Coleto Creek 1/29/15.

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                  Check out the Swimming Jigs and Rage Craws.                     

Fish Catching Travel

It was really foggy this morning, and the boss wasn’t feeling to good, so after that all got straightened out it was time to hit the lake.  By time I dropped the boat in the water it was 10:30.  The water temp was 65 at the ramp, 76 at the mouth of the out flow cove, and as low as 64 degrees way up lake.  And the water has come up an inch or two, so maybe with a little luck we will get that rain this weekend and continue the upward trend.

As I write this I am watching Championship Match Fishing, which I really like.  I like the format, basically catch them as fast as you can until they tell you to quit.  So while big fish are great, catching them without stopping is the way to go.  Well today I wish I had been  fishing in that style of tournament.

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Let the Strike King Swimming Jig bite begin.

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I started in the cove right above the bridge throwing a topwater.  I had several hits near the point, but the cove itself was a bust, as most of them were today.  So up the lake I worked, including stopping at the point we whacked them on the last trip, and just could not got anything going on the topwater.  The water was off color the further up I went so I finally settled down to throwing the Swim Jig until I finally found some.

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No real big ones today, but boy did they bite.

The fish were on long straight banks with grass on the bank.  It was a steady retrieve, and most of the fish came out of 3 foot of water.  Some of them smacked it, some knocked a bunch of slack in it, and others swam with it sideways.  But no matter how they hit it, they were eating it.  About half were like the ones in the pictures, the other half smaller.  I had one come off some rocks that I should have gotten the hook in, I am sure that was a big one.  But other than that it was like they all came out of the same mold.

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And bite……………..

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and bite.

Of the 3 coves I fished in only one did I catch a few fish.  And those I caught in the coves came on topwater, and were all small.  They are just not quite in the coves in mass yet.  It was clearly a Swim Jig on the main lake kinda of day, and once I stayed with that the bite was on for the rest of the afternoon.

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They were choking on the Swim Jig.

Other than replacing a couple of craws I used the same Black/Blue 1/4 ounce Swimming Jig all day.  It was paired with a watermelon red Rage Craw, which is my favorite color in almost every plastic.  It swims best for me on 12lb. mono at a moderate retrieve.  And I can not stress enough how if you tip some grass, or anything else, speed it up, or drop it, but just do something different, that is what makes them eat it.

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The big girls are not to far behind.

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This was a chunk.

Most of my bites came on long straight banks with some deep water close by.  But the real hot spot was what we call the swings, where the channel swings away from the bank and it starts to flatten out.  The perfect spot was sitting in 6 foot of water and just able to reach the bank.  And of course that is where the fish are headed, to the flats, if they are not headed into a spawning cove.

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All males turning out early for happy hour.  It is not quite Ladies’ Night.

It was one of those days were I didn’t bother to keep count, partially because once you got a bite you were sure to get another, or several in the same area.  They are so ready to make the big shallow move, and if it stays warm we should get a big migration to the bank on the next moon.  And I am starting to see a lot of Tilapia back in the pockets, so we are close.  Of course we are so weather dependent during this period, and while they could be knocked back by another big cold front, the urge to spawn is strong and the good bite is just around the corner.

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Wish I had taken the big camera today, almost every cove protected from the wind with the sun shining in it was full of alligators and Tilapia.

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The 2015 Crab Trap Cleanup is set for February 21 thru March 2 when the season is closed and any trap is considered abandoned.  The big day is set for February 21st, but any trap you find during this period can be picked up and taken to the dumpsters that will be set up at major ramps.  So even if you don’t participate on the big day if you see a trap anytime during this period pick it up and trash it.

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Though a chef I’m not, I do enjoy cooking and do quite a bit of it.  So when the Boss brought me a Christmas present back from her trip, and it was a set of knives from her dad, I was all about it.  They are nice and sharp, one of my pet peeves.  And it will let me retire some that need it.  Nothing more frustrating than a cheap knife that will not take an edge.  So thanks Jack.

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I continue to hear, and read, spotty Gulf reports.  It seems the only thing that remains somewhat stable is the redfish bite.  Trout continue to be a hit or miss thing.  But with the water temp barely topping 60 degrees that is not particularly surprising.  So I am not sure what the plan will be as the Gulf is up next.  But I do know that my last trip left something to be desired in the size department.

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I have always been somewhat ambivalent about buying the extended warranty, but have done it on my last 3 engines.  And we have used it on all three of them.  I am picking up the Carolina Skiff today and it has saved me some money, which is always nice.

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There you have it for today.  Not that I would ever promote gambling, but we got our Super Bowl numbers in the big-bucks pool, and they really suck.  I can actually count on one finger the number of times we have won, and one win may be an exaggeration.  I am not sure why we continue to fund other folks in pools, and our luck with raffles is no better.  So enjoy the Super Bowl, even if like my lovely wife you really only watch it for the commercials.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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POC 1/28/15.

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               The Redfish Magic lives here.               

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 A tough bait for tough days.

Fish Catching Travel

The Boss got back in town after visiting her family up North so we had breakfast together before I hit the road to the Gulf.  The forecast was for light winds and when I got to Froggie’s about 10:30 it was dead flat calm.  I haven’t seen it like that in a while.

The water temperature was 58 degrees and had a light tinge to it.   Since it was just a fish for fun day it was nothing more serious than my usual milk run.  And though that milk run has been good to me lately, today it left a little something to be desired.

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This says it all about the day.

That was the first trout I caught today, he choked on that Down South.  Unfortunately  it did not get any better.  It was 5 trout in Big Bayou and 3 in the Oil Cut, all small, and not even a bite in the couple of other places I stopped.  And as far as reds went, they are still around the docks in Big Bayou depending on the tide, and are scattered in the Oil Cut.  But the 5 or 6 or so I caught were all really small, not even  close.

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It was small ball all day long.

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Thanks for the bite but where is your momma?

The tide was extremely low and not moving when I got there.  The water really did not start moving until after 4, and it was just really getting going when I quit at 5.  I figured as the water came up they should get on the Redfish Magic, but they were so not there or not interested.  I think the water temp only reaching 60 after a really warm day had a lot to do with the bite.

