4/20/14. Norfork Lake

Fish Catching Travel

After 3 days of fishing on Bull Shoals it was time for a day or two on Norfork.  I actually lived on the shores of the lake for a number of years at one of the boat docks and most of my guiding was done on Norfork.

The plan was to get a late start, which we did, then to do a little night fishing for stripers.  We started in the upper end of Bennet’s Bayou hitting a few brush piles without success, then heading up the creek.  The water temp has risen to the mid 60′s and the spawn for both the bass and crappie is on.


Clyde boats another white bass.

We managed to pick up 3 crappies, and caught some small bass and a white or two on crappie jigs.  I lost a big fish, probably a hybrid striper, but we just could not get on them.  From there we headed down lake to change the scenery when the wind finally blew just a little.  We stopped at a bank with a good chop and started buzzing a spinnerbait and probably caught about  a dozen bass.


Clyde with a nice one.

Norfork is where I cut my teeth buzzing a spinnerbait.  The reason that tactic is so successful is the water is really clear, and if you run it right below the surface making a wake it forces them to react, leading to some awesome strikes as they blast it halfway back to the boat.


Shoedog with a really nice bass.  This was the bite of the trip, she absolutely smoked that high speed spinnerbait.  A CPR fish.

After putting a few more in the boat we headed down lake to the Diamond Bay area to try to put a couple of more smallmouth in the boat.  We caught about 6 of them in Bennet’s, and though we figured it would be good, we only caught a couple of more before it started to get dark,  From there is was down to the damn to see if we could catch a striper.


Not the giants Norfork is known for, but lots of fun.

We hit 3 main lake points using Rogues and topwater, and Shoedog and Clyde both caught one.  I only had 2 bites, and missed them both.  They were real tentative, and they both missed several.  After a long day we finally called it quits.  We ended up keeping a nice mess, which will be our possession limit of bass, and a few other fish for family and friends.


A respectable mess.

I have not kept fish this regularly in quite a while, but when you come this far it is nice to take home some filets for a couple of fish fries.  It is amazing how when folks know you are headed on a trip like this they want some fish.  So here you go folks, you know who you are.

It is raining this morning, and we hope to get out for a little while before heading back to Fayetteville for the last evening at our parents, then home to Arkansas.  It has been a good trip, and was great to see Clyde and his lovely wife Maria.  It was great to stay at their house, it was big enough to hold the whole bunch of us, and we will surely do it again.

So lets see what happens next.  Thanks for coming along with us, I appreciate you reading my stuff,’

Good Luck and Tight Lines




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Bull Shoals 4/19/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Day 3 started off a little different than the last 2 days.  We decided to head back up lake to the Diamond City area and fish where we fished on Thursday.  Our first stop was the bank where we did the best a couple of days ago, a gravel/rock main lake bank not all that far from the ramp.  And it was deju vu all over again.


What are the stinking odds of catching 2 big carp on grub in consecutive days?

Before we left the first bank I caught 9, this carp, and then smallmouth, largemouth, and kentuckys.  Clyde and the Shoedog could not get it going.  For some reason they wanted the that grub hopped off the bottom and just were not interested in it swimming or in a jerk bait/

The day turned out to be tougher than the last couple.  Of course it was busier, being the holiday weekend, and there looked to be several tournaments on the lake.  There were high dollar bass boats blasting all over the lake, and until around 4 it was a big a$$ boat race.

While the water temp had come up to around 55 all over the area, it was still a real chilly night with a full moon, and when combined with the traffic it kept the fish down some.


.Though we knocked the snot out of the whites a couple of days ago, we only put a couple in the boat today.  But boy are they nice size on Bull Shoals.

The rest of the day it was slow at best.  We had no luck in coves to speak of until later.  They definitely were off the jerk bait compared to the last couple of days.  And the lack of wind and bright sun sure did not help.


We caught 3 walleyes today, they just did not cut the mustard.  But it is nice to catch something so different from my usual fare.

Now I am about to say something that all of you in South Texas might find almost nuts – We were praying for wind, and the last 3 days it has been dead calm.  That can really make it hard with water as clear as drinking water, and a little breeze goes a long way here in Arkansas.  But you do with what you have.


The big fish of the day.

It is funny how our day ended up with us catching around 3 fish, and it was slow.  Other than a couple of places we never had the big run.  I did lose a big walleye on the grub, which was my go to bait all day.  Shoedog stayed with his jerk bait but it just was not happening.  Clyde fished his usual 30 different baits, but grub was still the bait of the day.

So it is Sunday morning and we are getting ready to head out, a late start but we will be fishing after dark today.  Norfork Lake, my old guiding and stomping grounds it next, and crappie will be the fish of choice before dark, then stripers and bass after the sun goes down.

