Coleto Creek 3/16/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal on your Wade Right use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

As I get some of this prepared on Wednesday it is just beautiful outside.  It really bodes well for tomorrow’s fishing.  Jim is driving over from the Houston area, and of course I feel some pressure to produce.  It always generates a little apprehension in how the fishing will go when you first fish with someone new.  But Jim is a tournament fisherman who won on Coleto last year so I am sure it will work out just fine. Thinking back on first trips like that I had a couple that stand out.

I took a non-fisherman to the Powderhorn one morning and it was so foggy you could not see your hand in front of your face.  We idled into the lake just a little and started with popping cork, it stayed foggy, and we caught trout literally non stop all day.  He did not have a clue that was not how it works, so he was not suitably impressed.  And the first time I took my buddy Jeffish spinnerbait fishing on Coleto we killed them.  3 – 5lbers all afternoon.  They were literally trying to jerk the rod out of our hands.  He being a fisherman was suitably impressed as he knew it does not always go like that.  And of course there are lots of days where it did not go worth a hoot.  Time to go do any equipment checks and re-tie fluoro leaders.  We will be on the lake in the morning trying to have that epic first day.

Weather

77/65  Cloudy patchy morning drizzle possible.  20% chance.  Wind SSE 15 – 25.

Lake Level

Today – 98.03 msl    10 days ago – 97.53 msl

Solunar Times

  • Best      2:29P – 4:29P
  • Good    8:17A – 10:17A

Well the fishing today turned out to be far from epic, but in another sense it was a great day.  Jim and I have been corresponding since he started reading me a couple of years ago, and when he suggested we get together and fish I was all about it.  We met at 8:00 at the ramp and were fishing 15 minutes later.

The gators were on the prowl all day.

It was real evident how much the lake had come up.  It is still off-color, especially way up lake.  The water temp was 68 degrees in most places in the morning, and later in the day as the sun came out we found some 70 degree stuff in the back ends of some of the pockets.  With the wind supposed to hit up to 25mph, which it did, I wanted to hit a couple of spots that I knew would have the wind on it when it started to blow.

We struck out on the first place, and on our next move to a main lake bank we started catching them on swim jig.  Jim fished blue/black and I stuck with the bluegill color.  The blue/black was clearly the better color today with the off-color water.  Guessing I think it was 5 on the second place.  After that we moved to a small creek and caught another 4 or 5, all on the swim jig.  From there we scooted up lake to fish a long windy main lake bank.  We caught a couple on spinnerbait when we hit a small cove and I had my “bite.”  I made a perfect cast, buzzed it right on top making a big wake and when it got next to a bush one in the 8lb range blasted it, and after a cool jump was gone.  Simply a case of a larger trailer getting in the way of the trailer hook, which I remedied by removing the trailer.  Who knows?  Operator error may have played a small part.  As my old buddy Tad used to say, with your superior skill you managed to *&^$  it up!

Jim with a good one.  And my stretch of catching “other stuff” on the swim jig continues.

From there it was up the river where the water is still really off-color.  We picked up one or two here and there, but it soon became evident that the fishing was better in the clearer water.  As the day wore on the fish moved shallow, and I mean into water where we saw several move on the bait in the shallow grass.  Spinnerbait worked during the day, but the swim jig still produced the most fish.  They really like this rise and the fishing is going to get better and better as the next week goes along.

        Though no real big ones it was a nice average size for the day.

We also had a bite or two on topwater and one on a buzzbait, they are getting there.  After fishing up lake we headed back down to re-fish some of the places we had fished initially and the fishing stayed pretty good.  One here, 3 there, they kept biting.  They really have moved into the new water, and even though the lake is way up they are making beds in that new water as fast as it is coming up.  I am telling you, flipping and pitching plastics in super shallow water is going to be the way to go, and should be really awesome in the coming weeks.  Funny how I will be in Australia next week and wondering what I am missing.

The best areas were mid-cove with grass and shoreline cover, and as the day wore on they moved really shallow.  One thing that was interesting today was when we missed a fish we were able to throw back in there and catch them.  We probably added 2 or 3 fish that we initially missed to our total by throwing back on them.  And today we had quite a few bites that did not hook up, slightly unusual for the swim jig.  I suspect they were crappie and catfish.  Everything is up and biting.

Jim sure did his part today.  Funny how a guy 6’6″ makes a good one look small.

For the day it was an easy 25 plus, and while we never boated a big one, our top 5 were nice fish, and we definitely had a fun day.  Very few places we fished we did not catch one or more.  Jim is a good fisherman and a great boat partner.  As we moved back to the creek we fished earlier it was 3:30, and before we knew it we had fished until 6:30.  Time to get him back to the ramp for his drive back to Houston.

I feel pretty good about what we caught considering how hard the wind ended up blowing.  It often limited where we could fish, one of those days when we were often fishing where we could and not where I wanted to.  But I can flatly say this, if we do not get any more rain letting the water clear just a touch, the fishing will be off the chain on Coleto next week.  It should be a stretch where you can fish what you like, and catch fish.  But no matter your preferred method there is one piece of advice, shallow, then shallower.  And last, the crappie I caught was shallow and spawning.  Get back in a likely looking spawning coves and dip jigs and minnows in the new cover on a long rod and you just might load the boat.

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Get Inhaled!

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Many of you know I finally broke down and bought some real waders and boots.  Having owned 3 pairs from 3 different companies in the last 6 years, they all leaked.  In fact, the longest one brand made it without leaking was 2 springs.  So I finally broke down and bought some Simms and they are the bomb.  Nice to not worry about “how much” they will leak.  One thing that happened on the last pair was a leak started on a seam right where the ray guards were.  So I emailed them and asked about that.

They responded immediately with some good information.

Depending how abrasive the fabric is on the inside of the guards, the rubbing may cause that area to wear quicker overall. In regards to gravel and debris getting between the two layers, that could most definitely cause quicker wear. I would suggest first, rinsing your waders and ray guards after every use to clear out the gravel and debris, and second, depending on how often you are out fishing, send your waders into us for general maintenance as I’m sure there will be additional spots where your ray guards sit that will need to be tended to.

Yes, we have a repair and warranty center here where our GoreTex waders are made and if we can fix pinholes and tears/scrapes before they become larger issue(s), that will help to extend the life of your waders.

So I am not sure how much of a problem it could cause, but sounds like not much with rinsing after each use, which I do.  With what they costs I was wanting to be sure I wasn’t messing them up.  But one thing is perfectly clear now that I have been wearing mine, they are worth every cent.  In fact if I had started with them the cost would have ended up being half that as I have 3 leaky pairs sitting in the garage which I would not have bought.  Some quality stuff is all it is cracked up to be.  And the real kicker for me being a little guy is they had waders that fit me perfect, something new and different.  I appreciate their quick response, definitely living up to their reputation.

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I got this comment from Gary, which applies to all of you as far as I am concerned.

I’m taking my grandsons Friday and Saturday, it you see my black and white center console with a raised platform on the lake, say hi.

Thanks for the offer, not sure if I will make it out there then, but I will watch for you if I do.  And the rest of you are always welcome to stop and say hi.  I have an all white Mako LTS 18 with a white power pole on it.  I always like meeting folks who read the blog.

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After Jim picked up some Controlled Descent Lures to use on a Carolina Rig he did a little experimenting in his swimming pool.

It may not be clear enough here, but this is the idea.

He was able to get his bait to suspend just right, nice and level.  And when he would move it the bait would dive down, and then slowly suspend back up perfectly level.  For those of you who fish this way the benefits are obvious.  I am looking forward to fishing with Jim on Fayette when I get back and see if it works as good as it looks like it will.

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While I was the usual amount of apprehensive fishing with a new partner, like I was every morning facing new guide customers, it was all good.  We managed to figure out enough to catch fish all day, and once we really started going shallow it was apparent the fish are loving this rise.  The future looks bright for the lake.  And my desire to fish with a few more readers this year was bolstered by spending the day with a good fisherman, and more importantly, a great guy.

