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



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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.


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.)


longlogo-200x92     Let Dez handle all your lighting needs.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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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.


Let Dez light up your boat today.


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.


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.



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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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.



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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!


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.


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.


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

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.


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.


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.


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.



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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.


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


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.


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.


                    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.


         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.


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


               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.)


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.


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


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


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.


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.


                                                  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.


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.


                                                          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.


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.


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.


       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.


Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Reader Reports 12/4/16.



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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.


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.

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.


And Jim commented on my launching experience last week.

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!


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.


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.



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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.


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.


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.


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.


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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This and That 11/29/16.



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I always love to hear from folks and was glad to get this from James.  His experience wading is one of the reasons I so love my Wade Right.

Hey Doug, got my Wade Right Extreme Package for my birthday today. I’m excited to hopefully use it later this week. Last time out, I was holding my Chronarch 50E’s under my arm while releasing fish and dipped both.  They went straight to the cleaners. Hoping this will save me that problem in the future now that I’m wading more.


I love a box full of good stuff!

Also caught these Fayette bass this morning for my birthday. Good way to celebrate it don’t you think?


Now that is what I am talking about – Fayette Fatties!

Oh and by the way, I think I’ve solved my knot issues from the summer. Went to a Crazy Alberto knot for flouro to braid. Caught several upper slot reds on my last outing and a 28″ trout. No problems whatsoever with that knot. I appreciate all the knot suggestions from your readers.

Thanks for the Wade Right rec!

Happy Birthday, great present.  A box with your new Wade Right and some nice Fayette Fatties, what could be better than that.   And you articulated the 2 of the best reasons for the buying the system;  Reduced dunking of expensive reels and being able to switch from topwater to plastics without having to retie, or fish one or the other on the wrong weight line or rod and reel.  So I dropped him a note and told him to be sure to practice a little putting it on, it takes a minute to get the hang of it.  And they have a guide on the website showing you how, so check it out.

Good idea on practicing more with it. It took me awhile to get it the first time but want to get it down before hitting the water. Yessir, feel free to share. I enjoy everyone else’s content and don’t mind contributing. I will definitely use the second rod holder. Been wading more and am definitely a fan of having a plastic tied on one and a top water on the other. Had to constantly switch out on the last trip. And they really just wanted top water even up til noon. REALLY like the idea of carrying two rods. And it feels like the back one is very stable which was my concern. Thanks for the blog Doug!

It is amazing how the rod on your back stays in the holder.  I have yet to have it fall out, even under some of the more exaggerated movements that come with fighing fish while wading.  So thanks for the nice comments and good luck on your first use.  Let us know how it performs.


And I heard from Hal after he got back from his Thanksgiving trip with family.

We ended up drifting all over Pringle and had a hard time putting fish in the box consistently. We nickeled and dimed the trout and ended up with enough each day for a great Thanksgiving fish fry in POC.

My nephews waded around the drain at Army Hole and the flat. They caught some reds but it was a grind as well. I think the north wind had them a bit messed up. However, we had a hoot and it all ended too soon. We made some great memories again this year and plan to head back down next Thanksgiving to do it all again. I just wish there were not so many people. POC had changed and gotten really crowded since I first went down there in the late 80s. Lots of people like what we like and I understand. I just worry that a little fishing village is turning into another Port A.

Thanks again for all the info. You are a great cat and there’s not too many willing to share info the same way you do. I’ll pass it on and do my part to be like you. 

Nothing like fall and cold fronts to slow them down, but at least you got enough to feed the clan and had a good time to boot.  Taking the nephews and exposing them to our great fishing will pay dividends for them and our sport.   So you are doing your part in passing it on.  And I am sure all of you who have fished POC for decades can really see the changes.  In my travels to great places, the Everglades, Key West, Louisiana, Arkansas, and all points in between I have seen the same changes.  People are moving to the water, and water side real estate is a finite resource.  Folks with more time and money are changing all the great places.  What I think is to bad is how the cost is being driven out of the roof.  The day of the old falling down fish camp is coming to an end in most places.  Just like the cost of hunting leases, more and more the common man is being priced out of the outdoors.  Like I said, memories is all we will have left, and those early times in places like that are truly the Good Old Days.  I always appreciate hearing from you.


The Bagley Bait Company has taken one of the real standby baits in the history of fishing and made some significant design changes that will make a good bait great.  The bait has been redesigned by Jarmo Rapala, which says it all.  They will be sending some and I really am looking forward to fishing them.  Besides the great Bang O Lure, my favorite bait in the history of my world, I have really enjoyed catching trout on the Bagley Knocker B.  So stay tuned for the field tests on the new bait.


