Fish Catching Travel
The best baits money can buy.
Though it does not often work out it is really nice to fish with folks I do not get a chance to fish with that often. That really pertains to the bunch I call the Austin Boys. They come down a few times a year in different combinations and I am humbled to be asked to join their gang. This trip it was Todd, Pete, Mateo, and my favorite of the whole bunch, Orlando. What a hoot.
One thing Todd and his bunch have down absolutely pat is bringing the crappy weather with them. They have had some awful weather luck on some of their trips. How they manage that one I will never know, but in the face of a 20 mph north wind and a cold front, which is the least it blows when they come, they hit it hard. Rarely does it keep them from catching fish and this time was no different. And what made this trip a real success for me is the fishing allowed me to spend some time doing what I have neglected on the bay, but we will get to that later.
When they come down this time of year they always stop on the way to POC to make a quick run up the barge canal to the BP docks to catch some trout. So I met up with them at Seadrift and we got to the docks at around 2:30. The canal is still dingy from the flood, but the further up we went the clearer it got. I was really interested in whether the trout were there or not. With this extended warm weather I was not sure if the big bunch had moved into their deeper winter haunts, which also applies to rivers and creeks this time of year.
The fishing turned out to be slow. We caught maybe a dozen and ended up keeping 4 or 5 trout and 1 flounder, all caught on plastics. The ones we did catch were on the drop into deeper water. So with our late arrival, the warmer water for this time of year, the tide, or whatever else, it was slow. But we bagged a few and their trip was started. We will just have to wait and see about all that as far as the barge canal goes. I suspect the real cold front we have coming this week will put those fish in their winter haunts and it will be as good as it always is.
The next morning I got to their house at daylight. As usual they were a little worse for the wear from the things boys do when they are out loose without the wife. But they mustered up, we put on the wading gear and off we went. As a side note, it is so amazing when you get to the ramp at 7 on a friday in POC and you are the 4th truck in the lot. That only happens during deer season and hurricanes. What turned out to be our first and only stop was the flat off Army Hole. Keep in mind the wind was blowing a cold 20 mph right on the flat and the rollers alternated between 1 and 3 feet tall all day. The water was a little off-color but not to bad, and the tide was just beginning to fall. It would normally not be my choice, but the results highlighted what little I really know about trout fishing.
I headed into the cut and proceeded to catch about 20 trout, though only one was a keeper. With my superior skill I managed to lose a really good one, which was a sign of things to come. I was throwing plastics as were Pete and Mateo. Todd and Orlando were both fishing fresh dead shrimp, a technique Todd learned on his last trip. They would tear the shrimp in half, put it on one of those heavy ass popping corks and throw it a country mile. It works, Todd figures he caught about 50 today, and if you want a way to help folks catch fish with you that is one sure way to do it.
Pete, Mateo, and Todd started out on the flat catching one here and there, some of them good fish. After a few hours we met at the boat and made the decision to make a stand. Now to my point about what I learned. After the Shoedog caught the 6 1/2 trout in three foot rollers in off colored water in Baffin I have wanted to spend some time fishing topwater in conditions I would normally not fish it. So I headed out on the flat, Todd and Mateo headed with their dead shrimp to the cut, and Pete and Mateo took off down the flat.
I kept wading at a pretty good pace until all of a sudden a real monster, probably my biggest trout ever at POC, just blew up on it and missed. I kept it coming and then she came out of the water and just thrashed all over it and I made the fatal mistake – I freaked out and set the hook though she did not have it. And she was gone. Dang it! But I settled down and the serious work started. Instead of whining about it, well maybe a little bit, it fueled my desire to keep after it.
So much of the time I get wrapped up in being sure I get some fish on the camera for the blog that I do not spend time really expanding my knowledge like I should. It is a rough life. It was nice to let them sack them up for the famous Fishmass Party coming next month and I took off and spent the majority of my day fighting the big wind and tossing the topwater.
The haul. Sorry these are not that hot but I did not want to take the time to take pictures out there, the fishing was to good.
It is rare I stick to something that is unfamiliar to me and not revert back to the sure thing, which in this case was plastics. It was one bite, then another on the topwater, but of the first 8 bites it was one keeper trout and a couple of rat reds. As it got later they started to really eat it. Not sure how many bites I got in that high wind and rolling seas, but it was enough to fill my limit of nice trout and throw a few back not to mention how many I missed. Using the walk the dog retrieve at a fairly rapid rate, it was interesting how they wanted it cast either directly into the wind or parallel to the waves, but nothing with the wind. If you think about it, whatever they were eating was going with the wind and they were facing that way waiting for it.
