Coleto and a Canada report. 8/4/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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Fish fear them!

With our heat still smoking along I decided to start even earlier than I have at the lake.  It was barely cracking dawn, in fact it was dark when I started in the first cove near the big island.  Cranking the buzzbait fairly slow proved to be the ticket.

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My first 2 bites.

Over the next hour before the sun even peeked out I put 6 in the boat.  Funny though, they were not smashing it by any means, it was just a soft plop as they sucked it under.  And though it was a soft bite I did not miss any.  The fish were right on the inside of the cove, on both sides and on the points.

So with that I kept after it, and they cooperated fairly well.  From there it was up lake fishing small coves and pockets, and when you caught one you would catch at least another.  One thing I did do today was parallel the deeper banks trying to run the buzzbait right on the edge of the grass.

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The best one for the day.

This time of year they are schooled up, so when you find them you can re-fish them.  I just kept moving and trying new places and would go a while and not catch one, then it would be a couple in a row.

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No giants but a good solid limit for the morning.

They quit hitting the buzzbait about 9:30 so I switched to pitching the lizard and senko.  Unfortunately the wind came up and it was blowing on my best spots.  I ended up catching about 4, but nothing to fantastic.  Again today another big ass bream came over the side, and I messed with some when I would feel that pecking I would just start reeling and they would hold on to it all the way to the boat.  I am not really seeing any beds so not sure if they are spawning, but if you want some good eating they are out there and they are big.  I am also still seeing plenty of tilapia.

The water is still falling, and it looked like it fell quite a bit the last 24 hours.  Much of the grass that was holding fish is slowly getting to shallow, so if you are going to fish that shallow grass pattern make sure deep water is real close, it makes a difference.  The water temperature was 90.2 when I started.  When you have that high a temp combined with falling water pulling out of the grass it is a wonder the fishing is as good as it is.

I quit at 11:30 and probably put around 13 or so in the boat.  10 came on buzzbait and 3 or 4 on plastics.   I will take that any hot summer day.  I do wonder how good the fishing might be at night.  Maybe next week I will give it a go.  I did talk to a guy at the ramp who said he caught and released one over 10 a couple of days ago.  He is fishing a deeper hump with a tree or brush pile on it.  Coleto has lots of ways to catch fish right now, deep and shallow.  No matter what get out early

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Now I am really cranked up!  Rusty, our resident Fayette and Bastrop expert, dropped me this report from his recent trip to Canada and folks, this is what I am talking about.

Hi Doug!
Just returned from Nungesser Lake near Red Lake, Ontario. As you can expect, we had a wonderful exciting fishing adventure.  First few days were unseasonably warm (85-90), but the rest were in the 65-70 range with one morning being 45.  As you know ,when you go to Canada you have to pack for all weather conditions as it can change so fast.   There were eight good friends on this trip and we boated over 900 walleyes and Northern pike.  We have been going to this lake for many years and know it very well.  This year the fish were hungry and big.  So get ready for Crow!!!   My hands are cut up and sore but they will heal fast.
Side note:  you mentioned in one of your reports about the Frabil 3 rain suit.  I bought one before I left and it performed extremely well!  I stayed dry and warm in some torrential  storms and 25-35mph driving cold wind.  I am excited to use it this winter bass fishing
Bass are schooling heavy at Bastrop!
Tight lines,  Rusty

Wow!  What a great trip.  Part of what makes our trip what it is is sharing it with some of our best buddies and it sounds like yours was the same.  The fish fries, the tale tails, hands torn up, what more could a fisherman want.  Readers if you have never made a trip like this you are missing out.  Welcome back and congratulations on a really successful trip.  And thanks for the report on Bastrop, nothing like schooling fish.  Keep in touch.

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One of the things I hope this website does is educate all of us.  There is always something to learn.

Good Morning Doug
I had the same problem on my hummingbird; it was mounted on my console. Found a GPS puck on ebay for cheap mounted it on top of the grab bar. Problem fixed, locks-in in a heartbeat now.
Steve

Thanks for the suggestion Steve.  I will check on that and see if it will solve my problem.  There is a reason BOAT stands for Break Out Another Thousand.  It is always something.

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Johnny dropped me this comment on Coleto.

Went fishing at Coleto Creek yesterday.  Caught nothing on the moving bait. It was a different story with the watermelon red weightless fluke…caught 5 bass and lost a couple. Sure was fun!

Though it was more of a buzzbait day today, slow moving plastics are still the ticket.  And if you look in my tackle box almost all my plastics are watermelon red.  So keep those reports coming, we appreciate it.

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I really appreciate all the comments I get from you all.  So keep them coming.  You input makes this a better site so drop me a line.  Good, bad, or indifferent, they are all welcome.  Tomorrow it is up early and off to POC.  It will be interesting to see how long I can take this stinking heat.  At least we will be waist deep in the water.   I haven’t even thought about where to start, but that is part of the fun.  I will try to get that report up as soon as I can.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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A few random things. 8/3/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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Click on the logo and visit their website.

I have been a little under the weather the last few days so did not manage to get out, but that will change this week.  I did get a couple of pictures from the Shoedog the other day who has his grandson for 2 weeks.

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Nice ones Nolan.  Those are some serious bream.

What is better than taking the grandson fishing.  The world would be a better place if more people did just that.

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And my buddy Jeffish just sent me this picture.

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A nice 12lb blue cat from lake Dunlap.

Jeffish and Korbin spend the weekend at Lake Dunlap and Korbin was the chief perch jerker for limb line bait.  Korbin is a fishin’ fool and it is good to see a kid not on the computer but outdoors.  Taking your kids and grandkids outdoors is a good thing for everyone.  So congrats to both of you on the nice cat!

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I also heard from Austin Aaron on his last trip to the coast.

Hey Doug,

It’s been awhile since I checked in.  I’m looking forward to the musky reports.  I’ll be sharing them with some friends in the hopes of convincing them that we should make the trip someday.

