Coleto Creek Monday 11/8/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Monday so it must be fishing Coleto Creek.  On the radar it looked like a pretty good rain storm went through there early this morning so I did not get in a hurry.  It was 10 am by time I slid the boat off the trailer.   It has been a while since I was there and the first thing I noticed was how far down it is.  But it was cloudy with a light wind and I had a pretty good feeling about things.

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(Thanks for the share Robert.)

Lake Level  Current  95.56   Last Trip  95.78    (The decline continues.)

Buzzbait Bite Beginning

I headed up lake intending to fish it all, buzzbait, senko, swim jig, and topwater.  And before I quit I caught fish on all of them.  Don’t interpret that as I killed them, it was not like that.  Starting with a buzzbait no bites, then a swim jig, one small one.  When I got to an area of wood I pitched the senko as I have been doing and there was obvious fish on wood.  Actually the first one boiled a buzzbait and that started it.

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                                                  A nice average today.

I caught the first good one and 4 or 5 more, losing another really good fish, all on the Senko.  After doing that a while it was time for some serious buzzbait fishing.

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                             The most explosive strikes in a long  time.

The first one absolutely exploded on it.  At that point I cranked up the trolling motor and started covering water.  It was not a bite after bite thing, but the ones who did made about as much noise as a bass can possibly make when it engulfs a buzzbait.  There never was a “place” that was any better than another, but when you found one who wanted it was a thing of beauty.

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    First fall topwater minnow fish.                       One ugly snake!

Before I left up lake I saw this big ass snake swimming the lake.  That is not a regular occurrence on Coleto.  Snakes swimming as a rule have a real short life span.  Down lake I got very few bites but kept after it.  In a small pocket I had “the bite” and flat missed her.  She was one of those Coleto big girls who looked an easy 7+.

One of the patterns that has been so consistent on Coleto in the winter is the minnow bait topwater bite.  As I went past a log and got no response on the buzzbait a quick toss with the minnow bait produced a fish.  That twitching a minnow bait on top has been a pretty consistent pattern for me the last few winters and early spring.  But with the water temp still 83 degrees we have a ways to go for a “winter pattern.”  Besides the big snake the deer were running everywhere,  the Eagle was back, several osprey were harassing it, and I saw my first big bunch of geese.  Nothing like the great outdoors in the fall.  With the front coming, which will cool us off just a little, our fishing has nowhere to go but up.

Considering it was a short midday trip the results were not to bad.  While there were not tons of fish shallow, the good ones are wanting to go shallow and the clouds which should accompany the front will keep the fishing good on the lake.  Gets me thinking about a trip to Fayette.  And the crappie are continuing to tear it up on the lake with lots of slabs making the cleaning table.

Net or Boga?

The last couple of trips, including 3 days with the Austin Boys, I have used a net instead of the Boga Grip because putting fresh fish on the menu was the plan.  Makes sense the net should be better.  I had been using the Boga exclusively for quite a while.  It has shown me that I think for wading I am going back to the Boga.  Several things have led me to that conclusion.  First, I still lose the occasional fish who was in the net and for one reason or another manages to make an escape.  The Boga might be harder to “catch” them with than the net, but once you got them they are not going anywhere.

Using a topwater as much as I do can lead to real hassles with trout or reds thrashing around in the net, finally getting the hooks tangled in the no tangle webbing.  And then twisting the hook in the net next to their face and having to untangle the net from the hook before removing the hook from the fish.  Unhooking a topwater out of the face of a big redfish is a lot easier when they are swinging from the Boga.  And occasionally the net floats around and the stringer gets tangled with the fish swimming around you.  And the final thing the original Boga has going for it is how really well made it is.  Mine is over 10 years old and looks and works like new.  It is actually the best made tool in my fishing arsenal.  So though they are a little pricey, it is worth every dime.  That thing will be working fine when I am a memory.

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And I got this question from Tomcat the river rat.

Hi Doug this it TomCat. The wife wanted to take the 2 granddaughters somewhere during the Thanksgiving Holidays, she ask me where I wanted to go and I told her anywhere just book it! She informed me that we will be going to Fairfied Bay Arkansas for 4 nights Thanksgiving week. Then it hit me (DUH) that you are a former guide from Ark, I thought who else to ask about fishing that lake.
So can you tell me how to enjoy fishing the lake and how to do it. Or you can just come up and show me….LOL
Thanks Doug

TomCat

I will see you before you go but here is a little info on Fairfield Bay.  It is a big resort complex on the north side of Greers Ferry Lake.  It is a beautiful lake, deep and clear, in the mountains in the central part of the state.  It is known for its striper fishing, and has some real monsters, along with some big hybrids, and I mean line stretching big fish.  It also has some huge walleyes, as in up to 15lbs, along with good bass fishing.  The river below the dam is the Little Red River which is home to trout, and if my memory serves me a brown  trout caught there was a world record at over 40lbs by a guy named Rip.  And when he died he was stood up in his casket at his wake dressed in his waders and fishing stuff.  My kind of guy.  That river is always good year round, and there should be several access points where you can fish from the bank.  Or you can save your pennies and hire a guide for a cool float trip.  Trust me you will catch trout, probably lots of them.  The striper fishing that time of year is also very good.  Almost any tackle store in the area can fill you in on that.  I only guided one of my old regulars on it once to catch stripers, but it fishes like all the highland lakes.  Trust me, it is a far cry from your river haunts but a great place to vacation.  Have a good time, wish I could join you!

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And I got this great question from Matt, who actually thought about trout and the river.

I was wondering if they staged outside of the river this time of year waiting on the temps to drop and bring them in. Just thinking in weather like this if they would be stacked on near by reefs outside of the river.

Very interesting thought.  The fish have been making that annual migration for eons.  It is not a conscious thing so the question seems to come down to a pretty simple either/or.  Does the slow spreading of warmer water into the cool bay draw them in, or does that collective memory position them on the reefs waiting for whatever triggers the big move?  That is a question for the biologists.  But I do know one thing, if you are correct there is the proverbial honey hole just waiting to be discovered.  Other than a tracking study, which would help answer the question, the real way to know is go.  I really like it when readers pose interesting questions like this.  It makes us think, and ultimately makes us better fishermen.  Plus, if you are the guy who finds them positioned in big bunches it would be a big deal, and you would get to knock the living snot out of them.  Thanks for the question, feel free to comment anytime.

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(I have not written anything about the election as who you or I like is irrelevant to whether they are hitting topwater or croaker.  This is a fishing blog, but I do have these first, and last, comments on the election.  Sorry.)

It is Election Day and watching all the folks lined up to vote this morning is actually inspiring.  As I write this America is making one of its biggest decisions in decades.  It has been a long crazy campaign, but today it is finally over, thank God.  So I hope you voted, or don’t bitch.  And no matter who wins it is time for our federal government to do SOMETHING on a ton of important issues.  And if they don’t it is time to starting voting them all out regardless of party next go round.  Time for term limits for every government employee, at all levels.  And last, whoever wins, wins.  They will be the President and that is the end of it and the loser needs to get over it.  And if you don’t respect the outcome you might be part of the problem.  Time for the politicians to get back to really running the country.  That is the last politics you will hear from me, I could not resist, it was that pesky 1st Amendment thing.

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It is pouring right now.  We have had a shower or two here and there the last couple of days.  This on the other hand is a real rain. Not sure what the temperature of the rain is but sticking my arm out the garage it is cooler than the bay, river, and lake by a good bit.  The big issue of course is the rivers and creeks.  Will it lead to that ugly cool water that really can have a depressing effect on the trout in the river?  Looking at the radar it will be out of here soon so it shouldn’t do much more than cool the water off some.

There is really only one way to know, hit the river again.  I think a good plan is the suggestion Billy sent us the other day.  Fish topwater, especially in the afternoon on those flatter banks close to the bay.  Putting it in writing makes me want to hitch the boat and head there right now.  I will be fishing several days starting back up tomorrow.  Tough when your biggest decision is back to the bay and wade, hit Fayette, or smack them in the river.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The Austin Boys – Get the fire extinguisher! 11/6/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Normally I try to put up the tides and weather but being gone 3 days and leaving the computer at home I did not get to it.  To sum up the tides, it was high in the early a.m. and the low was midafternoon all 3 days, and we had good moving water most of the day.   The weather was stable and the wind kept in the 15 mph range all 3 days.  And just to list them in case I miss a few we fished the following –  Barroom, Shoalwater, Pringle, Contee Lake, the drain out of Conte, Cedar Lake, and maybe I will think of a few more later.  Since it was 3 days, instead of separate reports I will just do it in this one big ass report.

