Reader Reports 12/4/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Sunday morning and I am sitting here trying to catch up with blog stuff as it flat pours.  It has been raining steadily for well over 12 hours.  You can hear thunder in the distance and it is cool and damp.  If it rains like it is forecast to it will not be stopping until tomorrow.  We were about 3″ down for the year but we will surely catch up at this rate.

There is lots to tell you about the fishing with Austin Boys this weekend.  Like they have most years they brought the weather with them.  But before I get to all of that, lots of pictures and stories to tell that will take a while, there are a couple of other things I wanted to post.  So stay tuned for the Austin Boys report, but until then here are a couple of great reports.

The Mad Trout Fisherman

As I repeatedly say we here at fishcatchingtravel.com are so lucky that Chad is willing to share his knowledge and experience with us.  There is much to glean from his reports.

Picking your day to fish this time of year can often heavily increase your catching. Me and another business owner, my fishing partner Todd, plan to fish once a week.  Picking the days we go consist of a lot of variables. Wind, barometric pressure, tides, temp,- these are the factors when deciding the day to go. Then its our workload, appointments , etc, 95 percent of the time we fish a weekday. I say all that to say this, due to fronts blowing in, and whether the water temps is dropping and rising. You can increase your success rates by 1000 percent by hand picking your fishing days.  I believe you can catch fish any day fishing with the tidal period. We left out of Charlie’s in a 20 mph wind out of the NW yesterday, it was a bumpy going to Matagorda island. We started fishing the drains on the Spiritu Santo side first then finding protection on the San Antonia side . We found tons of trout feeding on the bait pouring out of all the marsh.

img_1341Which made for a lot of catching, however we moved down the shoreline until we found, slightly murky water, with a few pelicans diving.  After a bit of trial and error, I found the presentation they wanted: bang it was like turning on a switch! Fish quality improved from 14″-16″ to 18″-20 . My preferred  presentation was cast out deep at 45 degree angle, let it sink, then a steady slow retrieve. I was standing with the wind at my back in the middle of a gut the guts run north and south. By me casting west at a 45 degrees it allowed my bait to cover many guts instead of the one strait in front of me.  Its the little things that make fishing- catching! We had a good box at 1:30 so we headed in out of the wind. Good luck! Thanks chad

Man I love your reports.  First you echoed what I constantly preach on, it is the little things that are the difference.  Attention to speed, depth, what you were doing when you caught one, all add up to success.  And I have basically never just reeled a plastic, and since you tipped me off to that it has really surprised me not only how well it works, in the last month it has put my biggest trout and flounder in the boat for this year, and I love the way some of them absolutely stop it.  (It saved my day yesterday in a 30 mph wind, more on that when I get the weekend report up.)  And the slightly dingier water with pelicans is a theme right now.  As usual my heartfelt thanks for sharing.  It has made me a better trout fisherman and those of you that are reading this stuff need to really think about and digest the information Chad shares with us.  He is the kind of man that is a credit to our sport and if you are not learning anything from his reports you are obviously brain dead!  Thanks again.

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Kayak Killer

James, who gets it done fresh and salt out of his kayak, dropped this comment on his last wading trip and using his Wade Right.

Hey Doug,
Thought I’d give you a Wade Right report. I got out to fish Corpus and really enjoyed the Wade Right. Was able to carry two rods while wading and switch out quick fire which I really like. I carry as many rods in my yak for quick changes so I definitely like wading with rods to cover top and plastic. You’re right about practicing with it beforehand. Two times it was a piece of cake and made sense to me. One time I had thrown it in the car and let the straps get twisted and just couldn’t make sense of it. My fault for getting it twisted up. I got the back support but didn’t have it on and think it’ll simplify things. Everything else was great and most importantly no dunked reels. Wish my waders weren’t leaking and dunking other things. How do you find waders that last more than 3 years? Arggh! I have only used them maybe 10 times. At $300 bucks that’s just too much to leak after 10 trips.

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The fish had totally changed from my last trip a month ago. Very few on top. Lots and lots of small trout but the kid in me had fun with them. Must’ve caught 30-40, maybe more as it was every cast for a while. All probably 10-12 inches on white Gamblers. All on the edge of a drop off. The dolphins wouldn’t leave me alone as they were probably perfectly snack sized trout.  No reds but I caught this big ugly with one of those lures you always say you can’t catch em on 😉 It was the big fish of the day and a fun fight after 12 inch trout.

Your report made me laugh.  Having several friends buying the Wade Right I have seen some unusual attempts at putting it on.  Once you have it down it is a breeze, but there is a short learning curve.  And the real punch line, no dunked reels and the ability to carry topwater and plastic equipment without changing or going back to the boat.  I hear that from everyone who tries them.  What can I say about waders.  My last 3 pairs leaked, one from Academy, one Cabela’s, and one from Roy’s and the longest one pair went was just under 2 years before leaking.  So I finally bit the bullet and went with the high dollar Simms.  As much as I fought spending that kind of money when I honestly looked at it, I had almost spent the same $$$ on all the others, and I was getting wet.  So the great wader test will continue and we shall see if they last as long as folks who love them say they do.

And your experience is right on point with most folks I am chatting or fishing with – There are a world of under trout, and the catching is great.  Our report from this weekend will include our experience with that, tons of small trout.  Our future looks bright for the next few years.  And the drum have really shown up the last month or so, look for the pic coming of a 60lber caught by one of the Austin Boys.  So thanks for your reports, nothing like whacking some nice bass on Fayette and finishing the week with some trout and reds, that is my perfect week.

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And Jim commented on my launching experience last week.

Doug,
As you know, I love reading your posts and at times laugh right out loud at some of your comments as they are totally relatable. Today it was your comment about launching in a white capping cove as I could just picture it. There have been times when I have sat at a ramp and just watched the festivities of boats coming and going. At times it is the best entertainment around. I’m sure we all have either personally experienced or seen a good ramp story. Thanks for making me laugh again.

Watching the ramp can be fun, if you are not waiting as you try to load or unload.  Those years I lived and worked at the dock our ramp was right at the main dock.  Over those years we saw some really spectacular things happen.  From a brand new Bronco rolling in to the lake, to a guy getting so mad trying to back a trailer in that he had a heart attack and died right on the ramp as we did CPR on him.   So many crazy things would happen at the ramp and gas dock that we wanted to take a hard hat and imbed a hatchet in it, then whoever made the biggest screw up would have to pose for a picture.  We should have done it.  So thanks for the comment, it is making me laugh as I think about all the crazy things I saw over the years.  And one last story, I actually managed to have my bass boat slide off the trailer one morning, thank God the motor kept it from coming completely off, and I was able to crank it back on.  And best of all, no one saw me!

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I got a few more trolling motor comments, which I will post along with the final edition of the ongoing trolling motor non-repair.  It will be almost 4 weeks when I call Monday morning, if it is not done I am going to pick it up and rant away.  So stay tuned for that.

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So that catches stuff up for now.  I wanted to do this before I started on this weekend festivities.  2 days to cover and lots of photos to get.  I can tell you one thing for sure, crap weather aside, what fun.  Good food, drinks, and fishing companions make for a great weekend.  And without divulging to much, it was a real grind.  Those guys fish, end of story, and I am thankful that I got included.  That report will be up soon, so keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 11/30/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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While I was gone this weekend my buddy Jeffish took the skiff so he could camp and fish with his son.  He managed to catch his first slam while they were there.  I decided to just pick up the boat tomorrow and hit the lake for a couple of hours.  Looking at the weather for tomorrow my only question is how hard the wind will blow.  It definitely looks like a post cold front bluebird day.  So we will see how the fishing goes.

