Play Day at the Lake 2/21/17.


FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Lake Level

Last Trip  96.84    Today  97.27

It is funny how occasionally I feel so much pressure to catch fish to be able to keep this blog going.  And every once in a while I just want to fish pressure free, do exactly what I want, the way I want, and that was the only plan for the day.

When I got up at 5:30 it was raining like a son of a gun, and had been for hours.  And there was a marine warning in place for the Gulf.  I had hoped to fish for a couple of hours, so I got 3 different radars up and saw that the serious storms were almost by us.  So with rain and clouds in the forecast for the rest of the day it was off to the lake at 9:00.  And I hit it just right.  It was drizzling, it stayed that way until around 2:00, with wind out of the NE at 10, so it was highly fishable.  And today I had no particular plan, just go fish and have a good time.  And that is exactly what I did.

First it was immediately apparent the lake is charging up, almost a half a foot since Friday.  What makes that so important is how much new cover and grass is flooding, and there is more to come.  When a raise comes like this during the spawn it can be a problem, but not in this case, the fish are still right on the bank, and I mean shallow.

This spawned out female should have been a heck of lot heavier than she was.

While the rain was a few degrees cooler than the lake, and it clouded up the back ends of the coves, it did not hurt the fishing.  It was slow first thing but from around noon until 4:00 it was back to the catching, 3 here, 6 there, I do not think I fished anywhere today that I did not catch a fish.

And one thing that was great today, instead of having to “figure it out”, it was fish what you like.  Bang O Lure, swim jig both bluegill and white, and buzzing a spinnerbait all worked like a charm.

                                        Lots of really nice solid fish today.

Fishing from near the ramp to way up lake, they became more active as the day wore on.  The swim jig worked anywhere, the Bang O Lure down lake in the clearer water, spinnerbait up lake in the murkier stuff.  And I fished all the way to where the dirty water was coming down the creek, and it was muddy.  It was a mud line and obviously I did not fish above that and it will probably affect the fishing up on that end for a while.

                                                 This size cooperated all day.

I was concerned that the rise might hurt them some, but it was just the opposite, they were right on the bank in the new water.  In one stretch it was 5 or 6 bass and then the bite from hell.  You often hear fishermen say the fish almost jerked the rod out of my hands, and one today almost got the job done.  There is nothing like a catfish when they decide to eat a lure, they smack it, and 2 in a row did it right on the bank in shallow water.  The first one was a good one, about 5 pounds plus, who got all wrapped up in the line.  While I was trying to extricate him and get him in the boat he flopped off.  Then a couple of casts later another good one knocked the snot out of it, and came off half way to the boat as he did the catfish rolling thing.  When I looked at the jig the hook was slightly bent from the first one.  That jig has probably caught a 100 fish in the last couple of weeks and has lasted longer than any I have ever had, a testament to braid and a 20lb flouro leader.

Now this one was a chunk!

There has definitely been some spawning activity and the first fish above was definitely spawned out.  Looking rough, it was the classic big head small bodied female who has done her business.  That one came on the Bang O Lure, like many did today.  They still want it twitched right on top, trying NOT to jerk it under, and keeping it moving.  It definitely works better down lake in the clearer water while the spinnerbait seems to be more effective in the off color water up lake.  And the swim jig has evolved into throw it where ever the mood strikes you.

And that is what I did today.  I fished where ever, how ever I felt like it.  Funny how when you take a little of the pressure off how it changes the day.  And best of all – I did not see another boat until almost 4:00, awesome.  Not a clue how many fish I caught today, but it was just like it has been, keep it in the water and they will come.  The tilapia are up everywhere, lots of carp milling around, and water creeping into the shoreline cover.  And I saw a immature bald eagle today, they look cool.  If it keeps up like this pitching and flipping will really come into its own in the near future.  So another great day on the lake, this bite has been going on for a month now and I see no reason it will not continue.  And I know it seems like this has been a broken record, but when the fishing is this good it is time to take advantage of it.  It won’t last forever.

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Clyde and Shoedog made a quick trip to Canada and Muskie Bay Resort for some ice fishing.  They have been talking about his for several years and finally made the trip.

                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              Lake Trout eat as good as they look.

The Great North.

                    Paul with some nice crappies.       Shoedog with a big perch.

Fishing out of Muskie Bay Resort, one of the things they specialize in is winter ice fishing for lake trout and panfish.  The snow actually gives them increased access to lakes that normally do not get fished as there is no way to get there.  So the snow machine is the way to go and makes for a great adventure.  All I have to say about that for me is my skinny bones are not made for this kind of fishing.  But great job guys, looks like the fishing was fine.

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As soon as I get done writing this it will be time to get stuff ready for tomorrow.   It will be off to the salt.  The weather looks great and the winds will be low.  I have not decided where yet, but I am excited to finally get back to wading.  It has been a while, but remember between being sick for a month and gone, I was out of commission for a while.  That will be remedied starting tomorrow.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Sunday Musings 2/19/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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A Few Ramblings on a Bored Sunday

It is Sunday morning and I wish I was fishing.  Lawn is mowed, a few other things taken care of to make the Boss happy, and let the fishing begin.  So since I am not fishing today, at least I can write about it and watch it on TV, along with a little NASCAR.  On my non-fishing bucket list is either Talladega or Daytona, love the beauty of the 200mph dance.  And speaking of watching fishing on TV, there was a show this morning where they were fishing in Australia, it is still a little to far away to get excited, but I can’t help it.

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First a big congratulation to Jason Smith from Fourney who fished the FLW event on Lake Travis as a co-angler.  He ground out a 5th place in a real tough event with the best fishermen in the world.  That is a real accomplishment and lets wish him well in the tournaments to come.  Angling at that level is tough and we can not wait to see how the rest of his year goes.  And one last comment, one of the pros said something about how many of those small “Guacamole” bass there were.  A little guacamole probably goes just fine on a Gaudalupe.

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

The wait is finally over for a new lure I have been dying to try.  The minute I saw that they were coming out I ordered some, and they are on the way.  Rarely do I see something that just reeks of deadly, and this one has some serious mutli-species applications.  Just reading the information makes me want to be waist deep in the Gulf as I type this.  So as soon as they are in my grubby little hands we will spend some serious time fishing with them.  Stay tuned for that, a lot more on them to come.

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

I got this comment from SA Joe reminding me I will miss the big show.  When I mentioned other shows and expos coming up I forgot to mention the biggie, guess because I will be in Australia.

Dont forget the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, March 24-26, 2017 Houston’s Minute Maid Park,

Also during Bassmaster Classic Week in Houston, the nation’s leading fishing tackle and boat manufacturers will take part in the annual Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo, to be held March 24-26 in the George R. Brown Convention Center. In recent years, tackle and lure companies have been using the Classic Expo as the venue to introduce their newest products to bass fishing fans. The 2017 Expo will cover more than 300,000 square feet, the largest in Bassmaster Classic history.

I really am sad I am missing the show but I will just have to settle for Australia.  It would have been an opportunity to meet the guys at Bagley Bait Company who have been good to me.  So if you go stop in the booth and say hi and pick up some Bang O Lures, a Knocker B or two, and any of their great crankbaits.  If you are a fisherman the show accompaning the tournament will be worth the drive.  Thanks for the reminder.

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Has anyone heard a Texana crappie report?  I have always wanted to give it a go, though have no experience on the lake at all.  So if you know anything let me know, I feel a fish fry coming on.  Thanks.

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Over the years I have used every type and kind of line known.  From Big Game to high dollar fluorocarbon and different brands of braid, most have ended up on my rod at some time.  Big Game was my staple in mono because of the cost, and I changed frequently.  And from using it all, the one thing I have learned is change is a good thing.  Balancing cost has always been a factor when you fish a lot but it seems I have settled on things for now.

I have finally started to get over my problem with braid, and it was “my” problem.  Now it is braid for about half my applications, and with that is always a fluorocarbon leader.  For other applications it is almost exclusively fluorocarbon.  Fluorocarbon tends to nick and fray more than regular mono, so before every trip I replace the leader on the braid and usually cut off a couple of feet of the line when using it by itself.  It just takes a second and re-tying is a lot easier doing it at the house than on the water when the fish are biting.  And it sure reduces the amount of broken lines.