3 Days of Wacky Fun.

The reason I started calling them the Austin Boys is other than meeting Todd, I met the majority of them all at once.  No way in heck I could remember all their names at once.  I am finally getting the hang of it and have a reasonable idea who is who.  So when Todd called me and asked me to come along I was on board immediately.  It is always a good time.  No whining, no getting pissed off, no bitchin’, just a bunch of guys having a great time in and on the water.  Todd and his boat crew would be down Thursday afternoon, the other bunch would be down late Thursday and we would see them somewhere Friday.

We started Thursday afternoon in Barroom as they were not getting there until after lunch.  Todd, John, other John, and Pete met me at the house and it wasn’t long before we were in the water on the Barroom shoreline.  We dropped folks off and basically kept jumping each other and waded quite a bit of the shoreline.  It was not fast by any means but we caught some nice reds and a few trout.  Plastics were better early and a few fell for topwater as the day waned.

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What a way to end the day.

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Todd’s lean, mean, well lit fishin’ machine comes equipped with plenty of tunes.

Todd’s Shallow Sport is a work horse and carried the 5 of us for the weekend with plenty of room to spare.  We headed to the cleaning table Thursday night to clean fish when a couple of young knuckleheads came up with 2 huge reds in a cooler.  (I can say that, it takes one to know one, when I was their age I was also a knucklehead.  No disrespect intended.)  Fishing the big jetties they had a big bull on the stringer behind the boat when they heard a commotion, saw some floating blood, so they pulled he stringer in.

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Sorry this one came out dark.  Notice anything missing?  There are things in the ocean that can hurt you.

Looks like a big bull shark did the deed.  It looked like a big part of the red was cut off with a knife.  It probably would have made the slot, it would have been an interesting measurement.  They also had one that was really huge, one of the bigger ones I have seen taken here.  I am not sure that they might have had a good experience with a game warden, but it was interesting to see.  We cleaned fish and headed to the house to get ready for a long day on Friday.

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We sacked a few on a short Thursday afternoon wade.

As we headed out at daylight Friday morning the weather was awesome.  We did a quick wade on Barroom sacking maybe one or two, so it was off to Pringle to drift and wade.

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Over the side and off we go.

Let me say this now to let you get a feel for how the whole trip went.  Other than one spot, a drain out of Contee, we caught fish everywhere we went, just never did knock the crap out of them at any one place.  Some people might refer to this as a grind, I like to call it fun.  Todd loves to drift Pringle so we dropped Pete and John off on the east shoreline for a wade and the 3 of us did some drifting.  I was throwing the whiskey/chartreuse Hogie paddle tail when I had a bite.  And when I say a bite it actually slammed my paddle tail.

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The biggest one I have stuck in a while.  And boy am I styling with matching shirt and my Cocoons fit over sunglasses.

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The only way to describe the bite was she smacked the living crap out of it.  Hardest trout bite I have ever had.

She ate right next to the boat, and Todd made a quick net job and in she came.  We did not have a big stick to measure, or a scale, but I could care less.  Like I often say here, it doesn’t matter, it was just  flat big and heavy.  So a few pics and back in she went, no worse for the wear.  Thanks for the tip Chad.

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John with a nice flounder headed for the pan!

We caught fish drifting in Pringle and the boys caught some wading.  We fished some in Contee and then went outside and fished the drain.  A few came over the side in the lake, none at the drain in the bay.  We kept hunting and pecking the rest of the day and finally made our stand where we ended our wade on Blackberry Island.  It was a keeper here and there, keeping the action going.

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My buddy Todd with a nice red.

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I did my small part.  Notice on the last 3 pictures, some of the boys have joined the Wade Right crew and give it nothing but great reviews.

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Pete with a nice 23′ trout as the sun sets. What is better than that?  And look at the rest of Pete’s pictures closely, notice a theme?

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Day 2 catch headed to Fishmass.

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And Ro and the boys put a dirty dog whippin’ on them Friday.

The fishing was consistent and we had a couple of ok stetches of topwater fishing.   Dark plastics with chartreuse paddle tails ruled the day. Everybody caught fish on our last wade when we called it a day at dark.  A good time was had by all and of course there was awesome food, drink, along with a healthy dose of bullsh#t for dinner.  Todd is a heck of a cook, and I don’t remember the name of what he made but it had crawdads, pasta, and a cream sauce to die for.  Everyone burned out early and we were up and at it first thing the next morning.

When we stopped at the station for gas and ice we met up with the other boat that got in late Thursday night.  Ro with 3 other folks whacked them pretty good Friday so we decided to drive down to Charlie’s and put in as we were headed to Shoalwater and Cedar.  The ramp was crowded and it seemed like everybody decided to fish.  We followed them into Shoalwater and they stopped where they caught their reds the day before, so we went down the bank a ways and jumped in.

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                   Following Ro and the rest of the outlaws as dawn breaks.

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Seriously, is there any better way to start the day?

We all had some blow ups on top and before we left Shoalwater we put a few nice reds in the boat and I added a nice trout.  From there it was off to Cedar Lake for some wading.  Todd and I drifted the back end out a few times and while we caught several, they were all small.  The others waded the mouth and they managed to string a few.

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Pete with a keeper flounder.

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Hey!  Wait for me!

Ro and the boys showed up as Todd and I decided to wade the outside.  Everyone spread out and were catching a few in front of the lake.  I had a little drum run and managed to boat 2 out of the 4 I should have caught.

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A little drum hot spot.

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Thanks for the pic Ro.

From there it was back to Shoalwater for a little drifting and wading.  The boys waded and I drifted with Todd.  That day he was throwing popping cork and shrimp and I stayed with plastic.  Plastic really did keep up with the live bait.  It was one of our last drifts in Shoalwater before he started catching more on shrimp than I was on plastics.  Those we caught were all small and we did not add any keepers to the pile.  The boys added 4 more reds and had a couple of doubles wading the shoreline near the mouth of Shoalwater.  Some of that is real soft and is a tough wade, but they stuck it out.  Must have been the high octane fuel they were burning.

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Other John and Pete with a couple.

As LSU was playing Bama that evening we headed in early as Todd is a big LSU fan.  We took the obligatory tourist picture before we cleaned fish.  Ro and the boys also got in and had about the same amount of fish so it was a cleaning extravaganza.

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Other John, John, Pete, and Todd.  End of my 3 days, one more for them.

FIRE!

I had to save this for last.  What is up with the fire extinguisher?  I hope I get the story straight as I was in the water about 25 yards away.  They had moved the boat closer in with the trolling motor when they got out to wade the front of Cedar and left it down, and put down the power pole to hold the boat.  When Pete got back in the boat, all of us were still in the water, when for some reason that big ass trolling motor started running on wide freakin’ open high!  And what made it more amazing, picture this, the Power Pole is still down and the trolling motor is screaming wide open, causing the boat to twirl around the Power Pole like a tether ball.  Now this all happens in seconds.  Pete kept his head and I think he got the Power Pole up, or it dragged lose, the boat takes off and the trolling motor plug begins to smoke like crazy.  So he grabs the plug and attempts to unplug it and the whole thing, plug and the receptacle, pop out of the floor and start on fire!  I mean flames.  I have a drum on the line and can not get to my camera – Rats!  Pete grabs the fire extinguisher and puts out the boat.

That was just crazy, really.  I hate to laugh, again, but come on man, that is funny stuff.  Sorry Todd.  It could have been a lot worse thanks to Pete’s quick thinking.  It could have happened while we were running, the boat could have caught on fire, or it even could have happened when nobody was in the boat and we would have watched it scream off into the bay as it started to burn.  It is good to be lucky, but better to have your safety equipment in good working order.  It is a reminder, next time you are in your boat look at your fire extinguisher, I just checked mine in both boats, you might be next.

I know I have forgotten some things but you get the point.  Fishing with them is so much fun.  Good conversation, good drinks, good eats, all a big part of the Austin Boys POC fishing trips.  They make it a few times a year and I consider myself lucky to get the invite.  They are already making the December plans as I write this and everyone is getting excited just talking about it.

Heard from Todd this evening and the fishing was tough for him and the boys today.  There was some sketchy weather that ended up keeping them close.  It wouldn’t be a multiple day fishing trip without the occasional slow day.  It often comes with trips like this no matter where you fish, but it all evens out in the end.  It takes a lot more than the occasional slow day and boat fire to keep a good man down!

So another great day of fishcatchingtravel.  If the Great Spirit decides I am worthy of a few more days may they all be as fun as the last 3.  We only get one run at this life and spending it outdoors with good friends will lengthen our days on this earth.  So take a kid, the neighbor, a total stranger, but take someone and expose them to our great sport.  We are lucky to live where we do and fish where we fish.  And no words are sweeter as the sun rises than one of the Austin Boys hollering – FISH ON!  Thanks for including me.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Fall Fishing Is On! 11/6/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Sunday, and I got back last night from 3 days of fishing with the Austin Boys, and as usual it was a great time.  But before I get to that I wanted to take care of this stuff which has been sitting around waiting for me to catch up.  So enjoy and there will be another report coming as soon as I can get it done.  Hopefully it will be right after the Cowboys beat the snot out of the worst team in pro football, the Browns.

