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November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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contents

Editor and Publisher Everett Johnson Everett@tsfmag.com

Novem ber 2 0 0 9 Volume 19 No. 7

General Manager Pam Johnson

FEATURES

14

Pam@tsfmag.com

10 Dream Big - Aim Shallow 14  The Wisdom and the Pain 18  Old Spirits and New Research 22  Bodie and the Netters 24 November on Sabine...                 

Mike McBride Kevin Cochran Billy Sandifer Martin Strarup Chuck Uzzle  

DEPARTMENTS 19 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 61

18 40

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

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

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

National sales representative Bart Manganiello Bartalm@optonline.net Circulation Debbie Dugan Cir@tsfmag.com Design & Layout GRAPHICS BY DESIGN Stephanie Boyd Office: 361-785-4282 stephanie@graphicsbydesign.biz production@graphicsbydesign.biz Subscription – product sales Debbie Dugan

REGULARS

68

advertising manager

ADDRESS CHANGED? Email Store@tsfmag.com

50 Dickie Colburn’s Sabine Scene Dickie Colburn 52 Mickey on Galveston Mickey Eastman 54 Capt. Bill’s Fish Talk Bill Pustejovsky 56 Mid-Coast Bays with the Grays Shellie Gray 58 Hooked up with Rowsey David Rowsey 60 Capt. Tricia’s Port Mansfield Report Capt. Tricia 62 South Padre Fishing Scene Ernest Cisneros            06 46 48 64 66 68

Shirley Elliott Shirley@tsfmag.com

Ads@tsfmag.com

WHAT OUR GUIDES HAVE TO SAy

50

Business / Accounting Manager

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

Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine is published monthly. Subscription Rates: One Year (15 months for 12 months; Get Three Free. Offer valid until 12.31.09)

$25.00, Two Year $45.00

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

how to contact tsfmag: Phone: 361-785-3420 fax: 361-785-2844 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 429, Seadrift, Texas 77983 Physical Address: 58 Fisherman’s Lane, Seadrift, TX 77983 Web: www.TSFMAG.COM photo gallery: photos@tsfmag.com

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

about the Cover Kirk Childress of Corpus Christi, TX caught this beast of a redfish with fishing with Capt. David Rowsey. Kirk’s big red ate a 4” Bass Assassin Sexy Shad. It measured 40 inches and gave a 15 minute fight on trout tackle. Kudos to Kirk for releasing this great fish to continue its life cycle. Just Keep Five

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

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

Only $3.95 November 2009

Tide Predictions

& Solunar Feed

Times Inside!

Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

5


Heart and Soul of a Fisherman

Roaming from bay to bay has always been a favorite pastime. I sometimes feel that I’m falling into a rut hitting the same old places in my home waters and getting out is always fun. Such was the case this past weekend when we headed up to Matagorda to fish with friends and try our luck in East Matty. Reports from that area had me primed to scratch my big trout itch. The first real front of the season had been forecast to interrupt our fishing plans but, what the heck, there was certain to be a domino game and good food so we went anyway. Well the weatherman was true to his word and we had to flee the south shoreline at 10:30 Friday morning to avoid the forty mile per hour jaws of a fast moving front. Dominoes and feasting accomplished, we hit the road back to Seadrift. Just for the heck of it, again, Pam said she’d like to check out the state park boat ramp at Olivia. Launching at Port O’Connor to reach Keller Bay often means a rough boat ride so we turned south on TX 172 just to have a look and maybe discover a good option. To my surprise, in chilly norther-driven drizzle, we found a young man fishing from the break wall. Clad in camo jacket with hood up, blue jeans and flip-flops, this twelve year old strode toward a heavy rod and reel he had wedged in the rocks and proceeded to check his bait. His casting ability really grabbed my attention as he reared back to sling a slab of something. Wedging the rod back into the rocks, he walked to the end of the bulkhead and began hauling a hand-line attached to a baited crab basket. No crabs, he tossed it back and continued his vigil of the big rod. Mind you, it is raining and it is cold, and this kid is apparently still loving it. Curiosity haven gotten the better of me, I sidled over to meet this young chap. Introductions and handshakes led to questions and I just had to know what he was hoping to catch. “Sharks,” he proclaimed without hesitation. Now I have fished Keller often enough to have been surprised by several sizeable blacktips and a bull once, but this kid was serious – on a day when supposed serious anglers opted for dominoes and gumbo. In the conversation I learned that he catches sharks often from that break wall but his three hours of effort so far that day had yet to yield a bite. He catches redfish too, a brute that he could not hoist up the wall without breaking his line recently. “Probably forty inches or better,” he offered with a toothy grin and hands held appropriately apart. I come to find out he lives at Olivia and his grandmother accompanies him to the seawall. “She fishes sometimes but she’s in the car reading her book today,” he explained. Another bait check and another perfect cast arcing sixty yards was followed by another look at the crab basket, me in tow. Atop his ice chest lay several chunks of cut bait and a fillet knife. A soda came from a jacket pocket and went promptly back. He never took his eye off the big rod unless speaking to me. His speech was filled with sirs. What a kid! He has the heart and soul of a fisherman and it did the heart of this fisherman good to meet him.

6

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

9


I don’t see how a big fish could turn down this Smartt Fat Head fly.

Dream Big - Aim Shallow It had been well over three hours

and not one of us had uttered a single

word. We didn’t need to. About every ten minutes or so, one of our plugs would

discharge with a frothy statement much more compelling

makes covering water with your lures

many are tired of reading about this lure

you fish for them you’ll catch them, and

with the big trout crowd. It fits all of the

instead of your feet quite pleasant. If

although there are many ways to do it,

last year we often did it with some bigger

but there is a reason it is so popular qualifications for extremely shallow work. Not really that big, but heavy

enough to reach out to

than any noise

unmolested water, and

a human could

can be feathered to

make. It was high

land with a soft splat.

anticipation fishing;

It can be worked in a

walking slowly and

variety of ways to suite

fully expecting

the fish’s attitude for the

every cast to

moment, but just walking

become as stiff as

it like a topwater with the

the hairs on your

neck…with five to

Autopsy reports can suggest big baits.

nine pound trout

just waiting for the right presentation.

baits and enjoyed

time means fall, which really means that

different. In the

Well, it’s finally “that” time again. “That”

the door is cracked open for winter, and

that means a real crack at the best trout nature will give up. Everybody has their

own deal where fishing is concerned, but for this writer, if you are not pulling a belt tight over a pair of Simms waders, life is just not as exciting as it should be.

The scene was classic, repeated many

times last year and therefore I repeat

myself, but it’s exciting enough to review again. Between northers, big trout and reds stack up along shallow shelves

bordering deeper water. Although many times the water can barely be deep

enough to wet your gravel guards, it

can be plenty deep to hide trout much

longer. You might not see much on the

surface, but just knowing they are there 10

November 2009

occasional pausing death twitch works fine. The

hooks often hang down

doing something past I assumed

that downsizing lures in shallow

clear water made the most sense.

It often still does, however, there

is just something special about hurling a big offering and

expecting big

results. Autopsy reports can be

We might suspect these to become more readily available with Mirrolure entering the picture.

suggestive, and

here are a couple of offerings to consider in water below your shins.

Floating Corky Fat Boys - I know Texas Saltwater Fishing

low enough to get through moderate floating grass, and swapping hooks

between a #2 and #4 can also vary the www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


floatation when precision is needed.

front and a 2/O in the back will loosen it

with either a chartreuse or black back

gets hit hard even in extremely shallow

If given a preference I’ll just use pearl

up. When it’s time for a topwater, this bait

After yesterday I’m thinking I’ll be

including another technique in my

quest for late fall and winter trout. I was fortunate to fish with our own Casey Smartt, TSFMag’s fly

fishing editor; enlightened would be an understatement. I have

not done much fly fishing in the last several years but that may

change. Casey ties a big fly he

calls the “Fat Head” that looks a lot like a Corky Devil. With the right tools you can chunk it almost as

well as a Devil on a baitcaster and, I might add, exceptional accuracy. We often see ridiculously big fish laid up in tight places and this

may be one of the only ways to

The Rapala X-Rap topwater and the Super Shad by Big Bites are top choices.

is that the Corky operation has been

sold to MirrOlure. The end of an era, the

water. The key is just to not overwork it for the situation.

Super Shad - Swimming baits can

beginning of another, but MirrOlure has

make a lot of sense, especially when

will remain involved to make sure the

Super Shad by Big Bite Baits and it works

always stood for quality and Paul Brown creations continue to work as designed. We can probably expect them to

become more readily available and back into our favorite stores such as Fishing Tackle Unlimited.

Rapala X-Rap 13 - This big topwater

impressed a lot of big trout last year, and I’ve been stocking up on them with even

bigger expectations. A stiffer action rod is needed, which gave me an excuse to try the stiffest rod Fishing Tackle Unlimited makes, the All Pro “Green Rod” in M2

action. Glad I did as I’m starting to enjoy it for a range of applications. My favorite

X-Rap is in gold/olive, which basically just looks like a big mullet that needs to die. I do change out the hooks though, and

certainly ditch the grass dragging feather duster on the back. It’s just too big to be necessary and inhibits the action

somewhat, so a Gamakatsu 1/O on the Just Keep Five

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depth control is critical. New to me is the quite well for shallow winter work when

you need to drop down a bit. It’s mulletsized big, buoyant, bulky, and offers

some incredible action even at very slow speeds. Fluttering it down into a pothole

where a big fish is sitting is deadly. A big advantage is the belly slot for weedless

rigging which allows us to really get down

suspends and the slightest twitch

makes it live to die. I don’t see how a big fish could turn it down and I

intend to try.

It’s no secret that we enjoyed a

tremendous winter for big trout last year. I think I’ll just shut up now and let the lures do the talking. Let’s go catch a few pigs

and make life as exciting as it should be. Think big…just don’t get your shins wet!

Mike Mcbride

Contact

and be done with it. Of interesting note

catch them. The Fat Head barely

and dirty when we need to. The black or chartreuse back pearl seems to do just fine, but some have vertical stripes on

them that resemble perch which might

prove interesting in extremely clear water. You need a bigger hook for this bait such

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

as a 5/0 or 6/0, but even regular little

1/16 ounce jigheads have enough bite on them to work. When this lure gets eaten

it is usually inhaled so the hookup ratio is quite good. Just vary the amount of lead to put it exactly where you need it at the preferred speed.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

11


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Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

13


The Wisdom and the Pain Before daylight, I step outside. My

work is done outdoors, under the wide

sky, in a pathless place where seasons turn in tune with ever changing tides.

Above me, countless stars wink before a canopy of deepest blue; each time I

exhale, little clouds of condensation rise around my head in the brisk autumn air. In the east, the earliest streaks of

light hint at the coming day. Dawn is a

transient, yet utterly reliable, messenger.

But the burnished light of dusk is a better

metaphor for the poignant urgency of this season. Golden illuminations paint the

western sky before night, like smoldering embers in a dying campfire.

On these shortening days, the bay is

often quiet; gone are the loud crowds

in pursuit of trout and redfish will travel to

my work, armed with fake, plastic lures

with horns, hooves, beaks and wings.

trout as the schools of forage species

other places to hunt other species, ones The killing will continue in the fields,

marshes and forests; blasting shotguns

and rifles will announce the intentions of those who aim them.

Not that all the killing is a bad thing;

thinning the flocks and herds is a

necessary evil, one which sustains the species on both ends of the gun. A

Though many do not spend the winter

bills and pintails will ride out most of

the cold season atop the waves of the Laguna Madre. Numerous species of fish now swim purposefully beneath

those same waves, heading toward the

depths of the open ocean. They’ll follow the currents through a moss-covered

granite doorway, straight into the arms of their destinies.

Human beings are on the move too.

Many who spent the summer on the bays 14

November 2009

my face while I watch the head of my pinging plug dance back and forth,

cutting a crooked, disappearing path

over the waves which lap gently at my sides in the growing light.

The catching is easy this morning.

deadly intent. The waterfowl whistling

for killing, only a quest for connection, to share a kind of communion with a

significant member of the species I seek. These things occupy my mind as I

domain of my quarry.

on ground at all. Rafted redheads, blue

A determined gaze adorns

But I embark on my hunt with no need

over the water today. As I ready my boat migrate toward their wintering grounds.

big chill.

Trout of various sizes acrobatically

meaningless as a day without dusk.

don the rubber suit which will keep me

for the trip, creatures of all kinds steadily

abandon the estuaries in advance of the

growing season without a harvest is

that covered it all summer. I’m likely to

see more pintails than rooster tails rising

which become more effective in tricking

warm while I invade the submarine

attack what I offer with a serious and overhead appear to proceed with a similar purpose; all of this focused

energy derives fuel from the cool breeze. I become utterly content as I often am

in this season of change, catching and releasing my trout, connecting with a

This long, latesummer trout bit a topwater cast to a spot where a mullet showed the obvious distress created by a close encounter with a predator.

Autumn brings a cool edge to the water,

sharp like the scythe

the reaper eventually swings to slash all living things. The

honing of the edge sends a message

to the fish, stirring

instincts to move and to feed voraciously

when the opportunity presents itself.

I slide into the

shallows to begin Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five


society much simpler than my own.

Out here, immersed in the waves, I

can temporarily erase thoughts of all the pesky obligations of everyday

When I’m done admiring my trophy, I

release her from the tool and push her back and forth to move water over her

human life back on land, behind the

Trout like to feast in the Thanksgiving month too. This eight and a half pounder just had to have a bite of a baby bass Super Spook.

walls, under electric lights. Among the fish, I become one with nature,

turn inward to a place where the only

things that matter are ancient, eternal urges and instincts.

I’m suddenly alerted by the tell-

tale blip of a fish leaping up through the water’s surface. I turn to see

many creatures must pass a gauntlet of smoking barrels, gaping jaws and

gnashing teeth. Some will not survive to see next spring.

The arrival of this fall is more than

the beginning of the end of a year, it’s also a stage in my life’s journey. My

goatee’s gone almost completely gray, my eyesight is no longer acute, and I

see things differently than I once did. I embarked on a journey here in

attempt to glorify a season, a sporting

ethic and a species, but what I’ve done

a mullet splash down amidst a

is chronicle the exquisite anguish of

bathtub-sized swirl and a mud stir,

a moment. It’s a proud moment of

reinforcing my hunch about the

elation, completion, communion, and

motivation beneath its jump. This

relief. In a world of words and tools

life and death drama occurs within

and all things designed by the hand of

my casting reach. Without hurrying,

man, those concepts make sense.

keeping my eyes glued on the spot,

The fish knows nothing about

I make ready and pitch the plug a

such complex things; it knows only a

betrayed the presence of a predator.

For the fish, the end of our meeting

few feet beyond where the evidence

struggle to survive.

When my lure plops down, I wait

brought a new beginning. For me,

for a moment to allow concentric,

the event stirred a sentimental

widening circles to spread out

When the big trout bites, I am ready.

I see the strike but don‘t set the hook

until the weight of the fish forces a full

bend in my rod. The spastic thrashing

of the fish disrupts the water‘s surface,

scribbling a kind of elegy in salty, white, bubbling streaks.

The spotted sow jumps and shakes

her head defiantly, changing direction quickly, always resisting the pressure

from my end. But her energy is spent in vain. When I’m able to pinch the trout’s

jagged yellow lip with the blunt, stainless steel teeth of my Boga Grip, my sense of

realization, one which ironically gills. I can tell she’s still strong; soon

she frees herself with a vigorous flip of

her black-tipped tail. While I watch the

fish fade once more into the murky realm from which I temporarily removed her, a smug smile creases my countenance. And there, under the autumn sky,

while sharing Baffin with the fish and the flocks, I receive my epiphany.

so might provide relief from the strange, unexpected embarrassment which suddenly cloaks me.

