Coleto Creek 10/28/14.

Fish Catching Travel

All good plans have a flaw, and today mine had one, or maybe a couple more than that.  The plan was to hit a couple of the deeper grass beds in hopes of continuing the Swim Jig bite.  So first it was to the bank that I wacked them on last time, and not a bite.  So I figured it must be the place, so it was off to a couple of more similar places, but with the same result.

So from there I headed up lake and decided to throw some buzzbait and that went over like a lead balloon.  Now a couple of thing could account for that, the mile high sky, a mini front, and then the wind.  And let us not forget the lake is still falling and the grass is dying wholesale.  One of the reasons I went to the lake and not the Gulf was it was supposed to blow 20 mph, and by 11 it was, and then some.  I finally put a small one in the boat on buzzbait and then this one on the Swim Jig.

001Not all that much but he did knock the crap out of it, I am not sure what was wrong with the rest of them.

By now the wind was really starting to howl, and since it was rolling out of the south there were not to many places to hide.  And throwing the Swim Jig in that wind left a big bow in my line, and while I had a couple of more hits, by time I knew it they were gone.  It is tough to throw that jig and swim it deep in high winds.   So I finally put my thinking cap on and out came the spinnerbait.  Normally on Coleto I am throwing it quite a bit this time of year, but with the warm temperatures and falling lake it had not been on the plate this fall.

Of course the first bank I caught one.  So I kept moving around and catching one here and one there, but they just were not the size I was looking for.  I kept at it from 1 until 4, fighting the wind and floating grass, and when I finally quit about 10 came over the side, none of them worth a hoot.  They definitely wanted it buzzed quick right below the surface making a wake and the ones that hit ate it.   They wanted the number 4 willow leaf on a white tandem blade spinnerbait.  The willow leaf makes a huge boil as it wakes in and is a true reaction strike.  And if there was a point with the wind pounding on it there was at least one fish.   I think it was just a matter of a bad set of conditions making it tough.

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This is what they looked like on the spinnerbait.

So I am not sure what that trip was all about, but first it was a good thing I did not go the to the Gulf, that would have been a hassle with the wind.  Second, we need some real fall conditions, and it looks like we have it coming this weekend when it could dip into the  40′s on Friday night.  That can only help, but what we really need is some rain to stabilize the water level.  If we do not get some rain it won’t be long before the ramp gets pretty sketchy.

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The Shoedog was leaving his deer hunting grounds the other day and spotted this big guy on his way out.

big deer 001

This was taken from a long way and blown up.  No matter what it looks like a good shooter.

So good luck Shoedog, hope you get him this Saturday.  My mouth is watering thinking about fresh venison.

So with that somewhat disappointing morning Monday we are about to change gears and head back to the Gulf.  Tomorrow Chris and I are heading to the Ayers Bay area to take a look at the new pass and do some fishing.  I am not sure what to expect, but am really looking forward to fishing that area.  We might even sneak over to Cottonwood Bayou or Panther Point.  We will just have to see how it goes.  So keep stopping in, I will get the story up as soon as I can.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Stuff 10/27/14.

  Fish Catching Travel

Just wanted to get a few things posted this morning as I get ready to hit the water.  First I heard from Ken, one of the Austin crazies.  The boys will be down in a month for their big annual winter trip.  Last year I fished with them the day before the whole herd got here, but while we were fishing a massive 40mph cold front roared in from the North and it was nothing short of ugly for them all weekend.  As a group they managed to pull it out and sacked a pretty big bunch in spite of conditions.  Hope the weather is better next trip.

Ken did have a specific question from some of my pictures about the wading belt I use.  It is the Wade Right Fishing Belt from coastalfishinggear.com.  All I can say about that is I love that thing.  It has a back tube for a spare rod that does not interfere with anything, it has a rod holder on the front that keeps the rod out of the water when changing baits and taking fish off, and the small tackle box is high enough to stay dry in most wading situations.  It has several d-rings for attaching nets, pliers, and stringers.  It is efficient and well made.  I can not recommend it more highly.  It works.  Thanks for your kind comments Ken.  And if you buy a belt tell them fishcatchingtravel.com sent you.

http://www.coastalfishinggear.com/products.php?cat=4

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My buddy Chris invited me along on Saturday but after 5 days in a row I was beat and had some serious boat maintenance to do, so I passed.  He took his dad who is fairly new to bay fishing but it looks like they had a good day.

“A 24″er and one of those genetically modified 19 7/8″ off your favorite bank.  Probably 20 trout on the wade bank, all mine on plastics, dad caught a couple on top and some on popping cork.  Best was a nice fat 19″, then a 15 1/2″, rest all 13-14″

chriskeller

Nice one Chris.

His report seems to mirror mine and others I heard the last week or so.  Lots of trout, just tough on some of us to find those better ones.  The plan is to change that sometime  this week, and if you are reading this lets see if I get it done.  Thanks for the report.  And the rest of you send us your reports or pictures.  As you know I will not tell anything you want to hold close to the vest.  We all just like hearing how you did.

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I got a Coleto report from Joe and with my superior skill I managed to delete it.  Sorry Joe.  He fished a week or so ago and his report reminded me of the boat related troubles I have had lately.  The best I can re-tell it he had 3 things break, that ended up costing around $200 to fix, he only managed 5 fish, and some fool in a big ass bass boat cut across the grass bed he was fishing.  What made it worse there was only about 4 or 5 folks on the whole lake and that idiot did not give him space.  So better luck next time Joe.  The really good fishing for the big bass of Coleto is right around the corner so let us know how it goes next time.

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I actually had the opposite happen to me on the bay the other day.  I was first out and several boats came in the area and all of them kept far off the bank and nobody crowded me.  It was a real show of sportsmanship by those guys and I appreciated it.  The bay is a big place and it is nice when folks respect others.  Thanks guys.

When I got back to the ramp the other day I found my trailer plate sitting on the trailer bunk.  The plastic bracket that holds it must have broke right as I unloaded the boat.  Whoever found it was smart enough to look at all the trailers and figured out which one it belonged to.  So if you are the guy who did that a big thank you.  It saved me some bucks replacing it and a possible traffic stop on the way home.

