POC 4/25/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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The Redfish Magic spinnerbait put them in the boat today.

You want a little salt?  Well here is a little salt.  I hollered at Voe, and in spite of some things he should have been doing of course somehow it worked out he could fish.  Funny how that happens.  So we were at Froggie’s about 8:30 and fishing by nine.

A couple of observations – there was only 4 trucks in the parking lot, which surprised me.  Second – the 6mph winds were way more than that, straight out of the north. The water temp was in the mid 70′s, and it was really off colored from the winds and rain of the last few days.

Since we had waded the last 3 trips, and with the possibility of thunderstorms, I decided to fish my milk run, Big Bayou and then the Oil Cut.  It turned out to be a version of leaving fish to find fish.  I did not want to run all the way down the island, get in the water, and have to turn around and run back, and though we heard thunder in the distance it never rained on us.  When we got to Big Bayou the water was pretty off colored so we started with the Redfish Magic and it wasn’t long before Voe put an eater in the boat.

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Nothing like a nice flounder filet.

As we blew down a shallow flat bank I saw a big mud and so I am telling him how it was reds when I had a small nip, as opposed to a red thump, which I missed.  Then he said I got one, which was the flounder above.  That was actually a big flounder mud.  So we got it in the boat and it was off to a good start.  As we kept blowing down the shallow side of Big Bayou next he caught a small red.  I meanwhile struck out.

We hopped across to a deeper bank where I catch some good trout, and Voe promptly puts a 19″ in the boat, again on the Redfish Magic.  I think the water was off colored enough it was taking the thump of that spinnerbait to provoke a bite.

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A real nice keeper trout.

Though we weren’t getting many bites, we had hope.  Since that area was muddying up, and getting worse with the wind, it was time for the Oil Cut.  We motored on up there  and as soon as we got in the mouth I put the trolling motor down and we started fishing.  I put 3 or 4 small trout in the boat, and missed a couple more, all on plastic.  Then I picked up a plastic in Electric Chicken and on the second or third cast lifted up and had one on.

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Where is this guy when you are tournament fishing?  27″ of nice and heavy.

Other than a couple of other small ones the red above turned out to be the last keeper of the day.  The tide had quit dropping and the fish really slowed down.  Voe put on a chatter bait, and while a couple of reds smacked it, they did not hook up.  There is some work to be done on that so stay tuned.

It was interesting how I did not catch a fish on the Redfish Magic today.  It is rare when I throw it that much and do not catch one, especially when the other guy in the boat is catching them behind me.  I also threw the popping cork with the Rage Shrimp and promptly caught a big Gafftop.  A sure sign spring is here.  But other than a couple of half hearted bites it produced zip.

So for a 6 hour trip not to bad.  The ones in the box were nice ones, the weather held off, and we had a good time.  It would have definitely been better if we had waded, so next trip it will back in the water.  The trout I caught on plastics were on a lighter jig head.  Fishing it out of the boat while moving is tough, it is clearly a wading technique.  I am looking forward to working on that some more.  It seems like with it falling so slowly that when they smack it they eat it.

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I have gotten several reader comments lately and just wanted to respond to them.  Jamie just dropped me a kind note telling me he enjoyed the blog and just hadn’t made it to POC lately.  So thanks for your kind words and here is a little POC for you.

Evan was going to be down here for a kayak trip last weekend but the weather caused them to cancel.  His response was he was glad I had not written about the salt lately so he didn’t feel so bad if I wacked them when he was not down here.  He was out of state hoping to do some turkey hunting.  Well on the way to POC yesterday there was a gobbler in full strut on the Powderhorn Ranch.  That is one awesome sight.  Hope you killed one.

And Rick sent a kind note, sympathizing with not wanting to cross San Antonio Bay with 3 foot butt busting rollers when the lake is so close.  One thing happens when you can fish anytime is you get spoiled, and I am spoiled.  I probably do not fish the Gulf as much as I should because it is easy to use the weather as an excuse.  But when you catch a red like the one above it reminds me why I love redfish so much.  So much more salt on the way.  Thanks for your support.

And Ray dropped me a line as he is headed to Belize.  I sent him a longer response to his email but I did want to comment here.  As long as there is a flat on the island you are going to there will be bonefish.  Fluorocarbon line, a small jig, and you are in business.  Watching the fly fishing shows they make it seem they are hard to catch, and they may be that way.  But I caught the first one I saw, and had no trouble catching a few both times I went.  So have a good trip and we will all be looking forward to a couple of pictures when you get back

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News of the weird!

As some of you know I am an attorney licensed in both Arkansas and Texas.  It has been 7 years since I have actively practiced so when my dues came due in Arkansas I decided it was time to let it go.  I have been paying for almost 10 years but not practicing there. Unless they move the ocean to the Arkansas border there is no chance I will ever practice law there again, so why pay.  And I will still keep my Texas license though I have no plans to practice here, but I want to keep at least one state.

So simple enough, right?  Just send them a letter calling it a day.  Not so fast buster.  You can’t just quit!  Huh?  Oh no, here is a copy of a petition and petition in support that you have to file in the Supreme Court  and with the Committee on Professional Conduct to get permission to quit.  I guess the theory is in case they want to discipline you first and then they will let you quit.  I am trying not to use profanity at this point.  Are you f’n kidding me?  I have to have permission to quit?  There is so much wrong with the legal profession and this is another example.  And people wonder why the practice of law drove me crazy, I would rather dig a ditch with a friend.

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So that is my whining for today.  I am not sure what is next as the weather report stays unstable.  But first chance I get it will be on the water.  And it is really time to prepare for the big trip.  I leave Wednesday for the long drive to the Everglades.  As usual it will be up really early and then pedal to the metal.  I want to be 4 hours away from Everglades City when we stop so we can get up, shop, check, and at least get out for long enough on day one to put a track all they way out to the Gulf on the river, and put in a couple of way points on a spot or two so that part will be out of the way.  Spending time doing that right off the bat will be time well spent for the first full day of fishing.  Sorry I am rambling on about that, but it is time to get excited.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Finally a full day of fishing. 4/13/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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The Tour Grade Sexy Shad buzzbait put them in the boat today.

