Coleto Creek 2/1/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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

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

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

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

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

Best I could muster today.

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

                         This was his little buddy a ways down the bank.

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

                                                     This size is on the move.

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

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

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

I got this interesting observation from Colby Sorrels.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 1/30/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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

Weather

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

Solunar Times

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

Lake Level

Today     96.15msl

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

                                       Everybody was fishing today.

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

                                       The spawners are on the way!

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

                           Nobody catches more fish than an Osprey.

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

                                   You can see what size is on the move.

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

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

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

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

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

Jim

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 1/27/17.

 

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The Big Move Is On!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Coleto Creek 1/23/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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

This girl thumped the snot out of it.

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

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

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

The Bang O Lure strikes again!

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

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

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

There were some big freakin’ lizards out today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And this comment from Jim is appreciated:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Back in the Saddle!

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

Open Letter to Bass Boat Guy

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

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

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

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

Maybe just a little late on the hook set?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Just Freakin’ Dandy! 1/12/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It Only Hurts When I Breath!

I have heard from some of you the last week or so wondering just where I have been.  On that point I like this comment/question from Jimmy the best.

Getting worried about you, still kicking? I been missing your posts.

Thanks Jimmy, but unfortunately I am barely kicking.  I have avoided addressing this with you all, but looks like it is time.  When I say I have been sick, I mean coon dog sick since right after getting back from Colorado.  It should have been one of those week long flu things, but unfortunately it is appears to be a nice fat case of pneumonia.  I kept trying to get past it but it has just been to tough.  And as those of you who know me, if I am sick enough that it has shut me up I really am sick!

So what next?  I start a round of some big time antibiotics tomorrow, and all I know is it better work because I have had it.  Plus the Boss and my Doctor” are threatening me with further medical intervention, which I am desperately trying to avoid like the plague.  It is not that I do not have complete faith in them and their judgment, it is just I am the worst patient in the history of medicine.  So I will cooperate with orders as much as it pains me.  It has been many moons since I felt this poor and I am sure ready for this to be over.  Basically I have left the house a couple of times in weeks, but it just is to much effort so here I sit.

I ask that you hang in there with me.  While a bump in the road, obviously there is an end to it and I will be back on my feet with a fishing pole in my hand soon.  With any luck I should start making some progress within a week.  So that is why I have been offline.  As Mark Twain said, the rumors of my death are premature, but I sure feel like death warmed over.  Plus this no fishing thing is almost as bad as the being sick part!  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC – NOT 1/3/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Happy 50th Birthday to my buddy RO!

The Best Laid Plans………..

You may have wondered if I died, well I sure felt like I had!

Tuesday Weather

75/51   Mostly Sunny  Tuesday Wind 5 – 10 out of the West.  0% chance of rain.

Tides

High 12:43 am 0.3   Low  2:44 pm -0.3 Tidal coefficient 68 (average)

Solunar Times

A one fish day.  High activity 4:59 to 6:59 am.  Average activity 10:59 to 11:59 am.

It was Monday night as I prepared this for the next mornings fishing.  The day had potential and I was looking forward to getting back to the bay.  I was watching the news as I prepared this and they had a report on how the this years flu shot might not be the most effective.  How prophetic.

During the night Monday I started getting sick, and I mean real dog crap sick.  Tuesday was miserable, Wednesday was horrible, as was Thursday and Friday.  So here it is Saturday morning and I am finally able to attempt to start catching up on things, though I still feel like crap.  After having a cold a couple of weeks ago, and now this, I am feeling snake bit.

I have gotten my flu shot every year for several years and have managed to avoid a case of the flu, but no such luck this go round.  I have not been this sick in years and hope to never ever feel this poorly again.  So time to catch up on a few things and get my feet back under me so just maybe I can wet a line this week.  This sucked!

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

Finishing off the Colorado Trip.

Hanging out with his girlfriends.

Here are the last few pics from Colorado that I wanted to share with you.  It really was a good trip, and for me the most surprising thing was the fishing opportunities, I did not have a clue.  And for the Boss and I seeing the wildlife, driving mountain roads, we love doing that and Colorado certainly fills the bill.