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Holy mackerel!  That is all I can say about the Masked Flounder Assassin.  He has been at it again.  Talk about knocking them stupid, I think the next picture just about covers it.

Wow

Sweet!  Nice job dude.

I appreciate the report.  You flounder giggers have a couple of days until November 1 when the gigging season closes for the month.  So if that is your thing the time is now.  All I have to say about that is yummmmmm.  And I sure would not want the Masked Flounder Assassin after me with a gig.

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I heard from Rick and I wanted to thank him for his kind comments.  And Jeramie, those bass are just waiting for you with your name on them at Coleto, hope you are able to get back on the water soon.  I love hearing from you all, so keep those cards and letters coming.  In fact my birthday is in July and I will let you all know where to send the cool stuff.

One last word, fishcatchingtravel.com is having its biggest month yet.  In my wildest dreams I never envisioned that we would have over 18,000 visits in one month.  I can never express my appreciation to all of you.  You are an important part of this, it keeps me writing.  And it is great that I am hearing from more of you.  Thanks.

I am off to Coleto this morning.  Since my last trip I can not stop thinking about how they knocked the crap out of that swim jig as I reeled it through the tips of the submerged grass.  As it took me a little while to get the pattern down I did not have enough time to seriously work it.  There are about 4 or 5 places that should hold fish with that pattern, and as the weather has remained stable it should work.  With the wind forecast to hit 20 today Coleto it is.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Keller Bay 10/24/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I got to the ramp at Keller by daylight and was excited to be there.  The wind was out of the NE and light and the water was clear.  I headed to the pasture area where I caught them the other day and it was not long before the first one smashed that Rapala Skitter Walk.

001

Things were really looking up.

An hour later I was plagued with the same problem as the last trip, redfish rolling on it but not eating.  I kept with the topwater because they seemed to want it, and I expected at any minute they would start eating.  But other than the one above the only other redfish was a rat on the topwaterr.  Before the morning was over I realized that there had to be something more.

Finally a nice trout boiled it and missed.  So I threw it right back in the same place and he blasted it.  It was a funny morning, the ones that wanted it smoked it, but the majority of them were happy to follow it.

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This was definitely more like it.

It is so easy to stay with something to long, and I was so guilty of that.  For the next couple of hours it was topwater.  While I caught several more trout, they were not keepers.  Initially the fish were in 2 feet of water but when that sun came out full force as the tide slowly fell they deserted me shallow, another case of sticking with something to long.

So I moved out to deeper water to try and catch some more trout.

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This one fell to the Down South Lures plastic paddle tail that I am currently in love with.

Several more succumbed to that plastic before it finally tore so I opened the box and dang it, I forgot to go buy some more.  (I cured that this morning at Academy.)  Over the next hour 6 – 8 came on plastics, all about this size.  Guess I should measure some of them, but they were all out of the same mold, just under or touching is my guess.  I just could not find the better trout.

I switched to the popping cork and Rage Shrimp and caught another 4 or 5.  In past years at this time I have had good luck fishing a clear plastic shrimp under the cork but they just were not having that color.  The trout I did catch were out in the 3′ range as soon as the sun was up.  By this time the water quit moving, the wind quit blowing, and I just did not have it in me for any more fishing.  It was one of those days when I wished someone was with me, it would have motivated me to stay and wait for the next water movement.  But after fishing 5 days in a row it was time to take a break.

Plus it was time to replace line on all the reels, straighten out the tackle bag which was a mass of baits and plastics, and do some basic reorganization of all the fishing stuff.  Of course that did not happen as the minute I sat down in the chair at the house I immediately fell asleep.  It is hell getting old.

Of course here it is Saturday and now I wish that I had accepted Chris’ offer to fish with him and his dad today.  But it was nice to sleep in today and take advantage of an easy day to get my stuff together.

Odds and Ends

Looking back on my last couple of trips to the Gulf I am not real happy with the way I fished.  Though catching plenty of trout has not been a problem, size is.  And though I have heard that from several folks it is time to change places and tactics.  If the little ones are biting good, the better fish must be also.  So it must be location so it is time to get the map out and do some basic study.  I have the map of our area memorized, but it never hurts to think about what is happening and then see if you can make an adjustment.  But I know one thing, it is time to put my thinking cap on and get out of this small trout rut.

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I met Dustin today at Academy.  A fireman at Port Lavaca, he has just moved to the area, and as a bass fisherman he is excited to get in to the salt.  He had an encounter with a big black drum the other day which he lost now has got the fever.  So I hope to take him soon and help him with the basics of getting started.  It has been my pleasure the last couple of years to fish with folks like him and help them get their feet wet, just as Dick Lane, Mac McGuiness, and a host of others did who took me under their wing when I started guiding in the 70′s.  Pass it on, it is good for the sport.

And now I have heard of the 4th person in a few days who has hit a deer.  The one Dustin hit was a nice 8 pointer.  It may still be warm but the deer are on the move.  If this is any indication it should be a banner opening weekend next week.

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Speaking of deer the Shoedog got a small place to hunt so this morning he set up his ground blind and sat a while to see if it was in the right place, and it is.  He had 8 deer come close, including some who came right up to the blind.  He was quiet and none spooked.  So he slid out and when he was leaving he saw a monster buck so he is starting to get wound up.  As we are supposed to get our first real cool fall front this Thursday into Friday it should be a great opener.  The place also has some hogs so I am hoping some sausage and sticks are in our future.  Who knows, I may even gat a chance to kill one.  I used to hunt deer but with no place to hunt down here it has been a while.

