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www.fishgame.com Published by Texas Fish & Game Publishing Co., LLC. TEXAS FISH & GAME is the largest independent, family-owned outdoor publication in America. Owned by Ron and Stephanie Ward and Roy and Ardia Neves.

ROY NEVES PUBLISHER

DON ZAIDLE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

CHESTER

MOORE

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

C O N T R I B U T O R S

MATT WILLIAMS • BOB HOOD • TED NUGENT • LOU MARULLO • REAVIS WORTHAM • JOE DOGGETT • KENDAL HEMPHILL • DOUG PIKE • CAPT. MIKE HOLMES • LENNY RUDOW • GREG BERLOCHER • STEVE LAMASCUS • PATRICK LEMIRE • PAUL BRADSHAW • HERMAN BRUNE • WAYNE C. WATSON • JIMMY D. MOORE • CALIXTO GONZALES • TOM BEHRENS •

FRESHWATER EDITOR HUNTING EDITOR EDITOR AT LARGE BOWHUNTING EDITOR HUMOR EDITOR SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR SENIOR OFFSHORE EDITOR ASSOC. OFFSHORE EDITOR BOATING EDITOR KAYAKING EDITOR FIREARMS EDITOR SALTWATER RIGS EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR LEGAL AFFAIRS EDITOR NORTH HOTSPOTS EDITOR SALTWATER EDITOR TROPHY QUEST COORDINATOR

P R O D U C T I O N

JIMMY BORNE ART DIRECTOR

LINDSAY WHITMAN YEATES GRAPHIC DESIGNER

A D V E R T I S I N G

ARDIA NEVES VICE PRESIDENT/ADVERTISING DIRECTOR NICOLE MCKIBBIN • NATIONAL MARKETING REP. DENISE RONQUILLE • NATIONAL MARKETING REP. KEITH BROWN • REGIONAL MARKETING REP. 1745 GREENS ROAD, HOUSTON, TX 77032 PHONE 281/227-3001 • FAX 281/227-3002

SUBSCRIPTION/PRODUCT MKTG. 1745 GREENS ROAD, HOUSTON, TX 77032 PHONE 800/725-1134

DUANE HRUZEK MARKETING/CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

HEIDI GERKE LARRY FRIEDMAN JOE LUCA

• SUBSCRIBER SERVICES MANAGER • FIELD REPRESENTATIVE • NEWSTAND REPRESENTATIVE

A D M I N I S T R A T I O N

DENNISE CHAVEZ NATIONAL ADVERTISING COORDINATOR/RECEIVABLES MANAGER

TEXAS FISH & GAME (ISSN 0887-4174) is published monthly by Texas Fish & Game Publishing Co., LLC., 1745 Greens Road, Houston, Texas 77032. ©Texas Fish & Game Publishing Co., LLC. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without written permission. The publication assumes no responsibility for unsolicited photographs and manuscripts. Subscription rates: 1 year $19.00: 2 years $34.75; 3 years $48.50. Address all subscription inquiries to Texas Fish & Game, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, Texas 77032. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for response. Give old and new address and enclose latest mailing address label when writing about your subscription. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: TEXAS FISH & GAME, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032. Address all subscription inquiries to TEXAS FISH & GAME, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032. Email change of address to: dhruzek@fishgame.com Email new orders to: dhruzek@fishgame.com Email subscription questions to: dhruzek@fishgame.com. Periodical postage paid at Houston, TX 77267-9946 and at additional mailing offices.

MEMBER AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS

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APRIL 2009 • Volume XXIV • NO.12

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.22 S FOR TURKEY Although the 12- or 20-gauge shotgun is the most popular choice for dispatching turkey, .22 rimfire cartridges and handguns are legal for hunting Rio Grande gobblers in Texas.

by Bob Hood

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LUNKER SPAWNERS When it comes to catching big bass—lunkersize females weighing upward of 8 pounds— there is no better time to settle the score than in spring.

ON THE COVERS: COASTAL:A monster trout in any other waterbody, this speck is merely “typical” for Baffin Bay.

Photo by Doug Stamm

by Matt Williams

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BAFFIN’S BAD BOY TROUT Baffin Bay has always been known as a mega-trout haven, but when Jim Wallace broke the trout state record there, a mania was born and Baffin was set squarely at its epicenter.

INLAND/NORTH: Opportunities for Rio Grande Tukey hunters go beyond shotgun and bow.

Photo by Russell Graves Bullet inset by Don Zaidle

ALSO IN APRIL:

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FLATHEAD NIGHTS

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SEALY’S DREAM

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SALTWATER TOPPINGS

by Chester Moore

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ULEADED VENISON A doctor claims to have found lead contamination in samples of venison he has studied. So, now a movement is afoot to add whitetails to waterfowl as game animals restricted from hunting with lead bullets.

by Paul Bradshaw

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FACE TO FACE WITH THE WESTERN DIAMONDBACK Beneath the surface beauty of late spring and early summer in Texas lies a potential hazard for outdoorsmen: Rattlesnakes, dormant through fall and winter, are awakening and restlessly slithering underfoot.

by Joey Ramp 4

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Monster catfish prowl the night seeking the “big gulp.” Get one on your line and you’re in for a real rodeo. by Bob Hood

Sealy Outdoors celebrates 25 Years of the McDonald’s Big Bass Splash tournament. by Matt Williams

From our 25TH ANNIVERSARY ARCHIVES, topwaters are just as hot today as they were in 1995.


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APRIL 2009 • Volume XXIV • NO.12

COLUMNS 10 Editor’s Notes

66 Texas Saltwater

Crossbows Revisited

Float Plans

by DON ZAIDLE TF&G Editor-in-Chief

DEPARTMENTS

by CALIXTO GONZALES TF&G Saltwater Editor

14 Chester’s Notes

67 Texas Freshwater

Do Snapper Still Matter?

APR Record Busters

by CHESTER MOORE TF&G Executive Editor

by MATT WILLIAMS TF&G Freshwater Editor

16 Commentary

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YOUR LETTERS

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TF&G REPORT

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BIG BAGS & CATCHES

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TRUE GREEN

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TROPHY QUEST

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TF&G ON CAMPUS

68 Texas Offshore

Serialized Fingerprinted Stupidity

Fisheries Non-Management

by KENDAL HEMPHILL TF&G Commentator

by DOUG PIKE TF&G Offshore Editor

18 Doggett at Large CastDancing

by JOE DOGGETT TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

20 TexasWild

Queen Of the Forest Strikes Again by TED NUGENT TF&G Editor-at-Large

61 Hunt Texas

70 Open Season

The Watermelon Field

Fear & Floor Puddles

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by REAVIS WORTHAM TF&G Humor Editor

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FLOUNDER REVOLUTION I just read about your Flounder Revolution conservation initiative and think it’s great that something is getting done. Someone might want to take a look at how these regulations will be enforced. I fish at least twice a month and have seen only two wardens in three years. I follow the regulations and see others who do not. I call TPWD, tell them, and wait for a warden who never shows up. With the lack of funding for TPWD, I have a hard time believing that this enforcement problem will be remedied. To enforce regulations concerning gigging of flounder would mean wardens on night shift. If I don’t see them in daylight even when I call them and tell them of current laws broken, give license plate numbers and descriptions, should we really expect them to be able to enforce new regulations at night? Matthew Schnabl Via email I fully support your Flounder Revolution! Texas Fish & Game has become the leader in the flounder conservation movement, and the new things you are doing is very exciting. Thanks for being there for the fishery and for the fishermen as well. It’s the reason so many of us are eager to get the magazine every month. John Willet Via email Count me in on the Flounder Revolution! Chester Moore’s column in the February issue was great and his analogy about gigging in the fall run and bass spawning was brilliant. Your magazine has been the leader with flounder for a long time and I appreciate your vision and tenacity. Buddy Callaway Via email

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Your Flounder Revolution column struck a real chord with me. I have been a flounder gigger my whole life and still enjoy the practice. At first, I was offended when I read you were for a gigging ban in the fall run. After reading your analogy comparing it to shooting spawning bass at night, I got to thinking maybe there should be some sort of closure during the fall. In the areas I gig around Seadrift and also a little farther south around Aransas Pass, there are places it is like shooting fish in a barrel in the fall. I have no problem with a month-long gigging closure. I also think a five-fish limit as you suggested is right on, so everyone including rod and reel fishermen take some of the loss. I agree wholeheartedly with your take on the commercial operations, and have also wondered how there is a market for something that is in such decline. Thank you for not coming out for a total gigging closure and for respecting tradition. In a perfect world, we would have no closure and no bag limits, but the world as you well know is far from perfect. Right now we have to do what we can do protect the resource. Kelly McDaniel Via email

DO YOU NEED FREEDOM? I read Kendal Hemphill’s column, “Do you Need Freedom,” and I just want you to know that his views on the Second Amendment are absolutely outstanding. These are the values that America was built on and our loss of proper morals and values over the last decade or two has been unbelievable. Today we face a shortage of both ammo and guns because Americans are in a panic that they will all be taken away from us, which seems quite possible these days. I am a very avid outdoorsman and shooter and have been a bowhunter for more than 25 years and I can’t believe what I read and hear these days. Now it seems that they want &

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all handgun and “assault” ammo coded by serial numbers so it will help solve more unsolved crimes. There will always be unsolved crimes and I feel this is the first step or attempt to control guns as well as driving the price of ammo up so high we cannot afford to shoot. At this point, we really need to stand up for our rights and be heard so we can stop the destruction of the constitutional rights this country was built on. I won’t continue rambling on, as this is a very deep subject, but I wanted you to know how much I thought Hemphill “hit the nail on the head.” Thanks - from Texas Clark Grigsby Via email I just want say that I applaud Kendal Hemphill’s stance on the Second Amendment, and your willingness to put the truth in print. Our founding fathers thought enough of the importance of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms; it is our second amendment, not the twentieth amendment! As to what type of firearms people own, I look at it like this: This is a free country and a law-abiding citizen has the right to own whatever firearms they want. People who do not like firearms or certain types of firearms do not have the right to force their own opinions on others, nor do they have the right to force unconstitutional laws and regulations down the throats of law abiding Americans. If you do not like to eat chicken, then don’t eat chicken, but don’t tell me I can’t. David B. Cherry Kirbyville, TX

CORRECTION: In the March 2009 Coastal Issue, TF&G inadvertently misspelled Wade Dunkin’s name on page 4. Texas Fish & Game regrets any inconvinience this error may have caused.