Checking us out.

Several folks told us the same thing, Come for the winter, stay for the summer.  Folks were so nice and friendly, and different from some places, actually appreciate tourists.  Their window is short and they are glad to have visitors.  It seems they have not gotten to the “Visit and then please leave” stage yet.

Everywhere you look.

Reminded me of Big Bend – Big As All Outdoors!

One thing I wanted to say about Steamboat Springs is for a ski town, it was not high dollar like Vail or Breckenridge.   So we will definitely be back when the weather is warm.  I had not been out west in over 40 years and it was way cooler then I remember.  That is definitely a function of age and the ability to appreciate things for what they are.

           We saw more antelope this trip than any we have ever taken.

With over 30,000 elk in that county you are sure to see some.  We did not see any big bulls though.

The Aspens are beautiful with fresh snow on the ground.

The Flattops.  I am going to catch a trout up there some summer day!

The day we made a long drive I went to pull a u turn and when my front wheels hit the edge of the road it dropped straight off and we were hung.  We call the 4 Runner the beast, and it was a good thing it was the Trail Edition.  Into 4 low, then crawl, and we barely managed to get out.  Love my truck. We also got lucky this trip and it snowed perfect for us, and the temp was not to oppressive.  A couple of days ago there it was 20 below and snowed a foot or two.  That is winter.  So never say never, but I hope we get back there again, there is some fish to be caught.

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

I have a few comments from you all I wanted to catch up on.  Maybe just maybe I can start the next week off even and well.

I got this comment from Billy, real timely considering it is colder than hell this morning here is South Texas.

Wow, you speak so highly of that Laguna guide. I have never heard of anything of that nature…….lol.
Good read. Waiting on the pictures. Did y’all see any bears?
As for the temps. You can have all that. Gets below 55, maybe 50, I’m done.

Unfortunately no bears, think they were all denned up.  And funny you mention the temperature, how is this morning workin’ for you?  I guess if I had to be laid up a few days this is a good stretch to be out of action.

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

 I had not heard from Rick in a while and wanted to share this with you.

What a great recap of your fabulous Colorado trip. Great pictures of a beautiful place.Your writing style makes me feel like I was there with you (except for the fact that as I’m writing this its about 75 degree’s outside). Now go getcha some trout.  Hope you and your better half have a safe, fun and healthy New Year!!!

Thanks for your comments, and believe me, I sure was trying to get some trout.  I will be watching the weather closely looking for a couple of days of clouds and low wind to try to time the Baffin thing perfect.  Time to catch a big trout.  And best to you and your family this year.  Mine is off to a slow start but there is no where to go but up.

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

 And I got this kind offer from Joe Bass.

Happy New Year Doug, and if you need a extra body to drive to canada to fish. I’m there with you. No serious, I’m retired and ready to fish. 21 hours, 1200 miles to chicago, i have done it..the drive !!

Thanks but Canada is just not happening this year.  The Australia trip is a big time budget buster and my other fishing travels will all be close to home the rest of this year.  All goes back to my answer when asked “what’s up?”  The price of a good time, or in this case, travel.  But who knows, a year without boating a muskie will probably be long enough.

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

Happy New Year Doug! It was a great year of fishing and I look forward to what 2017 has to offer. God bless and tight lines!

Jim

Thanks Jim, this year had it’s moments and I too am looking forward to 2017.  And since mine got off to a rough start last week there is no where to go but up.  I appreciate you sticking with me.

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

And last but not least I got this interesting comment, though I can not tell who it is from I thought I would share it with you.

The 800-pound alligator was about 40 yards away from nearly a dozen people swimming at the creek, said the nuisance control hunter from El Campo .

Not sure when or where, but it sure does call up some ugly pictures!  So thanks for the comment, be sure to let me know who and what next time.

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

Sorry all this is somewhat disjointed and disorganized, but that is my state of affairs at the moment.  So at least I am caught up and both the quality of the writing, and the amount of fishing, has no where to go but up.  This weekend will be football and trying to totally recover so the fishing can resume with a vengeance next week.  So keep warm and have a good weekend.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Trout Fishing in Colorado 1/2/17.

 FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Great – another potential fishing hobby!

(Wow, 2 posts in one day, with a few more on the way.  I am trying to catch up.)

On our way to the dog sledding I noticed a brochure on the dashboard for the Yumpa Valley Anglers.  So I asked the driver Ryan, who turned out to be one of the owners, about the fishing.  What started as just a question turned into a fishing trip.  I was really surprised by the amount of fishing in the area, shows what a little research will do before you go.

Ryan has fished all over the world, and actually has fished Arkansas.  And his partner Matt still guides the White and North Fork each year, along with the San Juan in New Mexico when the time is right.  We shared some fishing talk and I got excited to give it a go.  I can cast a little with a fly rod and was wanting to experience this winter fishery.  Ryan had a commitment the next day so I set it up with his partner Matt.

The next morning Matt picked me up at the hotel and off we went.  It was a balmy 8 degrees.  We stopped and got a day license and then headed to the Stagecoach tailwaters.  On the way we learned we had a lot of common experiences in similar places.  Matt is friends with Dave Whitlock, a famous trout fisherman, author, and artist from my neck of the woods.  He told me he met Ryan in Alaska and has since moved to Yampa permanently.

Great Folks!

http://www.yampavalleyanglers.com/

It might have been 8 degrees when we got to the tailwaters.  Lucky for me since I had no fishing stuff with me, he had waders, boots, and rod so I was in business.  We got prepared and made the walk down the hill in a foot of snow to the water.  The weather was crisp, but as usual, if you are ready for it no big deal.  You can always take it off, but if you don’t have it you sure can’t put it on.

Matt getting us ready to roll.

The tailwaters was small by my standards, heck I could even cast across it with my very beginner skills.  The first thing that impressed me was the size of the fly, or lack thereof.  You could have put the whole fly in the eye of a good size circle hook.  We used several flies that morning, most being nymphs and other little hairy things under an indicator.  I forgot to check but the rod was probably a 5 weight, it was light and easy to cast.  The leader was the size of a gnats eyebrow, and the split shot was the size of a number 8 shot.  Really small stuff.

The pool on the tailwaters.

Matt was great with my total lack of skills and spent the whole morning teaching me, not only about presentation but about fish movements.  He was extremely patient.  He knows his stuff, end of story.  It took me a minute to get the hang of it, but I finally caught one.  You could see them finning, it was only a couple of feet deep at the very most.  And I do want to add that I got hung on a fence behind me, a couple of trees, and roots across the creek, and Matt handled it like the professional guide he is.  I told him it was different being on the other side of this deal and it was nice to have someone change my baits!  Especially when you could only have your fingers uncovered for about a minute!

My first rainbow on a fly.

Talk about a subtle bite.  When you fish by feel as much as I do this was a whole new game.  But Matt worked with me and I managed to land another one.  These fish are relatives of the original stockers decades ago, now they are all wild.  You could sure see the difference from the stockers I have caught in the past.  And the bigger one was a good tussle on the light outfit.

My second.  The colors were fabulous.

At one point we waded to get a different presentation and Mat said look behind you.  Turning around there was 5 or 6 nice trout who immediately set up right behind our feet, using it as a break in the current.  During the whole time we could see trout moving and feeding.  It really was interesting and I can not say enough about my Cocoons, good glasses are mandatory.

What a beautiful place to fish.

Before our half day was over I hooked 5 or 6, landing 2.  How many did I miss – a bunch!  It really was a unique experience.  Like I told Matt, I need another outdoor hobby like a another hole in my head.  But no matter, it really has primed my desire to get after the reds with my fly rod here on the coast, and of course to try this trout fishing thing again.  The whole experience was great.

Give them a call, you won’t be sorry.

I want to say a little bit about fishing with Matt.  I have fished with a few guides in my life, and known a ton, and he is probably the most professional guide I have had the pleasure of fishing with.  He does not fish, and his whole attention is on you catching a fish.  He has fished with everyone from the basest rookie like me, to real pros.  He has fished nd guided many places around this country, including Florida, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Colorado, to name a few.  He still fishes those places and can arrange any type of trip you need.  After fishing with that famous horses butt guide out of Corpus last year who was just a pompus jerk who seemed to mail it in, Matt was a real pleasure.  If you ever want to fish that part of the country, or any of the other places Matt fishes, I can not recommend him any more highly.