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Chad the Mad Trout fisherman continues to tear them up, and he got to fish with someone special this week.

Me and pops at 72yr old.  He is a wading soldier!

img_1235That is Pops on the right.  Be sure to tell him I am 63 and hearing how he can still hang with the boys gives me hope.  And looks like he has some mad fishing skills to go along with it.  If I am still wading at 72 it will be a blessing!

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Chad with a good one.

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You just keep laying the smack down on them!

Looks like a great time with your Pops.  And one last note – Thanks for the little tip, I boated my biggest trout in a year a couple of days ago, the report with pictures will be up later today.  He showed us the bait and gave us a pretty good idea on depth, so listen to him.  The proof is in eating!

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I got this comment from Matt, lets see if I can answer some of it coherently.

I’m interested in your Lavaca River Research. Since you have way more time that I do to fish, I have more questions. Maybe you can shed some light on them.

First, I’ll tell you that I know there are some fish in the river all year, unless blown out by fresh water. I know there are trout in the surrounding lakes and marshes in the warm months.

Questions:

Are the winter fish the local fish from the marshes that fall into the river during cold weather and low water levels? or do fish from the open bay move into the river also?

Is it driven by water level or temp or both?

If the open water fish move into the bay, do they stage outside the river like bass in pre-spawn?

I’m sure I can think of many more questions, but that’s all for now.

Love the questions and lets see how close I can come with an uneducated guess.  First I think that any trout, whether it is a resident from a marsh/creek, or from the open bay, will migrate into the river as the shallow water temperature drops.  Obviously the bay water being as shallow as it is will drop like a rock and stay there much quicker than the river.  And as the river flows into the bay trout, reds, and the bait that feel the effect will all seek that warmer water in the winter.  The BP docks is a perfect example of that phenomenon.  When the Lavaca is in full swing in the late fall/early winter it seems impossible to think that it is only fish out of the marshes/creeks that are there, there are just to many fish for that in the river.  Water level probably does not have much to do with it in and of itself, smaller creeks on the coast have the same thing happen, unless it is an influx of fresh water and that obviously will drive them out if it is too invasive.   As far as spawning, since trout seem to spawn from as early as maybe April, to as late as November, I don’t think you have a classic staging like bass do in pre-spawn where they are fairly easy to pattern.  I just think it is completely different.  Thanks for your question and if any of you want to chime in please do.  And Colby S, got an opinion?

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This question from Richard was easy to answer.  I like those kind.

Never fished Lavaca River, but its on my list of things to do.
Did you launch at Port Comfort and go up Lavaca towards Swan Lake or by another launch? Enjoy your stories of fishing. Thanks

I launch on County Road 616, though you can come from Port Comfort, or even from a launch ramp called 6 mile on Park Road off of FM 1090 out of Port Lavaca.  You can also get to 1090 off of US 87, it all depends on which is closer for you.  For me it is 616.  So thanks for an easy question.

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And since our quick trip to the Lavaca Billy sent along this suggestion.

In regards to the river. If the fish are in there like you say and the water temperature being what it is, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to fish some of the shallower banks and flats in the Swan Lake area and further down with a top water.

That is absolutely a great idea.  Of course in Billy’s case he picks up that topwater and throws it through thick and thin.  Probably the only guy who fishes with the Blacks on Baffin and won’t put down his white Skitter Walk no matter what.  So I will take that suggestion and run with it, probably as soon as Tuesday!  Thanks for keeping in touch.

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And on the subject of the new waders.

Congrats on the wader purchase. You’ll put them to the test and I’m looking forward to hearing how they work out for you.

Take care!

Hal

They worked just fine.  Of course I managed to get in over the top of them so they are broken in perfect!  And the boots are the bomb.  Comfortable and light, they were a pleasure to wear all day.  And the best way to measure that?  I did not notice I was wearing them.  It will be interesting to see how they hold up to hard wear, which starts now.  They will be put to the test over the next couple of months.  I have been known to tear up an anvil, so lets see how it goes.  Good to hear from you and thanks for reading.

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Just a couple of quick football comments.  My Hogs totally dominated #11 Florida and are back on the winning track.  Of course the Cowboys continue to amaze.  And when I saw that A&M was rated as high as 4th in the BCS poll I almost spit out my coffee.  Yesterday they went from real contenders to big time pretenders.  Sometimes I think there is what I have referred to as the Manzell hangover. (Pun intended.)  Welcome to the SEC.  Seemed so easy then didn’t it?  Well trust me, Arkansas has NEVER won the SEC, so I know from where I speak.  Easy to win a few, hard to win them all.  So welcome to mid pack, you have a ways to go.  Every week is a minefield, and the west always goes through LSU and Alabama.

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I really love hearing from all of you.  There are no stupid questions or comments, though a few of my answers might qualify.  So keep them coming.  If any of you put a big buck on the ground this week send me a comment and I will tell you how to get a pic to me.  I love meat on the hoof.  And next a big trout, a boat fire, and a few cold ones, all on a wacky good trip with the Austin Boys.  There will be the full report coming later today containing the ugly truth.  And there is definitely more fishing to come this week.  So many choices, so little time.  The fishing is in full swing and I am going to take advantage of it while I can.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Lavaca River 11/2/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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CUBS WIN!  CUBS WIN!  CUBS WIN!

The Lavaca River.  Is It Time Yet?

This was strictly a go to the river and see if they are biting.  Since I start 3 days of hard core fishing tomorrow this was a quick trip.  I did not look at the weather, tides, or Solunar times.  I did not even hit the water until 10am.  It did not matter a bit as this trip was simply an exploratory trip.  I know the river well enough that it would take just a minute to find out if they were there and biting.  The thing I am interested in right now is trying to figure out the relationship water temperature and baitfish have on putting the trout in the rivers.  In other words, what brings the trout into the river like they do for a few months.

When I got to the ramp it was about 10am and the tide was way up.  The color of the river is not to bad, basically a copper color, and the water temp was 78.5.  Down the river I went and stopped a little past the power lines and started fishing.  I kept leap frogging down river and had maybe one bite the first few places.  But with the amount of bait in the river I knew it would not be long.   As I got closer to the Swan Lake area the bites started.

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The first of 3 headed for the fry pan.

On one stretch of bank I put 3 trout in the boat from 16″ – 18″, the exact supper I was ordered to produce by the boss.  I also caught the small red and black drum in the picture below on the same bank.  There was considerable bait activity, and I saw several mullet being chased.  And when I cleaned the bigger one at the house no wonder he felt heavy for his length, it must have been that 10″ mullet in his stomach.

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                 Little but the right flavors.  It won’t be long on the river.

Once I had supper  in the box I started hitting different areas back up river.  In several places I got lots of bites, but they were small.  I probably caught about 10 of those shorts.  The further up river, the less the bites.  After 3 hours of fishing I hit the road to get stuff ready for tomorrow’s POC extravaganza.

So here is my theory and I am sticking with it.  The water temp is obviously relevant, it was 78.5 (Which is about the temp of the bay.) in most places.  Not a big enough differential to drive those fish into the river.  So I think the bait and water temp work together.  There is plenty of bait in the river and the fish are coming in, but for the big influx we still need the cold weather.  It will take those really cool nights to drive the trout and bait out of the bay and all the way up the river.  But they are coming.

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Chad is on a real run folks, and he tells you how to get it done.  About the only other thing he can do besides sharing his reports is take you by the hand and cast for you.  So take his reports and make them work for you.

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Are you freakin’ kidding me!

Matagorda island smack down! The catching is great throwing whiskey/ chart. Fishing chest deepwater for trout. Tight to the shoreline for reds. I found doug’s school of reds today. We hooked reds till our arms were sore. Not to brag but over 16 keeper reds for me today, with some heavy weight trout to 23″. The wind was blowing strait down the shoreline. Best results were throwing crosswind at a 45 degree angle towards the shorline. Holding the rod down horizontal with the water produced more bites, than a conventional tip high in the sky retrieve. Maybe i had the hot stick today or stratigies and patterns prove to be me being lucky. Throwing the 1/8 ounce jig head with a med to slow retrieve. With the low clouds and se wind should of threw the topwater. But i was hooked up from the first cast. The picture im sending dont the catching justice. I am pre fishing for some of pops friends from dallas coming in wed evening for 3 days of fishing. Hope the weather holds out for them. Hope you get with the austin crew this weekend. Thanks and good luck folks

First, luck is a part of it, but as you know, a small part.  And it ain’t braggin’ if it is fact.  As they say in real estate location, location, location.  And as with all fishing the more you fish the luckier you get.  It is all about putting it together, and you sure have that going on right now.  So while there might be a certain amount of “luck” involved, results like you have been having dispute that, you clearly have a pattern that you are exploiting, no luck there. That same day I hooked up on topwater immediately, and ended up fishing it way to long, but it is all about fish on the end of the line, no matter how they end up on the stinger.  Our bunch starts Thursday afternoon and fishes until Sunday and with any luck, and good bank selection, hopefully we can sack a few.  It looks like the weather is going to deteriorate just a little Thursday, but actually it looks pretty good for the rest of the weekend.  So thanks for you continued reports.