I finally got a handle on our weather, and it turned out to be a great day.  I got on Coleto about 9 Monday, fishing until I could hear the thunder coming at 5:30.  What has been happening is evening and night showers, and as I type this at 7 I can hear lots of thunder all around us.  But the trick was to fish right during the middle of the day.  It worked today, we will have to see tomorrow.  The winds are supposed to be low, so the Gulf is happening in the next 2 days, somewhere.  But back to today.

Basically I fished coves and main lake both, and noticed little difference.  It was not fast by any means, but if you kept the bait in the water one would jump on it sooner or later.

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The first nice one of the day.

The problem today was they just could not make up their mind.  The one above came on a buzzbait, but I had already caught a couple on pink trick worm.  Though they would hit the trick worm, it was not as fast as it has been.

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This girl smoked that worm.

The wind was not an issue today so I was able to fish where I wanted.  There just was no specific type of place, like coves, or points, or long brush covered main lake banks, that was all that much better than another.  It was a keep the trolling motor in the water and the bait in the water day.  It really seemed like if you caught one, get ready, there was another one there.  I think there is so much water the fish can be anywhere, and they are.

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And of course they would eat a Strike King Swimming Jig.

There never seemed to be a specific pattern on type of cover, and just because there was grass did not mean the fish were in it.  But hit the right patch of cover and you could get a couple of bites.

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There were a few in this type of grass.  She jumped that buzzbait on the first turn of the handle.

I wish I could give you a more specific report, but there really was no specific thing to take away from today.  I caught 5 or 6 fish on each bait, and the size was pretty equal.  I am sure there is good way to catch them, and a good place to find them, but they just have not really settled down yet.  And there is miles of new grass and cover, and if you can figure out which of the cover is preferred you will be in business.

 It does look like the lake has fallen a couple of inches so things will stay in a state of uproar until the spawn is over.  I did see beds with fish on them, so it may be a month before things really settle down.  But if you are a shallow water fisherman Coleto will be the place to be this year.  Figure them out and a huge stringer could be right around the corner.

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Shoedog got in one final day of fishing in Arkansas before heading back to College Station.

We got out on Norfork Lake and headed up Bennett’s Bayou to find some crappies. Water was off color from runoff and there was some floating debris, but not as bad as when we were here last year. Lot’s of boats as it was a Saturday in April in Arkansas. First bank we hit Tom caught a nice slab.

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Our old buddy Tom Ryan from Iowa.


There was an old fella trolling along with one of those boats with about 15 to 20 poles on the rigs and he was catching fish, so we tried trolling some and picked up a couple and some small whites. We were marking a lot of fish scattered at all depths. We moved back a bit in the creek and started targeting trees and stick ups and were catching tons of small whites and started catching some nice crappies.

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The Shoedog with a nice one.


It wasn’t fast- just a fish or two on each spot, but these fish were being hammered by many boats. They were all females but on and apparently moving up all through out the day to spawn. Their eggs were really far along when we cleaned that eve.

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They need at least this many to feed these animals.


Further back in the creek we hit a small cove with a dock off to the right. I caught a walleye and we had a few small whites again. Up in the corner of the dock fish kept chasing shad. There we caught 3 nice bass and several whites. They were really active and it was fun.
We dropped Tom off at the dock and picked up Maria to finish out the day. The overall appearance of the boat improved.

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Maria and Clyde, two of the best folks on the face of the earth.


It stayed the same all day- a fish or two on each spot. No monsters, just nice slabs. We caught 13 nice ones in all and had a great day of fishing and friendship. Finished off with a steak dinner and a little pick in’ and a grinnnin’. Thanks to Clyde and Maria for the hospitality and Tom for coming down south from Iowa for the fun.

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Family, friends and fishing….nothing better than that!

Great trip, wish I could have come with you.  Glad all was well and will be looking forward to seeing Clyde when we meet in Canada in August.  And it is time for you to start thinking about the Florida trip.  We are leaving in 8 days, and boy am I excited.

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Last, I would like to give Minn Kota props.  When I ordered the part to fix the trolling motor bracket last week I mentioned I was heading to the Everglades in a couple of weeks.  The guy said it would ship in 5 days, and it was at the house when I got back from the lake Monday.  He went ahead and expedited the order.  Then I had a little hitch installing it, and they went above and beyond the call of duty helping me out.  I have owned Minn Kota products for so many years I have lost count.  So thanks guys, your service and support is what we have come to expect from a quality company.

So now it is up and running, and so is my heart rate just thinking about a huge tarpon streaking out of the mangroves and smashing a topwater.  If you are a saltwater fisherman the Everglades should be on your bucket list.  The first time I made the trip I had no clue, so I took it slow and expanded my range daily.  But it has been a dozen years or more, and one big hurricane, so there will be lots more to learn, and I can’t wait.  But until then it will be a little trout fishing on the Gulf.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 4/12/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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The best baits money can buy.

The Shoedog is still on his Yankee tour and yesterday he and Clyde were back out on Bull Shoals Lake.

We started out today at Oakland on Bull Shoals. As usual, we had a major cold front come through the night before- happens 2 out of 3 times I get to Arkansas! Just Clyde and I as Tom’s back was bothering him. Found scattered white bass on points and they were following assorted baits but not striking. We were through Alabama rigs, grubs and jerk baits. Finally caught a big old Bull Shoals whitey and lost it while getting the net.

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Like the day before, ALL the fish were on points, and I mean all of them. High skies, north winds and a huge temp drop knock these Arkie fish down, but we kept after them. We caught one or two more there and then Clyde caught a nice largemouth.
I caught a small bass and then we thought we would head up-lake to marker 16 area were we had good luck on smallmouth bass last year. We headed up and stopped at a main lake flat point on the way and caught a big white there, but not a lot of action, so we headed on up. We seemed to be seeing a white or two on each point, but no big action.

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We started seeing those schools of big shad like we saw last year, but not massive schools. They were those really big shad. Thread fin or gizzard, I don’t know which. We got to one point and had better luck. Finally had multiple follows and hook ups. Several were as they followed slowly to the boat and we had to twitch the jerk bait several times to get them to strike.  They were slow, but we caught them. We saw 12 or 15 fish on this point. I had a smallie follow over half way back and turn around. Clyde had on chasing a hooked white back to the boat just like they do when you hook another small mouth. We caught a few nice whites and then back out close to the main lake Clyde caught another nice largemouth.