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

And I wanted to send a get well along to both my father and my mother-in-law.  Both have been dealing with some of that creeping crud that has put a lot of us down this winter, it is a bugger.  To both Dean and Joy, hope you get to feeling better soon, and in Joy’s case out of the hospital and home soon.

***************** 

Monday and Tuesday look like there will be a bunch of rain with the usual chance of thunderstroms so I will be throwing that spinnerbait on the lake trying to put a real one in the boat.  Nice to be able to be there in 20 minutes if it is fishable either of those days.  Wednesday looks absolutely fabulous, sunny and warm with a light wind, and I will be waist deep in the Gulf for the day as I begin to get back into the salt.  The weather is really shaping up just fine for a big week here at fishcatchingtravel.com.  And if you have any comments, suggestions, or reports we would love to have them.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 2/17/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Prognosticating fishing success is at times about as accurate as palm reading and betting on horse races.  Great success on perfect days, or a complete strike out.  Or knocking them stupid on a day when you should not have a bite.  So with that said I am about to prognosticate the heck out of tomorrow.  If it does not thunder and lightening running me off tomorrow the fish are in trouble.

I harp on the perfect day for big fish, and tomorrow is one of those days.  Looking at the conditions here is why it has so much potential.  First it will be a cloudy rainy day following a real sunny warm up day.  Additionally it will be much warmer over night so the water should not cool that much.  When combined with a rising lake level the physical conditions are as good as can be hoped for.  And last, the spawn is on and the big girls are starting to show up.

Wednesday I saw lots of beds.  I am not a bed fisherman, but for those of you who are, a couple of days of clearing, which we may not get for a few more days with rain coming, and conditions should be ideal.  If I had to guess we might have an extended spawn this year due to the early start.  Over the years I have seen everything from a 20 foot raise to a 20 foot drop and more during the spawn on Corps of Engineer lakes, all having varied effects, most not good.  So how the fish will react remains to be seen.  But all that aside, it is looking good for tomorrow.

(It is 6am and raining outside.  It looks like it will hang around for a while today, but unless it gets real ugly I will be heading out at daylight.  So far no thunder or lightning on the horizon, just rain.  So time to suit up and man up.)

Weather

74/60  Thunderstorms.  Chance 80%  Wind SE 10 – 15.

Solunar Times

Good  9:36 to 11:36am     Best  3:47 to 5:47pm

Lake Level

Today  96.84     Wednesday  96.17

This is why I go!

When the big girl above decided to eat the spinnerbait she absolutely blasted it in about 2 foot of water.  She was on a little ditch on a flat with good water close by.  This was the first one I caught on a spinnerbait, but it was not the last.

It rained all the way to the lake, then quit.  The clouds stayed around pretty good in the morning but were gone by 1.  So unfortunately it was not perfect, but the fishing was still pretty good.  I fished several places this morning before I figured it out.  They are still biting swim jig and Bang O Lure, but I just did not find the right water for that, or today the right fish.  The water was off color in many places so I stuck with the clear water and just alternated between the swim jig and the Bang O Lure, and both worked.  When I lost count it was 17 and it just went on from there like it has been.  The excitement of the morning was catching the tilapia, which popped the swim jig.  That is the third one I have caught on a lure that way in my life.

              A pretty big tilapia.                                            Lots this size around.

It was a morning of hunting and pecking in the plant arm and I finally decided to go see if they were biting up river.  With a perfect wind, and the water warming on some shallow banks, it was time to give the spinnerbait a serious go.  Earlier a couple made a half hearted pass at it so at least they were interested.   From there it was not fast by any means, but when one would hit that spinnerbait they were stopping it.  With the water so off color it was critical to run the bait right on top, as slow as possible, making a big wake with the willow leaf.

This guy crushed it over a bush.

It started to slow down a little as the afternoon wore on, and by then it sounded like NASCAR on the lake as folks started their weekend.  When I moved back down lake they did not seem to want the spinnerbait, but anywhere the water is clear the Bang O Lure will work.  They still seem to like it right on top splashing along,  I always try to make it sound like a shad flipping whenever I move it on top.  And the swim jig bite remains the same, slow crank it and hold on.

I have been trying other places, some without much success, and then the next place will have 5.  This may be the longest stretch the bite has been this consistent on Coleto in the 6 years I have been fishing it.  All I have to say about today, if it had stayed cloudy it would have been better.  Just like a fisherman, catch another 30 and it could have been better!  My hands are just trashed, my back hurts, and if it was not the weekend I would go tomorrow.

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I got this report from kanrunner, who I met at the lake the other day and gave a couple of tips to.  Looks like he made good use of them.

Did you make it to Coleto today ? It was pretty slow starting out  caught 1 on Brown jig with rage craw swimming, and 1 on a purple worm.

And 10 on a white spinnerbait with double nickel  willows on trees.  You basicly had to drop it on their head, they would only grab it on the drop.  You could definately say they where biting lite.

3ft to 6ft of water all day was where they where at.
Water was 68 dropped 4 degrees from yesterday.
That bite goes along with the temperature drop the other night.  They stick real close to cover and get a little tougher with a big water temp drop this time of year.  But you took what you knew and fished the bait you have confidence in.  Nice job adapting to conditions.  Feel free to send me any reports you have and it was nice meeting you.
 

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Random Ramblings

I am not going to debate climate change, that is politics and I try to stay away from that on this blog.  But a new study by a well respected researcher published in a scientific journal has found that the dissolved oxygen content in the ocean has dropped 2% in the last 50 years.  That just may be a real problem in the future, at least for generations after us.  Politics aside, we need to keep monitoring and protecting the outdoors, not only for our sport, but for our kids.

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I know I have been lax on the old Gulf fishing, but that will change.  Spending lots of time reading charts, weather, and solunar times has been interesting and informative.  Not sure whether it has directly affected results, but we will get a real chance to see.  There is a 3 day period coming up February 24 -26 that has real potential, and it is time to get back to some serious wading.  The best fishing of the year will soon break loose on the bay, though from reports it has been good now if you find them, and I will be taking advantage of it.

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One thing that has been apparent since I traded the Rage Craw for the Zoom Craw, is that the jig itself is still the most important part of swim jig fishing.  I have tried several kinds and the Strike King Swimming Jig is still the best.  It does not roll as some do at higher speed, and comes through grass and cover better than other jigs.  So while the trailer has changed the Swimming Jig is still the ticket.  And one last word on swim jig fishing – While they will eat the white and the blue/black, the bluegill color is by far the most consistent producer on Coleto.

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And speaking of swim jigs Johnny one of my regular readers sent me these pictures.

                         Now that is one big catfish!

Timely as I just caught a catfish on a swim jig the other day.  This behemoth weighed 22lbs and took 15 minutes to subdue.  Great catch and some good eating.  And it shows how quickly things are moving this year, the fish in Coleto are on the prowl.  Thanks for the pictures Johnny, keep in touch.

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A while ago I wrote about fuel line deterioration.  And it has happened again on the Carolina Skiff.  When I got this 50 Mercury 6 years ago it came with a fuel line and bulb.  Since at the time I had an onboard tank I just put it away.  3 years ago I switched to the red 6 and 3 gallon tanks and put the hose on.  Well it lasted exactly 3 1/2 years.  I was having trouble starting it and when my buddy Jeffish used the boat one weekend he went to change bulbs and found the line was coming apart inside.  I mean in 3 years it was literally coming apart.  So who knows how long, or how much stuff, has been in the engine.  So if you have not changed in a while take a look inside, you might be surprised.  And once he changed the fuel line the starting problem disappeared immediately.

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My All Time Favorite Comment!

I am always asking you to comment, and I read each and every one.  Of course that means I have to wade through hundreds, and I mean hundreds of spam and crazy comments.  The one below comes up every so often, it is a canned comment that floats around on the internet, and I wanted to share it with you.

The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not
disappoint me as much as this particular one.
I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I really believed you’d  have something useful to talk about. All I hear is
a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not  too busy seeking attention.

Tell me how you really feel.  This makes me laugh every time I get it.  The internet is a wonderful and scary place!  So keep those comments coming, especially ones as insightful and on point as this one.