Weather

71/52  Sunny   Wind 10 -20 out of the north.  0% chance rain.

Lake Level

Last Trip 95.29    Today  95.33  (Hopefully it will stabilize and not drop to much more.)

Solunar Periods

  • Best Times   10:18A – 12:18P
  •                          4:34A – 6:34A
  • Good               4:58P – 6:58P

I am a freakin’ genius!  I worried the fishing might suck, and boy did it live up to that expectation.  I did some stuff, picked up the boat, hitting the lake around 10:30.  The first bad sign, the only 2 boats there had pulled out and were shooting the  breeze, no other trucks in the lot.  Bad sign number 2, the wind is blowing 20 mph straight out of the north and it is noticeably cool.  It is so helpful unloading when it is white capping in the cove.  And last but not least, there is a mile high sky.

With it blowing that hard, and me already knowing it was already a short trip, it was the plant arm today.  I am going to make this very short and sweet, I fished the first long channel bank with swim jig and had 2 bites.  The first one smoked it and did not hook up.  Number 2 ate it, when I set the hook the drag was way to light, and without a good hook set he jumped off at the boat.  I was actually using a brand new reel out of the box and didn’t want the drag to tight.  Oh well.

From that point on I fished 5 other banks without a bite.  I threw a little crankbait, jerkbait, and swim jig, with the only bites coming on swim jig.  Finally on the last bank, on almost the last cast, a little midget jumped on and I called it a day.  So for 3 1/2 hours it was 3 bites and one fish.  About as slow as I ever had it on the lake.

The lake is really low, and is pretty clear.  My transducer in the skiff is in the hull so no water temp gauge, but putting my hand in it has definitely cooled off.  So it really was a classic poor fishing day.  Post cold front, mile high sky, falling water, 20 mph north wind, how could it be worse?  That is my story and I am sticking to it.  As I was backing the boat in I was thinking, Do you really want to fight this?, but heck I was there.  There is some great winter fishing to come on the lake, but these conditions are not the ticket.

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I got this very timely comment from Joe Bass about my trolling motor.  And why is it timely?  I was just about to rant a little crazy about trolling motors and this will give me a chance.

On your trolling motor.
What was the symptoms of the trolling motor?
What was it not doing?
I have a 24v Motorguide 767 brute that i have fixed with new switches,cables, wiring and its still working(knock on wood). ITS A BEAST !!! I call it my mechanical wonder because it doesn’t have all the stow away, remote control,electronics etc.. And that stuff equals more dollars when it goes out.

Joe

Mine is a hand control, with none of the fancy electronics, and the handle just got so loose and worn that it would not stay off, or on.  It just plain shook loose after 7 years of hard use and pounding across the bay.  Not that big a deal, just replace some plastic parts, but between 2 places it has been in the “shop” for 5 weeks.  Are you freakin’ kidding me.  It is simply worn parts and why it is still not fixed I do not know.  And right before I opened your comment my buddy Todd of the Austin Boys called and he is having trolling motor trouble.  Last time he was down it over heated, the plug melted and it went nuts on high.  So he had his guy hardwire it direct and that went great.  To bad it did not get tested, the minute Todd tried it was still stuck on high.  Looks like mother board issues.  I guess living all those years in a town with a real trolling motor repair shop, that often fixed it while you waited, I was spoiled.  Seriously, there is a business there somewhere.  Thanks for you comments and participation, makes this a better blog.

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But all that aside, the poor fishing, the broken trolling motor, tomorrow begins a few days on the salt.  We will fish the creek a day and then wade and drift fish POC the rest.  The Austin Boys are staying until Sunday, I have to be back for the Bosses Christmas party Saturday night.  So the fishing until you drop starts today.  I have prepared lots of the next few posts and with wifi at the house I should be able to get some pictures posted each day.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 11/29/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I always love to hear from folks and was glad to get this from James.  His experience wading is one of the reasons I so love my Wade Right.

Hey Doug, got my Wade Right Extreme Package for my birthday today. I’m excited to hopefully use it later this week. Last time out, I was holding my Chronarch 50E’s under my arm while releasing fish and dipped both.  They went straight to the cleaners. Hoping this will save me that problem in the future now that I’m wading more.

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I love a box full of good stuff!

Also caught these Fayette bass this morning for my birthday. Good way to celebrate it don’t you think?

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Now that is what I am talking about – Fayette Fatties!

Oh and by the way, I think I’ve solved my knot issues from the summer. Went to a Crazy Alberto knot for flouro to braid. Caught several upper slot reds on my last outing and a 28″ trout. No problems whatsoever with that knot. I appreciate all the knot suggestions from your readers.

Thanks for the Wade Right rec!

Happy Birthday, great present.  A box with your new Wade Right and some nice Fayette Fatties, what could be better than that.   And you articulated the 2 of the best reasons for the buying the system;  Reduced dunking of expensive reels and being able to switch from topwater to plastics without having to retie, or fish one or the other on the wrong weight line or rod and reel.  So I dropped him a note and told him to be sure to practice a little putting it on, it takes a minute to get the hang of it.  And they have a guide on the website showing you how, so check it out.

Good idea on practicing more with it. It took me awhile to get it the first time but want to get it down before hitting the water. Yessir, feel free to share. I enjoy everyone else’s content and don’t mind contributing. I will definitely use the second rod holder. Been wading more and am definitely a fan of having a plastic tied on one and a top water on the other. Had to constantly switch out on the last trip. And they really just wanted top water even up til noon. REALLY like the idea of carrying two rods. And it feels like the back one is very stable which was my concern. Thanks for the blog Doug!

It is amazing how the rod on your back stays in the holder.  I have yet to have it fall out, even under some of the more exaggerated movements that come with fighing fish while wading.  So thanks for the nice comments and good luck on your first use.  Let us know how it performs.

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And I heard from Hal after he got back from his Thanksgiving trip with family.

We ended up drifting all over Pringle and had a hard time putting fish in the box consistently. We nickeled and dimed the trout and ended up with enough each day for a great Thanksgiving fish fry in POC.

My nephews waded around the drain at Army Hole and the flat. They caught some reds but it was a grind as well. I think the north wind had them a bit messed up. However, we had a hoot and it all ended too soon. We made some great memories again this year and plan to head back down next Thanksgiving to do it all again. I just wish there were not so many people. POC had changed and gotten really crowded since I first went down there in the late 80s. Lots of people like what we like and I understand. I just worry that a little fishing village is turning into another Port A.

Thanks again for all the info. You are a great cat and there’s not too many willing to share info the same way you do. I’ll pass it on and do my part to be like you. 

Nothing like fall and cold fronts to slow them down, but at least you got enough to feed the clan and had a good time to boot.  Taking the nephews and exposing them to our great fishing will pay dividends for them and our sport.   So you are doing your part in passing it on.  And I am sure all of you who have fished POC for decades can really see the changes.  In my travels to great places, the Everglades, Key West, Louisiana, Arkansas, and all points in between I have seen the same changes.  People are moving to the water, and water side real estate is a finite resource.  Folks with more time and money are changing all the great places.  What I think is to bad is how the cost is being driven out of the roof.  The day of the old falling down fish camp is coming to an end in most places.  Just like the cost of hunting leases, more and more the common man is being priced out of the outdoors.  Like I said, memories is all we will have left, and those early times in places like that are truly the Good Old Days.  I always appreciate hearing from you.

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The Bagley Bait Company has taken one of the real standby baits in the history of fishing and made some significant design changes that will make a good bait great.  The bait has been redesigned by Jarmo Rapala, which says it all.  They will be sending some and I really am looking forward to fishing them.  Besides the great Bang O Lure, my favorite bait in the history of my world, I have really enjoyed catching trout on the Bagley Knocker B.  So stay tuned for the field tests on the new bait.

