Backwater Adventures

September 7, 2017 |Issue #699

 

For centuries now man has tried his hardest to direct Mother Natures will. Rerouting rivers and streams, moving sand dunes, damming up the rivers and building homes on islands of sand and sea oats. For the native Americans these places were inhabited with the bare essentials of structure, Ol Mother Nature can easily bring it all back down to sand, we just saw that. For the bay system and the fishery, we have seen a dramatic loss of the push and pull of tides and water flow. This combined with dredging and spoil dump activity has reduced the flow and changed the bottom of all our bays. The Lagoon and Baffin once was a sandy bottom dotted with big rock piles. Now the majority of the bottom is covered with soft sediments and grass. In a drop of time, we have seen the migration of shrimp and crabs almost disappear here completely as well as many key shellfish species like sea scallops that filter the water. This last big storm rocked the Coastal Bend, but in time will bring a cultivation in its ability to grow life. To our south the Lagoon and Baffin didn't change or get affected much and fishing is still great with good green water and the annual migration of bait and gamefish has taken off. To our north many have said that the bays in Rockport are empty of even birds. I. A few months all will return and rebound better than before. Washing away the old decayed bottom and allowing for new growth.

 

Here the only thing lacking is the abundance of live bait flags. This is because in recent years we depend on bait camps to our north to provide us with bait. Live shrimp is still available and in the weeks to come I believe we will see one more month of live croaker and piggy perch. DONT WAIT FOR THAT! Fishingbis good now! Live shrimp and popping corks have been bringing us a varied box of all species along with the start of the fall redfish run! Soft plastics is probably the most consistent bait of choice and super relaxing. Learning the rhythm one uses to deliver a lifelike action on the other end of the line releases our mind and thoughts to a stress free state. Then you get the bite! Small soft plastics like the DOA 3" CAL SHAD are most consistent. Natural colors is what I start with them move to darks and brights. When you are catching fish live towards larger baits like the 5" DOA jerk shad or even topwater. As the lunar bite increases mature fish will take bigger baits. I've had a great week drifting the big rocks in the mouth of Baffin and along the Kennedy shoreline. There are still big masses of trout out deep in the Lagoon as well. The area close to the JFK has been feast or famine. When big loads of bait are flowing out of the bay system it seems like those redfish are everywhere, when they slip out to the surf it can seem like a ghost town. Look for these areas of bait in 2-5 mile increments from the causeway to the land cut and back to the back of Baffin. I'm really excited about this next two months on the water. This is a great time to catch up on YOUR FISHING SKILLS AND COME LEARN HOW TO USE LURES EFFECTIVELY. TBE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IS CONFIDENCE. There is a big discount for weekday lure trips I can pass to you without the cost of a big bait bill. When your getting in the truck or jumping in the boat without the worry of if the. Sit is good or not, everything becomes a lot more comfortably easy, and you can concentrate on finding fish.

 

Start in the ICW at first light with soft plastics. As winds and the sun rise drift the flats around the spoil islands along the channel south of Bird Island. Pick up. If reds pumping large gold weedless spoons and paddle tailed soft plastics. Stay away from grassy bottoms with live shrimp or you will just be feeding the pin perch. Head south over the big rocks of Baffin. Don't get yourself in a fishing depression, GET OUT AND GET WET!

Send any questions or things you want to hear about to my email or just follow our HOOKUPS On facebook at joey Farah's Backwater Fishing! Jfarah72@yahoo.com

 

 

August 30, 2017 |Special Edition  Issue #698

 

Well along the coast, everyone has their turn, and it was ours. Me and my kids lingered at the seawall in the rain right before we drove off the Island, and said some prayers. I told them that everything we are, everything we have, and all of our adventures come from Mother Ocean. Surely, anything she takes away she will return and more. That is how it works. We were fortunate but so many were not. For those who stood speechless over the torn homes they left, this will brew up the inner strength inside of you. This will bring families and friends together. These horrible times show us all the good in people and the great people we are. Helping hands and acts of kindness will flow. As we all rebuild our homes, docks, and lives we will share something as a community, just like a family that grows closer and closer as we get through life's struggles TOGETHER.

