POC 8/30/16

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Pick up a Knocker B topwater next time you are at the tackle store.

Will history repeat itself?

I am preparing this intro on Sunday so when I get back from the Gulf Monday it won’t be such a chore.  After Thursday’s fishing success looking at tomorrow’s tides, weather report, and the Solunar Times, gives me a case of the can’t wait.  Cloudy, falling tide in the morning with a 2 hour best time Solunar bite, what more could a bay fisherman want?  In fact I am pretty sure it would be a good day of fishing wherever you are.  So with that in mind let us see if another fishing plan comes together tomorrow.

Weather

88/72  Partly mostly cloudy chance thunderstorms 40%  Wind ENE 10 – 15 mph  (No thunderstorms but it blew on the high side of 15 all morning.)

Tides

29     High   9:36 AM     0.9  (Never did see a drop all morning.)
29      Low  10:46 PM     0.

Solunar Times

Best Times      8:51A – 10:51A     9:18P – 11:18P  (Notice no real bite related to the times today.)

Good Time      2:38A – 4:38A

What a difference a day can make.  With the forecast, tides, and times similar to Thrusday I was pretty excited to get on the water.  When I hit the ramp at Froggie’s it was barely cracking light in the east.  There was lightning flashes as I headed down to POC and I almost turned around and went to the lake.  When I got to the ramp it was cloudy and the wind was blowing straight line almost out of the north at a good 15 mph+.  The water was almost to the top of the fingers at the ramp, and was high and slightly off color.  And the weather definitely held down the traffic as I was truck number 3 in the parking lot.

Since it was a get some filets trip I headed for my favorite drain where I had been catching them.  Only there were 2 problems, first the wind was blowing right in it, and second, it is by one of the cabins in Big Bayou and there was someone staying there.  Amazing as I have never seen anyone staying in that cabin.  They had lights set up and were fishing when I got there at daylight so I left them to it.

The wind was basically blowing right down Big Bayou and I started by alternating between topwater and plastics.  Initially I could not buy a bite on topwater so I just kept working the area with plastics.  Unfotrtunately the wind was blowing in all of the drains there and it ended working against the tide. And it was blowing hard enough that I just whipped down the banks, making it tough to fish effectively. I still managed to catch one here and there before I finally caught a keeper.

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The first one in the box for the fish fry on the Knocker B.

Bascially the wind blew in from the NE and kept the tide up.  In fact, it never did start falling before I quit at 1.  I think that wind kept pushing the water back in.  One of the results of that was water did not flow out of the drain, the wind kept pushing against the tide. I did hit one point in a drain where I put at least a dozen in the boat, but they were all small.  It really was turning into a grind it out day in spite of the great forecast.

One thing that can often save the day is spinnerbaiting for reds.   So with the water a mile up in the grass, and somewhat off-color, I threw the spinnerbait and unlike the last trip I caught several reds, including one that made the box.

At this point though I was catching fish here but I just could not get it going on the good ones.  Though I did have that one run of small ones, basically it was just one here and one there.  Unlike the other day today the wind was blowing with the tide and it was tough fishing.  Some of the drains in Big Bayou are real big, but there is always a small channel on one side or the other.  I was working one when I saw bait move in the center, which is really nothing more than a shallow muddy bottom, so I tossed a topwater over and wham, a keeper trout and red back to back.

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He ate it.

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Kind of hard to talk with your mouth full.  He had that Knocker B wedged in sideways.

So even though the forecast should have signaled a great day, the conditions were tough.  It turned into a real grind but I kept after it until I had a fish fry.  No technique was better than any other, no place any better than any other.  If you discount the small ones, of which I boated an easy 20 shorts, no particular bait, plastics, topwater, or spinnerbait enticed any bigger fish.  Of the 4 I kept 2 came on topwater, one on plastics, and one on spinnerbait, making it a little tough to establish a real pattern.

At 1:30 I had 4 nice ones in the box, plenty for what we need for a fish fry on Lake Travis this weekend with the kids.  It was interesting how wind direction and speed delayed the falling tide, it was just blowing the water back in and it never did start falling today.  So not a bad day by any means, just not the gang busters I thought might happen.  That is what keeps fishing interesting, every day is a new day.   But in spite of todays tough conditions the fishing is still good as you can tell from a few of the latest reports, and if you can get to the surf it is lights out.

Not sure what is next, but I am fishing Thursday come hell or high water.  Hopefully I will be done with the remodel from hell in the next couple of days.  What started out as simply extending a wall to make a big closet has turned into a major remodel. Oh the joys of home ownership.  We are still in this rain pattern but it looks like it will be getting out of here as the weekend approaches.  The weather is shaping up to be a great holiday weekend.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 8/28/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Try a Knocker B topwater next time you are at the tackle store.

Chad’s Surf Report

I got another great report from Chad, who has been putting the hurt on them on the bay.  Thought I would get it on right now while it is fresh information.  My report from POC Monday is coming later today when I get it done.  Plus this is a heck of a cool report.

A day in the surf , heading out the little jetties friday morning the bay was flat. So we decided to hit the surf. Inbetween the big jetties and passcavo was our first stop. The breakers where fishable but not ideal. We freelinned live croaker and started hooking trout in the 15-17″ range not what we were looking for so, we moved down towards the light house. As we were approaching the area there was a distinctive color change in the water from green to brown, with at least 200 + pelicans diving in the water. A massive school of shad . So we anchored up at the third bar and casted in to see what was eating them. 40″ bull red was caught and released, the fishing was chaotic for a while with trout reds and sharks hitting the deck. We saw some 6-8 ft sharks feeding as well as some 4-6 tarpon. Lots of excitement on the boat. We boxed our limits of fish quickly. What a morning. You just never know what can happen in the surf. After giving a friend a fishing report friday night. He and his two teenage sons made a go of it sat and the results were the same quick limits of quality trout. The kicker was they hooked and landed and released a 4ft tarpon on a croaker with a trout rod. Glad dove season is around the corner im ready to have miles of shoreline to wade without a sole insight. Thanks chad

Wow, what a day.  The only thing like that I have ever seen was offshore in Costa Rica.  It really must have been awesome to toss in and then see just what in the heck would jump on next.  And who does not get excited with tarpon smashing bait?  Congratulations, one of those great things that happen out of the blue.  Folks you could not ask for a more specific report than that.  The surf fishing is on fire and with light wind forecasts now is the time before it is over.

And I could not agree more on the hunting season.  There are days I get to Froggie’s and there might be 3 or 4 trucks and trailers.  My favorite time of the year is coming on the bay.  Bring on the schooling redfish.  And with that a couple of trips to Baffin as we really get into late fall.  Please keep your reports coming, we all appreciate them.  Plus helps me out, and I get to learn something.  Thanks again.

