The Beat Down Just Continues. 2/11/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Not sure when my luck will turn on me, but it was not today.

Thursday I was headed out to take care of a bunch of stuff so Friday I would be free to fish.  Then my buddy Jeffish called and said they could do some plumbing work and was I going to be around.  Of course.  So him, his dad Ken, Alex, and Justin all rolled up and got to work.  They fixed all kinds of stuff that was needing it.  Crossroads Plumbing is a great company and does good work.  And that has nothing to do with him being my buddy.  They got a ton done, and it was inspected and finished Friday morning.   So the point of this?  Instead of getting the other crap done I needed to on  Thursday I had to wait until Friday morning so I was not able to get on the water until 1:00.

It was 70 degrees with a 15 – 20 wind out of the south, and while it had a good chance of rain it never did.  It stayed cloudy, with occasional sun, and I could feel it was gonna be good.  And it was.

Why I love the Bang O Lure.  I look forward to this every year!  Funny how pictures can be deceiving, the second fish here was quite a bigger.

There was at least 25 trailers at the ramp, looks like a busy weekend for Coleto.  There were bass boats buzzing around everywhere and there was a boat on most banks.  So figuring everything had been fished I just started in a cove.  Sometimes you get lucky, and today I did because the first stump I threw at in the back of a cove had fish on it.  It was a spinnerbait bite, and I missed it.  So I picked up the Bang O Lure and tossed it back to the same spot and she smoked it.  From then on it was the pattern.   And how lucky have I been lately?  I had a big fish come out of a stump and smoke the Bang O Lure, and my line broke when I set the hook.  I almost cried, and then it floated to the top.  My luck continues, but as we all know it can’t last.

The only other place I fished that was a little different from a cove was a creek channel I have been catching them on, and that place did not disappoint and it was an easy 10+ there.  Most of those came on the bluegill swim jig with a Havoc craw trailer.  And like it has been they just want it straight reeled at a steady pace close to the bottom.  On braid you can feel them if they barely touch it, or in some cases smack the crap out of it, cool bite.

     A few on swim jig, but the bulk of them were on the Bang O Lure.

At this point I probably boated a dozen on the Bang O Lure and swim jig in that area, and they almost all came out of wood.  So the next logical stop was a big cove with scattered wood all over it.  Now obviously that cove had been pounded during the day, it is a popular place.  But guess what?   They were there, and not just here or there, but on almost every good piece of wood.  Make a good cast to wood, twitch that minnow past it and hold on.  Nice ones, little ones, mediums, didn’t matter they were on the wood, especially the shady side.  Some areas are getting pounded, it is spring, but it was real obvious this afternoon that those areas are not being fished effectively.

That bank was covered up in wood and it was an easy 15, they were eating it under as it was jerked by wood, or sucking it off the top.  A couple actually did the spring time topwater bite and came out of the water and exploded on it.  You know the kind where the bait gets tossed in the air and you get to see the fish.  The best wood was in 3 feet to out as deep as 10.  You just had to make the Bang O Lure splash over the wood until they could not stand it.  And if they did not eat on top, or you could see them roll under it, then I would jerk it under and work it fast and erratic.  You can also catch them by throwing to the bank just twitching it right along on top.  They tend to be the smaller fish right now, but get a good warm cloudy day and it won’t be long before they are big fish.  But if you see anything below the surface, work it under and watch them roll out. y Cocoons are worth their weight in gold, you have to be able to see it.   But no matter what this freakin’ fishing is off the chart.

As I came out of the back end of the big cove a bass boat was coming at me on the other side, so he cut across real fast and cut me off.  As usual, I was in the skiff.  It had not been out in a couple of months so I wanted to run it.  Over the last 6 years since I have had 2 boats bass fishermen make some kind of assumption about the boat, which is stupid, but happens all the time.  It makes me sad that bass fisherman have come to this.  The only revenge was I kept following them for a little ways and caught 2 behind them.  I did not see anyone fishing that pattern today, but I did spread the news.

Another boat was coming my way and we stopped and chatted.  Thomas had fished the lake in the past, and today had caught 2.  So in the spirit of fishcatchingtravel I paid it forward just like the 2 guys did for me at the river the other day.  I filled him in on how to catch them, and told him about the web site.  Not a couple hours after I chatted with Thomas on the lake I got this comment on the blog.

I met you tonight on Colleto an wanted to tell you thanks for the tips! You hadn’t even left the cove an I caught a 4 pounder !!! I’m going out tomorrow again. I would love the chance to learn some more.

That is freakin’ awesome.  And kind of funny because I told him the site was about sharing truthful fishing information.  We all need to help each other out, watch our for each other, and quit making this some king of freakin’ contest.  It is not the size of your boat, or some other part, that makes you a fisherman.  Thanks for the comment Thomas, maybe we can get it organized to fish together some day.

And it was not all about the bass today.  I saw the eagle, which I assume is the one that was here last year.  That poor eagle got harassed by the ospreys on a regular basis last year.  Then I saw the real dinosaur, the giant alligator in the same cove as last year.  His back was covered in mud and he was sunning.  I grabbed the camera, but the minute I moved he exploded off the bank in a shower of water and mud.  It is so awesome to see the really big ones, they are cool, but that is one scary creature.

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SA Joe dropped this comment after my trip to the Nueces River.

You’re welcome. Glad you did ALOT better than my big fat zero when i went. I used my knowledge from fishing the red river lock n dam #5 and threw crank baits and Kastmasters lure to catch white bass there. Just didn’t work for me Dec 29th when I went. But i also fished way north at Airport Rd and it just got crowded. Was planning on heading south Wed but ended up going local and slayed some Lrg Mouths. Biggest was 5lbs today.

I only went about a mile or so above the Hwy 59  bridge so not really sure what the Airport Rd area is.  I trolled down river until there was a train bridge and fished some below that before I trolled back up.  But as I tend to do, when in doubt go bass fishing, and looks like you had a good day.  I appreciate the heads up on the whites, may try to do it one more time.  And as usual thanks for your participation.

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And speaking of white bass Ro dropped this comment on the Pedernales River, which I hope is my next destination.

Great white bass report Doug! Sounds fun! I ran all the way up the Pedernales River Friday: they weren’t up yet. Most bait and arches are midway up, but predominantly 10-13 inch lmbs. Will try again in a couple weeks.

Thanks for letting me know.  That little white bass extravaganza the other day has me itching for more.  Plus with good timing you can add a bonus striper or two on a good day.  When they start let me know, would love to hit that right.  And looking forward to the next time the Austin Boys head this way, always a good time.

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So there you have it, my great fishing luck continues.  It seems like I am in tune and fishing well.  And as anyone who really fishes a lot knows, it can’t/won’t last.  But I am going to ride this horse as long as it continues.  Going to a new spot has always been fun for me, sometimes it works, sometimes it sucks.  But the last few weeks has me itching for more.  But I have not forgotten about the salt.  It won’t be long, and I am still waiting for the perfect weather report so I can head to the Upper Laguna out of North Padre for a few days.  Please keep sending those comments and reports, it makes for a much better site.  It is hard to believe that this blog will be heading into year 7 this summer, who would have thunk it?  And the big thing, Australia is a little over a month away and visions of big fish on the Great Barrier Reef are dancing in my head.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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A Change of Scenery.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Like I said in yesterday’s post, I need a little change of scenery.  Over the years I have caught tons of white bass, and really do miss the annual run we had in Arkansas.  While Coleto has a small run there are a couple of places I have heard about and wanted to fish.  One is the Pendernales off of Lake Travis, the other is the Nueces River down south.  I got this post from Joe in SA and so early tomorrow I will head that way.  And as Joe says, see how I do.  This is fishcatchingtravel.com and lets see if I have a clue.  I used to be pretty good at it.  I am looking forward to a new place, and will probably wake up to dang early.

White Bass Are running on the Nueces River in George West. People have been fishing from the Airport and Route 59 ramps. Pictures in the facebook groups show them getting their 25 fish limits. The river at Airport ramp is narrow(can flip a bait across the river), my bass boat fits but wont run in the 4-8ft water there. The day i went at least 20 people went past me and churned the hell outta the water. Never caught one. Should have gone further south were it widened out. Make that drive and see how you do…

Weather

91/56  Partly Cloudy giving way to sun.  Wind W 10-15  10% chance of rain.

Solunar Times

Best 8:08 to 10:08  (Only period when I will be fishing.)

