Dang It! 8/12/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat.  I fished like crap today.  Some days are tougher than others, and I am still learning this croaker thing, but I could have done a better job.  I had Aaron and his dad along today, and as hard as we tried we never did hit the mother load.  I have several thoughts about that, which we will get to.

Weather

80/99 Heat index 110 with heat warnings after noon. Wind SSW 15-25  10% chance of isolated showers.

Tide

11     High   8:27 AM     0.5
11      Low   7:07 PM     0.0

Solunar Times

Best      5:46A – 7:46     6:09P – 8:09P   Good     11:35A – 1:35P       (This was when we probably put half our keepers in the boat.

Aaron is a highly experienced all around fisherman, and his dad has been at it for all of his 87 years.  We picked up 36 croaker and headed out at daylight.  The tide was just reaching full up as we headed to Big Bayou.  That was my first mistake.  Why?  I should have hit the rigs at daylight when it was calm.

Our first stop was the drain where I caught a quick limit a week ago and we got off to a so/so start.  They were free lining their croaker with out a weight and I was using a 1/8 ounce weight.  Aaron put a nice flounder in the box, and I think we added one more keeper trout at the first stop.  From there we kept working drains and the other spots I normally fish and it turned into a one or two fish a spot day.  About half the places we caught a keeper, but just could not seem to nail it down.

Never having fished that way before we all had a lot to learn.  We easily missed as many fish as we caught, and it seemed like we would catch a keeper, and then they would shut off.  After fishing the drains we headed out to the rig, and of course the wind came up and by time we set up it was white capping and just to uncomfortable to fish.

From there we fished the old Coast Guard station without a bite so we headed into the Oil Cut and immediately put a another nice keeper in the boat and missed a few.  We hit a few other spots without success and at 1:00 they had somewhere to be so we called it a day.

For the morning it was 5 or 6 keeper trout, 4 which were good ones, and once nice flounder.  We easily caught more trout that did not measure than did.  Kind of surprising to me how a small trout were happy to eat a big croaker.  And we missed many more.  Of course we caught the usual assortment of hard heads and lady fish.  And all of us were still getting used to the bite, which is something different for someone like me who has not fished croaker before.

So as I continue to learn this deal a couple of things seemed to stick out now that I think about it.  First, I am not sure fishing out of the boat in shallow water is the way to go croaker fishing.  Wading would have been much more productive.  Second, keeping the bait cool with plenty O2 in the water kept them lively all morning in what turned out to be 100 degree heat so the bait tank I just made was doing the job.  Finally I ignored that little voice in my head that said go to the rig first and sack a few, but I ignored that for what I thought was the safe route.  Not all those little voices in your head are nuts.  Before it was over if I had fished the same water in a different order it would definitely been better.  And for some reason I never took any pictures, I think the heat had my brain on slow.

It was a tough day but as with all learning processes you have to keep after it.  Just because it is croakers does not mean you will automatically rip them.  So the next step will be to do some wading and see if I can improve on my technique.  It was great to fish with Aaron again, and it looks like we will fish together a few days down in Rockport in the next month.  And his dad was a great guy to fish with and we had a great time even with the slow fishing.

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And Chad, who has been hard at it with his son, struggled a little last trip, but when it is tough it is often a matter of grinding it out.

A grind of a day yesterday, we went to poc left the dock before daylight hoping to get to fish some tide movement first stop greens. No bites on the first wade, ran a little further made a wade picked up 5 trout, then moved to a spot with tons of bait 4 trout there, with no water moving i knew it was gonna be one of those days that paitence and persistance would be the key so off to the next spot. After fishing the greens area we move to the hump. A big flat inbetween the lil jetties and big jetties on the right. It was full of bait with jacks blowing them up on the outer edges. So we bailed out there and made a wade. We had to just keep grinding but managed to pick up 6 trout there. With 15 trout in the box biggest being 22″ that my son taylor caught. We made a move to grass island after a 30 min wade with no trout we called it at 3:00 pm. Tough day for us, as far as catching. When we got to the dock tpwd fish measure guy was there so after he went through our fish and asked a few questions he said on a scale from 1-10 how satisfied were you? I said 10 ! Reason being we got back to the dock when we want too. Theres alot that can go wrong on a trip out on the water. Ive experienced alot of em over the years. Thanks chad

It really is get out early and fish hard.  Often the difference is just another fish or two and you guys ground it out today.  I really appreciate your reports, especially that you are sharing it with your son.  Sounds like he is going to be a great fisherman some day.  No better way to spend quality time with your son.  And I love your reports, they have actual information and knowledge that folks can use. Keep the reports coming.

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I got this from Remmy on something I actually did today and it worked like a charm.

Freeze a 2 liter bottle or 2 and put them in the ice chest with the croaker, 1 is fine but i usually keep another on hand in case the first melts. Keeps the water cooler, the croaks croaking and a little friskier.

It got to 100 degrees before we quit yesterday and a frozen bottle kept my croakers frisky and we did not lose a man.  (Other than operator error when they were on the end of our lines.)  It kept them cool and they were lively to the last man.  So thanks for commenting and feel free to contact us anytime you want to add to the discussion.

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And I heard from Joe Bass, a long time reader, on the flip phone thing.

Once you leave the dark side(flip fone) You will never go back. We’re a small group but we must stick together. I still have one. Got it at walmart for $14.88, why because its small, fits in front pocket, when I drop in water, I’m not mad because I threw $300 into the water. My trip to Lake Travis I dropped into 30 ft of water, got to my underwear and dove in, didn’t get it, but had to use the net and long pole to finally get it back. Wasn’t worried about phone, just wanted all my contacts. Should not have to worry about Facebook, emails or live videos bothering you while fishing or outdoor activities. FLIP PHONES RULE !!!

A man after my own heart.  I agree completely on the distractions in the outdoors.  So the flip phone will be with me until it kicks the bucket.  But since it is built to basic military specs it just might be around a while, at least until it ends up in the lake where I can’t get to it.  So thanks for standing up for those of us who are media challenged by choice.

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And last Jay, who fishes stripers and big catfish, sent me a couple of pictures of his and some great information for those of you hard core live bait fisherman.

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                                              That folks is a bait tank!

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Learning 8/10/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

This is a quick report of a very short trip.  The plan was to head out after high tide and see if I could actually catch a trout on croaker and to see how the bait tank I made would work.  I sure did not want to buy a bunch of baits and have them croak in the heat tomorrow.   And I managed to catch a couple on croaker and nobody died of the heat.  Though I sure felt the 99 degrees with a 75% humidity, ugly.

The bait well is just a 48 quart cooler that I mounted a good 12 volt double stone aeriator that will oxygenate 50 gallon.  So with that overkill I picked up a dozen croaker at Indianola and headed out to the bay.  I stopped at 3 places on the Powderhorn Ranch shoreline without a bite.  All three  areas had plenty of bait but it sure did not help.  So I decided to head into the bay and fish a couple of rigs.

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My first on a croaker.

I fished 3 wells and only the first one produced.  The trout were not real big, but 3 managed to give it up.  3 catfish joined the party and I missed several other fish.  The bite is a little tricky and took me a while to get the hang of it.

At this point I am good with it, just needed to see if they were on the wells and they are.   Next it was back in the Powderhorn to check a couple of spots.  Fishing 3 or 4 places produced zip, so with my last croaker I set up on the sand point across from the marina.

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Of the 4 none were bigger than this.

This one hit it the hardest of any of the bites I had today.   Starting at 10:30, and quitting at 1:30, it was hot, and the water was not really running yet.  By time I quit it was white capping on the bay.  But the cooler did great and is way overdone, and I actually caught a few fish on croaker, so the mission was a success.  We will see how tomorrow goes when Aaron, his dad, and I head out at daylight.

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I got this long post from fishrearlarry on croaker fishing, and it is a good one.