So basically it was a one here and one there, with no real pattern to it.  Probably the only consistent place to get a bite was in front of a drain where it had gotten so low there was no water coming out, if that makes sense.  I can not tell you how many I caught, somewhere in the 15 range or so, but I can tell you only one of the trout would have measured, and nothing else.  I did break one off in a dock that I never saw, and lost what looked like a pretty good trout.  Otherwise it was small and smaller.

What did I learn today?  Wish I knew.  I know one thing, the water being flat like it was did not help, and it really did not warm up like I thought it would.  But it won’t be long.  And days like today just make me more determined to figure it out.  But hey, I was fishing.

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I heard from Matt and it actually made me feel better.  Sunday was tough in Keller, plain and simple.

I was wondering if you went to Keller.  I was there Sunday morning too, mostly boat riding because everywhere I went was messed up by the wind.  I did manage 1 dink trout by the boat ramp in that fresh looking water while waiting on a boat to load up.

At least you caught one, I didn’t have a sniff.  Thanks for commenting and reading my stuff.

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As I was driving home, and seeing all the animals in the high fence areas around POC, it dawned on me, the state owns a good chunk of this now.  My point of that is I have a slight problem, not a huge one, with high fence.  So let me explain myself a little more.

If you own it, you have a right to do with it as you please.  As long as you are not harming others, if you want to high fence, help yourself.  And I have a real appreciation for the time, money, and effort, that goes into developing a property into a hunting paradise.

But I just feel a little funny about fencing animals in.  It seems somehow wrong to restrict the animals movements which are dictated by the various conditions that affect them.  And the mixing of the gene pool, as opposed to genetically altered bucks, is the way it has worked for all time, and it is a good system.

So with that, the State should open the fences in some places on the Powderhorn Ranch and let some of the stuff mingle.  I know this won’t happen, but I like the thought.  It will be interesting to see how the Ranch is administered and how the hunting is played out.  A great place for all the citizens of Texas, or one of those places the rich and connected hunt and the rest of us wonder how they do that.

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I am starting to get excited about our trip with the big shot guide.  Baffin in February with a real pro, it has potential.  And it will be interesting to learn how he gets it done. In a little less than 2 weeks it will be 2 days of hardcore wading in the big trout capital of the coast.  Can’t wait to see how that turns out.  Until then I will keep slugging it out and will be there when they start to really bite this spring.  Tough days just increase my resolve, so keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Tale of 2 Different Days 1/26/15.

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Check out the KVD jerkbaits at Strike King.   

 Fish Catching Travel

I loaded up the boat Sunday morning and headed to Keller Bay.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  In spite of my best intentions I misjudged the wind, and I knew when I got there.  But I thought I would hit at least a place or two so in the water I went.

The wind was blowing right down the mouth, so I headed for the South shoreline where there was some protection and made a wade.  I actually covered a good bit of it, working from the shoreline to out over 3 foot deep.  And over 2 hours I had no bites, not even a close call.

The water temperature was 52 degrees, and other than on that protected shoreline, the bay was beginning to color up.  I tried to fish the good redfish bank at the mouth but the wind was blowing right down it and it was muddy.  So I headed back to Olivia, and by time I got there the wind had really picked up and the whole North side was getting off colored and was really rough.  So after 3 hours I put it back on the trailer and called it a bad day.

It was simply a matter of me choosing the wrong bay for the wind conditions.  And one thing about Keller, if the wind is an issue, it is a bigger issue on the open bay.  Keller is one of those places you kind of commit to for the day.  And I just didn’t have it in me to make a big boat ride.

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Today though was an all together different day.  Shoedog met me at Fayette County Lake outside of Gonzales for what is a every few month thing, to go throw jerkbait on Fayette.  We have had a few tough days, we have caught well over a 100 several times, and we inevitably catch some good fish.  Fishing Fayette can spoil you.  Being a slot lake, when you get them figured out it can be a thing of beauty.

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My first fish of the morning.  A real representative of the slot fish in this lake.

Though Shoedog got off to a quick start with a nice fatty, it was a fairly slow morning.  We caught one here and one there.  I alternated with a KVD Jerk Bait, a Swim Jig, and a couple of different square bill crankbaits.  Shoedog stayed with the jerkbait, and after a while we figured it out a little.  You could jerk it hard, but you had to pause between jerks.  And it was also clear the KVD I was using, which was a Blue/Chrome in the medium size, was what they wanted.  Shoedog switched to the medium 3 hook black back Suspending Rogue, and from then on it was pretty much even.

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What we call a Fayette Fatty.

As most of the grass is dead, and some might just be emerging, it wasn’t our usual grass beds fish in 5 foot of water.  But the rest was classic, back end channel bends and secondary points inside the coves.  We might have caught one at or near the mouth of a cove, or on a main lake point, but that was it.  The rest were about half way back in the coves on points and bends.

We kept the boat in 6 – 8 foot of water, and it seemed like most of our bites came in 2 – 4 feet of water.  We were giving it a pretty good jerk, but you had to let it set a few seconds before you jerked it again.  They were not knocking the crap out of it by any means but you could feel them tick it.  I think the 58 degree water temp combined with almost no wind had them off, so some of the bites were tricky.

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Fayette will spoil you.  When catching 18 like this is so-so you know you are spoiled.

Before we quit about 4:30 we both ended up catching 9.  I was surprised the Shoedog wanted to quit, he is usually one for catching that one more, to make it an even number.  We caught 18, lost several each, and missed several more.  So the action was fast enough to keep your attention.  We rarely have a bad day there, some are just better than others, and today was one of those.  But again how spoiled can we be?

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On the menu every day at the bay.

So next it is back to the bay on Wednesday.  Another day of 75 degrees, and nights only getting into the 50′s, should really help the water temperature at the bay, and consequently the fishing.  And I really want to wash the bad taste out of my mouth from the other day at Keller Bay.  it is not often that I give up that easily.  Once I get there I usually make a day of it, it is 110 mile round trip and I want to get my moneys worth.  It will up early and off to have another go oat it on Wednesday.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Ramblings 1/24/15.

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A Redfish Magic and

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                 a handful of Down South plastics, all you need for a day on the bay.

 Fish Catching Travel

Our front has cleared after 3 days of clouds and some rain.  We did not get a ton of rain, but the creeks are full and there was some standing water in the ditches.  So we are off to a much better start to our rainfall this year.  And the sky is clear as a bell, and it will be warming fast this afternoon.