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I told you about Aaron catching some nice flounder the other day.  I intended to give this method a try, and like all good intentions, it went undone.  But I do want to tell you about it, because it makes so much sense.  Basically what he was doing was a variation of the bass fishing drop shot technique.  He tied a small bell sinker like you would use catfishing at the end of his main line.  The he put his hook up around a foot above it on the main line and used a 2″ Gulp.  He said it was great and rarely got hung up on the shell.  He concentrated on small drains coming out of the marsh, smart as the shrimp are migrating out, and then just drug it real slow stopping occasionally to shake it a little bit.  He caught flounder, trout, and redfish.  What a great way to keep it right in the face of a flounder.  And speaking of flounder remember the limit goes to 2 fish on November 1, running until December 14 for pole and line.

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Next it will be a couple of days with the Shoedog.  It will probably be down here somewhere on the Gulf.  I am determined to figure out a pattern for the better trout.  There are several different fishing opportunities available in the fall and one thing I want to do is hit Somerville Lake near College Station where the Shoedog lives.  I spent many late fall days in Arkansas fishing for white bass.  Not the best eating, it is just fun to catch them.  Once located you can often catch them until you are tired of it and Somerville is full of them along with some hybrids, one hard fighting fish that hangs with the whites.  And it is coming up on big blue cat time.  A couple of years ago drifting Coleto was productive for some pretty nice blues.

I have a couple of more how-to articles in the works and will have several reports coming this week.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lake Naconiche 10/ 21-22/14.

­Fish Catching Travel

A Close Call

Over the years I have had lots of interesting/terrifying things happen towing boats from Canada to Key West, but this latest incident was something new.  It reinforces how you have to take the occasional moment and look the trailer and tow vehicle over from one end to the other before you head out.  Would it have made a difference? Who knows.  And it proves that consistency can be a life and equipment savior.

As I pulled onto the ramp on Highway 59 all of a sudden I felt the trailer come loose from the truck.  Luckily I was only going around 30 when it happened and I pulled over to the side and got out to see what in God’s name had happened.  Initially I figured the trailer had popped off the ball, even though I have a pin in the coupler to keep that from happening.  Imagine my surprise to see the slide in hitch and ball had come out of the receiver.  Some how, who knows, the big pin had broken (unlikely), or more likely the cotter pin that holds the big pin in place had broken allowing the pin to work its way out.

I am big on walking around the trailer when I head out, but this is something I have never seen or heard of.  I don’t know if it was a defect in the big pin or the cotter pin gave out, but either way it could have been a disaster.  Think about it, the trailer was still attached to the ball and the slide in hitch.

There are two lessons to be learned here.  Next time you get ready to tow check the condition of both pins.  I am not sure this could have been avoided with inspection, but maybe the cotter pin was worn, or there was some visual defect in the big pin, but either way it will be added to my inspection.  There is a slide in with a lock that keeps folks from stealing it, and that may have solved the problem, who knows.

But there is a bigger lesson to be learned here, one I learned 25 years ago, cross the safety chains under the tongue so that when something like this happens the trailer can not dig in the ground, which could be life threatening to those people driving around you.  I do it every time I hitch up.  In my case the chains were crossed enough that even with the slide in hitch still attached to the trailer it did not dig into the pavement.  I was close to Bob at Victoria Marine so I whipped over there, got a new pin, and was back on the road in 10 minutes.  It could have been worse, much worse.  Another in the long line of lessons learned when you tow a boat 10′s of thousands of miles.

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Sharing Information Makes Us All Better Fishermen

I love meeting other fishermen and seeing how they did.  The other day at the ramp I met a couple of great guys who had a nice string of redfish and were kind enough to share how they caught them.  One thing I have been thinking about for quite some time is fishing plastics without a jig head, and I should have listened to that little fisherman inside my head.

010

Mr. Miller and Mr. Robertson, a couple of good fishermen.

Basically they were fishing a straight tail plastic weightless on a single hook.  When the reds are really shallow it only makes sense.  If there is little grass it can be fished hooked exposed, and if there is lots of grass it can be fished with the barb in the plastic like we fish for bass.  Something so simple and effective that I feel like a fool for not fishing it when the conditions are right and the reds are super shallow.  And when they told me they were blowing up on it I can’t wait to try it next time.  So thanks guys, it was great meeting you and I appreciate you educating me.

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The Shoedog’s Big Adventure  (Just like PeeWee!)

The Shoedog headed to East Texas to try some new water, and it turned into a tough trip.  It happens, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

2 Days on Lake Naconiche 

“I have been wanting to do some prospecting on more Texas lakes now that I am retired and have the time to get out and get around. I heard about Lake Naconiche  northeast of Nacogdoces and headed up. It is a new fishery opened to the public in 2012 and getting good reviews. 

It is about 2.5 hours or so from my place in College Station, so I got an early start on Tuesday morning and was out the door by 4:40 am with plans to be on the water by 8. No traffic and clear sailing! That is until Mr. Spike decided to commit suicide by Tacoma on my rear drivers side of my truck. About 8 miles north of Groveton he ran out and I thought at first he had just the boat and or trailer, but it was the truck. I inspected everything as best I could with a flashlight and then stopped  in Lufkin when the sun got up and I could get a better view. Nothing to slow me down so there wasn’t  much I could do but Go Fishing! 

naco1

The third person I know who has hit a deer in the last 3 days!  Tough luck Shoedog.

When I got to the lake it is a nice facility all new with a good ramp and a nice dock- looks good so far. I go put in and started out across from the ramp on some points. Both creek arms of this lake are extreme flooded timber and the main lake area is fairly open with a lot of banks that are fairly deep banks covered of course in hydrilla.  I started with the Strike King KVD square bill 1.5 to see if I could call them out of the grass. I caught 1 small bass but that was it. I went back in a couple coves and threw a frog over the mattes of grass and had absolutely no response- surprised me. 

Next I throw my old standby gold Rapala Husky Jerk- no reply from Mr. Bass. I tried a larger Husky Jerk in a striped pattern and caught a couple small bass and just kept working my way toward the dam area. By now it is almost noon- i worked that whole area over good. So I moved into the south arm of the lake and fished an area on the south side just before the trees really start and caught a couple on a larger jerk bait- a Smithwick Super Rogue. I tried a swim bait rigged sideways and had one small bass pull on the paddle tail. Again- small bass. The crazy thing about this day was I ended up catching eight small bass and 1 nice crappie-all on jerk baits- nothing else except the first on a crank- and EVERY fish was caught in the side or the top or the tail. Not a one in the mouth. 

