Shoedog Day 2 in Arkansas. 5/5/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Fresh or saltwater the Knocker B catches fish.

(What a brain fart!.  I wrote this, his day one on Bull Shoals, and then did not post it.  I am about to tell you all about our day at POC yesterday and will get that up later tonight.  It is hell getting old.)

Bull Shoals Saturday April 30- Smallmouth Galore! 

We were looking forward to today’s fishing as the weather was going to be mostly cloudy and just the right amount of wind. Chances of rain in the morn and thunderstorms in the late afternoon. 

We put in at Bull Shoals Boat Dock, where Redfishlaw, our old pal Max and I first went when we first came to Arkansas 41 years ago!  Today we wanted to be close to several good lake arms and main lake coves and stay close enough if bad weather came in.

We started just across the dock cove on a rocky point and had a couple bites and then we headed to an area where Clyde thought the fish may be schooling on the surface at some point in the morning. 

We planned on using white Zoom Super Flukes that one of the locals had told Clyde was the hot bait- he even gave him a bag to start with- sweet! We started catching fish right off. 

I wanted to continue to experiment with new baits and I had picked up a Larry Dahlberg River to Sea Whopper-Plopper to use in Canada in June. I tied it on and the fun began. 

I was hoping that you could fish this bait a little slower than it took to keep it working, but it is a nice bait and I am sure I will be using it a lot in the future. I also have a larger size for big pike and musky. I hope to use the smaller one later this week for some specks and reds, too. 

Then they started schooling in the cove we were in- not in a big way, but enough to have some fun. We started out with a double on big Bull Shoals white bass on top water spooks. 

Mine was the ever present bone jr super spook and I think Clyde’s was a jr also in a darker color. I never got to see it because a second later he says “I just want one of the big commode flushes” and no more than he said it than a huge fish just swallowed it about 15 feet from the boat. It was like a big jack at Port O’Connor in the salt! It lasted about 1.5 seconds and broke his line. He had mentioned a while before that he was using line that may be a bit light….details…. Probably a big striper, but we will never know. An awesome bite though. 

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We were catching a lot of smallies and not any largemouth, I mean not any. It took us all morning before Clyde figured out, we think anyway, that they must be on the beds spawning, because they were nowhere to be found. 

Clyde had to run back to town and do a couple patient evaluations, so I took off across the lake to the Sister Creeks area. I hadn’t fished there in decades and just picked an area and fished it for over three hours until he got back from town. I was getting a lot of bites from small fish- those green sunfish are pesky. It was just cast up to the bank, twitch it 3 or 4 times until it got to the edge of the rock ledge or a drop and whack, they were there. Again, not a lot of size today, but lots of fish. 

Clyde got back about 3:30 and we headed to another area to see what we could find. 

We stayed close as the clouds were building to the south, so we found a big cove with a couple docks we could use for shelter if we had to. And we did!

You can see the hail in this shot. It rained, blew  hailed and rained, hailed and blew some more. For over an hour. It partially  pulled the dock we were on off its moorings. 

We got to fish another hour after the storm and kept catching them all evening. For the day we had well over 50 smallmouth and maybe 2 or 3 very small largemouth. Throw in some good whites and we had a good day. 

I did see one 5 pound plus largemouth way in the back of one cove, but she just swam on by my bait, further making me think they are on the beds somewhere. We probably should have gone hunting, but we were having to much fun with the brownies. 

Tomorrow we will hit it hard again-stay tuned for more. 

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Nice report, we will be looking forward to your report on Day 3.  Nothing like 50 smallmouth and some topwater action.  Guess I  need to throw that Whooper Plopper on Coleto,  Who knows, maybe get a chance Friday.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Shoedog Day 3 in Arkansas. 5/6/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Fresh or saltwater the Knocker B catches fish.

Bull Shoals Sunday May 1

(It is late and I am never going to get the saltwater report up tonight but we had a pretty fun day, and caught lots of fish.  Promise to get that up tomorrow after I get home from fishing.)

The last day of our Arkansas trip started out completely different from the first two. High skies and cooler temps- something that usually means tough fishing on upland reservoirs. We started out on the bank where we had fish come up the day before and we got out even earlier in the morning. 

It was very calm and clear and despite the rains on Saturday, most of the waters were clear and we could see the flukes easily making for some cool bites. We were getting a lot of small fish and a ton of green sunfish bites. Not too many fish came up, but Clyde  did catch one small largemouth that was chasing bait. 

We moved across lake too some of the areas in Sister Creek from the day before. Clyde was on them with the fluke. He switched from the Zoom super fluke to a Bass Assassin that had gold flake. He said it was a color Redfishlaw used to use when he was a fellow Arkie. It worked! I kept getting lots of small bites and sunfish and he was catching very nice bass. You can see the fluke in this pic. 

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A nice Brownie. 

The bigger ones were really rolling up and eating it, there was no missing the good ones. He had me down 4 good fish to none so I thought I would switch it up a bit and go top water and see what was up. I had several blow ups on my super spook jr and nothing on the Whopper Plopper. I kept at it and had quite a bite- only the second time ever that I have caught 2 fish on one lure at the same time. Too bad it was 2 sunfish! 

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I guess they were hungry.

As it got later in the day, the top water bite improved. Clyde turned the boat on a gravel point sticking out on a long straight bank and gave me a shot with the Spook and boy did it pay off! 3 twitches and this big girl exploded on it. I have to put it in my top ten bites on top water. Was,our biggest bass of the trip. 

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A really nice smallmouth.

