Coleto Creek 10/23/14.

Fish Catching Travel

This is day 4 of my 5 consecutive days of fishing.  Monday POC, Tuesday Coleto, Wednesday Keller, Thursday Coleto, with Friday yet to come.  I have not decided where tomorrow, but it will definitely be the Gulf.  The wind looks great, and with one tide that should have some good water movement, I am really looking forward to some serious topwater fishing.

After getting the honey do list done today I headed for the lake.  It was around 3 when I got there and sad to say it looks like the water is dropping.  We really need some rain or the ramp could get ugly pretty soon.  Also the grass is dying wholesale, and that combined with the dropping water level has definitely repositioned the fish.

The first couple of hours was slow, and actually I did not have a bite.  I threw the box at them without success until I finally put my thinking hat on and headed to a downlake channel bank that still has some good green grass growing in 3 – 5 foot close to the drop.  As I have seen some fish chasing shad I put on a white Strike King Swim Jig with a white Caffeine Shad as a trailer.  It took exactly 5 minutes before I had one smack it and broke my line.  To bad it was the only white one I had.  So I switched to a black and blue with a Rage Craw trailer and it was game on.

004

Number 1 boat.

For about an hour I went over and over that bank.  I ended up breaking another one off, so I went from a rod with 10lb test to one with 12 and put 3 more in the boat and missed a couple more.  They wanted it reeled along at a moderate speed so that it was tipping the tops of the grass.  As soon as it hit grass I would speed it up and they would smack it.  Before I left them I did put one that was a little better in the boat.

006

If I got this guy wonder how big those were that broke my line.

While I was catching them Shoedog called and he was on his little lake, and what was he catching them on?  The Swim Jig.  Funny how we were both getting them in different lakes at the same time on the same bait.  Who would have “thunk” it!

Clearly the fish are seeking cover in close proximity to deep water.  Find the right patch of grass right now that fits the pattern and the fish should be there.  The sun was finally getting behind the hills so it was time to throw a little buzzbait.  The second one I caught on buzzbait wasn’t all that but I did want to show you the picture, which I took on purpose.

008

When I say it is all about the fishing I am not kidding.

My phone rang and it was Paul from Muskie Bay Resort in Canada.  I was making our reservation for next year and casting at the same time.  I missed another one right after this one before I hung up.  So here I am fishing, talking on the phone, and making a reservation for next years Canada trip.  It really is all about the fishing for me.

And Paul was funny when he said he did not need a deposit right now, but would probably be calling in January when he was broke.  Times can get tough running a resort in the dead of winter in Canada.  So Clyde and Shoedog, the dates are set.  We are going late summer to hit the August full moon.  Paul is one of the premier musky fisherman and he loves to troll them up at night during the August moon.  I think he promised me a 50lber, or maybe it was we should catch some, something like that.

I fished both points at the mouth of the ramp cove and before the mosquitos ran me off I put another 5 in the boat, and missed a couple more.  They really moved shallow right before dark and were in the scattered grass on both points chasing bait.

009

A great way to end the day and you could not ask for a more beautiful sunset.

Not a bad for a short afternoon trip.  After struggling a little the last couple of trips I am looking forward to getting back on Coleto to try a couple of other places that fit the pattern.  What we really need is some rain to get the lake coming up and some cool nights to drop the water temperature.  But they can be caught right now so I am not complaining.

Friday it will be one those fish until you drop days at the Gulf.  Wednesday they were hitting lots of different baits so it will be a matter of refining exactly what technique will catch the better trout.  So look for that report and I got the Shoedog’s report and will get it posted tomorrow.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Keller Bay 10/22/14.

Fish Catching Travel

In keeping with what has turned into this week’s plan, fishing 5 days in row, it was off to Keller Bay.  I hadn’t been back there since Aaron caught the giant redfish so anticipation was high.  Every once in a while you get a sign that you have made the right choice in where you decide to fish, and I got one today.  Monday we put in at POC and there was maybe 6 trucks and trailers at the ramp, when I got to Keller about 8 am there was 8 trucks and trailers.  For a week day that was a bunch.  Remember if there is N or NE wind Keller is a good choice as the whole north bank is protected.  And the best thing, the water this morning was that wonderful clear blue trout water.

The plan was a straight wade day.  Part of that plan was to wade a big stretch of the north shoreline along the high bank.  I knew immediately I was late.  There was bait and fish moving everywhere and I caught a trout on topwater in about 5 minutes.  From then on it was bites all the way until I quit at 2.

007

Talk about a bite!

Part of what I wanted to get done today was to fish several things, and I did.  Though the first mistake was switching topwaters.  Starting with a smaller Skitterwalk in the chrome got me some trout and one fairly nice red, but there were multiple misses.  I had several nice reds boil it close to me, a cool sight but they were not eating it.  So I tried the KVD in the small bone color and the large Sexy Shad, but they were just not having it so I went to plastics.

Let me take a moment to tell you about a new to me bait I have been using.  Lately I have been using a new plastic from Down South Lures that has started to show up at stores in our area .  It has a much smaller paddle tail on the end which combines the best of the paddle and straight tail baits and it flat catches fish.  It has a nice firm body, but does not have dead feel some plastics have, and it can take a lot of fish without tearing.  When combined with a 1/16th ounce jig head can be effectively fished in really shallow water.  So far I have caught flounder, reds, trout, black drum, and a few other odds and ends.

003

Last one in that bag so it is off to Academy before tomorrow.  Try them, they work.

I actually stayed on that same bank until 1:30 catching fish off and on for 5 hours.  Most of the trout were small, a problem, but not a bad one to have if you like catching fish.  Mixed in were the occasional keeper sized.  By time I left it was an easy 20 or so, with around 4 or 5 so that would have kept, but since I was not measuring today who knows.  Most of the fish were caught waist deep throwing the Down South into 3 – 4 feet of water near the slight drop running down that bank.  And it helps that there is grass out there in that depth.

010Lots were like this, borderline but since I was not sacking them today I didn’t measure any.

