Coleto and other stuff 9/17/14.

Fish Catching Travel

We are still experiencing on and off again showers rolling in from the Gulf.  And though we have not gotten a lot of rain, we have had a few showers which we really need.  But with most of them hitting the coast a little more frequently I decided to stay at Coleto for one more trip.  Of course catching that big girl the other day might have had something to do with it.

Aaron was back in town so first thing this morning we were up lake fishing plastics and buzzbait.  I caught an ok one right off the bat on a senko bait, Aaron put a couple of small ones in the boat on a creature style plastic, and then it was off to a grass flat to try the buzzbait.  Unfortunately the conditions were not as conducive to fishing as it was Monday, but we still managed to put a few in the boat on buzzbait before they went cold.

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Aaron with the good one for the morning.

The fish really were scattered today and we never found any particular spot that was better than any other.  Of course points are still the most consistent place right now.  One thing I did mean to tell you the other day is when I said I was noticing that some of the clearer banks were a little better, or grass beds with water behind them, there is a reason for that – the bluegills are on the beds big time.  They are spawning on those types of banks and when you find them there are beds everywhere, which explains why there have been some good fish there.  So put your thinking cap on, there is a way to get those fish to bite near those big bream beds, and if you have any suggestions let me know.

Unfortunately this morning it cleared off and got slick, the worst set of conditions for bass fishing right now.  When it is like that the fish really slack off as the morning wears on, and today was no different.  As we worked our way down lake, catching one here and there, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it was slowing rapidly.  We did fish a couple of deep tree lines with jigs without success, and we still have not been able to establish that as a pattern.  By 10 it had slowed to a crawl and by 12 we called it a morning.  For the morning it was around 10 – 12 or so on both plastics and buzzbait.

There was one thing that was interesting, the water temp up lake was in the 86 degree range, 94 midlake, and a little bit cooler at the dam.  So while I am feeling fall like, the fish still have a ways to go.  And to further confuse matters the lake is still on the fall.  So for the bass fishing to really get going we need rain, which we are getting, and cooler nights, which are on the way.  They are out there to be caught, you just have to work at it.

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It was good to hear from one of my loyal readers, fishfearlarry.  (A great screen name don’t you think.)  In fact Larry, I was thinking about you the other day when Aaron caught that big red in Keller.  It looks like what Larry found was similar to what Aaron and I found out of POC the other day.  Fall is coming and the redfish are starting to gang up and they can be found in our back lakes and ponds as they get ready for the fall run.

“Hey Redfishlaw! I know you are being drawn on those green fish right now with the bite being so good on the lake, but you need to get in on some of the redfish action that is taking place. I made a couple of trips this weekend with my kayak out of Charlie’s and they are in there. Sunday evening the bite was not as aggressive, but still strung two and a nice flounder. Had many follow up to the boat and then turn away. I guess I should have tried the redfish magic, but stuck with plastic and weedless spoon. Had several throw back reds and a few throw back trout also. I enjoy your blog and appreciate your effort and time to keeping it current like you do!”

Good to hear from you Larry and thanks for the report.  Folks the redfish bite is on and there is no time like the present to catch a bunch.

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As most of you know I will be down at South Padre, doing a little surf fishing and taking a fly fishing lesson.  We will have some company following that so there is lots to do to get ready.  As part of that Thursday was set aside to do all those things, which ended up costing me a Teal trip.  There is some drawbacks to this house-mother thing.

I had not heard from Chris, who is a die hard duck hunter, but I got this yesterday on my phone.  Looks like he is sacking them up, and as I take care of chores today I am probably missing some good hunting with this weather like it is.

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Nothing like the early Teal season to hardcore duck hunters.

The only redeeming quality of missing a hunt today is I have enough trouble hitting big ducks, and those Teal are like big quail.  Little rockets.  So send us more pics Chris, drive us all crazy.

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Our weather looks great with clouds and rain the next week or so.  That should only help whatever outdoor pursuit you may enjoy, it can only get better, so grab someone who doesn’t have a chance to get outdoors much and take them to the woods or water.  And send me those comments, reports, and suggestions, we love to hear from you.  And I will blog from Padre, hopefully a few pics and some on my fishing lesson.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Coleto Creek 9/15/14.

Fish Catching Travel

When I got up this morning my intention was to head to POC.  The boat had both fresh and saltwater rods and tackle in it, and it would be simple to toss the bass stuff out and be on my way.  The first thing I did was check the weather, which actually made up my mind for me, it was going to be absolutely perfect for the lake.  Clouds all day, little wind, and a nice cool night just sounded to good..  So I tossed out the  saltwater tackle and headed to the lake.

I went up lake and started fishing about 6:45.  It was calm and should have been perfect.  It was 3 places before I got a real bite.  I alternated between frog and buzzbait and it was not until about 8:30 before I got the first good bite.  I was on a shallow grassy bank leading to a huge grass flat.  As I eased down the bank 6 bass in a row, including a hoss, blew up on it without getting any kind of hook in them.  From that point on it started getting better and better.

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Bite #1.

From then until about 11 they stayed on the buzzbait pretty good.  I was running it fairly fast and when they finally started eating it, they were smoking it.

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The Strike King Tour Grade Buzzbait in the sexy shad.

As the morning went on I kept moving down lake hitting isolated grass points catching one here and there.

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That is my happy buzzbait face – I just love catching them on it.

One thing that was surprising was I did not catch a fish on the frog.  Course it might have had something to do with the way they were eating the buzzbait, so the frog stayed in the boat the rest of the day.  As I moved down lake I also threw a watermelon with red flake senko style bait that has been working for me, and I caught 4 or 5 on it. but no real good ones.

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Just wanted you to see that stick bait.

To fish the senko bait I was using 15lb mono with a 1/8 slip sinker.  It fell a lot slower and when they hit it my line would jump.  Just hopping it along on the outside grass edges, and for how little I tossed it the bites came fairly regularly.  But of course I just kept mixing it up and tossing the buzzbait.  I put several in the boat here and there, most like the ones above, but I could not get that big bite.  One thing I am noticing is areas with grass but clearer bank edges are the best.

