Coleto Creek 3/30/15.

  Fish Catching Travel

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Add a Swimming Jig to your arsenal today.

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Howdy sports fans.  If you are saltwater fans just hang in there with me, we will be getting to the Gulf soon.  But folks, the bass fishing is just to consistent right now.  One of the joys, and smart use of your time, is being at the right place, at the right time, with the right fish.  Even though I have fished a lifetime it has taken me a long time to realize that.  And the result of that revelation is now is the time to catch bass.  It may not be the best time for the biggest bass, but if you like to catch bass, and I do, now is the time to be fishing.  All fish have a time, big trout in the winter, spring time tarpon on the bridges in the Keys, redfish bunched up and tailing in the fall, and bass with the urge to merge in the spring.  Get em’ while they are hot.  So with that said here you go.

One of the folks who I met through the website, but not in person, contacted me about fishing Coleto.  If you have read my stuff for a while you know I like to fish with different folks, and in this case Gary contacted me through the site and I was glad to fish with him.  We met shortly after daylight and off we went.  Wanting to make a quick first impression, and catch some, I hit the spot that I have waxed them the last time or two.  Of course we stuck out, how could it be any other way?

I have said it before and I will say it again, Coleto is not the best first thing in the morning lake.  And with that knowledge it was not time to panic when we did not catch a fish in the first place or two, it was simply time to stick with the program, 5″ swim bait, a Strike King Swimming Jig, and spinnerbait.  We kept chucking and reeling and they slowly started to bite.

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Gary with a nice solid keeper.  We caught a bunch this size and bigger as the afternoon wore on.

To simplify the report, here is how it went.  As Gary had not fished Coleto before I wanted him to see most of it, so before we quit at 3 we fished way up both arms.  We both kept alternating between Swimming Jig and spinnerbait.  We didn’t do much until we got in the back end of a big cove way up lake, and though we put 4 or 5 in the boat there, they were just tearing the flippers off our Rage Craw.   They wanted to eat, but there hearts were not in it, and we ended up missing more than we caught in that cove.  After that we headed back down lake and fished a really flat mainlake bank and put another 5 or 6 in the boat, with Gary doing some damage on the spinnerbait..  Things were starting to look up.

As we fished, Gary had several nice ones smoke his spinnerbait, and I finally started to stay with that 5″ swim bait.  Around noon they decided to quit messing around and they started to eat.  We hit another big cove and they were in there.  I have noticed the last few trips that they are still somewhat bunched up, and many have not spawned.  So we re-fished some of them and it was better on the second pass.  All of a sudden they just started eating it, and we probably put maybe another 15 in the boat before we quit.  I even broke 30lb braid on a good fish, we lost several bigger ones, it was just a really steady bite.

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Been a while since I showed you a big gator.  In the 8 foot range, look at the gut on that thing.  You could be next on the menu.  I love those things.

Several hit it right at the boat, some hit it in 6″ inches of water, some out of bushes, any good flat point with bushes had a fish on it, it was just one of those fun days.  At one point Gary jerked one out on the Swimming Jig and almost hit me in the face with it.  Awesome, we were laughing then.  In fact, several got jerked completely out of the water today, a function of them hitting with only a few feet of line out,  And as the bite picked up some of them were really wacking that swim bait.  Now I am not that good at it, but I am learning fast.  With this much cover it should remain a good bait for the time being.

Both Gary and I started off with the bluegill color Swimming Jig and finally around noon I went to the all white with a Caffine Shad trailer.  And boy they liked that, and it was game on as far as the jig went.  As the water warmed, they moved into those flat pockets, and were flat eating that white jig.  Thanks John for reminding me.  And one last thing, they were not just everywhere today, if you caught a couple they were in the area.  But as stupid as it sounds, where they weren’t, they really weren’t.  It is just a little different from a usual spring pattern.

I really had a good time today.  Sorry there is no more pictures, but I was not willing to put the rod down that long!  Gary is a good fisherman, and a good man.  His finest quality (just kidding) is he fishes almost exactly like I do.  Covered water at a good pace, good boat position, just an all around good fisherman.  And it has been awhile since I fished with anyone beside the Shoedog who throws a spinnerbait as much as I do.  Though we did not put a big fish in the boat that was probably our fault.

The wind blew some this afternoon, and it looks like we are in for those March winds we did not have the last few weeks.  Since Sunday it has been blowing and tomorrow they are talking up to 25+.  So with that in mind it will be one more lake day.  Tomorrow I will stick with the swim bait longer, and try to fish a little better mechanically.   We had the bites, but the big one just did not happen.  Tomorrow is another day, and I intend to take full advantage of it.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Thought for Today. 3/29/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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Add a Swimming Jig to your arsenal today.

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I got this comment from John, and trust me, it is a good one for several reasons.

Try combining that swim bait with a swim jig. That combo was working well for me on Lake Austin when it had grass. White swim jig & white swim bait or Watermelon red  jig/swim bait where good. It is just a slight variation from your swim jig/crawfish trailer. I throw that a lot myself .  Also another tip for enhanced action try tying a loop knot on swim bait for a little more action. Thanks for the reports.

Funny you should mention using a white swim jig.  I used the all white TGSJ14-204 Strike King Swimming Jig with a paddle tail Caffine Shad in several white colors for 3months this winter with real good success.  It definitely would have been another good bait last trip.  I have not used the loop knot on it but will definitely give it a go next time out.  If you are fishing Coleto right now a white Swimming Jig and paddle tail trailer will catch fish, end of story.