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As I have said here many times before, you do not have to have a degree in journalism or be Ernest Hemmingway to send us a report.  All you have to do is tell the story just like you were telling it over a cold one.  It is a thing of beauty to read a report like Chad’s.  Easy to imagine those birds diving, fishing boiling, and a bite on every cast.  So send us your report or story, we would love to have them.  As for me it will be up dang early so I can be gone by 5:30 to get to POC by daylight.  I need a fish fry for the grandkids when we meet on the holiday weekend and the pressure is on.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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All Better Now! 8/25/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal They liked that Knocker B today.

POC

I love it when a plan comes together and today was a perfect example of that.  The weather forecast was good, the tide was dropping all morning, and the wind was perfect, in both speed and direction.  I have been looking at today all week thinking it was the day to hit the bay.  So it was back to lure fishing out of the boat.  Sometime it is best to do what you are good at.  I will leave the croaker fishing for another day.

Weather

92/73   Partly cloudy with showers and thunderstorms in the PM  SE wind 10 – 15  Chance of rain 60%

Tides

High   7:31 AM     0.8
Low   6:28 PM     0.0

Solunar Times

Best Times      5:29A – 7:29A       5:57P – 7:57P

Good Time     11:19A – 1:19P

It was just cracking daylight as I zipped over to Big Bayou.  I immediately noted the water temp was down over 4 degrees from last week.  With the water projected to be moving for hours this morning it was definitely a drain kind of day.  And it was a beautiful morning, to bad it is still humid as hell.

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It should have been perfect for topwater and they actually cooperated.   First it was a long stretch headed to a drain, though not a bite until I got to the drain.  I put 3 or 4 keepers right off the bat and some smaller ones on the topwater.  Of course I missed a bunch, it comes with topwater fishing for trout.  Just easing the topwater along in a walk the dog pattern fairly slow they were blowing up on it.  I lost my big Strike King topwater on a huge lady fish, the first of several today.  (And as an aside I ended up losing another topwater later when against my better judgment I tossed it into a school of big jacks, stupid.  I saw several bunches smashing bait today.  The last thing I wanted to do was spend a half hour chasing one of those things when the real fish were biting.)  But before I left that drain I threw plastics for a while, and they liked that just as good.

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  The first drain.  You can tell it was early, my Cocoons were  not even on yet.

After  catching about a dozen out of the first drain it was time to move and see if the bite was on.  I hit a couple of more drains then I hit my favorite deep bank and had a real bite on the plastic.  This was the heaviest trout I have caught in a while.

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A quick CPR on a nice thick one.

It was probably around 9 when I just started hunting and pecking.  It was not fast by any means but several things happened that made it an interesting day.  First, in Chad’s report the other day (Thanks Chad.) he said they found the fish near the bank, so I started fishing shallow grass and they were scattered here and there right on the edge.  I did not fish anywhere today without catching at least one or two where ever I tried.  Once they got off the topwater it was the 3″ red flake white bottom paddle tail on a 1/8 jig head.  The tide was moving a little to quick to fish the deeper banks with the 1/32, which is basically a wading jig head.

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The biggest red of the day.

The other really interesting thing was the trout bit until about 10 or so, and then just one here and there the rest of the morning.  But as soon as the trout quit it was like someone threw the switch and the reds started.  In fact I got bit consistently for several hours.  The reds were not interested in topwater or spinnerbait, but they were liking that plastic.  I re-fished several banks that I caught a trout or two and then the reds were up on it and the trout were gone.  Interesting.

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                                              I caught 4 or 5 this size.

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                                                 I even caught a flounder.

One thing about fishing drains is you have to be there at the perfect time, and that is when water is running out of them.  The fish are usually there, it is often a figure out what bait they want thing.  Today was nice as a few ate topwater right off he bat and let me know they were there and then the rest came in the same places on plastics.

And the Power Pole was a integral part of catching them out of the drains today.  Being able to position just right was helpful, so I could throw across current and work it just like stuff riding the tide out.  When it is working like that it so reminds me of fishing rainbow trout in the White River.  Working the bait off the bank and letting it almost swing with the current, and it worked today.  But once that water stops running in the drains, the fish leave, end of story.  Today’s fishing was predictable, and watching weather and tides was the key.  And there is a lot to be said for confidence, it sure is nice when it works out.

There was bait everywhere, besides trout and reds, I caught a wad of other stuff.  Fish of all kinds were active and I boated an easy 20+ today, no counting the junk fish.  Not bad for a short day.  I gave it up around 1 and they were still biting a little when I left.  But as forecast there were rain showers all around, more towards Victoria, and it was 92 degrees when I took out.    So it was an excellent day and I am looking forward to many more this fall.

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And here is a comment from Joe Bass on the upcoming weekend.

“What you talking about Willis”. You heading up this way to fish Lake Travis? Lunch on me when you come thru San Antonio unless you go another way. Do your research because that lake might get REAL crazy around Labor Day. The idiots come out that weekend, many hours to get boat in/out of water. I don’t go those weekends.

Side note: Do you use a line threader thru your live bait to the hook is near the rear? I have a friend that bought one for $16 but started tinkering and has made some for alot cheaper using wire leader, crochet hooks etc….

I am absolutely positive there will be a crazy crowd.  Rich people behaving badly.  I am taking the boat but it is primarily a weekend with the grandkids who will spend the weekend swimming off the dock.  When it comes down to it if I actually get to fish I will be surprised.  As far as a bait needle I have never used that technique but have seen it used in offshore fishing.  Heck for me to have fished with live bait 3 times in the last month is something.  It has been 20 years since I used live bait that many times.  Not saying I may not give it a go in the future, but for the time being I will stick with lures.  And thanks for the lunch offer, just may take you up on that some time and keep those comments coming.

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So there you have it.  It was a fishcatchingtravel good time and it really got my bay fishing juices flowing.  It will not take much more falling water temps to really get them moving.  So next time you check the tide and see it falling most of the day, with light winds and cloudy skies, quit the job, sell the kids and go fishing.  They just might be biting.  And as I say so often I can not thank you all enough for supporting my blog.  We just hit our 500,000 visit since I started this, who woulda’ thunk it.   I truly appreciate your readership.  So keep stopping in and thanks.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Odds and Ends 8/24/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

I am already sick of painting!

I hope to spend the day trout fishing Thursday as the weather still looks good with a lower wind forecast.  One of the things I have wanted to throw for trout on the deeper reefs is the Alabama Rig.  I have a smaller one that is listed as a crappie A Rig, so I added a pile of paddle tails and will be really interested to see if it works.  There is no reason it shouldn’t, but who knows.  Hopefully I will have a crazy report on that soon.

