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CONTENTS

EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Everett Johnson

JA N UA RY 2 010 Volume 19 No. 9

Everett@tsfmag.co com Everett@tsfmag.com GENERAL M MANAGER

10

Pam Johnson

FEATURES

Pam Pam@tsfmag.com

10 New Decade - Same Fish 14 Tongue-In-Cheek... 18 Some Things to Think About 22 Blah 26 Tricks, Tips, and Thoughts...

Mike McBride Kevin Cochran Billy Sandifer Martin Strarup Chuck Uzzle

18 34

Coastal Birding Science and the Sea Let’s Ask The Pro Fly Fishing Offshore Conservation TPWD Field Notes Kayak Fishing According to Scott Youth Fishing Every Man’s Offshore

Billy Sandifer UT-Marine Science Institute Jay Watkins Casey Smartt Bobby Byrd/John Cochrane CCA Texas Todd Neahr Scott Null Scott Sommerlatte Aaron Cisneros Ruben Villarreal

42

Dickie Colburn’s Sabine Scene Mickey on Galveston Capt. Bill’s Fish Talk Mid-Coast Bays with the Grays Hooked up with Rowsey Capt. Tricia’s Port Mansfield Report South Padre Fishing Scene

Dickie Colburn Mickey Eastman Bill Pustejovsky Shellie Gray David Rowsey Capt. Tricia Ernest Cisneros

REGULARS

76

06 50 52 72 74 76 80

ADVERTISING MANAGER Pam Johnson Ads@tsfmag.com

WHAT OUR GUIDES HAVE TO SAY 54 58 60 64 66 68 70

Shirley Elliott Shirley@tsfmag.com

Office: 361-785-3420 Cell: 361-550-9918

DEPARTMENTS 19 28 30 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48

BUSINESS / ACCOUNTING MANAGER BUSIN

NATIONAL SALES REPRESENTATIVE Bart Manganiello Bartalm@optonline.net CIRCULATION Debbie Dugan Cir@tsfmag.com DESIGN & LAYOUT GRAPHICS BY DESIGN Stephanie Boyd Office: 361-785-4282 stephanie@graphicsbydesign.biz production@graphicsbydesign.biz SUBSCRIPTION – PRODUCT SALES Debbie Dugan ADDRESS CHANGED? Email Store@tsfmag.com Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine is published monthly. Subscription Rates: One Year (15 months for 12 months; Get Three Free. Offer valid until 2.28.10)

$25.00, Two Year $45.00

E-MAG (electronic version) is available for $12.00 per year. Order on-line: WWW.TSFMAG.COM MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine Attn: Subscriptions P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983 * Subscribers are responsible for submitting all address changes and renewals by the 10th of the prior month’s issue. Email store@tsfmag.com for all address changes or please call 361-785-3420 from 8am - 4:30pm. The U.S. Postal Service does not guarantee magazines will be forwarded.

Editorial TSFMag Spotlight New Tackle & Gear Fishing Reports and Forecasts Catch of the Month Photo Gallery Gulf Coast Kitchen Index of Advertisers

HOW TO CONTACT TSFMAG: PHONE: 361-785-3420 FAX: 361-785-2844 MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983 PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 58 Fisherman’s Lane, Seadrift, TX 77983 WEB: www.TSFMAG.COM PHOTO GALLERY: photos@tsfmag.com

PRINTED IN THE USA. Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine (ISSN 1935-9586) is published monthly by Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine, Inc., 58 Fisherman’s Lane, Seadrift, Texas 77983 l P. O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983 © Copyright 1990 All rights reserved. Positively nothing in this publication may be reprinted or reproduced. *Views expressed by Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine contributors do not necessarily express the views of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine.

ABOUT THE COVER Ron Shepherd made the trek to Calcasieu recently to fish with Capt. Bruce Baugh. He says the fishing was awesome. TSFMag congratulates Ron for practicing CPR with his trophy. (Will Drost photos)

Periodical class permit (USPS# 024353) paid at Victoria, TX 77901 and additional offices. Only $3.95

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine, Inc., P. O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983.

January 2010

Tide Prediction s & Solunar Feed

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Times Inside!

Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

5


New Year Challenges and Opportunities The approach of a new year means many things for fishermen. The middle of the Texas winter means hardcore speckled trout aficionados will be bundling in all their gear to impersonate the Michelin Man and seek a lifetime fish. I’ll be there, numb fingers and nose, fishing hard and hoping. If hard work and suffering heighten the trophy experience; we should have all the right ingredients working for us. The excitement and merriment of boat and fishing shows are always a highlight, if for no other reason than checking out what’s new from boat and tackle manufacturers and reuniting with friends we seem only to catch up with in these venues. Offshore enthusiasts will be busy with maintenance chores they put off during warmer months and anxiously checking long range forecasts in hope of dashing out for a quickie state water red snapper run. Kayakers will enjoy the solitude they dream of all year while prowling the flats for voracious winter reds. Finding eager schools that can number in the hundreds and having them all to oneself is definitely one of the benefits of braving the elements. If I am ever to learn fly-fishing it will likely be in such a target-rich scenario where almost every presentation can draw a strike. Last year had everybody buzzing about the probability of a severe freeze descending upon coastal Texas. Seems lots of folks believe freezes follow hurricanes and Ol’ Ike certainly was a dandy. But if you ask me, I am more worried this year. After all the weather extremes of 2009 I shudder to think this could be the year. January has a bad reputation for this so keep your fingers crossed. We had snow last Friday here in Seadrift which is a very rare event and the mercury fell to 25-degrees after the skies cleared. This was a record-setter for the date and I hope not to see any other records toppled in the next couple of months. Our mid-coast seatrout fishery could hardly stand such a devastating blow. After being blessed with twenty mild winters, I know it’s asking for a lot, but I’m praying for several more to aid the rebound of this fishery. The new year always brings hope of greater economic fortune and we could certainly use a lift right about now. If the economic forecasts and politicians can be believed, we have seen the worst. I’m holding this right alongside my dream that everybody will catch a ten pound trout this winter. But if we can’t have both, I’ll accept the economic recovery and we can all get our big fish next year. I’ve been waiting fifty-seven years for that trout so another year will just make it that much more special. We need the economic boost right now, though. From a personal perspective, 2010 is going to be a very busy year. I have been appointed to TPWD’s Coastal Resource Advisory Committee and will also begin serving as a representative of recreational fishing interests in the effort Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has named the Basin and Bay Stakeholders – Environmental Flows Committee. Reserving river flow in the interest of promoting sustainability of our bays and estuaries is a new chapter in Texas water resource management and one that all coastal fishermen should become involved in. I feel truly honored in these appointments and am excited to become involved in both as each has very significant potential to shape the future of coastal fisheries and recreational angling in Texas. I pray that I can live up to the expectation of all the fine folks who recommended my appointments. Our resources and angling traditions deserve our finest stewardship to insure they are passed to future generations in better shape than we received them. em. Happy New Year!

6

January 2010

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New Decade - Same Fish No sound can drive me into fetal

Blackberry instead. Might as well glance

fishing, and had to wonder if I was really

position quicker these days than that

at an email or two. I did, and with a free

all that much better now with all the

of a magazine deadline whooshing by.

hand reached into my new Yeti ice chest

“stuff” we have today. A poor workman

Our esteemed and beloved editor (who

for another Starbucks can. I marveled

always blames his tools, but I don’t think

I sometimes refer to as our editorhole)

that the same ice was there from three

we have that excuse anymore.

fires me at least every other month for

days ago. I subconsciously hit the Power

it. But trust me, after talking about the

Pole remote to drift closer to some tails

arrived where I wanted to go by GPS, and

same fish for ten years now, the question

waving seductively near a manicured

laughed at how we used to put reflective

increasingly begs, “So what in the

duck blind; another scene that looked

stakes in the water and navigated by

heck can you possibly write about this

like an embellished painting at a CCA

night with speedometer, stopwatch and

month? What topic hasn’t been trampled

auction. Another osprey crashed, and

spotlight. You had to actually know your

to nausea and what story angle might

away went another mullet on a one

areas by line ups, and when visibility

actually prove worthy of print?”

way trip to the stripping post. What a

was poor, by pole or foot probes. That,

While struggling yet again for

I thought about how effortlessly I had

contradiction; it was high-tech wishing

of course, was after you tried to get

something “fishy” to write about, I

watching low tech production, and those

the outboard oil mixture correct and

figured nothing could beat being in the

“low tech” ospreys were easily getting

hoped you didn’t smoke like a Japanese

actual setting. So with laptop aboard

their limits without any new and improved

destroyer or foul the plugs by getting too

I sputtered towards an isolated flat for

gadgets on sale near you.

heavy handed.

some divine inspiration. I set up a little

It dawned on me how silly all of this

I remembered how, before each

waterborne “office” of sorts; a cardboard

was as compared to how the guys before

trip, hours upon hours were spent on

box duct taped into a makeshift

us had it. Although I was where humans

the art of perfectly sharpening hooks,

sunscreen, with one ice chest for a chair

could hardly access just a few decades

especially new ones because they were

and another to glide the mouse. The

ago, I was painlessly there and also with

as dull as thumbnails out of the box.

whole episode turned into an interesting,

just about every convenience known

Now I just reach over and grab a box of

if not comical, observation.

to man. I started thinking back to even

Gamakatsu’s and hope I don’t breath on

when I first started getting serious about

them too closely.

There I was, in nature’s private realm with no other humans in sight,

Being sore after

surrounded only by sights

fishing was a given,

and sounds of “Planet Earth”

as those old seven-

proportions, yet right below this

and-a-half foot

panoramic view an out-of-place

fiberglass popping

computer screen was winking

rods made quick

at me from deep inside its

work of reducing

cardboard lair like the blue eye

back muscles to

of an alien Cyclops. I glanced

raw sinew after

away from its evil stare just in

a day of two-

time to watch an osprey nail an

handed casting. I

unaware mullet, then winced as

don’t know how

I envisioned what was going to

we ever felt a fish

happen to its still flopping flesh

on those things,

after the raptor landed on its favorite pole by the shoreline. I couldn’t get the internet to connect, but no worries. I

much less with A poor workman blames his tools, but I don’t think we have that excuse anymore.

just checked the radar on my 10

January 2010

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

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guide rods like Fishing Tackle Unlimited

hypothermia as did brittle

offers (which probably weigh what the

yellow jackets with ridiculous

line used to), and braided line on nine

amounts of wet cotton

bearing auto-casting/anti-backlashing

stuffed inside.

reels, the only thing left to be sore is your pride if you still can’t feel a bite. I thought about how a tail was really

Besides all of the conveniences we have now, I especially remember how

a tail and that a Kelley Wiggler shrimp

you knew where fish were

in strawberry and white and was all you

and what they were eating

needed. Now simple primary colors have

because you went out and

given way to a kaleidoscope of confusion,

fished for them in the water.

and of course, the fish must know we

Now most people just fish

are confused as well. We have to be,

for them on the internet and

because now we have genuine artificial

pair up reports with full-

shrimptails that smell like a dead goat

color aerial imaging down to

and water activated topwater lures that

pothole level.

croak like a croaker.

Go fishing and learn by efforts spent.

There is no doubt that we

Riding out a norther with a five gallon

where.” For the most part, that is not for

need most of good inventions out there

sale. What is for sale is fuel, probably

bucket over your head was standard

today. If nothing else, we’d look like

the best investment towards being a

because you never knew exactly when

outdated goobers at the ramp and be

“fishermen” as we could make. All I can

one was going to hit. Actually, that may

able to blame bad days on not shopping

say is; many men before us were great

not be so much better today, as most

like we should. However, although

fishermen and caught many great fish

weathermen still seem preoccupied with

we might be able to buy some better

without most of the tools we have today,

mixing their own oil, but at least now I

results, we will never be able to buy skill.

and the osprey’s catch ratio will always

can pull up radar on a phone. Speaking

Skill will always be “knowing when to be

be better than ours. Let’s put that in

of phones, I well remember having to march five miles out of a mosquito laden

our Google tool bar and Gulp on it. Go fishing and learn by efforts spent. The

Skill will always be knowing when to be where.

birds would be proud. Ooops, there went that whooshing noise again.

marsh on one occasion

Mike Mcbride

Contact

and across a sun baked San Luis Pass Bridge on another, all the while scrounging for road change to feed a payphone that might or might not work and try to call a number

Mike McBride is a full time fishing guide based in Port Mansfield, Tx., specializing in wadefishing with artificial lures.

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January 2010

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Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

13


Tongue-In-Cheek Additions to Some Relevant Definitions Author’s Note: The following italicized definitions are quoted

unfortunate demise of said prized fish.

from a humorous and entertaining book by Henry Beard and

Catch and Release: 1. Term for stretch of public stream

Roy McKie called Fishing: A Dictionary For Constant Anglers,

where fish caught must be released alive. 2. Term for stretch

Weekend Waders, and Artful Bobbers.

of private stream where trespassers caught are released after a lecture, a series of threats, and a brief introduction to a large

Advice: Two or more pieces of contradictory angling

dog. It’s also an activity, too little practiced, known to have the

information contained in a single phrase or sentence. Some

power to preserve and enhance populations of fish, which have

experts assert that daytime fishing within 48 hours after a full

no voice with which to lobby in support of the activity.

moon is often tougher than normal. I believe the opposite, and have documented many fine outings one or two days

Rob Tortorice released this lifetime-best trout after we took several pictures. Later, he had one of the images converted into a painting. Doing so helped him record the memory without killing the fish for a skin mount.

after a full moon, including catches of individual trophy trout up to 31 inches, days with numerous big trout (as many as 11 over 27 inches) and sessions with up to 200 trout and reds. Thanks to those who choose to stay on the couch because it’s a day or two after a big moon; you leave more space on the bays open for those of us who fish! Angling: The art of fishing, as practiced by those who seek to catch fish not for profit or for food, but rather for the sport involved. The commonly accepted source of the term “angling” is the ancient Indo-European word, anka, meaning “hook” or “to fish with a hook,” but several other words are likely candidates, including enka (“unwise expenditure” or “useless task”); unglo (“one who is tormented by insects”); onku (“loud or frequent lamentation”); angi (“to deceive”); inkle (“to repeat a foolish act”); onklo (“possession by demons”); and angla (“love of pointless suffering”). Though it applies to both bait soakers and lure chunkers, this definition is clearly most

Croaker, Grouper, Snapper: 1. Informal names for three

relevant to those of us who stubbornly choose to use artificial

groups of saltwater game fish. 2. Informal names for three basic

lures exclusively.

types of anglers: the noisy croakers, who cough and clear their

Artificial: Type of synthetic bait rejected by a finicky fish

throats when absolute silence is essential; the overly convivial

because it is too large or too small, or because it has the

groupers, who borrow your lures, sample your lunch, and help

wrong shape, bears the wrong coloration, or makes the wrong

you lose fish during netting; and the mean-spirited snappers,

motions in the water.

who respond to an angler’s casual remark about the weather

This one confuses me a little. I know

what an artificial lure is, but what’s that part about making the

with a pointed remark that he go smoke a fish. It is my sincere

wrong motions in the water? Does it mean that sometimes

hope that your guide is neither of the three; may he be simply a

a particular lure won’t work because someone is using it

Skipper who provides you a direct connection to a Whopper.

incorrectly? Don’t say it!

Fish: The only living creature in any given stretch of stream,

Camera: Small, but quite heavy object used by anglers to

river, lake or bay that doesn’t have a hook in it and isn’t smoking

store small amounts of water and a canister of spoiled film.

a pipe. Aforementioned creature may also be the only one in

Most cameras today, being digital, don’t have ruined film in

the area that doesn’t automatically flee from a good spot just

them. Some are even waterproof, but more importantly, the

because some boaters pass by.

vast majority are left in the boat by waders (or worse yet in

Hot Spot: 1. Place on any given stream or lake, usually

the truck by drifters) and are therefore useless in the timely

known only to the locals, where fish can be found. 2. Place in

documentation of the catch of a prized fish, resulting often in the

the center of the palm of the right hand of locals where money

14

January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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may be placed to help find 1. See: www.

that says there

fishbaffinbay.com for details related to

are two kinds of

Lucky Sevens Club.

fishermen: the ones

Habitat: Place where a particular species of fish was last week. This indicates that, in Texas, habitat is

in our group, and the ***holes. Solitude: The

dwindling, since some species of fish are

state of being closer

noticeably scarce in places where they

to nature than to the

were once pleasantly abundant. See:

nearest flush toilet.

spotted seatrout in the Coastal Bend.