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I finally bought some “real” waders and wading boots.  Looking back on the last 5 years that I have been wading, it actually costs about the same to buy good as it has to buy 3 sets which all ended up leaking, usually after as little as a year or so.  So the real question to be determined, how long will these Simms last without leaking?  Not only is it a matter of cost, or return on investment, it is just a hassle thing.  In other words, how long before I finally feel that telltale wet feeling in my boots?  Only time will tell.

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So a fun little trip to the river.  The fish are on the way and you can set your calendar to the good bite.  2 cold nights and it will be on.  You can still scratch a few out right now, but it is not quite on yet.  Tomorrow starts the 3 day extravaganza with the Austin Boys.  So this is probably the last you will hear from me for a couple of days.  These guys are not lightweights, they fish dawn to dusk.  So add a couple of adult beverages to the day and there is zero chance I will get anything written before I get back on Sunday.  I know one thing right now, the fishing is good, and can be real good.  And if you have anything to share or comment on, send it our way, we love to hear from you.  So keep stopping in and thank for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC and a Little Rain 10/31/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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When I initially started working on this report for tomorrow I still had not made a decision between hitting the Lavaca River or Fayette County.  Now that I have read the weather and tidal forecast for tomorrow I have changed my mind.  I think one more trip to POC before the weekend trip with the boys is in order.  Think I will do a little looking at the map before I make my decision on where to start in the morning.  It will be interesting to see whether reality matches forecast.

Weather

86/67  Partly cloudy.  Wind E 10 – 15   20% Chance of rain.

Tides

High Tide 2:19 am  +1.3     Low Tide   12:33 pm   -0.7     A high tidal coefficient with a 3 fish high activity day forecast.  Major  1:58 – 3:58 pm  (Very high activity.)  Minor  8:18 – 9:18  (Very high activity).  Note:  I only included those periods where I would be fishing.

Some Rain and Some Reds

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A freakin” awesome day to be on the water.

On the way to POC this morning I could see a cloud bank offshore and it looked like it was headed on shore.  When I got to Froggie’s the tide was still way up on the fingers at the ramp.  So it looked like I might hit the fall, and it worked out that way.

Initially I was headed out to the island, but when I rounded Mitchell’s Cut the wind was not blowing straight out of the east but actually towards the island at 15 mph.  So I made a good decision, I changed plans.  Last time when conditions were exactly like this I turned around and headed to the Barroom Bay shoreline and the fish were there.  Today the wind was blowing on that bank just enough to make a good riffle and the water was way up in the grass.

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A little fuzzy but a good start.

So I jumped out in a foot of water and started throwing the white One Knocker.  The redfish were active, and were blowing up on the One Knocker.  They were not right in the grass, or out in 3 foot of water.  The best cast was downwind in knee deep water.  Both nice reds and rats were biting and it was a pretty consistent bite.  Scattered in was the occasional trout.

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                           They were eating that One Knocker up!

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Best trout for the morning, but it wasn’t their fault.

I caught several trout, most borderline and a few keepers when I had my first of 2 dang it moments.  One blew up on it and the fight was on.  It was a heavy fish and I took it easy, drag nice and loose after all the redfish bites.   Then it rolled over about 15 feet from me and it was the biggest trout I have seen in a good while.  It thrashed and rolled and then the line just parted.  I just put new 15lb line on last night, it must have got wrapped and cut on the gill plate.  To bad, it was a whooper.

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                                 Several of these on topwater and plastic.

I jumped in the water at daylight and the bite held up until about noon.  The water was falling and the fish kept cooperating on both plastic and topwater.  I actually made 3 moves down that long bank, and never did have to get all that far from the boat.  At one point I looked up and here it came, a huge wake with water foaming.  It was far enough away I got a couple of pictures as it worked straight towards me.

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Here they come!  I know better!

I was hoping it was the first big red school of the fall headed my way like a freight train.  So I waited and waited, and then my ass over rode my brain.  At the last minute I saw the sickle tails, and cast anyway.  It was a school of those big jacks, and one just came up behind my Skitter Walk and engulfed it.  Nice job Doug.  So now I am hooked up to a 25lb jack and line is peeling off the reel, and peeling, and peeling.  So as the spool emptied I finally thumbed it, and pop.  Gone.  If it was not for the Skitter Walk that was fine, it was going to be a long fight.   But that was the second white topwater I lost this morning, both on big fish.

That happened right before a heavy black cloud started bearing down on me.  (See picture above.)   Now it had rained on me a little before, and I had my raincoat, but this thing looked a little sketchy.  So I called it a day and headed back to the ramp.  That turned out to be a good choice as it started raining as I left POC and rained all the way back to Victoria.  It was really a fun morning.  Anytime I can throw topwater the whole time I am a happy camper.  The bite was consistent and it was nice to fish without sweating like a stuck hog.

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And on the subject of my wader dilemma I got this comment from Hal.

I read your posts weekly and really appreciate all you do for those of us that live vicariously through you as we sit at our boring desks slaving away.
I’ve seen you mention putting off the purchase of some Simms waders. I’m 44 and have spent most of my life living very practical. My old man taught me to not overdue it and to save my nickels.  He was frugal, conservative and humble. I lost my old man back in 2009 to pancreatic cancer. He was 69 when he passed. He was my best friend and taught me every thing I know about hunting and fishing. He took me to POC 28 years ago. I was 16.  There’s been an empty spot in my boat since 2009.  My dad had all he needed to hunt and fish. However, I often wonder if he would have done things different and maybe spent a little extra or splurged on an rod, reel, gun, scope or pair of waders had he known how it was all going to end up.
With all that being said, I bought my wife and I some Simms waders and wade jackets last year at Sportsman’s Finest in Austin. They are a good Texas owned business and I think you have family in Austin or you guys get to Lake Travis every once in a while. They were really nice and helpful to us. We may use them once a year at most, but by gosh I won’t regret not having them when we do. Go buy those damn Simms waders. As you well know, there are no guarantees in this journey other than death and taxes. You deserve them and you’ll make good use of them. If I need to call the boss lady, let me know her number and I’ll call her.
I apologize for the unsolicited advice. I’m a fellow lawyer and couldn’t help not advising a fellow brother. LOL!!
Keep the post coming. We love them.
Hal
First thanks for reading.  Funny but you do not have to call the Boss, she has basically been saying the same thing, just buy them and get over it.  It is just a little daunting when the ones I am looking at are $800,  3 times as much as my first car, it seems so self-indulgent.  But when it all comes down to it, there is no guarantee in life which was very instrumental in my decision to retire early as we only get one run at this and I wanted to spend it with a rod in my hand.  And I appreciate your telling us about your dad, sounds like he was a great guy and fishing buddy.  And he and I seem to have shared a similar outlook on money.  I am often guilty of saying if a $30 reel will do it why spend more.  In the final analysis Simms have a great warranty and service, and maybe, just maybe, they won’t leak.  And no problem with the unsolicited advice, we can’t help it, it’s what we do, or in my (happy) case, did.  Thus ends the great wader debate, time to go shopping.
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And of course Chad the Mad Trout Fisherman is still tearing them a new one.
Fishing Matagorda Island chest deep with Hogies whisky/ Chartreuse.
chad
Now that is a string of fish.
If you have been keeping up with his reports one thing has become really clear, he is standing chest deep and throwing out.  That is all you need to know about that, it is simply a matter of applying it to where you fish.  So thanks for keeping us updated, nice mess.
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It really looks like the trip this weekend is shaping up to have real possibilities.  I am fishing 3 days with them, and they are going to fish the 4th day.  The fishing is good, so even if they bring a small front, which it looks like we might have coming up, fishing should be good.  And these boys fish daylight to dark and always manage to sack a bunch.  I will be on the water once more before they get here, still want to make a quick trip to the Lavaca River and see if it is time.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.
Good Luck and Tight Lines
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Reader Thoughts and Comments 10/29/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Reader Day

Just catching up on a few comments and wanted to share Chad’s latest report with you.  There is definitely something to take away from it, and that would be “Low and Slow”.

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Chad has been back at it on Keller Bay and sent us this report from Thursday.

