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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Arkansas

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.

john

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dbkP_hVJeI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzwF72B2F2w

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!”

kellerbay

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.

Texana

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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Coleto Creek 3/28/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I had something to do this morning, so it was noon when I hit the water.  I really did not think I would get to fish today, but boy am I glad it worked out.  It would have bee a great day to be on the Gulf, and I can only think the great trout topwater bite is right around the corner.  So I will try to get some things done and maybe take a run at it on Sunday.

I can only describe the bass fishing as great.  For a 6 hour trip I put more bass in the boat than I can remember in a long time.  Only a couple were good ones, and lots were  small, but at least 15 – 20 of the ones over the side measured.  And what made it extra special, is they hit basically anything you threw at them.

Up lake was on tap first, and so I went above the bridge and around the bend and started with a topwater.  Catching them right along, I mixed in a spinnerbait whenever there was a little chop.  And though it did end up putting 5 or 6 in the boat, topwater was definitely working.  With only 1 big Bang-O-Lure left it was only a matter of time before it bit the dust.  I stuck a nice one and she took me in a bush, and not only ended up getting away, but broke the bill of my last bait.

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Take a good look at this Bang-O-Lure, today’s teaching moment.

So I have lost my good bait, out comes one I bought on clearance that has been in the box a while.  I toss it out there, and it no way works as good as the foil wrapped silver Bang-O-Lure. I twitch it and it is heavy and slow, but still floats.  So cussing it I try another cast, and dang if I don’t catch one.  Then another, and another, and for about 2 hours I am catching one every couple of minutes.  Just tossing it to the grass edges and sweeping it about a foot forward and under about 6 inches, then letting it float up.  The fish came from right on the bank to right beside the boat, you just could not give up on it.  It was just a matter of sweeping it under and letting it float up.  It was nice to use that bright Chartreuse bait, you could see it move sideways when they hit it under the surface. I listened to the fish, and boy was it a good bite, and while plenty measured, I was wanting to catch some better fish.

005

The mighty Strike King Swimming Jig.

For the rest of the afternoon it was a steady to fast retrieve with the Swim Jig, in bl/bl with a green Rage Craw, and the size of the fish improved.  I wish I could tell you how many fell for it, at least a dozen, but it was right in the middle of the day, around shallow grass.  As far as numbers go, the time is now.  It will be interesting to see who boats the kicker fish in the big tournament next weekend.  But no matter what there should be a ton of limits.

009

Nothing special, just a good keeper.

Around 6 I was hot, way overdressed, and ready to hit the road.  So on the way back I hit a main lake bank near the dam with grass on it and managed to catch 2 more, with the kicker for the day.

011

A good way to finish the day.

It is fun to occasionally have to work your way thru lots of little ones.  I was fairly sure a real big one would appear, but it just did not happen.  If I had stayed to dark that chance would have improved greatly.  Generally it did not matter where, as long as it was shallow and had grass.  It is a real easy pattern right now, so if you want to catch a bass or two give Coleto a try.  So no great big bunch of big girls, but it sure was fun.

As a side note there are some pretty nice crappie being caught near the bridge.  There have been folks fishing the 3 middle piers and they all seem to have fish on them.  Add to that the Tilapia sqawning and the catfish starting to bite, the lake can only be described as really good right now, no matter what you like to catch.

Oil

Shoedog and I were actually fishing at Grand Isle in Louisiana when the oil came ashore during the big spill and they closed the area to fishing.  It was ugly, dirty, and stuck to the boat immediately.  We walked the beach the evening before it closed and it was disgusting.  Now I am not one of those stop the drilling kind a guy, we rely on oil and drilling whether on land or sea, but the spill was an ugly deal.  While it took way to long to contain it, they have learned a lot.

So I was not happy to hear the oil from the Houston Ship Channel had made it all the way down to our area, and was coming ashore on Matagorda Island.  And from what the news says, it was trying to make it’s way in the jetties.  Of course the Coasties, along with other mitigation crews, are on it, and it should not be a real disaster.  But it is hard to not be worried.

I guess my bigger concern is how it got out of the Houston channel, and made it’s way all the way down here.  Since it was characterized as a ”medium” spill, it made me wonder how it got all the way down here.  My only thought on the matter is that we need to be able to respond faster and contain any spill better.  And I do believe that the companies involved should bear all the costs of mitigation and not the taxpayers.