Now the countdown is in full freak out mode.  Funny how when you are planning a big trip it seems like it will never get here, and now only 4 days to Australia.  We have been planning this for 18 months and have done everything we can do to prepare, nothing left to do but get on the plane, and maybe eat a little kangaroo on a stick.  I might fish one more day this weekend, if for no other reason than to make these last couple of days pass quicker.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Keller Bay 3/15/17

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal on your Wade Right use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

I just could not help myself!

I was feeling pretty good yesterday and had plans to do a couple of things, which did not include fishing, but by noon I finally could not take it any more.  About 1:00 there was not a leaf shaking on any tree and it was cool but nice and sunny, and the no wind thing was driving me nuts.  So without looking at the weather or tides I loaded up and headed to Keller Bay.  As this was an impromptu trip the conditions did not matter, I was going anyway.

It has been while since I fished there, but it is a lot easier to fish on a short day.  The ramp had a bunch of trucks and trailers  when I got there, obviously everyone else was enjoying the no wind thing.  My plan was simple – Wade the whole pasture/east bank.  That is a good bank as it is long, has a mix of grass, sand, and some shell, and usually holds both trout and reds.

There were 2 boats on it so I headed quite a ways down and ended up making 4 wades over the next 4 hours, slowly working the bank as others left.  To cut to the chase, when I jumped in it was freakin’ cold.  Our overnight temps in the 40’s cooled the water, and the light north wind had a bite to it.  I was hoping to throw topwater some, but that was obviously out, so it was all about working with the Controlled Descent Lures.

You have to give them their due, they are real fighters.

Today I had a full load of foam in my CDL, and was using a blackgold/limtreuse jerk shad on a 1/16th ounce wide gap 3/0 which had the bait at a slow drop.  If figured as cool as it was they were not going to be overly aggressive, and they weren’t. The reason I like that bank is you have so much varied structure shallow to where it drops out in the 3 – 4 foot range into about 5 depending on the tide.  It really gives you plenty of places to locate them.  You can usually catch one there somewhere if you can pinpoint where they are holding, it is one long bank.

Get Inhaled!

The water never did move much and the bite was slow.  First wade I missed one and caught a fish stick.  Next wade I lifted up on one, which I never felt bite, and the fight was on.  One thing about a black drum, it usually only takes a second before you figure out what you have, they love t0 bulldog, and on 8lb line are a great fight.

A nice one.

After no action I kept repositioning down the bank, as everyone else had left.  On the third wade I could see some mullet action so I waded towards them, it was a big mullet mud.  It reminded me of seeing big muds like that in Belize. So I got up in them and managed one nice trout and 2 more small ones.  It was not fast by any means, even with the sun shining there was no real warming happening, and the bites were subtle.  I might have missed one more there, but that was about it.

So one last move to my favorite spot on the bank resulted in one bite.  But is was a freakin’ bite!  I made a cast to shallow water and one just exploded on it.  When I set the hook water flew everywhere and off he went, and went, and went.  My thumb is getting fried, I am trying to head down the bank with him, but it is no contest.  I flat got spooled.  As I watched the line melt off the spool it was now or never, time to see if I could stop him.  Ha!  That went no where as I could see the spool and it popped like a rifle shot, and cleaning the fingerprint off my thumb.  One thing about Keller Bay, it has some big jacks, and this was one of those I was happy to break off, to bad he took about 75 yards of fluoro with him.  And that was the last bite of a short trip.

That was a $10 bite.

The water color reminded me of the lake right now, that brown, tanic looking water.  Obviously Keller had a big influx of rain water, and with the clear cool night in the 40’s really cooled off the shallow flat.  I ended up catching 3 small trout, one keeper, the black drum, missed a few and got spooled.  Not to bad considering I had not fished there in months and the little cold front had definitely knocked them down a little.  Nothing like a mile high sky, a temp drop, and a north wind to keep them off their feed.  But I was happy with the results for a 3 hour trip.

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Tomorrow I am fishing the lake with Jim, one of my readers from the Houston area.  One thing I hope to accomplish this year is fish with a few more of you.  Jim is a die hard bass fisherman, who like me is retired.  Anyone who is willing to get up and drive 2 hours to fish is a man with a touch of the fishing disease.  It is good that we will have some warming today, hopefully the lake will have cleared some.  And with some clouds in the morning we should have a good day. Today will be getting some things done for the Australia trip, hard to believe it is only 6 days away.  So stop in tomorrow and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 3/13/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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** For a super deal on your Wade Right use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

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Preparing this Sunday it has the potential to be a pretty good day.  Of course that is totally predicated on me fishing properly.  I will hash and re-hash the plan for the day, where to start, color, depth, all factors that will come in to play, but as we all know the best made plans can change once we are on the water.  So sore back and all I will be at Froggie’s come daylight ready to do battle. (I thought.)

Weather

72/57  Intervals of clouds and sun.  Wind NNE 5 – 10.  10% chance of rain.

Tides

High   6:03 AM     0.3
Low   1:27 PM     0.1
High   8:13 PM     0.2   (Water all day with a morning fall, my favorite.)

Solunar Times

Best 2:33 to 4:33 pm   Good  8:21 t0 9:21 am

The Best Laid Plans………

Unfortunate change in plans.  When I got out of bed this morning it was real obvious there was no wading today.  I was stiff as a board after tweeking my back yesterday, luckily no pain, but there was no way I could get in and out of the boat without hurting my self.  At least there was the alternate plan, to the lake with the front seat on the deck and sit down and bass fish, and that is exactly what I did.

It was about 9:00 and drizzling when I dropped the boat in.  The water temp at the ramp was 66, and the rest of the day I found nothing warmer than 70, it definitely has taken a step back.  And the color, ugly, to real ugly.  And it is still charging up and if it keeps up it will be over the piers at the ramp.  This is how high it was when I first started fishing it.  It is up in the shoreline cover, and it is about to morph into a flippin’/pitchin’ extravaganza.  But I digress.

The morning was just hitting places here and there, and it became apparent the swim jig was the ticket.  And no place was any better than any other, but some were fishless.  They were not chasing squat, so I just settled into slow rolling it, and picking up the spinnerbait occasionally.

It was definitely a lot slower than it has been.  The wind was out of the NNE at a good 15mph, and it did not clear until about 2:00.  It was two in this cove, three on this bank, one out of a bush, and it stayed that way most of the day.  I could not get a pattern, just slowly swimming the jig without any hopping or jerking.

                                                  What’s up with that?

As I went around a point there was a bush sticking out on the end so I buzzed the spinnerbait right over it and one just blasted it.  I thought I was in the money with a big fish.  After a pretty good tussle in came the tilapia above.  Having caught a few on lures this is the first one that smoked a spinnerbait.  Guess when they get bigger they may not be so particular.

And the catfish whopped the swim jig, and this is like 5 out of 6 trips were a catfish has hit the swim jig.  I had several hits today I missed, and after catching the catfish that is probably what they were.  Just unusual to catch both of these on the same day with lures.

                                At least I managed a couple of nice ones.

I did manage to boat a couple of good ones, but most were just keepers.  Before I quit I ran up lake to see how ugly it is, and it was ugly.  It is super off color and I had 2 bites on some of my best places.  After throwing the pearl Controlled Descent Jerk shad and the Bang-O-Lure without success early it was apparent, they were not shallow and they were not chasing squat.  And in some places it was just not clear enough for that presentation.  Of the dozen or so I caught today, most came on the swim jig and a steady retrieve.  Funny how for as few bites as I had the bass that did hit ate it, and there was no coming off.

It was different sitting down and fishing most of the day, I much prefer to stand.  But I took it easy and did no real bending or lifting and it looks like this is about over.  It was tough today, conditions were not the best, the north wind, a big rise with mud, and cool temps, all combined to keep the bite down.  That really should not hurt things much in the short run, as long as we get no more rain for the next week, it should settle down pretty quickly.  So a day that could have been a bust at least included some fishing, it just was not on the Gulf.  Rats.

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Get Inhaled!