I’ve only been able to make one trip to the bay lately (POC).  The heat was pretty brutal.  I lasted until about noon but was able to land 9 reds before quitting.  I never seem to have anything but cooler pics so nothing worth passing along.  Most were over 25” in 8” of water so it was a fun morning despite the heat.  I think I’ll wait a few more weeks to let the heat break before trying again.

I hope you pound them up there.

Aaron

Man I hear you on the heat thing.  There is a fine line between hot and tough, and the heat has been tough for weeks now.  I know some of you are wanting more saltwater reports but I am not a half day saltwater guy, so the last few weeks the reports have been few and far between.  But that will change this week with one trip already scheduled for Wednesday.  Thanks for checking in and believe me, if you and your buddies make that trip you will not be disappointed.  The folks at Muskie Bay are great and you can launch or leave it in the water on Crow Lake, or drive less than 20 miles (some as close as 5) and launch on multiple places on Lake of the Woods.

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My buddy Aaron was down in Rockport this weekend but I was not able to fish with them. As I was laying on the couch Sunday feeling a little poorly I got a text that said go outside and look up.

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Victoria from the air.  Nothing like traveling in style.

They were right over the house.  Not sure how they did but it must be nice to make a trip to the coast without the drive.  Catch you next time.

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Sometimes I am amazed at the responses I get from assorted providers of fishing supplies, and the one we got from Hummingbird still astounds me.  We put a Hummingbird 688 sonar/GPs on the Mako and for some reason it has trouble finding a satellite.  So thinking it might be a problem with the unit I called them for some tech support.  The lady I spoke with had the following comment when I asked her why it seemed to take longer than any unit I have ever had: “It can take up to 20 minutes to find a satellite.”  Are you kidding me?  A GPS for a boat that can take up to 20 minutes to do what it is supposed to do.  Thanks for no help.  That actually is not only stupid, it sure could make it worthless at a new fishing destination.  So be advised if you are thinking of buying one.  Ridiculous!

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The plan this week will be a little bass fishing in the morning, then Wednesday off to the Gulf with my buddy Chris.  From the reports I am reading and hearing we might actually catch a few.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

 

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The Countdown Begins 8/1/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The best baits money can buy.  Just ask Greg Hackney, Angler of the Year.

Today it begins, the laying out of stuff.  Be it rain suits, spare tackle, rods, reels, lines, supplies, etc.  All on the floor in the spare bedroom so it can be seen and organized before all the stuff I regularly use is sorted and made ready in a couple of weeks.  It is a big job getting ready for 2 weeks of hardcore fishing 1,800 miles from here.  If you forget it you get to buy it later, and stuff up there is not cheap.

Of course I am watching the reports out of Muskie Bay and they are looking good.  I stole this new one from the Muskie Bay Facebook Page, and if this does not get your fishing juices flowing you aren’t a fisherman.

From Gregg Bruss  Mid week report here coming in from Muskie Bay Resort, as I am sitting here in lodge with a cocktail in hand, sun burnt and wind burnt with a wet shirt on from the rain today, we have experienced 90 degree sun shine to now 60’s cloud cover with rain, I can report that the muskies are biting as of today my dad and I have caught 19 muskies with are 2 largest at 4 footers and are smallest being 38” and also a beautiful tiger Muskie . Hope all is well at home time to get back out for the night bite!

“Midweek” report, wow!  19 with several 48″, which are big fish.  If you want to see some great fish just click on the pics below his report.  It gives me hope for boating a really big one.

https://www.facebook.com/muskiebayresort1

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I got this comment from Johnny and it is the kind that keeps me writing.

Just wanted to thank you for your guidance. I really enjoy reading your reports and have put your info to good use.  Never fished a swim jig until I read your blog. It helped me catch more fish.  I usually fish at Coleto Creek…perhaps we’ll runa into each other.  Watermelon Red is a good color for Coleto.

Happy fishing

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The Strike King Swimming Jig is probably one of the real consistent bass catching techniques there is.  Be it spring, summer, winter, or fall, there is a way to fish it and catch fish.  So I am glad you have added it to your arsenal.  As I always say, Kevin Van Dam needs the money.  And I fish watermelon red on almost all my plastics everywhere, it catches fish.  Thanks for the kind words.  And if you see me on the lake in either the Carolina Skiff with a 50 merc or the Mako 18LTS with a 90 Opti stop and say hi.

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A while ago a website started called Texas Inshore Fishing and as soon as I found it I started posting fishing reports.  After the second one, I think, I got an email from the guy who was accusing me of trying to steal his readers because I posted the link to Fish Catching Travel on each post.  That was never my intention, I just liked posting reports that I thought people on that site would like.  But whatever, it was his site.  So that was my last post.  One of those if your site is so f’n weak that my ramblings are taking away your readers you need to re-think the plan.

Well here we are 2 years later and after one change to the site they are now gone.  For me it has never been all that much about making money, obviously, but sharing information and learning from others.  As we enter our 5th year folks are still coming so I guess we are doing something right.  Having a website is like making beer, everybody thinks they want to give it a go, and everyone is an expert.  Either put in the time and do the work, or join the scrap heap of the internet.

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The Masked Flounder Assassin is at his stabbing best again.  He dropped me this picture and it looks like supper to me.

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A nice limit.

I have been getting lots of reports on flounder and it is good right now.  Limits have been the rule and like we have experienced with rod and reel the size is definitely up.  Who knows but maybe reducing the limit is helping the stocks.  Ya think?  Hopefully we will begin to see the results of the reduced speckled trout limit.  Like it or not this is the way it will be and I for one was in favor of reduced limits.  On our trips to Louisiana we would clean a 12″ and get 2 fish sticks.   I would much rather have 5-20″‘s all day long.  Thanks for the pictures, we love seeing them.

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After a couple of days off I just wanted to catch up on some things so that is all for today.  Our heat continues but we have had a couple of rains so it is greening back up again.  I hope to get off my rear end and make the Gulf a day or 2 this week.  Waiting for cooler weather is not going to happen, at least not for a couple of more months.  So it will be up early in time to drive to make it at daylight and get what topwater action I can before the sun is up.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 7/30/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The best baits money can buy.  Just ask Greg Hackney, Angler of the Year.

