Venice La and points East. 8/13/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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First the good news.  I saw the Dr. on Thursday and everything is looking good.  I go back in 8 days from today and there is a good chance he is going to cut me loose.  There is no words to describe how much getting back in the boat and back to blogging means to me.  This has been one of the longest stretches of my life, at least it seems like it, so thanks for your good wishes, it meant the world to me.

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If I CAN’T DO IT AT LEAST I CAN LOOK AT IT!

Now for some interesting news.  The Boss wanted to head to the Gulf coast of Mississipi for a few days, and as I write this I am watching a huge storm rolling over Biloxi.  And as a side note, it is lightening like crazy and there are still boats running around, they have to be freakin’ nuts.  But back to the point.

I have always wondered about fishing Venice LA so on the way we made a detour and spent a night at the end of the line at what they love to call Tuna Town.  Well guess what?  They were not kidding.  We left early enough to be at Venice Marina at 4:00 to see the boats come in, and our timing was immaculate.

Before the evening was over we saw some serious tuna, a swordfish, a marlin, a wahoo, and a few mahi mahi.  The size of the tuna was impressive, and most of the guide boats had them.  My buddy Chris has wanted to give it a go for some time, and maybe I can finally be talked into it.  My only reservation, those guide boats definitely are proud of themselves.  While we were in the store a couple of customers from different boats were paying their gas bill, all well over $500, on top of the $3000 to $4000 they charge, plus tip.  (More than I spent on 3 days on the Great Barrier Reef and twice as much as 3 days  offshore in Costa Rica.)

Now that is what I am talking about.

Having guided for around 20 years full, then part, time I know how customers can be.  And you know what this guy said after those were cleaned?  Boy these coolers sure are heavy.  Duh dude, that’s what you spent the $5k for!  Then we went to Cypress Cove to get something to eat and there was a big offshore tourney and we saw a couple of marlin, so as far as offshore fishing goes, what a place.

Most of the guide boats had a least a couple, and a few had several.

While that was cool the real reason was to see if the drive with the boat was worth it.  Here is what I learned, for me not so much.  It is amazing how few places to eat, and reasonably priced places to stay, are available.  But it is the end of the line after all.  And with the rain the river was high and muddy, and we met a couple of guys who had been there for 4 days and they caught 4 trout.  Now reds were plentiful, but they had real trouble finding the trout.  They spoke with a guide who turned out to be the kind of guide that gives them a bad name.  He told them they were to late for trout, whatever the hell that means, and then of course they see someone with a huge sack when they come in that day.  I know they make a living that way, been there/done that, but you don’t have to be a horse butt about it.  If you don’t have the balls to just say I make my living that way so sorry I can’t help but instead lie, says a lot about your character.

The ramp at Venice Marina on a Saturday was absolutely nuts, and if the weather had been better I can only image how ugly it would have been.  Not near enough parking, a real mud hole.  And one of the guide boats had a motor struck by lightening that day.  Here is the attorney coming out in me, if you take customers out in life threatening weather and something happens trust me there will be someone coming after you, and rightly so.  I sympathize, you have to fish to eat, but customers put their life in your hands and that is intentionally negligent, plain and simple.

So I am glad we went, saved me the trip as far as inshore goes.  Redfish are all well and good, but we got em, and having fished Grand Isle many times, no need to drive past it to trout fish.  And when the muddy river brings all that fresh water in it can make it tough. Unless you are well schooled in how to respond to that, which is beyond my ability, there are plenty of other places to catch them and not have to deal with the potentially challenging conditions.

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After we left Venice we took the coastal road all they way to Biloxi and stayed off the interstate.  The area from out side of New Orleans along the Mississipi coast was awesome.  Once you hit the area between Lake Catherine and Lake Pontchartrain there was miles of fishable water, with plenty of access and marinas.  And then in Mississipi there were literally great free ramps one after the other, tons of free parking, some with free washdowns, and even on a Sunday there was no problem with access.  Such a welcome change from some areas I have fished, in fact, it was amazing.  Hats off to them.  I can definitely see towing the boat here.  There are big bays and miles and miles of rivers, creeks, marshes, it was something and definitely gives you options depending on conditions.  Having towed many miles on lots of trips all it takes is one hitch in the weather to ruin things.

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Though my boats have not left the yard, I was happy to lend one to my buddy Jeffish so he and Korbin, the future 2030 Bassmaster champion, could use the boat.  All you need to do is look at this young man’s face, it says it all.

Captain Large and In Charge!

Nice hairdo home boy!

They ran a few lines and did a little fishing, and while it was a little tough, they managed a fish fry.  But what they really managed was some great dad/son fishing time, and that is worth everything.  Take a kid fishing, you won’t be sorry.

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I got this comment from my buddy Bobby and it brings up several points for discussion.

Just been reading my bass times. Go back to your roots!! Next time I go to Coleto Im going back to my old school lures. My Bagley Tin Foil Shad. Like the article says I have got all caught up in the new stuff. So it is time for me to try something new. I am old and set in my ways bit I think it is time for a change!! Thank you Doug for letting me post this here. I just had a thought and had to express it…..
Bobby

Bass Pro and Cabelas have made a stinking fortune on all of us and our desire for the latest and greatest.  A perfect example is rods and reels.  The marketing arm of the bass fishing industry, expressed by a miniscule portion of the fishing population, tournament fishermen, have convinced us that we must have a rod and reel and line for each and every bait.  Look on the deck of most bass boats and you will see lots and lots of combinations, heck I intentionally try to keep mine at 5.  At least one bait with big rattles, small rattles, no rattles, shad color, crawdad color, red, blue, green in 5 sizes times each, and before you know it you have 20  different baits in one type.  And then they fish a tournament out of a $50k boat with $5k of equipment, and weigh in 2 bass.  And on and on and on.