Folks, if you look closely to what John had to say there is something else to be gleaned no matter where you are.  If your lake has grass, pads, reeds, or any other aquatic vegetation you can reel a bait through, you need to be throwing the Swimming Jig.  If you can reel a bait through vegetation, you can catch fish.  It is no more complicated than that.  And trust me, once you start catching a few the Swimming Jig will become an important part of your arsenal.  So thanks for your comment John, feel free to comment anytime.  Nothing like learning a little something today.

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Fish it on a jig head, behind the Tour Grade Swimming Jig, behind a football head jig, or Texas style, or on a blade bait,  or anything else you can think of.  The Rage Craw and Lobster catch bass.

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The weather is beautiful today, and not fishing is killing me.  But I got lots done the last 2 days and the serious fishing starts in the morning.  Just killing time today watching some basketball and beginning to get ready for the Florida trip.  Time to make a list, confirm reservations, and think about tackle and all that comes with that.  Also got out the summer fishing clothes, also know as my wardrobe.  I am sure the boss gets tired of me wearing the same thing all the time.

Also, I am getting real used to this retirement thing.  I finally notified the Arkansas Supreme Court that I was going to go ahead and surrender my license to practice law in Arkansas.  Of course I still have the Texas license just in case, of what I do not know.  But with SSI looming around the corner the practice of law is but a memory and I can’t see myself practicing again.  We never know how things will come out, but unless they move some saltwater coast all the way to the Arkansas line there is little chance I will ever live there again.

In fact, while being boarded by a real horse’s butt Coast Guardsman, (The only one I ever encountered like that.) he was giving me a real hard time about coming all the way from Arkansas to POC to fish.  He was acting like it was something suspicious.  I wanted to say as soon as the coast moves to Arkansas I will stay home.  Not to many redfish in Arkansas bozo.

So that is it for today.  Just wanted to touch base with everyone.  I hope you had a good weekend fishing.  If you caught some send me a note, we would love to hear about it.  And if you are catching any crappie in Texana let me know, makes my mouth water thinking about it.  It will be off at daylight for a day of it tomorrow.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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All I have to say is go fishing. 3/28/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The 3/8th ounce Bleeding Bait spinnerbait, white with silver blades, and the Swimming Jig and Craw were the baits today.

I got this comment from RL, and if you like to live vicariously when you can’t get out on the water this story is for you.

Great report and pics! For those of us who are highway warriors this really makes the week go by and feel like we are right there with you.
Thank You.
RL

Thanks for the comment RL and I wish all of you had been with me today, it was fun.  So if you are stuck in the house or at work, enjoy.

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Whether you fish the salt, like I have a couple of times lately, or freshwater, which I have a couple of times lately, the fishing is good right now.  No matter where you fish we are right in the middle of our good spring fishing.

Since I hadn’t fished Coleto since the big rise and muddy up it was time to check it out.  I was hoping that it was just off colored, which it was, exactly what I had hoped.  And before I forget the punch line, I fished from down lake to way up lake, and caught fish everywhere I went.  So the best advice I can give you is fish with the bait you want, where you want, and don’t pay any attention to the water color, the fish aren’t.

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First cove, first bite.

It was around 8:30 when I started in a flat main lake cove.  Throwing a Swim Jig was just the ticket.

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Second bite.  Things are looking up.

Like they were last trip, they were on the little flatter side of the coves with the sparser cover.  Before I got out of the first cove I put 8 in the boat, all on Swim Jig.  Just tossing it up in the stuff and swimming it back.  Next is was a real big flat cove.  That was the first place I caught one on a swim bait.  If you remember Randy in his report on Coleto last weekend lost a big fish on one, so I put on a 5″ with the big flat tail on a 4/0 hook with the weight on the hook.  Now I am no swim bait fisherman by any means, but it was a cool bite.  And it proves my point about sharing information.  Randy told us about losing a good one so I tried something I would never have thrown, and it worked.

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The first one, the little guy choked on that bait.

Though I only caught one in the second cove, it was on the swim bait, and it gave me the confidence to keep throwing it.  Just tossing it to the bank in the shallow places and swimming it right along and when one wanted it they would smoke it.  With the hook riding the top of the bait it would swim right through the cover. Not having thrown it much I did miss and lose several.  They would just smoke it, often I could see them hit it, but I lost a couple of big fish when they jumped and threw the hook.  I finally figured out, heavier rod and braid should help, and it did.

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This one came on a swim bait.

I lost count when it was 11 on Swim Jig and 6 on swim bait, but I just kept throwing the swim bait.  It was something new for me and it was fun.

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Of course I threw the spinnerbait, and it started working.

So now the sun is high, there is almost no wind, and the fish will bite a Swim Jig, a swim bait, and a spinnerbait.  They were not concentrated, but everywhere I fished from up lake to down lake had at least a few fish.

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There is the swim bait.

Now I don’t know which bait to throw so I just alternated between them, and they all worked.  If there was a flat point, there was a fish, if there was a flat with scattered brush, there was a fish.  I was buzzing the Bleeding Bait, and while they were not really crashing the spinnerbait, I think only 1 missed it.

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I think you get the point by now.

While no big ones made the boat today, it was good springtime fishing.  The fish are positioned where they should be, coves and flats, and if you find the right one, a flat cove.  I saw some beds today but did not check them out, not my thing, and there were quite a few tilapia around.  One thing I wanted to say is when I cleaned those bass for the wife last week 4 were females who had not spawned yet.  And the guts on a couple of them today said they are not done spawning yet, so the fishing should remain good through the next moon.