I have a few things to do today, then it will be off to the bay for some fishing in the morning.  Wading is on the menu, it is just hard to decided where.  Even though I got a poor report on Keller Bay last week, I think that is going to be the place.  One thing I have always liked about Keller is it has both good trout territory and several redfish banks that have historically produced for me.  In fact the biggest redfish to ever come over the side came in Keller Bay.

The tide will be out and maybe just starting to move when I get there, and will be coming up in some form or other most of the day.  So bank selection will be extra critical.  My best guess will be starting on a long main bay bank with a good drop with some grass in around 3 foot of water for the trout.  It is the perfect set up for throwing corky style baits.  Then it will be get the Redfish Magic out and go to thrashing on some redfish.  Of course like all good fishing plans, it is subject to change.  The only thing not subject to change is that I am going.

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I heard from one of my regular readers who sent me this.  There is a place in my heart for the giant string of catfish I caught as a child on Lake Tsala Apatka in Florida.

Fishing Moccasin Slough 1947

To get there we had to carefully walk across a scary bridge on Lake Tsala Apatka, carrying  cane poles, and a bait can filled with wriggling night crawlers.  Daddy carried the bucket he was sure we’d fill with fish for supper.  The bridge which could support automobile traffic was not yet constructed. Momma carried Linda Lue, my youngest sister.

The walk across the bridge nearly scared the daylights out of me. Even though the surface of the lake had a thick green cover of water hyacinths covered with purple flowers, on a windy day roiling waves could reach the boards of the bridge. 

After the slow, careful trek across the bridge, we’d step into a narrow path. Our feet sunk into the white sand of Central Florida.  Gray Spanish Moss covered huge liveoak trees. At the edge of the slough we’d see a baby alligator or two. Copperhead moccasins always swooshed across the dark green of the Slough’s surface.  We were warned about the brilliantly colored snake slithering away into the woods. It may or not have been a Coral Snake, carrying  lethal poison in its bite, but we were to take no chances.

The eldest of three girls, I was charged with putting worms on hooks for my younger sisters.  I was eleven years old, Nancy was seven, Linda Lue was five.  The stifling heat and humidity of our home in Citrus County, just 19 miles from the Gulf, was tempered by shade from the oaks and moss.  I seldom wore shoes when not at school or church, but these visits to Moccasin Slough were an exception!

In the bucket where we were to put fish we caught, Daddy always stashed bacon grease and a cast iron Skillet, with lots of farmer matches to make a fire.  We ate the fish with white bread Momma had in her pockets – Daddy said he’d eaten enough old cold biscuits on the South Georgia farm where he was raised to last him a lifetime, so white bread was the order of all our meals.

I watched critters along the banks of the Slough, copperheads and ugly needle-nosed gars glide across the water, and my bobber.  A high state of excitement ensued when I got a bite and the bobber started bobbing.  I caught bream with what looked to me like streaks of sunlight on their sides.  Once in a while a small catfish or mullet from the muddy bottoms of the Slough would attach itself to my hook.  

Before dark it would be time to walk back across that creaky, scary bridge.  Daddy would pour a Bucket of murky Slough water over the ashes of his fire, where he’d buried fish guts and trash.  We were taught to clean up after ourselves, both on the banks of the Slough and at home.

Often in my sleep I’d see a bobber a-bobbin’, feel the mixture of fear of falling into the Slough and being bitten by a snake or devoured by an alligator along with the thrill of pulling my sunfish up onto the bank.

So much of life seems to hold that mixture, a tension between the fear of danger and the joy of adventure.  I discovered – and learned to deal with it – on the banks of Moccasin Slough.

Of course this story also holds a little more meaning to me personally.  This is from my most loyal reader, my mom.  And to think that her dad, my grandpa, took her there fishing, and then over 20 years later took us as kids when we visited.  I have since driven by the lake, and it is as beautiful as I remembered, and it still is Old Florida.  As with everywhere, there is not a lot of the old left.  But if you love big trees, dark water, and Spanish moss, this area of Central Florida is as close to Old Florida as you can get.  Thanks for the memories Mom.

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 I am off to do some cleaning on the truck and then some organization of the saltwater tackle.  It is amazing how disorganized tackle gets after a couple of days of fishing.  I haul around enough crap that it looks like I might fear there will never be any more tackle, when in actuality I fish about 4 baits on the Gulf.  Down South plastics, Strike King Refish Magic, a corky style bait, and  a topwater covers most of my days on the salt.  I could probably get by with 2 of each most days, but hauling around all that tackle must make me feel secure. 

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 The tackle is organized, so is the boat.  The forecast looks great, so it will be an early morning wind check and then off to the bay, Keller I hope.  I intend to fish the corky style baits for a good stretch in the morning.  Specifically see whether I like it better throwing it on braid with a leader, or straight mono.  Hopefully I will answer  that question, or maybe the fish will answer it for me.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.  Hope you have a great weekend.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto and other Stuff 1/23/15.

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                                       Home of the Swimming Jig and Rage Craw

Fish Catching Travel

After a couple of great days on the Gulf it was time for a little bass action.  That really was prompted by what was to be some serious fog, then wind and possibly rain.  So trying to catch a great day following a warming trend we put away the salt stuff and headed to the lake.

The water temperature had come up 12 degrees from when I was there last week, and the lake may have come up just a little.  The wind was lightly blowing so we headed to the long channel bank up the plant arm and started throwing topwater.  Over the next 2 hours we caught just enough on top to keep after it.

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The first non-midget on a topwater.

We also fished the first outlet cove and one of the big long ones on the right hand side going in.  It became real apparent that even though the water was warmer in the back end of those coves, the fish were just a little farther out, near a secondary point, or the points near the mouth of the cove.  We caught 8 on topwater by 10, but it just didn’t seem right.

It seemed like we were right on the edge of catching a big bunch, and possibly a big one, but it just did not happen.  What a difference a year makes.  One of the things that keep fishing interesting is how things change.  If I had to pick the real difference this year from last is the water level is keeping them back a little.  But with the rain pouring down as I write this, expect the lake to really start to rise.

