Keller Bay and Coleto 8/24/14.

Fish Catching Travel

My buddy Aaron is working in the area after working out East.  We finally hooked up for a couple of trips to the water.  While Coleto was first, I just have to start with Keller Bay.  I love catching redfish there, it is one of my favorite places on the coast.  We dropped the boat in the water and across the bay we went.  Aaron hadn’t caught a redfish in quite awhile, there aren’t to many in Pennsylvania, so it was off to my favorite bank for nice ones.  I have caught a some real nice fish on the long bank heading into Keller, but lets just get to the whole point of this story.

Of course it was the Redfish Magic.  As all of you know who read my stuff it is my favorite bait.  It flat out catches reds.  So as we worked our way down the bank Aaron reared back and the fight was on.  When that thing smoked that spinnerbait in less than a foot of water he said that thing left a huge boil, and he was right.  Since he was using 12lb. Big Game he treated that fish with kid gloves.  We knew it was big, but sorry for the profanity, but this thing was f’n huge!  15 minutes later I slid the net under her and we both were flat out amazed.  Even though we knew she was big, until it was out of the water we really did not have a clue.  So without further ado look at this:

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Aaron is well over 6 feet tall.  So how big?  You decide!

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What a fish!  This was pic number 2 and Aaron said hurry up, this thing is heavy!

It is a real pleasure to fish with a pro like Aaron, and when a fish like this is on the line experience is the best friend you can have.  It took us out in the bay and it went on for well over 15 minutes.  As he was using 12 lb Big Game it was a cat and mouse game, and he worked it to perfection.  She was under the boat 3 or 4 times, and when the fight was nearing the end he kept the line off her fins and gill plates.  It was one of those fights that we all know could end in disaster at any moment.  He was throwing the Electric Chicken Redfish Magic, and while it bent that spinnerbait, it held.  That bait hooks them and holds them.

After a short celebration it was back to fishing.  We ended up boating a few small reds, trout, and 1 black drum before we left that bank.  The tide was moving when we started, and about 9 we headed to the north pasture to do some drifting for trout.  Bait was moving everywhere and the trout were biting.  We caught a dozen or so on plastics with white working the best.  We only managed one keeper out of the bunch, and then it stopped like someone flipped the switch.  And I mean as soon as the tide was full high and the water quit moving, so did the fish.  We gave the reds one more go and then called it a morning about 11:30.  Normally we would have done some hunting and pecking until the tide started going out but it is just to dang hot to wait out the day for the evening flow.

But how could our morning have been any more successful?  We fished about 4 hours and put around 20 in the boat.  But it came down to that big red.  While she may not be that big a surprise at the jetty, it was a surprise on a shallow flat far from the jetty.  She is by far the biggest red on a lure that ever came over the side of my boat.  It is these moments that keep me fishing.  And as I have aged I really could care less who boats what, and there is no greater pleasure to me when someone fishing with me catches a fish like that.  Aaron was wanting to catch a redfish after his long absence, well there you go.  Another memory to add to the long list.

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Friday evening he headed to Coleto for a little evening/night trip and I joined him about 6:30.  He picked me up at the ramp and reported he caught a couple on plastics on the point near the ramp, so we started point hopping.  He was throwing a Lake Fork Tackle thing that was about 5″ long with a flat jointed paddle tail.  It seemed like we would get one or two bites on each point, and before it was over added another 5 fish over the side.  I tied one of those baits on and the thumping action was amazing.  Even in 20 foot of water you could feel it vibrate, especially on braid.  (Yes Charles, I have actually put on braid on both a fresh and saltwater reel.  Guess it is time to join the modern world.)

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A nice Coleto fatty.

Most of the bites came in around 10 foot, and I can not remember if I boated one, but if I did it was one.  The wind was howling over 20 so we called it an evening around 9:30.  Since we were heading to Keller at 5:30 the next morning it was time to quit, and the wind was just a hassle.  Not bad for a short trip.  Before Aaron heads back to East Texas I am sure we will pound them sometime this week.

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I am still hearing from folks and it warms my heart.  Mac your comment was so kind, keep them coming.  And to antivirus from Huffman, plumber from Houston, and Deerhunter, thanks for your kind comments.  It is great to know you all are out there.

Faye and her husband Steve were just down last weekend to POC and had a couple of adventures:

“Good morning,

We were so sorry to read that we missed you out at the old coast guard station!!!  We’ll catch up one of these trips. 

We arrived in POC on Saturday afternoon and got the boat in the water and made a cruise around. 

Sunday morning about 6 am we went to Boathouse Bait and caught a PUPPY.  YEP…. I hear Steve talking to a puppy and then he comes out with it telling me, “look Fayesy, Susan’s looking for him a good home isn’t he beautiful.”   Now we had put down two of our old dogs, 13 & 14, last winter and I didn’t think I was ready for a new dog.  He is a full blood black lab.  Three of the  others were sold to hunters but this one was the last one and she said he was too sweet to be a hunting dog.  LOL   He rode two days on the boat like he had been doing it for years and he is very intelligent ( barked at every bird he saw – LOL ).  BUSY but intelligent. 

puupy

Looks like BO has that boat thing down pat.

We started out Sunday morning fishing the reef area at the mouth of Big Bayou.  It was a very low tide and we positioned between the two humps of the reef in about 4 feet of water.  The bait was popping everywhere and we caught numerous undersized trout.  Then it was off to the jetties.  There was a lot of line breaking/cutting going on.  I did get a good sized Jack Crevalle give me a workout.  By then end, you just want it to go away!! 

Sunday evening we again headed to the jetties and the boats were lined up drifting inside the rocks looking for tarpon.  Some were fly fishing and some were pitching lures.  You could see areas of the water alive with something.  We found our place in the drifting line.  We used our trolling motor to slow the drift.  Nothing again but a few break offs.  We then headed to the eddy area on the bay side and anchored up.  Steve caught a huge gafftop but that was it.  When we went to pull the anchor up, it was stuck.  We manuevered around it trying to get it loose but no luck.  Steve had to cut it loose.  He was wanting a different anchor that wasn’t as heavy but we did have intentions of keeping it as a back up. 

Monday we were suppose to head back for work.. haha  We were limited since we had no anchor.  We did a pass through where you saw us.  We really try to avoid other boaters/waders on the water.  I’ll pay closer attention next time.  We headed back out to the jetties and this is where I caught the bull red.  Steve kept me on him to reel him since I caught it on a spinning reel.  From there it was back to get the  boat readied for storage and pack up our room.  We left at 4am Tuesday morning and were in FTW by 10 am.  BO made the ride just fine. 

fayer

Nice one girl!

We will be heading down again in September after the holiday traffic is gone.  I am so excited about Powderhorn Lake!! 

Doug thanks for you dedication to this blog.  It allows us to go along with you when we can’t be there.

Faye & Steve”

Then I got this one from Faye a couple of days later,  She forgot to tell me about the biggest catch of the weekend.  And no Faye, not saying you are fat!:

“I was drying the console, when I swiped downward, I hit the treble hook on my fat boy lure. It hit a vein. Lesson learned. Always remove the rods before drying. LOL”

fayearm

Owww!  Nothing like a nasty saltwater treble poking a hole in you!

Sounds like you guys had a real adventure this weekend.  Love the puppy and the red, and we can all take a little lesson from your injury.  Hooks, hooks everywhere.  It only takes a minute for something like this to happen.  Hope it clears up quick and thanks for your story.  And I feel your pain on the big jack, they go from fun to work in about 5 minutes.

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So there you have it for today.  A couple of eventful trips for all.  Catching a puppy, catching yourself, and catching a monster red, the times and stories that keep us all out there.  What is next?  I am not sure, but with the boss of Team Nancy working an 8 day rotation there will be some serious time on the water this week.  So keep those cards and letters coming and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Reader Day 8/22/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Our weather still leaves something to be desired.  It was well over a 100, humid, and the wind was blowing 25+ yesterday.  Consequently I have not fished the last couple of days.  It looks like the temperature is not going to change, our forecast is for over a 100 at least for the next week with no real rain or relief in sight.  While it will remain like that for the foreseeable future, it will be off to catch a few redfish tomorrow, wind or not.  One of the advantages of being able to fish when you want is that you can pick and choose, but right now there is no other option, so on with the big boy pants if I want to catch a couple.