 It was cool to catch fish from 8:30 to 5, nice and steady.  If I had done a better job on the swim bait early there would have been a couple of good ones over the side.  When the only 5″ swim bait I had finally tore the only size I had left was a 6″, and they were not interested in the bigger bait.  It was cool to see them roll up and eat it as it swam by cover.  That should give you an idea of how shallow they are.

And the new trolling more was a real improvement.  The locator worked great but wasn’t really necessary as the fish were shallow.  I did flip just a little, but had no bites and gave up on that pretty quickly with the way they were eating other things.  It is not to often that you have 3 baits all working about the same.  I will say that the best average came off the spinnerbait, but if I had boated the 3 big ones I lost on the swim bait it would have been another story.

So if you can hit the lake, the fishing is good and it won’t last forever.  I am really happy about how high the lake is, higher than I have ever seen it.  The spawn is on and there will be lots of places for the fry to hide this year.  This kind of timing can lead to an epic year class.  And to add to the confusion the coastal bite is on.  Where next?  Not a clue, but it will be another week of both places, the order is the only thing to be determined.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Big Trout 3/26/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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Time to throw that KVD Sexy Dawg Jr topwater.

I put the trolling motor on, then the locator, and finally the bilge pump.  The Carolina Skiff is back in action.  Then new glasses were ordered and the Mako is at the shop.  So with all the list things wrapped up it is time to hit Coleto in the morning.   What the water color will be, I don’t have a clue, but it could be ugly.  No matter what it will be a long day, and I will enjoy every minute of it.  I am really interested in whether flipping is a viable way to catch them right now.  Stay tuned for that.

But the reason for this post is not my plans, the purpose is something I thought all of you trout fisherman would like to see.  My buddy Jeffish sent me this picture.  It is of a friend of his, David, and his big trout.  This is one nice fish.

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Wow!  Look at the head on that thing.  Now that is a trout!

David was fishing the King Ranch Shoreline on the Upper Laguna Madre.  The big girl came on a paddle tail plastic and weighed 8lbs 6oz.  That my friends is a good one.  Congratulations David, that size is few and far between.

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On a different note I got this comment from Douglas after asking about the ramp on Hwy 35 on Carancahua Bay.

The Carancahua bay ramp at Hwy 35 has been silted in and unusable for several years now. For the past month or so, they have been rebuilding the jetty and clearing the channel. It looks like it should be ready to use very soon.

Thanks for the quick answer.  A guy checking fish at Indianola, who worked full time for TPWD, told me they were planning on fixing that ramp.  Guess I will send an email inquiry to TPW and see where they are on that project.  It will really open the bay up, and the few times I have fished it I have caught fish.  So I appreciate the information.  It makes this a much better site when you all help me out, sharing information is a good thing.  Thanks again.

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Hope you enjoyed that.  It really is amazing the size of the trout down there.  In spite of the fishing pressure the Upper Laguna and Baffin continue to crank out the big trout.  And no matter where you are on the coast now is the time to catch a big trout.  Makes me want to load up and head down there right now.  But it is time to check out Coleto, I have not been there since the big raise and the resulting mud bath.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 3/25/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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If you want to catch more fish………..

 With the last trip to the eye surgeon, and the new trolling motor to put on today, I thought I would just go ahead and catch up on some stuff.  Part of that is sharing a few comments from folks.  I love it when I get them.

Billy is the man who identified the guiding couple and he has fished with them for years.   So he dropped me this note after I caught the trout on the 1/64 jig head.

Glad to see you put the light weight jig head to good use. In regards to your statement about the wind, I know they use them in the hollowing south winds on Baffin. He may jump up to a 1/32 ounce on occasion, but that’s about as heavy as he gets.

I really do intend to fish that light jig head pretty seriously.  One thing I noticed yesterday is when they hit it, they thumped it and it was down their throat.  The theory that the plastic hangs in their face for just that little bit longer making them eat is right on point.  The way the trout reacted to it was fatal on their part.  Can’t wait to see how it works in all seasons.  Thanks Billy.

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A few days ago I asked if anyone had fished Coleto last weekend during the big rise and Randy dropped me this note.  This is the first comment from Randy, and it just what I love to hear from you folks.

I fished Saturday at Coleto Creek in the Fort Bend County Sherrifs tournament. The lake is muddy every where, with the clearest water being the main lake area around the islands. First and second big bass was in the 4 lb range and it only took a little under 12 lbs to win the tournament. My partner and I only had four fish for 6.58 lbs.  I lost one fish that was in the 8 lb class but it wasn’t meant to be. She hung me up on something in about 4 foot of water in the middle of the back of a pocket. I was trying to let her work herself free but it wasn’t happening. So off came the shirt and I told my partner I was going to try and reach as far down as I could and to hold my legs down.  I couldn’t reach her and he said I’m younger let me try. Well a long story short , he went  over board and broke the line on his way in. This was really a fishing trip that we both will remember for the rest of our lives for several reasons. All my tackle is in Oklahoma so I borrowed some of his rod and reels for the day. Lets just say drags were not set, guides were missed and other things that made for a memorable trip with lessons learned.
You have a great read and thanks for all the work you do to provide it.

Interesting day.  I figured the rain would make some of the lake virtually unfishable and it would be nothing less than tough.  I feel for you, I used to fish a tourney a month, and most times the bad days outweighed the good.  And it always hurts to lose what would have been the big fish.  But who cares, it is great to be fishing.  I got this from Randy a day later after I emailed him to see if I could share his story and it is good stuff.

I don’t mind. It was one of those days. I meant to say what we caught and missed our fish on. The big fish came on a swim bait with a #4 1/8th ounce swimbait hook, swimjigs with rage craws, and wacky rigged senkos.