We then headed way up lake in the Coleto arm and fished a spawning cove to see if they were moving in there yet, and again caught one or two small ones on the topwater.  I had alternated topwater with spinnerbait and swim jig, finally settling on the swim jig.  The point at the mouth of that cove has grass on it, with the main river channel turn hitting it where the channel leading into the cove hits on the other side.  So I slow rolled the Strike King Swim Jig down the drop and put 4 or 5 in the boat real quick.swim jig (2) (150x99)

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Somebody tried to take a big bite out of this guy.

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And the hits (Pun Intended) just kept on coming.

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Nothing like the thump when the good ones are eating it.

The whole bite took place in a couple of minutes.  One thing about finding pre-spawn bass who are staging for the big move, you can catch em.  If this rain lowers the lake temperature some, which it should, the big bite will hold off a little while longer.  But it won’t be long, those bass have some serious business to attend to.

After that we hit places down lake putting a fish in the boat here and there, all on the Swimming Jig.  Finally about 2 the wind started to howl and we called it a day.  The final total, best we could tell, was about 17, half on topwater early, the rest on Swimming Jig.  Not a bad day, and a good way to end our 3 days of fishing.

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It is always nice to hear from a new reader, who apparently is pretty honest.  As you may, or may not, know Doug, I like to fish Keller Bay myself.  It can be tough, but it seems like when it is good, it is very good.

Great blog. I just found it a couple of weeks ago and can’t wait for future reports. Hopefully I can learn something. I also got skunked on Sunday in Keller bay.
Thanks,  Doug.

I actually thought about Keller Bay for Tuesday but after Shoedog putting on his giant Drum clinic looks we made the right choice.  So thanks for the comment, and keep them coming.  Happy to have you along for the ride.

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                                         Just click here to get a couple of bags.

I also heard from one of my regulars with a good question.

Great report, Thanks, You keep writing, I’ll keep reading. Think I’ll order a bag or two of the Down South lures. Do you use Pro Cure or any other fish attracting gel’s with your soft plastic’s ?
Thanks, Rick.

Actually I use the scent that is included with the Rage Shrimp by Strike King, and have also used Gulp spray in the past.  If I am correct I think Strike King gets it from Pro Cure.  Sometimes I use it regularly, other times I forget.  I have a bottle of Pro Cure but have no idea where it ended up.  But no matter what  scent does not hurt anything.  And it if gets you one more bite every trip, or they hold on to it for another second, it adds up to lots of additional fish in a year.

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Terry and the Nebraska boys are still catching them through the ice.  I did it some growing up, and it is fun, at least until the ice goes out and it is back to real fishing.

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Went to a little state park in central Nebraska  called Pibel. Always seem to have some luck there. Was on the ice (13.5 “) by 7:00 AM and drilled two holes with my 7″ hand auger and marked fish immediately. Started catching fish within minutes. Had 2 catfish 22″ and 20″, Lmb 13″, 12″ crappie, and 14 gills on the ice by 9:30. My other two buddies had one of their limits by then and I help them finished out their limits. We were packed up and one the road home to clean our tasty cold water morsels by noon.

Nice job.  Sounds like ice fishing has advanced quite a bit since I was doing it.  With this warm winter we are having you should have ice out early.  And you know the standing invitation to fish down here is always open, or why not sneak off to Canada with us during the full moon in August?  Thanks for the report.

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 The weather has really taken a turn for the worse.  It cooled off, rained some, and the wind is blowing pretty good.  Hopefully the rain will amount to something and it should be cleared up by Saturday.  So next on the plate is a wading trip.  I have to be sure my waders aren’t leaking like a sieve.  So keep those comments coming, keep stopping in, and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Stuff 1/21/15.

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                                       Home of the Swimming Jig and Rage Craw.

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      Big fish love them!

Fish Catching Travel

The reports of the last couple of days have generated a few comments and I wanted to share some of them with you.

Ken, one of the Austin bunch, sent me this comment on his recent trip to the salt and one to freshwater…..

Nice report Doug! J 

Cindy and I got onto a few trout in Lavaca river at the end of December – 15 fish, 4 keeps, nice day trip. Water temp that day started at 52 degrees after two really cold days and warmed to 58 by 3PM. They wanted small baits with chartreuse tails worked really slow on the bottom. 

Yesterday we fished for crappie with Jess Rotherman on the Colorado arm of lake LBJ – tough bite but we got 17 keeper crappie and a white bass – also caught a few goo, a LMB and a blue cat. Is that an LBJ slam? J 

Later, Ken

A slam is what you make it, and crappie fishing you never know what you might catch.  My best is a 20lb. striper on 4lb line.  And sounds like your last river trip was the way most of the river reports are right now.  Just got a report of someone with a couple of days on Garcitis and the best he did was 3 keepers one day.  So good to hear from you and keep those comments coming.

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I got this from Jim, who struggled some this weekend.

Nice report on the trout, I am going to have to find that Bayou; Yes?  Seadrift 17JAN: The parking lot in was packed with empty trailers.  Not sure what the ratio of duck hunters were to fishermen.   I hit San Antonio Bay and the Barge Canal towards BP on the 18th, Saturday.  So, a little background; the game warden recently told the launch owners there in Seadrift that we fishermen could not throw the cleaned carcass of fish in the water at the cleaning station.  Additionally, we could not toss them in a container box for local crabbers to use either; so into the nearby dumpster they go.  I looked in the dumpster after striking out on the fishing Saturday.  It was about 3:30 and not to my surprise I counted 7 trout and 1 small Red; that’s It!  (EYE, Twas was a hard day for any fisherman Mate).  I believe the oyster boats have that water so messed up right now that the fish have moved on and when you combine the super low water there well good enough to satisfy my hurt.  Certainly it was not my  lack of skill; Ya Think?

I am sure it had nothing to do with your fishing prowess, must have been the conditions.  In fact, we talked to the guy at the ramp at Charlie’s and he said they were seeing very few trout.  And I was surprised first time I cleaned fish at Seadrift that you could not throw them in the water.  Not sure what the rational is, but I suspect it is lack of water movement and the occasional super low tide leaving a pile of heads and tails at the ramp.  So thanks for commenting and reading my stuff.

