This and That 11/21/14.

Fish Catching Travel

As I have fished like a crazy man the last few days there a few things I haven’t got to as far as the blog is concerned.  So if you think I have ignored you who have sent me comments, well I have.  But it has not been anything personal, just catching to many fish!

First Order of Business

I would like to introduce you all to Little Wren, my newest grand baby.  She was born 11/19 and we are really happy and proud of Carrie and Leigh.

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Wow.  A head of hair with a beautiful baby attached.  Congratulations to Carrie and Leigh!

I am so lucky to have a great daughter and son-in-law.  She is a good girl and he is a stand up guy who I am proud to have as a son-in-law.   And now there is an addition to the family, and Mia has a new little sister.  And sorry Carrie, I had to post this.  Nancy and I are so proud of you and happy grandparents can get away with it.  We will see you soon.

For My Buddy Todd.  Recognize this?

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My brother Kelly, who works at the University, with The Boot!

My beloved Razorbacks seized the boot back after a mighty struggle from those Coon Ass Tigers of LSU.  Now I am not rubbing it in Todd, but wait, I am!  Go Hogs!  And good luck to the bunch of you on the December trip, sorry I am going to miss it.

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I had not heard from Faye in a while but got a comment when I mentioned Carmine’s in POC.

“We miss Carmine’s.  She was indeed a character and had the best sweet tea!!

We select our lures on what you write here and what has worked in the past for us based on the time of year.  Another thing we do is go to Speedy Stop in POC when we first hit town and see what has the fewest packages left.  LOL  Not scientific but it’s worked more than once!

We have the time and money but can’t get a place on the water to stay this week.  BUMMER!!  May just have to launch the boat daily but I’m the one that has to find parking and walk to the dock.  My husband calls me, “a trailer backing bi@@h” LOL   : ))       I have no problem doing that but we really like having the boat on the water.  We can come back to our room and eat lunch and then go back out.”

We would go there after a long day of fishing and eat.  Carmine would always have time to talk, and of course Larry had nothing but time to talk.  It was always part of our trip until she closed.  And smart with the Speedy Stop idea, makes a lot of sense.

I hope you got it figured out for your trip.  It looks the weather will be crap.  So good luck and we will all be waiting on your report.

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The guy who lost the kayak found me and I am glad I was able to return it.  It just takes a minute to do the right thing.

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I got a nice long note from Aaron and he sent a couple of pictures along with his comment.  I have combined a couple of your comments and I appreciate hearing from you.  Hope you don’t mind me posting the majority of it.

“It’s been awhile since I dropped you a line so I thought I would say congrats on the good trout day on the Lavaca.  I’m from Austin and spent most of my time growing up on hill country rivers before figuring out how much fun it is to hit the salt with artificial.  I was able to make it down around POC for 5 or 6 morning trips in the kayak.  Rarely had a morning with less than dozen reds.  Kayak fishing really limits the water you can fish but allows you to get really good at a few select locations.   I would send you some pics but since I normally fish alone the pics aren’t very good.

I originally stumbled on your blog looking for information on Powderhorn.  It looked a like a good place to fish from the kayak but I couldn’t find any info on it except your blog.  Because of your recommendations, the redfish magic is one of my regular baits in PH, especially when the water is off color.  I stick to the west half of the lake since I launch on 1589 and haven’t yet had a bad day on the water.  In fact, my first trip out there last year I landed a 35” red on the north shore in 12” of water.  Not as big as the one your friend Aaron boated in Keller but quite an experience for my first trip to the bay.  I’ve attached a pic since pics tell a better story.  Being my first trip, I tagged the big red and he ate just fine but have since caught my fair share of reds and enjoy letting most of them fight another day.  My last trip down there was on 11/1 and I landed 13 reds and about a dozen mostly small trout before lunch.  What a great place!  It’s been a real treasure for me and I watch with mixed feelings as TPWD acquires PH ranch.  Great to see it protected but it’ll put a big spotlight on PH lake in a few years.

Keep up the good work with the blog.  I check it every morning as I sit down at my desk and picked up quite a few tips from you over the last year.   Most of my saltwater buddies use bait which just doesn’t interest me.”

I am so bummed out.  Somehow I sent your pictures to that place in the cyber world that sometimes rears its ugly head.   How I get the blog done simply amazes me at times.  So send them again, that was one nice redfish.  Hope you have a good trip down here next week.  The fishing should be good and I will be waiting to hear how it goes.

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I met an old guy at the ramp the other day (Just kidding he was probably around my age!) who wanted to know how I did.  Folks I continually tell you all to share information, it can only be a good thing.  So I shared how I caught about half of them that day and this was his response.

“On Nov. the 12th I watch you catch fish. I can not remeber your name but I made sure I was at the boat ramp when you arrived to see what bait you were using . You showed me the ( Rage Tail)  And you gave me a pack of them. I went to the other side of the river. I fish from the bank and I caugh my limit in about 30 mins. For the next 5 days I would catch my limit. We usely catch 50 or more trout and  only 2 or 3 keepers.  My fishing buddies could not belive I was catching all big fish. I had to let them use my rod and bait to get there limit to. I am on my third rage tail they have tore 2 of them up. Thank you Sir. and for the baits. We all have ordered Some of the different colors.  Have a great day out fishing.”

Thanks Sonny, makes me feel good to know that I could help.  There are a couple of relevant points here.  First, not only do you have to have the right bait for the fish, you have to have the right bait for the particular fisherman.  One thing I learned years ago, some people can’t fish a spinnerbait, a plastic worm in 30 feet of water, or a big jig on an ultralight.  Though I am whacking them on the Down South plastics there is no way  he could have used that type of plastic, especially from the bank, it is just a different deal.  So it was the right bait for the right guy.

 Second, what did it cost me to take a minute and help someone?  Did it mess up my fishing?  The answer to both is it cost me nothing and I was able to help someone.  It is popular now, Paying it Forward, and that is what I did.  None of us figured this thing out alone.  And then Sonny shared it with his buddies and they all caught fish.  A win -win for all.