I was about to quit but I just could not stop.  Over the years I can actually say it just seems like I can feel a big one coming.  That is a product of having the experience to recognize that set of conditions that says “big fish“.  About 2, on a flat, and I mean flat bank, in less than a foot of water I had that big bite I knew was coming.

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Look at that big headed thing!

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That is a big fish anywhere you go.

That girl just smoked it, there was no missing her.  Then it was just a matter of cranking her out of the grass and not messing up.  I know I throw that buzzbait to much, and there are lots of times when other baits would work better, but there is just something about catching bass this size on a buzzbait, and Coleto is the lake for it.   So I called it a successful day.  I caught an easy 15, and of those only 2 were small.

The fish are still bunched up, and when you find one you will find a couple of more, it just takes lots of time and weeding out unproductive water.  Probably the best pattern is point hopping with that senko.  There is usually at lest one on each of them somewhere.  But for me it is covering the water, making lots of casts, and hopefully getting that big reward.  I got a few other rewards today thanks to the wildlife. Everything was moving late, and when the fish were really biting the critters were moving.

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Must be nice to be buck with those “don’t shoot me” horns.

Today the fish and the animals at the lake were most active during what was high to falling tide on the coast.  I have a feeling there was a pretty good bite on the coast this morning.  Guess I will have to check that out as I got to scratch the big fish itch.

It is shaping up to be a good week.  Another day on the water and then to South Padre.   And finally a break in the weather is just around the corner, and with it the good fishing to come.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Random Rambling 9/13/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Wow what a weather change!  It is almost cool as I write this Saturday morning.  We have had storms rolling in off the coast for the last few days which has kept me off the water but who cares.  We desperately need the rain as we are 9″ down for the year.  While it has been just sketchy enough to keep me home, this front will only bring good things as far as our outdoor activities are concerned.  So there is no fishing report today but there will be several coming soon.  The immediate impact of the weather change should be a great early Teal season.

I have seen lots of Teal on both the coast and at the lake.  And though I know little about ducks, I can not imagine they did not ride this front down.

Evan dropped me a line yesterday and he highlights the “problem” facing many folks who love both fishing and hunting.

“As for fishing – I’ll try to concentrate.  It will be difficult.  Tomorrow (Saturday) is opening day of Teal season.  As a dedicated duck hunter I’d say the weather looks amazing.  Cooler weather never gets a bad word from this Texan.  Looking forward to my next trip to POC and hopefully I’ll be chasing some Kings out of Corpus/Port A soon.

Have a great weekend sir.  Thanks for taking the time to post!”

Hope you kill a few this weekend, the conditions are perfect for a great opening weekend hunt. I also look forward to hearing from my friend Chris who introduced me to duck hunting.  I am sure he is in a blind somewhere with his new dog.  He has spent some real time training that wild child and it will be interesting to hear how his first day in the blind went.  So if you all shoot a few send me a picture and story.  We would all love to hear how it went.

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Mark sent me this interesting question -

“Are there any other kayak launch sites on Coleto Creek Reservoir other than the boat ramp at the HQ? Road Crossings? etc.

I really like what you have done on this site.

Keep up the good work and tight lines.”

There are several bridges that cross Coleto so I contacted Jeffish, who has kayaked a lot of this area for years, and unfortunately he said that right off the top of his head there was no place that has real easy access.  As far as he remembered to get to the water in some of these places it would be a rough time and not that close to the water.

I looked on the map and there are several potential access points, but it will be a matter of taking a drive and looking them over.  Coletoville Road which comes off Upper Mission Valley Rd (236)  does cross the lake above the arm I fish a lot.  I see folks fishing and jumping off the bridge there so you can get to the water.  But getting the kayak up and down the hill might be some serious work.  622, which also connects with Coletoville Rd further up, has a small bridge but I am unsure how the trip to the water is.  But it puts you way up the lake on that arm, and I have caught lots of fish there.  The problem is the water is dropping on Coleto like a Teal with a face full of steel shot.

Another option would be where Fannin Road comes off Hwy 59 headed west.  Again low  water issues could be a real problem.  The last one I would look at is an area I am not the familiar with but would be worth the drive to check out would be Josephine Lane which also comes of Colletoville Rd.  I see it on MapQuest but am not sure if it actually gets you to a place you can put in.

So the best I can tell you is get out the MapQuest and take a drive.  It looks like you could take big circle and look at all of them.  Where there is a will there is way.  Let us know if you find a good place.  Thanks for commenting.  And if any of the rest of you have any suggestions let me know.

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The plan is to hit the lake for a quick morning trip and then the Gulf on Monday.  I need a few fish for the fish fry I will cook on South Padre this coming weekend.  And with that comes the fly fishing lesson and a little surf fishing.  I am really looking forward to some daylight wading in the surf and catching a few on topwater.  Our last couple of trips down there the wind has blown super hard, so I am hoping this front will keep the wind down.

Not much else to talk about today so if you have anything on your mind let me know.  To tell the truth I would have been out there this morning but my Hogs are playing Texas Tech today, and it should be a dandy.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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9/11 Never Forget

Fish Catching Travel

Never Forget

Both Nancy and I are former Paramedics and today is a day of reflection and remembrance.  We had a vacation scheduled in New York City for 2 months following 9/11, and instead of canceling like many folks, we went.  Being at Ground Zero was a humbling experience.  People still walking the streets with pictures of missing loved ones was heartbreaking.  The temporary walls surrounding Ground Zero covered with posters, pictures, flowers, and handprints.  Watching as the trucks went in and out with the workers as the public clapped and cheered was a testament to the American spirit.  A steam shovel digging at the pile of rubble that was still smoldering 2 months later looked like a toy compared to the rubble enclosing our hero’s.  I thought I understood the size of Ground Zero until we walked around the whole site, the sheer magnitude of the attack was overwhelming.  Ground Zero is hallowed ground and my life was forever changed by being there.

We know the families of those brave police, first responders, and firemen will never have real closure, how could they?  9/11 was a case of mass murder plain and simple.  And now the world is once again threatened  by radical Islamic animals.  I will never label them as anything less.  The mass murder of captured soldiers, beheadings of American citizens who have done nothing, and the rape and genocide of Christians and others who are simply living their life is reprehensible.  As we remember those fallen hero’s who were murdered in the name of Islam we are confronted by a new enemy – ISIS.  The threat is real.  We must hunt them down to the last man and kill them with no quarter given.

