Just Freakin’ Dandy! 1/12/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It Only Hurts When I Breath!

I have heard from some of you the last week or so wondering just where I have been.  On that point I like this comment/question from Jimmy the best.

Getting worried about you, still kicking? I been missing your posts.

Thanks Jimmy, but unfortunately I am barely kicking.  I have avoided addressing this with you all, but looks like it is time.  When I say I have been sick, I mean coon dog sick since right after getting back from Colorado.  It should have been one of those week long flu things, but unfortunately it is appears to be a nice fat case of pneumonia.  I kept trying to get past it but it has just been to tough.  And as those of you who know me, if I am sick enough that it has shut me up I really am sick!

So what next?  I start a round of some big time antibiotics tomorrow, and all I know is it better work because I have had it.  Plus the Boss and my Doctor” are threatening me with further medical intervention, which I am desperately trying to avoid like the plague.  It is not that I do not have complete faith in them and their judgment, it is just I am the worst patient in the history of medicine.  So I will cooperate with orders as much as it pains me.  It has been many moons since I felt this poor and I am sure ready for this to be over.  Basically I have left the house a couple of times in weeks, but it just is to much effort so here I sit.

I ask that you hang in there with me.  While a bump in the road, obviously there is an end to it and I will be back on my feet with a fishing pole in my hand soon.  With any luck I should start making some progress within a week.  So that is why I have been offline.  As Mark Twain said, the rumors of my death are premature, but I sure feel like death warmed over.  Plus this no fishing thing is almost as bad as the being sick part!  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC – NOT 1/3/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Happy 50th Birthday to my buddy RO!

The Best Laid Plans………..

You may have wondered if I died, well I sure felt like I had!

Tuesday Weather

75/51   Mostly Sunny  Tuesday Wind 5 – 10 out of the West.  0% chance of rain.

Tides

High 12:43 am 0.3   Low  2:44 pm -0.3 Tidal coefficient 68 (average)

Solunar Times

A one fish day.  High activity 4:59 to 6:59 am.  Average activity 10:59 to 11:59 am.

It was Monday night as I prepared this for the next mornings fishing.  The day had potential and I was looking forward to getting back to the bay.  I was watching the news as I prepared this and they had a report on how the this years flu shot might not be the most effective.  How prophetic.

During the night Monday I started getting sick, and I mean real dog crap sick.  Tuesday was miserable, Wednesday was horrible, as was Thursday and Friday.  So here it is Saturday morning and I am finally able to attempt to start catching up on things, though I still feel like crap.  After having a cold a couple of weeks ago, and now this, I am feeling snake bit.

I have gotten my flu shot every year for several years and have managed to avoid a case of the flu, but no such luck this go round.  I have not been this sick in years and hope to never ever feel this poorly again.  So time to catch up on a few things and get my feet back under me so just maybe I can wet a line this week.  This sucked!

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

Finishing off the Colorado Trip.

Hanging out with his girlfriends.

Here are the last few pics from Colorado that I wanted to share with you.  It really was a good trip, and for me the most surprising thing was the fishing opportunities, I did not have a clue.  And for the Boss and I seeing the wildlife, driving mountain roads, we love doing that and Colorado certainly fills the bill.

Checking us out.

Several folks told us the same thing, Come for the winter, stay for the summer.  Folks were so nice and friendly, and different from some places, actually appreciate tourists.  Their window is short and they are glad to have visitors.  It seems they have not gotten to the “Visit and then please leave” stage yet.

Everywhere you look.

Reminded me of Big Bend – Big As All Outdoors!

One thing I wanted to say about Steamboat Springs is for a ski town, it was not high dollar like Vail or Breckenridge.   So we will definitely be back when the weather is warm.  I had not been out west in over 40 years and it was way cooler then I remember.  That is definitely a function of age and the ability to appreciate things for what they are.

           We saw more antelope this trip than any we have ever taken.

With over 30,000 elk in that county you are sure to see some.  We did not see any big bulls though.

The Aspens are beautiful with fresh snow on the ground.

The Flattops.  I am going to catch a trout up there some summer day!

The day we made a long drive I went to pull a u turn and when my front wheels hit the edge of the road it dropped straight off and we were hung.  We call the 4 Runner the beast, and it was a good thing it was the Trail Edition.  Into 4 low, then crawl, and we barely managed to get out.  Love my truck. We also got lucky this trip and it snowed perfect for us, and the temp was not to oppressive.  A couple of days ago there it was 20 below and snowed a foot or two.  That is winter.  So never say never, but I hope we get back there again, there is some fish to be caught.

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

I have a few comments from you all I wanted to catch up on.  Maybe just maybe I can start the next week off even and well.

I got this comment from Billy, real timely considering it is colder than hell this morning here is South Texas.

Wow, you speak so highly of that Laguna guide. I have never heard of anything of that nature…….lol.
Good read. Waiting on the pictures. Did y’all see any bears?
As for the temps. You can have all that. Gets below 55, maybe 50, I’m done.

Unfortunately no bears, think they were all denned up.  And funny you mention the temperature, how is this morning workin’ for you?  I guess if I had to be laid up a few days this is a good stretch to be out of action.

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

 I had not heard from Rick in a while and wanted to share this with you.

What a great recap of your fabulous Colorado trip. Great pictures of a beautiful place.Your writing style makes me feel like I was there with you (except for the fact that as I’m writing this its about 75 degree’s outside). Now go getcha some trout.  Hope you and your better half have a safe, fun and healthy New Year!!!

Thanks for your comments, and believe me, I sure was trying to get some trout.  I will be watching the weather closely looking for a couple of days of clouds and low wind to try to time the Baffin thing perfect.  Time to catch a big trout.  And best to you and your family this year.  Mine is off to a slow start but there is no where to go but up.

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

 And I got this kind offer from Joe Bass.