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I got this question from the Mowdy, and it is a good one.

I, too, have purchased several packs of the Controlled Descent lures. I am looking forward to using them. I have a question! How do they cast? The hook they come with is weightless, and with the foam flotation, there is little weight to the rig. Can you get much distance on a cast using a bait casting reel?

I have had no problem casting them with my casting reel.  The foam does not really seem to affect distance, at least as far as I can tell.  But remember, if you put a complete piece of foam in the question is how much weight to get it to do what you want based on depth and wind.  I have noticed in the salt that a little over half keeps it basically floating.  And unless the trout and reds want it on top you will be using a weight of some sort.  The key is to find out how and where they want it and then repeat.

I am still experimenting with using weight inserted, pre-weighted hooks with the screw lock, spit shot on the line (Not the best choice as it is pinched on the line but it works.) or inserted in the body.  I also picked up some of the pointy lead you can insert into plastics.  And don’t forget, they work just fine without doing anything, but that takes all the fun out of it.  I will keep trying stuff and keeping you all informed.  If you have any comments or suggestions as you use them let us know.  If we all help each other we can really figure out ways to make them effective no matter the conditions.  Thanks for the question.

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A couple of years ago I bought a chrome Gun Dog topwater at the fishing show.  The salesman told me if it did not catch fish he would buy it back.  That thing has never caught a trout.  Well this year I wanted to try one of the good looking jointed soft body lures by Steve’s Lures.  Matt told me when I bought it that he guaranteed it would catch fish.  We will find out soon enough.

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And speaking of rigging the Controlled Descent Lures donf sent this comment.

What kind of knot are you going to use to connect your braid to the fluoro? I have tried numerous (alberto, modified alberto, uni-uni…) and eventually what happens is that the braid starts to unravel with the result that I lose a fish when I get a good hookup. Consequently I have given up attaching braid to fluro directly. The braid I’m using is Power Pro, not sure if the brand makes a difference. Now the only time I use braid is on a popping cork or swivel attached leader.

I have started using all fluro line on my lure casting as the extra line weight makes it much easier to cast weightless like worms or senkos rigged wacky and the fluro is so stiff that I can detect line movement of a bite very easily.

I have always stuck with the uni to uni on Power Pro since I started using braid, it is just what I started with.  I had a problem or two in the past, especially joining fluoro to braid, slick to slick, but since I started re-tying my leader before each trip at the work bench in good light I have not had any problems.  And you are so right on the popping cork, helps set the hook on those super long casts.  I also have basically gone to all fluoro on most everything that is slow moving, but on fast moving baits like a buzzbait, or the swim jig, it is fluoro to braid.  Line types are critical to lure presentation, it all works together.

Fluorocarbon does weigh more and helps with the very casts you are talking about as well as detecting the bite and is working fine for me on the CDL so far.  In fact, that is all I am currently using on the Controlled Descent Lures, but will be trying some braid in the future.  But as far as I am concerned fluorocarbon gets more bites, period.  Thanks for your comments, obviously you do a little fishing.  (Just kidding, it must be a lot based on the knowledge you just shared with us.)

And the rest of you, the last 2 comments are what makes this place go.  You don’t have to cough up your secret place, but sharing information helps all of us.  Our sport is about never stopping learning and growing to become a better fishermen and ultimately putting more fish on the end of the line.

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And last I got this question from SAJoe.

Can you do me a favor and ask Todd(the bagley guy) how was the water clarity on Travis. We got a lot of rain last week. Hate to make a run up there and water looks nasty. Thinking of getting there for spring break. Thanks

Good news.  He fished Saturday and the clarity was 6 feet.  He reports the topwater fishing was insane all day.  It rained that day and night and not since, so looks like it should be perfect.  If I could pick a day it would be just what they had, warm temps and rain all day.  So have a good trip and let us know how it goes.

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I was not happy about not making the bay.  The good fish are biting and I saw several big trout on Facebook this week.  So I am not sure what is happening the rest of the week, but I will be fishing.  Australia is a little over a week away and I want to get a few days in before I hit the road.  Visions of big fish on the Great Barrier Reef are starting to even be in my dreams.  Guess it really is a good reason to get excited.  Thanks all for your comments and reports, they are appreciated.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

Posted in Fish Catching Travel | Leave a comment

Random Weekend Rambling 3/12/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal on your Wade Right use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

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In the spirit of honest and full disclosure, there is a funny attorney joke there somewhere, I want to let you know that Michael at My Coast Outdoors helped me out with a few baits.  But believe me, that has nothing to do with what I have been writing about the new Controlled Descent Lures.  Those of you who have been with me the last 6 years know, if they sucked I would have never mentioned them, or maybe told you to save your money.

Get Inhaled!  And stop in their Facebook page and give them a like.

https://www.facebook.com/My-Coast-Outdoors-1085833788121350/

I am really excited to be fishing with them this year, if the results so far are any indication it will be productive.  I am already thinking about tomorrow’s fishing as I write this.  If I had to guess my biggest trout this year will come on this bait.  And I love the experimentation aspect of learning to use them.  Of course I have been to Academy and bought different hooks and weight options and it will be interesting to see what works and report back to you.  It will be one of the very few baits going with me to Australia, should be a barramundi killer.  And last, it is expensive to fish 150 days a year and every little bit helps, ask my wife!  Thanks again Michael.

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One thing I forgot to mention in the last post was a cool outdoor experience I had while wading the other day.  I was in a gut when all of a sudden a really big coyote crashed out of the brush, hopped in the drain and swam across.  He was about halfway when he saw me and he watched me closely with ears up until he got to the other side.  Really cool.  There seems to be tons of coyotes on the islands and I have seen a bunch.  My favorite was the one who I saw several times trying to get in a beached crab trap.  Guess he finally gave up.

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How Cool Is This?

I got this picture from my buddy Todd.

A Bagley Fat Cat

He found this in his Dad’s old tackle box, who was a big fisherman.  I could not name it but I did recognize as a Bagley from the old days.  This bait is old and has been discontinued, though I saw a plea online to bring it back.  While I have been fishing Bagley balsa baits for decades I never did try this particular one.  He will be tossing it on Lake Travis this weekend and  I hope you catch a big one on Dad’s lure.

 I got this from Todd Saturday, and guess what?  He got it done.  You hear my touting Bagley Balsa baits on here all the time.  They have been catching fish for over 4 decades.  Todd thinks this one was a late 80’s or early 90’s.

Bagley baits catch fish no matter how old they are.

I love this story.  To catch a fish on a 30 year old bait out of Dad’s tackle box is just cool.  And the beat goes on.

The Travis Topwater bite is still on.  The Austin Boys had a good day.

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I am finally committing to reserving my Australia fishing.  I decided to commit to 2 days offshore on the Barrier Reef, then at least 1 day Barramundi (A bucket list fish.) fishing in a local river.  We will be in that area for 5 days so I wanted to leave a couple of days open.  There is a ton to do in the Port Douglas area so we will see what else happens while we are there.  I am looking forward to visiting the Cock and Bull restaurant in Cairns, which is right down the road from Port Douglas.   It is home to the Cairns Game Fishing Club in one of, if not, the greatest fishing destination on the planet, the Great Barrier reef.  I can’t wait!

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Those of you who have followed this blog know in the past I had some kind of mental problem concerning braid.  Lately using the slicker and thinner braid has cured some of that, but only on my freshwater stuff.  But shock of shocks I am going to be trying it on one spinning and one casting reel that I have set up for plastics in the salt.  I think when using the Controlled Descent Lures weighted neutral, or close, it will give a better feel for those tricky trout when you have a touch of slack in the line.  I think I will initially try a 20lb braid with a 15lb fluoro leader.  Of course that will affect the sink rate, just one more factor in trying to get it right.  Working out factors like that can only lead to one thing, bigger trout.

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I hope to get a day of fishing on Coleto with Jim from the Houston area this week.  He sent along a note with a couple of nice fish out of Fayette.

                 A nice 6 1/2 and a solid 8lber.

