Catching Fish on a New Bait 3/3/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Weather

81/49  Cloudy with 20% chance of rain.  Wind East 15 -25mph.  (It never saw 80 and the wind was a particular pain in the butt today.)

Lake Level

Today  97.46 msl      Week ago Monday  97.27 msl

Nothing Like New Baits

Thursday I caught up on stuff after the trip to Travis, and with the wind expected to blow 20+ out of the east today, the lake was the obvious choice.  I was really surprised how much it has come up since I was there last week.  It is really in the shoreline brush, but unfortunately the rain last week dirtied the water, more as you head up lake.   But as it warms back up and starts to clear it is going to be off the chain.

The first 3 places where I have been catching them produced zip, places I normally would catch several.  Whether spinnerbait, swim jig, or Bang O Lure, they were just not having it.  Finally it started warming up some and they bit in that off color water, at least a little bit.  Unfortunately I only have a couple of pictures, forgot the camera today and the flip phone is about impossible.

A swim jig fish.

It was real apparent from 10:30 when I started, until about 1:00, they were either not shallow or not biting.  Obviously the last couple of nights in the 40’s combined with a 20+ east wind and dirty water conspired against the one thing I wanted to accomplish today, fishing the Controlled Descent Lure.  The wind was swirling around corners and down  banks making it a tough.  So after catching 7 on bluegill swim jig and 2 on spinnerbait in the wind I finally thought about somewhere that might be out of the wind, so I headed that way.

I Knew It Would be Killer!

I headed back down lake in search of clearer water and went way back in a sheltered timbered cove to throw the Controlled Descent Lure.  The wind was still a hassle, but it was fishable.  The plan today was to insert the foam in the bait and basically fish it like a spook on top, and boy did it work.  One swarmed it on my second cast.  Using the hook in the package on the Pearl straight tail, I twitched it along on top and low and behold I ended up catching exactly 10 before I quit.  Under crappy conditions I considered that a real success.  Who knows how man it would have been if I could have fished where I wanted to and not where I had to.

My first Controlled Descent Lure bass.

So some observations on the new Controlled Descent Lure by My Coast Outdoors.  I am telling you that thing is a freakin’  killer.  Today I worked it along in a walk the dog pattern then stopped it, they could not stand that thing hanging in front of their face.  At one point 3 came out of one tree top.  I learned a couple of things.  First the baits are soft, but the screw lock on the hook lets you get away with a bait that normally might be to trashed if it were on a jig head.  Of the 10 I boated, 9 came on one pearl bait, and I missed a couple to boot.  If I could keep up that average per bait I would be thrilled.  While there were no big fish today, that was a product of the conditions and there are better days to come.

Second, for both bass and the trout, getting it just a tiny bit negative, where it barely falls or slightly suspends, will absolutely catch fish.  Today they ate that thing under tough conditions, I can only imagine what it will be like on a perfect day.   And my Cocoons made keeping track of it simple.  After the pearl one tore up I tried a different color.  (I only have one bag of pearl and did not want to waste them on a poor condition day before I pick more up at the show.)  I caught one on the pink with a chartueuse tail,  really more of a trout color, but the pearl was clearly better on the bass, they were smoking it.  Once they decided to commit they ate and held on.  It really does look like a dying shad if you do it just right, and being weightless when they bit they ate and I only missed a couple.  It was cool watching them roll over and eat.  A bait after my own heart.

It was definitely a successful first attempt with the Controlled Descent Lure but I am not surprised.  When I first read about it the applications were immediately apparent.  While there is lots to learn about using it, the potential is obvious.  Adjusting weight and flotation, combined with specific line weights and fishing conditions, will take a little effort, but who does not like that kind of work?  But seriously, the Controlled Descent Lure is the coolest bait to come along in a while.  For more information take a look at the websites.

http://www.mycoastoutdoors.com/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/My-Coast-Outdoors-1085833788121350/

Monday the wind is going to return to “normal”, whatever that is on the coast in March, and I will be waist deep in the bay first thing.  I have not been excited about a new plastic for trout in a while.  With the ability to fish it fast or slow, deep or shallow, it gives you the flexibility to adjust to conditions giving them what they want.  The Controlled Descent Lure has big trout written all over it.

The Houston Fishing Show starts on Wednesday and I will be making the trip one day this week, depending on the weather.  If the wind stays down I hope to hit the bay a couple of times before heading that way.  It will be nice to meet Mike from My Coast Outdoors and of course the guys at Coastal Fishing Gear, makers of the Wade Right belt.  So if you go stop in both booths, say hello, and buy something!  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lake Travis 2/27 – 28/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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The White Bass Project – Day 1

The Boss was needing clothes and shoes, you know how it is, you can’t travel in those old clothes, especially to Australia.  So wanting to increase her closet (and decrease her bank account)  she wanted to know if I wanted to go to Austin for a couple of days.  I said yes, as long as we can stay somewhere with a dock for the boat.  So after a little research on her part we ended up at Lakeway Resort.  After we dropped the boat in Sunday night I had a hard time sleeping.  As the Pedernales white bass run was on my Texas bucket list I was excited to give it a go.

Other than a prior trip with the grandkids I had never fished the lake.  But it is as close to my old stomping grounds in Arkansas as you can get.  Super clear water, miles of river, plenty of coves, I was pretty sure I knew what to do and how to catch them.  Monday morning started off with a big hiccup.  I had removed the boat key when I left the boat in the dock and when I went to fish no key.  We looked everywhere, and she finally found it under the edge of a cabinet in the room, it must have fallen out of my pocket.  A 2 hour delay but I was saved!  I was already thinking about finding a Mercury dealer.  The good thing, that was the last hitch in the git-along for 2 days.

The GPS on the flats boat had the coastal chip in so no definition, but I had done my map study, so Day 1 was can I find some white bass?  I had no reports and not much to go on other than they run up the Pedernales in the spring.  The dock was 25 miles from there and since Cow Creek was on the way it looked like a possibility.  So that was the first stop.  I trolled Rapala Shad Raps and the Bagley Honey B crankbaits.  The water was super clear, with no color in the back, and the best I could do was one crappie.  One thing I did learn is no wonder this lake is full of crappie, I found some really big piles that looked great.  I gave it about an hour and a half before I gave it up there and headed to the Pedernales.

You just never know what you will catch trolling, along with a ton of little bass.

Once I got up there I went almost all the way to the bridge and started trolling once the depth of the creek got to less than 30 feet, a good starting point when trolling for whites up the river.  It only took about 100 feet and I caught the first one, then another, and it went on from there.  I trolled for about 3 hours and caught a dozen, easy.  Since I have not caught them on Travis couldn’t tell you if these are small, medium, or big ones for the lake.  I trolled the area from about a mile below the bridge to a little ways above it and there were fish in that whole stretch.

                                        About a dozen this size in 3 hours. 

They were not all that big, but they were willing.  In fact at one point I was fighting one when the other rod went off and almost made it out of the boat.  I love it when it is that good.  And just like my trip to the Nueces, as the clouds left and it cleared and warmed the bait started coming up I switched to the shallow runners and the whites came with it.  It was just like I would find in Arkansas, white bass are white bass no matter where they reside, and I accomplished exactly what I wanted to.  I did no casting, but above the bridge they were in 15 foot of water, easily reached.  I went no further then a couple of hundred yards above the bridge, and was still getting them so no telling how much farther up they are.

The Rapala diving and shallow Shad Rap.  The Bagley Honey B and shallow Rattlin’ B, all you need trolling up white bass.

About 3:00 the wind came up so I decided to try for a bass or two.  As I headed back to the main lake there was a nice big cove on the left with the wind blowing in it.  With 200 of the best bass fishermen in the world here last week there was no way of telling whether the fish had recovered.  Well they had, and they were smashing, and I mean smoking the spinnerbait.  I think I put 5 or 6 in the boat there.  So I stopped at the next cove I saw and did the same.  With about a 25 mile run back to the dock I called it a and headed back about 4:00, job well done.

