Capt. Kelley
7/27/2009 6:00:00 AM

Topping The Leader Board

 

Topping The Leader Board
 
The wind has been kicking overnight and slacking during the morning hours. Combining that with a big falling tide overnight and you’ve got a lot of “water repair” going on during the early hours. This would best be described as a classic “emerging” set of conditions (going from dirty or stained water to green as the tide comes in or water settles out) and our fish respond well to that scenario. Catching fast action and a strong bite as the water settles out is pretty much a first Chapter in a San Antonio Bay handbook for success. The key is getting into an area that is settling out and has fish in it. San Antonio Bay is unusual at times insofar as it will settle out from different directions. Seeing the transition and its direction suggests positioning to best intercept the change in conditions. 
 
We’ve seen some pretty tough Trout fishing this Summer. Taking advantage of conditions that broaden the potential for success and narrow the focus location wise has to be recognized. 
 
The Oilfield Helping Hands Tournament out of Port O’Connor this weekend consisted of approximately 20 teams this year. I was invited to fish it again this year as guests of a field service organization with Max B. and guests. This is a big fish tournament and the weigh in pays top 5 in biggest Trout, Redfish, etc.  We managed to take 4th place in the Trout Division and took 2nd in the Redfish Division. 
 
Capt. Brad Graham and Capt. Steve Boldt had Redfish limits from the Port O’Connor area. Capt. James Cunningham Floundering looks promising with 25 solid slabs coming from a trip Saturday evening. 
 
President/CEO
Castaway Lodge, Inc.
109 W. Austin
Seadrift, TX  77983
1-888-618-4868 Office
361-785-4487 Fax
361-648-3474 Cell

 


Capt. Kelley
7/15/2009 6:00:00 AM

Texas Dove & Waterfowl Season Dates

 

I hope this e-mail finds everyone doing well. It’s been a hot and busy summer of fishing here on the coast but we are already setting our sights on the upcoming fall hunting season. It’s unusual to have hunting dates this far in advance but it looks like the State and USFWS have gotten their acts together early this year. Here’s what our hunting dates and limits are looking like. Some things about the big Duck Season are a little vague at this point concerning the make up of the bag limit. One thing seems certain, “Hunter’s Choice” is over and done with and it will be a SIX DUCK limit:
 
South Zone Dove Season:
 
Opens Friday, September 18th and runs deep into October. Dry conditions are centering our birds on available fresh water. I’ve never seen so many congregated birds cramming into watering areas. For the first time, it’s looking like a South Texas Dove Mecca with White-Wing, Mourning Dove, and Ringnecks working the fields and watering holes. September and October cast and blasts for Dove should be excellent barring any torrential rains. The State is increasing the bag limit from 12 birds back to 15 this year. 
 
Early Teal Season:
 
The season opens Saturday, September 12th and runs through Sunday, September 27th, 2009. Bag limit is 4 ducks.
 
Alligator Season:
 
The Season opens Thursday, September 10th and runs through Wednesday, September 30th. Harvest by permit only. Pricing by the foot and ranging from $650 for an 8’ Gator up to $2,500 for 12’ Lizards. 
 
Iron Man Window
 
September 18th through the 27th allows our guests to take advantage of all the Seasons including a morning Teal hunt, fishing, Dove hunting, and Alligator hunting. We can custom tailor a package to make the best use of your time afield. Dove and Teal/fish combinations are $400 per person including a night’s stay at the Lodge with meals, minimum party of 3. 
 
Duck Season – South Zone
 
Season opens October 31st and runs through November 29th. The Season closes until the second opener on December 12th and runs through January 24th. The big news is Hunter’s Choice has run its cycle and they are apparently doing away with it. The ducks have reportedly had a very successful hatch and the fall flight projections are looking very good. The limit will be six ducks instead of five, but we aren’t certain how the bag limit is going to be comprised as of yet. We are hearing concerns over Mottled Ducks which are indigenous Texas ducks where we may see some restriction. It’s not a big concern insofar as they do not make up a substantial part of our seasonal harvest. 
Seeing Double - New Airboat on the Way!
 
In the spring of this year, I bought a new 20’ Air Ranger airboat to go along with our existing 18’ airboat. The benefit of having two airboats is obvious and it will greatly benefit our logistics and ability to split up and hunt different locations. For all you Airboat Red fishing fans, we can now obviously do two airboat Redfish trips per day. That’s going to solve a lot of problems with larger groups that all want to get in the back country. The new boat will be arriving around the first of September, 2009. 
 
Layout Boat Hunting
 
We are working with Mark Rongers at Mighty Layout Boys in determining which boats will suite our needs best. We are very excited about continuing this tradition and making these hunts available to our clients. Layout boat hunting was a lot of fun especially in our very forgiving climate. 
 
