October 23, 2009
By Mary Rohrer and CJ Vaughn
Check out more photos from this outing in our Photo Gallery!
The 2009 Saltwater outing was based in the Fulton/Rockport area. Fifteen TWFF members attended the outing and our home base was the Sanddollar Resort in Fulton. The resort made us feel right at home, they posted a TWFF banner at the registration office, what a nice welcome! The Sanddollar is a great choice for our TWFF event; they have large rooms with kitchenettes as well as campsites. It was nice that all of us were in the same place and right across the street from Fulton Harbor.
Rockport/Fulton area is the launching spot for great fishing for redfish in the skinny waters of the back bay environment. The Lighthouse Lakes and Estes Flats area are great fishing areas, and now very popular for flats boats and kayak fishing. Our trip was planned to venture out from the familiar, head across Rockport Bay to unpopulated St Joe’s island, and fish the more remote Fence Lake area from kayaks.
The Friday night Mullet Mixer was held at Swan Point Landing, the newly opened fly fishing outfitter in Rockport. Mona Nahhas and Dave Hayward were generous with the food and beverages and had some great door prizes for the attendees. TWFF’ers were joined with other local fly fishers and as Dave put it “the local Friday night crowd” that comes to SPL for regular events. Our treat was having Captain Sally Moffett give us a presentation on her saltwater techniques, observations, recommendations, and local knowledge of Lake. Captain Sally has been fishing these waters for over 10 years and provided us with good insights on Fence Lake.
The wakeup call was early on Saturday morning. We met Captain Tommy Miller at Fulton Harbor at 6am (it was VERY DARK!). Captain Tommy has a large boat, the Skimmer, with a shallow draft set up primarily for bird watching. He has added kayak racks along the sides for trips like ours. The arduous task of loading the kayaks and equipment onto the boat began. By 6:30, we were ready to push off and head across the bay to Fence Lake. At 7am we arrived just outside Fence Lake, the water was calm, dawn’s light just starting, and time to unload the kayaks and begin our adventure (it was still DARK!). Tommy and his first mate, as well as, Robert, Gilbert, Greg, and Rick were all great help offloading the kayaks from the bow of the boat. Many thanks to the helpers! The adventure began as each of us descended into the cool waters from the safety of the Skimmer, got into our kayaks, and paddled in the soft early light towards the shores of Fence Lake.
The Fence Lake area is serene. It is a back water embayment filled with small islands, nooks and crannies good for fish habitat and larger deep bays for pods of schooling fish. The birds were plentiful and diverse- egrets, cormorants, all sorts of water fowl. The bottom was plentiful with sea grass and stingrays ghosted along. There was plenty of “nervous water” with pods of mullet and sea trout cruising the bays. Tailing redfish were scarce, due to the water levels being higher than predicted. The redfish were there, cruising quickly out of sight, or in the deeper waters hard to track. Fishing was tough, a few lines went taught and a few reds and trout were caught and released. Not a photo op day, but, the tranquility of the area and the peacefulness of being at Fence Lake made this special and we should consider this a trip again.
Captain Tommy came back at 2:00 PM to pick us up. Heading back on the Skimmer was a treat as a pod of dolphins met us in the bay and rode the bow wave of the boat into Fulton Harbor. We had an enjoyable dinner at Charlotte Plummer’s, overlooking the harbor. Good gumbo, fresh fish, and fellowship made the evening enjoyable.