I am desperately trying not to go on a crazy rant.  My trolling motor, which got “fixed”  (If I can use that term loosely.) is now at another area marine shop.  (Who shall remain nameless for the moment.)  I had several folks recommend this place so why not?  Well why not is now they have had it 3 weeks.  Not hearing a word I called them yesterday and was told the guy would call me back.  Did he do that?  Of course not.  So I called again today and the girl said I will check and came back, he has not looked at it yet.  Huh?  So I asked when he just might take the time to do that and she came back, this week sometime.  It is amazing that service at almost any place is so incredibly slow.  Think about it, in this case we are talking about them having it for a month and the repair will take a couple of hours at most.  You would sure think that if things are that busy there plenty of money to be made and someone else would jump in.  But what is so irritating is when a place does not have the curtesy to even call you back.  More on that soon.  But I will say a friend warned me about this place, so you were right Billy.


And one last comment on the Old Day story.

Awesome Read!
Maybe you should write a book….
Don’t know if you’ve ever read it, Haronk by Ron Richards. I bought my Old Lund from him a couple years ago. It’s the life of a duck decoy as told by the decoy. I bet you’d enjoy it!
He’s got a new one out too. Camp. Abahati I think. About a family of outdoorsmen I think.

Thanks for the kind comments and the heads up on the Richard’s books.  And one I would add that everyone needs to read if they fish the Texas Coast is “Plugger: Wade Fishing the Texas Coast”.  Written by Rudy Grigar who was a pioneer and one of the real characters to ever pick up a rod.  Trust me folks, buy it and you will love it.  Talk about the Good Old Days, this is the real deal, wading with no one in sight for miles and miles with fish jumping in the boat.  It is the history of his journey from POC, to Mexico, to Louisiana, and it is awesome.  I read my copy and passed it on, with each person signing their name and then passing it on.  I could not tell you where it is now but I know every single person who has read it loved it.  Last me and that book thing has been on my mind for a few years, maybe someday.  Keep in touch.


Tuesday was catch up day after being gone.  Funny how things stack up when you are out of town.  So I kept after my chores t so I could do a little bass fishing today.  Then Thursday it begins, a few days with the Austin Boys.  It looks like they are bringing some weather with them, not an unusual occurrence in fall/winter fishing.  It will be real interesting to see what the weather brings, especially in the wind department.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Back To Real Life 11/28/16.



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The turkey is nothing but a carcass, there is to much food left, and Thanksgiving is gone for another year.  I hope you, and whoever you spent it with, had a great holiday.  I was lucky enough to see the Cowboys live, and will be doing that again, what a team.  And it was good to see family but it is time to hit the road.  We will be heading home from Arkansas today but will only go halfway before we stop and see if we can come out on the winning end of a small “investment”  in the gaming industry.  And a free room half way home is a good thing, two 6 hour drives is way mo’ better than one 12 hour.  The Boss and I have been covering the miles together since we were paramedic partners, taking transfers on our standby time and then working all night.  We covered thousands of mile together, sometimes on no sleep, running red for 120 miles is a snow storm with a critical patient.  Those were the days – for young folks!


As a rule I do not generally post my stringer pictures as I do not measure or weigh any of them.  But Billy posted this picture of our limit and they were just as good as I thought they were the other day so I wanted to share it with you.


A nice mess!

Two man limit of trout and two bonus flounder.
Two biggest trout were 21″ & 22″. Big flounder was 22″.

And yes, before you go all junior game warden on me, there were two of us.

So not a bad trip considering we fished right through a “norther.”  Billy is a good stick and we had fun.  So looking at this bunch there was nothing to complain about.  Thanks Billy, I probably should try measuring a few occasionally.  Catch you on the water next time.


Matty Island Smack Down

And the Mad Trout Fisherman with friends and family is just whacking them with the old “Blast and Cast.”


The young guns get on em with a little help from the Mad Trout Fisherman. A thing of beauty, these guys will have memories for life.  Chad.

It really is a thing of beauty that you share your knowledge and time with these boys.  They really will have memories for a lifetime and who knows, there just may be a couple of real fishermen in the bunch.  And if someone had taken me wading and I would have caught them like that back then I would have probably peed my pants and moved to Texas!


Nothing more to be said about this but I do not know who is luckier, father or son.


Happy faces, just not on the ducks.