We hit one last bank and Clyde had on a Rapala Skitterwalk in a sorta bluegill color. He caught this nice largemouth, the only keeper sizes one in over two days fishing. Strange. Again, we figure they must have been on the beds somewhere. Probably should have looked for them, I guess. 

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The lone largemouth.

At the end of the day, I figure the top 5 fish Clyde had would have placed him pretty well in the previous weeks a Elite series tournament on Bull Shoals and Lake Norfork- at least compared to a lot of big time pros that weren’t even catching 5 keepers.

All in all we had a great day. Not as many fish, but better size. With my kicker fish, we would have done ok in any tournament that day. Of course, if we were in a contest, we wouldn’t have caught any fish! Ain’t that the truth.

I almost stayed another day. It is hard to leave the area it is so beautiful and there are fish of so many species in all the lakes and rivers. Thanks again to Clyde and Maria for the incredible hospitality. Come on down to Texas soon and we can have some fun here too. I will leave with one more pic of a couple of the nice brownies Clyde was on. He can do some catch in’. 

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Thanks to Shoedog for his report and to the rest of you keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Port O’Connor TX 5/4/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Fresh or saltwater the Knocker B catches fish.

Weather

84/56   Clear  Wind NNE 5 – 10 0% chance of rain

Tides

W    4     High   6:31 AM     0.8   6:42 AM
4      Low  10:54 AM     0.6
4     High   1:17 PM     0.7
4      Low  10:25 PM     0.3

Solunar Times

  • Best Times     9:08A – 11:08A
  •                              9:35P – 11:35P
  • Good Time         2:54A – 4:54A

When I got to the ramp at 7:00 the tide was super high, almost over the top of the fingers at Froggie’s.  I want to say this before I forget it, the tide and the bites were right on the money today.  Of course the problem was once it went down, using that term lightly, it came right back up and stayed up until I quit at 2:30.  The bite was right on the solunar Best Times and on the falling tide .  The water color is just about perfect, and the wind stayed out of the NNE at 10 or so, leaving the Barroom shoreline with a slight riffle, perfect.

Anchored in 2 foot of water it was a long way from the grass.  I probably made a bad choice in the beginning, not either committing to the grass and reds, or moving out and chasing trout.  It was topwater of course, and maybe one took a pass at it the first hour, I think I was between them if that makes sense.  I could see the reds moving around shallow so I headed to knee deep water and started catching fish.

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This is the reason I love this wading belt.

Initially several followed and boiled it, but they were just not in full eating mode.  And so the next one that boiled it I just reached back, grabbed my spinning rod, and swam a piece of plastic right over the boil and hooked up.  Another couple this size committed hari kari and then I finally caught a good one.

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A little better.

They were right up in the grass in water knee deep or shallower.  I was simply throwing that Knocker B right in the grass and then walking the dog fairly fast and the one above and a couple more smashed it.

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This was a great bite!

The one above came out of less than a foot of water in a small slot in the flooded grass.  So after catching 6 or so and not having even a follow from a trout, it was time to move out to deeper water.  There is an edge where the grass and shell fall off into 5 foot plus down that whole shoreline, so I threw the Knocker B over that break.  I was standing in about 2 1/2 feet of water tossing it a mile.  If I had to guess I caught one small one and had 4 or 5 nice ones take a pass at it.  The problem was I let the sun get to high and was late moving out.  So I picked up a chicken on a chain plastic with the 1/32 jig head and fished the drop.

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I needed a few more like this one.

Really I needed a few more like this to hook up, somehow I managed to lose 3 or 4  this size on the plastic.  They would come to the top and wallow, guess I did not get a good hook set.  Of course the little ones, which I caught 4 or 5, ate it, of course.  A couple of them hit it so hard they immediately took off, including one that was about 10 feet from where my line was.  Guess I am a little out of practice.

With the water just sitting there and getting a bite every half hour it was time to quit.  The tide tomorrow is a lot better and with the Shoedog coming tonight we will hit it a lot harder tomorrow.  Not a great morning, but I caught a few and it was nice not having to fight the wind.

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I met one of my readers at the ramp when I got back today.  Funny, I have read his stuff also.  Colby has been writing for the Gulf Coast Fisherman for years.  So I am honored that he takes the time to read this drivel.  You know I love it when folks introduce themselves and today was a pleasant surprise.  He showed me a little trick and as soon as I hear from him I will pass it on.

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That is about it for today.  I am tired and need to go put stuff away and organize for tomorrow.  I want to get up at 4:30 like I want another hole in my head, but we will be in the water right at sunrise.  Between the 2 of us somebody usually puts the hurt on them so like all fishermen, tomorrow the day.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 5/3/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Fresh or saltwater the Knocker B catches fish.

Weather

78/53  Partly Cloudy  0% chance rain  NNE 10 – 20 mph

Tides

3     High   3:38 AM     0.7
3      Low   9:28 AM     0.6                                                                                                                  3     High   2:40 PM     0.7
3      Low   9:55 PM     0.5

Solunar Times

Best Times          8:19 A – 10:19A

                             8:46P – 10:46P

Good Time          2:06A – 4:06A

 

Coleto Creek

I got to the lake about 9:00 and fished until 2:30.  Heading to the Gulf tomorrow I wanted to get home in time to change gear and get ready for an early day.

It was real apparent that the lake is starting to clear.  It still has some color but you can see your bait in the water so it is a big improvement.  In fact I went way up lake today just to see the color and it is clearing everywhere, which is a good thing.  The water temp was around 78 degrees most places.  Of course the wind was spot on with the forecast, blowing about 15 out of the NE when I started, and keeping steady in that range the whole time I was out.