It has been to long since I just went somewhere without a clue.  I have seen prior reports online and always wanted to give it a go, so after Joe’s report time to see what happens.  I got to the ramp on Hwy 59 at exactly 7:00, and was first.  After putting in there were a couple of good old boys in a Mako so I strolled over and only asked one thing, up or down?  When you are up a river with a good spawning run, that is about the size of it.  Are they all the way up, on shallow shoals, or more downstream in the main channel?  They were kind enough to fill me in.  They were trolling down river with Rattle Traps.  Trolling is they way I would have started, best way to locate a hot area.  Little did I know I would not shut the motor off for 5 hours.

                                                    That took about 5 minutes.

The Nueces there is about 12 foot deep right after the ramp, and got as deep as 20 feet as I worked down river.  There is a bunch of brush in the water where the bank collapsed a little down river you need to not troll by, but after that have at it.  The water temp was in the high 60’s, and slightly off-color.  On one rod I put a deep running Shad Rap in the foil and black back, and it never got taken off all day.  The other was a yellow looking Cabelas copy that I got in the bargain cave, and that did fine.

                              They just kept biting, and some were pretty nice.

Initially they wanted it about 3mph on the GPS, and they definitely wanted it deep.  I was fishing the Rapala on braid with a 20lb. leader and it was probably running about 8 foot deep.  Generally I put it about 45 feet behind the boat. I caught the first one in about 5 minutes, and from then on it was white bass all day.  Nice ones, small ones, mediums, they kept biting.  I trolled way down river and some of the bigger ones were down river.  It was foggy, but as it cleared off and got hot I noticed something watching the graph.  And then I made a great decision.

                     Once I got the speed down, 3.4mph, it was awesome.

As I trolled back up I noticed the bait and fish on the graph had moved up to about 5 – 10 foot, so I tied on a shallow running Rapala Shad Rap and it was game on.  They knocked the crap out of that.  So now I have two Rapalas going at once, and they are biting.  I am knocking over coffee, getting them in the other line, trying to get one off so I can get the other rod, and sticking the crap out of my hands getting them off.  It was awesome.

Then I started doing the trick I have used on them for 40 years.  The shallow running Rapala is perfect for giving it a pull.  Not quite a rip, but a good quick pull, then jerk it a little, and they just can’t resist.  See a wad of bait on the locator?  Wait a second and then give it a couple of pulls.  And one other nice thing about that bait, you can feel them bump it, then pull and twitch and you can make them  eat.  Today was classic great white bass fishing.   By time I trolled back to the ramp the water was in the 10 foot range, so I tied on a different shallow runner on the other rod and kept going past the ramp.   Of course they liked that.  I mean those fish were biting.

 I think it would have been even better just cranking, if that is possible.

So I made one pass a mile or so above 59 and kept catching them right along.  Then to finish the day it was time to cast just sliding down river so I started near the ramp.  That is really fun when they are hitting that way because often you can feel them really smack it.  And that they did!  I caught 5 in 15 minutes and said for the love of God you are back at the ramp, quit dude!  My hands were trashed, the boat was trashed, and after catching 50+ it was time to call it a day.  My only regret is not throwing small swim baits/jigs on the spinning rod, that would have been deadly.  And it just so happened that I saw those same 2 guys later and they had their limit of 50 and were just catching and releasing.  That is how good it was today.

Being a like to catch fish guy one thing that really helps keep the catch rate up is fishing for the right fish at the best time.  Whites are a perfect example.  They show up in the rivers and creeks, they bite like crazy, spawn, and it is over for the year.  A perfect example of the progression, first the white bass, then the largemouth, then the trout.  They all spawn at certain times, and that is when you need to concentrate on each species.  Attempting to do that over the years has taught me, get it while it is hot.  And by any definition, it was crazy hot today and I am glad I made the drive.  Thanks Joe.

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It is interesting how different the day can go from one guy to the next.  I got these 2 reports from readers on their trip to Coleto this weekend.  The first is from Jim.

We made the launch at 0900 due to some difficulty getting out of the shoot. Fished for the first time on the lake went to the left after exiting the no wake area and fished every cove and points. I had my fishing partner with me so I was fighting the wind while she did most of the fishing. I fished the purple and the brown swim jig with no bites. I fished a copy of the Bang’O Lure on wood where I could, nothing; did not fish the spinner bait. I did however fish a crank bait Black and Grey on top, White bottom with a splash of Red, proved to be the ticket on calm banks and coves. We caught about 10 boated 4. We had fun for the first time fishing on the lake. I fished from the launch up to what looked like a power station and stopped there when I ran into some shallow water on the left. So, I don’t know if that is up the lake or down the lake. I think I was on the other end than you were. Thanks for your tips Doug; thanks for writing your stuff and as Arnold would say I’ll be Back!

First where you went was up the creek (left) in what I refer to as the plant arm.  The other way (right) is up the Coleto Creek arm, which has more water and varied structural options.  For me “up lake” is always up to where the creek or river flows into the lake, no matter whether it is south or north.  Sounds like you turned a tough trip into a success.  It goes along with something I have been saying, fish what you like or are good at, they are biting.  Coleto just takes a little while to get used to, but once you do you will have better luck.  Nice that you have a partner who likes to fish, sounds like  she is getting the hang of it.  So keep trying it, the next couple of months should be good.

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For a completely different Coleto report Joe from Katy fished this weekend and did it up right.

Hey Doug, it’s Joe from Katy. Your reports on Coleto had me itching. Not being able to sleep I pulled into the ramp about 1130 Saturday night. Slept in the truck and was in the water before there was another boat at the ramp.

I could not get my hands on a bang 0 so I got a rogue with a similar color pattern and a foil finish. I stopped at my favorite cove next to the big creek bend just past the dam. 30 minutes late I already had 20 fish. 4 whites and 16 small bass. I also caught 2 at once on the rogue. They fish were everywhere and were eating well.

As the day wore on they cove bite slowed as they moved more towards the mouth of the coves and main lake area but it was pretty consistent. With a super bowl party to go to I was off the lake by 1230. I boated 35-40 bass total and probably missed at least 10 between the swim jig and the rogue. Looking at the weather this week I can easily see myself there again this weekend.

Glad to see you are well and back it friend.

That is exactly what I have been finding for the last 2 weeks.  It seems some days they are getting after in it the back of coves, other time they seem to be related to channels, points, and deeper banks.  I really think it has a lot to do with how early the water has warmed.  But no matter how it goes, the fishing should be good for quite a while.  And the big fish bite is right around the corner.  Good job.  Thanks for the report and continued support.

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Just wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who reads this stuff.  Last month was one of the biggest months for visitors we have had, and it looks like it will be a record year for fishcatchingtravel.com.  Last year we had our 500,000 visitor, which was a big milestone, and it is looking like we will have our best year yet.  Every once in while it is hard to get motivated to go fishing, much less write, but then  it is all worth it when I realize how many of you read this.  So thanks to all, but some of you, you know who you are, are what makes this fun.  And I appreciate all the help I get from Cocoons, Bagley, and Wade Right.  So keep those comments and reports coming, they are great.

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And last, but definitely not least, the guys at Coastal Fishing Gear, makers of the Wade Right wading  belt, just announced the addition of the Wade Right Tackle System to their line.  I have been using it and loving it.  If you wade the small boxes really are great, and make it easy to prepare and carry what you need.

So stop by the site and click on accessories and take a look.  And if you are headed to the Houston Fishing Show, March 8 – 12 like I am, stop by the booth, say hi, and put your hands on one.

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It seems like the almost a month I was sick and off the water actually turned out to be a good thing, if that is possible.  Feeling rejuvenated, I have been fishing a lot, and well.  It seems crazy but I have caught a couple of hundred fish in the last week or so.  There is nothing like spring.  What is next?  Who knows, but one thing is sure, it will be on the water somewhere!  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Beat Down Continues 2/6/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Preparing this gets my blood flowing.  A little wind never hurt the spinnerbait fishing, and that is fine by me.  It also sets up what I have been finding the last week, spinnerbait the windy point, and then slide around to the protected side and throw the topwater.  The fish love setting up there and waiting on supper.  And it will be interesting to try some different trailers for the swim jig.  And one other bait I am going to tie on right now as I get prepared for tomorrow is the Rapala wake bait.  It has real potential if I can find the right water for it.

Weather

79/65   Cloudy with scattered thunderstorms in the morning.  Wind S 15-25mph.  40% chance of rain.

Lake Level

Today  96.08        1/30/16   96.15  (You can see it is dropping slightly, hope it does not fall to much during the spawn.  Never a good thing.)

Solunar Times

Best 6:24 am – 8:24 am

I got to the ramp at daylight and I was first, wow.  So in the water the boat went, and by time I parked and made it back to the boat folks were lining up.  The water temps at the ramp was 65 and at least that over much of the lake, especially in the coves, was a lot higher than that.