Or lets take saltwater, you bet a fancy $250 rod feels great in your hands, but for the love of God, tons of fish were caught on fiberglass rods.  I am watching some dude right now on a TV fishing show and he has 5 rods – in a kayak.  And the old guys who paved the way on the coast would be amazed, or appalled, at the extent to which boat manufacturers have gone.  $60 and $70K for a boat, are you kidding me?  70 mph in a foot of water, for what?  High def side scan, in 2 foot of water?  A wrap declaring you are the man, in spite of the fact you probably paid for the right to have it on the boat?  Just saying, it does not have to be this hard, or this expensive.

Now do not get me wrong, I have been just as guilty as everyone else, and more than most.  But it has gotten ridiculous.  I just spent a day when I replaced a bunch of plastic boxes with new so I was forced to look at my baits one by one.  And now I am so organized, but there is an easy $200 worth of stuff laying on the floor that I cleaned out of a few boxes.  I do not know why I bought it, did not use it, and will never use it.  My Bagley Bang O Lures are a perfect example.  I have used them for over 30 years, they caught fish then, and they catch fish now.  It is my first and last choice for topwater minnow fishing, so why in the sam hell do I have another 15 topwater minnow baits that I was not using?

So to get to your point, lures are tools and nothing more.  Many have a run when the fish have not seen them before, but nothing is magic.  There are basic lures that have worked for years and still work today as well as they did then.  And no matter how great a bait, as they say in real estate, location, location, location.  In the words of Eric Clapton, “It’s in the way that you use it.”  Somehow the lure manufacturers have convinced us that it is acceptable to pay $15 for a hard bait that may or may not catch fish.  Amazing.   The real money shot in this deal is studying and learning all you can about the fish, from there it will fall into place.  One of the guys who gave me a helping hand when I first started fishing down here wades and drifts almost exclusively for trout.  He carries 2 bags, and I mean packages of plastics, and nothing else, and he knocks the crap out of them.  It goes back to that old question – Is it better to do a hundred things half assed or a few things proficiently?  So back to the basics can be a good thing we all could benefit from.  Thanks for commenting.

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That is enough pontification for today.  I am counting the hours until I am back on the water and catching fish.  My Wade Right wading belt and bag of Controlled Descent Lures are calling my like a siren on the rocks, and the only way to shut them up is waist deep in the Gulf.  I really appreciate you all sticking with me.  I promise we will be back in the swing of things soon.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Upright and taking nourishment. 8/5/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I appreciated my buddy Chris stopping by with a fresh caught redfish.  He has not fished much lately and while he caught fish, shorts ruled the day.  It really gives new meaning to the old saying:  The more I fish the luckier I get.  That is so true, nothing beats time on the water.  So thanks for stopping by, leaning against the boat and shooting the breeze was almost like being there.  Thanks again.

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If you are planning a trip, or thinking about one, to a new saltwater destination the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has the site for you.  There are new charts covering the whole coast of the USA and with a simple click you can view anywhere.  It is a site I wish I had used on some of my past travels.  It gives you a good view to add to your research and can help making plans.  So save this in your favorites, it just might come in handy.  Plus being shore bound it keeps me entertained for a couple of minutes until I am cleared to be back on the boat

http://charts.noaa.gov/BookletChart/GulfCoastBookletCharts.htm

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Baffin 2 years ago.  I do remember this is what they look like!

The only fishing I have done is vicariously through the Fishing Channel and internet posts.  The trout fishing looks pretty good if the pictures posted are any indications.  It is definitely a get out early for the best results.  And from some reports the topwater fishing is still pretty good at times.  And with our winds calming down there are lots of fish in the surf when folks can get out there.  The jetties all along the coast are giving up plenty of big reds, sharks, and the occasional tarpon.  Hopefully there will be few left when I can get back after them.

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My buddy Orlando, one of the Austin Boys, unfortunately face planted while riding his bike today and is in the hospital as I write this.  After observation he got cut lose.  Hope you recovery is quick and you are back on the bike in no time.

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Really not much to report, just wanted to let you all know I am alive and kicking.  I am really humbled by all the well wishes and offers to fish whenever I am released.  Thanks to all of you.  I thought about posting some of the comments but they are self serving but I want you all to know I read each and every one and am so thankful for your support.  Your words of encouragement are great motivators.

And a word of thanks to Dr. Happel, Dr. Clemmons and his office, the staff at Detar Hospital, and the nurses on 5th floor.  A special word of thanks to my night nurse Airene.  She is a shining example of what a nurse should be, and having worked in that environment I know a good nurse when I see one.  She was kind and efficient, I was so impressed with her caring attitude.  In no way am I an easy patient, just ask the Boss.  Over the years I have had the misfortune to spend a day or two in hospitals and my experience at Detar was absolutely first class.  Thanks all.

I really am starting to feel so much better.  I am walking a mile each day to get my strength back.  Once I am released it will be fishing till I drop, and since I will be chomping at the bit I am taking the time to get back in shape.  One good result of the surgery, my little beer belly is gone, we will see how long that takes to return.  Tough job but somebody has to do it.

And there is one more bright spot in this whole thing, fall.  Since it looks like I will be banned from the boat until probably September it will coincide with the opening of dove, and then the rest of the seasons.  One thing about hunting season, it sure does reduce pressure on the water.  Which immediately gets me to thinking about the fall visit from the Austin Boys.  The weather was a little tough last year, but they somehow manage to bring it with them every year. So while it will be tough waiting this out, it is coming to end, just not soon enough for me.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That. 7/27/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It Is Dangerous Out There

While I was half in the bag on pain meds the Boss read me the enforcement figures for the July 4th weekend.  Since I was having trouble remembering my own name I had her text it to me so I could comment on them when I was out of the rabbit hole with Alice.

TWPD reports they did over 17,ooo boating checks over the holiday.  There were 33 boating accidents, 7 non-boating deaths, (Not sure how they classified these, maybe drownings?) and a total of  55 DWI arrests.  These figures can be interpreted as either great, or concerning.  Not having the total numbers of tickets issued for violations it is hard to decide what to think.

On one hand they checked a ton of boats, which indicates how busy the weekend was.  And in all those checks only arresting 55 drunks is great statistically.  But no matter how you look at it, any fool driving a boat drunk on the busiest holiday of the summer is one fool to many.  And what to say about boating accidents, 33 again seems not to bad for a busy holiday.  But 33 is to high. While not knowing the character of the accidents, my thought would be that the majority of them could have been avoided.

As they say, liars figure and figures lie.  I know we have had several incidents on our local bays this year, and saltwater anglers (Myself included.) can learn a little from the bass boys.  One of the great results that came out of bass tourney fishing was when they made life jackets and kill switches mandatory.  As a result of that it is common to see bass fisherman with life jackets on, something we rarely see on our bays.  And thinking about it, I almost always wear a jacket on my bass fishing trips, but rarely on the bay.  Maybe that is related to the depth of water most of the bay trips occur on.  The easy answer is “Heck I can stand up”, true, unless you are tossed on your head and knocked stupid.  It would suck to drown in 2 foot of water, but it happens every year.  One thing that is constant for me no matter where I fish is the kill switch.  They save lives, period.  At least the boat will not run over me, even if I am unconscious.

I do want to salute TPWD for their service to the boaters of this state.  Not only are they doing their job, they are making it safe for the rest of us.  And who knows, those 17,000 checks most likely saved a life or two that weekend.  So remember next time you get checked, they are doing it to not just to keep us all safe, but also to educate boaters on the law, which many boaters need.  But as long as you have your stuff together it is no problem.  I like chatting with them, usually.  While this might be a little rambling, I hope you get the point.  In my case having a pontoon boat upside down on my head taught me a little lesson.  The 2 life jackets I had on that day saved my life, and whenever I start to slack off wearing my life jacket I just think back to the scariest 30 seconds of my life.scan0035We towed it back to the dock after it got hit by the tornado.  That freakin’ thing was on my head.  And there are the jackets that saved my life.

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The Mad Trout Fisherman at it again. 7/11/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It was great to hear from Chad.  He is kind enough to send the occasional reports with great details.  No big shot guide or rich kid with daddy’s boat, this is a fisherman. He is the kind of guy who does not flaunt his stuff, in fact until this year fished out of an aluminum boat, but with my begging he is kind enough to teach us something.  I do not care who you are, when you read his reports there is plenty to glean.  And with me out of action for a little bit it is nice to have a good report to share with all of you.

Hey, a fast recovery is being prayed for you my friend! I spent 2 1/2 mo in the hospital in 2015 and nearly lost my life and leg and foot. But god is good and after a yr I recovered. So hang in there my friend.

Taylor putting the wood to them!

On the flip side the trout action in poc is on fire!!! My fishing partner and I have been getting great results, fishing croaker in the surf and bays. My son went to Colorado for a week and hooked a few brown trout and a couple rainbows. After 3 days there he told me he had yellow mouth fever so upon his arrival Sunday, we hitched the boat and loaded the rods for the cure.

Sacking them up.

Yesterdays trip to poc was outstanding. Surf was flat so at dawn patrol we found what we were looking for. Baitfish jumping in a back current coming out the breakers is best I can describe, we anchored and game on. After a quick fix of 15 in the box we headed for the bay. Coming back through the jetties we saw the birds feeding on chad the jacks were blowing out the water. A quick change to a silver spoon with steel leader meant time to hook a jack daddy. After a 50 min battle with one about 40lbs on 12 lb big game green we boated and released. So what to do now one jack is about all a man wants or should i say can stand on trout gear anyway.

One jack is enough, but fun on trout stuff, for a minute!

It was towards greens with hopes to hook some reds. The reds didn’t cooperate but we had a blast seeing who could catch the biggest trout and Taylor won that with a 24″ trout! His personnel best.

Taylor with his POB.  It will be the first of many.

As I get older I only fish conditions instead of spots. What I mean is while moving from one location to another with the boat just on plane, I try to read the water. Looking for slicks, color changes, big schools of active bait. This has increased my catch rate by slowing down and just reading what the fish are showing me. Thanks chad

The couple of years I have know Chad through the blog he is a solid fisherman, an unassuming master trout fisherman, but most of all, a good man and father.  This man is a shining example of what our sport should be.  He catches fish in all conditions at all times of the year.  So re-read the last paragraph, it is a great piece of advice from someone who is a clear cut above other trout fisherman.  And it sounds so easy, and of course I can hear some of you now saying crap like “Who does not know that?” or “What’s the big deal?”  If that is you I call bullshit.  First that technique does not work well at 70mph!  Second, think about it and be honest with yourself, when was the last time you actually slowed down, did not head to the last place you caught them, or that great spot, trimmed out flat flying, and just actually paid attention all the way there?  Tell me you do not as a rule drive by miles and miles of bank without giving them a second look.  So take it for what it is worth.  Chad has no sponsors, no ax to grind, no look at me bragging on Facebook, his results speak for themselves.  And his couple of past posts I put on the blog are a how to on croaker fishing.  So thanks Chad for your continued educating us.  And I will be back in action soon.  Looking at your pictures has me wanting to sneak out of the hospital and catch a few!

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The greatest tackle show on earth starts this week in Florida and Michael the designer of the Controlled Descent Lures and owner of My Coast Outdoors is introducing his great plastics to the international fishing world.  Here’s to a great show, hope they realize what a fish catching innovation the Controlled Descent Really is.  If there ever was a new product that deserves recognition it is your cool lure.

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I am now 2 days post-op.  Still the old IV thing and hooked up to the pain pump, but a couple of other not so pleasant things are done, thank God.  Just have to keep getting up and move about.  I am being a good patient, unusual for me, and if all goes well I could be free by the end of the week.  And I want to thank so many of you who have emailed or sent me your kind words and well wishes here or on Facebook.  I won’t put them all up, it would be to self serving, but suffice to say you don’t know what it means to me.  If I started naming you all it would take a page, but you know who you are and you have my thanks.

And I do want to say a kind word about Detar Hospital, they have been great.  From the ER, through Surgery and now the floor, I have been pleasantly surprised.  My past experience at other hospitals clearly left something to be desired, but not here and I am grateful for that.  There has been a couple of nurses who have been especially caring and compassionate, and as soon as I get out of here I will be contracting their supervisors letting them know how lucky they are to have them.

So I may not be on the water, but I am keeping up with things online, and the fishing on the Bay is on fire.  So if you get out on the water drop me a comment, my turn to fish vicariously through you all.  Nothing else to say but keep dropping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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Canada Pictures 7/7/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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My buddy Clyde made his annual trek to Canada, which he has been doing for over 25 years, and it was another successful trip.  Muskie Bay is the place, Crow Lake and Lake of the Woods give you all the water you could fish in a  lifetime.  One thing I love about Muskie Bay, if you ever wanted to cross a muskie off your bucket list this is the place.  And I can not say enough how great the folks at Muskie Bay treat you.

Great fish!

Muskies are a definite bucket list fish.  They are the top of the food chain in the north woods, and most days are completely oblivious to the boat.  If you like the visual, which is a huge fish opening his mouth and eating your lure at boatside with  a couple of feet of line out, this is the fish for you.

Here is his comments on the trip:

This year at Muskie Bay the light colored jerk baits were the way to go.

We walleye fished one day and caught them jigging aggressively in 6 foot of water.  John’s daughter and granddaughter went this year and after a lessons started wearing them out. It was nice to have some youth around.  The walleye bite was excellent on light tackle with jigs and plastics or Berkeley power minnows ; lots of 25 to 30 inch pike  on light tackle ;very slow on buzz bait.

Paul, Chris and Jake were good hosts and these lakes are fish factories.

Now that is a freakin’ stud!

I am sure the gang at Muskie Bay did their usual bang up job.  If you ever wanted to take that bucket list trip to Canada this is the place.  They are great folks and will do whatever they can to help you boat that fish of a lifetime.  And to your comment on having youth around, that is what it is all about.  Sharing the love of the outdoors with young folks, and when we are dead and gone they will be taking their kids and family on these kinds of trips.  And the beat goes on.

Muskies are the great predator, and they know it.  It is so cool to see them follow the bait all the way to the boat and then eat.  One of those great moments in fishing.  And as these pictures show, they come in all sizes and colors, one of the most beautiful fish swimming.

One solid muskie!

And there are plenty of smallmouth available.

Though muskies are cool, there is a world of nice fish to be caught out of Muskie Bay.  Perch, largemouth, smallmouth, walleye, lake trout, muskie, plenty of fish to keep an angler on Crow and Lake of the Woods busy.  The smallmouth fishing on Lake of the Woods is world class.  It is possible any day to catch a 100 smallmouth in a day, it really can be awesome.  So looks like another great trip, maybe someday I will make it again.  That’s the dang problem, so many fish, so many places, so hard to choose.  Thanks for the pics.

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Speaking of Lake of the Woods, it is where I caught my biggest muskie 4 years ago.  The reason I wanted to show it to you (besides it still blows me away) is that almost every one of the dozen or so I ever caught came on bass fishing lures and tackle.  It you can throw a jerk bait you can catch almost everything that swims up there.

601This one came on a Red Eye shad in a foot of water.  The point is you don’t have to go hog snot crazy with tons of tackle, a good braid and wire or heavy fluoro leader with your flippin’ stick and you are good to go, except for the huge net.  In fact most of them I was lucky enough to boat came on regular medium heavy equipment.  And the great benefit is you continue to catch pike, smallmouth, and the occasional walleye, then out of the blue it happens.  Cool stuff.  So if you ever wanted to cross one off your bucket list just do it, and Muskie Bay is the place to get it done.

If you want to get your fishing juices flowing check out their webpage.

http://muskiebayresort.com/

There are dozens of Canada posts on the blog, so if you want to see or know more just put muskie into the search box on the right and there is plenty of information about fishing there.  And the first article I wrote on Muskie Bay is in the Fish Catching Travel section at the top of the page.

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It is noon on Friday.  I just got back from all the pre-op stuff at the hospital prior to heading to surgery Monday morning.  It has been a struggle, and it continues to be one.  Though the Boss works there and has been in health care for 35 years, it is unbelievable what has transpired.  Everyone has their hand out, it is crazy.  And how poor folks without any experience in the system navigate I do not know.

The  punch line is today is my last chance to fish for a little.  So even though it is hot and humid I am hitching the boat up and headed to Coleto.  Not sure how long I will last but suffice to say this will be it for a while.  Like I have said in the past, every day on the water is precious, and when it is taken from you it confirms that, fish while you can.

I guess this is time to fill you in.  I go for major surgery Monday.  I will be in the hospital for a week, yikes!  Then it will be 3 weeks of laying around on my ass doing nothing,  After week 3 it will be 3 more weeks of limited physical activity.  The worst part?  The surgeon says I can not even ride in a boat for up to 6 weeks!   Wtf.  Guess they don’t want my guts slipping out and landing in my lap – for the love of God!  He did say I can wade or pier fish, but none of those back breaking rides across the bay.  Obviously he is a fisherman.  There is one bright spot, as long as it goes like he says it should cure me and I should be good as new, so it is better than I feared.

Unfortunately the next fishing report will be it for a while.  I guess if I have to be laid up hot summer time is the best timing, if there is a good time for this.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 7/5/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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A great morning to be on the water.

Since I have to go to the dentist, the principal’s office, or court tomorrow, (read surgeon) and take the drilling, my punishment, or go to jail (read the bad news) it was time to at least get in a little fishing before whatever might be coming.  So while I was not feeling all that hot I was on the water at 6:20.

The morning was beautiful with almost no wind.  The lake has come up a little with the water temp at the ramp 92 degrees, way up lake it was 88.  The water up lake has a nice color to it, and that little bit of added cover didn’t hurt anything either.  So it was straight to where l knew a few were, and they were there.  To bad it just did not go all that well.

The only good one I could get in the boat.

Starting with a buzzbait I finally got a nice one after about an hour.  It was not one of those little pull it under bites, she smoked it.  I kept after it a while and finally switched to the white swim jig with a white trailer, and the bite was on.  It turned out to be one of those good news/bad news things.  While I boated a good 6 or 7, I had multiple disasters, all because of a lack of concentration.  That little bit of feeling ill had me off my game just enough that I paid for it.

Of course this size stayed on.

Almost every single bite, and I had a bunch, came within 5 feet of the bank.  Unfortunately in one stretch I lost a big one, then another, then actually broke another one off.  At this point I was definitely frustrated and not feeling worth a hoot, not the best combination.  After the one broke the line it was time to go a little heavier instead of the 12lb line.  I switched to the bluegill swim jig with the crawdad trailer on braid with a 20lb fluoro leader.  Though they definitely liked it as well, another good one came unbuttoned.  It really turned into a lose em’ fest.  Missed, lost , broke off, jumped off, it all happened.  And of course the small ones all stayed on.  I can not even guess how many managed to get off, unfortunately it was more than I boated.

So at 9:30 I called it a morning.  The fishing really was pretty good, to bad I wasn’t.  It really was a lesson in how important concentration is to fishing.  As I always say it is the little things, and today I failed miserably in that department.  Not checking the line after a few fish, improper drag setting, letting them jump, not setting the hook hard enough, it all happened.  But don’t get me wrong, it was actually a good bite, to bad I did not get the job done.

A last word on Coleto, they are catching crappie from one end of the lake to the other.  I actually saw one boat catch one when I went by, the another hit a pile and caught one across from me.  Considering we are in full on summer the fishing is pretty good.  This little rise did not hurt anything and there might be a pretty good catfish bite for a day or two.  So if you like freshwater Coleto has plenty to offer right now

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First I want to thank all of you who have sent me words of encouragement.  And one I got from Ervin is really on point, especially after my short trip this morning.

Doug, here’s best wishes for kicking whatever’s ailing you so you can get back on the water soon and keep these reports flowing. I’ve never commented before, but I really enjoy reading you stuff and I’ve been learning a lot. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. This getting old isn’t for sissies, is it?

It always makes me smile and feel humbled when I get this kind of comment.  It really is the plan to share some real information that hopefully folks can take to the water and catch a few.  Though clearly not Van Dam, or the best trout fisherman on the planet, I have caught my share the last 60 years, and if by reading this folks catch even one more fish then mission accomplished.

And your comment;  “This getting old isn’t for sissies, is it?”, is one of the more timely and astute things anyone has said to me in a while.  At times I  sure see why folks just basically give up, though clearly that is not in the plan.  In my case it really is time to man up, so I will do what I am told, and start planning my next trip.  Thanks for your kind comments.

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And as usual it was good to hear from Jim.

Doug I know you’ll hang in there buddy.  I’ll be sitting here waiting for your next post whether tomorrow or six weeks from now.  I headed to Swan Lake leaving Seadrift, I say near but right off of Mission Bay, so we were 4 fisherman fighting the wind and the fish.  We ended up with three fish which made the size limit and we’re happy with that.  The sun was hot and the wind beat us up a little bit, but we’re back at the house drinking a beer.

Sounds like a wonderful time.  Nothing like getting your butt kicked coming back across the bay.  It is not always about catching them, though of course that helps, some trips just end up being classified as an adventure, and it sounds like that covers your last trip.  But when you can head to the house and finish the day sharing a cold with friends it somehow turns things into a great day.  It is all in the telling.  Keep in touch.

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It really is driving me nuts seeing all the bay pictures online.  A great motivator to get this stuff dealt with and get to feeling good again.  It was nice to have a good bite this morning, not to mention plenty of deer, I scared the crap out of a big bunch of hogs, alligators on the prowl and birds feeding everywhere.  Saying that reminded me that several of the fish came from the areas with the shorebirds working the bank.  Guess everyone was on the chew this morning.  Not sure when I will get back on the water but it will be as soon as possible.  So hang with me a little bit and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Happy Fourth of July 7/3/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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As we all take the time to celebrate the birth of our nation it got me to thinking about what it means to be an American.  I love my country, my freedoms, the rights of everyone to live as they please, or worship as they will.  But to me the privilege, the honor, that goes along with the good fortune to live in the greatest country in the world carries with it a certain responsibility.

I am a father, a husband, a fisherman, a writer, among other things, but those can all change.  But come hell or high water I am an American.  Right or wrong I choose my country over others.  I take my countries side, support her, and love the wonders of living in America.  Not everything is perfect, not every plan or decision is to my liking, but in the words of George Bush after 9-11;  “You are either with us or against us.”   So as you take time off to celebrate tomorrow give thanks that we live in the best freakin’ country on the face of this earth.

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I got this question from SA Joe and I actually have a pretty good answer.

Doug, Have you used the Descent Jerk Shad on Bass in Coleto? Spend 2-3 hours with it and let us know how you did. Let them sit next to those stumps…and see how they react to them.

I get a suspending bait made for me from Ken Culverhouse (KC Baits). Plus a couple of secret baits that work like a charm. I bring the suspending baits past the stumps everywhere, pause and the moment i move it- BAM !!!

Let me know

My first on the Controlled Descent Lure in March.

Actually I used it almost exclusively several trips this spring  just to get the hang of it and it worked the very way you said.  Once I got the combination of weight correct, whether weighted swim bait hooks or by lead insert, you could jerk it keeping it under water a foot or so, and then just stop it next to cover.  I also caught several making it floating and fishing it like a spook, and they blew up on it.  It was sight fishing at it’s best.  And now that you mention it, considering where I am finding the bigger fish on Coleto, next trip I will be using it by the grass, toss in it, a couple of jerks out and stop it close, should work like a charm.  I primarily fished the Pearl Silver Jerk Shad, but I did catch a couple on the Pink Limeaid Paddle Shad.

My first on the Paddle Shad.

So the basic answer is, it works and using like you suggest should help pull some of those fish out of that cover, especially the way they refused to chase the last few trips.  So thanks for reminding me of a technique that might put them in the boat right now, and if you get a chance to give it a go lets us know how it turned out for you.  And as a side note for you Carolina rigging boys fishing deep this summer, getting it to suspend perfectly horizontal will be killer.  Thanks for the comment.

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Just a friendly reminder after some pretty tough things happening on the coast the last few weeks.  It only takes a minute for things to go south as seen with the multiple drownings from both boat and land making headlines.  And to top it off another case of vibro, which according to what I read is now up to 50 cases this year already.  Please if you have open cuts, or are immune compromised, please be careful.  Back to that thing you always hear, better chance of being abducted by aliens.  Well guess what, that may be true, but if you get vibro abduction by aliens will seem like a walk in the park.

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It has taken me a couple of days to figure out how to deal with this next subject.  I do not want to be seen as whining, though I have done a little of that, but there is a reason you have not seen much out of me the last week.  Unfortunately my medical trouble has reared it’s ugly head again.  It went away for a little bit and here it is back again just as bad.  A trip to the ER and a CT scan revealed it is worse than initially thought.  Normally it would have meant admission to the hospital followed by the surgical consult.  Fortunately being the holiday weekend nothing would get done anyway so I managed to weasel out of that for a couple of days.

So here is the punch line.  Further evaluation by a surgeon Thursday, the dreaded “surgical consult”, which I think in medical speak means get ready.  I have no clue what is coming but not being able to fish at will sucks when I am seeing all those big strings from the bay. So I am back on meds and alternating between feeling like road kill and feeling just not quite right.  I am so thankful that I was able to see my buddy in the ER, it helps when you have trust and confidence in bad news.  And having the best wife in the world, a medical professional, helping me get through this is a blessing.  On the 1 – 10 patient scale, I score a 1, I definitely suck at this patient thing.

Over the years I have often said fish while you can, every day on the water is precious.  I have been so fortunate to be able to fish at will and write about it over the last 6 years.  Though I hope to get out at least once before Thursday, there is going to be a lull in posts for the next little while but we are not closed for business.  I am not quiting, and definitely not kicking the bucket, this is just a bump in the road.  Those of you who know me personally know that it will takea lot more than this to shut me up.  So thanks to all of you who have followed this labor of love over the years, it would not be the same without you.   So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 6/27/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Here I sit Tuesday morning watching the radar and it could not be situated any more right smack on top of POC if it tried.  My plans to make the bay have been thwarted so far this week.  We needed the rain but I really wanted to fish the bay.  I got up early yesterday and the rain was on top of POC, so after a couple of hours I decided to just hit the lake for as long as it would hold off here in Victoria.  Suffice to say that went over like a lead balloon.  One of the responsibilities of having the blog is telling it like it is good or bad, at least if you want some credibility.

To make a boring story short, I fished from 7 until 11:30 and caught a total of 4 bass.  Unfortunately they were to small to even qualify for a picture.  It would have been embarrassing.  The first mistake was when I decided to start in the plant arm.  With the fish biting the last 2 trips until about 9:00am it is imperative to be on them first thing.  So once I did not find them it was all over but the crying.  The few I did catch came on white swim jig, and for some reason they were not the least bit interested in buzzbait.  This was definitely a day where I should have started in the area where I knew the better fish were and got it while the getting was good.  Simply a case of me over thinking it, or not, whichever way you look at it.  Not sure why it was slow, but it was.

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I could not be any more excited for Michael of My Coast Outdoors and his Controlled Descent Lures.  He is at the ICAST show highlighting his new bait.

Beyond excited to have Controlled Descent Lures in the New Product Showcase at this year’s ICAST event. It’s truly a dream come true and we cannot wait to experience it all. For those that will be attending and can cast vote, please check out our Controlled Descent Jerk Shad. Forever thankful for your support. www.mycoastoutdoors.com
. #getinhaled#mycoastoutdoors#controlleddescentlures

Good Luck, hope you sell a semi full!  Just when you think there is nothing new under the sun something like the Controlled Descent Lure pops up, great concept and they catch fish.  Driving me nuts right now I am not waist deep in the bay tossing one!

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When I was putting in at the lake Monday a guy came over and introduced himself.  I love meeting all of you and in this case it was Johnny, who I “knew” from the blog and the occasional pictures and reports he has sent in the past.  Nice to put a real face to the name and I enjoyed speaking with him.  Love of fishing makes us all comrades.  He is catching them on swim jig and had a 4lber his last time out.  So it was great to meet him, and the rest of you hollar at me anytime.

I noticed he is running a Bass Cat, manufactured in Mtn. Home, Arkansas, my old stomping grounds.  It was a reminder of how influential that small area of the country was to bass fishing.  The first Bassmaster Tournament ever on Beaver, Ranger Boats. Champion Boats, Bass Cat, Sam Welch invented the first real bass jig, Rebel Lures, Norfolk Bass Club had Rayo Breckenridge the second Bassmaster Classic winner as a member, and on and on.  It was a cool time to live there as bass boats went from stick steering cigars to 20 foot v’s with a 200hp, it was a real race.  And having a tournament partner who as a plant manager at Ranger  had the best and latest, I had the pleasure to fish out of the new stuff.  It went from glass rods to Fenwick graphite blanks that we spent $50 on and tied ourselves,  which was big money in those days.  And in the mid 70’s they introduced the Lew Speed spool, I had 2, the first real low profile reel.  That all adds up to why I still have this love of bass fishing, it was a cool time to live there.  I am sure many of you who have lived here all your lives have seen those same changes, which are still going on in the saltwater arena.

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There was a story online the other day that is as worrisome as can be.  Those worthless freakin’ Big Head and Silver carp have taken over thousands of miles of rivers, in most cases overwhelming all the rest of the fish and leaving nothing but carp.  In an effort to keep them out of Lake Michigan, and then the rest of the Great Lakes, they have erected a electric fence across the Chicago River in an effort to stop what could be a true environmental disaster  Unfortunately a mature carp was found above the fence.  After the decades and millions of dollars bringing the fishing back to Lake Michigan it is disheartening to think about what could happen.  Pray that is doesn’t.  Many of the lessons we have learned about the introduction of exotics are hard ones, and this may end up being one of the worst.

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So here it is almost noon, the weather has settled on top of POC and has not moved for hours.  I just could not take it anymore, boat already hooked up with the bass stuff in it, so with an order from the Boss for a fish fry tomorrow, I again gave up on the bay and headed to Coleto.  There was no question big weather was on the way, it was just when and how bad would it be.  It was cloudy and rained a little off and on during the afternoon, and about 3:30 a big front blew in.  As the wind picked up there was a slight change to the north with a little cool in the breeze, I new it was coming so I headed for the ramp.  I made it just right and as soon as I got it on the trailer here it came.

What made it different from Monday morning when I caught very little, was I stuck to what little pattern I have shallow, and it worked.

Love it when this size eats a buzzbait!

As the buzzbait bite comes to a close, with the deeper summer patterns taking over, there are still a few bass shallow.  Only fishing 3 1/2 hours I concentrated on patches of green grass.  Though the falling water at the lake has gone out of most of the green stuff, there is still some available.   The fish are in it, and you have to throw the buzzbait right in it, same with the swim jig.  Most of the fish I am catching on the swim jig hit it right off the bank, same with the buzzbait. The bites are clearly a reaction bite, put it right in front of their face with no time to think and they will eat.  You can almost reel it a couple of feet and then burn it back as they are not chasing.  Most of the swim jig bites have come on a jerk, then fall, right in front of the cover, so give it a jerk before it is over 2 foot off the bank.

The best on the swim jig today.

I am ok with the short afternoon results, I think it was 6, half on buzzbait and half on swim jig.  If the storm had not blown in it had the makings of a pretty good day.  As I have not fished in the evening I was wanting to fish later to see how the bites is at dusk but heavy rain combined with some thunder and lightning is my clue to quit.

Today I am spending some time with the Boss as she is off.  Looking at the weather it is finally settling down and I am anxious to get back to the bay.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 6/23/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Since the last time I hit the lake it was basically over at 8:30 it was on the water as it just cracked daylight.  In fact I was fishing at 6:15.  Since there has been no rain lately I assumed that the upper end would be clearing, and it was.  The water temp at the ramp was 87 and from then on most of it was in the 90 degree range.  And with the lake clearly falling, and the one ramp starting to silt in, I wasn’t sure how it would go.  The lake needs a little rain.

Weather

96/77  Mix of clouds and sun.  Winds 10 – 20 SSE.  0% chance of rain.

Lake Level    .

5/8/17 – 97.17 msl    Today  – 96.45  (Down 3/4 of a foot in 6 weeks.)

Solunar Times

  • 10:32A – 12:32P
  • 4:16A – 6:16A  (Were biting as soon as I started.)

I didn’t catch one on my first cast, but it was close.  Starting with a buzzbait, duh, the second fish broke the wire so I had to put on a new one.  I got lazy, and it ended up costing me.  Switching a skirt to a toad on the new buzzbait, they have been liking it the last 3 trips, I did not take the time to put on a trailer hook.

Not fast by any means but they did bite.

I caught a couple of small ones and had two smash it and not even hook up at all.  At this point it is getting apparent that it needs the trailer.  But I make another cast and there she was, blew up all over it and in the boat she came.  One thing can be said about the lake right now, keep it in the water and there is a pretty good chance to boat a big one.

I just love it when this size explodes on it.

So now of course there is no need for a trailer, right, until 5 casts later.  The minute it hit the water it disappeared in a big boil and I just did not get a good hook set on her.  All the way to the boat, looking good, and she just pulls off.  My fault all the way.  Last trip I took a minute to straighten the trailer hook and caught the biggest fish of the trip.  Today I got lazy and did not take a minute to put on a trailer and it cost me dearly.  Like I always say, it is the little things that separate a good fisherman from a great one.  Everything on every cast has to be perfect.

The bite was on until about 8:30 or 9:00 like last trip and then it slowed to a crawl.  The wind came up and with white caps and a high sky the buzzbait bite was clearly over.  I decided to fish a little more swim jig down lake as I caught one on it earlier.  So I headed to a main lake deep channel bank and fished the grass edge.

A nice average for today.

From 9 until I quit at 11:30 I had 3 more bites on the swim jig and boated 2.  Of the 3 or 4 on swim jig today they definitely wanted it jerked erratically while reeling.  The last one came right to the boat, freaked out, grabbed it, and I flipped her in the boat.  Love seeing them eat like that.  With the bite slowed and already above 90 degrees I called it day.

Everybody was eating this morning.

All in all a great morning.  Deer were moving everywhere and a really small fawn was hiding in grass, in the water, and I scared the crap out of it as it did not hear me coming.   Life was moving everywhere today, it was that kind of a morning.

The better fish were on the deeper banks, with falling water and high temps that only makes sense.  Today there were a couple of places where I got 3 bites on the buzzbait.  I should have boated a few more, they gave me plenty of chances.  If I had to guess it was around 10, half of which were small.   But any day I boat a big fish is a successful day.

On a more general note I spoke with a guy at the ramp who had been here the week.  They are big jug fisherman.  They had a really slow week compared to their usual success.  He said he normally needs a gaff but they did not boat any that size this week and their numbers were down.  And from what I gathered they fished from the campground to way up lake.  They use a specialized rig to fish channel edges, great for big cats.  So not quite sure why it was slow for them, but it is changing as summer comes on full bore.

On the other hand the crappie are still biting.  Most folks on the lake are chasing them, and I took a peak in the trash can at the cleaning table and they are definitely biting.  So if you are looking for some tasty table fare they are out there to be caught right now.

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My buddy Faye sent me this.  Pretty impressive.

Though I really wanted to fish the bay with the water this high you just don’t know what to expect, at least I don’t.  So combined with the potential winds today the lake was a little better alternative, and it ended up working out just fine.  I will be interested to watch the posts from the bays this weekend and see how it goes.  Even with the high water being the weekend there will be folks out there.  Monday I will be there and it can not come soon enough.

