Coleto Creek 11/15/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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After a couple of days on the creek I did my usual Monday thing, fishing for bass on Coleto.  Doing the blog it is funny how at times I feel pressure to fish the bay, especially when it is as good as it is.  But when I got up Monday morning I wasn’t feeling it.  So I wussed out and hitched up the skiff and headed to the lake.

Weather

80/58  Sunny  Wind 5 – 10 SW  Chance of rain 10%

Solunar Times

  • Best Times    9:51A – 11:51A
  •                        10:21P – 12:21A
  • Good Times  3:36A – 5:36A

Lake Level

Last Trip 95.58      Current  95.45  (Still on a slow steady decline. If we do not get some rain we may have the same ramp issues as 2 years ago.)

Today’s post is slightly boring as far as the fishing went.  But all was not lost based on what I “learned”, or sunk in, based on the Solunar projections.  Deciding to go to the lake was actually a pretty interesting decision.  As far as conditions go I should have gone to the bay.  Low wind, super high tide velocity, and a high activity day.  The conditions really affected the size of the fish on the lake today, but one thing about the projections was so right, super high activity.  I saw snakes, a ton of deer, pigs, and the alligators were out all over the lake and real active.   Paying attention to the critters it was apparent that the big full moon had things moving around.

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They were out all day long.

With no wind and high skies in the forecast I assumed the buzzbait bite would be nonexistent, and that turned out to be true.  On the other hand, find a piece of wood with some substance to it and there was a fish there, in fact on almost every one I tossed to.

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The best I could manage today.

So I started concentrating on the swim jig in areas with no cover and then picking up the 5″ senko style stick bait in watermelon red as I got to some cover.  While it was a slam dunk pattern, the big girls were just not having it.

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                        Every piece of wood had one of these on it.

I caught fish up lake, down lake, and in both arms.  Only one area did not produce a fish, the rest had at least a bite or two, with cover/wood being the necessary factor.  Note:  I am not fishing standing timber, they are on lay downs, brush, and other isolated wood.  So that about covers it as far as the fishing went.  Lots of bites, an easy 2o in the boat, but barely a limit of keepers.  The conditions were not the best for bass fishing, but it was a beautiful day that I really enjoyed and never worked to hard.

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No telling how many deer I saw today.

But the real thing I liked about today, and took away from it, was the high level of activity on the lake.  As fall turns to winter you always see lots of gators out, today was one of those days.  They were out all over and very active.  I saw a couple of blow ups by the bank, always an awesome sight as they eat, or try to eat, anything that swims.  To go along with that the deer were out all day, and I saw a nice buck.  As unconcerned as they were the hunting pressure must not be that prevalent around the lake.  I saw another big snake, not all that common on Coleto.  And the (small) fish were really active considering the adverse conditions.

Reading the tide and solunar times for Monday revealed one of the higher activity days I have seen since I started following them.  Seeing everything on the move really drove home that there are days that can be identified as good days to hunt and fish, today was one of those days.  To bad there was not a little wind and clouds, it would have been ugly.

That really is the size of it for today.  Pretty “normal” day on the lake.  Can I say it enough, we need some cold weather to drop this water temperature.  Fortunately the fishing is still heading towards the full on fall bite, so who knows, it may actually extend our good fall fishing.  Next for me is definitely back to the bay.  I did not have a case of the serious on Monday, but after seeing a couple og pictures with big trout that will change.  And my buddy Jeffish will have his son this weekend so we will probably hit the creek and let him catch some trout.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The bay bite continues hot ! 11/13/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Sunday morning and though I am not fishing, I am thinking about fishing.  And I wanted to get Chad’s latest report out to you while it is fresh.  As I have repeatedly said, read his reports closely, the only other thing he could do is come to your house and mark the map.  There is plenty of great information on location and lure choice to be gleaned from his reports.  While other folks keep this kind of information close to the vest, Chad is kind enough to give us the real stuff.

Wow what a great report on the garcitas, thats why i love this blog. Good job doug! I live 20 min from both ramps lavaca and garcitas. So its really a blessing when i can fish close to home.  I normally dont fish weekends but my son was rearing to go. So of we went for a quick trip to the bay for a wade.  We are still catching good fish on matagorda shoreline.

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As daylight broke we eased in the water, and hit a few good ones right out the gate. About 10 min into the wade i see a boat approaching us at a high rate of speed wondering what the hell! And sure enough four young broncs decide to blow by us 40 ft away and run up in the cut where were fishing. 20 yrs ago one the cats would of been wearing a topdog as jewelry . Good part about it we still caught 3 more trout 21″-23″ 19″ but i think we could of filled the box on the first stop. Oh well ! I heard the famous sound of of the prop coming out of the water and the boat going from 40 to zero in 2 seconds so i didnt have to ruin my morning. My son Taylor did have to hear about boating education for a while though. So after a 100 yrd wade we loaded and left. To the next spot which made the box right. 15 trout 2 red and a flounder. Nice day!

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We did a little scout fishing on the way in, fishing panther reef, post lake, and shoalwater. My opion is the better fish are still on shoreline. Headed to the deer blind.  Good luck out there and watch out for the idiots!!!! Thanks chad

It is so awesome that you get to spend such quality time in the outdoors with your son.  And education him on sportsmanship is part of our responsibilities to the next generation.  And I, without your knowledge or fresh experience, came to the same conclusion, the fish are still on the shoreline of the open bay.  And thanks for the tip on the Down South plastic.  I have been a big user since I first saw them.  The only downside is the tail is so tempting to pinfish, needle fish, and other smalls with teeth so one snap and the tail is gone.  It really has a completely different vibration on the fall that I think is a higher/quicker pitch, and it works.  It was really the bait on my last trip to the Upper Laguna.  As a side note I actually was going to promote them on the blog after speaking with them, they called me, and then I never heard from them again.  Never did figure that out.  But either way, they catch fish.

And thanks for the compliment on Garcitas.  Fishing the creeks and rivers is a whole different animal, one I really like.  And it may be good for a month, or two, but it is one of those things that has a specific hot time and then it is over.  For a fisherman like me who likes to catch fish, it is one of those things I look forward to every year.  Just like I do pre-spawn bass, the white bass run, or the fall gathering of the redfish.  It is just trying to maximize results, doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place.

“Because We Can” but Should We?

Now to the important point of your report that I want to address.  Those of you who have read this blog for the last 6 years know that I constantly preach about etiquette on the water.  Your experience with the 4 knuckeheads is a perfect example of self centered behavior with not a shred of thought for the other guy.  Hope they buried that thing deep and it f’d up their morning.

I have had this experience quite a few times.  So I want to say this whether any of you like it or not.  DRAINS ARE NOT THE INTERCOASTAL!  Just because it happens to be the entrance to something does not make it an area where you can blow by folks who are wading or anchored fishing that drain.  It is your tough freaken’ luck you did not get there first.  Just because it is the only way in is totally irrelevant.  If you were wading a stretch on the open bay and a boat blew by you less than 100 feet away you would be pissed correct?  Then why do folks think it is ok to run close to people wading and fishing a drain?  Apparently some thoughtless folks think they have more rights than the rest of us.  I have never understood that other than it must be a case of head up a$$.

Sometimes I think it is what I call the “Because We Can” syndrome.  Boats are now able to run in nothing, and get up in a foot, so we do it “Because We Can”.  If memory serves me it takes 7 years to start recovering a prop scar, if ever.  And we make those scars because we do not want to idle down and then in to the bank, or “Because We Can” get in this way and not have to go around.  And we want to get up in a foot instead of idling to a little deeper and water and getting on plane.  All “Because We Can”.   So as a group we are wantonly destroying the very thing responsible for our fish, the sea grass.  Not to mention pissing other people off.