There were 2 plans for today and first was to catch a limit to fill out the weekend’s fish fry, and fry a couple tonight.  Next was to try 2 different craw trailers on the swim jig, start using a tail on my spinnerbait, and see it I could catch a couple on the Rapala wake bait.  It is a 6″ minnow bait that runs right on or below the surface.  In fact, the first place 2 small ones hit it reeled over wood.  Unfortunately the wind really started blowing 20mph plus and that ended that technique.  The good thing it worked and should be very effective in the months to come.

Love that swim jig.

It was just a milk run.  Fishing coves and any wood that came my way.  They were biting when I started and biting when I quict.  Just for shits and giggles I counted to see how long it would take to put a  dozen in the boat, it took until 9:30.  From there it was old standby places, and some new ones.  One of those is a big cove with tons of timber, but way in the back it actually opens up in a nice area.  There was only 1 small one in the back, but as I worked my way out I think I caught 3 or 4 on spinnerbait.

The star of the day was the swim jig hands down.  Both trailers (see below)  caught fish, but the bluegill/with green Berkley Havoc Craw caught a few, like 2 dozen.  They were eating it.  To give you a feel for how it was today, the last bank I fished around 3:00 I caught 8 and missed a couple .  When you find them, then get the speed right on the jig, they will eat.  It works from one end of the lake to the other, dirty water or clear, just crank it along near the bottom and be ready.  Fishing braid with a 2 foot 20lb flurou leader is increasing my hook up ratio and when some of the small ones hit it close to the boat I see the go flying by my head as they go airborne.  But it sure has cut down on breaking them off with the hook set.

   This size is everywhere right now.                 Sucks t0 be these guys.

Cleaning a limit today, and one last week, is one of the few times in years I have kept that many.  But hey it is legal, and I have only thrown back a couple of thousand the last 4 years.  It was kind of tough to catch the barely legal to keep, the better ones went back, but it was easy to limit.  There were 2 things to take away from cleaning them.  First, their stomachs was flat empty, not a thing.  Second, 2 were small females, and while everyone may be moving up and looking to spawn, those eggs were in no way ready.  But on the other hand I saw a couple of beds, one with a small guy hoping to get lucky.  And I also saw my first tilapia, so they are really going to be early.  This is a funny spring, but if it keeps up we will have a long stretch of good fishing this spring.

It was a little different today.  The sun was out most of the day, and as it wore on the wind got to humping making it a little tough to fish.  And unless it was on the swim jig that I did not see the bite there were no big ones today  The day never had a big fish feel to it.  But again it is hard to complain when 30+ is the norm.  It is good when they bite all day, and you catch them everywhere you try.  And best of all it is cool to be able to fish lots of different baits and catch on all of them.

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I got this comment from Joe in San Antonio and he took the words right out of my mouth.

Take a look at the Zoom Ultra Vibe Craw. They got great action from the claws. Dip them in Chartreuse Dip to make them stand out in all water color. I use the Green Pumpkin Or Watermelon. Usually on 20lb power pro with a small gremlin bullet shot. Finesse fishing. But they also work great on a jig or trailer. Ive had bass come out of nowhere right next to the boat and hit it. Scares the hell outta ya.

Ps. Dont use these, the claw action sucks. Unless you want a bigger profile.

Zoom-Bait-Super-Speed-Craw-Pack-of-8

Funny you would send that along.  I spent an hour in Academy opening every craw looking thing in the store, after I stopped at Wal Mart and they had zip.  I had already ruled out the Speed Craw, have some I got for Canada and the smallmouth wouldn’t touch them, which means they don’t work.  But I opened the Zoom Ultra Vibe Craw and the flanges look good so I got a bag.  (Today it was around 5 or 6 on it with a blue swim jig.)  I also got a bag of the Berkley Havoc craws which have a good flange on them, so only tomorrow will tell.  (They loved the Havoc today.  It will be a go to until proven otherwise.)  Of course I picked up some Rage Craws, just in case.

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And speaking of buying tackle it is new catalog time and the Bass Pro got here a month ago, the Cabela’s Fishing Essentials a couple of weeks ago.  There were a couple of baits in the Cabela’s I liked the looks of.  I have been throwing the Skitter Walk for years and now they have the Rapala Skitter V which claims to walk the dog in a tighter quicker turn action.  Looks good.  Strike King is now selling unpainted clear crankbaits.  Not sure what the real value is unless you are one of those putter around and paint stuff guys.  Cabelas has a page of Whopper Ploppers.  If you like topwater for bass or redfish, they are the bomb.   Designed by Larry Dahlberg, probably the best overall fisherman on the planet, it has caught big fish all over the world.  That time is coming this year here, and I already have mine.  Plus who can resist a cool color called Monkey Butt, which put a muskie or two in the boat in Canada.  In fact, the first time I threw it on Coleto I got broke off in a toilet flush, this is not a light line bait.  Trust me, the bite is awesome.

The Bass Pro catalog had the Spro Rat Swimbait.  I have seen that fished on TV pretty successfully, and I know it would work on Coleto spring and summer.  I am still having trouble forking out $25 on a bait, but is sure looks tempting.  The only other thing I found in that catalog was the Nitro Z18 bassboat, but for some reason the Boss says I can’t have that.  She fell for the old bait and switch, now the $25 crankbait doesn’t look so bad.

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Now it is a weather game.  Time to catch some trout, so I will be waiting for a little less wind than today.  I have 3 days more to fish this week so one of them should surely work out.  At least the lake is always a back up plan, though it is time to see some different scenery.  I have a couple of interesting Coleto reader reports to share and will get to that tomorrow.  And if anyone else has something to say lets hear it.  The blog is better when you participate.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Crackhead? 2/5/17

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Now I have never been a crackhead, though I defended one or two in court, and now I know how they feel.  The last week has me thinking and dreaming about bass rolling out of a log and eating my Bang O Lure.  Or the feel of a thump, or the complete loss of feel, as a big one slack lines the swim jig.  And the spinnerbait bite, when a big fish stops it in it’s tracks in a boil the size of a bucket ss the stuff dreams are made of.  So how do I feel like a crackhead?

Those of you who read this stuff know I rarely fish on the weekend, but not this Saturday.  I woke up at 4:am dreaming of the bite, then at 5 thinking about the bite, then finally getting up at 6:00 and heading to the lake.  The rest of the day was spent chasing the “crack”.   Like Thrusday, I ran around the lake like a mad man knocking the snot out of them.  The next cove, the next bank, one more spot, I was, and am, in a bass fishing frenzy.  So I may not be a crackhead, but I sure know how one must feel.  I can not get enough of the good fishing, and Saturday was as good as hoped for.

Second cast, this one flat out stopped it!

It was 53 degrees when I headed to the lake before daylight.  When I got to the ramp there was one in the water and one putting in.  Wow, third on a Saturday.  But with the weather forecast calling for northerly winds and occasional rain and drizzle, it wasn’t exactly nice out.  The good thing was it obviously kept the crowd down.  I decided to start in a spawing cove way up lake, right where the water color changes so I could fish spinnerbait where the wind was blowing near the mouth, and then Bang O Lure back in the calm stuff.  In the water went the trolling motor and on the second cast the one above came out of a log and absolutely stopped a buzzed spinnerbait in a huge boil.  What a freakin’ bite!  It turned out to be big fish of the day.

                                 Spinnerbait or Bang O Lure, your choice.

From that point on it was almost a carbon copy of Thursday.  I went from one end of the lake to the other, fishing coves, points, and channels.  If I had to actually pin down the pattern it boils down to this.   Spinnerbait in any area with wind, Bang O Lure in the coves with wood and the protected side of windy poinst, and the swim jig any where you want to throw it.  And no matter where  you throw it do not miss one piece of wood.  Just saying.

                                              This size all day long!

One of the good decisions made today was to return to the creek where I caught them 2 trips ago, then struck out first thing in the morning last trip.  Today I waited to fish it in the later afternoon, and boy were they there.  I caught 8 on swim jig fishing the channel side and one on spinnerbait.  Good timing, which obviously you get better at it when fishing a whole lot.  And wood produced today as it has been.  Without grass wood cover has taken over.  I have caught more fish on wood this year than the previous 3 or 4 combined.

I have given quite a bit of thought as to why I have not had a shot at more big fish.  Having to make a guess it might be related to our really early spring.  The fishing went from so-so to full out on in a matter of a week, it was that fast.  Now every small fish is on the bank looking to spawn, like boys getting to Ladies Night early.   The full moon will be here on Saturday the 11th, which has some effects.  Who knows, they may move in mass this week.  One thing that has been apparent, the different water temps where you are on the lake have been real important, above 65 and it is game on.  I have seen 59 degrees to the high 70’s depending on the day.  And that has not been real stable due to the couple of small fronts that slid through.  So we shall see, but I am going to keep after it for a little while longer.