Happy New Year Doug, and if you need a extra body to drive to canada to fish. I’m there with you. No serious, I’m retired and ready to fish. 21 hours, 1200 miles to chicago, i have done it..the drive !!

Thanks but Canada is just not happening this year.  The Australia trip is a big time budget buster and my other fishing travels will all be close to home the rest of this year.  All goes back to my answer when asked “what’s up?”  The price of a good time, or in this case, travel.  But who knows, a year without boating a muskie will probably be long enough.

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

Happy New Year Doug! It was a great year of fishing and I look forward to what 2017 has to offer. God bless and tight lines!

Jim

Thanks Jim, this year had it’s moments and I too am looking forward to 2017.  And since mine got off to a rough start last week there is no where to go but up.  I appreciate you sticking with me.

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

And last but not least I got this interesting comment, though I can not tell who it is from I thought I would share it with you.

The 800-pound alligator was about 40 yards away from nearly a dozen people swimming at the creek, said the nuisance control hunter from El Campo .

Not sure when or where, but it sure does call up some ugly pictures!  So thanks for the comment, be sure to let me know who and what next time.

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

Sorry all this is somewhat disjointed and disorganized, but that is my state of affairs at the moment.  So at least I am caught up and both the quality of the writing, and the amount of fishing, has no where to go but up.  This weekend will be football and trying to totally recover so the fishing can resume with a vengeance next week.  So keep warm and have a good weekend.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Trout Fishing in Colorado 1/2/17.

 FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Great – another potential fishing hobby!

(Wow, 2 posts in one day, with a few more on the way.  I am trying to catch up.)

On our way to the dog sledding I noticed a brochure on the dashboard for the Yumpa Valley Anglers.  So I asked the driver Ryan, who turned out to be one of the owners, about the fishing.  What started as just a question turned into a fishing trip.  I was really surprised by the amount of fishing in the area, shows what a little research will do before you go.

Ryan has fished all over the world, and actually has fished Arkansas.  And his partner Matt still guides the White and North Fork each year, along with the San Juan in New Mexico when the time is right.  We shared some fishing talk and I got excited to give it a go.  I can cast a little with a fly rod and was wanting to experience this winter fishery.  Ryan had a commitment the next day so I set it up with his partner Matt.

The next morning Matt picked me up at the hotel and off we went.  It was a balmy 8 degrees.  We stopped and got a day license and then headed to the Stagecoach tailwaters.  On the way we learned we had a lot of common experiences in similar places.  Matt is friends with Dave Whitlock, a famous trout fisherman, author, and artist from my neck of the woods.  He told me he met Ryan in Alaska and has since moved to Yampa permanently.

Great Folks!

http://www.yampavalleyanglers.com/

It might have been 8 degrees when we got to the tailwaters.  Lucky for me since I had no fishing stuff with me, he had waders, boots, and rod so I was in business.  We got prepared and made the walk down the hill in a foot of snow to the water.  The weather was crisp, but as usual, if you are ready for it no big deal.  You can always take it off, but if you don’t have it you sure can’t put it on.

Matt getting us ready to roll.

The tailwaters was small by my standards, heck I could even cast across it with my very beginner skills.  The first thing that impressed me was the size of the fly, or lack thereof.  You could have put the whole fly in the eye of a good size circle hook.  We used several flies that morning, most being nymphs and other little hairy things under an indicator.  I forgot to check but the rod was probably a 5 weight, it was light and easy to cast.  The leader was the size of a gnats eyebrow, and the split shot was the size of a number 8 shot.  Really small stuff.

The pool on the tailwaters.

Matt was great with my total lack of skills and spent the whole morning teaching me, not only about presentation but about fish movements.  He was extremely patient.  He knows his stuff, end of story.  It took me a minute to get the hang of it, but I finally caught one.  You could see them finning, it was only a couple of feet deep at the very most.  And I do want to add that I got hung on a fence behind me, a couple of trees, and roots across the creek, and Matt handled it like the professional guide he is.  I told him it was different being on the other side of this deal and it was nice to have someone change my baits!  Especially when you could only have your fingers uncovered for about a minute!

My first rainbow on a fly.

Talk about a subtle bite.  When you fish by feel as much as I do this was a whole new game.  But Matt worked with me and I managed to land another one.  These fish are relatives of the original stockers decades ago, now they are all wild.  You could sure see the difference from the stockers I have caught in the past.  And the bigger one was a good tussle on the light outfit.

My second.  The colors were fabulous.

At one point we waded to get a different presentation and Mat said look behind you.  Turning around there was 5 or 6 nice trout who immediately set up right behind our feet, using it as a break in the current.  During the whole time we could see trout moving and feeding.  It really was interesting and I can not say enough about my Cocoons, good glasses are mandatory.

What a beautiful place to fish.

Before our half day was over I hooked 5 or 6, landing 2.  How many did I miss – a bunch!  It really was a unique experience.  Like I told Matt, I need another outdoor hobby like a another hole in my head.  But no matter, it really has primed my desire to get after the reds with my fly rod here on the coast, and of course to try this trout fishing thing again.  The whole experience was great.

Give them a call, you won’t be sorry.

I want to say a little bit about fishing with Matt.  I have fished with a few guides in my life, and known a ton, and he is probably the most professional guide I have had the pleasure of fishing with.  He does not fish, and his whole attention is on you catching a fish.  He has fished with everyone from the basest rookie like me, to real pros.  He has fished nd guided many places around this country, including Florida, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Colorado, to name a few.  He still fishes those places and can arrange any type of trip you need.  After fishing with that famous horses butt guide out of Corpus last year who was just a pompus jerk who seemed to mail it in, Matt was a real pleasure.  If you ever want to fish that part of the country, or any of the other places Matt fishes, I can not recommend him any more highly.

