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Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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March 2009

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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contents M a rch 2009 Volume 18 No. 11

features Martin Strarup

24 Beach Seining, Propellers…

Billy Sandifer

28 A different kind of pull in a different…

Chuck Uzzle

50 First Impression - US Reel

Everett Johnson

54 Making good decisions in outdoor…

Everett Johnson

DepartMents 25 Coastal Birding

38

Billy Sandifer

26 Science and the Sea

UT-Marine Science Institute

32 Let’s Ask The Pro

Jay Watkins

34 Fly Fishing

Casey Smartt

36 Offshore

Bobby Byrd/John Cochrane

38 Conservation

46

CCA Texas

40 TPWD Field Notes

Justin Esslinger

44 Kayak Fishing

Scott Null

46 According to Scott

Scott Sommerlatte

48 Youth Fishing

Aaron Cisneros

what our guiDes haVe to saY…

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58 Dickie Colburn’s Sabine Scene

Dickie Colburn

60 Mickey on Galveston

Mickey Eastman

62 Capt. Bill’s Fish Talk

Bill Pustejovsky

64 Mid-Coast Bays with the Grays

Gary Gray

66 Hooked up with Rowsey

David Rowsey

68 Capt. Tricia’s Port Mansfield Report

Capt. Tricia

70 South Padre Fishing Scene

Ernest Cisneros

regulars 8

Editorial

10 Letters to the Editor 30 Memory Makers 56 New Tackle & Gear 72 Fishing Reports and Forecasts 74 Photo Gallery–Catch of the Month

76

76 Gulf Coast Kitchen 81 Index of Advertisers

aBout the coVer This month’s cover angler is Chris Martin from Devine, TX. Chris fished Baffin Bay with Capt. David Rowsey. Chris’s 10.2 pound trophy speck ate a MirrOlure Catch 5 and was released immediately after Capt. Rowsey captured the image. Congrats on an a great fish and mega-kudos for practicing catch and release! www.TSFMAG.com

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16 The Heavy Hand of High Pressure

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12 Plastic Philosophy

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March 2009

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In my December 2008 column I spoke of the flounder dilemma. TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division does a remarkable job of keeping track of our fisheries and their numbers point to a steady decline in flounder stocks dating to 1982. Recreational and commercial landings declined approximately 90% between 1985 and 2007. Several changes in harvest regulations have been enacted along the way to reduce pressure on the resource. In 1996 the minimum length for flounder was increased from 12 to 14 inches. In that same move, more conservative limits were enacted. The recreational daily bag was reduced from 20 fish to 10 and the commercial limit was clipped to 60. Captains of shrimping vessels could retain only a recreational bag limit from their nets. The goal of these measures was to increase spawning biomass and reserve young fish from harvest until they had at least one chance to spawn. Along these same lines, a limited entry/buyback program for commercial finfish licenses was created in 1999 to further reduce pressure from the commercial side. Next came BRD requirements (by-catch reduction devices) for trawl nets and nursery area protection (off limits to trawlers) in 2000 to reduce the number of flounder being scooped by shrimper’s nets. Most recently, in 2006, the possession limits for flounder were reduced from the traditional two day bag limit to one day’s bag limit. It is a fact that shrimp nets catch finfish; flounder and other flat fishes are especially vulnerable. Seeing a large fleet of shrimping vessels plying inshore waters, recreational anglers pointed the finger at shrimpers. Well — as I said in December — we now understand that we might have assigned more blame than was deserved, at least as regards the flounder decline. Shrimp License Buyback, rising cost of operation, and the market effect of imported and farmed product have teamed to all but eliminate shrimping effort as we once knew it. Reaching an historic peak in 1994, TPWD says bay brown shrimping effort decreased 97% by 2006. Bay white shrimping effort decreased 94%. Despite all of the above, flounder stocks are headed to the cellar almost as fast as our 401Ks. Mother Nature, along with the managers and fishermen, has her fingers in the pie. Seawater temperatures are rising, not so much in summer, but definitely in winter. Warm water in winter brings reduced spawning success, a disproportionate number of males, and increased predation. Add fishing pressure and you get a sagging fishery. Seawater temperatures are what they are. The only practical tool left is further reduction of harvest pressure. So here’s what appears to be in the works. Coastal Fisheries staff have conducted a series of meetings to scope public opinion. While some attendees felt no action should be taken, most agreed the flounder population is decreasing and something needs to be done. At their January meetings, TPWD commissioners directed Coastal Fisheries staff to conduct another round of meetings to scope the following changes to flounder regulations. -Reduce recreational daily bag to five fish, five in possession. -Reduce commercial daily bag to thirty fish, thirty in possession. -November closure of flounder fishery to all users. Population estimates suggest we will see spawning biomass increase by 202.5% over six years. Given growing support from stakeholders of all walks and conservation groups, especially CCA Texas, I believe these proposals will be enacted into regulation for the license year that begins September 1, 2009. Bailouts seem to be in fashion. I urge Texas anglers to support this bailout for our flounder. We cannot save this fishery for future generations if we do not use it wisely today.

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March 2009


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letters to the eDitor

eDitor anD puBlisher Everett Johnson Everett@tsfmag.com general Manager Pam Johnson

Dear Everett,

Pam@tsfmag.com

I wanted to update you

Business / accounting Manager Shirley Elliott

on life at the Mozisek home since your

Shirley@tsfmag.com

magazine assisted Blayne in delivering his unique marriage proposal and allowed

aDVertising Manager Pam Johnson

me the honor of being your April cover.

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

After our wedding in Panama, we had a

Ads@tsfmag.com

crawfish boil in Austin with all our friends national sales representatiVe

and family. At the reception, we proudly

Bart Manganiello

displayed a poster-sized blow up of the

Bartalm@optonline.net

April 2008 magazine cover with the story circulation

of Blayne’s creative proposal plus the

Debbie Dugan

follow up piece in the May issue.

Cir@tsfmag.com

Sadly, soon after our reception, Design, laYout & weB Maintenance

Blayne’s mom (Catherine) lost her

gRaPHIcs BY DEsIgN

long courageous battle with cancer.

Jasmine and Jackson Gordon

It’s incredibly difficult to find anything

Office: 361-785-4282 Jasmine@graphicsbydesign.biz

optimistic when you lose a loved one;

Jackson@graphicsbydesign.biz

however, before she passed away we

suBscription – proDuct sales

were able to share the news that she had

Debbie Dugan

a grandbaby on the way. Adelyne Catherine Mozisek arrived perfectly

aDDREss cHaNgED? Email Store@tsfmag.com

healthy on January 22nd. I never thought I could love someone as much as I love Blayne, Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine is published monthly. Subscription Rates: One Year (15 months for 12 months; Get Three Free. Offer valid until 03.31.09)

$25.00, Two Year $45.00

sweet Adelyne.

E-MAG (electronic version) is available for $12.00 per year.

Of course, she already has her own

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fishing hat and plans are in the works for her introduction to the Texas coast. Blayne

Make checks paYaBle to: Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine Attn: Subscriptions P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983

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

daughter. In addition to our new baby, I am months of vet school and looking forward to practicing small animal medicine. Some friends of ours designed Adelyne share it with TSFM. I’ve attached a photo of Adelyne sporting the newest in infant

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

March 2009

now we look forward to sharing it with our

her own redfish onesie and I just had to

photo gallerY: photos@tsfmag.com

address changes to Inc., P. O. Box

us such an incredibly fun story to tell and

also excited to be wrapping up my last few

how to contact tsfMag:

POSTMASTER: Send Fishing Magazine, TX 77983.

and I can’t wait for her to join in on the Texas coastal fishing fun. TSFM has given

* 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.

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but Adelyne has quickly become a worthy competitor. We are both absolutely smitten with

Texas 429,

Saltwater Seadrift,

fishing fashion from twobird-design.com. Cheers! Stacy Nipper Mozisek

SEnD yOur LETTErS TO: TSFMag, P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983 Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

11


eY Man… what lures Do

across more jihad-like than fisherman, with pant legs flapping off your skull in twenty five knots of sideways-

us know if anything’s

driven misery.

to shop!” The answer to that question has created lust since man first tried to fool

Yes, you impressively cornered a group of quality fish and proceeded to wear them out with one hand while enthusiastically waving me in with the other. However, I stayed way in the back, and yes, I also stayed fishless. I fought the obvious temptation while you fought to understand why I was being so obviously stupid. After finally accepting defeat and bogging through the

a fish with a

blizzard, I attempted a congratulatory gesture hoping to

silly piece of

accelerate a boat ride to a hot shower. I asked you what

inorganic material. So long as we know what’s hot, we’ll be hot…right? Well, truth is, we depend too much on what’s at the end of our line instead of what’s behind it. There really are no rules, and certainly no magic bullets,

you were throwing and you proudly held up what was once part of a Texas Trout Killer. I countered with something like, “Man, that’s just a rubber croaker…anybody can catch them on that.” To this day I’m sure I remain a curiosity, so let’s use

but there is common sense. I’m starting to suspect

that episode to better answer the question about what lure

that, even with overwhelming choices, choosing an

to throw.

effective lure might not be all that difficult after all. It

Again, it depends on what our goals are, and it seems

actually depends more on what our goals might be;

there are two basic philosophies. I define these simply as

and goals can go beyond the painfully obvious one

the utilitarian and the idealist. You sir, are the consummate

of catching fish.

utilitarian. I probably represent something leaning more

However, before we start suggesting lures and such, let’s try to have some fun by reviewing a

artsy-fartsy idealist. Both have the same ultimate goal of catching fish, but with different visions of how.

little scene from several years ago. It may help the

“How” includes lure selection, and that is why it is not

illustration and, we all might agree that we are better

always easy to suggest what’s hot. If given a job placement

served to achieve our goals if we truly understand

test, the utilitarian would likely score as managerial. The

them in the first place.

idealist would qualify as research technician. Hey….what

Yes Everett Johnson, I do remember that nasty rainy, winter day with you and Pam in a backwater area near you. You stole Pam’s

March 2009

in a “Survivor Man” attempt to stay dry. The visual came

we need to bring? Let hot ‘cause we’re ready

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Frogg Togg bottoms and wrapped them around your head

Texas Saltwater Fishing

would we do without both? A utilitarian lure will be practical, the simplest tool needed to gain desired result. And, the utilitarian angler does not get hung up on application of a tool, they just

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use it. Their goal is achieved more through application than through experiment. If they hunt, they rely on shot placement rather than bore size. When given square pegs they stuff them into round holes, not wasting time searching for round ones. A utilitarian views an abstract painting as proof that some babies get dropped and the buyers of such so-called art being proof that lead paint

To rely on “what is hot” is fatalistic unless that

a store, and that’s not what we are really looking

isn’t good for you. In other words, they don’t let

information is fewer than three casts old. In

for anyway. What we really want to do is learn

being artistic get in the way of being effective.

reality, the only places we can buy a “pull” is at

how to fish. Let’s go do that and do it the way we

Examples of these “utilitarian types”

a catfish farm or a cat house. So, how do we, in

want to do it. Hey…it’s all good, even if you wear

represent some of the best anglers on our

this arena of overloaded plastic opinion, choose

panties on your head.

coast…Watkins, Plagg, Eastman, and others

what to throw for best results? This unsolicited opinion is that it’s more

dictate the terms and attack. Guess what they

important to find fish and determine their level

will probably throw when push comes to shove?

of activity for the moment. You can then choose

A soft plastic tail; and it probably wouldn’t matter

what you “need” to get them to bite, or choose

what label or color. Why? — Because, it’s a no

what you “want” them to bite. There is a big

nonsense producer in virtually every situation

difference and size, sink rate, and contrast are

with a simple change in lead size. Capt. Tricia

probably the most critical factors; yet even these

belongs here too. We’ll be cranking our Corkys

considerations pale behind skill.

and topwaters wanting to force a bite, and she’ll

I’d be willing to bet that both the advanced

come along and mop up everything in rod range

“utilitarian” and the “idealist” can catch the fish

with a tail. Cool…Y’all go!

they want on a crayon. That’s the beauty of

The “idealist” on the other hand would rather

fishing with lures. There are enough options out

dictate terms to the fish and will try to make

there for everybody to be uniquely successful

them eat what they want them to eat, even

so long as we chase the ultimate goal, which

to the point of sacrificing a proven bite for an

should be learning how to fish – not trying to

experiment. An example would be a topwater

learn what we can buy to make it easier.

addict who would rather fish all day for a couple

and can certainly make a difference at times.

If they fail while others are stroking them…so

However, I think picking a lure is sort of like

what? Like Thomas Edison told an assistant

picking our nose. There’s no end to how deep

when trying to invent the light bulb, “We have

we can go to pluck at that final solution, but let’s

discovered one hundred ideas that don’t work!”

don’t go so deep that our brains bleed. We will

The bottom line is that a lure is just a tool.

never be able to buy what we are looking for in

Just Keep Five

Mike McBriDe

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

Yes, different lures and color schemes are fun

up top, forsaking the catching many subsurface.

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contact

who simply stick to basics. They let the fish

Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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March 2009

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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Ver the Years, MY fishing stYle has

an internet weather site that the barometric

changed. For a long time, I was a

30.20 since the arrival of the front.

topwater first and foremost kind of guy. I wrote at length about ways to catch

I was confident that our rattling and sinking Corkys would work to trick some of the fish

fish on floating plugs through variations in

I’d been catching for most of a month in

presentation, size and type of lure. I still rely on

a relatively small area, one that normally

what I learned in my topwater junkie days, but

produces well behind a cold front. When we

I’ve come to prefer Corkys over all other lures.

parked the boat in the spot and measured the

Since I’m known for my love of Mr. Brown’s

water temperature at a reasonably warm fifty

soft-bodied, fish-mimicking plugs, some of my

nine degrees, I was further convinced that our

customers ask me for specific help in learning

slow sinkers would work, having caught many

to use them prior to their charters. I’m happy

fish on them in colder waters.

to give Corky lessons, but I’m consistent in

I and one of the clients managed to get a

cautioning those who want to set up a trip

bite on our Fat Boys within the first half-hour of

three of us switched over to the

for that specific purpose. “I’ll most likely be

the session, but despite the presence of a few

worm and tried to imitate his

throwing them some, and if it’s a Corky thing

jumping mullet around us, we could not coax

presentation as precisely as we

on the day we fish, you’ll probably learn a lot.

any more reactions from the fish in another

could. We all managed to get quite

But it might not be a Corky thing.”

hour of concentrated effort. Ari and I both

a few bites and catch some fish,

demonstrated techniques we regularly use to

but Ari wound up with a bragging-

happen when anglers embark on a mission

catch fish on the lures, and the two students

rights kind of stringer, including

to accomplish a certain task relevant to a

caught on quickly. Soon, we were all swimming

three trout that averaged nearly seven pounds.

particular type or style of lure. My old fishing

the plugs in proven productive ways through a

I still tend to measure success in the old-school

buddy Ari Schwartz accompanied me and

long set of potholes that had been holding fish,

Troutmasters kind of way, adding up the weights

my clients on the poignant trip. A dedicated

but no bites were forthcoming.

of the three best trout. Any catch exceeding

A recent outing exemplifies what can

catching that day, though the other

wading-first trophy trout enthusiast like me, Ari

Ari was the first one to react in an intelligent

has amassed quite a collection of Corkys, and

and meaningful way. He took off his Corky and

day when the feeding attitude of the fish is

he uses them with calm efficiency. Effectively,

put on a red shad Bass Assassin rigged on

downright reluctant.

my clients had two tutors from which to learn.

a sixteenth ounce jighead. He’d let the worm

Our fishing day dawned cold and windy;

settle to the bottom, begin slowing reeling it

that day were pretty aggressive. Seems that

a front had passed the previous evening,

through the grass for maybe ten feet or so,

once a worm passed in close enough proximity to

ushering in moderate to strong north winds,

sharply hop it up out of the grass twice, then

the fish, they’d snatch it with sincere and deadly

and the temperature had fallen from around

repeat. Though the action was not fast with

intent. But they simply were not willing to look up

seventy to fifty two in only twelve hours. A

that method either, he began to prove what

and rise to take something passing by overhead,

dense blanket of clouds obscured the stars

I already strongly sensed; trout were right in

no matter how slowly it might be going. At some

when we left the dock in darkness, and it

front of us, and some of them were big.

point, one of the clients turned to me and said,

never lifted throughout the day. I’d noticed on

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pressure had risen from around 29.80 to near

March 2009

twenty pounds is a fine one, especially on a

The strikes we (mostly Ari) got on our worms

My old friend wound up doing most of the

“Explain why the fish want soft plastics today

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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rather than the Corkys, so I will know.” I was honest and said I really couldn’t be sure.

sixteenth ounce ones. The light heads dictate super slow presentations in order to keep them

“I’ve caught fish many times in water colder

in contact with the bottom and their fall rate

than this on Corkys. But the water temps are

is slower when they are dropping after being

still dropping, and they’ve fallen pretty far pretty

hopped. These things definitely matter when

fast, so that is probably part of it. If the water

inactive fish are sitting on the bottom in a finicky

were warming up to these temperatures, or if it

feeding mode.

were stable, the Corkys would likely work. But no

Another lesson we’ll remember is that high

matter what we think we know about the weather

pressure can wield a heavy hand. It’s almost

and how it affects fish, it’s all about their feeding

like the dense dome of air physically pushes

mood. I can’t be sure why, but these fish seem to

everything down, even the fish. The tide often

have their heads buried in the grass and the

drops to its lowest point after a strong front,

only way to catch them is to drag a worm

especially on the upper coast, and the fish seem

really slowly right at their eye level.”

to sit on the bottom with their noses in the grass

Ari and I continued the discussion as

or mud. “The moral of the story is that when

we shared a bottle of wine later that evening.

the pressure is high, the chosen lure must be

I checked the weather charts again to confirm

placed low and it needs to be moving super

that the barometer had continued to rise through

slow,” I mused.

the day. The thing that had thrown me off was

Ari had one last wry comment. “Yeah,” he

the thick layer of clouds. Often, a rising

posed, “and that lure probably better be a worm.

barometer behind a front is associated with

You can throw any color you want, as long as it’s

a clear blue sky.

red shad!”