These are super pics and will be great memories.  Passing it on is not only good for the kids, but great for our sport.  When you are long gone they will tell their kids about the times they had with the Mad Trout Fisherman  back in the “Good Old Days.”.  Remember, your today is someone else’s “Good Old Days.”  Nothing better.  As usual thanks for the reports, keep them coming.


I got a few comments on the pictures and post from the Old Days that I wanted to share with you.

Man, that was good stuff. I am sitting at deer camp thinking about fishing & trapping! Your writing brought back some great memories. I caught my first coon in a steel trap in about 2nd grade, a 4.5 lb bass in a stock pond that had no fish in it on a yellow/ black shister spinner on a Zebco 202 about the same year and it broke the rod, in high school got stuck in the Pringle/army hole area several times after duck hunting trying to catch reds as the norther would blow in……. Times have changed but the desire to hunt & fish has not, only the amount of time available to do it. Seems like making a living gets in the way for most of us. Thanks For Your Writing! RL

Ah the Zebco 202, my first fishing reel.  I think it was my 6th birthday on this earth when I got my rod and reel.  Of course I found it before my birthday and talk about one excited little kid.  Then me and Fat (What we called him.) Freddie Patterson (He had the coolest flat top!) rode our bikes to the river to fish off the bulk head behind the Electric Company.  We left them baited and walked to the pop machine and came back and mine was gone.  I was devastated and remember thinking I could not go home.  Then good fortune struck.  Freddie got a bite and as he reeled in a catfish he hooked my line, we got the rod and I reeled in a nice carp.  Then as we would do for a few years we rode our bikes to the back door of the Catholic Hospital and the nuns would trade us ice cream bars for our fish.  We were living, and it was my first foray into the fishing business.

Next I graduated to the Zebco 33, which was the reel of choice for me until I got my first casting reel when I moved to Arkansas.  I was really styling.  And I sure can appreciate the time in my life when work got in the  way of the outdoors.  Now I am lucky enough to get to fish, so stay healthy and save your money, your turn is coming.  Thanks for your comment, it just brought back more memories.  And if you think about it, our memories are really all we are left with.  It is not money, a big houses, or fancy cars, those things are fleeting.  When it comes down to it our memories of family and friends along with our time in the great outdoors will be the important things that define our lives, so go makes some more!  The old saying he who dies with the most toys wins is such BS.


Doug, I wanted to tell you that I really enjoyed reading this post. I loved the stories, the pictures and the history. Thanks for sharing!!


It is these kind comments that keep me writing.  At times I struggle to keep it interesting, and when I sat down and wrote that post the words came easy and it is my pleasure to share them with you.  I hope that it stirred some memories in all of you and when I get comments like this it makes the whole thing worth it.


I am really getting excited about the coming weekend, though we may start as early as Wednesday afternoon, with some of the Austin Boys.  It really has been my pleasure and honor to be included in the festivities and I wanted to share something Ro sent to the group.  If this does not make your mouth water then you might as well just head to McDonalds.

 I’ll have smoked meats (ribs, drumsticks, brisket, et cetera) for on the water lunches, elk chile to accompany fish tacos (I’ll bring avocados, torts, and pico and other fixings for fish tacos) for a dinner.  Todd had mentioned gumbo for one night’s dinner as well.  I’ll make some cornbread casserole to go with the chile as well (that might cover Thurs night after Welders).  Salads and veggies will be there too.  Got dinners covered so long as Todd has a gumbo or similar one night.  Coffees and breakfasts are open for volunteers.  As well as Margaritas fixins.

There is absolutely nothing better after a long day on the water than finishing it off with these kind of vittles.  The boys can not only catch fish, but they sure as hell know how to eat!  So I will be replacing line, gluing baits on jig heads, oiling reels, buying more baits, getting my stuff ready, and buying more baits.  And did I say buying more baits?  At 63 I get just as excited as that little guy who peddled his ass off on that Schwinn with visions of leaping lunkers driving him on.  Now it may be a fancy truck and high dollar gear, but the feeling is the same – We Are Going Fishing!  And NO, if I told you where we were eating I would have to kill you!


And now for a proud Grandpa moment.  My daughter, husband, and two girls just got back from a mission and some safari in South Africa.  Baby Wren is just 2 and they said she was a trooper.  Multiple flights and location changes over 17 days did not faze her, and that says a lot for a 2 year old.  They were on the last leg of the journey, getting ready to land, hit customs, and go home when disaster finally struck.  She puked all over herself and dad, with the clothes in the checked baggage.