]

                                         This got my blood going for day 2.

Catch a Bass Limit – Day 2

Thinking about day 1 it finally hit me like a brick – the Bang O Lure!  If I could take the Arkansas knowledge and catch some whites, time to replicate 20 years of guiding with a bunch of tourneys thrown in.  This pattern was setting up as the perfect storm.  Super clear water, fish headed to the beds, it had the makings of a great day, and that is a perfect description of how it went.

The next morning I was gone at 7:00 and ran up to Cow Creek again, it had some good looking places that I saw the day before, shallower banks with cover.  It did not take to long to catch one, then another, and it did not stop until I called I a day at 5:00.  I stayed in Cow until about 10:00 and then started fishing my way back.  First up 3 flat coves covered with buck brush across from the entrance to the creek.  And boy were they there.

                                                       The bite was on!

One of the pros at the weigh in last week said you all need to have a fish fry, and I could not have said it better.  This lake is absolutely full of fish.  The day went just like all mine have gone the last month and a half.  I caught them one after the other all day.  Whether in the flat coves, or in the brush on the main lake between them, there are enough small bass to fill a tanker.  And the one real deep cove I fished the better ones were way in the back.

The biggest of the day.  A good fish anywhere.

From that point on I just kept hitting coves with brush, and there were fish in every one.  Some places that were way off the bank in only 6 foot of water with buck brush, it did not matter.  Got brush, got fish.  But there was a clear difference in positioning – The better fish were half way back and further in the coves, the smaller fish were freakin’ everywhere.

                       I think these are the 5 best, I had a ton of pictures.

Spinnerbait was working too, but the Bang O Lure twitched along was clearly better.  So it was spinnerbait in the wind and Bang O Lure everywhere else.  The biggest one I caught above had a bigger one trying to take the bait out of his mouth, to bad he did not hook up.  And barely twitching it under you saw almost every one, and if they missed it they would often come back for it.  The Cocoons were invaluable.   Some barely pulled it under, some blasted it.  It was text book topwater fishing, and by time I quit at 5:00 my back hurt, my hands were tore up, and I had a new found respect for Travis.  So many of the reports and writing talk down about the bass fishing.  I do agree there are to many small ones, but heck, when you catch bass for 10 hours everywhere you go there is not much to complain about.

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I got this comment from an Oklahoma reader.

I say Amen to your comment about Bass on the bed. I will not pull one off a bed intentionally unless I can release Her right back on the bed right then. If you take much more than 5 minutes. the perch will be all over the eggs. Also surprised you have not tried the Alabama Rig. I have friend, a diehard White Bass addict ( we call then Sand Bass here in Okla.) that throws them a lot. White Bass here in Okla. are going crazy, they don’t know which to run up or down, we are having such a early spring weather here in February one day in the 80’s then in 20’s, water temp running up and down also right now in 60″s and slow fish go figure, The trick is to be there when they are, Right?
Thanks for keeping us fired up and ready to go with your articles.
Bill

Few subjects will incite more cussing and discussing than fishing for bedding bass.  Some folks love it, some hate it, and some are like me, middle of the road.  I always go back to the law, guess that is the attorney in me, if it is legal then it is not my business if you do it.  I just think that if your rational like that bass pro’s is “we” should not disturb the spawn so we can have more little fish, but you do it for money it just makes you a big hypocrite.  It goes back to sharing the water and resources, they belong to all of us, not just guides and tournament fishermen.  So no matter where you come down on the argument, don’t like something that is legal, change the law, but don’t rag on us when we practice legal outdoor activities.

As far as the Alabama Rig, I just had not fished it before last year.  The lake I primarily fish, Coleto, was weed choked until 2 years ago and it was impossible to fish it.  But my buddy Clyde in North Arkansas has been using it for probably 10 years now and got us to fishing it a couple of years ago, and boy did those Lake Norfork bass, whites, hybrids, and stripers like it.  I will be real interested to see how it works the next couple of days on Travis, stay tuned for that.  Lets see if I can transfer that knowledge to a highland lake in South Texas.

And I can only imagine what the fish are doing up your way.  Our fish are a solid month ahead this year and have hit the beds in mass down here.  So it is not surprising your whites don’t know whether to head up or down, just have to see how your weather goes.   As I well know about your part of the country, you could get a foot of snow tomorrow or it might be spring.  Thanks for the comment, we will all be waiting to hear and see how your trip to Lake of the Woods goes this summer.  Keep in touch.

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You know where I am going with this.

I actually have a rant written on access.  Past of it deals not only with the failure of Game and Fish Commissions around the country failing to act as access for the common man dwindles, but the “money” that has taken over the good places and locked out the common man.  That is a story for another day, but this goes to the heart of the problem.  This sign was posted back in a creek in front of a palatial estate.  I try not to use profanity on the blog, but “blank you.”  “Near the shoreline?”  ON OUR WATER!  Just who does this guy think he is?  This is the kind of stuff that chaps my butt.

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I haven’t even got stuff put back in proper order from the fishing but I wanted to get this up.  It really was a good trip.  The whites cooperated and I could have loaded the boat.  So the run is starting, on, or over.  Guess that will be for the Travis guys to figure out, but they are catchable.  And the pressure from last week on the bass had me wondering, but whatever it might have been was gone by time I fished.  And being able to follow my own advice and get with the topwater was a thing of beauty, even if I did have to wade through dozens, and I mean literally dozens to catch a nice limit.  I was pleasantly surprised at my 5 bass limit, I can live with that any day on most any body of water.  No clue what is next, but this is a fishing frenzy and I have those new Controlled Descent Lures to try so I will be on the water ASAP.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines 

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Random Ramblings 2/23/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Just my usual Saturday morning watching fishing and waxing poetic.  The last few weeks has been an awesome run.  This year started off slow thanks to the creeping crud, but has taken off from there.  I caught my first trout on a fly rod on a beautiful mountain stream in Colorado, fished the Nueces and will be fishing Lake Travis a couple of days this week, knocking them both off my Texas bucket list.  It would be impossible to count how many bass have come over the side of the boat this month.  And the clock is ticking down on Australia, a true bucket list destination.  Though I have somewhat neglected my Gulf fishing, with the new Controlled Descent Lure to explore, I will be back to the salt with a vengeance starting next week. What is not to like about all that?

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We are lucky to have Rusty, the Fayette/Bastrop guru, share his reports.

Doug,
Bastrop and Fayette are fishing well. 2-8′ water on swim jigs, senkos, and chatterbaits have been very productive. California craw color leading in plastics. LOTS of boats during the week can’t image how many on the weekend. I’m in the middle of remodeling a portion of our home, so I have been very busy.
Tight lines,
Rusty

As usual your reports give us plenty to think about when fishing either lake.  And I have been surprised at the number of folks fishing most places, I guess it is a product of our almost complete lack of winter this year.  Thanks and good luck on the remodel.  It often ends up being just like a B.O.A.T.! (Break Out Another Thousand.)

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

I got this tip on Lake Travis from Lee, and it is right on point.

Hey Doug,
While on Travis you should Fish the Pedernales or up the Colorado arm up by the Narrows for some white bass. It is about to bust open on the Pedernales river and I think you’d said that was a bucket list thing in a recent post.

You are correct on the bucket list thing.  I have heard and read about he Pedernales River white bass run since I have been in Texas and have always wanted to fish it, and will absolutely be doing that Monday and Tuesday.  And if it all works out I might even box a striper or two, the Boss loves to eat them. I have been doing my map study, and I have a pretty good idea where to look this time of year for white bass in those areas you mentioned.  Additionally that particular pattern and locations for the early white bass run tends to be the same no matter what body of water they are on.  And one word on map study, I have to have the paper map in hand, not sure how to navigate all that internet/GPS hookup thing.   There are paper maps in my collection that span Florida to Canada, and they are invaluable.  (And a pretty good indicator of how much $$$ I have spent traveling and fishing.)  But heck, I always have a plan of some sort, but as we all know the best laid plans………  Thanks for the giving me the starting point.