“Even though we had the cloud cover,” Ari said, “the air was dry and the barometer was for over an hour without catching a fish, I knew we were on the wrong track. I’ve gained a lot of confidence dragging the old worm lately, so I was kind of happy to make the switch.” I was certainly glad that he had and was forced to admit that I should have done so sooner myself without waiting for the evidence he provided. It’s a good

contact

high. Once you and I had thrown our Corkies

keVin cochran

idea to make a prediction as to what the fish will bite on a given day and be patient in following up the prediction; it’s also wise to have someone in the group do something different, especially something that might be productive if the fish are more negative than expected. Several other lessons emerged from the results that day. One is that a lighter jighead is often better, especially when thrown at sluggish fish in winter. Ari and I don’t even own heads heavier than one eighth ounce anymore, and often we prefer the

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

19


’M telling You BoDie the Bag was right there in the back of the boat. I know it was

Tommy…deck shoes?” he asked.

there because I put it there myself before we took her off the

don’t need to worry about your old wading boots, mine are built right in!”

sling. I put it in the boat just like you told me to.” Tommy was

said Tommy, obviously happy that Bodie was at least entertaining the idea.

pouting and trying to sound convincing because Bodie wasn’t

“No worries there Bodie, my extra waders have the boot on them so you

Bodie took the offered waders from his friend and slipped one leg inside. “What in the name of all things Holy”…Bodie exclaimed falling backward

in a very good mood. “That bag didn’t just grow legs and jump out of the boat Tommy, all my wading gear is in there, and more especially my waders are in there. Just

trying to get his leg out. A small field rat ran out of the waders, across the deck and vanished under Bodie’s center console. “Find that rat Tommy! If that thing gets in

what do you think I should do for waders out here?” asked Bodie. Tommy almost said something that he’d never live down but instead he said something even more stupid; “You can wear my extra waders, Bodie!” Bodie Allen looked at Tommy and thought that even though he was much taller, the waders would certainly be big enough around. He decided to give it a try rather than stay in the boat to drift the area or make the 45 minute run back to the boat house. “And what will I use for wading boots

there and starts eating wiring it ain’t going to be much fun out here!” Tommy scrambled for the console and in the dim light tried to find a field rat amongst all the wires and other stuff that Bodie had stored under there. “Do you have any cheese Bodie?” Tommy asked? As soon as he asked the question Tommy wanted to find some place to hide but Bodie didn’t say a word, he just took the waders and holding them over the side of the boat, turned them inside out and shook them to make sure there were no more varmints. “Where in the world do you keep those waders that a field rat would get inside?” Bodie asked. “I keep them in the shed by the boat house hanging in a set of those wader hangers I bought from FTU; best invention since waders if you ask me.” Tommy exclaimed. “Well if you have them hanging up in the wader hangers how could a field rat crawl inside and build a dang nest in the boot?” Bodie asked. “Well, I guess that he just jumped in, crawled down and found a nice warm spot in the boot; I can imagine it’s nice and warm in there; those are insulated waders you know,” Tommy said with pride. “Tommy, you’re supposed to hang the waders upside-down; the boots slide into those handy dandy grooves and that way any water that might have gotten inside drains out.” Bodie snickered. “Oh well, maybe I should have read the instructions or something, but they work okay like I have them and field rats don’t bother me.” Tommy said defiantly. “And besides Bodie, if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even have waders to put on this morning.” Bodie ignored the comment, and after having shaken all the grass, cotton, rat poop, and a piece of a leather glove out of the waders he once again tried to put them on. The pants part was OK but the boots were pretty tight. Bodie had to scrunch his toes to get his foot inside. Tommy wears a size 10 shoe and Bodie a size 13. “I don’t know if I can wade in these short boots of yours.” Bodie said. “Well just wrinkle your toes up and you’ll be okay Bodie, but we need to sort of hurry up cause I see some bait moving off of the point there.” Tommy offered bravely.

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March 2009

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Bodie pulled the waders up to the maximum height; about 4 inches above his belly button. “Looks like I’ll be wading a might shallow this morning.” Bodie said aloud to himself. He was trying to let out as much suspender slack as he could when the plastic buckle broke off in his hand. Improvising, he wrapped the suspenders around his waste and tied them off, much like a preppy will do his letter sweater. Satisfied that he could maneuver okay, Bodie slipped into the water and started wading towards some nervous water. The water pressure on his toes started to get a little tight and he thought that he might get just a little fishing time in before his feet Bodie watched Tommy moving away from him down-current fishing with the outgoing tide. Bodie cast towards a pod of mullet that were angling towards a drop-off and he let his favorite Corky sit after it splashed into the water. The slow sinking lure was thumped hard by something and Bodie said to himself, “That was no mullet bumping into my plug.” Then whatever had thumped it decided it

contact

cramped up and he had to get back to the boat.

Martin strarup

needed to kill it and Bodie set the hook! The fish pulled hard, running with the tide and heading to deeper water. Bodie looked down at the line on his 50MG Shimano and tried to remember how many yards of 12# line he had on it. “Redfish,” Bodie muttered aloud as the fish continued to pull line from the small reel. Bodie waded towards the fish trying to get line back but finally had to tighten the drag down in hopes of turning it. Continued next month…

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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March 2009

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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een a long tiMe since i shareD an

tie one end of the net to the back of the truck

the open sea at night. On calm nights we could

and put the inflatable loaded with the net in the

see the dorsal fins of large sharks coming

old-fashioned adventure story with

water. The net was in folds; I swam backwards

toward us and on several occasions I have

y’all and since this one is among my

using swim fins and pulling the boat. Ron hung

actually heard the swish of their fins cutting

all-time favorites it’d be a shame not

off the stern, pushing and keeping the net from

the water. I remember the overwhelming

hanging up as it paid out. We swam offshore at

exhilaration that followed when they went on by

an angle into the current which helped keep the

and left us unscathed.

to share it with you before I croak. I am a natural born adrenalin addict and have lived my life more on the fringes of society than ever being a part of it. I’ve done almost every

net billowed out nicely behind us. When we had almost half the net out, we

It was as if we were cheating death itself and glorying in it. As time went on the experience

type of work a man can do in coastal Texas to

started turning gradually back toward the

began to have a narcotic effect on me and I

be on the water and not punch a time clock.

beach. We normally worked to the outside of the

impatiently waited through the days and I lived

In 1978 I decided to try my hand at beach

second gut. Upon reaching shore we pulled it all

to walk out into the sea at night to feel her warm

in by hand.

caress as all fear went away. I was no longer

seining. Didn’t know anything about it but it was the beach and the surf and fish; I’d figure the

Our fingers would turn red and burn like fire,

a land dweller, only another sea creature,

rest of it out as I went. I bought 1,680 feet of 4.5

cramping like claws. We’d have to stop and

moving in the darkness. The shark encounters

inch webbing 6 foot deep, and hand-tied the

stand on the net while we worked our fingers

increased and finally Ron had enough and drug

float and lead lines myself. I bought a 10 foot

open and got the circulation flowing. Our catch

up on me.

inflatable boat and a trailer to haul it all on.

consisted mostly of black drum although we’d hit

Found me a scarred up ol’ scooter tramp from

an occasional lick on pompano or trout.

I was in the final stages of a failing marriage, nearing divorce. My wife had wanted to swim the

Phoenix and talked him into working the seine

Then July came and our catches dwindled.

seine with Ron and me for months. So when Ron

with me on shares. Ron had done several tours

The solution was as obvious as it was insane. If

quit I told her if she wanted to swim the net, now

in Vietnam with an Army Recon outfit and was

it was too hot for the surf fish during the day then

was the time. She was a Carolina female who

as bad in need of an adrenalin fix as I was.

we needed to start running the seine at night.

didn’t back down from much and she agreed. About 11:00pm on a clear, full moon night,

Learning how to place the net functionally

I’ve done a lot of really interesting work in

took some trial and error but we figured it out.

my life but I’ve never done anything that tested

we were on the back side of the second gut

We’d back up to the surf, unhook the trailer,

the mettle of a man like swimming that net in

laying out the seine. It was calm and the surface

This photo shows the lumber and already chipped lumber the NPS is already stockpiling at the 15 mile marker. 24

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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looked like a sheet of mercury when I saw this huge dorsal fin coming up behind her. The fin was so large I knew it was a greater hammerhead of 12 feet or more. She saw my fixed stare and turned to look. There was a splash and a “bloop” and she disappeared. I pulled myself onto the inflatable to keep from being hit next. Nothing else I could do. Heck, it was her idea, and would save me the hassle of a divorce. Then her head popped back up. She caught her breath and said, “My God, did you see that hammerhead?” I calmly said, “Sure, how come it didn’t eat you?” “You wish it did is what you mean,” she replied. “When I saw it right on top of me I threw my legs forward and floated up against the bottom of the boat and it couldn’t find me.” I always admired her quick thinking and level headedness that night and when the judge gave her 50% I kinda’ figured she had earned it. What a grand memory. As I write this I can see it all in my mind. I can taste the salt, hear the Photo by Jimmy Jackson.

swish of the fins, and feel the quickened beating of my heart. There’s always going to be good times and hard times, just make sure you take time out to make some memories. You’ll have them long after everything else is gone. Winter’s low tides make us wary when navigating local bays, but I didn’t get that far. I dinged my propeller on the bottom at a public boat ramp that was never designed with such low water levels in mind. Took it over to Cris Ortis at Coastal Propeller and Services knowing it would come back in tip-top shape. It occurred to me it is a service to local readers to let them know we have a high-quality prop shop in Corpus Christi. Cris has been making custom props for 24 years and learned from his dad, Roy, who has been at it since 1958. They are a pleasure to do business with and go the extra mile to insure you have the prop that will give you maximum performance from your boat and motor. Call Cris at 361-888-8036. Hope to see y’all at the Big Shell Beach Cleanup on Saturday March 14. Meet at the Malaquite pavilion by 7:00 am. Needs are working volunteers, 4WD trucks and trailers. NPS personnel will be working hand in hand with volunteers this year. We will be stockpiling all trash at the 15-mile beach and hauling it to the landfill after the event. NPS personnel and I will continue the effort on Sunday March 15. Any and all who wish to join for Saturday and/or Sunday are welcome to do so. Anyone wishing to make financial contributions to help rent equipment can do so by sending donations to Friends of Padre, Inc. Sandifer’s rule on beach litter: If we don’t leave any there won’t be any.

POrT MAnSFiELD cLEAnuP EFFOrT

contact

P.O. Box 1420 Round Rock TX. 78680.

capt. BillY sanDifer

The ruddy turnstone is one of a great number of species that frequent Texas coastal areas and referred to collectively as “shorebirds.” Ruddy turnstone has striking black and white head and bib, black and chestnut back in

There is a move underway to organize volunteers for removal of debris from the southernmost portions of the PINS beach on March 14, 2009. These folks are planning to travel to the island by boat departing out of Port Mansfield. contact info: Kathie Bassler 979-204-5185 Miller Bassler 979-204-5185 kathieb@basslerenergyservices.com miller@basslerenergyservices.com

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Length: : 9.5 inches wingspan: 21 inches weight: 3.9 ounces

breeding plumage, orange feet. In flight, a striking 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 361-937-8446 website www.billysandifer.com Texas Saltwater Fishing

dark and white pattern can be seen on the back. Ruddy turnstone breeds on Artic tundra and is present in our area during autumn, winter and spring seasons. Frequents beaches, mud flats, rocky shorelines and jetties. Feeding behavior: Searches under washed-up seaweed, flips seashells and small stones for tiny crustaceans.

March 2009

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March 2009


SASHIMI SERIES SASHIMI JERKBAIT™

NoEr 2W009 f

SASHIMI PENCIL™

SASHIMI JOINTED™

SASHIMI MINNOW™

The color schemes and patterns on the Yo-Zuri Sashimi lures actually change colors as the angle of view changes. Most baitfish will change colors to blend into their environment or signal that they are in distress; these are the ones that gamefish key in on to eat. These new highly-detailed lures mimic that color changing behavior, attracting your favorite inshore predators — redfish, seatrout, and more. The winning combination — YoZuri Sashimi Lures™ and Yo-Zuri H.D. CARBON™ Fluorocarbon leader. US Patent Pending: U.S.#11/651, 615 • International Patent Pending: #PCT/JP2007/068739

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

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lMost eVerY tiMe i launch MY Boat with a new customer or friend not familiar

found a decent population of native fish to go

when you have to dig into your bag of tricks.

along with those that were stocked.