I know it was a cold (relative) front with high skies and the worst period of the cycle, but these fish were VERY tentative. I threw a few more baits- nothing but jerk bait would bring strikes- i talked with a couple other boats- it was a tough day! I headed up to Longview and stayed with a good bud- Thanks Kevin!- had pizza and beer and watched the World Series- A good ending to a tough day fishing. And- oh yeah- I broke a rod trying to get a bait off a tree too- and on my self proclaimed “last cast” I lost my favorite Rogue to a Naconiche tree! 

naco2

The cost of doing our business.  Breaking rods is usually my job.

So- I forced my self to go back the next day and try to figure them out. I rigged a Strike King swim jig with a Rage Craw on one rod- a Bass Assassin on another and a heavy jig/frog on a third and decided to slow down and try to learn something. I am not the best at this type of fishing, but it seemed to be the way to catch some bass in this tree and hydrilla filled (supposed)bass factory. 

I figured that since I had luck on the hard jerk bait on Tuesday that Wednesday I would have luck with the Bass Assassin-same theory/action only more subtle and weedless- get it down to them! Well- shows you what I know- a solid hour- not a bite! So I switch to the swim jig- one more hour- not a bite. This in areas where I caught fish the day before. Next- jig/pig- another hour- some different areas with more timber- nothing.

Now- I am not the best bass fisherman out the- far from it- but I can catch fish and a big part of it is keeping your line wet and not giving up- so I kept at it. I am not a big lure switcher either- i know that certain baits catch fish in certain conditions and I usually keep at it with proven baits. But- these fish were NOT HAVING IT! 

After trying to catch them on tactics I thought were lake/conditions appropriate- I tied back on a jerk bait- this time the larger 3 hook Husky jerk. On my 3rd cast I actually caught a bass. it was almost a nice one- and he had it in his mouth! I thought maybe it was on! But- that was it and I had fished almost 2 solid days and gave up. I had a good drive home and had to hit the road. 

naco3

What a grown man has to show for 2 days.  Sorry it was so tough.

Other observations on the lake- I like the fact that they have marked the channel almost all the way up south creek arm- makes it much easier- and safer- to get around. I did not mark a lot of bait fish on the locator- was a little surprised- even in some of the deeper areas of open water I didn’t mark much. Everything must have been hiding out waiting for me too go home. I have heard great stories from the lake and I am sure they are there- just not my time, I guess. Anybody else been to Lake Naconiche? I would be  interested to hear your reports.

Oh well- now I am waiting on the insurance adjuster to come out to the house and get that out of the way. Oh well- my next trip will be better- it just about has to be! I  I hope redfishlaw had better luck in the salt while I was up in the Piney Woods! Good luck and tight lines!”

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Over the years the Shoedog and I have been on some tough trips, and this has to go down as one of the tougher.  Sorry I didn’t go with you, sort of.  But it is trips like this that just stiffen our resolve to figure things out.  And if you do not try new places you can never grow as a fisherman.

So keep stopping in folks, there are lots of other reports that will be posted soon, including the Friday trip to the Gulf.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Coleto Creek 10/23/14.

Fish Catching Travel

This is day 4 of my 5 consecutive days of fishing.  Monday POC, Tuesday Coleto, Wednesday Keller, Thursday Coleto, with Friday yet to come.  I have not decided where tomorrow, but it will definitely be the Gulf.  The wind looks great, and with one tide that should have some good water movement, I am really looking forward to some serious topwater fishing.

After getting the honey do list done today I headed for the lake.  It was around 3 when I got there and sad to say it looks like the water is dropping.  We really need some rain or the ramp could get ugly pretty soon.  Also the grass is dying wholesale, and that combined with the dropping water level has definitely repositioned the fish.

The first couple of hours was slow, and actually I did not have a bite.  I threw the box at them without success until I finally put my thinking hat on and headed to a downlake channel bank that still has some good green grass growing in 3 – 5 foot close to the drop.  As I have seen some fish chasing shad I put on a white Strike King Swim Jig with a white Caffeine Shad as a trailer.  It took exactly 5 minutes before I had one smack it and broke my line.  To bad it was the only white one I had.  So I switched to a black and blue with a Rage Craw trailer and it was game on.

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Number 1 boat.

For about an hour I went over and over that bank.  I ended up breaking another one off, so I went from a rod with 10lb test to one with 12 and put 3 more in the boat and missed a couple more.  They wanted it reeled along at a moderate speed so that it was tipping the tops of the grass.  As soon as it hit grass I would speed it up and they would smack it.  Before I left them I did put one that was a little better in the boat.

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If I got this guy wonder how big those were that broke my line.

While I was catching them Shoedog called and he was on his little lake, and what was he catching them on?  The Swim Jig.  Funny how we were both getting them in different lakes at the same time on the same bait.  Who would have “thunk” it!

Clearly the fish are seeking cover in close proximity to deep water.  Find the right patch of grass right now that fits the pattern and the fish should be there.  The sun was finally getting behind the hills so it was time to throw a little buzzbait.  The second one I caught on buzzbait wasn’t all that but I did want to show you the picture, which I took on purpose.

008

When I say it is all about the fishing I am not kidding.

My phone rang and it was Paul from Muskie Bay Resort in Canada.  I was making our reservation for next year and casting at the same time.  I missed another one right after this one before I hung up.  So here I am fishing, talking on the phone, and making a reservation for next years Canada trip.  It really is all about the fishing for me.

And Paul was funny when he said he did not need a deposit right now, but would probably be calling in January when he was broke.  Times can get tough running a resort in the dead of winter in Canada.  So Clyde and Shoedog, the dates are set.  We are going late summer to hit the August full moon.  Paul is one of the premier musky fisherman and he loves to troll them up at night during the August moon.  I think he promised me a 50lber, or maybe it was we should catch some, something like that.