And though I did not get to fish with Ryan he and I agreed on lots, especially when it came to sharing information and trying to help people catch fish,.  That is what primed me to try them out, and if my experience with Matt is any indication of how it is fishing with Ryan and any of the Yampa Valley Anglers it will be tough to choose  when I go back.  And about the cost, trust me, crazy low for what they have to offer.  So if you are interested in wading a tailwater, doing a drift fishing trip, ice fishing, or fishing high mountain lakes for big rainbows in the summer these are the boys.  When you add in the scenery there is no better trip.  For me this is in the same class as the Everglades, Lake of the Woods, Louisiana, or any of the other great destinations.  What a place.

So that was my second big adventure on the trip, and I really enjoyed it.  I listened to what I was told and tried to do it right.  Just the amount of pure knowledge Matt shared with me was worth the cost.  It was a great day and I wanted to personally thank you Matt, you are a real professional.

And last while having an adult beverage at happy hour the guy next to me started talking about fishing and so of course I interrupted and he ended up showing me his trout pictures, wow!  So the Steamboat area has plenty to keep the family busy while you sneak out and catch some fish no matter what time of year.  Next I will get up the obligatory mountain, snow, trees, elk, mule deer, and antelope pictures.  We got lucky and saw quite a few cool things on our trip.  But that will have to wait a day or two.  I am headed to POC in the morning to catch some of those “other” trout.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Colorado 1/2/17.

 FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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A Great Trip

It is good to be home after a long drive and one great trip.  So much to see, and so much to do, the one thing I can say about Colorado in the winter is it is cool.  And for a skinny guy like me to like anything about 5 degrees you know it was awesome.  It was a 2,600 mile round trip, and worth every mile.

The Boss did a great job of picking the town, and in our case it was Streamboat Springs.  The reason for the decision to land there was to take a ride with the Alaskan Huskies on the dog sled, and it was every thing we hoped it would be.  There is lots of other  stuff to talk about,  but lets get this one out of the way today.  Next it will be my first real adventure with a fly rod.  Fishing in 8 degrees was something, but I did it before, and would do it again in a heart beat, but first to the dogs.

Grizzly – T

Those of you who have read my stuff know that we lost our beloved husky Gabby last year after 14 years.  It was our second husky and we just love the breed.  So the Boss wanted to take a bucket list sled ride so we chose Grizzly – T, and it was a great choice.

Operating out of Steamboat, they actually come and get you and take you to the dogs.  We had 10 South Africans in our group and us.  Once you get there you can participate all you want, and we did it all.   The weather forecast for the sled ride was for 30 degrees and snow, and it was all that.  It could not have been any more perfect.

The man who was in charge has raced the Iditarod 5 times, some of the dogs who have actually raced were there.  The give you an orientation on operating the sled and the dogs before you start the harnessing.  The most important rule –Never Let Go of the Sled!  If you do the dogs will run, and run, and run.  More on that later.  The dogs got more and more excited as we actually put on the harnesses and got them ready to go.  We were on a racing sled with 6 dogs, 5 females, all from Alaska.

The Boss with hands on.

Ready and waiting.

It took about an hour to get that all done, and by time we headed out the dogs were all barking and howling to get going, what a sight and sound.  The coarse was 10 miles and off we went.  Driving the sled you realize how powerful the dogs are, they just want to run.  For some reason I got the hang of it right away, and it was exhilarating as we ran through the snow storm.  What more could you want on that adventure?

Both girls are ready to run.

I was up first.

We brought up the rear of 6 sleds so as we ran it was quiet, just the dogs breathing as they ran.  It was just plain something.

So much heart.  They just want to run!

I drove the first half and the Boss rode in the sled, then we traded places and she drove the team and I was wrapped in the sled like a pig in a blanket.  We were rolling along fine when disaster (not really) struck.  We tipped over as we rounded a corner and I ended up head first in a show drift.  But like the trooper she is the Boss did not let go of the sled and we were back in action  in nothing flat.  Just like getting knocked out of the boat on a class 4 rapid in Costa Rica, tipping over while not recommended, put a real stamp on the day.  Cool.  I have it on tape and when I get a chance I will post the video.

Right before I bit the dust.

The Boss taking us home.

The ride ended all to soon.  It was almost magical for us, nice and cold as it snowed, it was the kind of experience we hoped it would be.  The dogs are so awesome, the folks who run the show are real pros, and what was there not to like about the scenery.  I can not recommend the folks at Grizzly – T any higher.  A first class operation with folks who love their dogs like they should, it was an all around bucket list trip and when we get back, which we will, we will do it again.  What a way to start day 1.

Check out their site – a real first class operation.

http://www.steamboatdogsledding.com/

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

Once we got to Colorado we stayed in Pueblo the first night and on getting up the first morning we headed up to Colorado Springs, turned left off the interstate and took a 8 hour drive through the mountains the long way to Steamboat Springs.  All I can say is it was flat beautiful driving, and I am so glad we took the long way.  One of those drives that words can not adequately describe.  Massive snow covered peaks, animals, forest, a real change from our coastal plain.

I do want to say a little something about Steamboat Springs.  Neither of us ski but there is plenty to do.  Dog sledding, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, fishing, there is plenty to keep you and your family busy.  We stayed right down town in the old town, and could walk to all the eating and shopping you could want.  In fact, with the number of shuttles and buses you do not need a car.

The shuttle bus on that picked us up was driven by Ryan and I noticed a brochure for Yampa Valley Anglers on the dash.  I asked him about it, and boy did it take off from there.  Ryan has fished all over the world and we not only had mutual aquaintances from Arkansas, including his partner who guides there off and on every year, we have fished many of the same places.  So the deal was done and I set up a fly fishing trip with his partner Matt for the next day.  More on that tomorrow.