15202514_10102116963355701_8911050053074708733_n Headed to Customs to re-enter the US.  No shoes, no pants, no problem.

There were some great comments on Leigh’s facebook page.  “Man the TSA requirements are getting worse and worse.”  “Maybe it would actually save a lot of time and energy if we all went through with just a diaper on.”  “Ha, this is a new goal of mine.”  “Sooo many nights this is what I would wear home after a night of dancing.”  “Keeping it simple.”  “Way to make an entrance Wren.”  The kids had a great time and got to see lions, elephants, and lots of other cool stuff.  And Mia, who is 6, actually got to attend school for a day while she was there and loved it.  What an experience for the kids.


Not really sure what is next but no matter what it will be the river on Thursday and then the bay.  I might slide out for a short trip on Tuesday just to test the water.   From Chad’s report the fish are still having at it and as long as the weather doesn’t crap out it should be a good trip.  And if you have any comments or reports send them on, they are always appreciated.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Where has the time gone? 11/26/16.



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The Musings of an Old Man.

It was some time in the mid 70’s, I was doing crop production surveys for the Department of Agriculture, flunking out of junior college, and there was over a foot of snow on the ground.  It was the middle of February and 15 degrees in northern Illinois.  That day I got the new Outdoor Life and in it was an article on the 10 Best Bass Lakes in the country.  Bull Shoals Lake in the Ozarks was the closest, so I called my buddy Max and my brother and both were good to go.  So I loaded up the Gremlin (Remember them?)  and off we went.  Class, I did not need no stinkin’ class.

We camped below Bull Shoals dam, rented a aluminum boat with a 10hp at a boat dock on the lake, and off we went for 3 days of fishing.  Now do not think we had a clue, we had way less than a clue.  Not only of what to do, but where to do it.  Bull Shoals is a monster to a kid from the Midwest used to fishing ponds.  I did not know they made them that big.  And not only did we not catch a fish, we did not have a stinkin’ bite all 3 days.  So the obvious logical conclusion – Quit your job, do not even bother to drop out of college, just load the Gremlin with a tent and $125 and move to Arkansas to be a fishing guide.  Of course not knowing anyone or anything never stopped me.  In fact, I did not even know Mtn. Home was there.  I just knew there were some fish in there somewhere.  Talk about clueless, I was truly a Rebel without a Clue!

So what brought all this on?  What really brought back these memories was scanning a few pictures in from the days of real photography.  The pictures below are 30 – 40 years old from the store or the boat dock.  They are a snapshot of a 10 year period, not like today with digital photography where I shoot hundreds a year.  These pictures document the period in my life where I went from a carp catching, pond fishing, perch jerker to hard core fisherman.

Living in a crappy trailer, I bought a small tackle and bait shop close to the lake.  That turned out to be a great decision.   These pictures are the road map to my fishing life.  Whether fishing guide, paramedic, or attorney, the one constant in my life has been the fishing.


The weekly article I wrote for the daily paper.    My little bro and a couple of stripers.  (Can you say polaroids?  Why I am scanning them in before they are gone.)

For the next two years we were open 12 hours a day, 364 days a year.  It was long hours and we were poor, but I met everyone in town, started fishing the bass club, and after 2 years sold the store and had my first guide customer.   Then good fortune struck and I was able to move to Panther Bay Boat Dock, work for John, and live in the little house in the woods overlooking the lake.  And the real fishing began.  It was 10 years at the dock and my life was nothing but the great outdoors.


One of my customer (I think she was a cop from Toledo.) with one over 30lbs.  Me with a couple of 20’s.

During the early years several folks took me under their wing and taught me a bunch.  I worked for a lure company for a while, then  full time at the boat dock.  Working at the dock for John was great, if I needed to fish I did, which was almost daily, and when I needed to work, I did.  Taking care of the docks and customers, and then hopping in my boat sitting in the stall at the main dock to fish the evening bite, all in less than 1 minute from my house.  During many period I never left the property.  Our bass club was the toughest in the state, winning the state Bass Federation Club championship 6 out of 7 years.  One of the early members was Rayo Brekenridge, the second Bassmaster Champion.  Another member was John Storey, who started Champion Boats and Viper Boats.

Those guys were some serious hard core bass fisherman and I remember how serious and competitive it was.  As an example we had a 4 fish tournament series, the Winter Bass-A-Thon, which took place Nov, Dec, Jan, and Feb, no matter what the weather.  It was first come first serve to leave, and we would line up well over an hour in advance, in the middle of freakin’ winter at 5 in the morning, just to beat a couple of other guys out.  Crazy.   During that period I wrote the weekly fishing article for the local paper.  It was serious hard core fishing all the time.