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Spring brings the fishing and boat shows.  The Bass Pro fishing expo is coming in the next few weeks and there are some good deals in the flyer.  I will definitely be stocking up on plastics and fluorocarbon line.  And the Houston Fishing Show follows on March 8th and I will be hitting that too.  If you go, and you should if you want some good deals, stop by the Wade Right booth and say hi and look at their great products.  And last, we are now a day or two over a month away from Australia.  Talk about looking forward to some fishing, how could it not be epic.

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Cocoons

You all know I love mine and now they have come out with something new and I wanted to share it with you.  They have come up with a blue light filter fit over that alleviates eye strain from constant computer exposure.

  • Reduce headaches and eye fatigue from Computer Vision Syndrome
  • Alleviate blurred vision from extended exposure to digital screens
  • Enhance visual performance and comfort
  • Improve quality of sleep by reducing exposure to artificial blue light
  • Avoid potential retina damage from exposure to harmful HEV rays
  • Minimize irritating glare and halos generated by artificial lighting

If they work anything like the regulars they will do the job.  And with offer code Comp17 you will get free first class shipping.  So click on the logo at the top of the page and see what they are all about.

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Boy it has been a run.  And the better fish are showing up more and more.  One of those mystical day on the water is coming sometime in the next month.  If you fish the lake fish what you like or are good at.  They are up and biting, and it won’t get any better than this as far as numbers go, but size will continue to increase.  The tilapia are everywhere, I saw a copper head on a rock when I went to untangle my bait, and the fish are trying to spawn.  A great time of the year on the lake.  After wearing them out on the lake it is time to turn my attention to a little saltwater.  I got all the stuff organized, reels oiled and line put on.  Time to go catch a trout.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 2/15/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I spent the long weekend on South Padre with the Boss and some of her family.  I took a break and did not fish, just enjoyed the weekend and did some work on the blog.  Of course some good eats and family were part of the weekend.  I was hoping to fish Tuesday but with a forecast of wind to 30mph with storms I decided to do a few responsible things and fish starting Wednesday.  And I have to say again, the Bang O Lure is so hot right now I can barely stand to write this today (Tuesday) when I will not be fishing until tomorrow.

Wednesday

Weather

67/43   Sunny  NNW 10 – 20  0% chance rain

Solunar Times

Best  2:11 to 4:11 pm    Good   8:00 to 10:00 am  (Both times were consistent today.)

Lake Level

96.08 on 2/6/17.      96.17  2/14/17.  (It is clearly coming up.)

A Put on Your Big Boy Pants Day!

It was a balmy 47 degrees when I left the house, with a nice breeze of 20mph out of the N – NW, and it stayed that way all day.  The catching was not “tough”, but the fishing sure was.  I could not get to my 2 best places, and there were other places that were just not fishable.  But at least when I got to the lake I had already removed my head from my you know where and actually had a plan based on the conditions.

With an almost 40 degree temperature drop in 36 hours, an inch plus of 65 degree rain, and a mile high bluebird sky, I figured they would be tight to cover early, and they were.  There was no question they would not be in the backs today, and that also stayed true all day.  So it seemed the swim jig would be the ticket, and it was.  I did not catch a fish on anything else all day.

This was a nice  fish, solid.

Starting in a big cove without any real wood in it I put 3 in the boat there.  It also stayed like that all day.  One here, 3 there, in fact in only one place did I not catch a fish and a couple I caught 4 or 5.  Two places turned out to be the pattern, wood no more than half way in a cove early, and then later in the day it was calm spots with the sun beating down on it.  Those fish were shallow.

Happy with this size any day.

Spinnerbait, Bang O Lure, white swim jig, nothing.  But a slow steady retrieve with the bluegill/green Zoom Craw got bit.  Keep in mind, the wind is blowing hard, not only can’t get to my good places, but in some places I had a big bow in the line with the cross wind.  So catching fish basically from 8 until I quit at 4 was worth the effort, but it was work.  It was just tough fishing.

        Lots of ospreys around.     And the occasional catfish on the swim jig.

I have switched over to a Zoom Craw from the Rage Craw and I have found one great big difference, the Rage Craw is too soft.  I bought a bag of the Zooms and have caught a bunch on 10 of them.  I ran out and grabbed a Rage, and had 2 consecutive bites that did not hook up, but they ate the pincers off.  I had 2 torn up in 10 minutes.  The punch line, the Rage is $6, and the Zoom is $3, making them well worth it if you fish a lot.  And I can sure say that there has been no drop off since I switched.

It was very steady today in the middle of the coves, especially if there was a bend out of the wind with the sun on it.  Of course I missed and lost several, but before it  was over it was an easy 25+.  I actually saw a couple come out and eat, the green Cocoons were great today, perfect for the water color.  And I can not say it enough, see something deeper right now and there just might be a fish on it.  Today was one of those steady bites, not fast, but considering the conditions today was a success.

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After I put up the Lake of the Woods post in answer to Bill’s questions I got this from him a couple of hours later.

Thank you very much for not only your quick response but the excellent information . You nailed it perfectly, I could tell you know that with a group like ours we will have fisherman of all skill levels, your information will definitely make our trip a success. Many of us are taking son’s, grandson’s you might say a new generation of fishermen and I really want to them to have the best chance to have the most exciting Fishing experience possible, your information will insure of just that. I am excited as we will be House Boating which will allows us to spots right in the middle of this area.
I promise to give you a report and if you want with picture’s of this trip.

First it is so wonderful you are taking the kids.  To assure the survival of our sport we have to keep the generations coming.  And I am really jealous, the houseboat trip is on my bucket list.  So have a great time and we will be looking forward to hearing from you.

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And speaking of Billys, I got this from Edna Billy.

Well, I guess I need to beg along on a bass fishing trip with you as well.
Went to Coleto today. South wind was howling and there were a ton of boats on the lake(yeah, I know, weekend, don’t have a choice though). Between two of us, we caught, maybe 25 fish all day.

Well hey man, 25 ain’t chopped liver.  And if you did that on a weekend with that traffic it beats a kick in the head.  I will try to get over the “weekend” thing so we can go again, hate to see you suffering.  LOL!

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And congratulations to the fisherman who caught the new world record Kentucky bass.  I believe it was 11lbs 3ozs. which is a freak of nature.  I had heard about the big fish in that lake, and that is a big fish.  I may have caught one over 5lbs in my life, but that would be it.

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I really was satisfied with how it went today.  It was simply a matter of making sure the boat was in the best position possible, and then not messing up.  Several jumped off today because of the bow in the line I could not get a good hook set.  If it had not been for the braid I probably would not have know I had a bite.    Friday looks to be one of those days on the lake where you can put the real hurt on them.  If the water warms back up and clears some in the backs of the coves they will be hard at it.  So what exactly is next only tomorrow will tell, but the boat is on the truck.  And I love hearing from you so feel free to comment anytime.   Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lake of the Woods. A Reader Question. 2/12/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Lake of the Woods  –  Trip of a Lifetime

Lake of the Woods Smallmouth

I got this question from Billy Ray, and I will do my best to help him and his group out.  It is a big one and requires a little more than a one word answer. (Like I can stop at one word anyway.)

Stumble across your site looking for information on Smallmouth Lake of Woods and really like your articles, very enjoyable reading thank you.
My Church group is making a Fishing trip the 3rd week of June to Sioux Narrows Ont.
Will be fishing at the head of long Bay in the Yellow Girl Bay area. What can you tell me about Smallmouth fishing in this area? What would recommend we throw and any suggestions. Is this in the approximately of Black Bear Bay that you have mention in previous articles? This is our first time in this part of LOW and any tips would be greatly appreciated.
To serve others is to serve Him
Bill Ray

First lets talk about lures.  It is really important that you consider the group, their abilities, and the equipment they will be using.  The thing that makes LOW what it is is the great variety of fish.  A trip there, as you know if you have been there, easily includes smallmouth, walleye, pike, and muskie.   So first lets consider lures.

                                                  Bear Bay smallmouth.

There is no way shape or form I would be caught dead on LOW without several Rapala Husky Jerks.  It catches smallmouth to beat the band, and everything else that swims.  The model I prefer is the smaller 3 hook, which I believe is #12, and also the next smaller size which is the 2 hook model 10.  Be sure you look them over to get the right size.  And we like any color, as long as it is the GOLD!  And as you can see above the fish on the right was caught on a Smithwick Suspending Rogue, which also works fine.  They like the Red Bream color, last trip it was the hot bait on several lakes we fished.