With all that said, today is catch up day.  I want your comments, stories, and suggestions, and I have gotten some interesting comments from you.  One word here, if you do not want me to post them, let me know in your comment and I will withhold them, or not mention the specific place you are catching them.  Some of the comments are great, some wacky, but all are appreciated.  So as soon as I address TWPD we will get to a gaggle of comments for your reading pleasure.

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Great News!

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department generates ongoing comment and consternation at times.  While we all have our opinions on their decisions regarding regulations and practices, it is time to give them their due.

Working with other organizations TPWD just purchased the Powderhorn Ranch (17,000+ acres) that lies south of Indianola, with the shoreline stretching along the south side of Powderhorn Lake, into the bay, and then most of the way to POC.  The plan is to open it up as a state park, and according to the news, even allow hunting.  Way to go guys!  The owners wanted the property to be public use and not just owned by a commercial interest,  even taking the lower bid to make this happen.  So a big thumbs up to them.  It will preserve that significant ecological niche forever.  And the hunting thing has my interest peaked.  Over the years I have seen all kinds of great animals there, and when the dust settles and there is an application process to hunt, I will be first in line.  What a place.

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I received this comment from Jim and I wanted to share it with you to potentially keep this from happening to you.  I actually have a friend who is caught up in the same insanity.  His DWI was years ago, in fact he has not had a drink in years, but he is still banned from Canada.  This is a tough story and I feel his pain.

Jim again, as stated pseviourly, my son and I made plans a month ago to go fishing/camping in canada. I got a DUI some 33 years ago when I was 18, and foolish. I went fishing for years and was always waived through checkpoints. 10 years ago I was not so lucky. They saw my MISTAKE (DUI) and said no, I could not go fishing and was turned around. I am 52 years old now, not an immature 18 year old drinking and drivinmg. I have a family and NO more troublesome issues. The Canadian government IS as bad if not WORSE than the stinking USA government, a bunch of self centered rich do nothing I.D.I.O.T’s! To hold something against me from 33 yearts ago,yes, MY MISTAKE which I take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for, is keeping me from what I enjoy most, fishing in Canada coz you guys got the best fishing there is!!! I see Morses Line has minimal security but don’t know if they have a computer and run ID’s??? Is it a safe place to cross? Is there ANYPLACE to cross the border where they are unlikely to run my name??? I just want to take my son on a fishing trip that he will remember for life!!! I’m not looking to break any laws so , Is There ANYPLACE where we can cross into Canada from VT or NY? Want to go to Bay of Quinte off Lake OIntario as its absolutely fabulous fishing because your wildlife management IS BETTER THAN HERE!!! Hope someone can help us do this DREAM TRIP and GOD BLESS IF YOU DO/CAN HELP, and, GOD BLESS IF YOU DON’T! RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED, Jim & SonSorry about the Canadian Government comment. But I said no better of mine, I just don’t believe they should judge me for something i did 33 years ago, and THEY DO, and ITS NOT RIGHT! So, with that said I’ve also tryed to get my record cleared and, DENIED!!Yes, denied, and its been 33 years so why would I have anything good to say about somebody who judges people for a mistake made 33 years ago! Also, I have a private email address for anyone who has any ideas and wants to contact me privately at .I will give my private phone number if someone can help me out here upon receipt of your email request for it. THANK YOU!Regards to all, JWQ”

That flat out sucks!  (This is one of my very few political comments:  Our border policy is crazy.   We are actually allowing unaccompanied minors, some real gang bangers in, and we are not immediately deporting any illegal with a criminal offense.  So you can sneak into the US, commit crimes, and not be immediately deported?  And Canada did not let Jim in with a 33 year old misdemeanor conviction?  What is wrong with this picture?)  Jim I hope the following helps you.  It is straight off the Muskie Bay Resort website, and I hope it helps.  It is long but well worth the read.

“Canada is so close and accessible, it’s easy to forget it’s a foreign country. And, being a foreign country, it has its share of border crossing regulations. Not to worry-crossing the border is a smooth procedure if you’re able to follow directions. Scan this page before you head North, and contact Canada Customs, 1-800-461-9999, if you need more information.

New border rules – What does it mean for guests?

There is still a lot of confusion over the announcement made by Immigration Minister, Jason Kenny and MP Greg Rickford regarding relaxed admission procedures for guests who have minor criminal records, such as DUIs. We are aware that a number of operators have circulated notices to their guests that indicate that these past offenses are no longer a barrier to admission. We believe that this greatly overstates the nature of the actual change that has been made, and have been confirming details in original documents and with our sources in the Canada Border Services Agency.

Finally, the Operational Bulletin for this initiative has been posted outlining the details of the initiative and its application.

This change does not make all formerly inadmissible guests admissible!Although it is an important step forward, it does not significantly change the rules for admissibility. It does not replace or change the existing procedure for applying for Criminal Rehabilitation, and really only applies to the process of obtaining a Temporary Residency Permit (TRP) – the traditional $200 one-time admission that is granted at the border.

This initiative does not change the fact that front-line border officials have very broad discretionary authority. Although this initiative reflects a policy direction from the political leadership, final decisions will continue to be made on the spot as you cross the border.

What Changes? •The normal $200 fee can be waived. •A TRP can be granted even for a recent offense – guest with a single DUI a year ago may now be admitted.

What Stays the Same? •The rules and process for criminal admissibility have not changed. •It is still a one-time admission. Guests will still be expected to use the Criminal Rehabilitation process if they want to come back in the future. •It is not being offered to guests with more than one offense. As before, the guest with several DUIs from many years ago still needs to apply for rehabilitation. •Guests with a single offense that is more than ten years old were already eligible to be considered Deemed Rehabilitated and admitted. This does not change. •A guest who would appear to qualify for Criminal Rehabilitation but who has not yet completed the process can still be admitted with a TRP. This was already the case and has not changed.

These changes are a very positive step forward and will make life easier for many guests. They are not, however, a “magic bullet”. We urge you to advise your guests to check carefully the details of their individual situation, and, of course, to call NOTO for individual advice.

The full bulletin can be found at:

New Border Rules Operational Bulletin You may apply for a Letter of Rehabilitation to either office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In Thunder Bay call (807) 624-2158 or Fort Frances call (807) 274-3655. Either office will forward a kit that has been slightly modified from the one available on the ministry website. The processing time is expected to be approximately 4-6 weeks. Those individuals with a more serious offense must go through the Canadian Consulate.

The border crossings are staffed with an Immigration Officer In Fort Frances, Sunday through Saturday from 8 am – 12 am. In Rainy River, Tuesday through Saturday from 8 am – 4 pm.

If you have any questions or if you require any further information contact the Canada Immigration Centre Thunder Bay (807) 624-2158 Fort Frances (807) 274-3655.

Border Crossing Wait Times – http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/general/times/menu-e.html

Firearms Information – http://www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca/

Non-Residents Guide to Pre-Arrival Processing of Non-Resident Firearms – http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/index-eng.htm

Info for Non-Residents with Minor Criminal Offences (DUI) – http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/applications/rehabil.asp

Questions regarding US passport requirements please visit the US Department of State website – http://www.travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis_pa_tw_2223.html. We are sure that the information will answer any of your questions.

If you have any questions regarding admissibility, below are the telephone and fax numbers for the Canadian Consulates:Detroit: Phone: 313-567-2340 – FAX: 313-567-2164 Minneapolis: Phone: 612-332-7486 – FAX: 612-332-4061″

So there you go Jim.  I hope this helps, or maybe points the way to let you and your son make that trip of a lifetime.  And thanks to Muskie Bay.  As I have said here repeatedly, if you ever want to make that dream trip contact Paul, Chris, Jake and the rest of the gang.  Of all the fishing destinations here and abroad I have been lucky enough to visit, they are number 1 on my list.

http://muskiebayresort.com/

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I also heard from Even with a comment on whether the Nebraska buck was a shooter:

“I find myself becoming more willing to comment on your posts.  I enjoy your writing style, and the content always keeps me ready to hit the road, fight the Austin traffic and find some salt water.  But this post has me fired up the most! Not only are you talking about fishing with frogs (my favorite LMB lure!), but you’ve added my first love to your post:  Hunting. Pictures of hogs, deer, and another reader commenting on the teal on the coast….  Dang I am definitely ready for some cooler weather! The wife and I make a bi-annual trip to Nebraska for some high quality deer hunting.  That deer is a baby up there.  Texas – definitely a shooter! Not everything in Texas is bigger.  :)

As always – thanks for taking the time to post your adventures. Tight Lines to you sir.”