I had no intention of fishing today.  We actually hit 103 degrees and it is hot with no relief in sight.  So of course I woke up early and decided to hit the lake before it got to hot.  It is just to much hassle and to damn hot to go to the Gulf by myself, but I am sure that will change shortly.  Hard to believe my fishing partners all have a life.

When I got to the lake I decided to stick more with the lizard and to head up the plant arm and fish some places I have not fished in a while.  That turned out to be a good choice, but not at first.  Starting on a long main lake bank I kept pitching but they would not eat it, or I was missing them.  I think I put 3 in the boat out of twice that many bites.  There was a lot of tapping and pulling going on but they were not eating.  Maybe this was part of the reason.

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This guy held on to the tail of that lizard all the way in to the boat.

As a side note I also boated a huge bream today, some of those misses were surely them or small bass.  I finally boated a keeper after several small ones.

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Finally a keeper.

A couple of important points, they are shallow around cover, but it seems it needs to be near a point.  As I worked long banks, a cove, and some deeper places, it became real apparent they are relating to the points with the water falling slowly and the temperature really heating up.  I actually hit a pocket of water that was 89 degrees.  It is so important to make sure you toss it as far in the cover as you can and be ready as most of the bites come as it falls or when you move it the first time.

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The best one I have boated in a while.

About 11 I hit a deep point with cover on it at the mouth of a cove where I have caught them in the summer in years past.  The one above, and 4 others were on it.  They were in about 2 foot of water on the point and a hair into the cove.  Though I put 5 in the boat there I missed several others.

So it was time to refish it using something else, and I boated another.  It was getting hot and so I headed to one more point with good cover and put a couple of more over the side.

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Another good fish.

The last 3 or 4 came on a 5″ senko style bait in a watermelon red.  Using it on 20lb test with a 1/8 ounce slip sinker and 5/0 light worm hook allowed it to fall really slow and the ones that hit ate it.  One thing that is so important, do not get into a feeling contest with them, you will lose lots of them.  If you feel anything, see the line move, think you are hung, set the hook.  Drop your rod quickly, reel out the slack, and smack em’.  All in a second.  It does not cost anything and it is surprising how often there is one there.   It will be interesting to see how that senko works compared to the lizard.

I think I  boated 11, not bad for a half day summer time trip.  As the lake is falling the fish are seeking cover and safety, and those places you may have caught them in the last month are getting to shallow.  So next time you are out think points near deep water with cover, it is that simple. Usually.  And when I say toss it in the stuff it does not mean a foot off, it means right in the junk.  It does help to peg the slip sinker, helps it crawl over stuff lots better.

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Looks like we may finally get some more rain tomorrow or Saturday.  Funny that we are 14″ up and need some rain, but it is really getting hot and dry here.  Consequently the rivers and lakes are falling.  There is really good reports coming from the Gulf, trout on croakers.  I don’t fish them but there are lots of good fish being caught up and down the coast from the reports I have read.  Seems like the trout are shallow, in the 2 foot range,  first thing and as the sun comes out they are moving deeper, out to 4 foot of water.  Though I do not fish bait, (I probably should.)  if you want to catch some good trout croaker is the way.

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Roy sent me a long involved comment concerning a girl and some fish.    It was a little long to be answered here but I hope my email helped you out.  I will be looking forward to hearing how it goes.  Thanks for checking in.

I got this nice comment from Pat on the Powderhorn .

That was a great article about powderhorn. I have never been
there but we are planning on heading there august 7,8 ,9. My brother has a seismic job in victoria for 6 weeks. I am not going to bring my flats boat but want to do some crabbing and I will try to find some shoreline to wet a line. It looks like it will be an interesting place. Summer fishing is a struggle for me, with water 90 degrees. Thanks again for a great article. Pat

Thanks for the kind words.  I have not fished it as much lately with the weather.  I am with you as far as the water temperature.  When the tide is running there are crabs at the crabbing bridge  on Magnolia Beach and of course going through the pass at the marina.  You can walk tons of the beach area, it is just long and straight, but it is possible to catch fish off the beach.  And your comments remind me I need to update that article with some old reports and photos.  Good luck when you are down, hope you catch a few.  Let us know.

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OMG!  It is 7:00 pm Thursday as I write this and it is actually pouring.  Not sure how long it will last but it sure is welcome.  The Boss is back to work and I am considering my options for the next few days.  I have not heard from any of my fishing buddies but something will turn up, it always does.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 7/28/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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The best baits money can buy.

With the little woman off during the week it was do a few errands Monday, then a fancy dinner of .25 wings, nothing to good for my sweety.  This morning I got up early and headed to the lake.  The forecast is the same, wind and heat index’s to 110 degrees, which makes it hard to get real motivated.  So I took the easy way out and went bass fishing.

I went way up lake almost to the bridge on Coleto arm.  Normally this time of year I find some pretty good fish up that far but have not really hooked up since the big raise.  For the first couple of hours I had 4 bites and caught 2 small ones.   I was alternating between the lizard and the buzzbait with little success.  Finally I headed back down lake and the wind started picking up, to the point it was white capping down at the dam.

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Out of 8 or 9 this was the best of the bunch.

So it was main lake banks with some good depth close and wind blowing on multiple points.  Once the wind started they started hitting the buzzbait so I stayed with it the rest of the morning.  Of the next 7 I caught all came off a point of some sort with a pretty good chop.  They are not on all of them but if there is some deeper water close you can usually get a bite.  I never did really pitch plastics much today as once the wind came up it was blowing pretty steady.

I quit at 12:00 today as the temp neared 95 degrees.  The only thing that helped was the wind, but it was still getting tough by noon.  There really has been no real change in the fishing, only the water is falling and they are abandoning those really flat grassy banks and moving to deeper places.  It will be interesting to see what is next, but with the temperature rising and the lake falling it will not get much better until we start having cooler nights.

