Trolling Motor Fiasco 12/16/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Well I am home, the lucky recipient of an ugly virus compliments of a couple of rug rats.  But I will survive, but it is making me crazy today with clouds and light drizzle, a great day to put some bass in the boat.  And it is always nice to return home after a short trip and have a water line leak with nice big puddles in the back yard.  Ain’t life grand.  Good thing my best friend is a plumber.  But we had such a good time with the kids, basically our Christmas is done, which is fine with me as I have probably fished Christmas day the majority of the time over the last 30 years.  The Boss works Christmas so folks with kids can be off,  which makes for the one time each year when I have the water almost completely to myself.  Can’t wait just thinking about it.

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I Am Not Mad, Just Puzzled!

But the first order today (Saturday) was to drive to Edna and pick up my trolling motor.  Thanks to all that commented, Joe, Matt, Billy, and a few others.  It was just a case of worn parts, no big deal.  To give you a quick time line I first took it to my regular guy, and he had it for 2 weeks, and it ran maybe an hour or two before it kept doing the same thing.  So clearly they sucked on that one.

So wanting to take it somewhere else I tried Kresta’s.  I had a couple of good recommendations and couple of bad recommendations, but it is just a quick fix, what could go wrong?  So I dropped it off on the November 9 or 10, and they finally called me on December the 14th telling me it was done.  They had it for 34 days, for a 1 hour fix.  In all fairness, they apologized for the delay and everyone there was nice.  I am happy with the price and it seems to work fine, which in the end is the hoped for outcome.  But by the same token, I did not appreciate being told my call would be returned and it wasn’t when I inquired on the status after it was there for 18 days.

I have learned one thing.  During all this, after Kresta’s had not looked at it for 19 days, I called Fishing Tackle Unlimited in Houston and the nice guy would have looked at it while I was there, and if they could have fixed it while I was there the would have.  That is customer service.  I just should have picked it up and went there.  But I was told by Kresta’s on the 29th he was working on it that day.  So lesson learned, it would have been well worth the drive to take it to a dedicated trolling motor shop.  Then I would not have missed a tournament I wanted to fish, or a trip to Falcon I was hoping to make, but couldn’t without the big boat.

I guess my whole point in this is when both places were combined it was around 50 DAYS to get it fixed.  That is just crazy.  The one thing I should have done was made sure what the turnaround time might be when I dropped it off.  At least there would have been a starting point.

And to all of you who commented, including a couple of questions on fixing it myself, that is not in the cards.  I am a self-admitted mechanically incompetent.  And as I always said about things like mechanics, construction, and assorted things like that:  I will not pretend to be a mechanic, you don’t pretend to be an attorney, and it will work out fine.  This is probably the one time I could have messed it up, taken it apart, put it back together, then do it again, and again, and again, and been done way before that.  Guess I am spoiled when we had a repair shop in Arkansas where you could pull up with the boat and if he could fix it on the spot he would.  In this case, they had to order a part or two, so I understand that part of the delay.

So that is the end of the trolling motor saga, at least I freakin’ hope so.  We always learn as we go, in this case when another motor craps out it will be time to assure both boats have the same motor.  That would have solved the whole problem as I could have switched them back and forth.  So you decide if 34 days is to long for a future repair you might need.  As far as I am concerned it was.

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One of my regular readers, who I have had the pleasure of fishing with, has a boat for sale.

Specs for my boat for sale are 2005 Shoalwater 14.5 Cat with a 2003 Yamaha 70. Trolling motor, Power Pole, and Coastline trailer are all brand new, never been in the water.   I prefer not to put a price on the site.  I would rather them call me to ask questions. 361-782-8478 

So if you are looking for a go anywhere flats boat, or have any questions, give Billy a call.  (Billy, you did say there was a 50% commission, right?)

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I really appreciate that Bagley Baits was kind enough to share my post on the Bang-O-Lure on their site.  Everything I have ever said about it was the truth.  Not only did I use it over the years guiding catching bass, whites, and stripers, I caught my fist snook on it and even hooked a tarpon over a 100lbs in the Everglades.  (That lasted about 30 seconds!) A big blue cat has fallen for the Bang-O-Lure and I even boated a big crappie on it last year.  And I almost forgot, a nice brown trout and rainbow or two wading at night on the White River.   Next I am looking forward to getting some of the new Rattlin’ Bs.  The B Minus runs in the 2 foot range and it is a real improvement for shallow water fishing from the standard baits in that style.  I see real possibilities in trout fishing by being able to use it wading in places it just was not feasible to throw the old style.  Tons of trout are caught on this style bait all over the Gulf coast, and I can not wait to give the Bagley B Minus a real try and report on it.

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That really is all I have today.  I thought I was headed to the store to pick up a few parts to properly re-mount the trolling motor and make a couple of trailer repairs, but that is probably not happening.   This is day 3 of this wonderful cold and I feel like crap.  And unfortunately the wind is starting to howl as it tries desperately to fend off this giant front which has already kicked much of America’s ass.  Tomorrow will be ugly, 40 degrees and a 30mph north wind.  So if I have to be sick this is a good time for it.  And thanks to Chad for picking up the slack by keeping those reports coming.  There is so much to be gleaned from them if you will just think about it.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lavaca + Baffin with the Mad Trout Fisherman 12/14/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I am  currently in Oklahoma City, home tomorrow, having a Christmas with my daughter and her family.  Inn the mean time The Mad Trout Fisherman has a couple of reports you need to read.  If you are a bay fisherman there is lots of great information in his posts, take them for what they are worth.  A lot.

Thanks for the time it takes you to put this blog together Doug. I’ve got a couple more reports, first up is the Lavaca river. After working on bids a few hours Todd comes by and we sit to discuss plans for day to fish. We both have a couple hours free so what better way to discuss a fishing trip, we hitch on to my flat bottom and talk fishing as we head to the ramp. We drop the boat in and run down river looking for birds, the only one we see are already sitting, so we make a couple cast in the area and whack, fish on. The tide is dropping and the current moving out of the river is pulling pretty good on my lure.  A couple of ten min drifts equals about 3-4 fish in the 14″ range so we head futher down river.

No birds working so we hit one side of the river set up a drift .  Didn’t take long to establish a pattern, down south purple / chart thrown to the shallow edges then slow rolled off the shelf of the bank resulted in 16-19″ trout.  In a matter of about 2 hrs we were headed back to the ramp with 10 nice trout and 1 bonus drum 21″.

Todd’s @5′ trout lol.  Thats what he thought.  We never did seal the deal on where we plan to fish. Only the day. Thursday!

As we head back to my house the pho’ne rings and Jeremy and his son Eathon are twisting my arm for a Baffin trip.  Didn’t take much twisting, it was like when?  In the a.m.! What time?3:30 am, ok see ya then.  So here’s the report from Baffin: We launch at Bird Island at 5:45 am head to the mouth in Baffin.  I’ve been fishing there since 1987 and never seen it so calm, not a ripple anywhere. Beautiful boat ride , water gin clear.  I’m thinking to myself, its gonna be a tough day.

First stop the Tide Gauge bar, 4 fish all 20″ or better.  Second stop East Klegbergh point, 16 fish 18″ or better  3rd stop Losscoralis, 6-7 more fish . We called it a day at 1:30. The condition were tough but we banged out 20 trout from 18-23″ 2 nice reds and a bonus flounder.

Best lure color was down south purple/chart.  Had a great time it was Eathon’s first trip to Baffin and his friend Brandon as well and they had a blast.  Jeremy and I battled it out for big trout i got him today with a 23 1/2″ fatty!  Great times good friends!!! Thanks chad

Of course thanks for carrying the load while I am gone.  Next, looking at your pictures it is the kind of calm that we rarely see on Baffin.  And while the conditions might be a little tough as you say, nothing like banging a limit and I am sure Eathon had a great time along with the rest of the boys.  Looks like the purple Down South is toting the note right now.  So keep them coming, I know this report will have me at Baffin as soon as I drag my ass out of bed and get down there.  Thanks  again, you add so much to this blog and I can thank you enough.