Tip of the Day

On the subject of white bass I learned something last year that put some serious numbers, along with some real big ones, in the boat.  It would not have automatically come to mind that this lure would be something to throw on every white bass trip – The Alabama Rig.  Intuitively it seems to big to be effective, but it is absolutely not.  Thinking about it now I wish I had remembered to throw it on the Nueces, it would have smoked them.  Dang it! And with a crappie size umbrella rig made by several companies you can downsize the plastics and it is not as big a deal as throwing the full size, though the big rig catches whites.   It has an additional side bonus, like we found on Lake Norfork last spring, stripers and hybrids love it and knock the snot out of it.  So not only effective at catching whites up creeks and rivers, it is a great search bait that on lakes like Travis can get you some nice stripers.  So give it a go during the run and you might be pleasantly surprised.  And after all that pontificating I guess we will find out in a couple of days when I take my own advice.  Hope they are starting up there.

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A Rant

Sometimes I get worked up with the hypocrisy I see coming from the fishing world.  A top bass pro was on TV this morning imploring all of us not to keep and eat spawning bass so we have more babies for the future.  Do not get me wrong, I have no problem with those of you that like to fish for bedding bass.  It is not my cup of tea, but as I constantly state on this blog, if it is legal it is no one else’s business.  But what he fails to mention, the big time tournament season occurs during the spawn all over this country.  So here is the rub.

Apparently you think it is ok for you to catch big fish on the beds, tote them around in the live well all day, then transport them miles from their bed to be weighed.  Of course great care is taken to keep them alive, no complaints there.  But do not patronize the rest of us.  What it comes down to is the unsaid – It is ok for me because I am a big shot, but not for you.  Nobody can tell me that a big girl can go through all of that and then swim back 20 miles and finish her spawn.  I call BS, what is the difference between someone legally catching and eating a bedding bass and you taking one off the bed thereby ending her spawn, other than one may live to tell about it?  There is no difference to the effect on that spawn whichever way they are taken as the end result is the same, they don’t finish spawning.   Now if someone can cite me a real study where they have been removed from the bed for multiple hours, then released at some distant point, and returned to the bed and finished their spawn I would love to hear it.  When you fish a bunch it can get easy to forget we are all created equal under the law and what we all do under the law is our business.  His comment kinda reminded me of the prototypical politician – Do as I say and not as I do.

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I enjoyed this mornings fishing tip from Bill Dance on the Fishing Channel.  He said he sees many anglers breaking the tips off rods in doors and windows.  His advice – “Don’t do that.”  Well said Bill and we love your blooper videos.  And Timmy Horton has a new buzzbait out that looks like a real killer.  Of course all that did was get me starting to count the weeks until Coleto’s bass start in on the buzzbait.

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One thing that has proven itself time and time again to me while wading the bay is the value of gluing the plastics to the jig head.  After catching a bunch or reds big and small the other day I only used 2 pieces of plastic.   Normally who know how many they would have destroyed, but it would have been a bunch.  Of course once you do that the ones you pre-glue are that size only, so I usually do several of the ones I plan to use in a couple different jig weights so I can adapt to conditions.

What got me to thinking about that was the ability, on and in the water, to change the Controlled Descent Lures characteristics quickly to the conditions faced that day.  Man I love experimenting with new stuff.  After fishing most of the day I cleaned fish, cooked and cleaned up, then sat on the couch with a cold one and played with the new baits and thought about the various applications.  Kind of says it all about my addiction.  Finish a day of fishing by writing about it and playing with baits, then getting up this morning and watching fishing and writing about fishing some more.  Next it is cleaning the boat and preparing tackle for more fishing on Lake Travis.  Thank God there is no cure for what ails me!

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Now that I have blown off the morning with all things fishing time to accomplish something  today.  I hope you all are getting some fishing in and we would love to hear about it.  And if you get a chance, take a kid.  The time to take a kid is when they are biting. So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Crappie Fishing 2/23/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Chris sent me a text asking if I wanted to crappie fishing with him and Clay.  So tomorrow we are headed to the lake to give it a go.  And he mention he thought it was about this time a couple of years ago when we knocked them pretty good.  I looked back on the blog and it was exactly 3 years ago tomorrow.  Besides the fishing that date is important in this house.  It is my lovely wife Nancy’s birthday tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Nancy

She knows how I feel about her, a great wife, and my best friend.  Every day with her has been a pleasure and my life could not be any better if I tried, and every single piece of it is thanks to her.  Since I will be taking off early in the morning I just wanted to say  –  Happy Birthday Nancy, you are my best bud!

Weather – Friday

86/49  Partly Cloudy   Wind NW 10 – 20.  Chance of rain 0%

Lake Level

Today  97.48  Monday   97.27

Solunar Times

  • Best   8:39A – 10:39A
  •            9:04P – 11:04P
  • Good 2:26A – 4:26A

Before I forget about it today the weather was interesting.  The wind was about 10 when we got there, and was inching to 20mph out of the north when we quit.  And what seemed to be unusual to me when Clay and I talked about it, it was almost straight out of the North and it was not cool.  Add the mile high sky and it was not the best conditions, but who cares, we were fishing.

We headed up lake with plenty of good bait and our first stop turned out to be it as far as crappie went.  The lake is charging up, and up lake the hyacinth is spreading rapidly.  So it is turning into a jungle on the shoreline and looks good.  We were dipping minnows around brush and trash, and in one little area we caught 8 or more, 3 keeper crappie, I lost a nice one, and 2 small keeper catfish.  Not their lucky day, but from there on not ours either as far as crappie went.  We fished one larger area, and then a couple of more small coves with brush, but no more crappie, which was kind of surprising.

Clay with a good one.

At this point we were actually catching more bass than other stuff.  Some of them were pretty good ones and they were right in the really shallow brush.  Since I had been catching bass the last month we decided to fish swim jig in a couple of places.  It took them both a second to get the hang of it, but they started catching them.

Then Chris got in on the action.

Clay caught the biggest bass, but the one we did not see that swam by the boat on the end of his line likely was a real good one.  It was hauling butt and was heavy, but that was all we got out of her as she pulled off.  Most of the bass were right on the bank again, and we saw beds in areas where there was no water when I fished the area Monday.  So this rise is doing nothing more than getting them all worked up if it was possible for our bass to get more worked up.  It does not hurt things that the water temp was 69 to 72 degrees everywhere we fished.  And today, like the last 2 weeks, there are pods of tilapia everywhere, with the occasional one swimming by the boat.  Apparently without a clue that he is about to be target practice, and fresh fried filets.  And there are also plenty of gar so some bow fishing with Jeffish is coming soon.

Crappie fishing on Coleto is so different from the way I caught them on the highland lakes of Arkansas.  Catching them out of 20ft was not unusual, and most came on brushpiles that were planted as there is next to no wood in those lakes.  There is no doubt in my mind these crappies are spawning, and will continue to do so, probably through the next moon.  My problem is I have not taken the time to figure them out, but trust me, somewhere on that shallow stuff there are places with crappie that would load a boat.  Those today were in maybe 2 foot of water and black as all get out.  Unfortunately working other cover in that cove only produced bass.  In fact more bass than crappie.  I am not sure that if I try it again I might just head down a bank, in a cove, and out the other side, just dipping.  Logically you should bump into them somewhere.  It just did not happen for us today.  As I am batching it tonight I did get this done when I got home.

                           Magic how these turn in to that.  Good vitals!

But we had a good time, both are good fisherman, and Clay had never fished the swim jig so it was cool to introduce him to that.  Both got the hang of it quick and before we quit at 2:30 they probably caught 7 or 8, not bad for real rookies with the swim jig.  And they had every kind of bite, thumps, wiggles, and ticks, those fish can be tricky but a good day to get the feel of the multiple ways they eat that swim jig.