Clearly the opposite

Knot: A tangle with a name. Should

of the noisy state

not be confused with a backlash, which

of affairs on a

is a more elaborate tangle with fancier

Saturday morning

names, many of which cannot be

in the hour following

printed here.

the timed release

License: Permit issued upon payment

January is statistically the author’s best month for catching trout exceeding twenty nine inches.

of a line of painted

of a modest fee that allows fishermen

racing boats carrying two goggled

inches is actually 30 inches, at least

to lose lures in a specified area. The

tournament anglers each.

for speckled trout anglers, for whom 7

permit also justifies the burning of vast

Wading: The most common means

pounds is also 10 pounds. For redfish

volumes of fossil fuels and investment in

through which a dry-fly fisherman is

tournament anglers, particularly those

numerous gadgets and instruments, most

transformed into a wet-fly fisherman. It’s

who specialize in placing copious

of which are useless in the hands of the

also the reason so many of us who love

chunks of ice in a livewell, 28 ½ inches

untrained. It also provides the wicked

it are willing to “climb out of a perfectly

is actually 28 inches.

more opportunities to tell creative lies

good boat”. In fact, we don’t believe

to their spouses, sometimes concealing

there is such a thing as a perfectly good

secret trips to gentlemen’s clubs.

boat. To those of us who love wading,

by insect about to deliver one. There are

a boat is merely a necessary evil we

two more similar sounds uttered by Texas

fish that an angler can take in a day. This

purchase, maintain and operate to get us

coastal waders: Kablooj…and DeDoink!

number varies from place to place and

where we need to be in order to do what

species to species, but like the speed of

we really love, which is to climb out of a

light, it is a largely theoretical restriction

perfectly good boat.

with little practical application. Note here that lowering a limit gives the number

Yard: Unit of measurement. In angling, 17 inches. Additionally, 27

greater practical application, hence a more significant

Scott Enderlin doing his part to preserve and sustain the trophy trout fishery.

angler waiting for a bite. 2. Sound made

Kevin Cochran

Contact

Limit: Maximum number of a particular

Zzzzzzz: 1. Sound made by patient

impact on the fish. See: red drum in Texas. Lure: Anything used to attract fish. There are basically two kinds: those fishermen swear by, and those they swear at. Corkys are both at the same time! This reminds me also of the old adage Just Keep Five

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Some Things to Think About Since I run some distance offshore

you are already a done deal and fishing

grinder. We had to reschedule their

regularly in my 25-foot Panga with only

before everyone else’s boat is ready.

trip once due to the red tide. As their

one outboard I do everything possible

Think about it.

scheduled date neared I could see a

to keep that 175 HP Suzuki Four Stroke

The red tide on PINS pretty much

negative trend developing. We had a

in tiptop shape. I have maintenance and

disappeared on 15 November after 39

cold front, water temperature dropped

check-ups done on it more regularly

days although patches apparently remain

and the finger mullet migration resumed.

than most folks do and more than the

near the Brownsville Ship Channel and

Various species of gamefish were readily

manual specifies. It’s simple enough; I

in Corpus Christi Bay. NPS estimates

available including good numbers of large

am a seasoned professional and I fully

10 million fish were killed on PINS.

jack crevalle. This was my customers

understand and accept the responsibility

Remember a whole lot of these are what

#1 choice of target species so all was

that goes with taking customers offshore

anglers think of as trash fish. Hardhead

good. Then we started setting record

and getting them back to land safely.

catfish shouldn’t be much of an issue this

high temperatures for several days, the

Above all else, the safety of your

winter. Exceptional catches of pompano

water temperature became unusually hot

passengers is your number one priority

and other species began in the northern

for the time of year and the finger mullet

when you put the title “Captain” in front of

17 miles of PINS beach while the south

stopped migrating. The surf became a

your name and make yourself available

end was still experiencing red tide. One

“no life” zone and I knew it would remain

for charters. If it isn’t, you need to seek

catch of 100 pompano was reported

so until the next cold front passed; which

other employment. I never put my pocket

on 23 November – Wow! I dearly love

would again drop surface and water

book ahead of my customers well-being

catching pompano on light tackle but

temperatures and start the entire process

and if it’s too rough to go we reschedule.

often a long cast is required to reach

all over again. That’s how it works. The

But I’ve got a good deal going. I trust

the fish and I have become quite fond

charter was scheduled for a Sunday and

my boat and outboard to the point I

of the Daiwa Sealine 20 reel mounted

Monday. We were forecast a solid norther

would have nothing else, but likewise

on a Breakaway 10ft-6in Omega rod.

Monday morning. So I KNEW fishing

I trust the professionals at Gulf Coast

This rig is light weight and fun to cast.

would be tough Sunday and we were

Marine to keep that outboard operating

Professional distance casters use 15

doomed to get blown out on Monday

at peak performance levels. It is this

pound mono line but with customers I

completely. I called the customers in

trust that allows me to venture 40-50

use 20 pound test. A top shot of at least

L.A. and pleaded with them not to come

miles offshore. Anything can happen;

70 pound test mono is required as the

on these dates. I had plenty of empty

even to a showroom new outboard

generated energy of the cast will break

dates available after the incoming norther

and we are all aware of that. But I also

the line without it. The top shot’s length is

and chances of excellent catches would

know we can minimize the potential

twice the rod’s length plus at least 8 turns

increase dramatically. But they simply

of problems occurring by doing the

on the reel.

footwork and getting our outboards and

I want to share

electrical systems checked regularly.

a recent charter

While picking up my Panga recently and

event with you.

talking with Gulf Coast Marine mechanic

I have some

and technician, Marty Benge, recently

gentlemen from

he said, “My God, Billy, I wish other

Los Angeles who

folks would do like you and bring their

fly to Corpus

outboards in for maintenance during the

to fish with me

slow season when we have time rather

for 2 days each

than waiting till spring. They all wait until

year. Absolutely

the last minute and all want their work

great guys

done instantly when we are buried.”

but they have

Makes good sense to me to beat the

very specific

spring rush and get them checked out

goals. One fly

before then. When “trout fever” kicks

fishes only and

in everyone else is waiting in line and

the other is a

18

January 2010

John Agather with a 57-1/2” female bull shark tagged for Harte Institute on PINS - 23 November 09.

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BILLY SANDIFER’S annual visit but that sure was an expensive whiting. It speaks for itself. If you have enough faith in a guide’s

Coastal Birding

experience and skills to hire him and fly across the U.S.A. to fish with him trust his experience enough to listen to him when he tells you to reschedule.

Tricolored Heron -Egretta tricolor-

And for those of you working your own way up the learning curve you will find that as your experience increases you will be able to evaluate options most likely to be successful on Dennis George - CPR 5’-3” female blacktipped shark caught on a cast bait – PINS 15 November 09.

upcoming trips based on climatic conditions, moon phases and other variables. The more one concentrates on one species

had the fever too bad to heed my advice

or one type of fishing with no Plan B the

and came anyway. We traveled the entire

tougher it gets.

beach front without seeing a single fish.

THE DATE OF THE UPCOMING BIG

I cast net some live finger mullet to give

SHELL BEACH CLEANUP HAS BEEN

us some chance of success but they

SET AND IS SATURDAY, 20 MARCH,

refused to use them. Sure made for a

2010. Hope to see you there.

long day. We passed anglers catching lots of pompano, black drum, whiting

White and rufous line down neck onto chest and wings. Slate gray on head, neck, wings, back and tail with white belly, rump and underwing. White plume in breeding plumage. Extremely long legged and billed. Coastal species, wades for finfish. The tricolored heron is present in Texas March through November. One of our colonial nesting waterbird species.

Length: 30” Wingspan: 46” Weight: One pound

If we don’t leave any there won’t be any. - Capt. Billy

and redfish on bait and we stopped and I took the hook out of a 5-ft blacktipped bait as we drove up but there simply was no productive lure fishing potential. We passed numerous wonderful locations for bait fishing as we headed back north. Then the debris got bad and we were

Capt. Billy Sandifer

Contact

shark Dennis George caught on a cast

past all the productive areas when all at once in desperation they decided they’d bait fish after all. Too late. The wind was building steadily, the tide had gotten high and any productive catching was over for the day. The reality of my earlier warnings finally sank in and we canceled the second day. They flew round trip from L.A. to Corpus and paid motel rent for 2 nights and ended up getting one bite all day and catching one 12” whiting for their money and efforts. It didn’t have to be

Billy Sandifer operates Padre Island Safaris offering surf fishing for sharks to specks and nature tours of the Padre Island National Seashore. Billy also offers bay and near-shore fishing adventures in his 25 foot Panga for many big game and gamefish species. Telephone

Photo by Jimmy Jackson

361-937-8446 Website www.billysandifer.com

that way. We’re pals and we enjoyed our Just Keep Five

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19


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21


BLAH Blah.

weather and clear water river fishing this

fishing and get enough fishing in unless

time of year. I enjoy plugging the drop-

they’re guides and fish while they work

offs along the various saltwater creeks

but then there is feast and famine and to

and rivers and trolling some lures behind

be honest when fishing becomes work…

the boat in hopes a trout or red will feel

and where do they go, what do they do

up to the chase, but if it doesn’t stop

when they go on vacation do they fish?

raining and dumping all that muddy run-

Someone remind me to ask McBride

suited more for, well, for nothing in my

off into the rivers as it has been, I can

about that.

area but hunting, maybe, and that’s if

forget about it.

Blah. Did I mention Blah? The weather patterns of late are

you can survive the mosquitoes. The

So with the winter blahs I sit and

Then there are my friends that tell

type my frustrations out on a laptop and

rivers are fresh the tides are low and

me the fishing is “on here” but I’m not

now and then slip into the tackle room

from the reports I’m getting, the fish

there…Argghh. And this time of the year

and try to clean a reel or clean the cork

aren’t cooperating with the fishermen or

with the holidays and with vacation days

on a fishing rod, maybe change some

fisherwomen.

in short supply, well it just makes life

hooks out on some favorite top water

tough. Oh sure I could borrow from next

baits or read old issues of Gulf Coast

dust bowl that was our place north of

year’s vacation days but then I’d be short

Connections. Did you know that running

Edna is now a green Serengeti with grass

next year, I’d run out and not be able to

the barb of a rusty old hook under

higher than a deer’s back…literally, and

make those long trips I love so much…

your thumbnail is about the worst pain

I know we need more rain to replenish

the horror. Honestly I don’t know how

imaginable? Well it is, trust me. And

the aquifers…still… I look forward to cold

people manage to combine work and

it will hurt for days too. Did you know

I mean, I know we need the rain. The

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January 2010

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that you should wear eye protection

and it wasn’t with my other ones…cool

when cutting old treble hooks off of top

find. This one is mint and has the original

water baits with a pair of side cutters?

paperwork from The Doug English Lure

You do…trust me. Did you know that

Co. in Corpus Christi and it’s now in its

with new batteries installed, a hook

proper place among other popular baits

sharpener will actually burn skin off

from yesteryear. There are a few old

the back of your hand through friction?

Hump Lures that need attention in that

(Don’t ask.) It will, trust me.

box along with a couple of the old red

Okay I’m back. I found an old box in

handled floating stringers from the 60s;

the back of the closet in the tackle room

first ones made of plastic if I remember

(it’s really a spare bedroom but much to

right. I found a few still new in the box

the chagrin of my wife I call it my “tackle

Diawa PR & PM series reels in there too.

room”) and I’ve been going through the

Good reels for the day with a great thumb

contents. In that box are some lures of

bar but with a “slacky” anti-reverse. I’m

days that have long gone by, remnants

surprised this box has made it through

of my past and that of the inventors who

the many garage sales my wife has had

would have become wealthy had the

over the years.

things worked and of some that actually

So okay it’s cold outside, it rained

did work and quite well at that. The one

most of the day and the clearing of the

that I remember the most for not working

creeks and rivers of freshwater just isn’t

was one called “The Spark Plug.” It’s a

going to happen. I wonder if my wife

topwater bait that has some type of oil

will be mad that I used the last of my

or other liquid inside a clear body. There

vacation days for 2009 on a last minute

is metallic glitter suspended in the liquid

fishing trip down south? The problem

that will move and sparkle as the lure is

with being “blah” is that I get bored and

moved. They came in all sorts of colors,

when I’m bored I get creative. I wonder if

red, gold, green if memory serves me

McBride needs to have another garage

right. Denn Brother’s in Bay City was the

sale or if he has any more of those “Cap

first place I ever saw them and Simon

Cams” he invented for sale? I think I’ll

Denn told me he couldn’t keep them

ask him after I get into town.

on the shelves and that they were just tearing the trout and reds up with them

Happy 2010 everyone…be safe.

in Matagorda but he couldn’t remember which color was the hottest catcher so I than other lures too. I may have caught a fish on one of them I can’t remember if I did or I didn’t but I do remember how pretty the glittery liquid looked as it trickled its way down a concrete loading

Martin Strarup

Contact

bought one of each…and they cost more

ramp when dropped or on the bottom of the boat or if whacked against the side of a truck. I feel pretty certain that The Spark Plug caught more fishermen than it did fish at least in our area. I think I’ll hold on to this one to remind me of what a great salesman Simon Denn was and what a sucker I was. I did find a “new in the box” Pluggin’ Shorty lure though. I’d forgotten about it Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

23


Tricks, Tips, and Thoughts for Your Next Trip on the Water One of coolest benefits about

incorrectly, you will be in for a long day

are not alone. Saltwater anglers have

doing this column every month is the

on the water digging out “mystery loops”

their own quirks and finishing touches.

interaction with other fishermen, folks

and “God knots.” The easiest way to

Now, without getting into the really

who just want to learn more about the

ensure a hassle-free day on the water

crazy techniques, there are some basic

sport they love. Occasionally, I get

with your newly rigged spinning outfit is

adjustments that you can do to make

emails or phone calls from readers who

to unspool the line with no lure

have great questions about certain baits

tied on and let it trail behind

or techniques they learned about. I have

the boat as you run to your first

had some fantastic discussions with a

fishing destination. The line

few of the readers of TSF, and to tell you

will untwist on its own as you

the truth, I have learned a great deal

run and release most, if not all,

from them. So instead of a traditional

of the memory it gained from

“New Years Resolution” piece this

being stored on the reel or

month, I decided to share a few of the

spooled improperly. I learned

tricks I’ve picked up in the past that will

this little trick while fishing in

hopefully help you in future.

Florida where almost everyone uses spinning gear

some everyday lures perform better. One

the way Texas anglers

very simple modification that I picked up

use baitcasters. I was

from my good friend, Bink Grimes, is to

blown away at how

add a little teaser to the back hooks of

well the technique

my topwaters. Bink’s teasers are made

works; I use it on

from small pieces of aquarium tubing

almost every trip and

that he colored with either a paint pen

recommend it highly

or dye that you usually dip your plastics

to anyone who’s

in. The tubing resembles the small pink

having line difficulties.

tabs that we are accustomed to seeing

Another commonly

on a spoon. It slips around the shank of

asked question is

your treble hook and adds a little more

how can I get a

enticing flash to your plug.

little extra out of Spinning tackle is fast becoming

Anyone who has ever been on the

my lures? Freshwater fishermen have

boat with me knows I have a very

popular among Texas fisherman. Long

long been known for doing some crazy

special place in my heart for jerk baits

looked down upon by most coastal

modifications to different baits, such as

and crankbaits, such as the Rapalas,

anglers, the spinning tackle revolution

tying buzz baits to their truck antennas

Red Fins, and Mann’s 1-Minus. One

has really taken hold in our part of the

so the blades will wear smooth and turn

improvement that I almost always make

world and shows no signs of slowing

more freely when in the

down. As anglers become more

water. Some guys will

specialized, many find that there are

leave a lure on their

places where a quality spinning rig will

dash in the sun to fade

just flat out-fish level wind reels. That

the colors while others

being said, the number one problem

will airbrush new baits

most new spinning anglers have to deal

right out of the box to

with is line twist or loops in the line. The

achieve that “just right”

majority of these problems start with how

color in hopes of luring

the line is spooled on the reel; if spooled

the perfect catch. They

26

January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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to a new bait before I ever use it is to remove the split ring from the nose. The split rings will often wear a spot on the line that can translate into “the one that got away.” By removing the split ring and going to a loop knot instead, you get a more direct connection to the lure without losing any of the desired action. This will also keep the ring from getting

variations in the structure: low spots

caught up between the lip or bill of the

where more water flows between the

lure, causing the bait to run off course

rocks, missing rocks or eroded spots,

and not retrieve true. Correct action

and places where water makes an eddy

on the plug is imperative, so anything

(great places for fish to ambush baits).

you can do to maintain that action and

The best way to set up in these situations

maximize fishing opportunities is always

is to make long casts parallel to the

a good idea.

rocks because this is the way the baitfish

Besides the lure modifications and

travel. Some of the best baits you can

equipment tips, one more bit of advice I

throw along the rocks are weightless soft

can arm you with for your next trip on the

plastics, shallow running crankbaits, and

water in the coming months is to not pass

of course, topwaters. When there is any

up the normally overlooked structures

current at all, the rocks can be a real fish

such as rock-lined banks or rip rap.

magnet that very few people take the time to explore. I hope that a few of these tricks help to make your next year’s fishing even better than years past. Please have a happy and safe New Year. See ya on the water.

Contact

Chuck Uzzle

Almost every bay system in Texas has miles of these rocks stacked along the banks, and anglers continually bypass them in favor of other locations. Most anglers consider these piles featureless, but they really have subtle facets that often hold fish. By using the same approach as you would when fishing a jetty system, you can effectively probe the rock systems and cash in on all sorts of species that call these places home. When I fish rock shorelines, I look for Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

27


Science and the Sea

TM

Salty, Savory, Sustainable Thanks to a clever farming technique, mussel lovers can relish the fact that their favorite shellfish is not only tasty, but also kind to the environment. Known as suspended culture, this low-impact system of mussel farming cultivates mussels on ropes, which are attached to a long line anchored to the sea floor. The line holds the mussel-encrusted ropes at a depth of 30 to 40 feet, where mussels are safe from hungry birds at the surface, as well as from starfish lurking on the sea floor. To avoid the boat traffic and delicate habitats found near coasts, mussel farms can be stationed several miles offshore. Mussel cultivation begins when free-floating larvae in the water attach themselves to special collection ropes. These baby mussels, known as spat, are then transferred to “grow-out” ropes, where they remain until they reach harvest size in about 12 to 18 months. The filter-feeding mussels extract plankton and other organic matter from the ocean currents that sweep over them, converting the nutrients into the sweet, juicy flesh prized by seafood lovers. As filter feeders, mussels don’t need fish meal or other food, as some farmed fish species do. Mussels can even improve water quality by reducing excess organic matter in the water column. Aquaculture researchers are keeping tabs on suspended culture mussel farms to see how they might affect local water quality and surrounding habitats over time. But for now, shellfish lovers can enjoy farmed mussels knowing they are one of the most environmentally sound seafood choices.