In regards to your question on using croaker for catching trout. I know everyone has certain techniques that they prefer…hook size, leader, etc. When it comes to trout fishing in the summer, hands down, you will catch more fish and generally a little better quality. Being the artificial enthusiast you are and the fisherman you are, I feel that in most trips even in the heat of the summer, you will be able to catch 5 keeper trout. but, it is going to probably take a lot longer to do so. Years ago, I didn’t even consider throwing live bait. As I have aged and my body has found that it can’t hang out in the heat and wade all day long like it used to, I prefer to increase my advantages of catching my trout quickly and then maybe spend a little time looking for reds.
My technique is old school. I use anywhere from a size 3/0 to 5/0 hook depending on the croaker size, I use a 20# fluorocarbon leader with a small barrel swivel or instead of the barrel swivel I may use a chatter weight. Rarely do I use a weight and if I do it is because the tide is flowing strongly in an area and the bait does not have enough time to get to the bottom. I am a monofilament line man, just can’t seem to get myself to like the braid, and I have given it many attempts. Many say they like the sensitivity it gives them with the croaker….personally, I can feel every move my croaker makes and will usually tell my fishing partners when I am fixing to catch a fish just by the way the croaker is acting up. Fishing with croaker for bait is a technique that if the fish are feeding hard is a “not much experience needed” deal. But when the trout are there and not feeding heavy, that is where it is a little more difficult and more important to stay “in tune” with your bait. The infamous “thump” when the fish hits the croaker is where another part of the techniques come into play. Normally, I will fish with my rod tip at about an 11 to 12 o’clock position. As the trout hits the bait and starts swimming away with it, I slowly drop the rod as the line is pulled away to about 3 o’clock position and then set the hook. Many times the bites are different and they may hit and then your line goes slack because they are coming toward you, just like worm fishing with bass, that’s when you reel to catch up the slack and then give them the hook set. One last thought about fishing with croaker, especially for beginners….keep your bait out in the water. Many first timers that I have taken out make the mistake of constantly reeling the bait back in too quickly. When they are put out on the first cast, they are very active and that’s when you just let them swim and do the work. as they fatigue and maybe bury down into some grass, that is where you slowly pull them up and give them the twitch to make them “talk” and swim again. If the croaker after use is still alive but has lost his energy, I put him back in the bait bucket to revive and put a new one on. Lively croaker catch trout!

Feel free to e mail me and I will get you to come by my office or call you. I will more than happy to share some more information with you! Thank you again for the time you put into the blog!

Wow!  Where to start.  I am sure fishing them on free line is fun, and will actually probably do some of that in the morning.  I knew folks free lined them and wondered about the Chatter Baits.  I am looking forward to fishing them that way shallow.  And the way you hold your rod, and do the hook set, is a lot like worm fishing for bass.  I have not had one thump it yet, but I am sure the better ones do that.  And keeping the bait in the water is obviously the way to go, and moving it a bunch, or reeling it in to cast, not only takes your bait out of the strike zone, but it will kill your bait a whole lot quicker.

About the getting older thing, it is so true when it is this hot.  I like to attribute some of that taking it easier to not being as mad at them as I used to be.  That is my story and I am sticking to it.  But no matter what it is tough out there right now with this heat and if this puts them in the cooler faster this old man is all about it.  And I really appreciate your offer and will take it up with you.  So thanks for the great comment and your long readership,  I really appreciate it.

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Colby sent along this tip, I assume because it is working right now.

Doug,
Just a quick tip. Try a Mirrolure Lil John with one of your 1/32 ounce jigheads. Use a color similar to whatever color you like in the POC area (maybe a red variation). Very effective this time of year. Colby

Thanks, will pick up a bag at Academy next time I am there.  As soon as this little croaker adventure/learning curve has run its course it will be back to lures.  I have nothing against live bait, but lures will always be my thing.  Thanks for the tips and your continued involvement.

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And it was inevitable that someone would comment on my flip phone, everyone does.

Yes, flip phone needs to go.
No, iphone does not need to come in.

Samsung Galaxy; yes, I know, matter of personal preference.

Thanks Billy, you made me laugh.  Hell I thought you were rapping.  As soon as this phone craps out I will join the modern world.  People are evening streaming to facebook live, would be cool to do while on a big bite.  Thanks for sticking with me.

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We will be out at daylight in the morning and I really have no clue where.  From what was on the one rig where I caught 3, that may be a great place to start.  But Big Bayou should be perfect for it, then we will fish weightless.  So no matter what we will be giving it a go.  And congrats to my brother Kelly finally getting home from the hospital.  N0 place like home.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 8/8/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Makers of the best balsa baits on the market.

Coleto Creek

We are still in the throes of one bad ass heat wave.  They are talking a true 100 degrees many days with a heat index off the chart.  And with the wind finally not blowing it gets hot, fast.  And it was the same today, good thing I started early.  The lake was first this week, with Aaron and his dad on the way it will be Gulf fishing this week.

It was barely daylight when I dropped the boat in Coleto.  On first look it seems to have stabilized as far as water level, and it is definitely clearing a little more each week.  After catching that nice one the other day with a huge crawdad in it the 2.5 Strike King square bill was first up.   One actually jumped on it right off the bat, a catfish.    I choose a shallower bank way up lake so it could grind in the bottom, unfortunately they were not interested.  So time for a buzzbait.

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           They were eating it and I think I missed one all morning.

There will be a few pics but the battery on the camera was dead, nice planning, so I took these with my phone.  The problem, at least according to my wife and every friend I have, is that my phone is an older flip phone.  They keep telling me IPhone, but no IPhone can sit in the water at the boat ramp for an hour or two and live to tell about it.  So anyway, that is why these pics look like they do.

Basically staying on the shady side and flipping it as close to the bank as I could get it resulted in some really great bites.  And most of them came in the first foot or two and were latching on.  It is real clear that the fish are biting better than they were.  The action was consistent all morning so I stayed with the buzzbait until about 9.

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                           It was a good average size this morning.

After they slowed up on buzzbait it was time to change to the senko style plastic.  I have been using assorted companies. as long as they are 5″ watermelon red.  And it has been important to use the 1/4 weight, it is definitely better than a lighter weight, and I am throwing it on 20lb mono.

One thing that was different than it has been is I had many more bites off the cover as  I worked it back to the boat, though cover is still where the money is.  A good tangle of stuff, with a little water by it, has had fish on it and did today.  I actually refished the bank where I only caught a catfish on crankbait and caught several bass on the plastics.

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  Started and ended with a catfish.  With a bunch of nice bass between.

The fish bit until I quit at 11:30.  In fact I managed to drop the biggest one of the day back in the water around 11:00 when I was trying to get his picture with the phone.  And the final fish of the day was another catfish on plastic.  After catching a bunch of them last week, if you like catfish they are biting on Coleto.  And the crappie are still being caught, so things are shaping up nicely on the lake.

I lost track of how many I caught, but it was very consistent all morning.  My limit would not have won a tourney there, but I would not have been embarrassed. They are biting so much better than they were.  Over the years I have seen a big raise really hurt the fishing and this year it was like they did not move up from their location prior to the rise.  Now the lake has fallen back to them, not sure if that is correct, but it sure seems that way.  One thing that happened today was several of the bass were puking up smaller shad, something to think about.

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Chad, who has been catching them in the surf, responded to my plea for info on croaker fishing.  He went above and beyond!

We had another great day in surf on thursday, low winds allowing us to anchor and throw into the second gut. 4 man limit by 9am with solid 20″ to boot. I like to use a 4/0 widebend hook depending on the size of the croaker i will use a 5/0. I use 12 lb big game on a bait caster allowing me to easily press the thumbar and let the trout run with it. I use a 7 ft rod that has lots of backbone allowing me to get a good hookset. Depending on current or tide movement i use 1/8 to 1/2 oz slip sinkers on my mainline with some red beads above and below my slip sinker. Which keep the slip sinker from fraying my not at the swivel . From there is 30lb leader line and the hook. As the month of august comes to an end the croaker will be getting bigger and bigger. Which means a few things allowing the trout plenty of time to get the croaker in his mouth. As well as a double hookset. Which allows you to pull the hook out of the croaker on the first one and penetrating the hook in the trouts mouth on the second one. Another thing is only put water from ur bait supplier in ur live well with water temps at 89 dgr its a big mistake to pull up to your favorite spot and pump hot water in ur livewell only to find out they dont want to be in a hot tub and die. A few frozen water bottles in the cooler has saved the day for me many times. Adding only one at a time throughout the day keeps my bait frisky and ready to entice the fish. No livewell no problem a good ice chest works great with proper ariation. My favorite besides the high dollar oxagen set up, is a 12 volt mr bubbles it doesnt run your water threw a motor that constantly heats uyour water as the motor runs all day. It just adds oxagen to the water and please do not stick your hands in there to get croaker . Use a bait net to get them. Ive seen many of good trip come to an end when somebody with a oily reel or sunblock all over there hands and arms decides he will just reach in and grab one. Thanks chad

NO – Thank You!  Hook size, line size, weights, rigging, and rod all make sense.  Basically like a freshwater Carolina Rig.  And the hook set is something I would have messed up first couple of times for sure.  It has to be real hard to not set the hook when one thumps it.  But the most important information is how to keep croaker alive.  And it is funny you recommend a Mr. Bubbles.  I am looking at one with a double stone that will work with up to 50 gallons and plan to put it in a regular ice chest.  (Note: made it yesterday.)  And the frozen water bottles is what I have used in the past for summer bass tourneys to keep them calm.  And I always thought you used the bait net to make them easier to catch, not that any fisherman has dirty hands.