I become acutely aware of

an obvious, yet intentionally

her, noting the aqua blue and lavender

released my fish, and still it lives. Yet I

hues reflecting from her glistening sides. Fear seems to widen her eyes while

unacknowledged thing. Yes, I have

have amused myself at its expense.

Though I strongly believe in the ethics

she beholds her captor. I see my face

which lie at the heart of catch and

memory of this, if any, she will carry in

practice. Appropriately, such an emotion

reflected in those eyes and wonder what her remaining time. Just Keep Five

www.TSFMAG.com

Kevin Cochran

Sheepishly, I bow my head, as if doing

satisfaction is complete.

I lift my prize from the water to measure

spoiled my innocence.

Contact

before I give it life with my rodtip.

release, I feel a twinge of grief over its

comes to me in autumn, a season when Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

15


16

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

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Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

17


Old Spirits and New Research Several years ago longtime turtle

patroller, Linda Morehead, pulled up on

her ATV and asked whether I had made the acquaintance of Carol, one of the new patrollers. I replied

that I had not and Linda followed with, “Well,

she’s a bit different and

Perry Detore fights a good red on a fly as well-known fly-fishing writer, Phil Shook, looks on.

cattle out there for ninety-two years, Pat’s

down here all these years and, I promise

working as what I have always lovingly

them and I’ve never encountered one

great-granddaughter is now out there referred to as a “turtle herder.”

Cynthia Rubio with “Josephine” the last turtle hatchling of 2009.

you, I’ve never been afraid of a one of

that was dangerous or harmful. Actually, I’ve come to enjoy their company and

consider them family, like the fish and coyotes and birds.”

She replied that she sensed that

I’m trying to keep her

but she needed to hear someone with

from scaring all the new

experience say it, and I laughed.

patrollers. I told her that

Carol then said, “There is a blackness

she would enjoy meeting

down here; something really bad

Lipan Apache but I’m not

down here and they don’t even sense it.

you...she’s a full-blooded

happened here. All these people come

too sure Padre Island is

If they knew, there wouldn’t be anyone

ready for two crazy Native

down her but you.”

Americans at once.”

That’s when I asked, “Haven’t you

Now Linda is a piece

heard about the three ship wrecks in

born to and of this island

than three hundred Spaniards down

of work herself; she was

and it comes natural. She

is the great-granddaughter of Patrick

Dunn; known as the Duke of Padre. Pat Dunn started running cows on Padre

in 1879 and by 1926 he owned most of Padre’s 130,000 acres. A legend in his

1554? The Karankawas killed more

A few days later Carol pulled up and

asked if I was the crazy man she had heard about.

I grinned and said, “Probably.”

I could tell she was nervous and

own right, he was a state legislator from

wanted to talk but seemed unable to get

company of his vaqueros in cow camp to

spit it out before you choke on it. What’s

1910 to 1926, renowned for preferring the being in town.

Pat Dunn helped launch the political

career of James Nance Garner. In

1926 he sold the island to real estate

around to it. Finally I said, “Damn Carol, the matter, them spirits wearing you a

little bit thin girl? Talking to you too much, are they”?

She killed the ATV’s motor and

developer, Colonel Sam Robertson,

jumped off. “Thank goodness someone

and ranched until his death in 1937. His

I was losing it. Their presence is so

but retained grazing and mineral rights son, Burton, continued to run cattle on

PINS until 1971 when the National Park Service terminated grazing.

As a child Linda worked as Burton’s

driver on the island. Somehow it’s always struck me as natural that after herding 18

November 2009

but me knows they’re here; I thought

strong in some places that I’m afraid to stop the ATV,” she said.

Although we had been acquainted

for only three minutes, I chuckled and

reached out and hugged her. “Baby girl,” I said, “They have been a part of my life Texas Saltwater Fishing

here and cooked and ate some of

them in front of the others. A lot of the spirits and the darkness you feel are

probably associated with that incident but there are many other spirits down

here and they all have their own stories. You should know your tribal history better. The Lipan Apache were the

Karankawas’ western neighbors and about the only ones they really got along with. Karankawa means dog

lover, for the small mute dogs they kept. But your people had a different name

for them that translates as, the people who walk in the water.”

I guess I eased her mind a little but

I noticed she wasn’t back for a second

year. El Codo del Diablo and Down South has that effect on some folks. I guess I’m the other side of the coin for it saved my life. Had I not been able to seek refuge there after returning from the military, I www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


Nick Somogyi; 5’-4” female blacktipped shark tag, photo, release.

newcomer tips now and then. And

although longtime users should know

it all by heart; it amazes me to drive by a camp containing over $60,000 worth

of equipment and have someone come running up asking if they can borrow

my jumper cables, a shovel, motor oil,

transmission fluid, or fix-a-flat. I always

Billy Sandifer’s

Coastal Birding

oblige as I was taught that was the law of the beach people but I never fail to

tell them bluntly that you do not come

down here without these things. When

don’t think I would ever have survived

others have to give you their emergency

magical place every day of my life and

and that’s simply not fair. Be self-reliant,

the white man’s world. I’m grateful for this thank the Creator for it.

As regular readers know, I’ve been

working with Endowed Associate

Researcher, Greg Stunz, Ph.D. and his

supplies then they no longer have them bring what you may need and don’t

depend on the kindness of others. There are days when no others are about!

On September 12 I had the experience

fine team from Harte Research Institute

of coming up on Cynthia Rubio releasing

University-Corpus Christi in shark

female named Josephine, she was

for Gulf of Mexico Studies at TX A&M

and speckled trout tagging programs. Recently, for some psychotic and

unjustified reason, certain individuals

have intentionally been spreading rumors that the goal of this work is to gather data with the intent of justifying the closure of

recreational shark fishing. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Hear this; Greg and his team are avid

They are supportive of Sharkathon and

donated prizes. They hope to encourage sport fishermen to tag all sizes and

species of sharks to support the program.

Colorful, small and stocky bird with relatively long, straight bill. Captures fish along wooded steams, ponds, swamps and marshes. Resembles a crow in flight. Solitary nester. Secretive.

the last of one hundred thirty green

turtles that hatched from the nest of one hundred thirty seven eggs I found. For

some unknown reason, this was the only non-Kemp’s Ridley nest found in Texas this year. What a Hoot.

Length: 18” Wingspan: 26” Weight: 7 oz

If we don’t leave any; there won’t be

any. Capt. Billy L. Sandifer

Capt. Billy Sandifer

Contact

numbers, growth rate and movement.

-Butorides virescens-

the last turtle hatchling of the year. A

recreational anglers and the goal of the program is to better understand shark

Green Heron

These a fine group of individuals on

a noble mission and I cannot imagine

why anyone would seek to defame them or their work. I give you my word; the

rumors are false and I wholeheartedly endorse them and the shark tagging

program. Info on their activities and how to procure tags is available online at www.fisheries.tamucc.edu

There are so many new people using

our beaches; including the rugged

and isolated four wheel drive beach of PINS, that it is necessary to give Just Keep Five

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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

Photo by Jimmy Jackson

November 2009

19


Live it. Fish it. Love it.

WAT E R F

HOMES ITES FROM T HE 240 ’S

STCHAR

RONT HOMES FROM $ 599K

LESBAY .CO ROCKPO M | 877.264. 0957 R T, T E X AS

Artist renderin gs and plans for The Boardwalk No guarantee is made that at St. Charles the proposed Bay are under constitute an features will development. offer in Hal Jones Dev the property repo any state where prior registrati be constructed, or that if elopment cons on is required rt required by . Void where proh tructed, will be of the num reserves the right to make federal law and WARNING: changes without ber and type read it before THE CALIFO described. The signing anything ibited by law. For unimprov notice. RNIA DEPART se materials shal ed lots at The *WA . C. NoVisi MENT OF REA fede ral t ww Boardwalk at agen l not L ESTATE HAS cyCha w.St has rlesB judged St. Charles Bay, the mer ay.c NOT INSPEC itsdeta for obtain or valu TED, EXAMIN om ils.e, if any, of thes ED, OR QUA e properties. LIFIED THI S OFFERING.

SCB_SWF100709.indd 1

20

November 2009

10/7/09 11:35 AM

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

21


E I D BO Bodie didn’t see the blow-up because

there wasn’t one. The trout just came up and sucked the Mirrolure down in

the classic toilet bowl flush and started

taking line. Bodie set the hook and let the

A ND THE N ET T ER S

skid marks. I have an idea how we might

In the mean time, another warden or two

we can do it tonight, but we’re going to

the slough but near enough to close in

go about catching these netters and I think need some help.” Bodie said to his friend. Bodie used a piece of driftwood and

could stand ready in boats well away from when alerted via radio.

Bodie called warden Wigginton telling

fish pull all the line it could then began

stalks of marsh grass to erase all their

him what they had found and laid out his

was wading up a slough hoping to find a

Tommy pulled anchor and headed back to

would make it happen.

slowly bringing it back to him. Tommy

school of reds when he noticed something on the muddy bank.

tracks along the slough before he and

port. While running back across the bay

plan. The warden agreed and said that he Later, with the night as dark as it had

Bodie told Tommy of his plan.

been the first time they had seen the

take a look at this.” Tommy yelled.

yards of the marsh grass was the start

Wardens and made the trip down the

glistening length before reviving her and

barrier island. Bodie figured that if he and

“Hey Bodie, you better come here and Bodie lifted the trout and admired her

completing the release. Wading back to the boat he iced two fat fryers and then made his way to where Tommy was standing. There in the mud were two of the same

impressions they had discovered with the warden the night they

On the back side of the lake within fifty

of the beach that composed most of the

a couple of wardens could get a ride in one of the departments 4x4 trucks down the

island to where the lake starts, they could hide and keep an eye on the nets from a

direction the netters wouldn’t be looking.

netters, Bodie accompanied two Game beach to the back side of the lake. Tommy had already announced that it might be

better for him to stay in town and keep an

eye out for suspicious-looking people. He was doing just that, and enjoying a cold

beer at Haddon’s Place, as Bodie and the wardens crept into their hide.

found the last net.

The slough fed into

a medium sized marsh lake and Bodie and

Tommy moved along the muddy bank until

they came to the edge

of the lake. It didn’t take but a minute for Bodie to see the net strung

across the waist deep

water. Bodie estimated that the net was well

over three hundred yards long and he believed

that the people who set it wouldn’t want this one to be found and destroyed.

“They’re getting better

at hiding their nets

Tommy Boy. We wouldn’t have known it was here if you hadn’t waded up this

slough and noticed those 22

November 2009

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“I’m sort of like on a secret mission,”

Tommy bragged to Eloisa. “I can’t tell you what it is but trust me, I’m working with Bodie and Parks & Wildlife on this and it’s BIG!”

Luckily there were no other customers

within earshot and Eloisa simply shook her head and drew Tommy his second frosty mug.

The wardens had toys that Bodie

didn’t have access to and the night vision goggles that they were looking through at the moment were just a few of them. The night took on an eerie green hue

while looking through the goggles and

Bodie thought how great they would be for running a boat at night. At 11:00pm on the dot Bodie saw movement across the lake where the slough dumped into the lake. “I think they’ve come back to work

their net,” Bodie whispered to the warden crouched beside him.

They watched the forms take shape

as the kayakers paddled into the lake.

And just as Tommy had guessed, there were two men, each paddling a kayak

and towing another. When the two men

Tommy had made the comments about destroying nets.

During their confession they coughed

up the full story. They had been staying in a seldom used cabin on a spoil island as

a base on the bay to store the kayaks and

hide their skiff. The outlaws would run their boat in the daylight to the cabin and then

after nightfall load the kayaks and paddle

out to set their net. They would then wait at

the cabin until time to run the nets and then use the empty kayaks to haul their nets

back along with the fish. The kayaks and

nets would be left in the cabin and the men

would use the power boat to haul the fish to a place where a truck could back right up to the water and they would off-load their catch then head back to port.

Bodie was tired and his crews had fence

to build and windmills to maintain the next

morning so he bid the wardens good night

and was going to head back to the Lazy C. He figured that Tommy could wait until the next evening to hear about catching the

netters…no point in interrupting his part of

cap lights and started working, one man

Warden or contact Operation Game Thief

and tossed the fish that they wanted to

keep into the other kayak. The other fish

Bodie and the Wardens removed their

night vision goggles and lit the men and

the lake up with spotlights. The surprised netters had nowhere to go but back the

titititititititititititititititititititititititititi

at 800-792-4263 (GAME). Be Safe.

Martin Strarup

Contact

made it to the stake at the end of their set,

Atiatitiabtiti ftititi atiti tif tititi tititiatititititi tititi titititi titiftititiatititititititititi

happen to find one, alert the nearest Game

they simply discarded to rot or be eaten by raccoons and crabs. When the men

“Gtititi” tititititi tititi

Bodie would like everyone to keep an

eye out for illegal netting activity. If you ever

on each side. They pulled net quickly

Chtitik tititi tihti tititi

the investigation.

reached the starting point of the net they slipped out of their kayaks, turned on

60 Stores 5 States 1 Brand

way that they had come and it was obvious they were going to make a run for it. The

wardens in the bay boats had been alerted and motored up to block the slough. The frightened outlaws were in the trap and

gave up sheepishly as they were taken into custody.

Back at the dock, Bodie recognized

the men as the very same that had shot him and Tommy the dirty looks after Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

23


November on Sabine…Everybody Wins! Cue the carnival music and bring up

the midway barker… “Step right up, everybody wins!”

That old chant could very well describe

the fishing on Sabine and Calcasieu for

the next several weeks. When everything comes together in November it seems

there is almost no wrong way to turn and nearly every pattern produces.

Just like the fish and game we pursue,

fishermen also feel the change as the

days get shorter and the temperatures

settle to that just perfect range. The fact that the conditions have changed is not

wasted only on fishermen, your outboard even seems to have a little extra pep

under the cooler and crisper air. Back

when a four-stroke was taboo and twostrokes ruled the water, it was almost

like getting a brand new engine when

the humidity and temperatures reached

that perfect point. My outboard’s throttle

absolutely live to chase schooling fish

if you want a bona fide big flatfish you

seldom venture into the salt in other

channel, ICW, the Sabine or Neches river.

under the birds in the fall, many of whom seasons. We have all seen freshwater anglers who just can’t stand to let the opportunity pass or the hunter who

needs one last fix before stowing their

gear and chasing whitetails fulltime. Still others embrace the opportunity to look

for that one fish they have been chasing their entire life and nothing beats the

allure of trophy trout. The silent army of

waders that are sworn to chase big trout will begin their assault this month and

continue on until most have put their boats in storage as the winter separates the

hard core angler from the casual. These two patterns represent both ends of the spectrum and there are many more in

between that will yield just as good results so there are really no bad choices.

Another very popular pursuit during

response always seemed magnified, like

the coming weeks will be the highly

is the time of the year we have all been

Lake made its name as Texas’ premiere

an old horse frisky to get out and run. This waiting for; embrace it and enjoy it, it won’t last forever.

Fishing in the fall months means

different things to different people and there is no one style or pattern better

than the other. I know anglers who just Trophy trout-mania kicks off in November.

anticipated fall flounder run. Sabine

flounder fishery many years ago and it

still stands on the top of the heap as far as flatfish are concerned. The endless shoreline drains and cuts that lead to

the miles of marshes along the east side of the lake are a flounder fisherman’s

flounder caught year after year come from

deeper water, it’s just that cut and dry. Live bait fished on a Carolina rig near a break or drop-off is a common theme when

searching deeper water for flounder. Much the way freshwater fishermen target big

catfish is how one needs to think in order

to score big flounder; eddies in the current that offer up great ambush points are tops on the list. And don’t hesitate to use large baits, big croaker or mullet will often yield flounder that have mouths so big they

may make you nervous when you get near them. That’s a nice problem to have.

