Boat Gremlins 9/26/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Ok weatherman.  For the last 3 days we have had a rainy forecast, but we maybe got a 1/4 inch here at the house.  As I look at the radar storms have been streaming past Victoria and just missing us.  As I prepare this the night before I have decided to take a chance and hit the lake and see if I can get in some fishing even if it rains.  We shall see how it shakes out in the morning.

Weather

84/69  Cloudy with 50% chance rain/thunderstorms  Wind NNE 10 – 15 mph

Tides

High 7:05 am  1.3    Low 9:25 pm

Solunar Times

  • Best  Times    7:48A – 9:48A  (They were biting.)
  •                          8:13P – 10:13P
  • Good TIme    1:35A – 3:35A

I did the official weatherman thing after checking the radar this morning by sticking my head outside.  It was cloudy and warm and there was no thunder off in the distance so it was off to the lake.  Even if it rained it shouldn’t hurt anything, in fact it will help.

The water temp was still 90 degrees near the ramp, and 86 up lake.  The water is still slowly on the decline, it looked to be down over 6″ from last trip.  It is clear at the lower end and milky up lake.

I was hoping the conditions, real cloudy, light winds, and clear water, might get the fish down lake biting.  After fishing several places with topwater, buzzbait, and plastics without a bite it was time to head way up lake.  First stop was the same bank that has been holding them for at least the last month.  I started pitching the watermelon/red stick bait and caught a small one on my first cast.  Then a keeper jumped on.

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The ones that bit ate it.

For the next hour or so they bit right along.  As they have been they were tight to cover, you had to pitch right to it.  Today they were ticking it pretty good, so if you felt anything set the hook.  And a couple of them were really in woody stuff and it took a pretty good tussle to get them out.  But usually if you just let them pull to be sure they are on, then slack and let them work out, they will end up in the boat  Both of them did.

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A nice chunk.

Mixing in buzzbait and swim jig, only the swim jig produced a bite.  And that one swam right at me and by time my pea brain registered it was off.  Other than that, the bite was steady for about an hour or so pitching the stick bait when disaster struck.  The trolling motor decided that I must have some spare money this month because it shot craps.

It is 7 years old and has done yeoman duty.  That thing has towed that boat thousands of miles from the Everglades to Falcon.  Lately it had been turning on when driving to the lake or back.  The handle was getting all kids of sloppy, so who knows.  There was power to the head, and I could hear it clicking when I turned the handle, so it may just be a switch or one of those other electrical gadgets.  So it is already at the trolling motor Doctor.   Hopefully it won’t need a brain transplant.  We shall see.

So I am actually pretty disappointed the trolling motor quit.  But it was not because some mechanical thing broke, it was because conditions were perfect and the fish were biting like crazy.  I put 6 or 7 in the boat pretty quickly after going up lake.  It is about 5pm as I finish this and it is still perfect for bass fishing.  The weather shows a line of heavy thunderstorms headed this way, and they would have bit like crazy as the front arrived.  It would have been a real killing today and I was prepared to keep after it.  Dang it!

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So there you have it.  B.O.A.T., but hopefully it was just be breaking out a few bucks to get the trolling motor fixed.  And here we are again, liking the 2 boat thing.  Since it is off the Mako that will not prevent using it for wading, and the skiff has a trolling motor if I head to the lake.  I think this is an omen, talk about selling one and this happens.  Oh well, at least I am not out of commission.

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 After our minnow fiasco the other day I got this question from Jim.

As usual Doug THANKS for all the reports. I need the phone number to the store where you purchase your minnows. I know the store I scouted the entire park out in preparation for fishing for Bass and Crappie this fall. I would hate to get there at dark 30 and enjoy the outcome you experienced.

Much Appreciated

We get them at the Damn Store but there is another place in town.  We went there saturday and they were not there but did answer the phone number on the sign.  Looks like you can easily check the night before and make sure of time and whether they have the stuff you need.  Marsha’s Bait Shop is a couple of blocks off business 59 as you head out of town towards Coleto. 361-212-5516.  I would definitely contact her, it is only a couple blocks off 59, but a little tough to find.  The adddress is on her facebook page.  Good to hear from you, I will hold on to your comment, just might stop and check on my way through Seadrift.  Thanks.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marshas-Bait-Shop/408259172614037

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On a personal note I want to send along my best wishes to my mother-in-law.  Joy is recovering from hip surgery number 2 in a month.  Hope you are feeling better and get on your feet soon.  And my brother Kelly is finally getting over his broken leg and is back in action.  Ever notice how stuff comes in bunches?  Hopefully that is it for a while on the family medical front.

That is it for today.  I am going to take a couple of days off, then to the Gulf I go.  The weather is finally going to straighten out and I am itching for some topwater action.  And if any of you have any questions, reports, or comments, send them along.  I always like to hear from you no matter what you have to say.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Sunday Ramblings 9/25/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Sunday morning, though I have not been fishing since Friday there are several things I wanted to share with you.  All I have to say is the fishing is improving daily and it is going to be a great fall.  So lets get to it.

Big Black Drum

Besides being irritated that we could not get minnnows yesterday, I got even more irritated when it did not rain at the house the rest of the day.  Then when I get up this morning all that rain that was absolutely going to drown us has not materialized.  Heck I would have taken Jeffish and Korbin today.  Dang weatherman, it is all his fault.  Then I got the following from Jeffish, it looks like things worked out just fine.

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What a fish.  A mug only a mother could love!

After our failed crappie trip and chance of rain Korbin was not having it so we headed to Indianola Fishing Marina. Within seconds of arriving Korbin is catching live bait on his perch pole and into the bait bucket. We caught everything from little snappers to dogfish and couldn’t keep bait in the water as the tide began moving out. Then after a pause we caught several sand trout. Found out from a marina employee they would cook what you caught for 5 bucks so fresh caught trout filets with side of fries and hush puppies for supper. Yum! Says Korbin. After some rockin live music by 1 Nation I was asked to jump start a crabber’ s truck and for payment half a dozen live crab. Lights on the peir and here come the black drum. Guy next to me broke one off before he caught a nice one. I broke off two using my superior Wal-Mart pole rigged up with crab before I landed this beast. Nice fight and nice crowd cheering us on at the Marina. Korbin is satisfied but is ready to go fish somewhere again this morning.  And here is a blacktip a guy next to us caught.
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Korbin doing what all fishing kids will do, playing with the shark.
 
Sweet.  Fries and hush puppies with fresh filets.  Then a epic battle with a giant drum on sturdy Wal-Mart gear in front of the cheering crowd.  What could be better than that!  And the rest of you, if you want to catch a true trophy drum, from now until Christmas the pier at Indianola Marine is the place to be.  There have been tons of monsters like the one above taken there, and Jeff’s post tells you all you need to know.  Dark, crab, and heavy tackle is the size of it.  Thanks for the report and the picture of that ridiculous fish.
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I had not heard from Rusty, our Bastrop/Fayette expert, in a while.  I should have known after the whippin’ the Aggies put on my Hogs he would have something to say.

Gig’em Aggies Whoop!!!! Having pork chops tonight in honor of our victory. Arkansas QB is the real deal, NFL stuff. Fayette and Bastrop has been tough fishing. Hope the cooler weather coming changes that
Tight lines
Rusty

First to the game.  For a while I wasn’t sure who was interested in winning.  Both teams coughed it up, but when it came down to brass tacks the Aggies defense in the red zone was strong and may help carry them the rest of the year.  We were down there on the 2 several times, you gave us plenty of chances, but we could not punch it across.  And that was the end of that.  And you are so right about Allen, he is accurate and rarely does something stupid.  But now that we have played the Aggies I can get on board – Beat Bama!

Sorry to hear it is tough on both lakes, but it does not surprise me as Coleto has been spotty also.  I will be heading that way sometime in the near future.  Just waiting on those cool nights to get them active.  So here is hoping the fishing improves.  As usual good to hear from you.

