The first ever film shoot for Heliconia’s newest media project, Jackson Kayak’s Road Trip Angler, took place at the end of 2021. Show host Jameson Redding packed up his fishing kayak, rods, tackle box and gear, and drove from his home base of North Carolina to Corpus Christi, Texas to experience their legendary fishing opportunities for himself. Below is his trip report.
For the past decade I have dedicated my life to traveling to, and exploring, new kayak fishing destinations. Some I check off, and others have become almost like a second home. But what I take away from each trip is new friends, memories, and usually a bit more slime on my kayak! When the first episode of the show came together and the destination was picked, it started to sink in that a new journey, or rather, a new chapter of an ongoing one, was about to start.
Texas has always been a state of legend. It is a huge state that literally takes me as long to drive across as it does for me to get to from my home in North Carolina. Most would think about cowboys, cattle, the Alamo, or something along those lines when you mention the state. From a kayak fishing perspective, I think most would think of its’ lakes or the clear spring-fed rivers, like the Devils. As an inshore angler at heart, I have always thought of Texas as a place that is home to some of the largest sea trout in the country, as well as having a healthy redfish population. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to fish this amazing inshore destination and I could not wait to revisit it and explore new areas with new people!
As I mentioned, I had fished Texas inshore before, but Texas, being the large state that it is, has hundreds of miles of flats and I was going to be more than four hours past anywhere I had been before. As you can imagine, I was very excited to head into Corpus Christi, which connects to the largest remaining undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world. New areas bring with it a bit of a learning curve, so being joined by Dustin Nichols, who has extensive knowledge of the fishery (and is a fellow Jackson Team Member), was going to be a huge advantage. On top of that, I had Bill Batson from Batson Enterprises with me, whom I have known and worked with for over six years, as well as Richard Penny, JK’s territory sales rep. That, coupled with the local knowledge and expertise we gathered from Roy’s Bait and Tackle, was a recipe for a good time!
Arriving in town, my first stop was to meet up with Bill at Roy’s and get a game plan for the following morning. I was absolutely blown away by the shop and the amount of inventory. No doubt it was one of the largest, if not the largest, selections of bait and tackle I had ever seen! After spending a few hours drooling, it was time to get some rest and prepare to meet up with Dustin the next day.
By 7:30 the next morning we were at the water and unloading! This was going to be the first kayak fishing Bill had ever done. Being the level of angler that he is, combined with the local knowledge we had in Dustin, I had no doubt that he would figure it out quickly. While the rest of us made our final preparations on the boats, Bill had already landed his first fish from a kayak mere yards from the launch. Once we were all on the water Dustin led the way to a flat littered with potholes or breaks in the grass where the fish tend to stack up and ambush prey. Within a few minutes of being on the flat, we were all hooking up to a few fish! Both redfish and trout were to be found and I have to say Bill was out-fishing us all, ending the day with the largest red caught, coming in at close to 30 inches!
The winter is always a tricky time to chase fish on any coast. Cold fronts can control the bite and the wind is something fierce. So, the next day, with a front looming, we decided to head inland a bit and hit Choke Canyon Reservoir. Known for great bass fishing and giant alligators, we were hopeful to get on a pre-front bite. Unfortunately, it was not in the cards, as the front rolled in sooner than anticipated. Nonetheless, exploring a new area and having the time to chat with Dustin about the area and how it normally produces was awesome. On top of that, Bill and I had the chance to discuss what he would do different when building a rod specifically for kayak fishing after spending some time in the act.
With the weather coming in hard, most might be disappointed that fishing the following day was out of the question. The wind was simply too high, and it would have been impossible – not to mention borderline unsafe – to try. After spending several years traveling and not being able to predict or control the weather, I have realized that it was an opportunity; a much-needed break that allowed us to experience the area a bit. I, personally, am a sucker for a good aquarium and Corpus Christi is home to the Texas State Aquarium. Dustin had to work, but Bill and Richard came along, and while we were not able to go fishing, we enjoyed learning a bit more about what makes them tick! Afterwards, it was back to Roy’s Bait and Tackle for some shopping and the chance to sit down with Roy himself! The story of the shop is so inspirational, considering he went from not having a job to being the premier destination for all things fishing on the Southern Texas coast. Their level of commitment to the area, to the sport, and to family makes me proud to have them as our JK dealer in the area.
The next day the weather broke a bit, and we were all itching to make it back out on the water. Dustin put together a solid game plan that would take us to a couple of different areas. Our group had grown with the addition of Richard and fellow Jackson Team Member Michael Fiorenza. The morning was a bit slow, but Dustin managed a nice over slot red and it was time to move! With the water warming up and the wind dying down, we hit the new area with high hopes. It paid off, as we wrapped up the day with a few more trout and redfish and good times all around!
On the final day, everyone had other obligations, but I was left wanting one more morning on the water. I took the opportunity, along with some intel from Dustin, and I hit one more spot by myself before calling it a trip. It paid off!! I can’t tell you how many fish I landed in those few hours and while they were not huge, each one put a smile on my face.
The opportunity to travel to new areas, spend time on the water with both new and old friends, and explore a new fishery is such a blessing and one that I hope I never take for granted. Corpus has so much to offer the kayak angler, with its’ huge flats and access literally everywhere. If you find yourself in the area, or you want to add a destination to your bucket list, I strongly recommend you do some exploring, and make sure to stop by Roy’s for knowledge and everything you would need to hit the water! From the food, to the sights, fishery, and community, Texas is a destination that I cannot wait to visit again!
About Road Trip Angler: Jackson Kayak’s Road Trip Angler is a multifaceted media project designed to help showcase brands and products to a dedicated and engaged audience of avid anglers and outdoors lovers. Leveraging host Jameson Redding and Jackson Kayak’s significant dealer and consumer distribution channels to reach markets across the US, this show hits the road to find the best fishing in America in the coolest regions. Jameson Redding will explore the many fisheries across the US with the businesses and angler influencers who call these regions their home. Each 30-minute TV episode airs nationally across Bally Sports Network. Brand interested in partnering with Road Trip Angler are encouraged to reach out to Heliconia’s Partnership Manager, Malvin Young, at firstname.lastname@example.org.