As part of the plan I wanted to throw the popping cork with a Rage Shrimp tail and the MirrOLure Mirrodine in the soft body.  They were not interested in the Mirrodine, but the popping cork caught several.  The wind was perfect as it was blowing right down the bank when I decided to quit.  So anchor up and drifting to ramp it was popping cork.  I caught several trout and another red.

012

Never a doubt when a red takes that popping cork down.

Just for the heck of it I tossed that chrome Skitterwalk and caught several drifting in that 3 foot range.  The wind had come up some but they were still hitting topwater.  If I had stayed with the Skitterwalk a lot more fish would have come over the side on topwater.  But no complaint when the plastic bite was consistent the whole morning.  It is a tough life when they are biting and you can not make up your mind what to throw.

It turned out to be a good trip, if I did not want to get home and clean the boat and do a few other things I would have stayed.  Those days when they bite all day are few and far between.  The area reports are still lots of small trout, and that has been my experience.  But the numbers of 13 – 14″ trout is a sign of things to come.  And with our new reduced limit we can expect things to really improve on big trout in the next couple of years.  And with our really good winter fishing for big trout right around the corner, and I can barely wait.

*******************

Here is a cool picture of a snake, a big snake.  It was killed in our neighborhood this weekend.  Initially it was reported as a rattlesnake, but my buddy Chris says it is a Cottonmouth.  No matter what it is one big pit viper!

snake

Look at the head on that thing, now that would leave a mark!

******************

So after 3 straight days of fishing you would think that it might be an off day, but no.  This will be a 5 straight days of fishing.  We have clouds so it will be off to Coleto for an afternoon bass trip.  But I am really looking forward to tomorrow.  We will have a one tide day with a good high and low, and it has the potential to be awesome.  One thing on the agenda is Aaron’s method for catching good flounder, hope it works like I think it will.  Just pray for light winds.  Where is still the question.  It will simply be a matter of wind direction.

I also just got the Shoedog’s report on his trip to Noconiche so I will get it up later today or tomorrow.  Of course there will be a couple of more reports from bass fishing this afternoon and the Gulf tomorrow.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.  Fish till you drop!

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Coleto Creek 10/21/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I had some of those things that needed doing that get in the way of fishing, so I got them done and it was off to Coleto for an afternoon trip.  There was very little wind when I got there, and it looks like the lake has remained about stable since my last trip.  The grass is still receding and it has changed what pattern I did have.

First it was up lake to throw some swim jig.  There was no wind so I just worked what isolated grass patches I could find.  The first one over the side was small, and then I went about an hour without a bite.  With no wind and some grass on the bank it was the frog next.  A small one missed it, then a pretty good one blew up on it and I missed him.  At this point the wind was starting to blow a little so I decided to give a spinnerbait a try.

The first one missed it out of a small patch of grass so I decided to buzz it to the patches and stop it.  I caught a small one then finally caught one worth catching.

002

No giant but at least I finally got one worth a hoot in the boat.

The wind would just not blow hard enough for efficient spinnnerbait fishing so I finally broke down and got out the buzzbait.   It is one of my most effective baits into November and December before it gets really cold.  And around my second cast a real giant blew up on it and missed it.  It was the biggest fish I have seen in a while so it was buzzbait the rest of the evening.

004

After about 3 or 4 more hits this fatty finally hooked up.

By this time I was midlake on a flat bank with grass and small points and getting a few bites.  When the one above missed it I just dropped it and he ate.  Which made me wish I had done that on the big fish.  Oh well, live and learn.  Not 15 minutes later on a little flat point one just climbed all over it with one of those bites that keeps me throwing the buzzbait.

007They love that Strike King buzzbait in the Sexy Shad.

After this one something happened that really surprised me, I never got another bite.  I worked my way down lake all the way to the ramp, fishing grass, points, calm, wind, shade, you name it, and they just were not having it.  So right before sundown I called it a day.

For the day it was at least a dozen bites, but only 5 over the side.  It comes down to one thing, we need that water temp to drop.  Instead we continue to be in the high 80′s  every day with warm nights, not enough to get the fish thinking about the fall feed.  Most of our fishing this year has been later than usual on both the Gulf and freshwater, and it seems to be the case on the lake this fall.  And our forecast is no help for the week as it will remain warm.  But no fear, our good fishing is coming and as soon as we have a cool day with clouds and rain the fish will bite like crazy.

The Shoedog will have a report in a day or two.  I don’t want to steal his thunder, but his day sure started off interesting.  So look for that soon.  And I did want to add one thing – Quit throwing your f’n line in the lake you idiots.  When I got back to the ramp I had about 40 yards of some ridiculously heavy mono wrapped on my prop.  Not only can it mess up seals on the lower unit, but much worse, it kills things.  I can’t believe there are people that clueless and uncaring.

Speaking of wildlife several deer were feeding around the lake, and I saw a rub on a tree about as big as my leg.  No little spike made that one.  I saw a couple of gators, and when I pulled the boat out to put it on the trailer this guy would not get out of the way until I shooed him off.

009

When you throw your line in the lake it is little guys like this that suffer and die.

So what is next?  It will be on the water somewhere, maybe for the next three days.  I haven’t been to the Powderhorn or Indianola in a while so as long as we get out of this north wind one of those will be next.  The tides are still crap, but it looks like Friday we may actually have a real 1 high and low tide day with what looks like good flow, so that will definitely be a Gulf day.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

POC 10/20/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Today was the first day of what will be several days of fishing this week.  The weather is coming around and we don’t have that many days until the time change.  With that will come getting up and hour earlier to be somewhere at daylight.  Today it was fishing with my buddy Jeffish, who hasn’t fished with me in while.

We got to Froggie’s around 9:30 and the plan was first Big Bayou for some reds, then the Oil Cut for some to trout, and then a wade.  That plan worked out, sort of.  When we got to the Gulf it was blowing 10 mph or so out of the north, I don’t know what the water temp was, but I know it has cooled significantly, and as it has been for weeks, the tide was super high.