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How many rods can 2 guys have?  When Aaron and his dad were here we managed to mix up a couple of rods and neither of us noticed for several days.  How he ended up with my redfish rod and I ended up with one of his spinning rods is beyond me.  Heck they are not even the same thing.  So hopefully he will be coming down to fish Rockport in the near future and we can swap out.

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After Lee asked his knot question last month and you all sent several suggestions he dropped me this comment on the rest of his Galveston trip.

Hey Doug,
Thanks for all the great responses on the knots. I have been working on efficiently tying them. That’s probably my big key. On my last day of our vacation, I went on a wade on the South Shore of West Galveston Bay close to SLP and hooked into a massive shark. Gulp! I’m guessing I foul hooked it as I saw a disturbance in the water and started casting in front of it. But, the good news is the knot held but the hook straightened. It was my first ever time to do a wade as I have a perfectly good kayak. Needless to say, I will be sticking to the kayak for the near future. Sharks have a more difficult time getting in there.

On that note, any recommendations for good kayak places to put in and spots to fish from a yak in Port O’Connor? I have some work coming up down there.

Also, I fished Lake Travis last week and had some luck on clear Zara Puppies thrown right up against the bluffs. I mean I had to throw it within 6 inches or closer to the rocks and the majority of the fish hit it immediately when it hit the water. Most were dinks which is typical of Travis but caught one good LMB and one good Guad. I switched to a Chartreuse grub later and caught a few more on it. Just FYI in case you can get some fishing in during your Labor Day trip. Good luck!

Nothing like a shark to add a interesting twist to a wade.  My few encounters have been scary enough, but I was never in fear for my limbs, usually!  But sharks aside do not give up on the wade, it really is the way to go, but a kayak is obviously much better than a big boat for getting close.  And when you do jump out of the kayak and catch a dozen trout without moving your feet you will be hooked.  I will drop you an email on several places to drop your kayak in the water.  POC is a little tough unless you are a big paddler, but it can be done, and there are several other places that are in this area. And thanks for the tips on Travis.  I have never boated a Guadalupe bass so if nothing else I would like to get that crossed off the list.  But being a holiday weekend who knows, but I will get in a cast or two since I will have the boat.  So keep dropping a comment whenever the spirit moves you, thanks.

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And on the continuing subject of croaker fishing Jason dropped this informative comment.

Wanted to say hello and interested in seeing your stories on croaker fishing for trout. One thing that is interesting about croaker is that they have a minor spawn in the springtime. I use to get the smaller, better bait size ones starting in Mid-September and it started all over again until the end of October(most people are hunting or doing school football stuff). Usually was a slow down around the end of August or maybe labor day for a couple of weeks. Of course fished them with other live bait because there were fewer of them, but would get them going on croakers and finish limits on mullet, pinfish, piggies, etc. good luck

I had no idea they were still fishable that late in the year.  Sounds as if you are like me, happy to see fall and all the other things that attract folks who might otherwise be fishing.  And combining different kinds of live bait was on my mind when I built my bait tank.  I have it set up so that I can mix stuff without anybody getting eaten before he even gets out of the bucket.  So thanks for the comment and when I give them another go I will let you all know how it goes.

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I did not get to fish today (Tuesday), and won’t tomorrow either.  What should have been a minor remodel is turning into the painting job from hell, but when it gets done it should be awesome.  And the wife gets her bigger closet.  So I am going to whip that out as quick as I can and Thursday I will be back on the water.  I really appreciate it when it is slow around here and you stick with me.  Serious fishing time is right around the corner.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

(Go buy your new fishing and hunting license today before you forget!)

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Slow bass morning. 8/22/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

We continue to have spotty wet weather.  Some days it rains, then none, then a shower, just no real downpour like some areas.  After checking out the weather map and radars this morning before daylight I decided to fish the lake.  Our weather will be clearing this week, and with a light wind day forecast later this week it will be off to the Gulf.

Weather

91/75   Mostly Cloudy  20% (TWC)  80% (TV) Chance of Rain   Wind SE 10 – 20 mph

Tides

Low   2:23 AM     0.4      High   7:48 AM     0.6      Low   3:31 PM     0.3

Solunar Times

  • Best Time       2:36A – 4:36A
  •                           3:03P – 5:03P
  • Good                8:49A – 10:49A

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It was a beautiful morning.

There were lightning flashes here and there with a little far off thunder when I dropped the boat in the lake.  It looked like it has stabilized and the water temp was 84, down a couple of degrees.  First up it was off to the bank where I have been catching some better fish.  I was hoping to repeat the other day, to bad it did not happen.  Bass are a funny critter and today they got the best of me.

I spent 3 hours fishing around the plant area and for my efforts I caught 2 small bass, and one gave a new meaning to small.  Neither buzzbait nor pitching that lizard was provoking any bites.  Who knows, maybe they had a hangover from what was basically the full moon that was up when I started.  I fished channel banks, flats, wood, reeds, you name, I gave it a serious go.  When you pitch as much good stuff as I did it was pretty amazing I only had 2 bites, and caught them both.  So around 10 it was time for a big move up lake.

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The best I could do today.

I went way up lake and started on a brushy bank where I put a couple of more small ones in the boat.  Going farther up from there to a flat bank had fish on it, to bad I could not get a hook in them.  From the time I made the big move until I got up lake the wind started blowing, and it was blowing briskly right down the banks I was fishing.

So going with the wind was nice, but even pitching it 10 feet you would get a bow in your line.  And then to add to things when they hit that lizard they immediately swan out from the bank.  They do that at times, but today they headed out as fast I could reel.  By time I tried to get a hook in them they were at the boat swimming like they were on a mission.  It got a little irritating.

So while that is nothing more than an excuse, it was something a little different from the usual pitching bite.  No good bite on the perfect morning, then around noon with the wind blowing and sun out they start biting,  I did manage to boat 4 up lake, unfortunately on a good dozen bites, most which had it and were swimming.  For the morning it was 6 in boat and twice that many made an escape.  It really was a treading water morning, I am ready for us to get out of this weather pattern and for everybody to go hunting.

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But we are lucky enough to have a another good bay report from Chad who commented on the bass I caught the other day.