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This summer was so hot it was hard to get motivated with the fishing and the blog.  I think some of that is the knowledge that I can fish whenever I want, for whatever I want, wherever I want.  It makes it so easy to go tomorrow, or write about that another day.  It can be hard to keep motivated with the time and expense needed to keep plugging this thing along.  Then I get the occasional comment like this one from The Mowdy.

I love reading your stuff. Look forward to it every day!

Thanks, and I really do mean it.  I try to make the blog interesting and entertaining, fishing reports aside.   And you can tell from the last couple of weeks that I am excited about the fishing and consequently writing a lot more.  I really appreciate you guys who have stuck with me along this journey.  It is over 5 years now, and there has been over a half a million visits to my site.  But it is still the core of you that have supported me from the beginning.  So my thanks is the best I can do for your loyalty.

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And speaking of keeping motivated it is so cool to be working with Coastal Fishing Gear.  Here is a response from Ken to my Facebook post on the Wade Right.

Nice! I’ve sure enjoyed my set of gear. 😎

That is the very thing I am talking about.  Telling you all about something that works and then getting feedback from you.  In the next week or so I will do a post about their cool new tackle boxes.  The big one is freakin’ awesome and I am playing with it like a little kid at Christmas.  Initially fishing reports were the primary reason I started this, but it has morphed into a general fishing blog.  So having them on board is a great motivator that keeps me writing.  Plus, wading time is here, big fish time is here, and their products will get a work out during this great time to be in the water.  I look forward to posting reviews on their great stuff.

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Ro, one of the Austin Boys, is catching some good fish on Lake Travis.  While I rarely hear anyone extolling the virtues of fishing Travis, Ro has sure changed my perspective on the lake.  Ro is an all around fisherman, a known striper killer, bass fisherman, and the wading beastmaster.  His wading prowess is legendary and the stories are something.  And on a personal note he can fix an eye good as new, and I can not thank him enough.  So when I saw these picture I wanted to share them with you.

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Ro’s son Michael with a nice Guadalupe bass.

Ro filled me in on this fish when I commented how it looks like a Kentucky and whether this was “a good one”.

Similar to kentucky spotted but the horizontal lines on the belly define it as guadalupe. This 17 incher was about two pounds. A three pounder is a “trophy” guad, whatever that may mean! Sorta like a “trophy” bluegill!

Made me laugh with that comment!  The term trophy really is relative as far as fish, and fishermen, go.  One man’s trophy is another man’s bait.  Thanks for the information, that was definitely a little one we caught with the grandkids on Travis over the holiday.  One thing Ro is known for is his striper fishing abilities.

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Ro with a good one.

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The proof is in the pudding as they say.

Thanks, your pictures bring back old memories.  We fished stripers hard at night, especially early spring and late fall on topwater.  Many a night we stayed out till all hours, and when it happened it was usually something spectacular.  Half asleep, then Kaboom!, one would eat that spook 5 feet from the end of your rod tip.  And the stringer picture reminds me why they were such an easy fish to guide for, if there is such a thing.  Get your customers the string above, or maybe have one break 20lbs, and the day was a success.  It was nice because the stripers they caught were often the biggest fish my customer ever landed.  And last, I am definitely going to be on Travis late winter/early spring and get me some of that.  Of course the Boss is all over that, rent a house on the lake with a boat dock and I am fishing, and she is shopping Austin.  Everybody wins.  Hope to see you down at POC this winter.

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One of these days I will get some of the old striper pictures out and scan them in the computer and share them with you.  The mid 70’s into the 80’s were the golden age of striper fishing on Lake Norfork.  Whether trolling, live baiting, topwater fishing, or winter vertical jigging we absolutely killed them.  It was easy to catch a 50lb stringer with the occasional 100lb+ in the mix.  Fish 10 – 20lbs were common, and everybody was catching them.  Those were the days.

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Ok weather guy, this is your last chance.  Looking at tomorrow we have a 60% chance of rain.  Yesterday we had an 80% of rain, so I slept in and there has not been a drop here at the house.  And then I look first thing this morning and the forecast has morphed into only a 20% chance, what happened?  So I guess I will get my lazy butt up and do the best review of the weather possible – Stick my head out the door and see what is up.  No Rain? Go Fishing.  That will be as accurate as the forecasts have been the last week.  But they sure did not have any trouble correctly forecasting the heat.  So what will the day hold?  Only tomorrow will tell.  Hope you all had a good weekend.  Keep those comments and reports coming.  And keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Port O’Connor Texas 9/24/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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POC  –  I Hope!

I am getting the weather and other pertinent information tonight in preparation for meeting Ken and his wife Cindy at POC in the morning.  They are down to participate in the annual Beach Cleanup, which they have done for years.  As a side note they have done plenty of camping on Sunday Beach.  Tomorrow might be touch and go whether it is storming or raining to much, we will just have to see in the morning.  Ken is one of the loose confederation of fish catching, adult beverage drinking, good food eating boys I call the Austin Boys.  I have fished with him on the Lavaca River, in fact we got hit by a big norther that day, and I am looking forward to meeting his wife .  Hopefully it won’t be a nice drive to POC, and then back home.  But I sure like the looks of the tides and solunar times.  My prediction – Clouds with light winds and the fish will bite, maybe.

Weather

91/75  Scattered showers and thunderstorms  60% chance of rain  Wind SE 10 – 15  (It blew 15 in the afternoon and we got sprinkled on a minute.)

Tide

High   6:01 AM     1.3
Low   6:04 PM     0.4

Solunar Times

  • Best Times     5:16A – 7:16A
  •                          5:45P – 7:45P
  • Good Time     11:07A – 1:07P

That Ken is a real Boy Scout!

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One beautiful morning!

Well my prediction when preparing the days conditions the night before ended up being right  on.  I met Ken and Cindy at their rental around 6 and we loaded up and headed to Fisherman’s Center to put in.  It was partly cloudy and almost calm when we set up on a drain on the Pringle Shoreline.  The water temp was 86 and the tide was way up and the water color was almost clear.  Ken and I were going to wade so we anchored Cindy in the mouth of the drain so she could throw shrimp from the boat.

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Nothing like catching one on the Chug Bug 10 feet from the boat.

I hopped out and started with the Chug Bug topwater.  As you know from a couple of posts I have just started throwing that topwater here in Texas.  The first trout of the morning just blasted that thing.  There was plenty of bait, but the water was still barely coming in.  Though we were getting a few bites it was not fast, but we were getting the bites.  Here it is, the shameless plug for the Wade Right.  It was another day where having 2 different rods with plastic and topwater made the difference in my results.

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Watermelon Down South on a 1/32 jig head.

One thing that I have noticed the last 3 times fishing the Chug Bug is how many follows it gets.  It definitely gets the reds to follow, often boiling that thing close to me. That water throwing chugging action seems to draw them from a long way, but getting them to eat is another story.  At least for the number of follows the takers have been fairly few.  It may simply be a color thing, we shall see.

Funny how differently the trout want it from the usual way I use a walking the dog bait.  I mean I am using it really fast, throwing water everywhere in a chug/chug/chug pattern, then slowing it down, or stopping it, to make them bite.  I did change to a Skitter Walk for a little bit, only catching one small trout.  The Chug Bug clearly got more strikes.  But there is still some work to be done learning how to make them eat it.  It will be a tough job but somebody has to do it, and I am the man for the job.

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Aonther on the Chug Bug, he was one of the probably 4 keepers out of the 13 caught this morning.

Again the Wade Right proved it’s worth.  I took off and waded the flat, fishing pot holes and mullet schools.  I fished the shallow flooded grass out to about 4 feet of water over pot holes in the grass.  I think it was about 5 on topwater before they really started to follow or boil it without eating.  It was great to reach back and grab my spinning rod and throw the Down South watermelon red on the 1/32 without going to the boat.  They bit right along, and if I had to guess it was somewhere in the 8 or 10 range on plastics.