I left my bass stuff at the house so I did the guide thing, which was nice.  Great to put your boat mates in perfect position with the right bait.  If we had just bass fished today it would have been ugly.  And like it has been, get on the backside/calm area of a windy point, stay way off, and throw whatever you like, there are always fish there in those conditions in most coves.  A last word if catfish is your thing, I have  caught one at least the last 3 trips, and you saw Johnnie’s last week.  They are shallow and biting if you want some.

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Get Inhaled!

I could get in real trouble.  We are headed out for a couple of days, me to fish Lake Travis, here to lighten her wallet in Austin.  But there is a problem – I just got the Controlled Descent Lures from My Coast Outdoors.  The ability to adjust the buoyancy just reeks of big trout.  I don’t mean to compare them to Corkies, but if you think about it, the concept can be just as deadly.  Think about it, being able to insert foam, and a rattle if you want, and then make them do everything from float to sink has real possibilities.  But the best of all, the ability to make them basically suspend.  Chris made a good observation today, kind of like the success I have had the last year using the 1/32oz jig head.  Same principle, stop it right in front of their face, and have it stay there until they can not stand it.  I can just imagine it in front of a good one, shake that double leg, and hold on.

Notice the double tail on the pearl one.  Make it suspend, twitch it, should be awesome.

So now I do not want to go to Lake Travis, having them in my grubby little hands and seeing their potential all I want to do is find a swimming pool, and figure out the basics before and then get waist deep in the Gulf.  Some allowance has to be made for the heavier salt water, but the basic should remain the same as far as weight is concerned.  I want to see how they work on a 10lb. fluoro, which I will use to throw them on my casting gear.  My Coast Outdoors includes the foam and an Owner hook in each package so you are ready to go.  Chris said a jig head should be fine, and I would agree.  So no matter how you rig them, it just seems freakin’ deadly.  So I will go out of town with the birthday girl, but as soon as I can get in the water I will be there.

Go take a look at their website, they say it much better than I do and it will peak your interest as it has mine.  And there are plenty of how-to videos on the site.  Of course they are on facebook, aren’t we all, so stop in and give them a like if you are so inclined.  Plus they have a contest going on for a few more days you might be interested if you get a chance to use them the next couple of days.  But now the real test for me – how well do they put fish on the end of the line?  We will find out, it should be fun.  Nothing like something really new and innovating in fishing lures.

http://www.mycoastoutdoors.com/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/My-Coast-Outdoors-1085833788121350/

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I got this nice comment from RL after Wednesdays report on POC.

What a beautiful, great day to be on the water! Thank you for the report on poc. I spent quiet a few hours fighting trafic in H Town and Sa going to & from the auctions i work this week. However your blog makes me feel like i fished all day and for a short while my mind had a break.
RL

Glad you could come along in spirit if nothing else.  And I am with you on the feeling like you are “being there” sometimes.  I think about it everyday whether I am there or not.  And if you ever want to feel that almost there experience read the Zane Gray series of fishing books.  His cowboy books made him rich and famous, but most folks do not know he was a fisherman who spent every last dollar exploring fishing all over the world.  He was a man after my own heart.  He fished for fish big and small and was an adventurer as far as fishing goes.  His stories really do take you there, catching 800 pound tuna after a month of trolling before he catches a monster on a hickory rod and primitive reel.  Fights lasting hours with bloodied hands and broken spirit.  Giant marlin fighting to the death, you can tell I get excited about it just telling you about it.  Find them and read them, they will take you there.  And any man that spends his last dollar fishing, and dies almost broke, is a man after my own heart.  He was no poser!  Thanks for reading.

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

I got this question from Rusty, and unfortunately I am lacking a good answer.

Doug, I’m looking for a salt water fly fishing guide in Matagorda area. Any recommendations?
Rusty

First good to hear from you.  Glad you are upright and taking nourishment.  I just do not have a clue as to the answer to your question.  But I do have a possible suggestion.  In the saltwater magazine at all the gas stations there is a guy who is out of POC and writes about fly fishing the cost monthly.  I don’t have a copy right now, but I believe his email address is at the bottom of each article.  Drop him a line, he should be able to point the way.  Those fly guys stick together.  And who knows, someone who reads this might make a suggestion.  If you get time drop me a note on the Fayette and Bastrop fishing, I just have not made it that way, our fishing has been to good.  If Fayette is anything like Coleto is it must be crazy good.

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

There is no better time of year on the water.  Monday catch 30 or 40 bass.  Can’t slay the cappies, just catch some nice bass.  Want to hit the bay, whack some big reds.  Turn a friend on to a new technique while you spend the day with a couple of good guys, and you have one great week!  Tomorrow it will be clean the boat, check line and tackle, and get ready for what looks to be 4 days on the water this week.  If I can catch a striper on Travis, and then Get Inhaled! it will be another great week.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Port O’Connor Texas 2/22/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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New line on reals, baits organized, boat loaded, time to do some wade fishing.  It has been a while, the bass fishing has gotten in the way, but tomorrow that all changes.  I do not have a clue what is really happening on the bay as far as catching fish, but it should not take to long to figure it out.  Or at least to know what is not working, which in fishing is often as important as what is.  Topwater will get thrown, not sure if it is time yet, the Corky will come in to play, and plastics will all get a workout.   With a low tide first thing, and a warming day, the only preconceived notion I have is they might move shallow later in the day.  Should be a great day trying to figure it out.

Weather

75/63  Sunny with 0% of rain.   Wind N 5 – 10.

Tides

Low   8:51 AM    -0.5
High   8:35 PM     0.2

Solunar Periods

  • Best      7:08A – 9:08A
  •                7:33P – 9:33P
  • Good   12:56A – 2:56A

Redfish Madness

Today was for all you salt guys, but I was the real beneficiary.  The fishing was good, at least for reds.  There actually was a little bit of insider information that lead to the majority of the success.  One thing that is great about the blog is it is actually my log, which has been kept for 6 years now.  I just searched the months of February and noticed one thing, there was some real redfish success this month, so when it slowed down I made the perfect move.

I had to do a little surgery to get that corkie out of the back of his throat.

The tide was low, real low.  The wind was light and the ride across the bay to the island was sweet.  Starting in a drain near Pringle, the hope was the water was still running out, and it was, barely.   Topwater was first, and not one took a pass at it, deep or shallow.  In fact they did not want it even a little bit, including the rest of the day.  I think it was to late on the outgoing.  So I fished the cut and caught 3 trout and 1 rat red.

I thought I was about to put the hurt on them.

After catching that trout it stopped, and I mean dead in its tracks.  I waded from 7:45 until around 10:30 without a bite.  Deep, shallow, topwater, plastics, they were not having it.  At this point it was dead slick.  So with the tide being slack it was time for a move, one that should have resulted in redfish, and it did.

Once I got to the Barroom shoreline it was more off color than I thought, but that is not all bad with reds.  I idled over the drop, which is out there from 4 feet or so, up on the flat.  With the tide about to come up I anchored in about a foot and hopped out.  First cast the red above smoked that Corky.  There was lots of bait and from then on it was steady until I quit at 3:00.

                               And lots and lots of rats to go along with these.

Starting on the drop, the 1/32 jig head and the dark color Down South put the hurt on them.  I fished out to the drop first with the tide out, and as the water started coming up it was simply a matter of working toward the shoreline.  One thing became real apparent, and it resulted in half the fish, toss at the passing bait and they were there.  Just like last year on the island.  They were tough to feel at first, and the fight on the light rod and 8lb line was awesome.  It is so nice to use the Wade Right wading belt.  Being able to carry spinning and casting, and the different baits for each is sweet, giving you a chance to toss different stuff at them and figure it out.

This was a bona fide freakin’ hoss!