I know I enjoy exploring the bays and back lakes as much as the next guy.  Fishing places that used to be unavailable to most boaters is great.  And blowing through back lakes and cuts is often just plain fun.  But with that has, and will, come consequences.  Florida has really addressed these issues in a big way.  Huge no wake zones are common, and any destruction of sea grass is a crime that is taken seriously.  Texas has made it a crime to destroy sea grass, but if they had to document prosecutions they could probably not show one.  Trust me, increased rules and restrictions are coming, it may not be soon but they will come.  When they come we only have ourselves to blame.  If you operate in saltwater and have not read this do it, it is part of both responsible and legal boat operation.

http://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_br_v3400_1101b.pdf

Sorry for the rant but as outdoorsmen we have a responsibility to not only protect the environment, but to protect our rights to use the great outdoors.  The anti hunting and fishing crowd will use anything to restrict us, and if we do not acknowledge where our behavior fits into this thing we deserve whatever comes down.  The use of our woods and waters grows steadily and we need to police ourselves and not open the door.  If we don’t the government will be happy to step in, and we all know how messed up that is when it happens.  So be nice, think about what you are doing, and respect the law and our great outdoors.

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

Now that I have this done it is time to check the weather and tides.  My plan for tomorrow keeps changing, and just might until I hitch the boat and leave the driveway.  Fall is such a great time of the year.  Fresh or salt, there is something on the chew.  And if you have anything to add to the discussion above please chime in.  My rants are only my opinion and it is neither more valuable or informed than yours.  So anytime you want to vent or comment please do, it make this so much more interesting than me holding up another fish.  So I am headed to the boat and tackle room to make sure stuff is ready to go.  Another day on the water and I can’t wait, at least until the Cowboys are done kicking the snot out of the Steelers.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Garcitas Creek 11/11/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I did not get in a real hurry this morning but managed to get on the water at 9am.  The first thing I noticed was the tide was rolling out.  So when combined with the natural river flow, and a 15 mph wind blowing right down the river, I was hauling butt floating down.  It is the kind of day that will try your patience, tough to fish.

Since I had some great blow ups on topwater yesterday it was up first.  I started down river where I caught them and had some super blow ups.   There was one shallow point you could not see on a long deep bank unless you noticed it on your locator, and there are some really nice reds on it.  And boy oh boy did I have some bites.  It was almost mesmerizing to see those big fish materialize out of nowhere.  You would think a guy who has caught lots of them would not feel that way, but they were big and the bites/misses were epic.  Why those big fish are here and not gone out the jetties I don’t know but they are surely old enough and big enough.

If I had to guess I had 6 really big ones blow up on it, roll on it, chase it to the boat, but none hooked up.  It would have been better if I had changed baits earlier, but it was just awesome.  After making several passes on both sides of the river without boating, or even having, a trout blow up, it was time to throw spinnerbait and catch one of those reds, and the one below made the commitment.

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Hooked 1 out of 5 or 6 who missed the topwater, but lots like this on plastics.

After catching a good one, and several smalls, I was on a shallow bank way down by the bay and I started getting the trout bites on the spinnerbait.  You can always tell, the quick jerk/tap.  So after spending way to much time trying to catch these guys it was time for plastics and to see if the trout are really in there.

The first thing I had to do was go to a heavier, in this case a “heavy” 1/8th jig head to compensate for the current, tide, and wind.  When they are getting after it you had to throw a little downstream and maybe get 4 hops before you were past your cast.  It was just a little tough to deal with.  So I motored back up the bank to where the spinnerbait bites started and it was game on.  As the tide fell they were up against the grass and feeding on what looked like small finger mullet.  As they were coming over the side they were puking baitfish all over the boat.  A pearl/dark back 4″ paddle tail was the preferred bait, seemed to match the hatch.  I probably fished a mile without lifting the trolling motor.

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   And a limit was no problem, but catching one over 16″ was no bueno.

Not sure how many I caught down river but it was plenty, most in the 14″ – 16″ range.  I don’t think I even had a bigger one on.  But once I went to plastics exclusively the rat reds were also plentiful and willing.  Then about 1:00 the water quit moving.  And with it the big bite.  Funny how you can re-fish a bank you just caught 15 or 20 and not get a bite.  So it was time to head back up river and see if some of the places I have caught them in the past held a few.

One of the better banks did not produce a bite so I tried another, and they were there.  And again like down below they were against the grass, especially if there was a pocket or a cut in the grass.  Once the wind laid later in the afternoon it got a lot easier to fish and they bit pretty consistently until I quit at 4:00.  I was surprised by a couple of things.  First, not boating a few bigger trout, but I figure that will come with colder weather.  Second, that one bunch of reds was big, bigger than I have found in the river in the past.  And last, no flounder.  With a good 3 hours fishing a falling tide on grass edges it is almost always a recipe for flounder.  That may have just been luck, they are surely in there.

So what to take away from today.  They are in the creek/river and are catchable. While a real whooper cold front would help tremendously, the fishing is good enough to go.  It should be the same way on the Lavaca.  It may takes a little more work to find them, but find them and they will bite.  So we have the window to catch them, only time and weather will tell how the rest of the fall shapes up, and how long the bite lasts.

River fishing out of the boat is fun.  As I said yesterday it can be described as a hybrid style which fits me well.  A side benefit of fishing down river was seeing flocks of geese, ducks rising out of the marsh, and the Sandhills making their racket.  All in all a great day to be on the water.  The only downside to the day was having the bait break on my Penn spinning reel.  Oh well, broken things comes with the territory if you fish enough.

Not sure what is next, but as long as the wind does not howl it will be back to the bay and wading.  I have a little work to do on equipment and will be ready to go on Monday.  And of course there is weekend football.  Arkansas has the Coon Asses from LSU tonight.  Our season is over in the bigger sense, but we always play them well so it should be a real game.  A&M has Ole Miss and a chance for some redemption.  It will be interesting to see if they can recover from that devastating loss last week.  And the Cowboys see if they can continue their winning ways.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Speaking of creeks and rivers. 11/10/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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I finally made a decision this morning to take the trolling motor to Kresta’s in Edna.  I spoke with some guy at the repair shop in Corpus and he was rude, so that took care of that.  The side benefit of going to Edna was taking the skiff with me and dropping it in Garcitas Creek.  Since we have been talking about trout in rivers the last couple of posts, there is no better time to see how it is compared to last year.  And I can say they are not full on in there yet.

I did not look at the weather, tides, zip, I just hooked up and took off.  It was 67 degrees and sunny when I left.  By time I quit at 3:30 it was blowing 15 out of the north and a chilly 63 degrees.  To bad I did not look at the weather, no jacket and it was cool.  But I really love fishing rivers from the boat.  Kind of a hybrid bass/saltwater thing.

p1020139p1020142                         Fish #1 on plastic.                         A jerkbait fish.

The water color in the creek looked good, and though I have no temp gauge on the skiff, it was warm.  Since it was a quick exploratory trip I headed down river to fish the places that are always good if they are in there.  At the first place a baitfish jumped, I tossed a plastic, and caught one.  The next fish was the nice jerkbait fish above, and of course it was on my first cast with it.  Did I catch another one on it?  Of course not.

From that point on it was just keep heading down river fishing one side or the other.  It was slow, but it did pick up the closer to the bay I got.  Exactly the fishing I found on the Lavaca the other day.  It was just one here and there.  If we would get one of those hydro blasting norther’ both places would take off.