My old buddy Larry and I.   Me and some guide customers with a few.

Then during the early 80’s the state’s long term striper stocking program took off and the fishing went insane.  Big fish on top at night, you could hear them in the dark smashing bait on any flat bank from the dam to the center of the lake.  Trolling in the summer, when they hit that downrigger you knew you had a bite, which was a great way to let your customers do all the catching.  And then spooning in the winter, it was big fish after big fish, 10 – 20lbers did not raise an eyebrow.  We literally laid the smack down on them.  After fishing half the night, and almost dosing, a 20lber would blast that spook with 5 feet of line out scaring the crap out of you.  Guiding was so fine then, put folks on a couple of these and they were thrilled.  One of those periods when I was lucky enough to be right in the middle of it.  I have always called it The Time of the Stripers.


A morning limit.  John and I trolling in my Champion.  (The 4th made.)

Of course it wasn’t all stripers, that is just they way these pictures were in the book.  The bass fishing was still the order of the day, and I kept guiding and tournament fishing for almost 10 years before I got a real job.  The guiding continued for almost 20 years, and I loved it.  I fished with lots of great folks and had some good times.  It wasn’t always a limit, but it was always fun.  I will always remember my $800 gas bill one April when I guided everyday but one that month.  That Black Max reminded me of the drunk sitting at the end of the bar during happy hour drinking beer like there was no tomorrow.  $800 for a month of gas was a lot of $$$$ in the early 80’s.

Time for a Mercury Black Max story.  Remember that the Mtn Home area was bass boat central.  Ranger, Champion, and Bass Cat were all there.  One year Mercury brought the new Black Max 150hp to Bull Shoals to shoot some promos with Ranger Boats.  They went to Oakland Boat Dock which was owned by my friend Lenny.  His beard and a full head of black hair led them to take a few pictures of him driving the boat and his face became the face of the Mercury logo.  So when you see the swoosh on the Mercs, that is the logo that has morphed from his face and time as the Black Max.

But whether with friends or guiding, we fished hard.  My rule when guiding, we fish until you want to quit, and there were many days we hit it dawn to dusk.  Winter, summer, day, night, crap weather, it did not matter, we fished.  One morning in the Bass-A-Thon we took off like a bat out of hell, went screaming around the corner, and up on the ice we wen at 60,mph.  The lake froze farther down that night.  That really felt weird now that I think about it.


This guy wanted a 4 hour evening trip, we fished all night!  My buds and me with a few.

During the late 70’s into the 80’s we had something happen that still makes my heart pound thinking about it.  One of the guys at the dock, Buddy Meador from Jonesboro, when confronted with a high water year and lots of brush, wanted his topwater minnow to suspend right in front of the brush.  So he filled the bathtub and used fine solder around the hooks to make it suspend just right, and the suspending jerk bait was born.  They flat loved it and that period was one of real change in bait manufacturing.   From Thanksgiving until late spring those fish would absolutely kill that thing. Then Rebel put a long bill on their minnow and for about 3 years we had big fish trying to jerk the rod out of our hands.  It was a thing of beauty.  But whatever they liked about that we sure weeded it out of them and after about 5 years they would not touch it.  A result of fishing super, super clear water.  And the Wiggle Wart, what can I say about that?  When that first appeared they could not resist, and we spent days paralleling the banks and smacking them.  Those were the days.


My first one over 7.  (The wall of my store, maybe 1976.)  And here is a few from a winter day.

And the white bass, oh man.  We caught them in the spring up river, in the summer schooling mid-lake on top, but my favorite was vertical jigging them from November into January.  If you were a white bass it was ugly.  The boat dock of course was slow, and the big bite was from daylight until around 10 every morning.  You could find us, and another dozen boats or so, out there hammering them every morning.  From 20 – 50 foot deep, we would find them on the locator and absolutely knock the crap out of them.   A good average size was 1 1/2lbs but we caught lots over the years in the 4lb range, they were some big ones.  For 20 years I lived in Mtn Home that was a solid pattern and we exploited it every chance we got.  When I say it was thousands that is not an exaggeration, at times we flat jacked them up.  It was nothing but a 20 year meat haul.  The only downside, cleaning them.


Family (My dad and brother in the middle) and friends with 125+.  Clyde and I with a couple.

That time was so all about the fishing.  I did not have a pot to piss in, but I had a boat.  There was no such thing as too tired, don’t feel like going, or wussing out early, we fished any time, no matter the weather, for anything that swam.