I was definitely out of practice.  Several of those nice ones pulled off, my fault.  They would take off and I was not setting the hook properly, just holding on.  After a couple of those that did not happen again.  And today only a few smacked it, the rest were there when you lifted up, and I missed a few of those.  Normally I would catch those, and will with some more practice.  It just takes a little getting used to fishing the super light bait.  And the drag has to be set perfect to get the hook set way out there and not break your line.

 I also caught 3 more trout, all small and out of one spot, and not another.  Which probably had more to do with the brown water than anything else.  No way to tell how many reds, but it was plenty as the rats were willing.  They were absolutely on bait, literally and physically.  Once I figured that out, combined with moving in as the tide moved up, it was good.  So what a way to get back in it.  I thought I might catch a few, but you never know.  And if trout is your quarry, the island is the place to be for clear water, I just did not want to wait out the tide and I just knew they would be on Barroom.

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

Unfreakin’ believable!  This is my 800th post!  At times this seems like work, and I guess looking back on it 800 posts is a lot of work.  But is has been a labor of love.  I often get questions on the blog from prospective bloggers about how you have enough stuff to write about to keep it going.  My one piece of advice, better write about something you know and love, in my case fishing.  In my wildest dreams I never thought it would last this long.  But over the last 6 years I have learned a ton about fishing, and met some great friends.  So from now on whenever I am whining, or thinking about quitting, I will just look back on the last 6 years and be satisfied with how it has gone.  And the biggest thanks goes to each and every one of you, it is the engine that drives this fishing train.

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

And I got this kind comment from Jim.

Doug, what a great report. Like I have said in the past, you share a ton of great information that everyone from a novice to an experienced angler can utilize. How about some company fishing sometime? Would love to come down, meet you and learn from the expert.

This is the very kind of compliment that makes this thing go.  I try to cough it up, to provide enough information that anyone can catch another fish, and as I said above it has actually made me a much better fisherman.  As far as expert, not sure I would go that far.  I just fish, and keep fishing.  It really does prove the old saying true:  “The more I fish the luckier I get.”  Whether fresh or salt nothing beats time on the water.  This period on Coleto is a perfect example.  There are multiple patterns and ways to catch bass, and being out there constantly leads to right place/right bait and consequently more fish.  As far as fishing with me, I have fished with a lot of folks, my problem is unless it something special I try to not fish the weekend at all.  Who knows, I will drop you an email and maybe we can work something out. (Looks like we are.)  Thanks for the comment.

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

I shop at Cabelas pretty regularly thanks to the fact it is the only credit card we own.  It only gets used for big purchases and is paid off immediately.  But I get the points and therefore free tackle.  That is all good.  One thing they are doing now is basically giving a lifetime guarantee on many of their branded products.  That is a great deal considering it include some specialty clothes, tackle boxes and other stuff that will not last.  But I do get a laugh because many of their lures are guaranteed for life.  I don’t know about you but I don’t seem to have fishing lures all that long!

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

It was a fun day.  Catching reds on light line and spinning tackle is fun, and a little bit of work when you catch a bunch.  But who is complaining?  It helped me get back in the salt mode.  This is the best time of the year for fishermen, and makes choices tough with a good bite everywhere.  So I will muddle along, trying to catch every fish in the pond.  And a couple of days next week will be on a new body of water I have wanted to fish so I am excited about that.   So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Play Day at the Lake 2/21/17.


FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Lake Level

Last Trip  96.84    Today  97.27

It is funny how occasionally I feel so much pressure to catch fish to be able to keep this blog going.  And every once in a while I just want to fish pressure free, do exactly what I want, the way I want, and that was the only plan for the day.

When I got up at 5:30 it was raining like a son of a gun, and had been for hours.  And there was a marine warning in place for the Gulf.  I had hoped to fish for a couple of hours, so I got 3 different radars up and saw that the serious storms were almost by us.  So with rain and clouds in the forecast for the rest of the day it was off to the lake at 9:00.  And I hit it just right.  It was drizzling, it stayed that way until around 2:00, with wind out of the NE at 10, so it was highly fishable.  And today I had no particular plan, just go fish and have a good time.  And that is exactly what I did.

First it was immediately apparent the lake is charging up, almost a half a foot since Friday.  What makes that so important is how much new cover and grass is flooding, and there is more to come.  When a raise comes like this during the spawn it can be a problem, but not in this case, the fish are still right on the bank, and I mean shallow.

This spawned out female should have been a heck of lot heavier than she was.

While the rain was a few degrees cooler than the lake, and it clouded up the back ends of the coves, it did not hurt the fishing.  It was slow first thing but from around noon until 4:00 it was back to the catching, 3 here, 6 there, I do not think I fished anywhere today that I did not catch a fish.

And one thing that was great today, instead of having to “figure it out”, it was fish what you like.  Bang O Lure, swim jig both bluegill and white, and buzzing a spinnerbait all worked like a charm.

                                        Lots of really nice solid fish today.

Fishing from near the ramp to way up lake, they became more active as the day wore on.  The swim jig worked anywhere, the Bang O Lure down lake in the clearer water, spinnerbait up lake in the murkier stuff.  And I fished all the way to where the dirty water was coming down the creek, and it was muddy.  It was a mud line and obviously I did not fish above that and it will probably affect the fishing up on that end for a while.

                                                 This size cooperated all day.

I was concerned that the rise might hurt them some, but it was just the opposite, they were right on the bank in the new water.  In one stretch it was 5 or 6 bass and then the bite from hell.  You often hear fishermen say the fish almost jerked the rod out of my hands, and one today almost got the job done.  There is nothing like a catfish when they decide to eat a lure, they smack it, and 2 in a row did it right on the bank in shallow water.  The first one was a good one, about 5 pounds plus, who got all wrapped up in the line.  While I was trying to extricate him and get him in the boat he flopped off.  Then a couple of casts later another good one knocked the snot out of it, and came off half way to the boat as he did the catfish rolling thing.  When I looked at the jig the hook was slightly bent from the first one.  That jig has probably caught a 100 fish in the last couple of weeks and has lasted longer than any I have ever had, a testament to braid and a 20lb flouro leader.

Now this one was a chunk!

There has definitely been some spawning activity and the first fish above was definitely spawned out.  Looking rough, it was the classic big head small bodied female who has done her business.  That one came on the Bang O Lure, like many did today.  They still want it twitched right on top, trying NOT to jerk it under, and keeping it moving.  It definitely works better down lake in the clearer water while the spinnerbait seems to be more effective in the off color water up lake.  And the swim jig has evolved into throw it where ever the mood strikes you.

And that is what I did today.  I fished where ever, how ever I felt like it.  Funny how when you take a little of the pressure off how it changes the day.  And best of all – I did not see another boat until almost 4:00, awesome.  Not a clue how many fish I caught today, but it was just like it has been, keep it in the water and they will come.  The tilapia are up everywhere, lots of carp milling around, and water creeping into the shoreline cover.  And I saw a immature bald eagle today, they look cool.  If it keeps up like this pitching and flipping will really come into its own in the near future.  So another great day on the lake, this bite has been going on for a month now and I see no reason it will not continue.  And I know it seems like this has been a broken record, but when the fishing is this good it is time to take advantage of it.  It won’t last forever.

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

Clyde and Shoedog made a quick trip to Canada and Muskie Bay Resort for some ice fishing.  They have been talking about his for several years and finally made the trip.

                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

              Lake Trout eat as good as they look.

The Great North.

                    Paul with some nice crappies.       Shoedog with a big perch.

Fishing out of Muskie Bay Resort, one of the things they specialize in is winter ice fishing for lake trout and panfish.  The snow actually gives them increased access to lakes that normally do not get fished as there is no way to get there.  So the snow machine is the way to go and makes for a great adventure.  All I have to say about that for me is my skinny bones are not made for this kind of fishing.  But great job guys, looks like the fishing was fine.