Speaking of fishing the rivers, for years

when I first started saltwater fishing I

couldn’t understand why people went out

in Sabine Lake when we were catching all the trout and redfish we wanted miles up the river. The opportunity to make short

runs and not worry about the wind blowing you all around is enough to make most

anglers pay attention to this area. Throw

in the chance to catch some really big fish and you have a wonderful backup plan that rarely seems to disappoint.

The list of usual suspects found while

fishing the rivers is long and diverse and

flounder fishermen

get from up north but, generally speaking,

problem many

time of the year is

turning their backs to the flocks of

gulls working over schools of trout

and redfish. For sheer numbers of flounder

the Louisiana shoreline of

Sabine will be

hard to beat, but November 2009

There is no disputing that the biggest

paradise. The only

have during this

24

need to get in the deeper water of the ship

Texas Saltwater Fishing

much depends on how much runoff we

they are usually there in reliable numbers. Obviously the redfish is tops on the list

followed closely by trout and flounder as these species receive the lion’s share of

angling pressure. Others that show up in

good numbers are some very respectable sand trout, croaker, and black drum.

All of these are more than willing to eat

either live shad, mullet, or mud minnows along with shrimp fished on or near the bottom. Occasionally we get a party

crasher or two that will show up and make you scratch your head, jack crevalle and www.TSFMAG.com

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Water spouts can be extremely dangerous to fishermen.

tarpon probably top that list. The other

realize that there is no fish out there worth

local anglers this time of the year is the

on the horizon so you can enjoy many

big fish that has gained popularity among striped bass. They grow to be rather large and will eat just about

risking your life to catch. Keep a close eye more magical fall days on the water.

Lightning struck this boat and took the life of one fisherman and injured another.

anything that won’t eat

them. Perhaps the method that provides the most adrenaline is throwing big topwater plugs at

them when you find them schooling; the surface

strikes are vicious to say the least.

Now that we have

covered the area with a

broad stroke there is one other thing that this wonderful time of the year and that’s watching the weather. This time of the

year is known for producing some wild

weather swings and really nasty fronts

that can get quite dangerous. Just recently

Chuck Uzzle

Contact

needs to be mentioned as we head into

two local fishermen were in Black’s Bayou

in an aluminum boat when a thunderstorm moved in and forced them off the water.

As they were pulling anchor their boat was struck by lightning. One fisherman was killed and the other sustained multiple injuries. The images of the boat are

incredible. Like many, I too have been

guilty of taking chances with the weather and I sincerely hope these images will

encourage greater caution in the future. Be aware of your surroundings, take all

necessary precautions, and by all means Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

25


Science and the Sea

TM

A Shark In Fresh Water? Among sharks, great whites are famous for their size, hammerheads for their shape, and makos for their speed. But the bull shark has a remarkable ability its fellow marine sharks do not: It can thrive in fresh water. Bulky-bodied bull sharks are found in shallow coastal waters throughout the world, but they can journey quite far from the ocean. Bull sharks have been found more than 2,000 miles up the Amazon River! Scientists once thought a population of bull sharks in Lake Nicaragua was a separate species, they discovered that the sharks swim back and forth to the ocean through rivers and estuaries. To survive in the ocean, sharks must maintain the proper balance of salts and water inside their bodies - a process called osmoregulation. To keep from losing water and dehydrating in the salty sea, sharks maintain high levels of a substance called urea in their bodies. They also have a special organ that excretes excess salt they absorb from sea water. When a bull shark ventures into bays, rivers or lakes, it faces the opposite problem: It must retain vital salt while getting rid of excess fresh water. To cope with this change, bull sharks reduce the amount of urea in their body, and their kidneys work overtime, excreting about 20 times more urine - but much less salt - than when they are in salt water. Bull sharks use a lot of energy to keep up this balancing act. What scientists want to learn next is how being able to thrive in fresh water helps bull sharks survive.

The University of Texas

Marine Science Institute www.ScienceAndTheSea.org Š The University of Texas Marine Science Institute 26

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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If it’s explosive topwater action you’re looking for, look no more. Our topwater Badonk-A-Donk’s eye-catching, head-turning, jaw-dropping action is irresistible to fish! Designed from the inside out with heavy duty saltwater grade hardware and components and offered in three sizes ( 31/2-, 4- and 4 1/2-inch), fifteen colors and two pitches (vibration frequency). Our high pitch (Hp) version is perfect for windy days and stained water conditions, while the low pitch (Lp) version is just what you need on those calm days and clear water. Sometimes the fish just want something a little different so don’t be timid; mix things up. No matter which pitch (Hp or Lp) you choose the panicked prey vibration will produce explosive topwater action the likes you’ve never seen!

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

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

© 2009 EBSCO Ind.

November 2009

27


Ask the Pro After receiving

much needed rain in

j ay wat k i n s

September and early October, I am

hoping November will provide improved

fishing conditions. The effects of the 2009 drought will not suddenly go away with

the sweetening of our bays but it should

improve our catches. Only time will tell but I am very optimistic that the recent rainfall and falling water temperatures will have

a positive affect on our fishery. I’d still like to see Cedar Bayou open but for now I

am happy for the rain and the forecast for more looks even more promising.

Late October and November is an

Understand that during tide movement

the fish will move from one bend to the next searching for the best ambush

points. Water movement is critical. As

tides fall the trout and red fish will actually swim up into the drains, staging in bends where current is strongest. On incoming tides the fish will pull out of the drains

and stage at the entrance on the outside. I look for the dark green holes in the

drains where trout will congregate in the

clear water. A two foot change in depth is

tremendous in a drain that might average two to three feet at normal levels.

It important to remember that the

excellent month to visit the middle Texas

water in the lake will be very clear as

outdoor world that change is coming.

and November. This clear water will be

coast. Cooler temperatures signal the

The changes in weather patterns create “feeding up” in our game fish as well as migration to spawning grounds for our

local flounder. Baitfish sense the changes

and start moving to the deeper bay waters and channels. The combination of these two factors creates some of the year’s

best action and I am curious to see how the cooler water temperatures, shorter

days and reduced salinity affects our trout bite. Even though I have targeted redfish more than ever the past few seasons,

I will always will be a trout fisherman at

heart. No other fish gets me as stoked as

Work the color change in the sloughs during frontal passage.

water temperatures drop during October pulled through the drains and finally

sets in as soon as the boat eases into

open bay. The line where clear meets

observed. To stand and sight cast to

meet up with water of greater color in the dirty is an absolute dream zone during

the passage of our first few fronts of the season. Many have been the days that

I could see the doubt in client’s eyes as we pulled away from the dock with 20 to 25 mph NE and bay water looking like a root beer float. Amazement

the shoreline and the clear water is

both trout and reds as they enter or exit a drain is a very common occurrence

this time of year. With migratory birds of all species dotting the skies it can truly

be an experience you will never forget.

Local artists, Barnes, Booth and Cowan have captured this scene in many of

Sloughs can provide solid November action.

a trophy-sized speckled trout.

I will be concentrating my efforts on

shoreline drains, not just the mouths, but

every bend and also the areas where the drains meet the back lakes. During the

first few cold fronts I expect the best trout to be in the bends closest to the area

where the drain opens into the lake. As the gamefish population feeds through

the bait supply and water temperatures drop lower, I anticipate trout will drop

back towards the area where the drain meets the bay. 28

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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a sk t h e pro

their paintings and I have been blessed to walk into many of them.

Speaking of blessed, I have to say

that I have been very blessed these past four years. I don’t want to get anyone stirred up over the pros and cons of tournaments; just let me say what

they have done for me. Tournaments

I wish everyone could experience the joy I have found fishing with my family. I could

not have done any of these things with my

sponsors and the help of special friends in the business. The list is too long but you guys know who you are and you know

how much I appreciate each one of you.

I know times are tough so take care

have allowed me to fulfill sponsorship

of your families first, I’ll be here waiting

wonderful guys and gals, sharing victories

come again.

obligations and I have met some

and disappointments. I have learned

that I am no way as good an angler as I

once thought I was. Mostly I have had the

and practicing until some of you can

“May your fishing always be catching,” – Jay Watkins

wife in these competitive events, spending quality time and creating memories I will always cherish. Special moments this

past tournament season were; winning

the I.F.A. Rockport with Jay Ray, catching a lifetime bass with Ryan, finishing

second in the First Annual Majek Owners

Contact

opportunity to fish with my sons and my

Tournament with Ryan, and winning the

Guided Lure Division of the world’s largest women’s fishing tournament with my wife Renee’. Perhaps insignificant to much of

the outside world, but Super Bowls for me. Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

29


f ly f i s h i n g De pa r t m e n t

Four Flies that Changed Fly Fishing

Recently while

discussing fly designs

with some friends, the

topic came up of which patterns had most

c a s e y sm a r t t

influenced the course of saltwater

fly fishing and fly tying. After a little

debate, we each made a short list of

new opportunities for anglers. To

ever tied.

accounted for more record book

and possibly the best, permit flies

Bob Clouser’s Deep Minnow

In the late 1970’s, Bob Clouser was

experimenting with designs that could

flies that we felt had become classics, impressive track records. We were

surprised to find our lists were virtually

jigs used

lead shot crimped around the hook

have caught more permit on a fly rod

than anyone in history. And that is no small accomplishment because the fickle, picky attitude of the permit is

legendary. Some folks spend years trying to catch just one.

Del no doubt was a fine angler,

but he had a secret weapon- a fly

that could trick permit better

than any other. The fly was

called a Merkin and it was a

weighted crab pattern constructed

from trimmed strands of tan rug yarn

and white rubber legs. In the vise the Merkin looked like a crab… sort of.

But on the flats where permit roamed, it had no equal. For many anglers,

Del Brown’s Merkin crab actually

made it possible for them to catch a permit. And, it laid the groundwork for a style of fly tying used in many of the crab and shrimp patterns

we see today. Del will no doubt be

remembered for his skill as a permit

angler, and his Merkin crab will likely November 2009

His early experimental patterns used shank to provide the weight necessary

By all accounts, Del is reported to

to make them rise and fall like a jig.

These flies caught fish but tying them was impractical. Then, in 1985 Tom Schmuecker of Wapsi Fly Company

sent Bob some lead dumbbell eyes he had developed using special molds. Bob began using the lead eyes on

his streamers and quickly realized the heavy eyes were the missing

link. He slowly refined his design

and narrowed down color and flash combinations that were effective.

Bob’s friend Lefty Kreh suggested

he call the new fly the “Clouser Deep Minnow,” and a legend was born.

The Clouser Deep Minnow did

two things no previous fly had done.

First, it had an exaggerated up-down

action… just like a jig. This action was irresistible to fish. Second, (like its

name suggested) the Clouser Deep Minnow could go deep. As Lefty

Kreh put it, “It sank like an anvil in a swamp.” This made it possible for anglers to present a fly with a very

attractive action to fish in deep water or in strong currents. As elementary

as it was, Bob Clouser had created a fly that performed like a jig. His new

pattern was easy to tie and incredibly

effective. This was a quantum leap in fly fishing and it opened up countless Texas Saltwater Fishing

in his fly box.

Popovics began experimenting

lead-head

chose them.

with a very special fish- the permit.

every fly angler on the planet has one

action of

by anglers with conventional tackle.

Del Brown’s name is synonymous

catches than any fly in history. Nearly

Bob Popovics’ Surf Candy

the same. Listed below are four of the flies that made our lists, and why we

date, The Clouser Minnow has

make a fly match the

either through creative designs or

Del Brown’s Merkin

30

go down in history as one of the first,

In the mid 1970’s, angler Bob

with epoxy as a way to protect flies from the

ravaging teeth of

bluefish.

At the time,

a few fly tyers were using epoxy to

coat thread wraps on their patterns

and some were using it to coat entire flies. Although tough, these coated flies were crude and gained little

acceptance among anglers. Popovics knew epoxy had great potential as a

fly tying material if he could figure out the most efficient way of using it.

Then in the mind 1980’s he

discovered a simple way to manipulate wet epoxy into a baitfish pattern

using a bodkin needle. With his

new method, Popovics produced a promising fly with an indestructible

glass-like head and a lifelike fibrous tail. A few years later, synthetic

fibers hit the market and Popovics

incorporated these tough translucent fibers into his epoxy pattern. The

result was a fly that was beautifully lifelike, and incredibly durable.

Popovics called it, “Surf Candy.” The Surf Candy fly immediately caught

on with East Coast anglers because it was easy to cast, tough enough

to stand up to bluefish, and lifelike enough to fool false albacore.

The innovative methods Popovics

used to create the Surf Candy lead

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mainstay patterns and his methods

first one I ever saw was circa 1992. I

of manipulating epoxy have become fundamentals of saltwater fly tying. Jon Cave’s Wobbler

If you spend much time fly fishing for redfish, you will

become familiar with

the Spoonfly. A deadly pattern for many

different saltwater and freshwater species,

this fly has become a

mainstay of Texas flats

I don’t know what year the Cave’s

Wobbler actually hit the streets, but the remember it clearly, because I thought

it was the coolest, most innovative fly I had ever seen. I still do. Crafted from flattened epoxy coated mylar tubing and outfitted with a stout wire weed

guard and black bead

chain eyes, the Wobbler you wished you had

invented. There was no other fly that was even remotely like it.

The Wobbler basically

looked like a cross between a spoon and

spoonflies, few are familiar with the

to cast, Wobblers had a terrific action in

pattern that started it all:

O VIDE

Jon Cave’s Wobbler.

years later. Today, most spoonflies are tied with iridescent mylar tape instead of mylar tubing. They are deadly flies

for catching fish on the flats. And even

though they are sleeker and flashier than the original Wobblers, we still have Jon Cave to thank for the innovative design that started it all.

was one of those flies

fishing. And although many anglers

are out there whipping redfish with their

pearl version became available a few

a shrimp. Although they were a bit tough

Contact

flies have established themselves as

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.

f ly f i s h i ng de pa r t m e n t

and lifelike. Today, Popovics’ epoxy

the water and were absolutely weedless. The original Wobblers were gold, but a

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

Call now for Duck & Gator Hunts!

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

31


Of f s hor e

Blu e wat er Jou r n a l

Bobb y b y r d & C a p t. j ph n co c h r a n e

New Records Highlight Summer Season! The 2009 bluewater fishing season

was the first one ever reported on our

Texas Legends Billfish Tournament,

some incredible angling achievements

different billfish species all in one day,

were several reports of big swordfish

turned out to be really unique with and a new state record broadbill

swordfish. The summer started off

with a hot bite. When the wind and seas would allow, most anglers

fishing in May and June had great

success. One of the boats not letting

the barnacles get too comfortable on

it’s bottom was Brett Holden’s Booby Trap. They started the season with several outstanding trips, catching multiple billfish, which culminated into a fantastic first place win at the Houston Invitational Billfish

Tournament. The tournament is

coast. A super slam is catching four a very unique event in itself. In the

Gulf of Mexico, that usually means

catching a blue marlin, white marlin,

sailfish and a swordfish. A spearfish can count as one of the billfish, but they are extremely rare. A double

super slam is even more exceptional and as the name implies is catching

two of each of the four species in one day. To top it off, they did it during a tournament; a record achievement with a nice reward in prize money! It was an incredible feat and very

deserving for a boat and crew that spend more time

offshore than any other boat on the coast.