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Cindy with a Black Drum headed for the fry pan. (Robbed this from Ken’s Facebook page.)

Ken meanwhile caught a couple of keepers and a small one or two, and Cindy was catching fish right along.  She boxed a drum and maybe a keeper trout, and then a few other rat reds and small trout.  As a group we caught 25 or more anyway, so while not gang busters on the big fish, we caught fish fairly steadily.  Not sure what time it was but Ken said lets head down the shoreline, eat something, and check an area with a drain where they caught a few earlier in the week.  When we got to the drain and anchored the tide was finally starting to move, but the water coming out was definitely to off color for out tastes.

So after eating some lunch, and making a couple of casts without success, it was time for a move.  We decided to fish our way back, with the planned first stop being in the Big Pocket area.  Ken puts the boat on plane and after maybe 1/4 mile we hear the prop bog down.  Both of us knew immediately either we were running in mud, not, or we spun the hub.  Congratulations, you have selected door number 2.

Now we are still on the Pringle shoreline and it is a no-go.  First, I want to say how nice it was to be with 2 folks who took it in stride.  I am thinking oh crap, and their response is no problem.  Second, you know how often I comment on being organized and having stuff, well Ken is definitely more anal than I am.  In the box is the composite prop, the wrench, and the wood block to put between the prop and fin so you can take it off.  No problem.  Organized, the whole process took a second.  So off we go, right?  Well not so fast, it ended up being exactly that, not so fast.

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         The proper tool for the job, on with the spare and off we go.

Hard to guess whether the prop was the wrong pitch, or the composite flexed a bunch, it really did not matter either way.  We could just not quite get on plane.  As you can see we are all in the front hoping, and the boat is driving itself.  Funny.

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Hauling Butt Now at a mighty 5+mph.  But who was driving the boat?

So we putted along at the steady speed of 5 mph back the Fishing Center ramp, and that was the end of the day.  But we had a big time idling back and shooting the breeze.  Though  it took a while to get back, we got back.  When it comes down to it, he had the goods.  We made it back without calling Sea Tow, or hitching a ride, and it was no big deal and could have been a considerably bigger hassle.  So nice job Ken, you were prepared!

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Then Not Prepared

Early this morning I was working on this post when Jeffish called and said lets take his son Korbin crappie fishing.  We have a big front headed this way, it is supposed to be here around 2, so cool, we can safely get in 4 hours.  So I headed to his house, picked them up and off we went.  First a gas stop and then the Damn Store at Coleto.  And that is where it started, and ended.

There was a sign on the door, On Vacation until Tuesday, and No Minnows.  Dang it.  So we head back to town to a little bait store called Marsha’s, nobody there.  Jeffish called her and there was a minnow problem, and would be none till next month.  Great.  So lesson learned.  First we should have called ahead.  Second, I threw all the other rods, reels, and fishing stuff in the garage so it would not be in the way with 3 of us.  So here we are, no other equipment.

We were hardly prepared this morning.  You can always get minnows, can’t you?  And of course you won’t need the bass stuff at Coleto either.  So with those lessons learned, call on the bait the day before, and take it all, we called boat fishing off.  Both of us had tunnel vision, so here we were 1 1/2 hours later, nowhere near the water.  So with weather on the way, it is thundering as I write this, they decided to go fish off the Indianola fishing pier.  A good place if it is raining, and the tide will be right later in the morning.  So one day prepared and the next day not.  Just goes to show ya’.

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I hadn’t heard from Jay in a while, and he commented on my whining about having to sit around waiting for that dang dryer.

Doug,
You could have just hauled the dryer home in one of your boats.
Then you could be fishing instead of waiting for it
Or still trying to figure out how to get it out of the boat.
LOL!
Jay

I can honestly say there just might have been a time I would have gone ahead and tied it to the top of the bosses’ Lexus, no big deal right?  All you have to do is untie it and push it off.  And then I would have taken the old one out in the yard, maybe next to the junk car sitting up on blocks, the one close to the upside jon boat with the coon dog sleeping on it.  I am from Arkansas you know!  Good to hear from you.

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I will be spending the day watching a little football, all in anticipation of the Razorbacks doing battle with the mighty Aggies.  If both play like they have in their prior good games it should be a dandy.  But if either falls down on the job it will be a long evening.  But for either, 4 – 0 is a great place to be.  But no matter what it still all goes through Alabama.

I really enjoyed fishing with Ken and Cindy.  To bad we couldn’t have hit a couple of more spots when the tide was right.  But no complaint, it could have been a real hassle.  And speaking of the Austin Boys I have a question.  Is the annual December extravaganza still on for the first weekend?  I want to be sure to block out the date on the calendar before the Boss fills it in with something manly like a visit to a Bed & Breakfast and dinner at a  Tea House.

Monday looks sketchy but I hope to be on the water somewhere.  I am all about this cold front and the anticipation of the good fishing to come.  Other than putting myself in the right place at the right time to catch a 30″ trout this fall, I want to catch a redfish on my fly rod.  So maybe this fall instead of just talking about it I can get it done.  The big schools and clear water of fall provide the perfect combination for getting it done.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 9/21/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The First Day of Fall!  Thank God!

THE POC SURF

The Mad Trout Fisherman is at it again.

Poc surf at 6:30 am and I was already sweating as we ran out pass cavo. The gulf was flat today, too flat for my liking if there is such a thing. Bite started off good in the first gut and as the sun started to show they moved to the second. A convoy of boats blew by about 8:00 am, must of been ten boats. By 9 am we had our ten trout and 2 sharks .

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With a livewell full of croaker what to do? Tried a few more spots in the surf but only one rat red. So we headed for some coolness in waist deepwater by cityslicker shoreline. No luck so we hit bayoucus shoreline, no reds there just more trout.

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So we hammered down to fishpond and broke out the plastics. Nope, more trout. So I dont know if the reds won, or the sun. We had a healty box of trout 1-24″ 2-23″ 2-22″ and some 19-20″ ers and 2 blacktips so we called it a day.

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We saw some tarpon and lots of jacks blowing up the mullet. Didn’t bring the big rods or I would be really hurt. Tides were back to normal after being extra high for two months. Stay blessed , chad

Nice mess.  If you had some bait left it must have been one of those get a bite, catch a fish days.  Sounds like a rough day when you move and those pesky trout won’t leave you alone.  I in spite of my best interest would have taken a shot at the tarpon, of course with my trout stuff.  That would have resulted in a battle like some I have had with big tarpon in the past, most lasting less than a minute.  Reminds me of my first bite on a Zara Spook in the Everglades.  I saw the tarpon coming out of the mangroves in a big hurry.  He smashed that Spook 5 feet from my rod tip, jumped and looked me right in the eye, then under the boat.  One more jump on the other side of the boat and he was gone  Looking that fish dead in the eye is still one the most exciting strikes I have ever had.  But no matter what, it is always exciting to see them, they are one magnificent fish.  I feel your pain with the sweating thing, it was rough out there and it ran me off after 3 hours the other day.

And I want to make one more comment, the average size of our trout is definitely increasing.  I was a big proponent of the 5 fish limit for purely selfish reasons.  I eat my share but since most of my fishing is done for pleasure, and since I have caught a couple fish over the last 60 years, I wanted bigger trout and I think the rule is working.  And while I might occasionally rail against the TPWD, they are also get credit where credit is due.  As usual, love the reports.   Drop us a note anytime.

(If the pictures are not oriented properly let me know. Thanks)

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Ken and his wife Cindy have been at POC this week enjoying the water.  Ken is part of the loose bunch I call the Austin Boys.  Now I am not sure they are enjoying this week’s temperature, but they have caught a few fish and love their time down at POC.  Dedicated participants, they are looking forward to the beach clean up this Saturday.