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Crossbows Revisited AST OCTOBER, I WROTE IN THIS SPACE arguments favoring the legalization of crossbows in archery season, and anticipated introduction of legislation to make that happen. House Bill 968 introduced in the current legislature does exactly that, and arguments in favor of its passage merit repeating. According to data from a recent hunting season, of 529,465 licensed Texas hunters, 70,905 were bowhunters. Of a combined harvest of 433,387 white-tailed deer, 13,008 were bow kills. There are many reasons why bowhunter numbers are few. For some hunters, a bow is simply “not their bag.” Others are put off by the degree of skills required to master the equipment and to get within bow range of wary game. Some simply lack the physical ability to draw, aim, and accurately shoot a bow. The hunting industry has long lamented the slow but steady drop in hunter numbers. The reasons for the decline are myriad and complex, not something easily addressed in a short column such as this. However, it seems clear that recruiting more hunters and encouraging participation is certainly desirable, and one relatively simple way to do both is by legalizing crossbows during the October archery season. At least, one presumes it would be simple—and it would be, save for the opposition of a very small but vocal contingent of bowhunters—a minority within a minority. The naysayers present a number of arguments against crossbows in archery season. Let’s examine a few of them for validity: Crossbows wound too much game. Were this true, Texas would not have legal-

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ized crossbows during the general season. Further, the state recently eliminated the minimum draw weight requirement for longbow, recurve, and compound bows, a situation far more likely to result in crippling shots. A crossbow is no more or less lethal than any other bow. Crossbows are not “primitive.” Clear historical evidence dates crossbows to around 300 B.C. Crossbows are not true archery equipment. A crossbow uses energy stored in a flexible bow to propel an arrow—just like any other type of bow. The bow is mounted to a stock and has a trigger, but on that basis, a modern compound bow is not “true” archery equipment with its intricate cable and pulley systems that dramatically reduce the holding weight once drawn; glowin-the-dusk sights; mechanical release (with a trigger, no less); stabilizer; string peep sight; any one of a variety of technologically advanced rests; and arrows made of spaceage materials tipped with laser-cut or complex mechanical broadheads. Further, TPWD deems crossbows archery equipment since they are legal in archery-only Grayson County—except during archery season. Crossbows are too easy to learn to use. Having hunted with a longbow, a compound, and a crossbow, I find this argument dubious at best. Even if true, I cannot fathom why it should bar crossbows from archery season. Crossbows will flood the bow season with hunters. Almost all hunting in Texas is on private land. Will landowners suddenly swing open their pasture gates to anyone wielding a crossbow? A few more hunters might show up on public lands—but don’t we want more hunter participation? Crossbows have greater range and lethality. A crossbow is no more or less effective or lethal than a modern compound bow, and maximum range is identical (40 yards). Even if crossbows were more lethal, isn’t that a good thing? And isn’t this at

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odds with the “more cripple losses” argument? You do not have to draw and hold a crossbow in the presence of game. Again, I cannot fathom the reasoning behind this argument. In any event, the argument is moot since a Draw-Loc device that holds a compound bow at full draw is legal in Texas. Crossbow hunters are less dedicated and will practice less. There is no evidence to support this argument. On what basis does a person’s choice of hunting arm reveal anything about their character or dedication? Too many deer will be killed. There is no evidence to support this claim, but plenty to support the opposite. Effective range is the same for all forms of archery equipment, and that factor alone translates to fewer kills with bows than with firearms. Pope & Young does not accept crossbow kills as records. Why should that prevent someone who just wants to hunt and doesn’t care about “making the book” from hunting with a crossbow during archery season? If we allow crossbows in archery season, next it will be muzzleloaders. This is utter nonsense. In no stretch of convoluted logic is a black powder firearm comparable to a bow of any kind. A muzzleloader is, after all, a firearm. In summary, there is no valid reason to not use crossbows during archery season. As of this writing, HB 968 had been referred to the House Culture, Recreation & Tourism Committee, where its passage to the full house is expected. Unless the bill gets derailed in the Senate, Texas will finally join dozens of other states that have made this common sense move and give hunters another much-needed recruitment and retention tool.

E-mail Don Zaidle at editor@fishgame.com


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Father, Son, & Friend Set Conroe Records T WAS EARLY AFTERNOON ON FRIDAY 30 January 2009 when Ricky Bearden II from Conroe, Texas, gently delivered his 6-inch Texas-rigged worm behind a 1/8-ounce weight into a shallow cove of 2 feet of water on the north end of Lake Conroe. The water temperature was holding in the low 50s, clear, and the wind calm. Suddenly, the water exploded and the fight was on. After a lengthy fight, Bearden, who was fishing alone, finally landed a 15.93-pound largemouth bass and a new record for Lake

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Conroe was established. Bearden said once hooked, the bass finally came to the surface, enabling him to land it alone. Bearden, knowing the fish was exceptional, immediately took it to Stow-A-Way Marina, where the bass was weighed and put into an empty minnow tank. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department was called to enter Bearden and his bass into the record books, as well as into the ShareLunker program.

The big bass now holds the number 24 spot on the list of the top 50 largemouth bass ever caught in Texas. “It’s one of the healthiest-looking fish entered into the ShareLunker program in some time,” said ShareLunker program manager David Campbell. The old record for Lake Conroe was 14.91 pounds, set in 1997 by Bill Boyett, who was using a spinnerbait. The record had held since that time. Big bass are no longer the exception on Lake Conroe. On 13 December 2008, Kyle Nitschke, a junior at Willis High School, caught a 13.07-pound ShareLunker bass and established himself as the junior big bass record holder for Lake Conroe. The old record for junior champion was held by Tyler Goetzman, also a junior at Willis High

BIG BAGS & CATCHES

SALMON—Alaska

REDFISH—Port O’ Connor

FERAL HOG—Lake Jackson

Dave Niles caught this 40-pound king salmon while on a fishing trip in Alaska with his buddy Jim Reid of Magnolia, Texas.

Joshua Crumley of San Antonio, Texas, caught this 42-inch, 30-pound, 13-ounce redfish while fishing Port O’Connor with his father. This was a personal best for Joshua.

Alexis Tobola, age 9, of Needville, Texas, shot her first feral hog with her dad’s 6 mm Remington rifle at Lake Jackson, Texas. The hog was 180 pounds. Alexis also bagged her first deer a few months earlier. Photo submitted by her proud dad, Albert.

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School and Nitschke’s fishing partner, with a bass he caught in January 2008 that weighed 13.06 pounds. “What’s driving this is the continued stocking of Lake Conroe with Florida largemouth bass,” said TPWD fisheries biologist Mark Webb, who manages the fishery. “In addition to the bass that TPWD stocks, the Lake Conroe Restocking Association purchases fish from Tyler Fish Farms and stocks them into the lake after they have been tested and certified to be Florida bass.” Since 2000, more than 1.7 million Florida largemouth bass fingerlings have been stocked into the lake. Lake Conroe has also been the object of intensive vegetation management by TPWD and the San Jacinto River Authority, resulting in the removal of most of the hydrilla in the lake. Native vegetation is being established in its place. “Anglers are figuring out how to fish the lake in the absence of hydrilla,” said TPWD fisheries technician Mike Gore. “They’re throwing more crankbaits and Carolina-rigged plastic worms. The fish are out there. You just have to know how to catch them.” In further interesting twist, Lake Conroe produced another ShareLunker on 15 February when Mark Goetzman, Tyler Goetzman’s father, took a 13.13-pounder on a Brush Hog about 10 a.m. If you go fishing on Lake Conroe and want to catch a ShareLunker, it might be a good idea to have Tyler Goetzman in the boat with you. Lake Conroe has now produced 15 ShareLunkers. Only Lake Fork, Lake Alan Henry, and Sam Rayburn Reservoir have produced more 13-pound-plus fish. —Larry LeBlanc

Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received 255 reports of the bow’s limbs breaking, including 11 reports of lacerations, abrasions, or contusions when pieces from the breaking bow struck the user. Description: This recall involves the “The General” compound bow hunting and target models with draw weights of 60 and 70 pounds that do not have a collet (see illustration) in the limb. The bows measure about 31 inches long and have draw lengths of 26-30 inches. Hunting models were sold in Real Tree and Mossy Oak camouflage patterns. Target models were sold in gray,

black, and wood grain. The bows have laminated wood grips engraved with the word “BowTech” and a label with “The General” on the center pivot point of the bottom limb. Sold at: Authorized BowTech Dealers nationwide from September 2007 through July 2008 for about $800. Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bows and contact their dealer to schedule a free repair. Contact: BowTech Archery, 888-6891289, www.bowtecharchery.com —Staff Report

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BowTech Product Recall The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in cooperation with BowTech Archery has announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Product: “The General” Compound Bow Manufacturer: BowTech Archery, of Eugene, Oregon Hazard: The ends of the bow’s limbs can unexpectedly break during use and send fragments of the bow in the direction of the user or bystanders, posing a risk of injury. T E X A S

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Do Snapper Still Matter? O RED SNAPPER MATTER ANY MORE? WITH a two-fish bag limit and miniscule season in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the species has been rendered invalid. Oh, some anglers are still pursuing them, but snapper no longer drive what is left of the offshore market. How could they? Other than the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) continuing to allow fishing in state controlled waters, all fights against federal cuts in access to snapper have failed. What was once the chief reason to venture offshore has become an afterthought to other pursuits, changing the very face of fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The question is, what will happen to the offshore angling community without its bread and butter fish? The answer is serious change. First off, other species are getting more attention, in particular king mackerel. Partially sparked by the prestigious Southern Kingfish Association tournaments, these super-hard fighters are back in vogue. Never a popular food fish, recent reports that they have the highest levels of mercury of any popular fish in the Gulf have not stopped the growth of popularity in their pursuit. Dolphin is another species seeing great increases in popularity. I have always been a huge fan of catching these beautiful and delicious fish that fight as hard as anything in the Gulf. When I started seeing dolphin-shaped “Join CCA” stickers on the backs of trucks, I knew something was going on.

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Now, it is not uncommon to see anglers in bay boats trolling weedlines during the summer months, pushing the bounds of their equipment and enjoying every second of it. Bay boats have become the new offshore vessels for many anglers, and this trend will likely continue. Anglers fishing on party boats have to learn to target species once frowned upon, particularly triggerfish and spadefish. Both are a challenge to catch, fight hard for their size, and excellent in the frying pan. Sadly, the feds are getting involved here as well, and consider the gray triggerfish “overfished.” It will not be long before restrictions are in

The question is, what will happen to the offshore angling community without its bread and butter fish?

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place for them just as they are for red snapper. Insane? Yes. Surprising? Sadly not. Perhaps the biggest change is coming in the form of economically challenged anglers refusing to let fuel prices and restrictive regulations destroy their desire to fish in the Gulf. I know because I have been one of those anglers. For years, I fished the short rigs in a 16foot deep and wide aluminum boat rigged with a 40-horse Mercury motor. My dad, my cousin Frank Moore, and family friend Dean Dyson would constantly monitor conditions in the Gulf and wait for calm days to jump on the opportunity to hit the platforms anywhere from three to six miles out of the Sabine Jetties. In the spring and summer, we

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caught shark, speckled trout, and spadefish. In the winter, it was sheepshead, sand trout, and black drum. I will never forget Dean and me actually positioning our boat inside a rig and just wearing out the sheepshead up to 7 pounds. Then there was the time Dad and I had dozens of shark schooling behind our boat when a certain line from “Jaws” came from both our lips—we needed a bigger boat! However, we never let economic situations dictate our enjoyment of fishing. That is exactly what the boom in kayak fishing in Gulf waters hails from. Thousands of hard working and adventurous anglers are finding they can have just as much fun offshore as the people who can afford far more luxurious modes of transportation. No, they’ll never be pursuing marlin around the Auger and Cerveza rigs, but finding oneself amidst a school of 30- to 40-pound bull reds or being towed by a 6-foot lemon shark is every bit as exciting. There is an indomitable spirit among anglers like myself who crave the adventure that is fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Regulators might have taken the wind out of our sails, but they have not destroyed our resolve and desire to enjoy the very best fishing action on the Gulf Coast. As much as I am known for and love bay fishing, my favorite trips are always at the jetties or offshore, partly because everything out there gets bigger, fights harder, and tastes better than what is inshore. So, to all of you hardcore Texas anglers who refuse to let questionable rules dictate where you will fish, this column is dedicated to you. Whether you are in a catamaran, bay boat, kayak, or johnboat, make it a point to enjoy yourselves doubly when fishing in the Gulf this year. It doesn’t matter if you are in the bluewater or just beyond the breakers, your actions represent the independent spirit of Texas that make us all so proud.

E-mail Chester Moore at cmoore@fishgame.com


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Serialized, Fingerprinted Stupidity N TODAY’S ANTI-GUN CLIMATE, IT SEEMS ADVOcates of gun control will grasp at any straw to curtail our right to keep and bear arms. No idea is too silly for consideration. Two such brainstorms have been getting plenty of press lately, regardless of the fact they are neither viable nor affordable. Like super-fast diet pills and get-rich-quick schemes, these ideas sound too good to be true—and they are. The first is ammunition serialization— every cartridge manufactured in America imprinted with a unique serial number on the base of the bullets, and again on the inside of the corresponding cartridge case. All the cartridges in a box and the box, too, would have the same number. Supposedly, when a crime is committed with a firearm, assuming police can find one or more spent bullets, and assuming a serial number on the base of at least one bullet is still legible, authorities can then check records and learn who bought the ammo. This would lead them directly to the door of someone who either did or did not commit the crime. Problems with this idea are legion, starting with the manufacturing process. Shotgun ammo, for example, normally contains more than one projectile. In the case of No. 9 shot, a single cartridge has over 500 tiny pellets in it, each far too small imprint with a serial number. Which doesn’t matter, anyway, since they are normally made of lead, which is too soft to retain its shape if it hits anything, such as air. The solution would be to ban all shotgun ammo. Reloading of any kind would also have to go, along with all imported ammuni-

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tion, and any cartridges made before the ban took effect. There would be a lot less ammunition in America to track, which is the desired effect. The main goal of ammunition serialization is to make ammo so costly we can’t afford it. The expense of engraving serial numbers on ammo would be astronomical. Russ Ford, one of the main advocates of ammunition serialization, claims it’s no different from putting bar codes on other items, such as Coke cans, but Ford has not, to date, come up with a way to get the numbers on the cartridge parts, except by hand. The people who actually make ammo, such as Remington and Winchester, say it will pretty much shut them down financially and in terms of the time involved. The accepted estimate is that it would take three weeks to manufacture the amount of serialized ammo produced in one day without serial numbers. Using that estimate as a guide, the price of a box of serialized ammo would be at least 15 times higher. And that doesn’t take into account the cost of retooling, setting up the etching lasers, and hiring (or training) people to operate the equipment. That estimate could conceivably double, or worse. Twenty rounds of .22-250 ammo, which costs about $15 or so now, would set you back anywhere from $225 to $450. There are other drawbacks, such as the fact there is no way to check if the serial numbers on the boxes match the numbers on the ammo without taking each of the cartridges apart, and then they’re ruined. Even if all these problems could be worked out, which is a serious stretch, there is no way to know if serialized ammo would be any help at all to police in solving crimes. Anyone could report a box of ammo stolen, then go use it in a crime. The average criminal would probably just steal ammo to use in robberies anyway, so it couldn’t be traced to him. Serialization could very well increase crime, without helping one whit to solve it. The other bad idea is “ballistic fingerprinting,” which has been touted by the antigun liberal media and publicity-hungry politicians as “the DNA of crime fighting.”

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Actually, it is neither. A good idea on paper, ballistic fingerprinting won’t work in the real world. The concept is based on the fact that every firearm is different, and therefore when a gun is fired, its firing pin leaves a distinctive impression on the primer of the cartridge. By picking up spent casings at crime scenes, police could conceivably identify the firearm used in the crime and arrest its owner. The only way this would work is if a computer database existed that could handle pictures of the firing pin signatures from hundreds of millions of guns. It doesn’t. A system called IBIS, Integrated Ballistics Information System, was developed in 1999 to compare firing pin signatures. About 160 crime labs in America use it, with very little success. The number of images in the system is manageable, because IBIS stores only images of cases that have been used in crimes already. But the system does not work. When loaded with multiple images of fired cartridges from the same gun, IBIS is able to match firing pin signatures only 38 percent of the time. So, even at its best, IBIS is unreliable. Other problems abound. A criminal could go to a firing range and pick up empty cases there, and then leave them at a crime scene to send investigators in the wrong direction. Even with the right case and the right gun, a match is unlikely due to normal wear and tear, which causes a firing pin signature to change over time. A savvy criminal could also use abrasive paste on the pin, rendering the signature unmatchable. In 15 minutes, the evidence would be obliterated. There is no super-fast crime reduction pill, no get-safe-fast scheme. The solution to gun crime is more police on the streets, more armed citizens willing to defend themselves and others, and stiffer penalties for offenders. Once our lawmakers understand that, America will become a safer place.