Texas A&M Corpus Ducks Unlimited Banquet

It was a real pleasure to get to fish with Jonathon Voilte on Coleto last month.  A college student, and aspiring tournament fisherman, he was a good guy to spend the day with.  He is a committed duck hunter besides the fishing.  They are having their banquet on April 3 at the Bluff’s Landing in Corpus this coming weekend.  I appreciate the invite, but somehow I feel I might get in trouble if I attend instead of spending the weekend with my wife on our 25th anniversary.  Dang her anyway.  So hope you all have a great time, and if you are in the Corpus area attend.  The price is right and it is for a good cause – more ducks.

http://www.ducks.org/texas/events/33551/texas-am-university-corpus-christi-dinner

Trolling Motors

Back in the early 70′s my first trolling motor was a Motor Guide.  Back then they were know for rattling and banging due to their mounting system.  I switched to Minn Kota a few years after that and have used them ever since.  But after buying their 3X, which is discontinued for obvious reasons, I decided to give Motor Guide another try on the skiff.

Way back I told you I would let you know what I thought of it compared to the Minn Kota on the other boat.  Let me put it plain and simple – It may be the biggest piece of crap I have ever owned.  It still rattles and shakes as you use it compared to the Minn Kota.  They say it has 55lbs of thrust, but there is no way it was as powerful as the last 55lb thrust Minn Kota I had on the boat.

When the reverse quit working, and we had to open it up on the water, we found that when they put in the 2 back screws that hold the cover on they managed to break the plastic the screws go into, something you would never find until you took it apart.  And of course that meant the handle was lose in the head.  And once we opened it there is a magnet on the handle which controls forward and reverse, and it is f’n glued on to the handle.  Of course it fell off.  Then the clip that holds the handle in position came lose, and the handle slips and slides in the head making it hard to control forward and reverse.  And the final straw, the handle fell off and in the lake when I hit a big wave.  Are you kidding me!  So there is my .02 worth.  If you are thinking of buying a new trolling motor think twice about a Motor Guide, you just may get a piece of crap like I was unlucky enough to get.

It is out to the garage to work on the Carolina Skiff.  It is a great thing to have 2 boats, especially with the Mako in the shop for it’s annual checkup.  But as all of you know boats take time and money to keep in good operating condition.  So every once in a while you just have to take the time to go over things from stem to stern and fix all of those little things that have been neglected.  And I have to deal with the trolling motor handle thing.  I know one thing for sure, I will not buy a new handle, so it will be one of those hillbilly engineering things.  It will simply be a matter of using it until I finally toss it in the trash.  No reason to toss good money after bad.

There are a few other reader comments I will add to the next post.  I love getting stuff from you folks.  While I might not get to all of them as fast as I should, I try.  So keep them coming and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Trout to go to 5 fish daily! 3/27/14.

Fish Catching Travel

It is a done deal, at least until it is reviewed in 5 years due to the “Sunset” provision, the bag limit on speckled trout will be reduced to a 5 fish daily from an area near Sargent TX to the Mexican border.  Additionally the flounder regs were changed to extend the reduced  bag limit into the first 2 weeks of December.  The new limits will take effect September 1, 2014.

There are additional changes for both freshwater and salt that bear reviewing depending on where you live and fish.  So stop in at the following link for the results of today’s Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission meeting.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/newsmedia/releases/?req=20140327b

I for one am happy, and I think that before it is over most fisherman will approve of the changes.  The commission is convinced that we will have more and bigger trout, and I am all for that.  So now that it is a done deal it is time to let the regulations work.  If we do not see the results that were expected the sunset provision will guarantee a review of the results.  So off we go, but no matter what it sure will easier to “limit”.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 3/26/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Tuesday

After getting a couple of things done on Tuesday the sky looked like it would clear and the sun was peeking out.  My buddy Jeffish and I had chatted about hitting the lake to see if the Tilapia were bedding, and maybe shooting a couple with the bow.  The last few times I fished the lake I was seeing them, so the time looked right.  And then right on schedule he sent me a text and we headed to the lake to see if they were on the beds, and they were.

The wind was up, and the water in some areas had a little color to it, making it a little harder to see them in the first couple of coves we checked.  But while it was tough to get on them, there were spawning Tilapia in the back end of every place we checked.  Jeffish was doing the shooting and I was keeping us in position.  He missed a few before he finally got one stuck.

002

A nice big one.