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I am desperately trying not to go on a crazy rant.  My trolling motor, which got “fixed”  (If I can use that term loosely.) is now at another area marine shop.  (Who shall remain nameless for the moment.)  I had several folks recommend this place so why not?  Well why not is now they have had it 3 weeks.  Not hearing a word I called them yesterday and was told the guy would call me back.  Did he do that?  Of course not.  So I called again today and the girl said I will check and came back, he has not looked at it yet.  Huh?  So I asked when he just might take the time to do that and she came back, this week sometime.  It is amazing that service at almost any place is so incredibly slow.  Think about it, in this case we are talking about them having it for a month and the repair will take a couple of hours at most.  You would sure think that if things are that busy there plenty of money to be made and someone else would jump in.  But what is so irritating is when a place does not have the curtesy to even call you back.  More on that soon.  But I will say a friend warned me about this place, so you were right Billy.

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And one last comment on the Old Day story.

Doug,
Awesome Read!
Maybe you should write a book….
Don’t know if you’ve ever read it, Haronk by Ron Richards. I bought my Old Lund from him a couple years ago. It’s the life of a duck decoy as told by the decoy. I bet you’d enjoy it!
He’s got a new one out too. Camp. Abahati I think. About a family of outdoorsmen I think.
Jay

Thanks for the kind comments and the heads up on the Richard’s books.  And one I would add that everyone needs to read if they fish the Texas Coast is “Plugger: Wade Fishing the Texas Coast”.  Written by Rudy Grigar who was a pioneer and one of the real characters to ever pick up a rod.  Trust me folks, buy it and you will love it.  Talk about the Good Old Days, this is the real deal, wading with no one in sight for miles and miles with fish jumping in the boat.  It is the history of his journey from POC, to Mexico, to Louisiana, and it is awesome.  I read my copy and passed it on, with each person signing their name and then passing it on.  I could not tell you where it is now but I know every single person who has read it loved it.  Last me and that book thing has been on my mind for a few years, maybe someday.  Keep in touch.

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Tuesday was catch up day after being gone.  Funny how things stack up when you are out of town.  So I kept after my chores t so I could do a little bass fishing today.  Then Thursday it begins, a few days with the Austin Boys.  It looks like they are bringing some weather with them, not an unusual occurrence in fall/winter fishing.  It will be real interesting to see what the weather brings, especially in the wind department.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Back To Real Life 11/28/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The turkey is nothing but a carcass, there is to much food left, and Thanksgiving is gone for another year.  I hope you, and whoever you spent it with, had a great holiday.  I was lucky enough to see the Cowboys live, and will be doing that again, what a team.  And it was good to see family but it is time to hit the road.  We will be heading home from Arkansas today but will only go halfway before we stop and see if we can come out on the winning end of a small “investment”  in the gaming industry.  And a free room half way home is a good thing, two 6 hour drives is way mo’ better than one 12 hour.  The Boss and I have been covering the miles together since we were paramedic partners, taking transfers on our standby time and then working all night.  We covered thousands of mile together, sometimes on no sleep, running red for 120 miles is a snow storm with a critical patient.  Those were the days – for young folks!

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As a rule I do not generally post my stringer pictures as I do not measure or weigh any of them.  But Billy posted this picture of our limit and they were just as good as I thought they were the other day so I wanted to share it with you.

billy

A nice mess!

Two man limit of trout and two bonus flounder.
Two biggest trout were 21″ & 22″. Big flounder was 22″.

And yes, before you go all junior game warden on me, there were two of us.

So not a bad trip considering we fished right through a “norther.”  Billy is a good stick and we had fun.  So looking at this bunch there was nothing to complain about.  Thanks Billy, I probably should try measuring a few occasionally.  Catch you on the water next time.

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Matty Island Smack Down

And the Mad Trout Fisherman with friends and family is just whacking them with the old “Blast and Cast.”

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The young guns get on em with a little help from the Mad Trout Fisherman. A thing of beauty, these guys will have memories for life.  Chad.

It really is a thing of beauty that you share your knowledge and time with these boys.  They really will have memories for a lifetime and who knows, there just may be a couple of real fishermen in the bunch.  And if someone had taken me wading and I would have caught them like that back then I would have probably peed my pants and moved to Texas!

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Nothing more to be said about this but I do not know who is luckier, father or son.

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Happy faces, just not on the ducks.

These are super pics and will be great memories.  Passing it on is not only good for the kids, but great for our sport.  When you are long gone they will tell their kids about the times they had with the Mad Trout Fisherman  back in the “Good Old Days.”.  Remember, your today is someone else’s “Good Old Days.”  Nothing better.  As usual thanks for the reports, keep them coming.

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I got a few comments on the pictures and post from the Old Days that I wanted to share with you.

Man, that was good stuff. I am sitting at deer camp thinking about fishing & trapping! Your writing brought back some great memories. I caught my first coon in a steel trap in about 2nd grade, a 4.5 lb bass in a stock pond that had no fish in it on a yellow/ black shister spinner on a Zebco 202 about the same year and it broke the rod, in high school got stuck in the Pringle/army hole area several times after duck hunting trying to catch reds as the norther would blow in……. Times have changed but the desire to hunt & fish has not, only the amount of time available to do it. Seems like making a living gets in the way for most of us. Thanks For Your Writing! RL

Ah the Zebco 202, my first fishing reel.  I think it was my 6th birthday on this earth when I got my rod and reel.  Of course I found it before my birthday and talk about one excited little kid.  Then me and Fat (What we called him.) Freddie Patterson (He had the coolest flat top!) rode our bikes to the river to fish off the bulk head behind the Electric Company.  We left them baited and walked to the pop machine and came back and mine was gone.  I was devastated and remember thinking I could not go home.  Then good fortune struck.  Freddie got a bite and as he reeled in a catfish he hooked my line, we got the rod and I reeled in a nice carp.  Then as we would do for a few years we rode our bikes to the back door of the Catholic Hospital and the nuns would trade us ice cream bars for our fish.  We were living, and it was my first foray into the fishing business.

Next I graduated to the Zebco 33, which was the reel of choice for me until I got my first casting reel when I moved to Arkansas.  I was really styling.  And I sure can appreciate the time in my life when work got in the  way of the outdoors.  Now I am lucky enough to get to fish, so stay healthy and save your money, your turn is coming.  Thanks for your comment, it just brought back more memories.  And if you think about it, our memories are really all we are left with.  It is not money, a big houses, or fancy cars, those things are fleeting.  When it comes down to it our memories of family and friends along with our time in the great outdoors will be the important things that define our lives, so go makes some more!  The old saying he who dies with the most toys wins is such BS.

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Doug, I wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed reading this post. I loved the stories, the pictures and the history. Thanks for sharing!!

Jim

It is these kind comments that keep me writing.  At times I struggle to keep it interesting, and when I sat down and wrote that post the words came easy and it is my pleasure to share them with you.  I hope that it stirred some memories in all of you and when I get comments like this it makes the whole thing worth it.

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I am really getting excited about the coming weekend, though we may start as early as Wednesday afternoon, with some of the Austin Boys.  It really has been my pleasure and honor to be included in the festivities and I wanted to share something Ro sent to the group.  If this does not make your mouth water then you might as well just head to McDonalds.