A trip to kellars with unfavorable conditions!a cool breeze and a slow bite today for me and my partner. It was one of those high preassure days the reds we sight casted too would follow but not eat. The good trout were out deep real deep, 51/2 ft and a slow row on the bottom was best retrieve. We fished till 1:00 pm today scratched out 10 good trout 18″-19″ 221/2″ was big trout for the day. One 24″ red and a rare 24″ spanish mackeral for kellars. Bite had no consistancy as far as a time period not much water moved and the bait was tight to the shoreline or was out deep. As my friend would say the fishing was great! The catching a little slow for my liking. High preassure days are always a tough bite for me. With the end of flounder gig season coming im gonna try to gig a few over the weekend. Maybe put some venison on the ground with my son or daughter. Did not see many ducks buzzing this morning, but lots of brushed blinds so next weeks opner ought to be a mad house at the ramp. I will be at a basball tourney for my son in collage station so who cares. Seems the fish are transitioning over last few trips to mud bottom. Which means cold weather is coming. Thanks chad

There is a lot of good information here we can all use.  Tough conditions like now, north wind and mile high sky  –  Slow down and fish deeper.  It is often not any more complicated than that.  Interesting that you find the trout moving to the mud in advance of the cold weather.  Kind of like the old question, the chicken or the egg, or cart before the horse.  It will be interesting to hear reports from Pringle this weekend.  And since I will be checking out the Lavaca River this week just maybe the trout will be there.  I always wondered if it was the cold temps dropping shallow bay water that moved them there, or does the bait move in there first and the fish follow.  And we all love fall, so much to do and so little time.  Hope your kids put one on the ground.  Thanks for the report and keep them coming.

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And I heard from the Fayette guru.

Small world moment, even though I grew up in Victoria and went to Texas A&M, I also lived in western Illinois for 10 years near Mt. Carroll ,Il and owned a lake front property on Lake Carroll allowing me to spend a lot of time fishing there. Which is just south of Stockton, Il. Fayette is still hot!! Go Cubbies
Tight lines,
Rusty

Smaller even than you thought, my dad graduated from Stockton High School and I spent lots of summers on my grandparents farm in Morseville, a small town just south of Stockton.  Many of our people are still in the area.  (Hey Tonya.)  Drove thought Mt. Carroll untold times over the years.  Actually killed a few pheasants right outside of Mt. Carroll on a friend’s farm.  And I am just waiting for the first bad weather day  (Monday?) and I will be on Fayette.  Good to hear from you as usual.  GO CUBS!

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And I got this rather involved comment and question from Glen so let us see if I can answer it with something that makes sense.

Good Morning Doug,

I follow your blog daily because I fish out of POC and I like to get your updates. Unfortunately I am still part of the working class and live in the Austin area so I don’t get to fish at the coast as often as I would like.

I hope you get this message in time to respond but I wanted to pick your brain. I am going down to POC this weekend and will be taking my girlfriend for the first time. She admittedly enjoys “catching” much more than “fishing” but in truth she doesn’t give herself as much credit as she should on that. I took her bass fishing and although we caught a few it definitely wasn’t a “great” day of catching but she really enjoyed it nonetheless.

Since I only get to fish three or four times a year I usually pack a live well full of those golden nuggets (croakers) during the summer and wade fish. In other words, I don’t fish with artificial baits nearly as much as I would prefer because my trips are limited and when I do go I want to use what I have the most confidence in. I’m usually fairly successful using that method. I usually fish the Pringle shoreline (bay side) a few hundred yards north of the Army hole but I will also hit Grass Island and Bayucos.

Ok, to the question. What do you think would be my best bet on getting my girlfriend “hooked” on going to the bay fishing with me more often? In other words, what is my best bet of doing some “catching” this weekend (million dollar question isn’t it)? I have finally convinced her that Jaws will not eat her legs if she gets out of the boat to wade with me but I’m not sure if that is best. Should I drift Pringle and put a live shrimp under a popping cork for her or do you think we would have some success throwing top waters wading the Army hole flats? Or would drifting the point of Grass Island be better?

To be honest Doug, I think she will get “hooked” being on the water enjoying a nice cup of coffee as the sun comes up in all it’s glory – but catching a few fish on top of that sure wouldn’t be a bad insurance policy. I doubt she will be all that concerned with catching any keepers but that sure would be icing on the cake – especially if she could hook into a nice size redfish.

Any advice you could give sure would be appreciated. Keep up the great work on your blog…I really enjoy your articles.

Glenn

Where to start.  The choice of croakers when you only get to fish sporadically here is a smart choice.  It is all about putting them in the boat.  And you actually answered your own question.  Probably drifting Pringle throwing popping cork and shrimp is about as sure a thing as there is right now.  The fish are there and it also gives her a great chance to catch one and get “hooked”.  And the other places you mentioned are good places right now.  In a perfect world you can get her in the water at daylight for some topwater, it will only take one flush from a big red to get her hooked.  It has worked for most folks and it sure got me started on the salt.  Though in my case it was a snook.  I am not comparing your girlfriend to a kid, but it is the same principal, get them catching fish before moving on to other more difficult pursuits.  So good luck this weekend and we will be looking forward to hearing how it goes.  Any girlfriend who likes to fish is already half way there in my opinion.  Thanks for the comment, I appreciate each and every one.

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And the crappie are still biting like crazy on Coleto with minnows around the deeper trees.  The cleaning table had a bunch of carcasses in the trash can, and they were good ones.  Not sure why the Dam Store was not open when I went by today, so if you are thinking about catching some on minnows be sure to check the day before or you might be out of luck.  It is for sale so who knows what the deal is.

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That is about the size of it this morning.  Today I may run down to Goliad and check out the Texas Mile.  If you are not familiar it is a one mile peddle to the floor flat out run to see just how fast it will go.  From motorcycles to Ferrari, they all are there trying to run the fastest mile in their class.  On the fishing front I hope to get a couple of reports from folks who are fishing POC this weekend.  And I finally got my trolling motor back on the Mako so I am ready to go for the trip coming this weekend.  If I can get this leaky wader thing resolved it will sure help.  Still holding out from buying the Simms as long as possible.  I will be out there at least once, not counting a trip to the Lavaca River, in anticipation of the boys being here next weekend.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 10/27/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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To get over my fishing frustration, tomorrow will be a bass fishing trip.  With the lake coming down, and high sky with a north wind, it might not be the best conditions, but I need to put yesterday behind me.  No better way than sacking a few largemouth.

Weather

88/60  Sunny skies.  Wind NE 10 – 15  10% chance of rain.  (Wind S after noon.)

Lake Levels

Last trip    95.96 msl      Current   95.78 msl     (A slow steady decline.)

Solunar Periods

  • Best       8:46A – 10:46A  (Yep)
  •                9:07P – 11:07P
  • Good     2:35A – 4:35A

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To all my deer hunting buddies, Good Luck!

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Swim Jig Mania

Today the plan was simple, head up lake and throw the swim jig, and then throw it some more.  And I actually stayed with the plan.  I did not even get up this morning, in fact I got back in bed.  So it was almost 9 by time I got to the lake.  It is still dropping, and if we don’t get some rain it might be another low winter.  So up the lake I went.

Starting with a bluegill swim jig and watermelon red Rage Craw proved the best choice.  It was one of those days where the bites were few and far between, but by keeping it in the water the bites kept coming steadily until shortly before I quit at 3.  Probably half of them came off wood or some other form of cover.  Most when I reeled it by and then gave it a hop.  A couple of those smacked the crap out of it.

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                                            A good mess of this size today.

They have moved off the real shallow stuff and are on more of the transition type banks where they flatten out from deep water.  About 11 a fish ate my pincers off the Rage Craw, and the spares were safely on a peg in my tackle room.  Nice.  So I switched to a Big Bite flapping type craw and the bit it about the same as the other trailer.  I also threw a white with a white swim bait trailer and caught a few, but the darker one was clearly the better choice.

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This is how you get over a poor performance the other day!

I only threw the buzzbait a minute or two, and actually lost one bigger than the one above out of a log.  When I gave it a little hop right past the log he smoked it but I could not catch up to him.  He was coming right at the boat trying to jump and I wouldn’t let him, but did not get the hook set and it jumped off at the boat.  Cover around transition areas had a pretty high likelihood of having a fish on it.

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Set hook, break rod in half (#3 this year), jerk nice fish in boat, throw rod in trash.  We are having fun now.

The one above came out of 2 foot and really ate the swim jig, probably headed the other way, and I gave it the old heave ho and snapped my rod right in half.  It really does happen to me several times a year, and it is crazy when it does.  I was throwing 12lb fluorocarbon on a medium rod with my drag set to slip some, and it still happened.  One thing I have noticed over the years, it invariably happens when I jerk without thinking about it, pure reaction.  Good thing I am a good rod shopper.

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Last bite around 3 in the afternoon.

