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Sunday, September 29, 2013
Trip Report - Cedar Lakes, September 28, 2013
By aggie182 @ 7:06 PM :: 1524 Views
Saturday, September 28, 8 brave PACK members set their sights on Cedar Lakes for a day of fun and fishing. Winds and rain met us at the launch while we unloaded and staged our kayaks. All we could think was “typical PACK trip”. Being forever optimistic about what was waiting for us in the marsh, Bruce and Brad were the first to launch. Next up, Mike shoved off and headed in to the marsh. Just before Dale, Ken, and I were about to launch, I got a call from Brad asking if I had extra pliers. He had a fish on but couldn’t find his hemostats to remove the inhaled hooks. As Ken and I paddled towards Brad in the marsh, I noticed a moving popping cork. The cork would go under, pop up, swim around and it became obvious it was attached to a creature of some sort. I snuck up to the popping cork and just as I grabbed it, it shot out of my hand. As I continued the paddle towards Brad, Ken managed to sneak up on the popping cork and grab it with the lure retriever on his paddle. There was a small redfish underneath. Ken couldn’t remove the hook so he cut the leader as short as possible and sent the redfish on his way as he banked some positive mojo for the day.

The group dispersed with redfish on the brain. Bruce and Brad worked their way west, Dale stuck near the entrance to the first lake, and Mike went searching for fish throughout the first lake. Jim and Barry joined us a bit later in the morning with fly rods in hand hoping to find tailers, crawlers, schools, and other signs of redfish. Ken and I paddled to the south shoreline in search of some relief from the wind and decided to drift across the first lake working popping corks with gulp shrimp underneath. The water had the hue of chocolate milk and the skies were getting darker. On the second drift Ken and I made, Ken picked up a nice slot redfish but decided to release it with the looming storm on the horizon. He didn’t want to have to outrun a storm dragging a stringer.

Bruce, Jim, Barry, and Dale decided to call it a day as the storm was brewing. Mike called it a day a bit after those guys. Prior to heading out, Dale reported getting some strikes in the marsh drain. Brad, Ken, and I decided to see what the storm was going to do before heading in. The storm passed a safe distance to our east and after the storm passed, we were greeted with sunny skies and breezy winds. The winds laid down during parts of the afternoon and even the gusts were manageable when they came. With the sunny skies and dropping tide, Ken and I decided to paddle to make our next drift as Brad worked the windblown shoreline of the first lake.

Brad hooked up with a nice mid-slot redfish on topwater as he worked the shoreline. The fish was beautiful with 8 spots and great color. Brad also reported having a lot of blow ups as he worked the topwater but only managed the one taker.

On the second cast of the drift Ken and I started, I hooked in to a beast of a redfish. I knew it was a solid fish and when it got close I was shocked to see the fish was way over the slot. I staked out to battle the fish and after 20 minutes I realized I needed to lift the stakeout stick and go for a Texas Sleigh Ride. Another 5-10 minutes and the redfish gave in. He dwarfed my net and easily bottomed out my boga grip. I grabbed my check-it stick and laid it over the fish as it was in my lap and the fish was a little more than an inch longer than the 38” check-it stick. I think if I laid him flat and pinched the tail, he would have been right around 40”. Ken was nice enough to snap a bunch of pictures of this beast and after a few minutes of reviving him, he swam away. There are some monsters in the marsh.

After regrouping, we started the drift again and near the end of the drift, Ken hooked in to a monster redfish and went for a Texas Sleigh Ride. Ken said the fish definitely looked to be over the slot as he got him to the side of the kayak and seeing the bend on Ken’s fishing rod, I would definitely agree it was a big fish. Unfortunately the fish found his way in to the rigging of Ken’s drift sock and got tangled and broke off. What a heartbreaker. The redfish escaped with some free lip jewelry.

Ken and I made another drift picking up some small fish and as we paddled to make our last drift of the day, Brad decided to join in the fun. Once we reached the south end of the lake, we had some drinks and snacks and Brad gave me a quick lesson on walking the dog with a topwater. If you have seen Brad throw a topwater, you definitely know he is a qualified teacher. After this short break, Ken coaxed Brad in to joining the dark side using some stinky gulp under a popping cork.

The three of us set off on the last drift of the day. In the middle of the lake I hooked in to a solid fish and as I begin fighting him, I noticed the water exploded and redfish ran in every direction leaving behind countless puffs and trails of mud. Once I got the fish to hand I measured him and he came in at 27.5”, 7.5 pounds. I ended up stringing him after a few pictures and continued the drift. A few casts later I managed to hook and land a 22” redfish that also went on the stringer. At the end of the drift Ken hooked in to a nice fish that barely missed the lower end of the slot.

We made the paddle back to the launch talking about the day and discussing past and future PACK trips. PACK really is a great group of men and women. Unfortunately, we attract some bad weather when we plan our trips. Once back to the ramp, the fish were cleaned and divided so we all got some fillets to take home. We loaded gear and set off towards the big city.

Usually, the sentiment is, “You should have been here yesterday”. Today it was, “You should have stayed today”. It would have been nice for the rest of the group to get in on the action but the weather understandably drove part of the group off of the water early in the day. Once the weather passed and gave way to sunny skies, we found the redfish we were after.

Aaron F