These were caught shallow on a swim jig a week apart on Fayette.  He reports he is catching a bunch of 2 – 4lb fish a day.  He is so right that Fayette can ruin a bass fisherman, it is one of the better lakes I have ever fished when you add numbers with size.  They love a jerk bait, and in my case I love catching them on it.

Jim also made the Fishing Show and picked up some Controlled Descent Lures that he plans on using on his Carolina Rig.  That should be killer, seems like a perfect bait.

Time to go fishing.

One thing I really do take quite seriously is when I start recommending specific baits and products.  Will they work for other folks?  Are they all they claim to be?  Are folks gonna hate on me when they don’t work out like they do for me?  These are one of the first baits that I knew had real possibilities both fresh and salt before I ever put my hands on one.  The application on the Carolina Rig is apparent, and I can not wait to hear how they work for you.  There is more than one way to skin a cat, and their application to all fishing is only limited by what you can think up.

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I used to read every fishing magazine I could get my hands on from front to back.  Over the years it slowly declined to where I now purchase the occasional fishing magazine for the plane or motel, or read them at the mall while the Boss reduces the bank account.  While at the show several were represented and had copies of past issues for free.  I grabbed a handful and while looking through them today I realized the only reason I still read them is to look at the adds and read about any new stuff.  There is always information to be obtained from any article, so I read a bunch of them and learned a thing or two.  But not enough to start subscribing again.

******************

This Weeks Good Advice

From Bill Dance;  “I have seen a lot of people pick up their tackle box without latching it.  Don’t Do That!”  And if you fish enough you know, it sucks when that happens.

*****************

It is Sunday morning as  I finish this and I am sitting in my chair with my back giving me fits.  I hurt it 30 years ago loading a big patient into the ambulance.  Fortunately, I guess, it is not a constant thing by any stretch, but when it decides to act up it goes all in.  So today it will be sitting/walking so I can keep it stretched out.  It is amazing how the desire to go fishing will get me up and going tomorrow.  The weather is looking ok and I am headed for the bay in the morning.  I am anxious to get back out there and see if I can do a better job of feeding those trout the Controlled Descent Lure.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Port O’Connor Texas 3/9/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal on your Wade Right use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

Had a nice time at the Houston Fishing Show today.  Got to spend a little time with the folks from Wade Right and the designer and owner of the Controlled Descent Lures.  I have a little stuff to tell you about but it is 9:00 and I wanted to get the conditions up tonight before I head out in the morning.  Not sure what the specific start plan is, but I know this, I will be in the water at daylight.  Heck, seeing all that fishing stuff at the biggest fishing show in the country just makes a guy want to go!

Weather

73/67   Cloudy with 20% chance of stray showers    Wind SE 10 – 15  (Ended up NE)

Tides

Low 9:38 am  -0.3   High 10:54  0.4

Solunar Times

Best  7:55 to 9:55 am

Cracking daylight, time to get after it!

The last 6 weeks I have been on a roll and I was due to have a tough day, and today I did. I woke up way early and it was barely cracking daylight when I dropped the boat in at Froggie’s, perfect.  But one thing was real apparent right away, the wind was blowing out of the ENE, so it was blowing on my 2 good spots, but neither were unfishable.  A drain on the island was up first.  That is where I made my first mistake.

          The occasional sheepshead.   Both liked the Controlled Descent Lure.

I have fished it the last 2 times out, first one day, and later in the day on the second.  Of course I caught them later in the day last trip, so why not pull a bone head stunt and try to fish it first again.  That did not work out.  I only caught 4 to even talk about, and a couple of really small trout all on the Pink Limeade Paddle Shad and topwater.  No redfish, which is unusual for that spot, but it is good they are starting to get after that topwater.

Fishing the cut deep got a fish or two, but they were either not there yet, or not really interested.  A couple of small gulls where working the small bait near the opposite point so I eased that way.  It looked like a good place for the Bagley Knocker B topwater so I gave it a toss and caught one.  Then in the next 10 casts or so 2 big ones just wallowed all over it, and I missed them both.  They were both nice ones and after that I could only catch one more.  So after that one it was time for a move.

                                            To bad I did not catch the other 2.

That was about 10:30 and the water was not moving, so thought I would give a couple of the drains on Bayucose Island a try on the way to hit Barroom.  That went over real big, could not buy a bite on either.  So now I am getting a little irritated, so I head to the milk run bank in Barroom.  And again, nada, not even a touch.  So across Barroom to the other side and made a long wade, and it went just like the last 3 places, not even a smell.  I have somehow made 4 wades without a bite.  Huh?

At this point I am wondering if it was right place/wrong time, or the opposite, or they just weren’t biting.  Basically I think it was just bad choices on my part.  So next it was Big Bayou to do a little  spinnerbait fishing for reds, and that went no where, in fact I did not even catch a small red today.  But as I went down the bank throwing spinnerbait there was a cut with the wind and tide blowing water into Big Bayou and it emptied onto a point.  Tossing the Controlled Descent Lure on a 1/32 ounce jig head got them going.

Plenty of these and smaller.

I stayed there a good half hour and caught them every 3rd or 4th cast, and had a bite on almost every one.  They were stacked where the water coming through the cut hit the point with the wind and tide coming over it making a sharp current break.  They were right on the break and biting.  It was an easy limit of barely keepers if I was keeping them, but you had to wade through 4 or 5 before a landing a keeper.  No complaints,  but the previous 4 hours without a bite was tough.  And then to find a ton of small ones saved the day, but did not leave me satisfied.  So at 4:30 I called it day, but it just felt like I did not fish all that well.  The point as usual is you can’t catch them if you don’t keep after it.  If I had wussed out after a long period of no luck my day would have been a bust.

****************

The Hits Just Kept on Coming!

I am just about to Froggie’s and here comes the Coasties with blue lights flashing.  From there it was a fairly good going over.  They recommended I replace my throwable device, it does need it, and to keep in mind the fire extinguisher will be out of date at the end of the year.  They were nice enough, and I am a pro at getting stopped.  I have been boarded by the best of them in lots of different places.  The rule is simple, know what the heck you are supposed to have in the boat and look at it occasionally.  One thing you learn when you fish different states is they might have different rules.  As an example Missouri requires you to have a paddle, which I learned when fishing Lake of the Ozarks.  It is also silly to get a ticket when you have the thing in the boat, it is just expired.  So next time you head out check all your papers and required items, you just might get stopped.  And why I keep stuff as up to date as possible is who wants to end up giving them some freakin’ money over a ticket!  Way to much tackle to buy.

****************

Chris and I headed to Houston for the fishing show.  Thank goodness My Coast Outdoors and Coastal Fishing Gear were there, otherwise we would have been out of there pretty fast.  Don’t take that wrong though, I was just not really in the market for much.  But I love fishing shows and boat shows, always something new.

Chris was wanting to pick up a Wade Right belt.  He wants to carry that extra rod, which is my main thing along with not dunking your reels.  I on the other hand was picking up the new Wade Right Gear Bag.  I used it today and it held all my stuff.  I was finally able to retire the bag I was using which had broken zippers and allowed for no air flow.  This will be a lot better on all the expensive stuff we all carry.  And the new Wade Right Fly Rod Holder is going to finally force me to break it out and see if I can actually catch a redfish.

Tim and Chris at the Wade Right booth.

It was great to hang out with Tim at CFG while Chris got his Wade Right belt.  We got to talk a little, but there were folks stopping in constantly, so after a bit we left him to make some money.  The show is where I first got my belt and met Tim, though neither of us knew our paths would cross later.  His partner was not there but his wife was, sorry I forgot her name.  I told her how long I have had it and it was still good as new.  She said they actually know that, the stuff just lasts and that is how they roll, something other companies could learn from.  I know they will have a great show.

Get inhaled!