The day never did get to warm, the wind was cool, and it started drizzling about 10 and did so for the rest of the day.  It was not quite as fast as the other day, but by time I talked to the wife before 10 on her way to work I had already boated a good dozen, and it went from there until I quit at 5.  Not sure how many, but it has been 3 trips where I caught fish literally everywhere I have been.  And mixing up the swim jig, spinnerbait, and Bang O Lure has really been productive, has keep it interesting.

*****************

Sometimes it seems as a customer you just do not matter, not the case at Bagley Baits.  Thanks to Billy and his kindness in giving me a couple of Bang O Lures last year, the last one crapped out last trip, but he got me through.  And now thanks to Brendan at Bagley Bait Company hurrying my order up when I whined it was on down here, I have 4 brand new ones and a spin tail Bang O lure just in time.  Good companies give good customer service and deserve our support.

*****************

Hydro Flask

And speaking of good customer service, there was another great example this week.  Back when I stayed up for days as a Nationally Registered Paramedic I acquired a serious coffee habit.  If I am in the boat so is my coffee.  So when the Yeti cup came out I was all over that.  Kept my coffee warm for hours, important when you drink while the boat is moving, then usually not again until you move.  But if I ever had a cup not made for a boat it was that Yeti.  Being bigger on top than bottom it was always tipping over.  Then I left it on the back deck and out it went, lost in Garcitas Creek somewhere.

The Boss and I were in Dick’s when she found a cup that I love, and it does not tip over near as much.  It is a Hydro Flask 16oz wide mouth that not only keeps stuff warm for hours, it does not tip over.  And like all things outdoors, I am hard on it but it can take it no problem.  Well somehow the gasket on the lid came off and I lost it.  No problem, I email the company and there is a gasket on the way.  Their stuff is guaranteed for life, and their customer service is awesome.  So if you are looking for another cup try a Hydro Flask, take it from a coffee nut.

https://www.hydroflask.com/

**********************

Another thing I am working on is finding a good craw trailer for the swim jig.  The Rage Craw is the best, period.  But when they are biting like this they tear them up left and right, they are soft.  So I went to Academy this morning and found a couple of different trailers that look like they might work.  I do know from yesterday when I ran out, they want those craws to vibrate so the ones I am trying have the flange on the pinchers like the Rage Craw.  If either works out it will be easy to tell and I will let you know.

******************

Tomorrow the conditions will be a ton better.  A warm night fallowing a warm day, and rain and clouds.  It has all the markings of another great day.  I am going to mull over the big girl thing, what am I missing or are they just not up in mass yet?  The weather and timing will tell this week.  I doubt I will make the bay again this week, I am going to ride this horse as long as it lasts.  So sorry to you salt guys, but it is coming.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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OMG! WTF! LOL! It was Epic! 2/1/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

As I prepare this the night before I can not help but be excited.  This is the type of day I harp on all the time.  There are few perfect days and this one has fish written all over it. My only problem is I only have 1 Bang O Lure, which could be dangerous.  So it will be real interesting to see how it goes.  My money is on a good day.

Weather

70/54  Showers in the morning, then cloudy in the afternoon.  Wind N 5-10 Chance of rain 40%          (This is the kind of day I have been waiting for, so we shall see.)

Solunar Times

  • Best     2:51A – 4:51A
  •              3:16P – 5:16P
  • Good   9:04A – 11:04A     (The times and weather are right tomorrow.  It was right on!)

After 50 years of hard at it I have learned 2 things.  First, when you have multiple fishing options do what you need to do, when you need to do it, and most importantly where you need to do it.  And right now the lake is the thing.  And working hand in hand with that, if it is early pre-spawn and is going to be a warm night, followed by a cloudy misty day, GO TO THE LAKE!  Today was nothing short of awesome.  And I freakin’ mean crazy good!  I called the Boss from the lake on her way to the dentist a little before 9, and I had already boated 11, and it only got better from there.  I can not adequately make an educated guess how many I caught today, but it was a feeding frenzy.  The only issue today, was did I catch 3, or 6, or 7 out of every place?

I started in a good cove with timber, and it was immediately apparent the bite was on.  7 came over the side, all on Bang O Lure.  They were related to wood and all it took was to throw it close and twitch it under.  And another plug for the Cocoons, the yellow were critical the Bang O Lure and the reduced visibility.  Keeping in constant visual contact under water is tough with wind and glare, not to mention the water being cloudier as you go up lake.  It started with a bang, and they were still banging away when I quit at 3:30.  And several today came out of cover and blasted the topwater on top on the first twitch, it was everything I love out of our sport.

Twitch, twitch, and pull it under, awesome.  What was this guy thinking?

Next up was another cove, and it was like 5, and it only got better from there.  They were biting, so I kept fishing the Bang O Lure and occasionally throwing the swim jig, and they hit both with authority.  I could tell it was going to be a big bite when I made the right decision.

When this size is trying to jerk the rod out of your hands it is a thing of beauty.

I have thrown spinnerbait a little the last couple of trips, completely without success, but I keep throwing it knowing the day would come, and today was it.  I was up lake in the off color water when I started fishing it and my second cast one  just blasted it.  I was basically buzzing it right below the surface, as slow as I could go, making a wake.  5 came over the side on that bank alone.  From that point on it was back and forth between the topwater and spoinnerbait, and it was simply a matter of how you wanted to catch them.  And as you know I love me some spinnerbait.

Unfortunately I did not catch them all, including a really big girl that came out of a stump and ate the Bang O Lure.  I got a hook in her, and she pulled off by straightening a back hook.  At the same time she pulled the wire out and an inch of the balsa is gone.   It was a really big fish.  That is why I was worried with only one Bag O Lure, but that one soldiered on.  And with the off the chain fishing losing a big one did not hurt, there was another one 10 foot down the bank.  And when you have boated dozens and dozens of fish sooner or later they will eat the balsa baits up.  It comes with the territory.  The plastic minnow baits will last longer, but they will not catch more fish.

                  Swim jig anyone?                                 Then the Bang O Lure.

If there was a good breeze blowing right on a bank I would throw the spinnerbait, and they were stopping it.  They wanted a wake, not fast, which can be tricky.  But running it right on the surface led to some epic bites.  I did lose one other big one on the spinnerbait that just came unbuttoned after a big jump.  Some time that stuff happens even with a trailer hook.  And when I would be in a calm pocket, or the back side of a point, it was the topwater.  I caught 4 in 5 casts in one spot alone.  It was that good.  It was one of those days when every lure change at the right time was rewarded.

  Then the spinnerbait.    Then some more Bang O Lure.  I was in heaven!

That is the best bite I have seen on the lake in a good bit.  I don’t know how many hooked up, but it was dozens and dozens.  The spinnerbait is completely trashed, the Bang O Lure has fished it’s last day.  They flat tore them, and my hands, up.  In fact I am surprised both lasted as long as they did, nice to catch 50 and not lose a bait.  Warm sunny days, finally a warm night followed by a cloudy, misty light wind, and it happened just like I knew it would.

To sum it up, fish what you like on the lake right now.  They are still related to wood, though have moved into the coves.  I saw my first beds, including a tilapia bed though I am not seeing them right now.  There really is not any more to say other than it is on big time!  All those days when it is tough, when you fish like crap, or when thing break, all go by the way side.  Today was not fishing, it was catching, and this one will go down in my memory as nothing short of epic.

********************

You know how we all catch a few big fish?  Well my buddy Chris caught him a bigun”.

Having been fortunate enough to catch a marlin once in my life, it is a thing of beauty you will never forget.  So I really can’t wait for him to get home so I can hear all about it.  Congratulations, nothing like crossing one off the bucket list.  Time for an offshore boat?

********************

After Joe sent me the report from the river I had a question about parking where 59 crosses the river.

Surprising the day at the river including my truck there were 13. They were just loaded with alot of people.

When i first bought my Basscat, They had automobile Firestone Firehawks on it because of the weigh and speed rating. but i guess over time, All three of them shredded out. Finally got some Primewell Load range d so that i can carry more weight and the tire pressure is 65lbs. Knock on wood they havent shredded yet. Been about 5 months

Thanks.  Doesn’t look like if I sneak over during the week parking will be an issue.  Basically means I don’t have to get up to dang early if I decide to make the trip.  And I will be interested in how that brand of tires hold up for you.  I ordered some Goodyears, first time I have tried them, so we shall see.  And speaking of Bass Cat, that is my Arkansas home town.  Ron Pierce, the owner, was the mayor of Mtn. Home and I think he passed away lately.  I am sure his son Rick is running the show now.  They have always made a great boat.  Thanks for the info.