Its good to see some good bass coming out of coleto. Ive fish there alot over the years. I think being a good bass fisherman has great advantages for catching trout and reds. We made a trip to poc on friday with a livewell full of croaker we headed to the hump at 6 am. By using a spotlight we located an area with enough mullet to say lets give it a go and bailed out 3 of us with croaker and 1 with lures. The results after a 2 hr wade were disappointing we loaded up and headed to greens. 1 trout in the box. We bail out at spot with lots of rafting mullet and began to catch some quality fish on croaker. The bite was slow but the quality was good. As the day wore on locating the bait was a matter of watching the water as the pelicans would fly over. Staying with rafting bait was the key. At 12:00pm we headed back to the boat to get a game plan and fish count. As we were deciding were to go now, i noticed 3 slicks pop up within an 100 yrd area. So the saying goes dont leave fish to find fish came into play. We all jump back in a began another wade. It paid off big time with the box for the day. 19 trout 4 reds and 1 flounder. We had 5 trout over 22″ what a solid box of fish. Our lure guy that had only caught 2 fish all day decided to join us on the last wade with a yellow and white bucket in tow. A month from now till next june ill be throwing lures. Usually after the first norther. We had a great time giving him hell about that. With the recent rains that dropped the water temps the big ones were hugging the shoreline. Keep up the good work chad.

One for grinding it out, and then paying enough attention to see a few slicks pop up, and it was game on.  And there was one real important piece of information, the water temp dropped even a few degrees and the fish started moving a little to their shallow haunts.  The same thing is happening on the lake where the water temp was down 3 degree the other day.  So nice job sticking with it, nothing beats putting time in on the water and you guys put it in the other day.  So keep those reports coming, there are folks who read this stuff who just do not get out like they used to and they love reading about our fishing.  Thanks again.

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I have referred to Bugg’s Fishing, a company I saw at the Houston Fishing Show a few years ago, and that someone else also mentioned here.  They make a great line of hand tied jigs with assorted hair, both for salt and freshwater.  Then today I watched the Flats Class fishing show and he was throwing a iig with a dark living skirt without a trailer.  The head was shaped similar to a classic bonefish jig.  That jig, and the ones tied by Buggs, have a similar look.  It can imitate several saltwater things so since I have a couple I believe I will give them a try next time on the redfish.  One of the other TV dudes throws a small flippin’ jig for reds, so there must be something to it.  Definitely giving them something they do not see that often.

http://www.buggs-fishing-lures.com/lures-for-redfish.html

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A good sign, or should I say a horrible sign, that we are still in full on summer, vibro.  There have been several new cases lately.  Hard to really tell if there has been more this year, but there has been enough.  So if you are wet wading, or coming into contact with bay water, and have any open wound be really freakin’ careful.  That stuff is nasty.

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The weather looks like it is finally going to straighten up.  The mornings are a little cooler and it is getting darker a lot earlier.  It won’t be long and fall will be here.  The schooling of the redfish, topwater on Coleto, jerk bait on Fayette, Baffin Bay, all the things I look forward to every fall.  So while it is still 94 outside the end is coming.  There is a little work left to be done on the big bedroom remodel and I am going to get them done tomorrow, then it is back on the water.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 8/19/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

The fishing today was a little different than the last couple of time I hit the lake.  Getting there as daylight cracked it was apparent the lake has come up just a little.  I was worried that there was some color along with it but after fishing up both arms no problem.  It has taken a while but the lake is clearing real nicely.

Weather

91/77  Generally cloudy with a 20% chance of rain   Wind 10 – 20 SSE  (Not a cloud in the sky and the wind did blow about 15)

Tide Times

19      Low  12:43 AM     0.1
19     High  10:27 AM     0.6

19      Low   1:32 PM     0.4
19     High   3:59 PM     0.6  (One of those tide days that are basically flat.)

Solunar Times

  • Best     11:41A – 1:41P
  •              12:08P – 2:08P
  • Good     5:55A – 7:55A   (Close but none of these times made a difference today.)

First it was way up the plant arm and a little buzzbaiting.   I probably fished about 50 yards when a good one just jumped all over it in a foot of water.

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Love it when one this size explodes on that buzzbait.  This was definitely a big girl.

So things were looking up.  I fished with the buzzbait for another good hour and was surprised when I only had 2 more bites and boated a small one.  At times I can be a little stubborn in not putting it down quick enough but not this morning.  What the heck, might as well re-fish the bank where the big one ate it, only this time pitching the Rage Craw into shallow cover.

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This one ate a Rage Craw.

I stayed shallow and over the next hour I caught 4, 2 small ones, lost 1, and had 1 big one break me off in a tree.  I have been pitching with 2olb Big Game, which is normally plenty for Coleto, but toss it into a big tangle of wood and you are taking your chances.  I have not been using a flippin’ stick but might start carrying one for just those places.  Today the bite pitching was good, a couple smacked it and the rest were already swimming when I lifted up first time.  No matter what you have about a second to set the hook or they are gone.  I felt a couple of others that let go of it as soon as I felt them.  But it is still some serious hand to hand combat.

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Pitch the right bank and there are some good ones up.

The fishing was real consistent until about 10.  I probably boated 6 or so, and had some great bites.  And then, I don’t know if it was my bank choices over the next 3 hours or they quit, but from around 10 until I quit at 1 I did not have another bite.  I mean zip, even after running up the other arm to the one place they have been all summer, I could not buy a bite.  Before quitting I threw a little spinnerbait on a real windy bank, and that went over like a lead balloon so I called it a day.

One bright spot in the lake fishing right now is that the bigger fish are starting to make an appearance.  While the numbers still reflect that this is summer, anytime you can boat a big fish is a good day.  Why they quit today I do not have a clue, but it was like someone just turned off the faucet.  There were folks out today, and they are still catching crappie.  And I saw several bass boats getting a jump on the weekend.

My weekend is going to consist of painting, not my favorite activity by any means, but it will be good to get it done on the weekend.  The weather will play a big role in where I fish next week.   The forecast still includes a 50% of rain for the first part of the week, so if there is a day with good clouds there is a trout drain calling my name.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

We got some good news this week when Joy, my mother-in-law, got to return home after breaking her hip.  So here is wishing your recovery stays on track.  Glad you are home.

And my brother Kelly, who has been laid up in bed for a month, may be able to get up and around on Monday, so here is hoping you are getting back to good as new.

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This and That 8/18/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

As thunderstorms and rain continue to roll across South Texas into Louisiana I have been just hanging out.  After a fairly successful trip to Coleto on Monday I am itching to get back on the water.  So being bored I thought I would put down a few thoughts that have been bouncing around in my thick skull.

It’s The Little Things

Over the years I have noticed that it is often the little things that separates the good day from the great day.  And the little things may turn around what was a bad day into a successful day.  Those little things start when you hitch the boat on the truck, and end when you put it back on the trailer.

As a perfect example of how those little things can keep you from having a bad day before you even start is the morning when I did my usual walk around the boat before ever leaving the driveway.  I noticed that the hub on one side looked just a little funny.  So I grabbed the wheel and shook it, and low and behold I had a major bearing failure that was not apparent just sitting there, but was about to leave me on the side of the road.  By taking that couple of seconds to do the walk around my fishing trip did not end up on the side of the road with a smoking bearing.  And imagine my surprise when I found the nut on the big bolt that allows the trailer tongue to swing away was missing.  Now that could have been ugly!  That quick check before every trip can keep you from getting a taillight ticket, something blowing out of the boat, or a host of other issues.  It only takes a second.