E-mail Kendal Hemphill at commentary@fishgame.com


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Cast-Dancing EGARDLESS OF TACKLE OR VENUE, CASTERS share one thing common: you plant your feet and take your best shot. Well, sometimes. Fish long enough, and situations arise where the time-honored stationary drill is not sufficient for achieving maximum potential. There are, in fact, times when a mobile cast can significantly improve the chances for a strike. Here are two examples; they might be far-flung but the lessons for the observant angler might apply on any water: The first is for the fly rod. The lesson occurred on Alaska’s Lower Talarik Creek. I was fishing with Newhalen Lodge guide Drew Pozzi.

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We were fishing the stretch known as “The Ditch,” a straight, shallow channel perhaps 1/2 mile above the outlet of the creek as it dumps into huge Lake Iliamna. The lazy stretch of gravel-washed bottom attracts spawning sockeye salmon and, at times, dozens of big rainbow trout. By “big,” I mean 5- to 15-pound slabs— an unbelievable, almost surreal bounty in such a small piece of water. The west bank is level, backed by open tundra, and a well-worn bear trail traces the edge, maybe 4-5 feet above the surface of the water. The creek is about 80 or 90 feet across. It takes a good caster with a 7- or 8-weight floating line to reach the far water under actual fishing conditions. And the far water can be well worthwhile, especially after the close water and mid-stream water have been flogged

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by several hours of casting. The confident caster in command of a nononsense double haul has a big advantage at the ditch once the “magic hour” of first light has passed. He can reach unhassled trout in the new water against the far bank. The problem is keeping the leader and fly in a non-drag drift at such extreme distance across the current. Even the most aggressive upstream line mend falls short—and usually pulls the fly from the sweet zone. Pozzi suggested making a strong haul, aiming slightly downcurrent (rather than upstream, as you might expect), then following the drift by walking with a high rod tip down the bear trail. This is done in one smooth, coordinated sequence; as soon as the floating line hits the water, you are stepping downstream. We call it the Talarik Two-Step.


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With a bit of finessing and an occasional short mend, it is possible to achieve a fishable drift along the far bank for 50 yards. We rotate. Each angler in turn makes his cast and the procession begins down the Ditch. I caught my best rainbow, a 33-1/2-incher estimated at 15 pounds, about midway through an inspired rendering of the Talarik TwoStep. I doubt I would have reached—much less fooled—that fish with a conventional flatfooted presentation. Now, for the plug caster, we have the Snook Shuffle. Big snook during late spring and summer in the Ten Thousand Islands region of Florida often hold in deeper guts and channels rimming the many perimeter keys. One afternoon, in the company of Everglades City guide Jim Conley, I was casting into a deep trench off the V-shaped point of such a key. Beautiful snook—15- to 20-pound fish— were hugging bottom, waiting with their snouts pointed into the outgoing flow to feed on mullet and shrimp. We were standing on the sand and casting 5/8-ounce leadhead jigs fitted with plastic tails, a proven choice with a superior sink rate to cut through the flow and reach the fish. The problem was making a cast long enough to cover the fish. The bottom dropped off dramatically from the key, eliminating wading as an option for reaching farther. The conventional procedure was to aim the cast at a 45-degree angle upcurrent. This presentation allowed the offering to settle alluringly as the retrieve followed the current (natural movement for bait carried on the tide); however, that upcurrent angle failed to reach far enough across the deep channel. Remembering Talarik, I modified the presentation by “raring back” and casting at 90 degrees, achieving maximum distance straight across the channel. Then, leaving the casting reel in free-spool, I shuffled about 10 yards downcurrent along the sand. Changing position while the leadhead sank provided a favorable angle for working the jig through the deep school of snook. The line surged tight as a fish clamped down; I hit back with the stiff plug rod and line tore from the reel. Then, amid a ponderous roll and flash of yellow fins and jaws, the miserable hook sailed free. I fell back, devastated. It was a monster snook, but at least by being mobile, I put the jig where it needed to be. So, a trout in Alaska and a snook in Florida. What do they have to do with local

water? The lesson is to pay attention and remain flexible. It’s too easy during a slow session to get stuck in a rut while going through the rote drill of casting. By moving before the retrieve, you might improve your chances while walking the edge of a free-running pass or cut. The technique even can work in still water. For example, when fishing with a bottombumper or diving crank bait for bass from the bank of a stock tank, make a 90-degree cast for maximum distance across the open water, then

take several free-spool steps before engaging the reel. Changing the angle allows the retrieve to slice across the deeper bottom contours rather than tracking straight back. The untuned angler might give you an odd glance, but the style police will not jump from the brush. And, most important, a mobile cast might reach trophy fish that otherwise would be out of reach. E-mail Joe Doggett at doggett@fishgame.com


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Queen Of the Forest Strikes Again CALLED UPON MY LIFETIME OF FINELY TUNED predator stealth to slither undetected amongst the withering oaks and dry bluestem. Avoiding the glow of the burning Texas sun and hunkering down in the shadows, I moved invisible, silently, closer to my prey. Well within striking distance of the graceful beast, I settled down to simply gaze upon God’s stunning creature, the thought of finishing my stalk all but gone, moved by the grace and beauty of this gorgeous animal. I sat and stared, moved. I didn’t have in my possession the proper license and paperwork necessary to “harvest” this trophy; for you see, I was on one of my favorite hunts, getting close to Mrs. Nugent, Shemane, Queen of the Forest, on the 3-D target range shooting her pink bow. If ever there was a singular inspiration for bowhunting, it could very well be the sheer pleasure of watching this shapely, svelte woman, standing on the line, gracefully drawing back her bow, upright and focused as she aims her arrows true, her body conforming to one of God’s most natural functions and forms as she becomes one with the mystical flight of the arrow. Good grief, gentlemen, if your woman isn’t a bowhunter, I can only feel sorry for you. Archery form and the female anatomy are surely made for each other. Dear Lord, help me! And of, course, as Shemane’s primary Spirit of the Wild VidCamDude, my professional duties demand that I zoom in and focus on the marriage of shape and form where bow and arrow meets the archer’s

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body logic, the mystifying ballet that is the confluence of the physics of spirituality. Whew! I get tired just writing about it! So, as we wrap up another eye candy session of deadeye shooting, Shemane zips up her Mossy Oak ScentLok suit, camera rolling, me drooling, and she Bad Boys into the ash juniper-infested Texas hinterland hunterland for an afternoon of winter bowhunting. She even has a beautiful forest of live oaks and assorted pucker brush that bears her name, Shemane’s Grove, where many a backstrap have come to fruition. We settle in for a soul-cleansing evening of sharp stick predator celebration together. ‘Till death do us part. Like all across Texas, we never know what special creature might just show up at our SpiritWild Ranch. The always tantalizing ubiquitous whitetail deer is evasive yet likely to appear. And thank God for Texas exotics like blackbuck antelope, fallow, sika, and axis deer, African aoudad sheep, and Shemane’s favorite, the stunning, big, delicious scimitar-horned oryx. This hearty, white and tan antelope, nearly extirpated in their homelands of Africa, is thriving in Texas with a growing breeding population found across the Lone Star State. On our own SpiritWild Ranch, we produce numerous new animals yearly, and it brings grand gratification to us as stewards of such a precious creature. And as proponents and adherents to the perfection of sustained yield conservation, we celebrate the balancing duties of the much-appreciated wise use of this most delicious, tender source of the world’s finest venison. It is agreed that oryx flesh is like fawn venison, tender and scrumptious. On the way to our tree stand, Shemane had stated matter of factly she had never killed an oryx before, and how she dreamed of a close encounter with this special beast. Deer, squirrels, quail, rabbits, and birds galore could be seen here and there, as we sat taking in all the bowhunting spirit that is each and every hunt. After an hour or so, as if on cue, my camera lens picked up a glint of long black horn in the distant scrub. She-

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mane looked at the camera with big, excited eyes, and we readied ourselves. Like a seasoned pro, Shemane made all the right moves, slow, deliberate, and perfectly timed. As the largest oryx bull in the herd walked across a small opening, she drew her 40-pound pink Martin bow, and in an instant the zebra colored arrow sliced hard dead center into the giant bull’s ribs, penetrating this 700-plus-pound beast’s chest cavity, the scalpel-sharp two-blade Magnus BuzzCut broadhead cutting everything in its path, sticking hard into the far shoulder. The swirling dust from the departing herd created an effervescent halo around Shemane’s camo-ringed face, but her smile took over everything. It was a perfect arrow into a perfect animal on a perfect day, all caught on film for the whole world to celebrate on our Spirit of the Wild Outdoor Channel TV show. Again, the camera loved what it was filming as she carefully tracked her prize for a short 80 yards. The fallen monarch was huge, eclipsed only by Shemane’s joy and happiness. The recovery defined reasoning predator heart and soul, and her articulation of respect and reverence for the beasts and dedication to be the best predator she can be is why Spirit of the Wild is the most watched and influential hunting show on TV. Truth, logic, passion, and believability are how we promote and celebrate the hunting lifestyle, and Shemane hits home deeply and dearly with a segment of society that needs to hear it the way Shemane delivers it. A call for reinforcements went out to family and friends to join us in the photo-taking celebrations and to help load up the giant antelope. After a careful winching up onto the Bad Boy ATV, we headed back to camp for the important ceremony of processing the animal. A grand party at the fire pit went on into the night as the Queen of the Forest retold the story of her first Scimitar Horned oryx bowhunt, and all was good.