The one above came out of a shallow flat cove with  very little grass in it.  There were beds everywhere, and about half of them had a fish in it.  Jeffish’s shooting left a little something to be desired, but he hadn’t shot his bow in a couple of years.  I actually shot a few times, and I was even worse.  We had lots of chances, and as soon as this weather settles down it will be back at them.  They really taste great, a well full of this size and you have some tasty fillets.

On thing I did learn from Aaron a couple of years ago when he whacked a few was as you ease in the grass and see one, just wait and watch where he went under cover, there is a chance he will stick his head back out.  They seem to be easier to kill in the grass than in the bare banks with lots of beds.  6 of 1 and a 1/2 dozen of the other.  Hopefully we will get a day to really give it a go.  So for all you bow fishermen, the time is now and it will be over soon, so head to the lake.

We did fish 2 banks, and put 4 in the boat, nothing worth showing you.  Mine came on spinnerbait, Jeffish’s on the Strike King Swim Jig.  We called it day having learned what we wanted to know.

Wednesday

Today’s forecast was for rain, the kind of day you have heard me preach about on Coleto.  When you get a warm day, with drizzle in the spring, it is time to whack them.  So with that plan in mind I hit the lake about 10.  One thing that is nice right now is that it is light until well past 7, so there is no big hurry.  I was excited when I got to the lake, though the wind was blowing pretty hard.

I started with a spinnerbait on a deeper windy main lake bank, and got a couple quick buzzing a spinnerbait.

004

The first one of the short trip.  Several this size smacked that spinnerbait.

I put 5 in the boat real quick, but none were the size I was looking for.  When I have preached about spring days like these, it is all about catching them on topwater.  So I rode the first bank until it hit the mouth of a big cove that was somewhat protected from the wind, and out came the Bang-O-Lure.

As soon as I started throwing it, I started catching fish.  After catching several I got the bite that confirms what Coleto can do when conditions are right.

003

Love those cloudy warm days with a light rain.  Just add a Bang-O-Lure and you are in business.

Fishing the topwater minnow is not complicated, but it does require a couple of things to put the better fish in the boat.  A little wind is ok, and do not be afraid to throw it in a little chop.  And when you twitch it on top it is very important to let the fish tell you how they want it.  So when you use it try to be systematic, start out fast twitching it back to the boat, and the slow down a little at a time.  They may want it stopped and sitting, they may want it moved right along, so vary your retrieve and remember how they are wanting it.

The real key to catching the bigger fish is not giving up on it.  When the water is clear like it is right now, those better fish will come out of water deeper than you might think.  The one above came out of 10 foot of water.  While I can not tell you whether they are following it, or just coming up and blasting it, work it most of the way to the boat.

Another thing that will put a few extra fish in the boat you might think are gone is erratic jerking.  If you one boils it, or misses it without getting bit by the hook. just start jerking it fast under the water as erratically as you can.  You will be surprised at how many you will catch that you would otherwise think were gone.  Plus it is really cool to see them roll up and grab it.  2 or 3 ended up in the boat today just that way.  A little interesting note, we have had real success in Florida on nice speckled trout fishing topwater minnows that way.  Why it is not that effective here in Texas I do not know.

Around 12:30 it started raining pretty good, which is ok with me, but then things changed.  I heard the first thunder, then about 5 minutes later I heard more.  So I headed close to the ramp, and it thundered again, louder and closer.  So up with the trolling motor and off to the ramp.  Hoping it would pass I sat there about 5 minutes before it did it again, so on the trailer it went.  So I actually fished about 2 hours, putting an easy dozen plus in the boat.  They were biting everywhere I tried on my short trip, and I sure hated to quit, but lightning and thunder is nothing to take a chance with.  There are times when discretion is the better part of valor.  Live to fish another day, it does not always happen to the “other guy.”

The fishing is good right now.  It is one of those times when you can fish almost any bait you like, or are good at.  We still have fish going to the beds, on the beds, and done.  They can be caught deep, shallow, and somewhere in between.  There are beds all over the whole lake and it was nice to see one full of fry yesterday.  The future of Coleto is bright.

Random Thoughts

Shoedog

The Shoedog has a really small pond in the back yard, and folks I mean really small.  It was almost completely dry 2 years ago before they got out of their drought.  He sent me this while I was finishing this post.

shoe

A good one out of a small place.