 I’ll have smoked meats (ribs, drumsticks, brisket, et cetera) for on the water lunches, elk chile to accompany fish tacos (I’ll bring avocados, torts, and pico and other fixings for fish tacos) for a dinner.  Todd had mentioned gumbo for one night’s dinner as well.  I’ll make some cornbread casserole to go with the chile as well (that might cover Thurs night after Welders).  Salads and veggies will be there too.  Got dinners covered so long as Todd has a gumbo or similar one night.  Coffees and breakfasts are open for volunteers.  As well as Margaritas fixins.

There is absolutely nothing better after a long day on the water than finishing it off with these kind of vittles.  The boys can not only catch fish, but they sure as hell know how to eat!  So I will be replacing line, gluing baits on jig heads, oiling reels, buying more baits, getting my stuff ready, and buying more baits.  And did I say buying more baits?  At 63 I get just as excited as that little guy who peddled his ass off on that Schwinn with visions of leaping lunkers driving him on.  Now it may be a fancy truck and high dollar gear, but the feeling is the same – We Are Going Fishing!  And NO, if I told you where we were eating I would have to kill you!

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And now for a proud Grandpa moment.  My daughter, husband, and two girls just got back from a mission and some safari in South Africa.  Baby Wren is just 2 and they said she was a trooper.  Multiple flights and location changes over 17 days did not faze her, and that says a lot for a 2 year old.  They were on the last leg of the journey, getting ready to land, hit customs, and go home when disaster finally struck.  She puked all over herself and dad, with the clothes in the checked baggage.

15202514_10102116963355701_8911050053074708733_n Headed to Customs to re-enter the US.  No shoes, no pants, no problem.

There were some great comments on Leigh’s facebook page.  “Man the TSA requirements are getting worse and worse.”  “Maybe it would actually save a lot of time and energy if we all went through with just a diaper on.”  “Ha, this is a new goal of mine.”  “Sooo many nights this is what I would wear home after a night of dancing.”  “Keeping it simple.”  “Way to make an entrance Wren.”  The kids had a great time and got to see lions, elephants, and lots of other cool stuff.  And Mia, who is 6, actually got to attend school for a day while she was there and loved it.  What an experience for the kids.

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Not really sure what is next but no matter what it will be the river on Thursday and then the bay.  I might slide out for a short trip on Tuesday just to test the water.   From Chad’s report the fish are still having at it and as long as the weather doesn’t crap out it should be a good trip.  And if you have any comments or reports send them on, they are always appreciated.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Where has the time gone? 11/26/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The Musings of an Old Man.

It was some time in the mid 70’s, I was doing crop production surveys for the Department of Agriculture, flunking out of junior college, and there was over a foot of snow on the ground.  It was the middle of February and 15 degrees in northern Illinois.  That day I got the new Outdoor Life and in it was an article on the 10 Best Bass Lakes in the country.  Bull Shoals Lake in the Ozarks was the closest, so I called my buddy Max and my brother and both were good to go.  So I loaded up the Gremlin (Remember them?)  and off we went.  Class, I did not need no stinkin’ class.

We camped below Bull Shoals dam, rented a aluminum boat with a 10hp at a boat dock on the lake, and off we went for 3 days of fishing.  Now do not think we had a clue, we had way less than a clue.  Not only of what to do, but where to do it.  Bull Shoals is a monster to a kid from the Midwest used to fishing ponds.  I did not know they made them that big.  And not only did we not catch a fish, we did not have a stinkin’ bite all 3 days.  So the obvious logical conclusion – Quit your job, do not even bother to drop out of college, just load the Gremlin with a tent and $125 and move to Arkansas to be a fishing guide.  Of course not knowing anyone or anything never stopped me.  In fact, I did not even know Mtn. Home was there.  I just knew there were some fish in there somewhere.  Talk about clueless, I was truly a Rebel without a Clue!

So what brought all this on?  What really brought back these memories was scanning a few pictures in from the days of real photography.  The pictures below are 30 – 40 years old from the store or the boat dock.  They are a snapshot of a 10 year period, not like today with digital photography where I shoot hundreds a year.  These pictures document the period in my life where I went from a carp catching, pond fishing, perch jerker to hard core fisherman.

Living in a crappy trailer, I bought a small tackle and bait shop close to the lake.  That turned out to be a great decision.   These pictures are the road map to my fishing life.  Whether fishing guide, paramedic, or attorney, the one constant in my life has been the fishing.

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The weekly article I wrote for the daily paper.    My little bro and a couple of stripers.  (Can you say polaroids?  Why I am scanning them in before they are gone.)

For the next two years we were open 12 hours a day, 364 days a year.  It was long hours and we were poor, but I met everyone in town, started fishing the bass club, and after 2 years sold the store and had my first guide customer.   Then good fortune struck and I was able to move to Panther Bay Boat Dock, work for John, and live in the little house in the woods overlooking the lake.  And the real fishing began.  It was 10 years at the dock and my life was nothing but the great outdoors.

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One of my customer (I think she was a cop from Toledo.) with one over 30lbs.  Me with a couple of 20’s.

During the early years several folks took me under their wing and taught me a bunch.  I worked for a lure company for a while, then  full time at the boat dock.  Working at the dock for John was great, if I needed to fish I did, which was almost daily, and when I needed to work, I did.  Taking care of the docks and customers, and then hopping in my boat sitting in the stall at the main dock to fish the evening bite, all in less than 1 minute from my house.  During many period I never left the property.  Our bass club was the toughest in the state, winning the state Bass Federation Club championship 6 out of 7 years.  One of the early members was Rayo Brekenridge, the second Bassmaster Champion.  Another member was John Storey, who started Champion Boats and Viper Boats.

Those guys were some serious hard core bass fisherman and I remember how serious and competitive it was.  As an example we had a 4 fish tournament series, the Winter Bass-A-Thon, which took place Nov, Dec, Jan, and Feb, no matter what the weather.  It was first come first serve to leave, and we would line up well over an hour in advance, in the middle of freakin’ winter at 5 in the morning, just to beat a couple of other guys out.  Crazy.   During that period I wrote the weekly fishing article for the local paper.  It was serious hard core fishing all the time.

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My old buddy Larry and I.   Me and some guide customers with a few.

Then during the early 80’s the state’s long term striper stocking program took off and the fishing went insane.  Big fish on top at night, you could hear them in the dark smashing bait on any flat bank from the dam to the center of the lake.  Trolling in the summer, when they hit that downrigger you knew you had a bite, which was a great way to let your customers do all the catching.  And then spooning in the winter, it was big fish after big fish, 10 – 20lbers did not raise an eyebrow.  We literally laid the smack down on them.  After fishing half the night, and almost dosing, a 20lber would blast that spook with 5 feet of line out scaring the crap out of you.  Guiding was so fine then, put folks on a couple of these and they were thrilled.  One of those periods when I was lucky enough to be right in the middle of it.  I have always called it The Time of the Stripers.

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A morning limit.  John and I trolling in my Champion.  (The 4th made.)

Of course it wasn’t all stripers, that is just they way these pictures were in the book.  The bass fishing was still the order of the day, and I kept guiding and tournament fishing for almost 10 years before I got a real job.  The guiding continued for almost 20 years, and I loved it.  I fished with lots of great folks and had some good times.  It wasn’t always a limit, but it was always fun.  I will always remember my $800 gas bill one April when I guided everyday but one that month.  That Black Max reminded me of the drunk sitting at the end of the bar during happy hour drinking beer like there was no tomorrow.  $800 for a month of gas was a lot of $$$$ in the early 80’s.