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I have a couple of more pictures that I wanted to share with you of Jeffish and Korbin’s campout at Coleto.

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Jeffish and Korbin with a nice blue cat.  Korbin with a buzzbait bass.  Don’t worry the last picture the boat was beached.   Always, always, always, life jackets for kids in the boat, period.

Jeffish and Korbin had a pretty good fishing campout last week.   Good to see a father and son sharing the outdoors together.  Who knows, maybe a future guide in the boat?

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After I published a couple of pictures of the musky baits I got this comment from Clyde up in Arkansas.

Just ordered some of those clacken buzz baits and inline spinners;looking forward to using them Bro!

Counting the days man!  I leave for Shoedog’s in 3 weeks and 1 day, then Ontario from there.   Hopefully we will have them at least a little scoped out when you get there.  I think I am actually ready to go other than actually packing.  Tackle bought, rods and reels ready, you can only mess around with stuff so much until you reach ready, and as far as that stuff goes I am ready.  I can not wait to see one hit that big clacken buzzbait!

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That is really a tough deal in Florida with the 2 teenagers lost at sea.  Though their family says they are experienced boaters and were told to stay within the jetties, never forget one very important thing about 14 y/o’s, they are knuckleheads.  I know at that age I was.  You are full of piss and vinegar and know everything you need to know about all of it, no matter what it is.  This really drives home the point, if you are offshore every boat should be equipped with an EPIRB and the small satellite locators that clip to each life jacket.  A $1000 and life jackets and those boys might have been found in an hour.  The ocean is a big unforgiving place.

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It looks like today will hit another heat index of close to 110 degrees.  Though we have a slight weather change coming this weekend there is no break in the temperature.  I am sure I will finally get over this little slump I am in right now and get back to the bay, as soon as Shoedog makes it down or I get a good offer.   Today we are off for a drive, which hopefully include a better tackle store that we have in Victoria.  I need some real split rings to finish making the leaders for the Canada trip.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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It is hot in Texas. 7/25/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The fish know the difference.

My brother Kelly up in Arkansas posted this to his facebook page, “Now that’s funny right there!”

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All I have to say about that is it is nothing personal Nancy, but they are biting!

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Folks hot does not do it justice.  While the temperature only hit 98 yesterday the heat index was almost 110.  Today it is even worse.  After a fairly cool June with plenty of rain we are stuck in a high pressure system.  As a consequence the wind is blowing out of the SE/W at up to 25 in the afternoon, the humidity is out of this world, and it is now getting dry as a bone here in South Texas.

I just can not get motivated to fish the Gulf.  And this week my 3 regular fishing partners just did not hook up, and as a consequence of that and the heat, I just am not motivated to drive 60 miles, spend $30, and be smoking hot by noon.  Funny how a little company can  keep you fishing longer.  And then my buddy Jeffish and his son Korbin spent a couple of days at a cabin on Coleto so I went out Wednesday evening for some fajitas on the grill.  With a nice breeze and big trees it was livable and we made plans to meet the next morning to fish.  When I left that evening they went to check the 4 jugs they had out and I got this text.

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Korbin and Paw Paw.

This picture did not do that fish justice.  It was 24 1/2″ long and was easily in the 8lb.+ class.  It was caught on a tilapia in about 10 foot of water.  As a side note, if you are wanting to do some jugging or trot lining now is the time.  The tilapia and perch had a great spawn and just a couple of throws with the net will get you all the bait you need.  Jeffish likes to chum with cat food and usually had no trouble getting bait.

The next morning they were still sleeping when I got to the lake so I went to throw the buzzbait and in the first hour put a couple in the boat.  Then it was back to their campsite and they were just heading out to check their 2 jugs and then do a little bass fishing so I followed them.  The first was empty but the second had a nice catfish around 7lbs.  From there we both went fishing.

Before I quit at 11:30 I caught 4 on  buzzbait and 4 or 5 pitching.  All of them looked just like the ones from the last report.  I did lose my last 6″ watermelon lizard and switched to pitching a Rage Craw but did not get the bites I have.  But as it was late in the morning it may have had more to do with timing, will just have to wait and see.  When we met at the ramp Jeffish managed to catch a nice 3lber on buzzbait but other than that he only had one or two more bites.  The fishing really slows down as the day wears on, and then starts picking back up in the evening.  The Wednesday tourney took over 14lbs with a 5lber as big fish.  That is about what I have been catching in the morning, so overall the fishing is pretty good considering the heat.

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Speaking of Coleto fishing and my impending trip to Canada I got this comment from Rusty.

Glad to hear Coleta is starting to get better, Fayette Lake has slowed down last week or so.  LCRA dropped the water level down quite a bit  (I think anticipating heavy fall rains) and the fish are trying to adjust.
Well,  I’m heading to Northern Ontario, Canada tomorrow for some cooler weather and awesome fishing.  I don’t have to tell you how much fun it is.  I probably won’t sleep much tonight knowing that my fingers, hands and shoulders are in for a tough 7 days.
Tight lines!   Rusty

Good luck on your Ontario trip.  And the wear and tear on hands, arms, shoulders, and back is hard to describe to folks who have never made that trip.  Not only do you fish hard, for us it is usually over 10 hours a day at a minimum, but you catch so many fish, some of them really big and toothy, that your hands take a beaten.  And I love it.  And folks Rusty is a Fayette regular who fishes it maybe as much as anyone.  He also gets to Coleto and Bastrop and you can take his information for gospel, he gets after it.  Let us know when you get back, it will just fuel my fever for our trip, which is only 24 days away.

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I do want to address an issue which has come up with the instituting of the 5 fish trout limit.  A recent article in a major publication detailed the survival rate of released trout, and it was somewhat higher than I might have thought.  But there is no way on God’s green earth that dragging around a trout on the stringer, then releasing it for a bigger one is a good thing.  The stress on stringered trout, especially in warmer weather, is high.  If you have done any amount of wading you know how the trout are when you get back to the boat.  Is it so important to trade a 15″ for an 18″?  Are you so fish hungry that another 3 ounces of filet is worth it?  So do what you want, it is legal, but it is in the catching.  Next time you are tempted to do it think about what you may be doing to the one you let go.  Just saying.