It is time for mainstream Islam to take a stand against rape and mass murder done in the name of Islam.  Where is their public outrage with what is happening in Iraq and Syria ?  Where is the condemnation by the mainstream Islamic community at what I hope is seen by them as a hijacking of Islam by killers in the name of their God?    Now we even have American (and it makes me sick to label them as such) Muslims leaving the US to fight for ISIS.  I hate to say the world is at a tipping point, but this has to stop.  The silence emanating from mainstream Islam is telling.  George Bush said it best, “You are either with us or against us.”

No one anywhere on the face of this earth, no matter race or religion, should live in fear of homicidel  maniacs raping and killing in the name of any religion.  We must never forget or become complacent.  Those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in an effort to rescue total strangers deserve our respect and must never be forgotten.  So if you see a medic, cop, or fireman today, just say thanks.  They have earned it.

God Bless America

(Please excuse this deviation from the fishing.  We strive to keep on point, the fishing.  But this fishing is not all there is to life.  So while you will not see other posts of this type, I will never forget 9/11, and every anniversary I will remember and honor those folks.)

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I am so happy when someone responds to a post.  Sharing of information is a good thing, and each of us who loves our sport knows something that can help others catch fish.  So I was really happy to get the following comments.

I heard from Jeffery who commented on the catfishing trip and definitely provided a way to sack them up.

We used to get those hatches big time at medina lake and I can remember swamping the boat with cats, whites and blacks.  I went to a half-ass fly rod set up and just let my bait land on the boat!  Take about four or five of those babes and skewer them onto a 1/0 thin shank or like hook and flip it out in front of you as far as you can.  Best on a medium spinning reel, lots of fun!

Thanks Jeffery, we did discuss the fly rod, and it is good to hear we were headed in the right direction.  And we definitely realized we should have been using spinning gear.  So folks we all learned something, spinning equipment, in fact I would use a light action long rod just to help throw it farther, a fine wire hook, and a nice gob of bugs.  So folks if you encounter that set of circumstances again you will be in business.  I can tell you that if we had been doing it that way it would have been ugly.

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After posting about catching a few on the MirrOdine I got this piece of good advice from Brian.

“Love the site.  Great reports.  I’ve been fishing POC for 25 + years and enjoy the details in your reports. 

Funny, you should mention the mirrodine.  I fished the surf in Galveston on 9/9/14 and was met with ultra clear conditions.  As you know, fishing artificial in those conditions can be tough.  I love that bait in the natural (silver) color those conditions.  It was the only thing that would work.  My friend fishing next to me had no bites on top water and various colored tails.  I scratched out four nice keepers in an hour and a half while the live shrimp guys around us zeroed. 

Keep the reports coming.”

From what I know that particular bait was specifically designed for really shallow water, which if the fish are there is usually clear.  As a slow sinker it can effectively be fished from 6″ to 5′.  I have fished it on spinning and casting gear, with no difference in success.  So if fishing is tough and the water is clear don’t forget to throw the MirrOdine.  It works.  Thanks Brian, I am heading to fish the surf in South Padre soon and I won’t forget to take one.

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I was going to do an evening trip to Coleto yesterday but at 4:00 it was 99 degrees, a heat index of 109 degrees, and the wind was gusting to 25mph.  I admit it, I flat woosed out.  Sometimes it is just hard to get motivated when it is that damn hot.  As soon as I write this and get a couple of things done it will be off to the lake.  I forgot to mention in my catfish post while we were drifting waiting for the catfish to surface I threw a buzzbait and ended up losing one at the boat and missing the other.  Since they are on both the frog and the buzzbait I will attempt to accommodate them this evening.  Then next back to the Gulf.  Oh, so many fish, so little time.   Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Coleto Creek 9/10/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I was telling you the other day about Aaron calling me from the lake right at sunset and while we were on the phone he said he could hear fish schooling.  He moved over to the area and after throwing a few bass baits and getting no bites he decided to shine his flashlight and what did he see?  Catfish.  Literally hundreds of them hitting the surface as it got dark.

Now nothing like that can go un-fished.  So I loaded up the Carolina Skiff, picked up Jeffish, and off to Coleto to meet Aaron.  I picked up some nightcrawlers on the way to the lake where we met Aaron.  From there is was up lake to net a few shad and wait for the sun to start going down.  We didn’t find any shad in the net, but we did pick up some small bream.  At that point we were unsure what they were feeding on so we wanted to cover our bases.  As the sun went down below the hill the popping started.

With a slight breeze we anchored in about 10 foot of water and the fishing began.  We put out a moon glow light and got an immediate answer to what in the heck the catfish were doing there when the light was instantly covered in Mayflies.  There is a major hatch happening right now.  The water, and now the boat, was covered in them.  It took about 10 minutes as the sun set for me to catch the first one.  And before it was over we put 8 keepers in the boat.

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Headed for the grease.

As they were feeding on top the strategy was to use a small cork, with only a foot of line out below the cork with a worm.  At that point the hatch was in full swing, the Mayflies were everywhere on the surface, and the catfish were on the move.  We could actually see them swimming along right under the surface as they would swim by the boat, mouth open, eating those bugs.

Nightcrawlers were definitely the bait of choice, and the one attempt at using small bream turned out to be a no go.  We were just letting that cork drift along and it would go under, we missed a couple, but most of them ate it.  For about 2 hours they were feeding up a storm but as it got a little later the hatch and the bite really slowed.  Though we could still hear a few popping the surface, the big bite definitely slowed so we called it a night.

While I have seen Mayflies in lots of states over my life,  I really don’t know a lot about them.  After doing some research it was clear what was going on.  There are over 2,500 types of  Mayflies and their life-cycle are basically the same.

The eggs are laid in water, and over a period of a year they go through several changes until they hatch and swim to the surface.  They molt a couple of times after emerging until finally their wings come out.  From that point on the do not eat, they just mate with the female, then she flies over the same water dipping along the surface as she lays eggs, and then they die.  Each variety has a life span of 30 minutes to 3 days.  So that answers several questions about what in the heck those cats were feeding on.  I have seen similar behavior exhibited in catfish when I was kid, and now I know why.