Time for a Mercury Black Max story.  Remember that the Mtn Home area was bass boat central.  Ranger, Champion, and Bass Cat were all there.  One year Mercury brought the new Black Max 150hp to Bull Shoals to shoot some promos with Ranger Boats.  They went to Oakland Boat Dock which was owned by my friend Lenny.  His beard and a full head of black hair led them to take a few pictures of him driving the boat and his face became the face of the Mercury logo.  So when you see the swoosh on the Mercs, that is the logo that has morphed from his face and time as the Black Max.

But whether with friends or guiding, we fished hard.  My rule when guiding, we fish until you want to quit, and there were many days we hit it dawn to dusk.  Winter, summer, day, night, crap weather, it did not matter, we fished.  One morning in the Bass-A-Thon we took off like a bat out of hell, went screaming around the corner, and up on the ice we wen at 60,mph.  The lake froze farther down that night.  That really felt weird now that I think about it.

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This guy wanted a 4 hour evening trip, we fished all night!  My buds and me with a few.

During the late 70’s into the 80’s we had something happen that still makes my heart pound thinking about it.  One of the guys at the dock, Buddy Meador from Jonesboro, when confronted with a high water year and lots of brush, wanted his topwater minnow to suspend right in front of the brush.  So he filled the bathtub and used fine solder around the hooks to make it suspend just right, and the suspending jerk bait was born.  They flat loved it and that period was one of real change in bait manufacturing.   From Thanksgiving until late spring those fish would absolutely kill that thing. Then Rebel put a long bill on their minnow and for about 3 years we had big fish trying to jerk the rod out of our hands.  It was a thing of beauty.  But whatever they liked about that we sure weeded it out of them and after about 5 years they would not touch it.  A result of fishing super, super clear water.  And the Wiggle Wart, what can I say about that?  When that first appeared they could not resist, and we spent days paralleling the banks and smacking them.  Those were the days.

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My first one over 7.  (The wall of my store, maybe 1976.)  And here is a few from a winter day.

And the white bass, oh man.  We caught them in the spring up river, in the summer schooling mid-lake on top, but my favorite was vertical jigging them from November into January.  If you were a white bass it was ugly.  The boat dock of course was slow, and the big bite was from daylight until around 10 every morning.  You could find us, and another dozen boats or so, out there hammering them every morning.  From 20 – 50 foot deep, we would find them on the locator and absolutely knock the crap out of them.   A good average size was 1 1/2lbs but we caught lots over the years in the 4lb range, they were some big ones.  For 20 years I lived in Mtn Home that was a solid pattern and we exploited it every chance we got.  When I say it was thousands that is not an exaggeration, at times we flat jacked them up.  It was nothing but a 20 year meat haul.  The only downside, cleaning them.

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Family (My dad and brother in the middle) and friends with 125+.  Clyde and I with a couple.

That time was so all about the fishing.  I did not have a pot to piss in, but I had a boat.  There was no such thing as too tired, don’t feel like going, or wussing out early, we fished any time, no matter the weather, for anything that swam.

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Thousands over the side.   And always the crappie.  (Look at the one on the left.)

Crappie were of course a big guide customer request.  One winter we built tons of piles.  I ended up with a milk run of 27 brush piles and they rarely let me down.  Using 4lb line and super small tubes we hammered them, and lots ended up on my supper table.  It was awesome to have a deep pile, cast that super small jig and then count it down, sometimes as much as a 50 count, then turning the handle and feeling that thump.   The crappie “Thump” is still one of my favorite bites.

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Made several trips in the early 70’s to the Boundary Waters.  And what in the hell is up with that hat?

We fished the White River, the North Fork, Buffalo River, tons of lakes big and small, and even made a few trips to the north country.  I was never a “fish snob”, if it bites I was all about it.  Wading, drifting, floating, trolling, casting, it did not matter, it was an obsession.

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I even did a little trapping and deer hunting. 

Living at the dock I had tons of freedom.  John was a great boss and when the guiding was over I still had to make some money, we had little but did not know the difference, and coons and fox provided me with the money to survive the winter.  And venison was the main meat half the year.  It was another day and time.  No cares, no plan beyond tomorrow, the only question, what is biting or in season.  My rent free, my car was $2000 new, and you could get a nice used Champion for $3500.  Hell that won’t even put electronics on a boat now.

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The pontoon before it was flipped back over, and here is what it looked like.

One summer day in August it was doing that rain/mist/clouds/clear thing, but not really raining.  As I was about to leave the dock for the day I saw a boat out in the middle of the lake and it looked like they were having trouble.  I got out the binocs and he was in the water by the engine.  So I decided to go check them out.  Instead of taking the Champ I just jumped in a pontoon and went out to get them.  They were broke down so they tied to the pontoon but said they would stay in their boat, which probably saved their life.  To make a long story short we got hit by a tornado and this boat ended up on my head and I almost drowned when I was trapped below the deck.  It really would have sucked if I had drowned, since I had 2 life jackets on.  A scary moment.  If I learned anything from it it was that we all have a strong will to live, and mine saved me that day.

And living in Arkansas during that time period was a real period of growth in the fishing business.  Boats went from the old cigars with stick steering where a 5o was a big motor, to pad boats, then the v hulls.  With the Black Max 150 the real horsepower race was on.  It was common to see boats with motors way over the boat’s hp rating.  In fact BASS finally limited engine size to 150, which slowed the race for a few years, but the growth in the size of bass boats finally demanded the bigger engines to push them.  The insane bass boat race was in full swing.  Ranger led the way with Champion and Bass Cat fighting for their share of the market.

I started out with the old flasher locator, which actually did the job as long as you could interpret it.  Then came the graphs, and when the Lowrance X15 paper graph came out I had to have one.  It went from interpreting what you saw on the locator to seeing what was down there.  And those of you who fish know where all that has led.  Everything in fishing was changing fast.

And baits, what to say about that.  The first plastic worm I bought was out of a pickle jar mixed in with every color, size, and style.  It said .05 each for a “rubber worm“.  Hard baits went from clunky to fancy with cool paint jobs.  One little hitch in the git-along was when they first came out with photo realistic baits.  They actually did not work as well as the others, a little to real.  And coming from that area, where the original hair bass jig was invented by Sam Welch on Bull Shoals, we were riding the wave.  We  would put a #11 pork frog on the back and go to night fishing.  As a side note, Uncle Josh just announced recently that they are ending the pork frog line.

So what can I take away from that time.  It really was the good old days, but that term applies to my life style and that period in fishing history.  Fishing in most areas is now better than it was then, thanks to limits.  I would be embarrassed to even come to the dock with some of the bass from that period.  Hell I won a tournament with a 10 fish limit, it weighed a paltry 9 1/2lbs!   And that was with a 12” limit.  When I started guiding there was no length limit.  I was guiding 4 guys who worked with the Indy 500 with Tad from the lure company when we stopped for a shore lunch.  Tad pulled me aside and said they were not happy I was throwing some of the small ones back, and they meant any bass.  Boy it was a different time.

I guess that is why I do this blog.  Fishing has been an integral part of my life.  And being able to fish now while I am still “young” has been a blessing.  Some days I am tired and or just not feeling it.  And now some days it is just to cold, or to wet.  So maybe I don’t go like I used to, but I still think about it, talk about it, and write about it.  And that is why I do this blog.  So please keep stopping in, hell you just might be saving my life.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 11/23/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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To all of you I know, and the thousands who I have not met, I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.  Eat some turkey and cheer on those Cowboys. 

Billy and I made plans to fish a day while he was off.  Initially we were going Tuesday but with a possible wind of 25 mph I decided to move it to Wednesday.  The wind forecast is a lot better, the tide and fishing forecast is much better, the only variable will be how and when it rains in the morning.  And there is a small “norther” coming in today and that could be????????   So with that it will be what it is, at last there is what should be pretty consistent water movement and a little rain never hurt anyone.