We finished off day one with a great happy hour and of course to much food.  By that point I am getting excited about the trip in the morning.  It was a great way to start day 1, and day 2 turned out to be just as cool as I thought.  Besides the fishing I have some great wildlife pictures, if you like elk, mule deer, and antelope.  So I will get both up shortly, along with a few other pictures and comments.  Tomorrow I will be waist deep in the Gulf looking to sack a few trout and reds.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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2016 Year in Review

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL 

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As I do every year it was time to look back at the pictures from 2016.  There were good times and bad, some big fish caught, some tough days, but most of all there was fun times.  My biggest fish on 8lb. line, a couple of really nice trout, and a bag full of solid bass.  It is easy to see and track the fishing by just looking at a couple of pictures from each month.

January

A trip to the mountains of New Mexico

You gotta love Baffin.

No really, I love the Upper Laguna

And a few bass along the way.

I would like to take a second and thank those folks that have helped me out with some support.  I love my Cocoons, they put additional fish on the end of my line, they work.  And Coastal Fishing Gear with the WadeRight harness came on board and I use it religiously wading.  Having 2 rods is the bomb, not to mention not dunking my reels.  The Bagley Bang-O-Lure has been one of my favorite baits for almost 40 years, and it works just as well today as it did then.  Hard to improve on perfection.  So thanks, Dave, Tim, Don, and all the rest.  Every little bit helps.

February

It was a big bass month.

Love that swim jig!

And we smoked them with the Austin Boys.

There was a short but ok white bass run on Coleto.

March

Whacking them in Arkansas on the Alabama Rig.

And Coleto produced lots of good fish on the Bang-O-Lure.

And lots of hybrids, whites and stripers on the Arkansas trip.

My best striper of the trip.

April

The wading was good that month for reds and trout.

A nice flattie.

And Coleto stayed good.

May

The limit restriction on trout seemed to really start to show a better average at POC.

I love it when you hold the camera way out and can not get the whole fish in the picture.

And a good trip to Fayette.

I fished with lots of folks this year.  Clyde, Jeffish, Billy, Voe, Jeff, John, Todd, Pete, John, John, Chris, Dave, and I can not even remember who else.  Troopers all, we had a good time.  And Chad the Mad Trout Fisherman’s reports have added another dimension to this blog.  Thanks.

June

A heck of a black drum on 8lb line and my trout rod.

And still loving the size of some of the trout this year.

A nice pike on the Canada trip.

We saw momma and her 2 cubs.

And what more can you say about the ridiculous smallmouth fishing?

They were freakin’ toads.

The smallmouth fishing in Canada was stupid good.  But after a while it is just catching another one.  With other plans this year there won’t be a Canada trip.  I think Florida will be back in the picture in the fall if I can swing it.

July

We love Big Bend National Park.

A huge canyon leading into Mexico.

It was a slow month for me on the bay.

The beginning of a period of lots of unders.  Though no complaints as each trip we caught lots, just a big run of unders.

August

But there was the occasional good one mixed in.

The fishing was pretty good in August.

And the reds were pretty steady.

And Coleto did it’s part.  Overall it was a good month in terms of sheer numbers on lake and bay.

September

Coastal Fishing Gear came on board.

Saw some great sunrises on the bay this month.

That will work.

It was actually pretty consistent.

And always getting me some of those Coleto big ones.  Fishing was consistent on both lake and bay considering the hot weather.

It was so hot during this time period I did not fish all that much.  And it really was a run of unders and we had several days we caught them one after the other, and barely scratched a limit.  Guess I am going to have to add the live bait thing to late summer, early fall.

October

The fish were biting.

The Bagley Knocker B topwater did it’s part.

No real big trout, but plenty of keepers.

The bass were biting but running small with falling water levels, high water temps, and no grass.

November

Yummm!

Getting it done with the Austin Boys.

My best of the year.

No weight or measure, just quick CPR and in she went.

And a nice red out of Garcitas.  I always look forward to the couple of months when the trout come in the rivers.

And the trout came into the Lavaca.

Though still slow the lake gave up the occasional good one.

This year fishcatchingtravel.com had it’s 500,000 visitor!  That just blows me away.  From a few over 60 visits the first month we run around 7,000 – 10,000 visitors a month, depending on how much folks are fishing.  I like that distinction, it lets me know that folks come here for real fishing information when they are headed out.

December

Headed out on Garcitas.

The Austin Boys had them surrounded.

We sacked a few, considering the wind blew 30mph+ and the ride back was the freakin’ worst, this was a good mess.

And a great day on the lake with the Bang-O-Lure.  It is about to be big bass time on the lake.

And a real good one on the swim jig.

Last, but most importantly, I want to thank you the readers.  That is what this is about, and it is what keeps me writing.  The fishing is easy, the keeping up with this is the work.  So thanks for coming, and there is one group, you know who you are, that I can never thank enough.  You have been here from the beginning and I feel like I know each and every one of you.  Thanks.

2016 was a good year, but 2017 is shaping up to be epic.  On the books already is a few days on the Upper Laguna the minute the weather is right, and I mean soon.  Then a couple of days on South Padre in February.  If the wind is not to bad it will be the long run up the barge canal trying to put a winter hole snook in the boat.  And the couple of times I have fished it this time of year the good trout were there pretty thick.

Then in late March into April it will be Australia.  Maybe a couple of days of barramundi fishing, and a couple of days of chasing yellowfin tuna, both hopefully getting crossed off the bucket list.  Makes me excited just typing that.  And if God is kind, and the creek don’t rise, trips to Louisiana and Arkansas are worked in there somehow.  And that is just the next 5 months.  What is there not to like about that?  And of course the regular fishing will continue on.

So I am sitting in a motel in Big Springs Texas as we are on our way back from Colorado.  As soon as I get home tomorrow I will get up some great pictures and stories.  We had a wonderful time driving the mountains, seeing the wildlife and we saw a bunch, taking a sled ride with the Huskies in a snow storm (awesome), and I caught my first trout on fly in a tailwater when it was 8 degrees with a real pro.  More on that coming, I had no idea there was that much good fishing there.  What a trip.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Happy Freakin’ New Year

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Christmas Day 12/25/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL 

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Santa Did Not Do Me Any Weather Favors

No matter what you did yesterday I hope you had a good day.  I did what I have done on many a Christmas day, went fishing.  The wind was blowing about 15+ as I drove to the lake, and it never looked back.  It began howling out of the SSE at 25 -30 and it never let up for the rest of the day.  I was late, there were actually 2 trucks out already.  First up was the bank where I caught them the other day.  The first one jumped the swim jig and I did not get a hook in him.