And though I did not get to fish with Ryan he and I agreed on lots, especially when it came to sharing information and trying to help people catch fish,.  That is what primed me to try them out, and if my experience with Matt is any indication of how it is fishing with Ryan and any of the Yampa Valley Anglers it will be tough to choose  when I go back.  And about the cost, trust me, crazy low for what they have to offer.  So if you are interested in wading a tailwater, doing a drift fishing trip, ice fishing, or fishing high mountain lakes for big rainbows in the summer these are the boys.  When you add in the scenery there is no better trip.  For me this is in the same class as the Everglades, Lake of the Woods, Louisiana, or any of the other great destinations.  What a place.

So that was my second big adventure on the trip, and I really enjoyed it.  I listened to what I was told and tried to do it right.  Just the amount of pure knowledge Matt shared with me was worth the cost.  It was a great day and I wanted to personally thank you Matt, you are a real professional.

And last while having an adult beverage at happy hour the guy next to me started talking about fishing and so of course I interrupted and he ended up showing me his trout pictures, wow!  So the Steamboat area has plenty to keep the family busy while you sneak out and catch some fish no matter what time of year.  Next I will get up the obligatory mountain, snow, trees, elk, mule deer, and antelope pictures.  We got lucky and saw quite a few cool things on our trip.  But that will have to wait a day or two.  I am headed to POC in the morning to catch some of those “other” trout.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Colorado 1/2/17.

 FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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A Great Trip

It is good to be home after a long drive and one great trip.  So much to see, and so much to do, the one thing I can say about Colorado in the winter is it is cool.  And for a skinny guy like me to like anything about 5 degrees you know it was awesome.  It was a 2,600 mile round trip, and worth every mile.

The Boss did a great job of picking the town, and in our case it was Streamboat Springs.  The reason for the decision to land there was to take a ride with the Alaskan Huskies on the dog sled, and it was every thing we hoped it would be.  There is lots of other  stuff to talk about,  but lets get this one out of the way today.  Next it will be my first real adventure with a fly rod.  Fishing in 8 degrees was something, but I did it before, and would do it again in a heart beat, but first to the dogs.

Grizzly – T

Those of you who have read my stuff know that we lost our beloved husky Gabby last year after 14 years.  It was our second husky and we just love the breed.  So the Boss wanted to take a bucket list sled ride so we chose Grizzly – T, and it was a great choice.

Operating out of Steamboat, they actually come and get you and take you to the dogs.  We had 10 South Africans in our group and us.  Once you get there you can participate all you want, and we did it all.   The weather forecast for the sled ride was for 30 degrees and snow, and it was all that.  It could not have been any more perfect.

The man who was in charge has raced the Iditarod 5 times, some of the dogs who have actually raced were there.  The give you an orientation on operating the sled and the dogs before you start the harnessing.  The most important rule –Never Let Go of the Sled!  If you do the dogs will run, and run, and run.  More on that later.  The dogs got more and more excited as we actually put on the harnesses and got them ready to go.  We were on a racing sled with 6 dogs, 5 females, all from Alaska.

The Boss with hands on.

Ready and waiting.

It took about an hour to get that all done, and by time we headed out the dogs were all barking and howling to get going, what a sight and sound.  The coarse was 10 miles and off we went.  Driving the sled you realize how powerful the dogs are, they just want to run.  For some reason I got the hang of it right away, and it was exhilarating as we ran through the snow storm.  What more could you want on that adventure?

Both girls are ready to run.

I was up first.

We brought up the rear of 6 sleds so as we ran it was quiet, just the dogs breathing as they ran.  It was just plain something.

So much heart.  They just want to run!