Weather

74/60  AM showers partly cloudy later.  80% chance   Wind NNW 10 – 15

Tides

High 2:20am   Low 10:36am  -0.7   High 3:03pm 0.9    Low 5:53  -0.7  Tidal movement is average.  Wednesday is rated a one fish day.  (Tuesday was a no fish day.)   A major High Activity period from 8:03 to 10:03am.   And an average activity period from 2:20 to 3:20pm.

FISH ON!

Well there is one thing to say about today, that there is lots of things to say about today.  We had some rain, we had some clouds, we had a big ass north wind when the front blew through, we wacked the snot out of them after the “norther” blew in, and it was one of those days for Billy.

Billy and I have chatted off and on via the blog and  Facebook, and this year he was kind enough to contact me and give me 2 of the original Bang-O-Lures which are impossible to find.  So we finally were able to fish together, and we had a great time.

First let me tell you about the tide.  While it was basically flat today but what it had in flat was more than made up with pretty steady movement all day.  When we got on the water it was moving out, then it kind of slacked, then it dropped some more when we moved, and the color was perfect.

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A couple of real nice flounder.

Our first stop was the flat near the Army Hole.  We worked the mouth of the drain, and the fish were there.  Billy is a committed topwater fisherman, and he got the bites, and some more bites, and for the amount of bites he had he was disappointed in the results.  They were just not hooking up.  I on the other hand was having one of those “Fish On’ days when it seemed whatever I did put them on the end of the line. We fished there until 10:30 and caught fish on several plastics and topwater.  And I managed to land several flounder including the best in a while.  With our fall weather being so warm the flounder run is late and it looks like the good fishing is now.   And I have to plug my Wade Right belt.  With the fish hitting top and plastics the belt was the ticket.  No bait changing, wrong line or rod, no back to the boat.  It is so nice to be able to swap out so when you catch on one bait or the other you are able to toss a completely different bait and techniques to the same fish without moving.  Trust me it works.

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I did not know they grew them this small.   A rat red, one of four or five today.

It was at least 15 or so there, including the flounder.  The bigger flounder came when I was straight reeling near the surface for trout, and he smacked it.  It was one of those bites that you knew was a good fish the minute you set the hook.  The plan was to leave there after 11 or so when the tide was slack but I waited just a minute to long and here it came.  You could see it coming across the bay as the cold front hit.  The original plan after the first place was to head to Barroom which would be protected from the front.  So with almost 3 foot rollers we pounded across the bay.  It was cold and rough.  We finally hit the barge canal and I told him I am taking the long way around and then it will be Barroom.  He told me later he would have just put it on the trailer and called it a day, and at times I might have, but when we rounded Fisherman’s Cut it was perfect.  Protected, it had a nice ripple, and the water color had that perfect little bit of milk to it.  Best of all the fish were there.

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Does not do this stringer justice.  A trout limit and one big ugly. The trout on the left was a hoss.

With the tide low it was perfect as we stayed a little more than knee deep and casted to the break which is in 4 feet or so.  It is now around noon, we just got hit by a “norther”, and it is clear as a bell.  Not what traditionally I would call great conditions, but it was.  Billy was still tossing his topwater, and dam if they were not hitting it.  A few finally managed to hook up after his little dry spell, and he added a couple to his stringer.  My flat out luck continued as I was catching them hopping and dropping plastic, reeling it slow, fast, or in between.  They were a little tough to feel, but any change resulted in a hook set, and dang if they weren’t on there.  It was just one of those day when it seemed like every time I tried a little variation in retrieve, jig head size, color. length, it did not matter, they ate it.  I really do believe using 8lb fluoro makes a difference, at least it makes me more confident and that is important in fishing.

I needed to quit about 3 or so, lots to do before we hit the road early tomorrow for Jerry’s world.  We had a real nice limit of trout and 2 flounder.  And one nice keeper drum had his lucky day and got released.  Any day I catch the slam and add a drum is a successful day as far as I am concerned.  We caught lots, and funny no big reds, which surprised me as well as the others were biting.  And it also said something about the putting on the big boy pants and dealing with the front.  We could have wussed out, but we made the right move and finished out the day with the fishing better than it was early.  Not much else to say but it is so nice how the average trout seems to be getting bigger and bigger.  And with the numbers in the bay right now, things are looking up.  So thanks for fishing with me Billy, I had a great time.  Now if we can keep the Austin Boys from bringer their usual “norther”  that trip has the potential to be epic.

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And we got the weekly report from the Mad Trout Fisherman, who has been having an epic run the last 4 months.

Matagorda island drians epic bite, this damage was done in the first 45 min of daylight.

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Chad, all I have to say about the run you have been on is that it is freakin’ crazy.  Some of those trout are the real thing, much less the numbers!  Like we had this morning, set up on the right drain, right time, and right tide and you are in business.  I really want to thank you for keeping us up to date, it is so appreciated.  Folks just one thing to say today – The Bite Is On!

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Good to hear from Rusty, our Fayette guru, nice to know you are still out there.

Happy Thanksgiving Doug!!!!
Just booked my Canada trip for 2017, already thinking about those big northern and walleye.
Tight lines

Happy Thanksgiving to you.  One thing I like about making reservations for trips like that is it gives us great daydreams and anticipation until D Day.  I won’t make it this year, but can honestly say it will not be missed.  Why you say?   Because I will just be getting back from Australia!  Most of our trip is planned and tickets bought.  Right after the first of the year I will be planning what I hope is a day or two of river fishing trying to boat a Barramunda, and maybe see some of those huge saltwater crocs.  Next will be 2 days offshore chasing tuna and other crazy Barrier Reef fish.  It make me excited just typing this!  I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving.

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The only word to describe the bay fishing is gooooood.  Our fall got here just a little later, and the good fishing is finally coming with it.  The flounder run has been flat, but looks like they are on the chew.  The average trout is just plain bigger, and solid 18 – 24″ are so much more common than the last few years.  I love the 5 fish limit.  Not sure where I will fish next but it will involve the salt.  The time is now so get em” while the getting” is good.   But first it is “How about those Cowboys!”  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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A short Coleto trip. 11/22/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Monday morning I had some things to get done so I thought I would slip out for a few hours and catch a couple of bass.  So I hitched up the skiff and great, no taillights.  At times I just want to park it and take a break, but as with all boats, things happen.  The ground wire broke so I pulled out a spare plug and re-wired it and was on my way.  One thing about being prepared is when things like that happen it may piss you off, but you can still hit the water.  But to bad I was not really ready to go, I left the camera at the house.  Oh well, my much maligned flip phone will save the day, just not all that well.

Weather

80/62  Sunny Chance rain 20%  Wind  SSW 10 -20

Lake Levels

 Last trip  95.45 msl  Today  95.29 msl  (It is really dropping!)

It was 11 by time I started fishing.  The lake continues to drop and the ramp is just a little bit away from maybe being a real issue this winter.  It was sunny and the wind was blowing around 20 out of the south.  I started on a main lake channel bank and caught a nice one right off the bat on a white swim jig.   I stayed with it for an hour and did not have another bite.

So up lake to my fall back stomping grounds, and the fish were there.  I alternated between the white and the bluegill swim jig, and the darker was by far the better bait.  One thing I really like about fall is the number of big gators out there soaking up the sun.  So with my little flip phone I took a couple of this guy.

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One big lizard!

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He was not the least bit concerned about me.