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We did not catch any brown bass all day. EVERY fish was on a jerk bait. I fished that Alabama rig longer than I ever have, we gave grubs a thorough try and I threw the spinner bait in the supposed right places, but for the 2nd day in a row, every fish was on jerk bait. Rogues and Clyde was trying out the new Rapala Shadow Rap. Both were equally effective. I will try out his Shadow Rap today and see how I like it. It seemed to be a slow sinker, versus the neutral or slowly rising rogue. Color did not mater,I think we caught them on 4 different color jerk baits. All in all a god day on the water. We had 10 or so nice whites and 3 black bass, not bad for a cold front day. Could have been a lot worse. Today I think we are going to see if we can find some crappie on Lake Norfork. And I probably should head back home to Texas sometime, been on the road two and a half weeks!

Sorry I did not get up there this spring, but with the number of trips I have planned in the next couple of months priorities had to be set.  But it looks like they had a good time and were headed out again today for some crappie.

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I have always said if I saw a puddle and thought I could catch a fish I would fish it.  Well here is the champion of making the most of your opportunity.  And of course he is from Texas.

http://firstwefeast.com/eat/teen-sewer-fishing-fishwhisperer/

All I have to say about that is this guy really likes to fish!

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 I got this from the Shoedog’s good fishing buddy Terry, who lives in Nebraska.  One thing about this time of year up north, the weather really can change in a minute.

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“68 today snow yesterday”

That is crazy man.  Looks like it is the same cold front that hit the Shoedog and Clyde in Arkansas.  I love winter and early spring fishing up north, but I do not miss the snow and cold weather.  Thanks Terry, we will be looking forward to your spring fishing pictures.

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On a closer to home note I heard from Faye.  She and her husband Steve made a trip down to POC last week, and while the keeper fish were few and far between, they caught a bunch of trout.

Good morning,

Just a short note about our couple of days in POC last week.   We fished Thursday and Friday and yes the wind was a blowing!!  Hey, we don’t have choices of when we can go fishing.

We headed over to the back lakes area.  We went the back way through Saluria.. past Grass Island and then tucked up closer to the shore as a wind break on the trip over.  There is a channel that goes in to Pringle Lake ( not the usual entrance – better know how to get into the lake that way – NO we won’t be trying it- HaHa).  It is just past the opening of Army Hole and I wanted to check it out.  We had been there once briefly but didn’t have time to fish it.  It has a couple of nice bends that have deeper holes and some old bridge posts.  Well, in two days, we boated close to 50-60 just undersized reds and specs and had two keepers using popping corks with live shrimp.  For us it’s not about how many we put in the cooler.  We had a blast!!

We will be back down to fish next Thurs/Fri.  We are trying to get some fishing in before the summer heat arrives.

Thanks for your posts, hope you get the boat issue solved, and looking forward to reading about your Florida adventures.

Steve & Faye

That channel is awesome and I have made that trip in a couple of times that way.  And it is very much like the area we have been catching them.  Those drains, at least that is what I call them, have lots of fish in them right now.  And if I have to wade through 50+ to catch a couple for dinner I am way ok with that.  And the boat issues are almost resolved, at least when I get the trolling motor part, but it is the weather that won’t cooperate.  We are looking at possibly 4+ inches of rain and storms today and tomorrow.  I will be chomping at the bit as soon as it settles down some.  So thanks for the report and will be looking forward to your next one.

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If anyone knows who won the Coleto Bassmaster Invitational at the lake this weekend let me know.  The storms held off and with the cloud cover fishing should have been good.  So if you know anything let us know.

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I spent yesterday doing research and map study on our Everglades trip, and boy am I ready to go.  Also the final decisions on tackle were made.  Besides the usual shallow water stuff we are taking heavy gear for tarpon at Boca Grand and tarpon and Goliath grouper in the Everglades.  As usual I am trying to keep the stuff down as much as possible but with 2 weeks of solid fishing who knows what we might need.  The rain and storms continue to move through our area and according to the weatherman it will continue for most of the week.  So tomorrow I am going fishing, rain or not.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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2 Boats = 2 Headaches 4/8/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The best baits money can buy.

Sorry for the dearth of reports this week, but weather, broke stuff, and just plain bad luck have kept me from my duties this week.  But finally I think most of it is getting resolved.

Yesterday and today have turned out to be incredibly frustrating.  At times I think it just might be simpler to keep it to one boat, it sure would be cheaper.  After dropping $1600 on the skiff, it was some more hundreds on the LTS.  The old saying a boat is a hole in the water in to which you throw money is so true.  But if you own them you have to take care of them so they will take care of you.

I picked the Mako LTS up from Victoria Marine after the 100 hour check with a couple of other things fixed prior to the Everglades trip in 2 weeks.  From there it was supposed to be simple.  Take off a broken locator and replace it with a good one.  Simple right?  Wrong.  For some reasons there is no power at the nose of the boat, including the running lights.

I went over it all repeatedly yesterday and finally gave up.  According to the weatherman we were set for 30+mph winds so instead of fishing I was determined to find the cure.  Well guess what?  No such luck.  At this point I am completely stumped.  I am not sure what is next, but this is the kind of thing I have messed with for years, but this one has me flummoxed.  So after working with it this morning I am calling it a day.  Time to come up with another plan.

One side benefit of getting ready for the Everglades is being sure everything else is in working order.  First the flares were out of date.  Now that usually is not a problem, but it is a bad idea as far as safety is concerned.  And if you get boarded for a complete safety inspection a ticket is sure to follow if your flares are out of date.

It was also good to check the fire extinguisher, the spotlight, and anything else including the throwable cushion.  As the Coast Guard told us when they stopped us in Chris’ boat, they will be writing tickets if it is not readily available.  That means out and ready to use, not in a compartment.  So if you have not checked all that in a while go over everything in your boat, it may save you from a ticket, or it may save your life.

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The Shoedog is on an extended drive time through Yankee country visiting family and friends.  He is in Arkansas visiting our buddy Clyde and Tom is along from Iowa and they got a chance to fish Bull Shoals yesterday.