The University of Texas

Marine Science Institute www.ScienceAndTheSea.org © The University of Texas Marine Science Institute 28

January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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January 2010

29


Ask the Pro

J AY WAT K I N S

January ďŹ nds us

bait this time of year is EVERYTHING.

with softer bottom or scattered shell

in the thick of winter

Usually, the bait will show up close

with a slight mix of the soft stuff and

ďŹ shing patterns. For

to the given structure in whatever

some grass. To me, soft bottom with

those of you that visited

bay your ďŹ shing, and its location and

some scattered grass and some harder

the Rockport area over

activity will be solely based upon water

submerged structure is hard to beat.

the past few months,

temperatures. In sports, announcers do

Add to this a quick deep-water access

I hope you have seen an increase in

a walk-through prior to the game; I do the

for bitter cold periods, and you have a

your trout catches. The numbers are still

same before every trip I take, especially

prime big trout winter area. Along with

below winter averages, I feel, but they

in the winter months. Let me take you on

checking the frontal system forecasts, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll

are much improved since heavy rainfall

a walk-through.

look up the Gulf water temperature, but

over the past few months has sweetened

To start, I monitor the weather

the bays and colder water temperatures

forecasts for the upcoming week. Frontal

have aided in concentrating the

passages are typically

scattered ďŹ sh of November and early

once-a-week affairs, so

December. During this time of year, I

I have to ďŹ nd areas that

am often monitoring frequent frontal

provide some protection

systems, observing water temperatures,

from both SE and NE

and searching for bait over just about

winds. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll also need some

any type of structure. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll travel from San

preferred structure for

Antonio Bay down to BafďŹ n in search of

the particular bay system

the best quality of trout for my clients,

that I have chosen to ďŹ sh

while paying close attention to those

for that day. In January,

three factors. You may have heard this

Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m most often looking

more times than you care to, but locating

for either scattered grass

my on-board GPS water temperature gauge is what I truly go by. It measures

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W W W. B O M B E R S A LT WAT E R G R A D E . C O M

30

January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

  

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A S K T H E PRO

every edge or drop-off in that area. I stay as far away from the comfort zone as possible. I am a big believer in a mature trout’s ability to sense our presence. Tip her off that you’re there, and you’ve decreased your chances dramatically. By reducing movement, you reduce water noise and vibration, thus increasing your odds of a catch. Although, talking must not spook them because I catch them and my mouth’s open all the time! Another tip to increase your chance of catching a big one is to TRY to keep the fish below the surface as much as you CAN once hooked. Not only does this give you a better chance of landing a really big the water surface temperature. I monitor

fish, but it also reduces the disturbance

the water temperature hourly in any given

in the comfort zone. Big fish can spook

area. Daytime warming trends can heat

other big fish in the area if given too

shallower areas of the same structure

much rein, and actually, fighting your fish

just a few degrees, which often draws the

with more drag than normal will land you

bait up shallow for a short, midday warm

bigger fish. To pull this all together, you

up. By adjusting to these trends, you can

need only the right rod and proper leader

keep yourself in the area where the bait

materials.

resides, and that’s where your trout will

Finally, one aspect that I think is a

be as well. Winter-run trout never get too

given to all successful big fish anglers is

far from the chuck wagon.

ATTITUDE; you got to know the fish are

Once on the water, I try to troll or drift

there even when you don’t stick one. Got

into the area that I have chosen for the

to see in your mind what’s not visible to

day. This gives me time to observe the

the eye, and absolutely got to know that

area and get my approach plan in place.

when she bites, she’s done. The Watkins

If you’ll really look at WHERE and HOW

boys have it. Do you?

the bait is reacting, it will give you the line that the majority of the bait is holding to.

May your fishing

In the winter, baitfish often react to larger

Always be catching,

trout whether or not the trout are actively feeding. Reading the area that you have

Guide Jay Watkins

task at this point in the day. If you get the signals confused, you can blow your opportunities before they have had time to fully develop. One piece of advice that I positively know will help you become a better trophy trout angler is to allow the pattern to develop. Thoroughly observe

CONTACT

chosen is the single most important

every aspect of what’s happening before you make big moves in your area. When I believe I have located the right fish, I’ll set up camp and try to hit literally every piece of structure and Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

31


32

January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Bluff’s Landing Roger Viar’s Second Annual “Baffin Bay Rodeo” Fishing Tournament

February 26, 27 & 28, 2010 $15,000 FIRST PLACE GUARANTEED BLUFFS LANDING MARINA

2009 WINNERS This is a live fish weigh-in 2 day tournament/2 fish per day limit. All trout must be alive to qualify for weigh-in. Entry Fee: $500 per team (non refundable) 100 Team maximum.

Check our website at: www.bluffslanding.com Trout must be over 20” to qualify.

4242 Laguna Shores, Rd., Corpus Christi, TX 78418

All winners will be polygraphed. Artificial bait only. More info, call Roger:(361) 937-7100

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

33


F LY F I S H I N G DE PA R T M E N T

Choosing the Right Vise Over the past 30

as it was tied. It also allowed tyers

years, I have spent a

to palmer materials onto the fly by

shameful amount of

rotating the arm and feeding them

time behind a fly tying

to the hook rather than wrapping the

vise. Beginning in the

CASEY SM A RTT

l 0’ with i h a homemade vise, and late 70’s graduating through many different models over the years, I have learned

thread/materials around a stationary The hook-holding power of a good vise demonstrated with unbreakable Kevlar thread.

come to be known, are now the standard. If you are shopping for a

to love (and hate) vises and my

tools that will reward you with many

vise I strongly encourage you to go

addiction to tying flies. If you are

years of service. If you are tempted

with a rotary vise. You might think

considering purchasing a vise for fly

to purchase a cheap vise just to get

you don’t need a rotary vise but if you

tying you may be a little confused on

started, you may be disappointed

ever tie on one you’ll love it. They

where to start. There are hundreds of

with the results. Likewise, vises

make tying, gluing, and viewing flies

different models to choose from, with

included in inexpensive fly tying kits

monumentally easier.

prices ranging from $25 all the way up

are typically not up to par. If you are

C-Clamp vs. Pedestal

to $400 or more. Good vises aren’t

shopping for a vise, make sure you

Vises are anchored to the work

cheap, so making the right purchase

test it before you buy. Place a hook

surface with either a c-clamp or a

the first time is important. Here are

in the jaws and tighten it up. Does

weighted pedestal. Each anchoring

a few tips I think you should consider

the cam/screw assembly tighten and

style has its benefits and limitations

when selecting a vise.

loosen smoothly? Does the hook

and whether you choose a c-clamp

Grip

align correctly in the jaws? Does the

style mount or a weighted pedestal

The absolute number one purpose

hook slip when you apply force to the

base mount depends on what flies you

of the vise is to hold a hook with a

eye? These are things you should test

tie and where you tie them.

rock-solid grip… period. All the other

before dropping your cash.

bells and whistles are worthless if

Rotary Shaft

clamp fastened to the bottom of

a vise can’t keep its grip on a hook.

Years ago, all vises had fixed arm

the throat of the vise. This clamp

Saltwater fly tying often uses large

and jaw assemblies. This meant

is usually tightened to the lip of a

hooks, heavy threads, and tying

that when you mounted a hook in the

tying bench or table. C-clamp style

techniques that will test the limits of

vise, it stayed in a locked position

vises are very secure and cannot be

the vise’s jaw assembly and clamping

until you removed it. There was no

bumped out of position or toppled

power. I can tell you, nothing is more

way to view the bottom or back of the

when tying. This makes them a good

frustrating than having a nearly-

hook/fly without removing it from the

choice for tying methods like deer hair

complete fly slip or pop loose from

vise and rolling it over. It was a real

spinning where sideways, upper, and

the jaws of a wimpy vise. It is very

pain. Engineers took note, and along

lower forces are applied to the hook.

discouraging. Fortunately

A c-clamp style vise has a small

came rotary

But, there are several disadvantages

shaft vises. The

to c-clamps. First, they require

there are plenty

jaw assembly of

smooth solid clamping surfaces and

of vises out there

these vises was

not all tables at all locations you

connected to a

might tie (like hotel rooms) provide

floating (rather

this. Second, c-clamps tend to leave

than fixed) shaft

impressions on anything they are

manufactured

that could be

fastened to. So if you clamp your

by Renzetti,

manually rotated

shiny new vise down on your wife’s

Dyna-King, Peak,

like an axle. This

prized coffee table, the clamp will dent

DanVise, and

feature allowed

it and you’re gonna’ be in hot water.

Regal are all

tyers to spin the

good candidates.

arm and view

a weighted rectangular base with

These are quality

all sides of a fly

a non-slip rubber or felt pad on the

with extreme hook-holding power. Vises

34

hook. “Rotary vises,” as they have

January 2010

My favorite vise the simple Renzetti Traveler rotary with Clouser jaws.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Pedestal style vises incorporate

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thousands of flies I have tied on this

is a big event with fly fishing seminars, fly

highly portable and can be placed and

vise, and I consider it perfect for

tying demonstrations, casting instruction,

used on nearly any level surface. They

saltwater tying. But the best way to

fly tackle vendors… the works. This

can also be moved around while the fly

evaluate which style and brand of vise is

year’s guest list includes Chico

is tied. The disadvantage of a pedestal

best for you is to watch them in action,

Fernandez. If you want to learn more

mount vise is that it is possible to pull

ask questions, and try them out. There

about fly fishing, this is a great chance.

the vise over with sideways thread

are two great events coming up where

tension, or knock it over with an errant

you can do this.

elbow shot. A second disadvantage is

The first event is the Texas Fly

As always, if you have questions or need more information, feel free to contact me. You can also visit my

Fisher’s 18th Annual Fly Tying

website: www.caseysmartt.com My site

as a lever against the base when force

Festival. The Fly Tying Festival will be

includes fly fishing articles, videos, fly

is applied to the hook, the throat must

held in Houston at Bethany Christian

fishing reports, and other fun stuff.

be kept somewhat short. This means

Church, 3223 Westheimer Rd. on

the distance between the clamped hook

Saturday, February 6 from 9:00 am until

and the base is fairly short compared to

4:00 pm. There will be over 40 fly tyers

a c-clamp model. Some tyers find this

at this event and this year’s scheduled

too confining.

guest is none other than Bob Clouser.

Vises in action

The second event is the Federation

My favorite vice is the Renzetti Traveler

of Fly Fishers (FFF) 2010 Gulf Coast

outfitted with Clouser jaws. There

Conclave. The Conclave will be held

O VIDE

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is honestly no way of

at the New Braunfels Civic Center, New

counting how many

Braunfels, TX on April 8-10, 2010. This

CONTACT

that because the throat of the vise acts

Casey Smartt has been fly fishing and tying flies for 30 years. When he cannot make it to the coast he is happy chasing fish on Texas inland lakes and rivers.

Check out Casey’s Fly Fishing Video Library at www.TSFMag.com

www.TSFMAG.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

35

F LY F I S H I NG DE PA R T M E N T

bottom. Vises with these bases are


OF F S HOR E

BLU E WAT ER JOU R N A L

B OBB Y B Y R D & C A P T. J PH N C O C H R A N E

It’s Show Time! Winter is a tough time of year for bluewater fishermen. Cold fronts keep the winds blowing, the temperature

trip out and back, but the action can be fast and furious. Look for a wahoo report in the next few issues.

cold and the seas rough. Many of us are thinking more

The holiday season is upon us and we hope everyone

about ducks and bucks than marlin and tuna. However,

has good reason to celebrate. We are looking forward to

if you have the ability to go when a weather window

a prosperous 2010 and hope you feel the same way. A

allows, the fishing can be outstanding. Yellowfin Tuna

new decade! With the New Year also comes “show time.”

are concentrated around the deepwater platforms like

Boat Shows, Fishing Shows, Hunting Shows… all kinds of

Boomvang and Nansen. The latest report from the

outdoor shows around the state. It’s great to see all the new

Thanksgiving Holiday was a solid tuna bite going on for

stuff and latest innovations. This is the time of year we start

those who could get out. Remember to watch those cold

dreaming about warmer weather and enjoy visiting with

fronts…they can really ruin your day! In the next few

our old fishing buddies we haven’t seen since summer. For

months big wahoo start showing up at the deepwater rocks

us the Houston Boat Show is a tradition that brings back

near Flower Gardens and many will average well over fifty

fond memories of when we were kids. We always loved

pounds. Anglers watching the weather can run out near

going to the boat show with our dads and seeing all the

the Gardens and fish the rocks, but you have to be able to

new stuff. It’s a great place to check out the latest boats,

go when there’s a “window” of good weather, in between

equipment and accessories as well as lots of other exhibits.

nasty low pressure systems and cold fronts. It’s a quick

Many exhibitors offer Boat Show Specials, discounts and incentives on boats, as well as many other accessories and equipment. One of the most important aspects of a boat show is the ability for the prospective boat buyer to compare similar manufacturer’s products side by side in one location, something that would take you weeks to do otherwise. Another advantage in attending a boat show is that you can usually talk directly to factory representatives, boat builders, engine experts and other specialists. If you have technical questions about certain things, this is a great place to get the right answers, all under the same roof! Take advantage of this great opportunity to check out the latest tackle or book a fishing trip. Need advice? All the best guides are there and ready to answer your questions. Oh yeah…. and don’t forget to pick up some beef jerky! Here are some of the upcoming shows. Texas Fishing Hunting and Outdoors Show Arlington Convention Center Jan 7-10 Houston International Boat Show Reliant Center Jan 8-17 Austin Boat Show Austin Convention Center Jan 14-17

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January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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OF F S HOR E

Be sure to

Come by and get a great deal on your

come by the

next boat. For more information check

Houston Boat

out our website www.foxyachtsales.com

Show and

or you can contact John Cochrane at

see us at the

captjohn@foxyachtsales.com.

Tops-N-Towers Reliant Center, January 8–17. We always have lots of great pictures and love hearing and Corpus Christi Boat Show

talking about the latest fishing news.

American Bank Convention Center

You can also stop by and visit us in

Jan 22-24

Seabrook at our Fox Yacht Sales Seabrook Office and Tops-N-Towers

San Antonio Boat Show Alamodome Jan 28-31

on Nasa Parkway. At Fox we have an extensive inventory of brokerage boats and we are the exclusive Texas dealer

Dallas International Boat Show Dallas Market Hall Feb 5-14

Just Keep Five

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for CABO Yachts. We specialize in sportfishing boats and motor yachts.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

CONTACT

booth at Born in Galveston, Capt. John Cochrane has been a professional captain for over 25 years. He concentrates his fishing efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, promoting big game fishing and billfish research. A native Texan, Bobby Byrd has fished the Gulf of Mexico since he was eight. In 1995, Bobby combined his love of fishing and boating into a business when he opened Tops-N-Towers in Seabrook, Texas. Contact Fox Yacht Sales / Seabrook 281291-0656 Tops-N-Towers 281-474-4000 Capt. John Cochrane 409-739-4817 Websites www.byrd-cochrane.com www.topsntowers.com www.foxyachtsales.com

January 2010

37


CONSERVAT ION PAG E

BROUG H T TO YOU B Y. . .

Coastal Conservation Association - 2009 in Review Here at Coastal Conservation Association Texas (CCA Texas), 2009 began as it did for all non-profit organizations

CCA Texas continued its long-time support of TPWD law

and businesses with much concern swirling around the

enforcement with the purchase of five-sided scan sonar

financial status of the country and business alike. Through

systems for the coastal wardens. The total cost of these

a continued dedicated effort by chapter volunteers, donors

state of the art systems was $12,000. These systems

and sponsors, and the staff at CCA Texas, the organization

will provide beneficial use for victim recovery; evidence

was able to finish 2009 in strong fashion with much

gathering for fisheries crime, such as the location of cut-

anticipation towards 2010. The volunteers and staff are

away nets and doors, which are later used for prosecution

already working hard towards a successful 2010 and it will

in criminal cases; and for the location of derelict vessels and

take a continued dedicated effort by all involved.

debris that are reported to the Texas General Land Office

2009 was a year of continued emphasis on coastal fisheries filled with support for Texas Parks Wildlife Department (TPWD) Coastal Fisheries Division and

(GLO) for removal. CCA will continue its commitment to TPWD law enforcement as we move forward in 2010. Education in the marine fisheries field continues to be an

Law Enforcement, marine fisheries education and

important area of support for CCA Texas. CCA Texas once

the launching of CCA Texas’s Habitat Today for Fish

again funded four summer internships for TPWD coastal

Tomorrow (HTFT) initiative.

fisheries. These internships took place in the Lower

The organization continued to be at the forefront on

Laguna Madre, Upper Laguna Madre, Corpus Christi

flounder fisheries management and research through

and Rockport field stations. With a total commitment of

the support of TPWD facilities at the CCA-AEP Marine

$26,072, CCA Texas provided much needed help to TPWD

Development Center in Corpus Christi and Sea Center

field stations and in addition provided valuable hands-on

Texas in Lake Jackson. A total of $46,000 was contributed

experience for marine biology students. This process also

in 2009 to the facilities for equipment, including new tanks

gives TPWD staff a great opportunity to see firsthand the

for research at the CCA-AEP MDC facility and for the

strengths and habits of potential long term employees as

modifications of tanks and equipment at Sea Center Texas

the students progress and eventually graduate into the

that are better suited for flounder research and hatchery

working environment.

type operations. In addition to this new and modified

CCA Texas Graduate Scholarship program continues

equipment, CCA Texas funded $14,000 to TPWD for the

to remain a vital link into the education of future marine

purchase of a flounder boat to be used for the gathering of

biologists. CCA Texas provides five $5,000 graduate

brood stock for hatchery purposes. The flounder boat will

scholarships to students at UTMSI Port Aransas (two),

be shared between TPWD facilities and is to be rigged like

Texas A&M College Station, Texas A&M Galveston, and

a normal floundering boat. The exception to utilization of

Texas A&M Corpus Christi. These scholarships are all fully

the boat is that all fish will be netted in a method perfected

endowed at $50,000 and will continue to provide education

by TPWD and University of Texas Marine Science Institute

for future marine biologists for years to come.

(UTMSI) researchers and biologists.