For me the bait handling methods you use are the most important part of your comment.  Just the bait handling suggestions can save big bucks.  A friend of mine was fishing a tourney so they bought $100 worth of croakers, ran 50 minutes and their bait was dead.  So they turned around and went back and had to buy another $100 worth.  Hell, just last week we managed to kill 5 dozen minnows in about a minute by dipping them in the lake right after we bought them.  Lesson learned.

I really want to thank you for your suggestions.  It is really great when you can share your knowledge with others and this is the perfect example.  The information is real practical stuff that really helps a guy like me, and I am sure others, who don’t really have a live bait background. So I will be giving it a go several times this week and will report on how it goes.  And any time you want to share a fishing report send it on.

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And on our continuing knot storyline here is one I had not heard of.

I use the fishing fool knot to tie a hook or lure with braid, fluorocarbon, or mono.
I learned about this knot while watching an episode of knot wars, where the fishing
fool knot won for the strongest knot in all three line categories.
You can look it up at netknots.com.

This is probably the easiest knot I have seen to tie braid to a lure.  It won Knot Wars and is perfect for slippery braids.  I can tell it will be my favorite from now on.  Thanks Randy, a great suggestion.  Feel free to comment anytime.

https://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/fish-n-fool-knot

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Jay commented on Friday’s trout pictures.

Good looking trout!

Thanks.  It was nice to have a good consistent morning, it was the kind of day that gets me motivated to keep after them.  Hopefully there will be lots more before the week is out.

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A great start to the week.  I am really looking forward to trying out the new bait tank and actually fishing with croakers.  The real tough decision is where to go.  I can think of lots of places to try them and will be hashing that out in the next day or two.  Tomorrow will be get stuff done day, and then let the fishing begin.  And with the boss headed out of town for 5 days later this week there will be lots of fishing to come.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC 8/5/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal And check out the Shaky Jigs – I use the 1/16th!

Being without the flats boat the last 3 weeks it was great to have it back.  So it was time for a little fishcatchingtravel, and like I said in my last post I am getting my mojo back!   So even though I knew POC would be a zoo, the weather was right and I could live with the tide.

Weather

Partly Cloudy   High 97   Winds SE 10-15mph   10% chance of rain  (It blew <5 most of the morning.)

Tides

Low   1:39 AM    -0.1
High  11:03 AM     0.4

Solunar Times

  • Best    1:02A – 3:02A
  •             1:25P – 3:25P
  • Good  7:14A – 9:14A  (The bite was on!  Couldn’t have been any more right.)
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What a great sunrise!

When I got to Froggie’s this morning it was a freakin’ mad house.  Friday used to be at least livable down there, and now it has become as busy as the weekend.  So I dropped it in the water and was the last guy to get to park in the big line in the lot.  There were already tons of folks fishing with more coming.

I have been a little peeved at myself for fishing like crap the last couple of times on the Gulf and today I was determined to do a better job.  So it was off to Big Bayou for a little topwater at daylight, then plastics.  They may be a little off lures, but it started off pretty quickly and only went up from there.

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                    That red’s eyes were bigger than his stomach.

The first drain was full of trout and small reds.  If it says anything it is a great sign of things to come.  5 or 6 jumped on but nothing worth talking about so I moved to the next one.  One thing I want to point out, today it was current.  Even though the tide was coming up water was running out of the big flat into the cuts and the fish were positioned at the mouths.

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My last bite on topwater and the first keeper.

The next drain produced the one above and some small ones so I moved on to the next one, and boy were they there.  Right at the mouth were the water was wrapping around the point I could see them eat.  Using a red paddle tail on a 1/16, I was jerking it hard and I could see them roll over and eat it, I love that.  And the Cocoon’s were invaluable today, I would not have felt a couple but I saw them and was able to get a hook in them.

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                          They were jumping on it pretty good.

After an easy limit came over the side I just started working the edge of the grass as the water kept coming up.  It was not a real smoking tide, it just kept coming up.  From there I just kept hopping drains, points, and oyster.  In a couple of places both trout and reds were on the shell chasing bait.

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  It was just a nice run of good trout today, to bad I was not keeping fish.

They came from deeper places, shallow places, and other places in between.  I had planned to wade but there was no real reason to jump out of a perfectly good boat when they were biting like this.  It was the kind of bite that lets you know they are on – THUMP!

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                                             It wasn’t just trout today. 

I never did specifically fish for reds today, I did not have to.  Counting small ones it was at least 6 or 7, most on the plastics.  If you had the water wrapping around anything, point or bar, there were fish there.  I don’t think I fished a specific place without catching something.

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         Here is a couple out of the 3 or 4 I caught on my last stop.

The water color today was just awesome, as nice as I have seen it in months.  It was the kind of day that makes POC famous.  Good structure with water moving = fish!  And one of the time periods I have some trouble with, a rising tide, did not hurt me today.  Once I figured out the wrap around current, really the fish told me, it was easy to duplicate and I can actually say I fished pretty well.  You always hear the term in bass fishing, duplicating a pattern, today it was a slam dunk.  The only real mistake was when a really big red on the 8lb line broke me off.  They really do not stop all that well when they don’t want to.   Also the Power Pole played a part today.  I was able to stop the boat and position for the perfect cast after I would catch one, and it worked like a charm.

And speaking of decisions, I made another good one today.  Heading down Port Lavaca highway I kept going back and forth for 20 miles – Keller, Indianola, or POC?  Keller is on for sure next week, and I was thinking of giving that a go.  But I heard an awesome report from out in front of Boggie so wading the Powderhorn Ranch shoreline was an option.   Finally I got to thinking about Bobbie’s comment the other day so POC it was.  The decision was made because I wanted to get back to my basics.  Fishing from the boat using the trolling motor is what I do best, and it worked great today.  Not sure exactly how many I caught, but they bit until the tide was full up when I quit at 11.  Both fish and the weather was flat out hot.

It is probably pretty easy to tell I had a good time today.  That is what makes fishing what it is, even after a little down stretch all you have to do is keep after it.  You never know, but it always comes around, and for me things are looking up.  We caught a nice bunch of crappie and cats 3 trips ago.  Yesterday the bass cooperated, or I fished better, whichever.  And then today good fishing on the salt.  And with my first real go with croaker coming next week it is hard to not be excited.  Variety is the spice of life and that goes for fishing.  It is ok to concentrate on your fish of choice, but fishing for lots of different stuff takes me back to my first days, if it swam I tried to catch it.

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After I gave a shout out to RO for the stripers he is catching I got this comment from Jay.

RO is a HELL of a fisherman.
Taught me all I know about trolling but definitely not all he knows.
He was probably doing one of three things;
Jigging a spoon
Topwater
Trolling pet spoons on three way swivels using a 20-30′ red taildancer.
His trolling methods have worked here in N. Alabama since I moved here when nothing else has.

Great endorsement.  Not only is he a hell of a fisherman, but last time I saw him in Austin he fixed my eye, he is also a hell of a surgeon.  But most of all he is a good guy.  As far as the three ways, the years I was guiding for stripers those are the three ways I put them in the boat.  Topwater at night, my favorite, trolling, which I did with downriggers, and the most productive way while it lasted, deep jigging.  Every fall around thanksgiving our stipers and whites ganged up and we caught them from about 30 – 50 feet deep.  It would last about a month, but it was common to literally catch a ton each morning before 9 day after day.   So that will do if for today’s episode of the RO fan club.  Keep in touch.

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If it were not Friday it would be back to POC tomorrow.  But I think there are 2 tournaments at least this weekend and it will be crazy out there.  So if you are out there be safe and courteous.  Organize the boat before getting on the ramp.  Give people plenty of room both underway and when fishing.  There will be enough tom foolery out there without adding to the confusion.  I know one thing, come Monday at daylight I will be thrashing them somewhere.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Good Reports! 8/4/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal And check out the Shaky Jigs – I use the 1/16th!