So I kept at it and ended up boating 6 on swim jig before I got blown off up lake.   The wind was howling straight up the lake and it was tough.  Definitely a put on your big boy pants day.  Then moving down lake to clear water, the last couple came on the Bang-O-Lure.  If there was just a little calm spot down lake I could get a bite, and managed to boat 2 and miss a couple.  It had potential to be a great day, but throwing a topwater was tough.

If you could find just a stinking foot of calm water……..

Except for one, all of the swim jig fish were small.  It was so windy that I missed more than I hooked.  It was a constant fight to keep position, and feel a light bite with a foot of slack in the line.  They still wanted it in that 3 foot range on a steady retrieve.

They wanted it splashing along on top.

I thought they might hit a crankbait so I made a pass on the good bank and missed one, on the next bank nothing.  Interspersed with those baits I would pick up that spinnerbait and toss it, but did not have a bite.  The water temp was from a low of 64 way up lake, to some low 70’s down lake.  The drop up lake is pretty quick, dropping 5 degrees in a short distance.  Funny how they didn’t bite when it only dropped to 64.  And that is why I just can not believe, but it is true, they do not want to chase the spinnerbait up or down lake, even with the water temp that high.

                                     They love that sun this time of year.

This is the time of year you really see some big gators.  They love getting out on the bank and sunning.  It has not been that cold, and they have been out every morning I have fished.  This one was not concerned and when he turned around as I got close he gave me a mouthful of teeth and looked at me like I was finger food.  And as I went down a bank a while later there was a doe bedded down in a bush right on the bank of the wind.  I grabbed the camera but before I could turn the boat she hightailed it out of there.  And speaking of animals, there are more ducks on the lake than usual.  A few coots have shown up, but the only grass is in the cove buy the fishing pier, and it is just that old nasty stuff.  That is another consequence of no grass, that huge mass of coots we had every winter.  Not that I miss them.

The best one on the swim jig.

Once I went back down lake I would just tuck in trying to get out of the wind so I could fish the Bang-O-Lure.  They want it right now, and it will only get better.  Both of the topwater fish came in a cove, as did the misses.  It is the very beginning of pre-spawn.  Time to really concentrate on the points and first 1/4 of the coves as they begin to stage.  Has the feel of a hot spring on Coleto.

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It was nice to get this timely comment from Dustin.

Thanks for the report, your blog always makes me want to make the trip to the lake. I took off the week after Christmas and will be in Goliad the entire week I can’t wait to get on the water.

If the wind will take a break, and we get the warm cloudy weather they are forecasting, the fishing should be pretty good on the lake.  I am sure there are other techniques to catch them, so do what you know.  But there are some shallow fish looking to eat.  Let us know how you do.  Thanks for commenting.

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I did want to make a comment on a short article in The Lone Star Outdoors news.  The boating industry is all in a tizzy, as they should be, because boaters have not been replacing themselves and numbers are on the decline.  So I am sure there will be cussing, discussing, and a study or two.  Here is my .02 worth.  Boats are getting to expensive, to technical, and the engines are getting to big.  Yes, there are a few entry level boats, but in the bass and bay type boats there is not much under $30,000 by time you are done.  And moving up from there folks are paying $70,000 plus for a flats boat, and $125,000 for a low end center console, neither a small purchase.  Add $300 fishing reels, $200 rods, and $500 waders, it has gone crazy.  I have been concerned about what has turned into “the cost” of fishing keeping younger kids from even getting started, and the cost of boats is not helping matters.  When you are talking these kinds of dollars it is easy to see why new buyers are not entering the market.

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The next time I post it will be dog sledding pictures.  We loved our Huskies and actually getting to go on the sled and help with the dogs will be cool.  And it knocks off one of the Boss’s bucket list.  And it will be crazy to go from 80 degrees with gators sunning, to a couple of feet of snow and 15 degrees.  When I get back it will be the Upper Laguna countdown.  Just watching for that 2 -3 day window when clouds meet calm, and I will be gone.  Time to catch a big trout.  Looking forward to a great year, and am glad that any of you want to come along.  And if you have anything to say, jump in, we love hearing from you.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 12/23/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL 

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Merry Christmas!

It May Not Be A Cure…..But It Sure Made Me Feel Better!

She knocked a foot of slack in my line!

A couple of things happened this morning that ended up with me on the lake.  First I almost felt like a human when I woke up.  Second, there was good breeze out of the south and it was drizzling.  My favorite weather to bass fish, so at 10:00 I loaded up and hit the lake.  And boy was I glad I did.

Weather

70  Cloudy.  20% chance or rain.  Wind 10 – 20 South.  (It drizzled 20% of the time.)

Water Level

This Trip   95.55   Last Trip  95.55   (stabilized)

Solunar Times

  • Best Times   6:04A – 8:04A
  •                         6:26P – 8:26P
  • Good Time    11:54A – 1:54P  (Yes it was.)

I started on a couple of main lake banks near the ramp throwing the Bang-O-Lure.  It was just a little to windy, it was blowing 15+, but I had one roll on it and miss.  I tried another bank with a spinnerbait and had 2 just plain miss it.  So I headed up lake and caught one on a spinnerbait on a tree on a point.  Then I made the best decision I have made in while.

Though I have had a tough time up lake up, I went.  I started on a flat with the wind hitting it at an angle.  It looked to good to not have fish on it.   There was a little color and chop, and when I had another one miss the spinnerbait, I switched to the swim jig and it was game on.  Like I always say, listen to the fish, and they were telling me we do not want to work that hard to catch our supper.  So I slowed down and it worked.