We only kept 5 today, but hope to remedy that with a nice sack of crappies today.  So stay tuned, the fishing saga continues on the great Arkansas extravaganza.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Bull Shoals 4/18/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Day 2 of our great adventure was a little slower than day one, but before it was over it turned out to be a pretty good day.  Clyde joined us today and we decided to fish the mid-lake area out of the little town of Oakland near the Missouri line.

The way the day started it looked like we had gone to a different lake.  We headed up to Spring and Gulley Creek and started fishing both jerk bait and grubs.  One thing about the mid-lake area, is it was definitely clearer, if that was possible.  The water temp was fine, but it had been a cool night with an almost full moon, and the fish got off to a slow start.  I think it was around 9 before Shoedog put one in the boat on jerk bait.  We finally made a big move and headed up lake fishing some of the places Clyde knows.  I finally got a really great bite on the watermelon read flake grub and it was a titanic struggle on 8lb. line.


Nothing like a big rubber lips to start your day.

Now I hate to downgrade the lowly carp, but after a 500 mile drive it was not exactly what I had in mind.  So just a little while later we hit another bank, which Clyde said was a place he catches a few drum, and of course you guessed it.  I was now 2 for 2.


Another great fight, but not exactly what we were looking for.

So with that nonsense out of the way lets get to the real fishing.  l stayed with the watermelon grub most of the day.  Clyde alternated between the various grubs and jerkbaits, and Shoedog stayed with that wacky striped red/orange suspending Rogue aberration that worked so well yesterday,  And try as Clyde and I could, nothing beat that funky color Rogue, and the only one that would even come close to keeping up was the classic clown color.


The Shoedog put some great smallmouth in the boat today.

The pattern was clearly flat gravel points when we were in about 15 foot of water.  We caught a few in the back end of the creeks, Music for example, but the water was quite a bit cooler there than out on the main lake.  We caught them right on the main lake, and on flatter gravel points further in the creeks, but no matter what, it needed to be gravel.  But as the day wore on the fishing got better and better.


Clyde with a real honking white bass.  Notice the clown Rogue.

Unlike yesterday when we were way up lake, today we only put 3 white bass in the boat, and no walleye.  The water clarity was unbelievable mid-lake, but there just were not the white bass there that there was way up lake.  Of course that is logical with their spring annual spring migration, same with the walleyes.  There was one big difference, even though we did not boat the numbers today, around 30, the fish were bigger.  And the Shoedog just kept on putting them in the boat.


I am real disappointed in how this smallmouth came out.  Folks this was the biggest of his life, and this picture does not do her justice.  Definitely a CPR fish.

This was actually his last fish of the day.  In fact he was whining, a couple of days of constant jerking that jerkbait is tough, and Clyde made him fish one last place.  Shoedog finally said last cast, and I said watch this, it will be big one.  I no more than said it when he bowed up and caught the one above.  It was one beautiful smallmouth.  A great finish to a good day.

I have spared you the obligatory dead fish stringer, but we had one.  We ended up keeping 12 bass for the table, 4 smallmouth and 8 kentuckys, not a bad day by any definition.  We could have easily kept a few more but were plenty happy with what we kept.  Of the keepers, 3 or so came on grub, the rest came on the Smithwick Rogue in what we have learned is the Red Bream.  If you are fishing Bull Shoals right now, get a couple, the fish love them.

So tomorrow instead of a day on Norfork as planned, we have decided to head back to the upper end of Bull Shoals where Shoedog and I fished yesterday.  We really want to add a few more walleye to the pile.  So it will be Sunday before we get to Norfork, and then it will be some crappie and striper fishing.  It should be great.  So keep stopping in.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Bull Shoals Arkansas 4/17/14.

Fish Catching Travel

It is almost 10 and I am sitting in my friend Clyde’s basement as he and the Shoedog play guitars.  I am drinking an adult beverage and digesting a wonderful fish supper.  Now I may not be getting hammered, but the Shoedog and I hammered them on Bull Shoals Lake today.

North Arkansas, with Bull Shoals and Norfork Lake  is my old stomping ground.  I moved here in 1974  in my AMC gremlin with $125 and tent, to be a fishing guide.  I bought a small tackle store, met the locals, started fishing tournaments and guiding , and the rest is history.

So Shoedog and I, after visiting our folks in Fayetteville, decided to fish the upper end  of Bull Shoals Lake so we put in at the boat dock at Diamond City and headed out.  One of the reasons I scheduled this trip for right now was in these highland lakes the middle of April is always good.  Water temp of 52 – 55 degrees, the fish looking to spawn, what more could you want.  So we headed to the first cove and it was one of those days you are glad to have a rod in your hand.


One of three keeper walleye I put in the boat.