As soon as I started reading your story I knew something good was coming, and that is what makes a great story.  I have seen a few folks fall in, I have fallen in, it just happens, and when it does it is usually fast.  And as far as the lures you caught them on, I just told someone it might be a good tactic to wallow a big swimbait through the cover.  Just seemed like the thing to do, so next time I will throw it some.  And of course Strike King Swim Jig and Craw, can’t go wrong anytime.  The wacky rig senko, or at least a variation, has also been on my mind with this water condition.  I just picked up some weedless hooks to throw the bright pink wacky worm weightless, a great technique right now.  Love watching that worm disappear.  So thanks for the report.  Folks you can contribute too, it helps us all be better fisherman.

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As I said last time he commented, Evan should write this stuff.

I woke up this morning and the sun came out. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect start to the day! If I heard a turkey gobble this morning I’d have to make sure I was not already in heaven.  Sunny and cool are the perfect mornings.  I bet this fish are ready too! Speaking of fish – I hope you tear them up today. I’m going to take my kids to our neighborhood park this week. Might have to throw a lure in the pond there and see if I can entice something to bite. All small bass but it’s still fun. Especially when my 3-yr old starts to dance when she sees daddy with that “really big fish”! Guess I got her trained already on the fish stories.

I’m having a hard time not thinking about my trip to POC in a few weeks. (A little less than 3 to be exact.) Since my buddy and I are doing the kayak thing – we are limited to where we can travel in a day. If you have any suggestions of places to try – I’d love the advice! Also if you’re in town let me know. There’s bound to be a decent place to eat that serves cold beer.

Take care sir. Thanks for writing!

Just let me know when you are coming, I hope to be fishing the salt quite a bit this month and can help out with that some.  And my arm can always be twisted for a cold one, simply for medicinal purposes.

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Joe feels the same way about the Coleto raise that I do.

WHOOOO HOOOOO Coleto Creek is full !!!!!! About time. Now we just need for the water to settle down and clear back up !!!!! A couple of weeks ago you posted some guy catching good size bass. What lake was he at? I would like to take my boys there to experience a better fishing day than crappy Canyon Lake and the lakes around San Antonio. Thanks. Joe

The guy with the nice bass was my brother, alias the Shoedog,  It was his first trip to Lake Bastrop and he was really happy with it.  Good cover, it is the kind of water we like to fish, and he did real well on a jerkbait.   I have not fished it yet but will at some point.  And as far as the water on Coleto I will be there in a day or two.  The order the next couple of days between Gulf and lake take is totally wind dependant, so stay tuned.

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You may or may not have seen this article online, but if you love big fish you need to check it out.  A monumental fight with a big swordfish, the bill on that thing is something to see.  They are known as one of the toughest fish in the ocean.

http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/excursions/post/teen-wins-epic-battle-with-580-pound-swordfish/

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And one last internet story, if you are not a Razorback you might not give a hoot, but I wanted to give a shout out to the Arkansas Razorback College Bass Fishing Team.  They won a big bass tourney with over a 100 other college teams.  Wish they had that when I was a college student.  Who woulda thunk it?

http://www.flwfishing.com/news/2015-03-23-what-went-down-at-kentucky-lake

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Those of us who fish the Gulf a lot get a little blasé about our fish.  We love a good fish fry, but we often forget what a joy is it to have really fresh fish.  Voe sent me this note, and looks like he got it right!

Just a shout out on how good the fish was for dinner.  Mary really enjoyed some fresh fish.

The red did not die in vein, marinated in a basil vinaigrette for a half hour then off to the pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper, can’t leave out old bay seasoning and 7 minutes later a slice of heaven.  Accompanied by fresh sauteed green beans with raisins, pine nuts, salt and pepper and what a healthy tasting meal. Yum Yum Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for having me along with your brother.

v

Wow!

Glad she liked it.  And it was our pleasure to fish with you.  You are a good fisherman and a gentleman and welcome anytime.

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It will sure be nice to have that new trolling motor on the front of the Carolina Skiff.  I hate to say it but that Motorguide that was on the front was a piece of junk.  It started falling apart in a little over a year and went downhill from there.  So this will be another product test.  Will the Minn Kota outlast the Motorguide?  The answer to that one is of course.  And I can tell you from having lots of trolling motors over the last 40 years, the Minn Kota is not near so rattling and clanking and seems not near as powerful.

I do have a question for anyone who knows.  I talked to a TPWD guy a year of so ago and he said they were thinking of doing some work to the ramp on Hwy 35 at Carancahua Bay to make it useable.  Does anyone know if that ramp is ok?  I have never seen a car there, so I figured it must be shallow or silted in.  So if you know drop me a line.

So out to the garage I go to finish work on the Skiff so I can hit the water tomorrow.  It seems like every few years I have to make it over, but hopefully it will be good for another 3 or 4 years.  I have had that thing since around 1999 and it has undergone several incarnations.  Maybe this work will last until the 20 year mark.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Wading POC 3/24/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The Shoedog came down for a day on the Gulf Monday.  He was wanting to do some wading and I was obviously all about it.  So I got ahold of Voe and he wanted to come, so as it cracked daylight we were zipping across the bay.  Compared to when we were out a few days ago, there was very little folks at the ramp.  In fact, I had the first parking spot.  That won’t happened to often from now until September.