Clyde with a Bear Bay flyrod smallmouth caught on a popper.

Not being sure what equipment your folks will use, it needs to be thrown on at least a 12# test, again because it catches everything else in the lake.  And a wire leader, it can be a light one, is mandatory unless you like giving them up to toothy critters.  Now this bait is a jerk bait, and that is exactly what you do.  Throw it out there and jerk it under, let it sit as it will suspend, jerk it, let it sit, all the way to the boat, there is usually no doubt when you get a bite.  But I can not stress enough, take at least 2 or you might live to regret it.

And as far as topwater goes I would not want to forget 2 types of topwater.  First is a popper like a PopR or the Rapala Skitter Pop.  Easy to fish, fun to fish, this may be the easiest topwater to use as it is real apparent when you get a bite.  Like when it disappears in a toilet flush!  And to go along with that, a topwater Bagley Bang O Lure minnow in the 5 1/2″ is a sure fire killer.

The channel at the mouth of Bear Bay.

After those baits there are several options, again depending on skill level and tackle.  So lets talk about an easy bait.  One of the most popular baits up there, and down south, is a wacky rigged senko or stick worm.  It truly is a do nothing bait, just toss it out there, let it sink, and then twitch it, stop it, and hold on.  Green pumpkin is very popular, and I like watermelon red.  If you shop a little you will find that there are several brands that sell that do nothing stick worm, and  you can find bags of 8 or 10 for around $3 or $4.  Trust me in this department buying the more expensive ones get you nothing, they all work.  One of the problems is they get torn up but there is a way to minimize that by buying some O rings that fit them nice and tight, placing them in the middle of the worm, and putting your hook through there.   A weedless hook is an option but not a necessity.  It can be fished on everything from a push button Zebco to a $300 Shimano by all skill levels.  And of course tube jigs have been a staple on smallmouth there so are an option.

If you have some “fishermen” in the group with good equipment a buzzbait is great, and fun to fish.  White or chartreuse is fine, you just need a little faster retrieve reel.  And one bait that has appeared on the scene the last couple of years is the Whooper Plopper, a totally different hard bait style of buzzbait.  It is expensive but it catches big smallmouth, along with some ridiculous massive strikes from muskie and pike.

The entrance to Bear Bay.

Bear Bay is one of the greatest fishing spots on the face of this earth, and I really mean that.  The 3 times I have been there it was smallmouth, smallmouth, and more smallmouth.  Isolated and pristine, it is not only great fishing, it is an adventure to get there.  It is about a 50 minute run launching from Sioux Narrows.  Now please take this with a grain of salt – I do not have a clue how to get there.  We followed Clyde the first time and the other trips we had it on the GPS.  It is near Yellow Girl, and can be found on a map, it is actually close to a main channel marker.  The opening is small and easily missed but it is well worth the trip.  So the best I can tell you is find it on the map near Yellow Girl Bay.

My bucket list Muskie from Lake of the Woods.

And when you go in be careful, idle slowly as you pass through a couple of really shallow shoals until it opens into Bear Bay.  And there is a spot where I have seen folks cooking shore lunch on the left as you come in, if your group makes a day of it.  Really, between the 2 boats on past trips we caught a couple of hundred (And that is conservative!)  smallies a day.  It is not that large, I would call it a large pond or small lake, not a great place for a bunch of boats, but there is the smaller lake on the way in that also has largemouth and pike.

I hope this in some small way helps you out.  If you have any more questions please let me know.  And if you can, drop us a note and let us know how your trip goes.  I will not make it this year as there are other trips in the works, but just writing about it has me wanting to hitch up the boat and get on the road.  Have a great trip!

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The Beat Down Just Continues. 2/11/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Not sure when my luck will turn on me, but it was not today.

Thursday I was headed out to take care of a bunch of stuff so Friday I would be free to fish.  Then my buddy Jeffish called and said they could do some plumbing work and was I going to be around.  Of course.  So him, his dad Ken, Alex, and Justin all rolled up and got to work.  They fixed all kinds of stuff that was needing it.  Crossroads Plumbing is a great company and does good work.  And that has nothing to do with him being my buddy.  They got a ton done, and it was inspected and finished Friday morning.   So the point of this?  Instead of getting the other crap done I needed to on  Thursday I had to wait until Friday morning so I was not able to get on the water until 1:00.

It was 70 degrees with a 15 – 20 wind out of the south, and while it had a good chance of rain it never did.  It stayed cloudy, with occasional sun, and I could feel it was gonna be good.  And it was.

Why I love the Bang O Lure.  I look forward to this every year!  Funny how pictures can be deceiving, the second fish here was quite a bigger.

There was at least 25 trailers at the ramp, looks like a busy weekend for Coleto.  There were bass boats buzzing around everywhere and there was a boat on most banks.  So figuring everything had been fished I just started in a cove.  Sometimes you get lucky, and today I did because the first stump I threw at in the back of a cove had fish on it.  It was a spinnerbait bite, and I missed it.  So I picked up the Bang O Lure and tossed it back to the same spot and she smoked it.  From then on it was the pattern.   And how lucky have I been lately?  I had a big fish come out of a stump and smoke the Bang O Lure, and my line broke when I set the hook.  I almost cried, and then it floated to the top.  My luck continues, but as we all know it can’t last.

The only other place I fished that was a little different from a cove was a creek channel I have been catching them on, and that place did not disappoint and it was an easy 10+ there.  Most of those came on the bluegill swim jig with a Havoc craw trailer.  And like it has been they just want it straight reeled at a steady pace close to the bottom.  On braid you can feel them if they barely touch it, or in some cases smack the crap out of it, cool bite.

     A few on swim jig, but the bulk of them were on the Bang O Lure.

At this point I probably boated a dozen on the Bang O Lure and swim jig in that area, and they almost all came out of wood.  So the next logical stop was a big cove with scattered wood all over it.  Now obviously that cove had been pounded during the day, it is a popular place.  But guess what?   They were there, and not just here or there, but on almost every good piece of wood.  Make a good cast to wood, twitch that minnow past it and hold on.  Nice ones, little ones, mediums, didn’t matter they were on the wood, especially the shady side.  Some areas are getting pounded, it is spring, but it was real obvious this afternoon that those areas are not being fished effectively.

That bank was covered up in wood and it was an easy 15, they were eating it under as it was jerked by wood, or sucking it off the top.  A couple actually did the spring time topwater bite and came out of the water and exploded on it.  You know the kind where the bait gets tossed in the air and you get to see the fish.  The best wood was in 3 feet to out as deep as 10.  You just had to make the Bang O Lure splash over the wood until they could not stand it.  And if they did not eat on top, or you could see them roll under it, then I would jerk it under and work it fast and erratic.  You can also catch them by throwing to the bank just twitching it right along on top.  They tend to be the smaller fish right now, but get a good warm cloudy day and it won’t be long before they are big fish.  But if you see anything below the surface, work it under and watch them roll out. y Cocoons are worth their weight in gold, you have to be able to see it.   But no matter what this freakin’ fishing is off the chart.

As I came out of the back end of the big cove a bass boat was coming at me on the other side, so he cut across real fast and cut me off.  As usual, I was in the skiff.  It had not been out in a couple of months so I wanted to run it.  Over the last 6 years since I have had 2 boats bass fishermen make some kind of assumption about the boat, which is stupid, but happens all the time.  It makes me sad that bass fisherman have come to this.  The only revenge was I kept following them for a little ways and caught 2 behind them.  I did not see anyone fishing that pattern today, but I did spread the news.

Another boat was coming my way and we stopped and chatted.  Thomas had fished the lake in the past, and today had caught 2.  So in the spirit of fishcatchingtravel I paid it forward just like the 2 guys did for me at the river the other day.  I filled him in on how to catch them, and told him about the web site.  Not a couple hours after I chatted with Thomas on the lake I got this comment on the blog.

I met you tonight on Colleto an wanted to tell you thanks for the tips! You hadn’t even left the cove an I caught a 4 pounder !!! I’m going out tomorrow again. I would love the chance to learn some more.

That is freakin’ awesome.  And kind of funny because I told him the site was about sharing truthful fishing information.  We all need to help each other out, watch our for each other, and quit making this some king of freakin’ contest.  It is not the size of your boat, or some other part, that makes you a fisherman.  Thanks for the comment Thomas, maybe we can get it organized to fish together some day.