Tom and I went out on Bull Shoals today, Clyde had to work. We went to Oakland and it was windy but not terrible. After I got ( sort of ) used to a foot control after a lot of years, we caught 3 smallies, one black, one Kentucky, one white bass and a gar. A beautiful day and we only saw 2 boats from 9 am to 3:30 pm and believe it or not, on this massive lake, one of them pulled right in front of us and cut us off back in a creek channel! Unreal how some “sportsman” are.
All in all a good day- weather to improve next two days and we will be after them- fish fry tomorrow night. Tonight speckled trout I brought from Texas!

Can’t wait for the report on today.  Hopefully there will be a few pictures so good luck and let us know.  Bull Shoals can be one great fishing hole this time of year.

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I got another complaint because I have not posted enough saltwater reports.  As I have said many time before, if you are not happy with what I post, or when I post, or where I post about, please do not subject yourself to my blog.  With the winds blowing a steady 20 mph, and at times well over 30 mph, it is just to much of a hassle to go to the Gulf when it is that windy.  Plus I have no financial sponsors, and other than Strike King, no advertising on my site.  All the cost is on me, and believe me over a period of a year it is substantial.  It is a real pain to spend time and money and get to the Gulf and it is blowing.  In my case there will be plenty of other days when it is right.  So I make do the best I can with what I have to work with.  But don’t worry, as soon as it straightens up it will back at them.

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And thinking about the Gulf it is time to renew your CCA and Star tournament registration.  Remember if you can get it done by the middle of May you qualify for the early bird boat drawing.  Someone has to win and it might as well be you.  Plus, a free magazine and a chance to win more boats and trucks.  What is not to like about that?

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 So when I went to back the LTS in the garage it was only 2 so I decided to hit the lake for a little bit.  Of course when I got there it was really blowing, making about half the lake a real hassle to fish.  So I headed up Perrido Creek and went into a large cove that was a little out of the wind.

I fished buzzbait and swim jig, and though I boated a couple, it was just not fast by any standard.  I think I put three in the boat before I moved.

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At least the 3 I caught on it ate it.

After fishing that cove I started working whatever small pockets without wind I could find.  I told you last week it was time to try the pink trick worm.  The fish are shallow, some on beds, and the water color is just not clearing all that much.  So I finally gave it a try, and it worked.

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Wow!  It really works.

Basically all you do is take the pink bubble gum wacky worm and rig it with a 3/0 weedless hook without a weight.  Run the hook through the band about halfway down the worm so that when you pull it it collapses and then straightens out.  I like to throw it on braid with a 20lb. mono leader, weightless.  They seemed to like it best by letting it sink just out of sight and then pulling it a couple of times and then stopping it, letting it fall.

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I ended up catching 7 or 8 in the last hour before dark.

This is such an effective way to catch fish when you have high off colored water.  You can throw it right in the trash and work it through nice and slow.  It was real obvious they had not seen it before, and it was awesome to see them roll up out of nowhere and eat it.  Initially I had it on 15lb. test but broke a nice one off so I went to 20lb.  Since you are thowing it as far back in the trash as you can you need the heavier line to get them out.

So after a good short afternoon trip I was looking forward to getting in a little more fishing in the morning.

The next morning the wind was already howling out of the south.  We have been stuck in that pattern for over a week now.  20 – 30 has been the norm and has kept me off the Gulf.  I went into the first big cove in the Coleto arm and it only took about 5 minutes before the first one came over the side.

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Fish #1 came out of bush right next to the boat and smoked it.

One more came over the side in that cove so I headed up lake looking for pockets where it was calm enough to fish.  I stopped at a cove by the bridge and several more fish ate that worm.

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Getting a little bigger.

There did not seem to be any particular type of cover any better than any other, though the fish have related to wood a little more than normal.  The fish seemed to come out of 2 places a little more than others.  One is clumps of real heavy wood cover, and two, right after the outside edge of the cover or grass line.  Once you work the bait to the outside of the cover let it drop a little deeper and watch your line.  You can often see them swimming away with it.

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Things were really starting to come together.  This is a lot more like it.

At this point I had put around 7 or 8 in the boat in the first 2 coves.  Next I headed into a cove with the wind pounding in it.  That particular cove has a hook in it with a calm place in the back, perfect for really windy conditions.  I motored through the timber, dropped the trolling motor down and headed for the back.  Next disaster struck, I hit a stump top and broke the swing bracket on the trolling motor.  Now it is made of pot metal, probably to prevent real damage if you hit something, but whatever, the part broke.  Damn it!  I was really starting to get this pattern down and was looking forward to a good day.

According to the weatherman we are to get up to 6″ of rain this weekend, starting last night.  So when I got up this morning and it was calm and not wet I was irritated.  I know it is coming but I could have got a couple of hours on the lake.  The trick worm is working right now, and if you get in the right spot it could be epic.

Additionally the Coleto Bassmaster tourney is set for Coleto tomorrow, and the weather looks to be ugly.  But there will surely be some fish caught, and it should take a good string to get in the money.  The weatherman is still saying 4″ of rain tomorrow with some storms possible, so good luck guys, it should be something.

After I got home I ordered the part to fix the trolling motor direct from Minn Kota and it should be here in a week.  It will be a quick fix but until then it is nice to have another boat.  So every time I start whining about the cost I get the reminder why it is a good thing.  I would be out of commission right now, instead I am just waiting for this stormy weather to pass and it will be back on the water.

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My father-in-law had a little run in with a table saw, and as we all know table saws always win.  So minus a chunk of his thumb he is recuperating at home.  It is always easy to say it could have been worse, but in this case it is so true.  So Jack, I hope you are feeling better and back in the shop soon.

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And last but not least I heard from my buddy Aaron who is now working up in the Sherman TX area on a new pipeline.  He is lucky to be staying at a friends lake house on Texoma.  Now it was funny he called yesterday to tell me they caught 30+ stripers last night because I had just made a drive in that area and was getting all excited about fishing some stripers.  In fact, we probably drove close to where he is staying.  So as long as things work out a trip to Texoma is in order sometime in May.