As Shoedog cut the engine and headed to the deeper side of the cove, I said not that side.  Where you will find fish here this time of year is secondary points, sloping banks with mixed rock and gravel.  He caught 2 or 3 bass on jerk bait in about 10 minutes and from that point it was game on.


Shoedog with one of the many big white bass.

From around 10 in the morning until we quit at 5 it was a jerk bait extravaganza.  I let him get me down about 10 or so while I threw the works at them, and then when I were sure it was jerk bait, the slaughter began.  And when we would catch one, we would catch 3, or 4, or 6.  There were white bass mixed in, the occasional walleye, along with the largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky Spotted bass.  It was just to good.


Our biggest bass of somewhere around 50 today.

One of my favorite lures this time of year here is a watermelon red flake twister grub.  I threw it quite a bit today, and though I only caught 3 fish, 2 were walleyes including the one above.  As soon as we get the smallmouth a little more dialed in the grub will come in to it’s own.  Slow rolling it on light line and spinning gear results in some great hits.  With the weather warming, the fish in pre-spawn and moving to the bank, the next 3 or 4 days should be awesome.  And Clyde will be able to fish with us, so look out, there may be a killing.


A nice Kentucky Spotted Bass and a Smallmouth.

Bull Shoals is on the upstroke right now.  The fish population is as healthy as I have seen it in my 40 years of fishing here.  I told you last post this was going to be a meat haul.  My family have all put in their request, and if it stays like this, they should get their wish.


A nice limit of bass and 3 walleye.

Time to hit the sack.  Clyde joins us for the next 3 days, and it is Bull Shoals again tomorrow.  Then Norfork Saturday for crappies and stripers, it will be awesome.  Every once in a while you hit it right, and this is one of those times.  The walleye have just come off the beds, and so have the white bass, and they are on the feed.  The bass are ready, and if the weather stays like this, they will be on the beds in a matter of days.  So keep stopping in, it should be a great trip and I am glad you are coming along with us.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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A few Random Thoughts 4/15/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Sorry there is no real new fishing report here, I just  can not get to excited to go when the wind is blowing the siding off the house.  I will admit that being able to fish when I want often lets me blow off going, but guess what?  I am lucky that way.  But with that said, the weather has to straighten out some time.

It is just hard to believe.  Winter just will not let go.  Snow in Nebraska, 20 degree in Iowa, and we even hit below 40 degrees this morning.  And yesterday, what can be said about that.  The car needed to be in Austin for routine maintenance and my wife was kind enough to let me either fish or go with her, whichever suited me.  After watching multiple weather reports I chose going to Austin.

That choice was made with the wind forecast in mind.  The wind down here has been blowing 20+ day after day, and Monday was no different.  As we headed out the sky looked stormy, the wind was howling, and it was 75 degrees.  It stayed that way all the way until we got to Gonzalez, when it really started blowing, and in the matter of a couple of miles it dropped from 75 to 55 degrees, and the wind really howled.  It never got any better and by time we got to Austin it was blowing like a Banshee and lightening like crazy.  This morning I noticed a big tree was down in the neighbors yard if that gives you any indication of how hard the wind blew.

That has to be the last of it, I mean really?  How many northers can we have in one year?  They have really cut down on the fishing around here, but it is more that folks are waiting for the weather to break, and this should be it.  I do know that folks who are doing some fishing are doing a little catching, but the Gulf reports are still spotty.  I got a good redfish report from one of our local bays, but the trout are still remaining spotty.  Look for this next warming trend to finally get the water temp in the bay high enough to get the trout moving shallow.  But if you are having a tough day, switch to the reds, it can save your day.  No matter what the spring bite is coming, it always does.

It was sad to read about the boat found near the Barge Canal without the owner in it.  According to reports he was a very experience fisherman who was fishing alone.  After several days of searching his body has been found without a life jacket.  Nothing else is really known at this time but it is another teaching moment for all of us.

Things happen in an instant – How do I know?  About 20 years ago I was towing a disabled boat in when we were hit by a tornado.  When it hit it literally turned the boat upside down on my head in an instant.  Luckily I had 2 life jackets on by time the boat went airborne with me in it.  Did they save my life?  Most likely.  I know I need to take my own advice.  I fish alone quite a bit, and it only takes the blink of an eye and you could be in the water.  Let’s give bass fisherman credit, they have a much more ingrained culture of both wearing a life jacket and using the kill switch.  Both these items save lives, and those of us that fish the salt need to take heed.  If you do not do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones.

Hey Roy from Austin – How did your guided trip to Falcon go?  I am so hoping you whacked them and the fishing there this spring has just been an aberration.  While it took a pretty good string to win a tourney  there this weekend, I noticed they did not mention how many fish were caught overall, or how many were weighed in.  Not a good sign.