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And Keith had a similar problem……

I read your blog at least every 2 days.  This morning I read your post for 1/19 and it disturbed me because my girl and I fished roughly some of the same spots you did.  We started off in the cut going to bill days reef the one with the houses  along each side, fished mainly the left side down past where the duck hunters were yesterday morning.  I was throwing down south plastics and also a top water.  NOTHING.
next the coast guard flat I waded she fished live shrimp.  NOTHING next off to a cut on the left way down past the oil cut I believe it is called wittakers cut on the left heading towards big pocket, again waded (nasty mud hard wade) then to Grass Island the funny thing is I am 45 years old and fish POC quite often and am an avid artificial guys.  Right at the mouth of the inlet into grass island I had a first in my life experience yesterday.   I CAUGHT AN 18 INCH MULLET HOOKED SQUARE IN THE MOUTH ON THE DOWN SOUTH.  Go figure my only fish of the day.  Then we had to go pick up our decoys south of the army cut and get back to froggies and head home to Canyon Lake.  Glad you did great, enjoy reading your stuff, just miffed me this morning knowing we fished the same water and all we got was a mullet.  I wish I had my phone with me to take a picture of the mullet with the down south in it’s mouth, to far of a walk back to the boat.  Oh well maybe next weekend will be better.  I live for the days the water looked like it did yesterday not all that common in POC.
Again thanks for doing what you do and writing as you do it is very enjoyable toread and although I have never met you feel like if I ran into you at Froggies I could talk to you like a friend.  Keep it up, thanks.
Keith

Anytime you see me at the dock, or anywhere else for that matter, say Hi, it puts a face to folks I only know via the site.  And as far as your day, I feel your pain.   It really does suck when you have it tough and then someone else whacks them.  It is interesting that other than the one place we limited, in 2 days we caught a total of 5 keeper trout.  It is tough right now, it is just that simple.  The mullet thing is cool, have not had that happen, yet.  So thanks for your kind words, I appreciate them.

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And of course I heard from my favorite salty dog………..

Great report! Keep hitting the salt, after all thats what the poll sez. LOL

I hear you Rick, the tribe has spoken and I may be slow but I am not stupid.  Expect the number of salt reports to go up this year.  (But I did slip off to the lake and that report is coming soon.)

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Voe dropped me this comment, and he must have been reading my mind.  I lost your email and was wanting it so I could take you with me to the the salt some time………

Hey Doug,

Sounds like a good time for sure.  I’ll be heading out to the Powderhorn area tomorrow as suggested last week.  Probably put in at FM1258, might even venture out into the Ranch shoreline.  Maybe we’ll even pass by each other for a quick chat.

Good Luck Voe

Hope you caught some and am looking forward to hearing your report.  The Powderhorn can be great and it is well worth your time to explore and learn.  And I have caught some of my biggest redfish there.

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Matt I am not sure how I can help you much with this one……….

Saw you backing in the driveway while I was cooking supper.  I’ll say I might me a little jealous you were fishing while I was working.

There is always quitting your job, selling the house, buying a mobile home, leaving everyone behind, and moving to POC to start guiding.  I did that when I was 20, a lot easier to do then than later with family and adult responsibilities.  Plus, there are so many guides in POC that they have to wear badges so they don’t guide each other.

And not wanting to rag on guides, been there done that, but I did have an interesting conversation with a “guide” on the water 2 days ago who was looking for drum for a guide trip the next day.  He gave me some guff because I said we have been catching drum on the Down South.  In fact his comment was “On lures?  Come on brother.”  2 things to say about that.  1.  I think the Shoedog boated around 200lbs of drum on plastics the very next day.  2.  You are a guide and have not caught a drum on plastics?  Done a lot of fishing on the bay have you?  I hope for your customers sake you had a good day.

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And our buddy Clyde put in his 2 cents worth on drones……….

Amen on banning drones!

I am right there with you hommie.

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And one last thing about Monday.  It was just last time that the Shoedog was here that we left a trail of money as we zipped across the bay.  Well Monday we had to make a quick U-turn and pick up a $20 that blew out of his pocket.  I guess that boy has more money than he knows what to do with.  But I don’t have any room to talk, I lost a box with 5 or 6 topwaters on the lake somewhere today.

That about catches up on a few things that have been ignored while we were fishing.  It is so good to hear from all of you, your comments are always appreciated.  Unfortunately the weather is going to deteriorate the next few days, but if it includes the rain that were are supposed to get it will be great.  We are over 20″ down the last 2 years and anything is better than nothing.  And I have another fishing report I will get posted soon.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Shoalwater 1/20/14.

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Flats fish love them!

Fish Catching Travel

It was up early, then a foggy drive to Charlie’s.  We got there about 8 when it was just starting to clear.  The original plan was to fish Shoalwater, then down to Panther Reef, and then a drift or two on the island side.  Well we actually got all that done.  But along the way the Shoedog had what can only be termed as an epic day.

003

This was the lucky halo that followed the Shoedog around today.

We started out drifting in Shoalwater trying to sack a few trout.  The morning fishing was slow, and while we caught about 20, only 2 were keepers.  Then a big fog moved in around 10 staying until about noon, which did not help the fishing.  The fish we did catch were off the end of the first point on the left in about 2 foot of water.  We would catch a few, then one here and there, about half were in the 14 to 15 range.  Most were along the edges of grass patches, and a drift parallel to the grass got the most strikes.  And then it started ……………….

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Number 1.  8lb line and a green Yum Houdini Shad.

The fog was lifting when the Shoedog reared back on one and it was an epic struggle.  He played it perfect and I slid her in the net after about 15 minutes.  He fought that fish perfect and it was a cool fight on that light lines.  Then around noon we left Shoalwater and went all the way to Panther Reef.  It was so calm today the ride was a breeze.  We idled in from about 5 foot to the edge of the reef, and here we go again……………

006

Number 2.  Look at the size of this thing.

Now you would think that 2 this size on trout gear without breaking them off would be enough.  But no.  After catching the one above he was letting his line out without a bait on it to get the kinks out from the long fight when some swim by.  So of course he picks up my spare spinning rod that had a Down South tied on and ……..

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Number 3.  This one came on the Down South paddle tail in the Magic Grass color.  We think this was his biggest.