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Just a couple of days up here where it barely cracks 30 degrees with the wind blowing 20 out of the NW reminds me what I love about South Texas and Florida.  I like it cool, but these old bones prefer it warm.  This weekend they are looking at 20 degrees and snow with a wind chill of 30 – 40 below, I sure do not miss that.  Plus, there are too many of those dang Sooners for comfort around here with O.U. just right down the road.

On another note Kresta’s called and my trolling motor is done, after 35 days.  I am going to post the whole timeline in a later post after I use it a few times along with a few comments from readers.  It will be for you the reader to decide – Is this customer service?  Look for that post.

Looking at the weather the same winter weather coming to OKC is on the way to our house.  The wind will be 25 and the temp is looking to maybe hit the mid 40’s for a few days.  So I will hitch it up and hit the water Friday, and maybe Saturday before it gets here.   And if you have any comments or reports send them this way, we love to get them.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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40 Years and Counting 12/13/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The weather looked pretty good for bass fishing Monday morning.  Cloudy, light drizzle, and no wind, perfect.  When I got to the lake it is clearly still easing up and it was fairly clear at the lower end.  I headed up lake to see if it was to off-color.  Once you make the big turn the water had a slightly milky look to it.  And since I am still without the Mako I could not get a good water temp, but since it looked ok I decided to give it a go.

To make a long couple of hours into a short version, I did not have a bite.  This is my regular stomping grounds, so not having even a touch was surprising.  And that was on swim jig and plastics on the same places I have been catching fish for several monthgs.  Now I may be slow, but I am not stupid, usually.  So I cranked it up and headed down  lake  and stopped on a point where the water was clear, and the bite started.

They have caught a fish or two.

On the way it finally sank in, throw the Bagley Bang-O-Lure.  While it is a little early for this pattern, the conditions were perfect.   I started twitching it along right on top, occasionally jerking it under, and I caught one.

The First Bite

As I was fishing I realized that I have been throwing the Bang-O-Lure since the late 70’s if memory serves me right.  I mean 40 years, crazy!  And while it will catch fish year round, this is one of my favorite times to throw the Bang-O-Lure.  Early, early, pre-spawn.   I think it is so effective this time of year because of how subtle it really is.  I actually refer to it as a finesse bait.  The bait is so perfect for twitching, the foil reflects tons of light, and in clear water they will come for it.  It is truly a trick them bait, you see lots of them, and making the perfect jerk often leads to big rewards.  And seeing a nice one roll up out of nowhere and eat it in clear water is of the great bites.

               This technique has always been deadly for this size.

They started biting about noon, or I finally started throwing the right bait, and I caught them until I quit at 4:00.  It was not fast by any means, but a good point with deep water close by produced bites.  I found 2 different ways they wanted it, one better for the bigger fish, the other for the smaller ones.

The smaller fish wanted it just twitched right along on top, making a little wake and sounds like a shad splashing.  Most of the bites like that were fairly close to the bank.  The better fish hit it like they have for the last 40 years, under the water.  I can honestly say it is one of my favorite bites.  Twitch it along and occasionally jerk it under over a foot or so, and pay super close attention.  Several I saw either a boil behind it, or one would flash on it.  That is when it is critical to make it flash, no big jerk, just a little ripple as you pull it under a foot or so, and they will eat it as it floats up.  Do not jerk it hard like a jerk bait, just a nice pull makes it flash as it darts under.  Remember, you are imitating a dying shad to a cold fish.

And now a word from our sponsor – It is absolutely mandatory that you have good polaroid sunglasses.  I have multiple lens colors, and today it was the yellow, perfect for those cloudy days.  Having a pair of the yellow lens Cocoons was critical.  You have to be able to see under the bait.  Even if they do not eat it lets you know that fish are there, and ultimately how they want it by seeing them when they do eat it.

This big girl materialized out of nowhere and smoked it.

Before the afternoon was over I put a dozen or so in the boat, and missed several more.  I had one real whopper roll on it next to a stump, but I was not able to coax her to eat.  She rolled on it the next cast, but just did not eat.  Other than that most of the good ones would commit.  This pattern will hold now until around May, but the good time is the next 2 months as the big girls start coming up and staging in areas close to big spawning coves.

I have fished many brands of topwater minnows, and I can categorically say this, balsa is by far better, especially in clear water or colder conditions.  And that is what I am talking about when I refer to it as a finesse bait.  Subtle, the Bang-O-Lure, is hands down the best choice.  I can not even guess how many fish I have caught over the decades on the Bang-O-Lure, but I know one thing, it has been a constant for me since the day I picked it up. And I want to take this time to thank Billy, who was kind enough to give me 2 of the originals that are likely over 20 years old.  I almost hate to fish with them, but you can see the results.  So thanks Man!  Today was flat out fun!

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The Mad Trout Fisherman is still casting and blasting.  It is a great time to be hunting and fishing in Texas.

Day 2 of blast and cast after getting up 2 days in a row at 3 am.  And guess what, its 3 am and I’m writing this post trying to figure out the work schedule, and bids for the week, and of course my plans for fishing this week according to weather and tides. Oh back to the report, yesterday we had a four man crew planned.  When I arrived it was shortened to a two man as we had some sleepy heads.  So me and Eathon, my friend Jeramies son, headed to Charlie’s to put the boat in.

A committed hunter, Eathon was ready to go.

Light winds made the trip short across to mattty island. The big wind out the se made access to back water marsh ponds in Contee lake a breeze. So we set up our spread and waited on shooting time. As daylight started to break the birds started moving. I love the sounds of ducks wings cutting through the air, sounds like little jets coming to the decoys. Shooting time arrives and the browning a5 starts rocking.  Pintails, teal, scalp, and the mighty redheads are folding out of the sky.

Wow I love it!!!!  We were limited by 8 am and while looking for birds all of a sudden I had an ocean of grief as we were looking for birds. I lost my lab on opening day of dove season to a heat stroke.

R.I.P.  Radar  9/1/16.

Sad day for our family. He was 2yrs old in his 3rd hunting season.  And a big ole case of I miss him hit me. Man tears just came pouring out and I decided it’s time to get another and move on.  So as of now I am looking for a yellow or black lab with hunting parents.  A puppy.  Ok back to the hunt, we loaded up the deeks and headed to some drains to fish a strong outgoing tide. Throwing up current letting the down south sink and then letting the tide do all the work. We found the bite, trout after trout, all 1/2″ to short to box.  After a two-hour smack down on the little guys we headed to Pringle to find a nice trout. We did, we ended up boxing 3 before heading in at 2 pm. A great hunt, a good day fishing.

The Man Himself.

We had 3 trout from 18-20″ and one rat red. Thanks, and if anybody reading has pups on the ground let me know.  You can contact me through my business # 361-484-7689, Allseason’s Fence. Thanks and god bless. Chad.

First let me say sorry for the loss of Radar.  We lost our Husky last year after almost 14 years, and it still makes me sad.  But you are right, time for another, maybe Radar 2, and all the good times that comes with having a puppy and watching as he grows into a hunter.  And again it is so cool how you take the young folks.  Trust me, you are doing a great thing that they will appreciate for the rest of their lives.  In fact they will be telling stories about the good old days when they sacked them up with Chad.  No better legacy as far as I am concerned.  Love your reports and pictures, keep them coming.

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The next 2 days we are making a quick 2 day run to Oklahoma.  Need to keep seeing those grandbabies, Mia 6 and Wren 2, before they are driving.  They grow up real fast.  And thanks to the quick trip I should be back on the water before the week is out.  Now my fishing choice becomes easy for the next few months, perfect bass weather and I will be after them, good tide conditions it will be off to the bay.  A great time to live on the Texas coast.  Thanks for stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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A Couple Reports and other Stuff. 12/11/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Tomorrow (Saturday)  Jeffish, Korbin and I will head to Coleto.  The plan is fish the outflow and see if we can catch/net a few tilapia, then drift deep for big blue cats and throw out a few jugs.

Weather

58/44  Over cast with 10% chance of rain.  Wind 10 – 15mph

Lake Level

Today  95.67   Last Trip  95.33

Poor Planning = Poor Performance

Well to put it succinctly we sucked.  It was cool and blowing a little when we put in at 1pm.  We motored up to the outflow cove and it took about a minute to figure out that the tilapia were not there, at least in mass like they do in the winter.  And there was no warm water coming out, and the only action was the occasional shad getting chased at the face of the locks.