E-mail Ted Nugent at bowhunting@fishgame.com


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TURKEY PHOTO BY RUSSELL GRAVES


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by Bob Hood BULLET INSET PHOTO BY DON ZAIDLE

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f you are like most turkey hunters, your favorite

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Most hunters do not make the connection between turkey hunting and .22 rimfire— but they should.

But before you head to the woods, practice, practice, practice. A body shot to the vital areas from just about any load can kill a turkey, but the chances of losing the bird are high. A missed shot to the head is a missed shot. A poorly placed body shot is just that, too. Rifles and handguns designed to shoot rimfire .22-caliber cartridges are affordable for most people, as are the scopes made for them. If you are wondering which .22 rifle is best for you, the answer is simple: It is the one that you like the best. Your choices are many, ranging from single-shots to semiautomatics, bolt-actions, and combination .22-caliber/20-gauge rifle-shotguns. Scope choices are numerous, too, but remember that the distance from you to the turkey, especially when calling in the spring, likely will be 20 to 40 yards. A fixed 4- or 6-power scope might be all you need, but if you plan to use the firearm for other game at longer ranges, a variable power scope might be a better choice. There are several .22 rimfire cartridges to choose from, but the most popular is the .22 Long Rifle. Do not consider the new .22 super-quiet, no-powder cartridges that propel bullets with only the charge of the rimfire primer. They are designed for use in handguns only and travel at only about 500 fps at the muzzle. If a round becomes lodged in a

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PHOTO BY RUSSELL GRAVES

“turkey gun” is a 12- or 20gauge shotgun, or perhaps a .410, but have you ever considered a .22 rimfire rifle or handgun? Most hunters probably have not, perhaps because shotguns are by far the most popular choice for dispatching turkey among Texans, and few would opt for anything less finalizing than a load of pellets fired from a smoothbore. Nevertheless, .22 rimfire cartridges as well as handguns are legal for hunting Rio Grande turkey in Texas, and in the hands of a seasoned shooter, they can be just as deadly as a shotgun. (Note: Do not use a rifle or handgun for Eastern turkey; for which only shotguns, archery equipment, and crossbows may be used. Someday, I would like someone to explain to me why Texas needs different “means and methods” regulations for eastern and Rio Grande turkey.) Whether you are a staunch shotgun hunter or not, the opportunities are there for you to hunt Rio Grande turkey with a wide range of other hunting arms. Like most people, my first real firearm was a .22. It is by far one of the most popular calibers the world over, and has proven itself repeatedly on target ranges and in hunting fields. It has brought down everything from squirrels and prairie dogs to even a documented Kodiak bear. Small game, however, is where the little .22 rimfire best fits into the hunting picture. If you have any doubts about why someone would go after turkey with a .22 rimfire, consider this: How many squirrel hunters do you know who prefer a .22 to a shotgun? You can add me to that list, and many of us who go after squirrels with a .22 prefer to make a headshot; and the size of the kill zone on the head of a squirrel and that of a turkey are about the same. The point is, if you are going to hunt Rio Grande turkey with a .22 rimfire or any handgun during the spring or fall season, prepare yourself to make a clean one-shot kill, and the head is the place to make it. The spring season offers the best opportunity to bag a gobbler, and you will not have to make big changes in your hunting tactics.

rifle barrel, serious injury to the shooter could result if a follow-up .22 cartridge were fired. The .22 Magnum also is a popular choice for a turkey gun. The cartridge was introduced by Winchester in the 1950s, and operates at just about the pressure limit for rimfire ammunition. It is available in bullet weights of 30 and 50 grains in addition to Winchester’s original 40-gain bullet, which travels at about 2000 fps. The .22 LR has been around since about 1877. A 40-grain Remington 22 Golden Bullet travels at about 1255 fps at the muzzle of most firearms, and although slower than the magnum rounds, this .22 LR cartridge remains as perhaps the most popular .22 for turkey. If you are a handgun enthusiast, you might consider a single-action “convertible” revolver equipped with two interchangeable cylinders, one for .22 LR and one for .22 Magnum. For spring turkey hunting, use extreme caution where you set up to call. Take into consideration how far a .22 bullet or handgun round can travel, and think about possible ricochets that could strike property, livestock, or even other hunters in the area. Hunting with any type of weapon requires personal responsibility to know what is beyond where you are shooting.


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n old man once told me the best time to go fishing is whenever you can. I didn’t argue the point then, and I am reluctant to argue it now, but I have to. When it comes to catching big bass—lunkersize females weighing upward of 8 pounds—there is no better time to settle the score than in spring. The reason? Actually, there is a couple. Female bass are at peak weight during spring because their bellies are plump with eggs. An adult female might stack on as much as 10 percent extra in body weight during spring as opposed to summer, which could equal a pound or more on a doubledigit bass. Spring is also when most bass spawn. Initial spawning “waves” might occur as early as January on a handful of Texas lakes,

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More lunker bass are caught during the spring spawn than at any other time. but the meat of the spawn statewide takes place between February and April with a

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series of peaks and valleys spaced throughout. Though some fish will spawn deeper, most bass dump their eggs in water shallower than 8 feet. In most cases, this means the fish will be positioned close to the shoreline. Since most anglers are more comfortable fishing close to the bank than in open water, the fish are naturally more vulnerable to getting caught. Each year, more big Texas bass are caught during the spawn than at any other time—or at least, that is what the numbers show. Perhaps the most convincing data is linked to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Budweiser ShareLunker program. Currently in its 22nd season, the program solicits anglers to “loan” big, Texascaught bass to the TPWD hatchery program for spawning and genetics research. Fish must weigh at least 13 pounds and be caught between October 1 and April 30 to qualify. As of 1 January 2009, the program had taken in 456 bass ranging in size from 13 pounds to 18.18 pounds from 55 public reservoirs and more than a dozen private lakes. Roughly 82 percent (375) of the entries were caught during February, March, and April. March has produced more ShareLunkers than any other month (195 or

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42.76 percent), followed by February (106 or 23.25 percent), April (74 or 16.23 percent), and January (44, or 9.65 percent). Bud ShareLunker program leader David Campbell and his staff have logged thousands of miles in state vehicles retrieving the heavyweight females from lakes all over Texas. The veteran fisheries scientist did not mince words when asked which month keeps them the busiest. “March, no doubt about it,” Campbell said. “We know that bass will spawn yearround, but March is when the majority of the activity takes place across most of the state. I can recall a couple of seasons when we drove as much as 5000 miles during March.” Data accumulated on three of the four top producing ShareLunker lakes adds more credence. Lake Fork has been a virtual blood bank for the program since its inception, producing 239 entries. More than 45 percent (108) of the bass were caught during March. On Sam Rayburn, 10 of 23

ShareLunker were caught in March. Lake Conroe is the fourth leading lunker lake with 13 entries, five of which were reported during March. TPWD fisheries biologist Kevin Storey of Tyler offered up some additional lunker fodder to support the claim that March is “the month” to catch a heavyweight bass in eastern Texas—on Lake Fork, in particular. Storey is the state’s point man for Lake Fork. Since March 2003, he has been running a voluntary survey using lakeside marinas, bait shops, and fishing guides to help him gather data on any bass that weigh at least 7 pounds or measure at least 24 inches. Through November 2008, the Lake Fork Trophy Bass survey showed the lake had produced more than 9554 entries. Not surprisingly, March has always resulted in more entries than any other month. “It has been that way ever since we started the survey,” Storey said. “It fluctuates from year to year, but March usually responsible for about 25 percent of the entries. Storey thinks the March flurry might be

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partly attributed to a spike in fishing pressure. Angler interest typically climbs to fever pitch as winter gives way to the warmer weather of spring. This means more hooks in the water when big bass are in the mood to prowl the shallows. Interestingly, March is not recognized as the bewitching month at the state’s secondleading ShareLunker lake, Alan Henry (25 entries). More than half (14) of Alan Henry’s ShareLunkers have been caught in April, many of them during the second half of the month. No one knows for certain why the little lake near Lubbock turns on a month later than other leading lunker producers, but it is logical to assume its northern geographic location could have a lot to do with it. Plus, the lake is deep with an average depth of about 40 feet. Those two factors cause water temperatures to warm slower, which in turn causes the spawn to peak a little later in the year.