Comments like this warm my little heart.  Past of what I hoped to accomplish when I started this was to share, to take you along with me the best my limited writing skills will allow.  So thanks Evan, and as fall creeps up you can look forward to the occasional hunting story.  While fishing is my passion, it is not beyond me to head to the woods with a gun in my hand.

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I heard from Danute and this one brings tears to my eyes:

“Just found your site, great! reminds me of my chlhdiood learning about fishing in UK. Minnows, baby perch, gudgeon and bleak were the main prey with home made rods rarely over 6ft long; the line was a single strand of white horse hair from a suffok punch cart horse float was a chicken quill and the hook a penny size 16 from a shop in the market town. all this was almost 70 years ago but still very fresh in my memory.In the garden I have a stand of bamboo and a light rod could easily be made to catch the local smelt and inanga     . second chlhdiood roll on!!!”

Wow.  As I get older my appreciation for things past grows stronger.  Thanks for your memories Danute, cut that cane and head to the water, times a wastin”.

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The following comment from Charles brings up some interesting questions:

“Doug,

Hello, my name is Charles. I am friends with Todd from Austin, and I am also Ro’s brother-in-law. I just wanted to reach out and thank you for this website. It is refreshing to get a good honest perspective on current fishing conditions. Not to mention for those of us that can’t get out as much, it’s great to have someone to follow. Bottom line is the blog is genius. Hopefully soon I will run in to you and be able to say hello in person.

The only question I have for you about fishing is why don’t you use braid in the salt? It flat out works and will outfish mono every time, but especially when the bite is light. Obviously either way works, but there is difference.

With as popular as your blog is, I bet Waterloo would give you a few rods to try with the braid. Rods have also come a long way. All-Stars are Castaways are like cane poles compared to high end rods like Waterloo’s. I don’t know if you have tried any high end rods before, but if not you are in for a treat.

New line and rods might be a neat experiment for the blog, but for now just a fun discussion topic

Thanks again for the blog, Charles”

My first experience with braid on the coast, I use it occasionally in freshwater, was with a popping cork.  The assumption was I could cast further (yep) and it would be much easier to set the hook (yep).  That part worked out great, it was a lot easier to get a hook in them with the cork.  The problem that ended the experiment was that the line kept wrapping on the rod tip, and was a real hassle to get off, so I gave up on that.

Tying that in with your question about using high-end rods, I recently learned something that will spur me on to use braid more in the salt.  When my buddy Chris made me that custom 3 ounce rod, which is real high-end and I love, he educated me by showing me the new style tip that is specifically for braid.  It has nothing for the line to catch on allowing the loop to slide off and not wrap around the tip.  I am an old dog, and change does not often come easy, but now I know.  So braid will be back on my salt plate, though I am still petrified I will break that fancy rod.

One of the reasons I have not been a real fan of expensive rods is my proclivity for breaking rods.  Over the last 40 years I have managed to break lots of them, many while setting the hook (2 in the last year alone), pulling fish out of heavy cover, and of course just doing something stupid.   And of course cost has always been a factor, especially now.

To fish 3 days a week involves driving hundreds of miles, it is over 100 mile round trip to the Gulf alone.  Baits, gas, ice, munchies, boat maintenance, tackle, it all adds up.  As my only sponsor has been Team Nancy, I strive to keep the costs down so I can fish those 150 days, including major travel, this year Canada and soon to Costa Rica for some offshore fishing.  While Strike King was kind enough to help me out with  baits which I really appreciated, I bear the cost of the website and everything that comes with it.

One of my goals was to keep telling like it is, which includes what I am catching them on, no matter who the manufacturer is.  And to go along with that, to keep the site add free.  That is about to change.  I have no clue how to market the site, but am researching that right now.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would grow like it has, we hit over 92,000 visits for the year today.   fishcatchingtravel.com has reached a tipping point and it is time for expansion and with that comes more $$$$$ out of my pocket.  So to deal with that I will be soliciting some real sponsors, specifically those that I believe make the stuff that works.

With that little bit of whining out of the way expect me to let you know how the braid thing works out for me.  As far was Waterloo, I am going to have to get over my reticence to contact companies and ask for help or mutual partnership.  So if any of you know them send them my site, it just might be beneficial for both parties.  And if anyone else has some suggestions in the marketing department drop me a line.  Thanks for commenting Charles, your ideas are good ones.  And when you see Ro tell him I said hi and I will be seeing him at the end of this year. (At least with my one good eye.)

And speaking of our mutual buddy Todd, how is the western sabbatical thing going?  When am I going to get the “beaner” shot.  Now before some of you get your politically correct back up, that is what we in Arkansas called the arrival of the first fly fishing enthusiasts when they started appearing on the White River back in the 70′s.  You know, L.L. Bean, wading with the fancy equipment, cool clothes, and funny hats.  It was a culture shock to all the good old boys who grew up on the river fishing from the long jon boats.  So Todd so send me the trout pictures, I know you have them!

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The world is a big place and I got this comment from Syed.  I am not sure where he is but this is cool.

Yesterday I took my tenkara rod (12ft) with some 2 lb mono a 2 4 pole float a size 18 hook to 1lb nylon which is 0.008mm and some paste made to a Japanese rcepie and tried my luck in an old silted up canal. What fun for a morning, I fished in amongst the reeds and rush beds and caught 3 Inanga ( a small native fish) and 5 small rudd all under 4 inches on a classic autumn morning. I also saw Canada geese flighting in from the high country for their winter by the sea and my second cattle egret ever. All so very different from my usual trout fly fishing.RECIPE for PASTE1 tea spoon std white flour1 tea spoon gluten flour4 drops of cod liver oilBoiling waterMethod: Mix dry ingredients, add oil and mix in. Now add the boiling water to make a smooth dough. Cool and use. The paste will be very elastic and stays on the hook for ages. I guess that this rcepie would last a full day with wheat grain size baits.”

Folks it ain’t all screaming flats boats, $300 rod and reels, and so much tackle most of us can’t take it all with us.  Fishing is a world-wide passion, and as his comment, and the one above from Danute above, reminds us it is in the doing, sharing our love of fishing, and the experiences we get every time we hit the water.  We who love the sport of fishing  will fish for whatever fish is close to us, with whatever we have, to get the job done.  Thanks to both of them for reminding me of the love of the sport and not the material aspect of the game we all play.  Thanks Syed.

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Speaking of foreign readers I got this questions from Yuuki:

“Great bug! Have ya experimented with  lips  on flies for a  Rapala  like aoticn? I’m always watching what the spin guys are doing. And the  Rapala  aoticn has eluded me for years now. I’ve tried a ton of differant styles from foam bodies, strategic weighting, differant types of plastics for the lip, just can’t get a true, consistant swimming bug.”

Well Yuuki there actually is a way to make a swimming bug.  This lure will allow you to have that vibrating crankbait like action with a fly or jig, it is called the Scrounger and is made by Luck-e-Strike.  It works.

Luck-E-Strike Scrounger Jig Head

This is from the Tackle Warehouse website:

“The Luck E Strike Scrounger is easy to fish, practically snag-free. For professional use, or the weekend angler. The Scrounger creates vibration and an incredible realistic action. Each Scrounger is backed with a sticky sharp Gamakatsu hook.

Rig your favorite plastic baitfish, shad, crawdad or grub, etc. The Luck E Strike Srounger works on ALL species of gamefish!

The short bill style allows the bait to be worked fast, burned over shallow structure or flats, without washing out. The medium bill can be worked at a range of speeds. The long bill can be fished deeper, and at slower speeds than the medium or short bill without sacrificing action.”

Having a bare hook will allow you to add any soft plastic, or if you prefer to tie feathers to make a fly, so either way this is the ticket.  I am unsure where you are but this will allow you to have that vibrating crankbait like action on a fly.  So thanks for the question, just google them or Tackle Warehouse to lean more, I hope this helps.

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And every so often I get a comment like this:

“I did a little finhisg Sunday morning, caught a few bream, nothin to brag about.We went to Tennessee and got some fireworks(they are illegal in georgia, and set them off.I got very drunk on Friday night, but didn’t drink the rest of the weekend.”

Huh?  I appreciate you reading my stuff Autentica, but I am not really sure what to say about your weekend.  (Though in my younger days this might have happened a time or two.)

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And as you all know I advocate taking kids fishing and introducing them to the sport.