Coleto

I finally got the flats boat back yesterday so it was a trial run to be sure that everything was working before heading to the Gulf tomorrow.  The good news, Humminbird has actually fixed the locator/GPS and it worked like it should have.  It is real evident that it was never right from the day we bought it.  If they had not given me bad information and blown me off it would have saved lots of problems over the last couple of years.  But they stood up and made it right and I thank them for fixing it.  Better late than never.

The Boss is headed to Iowa next week to see her mom who is recovering from a broken hip and I was ordered to catch a few bass for the fish fry.  Now she has crappie and bass, and I will add a few trout tomorrow and she can feed the whole bunch of them.  So I got that done today.  In fact it was like I was actually fishing a different lake from what it has been the last few weeks.

P1010612

The first of 15 on senko in 3 1/2 hours.

I went up lake to where I caught them on buzzbait the other day and immediately caught 4 or 5 and missed a couple.  They were all small, but it was real clear that the fish were biting.  So removing head from rear end I put down the buzzbait and grabbed the 5″ watermelon red senko style bait.  Combined with a 1/4 oz slip sinker and a 4/0 worm hook, it is the bait I have been pitching both this summer and last.

P1010614

Things are looking up!

Basically it was flat banks with cover, and most of the next dozen fish were pretty shallow, in fact this one came from 1 foot of water.  I was just pitching to cover and it was one of those days that they were ticking it and then swimming away with it.  Of course they weren’t on every bit of cover, but shallow wood definitely had fish on it.  A couple I caught came out of shallow wood I did not see until I was right on it and they still ate with the boat right over them.  Once I started with the plastic it was really consistent, and fun.  I am starting to get my mojo back.  And the biggest one who is headed for a fish fry had a red and green crawdad the size of a small lobster in his gut.  That might tell you something.  And another one had her eggs in her and they were hard as a rock, so she did not spawn this year.

P1010616

I love catching this size pitching, it is hand to hand combat.

The water is slowly clearing, and while off color up lake it is not muddy, almost a tannic color.  And it looked like the lake has not really dropped much this week, maybe the water stabilizing is helping the fishing.  That is the most bites in a short trip in a long time and I left them biting when I filled the Iowa order.

I always say it is the little things, and today I did make a couple of mistakes, on back to back casts.  As I grabbed the bait to pitch it I felt a nick in the line but pitched it anyway, and you know what happened next.  So after I break off a good one I retie, and not checking further up the line there must have been a bad spot further up, and of course you know what happened next.  Break off number 2 on 2 casts.  One thing about fluoro, once it gets a bad spot it is mandatory to retie immediately.  Fishing really is about the little things, and one mistake can make or break a day.  Good thing they kept biting.  Suffice to say that did not happen again.

So I am a happy camper.  Got the boat back, caught a limit, the GPS worked, nothing broke other than a couple of fish, what more could a guy want when it has been as slow as it has been.  I will trade out equipment this afternoon and get ready for the Gulf in the morning.  I have a friend coming with his dad next week and they want to catch some trout, time to get that figured out before they get here.  And with that in mind read this really great report below, it makes me excited just thinking about it.

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Trout

I am really thankful when folks give us fresh reports and this is about as good as it gets.

Its august and low winds so it time to hit the poc surf, went towards pass cavo out the jetties. Anchored up at the 3 rd bar and threw croaker in the second gut, right from the start it was game on with incoming tide and rafts of mullet. Had 4 man limits of trout by 8:30am and one oversized red released. It was a day you could be very picky on the trout you wanted to box. 20-22″ was number for us today. I was blessed to take my 11 yr old son taylor with us today . He’s a good fisherman but it was his first taste of surf fishing. So great memories were made. Wire with glass and brass beads really made a difference in the quality of fish caught. It wasnt long and everybody had one tied on. We headed in at 10:00am got more croaker and made a wade for redfish to cool off at coast guard flats . No results so we decided to run out pass cavo and try to catch em in the surf. The results were just more trout. In my experience heres a couple tips: pick a spot that has brown pelicans line up on the bank, or a spot that the waves break real close to the shoreline. Be safe and use lots of anchor rope while fishing the surf. Id post some pics if i knew how. Thanks chad

Wow great report!  The wind is finally down a day or two allowing folks to get to the surf and it looks like it is worth the effort.  But best of all you were lucky enough to have your son along and I am sure he was having the time of his life with his dad!  What could be better than that?  And I really appreciate your tips, they are about as specific as can be.  And the wire with beads is something new to me so I learned something, you can put what I know about croaker fishing in your back pocket.  So thanks for the report, feel free to contact us anytime.  And watch your email, send me some pics and I would be glad to post them.  And the rest of my readers thank you for this detailed and specific report.  I love it.

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Let Write a How To!

You all know by now that I am not really a live bait guy, but if there was ever a time on the Gulf it is now.  So here is what I need – I know there is a bunch of you out there who fish croakers and I need to know how.  I know where to fish, I just need to be pointed the right way as far as tackle and tactics.  It is really important to me to put my buddy Aaron and his dad on some trout next week.

Here is what I do not know.  What size and style of hook?  Do you use the rattle deal you put on your line?  Basic weights to use?  Slip sinker or heavy split shot?  Can they live ok in a cooler that is not round as long as there is plenty of water and aeration and not bang their nose and die like shad?  Do you like to fish croaker on casting or spinning rods?  Line weight?   What is the wire and beads, do you make them or buy them?  Anything you can share with us will be more than I know right now!

I really do want to hear from any of you, all of you, who would like to share the basics.  We all do things a little differently, there is no absolutes, and what I would like to do is not only learn how, but share it with all of you, experienced or not.  So please if you have something to share lets have it.  One line or 20, I would love to put them all together and make a primer on croaker fishing.   No point is to big or small, no way is better than others, when you know as little as I do anything helps.

So come on folks, lets have it!  Help a brother out.  Besides educating all of us, I need to figure this deal out in a couple of days, the pressure is on.  So thanks in advance for whatever you are willing to share.

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K.I.S.S.

(Keep it simple stupid, and not just you Bobby, all of us.)

I got this comment from my buddy Bobby and it brings up several points for discussion.

Just been reading my bass times. Go back to your roots!! Next time I go to Coleto Im going back to my old school lures. My Bagley Tin Foil Shad. Like the article says I have got all caught up in the new stuff. So it is time for me to try something new. I am old and set in my ways but I think it is time for a change!! Thank you Doug for letting me post this here. I just had a thought and had to express it…..
Bobby

 Bass Pro and Cabelas have made a stinking fortune on all of us and our desire for the latest and greatest.  A perfect example is rods and reels.  The marketing arm of the bass fishing industry, expressed by a miniscule portion of fishermen, tournament fishermen, have convinced us that we must have a rod, reel, and line for each and every bait.  Look on the deck of most bass boats and you will see lots and lots of combinations, heck I intentionally try to keep mine at 5.  Then we need least one bait with big rattles, small rattles, no rattles, shad color, crawdad color, red, blue, green in 5 sizes times each, and before you know it you have 20  different baits in one type.  And on and on and on.

Or lets take saltwater, you bet a fancy $250 rod feels great in your hands, but for the love of God, tons of fish were caught on fiberglass rods.  I am watching some dude right now on a TV fishing show and he has 5 rods – in a kayak! And the old guys who paved the way on the coast would be amazed, or appalled, at the extent to which boat manufacturers have gone.  $60 and $70K for a boat, are you kidding me?  70 mph in a foot of water, for what?  High def side scan, in 2 foot of water?  A wrap declaring you are the man, in spite of the fact you paid for the right to have it on the boat.

Now do not get me wrong, I am just as guilty as everyone else.  But it has gotten ridiculous.  I just spent a day replacing a bunch of plastic boxes with new so I was forced to look at my baits one by one.  And now I am so organized, but there is an easy $200 worth of stuff laying on the floor that I cleaned out of a few boxes.  I do not know why I bought it, did not use it, and will never use it.  My Bagley Bang O Lures are a perfect example.  I have used them for over 30 years, they caught fish then, and they catch fish now.  It is my first and last choice for topwater minnow fishing, so why in the sam hell do I have another 15 topwater minnow baits that I was not using?  I am not sure what the equivalent term to “crack head” in tackle buying, but many of us are addicted to the toys.