I fished both points at the mouth of the ramp cove and before the mosquitos ran me off I put another 5 in the boat, and missed a couple more.  They really moved shallow right before dark and were in the scattered grass on both points chasing bait.

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A great way to end the day and you could not ask for a more beautiful sunset.

Not a bad for a short afternoon trip.  After struggling a little the last couple of trips I am looking forward to getting back on Coleto to try a couple of other places that fit the pattern.  What we really need is some rain to get the lake coming up and some cool nights to drop the water temperature.  But they can be caught right now so I am not complaining.

Friday it will be one those fish until you drop days at the Gulf.  Wednesday they were hitting lots of different baits so it will be a matter of refining exactly what technique will catch the better trout.  So look for that report and I got the Shoedog’s report and will get it posted tomorrow.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Keller Bay 10/22/14.

Fish Catching Travel

In keeping with what has turned into this week’s plan, fishing 5 days in row, it was off to Keller Bay.  I hadn’t been back there since Aaron caught the giant redfish so anticipation was high.  Every once in a while you get a sign that you have made the right choice in where you decide to fish, and I got one today.  Monday we put in at POC and there was maybe 6 trucks and trailers at the ramp, when I got to Keller about 8 am there was 8 trucks and trailers.  For a week day that was a bunch.  Remember if there is N or NE wind Keller is a good choice as the whole north bank is protected.  And the best thing, the water this morning was that wonderful clear blue trout water.

The plan was a straight wade day.  Part of that plan was to wade a big stretch of the north shoreline along the high bank.  I knew immediately I was late.  There was bait and fish moving everywhere and I caught a trout on topwater in about 5 minutes.  From then on it was bites all the way until I quit at 2.

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Talk about a bite!

Part of what I wanted to get done today was to fish several things, and I did.  Though the first mistake was switching topwaters.  Starting with a smaller Skitterwalk in the chrome got me some trout and one fairly nice red, but there were multiple misses.  I had several nice reds boil it close to me, a cool sight but they were not eating it.  So I tried the KVD in the small bone color and the large Sexy Shad, but they were just not having it so I went to plastics.

Let me take a moment to tell you about a new to me bait I have been using.  Lately I have been using a new plastic from Down South Lures that has started to show up at stores in our area .  It has a much smaller paddle tail on the end which combines the best of the paddle and straight tail baits and it flat catches fish.  It has a nice firm body, but does not have dead feel some plastics have, and it can take a lot of fish without tearing.  When combined with a 1/16th ounce jig head can be effectively fished in really shallow water.  So far I have caught flounder, reds, trout, black drum, and a few other odds and ends.

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Last one in that bag so it is off to Academy before tomorrow.  Try them, they work.

I actually stayed on that same bank until 1:30 catching fish off and on for 5 hours.  Most of the trout were small, a problem, but not a bad one to have if you like catching fish.  Mixed in were the occasional keeper sized.  By time I left it was an easy 20 or so, with around 4 or 5 so that would have kept, but since I was not measuring today who knows.  Most of the fish were caught waist deep throwing the Down South into 3 – 4 feet of water near the slight drop running down that bank.  And it helps that there is grass out there in that depth.

010Lots were like this, borderline but since I was not sacking them today I didn’t measure any.

As part of the plan I wanted to throw the popping cork with a Rage Shrimp tail and the MirrOLure Mirrodine in the soft body.  They were not interested in the Mirrodine, but the popping cork caught several.  The wind was perfect as it was blowing right down the bank when I decided to quit.  So anchor up and drifting to ramp it was popping cork.  I caught several trout and another red.

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Never a doubt when a red takes that popping cork down.

Just for the heck of it I tossed that chrome Skitterwalk and caught several drifting in that 3 foot range.  The wind had come up some but they were still hitting topwater.  If I had stayed with the Skitterwalk a lot more fish would have come over the side on topwater.  But no complaint when the plastic bite was consistent the whole morning.  It is a tough life when they are biting and you can not make up your mind what to throw.

It turned out to be a good trip, if I did not want to get home and clean the boat and do a few other things I would have stayed.  Those days when they bite all day are few and far between.  The area reports are still lots of small trout, and that has been my experience.  But the numbers of 13 – 14″ trout is a sign of things to come.  And with our new reduced limit we can expect things to really improve on big trout in the next couple of years.  And with our really good winter fishing for big trout right around the corner, and I can barely wait.

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Here is a cool picture of a snake, a big snake.  It was killed in our neighborhood this weekend.  Initially it was reported as a rattlesnake, but my buddy Chris says it is a Cottonmouth.  No matter what it is one big pit viper!

snake

Look at the head on that thing, now that would leave a mark!

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So after 3 straight days of fishing you would think that it might be an off day, but no.  This will be a 5 straight days of fishing.  We have clouds so it will be off to Coleto for an afternoon bass trip.  But I am really looking forward to tomorrow.  We will have a one tide day with a good high and low, and it has the potential to be awesome.  One thing on the agenda is Aaron’s method for catching good flounder, hope it works like I think it will.  Just pray for light winds.  Where is still the question.  It will simply be a matter of wind direction.

I also just got the Shoedog’s report on his trip to Noconiche so I will get it up later today or tomorrow.  Of course there will be a couple of more reports from bass fishing this afternoon and the Gulf tomorrow.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.  Fish till you drop!

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 10/21/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I had some of those things that needed doing that get in the way of fishing, so I got them done and it was off to Coleto for an afternoon trip.  There was very little wind when I got there, and it looks like the lake has remained about stable since my last trip.  The grass is still receding and it has changed what pattern I did have.

First it was up lake to throw some swim jig.  There was no wind so I just worked what isolated grass patches I could find.  The first one over the side was small, and then I went about an hour without a bite.  With no wind and some grass on the bank it was the frog next.  A small one missed it, then a pretty good one blew up on it and I missed him.  At this point the wind was starting to blow a little so I decided to give a spinnerbait a try.

The first one missed it out of a small patch of grass so I decided to buzz it to the patches and stop it.  I caught a small one then finally caught one worth catching.