“Went to northern Pa retned a cabin, fished and relaxed all weekend. My little girl hauled in bluegills, catfish, several nice smallmouth (about 14 inches), rockbass, and other assorted fish. Everything we hooked we gave her to reel in, plus she caught a bunch on her own. I almost stepped on a huge Copperhead lying in the water, damn thing got away. I hate snakes.”

Introducing kids to fishing requires patience on our part with results to keep them happy and wanting more.  Anderson sent me this, it is a perfect way to not only build memories, but to keep a kid wanting more.  We have a responsibility to pass it along so the sport will survive.  There are a bunch of nuts out there who would ban fishing in a minute if they could.  Who knows, when you are old and grey, and she is no longer your “little girl”, you just may share a boat together and reminisce about your time at that cabin Pennsylvania.

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I got a couple of comments from Evan:

“I enjoy reading your blog. I get the emails when they come out and I pretty much stop what I’m doing and take a minute to live vicariously through your daily fishing life.

A buddy and I are headed (in a few hours) for a day trip in POC.  (From Austin)  Not sure if tomorrow (08/16) will be a good day of fishing, but it’s what we have so we’re going to take it.  We will be giving it a go from our kayaks. I’m really excited. I’ve never been to POC, much less fished it… so I’m not sure if I’ll be sleeping between now and 2:30am when we leave. 

Since we will be visiting your “stomping grounds”, just thought I’d send a note and say thanks. Thank you for taking the time and energy to tell us about your fishing adventures – or lack thereof sometimes! 

God Bless and may the fish always find your hook!”

I have the same disease Evan.  No matter how many times I have fished a place, or how many times I have been that week, I always get excited and have trouble sleeping the night before.  And after 40 years of it I have an alarm clock in my head and rarely do I sleep until the real one rings.  The anticipation is a sweet part of it.  And that anticipation was one thing I always kept in mind when I was guiding in the 70′s and 80′s.  I knew my customers were lying awake at night, in whatever state they were, visions of big strings with the guide keeping them awake.  I tried never to forget that, and strived to make their day a memorable one.

Also, I keep throwing that frog, and as that big girl last week attests, it will catch big fish.  And even if they are not so big who does not like that bite?

“I have a place thick with Lilly pads and running a frog over them always gets some excitement going! Frog fishing is the best! Just got from POC. Don’t have much to report since we were throwing all artificials. Lots of bait fish out there. Lots of dang jellyfish too. Hate those things.  We were paddling the very sound end of Barroom and I saw a sea turtle! My buddy didn’t believe me either! I didn’t think they were around there?

As always – thanks for the update looking forward to the next one!

Evan”

Evan I have seen more sea turtles this year than ever before, there is just something cool and primal about them.  And I feel your pain with the artificials  This time of year bait, specifically croakers, is the bait of choice.  But we lure slingers love our baits, and as you said, the frog bite is awesome.  There is just something about fooling a fish on artificial, and there is nothing like watching him explode on it!  It is that same feeling when the teal come screaming in, that big buck materializes out of nowhere, or a muskie eats  a jerk bait at boat side.  So keep trying the salt, it grows on you.

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One last  note to Jeremy, I have not forgot your kind offer to take me poling on your flats boat.  I will be taking a lesson in casting with the fly rod when I visit South Padre at the end of September.  Hopefully I will at least achieve beginner status, and maybe not sink a fly in your head.

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I am so humbled by the comments I have been getting from you all.  Your comments, tales, and questions are so appreciated.  Whether fishing from an SCB with all the latest and greatest stuff, or catching smelt on horse hair, we are not that far apart.  Fishing is a world-wide language that connects us all, and something can be gleaned from everyone.  The thrill of the bite, from Marlin to bream, elicits that same primeval response in all of us.  FISH ON!  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

 

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Coleto and other random stuff. 8/20/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Before I took a break the last few days I promised myself I would get this post done, it did not happen.  Funny how hanging out in Austin a couple of days is not conducive to getting anything done.  But the owner of Team Nancy and I had a good time, she did a little shopping (using that term lightly), and I got a couple of new reels.  Now it is time to get back to work as lots of things piled up while we were hanging out.

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Monday the dog had a vet appointment so any fishing would have to be concluded by noon, which made Coleto the obvious choice.  Of course whacking a big one last Friday helped with that decision.  Frog was the bait of choice, and while it was actually a re-run of Friday, it did not include a big fish.

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The obligatory picture of the first one. The frog is as big as he is.

Instead of heading up lake I started down lake first and worked my way up.  Except for the point I caught the big one on Friday, I only fished places I have not fished.  The frog results were the same as last trip. I caught 4, all small this time, and missed 4.  I still have not found the mother lode, the most bites I had was on a big grass flat/mat was 3, and by 9:00 it was over as far as frog goes.

I did want to say a couple of things about frogs.  Buy a good one!  I know the KVD and Spro are more expensive, but they are much hardier, have better hooks, and last a whole lot longer.  While I have fished the Scum Frog a lot in the past, they just do not hold up after a bunch of fish.  As with some of the cheaper frogs, they stretch and too much water gets in, destroying the action.  The frog that Academy sells under its in-house brand is maybe the worst ever made.  It is way to hard and the hooks just do not cut it.  The thing that makes fish hold that frog long enough to set the hook is how nice and soft it is.  So do not confuse soft plastic with lack of durability, I use the Z-Man soft plastics as a perfect example of that.  I am hooked on the Strike King KVD frog. The hooks are sharp, they are made of a more durable plastic, and I love the little pee hole in the rear end, which makes getting all the water out easier.  Consequently it floats a lot higher and lands with that perfect plop.

Again I stayed with the frog to long so I finally brought out the Swim Jig and of course managed to put one in the boat.  That thing will catch fish, and it did get me one more bite before I quit.  And a last word about Coleto, it still seems to be better down lake, but until we get out of this 90 degree plus water temp shallow water fishing will still be a little lacking.

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The Strike King Swim Jig has become my old standby.

The fishing on Coleto remains consistent, and in spite of our extreme temperatures, you can still catch a few fish.  It’s not great, but you can put a few in the boat and still be home by noon.  My day was not great, but I boated a few, and I saw lots of wildlife, including this little guy.

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About as close as they will ever let you get.

Though catching fish is the ultimate goal, there is so much wildlife around Coleto.  Just Monday morning it was turkeys calling, deer, hogs, alligators, an Osprey, and lots of other stuff.  When fishing by myself I often slide right up on them before they see me.  I am amazed at how spooky the hogs are, as soon as they see you they are gone.

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Speaking of the Swim Jig, while I was fishing Monday morning I got this text from my friend Aaron the Land Man who has been working out East.  Aaron put me on the Swim jig, and we have done some pretty productive fishing, both fresh and salt.

asmall

A really nice smallmouth.

bsmall

Another hoss!

At first I did not “get” his written text till he finally cleared it up.  I was about to ask if he was becoming a Yankee, but he texted me that his Skeeter was on the back of his truck and he was headed this way.  Looks like he is back working this area, but with me being gone the last couple of days I haven’t met up with him yet, but will see him tomorrow to get the rest of the story.  I do know one thing, we plan to do some serious mapping and side imaging on Coleto, which I am sure will not only be worth the effort, but maybe answer some questions about summer time location.

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Shoedog’s buddy, Terry from Nebraska, who went with us to Falcon one year, is a big deer hunter, and with fall approaching the quest is on.  This is a cam picture taken on their lease.  This questions was circulated around to his buddies:  “Is this a shooter?”  What do you think?  Not being a real deer hunter it looks like back straps on the hoof to me!

deer

This is a nice buck, but  it looks like it is not fully mature, which I guess is a 4 y/o plus. 

I asked about the clearing it is standing in and apparently they cleared that spot with a weed eater.  So while I would shoot it, there are surely some of you hard cores who would pass on this one.  So what do you think?

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I have heard from lots of you lately and wanted to share a couple of comments I have gotten recently.  First I got this from Mac, who is a regular reader:

“Doug, My son and I fished East Matagorda yesterday. I think, perhaps the fall Red schooling is starting up. We saw something I have never experienced in my many years of hunting the elusive Redfish. Shortly after 9 am we encountered a school of over 50 to 60 slot size fish meandering along the edge of (a bayou) in about two ft of water. There were glass minnows all about and before we could make a cast to them, all hell broke out. The whole school chased the small minnows to the bank and the water looked as if was boiling hot water. Soon the fish were even throwing themselves up on the marsh ground themselves. At this point we sent an arsenal of baits into this frenzy. Redfish Magic, spooks,, gold and silver spoons, Mann’s wobblers and others had no strikes. . They were just not interested, but they put on a circus for us both. I am now making it a point to carry along a camera of some type.