            They were munching that swim jig in a couple of feet of water.

Basically the boat was sitting in about 4 – 5 feet and they were a little ways off the bank.  The best retrieve seemed to be slow until it hit bottom and then steady.  Some pounded it, some ticked it, and a couple knocked slack in it.  It always amazes me how they can eat it when I have the rod pointed right at them and line watch, and then it moves a couple of feet before you know they are on.  When the big girl above ate it the line just went completely slack.  I love that!

                A couple on spinnerbait but the swim jig was way better.

There are still fish on the wood, both spinnerbait fish came off logs, one on the third cast to the same piece.  The couple I caught on spinnerbait blasted it, but the rest were behind it.  If I had to guess only 2 out of 6 or so caught the spinnerbait.  Once I switched to swim jig I caught at least one everywhere I fished before I quit.  The average size was good, and I added my share of smaller ones, all on the swim jig.  I was throwing the bluegill/watermelon red Rage Craw trailer.  That is probably my go to bait most of the year on Coleto.

They just kept eating the swim jig.

I actually re-fished a bank, which I hardly ever do, and that one area, a couple of flat points, probably gave up 15 or so.  It was hot.  The water temp is barely 60 up lake, and not a whole lot more than that down lake.  I can tell you all I want, but those yellow Cocoons are the bomb for cloudy days.  Being able to see the wood before you are right on it put several fish in the boat during the day.  Make the right cast with the swim jig, reel it close, give it a hop, and hold on.  Sure is fun.  I really look forward to this time of year on the lake, catch the right day and you can put them in the boat.

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Let Dez handle all you boat lighting needs.

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I got a couple of condolences for my whining about being sick, including this comment from Texas Jim.

Sorry to hear about your illness Doug. Don’t sweat it everyone gets sick some times, get some rest, enjoy some family time, and get ready for a better year.

On another note this will be the 3rd year I will go on the annual trout fish alone. I am alone this time of the year, so that is what I do. Launch XMAS day out of Seadrift.

Thanks for another great year of reporting. I do my best fishing reading your blog and looking at your catch pictures OH< and enjoying the comments about the Austin Boys and the rest of your fishing gang. Bless Your Wife for putting up with you…..

First my wife thanks you.  To be so lucky to have going on 30 years with the best woman in the world, I married way above my pay grade.  She lets me pursue this without complaint.  I wake up every day thankful for her.  What wife tells her husband, “Why don’t you go fishing in say, Australia, this year?”  (Note: Going in late March, I can not freakin’ wait!)  What a bomb.   And whether it is the Austin Boys, Chris, the Mad Trout Fisherman, Bobby, or Billy, anyone who fishes with me is part of the Bar Hoppin’ Fishin’ Crew, just like all of you guys who have supported this blog.  I am so thankful for all of you.

Time for a funny story.  The first saltwater tournament we fished we called ourselves “Bar Hoppin’ For Tail.”  Get it?  Well it was a catholic tourney and when we won some money the priest said, “And the third place trout goes to Bar …Hop…pin’ For …………….Tail?”  Ooooppppsss.  So we changed our name, but you have to admit that was funny.  At least all the fishermen in the room thought it was!

And about the time you will be slipping out of Seadrift I will be dropping the trolling motor down on the lake trying to boat that big one.  I love Christmas morning solitude, time to reflect.  And when folks tell me they appreciate “fishing” through me when they read this ranting it warms my heart.  So good luck to you and keep in touch.  Would love to hear how it goes no matter what.

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And it was special to hear from Rusty, the Fayette-Bastrop guru.

Doug, I feel your pain.. I have had the same thing since last Wed, over a week now. My wife started getting it about three days ago. Hope you and your wife get better!
Merry Christmas, Rusty

First I want to personally thank you for staying with me on this fishing journey.  One of my longest running readers, his reports are always good to get, and I appreciate his support.  My wife and I have both turned the corner just in time. Merry Christmas to you and your wife, and we can all look forward to another great year on the water.

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

This day on the lake is what makes Coleto what it is.  A steady bite and a nice average.  We are in the early/early stages of pre-spawn and it will only get better.  The next couple of months is the time to catch a really big bass.  And as soon as the Christmas festivities are over it is Baffin, then South Padre for a snook I hope.  But first the wife and I are off to Colorado.  We have had a husky for many years and love the breed.  One of the things on her bucket list is to do some winter dog sledding, and we are headed that way.  Should be a real experience, they are such fine animals.   That is it for today, hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 12/21/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Sorry for the no posts this last week but things have been a little rough around here since I posted last Friday.  It is now Tuesday afternoon and I finally felt good enough to finish rewiring the trolling motor.  The last well breath I took was Friday afternoon, and I have literally been sick as a dog for 4 days.  I took my flu shot like a good boy a month ago, but it did me little good.  Then to add insult to injury the Boss got it, and is now a day behind me.  So no fishing, or anything else for that matter, for almost a week.  Tomorrow I am going to go, no matter how I feel.  The weather looks great to be out there so I will take it easy and hit the lake.  Looks like the lake has been going back down a little, but it should be ok.

Weather

70/54  Sunshine and clouds mixed.  0% chance or rain.  Wind 5 – 10 South.

Water Level

This Trip   95.55   Last Trip  95.67

Solunar Times

  • Best Times    4:44A – 6:44A
  •                         5:05P – 7:05P
  • Good Time  10:54A – 12:54P

It is Thursday morning as I write this, I have been up for a couple of hours coughing.  I have had a bad cold or two in my life, but his is getting ridiculous.  It is now a solid week, and I am still sick.  Which brings me to my short fishing trip to Coleto Creek yesterday.  I should have stayed home.

The Boss has saved a life or two in the last 35 years, but in this case she tells me this is a virus and it will play itself out when it does.  Sorry, no cure for you.  And unfortunately she has it so we are both a mess, and boy am I tired of it.  Well folks I am ready for this thing to go away.  It is really a full scale pain in the ass.