Not much else to say this morning.  Tonight it is off to Arkansas.  It looks like it will be at least 6 days of hardcore fishing.  If all goes well we will catch trout, walleye, smallmouth, largemouth, hybrid, white bass, stripers, and crappies.  My fishing trips are not usually meat hauls, but in this case I hope to sack a cooler full of filets.  Nancy loves striper and walleye, my daughter loves bass, and who does not like crappie.  I should be able to post everyday so keep stopping in.

Thanks for reading my stuff.  Keep those comments and reports coming.  It is another banner month here at fishcatchingtravel.com, and it is all thanks to you.

Good Luck and Tight Lines


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POC – Day 2. 4/10/14.

Fish Catching Travel

We decided wind or no wind to go back to POC and fish.  Yesterday turned out ok, so the plan was to hit the Oil Cut first thing.  And with a 20 – 30 mph wind, it was a place we could fish in spite of the wind.  Which was good, as the wind was 2o plus right out of the south, and would only increase as the day wore on.

With the flats boat in the shop we were limited to the Carolina Skiff.  I do love that boat, and have had it for almost 15 years, but when it is windy that boat slides right along being a flat bottom.  Combine that with the tough wind, I fought the trolling motor and wind all day to keep us in good position.  In spite of that hassle, we managed to catch fish pretty much all day.


One of the 2 keeper reds for the day, out of the 6 or 8 reds we caught.

It was pretty apparent unlike the day before, that the paddle tail was clearly the bait of choice.  We threw a Sexy Shad, and some brown and blue colors, in both the 3 and 4″ sizes.  As long as it had a paddle tail it caught fish.  Fishing the side channels of the Oil Cut usually produced 3 – 4 every pass, and we fished a couple of them twice.  The main channel had white caps, love it when that happens in a protected area, so we would fly down the bank, and though the fish were there, it was just really hard to feel them.


Shoedog’s best trout of the bunch.

We kept making passes in the Oil Cut and caught just enough to keep it interesting.  In fact, there was probably only an hour lull in the action, but otherwise it was consistent.  Just hopping that jig and plastic along and most of the ones that hit jumped it.  One of the keeper reds came on spinnerbait, which we should have thrown more with it so windy and the water slightly off colored, but paddle tails were definitely the bait of choice.  I am not sure how many fish we caught but it was several.  Added to the small trout and a couple of small flounder, we did have a couple of close encounters with black drum.  Shoedog lost one in the Oil Cut, mine came on the way back to the ramp.

We decided to fish Mitchell’s cut on the way in, and I put a keeper red in the box, and we caught another small trout or tw0.  We moved over to the boat dock side and as we drifted down a school of black drum in the 20lb. plus range swam right under the boat.  Then Shoedog had one follow his spinnerbait and not eat.  I hopped a piece of plastic and felt one thump it.  Setting the hook I could tell it was a big fish.  As it ripped out line I told Shoedog to start the boat.  Before that operation happened he spooled me.  I never saw it, but I can tell you it was one big fish.

We have seen those big drum both days, so if you are inclined to catch a big ugly, now is the time.  So on that note we called it a day.  We kept 5′, and with the conditions we were proud of that.


The obligatory dead fish in a cooler picture.  They don’t look nearly as good in the cooler as they do in the pan!

Besides getting spooled, which is always something when it happens, we had one more outdoor experience that made the day.  Shoedog saw a coyote walking across a dry sand flat, and then that “dog” came down to the edge of the pocket we were fishing and poked around a while.  It was a big coyote and it was cool to watch him mess around and not be to concerned with our presence.

Arkansas is calling.

I will be fishing on Bull Shoals and Norfork for about 5 days next weekend, and John and Clyde have been sending us pictures to whet our appetite, like it needs it.

jonstripMy old buddy John and a nice Norfork hybrid.

If you have never fished for hybrids and stripers at night you are missing out.  There is something about hooking a big fish, especially on topwater, at night.  It seems they pull harder and you just never know.  Add the possibility of a big walleye and you have everything you need for a cool night of fishing.  And according to Clyde the points close to deeper water in Big Creek have stripers on them.  I can’t wait, they better hold for me, I need to scratch the big striper itch.  It has been many years since I caught a 20lb. striper, and it sure would be nice to get that job done.

A Few Reader Questions

Of course you know I do not post many of the thousands of comments on the site unless the writer approves them and they fit the current topic.  I do get lots of blog questions, some technical, others more general.  The most frequent involves how much trouble is it to start and maintain a blog.  It is easy and hard.  If you have ever thought about doing it I can not recommend HostGator more highly.  While they are more expensive than other hosting, the support and information they provide is the only way I could do this.  Of course it helps to have a good friend who is a computer guy.  So if you want a website check out HostGator.