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Not sure if that is everything today, but I am off to get a couple of things done before the rain gets here.  There is a huge area of heavy rain on the radar right around the corner, so I am out the door.  Sorry reports have been down, but that is the way it has gone around here.  But with better weather in the future, and visions of tarpon jumping in the Everglades in a couple of weeks, life is about to get a whole lot better.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 4/6/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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Good thing they make a good buzzbait or it would have been lean pickings for me today.

What a difference a day makes.  From catching a bunch of nice fish one day, to 4 bites the next.  Now that is nuts.  After being gone a few days I checked the weather report and Coleto was the choice today.  I will give the weatherman credit, he said it would blow 20+ and boy was he right.

It was about 8 when I got to the lake.  The plan today was to head way up the Coleto arm and fish a few places I have not fished since the water came up.  But first I stopped in a flat spawning cove close to the bridge and decided to start with the buzzbait.  I had 2 bites and caught them both in the first cove.  One was on the point going in, and the other was on the point going out, and surprisingly enough nothing in the back.

So I headed above the first bridge and went in a big spawning cove.  About halfway back in I finally put a nicer fish in the boat on the buzzbait.

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This is the size of it, and I hooked him on the back of the head. 

So now I had only had 3 bites so I decided to re-fish the bank I was on with the Swimming Jig and did not have a bite.  Little did I know I would not have a bite on the jig all day.  Around 11 the wind was blowing hard so I went up lake farther and fished miles of bank all the way to the Coleto bridge.  The wind was really howling and I finally caught another one out of a bush top after I changed to spinnerbait.  While I was up there I saw the crappie guy who fishes the lake as much as I do.  He idled over and they had caught 2, which for him is nothing.  His conclusion, they are not biting.  I was beginning to agree.

Around noon I headed down lake and went in another big cove and fished the whole thing.  I alternated between spinnerbait, buzzbait, and swim jig, and did not have even one bite.  So I headed back down lake and stopped at one more place and it was just plain slow.  I do not know whether I was in the wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time, or they just were not biting worth a hoot.  Finally at 1:30 I called it a day.  What the problem was I have no clue.  I guess a poor trip was bound to happen sooner or later.  And with most of my trips the last month have been really good, I will chalk it up to stuff happens, if you get my drift.

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I got these from my daughter Carrie who just got back from South Africa where she and her husband did another mission to help the children of the townships.

Here are those fishermen I saw near Knysna. We were on the beach at a town called Brenton-on-Sea. The sea spray was so cool. I haven’t seen anything like it before, though I’m sure you have lots of times. So neat.

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Many of the beaches of South Africa are massive and run for miles.

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Sea fog rolls in.

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 Patiently waiting for a bite.  Fishing is a language that is common to fisherman everywhere.

Awesome pictures.  No matter how many times I see the fog roll in off the ocean it is still a cool thing.  And congratulations on your last mission to South Africa.  You and Leigh directly helped over 400 children and 40 schools.  Lots of folks talk the talk, but you guys walk the walk.  Amazing what you have accomplished with Vilakazi and we are proud of you.

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 Today it is pick up the LTS and give it a serious wash and bleach.  Then tighten screws, put on the new locator, check the bilge, etc., basically get ready to head to the Everglades in 2 weeks.  Funny how when you start planning it seems like a trip will never come, then all of a sudden it is time.  Laying out clothes, getting rods, reels, and tackle together, there is always something to get ready.  So it will be make the big list today and start checking it off.  When you tow a boat as far as we do at times it is critical to have your stuff together.  The last place you want to be is on the side of the road at midnight in the middle of nowhere.  Then tomorrow it will be some wading, hopefully our wind will die some.  And if you have caught a few fish drop us a report, we would love to hear from you.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

 

 

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The Gulf and a couple of other things. 4/3/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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Go buy some baits, Kevin Vandam needs the money.

I am posting this from a motel as we will be spending this weekend with our 2 grandbabies in OKC.  My daughter and her husband just got back from their mission trip to Africa for their foundation.  The delivered around 400 backpacks full of good stuff to poor children, and helped around 40 schools with supplies.  They work on this project year round, raising money to do this work, and do not take one dime as they pay their own way.  Every dollar goes to the kids, and having gone with them once it is amazing to see the looks on the kids faces when some of them get the very first thing they have ever owned.  I could not be more proud of them.

http://www.vilakazi.org/

So though I am out of the loop for a couple more days, there are a couple of fresh fishing reports, and they just reinforce what I have been saying – Go Fishing!

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 I heard for one of my regulars who always has something pithy to say.

Very nicely done!  Salt or fresh – ain’t nothing like some fishing porn.  Ha!  Have a great Easter weekend sir!

Evan

Well Evan I always love hearing from you and your comments make my day.  So you want a little fishing porn?  Well here ya go!

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While I did not hit the salt this week, I did have an offer to go, but had already promised to help a buddy dig a hole.  So I go to work for the day, then I get this on my phone from Chris while I am waist deep in a mudhole:

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A really nice stringer of trout!  And a couple of them are real ones.

 Launched at Charlie’s and headed down and out the first chain.  Took a right and found a ton of bait in front of Pat’s Bay and Corey Cove.  Saw a big jack cruising in the mullet.  Threw topwater for a while from shoreline to waist deep without a look.  No better with a soft-dine.   Headed back east along the island looking for birds and didn’t see anything.  Stopped at Bikini and threw the soft-dine from thigh deep to the shoreline.  Went in the cut and had two big hits, but no hookup.  Switched to soft plastic and caught those two 19′s quick. then nothing, moved out to the mouth and steady 14-16″ fish for a while.   No reds, quit early to help relieve Bubba of some of his crawfish.

Guess I should have gone fishing!  Chris put these trout in the boat on the Pringle shoreline in a big drain.  We call that drain Bikini because while fishing it one day out came a boat with a hot chick in a bikini on the back, not that we looked or anything.

But Chris’ experience is what we have been finding right now, find a big drain out of some of these back lakes and there are trout.  They may be out off the shoreline waist deep, or right in the drain in an inch of water, but they are there somewhere.  Of course, ideally you want to be there on the outgoing.  And if they won’t eat the topwater they will eat plastic.  Thanks for the report Chris, nice to whack a good stringer on your only day off all week.