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

As soon as I get done writing this it will be time to get stuff ready for tomorrow.   It will be off to the salt.  The weather looks great and the winds will be low.  I have not decided where yet, but I am excited to finally get back to wading.  It has been a while, but remember between being sick for a month and gone, I was out of commission for a while.  That will be remedied starting tomorrow.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Sunday Musings 2/19/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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A Few Ramblings on a Bored Sunday

It is Sunday morning and I wish I was fishing.  Lawn is mowed, a few other things taken care of to make the Boss happy, and let the fishing begin.  So since I am not fishing today, at least I can write about it and watch it on TV, along with a little NASCAR.  On my non-fishing bucket list is either Talladega or Daytona, love the beauty of the 200mph dance.  And speaking of watching fishing on TV, there was a show this morning where they were fishing in Australia, it is still a little to far away to get excited, but I can’t help it.

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First a big congratulation to Jason Smith from Fourney who fished the FLW event on Lake Travis as a co-angler.  He ground out a 5th place in a real tough event with the best fishermen in the world.  That is a real accomplishment and lets wish him well in the tournaments to come.  Angling at that level is tough and we can not wait to see how the rest of his year goes.  And one last comment, one of the pros said something about how many of those small “Guacamole” bass there were.  A little guacamole probably goes just fine on a Gaudalupe.

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

The wait is finally over for a new lure I have been dying to try.  The minute I saw that they were coming out I ordered some, and they are on the way.  Rarely do I see something that just reeks of deadly, and this one has some serious mutli-species applications.  Just reading the information makes me want to be waist deep in the Gulf as I type this.  So as soon as they are in my grubby little hands we will spend some serious time fishing with them.  Stay tuned for that, a lot more on them to come.

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

I got this comment from SA Joe reminding me I will miss the big show.  When I mentioned other shows and expos coming up I forgot to mention the biggie, guess because I will be in Australia.

Dont forget the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, March 24-26, 2017 Houston’s Minute Maid Park,

Also during Bassmaster Classic Week in Houston, the nation’s leading fishing tackle and boat manufacturers will take part in the annual Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo, to be held March 24-26 in the George R. Brown Convention Center. In recent years, tackle and lure companies have been using the Classic Expo as the venue to introduce their newest products to bass fishing fans. The 2017 Expo will cover more than 300,000 square feet, the largest in Bassmaster Classic history.

I really am sad I am missing the show but I will just have to settle for Australia.  It would have been an opportunity to meet the guys at Bagley Bait Company who have been good to me.  So if you go stop in the booth and say hi and pick up some Bang O Lures, a Knocker B or two, and any of their great crankbaits.  If you are a fisherman the show accompaning the tournament will be worth the drive.  Thanks for the reminder.

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Has anyone heard a Texana crappie report?  I have always wanted to give it a go, though have no experience on the lake at all.  So if you know anything let me know, I feel a fish fry coming on.  Thanks.

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Over the years I have used every type and kind of line known.  From Big Game to high dollar fluorocarbon and different brands of braid, most have ended up on my rod at some time.  Big Game was my staple in mono because of the cost, and I changed frequently.  And from using it all, the one thing I have learned is change is a good thing.  Balancing cost has always been a factor when you fish a lot but it seems I have settled on things for now.

I have finally started to get over my problem with braid, and it was “my” problem.  Now it is braid for about half my applications, and with that is always a fluorocarbon leader.  For other applications it is almost exclusively fluorocarbon.  Fluorocarbon tends to nick and fray more than regular mono, so before every trip I replace the leader on the braid and usually cut off a couple of feet of the line when using it by itself.  It just takes a second and re-tying is a lot easier doing it at the house than on the water when the fish are biting.  And it sure reduces the amount of broken lines.

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

And I wanted to send a get well along to both my father and my mother-in-law.  Both have been dealing with some of that creeping crud that has put a lot of us down this winter, it is a bugger.  To both Dean and Joy, hope you get to feeling better soon, and in Joy’s case out of the hospital and home soon.

***************** 

Monday and Tuesday look like there will be a bunch of rain with the usual chance of thunderstroms so I will be throwing that spinnerbait on the lake trying to put a real one in the boat.  Nice to be able to be there in 20 minutes if it is fishable either of those days.  Wednesday looks absolutely fabulous, sunny and warm with a light wind, and I will be waist deep in the Gulf for the day as I begin to get back into the salt.  The weather is really shaping up just fine for a big week here at fishcatchingtravel.com.  And if you have any comments, suggestions, or reports we would love to have them.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 2/17/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Prognosticating fishing success is at times about as accurate as palm reading and betting on horse races.  Great success on perfect days, or a complete strike out.  Or knocking them stupid on a day when you should not have a bite.  So with that said I am about to prognosticate the heck out of tomorrow.  If it does not thunder and lightening running me off tomorrow the fish are in trouble.

I harp on the perfect day for big fish, and tomorrow is one of those days.  Looking at the conditions here is why it has so much potential.  First it will be a cloudy rainy day following a real sunny warm up day.  Additionally it will be much warmer over night so the water should not cool that much.  When combined with a rising lake level the physical conditions are as good as can be hoped for.  And last, the spawn is on and the big girls are starting to show up.

Wednesday I saw lots of beds.  I am not a bed fisherman, but for those of you who are, a couple of days of clearing, which we may not get for a few more days with rain coming, and conditions should be ideal.  If I had to guess we might have an extended spawn this year due to the early start.  Over the years I have seen everything from a 20 foot raise to a 20 foot drop and more during the spawn on Corps of Engineer lakes, all having varied effects, most not good.  So how the fish will react remains to be seen.  But all that aside, it is looking good for tomorrow.

(It is 6am and raining outside.  It looks like it will hang around for a while today, but unless it gets real ugly I will be heading out at daylight.  So far no thunder or lightning on the horizon, just rain.  So time to suit up and man up.)

Weather

74/60  Thunderstorms.  Chance 80%  Wind SE 10 – 15.

Solunar Times

Good  9:36 to 11:36am     Best  3:47 to 5:47pm

Lake Level

Today  96.84     Wednesday  96.17

This is why I go!

When the big girl above decided to eat the spinnerbait she absolutely blasted it in about 2 foot of water.  She was on a little ditch on a flat with good water close by.  This was the first one I caught on a spinnerbait, but it was not the last.

It rained all the way to the lake, then quit.  The clouds stayed around pretty good in the morning but were gone by 1.  So unfortunately it was not perfect, but the fishing was still pretty good.  I fished several places this morning before I figured it out.  They are still biting swim jig and Bang O Lure, but I just did not find the right water for that, or today the right fish.  The water was off color in many places so I stuck with the clear water and just alternated between the swim jig and the Bang O Lure, and both worked.  When I lost count it was 17 and it just went on from there like it has been.  The excitement of the morning was catching the tilapia, which popped the swim jig.  That is the third one I have caught on a lure that way in my life.

              A pretty big tilapia.                                            Lots this size around.

It was a morning of hunting and pecking in the plant arm and I finally decided to go see if they were biting up river.  With a perfect wind, and the water warming on some shallow banks, it was time to give the spinnerbait a serious go.  Earlier a couple made a half hearted pass at it so at least they were interested.   From there it was not fast by any means, but when one would hit that spinnerbait they were stopping it.  With the water so off color it was critical to run the bait right on top, as slow as possible, making a big wake with the willow leaf.

This guy crushed it over a bush.

It started to slow down a little as the afternoon wore on, and by then it sounded like NASCAR on the lake as folks started their weekend.  When I moved back down lake they did not seem to want the spinnerbait, but anywhere the water is clear the Bang O Lure will work.  They still seem to like it right on top splashing along,  I always try to make it sound like a shad flipping whenever I move it on top.  And the swim jig bite remains the same, slow crank it and hold on.

I have been trying other places, some without much success, and then the next place will have 5.  This may be the longest stretch the bite has been this consistent on Coleto in the 6 years I have been fishing it.  All I have to say about today, if it had stayed cloudy it would have been better.  Just like a fisherman, catch another 30 and it could have been better!  My hands are just trashed, my back hurts, and if it was not the weekend I would go tomorrow.