It really was a grind it out day.  I threw buzzbait, spinnerbait, topwater, and pitched the watermelon red lizard.  It was slow at first until settling on the lizard and I finally put 4 in the boat in a cove off a deep bank.

Photo651

Around a dozen like this on assorted baits.

With the water as high as it is there is lots of stuff on the edge of the lake.  The best banks were clearly deeper water with heavy cover.  So it was simply a matter of pitching that lizard into slots and holes, hopping it a couple of times and if no bite just do it again.  It was a little tough with the wind, but that is definitely where the fish are.

Photo648

A half a dozen pitching the lizard.

After hitting several down lake coves and seeing the water clearing I decided to head way up lake and see what it was like.  It is actually clearing farther up, and I put several in the boat.  A couple came on buzzbait and I missed one on a spinnerbait.  So with the wind I kept after it with the spinnerbait, catching a couple of small ones.

Next I fished a long main lake bank with grass and occasional points and I finally got a good bite.  Reeling the spinnerbait right below the surface by a bush on a point nothing came for it, I looked up for my next cast and it just stopped.

Photo653

A little more like it!  This one stopped a spinnerbait.

This fish is a great example of why you never give up on the spinnerbait until it is at the boat, especially in clear water.  I just got lucky because when she hit, it was a full on bite, and the bait just stopped.  While I am no big braid guy, I do use it on spinnerbait as it has little stretch and when one hits it moving fast they usually hook up.

The last place I fished had the wind just pounding on it.  With lots of good cover it was surprising that I did not get a bite.  So to get ready for tomorrow I called it a day.

The water color is just awesome.  I was worried that we were not going to clear this year but if it keeps clearing, and we do not get a major rain, it should get good before the summer doldrums kick in.  If you are a pitcher or flipper it is going to be right down your alley.  Add light winds to help with boat control with a little cloud cover and a big string is not out of the realm of possibility right now.

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So I gassed up the boat and truck, traded out tackle, bagged some ice, and I should be ready to go in the morning.  I also got the camera gear out, I forgot it this morning and had to take these pictures with my cell, so I kept them to a minimum today.  The plan is to also film a little tomorrow early.  Who knows, maybe I can get a couple of nice trout on top to make a video.  I have kind of gotten away from making videos, but it is time to start that up again.

It will be off early tomorrow to POC.  Not sure where yet, but if the wind forecast is correct there will be nowhere you can’t fish.  Guess that leaves me with no excuse.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Gale Warning! 5/2/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Check out the KnockerB.  If you like a one knocker you will like this as much as the trout do!

I am back and was hoping to fish today but the wind continues to conspire against me.  Not only is it blowing 20 straight out of the north they just posted a gale warning for the upper coast.  But all is not lost.  The wind is projected to blow 9 mph on Wednesday and 6 on Thursday so the only choice will be whether I am willing to get up real early and head to Baffin for a couple of days or pound POC.  But no matter what it will be 2 days of wading and topwater.

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And here is the reason I spent the last 4 days on the road.

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Mia.  They grow up fast – Don’t miss it.

We had a great time with the family and while we were up there we saw the Shoedog on his way to Arkansas, and here is his day 1 report.

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Bull Shoals First Evening Friday, April 29 

I got to Mountain Home, Arkansas a little later than I planned on Friday and we didn’t get on the water until about 5:30. There had been rain and we had a very heavy sky. Low clouds and a bit of mist, but not bad at all.

We headed to Howard Cove, an area not to far to get to so we had time to fish before dark. 

Before I left, I added a Corky to my tackle box. I had been thinking that with the bass up shallow here I might be able to transfer something I learned on the salt to freshwater. Well, we hadn’t had 5 casts and hooked this nice brownie on the Corky. Sweet!

corky

Thinking out of the box results in some great fish!

We kept on in the area and Clyde caught a couple nice ones on his chrome dome hair jig that he likes. 

clyde

Bull Shoals produces some big smallmouth.

It was getting pretty dark and I put on my Super Spook Jr. And went to walking the dog. Right at dark a big girl smacked it good. It was a thing of beauty, my favorite kind of bite.

 shoe

A nice finish to the short evening.

We ended up with 5 or 6 bass, not a bad start to a weekends fishing. Stay tuned for the next couple days reports from big bad Bull Shoal. 

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Nice job boys!  I can’t wait to hear how the next 2 days went.  When the smallmouth are on on Bull Shoals it is a thing of beauty.  To bad I couldn’t be there to school you perch jerkers.  Thanks for the report and keep them coming.  And Clyde – Only 4 weeks to Canada!  Can’t wait until we get to Bear Bay and put 200 of these suckers in the boat.  Yahoo!

Today I am taking care of all the things that need doing so that starting tomorrow I can fish.  The Boss is starting a 10 day stretch in the ER so I am free as a bird.  The wind is supposed to blow a little tomorrow, so it will be the lake, then comes the magic window of 2 days of light wind.  To bad those trout are going to have to pay for this stretch of weather, and I intend to jump over the side and spend 2 days thrashing them with that new Knocker B the Shoedog got me at Gander Mountain.  That thing is not only beautiful but comes with the tail feathers.  Gets me all worked up thinking about it.  So keep stopping in and thanks for sticking with me.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Backyard Bassin” 4/29/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Check out the KnockerB.  If you like a one knocker you will like this as much as the trout do!

(The Shoedog walked about 50 feet to file this report.)