We fished small jigs in case crappie or whites were there, and I did lose what was probably a big crappie, but other than that no luck.  So from there we hit a few spots with the cast net trying to catch a bream or two and that went nowhere.  At that point we realized we had no backup plan.  Real smart!  We could have picked up some worms or minnows, but no.  So our last ditch effort was to hit a couple of crappie trees with jigs, and Jeffish caught the only fish while we were out.

Father and son having a big time.

So really the only thing to take from this trip is occasionally it might be a good idea to think about the possible alternatives if the plan does not work out.   In this case I should have checked the outflow every time I was out there to see when, or if, the water is being released.  Another thing slightly out of my control right now is the transducer on the graph is in the hull on the skiff so I do not have a real water temperature reading.  The tilapia will come with the warm outflow, but it just may not be time yet.  Not a wasted afternoon, but we sure could have done a better job.  The Boss says I am the worst catfisherman in the world, and she may be right.

(And I have heard multiple rumors on whether the plant is running or not running, or is, or will be, shut down.  So any of you that know the real answer drop me a line.)

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While we were out thrashing around aimlessly The Mad Trout Fisherman was doing his best to decimate the species.  Nothing like a great Cast and Blast.

We had a blast and cast day today with redheads at Kellar Bay and were done by 8 am so we switched gears to go chase trout at the Lavaca river. What a day for my friend Vince and his son. I love taking father and sons to the bay and river. I love the outdoors, and getting to see the smiles on a kids face as he shoots his limit of ducks and then hooks a nice speck! – Priceless !

It is getting close to Christmas, and I have to say:THANK YOU JESUS!!! For all the great things you have provided me with, and all the hard lessons I’ve had to learn this year. Character and faith provide me with the knowledge to make the right decision today!!

Ok, the trout were a challenge today, establishing a pattern was tough, but thank God for the pesky liar birds, the ones I want to kill in croaker season!  They made todays trip successful by letting us know where to run and drift next.  3 mo ago the liar birds were worthless, today they were the tool to catch fish. The seagulls pitched in as well.  Thats the story of my life, bitch about it one day grateful for it the next. We caught our fish with 20″ of lea,der under a rattle cork with bb’s, a 1/8 jig head, and a chart curly tail grub. I saw lot of boats fishing the banks, didn’t see them putting any fish in the boat though I wasn’t looking that hard either.

Tried a few banks myself and nadda.   A guy who was polite enough to be towing another boat back to the ramp as were launching said hey I read your reports on fishcatchingtravel.  That caught me off guard and I said yeah. Then he said,  “Did y’all really catch them fish out of the Lavaca yesterday”, and I said yes sir. Doug you’re a cool cat to let an ole redneck post. I want to say thank you, and we will be on a boat soon together. Yes that’s an invite! I’m a nobody so it will be cool to fish with someone that has the years experience and cast knowledge you do. And this is why i fish! Thanks and Godbless.😎chad.

I do not know where to start so lets lead with taking your friends out and having it work out perfect.  It is so incumbent on those of you who are good at things outdoors to share them with others.  Not only does it make their day, or year, it helps build the base in the sports we love.  You do a great job at taking folks, and you will be rewarded in one way or the other.  We called it Karma in the 60’s.  Now it is usually referred to as what goes around comes around, and you have some great things coming.

The ramp thing, get used to it.  First, it took me aback when it first happened to me.  I often get the question; “Are you that guy?”  For me it is just validation for what we are trying to do here.  There are folks reading this who really appreciate us sharing this kind of information, it is in plain English, by normal guys.  I may tout the folks who help me on the blog, but this is not a commercial.  Hopefully it is a discussion that expands all of our knowledge.

And a quick word about folks believing what they read here.  Remember fishermen are a skeptical lot, and they have learned over the years that much of what they read is not really that helpful.  And many have a hard time believing what we say we catch at times.  It is one of the reasons I take so many pictures holding fish, small as well as big.  Heck I even take one occasionally just to show I was really out there.  But being willing to speak with folks and sharing any information that might help them overcomes that skepticism.  Just keep telling your story, those that are smart enough to listen and apply will benefit with fish on the stringer.  Those that don’t believe will never believe, and it puzzles me why they read this blog.  If you and I were going to lie we sure as hell would come up with better stuff than some of these reports!

And a little side story on the subject of folks believing what they read here.  My buddy Aaron and I had a day and a half on Coleto where we boated somewhere in the range of 80+ really good bass on the Swim Jig.  It was a killin’.  He was out at the lake looking to rent a place for a month or two and he contacted a guy who met him there.  He was telling Aaron about some guy who said they caught 80 bass on a swim jig, basically calling bullshit.  Aaron said the look on his face was priceless when he said that was me with Doug and that was a low estimate.  You just can not make them all happy.  By the way he now throws the swim jig!

And as far as you being a “redneck”, hell rednecks catch fish.  And you are far from a “nobody” as can be.   What you do when taking the kids and others makes you a hero, just ask them, end of story.  When I was a kid we lived in a farmhouse with an outhouse, our phone was a crank phone, and we did not have a pot to piss in.  (Except in the winter when it was to cold to go outside.)  I might have done a few things along the way, but I am just a regular dude from farm country like you who loves his fishing.  Fishing brings many strange bedfellows together, because it is all about the fishing.  Believe me if you keep posting your self labeled “nobody” status will change.   In fact, it is fun to talk with folks that ordinarily you wouldn’t interact with at the ramp.  So just have fun with it.

Now as to me and that “years of experience and cast knowledge” you were kind enough to label me with.  If I had to say anything about all of that is I agree, I do have years of experience and a little cast knowledge.  But if I had to describe my fishing abilities it would be a jack of all trades and master of none.  I do not catch trout as well as you, I do not catch bass as well as KVD, muskies like Joe Bucher, or tarpon like Jose, but what I do is all of those things when I can.  I have been lucky enough, or crazy enough, to get to do a few things in my fishing life, but there is still much more to do.  A big tuna, a monster blue cat, a tiger fish, a giant goliath grouper, a 10lb trout, all on the list.   Thanks for the compliment, but I ain’t all that.

So congratulations on a great day.  The smiles on those folks face says it all.  And I really like Jacob and the strap picture.  I can honestly say I like seeing the pictures and eating them more than I do hunting them, so I get my duck hunting fix vicariously through you.  You add so much to this blog and I can not thank you enough.

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When Chad started sending us his reports he was a little tentative, just like I was when I started this.  All it takes is for you to send me a comment and I will let you know how to send in any reports or pictures you care to share with us.  All of us love reading anything you want to share so feel free.  And you do not have to know how to spell or write, we will figure that out.   This is just fishing guys talking about love of the sport and not fancy pants literature, thank God.

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I got these interesting questions from Lee.  So I will give my .o2 worth, and I am sure the rest of you might have a comment or two yourself.

Hey Doug,
I am looking at making a minimal step up from the kayak to a small v bottom jon boat so as to cover a little more ground and to bring my kids with me.  I know nothing about boats in the saltwater as I just got into the salt thing a few years ago.

Can you use a normal engine for salt water?  It’s just a little 8.5 HP Nissan.  Do I need some sort of salt water engine?

Same thing for trolling motors?  Can I use a freshwater trolling motor in the salt?

And lastly, what about the trailer?  Does it have to be galvanized to be salt proof? Is there some way to salt proof a non-galvanized trailer?

Thanks for the input.  I figured you would know about such things.

Lets take your questions one at a time.  First the engine.  You do not need a saltwater engine, especially for what you are considering doing.  The key to using any motor in saltwater is flushing and rinsing after each use.  Now you will find that the length of the flushing period question will get many responses.  It seems if I had to combine most of them a good 5 minutes is usually plenty.  I have read in the past it needs to warm up enough to send the water past the thermostat on some engines.  I service my motor as required and each report finds no corrosion in the engine because I flush after every use.  Keep in mind that some engines stay in the water for years and have no trouble, so just do the basics and that Nissan should be fine.