So in a matter of 15 minutes he backed to back these 2, no small feat on light tackle.  After fishing the reef with no trout bites we headed down the island and stopped in front of a couple of back lakes, drifting and throwing plastics, but we just did not get the bites.  I mean any bites.  It was about 3 so we headed back to hit Shoalwater on the way in and drift where we caught them this morning.  And of course……………………

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Number 4.  An epic day for light tackle fishing.  It was flat ridiculous. 

You have to hand it to Shoedog.  These were all really big fish, 3 on 8lb. test and one on 10lb.  The fights were long and pretty epic struggles, and after he caught the  first one there was no doubt we were going to land all of them no matter what.  They are such a powerful fish but it is simply a matter of taking it easy and following with the boat.  And they were stamped out of the same mold, big.

And green was clearly the color.  The first 2 he caught he caught on the Yum, and then he picked up my rod which had a Magic Grass (green with a Chartreuse tail) Down South and catches his next one.  They were clearly roaming the flats today in big bunches and we saw quite a few today.  If you are a fly fisherman and want to catch a big fish, the black drum are out there right now.

And though we only kept 3 trout, between the morning and the afternoon drifts in Shoalwater, we caught an easy 40 plus, they just didn’t make the grade.  But it was fun and mixing in the big blacks made it an awesome fishing trip.  It may be a day or two before the Shoedog tops today, but it sure won’t stop him from trying.

It has been a great couple of days and it was nice to get back in to the swing of things.  Of course the weather wasn’t helping but today was the weather that I dream of in January in South Texas.  It is a great time to catch a big fish, and we sure got that done today.  And this no wind thing has been wonderful.  We never did make a wade, so that is next on my Gulf agenda.

The fishing reports I have seen or heard are not that great.  And with the way our trout fishing has gone the last couple of days I can see how it happens.  If you are on them you are in business, if you are not in quite the right spot the fishing is tough.  They are not just scattered around right now.  It also seems that if you catch the good ones they are easy keepers, if not, they all run small.

I have some interesting comments and reports from other folks that I will get posted tomorrow, but right now I am calling it a day.  But I will get to them on as soon as I am done fishing tomorrow.  Shoedog is going to stay another day, so it will be up early and on the water first thing.  Hopefully our day will be as close to epic as today was.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 1/19/15.

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Home of the Redfish Magic.

Fish Catching Travel

The Shoedog finally shook loose from his remodel job and plans were made to hit the Gulf.  We got to the ramp about 8 and there was only a few trucks in the lot so we in the water in nothing flat.  After waiting a couple of days to fish I was chomping at the bit.

The water temp was 53 degrees at the ramp, the sun was shining, and low and behold it was dead calm.  The drain I have fished the last couple of trips in Big Bayou has been holding some nice trout so that was the first stop on the agenda.  I was throwing the Down South plastic in the Chicken of the C Southern Shad and Shoedog was throwing a Yumm plastic that was similar.

The tide was falling pretty quickly when we got to the bayou.  We headed down the last channel bank at the end of the bayou and right off the bat caught 3 rat reds.  When we got to the end of the island we found the trout in a small drain where it emptied into the deeper water and the catching began.

001

We started off with a double.

In the blink of an eye we caught a limit.  They were 1-3 foot deep and as we worked the bait out of the cut, and then let it fall on the drop, they would eat it.  It wasn’t one of those they were making the line jump thing, they were just there when you lifted up.

004

They love the Down South Lures plastic.

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Check them out here.  Ask your local tackle store.

We ended up catching 12 in an area about the size of my living room and they were a little better than average.  As soon as we had the limit in the box it was time for a move.  Like the comment the other day, I felt like the dog who caught the car, now what?

005

Heck we just got here.

We headed up to the Oil Cut and did the usual trolling motor and tossing it to the bank thing.  I don’t think we had a bite anywhere near the entrance.  The best area turned out to be the last big arm on the right.  Redfish was the target at this point, Shoedog threw the Strike King Redfish Magic and I stayed with the plastic.

007

Redfish are one tough fish.

008These pictures do not do justice to how broken this guy was.

We fished a good bunch of the Oil Cut and probably caught 6 or 7 reds.  I caught one in the there that just touched 20, so he went back.  Then I caught the one above, who was bent right in the middle.  Shoedog caught one on the Redfish Magic.

009

The only one that fell for a spinnerbait today.

I think we caught maybe one or two small trout, and I put a small flounder in the boat.  The whole time we were in there it was a fairly slack tide, and though we caught fish, it was one here and one there.  Late in the afternoon the tide started to move so we stopped at the old coast Guard ruin and drifted that flat, which was a complete bust.  On the way back to Big Bayou we stopped and fished a couple of drains in Mitchell’s Cut.

We probably caught 3 or 4 trout in front of those so we kept on going.  To finish our day we went back to make a pass on the place we limited.  To make a long story short we put a few more reds in the boat, another flounder, and worked our way through another 20 trout, though they were more scattered and were actively feeding.  You could feel them thumping it much better in the afternoon.  We left them biting and headed back to Froggie’s to clean fish.

For the day it was probably 30 or so trout, a dozen reds, and a couple of flounder.  Neither the reds or the flounder made the grade, but we were happy to catch them.  The weather was fantastic, the bite was steady though nor spectacular, and a good time was had by all.  I managed to break one red off in a dock and Shoedog broke off what was a good trout.  Not bad considering we both were throwing 8lb. test most of the time.

Tomorrow the weather looks even better so it will be back to the Gulf first thing in the morning.  Now where exactly I have no clue.  It will be get up, load up, and make a decision at the end of the driveway.  We may do a little wading tomorrow, good way to make sure neither of our waders are leaking before we hit Baffin.  So keep stopping in, there is lots more fishing to come this week.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Other Folks are Fishin’ 1/17/15.

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Fish Catching Travel

Today is a getting my stuff together day in anticipation of a stretch of serious fishing.  The boss starts a weeks rotation, and then she is on the big bird and gone to visit her family.  For me that means I have about 10 days with no responsibilities.  And with the weather shaping up, the Shoedog shaking loose a couple of days, it will be one of those periods where I make up for all those days I didn’t fish in the last couple of weeks.  Plus, spring is just peaking its head up and it is time to let the real fishing begin.

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Joe dropped me line concerning using drones and brought up a few uses I don’t have a real problem with.

