Every coastal angler worth their salt knows exactly how weather conditions in April and May can be.
Rough seas, high winds and torrential rainfall are all parts of the equation that must be figured in on any given day in these two spring months.
And for two tournament anglers, they knew the conditions were going to be tough on the day of their competition in April.
“The wind was just roaring at 25- to 30-mph from the northeast,” tournament angler Aaron Hommel said. “And we had to run 20-plus miles to where the fish were.”
“But it was just incredible,” Adam Jaynes with Just Fish Guide Service said. “Fish were everywhere and they were big.”
The two Texas coastal anglers had previously found some redfish smashing into schools of hand-sized pogies.
These fish had been previously marked on the graph and were found along the edges of the ship channel in Texas’ Sabine Lake.
“The schools of redfish were stacked 2 to 3 feet off the bottom in 12 to 15 feet of water,” Hommel said.
“We used the largest Wedgetail Mullet that Egret Baits makes, the 5-inch version, to fit the profile of these pogies” the angler said. “And we hooked these on ½-ounce Egret jigheads.”
Both anglers were also using especially made Sarge Custom Warthog rods, 7-foot models with long handles made especially for redfish action.
They were casting their white diamond, 5-inch Wedgetail Mullets on 65-pound FINS Fishing. Hommel was using a Shimano Reels Chronarch 200 E7 reel, and Jaynes had his FINS spooled to a Team Lew’s Reels Lite Speed Spool.
“When we pulled up to the location, Adam caught a fish within 5 casts,” Hommel said. “And the catching just didn’t stop.
“Adam’s Haynie 24HO bay boat took the 3-foot rollers well,” the angler said. “But since we used the trolling motor to stay in the area, the batteries were dead within 45 minutes.
“We had to anchor, and we kept our PFDs on the entire time because of the rough conditions.”
Jaynes admitted that the action was more than fast and furious.
“Just as fast as we got our baits in the water, we both had big fish on,” Jaynes said.
“They were just so big, and it was quite a task working both the huge redfish and the net by yourself due to the fact that we had doubles on consistently.”
Both anglers quit counting at near 80 redfish.
“And we only had two under the Texas 28-inch slot limit,” Jaynes said. “All the rest were over.”
Hommel said the many redfish over the slot ranged upward to 45 inches and weights reached 40 pounds on some fish.
Jaynes tied on to one tremendous Jack crevalle.
“The jack fight was immense,” Jaynes said. Fortunately the Lew’s spool held enough line as about 100 yards went out on that fish.
“It would steady take drag and make long runs. Each time it neared the boat it would just take off again repeatedly.”
Hommel was adding humor to the jack battle as Jaynes would walk the deck fore and aft repeatedly working the rod over and under Hommel while the fish made such runs.
“What’s this?” Hommel would ask Jaynes. “Is this your sixth or seventh time walking around me?”
Jaynes finally was able to haul the jack aboard and the Boga pegged it at 29 pounds.
“In a tournament, we would usually run away from these fish to find some in the slot, but we were having a great time,” Jaynes said.
“From a numbers standpoint, it was one of the best days we have ever had on the water together,” Hommel said. “There were just so many fish – an incredible trip.
“We didn’t have many slot fish to weigh in,” he said. “But that’s the irony of tournament redfishing.”