The real issue to running a blog is content.  Are you willing to write regularly?  People want fresh content, end of story.  If you do not update ALL THE TIME people will stop coming immediately.  Find a niche, and then figure out how to find others who share your interest.  Are you willing to promote your site somehow?  People have to know about you to read your blog.  It isn’t easy, but it is also rewarding when it all comes together.

I want to say right now, anyone who wants to use my content, and gives me credit, is welcome to use away.  I appreciate it if you let me know, but I share this information to try and help folks catch one more fish, so please spread it around.  So quote me, link me, pass me around like a bottle of Ripple, this site has grown due to sharing.  If you know someone who likes to fish, send him the link, I appreciate it.

One thing that has puzzled me is that while I know that most of my readers are dyed in the wool hardcore fisherman I get very few reports.  Folks I love your reports and pictures, you do not have to pinpoint on the map where you caught them, just letting us know how you did is great.

I really would like to hear from a saltwater fisherman who fishes regularly and would like to blog on a regular basis.  Is there anyone out there who would like to have a weekly saltwater column?  With over a 100,000 visitors last year, and we are easily going to surpass that this year, you will be read and heard over a great part of the coast.  So if you think you are that guy or gal let me know.

And that goes for someone wanting to blog about freshwater.  Have an idea?  Let me know, it never hurts to ask.  So what will you get out of it?  The same thing I get- nothing!  But we are growing and have not marketed the site yet so who knows.  Folks love to read real stuff, from real folks, and I would love to share your stories and techniques with others.  It is a good feeling when you hear from people who thank you for sharing something that works for them.  It is what this site is trying to do.

So what is next?  Who knows.  The weather looks good but coming in yesterday there was occasionally some kind of noise coming from underneath the truck.  Owww!  So it is at the shop, we will have to see what that amounts to.  Catching a few in the salt has my salt itch scratching again.  The fish are healthy, and the reports are slowly picking up. and with this warm weather it can only get better and better.  We were actually surprised that there were not that many trucks at Froggie’s, I guess that was a comment on how windy it was.  With the holiday weekend coming next weekend POC will be up to it’s neck in fishermen.  So if you are joining the mess next weekend, be nice.

It was a pleasant surprise the last couple of days how polite folks were.  Idling by you when they could have been hauling butt.  Not moving in on you, it was great.  It was regular folks like you and me fishing, no fancy wrap with a 300 hanging off the back roaring by you, refreshing.  So keep a cool head next week, share the water, and think about how you would feel if someone did that to you.  It is like the old poker saying, if you do not know who the sucker at the table is, it is you.  Well if you do not know who is the a$$hole acting the fool out there this weekend, it just may be you.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 4/9/14.

Fish Catching Travel

After a fairly long absence from any saltwater fishing I was finally able to get to POC with the Shoedog.  The forecast was for light winds and low tide first thing, and that was accurate.  What was surprising was how low the tide was, and when you combined that with no wind and no water movement, the fishing started off really slow.

Since it had been awhile we decided to hit our favorite trout bank in Big Bayou.  Before we finally left the Bayou area at noon, we had only put 2 reds and one trout in the boat, all small.  So with the water still not running we headed to the Oil Cut.  It turned out to be a good choice.


Shoedog’s first keeper trout, and it was a hoss.


I couldn’t decide which picture was better, so here is the same fish.

The Oil Cut was pretty off color, but it had the one thing we had not seen the other places we fished, bait.  Mullet and lots of them.  Shoedog was throwing a pink Tsunami jerk minnow, and as far as the better bites, it was the color.  I was throwing a sexy shad colored paddle tail, and though I caught some trout and a couple of reds, I could not put a keeper to the boat.  There was one thing I didn’t have trouble getting to the boat. black drum.


The first one, then another, and then I lost a third one.

It was cool as I saw several of the drum roll over and eat it, always awesome.  And boy do they pull good.  I started catching them when I changed from a lighter jig head to a 1/4 and fished it with a Berkley 4″ purple Grass Pig, which has a paddle tail.  I was able to fish more aggressively, but even with that bait I still lost another keeper trout.  We were just sliding down the bank with the wind and throwing the bait almost on the bank.  As the afternoon went on they started to whack the snot out of it, most of them on the first pull or two.

I wondered when I left the house if it wasn’t going to be like that, dead in the morning, then biting better as the tide came back.  It turned out to be the case.  You could have definitely waited until noon, and then just hit the bite.  Before it was over Shoedog put 3 nice trout in the box, I contributed nothing.  We caught maybe a dozen, with both of us losing a couple of nice fish.  Redfish were a little harder to come by, and though we caught 5 or 6 of them, none made the dinner invitation.

So it turned out to be a fairly good day.  We caught fish, and as usual, learned something.  It really was a day to sleep in, take your time, and then hit it.  Our timing was right, and it went from pretty slow to biting right along.  If we had put what we should have in the boat it would have been pretty impressive for average trout size.