And it was not all about the bass today.  I saw the eagle, which I assume is the one that was here last year.  That poor eagle got harassed by the ospreys on a regular basis last year.  Then I saw the real dinosaur, the giant alligator in the same cove as last year.  His back was covered in mud and he was sunning.  I grabbed the camera, but the minute I moved he exploded off the bank in a shower of water and mud.  It is so awesome to see the really big ones, they are cool, but that is one scary creature.

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SA Joe dropped this comment after my trip to the Nueces River.

You’re welcome. Glad you did ALOT better than my big fat zero when i went. I used my knowledge from fishing the red river lock n dam #5 and threw crank baits and Kastmasters lure to catch white bass there. Just didn’t work for me Dec 29th when I went. But i also fished way north at Airport Rd and it just got crowded. Was planning on heading south Wed but ended up going local and slayed some Lrg Mouths. Biggest was 5lbs today.

I only went about a mile or so above the Hwy 59  bridge so not really sure what the Airport Rd area is.  I trolled down river until there was a train bridge and fished some below that before I trolled back up.  But as I tend to do, when in doubt go bass fishing, and looks like you had a good day.  I appreciate the heads up on the whites, may try to do it one more time.  And as usual thanks for your participation.

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And speaking of white bass Ro dropped this comment on the Pedernales River, which I hope is my next destination.

Great white bass report Doug! Sounds fun! I ran all the way up the Pedernales River Friday: they weren’t up yet. Most bait and arches are midway up, but predominantly 10-13 inch lmbs. Will try again in a couple weeks.

Thanks for letting me know.  That little white bass extravaganza the other day has me itching for more.  Plus with good timing you can add a bonus striper or two on a good day.  When they start let me know, would love to hit that right.  And looking forward to the next time the Austin Boys head this way, always a good time.

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So there you have it, my great fishing luck continues.  It seems like I am in tune and fishing well.  And as anyone who really fishes a lot knows, it can’t/won’t last.  But I am going to ride this horse as long as it continues.  Going to a new spot has always been fun for me, sometimes it works, sometimes it sucks.  But the last few weeks has me itching for more.  But I have not forgotten about the salt.  It won’t be long, and I am still waiting for the perfect weather report so I can head to the Upper Laguna out of North Padre for a few days.  Please keep sending those comments and reports, it makes for a much better site.  It is hard to believe that this blog will be heading into year 7 this summer, who would have thunk it?  And the big thing, Australia is a little over a month away and visions of big fish on the Great Barrier Reef are dancing in my head.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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A Change of Scenery.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Like I said in yesterday’s post, I need a little change of scenery.  Over the years I have caught tons of white bass, and really do miss the annual run we had in Arkansas.  While Coleto has a small run there are a couple of places I have heard about and wanted to fish.  One is the Pendernales off of Lake Travis, the other is the Nueces River down south.  I got this post from Joe in SA and so early tomorrow I will head that way.  And as Joe says, see how I do.  This is fishcatchingtravel.com and lets see if I have a clue.  I used to be pretty good at it.  I am looking forward to a new place, and will probably wake up to dang early.

White Bass Are running on the Nueces River in George West. People have been fishing from the Airport and Route 59 ramps. Pictures in the facebook groups show them getting their 25 fish limits. The river at Airport ramp is narrow(can flip a bait across the river), my bass boat fits but wont run in the 4-8ft water there. The day i went at least 20 people went past me and churned the hell outta the water. Never caught one. Should have gone further south were it widened out. Make that drive and see how you do…

Weather

91/56  Partly Cloudy giving way to sun.  Wind W 10-15  10% chance of rain.

Solunar Times

Best 8:08 to 10:08  (Only period when I will be fishing.)

It has been to long since I just went somewhere without a clue.  I have seen prior reports online and always wanted to give it a go, so after Joe’s report time to see what happens.  I got to the ramp on Hwy 59 at exactly 7:00, and was first.  After putting in there were a couple of good old boys in a Mako so I strolled over and only asked one thing, up or down?  When you are up a river with a good spawning run, that is about the size of it.  Are they all the way up, on shallow shoals, or more downstream in the main channel?  They were kind enough to fill me in.  They were trolling down river with Rattle Traps.  Trolling is they way I would have started, best way to locate a hot area.  Little did I know I would not shut the motor off for 5 hours.

                                                    That took about 5 minutes.

The Nueces there is about 12 foot deep right after the ramp, and got as deep as 20 feet as I worked down river.  There is a bunch of brush in the water where the bank collapsed a little down river you need to not troll by, but after that have at it.  The water temp was in the high 60’s, and slightly off-color.  On one rod I put a deep running Shad Rap in the foil and black back, and it never got taken off all day.  The other was a yellow looking Cabelas copy that I got in the bargain cave, and that did fine.

                              They just kept biting, and some were pretty nice.

Initially they wanted it about 3mph on the GPS, and they definitely wanted it deep.  I was fishing the Rapala on braid with a 20lb. leader and it was probably running about 8 foot deep.  Generally I put it about 45 feet behind the boat. I caught the first one in about 5 minutes, and from then on it was white bass all day.  Nice ones, small ones, mediums, they kept biting.  I trolled way down river and some of the bigger ones were down river.  It was foggy, but as it cleared off and got hot I noticed something watching the graph.  And then I made a great decision.

                     Once I got the speed down, 3.4mph, it was awesome.

As I trolled back up I noticed the bait and fish on the graph had moved up to about 5 – 10 foot, so I tied on a shallow running Rapala Shad Rap and it was game on.  They knocked the crap out of that.  So now I have two Rapalas going at once, and they are biting.  I am knocking over coffee, getting them in the other line, trying to get one off so I can get the other rod, and sticking the crap out of my hands getting them off.  It was awesome.

Then I started doing the trick I have used on them for 40 years.  The shallow running Rapala is perfect for giving it a pull.  Not quite a rip, but a good quick pull, then jerk it a little, and they just can’t resist.  See a wad of bait on the locator?  Wait a second and then give it a couple of pulls.  And one other nice thing about that bait, you can feel them bump it, then pull and twitch and you can make them  eat.  Today was classic great white bass fishing.   By time I trolled back to the ramp the water was in the 10 foot range, so I tied on a different shallow runner on the other rod and kept going past the ramp.   Of course they liked that.  I mean those fish were biting.

 I think it would have been even better just cranking, if that is possible.

So I made one pass a mile or so above 59 and kept catching them right along.  Then to finish the day it was time to cast just sliding down river so I started near the ramp.  That is really fun when they are hitting that way because often you can feel them really smack it.  And that they did!  I caught 5 in 15 minutes and said for the love of God you are back at the ramp, quit dude!  My hands were trashed, the boat was trashed, and after catching 50+ it was time to call it a day.  My only regret is not throwing small swim baits/jigs on the spinning rod, that would have been deadly.  And it just so happened that I saw those same 2 guys later and they had their limit of 50 and were just catching and releasing.  That is how good it was today.

Being a like to catch fish guy one thing that really helps keep the catch rate up is fishing for the right fish at the best time.  Whites are a perfect example.  They show up in the rivers and creeks, they bite like crazy, spawn, and it is over for the year.  A perfect example of the progression, first the white bass, then the largemouth, then the trout.  They all spawn at certain times, and that is when you need to concentrate on each species.  Attempting to do that over the years has taught me, get it while it is hot.  And by any definition, it was crazy hot today and I am glad I made the drive.  Thanks Joe.

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It is interesting how different the day can go from one guy to the next.  I got these 2 reports from readers on their trip to Coleto this weekend.  The first is from Jim.

We made the launch at 0900 due to some difficulty getting out of the shoot. Fished for the first time on the lake went to the left after exiting the no wake area and fished every cove and points. I had my fishing partner with me so I was fighting the wind while she did most of the fishing. I fished the purple and the brown swim jig with no bites. I fished a copy of the Bang’O Lure on wood where I could, nothing; did not fish the spinner bait. I did however fish a crank bait Black and Grey on top, White bottom with a splash of Red, proved to be the ticket on calm banks and coves. We caught about 10 boated 4. We had fun for the first time fishing on the lake. I fished from the launch up to what looked like a power station and stopped there when I ran into some shallow water on the left. So, I don’t know if that is up the lake or down the lake. I think I was on the other end than you were. Thanks for your tips Doug; thanks for writing your stuff and as Arnold would say I’ll be Back!