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                      A great sunrise.            Cindy starts the beach cleanup early.

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Ken (notice the Wade Right) with a couple of nice reds.  Happy Birthday!

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A Sea Robin, one crazy fish, and a nice slam headed for the fry pan.  Funny how the only other Sea Robin I have seen at POC was caught by one of the Austin Boys.

Our forecast for the coming days is a slight cool down with a pretty good chance for rain beginning tomorrow lasting through the weekend.  Hopefully it will hold off until later in the day Friday.  My plan is to join them at daylight and get a guided trip.  I love it when the Austin Boys come, I get to hitch a free ride.

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And I was glad to hear from my buddy Bobby.  He has a case of the fishing Jones, but is alive no matter how his comment reads!

Here I am stuck at the Morgue and you are out fishing and catching!!! Your killing me smalls….But I always find time to read the reports…

Not sure whether to be depressed, or impressed, when folks in the morgue are reading my stuff.  I was just thinking about our talked about fishing trip to Fayette County yesterday.  It is getting time.  So the ball is in your court.  Get a day and lets go, but don’t bring any of your work with you, they are not all that great conversationalists.  A trip to Fayette is always quick way to get right with the fish Gods.

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If it was any more possible to be in a hurry for fall to get here I don’t know how.  This stretch of weather has been the hottest of the summer, and our summer was hot.  I have been almost obsessed with visions of schools of redfish streaming out of the back lakes and cruising the shorelines, or feeling a big trout thump a plastic on the Lower Laguna.  Wading on nice cool days, big fish smoking a slowly worked topwater, and huge flocks of Redheads filling the sky on the Texas coast, I can see it now.  What is not to like about that?

To me it does not matter, fresh or salt, late fall into early spring is my favorite fishing time of the year.  More big trout and big bass are caught over those approximate 4 months than the rest of the year combined.  And for those of us who are hard core fishermen, we appreciate it when all our hard core hunting brothers leave the water and hit the field.  One of my favorite trips ever was to Falcon Lake opening week of deer season.  It felt like we had a giant lake all to ourselves.   But no matter what your outdoor pursuit is, do it safely and introduce a kid to your sport.  The future of hunting and fishing depends on it.

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B.O.A.T.

Every time I think about simplifying my life by selling the 2cnd boat I get all nervous.  Heart palpatations, sweats, tremors, it makes me real nervous to even think about it, much less do it.  Having 2 boats saved me several times when something broke, or one was in the shop for annual maintenance, and plans were already made.  So as I head out to buy a new trolling motor battery for the Skiff I got to thinking about the old saying  – “Boat means Break Out Another Thousand.”

In my case, other than a few big breakdowns over the decades I have owned boats, it really is more a break out another $100.  Batteries, running lights, gallons of oil, replacing life jackets, the occasional prop, new bunks, trailer tires, and on and on.  Minus the prop I have been fortunate enough to get to buy everything mentioned above in the last couple of months.  Owning 2 boats, and keeping them both in a condition where you can get in either on a moments notice and head out, takes effort not to mention the $$$.  So today I may sell one, or maybe tomorrow, or maybe never.  Plus, nothing makes my lovely wife happier than having a driveway full of boats, drying wading gear, the smelly fish cooler, along with a host of other important fishing stuff.  To bad I don’t have a junk car up on blocks.  Perfect.

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First I want to thank the guys at Coastal Fishing Gear for letting me work with them.  I will have the pleasure of testing a couple of new products next week, and I am excited about that.  And they have been kind enough to extend a 15% off promotion to any readers who do an online order.  If you have been thinking about a new wading belt now is the time, you won’t be sorry.

I am bored today and seriously wishin’ I was fishin’.  After having to go buy a dryer on Monday I am now sitting around Thursday waiting for delivery.  This is one time I miss the pickup truck because I would have picked it up the other day and be on the water today.  Funny how life continues to intrude on the important stuff like fishing.  I now wonder how I ever got everything done when I was working.

Finally the real deadly heat is coming to an end and I am looking forward to POC in the morning, of course weather dependent.  We have a 50% chance of rain or thunderstorms so it will be hard to guess how it will be in the morning.  And again depending on the weather this weekend I hope to take Jeffish and his son Korbin somewhere to catch something.  Then according to the weather service the highs for next week are going to be in the low 80’s.  So fall really wasn’t that far off and that is the kind of weather that keeps a guy fishing all day.   So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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I Get a New Hat! 9/19/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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                                           Brought to you by  waderight2-50

Click on the logo above to view all their fine products.

Welcome Coastal Fishing Gear and the Wade Right Wading Belt.

I am so pleased to announce our new partnership with Coastal Fishing Gear, LLC.  And when I term it a partnership it is truly a one sided partnership and I use the term lightly.  The owners, Tim Stamps and Jason Law, are committed saltwater wade fishermen.  They make and design the best wade fishing belt on the planet, the WADE RIGHT.  Why would I term it as a “one sided partnership”?  The 2 friends have done the heavy lifting in the design and continuing expansion of both their company and the product line.  My miniscule part in this “partnership” – I get the pleasure to use and test their fine products.  Kind of a marriage of convienance, I like what they do and they like what I do.  I am clearly the winner in this deal and I can not thank them enough.

While Tim may not remember meeting me, we met at the Houston Fishing Show at least 3 years ago.  I only bought a couple of things that day, and the Wade Right was my big purchase.  As I walked through the show I came across their booth where he and his wife were working and it was an instant sale.  There was no need to talk it up to me, the advantages of the belt were obvious and I was instantly on board.

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The Extreme Combo

After using the belt for almost 4 years the advantages have clearly come into focus from on the water experience.  One thing I really like, the ability to keep my tackle box out of the water.  I use the small one that hangs high on my chest and love it.  (See above.)  Though small, I can get 3 hard baits and a dozen or more soft plastics in the box.  If I run out of stuff I have either limited, or took a whipping.  And if you saw last Mondays post, I actually stayed in the water over 6 hours and had plenty of stuff when the bite was really on.  On my other brand of wading belt everything in the box was always wet at the end of the day.  I used to come back and have to spray the waist tackle box, including contents, then letting it all dry.  Unless I step in a hole, or head for the chest deep water, my tackle box is usually dry at the end of the day.

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Big Trout and the Wade Right go Hand in Hand.

But the thing I really appreciate, the ability to carry 2 rods.  I need 2 rods.  I am a light line spinning gear guy for much of my trout fishing with plastics, often with the 1/32 jig head.  But for topwater, spinnerbait, and twitch baits, casting gear is the way to go. So carrying 2 rods is necessary in my case.  It just does not work to throw topwater on 8lb line, (If you want to keep your bait another day!) or 1/32 plastics on 20lb with the baitcaster.  Both have a time and place, and having 2 rods with me increases my chances of figuring it out by being able to throw completely different baits.  And the real practical result of carrying 2 rods, not having to go back to the boat to change tactics.  Then if you happen to get spooked 100 yards from the boat right after you get to the fish, you can keep fishing without having to trudge back to the boat and back to get another rod.  The amazing thing about carrying the spare rod in the holder on your back, unless I stand on my head it stays in the holder.

The rod holder on your chest is also a thing of beauty.  Whether using a net or boga, I prefer the boga, the ability to net or grab a fish and then put the rod in the holder while you unhook and string is great.  It really reduces the times you dunk your reel while messing with an unruly fish who just won’t cooperate.  And anything that keeps the dunking to a minimum is worth every penny.   Dunks happen, I do not care how careful you are, it is going to happen if you spend many days in the water.  The belt more than pays for itself in reduced reel cleanings and bearings.

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Notice the Carrot Stick in the rod holder and the reel right under the redfish?  Keeps the reel high and dry while wrasslin’ with one of these.