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For all my bitching and moaning about the weather I will get over it.  The water is really crowded on the weekends out of POC.  There are major tourneys almost every weekend, including this one, so I will give it a couple of days then start back in.  And hunting season will be ramping up in a little over a month, and the waters will seem almost empty compared to right now.  Stick with me, there is lots of fishing to come.  And if you have any reports or anything to say let me know.  We all love hearing from you.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto and other stuff. 7/22/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The fish know the difference.

It was an interesting morning.  Besides some really good fishing there was a little excitement.  I have been thinking about putting a “cow catcher” on the front of my 4Runner and this morning just reinforced that.  It was not daylight yet as I headed to the lake and when I got about 5 miles from the ramp a deer was standing on the shoulder and almost bolted in front of me.  What stopped her I do not know, but she started in front of me and turned at the last second.  One of those missed by a hair things.  That possibility always exists when driving at the crack of daylight, I just got lucky.

Next was one of those fiascos.  The sun was still down when I started on the first point and had one smoke the buzzbait, I set the hook, missed, and the line got in the trolling motor.  I got it stopped before it ate the rod tip, so I cut the line, untangled the mess and retied.  The very next cast a really good one jumped all over it and the line broke.  Then the fished jumped and tossed a brand new Strike King buzzbait 3 feet in the air, great.  When I got the line back the knot where the braid joined the mono slipped off.  Clearly my fault, one of the little things that can make or break your day.

The last crazy occurrence happened while I was pitching and the boat bumped into a dead tree branch, it broke off, and here came the bees!  They were after me so the trolling motor went on high and I was jumping around and swatting like a mad man.  How I did not end up getting stung I do not know.  If someone had been watching I am sure I looked like a crazy man.  It sure could have been worse.  Now on to the fishing.

The last few trips the buzzbait has been slow, but not today.  They were biting on the first main lake point I stopped on and unfortunately only one came over the side though I had 5 bites.  From there I just started hopping from point to point looking for deeper grass, and the fish cooperated.

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They were hitting it like they meant it this morning.

I ended up fishing main lake stuff from the ramp to way up lake.  After the first couple of misses they started eating it.  They wanted a medium retrieve and as usual when they are in the grass it was slots and outside bushes, though most came from right off the bank.

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No real big ones today, but a nice average size.

The buzzbait bite lasted until around 9 or so.  By then the wind was up fairly high, and so was the sun.  I think I caught 11 on buzzbait and it was a good time.  As you all know I love that bite as much as anything.  I kept after it for a while after 10 and then switched to pitching the lizard.  First was a long channel bank up lake.  That bank has a flat that drops into the main channel and there is lots of cover and grass on it.  The wind was pounding and while it made it tough, they were willing to cooperate if you made the right pitch.

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A couple of the better ones.

The wind can make it tougher to pitch when you are using a light bait.  While I have pitched assorted plastics the best combination the last few weeks has been a smaller 6″ watermelon red lizard on a 5/0 worm hook and 3/16 slip sinker rigged Texas style on 20lb Big Game.  I am also pegging the sinker to the head to help work it through the grass.

It is real important to make a perfect pitch into any hole or slot. and the fish are real shallow.  And always pitch to the shade, whether it is back in a slot or the shady side of the bush.  Once that sun comes out they love that shade.  Line watching is critical as while some tick it, they will just start swimming with it right after it lands.  If you feel something set the hook.  And once you set the hook keep them coming.  This is hand to hand combat and you need to get their head up and moving away from the cover.  This is not a wimpy rod technique.

Not cutting my teeth on waters where pitching shallow to cover in the middle of summer I am not an expert by any means.  But it really is a fun way to catch them on Coleto right now.  There is no sign of our deeper grass growing yet so the fish have adapted to what they have, shallow cover.  I caught 6 in last 2 hours I fished, and if the wind had not been such a hassle, and I was better at it, it would have been several more.  So take advantage of what is shaping up to be some pretty good fishing right now, but get out early, it is sure worth it.

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On a totally different note if you ever wanted to take a cool trip for some great fishing now is the time.  Airfare has dropped dramatically to both Belize and Costa Rica, I mean cheap.  You can have the trip of a lifetime if it is bonefish and permit you seek in Belize, or sailfish, Mahi Mahi, and marlin in Costa Rica.  The permit I caught in Belize was one of the hardest best fighting fish of my life, not to mention the tarpon and bonefish action.  And putting my first sailfish in the boat was a lifetime goal, not to mention putting 10 20 – 40lb mahi without a break, which was only the second time in my life I wanted to put the rod down and have a cold one.   There are several articles on my site, just search it, it will get your fishing juices flowing.

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Muskie Bay Resort, Crow Lake, and Lake of the Woods is only 4 weeks away, and I am consumed with catching musky, not to mention smallmouth and walleye.  A musky bite is such a ferocious bite that any attempt to describe it pales in the telling.  Along with that I got my first order of musky baits.  I just want to give a shout out to Musky Tackle Online.  I have bought a lot of tackle in my life, from lots of places, but they are the real deal.  Great prices, I checked lots of sites, shipping was free, and it came in 4 days and the order was correct.  So I wanted to give you a look at the first of the baits I bought for the trip.

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That is a big dives to 20 Rapala crankbait and regular size buzzbait between the musky baits.

We are looking forward to night trolling for big muskies, but you know me, I love that buzzbait.  We have a spot on Lake of the Woods that has held some really big muskies but going early we were unable to actively pursue them, but they would follow a small buzzbait to the boat.  All I have to say is it will keep me up at night as visions of a real giant smashing that buzzbait plays out in my dreams.  I can not wait.