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Shoedog made a good point about the survey I have been running.  In the where do you get your information he wanted to have the other choice of from other fisherman, good point.  I will run it a few more days, and then I have another one.  I am learning a lot from your answers.  That catches me up for today on comments and unrelated stuff.  I have another report that I will get to tomorrow.

It is getting real now, laying out the clothes, gathering the right fishing stuff, all the things that go with a foreign fishing trip.  2 days offshore, 1 day inshore for starts on the Atlantic side, and then we will see about the Caribbean side, but there are tarpon and snook there so I will find a way to hopefully get that done.  I have not shot any video in a while but plan to and there will be plenty of pics for you the day they happen.  A Roosterfish is one of my bucket list fish and I can’t wait to cross it off.

So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

(If you have not taken the survey please scroll down a few posts and take it.)

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Day 2 11/19/14.

Fish  Catching Travel

Like I said the last couple of posts, find deep water, find the fish.  And on day 2 of our river adventure it only got better.  The same bait as yesterday, with one addition, resulted in catching trout for 7 hours without stopping.  I am not kidding.  Shoedog caught 5 on his first 5 casts, I boated my limit in less than a half hour.  And in case any of you want to call bullstuff lets just get this our of the way.  (I forgot the camera this morning so here is the dead fish pic I normally do not post.)

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The lone red was 22″, so you can see how big some of the trout were.

It was good today, and though yesterday was great, today as the water warmed from 48 to 57 they bit all stinking day.  Trout after trout, a few more reds and small flounders, it was one of those crazy days that we all hope we have every once in while, and today was our day.

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And here are the 2 baits that did the job.

Shoedog started with a popping cork, I kept with the Down South Lures watermelon red plastic.  I caught trout consistently all day on it, big ones, small ones, and again a couple of nice flounder.  I am telling you right now if you fish plastics and you do not have some of these you are missing out.  They flat out love them.

I kept fishing it on a 1/16 doing the Texas Two Step double hop, letting it fall on a semi-slack line, and they ate it.  It is a tough plastic, but unlike others it is not that clunky heavy fall, it last a long time without tearing, and falls so nice.  That little smaller paddle seems to have a little different vibration, probably higher pitch, but no matter what it is it works as well as any plastic I have used, period.

But back to the day.  We just caught the snot out of them until around noon when I decided to throw a MirrOdine, and though I caught a couple it wasn’t quite what they were looking for.   They had slacked off on the popping cork so Shoedog made a change.   Shoedog and I had talked for 2 days about throwing a corky style bait, he put one on, and it was awesome.  In one spot he boated our biggest trout, a keeper flounder, and a keeper redfish.  Talk about getting a slam!  That was literally the fastest I have ever seen one boated.

So I started throwing it and 2 of the 4 keeper flounder came on that bait, the other 2 on the Down South.  Neither of us has caught flounder on a corky before so that was a new thing.  I was fishing it a little to fast at first, but Shoedog got the speed down and just kept catching them.  He was jerking it and then letting it fall.  A moderate jerk, then at least a 5 count, and they would eat.  I finally got with the program and started catching a few.

As the afternoon went on we settled in to a pattern, he was throwing the corky and I was alternating between the Down South and the corky.  As soon as we did not catch one for a couple of minutes on the corky I would pick up the plastic to be sure they were there.  And the bite went on and on.  There really wasn’t anywhere we did not catch fish, and the big fish were mixed in with the little fish.  You just had to keep your bait in the water.

The best places were flatter, they warmed faster, and in the middle of the afternoon they were right on the bank, and I mean right on it.  Earlier in the day they were off the first drop in around 3 -6 foot of water, and  then moved up with the sun.  It was real cool how as the water warmed they went right to the bank.  In the middle of the afternoon we got very few bites more than 10 foot from the bank, if that.   And while any nice flat bank had fish on it, it really did not matter today, it was keep casting and keep catching.

I really don’t know what else to say about today, but my hands are killing me, my belly is full of flounder filets, and life is good.  We have caught a lot of trout a time or two in our fishing adventures, but this was close to epic.  No matter where you are, get out the map, find some deep water, and get there quick.  Our massive cold snap sent those fish to deep water, and with the warming trend they are on a serious feed.

I have some new comments and pictures to post, but it is time to sit back in my chair, pop a cold one, and wait on my next grandchild.  My daughter is in labor with a girl, Wren.  Guess she will be Little Wren the rest of her life.  And though I am tired it will be up early and back at it.  Where I will decide in the morning.  Heck, it won’t even take an alarm.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

(And if you have not taken the survey scroll down a couple of posts and do it.  Thanks)

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Lavaca River 11/18/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I love winter fishing.  When the Shoedog and I hit the Lavaca River at 8 it was a nice balmy 29 degrees.  It was flat out cold.  We headed to our first stop, and other than starting the boat once, we kept the trolling motor down and covered the bank from 8 until we quit at 2.

It was slow at first.  You could really tell the effect of our cold front as the water temp was only 48 degrees.  Shoedog was a little worried last night that they wouldn’t bite all that well, and they didn’t, for about an hour.  Then he caught the first good one.

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Shoedog with a nice 19+ incher.

He started with a popping cork and a paddle tail, I started with a watermelon red with a Chartreuse tail Down South Lures plastic on a 1/16 jig head.  And they definitely like it, in fact after I lost my first one on a snag I used the same bait all day.  Folks I have told you about that plastic in the past, it flat works and is the best new plastic I have used.  Try it, if you are around the fish they will eat it.  As we went down the river Shoedog saw this poor Blue Heron.  He was caught on an old limb line and was struggling to get off but it had wrapped around his wing.

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A sickening sight.  All because some scumbag is to damn lazy to pick up his limb line.

We went over with the trolling motor and we spoke softly and reassuring and he did not struggle to bad.  I got a hold of the line and cut it off as close as I could to his wing and he was free.  Just like I have ranted in the past about line tossed in the lake and wrapping props and potentially wildlife I am going to do it again.  What kind of a person is so f’n lazy that they would not pick up there lines when they are done.  There are lines in lots of places on the river, and this can be the result.  So if you take offense at me calling you a scumbag, to bad.  This is the kind of bad behavior that results in more laws and loss of wildlife.  So if you are not going to do it right – don’t do it.