And you didnt go fishing in Austin??? Whats wrong with you ???

Drone concern, I’m thinking it would be a good tool if you can fly a line to an area like a spillway for some catfish that is roped off, or over a break wall. Release the line be in business. I’ve been thinking of a remote boat to do the same thing.

But on the other hand too many flying around could cause a problem. It goes down and your screwed. Its almost the same as people using cameras and feeders to get deer and hogs. But using a drone to find places to fish or hidden coves could be of use.

So I’m 50/50 on the drone issue.

I don’t have a problem when folks use the radio controlled boats to get baits to a tailrace, so that is a good point.  The same with using one to fly over and area adjacent to big water to look for out of the way places you might otherwise miss.  But for me it comes down to the slippery slope, one use is ok and another isn’t?  Thanks for the comment Joe, how about the rest of you, any opinion?

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While we in South Texas are getting ready for pre-spawn bass and warming flats with big trout, folks up north are still in the midst of winter.  For outdoorsman who live in the north country it just means you have to get at those fish another way.

Went ice fishing at Davis Creek Saturday and had a great day. We caught 66 Croppie 11 to 14 inches and 10 white bass. Also one 15 pound catfish that was a pretty good tug. We caught a lot of the Croppie’s on teardrops and wax worms and jigging raps. Anywhere from 15 feet to 25 feet. Most of the lake was covered with 12 inches of ice. Davis Creek is one of the most dangerous lakes to ice fish because of underwater springs. But the weather has been so cold for 10 days that it had a good ice on it. I’ll send you a couple of pictures of the fish we caught.

Shoedog’s good buddy Terry Roth from Nebraska sent me this comment along with a picture of the results.

ice

 Can you say fish fry!

Nice bunch of fish, looks like you guys had a great day.  The only thing I have to add is you need to get done here some time and let us put you on some redfish.  Once you go red you never go back.  Thanks for the story, always good to hear from you.

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 With family visits, the holidays, and his ongoing construction project, the Shoedog has not gotten any fishing in the last month but he finally slid out yesterday and sent this along.

“Back on the water- Finally!

Between rotten weather and remodeling projects at home I have not been on the water in weeks- so sunshine, 60 degrees and it was time to get out there.

I finally decided to hit Lake Somerville as it is close by and full of water. Hadn’t been there in a while- last couple trips were disappointing, but, hey- it has fish and I have had some good trips in the past. I put in at the state park ramp down by the damn and marina. Got on the water about 1 pm and it was a beautiful afternoon. No wind- unusual for Somerville for sure.

I headed out past the island just outside the marina cove where a couple boats were anchored crappie fishing and went to an area between the island and the shore that we have caught some in the past. I started out in 12-15 feet throwing my #10 gold  Rapala Husky Jerk- fished it for a good hour with no bites. Moved back around the other side of the island and started working back around it to see if I could catch some. I switched to a larger #12 husky Jerk in silver- probably backwards of what most people would do- smaller and slower in cold water. But I was jerking and twitching slower than my usual speed.

Half way around the island I finally got a bite- had some wight to it and one of those funny pulls that you can’t tell what it is at first- felt like a big catfish or a drum but it turned out to be a real nice bass- around 5 pounds I guess- that I hooked in the back as he hit at the bait. Still a nice fish- it had that pure Florida strain look to it- compact, short tail and SOLID!

 somerville 11615 003

Anyway, I let him go and was talking with a couple gents anchored off a bit crappie fishing and my next cast I caught a nice channel cat- right up on the bank- let it go and on the next cast I caught another nice catfish! 3 casts- 3 fish- after an hour and a half of nothing- that’s fishing for you!

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I finished out the area and left to go and see if I could find some white bass and hybrids, so I headed across the lake to a reef area with some deeper water near that has produced in the past. I trolled a Strike King Redeye Shad for a bit with no luck. I went out in 25-26 feet where I was marking quite a few baitfish and some larger fish as well to try some jigging. Gave that a while and nothing.

So I tried trolling a deeper bait- an old Storm Deep Thunderstick Jr. that has produced a lot of fish for me over the years, but again- nada.  I went back over to the area where I caught fish earlier to finish out until dark but had no luck.

So- all 3 bites in 3 casts- otherwise not a bite all afternoon. I guess that’s why we call it fishing and not catching! But it felt good to be on the water- tomorrow it is painting time inside our new building- oh boy! But looking forward to Monday and Tuesday on the water with fishcatchingtravel.com.  Stop in and see what happens.”

I think I have fished Somerville with him 4 or 5 times, and other than white bass and hybrids, have not had any real success catching bass there.   But when the whites are biting there 50 fish days are not that uncommon.  And nice jerk bait bass, seems like those in that class really like that jerk bait.  And lastly, when you start catching catfish on lures in the spring the good fishing is right around the corner.  Last spring a bunch of them fell victim to the Strike King Swim Jig on Coleto.

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Today is the day, the first warm day in a while, and I intend to use it by emptying everything out of the boat and washing it all.  It is always interesting to see what you will find when you do empty the boat.  And it is the only way to get the compartments clean.  I remember when we bought the boat the ad said it had watertight compartments.  Of course in a boat such a thing does not exist.  In the words of an old plumber – “The only place a water will not get is up a frog’s butt.”

Then it will be take all the tackle and rods and reels to the tackle room for a good going over.  It kind of feels like preparing for a long trip, making sure everything is working and in order.  In a way that is exactly what it is, spring is here and we are about to get after it.  And of course it won’t get done once we get to fishing. First it is the Shoedog for a couple of days, then I think I might make a Baffin trip later in the week.

This $1.80 gas is a thing of beauty.  I know it might have some adverse affects on the economy. but it is nothing but a positive thing for fishcatchingtravel.com.  Gas is by far the biggest expense in fishing, and when you fish by yourself a lot it ain’t cheap.  So for the foreseeable future we will take advantage of it.  At least that is as good an excuse as I can come up with to fish more.

So now I am headed out the door.  As a side affect of power washing stuff I am going to set up a real wash station in the carport, something I have been planning on doing for a while now.  It will be so nice to pull the boat under and be able to flush the engine, powerwash the hull, and clean fish, all without messing with moving hoses.  So next time you stop by there will be a report, with many more to follow.  I really do feel like I am preparing for a long trip, because I am, it is called spring.  And if you fished this weekend hope you whacked them,  cause I will clean up behind you this week.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Ramblings 1/15/15.