If you want to see some cool baits, and some great videos, visit Musky Tackle Online.  Just be advised I am not responsible for explaining to your wife why you are packing up and heading to Ontario.

https://www.muskytackleonline.com/index.php?route=common/home

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And while I am plugging stuff just cause I want to say something about Yeti.  As far as their claims about how long ice will last in their coolers in the law it is called puffing.  (In English, stretching the truth just a hair.  A perfect example is:  Our coolers are the best in the world.  Who is to say they are not?)  My experience with several sizes has not been whole lot better than other coolers I have owned.  Ice does last a little longer, but that seems to be all.  But their new cup is another story.  That thing will keep your coffee hotter longer for hours, and I mean hours.  That thing is great.  I was a little hesitant to pay that kind of bucks for a cup, so the boss bought me one for my birthday.  You know me, if it sucks it sucks and I will say so, but in this case it is worth every penny.  Coffee is my drug of choice and I could not be any happier.

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That is all I have to ramble about today.  The Shoedog will be making an appearance sometime and we will do a couple of bay days.  And if he does not make it soon I think a trip to the Powderhorn is in order.  Though the winds have kept blowing some, it is actually protected from our current SW prevalent winds and there are some redfish just waiting.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Terlingua Texas 7/19/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The fish know the difference.

(NOTE: There is a reason I do not let you know when I will not write for a few days.  I am sorry that I did not let you all know that I would be gone the last 5 days but there is a practical reason – slimy, ignorant, scummy thieves and burglars.  Reading online that folks are going to be gone has become a method of robbing folks, and with as many folks who read my stuff it is necessary.  It is so sorry that our world has come to this, but it is what it is.  So when I go silent for a few days I will return.  Thanks for sticking with me.)

Terlingua Texas

The boss was off for the week and of course it was another spontaneous trip.  We have really enjoyed our 3 or 4 trips to the Chihuahuan Desert in the Big Bend area and have been wanting to go back.  Having stayed several places we really wanted to stay in the desert itself.  Of all things I found the website for the Terlingua Ranch.  A former ranch, it covers over 200,000 acres of desert and mountains.  It is now all privately owned, but the property owner’s association runs a lodge with campground and cabins on the edge of the Christmas Mountains.  No TV, no cell service, 18 miles off the highway, the last 3 miles gravel, perfect.

It is a nice place, plain and clean.  A good reasonably priced restaurant and a pool, it is a place to really enjoy the desert.  One thing you need to know is you do not have access to all the land.  There are many private roads and a ton of eclectic, weird, crazy, nice, and normal folks living there.  Many are “off the grid.”  That means no electric other than solar, some even have no water or other comforts we all enjoy, but they want to live different, and cheaply.  1o acres can be purchased for as little as $2,500, with 40 acres tracts available in the $12 – 20,000 range.  Rough country, but if you are a hunter or want your peace, this is the place.

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Nothing says stop on in and have a cup of coffee like a Road Warrior at the front of your driveway.

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Our first walk at sunrise looking back down on the Ranch.

We really love seeing the wildlife.  You can see some driving, but walking in the morning is the way to go.  Being quiet and watching through the brush you never know what you will see.  And the roads at the ranch give you plenty of opportunity to walk your butt off.  On this trip we saw coyote, quail, turkey, mule deer, rabbits, road runners, and even one rattlesnake.  The only things we did not see this time was the aoudad and antelope, which we have seen on our past trips.  Funny how those darn animals don’t appear on command.  Of course in Big Bend Park itself there are still mountain lions and bears, which are actually sighted at times.

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They have had a bumper crop of jackrabbits this year.

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I had never seen blue quail, and there was a ton of them.  They looked really good to eat and fun to shoot.

We hiked every morning and one morning the javelinas were everywhere.  I know the first one is dark but these guys let us get to within 5 feet of them.  There are 2 in the picture and the big one looked like a pot belly pig it was so fat.  Along with them we saw 5 or 6 mule deer, it was just to dark to get a good photo.  Then when we got back to the lodge a whole herd of them came roaring through and settled under the bird feeders.

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We saw lots of them, one weird critter!

We have a lot to learn about the desert, but we really like the plants.  There are so many things foreign to us that we plan on reading up on the plant life before our next trip.

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So cool, but like all things in the desert it sticks, pricks, bites. or stings.

On the second morning walk we headed way up a big hill, and besides seeing lots of wildlife, when we got to the top there was this.

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The Terlingua Ranch was established in 1860.  Who these folks were, and when they were buried, was probably lost long ago.  Evokes memories of all the cowboy movies of my youth.

But the highlight of our trip was our 4 wheel drive up one of the tallest peaks in the Christmas Mountains.  A 9000 acre tract that butts up on the Big Bend park, there is access from the lodge.  The mountain is somewhere over 5000 feet tall and the track up is a little better than a pig trail.  You have to sign in to get a permit and only one vehicle is allowed at a time as there is no such thing as sharing the road, or even turning around except for a couple of places.  A kind of commit yourself and off you go.  Since my new 4 Runner is a trail edition it is made for this very thing and we were interested in having a go at it.  It performed great and now has the scratches to prove it.  This drive is definitely a 4 wheel drive high ground clearance trip.  In fact on several of the turns on the side of the mountain a long wheel base would be cutting it close.

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At the top, what a view!  And so quiet.

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Headed down.  Hard to get a real perspective on the drive, but it was right up there with our mountain road adventure in Crete.

The land is owned by the State of Texas and there is another 25 mile drive to a lake hidden in the mountains.  We did not know we needed a permit, so when we got 4 miles from the lake it went from ranch to state land so we turned around.  The road was getting worse and worse, or better and better, depending on how you look at it.  But no matter what this is 4 wheel drive country.  I had so much fun on those drives I can not wait to get back and find others.

One is over 35 miles of desert road, which one of the ranch guys said he did once and won’t do again, so that is definitely on my list.  His advice, take lots of water, which you hear from everyone, and 2 spares.  One good thing about the ranch is you can let them know where you are going, in case of the worst.  Being stranded in the desert when it is 104 degrees like it was our last day would be a hassle, but that is what makes it what it is.