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He did not fight to hard, I think he realized we were there to help.

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Look at his wing, this is what happens when thoughtless sportsmen, and I use the term loosely in this case, have no respect for the creatures of our world.

I hope he is alright.  At first his wing would not go down, but he was able to ease up the bank and started to tuck it back where it belonged.  At least he is in a place there is plenty of food and with some rest and recuperation he should be fine.  It was just a disgusting sight to see that poor thing struggling and I am so glad we were in the right place at the right time.

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One of three we put in boat today.

We just kept working the bank, tossing our bait to the bank and working it off.  The popping cork caught fish but the Down South Lure’s Plastic was the real ticket.  As it warmed up, and the tide continued to fall, they bit right along.  Most of the fish I caught on the plastic were off the second drop into about 5 – 8 foot of water.  Clearly banks that were soft or mud held more fish, obviously that mud was holding some heat and the fish were buried up in it.

We also put 3 bonus flounder in the box.  2 on the watermelon Down South, and one of Shoedog’s popping cork.   The trout are so fat and healthy right now.  I noticed a lot of dead shad at the ramp, and when we cleaned fish some of them were packed with them.  Shoedog gave the rattle trap a go without success, and in spite of my determination to try a couple of other things I stayed with the same plastic.  When you catch fish basically for 5 hours without stopping why look a good thing in the mouth.

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Of the limit we boxed today 4 were like this.  I hoped you could see the Down South better, but there it is.

Like the other day I was just hopping it up off the bottom and letting it fall.  I am so impressed with the way they eat that Down South.  On the 1/16 jig head it falls nice and slow, perfect for the water temperature.  It could have been tough but once I got the pattern down it was a thing of beauty.  There was a period where the tide quit, and they slacked off, and then it started coming in and off they went again.

I am not sure how many we caught, but 40 – 50 is an easy number.  We just boxed the first 10 legal and spent the rest of the day tossing them back, lots of them keepers.  I did lose a big fish of some sort, I think it was a flounder as he was heavy and shaking his head before he pulled off.  They definitely slowed down on the popping cork, but with warmer weather coming it should up the water temp and get them back on it.

So what a great winter trip.  Nothing like sacking a good limit and adding some flounder to the box  It was a ton of clothes and gloves, but it sure was worth it.  So no matter where you are seek out the deep water.  This cold snap has driven those trout to seek shelter in deeper holes, especially with a soft bottom.  Fish slower, use lighter baits and line, and do not get in a hurry.  Let your bait hit the bottom, then double hop it up and let it fall on a slack line.  And like all winter trout fishing, some smack it, others are there when you lift up.  So right before you hop it pull it just an inch, if they are there you will feel it and can set the hook.

We got fished cleaned and they are getting an all expense paid trip to Arkansas.  Shoedog is headed that way this weekend, and not only will he have a fish fry for the folks and family, he will fish a couple of days on Norfork or Bull Shoals with our buddy Clyde.  Clyde has 12 barefoot kids and lives in a shack with about 10 old dogs, so his fish eating herd will love the fish fry.

Tomorrow is still up in the air, but it will be fishing.  I had to quit a little early today, but that will not be the case tomorrow.  All I have to say is those trout, where ever they live, better look out.  We haven’t decided where next, but with the trout fishing this good they are definitely on the menu.  So keep stopping in, I will just suck it up and keep fishing.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Scoll Down and Take the Survey Please!

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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It is just flat out cold!

Fish Catching Travel

Yesterday was cloudy and not to bad, and then last night here it came again.  The wind started howling at over 25 mph and it dropped about 15 degrees in 15 minutes.  Shoedog had planned to come yesterday but with the forecast he put it off until today.

That turned out to be a great choice.  There are a few days during the year that are just not right for fishing, and today is that day.  It is clear and sunny, the wind is still 20 mph straight out of the north with a wind advisory, and the temperature is 36 degrees.  According to our local weather guru this is the coldest stretch for November in the last 30 years.  So it is a sign of things to come?  We will just have to wait and see.

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On another note I got this from my buddy Clyde up in Arkansas.

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Yummmmm.  Nothing like great eats on the ground.

Clyde has been hard after them and has shot his share this fall.  Good job.  And speaking of venison, when Shoedog gets here this evening he will be bringing some loin, summer sausage, and steaks.  I love to eat them, to bad the fishing comes first this time of year.

And sorry Clyde, don’t mean to steal your thunder but look at this thing!

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What a buck!  A mature king of the herd!

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Congratulation Tanner!  Going to be hard to top that one.  What a b.eautiful typical.

I got this from Terry, one of Shoedog’s old fishing buddies.   His son Tanner put this on the ground in Nebraska.  Look at the mass.  I hate winter, but this is what they grow up there.  Congratulations Tanner, I assume that one will make the wall.

And Terry sent this along.  It was taken with his camera a year ago.  Looks like the same buck to me.  Living proof that if they get by the first couple of years, and have the right genetics, the picture above is the result.

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He had the size, but just not the mass.

So the Nebraska boys are having a great season.  In fact all my buddies are killing deer.  Thanks for sharing this monster Terry.  It is a dream buck and I know you are proud of your son.  Looks like you taught him well.  But he has thrown down the gauntlet, you gonna let him school you like that?

And here is another to the deer stuff.  If you have small children in the house better cover their eyes.

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A typical teenager.

Shoedog had this picture on his game camera.  The cycle of life goes on.  This little guy has a clue, but it just ain’t happening big boy.

But here is a couple of more shots from his camera.  The little guy above needs a few lessons from this guy.  All I have to say is look out little girl, this guy means business!

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Here I come baby.

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She looks at him lovingly.

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What is next?  A drink and a cigarette?

Notice the ground blind?  Do you think Shoedog has his stand in the right spot or what?

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Please take the Survey in the Post Below.