 Well, since I can’t fish in Fayette and I am not sure of the water conditions at Somerville ( I know it has come up a bunch), I am just gonna fish in the backyard. No fuel costs and a fully stocked fridge for break time snacks, too.
I share a small, nice pond with a couple neighbors and it has been coming back slowly after it went completely dry in the great drought of a few years back. We restocked it and it has started to show some nice progress.

backyard bassin 023

Nice to walk 50 feet and put them in the boat.

For a while, I was not having much luck, even though I knew there were fish there, but lately, it has become what it used to be. I can go out and catch some nice fish just about any time i want- a real nice deal. And, one of the main reasons we bought this home.

backyard bassin 026 (2)

Sorry to keep hounding about those feathers on the topwater but they work.

So, today I started out with a Super Spook Jr. in bone with the feathered back hook. I caught 3 decent fish and one small one. Then I decided to go back to the big tackle box- I mean garage- and tie on a frog- good idea, it turns out. I caught 8 or 9 and several were nice fatties. Their color was awesome with the clear water and the weed cover- nice and black. Good fish. Nice fish. Pretty fish. As my wife says when making fun of us fisherman!

backyard bassin 014

Time for that frog no matter where you live in the country.

All in all, a good mornings fishing. Warming up for a 3rd trip to Arkansas this spring. Why not?

backyard bassin 001

Nice fish from a really small pond.

Now, I want to report on a different situation. The pond in our backyard overflows/empties into a nice, 40 acre lake across the road. We live on one creek/drainage area into the lake and to the west of us is the larger arm of the lake that has a larger creek entering it. Again- a main reason we bought our home here- a nice area with slightly larger lots and no through streets/roads, and the pond and the lake. We have been here 12 years now and have seen the lake flooded, almost cut in half by drought and everything in between.  I have caught MANY nice bass from the lake- including my personal best 8 lb. 12 oz. fish pre-spawn a few years back. It has been a lifetime dream of mine to live in a place like this- I have been lucky.

BUT- last winter, sometime in November or early December, a new development was started to the northwest of our community. It is probably about 100 acres, if I had to guess. I found it Christmas week when I was driving my folks around the area to see all the new homes.  The entire area had been cleared and had no remaining ground cover. I realize that we live in an area of major growth, like much of Texas, and fully expect ongoing development all around us. I was disappointed, but so it goes.

Fast forward a couple weeks. It is January and I have big bass fever! I run down to the lake to put the boat in and see a big, muddy mess. The water was so off color, I almost didn’t fish. Oh well, I thought, the rains we had after Christmas left some silt and I bet it is only on the surface and I can still fish. So I did.  In 2 hours, I had one bump on a spinner bait. I could not see the blades on my bait until I took it out of the water. It was so bad I finally realized why. The ground clearing and the new development were directly upstream of the lake.

I happened on to a fellow a few days later that I know that lives right on the upper end of the lake. We talked about it and he said he had been in contact with some people in regards to the situation. Since then I know that a complaint has been filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and some folks have been working on the situation.   Apparently no proper silt fencing was erected and we have had tremendous amounts of silt and runoff from the development.

I have not heard of a single fish caught in the lake from a number of people that fish it regularly. I took pictures this morning to show the difference in the pond in my back yard and the lake across the road- a startling difference. Very sad.  I don’t know if there is anything to be done. I know some of our homeowners association members have been on it to some degree. There has been talk of a similar situation nearby in the past that went to a lawsuit. Bummer. All around.

If there is one takeaway from this, I would recommend everyone be very aware of what is happening around them. This happened very quickly and will probably take years to reverse or remedy. All I wanna do is go fishing………..in the lake that has always been good to the people that live here…….

Thanks for listening/reading. Hope I can send better news from Arkansas later in the week.

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First off there are a lot of jealous folks, me included, that you can walk out in the backyard and catch some fish.  There is no better place to live for a fisherman.  And to catch them on top out of a pond not much bigger than  a small swimming pool is cool.

Having fished your lake it is really a good fishin’ hole.  Not only does it have some big fish in it, the average is great.  I have really enjoyed fishing there, and it really disturbs me that your water quality is so messed up.  I really do not remember much from law school concerning water law, hell I don’t remember much these days, but it does trigger something and I hope your HOA pursues it.

And speaking of that, the water clarity at Coleto has left something to be desired the last year and a half.  I have often wondered if there is some major construction going on up the Coleto arm that has been keeping it off-color even well after any major rain.  So if any of you Coleto fishermen have any thoughts on that drop me a note.

And good luck to Shoedog’s HOA on resolving this issue.  I wish I was not so skeptical, but if it involves your government protecting and regulating like it should the damage will be done before they get off their ass and really take a look at it.  So you and your bunch need to keep the pressure on, it is the only way to get results.

(Shoedog just got an email from the HOA and the state is going to investigate.  Please surprise me and get to the bottom of it no matter what it is.)

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Bagley Knocker B

Speaking of College Station the Shoedog was in Gander Mountain and he found some of the Bagley topwaters I have been telling you about.  The color I had so much luck on was the Bluegill and he found a couple of other colors.  This one is their shad version.

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It comes with a dressing on the tail like I have been raving about, and the color is just plain cool.  And the knocker is loud and deep and they really seem to like it.  So I can’t wait to see him and get this one.  It will be splashing around POC in less than a week.

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I got this question today, to bad I am out of town and not sure of the answer.

Any information on the freshwater in West Matagorda. I heard it was pretty bad. Thanks.

