Backwater Adventures

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.


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.


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 danc 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!



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.



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!

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.



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.



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!



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 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 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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