*********************

Jim has joined the Bang O Lure train.

Greetings Doug
I wanted to tell you I was in Academy in Austin looking for the Bang’o lure. They did not carry that product. I think they do on line; so does Amazon but you know we always want it yesterday. So I went to the Bang’o Lure site and ordered them for 8.79 plus 10 bucks shipping. It was cheaper than Amazon they wanted $12.00 plus for them no shipping for prime. Sure would liked to have had a coupon code like I got from you for the Glasses. The Academy clerk found them one and two here and there; Cabala’s found 12 in Minnesota. H2O has a similar type of lure so I picked one of them up. Those baits sure did a good job of catching me!

Trust me they will be worth the cost, they catch fish, see above, .  And they are about impossible to find most places.  Don and his partner bought the company and are in the process of bringing it back to the glory days, so the baits are just not everywhere yet.   I just ordered 5 from Bagley and they should be here tomorrow.  I will watch for coupons or offers in the future and put them on the site when they have some.  I was glad I was able to get the straight silver foil/black back, my favorite.  One thing I do on most of them, unless they are going to used in the salt, is take off 3 hooks and replace them with 2.  You have to get a little larger size to keep the weight as close as possible to keep the same balance.  That is why I use the lighter red hooks which add a little in clear water.  It is not necessary and maybe it helps, at least it helps my confidence.

********************

And while he was at it Jim had this other question.

Greetings Doug
Any word on the Crappie bite? My Dad; a life long resident of Baton Rouge soon to be 98 year old is due to visit me in Seadrift likely for the last time. He wants to go fresh water fishing. He and I use to fish years ago; a lot! I hope to do that at Colleto for Crappie and Black Bass. Of course I have my ear close to the ground on your Blog. This will happen in late March or when ever I can determine when the Crappie bite is on. I plan on scouting the lake this weekend for the first time.

Coleto is probably one of the more consistent crappie lakes around.  It has good trees and isolated timber, and with a fairly stable water level they are caught consistently year round.  Most are caught on deeper trees, in the 10 – 20 foot range, and that seems to be consistent year round.  The only guys I see on the lake more than me is a couple of old dudes I call Mr. Crappie 1 and Mister Crappie 2.  Winter, summer and in between I holler at them and they always have 25, 30, 21, but they always have big crappie.  I know from checking the cleaning table trash can they are catching them every day in pretty good numbers.  The only question is if or when they move shallow, but otherwise, a bucket of minnows and hop cover to cover and it usually happens.  I actually got a good report from someone the other day, and this morning half of the folks out were crappie fishing.  So if that is your plan it should be perfect.

********************

As I finish this up Saturday morning it pains me to not be fishing after I just saw the weather report.  I need to do a little work on the boat, trailer, and tackle before I go again.  (In the morning!)  Taking time to get you stuff together before you go always makes for a better day, so I will be responsible and get stuff done.  With the weather report looking like it does there will be some serious bass fishing.  The salt will just have to wait just a little longer, but the epic big bass day is right around the corner and I will be there when it happens.  There really is not anything more to say about yesterday.  To be able to catch fishing on topwater, spinnerbait, and swim jig is my idea of a perfect fishing day.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 2/1/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

I knew conditions, sunny and warm without a cloud in the sky, was far from perfect for bass fishing, but I was still confident I could catch a big one.  Unfortunately that did not happen.  But the fishing is still very consistent.  I should have know how the day would go when I got the boat out to get ready to go and I had a flat tire.  Dang it!  It seems like I am messing with tires way to much.  Since the last flat last spring the trailer tires are not the same age.  So time to buy a new set and make the good one the spare, and then the old spare will be spare 2, no such things as to many spares.  But I digress.

It does not do this lizard justice.  He was a monster! Be afraid!

There were 7 or 8 trucks at the ramp when I got there, and interestingly, only 3 when I quit at 4:00.  It was nice out with a medium breeze out of the west, sunny and warm without a cloud in the sky.  The water at the ramp was 63, up a couple of degrees from the day before.  And the lake is slowly clearing.

I decided to start in the creek where I caught them the other day, and surprise (or not!) I only had one bite, and boated a small one.  The fish were not on the creek channel bank, and the one I did catch was on wood.  From there I worked back down lake hitting multiple places on the main lake and in coves.  It was interesting that I could get them to roll on the topwater, but they did not want to eat.  I think I missed maybe 8 in a row, just a little frustrating.  So it was time for the fall back position, up lake.

The water color is still dingy up the river so I settled down with the bluegill/watermelon red flake Rage Craw.  It was almost noon when it started, and like it has been the afternoon bite is still the best.  I would catch one here, 3 there.  What was different, they wanted a slow steady retrieve and some were knocking slack in the line, an easy catch.

Best I could muster today.

I did have a “dang it” moment.  I tossed the Bang O Lure next to a big stump and a really big fish rolled on it and flat missed.  I freaked out, it was the one I was looking for, so instead of taking my time and getting it right I grabbed the swim jig and tossed it in.  He rolled on it in a big boil, and I flat missed him.  Funny how after all the years I still get as excited as I always have and I just blew it.

                         This was his little buddy a ways down the bank.

Though that was “the bite” I knew I would get, the rest of the day was like it has been the last few trips, plenty of bites.  The 14″ to 17″ are out in force, and with a couple of spots on the lake in the high 60’s in the afternoon it is full on pre-spawn.

                                                     This size is on the move.

It was not quite as good as Monday, and the morning bite was even slower than it has been.  And they were not as willing to commit early, but as usual this time of year, the sun warmed the water a bunch and the fishing got a lot steadier in the afternoon.  The size above are almost everywhere.  It is the time of year to just keep your bait in the water, and they will come.  I boated in the 15 – 20 range today, and had my shot.  With some clouds on the way the next couple of days the big bite is coming.  A nice warm night followed by clouds will keep the water temp up over night and make them a lot more active.

The swim jig was best today, the Bang O Lure caught a them as the day wore on.  Spinnerbait and crankbait were a bust.  And here is the Tip Of The Day!  If you want to catch them they are on the wood, be it main lake or coves, especially the spawning coves.  Just hit a spot like that and flip and pitch your favorite jig or plastic and you will catch fish.  They are there, I am just willing to get a few less bites to see them roll up and eat the Bang O Lure.  As far as days go it was flat out lovely and stuff was out moving around.  And being able to actually fish all day without feeling it says I am over the flu from hell.

*********************

I got this interesting observation from Colby Sorrels.

Hey Doug,
Since you like to fish both freshwater Largemouth bass and coastal speckled trout I was wondering why you never mention fishing a Corky for freshwater bass. If there ever was a big bass lure it is the Corky. Try it. It will catch big bass. Colby S.

I wish I could take credit for trying it, but my brother has actually fished it in both his pond and in Canada, catching bass in both places.  Now that you have brought it up I will grab a couple out of the saltwater box and toss them in the freshwater box.  Stay tuned for that.  As usual good to hear from you.

*******************

Today is my least favorite day of the year…….Tax Day.  Time to sit down and get everything together and take it to the tax man.  This is the time of the year where I either hate the government to the core, or we got it right and I don’t get quite as mad.  It is time for the government to quit spending more than they take in, we can’t, but unfortunately it looks like this will continue.  I just know that when we pay more in taxes in a year than our first house cost the world has gone insane.   I don’t know about you, but I am not getting my moneys worth, no matter who is in charge.  I am a vote out every last one of them guy, no matter what party.

*********************

Joe Bass sent me a note on the white bass run taking place on the Nueces River at George West.  It is famous in this part of the state for the big white bass run.  He had a tough day but reports that there are lots of fish being caught.  With the fishing in full swing it can be crowded.  My question is how is the parking at the ramps?  Tempting.

********************

As we all know B.reak O.out A.nother T.housand is so true.  It is interesting how my Michelins last 65,000 on the truck, and they tell me that trailer tires are only good for 3 years.  In fact, the guy at Discount Tire told me that they are actually good for around 8,000 miles or so, and I use steel belted radials.  8,000 miles is a drop in the bucket for me in a year, so I guess I should be happy they last 2 years?  So it is no freakin’ wonder I am replacing tires every couple of years.  At least they stand behind their warranty.  So I am changing brands to see if they last any longer.  And the bad thing is the other boat is needing tires also.  It never ends.

