GET SKINNY

As anglers, we always tend to research certain variables that are approaching us before spending our day on the water. We look at the weather forecast and take into consideration the wind, cloud coverage, moon phases and much more. A majority of the time, conditions are the same on the Texas coast; light winds in the morning and picking up around 10 a.m. with slight cloud coverage throughout the day. All of these factors can be taken into consideration and planned for accordingly but there is one piece of the puzzle that is usually a uncertainty- water level.

Now I know that water level fluctuates with the tide and that can be predicted with just about any forecast. But as anglers, we know what an area looks like on a certain tide since it is a familiar sight. However, throughout the year, there is a handful of times where the water level can be predicted. The only thing we know is that the water level will be LOW! 

Like most anglers, I tend to look at the weather forecast daily so I can find a window to get on the water. I eagerly await to see the typical south wind change out of the north for a few days and I know that is what I am looking for. Most people look forward to this time to go offshore or wade fish the surf but I take advantage of this time to get skinny.  With the shifting wind, water levels will begin to drop and it brings an opportunity that is to hard too pass up. In my opinion, skinny water fishing is one of the most rewarding and fun things an angler can do.

Since the level has dropped, this makes spotting redfish beyond effortless. They can be seen crawling in the shallows with their backs out of the water, their tails in the air or pushing the slightest wake; sometimes they can be seen well before you can even cast to them. To top it all off, a majority of the fish you catch are going to be sight casted!  

When I decide to target fish in skinny water, I tend to change up the presentation and lure choice from what I typically throw. I will usually still keep my 1/4 oz. Johnson gold spoon tied on but it does not get used as much as I normally throw it. I have found that it tends to get caught up in the grass to much when throwing it in shallow water; in turn, becoming a big grass ball. My other rods will be rigged with a  much lighter set-up. I like to have one rod rigged with a size 5/0 Owner twist lock and either a Zoom Fluke or a Keitech FAT Impact swimbait. This combination of either lure has proven to be worthy of sight casting redfish. My last rod I will have tied on a BUGGS jig; if the fish are finicky, a BUGGS is the way to go. My fishing partner Chad has also made me a believer in throwing a Ribbit frog. It puts out a lot of vibration, its weedless and the redfish will hammer it! 

Catching redfish in the shallows may be a somewhat easy task but there is one problem when it comes to skinny water, paddling through it. Kayaks are made to go shallow but there comes a point where it takes a little effort to get across a flat. Sometimes there is just enough water to float and you are pushing yourself with your paddle and other times you have to scoot your kayak into slightly deeper water. It can become a lot of work and can be downright exhausting but once you are there, it is worth all the work it took to get there.

One of my other favorite things about skinny water is the photography aspect of it. One of my favorite things to do is ease into a flat and never pick up a rod, only my camera. It provides a ample amount of self satisfaction to me by being able to watch redfish act naturally in their environment. It even brings more joy to me by being able to capture the moment and share what I have witnessed. 

I have already had a few days this year that I was able to spend back in the marsh chasing skinny water fish. I have caught a few and have been able to capture a few good pictures along the way. I’ll be patiently awaiting for my window again this summer for the water to drop and to be able to sightcast a few fish. 

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