With the wind blowing straight down the Bayou it was definitely a spinnerbait kind of day.  We started right at the mouth and fished the whole left and right side.  My real goal today was to get Jeffish a nice red.  When I was getting him a spinnerbait I had one white Redfish Magic and I thought what the heck.  They are eating white shrimp and mullet so it made sense.  And it was definitely better than the colors I tried.  I think he caught 5 in there, and these were the keepers.

abcd

 Headed for broiled redfish on the half shell.

It probably took about 2 hours to fish the whole thing.  He caught 5 or so, I caught 3 or 4, the only problem was several of his hit the cooler, mine were midgets.  I also missed a red that might have made the grade.  The better fish were on the soft bottom, flat grass banks.  We just stayed off the bank and cast to the edge of the grass followed by a nice steady retrieve.

 On the way to the Oil Cut the wind started picking up to 15mph plus.  It was blowing right in so we started near the mouth of the cut, and I caught a trout on my first cast.  As we went down the bank 6 or 8 came over the side, with one sand trout, all on paddle tail plastic.  As usual it was tough to fish with a bow in your line, but you just had to man up.  Jeffish kept with the spinnerbait, and while he missed a couple of small trout on it, that bank is deep with a sharp drop, rarely a good spinnerbait bank.

We made a pass and a half down the Cut, and though we caught some trout and a couple of rat reds, just like last trip there were no keepers to be had.  So with that result we decided to head back, make one more spinnerbait pass in Big Bayou, and then see if my favorite wading bank had some clear water.  Once we made it back down to the Bayou the water was really beginning to cloud up.  I missed a good red, and I think we both caught one or two small ones before we headed to Barroom.  Unfortunately by this time the wind had a serious head of steam and was blowing down Barroom.  So we did one drift on the POC side and caught another 2 or 3 rat reds.  So instead of running way the hell and gone to find clear water with little wind we called it day.

We did have something happen today that was just interesting.  When I fileted the one it had something hard in her gut so I cut it open, and boy was it weird.  In her belly was a rubber grommet about the size of a quarter.  That just shows you, those wacky redfish will eat anything if you just get it in front of their face.

If you are a black drum fisherman you need to get out there now.  We saw black drum here and there during the day.  A couple of them were hooters.  Funny we just didn’t throw at them but neither of us wanted one so we passed.  And while we were cleaning fish a guide came in with his customers and they had a cooler  full of them.  And speaking of no better time, Aaron caught 4 flounder with a new method the other day.  Not sure where he heard of it, but as soon as we get back to the Gulf flounder will be on my menu and I will fill you in.

The Shoedog is getting up at some ridiculous time tomorrow and heading to a small lake in East Texas.   Lake Naconiche is near Nacogdoches TX.  It is around 700 acres, and while we are not sure what he will find, we have heard good things.  Of course a bass almost 13 lbs being caught there doesn’t hurt anything.  So good luck Shoedog, hear how it works out.

We had a good time, and considering we didn’t marathon fish, we caught some fish.   And it was real nice as there was hardly anyone out there.  Jeffish was happy, that is one of the better reds he ever caught.  I was happy, I was fishin’.   Now I just have to decide what is next.  I haven’t hit the lake in a while, but if the wind doesn’t blow it will be back to give the flounder a go.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Random Stuff 10/18/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Just wanting to share a couple of things with you that have piled up over the last few days.  One thing I have heard lately from several folks is how good both the flounder gigging and fishing has been.  Of course it is that time of year, and with the limits about to change in November this is the best time of the year top sack a few.  So with that said here you go…….

flounder

Now that is some nice flounder!

I got this picture from the Masked Flounder Assassin.  A lifetime flounder gigger, he set up his new to him boat this summer and it looks like he is making good use of it.  Thanks for the pictures Dude, I can taste them melting in my mouth just looking at the pictures.

I also heard from my buddy Aaron while we were at the Orroyo that he had figured out the flounder the other day at the Gulf.  He did say that he was using the 2″ Gulp Shrimp.  As soon as he gets back in town I will get you some more details on that one.  I am sure we will be flogging several different species this week in several different places.

*********************

The Shoedog’s buddy Terry, a Nebraska Cornhusker, and someone I fished with on Falcon, got a new GoPro and he sent me his first video.  It shows what having a camera at the ready will do for you.  A good start Terry, so keep them coming.  And be sure to send me those big buck down pictures this fall when you get one of those big Nebraska monsters.  And one other question big boy, when the heck are you gonna get down here for some Gulf fishing?  I will be happy to show you some real fish!

 Be sure to send me more, we love to see them.

************************

And to the rest of you folks, we love to see your pictures and videos so please send them along with your story.  I am happy to add them to my content, it helps me out too.  So that is it for today.  Next it is Hogs vs. Georgia, A&M vs. Alabama, and a host of other games. Then it is back to the fishing.  One trip I want to do soon is to Lake Sommerville to catch some white bass.  While not on most peoples bucket list, I love catching them in the fall, and Sommerville also has a good population of Hybrid stripers and they fight like the devil.  So keep stopping in, keep those cards and letters coming, and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Orroyo City Texas 10/17/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I am finally  back from the lower Laguna Madre, and it was an interesting trip for several reasons.  The Shoedog, Chris, and I headed out Tuesday morning for the Orroyo area towing the airboat.  It was Chris’ second trip down there, and while Shoedog and I have fished out of South Padre several times, this was a relatively new area for us.  It took us a little longer than usual to get there as we had to stop a Roy’s Bait and Tackle so Chris could pick up another Yeti.  No he did not buy it, he won it with a raffle ticket he bought from the Shark-A-Thon.  Believe me, we needed another Yeti on this trip like we needed a hole in the head, but who would turn down a free 75 quart.  He also won a heavy duty offshore rod and reel last year so his raffle money has been well spent.

Day 1

I will get you the name of the place we stayed from Chris and add it to this post later, but it was a small 2 bedroom cabin with kitchen facilities and a lighted pier for night fishing.  So we settled in and headed to get something to eat.  It was Chili Willies for supper.  Good food at a good price.  Be advised in Arroyo City there are only 2 places to get something to eat, 3 on the weekend.  But Chili Willies hits the spot for hungry fisherman and is worth a try if you are down there. We did a little night fishing under the light and other than 4 or 5 small trout it was slow so we called it a day.