So while we were happy with what we put in the boat, we are stumped as to what a really good bait would be for catching those feeding fish.  The Mayflies were just to small to put on the hook, and though the worms were the best bait, we are left to wonder what bait might just kill them.  Also as we only fished up lake, I can not tell you if that was happening all over the lake, just up the river, or maybe up both arms.  I can tell you one thing for sure if you go, if you are not hearing them, you are in the wrong place.  Not only did we hear them it was crazy to see them swimming right below the surface with their mouth open gobbling up the Mayflies.

As far as how long this will last, who knows?  Though I have no clue how long this hatch will last, I have a feeling that it is in conjunction with the full moon.  so no guarantees, but it sure is on right now.  But if you want to give it a try here is the plan.  Head up lake, under the bridge, past the big turn to the left, and go a couple of hundred yards and you are there.  (Note: It may be happening in other parts of the lake but that is where we were fishing.)  Set up, either anchor if there is wind, or drift slowly with the trolling motor.  If they are doing it you will hear them popping as it starts to get dark.  Use a small bobber with the line about a foot below the cork with a nightcrawler on it.  We were using a small croaker hook, but a small circle will also do the job.  There may be a better bait, and if you know of one please let me know.  We used a moon glow light, but with our full moon it was pretty easy to see the cork.  Then just wait until it is gone and set the hook.

A couple words on running Coleto at night -Be Careful!  The lake is falling rapidly, and the stumps are sticking out everywhere, so use a spotlight.  Take it easy no matter how well you know the lake, one wrong move could be a disaster.  It would sure be nice if they were doing it down lake near the dam, but the only way to tell is to pick a spot and wait until dark to see if you can hear them.

One of the true joys of spending lots of time on the water is being there to see things like this.  The circle of life that makes this whole thing go is a wonder.  The Mayflies short life span gives lots of fish a buffet of yummy delights, and they get it while they can, just like we did.  It all works together and it is an amazing thing.

There you have the great catfishing extravaganza.  I was headed to the lake this morning with Aaron but he was called out of town so I decided to write this morning and make an evening trip for bass.  The fishing on the lake is really improving in spite of the rapidly falling water.  It is still those isolated patches of grass, off the bank, surrounded by water.  It gives those bass that sense of security on falling water.  We need some rain, and if we do not get some soon, it could get ugly at the ramp.

After  I check the weather Thursday’s destination will be decided.  I sure would like another run at those redfish.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Port O’Connor TX 9/9/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Boy do I love Mondays, especially after the summer crowd is all back to real life and things quiet down at POC.  Aaron and I put in at Froggie’s Monday morning and when I parked the truck there were only 2 other trucks in the lot.  It almost felt like I was in an alternate universe.  After a full lot for the last 4 months it was great to not have to park a half a mile from the dock.

We did not have a specific plan, just to head out and catch some fish.  Our first stop was the Oil Cut.  Topwater was the first bait of choice.  We had numerous hits, though we probably only boated maybe 5 in there.  Though they were small I did manage to put a 16″+  trout in the boat on the large KVD Sexy Dog, which has been my (or the fish’s) choice the last month.  A walk the dog bait it also has a little flat area under the chin that not only helps it walk, it spits a little water to boot.

After working some of that our next stop was the flat near the old Coast Guard station.  The wind was blowing right on it, the tide was up, and there was grass everywhere.  We worked that area over for about an hour without success.  So then it was off to Mitchell’s Cut where I can usually put a nice red in the boat.  And Aaron promptly did.

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The average size for the day.

After working the cut we went in to Big Bayou, still searching for whatever would get on the line.  We were alternating between plastics, spinnerbait, and topwater.  Topwater clearly died after 9, and I don’t believe we had another bite on it all day.  But one thing about experience, and knowing your area like the back of your hand, is you can do a little better job of working the right bait in the right place.

Big Bayou has a mixed bottom with all the different structure that the Gulf has to offer.  As we neared the end of a long deep bank there is a small mud flat sticking out, a place where I have caught numerous flounders over the years.  So when we got down the bank I started crawling my plastic and wham, a keeper flounder.

Then we fished a deep bank that is one of my go to place for trout and low and behold not even a smell.  It was not quite that bad as we put a couple of small trout and reds in the boat in Big Bayou, just not keepers.  So we hit the shallow side of one of the islands with a soft bottom and the flounder were all over it.  To bad the punch line is not one made it over the side.  We probably had 6 or 8 bites there, but with our superior skill we messed it up.  Aaron lost a real hoss right at boat side, then in an effort to be in the in crowd, I lost a good one at the boat.  The one thing I took away from that is the flounder have started biting and are moving to predictable places.

I read a study (I think it was his doctorial thesis.) a few years ago that extensively detailed flounder placement.  The author actually scuba dove to observe flounder and his findings have helped me boat more flounder.  They love to position themselves on soft banks with grass or reed edges where there is a drop close by.  And when the tide starts falling out they go on the chew.  So next time you want to catch one no matter where you are keep this in mind.  It is a simple pattern and it continues to work for me.  Fall is coming whether we believe it or not.  But no matter what we believe, the fish are sure thinking that.  And what happened next just further reinforces my belief.

We were about to re-fish that bank and get serious in our efforts to put some flounder in the boat when we got sidetracked, and it worked out great.  Aaron had been seeing birds working off Bayucos Island for almost an hour so we changed plans and headed that way.  Working the birds in the POC area can be a thing of beauty, or a Gafftop and Lady Fish nightmare.  In this case it was the former.

The birds were working along the reef running parallel to the island.  When we got there the bait was everywhere and we immediately started seeing redfish.  Spinnerbait was the bait of choice and we ended up putting 3 more in the 24 – 26″ range in the boat.  One school of about 6 swam by and Aaron flipped his spinnerbait about 5 foot from the boat and they swarmed it, one of those cool bites right in front of your eyes.  I managed to lose a redfish who hit so hard it was one of the best bites I have ever had from a redfish.  He slammed it, maybe he was hitting it head on, but he almost jerked the rod out of my hands.  After a brief struggle, where I already had him on the half shell, he pulled off.  And of course this was right after I commented on how rare it is to lose a redfish on the Strike King Redfish Magic.  Fate will do that to you every once in while, it keeps you grounded.  With the number of redfish there it is easy to assume they are starting to gang up for the fall run.  And even if I am trying to push that phenomenon up, it sure has me thinking of fall.  A side note to the spinnerbait is we actually caught several trout on it.  Not a common occurrence but it happened today.