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No giant but at least I finally got one worth a hoot in the boat.

The wind would just not blow hard enough for efficient spinnnerbait fishing so I finally broke down and got out the buzzbait.   It is one of my most effective baits into November and December before it gets really cold.  And around my second cast a real giant blew up on it and missed it.  It was the biggest fish I have seen in a while so it was buzzbait the rest of the evening.

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After about 3 or 4 more hits this fatty finally hooked up.

By this time I was midlake on a flat bank with grass and small points and getting a few bites.  When the one above missed it I just dropped it and he ate.  Which made me wish I had done that on the big fish.  Oh well, live and learn.  Not 15 minutes later on a little flat point one just climbed all over it with one of those bites that keeps me throwing the buzzbait.

007They love that Strike King buzzbait in the Sexy Shad.

After this one something happened that really surprised me, I never got another bite.  I worked my way down lake all the way to the ramp, fishing grass, points, calm, wind, shade, you name it, and they just were not having it.  So right before sundown I called it a day.

For the day it was at least a dozen bites, but only 5 over the side.  It comes down to one thing, we need that water temp to drop.  Instead we continue to be in the high 80′s  every day with warm nights, not enough to get the fish thinking about the fall feed.  Most of our fishing this year has been later than usual on both the Gulf and freshwater, and it seems to be the case on the lake this fall.  And our forecast is no help for the week as it will remain warm.  But no fear, our good fishing is coming and as soon as we have a cool day with clouds and rain the fish will bite like crazy.

The Shoedog will have a report in a day or two.  I don’t want to steal his thunder, but his day sure started off interesting.  So look for that soon.  And I did want to add one thing – Quit throwing your f’n line in the lake you idiots.  When I got back to the ramp I had about 40 yards of some ridiculously heavy mono wrapped on my prop.  Not only can it mess up seals on the lower unit, but much worse, it kills things.  I can’t believe there are people that clueless and uncaring.

Speaking of wildlife several deer were feeding around the lake, and I saw a rub on a tree about as big as my leg.  No little spike made that one.  I saw a couple of gators, and when I pulled the boat out to put it on the trailer this guy would not get out of the way until I shooed him off.

009

When you throw your line in the lake it is little guys like this that suffer and die.

So what is next?  It will be on the water somewhere, maybe for the next three days.  I haven’t been to the Powderhorn or Indianola in a while so as long as we get out of this north wind one of those will be next.  The tides are still crap, but it looks like Friday we may actually have a real 1 high and low tide day with what looks like good flow, so that will definitely be a Gulf day.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 10/20/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Today was the first day of what will be several days of fishing this week.  The weather is coming around and we don’t have that many days until the time change.  With that will come getting up and hour earlier to be somewhere at daylight.  Today it was fishing with my buddy Jeffish, who hasn’t fished with me in while.

We got to Froggie’s around 9:30 and the plan was first Big Bayou for some reds, then the Oil Cut for some to trout, and then a wade.  That plan worked out, sort of.  When we got to the Gulf it was blowing 10 mph or so out of the north, I don’t know what the water temp was, but I know it has cooled significantly, and as it has been for weeks, the tide was super high.

With the wind blowing straight down the Bayou it was definitely a spinnerbait kind of day.  We started right at the mouth and fished the whole left and right side.  My real goal today was to get Jeffish a nice red.  When I was getting him a spinnerbait I had one white Redfish Magic and I thought what the heck.  They are eating white shrimp and mullet so it made sense.  And it was definitely better than the colors I tried.  I think he caught 5 in there, and these were the keepers.

abcd

 Headed for broiled redfish on the half shell.

It probably took about 2 hours to fish the whole thing.  He caught 5 or so, I caught 3 or 4, the only problem was several of his hit the cooler, mine were midgets.  I also missed a red that might have made the grade.  The better fish were on the soft bottom, flat grass banks.  We just stayed off the bank and cast to the edge of the grass followed by a nice steady retrieve.

 On the way to the Oil Cut the wind started picking up to 15mph plus.  It was blowing right in so we started near the mouth of the cut, and I caught a trout on my first cast.  As we went down the bank 6 or 8 came over the side, with one sand trout, all on paddle tail plastic.  As usual it was tough to fish with a bow in your line, but you just had to man up.  Jeffish kept with the spinnerbait, and while he missed a couple of small trout on it, that bank is deep with a sharp drop, rarely a good spinnerbait bank.

We made a pass and a half down the Cut, and though we caught some trout and a couple of rat reds, just like last trip there were no keepers to be had.  So with that result we decided to head back, make one more spinnerbait pass in Big Bayou, and then see if my favorite wading bank had some clear water.  Once we made it back down to the Bayou the water was really beginning to cloud up.  I missed a good red, and I think we both caught one or two small ones before we headed to Barroom.  Unfortunately by this time the wind had a serious head of steam and was blowing down Barroom.  So we did one drift on the POC side and caught another 2 or 3 rat reds.  So instead of running way the hell and gone to find clear water with little wind we called it day.

We did have something happen today that was just interesting.  When I fileted the one it had something hard in her gut so I cut it open, and boy was it weird.  In her belly was a rubber grommet about the size of a quarter.  That just shows you, those wacky redfish will eat anything if you just get it in front of their face.

If you are a black drum fisherman you need to get out there now.  We saw black drum here and there during the day.  A couple of them were hooters.  Funny we just didn’t throw at them but neither of us wanted one so we passed.  And while we were cleaning fish a guide came in with his customers and they had a cooler  full of them.  And speaking of no better time, Aaron caught 4 flounder with a new method the other day.  Not sure where he heard of it, but as soon as we get back to the Gulf flounder will be on my menu and I will fill you in.

The Shoedog is getting up at some ridiculous time tomorrow and heading to a small lake in East Texas.   Lake Naconiche is near Nacogdoches TX.  It is around 700 acres, and while we are not sure what he will find, we have heard good things.  Of course a bass almost 13 lbs being caught there doesn’t hurt anything.  So good luck Shoedog, hear how it works out.