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affin Bay. Utter those words among a group of anglers, and you might as well say “monster trout,” because that is exactly what a mention of Texas’ most unique bay system conjures. Baffin has always been known as a megatrout haven, but when Jim Wallace broke the state record there with his whopping 13pound, 11-ounce behemoth back in 1996, trophy trout mania was born and Baffin Bay was set squarely at the epicenter. For many anglers, it is the stuff of dreams and a goal on their lifetime angling list. But in 2009, can Baffin Bay still deliver the goods? “Absolutely,” said. Capt. Jim Onderdonk. Known by clients and friends as “Donk,” the savvy guide and owner of Poco Loco Lodge invests his efforts in the Baffin ecosys-

tem because of its true trophy trout potential: “I have put my clients on a lot of really big fish and have also, of course, experienced the thrill of tangling with Baffin’s big girls myself. A few years ago, I caught a 32-inch 11-pounder, and last year, I missed a fish that was most certainly much bigger than that one. It was the biggest trout I have ever seen.” What are the keys to catching the biggest and best of Baffin? “A lot of it has to do with matching the hatch and paying special attention to detail,” Onderdonk said. He said by April, trout metabolism is set on full speed, with the fish feeding two to three times a day and focusing heavily on mullet, so he uses MirrOlure products. “MirrOlures have been my go-to baits for years. They have just about every color and size you would ever need,” he said. Witnessing the blowup of a big sow speck can be the most impressive or underwhelming thing an angler can witness. Sometimes, they strike with such vigor they force the lure into the air, causing the heart to skip a few beats. Many times, the signature of a super-

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sized sow will be a simple “slurp” and the disappearance of the plug. The challenge in both scenarios is in the hands of the angler. Do not let a blowup fool you. Specks, even huge ones, can miss a plug, and anglers probably miss most of them by attempting to set the hook before the fish has its mouth on the bait. Big predators push up a lot of water when they are hitting at something on the surface. It is best to get hit, count to two, and then set the hook. If you miss the fish, it can pay to let the plug sit there and then gently twitch it. Onderdonk said he often rigs up clients inexperienced with topwaters with a topwater/Bass Assassin combo. He rigs the Assassin as a trailer for the surface lure, and most of the time when the trout comes up toward the surface, it takes the Assassin first: “It works really well, especially for people who just don’t have a lot of experience fishing topwaters. It’s exciting for people to get a blowup but heartbreaking for them to miss one of these fish because down here it really could be the trout of a lifetime.” Slow-sinking lures are not commonly used in late spring, but they can be very effective down in Baffin. The Corky and Brown Lures Devil Eye are very popular. Onderdonk also uses the Chatter Tube, another Texas-produced lure that has garnered some impressive catches over the years. A fish does not have to be in cold water to be lure shy, and many times something that moves slowly will get its attention. A lot of times when using slow-sinkers, I start fishing parallel to the shore, then gradually move back to fish the plug from the shallows out past the drop-off. These spots will typically hold some fish, especially if there is some flow entering the channel. Trout like to feed right along the edge of the deep, where they ambush baitfishes. Work the shallows first and then fall over the edge of the drop-off. Do not think that these drop-offs have to be impressive. Some of the most productive are simply where you will have 3 feet of water dropping off to 6, and in a system like Baffin, that is really deep. Points are also crucial areas to target. Pay attention to the point itself, but more importantly, the “secondary point,” which will be visible only on your sonar graph. Baffin is an area that I definitely recommend hiring a guide for, at least on your first trip. This isolated area is unlike any other

bay system in Texas. There is very little tidal flow, lots of water to cover, and totally unique habitat that will leave anglers confused and confounded without proper guidance. Last year, I received an email telling of a 38-inch trout caught in a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department gill net survey. The trout would have been a new state record had it been caught on hook and line. Of course, the story turned out to be untrue, but

this was the fifth time I had heard such a tale, and every time it centered on Baffin Bay. What makes this worth mentioning is not that someone started the rumor, but that it seemed within the grasp of reality, albeit on the far side. Like you, I might never catch one of Baffin’s monsters, but I know they are out there, and that makes me want to take a drive south right about now.


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conduct a study of their own, not on or the past 20 or so years donated venison, but rather on the that I have levels of lead in the blood of percar ried sons who eat wild game taken a rifle into with firearms and those who the woods, I have never tasted venison in loaded it with their life. The premise of the lead core bulstudy was that if there is lets, and I am indeed lead in wild game, sure you have as exactly how much of it is well. Hunters have then transferred to the indiused lead bullets for cenviduals who consume it, turies to take everything and are the levels of lead from elk and deer to squirin their blood any higher rels and dove. Remember the than that of people who good old days when you could do not consume wild even use lead shot for watergame. fowl? Well, there is a movement out While the results of there that wants to make you the study are public remember hunting deer with lead knowledge (the levbullets with the same fondness that As you can see, the only bullet els were relatively you do ducks, because if it was up to fragments are at the area of the same across the some folks, you wouldn’t be allowed to impact. board, whether use lead bullets for anything—deer the tested ate wild included. game taken with lead To give a little history: In 2007, Dr. bullets or not), I just happen to know William Cornatzer took it upon himself to one of the participants in the study and was test venison donated to local food pantries able to get some of his background informafor traces of metal, supposedly left by tion to give you an idea of who was hunter’s bullets. Now, when you hear that tested as a representative of a doctor has taken the initiative to test the hunting community. something, your first thought is that he is North Dakota resiconcerned for the health of his patients, dent John Paczkowski is but in this case, that’s simply not true. what I would consider an First, Dr. Cornatzer is a dermatoloaverage hunter. For the betgist, so I doubt he sees many ter part of three decades, he patients complaining about tainthas hunted big game, such as ed deer meat causing skin probdeer and antelope, and chased lems. Second, Dr. Cornatzer is small game like pheasant, a board member for The grouse, and waterfowl. The only Peregrine Fund, a group difference between him and most of dedicated to “protecting” the folks reading this is that he does birds of prey from items it it in a climate where the temperature deems harmful. While often has a negative sign in front of it. perhaps a noble cause, The opposite shoulder showed Anyway, like most of us, John conit does make one no bullet fragments at all. sumes a minimum of one meal per week question the motivathat consists of wild game, most of which is tion behind the taken with lead core bullets or lead shot. study. And before you With such a rampant consumption of supstart thinking these types of groups posedly tainted meat, John is lucky he doesare harmless, just ask hunters in California n’t set off metal detectors in the airport. But what kind of impact such groups have had percent of a a funny thing happened on the way to the on their hunting. lead banning parade: Johns level of lead was In his testing, Dr Cornatzer claims to deer, but that is the not significantly higher than that of someone have discovered that 60 percent of the veni- claim. The doctor’s claims were taken who had never eaten wild game. The results son he x-rayed tested positive for traces of metal. Sounds somewhat insane to think that so seriously that food pantries across the of the study showed that John had a a bullet weighing in at less than 200 grains northern U.S. pulled donated venison from lead/blood level of 1.35 ug/dll (micrograms could explode on impact into enough parti- their pantries, and in early 2008, the North per deciliter), which is well below the 25 cles that it would become imbedded in 60 Dakota Department of Health decided to ug/dll that is considered acceptable in 38

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adults, and is actually lower than the national average. So, it appears that eating venison taken with a lead core bullet is safer than, well, living a normal life. Now, I am not one to take information such as this at face value, and while I can’t round up a few hundred volunteers to test the level of lead in their blood, I can test venison for lead contamination. However, instead of testing processed meat, I decided to check meat straight off the deer. For my testing purposes, I wrapped up the shoulders off two doe that we shot this year, froze them as they were, and had them x-rayed for metal fragments. (You have no idea how many strange looks you get when you start asking around for someone to x-ray a deer.) Both deer were intentionally shot through the shoulders and I did not remove any meat from the wound channels. If the bullets exploded into a million little lead shards contaminating the entire animal, as the lead banning agenda would like you to believe, then the x-rays should look like a map of the Milky Way was printed on the shoulders. They didn’t. In fact, two of the four shoulders didn’t have any lead in them at all, not even in the wound channel where you would expect something to be. On the other two shoulders, the only lead that showed up on the film was directly in the wound channel. On one, the bullet was broken up in the backside shoulder, showing large chunks that would have easily been removed had the meat been prepared in a normal manner. There was no other lead in the shoulder at all, not even small fragments. On the other shoulder, also a backside, there were small slivers of metal in the wound channel that normally would be removed, as the meat in this area was inedible. There were not fragments spread throughout the entire deer, as the lead banning advocates claim is possible. The only conceivable way 60 percent of any quantity of venison could contain lead fragments would be if an incautious processor did not remove bullet-damage meat, then

boned, ground, and combined the entire deer into hamburger. Lead has been in bullets for as long as there have been bullets, and so far, there hasn’t been a documented case of lead poisoning from eating tainted venison. In spite of the scare

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tactics used by special interest groups, you can safely continue using your regular bullets to take deer. As I type this, the shoulders used for the article (after proper preparation) are on the grill for today’s lunch, and deer steaks are on the menu later this week as well. You can see that I don’t plan on letting any of my “tainted” venison suffer freezer burn.

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by Joey Ramp

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pring and early summer are some of the most beautiful times of the year in Texas, but it can also be a time for caution. Rattlesnakes lie dormant during the cold fall and winter months, and awaken from hibernation as temperatures begin to rise. Being cold blooded (ectothermic), a rattlesnake cannot regulate its own body temperature, relying on the surroundings for temperature control. In spring, when the temperatures vary into the 60s and 70s, these predators become more visible, traveling during the day and sunning themselves on rocks. As the temperatures rise into the 90s and higher, they seek cover during the day under rocks, logs, and porches and hunt at night. A member of the pit viper family, the rattlesnake is a formidable nocturnal predator. Although the snake is deaf, combining its heat sensor (the “pits” located between the eyes and the mouth) and its ability to taste the air with its tongue, the snake can efficiently detect prey.

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A rattler’s fangs are very similar to hypodermic needles.