Down the barge canal, out Army Cut, and across Espiritu Santo Bay over to the Pringle shoreline.  As we caught them there last time why look a gift horse in the mouth.  We started near Rahal Bayou, but there was a difference today, the wind was blowing from the north right on it.  The water temperature was down about 3 degrees, and unlike Thursday, it was slow, real slow.  We were throwing topwater and plastics, and neither Voe nor I had a bite.  We got back in the boat and went to pick up the Shoedog and he was waving his arms, our prearranged signal that he was catching them.  It was a good thing as he found some trout and they were eating.

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The Shoedog and his limit.

So Voe and I hopped back out and headed over to the drain and it was game on.  Shoedog caught his 3 biggest before we got to him on a bone color topwater.  As soon as we got close Voe had a nice red, which promptly got tangled in the net, ripped a hook out of his topwater, and was gone.  I threw topwater a little but wasn’t feeling it so out came the plastic.

Ever since reading that story by the husband and wife guide team about using light, and lighter, jig heads I have wanted to give it a go.  So with the fish in the middle of the drain I started tossing it and hopping it off the bottom.  It does take a little getting used to having it fall so slow on a 1/64oz jig head. Once I got the retrieve right, a super aggressive Texas Two Step hop and then letting it fall, I started catching fish.  When they hit they were thumping the snot out of it.

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 Mine weren’t quite as nice as Shoedog’s but I was happy to have them.

It did not take me all that long to string my limit, and I should have done it in half the time.  I really am going to keep working on fishing with the lighter jig head.  As long as the wind is not to bad I can see it being super effective.  More on that as the spring goes on.

After I limited, Shoedog went back at them in the same spot with his Tsunami plastic and filled his limit.  Voe caught a small one or two and lost a couple, but just did not get it down.  So with the tide full high and the wind blowing now out of the south we headed to grass island to fish the calm side.

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The boys.  Just wanted you to see how shallow they have been the last couple of trips.

When we got to Grass Island the boys went way shallow and I headed deeper.  I wanted to fish the Waxwing some and I had a nice trout follow it close and make a pass at it right off the bat, and then not another bite.  While I have a feeling the Waxwing is a better winter bait I intend to keep fishing it.  It is just another bait to add to the arsenal.  Shoedog was having lots of follows on topwater but only caught one Sheepshead.  Voe switched to the Redfish Magic and managed to boat a nice keeper red and a rat.

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Voe finally got in the act with our only keeper redfish.

The big difference today was the wind was cool out of the north and it slowed the shoreline bite early.  The fish moved into a deeper drain and were bunched in there pretty good.  You could see trout flash, sheepshead milling around, and the occasional red swim by.  They were in such a small confined space that it was catch a couple and then it would quit, and then they would bite again.  Of course the drain was full of bait. So like Thursday, as it is most days on the Gulf, find them and you can catch them.  Probably the only thing we could have done better was start on out of the wind on the opposite side of the bay.  But as in the last 2 trips drains and shallow water have been the key.  And for my buddy Chris, it was what we will forever call bikini drain.  But that is another story.

By time it was over we caught 20 plus fish and kept a couple of limits.  It is really coming home to me how many trout will be saved with the 5 fish limit.  All over our Gulf coast trout that would be taken every day are being released.  I can not wait the couple of years it is going to take to start seeing real results.  Who knows, maybe that 17″ you release today will become that 30″+ that makes your trophy trout of a lifetime.

I have some really great comments and some other stuff to post, but it is back to Austin today for my checkup and hopeful release.  Then it is new glasses and just maybe I can see again.  And the new trolling motor for the Skiff will be here today so I hope to get at that tonight.  I have already replaced the locator, taken the old trolling motor off, greased the hubs………. and today the Mako LTS goes in for the 100 hour check up and prep for the Everglades trip.  But I know one thing, no matter what it will be back to the Gulf in a day or two.  It is just to good right now.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Ramblings 3/22/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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Can’t wait to get back knee deep in the Gulf tossing that KVD Sexy Dawg Jr.

It was nice to get back on the Gulf fishing the other day and my hopes are high for the next trip.  It will be interesting to see if we landed on top of them or whether that pattern on the island shoreline is a consistent thing.  We will try a different place Monday, and definitely be there at the crack of daylight hopefully catching some fish.  Nothing like the anticipation, almost as good as the reality.

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The lovely little woman and I went to fish a fish fry with a bunch of great folks Saturday afternoon.  I cooked that nice mess of fish I caught the other day, along with a few more others brought.  A good time was had by all and every last piece of fish disappeared.

On the way we crossed the Coleto Creek Bridge and the creek was flowing like a class 5 rapid.  Obviously they have opened the gates to let the water out.  It was flowing like that when I left there the other day.  It is a good thing they started letting water out as it had come up so much it was almost completely over the dock fingers at the ramp.  When we pulled out it was still coming up.  So here is a picture of the ramp Saturday afternoon.

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It was not that long ago the piers were not even in the water.

We did not get as much rain as they thought, but we did get a couple of more inches.  The bays have needed a good flushing for several years now and it can only be a good thing for everyone here in South Texas.  It will be interesting to see how quickly Coleto clears.   I know I am really looking forward to my next trip there, tons of cover and if a guy can figure out how the fish relate to it the fishing will be great.

As we entered the park there was a string of bass boats leaving together, which I figured was a bass club tourney.  So if that was you, or you fished Coleto the last 3 days, give me a shout, I am really interested in the water color and whether the fishing was any good.  I won’t tell your secrets.

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There is a bill working its way through the process to ensure hunting and fishing access to public lands.  It will keep government from restricting our access to hunt and fish.  Of course the BLM and U.S Forest Service are whining that they may have to do some additional work.  Funny how government employees bitch about doing the work of the people that we pay them to do.