First thing the next morning it was off to Peyton’s Bay, north of the Orroyo Colorada Cutoff.  Chris headed to the west shoreline to chase reds with his flyrod, Shoedog and I waded out into the bay looking for trout.

003

Shoedog and Chris.  The only way to go. 

Shoedog caught a couple of ladys on topwater, as I did.  I got a little luckier, so to speak, and lost a good trout near bait, and had a big red boil my topwater about 3 foot from me.  I think Chris might have missed a red, but other than that we are shut out so we headed to the islands in front of the bay and tried the one of the cuts between them.  Chris had a couple take a swat at his fly, but none hooked up.  Meanwhile Shoedog and I just could not put a trout on the stringer.

Next it was across the bay heading a little south to the east shoreline.  That shoreline is a true sand flat.  It has miles and miles of shin deep water clear as moonshine.  The goal was to sight fish for redfish.  It reminded me of bonefishing, a real spot and stalk area.  Chris had a tailer go down on his fly and not eat it, and he got a couple of other shots that did not pan out.  Shoedog missed one, caught another ladyfish, and then had a good keeper break his line.  Right after I got out of the  boat I got a shot at a red who followed it all the way in and then spooked.  Finally I made a perfect cast to one in about 12″ of water and he turned on it and ate a plastic.  It is flat out cool to see them do that.  I did not take the flyrod this time but will definitely return and give that a go.

We made one more stop on the flat further down and something happened I have never seen before.  As we came to a stop there was a nice red who got seriously confused and turned and slammed into the side of the boat so hard he knocked himself out!  Now that was crazy.  We all had a shot or two on that wade, but none hooked up so off we went.

Next it was an area labeled 46 East of Green Island.  The wind finally kicked up some and we drifted the north end of the island east and finally put a couple of nice trout in the boat.  Shoedog got us started with a nice 19″+, and I put one in the boat.  We had been giving him some crap about how firm the Coccahee Minnow plastics are, and of course he caught several more on it.  It was a green and red body and he had it rigged upside down.  But no matter how it was rigged they liked it.  We made a couple of other drifts in that area without success so it was time for another move.

From there it was off to the area on the Padre Island side of the Intercoastal in front of Rattlesnake Bay for some drifting to finish off the day.  That area is marked on the map as number 34 Grass Beds and 48e Mike’s Drop Off.  Shoedog put another keeper trout in the boat on plastics.  It was funny when we were talking about fall fishing and I commented I had not caught a big black drum in a while.  And of course what happened?

001

A great fight on my light trout rod and 8lb. test.

When he hit it was one of those toss it in there and the minute it hit the water he was on.  I knew it was a black the minute I set the hook and while it was a good struggle, he did not make the box.  We did not even check if he fit the slot, none of us considers them worth the effort to clean for what you get.  So our day was done and it was back to the cabin.

015

Headed for the fish fry as the guests of honor.

The airboat was a great asset there.  The amount of shallow water down there is astounding, and as it was a learning trip we wanted to cover lots of places to get a real feel for the area.  And with the day 1 fishing we did some serious riding around and looking at stuff.  One piece of advice if you have never been down there, be careful.  Those of us up here in the POC area think we have some shallow water but there are miles and miles of water less than 2 foot, with lots in the 1 foot range in the lower Laguna, be advised.

Day 2

The next morning we hit the ramp a little after 6 and headed down the Laguna to start in an area labeled 26 East, of Three Islands.  It is a has a depression that is 3 foot deep and the trout were there.  To bad they were small.  We did catch a couple on top, and some on plastics, but just could not get the better ones to bite.   We tried a couple of other drifts here and there and then it was 25, Oil Field Flats.  I think we might have caught another couple of small ones, but as the tide was slack they were taking a break.

We did some cruising around the Cullen Channel area just looking, stopping here and there, tossing to a few deeper channels.  The only excitement was Shoedog stuck a big ray on his trout rod and it was quite the fight.  It finally broke off near the boat after a long fight.  Hard to land those things on light line and a trout rod.

One thing that was amazing this trip is there was almost no wind both days.  Well finally the wind started blowing about 10 mph out of the Southeast, blowing into Cullen Bay.  We made our first drift from Townsite Point into area 32 Flounder Hole.  There is a sandy area on the Townsite Point side that turns to grass in about 2 foot of water.  On drift number 1 Shoedog had a big blow up on topwater, and Chris had a couple of hits on top, they were definitely redfish so we motored up and did another drift when a nice school of redfish, maybe 12 – 20 were right in front of the boat.  Chris hooked up, Shoedog hooked up, and I almost hooked up.  To bad when I retied earlier I forgot to wet the fluorocarbon knot and my knot came untied, rookie mistake.

006

A nice red.  Look at his mouth, that thing choked on that Zara Spook, you don’t see them eat it that far to often, especially head first.

So now things are really looking up.  They are eating, we see them moving all over the flat, and it looks like it is on.  But wait just a minute fish heads, the fish Gods were about to remind us what can happen out there.

Chris went to start the airboat and the bendix on the starter was not seeming to catch.  He tried a couple of times and then we heard a piece of metal hit the bottom of the airboat.  Yikes, one of the starter bolts broke off at the block.  We tried a quick fix with a strap and of course it wouldn’t work, and when he tried it again we heard the other bolt give way.  So there you have it, the starter is hanging off the motor.  Now we are at least a mile from the intercoastal via super shallow water.  But all was not lost, Chris has SeaTow.

Folks, it has been quite a while since I have been broke down and I had let mine lapse, but that will not happen again.  The tide was way out and we were in a place where there is no way in unless you had an airboat.  And if we had to wait until someone saw us we would still be sitting there.  But Chris called them and they sent an airboat to get us.

011

Getting hooked up.  When I say shallow water we are talking shallow.