 

The fishing and fishing community will be effected much more than sunken and wreaked boats. In years before local communities had their own bait providers and shrimpers. Now we depend on most of the bait being drove in from areas to our north. Those bait camps got hit hard. They will be busy rebuilding their communities and lives. The flow of live bait will be choked down to a drizzle if any. The many full time fishing guides in these areas will come on hard times as will everyone down the line. Hotels marinas shops and stores. We may see a rise in traffic here as our marinas and boat ramps suffered less damage. It's funny how some people think that bouncing back from something like this should happen in days or even weeks. It will take a lot of time, work, and money. When it is finished things may be a little different, some may be completely changed, BUT THE PEOPLE OF NORTH PADRE ISLAND AND PORT ARANSAS WILL GROW TOGETHER AND STAND STRONG, and continue to embrace our mother ocean.

 

Fishing will bounce back here very fast. Without the influence of rivers and creeks here our salinity levels will remain stable. Tides blasted up but reseeded quickly. Our bats received much needed nutrients and tidal cleaning. Anglers should relax and concentrate on quality and not filling the box. Without live croakers and piggy perch drift fishing will defiantly come sooner than normal. Usually bye October the live bait scene changes back to shrimp anyway so it's just a little early. Drifting the flats of the King Ranch with soft plastic will bring great trout action and scattered redfish. The lady fish or skipjack should be kept and cut into big pieces for redfish bait. Anchor up and fish this cut-bait as well as cut mullet. Drifting with live pin perch under a popping cork is a great way to hook up big reds. Big gold spoons ripped over the flats lets out some stress and will wake you up with the reel screaming off drag. In Port A you will find reds grouping up along the main channel and all deepwater docks. The backside of St Jose' Island is a great morning Wade with topwaters for some nice trout. The Jetties will have schools of reds and fat gulf trout for anglers dancing soft plastics. The fishing will be a good way for you to mend your relationship with Ol Mother Ocean after she gave us a big spanking. If you would like to learn some new ways of catching and hunting fish give me a call. The off-season is here after this weekend and getting on the water can be both cheaper and more relaxing.

 

I ALWAYS try to remember that little towel that hangs in Snoopy's.

 

IF YOU’RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO LIVE BY THE OCEAN,

YOU’RE LUCKY ENOUGH.....

God bless

 

 

August 10, 2017 | Issue #695

 

Running over the shallow flats in the Laguna Madre can be hypnotizing. The beautiful water and miles of scattered grass and sand flats are what make this area the great Mother Lagoon for the entire coastal bend.

 

As the grass blooms into maturity each summer,  various fast-growing species choke up the bottom and fill in many of the sand pockets. This can make seeing and catching gamefish, particularly redfish difficult as there are less open sand pockets. You will see the dark and light colors where mixed sandy bottoms usually occur. The redfish are still there, but are feeling very comfortable buried in that thick grass.

 

This massive amount of live grass gives cover for an enormous amount of tiny baitfish, shrimp, and crabs. Redfish will root under this along the bottom where you will never see them. Running the flats you may spook them on those slick mornings, and just as you lean over to look at them they disappear. They are diving into the cover and holding tight. As the afternoon winds start to blow, many of these reds emerge from the carpet of grass and start to move towards the edges of the flats along the drop-off into the deeper areas and channels. Patrolling those contours, they find each other and hunt in packs.

As the sun falls, these groups can turn into herds -- rolling through pods of migrating bait and dominating the Lagoon like a hungry pack of wolves. At first light, you can find them still herded up until tower boats run circles around them, and the sun drives them down again. Looking through the contents of their stomachs will tell you what they are eating and when.

 

Drifting the flats with big 1/2-3/4 ounce gold Weedless spoons is a fantastic, no problem way to guarantee yourself to hook up with one of these red rockets. I always use a swivel and 18-in mono leader. The spinning of the spoon will twist the line without a swivel. Long casts will get you out away from any boat noise and cover a lot of water. A very aggressive retrieve with big and hard strokes will put out a lot of vibration as the spoon flutters and kicks above the thick grass.

 

Hang on because as soon as you drift off into dreamland BOOM! Your rod comes to a stop and then turns double as they bolt off for the horizon. I like to dip the rod when I get a bite, letting the spoon get sucked into the redfish's mouth. Keep a drag setting that will allow them to make a strong run without breaking you off. Sometimes a flash of color like a red skirt or colored spoon will make a difference. Using gold spoons under mauler style corks will also bring those reds up from the bottom and make fishing a little easier for some.

