Awhile back my cousin Frank Moore called me as excited as I have ever heard him and I knew it had something to do with redfish.
“I hung into a bull redfish past Bluebird’s Fish Camp toward Square Lake,” he said.
“I was bass fishing with a crankbait and I had him on for a few minutes and got several good looks at him. The fish was probably 36 plus inches and was too much for those bass hooks. It broke off.”
This began a conversation about local fish that are seemingly out of place.
Back in 2012 I fished with a friend near the Port of Orange and broke off a redfish that was a minimum of 40-inches and like Frank’s fish it hit a crankbait.
I have caught many reds in and around the Port of Orange over the years but this was the biggest.
Redfish do great in freshwater and are even stocked in Texas reservoirs like Fairfield, Braunig and Calaveras so it makes one wonder how far they travel up the river. Seeing over-sized reds near the Interstate 10 corridor is unique but it is not nearly as shocking as crappie in Johnson Bayou.
When I first met now-retired fishing guide Capt. Skip James he told me of several areas in the upper reaches of Johnson Bayou that produce solid crappie in the spring.
Since then I have spoken with several anglers have found pockets of crappie and bass in that system.
Back in 1997, when I first started writing for this publication, the late, great Ed Holder who passed the outdoors writing baton to me the next year took be into the middle of nowhere in the Keith Lake chain to sight case for redfish.
I will never forget watching redfish swim around with largemouth bass with the Sea Rim State Park headquarters in the background. We were within viewing distance of the beach and looking at bass. In fact one of them was about three pounds.
The moral of the story is there are redfish, crappie and other fish in areas you probably never target. Now it’s time to get out there and find those fish virtually no one knows exists.
Chester Moore, Jr.