A secondary result may also be slowing the declining number of hunters.  One of the major reasons there is a decline, especially in hunting, is the inability of most folks to access lands to hunt.  It has gotten to the point where hunting is about money, and nothing more.  Consequently those of us who do not know someone, or have money for a lease, are increasingly being locked out.  This bill is important to ensure our rights and keep the lunatic anti-hunting and fishing wackos from keeping us from using our land.  If it was not for the money generated from hunting and fishing licenses much of the opportunity we have would not exist.  We have bought and paid for our fish and game and these Johnny-Come-Lately folks who have never contributed one dime have not earned their place at the table.  If you want to read more here is a link to an article which says it much better than I ever could.

http://pjmedia.com/blog/federal-agencies-fear-bill-giving-greater-access-to-hunters-fishermen-will-spur-lawsuits/

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The ordinance was adapted that closes the Victoria Barge Canal to boating from the Victoria/Calhoun county line all the way to the port.  I have never been anywhere near that far up, but be aware if you go there.  The fine if you are caught is $250.

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 A lot of the bass fishing shows on TV crack me up.  Have you noticed that many of them are fishing for smallmouth, often on the Great Lakes.  Of course they do, if you can get on that water you can catch fish by simply tossing and making sure your bait lands on the water.  It is fun to watch them but it gets a little redundant.  Same with the shows from private waters where anyone can catch them.  Maybe that is why I like The Hunt For Big Fish with Larry Dahlberg.  One of the greatest all around anglers ever, he goes to cool places and catches big fish.  He not only makes his own rods and lures, he is a real student and teacher of the sport.  There are lots of fishing shows with fishermen that are basically one trick ponies, but Larry is not one of them.

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Evan is a regular contributor and this one is his all time high.

Its like watching a basketball game.  Layups, shots from the paint, missed baskets, rebounds and turnovers….. and then BAM! – a windmill slam dunk, fans on their feet screaming and cheering and we’re back in the game!!

This post was definitely a slam dunk!  Great day of fishing.  Fires me up!  I’m ready for the POC.

Enjoy the rain.  We still need it.

First, you should be writing this stuff.  So we will all be expecting a spectacular article on your next trip this way.  The Gulf fishing is on and will only get better.  It was a great day, and Monday morning I will be knee deep in the Gulf doing it again.

And speaking of basketball my Razorbacks won their first round NCAA game but lost in a good one to North Carolina, no shame in that.  The lady Razorbacks surprisingly won their first round game and play mighty Baylor today.  The NCAA tourney is always a great event and it is nice to see the Hogs back in the game after a few down years.

As far as rain, it is coming down as I write this.  Not sure how much it rained Friday night but it has been light to steady so far today.  And you are right about needing it.  We actually did a little beach drive yesterday on the Padre Island National Seashore and on the way there everything was full.  It will be real interesting top see the final totals when it quits raining tomorrow.

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The new trolling motor for the skiff will be here Tuesday, and along with the locator that my buddy Bobby was kind enough to give me, the skiff will be getting some badly needed upgrades.  With the Mako LTS headed to the shop for both the 100 hour service and the prep for the Everglades trip, it will be out of service for a week or two so if I want to keep on the water I need to get that job done.  It is amazing how fishing 150+ days a year seems to require that much messing around with boats and tackle.  I know one thing, it sure does mess with the old bank account.  It is kind of a variation of the saying: I spent my money on boats and tackle, then wasted the rest.

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I will be gone before daylight in the morning and wading some shoreline somewhere.  The wind is supposed to be out of the NE at 6 – 10 so I think I will get out the map and look things over.  You can pay thousands of dollars for that fancy GPS but nothing beats map study.  A little prep before even a quick trip to your favorite area can make all the difference.  I can’t wait to see that Sexy Dawg Jr. disappear in a huge bail as it is walking across calm water at sun rise.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 3/19/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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Strike King baits do it again!

Like I said yesterday, “we be fishin’ now.”  And as the tag line below the Strike King logo said, “May give the old KVD topwater a workout tomorrow. “  Well both are true, we had at it today, and the KVD Sexy Dawg Jr. was the ticket.

With the good forecast, clouds, light wind and mist, we decided to put in at Froggie’s and head over to the Pringle shoreline.  It was a smooth ride over and we eased down the bank finally stopped in front of a couple of drains and pockets near Rahal Bayou.  Chris jumped out and headed to deeper water, I stayed in and made the first good decision of several today.  With the low light and calm water I went to the bank.  On my second cast I had a red all over it as he made the big wake behind it.  The problem was he did not hit it.  Then came decision 2 and 3 that turned out to be good ones.

First the KVD topwater I was throwing was a Sexy Shad, so I switched to a bone (665) color.  Then next I decided to slow it down just a hair.  The next redfish that came for it did not waffle, did not track it, he simply blasted it.  So the first 27″ on the stringer.  Then another one the same size knocked the crap out of it and on the stringer he went.  We may be headed to a fish fry this weekend so I was keeping fish, so things were looking up.

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A limit of reds and 3 trout, one 20″ and couple more.  They were smoking that topwater.

It stayed cloudy with a light wind all the way to low tide at 1:30.  It was not fast for me by any means, but it was one of those days that when they hit it, they stuck.  So after a while I saw Chris heading to the boat so I went that way.  He had one keeper trout and caught another couple that were short.  He did not catch them until he finally headed shallow also.  He also threw the Fat Boy some and plastics, but apparently it was topwater they wanted.