I liked the average today.  Even though 3 or 4 nice fish managed to jump off, it was a good day of swim jig fishing.  Not sure how many I caught, but it was steady enough to keep me going, and not all that bad for a late start.  I know I keep saying it, but if it will cool off some the fishing should really take off at the lake.  (I really do not have to worry we won’t have a norther of some sort this month.  The Boys from Austin being down twice in a month, will surely bring one.)  And it was nice to fish like I can, instead of the way I fished Tuesday.  So back on the up stroke in the fishing game.

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And this comment from Jim is driving me nuts.

Doug,
Sorry to hear about your woes down at POC. Maybe it’s tied to the Cubs, lol! You should have gone to Fayette. I fished there Tuesday with my good friend Big Ken. I guess I really need to get a new nickname for him since he has lost 150lbs. We mopped them up. Got on the water 25 minutes late at 7:30am due to “heavy fog”. Didn’t we just talk about fog? Anyways we boated 35-40 fish. The fish were eating everywhere we threw We caught them shallow and deep. On Carolina Rigs, swim jigs, paddle tails and shaky heads. We fished timber, the dam, the hot water discharge and the reeds. Water is still on the way down and running about 83. One thing I noticed this time was that the water clarity was very good everywhere. The best I have seen in a long time. I know you have been wanting to hit Fayette so I thought I would put some fuel in your fire. Hope to see you there soon. Tight lines!

That is the very fishing that makes Fayette what it is.  Good solid fish, and if it is in the stars, bite after bite.  I have fished some pretty good places over the years, including Falcon and Amistad when they was scary good, but when Fayette is on there is no, and I mean no, better place to bass fish.  It is now just a function of the weather.  The first drizzling day I will be there at daylight.  So thanks for the report, sounds like you and your buddy had a great trip.

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I want to thank a couple of folks for sending me some suggestions on where to get my trolling motor fixed.  Hopefully I won’t need it, they were working on it today.  With any luck that problem will be resolved before what looks like a month of some serious bay fishing.  I would hate to think how many of those dang things I have bought over the years, but it is a bunch.

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Not sure what, or where, is next.  I just might head out to the Lavaca River in the morning and see if the trout are there yet.  That is right around the corner but we probably need a little more cold weather.  Even if that doesn’t get done tomorrow it will be in the next few days.  The boys from Austin, who are coming in a week, like to stop there on the way to POC and get in a quick afternoon trip after driving down so it will save them from trying it if the fish are not there yet.  And of course some revenge on the trout and reds is in order somewhere.

On a side note both my waders have a leak, and I tried the summer pair out the other day and the fix did not work.  Will try the winter waders next and see if that fix worked.  I am struggling to not just shell out the big bucks and get some Simms.  Guess with the amount of time I end up in the bay they would be worth it.

And I really like the stuff you all have been sending me.  It keeps me writing and everyone likes seeing your comments and reports.  I know there are lots of you out there who have never commented, but give it a go some time.  Reports, bitches, rants, pictures, we don’t care, send it along.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 10/25/16.

by Redfishlaw

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I was initially going to POC today, (Monday) but the Boss and I decided to get some chores done as she is headed back to work for a week stretch.  I on the other hand I am headed to the water.  Just not fair is it?  So tomorrow it is waist deep with my Wade Right at POC for a wading extravaganza.  It looks to be one of those fairly flat high water days so we shall see how the fishing goes.

Weather

86/62  Intervals clouds and sun.  20% chance rain.  Wind ESE  11 -15

Tides

High  4:47am     Low   7:47pm  The tidal velocity is low today and the only real period of activity is somewhere around 10 -12am.

Port O’Connor Texas

I was so irritated when I got home that I could not even think about posting.  We all have those days on occasion, where we fish poorly, and today I take all the credit.  I was at the wrong place at the right time, the right place at the wrong time, and even the wrong place at the wrong time.  Man yesterday is still sticking in my craw this morning,  One thing about a fishing blog, you don’t get to ignore the days that suck, it just comes with the territory.  So here it is in all it’s glory.

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It was one beautiful morning.

It seemed perfect when I first jumped over the side this morning.  A fairly light breeze was rippling the surface when I got out on the island.  The tide was not moving but started shortly after I began fishing.  To make a long story short look at the pictures below, the only ones I am posting today.  Nothing says it better than these 2.

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                                       Are you freakin’ kidding me!

I am going to make this one short and sweet.  I made 4 wades, caught as few as 2 in one spot, and as many as 10 in another.  The punch line, 3 trout were keepers, if you stretched two of them, the biggest was 17″ and there was not one red worth a hoot.  So looking back at it my questions is, why?

Hell if I know.  Soon after starting the tide began to move out.  But it was really evident it was a low velocity day.  The water just “easing” down.  As it came out of the drain it did not even create a visual riffle around the points.  The wind began picking up and was actually blowing the grass back against the weak tide.   The first place, near Army Hole, had fish on it, and I did catch fish, but mostly small.  I kind of got a sign on how things would go when I had 3 really nice trout blow up on it, and I missed all 3.  That was the last big “chance” of the morning.  Whether topwater or plastics, I just did not make the best choices.  From there I hit 2 more drains down the island, one out of Conte and one we call the Bikini Cut.   I finished up on a drain in Barroom, where I caught 3 more small ones.

The tide was high, and again it was one of those “high” lows were the water did not really move.  You could tell it was going out, but there was not the bait activity that has been prevalent the last month.  So when it comes down to it, it was all on me.  I did not adapt.  So that is all I am going to say about my day.  It sucked!  The only redeeming thing to it, it will be about impossible to fish any more poorly.  I will get over it on my next trip by catching some fish, but it still pisses me off thinking about it this morning.  I guess what is irritating is my expectations were high based on the last few trips.  How bad am I whining?   My wife just walked by and told me it is time to move on dear.  She is right.

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On a better note it was good to hear from Joe Bass, who is suffering through a week of fishing on Travis.

GO CUBS GO !!! Don’t think i ever mentioned it. I’m from Chicago, born and raised.

I’m on Travis for a week slaying the bass, thumb is wore out from 3 days of fishing. Got 4 more to do. How do i get some pictures to you?  (We figured it out.)

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Also need to comment about people with different boats. I have to laugh at the people that need the latest and greatest 60k boat. Trade it out every few years. It doesn’t matter to me what another person owns. We are all on the water.

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Met 2 guys in a beat up aluminum boat, 2 guys in Kayaks today. Nicest people ever. Then had a jackass today blow past me (new boat) on the left within a good cast, scared the crap out of me. I was about to turn left and if I did would have been speared by the jackass. I then took my turn into the cove, and then watched the guy also take the turn but i beat him into it.

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(This additional comment came with the pictures.)  Travis was on fire today. I took 25 pictures with flip phone. Forgot the camera again.  Fish 22 was 3.9lb 20in blew up on the top water. Picture enclosed. I could send all 25 but when you see one Bass you seen them all. LOL  Had over 35 total. 4 or 5 of them I didn’t take pictures. Had some that came off before i got to boat. Catch and release, afraid of a picture etc….whatever excuse i can use.  Set the hook on one bass with spinner ait band came back with only the blades. Then used the blades when they came off another spinner.

Joe

Man I love me some spinnerbaiting when they are eating it like that!  Travis is on my list early spring this year, I did not get to fish my one trip there, but after spending some time on the water I am looking forward to that early pre-spawn trip.  And there is just something satisfying getting the “last word” on some rear end, though it is a little out of my “Be Nice” philosophy.  I have almost been hit twice coming in to POC through the Barroom channel when turning left into Barroom.  Most folks do not know the rules of the road while on the water.  It might be hard for their uneducated brain to understand the concept that the overtaking vessel is the burdened vessel and anyone you are passing has the right of way.  In other words, some fool runs up on your ass and passes real close, you take a sharp left or right turn, and they slam into you, they are at fault.  But as we all know, and might have experienced ourselves, these is just something about a new boat that seems to temporarily overrules good sense.   It happens.

All my people are from the Stockton Illinois area west of Freeport, and are dyed in the wool Cub fans.  My dad, his dad, and the rest of the family, minus a few of those deranged and confused stinkin’ Cardinal fans who somehow were born with defective DNA, live and die with the Cubbies.  And so are all my wife’s people, true blue Cubbie fans.  So I will be watching, and trying to get over that Cub fan mind set that we are going to lose it somehow.  But hope springs eternal, it is finally “Next Year”!  Thanks for the report.

(Note – We dropped Game 1 but get another chance to square it up tonight.  They have moved the game to 5pm our time due to a rainy forecast, so with a little luck they can get the game in.  The difference with this bunch is it is nice to know that result can change with one swing of the bat.)

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There was a team tourney on Coleto Saturday that took 17lbs to win, a little low for Coleto, but do-able.  I would have fished but the trolling motor from the Mako is in the shop.  My complaint?  It has been there 3 weeks now and it is still sitting in the same spot.  So as soon as I get this posted I am headed out there, if it has not been looked at I guess I will pick it up and find somewhere else to take it.  If any of you in the Victoria area have any suggestions on who might look at it drop me a note.