If I had to guess he was around 8 – 9 foot long and really a solid looking terrifying eating machine.  As they are want to do at this time of year, he was out on a sunny bank soaking up some heat, not even a little bit concerned with me as I fished right by him.  You see most of the big guys in the late fall, and then early spring, usually on flat banks with full sun.  This time of year with cool nights they hold up waiting on the sun.  Winter, to cold, and summer, they feed at night, they seem to disappear and you rarely see these big guys.  Don’t know why they interest me so much, but I have always like seeing them.   There weren’t many of them in the farm ponds of Iowa when I was growing up.

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Yes I really did catch a couple.

I fished all types of structure and banks up lake, and while the ones that bit ate it, I only had around a dozen bites the 4 hours I fished.  I did put 9 in the boat, and had a limit of smaller keepers, all like the 18″ incher above.  With the wind whipping right along I gave spinnerbait a go after a couple of bass tried to catch the swim jig next to the boat as I was reeling it in.   Spinnerbait, along with buzzbait, did not produce a fish.  But with a mile high sky and rapidly dropping water levels it was not surprising.

Today I was really in a holding pattern.  With the wind expected to blow up to 25mph today (Tuesday), the planned trip with a reader to POC today got moved to Wednesday.  I hope that was the right decision as the wind speed is not supposed to be that high tomorrow, but there is a chance of rain early.  But like every fishing day, and every cast, you make your decisions and you go with it.  So tomorrow right after daylight we will be wading POC somewhere.

It is really interesting how differently I feel about each day I fish.  It is always different, from hard core desire to knock the crap out of them, to taking it easy like today.  Actually sitting down as I fish, watching gators, birds, ducks, and just enjoying being outdoors.  Those type of fishing days are few and far between.  I ended up boating 9, 1 on the white and 8 on the dark swim jig.  They were a nice average, but that is what they were, average.

Tomorrow will be a wading day, just hoping it starts off ok.  Thursday morning it will be off to Jerry’s world to watch the Cowboys play the Redskins.  The game on Sunday was a thing of beauty.  All detractors aside, the Cowboys are for real and their performance the last 2 games is living proof.  So if life works out perfectly it will be some big trout and reds tomorrow, then a Cowboys victory.  A great 2 day stretch, life is good.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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How to get it done on the bay. 11/18/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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While I was flailing away on the river Chad went to the bay, and just like I found, light winds before the blow.  So they made the run, got in the water, and I mean flat way laid them.  His stringer today is just plain crazy, these are not small trout.

We are so fortunate that Chad the Mad Trout Fisherman takes the time to share his knowledge and fishing reports.  As I have said before, the only thing he could do besides this is take you to the fish.  There is much to be gleaned from today’s report and I wanted to get it up while it is fresh.  Enjoy.

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That is Freakin’ Insane!

Matty island Thursday, with 20mph gust out of the south.  A trip to matty island was planned and upon arrivial at Charlie’s the wind hadn’t got there yet, so we shot straight across the bay.  I found lots of bait on the shoreline in front of Cedar Lake.  It was the gin clear water color that I didn’t like so down the shoreline we went. Through south pass cut down the shoreline we went looking for the right mix, slightly stain water with bait, as we rounded Pats Bay.  Bingo!  With a four man crew a leap frog was the plan, one on the shoreline, one out deep.  Wasn’t long before we established a pattern of tight to the shoreline was the best bet.  It wasn’t gang buster at any one spot.  Just three or four good trout each wade.  We worked alot of shoreline.  Dropping two off then idling out and running downwind 200 yds and parking. Then letting them wade to the boat to pick us up.  We caught lots of small trout when we would wade out deep.  But the fish that every angler loves to see in the net were on the shoreline.  Total oppasite of what I had been finding the last 10 trips.  Probably has to do with back to normal water levels in the backlakes, pushing the bait out of all those tributaries ahead of the front thats coming this afternoon.  By noon we had a sweet box of trout to 22″to 18″ and some bigger trout released !  Not by choice, so it was a great day on the water.  I had a big bullred make a big pony mullet dance for 20 seconds right in front of me.  What a sight, he had that thing in the air for awhile before he got em.   Also saw a 4 ft plus shark in 18″ of water.  That’s why i love my wading bag, having experienced being dragged down by stringered fish.  And many big trout gone at the head after working for hours to put together a good string. Very disappointing!  A busy weekend with a select baseball tourney in Yoakum  for my son Taylor.  I will try a quick duck hunt Saturday morning, or sit in the deer blind.  I’m like you Doug, I have the best wife ( boss) in the world.  She has put up with my fishing and hunting addiction for 28 yrs now.  Lol,  I should say more like tolorated it!  The ducks on matty island are thick with tons of birds in the air, should be an awsome shoot this weekend. Be safe out there and courtious of all using are public resources! Thanks chad!

Nothing like getting on a good pre-front bite.  Interesting how you found the good fish up tight.  And the decision to keep looking for the “right” water turned out to be the key.  Also, by actually making a plan, one deep and one shallow, it allowed you to establish the “pattern” and then key in on it and smoke them.  Again many thanks for clueing us in.  Folks can learn a lot if they will just listen.  We caught some fish in front of Cedar last trip with the Austin Boys, it is one of my favorite spots from now until “real” winter, always trying to be there when that sucker drains.  And tell Taylor good luck this weekend, could be an interesting tourney based on the possible weather we have coming.

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I almost went this morning to beat the front and see if the bass would cooperate but decided to be responsible.  Stuff needs cleaning and fixing, a 2 boat owner’s work is never done.  Fix one thing and another breaks, the never ending struggle.  So before this big front hits today time to do a little outside work.  And I so hope we get some rain out of this, we are over 3″ down and sinking fast, clearly evident when you launch at the lake.

As far as the fishing not a clue what is next.  Jeffish has his son and if we are lucky we can get on the water somewhere this weekend.  It will be interesting to see if this front actually amounts to something.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC – NOPE! 11/17/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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As  I write this today (Wednesday) before I hit POC tomorrow it almost scares me off.  It is always about being at the right place, at the right time, and the prognostications for tomorrow on the bay can be summed up in one word, it sucks.  A possible 20mph wind right down the pike, combined with a low Solunar activity leading to a “no fish” day does not exactly fill me with hope and anticipation.  So what does all the mean, I can’t wait.  So lets see tomorrow how it all comes out.

Weather

81/71   Sun and clouds mixed.  Wind South 10 -20  10% chance of rain.

Tides

High 1.3 at 1:02 am   Low  -0.2 1:20 pm  Tidal Velocity  is 88 and is considered high.  But as far as the 17th it is a “no fish day” on the 3 fish scale.   Solunar periods during the day – Low 9:56 to 10:56 pm   Average activity  3:28 to 5:28 pm.

No POC For Me

So after I wrote the stuff above the Boss and I went out for a little socialization and of course the first thing I did when I got home last evening was check the weather.  The wind forecast was already bumped to possible 25 mph and then the weather Dude at 10:00 said it might blow, especially in the afternoon.  So when I got up I looked at 3 or 4 weather sites, listened to the local morning guy, and watched the constant weather channel.  It just looked like it might blow so I made an executive decision and changed course.  Out went the wading stuff and in the skiff and off to the Lavaca I went.  Good call, first of several today.

When I got to the river it was way up and about the normal color.  There was almost a bare breath of wind so I headed way down river to the Swan Lake area.  The minute I got there the wind started out of the south.  It blew harder and harder, not gusts really, straight line at 25 mph right up the river, and stayed there.  It blew.

So here is where it gets sticky.  The tide is trying to fall but the wind is blowing water right back in the river.  And the current wants to flow down river and the wind says you are going back up river.   The minute I would cast there was an immediate big bow in the line.  Talk about hard to feel, river flowing one way, boat and line headed the other.  But the fish did me a favor and I figured out the rest.  And the wind did one other thing, lots of folks called it a day.