I am going to run the survey for a few more days so go to the post below and take it.  The numbers are bearing out what I thought.  Most of us make our lure buying decisions based on what we read online.  And by far fishing websites are the most common resource.  Be it blogs, online forums, or websites, the internet influences our purchases.

Early results are not really a surprise to me. I know this is a small sample, which is why I will run the poll for a lot longer.   This is not an attempt to get some ground breaking statistical sample, it is just to find out what you fish with and how you make your decisions on what to buy.  But one thing is clear, you all are primarily lure fisherman who make your tackle buying decision based on what you read online.

I inherently knew that when I started this thing, and it has been the primary motivator in my decision to tell you exactly what I am catching them on.  That goes along with my philosophy that fishing knowledge is to be shared, and helping other people catch more fish is a good thing.

Now what I am about to say is not bashing guides, let me make that clear.  I guided for 20 years, been there, done that.  But lets be real here, when is the last time you were at the cleaning table and a guide with a cooler full stopped and said hey, let me tell you where I caught them and show you what I caught them on?  If that has actually happened to you drop me line, I would love to hear about it.  Their livelihood depends on catching fish and they would have a tough time if they told everyone where and how.  Heck their spots would be covered up the next day with folks all tossing the same bait.

I began thinking about this when reading a coastal fishing magazine and I noticed that some of the guides made general references to the baits they would use at that time of year.  So I thought what the heck, lets go to their website and see who their sponsors are.  Of course, and rightly so, they were pluggin their sponsors.   One had written a lengthy article and made 47 references to his sponsors.  But one thing I found across the board, not one mention of any specific lure that was not made by their sponsor.

Now do not get me wrong, I would love to have a couple of sponsors, and I do appreciate Strike King providing me a few promo baits.  But that has never affected what I tell you about the baits we are using.  The Redfish Magic is a perfect example, I love that thing, it catches redfish, and whether they gave me a train car full, or none, it would have nothing to do with how much I use it or write about it.  Nor would I catch a ton of fish on a Thing o Mabob and not tell you no matter who makes it.

So that is the last of my high horse rambling.  As I get older I more and more resemble Tred Barta, which may be a good or bad thing.  Sometimes I get on my high horse and just can’t fall off.  I am just passionate about spreading fishing knowledge and we all benefit from sharing our love of the sport.

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But thinking about guiding brought back a few memories.  Guiding is a tough way to make a living.  No 401k, no health insurance, and if you are not fishing you are not making any money.  Over the years I made some great friends, and endured some terrible days.

The next few stories will not include names to protect the guilty.  One of my favorite stories is the couple of guys I fished with over the coarse of 2 1/2 days.  I cleaned 93 fish and they promptly told me they would be back when the fishing was better.

Another guy called me to set up a November date when it was guaranteed to be cold in Arkansas.  I said be sure and bring heavy clothes and was told I am from up north and know about cold weather.  Of course they were underdressed, it never got about freezing and though the fishing was good, they could only take it for a couple of hours.  And they complained about everything from the minute they got in the boat until I finally dropped them off at the dock.

And more times than I can count customers drank to much, complained all day because they could not catch them, or spent the day telling me how and where to fish.  They lost my baits, broke stuff, and treated my boats like they were something to trash.  And very few ever offered to pay for any of it.

I had a customer who caught a 30lb plus striper, a real big one at the time, and not only did I get no tip, but not even a thank you.  And speaking of tipping a guide, it is a subject that comes up on various forums at times.  I always felt that a tip was not required, but is earned.  I have been tipped an embarrassing amount when it was a tough day, and nothing on a great day.  When I priced my day it was based on what I had to have to keep going.  Tipping was great when it happened, but when you hire a guide you should not feel obligated.  And it is extremely presumptive on any guide’s part to feel so entitled that you become the bad guy for not tipping them.

But with the bad came the good.  Making friends who I guided for years, having someone catch the biggest fish of their life,  or those days that we all dream about where they were jumping in the boat.  Getting invited to supper, sending me Christmas cards, and referring others to fish with me.  The good folks were many, the rear ends few, and as a rule guiding was so rewarding.

It was tough, getting up at 6 to get ready, fishing all day, cleaning fish, home late, supper and bed.  Then up and doing it all over again.  I guided 28 out of 30 days one April, and while the money was good, it was tough.  Guiding is more than a profession, or a way to be a big shot, it is a way of life.  It was never driven home to me more than when I met a boat captain in Puerto Rico when I was deciding if I wanted to Marlin fish.  When he told me he worked hard for 30 years to buy his boat so he could guide I signed on immediately.  I knew he was the kind of guide who had the correct motivation and it was born out the next day when we boated 2 Marlin.  A good guide has the passion to not only put you on fish, but to teach you as well.

And I will always remember what Carmine, who owned a restaurant in POC years ago told me:  “There are so many guides here they have to wear badges so they don’t guide each other.”  Sorry if you are a guide, I couldn’t resist.

That is plenty for today.  I have a couple of things to take care of before the Shoedog gets here, and then it will be some serious fishing.  Sacking some trout is the first order of business, and from then who knows.  But no matter what it will be three days of hard core fishing.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

 

 

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Tell Us What You Think!

Fish Catching Travel

Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s trout report.  This time of year is my favorite for sheer numbers of fish.  One thing I will be working on this winter is trying to learn to catch those bigger trout.  I have a lot to learn but am looking forward to expanding my knowledge and hopefully finally breaking that elusive 30″ mark

But today is something a little different.  Over the next couple of months I will be posting the occasional survey. It will help me understand who you are and what you do when you are on the water. So tell me about how you fish, and how you make decisions when you go to the tackle store. After an interesting comment from a lure manufacturer I wanted to see what information you rely on when spending your hard earned fishing dollars. There are no right or wrong answers and as usual fishcatchingtravel.com does not use any of your personal information ever without your prior approval. So none of that sleezy tracking things on your response, I hate that.



I appreciate everyone who took the time to fill in these surveys. It will help me in many ways as fishcatchingtravel.com grows. As with all things, change is inevitable, and I want to make sure when changes happen they address those of you who have been my loyal readers.