As Chris had the full package they actually sent the airboat and they towed us back to our home port, in this case the ramp at Orroyo City.   So off we went at a blazing 5 miles an hour.  As we cut across a shallow flat our boat hung on a sand pile and the rope broke so we hooked back up and kept on going.

009

Re-tying and off we went.

Our trip back ended up taking over 2 hours, it is hard to get a head of steam with a smaller airboat towing a bigger one.  But we spent the time watching the bottom for cuts and holes, and we added a couple of more places to the list of where to fish next time.  We saw a couple of deer, a coyote, and one Nilgi cow that I couldn’t see.  It was interesting as we entered into the Orroyo Colorado we ran the mangrove shoreline along the wildlife area and watched shrimp by the thousands bailing out of the mangroves as we went by.

The guy pulling us in told us later that the river has lots of trout in it right now with all the shrimp there.  He said any cuts along the river leading into the refuge have trout stationed in front of them munching on the shrimp.  A good tip if you are down that way in the near future.

We finally got it on the trailer and the fishing was over.  We immediately headed to the car wash to rinse the boat.  The spray from the towing boat blew on our boat for 2 hours so we cleaned it up right away.  Talk about over spray, the fan from  the tow boat put an inch of water in the other boat before we got back.

I want to take a moment to talk about the towing insurance.  Whether it is Boat US or SeaTow, it can be worth every penny.  And get the whole shebang including the trailer rider.  Chris has used his 3 times in the last few months.  First when his trailer axle broke, then when the tide went out under his boat while wading and he was grounded, and then this time when the started broke.  3 different times, for 3 completely different reasons, any of which could happen anytime. And for his under $200 a year he got what could have easily been around $3000 ended up costing nothing.  So I am going to renew tomorrow and keep it up.  It has been 10 years since I really needed help, so the odds are not with me.  This could have been a real hassle, instead it was just an inconvenience.

Though our trip ended up being a day and a half of fishing, it was a really good time.  New water, different techniques, and the fun of running water shallow enough that it wouldn’t even cover your ankles.  Though we did not “kill” them, we caught enough to not get skunked, and we learned a lot.  We were able to really look stuff over, and next trip I would be comfortable with taking the flats boat down there.  Now I did not say over confident, just that we have enough knowledge to keep out of trouble.  But I would never fish that area, or any other, without the towing insurance.  You just never know..

I am not sure what is next, but this trip did not leave me fished out by any means.  It looks like the weather is about to change with more rain in the forecast and fall is just about here.  And with full scale hunting about to hit there will be lots of folks off the water, with some days on the water feeling like I have it all to myself.  So I will finish putting stuff away, check the boats, and then some more fishing.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

(Joe – sorry I did not answer your question, I accidentally deleted it so send me a new comment with your question.  Sorry.)

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

How to Blog.

Fish Catching Travel

The question I get most often here at fishcatchingtravel.com is how hard is it to do a blog?  Folks it is both hard and easy.  When I began thinking about a blog my only computer experience was in email and research.  Other than that limited computer use I did not have a clue.  So how to start?  Google it.  But that is not the first step.  Step number one, and the most important, what to blog about?

Why should people care?

To sustain a blog you have to write about something that you are passionate about.  Not only is it what you know the most about, but it will keep you writing when you are tired or discouraged.  Once you decide on your subject there is a big question: Why should people care?

The great thing about fishing is it is the most popular sport in America, which gives me  a committed audience.  Of those practitioners many are passionate and ridiculously dedicated to their hobby, a fertile ground for getting folks to give my blog a visit.  So when you decide what you want to blog about, make sure that there are lots of folks out there who share your interest.   A website detailing the life and times of the Siberian Three Eyed Toad may be a good read, but who cares?  A site about a specific breed of dog, or the joy of cooking, has millions of folks who care about those subject, so choose well.  And so important to your subject is a significant presence of websites on the net where folks with similar interests gather.  Later we will see the true importance of that.

Practical 

So now that you have a subject, and a potential audience, what do you do next?  For me it was using a commercial hosting company.  I decided on HostGator and boy am I glad I did.  For a small fee every year they renew my domain name.  Then I pay a fee every three years to cover the hosting of the site.  It basically runs about $220 for all of it every three years.  What they provide is the actual hosting, and the biggie, a complete minute by minute tracking of who comes, from where, what time, and on and on.  These numbers let you know how your blog is doing.  It is imperative that you know these numbers, especially if you are hoping to sell advertising at some point.

Now this may sound funny, but I am still amazed that my blog came out like it did.  HostGator provides Word Press, which is the program that you use to write and build your blog.  I had no experience and was able to work my way through setting it up.  It wasn’t always easy, but message boards through HostGator can get you help from others, many of them serious webmasters, and folk on their staff.  The few times I have used the board I was able to solve the problem fairly quickly.  So do not let the setting up of the blog deter you, there are other issues that are so much more important.

Writing

So now you have your website set up it is time for the hard part, writing.  I can not stress this enough, you have to write, and I mean often.  If you are not committed enough about your subject to write something at least 2 times a week, on a slow week, your blog will fall flat on its face.  You can not build readership and continue to get folks to come back without new content.  There are so many blogs and websites that have stale content from last year, or 2 years ago, and when most of us land there we might read it, then we leave, never to return.   If you do not write they will stop coming, end of story.

As part of you writing you must post photos.  Now if your subject is politics or some specific scientific site, as a couple of examples, photos are probably not necessary.  But if you write about fish, dogs, kids, or a host of other subjects, you must have photos.  One great thing about the Word Press platform is everything you need to post photos is part of the program.  If you can save a photo from the camera to your computer you are in business.  So carry a camera, folks love photos and you do not have to be a pro for them to like it.  You just have to take the time to put yourself in a place to take pictures of your subject to post on your site.  And it does not take a high dollar camera, a good point and shoot will do the job.  You just have to take the time to do it.

If you have chosen your subject well, there will always be something to say.  With that comes research and planning.  You have to keep up with your subject no matter where it takes you, but as long as you do you can always say something that folks with your interest or passion will listen to.  So unless you are an expert keep your subject broad enough that there is plenty of subject matter to keep writing.  And part of that research is doing a web search and find where folks with interest in your subject hang out, that is where the money is, as they say.