2009 marked the beginning of a new habitat effort

Chester Moore, longtime proponent of TPWD’s efforts to

38

donated fish which meet prescribed criteria.

for CCA Texas. With the approval of the CCA Texas

enhance the flounder fishery was also awarded a $1,000

Executive Board in November 2008, the Habitat Today

grant to help enhance his Flounder Revolution effort.

for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) program officially kicked off in

His program is providing replica fish through a contest

2009. With emphasis on state-water near shore fisheries,

which allows anglers to donate flounder catches to TPWD

HTFT contributed $135,000 to the TPWD Artificial Reefing

hatchery facilities for brood stock. These funds will help

Program. This contribution includes $50,000 to the

him in his efforts to reward recreational fishermen in their

Vancouver reefing site off Freeport, $50,000 to the Port

efforts to support TPWD by giving them a replica of their

Mansfield reefing site and an additional $35,000 committed

January 2010

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to a new site that will be located between Matagorda and Port

in Rockport, where twenty seven volunteers planted over 1,800

O’Connor. In addition to the monetary contributions, CCA Texas

plugs of spartina grass into the Goose Island restoration project.

has worked with TPWD to secure temporary storage facilities in

CCA Texas held two first time membership and fund raising

Freeport in partnership with Dorsett Brothers Concrete, secured

banquets in 2009. The Orange Country Chapter held its first

reefing material in partnership with Old Castle Precast and

event after a year long delay due to Hurricane Ike and the Lower

Texas A&M Galveston and has provided for the transportation

Colorado Chapter was also formed out of Bay City and held

of materials to the Freeport facility. The Freeport reef site

a very successful first time event. CCA Texas looks forward

deployment, originally scheduled for late summer of 2009, has

to the growth of these chapters and the support of these local

been pushed to spring of 2010. This delay is the result of a

communities for years to come.

bigger and stronger effort that will provide for a larger reefing

CCA Texas moves into 2010 with renewed optimism that

area and partnerships with TPWD and private companies. The

only dedicated and committed volunteers can provide. The

Port Mansfield deployment is also scheduled for spring of 2010

organization will continue the fight, side-by-side, with the

and the new site between Matagorda and Port O’Connor should

grassroots efforts of these volunteers to ensure the coastal

follow later in the year.

resources of Texas flourish and are available for future

HTFT and the CCA Texas Executive Board approved $10,000

generations to enjoy. If you are interested in being a part of the

for the Nueces Bay marsh restoration project being implemented

greatest coastal conservation effort in Texas, please contact your

by Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP). This

local chapter or the CCA Texas office at 800.626.4222. More

project will eventually restore approximately 150 acres of marsh.

specific information and local emphasis can be found at www.

CCA Texas committed funds, along with separate foundation

ccatexas.org.

funds currently being sought, will help CBBEP with stage one

CCA Texas is a non-profit organization dedicated to

of the project. In addition to the funds, HTFT and CBBEP

the conservation of Texas’ coastal marine resources. For

will hold a marsh grass planting day that will allow volunteers

more information, please go to www.ccatexas.org. For

throughout the area and state the opportunity to be “hands on”

more information about HTFT please contact John Blaha at

with the restoration of Texas’s valuable coastal resources. This

800.626.4222.

planting day will be mirrored after the Goose Island planting day

Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

39


F I E L D N O T E S

The Often Overlooked Florida Pompano By Todd Neahr Natural Resource Specialist | Upper Laguna Madre Ecosystem | Corpus Christi, Texas

Have you ever thought of breaking away from the same

running parallel to shore and extending gulfward. The diet

old fishing trip? Do you want to target something different

of pompano consists of small mollusks and crustaceans.

for a change? Whether you enjoy lightning fast runs or the

Pompano cruise the sandbars in search of burrowing invertebrates, and anglers should place their baited leaders in the path of pompano schools. Most pompano fisherman cast on either the front or back of a gut as the sandbar is the pompano highway. When spooked, pompano will often jump out of the water on one side. This behavior can be

finished product on your dinner plate the Florida pompano

observed many places including the mouth of Baffin Bay

fits the bill.

and on the sandbars of the surf zone.

The range of the Florida pompano, Trachinotus carolinus,

Now is the time to chase pompano as anglers often

or simply “pompano” extends from Massachusetts to

concentrate their efforts in the surf during the fall and winter.

southern Brazil. Pompano mostly frequent gulf beaches,

In between cold fronts is a great time to target pompano, but

but can be found in other habitats such as estuaries and

they can actually be caught year round when the conditions

even natural and artificial offshore reefs. Pompano prefer

are optimal. The information age has made it easier

mid to higher salinities as evidenced by high catch rates

for anglers to gauge the pompano activity by browsing

from West Matagorda Bay to the lower Laguna Madre.

fishing forums for recent reports or by monitoring offshore

There are no regulations pertaining to pompano in Texas

buoy forecasts. Calm offshore seas (zero to two feet)

state waters. The current state record Florida pompano was caught in June 2006 in the lower Laguna Madre measuring 24.63” and weighing 6.41 pounds. Pompano are a popular member of the jack family sought by both recreational and commercial fisherman throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Anglers frequently inquire via online fishing forums and at harvest surveys on where and how to catch pompano. By far, the easiest and most accessible locations to target pompano are from the beach or the surf side of a jetty. The surf zone is a series of bars and troughs, also known as guts,

40

January 2010

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dead shrimp. Unpeeled or peeled, keep it small and about

Experienced pompano anglers will normally ďŹ sh clear green to

the size of a knuckle. It is also common practice to thread

sandy green water, but they can frequently catch pompano in

ďŹ&#x201A;uorescent colored beads just above the circle hooks. Most

chocolate-milk colored water in mid winter.

surf ďŹ sherman will attach a small strip of Fish Bites onto the

Knowing when and where to catch them is important, but

F I E L D NO T E S

generally translate into prime pompano ďŹ shing in the surf zone.

hook before adding a piece of shrimp. The Fish Bite is an

knowing what to throw is a different question. Pompano have

impregnated cheese cloth with a dissolving ďŹ sh attractant, and

surprised experienced anglers alike by hitting topwater plugs,

pompano can be caught on Fish Bites alone.

suspending plugs, and soft plastics, but most anglers keep it

Being a member of the jack family, pompano have a semi-

simple with a double drop rig. The mainline of the leader is

oily ďŹ&#x201A;esh making them a great candidate for the grill or smoker.

usually 2 to 3â&#x20AC;&#x2122; of 30 to 50# monoďŹ lament with a barrel swivel

Anglers often ďŹ llet pompano with the skin intact and cook skin

at the top and a large snap swivel at the bottom. Two 8 to 12â&#x20AC;?

side down just like redďŹ sh-on-the-halfshell.

sections of 20# monoďŹ lament attach circle hooks to the leader.

Consider a trip to the surf and target pompano the next time

Some anglers keep it extra simple by using a longer section

you are in need of change of pace from your normal ďŹ shing trip.

of mainline leader with loop knots placed in the mid section of

You will be surprised by their blistering runs on light tackle and

the leader to allow for hook attachment. A variety of different

their highly prized table fare.

styles of surf weights are used to keep the leader ďŹ rmly planted in the pompano highway. Pompano are known for their quick

Check the TPWD Outdoor Annual, your local TPWD Law Enforcement ofďŹ ce or www.tpwd.state.tx.us for more information.

bursts of energy and can easily dislodge an embedded 4 oz surf weight. The double drop leader can be used with bay rods and up to lengthy surf casting rods. Remember to use weights matched to the appropriate rod. Keeping in line with pompano diet, anglers tend to use fresh

    

 

   

     

   



      

   

      



    

           Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

41


K A Y A K F I S H I N G

Mid-life Awakenings and Savoring the Future C A P T. S C O T T N U L L

I’m usually so danged busy these days that

Along the way I also got to thinking about all the things

I don’t take much time to reflect on the past, but today’s

I want do in the coming year. The list is long and kayak

cold and rain had me penned in the house and I got to think

trips are scattered throughout. Although I’ve had the good

about things. I suddenly realized this was the end of not

fortune to paddle and fish many locations along the Texas

only a year; we’re getting ready to slip into a new decade.

coast, there are still many more I want to experience. My

What the heck are we going to call this past decade

new calendar is now on the desk and I’m checking the

anyway? The 70s, 80s, and 90s were a no-brainer. Is this

schedule to see where I can fit at least a few of them.

one the Oughts or perhaps the Aughts, as in ought-three or aught-seven? The dictionary says they both work.

I think I’ll start the year in search of that personal best trout. It’s been far too long since I put my hands on a truly

Whatever you want to call it, this has been a pretty

big trout and I need to change that. Perhaps I can finally

cool decade for me personally. I’ve changed careers,

break that magical thirty-inch mark. I’ve been close a few

watched my two daughters transform into beautiful young

times, but “twenty-nine and three-quarters” just doesn’t

women, written a couple books and found my way into

have the same ring as “thirty.” January, February and early

kayak fishing. I also purchased a parcel of land on the

March are obviously the prime months and it would be a fine

coast where I will eventually build the home where I will

way to start the new decade. A trip to Baffin, another into

live out my golden years with my wonderful wife. Most

East Matty and possibly a mother-ship trip to Gladys’ Hole

of all I’ve noticed a change in my overall attitude. I seem

in Port Mansfield should do the trick.

to appreciate things in different ways. Days on the water

March and April will be windy, as always, and a great

or at the hunting camp with family and friends seem a bit

time to greet the reds in the protected marshes. Luckily our

more special. Quietly paddling a bayou and just watching

coast is blessed with thousands of acres that fit the bill. I’ve

the wildlife is now a treasured experience. Not that I

spent my life exploring the marshes of the Galveston Bay

didn’t occasionally savor these moments in the past, it just

system and I think it’s time to check out some other areas.

seems that I used to be so focused on the ultimate goal of

The Guadalupe Delta has always intrigued me and it’s near

catching fish or downing a deer that I might’ve missed a

my chosen retirement location. I think I need to spend a few

few things. Perhaps you could call it a mid-life awakening;

trips checking that place out for future reference. It looks

it certainly isn’t a crisis in my book.

awesome on Google Earth and if any of you out there have some experience in that area and wouldn’t mind a partner on a trip I’d appreciate it. May is just too full of possibilities. The water temps will get right, the winds should lay and the fishing will break wide open. I haven’t fished the beautiful flats of the Lower Laguna in a while. The shrimp should have the reds all lathered up and casting to those pods of rolling bronze backs with the fly rod is a special treat. I’ve been wanting to do a multi-day camping/kayaking/ fishing trip and that area lends itself perfectly. The weather should be right and the fishing at its peak.

42

January 2010

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a perfect tool to make that exercise

goes on the calendar.

enjoyable again. September teal

June, all I can think about are the

season will offer an opportunity to try

many trips in the Aransas Pass area

it out. Of course I’ll have to bring a

over the last few years. I’ll surely

rod along for the reds that’ll be starting

make a trip around that time to get

their fall feast in those same marshes.

in on the consistent tailing action on

If the overnighter to Port Mansfield

those flats. And as many times as I’ve

goes well I might do another in the

paddled the Light House Lakes I’ve

cooler weather of October. The

never really explored them. I need to

Port O’Connor paddling trail over to

change that. Instead of going to the

Matagorda Island has been on my to-

same old areas that have produced in

do list for quite some time. Exploring

the past I think I’ll spend a couple days

the back lakes around Mule Slough

in the far back lakes poking around for

should lead to some fine fishing

new favorite spots.

along the way. This is another area

Once the heat of July settles in I

where I’ve fished the edges, but

think I’ll head way south. I still haven’t

never ventured deep enough for real

caught my first Texas snook. Maybe I

exploring, time to rectify that.

can talk Ernest Cisneros into showing

November is flounder time on the

me around South Bay. That’s one

upper Texas coast and nowhere

area I’ve never gotten around to

have I caught more flounder than

fishing and I should be ashamed. It

in Sabine Lake. I think I’ll get my

is perhaps the ultimate kayak fishing

Louisiana fishing license and head

destination on our coast. A snook

over to the east shoreline. All of those

on a topwater in Texas would be a

marsh drains should be money early

highlight of the year.

in the month, before the full-fledged

August will find me looking for a

migration gets ramped up. Once I get

window to get offshore and chase

my fill of flounder I’ll ease up into the

kingfish. It isn’t something I haven’t

marsh ponds for what should be some

ever done, but every trip out there is

awesome redfish action.

different and special. The days that

K AYA K F I S H I NG

Yep, I’ve talked myself into it. That trip

Come December I might have to

allow kayaking offshore are generally

take a break from all of this kayak

few and you just have to remain

fishing fun and spend some time

flexible so you can hit it when it gets

sitting in the deer stand on a cold and

right. And if the fishing gods smile

rainy day reflecting on the wonderful

upon me, perhaps I can run across

year and all the adventures it brought.

some tarpon among the shoals of

I hope you and yours have enjoyed

baitfish that roam the blue-green water

a great holiday season and you are

a couple miles off the beach. I caught

now inspired to search out your own

my first Texas tarpon this year, but it

adventures in the decade ahead.

was in a power boat and it was just a kayak sounds interesting. Duck hunting from a kayak is something I’ve intended to do since I bought my first one. In my younger days I hunted waterfowl quite a bit, but I no longer think of a death march through a muddy marsh lugging a

CONTACT

little guy. A full-grown tarpon from the

sack of decoys as fun. The kayak is

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

43


AC C OR DI N G T O S C O T T

Green Machines C A P T. S C O T T S OM M E R L AT T E

We hear the term “green” used daily to signify or

emission standards have forced us to drive cleaner

represent a healthier environment or to signify the

running automobiles. These emission standards have

movement to clean up the world we live in. Over the

now trickled over into the angling world as the EPA has

history of mankind, we have found ways to make life easier for ourselves, for example, I am writing this on a

Even though I run a “green machine” I still lean proudly to the right!

computer, not a stone tablet with hammer and chisel. The point is that many of these advances have come at a price to our environment and we are beginning to realize it, hence the “green” movement to reduce our impact on the environment. While quite a few embrace this movement, just as many dismiss it. However, there is a segment of the angling world that is becoming “greener” by day, whether they believe in global warming or not, and they do not even realize it. Years ago, the world of saltwater fishing along the coast was a very small segment of the fishing demographic, especially in Texas. For many, the mentality was- why drive to the coast to fish when I can fish in a lake just down the road? As the population increased at an unprecedented rate, people began to find their favorite fishing hole just too crowded to enjoy so they began making treks to the coast to enjoy the peace and quiet of the gulf and bays. These areas have now become very crowded and there is nowhere else to go. This has caused some to just give up fishing altogether and others to find ways to leave the crowds behind. In recent years the federal government has imposed laws on us to help reduce our impact on the environment. For example

44

January 2010

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ACCOR DI NG TO SCOT T

begun to crack down on outboard

or less. In fact, there are a growing

motor manufacturers to start

number of people running skiffs with

producing four-stroke engines that

engines in the 25-30 hp range. Not

have fewer emissions and better

only does this make for a smaller

fuel economy. These motors have

carbon footprint when the engine is

been around for years but have been

running (two-stroke or four-stroke),

shunned by anglers because they

but anglers spend more time poling

were way too heavy and many found

around in the shallows instead of

that their performance did not and

running around from spot to spot

still does not live up to those of the

which in turn, means less fuel burned

two-stroke outboards. Times are

and, fewer of our grass ďŹ&#x201A;ats being

changing though. Slowly but surely

damaged by propellers. Of course

the poor performing four-strokes are

this is a two for one when talking

being improved and beginning to win

about being environmentally friendly.

over anglers.

As for the â&#x20AC;&#x153;extreme green

Some anglers are reporting as

machineâ&#x20AC;?, it is hard to overlook one

much as a 30% reduction in fuel burn

of the fastest growing segments of

and a deďŹ nite reduction in the use of

the angling world. A great number

oil because they no longer have to

of saltwater anglers are turning to

mix oil into the fuel which was once

kayaks in order to get away from the

necessary when running two-stroke

crowds. And, well, it goes without

outboards. The result, reduction in

saying, that that is about as â&#x20AC;&#x153;greenâ&#x20AC;?

daily operation cost, a reduction

as an angler can get, especially if the

in emissions, and, you guessed it-

angler carpools down to the bay.

better ďŹ shing.

%&%6    (  

 

    

%   & ;

  

           !" #     $%& '  &     (  &( )

/   01 ( 02 ,0 .  3  04   

.(  

-

 .(  

& & $

*&  & $+& (

     ,       ($

All the best in the new year and

Offshore anglers have, in the last

stuff like that!

couple of years, begun to see the and it is allowing them to travel further away from the crowds to the deeper, less pressured, fertile waters of the Gulf. A similar situation is happing in our bays. Many have opted to switch over from bay boats that run 150-250 hp

CONTACT

advantages of running four-strokes Capt. Scott Sommerlatte is a full time ďŹ&#x201A;y ďŹ shing and light tackle guide, freelance writer and photographer. Telephone 979-415-4379 Email vssommerlatte@hotmail.com Website www.scottsommerlatte.com

engines for much smaller technical

2& ,, 

(     #5"# 6  ,  .  789 ( "&    : (( .&.; 2 &&.( $ $&    .$. $6  $.

  % 1

/ ! <! '!!=&     .$..  .   ,   ;

poling skiffs that operate on 60 hp Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

45


YOU T H F I S H I N G

TEX AS SALTWATER

Got Spare Time? Go Fishing! A A RON C I S N E RO S

It was a school day, and the time seemed to move so

tranquility of the surroundings. For a moment the silence

slowly. I think I was glancing at the clock every two minutes

came to a standstill while I was wading through the muddy

waiting for each class period to end. The day before my

bottom. I was suddenly startled by this loud boom of an

dad had gotten on some big trout, and he was headed out

explosion. My first reaction and thought was “what the heck

again in the afternoon. This time he invited me, but it meant

was that, and where did that come from?” Turning back

I had to miss out on my last period class. After some quick

I saw a high rise building and was reminded that it was

arrangements, I headed out the door and into my truck

being dismantled. That loud but distant bang just added to

looking forward to strapping on my waders and catching a

the magical evening. It was like nothing I have ever heard

few trout before the sun set. My dad was waiting for me as

especially out on the water. Just as soon as it came; it was

I quickly changed into my fishing clothes. Off we were, only

gone. I then refocused on trying to place every cast in the

a thirty minute ride to our desired spot. Along the way I had

right place.

the chance to share with my dad what my plans were after

That’s when it hit me. “Why was I here? Was I here just to

high school; that was pretty cool. However, in the back of

catch a fish or see how many I could catch before the sun

my mind was that big trout laying somewhere waiting for my

would set, or was it about the experience of the chase?” A

plug to come across its mouth. Once we put the boat in the

lot of things went though my mind. Suddenly, I stopped in

water, it wasn’t but a five minute ride across the bay. After

my muddy tracks and purposely looked all around me and

arriving I quickly jumped off the boat and headed in my own

saw the beauty of it all. The birds were trying to get their last

direction. The evening was a calm one, not a boat in site.

meal before the sun went down; I could hear trout chasing

The area looked very promising as slicks could be seen all

bait; a half dozen sheepshead were tailing on the shallow

around us. The mullet were doing their normal acrobatic

flats. I also spotted a couple of redfish cruising the shallows

jumps and an occasional, unusual splash could be heard as

ready and willing to crush anything that crossed their path. I

a mullet found itself in the jaws of a hungry trout.

thought to myself, “What an awesome place to be!” The end

The evening was magical, and I couldn’t get over the

of the evening was coming quick, and how I wish I had two more hours to enjoy this magical place and time. Before the evening was over, I was able to land a few solid trout. Nothing close to what I envisioned, but on this day size did not matter. The awesome sun set on the horizon put the finishing touch to a wonderful day and experience. Just think if you don’t make the time to fish, you will never see things set before you to enjoy. And enjoying the great outdoors is what I have been doing over the holidays. A few months back I wrote that I would be sharing my passion of fishing with my friends that normally don’t have a way of getting out there, and that I have done. My friends and I tried something new the other day; we took a bunch of bait and headed down to the Brownsville Ship Channel in search of whatever species would bite. We anchored and chunked dead shrimp off

Trying to get a few more casts before the sunset.

the bottom. The fishing turned out great! We caught a whole bunch of different species, and I could see that every one of my friends was having a blast. I

46

January 2010

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YOU T H F I S H I NG

THROUGH YOUTHFUL E Y E S This trout came into the author’s hand before the sun disappeared.

enjoyed it so much that I did it again, but this time I invited my ten year old cousin Trey Gonzales and a couple of my friends. As Trey was holding his rod, a fish pulled on his line so hard that the rod and reel was almost pulled out of his hands. After a long fight I helped him bring the fish in after he complained that his arms were tired. The fish turned out to be a keeper drum which he felt very proud of landing. As a matter of fact, my cousin Trey out fished my older friends on that day. It certainly felt good to be a part of someone’s success and memories that will remain forever. I understand that growing up is hard to do at my age, but I have come to learn that life is a cycle of passing on what someone else has taught you. I’m certainly glad that I’m able to do this through my passion of fishing on my spare time. So if you have some spare time, Go Fishing!