The trailer, oh the trailer.  Over the years if I had to point to one thing that keeps requiring almost constant attention it would be the trailer.  So the point is, if it is not galvanized it is not acceptable for saltwater.  Add a little rust on the trailer and it will get eaten faster than crawdads at a Louisiana boil.  Remember, once you back a non galvanized trailer in to off-load the boat, and then park it, the whole time you are fishing the salt is eating the trailer.  By time you put the boat back on the trailer and rinse it the damage is already done. When I was still in Arkansas I had a small 14′ fiberglass boat with a 25 hp that I took to Florida every year.  The trailer was not galvanized and it ate the trailer up in no time.  In fact, it ate it from the inside out as saltwater was inside the beams no matter how well you rinsed it.  And that was a trailer that only made the salt a week or two a year.  And as far as actually coating one, it might be possible but I have not heard of any effective way.  Even if you were to try to paint, coat, or whatever, the salt will always work into any space it can get.  So in the case of the trailer, sell the other and fork out for the galvanized, it will pay off, trust me.  In fact, if I bought a new strictly freshwater boat I would still buy a galvanized trailer for it.

The trolling motor is another good question.  Before I started fishing the salt regularly I used a freshwater trolling motor and really had no more problems than I have today where both trolling motors I use are saltwater trolling motors.  So you can get away with it, especially if it is not used all that often.  One thing though, if it is a foot control it seems corrosion will is a much bigger problem on the foot pedal and cables, at least that has been my experience.  And if it still uses cables to rotate that doesn’t help matters.  Like the trailer, best to just suck it up and buy a hand control MinnKota saltwater and get it over with.

Now that I have spouted off on all that let me get to the point.  I could have answered your question with just one quote.  This came from an old plumber and takes your question down to its most basic level.  Old plumber:  “The only place water will not go is up a frog’s ass.”  Saltwater is corrosive and destructive no matter how well stuff is made, or how well you take care of it.  So know matter what you use the key is rinse, rinse, rinse.  You are a committed fisherman, and God willing you and your kids will fish together for decades.  In the long run save yourself time and money, buy the right stuff and your overall saltwater fishing experience will be so much better.

Thanks for the questions.  And the rest of you, all my answer are anecdotal so there may be some of you that have better information, or a different opinion.  This is one of those teachable/learning moment.  So if you have anything to say on any of Lee’s questions let hear them.

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I am taking care of “the list” today so I can fish tomorrow.  With a visit to OKC and the kids this week I want to get stuff ready so I can be on the water Monday.  And if it works out I should be back on the water Friday.  In a minute I am going to put on my Cowboy jersey, pour myself a cold one, and watch as the Cowboys clinch the division and possibly home field.  Remember I am the guy who was going to drop $20 in Vegas on the Boys at 20 to 1 to make the Super Bowl and did not do it. That means they have a hell of a chance to make it all the way.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Why We Fish 12/9/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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(I stayed in the house all day yesterday as the wind howled outside.  It is cool this morning in Texas while I get a few things done so I thought I would drop this thought and a good river report from the Mad Trout Fisherman.)

Why We Fish?

When you fish by yourself as I often do you get a chance to think while you are out there.  One day I realized that I had never asked myself that very question.  When I asked myself why I fished I was surprised at one of my answers.

People fish for as many reasons as there are people.  For some folks it is the thrill of a fish on the line, for some it is the process of actually getting the fish on the end of the line, and for others it is in the anticipation that comes with every cast.  Maybe it is putting food on the table, or making money to put food on the table.  For many it is spending time in the great outdoors,  spending time with family and friends, or simply getting the boat out on the water.  And what fisherman does not want to spend time with their children fishing, hopefully bonding them to a lifetime in our sport.  Folks also like fishing because it can be an escape allowing them to get away from it all, to just not think about things.  And last as my buddy Clyde said as we stared at the water pouring out of the South Padre jetties, it is for those of us that as kids would have been diagnosed as ADD.  We can stare at the water all day, it is constantly moving and changing, and be happy as a clam.

In my case it is a little of all of the above.  Since I caught my first fish 59 years ago I have been hooked ever since.  As a child it was simply a fish wiggling on the end of my line.  As time progressed it was the anticipation of not only the bite, but the thought of what would happen when I hit the pond tomorrow as I tried to go to sleep.  Over the years it progressed to wanting to figure it out, to make it happen.  But the simple thrill of the bite is the one constant that is always there.

As Larry Dauhlberg says;  “First you want to catch a fish, then you want to catch lots of fish, then you want to catch a big fish, and finally, you want to catch fish the way you want to catch them.”  I would now put myself in that category.  Buzzbait, topwater, spinnerbait, see a pattern here?  I love the visual bite, the explosion as water flies everywhere.  That moment is as exciting today as it was the first time I threw a topwater lure, which was so far back I can not remember when.  I do know it was a Hula Popper.

And as I have said before, I just love The Stuff.  Boats, rods and reels, cool new baits, it does not matter, I love The Stuff.  I even have a room in my house for The Stuff.  I go in there at times and mess with my stuff.  When I get new stuff in the mail it usually spends a week or so in the living room so I can fondle my new stuff before it hits the water.  A little obsessive don’t you think?  I can’t help it, I love The Stuff.

As I was fishing that day I realized there was another big reason I fish, and it is exactly the opposite of what I might have thought.  I like fishing because I get to think about problems, and solutions, to all of those day-to-day things that drive us all nuts.  I do not fish to get away from those everyday concerns, but to think about them.  It allows me to think things through enough to make what I hope is a good decision, or resolution to an issue, and then put it to rest.  With no distractions outside of the casting and catching, I not only make better decisions on tough things, but really thinking things through that bother or disturb me allows me to put them in their proper perspective.  By spending the time to go over a problem or issue I can often do what needs to be done with those little life’s worries:  Put It To Bed!

So I guess I hit all the motivations.  Fishing with friends, figuring it out, loving the outdoors, watching as a big red flushes a topwater, flying across the water as the sun rises, bingeing on fresh fried filets, they are all a part of why I fish.  But realizing that it is a problem solving place for me was an eye opener.  When it comes down to it I do fish to get away from those everyday problems, but in my case it is a place to resolve them, and then fish in peace.

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Let Dez light up your boat today.

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The Mad Trout Fisherman gave his son one of the best presents you could ever give a kid, and it was not a great day on the water, or a limit of trout, but real me time with Dad.  It is not often I get a fresh report with a nice limit at 9:00 in the morning on the same day.

After the big blow yesterday, my fishing wisdom said the Lavaca should be great. When you have a son that makes A’s  in school it is his turn to go get on em. And use (lucky kid – fct) a sick day at school. Lol.  He has select baseball all weekend so it would be his only chance.  So we headed to the ramp at 6 am. Upon arrival at the ramp the water was dirty, dang there goes my idea to head up river and hide from the cold.  So down river we go, after a couple quick drifts we moved farther down.  The water looked like light tea, when we turned the corner and saw the beautiful sight of birds working the middle of the river.

What more could a dad and son want!

Excitement sets in and boom fish on, 6 drifts fill the box with ten nice specks 16-19″ and my son is glowing as he is putting a whooping on ole’ dad!  Purple/chart caught more and bigger fish than clear/ chart. When the birds broke up it was over.  Fished deep, fish the ledges, the corners, the pockets.  Nodda! With no tide movement we head to the ramp at 9am happy as a lark!  Super way to start the weekend. Duck season reopens, and it ought to be on fire with all the ducks and geese we saw this morning! So after a short nap i’ll be cutting some wolf weed to camouflage us out.  Looks like the weather is gonna cooperate as well. Thanks, Merry Christmas my fellow anglers and outdoorsmen!!!!

A just reward for a good kid.  Nothing says it more than the look on his face.  I mean come on, skip a little school and whip ol’ dad on the way to a limit.  Perfect.  We saw the birds diving just a little Wednesday, but they never settled down enough to make any use of it.  And ducks, boy are there some ducks around.  And this front should have pushed the last of the stragglers down to the Texas Coast.   As usual thanks for the report and we will be looking forward to a few duck pictures.  If I did not have a few things to take care of today I would hook it up and go right now.  (How does a retired guy end up busy?)  Guess it will have to wait until tomorrow.  Have a great weekend.