We had a good time, and considering we didn’t marathon fish, we caught some fish.   And it was real nice as there was hardly anyone out there.  Jeffish was happy, that is one of the better reds he ever caught.  I was happy, I was fishin’.   Now I just have to decide what is next.  I haven’t hit the lake in a while, but if the wind doesn’t blow it will be back to give the flounder a go.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Stuff 10/18/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Just wanting to share a couple of things with you that have piled up over the last few days.  One thing I have heard lately from several folks is how good both the flounder gigging and fishing has been.  Of course it is that time of year, and with the limits about to change in November this is the best time of the year top sack a few.  So with that said here you go…….

flounder

Now that is some nice flounder!

I got this picture from the Masked Flounder Assassin.  A lifetime flounder gigger, he set up his new to him boat this summer and it looks like he is making good use of it.  Thanks for the pictures Dude, I can taste them melting in my mouth just looking at the pictures.

I also heard from my buddy Aaron while we were at the Orroyo that he had figured out the flounder the other day at the Gulf.  He did say that he was using the 2″ Gulp Shrimp.  As soon as he gets back in town I will get you some more details on that one.  I am sure we will be flogging several different species this week in several different places.

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The Shoedog’s buddy Terry, a Nebraska Cornhusker, and someone I fished with on Falcon, got a new GoPro and he sent me his first video.  It shows what having a camera at the ready will do for you.  A good start Terry, so keep them coming.  And be sure to send me those big buck down pictures this fall when you get one of those big Nebraska monsters.  And one other question big boy, when the heck are you gonna get down here for some Gulf fishing?  I will be happy to show you some real fish!

 Be sure to send me more, we love to see them.

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And to the rest of you folks, we love to see your pictures and videos so please send them along with your story.  I am happy to add them to my content, it helps me out too.  So that is it for today.  Next it is Hogs vs. Georgia, A&M vs. Alabama, and a host of other games. Then it is back to the fishing.  One trip I want to do soon is to Lake Sommerville to catch some white bass.  While not on most peoples bucket list, I love catching them in the fall, and Sommerville also has a good population of Hybrid stripers and they fight like the devil.  So keep stopping in, keep those cards and letters coming, and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Orroyo City Texas 10/17/14.

Fish Catching Travel

I am finally  back from the lower Laguna Madre, and it was an interesting trip for several reasons.  The Shoedog, Chris, and I headed out Tuesday morning for the Orroyo area towing the airboat.  It was Chris’ second trip down there, and while Shoedog and I have fished out of South Padre several times, this was a relatively new area for us.  It took us a little longer than usual to get there as we had to stop a Roy’s Bait and Tackle so Chris could pick up another Yeti.  No he did not buy it, he won it with a raffle ticket he bought from the Shark-A-Thon.  Believe me, we needed another Yeti on this trip like we needed a hole in the head, but who would turn down a free 75 quart.  He also won a heavy duty offshore rod and reel last year so his raffle money has been well spent.

Day 1

I will get you the name of the place we stayed from Chris and add it to this post later, but it was a small 2 bedroom cabin with kitchen facilities and a lighted pier for night fishing.  So we settled in and headed to get something to eat.  It was Chili Willies for supper.  Good food at a good price.  Be advised in Arroyo City there are only 2 places to get something to eat, 3 on the weekend.  But Chili Willies hits the spot for hungry fisherman and is worth a try if you are down there. We did a little night fishing under the light and other than 4 or 5 small trout it was slow so we called it a day.

First thing the next morning it was off to Peyton’s Bay, north of the Orroyo Colorada Cutoff.  Chris headed to the west shoreline to chase reds with his flyrod, Shoedog and I waded out into the bay looking for trout.

003

Shoedog and Chris.  The only way to go. 

Shoedog caught a couple of ladys on topwater, as I did.  I got a little luckier, so to speak, and lost a good trout near bait, and had a big red boil my topwater about 3 foot from me.  I think Chris might have missed a red, but other than that we are shut out so we headed to the islands in front of the bay and tried the one of the cuts between them.  Chris had a couple take a swat at his fly, but none hooked up.  Meanwhile Shoedog and I just could not put a trout on the stringer.

Next it was across the bay heading a little south to the east shoreline.  That shoreline is a true sand flat.  It has miles and miles of shin deep water clear as moonshine.  The goal was to sight fish for redfish.  It reminded me of bonefishing, a real spot and stalk area.  Chris had a tailer go down on his fly and not eat it, and he got a couple of other shots that did not pan out.  Shoedog missed one, caught another ladyfish, and then had a good keeper break his line.  Right after I got out of the  boat I got a shot at a red who followed it all the way in and then spooked.  Finally I made a perfect cast to one in about 12″ of water and he turned on it and ate a plastic.  It is flat out cool to see them do that.  I did not take the flyrod this time but will definitely return and give that a go.

We made one more stop on the flat further down and something happened I have never seen before.  As we came to a stop there was a nice red who got seriously confused and turned and slammed into the side of the boat so hard he knocked himself out!  Now that was crazy.  We all had a shot or two on that wade, but none hooked up so off we went.

Next it was an area labeled 46 East of Green Island.  The wind finally kicked up some and we drifted the north end of the island east and finally put a couple of nice trout in the boat.  Shoedog got us started with a nice 19″+, and I put one in the boat.  We had been giving him some crap about how firm the Coccahee Minnow plastics are, and of course he caught several more on it.  It was a green and red body and he had it rigged upside down.  But no matter how it was rigged they liked it.  We made a couple of other drifts in that area without success so it was time for another move.

From there it was off to the area on the Padre Island side of the Intercoastal in front of Rattlesnake Bay for some drifting to finish off the day.  That area is marked on the map as number 34 Grass Beds and 48e Mike’s Drop Off.  Shoedog put another keeper trout in the boat on plastics.  It was funny when we were talking about fall fishing and I commented I had not caught a big black drum in a while.  And of course what happened?

001

A great fight on my light trout rod and 8lb. test.