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I am not going to dwell on yesterday any more (probably) now that I have gotten it off my chest.  And my day can go even better if there is something being done on my trolling motor.  It is just as important part of my fishing as a rod and reel and I feel naked without it.  Thanks to Joe for his pictures and report.  And if the spirit moves any of you drop me line on whatever.  Your contributions make this what it is.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That 10/23/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Chad and Pops on Keller Bay

As I surmised when I got the picture at 4:45 am yesterday of the Hogie that Chad is using on the bay, he was headed out fishing.  And even better his “Pops” was with him.

Doug, i really like what you had to say about boats, and gear, name brands. And how many people act that have them. I am blessed to have a fishing partner with a great boat, a 22ft gulf coast. Myself I own a 14ft flatbottom. I notice a big difference in how people talk and treat me at the ramp. All I can say is 60,000 dollar rigs dont catch fish, people do! For me they are simply a water taxi.  Now lets get to the fishing, I cried last post about little trout, but with the water temp dropping back down. The good fish showed up.

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We left the dock and idled over to the shell mouth to make a drift waiting on the sun.  And on the second cast my dad ( aka) pops hooked an oversized red. No need for sunlight, when you got adrenaline! We anchored and bail out. Woo wee it was chilly! We all own waders but, we knew it was gonna warm up. The trout bite started and ended quickly, so off to next spot where we put ten in the box, 19″ was the big one for the day. After a few wades we decided to drift and boated a few more. As we were headed to the ramp we did one last drift. Pops hooks another monster, so after 45 min of wondering , we finally see the mighty jack crevelle.

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They are probably the best catfish bait I’ve ever used. The meat is bloody and oily and has texture that doesn’t turn to mush when you bait a limb line or jug line. The big blue cats love it. So it was an eventful day . Oversized red, 25lb jack fish, 14 nice trout, only burned $8 worth of gas. Lol.  Now you got me wondering about the duck hunting at lake gonzales. Hummm woodys and mallards oh boy, gonna have to look into that. Thanks chad

Funny you should mention mallards on Gonzales.  My buddy Jeffish mom’s boyfriend John and I were talking hunting last night at a birthday party, and that is exactly what he thought.  John is a big time hunter and fisherman who says he knows you.  He was telling me about your interesting approach at times to duck hunting the Keller area.  I won’t give out your secrets, but your approach to things is a little different than most folks.

Sure is great you get to fish with your “Pops”.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to get that pleasure.  And Jacks get a bad rap from some folks, my only complaint is they take so dang long to get in on trout gear.  But pound for pound they are right up there as far as fight.  Heck my wife and I both got a blue marlin to boat side and tagged quicker than you can tame a big jack.  So congrats to him for landing that one.  And I am glad to learn how good a catfish bait they are.  I like to occasionally drift fish for blues on Coleto in the late winter with cut bait.  Guess I will box the next one I catch.

Looks like your trout were really solid, I will take that average any day.  You can just tell right now, they are dying to come shallow and get to feeding.  And when you jump over the side first thing in the morning you can feel how much the water temp in that shallow water has dropped overnight.  Good things are coming and I look for an epic winter.

And last your experience at the ramp is my experience.  I fish out of a Mako 18LTS with most of the bells and whistles, and a 16 year old, rode hard and put up wet Carolina Skiff, about equally.  Not only is there a difference in how people view me at the ramp or cleaning table, but also on the water.  As you know I am a lifetime bass fisherman, it is still my first love.  I really hate to say it, but it is the truth:  There is a huge difference in the way bass fisherman treat me, and other folks on the water.  In my skiff, get cut off.  I hate to diss my brother bass fisherman, but they really are the worst.  One of my buddies from Arkansas started Champion, Hawk, and Viper boats.  I owned the 4th Champion ever produced, the old pad boat, and then upgraded to one of the first 16.8 that would blow the hair off your head.  My tournament partner was the production manager for Ranger Boats and always had the best of the best.  Additionally Mtn Home is the home of Bass Cat Boats.  So I have been there, done that.  One day when I was mowing the grass at home I had to laugh, the boats and trucks in the yard costs more than my house.  Not telling you this to toot my horn, but to illustrate your point.  Believe me, showing up at the dock in your buddies latest and greatest Ranger boat fresh off the line sure gets you treated differently.  Unfortunately it has absolutely “freaken” zip to do with who is the better fisherman.  In so many cases it is simply who can make the biggest payment.  And once I got down here I found it was exactly the same.  I can not tell you how many times folks in the big fancy boats run me over when fishing the bay out of the skiff.  After cleaning fish at Froggie’s over the last 8 years I have learned this simple truth, the boat is definitely not indicative of fish caught.  You said it best, a boat is simply a water taxi, once you are in the water things equal out immediately.  I really appreciate your reports, and contributions to the discussion.  (If reading these comments and observations irritated you, time to look at yourself.)

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Masked Flounder Assassin

I got the following from the Masked Flounder Assassin.  Not sure of any specifics but I knew they were headed out gigging last night, looks like it went just fine.

20161023_010423Some good eats!

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Now if they would just clean themselves.

These guys do some serious gigging.  But whether gigging, or rod and reel, the fishing is getting better by the day.  I can only imagine what is coming the next couple of months.  Thanks for the pictures, enjoy the fish fry.

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One Good Story Deserves Another

I got this cool memory from Jim after he read my POC post from the other day.

Doug,
I was just sitting here on my back patio enjoying the awesome weather, watching college football and reading your blog and all I can say is life has s good! While reading your blog I suddenly remembered you mentioned Mule Slew in passing in your last writing. It back memories of a fishing trip there with my salt water fishing buddy a few years ago. On the way down to POC he explained that would be fishing in a place called “mule slew”. He said being fall that the redfish should be in there. Now let me tell you that the closer we got to POC the heavier the fog got. When we got to the ramp you couldn’t see past the front of the boat. I was shocked when my partner said let’s go. Now let me add it was still dark! I immediately asked him if he was crazy? He assured me that we would be ok and that he knew where he was going. Now let me add to the story that he had no gps or other electronic mapping to utilize so I started to write a note for my wife when the authority’s found us. Away we went into the dark fogginess. Now as any fisherman knows, fog brings out a certain increase of senses but with the dark mine was pegged!! I sat in the front of the boat to serve as a lookout as we putted across the water. After what seemed like hours and biting all my fingernails off he announced that we were at mule slew. How he knew I had no idea. All I could think was “thank you lord”! About that time it started to lighten up and I could actually start to see water. When we stepped out of the boat it was only shin deep. He told me to tie on the biggest chrome colored Zara spook I had which turned out to be a chrome/Chartreuse beast. We fished in mule slew for a few hours and it was a thing to behold. The reds were in there and would periodically show themselves with an emergent tail. Just cast that big plug past them and walk the dog back past them and hold on! We both ended up with limits of 3 to 27″. I would venture to say we each caught 15-20 reds each. It was by far the best topwaters redfish action I ever experienced.

So that’s my Mule Slew story. Thanks for reminding me of it in your blog.

Great story.  I have been in some fog in my life, but one afternoon at POC topped them all.  The sea fog rolled in about 2, I started getting nervous, but my fishing partner said no problem.  By time we finally headed back to Froggie’s it was ugly and scary.  A mistake I will never make again, it was not only foolish to stay, but dangerous.  The next day when we pulled out to head home we stopped at the car wash.  While I was washing the boat he talked to a woman who was there with her husband washing their boat.  She said they had the “pleasure” of sleeping all night in the boat waiting for it to clear.  She was not a happy camper.

My best fog story is years ago from Lake Norfork.  My tournament partner and I headed down lake and when we got to the creek mouth it was a huge fog bank.  This was long before GPS, but I knew that lake like the back of my hand so the famous no problem.  At the mouth there were 2 creeks running side by side.  After slow motoring in I finally said we should stop and fish as I was not sure where we were.  Turned out we entered the wrong creek and were around 10 miles from where I thought we were.  I sure have learned my fog lessons and treat it like any other inclement weather, with caution.

Last, redfish smashing topwater like that is a thing of beauty.  And that period is upon us.  For the next couple of months we will have our best red fishing of the year.  Visions of that kind of fishing is what motivates me in the fall.  So in my wildest dreams we will have a day like that.  And one final word, I think Mule “Slough” might be right, but I had to look it up to be sure. Like I have said in past, we do not give a hoot how you spell it, or if you have a clue where a comma might go, we just want your stories.  As usual thanks for your long running participation.  I always say it what makes this blog what it is.

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Yesterday my Hogs laid down and died, right after the kick off.  They got spanked with a 2×4.  The Aggies went from contenders in the first half to pretenders by the final gun.  It all goes through Alabama, especially after Ohio State losing, which always warms my heart.  Today the Cowboys have a bye, depending how things go with other teams in the division they could actually improve their current run.