Next we stopped by My Coast Outdoors, makers of the Controlled Descent Lures, and met Michael.  Though I had communicated with him via email I hadn’t met him yet.  It was interesting and I learned some really important things.  His tank where he was demonstrating all the options using the Controlled Descent Lures was great and he had some great tips.  Awesome how he could actually make it suspend level and upright, killer.  More on that as I fish this spring.  I picked up some baits, and then we let him get back to work.  He should have a good show, and once you try them you will see the potential, and in my case this week, the results.  And if you go stop by and let him educate you, I think he said he has been fishing and working on these for 4 years, you will be ready to hit the water.  Best of all, both these guys are Texans, and these are family operations.  If I have my druthers I prefer to shop with folks like this.  Of course they want to make money, but they are driven by a passion for their products.

And last, if you are fisherman you need to hit the show, there were some great deals on all kinds of stuff.  My favorite thing I saw was a really cool 14 foot poling skiff that was powered by a 15hp Merc.  And what I really like it was $10,ooo.  Simple to use and keep clean, it was the kind of boat I really appreciate.  A utilitarian boat, it was a redfish hunter. There was also a really cool aluminum duck boat that was well designed, but it was $32,ooo.  With the cost of boats exploding I am surprised that more companies are not making simpler and more basic boats that get the job done without having to sell your first born.  The boating industry is not serving the entry level boater, and the numbers of new boaters will continue to decline as boat prices rise.

*******************

The fishing was great, if sacking a limit of trout was the goal.  Funny how the day left a bad taste in my mouth, guess the last month has spoiled me.  And not catching a good fish didn’t make me all that happy.  So I will reload and fix that as soon as the next couple of day’s bad weather moves through.  I really appreciate everyone who reads this blog, I know there are a few of you out there I have never heard from, so feel free to comment anytime.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Port O’Connor TX 3/7/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

This is the day that was projected for Monday, but the wind change caused a change of plans.  Yesterday it was supposed to blow 15 – 25 mph, while Tuesday was 5 – 10, so it was a no brainer.  The plan is to fish only the Controlled Descent Lures.  I will be giving them a solid go and plan to experiment with the different styles and colors.  As I prepare this in advance Sunday I am really looking forward to Tuesday.

Weather

74/64  Scattered thundrstorms   60% chance.  Wind SE 10 – 15

Tides

Low 7:16 am  -0.4   High  7:43 pm

Solunar Times

Major  8:26  to  10:26 am   Minor  1:58 to 2:58 pm

There was no doubt in my mind!

You can plan and scheme, and talk all you want about how good a new bait looks, but nothing beats time on the water.  The weather was exactly as advertised, except it never rained.  The sun was just up, the tide was out, and the wind was blowing right on the Barroom shoreline, my first stop.  I specifically went there as the tide was almost out, and there is a huge shallow flat where I could try the new baits.  It took a while but I caught one, and then another, and while I never did stick a big red or trout, the fishing was good until I quit at 1:30, and the tide was just starting to move.  But I learned lots today about fishing the Controlled Descent Lures.

It started off slow on the slack tide, but I still boated a few on the shoreline.

Lets get to the punch line as far as rigging goes.  From tossing them a few times at bass they float easy, so I wanted to reduce the amount of foam.  So it was about 2/3rds of a piece with a rattle.  Since I was going to be in the water I went ahead and rigged several Jerk Shads and Paddle Shads in multiple colors to put in my wading box.  Once I did that I did not want to be stuck with them all prepared the same way knowing the 2 places I was going to fish and then the fish want them deeper.  So I solved that by bringing along split shot, turned out to be the ticket.

Just did not get into the bigger reds today, but did catch 6 or so of these.

The lures did float higher with less foam in the salt.  It seemed I got the amount about right as it would just suspend under the surface.   That caught a couple but they were just not up shallow, so I moved out and tried a small split shot.  When I found the right one  I just clipped it on the line above the bait.  It made for a really nice medium fall, which when I moved to a deep drain, was perfect.

              Nothing spectacular today, but a good steady bite later.

I caught on the Paddle Shad and the Jerk Shad.  The Jerk Shad was the better bait, and I fished just like I would any other plastic.  The Paddle Shad seemed to work better in rapid jerks shallower in the water column and they hit it on the stop.  Of course I caught several in the conventional hop and drop also.  As far as colors blackgold/limetreuse, pink lime aid, pumpkinseed/chartreuseglitter, and the white/limetreuse all caught fish, though the blackgold/limetreuese was by far the better bait today.

The drain had water just starting to flow in, and the wind was trying to blow the water out.  It was super clear on the island, and I could see the edges of the channel.  A good toss up on the edge and off into the channel was a bite.  The water moving finally got them going, and I caught a good dozen plus out of the drain.  It was nice to be able to throw up current, cross current, and down current and get a feel for how the baits worked.  Some I felt thump it, some were just there when I picked up.  3 different colors worked in that one drain.

Like I said before they are soft, but you just have to keep working that screw lock around and I did not use any more baits than usual.  The most important thing, as with all plastics, is you get the bait on straight.  It lets the tail do the work, the thing that makes them bite, instead of falling crooked or spinning on the drop.  And last, I did throw one on a jig head, and it worked just fine.

So after one go at it here is what I am taking away from using these baits.  The fall is the ticket, and so far using a small split shot, and having several sizes, really allowed me to control depth and fall.  As I use them more it will be easier to have a clue, and insert the shot in the bait instead of putting it on the line.  And what I like about that is like I did today you can prepare them by putting foam in to get good flotation, and then adjust with weight accordingly.  It will be fun to experiment, the good gulf fishing is coming and it will be interesting.

So not a bad day considering it was new baits, and only the second time I have been in a month.  The weather cooperated, the tide could have been better, but no complaints when I am catching.  Never look a gift horse in the mouth.  For the long morning it was a good 20, and it just worked out there were no big fish today.  But that will change next trip.  Always the optimist.  Tomorrow it is the Houston Fishing Show, and if you go stop in at the My Coast Outdoors and Coastal Fishing Gear booths and say hi.  Then the very next time the wind allows it will be back to the Gulf.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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Coleto Creek 3/6/17.


FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The plan for Monday was to head to the Gulf, but with this freakin’ high wind still in the forecast, subsiding to 5 – 10 Tuesday, (Sure.) I decided on my usual Monday trip to the lake.  Today the wind is forecast to blow up to 30 mph so we shall see how the day goes.  I plan to give the Controlled Descent Lures another go, just have to find the right water.  (And sorry about the false post yesterday, my fingers had a brain fart!  It really makes it easier for me to prepare some of this in advance.  Tough to fish all day, then make supper, then write, leaves you wondering where the day went.)

Weather

81/69   Isolated am thunderstorms  30% chance   Wind SSE 20 – 30 increasing/gusty  late.

Lake Level

Today 97.53 msl     Last trip  97.46 msl    (Still on the rise.)

Solunar Times

Best  5:22 to 7:22 am   5:51 to 7:51 pm   Good  11:07 am to 1:07 pm

Today Gave Gnarly a New Meaning!

At least I made the right call due to the wind and headed to the lake at daylight.  It was bad enough out there, I can not even imagine how rough it was at the bay.  The wind was blowing 15mph on the way, and it never slowed down.   At least I left the skiff at home and took the LTS, it would have blown the skiff all over the lake, making a hard day worse.  White caps on most of the lake, and hardly a spot that did not have too much wind on it.  This was definitely a put on your big boy pants kinda of day, from the minute I started until I took those big boy pants off, quitting at 1:00.  It was tough.

The only good thing was the wind made the spinnerbait the way to go.  It is not the best bait right now, but it sure saved the morning.  After the first cove with only a couple of little ones it was the mouth of a flat cove with the wind blowing right in it.  They were right on the point and literally smashing the spinnerbait.  The fish spent the rest of the morning either smashing a spinnerbait, or messing around with everything else.

                                               This bunch was biting!

They were on both sides of  the point, and wanted it right below the surface making a wake.  Using the waking method may not always get you the most bass. but it will sure get some savage strikes.  And today that was a perfect description.

                            And they definitely got bigger inside the cove.