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The western diamondback rattlesnake, common in many regions of North America, is abundant throughout the entire state of Texas. Approximately 8000 people a year receive venomous snakebites in the United States, and according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 9-15 victims die. There are several species of rattlesnakes, such as the massasauga rattlesnake and east-

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ern diamondback, and not all bites are from the western diamondback, but because of its wide distribution and abundance, human encounters with the western are more likely. As a class, rattlesnakes are responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other venomous snake. The western diamondback’s venom is hemotoxic, which is toxic to the blood and


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works to begin the digestion process of prey tissue before it is swallowed. The venom also works as an anticoagulant. The western diamondback can grow up to 7 feet in length and live in captivity up to 20 years. A large rattlesnake can lift its head off the ground almost 20 inches and strike up to 1/2 its body length (some sources say 2/3). Not typically aggressive, the western diamondback will generally leave you in peace. If while walking through a dense area you hear the scratchy trill of a rattle, your best option is to freeze in place. Carefully scan the area with your eyes and turn only your head very slowly. Generally, the snake will calm down and leave you in peace. If you panic and move around, or try to run without locating the predator, it might perceive a threat and strike. Twenty-five percent of pit viper bites are “dry bites” where no venom is injected. Some consider the baby rattlesnake, which is born live and poisonous, to be the most dangerous. In actuality, they carry much less venom than an adult, but the baby rattler does not have the ability to control their venom injection, thus injecting everything they have into their victims. This amount of

venom is far less than what an agitated adult rattler would inject. Rattlesnakes hunt only for prey that they can swallow whole, such as small rodents. Therefore, they will not intentionally hunt and strike a large animal, including humans. You can avoid rattlesnakes by walking and hiking where the ground is clear. Wear protective clothing such as long pants and heavy boots if walking in areas with dense ground cover. Wear gloves when using your hands to move rocks or brush, and never put your hands into anything you cannot see inside of, such as beneath ledges or rocks, or in the dark recess of a prickly pear where that quail fell. A rattlesnake will not always rattle before striking. If you think you have been bitten but are unsure, look for one or two small puncture wounds with associated pain, tingling, or burning. The area will begin to swell and there might be bruising or discoloration, followed by numbness, nausea, weakness, lightheadedness, and possibly difficulty breathing. Seek immediate medical attention. The most important things to remember, if you are bitten by a rattlesnake is to stay calm. Getting excited increases blood flow

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and spreads the venom more quickly through the bloodstream. If possible, keep the bite below the heart and immobilize the affected limb. Do not ice the area or elevate the wound. Do not make any incisions in the wound; this opens the way for further injury and infection. Identify the snake if possible, or bring the (dead) reptile with you to the hospital. If you cannot bring the snake, note the colors, patterns, and shape of the head. Identification is important because each species and type of rattler requires a different antivenin, which could make all the difference between a full recovery and the alternative. The rattlesnake’s role is a vital one in the food web, helping control rodent populations and the diseases they carry. Respect the snake’s potential for harm, observe them from a distance, and leave them to perform their valuable ecological function. If given no choice but to hasten the demise of the rattler in self-defense, clean it, marinade in a bit of lemon juice, apply salt and pepper, and immerse in hot oil. Serve with fries and oldfashioned cream gravy.

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omewhere in the dark of night on your favorite lake, monster flathead catfish are prowling the waters like primordial leviathans, targeting large sunfishes, shad, bass, and any other hefty prey they can find. They seek the “Big Gulp,” and if it just happens to be on the end of your line, you are in for a rodeo you won’t forget. Catching monster flatheads is not for the weak of heart. It takes patience, determination, a knowledge of the habitat, and, more often than most flathead enthusiasts might want to admit, a bit of luck.

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Monster flatheads (opelousas, ops, yellow cat) can be caught on trotlines, juglines, rod, and even limb lines, but rod and reel brings out the full enjoyment of the sport of trophy flathead fishing. Not many anglers have the patience to catch flatheads on rod and reel; it often requires many fishless hours before hooking into a fish—that might weigh anywhere from 20 to 75 pounds or more—even for veteran flathead anglers who know the fish and its habits. You are not likely to catch many monster flatheads on limb lines simply because they generally are set in shallow water, but it does happen occasionally. Trotlines and juglines can be set in the same areas you fish with a rod and reel, but those methods do not require the same degree of patience. As with turkey hunting and many other hunting and fishing pursuits, patience has taken more flatheads than anything else. Unfortunately, many anglers geared with rod and reel to go after big flatheads give up before they hook their first big fish. Few anglers know more about catfish (especially flathead catfish) than Keith Sutton of Alexander, Arkansas. Sutton (www.catfishsutton.com) has fished for catfish in 29 states, including 15 states for flatheads. He also has authored four books on catfishing. (Fishing for Catfish, Catching Catfish, Pro Tactics: Catfish and Beyond the Basic) “Flatheads are nocturnal feeders and are more active during the spring, summer and early fall months,” Sutton said. “They bite best once the water temperature climbs to about 55 degrees to about when it drops back down to about 55 degrees.” Overall, the summer months are best, according to Sutton, but spring and early fall offer good chances to catch the big ones, too. If you want to zero onto a particular time, watch for the water temperature to reach about 70 degrees on Texas waters. Because they prowl mainly at night in search of live food, many flatheads are caught from just after sundown until the wee hours of morning. However, the period of sunup to about 8 or 9 a.m. also can be productive, depending on water conditions. “Large reservoirs and big rivers are best for big flatheads,” said Sutton, whose largest flathead weighed 50 pounds. “I’d say to fish any lake that is 500 acres or larger and any large river.” The best flathead lakes in Texas include Texoma, Livingston, Lewisville, Limestone,

Palestine, Richland-Chambers, Sam Rayburn, Toledo Bend, Whitney, Lake O’ The Pines, and Buchanan. Unlike blue catfish, flatheads prefer heavy cover. “Flatheads like to hang out in thick cover such as dense bush piles and blowdowns,” Sutton said. “Outside bends of rivers and creeks are good places to find them, too, because a lot of timber often collects there.” Underwater stock tanks, draws, and deep holes in creeks also provide flatheads a place to search for prey in deep water while being close to shallow water. Sutton said that once you have caught a big flathead, it usually is best to move on to another area: “Flatheads like solitude. They don’t bunch up in schools. If you catch one, you usually have to move on to catch another one.” When deciding on what type of tackle to use, remember that you are targeting fish that weigh from 20 to 75 pounds and maybe more. Sutton said he prefers a 7- or 8-foot heavy action rod and a bait-casting reel with large line capacity. “I prefer a reel that can hold at least 300 yards of line, and I use braided line because it is more abrasion resistant,” he said. Hook size often depends on the size of bait used. Sutton prefers to use large sunfishes hooked behind the dorsal fin by an 8/0 circle hook. “You can catch them on live crawfish and other live bait, but where it is legal, I use live sunfish,” he said. Once you locate a likely prowling area with your sonar, drop your bait down onto that spot, and then move away from it with your boat and anchor tied up. Casting a large bait with a heavy line such as 30- to 50-pound-test is next to impossible, so you want to “place” the bait down onto the spot and then move away. As you might imagine, hooking into a monster flathead is just half of the game. Landing it is another matter. Set your drag just below the breaking point, make the fish fight the action of the rod instead of fighting you, and exercise the same degree of patience bringing it to the boat as you did waiting for the bite. A large landing net should always be within arm’s reach. You might want to have a tube of muscle ointment handy, too.


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TF&G FIRST

Grid Cannot Handle Solar, Wind Electricity DDING ELECTRICITY FROM THE WIND and sun could increase the frequency of blackouts and reduce the reliability of the nation’s electrical grid, an industry report said. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation said in a report that unless appropriate measures are taken to improve transmission of electricity, rules reducing carbon dioxide emissions by utilities could impair the reliability of the power grid. The corporation is the industry body authorized by the federal government to enforce reliability rules for the interlocking system of electrical power generation and transmission. The emission rules impose new demands on a transmission system not designed for large power transfers over extremely long distances. The group also said that the carbon emission rules could increase reliance on natural gas, making power generation vulnerable to supply interruptions. The overhauled electric system that has emerged in the last two decades already has inadequate transmission capacity. Independent power producers have built generating stations that compete in a geographically vast marketplace to serve distant consumers. The report calls for construction of new power lines, which has become more difficult in some regions because of the diminished clout of utilities and the growing strength of preservationists trying to protect rural areas. Building new lines to reach distant areas with great potential for power generation will take a new approach to planning, the report said. —Staff Report TG