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A nice flounder headed to the grease.   Lots of rats scattered around.    

When I say this, the trout were right on the bank, most in the first hop or two, it is not because I am sure that is where they all are.  It may have been the result of the wind and lack of feel once the bait got deeper.  It was hard to work the plastic properly throwing across a 25 mph blow so I did 3 things and caught fish basically until I quit.  The first, changed to a 1/4 ounce jig head which not only helped it sink, it straightened out the bow some.  I was throwing a regular paddle tail but the tail working against the current and wind reduced the feel so second I went to the Down South.  The paddle is considerably smaller which reduced drag and increased feel.  Third I got way closer to the bank than I normally would, allowing shorter casts that helped keep the line straight so I could feel the bites.

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         The Boss ordered supper – 18″ and a 17″ headed to the grease.

Don’t get me wrong, it was really tough fishing, but it sure was better than being on the bay at POC and the snot knocked out of me coming back in.  So I just kept letting the wind blow me up river making short casts and missing way more than I caught.  A big red broke me off,  and of course I boated several rats.  The Boss ordered supper so I needed 2 trout and the couple above were in the cooler pretty quickly.   For the rest of the morning it was 12″ – 15″ trout, I didn’t measure any more but could have probably squeezed out a limit.  And that was the first flounder in the box in a while and will be pretty tasty later.

Before I quit, just because I was tired of fighting the wind, I went above the bridge into the creek to check out my secret really cold and windy day hole.  I decided to troll up to it just to see if one would bite.  I met a couple of guys who had trolled way up and back and did not have a bite.  I didn’t either until I stopped on my spot and tossed plastic.  A couple of small ones cooperated, but it is still just a hair to warm for that far up creek.  That will really change if we get what is coming this weekend.  The man was talking some folks hitting a low in the 30’s.  Bring it on!

There are days when I fish like crap and make poor decisions, and I tell you.  Today I fished like a pro.  Conditions were flat tough and I made it work.  I caught an easy 20 in 4 hours, and missed or lost that many more.  By changing the plan from bay to river, and then adjusting the presentation to fit with what I had, I caught fish.  Nice work if I do say so myself.  Not to often that I can say that about an adverse condition day.  The real thing to take away is the river and creek pattern is about to get after it.  Not sure how long it will last but the crazy fishing is right around the corner.

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It was good to get this great report from Jim on Fayette County.

Glad to see you had a good day on the lake. I fished a club tournament on Fayette Saturday. There were two other clubs fishing and a whole bunch of kayakers. Even with all the traffic there the bass fishing seemed to still be hot. I caught 25 fish. The first 5 were on a swim jig before 6:30 then it was CR’ing points. My partner and I caught 20 fish off one point on the north end in 14-16ft of water. Everyone in the club caught fish so I assume everyone else on the lake did as well. Out clubs 1st place was 22#, 2nd place was 21# and 3rd was 17# which was me. Conditions were great. Light breeze out of the north-northeast. Water temp was 75. Clarity was probably at least 2ft. Hope you get up there soon!!

Those are nice weights, and really good for a weekend on Fayette.  Plus who can complain about the numbers, that is the thing that makes Fayette a great fishing hole.  And congrats on the 3rd, when I fished tourneys it was always nice to be at least close.  Heck of a lot better than an embarrassing weigh in.  And I will be making the trek soon, probably right after Thanksgiving and before another round on the bay with the Austin Boys.  Thanksgiving I will be watching the Cowboys at the Jerry’s World as they beat the Redskins and hopefully clinch a playoff spot.  So thanks for the report, comment anytime.

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I can only imagine how good it would have been if it had not been so windy.  But putting 20 plus over the side is never a bad thing.  What is next is really up in the air/forecast.  It seems like when a big front is one the way from the north we get these high SW winds that seem to blow against it until it lays, and then the big north wind howls in.  That is what is supposed to happen early afternoon tomorrow and we may see a daytime temp Saturday that is around 25 degrees cooler than this afternoon.  That will surely get them going.  And thanks to all of you who keep reading this drivel, sure makes it easier to write.  Your comments and reports are an important part of this, so thanks all and keep them coming.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 11/15/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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After a couple of days on the creek I did my usual Monday thing, fishing for bass on Coleto.  Doing the blog it is funny how at times I feel pressure to fish the bay, especially when it is as good as it is.  But when I got up Monday morning I wasn’t feeling it.  So I wussed out and hitched up the skiff and headed to the lake.

Weather

80/58  Sunny  Wind 5 – 10 SW  Chance of rain 10%

Solunar Times

  • Best Times    9:51A – 11:51A
  •                        10:21P – 12:21A
  • Good Times  3:36A – 5:36A

Lake Level

Last Trip 95.58      Current  95.45  (Still on a slow steady decline. If we do not get some rain we may have the same ramp issues as 2 years ago.)

Today’s post is slightly boring as far as the fishing went.  But all was not lost based on what I “learned”, or sunk in, based on the Solunar projections.  Deciding to go to the lake was actually a pretty interesting decision.  As far as conditions go I should have gone to the bay.  Low wind, super high tide velocity, and a high activity day.  The conditions really affected the size of the fish on the lake today, but one thing about the projections was so right, super high activity.  I saw snakes, a ton of deer, pigs, and the alligators were out all over the lake and real active.   Paying attention to the critters it was apparent that the big full moon had things moving around.

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They were out all day long.

With no wind and high skies in the forecast I assumed the buzzbait bite would be nonexistent, and that turned out to be true.  On the other hand, find a piece of wood with some substance to it and there was a fish there, in fact on almost every one I tossed to.

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The best I could manage today.

So I started concentrating on the swim jig in areas with no cover and then picking up the 5″ senko style stick bait in watermelon red as I got to some cover.  While it was a slam dunk pattern, the big girls were just not having it.

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                        Every piece of wood had one of these on it.

I caught fish up lake, down lake, and in both arms.  Only one area did not produce a fish, the rest had at least a bite or two, with cover/wood being the necessary factor.  Note:  I am not fishing standing timber, they are on lay downs, brush, and other isolated wood.  So that about covers it as far as the fishing went.  Lots of bites, an easy 2o in the boat, but barely a limit of keepers.  The conditions were not the best for bass fishing, but it was a beautiful day that I really enjoyed and never worked to hard.

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No telling how many deer I saw today.

But the real thing I liked about today, and took away from it, was the high level of activity on the lake.  As fall turns to winter you always see lots of gators out, today was one of those days.  They were out all over and very active.  I saw a couple of blow ups by the bank, always an awesome sight as they eat, or try to eat, anything that swims.  To go along with that the deer were out all day, and I saw a nice buck.  As unconcerned as they were the hunting pressure must not be that prevalent around the lake.  I saw another big snake, not all that common on Coleto.  And the (small) fish were really active considering the adverse conditions.

Reading the tide and solunar times for Monday revealed one of the higher activity days I have seen since I started following them.  Seeing everything on the move really drove home that there are days that can be identified as good days to hunt and fish, today was one of those days.  To bad there was not a little wind and clouds, it would have been ugly.

That really is the size of it for today.  Pretty “normal” day on the lake.  Can I say it enough, we need some cold weather to drop this water temperature.  Fortunately the fishing is still heading towards the full on fall bite, so who knows, it may actually extend our good fall fishing.  Next for me is definitely back to the bay.  I did not have a case of the serious on Monday, but after seeing a couple og pictures with big trout that will change.  And my buddy Jeffish will have his son this weekend so we will probably hit the creek and let him catch some trout.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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