Back in the Game. 8/22/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I just got back from the surgeon and I am good to go.  In fact, no more follow up visits, so I shook his hand, thanked him, and off we go.  No restictions, in other words after over 2 months I can hitch up the boat and head to the water, and later this afternoon it will be the lake.  After that who knows where, but I have a lot of making up to do and I intend to do it with a vengence.  Somebody’s got to pay for this hitch in my git’ along and the fish will be the lucky winner.

Dr. Clemmons did me right, I really do feel like a new man.  Detar Hospital was great, though it was little more expensive than a stay at Trump’s hotels.  Most of all thanks to the Boss.  It was not easy listening to me whine the last few months but as she has always done she hung in there.  Hell I wouldn’t marry me!  And the rest of you, your well wishes made a big difference.  So today I am putting this time in my life to bed.  I am thankful for my health and have been reminded of the words of a song; “You don’t know what you’ve got till it is gone.”  I am headed to the “stuff’ I have not had the pleasure of using for months and get ready to whip em’.  Thanks again to all of you.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Hot Enough For You? 8/20/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Happy Sunday from the Texas coast where it will hit the 110 degree heat index mark today!

When I got this question from SA Joe I figured I needed to reread the post.  It was simply a matter of I knew what the hell I was talking about but since I am not the reader it was a fail.  So here is the best answer.

are you talking about the double plopper? Or a buzz bait?

If you like the original Whopper Plopper you will love the new Double Plopper! Just imagine a lure with not one, but two counter rotating plopper blades to create twice the magic plopper sound!

Bass pro has a double bladed plopper for 9.99 and is 5″ long, great for canada !!!
http://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-xps-double-down-plopper its

 Sorry for the confusion.

                                   That is one awesome looking buzzbait.

It was probably 1975 when I had my tackle store and was just really starting my guiding career and fishing tournaments fairly regularly.  Bassmaster Magazine had an article on a new bait that won a major BASS tourney.  I ordered some immediately, got them 3 days later, and on the first bank I put 8 Kentucky bass in the boat.  I have been hooked on buzzbait fishing ever since.  The fact that this one also floats just adds to the effectiveness and the design should fish over grass, a real advantage with a buzzbait.  It should be killer anywhere there are big bass and based on our experience with other doubles it would not even survive a week in Canada!  And what the heck at 3 for the price of 1 you can’t beat the deal.  So sorry I wasn’t clear, thanks for pointing that out.

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One of the concessions to “old” age and retiring early was being able to travel and fish, so I finally got the Tow Boat US unlimited coverage and the roadside support.  Not to pricy but it only takes once and you could have paid for it for years.  And it is nice to know if it all goes bad there is someone coming.  As a part of that I  get the Boat US Magazine and the August/September 2017/page 34 issue had an article on the proposed Trump budget as it relates to marine issues and I can not help but comment on some of it.

Some quick budget figures:    The National Marine Fisheries Service     -3%,   National Weather Service     -5%,     US Coast Guard   -1.6%,  Corps of Engineers   -17%,     National Ocean Service   -23%

Before I address each one lets just all agree, our government wastes billions of dollars every year.  No department is immune and there is a need to streamline all of them.  And I am sure the waste is just the same in these departments as in welfare and the military, but that is a discussion for another place.

Looking at the cuts, the National Ocean Service is charged with coastal zone management.  We are losing thousands of acres of coast every year and I wonder what a 23% cut will mean for that.  After seeing what Mississippi has done on their coast it would be nice to see that type of recovery along the whole Gulf Coast.  Another department that goes hand in had with the NOAA is the Corps.

While the Corps has been trolled for waste over the years they are much smaller than when I lived on a Corp lake.  They are in charge of  dredging, waterways, flood control, locks, and dams, and even camp grounds, ramps, and parks on Corp Lakes.  A 17% reduction in their budget would be devastating.  I do not have to tell you the condition of dams all over this country, large and small.  Many stretches of the inter-coastal are silting in, as are many passes all over the country.  Imagine a life on the Coast if dredging comes to a stand still, replacement of markers takes for ever, if at all, and ramps and access closes.  You get the picture.

And the least the Coast Guards budget should not be cut even this little.  If someone had told me when I was in high school in the middle of an Iowa cornfield that if you joined up you got a boat and a gun I would have joined up that day.  They preform vital services in both law enforcement much less saving our stinking lives when it is all on the line.  And I am sure the guys could all use a raise.  They are an important arm of national security, if something should happen in a shipyard or port the same folks who cut the budget will be screaming like they had nothing to do with it and the need for more law enforcement.

Unfortunately some services are going to be cut, end of story, it will just require the individual departments to figure it out.  But people continue to move to coastal areas, boats are everywhere, and millions of people make a living one way or another on the “coast” no matter where they live, not to mention waterways all over this country.  These services are taken for granted but imagine a life without them.  The best we can hope for is that the localities, state, feds, and organizations like the CCA can team up and work together (That is actually happening now amazingly enough.) to protect our coastal areas.  I expect the fight over the budget next month to resemble Game of Thrones.

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One last question for you and it concerns this striper fishing itch I have had lately.  It has been a while since I actually fished for them and seeing some of the stringers from Lake Buchanan has given me that itch.  I did catch a few in the old days and the Boss is a big fan of them on the plate.

OMG!  I did not notice until today that you can see the rear end of my Gremlin.  Folks I was styling in the biggest piece of junk on 4 wheels.  Wish I still had it! 