Our weather is going to be less than good for the next few days, who knows, the way it has gone this last week it could be an ugly winter. You could sure see the ducks and geese riding that front the other day. With the weather forecast the duck and geese hunters should really be in for some great hunting.

So the rest of the day will be a spooling line, fixing a couple of rods, organizing boat and tackle, and just generally getting prepared for the next few days when the Shoedog and I get after it. So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lavaca River 11/14/14.

Fish Catching Travel

After 3 days of really cold weather I could not stand it any more so it was time to hit the water.  As I have been telling you this cold weather will drive those trout to deeper holes, the intercoastal, and rivers along the Texas coast, no matter where you are.  Just a couple of minutes of thought and preparation can put you on the good trout fishing right now.  So get out the map of your local area, really study it, and then hit those type of places.  You  just might find them stacked in there.

It was cold when I put the boat in the river, a balmy 38 degress..  So I bundled up with plenty of clothes and coffee and headed down river to a favorite stretch of bank where I have caught them the last few years.  It took all of 5 minutes to put the first good keeper over the side.006

So it is going to be one of those days huh?

Over the next all of 20 minutes I caught a nice limit.  It was just plain good.  First was a 1/16th jig head with a 4″ Chicken on a Chain paddle tail.  They were absolutely eating it.  It was the Texas Two Step method of hopping it up off the bottom with a double jerk and letting it fall.  About half of them smacked the crap out of it, often making the line jump like it was hit with an electrical charge.  The rest were there when I picked up.  I kept catching them, I was not keeping fish today so it was just a catch and release day.

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You can just see the chartreuse paddle tail sticking out of his mouth.

As this was my first trip there this fall, and they were biting to beat the band, it was time to do a little experimenting.  At the ramp there were dead shad everywhere.  The river must be full of them right now so it was time to throw a couple of different baits.  First up was a Corky, which got me nothing, not even a touch.  So I switched to a Catch 2000 in a shad pattern, but it fared no better.  As I had the skiff with no temp gauge on it I was unsure of the water temperature, but it looks like the water is still to warm for slow baits.

So out came the old trusty popping cork.  I don’t throw it like I used to, and today reminded me it has it’s place in trout fishing.   Today was the day and from then on it was truly game on.

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They were flat out eating that Rage Shrimp.

A Rage Shrimp in white with a chartreuse tail on a 1/16th jig head, 20 inches below the cork, was the ticket.  From that point I just kept going down the river tossing it to the bank.  Unlike a lot of days with the popping cork, today the better fish were having it.  It was a matter of popping it real hard, then letting it sit for a count of 5, then popping it again.  Most of them came about 5 feet off the bank and I caught them right along.

About half were keeper size and up, half smaller.  Most were jerking it under but a couple of the better fish would just touch it, and then pull it under.  I really believe the juice that comes with each pack of the Rage Shrimp was the answer.  I have no clue how it tastes, but they sure liked it.  And I do want to remind you that trout are a pretty delicate fish, so be sure you get the hooks out with the least amount of trauma you can.

So about 11 I called it a morning.  At least 20 plus came over the side easy.  It was just a good day.  With our cold fronts this type of fishing will only get better for the next month or two.   I did not have any crankbaits or jerkbaits, but they might work like a charm right now, as would a spoon.  And for those of you lazy fishermen, trolling with plastics, rattletraps, of spoons will probably get you your share.

As usual I am not sure what or where is next, but this morning got my blood going.  The Shoedog is also headed this way and there are a couple of more places that I can not wait to try.  So it will be some serious trout fishing this next week, and Costa Rica is right around the corner.  Visions of sailfish, marlin, and mahi mahi are dancing in my head.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 11/12/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Wow!  That is all I have to say about our weather.  One thing that happens here in South Texas that is a little different from my old stomping grounds is the fantastic changes that come from what is known here as a Norther.

I got to the lake with high hopes of fishing on the front.  It was a beautiful 67 degrees, cloudy with a few sprinkles.  At exactly 10:00 you could hear it coming.  In about 2 minutes the wind started howling and the temp dropped 15 degrees.  Real wonderful!

I was really anticipating fishing before the front.  It started off slow, at least it felt like it.  The plan was to work on fishing the white swim jig with a paddle tail.  With the bass feeding on shad big time right now it seemed a logical choice.

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This guy came on the first bank.  It wasn’t as dark as it looks, just real cloudy and right at daylight.

The wind was not blowing at all when I got out.  So it was off to those mid depth banks with grass in 3 – 6 foot of water.  It was just one here and one there.  While I caught a couple of fish on spinnerbait and a couple on topwater I kept working that swim jig.

Lately it has become somewhat of an addiction as I learn the best way to get them to eat it.  To generate the most bites you need to reel it so that it just tips the grass.  And every time it tics the grass speed it up just a little and they will eat.  One thing about the swim jig, you have to concentrate.  Occasionally they will smack it, but usually it is nothing more than a light tic.

Other times they just start swimming with it, and you have to be a line watcher.  Every once in a while they actually swim with it all the way to the boat, or move it sideways with little resistance.  I think the cat and mouse game of feeling them is what makes it such a cool way to catch fish.

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Of the dozen or so this morning this was the size run.

One thing that surprised me was it remained calm until the front came.  It felt like I was not really catching them but when I got number 10 I looked at the time and it was only 9, so it was going pretty good.  That is until it felt like I had some grass on my line and it dawned on me one was swimming with it to the boat.  I set the hook, broke my line, and was so unhappy to have a big fish break the surface and try to throw that swim jig.  That is about the fourth one I have broke off the last week or so, operator error, and I am going to make some change to remedy that.  Maybe a light braid and a 20lb fluro leader will clear that up.

Then it came, and I mean it was roaring.  The lake started white capping in an instant, and the fish quit me like someone threw the switch.  Of course I fished another hour without a bite.  It reminded me of the old tournament days in the Arkansas winter where they were never cancelled no matter what.  After a while it was what are you doing out here, and I headed to the house.

One last note on Coleto, not only has there been some schooling at the out flow on the Coleto arm, there are fish being caught at both out flows.  So if it stays cool, and it sure looks like it is going to, add that to your list next time you go.  Fishing that way has never been my thing, but with winter upon us, it is a way to catch them at times when nothing else it happening.