His comment: “On a swim jig in the backyard baby!”  You may get tired of me harping on the Strike King Swimming Jig, but folks it works and is a consistent fish catcher in our arsenal.  Thanks for the picture Shoedog.

Trout

Speaking of the future of fishing, tomorrow is a big day for the Gulf.  The TPWD commissioners meet tomorrow to decide whether the majority of the coast will go to the 5 fish limit.  As you know I favor the proposed limit simply because it should result in bigger trout, which is ok by me.  CCA sent an email today alerting members that the decision will be made tomorrow.  CCA is in favor of the new limit and are urging folks to vote.  I have been telling you about your chance to put in your .02 worth.  The time has come, so stay tuned and we will all find out tomorrow.

Falcon Lake

I got this note from Rusty who is a long time bass fisherman and he makes a good point that I failed to consider.

“I can tell you from my 25+ years bass fishing in Mexican lakes, that tilapia gill nets DO catch bass. I have watched many bass being taken out of the nets. Some outfitters have actually paid the Mexican fishing coop’s not to fish certain lakes in order for the bass to thrive. I do not know if it applies to Falcon or not, but nets do not help the bass fisherman. However, keep in mind that during Falcon’s boom years, these nets were still being used on the Mexican side (which in the past, had the better fishing). I personally believe its a gar problem. Just my thoughts, I like Fayette and Coleta Creek anyway.”

Thanks Rusty, you make a great point.  Like I tell you folks all the time, send me your comments and thoughts, it makes for a good discussion on the issues that affect our sport.

Think you had a bad day?

I got this note from a regular reader who keeps in touch.  You all know the saying “stuff happens”?  Well sometimes stuff happens in bunches.  I thought I had a bad trip on Falcon, but this puts it in perspective.  The names have been deleted to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

“WTF – Holy Sheesta – Trying to LOL

Well, we excitedly dashed off to POC Thursday morning early instead of the following Sunday due to weather forecasts.  Arrived in time to get the boat rinsed, in the water; cruise out for a little late afternoon fishing.  Not a bite but not a real serious attempt.  We hit the water Friday morning about 9 am.  I will say now that we traveled nowhere that we haven’t traveled a hundred times.  We decided to go out past the old coast guard station towards the breakers/sand bar.  Birds and bait everywhere but nada.  The tide was really LOW.  Pulled up to leave, both of us NOT paying attention and we drifted up onto the sand bar with the wind blowing us further on it.  Well, poor “?????-O” spent an hour getting us off.  My 100#’s isn’t much help.  From there, we decided to head to Pringle to some drifting.  Well, that’s where Holy Sheesta happened!!   We know that to get past the Cross reef area, the engine needs to be up and on plane.   We’ve gone that way hundreds of times.  We pride ourselves on not exploring into areas that might get us into trouble. BUT NOT THIS TIME!!  Stuck big time.  We were about 100 yards from water that we might have been able to get out.  Well, our boat is paid for and we had had many long discussions about cancelling the boat insurance.  ????? won that discussion and I feel really bad for him!!  This man has taken me everywhere to fish many wonderful places in our 15 years and I’m old enough to never say” I told you so”. Well, $730.00 later we were pulled out.  We went back to the condo to shower and just sit numbly for hours.  Saturday was a new day and we hit Big Bayou, Mitchell’s, Saluria @ Old Coast Guard area and several more areas..  We tried a variety of lures and had a few bites.  We caught numerous Sheepshead at the coast guard station.  In fact, I caught the , biggest one I’ve ever seen.  Most bites came from Popping Cork with live shrimp.  Sunday dawned rainy and north winds and we packed up and went home.   We now have insurance again…………..  My husband is always my favorite fishing partner!”,

Yikes, I hate it when that happens.  It reminds us all to keep the insurance up, get your Sea Tow or Tow Boat USA, and that it can happen to the best of us.  Thanks for sharing, it is all fun and games until something like this happens.  Better luck next trip.

There you have it for today.  Our weather is going to be a little sketchy tomorrow, but who knows, maybe I can get out for a little while anyway.  After a windy month the weather should settle down, letting me get in some serious Gulf time.  I know I keep saying that, the timing has just not done me any favors.  I hope to remedy that in the very near future.  And please keep those comments coming so I can share them with everyone.  Keep stopping in, and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Falcon Lake and Random Thoughts 3/24/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Falcon Lake

I am still somewhat traumatized by our Falcon Lake trip.  Thinking about it still confuses me.  Was it just us?  How have others fared?  Is this just an anomaly in the grander scheme of things?  I do not know but I have heard from 2 folks who had something to say.