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

47


E V E R Y M A N ’ S OF F S HOR E

The Art of Amberjacking I didn’t think I

RU BE N V I L L A R R E A L

would ever see the

job. The low gear works well for

baiting and jigging make the top of

torque, and the high gear is great for

the list as the most popular ways to

day when regular

retrieving

pursue these fish. When it comes to

snapper closings

live bait

using live bait for amberjack, bigger

were a way off life for offshore

rigs or lures

and livelier is better depending

bottom fishing. I definitely didn’t

from the

the size of amberjack you are

expect an amberjack closing, but on

deep. Many

targeting. A basic list of baits from

October 23, 2009, that very closing

brands,

small to large includes piggy perch,

happened. The feds proclaimed

such as

croakers, b-liners, blue runners,

that the recreational anglers had

Shimano

bluefish, bonito, and rainbow

reached their quota, and for the

(Tiagra 16,

runners. Many of the live baits that

first time in history, harvesting

TLD 20 and

are good for amberjack can be

amberjack came to a close for

30 2-speed

caught using sabiki rigs; others just

the rest of the year. With a closed

and the new

need a small hook on the end of

harvest on red snapper in federal

Talica 16

your main line with a dead squid or a

waters, amberjack would usually fill

and 12), are now available that fit the

fresh sardine. A standard amberjack

the difference in the cooler when

bill for this job. Also, Daiwa offers

live-bait rig consists of an egg sinker

offshore anglers ventured far out for

the new Saltist two-speed line, and

(which varies in weight due to the

deep-water groupers. Though they

Avet has the popular LX and HXW

live bait size and the water current)

won’t be filling the hole this winter,

two-speed models. A reel that can

that rides on top of a barrel swivel

amberjack fishing will reopen in

achieve a

with about 3-5

the spring. In preparation for that

drag setting

feet of heavy

opening, I would like to share a

over 25

mono leader

certain art to this sport that will land

pounds or

material (100-

you a delicious meal.

better is a

250#). You can

When fishing for these rig

good start.

use a variety of

donkeys, make sure you eat your

Heavy mono

hooks with this

Wheaties because landing one

line of 60-

setup, including

isn’t for the faint of heart or muscle.

80# tests is

the circle hook,

Since amberjack fight so well and

a must, and

O’Shaughnessy

hang out by some kind of structure,

if you choose

hook, live bait

such as wrecks, oil rigs/pipe

spectra line, go with 80-150#. The

hook, or the 4x strong Octopus

stands, and rocks, I would suggest

rod should be a stand up or heavy

hook. Make sure you hook your live

a compact two-speed reel for the

jigging type that is six feet or less

baits closer to the head rather than

in order to apply

the tail because fish go for the head

maximum leverage on

of the bait, so you will set the hook

the fish. This keeps

deeper than if you hook the bait near

their heads from

the tail.

barreling down, so

tea, or you just have trouble catching

a structure and break

live bait, another option is to use a

the line.

buck-tail jig and a metal jig to entice

Once you have the

48

January 2010

Now, if live bait isn’t your cup of

they can’t power into

strikes. I would suggest different

right rod and reel,

sizes to compensate for the current;

you need to choose a

you never know if it is flowing hard

bait. There are many

or slack, so be prepared for either.

options, although live

A 3-6oz buck-tail jig from Spro, in

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E V E R Y M A N ’ S OF F S HOR E

any of the various colors, works well when tipped with a Spanish sardine. Metal jigs do not need any bait on them. If you put bait on them, they usually don’t swim very well when you retrieve. Buck-tail jigs are used in slower presentations; just let the lure fall slowly and flutter. Use small, sharp jerks followed by a pause to let

should be fished through the entire water column to draw

the jig slowly

strikes. Lures are fished this way because you don’t want to

fall again. Metal jigs also fall on the descent, but they can be

stop the metal jig in front of an amberjack. You want it to be

raced back up to the boat at a blazing clip to get hammered

racing by so it imitates a fleeing baitfish. If you are using live

by an amberjack.

bait, have a pitch rod ready with just a hook tied on the end,

You have the equipment. Now you need the spot.

or have a leader with a hook, but no weight, tied on the end,

Structure makes all the difference in the world when trying to

so live bait won’t have any drag on it. I’ve seen big, hooked

box a limit of these fish, so start at wrecks, rigs, and rocks to

amberjack come to the surface with curious schoolmates in

find some fast action. If you are lucky enough to have good

tow, and live bait was absolutely devoured instantly simply

live bait, then your first stop when targeting these brutes

by having a pitch rod ready.

should be half to 3/4 of the way down the water column; lures

Now you know the art to amberjacking!

tired of missing the best fishing times? know when to go!

for XP & Vista Ask any tournament fisherman or professional guide how important understanding catch conditions are. They will tell you catching fish is not a random process. Understanding the conditions your target species is looking for and repeating those tactics, are paramount to success. Conditional analysis is invaluable in establishing consistency and success on the water. Coastal saltwater fishing is all about being at the right place at the right time. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to plan your trips around tide conditions that have historically brought you success?

Now you can fine tune your fishing! Plan your trip, analyze your success, tune your fishing strategies, log your trips & uncover conditional trends by site and species. Understand your target species like never before with this revolutionary catch-analysis software – The Fishermans Analyst.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

49


T S F M AG A Z I N E S P O T L IG H T

TS F M AG A Z I N E S P O T L IG H T

Kroll’s Marine Still operating in its original location at 2409 Avenue M in Rosenberg, Texas, Kroll’s Marine has been a family-owned and operated full-service boat and outboard motor dealer since 1972. Susan Euton, originally Susan Kroll, along with husband Charlie Euton, are the second generation owners and have been active in the business since their teen years. Susan began helping her father who founded the enterprise with office work and bookkeeping. Charlie came to Kroll’s a short time later for Evinrude service training while employed as an outboard mechanic for a cousin’s shop. Susan says she probably had something to do with Charlie becoming a full-time employee, “We met when Dad brought Charlie home for lunch one day and we’ve been together ever since.”

In the beginning, Kroll’s Marine was an outboard service shop and soon Mr. Kroll was offered an Evinrude franchise. Recognizing the potential for growth, he added boat lines. The foundation of the enterprise has always been fair dealing, exceptional customer relations during and after the sale, along with technically expert outboard engine service and boat and trailer maintenance. Charlie is a certified master mechanic for the Evinrude brand and has received factory training and certification from Yamaha. Charlie’s team in the

50

January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Kroll’s service shop includes two full-time technicians who have also received factory training and earned certification to service Yamaha and Evinrude brand outboards. Over the years Charlie and his crew have won numerous manufacturer’s awards along with the loyalty of a large customer base for their quick response and quality workmanship. Product lines offered by Kroll’s Marine include the Evinrude and Yamaha outboards, Blue Wave, AlumaCraft, Alweld and Ultra-Cat boats, along with accessory lines from Lowrance, Power Pole, Motor Guide and Minnkota. Susan and Charlie stress that customers today expect to receive not only great prices on boats and motors but excellent service they can count on in short order when they encounter problems. “Nobody wants their boat in the shop when they want to go fishing,” they say. “We can not only perform computeraided diagnostics, we have a test tank where we can run the motors under load to discover and correct tough and tricky engine problems. A quick trip to the bay enables our technicians to accompany customers anytime they might be experiencing operating difficulties that occur only at high speed.” A quick visit to Kroll’s Marine convinces first-time buyers

that they can place their trust in the Kroll’s team and longtime repeat customers are the backbone of their business. Give them a call at 281-342-4461 or visit their website www. krollsmarine.com to learn more. Charlie and Susan along their team of nine full-time staff are anxious to meet you.

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Advanced Trophy Trout Tactics is a 65- minute instructional DVD which offers detailed advice on how to catch big trout on artificial lures. To preview and/or purchase, visit www.fishbaffinbay.com, or call 361-688-3714.

“I received the DVD and give you an A+ on all segments.” ~Steven Copeland

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

51


New Tackle & Gear Surfango

Livingston Lures Lipless Crank Baits

Specialty Aluminum Works

www.texassurfango.com

www.livingstonlures.com

www.specialtyalworks.com

The Surfango Hawaii GT motorized kayak may be the most versatile watercraft on the market today. Using a 9.5 hp 4 stroke, electric start engine, this kayak can run in a few inches of water at speeds over 25mph. Surfango uses “closed loop” cooling - no saltwater runs through the engine. It uses jet-drive propulsion, so nothing protrudes below the hull. It simply pulls in bay water and blasts it out the back. This allows you to run very shallow without disturbing seagrass, and then paddle shallow as well.

Check out the hottest lipless crank baits to hit the market in the past 20 years. These are “Water Activated” baits that mimic the sounds made by injured bait fish. As most anglers know, that’s what gets gamefish excited and drives them into a feeding frenzy in a hurry. These are sleek and finely tuned baits designed to provide endless hours of fishing excitement. Regardless of season, lipless crankbaits will produce positive results throughout the year. The assortment of colors and sizes provide for both saltwater and freshwater application. Don’t short yourself, tie one on and let the fish take you for a ride.

Specialty Aluminum Works (SAW) of Victoria, TX announces its new lineup of custom manufactured boat trailers. GALVANIZED Standard Equipment Hot-dip galvanized steel throughout, Accu-Lube spindles, all galvanized u-bolts and hardware, adjustable flat or swivel bolster brackets and treated lumber.

ALUMINUM Standard Equipment All Stainless Hardware Stainless fasteners throughout and ½” Stainless U-bolts, torsion axles with removable spindles, aluminum braces at all cross-member points, fender braces, poly skid plates, two bends in main beam for strength, PVC driveon guides, galvanized wheels & tires, swivel jack, aluminum tongue, AccuLube spindles.

Surfango is controlled by joystick steering with trigger-type throttle. Surfango is a very user-friendly machine that will make you smile every time you head toward the backcountry to chase redfish!

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January 2010

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SIMMS

Eichorn, Gonzales, & Miller

Rapala X-Rap SubWalk and X-Rap Walk

www.simmsfishing.com

www.egmjewelers.com

www.rapala.com

Simms new G3 waders incorporate 5-layer and 3-layer GORE-TEX® Pro Shell fabric technology along with patented front and back leg seam construction for enhanced articulation, comfort and durability. The new G3 also includes patented built-in Guide Model Gravel Guards, exterior chest pocket with zippered closure to hold tackle. The fleecelined hand warmer pocket with DWR treatment is great for the really cold days. Flip-out Tippet Tender pocket includes patented builtin retractor and the low profile belt loops accommodate a 2” wading belt. The new G3 wader easily converts to waist highs. Nylon wading belt & repair kit included. Every pair manufactured in Bozeman, Montana.

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Eichorn Gonzales & Miller Fine Jewelers at 6605 North Navarro Street in Victoria, Texas is your headquarters for custom-handcrafted fish art jewelry. Their staff of certified, highly trained and experienced craftsman offer an uncommon array of very “fishy” works that you can wear with pride and distinction. The detail and craftsmanship they incorporate in every piece reflects their passion for saltwater fishing. Eichorn Gonzales & Miller also offer an assortment of wildlife jewelry for anglers who enjoy Texas hunting as much as fishing. You are invited to drop in and browse or schedule an appointment with Wayne and Duane Gonzales to discuss how they can create truly “one-off” custom art jewelry that will be sure to please. Give them a call at 361 573 0647 or visit their store on your next trip through Victoria.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

X-Rap SubWalk Walk the dog just below the surface. Like its bigger brothers, the smaller X-Rap SubWalk 07 measures 2 3/4 inches and weighs 3/8 ounce. Twelve X-Rap finishes, including Hot Pink and Red Ghost, combined with sinking-on-the-pause action, will ensure anglers feel the power of this new size. Equipped with VMC® Black Nickel Belly Hook and VMC SureSet® Flash Feather Teaser Tail, and anglers will be setting the hook. Suggested retail $9.49 X-Rap Walk Rapala makes walking the dog easy with the X-Rap Walk, now in sizes, 09 and 11. Walk 09 is 3 1/2 inches and weighs 9/16 ounce. X-Rap Walk 11 is 4 3/8 inches and weighs 7/8 ounce. Equipped with VMC Black Nickel Belly hook and rear VMC SureSet Flash Feather Teaser Tail, plus eight new color patterns, anglers are sure to set the hook. Suggested retail $9.49 – $10.99.

January 2010

53


DICKIE COLBURN’S DICKIE COLBURN Dickie Colburn is a full time guide out of Orange, Texas. Dickie has 37 years experience guiding on Sabine and Calcasieu Lakes.

Telephone 409-883-0723 Website www.sabineconnection.com

While the fishing in

Sabine Scene

flats that traditionally do not heat up until early December.

general on Sabine Lake over

Because the water was still in the mid-60’s, topwaters like

the past month has been

the noisy She Dog and more subtle Top Dog Jr were fooling

even better than anticipated,

the largest of the trout. When the fish will only slap at those

it has been especially good

choices, a MirrOlip crankbait or a Yo-Zuri jerkbait will usually

for determined anglers

seal the deal.

willing to brave the elements

As the surface temperature continues to slide downward,

for multiple swings at trout in

topwaters have given way to Corkys and suspending mullet

excess of 27-inches. .

imitations like the Catch V and the MirrOdine XL. The jerk baits

The big trout bite actually started even earlier, but the handful of anglers already taking advantage of it found it easy to keep it quiet due to a phenomenal bite under the birds

are still deadly during the warmest hours of the day, especially when you fish them with a jerk-pause-jerk retrieve that keeps them just below the surface. The Fat Boy and Corky Devil in pink, day glow, and

that refuses to end. A mixture of slot reds and trout up to four

strawberry-black will get it done most days. The best colors for

pounds still banging away at the last of the shrimp migration

us in the suspending baits have been electric chicken, bone-

continues to draw the most attention from local anglers.

black back, and gold with a chartreuse back and belly. When

As early as mid-November, anglers with trophy trout on the brain were already taking fish up to seven pounds off shallow

the water is exceptionally dirty, we have saved a number of trips with both the Corky and Catch V in black-chartreuse. The flats on the north end recover the quickest regardless of how dirty or cold the water is due to the close proximity of the ICW. The fish simply ease off into warmer depths supporting sufficient salinity and suspend until hunger

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January 2010

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S A BI N E Dr. Bill Wood turned his red loose after a quick photo for the folks back home in Chicago.

help with the loss of tails, but your rattle will stay in place. Last January, desperate to ust could not keep clients in the game that just fish a Corky slow enough, I stumbled onto a technique that has proven to be the real deal. I tie the Corky on an 18-inch leader and let them fish it under a Bass Assassin Kwik Cork. The clicking noise may help as well, but more importantly, they are keeping their lure in the strike zone and catching fish! I have already had several clients catch their personal bests under the Cork. Every body of water fishes a little differently, but here on Sabine, the three largest of those fish ate a Corky Devil. The original Corky, however, has produced the most fish. You can outsmart a big trout time and again, but you can only kill her once!