So to get to your point, lures are tools and nothing more.  Many have a run when the fish have not seen them before, but nothing is magic.  There are basic lures that have worked for years and still work today as well as they did then.  And no matter how great a bait, as they say in real estate, location, location, location, and in the words of Eric Clapton, “It’s in the way that you use it.”  Somehow the lure manufacturers have convinced us that it is acceptable to pay $15 for a hard bait that may or may not catch fish.  Amazing.   The real money shot in this deal is studying and learning all you can about the fish, from there it will fall into place.

One of the guys who gave me a helping hand when I first started fishing down here wades and drifts almost exclusively for trout.  He carries 2 bags, and I mean packages, of plastics, one rod and reel, and nothing else, and he knocks the crap out of them.  It goes back to that old question – Is it better to do a hundred things so so or a few things proficiently?  So back to the basics is a good thing we all could benefit from.  Plus, it can add confidence to our day, and when it comes down to it, confidence is the most important thing in the tackle box.  Thanks for commenting.

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

After a slow month I am starting to feel it.  Nothing beats catching a few fish to improve ones attitude.  Now I am excited about learning to croaker fish.  Some times we just need to do a little something different to revitalize when we get caught in a rut, and I was in a rut.  So come on croaker heads, make my day.  And to Ro – Saw some of those stripers you have been catching on Travis, I just may give you a call later this month when I am headed to Travis and pick your brain.  Nice bunch of fish.  The rest of you keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Just Talking About It. 8/1/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal And check out the Shaky Jigs – I use the 1/16th!

https://bagleybait.com/metal-lures/shaky-jigs/

I do not have a fishing report today as I was hoping to be picking the boat up.  When I called they promised to get to it today or tomorrow, so we shall see how that works out.  Thank goodness there have really been some great comments the last couple of days, so if I am not fishing at least we can talk about it.

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I got this first time comment from Chad and it is so instructive for our current summer fishing conditions.

You do a good job with this blog, im not much for attention so its kinda out my comfort zone to comment. I fish poc or seadrift or kellers year round. We usually fish lures till the water gets 85dgr. Then if we want to do more catching than fishing. We use croaker. Example fished greens area the other day. Fished lures on one side of the bar caught 7 trout 16-18″ walked across the bar and threw with no results. Switched to croaker and caught 20 trout 20-23″ . We went to kellars this morning caught 4 keeper out of 40 trout only threw lures. Talked to two other boats at the ramp. They didnt have one keeper. Thanks for all your reports.

Folks this is exactly what I am talking about when we share information.  I instinctively knew that the water temp was the relevant factor when the trout switch from lures to croaker, but it is nice to know that 85 degrees is basically when it happens.  And I love your comment “if we want to do more catching than fishing.”   That says it all about why croaker are the way to go, and his experience fishing the other day is absolute proof of how effective croaker fishing can be, no bites on lures, sack them on bait.

And another point I appreciate, Chad is just a guy who loves to fish and has shared specifics on where and how.  He did not have to do that.  What we should take away from his report is where, not a specific place, but a type of place.  Be it Greens or Keller, the pattern is the same right now, they want bait.  In fact, my last trip was to Keller and I was lucky to eek out enough for supper on lures out of a bunch of fish.  So don’t jump in your boat and run to Greens, apply it to where you know and like to fish, you will catch them.

Last, thanks for getting out of your comfort zone, or as the Boss says “your warm and fuzzy spot”.  You have really provided some great information that folks can use.  This blog is all about all of us getting better at putting fish in the boat.  So feel free to drop a report anytime the mood strikes you.  Thanks again.

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And I heard back from Lee who was having a little line breakage issues.

Thanks for the new knot. Hoping to get out tonight to fish some canal lights and will give it a try. I quit using a leader and just went straight braid as I don’t think a leader is necessarily in the murky Galveston marsh waters. I still lost two fish (only two fish I caught), a really good spec and a really, really good red that hit right at the boat. The red was a heart breaker and took me a few minutes to recover from. I just put myself in time out on my kayak for a minute or two. Oh well, it was certainly cool as I was standing in my yak and just saw it roll up on something. I never felt the bite but knew my lure was in the area so I just set the hook and the fight was on. It lasted for quite a while so still a fun experience. But, every knot seems to be failing me right now. I guess it’s back to knot school for now. I use an improved clinch knot for tying to my lure. I’m switching to the palomer knot as maybe it works better for straight braid. Or maybe I’m jinxed.
Concerning Lake Travis in late summer, the key word is bluffs, bluffs, bluffs. Actually, shade and bluffs. Once the shade is gone the fish are gone. Also, deep boat docks. And the magic bait on Travis is always a smoke glitter grub with a jig head. Catches guads and largemouth. You can also try smaller crankbaits, 4 inch ring worm, and of course tops before the sun comes up.
Make sure and hit up the Gnarly Gar for a meal and to watch the monster catfish.

Sounds like things are looking up some.  And I agree, if you are going to tie the braid directly to your lure the Palomar knot is the way to go.  It is the only thing I have found that seems to not slip.  And your redfish experience is one of the things I love about them.  You can be reeling a spinnerbait along fairly fast and all of a sudden it just goes soft, they have just eaten it.  In fact occasionally it is one of those why is my bait 5 foot to the side from where it was?   Add a Redfish Magic to your arsenal when you find shallow reds and you will put them in the boat, hopefully!  Keep after it, you are getting there.

Now a big thanks for the Travis information.  Sounds like my old stomping grounds in NW Arkansas.  Grubs, bluffs, shade, been there, done that.  Not sure how much fishing I will get to do, being Grandpa you know, but I will fish a little so will let you know how it goes.  And thanks for the tip on the Gnarly Gar, with a name like that I would eat there no matter where I was.  And the kids, including this one, will love the big catfish.   If you are still fishing good luck and keep in touch.

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And speaking of knots, I got this comment that spares few words and I wanted to pass it along.

Albright knot.

Thanks Jay.  Of course I have heard of that knot but being lazy I have not tried it.  So here is a link to figure out how to tie it.

http://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/albright-special

After reading it I realized I used it in the past to join mono to a real heavy mono leader for tarpon.  It is a great knot, better than my memory.  So thanks for letting us know what you use, makes sense for joining braid and mono.

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And here is a link to find the light jig heads that the Blacks are marketing.  They are the premier guide service on Baffin, and it was article written by Aubry that got me in to fishing the light head.  This link is from Billy who has fished with them multiple times and reports they are the real deal.  Though they give him a hard time because he won’t get off that Bone Skitterwalk!

http://www.baffinbayrodandgun.com/getting-here/blacks-magic-jig-heads/?utm_source=July+28+2016+Newsletter&utm_campaign=July+2016&utm_medium=email

These are a screw lock head and run $4 for 3 according to their website.  I will try them as soon as I see them in a store, but I still find it hard to beat the ones I use, which were actually .09 each, a steal.  So thanks for the link Billy.

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And Joe Bass had this response to my latest post.

So at least someone else feels my pain!!!!!! It’s okay to laugh at the comments. Have to make light of a bad situation sometimes. Get a little spoiled also when fishing gravel pits where you can see 20ft down in clear water. Makes you curse when they turn at the boat and are 4-7lbers. Damned if you see them, Damned if you dont !!

Fishing is just that, fishing.  And nothing beats fishing turning into catching.  But at least you and I are not the only ones suffering this summer.

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Talk about tough fishing, Jay in Alabama is feeling our pain.

Oh, talk about tough fishing….
I’m tearing up cast nets left and right just to get a couple dozen mix of threadfins and gizzards.
Then the TN river catfish won’t even eat ’em!
I can see ’em looking at it on the graph, pole dancing like a long tailed cat in a room full o rocking chairs from my bait going nuts. But those fish just won’t bite….
Spots on Smith been tough too. Only option is ledge trolling in 70-125FOW at about 30-40′. Still trying to find the 30-40lbs Stripes.
There’s your N. AL summer report.

Though I have never been fortunate enough to fish either the TN river or Smith lake, I am familiar with both.  The catfish on the TN are world class and any hardcore fisherman knows about Smith spots.  Must be nice to be close to both, gives you lots of options.  And as far as the big stripers, the years I guided them with downriggers in the summer it was always in that 30 – 40′ range, which on the highland lakes of Arkansas is the general summertime thermocline.  And it was always a catch them early and done by 9am deal.  So thanks for the report and I appreciate you reading my blog.  Send us stuff anytime the spirit moves you.