Now we are looking at the weather, and seeing it with winds to 30 mph tomorrow.  So where we will fish tomorrow is highly up in the air.  Guess it will be up early, check the wind, and go from there.  Hopefully it will be back to the Oil Cut, there are some nice trout in there.  Bait was clearly the key, and when we were catching them the bait was very active.

Check in tomorrow, lets see what happens, there should be a report from somewhere.  And good luck to Jonathon, the young man I fished with from Corpus, he is in Louisiana the next 3 days fishing a College Tournament Trail bass tournament.  Maybe he can whack a couple of good ones.  And Jeffish sent me a copy of the work he did on some business cards for fishcatchingtravel.com.  They look great, hell, it almost feels like this is a business.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Spring is really here. 4/7/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I am finally back on track after a little hiatus this weekend.  My lovely wife and I celebrated our 25th anniversary in Houston the last few days, and a good time was had by all.  Also she knocked off 16 hours of continuing education she needs for her profession, and I got to hit a couple of tackle stores.

For the last couple of years I have wanted to see what the Fishing Tackle Unlimited’s salesman sample sale is all about, and I finally made it this year.  I got there about noon, and though there was a line to check out, the madness was about over.  There was still lots of stuff, some at great prices, with other stuff not nearly as cheap as it could have been.  Other than one shirt, I picked up some baits, lure parts, and a few odds and ends.  It was not nearly the sale I thought it might be, but I still saved some money.

The only thing I could not find either there, or Bass Pro, was the right size clevises to make all the spinnerbaits we will need for Canada.  Last time we went the pike and muskies chewed up the dozen I took, so this time I am making a pile of them, and they can chew all they want.

I was real interested in finding out how the tournament on Coleto went this weekend.  I guess Colby and his dad won, no surprise, they are good fishermen and know the lake like the back of their hand.  Apparently a couple of fishermen got into a fight and before it was over the police had to be called.  That is all I know about that, but I can assure you that there was some unsportsmanlike conduct somewhere.  Come on dudes.

Tomorrow is going to be a quick afternoon trip to hopefully shoot a few Tilapia and then go and sack a few catfish.  We caught them last year at this time, so the plan is to have a fresh fried catfish dinner tomorrow night.

Ok folks, I know there has not been any real saltwater reports in a while, but that is about to change.  The weather is finally coming around and with Shoedog coming tomorrow night it will be a Wednesday and Thursday saltwater extravaganza.  The wind report looks good, and with low tide in the mornings, then warming and rising water in the afternoon, it has the potential to be a real topwater kinda trip.  So stay tuned.

Not much else to say except thanks folks.  fishcatchingtravel.com had it’s biggest month yet.  I appreciate each and every one of you that stop in.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto and a few random thoughts 4/3/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I do not know about you, but I am flat sick of this 30mph wind.  Yesterday it blew over 30 at times, and seemed to get stronger as the day wore on.  So with the forecast for just a little less, I was up before daylight and off to Coleto.

It was already blowing pretty hard  when I got to the lake, and it continued until I quit around noon.  Today it was just hitting places as I moved up lake.  I fished banks from near the dam to all the way up lake.  It was hard to find any calm water, and most of the time it was howling right down whatever bank I was wanting to fish.

While topwater had been working pretty well, today it turned out to be Swim Jig and spinnerbait.   Of the first 8 I caught, 6 were on topwater, but they were just not measuring.  The only fish I had that measured came on spinnerbait.  Find a windy point and buzz that spinnerbait past it, that is the ticket with the high winds we are experiencing right now.


When you could get them to hit it, they were smoking it.

As the morning wore on I started throwing the Swim Jig, and actually had some really good bites.  The kind of bite where they were really jumping on it.


A good keeper on the Strike King Swim Jig.

For the rest of the morning I alternated between the spinnerbait and Swim jig.  The Swim Jig put the most fish in the boat.  It was simply a matter of throwing it to the bank and reeling it at a moderate speed and they were jumping it.


This size was eating the Swim Jig today.

So whenever the wind got to high I would pick up the spinnerbait and buzz it right below the surface at  a pretty quick pace, and when one decided to eat it, they would smoke it.


The best of the day.  Ate a buzzed spinnerbait halfway back to the boat.

Actually not a bad morning for a short day and a howling wind.  I would have stayed a little while longer, but since I forgot my phone I did not know what time it was when I quit.  The fish bit better as the morning dragged on, the usual for Coleto.  They were on shallow grass in 1 -3 feet of water.  Topwater in calm water = lots of small bass.  Swim Jig in moderate chop = best bite and most fish.  Spinnerbait when it was real windy = biggest fish.  One of those days when you had to pick up the right bait at the right time.