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And to continue with fishing porn day I got a Coleto report from a regular reader.  Jeramie dropped me this report, it just reinforces how consistent the fishing is on Coleto right now.

I fished 3-31-15 also, got there bout 2:30-3:00. I fished open lake and in coves but way in back of them . I caught fish everywhere with my best right at 5 lbs.  All my fish came on spinnerbait, bluegill colored crank bait & a few on your recommended swim bait. Thanks for your reports they definitely help me have an insight on what fish are doing. I left around 6:45 and caught 10-15 fish total.

As I have said lately, fish what you want, or are good at on Coleto and you can catch fish.  Thanks for the report Jeramie, I appreciate you sticking with me.

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Jim sent me this good question, and I sort of have an answer.

Any status or reports on Crappie?

There is an older (and I use the term lightly as I am no spring chicken) gentleman who fishes both Coleto and Texana and had fished both of them the last week.  He caught around 15 or so on both lakes the last 2 trips, around 5 feet on Texana and 6 – 10 feet on Coleto.  The one thing I asked him was whether the crappie on Coleto came up with the rise and he said no.  And so you know, they fish minnows.  I think the punch line on Coleto is they did not hit the bank.  I noticed he was fishing deeper trees so not sure that helps you, but they are being caught right now.  Let me know if you get in to a few.

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We stopped at the Cabela’s near Dallas and of course had the usual pricing occurence.  First, I love to shop there and have been a regular for years.  But you have to watch them like a hawk.  Yesterday was a perfect example.  I picked up some braid on sale, and noticed it was in 3 different places at 3 different prices.  My lovely wife knew what was coming, and it happened at checkout.  It was on a rack for $15 and when we went to check out it was $40.  But the clerk, Colleen, was great and called over the supervisor on duty and we straightened it out.  So props to Colleen and the crew at the Cabela’s north of Dallas.  The crew at Budda could take some notes from how nice and efficient they are.  It never goes that well in Budda.  In fact after one particularly poor pricing episode I went to the website to complain and it asks if I wanted to speak with the store manager, which I did.  The Budda store did not even have the courtesy to respond.   The Budda  store needs to try hiring a few more like Colleen.

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I appreciate it when ever any of you send us a report.  Fresh information helps us all make some decisions, and maybe even cut off a little of the time it takes to get on the fish  We can take something away from any report, good or bad.  So keep those cards and letters coming, we love to hear what you all have to say.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff..

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The Coleto Bite Continues 3/31/15.

  Fish Catching Travel

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Add Strike King lures to your arsenal today.

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All you need right now.  Strike King Swimbait, Buzzbait, and Swimming Jig with a Caffine trailer.

I realized when I got home that I did not take any pictures to speak of when I fished yesterday with Gary, so the plan was to take a picture of my 5 best.  So here is my limit for your viewing pleasure.  It probably is not nearly as much fun to look at as it was to put in the boat.  But when it comes down to it I wacked them today.

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Number 1 on the Swimming Jig.

It really helps to have a goal when you head to the water.  Often we go fishing with no goal, usually just a plan.  I wanted to do 2 things today, first was to fish where I absolutely knew they were from first thing until they bit to see if what I was experiencing as far as the bite goes was correct.  As I have said recently, the bite is best from midmorning on.  Second was to see if I could catch them on a buzzbait.  I got both of those things done.

I started in the big cove where Gary and I caught them yesterday, and it was slow first thing.  So keeping the goal in mind I fished it 3 times.  Swimbait first, and I think it was a little much, so for the first couple of hours it was the Swimming Jig.

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That Swimming Jig is way down in his throat.

I stayed in that big cove from 8 until 12 noon.  They bit better and better, hitting the Swimming Jig best, but it was close with the swimbait.  And again today, seeing a nice fish roll over out of nowhere and eat that swimbait is a thing of beauty.

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A nice main lake fish.

As the day warmed the fish moved into those shallow, with moderate cover, pockets in the coves and on the main lake.  Early the ones that bit were on the little steeper stuff, and it was clear they had not moved real shallow.  Before I left that cove I ended up catching 11, most of them after 10.   From then on I stopped right before pockets on the way back down lake and fished the point going in, the pocket, and then the point going out.   To get them to bite the Swimming Jig you have to throw it right in the stuff and reel it out nice and steady.  There were one or two at least in every pocket.

As it got around 2 I decided to finish in the pocket where I got them, then not got them, so I decided to take a stand and fish only the buzzbait.  Sometimes we have a feeling they are there, they just won’t bite.  I guess lipping 8 or 10 the last couple of times slowed them down.  So out came the buzzbait, and there you go.

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You gotta love that buzzbait.  It catches a little bigger average.

While the lake color may leave swimmers and skiers a little less than happy, it is absolutely perfect right now for fishing.  When the waters heats, the fish go shallow, and I mean shallow, and the water color gives them that little extra sense of security.  So if you throw it, or the spinnerbait, throw it shallow.  And then run it right on the surface.  They are just not totally into it yet, the strike is more of an eat than the usual explosion, but they did not miss it.

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Gary they were in there, they just wanted something different.

I caught 4 in the cove where we struck out yesterday, all good fish.  I could just feel they were still there so lesson learned.  Switched up baits on them and caught them, and they were really shallow.  That was the last place I fished today.  So after sorting the pictures I decided to show you the best 5 that would have made my limit.  I can live with that.  And since I only threw the buzzbait in one place for 15 minutes that is really going to come on soon.

As far as catching them, just reel the Swimming Jig or swimbait at a moderate speed, the buzzbait or spinnerbait on top.  Fish them both in those places I have been talking about.  Now do not get the idea they are in all those kinds of places, they aren’t.  But if you catch a couple they are there, just change up a little and find something else they will bite.  And the fish are definitely biting better from mid morning on.  So stick with it, sooner or later some will jump on.  We are so lucky here to have a local lake where you can put 15 or more bass in the boat with the possibly catching a big fish or two.