Thanks for the question Jason but I just do not know the answer.  As I am not sure how much rain we have had since I have been gone most of the week I am no help.  But as full as the rivers and creeks were and with new rain it might become an issue anywhere there is a large amount of runoff.  I might be a little more help next week as I intend to hit the bay pretty hard.

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I am having a good time with the grandbabies, they grow up so fast and if you miss it you can never get it back.  So don’t let family get away from you, we only get one.  Other than that the Shoedog and Clyde caught 12 smallmouth in the first hour they fished tonight on Lake Norfork, including a couple of nice ones, there will be a report to follow.  I am really looking forward to throwing that new Bagley on the bay starting Monday.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 4/27/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Check out the KnockerB.  If you like a one knocker you will like this as much as the trout do!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD – YOU MADE IT 88 YEARS IN SPTIE OF US!

(Please excuse the late post.  I am on the road headed to see the grandkids, and that is priority number 1.)

Coleto Creek

With the wind supposed to be 20+mph it was time to hit the lake.  I am sick of the wind, and it is blowing up to 30 as I write this.  But that aside I dropped the boat in the water around 8 and fished until 1:30.  It was one of those interesting days that come around on occasion, and it took me, or the fish, a while to get the hang of it.

The water was just a little higher than last time, in fact it is almost to the top of the small loading dock.  The water temp was 76 degrees and is still off-color.  And unfortunately I am still not seeing any emerging grass coming off  the bottom.  Hopefully we will get some grass back, but what has me more confused, is the water color has remained the same even when we have had no rain.  Makes me think something is going on up stream somewhere.  I know there is a big housing development and maybe it is runoff.  Will just have to see how it goes as we progress into summer.  But back to the fishing.

In the first cove I missed 6 or 7 fish, most on Bang O Lure and a couple on buzzbait.  But no big deal, it just must be one of those things.  And then a couple of hours later after maybe boating 3, and missing a bunch, I finally put 3 or 4 in a row in the boat.  Notice anything in the picture below?

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Three in a row in the side or back.  And the other problem, of the 10 or so I did catch they were all this small.

They were rolling on it, boiling it, nipping at the buzzbait, they just were not aggressive.  A trailer hook on the buzzbait did not result in any more coming over the side.  In fact it was probably 1 out of 5 give or take a couple.

They were a little more aggressive in the afternoon. but I was still foul hooking them more than the old in the mouth stick.  The thing that is probably more important was they were all small.  I might have had one good one roll it, but they all looked the same.  That is probably the last day for serious topwater fishing unless we get one more cloudy day with drizzle and no wind.  I did catch several walking the dog with a white topwater, but most were on the Bang O Lure.  I tried windy banks with spinnerbait without success.

With the water level where it is right now it is time to start pitching and flipping that lizard.  There are plenty of banks with access to deep water that have great grass and cover.  And if the lake is going to have little grass this year rest assured they will take up residence in that thick stuff and stay there as long as there is water.

The day was hardly a success, especially since I had not fished in a while.  It will be interesting to see how the lake progresses this year, like last it will be different.  But I hope it is while before find out, I want to be fishing the bay.

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Shoedog spoke with whoever it was in Austin concerning the Lake Fayette closing and they told him that it will be closed for the time being and may be for a while longer.  So those of you who fish it are just going to have to keep checking to see when it reopens.  Hopefully it won’t be much longer.

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The Bassmaster Elite Series final day was on Lake Norfork with 12 competitors.  All but one caught a limit but Randall Tharp topped 16lbs to take the title and $100,000 in cash.  They caught about what I figured as to weight, and really big fish just did not appear at the weigh in.  The fishing there is just another animal compared to other areas of the country.  It was interesting how they went back and forth between lakes and it really did set up a different finish.  Often the guy leading the last day has found a pretty consistent place and pattern that allows him to hold on.  With this one they were back on Norfork where they had not fished for 2 days and it really was back to square one, a cool challange.  So congratulations to Randall Tharp and I am sure Mtn. Home is glad to be back to normal.

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Speaking for Bull Shoals Clyde was able to slip out for a few of hours and sent me a couple of pictures.

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Now that is a smallmouth!

Caught this one on that Maribou jig on Sunday afternoon along with some smaller ones ,a keeper Kentucky  ; and a Bull Shoals crappie.

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Nice Black Crappie – and I mean black during the spawning season.

With the  variety of species available in the Twin Lakes area Clyde has spent a lot more time fishing light line and maribou jigs, which will catch almost any fish anytime, anywhere.  Clyde could truly be labeled a multi-species fisherman in the mold of the guys at In Fisherman.  He never met a fish he did not like.  Thanks for the report Dude and we are 1 month to Canada.

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And Jim dropped a comment on the Chris and Clay gator story.

That was a great story; thanks for sharing….. It had everything in it including a threat message from the Boss about the picture taking.

Thanks for your comment, it was actually tamer than a few I received which normally included at least one or two expletives.

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I have more including a report from Shoedog amongst other things.  It will be good to see the parents and then my daughter and her family.  The two granddaughters are growing up fast.  We will also see the Shoedog as he is headed back to Arkansas for a couple of more days of fishing.  I sure hope the wind is down next week, I am really ready to get back topwater fishing.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The Rest of the Gator Story 4/25/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Check out the KnockerB.  If you like a one knocker you will like this as much as the trout do!

GATOR MADNESS!

(Here is the story of the big alligator hunt straight from the horse’s mouth.)

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So here’s the short version of the story.