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And speaking of summertime deep water fishing for stripers, it was a great time in my guiding experience.  They were relatively under fished and had never been exposed to downriggers.  What really made it great, our fish ran a good 10 – 20lbs and 3 or 4 a morning was the norm.  And there was nothing better than getting a customer several big fish like that.  Everyone went home happy, me too.

We caught a couple that day.  My only question is what was up with that mustache and sideburns on Clyde?  Those were the days!

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So here I sit watching fishing.  I have already changed hooks on some new jerkbaits and made sure all the stuff is ready to go.  If I get the boat back I will be out early the next day.  It may be hotter than hell but at least I can get in a few hours before I melt.  Plus it is really a lot more fun to catch them than watch someone else do it.  So keep those comments, suggestions, and reports coming.  It really helps me keep focused and working and I love reading them.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The Heat Goes On 7/31/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Home of the mighty Bang O Lure!

I just got done watching the weatherman tonight and it just might throw me into a depression deeper than a Kentucky bass on Bull Shoals in October.  He was talking right at 3 digit highs for most of the week.  In fact he said it would be getting HOTTER!  Are you kidding me?  Combined with the moisture being pulled out of the Gulf due to this high pressure weather we are trapped in it is just going to be ugly.  It is summer in Texas but this one seems hotter than most.  Who knows, I just may be gettin’ addled in my old age.   No matter what it is hot and as you will see in the comment below, some folks are having just a little trouble catching fish.

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The last several blog posts have generated a few more comments I wanted to share with you all:

When I got this comment from Joe Bass I started laughing and could not stop.  But not for the reason you might think.

Just got back from a week of very ROUGH fishing. Why cant fishing reports from TPWD be correct. “Water lightly stained; 85–89 degrees; 0.64’ low.” When they say lightly stained it should be considered can’t see JACK=muddy. Dropped a white bait down into the water and lost it after 1ft. Lake Update. Lake Palestine in Flint Tx. DON’T GO. It’s constant brown because of the silty bottom and wind turning it all the time, have to hit the bass in the head to catch any. That is the normal color. Caleveras is clearer. Catfish loved the Chicken Livers. Upper end very shallow, More stumps than a forest, Was in 18ft of water and hit stumps. This place SUCKS. Bulkhead lake=no real cover other than boat docks on the lake. I got lucky and caught one by the dam. 5lb8oz. One week got about 7 bass. Oh did i say it Sucked to Bass Fish !!!

I soooooo feel his pain.  This summer’s bass fishing can best be described as tough.  Super high water temps, lots of places off color, days so hot you can not touch the steering wheel, it is no wonder fishing is a mite slow.  And the TPWD fishing report, like our local television report, often leaves me wondering where in the hell they came up with that.  But the reason I could not help laughing is it really does describe my last month.  But keep the faith, it will get better and I promise not laugh at your next comment.  (Probably!)  But you could not have said it better about my bass fishing right now – It sucks to bass fish! 

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One comment concerning knots to connect mono and braid came from Randy and had me doing a little research.

In my experience, the best knot for attaching a leader to braid, is the J knot. I have tried the double uni-knot, but I can break this knot because the braid cuts the leader.
You can look up the J knot on the netknots.com website.

http://www.netknots.com/fishing_knots/j-knot

Thanks for the heads up.  It might take me a little bit to get the hang of it but will definitely give it a go next time I join braid and mono.   According to the website it is slightly stronger than the uni and has less stress on the line, which could solve the problem Lee has been experiencing.  This is the kind of participation I love, trading good info we might not come across otherwise.  So thanks for the comment Randy, I really appreciate it.

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The question on 1/32 jig heads brought a couple of suggestions from Colby that I wanted to share with you.

Doug,
The 1/32oz jigheads are now sold commercially. Tackle Town in Rockport has them(I bought some there about 2 weeks ago) and I understand the Black’s down at Baffin Bay are also selling them. Aaron’s trip is a good tip for everyone. Let nature tip you off on where the fish are. Most trips something will happen in nature to let you know where catchable fish are located. And sometimes nature will SHOUT at you to get you to notice, like a flounder chasing a baitfish all the way out of the water! Great sight when it happens and it sure makes fishing easier.

Similar to Aaron’s trip I once saw one redfish lazily tailing in water not two feet deep along a shoreline. I was farther than a cast away so I had to ease up closer. When I made the cast must have been 50 redfish busted like a big covey of quail! That will get your attention.

Let nature give you those tips. But you’ll never get them going by in a boat at 30 mph. Slow down, listen, watch and catch more fish.

Get that boat going! Thanks for the continued blog, especially during these 100+ degree days.

Colby

And then he followed up with this additional place to find them.

Doug,
Donnie also has the 1/32 oz jigheads at Port O’Connor Rod & Gun. Great little tackle store that really has a lot of good tackle stuffed in a small space. Colby

Thanks for the info on where folks can find 1/32 jig heads locally.  Tackle Town in Rockport was the first place I found the Bagley jighead when I first started trying it out.  I didn’t know about Rod & Gun in POC.  I give all the credit for most of the nicer trout I caught this last year and half to the Blacks.  They wrote the first article that got me using them, and I had heard that they were coming out with their own.  And those of you near a Cabela’s or Bass Pro can always check out the Shaky Head hooks used for bass fishing.  They can be found in light weights with a bigger hook.   The best of those I have found  are the ones available from Bagley Baits, (Check them out be clicking on the link above.) their small one is my favorite and is probably the best hook of the bunch.  What I like about the ones I had made is beside the simple fact they work for me is they are under $30 a hundred, which saves big bucks.  And the other benefit of having them poured is I got to select the hook of my choice.  Since I rarely use over 8lb line I need a finer wire so I can set the hook a mile out, and I have not had a problem with any fish bending them, including a 50lb+ drum last month.  So thanks for letting everyone know.

And the boat will be back this week, but this might have been one time I should have done the work myself.  Since it was nothing more than a hub change it was no big deal and that is what I get for not doing it.  And worse, since I just got the GPS back I can not even put it on the boat and see if it works.  I know one thing for sure, it will be off to the Gulf as soon as I get it back.  And as usual I really appreciate your comments, keep them coming.

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So here it is Sunday morning and I am watching fishing instead of fishing.  Several of the shows today are out of Florida, a place I love to fish.  I have fished the area around the Caloosahatchee River where it meets the coast near Fort Myers, but have never actually fished in the river.  We love that area and have stayed many places around there.  The river is 67 miles long and has great bass fishing, with good snook and tarpon on the lower end.  I think my next trip will be on the river somewhere.  In redfishlaw’s world, where the Boss says I live without a clue, nothing would be better than to catch a few big bass and then head down river and put a tarpon, snook, or some big specs in the boat.

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Not sure what is next but Monday morning I will be at the marina seeing whether my boat will be done shortly.  Since it is at most a 2 hour job a couple of weeks is plenty of time to get that done.  And then when I think of simplifying my life by selling the skiff it is times like this that remind me why I need a back up.  So in my case the old adage: BOAT = Break Out Another Thousand really means Break Out Another Two Thousand.  Oh well why save for retirement or the future, just spend it all on fishing stuff.  It is only money.  There will be some fishing this week, we will just have to see where and how.  And I really love your comments, so keep them coming.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Hijacked 7/29/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Home of the mighty Bang O Lure!

Making chicken salad out of chicken (you know what).

The plan was to fish the Gulf today, and that got short circuited by a really important trip.  My buddy Jeffish saw the crappie fishing report so he stopped by Thursday and said he wanted to take the day off and get his son Korbin, the future 2030 Bassmaster Champion, out of summer camp and go crappie fishing.  No way I was going to turn down an offer like that.

So I picked them up at 7:00 and off to Coleto we went.  Now understand one thing, I have crappie fished there maybe 3 times, or less.  There are lots in there, I just have not really messed with them.  So we picked up 5 dozen minnows and in the water we went.  And then a head up rear moment complicated the whole day.

We split them between two floating minnow buckets, put them in the lake, and within 5 minutes they were all basic dead as doornails.  I guess the 30 degree increase in water temp was just a little to much for them, duh!  A couple of fighters hung on so we hit 3 places, and caught a catfish or two at each place with dead ones.

P1010605

A good eater.

We actually were headed back to hit the Damn Store and get some more live ones, but since we caught at least one catfish everywhere we went we said what the heck, lets keep catching catfish.  If you will recall last post I told you Mr. Crappie 1 + 2 were catching them off timber by dropping it down to the bottom into fairly deep water, at least 10 foot plus, reeling it up 2 cranks and catching crappie.  Well guess what, it works for crappie and catfish, even with our stupid dead minnows.