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              Another plastic trout.                            A spinnerbait red.

I caught on jerkbait, topwater, plastics, and spinnerbait, though plastic was the preferred bait.  Fishing all of those different baits was simply getting an idea what they want, because in the morning I will be thrashing the water down creek.  A couple of really big reds got all over a topwater but just did not hook up, so I threw the spinnerbait and managed to catch a smaller one.  And then 3 more small  trout jumped on the spinnerbait and not another red.  Also, something broke my 8lb line, could have been a big black drum.  There never was a “hot” place but there is plenty of bait in the river and the color is good.  I probably boated around 10 and will do better than that tomorrow.

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Speaking of how, when, and why of trout movement into rivers on the Texas coast we are fortunate that our resident outdoor writer has taken the time to add to the discussion.

Doug,
Sorry for being slow getting back to you on fish in the river and creek.  Had some Louisiana flounder population control to help out with.
I also wanted to do some checking with a few anglers that fish the creek and river more than I do and certainly know more about it than I do.  So back to Matt’s questions on the river. He is correct there are some fish in the river and creek all year long.  Kind of like fish in the Army Hole or Fish Pond.  SOME fish are there at any time but the concentration of fish most anglers are interested in happens in the winter when the temperature in the open bay waters has dropped.  Another factor in fishing the river and creek during the warmer months is the mosquitoes.  Most anglers will not fish in parts of the creek and river because there are so many mosquitoes during the warmer months.
I agree with you that the water level does not have a lot to do with the fish being there unless for some reason, like a big rain or drought, the water level is abnormal.  Under normal conditions the fish are there for the food.  The life of the prey determines predator trout location more than anything.  You’ve heard it thousands of times but it’s true – find the bait and you’ll find the fish.  The bait is more concentrated in deeper water during the winter months and the reason they go up the creek and river.
Speckled trout and all of our bay fish spawn differently than largemouth bass.  They don’t make a “nest” in the way largemouth bass do.  Most are scatter spawners relying on the tides and currents to move their eggs and fry.  Speckled trout come the nearest to spawning something like a largemouth bass where the big females seek out a pothole to find a date.  But once the date is over the eggs do not lie in a “nest” like largemouth bass eggs do with the male protecting the eggs.  The trout eggs are moved by the current eventually ending up in brackish water to begin their growth cycle.  The brackish water is also where very small shrimp, crabs and baitfish all begin their growth and thus the reason for freshwater inflow being so important to the whole coastal fishing scene.  Without freshwater inflow there is no brackish water and no place for very small fish and food to shelter during their early days.  This is also one of the reasons there are class years of fish where one year has many more (or less) juvenile fish recruited into the overall population.  During a drought the young have no place to grow and are quickly consumed by larger fish, leaving no fish for that particular year or class.  During a rainy period more young fish make it through to adulthood and we anglers get to catch more trout over 15 inches just like what we’re experiencing right now.
Trout can move a lot.  A neighbor of mine worked for the Coastal Fisheries and they tagged a trout one day and re-captured it the next day 21 miles away!  That’s a lot of moving.  No doubt bay trout go in and out of the river and creek as the food and temperature change each day.
One of the seasoned anglers I fish with regularly said he had only caught small trout, most under 15 inches, in the creek in warmer months but had caught larger trout up to 28 inches in the same creek during winter months.  Again like the Army Hole or Fish Pond, you don’t see boats lined up in those locations during warmer months but they can get crowded during colder months.  Fish seek out deeper water during cold times and then return to their daily search along the flats as the water warms and conditions become more favorable.  Captain Sally Black used to call it their Bomb Shelter and that’s a pretty good way to think about it.  When the fish are getting blitzed by bad weather they seek out protection and warmth of the deeper water.  When the rough weather is over they search for food on the flats and in shallower water.  Next front hits and it’s back to the bomb shelter whether it’s the river, creek or a deep place in the bay.
Great subject and fun discussion.
Colby S.
Never apologize for any response, we are fortunate that you take the time to educate us.  Basically all that fits what I have learned the last 4 years.  As I found today, there are a few fish in the creek, but it is just not quite cold enough to be all on like it will be soon.  Thinking about it really drives home what a small, or big, window it really is.  Conditions all have to come together at the right time, and then it may not last long.  And thanks for the spawning info as I really had no knowledge of exactly how it happened.  So it still comes down to 2 things, temperature and bait.  The rest of the conditions, color, clarity, flow, are all secondary as long as they “normal”.  And your example of the swimming trout was interesting.  I am sure you read that electronic tagging study that really proved just how far trout will go.  So it really makes sense when you have a river with deep water off of a shallow bay that the fish would flock there if the water cools enough.   Last, I hope to make a trip to Louisiana this year, it is always a good trip.   Thanks again.

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So by time some of you read this I will be on the water throwing topwater.  Billy’s suggestion to fish topwater on some shallow stuff down river is a good one, and is the plan for first things in the morning.   And before I let you go there is this.

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Fresh speckled trout, gulf shrimp over squash and pepper white wine reduction cream sauce, with steamed broccoli.

Not only is Ro a great all around fisherman, he is a heck of a cook.  That looks freakin’ fabulous.  I told you those Austin Boys know how to eat!  Thanks for posting Ro, couldn’t resist grabbing it and sharing it with these folks.

So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek 11/9/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It looks like the wind could reach 20mph today so I decided to leave the trout for tomorrow.  But there are clouds, and when combined with the wind and slowly dropping water temp, there is a good chance to catch some big bass today.  And the winds will be dropping off the next 2 days and it will be back in the water tomorrow.  Got to get my monies worth out of those fancy waders!

Weather

73/58  Cloudy with stray showers.  20% chance rain.  Wind NNE  10 – 20mph.

Lake Level

Current   95.58   Last Trip  95.56   (Up a hair)

Solunar Times

Best Times    5:44A – 7:44A        6:09P – 8:09P    Good Time  11:31A – 1:31P

I waited around until the roofers got started on the garage and then headed to the lake.  it was feakin’ perfect, wind and heavy clouds.  The water temp was down to 75 degrees, about 4 cooler than last week.  Today was going to be a buzzbait all day for big fish thing.  There are days in the fall when big fish get after it, and there was no doubt today was it.  On the first bank I got a great bite.  So why I am so pissed off right now?

p1020137She blasted that buzzbait with all her might.

So now I am really pumped up.  It is not even noon and I am going to have the day of the year on big fish.  I know where they are and what they  want.  It is all good, until the trolling motor quit!

I just had it fixed and this is only the second time I have used it.  They had it 3 weeks and this is the best they could do?  Man this boat crap drives me nuts.  Of course the more you use one the more chance of stuff breaking, but in this case obviously it was not fixed properly.  I am not one of those guys who bitches about the bill, I just want it done right, the first time.

So now what to do?  I am not taking it back to the same folks, I should have known better.  Now it is just a question of whether I take it to Houston, Corpus, or Kresta’s in Edna.  I have heard from a few of you, any of the rest of you have an opinion send it along.  But that thing is going somewhere tomorrow.  The last couple of places I have lived had a trolling motor repair shop so having to take it somewhere is a hassle I am not used to.  There really is a good business out there for someone.  But oh well, at least I caught a nice one.

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And of course the Mad Trout Fisherman is still at it.