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Fish Catching Travel

The weather is within hours of breaking.  It is still cloudy this morning but the sun is supposed to come out and our warming trend will begin.  And from the looks of it we will be back to seasonal norms with highs in the 60′s becoming the norm.  The great thing about that is I know what is coming.

As soon as we have a week or more of sun, and then the clouds and rain move in, and it stays warm at the same time, it will be game on.  Looking back over the years some of my biggest bass came on that day, the perfect storm.  So I will sit back and wait and watch, and lets see when it happens in a week or two if I can predict when it will happen.

Until then it is time to do some serious trout fishing.  They also are happy when the temps increase and spring finally gets here.  With the big trout trip coming up in a 3 weeks it is time to hit the bay and do some wading.  Both to check the leak and to practice my corky fishing.

A few years ago I bought a rod at Academy that was cheap because it was part of a combo where the reel was stolen.  It became my favorite trout rod for a couple of years.  I had the guides fixed a couple of times and then I finally broke it.  Well I found another one the other day and boy am I happy.  While I am no corky master, that rod was the best one I found for corky fishing.  So time to hit the bay.

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I heard from Mac on an issue I had not even thought about.  So read his comment and then let me know what you think.  I already know where I stand.

Doug–For many years I have combined fishing and hunting together in stalking our elusive redfish.   There is nothing more rewarding than roaming a crystal clear flat, scanning the skinny water  for fish.

I hope to continue to fish this way but now a new culprit is about to show up on our Texas flats.  It is hard enough to pursue fish with crowds ever increasing on our waters.

Florida now has discovered the Drones, equipped with cameras,  in locating schools of redfish, and then just cruising in on the schools.   They are used also offshore in locating ling, sailfish and other varieties of fish.   Drones  could maneuver around  without disturbing the fish, thus making them easy pickings.

I am sure we are going to  get this method migrating to Texas.  Louisiana  now is seeing them.

What is happening to fishing nowdays?   I do not want to have to compete with  drones in catching fish.

I do not run the fish and wildlife dept or make the laws, and a lot of people have already criticized my views, but I am just voicing my concerns before every boat around is equipped with these to use, above the water.

As a member of CCA and other conservation groups , I just wonder what they and others think.  You are always not afraid to express your opinions and maybe  I could get your view on this .   Whatever is your opinion goes right with me.  Others say drones will not hinder any fishing.    If I am on a cast and blast trip, I may make mistake a drone for a bull sprig and load some  #6 shot  at it.

Whoops–not really, for the owner may come back with another one and use it to drop a bomb on my boat with me in it.

Drones are here-can we live with them on the  shallow water?   Mac

I have an opinion all right – Ban It!  I have seen a lot of changes  since I first started guiding in 1974.  From the old cigar style bass boat with a 50 and a flasher, to the paper graph, the Black Max motor, high speed reels, new lines, and on and on.  Being in the Ozarks I was there during the bass boat revolution along with amazing tackle and equipment changes.  My tourney partner was the plant supervisor at Ranger Boats, my good buddy in our Bass Club was the owner of Champion Boats.  Heck, our mayor owned Bass Cat boats.

I don’t mean to digress, but here is the point, change has come and gone, and keeps on coming.  And as fishing has become more technical there has always been the fear that it would hurt the fishing.  Fishing in many ways, and in many places, is better now than it has ever been.  We can range further, see more, fish lighter and stronger, all things that individually could have hurt the fishing.  Thanks to conservation attitudes, and well thought out limits, we have lots of fish.  But all that aside, it is not the fish that have been hurt by change, it is the fishing.  I think we are making the same point here.

The hurt I am talking about is in our fishing experience.  More folks, more distractions, more money, more maintenance, more noise, and on and on.  The outdoors is shrinking and with it the quality of the experience.  I could not be any more against using drones to find fish than if they were dropping bombs on redfish.  Is this what you as a fisherman have to resort to so you can catch a redfish?  Is your fishing knowledge and prowess so limited that you can not find a redfish?  Are we finally reducing fishing to a video game?   For the love of God, searching for, then finding, and finally catching fish is what makes fishing what it is.  So we are now going to take the searching and finding out of the equation?  I am not saying we need to go back to row boats and Dacron line, but come on.

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After I wrote about cleaning the black drum with the new Bubba Blade I heard from Charles one of the guys who reads my stuff from Austin.

Hey Doug, this is Charles from Austin. I am a friend of Todd’s, but have never met you myself. Hopefully I will get to POC with Todd and the group in the near future. In any case, I enjoy your blog.

I thought you might be interested in how people are cleaning black drum. I actually got chewed out by a guide for cutting through the ribs, which didn’t make me happy, but in the end this method works and saves time and energy. Below is a video link. Try it next time. It works. It also works on bigger reds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbnGw73LFnU

Thanks for the link and good to hear from you.  I just love the Austin guys, and the guys I have met and fished with are some good dudes, a couple of them can actually fish, just kidding.  Actually this is close to the way I have cleaned them in the past when using a smaller Rapala filet knife, going around the ribs.  After using the Bubba Blade I am not sure it is any better going through the ribs.  Now why a guide chewed you out for doing that I can not fathom, as far as I was concerned when I guided they were your fish to clean how ever you want, but since I cleaned each and every one I am not sure what his point was.  Now if it was for puncturing the stomach cavity, ok.  I know a real chef cringes when they see the abdomen opened and contents leaking on the filet.   Thanks for the comment and stop in any time.

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When I lived in Arkansas I did some guiding, and lots of fishing, on the White and North Fork for rainbow and brown trout.  This is a trout!

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/01/15/28-pound-rainbow-trout-caught-in-northern-idaho-would-have-been-record-breaker/

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Sorry this report is a day late, and a little shorter than I planned, but I was hijacked by the boss and made to endure a couple of days in Austin.  Tough you know, some shopping, music, good food, I barely survived.  So I want to get his posted and tomorrow I have a couple of reports and comments to get done.  And after doing some work on the boat it is going to be one long stretch of fishing.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

 Good Luck and Tight Lines

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