First where you went was up the creek (left) in what I refer to as the plant arm.  The other way (right) is up the Coleto Creek arm, which has more water and varied structural options.  For me “up lake” is always up to where the creek or river flows into the lake, no matter whether it is south or north.  Sounds like you turned a tough trip into a success.  It goes along with something I have been saying, fish what you like or are good at, they are biting.  Coleto just takes a little while to get used to, but once you do you will have better luck.  Nice that you have a partner who likes to fish, sounds like  she is getting the hang of it.  So keep trying it, the next couple of months should be good.

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

For a completely different Coleto report Joe from Katy fished this weekend and did it up right.

Hey Doug, it’s Joe from Katy. Your reports on Coleto had me itching. Not being able to sleep I pulled into the ramp about 1130 Saturday night. Slept in the truck and was in the water before there was another boat at the ramp.

I could not get my hands on a bang 0 so I got a rogue with a similar color pattern and a foil finish. I stopped at my favorite cove next to the big creek bend just past the dam. 30 minutes late I already had 20 fish. 4 whites and 16 small bass. I also caught 2 at once on the rogue. They fish were everywhere and were eating well.

As the day wore on they cove bite slowed as they moved more towards the mouth of the coves and main lake area but it was pretty consistent. With a super bowl party to go to I was off the lake by 1230. I boated 35-40 bass total and probably missed at least 10 between the swim jig and the rogue. Looking at the weather this week I can easily see myself there again this weekend.

Glad to see you are well and back it friend.

That is exactly what I have been finding for the last 2 weeks.  It seems some days they are getting after in it the back of coves, other time they seem to be related to channels, points, and deeper banks.  I really think it has a lot to do with how early the water has warmed.  But no matter how it goes, the fishing should be good for quite a while.  And the big fish bite is right around the corner.  Good job.  Thanks for the report and continued support.

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Just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who reads this stuff.  Last month was one of the biggest months for visitors we have had, and it looks like it will be a record year for fishcatchingtravel.com.  Last year we had our 500,000 visitor, which was a big milestone, and it is looking like we will have our best year yet.  Every once in while it is hard to get motivated to go fishing, much less write, but then  it is all worth it when I realize how many of you read this.  So thanks to all, but some of you, you know who you are, are what makes this fun.  And I appreciate all the help I get from Cocoons, Bagley, and Wade Right.  So keep those comments and reports coming, they are great.

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And last, but definitely not least, the guys at Coastal Fishing Gear, makers of the Wade Right wading  belt, just announced the addition of the Wade Right Tackle System to their line.  I have been using it and loving it.  If you wade the small boxes really are great, and make it easy to prepare and carry what you need.

So stop by the site and click on accessories and take a look.  And if you are headed to the Houston Fishing Show, March 8 – 12 like I am, stop by the booth, say hi, and put your hands on one.

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

It seems like the almost a month I was sick and off the water actually turned out to be a good thing, if that is possible.  Feeling rejuvenated, I have been fishing a lot, and well.  It seems crazy but I have caught a couple of hundred fish in the last week or so.  There is nothing like spring.  What is next?  Who knows, but one thing is sure, it will be on the water somewhere!  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Beat Down Continues 2/6/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Preparing this gets my blood flowing.  A little wind never hurt the spinnerbait fishing, and that is fine by me.  It also sets up what I have been finding the last week, spinnerbait the windy point, and then slide around to the protected side and throw the topwater.  The fish love setting up there and waiting on supper.  And it will be interesting to try some different trailers for the swim jig.  And one other bait I am going to tie on right now as I get prepared for tomorrow is the Rapala wake bait.  It has real potential if I can find the right water for it.

Weather

79/65   Cloudy with scattered thunderstorms in the morning.  Wind S 15-25mph.  40% chance of rain.

Lake Level

Today  96.08        1/30/16   96.15  (You can see it is dropping slightly, hope it does not fall to much during the spawn.  Never a good thing.)

Solunar Times

Best 6:24 am – 8:24 am

I got to the ramp at daylight and I was first, wow.  So in the water the boat went, and by time I parked and made it back to the boat folks were lining up.  The water temps at the ramp was 65 and at least that over much of the lake, especially in the coves, was a lot higher than that.

There were 2 plans for today and first was to catch a limit to fill out the weekend’s fish fry, and fry a couple tonight.  Next was to try 2 different craw trailers on the swim jig, start using a tail on my spinnerbait, and see it I could catch a couple on the Rapala wake bait.  It is a 6″ minnow bait that runs right on or below the surface.  In fact, the first place 2 small ones hit it reeled over wood.  Unfortunately the wind really started blowing 20mph plus and that ended that technique.  The good thing it worked and should be very effective in the months to come.

Love that swim jig.

It was just a milk run.  Fishing coves and any wood that came my way.  They were biting when I started and biting when I quict.  Just for shits and giggles I counted to see how long it would take to put a  dozen in the boat, it took until 9:30.  From there it was old standby places, and some new ones.  One of those is a big cove with tons of timber, but way in the back it actually opens up in a nice area.  There was only 1 small one in the back, but as I worked my way out I think I caught 3 or 4 on spinnerbait.

The star of the day was the swim jig hands down.  Both trailers (see below)  caught fish, but the bluegill/with green Berkley Havoc Craw caught a few, like 2 dozen.  They were eating it.  To give you a feel for how it was today, the last bank I fished around 3:00 I caught 8 and missed a couple .  When you find them, then get the speed right on the jig, they will eat.  It works from one end of the lake to the other, dirty water or clear, just crank it along near the bottom and be ready.  Fishing braid with a 2 foot 20lb flurou leader is increasing my hook up ratio and when some of the small ones hit it close to the boat I see the go flying by my head as they go airborne.  But it sure has cut down on breaking them off with the hook set.

   This size is everywhere right now.                 Sucks t0 be these guys.

Cleaning a limit today, and one last week, is one of the few times in years I have kept that many.  But hey it is legal, and I have only thrown back a couple of thousand the last 4 years.  It was kind of tough to catch the barely legal to keep, the better ones went back, but it was easy to limit.  There were 2 things to take away from cleaning them.  First, their stomachs was flat empty, not a thing.  Second, 2 were small females, and while everyone may be moving up and looking to spawn, those eggs were in no way ready.  But on the other hand I saw a couple of beds, one with a small guy hoping to get lucky.  And I also saw my first tilapia, so they are really going to be early.  This is a funny spring, but if it keeps up we will have a long stretch of good fishing this spring.

It was a little different today.  The sun was out most of the day, and as it wore on the wind got to humping making it a little tough to fish.  And unless it was on the swim jig that I did not see the bite there were no big ones today  The day never had a big fish feel to it.  But again it is hard to complain when 30+ is the norm.  It is good when they bite all day, and you catch them everywhere you try.  And best of all it is cool to be able to fish lots of different baits and catch on all of them.

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

I got this comment from Joe in San Antonio and he took the words right out of my mouth.

Take a look at the Zoom Ultra Vibe Craw. They got great action from the claws. Dip them in Chartreuse Dip to make them stand out in all water color. I use the Green Pumpkin Or Watermelon. Usually on 20lb power pro with a small gremlin bullet shot. Finesse fishing. But they also work great on a jig or trailer. Ive had bass come out of nowhere right next to the boat and hit it. Scares the hell outta ya.

Ps. Dont use these, the claw action sucks. Unless you want a bigger profile.

Zoom-Bait-Super-Speed-Craw-Pack-of-8

Funny you would send that along.  I spent an hour in Academy opening every craw looking thing in the store, after I stopped at Wal Mart and they had zip.  I had already ruled out the Speed Craw, have some I got for Canada and the smallmouth wouldn’t touch them, which means they don’t work.  But I opened the Zoom Ultra Vibe Craw and the flanges look good so I got a bag.  (Today it was around 5 or 6 on it with a blue swim jig.)  I also got a bag of the Berkley Havoc craws which have a good flange on them, so only tomorrow will tell.  (They loved the Havoc today.  It will be a go to until proven otherwise.)  Of course I picked up some Rage Craws, just in case.