Making Folks Come

Search out the message boards, the online chats, and anywhere else people gather online who have your interest.  And then participate.  Take part in intelligent discussion online with others.  Be a constant presence on these sites and participate so folks know who you are.  Then begin to network.  In my case I would post my fishing trip results, take part in discussions, and post pictures.  Basically I participated in about 10 sites, which takes time, but pays big dividends.  By posting reports and information I was able to add my link and they started coming a few at a time.  It was around 80 visits the first month to my site, now we will top 120,000 visits a year 3 short years later.  And all of it was by participation online.

As you become better known online you will naturally meet other folks with websites like yours which leads to all kinds of ways to help you both.  One site I post photos on then allows me to put my link, which of course leads to other users.  Of course I return the favor as much as possible by referring folks to his site.  These kinds of online relationships lead to more readers and opens up further opportunity to expand.  If your content does not fit with other types of websites do not link with them.  Stick to the subject, that is why your readers are coming.  Online exposure is the key to growth and one of the quickest ways to grow your readership.

There are other ways to get readers, and maybe they work, but I have never used them.  They charge for their services, and some do not even bring “real” readers, something that will cause Google to downgrade your ranking.  They way to get it done is to write and network.  My readers are loyal, living, breathing people.  If you write with passion, and do your networking, they will come.

Keeping Up

So you build your site, write your first article, then what?  You have to keep up.  I do not allow commenting on my site until I have reviewed each and every comment folks leave on my site.  Once you start you will be amazed at the comments you get.  Some are great, some crazy, and last but not least, tons of spam.

First you must answer each and every comment you get that is relevant.  Make folks part of the site, it keeps them coming and promotes discussion.  Sometimes I post the comment, sometimes I broach the subject and let others comment depending on what it is.  You also occasionally have to answer folks personally.  It can, and does take lots of time, but it is a mandatory.  Folks want to know you are out there and give a hoot about what they think.  It builds good will.

Spam is another issue that comes with the territory.  There may be a plug-in out there that catches spam, but I doubt they work.  I deal with it comment by comment, deleting all spam as soon as it comes in.  Never, ever, answer anything out of content, and never click on anything.  They are leaches who pray on the internet, so ignore them.  They will never go away but 10 minutes a day and they are deleted to spam hell.

Review your numbers often.  They let you know the important stuff, like when people come, how long they stay, what they read, search terms that got them there, and on and on.  All of that information helps you to focus on what folks want, the key to keeping your blog growing.  It also lets you know the best days to blog.  Many of my readers come on Friday and Monday, and that is due to the subject matter.  your subject may have specific times and days readers come, so make sure that you try to post as close as those times as possible.

Odds and Ends

I have not solicited advertising on my site.  There are a myriad of ways to make money off your site, but for me it is more specific than many of the programs that will generate revenue.  In my case it was building readership before even considering soliciting ads.  There will never be any ads on my site that are not specific companies that deal in one thing, fishing.  And I will take it a little further, only companies that have products that I use and believe in would ever appear on my site.  That is a decision I made, and consequently there are no distracting off-topic ads on my site.  We are about fishing.  So be advised that it will take a while, so be prepared to work hard.

SEO – Search Engine Optimization.  Let me tell you what I know about that, basically nothing.  I am continually spammed by companies wanting to sell me systems to promote SEO through use of key words, specific terms, and other techniques that draw more readership.  Remember I am not computer savvy, so I stick to the plan, write and write often.  If you are serious about your blog there is a world of information out there about the technical aspects of blogging.  It will take time to learn, but if you are wanting to reach serious commercial viability you will have to become proficient at the technical side.

How public do you want to be?  As I said before building your blog you must have a net presence, so you have to decide how far you are willing to go with your web identity.  I write under the pseudonym of redfishlaw.  That is my screen and blog name.  I keep my personal life separate from my net life.  As I have built relationships with my readers of course we exchange emails and have personal contact.  As an example, if you are writing about technical issues as an example you would clearly want to write under your own name to give validity to your writing.  So you decide how public you want to be, it is really site specific.

Conclusion

If you are passionate and committed you can do it.  The technical stuff gets easier, but the work grows as you site grows.  It takes time to keep you site up.  It does not matter if you are tired, out of town, sick, or any of the other excuses we all come up with, you have to keep writing.  It has to become a part of your life, in fact if I had to compare it to something it would be an exercise program.  You have to take the first step, and then keep on stepping.  It must become part of your life, and though you can take a day or two off now and then, it is a commitment.  And when it works, when folks thank you for your writing, when the first 10,000 folks come, then a 100,000, every minute becomes worth it.  So if you have something to say, say it.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Lots of Stuff 10/11/14.

Fish Catching Travel

The plan was to hit the Gulf for a few hours today, but the Hogs have Alabama at 5 so it would have been a short trip.  So first thing this morning I went for a walk with the lovely Nancy and there were some big cloud heads in the distance and you could feel the moisture in the air.  By time we had some breakfast there was thunder off in the distance and a short while later a couple of great showers.  So I called off the fishing for the day, we will be on the lower Laguna Madre for a few days starting Tuesday so I guess I can make it a couple of more days.  And with us still 10 inches down we need every drop.

*********************

If you read the Shoedog’s last adventure at the ramp on Fayette County you will love this comment I got from Rusty who is a regular there.

“You had me laughing!!   Tell Shoedog the exact same thing happened to me about three weeks ago on the SAME ramp!!     We were the only boat there at daylight and had to wait about 20 minutes til another boat showed up.  The guy that pulled us out,  unhooked his boat and trailer, so he could tow us.  Funny now, but it wasn’t at the time.
I have now added a good tow rope ( I only had a lariat rope) to my stuff in the truck.  Fishing has been very tough on Fayette last couple weeks. Tight lines and tow ropes!”

Actually this comment from Rusty made the Shoedog feel a lot better.  You just never know.  And congrats to the guys who pulled you out, what goes around comes around and they banked some good karma as the Shoedog says.  So if you fish Fayette be warned.  The other ramp is a lot better.  So thanks for the warning Rusty, it may save a couple of other folks from the same fate.