We saw little action but a rarity also happened. We saw no other boats other than a single kayaker. I guess the heat has an impact on everybody .

My son saw a red tube tag on one of the fishes dorsal fin and this even made us fish harder–Maybe a Star fish.

We ended up catching Rat Reds and nothing else, but those guys will grow up and maybe make a difference in a youngsters life.

Hurry up fall –It can not be too far off-there were green winged teal about.

It’s so good to see your stories pop up on our screens. Your words are appreciated by many-Mac.”

As I have said so often, it is not all about the catching, it is in the doing.  When any of us are lucky enough to see something like Mac and his son did it makes a memory that last a lifetime.  And if I had seen that tag I would probably still be fishing there a week later.  So thanks Mac for being a loyal reader and sharing your story.  And the rest of you folks, we love to hear your stories.

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Whine Time!  As I write this the weather is on TV, and it is making me crazy.  We have now had 16 days over 100 degrees this month, when our average is 2.  Falfurrias, south of here, had a heat index of 135 degrees today, which is freakin’ hot.  To further add to uour suffering the forecast is for 100+ the next 4 days with a heat index of 112 degrees.  But wait, it gets better.  The wind will blow 15 – 25 out of the south, which means 25+ at the Gulf, and the wind is supposed to hang around till a front appears on Monday.  We fish hard around here, but it sure does cut the day short.  The fish don’t seem to like it any better than I do.  Especially after a high morning tide and bite, followed by a low slack tide.

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That is it for today.  I have several other  comments readers have shared with me, I will try to catch up and get them on here tomorrow.  As far as the fishing goes, where next is up in the air.  I am sure Aaron has been on Coleto already, later I will see if that may be on the schedule.  If not it looks like it will be wading somewhere.  It is the coolest thing you can do in outdoors right now.  So keep stopping in, keep those cards and letters coming, and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 8/15/14.

Fish Catching Travel

After a bunch of trips to the Gulf it was time to take a morning and head to Coleto.  I get folks who love the salt reports, and some who love freshwater, and Coleto Creek in particular.  So with the boat repaired and back on the water it was a crack of dawn fishing start.  With our days topping a 100, it has been a morning bite for me no matter where I have been fishing.

The lake has obviously come down some, and the upper end is clearing.  The plastic frog bait has just not worked for me like it usually does this time of year, but it should, so it was the bait of choice.  I stopped right above the bridge and started point hopping wherever there were grass mats on the point.  Right off the bat I missed one, then didn’t have another bite until the third point, and put this one in the boat.

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Any guess where he came from?  Or what he was caught on?

From there I just worked my way up, and on an isolated patch way off a flat bank I lost a pretty good one in the grass.  It is really important to be tackled up for throwing the frog in vegetation.  I use 20lb Big Game and an Extra Heavy weight rod.  And if you get one hung in the grass keep steady pressure, don’t really pull, but keep the pressure on and head right for them.  If you pull to hard they might come off, let a little slack and they might be gone.  No matter what, it is a cool tussle to battle it out in the grass with a big one.

004

Nothing like hand to hand combat with a big fish!  This is not a light line, light tackle, technique.

This girl is the reason you have to throw the heavy stuff.  She was on a flat point in about 2 foot of water in heavy cover.  One of those cool bites where they just suck it under in a slurp.  We fought it out and I ended up winning.  This is the biggest bass I have caught in a while and she made the morning a hit.  And before I forget, it is hard to not jerk the instant you see the bite, but with a frog you just can not do it.  The best way for me to remember not to set the hook immediately is when they hit I stick them like I am fishing a Texas rig worm.  Drop the rod as soon as they hit, reel out the slack, and cross their eyes in one continuous motion.  Being soft they usually will hold it plenty long to get a good hook set.

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Last frog fish of the morning.

I ended up missing one more on frog and then caught this one about 9:00.  So though I had 7 bites, that was the end of the frog bite.  Of course I did not know that and continued to fish it.  Working my way back down lake I hit a couple of places without a bite.  At this point it was already smokin’ hot, and the wind had basically died.  So my last stand was throwing the swim jig on the island near the ramp.

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And a Strike King Swim Jig fish to finish off the morning.

The one above just swam along with the bait until the rod began to load was the last bite I had.  The last few times I have gone the swim jig has been about the size of it for me as far as catching them.  So though I keep working on the frog, maybe getting it down a little more, and the buzzbait, the swim jig has still generated the most bites considering time fished.  But it is hard for me to quit that frog right now, as the big girl above shows, the frog catches big fish.

When the day was over it was 8 bites, 4 in the boat, 3 misses, and 1 pulled off in the grass.  So thought I would show you all the fish as I did not post any the last couple of reports.  With the water temperature at 90 degrees, and a falling lake, I will be happy with that any Texas summer day.  It was real apparent today, when that sun got up they shut up.  I thought frog in the heavy mat should get better, but it didn’t.  I may not have found that place yet, but it is out there somewhere.  Find that right grass spot now and it could get ugly on that frog.  By the same token, plastics will work, but it just isn’t the same.

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I forgot to tell you all something that happened to us on Tuesday when the Shoedog and I were fishing POC.  We were in Big Bayou and the fish had basically quit, so we fished the long deep bank on the right as you enter the bayou.  When I say there were some sea turtles, I don’t mean a few, we saw lots.  We see them occasionally, but this was amazing.  They were coming up, swimming around, and I even saw one swim out of the grass on the bank and try to catch? another one.  There appeared to be dozens of them there.  What they were doing there we had no clue, but it sure was interesting to see.

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I forgot to take some pictures of the boat hull so Shoedog had his adjuster, Brian of Progressive, send him some.  (I was way to distressed to take any pictures at the time.)  Before I go any further, Progressive was nothing but great to work with.  Brian was professional and personable, and the claim was handled quickly and without hassle.  So thanks Brian, Progressive, and Victoria Marine for all your help.  If you have not looked into Progressive for your boat insurance consider them, our experience was nothing but all good.  Kind of restored some of my faith in insurance companies.

Here were his comments on the boat:

“The fiberglass was the biggest part and even that wasn’t too terrible.   Let me know if you want more ( although these pics are about the sum of it! “

boat2

See why I think it was a standing pipe I hit?

boat

That corner was not off when I looked at it.  I assume a quick poke in there and off it came.  Who knows, it could have sunk.  If I had seen that I probably would have started bawling!

So the boat is back and good as new.  Of course you can not even tell that the bottom was ever touched.  It could have been much worse.  And on that note, insurance is a mandatory if you fish the bay.  And when Shoedog picked the No Deductible option the insurance cost more, but what a great choice.  So be sure yours is current, it could happen to you.  And even though Brian says the fiberglass wasn’t that bad, it looked beyond horrible to me.  No matter what, I am still very embarrassed it happened.

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If you like catfish, jugging and trotlining on Coleto is the way to go.  I have heard several good reports and there were a few folks sacking them up today.  One boat I saw was pulling in what looked like a real good one.  A few perch or fresh Tilapia and you are in business.

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One last word on the trout fishing.  We caught lots and lots of trout Monday and Tuesday, and while it was a good time, the better fish left something to be desired.  That is a function of us throwing artificials and not live bait this time of year.  While we are not croaker fishermen, that is so the bait of choice right now.  From what we have seen, setting up in about 3 foot of water, fishing any break in that 3 -4 area with croakers, should really be good right now for the better fish.  I may have to give that a try some time.

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I am not sure what is next, it is so dang hot.  But at least there are some options right now.  The gulf fishing is great and who knows, maybe I am getting the bass down a little bit better.  But no matter what, it is definitely a putting on your big boy pants thing to fish much past noon.  Who knows, I might just run some jugs and a trout line.  Nothing like fresh catfish sizzling in the pan.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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More POC 8/12/14.

Fish Catching Travel

It was day 2 of Shoedog’s visit, and after yesterday we were determined to put a few more keepers in the boat.  So at the crack of dawn we jumped out of the boat and on to the flat adjacent to the old Coast Guard station.

Yesterday all the good fish, either caught or lost, came on topwater so that was the logical starting point.  Shoedog on the bank and me headed to deep water.   Slowly working my way out throwing topwater resulted in a half-hearted strike from a good redfish.  Shoedog had several strikes and caught a couple of little ones, but they just were not having it.  So at that point I went back to plastics.  Using a 4″ paddle tail on a 1/16th ounce jig head was my choice, and boy did it work.