Matagorda island , holding quality fish! After a week of putting the smack down on them last wk. i couldnt hardly wait to go this week. With rain and ne wind predicted to blow. We said the heck with it and went anyway. Glad we did had a fun trip, my diehard fishing partner, and my diehard duck hunting buddy! Was a good recipe for whatever the weather does, we aint scared attitudes(crazy) is why i love these guys! My suggestion to folks is dress for success. And follow the bait!!! The lure has been the same for us for about a month wsky/chart hogie. Presentation the same let it sink slow roll the bottom. Reds on shoreline and trout chest deep. The big girls are here had many trout over 5 lbs last week, and one 71/2 lbr .

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With a couple sdr on some really good ones! (Sdr) short distance release. I saw ur big school of jacks today. Thanks for that report the other day cause i took a second look , and let our group know what was up. That would of burned an hour. We kept it simple today, and just threw plastic. We have followed a school of bait from aries bay towards rockport over the last week back to pats bay . The fishing is good hope yall go get em. Nasty weather equals a duck hunt in order, so being in construction and wet ground. Time to pull out the a5 browning try a little blast then cast tomorrow. Thanks chad.

First I am with you on the weather thing.  Often some of the worst weather leads to some really great fishing.  And on the bait.  I so often think in small terms, do I see bait before I stop.  Your experience shows that the bait moves in BIG bunches, lock on them and follow and we see your results.  And it was this month last year when we did real well from Cottonwood Bayou to Aires Point.  It is a long way down there but sure can be worth the trip.  I will be back at it wading probably tomorrow and will keep using your technique.  It put a big trout in the boat for me this weekend and I am anxious to keep working on it.  And send us some duck pictures, I still think they look better than they taste!  Thanks again.

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And before I could get this report up Chad came back with the goods.

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Cast and Blast!

I always thought it should be blast and cast as you usually hunt first, but either way things are hot in the South Texas outdoors and will only get better.  Thanks Chad.

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And I got this comment on the run away trolling motor.

Thank You for the great report. I have not made a poc trip in 2 months. So your report filled a void for me. I also had a great laugh at the fire extinguisher story not out of any ill will but simply this is the kind of stuff that has a habit if following me around!! Glad it all worked out and Thanks again for this site!
RL.

I appreciate your kind comments and what else is there to say about a possessed trolling motor.  At least no body died!  And don’t feel alone with stuff following you around, I have to have 2 boats just to keep on the water.  Keep on reading, thanks.

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

So this morning (Thursday) I will be taking it somewhere.  As usual with boat stuff there is a point of diminishing return.  Is it worth fixing?  How much do you want to spend on a 7 year old trolling motor?  It can be pretty easy to just buy a new one and get it over with, but $1000 for new vs. a couple of hundred for the fix is a tough call.  We all have those little things on the boat that aren’t quite up to snuff, but the trolling motor for bass fishing is a manadatory.  So wish me luck, another case of B.O.A.T.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Coleto Creek Monday 11/8/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Monday so it must be fishing Coleto Creek.  On the radar it looked like a pretty good rain storm went through there early this morning so I did not get in a hurry.  It was 10 am by time I slid the boat off the trailer.   It has been a while since I was there and the first thing I noticed was how far down it is.  But it was cloudy with a light wind and I had a pretty good feeling about things.

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(Thanks for the share Robert.)

Lake Level  Current  95.56   Last Trip  95.78    (The decline continues.)

Buzzbait Bite Beginning

I headed up lake intending to fish it all, buzzbait, senko, swim jig, and topwater.  And before I quit I caught fish on all of them.  Don’t interpret that as I killed them, it was not like that.  Starting with a buzzbait no bites, then a swim jig, one small one.  When I got to an area of wood I pitched the senko as I have been doing and there was obvious fish on wood.  Actually the first one boiled a buzzbait and that started it.

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                                                  A nice average today.

I caught the first good one and 4 or 5 more, losing another really good fish, all on the Senko.  After doing that a while it was time for some serious buzzbait fishing.

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                             The most explosive strikes in a long  time.

The first one absolutely exploded on it.  At that point I cranked up the trolling motor and started covering water.  It was not a bite after bite thing, but the ones who did made about as much noise as a bass can possibly make when it engulfs a buzzbait.  There never was a “place” that was any better than another, but when you found one who wanted it was a thing of beauty.

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    First fall topwater minnow fish.                       One ugly snake!

Before I left up lake I saw this big ass snake swimming the lake.  That is not a regular occurrence on Coleto.  Snakes swimming as a rule have a real short life span.  Down lake I got very few bites but kept after it.  In a small pocket I had “the bite” and flat missed her.  She was one of those Coleto big girls who looked an easy 7+.

One of the patterns that has been so consistent on Coleto in the winter is the minnow bait topwater bite.  As I went past a log and got no response on the buzzbait a quick toss with the minnow bait produced a fish.  That twitching a minnow bait on top has been a pretty consistent pattern for me the last few winters and early spring.  But with the water temp still 83 degrees we have a ways to go for a “winter pattern.”  Besides the big snake the deer were running everywhere,  the Eagle was back, several osprey were harassing it, and I saw my first big bunch of geese.  Nothing like the great outdoors in the fall.  With the front coming, which will cool us off just a little, our fishing has nowhere to go but up.

Considering it was a short midday trip the results were not to bad.  While there were not tons of fish shallow, the good ones are wanting to go shallow and the clouds which should accompany the front will keep the fishing good on the lake.  Gets me thinking about a trip to Fayette.  And the crappie are continuing to tear it up on the lake with lots of slabs making the cleaning table.

Net or Boga?

The last couple of trips, including 3 days with the Austin Boys, I have used a net instead of the Boga Grip because putting fresh fish on the menu was the plan.  Makes sense the net should be better.  I had been using the Boga exclusively for quite a while.  It has shown me that I think for wading I am going back to the Boga.  Several things have led me to that conclusion.  First, I still lose the occasional fish who was in the net and for one reason or another manages to make an escape.  The Boga might be harder to “catch” them with than the net, but once you got them they are not going anywhere.

Using a topwater as much as I do can lead to real hassles with trout or reds thrashing around in the net, finally getting the hooks tangled in the no tangle webbing.  And then twisting the hook in the net next to their face and having to untangle the net from the hook before removing the hook from the fish.  Unhooking a topwater out of the face of a big redfish is a lot easier when they are swinging from the Boga.  And occasionally the net floats around and the stringer gets tangled with the fish swimming around you.  And the final thing the original Boga has going for it is how really well made it is.  Mine is over 10 years old and looks and works like new.  It is actually the best made tool in my fishing arsenal.  So though they are a little pricey, it is worth every dime.  That thing will be working fine when I am a memory.

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

And I got this question from Tomcat the river rat.

Hi Doug this it TomCat. The wife wanted to take the 2 granddaughters somewhere during the Thanksgiving Holidays, she ask me where I wanted to go and I told her anywhere just book it! She informed me that we will be going to Fairfied Bay Arkansas for 4 nights Thanksgiving week. Then it hit me (DUH) that you are a former guide from Ark, I thought who else to ask about fishing that lake.
So can you tell me how to enjoy fishing the lake and how to do it. Or you can just come up and show me….LOL
Thanks Doug

TomCat

I will see you before you go but here is a little info on Fairfield Bay.  It is a big resort complex on the north side of Greers Ferry Lake.  It is a beautiful lake, deep and clear, in the mountains in the central part of the state.  It is known for its striper fishing, and has some real monsters, along with some big hybrids, and I mean line stretching big fish.  It also has some huge walleyes, as in up to 15lbs, along with good bass fishing.  The river below the dam is the Little Red River which is home to trout, and if my memory serves me a brown  trout caught there was a world record at over 40lbs by a guy named Rip.  And when he died he was stood up in his casket at his wake dressed in his waders and fishing stuff.  My kind of guy.  That river is always good year round, and there should be several access points where you can fish from the bank.  Or you can save your pennies and hire a guide for a cool float trip.  Trust me you will catch trout, probably lots of them.  The striper fishing that time of year is also very good.  Almost any tackle store in the area can fill you in on that.  I only guided one of my old regulars on it once to catch stripers, but it fishes like all the highland lakes.  Trust me, it is a far cry from your river haunts but a great place to vacation.  Have a good time, wish I could join you!