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I will be fishing somewhere tomorrow catching something.  Today I am rounding up all our really cold weather gear.  With trips to Oklahoma City and Colorado looming over the next 3 weeks it is time get all the stuff together we never use in this part of the world.  It will be great to see the grandbabies, and the ride in the Colorado mountains with the sled dogs is on the Boss’s bucket list and should be awesome.  We love Huskies.  But it is really cold in both places, and while it will be fun, it will remind me the biggest reason I love the South, it rarely gets that damn cold.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Garcitas Creek 12/7/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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My buddy Aaron is down with his dad visiting relatives in Inez and they want to give fishing the creek a go.  I have not seen it since the rain so it should be interesting.  We might hit it just right, and it may be a mistake, only tomorrow will tell.

Weather

65/59  Partly to mostly cloudy.  20% chance of rain.  Wind ENE 5 – 10mph.

Tide + Solunar Times

High Tide 1:52am  Low  4:22pm.  Average velocity  2 fish day.   Very High Activity 6:33 – 8:33   High Activity 12:59 – 1:59pm.

We Out Smarted Ourselves

It was a, you never know until you go, day.  Not having a clue how much fresh water, or how much the water temperature dropped, we decided to hit Garcitas and see if we could figure it out.  Unfortunately as my old buddy Tad used to say, “That is what 3 grown men did all day?”

When we dropped it in the creek it looked like it might be just a little to dirty.  So the obvious way to deal with that was to run down to where it flows into the bay and see if we could find some better water and a few fish, and we did, but “some” about covers both of them.  The creek was flowing out, possibly a combination of lots of fresh water and the tide.  First up was the bank where I have been catching them.  To make a long sad story short, we ended up catching 8 fish.  2 trout made the box and my dinner table, the rest a couple of rat reds and short trout.

The only excitement was a big ass redfish that gave Aaron a tussle, and then inexplicably pulled off.  We fished deeper banks, even went out in the bay where the water cleared quite a bit, without success.  As far as plastic colors there was no real difference in the amount of bites on light or dark.  We easily missed more that we caught, the fish were clearly “not feeling it.”

We gave it a serious go, fishing until about 3 before calling it a day.  There were 3 trailers at the ramp when we got there in the morning, none when we loaded out.  That is usually a good sign that the fishing sucks.  Though the fishing was marginal, the company was great.  Aaron is probably the best all-around fisherman I have had the pleasure to fish with.  And his dad has a 80+ year history of catching all kinds of fish in lots of places.  So today was not a case of not having the skill in the boat, it was simply a good idea gone bad.  But you know what?  We had a good time.

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The Mad Trout Fisherman Does Baffin

When I got this comment from Chad it reminded me of how much I want to get down there for a few days.

After a few discussions, we decided with the boys to make a run to Baffin. My freezer has plenty fish from POC and the river. 3:00 am alarm – ouch!  At 4 we hit the road, made good time and launched by 6 am.  The first stop was Kennedy ranch shore, gin clear water, no bait, we gave it a no confidence wade. We dropped two off, gave them 200 yds, and jumped out ourselves. Water haul, that’s what i thought we were gonna catch.  So we ran to the mouth of Baffin made a quick drift, nadda.  Fired up and ran to the tide gauge, putting two on the inside and 2 on the outside.  All were throwing the corky fat boys in several colors.

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Why we make the drive.

Looking for a big girl, after 300 yds Todd hooks up 24″ trout. Okay so now my wrist hurts and my patience is gone.  I switch to plastic and boom 22″, 21″ 19″.   Jeremy hooked up a 20″ on corky, then nadda after 800 yds of covering water. We pull out of Baffin head to Yarborough.  Finally some water with color, so back to the corky in a last ditch effort wade back to the boat, finally whack a 20″ on a corky.  And that pretty sums it up for the catching. We hit a few more wades but nadda.  Wind picked up to 25 out the north.  It sure wasn’t a lack of effort to catch that big girl.  7 trout, no reds, no flounder – are you kidding me.  I still love the opportunity to catch a 32″ trout, that is the reason why I go. Like hunting King Ranch verses Inez. So that’s the report before the big blow tomorrow. Thanks chad

As I type this the big blow is shaking the house and the fish cooler is blowing down the driveway.  With the winds forecast to gust 40mph it is a good day to catch up on inside stuff.  Thinking about your day, it reminds me of my fishing down there.  I throw the corky, and often the topwater, but when it comes down to it I still have caught my better fish on plastics.  That is where I first started throwing the 1/32 ounce jig head, and where last year we sacked some nice big fish.  I have often thought about how many corkys they see down there, especially this time of year.  But I know one thing, I am with you on the size thing.  I don’t go down there wanting to sack a limit, I go down there with visions of giant trout.

It really looked like yesterday had potential, but in both our cases it did not live up to expectations.  And our experiences  yesterday were similar in results, ours minus the size.  When you have the options we do in this area at times the most important decision happens in the driveway – Where next?  And I am a firm believer that the more places you fish the better a fisherman you become.  Sometimes it is tough to get out of our warm and fuzzy spot, but when it happens it can be a thing of beauty.  Thanks for the report, it makes me want to hitch it up and head that way, though the 3 am thing is kinda’ tough.

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One of my Facebook friends posted a comment on the current fishing shows, and the comments confirmed what I have been saying for a while.  It seems the shows are going more and more to girls with big ones, ex-athletes, and rich kids.  Now I am all about plugging the fine folks who help me out, but in many of the shows they are nothing more than 1/2 hour plugs that actually teaches us nothing.  I often wonder if the fishing shows and channels really give a rats ass about whether we watch or not.  With their cable contracts they are getting paid.  If I were an executive in the fishing tackle industry or TV end of it I would be super interested in the comments to his post.  The number of folks, most hard core fishermen, who commented on the post really surprised me, and the bulk say they just do not watch much anymore.   I have a suggestion, show us the real how and where, and then knock the crap out of them on the “thing” you are promoting.  That is how you will sell stuff.  I always wondered why they would not want to really teach you how to be successful with their product.  Success means spending, ask Cabela’s or Academy.  Just wondering.   (Of course as I type this what am I doing?  You guessed it, watching fishing.  So as a consumer of what is often a marginal product my opinion matters.)

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Looking at the weather, we are getting into our normal winter pattern.  Water temps will be falling, and we will be having some super low tides.  It really is a good time of year to catch fish in my favorite places, drains out of back lakes and ponds.  It is the one time of year when I see more fish than any other with the water as clear as a bell on some of those super low winter tides.  Last year around this time I was standing in ankle deep water as the mullet streamed by me and you could see the trout rolling on them.  Really cool.  The weather will be settling some the next couple of days and it looks like some catfishing with Korbin, the 2030 future Bassmaster Classic Champion, is going to happen.  And the next calmer day it will be in the water I go.  And as usual your comments are appreciated so keep them coming.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines   

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This and That 12/7/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Normally I would be saying welcome to a new sponsor, but in the case of SuperNova Fishing Lights, it is my pleasure to add them to the page.  I have seen several examples of his work, and everyone who has used them is thrilled with the result.  If you have ever thought of lighting your boat or RV give them a call.   Click on the link above and take a look at all their products and services.

Garcitas and The Lavaca River

With the sketchy weather Chad hit the river and the creek and sent along this report.

Hey Doug great report, sounds like y’all had fun! Just wanted to let you know we hit Garcitas on sunday evening. 20-25 trout 3 keeper took my son Taylor and his friend Andrew. They had a blast. Cold windy and raining, they suited up and hooked em up!

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The look on their face says it all.

Then today we hit the Lavaca but didn’t get there till after lunch. But it was a good trip, me and my buddy Jeremy  boxed 10 ! Fish were definitely on the ledges off the banks! Tons of trout in the river, big trout was 20″ but lots of 17-19″ today.

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The river is still beautiful and not muddy. Looks like we will go chase the big girls on Matty island on Wednesday in anticipation of the blow on Thursday should be good! It wont be from a lack of trying if we don’t. There was a 27 1/2″ trout caught in Garcitas on Thursday! So the big girls are headed deep. Thanks for your consistent work in keeping us updated. Thanks chad.