We had a couple of suppers at the Starlight Theater in Terlingua proper, home of the beer drinking goat, who died and is now stuffed with a beer in his mouth.  The food was surprisingly good and Uncle Pat played some good tunes Friday night.  Apparently the menu is only a close suggestion as to what the price of the meal actually is, but that is Terlingua.  We hoped to have a cold one at La Kiva, the famous cave bar, but since the old owner was murdered there last year it is being redone.  They are spending almost a million bucks, which may be the  combined value of most everything in town.

If you have never been to that part of the country it is worth your time.  Big Bend park is awesome and Terlingua is one quirky joint.  Be advised there is no shopping, not much entertainment other than the whole experience.  It is what it is and it is not for everyone.  But if you love the great outdoors, wildlife, and country that is big as all outdoors, that area of the state is not to be missed.  Really gives you a feeling for how big and varied the state of Texas is.

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So I am headed out to the boat to check tackle, charge, etc.  Then it will be to the car wash to get some serious desert grime off the truck. We are going to have some serious heat with a heat index in the 110 degrees all week.  So whether working or playing outdoors this week lots of water and plenty of breaks.  The area ER’s are seeing some heat related illnesses so don’t let it be you.  For me it will be the gulf somewhere, probably several times this week.  The coolest place will be waist deep in the gulf.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

http://terlinguaranch.com/index.htm

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto and other stuff. 7/13/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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The fish know the difference.

Before we get to my morning bass trip I got a couple of comments on my current state of Musky Fever.  John dropped me this and I wanted to answer it.

That musky is gorgeous. I’ve never really fished for them, but I did catch a small one in the Red River in Kentucky once. I was fly fishing for smallmouth!

So how do they fight? I always hear that they hit hard but give up quickly. People say the same about northerns. I’ve always enjoyed fishing for pike and they’re a lot of fun on light tackle.

That one fought like crazy, of course it was caught on a Red Eye Shad and 10lb. line.  It almost got away but luckily we got her in the boat, after she stuck her head through the net and was on the way out.  As far as how they fight I would describe it as hand to hand combat.  To see them swim out and eat your bait, and then putting the hook to them with 10 foot of line out is just to cool.  It is not a prolonged fight like a tarpon, it is more like a wrestling match.   One mistake and you are toast.  So it is not the fight more than it is about the bite, at least as far as I am concerned.

Good Morning Doug
What a great musky, looks like in the 50 inch class. People who have caught a trophy musky are in a special fishing club only shared by a few. The fish of 10,000 cast. I have a 44 incher that came from Lac Seul on a boat in camp trip. One key, I’ve learned is your best shot at a big fish is trolling open water keying on points. Some lakes prohibit trolling so always check first. As a side note seems most huge walleye come on live bait. We caught hundreds of walleye on lures, but the monsters caught were on live large flat head minnows with a bottom bouncing rig almost always in the narrows with a lot of current. I caught a couple of 8 pounders on a trip with Ghost River Outfitters. Lake Marchington is some of the best walleye water in the world.
Looks like the gulf is back right again! After a bad trip a couple of weeks ago, it’s good to see things settling down. I was at the pass and the water was fresh enough to drink. I can’t find the 1/32 or 1/64 oz flats lok jig heads anywhere. Do you have a source? Keep up the good work and I’ll keep reading.
Steve

First I have no clue how long that one was, I was in a state of shock.  It was the fish of a lifetime, which I fully intend to top this trip.  Trolling is actually top of the list this trip.  We can troll both Crow Lake, which is primarily a musky lake, and of course Lake of the Woods.  LOTW has 65,000 miles of shoreline and 15,000 islands, one big mofo.  Paul from Muskie Bay has been on the cover of Muskie Magazine with a double of muskies caught trolling at night, both over 46″, so we have a really good resource.

And from what I have read many of the muskies of LOTW spend the summer suspended in open water on bait schools.  Then at the end of August, when we are going, the ciscoes (a baitfish) come out of open water and spawn near the points.  So your suggestion is spot on for our trip.  Where we put in on LOTW there is Whitefish Bay, and it is a giant, and has many points, humps, and saddles to explore.  And one thing that helps we have caught maybe 10 or so and had tons of follows in that area on both prior trips, so we have a good place to start.

My biggest walleye on our 2 prior trips.

I am not much for the walleye except for our fish fries.  I fish for them to appease the other folks, but for me it is the musky and smallmouth that I love, along with some of those nice big pike if you can get the small ones to leave you alone.

As far as the 1/64th jig heads I found some at Tackle Town in Rockport.  The ones I have been using are made by Bagley, they have a small collar but no loc, but I have also found some other brands that are labeled 1/32 that are about as light, and they work fine.  The more I use them, it obviously helps to have the wind at your back, the more I like them.  First you can fish them really shallow, much better over the tops of grass in a 2 foot of water, and you can fish them aggressively.  As Capt. Black from the Baffin area said in his article it stays in front of their face a little bit longer.  As a result of the slow fall I have found that I do not miss as many, they seem to eat it and not let go nearly as fast.  And I am fishing it on 8lb. test and a long light spinning rod which means I can cast it a mile, which never hurts.

Last, it is amazing after the last  couple of years, when you are done for the day you are not covered in salt.  Some of that water is fresh as all get out, which of course affected the fishing for a while but will provide us tons of benefit in the future.  It was good to hear from you and I appreciate you continued support.

And the rest of you send me comments, suggestions, reports, pictures, bitches, it does not matter, I love to get any and all of it.  It really helps me out and makes the website better.  I do this for you so any help I can get is appreciated.

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The Boss is finally off after a long stretch so it was a quick morning trip to the lake.  I wish there was something to tell you that is earth shattering, but alas, same old, same old.  I caught 3 on buzzbait on the first bank, none worth a hoot, and then 5 pitching a small lizard.

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That would be the size of it for today.

As the water temp continues to slowly creep up, and the water lever slowly creeps down, tough fishing is to be expected.  Other than in one little area where there appeared to be some emergent grass barely peaking up off the bottom there is just no deep grass, at least that I can find.   The fish were all in the shallow grass, but the last couple of trips are moving to points, especially near deep water.