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

And I got this great question from Matt, who actually thought about trout and the river.

I was wondering if they staged outside of the river this time of year waiting on the temps to drop and bring them in. Just thinking in weather like this if they would be stacked on near by reefs outside of the river.

Very interesting thought.  The fish have been making that annual migration for eons.  It is not a conscious thing so the question seems to come down to a pretty simple either/or.  Does the slow spreading of warmer water into the cool bay draw them in, or does that collective memory position them on the reefs waiting for whatever triggers the big move?  That is a question for the biologists.  But I do know one thing, if you are correct there is the proverbial honey hole just waiting to be discovered.  Other than a tracking study, which would help answer the question, the real way to know is go.  I really like it when readers pose interesting questions like this.  It makes us think, and ultimately makes us better fishermen.  Plus, if you are the guy who finds them positioned in big bunches it would be a big deal, and you would get to knock the living snot out of them.  Thanks for the question, feel free to comment anytime.

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

(I have not written anything about the election as who you or I like is irrelevant to whether they are hitting topwater or croaker.  This is a fishing blog, but I do have these first, and last, comments on the election.  Sorry.)

It is Election Day and watching all the folks lined up to vote this morning is actually inspiring.  As I write this America is making one of its biggest decisions in decades.  It has been a long crazy campaign, but today it is finally over, thank God.  So I hope you voted, or don’t bitch.  And no matter who wins it is time for our federal government to do SOMETHING on a ton of important issues.  And if they don’t it is time to starting voting them all out regardless of party next go round.  Time for term limits for every government employee, at all levels.  And last, whoever wins, wins.  They will be the President and that is the end of it and the loser needs to get over it.  And if you don’t respect the outcome you might be part of the problem.  Time for the politicians to get back to really running the country.  That is the last politics you will hear from me, I could not resist, it was that pesky 1st Amendment thing.

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

It is pouring right now.  We have had a shower or two here and there the last couple of days.  This on the other hand is a real rain. Not sure what the temperature of the rain is but sticking my arm out the garage it is cooler than the bay, river, and lake by a good bit.  The big issue of course is the rivers and creeks.  Will it lead to that ugly cool water that really can have a depressing effect on the trout in the river?  Looking at the radar it will be out of here soon so it shouldn’t do much more than cool the water off some.

There is really only one way to know, hit the river again.  I think a good plan is the suggestion Billy sent us the other day.  Fish topwater, especially in the afternoon on those flatter banks close to the bay.  Putting it in writing makes me want to hitch the boat and head there right now.  I will be fishing several days starting back up tomorrow.  Tough when your biggest decision is back to the bay and wade, hit Fayette, or smack them in the river.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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The Austin Boys – Get the fire extinguisher! 11/6/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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Normally I try to put up the tides and weather but being gone 3 days and leaving the computer at home I did not get to it.  To sum up the tides, it was high in the early a.m. and the low was midafternoon all 3 days, and we had good moving water most of the day.   The weather was stable and the wind kept in the 15 mph range all 3 days.  And just to list them in case I miss a few we fished the following –  Barroom, Shoalwater, Pringle, Contee Lake, the drain out of Conte, Cedar Lake, and maybe I will think of a few more later.  Since it was 3 days, instead of separate reports I will just do it in this one big ass report.

3 Days of Wacky Fun.

The reason I started calling them the Austin Boys is other than meeting Todd, I met the majority of them all at once.  No way in heck I could remember all their names at once.  I am finally getting the hang of it and have a reasonable idea who is who.  So when Todd called me and asked me to come along I was on board immediately.  It is always a good time.  No whining, no getting pissed off, no bitchin’, just a bunch of guys having a great time in and on the water.  Todd and his boat crew would be down Thursday afternoon, the other bunch would be down late Thursday and we would see them somewhere Friday.

We started Thursday afternoon in Barroom as they were not getting there until after lunch.  Todd, John, other John, and Pete met me at the house and it wasn’t long before we were in the water on the Barroom shoreline.  We dropped folks off and basically kept jumping each other and waded quite a bit of the shoreline.  It was not fast by any means but we caught some nice reds and a few trout.  Plastics were better early and a few fell for topwater as the day waned.

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What a way to end the day.

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Todd’s lean, mean, well lit fishin’ machine comes equipped with plenty of tunes.

Todd’s Shallow Sport is a work horse and carried the 5 of us for the weekend with plenty of room to spare.  We headed to the cleaning table Thursday night to clean fish when a couple of young knuckleheads came up with 2 huge reds in a cooler.  (I can say that, it takes one to know one, when I was their age I was also a knucklehead.  No disrespect intended.)  Fishing the big jetties they had a big bull on the stringer behind the boat when they heard a commotion, saw some floating blood, so they pulled he stringer in.

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Sorry this one came out dark.  Notice anything missing?  There are things in the ocean that can hurt you.

Looks like a big bull shark did the deed.  It looked like a big part of the red was cut off with a knife.  It probably would have made the slot, it would have been an interesting measurement.  They also had one that was really huge, one of the bigger ones I have seen taken here.  I am not sure that they might have had a good experience with a game warden, but it was interesting to see.  We cleaned fish and headed to the house to get ready for a long day on Friday.

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We sacked a few on a short Thursday afternoon wade.

As we headed out at daylight Friday morning the weather was awesome.  We did a quick wade on Barroom sacking maybe one or two, so it was off to Pringle to drift and wade.

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Over the side and off we go.

Let me say this now to let you get a feel for how the whole trip went.  Other than one spot, a drain out of Contee, we caught fish everywhere we went, just never did knock the crap out of them at any one place.  Some people might refer to this as a grind, I like to call it fun.  Todd loves to drift Pringle so we dropped Pete and John off on the east shoreline for a wade and the 3 of us did some drifting.  I was throwing the whiskey/chartreuse Hogie paddle tail when I had a bite.  And when I say a bite it actually slammed my paddle tail.

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The biggest one I have stuck in a while.  And boy am I styling with matching shirt and my Cocoons fit over sunglasses.

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The only way to describe the bite was she smacked the living crap out of it.  Hardest trout bite I have ever had.

She ate right next to the boat, and Todd made a quick net job and in she came.  We did not have a big stick to measure, or a scale, but I could care less.  Like I often say here, it doesn’t matter, it was just  flat big and heavy.  So a few pics and back in she went, no worse for the wear.  Thanks for the tip Chad.

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John with a nice flounder headed for the pan!

We caught fish drifting in Pringle and the boys caught some wading.  We fished some in Contee and then went outside and fished the drain.  A few came over the side in the lake, none at the drain in the bay.  We kept hunting and pecking the rest of the day and finally made our stand where we ended our wade on Blackberry Island.  It was a keeper here and there, keeping the action going.

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My buddy Todd with a nice red.

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I did my small part.  Notice on the last 3 pictures, some of the boys have joined the Wade Right crew and give it nothing but great reviews.

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Pete with a nice 23′ trout as the sun sets. What is better than that?  And look at the rest of Pete’s pictures closely, notice a theme?