And thanks to your for your continued reports.  The information we post on here helps lots of folks catch a few fish, one of the main purposes of this blog.  Your experience the last couple of trips on both was what we found.  It will be real interesting to see how this fresh water influx affects both of them.  And it looks like the boy’s had a big time.  Anytime you get on the water at that age is a good time.   Can’t wait to hear how it goes Wednesday.  I have a friend coming here tomorrow with his dad and if the creek is not to dirty that is where you will find us Wednesday morning.

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I heard from Ed who decided to drink the Wade Right Kool-Aid I have been drinking like a drunken sailor.

Doug,
I also enjoy reading all your “stuff” and especially now when Chad and you compare what and how to fish for success. Makes me really think about what days / or weekend I can try and go fish. Went and picked up two of the Wade Right setups for myself and my fishing partner/buddy (I’m 58 and he’s 68 ). Just been real good friends for the last 20 years. Thanks, and keep the “stuff” coming!! Ed

Thanks for your nice comments and continued support.  Nothing better than fishing with a real buddy.  I hope you like your Wade Right harness.  Whether you choose to carry two rods or not, having the front rod holder well off the water is so nice, makes it easier to take off the fish and reduces dunks to a minimum.  And remember, practice putting it on before your first trip, it saves time, though it reduces the chance of a good laugh.  And Chad and others who contribute do add real knowledge.  What works for me may not be your thing, but if we take all the information and put it together hopefully it all adds up to fish in the boat.

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I try not to think of this as “my” blog.  This is our blog, without you it is nothing.  On that subject I can not stress enough how thankful I am when any of you choose to participate.  Whether the report is a great one, or a poor one, it all adds up to increased knowledge for all of us.  There are lots of ways to skin a cat.  So feel free to comment anytime, or complain, I am a big boy and can take it.  So keep those cards and letters coming, they are the heart of this blog.

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The trolling motor saga drags on.  It has now been in the shop for a total of 41 days in two places, and it is still not done.  Unfreakin’ believable.  The customer service where it is now is maybe the worst ever.  I have been keeping detailed notes on how it has gone and when it is finally back on the front of the boat I will let you judge for yourself whether the place that has it is worthy of your patronage.  I can tell you right now, the day I pick it up is the last time I ever set foot in the place.

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I will be heading to the creek today with Aaron and his dad, it will be interesting how the fishing goes.  It could be great, and it might really suck.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Fishmas 12/1 and 12/2/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I often have good intentions on posting each day when I am gone on a trip, but we fished dawn to dusk, and by time the eating festivities were done it was off to bed for another early start.  So there is lots to tell and some pictures to share.  I want to thank some of the boys in advance for stealing some of these pics from their Facebook pages.  Thanks Ken, Ro, and Dez for the pictures.

Day 1  –  Garcitas Creek

The crowd, which included around 15 guys coming from multiple places, would be trickling in from early Thursday through Saturday.  Ken came a day early and camped at the Texana so we could hit the creek Thursday at daylight.  It was cool with a wind around 15mph out of the east when we started.  Our first bank was about half way down the creek, and from then until we quit shortly before dark, we caught fish most of the day.  Though little ones dominated the day, I was able to limit on ok fish, and we ended up with 6 keepers.

Weather

69/63 Sunny  Wind E 10-20 mph  0% chance of rain.

Tides

Tidal coefficient is high with a high range of currents and tides.   Low 12:24 pm -0.1  High  11:58 pm  +1.0   It is a major 3 fish day.

Solunar Periods

Very High Activity  8:37 to 9:37 am  and then another Very High Activity  2:04 to 4:04 pm.

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The Great Outdoors!  What more can you say about starting your day than this?

We ended up fishing quite a lot of the creek from halfway down out to the bay.  Plastic paddles tails was the ticket.  I think I did catch one on topwater, but that was about it on top.  The best areas were the little flatter sides near the shoreline grass.  Many of them were on the first or second drop.

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                    Me with a rat.                         Ken catches another 14 15/16″ trout.

It never was fast, they definitely bit in spurts.  Around noon Todd, with a few of the boys, joined us but it was a little tough on them.  Without a trolling motor they struggled with the wind to stay in good position.  They did manage to catch a few on plastics, and John boated one on a rattle trap.  I think they only kept one keeper, unless you are trolling it can be pretty tough to fish it without a trolling motor.

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         Just hanging with my bro.                                Todd and the boys.

We on the other hand caught them off and on.  I have been on the reeling the paddle tail pattern and it did not let me down today.  All 5 keepers I put in the boat came while reeling it at a steady pace.  I really think that with the fish feeding heavily on mullet is why it is so effective right now.  For me it has been the bigger baits, 4″ or more, on a 1/8th jig head reeled above the bottom at a steady pace.  And a bigger paddle tail on the bait seems to work better with that technique, though the Down South will work, but not nearly as effective as the bigger tail.  My favorite part of reeling it is keeping the rod pointed directly at the bait and it feels like they slam it when it stops.

Ken figured we caught around 25, and that is a fair guess.  We kept 6 keepers out of the bunch and never did boat a keeper red.  We did catch 4 or 5 rats, but no flounder.  The wind was not that bad, but it was one of those days where it did not seem to really warm up all that much.  Finally an hour before dark both boats called it a day with the hour ride down to POC to join the rest of the crowd.

The best report I have from the other boats out on Thursday came from Dez.  He fished the Oil Cut and he and a buddy had a good afternoon trip.   Any time you boat a fish this size is a good trip, no matter what else happens.

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Dez with one around 60lbs!  That is a fish.

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               Really are big uglies.                                       The rest of their catch.

(Note:  Dez, the owner of Super Nova, is a real pro at boat lighting and accessories.  He did Todd’s boat and the lighting is awesome inside and out.  Some of the work he has done on kayaks is just plain cool and functional.  If you are ever thinking of adding fishing or accents lights to your boat, or anything else you want to make yourself awesomely cool, have a real pro do it.  Check out his work at Super Nova Fishing Lights.  Tell him Doug sent you.)

https://www.facebook.com/SuperNovaLights/?ref=br_rs&pnref=lhc&qsefr=1

Meanwhile Ro and his bunch got down late Thursday afternoon and as he loves to do, started on Welder’s.  They caught some reds, they always do, though some of them struggled with the mud.  Welders can be tricky to wade, but they always manage to sack a few reds to start their trip.

As the evening wore on folks trickled in until most were there and we met at their duplex for some supper and adult beverages.  Ro was up to his usual cooking prowess and we ate like pigs.  His salsa was to die for, and topping it off with a Cajun shrimp and sausage concoction over rice, along with cornbread casserole, hit the spot.  It was nice to see the boys get together.  This is an annual thing they all really look forward to and some of them do not see each other until the annual Fishmas trip.  We talked some trash, drank some brews, and around 10 we headed back to our rental to get some sleep.

Day 2  –  POC  – Put on your big boy pants!

So here it is, Friday morning, and to get to the point, the wind is not quite howling, yet.  But lets put it this way –  When our 3 boats got to the ramp to start the day we were 3 out of 4 trucks at the ramp.  No wonder, the forecast sucked.  And let me tell you folks, this forecast did not do it justice with how down right @#&%^ the weather would get before the day was over.  And that is the thing I love about fishing with these guys.  They look forward to this trip every year and nothing, and I mean nothing, is keeping them from fishing.  You often here the description, it was a grind, and today that was the truth.

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Look out fish here comes the Austin Boys!  The fish are freakin’ scared!

Weather

71/65  Windy with showers developing late.  Wind E 20-30 mph.  40% chance of rain.

Tides

Tidal coefficient will be high with a range of tides and currents.  The only tide during the fishing day is a low at 1:03 pm -0.1.

Solunar Periods.

High Activity  9:26 to 10:26 am  Very High Activity  2:54 to 4:54 pm

With the wind already blowing like a mofo out of the north our boat decided to blow off the wading and head to Pringle to drift fish.  Todd likes to throw shrimp on the popping cork, as he says, “I like to catch fish.”  And catch fish we did.  David joined us and we made our stand.  The other boys headed to the Big Pocket and Lighthouse Cove area, which was about as out of the wind as you can get.