One of my favorite tricks is the Hoginar and,

Several theories exist about how the stripers

saying, “Huh?” The Hoginar is very versatile

accepted is that these fish came down the

and it can fished in any number of ways. The

Sabine River from Toledo Bend and have

reason it resides in my bag of tricks is because

Actually, their reaction is not far-fetched.

made the deep water around this area their

it works exceptionally well for deep pattern

The cypress trees and dark water look tailor

home. Because stripers can survive in both

stripers here on Sabine.

made for chasing freshwater fish and there

fresh and salt environments, the river and

are few places along the gulf coast that can

Sabine Lake certainly qualify as good habitat.

the Hoginar as a blade bait. To me it looks

boast such a diverse variety of habitat and

And, if the numbers of stripers caught in the

like a cross between Bill Lewis’ Rat-L-Trap

fish as the Sabine country can. One species

last several years are any indicator, it would

and a Johnson Sprite spoon. It has a basic

that has developed a growing legion of fans

sure seem that these fish are doing better than

baitfish silhouette and incorporates molded

on this border body of water is the striped

anyone thought they would.

lead that extends from the mouth through

reaction, “This looks like we should be chasing bass instead of saltwater fish.”

bass. For many years anglers who braved the

Stripers are often caught by anglers seeking

The Hogie’s Lure Company describes

the throat region and this is the key to the Hoginar’s action.

coldest and nastiest days in search of redfish

redfish and live bait as well as artificials are

or speckled trout would occasionally do battle

effective. The striper’s main forage is shad and

with one of these line stretching bullies only to

they like mullet too. Live crawfish is also an

can be fished similarly. Another style of

chalk up the encounter as time lost searching

offering they take readily. Of the three, mullet

presentation that works well is vertical jigging.

for “better fish”. There was a day when

are probably the best bet because they are

The depth finder comes in handy here,

encounters were few, but over the past ten

much easier to find in the winter months.

especially when the stripers are suspended.

years the striper population has grown. In what

I have written in the past that stripers

If you are into crankbaits, the Hoginar

Suspended winter fish are much easier to

seems a weird twist of fate the stripers have

love deep water in winter and I am a big fan

catch when you keep your lure fluttering in

become more prevalent since Texas Parks and

of probing the drop-offs and breaks in the

the strike zone. A common modification is the

Wildlife discontinued their stocking program.

Sabine River and Intracoastal Canal. These

elimination of the front treble and replacement

areas probably offer the greatest potential for

of the rear treble with a single hook. The

the Sabine River above Toledo Bend. These

catching stripers during the winter and early

single is much easier to remove when taken

stocked fish wore a wire implant in their head

spring. As productive as this method can be,

deep and less likely to injure fish you will be

that is detectable when x-rayed so that TPWD

your average wade and flats fishermen are

releasing. The Hoginar comes in twenty-three

could determine if the fish was stocked or

very quick to shun it. Riding the trolling motor

colors and the bright numbers seem to work

native. In the past several years they have

with your eyes glued to the depth finder to get

best. White and chartreuse are dynamite,

the boat positioned in a sweet spot just isn’t

silver and gold are hard to beat. The sonic

part of their world.

waves it gives off as it vibrates through the

For several years TPWD stocked stripers in

I’ve said a thousand times, anybody with common sense can catch fish when they

Like most gamefish stripers are suckers for soft plastics, especially shad imitators and

lucky for us, schooling stripers sometimes

tube jigs. If you prefer live bait, and there are

do this. Bait and lure selection when they’re

days when it’s tough to get bit on lures, mullet

high in the water column is your basic “no

and shad would be my top picks. My personal

throw at them. You pick it — soft plastics,

favorite is catching them on the fly anytime they are working near the surface. Like trout

topwaters, crankbaits — when stripers

and redfish, stripers are drawn to marsh

are on the surface and competing for

drains on falling tides and probably the best

food they’ll hit whatever you throw.

year ‘round place they can be taken on the fly.

When the stripers are holding deep is

March 2009

water is the key to its effectiveness.

are holding or working near the surface and,

brainer” as they’ll accept about anything you

28

unless you have used one, you’re probably

got there in the first place. The most widely

with this region I get the same

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Pretty near any baitfish pattern will fool them,

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my favorites patterns are large, bright deceivers and clousers. Stripers get husky in these shad-rich waters, we’ve seen a few that pushed forty pounds. Eight and nine weight gear with plenty of backing is a good idea. The striped bass is a mainstay along the east coast and in many reservoirs. Having these incredible fish in the Sabine area to go along with the all the other options is almost an embarrassment of riches. To be able to retreat to the protected waters of the Sabine River and chase double-digit, drag-peeling fish when the open lake is off limits due to wind is an awful nice option to have. If you are looking for something different this time of year, stripers could be just what the doctor ordered. I am certainly a fan of these fish; I am sure once you catch one, you will be too.

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chuck uZZle

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March 2009

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i haVe noticeD how tsfMag has articles occasionally called Memory Makers. I just wanted to share a life changing

M e MorY M a k e r s

experience with you all. A neighbor and close friend of mine, Ryan Littleton, was recently rushed to the hospital after experiencing an excruciating headache and underwent emergency surgery. To make a long story short, he was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma. A grapefruit-sized tumor was removed and after about three weeks in the hospital he was able to return home and move forward with his life. His recovery from the surgery has been nothing less than miraculous. Ryan has undergone several weeks of radiation along with chemotherapy. Ryan is just as sharp and witty as ever and the first to crack jokes and play pranks on me and his other neighbors. In November, I had the chance to join a group of family and friends and we held a benefit for Ryan, his wife and 3 children (ages 3, 7 and 11). I was truly touched by the participation of people whom he had never met. To name a few; Laguna Rods, Grind Terminal Tackle, Fishing Tackle Unlimited, Capt. Aubrey Black, Sport Marine and many others. We managed to raise a nice sum to assist with medical expenses and other necessities for the family. After several weeks Ryan finally got the OK from the doctor to go fishing. On our first outing we only fished for about three hours and managed to catch several redfish and trout on topwaters and Norton - Sand Eel Junior lures.

Ryan, Steve Taterka and I have had several outings in the past months, including my first golfing experience, boy was that ever comical, “Redneck Pasture Pool!” But what a hoot!! I see why this sport is enjoyed by many. It’s truly amazing how we all take life for granted sometimes, but here lately I feel as though I will be taking one day at a time, cherishing the little things in life like time with family and friends, a sunrise, or even a day on water. Ryan still has a long road ahead of him and I plan on being there every step of the way. Ryan, if you’re reading this, may you always have following seas and tight lines. Our prayers are with you and your family. Capt. Randall Groves 30

March 2009

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what is it aBout extreMelY

weeks so I have been able to test some of guarantee here; but this should help you if you

the warmer deeper water. Even if the water is

low tides that makes

are struggling.

only a degree or two higher along the muddy

JaY wat k i ns

catching trophy-sized trout so difficult? My

the remedies that I have long believed in. No

over shallow grass flats. On bitter cold nights the fish can stage in

I like to locate feeder guts that lead into

bottom of the gut; that is enough to sustain

answer cites two major influences; these

shallow flats. Some are manmade and some

them until the sun warms the shallow water

are the loss of preferred feeding zones and

have been formed by current. I search out the

nearby. I focus on the head of the guts; this

higher atmospheric pressure that normally

short, narrow guts when possible. Guts that

is the area where the grass flat meets the

accompanies these low water events. The

are narrow in width increase my odds as well

deeper gut.

combination can truly put the whammy on a

as the trout’s odds of finding an easy meal. I

I have discovered that quite often several

well-planned trip.

also find that during periods of extremely low

large trout will hold up right in the head of the

tide our larger trout turn to nighttime feeding

gut waiting for bait to exit the flat. Game fish

We have faced this scenario for the last few

and baitfish alike all use the guts much like deer use a trail to and from feeding and bedding areas. The bedding area is found where the gut meets the deepest water. This might be a drop-off into a larger bay system or the drop-off into some sort of intersecting channel. Where the bait congregates in the deeper water is most often where Jay Ray on tournament day.

the trout are. Right under them, just waiting for something to flutter in front of them. We need to enter these areas in stealth mode. I prefer to drift or wade in versus motoring or trolling. If you are spooking bait, your trout are already in the next county. Avoid getting too close as normal wading noises can also spook big trout. I make my cast up into the shallow grass flat and then work my lure into the head of the gut. When a good fish or two are holding there they strike immediately. As the sun rises the fish will typically start a slow movement down the gut to deeper, darker water. In instances of severe cold the fish may start deep and delay the trip up the gut to the shallow water until the sun has warmed the

guts that are narrow in width increase my odds as well as the trout’s odds of finding an easy meal. 32

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

surrounding flat. Right now our water temperatures are near 60 degrees so the fish are active and more likely to feed at night and then make the move to deeper water as the sunlight starts to penetrate the clearer water.

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Low water coupled with clear water is just not the ideal trophy trout catching scenario. Gosh, we have had plenty of that lately. The area of the gut that I choose to start in depends on the water temperatures. Right now I am starting in the shallow end of the guts. I like to work each gut in its entirety. At the head, I will make lots of casts, allowing the bait to stay in the gut as long as possible. You can literally let your topwater sit at times and then slowly walk it across the gut. Early morning topwater strikes can shatter the silence and put your heart right in your throat. Me, I prefer the smaller soft plastic approach most of the time in this situation. The 5� Bass Assassin or the MirrOlure MirrOdine can be deadly when the fish are keying on smaller, easier targets. As the day warms, I slowly ease down the edges of the gut concentrating on every cast and every twitch of the rod tip. Here lately, the bite has been short-lived, so concentrating on every cast and retrieve truly counts. I find that I have a flurry most everyday around the mid-morning hours. As the trout ease towards the intersection where the gut meets the deeper water they always seem to want one last snack. During mid-afternoon hours the trout will often stage in the deepest section of the intersection. As always, bait needs to be present for the pattern to be effective. Another remedy for extremely low tide periods and the funky mood that it brings to our trout is to go searching for redfish. With the numbers of redfish in mid-coast bays, they have become a daysaver for many trout enthusiasts. Redfish prefer low water, the lower the better. Redfish are content to put their heads on the bottom and cruise a drop-off searching for small crabs and shrimp. Find a dropoff adjacent to a flat with active bait, diving brown pelicans, and a water change. Once out of the boat the rod bending should commence almost immediately. Reds are not often shy. Stealth and downsizing are not always necessary. A splashing and clacking walk-the-dog is often met with severe dislike. I had one the other day that hit so hard it sounded as if someone heaved a car battery over the side of the boat. Reds from 18 to 30-plus inches are not uncommon and 30-fish days are more the norm now than ever. We are of course only keeping legal. This winter has been better than most, maybe one of the best. I hope these tips help improve your fishing the next time you arrive at your

contact

what is needed and

favorite flat and find most of it dry. May Your Fishing Always Be Catching!

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

33


redfish pattern and works wonders on nearly

There are several reasons it works so well.

any other fish on the flats, including specks,

The first reason is that poppers in general

black drum, and sheepshead. Spoons often

have a low “pain in the butt” factor. Anglers can

if You haD to narrow

trigger strikes when nothing else will and they

see them, keep them out of the weeds, and

down your fly box to just 3 patterns for Texas

are great patterns to throw when the water gets

watch fish eat them. When casting a popper to

inshore fishing, what would they be? Let’s make

cloudy. My favorite spoonfly color is gold.

shallow redfish however, a small fly and subtle

it more interesting and assume you don’t tie

presentation are often required. This is where

flies so you’ll be forced to buy them from a fly

the East Cut Popper really excels. It lands

shop. What are your choices now? My picks for

What can you say about the Clouser Minnow

lightly on the water and makes just enough

top 3 flies are: 1) the spoonfly, 2) the bead chain

that hasn’t already been said 1000 times. It is

gurgling sound to draw the attention of lurking

Clouser Minnow, and 3) the East Cut Popper.

just plain and simply one of the best flies ever…

redfish without spooking them. And, when

Here’s why—

period. If you are angling on the Texas Coast,

a redfish goes for this fly he can get his lips

or anywhere else for that matter, you’re a fool

around it. That may sound crazy, but redfish

not to carry of handful of Clouser Minnows in

really aren’t built to pop the top and it takes the

your box.

right fly to consistently hook them. East Cut

The first spoonfly I ever saw was a Cave’s Wobbler. It was stuck in the railing of a porch at

There are a ton of color variations and sizes

makes their popper in several colors. Red/white

the old Port Motel in Port O’Connor. As I recall

to choose from but if you have to pick only one,

is perhaps my favorite with solid chartreuse a

it was around 1993. I don’t know if the Cave’s

make it a chartreuse and white Clouser with

close second.

Wobbler was the original spoonfly, but it was

bead chain eyes. In fact, if you have only one

one of the first to gain notoriety. Made from a

fly in your box, make it a chartreuse and white

Clouser Minnow, and East Cut Popper. They

flattened piece of epoxy-soaked Mylar tubing

bead chain Clouser Minnow.

are my three “must-have” flies for fishing the

and outfitted with a stiff wire weed guard, the

This fly is perfect on so many levels. It is

There you have it— the spoonfly, bead chain

Texas flats. You can buy these flies at most fly

weedless, easy to cast, durable, looks like all

shops and if you keep a few of each stocked

Over the past decade spoonflies have really

sorts of things a predator might eat, and it is

in your box, you’ll be prepared for nearly any

caught on. Their designs have slowly changed

inexpensive. A bead chain Clouser is a great

condition and any fish the flats dish out.

making them cleaner to tie and easier to cast.

flats fly and is equally at home probing channels

These days most spoons are crafted from a

and guts. Nearly any fish that swims will eat it.

football-shaped piece of Mylar tape rather

Make sure you have this fly in your box.

Cave’s Wobbler was a super-cool fly.

than tubing. For improved action, they are built on curved hooks like the Gamakatsu shiner hook and in general they are smaller than the original Wobblers. One thing however has remained unchanged— spoonflies catch fish. Man…

The diminutive East Cut Popper gets the David and Goliath achievement award. Although this pea-sized popper looks small and harmless, it routinely puts the slam on

check out the Fly of the Month video at www.TSFMag.com 34

shallow water redfish.

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

VIDEO

contact

c a se Y sM a rt t

do they catch fish! The spoonfly is a fantastic

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.

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Spin-tastic! 04 11 12 13 14 15

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110272_09CDM036_TxSaltwater 1

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Job#: 09-CDM-036 L/S: 133 Size: 8.25 x 5” Texas Saltwater Fishing Pub: Texas Saltwater Fish Show

1/27/09 8:38:45 PM

March 2009

35


of winter and ready for some warmer weather,

Using circle hooks you want to let them eat

changes as the season

so we thought we would talk about some

it longer than that so they can get it down a

and conditions

bluewater basics.

little better. The idea is that they eat the bait

change. They

and don’t feel the point of the hook. As you

may eat drifted

remember when big game fishing is the drop

increase the drag, the bait moves and the circle

dead bait for a

back on a strike; for a good hook-up, you need

hook lodges in the corner of the mouth. If you

while, and then

to let the fish eat. By “drop back” we mean

plan on releasing the fish using J-hooks, you

it takes live bait

giving the fish a certain amount of slack line

might want to consider keeping your drop back

or fresh flying fish to entice them. On other

after the strike, allowing the fish time to eat the

short to keep from gut hooking the fish.

occasions, they will eat surface poppers or

One of the most important techniques to

bait or get a good grip on a lure. When a bait is

By using non-offset circle hooks the gut

trolled lures.

eaten without a drop back there is a very good

hook problem is virtually eliminated. The size of

chance the outcome will be a lost fish.

the bait also has to be taken in consideration.

your luck for big game fish, remember about

If you are trolling an 8-lb bonito, you are going

drop back and consider buying a set of

doing, certain baits, hooks, lures and fish

to have to drop back longer than with a small

outriggers. It can make the difference between

need different amounts of drop back. Bait

ballyhoo. Vary your drop back according to

fishing and catching.

needs varying degrees of drop back. Lures,

your bait size and the size of the fish eating it.

Depending on the type of fishing you are

in general, don’t need as much because you

Fishing with lures is a lot different. The drop

If you plan on going offshore and trying

To learn more about fishing with drop back, tag lines, outriggers or any other big game

don’t want to give the fish too much time to

back needs to be more subtle. When a fish

fishing techniques, come by our Fox yacht

figure out they are eating a piece of plastic.

eats a piece of plastic you don’t want them to

Sales office at Tops-n-Towers. We’re always

And…sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do,

chew on it too long or they will figure out it’s not

happy to answer your questions. At Fox we

the fish jumps on whatever you’re pulling and

real and spit it out or let go. So… the drop back

have an extensive inventory of brokerage

swallows it anyway.

is still important, but must be shorter. To keep

boats and we are the exclusive Texas dealer

from giving too much drop back, tag lines are

for cABO yachts. We will be glad to help you

outriggers originally to spread their lines apart,

used on outriggers. They limit the amount of

find a boat or sell yours. For more information

so they could pull more baits. What they also

drop back given to a fish by eliminating a lot of

call our Seabrook office at 281-291-0656 or

achieved was a built-in drop back. When the

the slack created when a fish strikes. When a

call John cochrane direct at 409-739-4817.

line came out of the outrigger clip on a strike,

fish strikes a lure, you want it to grab the lure,

there was a certain amount of slack in the line

get its head turned and when the line comes

that helped novice anglers hook their fish.

tight, set the hook.