Brad Deslatte gives another solid trout a second chance.

pangs necessitate a brief shallow water foray. On even the rawest of days, at least a few trout worthy of your personal discomfort will be on the prowl. The single biggest mistake made by visiting anglers is avoiding a promising area due to the lack of water clarity this time of the year. Our water is never very clear under the best of circumstances as you can usually track coons in three feet of water well into March on Sabine. The solution, aside from developing a little confidence, is to slow down your retrieve, stick with darker colors and larger profile lures, and take advantage of both rattles and spray-on scents. Fishing a quality braided line will also help in detecting the most subtle of strikes. I added two techniques to my winter fishing arsenal last year that have already served me well so far this year. When swimming a longer plastic like the 5-inch Assassin Shad or MirrOlure soft-mullet, I soak it with Bang garlic scent and add a glass rattle to my jig head. I initially inserted the rattle into the plastic body, but I would lose one every time a fish ripped the body off of the jig head. A better solution was attaching the rattle to the shank of the hook with electrical connection shrink wrap tubing. It won’t Just Keep Five

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55


Special Moments Dear TSFMag, I thoroughly enjoy your magazine and cannot wait to receive it each month. I have been noticing the photos of kids in the magazine and thought I’d pass along some of my daughter’s first fishing trip. Her name is Cadence Figeley and she is fourteen months old. We live in La Porte and we were fishing at Seabrook. Cadence’s first fish was the croaker in the photos. As you might guess I am very proud of my little angler. Kevin Figeley

Dear TSFMag, This is Nathan Cruz, one year ten months old (still in pampers), catching his first fish at Six Mile near Port Lavaca, Texas. The fish was released unharmed. Annette Cruz

Dear TSFMag, I’m sending a photo of my grandson’s first saltwater fishing adventure. His name is Tripp Edwards. To say the least he had a blast and cannot wait to go again. I have decided a subscription to your magazine would make a perfect birthday gift and I have a very special favor to ask of you. After talking with my son and Tripp’s mom, we think it would be great if Tripp would find his photo in the first issue he receives. Maybe we are hoping for too much, but we cannot wait to see the smile this will bring. Thanks for publishing a great fishing magazine. Proud and excited grandmother, Doreen Edwards

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COASTAL BEND MARINE DEALERS BOAT SHOW & SALE Join us for the 53rd Annual Coastal Bend Marine Dealers Boat Show & Sale January 22-24, 2010, in Corpus Christi’s American Bank Convention Center. See what’s new in boating and fishing for 2010. Ten boat dealers and seventy-five booth vendors will display everything needed to equip you for the coming boating season. The show offers great deals, easy financing, and plenty of fun all under one roof. There will be daily seminars on fishing, boating and kayaking as well as cooking demonstrations. The participating boat dealers are giving away hourly door prizes including rods and reels, fishing tackle, dining certificates, guided fishing trips and more. Admission: Adults - $7.00 Children - $3.00 (11 yrs and younger) Show hours: Friday 1-8pm, Saturday 10am -8pm, Sun 11am5pm For more information visit our website: www.ccboatshow. com or call Brenda Huff - Coastal Bend Marine Dealers Association 361.991.0369

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January 2010

57


MICKEY

On Galveston

It is holiday time again. I hope everybody had a Merry Christmas and is

birds working throughout the middle of the bay and along the reefs on the west side. Personally, I prefer not to work birds much because of

looking forward to a Happy

the traffic. You have to fight people to get to ‘em. I have

New Year, and I hope your

been sticking to a mud and shell pattern for about three

fishing is as good as ours

weeks now and I plan to continue on through January. For

because it has just been

this style, I start at about two feet deep, working my way

impeccable. East and Trinity

out as the sun gets higher and fish roll off of the flats while

Bay are red hot right now.

monitoring the tides. If you have a good incoming tide, fish

There are lots of fish being

tend to stay along shallow breaks, ledges, and drop offs.

caught in all sizes, from

Swimming baits such as the Sea Shad or the Norton Bull

schoolies under the birds

Minnow have definitely been the key to success. The bigger

to good seven and eight

fish seem to have abandoned the shrimp diet and moved on

pounders on the flats. We

to mullet and shad. The little fish are the ones still out in the

had a lot fresh water in

middle, chasing what is left of small shrimp under the birds.

Trinity Bay, a little over a

Occasionally, you will catch a trout with a big mullet or shad

month’s worth of pretty good river flow. That flushed out all

in it, which gives you some insight into the change of diet.

the backwaters, pushed the fish down to the southern end

For the most part, the trout we have been catching range

of the bay, and created a pretty good stack up in the middle.

from 18-24 inches. On really good days, we’ll release ten or

Some days there would be literally 50-100 different flocks of

so fish over 24-25 inches. We don’t keep those big ones.

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G A LV E S TON ON

Overall, Trinity Bay fishing is very good. The water looks

d front and East bays. If we get a good cold

bad on top, but the area where the birds are working is clean

ow 50s for that cools the water down into the low

and green underneath. We can see it in our prop wash. I

a couple of days, we are going to have some pretty good

think the Trinity River, at its highest stage, was coming about

action using 52m MirrOlures over the reefs in 6-8 feet of

70,000 cubic feet per second out of the dam. That was two

water. Working a slow presentation with Corkys over that

weeks ago; now, it is down to about 12,000, which is still

deep shell could produce some pretty big trout in the next

tolerable. For more than a month, it ran over 35,000 cubic

week or so. The rest of December and the beginning of the

feet; we received a lot of water in that time. Since we were

New Year look good. I think our fishing is going to hold until

so salty from the drought, though, it mixed in pretty well, and

early January, and then it will just be the hard-core grinders

the bay will continue to improve as these competing northers

that do their winter gig in late January and February. Right

and south winds churn the waters, mixing them back into

now, I just can’t believe how many fish are being caught.

normal levels. The trout are well into their winter patterns,

I knew we had a lot of fish; I just didn’t know we had this

unbothered by the weather, and it looks like we have a

many. All walks of life are catching them, from complete

great winter ahead of us, unless we’re surprised by some

novice anglers up to professionals. Everybody is catching

extremely cold weather, but I don’t foresee that.

fish, and that is a good sign. It is good for the economy

As for the back bays, there are a few fish starting to

around here.

show up in Burnett, Scott, and San Jacinto bays, but none to write home about. It hasn’t gotten cold enough to force those fish up the ship channel into the warmer bays. In

Have a very Happy New Year, and I hope you are catching fish. See you next month.

East bay, birds are working an identical pattern to Trinity – down the middle, from the Refuge towards the south end, and along Hannah’s Reef. The north and south shorelines are holding some pretty good fish in shallow water, as is

GOT

the Refuge. A lot of kayak and lake fisherman go to the Refuge and they are catching a fair number of fish. No big ones reported yet, however.

GET THE...

There is a big row boiling in my backyard about the closing of Rollover Pass. A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon. They are voicing their opinions to Jerry Patterson, our Texas land commissioner. As yet, there is no resolution, but it is an important issue. We do not want that pass closed up into the back of East Bay from the gulf. We don’t agree with the reasoning behind this decision either:

A SHALLOW WATER ANCHORING SYSTEM THAT CAN BE MOUNTED TO YOUR DECK OR ANY TRANSOM ANGLE.

F ast - Quiet - S trong

erosion on the Bolivar beachfront, silting in the Intra-Coastal Waterway behind the beachfront, maintenance costs, and other issues. It is a proven fact that the Bolivar beachfront has been eroding 5 feet per year for the last 100 years. That is just part of living on the coast. They are just going to plug up a great fish pass and there are probably more big trout caught at Rollover Pass in the summer than anywhere else on the upper Texas coast. It will kill the place; people have been fishing there since the mid-1950s, and many are really up in the air about it.

For more information go to

www.StickItAnchorPins.com

Despite this worry, fishing is good. As we get into slightly

or call 941-815-6875

colder temperatures, the MirrOlure and Corky type baits will start working, especially over the deep shell reefs in Trinity Just Keep Five

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59


CAPT. BILL’S

Fish Talk

January can prove a great month for fishing if you keep

2-3 days after it crosses the coastline is usually your best bet for fishing success.

on top of your game. Usually

History dictates that fishing the Diversion Channel or the

cold, sometimes the coldest

Colorado River this time of year can be entertaining if you are

month of the year, but trout

able to subtract the fresh water element. If not inundated with

and reds do eat this time of

freshwater, you should focus on the ledges and drop-offs coming

year as part of their basic

from the banks. Try fishing the bends in the river, sandbars, and

survival plan. However, a

even at times the middle of the river. There has been many a

full-course meal is not a

trout caught in these areas during January. Another preference

daily routine. Trout being

of mine is fishing a falling tide in the river using plastics on 1/4 oz

cold-blooded with their body

or 3/8 oz lead heads. Corkys and Broken Backs will also produce

temperature same as the

on the ledges. Your retrieve must be slow and I mean really slow

water temperature must be

if you are serious about your time on the water. Try to remember

factored into fishing tactics

your retrieve on the first fish that you catch and repeat it.

such as where to fish, how to fish, and when to fish. Personal experience favors a new and full moon phase

East Matagorda Bay is another place to camp out. For wade fishermen, even though it may not sound enticing, look for mud with some deep water and local shell close by. Shell and mud

because of the tidal flow. Granted, tides under these phases may

are constant companions this time of year. Shell will hold baitfish

not be as strong as in the spring or fall months, but will be the

and the temperature in the mud will be 1-2 degrees warmer than

strongest out of the month. Fishing before a cold front or maybe

the middle of the bay. Over the years, I have witnessed big

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M ATAG OR DA trout along muddy

Robert Bird - 27” trout caught and released - roach Saltwater Assassin.

Many times after a strong

shorelines in the

cold front, reds will become very

middle of the day

active along shorelines over in West

soaking up sun

ater Matagorda Bay, especially if all our water

rays to keep warm.

falls out. Finding these fish in skinny water can

It’s a sight to see.

sometimes be as easy as catching a glimpse of their backs

Practice on pearl

sticking out above the surface. Try to fish the sandbars and

chartreuse Corkies,

guts in between. Plastics will be the bait of choice here. Also,

Fat Boys, and Bass

remember to wear your ForEverLast stingray boots. Sometimes

Assassins.

fishermen get lazy in winter and believe that just because

Drift fishing over

the water is cold the stingrays will be far from the shorelines

mud and scattered

in deep water. Don’t fall for it. You won’t see as many during

shell can also prove

the winter months as you do in summer but I can promise that

effective while you

gravitating towards the safe side is much better than a trip to the

are out there with

emergency room.

jumping mullet and

Typical forecasts portray January as the possible coldest

off-colored streaky

month of the year; however, this is only a forecast and

water. Slicks in the

sometimes is off. If you look at how the present year has played

water will be signals

out, January could be up for grabs, possibly in the 70s and

of fish feeding on mullet. As these feeding fish begin burping,

even the 80s, who knows? Hoping everyone out there has an

the slicks will smell strong and be very noticeable which signals

awesome Christmas and New Years, a great deer season, and

fish in the area. Focus on long drifts perhaps 1/8 to 1/4 mile as

good fortune in 2010.

your norm.

God Bless…Capt. Bill

Boats’ Boats’

New Houston New Houston Dealer Dealer

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61


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Many people came from different countries around the

hosted the XVIII Big Game World Championship Tournament

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supports conservation of fisheries and the competitiveness of

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big game angling and the International Sport Fishing Federation

of our fishing dreams came true at Serena Residences.”

(CIPS). For the first time in its history this tournament was celebrated outside of the old continent to catapult Mazatlan as

Fishing Report by Joe Habib

the sportfishing capital of the world.

Meet our new friend “Lady Blue” a 409.2 pound blue marlin. Serena Residences hosted a special welcome dinner for the participants from 22 countries. Fishermen experienced the

Here’s the story..... We woke up at 5:30 am, more than refreshed after a relaxing

extraordinary service and a variety of dishes including seared

night’s sleep in an exquisite Serena Residences condominium.

tuna tostadas, oysters au gratin, duck tacos among others.

We head downstairs to the marina and waiting for us, ready to go, is Captain Louis of ‘The Serena’, a 26 Ft Glacier Bay fishing catamaran. He took us out in the beautiful water of the Pacific Ocean at 6:00 am on the morning of October 29th, 2009 with the promise of catching a monster blue marlin. We shrugged it off and would be ecstatic with a catch of that stature but would have been more than happy to just catch a few dorado, maybe even a sail fish but sure enough, because of Capt. Louis’ 20 plus years experience in Pacific waters, at 9:37 am the reel goes screaming out of control. We set the hook and we were definitely not prepared for the next 3 hours and 50 minutes. We finally won the fight and boated her after nearly a

The Swiss team chose Serena Residences (www. serenaresidences.com) to stay and relax before the tournament. The team selected one of our very own skilled and experienced

four hour fight. Oh, did I mention the unbelievable ceviche and agua chile the kitchen staff prepared for us with our own catch?. Truly the experience of a lifetime, top rate accommodations

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and service. If you want to feel like you have a second home in

serenasportfishing.com). They landed eight mahi mahi and one

Mazatlan then, Serena Residences is the only place to be!

sail fish during their first day.

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Simms Stockingfoot Gore-Tex® Waders Great gear for winter angling Anybody who has ever suffered a

season approaching I toughed it out

cold fishing day in a pair of leaky

and, in my normal procrastinating

waders will be quick to agree; it’s

fashion, hung them in the closet

no fun. Winter is the prime time for

and forgot about the leaks.

trophy trout and the days following the harshest blasts from the north are often the best. Trouble is, when

was unpacking a shipment from

the water temperature dips into the 50s

Simms and I told him I was due for

and the high for the day only reaches

another pair and Chris inquired about

the 40s, hooking and landing that

my old ones. “Send them back,”

trophy means being able to endure

he said, “Simms has an excellent

inclement conditions until that trophy

service department and unless they

decides it’s time to eat. None of us

are beyond repair you’ll get ‘em back

are supermen and the discomfort,

good as new.” Well, long story short,

if not the very real threat of

I did, and they did. Three more years

hypothermia, means we need the

of service has finally helped me

best gear available.

decide I shouldn’t push my luck, so I

The grey in my beard tells you that my experience with waders began way before the products we know and trust today were even

began this year in a brand-spanking new pair of Simms G4Z waders. I haven’t figured out which of the many features I like best; the

dreamed of, let alone available. I remember all too well shivering in

zippered front makes them easy on and off and easier to answer Nature’s

leaky rubber bootfoot waders that

call, the front and back leg seams offer

never wanted to stay on my feet in sticky mud. We tried everything to stop them leaking and slipping off our feet. I

greater range of leg motion without binding, the handwarmer pockets are really cool, and the anatomically correct

can remember patching new leaks G4Z Waders

About midsummer that year, Chris Phillips at Fishing Tackle Unlimited

booties offer “house slipper” comfort.

at lunch time and my dad even

Best of all I think I like the fact that they

devised a set of boot straps we’d

are the most comfortable wader I’ve ever

G3 Waders

fasten around our ankles to address the mud-sticking problem.

worn and the fact that they are the only brand made right here

But to be honest, none of this worked all that well.

in the good ol’ USA in Bozeman, Montana just puts icing on the

The dawning of the neoprene age came like a godsend to

cake. Check them out at www.simmsfishingproducts.com for a

wintertime wader wearers but only with partial relief. Any amount

full rundown of features along with other styles available.

of exertion in neoprene left us as damp inside as if the darn things leaked. Then came breatheables and we were all hot

Simms dealers in Texas

to trot; trouble was the early offerings just flat lacked durability

Angler’s Edge – 5000 Westheimer – Houston

and the number of truly dry trips might be counted on one hand

Backwoods Equipment – Ft. Worth

before they took on the qualities of a sieve.

Cabela’s – Buda and Ft. Worth

Seven years ago I purchased my first pair of Simms stockingfoot

Fishing Tackle Unlimited/Cut Rate – two locations in Houston

breatheable waders. I thought I died and went to Heaven. I wore

The Tackle Box – Victoria

those waders for countless days in my fishing and waterfowl

Gruene Outfitters – New Braunfels

guiding endeavors, sometimes every day for weeks on end. After

Living Waters Fly Fishing – Round Rock

several years, you guessed it, they finally got a bit leaky and I decided it was time for a new pair. But with the end of wader Just Keep Five

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- Everett Johnson Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

63


MID-COAST BAYS “The older you get, the

CAPT. SHELLIE GRAY

With the Grays

truly a blessing. Unfortunately, the rain seems always to be

faster time flies!” My mom

accompanied by a cold front, so there have been quite a few

would often quote that

cancelled trips due to howling north winds that were a little

phrase to me when I was an

on the cool side for us southern coastal folks. After the fronts

impatient youngster. Back

passed, though, the weather stabilized and we went right back

then, I would just roll my

out to our fishing adventures. Sunny days and lower water levels

eyes and tell myself that my

that come a couple of days after a front moves through can

mom couldn’t possibly know

make for some awesome sight casting!

what I was going through.

The trout in our area have been holding over shell at the time

Now that I am older, I know

of this article, and while we have been catching a lot of trout,

those words couldn’t be

most have been on the small side with few stretching past 18

more true. 2009 passed in

inches. We will continue to concentrate our fishing efforts over

the blink of an eye, and it

shell near deeper water. However, fishing in one of our muddy-

is really hard to believe we

bottom back lakes will be essential if you’re looking for larger

are bringing in the new year

trout, those trout that most people seek out in hopes of landing

of 2010.

their personal best.

Fishing here on the mid-coast has improved

For catching those personal bests, Bass Assassins’ soft plastics in either pumpkinseed/chartreuse or Texas Roach have

with the coming of the new year, a fact that can probably be

been yielding good results. When fishing over shell, I prefer

attributed to the abundance of rainfall we have had this winter.

to rig my plastics with a 1/16-ounce Jighead. I am still using

With the drought we had this past summer, this wetness is

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P OR T O’CON NOR / S E A DR I F T scented baits, as well, when the fishing slows up, and I have

and subsequently safer, route. There

Berkley Gulp Jerkshad in the sardine color on hand at all times.

e are fewer boats on the water this time

If using artificial baits is not your preference, a live shrimp under

ne to of year, so you might not find someone

a rattling cork produces good results. However, live shrimp at

render aid until after you have spent a cold night

small-town bait stands may be hard to come by as we get into

out on the water (unless, of course, you have deep pockets and

the colder part of winter when fewer shrimp are being caught.

can call out for a tow boat).

A chilly water tip: when fishing in the colder weather, you

Gary and I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! May

can improve your odds of hooking up if you work your baits at

2010 bring you Happiness and Success and be filled with

a slower pace. The colder water temperatures can cause fish

Peace, Hope, and Togetherness with your Family & Friends.

to become lethargic, so fishing a slower retrieve entices those hesitant fish into Expect high winds and rough water as cold fronts blow through.

biting because less effort on their part is needed. Since some of the baitfish are moving out to deeper water during this cold weather, redfish are going to be more willing to accept most offerings. A lot of grass has started to die off, as well, and is now less of a problem than it was this past summer. Like the big trout, expect redfish to remain in the back lakes. Quarter and half ounce gold spoons along with Mann’s Bait Waker in the croaker color will be my bait of choice when fishing for the big brutes. A word of caution: most of our back lakes are shallow and can be motored into safely with shallow water boats, but if a strong cold front moves through our area, you should always expect the water levels to drop quickly due to strong north winds. During these times, every boat operator should use caution when venturing into some of the shallower lakes. If you ever have doubts about whether or not your boat can make it through the shallow water, it is probably better to take a deeper,

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January 2010

65


HOOKED UP WITH DAVID ROWSEY David Rowsey has 20 years experience in the Laguna/Baffin region; trophy trout with artificial

Rowsey

By the time this article

some room to get out of the boat in those new Simms waders we

reaches your hands I will

found under the tree.

have landed four trout over

January can be one of the most glorious months of the year

ten pounds. Not really, but

for the actual catching of giant trout in the Baffin and Upper

that is what I was wishing

Laguna region. Yes, it gets down right nasty at times when

and encourages catch and

for this Christmas. Since

you consider the weather, but the rewards can be worth it.

release of trophy fish.