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The boys had them surrounded in Big Pocket.

When we got to Pringle it wasn’t to bad, the rollers inside Pringle were only 2 feet and it had not muddied up yet.  We dropped the 2 drift socks over the side to slow that big Shallow Sport as we drifted.  The wind was blowing right down Pringle which allowed us to make long drifts before having to pull up and head back up to start again.

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                                                  Todd with a couple.

Todd stuck with his shrimp most of the day, David alternated between shrimp with the cork and plastics, and I stuck with plastics all day.  We started catching fish right off the bat, and continued until we called it a day.  15 0r 20 on every drift, it would be impossible to estimate how many we caught, but 80+ would be a really conservative estimate.

Before it was over Todd and I both limited on trout, Todd added a keeper drum and redfish, and David finally managed to break out of the 14 1/2″ mode and add a keeper to the box.  Keep in mind that we could have easily limited for ourselves and a few more if we kept those line touching shorts.  So many of them were in the just missing or touching 15″, but Todd and I both subscribe to the same theory –  If it is not over, it does no go in the box.  I am not interested in the cooler shrinkage thing, no reason to get a ticket over a fish a 1/16th short.  Kind of like us men, jump in cold water and the shrinkage happens, no different than throwing trout on ice.

I threw plastics with big paddle tails, which was no mean feat as we were drifting right along with the 25mph wind.  My limit came reeling it at a speed that kept it from the bottom or the top.  There was a ton of floating grass on top, and with much of the water under 2 feet the speed had to be constantly adjusted to keep it off the bottom or top.  One thing about reeling it steady with the rod tip pointed directly at the bait, you could feel them.  Was it easy?  Not by any stretch.  But under these conditions a limit was a thing of beauty.

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A great result for one of the toughest days I have fished in a while.

Around 3 the wind was howling, and I mean flat out banshee screaming at 30 mph.  The rollers were now over 2 feet in Pringle and we wanted to leave with at least an hour and a half of daylight left in case of something bad happening on the way back.  So we get all organized, tied down, and closed and off we go.  On the way out the tide was so low we bottomed out and had to grind our way out of Pringle.  That was but a taste of things to come.

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                                                          Holy $&%$ Batman!

When we hit the open bay it was ugly, and calling it ugly is like calling an elephant kind of big.  The wind had shifted to a little more NE and it was blowing right on the island.  As we motored out once we got 100 yards off the bank it was real apparent, there was no freakin’ way we were going to be able to cross over to the Grass Island area and then down the interior islands.  In fact, after taking a monster wave over the nose of his Shallow Sport, we headed back to the shoreline.  The rollers were manageable, barely, so we motored all the way down the island to make it back via the Saluria.  It was an exciting ride, one I do not intend to repeat anytime in the near future.  But that big wide and deep Shallow Sport got the job done along with Todd’s good driving and an hour later we were cleaning fish.

The other 3 boats came in shortly after we got in and they had managed to grind out a mess wading.  Not limits for all by any means, but plenty of fish for the Fishmas party.  Don caught a nice red and he said it looked like he had eaten a softball.  He opened him up and it was a huge pile of blue crabs.  The redfish are on the chew.

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These will do any day!

Ro reported on Facebook that Saturday was windy but the heavy rain held off.  As a 3 boat group they managed a half limit of reds and trout.  Not to bad on the heels of a cold front, high winds, and off-color water.

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Nothing says it more about the weekend.   Grinding out a few with really tough conditions.  Thanks for the pictures Ro.

After everyone cleaned fish we headed to the duplex for a great dinner.  Carnitas, fish tacos, and flan polished off our day.  We were tired and headed back to the house around 10pm with the next days plans up in the air.  During the night it rained like crazy with thunder and lightning.  When we got up the wind had laid to around 15mph but it was drizzling and raining, and the forecast called for up to 3″ of rain, so Todd and I called it a trip.

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       Mike with a Big Pocket slam.  Flounder love them some Gulp.

To bad it had to end like that, but the other boats did get out for awhile on Saturday.  I am sure there is more to tell, but one thing is for sure, they are the best bunch to fish with that I have had the pleasure to go with.  No whining, no fighting, no cry babies, just a bunch of good guys who get together every year to catch fish and have a good time.  I want to thank them for letting me tag along.  They hit it hard, and if it turns into a grind they soldier on.  All of us fishing all day Friday was a testament to them as hard-core fishermen.  I am sure I have missed a thing or two with this post, and will include anything else if I hear it.

Not sure what is next, but it is still pouring as I write this.  We are getting in the 5″ category at this point.  The bay will recover pretty rapidly, the river and creek on the other hand may have just been finished off for the year.  I can not imagine any scenario where this big an influx of fresh water will not shut it down.  In years past when this happened it ended the big fall river fishing, so only time will tell.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

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Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Reader Reports 12/4/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Sunday morning and I am sitting here trying to catch up with blog stuff as it flat pours.  It has been raining steadily for well over 12 hours.  You can hear thunder in the distance and it is cool and damp.  If it rains like it is forecast to it will not be stopping until tomorrow.  We were about 3″ down for the year but we will surely catch up at this rate.

There is lots to tell you about the fishing with Austin Boys this weekend.  Like they have most years they brought the weather with them.  But before I get to all of that, lots of pictures and stories to tell that will take a while, there are a couple of other things I wanted to post.  So stay tuned for the Austin Boys report, but until then here are a couple of great reports.

The Mad Trout Fisherman

As I repeatedly say we here at fishcatchingtravel.com are so lucky that Chad is willing to share his knowledge and experience with us.  There is much to glean from his reports.

Picking your day to fish this time of year can often heavily increase your catching. Me and another business owner, my fishing partner Todd, plan to fish once a week.  Picking the days we go consist of a lot of variables. Wind, barometric pressure, tides, temp,- these are the factors when deciding the day to go. Then its our workload, appointments , etc, 95 percent of the time we fish a weekday. I say all that to say this, due to fronts blowing in, and whether the water temps is dropping and rising. You can increase your success rates by 1000 percent by hand picking your fishing days.  I believe you can catch fish any day fishing with the tidal period. We left out of Charlie’s in a 20 mph wind out of the NW yesterday, it was a bumpy going to Matagorda island. We started fishing the drains on the Spiritu Santo side first then finding protection on the San Antonia side . We found tons of trout feeding on the bait pouring out of all the marsh.

img_1341Which made for a lot of catching, however we moved down the shoreline until we found, slightly murky water, with a few pelicans diving.  After a bit of trial and error, I found the presentation they wanted: bang it was like turning on a switch! Fish quality improved from 14″-16″ to 18″-20 . My preferred  presentation was cast out deep at 45 degree angle, let it sink, then a steady slow retrieve. I was standing with the wind at my back in the middle of a gut the guts run north and south. By me casting west at a 45 degrees it allowed my bait to cover many guts instead of the one strait in front of me.  Its the little things that make fishing- catching! We had a good box at 1:30 so we headed in out of the wind. Good luck! Thanks chad

Man I love your reports.  First you echoed what I constantly preach on, it is the little things that are the difference.  Attention to speed, depth, what you were doing when you caught one, all add up to success.  And I have basically never just reeled a plastic, and since you tipped me off to that it has really surprised me not only how well it works, in the last month it has put my biggest trout and flounder in the boat for this year, and I love the way some of them absolutely stop it.  (It saved my day yesterday in a 30 mph wind, more on that when I get the weekend report up.)  And the slightly dingier water with pelicans is a theme right now.  As usual my heartfelt thanks for sharing.  It has made me a better trout fisherman and those of you that are reading this stuff need to really think about and digest the information Chad shares with us.  He is the kind of man that is a credit to our sport and if you are not learning anything from his reports you are obviously brain dead!  Thanks again.

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Kayak Killer

James, who gets it done fresh and salt out of his kayak, dropped this comment on his last wading trip and using his Wade Right.