There was scattered grass in area where the fish and birds were working, and as we would go over it with the boat we could see trout scooting out of it.  So we went to plastics, which ended up not working as it was so shallow, so then we went to subsurface jerk baits.  Aaron was throwing a Mirr-O-Lure in the slow sinker and for me it was the MirrOdine.   He put a 17″ trout in the boat, and though I did not catch another keeper, the small trout were smacking it.  I have not fished that style of bait much, and still have a lot to learn, but that MirrOdine is great for really shallow water and is something to think about when the fish are that shallow.

It was about 2 when we called it a day.  It was a case of what could have been.  If we had gone to the birds when we started seeing them it might, no would, have been a killing.  The tide at that point was on the rise, but slowing, and as soon as the water quit moving, so did the fish.  Before the day was over we caught a lot of fish, it was simply a matter of working through them to get the keepers.  We ended up keeping 4 reds, 2 nice trout, and 1 flounder.

004

You know you are having a bad day when first you are frozen, then skinned, and finally invited to supper where you are the guest of honor.

There were several things that played a role in today’s fishing.  First the tide was high, and I mean up there, first thing.  It was one of those high/low/high where it never really got that low, and the whole progression only took about 4 hours, which kept the fishing steady as the  water moved most of that period.  Second, the high tide placed the flounder at the edge of the grass on muddy areas, the classic beginning of the fall flounder bite.  And last, the wind did not blow, which was a welcome relief.

When we cleaned fish we did a stomach check, with Croaker, shrimp, and Blue Crabs filling the redfish guts.  Aaron’s nice trout had 3 Croaker in her belly, all about the size of the 4″ jerk baits we were using.  So like I said a while ago, they are really on those Croakers.  This was one of those trips where we managed to catch fish off and on all day, and before it was over picked out a nice string.  I love fall.

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I talked to my old buddy Clyde the other day and he told me about a cool experience he had striper fishing the other night on Lake Norfork in Arkansas.  As a side note he had not fished since we were in Canada, a rare 2 month stretch for him.  Right before dark he found them on the locator 50 foot deep on one of the points we have striper fished for 30 years.  (Nothing like a cleared, deep, highland reservoir.)  He threw big swim baits, blade baits, and a few other things without success.  He finally tied on a 1 ounce jig head and put a 4″ Strike King Caffine Shad body on it.  To get them to bite he had to let it fall all the way to the bottom first and then swim it along super slow.  He ended up boating one over 10 pounds, missing several more.  So by keeping after it he finally figured something out.  Of course that means his fishing drought has come to an end.  Nice job dude!

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Just a note to all you guys who like offshore fishing.  I have seen some really big Red Snappers at the cleaning table the last month, and boy were there some whoopers on the table today.  So if that is your thing better get it while the getting is good.  And with the ongoing snapper war between Texas and the Feds be sure you have a real understanding of the limits and the difference between state and federal waters.  Beats having a game warder explaining it to you while he is writing you a ticket!

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

Like I told you the other day, this is going to be a fish till you drop stretch.  We are going after the elusive schooling catfish tonight.  That should be interesting.  From there is will be “Water Somewhere Wednesday”, and for sure another day on the Gulf, and then maybe a day at Fayette County if we get some rain and clouds later this week.  With our first front of the fall on the way there are some big changes coming on the all fishing fronts, and I intend on taking full advantage of it. I already have some really great things planned for fall.  It will be a fly fishing lesson when I get to Padre in a couple of weeks (I am sure in 1 hour I will go from completely clueless to a master fly caster.), then a 3 day down in Port Mansfield with Shoedog and Chris in October, and the big finish at the end of November, 3 days of fishing in Costa Rica.  Makes me all giddy thinking about it.

As you can tell I am getting all worked up over the fishing to come.  This has been one long hot stretch but the end is near.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Stuff 9/8/14.

Fish Catching Travel

When I posted the other day that I had not heard from Shoedog on the Nebraska fishing trip.  So I figured it just did not amount to much.  I got this from him today and I was sure wrong about that, sounds like they had a great time.

A Day on Small Water in Nebraska 

“Shoedog here- after 13 days of set up, selling and tear down of our booth at the Nebraska State Fair- we needed a day on the water!  I had spent 8 years in south central- Nebraska- that is -and Terry has been there another 10 or so since I came south to Texas. We have spent a lot of time on the many irrigation lakes there as well as Francis Case Lake in South Dakota and the many I-80 lakes that are along the highway between Grand Island and Kearney, NE. 

t

Terry doing what else but selling some shoes.  Need to get that boy retired, add to the confusion around here. 

We started at a 8 or so acre lake right in the city limits of Grand Island- a sand/gravel pit lake. I- as usual- started out with a jerk bait and on about the third cast had a great strike and after about the first run new it wasn’t a bass. Right on, it was a nice channel cat and he was a great fight- amazing how sometimes they just smash a hard bait!

cat

Nice jerkbait fish Shoedog.

   We had a nice run on typical small water bass- about 25 on jerk baits, cranks and Terry was flipping them out of the docks and the lay downs. On one dock he caught one and as he was releasing it he had another before he was finished letting the first one go! 

terry

Look at this picture really close.

   We decided to head down the road and hit a couple other lakes as the sun got lower in the sky- we had the worst conditions for bassing- not a cloud in the sky- man it was bright out! 

   Next we hit a similar size lake that we have caught bass on in the past- we caught 4 there with the largest about 2 pounds. Then we met up with Justice, the new young feller that is our partner at Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. in Kearney, NE. This kid is alright- likes to sell shoes and fish- go partner go! He said that an older customer greeted him at his store in Kearney by asking him if he liked to fish, to which he replied- Why, yes sir, I do. The fella said- that’s good- most of the guys in the state pen don’t! 

small2

Love those smallies. 