Lose yourself in fishing along with any negative things in life. You can just leave them at the dock. You can jump out along any shoreline along the causeway or the backside of the Island and use spoons and catch redfish. It is really an easy and very productive way to fish. The spoon is the oldest form of lure fishing there is. I imagine if you picked up a piece of shell, sharpened a fish bone, and tied them together we could still catch a redfish. Fishing has been OFF THE HOOK!

 

Give me a call for the last few days left during the redfish run and I always have some great afternoon sunset times open. Go out there and GET WET! Joey Farah 361-442-8145.

 

 

August 3, 2017 | Issue #694

Guessing where and what gamefish are doing and at can be like chasing unicorns. Predicting good catches can usually be easy if you relax and keep a open mind about the flow of tide, especially late summer when temperatures are the most influential factor in gamefish' activities. We have had a few weeks of some of the lowest of tides of the year. This is typical of July and August before we get any tropical storm pushes of water. Tides drop out and carry loads of bait and gamefish towards deeper and cooler water and the open beaches of the Gulf. This is what we have been talking about in the last few weeks of moon articles. The tides are rolling back in after this full moon phase and fishing is supercharged! The big trout that have been in the surf are rolling into the Lagoon and Port A with this new ride. They most likely not travel back far but stay in the transfer zones close to the passes. Thick shoulders and girth, these fish are very healthy. Before they came back in much of the trout caught in the bays were skinny and weak fish that were not as good table fare. This week make it a point to get out along the Port A. jetty, Packery, and the Upper Lagoon to cash in on some great fishing.

 

The flats are a little deeper than they have been, this is ringing redfish action back up as well. Concentrate on the open sand pockets in less than 2ft of water. Drift or wade with big Weedless gold spoons. The edge of the deep channels at first and last light will out you in position to catch herds of redfish moving out of the ICW to the shallow flats to feed on small pin perch. They have been laying low in the main channel and under the grass in the flats all day waiting for dim light.

 

We are closing up a great summer as school gets closer to hand. Call and set up a adventure for your kids before the last days of summer run out. Ignite a passion for the water, fishing, and spending time with family that will never fad or wash away. It certainly doesn't matter if they have any experience or even interest. Sometimes you surprise someone who says they don't like fishing but may go for the ride. Shove a rod with a fish battling on the other end to their hands and they seem to light up regardless.

 

The ring of thieves that have been plaguing  the Island lately has gotten way out of hand. I've heard so many stories of local residents capturing thieves on camera, license plates, even names and addresses, yet receive no interest from authorities on following through? I watched the news the other night, perhaps it is the $250 fine for non- violent crimes we have in the city now that is to blame for the total lack of both fear of being caught and/or the drive to follow through on the pursuit. Maybe we should have a special group of officers patrolling between 1-5am. This is free time for the thieves. If your out and about expect to get approached by the police. If you are fishing and are not doing anything wrong good. If you’re up to no good it may stop someone loosing hard earned and lived belongings. Just a thought, I see all the druggie fishermen running around out here at all times of night under the excuse of fishermen or catching bait with cast nets.

 

Enough negative! Fishing is great summer is still here and the green tides are rolling into the bay! Give me a call and let's go fishing! GET WET MY FRIENDS.

 

 