I am not looking for “spots”, just wanting to know some general info to get me started, I can take it from there.   So if you can help a brother out it would sure be appreciated.  Ramps, lower or upper end, resort or cabins I can leave the boat in the water a couple of days, that kind of thing.  So thanks in advance.  (And of course if you want to cough up the good stuff then like I have done here for 6 years, want me to share it, ok, want me to keep it to myself, fine by me.  I just want to catch a couple.)

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The Cowboys look like they are going to be a handful.  And one thing about the Cowboys that is constant no matter where you live, you either love them or hate them, there is no middle of the road.  It is just a question of how many will stay suspended and how many will be arrested this year.  To bad young players do not realize how fleeting an NFL career is and these days you could be gone and poor in a second.

That is it for today.  Hope you all had a great weekend, and if you fished hope you sacked a few and had a good time.  I on the other hand am now counting the hours.  My return to the water can not come soon enough.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Saturday Musings 8/19/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I was really happy to hear back from Bill.  He was headed to Lake of the Woods with family and wanted a couple of tips so I was happy to point the way.  Those of you who have read this blog know that we have had days where we would catch well over a 100 smallmouth in a day, not to mention some largemouth, pike, walleye, and even the occasional muskie.

Sorry It has taken so long to return your request for a June fishing report on Lake of Woods at Sioux Narrows Bear Bay. If you remember I was going with one of my Sons and one of my Grandsons. Bear Bay was everything You said it would be and more.
We spotted our Houseboat just outside of yellow girl Bay which put us in just outside of Bear Bay. It was June Canada which meant Rain an Wind ever day but inside Bear Bay it was fish on. IN our Boat we Boated and released best we could over 400 smallmouth Bass, and at the end of day each pick up one each over slot big old Walleye (because that all our license would allow) along a couple of Pike we enjoyed fresh Fish for Supper every night.
Thank again for the Tip on Bear bay and yes as you said it was a little hard to get into had to get our of boat and pull it through the gap. again thanks for the a great trip and Grandson is hook and already talking about next year.

I am so happy it worked out for you.  I have strived to try to provide real, truthful, information that can help folks catch fish.  Not only is it great when it works out for folks, it really has helped me be a better fisherman.  There is to much lying, deception, and posing in fishing today.  It is supposed to be fun and I like hearing about folks results as much as I like making my own.  So thanks for remembering, it was great to hear from you and we will be waiting for next years report.  Hopefully a muskie will be in somebodies future.

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One thing I would like to say about Bill’s report, I appreciate receiving it.  Over the last 6 years I have tried to answer each and every request and question.  One thing I consistently hear is, “Thanks, will let you know.”  Guess how often that actually happens?  Maybe 1 out of 5 times, so when one comes back it makes it worth it.  And hey, it does not matter if it was tough, we all have those days.  So anytime you went to send a report or comment bring it on.

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And speaking of the kind of reports I love getting here is one from Joe.

20 inch flounder for my first fish on this bait!! Indian Pass Florida

He read the how-to on the Redfish Magic and actually went out, bought one, and then made it work.  I love it when that happens.  And it catches just about everything in the salt and it seems when you catch a flounder on it generally it is a good to big one.   So thanks to Joe, let us know what else you catch as you learn to fish it.  And who knows, I will be in Florida in a couple of months, maybe I will catch one while I am there.

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And I did forget something I wanted to tell you about if you have a Dick’s Sporting Goods near you.  I love to shop there, not because anyone in the fishing department has a clue, but because occasionally there are some great deals, even better if you hunt for them.  Not sure your store has them but the new double buzzer by the same company that makes the Whopper Plopper is on sale.  That thing looks mean and will fish through anything.  Normally they are $16.99 but they are 3 for like $6.50 apiece if you buy 3.  Great deal on a buzzbait that has big fish written all over it.  It would be dangerous to throw in Canada!  And while I was there I found an unmarked bait caster that was $59.99 and it was clearance at $19.00.  Now reels in this price range don’t last, unless you get a good one and it does happen, so I buy them when I see them, use them, and then in the trash they go.  I have 3 or 4 right now waiting to be used, so it is a cheap way to keep stocked up.

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During the prime May – August period I rarely fish the weekends, there is enough confusion without me adding to it.  So I usually spend time watching fishing.   But hunting season is coming, dove opens up soon.  And when that happens things really quiet down on the water then I am up to fish about anytime.   Today the Cowboys play later and they are looking good.  But being a Cub fan, I have learned my lesson but hope springs eternal. Now that this is posted I am headed to the tackle room to do a little organization in preparation of getting back on the water.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The Mississippi Coast 8/18/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The first time we went to Biloxi was over 25 years ago, the waterfront was not much.  If memory serves me right there was a gambling boat but no real casinos, and really not much else on the water.  I believe we were on the way to Florida and that is where we stopped for the night.  The next time was exactly 1 year after Katrina and we drove through on the way home from Florida to see if they were making any progress on the recovery.  It was sad and I remember thinking why is the government not working faster?  But after just driving through New Orleans, the answer to that was, the disaster was just to massive.  All those great old homes on the coast nestled in the giant old live oaks were gone, but the oaks remained as they have through thick and thin.