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Day 2 catch headed to Fishmass.

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And Ro and the boys put a dirty dog whippin’ on them Friday.

The fishing was consistent and we had a couple of ok stetches of topwater fishing.   Dark plastics with chartreuse paddle tails ruled the day. Everybody caught fish on our last wade when we called it a day at dark.  A good time was had by all and of course there was awesome food, drink, along with a healthy dose of bullsh#t for dinner.  Todd is a heck of a cook, and I don’t remember the name of what he made but it had crawdads, pasta, and a cream sauce to die for.  Everyone burned out early and we were up and at it first thing the next morning.

When we stopped at the station for gas and ice we met up with the other boat that got in late Thursday night.  Ro with 3 other folks whacked them pretty good Friday so we decided to drive down to Charlie’s and put in as we were headed to Shoalwater and Cedar.  The ramp was crowded and it seemed like everybody decided to fish.  We followed them into Shoalwater and they stopped where they caught their reds the day before, so we went down the bank a ways and jumped in.

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                   Following Ro and the rest of the outlaws as dawn breaks.

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Seriously, is there any better way to start the day?

We all had some blow ups on top and before we left Shoalwater we put a few nice reds in the boat and I added a nice trout.  From there it was off to Cedar Lake for some wading.  Todd and I drifted the back end out a few times and while we caught several, they were all small.  The others waded the mouth and they managed to string a few.

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Pete with a keeper flounder.

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Hey!  Wait for me!

Ro and the boys showed up as Todd and I decided to wade the outside.  Everyone spread out and were catching a few in front of the lake.  I had a little drum run and managed to boat 2 out of the 4 I should have caught.

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A little drum hot spot.

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Thanks for the pic Ro.

From there it was back to Shoalwater for a little drifting and wading.  The boys waded and I drifted with Todd.  That day he was throwing popping cork and shrimp and I stayed with plastic.  Plastic really did keep up with the live bait.  It was one of our last drifts in Shoalwater before he started catching more on shrimp than I was on plastics.  Those we caught were all small and we did not add any keepers to the pile.  The boys added 4 more reds and had a couple of doubles wading the shoreline near the mouth of Shoalwater.  Some of that is real soft and is a tough wade, but they stuck it out.  Must have been the high octane fuel they were burning.

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Other John and Pete with a couple.

As LSU was playing Bama that evening we headed in early as Todd is a big LSU fan.  We took the obligatory tourist picture before we cleaned fish.  Ro and the boys also got in and had about the same amount of fish so it was a cleaning extravaganza.

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Other John, John, Pete, and Todd.  End of my 3 days, one more for them.

FIRE!

I had to save this for last.  What is up with the fire extinguisher?  I hope I get the story straight as I was in the water about 25 yards away.  They had moved the boat closer in with the trolling motor when they got out to wade the front of Cedar and left it down, and put down the power pole to hold the boat.  When Pete got back in the boat, all of us were still in the water, when for some reason that big ass trolling motor started running on wide freakin’ open high!  And what made it more amazing, picture this, the Power Pole is still down and the trolling motor is screaming wide open, causing the boat to twirl around the Power Pole like a tether ball.  Now this all happens in seconds.  Pete kept his head and I think he got the Power Pole up, or it dragged lose, the boat takes off and the trolling motor plug begins to smoke like crazy.  So he grabs the plug and attempts to unplug it and the whole thing, plug and the receptacle, pop out of the floor and start on fire!  I mean flames.  I have a drum on the line and can not get to my camera – Rats!  Pete grabs the fire extinguisher and puts out the boat.

That was just crazy, really.  I hate to laugh, again, but come on man, that is funny stuff.  Sorry Todd.  It could have been a lot worse thanks to Pete’s quick thinking.  It could have happened while we were running, the boat could have caught on fire, or it even could have happened when nobody was in the boat and we would have watched it scream off into the bay as it started to burn.  It is good to be lucky, but better to have your safety equipment in good working order.  It is a reminder, next time you are in your boat look at your fire extinguisher, I just checked mine in both boats, you might be next.

I know I have forgotten some things but you get the point.  Fishing with them is so much fun.  Good conversation, good drinks, good eats, all a big part of the Austin Boys POC fishing trips.  They make it a few times a year and I consider myself lucky to get the invite.  They are already making the December plans as I write this and everyone is getting excited just talking about it.

Heard from Todd this evening and the fishing was tough for him and the boys today.  There was some sketchy weather that ended up keeping them close.  It wouldn’t be a multiple day fishing trip without the occasional slow day.  It often comes with trips like this no matter where you fish, but it all evens out in the end.  It takes a lot more than the occasional slow day and boat fire to keep a good man down!

So another great day of fishcatchingtravel.  If the Great Spirit decides I am worthy of a few more days may they all be as fun as the last 3.  We only get one run at this life and spending it outdoors with good friends will lengthen our days on this earth.  So take a kid, the neighbor, a total stranger, but take someone and expose them to our great sport.  We are lucky to live where we do and fish where we fish.  And no words are sweeter as the sun rises than one of the Austin Boys hollering – FISH ON!  Thanks for including me.  Keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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Fall Fishing Is On! 11/6/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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It is Sunday, and I got back last night from 3 days of fishing with the Austin Boys, and as usual it was a great time.  But before I get to that I wanted to take care of this stuff which has been sitting around waiting for me to catch up.  So enjoy and there will be another report coming as soon as I can get it done.  Hopefully it will be right after the Cowboys beat the snot out of the worst team in pro football, the Browns.

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Chad the Mad Trout fisherman continues to tear them up, and he got to fish with someone special this week.

Me and pops at 72yr old.  He is a wading soldier!

img_1235That is Pops on the right.  Be sure to tell him I am 63 and hearing how he can still hang with the boys gives me hope.  And looks like he has some mad fishing skills to go along with it.  If I am still wading at 72 it will be a blessing!

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Chad with a good one.

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You just keep laying the smack down on them!

Looks like a great time with your Pops.  And one last note – Thanks for the little tip, I boated my biggest trout in a year a couple of days ago, the report with pictures will be up later today.  He showed us the bait and gave us a pretty good idea on depth, so listen to him.  The proof is in eating!

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I got this comment from Matt, lets see if I can answer some of it coherently.

I’m interested in your Lavaca River Research. Since you have way more time that I do to fish, I have more questions. Maybe you can shed some light on them.

First, I’ll tell you that I know there are some fish in the river all year, unless blown out by fresh water. I know there are trout in the surrounding lakes and marshes in the warm months.

Questions:

Are the winter fish the local fish from the marshes that fall into the river during cold weather and low water levels? or do fish from the open bay move into the river also?

Is it driven by water level or temp or both?

If the open water fish move into the bay, do they stage outside the river like bass in pre-spawn?

I’m sure I can think of many more questions, but that’s all for now.

Love the questions and lets see how close I can come with an uneducated guess.  First I think that any trout, whether it is a resident from a marsh/creek, or from the open bay, will migrate into the river as the shallow water temperature drops.  Obviously the bay water being as shallow as it is will drop like a rock and stay there much quicker than the river.  And as the river flows into the bay trout, reds, and the bait that feel the effect will all seek that warmer water in the winter.  The BP docks is a perfect example of that phenomenon.  When the Lavaca is in full swing in the late fall/early winter it seems impossible to think that it is only fish out of the marshes/creeks that are there, there are just to many fish for that in the river.  Water level probably does not have much to do with it in and of itself, smaller creeks on the coast have the same thing happen, unless it is an influx of fresh water and that obviously will drive them out if it is too invasive.   As far as spawning, since trout seem to spawn from as early as maybe April, to as late as November, I don’t think you have a classic staging like bass do in pre-spawn where they are fairly easy to pattern.  I just think it is completely different.  Thanks for your question and if any of you want to chime in please do.  And Colby S, got an opinion?