P1010606

What is not to like about a happy kid and a catfish.  That was me 50 years ago.

From there we just wood hopped.  It seems like we would pull up on the outside trees and tie up and catch a couple, then they would quit, so we would move on.

P1010609

This is a nice average size on Coleto.

It was no more complicated than tying up, dropping it to the bottom, reeling up 2 cranks and catching fish.  We managed to add 4 nice crappies and one keeper bass on dead minnows.  If you know anything about crappie fishing with minnows, dead ones are almost worthless.  If we managed 4 nice crappie on dead ones who knows what we would have caught if we had not killed our bait.

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Even a 15 incher on a dead minnow.

Before we quit about 1 we boxed around 13 or 14 cats and crappie for a fish fry.  It really was that easy, and I can only imagine how it would have gone if we had live minnows.  When we got to the cleaning table we spoke with another guy who had 17.  He found the same thing we did, catch a couple and then they would quit.  He caught his as shallow as 6 and out to 20 feet.  So if you want to catch a fish fry for your house keep it simple.  Drop it to the bottom, reel up 2 cranks and hold on.  Lively bait and trees, the fish are there somewhere, and if they are there you will know it right off the bat.  Keep moving and trying different depths and you will get rewarded.  There was one thing that definitely made a difference, and that seemed to be using fluorocarbon line.  I had the most bites and that is the only difference we noted.

So though I did not make the Gulf, still waiting for the flats boat back, nothing beat the look on Korbin’s face as he struggled mightily with a catfish all of 8 inches.  There are many ways to keep our sport alive when we are gone, but there is none better than sharing it with our children.  Love of the outdoors and fishing, and an appreciation of what it means, can be fostered before girls (or boys), sports, and all the other things that distract a young person.  But once it is inside them, as it was for me, they will always come back to it.  Pass it on.

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

I may not have hit the bay but I got this short report from Elaine a couple of days ago.

Fished with friends today at Green’s with croaker. This was a drift then power pole down and fish it out. About 3 hrs of this and readjusting we had one trout. Numerous boats there, some anchoring, some wading but didn’t see Any catching. Rain clouds sent us home.

First thanks for the report, it brings up several comments.  When I am drift fishing I also use the Power Pole.  Hopefully I catch a couple of keepers back to back then Power Pole down, it just gets tough when you can’t even do that.  You have to give those guys credit, now they are putting 2 on the back of many bass boats, which for most are just are great way to hold the boat after getting it off the trailer.  I can only think of a couple of times I have actually used it bass fishing.    Additionally, croakers account for zillions of nice trout on the coast every summer, but they are not a magic bullet.  As the say in real estate, location, location, location.   And of course, nothing like summer on the coast.  Why I love hunting season, then I am out there much more, nothing like getting to park in the first spot or two at Froggie’s and only seeing a few boats all day.  So sorry it did not go as well as you would like, but as you know, that is fishing.  It was good to hear from you and comment anytime the spirit moves you.

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

And this comment from Lee brings up several points.

Thanks for the code to the Coccoon glasses. Just got two pairs in Amber and also blue mirror with gray. Really liking them.

I’m down at Galveston around Jamaica Beach for my annual vacation and trying to get some fishing in from my kayak in the bay. I’m struggling with fish breaking me off now that I’m using a leader with braid. Do you use a leader and if so, what kind of knot do you use to connect them? I’m using a uni to uni and haven’t had this problem on Lake Travis. Not sure if it’s a speckled trout thing with the teeth or if I’m messing something up all of a sudden. Lost three lures last night. Still figuring out the salt thing. Thanks for the great blog. I read it regularly but just signed up. Really appreciate you sharing the knowledge as it helps me out.

Yikes, I feel your pain with the braid to mono issue.  I also use the uni to uni knot and failure seems to boil down to user error, at least in my case.  It seems that very problem happens to me on occasion and it happens when I join them improperly.  If either side of the knot, either the braid or mono, lets a wrap go over the other knot, even a little, it will slip pretty easily.  Be sure to wet both knots when you pull them tight.  The way to tell is does your braid come back with no mono, then it is probably your knot.  But that does not seem to be your problem, especially since you are using it successfully in fresh water.  But that would be where I would first look when I tie it.  Now if the mono is breaking somewhere on the leader and not at the knot it is something else.  As you figure out the salt thing you might have hit a pocket of Spanish Mackeral, which can bite mono off like a hot knife through butter.  They really inhabit the bay this time of year and they love lures.  So if you are setting the hook and the lure is just gone, often not even feeling the fish, it could be them.  For me I have just about quit using braid on the coast and now almost exclusively use fluoro, mainly because  of the very problem you have had.  Sorry I can not be more help in that department.

I am glad you took advantage of the deal at Cocoon’s.  It was a great deal.  Anytime you can get 4 pairs of great sunglasses for around a $100 what is not to like about that.  Be sure to register your warranty, they stand behind them and additionally they occasionally send great offers like the last one to folks who register their warranty.

Last, you all will never know how good it makes me feel to get this kind of feedback.  Sharing what little knowledge I have with folks is the reason for this blog.  I get so tired of how fishing seems to have evolved into what seems like a National Security issue.  More than any other sport it seems secrets and misinformation rule the day.  There are plenty of fish for all and sharing info makes us all better fishermen.  Thanks for your kind comment and feel free to comment anytime.  And if you can drop the occasional Travis comment I would love to hear them.  I will be making a trip there with the family at the end of summer and am looking forward to seeing what that is like on a holiday weekend.  I assume it is nuts.

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

And last I heard from Austin Aaron.

Doug,

I hope all is well. It’s been too long since I dropped you a line.  The wind kept me away from the coast most of this month but I finally made it down to POC last weekend.  I stick to shallow water and the early morning low tide wasn’t playing to my strengths but I managed 10 reds in a morning of fishing.  The best fish of the morning is a fun story.  I was paddling up to a patch of shell and next to an old duck blind.  A cormorant was sitting on the duck blind and didn’t fly off until I was right next to him.   He flew over the shell as I was preparing to cast and then made a slow loop back to the shoreline.  I normally couldn’t care less about a cormorant but paused on my cast to watch him finish his flight.  Right when he reached the shore a big school of reds spooked from his shadow and started fleeing.  I cast as hard as I could to get my lure into the middle of the school and had an immediate hook-up.  That red pulled me out over 100 yards before I landed him.  He was right at 28”.  I’ve never felt thankful for cormorants until that morning.  Sure glad I was watching him because I would have never fished the spot where we spooked those fish.  

The reason for the email this afternoon is to see if you could shoot me the name of the outfit that makes 1/32 oz jig heads.  I frequently use a weightless set-up and would like to try 1/32 oz but am having a heck of a time finding anyone that makes it.  I seem to remember that you found a group that makes them.

I hope all is well,

Aaron

Cool story.  Whether it is mullet, bait, or reds, it is amazing what a shadow does to them.  Death from the sky.  The collective knowledge of the eons is imprinted in their brain.  Your experience is a great example of what can be gleaned from watching the water.  It may be as profound as scattering redfish, or as subtle as a small ripple, a flipping mullet, or as some call it, a simple disturbance in the force.  But when it happens and you take advantage of it is a beautiful  thing.  And 10 reds for the day works anytime.

Now to the jig heads.  I got them made for me at a tackle store down the road from the tackle store I owned for 2 years in the mid 70’s.  It is a small store, and when you go inside it is actually one of the better tackle stores in the country for a small business.  They have tons of tackle and a large supply of lure making products, and are able to pour what ever jig heads a person needs.  I wish I had written down the hook I had them use with the jig head, it is a finer wire and I have had no problem with them bending or breaking.  And for a guy like you who spends lots of time in shallow water they are perfect.

So here is a suggestion, watch your mailbox, I am dropping you a couple so that you can see them.  My good buddy lives up there and if these are what you are looking for I can send him out there and get you a handful.   Gerry is easy to work with and after you see these you can see if they meet your need. The price is so right.  We can go from there.  As usual good to hear from you.

https://www.facebook.com/Gerrys-Qwik-Stop-Tackle-150591391701937/?fref=nf

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

Humminbird

I wanted to keep you updated on the Humminbird saga.  As you have read here the GPS was not working properly in spite of what I was initially told.  So after complaining here they offered to fix if for me though the warranty was out.  So I sent it back and low and behold it is already back.  Unfortunately I do not have the boat right now, so I can not hook it up and see if it works, but will be able to do it next week.  I am happy with their response and quick service.  I will let you know how it goes.