*******************

Speaking of the Shoedog, he went the next day after the Fayette fiasco, so here it is.

What a Difference a Day Makes!

“If you read my escapades from yesterday at Fayette Co. lake, you know nothing went my way for sure. Almost had the truck slide in the lake and only caught 2 fish all day…..not good. So today I thought I would stay close to home as rain chances were increasing  and I fished the lake here at our house.  It is about 40 acres and has come back nicely from the drought of a couple years back when we lost around lf the lake for over a year.  

I didn’t get out until about 8:45- a little lazy. Not too bad a wind and a nice cloud cover. I started on the smaller of two creek arms and as soon as I got of the main lake and back into the mouth of the creek started getting bit. I caught a couple nice ones and a couple small ones and then went back in the creek arm. It was calmer back there and I got no bites at all so I went back out on the main lake.

As soon as I got back out there and fished the shallow areas with weeds I started to catch more. Almost all the bites came in 1 to 2 feet of water. I fished out to the main point between the 2 creek arms and went around a couple old timers crappie fishing-  looked like me and redfishlaw in a couple years! 

After I got past the point and was throwing back into the shallows I got the big bite. All the fish came today on white Strike King Bleeding Bait 3/8 and 1/4 ounce spinner baits and this big girl inhaled one of them.

pond1

That is a good one on a spinnerbait anywhere.

I still love the way a bass can smack a spinner bait- nothing better! I kept catching a few nice ones and then noticed a lot of action starting further back in the shallow area back toward the larger creek arm. There is a big flat there that has a lot of good weed cover and the bass were chasing bait everywhere.

pond3

I am also a fan of the Strike King Bleeding spinnerbait.  Sturdy and it catches fish.

It is always cool to see this and even though they were all small fish it was neat. They were coming out of the water and herding the bait up into the weeds and going at it.  I caught about 20 little bass from this years spawn- a great thing to see for the coming years and when I got tired of that I so I started back down the opposite bank back towards the damn. About half way down- again in a bout 2 feet of water I had another good bite for my second good fish of the day.  

pond2

Nothing like a fishin’ hole full of bass and crappie in your backyard!

Over all I caught well over 30 fish before 12:15 and it slowed down as the clouds cleared and it got hotter out. I had some banking to do and needed to spend some time getting some boat maintenance done and prep work for our trip to Laguna Madre next week so I knocked off and headed in.  Over all a good morning fishing and a darn sight better than yesterday- but that’s why we keep fishing- for mornings like this!” 

Good job Shoedog and thanks for filling in while I was out of commission.  It seems like when the fish are doing that busting thing out of the blue it is usually a shad spawn.  Sounds like they were on the chew, hopefully when we get to the lower Laguna this week your good luck will come with us.  Thanks for the report.  And the rest of you out there we would love to share your stories or pictures.  Just drop me a comment in the comment section and I will get back to you be email.

***********************

I was wondering how the lovely Faye and her husband Steve (who knows, maybe Steve is lovely too) did on their short trip to POC early this week.  As I wrote the other day the reports from the Gulf have been all over the place.  Super high tides have spread them out, and some folks are struggling.

“Good morning, HIGH TIDES!!! 

We fished Monday and Tuesday.  The winds were low and the tides were some of the highest we’ve seen.  Both days we caught a lot of undersized everything; reds, spanish, sheephead, sand trout, 0 – specs ( hmm – I think the really small ones were stealing my bait).  We even caught one in Big Bayou that we didn’t know what it was.  We called it the diamond back rattlesnake – pike looking thing with lots of teeth, about 10″ long and cigar shaped.  LOL   (Note:  We call them Lizard fish, probably I should look them up.)

We hit a ton of areas and threw the tackle box at them.  We drew a big 0 at the jetties.  That’s a first for us.  We hit: the old coast guard station, Mitchell’s Cut, Saluria Bayou, the reef at the entrance of Big Bayou @ the bay, Big Bayou, ICW.  The most action was in Big Bayou.  We trolled and threw lures all the way in on the left side.  We did catch a keeper red (threw him back) while anchored on the point at the last marsh island on the left.  Steve pitched a 5″ Gulp weedless shad up to the shallow flat and the red hit it immediately.  He also caught several rat reds on the Redfish Magic.  The best color was a white/neon green or light chartruese. 

We had a really great time and we caught fish.  Sometimes it’s just nice to stop and enjoy getting to cruise in our boat and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells!!!  AHHHH 

So Steve did good getting my yearly birthday fishing trip in to our work schedule.  Let’s hope we get back down towards the end of October – 1st of November. 

Tell Shoedog he’s one lucky son of gun!!! 

Thanks for your time and hope you have great fishing coming up.

 Faye & Steve”

Happy 30th Faye.  Now talk about a great relationship, the husband gets off the birthday hook with a fishing trip, that is awesome!  I could get away with that too, as long as there was some jewelry attached!  Your report sounds just like what the Shoedog and I encountered a couple of weeks ago.  We caught the snot out of them, just lots of small ones.  Thanks for taking the time to let us know how you did.  That is not the only report I have that is similar.  As I remind myself often, it is not all about the catching, we all need to take the time to enjoy our fishing for what it is.  You never know when the nest trip could be your last.

********************

Chis made it to the Gulf this weekend.  He reported he also got stuck, though I am not sure whether it was the boat or the Raptor.  Either way getting stuck is the pits.  He fished the south shoreline, around Greens, and Cedars.  He caught quite few on topwater but only one kept.  Lately it seems like you can catch trout on topwater, but the better ones are hard to find.  So the fish are biting, and as we are going to be getting some colder weather with the next few fronts it should really start to improve.

***********************

That is about it for today.  I got my stuff ready for Orroyo City, and I am going to try something a little new for me.  We will be in really shallow water so I think I will give topwater a go on spinning gear.  Being able to toss it a long way in clear shallow water can only help, and a little fluorocarbon line should help.  We’ll just have to see how that works out.  I will be posting off topic tomorrow.  The most common question I get is not what about this place or that bait, but how do you do a blog?  Hopefully that will answer that question.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my blog.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Fayette County 10/9/14.