Santa does not much care

January will bring us some of the coldest water temperatures

for forty year olds, I’ll just

of the season, and along with that the large trout will be

have to stick with the rest of

seeking out the warmest winter spots available that have a

you in breaking New Year

sufficient bait supply.

lures is his specialty. David has a great passion for conservation

361-960-0340 www.DavidRowsey.com

resolutions and putting on winter fat. I hope this finds y’all enjoying the holiday season,

Traditional spots will certainly produce some fish, but with the growing numbers of boats and fishermen on the bay every winter, “traditional” implies no guarantee. In fact, some of

eating too much, and getting prepared for the opening of big

these areas see so much pressure that the trout will relocate

trout season.

to deeper structure within a relatively close proximity, and only

The first part of December was a vast improvement over

utilize the wadeable water during the cover of darkness. I have

November, as the exceptionally high tides receded and gave us

found this to be increasingly true over the past two years. I am not recommending or trying to encourage anyone to fish at night. It can be very dangerous if you are not intimately familiar with the bay. Locating trophy quality fish, that no one else is aware of, takes time. A willingness to venture outside of your comfort

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U PPE R L AG U N A / B A F F I N

zone, and sacrificing bites is essential when exploring new

Multiply that two or three over many years ears in

areas in the winter time. As long as I have been doing this

a bay system, and you will soon have a serious

down here, I am still amazed at how much water I have failed to

winter fall back plan that keeps you away from community

utilize. Remembering some little muddy area that you found in

holes, and outside of peering eyes and guys chasing the bent

the summer that was spotted with grass beds, and where you

pole pattern. Jay Watkins said it best to me many years ago,

caught a few dinks may pay great dividends when the water

way before I was guiding, “Show me a guide that fishes the

temperatures sustain in the 50’s without pumping southeast

same spots everyday, and I’ll show you one who will be selling

winds. By trial and error, I have learned to try and retry these

encyclopedias by next year.” He’s right! Grinders need to read

fishy areas in different conditions until something big happens.

between the lines. That statement was made about guides but

They will not all produce, but every year I will find that two or

applies to anyone who has a passion to be a better fisherman.

three of them will produce under certain weather patterns.

Key strategies for January will be mud and grass. I prefer areas of Baffin or the King Ranch shoreline that offer broken bottoms, exposing a mixture of the two. Some of the coldest mornings will find heavy trout within a few feet of the shorelines trying their best to absorb some warmth that the exposed ground has absorbed. Of course, boats running too close to the shorelines can spoil miles of fishing water for all of us, so be aware of traffic flow, and plan on moving offshore to similar structure if you have the unfortunate luck to be sharing the bay with these inconsiderate morons. Yes, I feel strongly about the subject. There is simply no need for any boat to be within 200 yards of the shoreline except for dangerous weather conditions or a couple of safe routes to make it into Baffin to avoid damaging your boat on the rocks. The next part of being successful in the January weather is slowing everything down. Not only your lure, but your feet too. Unless you luck into a mad feeding frenzy, the trout are going to be cold and slow. If you present a 5” Bass Assassin or a Corky in such a way that that mimics an easy meal, that they do not have to expend a lot of energy for, you will be able to get them to commit. “If you have the money, you can guarantee yourself a Boone & Crockett class buck…but trophy trout cannot be bought, they must be earned.” DR Set ‘em Loose, Capt. David Rowsey

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January 2010

67


TRICIA’S

Mansfield Report

It’s early December and

Capt. Tricia’s Skinny Water Adventures operates out of Port Mansfield, specializing in wadefishing with artificial lures.

multiple trophy-class trout and schools of bruiser redfish testing

winter has finally arrived

even the best of tackle. While still classifiable as good, we

in deep South Texas. It’s

haven’t seen much of the exceptional yet. Persistent higher tides

raining; the temperature is

and a touch of red tide may explain some of it and conditions are

dropping and not expected

changing for the better as we speak.

to get above the 5Os for

The most consistent trout bite remains over deeper grass

several days. A gloomy short

beds. While topwaters have been exciting on specific occasions,

term report but exactly what

the little plastic tail has ruled. Whether we like it or not, it usually

serious fishermen have been

does, and most of your best anglers are adept at making the

waiting for. If everything

“worm” work it’s magic when all else fails. There have been

goes according to plan, we

fewer but bigger fish using the heavily grassed shallows, but

should see some of our best

if you wanted to catch them, it has taken a dedicated effort of

and most predictable fishing

fighting through floating grass and often across softer bottoms.

of the year between mid-December and the arrival of the equinox

While everybody wants a trophy, that badge has definitely been

tides in March and I am excited.

coming at a premium.

As far as recent activity, while we have indeed had some great

Redfish during late fall were mostly scattered and not

days, everything seems a little late this year. By this time a year

schooled as I predicted but, as always, persistence on the flats

ago we had already experienced several exceptional days of

paid off. Again, the tail was the most consistent tool in your box. It was all about the potholes and working a tail slowly through each one, sometimes repeatedly, to finally feel the distinctive thump that signaled another set of broad shoulders. Braided line helped to not only to feel those subtle pick-ups, but also to control the lure precisely. With reduced boat traffic we should expect more fish to use the shallows longer during the day. January is an exciting month as whenever the weather allows us to launch safely the potential for an outstanding day is always there. Even if we find only half of what we did last year things should still border upon epic. Of course, January fishing always revolves around the northers. Being this far south we recover in as few as 12 or perhaps 18 hours and post-front fishing is usually pretty good. Once the fish acclimate to colder water it will be business as usual, and the better ones will be extremely shallow both before and after each passage. Wintertime fish are often more concentrated which means that when it’s time to feed they will feed voraciously. It’s still all about finding them and figuring out the bite, though. Unfortunately, many anglers believe too much in the “deep and slow” and cheat

There is little question that wading the shallows is usually more productive than drifting.

themselves. Some of our best wintertime action comes in waist-deep and less. Watch what the bait is doing and follow their lead. When the bait is active in the shallows, let the masses dredge the depths.

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P OR T M A N S F I E L D There is little question that wading the shallows can be more productive than drifting for the simple reason that when you ithout get on them you can stay on them without having to fire the big motor to go back around. I can’t tell you how many situations have been ruined by boaters who just don’t “get it.” I see them with their long-shaft “walleye water” motors sputtering and digging trenches in sensitive areas, especially where other fishermen are hard at work. You know who you are, and you need to know some of the damage an unaware skipper can cause. We are all in this game together. Considerate behavior makes the world a better place and certainly improves the fishing. As far as what to use during these colder months; bigger baits will become more reliable as mullet become the main forage. For plastics, I’ll rely on the 4” Kelly Wiggler paddle tail and the Brown Lure Devil Eye. Plug choices will be Rapala’s new sizes of X-Rap topwaters, namely the X-Rap 11. It’s a little bigger than a Skitter Walk, extremely well made, and has called up some exceptional With reduced boat traffic we can expect more fish to use the shallows longer during the day.

fish this past month. Whatever lures you prefer, it’s time to tie them on if you are serious about catching your lifetime trophy. Did I mention that I am excited?

NO THROW BACKS!

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

69


SOUTH PADRE Unfortunately, 2009 did not

Fishing Scene

episode now appear void of all fish. I will say that this natural

end on the happiest note for

phenomenon has not occupied the entire bay but only isolated

the Lower Laguna. In my last

patches that seem to be concentrated by wind and tide. Even

article I said the red tide had

though the flats near the Arroyo Colorado have been void of any

not yet appeared in the bays,

great numbers of redfish or trout since this outbreak, we are very

but soon after I wrote that

grateful that most of our gamefish were smart enough to detect

piece the red tide moved in.

this toxin producing algae bloom and left before it caused any

Although we have not seen

damage to their population. As a matter of fact, as of this writing,

or heard reports of massive

I have yet to see any dead redfish or trout.

gamefish kills between Port

The good news is that despite the gloom and doom most of

Mansfield and Port Isabel,

our water is still in good shape. We are still catching solid trout,

the dead mullet and other

but it has taken a bit more creativity to catch them. Moving

small fish found floating in

around and finding clear to trout green water has certainly

certain areas near the Arroyo

helped our chances. Our marathon wades have now become

Colorado and south to the Brownsville Ship channel remind

short marches through soft bottoms. The choice of lures and

us of how fragile our bay system really is. The areas that have

how we worked them are tailored to the conditions of the day.

contained pockets of stained water and dead fish (mainly mullet)

Presently, we are targeting small areas where experience

have been desolate of live ones as well. A noticeable number

tells us fish congregate during colder periods of the year. If

of dead stingrays have been seen and the sad part has been

you know an area where a flat meets up with a gut, this is an

that areas that once held plenty of gamefish prior to the red tide

excellent choice this time of the year. Working your soft plastic

E E R F S H T N O G ET 3 M AG! M E E E R F S U PL

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January 2010

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A R ROYO C OL OR A DO TO POR T I S A BE EL

concentrations of bait even when they have decided to stay low in the water column. Keep an eye on what the birds are doing and over which depths they seem to be feeding. Sometimes you will find birds feeding on the drop of the ICW or at times on the adjacent flats; this is where your eyes can lead you to the fish. The tides will drop dramatically during January

This trout was determined to escape.

so look for deeper holes to be good producers as well. Currently, our better catches are coming in late afternoon and into the evening hours. You might want to do a little homework and plan a trip on an afternoon where you have an incoming tide. This is part of applying creativity to improve your fishing. With the water temperatures dropping, you will need a good set of waders. My first and only choice is Simms along with their layering garments. When you’re out in the elements, protection, durability, and comfort are very important to the angler. Simms brings all of this

or a suspending lure near the bottom of these guts is a sure

and more and they stand behind their product. Get out when

bet, especially during the cold spells. As I mentioned in my

you can and fish outside the box this New Year.

previous article, the edges and drops of spoil islands will certainly hold good fish during these cooler months.

Pat had a field day with the winter redfish.

Even in the middle of winter our grass flats are excellent producers. All it takes is the sun to warm them up, and they warm up pretty fast. I have learned that the best time to hook up on some excellent winter flats fishing is two days after a cold front has passed. Two days of sun is enough time to warm the flats. As soon as they warm the baitfish venture out of the deep and into the shallows and not far behind are the gamefish and they will be hungry. Remember, in the winter they don’t have the opportunities they get in the warmer months, so when an opportunity arises, they will be quick to begin feeding. This is when small topwaters worked slowly over potholes will produce good results. I will admit winter fishing takes finesse and good observation skills. For example, as we wade through an area, we just don’t stampede through. Instead, our wades are slow and thorough, and our casts become tight and precise. Your eyes also play an important role when trying to find Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

71


Fishing Reports and Forecasts From Big Lake to Boca Chica BRO U G H T TO YOU BY. . .

Sometimes the best action kicks in just as the sun is going down and lasts into the early part of the night.”

Lake Calcasieu - Louisiana Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service • 337-598-3268 Our fishing is HOT! Limits of trout and reds are coming pretty easy. No monsters yet, but some solid six and seven pound trout. January is a great time to fish, simply because no one is out there and the fish are. While everyone else is occupied with ducks and deer, we tend to lean more toward the big trout. Barring a rain event, the big trout will still be where they were in December. If we do suffer from a big rain, the fish will migrate a little farther south in the estuary. Anywhere that you can find clear water and bait is worth fishing. Catching these fish during the dead of winter is challenging. Vary your retrieve from slow to slower. Use the same suspending twitch baits like Corky Fatboys and Catch 2000’s. Ideal baits can be worked very slow and still be kept near the surface. The bird action should be winding down, so go back to fishing the reefs on the north end of the lake. If temperatures get really cold, try deep holes, such as LNG. Fish will get thick there because there is no tide movement. They can just sit and suspend. Fish slow!

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay James Plaag - silverkingadventures.com - 409 935 7242 James reports good to excellent fishing in Galveston area bays. “Trinity’s still good. There’s a lot of people over there, and a lot of fish too. As of now, the birds are still working. Don’t know how long that will last, though. The reefs on the west side have all got fish. That should stay good through the winter. East Bay has plenty of fish as well. When the tide is not too low, it’s possible to catch some good trout wading over there. If the wind blows the tide out and drives all the fish to the middle, West Bay will be better. Overall, West Bay doesn’t have as many fish right now, but you can peck away and catch some decent trout most days, limiting some of the time. The pattern, wherever you go, is to fish scattered shell and mud near the bigger reefs. I like to use a 51 or 52 MirrOlure, because I can just throw it out and reel it in real slow and catch ‘em. Of course, it will also be possible to catch fish on soft plastics too. Work them slow and stay in touch with the bottom, especially if you’re fishing right after a cold snap.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409 996 3054 Jim loves this time of year for the variety of outdoor options. “I’ve got plenty of doves at my lease. We’ll be on that hot and heavy right after Christmas. The duck hunting is good too. That should last well into the new year as well. Fishing has been on for quite some time now. We’ve had good fishing under birds and some excellent wading too. Caught some quality trout to go with limits and near limits almost every time out. Biggest trout lately was an eight pounder. The January fishing will depend on the severity of the cold weather and the wind’s effect on the tide level. When tides and temperatures are really low, the holes in the bayous fill up with fish, and fishing out of the boat is the way to go. On the other hand, when the weather warms up and the south winds blow in advance of a front and fill the bay with more water, the wading can be better. The wading is usually best right at dusk in the colder months. 72

January 2010

Texas Saltwater Fishing

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas Chocolate Bays Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service - 979 849 7019 - 979 864 9323 “Fishing has been really good,” Randall says. “We’ve been catching some solid trout and lots of fish. Biggest trout lately was right at seven pounds. We should see more like that one in the comings weeks and months. There are a couple of patterns working lately, mostly related to shell. We’re drifting mud and shell bottoms with Sand Eels and catching good numbers that way. There is also some decent wading at times, especially on shorelines with some grass beds. We also wade some reefs and shorelines with shell and mud. We throw the Sand Eels too when wading, but we mix in more Corkys and topwaters. There has been a lot of rain lately and when the water gets stained, two colors seem to work best, salty chicken (pink and green) and roach.” He reports some catches of big flounder on recent trips. “I actually sight cast one of them on top of a reef. It was a good five pounder. Caught her on a Corky Flash. Watched as she sucked it in and took off. It was a real hoot.”

Matagorda Charlie Paradoski - Bay Guide Service - 713 725 2401 Charlie enthusiastically asserts that some of the best fishing on the Texas coast can be had in East Matagorda Bay in January. “You have to play the weather, of course. The harsh blows will mess things up pretty good, but in between, the potential for catching giant trout is there. Some will be caught wading, but drifting scattered shell can pay off too. One of the most important keys is moving water. Watch the tide charts and try to focus on periods where there is some current moving. Doesn’t really matter whether the water’s going in or out, but it does need to be moving. When drifting, use light jigheads and Bass Assassins. Normally, I prefer sixteenth ounce heads when the water’s really cold, because it forces you to slow down and the fall rate is slower. Also, using light line helps in feeling the bites, which are often really light taps. I use nothing bigger than eight pound test, whether mono or braid. The school of big trout will normally set up in a portion of the bay and stay there all winter. If you locate numbers of twenty seven inch and larger trout, it’s possible to maintain contact with the school all the way from now until the end of February.”

Palacios Capt. Aaron Wollam palaciosguideservice.com - 979 240 8204 We are catching excellent numbers of trout and redfish as we move forward into our winter pattern. Many of the trout have been hanging along area shorelines in water depths of two to four feet over mud and shell bottoms and also out at the rigs in West Matagorda in depths of twelve to fourteen feet. The fish in the shallower water have been falling

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prey to Corkys in pearl/chartreuse and dayglo, along with firetiger and pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bass Assassins. The trout out at the rigs have been eating four inch chartreuse Norton Bull Minnows and salt and pepper Berkley Power Mullet. The redfish on the flats have been steadily eating quarter ounce gold spoons and pearl/chartreuse Bull Minnows. The bayfront along the south and east seawall in Palacios has also been coughing up some solid trout, reds and flounder. The best bite there has been on falling tides and best lures have been salt and pepper Power Mullet rigged about eighteen inches under cigar corks.

Port O’Connor Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361 983 4434 Catching fish in January means focusing on areas where fish will look to warm up, and these areas will be close to deep water, Lynn says. “I’ll be targeting areas with shallow grass and mud which are close to a drop off to deep water. The fish will move on and off the flats this time of year in response to the cold fronts and warm spells between them. All of my fishing will be along the fringes of flats where this movement should occur. I throw Corkys a lot this time of year, but the soft plastics are the most productive lures on a day to day basis. The presence of bait, particularly mullet, is important during the coldest part of the year. Finding even small schools of bait can often signal the presence of plenty of trout and redfish. The bait is easiest to see after the sun has been out for a while, so I change my tactics from the typical dawn patrol of summer. This time of year, I like to start the day later, say around ten o’clock or so, to allow the flats to warm up. Then we’ll fish our way toward dark and expect the action to heat up.”

Rockport Blake Muirhead Gator Trout Guide Service - 361 790 5203 - 361 441 3894 Both the duck hunting and the fishing have been good to excellent of late, Blake says. “We have good numbers of ducks, even to the point of clouds of birds, and there’s variety too. This allows us to get limits on most hunts. It’ll be good through the end of the season, I’m sure. The fishing is not quite to the same level, but it’s good too. I’ll be casting and blasting throughout January. The drill is to shoot early and fish the middle of the day. We’ll be fishing inside the back lakes some. When it’s cold, the deeper areas fill up with the redfish. I like to focus on knee to thigh deep areas with soft muddy bottoms. If the tide is low, it will concentrate the redfish either in the deepest parts of the back lakes, or cause them to flee the marsh entirely. If they leave the marshes, they’re pretty easy to locate and catch along shorelines adjacent to the drains. Trout fishing is picking up lately as well. Normally, in the winter, we catch some of the biggest trout of the year. The cold weather will force them into some of the same areas as the redfish.