July 27, 2017 | Issue #693

Sometimes you meet people that you just look up to right away. I got this call one day from a man that told me he has fished the Laguna Madre and Baffin for over 40yrs, so why is he booking a trip with me?  Seems he had walked most every inch of Nine Mile Hole and caught fish with some of the old Salts I've known most of my life. Father Time had blessed him with a beautiful life and family and now grandchildren that had just arrived at the age to fall in love with fishing. Humble and eager to learn new things from a fisherman a few generations younger, he and his wife were all about those kids. Lady Luck and the Ol’ Mother Lagoon has seemed to bless us every time we have gone out. It's been a few years now and the kids are getting older and are better fishermen as well. This week we took a trip out and I was just about in tears as the big picture settled in as we rolled across the flats. These trips with me are greatly appreciated, it's my business, but days like these I feel I'm getting just as much out of them as my clients. We should enjoy and hold close to heart every moment with our kids and grandkids. They are what we leave behind, the only ones that will allow us to live on. These family traditions in the great outdoors are passed to our kids, grandkids, and even beyond that. Andy told me our next trip was just going to be him and his wife. He told a great story of their first fishing date like it was only yesterday. Andy took her wade fishing in The Hole and pointed out a group of reds tailing in shallow water. Without any more instruction, she set out towards them. He fell in love after watching her cast time and time again until she finally sight casted her first red. She told the same story and said, "being a school teacher, I knew I could figure those redfish out and make them bite!" She still shows that same tenacity today, and I'm sure that is alive in her granddaughter as well. That started a special and beautiful partnership in life and fishing. Our trips with the grandkids include BB guns on spoil islands, walking the beaches, and dancing a jig on the front of the boat while blasting music. It's the time spent together and the smiles --the fish are the cream on the cake. Those days together are why we live here along the ocean, don't forget it. Before school gets back in session, or time just passes us all by, grab them kids and take them fishing.

 

The water has been low in the bay and summer heat is driving fish deep towards tidal movement. We should have a push of green tide in the next 10 days with the upcoming full moon. This will revitalize the bay and start those BIG BULL REDS on their way towards the passes. We are catching trout limits quick then hunting redfish every day, just give me a call and LETS GET WET!

 

 

July 20, 2017 | Issue #692

 

Summertime is settling in now, the loads of shrimp are moving out of the bays and water and air temps are at the highest point. These two factors are pushing fish shallow at night where the night air cools the skinniest of water. This is where many of the biggest trout will feed on baitfish. As the sun peaks out in morning light they retreat to deeper water and the cover of grass bottoms. The deeper areas will be where the biggest numbers of trout will be found feeding on the remaining mass of shrimp migrating at night as well and shad and small minnows. My goals for the day dictate where I start and what I'm looking for. For lots of action and quick limits I'll start off along deep grasslines in the Upper Lagoon and close to big structure in Baffin. In the Lagoon use piggy perch, in the shallows and in Baffin go to live croaker. During calm conditions remember that the trout can feel your presence, boat noise, water displacement, even your silhouette, if your catches move to nothing but tiny trout, make a short move to get in front of fresh fish. I've been using a small pinch weight on my leader and even a small slip weight to aid in casting, create different presentations, and keep the baits out of the beaks of hungry young seagulls.

 

The redfish love the hottest part of summer. They will be shallow hunting crabs and small baitfish. The calm conditions make sneaking up on them in a boat extremely difficult. Redfish are very sensitive to vibration, think about this when you are getting set up. This is a good time of year to use cut bait in the heavy grass. The redfish spend their days often rooting under the grass bottom looking for their good. Smell will lead them to your hands. The other tool that will be effective is big Weedless spoons. The vibration and length of cast will give you a big footprint. They will explode out of the grass and stomp that spoon and try to rip the rod out of your hands.

 

The slick glass was a exact reflection of the golden sunrise. The surface was oddly broken by baitfish and trout frantically chasing each other. Each cast over the grass line we could see the trout and skip jack dart in a fight over the small DOA plastic. I could hear the topwater behind me kicking back and forth with a occasional slurp and pop as trout where blowing up behind it. The Rick tax stopped and a gurgling thrashing of water told me Tim was hooked up. Trout where coming out of the water after small shad and glass minnows. The feeding frenzy was incredible, but as soon as the sun peaked hard through the clouds the sun beams settled things down. The fish were still feeding but that incredible magic time had passed. Those times when bait balls are getting thrashed with clear reckless abandonment are very special. This time of year it happens a lot. We have been getting limits of trout every day and then hunting redfish.

 

LETS GO FISHING!

You may want to go have a great day on the water, learn new places and techniques, or entertain out of town friends family or customers. Perhaps just all of it at the same time?? August has your day to remember waiting for you. Call me and let's find a day that you can call your own! Capt Joey Farah 361-442-8145. We need to GET WET!

 

July 6 2017 | Issue #690

Summer travels

As the summer heats up shrimp move out of the back reaches of our bay systems and dive into the deep waters of the ICW, Corpus Bay, the Ship Channel, and the Gulf. With them come game fish movements, and changes in the feeding habits of sport fish. Keeping this in mind will help anglers stay in the right place, fishing at the right time, and doing the right thing to be successful on every outing.