When I met Tim at the show I was actually in the market for a new belt.  My first was purchased at Academy, the one most of us are familiar with.  The reason I was shopping was the other brand was a little over 2 years old and was already dry rotting.  When it started to go it went, fast.  Nothing worse than getting to the spot and finding out the seams on your belt are rotting.  So not dissing them, just letting you know that my Wade Right is as strong today as the day I bought it.  Of course I always wash it off after every use, but saltwater is tough on stuff no matter how well you take care of it.  The Wade Right has lasted in spite of me.

So there you have it.  Basically everything I have been saying about them since I first started using the Wade Right.  As you can tell I am pleased and excited about being associated with them.  Their belt is everything it is cracked up to be and I love it.  They also have some new products, with others coming out the first of next year, and I am really looking forward to testing them out and telling you all about it.  And the fact that they are a home grown business right here in Texas is a great thing.  So if you spend anytime in the water check out their quality products on the website.

Last, we all love getting some new fishing stuff, but you know what I am most excited about?  A free hat!  When I blogged about hats the other day some of it was tongue in cheek, some sarcasm, but I hope you got the real picture, I am just cheap.  So the real problem with hats is me, $20 is what they cost these days.  I guess I am still living in the 70’s.  So let’s hear it for the free hat.  Thanks guys!

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 9/20/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

(A new sponsor on the way!)

The weather guy (My favorite guy to hate.) said that Tuesday may be out hottest day of the year.  That is nuts.  What are we, a couple of days from the official start of fall?  So with that in mind I decided to just hit the lake for some bass fishing Tuesday, then head for the shade early.  Our temp will finally begin to moderate some by the end of the week.  And I still intend to get to POC and fish with Ken and his wife one day this week, so that is on the agenda if it gets below a 100.  Instead of fishing today (Monday) I got the pleasure of buying a new dryer.  Ain’t life grand?

Weather

97/71  Heat Index  105 – 110   Partly cloudy with stay thunderstorm or show  20% chance rain  Wind East 5 – 10  (It was ugly hot by 10.)

Tides

High   5:07 AM     1.1
Low   2:50 PM     0.5

Solunar  Times

Best times   2:14A – 4:14A  2:42P – 4:42P   Good Time   8:28A – 10:28A  (Not sure when the bite was.)

How hot is it?

I really had no logical reason for going fishing today, and I should have listened to that little voice in my head telling me to do something responsible today instead of baking my brain.  The forecast was for the hottest day of the year, and while I am not sure what the final high for the day will be, it was oppressive, and the fishing was not worth a crap.  (Note:  Just for back from buying birthday cards and the truck registered a 100, and it was in the garage.)

There was no question that it was going to be a short day, and it was.  So to change it up some I decided to head up the plant arm to fish some different stuff.   It was dead flat calm, a sign of things to come, when I stopped on the first bank.  There were lots of alligators cruising around, but almost no bait activity.  There is always that old rule, never leave fish to find fish, and in my case I know where a bunch are, but the pattern should be the same right?  Oh so wrong.  It was an hour before my first bite.

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Here is what a grown man did all morning.

I pitched, flipped, cast, buzzed, hopped, dropped, and jerked, and some other stuff, but it was slow.  The one above came off wood in about 6 foot of water and I thought we might be getting there, but no cigar.  Fishing the same type of bank in the plant area as up lake was not productive.  In fact, the exact same structure that I am finding them up the Coleto creek arm had no fish on it.  Those flat banks that have fish on them up the main arm were devoid of fish in the plant arm.  Not sure whether I just didn’t hit the right place, or is the pattern just that different in the plant arm? That will have to wait for another day.

After catching 2 and struggling I tried some deeper banks, some timber points, a couple of shady banks, all of it different than I have been catching them on, and I only picked up one on a timber point.  I am pretty sure if you just point hopped on timber that there are some fish to be caught.  The water temp way up was 87, and when I fished the last bank near the dam the water temp was 92 freakin’ degrees.  Before it was over I had 5 bites, missing 2, and of the 3 that came over the side only the one above was worth a hoot.

It was getting ugly fast.  Totally drenched in sweat, not a breath of wind, and no bites for an hour all conspired to send me to the house.  For a fleeting second I considered running all the way up lake to the fish, but good sense prevailed.  It really was hot and it just took it out of me.  So at 11 it was back to the ramp and home.  All I know is I am ready for it to break, which it might do at the end of the week, if you consider a high of only 90 a cool down.

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I ran into Kevin, who fished in the surf with a guide the other day, and their report mirrors what Chad has been finding.  Kevin said the 4 of them had 19 nice trout, sounded like in the second gut, by 7:30.  Then they moved in closer and whacked the reds in the froth.  The surf season is lasting just a touch longer this year due to the water temp, and when you can get out there a limit on croaker is the order of the day.

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And the crappie are still biting right along on Coleto.  In fact, there were more crappie fisherman out today than bass fishermen.  I checked the can at the cleaning table, the crappie they are catching right now are good ones.  It crossed my mind to do that this morning, should have, would be having a nice fish fry tonight.

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Next it is the Gulf.  I have been in a catch them one time, then struggling the next, whether it is the bay or the lake.  Not sure whether waist deep in the Gulf is cooler, but it sure has to be somewhat cooler than standing on the boat.  But fall is around the corner, and it won’t be long before things settle down.  I am making plans for Baffin next month, and have visions of big trout smashing topwater.  In my wildest dreams we will get a cloudy cold front when I am there.  The nice thing is I have a 5 day window so maybe I will get lucky.  I appreciate all of you who stick with me, keep those cards and letters coming.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 9/18/16.

    FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

I do my usual preparation by getting the  weather, tides, and solunar times the day before, so it is done when I get back from fishing.  I am sorry but I am getting flat out sick of this high 90’s crap.  It is hot, it has been hot, and it seems to want to keep hanging around.  The only thing about the numbers today is there is a good solunar period first thing, so it will be interesting to see how the bite goes.  I know one thing, the tides sure are not worth a dang, probably a better day to be bass fishing.  And we want to be back in time for the Cowboy game.

Weather

97/74 Partly Cloudy  10% chance of rain  Wind NW 5 – 10 mph  (I am SICK of 97 degrees)

Tide

Low   1:00 AM     0.8
High   5:46 AM     0.9   (Talk about a flat 2 tide day)
Low   1:08 PM     0.7
High   9:28 PM     1.0

Solunar Times

  • Best     12:11A – 2:11A
  •              12:38P – 2:38P
  • Good    6:25A – 8:25A   (Good and stayed good.)

I had a buddy going with me but when I got to his house he was not up.  I texted him, gave him 5 minutes and then hit the road.  That has been my habit for years, ready to go or not I am hitting the water.  To bad he did not make it.  It was hot, humid, and foggy on the way to the lake.  When I got there it was just daylight and there was only one truck at the ramp.  The first thing I noticed was that the lake has come down a foot or so.  With that I knew that up lake would have cleared some, which it did, and still have that good shallow cover, which there was.  The only thing I wondered about was the moon, which was basically full and out until around 9.  If that made a difference I sure could not tell, unless it made them bite better,

I was fishing by 7:15 and on my 3rd cast I put one in the boat.  From then on they bit consistently on shallow banks and on 4 different baits.  First up was pitching the Rage Craw to shallow cover, and I mean shallow.  Several bites today hit it before it sunk right on the bank in a foot of water.

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                        They liked that Rage Craw pitched to cover.

So after catching a few, and with them so shallow, it was time to break out the swim jig.  It did not take long and several more ate that just reeling at a moderate speed.  One bite was my favorite, is feeling a tic as you reel it and your line goes completely slack.  They are almost always good ones and that one was. Love that bite!

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They liked that Strike King Swim jig in Bluegill with a Rage Craw trailer.