One things all real hardcore fishermen tend to do is cast ahead of the boat.  Makes sense.  But one thing that seems to happen is both guys are tossing forward, and often tons of really great shots are missed.  Those are the good places that are angled opposite of the direction you are traveling.  We want to make the perfect cast at that perfect cover in front of us, causing us to miss some really good places due to that forward looking tunnel vision.  Fishing by myself I realized how often I am casting back to hit that one sweet spot that could only be reached after I passed it as I carefully work the bank.  So next time you are fishing heavy cover be sure you are not passing up that great spot in an effort to hit the next one.  Fishing is not a who makes the most casts wins contest, it is who makes the best cast.  Like many days on the water, one more cast can make the day, just be sure it is the right cast.

Another little thing,  which actually goes along with the little thing above, is boat positioning.  Over the years I have been lucky enough to catch some really big fish, many on light line, and they often seem to come out of nowhere.  Those are always titanic struggles like the giant black drum I caught on 8lb test this year.  And no big fish taught me more about boat positioning than the tarpon.  One thing I have learned is to use the trolling motor is keep the nose of the boat pointed at a big fish like a compass to north until the time is right.  It always amuses me to see some of the bass pros jumping all over the boat, or guys running to the back of the boat and then back to the front when that big red or jack starts ripping off line.  It is so much easier to fight a really big fish with the nose pointed directly at him.  Not only does make it easier to fight a big fish by keeping you in good body position, it helps avert total disaster when the fish is getting closer to boat side.  Hard for a big one to get under the boat, or wrap in the prop or trolling motor, if you keep him in front of you.  Then when it is time for the net just lift his head and turn the boat and slide him in.  It may seem like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time, but once you start using this technique more big fish will be in the boat instead of a one that got away story.

Often the big question I ask myself is what exactly was I doing when I got that last one to bite.  What speed, how was  I twitching it, did I stop and go, or was it just sitting there?  It can be critical to present your bait how they want it not how you want it, and once the fish tell you how they want it keep it up.  My buddy Bob Bodenhamer whipped my hind end on Bull Shoals one spring day because I was not really paying attention.  We were side by side on the front deck of the boat paralleling the bank with crankbaits using the exact same bait.  If memory serves my right it was somewhere in the area of 1 bass for Doug and 15 for Bob.  That was the first time I realized how critical it can be to remember what you were doing and repeat it exactly, not close.  We all love watching the turkeys, other boats as they wiz by, or a great sunset, which are all a part of being outdoors.  Total concentration is tough, but it is another little thing that can make the difference between catching a few and a catching frenzy.

Color is one of those little things.  Many a great catch come from a moment of inspiration.  Are the crawdads in this lake those orange and green ones or those big ass red ones?  Does the forage base include gizzard shad, bluegill, alewives, mullet or a host of other possibilities?  The possibilities are endless, and using baits with the right color to mimic the specific forage is often the difference between a good day and a great day.  Yea I know, we have all caught fish on crazy looking stuff, happens every day, and if it is working keep doing it.  But day in and day out a little thought on your initial color choice can make a huge difference.  And if one does not work and orderly working through color can make all the difference. When it comes down to it the old saying match the hatch is never a bad idea.

Line is an important piece of our fishing tackle.  As I have spent more time wading, hoping to catch bigger fish on light lures, fluorocarbon line has become a staple in my trout fishing.  It’s worth has been proven to me over the last year by the number of good trout I have seen appear out of nowhere, eating my plastic right in front of me.  It is hard to determine whether I catch more big fish because there are more of them, or I am getting better at it, or what I believe, that the fluorocarbon line puts bigger trout on the end of my line.  When wading crystal clear water in less than 2 foot it absolutely makes a difference.  It keeps coming back to those little things that put more fish in the boat, and in this case, bigger trout.

And when it comes to line there is one little thing that is so easy and so neglected at times.  But this is an easy one, check your line above the bait.  No big deal, it only takes a second, and it not only can be, but often is, the difference between a good day and a terrible day.  You might have caught a ton of fish and be having a great day, but when that big one breaks your line your day goes from great to the dumpster.  Check regularly and re-tie often, it is a no brainer.

Hooks are the final link between you and that big fish.  Part of being prepared is occasionally going through all your baits and checking them out one by one.  Not only might you be surprised what you use, or don’t use, you just might be surprised at the condition of some of your hooks.  It takes a little time to check them all, and replacing those that need it takes a while, but the important point is this – When you reach in the box and tie on a bait the hooks will be sharp and all there.  One of the side affects of catching a bunch of fish on your favorite crankbait or topwater is bending or breaking off part of a treble taking fish off.  Well made plugs are also finely balanced and the size of the hooks is part of that balance.  Plus replacing hooks increases hook ups and changing one is a little thing, a little thing that just might keep that fattie on your line.

And speaking of organizing things, one of the little things that can really pay off is keeping the boat stuff organized so you can grab any of it without thinking.  That would be nets, bogas, pliers, and anything else you use.  Keeping tools in a consistent place, putting them back after using them, all contribute to efficiency.  And that goes for lures too.  It only takes a second to put stuff where it goes so when you have that big fish on and reach for the net it is not full of baits, or hung on another rod or two.  Nothing like watching that 30″ trout swim off while you are trying to get the net unhooked from crap laying around in the boat.  Plus the little thing like keeping organized keeps you from throwing that $15 bait that was hung in the net in the water while you are netting that big fish.

Something I have learned in the last year since Cocoons came aboard is how important multiple pairs of sunglasses in different lenses can be.  A perfect example is how on cloudy days with off colored water the bronze seem to allow me to see more obstructions.  And if it is really dark the yellow provide the contrast to see so much better.  And the blue mirrors seem to be the ticket when the bay water is clear as a bell.  So that little thing, the ability to see into the water no matter the conditions, or where you are, will put more fish in the boat, period.  In the bay you can see that laid up red, or on the lake you see that piece of cover underwater that you might have missed which holds the biggest bass of the trip.  It may be a little thing, but like everything we have talked about it all adds up.

These little things are really just parts of the whole, or the big thing.  They add up, or should I say paying attention to them have the fish adding up.  Being organized makes the day go much better, being unorganized is a recipe for disaster.  Fishing is a series of decisions, big and small, that determine our success or lack there of.  It is amazing how often we can be lulled into going through the motions, and sometimes that is all the trip we need.  And this is not the be all, end all, list of the little things, it is simply good practice to fish more efficiently and effectively.  Day in and day out our attention to detail, organization, and repetition will put more and bigger fish in the boat, end of story.