It was about 10:30 when I finally dropped the boat in the lake.  The lake is on the fall again after that little bit of rain, and the water temp has dropped a ton.  From mid 60’s in some of the lower end areas, to the high 50’s up lake, if I had to guess it has dropped a good 15 – 20 degrees.  Just as this cold has kicked my butt, the fast water temp drop, along with falling water, has the fish on edge.

To make a long story short, I caught 3 on the Bang-O-Lure, all small, had a good one roll under it and not commit, and missed another 2 or 3.  I fished about the way I felt, poor.  The water up lake was milky, and I did not have a bite fishing up there for over an hour.  So it was back down lake to the clearer water.  I am not sure whether the fishing was that slow, or it was me, probably a combination.  The last straw was I had a small one eat it right at the boat, and I was late setting the hook, and the bait hit the side of the boat and broke the bill off my favorite Bang-O–Lure.  Dang it!  I guess I was just pushing it trying to fish, but 4 days on the couch is a long freakin’ time to not move.  After 3 hours I surrendered and headed to the house to be sick and whine there.

So today I will take it easy and see if I can make some progress.  I want the magic shot, which unfortunately does no exist.  Funny how many diseases they have cured, but the common cold still does not have a cure.

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longlogo-200x92Let Dez handle all you lighting needs.

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There was one bright spot in my week, a little Christmas present compliments of Bagley Baits.  I have been looking forward to giving the new Bagley Rattlin’ B Minus a go, it is specifically designed for running much shallower than the usual rattling bait.  The obvious applications will be shallow grass or flats in the spring, giving the angler a chance to have a rattle bait that runs over the top of deep grass or shallow cover.  The application I am interested in exploring is for speckled trout.  Being able to keep it around 2 foot deep it really opens up areas that were not fishable with the normal rattle bait.

Also in my little package was a few of the Sunny B’s.  A balsa crankbait, it has been used successfully by the Bagley tournament pros over the last year.  It looks like a killer!  The minute I opened the box all I could think about was using it on Fayette County.  Like the Bang-O-Lure, I would characterize the Sunny B as somewhat of a finesse bait as far as crankbaits go.  No rattles, just the nice tight action of a finely tuned balsa bait.  So stay tuned for a full report on both as the year progresses.

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Sorry for the ranting, but I really am sick of this.  The only thing that can be said for it is that during much of this the weather has really sucked, so I have not missed many good fishing days.  I hope to fish a day or two coming, but it looks like 4 days of rain staring us in the face.  So that is why you have not heard from me for a week or so.  But a better day is coming and I sure will be happy when it gets here.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Trolling Motor Fiasco 12/16/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Well I am home, the lucky recipient of an ugly virus compliments of a couple of rug rats.  But I will survive, but it is making me crazy today with clouds and light drizzle, a great day to put some bass in the boat.  And it is always nice to return home after a short trip and have a water line leak with nice big puddles in the back yard.  Ain’t life grand.  Good thing my best friend is a plumber.  But we had such a good time with the kids, basically our Christmas is done, which is fine with me as I have probably fished Christmas day the majority of the time over the last 30 years.  The Boss works Christmas so folks with kids can be off,  which makes for the one time each year when I have the water almost completely to myself.  Can’t wait just thinking about it.

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I Am Not Mad, Just Puzzled!

But the first order today (Saturday) was to drive to Edna and pick up my trolling motor.  Thanks to all that commented, Joe, Matt, Billy, and a few others.  It was just a case of worn parts, no big deal.  To give you a quick time line I first took it to my regular guy, and he had it for 2 weeks, and it ran maybe an hour or two before it kept doing the same thing.  So clearly they sucked on that one.

So wanting to take it somewhere else I tried Kresta’s.  I had a couple of good recommendations and couple of bad recommendations, but it is just a quick fix, what could go wrong?  So I dropped it off on the November 9 or 10, and they finally called me on December the 14th telling me it was done.  They had it for 34 days, for a 1 hour fix.  In all fairness, they apologized for the delay and everyone there was nice.  I am happy with the price and it seems to work fine, which in the end is the hoped for outcome.  But by the same token, I did not appreciate being told my call would be returned and it wasn’t when I inquired on the status after it was there for 18 days.

I have learned one thing.  During all this, after Kresta’s had not looked at it for 19 days, I called Fishing Tackle Unlimited in Houston and the nice guy would have looked at it while I was there, and if they could have fixed it while I was there the would have.  That is customer service.  I just should have picked it up and went there.  But I was told by Kresta’s on the 29th he was working on it that day.  So lesson learned, it would have been well worth the drive to take it to a dedicated trolling motor shop.  Then I would not have missed a tournament I wanted to fish, or a trip to Falcon I was hoping to make, but couldn’t without the big boat.

I guess my whole point in this is when both places were combined it was around 50 DAYS to get it fixed.  That is just crazy.  The one thing I should have done was made sure what the turnaround time might be when I dropped it off.  At least there would have been a starting point.

And to all of you who commented, including a couple of questions on fixing it myself, that is not in the cards.  I am a self-admitted mechanically incompetent.  And as I always said about things like mechanics, construction, and assorted things like that:  I will not pretend to be a mechanic, you don’t pretend to be an attorney, and it will work out fine.  This is probably the one time I could have messed it up, taken it apart, put it back together, then do it again, and again, and again, and been done way before that.  Guess I am spoiled when we had a repair shop in Arkansas where you could pull up with the boat and if he could fix it on the spot he would.  In this case, they had to order a part or two, so I understand that part of the delay.

So that is the end of the trolling motor saga, at least I freakin’ hope so.  We always learn as we go, in this case when another motor craps out it will be time to assure both boats have the same motor.  That would have solved the whole problem as I could have switched them back and forth.  So you decide if 34 days is to long for a future repair you might need.  As far as I am concerned it was.