Fish Catching Travel

(Please forgive the couple of formatting errors.  I am just to tired to correct them.)

While I am unable to fish right now, I will get that fixed this weekend, the Shoedog got a chance to fish Fayette County today.  We really like that lake, and very rarely do we have a poor day.  So I was really looking forward to his report when I got home late.

“I planned on an early start at Fayette County lake Thursday as the wind was supposed to be light and cloudy most of the day- sounds good- right?   Well- the weather- for the first time in a long time- did what it was supposed to- a great day for fishing!    But- Karma had other plans.

It started out at the ramp at Park Prairie. I was the only boat! Amazing.  And I was a little late- it was past sun up- barely. It is a sorta steep ramp and it is VERY SLICK at the bottom. We have never had a problem getting out- but it can be tricky. So I backed the boat in and the boat didn’t want to run real smooth- it had been a few weeks- and the water wasn’t coming out of the pee hole. So- I got a toothpick and luckily that was all it  needed and after after the boat ran a sec that was good too! So- I left it running and went to pull the truck and trailer out- I had  left them on the ramp as no one else was around. I started the truck, released the park brake and started to pull out. 

A soon as I did- the tires slipped badly and then everything started sliding back into the lake- oh #%&*! I slammed on the brakes  and reset the parking brake and a took a deep breath…..Then I tried again and it was worse- sliding back even when I  reset the parking brake. I had to keep my foot on the brake- any thing less and I was going to slide all the way into the lake. 
 So- here I am- no one anywhere around- the boat running at the dock and me sitting there with both feet on the brake pedal  just waiting for my truck to slide into the freakin’ lake! What do do? Call my wife In College Station? Call redfishlaw in Victoria?  Neither is practical. I have a “sorta smart” phone and was figuring out who or what to do as I sat there.
 It seemed like a long time- but was probably only 10 minutes or so and one of the park caretakers pulled into the ramp area and  I waved like a wild man. Luckily he saw me and came down. Neither of us had a chain, but he called one of the other fellows that works at the facility and he brought a chain. We pulled the truck out part way- with no incident- then loaded the boat  and pulled it out the rest of the way. Wow was I lucky! 
You can’t thank folks enough when they come to your rescue on the water on on the road- these gents were truck savers!  I can’t imagine how bad it could have been- I wish I had some pictures of it to remind me to not use that ramp again!  I went down the road the Oak Thicket Park and it is a much better ramp. I had used it before and will ONLY use it  from here on out!  So, anyway, this is supposed to be a fishing report, isn’t it? Well- it didn’t get any better once I was on the water either.   I didn’t catch a fish until 10:00 and not my second until 10:40- and that was it for the day! We can usually catch anywhere  from 17 to 70 fish there any given day, but not this day.
fayette october 001
Fish Number One.
Both came on my go to gold Rapala Husky Jerk but I threw the  whole tackle box at them- something I don’t usually do. I stick with a core selection of baits- tried and true- that work  99% of the time. Today was a 1% day!   Oh well- better than going to work- right! 
I noticed that all the grass seemed to stop at 5 1/2 feet of depth- we usually catch a lot of fish in 6-10 feet there over hydrilla and other grasses but today the grass was not there- weird. Only one place on a point down close to the damn  did I see deep grass on the locator. I guess it was not a good day to be a shallow water fisherman!
One of them was a nice fish and the 2nd was a good Fayette Fattie as we call them.
fayette october 002
A nice one.  Probably thought things were really looking up.
Now I can’t decide where to fish tomorrow- any suggestions? Remember to stop and help someone when they need it- cause- as I learned again today-   you never know when it is going to be your turn! Tight lines everybody!”
Thanks for the report, nothing like one of those nice fall days when the bass fishing is tough.  Good thing you got some help, that sounds like it sucked.  Luckily we have slipped the tires on that ramp a couple of times, but never got stuck.  But thanks to the guys who helped you out.  So your Karma may have sucked, but they have a good thing coming to them.  We should help everyone out on the water that needs it, you never know when it is your turn, today was your turn.  Thanks again for the report Shoedog.
I can not wait to get back on the water, a week is way to long.  But with Port Mansfield coming up there are 3 full days there and that should cure my ills.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff. 
Good Luck and Tight Lines.
Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Random Stuff 10/8/14.

Fish Catching Travel

As those of you who read my stuff know I have been helping out a friend in need this week.  I am not sure when it will be done, but I did want to share a comment I got from Jeramie.  His comment, and picture, is the reason I fish Coleto so much.  It can happen any time, any cast, and when it does it is a thing of beauty.

“I enjoy your site, I fished coleto for the second time yesterday and did quite well including a fish that was 7.5-8 pounds . I’ll keep checking your post to keep updated on the lake. Keep up the good wrk. If there is any way to send u a pic of fish I’d sure like to.
Thanks”

jeramie

That is one awesome bass. 

Thanks for following through and sending me the picture.  I so appreciate all of you who comment and send me stuff.  Keep up the good work yourself Jeramie, that is a good fish anywhere.

I have been hearing varying reports on the Gulf.  Some folks are doing pretty well, others are struggling.  According to a couple of guys I spoke with the tides are still high and there are lots of areas that are really flooded.  When we have so much water it can really make it tough.  And to go along with that it seems when we have those high tides neither the rise or fall are that strong.  That is when I throw that Redfish Magic and cover lots of water.   But come to think of it I really don’t need an excuse to throw a spinnerbait.

Hopefully I will have a Gulf report from a friend who wanted to know if I was busy tomorrow.  So if you hit the Gulf tomorrow Chris we want all the sordid details.  And Faye, how did your quick POC trip go?  So come one folks, help me out here.  I can’t make the water for several days yet and it is killing me so I need to here if any of you are catching anything.

Sorry for the short report but it is late and it will be another long day tomorrow.   Bear with me, I will be on some water Saturday somewhere.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment