Fish Catching Travel
After getting a couple of things done on Tuesday the sky looked like it would clear and the sun was peeking out. My buddy Jeffish and I had chatted about hitting the lake to see if the Tilapia were bedding, and maybe shooting a couple with the bow. The last few times I fished the lake I was seeing them, so the time looked right. And then right on schedule he sent me a text and we headed to the lake to see if they were on the beds, and they were.
The wind was up, and the water in some areas had a little color to it, making it a little harder to see them in the first couple of coves we checked. But while it was tough to get on them, there were spawning Tilapia in the back end of every place we checked. Jeffish was doing the shooting and I was keeping us in position. He missed a few before he finally got one stuck.
A nice big one.
The one above came out of a shallow flat cove with very little grass in it. There were beds everywhere, and about half of them had a fish in it. Jeffish’s shooting left a little something to be desired, but he hadn’t shot his bow in a couple of years. I actually shot a few times, and I was even worse. We had lots of chances, and as soon as this weather settles down it will be back at them. They really taste great, a well full of this size and you have some tasty fillets.
On thing I did learn from Aaron a couple of years ago when he whacked a few was as you ease in the grass and see one, just wait and watch where he went under cover, there is a chance he will stick his head back out. They seem to be easier to kill in the grass than in the bare banks with lots of beds. 6 of 1 and a 1/2 dozen of the other. Hopefully we will get a day to really give it a go. So for all you bow fishermen, the time is now and it will be over soon, so head to the lake.
We did fish 2 banks, and put 4 in the boat, nothing worth showing you. Mine came on spinnerbait, Jeffish’s on the Strike King Swim Jig. We called it day having learned what we wanted to know.
Today’s forecast was for rain, the kind of day you have heard me preach about on Coleto. When you get a warm day, with drizzle in the spring, it is time to whack them. So with that plan in mind I hit the lake about 10. One thing that is nice right now is that it is light until well past 7, so there is no big hurry. I was excited when I got to the lake, though the wind was blowing pretty hard.
I started with a spinnerbait on a deeper windy main lake bank, and got a couple quick buzzing a spinnerbait.
The first one of the short trip. Several this size smacked that spinnerbait.
I put 5 in the boat real quick, but none were the size I was looking for. When I have preached about spring days like these, it is all about catching them on topwater. So I rode the first bank until it hit the mouth of a big cove that was somewhat protected from the wind, and out came the Bang-O-Lure.
As soon as I started throwing it, I started catching fish. After catching several I got the bite that confirms what Coleto can do when conditions are right.
Love those cloudy warm days with a light rain. Just add a Bang-O-Lure and you are in business.
Fishing the topwater minnow is not complicated, but it does require a couple of things to put the better fish in the boat. A little wind is ok, and do not be afraid to throw it in a little chop. And when you twitch it on top it is very important to let the fish tell you how they want it. So when you use it try to be systematic, start out fast twitching it back to the boat, and the slow down a little at a time. They may want it stopped and sitting, they may want it moved right along, so vary your retrieve and remember how they are wanting it.
The real key to catching the bigger fish is not giving up on it. When the water is clear like it is right now, those better fish will come out of water deeper than you might think. The one above came out of 10 foot of water. While I can not tell you whether they are following it, or just coming up and blasting it, work it most of the way to the boat.
Another thing that will put a few extra fish in the boat you might think are gone is erratic jerking. If you one boils it, or misses it without getting bit by the hook. just start jerking it fast under the water as erratically as you can. You will be surprised at how many you will catch that you would otherwise think were gone. Plus it is really cool to see them roll up and grab it. 2 or 3 ended up in the boat today just that way. A little interesting note, we have had real success in Florida on nice speckled trout fishing topwater minnows that way. Why it is not that effective here in Texas I do not know.
Around 12:30 it started raining pretty good, which is ok with me, but then things changed. I heard the first thunder, then about 5 minutes later I heard more. So I headed close to the ramp, and it thundered again, louder and closer. So up with the trolling motor and off to the ramp. Hoping it would pass I sat there about 5 minutes before it did it again, so on the trailer it went. So I actually fished about 2 hours, putting an easy dozen plus in the boat. They were biting everywhere I tried on my short trip, and I sure hated to quit, but lightning and thunder is nothing to take a chance with. There are times when discretion is the better part of valor. Live to fish another day, it does not always happen to the “other guy.”
The fishing is good right now. It is one of those times when you can fish almost any bait you like, or are good at. We still have fish going to the beds, on the beds, and done. They can be caught deep, shallow, and somewhere in between. There are beds all over the whole lake and it was nice to see one full of fry yesterday. The future of Coleto is bright.