With the biggest (I think) tournament of the year this weekend on Coleto, what I caught today got me thinking it should be interesting.  My biggest 5 were probably about 12.5 lbs give or take a little.  I lost the biggest one, or my weight might have touched 15.  It should take more than that.  The wind is surely going to lay down soon, opening more of the deep water bite.  No matter what there is no way there will not be a few really big fish brought to the scale, so lets see who can add the big kicker.


This may not be the best picture in the world, but it is the thought that counts.  Here is my old buddy John with a couple of stripers caught the other night.  Norfork Lake has lots of nice stripers, and over the years we caught the snot out of them in the 10 – 20lb range, so these 2 are not a good representation.  What matters is they are biting, and I will be there in 2 weeks.


Thanks for the pictures, and nice to know the water temp was 51 degrees on the main lake.  It is tough not to get excited when it is only 2 weeks away, we should whack them.

April Fools

It was nice to know that a few of you actually thought for a second I might be calling it quits.  No way that is going to happen.  I love to hear myself talk, and what better place than this.  I get to to do all the talking, and can interrupt myself all I want.  It was nice to know that at least some of you are actually paying attention.

Great Videos

I am sure some of you have seen these videos.  There are several of both on youtube, and they are hilarious.  I just got to thinking about watching them again since there have been a couple of wrapped bass boats on Coleto this week.   So take a look at them, they crack me up.



And last but hardly least…..

Tomorrow is our 25th wedding anniversary.  Nancy is a great wife, and anything I am, or have, is because of her.  She is my buddy, wife, partner, and all around girlfriend.  To have someone who is kind enough to let me be me, and not kill me, is an honor.  And I am honored to have her for my wife.  When we hooked up all those years ago she came into this fishing thing with eyes wide open.  I never made any bones about it, the fishing came first.  And for her to let me pursue my passion without complaint makes her one of a kind.  So Nancy, thanks.  You rock, and if I don’t tell you enough here it is one more time – Love you.

Next Week

The reports coming from the Gulf are rapidly improving.  With the high tides the last few days the reports are coming fast and furious.  Topwater is really starting to take off with a warming bay, and some reports have the water approaching 70 degrees.  So wind or not, Shoedog and I will be spending several days trying to get our spring trout fling on early next week.

Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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A Sad Day 4/1/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Sorry there has not been a new report the last few days, but it wasn’t intentional.  When I started this blog almost 2 years ago it was with no other purpose than to record my fishing trips.  It really was written for myself as a kind of journal, and it surprised me when some of you decided to read along.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that over 100,000 people would stop in and read fishcatchingtravel.com.

With that traffic came a certain responsibility I put on myself, to get out there and catch fish, and then record it here for you folks to read.  The blog slowly grew from a labor of love into a job, one that doesn’t pay worth a crap.  So now with the cost of running the blog, not to mention the cost of fishing, going up all the time, it is time to make a decision one way or the other about the future of fishcatchingtravel.com.

After weighing everything involved I have decided to close the blog.  As to what will happen to it after I close it is another thing.  But for me the fun is over, and when it starts turning fun into work, it is time to get another hobby.  So thanks one and all for reading my stuff.  Or maybe this is a bunch of crap and it is the kind of thing you hear on April Fools Day. So April Fools!

Actually I have been sick for the last 4 days.  I made it all last year without getting the flu, and had it made this year until Saturday.  Unfortunately I have been laying in the recliner 4 days and whining about not being able to fish.  Of course, I have not heard anything from the boss of Team Nancy about my failure to get a flu shot.   By tomorrow I should be upright and taking nourishment and should be fishing somewhere for something.   In the meantime I have received several bits of information from readers that I want to pass on.

Keller Bay

Keller Bay is one of my favorite places to catch redfish.  Some of the best videos I have made came from Keller Bay reds.  And now to have Dave  from the Keller Bay RV Resort sending us reports on Keller is a treat.  Here is his latest:

Keller Bay update:

“Just wanted to let you know the reds were hitting this morning in Keller Bay. Caught 7 in about 2 hours time, kept 2 X 25″ and a 22″. The others were undersized from 19″- 16″, but still fun to catch. Water was a murky chocolate due to the 15-20mph ESE winds but still a beautiful and comfortable morning on the water. Caught them all on live finger mullet. When cleaned, I noticed that none of them had anything in their stomachs, they were empty! The 22″ was cleaned, garlic salted & lemon peppered and pan fried for a tasty lunch. Pretty good Sunday morning I must say!”


Nothing like a fresh report straight from the horse’s mouth.  Live finger mullet are really the ticket this time of year and Dave’s report is sure proof of that.  So thanks Dave, we appreciate your report, keep them  coming.


Steve sent me a note last week on his first crappie trip to Texana.  Well folks you do not need a better report on where and how to catch some crappies.  He followed that up with this report from the other day.