*******************

I will be fishing, and fishing, and fishing.  Where who knows, but the boat basically stays attached to the truck for the next couple of months.  I am just watching for a low wind day to hit the bay, and full clouds to hit the lake.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  This retirement thing is hard work.  And if any of you have anything to say send it along, we love to get your comments.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 1/30/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Brought to you by  waderight2-50

** For a super deal use promo code FCT15 and get 15% off on your online  order!**

It is just wrong when life gets in the way of fishing.  As I write a lot of this Sunday afternoon it pains me to not be going to the bay tomorrow.  Looks like a beautiful day with light winds, unfortunately I have to go to the dentist tomorrow afternoon.  So with an early quit time I will be on Coleto at daylight so I can make it off the water at 1:00.  Oh well, it is not like a bad thing, the bass are biting and there are a couple of places I want to try.  We will just have to see how it goes.

Weather

76/49  Mainly sunny.  WSW 5 to 10mph   0% chance of rain.

Solunar Times

Best Times   12:30P – 2:30P   Good Time      6:17A – 8:17A

Lake Level

Today     96.15msl

It was barely chilly when I backed the boat in the water.  I had already made up my mind I wasn’t going to fish anything I had in the last month.  And other than one place I kept to that plan.

                                       Everybody was fishing today.

The water temp at the ramp was 61, down a couple degree, but as the water clears it loses heat quicker.  The wind was light out of the NW and not a cloud in the sky.  First up was a main lake cove headed up the plant arm.   I stuck with the Bang O Lure but they were not interested.  The next place was a whole lot better.

                                       The spawners are on the way!

Fishing a creek channel bend about halfway back in a cove with the swim jig turned out to be a good choice.  Though most were the same size, I caught 5 in there.  From there I just kept hopping cove to main lake.  The fish are definitely moving up fast, and while I did not boat a big one today, that is coming.  A cloudy drizzling day and I am there.

                           Nobody catches more fish than an Osprey.

As the water started to warm they finally started eating the Bang O Lure.  Here is the tip for the day, find a cove with timber in it, especially if it is a spawning cove, and the fish are on the wood.  It is awesome when they appear next to a log and eat it.  Today a couple ate it right next to the boat.

                                   You can see what size is on the move.

Unfortunately I had to quit at 1:00 and the fish were just picking up a head of steam.  I caught around 10 altogether, most nice solid fish.  The day was not what I would expect to be a big fish day.  But later in the day as the water warms you can find those big girls in those bigger flat coves.   Between the Bang O Lure and the swim jig, that about covers it for me, though I will admit to throwing a spinnerbait some today.  I really like the way the lake is fishing right now, hit the right spot and you can put some serious fish in the boat, at least I hope so!

******************

I know I tend to rag on some segments of the fishing industry, but I want to give a shout out to the FLW.  In conjunction with United Fishing Tournament and Special Olympics they held a fishing tournament with the kids and it was a success.  That is the kind of thing I like to see, the industry giving back.  It can be big or small, but our sport benefits whenever we do something.

*****************

I got this question from Jim, and it gave me a couple of additional thoughts on fishing the Bang O Lure.

Doug, that was a really, really good report. Tons of good information to be gleamed from it. That is why I like reading your stuff. One question regarding the Bang O lures you throw. Is it the 4.25″ or 5.25″ model? Thanks in advance for the information.

Jim

Definitely the 5.25″ 3 hook.  I have a few of the 2 hook models, but to get them to act right they need to be thrown on light line and a spinning rod.  If there is not to much cover to break them off or hang up I prefer to throw the 5.25 on a medium action with 10lb fluoro.  I will go as high as 15lb, but that is about it for this technique.  It is hard for me to adequately tell you how it should work when it is perfect, the best I can say it “shimmers” with a tight wobble.  It may not seem like it but it requires finesse to fish it properly, but once you get the hang of it you are in business.  I really think that the body being deeper giving it a larger profile than the Rapala is why it is more effective.   Big fish like big supper.  And one last word, I love the silver foil/black back.  They are not always available, so the Gray Ghost or the Black Stripes on Silver Foil will do.  So good luck if you try them. let us know.

*******************

I forgot to tell you about one of those crazy outdoor experiences I had the other day.  As I was sliding down the bank there was a buzzard sitting on a big branch on one of the large trees in the lake.  He was going back and forth down it making buzzard noise.  It just seemed funny as he was worked up.  When I got to the tree I saw why.  There was a spinnerbait hanging from a branch in front of him, and it was moving with the wind and he was trying to figure out just what it was.  Funny, but a reminder of what could happen.  Since it was only attached by mono it looked like it was floating and who knows, maybe a bird could attempt to eat it and get hung up.  Just a reminder to make every attempt to get baits and line back, no reason to litter or hurt innocent wildlife.  It really came home when I freed that Blue Heron last year caught on a limb line that was left in the water.  So do what you can.

******************

From the Falcon Lake Tackle website comes this comment on the big fish kill that happened last year on Falcon.

TPWD has still not released a report on the fish kill that happened in the Veleno.. Or any plans on what they plan to do about it.  There’s another government entity that has continually fallen short. More on that in a forthcoming post.

I love the way he holds their feet to the fire.  It has been MONTHS and still no word.  If memory serves me it took them quite a bit of time to even respond.  There is no reason for it to take this long, and there sure should be consequences if a violation is found.  No wonder people lose respect for government.  Come on TPWD, what is the deal?  As usual it appears they do not care what we think.  Sad, if they do not investigate and report on “our” fish being killed who will?

******************

Just a quick word on etiquette on the water.  Fishing is off to an early start this year and folks are really hitting the water.  With that comes busy ramps and crowded fishing spots.  All of us can do our part by being the bigger man.  Getting stuff ready before we get to the ramp, and then when pulling out pull way out of the way.  When running be nice, yield if you need to, this is not a race, it is fishing.  Give people space, give waders their area, give a boat fishing a bank all the way to the next point they are heading too.  If someone needs help or a tow, just do it, it will be returned to you in spades.  If you are way up a narrow creek or river idle with no wake by folks fishing, it will make you happier if someone does that for you.  And please give the guys in the kayaks a break, they have a right to water just like we do.  It really is common sense, almost the golden rule:  “do to others what you would have them do to you…”  It will sure make a better experience for all of us.

*********************

Sorry to the saltwater guys, but it is going to be a long day at the lake tomorrow.  I got a case of the bass right now.  I am getting the numbers, and the size is consistent, and the big girls are not that far behind.  And besides, keep a bait in the water all day, in the right place, and it will happen.  This is my favorite time of year on Coleto.  So back I go in the morning.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 1/27/17.

 

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The Big Move Is On!

When I checked the weather thursday night it was going to be a low of 46 degrees, high low 60’s, with the wind out of the north at 10 – 20, becoming cloudy as the day wore on.  And that forecast was right on.

Today had 3 objectives, First check on the white bass to see if they are after it yet and sack a limit of bass as the Boss requested that I do a fish fry when we meet her family on South Padre in a couple of weeks.  But most important, to stay out until dark and see if they move in those spawning coves in the afternoon.  All I can say about all that is life is good.

It was freakin’ cold, 48 degrees when I dropped the boat in the water.  It still has some color to it, and while it has stabilized, the temp was 64 at the ramp, same way up the river.  First it was up lake to do some bass fishing so that when noon rolled around I could check out the whites.  It was the bluegill swim jig/watermelon Rage Craw, and they starting biting right off the bat.

What separated today from last trip was the fish were a great average, but I did not boat a big one.  Why you say?  Because I broke 3 off, which really sucked.  That happened for several reasons.  I started slow reeling it, and while I caught a couple of small ones, nothing jumped out at me.  Then I made a long cast on a really shallow point, and I grabbed my coffee as I let it sink to the bottom.  I was thinking how are you going to set  the hook with coffee in your hand if he eats it on the way down?  Well of course the one below did.

This guy made the picture when he tossed this lizard out when I boated him.

When I lifted up she was on.  I wrassled her to the boat and when she popped over the side she spit up a Zoom lizard.  I couldn’t find a hook anywhere so back in she went.  It turned into one of those “Listen to the Fish and they will tell you what to do” days, so I did.  Instead of swimming the jig I fished it like I would a Texas Rig worm, hopping and dropping.  I use 12lb line on the swim jig, usually 17 -20 when worm fishing, which was to heavy for the light jig.

         A small white bass.                              They went all out in the afternoon.

They were picking it up and swimming away like crazy, some of them were almost to the boat, so when I reared back and stuck them, pop.  Occasionally I am hit with the old man’s disease, and today it took me breaking off 3 out of the next 5 or 6 bites before I finally changed to heavier line, but it was not the same fall/feel.   Since it was around noon I decided to try for a few whites.   The water color up lake is still fairly dingy, but I might get a chance to take Korbin for some whites Sunday afternoon so I gave it a go.