So with me still not released to boat fish we decided to visit Venice Louisiana a night and then revisit Biloxi.  And let me tell you, I was freakin’ amazed!  Mississippi has taken a lot of guff over the years, last in education, last in this, last in that.  But folks, what they have done with their recovery is nothing short of awesome, and it really opened my eyes.  With the money from the oil spill Mississippi did something unusual for state government, they actually spent the money fixing the coast, and that they did.  And of course the casino taxes have not hurt anything.

We stuck to the coast on Hwy 90 out of New Orleans and made our way to Biloxi.  Of course I was scoping out places to fish, and places to fish would be an understatement.  We cruised the whole area from Louisiana to Pasgaguola, visiting towns, marinas, boat ramps, and the beach.

First to the fishing.  There is more water than a guy could fish in a lifetime.  From Pontchartrain to Pasgagoula, there is something for any inshore guy.  Miles of creeks, rivers, and lakes, there would always be somewhere out of the wind.  I stopped at a tackle store and spoke with a couple of great brothers, Mike and David at Nelson Outdoors and they basically clued me in.  This year they have had lots of rain and of course the trout are out of the rivers and the creeks with all the fresh water.  The redfish just do the redfish thing.  They have the usual suspects, flounder, sheephead, Spanish, jacks, tarpon during the summer, all the stuff we catch in Texas.  It looks good for a first time visitor who brings his own boat.  Here is the MS Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks for general fishing information.

http://www.mdwfp.com/

We visited several places and the folks were great.  Of course I pick up every free and not so free fishing publication I find and in one I saw an ad for Nelson Outdoors in Pasgagoula at 2034 Market Street.  So for my tackle store visit we put them in the gps and off we went.  It is in town proper and they have all the “right stuff.”  It is a local but well stocked store that has just been open less than a year.  It is the kind of place I love to stop.  They were so friendly, it was nice to visit a friendly store where they were happy to have you.  We shot the stuff a while and they will be my resource when I return, and trust me I will return.  When I go somewhere I always hit the local spot, spend a couple of bucks and learn something.  Plus it is good to support guys like this, you can learn so much more than stopping at Academy.  Nice to know I have a place to call and find out the local conditions, because their fishery is much more effected than ours by freshwater.  Just something to think about when choosing a new place to go.  There is no such thing as to much information!  After checking out their facebook page when I got back others are just as impressed.  They have a great fly fishing department, with a kayaking redfish fanatic behind the counter, and are getting more into the kayak thing.  Trust me if you ever think about visiting contact them, they will help you however they can. Thanks guys, I wish you nothing but success and will see you soon.

https://www.facebook.com/nelsonoutdoors/?fref=ts

And to make a fishing trip here even better, it was freakin’ ramp heaven!  They are everywhere, especially as you near Biloxi and then all the way to Pasgagoula.  They are paved, multi ramps, with parking, and I mean parking.  Many were 6 lane with quick access to rivers, bay, and open water.  One that we stopped at even had wash downs.  (As states mandate new rules on cleaning boats it has always puzzled me why they are not working towards providing launch washes so that folks could stop the spread of invasive species and comply with the law.  Typical of most states, Mississippi on the other hand is getting it done.)  It was a beautiful Sunday and there was not one ramp that was overloaded, even the busy ones had more than enough parking.   I was almost in a tizzy, really, the access was better than any destination I have fished in the US or Canada hands down.  And guess what?  The public ones are free, no local stickers or annual fees.  And to top it off the private ramps are literally everywhere and most are $5 or less.  And with some in the rivers, canals, and bayous there is plenty of place to launch no matter the conditions or time of year.  We stopped and spoke to some water cops, not sure if G&F or a marine patrol, forgot to check the logo, to ask about rules, and were told basically the Coast Guard rules apply.  Which is good considering occasionally you run across some esoteric rule like Missouri requiring a paddle.   And one last word to you kayakers, it should be heaven, the access for kayaks is unlimited.

So now a word about combining the fishing with the wife and family.  The coastal area, along with great ramps, has miles of paved walkways, beaches, cool places to eat, and plenty for the family to do.  There are parks with splash pads, it is hard to tell you how impressed I was with the infrastructure.  The Biloxi area is a great place to get to enjoy the fishing but still leave the family with plenty to do.  Seriously you can tell your family what a good guy you are to take them there, and they won’t notice your boat on the back until you take off!  Places like the Margaritaville Biloxi Resort (Not a casino.) are family friendly with a water park and tons of stuff to keep the kids busy while you fish.  And of course if you are like me and play an occasional game of chance there are multiple casinos from reasonable to high class depending on your tastes.  This trip we stayed at the Golden Nugget and as we were headed out at daylight to walk one of the floor guys stopped us and said had we walked the bridge, so we did.  Out the door and hang a right is a 1.7 mile bridge over the bay.  What makes it different is there is a huge walkway with markers every tenth of mile and a few benches spread  out on the way to catch the sunrise or sit a while and catch your breath.  And boy did we catch a sunrise.  And there were lots of folks, young and old, fat and skinny like me, all walking and enjoying the morning.  Great experience.

Hope this loads correctly.  But if not, you get the point!

There are also plenty of condos, rentals, and small resorts scattered all over so no matter you preference or price range there is plenty of choices.  And like to eat?  Stuff yourself blue on seafood looking at the bay as the boats go in and out, or enjoy a great sunset with your favorite beverage.