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The observations above may seem a little disjointed or disconnected, but they are part of the whole that is fishing.   I have been thinking about these for a while and wondering how to put them down in the proper context.  But finally just putting these seemingly unrelated things down on paper made me realize that they are all interrelated and affect our success each and every day.  One little thing is all it takes to make or break our day.

Since I got the GPS/graph back from Humminbird I am happy to report it is still functioning exactly as it should.  It is so apparent it was not working properly out of the package.  So while their initial customer service left something to be desired, they made it right.  I only hope that they treat all their customers that way, not just those who can pencil a rant on their blog.  Would I have gotten the same result with my complaint if I had not published a rant for my readers detailing what happened?  I hope so.

As I finish this up a squall is directly over the house and it is thundering, lightning, and blowing up a storm.  Looking on the radar it continues to be spotty, though it really does depend on where you are how sporty it is.  No matter what I will be on  the water somewhere tomorrow.  It will just depend on whether it storms right on me, misses me, makes me quit, or makes me find a place to hide then back out again.  It definitely be a put on your big boy pants day.

The fishing report from Falcon Lake has really picked up the last month.  Unlike our last trip numbers are being caught, and after a couple of down years the big fish appear to be making a come back.  Last weekend the winner of the San Antonio Bass Club tournament had almost 21lbs.  Not bad, in fact great, when you consider they use a 3 fish limit.  Anytime you have a legitimate shot at a 7lb average you have some serious bass fishing.  If the weather holds, and the wind stays down, I will slip down there 3 days next week.  Stay tuned.

My last comment is bring on hunting season.  Do not get me wrong, I love a little duck or venison on the plate, but I like it even more when folks start trading the boat for the 4 wheeler.  I love not waiting in line at Froggie’s, not having folks cut me off, and not parking the truck and trailer on the other side of the county.  It also signals fall is on the way, bass are fattening up for the winter and the redfish ganging up is just around the corner.  I can still see those guys from Austin yelling at us as they ran after that giant school of reds pushing water a foot high.  And standing in a foot of water as schools of mullet streamed by with trout dashing in and out of them.  I can not wait for fall.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

And to the folks in Louisiana, we are all praying for you. 

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Coleto Creek 8/14/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

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It looks like our really hot stretch just might have burned itself out.  Temps are expected to stay in the 90 range with a chance for some badly needed rain all week.  We got a little yesterday and according to the forecast the rain will be around today.  So with that forecast it was time to hit the lake.  Bass fishing is always better when it is cloudy and a little drizzle never seems to hurt either.  And with the temps staying in the 80’s I had high hopes to fish past noon without burning up.

Weather

Scattered thunderstorms  88/73  40% chance of rain  Wind E 10mph

Tides

15     High   9:14 AM     0.7
15      Low  10:38 PM    -0.1

Solunar Times

Best  8:44am – 11:10am   9:10pm – 11:10pm     Good  2:31am – 4:31 am

I was determined to fish, rain or not.  When I left the house a little before daylight it was drizzling and by time I hit 59S it was raining hard, hard enough to wonder if it was going to work out.  On arrival at the ramp it was lightly drizzling, and it never did more than that all day.  In fact, it never sprinkled after about 9am in spite of being cloudy.

So I decided to just get it over with, take a chance, and run all the way up lake.  First thing I noticed turning the big corner in the Coleto arm was it had more color than the other day.  Obviously the rain the last couple of days is about to muddy the river back up.

I started with buzzbait and caught a couple but it was slow,  so I did some pitching.  I probably stayed up lake about 3 hours and put 7 or 8 in the boat, though only one was a good one.

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                                       The first couple on buzzbait.

They were not exactly hitting the buzzbait with wild abandon so it was time to switch to plastics.  There is still plenty of cover in the water up lake, and like it has been there are fish on it.  Today it was a Rage Craw in watermelon red on a 1/4 slip sinker.  You had to pitch it right in the cover on the bank, and except for 1 all the bites were in the first fall.

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Pitching to cover is hand to hand combat.  The first one is the biggest on the Rage Craw though most were the size of the second one.

I caught maybe 6 pitching and nothing more on buzzbait.  So it was time for a move, and I mean from one end to the other.  I decided to head way up the plant arm and on the way I hit several banks without even a bite.  When I got to the channel right below the plant I had 6 or 7 bites pitching and only boated a small one.  So I kept working the creek and finally got a great bite on a buzzbait.

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The first big fish in a while, he smoked it in 2 foot of water.

By now it was well after noon, it had cleared, and the wind was not blowing.  The one above hit it about half way back to the boat, and there was no missing him.  So even though it had cleared and was calm, I managed to put a couple of more in the boat on buzzbait before I quit.

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            The last one was hooked in the top of the head.  What a tussle.

A couple of things were clear by time I quit.  The fish caught pitching were smaller, though I caught a lot more than on the buzzbait, including 5 in a row that did not measure 12″.  And the bite was nothing more than a tick, and if you did not instantly set the hook they were gone, unlike the last couple of months where they would take off swimming with it.  And though the buzzbait bite was slow, it seemed like the ones I wanted to catch wanted the buzzbait.  And I think I only missed one, not bad for a buzzbait.  The last few came in an area way up the plant arm where I have not fished since spring.  Whether it holds or not will be really rain dependent.  With rain forecast all week things will surely change, we will just have to see how it goes.

I did see a large snake swimming the lake, which is the second one I have seen this month.  I rarely see them on Coleto, probably because they don’t live to long swimming.  And the turkeys up lake have been carrying on more than usual.  I saw them fly down this morning and they never shut up the whole time I was up lake.  It is awesome to not only catch a few fish, but to see all the other cool stuff that calls the lake home.

All in all a good day of fishing, and my best 5 will do.  I started at 7 and quit at 2:30 and basically caught fish off and on all morning.  Pitching will definitely put fish in the boat, especially on the deeper banks.  As far as the buzzbait goes, shallow flat banks with bait and cover it is definitely the ticket.  Switching back and forth depending on the bank was the way to go today.  There are several ways to catch fish right now, we just need fall to get here.

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Python

My wife has a cousin in the Everglades who is apparently going through her training to provide echo tours in the Everglades.  As part of that training Trisha was taught Python handling skills.  There are plenty of them there.  Just another screw up by man.

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Pin it down.

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Look close, she has it by the head.

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In the sack you go.

These animals were held as pets and then released by irresponsible owners like many of the invasive species in this country.  From Pythons to walking catfish, none of them have worked out, whether by folks just letting them go, or by game and fish departments with good intentions.  We all have a responsibility to not spread invasive species which will alter our wildlife forever.  So congratulations Trisha, looks like fun to me.