I drove the first half and the Boss rode in the sled, then we traded places and she drove the team and I was wrapped in the sled like a pig in a blanket.  We were rolling along fine when disaster (not really) struck.  We tipped over as we rounded a corner and I ended up head first in a show drift.  But like the trooper she is the Boss did not let go of the sled and we were back in action  in nothing flat.  Just like getting knocked out of the boat on a class 4 rapid in Costa Rica, tipping over while not recommended, put a real stamp on the day.  Cool.  I have it on tape and when I get a chance I will post the video.

Right before I bit the dust.

The Boss taking us home.

The ride ended all to soon.  It was almost magical for us, nice and cold as it snowed, it was the kind of experience we hoped it would be.  The dogs are so awesome, the folks who run the show are real pros, and what was there not to like about the scenery.  I can not recommend the folks at Grizzly – T any higher.  A first class operation with folks who love their dogs like they should, it was an all around bucket list trip and when we get back, which we will, we will do it again.  What a way to start day 1.

Check out their site – a real first class operation.

http://www.steamboatdogsledding.com/

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

Once we got to Colorado we stayed in Pueblo the first night and on getting up the first morning we headed up to Colorado Springs, turned left off the interstate and took a 8 hour drive through the mountains the long way to Steamboat Springs.  All I can say is it was flat beautiful driving, and I am so glad we took the long way.  One of those drives that words can not adequately describe.  Massive snow covered peaks, animals, forest, a real change from our coastal plain.

I do want to say a little something about Steamboat Springs.  Neither of us ski but there is plenty to do.  Dog sledding, snowmobiling, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, fishing, there is plenty to keep you and your family busy.  We stayed right down town in the old town, and could walk to all the eating and shopping you could want.  In fact, with the number of shuttles and buses you do not need a car.

The shuttle bus on that picked us up was driven by Ryan and I noticed a brochure for Yampa Valley Anglers on the dash.  I asked him about it, and boy did it take off from there.  Ryan has fished all over the world and we not only had mutual aquaintances from Arkansas, including his partner who guides there off and on every year, we have fished many of the same places.  So the deal was done and I set up a fly fishing trip with his partner Matt for the next day.  More on that tomorrow.

We finished off day one with a great happy hour and of course to much food.  By that point I am getting excited about the trip in the morning.  It was a great way to start day 1, and day 2 turned out to be just as cool as I thought.  Besides the fishing I have some great wildlife pictures, if you like elk, mule deer, and antelope.  So I will get both up shortly, along with a few other pictures and comments.  Tomorrow I will be waist deep in the Gulf looking to sack a few trout and reds.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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2016 Year in Review

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL 

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As I do every year it was time to look back at the pictures from 2016.  There were good times and bad, some big fish caught, some tough days, but most of all there was fun times.  My biggest fish on 8lb. line, a couple of really nice trout, and a bag full of solid bass.  It is easy to see and track the fishing by just looking at a couple of pictures from each month.

January

A trip to the mountains of New Mexico

You gotta love Baffin.

No really, I love the Upper Laguna

And a few bass along the way.

I would like to take a second and thank those folks that have helped me out with some support.  I love my Cocoons, they put additional fish on the end of my line, they work.  And Coastal Fishing Gear with the WadeRight harness came on board and I use it religiously wading.  Having 2 rods is the bomb, not to mention not dunking my reels.  The Bagley Bang-O-Lure has been one of my favorite baits for almost 40 years, and it works just as well today as it did then.  Hard to improve on perfection.  So thanks, Dave, Tim, Don, and all the rest.  Every little bit helps.

February

It was a big bass month.

Love that swim jig!

And we smoked them with the Austin Boys.

There was a short but ok white bass run on Coleto.

March

Whacking them in Arkansas on the Alabama Rig.

And Coleto produced lots of good fish on the Bang-O-Lure.

And lots of hybrids, whites and stripers on the Arkansas trip.

My best striper of the trip.

April

The wading was good that month for reds and trout.

A nice flattie.

And Coleto stayed good.

May

The limit restriction on trout seemed to really start to show a better average at POC.

I love it when you hold the camera way out and can not get the whole fish in the picture.

And a good trip to Fayette.