So as you can tell I was impressed.  The Mississippi Gulf Coast is not a second class destination for the fisherman or the family.  The best word to describe it is cool.  So next time you are up for someplace new, check it out.  If the fishing is anything like it appears I will be reporting on a trip this fall.  (Probably this winter as I learned their trout head up the rivers in the winter and that should be crazy.)  Having fished from Key West to Canada it is hard to find another place that offers as much.  And last, congratulations to the State of Mississippi, you have spent your money well and the results bear that out.  There is so much more to say but you get the point.  So look it all up, you might be surprised.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Random Ramblings. 8/17/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Sunrise over Biloxi!

First I want to say a couple of words on our latest travel.  I was so impressed and surprised by the folks, the water, and the fishing possibilities in Mississippi.  I will get a post up tomorrow about the area but I can tell you one thing, it is great and I am already planning a trip back.

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It was good to hear from SA Joe.

You really need to get back on that water !!!! That last article took 15 minutes to read. We like them short and sweet.  I saw a picture of a Bass Cat boat the other day with a 400 on it. Cant even imagine that boat, a Puma costing 60k or more. Going 90 + on the water.  Glad you are feeling better. I really need to get to Coleto and fish/meet with you

The reports will be coming hot and heavy, hopefully starting middle of next week.  Since I tried to fish at least 3 days a week I have a lot of making up to do.

And on the subject of Bass Cat, it started in Mtn Home Arkansas while I was living there and has really become a great national brand.  And if a guy can afford it good for him.  But I have always felt if in a tourney crank it up.  But just fishing it just seems to be that an engine has so many rpm’s in it’s life span, and the difference between 4000 and 6000 wide open is a lot of turns for the longevity of the engine.  Plus the gas costs are dramatically reduced.  Just a thought.

As soon as I am really able to give it serious go hopefully we can set something up.  Thanks for your continued comments.

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I got this comment from Ross after I posted on my visit to Venice.  It is exactly the kind of participation I beg to get from you all.  We can all learn something.

Venice Tuna Fishing.  Saw your post from yesterday about charter prices for Tuna fishing. You are way off on pricing. Most of the charters I have used and researched charge on average of $2,000 per day + fuel. That is for 6 folks. I am not sure where you got the $4k-$5k numbers from, but they aren’t for your tried and true tuna charters. Maybe on a sportfisher, but there is no reason to charter a sport fisher when there are numerous 30-36 CC or Cats to choose from.

Look at Capt Eddie Burger or Super Strike charters $1,700 – $2,000 per day plus fuel.

Just thought I would let you know, so as not to deter you or someone else from booking a trip in Venice due to incorrect charter pricing information.

BTW- Love the blog and check almost daily to see whats new! I am from N. TX and dont get to the salt often enough, so I live vicariously through your blog posts!

Get well soon and get back on the water!

-Ross

Thanks for filling us in.  The quote I got a few years ago was $3500 + gas was a sport fishing boat so it was not inaccurate, just different.  I am looking both of your recommendations up and now you have cost me some serious $$$ as I have no excuse not to go!  And after what I saw at the dock I will be chomping at the bit.  So thanks for clearing that up and I appreciate you reading the blog.  Comment anytime.  I can not tell you what it means to me to hear from new folks.

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I got this comment from my buddy Clyde after the Venice post.

Good stuff old buddy

You think so huh?  Then figure out a time, get on the freakin’ plane and lets go whip some tuna ass!  Other than that let me know how your next trip to the far north goes.  And tell your lovely wife she is the best and one of you in this relationship married way out of “his” league!

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And here is a little Venice story speaking of offshore guides.  About 10 years ago a boat broke down and ended up down river tied to a buoy.  Luckily an offshore boat, one of the more popular and famous ones there, stopped by and asked if they were ok.  Then out of the goodness of his heart he said he would be happy to tow them in for $700, which they did not pay and he left them.

So sometimes when I rag on guides it is because of behavior like that.  If guides can not take criticism when they do something stupid to freakin’ bad.  Guides should be a keeper of the resource and an example of sportsmanship to others.  Not like the guide/ jerk who found out where we were clobbering the reds and went back that day and strung 15 by himself.  Either you are a great guy and accept and shoulder the burden and be a credit to our sport or you are a *&&^%$.

I never left a man to this day and never would, I don’t care if I just started out and it would take hours to get them back.  Heck I have towed 4 in on Coleto over the last few years.  2 years ago I found a boat on the bay with 3 people in it struggling for hours with a paddle and a board trying to get back.  They were almost to Barroom in the boat lane.  They had paddled all the way from the island!  Boat after boat went by them, either looking the other way intentionally or veering away as they waved.  Come on folks, it could be your turn next.

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And again thanks to all you how wished me well, you know who you are.  Know I am humbled by it.

Great news i miss your reports.

Thanks Jim, so good to hear from all of you.  Trust me, since I love to talk, ask any friend I have, I miss my own rambling as much as you do but a new day is coming.

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And one final illness post, then it is back to fishing and not my health.

Glad to hear that you are getting better. I am reminded of the old saying Getting old aint for pussies every time I get up out of my chair. Get well soon!!

Never a truer word has been spoken.  So to combat that I have been walking, now trying to go up to 2 miles a day to regain my strength  I have followed directions to a T in an effort to be better than before.  To bad it took this little hiccup to remind me I am not that 25 year old guide who guided every day but one in April but an out of shape retired attorney.  The Boss and I have places to go, things to see, and more adventures to take.  Plus all that aside there is the fishing, with this reprieve it is time to expand the fish bucket list.  Fish till you puke!  Great to hear from you Rick, I appreciate your continued readership in spite of me.  Thanks.