Padre Island National Seashore Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361 937 8446 Pompano will continue to be the main target for light tackle anglers in the January surf although plenty of whiting, black drum and some redfish will also be available. As always; a fresh, peeled, dead shrimp and “Fishbites” combo will be the most productive. Pompano will hit a TT28 51M MirrOlure readily on some days. Find a cut through the outside bar of a wide, deep gut and you’ll be on the pompano. Sandbar, bull and blacktipped sharks are often available and the chance exists for mako and sand tiger sharks. January tides are usually rather low. Second day behind cold frontal passage tends to be the most productive and user-friendly. Speckled trout are possible on 51M MirrOlures and other artificials but their numbers have been way down for several years. Pick narrow stretches of gut (squeezes) separating areas of wide gut and cuts through the sandbar for trout and work lures slowly. I’ll also be fishing the Northern Laguna Madre and Baffin for trophy trout and offshore for mako sharks, wahoo and other species.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut Robert Zapata - rz1528@grandecom.net - 563 1160 More than the usual numbers of cold fronts have been reaching our area Just Keep Five

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in South Texas this winter. The cold fronts are also bringing much rain, wind and colder than usual temperatures. The water temperature has gotten colder, so some of the fish are moving into deeper water with mud and/or gravel bottoms with shallow grassy areas close by. If you are looking for big trout, you will be better off if you wade in areas where the depth changes from three feet to four feet or more. One of my favorite lures to use with these conditions is the suspending bait, MirrOlure Catch 5, because of its noisy characteristics. I think that the most productive bait this time of the year is the five inch Bass Assassin Saltwater Shad in colors like bone diamond, plum/ chartreuse, pumpkinseed/chartreuse and limetreuse. The Assassin Blurp five inch shads, in the colors pearl and good penny rigged on eighth ounce Spring Lock jigheads worked slowly along the bottom are also very productive.

Joe Mendez – www.sightcast1.com - 361 937 5961 The recent wintry weather means fishing patterns related to deep water from now until the end of January, Joe predicts. “We’re getting some strong fronts that are dropping the water temperatures really fast right now. When that happens around here, the fish will drop off into the channels and many will stay there through the winter. Catching them consistently means working the edges of the main channels and also working the stretches where channels intersect the main channels and run into the flats and create a silty hole at the dead end. Keeping the lure in contact with the edge of the channel is key when fishing this pattern. This is often easiest when heavier than normal jigheads are used, especially if the current and/or wind is strong. I like to use quarter ounce and even heavier heads some of the time.” He also mentions that venturing out in extreme conditions necessitates extra preparation. “It’s wise to bring lots of extra clothes, food and water when going far from the dock in winter. It’s like combat; it pays to be prepared for the worst.”

Port Mansfield Terry Neal – terrynealcharters.com – (956) 944 2559 When you think that you are working your bait slow, slow down some more. That is cold water fishing. The strike will feel like you bumped a piece of grass. Everything in that cold water is moving very slowly, if it is moving at all. Normally, cold weather means deeper water and softer bottoms, this adds up to slightly warmer water conditions. Topwater baits really need to be worked slow too… click, click, stop, pause, repeat. When the strike comes, let the line get tight before you set the hook. Braided line is an excellent choice for winter fishing. It is much more sensitive than mono line. It lets you feel those little taps. The Corps of Engineers have been dredging up north for a month. I jumped out to wade one of our favorite spots and sank up to my knees in black silt. BE CAREFUL! When you do catch a couple of fish, don’t leave the area. Take your time, there are usually more. Just keep what you can eat, release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel Janie and Fred Petty fishingwithpettys.com – (956) 943 2747 It seems the red tide episode, for this year anyway, is finally coming to an end. At the time of this writing, our marina in Laguna Vista is filled with dead fish, mostly mullet, whenever the wind is from the north, and although it looks and smells bad, there is still no evidence of active red tide in the LLM. The debris we’re seeing is washing in from the Gulf and the passes. Our trips are still producing good catches of redfish and trout; however, some days of very slow tide movement have made us stay out longer than normal to fill the box to an acceptable level. We’re still throwing the Cajun Thunder corks with a fifteen inch leader, but we’re alternating between the cigar and round shapes. Freddy says, “Every now and then, try using the Diet Jerk four and a half inch Reaction Strike plastic worm instead of a Gulp; currently the favorite color is Mexican Flag. We’ve had good luck with this bait for both trout and reds.” Winter is the season to add that trophy trout to your wall; just be sure to dress in layers; you can always take something off.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Catch of the Month! All upcoming Photo Galleries are now online! Check out when your photo will appear in the magazine.

Jacob Gandia Laguna Madre - 33” 13lb 5oz redfish

Spencer Scheps Matagorda Bay - redfish

Chris Gunn Sabine River - Striper

Will Ledbetter Aransas Pass - 34”first redfish!

Allen Tiong Holly Beach 33 1/2” redfish Eric Cortez Matagorda - 48” butterfly drum

Aaron Pilcher 29” 9lb 3oz speckled trout 74

January 2010

Victoria Ortiz Laguna Madre - 31” redfish

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Blanca Rodriguez Aransas Pass - 28 1/2” redfish

Royce Spencer SE Mud Island - 40” redfish

Israel Castillo 32” redfish Mackenzie Skoruppa Rhoades Point - 15” trout

Allen Hill Matagorda - 29” 8lb trout

Andy & Anthony Luis Back Bay

Gator Garcia Corpus Christi - 30” 10lb speckled trout

Steve Fleet Corpus Christi - redfish www.TSFMAG.com

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BROUG H T TO YOU B Y. . .

Paige Cantu & Alexis Cerda Aransas Bay - 33” & 29” redfish

Rachel Stasny Lavaca River - 29.5” redfish

Andrew Stadler Mesquite Bay - 23” redfish

Alex Verrett Offshore - first kingfish!

Gage Spence Loyola Beach - 23.5” & 21” trout & redfish

Don Billings Galveston Bay - 27” trout

Beth Elder West Matty Bay - first redfish!

John Boals Galveston Ship Channel - 26 1/4” trout

Manuel Cavazos South Padre- 28” trout

Diego Aguilar The Port of Brownsville - 13” jackfish

Emily Cavazos Arroyo City - first trout!

Cameron Castillo Laguna Madre - first redfish!

Please do not write on the back of photos.

Email photos with a description of your Catch of the Month to: Photos@tsfmag.com

Julian Betancourt Port Mansfield - trout Just Keep Five

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David Banki San Luis Pass - 72” shark Texas Saltwater Fishing

Mail photos to: TSFMag P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983

January 2010

75


GULF COAST

Kitchen

Breaking out of the seafood cooking shell! PAM JOHNSON Got ideas, hints or recipes you’d like to share? Email them to pam@tsfmag.com or send by fax: 361-785-2844

Do you ever get the feeling that your seafood

you batter can create flavors that will have your

cooking has become too much of the same old

dinner guests coming back for seconds. And

theme? Batter and fry is probably the most

if you’re watching your waistline as many of us

common presentation and, while tasty, it does

are these days, these coatings work equally

get old after a while. When we are frying fish

well when sautéing, broiling, baking and grilling.

or shrimp we like to add a different twist to the

I have found that applying the dip and coating,

coating. Rather than the traditional egg, milk

then refrigerating for about thirty minutes

or water wash before

before cooking, lets the flavors marinade with

dipping in flour, cracker

the seafood to bring out the best flavor and the

crumbs, Panko or

coatings adhere very well. Here are a few of

cornmeal; try adding

the ideas we have tried, hope you find them as

some zest.

delicious as we do.

Simply applying your favorite seafood

Italia

rb He

& Olive Oi

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dy Krisp

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

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January 2010

e

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dipping sauce before

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F I S H I NG R ET R E ATS

Job Description: Oversee daily operation of small but growing retail business. Duties to include working on retail floor for selling, merchandising and managing inventory of fishing gear, rod components, reel parts and accessories, hunting products and other outdoor gear, with the most energy in customer care, professionalism and productivity in the sporting goods business. Areas of specialty include inshore,offshore, and freshwater fishing, hunting, boating, apparel, and others. Retail experience strongly preferred. Familiarity with computers required. (Quickbooks POS, Microsoft Word, and Excel). Applicant must be able to prepare and track invoices, be extremely organized, have the ability to work independently, and also achieve financial objectives by preparing an annual budget. Competitive hourly compensation based on experience. This is a full-time position and overtime is available. Weekend shifts expected. Benefits include paid vacation. Please email resume to outfishing63@yahoo.com. All applicants will be kept strictly confidential. Position available January 2010 in the Gulf Coast Region.

FOR SALE Fisherman’s Condo. Located At Key Allegro, Rockport. Fully furnished, 2 BR, 2.5 Bath. Excellent condition. Near Marina, pool. Boat slip, wireless internet. Rental income optional. For photos go to www. pbase/billrich/condo. Price $279.5k; 210-7876918.

YOUR AD COULD BE HERE for rates call 361.785.3420 or email ads@tsfmag.com Just Keep Five

www.TSFMAG.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

January 2010

79


I N DE X OF A DV E R T I S E R S For more information about these advertisers visit: http://www.texassaltwaterfishingmagazine.com/contact_advertisers_product.html

BOAT ACCESSORIES Blackhawk Specialty Fabrication 66 512-392-1767 www.blackhawkspecialtyworks.com Boat Lift Distributors 54 800-657-9998 www.liftboat.com Fibertex & Supply 60 361-991-5956 www.stiffypushpoles.com Gulf Coast Trolling Motor 76 281-481-6838 www.FishingTackleUnlimited.com House of Fiberglass 57 361-853-2541 www.houseoffiberglass.com LB Outfitters- Stake Out Stick 57 409-718-7694 www.stakeoutstick.com McClain Trailers 31 713-675-0440 www.mcclaintrailers.com South Texas Trolling Motors 66 361-939-8970 www.southtexastrollingmotors.com Specialty Aluminum Works 24 361-575-1477 www.specialtyalworks.com Stick It Anchor Pins 58 941-815-6875 www.stickitanchorpins.com Tops-N-Towers 2 281-474-4000 www.topsntowers.com

BOATS, KAYAKS, OUTBOARDS Anchor Marine of Texas Cover, 1 210-599-1415 www.anchormarineoftexas.com Bernie’s Boats 17 361-573-7809 www.berniesboats.com Busha Boat Works 13 979-245-3369 www.bushaboatworks.com Coastal Backwater Marine 61 409-927-1462 www.coastalbackwatermarine.com Coastline Marine 2 713-614-2057 wwwcoastlinemarine.net Dargel Boat Works 9 800-749-2628 www.dargel.com Flatstalker Boat 58 www.flatstalker.com Flatstalker Guide Service 64 512-217-0438 www.flatstalker.com/guide-service Gulf Coast Boats 8 713-477-7119 www.gulfcoastboats.net Gulf Coast Marine Cover, 1, 6 361-937-7800 www.gcmboats.com Huff Marine 35 361-991-0369 www.huffmarine1955.com Kroll’s Marine 61 281-342-4461 www.krollmarine.com LMC Marine Center 2 281-209-boat www.lmcboats.com Majek Boats 4 361-991-3102 www.majekboats.com Mt. Houston Marine 37 281-447-7689 www.mthoustonmarine.com Ron Hoover RV & Marine Centers Solunar 409-935-7101 www.RONHOOVER.com Sail & Ski Center 21 512-219-2705 www.sailandski.com Shallow Sport Boats 2 956-233-9489 www.shallowsportboats.com Shoalwater Boats 12 361-983-4134 www.shoalwaterboats.com Texas Marine-E Sullivan 60 409-832-2027 www.texasmarine.com

80

January 2010

The Sportsman

Yeti Coolers:Yeti Coolers - Half Page 512-394-9384 www.yeticoolers.com

13

BUILDER AND BUILDER PRODUCTS

Yo-Zuri America, Inc 772-336-2280 www.yo-zuri.com

33

Building Products Plus 43 832-628-0987 www.buildingproductsplus.com

Capt. Kevin Cochran 361-688-3714 www.fishbaffinbay.com

51

Cover, 1 956-399-5123 www.sportsmanboats.com

D & P Coastal Marine Contruction 979-332-0090 www.piersdecks.com

65 FISHING RETAIL LOCATIONS

Tidelands Piers & Bulkheads 29 361-935-8008 www.piersbulkheads@gmail.com

Academy Sports + Outdoors Inside Back Cover 281-646-5000 www.academy.com

FISHING PRODUCTS (RODS, REELS, TACKLE, ETC.)

Fishing Tackle Unlimited Back Cover, 16 , 45 281-481-6838 Camille@fishingtackleunlimited.com

American Rodsmiths 1 713-466-7849 www.americanrodsmiths.com

25

Fish-N-Hunt

Brown Lures-JB Outdoors 281-961-4399 www.brownlures.com

23

Roy’s Bait & Tackle 361-992-2960 www.roysbait-tackle.com

D.O.A.

58

Speedy Stop Solunar 361-582-5100 www.speedystop.com

54

Tackle Box:Tackle Box 361-575-8700 No Website

877-362-5873 www.doalures.com EZ Drainer

7

713-856-8003 www.fishandhunt.com

281-224-9766 www.EZdrainer.com

8 Solunar 65

Fishing Tackle Unlimited Rods 4 281-481-6838 www.FishingTackleUnlimited.com

MISCELLANEOUS

Fisherman Eyewear www.Academy.com

17

Aventura - Jewelry 713-932-0002 www.coastaljeweler.com

41

ForEverlast Hunting & Fishing Products 361-798-1530 www.ForEverlast.com

28

Eichhorn, Gonzales & Miller 361-573-0647 www.egmjewelers.com

69

Trident Funding Corporation 800-514-6946 www.tridentfunding.com

41

TSFMag Store Page 361-785-3420 www.tsfmag.com

70

Livingston Lures

27, 72

210-316-1792 www.livingstonlures.com Luresafety Wrap

64

713-203-2829 www.luresafetywrap.com Marine Taxidermy

54

281-736-4982 www.marinetaxidermy.net

PLACES TO STAY

Mud Hole Tackle Supply Company 407-447-7637 www.mudhole.com

64

Baffin on the Rocks 361-592-3474 www.baffinontherocks.com

Pier 30

47

Classified:Bentley’s Intercoastal House Rental 79 361-983-4660 (none)

979.233.3130 www.pier30fish.com Pradco- Bomber

30 479-782-8971 www.bombersaltwatergrade.com Reaction Strike 57 317-938-5414 www.reactionstrike.com REC Components 47 860-749-3476 www.REC.com Rods by Pepper 66 409-737-1136 (None) Russelures Solunar 281-723-0721 russelure@yahoo.com Salt Water Soul 51 832-588-8871 www.saltwatersoul.net Simms Fishing Products 3 406-922-1233 www.simmsfishing.com Strike Pro America 21 409-938-7400 www.strikeproamerica.com Texas Tackle Factory 20 361-575-4751 www.texastacklefactory.com Third Stone Software 49 888-361-2221 www.thirdstonesoft.com Wade Aid Enterprises 65 888-923-3243 www.wadeaid.com Waterloo Rods 12 361-573-0300 www.WaterlooRods.com Espandre 39 281-543-1230 www.espandre.com Woodee Rods 39 281-723-4154 www.woodeerods.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

79

Floating Cabin Rentals 361-937-0868 www.captaincarl.com

78

Serena Residences 1-866-241-4022www.serenaresidences.com

29

The Inn At Clarks

79

361-983-2300 www.theinnatclarks.com REAL ESTATE / RENTAL Bill Richter

79

210-787-6918 The Oaks at Bentwater 361-790-0001 www.oaksatbentwater.com

20

TOURNAMENT / EVENTS Bash Tournament

32

361-582-5100 www.speedystop.com Bluff’s Landing Marina Bait and Tackle 361.937.7100 www.bluffslanding.com

33

Coastal Bend Marine Dealers Boat Show 361-991-0369 www.ccboatshow.com

51

Houston Fishing Show 32 713-853-8000 www.houstonfishingshow.com Texas International Boat Show 75 561-842-8808 www.texasinternationalboatshow.com Saltwater Sportsman 77 800-448-7360 www.nationalseminarseries.com

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five




  

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GALVESTON TIDES & SOLUNAR TABLE Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine JANUARY 2010


$

To find a location near you, please visit us at www.speedystop.com

The BEST Choice… Any Place, Anytime!

Hurricane Sundeck Sport 188 Package includes a Suzuki 115 4-stroke motor, prop, and aluminum trailer.

23,995 +TTL With locations in: Houston/lamarque 409-935-7101 Rockport 361-729-9695 Rio Grande Valley 956-464-4403

www.ronhoover.com

TIDAL CORRECTIONS Location Calcasieu Pass, La. Sabine Bank Lighthouse Sabine Pass (jetty) Sabine Pass Mesquite Point Galveston Bay (S. jetty) Port Bolivar Texas City, Turning Basin Eagle Point Clear Lake Morgans Point Round Point, Trinity Bay Point Barrow, Trinity Bay Gilchrist, East Bay Jamaica Beach, Trinity Bay Christmas Point Galveston Pleasure Pier San Luis Pass Freeport Harbor

High -2:14 -1:46 -1:26 -1:00 -0:04 -0:39 +0:14 +0:33 +3:54 +6:05 +10:21 +10:39 +5:48 +3:16 +2:38 +2:39 +2:32 -0:09 -0:44

Low -1:24 -1:31 -1:31 -1:15 -0:25 -1:05 -0:06 +0:41 +4:15 +6:40 +5:19 +5:15 +4:43 +4:18 +3:31 +2:38 +2:33 +2:31 -0:09

For other locations, i.e. Port O’Connor, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi and Port Isabel please refer to the charts displayed below.

Please note that the tides listed in this table are for the Galveston Channel. The Tidal Corrections can be applied to the areas affected by the Galveston tide.

Minor Feeding Periods are in green, coinciding with the moon on the horizon, and the last from 1.0 to 1.5 hrs after the moon rise or before moon set. Major Feeding Periods are in orange, about 1.0 to 1.5 hrs either side of the moon directly overhead or underfoot. Many variables encourage active feeding current flow (whether wind or tidal driven), changes in water temp & weather, moon phases, etc. Combine as many as possible for a better chance at an exceptional day. Find concentrations of bait set up during a good time frame, and enjoy the results.


Te x a s S a l t w a t e r F i s h i n g M a g a z i n e l

w w w. t e x a s s a l t w a t e r f i s h i n g m a g a z i n e . c o m


January 2010