At this point they are biting right along.  I had not pitched the watermelon/red senko style bait so I pick that up and of course they liked that too.  It was getting on towards 10 and they were still biting right along.

It really does seem totally, super duper, counter intuitive that with the water falling over a foot and the temperature up 3 degrees they are biting.  And more importantly that they were shallow.  What is interesting about that?  They were shallow on the flattest banks up lake.  After catching the first couple I decided to keep count, and before it was over I boated 17 in 4 hours.  Some of them nice and husky.

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   A couple nice ones.  One on the pitching the senko and one on buzzbait.

With everything working there was no way I was going to not throw a buzzbait.  I probably should have tried it earlier, but I still managed to catch a couple and miss one.  And if you look at the one above you can see how far down that buzzbait was.  That thing exploded on it, a great way to end the morning.

It is really hard to emphasis how shallow these thing were today.  I would guess the majority came on one hop or less.  Even the buzzbait fish were first crank.  I did lose a couple trying to get them over or out of wood.  And of course the day would not be complete without breaking my favorite swim jig rod.  The fish had me sideways on a log and I set the hook sideways, hit the console, and snapped the end off.  Oh well, have to see what kind of action it has when fixed.   How I manage to break 2 or 3 rods a year I will never know.

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Way Off Topic – Football

I really enjoy college football, and watching it gives me time to work on my blog while wasting the day away, depending on the action.  First up it was Alabama and Ole Miss, both on the Hog’s side of the SEC.  What a good game.  Ole Miss looks tougher than you might have thought with a great defense, and Alabama looked rough around the edges on both sides of the ball.  Saban was not happy but the Tide Rolls on.  They are still the team to beat.

The Hogs played Texas State in an ugly mismatch.  You need one of these on your schedule but who knows what they learned from beating them so bad.  But 3 – 0 is better than our usual start.  And the boys from San Marcos hung in there and played a good second half. But the better game was the Aggies vs. Auburn.  The SEC opener for both, the Aggies played a solid game, not counting 3rd down failures, and are 3 and 0.  So it sets up the Hogs and Aggies in Jerry’s World.  It looks to be a good game.  And with LSU winning things are about to get interesting in the SEC West.

The Cowboy – Redskin game was a real dandy.  That they are playing this well with rookies at QB and running back, and 3 defensive players on drug suspension, is amazing.  We will be at the Thanksgiving day game in Dallas and I am excited about that and I sure did not want them to start 0 – 2.  So a big win.  If Prescott keeps playing like this it will be really interesting to see how it all shakes out when Tony comes back.  The Cowboys are always a trip, but hey, Jerry is from Arkansas.

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Hope you liked that croaker how-to from Chad.  I sure learned something about fishing them, and also learned how effective they truly are when the weather is hot and the plastic bite is slow.  That will definitely be on next years agenda.  So thanks again Chad.  And the rest of you, it is not that hard to share something you know with the rest of us.  It does not require anything more than putting it down, I will fix it if it needs it.  You do not have to know how to spell, we don’t care.  Hell, I don’t even know what an adverb is!  But we can all learn something, so keep those reports and comments coming, it makes this blog what it is.

There is some fishing to do this week.  Some folks from Austin are down at POC and I hope to join them the next day or two.  That will not be the only fishing, when it this good on the bay and lake it keeps it interesting.  A trip to Keller Bay, or Fayette, may also be on the agenda.  And today did not hurt my fishing feelings any.  Anytime you can catch 17 in 4 hours, several of them good fish, the fishing is good.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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How to Fish Croakers 9/17/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

How to Fish Croaker –

Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

by Chad “The Mad Trout Fisherman” McCrory

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With croaker fishing, first lets start with the rod and reel. I use a 7ft bait casting rod 1/4 to 3/4 ounce.  I use a baitcasting reel in a 150/ 200 series with the only difference being spool capacity.  With spinning gear I use the same 7 ft med/ heavy which allows me to get the maximum possibly distance out of my cast.

Now lets go to the line, first thing i want to say about that is, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I use 12lb Big Game green.  While many people have gone to no stretch braid I refuse.  When throwing croaker with a baitcaster, if you throw one off it could mean disaster with a big backlash if you are not quick enough to stop the spool.  Mono is not so bad when that happens, but braid can be a nightmare.  Though I’m good at getting out backlashes, and have had plenty of experience, that braid backlash often makes them it knife cutter.  So I am a mono guy.

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Not croaker fishing?  You are missing out!

Now the leader line is a 20, 30, or 40# attached to a swivel. I generally use about 18″-24″ of leader.  When croaker season starts the croaker are small so I use a 4/0   on a 20lb leader and freeline them, which usually starts in mid May to early June.  Then as the croaker get bigger I go to 5/0 and 30lb.  Finally to the 6/0 and 40lb leader with the bigger baits.  Simple, bigger baits = bigger hooks and leader.  Usually by mid July the croaker are strong swimmers so I add a croaker clicker.  This does two things, first it adds noise to the bait.  Second it also sinks the croaker quickly, keeping it away from those liar birds, which can be a real pain in clear water due their ability to dive so deep to get your bait.  The clicker (noise attractant) I prefer is a piece of wire with brass and glass beads on it.  It seems to cast better and produces more fish for me.

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Redfish Candy.

A bait stand is a bait stand if they have croaker, right?  Wrong!  I have learned over the years that fresh live croaker are considerably better than croaker that are weak and full of tank sores.  (Implication – buy from a busy bait stand.)  Here is another tip, croaker are naturally slimy and that is how you want them.  When transporting your croaker in the live well an oxygen set up is best, with second best being a Mr Bubbles or air that comes through an aeration stone.  Aerators that blast re-circulating water do two things.  First, they wash all the slime off your croaker, and second, they will heat the water in your livewell, making the croaker weak and unnatural.  Fish won’t eat something they think may make them sick.  So the well being of your bait is very important.

Now with that out of the way, lets talk about presentation and hook placement in the croaker.  The surf is the easiest of them all when conditions are right. Meaning, when you can anchor in the third gut and are in no danger of waves breaking over the bow.  That anchor placement allows you to throw your bait in both the second and first gut.  (Obviously a weight is necessary, and is determined by what is necessary due to current and tides to keep your bait stable.)

I like to keep my rod at a 45 degree angle which allows me to feel the thump and then feed the fish line without releasing my thumb bar.  When the rod gets parallel to the water I set the hook hard. Like you do when worm fishing for bass.

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Are you getting the picture yet?

As for the bay, I fish croaker a little differently, especially in grassy areas.  I throw it out, let it sink, and jig it back up to the top of the water column, all the time waiting on the thump.  As soon as I feel it, I immediately push my thumb bar allowing the fish to run for a bit, then locking him in and setting the hook.  Some days when you feel the thump they will run straight towards you, often like the bite bass fishing Texas rigged worms.

Most of the time hook placement in the croaker is right above the mid line in between the dorsal fin and tail.  However, when looking for fish on a flat I will hook them underneath the bottom lip, coming out right below the nose.  This does a couple of things, it allows me to get many cast out of a croaker without throwing him off, and it gives the croaker a more natural look as I slowly reel him in across sand pockets and guts.  It is the most effective locator technique I use.  It also works well when the trout, instead of eating your croaker, just want to kill it.

Hope I have helped a few folks out.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

(Chad is an experienced all-around fisherman.  He is highly successful wading and fishing croaker for big strings of speckled trout and redfish on the Texas Coast.  We are fortunate that he has taken the time to share his knowledge with us.  There is much here to digest, but for those of you like me who are learning, or wanting to learn to croaker fish, this is all you need to know to get started.  There is a wealth of knowledge in his words.  So a big thanks to Chad.)

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Buying a Hat. 9/16/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

The Big Hat Hunt

One would think that buying a hat is a simple process.  Thank again fish face!  There are hats, and hats, and more hats.  They come in every size, shape, and color you could think of.  So what is the problem?  It should just take a minute and be done, but that is not how it went yesterday.