I trolled in the area where they gang up and ended up boating 2 and losing a few more.  So they are there, and as most strikes came in 4 foot of water, trolling might not be the most effective, unless you have the right bait, and I had 2 that are perfect for shallow whites.  I have been dying to try Bagley Lures new Rattlin’ B Minus, a new concept in lipless rattling baits that basically stay in the 2 or 3 foot range, designed for shallow grass or cover fishing.  In the case of white bass fishing the Rattlin’ Minus B is perfect.  And if we get our grass back this year it will be deadly.  The other bait is the Rapala Shallow Running Shad Scatter Rap, which also runs in the 4 – 5 foot range on the troll or crank.

Why both are effective is if I had to narrow it down there are 2 good places to catch whites up the river in the spring.  One is really shallow soft bottom banks with the sun on them that are sheltered from the wind.  The other location is on the shoals at the end and head of pools on the river.  So I caught a couple and missed a couple in about an hour, so while not on full blast, it is coming, now.  Next time out I intend to throw the Rattlin’ B Minus, it could be scary.  So after confirming they are there it was time to carry out the rest of the days plan, catch a limit, and see if they are moving in the coves later in the day when it warms up as much as it will.  And both were a complete success.

So first stop was a good spawning cove and out came the Bang O Lure.  All I can say is it is on.  The first cove, 5 in the boat and a few other taking a pass at it.  The an even better location cove choice, 9 came over the side.  Cove 3, 3 more, cove 4, 3 more.  I put 20 in the boat in a couple of hours!  It was freakin’ awesome.  Jerking it under and watching them roll up and smoke it in that clear water is a thing of beauty.  Toss it next to a tree, stump, bush, and jerk it under and hold on.  With the water color good glasses are critical.  My Cocoons did their thing, along with the one of the most important things I have learned about this technique, trust your eyes.  Think you saw one, you did!  They rarely hit it on top, so while it is a topwater technique, the bite is not.  Twitch it a few times then jerk it under and twitch it a time or two, and be ready.  And one more thing, seeing a boil come up behind your bait but without a bite?   If you see that start jerking it like crazy a couple of feet, then stop it, they just can not stand it!  It is a great throw back technique if you miss one, you can trick them and they can’t stand it.

Long before I was fortunate enough to have some help from them I was throwing the Bang O Lure.  It is a fabulous pre-spawn bait, all the way into post spawn, in clear water.  I have caught them on the Rapala, but it has a different profile and action, and is just not as effective.  But no matter what, BALSA is king for this, and I have yet to find a hard bait that acts the same.  I had to quit throwing the Bang O Lure on saltwater or in Canada.  All kinds of toothy critters like it, and I like it more than they do so I do not give them a chance.   There is something magical in my eyes to see a big bass roll up out of nowhere and eat.

After taking a couple of R & R days in Louisiana it was good to be back on the water.  Not sure what is next, that is totally weather dependent as to where, but no matter lake or bay I will be fishing a bunch, starting right now.  The lake is only going to get better, and there are some of those warm cloudy days in the next month where dreams are made on bay or lake.  Where that next jerk an 8 rolls up and swallows it.  Where an hour later it happens again, and then again.  It does not help as I am watching them redfishing on tv and I need to get me some of that.  And of course I am still waiting for the right Baffin weather, and the starts should align sometime in the next month.  It seems crazy but in 7 weeks it will be Australia.  Maybe knock the Barramundi off the list.  Looks like a snook, built like a bass, fight like a white bass, it is one cool fish.  And how knows, maybe finally catch a yellowfin.  It is going to be a good fishing spring around here.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Coleto Creek 1/23/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I wanted to be sure I was better before I went completely crazy and did one of those 12 hour day things.  So Coleto it was, and it was an interesting day.  The lake is still going up, and the color gets steadily milkier/dirtier the farther up lake you go.  The water temp was  wildly different most places, it was around 63 degrees when I left the ramp at 9:00, and I hit a cove later in the afternoon that was 71 degrees.

This girl thumped the snot out of it.

I cut straight to the chase and headed up lake.  I started with a white swim jig/pearl paddle tail on the bank I have been catching them.  Only one managed to stay on, and it was small, and  I missed one.  So after catching that one I headed up lake to check on the white bass.  I only managed to catch one on a Bagley Sunny B, but it was really off color.  If we do not get any rain over the next week or so, and it keeps clearing, the white bass fishing should be good.  Now if I can get Korbin out there with Jeffish maybe we can put a few in the boat.

     A small white bass, almost time.           This girl swam about 5 foot before I knew it.

After about an hour of fishing for the whites it was back to bass fishing.  As they did not seem to be all that interested in white/pearl it was time to switch back to the bluegill,watermelon Rage Craw swim jig.  It went from no bites to one here and there.  The best one above smacked it, the one on the right above actually swam about 5 feet off the bush before I set the hook.  It was not fast by any means, but one here and there kept it interesting.  Most were in about 2 foot of water.  It was maybe 6 or 7 before I headed back down lake.

The Bang O Lure strikes again!

The water color is a lot better down in the dam area, so I decided to check a couple of spawning coves.  The first was a long one with a good channel, and it was a complete bust all the way in and back out the other side.  I fished spinnerbait, Bang O Lure, and swim jig without a bite.  From there it was up the other arm to a mainlake cove with a little pocket in it, and I missed one next to a stump on the Bang O Lure.

From there it was a shallow flat main lake spawning cove.  I mean the water temp is almost 70, which is crazy right now.  The last cove had some really small fry, not sure what those are.  I kept working that Bang O Lure when it happened.  Out of nowhere the girl above materialized and absolutely smoked it right in front of me.  I love this hit and that hit, but when a good one does that it is a thing of beauty.  From there I fished just a little longer and called it a day at 3:00

One thing happening today was the gators.  This time of year when the sun shines and the wind does not blow the big gators come out in the afternoon to get a little sun.  I probably saw 6 or 8 today, but these couple of dudes were serious meat eating monsters.

There were some big freakin’ lizards out today.

These 2 were hanging together 30 yards down the bank from the one above.

I have really learned an appreciation for these things.  The one on the left was probably around 8 to 9 foot long and broad across the back, the guy next to him was a 5+ and they were laying about 5 foot apart.  Both these guys were 30 yards from the big one.  It is funny but over the years I have noticed, when I am approaching them from the head/line of sight they often let me go right by, as both the big ones did today.  But turn around and approach them from behind where they can’t see you and they just blow up in a shower of water and mud as they beat feet.  Just an interesting observation.  They are wonderful creatures but anything that will literally tear your head off and eat you is to be respected.

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I hadn’t heard from Chad in a while so it was good to see he and his son are still hard at it.  He has been bound up with work, but he has managed to get out a little.  There is nothing better than a father and son sharing the outdoors.

        All camo’d up and smacking the Redheads with dad.

    Taylor’s first goose hunt.      A quick Lavaca trip.

What a great thing to see you and your son sharing the outdoors, and it really helps that you can put him on fish.  It won’t be long before he passes the old man up.  Thanks for the pictures.

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As the wind howls out there this morning (Sunday) I am finishing up getting all the fishing stuff ready for a big run at it, spring is here and I almost feel like a regular person.  I am watching fishing, and one of my pet peeves about the big time fishing industry is on display, they are fishing on a private lake.  When a “fishing” show does that it is nothing more than elitist, unless you have the same opportunity to fish those places, which you do not.  Any implication that you are a great fisherman with great technique is hilarious when the lake is fuller than my belly after happy hour.  Come on man, any body can catch fish there.    They want you to buy their stuff so they can travel and fish all the best places, but we are not part of the gang, but we sure finance it.

Some of the other shows this morning are fishing smallmouth up north.  Folks, that is basically like shooting fish in a barrel, if you can not catch them there you can’t catch them.  I know that there are shows that really do attempt to inform and help us catch more fish, but what is lacking in some, not all, is real useful information.  Rarely does the big time fishing shows actually show you the exact bait and the particulars to reproduce that success.  So I guess my point is to all manufactures and the industry as a whole, try really helping out your customers.   You are paying  big $$$ for the show, it might behoove you to really watch them and see if they are really helping you sell more baits.  There is a real hunger for knowledge in the fishing community, this little blog is proof of that, and you have a responsibility to address that hunger, at least if you give a real rats ass about your customers.

I get the occasional comment asking how can I rag on bass fisherman, tv shows, and some of the very people that sponsor me.  It is easy.  First it is wrong, plain and simple, to blow by a couple of guys in a small jon boat at 70mph.  The behavior of a relatively few bass fisherman reflects on us all, and when I see you being a butthead I will call that behavior out as long as I write.  If it pisses you off then you might be part the problem, otherwise why would it get your panties in a wad?