Hey Doug,
Thought I’d give you a Wade Right report. I got out to fish Corpus and really enjoyed the Wade Right. Was able to carry two rods while wading and switch out quick fire which I really like. I carry as many rods in my yak for quick changes so I definitely like wading with rods to cover top and plastic. You’re right about practicing with it beforehand. Two times it was a piece of cake and made sense to me. One time I had thrown it in the car and let the straps get twisted and just couldn’t make sense of it. My fault for getting it twisted up. I got the back support but didn’t have it on and think it’ll simplify things. Everything else was great and most importantly no dunked reels. Wish my waders weren’t leaking and dunking other things. How do you find waders that last more than 3 years? Arggh! I have only used them maybe 10 times. At $300 bucks that’s just too much to leak after 10 trips.

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The fish had totally changed from my last trip a month ago. Very few on top. Lots and lots of small trout but the kid in me had fun with them. Must’ve caught 30-40, maybe more as it was every cast for a while. All probably 10-12 inches on white Gamblers. All on the edge of a drop off. The dolphins wouldn’t leave me alone as they were probably perfectly snack sized trout.  No reds but I caught this big ugly with one of those lures you always say you can’t catch em on 😉 It was the big fish of the day and a fun fight after 12 inch trout.

Your report made me laugh.  Having several friends buying the Wade Right I have seen some unusual attempts at putting it on.  Once you have it down it is a breeze, but there is a short learning curve.  And the real punch line, no dunked reels and the ability to carry topwater and plastic equipment without changing or going back to the boat.  I hear that from everyone who tries them.  What can I say about waders.  My last 3 pairs leaked, one from Academy, one Cabela’s, and one from Roy’s and the longest one pair went was just under 2 years before leaking.  So I finally bit the bullet and went with the high dollar Simms.  As much as I fought spending that kind of money when I honestly looked at it, I had almost spent the same $$$ on all the others, and I was getting wet.  So the great wader test will continue and we shall see if they last as long as folks who love them say they do.

And your experience is right on point with most folks I am chatting or fishing with – There are a world of under trout, and the catching is great.  Our report from this weekend will include our experience with that, tons of small trout.  Our future looks bright for the next few years.  And the drum have really shown up the last month or so, look for the pic coming of a 60lber caught by one of the Austin Boys.  So thanks for your reports, nothing like whacking some nice bass on Fayette and finishing the week with some trout and reds, that is my perfect week.

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And Jim commented on my launching experience last week.

Doug,
As you know, I love reading your posts and at times laugh right out loud at some of your comments as they are totally relatable. Today it was your comment about launching in a white capping cove as I could just picture it. There have been times when I have sat at a ramp and just watched the festivities of boats coming and going. At times it is the best entertainment around. I’m sure we all have either personally experienced or seen a good ramp story. Thanks for making me laugh again.

Watching the ramp can be fun, if you are not waiting as you try to load or unload.  Those years I lived and worked at the dock our ramp was right at the main dock.  Over those years we saw some really spectacular things happen.  From a brand new Bronco rolling in to the lake, to a guy getting so mad trying to back a trailer in that he had a heart attack and died right on the ramp as we did CPR on him.   So many crazy things would happen at the ramp and gas dock that we wanted to take a hard hat and imbed a hatchet in it, then whoever made the biggest screw up would have to pose for a picture.  We should have done it.  So thanks for the comment, it is making me laugh as I think about all the crazy things I saw over the years.  And one last story, I actually managed to have my bass boat slide off the trailer one morning, thank God the motor kept it from coming completely off, and I was able to crank it back on.  And best of all, no one saw me!

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I got a few more trolling motor comments, which I will post along with the final edition of the ongoing trolling motor non-repair.  It will be almost 4 weeks when I call Monday morning, if it is not done I am going to pick it up and rant away.  So stay tuned for that.

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So that catches stuff up for now.  I wanted to do this before I started on this weekend festivities.  2 days to cover and lots of photos to get.  I can tell you one thing for sure, crap weather aside, what fun.  Good food, drinks, and fishing companions make for a great weekend.  And without divulging to much, it was a real grind.  Those guys fish, end of story, and I am thankful that I got included.  That report will be up soon, so keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 11/30/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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While I was gone this weekend my buddy Jeffish took the skiff so he could camp and fish with his son.  He managed to catch his first slam while they were there.  I decided to just pick up the boat tomorrow and hit the lake for a couple of hours.  Looking at the weather for tomorrow my only question is how hard the wind will blow.  It definitely looks like a post cold front bluebird day.  So we will see how the fishing goes.

Weather

71/52  Sunny   Wind 10 -20 out of the north.  0% chance rain.

Lake Level

Last Trip 95.29    Today  95.33  (Hopefully it will stabilize and not drop to much more.)

Solunar Periods

  • Best Times   10:18A – 12:18P
  •                          4:34A – 6:34A
  • Good               4:58P – 6:58P

I am a freakin’ genius!  I worried the fishing might suck, and boy did it live up to that expectation.  I did some stuff, picked up the boat, hitting the lake around 10:30.  The first bad sign, the only 2 boats there had pulled out and were shooting the  breeze, no other trucks in the lot.  Bad sign number 2, the wind is blowing 20 mph straight out of the north and it is noticeably cool.  It is so helpful unloading when it is white capping in the cove.  And last but not least, there is a mile high sky.

With it blowing that hard, and me already knowing it was already a short trip, it was the plant arm today.  I am going to make this very short and sweet, I fished the first long channel bank with swim jig and had 2 bites.  The first one smoked it and did not hook up.  Number 2 ate it, when I set the hook the drag was way to light, and without a good hook set he jumped off at the boat.  I was actually using a brand new reel out of the box and didn’t want the drag to tight.  Oh well.

From that point on I fished 5 other banks without a bite.  I threw a little crankbait, jerkbait, and swim jig, with the only bites coming on swim jig.  Finally on the last bank, on almost the last cast, a little midget jumped on and I called it a day.  So for 3 1/2 hours it was 3 bites and one fish.  About as slow as I ever had it on the lake.

The lake is really low, and is pretty clear.  My transducer in the skiff is in the hull so no water temp gauge, but putting my hand in it has definitely cooled off.  So it really was a classic poor fishing day.  Post cold front, mile high sky, falling water, 20 mph north wind, how could it be worse?  That is my story and I am sticking to it.  As I was backing the boat in I was thinking, Do you really want to fight this?, but heck I was there.  There is some great winter fishing to come on the lake, but these conditions are not the ticket.

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I got this very timely comment from Joe Bass about my trolling motor.  And why is it timely?  I was just about to rant a little crazy about trolling motors and this will give me a chance.

On your trolling motor.
What was the symptoms of the trolling motor?
What was it not doing?
I have a 24v Motorguide 767 brute that i have fixed with new switches,cables, wiring and its still working(knock on wood). ITS A BEAST !!! I call it my mechanical wonder because it doesn’t have all the stow away, remote control,electronics etc.. And that stuff equals more dollars when it goes out.

Joe

Mine is a hand control, with none of the fancy electronics, and the handle just got so loose and worn that it would not stay off, or on.  It just plain shook loose after 7 years of hard use and pounding across the bay.  Not that big a deal, just replace some plastic parts, but between 2 places it has been in the “shop” for 5 weeks.  Are you freakin’ kidding me.  It is simply worn parts and why it is still not fixed I do not know.  And right before I opened your comment my buddy Todd of the Austin Boys called and he is having trolling motor trouble.  Last time he was down it over heated, the plug melted and it went nuts on high.  So he had his guy hardwire it direct and that went great.  To bad it did not get tested, the minute Todd tried it was still stuck on high.  Looks like mother board issues.  I guess living all those years in a town with a real trolling motor repair shop, that often fixed it while you waited, I was spoiled.  Seriously, there is a business there somewhere.  Thanks for you comments and participation, makes this a better blog.

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But all that aside, the poor fishing, the broken trolling motor, tomorrow begins a few days on the salt.  We will fish the creek a day and then wade and drift fish POC the rest.  The Austin Boys are staying until Sunday, I have to be back for the Bosses Christmas party Saturday night.  So the fishing until you drop starts today.  I have prepared lots of the next few posts and with wifi at the house I should be able to get some pictures posted each day.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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