Of course you have to have the good hat, the fishing hat, the warm weather mesh back, and the full cover hat.  And then there is that hat you have that the boss does not allow you out of the house with if she is along.   In my case I needed an everyday hat that is not the fishing hat, or the working in the yard hat.  You know the hat, the one you can wear in mixed company that does not have that ugly sweat ring around it.  So the hat hunt began.

As I was shopping, first at Roy’s and then Dick’s in Corpus, and finally Tackle Town in Rockport, it really hit me, we are paying them to wear their logo on our head.  Better than free marketing on their part.  Think about it, what other industry besides the outdoor market does it so well.   Perfect, pay them to market their stuff.  We have become a walking billboard, including our boats, and somehow the clothes you wear and the boat you drive somehow equates to what a big time fisherman you are.  It definitely does not have squat to do with whether you can catch fish or not.

Being the cheap skate I can be I set a limit, not one penny over $20.  Of course if it had a logo it can not be something I don’t use or believe in.  It can’t look like it was designed by Jimmie Buffet, have a flat bill (Not in this lifetime), or have that really long stupid looking bill with the desert flap on the back.  (Though that is actually the best for your health.)  One my wife liked was a Costa, not on this Cocoons sunglass wearing angler’s head.  So right away 90% of them were off the list.

Then there were the cool Huk hats.  Problem one, I am not paying $30 for a hat!  And as an aside, they have burst on the scene the last couple of years, and I am sure their stuff is good stuff, it is just pricey.  And problem number 2, as far as I am concerned, is their fishing show.  They are fishing lots of big money offhshore tourneys in their new 70mph quad boat, and they are doing it all for us.  You know, to field test their stuff for our own good.  They seem like great guys, but their prices reflect their hobby, and the premium you pay is keeping that lifestyle alive.   As my old friend Denny used to say, “I am not mad at them, I just want me some.”

And after wandering around in those great stores, and thinking about the hat, it got me thinking about the way it was in the good old days, and what as a sport we have become.  Reminds me of the old Saturday Night Live Skit – It is not how you feel, it is how you look.  We have succumbed to the big marketing scheme, which is fine if you are really marketing their product, otherwise you are buying a $30 hat which makes you a walking billboard.  And my question is this, What have they done for you?  The answer, happily take your money.  Do not get the wrong idea, I am a capitalist, the more money the merrier.  But where are the dam hats I can buy that does not advertise something?   It looks like they do not exist.

The old fishing store is becoming a thing of the past.  Cabela’s, Roy’s, Tackle Town, Bass Pro, Offshore Angler, one and all are becoming a department store with fishing stuff.  It is not a bad thing, it is just change.  But I worry about the future of our sport.  I wonder, what do the poor folks do?  Stuff has gotten so pricey.  Where is the old guy in the store who helped the kid find some catfish?  Where is the store that the owners are really helpful with fishing information?  What are kids wanting to get into fishing to think?  How is a kid from a broken home even going to get started?

So I fretted as I put on hats, hats, and more hats on my head,  I noticed every gosh dang one had an ad for something or someone.  After 3 stores, and a couple of hours, I finally made a decision, a $12 Tackle Town hat.  Actually it fit me best, I liked the color and bill, and it fit into my cheap skate lifestyle.  So they won.  I am now wearing an ad on my head for a store I go in a couple of times a year, where no one has ever even said hi.  Crazy!

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I had not heard from Rick in a while, good to know he is upright and taking nourishment.

That was a great salt report!!! How was the water clarity? Me and my business partner had to go to Corpus to pick up a truck on Tuesday 9-13 and booked a trip with Shawn Harvey with gofloundering.com out of POC .We probably traveled 30 miles looking for clear water. Pecked out 10 flounder and 6 sheepies but really had to work for them. It was’nt that windy but the water was extremely murky everywhere, even on protected shorelines and in the back of coves. Keep those saltwater reports coming!

You found exactly what I have been finding the last couple of weeks.  Water to die for, and I knocked the crap out of them the other day in that perfect water, and then what you found.  Your description of the color was perfect, that not really muddy, but that milky murk, which I hate.  I have never flounder gigged, but it is on my list at some point.  At least you managed to stick a few so the trip wasn’t a total bust.  So good to hear from you, and the saltwater reports will be coming right along.

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Here is a good question from Steve, and it is easy to answer.

Good afternoon Doug
Glad to hear you have your saltwater grove back. This is kind of off topic. When you put in at
POC how do you navigate out to the army hole flats. We recently bought a weekend place at Seadrift and have a 21’ Nautic Star, not shallow running so I take it very slow. Really need to know the easiest path out of POC.
Thanks
Steve ( from Waco)

That is easy enough.  The quickest route to get to the whole island shoreline from POC is to head down the barge canal, opposite of heading out the small jetties.  When you see Army Cut, which will be on your left a mile or two down, take it.  From there just follow the channel markers and you will go past the that big clump of wells and you are on the island shoreline.  Stay in the boat lane and there is no problem getting over there.  From there you have the whole island to fish, That immediate area is often called the Pringle Shoreline, which is great to get out of the wind.

Now if you do not want to fight Froggie’s parking lot on the weekend just stop at Charlie’s on Lane Road and pay the $5.  From there you head down the barge canal towards POC a few miles and you will come to Army Cut and take a right.  Army cut is across from the big development with all the fancy high dollar houses, with a pier or two on the inter-coastal.  Easy to find.  Once you get out on the island just take it easy, there is nothing wrong with stopping far off the bank and idling in, or parallel the bank.  My boat runs in around a foot, but I believe in idling in to the shoreline for several reasons.  Gives you a great chance to find the bait, and it is really mullet run time, so find the rafts of mullet and you will find some fish.  It also lets you start seeing where the grass starts and where the drop is as you approach the bank.  As Buck Perry, one of the greatest fishermen of all times said, “The fish are deep, shallow, or in between.  And last idling to the bank keeps me out of trouble.

And if you do not have a Hook-N-Line Matagorda Bay Map, go to Academy and buy one.  Map study lets you visualize what folks tell you, and to learn all the local names you will hear for places.  And last, Sea Tow.  If you are going to explore the area now that you have the place, buy it.  You may never need it, a friend of mine has used his 4 or 5 times, and we have been saved way the hell and gone down on the Lower Laguna.  Without it we would have been way past screwed.  It is simply peace of mind and worth every penny.

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I am happy to report that there is a great new sponsor coming on board.  I love their stuff and am humbled that they contacted me and wanted to participate.  That will be coming in the next week or two and I will fill you in on all the details later.  Suffice to say it will be a great fall of testing and fishing.  Heck who knows, they might even have a hat!

Hope you are having a great weekend whatever you are doing.  We just got back from a night in Rockport and I am chomping at the bit to get back on the water.  My trout fever is on the rise, visions of smashing topwater strikes are playing in my mind like that bad song you can not get out of your head.  And now that folks are off killing stuff the no weekend fishing rule is about to expire.  Bring on fall.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Port O’Connor Texas 9/14/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Trout love the Knocker B.

Since  I started preparing the preliminary stuff the day before I fish, to be sure I get the forecast right, it is interesting to look at all the factors that can affect the fishing and what has been done in the past.  So Chris and I will be on the water at daylight.  The only thing that concerns me is the wind direction considering where I whacked them Monday.

Weather

91/73   Scattered clouds with a 30% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon  Wind NE 12 mph

Tides

High   8:30 AM     1.1   7:11 AM         Low  10:54 PM     0.5   7:31 PM

Solunar Times

  • Best Times      9:07A – 11:07A
  •                           9:33P – 11:33P
  • Good                2:53A – 4:53A

p1010818

It was rough.