Ron sent the following note on his trip last month:  “It sucked.”  I guess that is all that needs to be said about that.  He did not furnish any further information, but his opinion on the fishing is clear enough.  The second person I heard from, Steve, was a lot more specific when he described his last fishing trip to Falcon:

“Sympathize with your Falcon experience. Buddy of mine and I were down there for 3 days about a month ago. Between the two of us we caught a whopping 6 fish!  To make matters worse, we hired a guide for all 3 days at $450/day. That comes out to $225/fish!  Only consolation was one of the fish was about 8.5 lbs.
We thought the issue was all of the cold fronts rolling through were confusing the fish. Unfortunately, maybe it’s something more systemic/significant.
Think I’ll stick with Fayette. Last two half-day trips have resulted in 30+ fish.”

I know that this is only anecdotal information, but right now that is the only thing fisherman intending to visit Falcon have to go on.  But there seems to be a problem with what has been one of the best bass lakes in the history of bass fishing.  Then this morning while reading the March 14th issue of the Lone Star Outdoor News, which by the way I love to read, there were 2 interesting articles in the Game Warden Blotter that I think are somewhat relevant to the current situation on Falcon.

The first concerns the arrest by local Game Wardens of 2 commercial fishermen who entered the US side and started to illegally set out their gill net.  Everyone down there knows Mexican fisherman have been illegally fishing the US side, and any fisherman who has fished Falcon has snagged new or old nets, just as we did this trip.  What is horrifying about this arrest was that the Game Wardens seized 4,620 feet of monofilament gill net!  Are you F’n kidding me!  We are talking about almost a mile of net.

While we were there last trip we had a fisherman tell us that he did not believe that bass would be caught in gill nets and that the netting had nothing to do with the decline of the fishing.  I found that impossible to believe.  And then I read the very next Blotter article which detailed a Warden’s discovery of 3 knucklehead fishermen, and I use the term fisherman with a grain of salt, who were netting on Calaveras.  Besides redfish and catfish what was in the net?  You guessed it, bass.  So I leave it to you to decide where Mexican netting plays into the picture.

Included in the same issue of the Lone Star Outdoor News  was an article detailing the TPWD plan to let the executive director unilaterally close areas to the taking of alligator gar during what might be spawning season.  There are many groups opposed to this, and it seems that it might actually be contrary to good science, specifically on Falcon.  It is beyond my knowledge to fully explain the proposal, or the reasons for the opposition to it.  So pick up a copy and do the reading.  Also, visit the Falcon Lake Tackle website fishing reports and read what he has to say.  If anyone has better first hand knowledge of the situation on Falcon I do not know who would.

So keep informed as it plays out, the future of Falcon Lake bass fishing may be at stake.  My thanks to the Lone Star Outdoor News for the information and keeping us informed.  I will try not to beat this dead horse, but will be watching for further developments.

Some Reader Comments

Joe, who came up from San Antonio to fish the same days I was on Falcon, reported he had a fairly good trip with 20 bass on Wednesday, spinnerbait being his best lure.  He found fish bedding, including a couple in the 6 – 8lb range.  And like us the weather change seemed to have some effect on the bite.  But all in all not a bad trip, wish I had been there.  And Joe, I will send you an email and of course you can mark the map for me!  Thanks, catch you next time.

Adam is coming down next week to fish the Port Lavaca area with his brother.  They will be fishing out of kayaks or a small jon boat and wanted a little help pointing the way to possible redfishing areas.  Adam there are plenty and I will try to get back to you via email in the next couple of days with a few places to start.  There are plenty close to Port Lavaca, and you should have no trouble putting a few in the boat.

So there you have it for today.  I know it is not real fishing reports, but that is about to change.  Hopefully we have had our last little cold front, and it looks like the weather is going to warm up all week.  And the forecast also includes rain, which we need desperately.  So after getting a few things done today it will be fishing the rest of the week.  There have been some good reports of topwater fishing on the Gulf when the water temperature rises during the day, and if I do not get anything else done this week, that is goal number one.

Keep those comments coming, I enjoy hearing from you and read them all.  And if you catch a few fish, share it with others, we all love to hear your stories. So thanks for stopping in and reading my ramblings.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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