I want to take a minute to tell you why I like the KVD Sexy Dawg and Sexy Dawg Jr. so much.  Having used walk the dog baits like the old Zara Spook for the last 40 years this is by far the easiest bait to walk the dog with.  And the little flat area under the chin lets it spit a little with each jerk.  So if you are one of those folks who have had a little trouble learning to walk the dog give one a try.  But the test is not how much I like it but how the fish like it.  They flat work. 

So we moved down the bank some and started again.  He went to the bank and I stayed out in 2 foot of water quite a ways off the bank.  First thing this morning I was barely knee deep, and of course I immediately caught another couple of trout farther out and had both my limits.  Chris did not have a touch until he got over to where I caught the last couple trout and then he caught a couple more keepers and had a miss or two.

For our finish bank we decided to head back across the bay and fish the windy side.  That is something we have to work on.  We hit that area of grass and pockets past Army Cut towards POC on Blackberry Island.  Since I was limited it was time to throw the Waxwing.  At $15 it better catch fish.  Well it almost did.  I no more than jumped out of the boat and caught one that measured on about my third cast.  That turned out to be the last bite we had before we called it a day.

I will be throwing that Waxwing more in the future, it looks awesome as it runs back and forth and then veers.  I have them in both the suspending and sinking.  The sinking threw well, especially in to the wind, and sinks plenty slow to keep off the bottom.  As you just cast it out and reel it should have a place when you are tired of jerking and hopping and just want to reel it along nice and steady.  We will just have to see how that comes out.

We did have 3 groups basically run over us, around us, and even through us.  I love POC since the first time I fished it 11 years ago, but folks sure can be stupid.  What was awesome every time is there was absolutely no reason for it.  But grin and bear it and go on.

For the day we kept 8 trout and 3 reds, most of them pretty nice fish.  It has been a while since I had a good topwater bite, and today was one.  And color sure did make a difference.  I did throw plastic a little, but if there is a chance they will eat topwater I will not quit throwing it until they do.  The best depth early was where you could just about reach the bank with a long cast, and that is where most of the fish came.  The reds were scattered down the shoreline and it seemed best on a hard bottom.  And if you caught a trout there was usually another couple close to be had.

So what will be next?  It remains to be seen.  There is a possibility we might get up to 5″ additional of rainfall starting today.  Everything here is saturated, the ponds and creeks are full, and if we get that 5″ it could present a problem.  I will definitely take a run by the ramp at the lake and update you on that.  And the morning’s wade got my Gulf juices flowing.  As Voe has not had that pleasure of a little Gulf wading yet think I will see if he wants to take a run at it.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 3/18/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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May give the old KVD topwater a workout tomorrow.

We are fishin’ now.  I picked up Voe at this house and off to Coleto we went.  It poured almost all night so we didn’t leave until around 8.  All the creeks, ditches, and rivers were flowing hard with the heavy rain.  When we got to the lake it had just stopped and did not rain the rest of the day.  Before I get to the fishing here is some really important issues I need to cover at the same time before I forget.

When we backed in it was readily apparent the lake came up big time since Monday.  We met a guy at the ramp who said it came up a foot since he fished the day before.  It is just about over the piers at the ramp.  We are talking way high and rising as the water poured in the pockets and creeks.  If you are going to fish when you round the big bend in the left hand arm a huge mud/trash flow is coming down from the rain a couple of days ago.  When you head up the other arm the mud/trash flow starts right above the bridge.  We went a little past each point, but there was no sign of clearing.

In fact it appeared to be moving down lake fast, and on the way home we found out why.  Now I am not sure whether they were letting water out, or it was going over the spillway, but when we crossed the creek on 59 headed home it was a raging torrent, flooding big time.  So my observation on the water flowing out is no wonder the fish are kind of messed up right now.  Charging up, charging down, muddy, trash everywhere, tons of bank and brush being flooded rapidly during part of the spawn, it is crazy.  So with the new water pouring in there is probably another mud inundation coming down both arms, and it is supposed to rain big time from Friday night until Sunday sometime.  Before it is over the lake should be chocolate from one end to the other.  Stay tuned, it could get ugly before it gets better.

So what does that mean for the fishing?  It is still spotty.  Where I caught them the other day I could not get a bite.  Voe tried lots of different baits and I stayed just with the Swim Jig and I caught 8 or so more than he did.  Until close to done and he caught a couple on a blade jig, we caught only on the Swim Jig.

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A hair over 5 this is the best bass Voe has caught in a while.

We just could not find a consistent pattern.  We caught this one on the main lake, we caught a couple in the back end of pockets, some in off colored water (though that was not the best) and some in clear water.  In only a place or two did we get more than one bite.  And again like it has been, it is just inconsistent.

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Voe added this one to the live well.

As we headed out of one cove Voe broke one off and not a minute later I broke one off.  That is the third one I have broke in 3 trips, such a rookie mistake.  There is a fine line with the drag as some of them hit it right close to the boat with little line out.  I wish I could be a little more specific, but it is just different right now.  It is going to take some time to straighten out, but there are a couple of things to take away from today.

The bite gets better as the day goes on, only half of the lake is not muddy, there is tons of new cover, and our best bites were in the clearer water.  I really think it is about to be flippin’/pitchin’ fishin’.   It may be a matter of slowing down and working the back ends of these places when the water stabilizes and clears some.

I did have a specific order for some fresh fish from both the Captain of Team Nancy and my buddy Jeffish.  So I kept my limit today for the fry pan.  Voe added one and I turned 6 into fish fingers.  And I can tell you the first couple tasted great tonight!

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I call these food!