Booking
 
We are seeing our groups make very early arrangements for hunting dates this season. As such, we are already booked up November 14-15, December 12-14th which is the second opener. We’ve got another half dozen dates which are approaching capacity. If you are thinking of making it to the Texas Coast this season, please contact us as soon as possible. 
 
With our sights already firmly set on the upcoming hunting season, we are ready to drop the hammer and can’t wait. Come see us!
 
Capt. Kris Kelley
President/CEO
Castaway Lodge, Inc.
Home of Coastal Waterfowl
1-888-618-4868 Office
361-785-2587 Fax
361-648-3474 Cell
 
 

 


Capt. Kelley
7/13/2009 8:20:00 PM

Trout Today, Croaks On The Halfshell Tomorrow!

Thursday we welcomed Ronnie P. and Norm back for another go at the fish. Things were a little unstable but a great deal was learned during the session. We didn’t quite make limits, coming in two Trout short for the day. It’s always a pleasure fishing this crew that’s been our clients for nearly a decade.

Friday proved that Trout fishing is here one day and gone the next. The Lodge welcomed Kent B. and son Tyler and guest Mac aboard. Conditions were South South East wind around 7-10 knots and plenty of pretty water South. (From Thursday’s trip, I flip-flopped my emphasis location wise 180 degrees and worked the outgoing tide more thoroughly. This paid big dividends). Immediately in the learning curve we picked up a solid bite right off the bat working gorgeous water and an outgoing tide over shell in 3’ of water. I noticed the 16 year old Mac from Louisville, KY had a serious skill set. I told Kent, “man that kids got some skills in the first 10 minutes of the trip”. Sure enough, Mac went to stroking on them as fast as he could get a bait in the water. Kent and his son Tyler were still in the learning process when Mac probably had 8 in the boat. Kent said “that kid fishes a lot”. Well, that may be part of it, but you can’t discount a natural skill set either. . . guide caliber casts, accuracy, soft hands, focused, dialed in, and capable of doing the same thing the same way twice, it was inspiring!

As the bite disintegrated and tide switched from outgoing to incoming, we hit the wall. . . that’s the “we can’t find a fish WALL”. I felt like we could find them and I was hot on their trail. Sure enough, about our third stop “in the wall zone” we broke out of it and started a “smoke n roll”. The boys made quick work of a ferocious bite needing 13 more to go over the top and they did in short order.

That was Trout limits by around 9:40am and about as classic as you could ask for. Enter Saturday, wind shift about 15 degrees farther to the West. Tide felt about the same but something was different. One hammer hole produced a half dozen for me and the Pescado Const. crew while Capt. James managed a couple early. I’m in contact with nearly 10 boats prying the waters and the reports are appalling. At 11:30am, I talked to a guide buddy of mine that was coordinating three boats out of Rockport. Keep in mind these guys are all super talented. At 11:30am, fishing Croaker, they had 4 Trout between 3 boats. I came limping in with half limits and James came in with around 11 Trout. This variation from day to day is uncommon and we don't know exactly what to make of it. I've got some ideas, but I'm keeping those to myself.

Come home when you can!

Capt. Kris Kelley
President/CEO
Castaway Lodge, Inc.
109 W. Austin
Seadrift, TX 77983
1-888-618-4868 Office
361-785-4487 Fax
361-648-3474 Cell

 


Capt. Kelley
7/7/2009 5:05:00 PM

Winning 3rd Quarter Strategies!

 

Winning 3rd Quarter Strategies
 
July through September will find us working with the weather as we approach the “Tropical” season. Various tropical events including waves, depressions, storms and of course hurricanes frequent the Gulf waters at this time. Along with them comes a higher than normal tide which can open up previously slow or lack luster areas with explosive fishing. The key will be to get shallower in an environment of higher water. The bait and fish will quickly make a move tighter to the crest of reefs, closer to shorelines, and farther into shallow water bays. Big pushes of Gulf water can bring unfamiliar water clarity along with an abundance of Gulf species including Sharks and Jacks. Sticking with the rule that the bait and the fish will be in off color water will narrow the focus and areas looked at first. 
 
Fishing around these weather events requires a different approach to the fishing schedule. The Dawn Patrol mentality takes a back seat to the “Window of Opportunity Patrol”. Access to real-time local radar is critical. If you don’t have radar on your phone, a land based “eye on the sky” will keep everyone safe. Wendi monitors radar around such events while we are on the water constantly updating us in the event that we may need to run for cover. 
 