When he hit it was one of those toss it in there and the minute it hit the water he was on.  I knew it was a black the minute I set the hook and while it was a good struggle, he did not make the box.  We did not even check if he fit the slot, none of us considers them worth the effort to clean for what you get.  So our day was done and it was back to the cabin.

015

Headed for the fish fry as the guests of honor.

The airboat was a great asset there.  The amount of shallow water down there is astounding, and as it was a learning trip we wanted to cover lots of places to get a real feel for the area.  And with the day 1 fishing we did some serious riding around and looking at stuff.  One piece of advice if you have never been down there, be careful.  Those of us up here in the POC area think we have some shallow water but there are miles and miles of water less than 2 foot, with lots in the 1 foot range in the lower Laguna, be advised.

Day 2

The next morning we hit the ramp a little after 6 and headed down the Laguna to start in an area labeled 26 East, of Three Islands.  It is a has a depression that is 3 foot deep and the trout were there.  To bad they were small.  We did catch a couple on top, and some on plastics, but just could not get the better ones to bite.   We tried a couple of other drifts here and there and then it was 25, Oil Field Flats.  I think we might have caught another couple of small ones, but as the tide was slack they were taking a break.

We did some cruising around the Cullen Channel area just looking, stopping here and there, tossing to a few deeper channels.  The only excitement was Shoedog stuck a big ray on his trout rod and it was quite the fight.  It finally broke off near the boat after a long fight.  Hard to land those things on light line and a trout rod.

One thing that was amazing this trip is there was almost no wind both days.  Well finally the wind started blowing about 10 mph out of the Southeast, blowing into Cullen Bay.  We made our first drift from Townsite Point into area 32 Flounder Hole.  There is a sandy area on the Townsite Point side that turns to grass in about 2 foot of water.  On drift number 1 Shoedog had a big blow up on topwater, and Chris had a couple of hits on top, they were definitely redfish so we motored up and did another drift when a nice school of redfish, maybe 12 – 20 were right in front of the boat.  Chris hooked up, Shoedog hooked up, and I almost hooked up.  To bad when I retied earlier I forgot to wet the fluorocarbon knot and my knot came untied, rookie mistake.

006

A nice red.  Look at his mouth, that thing choked on that Zara Spook, you don’t see them eat it that far to often, especially head first.

So now things are really looking up.  They are eating, we see them moving all over the flat, and it looks like it is on.  But wait just a minute fish heads, the fish Gods were about to remind us what can happen out there.

Chris went to start the airboat and the bendix on the starter was not seeming to catch.  He tried a couple of times and then we heard a piece of metal hit the bottom of the airboat.  Yikes, one of the starter bolts broke off at the block.  We tried a quick fix with a strap and of course it wouldn’t work, and when he tried it again we heard the other bolt give way.  So there you have it, the starter is hanging off the motor.  Now we are at least a mile from the intercoastal via super shallow water.  But all was not lost, Chris has SeaTow.

Folks, it has been quite a while since I have been broke down and I had let mine lapse, but that will not happen again.  The tide was way out and we were in a place where there is no way in unless you had an airboat.  And if we had to wait until someone saw us we would still be sitting there.  But Chris called them and they sent an airboat to get us.

011

Getting hooked up.  When I say shallow water we are talking shallow.

As Chris had the full package they actually sent the airboat and they towed us back to our home port, in this case the ramp at Orroyo City.   So off we went at a blazing 5 miles an hour.  As we cut across a shallow flat our boat hung on a sand pile and the rope broke so we hooked back up and kept on going.

009

Re-tying and off we went.

Our trip back ended up taking over 2 hours, it is hard to get a head of steam with a smaller airboat towing a bigger one.  But we spent the time watching the bottom for cuts and holes, and we added a couple of more places to the list of where to fish next time.  We saw a couple of deer, a coyote, and one Nilgi cow that I couldn’t see.  It was interesting as we entered into the Orroyo Colorado we ran the mangrove shoreline along the wildlife area and watched shrimp by the thousands bailing out of the mangroves as we went by.

The guy pulling us in told us later that the river has lots of trout in it right now with all the shrimp there.  He said any cuts along the river leading into the refuge have trout stationed in front of them munching on the shrimp.  A good tip if you are down that way in the near future.

We finally got it on the trailer and the fishing was over.  We immediately headed to the car wash to rinse the boat.  The spray from the towing boat blew on our boat for 2 hours so we cleaned it up right away.  Talk about over spray, the fan from  the tow boat put an inch of water in the other boat before we got back.

I want to take a moment to talk about the towing insurance.  Whether it is Boat US or SeaTow, it can be worth every penny.  And get the whole shebang including the trailer rider.  Chris has used his 3 times in the last few months.  First when his trailer axle broke, then when the tide went out under his boat while wading and he was grounded, and then this time when the started broke.  3 different times, for 3 completely different reasons, any of which could happen anytime. And for his under $200 a year he got what could have easily been around $3000 ended up costing nothing.  So I am going to renew tomorrow and keep it up.  It has been 10 years since I really needed help, so the odds are not with me.  This could have been a real hassle, instead it was just an inconvenience.

Though our trip ended up being a day and a half of fishing, it was a really good time.  New water, different techniques, and the fun of running water shallow enough that it wouldn’t even cover your ankles.  Though we did not “kill” them, we caught enough to not get skunked, and we learned a lot.  We were able to really look stuff over, and next trip I would be comfortable with taking the flats boat down there.  Now I did not say over confident, just that we have enough knowledge to keep out of trouble.  But I would never fish that area, or any other, without the towing insurance.  You just never know..

I am not sure what is next, but this trip did not leave me fished out by any means.  It looks like the weather is about to change with more rain in the forecast and fall is just about here.  And with full scale hunting about to hit there will be lots of folks off the water, with some days on the water feeling like I have it all to myself.  So I will finish putting stuff away, check the boats, and then some more fishing.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

(Joe – sorry I did not answer your question, I accidentally deleted it so send me a new comment with your question.  Sorry.)

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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