 The Nebraska outdoor folks have targeted the small “interstate” lakes more since I left there. Some are more for bass/catfish, some for trout in colder weather and the last one we went to was set more for smallmouth bass- one of my favorite species. We caught five in our last hour before dark, with this one Justice caught being the best. It was just shy of 18″ and smacked a KVD 1.5 square bill hard- a great way to end our day- 3 partners in the shoe biz and buddies on the water- it doesn’t get much better than that! 

a

Nice one! 

Now I am back to Texas and ready for the fall fishing that lies ahead- schooling Reds and some flounder runs- and hopefully a couple new lakes that we have not hit before. Stay Tuned- same bat time- same bat channel!”

Now that is fun and looks like it was a great time.  If you really want to catch a fish, there is a way.  I think lake and pond hopping is a cool way to fish, and it sure would seem one of them would have a bite on.  And nice when you do it with old buddies.  I got to fish with Terry once, but he and Shoedog have been fishing together for years.  We just can’t seem to get him down here on the Gulf, so Terry the invitation is open anytime.  Give you a case of the redfish disease.

(Please excuse the unruly format, this report came to me in something the site did not recognize.  So even though it may be somewhat disconcerting I wanted to share it with you.  As you know, we may not be pretty all the time, but so what.  It is all about the fishing!)

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I got a call from Aaron the other night right at dark to give me the scoop on Coleto.  He had put a couple over 5 in the boat and while we were chatting he said he heard something schooling.  After we hung up he went over to where they were smacking the surface, and using his flash light, found they were catfish.  He said most of them were in the 1 – 5 pound range and there were lots of them.  Whatever they were eating, they were doing it right on top.  Folks that is a little strange, not unheard of, but not common by any means.  So what does that mean?  Of course we are going after them tomorrow night and see if we can sack a bunch.  Should be interesting.

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

I told you Chris sent me a picture of a red and I managed to delete it, he also sent me this from his trip to POC last week.

The picture he sent was a good one and they caught one more rat red.  He thought he might scratch a few more out, but he had the wife along and he wanted her to catch some fish.  When they were moving they came on a school of those big jacks so they stopped.  Adriana hooked 3 and they all broke off.  The big ones are so tough on light gear.  He said that ended up messing around with that for quite a while.  I am sure it did, landing one of those really big jacks is work.  Secretly I always hope they break off, even with a $6 topwater in their face.

They did drift Pringle once without any success.  It was windy as all get out and the water was way up with the reds scattered.  The tide was high like that today.  It was high-low (sorta)-high in about a 4 hour period today.  The East wind has lots to do with that and it means something to the fish too.  Fall is coming.  Thanks for the report and looking forward to Port Mansfield in October, the fishing should be good.

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Speaking of schooling redfish you are absolutely right Shoedog, and add a flounder and some trout and life is good.  It is late as I write this so I will get to that tomorrow.  But Aaron and I had a fun day out of POC.  Next it looks like we are going to see if those schooling catfish are there.  That has a hit or miss factor to it, they will either be there or not, we’ll just have to see.  So stop in for the POC report, I will get at it tomorrow.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Coleto Creek 9/5/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I know I might be sounding like a broken record, but our weather is really dictating the fishing right now.  We have lots of thunderstorms coming in off the Gulf.  Some of them have big lightning and high winds, but I am not complaining as we are at least getting some rain out of them.  The downside is when you combine these ongoing storms with our continued heat in the 100′s, it has kept me at the lake.  But things are looking up, we have a couple of more days of these fronts left over from the hurricane that came ashore south of us in Mexico and it looks like Monday it might stabilize some, which will be nice so it will be worth hitting the Gulf.

Aaron and I left the morning plans open as it could have been either the Gulf or the lake.  When I got up at 6 it was not raining, then it started.  The radar had scattered storms coming ashore so I went ahead and met him at Coleto.  Our first bank choice was the isolated patch of grass where I caught them last time.  Aaron started with a Pop-R type bait, and of course I threw the frog.  As we eased to the point of the mat I had a good one jump all over it and I put her in the boat.  I didn’t take a picture of that one because I wanted to keep casting.  And just like Monday they were absolutely exploding on the frog.

002

Still catching this size, which will do for hot summer fishing.  Nice squint job I have going there.

One thing that became apparent, even though he was front ending me (just kidding)  my bites were bigger and more numerous.  He threw a white frog and I was still throwing that brown KVD frog.  I even had one of those cool tarpon like bites where she exploded out of the water and came down on top of it.  Though I didn’t hook up, it was a cool bite as the fish came completely out of the water.

005

They were completely hammering it this morning.

And again the fish would hit it both hopping it right along, and then a couple hit when I stopped it.  I did notice that the ones that hit it when it was stopped were often where I threw at moving bait, hopped it couple of times, and then stopped it.  By time we fished the whole mat we had a good 10 bites and boated 5 or 6, which is about the average hook up  percentage.  It was also deja vu all over again, again, and again.  If you are on the right bank at daylight the bites are fast and furious, and by 9 a.m. it is over, no matter how many other places you try.

We left there and started hunting and pecking from down lake to a couple of banks up lake.  Creature baits, worms, senko type, flipping, we did a little of all of it.  Just like it has been we would pick one up here and there, but it was slow and by noon with the rising heat we called it a day.  Of course catching none on the next to last bank, and 2 little ones on the last bank, had a lot to do with our quitting.

So I am not really sure what to tell you about Coleto right now.  The only other report I have gotten is fishing is poor.  Poor does say it all about anything after 9, so get out early.  And one last piece of advice, with the water dropping steadily and the fish moving shallow first thing, they want to be secure in that they have protection.  I think that is why they are positioned on isolated patches off the bank that are surrounded by water.  I have had very few bites on long straight stretches of grass.