Friday we meet out at his place around 1pm.  It’s a beautiful warm sunny day.  The kind of day we see gators sunning themselves all fall/winter/early spring, but about 20deg warmer.  We make a couple trips around the lake checking known haunts and see nothing.  We realize we don’t really know what gators do when it’s hot outside, but it obviously isn’t lay on the levy.  We hatch a plan to put out some decoy baits.  We hack up a couple of the chicken quarters and hang them off the poles on plain mono about two feet up.  We put out a few around the known haunts and the sites we found sign.  Not more than 15 minutes later we notice a 6 after checking out a drumstick.  Not quite what we’re after.

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Having depleted the bait stores, we leave the decoys and round up a couple fresh jackrabbits.  It’s getting near sundown, and we haven’t seen any activity other than a solid 11 incher under the bait around the most sign.  We hoped for increased activity with the cooling temp and made another round of the lake.

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We see him as we come up on the opposite side of the lake from all our baits.  He’s hanging out on the opposite side of the canal in the shallow water unintimidated by our movement on the bank.  We estimate he’s about 10′ and set to putting out a bait with a hook.  A full chicken quarter and and a healthy chunk of beef liver with the blood from the bottom of the package poured in the water.  Through all the inexperienced bumbling of two rookies on the bank, he’s come into the canal and is watching us closely about 10′ off the bank with just an eye above water, for some reason not spooked by a couple guys stomping around his lounge.  We feel confident he’s going to eat, so we leave the bait less than a foot off the water, hoping a little guy doesn’t swoop in and take big daddy’s dinner.

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We back off to set another hooked bait across the lake.  We go back over to check on biggun and find him with the cane bent over, bait in his mouth, but the line hasn’t released from the slit in the end of the cane.  The shank of the hook is sitting on his nose and he’s sitting there motionless.  I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to get him hooked, so I try to ease down and tip the end of the pole up so the line pulls out the other end so he has some slack to take the bait down.  I get the zip ties holding the pole cut and it drops down, he takes off and takes the line about 5′ with him, but then it goes slack.  The bait is gone and so is he.  Rookie mistake, the line didn’t release easily enough to let him take the bait and swallow it.  We still have a jackrabbit so we quickly half it and get our bait reset.  The legs are hanging just off the water.  The line is wedged in as lightly as possible to still hold a 3lb bait up.  We back off just as the sun sets.  We’re hanging out BSing about 30yds away when we hear the unmistakable cracking of a 15′ bamboo pole being bent over.  We wait a few minutes the ease back over there to find the line off the pole and disappeared into the depths moving quickly down the  canal.  After a little happy dance we head home with plans to meet early the next morning to get the beast pulled up and get on with our duties for the day.

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I asked the brother in law if he wants to tag along, and he gladly joins to avoid a morning of dress shopping with the wives and daughter.  Excitement is high as we head off down the 60 mile route back to lizard town.  A quick stop at whataburger for some breakfast and when we get back in the truck to turn the key, nothing.  The starter whirs, but there’s no cranking.  Crap.  We’ve been threatened with death if we don’t make it home in time for a family portrait sitting this evening.  Luckily there’s a Napa a half mile down the road and a good samaritan that runs me down there to pick up a new starter.    Luckily they have one so its back to the parking lot to throw it on.  As I have always done, I connect the wires first, then go to twist it up into place.  Apparently they don’t make solenoids like they used to and the whole area around the post breaks and twists off.  Wonderful.  So it’s back to napa to buy a second starter, because apparently if it breaks there, the warranty is void.  Get back and get it bolted up and get greeted shortly by the sweet purr of a 7.3.

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Made it back to the ranch and find the gator still solidly hooked hanging out in the same spot we first saw him.  He rolls of into the deep water as we approach.  Through no small amount of pulling and wondering when he’s going to launch at us quicker than we can climb the levy, we have a giant head at waters edge.  It’s covered in lily pad and cane and impossible to tell exactly where to shoot.  I throw a loop of line around the post and my buddy sets off to find a stick to try to clear off the debris.  Big guy hasn’t been trashing at all, until I threw that loop and left him with about 6′ of line.  I was sure he was going to pull that hook.  Luckily it held and he had cleared off his lily pad hat for us.  I lined up and put one behind his skull looking straight at him.  He went immediately limp and we stood there for a second waiting for the mayhem.  He just sank.  We pulled him up as far as we could and realized how huge he really was.  We also realized he didn’t have the required blood pumping and he was starting to writhe a little, so I put a few more in until the blood pumped.  There’s a 6ft levy behind us and there’s no way we’re pulling him up that without the tractor.  We get him up to the top and try getting him into the truck with three guys and a girlfriend.  Ha.  Not happening.  We tried everything we could think of, but without some machinery, no way.  Thank God we were able to recruit some friends of cousins and four high school football players.  That made it a quick lift and slide and off to the taxidermist.

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Don’t worry, we made it home in time for pictures.

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Glad you made it home on time.  I am not sure which is worse, a 12′ angry gator or a pissed off wife.  But really Chris, thanks a lot for taking the time to tell us the whole story. For a couple of rooks looks like you did just fine and nobody but the gator died.  Funny how a couple of .357 holes in the head seems to quite the down.  That must have been all it was cracked up to be.  So congratulations to Chris and Clay for what had to be a bucket list moment.

And from the Shoedog:   Way to go Chris!

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Folks I love letting you tell your stories here.  It is not near as hard as you might think and we don’t care if you are not Earnest Hemingway when you write, we just love to hear your stories and see your pictures.  So if you ever feel the need to wax poetic drop a comment and I will let you know how to get pictures to me.  Thanks again Chris, great story.