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And I can not help but comment on today’s new attack in Spain.  Again, in the name of Islam and Allah, they said I did not, innocent men, women, and most of all little children were slaughtered for no reason.  So when I see people of the faith saying we should not be scared I do not understand.  What are folks supposed to think when they are scared?

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And I will try not to bore you as this will be my last post on my recovery but I have to say it would not be complete without the Boss.  She has stuck by me in thick and thin.  She lets me be who I am.  She lets me fish.  She continues to stick by my side no matter how big of an ass I can be.  Heck she even gives me an allowance!  A better person, wife, and friend I could not have found to have in my life.  I owe her everything, I owe her my life.

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 So all that mushy crap aside I am just going nuts waiting for Tuesday and my release.  My first plan will be Baffin after a couple of warm up fishing day trips.  I want to put on the Wade Right, grab the new rod with the Controlled Descent lures and put the hurtin’ on a big one.  I could not be any more excited.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Venice La and points East. 8/13/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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First the good news.  I saw the Dr. on Thursday and everything is looking good.  I go back in 8 days from today and there is a good chance he is going to cut me loose.  There is no words to describe how much getting back in the boat and back to blogging means to me.  This has been one of the longest stretches of my life, at least it seems like it, so thanks for your good wishes, it meant the world to me.

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If I CAN’T DO IT AT LEAST I CAN LOOK AT IT!

Now for some interesting news.  The Boss wanted to head to the Gulf coast of Mississipi for a few days, and as I write this I am watching a huge storm rolling over Biloxi.  And as a side note, it is lightening like crazy and there are still boats running around, they have to be freakin’ nuts.  But back to the point.

I have always wondered about fishing Venice LA so on the way we made a detour and spent a night at the end of the line at what they love to call Tuna Town.  Well guess what?  They were not kidding.  We left early enough to be at Venice Marina at 4:00 to see the boats come in, and our timing was immaculate.

Before the evening was over we saw some serious tuna, a swordfish, a marlin, a wahoo, and a few mahi mahi.  The size of the tuna was impressive, and most of the guide boats had them.  My buddy Chris has wanted to give it a go for some time, and maybe I can finally be talked into it.  My only reservation, those guide boats definitely are proud of themselves.  While we were in the store a couple of customers from different boats were paying their gas bill, all well over $500, on top of the $3000 to $4000 they charge, plus tip.  (More than I spent on 3 days on the Great Barrier Reef and twice as much as 3 days  offshore in Costa Rica.)

Now that is what I am talking about.

Having guided for around 20 years full, then part, time I know how customers can be.  And you know what this guy said after those were cleaned?  Boy these coolers sure are heavy.  Duh dude, that’s what you spent the $5k for!  Then we went to Cypress Cove to get something to eat and there was a big offshore tourney and we saw a couple of marlin, so as far as offshore fishing goes, what a place.

Most of the guide boats had a least a couple, and a few had several.

While that was cool the real reason was to see if the drive with the boat was worth it.  Here is what I learned, for me not so much.  It is amazing how few places to eat, and reasonably priced places to stay, are available.  But it is the end of the line after all.  And with the rain the river was high and muddy, and we met a couple of guys who had been there for 4 days and they caught 4 trout.  Now reds were plentiful, but they had real trouble finding the trout.  They spoke with a guide who turned out to be the kind of guide that gives them a bad name.  He told them they were to late for trout, whatever the hell that means, and then of course they see someone with a huge sack when they come in that day.  I know they make a living that way, been there/done that, but you don’t have to be a horse butt about it.  If you don’t have the balls to just say I make my living that way so sorry I can’t help but instead lie, says a lot about your character.

The ramp at Venice Marina on a Saturday was absolutely nuts, and if the weather had been better I can only image how ugly it would have been.  Not near enough parking, a real mud hole.  And one of the guide boats had a motor struck by lightening that day.  Here is the attorney coming out in me, if you take customers out in life threatening weather and something happens trust me there will be someone coming after you, and rightly so.  I sympathize, you have to fish to eat, but customers put their life in your hands and that is intentionally negligent, plain and simple.

So I am glad we went, saved me the trip as far as inshore goes.  Redfish are all well and good, but we got em, and having fished Grand Isle many times, no need to drive past it to trout fish.  And when the muddy river brings all that fresh water in it can make it tough. Unless you are well schooled in how to respond to that, which is beyond my ability, there are plenty of other places to catch them and not have to deal with the potentially challenging conditions.

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After we left Venice we took the coastal road all they way to Biloxi and stayed off the interstate.  The area from out side of New Orleans along the Mississipi coast was awesome.  Once you hit the area between Lake Catherine and Lake Pontchartrain there was miles of fishable water, with plenty of access and marinas.  And then in Mississipi there were literally great free ramps one after the other, tons of free parking, some with free washdowns, and even on a Sunday there was no problem with access.  Such a welcome change from some areas I have fished, in fact, it was amazing.  Hats off to them.  I can definitely see towing the boat here.  There are big bays and miles and miles of rivers, creeks, marshes, it was something and definitely gives you options depending on conditions.  Having towed many miles on lots of trips all it takes is one hitch in the weather to ruin things.

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Though my boats have not left the yard, I was happy to lend one to my buddy Jeffish so he and Korbin, the future 2030 Bassmaster champion, could use the boat.  All you need to do is look at this young man’s face, it says it all.

Captain Large and In Charge!