The pioneer bluewater fathers invented

Even with this built-in drop back, more slack is usually needed to get a good hook up. When you are fishing bait, it is very important

One other factor concerning drop back is the species of fish…and how they are biting. Blue marlin usually inhale a bait; white marlin

to make sure the outrigger clips are loose and

are notorious for being hard to hook. Sailfish

you normally want the angler to get to the rod

generally eat pretty well, but can be finicky at

and drop back some more before it comes

times. So, you may have to vary you drop back

tight. It’s very obvious when a bait is eaten

at certain times - on certain fish.

without dropping back…the hook pulls out a lot

Dorado and wahoo are voracious eaters

of the time…drop back does make a difference.

and yellowfin tuna… well they can be very

When fishing with live or dead bait there are

36

10-count on live bait.

frustrating. If you get a bite, it’s usually good…

several factors involved in determining your

getting the bite can be the problem. Many

drop back. How long? Your hook style can

times yellowfins will crash bait on the surface

determine how much drop back you want to

while totally ignoring your offerings. This can

use. With a traditional J-hook a good rule of

drive many fishermen crazy. When you ask the

thumb is a 5-count on trolled dead baits and a

pros, you will find out that these tuna’s appetite

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

contact

B o B B Y B Y r D & c a p t. J o h n c o c h r a n e

we’re Just aBout tireD

Born in Galveston, Capt. John Cochrane has been a professional captain for over 25 years and is now a full time yacht broker for Fox Yacht Sales. 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 281-291-0656 Tops-N-Towers 281-474-4000 Capt. John Cochrane 409-739-4817 websites www.byrd-cochrane.com www.topsntowers.com www.foxyachtsales.com www.TSFMAG.com

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

37


BROUGHT TO YOU BY…

like reDfish stocks in the 1970’s, southern flounDer populations along the Texas Gulf Coast are plummeting. Since 1982, there has been a steady downward trend in recreational and commercial flounder landings, and Texas Parks and Wildlife’s seasonal coast wide gill net catch rate has declined by more than 50%. “The evidence is overwhelming,” said Robby Byers, CCA Texas executive director. “It indicates the immediate need for sound conservation action to improve flounder stocks in Texas waters.” The drop in flounder populations over the past quarter century cannot be attributed to one single factor. There are three major reasons for the decline of this fishery; shrimp by-catch, over fishing, and water temperature changes. In addition to these, biologists have had difficulty spawning flounder in captivity, resulting in stocking efforts well short of desired levels. Past conservation efforts such as shrimp bring recreational fisherman

by-catch reduction, hatchery development, and other

down to 5 fish per day, and commercial fisherman down to 30.

conservation measures have helped, but clearly more has to be done to recover this species. While TPWD continues to work

In CCA’s proposal, rod and reel fishing would still be permitted during

through the issues of producing these fish in captivity, action must be

these months. This closure would increase the spawning biomass by

taken to save this fishery for future generations.

around 127 percent in six years (one generation for flounder).

Since shrimp by-catch has significantly decreased due to the buy-back program, and increasing temperatures are largely an uncontrollable

stocks in Texas. In January, TPWD proposed a November closure for

factor, over fishing remains as the obvious area to target for regulations

all flounder fishing along with a 50 percent reduction in bag limit. This

to improve the fishery. During the fall run, flounder stage in the passes

closure would increase the spawning biomass by just over 100 percent

before migrating to the Gulf to spawn. They are easily gigged during the

in six years. Although this closure would help to improve the fishery,

fall, and a vast majority of flounder taken during this time are taken by

CCA Texas feels that the three month closure to gigging only is the

gig. “We believe that we can accomplish Texas Parks and Wildlife’s goal

more sensible option because it allows rod and reel anglers to fish

of recovering southern flounder in the quickest amount of time by simply

while allowing for the most growth in the spawning biomass.

eliminating the use of a gig for the three fall month,” said Byers. “These months are the most vulnerable time for the spawning females, and

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will meet Thursday March 26th to make a final recommendation on regulation changes

the gig fishery has an unfair advantage. They harvest the majority of

for flounder in 2009. In January, CCA Texas initiated a grassroots

these fish therefore we feel it is an undue sacrifice to eliminate the

campaign urging its members to fill out signature cards voicing support

opportunity to pursue these fish with a rod and reel. Flounder are one

for its position on flounder. These cards have been flooding the TPWD

of the few pedestrian fish that can still be caught from the bank with

state office in Austin, and will hopefully have an impact on the final

conventional tackle.”

decision. While any regulation change in favor of the fishery is a

Because of this, CCA Texas has proposed a complete closure to

38

This is the type of boost needed to effectively recover flounder

positive outcome, CCA Texas remains confident that their voice will

gigging for both commercial and recreational fisherman for the months

be heard. “We have to follow the science on this,” said Mark Ray, CCA

of October, November, and December, and a 50 percent bag limit

Texas chairman. “TPWD’s analysis paints a grim picture of the current

reduction for both groups. The possession limits would be equal to the

flounder stock. As conservationists and recreational anglers the choice

bag limits, and the minimum size would remain 14 inches. This would

is pretty easy. Act now for a stronger fishery tomorrow.”

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

39


field Notes

if You often fish the texas coastal waters, you have

probably wonder, “What is the purpose of

species landed while trying to keep slime off

the survey?�

the datasheets. Unfortunately, this can also be

probably ended a fishing trip at a boat ramp to

Creel surveys provide much-needed

an uncomfortable part of the survey. Rarely,

find someone waiting for you with a clipboard

information used by TPWD to effectively

some landings are under the legal size limit.

in hand. As you pull your boat out or walk

assess and make management decisions

We will only inform the angler of the correct

to your vehicle, they ask if you would mind

regarding the coastal fisheries of Texas. The

size for that particular species; we (surveyors)

answering some questions. These interviews,

study has been ongoing since 1974, with some

do not issue tickets. After all, if undersized

also referred to as harvest or creel surveys,

modifications and refinements through the

fish make up part of the landings, we need to

are conducted to gather information about

years. The main objectives of the study are

know that, too. We do encourage compliance

the anglers and their fishing trip. The Texas

to estimate daytime annual fishing pressure,

to all size, bag and possession limits, and even

Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) cap

landings, catch rates, and species and size

have pocketsize information cards to give to

or shirt with a TPWD logo or patch identifies

compositions. These estimates are for sport-

fishermen as a reminder.

this person as a Coastal Fisheries Division

boat anglers on trips lasting 12 hours or less.

biologist or technician. Sometimes anglers are hesitant or suspicious of the situation, and many anglers

The first objective, daytime annual fishing

The third objective, catch rate, is the harvest divided by the effort (i.e. fish per hour). The

pressure, can be thought of as effort in man-

catch rate serves as an indicator of resource

hours. This effort is the amount of time used

availability or fishing success. For example, if

to harvest fish. The clock starts

fishing effort (man hours) decreases over time,

ticking when you leave the dock.

but landings increase, this could indicate an

When a trip ends, the man-hours

increase in the overall population. The anglers

can then be calculated. Currently,

are catching more fish in a shorter period of

all surveys are conducted

time. Catch rates can expose these trends and

between 10 AM and 6 PM.

help fisheries managers assess fish stocks.

Previous studies have shown that

Catch rates are commonly referred to as

this is the time period in which

catch-per-unit effort (CPUE).

the vast majority of boaters return from their fishing trips. Landings are the number of

Species and size compositions indicate what kinds and sizes of fish are being harvested. What difference does it make how big the fish

fish harvested. We ask if we

are? If a certain species is harvested before

can measure your fish, either

it has time to spawn, it could cause some

dockside or by climbing aboard

problems with the fishery. Previous studies

your boat. While measuring, we

have been conducted to determine age-at-

record the total number of each

length tables. These tables help determine

the main objectives of the study are to estimate daytime annual fishing pressure, landings, catch rates, and species and size compositions. 40

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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the age of a fish by its length. Data from creel surveys have shown that certain species were being harvested before they were able to spawn. In response to

tpw D fielD notes

those findings, TPWD has set size limits for many popular sport fish to allow them to spawn at least one season. Survey data can also reveal shifts in the harvest of certain species. Anglers might begin to harvest a species that has previously been uncommon or unpopular. For example, gray snapper landings have increased recently compared to previous years as they have become more common and more sought after. In addition to the primary objectives of creel surveys already discussed, other important information is collected. This includes information about the anglers themselves, such as their geographic origin. Knowing the geographic origin of anglers can help fisheries managers direct information their way. For instance, managers know that a significant number of coastal fishers come from the Texas hill country, including San Antonio and northwestward. We know that we should use local media sources to get information to these coastal resource users. Here are the most recent harvest estimates. During the 2007-2008 survey year, a total of 31,832 private-boat and 4,397 party-boat anglers were interviewed. Combined, those anglers expended an estimated 6.33 million angler-hours to land 1.84 million finfish. The next time you are approached, just remember that if it were not for anglers willing to answer survey questions, all of this important information would be lost. The ongoing assessment and management of our coastal fisheries depends in large part upon your continued participation. We look forward to seeing you at the boat ramp.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

41


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March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

43


k a Y a k

f i s h i n g

kayaking, but it was close. All the skills we learn kayak fishing are transferable to the poled skiff, and vice-versa. Point is; it’s still shallow water sight fishing. Last month we left off with Radney getting an ice-breaker red on fly after zeroing on the worst bunch of lockjawed fish I ever saw the day before. Let’s see if his luck changes…

going to eat or spook. The cast was a touch short, but it got his attention. He paused and turned towards the fly, then

Decision tiMe, Do You stick it out where you’ve finally

swam slowly away. By this time I was having to pole in

knot would hold and the line wouldn’t part.

caught a fish or make a dash for the back lake

pursuit as the big red was almost getting out

Somewhere around the end of the fifth or sixth

where there was a good concentration of fish

of sight. Radney picked up the line and laid

big run I figured our luck was going to run out.

the day before? The fog had burned off and the

another perfect cast within inches of his snout.

The next time he was close enough I left the

sun was high enough to allow for sight casting.

The red rose up slightly and swam right over

platform, grabbed the net and scooped.

I chose the latter hoping those lockjaw fish

the fly without showing any sign of having

from yesterday would be feeding ahead of the

eaten it. No! Wait. Yes, the fly was gone and

this one grew. Even though I had clearly seen

front. Running through the maze of lakes and

the line was moving away. “He ate it, stick him!”

it from the platform I had still underestimated

bayous I could clearly see the ominous black

The hook-set was solid and the monster

Usually a fish shrinks when it hits the deck,

it. My thirty inch measuring stick was woefully

line of clouds on the horizon bearing down

never flinched. He wasn’t even annoyed.

inadequate. I ended up laying the fish on

on us from the north. The skiff settled into

The fly rod was bent to the butt and line was

the deck and marking the length for later

the bayou with the two target lakes in sight. I

steadily peeling off, but the red hadn’t sped

measurement. My Boga showed just shy of 17

poled us into position for a few blind casts into

up a bit. It was perhaps the strangest slow-

lbs and the tape at the house stretched to 38

a depression at the mouth of the lake. Ebo

motion fight I’ve ever witnessed. For at least a

inches on the deck mark. Had we pinched the

connected and landed our second red of the

minute the red never really reacted, just kept

tail for a legal measurement and it would have

day. Cool, this might work out after all.

swimming. He was putting full pressure on him

easily surpassed the 40 inch mark.

I poled into the lake knowing we only had a

and I was poling like a mad man trying to cut

Following a quick photo session the beast

short time before the front would blow us out.

the fish off from the deeper channel. Radney

was given directions to the surf and sent on its

I love being on the water when there’s a big

then mentions his biggest red on the fly was

way. Radney sat on the front deck and stared

weather change looming. Everything feels so

around 27 inches and asked if I thought this

at the fish as it swam away like nothing had

alive. The shorebirds were feeding, bait was

could be bigger. Oh yeah, by a long shot. “Do

ever happened. He held his hand out and said,

moving and there it was. A monster red was

you think he’s double digit? I’ve never caught

“Look at that, (shaking like crazy), I don’t shake

waddling along not thirty feet from the skiff.

a double digit fish on the fly.” All I could do was

like this when I go on stage at the Grand Ole

Radney locked onto the fish and put a good

laugh and tell him this fish was way past that.

Opry,” How cool is that?

cast in the perfect spot to intersect the fish.

With the boat blocking his path the red

I could see the fly, I could see the fish and

eventually realized something wasn’t quite

the two were about to meet. I held my breath.

right and the fight turned into a slugfest of

Nothing. I told him to cast again, a little closer

long powerful runs, never fast, but incredibly

this time. Radney laid it a foot in front of the

strong. Every time we’d work him close to the

fish, still no response.

boat he’d simply swish his huge tail a few times

I couldn’t believe the biggest fish I’d ever

44

nose. He’s either

and make another run taking all ninety feet

seen in the marsh wasn’t going to eat.

of fly line and then some. And during every

Reluctantly I told him to put it on the fish’s

run I prayed the hook wouldn’t straighten, the

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

contact

c a p t. s c o t t n u l l

Last month I told you this wasn’t exactly

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“You Don’t

TEXAS INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW

Venue: Corpus Christi Marina, People’s Street T-Head, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401

want to be out here without these”

contact: Marion Daly Tel: 561.842.8808 Fax: 561.840.1323 Email: info@txintlboatshow.com website: www.texasinternationalboatshow.com The Texas International Boat Show, presented by American Bank, now in its third year, will again take place at the Corpus Christi Marina from April 23rd-26th, 2009. A truly international show attracting buyers and sellers from around the world with over 50,000 visitors attending the show in 2008. Together on one of the largest boat show sites in Texas will be 400 boats ranging from 10ft to 120ft, in the water and ready for demo, with a further 200 boats exhibited onshore. Along with offering a full range of products and services for the active boating lifestyle the Texas International Boat Show brings the very latest in luxury motor homes, trucks and custom bikes exhibited alongside Maserati and Ferrari, creating a unique marketplace in a relaxed and leisurely environment. Add to this live music from The Bahamas each day, fashion shows, live bands on stage Friday and Saturday evening, a full blown international wakeboard exhibition and tournament, on the water along the Corpus Christi Bayfront, and plenty of fun for the children, and you have the Texas International Boat Show 2009!

& Falcon Clearly see & catch the difference.