I fished with lots of folks this year.  Clyde, Jeffish, Billy, Voe, Jeff, John, Todd, Pete, John, John, Chris, Dave, and I can not even remember who else.  Troopers all, we had a good time.  And Chad the Mad Trout Fisherman’s reports have added another dimension to this blog.  Thanks.

June

A heck of a black drum on 8lb line and my trout rod.

And still loving the size of some of the trout this year.

A nice pike on the Canada trip.

We saw momma and her 2 cubs.

And what more can you say about the ridiculous smallmouth fishing?

They were freakin’ toads.

The smallmouth fishing in Canada was stupid good.  But after a while it is just catching another one.  With other plans this year there won’t be a Canada trip.  I think Florida will be back in the picture in the fall if I can swing it.

July

We love Big Bend National Park.

A huge canyon leading into Mexico.

It was a slow month for me on the bay.

The beginning of a period of lots of unders.  Though no complaints as each trip we caught lots, just a big run of unders.

August

But there was the occasional good one mixed in.

The fishing was pretty good in August.

And the reds were pretty steady.

And Coleto did it’s part.  Overall it was a good month in terms of sheer numbers on lake and bay.

September

Coastal Fishing Gear came on board.

Saw some great sunrises on the bay this month.

That will work.

It was actually pretty consistent.

And always getting me some of those Coleto big ones.  Fishing was consistent on both lake and bay considering the hot weather.

It was so hot during this time period I did not fish all that much.  And it really was a run of unders and we had several days we caught them one after the other, and barely scratched a limit.  Guess I am going to have to add the live bait thing to late summer, early fall.

October

The fish were biting.

The Bagley Knocker B topwater did it’s part.

No real big trout, but plenty of keepers.

The bass were biting but running small with falling water levels, high water temps, and no grass.

November

Yummm!

Getting it done with the Austin Boys.

My best of the year.

No weight or measure, just quick CPR and in she went.

And a nice red out of Garcitas.  I always look forward to the couple of months when the trout come in the rivers.

And the trout came into the Lavaca.

Though still slow the lake gave up the occasional good one.

This year fishcatchingtravel.com had it’s 500,000 visitor!  That just blows me away.  From a few over 60 visits the first month we run around 7,000 – 10,000 visitors a month, depending on how much folks are fishing.  I like that distinction, it lets me know that folks come here for real fishing information when they are headed out.

December

Headed out on Garcitas.

The Austin Boys had them surrounded.

We sacked a few, considering the wind blew 30mph+ and the ride back was the freakin’ worst, this was a good mess.

And a great day on the lake with the Bang-O-Lure.  It is about to be big bass time on the lake.

And a real good one on the swim jig.

Last, but most importantly, I want to thank you the readers.  That is what this is about, and it is what keeps me writing.  The fishing is easy, the keeping up with this is the work.  So thanks for coming, and there is one group, you know who you are, that I can never thank enough.  You have been here from the beginning and I feel like I know each and every one of you.  Thanks.

2016 was a good year, but 2017 is shaping up to be epic.  On the books already is a few days on the Upper Laguna the minute the weather is right, and I mean soon.  Then a couple of days on South Padre in February.  If the wind is not to bad it will be the long run up the barge canal trying to put a winter hole snook in the boat.  And the couple of times I have fished it this time of year the good trout were there pretty thick.

Then in late March into April it will be Australia.  Maybe a couple of days of barramundi fishing, and a couple of days of chasing yellowfin tuna, both hopefully getting crossed off the bucket list.  Makes me excited just typing that.  And if God is kind, and the creek don’t rise, trips to Louisiana and Arkansas are worked in there somehow.  And that is just the next 5 months.  What is there not to like about that?  And of course the regular fishing will continue on.

So I am sitting in a motel in Big Springs Texas as we are on our way back from Colorado.  As soon as I get home tomorrow I will get up some great pictures and stories.  We had a wonderful time driving the mountains, seeing the wildlife and we saw a bunch, taking a sled ride with the Huskies in a snow storm (awesome), and I caught my first trout on fly in a tailwater when it was 8 degrees with a real pro.  More on that coming, I had no idea there was that much good fishing there.  What a trip.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Happy Freakin’ New Year

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