Some other

exciting news this

season is that the swordfishing has

been phenomenal. Fishing at night for

broadbill swordfish has become very popular, right

the Minno-Sota, a 42’ Don Smith

center console, as they topped the

old swordfish record of 314 pounds

with a 326 pound monster that they weighed in at Surfside Marina on

September 5th. The 141.5 inch fish is now the official Texas State Record.

Congratulations to angler Shayne and Captain Jim Stewart, along with crew; Daniel Miers, Anthony Lopez and

Francisco Padua. That same night, not too far away, the Reel Attitude was also swordfishing and ended

up weighing a 275 pound swordie. It

became obvious that there were some big fish out there and a lot of anglers

were getting excited. Getting in on the action, Mark Glassmeyer and crew on the Goin’ South weighed a 271

pound beast a couple of weeks later. There’s a great video of this fish on

the internet. Check it out at http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=k_xy6-h8Vd4. On Sept. 12, 2009, a week

achieved another fishing first out

fishing doesn’t stop,

and many fishermen experienced

catching their first

organized by the Houston Big Game

swordfish this summer. As the season

Freeport, TX. Their catch included an

being caught. The crew of the No

November 2009

for Shayne Babich and his crew on

Anglers are finding sun goes down the

32

mark brought in. That set the stage

after catching their big swordfish,

out that when the

amazing Double Super Slam which

lost and a few around the 200 pound

along side fishing

for yellowfin tuna.

Fishing Club at Surfside Marina near

the largest of four weighed-in. There

progressed, larger swordfish started

Sabe weighed a 144 pound fish in the Texas Saltwater Fishing

the Reel Attitude, a 68’ Viking,

of Port Aransas. After catching a

sword at 1:20 in the morning, angler J.R. Douglas had a Super Slam

by 2:25 in the afternoon, another

very unique angling achievement

and the first reported out of Port A.

Congratulations to owner Jim Douglas and crew for an outstanding catch. On the tournament trail, one

boat had an incredible year – www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


Yachts. We specialize in sportfishing

Tournament. These guys won

get a great deal on your next boat.

Texas International Fishing three of the biggest billfish

our website at www.foxyachtsales.

owners, captains and mates

John Cochrane at captjohn@

As hunting season begins,

many of us think more about going to the ranch than

heading offshore. However, the bluewater fishing is still

very good this time of year and until the water cools down,

there is plenty of opportunity to catch big fish. For more

information about big game

fishing off the Texas Coast or to just talk about fishing and

congratulations to Donnie Seay,

hunting, come by the Fox Yacht Sales

Goddess. They had a red hot summer

At Fox we have an extensive inventory

the Texas Legends Billfish Tournament

- Seabrook Office at Tops-N-Towers. of brokerage boats and we are the exclusive Texas dealer for CABO

com or you can contact foxyachtsales.com.

Contact

can only dream of.

winning the Poco Bueno Invitational,

For more information, check out

tournaments on the coast,

an achievement many boat

Capt. John Uhr and the crew of Seay

boats and motor yachts. Come by and

of f s hor e

and Grand Champion of the

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

Roys Bait & Tackle - Corpus Christi - 361-992-2960 and other fine retailers in the Texas area. Endorse d By Cpt. Ste ve Utley

www.reactionstrike.com / kris@reactionstrike.com Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing Texas Saltwater.indd 1

November 2009

33

9/30/2009 10:17:46 PM


Conservat ion Pag e

CCA Texas to Fund $14,000 Flounder Boat for Sea Center Texas As we are all well aware, Texas has seen a dramatic

decline in southern flounder numbers. This decline has

prompted Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)

officials to explore various management options to increase

boat will be used by SCT staff to ensure SCT and other

hatcheries have sufficient numbers of fish to insure reaching production and research goals for the future.

“CCA Texas is proud to be part of another important

the statewide population.

project related to the recovery of the southern flounder”

to rear hatchery produced juvenile southern flounder for

at Sea center Texas is doing great work and this boat will

One option TPWD recently initiated is a dedicated effort

stocking into Texas’ bays and estuaries. The ultimate goal at Sea Center Texas (SCT) in Lake Jackson is to develop

new techniques for growing flounder on a large-scale basis

to help compensate for poor class recruitment regardless of

said Robby Byers, CCA Texas executive director. “The staff assist them in their efforts. CCA Texas and our members

are committed to seeing flounder numbers rebound and this boat is another big step in the flounder recovery process.” The decline in southern flounder numbers in Texas

the season.

is alarming and CCA Texas will continue to work with

been the ability to acquire the quantity of broodstock that

species back to its historic levels.

A critical aspect and challenge in achieving this goal has

is required to consistently spawn captive flounder. Studies indicate that three males are needed for every female for successful fertilization of flounder eggs.

For the last couple of years, SCT has been able to

acquire adult southern flounder through a variety of

researchers and TPWD officials to help bring this important

HTFT Project Update: Vancouver Reefing Project Commitment Grows

In April of this year, CCA Texas Executive Board

methods. Efforts by SCT staff, CCA sponsored guided

approved a $25,000 commitment for the Vancouver

few methods that have been used to gather broodstock.

addition of a $60,000 grant for nearshore reefing from a

fishing trips and fish donated by the general public are a These efforts have been productive but it has become apparent that hook and line collection

Nearshore Reefing Project off the Freeport coast. With the private foundation and the donation of additional materials

simply isn’t enough to bring in the amount

of fish this program needs to be successful. One method that has proved to be very

successful is in other areas of the state is “netting”. This method is similar to

gigging flounder under the lights but nets

are used rather than gigs. This allows the fish to be gently lifted into the boat with

no harm done to the subject. With catch rates as high as 50 fish in a three hour

period, it is also an extremely efficient and effect way to collect broodstock.

To this end, CCA Texas is pleased to

announce the gifting of $14,000 to SCT for the purchase of a welded aluminum boat, motor and associated equipment. The 34

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five


from Oldcastle Precast out of Brookshire, Texas, CCA Texas’

blocks, Oldcastle Precast has donated over one-hundred

Vancouver Project. This project will now be a joint effort between

materials will provide beneficial habitat to the Vancouver reefing

Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) has reshaped the

HTFT, Oldcastle Precast, Dorsett Brothers Concrete and Texas Parks Wildlife Department (TPWD).

In addition to the original materials of twenty-three granite

concrete catch basins, man ways, and like materials. These area as well as easily accessible fishing waters for Texas recreational fishermen.

Dorsett Brothers Concrete, based out of Pasadena, has

provided temporary storage with docking facilities along

the Old Brazos River in Freeport where materials will be

loaded to be taken offshore. Materials have been moved

to the staging area and TPWD is currently in the process of

putting together the necessary information for bid packages with the hope of awarding a bid by the end of the year and

deployment of materials as soon as possible after the award has been made.

The donations from Oldcastle Precast and Dorsett

Brothers Concrete along with an additional $25,000

commitment from HTFT has more than doubled the size

of the original project and works with TPWD’s Nearshore

Reefing Program to provide an easily accessible nearshore reef. HTFT will continue to work with TPWD in its efforts to provide Texas recreational fishermen with habitat rich nearshore waters that will attract the most sought after offshore species along the Texas coast.

Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

35


F i e l d n o t e s

Gar By Kevin Willis Matagorda Bay Ecosystem Fish and Wildlife Technician Palacios, Texas

As a young man, I spent a half-decade paddling the

backwaters and oxbows of southeast Texas’ Neches River.

In search of the glamorous largemouth bass, I encountered some other interesting and odd species of fish. One of this lot was the Atractosteus spatula, commonly known as the

alligator gar. I routinely saw these armor plated torpedoes hovering merely inches below the surface of a stagnant

pool, as if to dare an unsuspecting turtle or other prey to

foolishly cross its path. Over time, my perception of these

bayou brutes shifted from disregard, to one of interest and intrigue.

How does such a large, predatory fish live in very

stagnant, oxygen deprived waters? These fish have

survived since prehistoric times and can handle whatever life throws at them. Unfortunately, in recent years, this species’ populations are being threatened throughout

their range. While all of the factors are not entirely known, habitat loss is one huge problem facing these animals. In addition, lack of fishing

(Lepisosteus platostomus). The alligator gar is by far the

largest of the three species, reaching monumental lengths of up to 10 feet and a whopping 300 pounds. The alligator gar is easily identified from the other three species by its distinctive two rows of needle sharp teeth in the upper

jaw. These fish can endure fresh, brackish, and saltwater. Amazingly, they also have the ability to breathe air from

the atmosphere. This feat is accomplished by a unique air

bladder that is coupled directly to the throat. When alligator gar are seen “rolling” on a body of water, they are actually

gulping air into their throats. Because of small, insignificant

gills, they inhale 70% of their oxygen from above the water’s surface when the temperature rises above 70 degrees F. In fact, they are even known to survive up to two hours above

water. These creatures dine primarily on fish, but they also partake of crustaceans and even waterfowl.

Though we know little about alligator gar, we do know

that loss of habitat is an incessant problem that damages

regulations coupled with the larger specimen’s

growing reputation as a trophy fish, may be contributing factors.

Studies are currently

Gar Scales

underway to understand

more about this species, and to determine what

must be done to reverse or stop the current trend of decline.

The alligator gar is

one of four species

of gar inhabiting the

southeastern United States. The other

three being the spotted gar (Lepisosteus

oculatus), longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus),

and the shortnose gar 36

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Just Keep Five


F i e l d no t e s

most fisheries to some degree. The

the age decreases greatly to just 28

there’s a reason they have served as a

certain backwaters as fertile grounds

is a direct correlation between growth

for thousands of years. They are an

alligator gar, in particular, counts on

to spawn and lay eggs in the spring of the year. The eggs, which are highly

toxic for human consumption, adhere to freshly flooded vegetation and clutter.

After hatching, the young will use these grounds to provide them with food

as well as protection. Unfortunately,

channeling, diversion, and damming has altered historical river flow. The

ever-present demand for water in large

years. It has also been shown that there rates quality of habitat. Considering

this species reaches sexual maturity at around five feet in length, and it takes

twelve years to reach this size, there is a certain uphill battle for the species. Additionally, many of the largest

specimens are targeted by trophy

hunters when they may be the only

mature adults in a particular region.

Fortunately, this fact of slow growing

cities due to sprawling developments

and long-lived animals has not gone

the loss of historical bottomlands.

fishermen that pushed for limits on these

and swollen populations is advancing As a result, many of these spawning

areas that are vital to the alligator gar’s existence are now nonexistent.

Alligator gar are long-lived fish. In

areas where the environment is good, alligator gar can have a 50-year life span. In stressed regions, such as habitat areas with high degree of

degradation or high fishing pressure, Just Keep Five

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unnoticed by a large contingency of fish through an online petition. The

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission responded proactively this year,

administering regulations effective

September 1, 2009. These regulations limit sport and commercial harvest of alligator gar to one fish per day.

Whether you consider the alligator gar

to be a trophy, trash fish, or a delicacy, Texas Saltwater Fishing

crucial part of our marine ecosystems

evolved apex species that have very few natural predators, except for humans.

As with any species, the total loss of the population would be misfortunate, as

they deserve to stalk our waterways for thousands of years to come.

Alligator gar are primitive fish

protected from predation and

environment by hard, diamond-shaped ganoin scales. These scales feature an external layer composed of hard,

shiny enamel. Evidence suggests that

Native American Indians used scales for broadheads. Today gar scales are used to make jewelry.

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

November 2009

37


k a y a k f i s h i n g

Surfango Surprise So the other day I

get an e-mail from Pam

Johnson saying I needed to check out some

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

pictures of her on a Surfango kayak. I

open the attachments and there’s Pam cruising along on a kayak throwing a

discovered flats fishing and got hooked

arc and I’m headed off chasing

a store and saw a kayak with a jet-drive

connecting to the next lake. Controlling

on tailing reds. One day he walked into and bought it. He enjoyed it so much

that he got involved with the company and now sells them.

EJ winds us through the backcountry

wake. The next shot has her fishing

and settles down near Power Lake. It’s

looks like fun. A phone call later I learn

miles of marsh to ourselves. We off-

from the kayak while standing. Hmmm, that Surfango has a rep in Victoria, Texas. Cool. Even cooler was the

invite to spend the day fishing out of

one with Pam, EJ, and Robby, the rep.

the middle of the week and we’ve got

load the kayaks and Robby gives us a

brief run-down on the operation of this

little jet boat. It has a 9.5 hp four-stroke

I love this gig.

needed was a missile and I could’ve taken him out from his six.

As we enter the lake he kills the

motor and starts paddling. I follow suit and find that this little motorized yak actually paddles pretty good. I had

little sleigh ride. Robby heads back

to Matagorda Island. From there

to the boat to let EJ have a turn. A

we’ll cruise the back lakes testing the

few minutes later here comes Everett

kayaks and looking for October reds.

cruising by with a huge grin stretched

On the run over I get talking to Robby

across his face waving me on to follow

about the company, the boats, and how

him. I honestly don’t think you can pilot engine, jet drive,

and steers with a console joystick.

You need about 6-8 inches of water to get on plane and it’ll run through

3-4 inches. Next thing I know I’m

sitting in the yak

and wondering if I

We zigged and zagged along the

winding bayou into Power Lake before stopping at the far shoreline to set up a drift. First thing out of EJ’s mouth

was, “This is cool.” I have to agree. I

have a powerboat and I obviously have a bunch of kayaks, this little craft is the best of both worlds. You can motor

away from the crowd and then quietly paddle your way into the fish.

An hour or so later and with only a

couple reds, it was obvious Power Lake

Robby fires his

head out to the open bay and try the

he got involved. The gist of it is he’s

motor up and says, “Come on, let’s go.”

family guy and needed to settle down.

throttle trigger, and off I go. Sweet.

I hit the start button, pull the joystick

Now I need to turn before I hit that

shoreline. I lean the joystick left and the little boat responds in a smooth Texas Saltwater Fishing

one of these boats without grinning.

shouldn’t be getting more instruction.

November 2009

to pretend you’re a fighter pilot. All I

Assassin paddletail and gives me a

onto EJ’s flats boat and mothership

38

water and with the joystick you get

my first red of the day jumps on an

load a couple of Surfango Hawaii GTs

a kayak. Upon landing in Texas, he

comfortable. It’s like a go-kart on the

start casting and within a few minutes

launch at Charlie’s. The plan is to

deep water and loved doing it from

only a few minutes to get completely

but tough to push with a paddle. We

around dawn and head down to the

From California, he is used to fishing

the boat is totally intuitive and takes

figured it would be good for motoring,

We meet at the Johnson’s house

been a pro racecar driver who turned

Robby’s wake down a winding bayou

wasn’t the place to be. We decided to south shoreline where EJ had found

some fish earlier in the week. Had we been paddling it wouldn’t have even been an option due to the distance involved, but with the Surfango we

just powered up and headed out. The www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


K aya k f i s h i ng

funniest part of the whole day was

EJ who was doing the same. Without

blind and watching the expressions

and circled upwind of the feed before

cruising by some guys building a duck on their faces as we zipped by doing 30 mph. I could just imagine their

conversation when we faded from sight. Upon leaving the protection of the

lakes we headed straight into the chop of the open bay shoreline. It wasn’t

outrageous, but it was a little bumpy. I

figured we were about to take a beating but was pleasantly surprised to find

that the little boats cut the waves pretty

words we turned off the shoreline

cutting the motors. Within a few casts I was hooked up and getting pulled in circles by a solid red. The wind was pushing us too hard for a drift so we slid the yaks onto the shoreline and

waded into a good bite. At one point I

got the school cornered in a small cove and landed five reds on five casts. It doesn’t get much better than that.