EVEnTS:  Thursday, April 23rd, 2009, 10:30am – Opening Ceremony The Texas International Boat Show will be officially opened by Mayor Henry Garrett at the Corpus Christi Marina, People’s Street T-Head, Corpus Christi, TX 78401  Friday and Saturday, April 24th & 25th, 2009, 5pm–7pm Live Evening Entertainment from the Budweiser Stage  Presented Daily: The Wakeboard Tournament and Waterski Exhibition, located on Corpus Christi Bayfront, presented by: Texas Ski Ranch, MasterCraft, and Gulf Coast Marine. Sponsors of the Texas international Boat Show: Michelob Ultra

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45


c a p t. scot t soM M e r l at t e

accorDing to scott

okaY, so i was surfing the worlD wiDe weB the other

has to say about what a sponsor really is.

guide and says, “we’re going to supply you

Webster’s defines a sponsor as — a person or

with all of the rods, reels and support that you

organization that pays for or plans and carries

need to conduct your business or support

day and I come across this website of a guide

out a project or activity.

your tournament efforts.” Well that certainly

that I have met in passing once or twice. I am

This definition, as it applies to fishing,

constitutes payment in my mind. But what about the guy, like me, who

curious, so what do I do? Well, I do what any

means that the person or activity would

person would do in this situation — I click on

actually be a company and the project or

receives the occasional rod and/or reel at

the link. What I find is a website with decent

activity would be, of course, fishing. In short,

no charge and is given a form to purchase

photography and a nice layout. I’m intrigued so,

this guide is saying — these companies

additional equipment at a discount. Does that

naturally, I dive in a little further to learn more

have so much faith in my abilities that they

mean that I am ‘sponsored’ by that company?

about this guy. At this point I am thinking to

are paying him to stay in business and more

Heck no, I am not. What that means, more than

myself, hey this guy seems quite professional

importantly, represent them.

likely, is that I like that particular brand and

Now, let us look at the word ‘paying’ and

have gone to the independent sales rep for a

to the tab that says sponsors. So I think to

pick it apart for what it is. Payment can come

company who, hopefully, likes me enough to

myself, how can this guide have sponsors?

in several forms. In most cases it means that

throw me a bone. And, it doesn’t hurt that I will

He has only been guiding a couple of years or

a check is written to the guide or angler every

be putting his/her products into my customer’s

so and I am pretty sure he is not fishing in any

year or quarterly, etc. or, in the case of big

hands. That is it. No checks were written and

high-profile tournaments… hmm? I click on the

ticket items such as boats and motors, the

no contracts were signed.

tab to find a long list of big-name companies

product is given to the individual at no charge

that includes boats, tackle companies,

as payment. As for rods and reels and stuff like

believe in a product or support a company

sunglasses, etc… This is where I completely

that, well if a company

by requesting permission from the company

lose interest. Why you ask? Well because it is

comes to a

to place their logo on a website. It is a totally

so I continue checking things out when I come

Hey guys, it is one thing for a guide to

different thing to say, “Hey look at me, I bought

false advertisement.

a fishing reel for 30% off and they gave me a

First of all, let us look up what Mr. Webster

hat — I have a sponsor!” A guide promoting a product. Is he sponsored? In this case — He wishes!

That is one of the problems with the world of ‘fishing guides’ today — the business has been propped up by a booming economy for so long, all that one needed to do was pick up the phone and say, “I’m a guide and would like to buy this or that.” And, all you had to was supply a copy of a guide’s license and fill out a form and boom — instant discount. What do you want to bet those days are over? I guess the point that I am trying to make is that is one thing for a guide to promote a product that he/she likes and believes in by wearing a cap, placing a sticker or placing a logo on a website and it is another to say… well, if you have read this far, you get the point. All of these ‘professionals’ should start holding themselves to a higher standard. The people who hire them should expect no less.

46

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

47


a a ro n c i s n e r o s

Melissa was all smiles after landing her first redfish ever.

a few Months Back i wrote

priceless moment!

an article that some of

to her, she enjoyed watching

Being that this was all new

my goals for this year were to introduce and

the dolphins feeding on the

involve more of my friends into the sport

ICW, the brown pelican’s

of fishing and hopefully make a difference

nose diving for a meal, and

in their lives through the sport I love. Just

seeing happy mullet jumping

recently a special day took place. I had been

in the air. Entering into this

inviting my girlfriend Melissa out fishing for

calm bay I pointed out a

sometime now, but for some reason or another

good number of redfish

something always got in the way. Whenever

wakes, and finally coming

our conversations would lead to fishing, she

to a stop I explained to her

always commented, “Oh fishing is easy.” Little

how to tell the difference between redfish and

While coaching her through what seemed like

did she know what her first experience would

baitfish wakes. I could tell that she was acting

an endless fight, I couldn’t help from laughing

be like. You see Melissa had never been

like a sponge and absorbing everything that I

as I watched her switch the reel from one hand

fishing before, and I was determined to start

was sharing with her. She also had a hundred

to the other. As she fought the oversize fish, I

her off with some intense wading. I took the

and one questions for me.

reminded her of her very own words, “Fishing

chance knowing that she was either going to

A bit hesitant she stepped off the boat and

love it or just plain hate the idea of getting in

into the water. I made sure it was a friendly

redfish and a big one at that. I don’t know who

the water.

and firm bottom. As I began to instruct her

was more excited, me or her. As she brought the fish to her side it swam

The morning began with a wake up call; I

on how to properly wade through the water, I

called her at five-thirty in the morning. As she

could see mud boils in every direction. I knew

near her leg and she began to scream in

answered the phone, I could hear her nagging

then her chances of getting her first keeper

fear of the fish harming her. My laughter was

that it was too early to go fishing. Arriving at

were good.

non-stop, especially when she said that the

the ramp I sensed a bit of excitement from

The hardest part was teaching her to cast

fish looked sad. We took some photos and

her as well as from me. I helped her with the

far enough to catch her own fish, but after

released it, but it didn’t take long for her to

wading gear while convincing her that she

working with her for about forty-five minutes,

be hooked up again. Despite her fears I think

would not fall off a boat without sides. All

she was ready for the next step. That more

she’s hooked for life.

geared up and ready to go I glanced her way

difficult step for a first timer was wading,

and never had I seen her so serious. What a

casting, and working a topwater all at once.

whenever my male friends fished with me, they

I would have to say she caught on pretty

always wanted to stick next to me being scared

quick. She soon had a redfish rise behind her

of what laid on the bottom, but not Melissa.

topwater and take a swipe at it. Not knowing

Several times we separated yards apart, and

how to set the hook she pulled it away from its

never did she complain. I was very proud to be

mouth. Seeing that redfish behind her bait was

a part of her first fishing experience.

well worth the trip, and to tell you the truth it

Aaron lends Melissa a helping hand. 48

is easy.” What a blast to see her land her first

March 2009

Walking back to the boat I remembered that

On the way home, exhaustion kicked in and

got me even more excited about the prospect

she passed out until I reached her doorsteps.

of her landing her first keeper.

She shared with me the next day that she was

She hung in there casting non-stop as I

sore from muscles she never knew she had,

landed red after red. I kept encouraging her

and her sunburn was extremely painful. She

knowing her time would soon come. I came

also said that fishing with me was a blast, but

upon a big pothole that had redfish written

never did she imagine it would be so difficult.

all over it. I instructed her to cast into it and

In the end I was so glad she caught a keeper,

expect a bite. As soon as I said that, she was

and I’m even happier to know that I caught one

on her first redfish. Boy, the excitement was

too. “She’s a keeper!”

at a high level and her look was “what now.” Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

49


couple of Years ago

other moving parts does not catch your eye,

all but eliminated as the line simply peels from

rocked the fishing world with their

the absence of a deep gear case to provide

the spool and flows without restriction. Greater

SuperCaster spinning reels. The oversized

gear alignment and power transmission to the

casting distance for unit of casting effort and

spool, smooth drag, and ability to survive

levelwind will. The gear case measures a mere

greatly reduced tendency for overrun and

0.200” deeper than the opposite frame.

backlashing are the result.

in harsh applications earned them wide acceptance. Texas wade fishing

The SuperCaster Angled Bar Levelwind

guides whose unpracticed clients are prone to

steals the show. While conventional designs

has to offer. A quick push and twist of the

dunking reels found a highly sought solution

employ a worm and pawl system to provide

fingertip raises and lowers the See-Saw.

to sticky bails, stuttering drag clutches and

movement to the levelwind guide, this one

The full-down position allows line to skim

countless hours hunched over workbenches to

uses what US Reel calls a See-Saw. Again,

unrestricted across the levelwind bar, full-up

keep gear in good order.

fewer moving parts.

brings more contact. This feature combines

Best of all, during casting, there is no

nicely with the reel’s centrifugal spool brake

Reel rocked us again. Rumors of a radical

requirement for the line to “find” its way

system to afford nearly infinite control. Much

new baitcaster had been leaked but the nuts

through the levelwind guide when the pay-off

of what you need to prevent overruns and

This past July at the ICAST show, US

and bolts of what Fred Kemp, founder and president of US Reel, had up his sleeve were

point is out of alignment with the guide. Friction is

backlashes when you change from casting to pitching or turning to face the wind can be

sketchy. Given the innovative design and

dialed in with no need to change centrifugal

performance of the SuperCaster spinner,

brake or friction control settings. In the durability department, and given the

everybody was dying for a peek.

track record the SuperCaster spinners have

“Today, we are unveiling the greatest innovation in baitcast reel design since the

been laying down, the first question that came

introduction of the free spool,” was how Kemp

to my mind was, “How’s it going to hold up

kicked off his press conference.

to saltwater?” Let’s run down the list. First comes 7+1

If Fred’s opening statement conjured skepticism, I believe it evaporated quickly. The

stainless ball bearings that have already been

slide presentation that followed was packed

proven in the spinners. Next is what US Reel

with radical concepts. The levelwind system

calls SUPERCOAT-6. Six layers of surface

and reverse rotation spool were quite unlike anything we had expected. And these were only the beginning. If a better mousetrap is one with fewer and simpler parts, the SuperCaster 1000 gearing system has to be a winner. While other reels utilize external gear teeth to transfer power, the SuperCaster drive employs internal toothing. Way back when I used to get involved in gear manufacture, and while I had no idea how these teeth might be formed, the simplicity of the design just leaps out at you. Now if fewer gears and

50

But that’s not all the Angled Bar Levelwind

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing


protection starting with an anodizing treatment,

get bit. Tucked in as we were, the wind was at

two layers of EDP Anti-Corrosion, primer coat,

least bearable even if it wasn’t any warmer.

base coat, and then clear coat. The spool is

Now working with a new

anodized, the spool shaft is stainless, the reel

reel always means a few

handle is forged for greater strength, the See-

mistakes, but after a few

Saw Levelwind bar is titanium nitride (TIN)

adjustments and practice

coated, the drag clutch is of dual disc “high heat

casts I was letting it rip. I can

sink” design.

honestly report that aided with 10-

Had enough “tech-speak?” Let’s go fishing!

15 mph wind on my back I was pitching the

distance shenanigans, the occasional few

I received a pre-production sample reel via

combination of a 1/16-ounce Hogie screwhead

made when flipping and pitching into the wind

UPS on January 26, 2009 at 3:00pm. We were

and Texas Trout Killer II farther than I could fish

came untangled with little effort. It is worth

packed and ready to leave for Port Mansfield to

it effectively in two feet of water with grassy

noting though, the absence of a levelwind

fish Friday and Saturday with Capt. Mike McBride.

bottom. Before I could gather slack and pop

guide dictates pinching the line between your

McTrout, as we call him, had been burning up my

the lure it was grassing up. Switching to a

thumb and forefinger for resistance to engage

email and telephone with invitations.

1/16-ounce weighted worm hook and rigging a

the levelwind mechanism when gathering

5” Assassin in weedless fashion reduced casting

completely slack line.

“Listen Everett, this kind of fishing don’t come around often, we’re into some really good stuff

distance just slightly and reduced the grassing

right now. These trout are running pretty steady

problem greatly.

at five to six pounds and one of Tricia’s guys

I cannot say I never backlashed the reel. After

If I could cite a downside or disagreeable feature it would be the thumping sensation of the line running across the See-Saw during the

popped a heavy seven yesterday. You need to

gaining confidence I reduced the centrifugal

cast. At first I thought the spool was running

get down here.”

pegs in “on” position from three to two…backed

eccentrically at high speed. Taking time to

off the friction knob…and lowered the See-

observe more carefully, I was able to time the

where I could ogle it, Pam and I along with Joe

Saw bar. First cast sailed like it was it was shot

thumps to the line crossing the high points of the

and Norma Meyer of Fishing Tackle Unlimited

out of a cannon. Second cast kinda gave me

levelwind. Phoning Fred at US Reel to report my

fame, headed south with visions of big trout

a problem. I had to wade back to the boat and

findings, I learned the fix was already in and the

splashing in our heads. Checking into the motel,

work on it for a few minutes.

first production batch would not do this. Actually,

So with my shiny red reel on the dashboard

we readied gear for an early start and filled

I finally got everything settled into a good

it was not that big a deal. By the end of the day

the spool of the SuperCaster 1000 Pro with

working position and began to concentrate more

I learned to ignore it and it never interfered with

20-pound TufLine braid.

on the fishing. Pam and Norma had already

the reel’s casting or winding performance.

Friday morning was anything but inviting.

strung us two reds for dinner and Joe was

As for McBride’s promise of big trout jumping

struggling with what turned out to be a 31-inch

in your waders…everybody got a couple of three

beast that pulled his Boga to eleven pounds.

to four pounders…except me! Saturday brought

pot of coffee and another taco

My turn came shortly, not quite as big as

better conditions and an earlier start. We again

pretty inviting. Long about

Joe’s, but a strong fighter at 29 inches and

caught a pile of good reds, Mike got a husky

11:00, carrying too much

almost nine pounds. The drag ran as smooth

speck that weighed just shy of seven, I pulled

for being wader clad,

as butter during the several long runs the fish

a heavy five. All things considered, including

we stowed our gear

made. I didn’t keep count, but over the next two

shrieking wind, we had a great trip. We shared

on Mike’s big Explorer

hours I think it would be safe to say I caught at

the new reel around our group and had the good

and headed south

least a dozen more, all longer than 25-inches.

fortune to bump into Capt. Ernest Cisneros on

toward the Arroyo and

The SuperCaster continued to perform very well.

the water. He too agreed…nice reel!

Fifty-degrees and stiff wind from due north gusting to 30-something makes another

some protected water.

The reel seems to like very slight thumb

Two days of wade fishing is only the beginning

pressure placed evenly between the frame

of a test; I’ll be giving it more duty in the coming

and the edge of the spool. Actually, pressure

weeks and months to determine long term

is somewhat of a misnomer, the weight of

durability. If this little number holds up as well as

amid innumerable mud

your thumb is probably enough to prevent the

its spinning siblings it’s going to be awesome.

boils. Mike shut ‘er down

line from “loosening” around the spool during

Look for a follow-up report and be sure to check

the early stages of a sharp cast. With the

out the US Reel SuperCaster 1000 Pro at the

exception of the bad one I caused during my

Houston Fishing Show.

Cruising a surprisingly clear flat, we were soon running

and stuck the Power Pole while we bailed off hoping to Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

51


The cleanup and repair of last summer’s hurricane devastation has many TSFMag readers scratching their heads. How to rebuild docks, piers and homes are questions nobody can take lightly. The following info-article may provide ideas as you reconstruct your dock or boathouse. This is reprinted with permission from Great Lakes Boating magazine, May/June 2003 issue.

Deciding to take the plunge

— excuse the cliché — is relatively easy, but determining exactly which solution among the dozens

of boat lifts that is right for you can seem a monumental chore. Recommendations from friends and salesmen sometimes fall short, and the last thing you want to do is wind up spending the time, effort and money for a “less-than-optimal” configuration that does not meet your expectations and specific needs. Before you buy, sit down and ask yourself some questions about where and under what conditions your boat lift will be used. Freshwater or saltwater? What water and weather considerations need to be acknowledged? “Am I the type of person who wants to install it myself or do I need a contractor?” The good news is that manufacturers continue fine-tuning their designs to meet specific needs of boating enthusiasts under all foreseeable circumstances. Here are the basic boat lift options available. Overhead Boat House Kits: Overhead

4 Point Lifts: 4 Point lifts do not require

Elevator Lifts: Elevator lifts are “side

boathouse kits mount to the joists or I-beams

anything except 4-8 pilings strategically placed

mounted” to a seawall or piling with the most

of your boathouse and come with either slings

according to the manufacturers specifications.

common being mounted to a seawall. These

or a cradle. This is the most common as well

The kits come in either a galvanized or

lifts resemble a forklift, lifting your boat out

as economical option considering that you

aluminum, and have lifting capacities starting

of the water in a very similar way. These kits

already have a boathouse built. These kits

at 3500-lbs and go up to 32,000-lbs.

start at a rating of 1500-lbs and go up to

come in either a single line pull or double line

16,000-lbs. Just like the 4 point lifts, the units

pull configuration, which refers to the cable

come in either galvanized or aluminum.

attaching to either your slings or cradle. Lift speeds range from 1’ per minute travel up to 4’ per minute travel. Ratings start at a basic 2800-lbs and go up to a 12,500-lb rating.