Before I go any further I need to say something.  While no great trout fisherman by any means, I have caught my share and had some fabulous days, but if I have ever caught more trout any other time in my fishing addiction I can’t remember when. And while they were small they were willing.  We caught them from 7:00 in the morning until 12:00.  It would be 4 on consecutive casts, then miss a couple, then another run.  Over and over.  By time I yelled at Shoedog to get over here I caught at least 20.  It was flat out ugly.

Before it was over we only kept 4, one of them I caught was a good one.  Lots were 14″, lots were smaller, but they bit and bit.  Once I got the rhythm down they were just eating it cast after cast.  I would hop it up in the Texas two-step and then let it fall.  The paddle tail was falling nice and slow and they sucked it in.  While I was using the electric chicken color, Shoedog was throwing a copper flake paddle tail.  When it was at its peak it was both of us just whacking the snot out of them, fish after fish.  About an hour after it started I had to go back to the boat because I only had 5 spare plastics with me, and they had already tore those up.  After that I went through another 6 or 8 before it was over.

There are several reasons it was that good and there were so many fish there.  When we were getting them we were waist deep on the very end of the point, though there were fish all over that place.  There was a light chop from a ENE wind right on the point where it drops off into deep water, the tide was going out with the water slowly moving out all morning right on the point.  So it was a perfect set of conditions that positioned a whole damn bunch of fish on one place.  I wish I could take credit for figuring that set of conditions out, but we just happened to be there.  Goes back to the more I fish the luckier I get thing.

So what to make of all the small ones?  Of course they tend to run in size groups, but there are good trout there.  The day before our percentage of good trout bites was way higher.  I really think that there were so many small trout competing for food that the better ones just could not get to it quicker.  But who knows?  That theory may be completely full of crap and if we had tried some other techniques maybe we would have caught the bigger ones.  There is an old saying, never leave fish to find fish, in this case there was no leaving.  So we stuck with it and had a big time.

About noon I wanted to hit the redfish in Big Bayou so even though they were still biting some, we headed out.  When we got to Big Bayou the water had really fallen out, the wind quit, and it went from decent out to flat out hot.  The water was not moving and was low and clear.  There was nothing moving, in fact we fished most of it over the next couple of hours, and the only thing over the side was a Sheepshead.  The weird thing about that was I caught him on a spinnerbait.

Next it was off to work the Barroom Bay shoreline along the flat in a little deeper water.  We stayed way off so we could hit the drop and deeper grass.  We figured if we would catch a trout we would stop and wade it.  I missed one on a spinnerbait and then Shoedog put a rat in the boat on plastics.  That turned out to be the size of it.  There were some big thunderheads with lots of lightning all around POC, nothing was moving, and we had only put 2 in the boat in 3 hours so we called it a day.

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There were several around like that.  Time to head to the ramp

don’t you think?

Funny how fisherman look at a day.  I caught them until I was tired of it, who could complain about that.  But since they were small it raises plenty of questions.  Should we have moved searching for bigger fish?  We they biting like that wherever they were in the bay?  Did we miss out by not trying different baits?  Crazy.  I feel almost embarrassed thinking like that when I caught well over 50.

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 I got this comment from Steve today and thought I would share it with you:

 ”Me and a friend were down from Waco a couple of weeks ago and had the same thing happen at the coast guard station. We had as many as 8 dolphins around us at one time. They would disappear then as we would reel in the trout they would just appear all around like you said within 4 or 5 feet just waiting for their free meal. The real show was when I caught a skipjack. The gang chase him into about 2 foot of water and then it was on, right there to see about 40 feet away.  The show looked just like sea world; I think if I would have wanted to I could have hand feed them. When in the water with them, only feet away you can really appreciate their size.”

Thanks for that Steve, sounds just like our day, and it reminded me of something.  One of the things I forgot to tell you all about yesterday was that exact thing happened to me.  I tossed a lady back and the chase was on.  I think the dolphins have that place figured out.  And yep, when a dolphin is 5 feet away from you they are one big animal.

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I also heard from Billy.

“Just trying to see if this works. I had posted a comment a while back and never saw it show up. It was concerning the incident with the Dargel and the broken axle. You had said that you had never heard of that happening before. I had the exact same thing happen; with a 17′ Dargel, with a Sportsman trailer.”

First my apology that you did not see your comment when I posted about Chris breaking his axle.  One of the problems with getting old is your forget stuff, and I honestly thought I had already posted your first comment.  Just the fact it was the same deal as Chris’ made it cool.  In fact, after you sent me that I was at Victoria Marine and asked Bob about it and was surprised at how many axles he sells.  Apparently a broken axle is not as uncommon like I thought it might be.  So thanks for reading Billy, and keep those comments coming folks.

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Shoedog is big on Facebook and is friends with Muskie Bay Resort.  If you read my stuff you know how much I have enjoyed going there and fishing Crow Lake and Lake of the Woods.  Not only are the folks, Paul, Chris, Jake, and the rest of the gang the best, the fishing is great.  Shoedog gets updates on his page of Muskie Bay Resort posts to their Facebook page and boy are they whacking the big muskies.  Paul said there are 2 times that are best for their muskies, August full moon and fall.  They do a lot of trolling at night and it has resulted in some big fish this month.  Going there is a trip of a lifetime for a fisherman, so if you do the Facebook thing and want to see some awesome muskies check out their Facebook.  If it was half the drive it is I would be up there 2 or 3 times a year, it is that good.

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Again I just could not do the dead fish on the cleaning table picture thing.  But if you want to see them let me know, they taste the same whether they get their picture taken or not.  I am not sure what or where is next, but the weather forecast stinks.  According to our guy Bill, who is never wrong, we are looking at record highs all the next week.  It is going to be ugly.  I do know it is a lot cooler wading on the coast than it is at the house.  As it looks like the boat will be done this week of course there will be a test run somewhere in the next couple of days.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

 

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Port O’Connor TX 8/11/14.

Fish Catching Travel

The Shoedog got a hold of me on Sunday wanting to know if I could fish Monday and Tuesday.  So I somehow managed to make time in my busy schedule (not) so Monday morning we were up at 4:30 and at 6:45 anchored off the old Coast Guard station.

My fishing the last couple of weeks has been spotty.  One day I manage some good trout, the next day I have struggled.  And with the Mako still in the shop, our range is somewhat limited, so that played a role in deciding to wade the flat next to the old station.

Shoedog started up shallow, right on the bank, throwing a topwater.  For the first couple of hours he boasted several small trout and reds.  He chose the Top Dog in a bone and was working it fairly fast.  Unfortunately he also lost 3 really nice trout.  His excuse was he still has not mastered the keeping the line tight while he gets the net.  At least that is his story and he is sticking to it.

Meanwhile I headed out to waist deep where I caught them a couple of weeks ago.  I threw the topwater some, but knew if I threw the plastic I would catch more, so next for me was the 4″ chicken on a chain paddle tail.  And just like my last trip there I started catching the snot out of them.  Most were small, and then a few started chasing bait and I tossed the topwater in and caught a nice 20″.  Then a couple of minutes later I put another keeper in the boat on the KVD Sexy Dog topwater in a sexy shad color.

And to add insult to injury I managed to miss 3 really nice trout, one the biggest one I have ever had hit a topwater.  That fish came out of the water and pounded it just like a bass.  So finally it started to sink in, all the big fish were hitting topwater and not plastics.  When they slacked off about noon we moved.

First it was  Bayucos Point.  The tide was up and not moving when we fished the end of the island.  There was some good looking points and shell but we just could not find anything.  Next it was an oyster bar in Big Bayou.  The water was just starting to move out when we got there.  I lost a red, but other than that did not have a bite.  Shoedog added to our “almost whacking them day”  by losing a nice big flounder and catching a couple of rat reds.

For our final stop we headed to the first big drain from Big Bayou into Barroom.  The water was really out now, and sometimes the reds gang up there.  Shoedog stayed shallow and I fished around waist deep, both of us throwing topwater.  And of course I had a real bull red follow the topwater to right in front of me and just do the old boil the size of a wash tub thing and miss the bait.  And then we called it a day.