I know this may be a little much in the freshwater department for some of you salt nuts, but this great fishing on Coleto will calm down, and so will our March wind.  We are going to spend a couple of days with the grandbabies, then a serious assault on the Gulf will begin.  It really is a dilemma which way to go right now.  Spring is here, the fishing is great on fresh and salt, and it is good to be alive.  So keep on stopping in (Will get a good saltwater report up tomorrow, the trout are  biting) and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 3/30/15.

  Fish Catching Travel

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Add a Swimming Jig to your arsenal today.

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Howdy sports fans.  If you are saltwater fans just hang in there with me, we will be getting to the Gulf soon.  But folks, the bass fishing is just to consistent right now.  One of the joys, and smart use of your time, is being at the right place, at the right time, with the right fish.  Even though I have fished a lifetime it has taken me a long time to realize that.  And the result of that revelation is now is the time to catch bass.  It may not be the best time for the biggest bass, but if you like to catch bass, and I do, now is the time to be fishing.  All fish have a time, big trout in the winter, spring time tarpon on the bridges in the Keys, redfish bunched up and tailing in the fall, and bass with the urge to merge in the spring.  Get em’ while they are hot.  So with that said here you go.

One of the folks who I met through the website, but not in person, contacted me about fishing Coleto.  If you have read my stuff for a while you know I like to fish with different folks, and in this case Gary contacted me through the site and I was glad to fish with him.  We met shortly after daylight and off we went.  Wanting to make a quick first impression, and catch some, I hit the spot that I have waxed them the last time or two.  Of course we stuck out, how could it be any other way?

I have said it before and I will say it again, Coleto is not the best first thing in the morning lake.  And with that knowledge it was not time to panic when we did not catch a fish in the first place or two, it was simply time to stick with the program, 5″ swim bait, a Strike King Swimming Jig, and spinnerbait.  We kept chucking and reeling and they slowly started to bite.

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Gary with a nice solid keeper.  We caught a bunch this size and bigger as the afternoon wore on.

To simplify the report, here is how it went.  As Gary had not fished Coleto before I wanted him to see most of it, so before we quit at 3 we fished way up both arms.  We both kept alternating between Swimming Jig and spinnerbait.  We didn’t do much until we got in the back end of a big cove way up lake, and though we put 4 or 5 in the boat there, they were just tearing the flippers off our Rage Craw.   They wanted to eat, but there hearts were not in it, and we ended up missing more than we caught in that cove.  After that we headed back down lake and fished a really flat mainlake bank and put another 5 or 6 in the boat, with Gary doing some damage on the spinnerbait..  Things were starting to look up.

As we fished, Gary had several nice ones smoke his spinnerbait, and I finally started to stay with that 5″ swim bait.  Around noon they decided to quit messing around and they started to eat.  We hit another big cove and they were in there.  I have noticed the last few trips that they are still somewhat bunched up, and many have not spawned.  So we re-fished some of them and it was better on the second pass.  All of a sudden they just started eating it, and we probably put maybe another 15 in the boat before we quit.  I even broke 30lb braid on a good fish, we lost several bigger ones, it was just a really steady bite.

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Been a while since I showed you a big gator.  In the 8 foot range, look at the gut on that thing.  You could be next on the menu.  I love those things.

Several hit it right at the boat, some hit it in 6″ inches of water, some out of bushes, any good flat point with bushes had a fish on it, it was just one of those fun days.  At one point Gary jerked one out on the Swimming Jig and almost hit me in the face with it.  Awesome, we were laughing then.  In fact, several got jerked completely out of the water today, a function of them hitting with only a few feet of line out,  And as the bite picked up some of them were really wacking that swim bait.  Now I am not that good at it, but I am learning fast.  With this much cover it should remain a good bait for the time being.

Both Gary and I started off with the bluegill color Swimming Jig and finally around noon I went to the all white with a Caffine Shad trailer.  And boy they liked that, and it was game on as far as the jig went.  As the water warmed, they moved into those flat pockets, and were flat eating that white jig.  Thanks John for reminding me.  And one last thing, they were not just everywhere today, if you caught a couple they were in the area.  But as stupid as it sounds, where they weren’t, they really weren’t.  It is just a little different from a usual spring pattern.

I really had a good time today.  Sorry there is no more pictures, but I was not willing to put the rod down that long!  Gary is a good fisherman, and a good man.  His finest quality (just kidding) is he fishes almost exactly like I do.  Covered water at a good pace, good boat position, just an all around good fisherman.  And it has been awhile since I fished with anyone beside the Shoedog who throws a spinnerbait as much as I do.  Though we did not put a big fish in the boat that was probably our fault.

The wind blew some this afternoon, and it looks like we are in for those March winds we did not have the last few weeks.  Since Sunday it has been blowing and tomorrow they are talking up to 25+.  So with that in mind it will be one more lake day.  Tomorrow I will stick with the swim bait longer, and try to fish a little better mechanically.   We had the bites, but the big one just did not happen.  Tomorrow is another day, and I intend to take full advantage of it.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Thought for Today. 3/29/15.

 Fish Catching Travel

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Add a Swimming Jig to your arsenal today.

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I got this comment from John, and trust me, it is a good one for several reasons.

Try combining that swim bait with a swim jig. That combo was working well for me on Lake Austin when it had grass. White swim jig & white swim bait or Watermelon red  jig/swim bait where good. It is just a slight variation from your swim jig/crawfish trailer. I throw that a lot myself .  Also another tip for enhanced action try tying a loop knot on swim bait for a little more action. Thanks for the reports.

Funny you should mention using a white swim jig.  I used the all white TGSJ14-204 Strike King Swimming Jig with a paddle tail Caffine Shad in several white colors for 3months this winter with real good success.  It definitely would have been another good bait last trip.  I have not used the loop knot on it but will definitely give it a go next time out.  If you are fishing Coleto right now a white Swimming Jig and paddle tail trailer will catch fish, end of story.

Folks, if you look closely to what John had to say there is something else to be gleaned no matter where you are.  If your lake has grass, pads, reeds, or any other aquatic vegetation you can reel a bait through, you need to be throwing the Swimming Jig.  If you can reel a bait through vegetation, you can catch fish.  It is no more complicated than that.  And trust me, once you start catching a few the Swimming Jig will become an important part of your arsenal.  So thanks for your comment John, feel free to comment anytime.  Nothing like learning a little something today.