6 or 7 fell for it, all on the point, or near the mouth to half way back.  They were just not having it in the back ends today.  It was one or two as I hopped around trying to deal with the wind in places like that, and the bites were tentative, and the rest of the morning they were small.   And duplicating the place where I had the first run became impossible, by about 10:00 it was  freakin’ howling, and it went up from there.  Basically any point with wind on it became to much hassle to fish.   Way up lake it is real dirty, and lots of the water is brown, but there is some clear water  mid lake on down, and that was where the bite came today.

After catching 9 Friday on the pearl jerk shad today I wanted to try the Controlled Descent Lure’s paddle shad in a pearl.  A crazy looking bait with 2 paddle tails, it should be hell on the bass in Coleto this time of year.  Plus I have to save my jerk shads for tomorrow’s trip to the Gulf.  (I hope, this wind is killer.)

One of 3 on the paddle shad.

I kept trying the back ends of coves, where there was as little wind as possible.  I put half the flotation and a rattle in the paddle shad, and it was basically neutral.  I was just jerking it along and then stopping it, but they wanted it moving and I couldn’t seem to get the hook in them.  The first 2 I managed to catch were little ones, then the one above.  Then  with my superior skill I broke my line setting the hook.  I ended up calling it a day with the  Paddle Shad, it was just too dang windy.

Several bites came reeling it on top letting the paddle make a wake.  A small one ate, but several just rolled on it but no cigar.  It is not the easiest way to catch them, just like reeling the Zoom paddle tail on top.  It was just one of those days where they were interested but not hungry.  I will say there are lots of possibilities being able to adjust the Controlled Descent Lures, they definitely get bit.  One of the cool things that happens when you are fishing around alligators happened this morning.  I was reeling the Controlled Descent Paddle Shad on top when an alligator started coming out of the grass.

Here he came.

They seem to love top sounds, and over the years they have chased frogs, buzzbaits, Devil Horse, and now the paddle shad.  Once this one saw me he stopped and just laid there letting me pass.  I saw another later in the morning, and like the majority I am seeing they are nice ones.  In fact, the other day when I forgot the camera I saw what may be the biggest one yet.  They are amazing creatures.

The sun really came out and the wind picked up to God knows what.  The spinnerbait was the ticket but they were few and far between.  Other than the first place, unless it was right on cover it would not get bit.  But the ones positioned like that would smoke it, no missing them.  It was just unfortunate that the wind got as high as it did, it would have been another good day.  I maybe boated 12, not bad considering.  It just became more effort than it was worth.  I am not as mad at them as I used to be.

******************

I am a big fan of the Major League Fishing format.  It really pays dividends to the fisherman that can figure it out fast and then put them in the boat.  Cool concept that makes for good TV.  They always go to a surprise lake and on the way the other day they had a small mishap.  One of the drivers managed to run into the back end of the boat in front of him and actually knocked the motor right off the boat.  And there is was, a new Merc 150 just laying on the highway.  Now that was funny or your worst nightmare.

*****************

Joe in SA dropped me the following note after I got back from Travis.

Hey buddy, Would have been nice to join you from San Antonio to fish Travis with ya. Too many family obligations. Have to settle for the ponds around my house until I can get to Travis. If you remember last year about this time I fished it 7 days straight. Tue-Thur was the only days I kept any bass. I had over 40 lbs of bass for 3 days sliced and diced for the frying pan. I think thats when i got your email to send the pictures. Glad you had a great time. Instead of heading to Amistad 3hrs, time to head to Travis nowdays.

I can tell you that everyone in Austin could take a sack full out of Travis and it would not hurt a thing, that place is full of small bass.  And it is telling that instead of Amistad you head to Travis.  I was fortunate enough to fish Amistad several times during it’s hay day, but haven’t made it there in 3 years.  I really do like fishing Amistad, like Travis, it is so similar to my old stomping grounds.  And we always managed to catch the occasional smallmouth, striper, and crappie.  Makes me want to fish it again.  Thanks for your comment.

*****************

Finishing this leaves me afraid to even look at the forecast.  I am leaving the boat hooked up and still planning to make the coast tomorrow.  Unfortunately rain seems to be coming back into the forecast, so we shall see, but if at all possible I hope to be waist deep in the bay in the morning.  And I am really looking forward to hitting the Houston Fishing Show Wednesday.  It will be nice to put a real face to a couple of names, and who knows, I might just spend a buck or two!  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Catching Fish on a New Bait 3/3/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Weather

81/49  Cloudy with 20% chance of rain.  Wind East 15 -25mph.  (It never saw 80 and the wind was a particular pain in the butt today.)

Lake Level

Today  97.46 msl      Week ago Monday  97.27 msl

Nothing Like New Baits

Thursday I caught up on stuff after the trip to Travis, and with the wind expected to blow 20+ out of the east today, the lake was the obvious choice.  I was really surprised how much it has come up since I was there last week.  It is really in the shoreline brush, but unfortunately the rain last week dirtied the water, more as you head up lake.   But as it warms back up and starts to clear it is going to be off the chain.

The first 3 places where I have been catching them produced zip, places I normally would catch several.  Whether spinnerbait, swim jig, or Bang O Lure, they were just not having it.  Finally it started warming up some and they bit in that off color water, at least a little bit.  Unfortunately I only have a couple of pictures, forgot the camera today and the flip phone is about impossible.

A swim jig fish.

It was real apparent from 10:30 when I started, until about 1:00, they were either not shallow or not biting.  Obviously the last couple of nights in the 40’s combined with a 20+ east wind and dirty water conspired against the one thing I wanted to accomplish today, fishing the Controlled Descent Lure.  The wind was swirling around corners and down  banks making it a tough.  So after catching 7 on bluegill swim jig and 2 on spinnerbait in the wind I finally thought about somewhere that might be out of the wind, so I headed that way.

I Knew It Would be Killer!

I headed back down lake in search of clearer water and went way back in a sheltered timbered cove to throw the Controlled Descent Lure.  The wind was still a hassle, but it was fishable.  The plan today was to insert the foam in the bait and basically fish it like a spook on top, and boy did it work.  One swarmed it on my second cast.  Using the hook in the package on the Pearl straight tail, I twitched it along on top and low and behold I ended up catching exactly 10 before I quit.  Under crappy conditions I considered that a real success.  Who knows how man it would have been if I could have fished where I wanted to and not where I had to.

My first Controlled Descent Lure bass.

So some observations on the new Controlled Descent Lure by My Coast Outdoors.  I am telling you that thing is a freakin’  killer.  Today I worked it along in a walk the dog pattern then stopped it, they could not stand that thing hanging in front of their face.  At one point 3 came out of one tree top.  I learned a couple of things.  First the baits are soft, but the screw lock on the hook lets you get away with a bait that normally might be to trashed if it were on a jig head.  Of the 10 I boated, 9 came on one pearl bait, and I missed a couple to boot.  If I could keep up that average per bait I would be thrilled.  While there were no big fish today, that was a product of the conditions and there are better days to come.

Second, for both bass and the trout, getting it just a tiny bit negative, where it barely falls or slightly suspends, will absolutely catch fish.  Today they ate that thing under tough conditions, I can only imagine what it will be like on a perfect day.   And my Cocoons made keeping track of it simple.  After the pearl one tore up I tried a different color.  (I only have one bag of pearl and did not want to waste them on a poor condition day before I pick more up at the show.)  I caught one on the pink with a chartueuse tail,  really more of a trout color, but the pearl was clearly better on the bass, they were smoking it.  Once they decided to commit they ate and held on.  It really does look like a dying shad if you do it just right, and being weightless when they bit they ate and I only missed a couple.  It was cool watching them roll over and eat.  A bait after my own heart.

It was definitely a successful first attempt with the Controlled Descent Lure but I am not surprised.  When I first read about it the applications were immediately apparent.  While there is lots to learn about using it, the potential is obvious.  Adjusting weight and flotation, combined with specific line weights and fishing conditions, will take a little effort, but who does not like that kind of work?  But seriously, the Controlled Descent Lure is the coolest bait to come along in a while.  For more information take a look at the websites.

http://www.mycoastoutdoors.com/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/My-Coast-Outdoors-1085833788121350/

Monday the wind is going to return to “normal”, whatever that is on the coast in March, and I will be waist deep in the bay first thing.  I have not been excited about a new plastic for trout in a while.  With the ability to fish it fast or slow, deep or shallow, it gives you the flexibility to adjust to conditions giving them what they want.  The Controlled Descent Lure has big trout written all over it.