 There was no one at the ramp when I got there at 6:30, and no one there when I quit at noon, which tells you something.  It is time to put on the thinking cap and find another pattern.  Those good fish are bunched up somewhere, I just need to find a different way to catch them.

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My buddy Clyde sent me a copy of a story that I thought I would share with you.  My old stomping grounds in North Arkansas included the White River.  I fished it 100′s of times and guided on it for my good lake customers.  And while I caught an occasional nice trout in the winter there has been 2 giant Brown trout caught this year alone.  The latest was exactly 30lbs. and was released alive.  Folks that is one big fish.  Here is the link if you want to check it out.  I hope to get a chance to fish the river before the year is out.

http://www.baxterbulletin.com/story/news/local/2015/07/10/city-man-catches-pound-trout/29966553/

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Today was a sign that it is time to maybe take a little lake break and concentrate on the Gulf a little more.  Unlike the lake the bay fishing is heating up.  So it will be off to the salt in the next day or two.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

 

 

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This and That 7/12/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The fish know the difference.

My buddy Jeffish sent me this picture of his mom and some really nice flounder.

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Nice job guys!  That is some good eating.

Linda and her significant other John stuck these guys wading out of POC.  Now I am not sure where they got them, but there is a couple of spots you can wade without a boat and get a few.  Back when Carmine’s was open we spent several evenings shooting the breeze with her husband Larry.  He had quite a bit of success wading the beach area right at the end of the point in front of the park.  And other folks have killed some wading the flat on the POC side of the little jetty and around the point.  Just exercise a little good sense and flounders are in your future.

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And speaking of flounder I got this question from Brian so I called the Shoedog to get the specifics.

Curious…how did Shoedog fish the plastics to catch the flounder?  Was he bouncing off the bottom?

Now I am no flounder pro by any means but I have learned a few things the last 10 years.  So to answer your question lets review the set of conditions that faced us that day.  First was the tide.  We had the perfect combination of falling tide combined with the wind blowing right out of a cut leading from a back lake.  The water was hauling and for us that is when we catch flounder.  The fish were basically positioned in the middle of the cut and near the edges.  The water was only a couple of feet deep so he was hopping it along on an 1/8th ounce jig head, usually letting it hit the bottom and they were whacking it.  He caught on 3 different plastics so color was not as important as the moving water combined with the location.

The cuts leading from one water into another are always good places, it just depends on which way the water is moving as to which end of the cut you need to fish.  It is almost always on the moving out side.  There is a couple of other places that are also good for me, but always keep in mind falling water is the key.  First is boat docks, when that water creates a current or eddy they tend to move into the docks to ambush bait.  The other is long deep banks with a grass edge with a good drop.  As soon as the water starts dropping they will move right to the edge of the grass on the drop, waiting for the bait to fall out of the grass.

Now plastics are usually our bait of choice as we are trout fishing and are just happy to take a bonus flounder whenever one comes along.  But if we want to catch a couple a popping cork with a 3 or 4″ New Penny Gulp is a great choice.  Generally a 1 1/2 foot leader on a 1/8 ounce jighead is about right casting it right to the edge of the grass.  It takes a little practice or self control to not set the hook right away.  You will often see the cork just stop, so give it second.

The other method I have not tried yet, but know works, is using the same set up as bass fishermen use, a drop shot rig.  Use just enough weight to keep it tight and use the 3″ Gulp New Penny on a light hook.  My buddy Aaron did it once and had great success.  It is a great way to put it right in front of their face, letting them eat and move before you stick them.  So if you want to experiment a little this could be a really great way to catch them.  With the fish positioned like they were when Shoedog was getting them it might have really been a killing.  So thanks for the question.

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Musky Fever

Probably the fish of a lifetime, talk about making a trip everything you dreamed of.

Folks I am in the throes of musky fever.  It is eating away at me every day now as we are less than 6 weeks from heading back to Ontario and Muskie Bay Resort for a 2 week fishing extravaganza.  I am already getting tackle organized, buying baits, piling up tackle, and reading everything I can about catching muskies.  We have been twice, and caught probably a total of around 20+ muskies on the 2 trips, but this will be the first trip where there are in season and we can catch then on purpose.  The ones we caught the other trips were bonus fish, now we are about to get serious.  That is why I wanted to fish later this year, this will be a giant hunt.

Our trip is going to include the full moon at the end of August and we are going to be able to fish for them intentionally.  We will fish both Crow Lake and Lake of the Woods, 2 of the best musky waters in the world.  Paul, the owner of Muskie Bay Resort is a night fishing guru.  Trolling under the full moon can produce some of the biggest muskies of the season.  So this year we are tackling up and going for the gold.  Whether it is me or the Shoedog that catches that giant I do not care, but I feel like a kid at Christmas, visions of giant muskies dancing in my head are impossible to get out.  I just love the anticipation of taking great trips like this and Ontario is a place fishing dreams are realized!

So if you want to take a look just visit their website.  Of all the places I have visited in my fishing journey nothing tops Muskie Bay, period.  Paul, Chris, Jake, and Ashton know how to run a resort and make you feel at home, and the fishing takes a back seat to no other place.  If I seem to be gushing, I am.  Be it Belize, Costa Rica, Everglades, Falcon, you name it, the fishing is the finest in the world.  So if you ever want the fishing trip of a lifetime this is the place.

(No money or benefit changed hands in the making of this endorsement, lol.  Their friendship is enough, of course the fabulous fishing doesn’t hurt either.)

http://muskiebayresort.com/

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I heard from several of you with birthday wishes, thanks for that.  And it was nice to hear from an old friend, Charles Grinder.  I first met him probably 30 years when he was a paramedic student riding with me.  One of the good guys, it was great to hear from you and I hope you keep on reading.

No concrete fishing plans have been made for the upcoming week, but Shoedog is already wanting to come back and hit the Gulf some more, so those trout, reds, and flounder better watch out.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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