You often hear the old adage, find the bait, find the fish, and late in the evening it really came true. I saw small bait fish flipping here and there so I waded over and it was game on. The trout around them were not just swinging at it like earlier, these were eating. One interesting thing that happened was I yelled at Pete and Mateo to come over and they fished right next to me and could not buy a bite fishing plastic while I was getting bit. There is a lesson there, but what it is I will have to think about. But the real point is that wind or not, they will hit that topwater in conditions most of us would not throw it. Of course there is one serious side effect, time to perfect that pattern. Many of the big fish caught on the coast in the winter are caught that way, windy shoreline on topwater. You can guess what I will be doing this winter. That 30″ plus is my goal, not a simple feat in POC, but the one I missed was in that class.
Before it was over everyone caught a few keepers and had just a hell of a good time. The total was 17 trout, 3 reds, 1 black drum, 1 sheepshead, and 2 big flounders. Not a bad total by my standards when faced with Austin Boy’s weather. Todd did catch this, and if you know what it is let me know.
This is a cool little fish.
And a last word on losing big fish. I lost a big one in the cut, missed the topwater trout of my life, and then got spooled. As my line was ripping off the spinning rod I kept yelling don’t get to the knot, but alas, that took about 2 seconds. While it was probably a big jack, I forgot to just give a yank and break it off and lose a jig instead of 75 yards of fluorocarbon.
I am thankful to them for including me in their trips. They are all great guys who fish hard, but never let that get in the way of having a great time. I knew the others but had not met Mateo. He is a real gentleman and it was good to fish with him. And though it is really selfish of me, but I so rarely do not have to bring the boat or feel responsible for what other folks catch and getting hauled around is a thing of beauty. These guys do not need my help. Todd’s first trip to POC I fished with him to get him started and he has turned that little bit of help into a fishing machine. He has learned a lot and one of the things I really respect about him is his ability to adapt and to learn. He has taken what he learns from everything and everyone and turned it into production. All of us could learn from that. As to the rest of those yahoos, they catch fish. So thanks guys and I will be looking forward to hearing your report for today. I just could not drag my old ass out of bed this morning. We spent all day wading and I can wuss out since I live here while they on the other hand fish till they drop.
The buck below is from our buddy Terry’s hunting spot in Nebraska. They have shot some big bucks there, and had some big ones on the camera, but this one just might take the cake. And when you look at it remember to keep one thing in perspective, this is a mature corn fed monster Northern deer, not one of those the size of a German Shepard with horns. So you can extrapolate the true size of this rack. Only in my dreams!
This really is a trophy buck! You better name that guy.
Terry I hope you or one of your boys gets this one on the ground. And you probably have the Shoedog all worked up to head your way this winter. We can not wait for this years hunting pictures. Now after seeing this absolute genetic monster here is the one Shoedog killed that could not be any more opposite if he tried, but he is a genetic something.
Maybe his momma was messing around with an African antelope.
So hunting is in full swing. The Shoedog has put up the rods and reels for now as he tries to whack that big buck. My buddy Jeffish is on a hunting trip in central Texas and I will be looking forward to some pictures from all of them. And if the rest of you have killed some stuff send me your email and I will let you know how to get them to me. Good luck to all you hunters. And stay on land, I like having the water to myself!
My lovely wife sent me this photo of a friend of hers, Daniele, who is a member of the PHI helicopter team. Not only does this woman risk her life to save all of us, she is one bad chick with a bow.
That is awesome young lady. Nothing better than a woman, a bow, and a big ass dead hog! You go girl.
And one last comment about our day. We all had our phones off or in the boat and the horror that occurred in France did not intrude on our day. Fishing for me and many others is about that, leaving it all behind. Money troubles, work troubles, trouble with the wife or kids, it is all left in its place as we concentrate on our love of the outdoors. But the world goes on whether we like it or not. As I learned as a paramedic, there is very little that can not wait. So as you enjoy the outdoors stick that I phone somewhere, even there if you get my point, but turn it off and put it away if you can. Make each day count no matter what you are doing, it may be your last. Worry about things tomorrow, life is short. Even when I think the blog is more trouble than it is worth things like yesterday remind me that I am so fortunate to be able to spout this stuff. What we often consider trouble in our lives is nothing more than a bump in the road. And I so appreciate those of you who keep up with this. It started as a lark, but your faithful comments keep me going. So keep stopping in and I will keep writing.
Good Luck and Tight Lines