You could sure tell the front was coming with the amount of geese that were flying over as they rode it down.  And the ducks were flying all morning at the lake.  And I am not sure if the following picture had anything to do with the front.

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This is the biggest bunch of pelicans I have seen at the lake in a while.  First time I saw something like that in Arkansas I was astounded.  Not to many pelicans up there.

Our weather report is absolute crap.  It is blowing 25 and is 46 degrees, and that may actually be the high tomorrow as the high north wind continues.  Now I used to be that mad at them, and in the Arkansas winter it was either fish or stay home for 3 months.  Here fortunately it will break sooner or later, and no matter what the weather I will only stay in the house for so long.  So next it will be the Lavaca River, by Friday at the latest.  This is the cold snap that will drive those trout into rivers and deep holes near you.

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Shoedog has bucks running all over him on his hunting grounds.  He is still in search of Mister Big, but he sent me a couple of pictures from his game cam.  With this front those deer are charging around in the day time.  With visions of hot chicks on their mind this is the one time they throw caution to the wind, not in their best interest.

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He isn’t sure if this is the same buck, but he isn’t Mr. Big.

Shoedog is on the hunt for the big one and is putting in the time.  It won’t be long and the rut will be in full swing and Mr. Big will make the fatal mistake.  Hopefully he can lay down the gun long enough to make it down here next week.  We have some trout to whack.

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As the traffic here at fishcatchingtravel.com continues to grow at a rapid rate I still get lots of questions on how to do a blog, spam, coding, and a host of others.  I am not going to answer them.  If you have truly read the blog there is a how to on running a blog.  So if you are asking most of these questions you have not read lots of my blog.  The answer to those questions is here, so try reading it.  And one last word, I really do not have a clue as to the technical side, I simply write, hit enter, and there you are.

The rest of you with fishing questions or comments keep them coming.  Send me stuff, I read it all.  I love getting pictures, stories, and comments.  This blog was started with you in mind, that is why I do it, and any participation is appreciated.

Thanks Booyah, they replaced the spinnerbaits that broke, that is how to run a tackle company.  I have appreciated the help from Strike King, I love their baits, and it helps defray the cost.  The site now is finally reaching the kinds of numbers that justify some advertising.  But don’t worry, if I add any it will only be a couple , and it will only be tackle.  No Viagra, lonely Russian women, or other such nonsense.  We here at fishcatchingtravel. com are all about the fishing, and nothing but the fishing.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Odds and Ends

Fish Catching Travel

It is hell getting old.  Here it is 4 am, I am already awake an hour before I intended to get up.  Sometimes I feel like a kid trapped in an old man’s body.  After hundreds of trips to the lake I still get excited and wake up way to dang early.  But I guess that is what fishing means to me, everyday is a blessing and I don’t want to waste a minute of it.

The other part of that is making stupid mistakes like I did with the last post on POC.  Somehow I mixed up Pete and John when I labeled the pictures.  My sincerest apologies to both of you.  They are a couple of great guys and I really like fishing with them.  So don’t hold it against me boys, stuff just happens.  I look forward to fishing with you any time you are down.

The duck hunting is still somewhat spotty from the reports I have read and am getting from folks.  Chris sent me this picture of his lovely wife and a few ducks.

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Half teal and half big ducks.

He reports they are seeing a few more big ducks at his lease, but they are still not showing in big numbers in spite of increasing populations at the bay.  But with this big front we have coming there should be huge flights riding the front so it should get dramatically better in the near future.

I did want to show you a picture I forgot to post the other day.  Tilapia are not known for hitting lures regularly, but I do catch a few on occasion.

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What was he thinking?

Most I have caught have basically been foul hooked, this one knocked the crap out of the crankbait when I ripped it out of the grass.  Remember to not return them to the water alive.  This one is gator bait.

Speaking of Coleto, I saw a real nice string of 20 crappie the other day.  They were caught on minnows out of standing timber.  The guys reported to me that they had been catching them deep, but they had moved up to the 10 foot range.  So if you want some tasty fare now is the time.  The crappie fishing will stay good for the rest of the winter.  They told me they just kept moving around, catching a few here and there.

I also got a second report of schooling activity on Coleto.  They were in the big out flow cove in the Coleto arm and were getting after it.  Apparently they largemouth were mixed in with the white bass, and even some catfish.  I have heard it happened in both the morning and afternoon.  It can be a hit or miss thing, but it sure is fun when it happens.

Also, thanks for the various shout outs I have been getting from you Texas folks.  It is appreciated.  And speaking of that, fishcatchingtravel.com continues it growth.  November has been fantastic.  We have already had more visitors this month than any month last year, and it is only the 11th.  I had hope to top 125,000 this year, but we are way past that.  So thanks, it is humbling.

That is it for this morning.  Time to head to the lake and lay the smack down on them.  The big front is on the way and my hopes are high.  Then it will be off to the Lavaca River for my first trip there this fall.  The reports are the smaller trout are in there, and this cold front should bring the bigger fish.  They trout should start to gang up in the deeper places with this front no matter where you are.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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POC 11/9/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I met Pete, John, and Todd at the house they were renting in POC at 6:00 in the morning.  I was excited to fish with them as it is always a good time.  Today can only be described as a real grinder of a day, and like so many others in my fishing life it was a matter of sticking with it, understanding what was happening, and finally putting it together at the end of the day.  I love that side of it.

When we put in at Charlie’s the wind was blowing around 20 mph out of the north, it was cool and drizzling.  Todd wanted to make our first stop at the Army Hole, a good spot to fish as our winter progresses.  The wind was blowing in there and we made a short shore wade and did a small amount of drifting.  Pete put a nice keeper trout in the boat, and we might have had a couple of more that wouldn’t keep, so it was off to the Big Pocket area for a bigger wade.

I am not sure but I don’t think we put a keeper in the boat there, but boy did we whack the lizard fish.  I had a first, a lizard on a topwater.  We waded a drain out of the marsh but just did not find a concentration so it was time for another move.