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My buddie’s stepfather has a nice spread with a good quail and turkey population.  So he decided to thin the critters out a little hoping to keep nest predation down and ended up catching a bunch.  Amazing sometime how many animals are out there trolling around and we just don’t see them.

Some grey fox and a couple of coons.

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I am so happy to be back in business.  If the rain will just hold off the first couple of days Monday and Tuesday I intend to get back to the salt.  Got a new rod, some new Controlled Descent Lures, and a new attitude.  And there is lots of other places to go and fish to catch, every day I get to spend on the water doing the thing that we all love is a blessing and I am just plain lucky.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Ramblings 6/22/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Finally back from visiting the folks and they are as good as old folks can be.  We really like Arkansas, the Boss actually got a case of home sickness while we were there.  We took the back roads to Fayetteville through the hills and it was as beautiful as ever.  And one thing Arkansas offers is plenty of places to fish, from rainbow trout, to stripers, smallmouths in mountain streams, big rivers, it has it all.  I will admit I miss the variety, if they could just move the coast about 300 miles north life would be perfect.   While we were there I got a text from my daughter who thought I was home asking me if it was going to get us.  Huh?  What get us?  I looked at the weather and went wow, I have been out of the loop.  All that aside it is time to get back to fishing.

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It was good to hear from Billy who commented on wading with “critters.”

First off, glad to see you are back at it.
Second, put me in the category of no fish on the first cast. I would have cringed.
Lastly, while I completely understand your hesitation to wade with the gators that you can see in the lake, it’s no different than wading with the sharks, that you rarely see yet know are always there, in the bay. You or a part of you is always a potential meal while fishing the salt. I’ve had about four encounters with the gray ghosts. Call me hardheaded or stupid, but it hasn’t deterred me yet.

Keep on keepin’ on.

I am with you on the shark/gator comparison.  I too have had a couple of real close encounters with sharks, including one when I was wading in deep off color water when I tossed a little one back and felt a rouge “wave” hit my leg.  I thought shark?  I hooked another small one and when I tossed it back a big shark exploded on him right in front of me and chased him all around me.  Hasty retreat to the boat.  So while I know the potential is the same there is just something about a big gator that gives me the willies.  Kind of like watching your live snake feeding online.  And a first cast fish doesn’t bother me, unless it turns out to be my last.  Good to hear from you.

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I got this pertinent question from Jimmy.

How about some info from you and your readers on fishing before, during and after a tropical system. Okay, maybe not during the storm. Seems like a good time with Cindy knocking on the Texas coastline. Glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery and I do enjoy reading your “stuff”. Keep it going!!

First, sorry it has taken a few days to answer, out of town visiting the old folks.  I remembered that the fishing in the Houston area actually got a lot better after the last hurricaine, so I decided to do a little research and maybe learn a little something.  So here is a little info.

Basically the affect on fish seems to depend on the difference between a big saltwater storm surge making marshes and inshore highly saline, which may actually attrack more fish shallow or inshore, and a big freshwater event.  A big rain event which lowers salinity levels actually tends to “float” above the denser saltwater.  Interesting.  One of the consequences of that is it reduces the ability of  oxygen to mix with the salt.  Of course that causes stress on the saltwater fish and may adversely affect them.  But who knows, if there are deep reefs in the area they just might stack up there.  On the flip side, freshwater fish have been observed moving farther into the bay after a heavy freshwater flow.  But as a side note a real flushing of our bays is a good thing, and has positive effects on the whole system for years, as ours of a few years ago seems to have done.

That is a simplified explanation but does not address our question;  “How is it going to affect my fishing?”  In my very limited experience prior to my moving here I somehow managed to be in POC prior to a couple of near misses and actually fished up until time to hit the road, and it was good.  Typical of many pre-frontal events in freshwater, they feel it coming.  I fished a couple days after a real high water event a couple of years ago and did ok.  My guess is it becomes a question of when will the water clear, from either rain or wind.  And then how much fresh came in to the system, which would obviously affect my bank location.  Lots of rain, get away from creeks and rivers.  So that is all I know about that.   In my case it doesn’t matter, I tend to go when I can, crap conditions or not.   If anyone else has an opinion chime in, we all might learn something.  Thanks for commenting.

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And it was good to hear from Joe.

Hey buddy, Joe from Katy here. So glad to see you are feeling better and even happier to see you made it back on the water!!

I’m sure it will take some time for your body to get back to 100% so don’t rush it and let it come as it will. Take care sir and when I get a chance I’ll send you a nice report on my Saturday trip to Fayette and my Sunday trip to Coleto.

Welcome back. We missed you!!

As usual great to hear from you and will be looking forward to anything you would care to share with us.  And I have been taking it easy, and I am freakin’ sick of it!  Thanks for your kind remarks and good luck this weekend.

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And last I heard from Jim who I had the pleasure of fishing with on Coleto this spring.

Doug,
Good to see you back on the water. Take it slow and steady. Remember I have a trip on Fayette reserved for you. Take care and rip some lips.
Jim

Believe me I have not forgotten fishing with you on Fayette.  If anyone ever needed a lesson in Carolina Rigging it is me.  And I am slowly getting up to snuff and should be back full steam ahead soon, like this week.  Thanks for thinking about me.

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Spent the day doing catch up work on stuff and got it all done when the shop called and the service on LTS was done.  500 hours with 125 on all 3 cylinders, not bad for 7 years old.  Doesn’t mean it will not come apart tomorrow, but every thing else looked great and a couple of small nagging things got fixed.  I have learned my lessons over the decades, do the maintenance, it pays in the long run.

 Tomorrow I will be headed to the lake.  The wind looks like 25mph out of the south tomorrow at POC, so with that combined with post high water and the weekend crowd, I will leave it to them.  Plus Monday and Tuesday look cloudy with a chance of rain and 10 mph winds, which has topwater bite written all over it.   Thanks for hanging with me during this little lull, time to get back after it.  A little time off has given me a new appreciation for doing the blog, and the days I do get to spend on the water.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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