The bite slowed and EJ said the

good. I won’t try to blow smoke up

words I wasn’t ready to hear, “I’ve got

deep-V bay boat, but it certainly wasn’t

done.” Reluctantly, we waded back

your skirt and tell you it was like riding a uncomfortable. In fact, it was fun.

magazine business that needs to get to our trusty steeds, powered up and

cruised on over to the mothership for the ride back across the bay.

I know it may be blasphemy to the

purist paddlers, but this little motorized yak is high on my “wants” list. For me it’s all about the tools. I use the tool

that fits the job at hand, whether that be my flats skiff for reaching far-off back

waters or my kayak for silently pursuing tailing reds. I think the Surfango just

A couple miles later I got hit in the

face by that sweet smell of feeding fish

followed up with the visual confirmation of a big slick just off the shoreline. I

Contact

might be the angler’s multi-tool.

eased off the throttle and looked over to Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

39


c a p t. s co t t s omm e r l at t e

ACCOR D ING TO S COTT

We all see it daily . . . careless and inconsiderate

individuals who take for granted the beauty and serenity of our natural resources.

Recently, as in just last week, I was poling a sport from

Montana down a quiet bayfront shoreline in search of tailing redfish. It was quite pleasant because the horrid weather had kept most anglers at home and despite the ominous

skies and ripping north winds, the mangrove-lined, leeward shore provided just enough protection that the water was

still and clear allowing us to see the occasional redfish to

cast a fly to. At some point that day, my angler commented

on how beautiful a spot I had chosen to fish and how clean and pristine everything was.

To put things in perspective, the angler was standing

on the casting deck and I was three feet higher on the poling platform. His view was obscured by the

mangroves. Unfortunately, because of my elevated

position, I could see more. Hidden behind those lush green tropical shrubs were mounds of trash; water

bottles, beer cans and plastic grocery bags. There were

old tackle boxes, landing nets and what I think was an old microwave oven. The point is that there was a spattering of any and everything that a person could possibly imagine. To say the least, I was heartbroken. 40

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Now, in the defense of Texas fishermen, some of the

trash could have washed into our bays from passing ships in the gulf that so carelessly empty their trash overboard

daily which, by the way, is not against the law according to

MARPOL regulations. That is, unless you are talking about plastic products which must be retained and disposed of properly once reaching port.

The simple fact is that fishermen and hunters are

some of the greatest stewards of the natural world. We, as a whole, contribute millions to conservation efforts

annually and most would never do anything, intentionally

to harm the environment that we so dearly cherish. Notice that I said most.

Back on Labor Day of this year I had the chance to take

a day off to just go fishing. No guiding, no pictures, just a

day of fun. So I called up my friend and mentor Burt Moritz and asked him to accompany me on the skiff for a nice

day on the water. He accepted the invitation and the next morning we pulled up to the public boat ramp only to find

out just how trashy and pathetic some fishermen really are. Once the boat was ready to dump off the trailer we noticed

one of the adjacent docks had been trashed- pun intended!

There were beer cans, empty bait boxes and the

carcasses of filleted, undersize fish everywhere. It was www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


our own actions and by keeping a watchful eye on others

the trash cans, I noticed several baggies of fish fillets that

please do pass up the chance to help by taking a little

up. And, if that was not sad enough, on one of my trips to

and report those who clearly do not give a damn. Also,

someone had presumably discarded from their freezer.

time to pick up someone else’s mess. It might not be too

There is no telling what the full story is behind that.

Again, these are just some of the most recent stories that

I have. These things go on daily up and down the coast. In

fact, I remember one day, several years ago, when my good friend, David Sams and I were coming back from shooting

pictures down in Corpus Christi and we were driving down

glamorous of a concept but, if enough of us take just a

minute or two to pick up a beer can or plastic sack blowing

across the parking lot at a favorite boat ramp, we might just set an example that others will follow.

One final thought before I go, you know, it being

November and all. . . gobble, gobble, gobble. . . here is to

Hwy 185 right out of Seadrift when something on the side

you all having a great holiday with friends and loved ones.

of the road caught our eye. We slowed the truck, turned

around. What we found was nothing short of atrocious!

Cheers!

it and their livewell on the side of the road. It was truly

shameful and represented some of the worse that we, as fishermen, can do.

So as I sit here writing this I cannot help but wonder what

we can do to put an end to the trashing of our resource. Well, we might not be able to put an end to it but, we

certainly might be able to slow it by being more mindful of

Just Keep Five

www.TSFMAG.com

Contact

Someone driving home from a day of fishing had decided that it was not worth it to clean their catch and emptied

Accor di ng to S co t t

a smelly, horrible mess that took us quite a while to pick

Capt. Scott Sommerlatte is a full time fly fishing and light tackle guide, freelance writer and photographer. Telephone 979-415-4379 Email vssommerlatte@hotmail.com Website www.scottsommerlatte.com

Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

41


You t h f i s h i n g

tex as saltwater

Old Things Can Become New Again This is a busy time for me, trying to balance

school, football, family, friends, and my love

AA ron c i s n e ro s

for the outdoors. For the last couple of months I have

not been able to get away as much as I would have liked too; something always seemed to get in the way. It didn’t help that my old boat was in the shop being refurbished

to become new again. It took awhile, but when I saw the

finished product, it was certainly worth the wait. My boat was completely redone from top to bottom and sporting some new features that made it look just like new.

Having my boat looking like new, inheriting my dad’s

outboard which is still in great shape along with a fairly new

aluminum trailer, I was eager to get out and do the thing that I so much love to do. I wasn’t the only one that was excited; my girlfriend Melissa was as excited as I was to join me the next day. While getting everything ready the night before I could hardly wait for the sun to rise. As morning came,

Melissa showed up early at my house, and off we were in what seemed to become a beautiful morning.

Arriving at the dock in Arroyo City I backed up the boat

perfectly. I’m sure glad the days where it would take me

ten minutes to back the trailer are gone. We quickly put our wading boots on and left the dock as the sun was rising.

It felt like I was on a new boat, and the fishing was going

to be great. What an awesome feeling! I know that I have traveled out of the Arroyo Colorado countless times, but

this time it felt special. Being that it had been a while since I had been out fishing, all the old things appeared as if

they were new. I saw the same mesquite trees, the same

bluffs, and even the same water buoys, but this time they

seemed different. I saw them with a different perspective, and that was one of appreciation of just being able to get

out and enjoy the surroundings. I thought to myself many

times we take things for granted and miss out on the whole picture. I guess the time off the water made me realize

that old things can bring new experiences as I was already experiencing so early in the day.

The water was as smooth as glass as we ran up on a flat;

wakes were forming everywhere marking the presence of redfish. I anchored the boat, and to my surprise Melissa

was the first one to jump out. I

pointed her in the right direction,

Melissa is developing the magic touch.

and it didn’t take long for her to get on a bite. She was getting

blow ups on her top water about every other cast. I have to

mention that since the last time we were out fishing together,

her confidence level has risen

so much that she started smack talking saying that she was

going to catch more fish than

me. At one point she told me to be quiet because I was scaring

the fish and making her lose her concentration. I just could not

help but laugh about her reaction and competitive spirit. We got

into some good action, and we were both catching fish when

she came up with something I had never thought of or heard of. She said, “Have you ever

thought that the redfish on your stringer is related to the redfish 42

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

www.TSFMAG.com

Just Keep Five


you t h f i s h i ng

through youthful e y e s Catching redfish never gets old.

I just caught. Maybe they’re brothers or perhaps his uncle.” At that point I just burst out in laughter.

Wading through the calm water and enjoying every minute, I

was again reminded of the fond memories some of these fishing spots had brought in the past, and now they were bringing new memories and new experiences. This is where my title derived from; all these old fishing spots had become as new again

because of the time I was away. There anchored sat what once looked like an old boat now a “new” boat. At that point I looked over to Melissa, and her rod was bowed over. She waved me

over as to say there were more fish where she was standing. All I could think was “what a great day!” We both caught plenty of

redfish and had a blast. I saw old things and experienced new

things. Melissa showed what a fisherwoman she has become. The trip hadn’t even ended, and she was already asking me when we were coming out again.

It felt so good to get out and fish; I can’t wait to get out

there again. The boat ran great, and I just love the new

look. I eagerly await the new experiences that it will bring. Remember, that just because something is old, it doesn’t

mean that it can’t become new again. I think that we can apply this to life; it’s all in the way you perceive things. Get out there and fish and make sure that fire still burns.

Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

43


e v e r y m a n ’ s of f s hor e

Top shot or not? Manufacturing and

materials technology have brought much

to the sport of fishing.

rube n v i l l a r r e a l

Advances in robotics and computer automation have made it possible

to weave high-density polyethylene

fibers into a uniform braided fishing line. Today, braided lines such

as Power Pro, Sufix Performance

Braid, Spider Wire, Line One Jerry

Brown, and Momoi Diamond Braid,

are becoming increasingly popular. Spectra lines are incredibly strong

and much thinner than monofilament, allowing more line to be packed

on the spool and the thought of a

strong fish emptying your reel and

breaking off is becoming a thing of the past. The path was not always

materials have evolved from earlier

Daiwa (Salitist lever drag and Sealine

and aluminum machined from solid

series) and Shimano (Torsa, Tallica,

post styles to one-piece graphite bar stock. Aluminum frames are especially well-suited given their

lever drag), Accurate ( Boss and ATD and Tiagra series).

Now Spectra line may be the

light weight, rigidity, and heat sink

greatest thing since sliced bread

not all traditional spool designs are

hence the title, “Top shot or not?” The

attributes. Along with reel frames,

a match for braid. Great pressure is

exerted on spools when braided line

is wound tightly during installation to

eliminate line “dig in” and also during a prolonged fish fight. A two-piece

spool can separate and some solid spools can bend and warp. Solid

spools of chrome over brass, graphite composite and aluminum are better suited to the task. Traditional drag

systems don’t cut it either. Reels that fit in one hand and function perfectly

with stretchy 50-pound mono are now being filled with no-

stretch 100-pound braid and the drag washer diameter

and material they are made

from must be up to the test.

A host of manufacturers have answered these calls and we now have choices like the The venerable Penn 6/0, though still great with mono, is not a good candidate to receive Spectra line.

in some ways, but not so in others; three main applications of Spectra

lines are trolling, bottom fishing and drift fishing. In trolling, anglers

quickly tire of holding heavy reels required to accommodate a large quantity of mono line. Therefore, a rush to lighter reels capable of

high drag settings came naturally.

In blue water bottom fishing, heavy Spectra lines of 150-250 pound

strength are helping anglers land

very big groupers, amberjack and

red snapper like never before. Not

only does no-stretch increase overall angling efficiency, greater abrasion resistance pays off big time when playing tug of war over sticky rig

pilings, wrecks and rocks. Those days of the big one getting away

because you “were only going out 20 miles for kings” but that rare wahoo

or sailfish took the

bait are fading fast. Applying a top

shot of heavy mono to braid can be the ticket for landing

smooth though, many tried and true

pelagic species

reels just were not up to the task of

such as, ling,

fighting fish on no-stretch line. Reel

kingfish, wahoo,

frames, gear teeth, spool arbors and

shark, tuna, dorado

drag systems designed for fishing

and billfish that

with monofilament line could not take

you would have

the strain and, so naturally, another

little chance of

generation of tackle was born.

landing with only

Not all reels make good candidates

for use with Spectra line; two-piece spools, flimsy frames and weak

drag systems need not apply. Frame 44

November 2009

monofilament on Shimano’s Torsa is an excellent choice for use with braided line. Texas Saltwater Fishing

your reel. My normal MO here is filling

a reel one of three www.TSFMAG.com

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Spectra for the zero stretch, greater sensitivity and abrasion resistance.

Joining Spectra to monofilament brings another set

of concerns. Everyday knots are not recommended given the slick outer texture of Spectra lines. Next

month we will discuss knots for joining solid Spectra

to monofilament and also joining hollow core Spectra and mono. Best wishes for great fishing and an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. Shimano’s Tiagra Series offer fish-fighting power in a compact package.

ways; 1/2, 3/4, or completely full, depending on the species

e v e r y m a n ’ s of f s hor e

used for heavy bottom fishing is completely filled with

targeted, the size of the reel, and whether I plan to troll ,

bottom fishing or drift. A long top shot of heavy mono over a

half or three-quarter filling of Spectra is especially applicable to trolling for billfish. There are two reasons for this; wiring a fish on Spectra can mean getting cut to the bone by the

extremely thin line, not to mention that the long top shot allows enough stretch to eliminate pulled hooks during the fight. A chunking or setup for fly lining flying fish will see a reel get

3/4 to almost completely fill with Spectra due to sink rate and

less drag in the water the flying fish has to pull against. A reel

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

Lever drag systems offer greater surface area than stacked disc design common on star drag reels.

November 2009

45


ts f m ag a z i n e s p o t l ig h t

T S F m ag a z i n e s p o t l ig h t

46

Bernie’s Boats and Motors in Victoria, TX

Bernie’s Boats and Motors was established in 1952 by Bernie and Joyce Stumfoll, originally part of Bernie’s Sinclair service station. With customers looking for boats, Bernie began building kit boats from Chris Craft and selling Mercury outboards. In 1954 Bernie acquired the Evinrude outboard motor line. By 1957 Bernie made the decision to leave the service station business and become involved full time in the boating industry. With the completion of a new building, Mark & Dennis Bernie’s added the boat lines of Stumfoll Holmes, Helton and Glastron. Through the years Bernie built the business on customer service and customer satisfaction. Looking back, he says this is what carried the business through tough times when others could not survive. In 1976, Bernie’s son, Dennis joined the business and helped continue what his father had started. Still growing, Bernie’s Boats and Motors built a new store in 1977 where they operate today. In 1994, Dennis bought his father out and became the sole owner. With Dennis at the helm, the business continues to grow. Just like his father, Dennis’ insistence on customer service and quality workmanship in rigging and repair, has served them well. Over the years, Bernie’s has won every major customer service award given by the manufacturers they represent. In 1983, Bernie’s was one of the first dealers to sign with Yamaha and in 1988 decided to drop Evinrude, giving their full attention to the Yamaha brand. Today, the staff of three service techs are all Yamaha factory trained. Bernie’s line was expanded in 2006 to include their proprietary Desperado high-performance bay boats. The 22’ November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

Desperado Outlaw handles rough water and shallow water equally well, gliding across flats with the efficiency of a true flats skiff and still capable of Cadillac smoothness in gulf surf and winddriven bay chop. Standard features and options lists are nearly endless and each boat can be built and rigged to buyer’s specifications in their shop. Whether you take delivery of a complete rig or a new outboard, every customer is given a complete rundown and taken to the lake for on-the-water testing and operator instruction as the final step in their 100% customer satisfaction plan. From the time you walk through the door and all the way through purchase and taking delivery, you’ll find Bernie’s staff courteous and eager to serve. Pay them a visit at 5001 North Navarro in Victoria, call 361 573 7809, or visit online berniesboats.com to learn more about their lineup of Desperado, VIP, Bay Stealth, Express, Flatlander and Comet Boats along with Yamaha outboards, parts and accessories.