We probably caught 25 – 30 fish all day, but by time we quit we had a total of 2 keeper trout.   The total count for the “almost whacking them day”  was lots of good fish that did not end up in the boat.  Funny how that works, some days you only get a few bites and end up with a nice sack, Monday was the opposite, we had the bites, they just did not end up in the cooler.

So we had a good time and a couple of things really made the day.  People who steal your spots by seeing you fish are called “Potlickers” by a lot of the guides and others online.  Well the original “Potlickers” are dolphins.  You can be standing in a wad of trout biting like mad, and then here they come, doing their dolphin thing.  And it happened today when the bite was on and here they came.

So anyway, when I caught the 20″ on the KVD a big dolphin swam to within 5 feet of me and stopped while I landed the trout.  And then the stare down began.  I was holding the trout and the dolphin kept easing his head out of the water broadside looking at me with one eye, or probably looking at my nice trout.  Either way he was sideways while he watched me and we were eye-ball to eye-ball.  It was truly awesome and the first real personal interaction I have ever had with one.  So he kept watching, I did not put the trout on the stringer, and after 3 or 4 minutes he finally swam off when he realized that trout was not his dinner.   He was close enough I could have reached out and touched him with the rod.  I am thankful I was there.

Shoedog had his little outdoor moment also.  He was wading along and saw a dead fish so waded over to see exactly what it was.  It turned out to be a really big mullet.  So what’s the big deal?  It had a star fish on it.  Now that is cool.  I have seen them in Florida and Belize, but have never seen one here.  Another gift from the great outdoors.  These are the memories that will live in our mind forever, and like all good things will grow with the re-telling.  We are fisherman you know?

On another note,  while we were wading I saw Faye and Steve go by.  I waved like a freakin’ lunatic later when they were going in, but they did not see me.  So Faye, my apologies, I promise we will get together on one of your trips.  Hope you caught a few fish.

There are no pictures today.  Dead fish are not all that attractive.  And of course going along with our “almost whacking them day”, a picture of 2 dead trout just doesn’t cut it.  So that was our day, catching small fish, losing big fish, and having a big time.  Tomorrow it is back at it again,  We will be up at 4:30 and on the road by 5:30.  At least we have a pretty good idea what we need to be doing.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Keller Bay 8/9/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Maybe I Should Have Stayed in the Boat?

I am not sure about the second choice I made this morning, but I do know the first choice was a bad one.  Occasionally I go off half cocked and this morning was one of those times.  The wind was to blow somewhere between 7 and 25 mph out of the SE, and when I got to Keller it was already blowing pretty hard.  I know better than hitting Keller with that wind direction, but here I was.  So no matter, I have fished it in all conditions and it almost always comes through.

So across the bay and to the first place, the SE bank, which was protected from the wind.  I let the boat glide in once I passed the rig, and the anchor was out in 2 foot.  The plan was to fish the bank down to the little high bank with the oyster bar/point on it, for both reds and trout.

So I get one boot on and look over and here comes a school of fish.  So I grab a rod, flip a plastic in and wham, a nice 16″ trout about 20 feet from the boat.  So of course no picture, time to hurry up and get the stuff on and in the water.  It is somewhat calm there so topwater is the starting bait, and other than one hit, nothing was happening on top.

Next up was plastics, and while I caught 3 more, none of them were keepers, or even remotely picture fish.  I ended up working that whole bank from knee deep to over my waist, but not a keeper showed his face.  It took about 2 hours to wade that whole thing properly, so it was back in the boat and around the corner to my favorite redfish banks.

Unfortunately the wind had already muddied that up, and I did not even get a pass.  At this point the wind was really blowing, coloring the water in a lot of places so I thought maybe I could head back in and fish the stretch past the docks.  It is almost impossible for me to fish that stretch and not catch something.

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He wasn’t much but I was happy to have him.

The problem of my own making was I waited to long to head back there.  The wind was blowing all the way down the bay and things were mudding fast.  In spite of that I stayed with the spinnerbait a while more when I finally got another bite.

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He was the lucky one today, I wasn’t keeping any.

I ended up fishing a mile or so of that bank with a spinnerbait but these were the only 2 fish I put in the net.  The reason I like that bank so much is it has a wide variety of grass, oysters, sand, clay, brush, you name it and there is some of it somewhere.  But today with the water getting more off colored by the minute, and tide flow at a standstill, it was just not going to happen there.  By this time it was noon, over a 100, the wind was blowing, and the fishing was not getting any better so I called it a day.

The total for the morning was only 4 trout, 1 red, and 1 flounder, hardly the results I expected when I headed out the door.  Looking back on it today the first bank I chose was a poor choice, and by time I headed to my favorite redfish banks it was to late.  When combined with the wind direction there were some better choices all the way around.  And it does not help we do not have the flats boat back, once that wind kicks up the skiff is limited in what bays it can cross, and a major move was out of the question yesterday.

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Speaking of the flats boat, initially it was maybe in the 2 week range for repairs, it has now been 3 weeks.  Not complaining as I did think the initial time estimate was just a little optimistic.  I stopped in to check on it Thursday and was told the glass crew said last Friday it was almost done, and would be done in a couple of days, which would be this week.  The lower unit parts are in and the repaired prop is back, all they need is the boat.  So I am not sure where that whole thing stands, but either way we do not have the boat.  As the old song goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”  Hard for me to complain, I’m the knucklehead who was driving.

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On a completely different subject I am finally going to take a fly fishing lesson.  We will be in South Padre near the end of September and I am taking the plunge.  The gentleman and I have traded emails and it should be interesting.  Plus he guided fly fishermen in Florida and since I have fished quite a few places there over the last 25 years there is bound to be some stories told.  I basically know where the reds are, it is just a matter of learning how to get the fly to them.  Plus I have an offer to be polled around some at POC, so I want to be at least marginally competent and practiced when I take him up on that trip.  Like I told the guy, I hope to at least achieve beginner status.  So stay tuned, story to follow.

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The Shoedog is still whipping the bass in his community lake.  Nothing like being able to drive a couple of blocks down the road and put a nice dozen in the boat almost any time.  Looks like he will be down for a couple of days next week, hopefully we will get the boat back.

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Another buzzbait bass.  We love that thing.

And Faye, one of my most loyal readers, and her husband Steve will be in POC this weekend, so it will be interesting to see how they do.  I think there are several tournaments down there and it will be busy.  We are all faced with increased traffic on our fishing holes, it is just a matter of doing what you have to do to catch fish and not letting all the traffic get in your head.  So good luck Faye and let me know how it goes.

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Lots of things will play into the next fishing choice, including whether the boat is done, what Shoedog wants to do when he comes, and how much the wind blows this week.  No matter what it is slated to remain brutally hot.  I still want to try some topwater fishing at night when the moon is full.  So stay tuned and keep stopping in.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Indianola 8/7/14.

Fish Catching Travel

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The original plan was to head to Keller Bay but after seeing the wind report I changed plans and went out of the Indianola Fishing Marina.  It was just cracking daylight when I put in at the ramp and headed down the Powderhorn Ranch Shoreline.

The tide was fairly well up, it was set for high at 8:30, when I jumped over the side in waist deep water.  It was easy to see the tide was higher than last trip, because where I anchored the boat was quite a bit deeper than last trip.  There were clouds in the east that kept the light low until almost 9, and the wind remained calm.  I expected the topwater fishing to be great, and it wasn’t.

First I waded out into water over my waist were I could reach 4 foot, and besides 7 small ones on plastics, I did not catch a trout worth talking about.  I did not have one take a pass at the topwater, it was to late in the tide.  So with the tide that high I headed for the bank and a grassy area looking for some reds on top.  I did catch one about 18″ on top, but it just was not happening on top.  By now the water had gone from not moving to slight out, so it was back in the Powderhorn to catch a red on the falling tide with the new rod.

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First red on the new fancy rod, and of course it was throwing a spinnerbait.

I started way in back on the north side which had a little bit of wind on it.  Before the one  abovr made the net I lost a pretty good one.  The only problem was I was a day late and a dollar short.  The water really began falling out, and with the wind blowing on it the water was begining to really color.  Before I left the back end I managed to put one more in the boat.

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The Redfish Magic puts them in the boat.

The water fell out to the point I had to pole off the bank, which was unusual since the skiff floats in 6″.  Last it was off to the big cove close to the dock.  As usual I put a rat red in the boat there, but that was it for the day.  It was only about 1:30, but it was hot and the fish were definitely on break.  And when I got back to the ramp the 3 trucks that were in the lot before me this morning were all gone.  Guess it took me a little longer to get the message, they were not biting.