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

I got this report from kanrunner, who I met at the lake the other day and gave a couple of tips to.  Looks like he made good use of them.

Did you make it to Coleto today ? It was pretty slow starting out  caught 1 on Brown jig with rage craw swimming, and 1 on a purple worm.

And 10 on a white spinnerbait with double nickel  willows on trees.  You basicly had to drop it on their head, they would only grab it on the drop.  You could definately say they where biting lite.

3ft to 6ft of water all day was where they where at.
Water was 68 dropped 4 degrees from yesterday.
That bite goes along with the temperature drop the other night.  They stick real close to cover and get a little tougher with a big water temp drop this time of year.  But you took what you knew and fished the bait you have confidence in.  Nice job adapting to conditions.  Feel free to send me any reports you have and it was nice meeting you.
 

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Random Ramblings

I am not going to debate climate change, that is politics and I try to stay away from that on this blog.  But a new study by a well respected researcher published in a scientific journal has found that the dissolved oxygen content in the ocean has dropped 2% in the last 50 years.  That just may be a real problem in the future, at least for generations after us.  Politics aside, we need to keep monitoring and protecting the outdoors, not only for our sport, but for our kids.

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I know I have been lax on the old Gulf fishing, but that will change.  Spending lots of time reading charts, weather, and solunar times has been interesting and informative.  Not sure whether it has directly affected results, but we will get a real chance to see.  There is a 3 day period coming up February 24 -26 that has real potential, and it is time to get back to some serious wading.  The best fishing of the year will soon break loose on the bay, though from reports it has been good now if you find them, and I will be taking advantage of it.

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One thing that has been apparent since I traded the Rage Craw for the Zoom Craw, is that the jig itself is still the most important part of swim jig fishing.  I have tried several kinds and the Strike King Swimming Jig is still the best.  It does not roll as some do at higher speed, and comes through grass and cover better than other jigs.  So while the trailer has changed the Swimming Jig is still the ticket.  And one last word on swim jig fishing – While they will eat the white and the blue/black, the bluegill color is by far the most consistent producer on Coleto.

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

And speaking of swim jigs Johnny one of my regular readers sent me these pictures.

                         Now that is one big catfish!

Timely as I just caught a catfish on a swim jig the other day.  This behemoth weighed 22lbs and took 15 minutes to subdue.  Great catch and some good eating.  And it shows how quickly things are moving this year, the fish in Coleto are on the prowl.  Thanks for the pictures Johnny, keep in touch.

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A while ago I wrote about fuel line deterioration.  And it has happened again on the Carolina Skiff.  When I got this 50 Mercury 6 years ago it came with a fuel line and bulb.  Since at the time I had an onboard tank I just put it away.  3 years ago I switched to the red 6 and 3 gallon tanks and put the hose on.  Well it lasted exactly 3 1/2 years.  I was having trouble starting it and when my buddy Jeffish used the boat one weekend he went to change bulbs and found the line was coming apart inside.  I mean in 3 years it was literally coming apart.  So who knows how long, or how much stuff, has been in the engine.  So if you have not changed in a while take a look inside, you might be surprised.  And once he changed the fuel line the starting problem disappeared immediately.

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My All Time Favorite Comment!

I am always asking you to comment, and I read each and every one.  Of course that means I have to wade through hundreds, and I mean hundreds of spam and crazy comments.  The one below comes up every so often, it is a canned comment that floats around on the internet, and I wanted to share it with you.

The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not
disappoint me as much as this particular one.
I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I really believed you’d  have something useful to talk about. All I hear is
a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not  too busy seeking attention.

Tell me how you really feel.  This makes me laugh every time I get it.  The internet is a wonderful and scary place!  So keep those comments coming, especially ones as insightful and on point as this one.

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Spring brings the fishing and boat shows.  The Bass Pro fishing expo is coming in the next few weeks and there are some good deals in the flyer.  I will definitely be stocking up on plastics and fluorocarbon line.  And the Houston Fishing Show follows on March 8th and I will be hitting that too.  If you go, and you should if you want some good deals, stop by the Wade Right booth and say hi and look at their great products.  And last, we are now a day or two over a month away from Australia.  Talk about looking forward to some fishing, how could it not be epic.

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Cocoons

You all know I love mine and now they have come out with something new and I wanted to share it with you.  They have come up with a blue light filter fit over that alleviates eye strain from constant computer exposure.

  • Reduce headaches and eye fatigue from Computer Vision Syndrome
  • Alleviate blurred vision from extended exposure to digital screens
  • Enhance visual performance and comfort
  • Improve quality of sleep by reducing exposure to artificial blue light
  • Avoid potential retina damage from exposure to harmful HEV rays
  • Minimize irritating glare and halos generated by artificial lighting

If they work anything like the regulars they will do the job.  And with offer code Comp17 you will get free first class shipping.  So click on the logo at the top of the page and see what they are all about.

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Boy it has been a run.  And the better fish are showing up more and more.  One of those mystical day on the water is coming sometime in the next month.  If you fish the lake fish what you like or are good at.  They are up and biting, and it won’t get any better than this as far as numbers go, but size will continue to increase.  The tilapia are everywhere, I saw a copper head on a rock when I went to untangle my bait, and the fish are trying to spawn.  A great time of the year on the lake.  After wearing them out on the lake it is time to turn my attention to a little saltwater.  I got all the stuff organized, reels oiled and line put on.  Time to go catch a trout.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 2/15/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I spent the long weekend on South Padre with the Boss and some of her family.  I took a break and did not fish, just enjoyed the weekend and did some work on the blog.  Of course some good eats and family were part of the weekend.  I was hoping to fish Tuesday but with a forecast of wind to 30mph with storms I decided to do a few responsible things and fish starting Wednesday.  And I have to say again, the Bang O Lure is so hot right now I can barely stand to write this today (Tuesday) when I will not be fishing until tomorrow.

Wednesday

Weather

67/43   Sunny  NNW 10 – 20  0% chance rain

Solunar Times

Best  2:11 to 4:11 pm    Good   8:00 to 10:00 am  (Both times were consistent today.)

Lake Level

96.08 on 2/6/17.      96.17  2/14/17.  (It is clearly coming up.)

A Put on Your Big Boy Pants Day!

It was a balmy 47 degrees when I left the house, with a nice breeze of 20mph out of the N – NW, and it stayed that way all day.  The catching was not “tough”, but the fishing sure was.  I could not get to my 2 best places, and there were other places that were just not fishable.  But at least when I got to the lake I had already removed my head from my you know where and actually had a plan based on the conditions.

With an almost 40 degree temperature drop in 36 hours, an inch plus of 65 degree rain, and a mile high bluebird sky, I figured they would be tight to cover early, and they were.  There was no question they would not be in the backs today, and that also stayed true all day.  So it seemed the swim jig would be the ticket, and it was.  I did not catch a fish on anything else all day.

This was a nice  fish, solid.

Starting in a big cove without any real wood in it I put 3 in the boat there.  It also stayed like that all day.  One here, 3 there, in fact in only one place did I not catch a fish and a couple I caught 4 or 5.  Two places turned out to be the pattern, wood no more than half way in a cove early, and then later in the day it was calm spots with the sun beating down on it.  Those fish were shallow.

Happy with this size any day.

Spinnerbait, Bang O Lure, white swim jig, nothing.  But a slow steady retrieve with the bluegill/green Zoom Craw got bit.  Keep in mind, the wind is blowing hard, not only can’t get to my good places, but in some places I had a big bow in the line with the cross wind.  So catching fish basically from 8 until I quit at 4 was worth the effort, but it was work.  It was just tough fishing.

        Lots of ospreys around.     And the occasional catfish on the swim jig.