The Houston Fishing Show starts on Wednesday and I will be making the trip one day this week, depending on the weather.  If the wind stays down I hope to hit the bay a couple of times before heading that way.  It will be nice to meet Mike from My Coast Outdoors and of course the guys at Coastal Fishing Gear, makers of the Wade Right belt.  So if you go stop in both booths, say hello, and buy something!  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lake Travis 2/27 – 28/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The White Bass Project – Day 1

The Boss was needing clothes and shoes, you know how it is, you can’t travel in those old clothes, especially to Australia.  So wanting to increase her closet (and decrease her bank account)  she wanted to know if I wanted to go to Austin for a couple of days.  I said yes, as long as we can stay somewhere with a dock for the boat.  So after a little research on her part we ended up at Lakeway Resort.  After we dropped the boat in Sunday night I had a hard time sleeping.  As the Pedernales white bass run was on my Texas bucket list I was excited to give it a go.

Other than a prior trip with the grandkids I had never fished the lake.  But it is as close to my old stomping grounds in Arkansas as you can get.  Super clear water, miles of river, plenty of coves, I was pretty sure I knew what to do and how to catch them.  Monday morning started off with a big hiccup.  I had removed the boat key when I left the boat in the dock and when I went to fish no key.  We looked everywhere, and she finally found it under the edge of a cabinet in the room, it must have fallen out of my pocket.  A 2 hour delay but I was saved!  I was already thinking about finding a Mercury dealer.  The good thing, that was the last hitch in the git-along for 2 days.

The GPS on the flats boat had the coastal chip in so no definition, but I had done my map study, so Day 1 was can I find some white bass?  I had no reports and not much to go on other than they run up the Pedernales in the spring.  The dock was 25 miles from there and since Cow Creek was on the way it looked like a possibility.  So that was the first stop.  I trolled Rapala Shad Raps and the Bagley Honey B crankbaits.  The water was super clear, with no color in the back, and the best I could do was one crappie.  One thing I did learn is no wonder this lake is full of crappie, I found some really big piles that looked great.  I gave it about an hour and a half before I gave it up there and headed to the Pedernales.

You just never know what you will catch trolling, along with a ton of little bass.

Once I got up there I went almost all the way to the bridge and started trolling once the depth of the creek got to less than 30 feet, a good starting point when trolling for whites up the river.  It only took about 100 feet and I caught the first one, then another, and it went on from there.  I trolled for about 3 hours and caught a dozen, easy.  Since I have not caught them on Travis couldn’t tell you if these are small, medium, or big ones for the lake.  I trolled the area from about a mile below the bridge to a little ways above it and there were fish in that whole stretch.

                                        About a dozen this size in 3 hours. 

They were not all that big, but they were willing.  In fact at one point I was fighting one when the other rod went off and almost made it out of the boat.  I love it when it is that good.  And just like my trip to the Nueces, as the clouds left and it cleared and warmed the bait started coming up I switched to the shallow runners and the whites came with it.  It was just like I would find in Arkansas, white bass are white bass no matter where they reside, and I accomplished exactly what I wanted to.  I did no casting, but above the bridge they were in 15 foot of water, easily reached.  I went no further then a couple of hundred yards above the bridge, and was still getting them so no telling how much farther up they are.

The Rapala diving and shallow Shad Rap.  The Bagley Honey B and shallow Rattlin’ B, all you need trolling up white bass.

About 3:00 the wind came up so I decided to try for a bass or two.  As I headed back to the main lake there was a nice big cove on the left with the wind blowing in it.  With 200 of the best bass fishermen in the world here last week there was no way of telling whether the fish had recovered.  Well they had, and they were smashing, and I mean smoking the spinnerbait.  I think I put 5 or 6 in the boat there.  So I stopped at the next cove I saw and did the same.  With about a 25 mile run back to the dock I called it a and headed back about 4:00, job well done.

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                                         This got my blood going for day 2.

Catch a Bass Limit – Day 2

Thinking about day 1 it finally hit me like a brick – the Bang O Lure!  If I could take the Arkansas knowledge and catch some whites, time to replicate 20 years of guiding with a bunch of tourneys thrown in.  This pattern was setting up as the perfect storm.  Super clear water, fish headed to the beds, it had the makings of a great day, and that is a perfect description of how it went.

The next morning I was gone at 7:00 and ran up to Cow Creek again, it had some good looking places that I saw the day before, shallower banks with cover.  It did not take to long to catch one, then another, and it did not stop until I called I a day at 5:00.  I stayed in Cow until about 10:00 and then started fishing my way back.  First up 3 flat coves covered with buck brush across from the entrance to the creek.  And boy were they there.

                                                       The bite was on!

One of the pros at the weigh in last week said you all need to have a fish fry, and I could not have said it better.  This lake is absolutely full of fish.  The day went just like all mine have gone the last month and a half.  I caught them one after the other all day.  Whether in the flat coves, or in the brush on the main lake between them, there are enough small bass to fill a tanker.  And the one real deep cove I fished the better ones were way in the back.

The biggest of the day.  A good fish anywhere.

From that point on I just kept hitting coves with brush, and there were fish in every one.  Some places that were way off the bank in only 6 foot of water with buck brush, it did not matter.  Got brush, got fish.  But there was a clear difference in positioning – The better fish were half way back and further in the coves, the smaller fish were freakin’ everywhere.

                       I think these are the 5 best, I had a ton of pictures.

Spinnerbait was working too, but the Bang O Lure twitched along was clearly better.  So it was spinnerbait in the wind and Bang O Lure everywhere else.  The biggest one I caught above had a bigger one trying to take the bait out of his mouth, to bad he did not hook up.  And barely twitching it under you saw almost every one, and if they missed it they would often come back for it.  The Cocoons were invaluable.   Some barely pulled it under, some blasted it.  It was text book topwater fishing, and by time I quit at 5:00 my back hurt, my hands were tore up, and I had a new found respect for Travis.  So many of the reports and writing talk down about the bass fishing.  I do agree there are to many small ones, but heck, when you catch bass for 10 hours everywhere you go there is not much to complain about.

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I got this comment from an Oklahoma reader.

I say Amen to your comment about Bass on the bed. I will not pull one off a bed intentionally unless I can release Her right back on the bed right then. If you take much more than 5 minutes. the perch will be all over the eggs. Also surprised you have not tried the Alabama Rig. I have friend, a diehard White Bass addict ( we call then Sand Bass here in Okla.) that throws them a lot. White Bass here in Okla. are going crazy, they don’t know which to run up or down, we are having such a early spring weather here in February one day in the 80’s then in 20’s, water temp running up and down also right now in 60″s and slow fish go figure, The trick is to be there when they are, Right?
Thanks for keeping us fired up and ready to go with your articles.
Bill

Few subjects will incite more cussing and discussing than fishing for bedding bass.  Some folks love it, some hate it, and some are like me, middle of the road.  I always go back to the law, guess that is the attorney in me, if it is legal then it is not my business if you do it.  I just think that if your rational like that bass pro’s is “we” should not disturb the spawn so we can have more little fish, but you do it for money it just makes you a big hypocrite.  It goes back to sharing the water and resources, they belong to all of us, not just guides and tournament fishermen.  So no matter where you come down on the argument, don’t like something that is legal, change the law, but don’t rag on us when we practice legal outdoor activities.

As far as the Alabama Rig, I just had not fished it before last year.  The lake I primarily fish, Coleto, was weed choked until 2 years ago and it was impossible to fish it.  But my buddy Clyde in North Arkansas has been using it for probably 10 years now and got us to fishing it a couple of years ago, and boy did those Lake Norfork bass, whites, hybrids, and stripers like it.  I will be real interested to see how it works the next couple of days on Travis, stay tuned for that.  Lets see if I can transfer that knowledge to a highland lake in South Texas.