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And speaking of buying tackle it is new catalog time and the Bass Pro got here a month ago, the Cabela’s Fishing Essentials a couple of weeks ago.  There were a couple of baits in the Cabela’s I liked the looks of.  I have been throwing the Skitter Walk for years and now they have the Rapala Skitter V which claims to walk the dog in a tighter quicker turn action.  Looks good.  Strike King is now selling unpainted clear crankbaits.  Not sure what the real value is unless you are one of those putter around and paint stuff guys.  Cabelas has a page of Whopper Ploppers.  If you like topwater for bass or redfish, they are the bomb.   Designed by Larry Dahlberg, probably the best overall fisherman on the planet, it has caught big fish all over the world.  That time is coming this year here, and I already have mine.  Plus who can resist a cool color called Monkey Butt, which put a muskie or two in the boat in Canada.  In fact, the first time I threw it on Coleto I got broke off in a toilet flush, this is not a light line bait.  Trust me, the bite is awesome.

The Bass Pro catalog had the Spro Rat Swimbait.  I have seen that fished on TV pretty successfully, and I know it would work on Coleto spring and summer.  I am still having trouble forking out $25 on a bait, but is sure looks tempting.  The only other thing I found in that catalog was the Nitro Z18 bassboat, but for some reason the Boss says I can’t have that.  She fell for the old bait and switch, now the $25 crankbait doesn’t look so bad.

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Now it is a weather game.  Time to catch some trout, so I will be waiting for a little less wind than today.  I have 3 days more to fish this week so one of them should surely work out.  At least the lake is always a back up plan, though it is time to see some different scenery.  I have a couple of interesting Coleto reader reports to share and will get to that tomorrow.  And if anyone else has something to say lets hear it.  The blog is better when you participate.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Crackhead? 2/5/17

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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** For a super deal use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

Now I have never been a crackhead, though I defended one or two in court, and now I know how they feel.  The last week has me thinking and dreaming about bass rolling out of a log and eating my Bang O Lure.  Or the feel of a thump, or the complete loss of feel, as a big one slack lines the swim jig.  And the spinnerbait bite, when a big fish stops it in it’s tracks in a boil the size of a bucket ss the stuff dreams are made of.  So how do I feel like a crackhead?

Those of you who read this stuff know I rarely fish on the weekend, but not this Saturday.  I woke up at 4:am dreaming of the bite, then at 5 thinking about the bite, then finally getting up at 6:00 and heading to the lake.  The rest of the day was spent chasing the “crack”.   Like Thrusday, I ran around the lake like a mad man knocking the snot out of them.  The next cove, the next bank, one more spot, I was, and am, in a bass fishing frenzy.  So I may not be a crackhead, but I sure know how one must feel.  I can not get enough of the good fishing, and Saturday was as good as hoped for.

Second cast, this one flat out stopped it!

It was 53 degrees when I headed to the lake before daylight.  When I got to the ramp there was one in the water and one putting in.  Wow, third on a Saturday.  But with the weather forecast calling for northerly winds and occasional rain and drizzle, it wasn’t exactly nice out.  The good thing was it obviously kept the crowd down.  I decided to start in a spawing cove way up lake, right where the water color changes so I could fish spinnerbait where the wind was blowing near the mouth, and then Bang O Lure back in the calm stuff.  In the water went the trolling motor and on the second cast the one above came out of a log and absolutely stopped a buzzed spinnerbait in a huge boil.  What a freakin’ bite!  It turned out to be big fish of the day.

                                 Spinnerbait or Bang O Lure, your choice.

From that point on it was almost a carbon copy of Thursday.  I went from one end of the lake to the other, fishing coves, points, and channels.  If I had to actually pin down the pattern it boils down to this.   Spinnerbait in any area with wind, Bang O Lure in the coves with wood and the protected side of windy poinst, and the swim jig any where you want to throw it.  And no matter where  you throw it do not miss one piece of wood.  Just saying.

                                              This size all day long!

One of the good decisions made today was to return to the creek where I caught them 2 trips ago, then struck out first thing in the morning last trip.  Today I waited to fish it in the later afternoon, and boy were they there.  I caught 8 on swim jig fishing the channel side and one on spinnerbait.  Good timing, which obviously you get better at it when fishing a whole lot.  And wood produced today as it has been.  Without grass wood cover has taken over.  I have caught more fish on wood this year than the previous 3 or 4 combined.

I have given quite a bit of thought as to why I have not had a shot at more big fish.  Having to make a guess it might be related to our really early spring.  The fishing went from so-so to full out on in a matter of a week, it was that fast.  Now every small fish is on the bank looking to spawn, like boys getting to Ladies Night early.   The full moon will be here on Saturday the 11th, which has some effects.  Who knows, they may move in mass this week.  One thing that has been apparent, the different water temps where you are on the lake have been real important, above 65 and it is game on.  I have seen 59 degrees to the high 70’s depending on the day.  And that has not been real stable due to the couple of small fronts that slid through.  So we shall see, but I am going to keep after it for a little while longer.

The day never did get to warm, the wind was cool, and it started drizzling about 10 and did so for the rest of the day.  It was not quite as fast as the other day, but by time I talked to the wife before 10 on her way to work I had already boated a good dozen, and it went from there until I quit at 5.  Not sure how many, but it has been 3 trips where I caught fish literally everywhere I have been.  And mixing up the swim jig, spinnerbait, and Bang O Lure has really been productive, has keep it interesting.

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Sometimes it seems as a customer you just do not matter, not the case at Bagley Baits.  Thanks to Billy and his kindness in giving me a couple of Bang O Lures last year, the last one crapped out last trip, but he got me through.  And now thanks to Brendan at Bagley Bait Company hurrying my order up when I whined it was on down here, I have 4 brand new ones and a spin tail Bang O lure just in time.  Good companies give good customer service and deserve our support.

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Hydro Flask

And speaking of good customer service, there was another great example this week.  Back when I stayed up for days as a Nationally Registered Paramedic I acquired a serious coffee habit.  If I am in the boat so is my coffee.  So when the Yeti cup came out I was all over that.  Kept my coffee warm for hours, important when you drink while the boat is moving, then usually not again until you move.  But if I ever had a cup not made for a boat it was that Yeti.  Being bigger on top than bottom it was always tipping over.  Then I left it on the back deck and out it went, lost in Garcitas Creek somewhere.

The Boss and I were in Dick’s when she found a cup that I love, and it does not tip over near as much.  It is a Hydro Flask 16oz wide mouth that not only keeps stuff warm for hours, it does not tip over.  And like all things outdoors, I am hard on it but it can take it no problem.  Well somehow the gasket on the lid came off and I lost it.  No problem, I email the company and there is a gasket on the way.  Their stuff is guaranteed for life, and their customer service is awesome.  So if you are looking for another cup try a Hydro Flask, take it from a coffee nut.

https://www.hydroflask.com/

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Another thing I am working on is finding a good craw trailer for the swim jig.  The Rage Craw is the best, period.  But when they are biting like this they tear them up left and right, they are soft.  So I went to Academy this morning and found a couple of different trailers that look like they might work.  I do know from yesterday when I ran out, they want those craws to vibrate so the ones I am trying have the flange on the pinchers like the Rage Craw.  If either works out it will be easy to tell and I will let you know.

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Tomorrow the conditions will be a ton better.  A warm night fallowing a warm day, and rain and clouds.  It has all the markings of another great day.  I am going to mull over the big girl thing, what am I missing or are they just not up in mass yet?  The weather and timing will tell this week.  I doubt I will make the bay again this week, I am going to ride this horse as long as it lasts.  So sorry to you salt guys, but it is coming.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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OMG! WTF! LOL! It was Epic! 2/1/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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As I prepare this the night before I can not help but be excited.  This is the type of day I harp on all the time.  There are few perfect days and this one has fish written all over it. My only problem is I only have 1 Bang O Lure, which could be dangerous.  So it will be real interesting to see how it goes.  My money is on a good day.

Weather

70/54  Showers in the morning, then cloudy in the afternoon.  Wind N 5-10 Chance of rain 40%          (This is the kind of day I have been waiting for, so we shall see.)

Solunar Times

  • Best     2:51A – 4:51A
  •              3:16P – 5:16P
  • Good   9:04A – 11:04A     (The times and weather are right tomorrow.  It was right on!)

