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14 16 17 15


MiddleAMERICA


Texas Coast


Local: Fil “Fishman” Spencer www.followfishman.com


Target: Redfish and sea trout.


Season: Year-round, best after fall cold fronts.


Launch: Public boat ramps listed on hot spots map: www. fishinghotspots.com.


Stay: Camp on public beaches.


Tactic: Sight-casting to tailing reds or wading large flats and casting to potholes for trout.


Tackle: Medium-action spin- ning rod and walk-the-dog topwater lures.


Tips: Fish a local tournament to learn the ropes. Fellow anglers are helpful and the food is always good.


Don’t Miss: Take a day to hit area ponds and lakes for Texas’ famous largemouth bass.


Eat: Ocean of Seafood in Port Aransas. Choose your fish and shellfish off the boat for the chef to it cook the way you like it.


Lake Michigan


Local: Chris LeMessurier www.kayakfishthegreatlakes.com


Grand Isle, Louisiana


If red drum tail through your dreams, then rise and shine in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Thousands of square miles of marsh and ponds surround the thin barrier island between Caminada Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Captain Danny Wray and wife Kristina (www.calmwatercharters.net) are on the water every day looking for reds and trout. “As a starting point, launch anywhere along highway LA 1 choosing the side of the road that has the cleanest water.” Beginners should purchase a couple dozen minnows at a local tackle shop and fish popping corks in cuts and drains where the water is flowing. More advanced anglers can target larger reds with topwater lures, spinners and soft-plastics. The world-class red fishing draws more than 700 anglers to the Ride the Bull tournament each August. The sleepy fishing village offers accommodations ranging from campsites to mom- and-pop hotels and reasonably priced rental properties.


Target: Fall is the end of the tourist run and the start of the salmon run.


Launch: Any public boat ramp or park at the end of a dead end and drag over the sand to the lake.


Tactic: Trolling big-lipped, deep-diving crankbaits.


Tackle: Heavy-action conventional rod and reel with 40-pound braided line.


Tips: Use a reel with a line counter to monitor how deep the lure is swimming.


Don’t Miss: Hike up Pyramid Point Trail for a scenic overlook of the lake.


Eat: Arts Tavern in Glen Alan. Order a cheeseburger in paradise.


Stay: Leelanu Vacation Rentals. www.lvrrentals.com.


Austin, Texas


Everything is bigger in Texas and bass are no exception. Lady Bird Lake in the heart of Austin is famous for producing many of the biggest bucketmouths. Tour- nament pro, Ray Martinez, has the city waters dialed in. He’s won several events on the lake. To target Lone Star lunkers, Martinez uses a Texas rig, of course. “Creature baits work really, really well,” he says, “and don’t forget about topwater frogs.” Work the submerged grass or cast under tree branches to find big bass. According to Martinez, the lake is full of trophy largemouth, but, “Winter produces some toads,” he says. The best launch is under the I35 bridge. Austin is famous for its eclectic music scene and fun-loving culture. To get a unique look at night- life, Martinez suggests fishing the Congress Bridge at dusk. “You can watch the bats fly out from under the bridge,” he says. “It’s a good time to get a bite.”


50 PADDLING MAGAZINE


PHOTO: CHRIS LEMESSURIER


PHOTO: CHRIS LEMESSURIER


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