Nice hairdo home boy!

They ran a few lines and did a little fishing, and while it was a little tough, they managed a fish fry.  But what they really managed was some great dad/son fishing time, and that is worth everything.  Take a kid fishing, you won’t be sorry.

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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 bit 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 the fishing population, tournament fishermen, have convinced us that we must have a rod and 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.  At 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 then they fish a tournament out of a $50k boat with $5k of equipment, and weigh in 2 bass.  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 probably paid for the right to have it on the boat?  Just saying, it does not have to be this hard, or this expensive.

Now do not get me wrong, I have been just as guilty as everyone else, and more than most.  But it has gotten ridiculous.  I just spent a day when I replaced 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?

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.  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, 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 half assed or a few things proficiently?  So back to the basics can be a good thing we all could benefit from.  Thanks for commenting.

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That is enough pontification for today.  I am counting the hours until I am back on the water and catching fish.  My Wade Right wading belt and bag of Controlled Descent Lures are calling my like a siren on the rocks, and the only way to shut them up is waist deep in the Gulf.  I really appreciate you all sticking with me.  I promise we will be back in the swing of things soon.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Upright and taking nourishment. 8/5/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I appreciated my buddy Chris stopping by with a fresh caught redfish.  He has not fished much lately and while he caught fish, shorts ruled the day.  It really gives new meaning to the old saying:  The more I fish the luckier I get.  That is so true, nothing beats time on the water.  So thanks for stopping by, leaning against the boat and shooting the breeze was almost like being there.  Thanks again.

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If you are planning a trip, or thinking about one, to a new saltwater destination the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has the site for you.  There are new charts covering the whole coast of the USA and with a simple click you can view anywhere.  It is a site I wish I had used on some of my past travels.  It gives you a good view to add to your research and can help making plans.  So save this in your favorites, it just might come in handy.  Plus being shore bound it keeps me entertained for a couple of minutes until I am cleared to be back on the boat

http://charts.noaa.gov/BookletChart/GulfCoastBookletCharts.htm

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Baffin 2 years ago.  I do remember this is what they look like!

The only fishing I have done is vicariously through the Fishing Channel and internet posts.  The trout fishing looks pretty good if the pictures posted are any indications.  It is definitely a get out early for the best results.  And from some reports the topwater fishing is still pretty good at times.  And with our winds calming down there are lots of fish in the surf when folks can get out there.  The jetties all along the coast are giving up plenty of big reds, sharks, and the occasional tarpon.  Hopefully there will be few left when I can get back after them.

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My buddy Orlando, one of the Austin Boys, unfortunately face planted while riding his bike today and is in the hospital as I write this.  After observation he got cut lose.  Hope you recovery is quick and you are back on the bike in no time.

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Really not much to report, just wanted to let you all know I am alive and kicking.  I am really humbled by all the well wishes and offers to fish whenever I am released.  Thanks to all of you.  I thought about posting some of the comments but they are self serving but I want you all to know I read each and every one and am so thankful for your support.  Your words of encouragement are great motivators.

And a word of thanks to Dr. Happel, Dr. Clemmons and his office, the staff at Detar Hospital, and the nurses on 5th floor.  A special word of thanks to my night nurse Airene.  She is a shining example of what a nurse should be, and having worked in that environment I know a good nurse when I see one.  She was kind and efficient, I was so impressed with her caring attitude.  In no way am I an easy patient, just ask the Boss.  Over the years I have had the misfortune to spend a day or two in hospitals and my experience at Detar was absolutely first class.  Thanks all.

I really am starting to feel so much better.  I am walking a mile each day to get my strength back.  Once I am released it will be fishing till I drop, and since I will be chomping at the bit I am taking the time to get back in shape.  One good result of the surgery, my little beer belly is gone, we will see how long that takes to return.  Tough job but somebody has to do it.

And there is one more bright spot in this whole thing, fall.  Since it looks like I will be banned from the boat until probably September it will coincide with the opening of dove, and then the rest of the seasons.  One thing about hunting season, it sure does reduce pressure on the water.  Which immediately gets me to thinking about the fall visit from the Austin Boys.  The weather was a little tough last year, but they somehow manage to bring it with them every year. So while it will be tough waiting this out, it is coming to end, just not soon enough for me.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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This and That. 7/27/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It Is Dangerous Out There

While I was half in the bag on pain meds the Boss read me the enforcement figures for the July 4th weekend.  Since I was having trouble remembering my own name I had her text it to me so I could comment on them when I was out of the rabbit hole with Alice.

TWPD reports they did over 17,ooo boating checks over the holiday.  There were 33 boating accidents, 7 non-boating deaths, (Not sure how they classified these, maybe drownings?) and a total of  55 DWI arrests.  These figures can be interpreted as either great, or concerning.  Not having the total numbers of tickets issued for violations it is hard to decide what to think.

On one hand they checked a ton of boats, which indicates how busy the weekend was.  And in all those checks only arresting 55 drunks is great statistically.  But no matter how you look at it, any fool driving a boat drunk on the busiest holiday of the summer is one fool to many.  And what to say about boating accidents, 33 again seems not to bad for a busy holiday.  But 33 is to high. While not knowing the character of the accidents, my thought would be that the majority of them could have been avoided.