After 50 years of hard at it I have learned 2 things.  First, when you have multiple fishing options do what you need to do, when you need to do it, and most importantly where you need to do it.  And right now the lake is the thing.  And working hand in hand with that, if it is early pre-spawn and is going to be a warm night, followed by a cloudy misty day, GO TO THE LAKE!  Today was nothing short of awesome.  And I freakin’ mean crazy good!  I called the Boss from the lake on her way to the dentist a little before 9, and I had already boated 11, and it only got better from there.  I can not adequately make an educated guess how many I caught today, but it was a feeding frenzy.  The only issue today, was did I catch 3, or 6, or 7 out of every place?

I started in a good cove with timber, and it was immediately apparent the bite was on.  7 came over the side, all on Bang O Lure.  They were related to wood and all it took was to throw it close and twitch it under.  And another plug for the Cocoons, the yellow were critical the Bang O Lure and the reduced visibility.  Keeping in constant visual contact under water is tough with wind and glare, not to mention the water being cloudier as you go up lake.  It started with a bang, and they were still banging away when I quit at 3:30.  And several today came out of cover and blasted the topwater on top on the first twitch, it was everything I love out of our sport.

Twitch, twitch, and pull it under, awesome.  What was this guy thinking?

Next up was another cove, and it was like 5, and it only got better from there.  They were biting, so I kept fishing the Bang O Lure and occasionally throwing the swim jig, and they hit both with authority.  I could tell it was going to be a big bite when I made the right decision.

When this size is trying to jerk the rod out of your hands it is a thing of beauty.

I have thrown spinnerbait a little the last couple of trips, completely without success, but I keep throwing it knowing the day would come, and today was it.  I was up lake in the off color water when I started fishing it and my second cast one  just blasted it.  I was basically buzzing it right below the surface, as slow as I could go, making a wake.  5 came over the side on that bank alone.  From that point on it was back and forth between the topwater and spoinnerbait, and it was simply a matter of how you wanted to catch them.  And as you know I love me some spinnerbait.

Unfortunately I did not catch them all, including a really big girl that came out of a stump and ate the Bang O Lure.  I got a hook in her, and she pulled off by straightening a back hook.  At the same time she pulled the wire out and an inch of the balsa is gone.   It was a really big fish.  That is why I was worried with only one Bag O Lure, but that one soldiered on.  And with the off the chain fishing losing a big one did not hurt, there was another one 10 foot down the bank.  And when you have boated dozens and dozens of fish sooner or later they will eat the balsa baits up.  It comes with the territory.  The plastic minnow baits will last longer, but they will not catch more fish.

                  Swim jig anyone?                                 Then the Bang O Lure.

If there was a good breeze blowing right on a bank I would throw the spinnerbait, and they were stopping it.  They wanted a wake, not fast, which can be tricky.  But running it right on the surface led to some epic bites.  I did lose one other big one on the spinnerbait that just came unbuttoned after a big jump.  Some time that stuff happens even with a trailer hook.  And when I would be in a calm pocket, or the back side of a point, it was the topwater.  I caught 4 in 5 casts in one spot alone.  It was that good.  It was one of those days when every lure change at the right time was rewarded.

  Then the spinnerbait.    Then some more Bang O Lure.  I was in heaven!

That is the best bite I have seen on the lake in a good bit.  I don’t know how many hooked up, but it was dozens and dozens.  The spinnerbait is completely trashed, the Bang O Lure has fished it’s last day.  They flat tore them, and my hands, up.  In fact I am surprised both lasted as long as they did, nice to catch 50 and not lose a bait.  Warm sunny days, finally a warm night followed by a cloudy, misty light wind, and it happened just like I knew it would.

To sum it up, fish what you like on the lake right now.  They are still related to wood, though have moved into the coves.  I saw my first beds, including a tilapia bed though I am not seeing them right now.  There really is not any more to say other than it is on big time!  All those days when it is tough, when you fish like crap, or when thing break, all go by the way side.  Today was not fishing, it was catching, and this one will go down in my memory as nothing short of epic.

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You know how we all catch a few big fish?  Well my buddy Chris caught him a bigun”.

Having been fortunate enough to catch a marlin once in my life, it is a thing of beauty you will never forget.  So I really can’t wait for him to get home so I can hear all about it.  Congratulations, nothing like crossing one off the bucket list.  Time for an offshore boat?

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After Joe sent me the report from the river I had a question about parking where 59 crosses the river.

Surprising the day at the river including my truck there were 13. They were just loaded with alot of people.

When i first bought my Basscat, They had automobile Firestone Firehawks on it because of the weigh and speed rating. but i guess over time, All three of them shredded out. Finally got some Primewell Load range d so that i can carry more weight and the tire pressure is 65lbs. Knock on wood they havent shredded yet. Been about 5 months

Thanks.  Doesn’t look like if I sneak over during the week parking will be an issue.  Basically means I don’t have to get up to dang early if I decide to make the trip.  And I will be interested in how that brand of tires hold up for you.  I ordered some Goodyears, first time I have tried them, so we shall see.  And speaking of Bass Cat, that is my Arkansas home town.  Ron Pierce, the owner, was the mayor of Mtn. Home and I think he passed away lately.  I am sure his son Rick is running the show now.  They have always made a great boat.  Thanks for the info.

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Jim has joined the Bang O Lure train.

Greetings Doug
I wanted to tell you I was in Academy in Austin looking for the Bang’o lure. They did not carry that product. I think they do on line; so does Amazon but you know we always want it yesterday. So I went to the Bang’o Lure site and ordered them for 8.79 plus 10 bucks shipping. It was cheaper than Amazon they wanted $12.00 plus for them no shipping for prime. Sure would liked to have had a coupon code like I got from you for the Glasses. The Academy clerk found them one and two here and there; Cabala’s found 12 in Minnesota. H2O has a similar type of lure so I picked one of them up. Those baits sure did a good job of catching me!

Trust me they will be worth the cost, they catch fish, see above, .  And they are about impossible to find most places.  Don and his partner bought the company and are in the process of bringing it back to the glory days, so the baits are just not everywhere yet.   I just ordered 5 from Bagley and they should be here tomorrow.  I will watch for coupons or offers in the future and put them on the site when they have some.  I was glad I was able to get the straight silver foil/black back, my favorite.  One thing I do on most of them, unless they are going to used in the salt, is take off 3 hooks and replace them with 2.  You have to get a little larger size to keep the weight as close as possible to keep the same balance.  That is why I use the lighter red hooks which add a little in clear water.  It is not necessary and maybe it helps, at least it helps my confidence.

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And while he was at it Jim had this other question.

Greetings Doug
Any word on the Crappie bite? My Dad; a life long resident of Baton Rouge soon to be 98 year old is due to visit me in Seadrift likely for the last time. He wants to go fresh water fishing. He and I use to fish years ago; a lot! I hope to do that at Colleto for Crappie and Black Bass. Of course I have my ear close to the ground on your Blog. This will happen in late March or when ever I can determine when the Crappie bite is on. I plan on scouting the lake this weekend for the first time.

Coleto is probably one of the more consistent crappie lakes around.  It has good trees and isolated timber, and with a fairly stable water level they are caught consistently year round.  Most are caught on deeper trees, in the 10 – 20 foot range, and that seems to be consistent year round.  The only guys I see on the lake more than me is a couple of old dudes I call Mr. Crappie 1 and Mister Crappie 2.  Winter, summer and in between I holler at them and they always have 25, 30, 21, but they always have big crappie.  I know from checking the cleaning table trash can they are catching them every day in pretty good numbers.  The only question is if or when they move shallow, but otherwise, a bucket of minnows and hop cover to cover and it usually happens.  I actually got a good report from someone the other day, and this morning half of the folks out were crappie fishing.  So if that is your plan it should be perfect.

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As I finish this up Saturday morning it pains me to not be fishing after I just saw the weather report.  I need to do a little work on the boat, trailer, and tackle before I go again.  (In the morning!)  Taking time to get you stuff together before you go always makes for a better day, so I will be responsible and get stuff done.  With the weather report looking like it does there will be some serious bass fishing.  The salt will just have to wait just a little longer, but the epic big bass day is right around the corner and I will be there when it happens.  There really is not anything more to say about yesterday.  To be able to catch fishing on topwater, spinnerbait, and swim jig is my idea of a perfect fishing day.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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