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As a big football fan I was happy to watch a couple of NFL games this weekend.  Dak Prescott, the first year guy from Mississippi State, looked fabulous at quarterback for Dallas.  That could be really important before the year is out.  The Hogs had their spring game, and I think A&M did too.  The Hogs lost some major pieces on offense so we shall see, but I don’t expect them to lose 5 of their first 6 again.  But we love us some Bert and  he has continued to add real beef to the line.  Stop us if you can.   And A&M, not sure what to think of them.  There is something going on that their quarterbacks left the program quicker than rats deserting a sinking ship.  Spoiled brats or a problem with the program? Only time will tell.  Kevin Summerlin could be on a short leash this year.  So it will be interesting to see how their year goes.  Have to pay for that big ass stadium.

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Not a clue what is next.  It could rain for days, or just shower some, totally depends on where you are.  I have a little painting to do, and have put it off about as long as I can, just waiting on new doors.  Other than that there will be some fishing somewhere, somehow.  And if you have something to say drop us a note.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

(To my brother Kelly, hang in there, it should only be a week and you will be up around.)

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Dang It! 8/12/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat.  I fished like crap today.  Some days are tougher than others, and I am still learning this croaker thing, but I could have done a better job.  I had Aaron and his dad along today, and as hard as we tried we never did hit the mother load.  I have several thoughts about that, which we will get to.

Weather

80/99 Heat index 110 with heat warnings after noon. Wind SSW 15-25  10% chance of isolated showers.

Tide

11     High   8:27 AM     0.5
11      Low   7:07 PM     0.0

Solunar Times

Best      5:46A – 7:46     6:09P – 8:09P   Good     11:35A – 1:35P       (This was when we probably put half our keepers in the boat.

Aaron is a highly experienced all around fisherman, and his dad has been at it for all of his 87 years.  We picked up 36 croaker and headed out at daylight.  The tide was just reaching full up as we headed to Big Bayou.  That was my first mistake.  Why?  I should have hit the rigs at daylight when it was calm.

Our first stop was the drain where I caught a quick limit a week ago and we got off to a so/so start.  They were free lining their croaker with out a weight and I was using a 1/8 ounce weight.  Aaron put a nice flounder in the box, and I think we added one more keeper trout at the first stop.  From there we kept working drains and the other spots I normally fish and it turned into a one or two fish a spot day.  About half the places we caught a keeper, but just could not seem to nail it down.

Never having fished that way before we all had a lot to learn.  We easily missed as many fish as we caught, and it seemed like we would catch a keeper, and then they would shut off.  After fishing the drains we headed out to the rig, and of course the wind came up and by time we set up it was white capping and just to uncomfortable to fish.

From there we fished the old Coast Guard station without a bite so we headed into the Oil Cut and immediately put a another nice keeper in the boat and missed a few.  We hit a few other spots without success and at 1:00 they had somewhere to be so we called it a day.

For the morning it was 5 or 6 keeper trout, 4 which were good ones, and once nice flounder.  We easily caught more trout that did not measure than did.  Kind of surprising to me how a small trout were happy to eat a big croaker.  And we missed many more.  Of course we caught the usual assortment of hard heads and lady fish.  And all of us were still getting used to the bite, which is something different for someone like me who has not fished croaker before.

So as I continue to learn this deal a couple of things seemed to stick out now that I think about it.  First, I am not sure fishing out of the boat in shallow water is the way to go croaker fishing.  Wading would have been much more productive.  Second, keeping the bait cool with plenty O2 in the water kept them lively all morning in what turned out to be 100 degree heat so the bait tank I just made was doing the job.  Finally I ignored that little voice in my head that said go to the rig first and sack a few, but I ignored that for what I thought was the safe route.  Not all those little voices in your head are nuts.  Before it was over if I had fished the same water in a different order it would definitely been better.  And for some reason I never took any pictures, I think the heat had my brain on slow.

It was a tough day but as with all learning processes you have to keep after it.  Just because it is croakers does not mean you will automatically rip them.  So the next step will be to do some wading and see if I can improve on my technique.  It was great to fish with Aaron again, and it looks like we will fish together a few days down in Rockport in the next month.  And his dad was a great guy to fish with and we had a great time even with the slow fishing.

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And Chad, who has been hard at it with his son, struggled a little last trip, but when it is tough it is often a matter of grinding it out.

A grind of a day yesterday, we went to poc left the dock before daylight hoping to get to fish some tide movement first stop greens. No bites on the first wade, ran a little further made a wade picked up 5 trout, then moved to a spot with tons of bait 4 trout there, with no water moving i knew it was gonna be one of those days that paitence and persistance would be the key so off to the next spot. After fishing the greens area we move to the hump. A big flat inbetween the lil jetties and big jetties on the right. It was full of bait with jacks blowing them up on the outer edges. So we bailed out there and made a wade. We had to just keep grinding but managed to pick up 6 trout there. With 15 trout in the box biggest being 22″ that my son taylor caught. We made a move to grass island after a 30 min wade with no trout we called it at 3:00 pm. Tough day for us, as far as catching. When we got to the dock tpwd fish measure guy was there so after he went through our fish and asked a few questions he said on a scale from 1-10 how satisfied were you? I said 10 ! Reason being we got back to the dock when we want too. Theres alot that can go wrong on a trip out on the water. Ive experienced alot of em over the years. Thanks chad

It really is get out early and fish hard.  Often the difference is just another fish or two and you guys ground it out today.  I really appreciate your reports, especially that you are sharing it with your son.  Sounds like he is going to be a great fisherman some day.  No better way to spend quality time with your son.  And I love your reports, they have actual information and knowledge that folks can use. Keep the reports coming.

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I got this from Remmy on something I actually did today and it worked like a charm.

Freeze a 2 liter bottle or 2 and put them in the ice chest with the croaker, 1 is fine but i usually keep another on hand in case the first melts. Keeps the water cooler, the croaks croaking and a little friskier.

It got to 100 degrees before we quit yesterday and a frozen bottle kept my croakers frisky and we did not lose a man.  (Other than operator error when they were on the end of our lines.)  It kept them cool and they were lively to the last man.  So thanks for commenting and feel free to contact us anytime you want to add to the discussion.

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And I heard from Joe Bass, a long time reader, on the flip phone thing.

Once you leave the dark side(flip fone) You will never go back. We’re a small group but we must stick together. I still have one. Got it at walmart for $14.88, why because its small, fits in front pocket, when I drop in water, I’m not mad because I threw $300 into the water. My trip to Lake Travis I dropped into 30 ft of water, got to my underwear and dove in, didn’t get it, but had to use the net and long pole to finally get it back. Wasn’t worried about phone, just wanted all my contacts. Should not have to worry about Facebook, emails or live videos bothering you while fishing or outdoor activities. FLIP PHONES RULE !!!