When we got to Froggie’s the wind was blowing pretty good, I would say it was an easy 15mph.  The tide was up and the water in the barge canal was a little dirtier than it was Monday.

After our ride across the bay we started on the flats near Army Hole.  There was a serious chop, Chris went right and I went left, in my case heading for the area I got them on Monday.  We both kept after the topwater for a while in spite of the rollers, but after only a bite each, it was plastics.  To make a long story short we did catch some fish, me 4 or 5 small ones, in his case it was probably 25+, and between us it was only 2 keepers.  At least his was a nice 20″ fattie.

p1010825

The best for the morning.

Besides the rollers, we should have left earlier, the water was slowly coloring up.  The water I was in was clear, and with the direction he went he ended up on a color line on the outside edge of a drain.  The fish were there and biting but they were small,  I on the other hand caught one here and there, but had the same problem as the other day.  There were so many needle fish that a paddle tail on a plastic lasted around a cast or two.  And dam those things stink!

p1010823

That says it all about my run of trout today.

Basically we stayed to long.  But with the bite best later in the morning we kind of made a stand.  Unfortunately it did not play out.  With the wind out of the NE lots of places were starting to really color up so we headed to Barroom hoping to find a little calmer water.

Well it was calmer, but the fishing was not better.  I think I caught another 4 or 5, all small, and he might have caught a couple.  We talked about what to do, and where, but decided to call it a day other than make a long run.  He had some things to take care of so we headed back to the ramp.

There are some days when things just do not work out, right place, wrong time, right time wrong place, it was just one of those days.  We stayed in the water all morning but just did not get it done.  I have a feeling there was a bite coming, we just didn’t wait it out. But no matter, this is the beginning of the fall beat down, and we will be back at them with a vengeance.  Somebody has to pay.

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As we were unloading this morning someone yelled asking if I was Doug.  Tim and his friends were getting ready to head out, and they said they read the blog.  I love meeting you all on the water.  So anytime you see me holler, we can talk fishing or just say hi.  I like meeting any of you.

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Before I show you Chad the Mad Trout Fisherman’s reports from his last couple of trips, Chris  had several reports from friends on Monday’s fishing.  It was dead calm most of the day and a couple of his friends headed out to the surf, it was a perfect day for it.  One boat spent time chasing what they thought was a redfish school with over a 1000 redfish.  Yahoo, fall is coming and so is the gathering of the redfish on our bay waters.

Another friend had an epic tarpon day.  He and his significant other did battle with 13 tarpon.  That is awesome.  One they estimated at 170lbs, a freaking monster.   So Monday the fish were biting everywhere on everything.  Those days are so rare and it is a real treat when you are fortunate enough to be on the water.

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Here is the Mad Trout Fisherman’s report from Monday and Tuesday, starting with Monday first.

Poc all i can say is the trout bite is good. We made 3 stops today all places holding rafting mullet. Tide still pouring in, we had 3 man limits at 8 am and continued to catch some quality trout at all places. 24″ was big trout today. Released many over the 20″ mark. We found some reds at byucos but only one made the mark. So i released him as well. Im glad you decided to get wet, and get after them. That is what its all about. Ill be headed back in the morning its my fishing partners b- day.

That just says it all about Monday.  The better fish were on the prowl and hungry.  The they got out again, and this says it all about live bait when the conditions are tough.

Poc again today light winds yesterday strong ne winds today. Murky water and not being able to visually see the rafts of bait and having to set up our wades in the opposite direction as yesterday. Confidence was down after the first 20 mins without a bite. My head was telling me to move but my guts said stay. Then i felt that thump thump and bam the bite was on! Wow what a relief after telling the guys how great it was yesterday. After a 45 min session of double and tripple hook ups we had our trout and released some aswell. The redfish eluded me yesterday somewhat, so i was ready to outsmart them today. We eased over towards the cityslicker shoreline about a 500 yd move and began a wade targeting reds. We started out at waist deep and kept moving shallow, when got to knee deep i noticed tails out the water up shallow . Then wack the first one bit and the redfish rodeo was on! It amazed me that every one we caught was inbetween 201/2″- 21″ So with a box full of red and trout we headed in at 11:30 with 3 happy fisherman! My main fishing partner todd turned 56 today so what better way to spend ur birthday with limits of trout and red and back at the dock before noon. We saw quite a few flocks of teal this morning buzzing around before sunrise, I used to be hardcore teal hunter but getting eatin up by misquitoes trudging through mud mud when its 85 degress aint much fun anymore . Regular season is around the corner and ill give hell then. I know my black lab radar is ready, its been a long hot summer ! Thanks and god bless chad

First nothing like making your buddies birthday special, and that will do it.  So happy birthday Todd.  Your roll is impressive, and I can guarantee you we would have had a much better day if we were chunking croaker.  That is something I will put in my bag of tricks for future reference if high winds with color winds are in the forecast.  I may become a part time bait fisherman yet.  I also saw a few teal Monday. Chris my fishing buddy is a hard core duck hunting nut.  Teal, ducks, geese, he chases them all. I on the other hand could never be accused of being a hunter.  I go occasionally, but if you ever wanted to meet a truly bad shot, you will whenever we run into each other.  So congrats on your ongoing success and keep those reports coming, we love them.

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I don’t know if you checked out the link to Falcon Lake Tackle I put up the other day concerning the big fish kill on Falcon.  I checked his new post and TPWD is finally going to come and do a fish kill count.  Now that is a good thing, if it had not happened 2 weeks ago!  They knew it happened and this is the best they could do?  They must have just been soooooo busy.  Nothing like calling an ambulance and they show up 2 weeks later to see if they can find the body.

And one point he makes is that the outdoor writers are complicit occasionally by letting them off the hook, or even actively criticizing them concerning important issues.  And I think the magazines and publications themselves also deserve a little criticism.  It seems that the outdoor mainstream media just does not deal with real issues relating to the TPWD, everyone is just to cozy.  You know, the banquets, turkey shoots, media days, and all the other cool stuff they get to do.

As you know if you read this stuff I have been critical on the appointment of commissioners, the giving away of bass we paid for to a rich Doctor who was charging a couple of thousand a weekend to fish his place  (They tried to fix that one, but it still worked out for the rich guy), and now their slow response to a major fish kill.  (Don’t get me wrong, I love the 5 fish trout limit and the ongoing stocking programs.  They do good work, but that does not make them immune to warranted criticism.)  A rapid response was warranted and they dropped the ball.  As we see so often in some of the fish and game department’s dealing in many states, what is good for them and their friends and backers is not for the rest of us.   In this case it is a major construction company.

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I have a good dilemma, where am I going to fish in October when the wife is out of town for a week visiting her mother who will be recovering from hip surgery.  I have at least narrowed it down to 2 choices, Falcon Lake or the Upper Laguna out of North Padre.  They both have their appeal.  The fishing report from Falcon has really improved the last year, with 50+ fish days common and big fish over 10lbs much more common than the last couple of years.  And according to the Blacks the Bafffin/Upper Laguna fish are biting and the traffic is way down.  Tough choice, the possibility of a 30″ trout or a 10lb. bass.  I have skirted both of those, my biggest trout is 29″ and my heaviest bass is a 9lb. 3 oz fattie.  One thing about true trophy fish, close does not count.  I need a 30″ and a 10lber, either will do!  So with about 6 weeks to decide I can wait before I make a decision, and it may be no more complicated  than what the weather has in store.  Either way I am looking forward to it.

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So in spite of our poor showing today the bite is still on big time on the bay.  Other than a quick Coleto trip next time it is cloudy and raining the bay extravaganza is on.  This could be the best fall since I have been in Texas, and I am getting excited.  Days like yesterday will happen, but they are a lot fewer and further between.  And please keep those reports and comments coming.  If you see a grey 4 Runner with a hood scoop towing a Mako 18LTS it is me, say hello.  I love meeting all of you.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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