The Shoedog has a really small pond in the back yard, and folks I mean really small. It was almost completely dry 2 years ago before they got out of their drought. He sent me this while I was finishing this post.
A good one out of a small place.
His comment: “On a swim jig in the backyard baby!” You may get tired of me harping on the Strike King Swimming Jig, but folks it works and is a consistent fish catcher in our arsenal. Thanks for the picture Shoedog.
Speaking of the future of fishing, tomorrow is a big day for the Gulf. The TPWD commissioners meet tomorrow to decide whether the majority of the coast will go to the 5 fish limit. As you know I favor the proposed limit simply because it should result in bigger trout, which is ok by me. CCA sent an email today alerting members that the decision will be made tomorrow. CCA is in favor of the new limit and are urging folks to vote. I have been telling you about your chance to put in your .02 worth. The time has come, so stay tuned and we will all find out tomorrow.
I got this note from Rusty who is a long time bass fisherman and he makes a good point that I failed to consider.
“I can tell you from my 25+ years bass fishing in Mexican lakes, that tilapia gill nets DO catch bass. I have watched many bass being taken out of the nets. Some outfitters have actually paid the Mexican fishing coop’s not to fish certain lakes in order for the bass to thrive. I do not know if it applies to Falcon or not, but nets do not help the bass fisherman. However, keep in mind that during Falcon’s boom years, these nets were still being used on the Mexican side (which in the past, had the better fishing). I personally believe its a gar problem. Just my thoughts, I like Fayette and Coleta Creek anyway.”
Thanks Rusty, you make a great point. Like I tell you folks all the time, send me your comments and thoughts, it makes for a good discussion on the issues that affect our sport.
Think you had a bad day?
I got this note from a regular reader who keeps in touch. You all know the saying “stuff happens”? Well sometimes stuff happens in bunches. I thought I had a bad trip on Falcon, but this puts it in perspective. The names have been deleted to protect both the innocent and the guilty.
“WTF – Holy Sheesta – Trying to LOL
Well, we excitedly dashed off to POC Thursday morning early instead of the following Sunday due to weather forecasts. Arrived in time to get the boat rinsed, in the water; cruise out for a little late afternoon fishing. Not a bite but not a real serious attempt. We hit the water Friday morning about 9 am. I will say now that we traveled nowhere that we haven’t traveled a hundred times. We decided to go out past the old coast guard station towards the breakers/sand bar. Birds and bait everywhere but nada. The tide was really LOW. Pulled up to leave, both of us NOT paying attention and we drifted up onto the sand bar with the wind blowing us further on it. Well, poor “?????-O” spent an hour getting us off. My 100#’s isn’t much help. From there, we decided to head to Pringle to some drifting. Well, that’s where Holy Sheesta happened!! We know that to get past the Cross reef area, the engine needs to be up and on plane. We’ve gone that way hundreds of times. We pride ourselves on not exploring into areas that might get us into trouble. BUT NOT THIS TIME!! Stuck big time. We were about 100 yards from water that we might have been able to get out. Well, our boat is paid for and we had had many long discussions about cancelling the boat insurance. ????? won that discussion and I feel really bad for him!! This man has taken me everywhere to fish many wonderful places in our 15 years and I’m old enough to never say” I told you so”. Well, $730.00 later we were pulled out. We went back to the condo to shower and just sit numbly for hours. Saturday was a new day and we hit Big Bayou, Mitchell’s, Saluria @ Old Coast Guard area and several more areas.. We tried a variety of lures and had a few bites. We caught numerous Sheepshead at the coast guard station. In fact, I caught the , biggest one I’ve ever seen. Most bites came from Popping Cork with live shrimp. Sunday dawned rainy and north winds and we packed up and went home. We now have insurance again………….. My husband is always my favorite fishing partner!”,
Yikes, I hate it when that happens. It reminds us all to keep the insurance up, get your Sea Tow or Tow Boat USA, and that it can happen to the best of us. Thanks for sharing, it is all fun and games until something like this happens. Better luck next trip.
There you have it for today. Our weather is going to be a little sketchy tomorrow, but who knows, maybe I can get out for a little while anyway. After a windy month the weather should settle down, letting me get in some serious Gulf time. I know I keep saying that, the timing has just not done me any favors. I hope to remedy that in the very near future. And please keep those comments coming so I can share them with everyone. Keep stopping in, and thanks for reading my stuff.
Good Luck and Tight Lines