Thousands over the side.   And always the crappie.  (Look at the one on the left.)

Crappie were of course a big guide customer request.  One winter we built tons of piles.  I ended up with a milk run of 27 brush piles and they rarely let me down.  Using 4lb line and super small tubes we hammered them, and lots ended up on my supper table.  It was awesome to have a deep pile, cast that super small jig and then count it down, sometimes as much as a 50 count, then turning the handle and feeling that thump.   The crappie “Thump” is still one of my favorite bites.


Made several trips in the early 70’s to the Boundary Waters.  And what in the hell is up with that hat?

We fished the White River, the North Fork, Buffalo River, tons of lakes big and small, and even made a few trips to the north country.  I was never a “fish snob”, if it bites I was all about it.  Wading, drifting, floating, trolling, casting, it did not matter, it was an obsession.


I even did a little trapping and deer hunting. 

Living at the dock I had tons of freedom.  John was a great boss and when the guiding was over I still had to make some money, we had little but did not know the difference, and coons and fox provided me with the money to survive the winter.  And venison was the main meat half the year.  It was another day and time.  No cares, no plan beyond tomorrow, the only question, what is biting or in season.  My rent free, my car was $2000 new, and you could get a nice used Champion for $3500.  Hell that won’t even put electronics on a boat now.


The pontoon before it was flipped back over, and here is what it looked like.

One summer day in August it was doing that rain/mist/clouds/clear thing, but not really raining.  As I was about to leave the dock for the day I saw a boat out in the middle of the lake and it looked like they were having trouble.  I got out the binocs and he was in the water by the engine.  So I decided to go check them out.  Instead of taking the Champ I just jumped in a pontoon and went out to get them.  They were broke down so they tied to the pontoon but said they would stay in their boat, which probably saved their life.  To make a long story short we got hit by a tornado and this boat ended up on my head and I almost drowned when I was trapped below the deck.  It really would have sucked if I had drowned, since I had 2 life jackets on.  A scary moment.  If I learned anything from it it was that we all have a strong will to live, and mine saved me that day.

And living in Arkansas during that time period was a real period of growth in the fishing business.  Boats went from the old cigars with stick steering where a 5o was a big motor, to pad boats, then the v hulls.  With the Black Max 150 the real horsepower race was on.  It was common to see boats with motors way over the boat’s hp rating.  In fact BASS finally limited engine size to 150, which slowed the race for a few years, but the growth in the size of bass boats finally demanded the bigger engines to push them.  The insane bass boat race was in full swing.  Ranger led the way with Champion and Bass Cat fighting for their share of the market.

I started out with the old flasher locator, which actually did the job as long as you could interpret it.  Then came the graphs, and when the Lowrance X15 paper graph came out I had to have one.  It went from interpreting what you saw on the locator to seeing what was down there.  And those of you who fish know where all that has led.  Everything in fishing was changing fast.

And baits, what to say about that.  The first plastic worm I bought was out of a pickle jar mixed in with every color, size, and style.  It said .05 each for a “rubber worm“.  Hard baits went from clunky to fancy with cool paint jobs.  One little hitch in the git-along was when they first came out with photo realistic baits.  They actually did not work as well as the others, a little to real.  And coming from that area, where the original hair bass jig was invented by Sam Welch on Bull Shoals, we were riding the wave.  We  would put a #11 pork frog on the back and go to night fishing.  As a side note, Uncle Josh just announced recently that they are ending the pork frog line.

So what can I take away from that time.  It really was the good old days, but that term applies to my life style and that period in fishing history.  Fishing in most areas is now better than it was then, thanks to limits.  I would be embarrassed to even come to the dock with some of the bass from that period.  Hell I won a tournament with a 10 fish limit, it weighed a paltry 9 1/2lbs!   And that was with a 12” limit.  When I started guiding there was no length limit.  I was guiding 4 guys who worked with the Indy 500 with Tad from the lure company when we stopped for a shore lunch.  Tad pulled me aside and said they were not happy I was throwing some of the small ones back, and they meant any bass.  Boy it was a different time.

I guess that is why I do this blog.  Fishing has been an integral part of my life.  And being able to fish now while I am still “young” has been a blessing.  Some days I am tired and or just not feeling it.  And now some days it is just to cold, or to wet.  So maybe I don’t go like I used to, but I still think about it, talk about it, and write about it.  And that is why I do this blog.  So please keep stopping in, hell you just might be saving my life.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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