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This question from Richard was easy to answer.  I like those kind.

Never fished Lavaca River, but its on my list of things to do.
Did you launch at Port Comfort and go up Lavaca towards Swan Lake or by another launch? Enjoy your stories of fishing. Thanks

I launch on County Road 616, though you can come from Port Comfort, or even from a launch ramp called 6 mile on Park Road off of FM 1090 out of Port Lavaca.  You can also get to 1090 off of US 87, it all depends on which is closer for you.  For me it is 616.  So thanks for an easy question.

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And since our quick trip to the Lavaca Billy sent along this suggestion.

In regards to the river. If the fish are in there like you say and the water temperature being what it is, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to fish some of the shallower banks and flats in the Swan Lake area and further down with a top water.

That is absolutely a great idea.  Of course in Billy’s case he picks up that topwater and throws it through thick and thin.  Probably the only guy who fishes with the Blacks on Baffin and won’t put down his white Skitter Walk no matter what.  So I will take that suggestion and run with it, probably as soon as Tuesday!  Thanks for keeping in touch.

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And on the subject of the new waders.

Congrats on the wader purchase. You’ll put them to the test and I’m looking forward to hearing how they work out for you.

Take care!

Hal

They worked just fine.  Of course I managed to get in over the top of them so they are broken in perfect!  And the boots are the bomb.  Comfortable and light, they were a pleasure to wear all day.  And the best way to measure that?  I did not notice I was wearing them.  It will be interesting to see how they hold up to hard wear, which starts now.  They will be put to the test over the next couple of months.  I have been known to tear up an anvil, so lets see how it goes.  Good to hear from you and thanks for reading.

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Just a couple of quick football comments.  My Hogs totally dominated #11 Florida and are back on the winning track.  Of course the Cowboys continue to amaze.  And when I saw that A&M was rated as high as 4th in the BCS poll I almost spit out my coffee.  Yesterday they went from real contenders to big time pretenders.  Sometimes I think there is what I have referred to as the Manzell hangover. (Pun intended.)  Welcome to the SEC.  Seemed so easy then didn’t it?  Well trust me, Arkansas has NEVER won the SEC, so I know from where I speak.  Easy to win a few, hard to win them all.  So welcome to mid pack, you have a ways to go.  Every week is a minefield, and the west always goes through LSU and Alabama.

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I really love hearing from all of you.  There are no stupid questions or comments, though a few of my answers might qualify.  So keep them coming.  If any of you put a big buck on the ground this week send me a comment and I will tell you how to get a pic to me.  I love meat on the hoof.  And next a big trout, a boat fire, and a few cold ones, all on a wacky good trip with the Austin Boys.  There will be the full report coming later today containing the ugly truth.  And there is definitely more fishing to come this week.  So many choices, so little time.  The fishing is in full swing and I am going to take advantage of it while I can.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

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Lavaca River 11/2/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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CUBS WIN!  CUBS WIN!  CUBS WIN!

The Lavaca River.  Is It Time Yet?

This was strictly a go to the river and see if they are biting.  Since I start 3 days of hard core fishing tomorrow this was a quick trip.  I did not look at the weather, tides, or Solunar times.  I did not even hit the water until 10am.  It did not matter a bit as this trip was simply an exploratory trip.  I know the river well enough that it would take just a minute to find out if they were there and biting.  The thing I am interested in right now is trying to figure out the relationship water temperature and baitfish have on putting the trout in the rivers.  In other words, what brings the trout into the river like they do for a few months.

When I got to the ramp it was about 10am and the tide was way up.  The color of the river is not to bad, basically a copper color, and the water temp was 78.5.  Down the river I went and stopped a little past the power lines and started fishing.  I kept leap frogging down river and had maybe one bite the first few places.  But with the amount of bait in the river I knew it would not be long.   As I got closer to the Swan Lake area the bites started.

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The first of 3 headed for the fry pan.

On one stretch of bank I put 3 trout in the boat from 16″ – 18″, the exact supper I was ordered to produce by the boss.  I also caught the small red and black drum in the picture below on the same bank.  There was considerable bait activity, and I saw several mullet being chased.  And when I cleaned the bigger one at the house no wonder he felt heavy for his length, it must have been that 10″ mullet in his stomach.

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                 Little but the right flavors.  It won’t be long on the river.

Once I had supper  in the box I started hitting different areas back up river.  In several places I got lots of bites, but they were small.  I probably caught about 10 of those shorts.  The further up river, the less the bites.  After 3 hours of fishing I hit the road to get stuff ready for tomorrow’s POC extravaganza.

So here is my theory and I am sticking with it.  The water temp is obviously relevant, it was 78.5 (Which is about the temp of the bay.) in most places.  Not a big enough differential to drive those fish into the river.  So I think the bait and water temp work together.  There is plenty of bait in the river and the fish are coming in, but for the big influx we still need the cold weather.  It will take those really cool nights to drive the trout and bait out of the bay and all the way up the river.  But they are coming.

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Chad is on a real run folks, and he tells you how to get it done.  About the only other thing he can do besides sharing his reports is take you by the hand and cast for you.  So take his reports and make them work for you.

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Are you freakin’ kidding me!

Matagorda island smack down! The catching is great throwing whiskey/ chart. Fishing chest deepwater for trout. Tight to the shoreline for reds. I found doug’s school of reds today. We hooked reds till our arms were sore. Not to brag but over 16 keeper reds for me today, with some heavy weight trout to 23″. The wind was blowing strait down the shoreline. Best results were throwing crosswind at a 45 degree angle towards the shorline. Holding the rod down horizontal with the water produced more bites, than a conventional tip high in the sky retrieve. Maybe i had the hot stick today or stratigies and patterns prove to be me being lucky. Throwing the 1/8 ounce jig head with a med to slow retrieve. With the low clouds and se wind should of threw the topwater. But i was hooked up from the first cast. The picture im sending dont the catching justice. I am pre fishing for some of pops friends from dallas coming in wed evening for 3 days of fishing. Hope the weather holds out for them. Hope you get with the austin crew this weekend. Thanks and good luck folks

First, luck is a part of it, but as you know, a small part.  And it ain’t braggin’ if it is fact.  As they say in real estate location, location, location.  And as with all fishing the more you fish the luckier you get.  It is all about putting it together, and you sure have that going on right now.  So while there might be a certain amount of “luck” involved, results like you have been having dispute that, you clearly have a pattern that you are exploiting, no luck there. That same day I hooked up on topwater immediately, and ended up fishing it way to long, but it is all about fish on the end of the line, no matter how they end up on the stinger.  Our bunch starts Thursday afternoon and fishes until Sunday and with any luck, and good bank selection, hopefully we can sack a few.  It looks like the weather is going to deteriorate just a little Thursday, but actually it looks pretty good for the rest of the weekend.  So thanks for you continued reports.

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I finally bought some “real” waders and wading boots.  Looking back on the last 5 years that I have been wading, it actually costs about the same to buy good as it has to buy 3 sets which all ended up leaking, usually after as little as a year or so.  So the real question to be determined, how long will these Simms last without leaking?  Not only is it a matter of cost, or return on investment, it is just a hassle thing.  In other words, how long before I finally feel that telltale wet feeling in my boots?  Only time will tell.