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

I have been meaning to post this comment from Evan I got last week so here it is:

“Well I won’t complain about the weather, because we still need the rain in a bad way. However it did slow down my plans. Cancelled a trip to the salty waves and travelled to KS to visit family. My in laws have a small pond in their subdivision. It’s one of those places where you throw a leather boot in and catch some decent LMB. It’s my honey hole for everything an outdoorsman would want. Big LMB, oversized catfish, and more ducks and geese than I find in my dreams. It’s heaven – right in the middle of town – where I can’t fire a shot. (Maybe more like hell) At least I can chuck a lure! Caught a few nice ones. Ran a frog on top of the crap floating around and as soon as that bad boy would drop into open water – the water would explode! Frog fishing at it’s finest! Thanks for the report and the update! It was the perfect read while I wait on the next plane ride home.”

His comment is right on for me.  The weather has kept me off the Gulf a few times lately, and there is nothing like the frog bite.  So thanks for the comment Evan, it reminds me that the big lakes are not the only places to catch bass.  Reminds me of getting on my bike and riding to any water I could find, just to catch a fish.  I still have that problem.  Thanks for your comment Evan, I appreciate it.  So keep those cards and letters coming folks, we love to hear from you.

I did get a picture of a nice redfish on my phone from Chris, looks like he was in the process of having a good day.  With my superior technological skill I managed to delete it immediately.  Sometimes I wonder how I get this thing done.  Shoedog is in Nebraska selling shoes at the state fair, (He is retired you know.) and he got a chance to do a little fishing and last I heard he caught a big catfish on a jerk bait.  Since I did not hear anything else the rest of his outing was probably not that eventful.

The boss of Team Nancy has a long work stretch, the weather is going to straighten out on Monday, so it will be fishing with a vengeance.  I look forward to fall and the gathering of the redfish.  In my limited experience I have had my best luck on tailing redfish during this period.  The prefect set of conditions is a low tide, either just about all out or just starting to come up on the rise, and it all comes together as it cracks daylight.  Nothing like tails everywhere!  So there will be some serious scratching of the Gulf itch the next couple of weeks.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

 

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Coleto Creek 9/2/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Here is hoping you had a good time this weekend no matter what you did.  And if you were brave enough to hit the water, I hope the fish gods were good to you.  I on the other hand spent the weekend at the house lazing around and watching some football.  With the weather somewhat sketchy today it was off to Coleto.  And it was the right choice as it started to rain and blow around 11, and as I write this it is raining at the house.  Our forecast has a pretty good chance for rain the next 4 days, hope it comes down in buckets.

The lake is still falling fast, it looks like over 3 feet and dropping.  Fishing was ok this morning, in fact it felt like deja vu all over again.  Heck, I even had the same clothes on as I did last trip.  Of course I started with the frog, and after an hour the bites were hard to come by, which means none.  I was fishing near the ramp and it was just not happening.  So it was time for a move.

One thing that has started to be somewhat of a pattern with the frog is the isolated patches of grass off the bank, especially if it is completely surrounded by water.  Another thing that has been happening is when you get some bites, you get more.  I am not sure if it is a timing thing or they are moving.  I am getting very few random bites right now.  No matter what the bite on the frog is early and seems to be over around 9.

001

Bite number 1.

The patch I went to was surrounded by 5 foot of water and the fish were there.  I got maybe 4 bites on one end, and 4 on the other.  Basically they were on the points, like they have been for a while.

002A little fuzzy.  This was number 3 in the boat.

I caught them by either hopping it back to the boat or with a 4 or 5 hops then stopping it.  Of course I missed several, and did have one big one come off.  It happens with the frog and it just comes with the territory.  But I sure love the hand to hand combat in the grass, and some of those big ones are going to pull off no matter how careful you are.

003

The best of the morning.

It was around 9:30 when I had that little flurry, and just as it has been even though I re-fished it, nobody was interested.  I probably should have switched to the swim jig, and will try that next time I find that many fish in one place.

Next was a steep bank, and though it had grass along the edge, that has not been the kind of place where the frog is working.  So it was the swim jig next.  I caught one right off the bat and then paid the price.  It is amazing how often you catch one after a lure change, and then can’t get another bite.  Today it probably had more to do with the fact that either the fish quit biting or I made some poor bank choices.  Either way it was over.

004

I just love that Strike King Swim Jig.

At this point in the morning the wind was starting to blow and the clouds rolled in.  Now one would think that would help, but it had exactly the opposite effect.  They quit biting, period.  They did not want the senko, spinnerbait, the swim jig, or the frog.  And so after about an hour and a half with exactly zero bites, I called it a morning.

I think I caught the 4 pictured here and one or two smaller ones.  One thing that can be said about the bite right now is it is consistent, at least for me.  You need to be there at daylight and make the right bank choice, because you have one shot at it.  I am sure there are more ways to catch them, there always is, but I just have not found it.

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Last time I looked there had only been 3 tagged redfish that qualified for the CCA Star, in spite of the fact that they even put some more in so that they could give away the boats.  I think last year not all the boats were won, but this year there has been several caught by folks who did not enter.  If you fish the Gulf it pays to enter the Star.  Those 7 or 8 folks who caught a tagged red lost somewhere between $25 and $50K.  Ouch!

Those of you who read this regularly know that when TPWD began discussing lowering our trout limit to 5 I was basically ok with going to 5, hopefully that will end up with us catching bigger trout.  But if it had stayed at 10 I was also ok with that, the biology and the surveys indicated we have a sustainable population at the current catch rate.  Well the day is here.  Will it help?  Only time will tell, but we should really be able to see the difference 2 years from now.  What I hope comes with the new rule is a larger population of big trout.  I have broke 29″ twice, and hopefully one of these days before I croak I  can break the magic 30″ 10lb. mark.

And speaking of a 10lb. mark that has also eluded me, a big bass is on the list.  A few 9′s have come over the side, but the big girl has just not happened. I lost one 3 years ago at boat side that would have easily smashed 10, but she just pulled off.  Right now in Texas Lake Austin is the place to be for that kind of big fish and big strings.  It will be interesting to see where the next big bass explosion happens.  TWPD is currently trying to determine where the fish have gone in both Amistad and Falcon.   They are both down approximately 60%, hopefully it is something they can potentially identify and fix.  Being on Norfork and Bull Shoals for 25 years I have seen first hand the highs and lows a reservoir goes through.  So there is hope, the fishing on those Arkansas lakes is better there now than it was when I left 9 years ago.  I am thankful I was lucky enough to fish Amistad and Falcon when times were good, and will fish them both again no matter what.