 

The pursuit of black drum has gained popularity in the last few years farther than the historic winter and spring months. Now as the shrimp are moving out the drum that migrated in during the spring season are spending their days in the deeper waters of the Upper Lagoon. Their diet includes shrimp and small sand clams. These claims are key, look for gravel sand bottoms and that's where you will find the schools of drum. The deep channels of the boat hole and many of the developed and empty channels of housing divisions. Peeled shrimp with light weighted setups are the best. Some wait to see the schools before they cast while others use sonar to find the schools below the surface. I catch way too many of these critters in the cooler months to chase them now. For now they are safe, I'm chasing trout and reds.

 

Redfish moving

The redfish are also moving with the shrimp but combine their diet with them and baitfish and crabs. Looking at the stomach contents of all my catches helps me understand what they are eating and when. Night time hunting is usually shrimp, as the shrimp move under the cover of darkness, then settle in the soft bottoms close to areas of tidal movement. Some of these areas are the ICW, and the deep areas of Emmorts Hole. Daylight brings redfish to bury under the thick grass out in the flats. Drifting with gold spoons and pin perch under popping corks will most always bring some drag peeling fun. We are also using fillets of large pin perch casted into the sand pockets to catch some monster redfish after he trout limits.

 

A quick stop along the ICW with peeled shrimp with small perch hooks will bring you plenty of bait for this quickly. No weight and a loose line, with the rods in the rod holders work best. As soon as you move the rod or line the bait will shuffle into the grass. Don't pick it up until the drag is screaming. As the shrimp leave the bay and their diet turns more and more to baitfish reds will be swarming around schools of finger mullet and shad and hunting the flats for perch. Anglers using piggy perch will soon find a jump in their redfish activity because of this. Staying shallow in the Laguna Madre and close to rocks in Baffin will keep you in the right place for redfish in the next few months.

Trout

 

The trout bite is intense this year, limits are an everyday event but quality can be the challenging part. Aggressive schools of small trout are quick to zero in on your fishing when throwing live bait. To keep our efforts leaning towards a nice box of fish we have been making small moves when we get the school fired up. Seems the first few fish will be nice but wishing twenty minutes it's all smalls. Bump down little by little being ready for action during the first few casts. Targeting the shallow sand pockets during the peaks of fish feeding times is also the way to find bigger trout. My good friend and local legend Cliff Webb has been hunting big trout over shallow sand bottoms at first light. He is showing a good five to seven degree difference in tester temp because of nighttime cooling in those shallow areas. I've seen the same in the deeper water over sandy bottoms rather than soft mud. The bite is great at first light but often shuts down as soon as it gets bright and sunny. Mid-day winds have brought trout to feed again between 2-6 p.m. every day. The afternoon trips have been on fire! Limits of keepers and many, many released keeper fish to boot in the evening. Croakers have been good except for the first ten miles of the Lagoon, that's where the trout seem to prefer piggy perch. Adding a small lunch weight to the line and using nothing smaller than a #5 wide gap hook will help you cast and successfully hook the trout.

 

Get out at dawn, fish sandy bottoms, stay close to areas of good tidal flow, and remember this is supposed to be fun!

 

I want to remind everyone to check out all out catches on Facebook at Joey FARAHS BACKWATER FISHING. And call me for an adventure when your guests come to town! Y'all get wet.

 

 

June 29, 2017 | Issue #689

 

I caught myself looking out across the sea of blowing white sand in lake padre, and started in on a reflection to my kids of back when the Island was still a little wild. Empty lots stretched farther than manicured rock yards, and quail and rabbits outnumbered people. When OTB meant you were a regular at Island Italian and FARAHS, cuz that was the only place to go! That night I took my daughter to eat dinner at island Italian, we watched everyone in the place smiling and singing along to a two man band. Took me back to when Tag sat at the bar, exactly where Tony and I talked, now with our daughters close at hand. A lot has changed in the last 20yrs out here. Back when, were not that many places to rent, most of the population were home owners, colorful and ambitious. Late night parties and disturbances were handles by the Island security. We didn't have a army of meth head thrives posing as fishermen rooming the docks and out of town career thrives roaming the streets. There were no strip centers or many specialty shops. If you lived out on the Island it meant something. Today it's easy for folks that have been out here a while to look back and think maybe the good times are gone. Sometimes all we need to do is take a moment and watch all the people around us that are only now falling in love with this place. Every day there is a new smile of exploration here. These times are of change here, unfinished projects litter the Island, but eventually this will be a very different place. Hopefully there will be a few old salty colorful souls to meet, difference is they will be the ones that used to run the beach as those young colorful folks. Take some time and get out on the water, beach or bay, and fall back in love with our Island.