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“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!” Redfish are known to have voracious appetites and when the bite is on they will hit just about anything. They are also known for being exceptionally hearty. Over the years I have received several photos from readers who got a surprise when they cleaned a redfish. The stomach contents can be downright unbelievable sometimes. Some are notable for the quantity; one reader reported no fewer than a dozen finger-sized mullet in one he cleaned. Another sent a photo of a large Atlantic needlefish (I bet the beak gave that red a belly ache.) Yet another sent a photo of nearly a pint and a half of crushed blue crab his redfish had chomped down. Other reports are notable for the genuinely unusual nature of what a redfish might choose to swallow and partially dissolved hooks and even jigheads are not uncommon. One of my buddies caught

one with a weedless spoon in it; the irony was that he caught it on a weedless spoon. Until recently, an empty 12-guage shotgun shell, 3-inch magnum no less, topped that list. Reader, Eddie Vacek, of Danevang Texas brought us some photos recently and I think the red he caught in West Matagorda is our new winner in this category. Believe it or not, Eddie found part of a plastic bottle in the belly of his fish. Why the red ate it is anybody’s guess. Surprisingly, Eddie says the fish appeared fat and healthy. Eddie agreed to share these photos with one request. He asks that we remind fisherman to be better stewards and not discard trash into the bay or let it lie around where it can blow out. A trip down any shoreline filled with soda bottles, food wrappers, and debris of every description will be proof enough…Eddie’s got the right idea. Be kind to our shorelines, do not litter, and do your part to pick up what others will not. -TSF Magazine Staff

The Rod that sells itself.

waterloorods.com www.TSFMAG.com

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

361-573-0300 November 2009

47


New Tackle & Gear Costa Del Mar’s™ New Zane Sunglasses Perfect for Adventurers

New models join Specks and Reds rod lineup

Stinky Pants FishingTM

www.costadelmar.com

www.QuantumFishing.com

www.stinkypantsfishing.com

There are nine new models of rods in the Quantum Specks and Reds rod lineup, giving even more options for trout and redfish aficionados. All in the series have been developed specifically for inshore light action saltwater fishing. New are three 6’9” casting rods and six new spinning models. The spinning rods come in lengths of 6’9”, 7’ and 7’6”. The actions are customized according to bait types. The “TT” designation means the rod is designed for “Tops and Tails,” making it an ideal choice for most topwaters and soft plastic baits. The “TW” reference indicates specifically for topwater baits. And the “SS” is for “Super Spook” applications. Rod blanks are 72 million modulus hi-strain graphite construction for the perfect blend of strength, weight and sensitivity. Rod guides feature corrosion-resistant titanium frames with SIC inserts. Guide count is nine, plus the tip, on all models. Casting rods feature Fuji® ECS exposed blank reel seats. Spinning rods are fitted with durable Fuji DPS reel seats. Handles are premium specie-grade cork. The Quantum Specks and Reds series, with 18 models in all, has a distinctive look that leaves no doubt to observing anglers nearby as to what rods you are using and why you are in total control of the inshore waterways. Specks and Reds rods sell for around $219.95. For more information on the rods, and to find the perfect reel to match them to, visit QuantumFishing.com.

Stinky Pants FishingTM continues the pursuit of excellence in the fish stringer market with the upgraded stainless steel Stinky Stringer. Each stringer is designed for the harshest saltwater conditions. The Premium Stringer features vinyl coated stainless steel wire rated at 920-pound workload. This coated wire will not kink, ravel, fray, or get caught on hooks or teeth. Attached to each wire is a nickel plated spike that will not tarnish or rust. Each 12’ stringer attaches and detaches directly to the float making boxing your catch slicker then trout slime. Simply remove the float, drop your fish, and you are ready to go, no pieces to drop or lose. This is the toughest stringer on the market!

“Costa Clear” Lenses, Sturdy Frames Make Zane the New Go-To Sunglass Legendary oceanic explorer Zane Grey would be proud of Costa Del Mar’s™ latest performance sunglass, aptly named Zane. The new style features frame vents to alleviate lens fogging and no-slip Hydrolite™ nose pads, important features for serious anglers and outdoors enthusiasts. The sunglasses are available in black,

tortoise and silver frames, and with an integral hinge, are built to fit a wide variety of face shapes. Wearers have the choice of 11 COSTA 400 or high definition 580 mirror or non-mirror lens color options, including the new silver mirror. Zane retails from $139 to $239.

48

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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New Yo-Zuri® Sashimi Circle Hook Series™

American Rodsmiths

www.yo-zuri.com

www.americanrodsmiths.com

“Catch More, Kill Less”

Yo-Zuri presents the first and only circle hook factory-produced series of lures. We now offer three styles of lures rigged with circle hooks; our Sashimi Jerkbait, Sashimi Pencil and Sashimi Floating Minnow. All three of these lures have been tested and balanced to perfection and are proven to catch snook, redfish & seatrout. There is a Sashimi Circle Hook lure for every application; Pencil for topwater action, Jerkbait for suspending fish, and the Floating Minnow for shallow water twitching. With the innovative Sashimi color changing technology and proven conservation circle hooks, you now have a one-two punch that is not available from any other manufacturer. You will “Catch More, Kill Less”.

V17 Pro Tour Grip™

StrikePro Needlefish www.strikepro.com Have you ever been fishing

under the lights at night catching

only schoolie-size or maybe a few

average speckled trout and seen a

needlefish or half beak (some folks

call them ballyhoo) lazing along the surface or just below? Suddenly a

monster speck rises out of nowhere and engulfs the whole thing in a

frothy explosion. Well, here is a bait to add to your “sure shot” lure box; American Rodsmiths, Houston

Texas-based manufacturers of state of the art titanium and graphite

Strike Pro’s new Needlefish!

The Needlefish comes in two sizes

and five awesome colors. Ask for

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them at your local tackle shop.

grip technology, to bring a completely

072P 9.5” - 3/4 oz.

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designed to offer superior comfort and secure gripping in all fishing

conditions. Winn’s patented V17AVS

technology allows the grip to remain tacky, whether fishing wet or dry conditions.

The new V17 Pro Tour Grips™ will

be available on American Rodsmiths’ Team Series, Team Inshore Series, and the ALL NEW Denny Brauer Wreckin’ Stix Series rods.

Visit www.americanrodsmiths.com

for more information.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

49


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

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

to their thicker shouldered kinfolk.

Not unlike most of the other

fishing holes along the Texas

Sabine Scene

Lures to the folks at MirrOlure.

“Aside from the fact that we will be able to produce a larger

coast, this is an exciting time

volume of Corkies, absolutely nothing about the lure will be

Sabine Lake. The lake and

ten year contract and will personally oversee every step of the

of the year for fishermen on

both the Sabine and Neches

rivers are exceptionally clear, each new front forces more

shrimp out of the surrounding

marshes, and the dink school trout of summer are yielding

As good as this much anticipated bite has been it still has

not generated as much excitement among area trout fishermen

area as the recent announcement that the entire line of Corkies should be available in local retail tackle outlets by mid to late

January. The increased availability is the product of a decision by Paul Brown to turn over the reins, but not control, of B & L

changed,” promised L & S lures’, Eric Bachnik. “Paul signed a

operation for at least the first year. The manufacturing will take

place in Costa Rica, but each lure will still be handmade with the

same original components under the uncompromising eye of the creator of this legendary lure.”

“While we are well-aware of the fact that at least for now, the

Corky is really a “Texas Thing” in the trout fishing world, we

could not be more excited to add it to our own productive line of suspending lures like the Catch 2000, Catch V, and MirrOdine XL,” stated Bachnik. “The Corky is already in great demand

in southwest Louisiana and it is just a matter of other coastal anglers giving it a shot.”

“This is a win-win arrangement for everyone involved,” he

added. “Paul will finally have more time to fish, MirrOlure is

Home of the StakeOut Stik

888-376-4055 www.LBOutfitters.com For more information go to

50

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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s a bi n e excited about adding yet another weapon to our trophy trout arsenal, and availability will no longer be a problem for the serious trout fisherman!”

We probably won’t be grinding away all day long with one

of the afore-mentioned trophy trout favorites by the time you read this, but that could change

depending on the frequency and severity of cold fronts passing

through. The surface temperature has already dropped enough to

Larger lures like the Top Dog

and Spook can be even more

effective choices in a chop, but

the slightly smaller She Dog in bone-

chrome, pearl-chartreuse, and black-chartreuse

head will generally

Scot Moore and Jeff Callens cashed in on a good redfish bite on a warm afternoon!

yield more strikes per outing. Do

not be afraid to fish dirty water and concentrate your efforts in four feet of water or less.

put the flounder on the move and

In years past I have done well

there are easily as many redfish

this time of the year swimming

there are in the shallow marshes.

a 1/16-ounce jig head in the

stacking up in deeper water as

a five-inch Assassin rigged on

It is hard to turn your back

same water. Depending on water

on schools of redfish and trout

clarity, glow-chartreuse, pumpkin-

hustling shrimp under the gulls,

chartreuse, Texas Roach, and

but the larger trout are already

bone diamond are very reliable

showing up on the flats on the

north end of the lake in search of a larger entrée. As the heavier trout turn their attention towards baitfish, two of our most

productive lures prior to colder surface temperatures are the She Dog and the 5-inch Assassin.

colors. I have done even better

lately by altering that set up just a little and will continue to do so until the fish dictate a change.

After absolutely wearing out the fish most of the year with the

smaller Crème Spoiler Shad, I am rigging the 5-inch Assassin with a paddle tail on a Mustad 1/8-ounce Power Lock Plus

weedless hook and fishing it just like a larger version of the

Swim Bait. The rig casts a little easier into the wind and the larger profile is a plus when fishing dingy water.

Should we get more cold weather than expected and the

surface temperatures drop another 10 to 15 degrees, the

suspending baits will be the better choice when fishing these same shallow flats. The Corky Fat Boy or Devil in glow-

chartreuse or pink and the Catch V in electric chicken or any of the bone patterns are hard to beat on a late afternoon wade. And if everything goes as scheduled, losing that last pink

Corky to a big trout or even a rock won’t be nearly as painful by the end of January!

Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

51


MICKEY

On Galveston

Captain Mickey here,

and I am happy to report good fishing across the Galveston Bays region.

What a change from the doldrums we suffered

to the shorelines until the water cools a bit more and the water levels return to normal. Right now most of the quality trout

seem to be staging in about 4-7 feet of water. We are finding

them over deeper shell and along the muddy edges. The keys right now are slicks, tide lines, and shad schools.

Bird activity is fairly wide spread across the region. East

through during late summer!

Bay and Trinity especially have a ton of bird activity covering

all across the system from

eyeball” shrimp moving out of the marsh and it seems the

Water conditions are good

West Bay all the way up to

Trinity. Equinox tides swelled

our water levels and shoreline wade fishing has become a

mostly small school trout. There are a lot of “whisker and

school trout are really working them over. I expect to see more quality fish under the birds soon.

A little bit of fresh water inflow is coming down the Trinity

bit “iffy” with the fish scattering, but that is about our only

river watershed due to Dallas having received twelve to

hanging right in there. I don’t think the bigger trout will commit

releasing a lot of water yet at the dam there at Livingston

negative I can see at this time and our deep water action is

52

November 2009

fourteen inches of rain a couple of weeks ago. They are not

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g a Lv e s ton

but it is enough to sweeten the marsh and get a lot of bait

Redfish, what can I say about them,

moving down into the bay along with the trout and redfish that

they are taking over the world. Anglers from

trout holding around the wells in the middle of Trinity Bay but

schooling reds standing in ankle deep water throwing jigs and

had migrated way upstream in the river. There are still some I predict that will come to a halt in the next few weeks as the fish begin moving toward shallower water and shorelines.

A lot of big flounder being caught right now. I know there is

a big controversy over the shortage of flounder further down

the Texas coast but I don’t think we’re seeing that here in the Galveston Bays. We are catching flounder right now along

shoreline points, reefs, bayou mouths and drop-offs, and we

High Island all the way down to San Luis Pass are catching

topwaters. The schools are running the shorelines, blowing

bait up in the first gut, everything from undersize, to slot size, and even the big bulls in the 45-inch class. You have your traditional bull-red fisherman using cut mullet and gizzard

shad in the passes and they are catching tons of big fish. The redfish run is definitely on and it’s been a great one so far.

West Bay anglers are reporting fair to decent action from

are not even fishing for them. Most of our catches have been

mid-bay and down behind the pass. The tri-bay area of

reds and are a pure bonus. For a while we were getting small

bit, not quite as steady as it was recently. This may be due

made while throwing soft plastics and spoons for trout and

male fish but some really nice flatties in the 22-26 inch class

are showing up and the run isn’t really underway yet. A lot of people have been calling my radio show and saying they are

catching more flounder than last year which really makes this flounder decline tough to comprehend. As far as I can see we’re in for a heck of a flounder run this year.

Chocolate, Bastrop and Christmas seems to have slowed a to the bull tides or possibly a migration of fish up into bayou

systems like Bastrop and Halls. I think there are a lot of fish

up in those backwaters and it’s going to take a while for them to move back down and infiltrate the bays again, kind of what we went though in Trinity and East bays this past summer, a little transition.

Things are looking really good, a lot of things on the bright

side in the Galveston Bay complex and the whole upper Texas coast from Galveston over into Louisiana. I see the fishing

prospects for our region as a loaded gun on hair trigger and cannot wait until it goes off. I’ve seen a lot of late fall and

winter seasons coming together and this looks like it could be for the books. Good fishing and best Thanksgiving wishes.

Just Keep Five

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

53


CAPT. BILL’S Projecting fishing trends

Fish Talk The combination of equinox tides and a low pressure system

can be somewhat challenging

out of the gulf raised our water level nearly a foot and a half and

business, especially when

action has been slow and I’m hoping our fish have scattered and

and quite often risky

Mother Nature starts throwing curve balls. However, history

has a habit of repeating itself. With that said, my records

and tenure as a fishing guide play a huge role in predicting

this always changes the fishing patterns. As I said above, trout

are up in the marshes. We will soon know the status of our trout fishery when the tides drop to normal. A drop in water level of

this magnitude always flushes a lot of shrimp and baitfish from

marshes and the trout should be stacked in the marsh bayous and drains. Time will tell.

We should see a lot of mid-bay bird activity during November as

upcoming fishing patterns.

the shrimp make their way to the Gulf. Reds have been plentiful

keeper trout were few and far

hold until cold weather and falling tides run them back to the bays

For hardware fishermen,

between during September

and the early days of October. Actually, this period was

one of the slowest I have seen and I was certainly thankful for

in back lakes along with a few keeper trout and I expect this will

later in the month. Topwaters and the Eddie Douglas Broken Back proved effective for redfish and also big trout towards the end of

September. I personally caught and released two thirty inch trout. With the recent lack of rainfall, the Colorado River has been

the numbers of redfish we caught. Croaker guides, as would be

providing some opportunity especially for those who enjoy fishing

catches during most of September.

decent numbers of keeper reds have been common. Live and cut

expected, managed to bring in daily limits with excellent big trout

54

November 2009

under lights. Lots of small trout and a few keepers along with

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m atag or da bait has been the ticket for bull reds along with a few slot reds

inch rainfall would be just fine for

trout have also hit the fish cleaning table from that area.

drought. We are way behind schedule

for those fishing the Matagorda Jetties. Decent numbers of solid

Joe Mingus caught this 28” trout recently on a Super Spook while drifting East Matagorda Bay.

me after experiencing a long-term

here with only fifteen and a half inches since December 2008.

When drift fishing, you may want to consider keeping a rod

loaded with a topwater and another with a 1/4 or 3/8 ounce

lead head jig and soft plastic. When the action gets rolling, the topwater can be a lot of fun and will sometimes produce the

biggest trout when worked along the edges of the activity. The soft plastic is always a good producer and the heavier jigs will

often be helpful when trying to reach the better fish. Be a good sport and respect others working the birds.

For November lure selection, this is the month when the fish

begin feeding like crazy and getting fat for the winter. Just about anything you chunk should be effective. Time will reveal the

health of our local fisheries and I am hoping for a good report.

I’ll be out there wading mud and shell while throwing top waters, Historically, November has always provided some of our best

fishing. Drifting under birds along with some excellent Colorado River fishing is the game plan. Of course, you can rule out the

river should we receive an abundance of rain. Personally, a 9-10

Bass Assassins, Corkies, and the Eddie Douglas Broken Back Special. Drifting areas with that same mud and shell bottom under birds is another option.