Davits: Davits are a nice economical solution to pick you personal water craft (pwc) or boat up and out of the water. The davit looks like a crane with a single drop down cable that Shore Docking Systems: While not an actual “lift”, these portable shoreline ramps let you easily secure your boat on any gradually sloped shoreline

hooks onto a harness to pick up your pwc, or the lifting eyes firmly attached to the hull of the boat. Davits start at a 500-lb rating and go up to a 5500-lb rating.

Floating Boat Lifts: Floating boat lifts are almost a necessity in locations where the water level fluctuates substantially and in conjunction with a floating boat dock. Polymer tanks are typically connected to a cradle and air is either pumped in or out depending on whether you want to raise or lower a boat into the water. Lifting capacities range from 1000lbs (for pwc’s) up to 12,500-lbs.

52

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


N

FO O A S K R PA A TW Y B O O ME UT YE N AR TS S! *

Now taking Reservations! WAT E R F R O N T H O M E S I T E S F R O M T H E 3 0 0 ’ S R O C K P O R T, T E X A S

S TC H A R L E S B AY. C O M

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877.264.0957

Artist renderings and plans for The Boardwalk at St. Charles Bay are under development. Hal Jones Development reserves the right to make changes without notice. No guarantee is made that the proposed features will be constructed, or that if constructed, will be of the number and type described. These materials shall not constitute an offer in any state where prior registration is required. Void where prohibited by law. For unimproved lots at The Boardwalk at St. Charles Bay, obtain the property report required by federal law and read it before signing anything. No federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of these properties. WARNING: THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE HAS NOT INSPECTED, EXAMINED, OR QUALIFIED THIS OFFERING.

*WAC. Visit www.StCharlesBay.com for details.

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

53


cannot think of a greater gift than

and shoot. The first trip is still clear as a bell.

introducing others to the great outdoors.

he finally gave in. We had an hour drive to the marsh and Dad’s

Sharing our passion of hunting and fishing

’57 Ford had holes in the backseat floorboard. Mid-November can

with family members and friends not only

get damn cold near the Great Lakes and money was scarce, my

enriches their lives, it brings a great sense

outfit didn’t really fit. Squeezing already frozen feet into too-small,

of accomplishment for the giver as those we

borrowed hip boots, and donning layers of sweatshirts, I proudly

introduce thrive and grow in their own passion. I remember like it was yesterday, I trailed my father along streams, lakeshores, and into marshes and forests. He and my mother started me fishing at a very early age.

a duck man’s duck man, and one of my outdoor idols. I remember icicles in his mustache rising and falling with each note as he sweettalked greenheads with that old Herter’s call.

Pennsylvania requires youngsters be 12 years old before

Tony’s dog wore beads of ice on her coat and we crouched low as flock after flock circled the spread. I would have been in heaven if I wasn’t in pain. Squirming and toe wiggling brought no relief

My dad started taking me rabbit and pheasant hunting

as we huddled in the boat under cattail mats from dawn to dusk.

before I could see over the weeds. My legs would play out and

To whimper would have earned me a warm stay at the house the

he’d carry me back on his shoulders. Duck trips to the marsh

following Saturday; no way I’d let that happen.

came a little later but still before I was allowed to carry a shotgun March 2009

took my seat in the jon boat with Dad and Tony Kozenski. Tony was

they can become licensed hunters, but that never stopped me from tagging along.

54

I was totally “eat up” as they say, and made a pest of myself until

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Older and wiser, it occurs that any “normal” kid would have gotten www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


a bellyful in that cold November marsh. But like those hip

Tackle Unlimited. FTU has a fully-stocked Simms Saltwater

boots, “normal” never fit me. I’ve always been nuts for

Concept Store full of waders, jackets, underwear and

hunting and fishing and a hardcase in general.

outerwear. They also carry the Caddis brand that includes

So let’s say it’s your turn; you have a kid or wife or

men’s, women’s and youth sizes. Just for the special lady

girlfriend you would like to introduce to the sport of winter

in your life who enjoys making fashion statements, Caddis

wade fishing or waterfowl hunting. Will you risk their

offers pink and turquoise waders. Tell me that won’t win you

success and enjoyment to gear and clothing that doesn’t fit

some points.

or has them shivering all day? If getting them hooked is the

Shopping from catalogs and online sources is an option,

goal, that first outing needs to be a dandy, at least in terms

no doubt. You might even save a few bucks. One thing you

of personal comfort.

won’t get, though, is the chance to find the perfect fit. This

Today’s anglers and hunters are absolutely blessed to

is especially applicable to waders that will be worn over

have so many gear and clothing options. Modern fabrics like

layers of fleece and wading shoes that will be worn over

Gore-Tex and high thermal value fleece make keeping warm

breathable waders. You might guess at the size in the book

and dry very easy. Unless you are on an extremely tight

or on the screen, but trying them on with heavy socks and

budget, the last thing to dress somebody special in is cotton

lacing and zipping everything is the real test. There is also

and neoprene.

no substitute for courteous and expert sales staff to help

Neoprene makes a great waterproof barrier. Yea verily, it’ll keep the bay out of your britches. Trouble is, it holds

you make the best choices. Gifts of quality tackle and outdoor gear are great for

body moisture in while keeping other moisture out. Sweaty

wedding anniversaries, Mothers and Fathers Day, birthdays

clothing inside non-breathable waders is a perfect recipe for

and other occasions. You don’t have to wait ‘til Christmas

cold and clammy. Cheap breathable waders are no better.

rolls around. Be good to the special people in your life; give

I can’t begin to tell you how many winter wade fishermen I

them gear that works if you truly want them to become your

have seen soaked and shivering. I don’t care if you’ve only

outdoor companions. You will be rewarded with memories

worn them three times, you get what you pay for!

of great trips you can cherish the rest of your life!

The best investment I ever made in waders came in 2003 when I bought my first pair of Simms breathables. Fact is, they’re the only pair of Simms brand waders I’ve

SiMMS FiSHinG PrODucTS DEALErS:

ever owned. They’ve gone wade fishing and duck hunting hundreds of times. Torn on crab traps and poked by oysters, patched and sent back to Simms for rebuilding twice; they still keep me dry. The original price was $199.95, the

Houston Cut Rate Fishing Tackle – 8933 Katy Freeway Fishing Tackle Unlimited – 12800 Gulf Freeway Angler’s Edge – 5000 Westheimer

rebuilds cost me $50 each. Another brand that offers exceptional quality and selection is Caddis. They make waders for men, women

Rockport-Fulton Rockport Tackle Town – 3010 Hwy 35 North Seaworthy Marine Supply – 102 South Fulton Beach Rd.

and even kids. Women don’t dig wearing waders designed for men; they’re big in the wrong places, ugly and

Victoria Tackle Box – 3305 Ben Jordan

uncomfortable. Kids, unless nearly grown teens, simply cannot make-do in your spares or hand-me-downs. Pam’s sister, Melinda Scheps, wanted her seven-yearold to join his dad wade fishing. When she posed the question of waders for Spencer, Pam sent her to Fishing www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five

New Braunfels Gruene Outfitters – 1629 Hunter Road cADDiS DEALErS: Cut Rate Fishing Tackle – 8933 Katy Freeway Fishing Tackle Unlimited – 12800 Gulf Freeway Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

55


NEW Tackle & Gear Boone’s tournament grade rod & reel soft case

Doa shrimp

eagle claw lazer sharp hooks

407.975.8775

877.Doa.lure (362.5873)

303.321.1481

www.boonebait.com

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Boone’s Tournament Grade Rod &

D.O.A. Fishing Lures has recently

Reel Soft Case provides maximum

introduced four new hot colors for the

protection. Made from neoprene to

Texas market. Guide recommended

protect your reel, rod and guides from

colors include Copper Crush # 321,

scratches and dings. Fits rods that

Copper Crush/Glow # 324, Golden

measure up to 71” from the reel face

Cherry # 408 and what is certain to be a

to the tip of the rod. Boone’s Rod &

Texas favorite, # 441 Figi Chix. The new

Reel Soft Case is unique because it is

new laZer sharp hooks Make

colors have an old advantage, “Durable,

splash in Market

all neoprene! It comes in the

U.S. made, quality lures that track well and drop true every time.”

Lazer Sharp introduces the newest and hottest item to its lineup. The new L111 hooks are designed for today’s

following sizes:

hottest swimbaits. Available in 1/8 oz.,

Medium which fits

3/16 oz., and 1/4 oz. weights and sizes

12 to 20 lb class

3/0, 4/0, 5/0, 6/0 and 7/0.

price $ 24.56

Seeing the popularity of swimbaits,

Large which fits 30 lb class

Copper Crush #321

price $ 26.53

Lazer Sharp decided to improve the process. When designing the fit and function of the L111, Lazer

And X Large which

Sharp consulted with tournament

fits a 50 lb class

anglers, Lazer Sharp Pro Staff, and a

price $27.45

Copper Crush/Glow #324

handful of the most popular swimbait manufacturers to engineer a hook that would help anglers to use swimbaits more effectively. The L111 uses a unique barbed spear

FiGi Chix #441

to keep baits in place. Available in consumer friendly G-packs retailing for $3.48 per pack of 3.

Golden Cherry Red/Gold #408

56

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


fish-n-hunt professional wading net

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FISH-N-HUNT introduces new

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Yo-Zuri is excited to launch the Sashimi

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The color schemes and patterns on the

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Yo-Zuri Sashimi lures change with the

fish spotting vision. Our Hydrophobic

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blend into their environment or signal

the lens to keep your lenses free of any

distress; these are the ones gamefish key

water spots. All lenses are mounted

in on. These new highly-detailed lures

on indestructible grilimid TR90 frame

mimic that color changing behavior,

a favorite among anglers since 1984. The FISH-N-HUNT Professional Wading Net attaches to any D-Ring for quick access and floats behind the angler until needed. When landing the

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Available in Deepwater Gray and

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The Professional Net is 16” x 20” in size, large enough and strong enough to land large redfish. Net material is made of heavy, rubber coated nylon to keep hooks from getting tangled.

Mirror $149.95. Contact for Free catalog: 1-866-8423474; Fax: 831-637-8343

attracting your favorite inshore predators — redfish, seatrout, and more. The Yo-Zuri SASHIMI PENCIL is a topwater, walk-the-dog, lure that changes color every time it “walks”. The attraction is irresistible. The 4” long SASHIMI PENCIL has an internal rattle that works every time it walks the dog, attracting fish to strike from the depths.

Email: slango@fishermaneyewear.com Website: www.GLpolarized.com

FISH-N-HUNT Professional Nets and Belts are available at Academy.

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five

Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

57


this past Month has

will bury a topwater like the She Dog, Skitter Walk, or Spook, Jr., but

been especially good for fishermen on

suspended baits that imitate a mullet are still providing the closest thing

DIcKIE coLBURN

Sabine Lake willing to slow down and

to a guarantee. Catch Fives, 2000s, and Corkys have consistently duped

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

target big trout. It has been several years

our largest trout thus far.

telephone 409-883-0723 website www.sabineconnection.com

since we have enjoyed such a consistent

Our list of “must have” colors has been very short and oddly enough it

run on 26 to 29-inch trout and they are

does not include several color combinations that are usually very good

showing no signs of slowing down. I

for us. The hottest colors have been pink, chartreuse, or a combination

cannot recall ever having as many clients

of both. The Catch Five and 2000 in electric chicken or chartreuse-pearl,

catch personal bests and only one of

and the pink hologram Corky Devil have ruled the roost.

those fish was not released to pass along

It should also come as no surprise that most of our bragging size fish have been taken when wading mud and scattered shell in 2 to 3 feet of

her superior genes! The combination of very little rain, little or no runoff from Toledo Bend or Rayburn,

and surface temperatures that have seldom dipped below 58 degrees have kept both the mullet and big trout on the shallow flats for longer periods of time. The water clarity has also remained surprisingly good in spite of winds that pin anglers on one shoreline or another on most days. We have enjoyed a few of those days when the larger sow trout

water. You can get a few swings drift fishing if you will stay off the troll motor, but you cannot catch the numbers that you can on foot. Because the mud in some areas makes it difficult to cover much ground, we usually locate the fish by drifting then anchor up and wade. As the weather continues to warm, look for significantly more 16 to 20inch trout and slot redfish to invade these same areas later this month. The revetment walls, Louisiana shoreline, and bayous leading into the

El Pescador Boats / 361.576.2056 / www.ElPescadorBoats.com

Call today to arrange for a demo ride and find out why people say…

“El Pescador has the smoothest, driest ride of any boat available.” 58

March 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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s a B i n e There won't be a next time if you don't turn her loose today!

Game Reserve will all hold excellent concentrations of flounder as well as trout and reds. While my log says it is still too early, don’t be surprised if you find gulls working over schooling fish. They were still dogging trout and redfish in the open lake in late January! Virtually everything in your arsenal will work this month, but you are in the hunt for the big three everyday when fishing plastic tails. I will spend a great deal of my fishing time relying on an Assassin Sea Shad or the longer Texas Shad rigged on a quarter ounce head in March and April. They are equally deadly bounced across the bottom or drifted on a 20-inch leader under a Kwik Cork. Color choice will vary depending on water clarity, but Texas roach, chicken on a chain, red shad, and limetreuse are all proven colors. If you are madder at the reds and flounder than trout, work the Roseau stands on the Louisiana shoreline with a weedless Johnson spoon or Red Daddy spinnerbait on a high tide. The wild card this month will be the deep shell reefs north of the Causeway on the south end of the lake. I prefer an incoming tide pumping in clear salty water from the Gulf, but the fish will bite on either tide change. Be prepared to give up lots of jig heads to the unforgiving shell and bring along a variety of colors as these trout can get very picky. I know fishing money is hard to come by right now, but don’t leave the kids at home to save a few dollars. You will never get a better return on any investment than a day spent on the water with your youngsters!