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Todd strike again.  His first trip to POC was with me and he has sure learned and improved a lot since then.  He, and the rest of the Austin guys are some of the more persistent fishermen I am lucky enough to fish with.

We then headed to Pringle for a little drifting.  With the rollers getting bigger as we headed down the bay his Shallow Sport made the ride a heck of a lot nicer than my smaller flats style boat.  We set up in the back end and let the wind carry us along.  I kept alternating with plastics and topwater though I knew topwater was going to be tough.  When we smoked them last week on topwater the water temperature was 80, our rain combined with the cold front had dropped the temp as low as 63 in some places.  That precipitous drop in water temperature is not the best for topwater.

It was another one or two fish on a couple of drifts, but we did put another keeper in the box.  Bascially we all caught a fish or two as we kept moving, but just were not finding any real concentration.  So time to move again.  We cruised down the island trying to determine what was next.  I told you yesterday I would let you know where they caught that limit the night before, it was in the barge canal, you know the spot I am talking about.

After some discussion we reached a concensus, they had a limit each of trout already and since they had another full day to fish we opted out of the long run and so we kept grinding it out.  So off to the First Chain to see how it looked.  It was really off colored there as the wind was pounding right on the reef.  Of course the 6 oyster boats tearing up the bottom didn’t help matters.  We headed through Steamboat Pass and found some nice clear water behind the islands so we stopped and fished.  There was bait there, Todd put the keeper above in the box, and again we caught just one or two small ones.  I finally suggested we head into Shoalwater for some drifting and our persistence paid off.

For the next couple of hours we caught a bunch of trout drifting, and Pete caught a fish that was flat out cool.

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Pete with a Sea Robin.  First one I have seen caught.

As this was the first one I have ever seen I had to do some research.  Of course I went to the data base which is recognized as the definitive medical, scientific, and legal research site, Wikipedia.  Getting it’s name from it’s wings, it is found to depths of over 600 feet.  If you notice in the picture above there are 6 spiny legs, 3 below each wing,  As bottom feeders it was thought that they walked on them, but they are used to stir up the bottom.  They basically have a solid skull and are edible but  I am not sure if I have been that hungry.  So there is your great outdoors lesson for today so back to the fishing.

We made multiple drifts, driving in until we hit a foot of water and drifting out until it was around 4 feet deep.  The guys were fishing popping cork and gulp, I stuck with the plastics.  Now I had not had that great of day but once I got on them I put my share in the box.

As I slowly evolve into a better trout fisherman (I have a ways to go.) I am constantly learning my lesson on depth and trout.  For an old fisherman who fished highland lakes it was not uncommon to jig stripers from 60 feet, or catch bass and crappie in the 30 feet.  It has taken a while to sink into this old head that when speaking of trout a 1/2 foot depth change can make all the difference.  And today it did.

After a couple of drifts we figured out they were basically in the 2 – 2 1/2 foot range, and from that point on we caught them consistently.  Shoalwater is one of my favorite winter holes.  A little deeper water combined with a soft bottom with grass and potholes give the fish the security they need from cold fronts.  There were lots of small ones in there, and we released several right on the line.  But the better keepers were here and there, and the Gulp was getting them.  As we drifted we would catch several at a time, but no matter how we set up our drift to cover water, the 2 – 2 1/2 depth was the ticket.

We fished until dark, and when we quit we had 13 keepers in the box.  As the weather sucked it was a good result.  It was truly a grinder day, one of those days that keeps me fishing on so many others when I should hit the house.  But the more I fish the luckier I get.  Staying with it, and simply keeping the bait in the water, can be the answer on those cold front days no matter what fish you are pursuing.

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13 more trout bite the dust.  If they only knew how cool it was to get to move to Austin.

After we cleaned fish and headed back to the house it was time for some of Todd’s cooking.  I am so sorry I did not take a picture of supper, but we all sucked it down so fast we did not think about taking a picture of what is one of the better meals I have eaten in a long time.  What was so fantastic?  Shrimp and grits!  Rich, creamy, delicious, and so lovely to look at.  A good adult beverage finished off a great day.  That Todd is just an all around rennascience man.  I got the reciepe from him so you boys headed to Canada with us next year get your mouth watering right now, cause it is coming your way.

They have one more day to fish, Saturday, and their plan is to do some serious damage to the redfish.  Needing only 2 more trout for their possession limit that will be easy enough to fix.  I hope to hear from them on how their last day goes, and though we did not wade as much as they usually do, they will be in the water all day.

They are a really good bunch of guys to not only fish with, but to just spend time with.  Dedicated fishermen, kayakers, and outdoorsmen, we share a common interest in love of the great outdoors.  They have set their big annual December trip when I will be in Costa Rica and I am disappointed that I will miss it.  With 18 of them coming this time, the group continues to grow, it should be a fish catching, food eating, and adult beverage consuming good time.  So thanks guys for including me in your adventures.  Sharing the outdoors with intelligent and knowledgeable good guys is what it is all about.

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From Jeramie’s report yesterday on his trip to Coleto you know he caught a good one.  I wanted to post the picture he sent.  This is the  kind of fish that keeps me going back to Coleto.

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Jeramie whacks his share of these on Coleto.

Folks I keep telling you, cloud cover and a drizzle and it is time to hit the lake.  I am already looking at the weather and Tuesday looks like it will be warm and raining, heck I probably will have a tough time sleeping Monday night.  So maybe I will see you all on Coleto Tuesday.  Great report and nice bass Jeramie.

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On the hunting front the Shoedog is in pursuit of a real heavy horned buck, hope he ends up on the ground soon.  And Chris, hope you are whacking the ducks.  There should be more big ducks in your spread as we saw clouds of redheads on the bay this weekend.  So much good stuff out there and so little time.  What is a guy to do?

With so many good options on the water this coming week I am not sure where to start.  But this time of year the weather dictates where and when.  It looks like a chance of rain on Tuesday and then clouds and warm the rest of the week.  I will be real interested to see if the lake has come up, the couple of inches of rain we had last week should help matters.  Time to put on some new line, reorganize all the fishing crap, and watch a little football.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Odds and Ends 11/8/14.

