It all started from a trip that I wasn’t even a part of. A kayak fishing trip that my partner had taken with a fellow angler looking for Redfish and I unfortunately had to work in the office that day. They were targeting an area of mangrove tree islands that we had yet to explore but had been told numerous times from other anglers in our area that these islands hold nice Redfish also known as Red Drum. It didn’t take long before I got a text message picture with my partner holding a nice golden bronze 23 inch Redfish. My response was of excitement and anxiousness of when I could fish this newly found honey hole for Reds. So a few days later I did just that and loaded up the FeelFree Kayak and headed to the numbers my partner sent me.
I found the drop in location of where my partner was previously and I began the paddle of about 300 yards of open water to arrive at the mangrove tree island. The time of day was approaching evening and with an evening high tide I felt my timing was perfect for Redfish, whom are more active in feeding during the high tide water movement. Once anchored near the mangrove tree line I began casting. With water boils and splashing of the surface around me my confidence was high that action was close and hopefully Redfish Action. I tossed my line out once again towards the low hanging mangroves with a popping cork and a shrimp on the end, the cork began to bounce on the surface and then it took off under water, I reeled down and pulled the rod to the side to set the hook and “PINK….” my line broke. The same frayed leader line I looked at before I left the shore had snapped and I had no doubt my apathy in not putting on fresh leader had just cost me a nice fish and most likely it was a Redfish. At this point it was getting late and the light was leaving so I decided to call it a day and take my lessons learned to return again another day.
With a score to settle “another day” came quick, and the next day I hopped in the truck with my 11.5ft FeelFree Kayak loaded up and headed back to this new spot for my REVENGE! This time I had tied on fresh leader line and was ready to avoid my mistake from the previous trip and began the paddle across the open water towards the mangrove tree island. Unfortunately for me, I was destined to learn some valuable lesson before I would get my chance to bring a monster Redfish on board my kayak, and today was another day of lessons. I missed at least 4 hook sets and no doubt all 4 were Redfish, because their power when they HIT, took advantage of my equipment failures once again. From a loose knot at the hook, to a rusted hook that broke, then another loose knot and then getting broke off in the mangrove trees I was beyond frustrated with my lack of success . As the tide dropped the action began to fall off and I decided to cut my losses and call it a day and had an extremely long paddle back with thoughts of how I blew those opportunities circling in my head.
After telling my partner about these frustrating trips and how I’d missed numerous times targeting these Redfish and after some well-deserved jokes, we decided we should go back again and give these Redfish another try together. With his confidence from slaying that nice 23 incher and my unwavering ambition from my two past attempts, we were hopeful to put all of that together and get some Reds to the kayaks. With some fresh leader line, brand new hooks, thoroughly tight knots and a late morning high tide we dropped in around first light and set out for the mangrove tree island. My partner was standing in the 2 feet of water next to his kayak casting towards the mangrove tree line when he hooks up to the first Redfish of the morning. While he is retrieving his first fish, my cork takes off underwater and with short reaction, BOOM! I set the HOOK and the fight is on and I finally had connected with a Redfish from this awesome honey hole. We each began to set our HOOKS about every 15-20 minutes from then on. After one of many solid hook sets and about a 15-minute fight of my kayak getting spun in circles, I was able to muscle in a nice 26-inch Bronze Beauty, a personal best Redfish from the kayak!
We continued to pull in the Redfish left and right, ranging in size from 20 to 26 inches. We fished hard for the entirety of the high tide and as usual with this species as the tide left so did the bite and the Redfish. We landed 7 Redfish between the two of us and kept the best size within slot to take home for dinner and the freezer. To say the least, the paddle back with meat on board was a GRAND feeling, especially after the previous failed attempts. But after many years of fishing and hunting, this was just another great lesson learned to never take a moment off from preparation and making sure your tools are intact before venturing on the water or into the woods, or it can cost you.