As you read this I am on the lake.  I can honestly say this wind is almost depressing me.  It would be the Gulf but it supposed to blow 15 – 25 today with higher gusts, then 20 – 30 on Tuesday.  But May is on the way and the winds will start to die and it will be back to the bay. So if it is that rough the lake it is.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 4/24/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal

Check out the KnockerB.  If you like a one knocker you will like this as much as the trout do!

So here I sit, waiting for a few more customers for our garage sale.  Our neighborhood is having one and it was really busy this morning.  The weather is great and I want to be out there, but the Boss is at work and I am trying to squeeze a last couple of bucks out of this extravaganza today.  I sold some fishing stuff, but trust me, if I didn’t want to save it you did not miss anything.  Never knew broken rods and froze up reels would sell so good.  I think the guy who bought most of it has an ongoing garage sale.

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I got one of the most interesting comments I have gotten yet.  Mac has been a part of this with his comments for years, and I always appreciate hearing from him.  He is exactly the person that defines why I do this, and this is just plain awesome.

Ripley’s believe it or not

Woke up this morning to steady rain in Bastrop. After 5 days of rain and Cabin Fever, I drove to Aransas Pass to fish for one day. It rained all the way there, but stopped on my arrival. The flats were still clear waters and I was hoping there was still some salty water around. I fished till 3 pm with nothing to show, but came across a dead seagull and my thoughts centered on a recent article of yours stating how a few feathers could enhance your top water plugs. Doug, from now on feathers are a staple in my tackle ensemble. With the feathers from this dead bird , tied behind a Zara spook, the fishing vastly improved. Two 23 inch trout and 3 slot reds fell to a birds white feathers. Just got home and tired to the bone but thrilled to be on the salt water again.
Thanks for your info– and the seagulls better look out!!!!!!

Mac

Nice fish!  Hopefully to many seagulls will not have to kick the bucket for us to put more fish in the boat.  And definitely do not raid the neighbors chicken coop. But seriously, I really believe it makes a difference, and your experience is a perfect example of that.  All a person needs to do is next time you are at the tackle store or fly store just pick up a bag of chicken feathers and you are ready to go.  Any thread will do, just put a little on, wrap it and then a couple of knots and glue and you are in business.  It does not take much and if they eat it off just put more on.  I can not say it enough, it is the small things that really make a difference.  So thanks for the great story and all your other comments.

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R U FEAKIN’ KIDDING ME!

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I got this on my phone from my buddy Chris.  Not only does he like to fish, but he likes to hunt just as much.  He was hunting with Clay his duck hunting buddy and this one was baited with half a jack rabbit and dispatched with a .357 magnum.  It was 11’9″ and they estimate it was well over 600lbs.

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As Troy says – “That is a dinosaur!”

All I have to say is that is a real one.  Congratulations guys, that is about as big as they come in these parts.  And it should be some good eating.

Note:  Just got the whole story and some other pics that will be up tomorrow so stop in.

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I have been watching the Bassmaster Elite Series weigh in live online on their website.  They do an updated tracker as they weigh in.  They are doing something new.  Day 1 on Norfork, day 2 on Bull Shoals, then cut to 50 and fish one more on Bull Shoals, then the final 10 back on Norfork.  It is the first time the Bassmaster has been held on 2 different lakes this way.

Thanks for the picture ;Maria found some rod holders at BASS weigh in; will send you a pic; KVD and Mike Ikanelli Never made the cut 11 pounds each day to make top 50.  Clyde.

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Nice rod carriers – Buy More Stuff!

Of course I was really interested in the weight, and it was about what I expected.  Several pros struggled on one or the other.  You know it is tough when Ike and KVD can not average 12lbs a day.  Now I remember why guiding there was so tough.  I got used to this Texas bass fishing in a minute. When those lakes are tough they can try your soul, but of course a couple of guys figured it out but the top weight is still barely 30 for 2 days.  And the big fish on Norfork was a 6.1 and Bull Shoals was a 5 something.  Clyde said one of the pros at the weigh in said he had nothing but respect for the locals who catch fish on both lakes.  But if you like catching lots of other stuff, walleye, stripers, white bass, and crappie with your bass you can usually catch a nice mixed bag.  So I will be watching today to see who makes the finals.

And when I found that picture it was about 20 years old and you, Nancy, and I smoked the nice hybrids on topwater.  They were just flushing that thing.  Of course Clyde called this morning and we are both getting the Canada fever.  Now that I got rid of so much junk I actually got my tackle room back, so it is time to start the Canada pile.

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Somebody had some fun today, but it definitely was not me.  Tomorrow I will be giving stuff away, though the good stuff sure got picked through.  So I will be dreaming of fishing, hopefully not dreaming of that big a$$ alligator trying to eat me, boat and all.  So keep those comments and pictures coming.  And keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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I thought I was going fishin’ 4/21/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Weather

Thursday 50 % Precip. / 0.18 in   Mixed clouds and sun with scattered thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe. High 81F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

Tides

Th  21     High   8:28 AM  0.8   Low  11:54 PM  0.3   (At least it is supposed to fall some)

Solunar Times

  • Best Times     10:40A – 12:40P  (Should be around the time the water is really moving)
  •                          4:30A – 6:30A
  • Good Time     4:51P – 6:51P

Boat Decal

Check out the KnockerB.  If you like a one knocker you will like this as much as the trout do!