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Fish it on a jig head, behind the Tour Grade Swimming Jig, behind a football head jig, or Texas style, or on a blade bait,  or anything else you can think of.  The Rage Craw and Lobster catch bass.

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The weather is beautiful today, and not fishing is killing me.  But I got lots done the last 2 days and the serious fishing starts in the morning.  Just killing time today watching some basketball and beginning to get ready for the Florida trip.  Time to make a list, confirm reservations, and think about tackle and all that comes with that.  Also got out the summer fishing clothes, also know as my wardrobe.  I am sure the boss gets tired of me wearing the same thing all the time.

Also, I am getting real used to this retirement thing.  I finally notified the Arkansas Supreme Court that I was going to go ahead and surrender my license to practice law in Arkansas.  Of course I still have the Texas license just in case, of what I do not know.  But with SSI looming around the corner the practice of law is but a memory and I can’t see myself practicing again.  We never know how things will come out, but unless they move some saltwater coast all the way to the Arkansas line there is little chance I will ever live there again.

In fact, while being boarded by a real horse’s butt Coast Guardsman, (The only one I ever encountered like that.) he was giving me a real hard time about coming all the way from Arkansas to POC to fish.  He was acting like it was something suspicious.  I wanted to say as soon as the coast moves to Arkansas I will stay home.  Not to many redfish in Arkansas bozo.

So that is it for today.  Just wanted to touch base with everyone.  I hope you had a good weekend fishing.  If you caught some send me a note, we would love to hear about it.  And if you are catching any crappie in Texana let me know, makes my mouth water thinking about it.  It will be off at daylight for a day of it tomorrow.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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All I have to say is go fishing. 3/28/15.

Fish Catching Travel

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The 3/8th ounce Bleeding Bait spinnerbait, white with silver blades, and the Swimming Jig and Craw were the baits today.

I got this comment from RL, and if you like to live vicariously when you can’t get out on the water this story is for you.

Great report and pics! For those of us who are highway warriors this really makes the week go by and feel like we are right there with you.
Thank You.
RL

Thanks for the comment RL and I wish all of you had been with me today, it was fun.  So if you are stuck in the house or at work, enjoy.

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Whether you fish the salt, like I have a couple of times lately, or freshwater, which I have a couple of times lately, the fishing is good right now.  No matter where you fish we are right in the middle of our good spring fishing.

Since I hadn’t fished Coleto since the big rise and muddy up it was time to check it out.  I was hoping that it was just off colored, which it was, exactly what I had hoped.  And before I forget the punch line, I fished from down lake to way up lake, and caught fish everywhere I went.  So the best advice I can give you is fish with the bait you want, where you want, and don’t pay any attention to the water color, the fish aren’t.

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First cove, first bite.

It was around 8:30 when I started in a flat main lake cove.  Throwing a Swim Jig was just the ticket.

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Second bite.  Things are looking up.

Like they were last trip, they were on the little flatter side of the coves with the sparser cover.  Before I got out of the first cove I put 8 in the boat, all on Swim Jig.  Just tossing it up in the stuff and swimming it back.  Next is was a real big flat cove.  That was the first place I caught one on a swim bait.  If you remember Randy in his report on Coleto last weekend lost a big fish on one, so I put on a 5″ with the big flat tail on a 4/0 hook with the weight on the hook.  Now I am no swim bait fisherman by any means, but it was a cool bite.  And it proves my point about sharing information.  Randy told us about losing a good one so I tried something I would never have thrown, and it worked.

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The first one, the little guy choked on that bait.

Though I only caught one in the second cove, it was on the swim bait, and it gave me the confidence to keep throwing it.  Just tossing it to the bank in the shallow places and swimming it right along and when one wanted it they would smoke it.  With the hook riding the top of the bait it would swim right through the cover. Not having thrown it much I did miss and lose several.  They would just smoke it, often I could see them hit it, but I lost a couple of big fish when they jumped and threw the hook.  I finally figured out, heavier rod and braid should help, and it did.

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This one came on a swim bait.

I lost count when it was 11 on Swim Jig and 6 on swim bait, but I just kept throwing the swim bait.  It was something new for me and it was fun.

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Of course I threw the spinnerbait, and it started working.

So now the sun is high, there is almost no wind, and the fish will bite a Swim Jig, a swim bait, and a spinnerbait.  They were not concentrated, but everywhere I fished from up lake to down lake had at least a few fish.

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There is the swim bait.

Now I don’t know which bait to throw so I just alternated between them, and they all worked.  If there was a flat point, there was a fish, if there was a flat with scattered brush, there was a fish.  I was buzzing the Bleeding Bait, and while they were not really crashing the spinnerbait, I think only 1 missed it.

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I think you get the point by now.

While no big ones made the boat today, it was good springtime fishing.  The fish are positioned where they should be, coves and flats, and if you find the right one, a flat cove.  I saw some beds today but did not check them out, not my thing, and there were quite a few tilapia around.  One thing I wanted to say is when I cleaned those bass for the wife last week 4 were females who had not spawned yet.  And the guts on a couple of them today said they are not done spawning yet, so the fishing should remain good through the next moon.

 It was cool to catch fish from 8:30 to 5, nice and steady.  If I had done a better job on the swim bait early there would have been a couple of good ones over the side.  When the only 5″ swim bait I had finally tore the only size I had left was a 6″, and they were not interested in the bigger bait.  It was cool to see them roll up and eat it as it swam by cover.  That should give you an idea of how shallow they are.

And the new trolling more was a real improvement.  The locator worked great but wasn’t really necessary as the fish were shallow.  I did flip just a little, but had no bites and gave up on that pretty quickly with the way they were eating other things.  It is not to often that you have 3 baits all working about the same.  I will say that the best average came off the spinnerbait, but if I had boated the 3 big ones I lost on the swim bait it would have been another story.

So if you can hit the lake, the fishing is good and it won’t last forever.  I am really happy about how high the lake is, higher than I have ever seen it.  The spawn is on and there will be lots of places for the fry to hide this year.  This kind of timing can lead to an epic year class.  And to add to the confusion the coastal bite is on.  Where next?  Not a clue, but it will be another week of both places, the order is the only thing to be determined.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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