Here’s wishing all a great deer season and a blessed

Thanksgiving. Take care and God Bless.

Fall and Winter Hours Tuesday through Friday

8:00am to Noon • 1:00pm to 6:00pm Closed Noon to 1:00pm for Lunch

Saturday: 8:00am to Noon

(Saturdays open till• noon) Boats • Motors Trailers Sales, Service, Accessories, & Warranty Work

281-342-4461 • 1-800-882-4461 www.krollmarine.com

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

55


MID-COAST BAYS CAPT. Shellie Gray I will be very surprised

if summer 2009 does not

make it into the official record as the longest, hottest and driest on the middle Texas

coast. Finally, what seemed

With the Grays

species and this year has definitely been my worst for catching

keeper-sized trout. Back in the spring we blamed the wind and all

during summer we blamed the drought. If our trout fishing does not improve in the fall season, will this be final proof that we have been over-fishing them?

I can’t say whether over-fishing is to blame but I can tell you I have

like endless summer has

seen a HUGE increase in the number of anglers using mid-coast

weather of the fall season

more readily available information on fishing techniques and patterns

faded into the pleasant

and I can’t begin to tell you all how much I am enjoying the

cooler weather we have been receiving here lately.

This is the time of year

when the air and water begins to cool with shorter hours of daylight and the passage of mild frontal systems. The cooler water

temperature usually triggers a feeding frenzy for trout and redfish

making for good fishing around the shell reefs in the upper reaches of San Antonio Bay.

bays during the past ten years. This, along with better equipment and through magazines, videos, books and the internet, has enabled anglers to become very proficient.

Amid all the changes, one thing that has remained constant is the

daily bag and possession limits for speckled trout. With such an

increase in angling efficiency and the large influx of new anglers to the middle coast, I believe it is time for Texas Parks and Wildlife to

take steps to strengthen our trout fishery by reducing the bag limits. Jennifer, Annie, Sara and Amanda had a great day on the water catching some reds.

The fall season brings much-needed moisture to the Guadalupe

watershed and the river pours a new load of life into San Antonio

Bay. The river delta is where our estuary forms and Mother Nature is at work continuously creating and shaping grassbeds and oyster reefs that are extremely valuable to marine life in this bay.

The delta marshes are home to shrimp and many species

of baitfish that migrate to the gulf to complete their life cycles.

Following these centuries old migrations will be sand trout, redfish,

sheepshead, black drum, flounder, and of course, speckled trout, all looking for an easy meal. You will find seagulls, terns and pelicans

hovering over schools of feeding fish, hoping to get in on the action. And while this scenario has always made for some awesome trout fishing in the past, I am concerned that this fall may be different.

Speckled trout are by far the most popular of all our inshore

56

November 2009

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p or t o’con nor / s e a dr i f t

While I applaud the many anglers

practicing catch and release and also those that keep less than

their legal limit, I don’t feel these

down later

Mack Callaway and mom, Kerry, with Mack’s first red that he released!

in November. Our

back lakes typically have muddy

bottoms that absorb more sunlight

measures will be enough. I am

which in turns keeps the water at a

certain that if we do not adopt more

slightly warmer temperature than

conservative measures and reduce

the sandy places. Back lakes also

the trout harvest soon we will be in

give anglers a refuge from some of

real trouble in the years to come.

the high winds we will experience

With all that being said, I have

as the seasonal fronts move

talked with many anglers at the

through.

docks who have turned their efforts

Right now is a good time to

to targeting other species such

take your waders along on your

even gafftop to fulfill their catching

isn’t cool enough to justify them

as black drum, redfish, shark and

next fishing trip. Even if the water

desires and I applaud these efforts

yet, it is a good idea to try them

as well.

out to make sure you will not get

Look for fish to start moving off

a surprise on a chilly morning.

the sandy shorelines into the back

Waiting to check your essential

lakes as the water continues to cool

gear can be a big mistake.

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Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

57


HOOKED UP WITH david rowsey 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.

So much has changed

over the past thirty days that I’m not sure where to begin.

Late September and October has dropped fall right onto

our laps. After a very long drought we have finally

received substantial rainfall 361-960-0340 www.DavidRowsey.com

here in the Coastal Bend. All the new water has made for

some really high tides which

in turn made fishing a little

tough, but I am not complaining

as we were deep into the emergency stages of the prolonged

drought. The runoff has stained the water but in the long run it will pay great dividends for the winter trout season.

As mentioned in the October issue, bait migrations began

and we saw lots of action via the redfish. Trout proved to be a little on the slow side for October, but we had a number of

good scores on larger trout while fishing in schools of redfish.

Rowsey

As the fronts continue to drop water temperatures throughout

November, we will be swinging for the fence in our efforts to pin

down the trophy trout that the Laguna and Baffin are famous for and, what I prefer to target. When water temperatures stabilize

in the high-50s to low-60s the fishing should just explode around here for large trout. Historically, this usually takes place in mid to late November. We were blessed with great water quality

throughout the summer, and I am not looking for that to change in the winter.

November is the true beginning of everything trophy trout

enthusiasts look forward to. By now we have had numerous

cool fronts, and predators are in full swing gorging themselves. The trout will really start putting on some girth during this time

period, which will greatly improve your odds of landing that “Holy Grail” double-digit trout of a lifetime.

Being that we are not yet in the harshest part of winter, the

trout will not be as centralized, as say January. They will still

be located on all types of structure from rocks to potholes and

some mud. My logs of many years show that any one of these can be as productive as any other, just depending on bait

November can be explosive… And rewarding!

58

November 2009

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u ppe r l ag u n a / b a f f i n

supply, wind, water temperatures, and overall conditions. This

In closing, I would like to send Mr. and

is a great time of year to explore new things and not get in that

Mrs. Paul Brown a big congratulation on the sale

you can find by just doing something a little outside of the box or

emotion out there among longtime fans but I think they have

mode of being a “spot” fishermen. You will be amazed at what your comfort zone.

Lure choices will not change much but the Corky, now owned

by Mirrolure, will be getting a lot more play time from me. As

many of you know, I am a long time Corky fan. This addiction

is not based on cult-like following but simply on the lure’s ability to fool big trout into biting for me. Right next to the Corky will be the 5” Bass Assassin. My top Assassin color picks for

wintertime use will be: Plum (solid), Chandelier Isle, Bone

Diamond, Morning Glory, Pink Diamond, and Calcasieu Brew.

As a general rule we will use the darkest and brightest shades in off-colored water and the toned-down colors in the clear to

milky green. An array of topwaters will see action in favorable conditions but, I swear, I think the fish are onto us and that

“clank-clank-womp” they continuously hear over their heads. In

short, if you are getting blowups and no hookups, go subsurface with a Bass Assassin or Corky.

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of their awesome lure, the Corky. I know there is a lot of a mixed found a perfect match with Mirrolure. I spoke with the Browns at length right after the news was made public and they were truly excited about the transition. They sound very comfortable with their new partner. Mr. Brown told me, “David, the truth is that

with Mirrolure’s technology the Corky will be better than ever.”

That was music to my ears but I will admit that not being able to

call Mr. Brown on the phone and request thirty baits in a custom color will be a little hard to get used to. Regardless, the Browns

deserve a break from all of us demanding fanatics and I am truly happy for them.

“Someone just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as

someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl.” - Ernest Hemingway

“Set ‘em Loose.” - Capt. David Rowsey

Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

59


p or t m a n s f i e l d

TRICIA’S

Mansfield Report

Once again, I am happy

to report that the fishery in

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

quite healthy. We’re having a blast down here on the flats, and as good as the

fishing has been; we can

only assume that November is going to be awesome.

with the rain must have spurred bait movement,

as small shrimp and crab have trumped other forage

according to stomach content surveys. That being said, good old pumpkinseed/chartreuse has been my soft plastic confidence

color. If I’m not throwing a Brown Lure Devil Eye on an 1/8 ounce head, it’s going to be the large Kelly Wiggler paddle tail. In fact, the paddle tail seems to excel when these fish are rooting up

small crabs and you need a shallow, flat retrieve. Especially for

the novice, the swimming action is a no brainer and quite easy to control in a thin margin of water. As

November is the month to call in sick if you can.

During September our redfish

far as topwaters, nothing much has

changed from the proven She Dogs

[or She Pups] and SkitterWalks. Big when it’s choppy, smaller when it’s

calm, and chrome with green seems

started grouping in force both on

to work as well as anything in this

the flats and towards the jetties.

grass-laden wonderland. Most of our

We had a long stretch of low wind

better fish have been coming from

days, and at times you could see

the shallow potholes early, then from

several pushes of water from

the deeper color changes later in the

hundreds of yards away from

day. With the presence of baitfish

large schools of upper-slot to well-

in either of these areas, you can be

oversized reds. Unfortunately, boat

traffic often made them hard to get on, as many wanted to ram

these schools to cast into them on a “one shot” deal as they were

Pumpkinseed/chartreuse or anything close has been our confidence color.

fleeing. A much better approach when you see these herds is to

sure that some of the

fish you want to catch are there as well.

November means

troll, drift, or pole into them so they stay together. What we do is

pure excitement if it’s

and get out and wade into them. Walking with these schools can

and by all accounts it

make a wide circle and try to predict their path, then drift close

anything like last year,

be awesome and at times you can stay with them for long periods. Never discount the larger trout that can be with them either!

Trout have remained numerous over deep grassbeds, but the

typically smaller fish of the hotter months are slowly giving way to the heavier weights of fall. Topwaters are becoming more consistent and so is shallower water. Several changes have

occurred since our last report which may have something to do

with it. The area finally received much needed rainfall, the overall water level has risen about ten inches, and an early norther

seemed to kick off fall patterns a tad early. Each one of these

events happened fairly close together, and although the fish at

first seemed confused and absent, patterns quickly came back around to being even more predictable.

With the increase in water levels a lot of areas came back into

play that we haven’t been able to work in months. Backwater areas quickly filled with both reds and trout and the baitfish

became thick in much of the shallows. The early norther coupled 60

November 2009

should be. It’s going

to be all about timing

between the northers and fluctuating water levels than it will

be about temperature. Before northers, look for activity where strong south winds have drained certain areas into the next

level drop, and afterwards, look for increased action in areas the north winds have flooded. We don’t have much tidal flow here,

so these revolving winds really get things going by moving water and should be one of your first considerations about where to

start your day. Always watch your baitfish. The pelicans will be

one of the best indicators if the bait is not active on the surface. The white pelicans have already begun arriving here and will

soon be some of your best friends. Last year, November was

one of the best months we had on both numbers and big trout,

plus the redfish action in the shallows could only be described as brutal. If you are a serious fisherman, November is a great time to head to Port Mansfield.

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Tag & Release

Years ago, I was the co-owner of a camp at Fulghum’s

Landing near Seadrift. One of my other partners in the camp was eventually transferred out of state. When he left, an

unused six year old tagging kit was found in the kitchen drawer. I contacted the tagging organization and asked if I could

change the registration and begin using the kit in my name.

From that point I began my tag and release hobby in earnest and have thoroughly applied its practice, which has added a whole new dimension to the sport for me.

and the recapture reports which are mailed to me from the

central clearing house. It is truly amazing for me to review the

distance traveled and the physical development of a fish that I have released as it is later recaptured and reported. There is also the vicarious thrill of imagining the reaction of

my fellow angler when he

notices a tag in his catch.

The report cards that come back include details on the angler and I have made

many new acquaintances due to that information.

I relocated my fishing

camp from Fulghum’s

Landing to Key Allegro in

Rockport in 2001 and soon discovered that one of my

new neighbors had recently recaptured one of my previously tagged redfish. Talk about an ice breaker!

Freshly-caught fish taste much better, so these days I try to

keep only what I can use immediately. Tagging and releasing the rest has been a side benefit that gives the satisfaction of The “spaghetti dart “ style tags are manufactured in Australia

and furnished to the research organization, which is now a

part of NOAA (formally National Marine Fisheries Service.)

meeting new people with a unique commonality while in a small way providing much needed research data to insure healthy stocks of game fish for future generations of anglers.

Each tag displays a unique serial number, the word “reward”,

Captain Bill Hull

All fish tagged must be documented individually with a report

><)))))’> Stick ‘em

and the toll-free phone number of the clearing house in Miami. card on which each tag is initially stored. The card is uniquely

USCG #1174184

numbered to match the tag and includes a wealth of reporting

information all used to study, track, and survey the movements, growth, and habits of the fish which are released and

recaptured. The information recorded includes species, length, weight and condition of the fish as well as GPS location, wind direction and speed, water temperature, and salinity.

Over the years I’ve kept a scrap book of my release reports

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November 2009

61


SOUTH PADRE This month is widely known

for the Day of Thanksgiving. It’s a day of reflection, of

giving and being thankful

for everything that we have. Let me tell you the Lower Laguna Madre has been

Fishing Scene

large concentrations of fish. We have been intercepting schools as they enter the sand flats on a rising tide as well as when they exit

these flats on a falling tide. Some of the larger trout we have come across have also been on the sand, but the most consistent trout

action has been around grass beds and potholes. We continue to work smaller topwaters; in some cases that’s all we throw all day. I do have to say that the floating grass continues to be as bad

very generous this fall and

as I can recall but, this hook-snaring problem should dissipate this

this. The fish have been fairly

productive areas simply because the grass has been so thick.

we should all be thankful for

easy to find and also easy to pattern. The few slow days

came right after periods of heavy rainfall and overall fall fishing

month. Over the last few months we have shied away from many

Hopefully all of this will end soon as the dead grass finds its way to the shorelines or sinks to the bottom.

Paying attention to the feeding behavior of winter birds will

has been outstanding with limits of trout and redfish common on

become critical especially on brisk mornings and chilly winter

Currently, everything is in full swing; schools of bait are plentiful

be as visible on the surface. This is where hungry, diving birds

most outings.

and the predators are hungry as the colder weather will soon be

here. For the last month and a half our bay water levels have been

higher than normal and this creates lots of activity in west side back lakes, especially for redfish. Considering the rise in water level you would think the fish would be scattered; however, we have found

them tight in schools sometimes numbering over one hundred fish. The sand and grass lines on the east side have also been holding

days. As cold fronts become more frequent, the bait fish will not will pinpoint the location of baitfish. As the water temperature

plummets to wader-wearing level, which usually happens right

around Thanksgiving Day, we will retreat from the hard sand flats and into mud-shell bottoms. On cold days, working drops-offs or channels will not be a bad idea. Spoils near the ICW are a “sure bite” situation as the water continues to cool off this month. We

won’t be totally putting away our topwaters, but with the cooling

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a r royo col or a do to p or t i s a be l This is the month that

our bigger trout will begin to

show up on a more consistent

basis as they seem to feast every

day. The redfish will be feasting and

adding weight too, especially around the “shoulders.” Let’s hope we are out on the water when the feast begins. Happy Thanksgiving!

A beautiful fall sunrise and a keeper redfish awaited this happy angler.

temperatures, we will be more apt to throw suspending or sinking

baits. Our retrieves are more likely to be slower than during the fall fishing period.

This is the month when we begin to see fish laying up in shallow

spoil areas to warm in the sun; keeping track of such weather

conditions and opportunity can be vitally important to trophy trout

hunters. Equally important is covering your own skin. Even during

cloudy winter days fishermen are still at risk of exposure to harmful UV rays. I am not proud to say that for many years I did not protect myself from the sun. Just recently I began wearing a Simms “SunClava” and sun gloves, and let me tell you what a difference they make. No longer is my face burning when I get off the water and I no longer sport that “raccoon” look. Best of all, my chances of

developing skin cancer have dropped drastically. The color on my

face has lightened so much that numerous people have asked why

I hadn’t been fishing. If you have not given thought to covering your

face, arms, and legs, I highly suggest you start now. Over the years many people have tried to talk me into covering up and I guess it

Fall reds can run large as this angler learned.

finally sunk in. Now I pass the word, “Protect yourself from the sun!”