EMERGENCY NOTICE

I got this from Rusty who is the resident Fayette guru……..Pass It On!

Doug, thought I would let you and your blog followers know that Fayette Lake was closed today indefinitely.
I went to fish this afternoon and they were chaining off the boat ramps due to high water and many floating large logs. The water level is crazy high, all the docks are submerged a good foot or more. I was told they want the water to come down 3-4′ before re opening and most of the logs back close to shore.
I will try to keep you up to date when it re opens. There are going to be a lot of unhappy fisherman who get up early to drive to the lake from Austin and Houston this weekend to find it closed!
Tight lines, Rusty

Wow.  Thanks so much.  If you all know anybody who fishes there regularly let them know.  Spread the word…Imagine driving and hour or two and the lake is closed.  Thanks again Rusty.

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The plan was to head out first thing and hit the bay, but when I turned on the radar you could see it coming.  Now here I sit in the house getting extremely tired of our current weather pattern.  We are stuck in what seems to be a long period of higher winds and lots of rain.  The ditch in my yard is overflowing so we must have gotten at least a couple of inches in the last couple of hours, and it is thundering as I type this.  Sorry for the whining but I really wanted to fish today.

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Since Cocoons was kind enough to send me a selection of fit over sunglasses I have really had a chance to fish the several lens in a variety of conditions.  And I have come to several conclusions.  My all around choice for all conditions if I had to choose just one would be the amber.  They provide great contrast in low light and are great in bright sun.  But the biggest advantage of Cocoons is not only how great they work, but in their cost.  And that is not because they are cheap, they are not.  They provide more bang and options for your buck.  They have proper tool for the job.

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I have a $400 pair of prescription polarized sunglasses in the standard grey and they are ok, but they are not wrap around which I consider to be critical in fishing glasses.  And of course the other disadvantage, it is one pair, clearly not suitable for all occasions, especially low light.  And when your prescription changes you are out big $$$.  And when was the last time you got a lifetime frame warranty?  With Cocoons you can have multiple pairs for all conditions, and have enough $$$ left over to buy a nice rod and reel.

For me there are 3 lens that cover all conditions most of us will face.  First I love the yellow for low light cloudy conditions.  And one thing I have noticed is they also help quite a bit when the water has that light brown tinge to it.  Not only do they help with spotting cover, when you fish lots of topwater like I do you see fish that otherwise you would not see.

Next I really like the mirrors, either in the smoke or the amber.  It really helps when the sun is blazing down.  The biggest advantage besides the obvious, which is seeing deep in the water, is the reduction in eye strain when you spend a long day in bright sunlight.  Cocoons fit overs let 40% less light get to your eye, important for a multitude of reasons. You do not notice how bright it is wearing them until you take them off, then you get a real appreciation for how much light they block without affecting your in-water vision.  I like the blue mirrors for super clear bay water and the smoke for lake fishing.  Wading one day this fall the mullet were streaming down the bank and I was actually able to see the speckled trout trailing them.  Sight casting to fish is probably one of the most exciting ways to catch fish, and watching those trout eat my plastic was a thing of beauty.

And last is the plain ambers.  I love those things.  In fact my fancy prescription pair has remained in the case and I honestly can say I wear my ambers daily.  The amber has become my go to pair for all conditions and are the best all around pair for any time and any water.  They provide great contrast, which in fishing is critical, especially for spotting those bits of cover that hold whatever fish you are after.

Since I started this blog I have strived to not feed you a line of stuff, either about the fishing, the baits, or any other products I use.  And those of you who have read this stuff the last 5 years know that I am not beholden to any particular company.  Both Shoedog and I have been wearing Cocoons long before they were kind enough to provide me with some.  I have always liked the fact that they come in 7 sizes to fit over my glasses no matter what size of frame I was wearing at the time.  If clip on is your thing they have a line of those too and I have some in the truck for an emergency.  And they are not just fit overs, they look fine whether you wear glasses or not.  So go to their website and check them out.  So if you wear glasses, or even if you don’t, try some you won’t be sorry.

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I think he had a bite!

If I can’t go fishing at least I can show you a fish.  And I mean a fish!

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Talk about a prehistoric monster.

I have to admit I am embarrassed that I can not remember the guys name who fixed the AC at the house but he caught this 82″ 120 lb alligator gar on 20lb test out of the San Antonio River.  One this size is on my bucket list.  Congratulations, that is a dam fish.

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Red on Yellow!

And this next picture actually has a connection to fishing.  My buddy Jeffish and a couple of friends were cleaning up the back yard and turned over the old Lone Star boat and…….

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Red on yellow kill a fellow, red on black venom lack.

That is the easiest way to tell the difference between a Coral Snake (above) and a King Snake.  This one was actually smaller than 6″ as most of them are.  Like everywhere in South Texas remember not to reach in or under anything in the yard before you turn it over, you never now what kind of creature is lurking there!

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A little bird told me that he had a couple of friends who put a boat load in the boat on Coleto the other day.  Watermelon red lizards and spinnerbaits.  Sound familiar?  They both worked for me the other day and is what makes Coleto so good right now.  Pick your poison and throw it.  He let me know that when he wondered what tournament was this weekend.  My bad, the big one was last weekend.  So thanks for letting me know.

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That is all I have today.  It is hard to believe that we are only a month away from our annual Canada trip.  I am really having to keep myself under control and not start piling stuff up already.  One thing about going early is you never know how far along or not the fish will be.  Looks like an early ice out so they may be all out when we get there.  Not sure when I will fish again but it will be soon, it is making me crazy.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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