job on your custom trolley. Tinkering with and customizing kayaks is a big part of the fun of it. Best of luck on the water this year.

That's about all for this month. If you have an interesting kayak customization or catch stories/photos, please send them to me. Corresponding with readers is one of the best parts of my job. Good luck to everyone on the water this year.