And this comment from Jim is appreciated:

“Welcome Back” Glad you are feeling better. Concerning your Open Letter to the bASS boat guy, It likely fell on deaf ears, too bad. I don’t know if I could reframe from confronting that personality. You are better man than I am. Perhaps his behavior will land him in a place of reform some day without the expense of good honest boaters.

And the TV shows, one today was a perfect example.  The show was a celebration of how they get to fish cool private places with the best stuff because of who they are, but they did not put one piece of real information that you can use.  Basically your show was nothing more than a celebration of how cool you are and we should be grateful just to get to watch you fish somewhere most fishermen will never be lucky enough to fish?  Sorry but when I subsidize your life style by buying your product you don’t get off the hook just because you are all that.  Why miss a chance to tell me why and when I should use your baits, that is what sells product.  At least try to act like your show is just not all about you.

And believe me, I appreciate every little bit of help I get from manufacturers.  This is not a cheap endeavor, and I basically tote the whole freakin’ $$$ note myself.  But the punch line is I have a platform just as they do, and with that comes a responsibility to the sport and the folks who enjoy it to speak out on issues and engage in activities that grow and make our sport better.   As our woods and waters become more crowded every year, with access and participation increasingly limited to the rich and connected, somebody has to say something.  I am actually one of  the lucky, I can basically fish when and where I want.  I have 2 boats, rods and reels coming out of my butt, a whole room dedicated to the sport.  I feel that I have a responsibility to speak out on issues, and if more of us would do that we might have a little more control over the future of the sport.

Manufacturers have a particular responsibility to the sport and need to be reminded occasionally that it is not those lucky few, some who act a fool, but the rest of us that actually pay the bills.  Those of us who make a living in this industry, in my case a negative proposition, have a responsibility to everyone who loves the outdoors.  As an example it just gets to me when I see companies like Huk say that they bought their big offshore boat so they can test their products for “our good”.  Give me a break guys, that is horse crap and you know it.  Your success is amazing, but do not patronize us like that.

So that is today’s rant.  Sometimes I feel like a small version of Tred Barta.  Loved, hated, Tred in his hey day was never anything less than out spoken.  So I guess maybe being the mini-me version of Tred is not such a bad thing.  This is America and we all have a right to speak out, so love it or hate it, if you remain silent then just accept things without complaint.

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So there is my fishing and rant for the day.  It was really good to be out and fishing,  actually feeling like this flue thing is over.  I am really interested in what the lake will offer up the next few weeks.  With the lake coming up, and as warm as it is, you can expect pre-spawn to get going full speed soon.  And seeing whatever the fry was today just further indicates it is going to be an early fishing spring if we do not get any more really cold weather.  If it was a small shad spawn, which it might have been, start watching those flat coves in the afternoon, that can be a real ticket on Coleto.  While the numbers today were not all that, putting those 3 nice ones out of 7 or 8 is a ratio I will take any day.  On the salt front that is coming.  I am sitting back waiting for the perfect cloudy/drizzle for multi day trip to Baffin, hope it happens soon.  And I will be taking the boat to South Padre in a month for a few days.  So thanks to everyone for the well wishes, we are done with that and let the fishing begin.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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fishcatchingtravel.com is open for business. 1/21/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Back in the Saddle!

Today is the first day in almost a month I feel like a human being.  Not totally well, but sure getting there.  I really want to thank all of you for your well wishes, it really has sucked.  I  can honestly say I have not been that sick, maybe ever.  But I laid low and tried to listen to the powers that be, and I have finally turned the corner.  So feeling pretty good this morning I thought I would hook up the boat and make a trip to Coleto this afternoon.  There was a chance of rain, but I went anyway.

Open Letter to Bass Boat Guy

Hey dude, it was good to see you again.  I see you on Coleto, Falcon, even Canada, and everywhere in between.  Let me say you are so awesome, really.  2 power poles as you rip across the monster lake that is Coleto, running 70 mph plus, shooting a 10 foot rooster tail, as you flew by that guy in the 14 foot jon boat.  You should be proud.  And when you came around the bend and saw another boat you cranked it up even more, so impressive.  All of us are impressed, in fact at the ramp we all hope to just be in your presence.  The old man in his jon boat, the guy in the kayak, the man with his family hoping that his son grows up to be just like you.  All of us dream about being as cool as you.  Of course we know that you are the best fisherman in the history of bass fishing because you have “the boat”.  Just remember, as they say in poker, if you do not know who the sucker is, it is you.  Well mister 70mph rooster tail, if you do not know who the A hole on the lake is, it just might be you!  See, I am feeling better!

******************

Meanwhile back to the what turned out to be a short trip.  Of course I got wet.  When I left the house it was sunny and 70 degrees, but with the forecast I tossed the rain suit in the boat, which ended up being a good choice.

First, the lake is going up, and with today’s downpour it will continue.  The water temp varied between 68 and 72 degrees, up almost 10 degrees in some places, especially up lake.  The water color was hard to describe, maybe milky would be the best description.  So I headed to a small cove to throw topwater and see if any fish had moved to the back and actually I caught a couple of small ones on the Bang O Lure.

Maybe just a little late on the hook set?

After an hour with clouds moving in I put on the rain suit and headed up lake to the bank where I was catching them last month.  I figured, if it was going to rain might as well go where I knew the fish were.  And guess what?  They were still there and so was the rain.  What makes this such a good bank is it is flat, shallow, and with the prevailing wind out of the south or SW it usually has a little breeze on it.

It had the perfect amount of wind today, not to mention plenty of shad working on top.  Since I had a black/blue swim jig and craw on I threw that.  On the first pass I caught 3, and missed a couple more.  I could tell I have not been fishing, several of those I would normally catch, and will next time.  With the shad there I re-fished it with a topwater, but the water color up lake is just a little to murky, not that it won’t work, but today they did not want any part of it.

Today’s average size.  Just happy to be fishing.

So I re-fished it again, this time with a bluegill swim jig/watermelon Rage Craw and there was a definite difference.  They would smack it.  I put 4 more in the boat on that pass and was just starting to get my fishing feet back under me when here it came.  It had been drizzling, which is perfect, when there was a crack of lighting with thunder.  So I made a good choice and decided to head down and fish near the ramp just in case, so down lake I went.

When I got close to the ramp cove it cracked again, and that was it for me.  It was raining like crazy and you could hear the thunder in the distance.  So I called the wife and she looked at the radar and then I knew for sure I was done.  To bad it was only a couple of hours, they were biting when I left and it was good to be out there.  It was 8 or 9 in the couple of hours, and with the water temp like it is the fishing could really get good, and I mean quick.

*****************

Speaking of ragging on the boating community, I can not believe some of the “used” boats for sale.  Over the years I have seen the same thing happen with bass boats and fishermen which seems to be taking over the coast, buy more and bigger, but some folks eyes are bigger than their wallet.  Sitting on my butt the last 3 weeks I spent plenty of time looking at boats online, and boy are there some nice used boats.  Used 3 years old, $56,000.  This years used, $65,000!  Has the world gone nuts.  First, somebody actually paid that for a boat to catch fish?  Second, now they bought it and a year later it is for sale, good plan.  Then last, they think you would pay that kind of $$$ for a used boat when for a couple of bucks you can have new.  And payments stretched out to 140 months, for the love of God are you nuts?  I know they are nice boats, but that is flat crazy, especially if you wade!

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I saw something at the ramp that I have never seen before, which trust me is unusual.  There was a nice bass boat backed in on the ramp.  It was hard to figure out what was up.  The boat was almost pointed up in the air and the tires on one side were floating.  The wind had blown the boat sideways and it was crooked but it was not off the trailer. and the guy was struggling.  I asked if he needed help but he said no.  He finally pulled the boat out a little, it was sideways on the trailer sticking almost straight up.  And then it was apparent, he forgot to take the tide downs off one side and the boat floated the dual axle trailer, and with the tie downs on it was impossible to get it off.  And of course the other side sank like a trailer is supposed to do.  This may not make a lot of sense, but the punch line, you can float the trailer pretty easy.

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So we are off and running.  I have been through all the saltwater stuff, new line, cleaning reels and tackle, and am ready to go in that department.  Today it is the freshwater stuff, new line, organize boxes, there is always something to do.  Then some work on the skiff.  A 2 boat owner’s work is never done.  And again to those of you who sent comments and prayers I can not thank you enough.  I will never catch up but my thanks to all of you who kept me company.  But now it is time to get on with it.  So keep stopping in, the fishing is about to begin.  And like I always say and mean, thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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