And I can only imagine what the fish are doing up your way.  Our fish are a solid month ahead this year and have hit the beds in mass down here.  So it is not surprising your whites don’t know whether to head up or down, just have to see how your weather goes.   As I well know about your part of the country, you could get a foot of snow tomorrow or it might be spring.  Thanks for the comment, we will all be waiting to hear and see how your trip to Lake of the Woods goes this summer.  Keep in touch.

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You know where I am going with this.

I actually have a rant written on access.  Past of it deals not only with the failure of Game and Fish Commissions around the country failing to act as access for the common man dwindles, but the “money” that has taken over the good places and locked out the common man.  That is a story for another day, but this goes to the heart of the problem.  This sign was posted back in a creek in front of a palatial estate.  I try not to use profanity on the blog, but “blank you.”  “Near the shoreline?”  ON OUR WATER!  Just who does this guy think he is?  This is the kind of stuff that chaps my butt.

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I haven’t even got stuff put back in proper order from the fishing but I wanted to get this up.  It really was a good trip.  The whites cooperated and I could have loaded the boat.  So the run is starting, on, or over.  Guess that will be for the Travis guys to figure out, but they are catchable.  And the pressure from last week on the bass had me wondering, but whatever it might have been was gone by time I fished.  And being able to follow my own advice and get with the topwater was a thing of beauty, even if I did have to wade through dozens, and I mean literally dozens to catch a nice limit.  I was pleasantly surprised at my 5 bass limit, I can live with that any day on most any body of water.  No clue what is next, but this is a fishing frenzy and I have those new Controlled Descent Lures to try so I will be on the water ASAP.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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Random Ramblings 2/23/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Just my usual Saturday morning watching fishing and waxing poetic.  The last few weeks has been an awesome run.  This year started off slow thanks to the creeping crud, but has taken off from there.  I caught my first trout on a fly rod on a beautiful mountain stream in Colorado, fished the Nueces and will be fishing Lake Travis a couple of days this week, knocking them both off my Texas bucket list.  It would be impossible to count how many bass have come over the side of the boat this month.  And the clock is ticking down on Australia, a true bucket list destination.  Though I have somewhat neglected my Gulf fishing, with the new Controlled Descent Lure to explore, I will be back to the salt with a vengeance starting next week. What is not to like about all that?

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We are lucky to have Rusty, the Fayette/Bastrop guru, share his reports.

Doug,
Bastrop and Fayette are fishing well. 2-8′ water on swim jigs, senkos, and chatterbaits have been very productive. California craw color leading in plastics. LOTS of boats during the week can’t image how many on the weekend. I’m in the middle of remodeling a portion of our home, so I have been very busy.
Tight lines,
Rusty

As usual your reports give us plenty to think about when fishing either lake.  And I have been surprised at the number of folks fishing most places, I guess it is a product of our almost complete lack of winter this year.  Thanks and good luck on the remodel.  It often ends up being just like a B.O.A.T.! (Break Out Another Thousand.)

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I got this tip on Lake Travis from Lee, and it is right on point.

Hey Doug,
While on Travis you should Fish the Pedernales or up the Colorado arm up by the Narrows for some white bass. It is about to bust open on the Pedernales river and I think you’d said that was a bucket list thing in a recent post.

You are correct on the bucket list thing.  I have heard and read about he Pedernales River white bass run since I have been in Texas and have always wanted to fish it, and will absolutely be doing that Monday and Tuesday.  And if it all works out I might even box a striper or two, the Boss loves to eat them. I have been doing my map study, and I have a pretty good idea where to look this time of year for white bass in those areas you mentioned.  Additionally that particular pattern and locations for the early white bass run tends to be the same no matter what body of water they are on.  And one word on map study, I have to have the paper map in hand, not sure how to navigate all that internet/GPS hookup thing.   There are paper maps in my collection that span Florida to Canada, and they are invaluable.  (And a pretty good indicator of how much $$$ I have spent traveling and fishing.)  But heck, I always have a plan of some sort, but as we all know the best laid plans………  Thanks for the giving me the starting point.

Tip of the Day

On the subject of white bass I learned something last year that put some serious numbers, along with some real big ones, in the boat.  It would not have automatically come to mind that this lure would be something to throw on every white bass trip – The Alabama Rig.  Intuitively it seems to big to be effective, but it is absolutely not.  Thinking about it now I wish I had remembered to throw it on the Nueces, it would have smoked them.  Dang it! And with a crappie size umbrella rig made by several companies you can downsize the plastics and it is not as big a deal as throwing the full size, though the big rig catches whites.   It has an additional side bonus, like we found on Lake Norfork last spring, stripers and hybrids love it and knock the snot out of it.  So not only effective at catching whites up creeks and rivers, it is a great search bait that on lakes like Travis can get you some nice stripers.  So give it a go during the run and you might be pleasantly surprised.  And after all that pontificating I guess we will find out in a couple of days when I take my own advice.  Hope they are starting up there.

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A Rant

Sometimes I get worked up with the hypocrisy I see coming from the fishing world.  A top bass pro was on TV this morning imploring all of us not to keep and eat spawning bass so we have more babies for the future.  Do not get me wrong, I have no problem with those of you that like to fish for bedding bass.  It is not my cup of tea, but as I constantly state on this blog, if it is legal it is no one else’s business.  But what he fails to mention, the big time tournament season occurs during the spawn all over this country.  So here is the rub.

Apparently you think it is ok for you to catch big fish on the beds, tote them around in the live well all day, then transport them miles from their bed to be weighed.  Of course great care is taken to keep them alive, no complaints there.  But do not patronize the rest of us.  What it comes down to is the unsaid – It is ok for me because I am a big shot, but not for you.  Nobody can tell me that a big girl can go through all of that and then swim back 20 miles and finish her spawn.  I call BS, what is the difference between someone legally catching and eating a bedding bass and you taking one off the bed thereby ending her spawn, other than one may live to tell about it?  There is no difference to the effect on that spawn whichever way they are taken as the end result is the same, they don’t finish spawning.   Now if someone can cite me a real study where they have been removed from the bed for multiple hours, then released at some distant point, and returned to the bed and finished their spawn I would love to hear it.  When you fish a bunch it can get easy to forget we are all created equal under the law and what we all do under the law is our business.  His comment kinda reminded me of the prototypical politician – Do as I say and not as I do.

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I enjoyed this mornings fishing tip from Bill Dance on the Fishing Channel.  He said he sees many anglers breaking the tips off rods in doors and windows.  His advice – “Don’t do that.”  Well said Bill and we love your blooper videos.  And Timmy Horton has a new buzzbait out that looks like a real killer.  Of course all that did was get me starting to count the weeks until Coleto’s bass start in on the buzzbait.

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One thing that has proven itself time and time again to me while wading the bay is the value of gluing the plastics to the jig head.  After catching a bunch or reds big and small the other day I only used 2 pieces of plastic.   Normally who know how many they would have destroyed, but it would have been a bunch.  Of course once you do that the ones you pre-glue are that size only, so I usually do several of the ones I plan to use in a couple different jig weights so I can adapt to conditions.

What got me to thinking about that was the ability, on and in the water, to change the Controlled Descent Lures characteristics quickly to the conditions faced that day.  Man I love experimenting with new stuff.  After fishing most of the day I cleaned fish, cooked and cleaned up, then sat on the couch with a cold one and played with the new baits and thought about the various applications.  Kind of says it all about my addiction.  Finish a day of fishing by writing about it and playing with baits, then getting up this morning and watching fishing and writing about fishing some more.  Next it is cleaning the boat and preparing tackle for more fishing on Lake Travis.  Thank God there is no cure for what ails me!

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Now that I have blown off the morning with all things fishing time to accomplish something  today.  I hope you all are getting some fishing in and we would love to hear about it.  And if you get a chance, take a kid.  The time to take a kid is when they are biting. So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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