As they say, liars figure and figures lie.  I know we have had several incidents on our local bays this year, and saltwater anglers (Myself included.) can learn a little from the bass boys.  One of the great results that came out of bass tourney fishing was when they made life jackets and kill switches mandatory.  As a result of that it is common to see bass fisherman with life jackets on, something we rarely see on our bays.  And thinking about it, I almost always wear a jacket on my bass fishing trips, but rarely on the bay.  Maybe that is related to the depth of water most of the bay trips occur on.  The easy answer is “Heck I can stand up”, true, unless you are tossed on your head and knocked stupid.  It would suck to drown in 2 foot of water, but it happens every year.  One thing that is constant for me no matter where I fish is the kill switch.  They save lives, period.  At least the boat will not run over me, even if I am unconscious.

I do want to salute TPWD for their service to the boaters of this state.  Not only are they doing their job, they are making it safe for the rest of us.  And who knows, those 17,000 checks most likely saved a life or two that weekend.  So remember next time you get checked, they are doing it to not just to keep us all safe, but also to educate boaters on the law, which many boaters need.  But as long as you have your stuff together it is no problem.  I like chatting with them, usually.  While this might be a little rambling, I hope you get the point.  In my case having a pontoon boat upside down on my head taught me a little lesson.  The 2 life jackets I had on that day saved my life, and whenever I start to slack off wearing my life jacket I just think back to the scariest 30 seconds of my life.scan0035We towed it back to the dock after it got hit by the tornado.  That freakin’ thing was on my head.  And there are the jackets that saved my life.

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The Mad Trout Fisherman at it again. 7/11/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It was great to hear from Chad.  He is kind enough to send the occasional reports with great details.  No big shot guide or rich kid with daddy’s boat, this is a fisherman. He is the kind of guy who does not flaunt his stuff, in fact until this year fished out of an aluminum boat, but with my begging he is kind enough to teach us something.  I do not care who you are, when you read his reports there is plenty to glean.  And with me out of action for a little bit it is nice to have a good report to share with all of you.

Hey, a fast recovery is being prayed for you my friend! I spent 2 1/2 mo in the hospital in 2015 and nearly lost my life and leg and foot. But god is good and after a yr I recovered. So hang in there my friend.

Taylor putting the wood to them!

On the flip side the trout action in poc is on fire!!! My fishing partner and I have been getting great results, fishing croaker in the surf and bays. My son went to Colorado for a week and hooked a few brown trout and a couple rainbows. After 3 days there he told me he had yellow mouth fever so upon his arrival Sunday, we hitched the boat and loaded the rods for the cure.

Sacking them up.

Yesterdays trip to poc was outstanding. Surf was flat so at dawn patrol we found what we were looking for. Baitfish jumping in a back current coming out the breakers is best I can describe, we anchored and game on. After a quick fix of 15 in the box we headed for the bay. Coming back through the jetties we saw the birds feeding on chad the jacks were blowing out the water. A quick change to a silver spoon with steel leader meant time to hook a jack daddy. After a 50 min battle with one about 40lbs on 12 lb big game green we boated and released. So what to do now one jack is about all a man wants or should i say can stand on trout gear anyway.

One jack is enough, but fun on trout stuff, for a minute!

It was towards greens with hopes to hook some reds. The reds didn’t cooperate but we had a blast seeing who could catch the biggest trout and Taylor won that with a 24″ trout! His personnel best.

Taylor with his POB.  It will be the first of many.

As I get older I only fish conditions instead of spots. What I mean is while moving from one location to another with the boat just on plane, I try to read the water. Looking for slicks, color changes, big schools of active bait. This has increased my catch rate by slowing down and just reading what the fish are showing me. Thanks chad

The couple of years I have know Chad through the blog he is a solid fisherman, an unassuming master trout fisherman, but most of all, a good man and father.  This man is a shining example of what our sport should be.  He catches fish in all conditions at all times of the year.  So re-read the last paragraph, it is a great piece of advice from someone who is a clear cut above other trout fisherman.  And it sounds so easy, and of course I can hear some of you now saying crap like “Who does not know that?” or “What’s the big deal?”  If that is you I call bullshit.  First that technique does not work well at 70mph!  Second, think about it and be honest with yourself, when was the last time you actually slowed down, did not head to the last place you caught them, or that great spot, trimmed out flat flying, and just actually paid attention all the way there?  Tell me you do not as a rule drive by miles and miles of bank without giving them a second look.  So take it for what it is worth.  Chad has no sponsors, no ax to grind, no look at me bragging on Facebook, his results speak for themselves.  And his couple of past posts I put on the blog are a how to on croaker fishing.  So thanks Chad for your continued educating us.  And I will be back in action soon.  Looking at your pictures has me wanting to sneak out of the hospital and catch a few!

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The greatest tackle show on earth starts this week in Florida and Michael the designer of the Controlled Descent Lures and owner of My Coast Outdoors is introducing his great plastics to the international fishing world.  Here’s to a great show, hope they realize what a fish catching innovation the Controlled Descent Really is.  If there ever was a new product that deserves recognition it is your cool lure.

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I am now 2 days post-op.  Still the old IV thing and hooked up to the pain pump, but a couple of other not so pleasant things are done, thank God.  Just have to keep getting up and move about.  I am being a good patient, unusual for me, and if all goes well I could be free by the end of the week.  And I want to thank so many of you who have emailed or sent me your kind words and well wishes here or on Facebook.  I won’t put them all up, it would be to self serving, but suffice to say you don’t know what it means to me.  If I started naming you all it would take a page, but you know who you are and you have my thanks.