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

59


Mickey on Galveston TriniTy BAy – We still have a lot of reds

holding pretty good numbers of redfish, trout and flounder. In my experience

holding in the north end of the bay and

this is unusual for this time of year, but then with no real significant

some pretty good trout are holding with

freshwater inflow to speak of we are currently salty way upstream in areas

them, some up to 6 and 7 pounds. They

like Long Island Bayou and Red Bayou. Your best bet is to chart them on

are holding close to the river mouth area

your depth finder in the deep water bends and ledges that border these.

and bayous. That has pretty much been

We’re talking deep here, so the best lures are deep diving crankbaits and

the pattern. Finding these fish has been

slow bumped soft plastics on 3/8 ounce jigs.

easiest between the cold fronts. Before

BAcK BAyS – Scott Bay is holding some pretty good numbers of fish

the strong southerly flows come around

over old pipeline oyster shell in about 6-8 feet of water. Soft plastics and

we look for one or two magically calm

MirrOlures have been effective and taking good numbers of trout up to

days. The water clears and the fish are

about 6 pounds. San Jacinto River, north of I-10, is holding good numbers

lighting off pretty good. We are finding

of trout and a few red fish on deepwater drop-offs and ledges in about 6-10

schools of baitfish, mostly mullet and

feet of water on scattered shell. Deep diving crank baits and soft plastics

some shad, and it looks like the glass

are doing a number up there also. Same pattern as the bayous and rivers in

minnows are entering the mix. Most of

the back of Trinity Bay. Occasional slicks and baitfish schools are the key to

the trout are coming on soft plastics with

locating these fish.

a little sprinkling of topwater action, but the surface plugs have not been real

EAST GALVESTOn BAy – east Bay north shore along Anahuac Wildlife Refuge probably has the best concentration of fish right now.

consistent yet. We will get a topwater bite once in a blue moon and it can be

These fish have been holding primarily on mud shell mix in 2-4 feet of

real good but this has been by far the exception and not the rule.

water. Corkys, some topwaters, and gold spoons are doing real well on

BAcK OF TriniTy BAy – Long Island Bayou and Red Bayou are

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March 2009

redfish and trout in that region of the bay. Far north end of East Bay is a

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g a l V e s t o n big bayou called Oyster Bayou and it is producing some very nice trout.

topwater action. An occasional lunker trout is being

As a matter of fact a good friend won the Specktacular tournament held

caught at this time but March is the prime time down

this past weekend near Oyster Bayou. They had 3 trout that went just

there without a doubt. If you can pick the right cove that has

under 18 pounds and they could only keep one over 25 inches. Their best

the most baitfish in it and be patient, and you may have wait for

was an eight pounder. They reported using soft plastics, Bass Assassins,

a tide change, you can do well. An incoming tide is ideal for these coves.

on 3/8 oz jig heads. They were working the drop offs and ledges down

Most of the fish being caught in the whole complex have been on the

the edge of the bayous especially in the points, bends and turns of the

afternoon or late evening bite.

bayou itself. Water conditions are pretty clean because they have not had

cHriSTMAS, BASTrOP AnD cHOcOLATE BAyS – Look for solid

rain over that way either. Most of these fish have been feeding on glass

trout to come from Christmas Bay, especially on the north side behind

minnows and tiny shrimp.

the northers when the water returns to the flats. This is just a prediction,

All bayous, rivers, and other deep water cuts are holding a lot of flounder

but it happens every year like clock work. Usually in early March you

this year. The biologists say all of our big flounder migrate to the Gulf of

start seeing some really good quality trout and redfish up along the north

Mexico but we all know that is not always true. Lots of good flounder up to

shoreline of Christmas Bay.

five and six pounds are being caught in these deep water cuts and bayous on soft plastics. Nobody is going up there and fishing for them like they normally do, no telling what we could see if somebody used live bait on the bottom for them. wEST GALVESTOn BAy – The coves started producing fair numbers just recently. Fishing overall for this whole bay complex is just fair as we are going through the transition from winter to spring. The good coves in West Bay that have the good deep guts running into them that fan out into the back of the cove have been getting some trout movement in them and most of the fish have been coming on Mirrolures and Rogues with some

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Water conditions in pretty much all of the Galveston region bays are excellent and the salinity levels are quite high. This is the main reason we are finding fish congregating in the northern parts of the bays, they are moving toward the reduced salinity of what is left of the river and marsh inflow. The baitfish move into these areas and the trout and reds follow. Look for fishing to improve as water temperatures rise in March. Right now I would say fishing is fair to good overall for the entire Galveston complex. We have slowed some since December and January when I rated it excellent all across the system.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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tiMe sure is flYing BY,

“Heck, my boat was running just fine back in November when I put

seems like only yesterday I got my waders

her away.”

out of the closet and here it’s already

I’m willing to bet that many fishermen stored their boats hurriedly

March. But this is not a bad thing, March

because they had visions of trophy whitetails prancing in their heads.

brings the spring season and that signals

This is all understandable but let’s get real with preparation techniques

the beginning of the warming trend in

for the upcoming fishing season. Now take it from a pro whose been there

our area bay waters. We’ll see tide levels

and done it, you need to evaluate the condition of your watercraft and, if

rise in general and currents will become

necessary, take your boat in for maintenance before you get out there on

stronger, both incoming and outgoing.

the water.

Increases in shoreline baitfish activity

Every spring at the dock there are countless individuals trying to crank

will be seen each day as northers become

their engines with no luck. Batteries go bad, fuel gets stale, seals dry out

fewer and further between. Now this is

and begin leaking, wiring and switches deteriorate, there is just no end to

not to say we are done with those nagging

the list of things that go bad during four or five months of storage.

cold fronts, not by a long shot, but warmer

Boat trailers deserve some attention too. Wheel seals and bearings

days and warmer waters are right around

should be inspected and replaced as necessary. Springs and torsion bars

the corner. I think we’ll all be glad to peel

deserve a good look. Your trailer’s running light fixtures and bulbs might

off those extra layers and I doubt any

have corroded and DPS officers sometimes have little sympathy. Bottom line is whatever you need to do to get your boat in shape, do it, as the

wade fisherman will complain about the end to numb fingers. So it’s coming springtime and everybody’s getting the itch to go fishing. On that first outing of the year, how many times have heard someone say,

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M a t a g o r D a wading and drifting mud and shell. Go-to baits will be Bass Assassins, MirrOlures, and Corkys along with a few topwaters. Small shrimp should start showing up towards the latter part of March and until then I will be steadily concentrating on finding

Tony Kawczynski – Beautiful 28-incher from East Matagorda, headed to the taxidermist.

mullet while wading and throwing mullet imitating lures. Suggested fishing locations for you to try include wading the north shoreline close to the cuts leading into East Matagorda Bay on an incoming tide. These areas will receive greater tidal flow more so than the south shoreline. A lot of times you can actually feel the water around your legs as it moves into the bay and you can bet feeding fish will be drawn to it. My first choice will be to fish the current coming from Intracoastal Canal on the north shoreline as it moves into the bay. If this plan doesn’t pan out, my next choice will be in the middle of the bay, again sticking to mud and shell, fishing off-colored streaky water while checking out mullet activity. West Matagorda Bay can produce quality fishing with key areas such as south shore flats, guts, and grassbeds, and again I stress the benefit of a strong incoming tide. As our water temperature increases, expect more frequent and longer lasting feeding periods. There are sure to be more northers coming. If we get a really strong one that blows our water out, you may find yourself neck-deep in redfish with the right timing, two days after a really strong front is probably best. Fish the deeper guts for better results. Until next time, God Bless and take a kid fishing…

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

63


March Marks the Beginning of what I call my busy season. As the weather stabilizes I have far fewer cancellations. March also marks the time of year when the water temperatures start to stabilize for longer periods of time. This in turn allows the fish to get better acclimated to their surroundings allowing them to feed for longer periods of time. This makes it somewhat easier for fishermen to predict their feeding patterns. March also marks the time of year when we get a huge influx of glass minnows as they work their way into our shallow bay systems, finger mullet too will be moving from their deep hideouts of winter into the shallows as the water continues to warm up. Shrimp will also begin to show in March as the water temps rise. This is the time of year that I will have a topwater lure tied to my rod more often than not. During very calm periods, in the clear shallow water, I like to start with the MirrOlure brand MirrOmullet. One glance tells you the MirrOmullet is very close in size and shape to its slow-sinking cousin, the Catch 2000

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p ort o'con nor /se a Dr i f t

one thing i always do when using any sort of topwater is to rig with a loop knot to connect it to my line.

stick with the natural colors like the 808, CHPR (chartreuse back and belly with pearl sides) and CRBL (blue back with chrome sides). The next bait in my arsenal for the springtime wades for my snaggle-tooth friends will be the new MirrOdine XL which is a larger version of the original MirrOdine. I have caught fish with this lure all year and enjoyed exceptional results this past winter. It is a suspending twitch bait that is also an extremely slow sinker. The

Jr. The MirrOmullet has proven itself over and over again in the calm,

redfish and trout have really seemed to savor this lure when nothing else

clear shallows.

seemed to be working. Again, I like the natural colors green or olive back

During heavy winds and rough chop, yes even the back lakes get choppy

and they all have the chrome sides that flash like a real bait fish.

during the springtime blows; I will usually start with a He Dog or She Dog.

For the Grand Finale I will always have the Saltwater Assassins in plum/

The old stand by Top Dog and Top Dog Jr. should not be forgotten as they

chartreuse and morning glory. I rig these on a 1/16 oz Assassin Jighead in

still catch just as many fish. It is probably more of a matter of preference

the unpainted variety. I also tie these with a loop knot.

when it comes to what the fish are wanting any given day. The He Dog and

If you are targeting really shallow fish with grass on the bottom and your

She Dog have higher pitched rattles then the original Top Dogs and Top

lure keeps raking grass you should try switching to a Mann’s Waker. This

Dog Jrs.

lure will pull more redfish from the ultra-skinny water than anything you

One thing I always do when using any sort of topwater is to rig with a loop knot to connect it to my line. I know some people put split rings on

have in your box. I use the croaker color almost entirely. In March you should concentrate most of your efforts in our back lakes.

their plugs but I personally believe the loop knot allows the topwater more

I don’t look for the majority of our fish to show up on the outside sandy

freedom of movement than any other connection. I have become so fond

shorelines until early summer.

of this knot that I have also been rigging my jigheads and other lures the

Fish Hard, Fish Smart!

same way over the last few years. As far as colors for my topwaters, I try to

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

65


as preDicteD in last

We were fishing in some of the conditions just mentioned, and I threw out

month’s article, the fish are moving into

the comment, “This dirty water makes me crazy.”

the shallows in numerous locations of

Knowing more than your average guy about water quality, Mac offered

Baffin and the Laguna, and March is

up a great analogy that instantly boosted my confidence in water that I

DaVID RowsEY

prime time for searching out shoreline

considered almost too ugly to fish.

David Rowsey has 20 years experience in the Laguna/ Baffin region; trophy trout with artificial lures is his specialty. David has a great passion for conservation and encourages catch and release of trophy fish.

depressions that are holding the bait that the game fish rely on to sustain life. With March, comes big wind. Some days are from the north, but are more commonly from a blistering southerly

www.DavidRowsey.com

same water and set it on the console, how does it look? It looks pretty darn clear versus looking at it from the boat.” I instantly knew he was right. And whether he realized it or not, this will

direction. These gusts can make fishing

always stick in my mind while grinding in ugly water that I have confidence

tough, but they can be dealt with. The first

the fish are using.

part of dealing with these conditions is 361-960-0340

The analogy is this: “Look at it from the fish’s perspective. To us it looks ugly and blown out. But if you were to take a glass jar, fill it up with the

In my tenure as a fishing guide, I have been blessed with some great

in our minds. I’ll be the first to admit that

clients that have hard drive for the sport. These guys, and occasional

fishing in brown/muddy water that wears

ladies, have been willing to go in some nasty weather, even on days that

a hat of floating grass makes me want to

I advise against it. This has forced my hand in fishing in conditions that

chew on the propeller while in gear. But

most people would never consider; but the upside is that we are always

you have to stay confident and know that fish must eat to live, regardless of

learning new ways to accomplish our goals. Saying this, there are those

water quality and howling winds.

days when the north wind blows in, and just shuts it all down. I recently

I recently had Mac McCune of Lake Management Services on a charter.

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had a trip like this, and we had to cut it short due to the front hitting early,

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March 2009

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upper l aguna/Ba ffin bringing a drop in air temperature that none of us were prepared for. I felt bad for the clients, but common sense prevailed, as it always should in brutal weather. I wish there was a magic bullet I could give you to turn these tough days into solid catching, but there is no such ammo. However, I can let you know what works for us on a daily basis: Fish areas that you have confidence in, and be willing to slow everything way down. The slowing down part needs to apply to both your feet, and your lure. You need to have your reel spooled with a quality braided line. Using a braid, in my opinion, is one of the only things that you can do that will instantly make you into a better fisherman. Use a rod with lots of back bone. I prefer the 6’6” Waterloo Slam Mag. My favorite lures for these conditions are the 5” Shad or 5” Turbo Sea Shads fished close to and bumping bottom. The next choice would be a Rapala Skitterwalk or a full-size Super Spook. In closing, I would like to say thank you for the positive emails and feedback I have been receiving from the readers. As crazy as my wife, Sally, accuses me of being, I’m glad to know that there are so many other like-minded people out there that have wind burnt faces, bad hair, cracked skin, and believe that Simms waders are the ultimate fashion statement. Practice Catch and Release.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

67


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

fishing MostlY helD to expectations

indeed many of my excited anglers earned their personal best. Several

this past month, and fortunately we

impressive fish, but for whatever reason, that thirty-inch mark consistently

had to surrender relatively few days

eluded us by a quarter of an inch. However, we certainly know those

to brutal conditions. Low tides also

upper class fish are there because we routinely see them in these clear

presented their typical challenges,

shallows. It’s exciting to know that it is just a matter of time and timing.

but let’s remember they also help

days were consumed with hoisting the Boga Grip to weigh yet another

However, even without topping that curious benchmark to date, the

tighten the playing field and

numbers of quality fish still surpass the past several seasons. Most were

concentrate fish. We might find that

caught on either tails or Corkys. Topwaters produced well earlier in the

a common thread shared by most

period but have been less consistent of late. The amount of forage is

successful fishermen is the relentless

extreme in many locations including an explosion of shrimp.

determination to turn all adversities into advantage. March will bring a new set of

Our larger trout seem to have used the same types of areas both before and after northers, which would mostly be heavily grassed

challenges, but the best news is that the Laguna still appears on quite an

shallows rimming deeper water. Late winter fish become acclimated to

encouraging course.

temperature swings, so the difference between “shallow” and “deep”

Big trout usually command most headlines during the cold months, and

becomes less as the season progresses. In other words, about knee to

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port Ma nsfielD

Ready for Spring! thigh deep, in bait, is where you usually wanted to start except for the bitterest of mornings. Redfish, which down here enjoy at least equal status as bonefish in exotic locales, have been thick and just flat-out mean. On calm days when they invade the flats the wakes can seem endless. During windy conditions we are finding huge groups stacked in depressions and troughs. Besides the shrimp, the crab population is uncommon to the point we have found them clinging to topwaters; the redfish are happily gorging on this crustacean banquet. However, that can only mean they are rooting like hogs, pushing the crabs up, and if you are not snagging grass you are not snagging fish. We have enjoyed several seventy to eighty fish days, and it has been interesting to note, a retrieve just inches too high above the grass would draw a blank. As always, after finding We’re looking for more like this in March.

fish, it’s all about the presentation. Other news is that dredging along the ICW is currently underway

from the Land Cut to the Island. Slurries are being pumped on existing disposal sights which will hopefully create new structure over time. However, there are now some patches of horrible water. We eagerly await the results of the East Cut being dredged and a strong push of Gulf water this spring.

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As far as suggestions for the coming month; March is “reality” fishing at it’s finest. It might deliver magical water temperatures, green bull tides and overstuffed topwater trout, or it might bring a wind blasted nightmare. We may get twenty days of great conditions or perhaps only a few where an anchor will hold. We’ll just have to go for it and make it happen. Some of my most memorable early spring days have been during ridiculous conditions. The fish are going to be somewhere, and we won’t get on them if we don’t go. Remember, screaming winds down here mean that the water is dropping in some areas but flooding in others and there will always be opportunities. Pray for fair seas, fish

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009

69


as of this

Richie displays a healthy LLM winter trout.

writing we have been very fortunate to escape harsh winter weather in Deep South Texas. It’s safe to say that it has been a rather mild season with only a handful of days that were un-fishable due to the bad weather. As far as the catching goes, it has been as hot as a June day during the summer solstice. The number of trout caught in the four to seven pound class has been incredible just as it was last year. Over the winter we targeted trophy trout on most of our trips. Now, the chase will continue but on a different playing field. No longer will we just concentrate on muddy bottoms, deeper holes or guts. Our efforts in March will expand to sand flats, areas riddled with pot holes, spoils with firm sandy bottoms, and bait-filled shore lines. Our short, meticulously, slow designed wades through specific small areas will now turn to longer

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arroYo coloraDo to port isaBel wades through a much larger arena. Our focus will continue to be on bait

Throughout the winter our topwaters never took a long

availability. Now that the water has warmed up a bit, expect to see the

break, but this spring they will begin working overtime.

bait more active and visible on the surface.