Feeder bands associated with Tropical Depressions and some Tropical Storms are often rain events with light winds and no lightning and offer excellent opportunities at close fish. Adjust the schedule to leave the ramp as a feeder band is passing over and fish the afforded window of opportunity. Exercise caution and good judgment with solid weather information, lightning is a “deal breaker”.
 
One particular Tropical Storm that hovered over Seadrift for a week lent itself to exactly this strategy. The fish were on a ferocious feeding pattern during this Storm and all I needed was a window of opportunity. I seldom left the ramp at the same time day after day. One day we would get out at break light, the next day it might be 10:00am or whenever the bands passed. On one of these days, we never could get the rain to completely stop. With a client in all the way from Russia, I felt like pushing it on the uncomfortable side was the only option. We left the ramp in a light rain and fished close-in catching around 7 Trout on a slow grind. . . in the rain. I looked up and saw a wall of rain coming across the bay and there was no outrunning it. It drenched us, but passed fairly quickly. I fired the boat up and ran to another reef right smack dab in the middle of the rains that just passed us. The only difference was these fish were on fire and limits came to hand quickly.
 
What Goes Up, Must Come Down
 
As water levels begin to diminish, the fish will slowly slide back to a normal water level pattern. You can almost follow them as they adjust to falling water levels. In an event like this, colonies of fish can make a move centering themselves on familiar structure while holding for days on end. One thing is for certain, when you find them, you find them.
 
August, Big Winds & Big Trout
 
Year after year, our second shot at big fish comes around some type of storm event with higher than normal tides in August. Trout are coming around for another spawn and both numbers and size will be located over mud/grass. The key factor here is wind and a lot of it. Fishing the shallower grass bays and lakes are seldom an option with little wind during this time period. Wind is the camouflage needed to allow closer approach in these shallower environs and off color water is a needed ingredient. Redfish will be a natural by product in this area while probing for Trout concentrations. That will definitely keep things interesting while searching for Trout. With lighter winds, shell reefs will find Redfish mixing more readily with Trout as they begin to stage up for a Fall push. 
 
September, Transitions On The Horizon
 
As cool fronts deliver migrating Teal and Dove, waters begin to cool off a little and you can feel a change in the air. Shrimp along with other bait fish begin to leave estuaries and back marsh environments for a move into the bays. Working birds are an indication that this is occurring. While we haven’t had a strong “bird fishery” since before my career started, we did see a big resurgence last Fall. For the first time, I found myself working diving gulls with solid Trout and Redfish keying on Shrimp and Shad. Fishing with artificial lures proved most effective and this is a time when that approach begins to come out of the Summer doldrums. Redfish will be ever present over a variety of structure with fast action and hard hitting runs. Cool fronts are the key to timing the month with the seasonality. No cool fronts, no transition and a summertime pattern continues. We saw this in 2007 as summer bled into September and October with no real Fall transition. 2008, on the other hand, was just about classic. After the big water surge associated with Ike diminished, fishing broke lose and held consistent into late January. 
 
All in all, the Third Quarter can present some weather challenges, but approaching them is what separates success from failure. Getting a handle on tide levels and adjusting the approach are key. As we push through warmer days, staying hydrated is essential while moderating alcohol consumption. If it gets unbearable, fire up the motor and take a run to cool things down. 
 
Come home when you can!
 
President/CEO
Castaway Lodge, Inc.
109 W. Austin
Seadrift, TX  77983
1-888-618-4868 Office
361-785-4487 Fax
361-648-3474 Cell
 
 

 

Kris-


I can't thank you enough for all you do and the past two Spring Breaks have been a blast! We can't wait to get back out on the water again. Thank you for making our mother/son fishing trip so special.


You're the Best!

Mel
Katy, TX

Dear Kris & Wendi:


Trent and I had a blast on the GATOR hunt. An 11' 400 lb gator is nothing to sniff at and I know we'll be happy with the mount and skin. You run a first rate outfit. I enjoyed the fellowship and the fine chow. Tell Jake & Jack they need their own reality TV show

Jamie and Trent Page
Austin, TX

Two friends and I headed down to Seadrift to take advantage of the February Special at the Castaway Lodge. The Lodge did not disappoint. The food and the lodging was great as was the fishing. We landed 9 reds between the three of us even though the conditions were far from perfect. Headed back to

Robert J. "Big Daddy"
Reviewer, Wadefishing.com

Kris,


Thanks for a great day on the water! Good weather, good fish and good company.... it doesn't get any better. You do a fantastic job. I hope to meet up with you again sometime soon.

Brett H.
Houston, TX

Kris, thanks again, Mark and Trish had a blast, just being on the water. James did a great job not just with the fish, laughing and joking, and of course giving me a hard time for missing fish. He made the trip really enjoyable for everyone. You’ve got a great business going for you and Wen

Brian M.
San Antonio, TX
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