I have switched over to a Zoom Craw from the Rage Craw and I have found one great big difference, the Rage Craw is too soft.  I bought a bag of the Zooms and have caught a bunch on 10 of them.  I ran out and grabbed a Rage, and had 2 consecutive bites that did not hook up, but they ate the pincers off.  I had 2 torn up in 10 minutes.  The punch line, the Rage is $6, and the Zoom is $3, making them well worth it if you fish a lot.  And I can sure say that there has been no drop off since I switched.

It was very steady today in the middle of the coves, especially if there was a bend out of the wind with the sun on it.  Of course I missed and lost several, but before it  was over it was an easy 25+.  I actually saw a couple come out and eat, the green Cocoons were great today, perfect for the water color.  And I can not say it enough, see something deeper right now and there just might be a fish on it.  Today was one of those steady bites, not fast, but considering the conditions today was a success.

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After I put up the Lake of the Woods post in answer to Bill’s questions I got this from him a couple of hours later.

Thank you very much for not only your quick response but the excellent information . You nailed it perfectly, I could tell you know that with a group like ours we will have fisherman of all skill levels, your information will definitely make our trip a success. Many of us are taking son’s, grandson’s you might say a new generation of fishermen and I really want to them to have the best chance to have the most exciting Fishing experience possible, your information will insure of just that. I am excited as we will be House Boating which will allows us to spots right in the middle of this area.
I promise to give you a report and if you want with picture’s of this trip.

First it is so wonderful you are taking the kids.  To assure the survival of our sport we have to keep the generations coming.  And I am really jealous, the houseboat trip is on my bucket list.  So have a great time and we will be looking forward to hearing from you.

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And speaking of Billys, I got this from Edna Billy.

Well, I guess I need to beg along on a bass fishing trip with you as well.
Went to Coleto today. South wind was howling and there were a ton of boats on the lake(yeah, I know, weekend, don’t have a choice though). Between two of us, we caught, maybe 25 fish all day.

Well hey man, 25 ain’t chopped liver.  And if you did that on a weekend with that traffic it beats a kick in the head.  I will try to get over the “weekend” thing so we can go again, hate to see you suffering.  LOL!

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

And congratulations to the fisherman who caught the new world record Kentucky bass.  I believe it was 11lbs 3ozs. which is a freak of nature.  I had heard about the big fish in that lake, and that is a big fish.  I may have caught one over 5lbs in my life, but that would be it.

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

I really was satisfied with how it went today.  It was simply a matter of making sure the boat was in the best position possible, and then not messing up.  Several jumped off today because of the bow in the line I could not get a good hook set.  If it had not been for the braid I probably would not have know I had a bite.    Friday looks to be one of those days on the lake where you can put the real hurt on them.  If the water warms back up and clears some in the backs of the coves they will be hard at it.  So what exactly is next only tomorrow will tell, but the boat is on the truck.  And I love hearing from you so feel free to comment anytime.   Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Lake of the Woods. A Reader Question. 2/12/17.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Lake of the Woods  –  Trip of a Lifetime

Lake of the Woods Smallmouth

I got this question from Billy Ray, and I will do my best to help him and his group out.  It is a big one and requires a little more than a one word answer. (Like I can stop at one word anyway.)

Stumble across your site looking for information on Smallmouth Lake of Woods and really like your articles, very enjoyable reading thank you.
My Church group is making a Fishing trip the 3rd week of June to Sioux Narrows Ont.
Will be fishing at the head of long Bay in the Yellow Girl Bay area. What can you tell me about Smallmouth fishing in this area? What would recommend we throw and any suggestions. Is this in the approximately of Black Bear Bay that you have mention in previous articles? This is our first time in this part of LOW and any tips would be greatly appreciated.
To serve others is to serve Him
Bill Ray

First lets talk about lures.  It is really important that you consider the group, their abilities, and the equipment they will be using.  The thing that makes LOW what it is is the great variety of fish.  A trip there, as you know if you have been there, easily includes smallmouth, walleye, pike, and muskie.   So first lets consider lures.

                                                  Bear Bay smallmouth.

There is no way shape or form I would be caught dead on LOW without several Rapala Husky Jerks.  It catches smallmouth to beat the band, and everything else that swims.  The model I prefer is the smaller 3 hook, which I believe is #12, and also the next smaller size which is the 2 hook model 10.  Be sure you look them over to get the right size.  And we like any color, as long as it is the GOLD!  And as you can see above the fish on the right was caught on a Smithwick Suspending Rogue, which also works fine.  They like the Red Bream color, last trip it was the hot bait on several lakes we fished.

Clyde with a Bear Bay flyrod smallmouth caught on a popper.

Not being sure what equipment your folks will use, it needs to be thrown on at least a 12# test, again because it catches everything else in the lake.  And a wire leader, it can be a light one, is mandatory unless you like giving them up to toothy critters.  Now this bait is a jerk bait, and that is exactly what you do.  Throw it out there and jerk it under, let it sit as it will suspend, jerk it, let it sit, all the way to the boat, there is usually no doubt when you get a bite.  But I can not stress enough, take at least 2 or you might live to regret it.

And as far as topwater goes I would not want to forget 2 types of topwater.  First is a popper like a PopR or the Rapala Skitter Pop.  Easy to fish, fun to fish, this may be the easiest topwater to use as it is real apparent when you get a bite.  Like when it disappears in a toilet flush!  And to go along with that, a topwater Bagley Bang O Lure minnow in the 5 1/2″ is a sure fire killer.

The channel at the mouth of Bear Bay.

After those baits there are several options, again depending on skill level and tackle.  So lets talk about an easy bait.  One of the most popular baits up there, and down south, is a wacky rigged senko or stick worm.  It truly is a do nothing bait, just toss it out there, let it sink, and then twitch it, stop it, and hold on.  Green pumpkin is very popular, and I like watermelon red.  If you shop a little you will find that there are several brands that sell that do nothing stick worm, and  you can find bags of 8 or 10 for around $3 or $4.  Trust me in this department buying the more expensive ones get you nothing, they all work.  One of the problems is they get torn up but there is a way to minimize that by buying some O rings that fit them nice and tight, placing them in the middle of the worm, and putting your hook through there.   A weedless hook is an option but not a necessity.  It can be fished on everything from a push button Zebco to a $300 Shimano by all skill levels.  And of course tube jigs have been a staple on smallmouth there so are an option.

If you have some “fishermen” in the group with good equipment a buzzbait is great, and fun to fish.  White or chartreuse is fine, you just need a little faster retrieve reel.  And one bait that has appeared on the scene the last couple of years is the Whooper Plopper, a totally different hard bait style of buzzbait.  It is expensive but it catches big smallmouth, along with some ridiculous massive strikes from muskie and pike.

The entrance to Bear Bay.

Bear Bay is one of the greatest fishing spots on the face of this earth, and I really mean that.  The 3 times I have been there it was smallmouth, smallmouth, and more smallmouth.  Isolated and pristine, it is not only great fishing, it is an adventure to get there.  It is about a 50 minute run launching from Sioux Narrows.  Now please take this with a grain of salt – I do not have a clue how to get there.  We followed Clyde the first time and the other trips we had it on the GPS.  It is near Yellow Girl, and can be found on a map, it is actually close to a main channel marker.  The opening is small and easily missed but it is well worth the trip.  So the best I can tell you is find it on the map near Yellow Girl Bay.

My bucket list Muskie from Lake of the Woods.

And when you go in be careful, idle slowly as you pass through a couple of really shallow shoals until it opens into Bear Bay.  And there is a spot where I have seen folks cooking shore lunch on the left as you come in, if your group makes a day of it.  Really, between the 2 boats on past trips we caught a couple of hundred (And that is conservative!)  smallies a day.  It is not that large, I would call it a large pond or small lake, not a great place for a bunch of boats, but there is the smaller lake on the way in that also has largemouth and pike.

I hope this in some small way helps you out.  If you have any more questions please let me know.  And if you can, drop us a note and let us know how your trip goes.  I will not make it this year as there are other trips in the works, but just writing about it has me wanting to hitch up the boat and get on the road.  Have a great trip!

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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