You can bet that they will be rigged with Gamakatsu’s “live

The winter months of December through February brought very low

bait” single hooks with forged rings. I mentioned earlier that this time

tides especially around the full and new moon periods. They were as low

of the year the wind kicks up. When it does, it tends to cause floating

as I have ever seen them, but this month marks the return of the flood

grass on the surface; the floating grass can be a major problem when

tides which will pump enough water into the back bays to where they

working topwaters with treble hooks. The Gamakatsu single hooks allow

will be accessible and full of fish. The higher tides are certain to draw

us to continue throwing topwaters even in heavily grassed situations. A

redfish into the shallow estuaries, ready to gorge on the new inhabitants,

recommended topwater that has brought us big results because of its

especially brown shrimp.

great side to side action is the Spro Dawg 100. I have found few days

Do expect the winds to increase this time of the year. The prevailing

when the redfish and trout would refuse it. On the soft plastic side, an

winds will be out of the south or south-easterly direction. Also, expect

amber Sea Devil from Brown Lures will certainly be at the end of our lines

many mornings to begin with a stiff breeze on your back. Take note of

often because it looks so much like a live shrimp.

which areas tend to keep their clarity even when the winds are howling.

I say, don’t let the wind stop you from enjoying the transition that

The east side of our bay as well as both north and south of the Arroyo

spring brings to our Laguna. The wind will be here to stay for the next

Colorado can take strong gusts of air for prolonged periods of time and

few months; you might as well learn how to use it to your advantage.

still remain fishable.

If your method of fishing is drifting, make sure you have two drift socks

If this spring brings a good shrimp hatch, and we had lots of rain during summer and fall, expect the west side of our bay system to produce some

on board. Spring also marks the time of year that those recently dry shorelines

great redfish action. Two years ago the redfish schools showed a glimpse

turn into an array of eye catching colors as the local flora bloom. Let’s

of how it was ten to fifteen years ago, but last year it never really took off

enjoy and take care of what we have so that others may do the same for

as expected. If the shrimp do their part, March will be an excellent time

years to come. Learn to appreciate the beauty of Nature along with the

to experience the phenomena of redfish gathering in schools and pods,

great fishing spring brings us.

sticking their tails above the surface and rooting the bottom for one of their favorite spring time meals, the juvenile brown shrimp.

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March is a transitional month. With water temperatures rising, trout should

“I expect the glass minnows to be arriving by the time this issue comes out,”

begin their annual migration to the deeper reefs around the lake. However, a lot

Randall says. “I always look forward to that every year. We should have an

of big trout action can still be found on the flats on the north and west banks.

excellent spring of fishing. The bays are salty and green and there’s more grass

A great place to look for school trout is along the south bank. By the end of the

along the shorelines than I’ve ever seen. It’ll be anybody’s guess where the

month, they should start to get pretty thick on the reefs around the Old Jetties.

schools of minnows will go, but finding them will be a guaranteed ticket to finding

This makes things convenient because of the predominant south wind. The

the fish. Also in March, we tend to get some good full tides in the afternoon.

flounder run will be in full force by the middle of March. Good flounder fishing

That’ll be welcome too, after this persistent low tide. It seems to send the fish

is always a blessing because the wind is sometimes a problem. Good spots

off into no man’s land. But once the equinox tides roll in, the fish will be easier

to try are the cuts in West Cove, cuts along the east bank, and cuts in the ship

to find, especially the bigger fish. One of the best ways to fish the glass minnow

channel. For flounder fishing, a Berkley Gulp is great to have in the arsenal.

run is to work the shallow flats in the vicinity of the Pass. It pays to stay shallow

Redfish are always biting in or around the weirs. With water coming out of

if you are after big trout too. Topwaters work well, of course, but don’t neglect

the marsh, fish the lake side of the weir, if it’s going in, fish the other side.

the old Sand Eels; they look a lot like a glass minnow!”

There aren’t many people on the water lately in Galveston’s Bays, but the

The decision of which bay to fish in the Matagorda area is largely dictated by

fishing is decent. In fact, James predicts that the fishing in the near future will

the tide level according to Don. “When the tide is high, East Bay becomes good.

be the best in the state. “As far as just catching fish, it will be off the chain

The grassy coves will fill up with water and some big trout will be in there with

this spring, I just about guarantee it. That hurricane seemed to do these bays

all the bait. In fact, there was a trout nearly nine and a half pounds pulled out

a lot of good. Right now, the reds are pretty easy to catch in Trinity. It’s still

of there just the other day. When the tide is low, West Bay is generally better. A

salty and green. Keying on slicks and bait are the ticket there. There are some

low tide will stack most of the fish in the deepest guts coming in and out of the

quality trout biting soft plastics for drifters in Tabbs and Burnet Bays. You won’t

coves over there, especially the redfish. There will be trout in there with them

catch a bunch over there, but solid fish up to six pounds are there to be had. I

too, mostly small ones compared with the trout in East Bay. Of course, wind

also found some nice fish in the south shoreline coves of West Bay the other

dictates where to fish too. West Bay is better when it’s windy, because there’s

day. Mostly, the fish in there are dinks, but usually there’s one or two big fish

more places to hide. Drifting is good in East Bay on lighter winds. Try the Exude

hanging around with the small fish. Patience is required when working the

RT Slugs when working the mud and shell. They have a little tab on their tails

coves with Corkys, MirrOlures and topwaters, but it can pay off in March.”

that gives them great action.”

Fishing is excellent at times in East Bay, but not consistent yet. That should change as we roll into March. “There have been some big trout caught around here lately, several over seven pounds and some over eight. Rollover Pass is giving up a few and of course the shorelines in East Bay. We are fishing an eleven a.m. to dark day on all trips right now, but I’ll be back to the morning sessions when the water warms up in March. We’ve been having our best luck on suspending lures like the Catch 2000s, Catch Vs and Corkys. The redfish in the marsh has been the most consistent thing; the trout bite is more of a one or two days a week kind of deal. If you are on the water the day before the front hits, it can be phenomenal. Again, all that should become less severe with the arrival of spring. The bite will be more consistent day to day, the tide will be higher and the shorelines should give up some real nice trout.” 72 72

March 2009 March 2009

February was not as exceptional as we expect in terms of catching big trout. Extremely low tides have kept most of the trout in our area in the rivers and most of those fish are on the small side. I am hoping that the month of March will bring in some bigger tides to cover up the mud and shell flats and encourage the big specks to return to their normal haunts. Locating mullet will again be the key to finding trout along with focusing on a bottom consisting of mud and shell mixed. Corkys will still be the most productive lures with pearl/ black and pink hologram the best colors. Thank goodness for the redfish; they are giving us consistent pulls when the trout bite has been slow. Gold quarter ounce weedless spoons with a Gulp teaser and cracked crab have accounted for the best bites. March should be a better month as tides will move back up and the fish will follow the bait onto the flats.

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As expected, the water temperature dropped and this caused the fish to go down deeper. We’ve been looking for fish in areas with muddy bottoms or areas with a mixture of mud and shell. Having to slow down the retrieve speed of our lures has really tested our patience, especially when going after trout. Our patience has paid off and the rewards have been very good. The redfish have been plentiful and the speckled trout have been showing up in good numbers, most between 18 and 24 inches, with a few of them reaching 30 inches or more. Depending on when the cold fronts stop reaching the Laguna Madre, the water temperatures should begin to rise and make the trout and the reds more aggressive. In March, I’ll still be looking for areas that have mud or mud and shell bottoms. If the water clarity is not good, I’ll be using artificials that are brightly colored, smelly and noisy, which will be easier for fish to find. Fishing in March in the POC area is predictably dependent on the strength of the winds and the tide level. “I like to focus on drains that go into the marshes. The trout and redfish can really stack into those guts. I’ll focus on catching them with soft plastics mostly. We will throw topwaters some, but I’m quick to get off of them unless the fish are really making it easy. The other thing that can be productive in early spring is fishing the shell reefs surrounded by deep open water. Of course, in order to make that work well, the winds need to be light, at least lighter than normal for this time of year. Again, it’s mostly a soft plastic thing, but topwaters will work when the fish are feeding most actively. So the key is to stay on top of the wind and tide situation. If it’s windy with a high tide, back lakes are typically best. On a low tide with high winds, the drains fill with fish. Light winds allow us to get at the fish on the reefs.”

“In March, I like to fish back bays and lakes targeting both trout and redfish. The redfish are plentiful and we do catch some of our largest trout of the year in March typically. I will throw topwaters, especially Super Spooks, and of course I’ll still rely on my Norton Sand Eels in plum or pumpkin/chartreuse. On those days when I leave the lakes and back bays, I’ll favor areas in the open bays with hard sandy bottoms. Seems our fish around here start to prefer the harder bottoms when spring arrives. There are great areas for that in Corpus, Aransas, San Antonio and Copano Bays. Fishing has already picked up around here after a lull with the really low tides of winter. As the water warms and rises a little more, it should only get better in terms of a day to day bite. Normally, we see a run on some big trout in the vicinity of the Port Aransas Channel in early spring and as warm as it’s been, that might happen a little early this year.”

March marks the beginning of our spring time fishing. Large shoals of jack crevalle weighing 14 to 30 pounds show up at the water’s edge and sharks of several species become more available. Slot and oversized black drum, redfish and pompano continue to be available and whiting are abundant and at their peak sizes of the year. But March can also be some of the toughest fishing of the year with Equinox high tides and long periods of high winds. The sargassum is usually at its worst during March and April. Check tide forecast levels before planning a trip and avoid traveling during high tides and avoid periods of excessive NE winds. Fishbites and fresh-peeled shrimp fished on the bottom will take all of the smaller species. Watch for diving brown pelicans for jack crevalle and sightcast to them with any artificials or flies. Sharks are often caught on casted baits as they come quite close to shore during March. Fresh whiting is the preferred bait. Heavy spoons and Rattletraps work well on speckled trout and redfish. www.TSFMAG.com www.TSFMAG.com

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Fishing has been good in the upper reaches of the ULM lately, Joe says. “The water around the JFK Causeway is in beautiful shape. The clear water on the flats gives great opportunity for sightcasting. We’ve had a lot of bright days in recent weeks, making it possible to see the fish easily. The tide has been really low, and that actually helps too. In March, we’ll probably have some higher tides overall, but the clear water appears destined to stay. If the tide does come up, the clear water should push farther to the south. I will be looking to make some runs in both directions as spring kicks in. Nine Mile Hole can be awesome for both redfish and trout on spring tides. Shamrock Cove can be good too. I’ll be throwing my old standby paddletails and other soft plastics when fishing conventional tackle. And of course this clear water makes the fly fishing potential improve, especially on days with lighter winds.”

“Anybody who doesn’t like the idea of a five fish trout limit should be forced to see how good it’s made the fishing over here,” Bruce beams. “I can go out on my dock and catch five twenty inch trout in the lights on any given night in no time flat. It’s just awesome. We are catching plenty of 25 to 29 inch trout on our charters lately. The fishing’s really good. March should be exceptional too. With the channel opened better and more water moving, the early spring pattern should be predictable. The trout will start to move toward the east shore in anticipation of the spawn. Flats adjacent to the entrance of the pass will be key areas for the spawning sows as they are looking to drop their eggs in some kind of current. We’ll be throwing topwaters a lot, bright colors unless it’s windy, which it often is. Then we’ll switch over to darker colors in the murkier water. The reds will be doing their standard trick, attacking and wrecking our plugs!”

Fishing’s been phenomenal; mostly mild weather’s kept the LLM unseasonably warm and an explosion in the trout population has added weight to our boxes. Some days we’ve had to stay at it a little longer to find redfish small enough to fit inside the slot. Oversized reds and nice trout are hanging out together in shallow water; we’ve had to move to deeper potholes only when water temps drop. When it’s windy, there’s no problem limiting out, so our focus has been on which presentation will work best with our Gulp 3 inch shrimp. Freddy says, “On calm days use the Flats Equalizer cork, from Precision Tackle, so you don’t spook them, or the Cajun Thunder, when there’s more chop. Later, when you’re moving deeper for trout, use a 12 to 15 inch 20 lb. leader tied to a quarter ounce jig head with a Gulp under the Cajun Thunder. We’ve also had success chasing reds with Flats Intruder quarter ounce spoons in gold and copper.”

Texas Saltwater Fishing Texas Saltwater Fishing

March 2009 March 2009

73 73


Proud kayaker, Ryan Laumen, pictured with his catch of the day landed in Dickinson Bay.

Chris Foster knew how to work the area in Galveston bay where he reeled in this 7lb trout.

Bone colored Super Spook Jr. does it again! David Montalvo did well landing his first ever redfish (21”) wading near Mustang Island.

Hilary Canales, avid reader of TSFMag, landed this redfish (24 1/2in) fishing West Bay.

Cameron Johnson with the biggest snapper of the day, 15lbs, fishing with family off Port Mansfield. 74

March 2009

Keith Texter reeled in this dorado on a trip to Costa Rica. He also caught and released a sailfish.

Bill Monroe of San Leon, TX enticed this 27” trout 7lb. in Galveston Bay.

Hooked on fishing, Dana Moehnke, had no trouble landing this 31” jack crevalle.

The biggest trout (26”) he has caught, proud Dad, caught this one in Rockport at Estes Flats.

Proud angler, Justin Rearick shows off his first ever redfish (22”) caught 4th of July weekend.

Roy Perry shows off catch out of Chocolate Bayou. Hooking up on this 24” red made it a great day for Roy

Reid Kubala hooked this redfish in Indianola spending time with his grandfather, Jerry.

Cole Kuykendall loves to fish and it is evident as he holds up his 30” redfish which he released.

Michael Mills hooked this 31” 9lb trout in the Upper Laguna Madre.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Her biggest redfish ever. Amber Kuykendall is anxious to get back out on the water!

Manuel Castillo’s first fish – an 18” trout! Or as he said 1’6”! Good job kiddo. www.TSFMAG.com

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Karen Cloud with a big smile and first 22” redfish caught late in the evening just before sunset.

Chaney Ferguson caught & released this 31” red for others to enjoy. Kudos!

Jerome Donny Serna Jr.’s son eagerly awaits his photo to be taken with his first trout. Carlos Garcia knew right where to find this 38” jack crevalle in the big jetties at Port O’Connor.

Another 8 pounder caught in Clear Lake by 11 year old Sterling McIntosh. James Glenn with his new personal best – a 28”, 7lb Baffin Bay trout! Laynie Clancy fishing in Moses Lake out of San Leon, TX landed this 4lb flounder.

George Marlow caught & released this black drum in San Antonio Bay. Trent McKee was there to assist.

Clear Lake proved to be productive for Anna Babineaux as she holds her 8lb redfish.

What a memorable trip to San Antonio Bay, Eric Blankenship pictured with his 30” 11lb red on a Killer Flats lure.

“We were blown away with action!” says Trevor Dean when he caught this 43.5” 30lb beautiful red! What a great birthday present for Jonathan Milam who caught this 29.5” 9.3lb trout in Corpus!

Please do not write on the back of photos.

A Trout Killer & 83 yr old Ward Cooper was no competition for this 8lb trout caught in the Houston Ship Channel. www.TSFMAG.com

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No doubt 7 yr old Jayden Hakala will be a great angler as he poses with his best redfish caught with an artificial.

Jenn Roddy pictured with an awesome 30 in 10.5# red caught and released on a GULP! Texas Saltwater Fishing

Email photos with a description of your catch of the Month to: Photos@tsfmag.com Mail photos to: TSFMag P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, TX 77983 March 2009

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“Be Kind to Shorelines” is about leaving a piece of shoreline better than you found it. When you happen upon an unsightly mess on your favorite shoreline; clean it up. Have a fishing buddy snap a photo of your clean-up effort and another of the trash being disposed of properly. Submit photos via email to Everett@TSFMag. com or by mail to TSF Magazine – PO Box 429 – Seadrift, TX 77983. Categories for this contest will be Greatest Haul, Most Unusual, and Most Helpers. The contest will run from October 2008 through Memorial Day 2009. For more details go visit www.TSFMag.com

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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

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March 2009