Fish Catching Travel

First off to my buddy Clyde in Arkansas – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  You don’t look a day over 60.  Hope you had a big time and good luck at deer camp.  And if you make it to the lake send me some pics.

And I did hear from Clyde and he wanted to add to the list of crazy things that happened.  We have fished together since the 60′s in high school and have had way to many strange things happen to us to remember them all.

“You forgot your fillet knife fell in and we had to clean fish and make our utensils out of wood with a pocket knife ; and you knocked a hole in the crankcase of your car on the way home!  a lot of memories on that trip!”

That was the same trip when the moose fed right next to us and the hot chicks stopped at our camp and exercising good sense, did not stay.   The filet knife was in my back pocket as I sat on the nose of the  canoe and it fell in while the moose was feeding.  We also found a mesh sack and made a minnow trap on that trip, it worked great.

We also saw some Native Americans harvesting wild rice.  They had 2 sticks the size of a billy club and as they moved the canoe through the rice they would pull the heads over the side of the canoe with one stick, and then smack the top with the other, knocking the rice in the canoe.  When they got back to the ramp they put the rice in a burlap bag, and then dunked it to add as much water weight as possible.  Of course when they got to the buyer he subtracted a certain amount of weight.  Made it a wash.  But it was cool to see how it was done, the same way it has been done for centuries.

The Boundary Waters Canoe area in Northern Minnesota is one of the great outdoor places in America and worth the trip.  And speaking of Clyde, I am already pumped about our August trip to Canada.  The thought of trolling for huge muskie at night has me excited.

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I was a proponent of the 5 fish limit for speckled trout on the Texas Coast.  Since I keep very few during the year for me it was simply a desire to catch bigger fish, and that will be coming in the years to come.  But there is another reason some folks love it, it is so much easier to catch your limit.  You know, when people ask how you did you can say nonchalantly, “We limited.”  Here is a nice 3 man limit caught by my buddies from Austin Thursday.  I will let you know where they were caught when they and a couple of other guys leave town in the next day or two.

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 Can you say Austin fish fry?

These were all caught on plastics and it will be interesting to see how this cool rain affects the trout fishing Friday.  Last week Chris and I wore them out on topwater.  The difference was the water temp was around 80 degrees, but this rain will definitely change that.  I wish I could definitively tell you how it will change the fishing, but that will have to wait until I get you a report on Sunday.  But no matter what it will be a hardcore wading trip, always fun with those guys.

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Jeramie Puts the Smack Down on Them!

There is more than one way to skin a cat, and this from Jeramie about his Coleto trip proves exactly that.

“I read your post Wednesday , so I had to go yesterday . I’m glad I did I stoped counting at 50 fish , it was a great trip largest of the day easily goin 7lbs. I got there at 12:00 and left at dark. A crank bait fished in 5-10′ of water was the trick. I did manage a few on spinnerbait, & 1 keeper on buzz bait. I noticed at dark water boiling in the shallows and tied on a rattle trap and managed to round up a mess of white bass all pretty small but fun . Most of my fish were dinks but with numbers like I was catching it was a blast . I’ll keep reading and I’ll keep u posted with my catch. I’ll get a pic up of my fish.  Thanks again and keep up the good fishing.”

Nice job Jeramie!  As I was fishing Thursday I kept thinking about throwing a crankbait, but as you all know I am so into the visual, but it looks like crankbait was clearly the better choice.  So to all of you, if you see me out there stop and say hi.  I am usually in an old 17 foot Carolina Skiff with a 50 Mercury that looks like it has seen it’s better days, or a white Mako LTS with a 90 Opti and a power pole.  It is always nice to meet you all face to face.  I appreciate  you reading my stuff Jeramie and thanks for the report.  I just love it when guys are kind enough to share information we  can all use.

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Next on Coleto, as we move to pre-spawn, will be topwater, though after Jeramie’s report there will be some crankbait fishing for sure.  For an old Arkie like me pre-spawn is a March thing but it starts a heck of a lot earlier in Texas.  On Coleto you have another factor, it is a power plant lake and it just does not cool off like a big reservoir.  As I learned yesterday, they can be caught on topwater, and that will continue to get better over the next 3 months.  The biggest bass of my life, who pulled off at boatside, came during this time period on a topwater.  So next time you get out, give a topwater minnow bait a try.  You might be surprised.

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The Good Old Days

The Shoedog sent me some old pictures he found, and I thought I would share a couple with you.  Brings back lots of memories.

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We put tons of smallmouth in the boat on our trip to Fancis Case in South Dakota.  The last day I quit fishing but the Shoedog did not want to quit, so I ran the trolling motor until he caught our 100th smallmouth for the day.  All were caught buzzing a spinnerbait.  They are beautiful.

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We also caught some nice walleye that trip.  I managed to not only drop Shoedog’s biggest walleye ever back in the lake, but of course it had the scale attached to it.

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A few Illinois pheasants.  We did a lot of pheasant and quail hunting back then.

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Shoedog with some Lake Norfork stripers.  Over the years guiding and fishing hundreds this size came over the side.  They fought like the devil and tasted great.

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The madness that is Boca Grande tarpon fishing.  That is Orlando Wilson in the yellow shirt who had a fishing show back in the 80′s.  Imagine what happens when several of these boats hook up with a 100lber at once, insanity.

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George and Shoedog on their Canada trip many years ago.  Scope out the size of the pike George has.  That is what I am talking about.

We have had a great time chasing fish all over this country the last 40 years.  I often wonder how many fish we would have caught with the knowledge we have now.  But those early days were the foundation for today’s fishing, and what we learned has contributed to our success.  While I love to catch bass, fishing for multiple species makes you a better fisherman.

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So there you have it for today.  We had an interesting day on the gulf at POC yesterday and I will get the report up tomorrow.  It is a busy time here at fishcatchingtravel.com and I am trying to keep up as best as I can.  And as I so often say, send me your reports and pictures, or if you want to write an article drop a comment and I will get back to you.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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