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November 2009

63


fishing Reports and Forecasts from Big Lake to Boca Chica Brou g h t to you by. . .

there are usually some bigger trout and redfish. The flocks out in the middle tend to be hanging around the smaller trout.”

Lake Calcasieu - Louisiana Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service • 337-598-3268

Cooler temperatures in November will initiate the migration of big trout from deeper water onto the flats. The best lures to throw are those that don’t fall fast in the water column. Try original Norton Sand Eels (big ones) on either eighth or sixteenth ounce jigheads. Also, try suspending hard baits like MirrOlure Catch 2000s, Catch 5s, and MirrOdines or the jointed Thunderstick by Storm Lures. Any colors work, but we usually stick to the more natural colors in clearer water and brighten it up a bit when the water is stained. Corkys can be hard to find, but they catch BIG trout. All colors are good, but my favorites are coppertop and orange with black back. All the styles of Corkys catch fish, but my go to is the FatBoy. If you don’t care about big trout and you’re looking to load the boat, the birds should still be picking. Try heavier jigheads (1/4 or 1/8 ounce). Shrimp imitations work best under birds: glow H&H Beetles and Salty Grubs, glow Sand Eel Jrs. and opening night MirrOlure Soft Minnows are the main soft plastics of choice.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay James Plaag - silverkingadventures.com - 409 935 7242 “The fall is looking really good,” James says. “Trinity and East Bay are both salty and the water’s in good shape everywhere. Once we get a couple more cold fronts, the wading should really pick up. Right now, there are small trout all over the place and good schools of reds. The bays are just full of shrimp and the birds are already working; that ought to stay true right on through the month of November. We are catching fish today on a variety of lures. We’ve caught some nice trout, up to four pounds, on black/chartreuse SheDogs. The guys are also doing well with red shad and chicken-on-a-chain Bass Assassins. I like to throw the old 51MirrOlure in pink and yellow, I believe the color code is 704. It works for me because it doesn’t require much effort to give it the action to catch fish. For people who have arthritis or other problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, the old school MirrOlures are really good that way. Basically, all we need is a little cooler weather and a break from the strong south winds and the fishing will bust wide open.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409 996 3054

November sets up as a great cast and blast month, Jim predicts. “We’ve been having some real good dove hunting, and that should carry right on into the winter. And of course duck season starts up this month. I’ll be doing a little of everything in the coming weeks. The fishing has been improving since the water cooled off a little. I had one trout about seven pounds last week, and we are catching plenty of solid three to five pound trout, and of course plenty of slot reds too. The quality trout and the reds are mostly shallow enough for wading now. I’ve been getting some on topwaters, especially when I’m covering water on a flat. When there’s good current and I focus on the drains, I like the twitch baits like Corkys, Catch 2000s and 51MirrOlures better. The key is location, not so much lure choice. The birds are already working too, so easy limits are available there. When you find flocks hovering over shallow water, 64

November 2009

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas Chocolate Bays Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service - 979 849 7019 - 979 864 9323

The high tides associated with the autumnal equinox spurred a good topwater bite in Randall’s area. “We got these bull tides and the water flooded over the shell pads real good, and the fish went up there on the prowl. Mostly, the redfish have been more plentiful than the trout, and on some days, they’ve been much easier to catch on live bait than lures. Once November gets here and the temperatures start falling more, we’ll see a return to more consistent lure fishing. We always seem to have some great days on topwaters when that happens, and the pattern of fishing mud and scattered shell with Norton Sand Eels will also heat up. It’s my favorite time of year in some ways, because it becomes possible to catch lots of fish and quality fish without having to use live bait. The migrating schools of bait fish and shrimp move into our area in abundance in November. We should find good numbers of trout, redfish and flounder following the migrating herds. Paying attention to signs like slicks and rafted bait and mud stirs is key.”

Matagorda Charlie Paradoski - Bay Guide Service - 713 725 2401

“November is a great time to be on the water!” Charlie says with enthusiasm. “We have several reliable patterns to work with here in the Matagorda area this time of year. Those who like to wade shorelines will find their fish to be bigger this month than in recent ones. The shrimp start dumping out of the marshes and the trout and reds feast up on them and get fatter. The fish are just more aggressive too, so topwaters generally work better. It’s also possible to wade the reefs with the topwaters and do well at times this month. Of course, the birds will be working all over the place and for those who like the anticipation and thrill of chasing the flocks, this is a great month to do it. Drifting the scattered shell and mud in the vicinity of the reefs will pay off consistently for those who are more interested in numbers than in the size of the fish. Overall, it’s just a good month to catch fish in a variety of ways, and if the weather isn’t too harsh, the availability of several productive patterns can keep the people scattered out some. Some people have tunnel fishing on birds here in the fall, but there are lots of other options.”

Palacios Capt. Aaron Wollam palaciosguideservice.com - 979 240 8204 Fishing has been fair to average lately in our local waters. We are just now starting to see big tides which should help fishing tremendously. Our trout have been tough to figure out. One trip we can catch them out at the rigs and the next trip they will not be out there, but be up on flats over sand, grass or shell. The best lures for these finicky

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fish have been chicken-on-a-chain Bass Assassins and Mardi Gras Norton Bull Minnows. Our redfish bite continues to be our savior as our bays seem to be covered up with them. We are still seeing big school of reds gathering on shorelines chasing shrimp. We’ve also come across some big schools headed to Pass Cavallo to make their migration into the Gulf for breeding purposes. Lots of oversized fish up to thirty nine inches have been caught in the open bays, with most of the fish in the back lakes ranging from twenty two to twenty six inches. Hopefully, the next few good cool fronts will heat up the bird action in East and South Bays.

Port O’Connor Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361 983 4434

Lynn says that he’s been concentrating most of his efforts on the redfish over recent months. “Mainly, it’s a redfish thing. We’re just able to consistently catch them more than the trout lately. We like to throw topwaters at them as much as possible. I get people who ask me, ‘When do you like to switch off the topwaters and move over to soft plastics?’ I tell them, ’Not until I stop catching fish on my topwaters!’ In the moderate weather months like October and November, it’s possible to catch fish on top all day long. And there’s nothing like it, of course, in terms of the sheer excitement factor. We do find a need for Corkys and other twitch baits this month, and we’ll use soft plastics as necessary too. Normally, I like to fish bright sandy pockets on grassy shorelines in the fall. Another pattern that works, especially when the tides are dropping behind the fronts, is to work the mouths of drains coming out of marsh lakes. When doing that, the moving water is perfect for using twitch baits.”

Rockport Blake Muirhead Gator Trout Guide Service - 361 790 5203 - 361 441 3894 Fishing for reds in San Antonio and Mesquite Bays has been good lately, Blake reports, and he’s excited for the return of cast and blast outings. “November will bring back the cast and blast adventures. We’ll be trying to shoot our limit of ducks in the marsh lakes early, then fish our way out. Most years, the reds are plentiful either in the lakes or along the shorelines adjacent to the entrances to the lakes. They are easiest to catch on soft plastics much of the time, but we’ll stay open to the possibility of catching them on topwaters and twitch baits too. Though trout fishing has been kind of slow over the last few months, it may pick up in the cooler waters that come with the season. Some years, we catch quite a few big trout while we are focused on the cast and blast thing. They can school right in there with the reds this time of year, and they’ll take the same lures too. It is a time of plenty and a time for potentially once in a lifetime outings. Coastal bend bays and marshes offer a variety of ducks and of course, outstanding fishing.”

Padre Island National Seashore Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361 937 8446 Florida pompano, bull and slot redfish and large schools of jack crevalle will highlight the November surf fishing but there will be numerous other species available as well; including large Spanish mackerel, Atlantic bluefish, sandbar sharks (now catch and release only), some bull and blacktipped sharks and tigers are possible. Anglers seeking large jack crevalle should drive slowly watching the water’s edge and pay close attention to any areas where brown pelicans are present. There will be lots of whiting. Bottom fishers are most productive with peeled, fresh, dead shrimp and Fishbites. The finger mullet migration will be in full swing and live-lined or cut mullet will be a premium bait selection. Light wire leaders will be necessary on mackerel and bluefish. Some speckled trout may be available on M51 and M52 Mirrolures. Watch NE winds as they will stack water on the beach and avoid incoming cold fronts. Avoid driving during high tide periods as tides are usually a bit high this time of year and usually the best conditions are the second day behind incoming cold fronts.

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Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut Robert Zapata – rz1528@grandecom.net - 563 1160 Yahoo!! Not much has changed since my report from last month. The water level is still up, but not so much that it has scattered the fish. The water in the Laguna Madre is in great shape, in terms of its clarity, especially on the shallow, sandy flats. The water temperature is still in the mid eighties and we know this is no problem for any fish. Sight casting is still the main game that I am playing, mainly with redfish, black drum and some speckled trout. A good set of polarized sunglasses is really necessary for sight casting and my Costa Del Mar shades with brown lenses have really worked well for me and my clients. The sunglasses are particularly needed on cloudy days. Another item that is sometimes forgotten is at least eighteen inches of a good twenty pound fluorocarbon shock leader to make the lure appear more natural. Any shape and color of lure will work, as long as it is a good penny or pearl colored Blurp Sea Shad or a three inch Berkley Gulp shrimp!

Joe Mendez – www.sightcast1.com - 361 937 5961

The clear water in the north half of the Upper Laguna Madre has Joe excited about the prospects for the fishing in the coming month. “It’s been somewhat hot lately for this time of year, and the fish are scattered a bit. We are having good luck on the redfish, even sight casting some in the clear water between the bridge and Bird Island. The high tides have put plenty of water on the shallow flats and there are fish up there for those willing to be patient and look for them. I expect the tides to return to a more normal level in November and with cooling temperatures, the fish might return to the edges of the flats and drop offs into the channels. I’ve been having good luck with soft plastics rigged on lighter jigheads while working the shallow flats on these high tides, but if some stronger cold fronts push fish to the drop offs, I’ll get back to my drill of throwing heavier jigheads, which I like because they provide me with better feel and control while probing the deeper water.”

Port Mansfield Terry Neal – terrynealcharters.com – (956) 944 2559 Very predictably, September brought us high tides and scattered fish. The catching remained fairly consistent; we just had to work a bit harder to find them. The water temperatures began dropping with the arrival of the first norther. Six inches of badly needed rainfall helped keep the bite going and marked the change into fall patterns. October’s continued cooler temperatures will move more fish up onto the grass lines and on the flats. Fall is usually the best time of the year for fishing the King Ranch shoreline. The shorelines north and south of the Big Oaks area should become very productive for the serious wade fishermen. The offshore fishing will continue to improve as the water temperatures in the nearshore Gulf of Mexico begin to cool. Good Luck fishing, release what you can’t eat.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel Janie and Fred Petty fishingwithpettys.com – (956) 943 2747 One of the great things about finally getting much needed rain in the Lower Laguna Madre is that we are starting to catch snook without running all the way to the Brownsville Ship Channel or South Bay. Recent trips have netted a twenty two inch (photos only) and a twenty eight inch keeper, encouraging us to make at least one drift per day in search of the best eating fish in the bay. The worst thing, though, is brackish water. East winds make the west side visibility poor and push fresh water onto the flats, making it harder to find targets. We’re still able to limit on reds throwing Cajun Thunder cigar corks with Gulp three inch shrimp in new penny, pearl and molting colors, but the trout limits are fewer and farther between. The flounder fishing has been good using Gulps on quarter ounce jigheads with about an eight inch leader jigged along the sides of channels, or around pilings. Snook are biting the cork rigs that we use for reds and trout, but will also hit weedless half ounce gold spoons and topwaters, floating grass permitting.

Texas Saltwater Fishing

November 2009

65


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

Catch of the Month! Brooks Barnett first redfish!

Hunter Brown 41" bull red C&R

Charlie Gonzalez Texas City - 11# 3oz redfish

Carey Millington 28 1/4â&#x20AC;? trout

Troy Bollier San Bernard River - 18" flounder

Tyler Bowles Oyster Lake - 25" trout

Luke Delgadillo first redfish!

Robert Guajardo Rockport - 27 1/4" trout

Chad Brown 42 1/2â&#x20AC;? redfish C&R

Michelle Farek 42" bull red C&R

Jennifer Zapalac W. Matagorda Bay - 18# tripletail

Jennifer Nester Redfish Bay - first redfish!

Judy Jenson Upper Laguna Madre - 30" trout

Robert Garcia Copano Bay - 29 1/2" redfish

McKenna Jackson Port Aransas - 21" redfish Payne Leland Packery Channel - 25" redfish

66

November 2009

Texas Saltwater Fishing

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Broug h t to you b y. . .

Cavin Newberry Rockport - 38" black drun

Diane Payne Mud Island, Port A - 19" trout

Mike Torres San Antonio Bay - 31" redfish

Cayla Newberry Rockport - 42" black drun

Bonnie Sanchez PINS - first black tip!

Sonny Trujillo 31" redfish

Sierra Perez 19" first flounder!

Dwight Reeves Jr Green Island - first trout!

Suzanne Talasek Matagorda surf - 42â&#x20AC;? redfish

Claude Sonnier Trinity Bay - 29 1/2" trout

Eloy Vega Lower Laguna Madre - 32" redfish

Evan White Port Aransas - 25" redfish

Please do not write on the back of photos.

Betty Uhl E Matagorda Bay - 38" redfish with 164 spots

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Anthony Wilson Matagorda Jetties - 28" redfish 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 November 2009

67


GULF COAST pam johnson Got ideas, hints or recipes youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to share? Email them to pam@tsfmag.com or send by fax: 361-785-2844

Kitchen

Louisiana Seafood Casserole From the kitchen of Susan Davis This is a hearty seafood casserole that is sure to please seafood lovers. This recipe provides an excellent main dish or compliment to any meal with generous portions for eight. The leftovers are great from the freezer.

Ingredients

1 package cream cheese (8 oz) 1 stick plus 2 Tbs margarine or butter 1 pound shrimp (peeled) 1 large onion (chopped) 1 bell pepper (chopped) 2 ribs of celery (chopped) 1 can mushroom soup 1 small can mushrooms (drained) 1 Tablespoon garlic salt 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 1 pint crab meat 3/4 cup cooked rice 1/2 cup sharp cheddar, grated 1/2 cup cracker crumbs

Method

Melt cream cheese and stick of butter, set aside. SautĂŠ shrimp, onion, pepper and celery in two tablespoons butter. Add melted cream cheese and butter mixture. Add soup, mushrooms, seasonings, crab meat and rice. Mix well, place in two-quart casserole, and top with grated cheddar and cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees 20-30 minutes until bubbly and crackers begin to brown.

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All you have to do is catch a really good speck and release it alive… and send us some photos! Photos will be judged on photographic quality, artistic merit, demonstration of conservation ethic and, of course, you must include a shot of the release. The winner will be featured on the cover of TSFMag and receive a highquality rod and reel combo. Four runner-up prizes will also be awarded. Fish must be caught in Texas waters and TPWD regs apply. Photos become property of TSFMag, employees and writers are not eligible. Submit entries via electronic mail to: Everett@TSFMag.com. For more info please email Everett or call 361.550.3637.

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galveston tides & Solunar Table Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine November 2009


To find a location near you, please visit us at www.speedystop.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 Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor, Port Aransas, Corpus Christi and Port Isabel please refer to the charts displayed below.

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

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


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

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


November 2009