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So a fun little trip to the river.  The fish are on the way and you can set your calendar to the good bite.  2 cold nights and it will be on.  You can still scratch a few out right now, but it is not quite on yet.  Tomorrow starts the 3 day extravaganza with the Austin Boys.  So this is probably the last you will hear from me for a couple of days.  These guys are not lightweights, they fish dawn to dusk.  So add a couple of adult beverages to the day and there is zero chance I will get anything written before I get back on Sunday.  I know one thing right now, the fishing is good, and can be real good.  And if you have anything to share or comment on, send it our way, we love to hear from you.  So keep stopping in and thank for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

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POC and a Little Rain 10/31/16.

FISH CATCHING TRAVEL

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When I initially started working on this report for tomorrow I still had not made a decision between hitting the Lavaca River or Fayette County.  Now that I have read the weather and tidal forecast for tomorrow I have changed my mind.  I think one more trip to POC before the weekend trip with the boys is in order.  Think I will do a little looking at the map before I make my decision on where to start in the morning.  It will be interesting to see whether reality matches forecast.

Weather

86/67  Partly cloudy.  Wind E 10 – 15   20% Chance of rain.

Tides

High Tide 2:19 am  +1.3     Low Tide   12:33 pm   -0.7     A high tidal coefficient with a 3 fish high activity day forecast.  Major  1:58 – 3:58 pm  (Very high activity.)  Minor  8:18 – 9:18  (Very high activity).  Note:  I only included those periods where I would be fishing.

Some Rain and Some Reds

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A freakin” awesome day to be on the water.

On the way to POC this morning I could see a cloud bank offshore and it looked like it was headed on shore.  When I got to Froggie’s the tide was still way up on the fingers at the ramp.  So it looked like I might hit the fall, and it worked out that way.

Initially I was headed out to the island, but when I rounded Mitchell’s Cut the wind was not blowing straight out of the east but actually towards the island at 15 mph.  So I made a good decision, I changed plans.  Last time when conditions were exactly like this I turned around and headed to the Barroom Bay shoreline and the fish were there.  Today the wind was blowing on that bank just enough to make a good riffle and the water was way up in the grass.

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A little fuzzy but a good start.

So I jumped out in a foot of water and started throwing the white One Knocker.  The redfish were active, and were blowing up on the One Knocker.  They were not right in the grass, or out in 3 foot of water.  The best cast was downwind in knee deep water.  Both nice reds and rats were biting and it was a pretty consistent bite.  Scattered in was the occasional trout.

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                           They were eating that One Knocker up!

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Best trout for the morning, but it wasn’t their fault.

I caught several trout, most borderline and a few keepers when I had my first of 2 dang it moments.  One blew up on it and the fight was on.  It was a heavy fish and I took it easy, drag nice and loose after all the redfish bites.   Then it rolled over about 15 feet from me and it was the biggest trout I have seen in a good while.  It thrashed and rolled and then the line just parted.  I just put new 15lb line on last night, it must have got wrapped and cut on the gill plate.  To bad, it was a whooper.

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                                 Several of these on topwater and plastic.

I jumped in the water at daylight and the bite held up until about noon.  The water was falling and the fish kept cooperating on both plastic and topwater.  I actually made 3 moves down that long bank, and never did have to get all that far from the boat.  At one point I looked up and here it came, a huge wake with water foaming.  It was far enough away I got a couple of pictures as it worked straight towards me.

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Here they come!  I know better!

I was hoping it was the first big red school of the fall headed my way like a freight train.  So I waited and waited, and then my ass over rode my brain.  At the last minute I saw the sickle tails, and cast anyway.  It was a school of those big jacks, and one just came up behind my Skitter Walk and engulfed it.  Nice job Doug.  So now I am hooked up to a 25lb jack and line is peeling off the reel, and peeling, and peeling.  So as the spool emptied I finally thumbed it, and pop.  Gone.  If it was not for the Skitter Walk that was fine, it was going to be a long fight.   But that was the second white topwater I lost this morning, both on big fish.

That happened right before a heavy black cloud started bearing down on me.  (See picture above.)   Now it had rained on me a little before, and I had my raincoat, but this thing looked a little sketchy.  So I called it a day and headed back to the ramp.  That turned out to be a good choice as it started raining as I left POC and rained all the way back to Victoria.  It was really a fun morning.  Anytime I can throw topwater the whole time I am a happy camper.  The bite was consistent and it was nice to fish without sweating like a stuck hog.

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And on the subject of my wader dilemma I got this comment from Hal.

I read your posts weekly and really appreciate all you do for those of us that live vicariously through you as we sit at our boring desks slaving away.
I’ve seen you mention putting off the purchase of some Simms waders. I’m 44 and have spent most of my life living very practical. My old man taught me to not overdue it and to save my nickels.  He was frugal, conservative and humble. I lost my old man back in 2009 to pancreatic cancer. He was 69 when he passed. He was my best friend and taught me every thing I know about hunting and fishing. He took me to POC 28 years ago. I was 16.  There’s been an empty spot in my boat since 2009.  My dad had all he needed to hunt and fish. However, I often wonder if he would have done things different and maybe spent a little extra or splurged on an rod, reel, gun, scope or pair of waders had he known how it was all going to end up.
With all that being said, I bought my wife and I some Simms waders and wade jackets last year at Sportsman’s Finest in Austin. They are a good Texas owned business and I think you have family in Austin or you guys get to Lake Travis every once in a while. They were really nice and helpful to us. We may use them once a year at most, but by gosh I won’t regret not having them when we do. Go buy those damn Simms waders. As you well know, there are no guarantees in this journey other than death and taxes. You deserve them and you’ll make good use of them. If I need to call the boss lady, let me know her number and I’ll call her.
I apologize for the unsolicited advice. I’m a fellow lawyer and couldn’t help not advising a fellow brother. LOL!!
Keep the post coming. We love them.
Hal
First thanks for reading.  Funny but you do not have to call the Boss, she has basically been saying the same thing, just buy them and get over it.  It is just a little daunting when the ones I am looking at are $800,  3 times as much as my first car, it seems so self-indulgent.  But when it all comes down to it, there is no guarantee in life which was very instrumental in my decision to retire early as we only get one run at this and I wanted to spend it with a rod in my hand.  And I appreciate your telling us about your dad, sounds like he was a great guy and fishing buddy.  And he and I seem to have shared a similar outlook on money.  I am often guilty of saying if a $30 reel will do it why spend more.  In the final analysis Simms have a great warranty and service, and maybe, just maybe, they won’t leak.  And no problem with the unsolicited advice, we can’t help it, it’s what we do, or in my (happy) case, did.  Thus ends the great wader debate, time to go shopping.
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And of course Chad the Mad Trout Fisherman is still tearing them a new one.
Fishing Matagorda Island chest deep with Hogies whisky/ Chartreuse.
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Now that is a string of fish.
If you have been keeping up with his reports one thing has become really clear, he is standing chest deep and throwing out.  That is all you need to know about that, it is simply a matter of applying it to where you fish.  So thanks for keeping us updated, nice mess.
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It really looks like the trip this weekend is shaping up to have real possibilities.  I am fishing 3 days with them, and they are going to fish the 4th day.  The fishing is good, so even if they bring a small front, which it looks like we might have coming up, fishing should be good.  And these boys fish daylight to dark and always manage to sack a bunch.  I will be on the water once more before they get here, still want to make a quick trip to the Lavaca River and see if it is time.  So keep stopping in and thanks for reading my stuff.
Good Luck and Tight Lines
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