“Another good day on Texana.  I had a limit by 10:15, same basic pattern as last week. One great thing about this lake is that I never saw another boat.”

And for your reviewing pleasure here is his first report from last week.

“I fished Texana for the 1st time today. Finished with a limit. all fish came from less than 2′, some as shallow as 10″. Used a 10′ pole, red/chart solid body tube type jig, dabbling around wood. I was there a little late for the spawn, most of the fish were males, the females were spawned out or almost so. Lots of bumps and short strikes, finally had to pinch off about 1/2 of the tail to get hook ups.”

I would love to get over and do some of that, guess it will depend on where the Shoedog wants to fish the next couple of days.  This is a pattern that will end, probably soon, so if you want a panful of tasty filets, head to Texana before it is to late.  And a big thanks for the second report Steve, it could not be any clearer.

Falcon Lake

I have heard from several folks lately on Falcon Lake.  Most were just comments, but I did get this from Roy and he was kind enough to let me share it with you. 

“I’ve been in a bass club in Austin for over 25 years and have done well considering I don’t fish as often as my colleagues.  However these last years my only fishing has been on tournament day and it shows in my results. Even then, I still expected to figure out Falcon on my last trip. Our club fished there Mar 1 & 2 and many of us traveled there Wed Feb 26 and had 2 1/2 days of practice. When I read your Falcon report, it sounded so similar to my experience, even the fishing times. In 25 years of fishing Falcon, I’ve had trip with 7lb bookends…8lbs each day and my personal best of 9.75lbs. On this trip…5 days of fishing, I had 1 bite…and missed it at the boat. My brother had 1 fish about 4 lbs on a crankbait in the same cove where I had my bite. I have never had such a rough day. On Mar 1, day one of our tourney, out of 28 fishermen, 18 did not have a keeper fish! And these are good fishermen, many fishing TTZ and Bass Champs and winning money at those tourneys. The father / son team that won the tournament took it all….big bass both days and heavy stringer both days. They had similar struggles until they started using 1oz weights in 4 ft of water right down the middle of the salt cedars. They picked up one here, one there, following same pattern.

I have a buddy that convinced me to go to Falcon on a guide trip, leaving Sunday April 6. I was hopeful, thinking we were victims of the weather changes, but after reading this, and other info, it sounds like it’ll be the same thing again!”

I hope it won’t be the same thing Roy.  In fact I hope you whack the snot out of them.  And it will be interesting to hear what your guide has to say.  So please let us all know how your trip comes out.

Random Stuff

I also heard from my buddy Aaron who is still working in PA but wanting to get back to Texas.  He is suffering with snow on the ground while we are in full spring bloom.  Better start looking around up there, maybe there is a smallmouth lake or two.  Isn’t that what Yankee’s catch?

We are 2 weeks away from the Arkansas trip, and I am starting to get excited.  Their spring is late and with the cooler water temperatures we may hit my favorite time to fish the highland lakes.  At the 55 degree range lots of techniques will work, and in my experience it is a good time to put big fish in the boat.   It could be anything from jerk bait, night fishing  for bass or stripers, trolling for walleye, maybe even some trout on the White River.   Who knows but what more could a traveling fisherman want?

Chris sent me the following question:

“Looking to get a good hand held GPS unit to use when not out in my boat to mark way points, then load into my HDS7 at a later time.  Would like enough screen size to use as a stand alone at times…do you have any recommendations?”

I am flattered that you think I might be some help in that area, but that is way above my electronics pay grade.  I must confess that as far as my ability to use all the great gadgets we have now it comes down to one thing, does it get me home.  So I was not ignoring your question, I am just no help in that department.  But thanks for reading my stuff, guess I am not as smart as I look, which is scary.

Larry Dahlberg’s “Hunt for Big Fish” is my favorite fishing show.  He is on the cutting edge of cool fishing travel, not to mention techniques for catching huge specimens of whatever he is fishing for.  He says there are 4 stages of fishing:

1.  I just want to catch one.

2.  I just want to catch a limit.

3.  I just want to catch the biggest one of them there is.

4.  I just want to catch them the way I want to catch them.

I so agree with him.  Fishing is supposed to be fun, and when you can catch what you want, the way you want, when you want, life is good.  That is what keeps me fishing.

Jeffish got a chance to get back out on Coleto this weekend to try for some more Tilapia with his bow.  Of course the weekend traffic was heavy, but he did manage to shoot 3.  The Tilapia should be up for awhile, so if you ever wanted to shoot a few, now is the time.  I only wonder if it is easier at night?

So after 4 days basically down and out it is time to get off the couch and get to doing something.  The last healthy breath I took the other day I was going through a bunch of stuff in the boat, and that project is about half done, so out the door I go.  Plus I need to get the gear together as it will be on the water somewhere tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping in and reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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