A man after my own heart.  I agree completely on the distractions in the outdoors.  So the flip phone will be with me until it kicks the bucket.  But since it is built to basic military specs it just might be around a while, at least until it ends up in the lake where I can’t get to it.  So thanks for standing up for those of us who are media challenged by choice.

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And last Jay, who fishes stripers and big catfish, sent me a couple of pictures of his and some great information for those of you hard core live bait fisherman.

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                                              That folks is a bait tank!

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Learning 8/10/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

This is a quick report of a very short trip.  The plan was to head out after high tide and see if I could actually catch a trout on croaker and to see how the bait tank I made would work.  I sure did not want to buy a bunch of baits and have them croak in the heat tomorrow.   And I managed to catch a couple on croaker and nobody died of the heat.  Though I sure felt the 99 degrees with a 75% humidity, ugly.

The bait well is just a 48 quart cooler that I mounted a good 12 volt double stone aeriator that will oxygenate 50 gallon.  So with that overkill I picked up a dozen croaker at Indianola and headed out to the bay.  I stopped at 3 places on the Powderhorn Ranch shoreline without a bite.  All three  areas had plenty of bait but it sure did not help.  So I decided to head into the bay and fish a couple of rigs.

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My first on a croaker.

I fished 3 wells and only the first one produced.  The trout were not real big, but 3 managed to give it up.  3 catfish joined the party and I missed several other fish.  The bite is a little tricky and took me a while to get the hang of it.

At this point I am good with it, just needed to see if they were on the wells and they are.   Next it was back in the Powderhorn to check a couple of spots.  Fishing 3 or 4 places produced zip, so with my last croaker I set up on the sand point across from the marina.

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Of the 4 none were bigger than this.

This one hit it the hardest of any of the bites I had today.   Starting at 10:30, and quitting at 1:30, it was hot, and the water was not really running yet.  By time I quit it was white capping on the bay.  But the cooler did great and is way overdone, and I actually caught a few fish on croaker, so the mission was a success.  We will see how tomorrow goes when Aaron, his dad, and I head out at daylight.

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I got this long post from fishrearlarry on croaker fishing, and it is a good one.

In regards to your question on using croaker for catching trout. I know everyone has certain techniques that they prefer…hook size, leader, etc. When it comes to trout fishing in the summer, hands down, you will catch more fish and generally a little better quality. Being the artificial enthusiast you are and the fisherman you are, I feel that in most trips even in the heat of the summer, you will be able to catch 5 keeper trout. but, it is going to probably take a lot longer to do so. Years ago, I didn’t even consider throwing live bait. As I have aged and my body has found that it can’t hang out in the heat and wade all day long like it used to, I prefer to increase my advantages of catching my trout quickly and then maybe spend a little time looking for reds.
My technique is old school. I use anywhere from a size 3/0 to 5/0 hook depending on the croaker size, I use a 20# fluorocarbon leader with a small barrel swivel or instead of the barrel swivel I may use a chatter weight. Rarely do I use a weight and if I do it is because the tide is flowing strongly in an area and the bait does not have enough time to get to the bottom. I am a monofilament line man, just can’t seem to get myself to like the braid, and I have given it many attempts. Many say they like the sensitivity it gives them with the croaker….personally, I can feel every move my croaker makes and will usually tell my fishing partners when I am fixing to catch a fish just by the way the croaker is acting up. Fishing with croaker for bait is a technique that if the fish are feeding hard is a “not much experience needed” deal. But when the trout are there and not feeding heavy, that is where it is a little more difficult and more important to stay “in tune” with your bait. The infamous “thump” when the fish hits the croaker is where another part of the techniques come into play. Normally, I will fish with my rod tip at about an 11 to 12 o’clock position. As the trout hits the bait and starts swimming away with it, I slowly drop the rod as the line is pulled away to about 3 o’clock position and then set the hook. Many times the bites are different and they may hit and then your line goes slack because they are coming toward you, just like worm fishing with bass, that’s when you reel to catch up the slack and then give them the hook set. One last thought about fishing with croaker, especially for beginners….keep your bait out in the water. Many first timers that I have taken out make the mistake of constantly reeling the bait back in too quickly. When they are put out on the first cast, they are very active and that’s when you just let them swim and do the work. as they fatigue and maybe bury down into some grass, that is where you slowly pull them up and give them the twitch to make them “talk” and swim again. If the croaker after use is still alive but has lost his energy, I put him back in the bait bucket to revive and put a new one on. Lively croaker catch trout!

Feel free to e mail me and I will get you to come by my office or call you. I will more than happy to share some more information with you! Thank you again for the time you put into the blog!

Wow!  Where to start.  I am sure fishing them on free line is fun, and will actually probably do some of that in the morning.  I knew folks free lined them and wondered about the Chatter Baits.  I am looking forward to fishing them that way shallow.  And the way you hold your rod, and do the hook set, is a lot like worm fishing for bass.  I have not had one thump it yet, but I am sure the better ones do that.  And keeping the bait in the water is obviously the way to go, and moving it a bunch, or reeling it in to cast, not only takes your bait out of the strike zone, but it will kill your bait a whole lot quicker.

About the getting older thing, it is so true when it is this hot.  I like to attribute some of that taking it easier to not being as mad at them as I used to be.  That is my story and I am sticking to it.  But no matter what it is tough out there right now with this heat and if this puts them in the cooler faster this old man is all about it.  And I really appreciate your offer and will take it up with you.  So thanks for the great comment and your long readership,  I really appreciate it.

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Colby sent along this tip, I assume because it is working right now.

Doug,
Just a quick tip. Try a Mirrolure Lil John with one of your 1/32 ounce jigheads. Use a color similar to whatever color you like in the POC area (maybe a red variation). Very effective this time of year. Colby

Thanks, will pick up a bag at Academy next time I am there.  As soon as this little croaker adventure/learning curve has run its course it will be back to lures.  I have nothing against live bait, but lures will always be my thing.  Thanks for the tips and your continued involvement.

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And it was inevitable that someone would comment on my flip phone, everyone does.

Yes, flip phone needs to go.
No, iphone does not need to come in.

Samsung Galaxy; yes, I know, matter of personal preference.

Thanks Billy, you made me laugh.  Hell I thought you were rapping.  As soon as this phone craps out I will join the modern world.  People are evening streaming to facebook live, would be cool to do while on a big bite.  Thanks for sticking with me.

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We will be out at daylight in the morning and I really have no clue where.  From what was on the one rig where I caught 3, that may be a great place to start.  But Big Bayou should be perfect for it, then we will fish weightless.  So no matter what we will be giving it a go.  And congrats to my brother Kelly finally getting home from the hospital.  N0 place like home.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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