And I do want to say a kind word about Detar Hospital, they have been great.  From the ER, through Surgery and now the floor, I have been pleasantly surprised.  My past experience at other hospitals clearly left something to be desired, but not here and I am grateful for that.  There has been a couple of nurses who have been especially caring and compassionate, and as soon as I get out of here I will be contracting their supervisors letting them know how lucky they are to have them.

So I may not be on the water, but I am keeping up with things online, and the fishing on the Bay is on fire.  So if you get out on the water drop me a comment, my turn to fish vicariously through you all.  Nothing else to say but keep dropping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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Canada Pictures 7/7/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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My buddy Clyde made his annual trek to Canada, which he has been doing for over 25 years, and it was another successful trip.  Muskie Bay is the place, Crow Lake and Lake of the Woods give you all the water you could fish in a  lifetime.  One thing I love about Muskie Bay, if you ever wanted to cross a muskie off your bucket list this is the place.  And I can not say enough how great the folks at Muskie Bay treat you.

Great fish!

Muskies are a definite bucket list fish.  They are the top of the food chain in the north woods, and most days are completely oblivious to the boat.  If you like the visual, which is a huge fish opening his mouth and eating your lure at boatside with  a couple of feet of line out, this is the fish for you.

Here is his comments on the trip:

This year at Muskie Bay the light colored jerk baits were the way to go.

We walleye fished one day and caught them jigging aggressively in 6 foot of water.  John’s daughter and granddaughter went this year and after a lessons started wearing them out. It was nice to have some youth around.  The walleye bite was excellent on light tackle with jigs and plastics or Berkeley power minnows ; lots of 25 to 30 inch pike  on light tackle ;very slow on buzz bait.

Paul, Chris and Jake were good hosts and these lakes are fish factories.

Now that is a freakin’ stud!

I am sure the gang at Muskie Bay did their usual bang up job.  If you ever wanted to take that bucket list trip to Canada this is the place.  They are great folks and will do whatever they can to help you boat that fish of a lifetime.  And to your comment on having youth around, that is what it is all about.  Sharing the love of the outdoors with young folks, and when we are dead and gone they will be taking their kids and family on these kinds of trips.  And the beat goes on.

Muskies are the great predator, and they know it.  It is so cool to see them follow the bait all the way to the boat and then eat.  One of those great moments in fishing.  And as these pictures show, they come in all sizes and colors, one of the most beautiful fish swimming.

One solid muskie!

And there are plenty of smallmouth available.

Though muskies are cool, there is a world of nice fish to be caught out of Muskie Bay.  Perch, largemouth, smallmouth, walleye, lake trout, muskie, plenty of fish to keep an angler on Crow and Lake of the Woods busy.  The smallmouth fishing on Lake of the Woods is world class.  It is possible any day to catch a 100 smallmouth in a day, it really can be awesome.  So looks like another great trip, maybe someday I will make it again.  That’s the dang problem, so many fish, so many places, so hard to choose.  Thanks for the pics.

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Speaking of Lake of the Woods, it is where I caught my biggest muskie 4 years ago.  The reason I wanted to show it to you (besides it still blows me away) is that almost every one of the dozen or so I ever caught came on bass fishing lures and tackle.  It you can throw a jerk bait you can catch almost everything that swims up there.

601This one came on a Red Eye shad in a foot of water.  The point is you don’t have to go hog snot crazy with tons of tackle, a good braid and wire or heavy fluoro leader with your flippin’ stick and you are good to go, except for the huge net.  In fact most of them I was lucky enough to boat came on regular medium heavy equipment.  And the great benefit is you continue to catch pike, smallmouth, and the occasional walleye, then out of the blue it happens.  Cool stuff.  So if you ever wanted to cross one off your bucket list just do it, and Muskie Bay is the place to get it done.

If you want to get your fishing juices flowing check out their webpage.

http://muskiebayresort.com/

There are dozens of Canada posts on the blog, so if you want to see or know more just put muskie into the search box on the right and there is plenty of information about fishing there.  And the first article I wrote on Muskie Bay is in the Fish Catching Travel section at the top of the page.

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It is noon on Friday.  I just got back from all the pre-op stuff at the hospital prior to heading to surgery Monday morning.  It has been a struggle, and it continues to be one.  Though the Boss works there and has been in health care for 35 years, it is unbelievable what has transpired.  Everyone has their hand out, it is crazy.  And how poor folks without any experience in the system navigate I do not know.

The  punch line is today is my last chance to fish for a little.  So even though it is hot and humid I am hitching the boat up and headed to Coleto.  Not sure how long I will last but suffice to say this will be it for a while.  Like I have said in the past, every day on the water is precious, and when it is taken from you it confirms that, fish while you can.

I guess this is time to fill you in.  I go for major surgery Monday.  I will be in the hospital for a week, yikes!  Then it will be 3 weeks of laying around on my ass doing nothing,  After week 3 it will be 3 more weeks of limited physical activity.  The worst part?  The surgeon says I can not even ride in a boat for up to 6 weeks!   Wtf.  Guess they don’t want my guts slipping out and landing in my lap – for the love of God!  He did say I can wade or pier fish, but none of those back breaking rides across the bay.  Obviously he is a fisherman.  There is one bright spot, as long as it goes like he says it should cure me and I should be good as new, so it is better than I feared.

Unfortunately the next fishing report will be it for a while.  I guess if I have to be laid up hot summer time is the best timing, if there is a good time for this.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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