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

The Boss and I are sitting around this morning finalizing some of the Australia plans for this spring.  Only going for 2 weeks to a place as big as anywhere decisions have to be made about getting the most bang for your buck.  The Great Barrier Reef, crocodiles, the outback, Sydney, kangaroos, so much to see, so little time.  But I have reserved 4 days for fishing and I am already stressing out over the decision on where to spend my time.  Tuna, barramundi, reef fish, they are all on the list, I can not wait!

So there you have it for today.  I am getting back in the grove and the reports will start coming more often.  As I always tell you I so appreciate you sticking with me and love any comments you want to share.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

PS:  Watch This!

Fireman is pulled overboard by a 400-pound fish; video

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Coleto Creek 7/27/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Home of the mighty Bang O Lure!

Since I am still waiting the return of the flats boat I decided to change it up a little on Coleto.  I have been fishing it early and quitting early due to the temperature so today it was time to leave late and fish the middle of the day.  Historically the better bite on Coleto is rarely in the morning, so with the cloud cover why not give it a try.  It may seem counter intuitive to throw buzzbait in the middle of the day in the middle of summer with the water temp in the 90’s, but looking back on past posts it works.

The water is still dropping and clearing, and the crappie are still biting.  I saw Mr. Crappie 1 and Mr. Crappie 2 as I was putting in, they had a 21 nice big fatties.  They really got me to thinking about what it means to be a real fisherman.  It was forecast to be raining in the early morning which is the reason I slept in.  So here I am whining about the weather, and choosing to not fish when it is sketchy, and here they are, both 86 y/o’s and fishing when the forecast is for thunderstorms with temps rising into the mid 90’s.  These guys are hardcore.

Weather 

91/75  rain/thunderstorms early  wind S10 – 20  (It blew all of 20 in the afternoon and was 96 degress when I took out.)

Tides

High   9:03 AM     0.4     (The bite was on the fall)
Low   7:02 PM    -0.2

Solunar Times

Best     5:43A – 7:43A      6:10P – 8:10P

Good   11:33A – 1:33P   (That is when they bit.)

I just got straight to the punch line as I knew I would only be good for 4 or 5 hours in the middle of the day, so I headed way up lake.  On the way I stopped at 2 points, the first one where I broke that good fish off Monday did not produce a bite, on the second one I caught a small one.  So I motored up lake, and I mean way up, and started on a really flat bank with grass, again somewhat off the chart.

P1010598

The second one over the side.

The reason I started on that bank is that it has the slender green grass on it.  That type of grass has been their preferred habitat this year.  One problem with most of it is it is on really flat banks and that are really shallow and a long way from deep water.  The bank that held them today was really flat, but close to a channel drop to allow them to quickly get from protected to shallow without moving very far.

They actually bit pretty well along that stretch and a couple of more small ones exploded on it, today they were not missing it.  It is interesting to me how some days they miss it by a mile, some days they barely suck it under, and other days the smash it, today they were eating it.  So after that stretch I moved to a flat stretch with similar grass and there were a couple more there.

P1010602

This one smoked it.

Unfortunately, in spite of the forecast for clouds all day it decided to start clearing.  Even though another 3 or 4 had a go at it before I quit the buzzbait, as soon as the clouds cleared out it was over.  But considering it was flat in the middle of a summer day the fishing was better than it had been.  Or just possibly I made better decisions.  It was a nice bonus to see several deer, and when I made a move I busted a big bunch of turkeys who were just as surprised to see me as I was to see them.

The lake is clearing more and more every day.  We need a little rain, and I mean a good soaker and not a gully washer, to stabilize the lake some and not put any more color in to it.  It really is a different lake right now without the deep grass.  I just hope when, of if, the lake finally clears that the deep grass is just dormant and will grow with good light penetration next year.

I started about 10:30 and quit at 3 when it really cleared off.  The wind blew around 20mph as it cleared, and did not help a lick.  After they quit up lake I headed back down and fished a couple of more places, but with the wind straight out of the south there were not many good places out of the wind where you could fish plastics easily.  So the afternoons total was just about what I have been catching early, so when I get back there next week I will do an evening trip and see how that goes.

I am still waiting for the LTS to get finished so I can do a serious day on the Gulf.  The tide is fairly early tomorrow and I am anxious to hit the falling tide after some daylight topwater fishing.  Who knows, maybe the phone will ring in a little bit and it will be done.  Right now I am listening to the contractor tear stuff up in the bedroom as we are having a little work done on the closets.  So today is a bust as far as getting on the water and I am unsure what tomorrow will bring.

I really appreciate all of you who are hanging with me during this reduced fishing period, but it won’t last.  There are fish to be caught and stories to be told.  So I can not thank you enough for your loyalty.  I am just as tired of sitting indoors, watching fishing and waiting for the temps to moderate, as you of not seeing any real reports.  And there is something I have wanted to bring from the bass world into the salt and I am set up and itching to give it a try.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 7/25/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

Boat Decal Home of the all time great Bang O Lure!

There was a 60% chance of rain today, and it is supposed to stay that way all week, so I thought I would hit Coleto and see how the weather pattern shaped up.  It looks like this week the better chance of rain in is the afternoon into evening, and it never got more than partly cloudy today.  And to go along with that, later this week the high tide is around 9am with a pretty good swing, so the water should run during late morning into early afternoon, making it perfect conditions with a falling tide.

But back to today.  Dropping the boat in the water as it just cracked daylight, it was calm and it looks like the day has dropped another foot or so.  The water temp was 88 degrees and the color is finally starting to clear some, but it is still darker than usual.  I had made up my mind to fish only one place with buzzbait and then concentrate deeper with plastics.

When I started in the first cove right near the park they were active but small.  I had 4 hits and managed to put 3 in the boat.

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The first one.

Unfortunately that was the only flurry I had all morning.  That first hour they were whacking it pretty good but when they quit the buzzbait, they quit.  So then it was time to fish some deeper stuff and see if I could figure it out.  With the fall points and channel banks with wood seemed to be the logical places.

So I just hopped points from here to there, but I just could not get it going.  Another 2 or 3 did commit on plastics and ended up in the boat, but they were small, and I do mean small.  On one deep point with standing timber I did break one off setting the hook, so who knows what size that was.  Most of the bites I did get on plastics came in the 10 -1 5 foot range.  I just did not hit the place today.

I also fished a stretch of small trees following a channel leading out of a big cove into the main channel, figuring following it out from about 10 feet to where it dropped off in 20 they should be on it somewhere.  Shows what I know.  So about 11:30 I called it a day.  This is probably the slowest stretch I have had on Coleto since I first started fishing the lake.  Of course it is my fault, there is a way to catch them I just have not found out the key.  So next time I will keep sticking with the deep stuff until it happens.  I miss the vegetation that usually grows in Coleto, hopefully we will have clearer water and more grass next year.  But all is not lost if you like to fish the lake, there are plenty of fish being caught right now, and below is a few.

Crappie

I have been telling you about the crappie on Coleto and this morning when I hit the ramp I saw this sack.  The two guys who caught them are regulars on the lake who I call Mr. Crappie 1 and Mr. Crappie 2.

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Now that is a load of big crappie!

Without coughing up their fishing spots I can give you a couple of words of advice.  They are catching them off wood, not brush piles, on minnows in deep water, and I am not talking 10 foot.  They are dropping the bait to the bottom and reeling up 2 cranks.  They have been catching  25 – 35 a morning lately, which is what the other guy I see who regularly fishes there is also catching.  So there is no better time than now to catch a nice wad of crappie on Coleto.

***********

I hope to get the flats boat back in the next day or two.  If the weather does not get to extreme the rest of the week it will be a day or two of serious trout fishing.  That is probably what I should have done this morning, but you make you choice and live with the results.  The jerk bait bite the other day in Keller had real potential, and if I do not get the flats boat back so I can do some traveling on the Gulf it will be back to Keller.  And there is one other thing I want to try on the trout, but I will leave it at that for the moment.

I really appreciate you all sticking with me during this period of the summer doldrums, both the weather and me.  It is hard to be that mad at them when it is this stifling hot.  We are still looking at temps in the high 90’s with extreme humidity, making it fairly miserable mid-day.  But July will soon be in the rearview mirror and summer will be on the downslide.  I am still intending to hit Baffin soon, and the fishing report from Falcon Lake is really good, so that is a possibility.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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