So not a great day by any means, but I did catch 7 trout and 4 reds.  Unfortunately for me, but great for them, none of them made the grade.   So after a pretty good run of nice trout the last couple of trips it was not to be today.  The tide was to far along at daylight, so I missed the good period, but it will be perfect near the end of this week.  And with the moon on the way I am ready to try some night topwater fishing.  Sounds like fun as soon as you get over the thought of a sea monster coming out of the darkness and dragging you off.

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My buddy Chris sent me some pics from the offshore trip he made the other day.  From what he had to say they caught fish everywhere they stopped.  And before it was over caught a nice variety and some good eaters.

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Folks that is a big red snapper anywhere in the country.

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A nice cobia.  And I am sorry I did not get the boat owner’s name.

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A nice king, fun to catch but not that great on the plate as far as I am concerned.

They caught most of the fish on wells and wrecks, all on live bait.  Chris said they had encounters with a really big barracuda, and several cobia and snapper.  So a great day for them and thanks for the pictures.  And it was killing me when I could not make it, and seeing the pictures just made it worse.

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Seeing the tarpon pictures from POC, pics from Chris’s offshore trip, and the good trout we have been catching wading, it is clearly time to go fishing.  No wonder Charlie’s ramp has been packed.  And with several tournaments this weekend it should be a real mad house in POC.  But hard as it is to believe, summer is almost over.  There are kids headed back to school in 2 weeks, we are about 3 weeks away from the last holiday of the summer, and dove season is right around the corner.  Hard to believe how quickly this summer has gone.

For me that is a blessing.  While I am known to pick up a gun occasionally, fishing is my passion, and I am so happy when hunting season rolls around.  It is like someone turned off the fisherman switch on the bay.  There will still be crowds on the weekend, but nothing like summer.  But with the fishing the way it is right now it is easy to understand why everyone is pounding it.  So get out while you can, summer is fading fast.

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Those of you who read my stuff know that last year in the Shark A Thon Chris and I billed a sailfish in the surf.  Looking back on it who can believe that?  I have always wondered was it sick, a catch and release, or just passing by in a foot of water?  We will never know, but it ranks as one of the cooler things that ever happened to me in the outdoors.  That all came back when Chris had a picture of a couple of guys and a swordfish, allegedly caught from the bank while shark fishing recently.  I tried to look it up online but could not find anything other than a discussion about a similar incident last fall.  So if any of you know about this swordfish catch from the bank let me know.

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That is it for now.  It has been catch up on the skiff, there has been some little things needing repair and I hope to finish those today.  Next, it is off to the repair shop to check on the Mako.  It has been 3 weeks and I have left them alone so it is time to go see what the deal is.  I really hope to get it back before the tarpon leave the area.  I have never jumped one in Texas but would sure like to.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Stuff 8/5/14.

Fish Catching Travel

Sorry there has not been a report the last few days but the President of Team Nancy wanted to visit Eagle Pass, maybe a little casino play, so Monday we headed out and did not get back until today.  So of course once we got down there I got an offer to fish offshore today.  Dang It!  I would have been all over that one.  I rarely get to fish offshore, and love it when I can.  Heck, I am already cranked up about November and offshore fishing in Costa Rica.

Now if that was not torture enough, my buddy not only offered to let me go with them offshore fishing, he sent me this: tarpon

The thought of hand to hand combat with a couple of these girls gets my heart to pumpin’.

A friend of his sent this picture to him.  He was out in his new boat and these tarpon come from the POC area, specifically where he did not say.  According to his text they were “everywhere.”  There is only a couple of weeks window to really have a legitimate shot at a tarpon in our area.  And of course the Mako is still in the shop following the pipe encounter, or I would be after them tomorrow.  I have not bothered the repair shop, but I knew when they said a couple of weeks it meant a couple of months.  Hopefully that is not the case, but no matter what I do not have the flats boat to chase them if it is windy.  I love my Carolina Skiff, it is great for fishing close, but just not the boat for coming back from the jetties when the wind is blowing.

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While you are at it, click on the website below, and look at the opah.  They we caught on the offshore boat, Excel, one of the great head boat fishing adventures in the country.  It is close to a bucket list trip for me, and they report tearing the tuna up.  And once in while they catch something cool, and I think these are cool.

http://www.grindtv.com/outdoor/nature/post/socal-anglers-score-rare-opah-trifecta/

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I really want to thank the reader from Kingswood TX for his kind words.  Wish you had left your name so I could give you a shout out, but know I appreciated your comment.  I appreciate any of you who contact me, as I have said so many times, let me know what you think.  For this to stay fresh I need to hear from you.

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I will be out first thing in morning.  We have a 8:30 high tide with some good water flow so it will definitely be a out at daylight day.  Of course one of the goals, besides catching the snot out of them, will be to catch a red on that fancy new rod.  Keller Bay is the place, and I promise to post a report tomorrow.  Also, I hope to have few pictures from the boys offshore.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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Random Thoughts 8/1/14.

Fish Catching Travel

One of the things I did not have time to tell you about last night was when I got to Chris’s in the morning he surprised me with a rod he wrapped himself.  It was dark, I was tired, and I could not see or appreciate all the details.  When we got back to his house after fishing I can not tell you how impressed I was.  Chris has started building rods and he has made some nice ones.

He said since I spend so much time spinnerbait fishing for reds he wanted to make me one especially for that.  For mine he chose a blank that weighs a little over 3 ounces!  Are you kidding me?  It is so light in my hands it feels like a toy, or a work of art.  It is 6’6″and has backbone with a fast tip, exactly the rod for spinnerbaiting those reds.

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He did make me promise I would fish with it, hell, I wanted to hang it on the wall.  Of course I am scared to death to use it, it is way to awesome to be fished with.  Over the last 40 years I have broken rod after rod in every imaginable way.  So I slapped a new reel on it today and the next time I hit the water it will be catch a red day.  With the trout fishing so good the next  trip will be trout on the rising and full tide, reds on the fall.  So thanks Chris, this is the nicest rod I have ever owned in a lifetime of fishing.

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I got a note from Joe, who feels like me about Texas Parks and Wildlife giving fish fry from the Share A Lunker program to a private land owner in south Texas.  I agree with Joe, even after reading the discussion on the texasfishingforum link he sent me.  It is an interesting discussion and opinions are like rear ends, everyone has one on this matter.  As far as I am concerned no taxpayer money should be used to stock fish unless we can fish there, my argument is that simple.  We paid for it, we should have the benefit.  So if you are interested in how, and why, your tax money was spent hit the link below and read the discussion.  It is well worth your time.  Is this program going to benefit the bass fishermen of Texas in the long run, or is some rich guy going to make tons of money based on your tax dollars?  You decide.  And thanks for your comments Joe.

http://texasfishingforum.com/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/10160471/1

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Faye, I was down in the area when you were fishing but we put in at Charlie’s and never got close to POC, though I watched for the lime green machine.  How was the fishing?  Hope you sacked a few.

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Grandpa Shoedog and Nolan are putting a few in the boat while he is visiting.  After the catfish Nolan was getting a little bored but ended up having a great time when Shoedog caught a bunch of fish and Nolan became the head net man.  Take them fishing folks, only good can come of that.

nolan

Nolan with another catfish.

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He had more fun being the net man.

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The Shoedog with a nice buzzbait bass out of his local lake.

Nolan’s visit will be over soon so it is time for the Shoedog to come on down and do some wading.  The trout are fat and willing and time is a wastin’.

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Folks I can not thank you enough.   We just hit over 83,000 visits this year, and are way ahead of last year.  This is not tooting my own horn, it is you who have made this work like it does.  It keeps me writing no matter how tired I am from fishing, and  I strive to make it as good a read as my pea brain will allow.   It keeps growing but I do not want it to stagnate, and without some input from you how can I know what will keep it fresh and growing.  So with that said the reason for this is I want to hear from you. Really.  Tell me what you like, or don’t like.  I am a big boy and can take it.  And in an effort to make it better for you is there anything you would like to see?  But sorry, hot chicks in bikinis holding fish will not be a new section.  So drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Next I think it will be back to Keller Bay.  There are several banks in Keller that have those things that seem to be consistent with catching the better trout right now.  Those are deeper banks that have that break, or have an edge, in 3 – 4 feet of water, just the ticket right now.  And it will give me a chance to use that new rod, though the thought of landing a big red on a beautiful 3 ounce rod is frightening.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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