 If you caught some fish this weekend let me know.  Folks love to hear how others are doing, it gives us all a way to judge whether we are on the right track or not.  Summer is still here, but the traffic will be down on area waters, and cooler nights are right around the corner.  The last piece of the puzzle would be a couple of days of really good rain.  Next it will be the Gulf, the weather will dictate when.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Summer comes to a close. 8/29/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Sorry there has been nothing new this week, things conspired against me to get out on the water much.  I worked a couple of days for a friend, then ended up losing my phone and missing Chris’ offer to go Thursday.  I was so tired from digging a ditch for 19 hours in 100 degree heat I am not sure I could have drug my old butt out anyway.

Coleto Creek

Aaron and I made it out for a morning trip Monday.  We fished plastics all morning, and other than one spot where we caught 4, it was slow.  The ones we did catch were in a ditch around 10 foot deep along a grass edge.

001

Aaron with the run of the mill we are catching now on Coleto.

We did try deep for a while, we heard of a few good sacks from deeper water, but we just could not make it happen.  Smaller green/pumpkin./red flake type colors have been working as far as the plastics go.  So after it hit a real 100 degrees, and the wind quit, we called it a day.  For the morning it was around 8 bass but nothing to big.  It has just been to dang hot.

I then managed to get out for what ended up being a little over an hour Friday morning, and it was good while it lasted.  It was cloudy with a light breeze when I started out this morning.  As it was barely cracking light, out came the frog.  As the frog bite has been over by 9 I wanted to be there real early and get after it with the frog.

002

Early enough for you?

I have learned a couple of things fishing the frog the last couple of weeks.  First they are not under the mat, at least I am getting no bites in the heavy mat.  They just have not been blowing up on it through the heavy grass.  So I switched to paralleling the heavy grass edges, and they started smoking it.

003

There were eating it this morning.

I never left sight of the ramp as there were lots of clouds with some lightening that appeared to be heading my way.  Most of them hit it while the frog was moving, but if I saw some action near the edge, and there was some today, I would toss it out, hop it a few times then stop it.  So it was a matter of just varying the retrieve while working the edge of the grass.  Pay particular attention to small points sticking out of a long grass bed and be sure to cast 10 foot past it if possible.

004

Not that big but they sure were willing this morning.

005

A little more like it.

I had been fishing about an hour when my buddy called needing a little help today so I put it on the trailer and headed to the house.  For the morning it was these 4, plus a couple of really small ones, over the side.  I missed or lost another 4 or 5, the bite was on.

It looks like I was trying to hurry the frog bite some, but with the weather slowly coming around the bite will only get better.  A few things to remember if you hit Coleto with the frog this last weekend of the summer.  Heavy line (20 lb at least) and a heavy or extra heavy rod is important to pull them out of the grass if they bury up.  And be sure to give them a second to turn with the frog before you set the hook.  It can be tough to get a hook in some of them, but when you get a bunch of cool flushes it is all part of it.

And if plastics are your thing, fish them.  There is enough of a bite on Coleto now that there are some to be caught no matter how you like to fish.  And one last tip – I have been seeing some schooling action so keep a topwater or small crankbait at the ready in case they bust close to the boat.  I am so ready for some cooler nights, it will only get the fish biting better.

To all you hunters – good luck with the doves this week.  I love the start of hunting season, it is like someone threw a switch as the lakes and bays get a lot less crowded.  So next week it will be some Gulf fishing.  The reports are still good, with a morning topwater bite that does extend into the day depending on wind and tide it is a great time to catch nice trout.

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Please be safe and careful this weekend.  It is last call for summer for lots of folks, and if the rain holds off it will be busy on both area lakes and the Gulf.  With the crowds comes the increased chances of something happening, both on the water and off.

     -  Check your fire extinguisher, life jackets, throwable cushion, your paperwork, and anything else you have on the boat.  Remember if you don’t, the game warden will be happy to.

     -  The Coast Guard has indicated they will be checking to see if the throwable device is out and accessible, so hang it on something when you leave the dock.

     -  We should all wear our life jackets, but many of us don’t.  (But with kids it is mandatory -Period, no exceptions.) So at least wear the kill switch when running.  It can save your life and anyone else with you.  It can happen in an instant and the thought of a boat chasing you, or your children down, running wide open, is terrifying.  And as I saw several times working in the ER as a paramedic years ago, being hit by a prop is ugly!

     -  Before you pull up to the ramp to put the boat in the water get everything out and ready so you can pull up to the ramp, back in, and drive the boat off.  Nothing po’s folks more than someone blocking the ramp while they get their stuff straight.  And when you pull out, be sure to get all the way out of the way, the ramps will be jammed this weekend.

     -  Be nice.  You may not like it, you may be irritated, but be nice.  A little confrontation can turn into a big one in a heartbeat.  Think it can not happen to you?  When I was practicing law I had a couple of murder cases that started off as nothing more than a little confrontation.  You may know who you are, but you have no clue who they are.  If you are not sure who the a-hole is, it just might be you.

     -  Watch out for waders, give them a wide berth when going around them.  If there is a boat or two where you want to fish just think about how you would react if someone moved in like you are about to.  There are lots of places to fish, so use your noggin and go find some other fish.  Take the crowds as a chance to figure something out in the face of the traffic, you will be a better fisherman for it.

     -  Have a good time.  enjoy your family and friends.  DO NOT drink and drive the boat.  I met the new Game  Warden at the Coleto ramp and as he was watching folks loading coolers in their boats he commented he was thinking of having a Sheriff’s Deputy meet him at the ramp at take out time to chat with folks.  The last thing you want is to be cuffed and stuffed in front of friends and family.  Plus you might get banned from Canada.

So there you have it for today.  I am so ready for the traffic to lesson.  When you fish as often as I do, and in some of the crazy weather I go out in, you kind of get used to having a lot of it to yourself.  I admit I am spoiled, so get those guns and camo out and hit the woods.  I on the other hand will keep slinging those lures in hopes of landing that fish of my dreams.  Hope you have a great weekend.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

 

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