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longlogo-200x92Let Dez handle all you lighting needs.

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One of my regular readers, who I have had the pleasure of fishing with, has a boat for sale.

Specs for my boat for sale are 2005 Shoalwater 14.5 Cat with a 2003 Yamaha 70. Trolling motor, Power Pole, and Coastline trailer are all brand new, never been in the water.   I prefer not to put a price on the site.  I would rather them call me to ask questions. 361-782-8478 

So if you are looking for a go anywhere flats boat, or have any questions, give Billy a call.  (Billy, you did say there was a 50% commission, right?)

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I really appreciate that Bagley Baits was kind enough to share my post on the Bang-O-Lure on their site.  Everything I have ever said about it was the truth.  Not only did I use it over the years guiding catching bass, whites, and stripers, I caught my fist snook on it and even hooked a tarpon over a 100lbs in the Everglades.  (That lasted about 30 seconds!) A big blue cat has fallen for the Bang-O-Lure and I even boated a big crappie on it last year.  And I almost forgot, a nice brown trout and rainbow or two wading at night on the White River.   Next I am looking forward to getting some of the new Rattlin’ Bs.  The B Minus runs in the 2 foot range and it is a real improvement for shallow water fishing from the standard baits in that style.  I see real possibilities in trout fishing by being able to use it wading in places it just was not feasible to throw the old style.  Tons of trout are caught on this style bait all over the Gulf coast, and I can not wait to give the Bagley B Minus a real try and report on it.

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That really is all I have today.  I thought I was headed to the store to pick up a few parts to properly re-mount the trolling motor and make a couple of trailer repairs, but that is probably not happening.   This is day 3 of this wonderful cold and I feel like crap.  And unfortunately the wind is starting to howl as it tries desperately to fend off this giant front which has already kicked much of America’s ass.  Tomorrow will be ugly, 40 degrees and a 30mph north wind.  So if I have to be sick this is a good time for it.  And thanks to Chad for picking up the slack by keeping those reports coming.  There is so much to be gleaned from them if you will just think about it.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lavaca + Baffin with the Mad Trout Fisherman 12/14/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I am  currently in Oklahoma City, home tomorrow, having a Christmas with my daughter and her family.  Inn the mean time The Mad Trout Fisherman has a couple of reports you need to read.  If you are a bay fisherman there is lots of great information in his posts, take them for what they are worth.  A lot.

Thanks for the time it takes you to put this blog together Doug. I’ve got a couple more reports, first up is the Lavaca river. After working on bids a few hours Todd comes by and we sit to discuss plans for day to fish. We both have a couple hours free so what better way to discuss a fishing trip, we hitch on to my flat bottom and talk fishing as we head to the ramp. We drop the boat in and run down river looking for birds, the only one we see are already sitting, so we make a couple cast in the area and whack, fish on. The tide is dropping and the current moving out of the river is pulling pretty good on my lure.  A couple of ten min drifts equals about 3-4 fish in the 14″ range so we head futher down river.

No birds working so we hit one side of the river set up a drift .  Didn’t take long to establish a pattern, down south purple / chart thrown to the shallow edges then slow rolled off the shelf of the bank resulted in 16-19″ trout.  In a matter of about 2 hrs we were headed back to the ramp with 10 nice trout and 1 bonus drum 21″.

Todd’s @5′ trout lol.  Thats what he thought.  We never did seal the deal on where we plan to fish. Only the day. Thursday!

As we head back to my house the pho’ne rings and Jeremy and his son Eathon are twisting my arm for a Baffin trip.  Didn’t take much twisting, it was like when?  In the a.m.! What time?3:30 am, ok see ya then.  So here’s the report from Baffin: We launch at Bird Island at 5:45 am head to the mouth in Baffin.  I’ve been fishing there since 1987 and never seen it so calm, not a ripple anywhere. Beautiful boat ride , water gin clear.  I’m thinking to myself, its gonna be a tough day.

First stop the Tide Gauge bar, 4 fish all 20″ or better.  Second stop East Klegbergh point, 16 fish 18″ or better  3rd stop Losscoralis, 6-7 more fish . We called it a day at 1:30. The condition were tough but we banged out 20 trout from 18-23″ 2 nice reds and a bonus flounder.

Best lure color was down south purple/chart.  Had a great time it was Eathon’s first trip to Baffin and his friend Brandon as well and they had a blast.  Jeremy and I battled it out for big trout i got him today with a 23 1/2″ fatty!  Great times good friends!!! Thanks chad

Of course thanks for carrying the load while I am gone.  Next, looking at your pictures it is the kind of calm that we rarely see on Baffin.  And while the conditions might be a little tough as you say, nothing like banging a limit and I am sure Eathon had a great time along with the rest of the boys.  Looks like the purple Down South is toting the note right now.  So keep them coming, I know this report will have me at Baffin as soon as I drag my ass out of bed and get down there.  Thanks  again, you add so much to this blog and I can thank you enough.

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longlogo-200x92     Let Dez handle all your lighting needs.

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Just a couple of days up here where it barely cracks 30 degrees with the wind blowing 20 out of the NW reminds me what I love about South Texas and Florida.  I like it cool, but these old bones prefer it warm.  This weekend they are looking at 20 degrees and snow with a wind chill of 30 – 40 below, I sure do not miss that.  Plus, there are too many of those dang Sooners for comfort around here with O.U. just right down the road.

On another note Kresta’s called and my trolling motor is done, after 35 days.  I am going to post the whole timeline in a later post after I use it a few times along with a few comments from readers.  It will be for you the reader to decide – Is this customer service?  Look for that post.

Looking at the weather the same winter weather coming to OKC is on the way to our house.  The wind will be 25 and the temp is looking to maybe hit the mid 40’s for a few days.  So I will hitch it up and hit the water Friday, and maybe Saturday before it gets here.   And if you have any comments or reports send them this way, we love to get them.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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