 

Fishing this week is good and the water quality is great! Green tides have pushed clean water into the pass and poured fish into the first five miles of the bay. By car the Packery area is a great place to catch some nice trout. Lures and live bait both are producing some good ones when the tides are changing. In the Upper Lagoon live croaker and piggy perch have been the most popular but drifting the flats ripping a gold spoon is a sure fire way to hang a big red right now. I've been catching limits of trout at first light, then targeting redfish with cut perch, mullet, and skip jack.

 

No weight sitting loose line in a rod holder is best. As soon as you move it its in the grass and they won't touch it. July always finds the shrimp of spring moving out towards the gulf. This brings a lot of drum into the Packery area. The redfish will change their diet to fin fish as well as the shrimp move out. Pin and piggy perch will work better and better as the summer goes on. Take a walk on the beach this week and keep an eye out for some of those sparkling eyes of those who are just now discovering Padre Island, you might be able to remember when.....

 

Go get wet!

 

 

 

May 25, 2017

 

   The winds of change always seem to turn at certain times each season. The end of May and the start of summer vacation seem to be one of those pivotal points where the strong winds of spring let down. We have all been praying for some nice hair days on the water, yet when the wind stops it gets so hot y'all are praying for a breath. Fishing here in the Coastal Bend changes at the same time, and for reasons matching the wind and heat.

   The water temps will rocket up into the mid to high 80's when the sun strikes through the still waters and bakes the shallow flats. We have seen a massive influx of bait and bait fish all spring and spawning of everything that swims and more. The small fry and larvae of all that lives in the bay are reaching mid maturity, and they are good food for game fish. Diverse food sources allow game fish to feed when and Flounder are showing up on Sandy edges along the intercoastal canal.where they want. Locating places where it's easy for them to feed is as easy as fishing in the most concentrated areas of bait exist. These large masses of bait will congregate along the deep and cool edges of the ICW. As we get into June the shrimp will start to move out as well and be a big factor around the new moon. They travel under the dark nights. The warm water will also move schools of drum out from the back bays and towards the passes close to the shrimp, then eventually out to the surf and jerry passes. The hot extremely shallows will see big grass growth, and hot water. These will be the places for other baitfish that do not migrate out of the back bays. Perch, mullet, mud minnows, pipe fish, eels, crabs, and more will all be rooted out of this shallow maze of grass by SUMMERTIME REDFISH!

    At one time in my life I spent my time on the water doing only exactly what I wanted. That was top waters in the spring and sight casting in the summer. This time of year is when the Lagoon and Baffin have the most consistent sight acting of the year. First light finds us scanning the surface for tails and backs up in water so shallow you wouldn't think a fish could swim. As the dark turns to light redfish and drum get caught up as shallow as they can be hunting small bait that hides in the shallow grass. When the sun comes up one will find shadows of the birds will spook mullet and move redfish subsurface. After it rises in the sky and the light gives the angler a advantage of looking in We dodged rain showers to pick up some nice trout along the flower bluff Shoreline. Live croaker.the water, one can easily see I to the water and make casts on sight. Those two hours can be successful with anglers burning spoons with methodical blind casts over the flats, or small top waters. I love starting my day off with a few hours of sight casting to redfish then gathering  the troops and catching limits of trout when the winds pick up. The winds are going to change and with it kick off our busy summer season. Keep a cool head don't make big moves when you are on fish and bait locations. Most importantly don't let other non-respectful fishermen and boaters mess up your day on the water. I've learned this lesson all too well the hard way. If you want to entertain company family friends or business peeps give me a call. We always have fun on the boat and I fish two trips a day all the time so I always have time to take you out to the fish! Go get wet its SUMMER TIME!

 

 

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