Before some of you bass addicts go insane at the sight of a couple of fish headed to the fry pan, these are the first bass I have taken from the lake in a couple of years.  And the bigger point, it is legal and we have plenty of fish.  So all the folks who will eat on them the next couple of days will be smacking their lips and happy to have them.

So that was it for today, not bad, not great.  I probably broke off the only big one I had today, and I did miss another 4 or 5 I should have caught, but that is fishing..

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I did hear from my number 1 reader Faye.(Hence her comment.)  She and her husband Steve made it to POC and though they struggled some they did put some fish in the boat.

Good morning,

Sorry for my radio silence. 

First I thank you for my award. I found you by accident and think it was not to long after you started the blog. I look forward to my email updates each time you post. 

We finally got down to POC last week. It was cold and rainy Thursday and a bit slow. I did lose a nice trout at the boat in Big Bayou on Thursday.  I told Steve “no net –  I’ll just pull it over the side.” Big Dummy – haha. Our one and only good one of the day. 

Friday was a beautiful day and we headed out about 8:30. It was very crowded and we were “the bigger person” regarding a Big Jerk that zoomed past and blew the bank on us as we’re trolling motoring a bank in Big Bayou. We hit all our usual spots except we didn’t head over to the back of the island due to wind. Not much was happening. It was about 3 and Steve says, “let’s pitch soft plastics around the docks & cement along the ICW on our way back to the room.”  Good decision!!! We boated 2 and lost several that wrapped around dock piers in less than an hour. Here’s one of Steve’s.  They were nice sized trout. 

Well….. debating heading back down this week for a couple more days before spring/summer work projects set in. 

As always, we look forward to your posts

!!!  Thanks, Steve and Faye

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Steve with a Keeper.

It is always good to hear from you and I hope you get to slip away for a day or two before you guys are jammed up at your business.  I really appreciate you and Steve’s support from the beginning.  Keep in touch.

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And I want to send a shout out to my father-in-law Jack Mellinger.  I think he is being held against his will in the hospital up in Iowa.  I sympathize with you but just grin and bear it.  (So to speak.)  You will be back on your feet soon so just do what they say.  And a real big thanks for the filet knife that came today.  That thing is just as sharp as I figured it would be.  It really is a nice piece of work.  Thanks.

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As far as the we are fishin’ now comment, tomorrow it is off to the Gulf for some wading with my buddy Chris.  Warm temperatures and light winds should make for a good day.  I really have not decided where we are going yet, but we can figure that out in the morning.  For now I am tired and ready to hit the sack.  It feels good to be back in business.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Bastrop 3/17/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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If it is spring and it’s the Shoedog it is jerkbait time.  And the KVD is one of the best!

Shoedog and Lake Bastrop

“I have wanted to hit Lake Bastrop for quite some time. I stopped by there one fall day several years ago after picking someone up from Austin Bergstrom Airport. The bass were schooling all over the lake that afternoon and we just watched from the shore for a while- of course I had no poles in the car that day! 

I got on the water about one- weather was almost ideal for bassing. Overcast and light winds. I put in at the south shore park ramp. it was busy but not to busy. A lot of families spring break time. A lot of kayaks. 

I had looked briefly at the aerial map and had decided to try and fish it like I would at Fayette Co. or Coleto Creek- similar sized power plant lakes. I basically just put the trolling motor down and started off down the bank to the right from the ramp.

I started with one of my standbys a jerk bait. Today it was the smaller 2 hook Strike King KVD in a blue/chrome with a gold or yellow streak down the side. I went about half way down that creek arm before I had a strike and then I caught 3 nice bass in a row. I was staying out in about 10 feet casting up into 3 to 5 feet. Tough to fish a jerk bait any shallower there with all the reeds.

Here is a pic of the best of the first 3. 

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 I fished the opposite side of the cove- it was the shallow side- I caught one more bass there and went back to re-fish the deeper channel side. I had no strikes, but I was able to get further back into the end as most of the other boats were leaving. When I got back to the narrowest part of the channel in the last of the deep water I got the big bite of the day. She smacked the bait and began to wallow and shake- it was great. A very healthy 21 inch fattie. It is great that spring is finally here. Solid fish like this should be pretty regular for a while- I love it. 

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I then headed out toward the main lake area just trying to find banks with 10-12 feet and water open enough to throw my jerk bait. I lost another nice one that I thought was grass and never got a hook set and it threw the bait. 

I tried to throw a spinner bait on a windy point, but had no luck. I tried a square bill but had no strikes. Back to the jerk bait and I caught 3 more. By that time it was getting pretty overcast and spitting a bit. 

I was at a little pocket about mid lake and I caught a nice one on jerk bait.There were a couple lay down oak trees and it looked like there should be some bass. I tried the spinner bait again and on the first cast a nice 19 incher did what you love them to do- stopped it in it’s tracks!  A great bite and another nice healthy fish. 

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By now it was a steady rain/mist and I- as usual- left my rain suit hanging on the door at home. I called it a day. Not a bad trip for my first Bastrop excursion. 7 nice bass- a 5 plus and another about 3 1/2. In only about four and a half hours. Next trip I will start in a different area and try to locate a few more spots. Great to be on the water in the springtime!” 

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Thanks for the report Shoedog.  It is only a month away from our trip to the Everglades and the Boca Grande area of Florida.  I don’t know about you but I am getting excited.  So as the rain comes down I am headed out to pick up Voe and see if the heavy part will get past us and we can get a little fishing in today.  With it as heavy as it is we will be going to Coleto.  So whether we get some serious fishing in today remains to be seen.  I have a couple of other things I will get to in my next report, so keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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