But most of all – The Cubs!  My family and my wife’s have been Cub fans for a lifetime.  I admit I had given up, but no matter, it happened.  All I could think about during the game was Ernie Banks, Rick Monday, Kerry Woods, Jose Cardenal, Don Kessinger, and the cast of hundreds who went before for this current bunch.  And for the old guys like my Dad and father-in-law Jack, fans for over 80 years who never gave up hope, this is for you.  4 more wins and this season will go down in history.  GO CUBS!!!!!

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Just thought I would drop these couple of comments while they are fresh.  I love getting your reports and pictures, they really add to this deal.  So keep them coming.  And if any of these subjects moves you drop me a comment, just because I rant my opinion here does not make it right, and any side of the story adds to the discussion.  Next I need to get to the bay and do a wader repair test, and maybe catch a few.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lake Gonzales 10/22/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Since the boss is gone, and the wind is going to blow, I have convinced myself to get off my butt and try a new lake.  Lake Gonzales is a small lake a little over an hour from here, so it is time for a little fish catching travel.  It has been a while since I just hit a new place blind.  So let us see how that goes.  It may be tough, but as it warms today there should be a bite sometime.  Hope springs eternal!

Weather

81/48  Sunny.  Wind NNE 10 – 20.  0% chance rain.

Solunar Times

Best Times   4:02A – 6:02A     4:31P – 6:31P  Good Time   10:17A – 12:17P

It was an interesting day.  The fishing was marginal, but that was a combination of post cold front, bluebird skies, and probably a little operator error.  I did not head out until 7:30, no big rush, for the 70 mile drive.  Looking on the map it was just off highway 90W out of Gonzales.  Simple right?  I didn’t bother to get the county road number, good thing the Boss was on the old IPhone.  There is no sign, at least nothing I saw.  You know one that said lake this way, ramp down here, go this way, something.  Suffice to say be sure to have your stuff together, it is different getting there.  But I found the ramp and got a little local knowledge.  I am not sure if that is the only ramp, but there was very little parking and 4 wheel drive was a good thing.  And of course have your $5 with you.

There were a couple of guys putting the airboat in to work on duck blinds and they gave me enough to figure out the lay of the land.  I idled out of the small creek from the ramp and just idled along looking at depth and bank.  There are 2 channels leading to the dam, one deep, the other shallow with an island in between.  (And there sure are some pigs on it.)  As it is on a river it was what was probably the run on one side with water 1o foot plus, and the riffle on the other, with water in the 5 foot or less.  The water was murky and there are multiple varieties of aquatic plants including lilly pads.  I picked one stretch out, caught a small one on my second cast, then another, and before I got to the end of that patch, a third small one on the swim jig.  Now you would think that would be a pattern.  Think again, it is often not that easy, and today it wasn’t.

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I always take a picture of the first one to prove I was actually out there  just in case.  Today was one of those just in case days.

Over the next 6 hours I had one more bite on a buzzbait, in the shallow arm around vegetation.  It looked to be around 3 but got tangled in the lilies and pulled off.  That would be the last bite I would have.  I tried multiple baits, depths, and places, but just did not figure it out.  If you believe like I do that there is way to catch fish almost every day of the year, I try not to blame the fish.  The cold front was a factor, but it is not an excuse.

A couple of other guys were fishing and I spoke with them.  Their home lake is Coleto, they were just looking for a place with less wind, and the wind was not a problem on Gonzales, it is very protected.  They caught one on a Horny Toad and 3 on a Minus One, and that was their day.  They hit the road around noon, but I soldiered on.  Finally at 4 I called it a day.

I like the looks of the lake and it will definitely not be my last trip.  According to TPWD the fish run small, but of course big bass are caught there, but today they were small.  The last major stocking of bass was years ago.  They also say it has good crappie fishing, and there was ample wood to hold them.  The big flats covered in vegetation looked good, and I am definitely going to put the lake on my spring time list.   The day was not a waste by any means, it was nice to fish somewhere completely new, something I have done on a big and small scale the last 20 years.  You don’t know if you don’t go.

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We are so fortunate to have the participation of folks like Chad the Mad Trout Fisherman and Colby Sorrells.  They add experience and insight that we all benefit from with their participation.  So when I asked Chad to let us in on the plastic he has been using for those big strings of trout he dropped me a picture today at 4:47 am.  Any guess where he is this morning?

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The old tried and true Hogies.  Lot less tail bite offs with this plastic.

In this day and age fishing seems to have veered off track into some kind of poser contest. Boats have become something more than a way to get to the fish, and some folks think that they are “better” fishermen than the other guy because of what they run, or the clothes they wear.  Where having money to buy the “stuff” makes you a better man than the guy in the aluminum boat without a stitch of high tech clothing.  You know who I am talking about, you see them at any ramp or cleaning table every day.  One thing I learned watching who cleaned fish at the dock where I lived and worked for 10 years, it ain’t about that.

Then there are folks like Chad.  A hard core fish catching machine, he has taken the time to share information, information others think is a big secret, simply because he can.  All the fancy stuff means nothing, it comes down to one thing, did you catch come fish?  So take his information for what it is worth – a freakin’ lot, and we are lucky to have his help.  Thanks again.

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On a much better fishing note than my trip to Lake Gonzales I got this comment on Fayette from Rusty, our Fayette and Bastrop guru.

Just to add to the Fayette report, buzz baits and frogs are hot too!! Headed to Broken Bow, OK area to do some rainbow and brown trout fly fishing for a much needed break. Almost excited as going to Canada!
Tight lines
Rusty

Have a good time in Oklahoma.  Living close to there, and fishing the White and North Fork for 25 years, a little dose of those other trout never hurt anybody.  My favorite time up there was drifting in the winter with the shad kill coming through Bull Shoals dam.  We caught lots of nice trout throwing bass jerk baits on high water, not really fly fishing.  I got me one of them there buggy whips things, just never have got going with it.  One of those things that I still have all good intentions of catching a redfish on this fall.  And speaking of Canada it won’t be on this years list.  I will be in Australia the month before, which will take a good chunk out of the fishing travel budget.  But what a trip it will be.  The only other big trip on the schedule next year is Louisiana for a redfish extravaganza.  So thanks for the report, I am headed that way soon.  I have never caught one on a buzzbait on Fayette, but if they are doing that they are biting!

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And it is always good to hear from Colby S.  His comments are informative and well thought out, just like this one.

Doug,
It wasn’t but a short two years ago when we were not catching any small trout because they were not there. Now everyone is catching small trout and moaning about it? Not me. I’m so happy to have small fish in the bay system. That means they have a future and we can all continue to be blessed with such abundant bays. If people don’t like catching small trout use a bigger lure, not bait. You will not get near as many hits. Or move to another location. Kind of like being in a mess of stingrays or sharks. There are plenty of other places. As for me I’m so excited about having small fish in the bay again I can’t wait to get back in the water with them. The future looks bright for at least 3-4 years now due to all of the freshwater inflow we’ve received. I fished the same days as you and saw more bait than I’ve seen in at least 7 years and maybe ever. So here’s to the small trout. You’ve got the genes I’m looking for and you’re doing everything you can (by eating our lures) to get bigger. Keepin’ It Fun! Colby S

Bait, fish, and more bait.  You have a lifetime of experience on the coast dwarfs mine, but in my limited experienc, the fishing is so much better than it was 3 or 4 years ago.  And the fishing the bait pattern is a slam dunk winner right now, especially for folks who are not on the water every day, find some bait and you will find some fish.  And I will be glad when we get out of this high tides pattern and starting getting those awesome lows that drain the back lakes as we slide into winter.  Every back lake we fished the other day had fish.  In our case the other day we were catching small trout because of what and where we were doing it.  But I am with you, it is nice to catch fish, no matter what the size.  I used to think I might be the worst trout fisherman in the world, funny how lots more fish made me a lot better fisherman.  So lets hear it for more trout!  I really appreciate your input and thoughtful comments.

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Today I get to have some real fishing related fun.  Korbin, Jeffish’s son and the future 2030 Bassmaster Champion, has a birthday party today.  He is eat up with the fishing like I was when I was a little pain in the ass.  So off to Academy to buy him something cool.  What 7-year-old boy does not like a knife and some fishing pliers?  I still remember what it felt like getting the first rod and reel to call my own, 58 years ago.  (Yikes!)  Lots of water under the hull since then, but it is my pleasure to help pass on our love of the sport.

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Fall has energized both me and the fishing.  It is so easy to keep writing when things are happening like they are around the Texas Coast.  So as usual, what is next?  That can be summed up with two words – More Fishing!   And any comments, reports or suggestions are so appreciated.  I keep telling you how much we all like your reports.  Your participation makes this blog what it is, so keep them coming.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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