A Feral Hogs Threaten Nesting Turkey These non-indigenous omnivores have spread from Texas into 20 states, with their most recent conquest the Finger Lakes region of New York. Hogs have significant impacts on their environments, and research suggests there is a negative effect on turkey nesting success. According to a study conducted in Rio Grande turkey country, the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas in 1993, researchers used chicken eggs to simulate turkey nesting and found that hogs destroyed 28 percent of them. On the other hand, some researchers, including V.G. Henry, debate the hog’s effectiveness at nest predation, arguing that they are “haphazard nest predators” and that hogs are “not additive to nest predation, but only replaced that which would have occurred by other predators either driven off or preyed upon by feral hogs, especially snakes.” Research conducted on other ground-nesting animals, including reptiles, may shed some light on the potential for hogs to harm turkey nests. In Georgia, for example, 80 percent of sea turtle nests were lost on Ossabow Island due to hog predation. “There is no doubt that feral hogs have a negative impact on their environment, and research certainly suggests that they can and do destroy the nests of turkey and other ground nesting birds,” said Rick Taylor, a former feral hog specialist with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). Of all state agencies, TPWD has had the most experience dealing with hogs, and biologists are seeing them increase in numbers, especially in areas where turkey populations are most sensitive. The Pineywoods of East Texas has seen more than 20 years of restoration efforts to bring huntable populations of eastern turkey back to the region. At the same time, feral hog populations have skyrocketed in the last five years. “East Texas has had a tremendous increase in feral hogs, and there are some concerns as to how this might impact the eastern turkey,” Taylor said. I personally witnessed hogs’ impact on eastern turkey nests in 2005 on a 25,000-acre hunting club along the Sabine River corridor in Newton County. While scouting for (ironically) an area to hunt hogs, I came across a turkey nest. A few days later, I returned with a camera to capture photos of the nest and found it destroyed by the snouts of feral hogs that rooted the area to the point of looking like a tilled field. What is interesting to note is that the only area in East Texas turkey have not successfully colonized is in the extreme southern portion, where hogs are the most numerous. Tony Houseman State Park and Blue Elbow Wildlife Management Area sit on 5000 acres of some of the most pristine bottomlands in the state, and it is currently devoid of turkey. Feral hogs, however, are so numerous that they frequently feed in broad daylight along the side of Interstate 10, which divides the area, and have moved into the nearby city. —Chester Moore TG 48 • A P R I L 2 0 0 9 / T E X A S F i s h & G a m e ®

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Wal-Mart, TPW Lakes Austin, Nacogdoches, Foundation Join Receive Genetically Superior Bass For River Project HE TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE FOUNDATION, the non-profit partner of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, will announce a major contribution to enable watershed restoration of the Colorado River Basin. Working with multiple-partners, a grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation will help launch a multi-year program resulting in more and better water for fish, wildlife, native vegetation, and people throughout the Colorado River corridor. Water for Texas will help address regional issues in water conservation, such as treating stands of salt cedar, a highly invasive nonnative tree thriving in the upper portion of the watershed, where it consumes massive amounts of groundwater and disturbs eco-systems in riparian areas. The Water for Texas program is also designed to provide cost share assistance and education to landowners within certain priority watersheds to enable them to better manage their natural resources in a way that enhances water quality and quantity. Practices will be designed to increase infiltration and groundwater recharge, decrease runoff, and improve water quality within these watersheds. —Staff Report TG

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A fisheries worker with largemouth bass fry. PHOTO COURTESY OF TPWD

into Lakes Austin and Nacogdoches. The fish were produced at the Texas

Ike Teaches Ecosystem Lessons DR. RUSTY FEAGIN WAS MANAGING Then he got an unexpected visit from a research SEVERAL ECOSYSTEM RESEARCH assistant named Ike. “Ike reconfirmed the basic idea I’ve had for sevPROJECTS ON GALVESTON ISLAND WHEN eral years,” said Feagin, ecosystem scientist with THE 2008 HURRICANE SEASON BEGAN. Texas AgriLife Research. “The plants on sand dunes and in marshes build an island’s elevation, so we shouldn’t compromise that.” Most of the dunes and marshes he and his graduate students had studied were destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Ike. With the 2008 hurricane season officially over, Feagin has noted the changes and will begin again. His research over the years, however, has yielded discoveries that could help the tender ecosystem recover, depending on human interContinued on page 50  action. Among his findings, when comparing before T E X A S

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Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens for use in Operation World Record, an on-going research project to determine if fish descended from 13-pound or bigger bass will grow faster and/or bigger than “wild” fish naturally occurring in a reservoir. Because hatchery production was exceptionally successful, about 33,000 six-inch bass are available in addition to the 27,000 needed for the research project. “Lake Austin was chosen as one of the sites to stock the excess fish because of its history of producing trophy largemouth bass,” said Steve Magnelia, the TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist in charge of the lake. “Seven Budweiser ShareLunkers have come from Lake Austin, and the lake record is 14.35 pounds. Habitat is good on the upper end of the reservoir.” Lake Austin will receive nearly 13,000 fish. Lake Nacogdoches, a 2212-acre lake near the city of the same name, will be stocked with about 20,000 fish. “Since our management goal for this lake is to maximize the production of trophy fish, it seems like a good fit for the OWR fish,” said Todd Driscoll, the TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist in charge of the lake. “Current vegetative coverage is over 40 percent, so there is ample habitat to ensure stocking survival.” Only largemouth bass 16 inches or less in length may be harvested by anglers on Lake Nacogdoches. Any bass weighing 13 pounds or more may be donated to the Budweiser ShareLunker program. Otherwise, it must be immediately released back into Lake Nacogdoches. —Staff Report TG

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Freshwater Inflow Matters

• CCA Texas successfully lobbied to get conservation-sensitive language regarding the LCRA/SAWS water project inserted into HB 1629. • CCA Texas created the Water Issues Committee to directly address current and pending water-related issues, and retained the expert help of attorney Robin Melvin in 2001. •CCA Texas has participated in the planning process of the lower Colorado River project from 2002 to present, acting on behalf of coastal bays and estuaries. - In 2002, Water Sub-Committee Chair Ben Vaughan gave testimony regarding the need for reservation and preservation of freshwater inflows for coastal estuaries. •CCA Texas has opposed the Lower Guadalupe River Diversion Project from 2001 to present, and will continue to do so until it is established that its impact will be benign to coastal bays.

Studies Chill Global Warming Fears

N ABUNDANCE OF NEW PEER-REVIEWED studies, analyses, and data error disITH THE 81ST LEGISLATIVE SESSION coveries in the last several months has well underway in Austin, prompted scientists to declare that fear Coastal Conservation Associaof catastrophic man-made global warming tion Texas (CCA Texas) volun“bites the dust” and the scientific underpinteers, staff, and lobbyists Joey Park and nings for alarm may be “falling apart.” The Billy Phenix have been keeping a close eye latest study to cast doubt on climate fears on activities regarding freshwater inflows finds that even a doubling of atmospheric to our bays and estuaries. Though not a carbon dioxide would not have the previousglamorous issue, inflows are one of the ly predicted dire impacts on global temperamost important battles CCA Texas fights. tures. This new study is not unique, as a Freshwater is critical to the health of all of host of recent peer-reviewed studies has cast our bays in Texas, and CCA has been an a chill on global warming fears. CCA Texas has a long history of active participant in ensuring adequate “Anthropogenic (man-made) global amounts of water reach their final destina- involvement with freshwater inflow issues. warming bites the dust,” declared tions along the coast. The following are Simply put, without sufficient inflows to astronomer Dr. Ian Wilson after reviewing but a few examples of the hard work and our bays and estuaries, the wildlife that live the new study, which has been accepted for in them would cease to flourish. CCA accomplishments of CCA Texas and the publication in the Journal of Geophysical organization’s dedicated volunteers Texas has been present at the formulation of every major advisory, stakeholder, or Research. Another scientist said the peerregarding freshwater inflow issues. study group since freshwater inflows have reviewed study overturned “in one fell • CCA Texas successfully lobbied for become recognized as a major issue for the swoop” the climate fears promoted by the the introduction and passage of Senate coastal environment. Rest assured CCA UN and former Vice President Al Gore. Bill 1 in the 75th Texas Legislature, Texas will continue the good fight with this The study, entitled Heat Capacity, Time putting a Texas water management plan and many other important coastal issues. Constant, and Sensitivity of Earth’s Climate —Luke Giles TG into action. System, was authored by Brookhaven National Lab scientist Stephen Schwartz. and after Ike, the Gulf of Mexico, according to the land Other scientists are echoing WilIKE/Continued from 49  is that the office, which estimates a $7 billion annual son’s analysis. Former Harvard marshes lost elevation, which is contrary to tourism economy from the area. Thus, tension physicist Dr. Lubos Motl said the what most would expect to happen in a hurribrews around mending hurricane-slashed new study has reduced proponents cane. coastal ecosystems from the standpoint of peoof man-made climate fears to “playDamage to Texas barrier islands stroke a ple who choose to live nearby and those who ing the children’s game to scare variety of long-debated issues. According to the want to enjoy the state’s property. each other.” state’s General Land Office, Texas is the only Feagin, who admits a passion for coastal Recent studies might make 2007 state in the nation that has an Open Beaches ecosystems, said four elements are impacted as go down in history as the “tipping Act. That means the public has “ free and a hurricane rolls over a barrier island: beaches point” of man-made global warmunrestricted access to and use of the beach” or erode, sand dunes “blow out,” houses and ing fears. A progression of peerthe area between the dunes and the “statebuildings are damaged, and the marshes reviewed studies have been pubowned submerged lands,” the land office indireceive sediment deposits from all the above. lished, which serve to debunk the cates. “With beaches, sand from the beach is United Nations, former Vice PresThe state’s coastline is more than 365 miles washed out into the sea, and it usually comes ident Al Gore, and the media engilong. The width is measured from the vegetaback in the Continued on page 56  neered “consensus” on climate tion line on the land to more than 10 miles into natural wave change. —Staff Report TG

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TF&G FIRST JANUARY 2009

Battle For the Hill Country’s Heritage N ECOLOGY PROFESSOR AT THE UNIVERSITY of Texas at Austin has teamed up with a landscape restoration expert at the university’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to study two different models of how savannah habitats evolve, using the Hill Country as the focus. In a paper publishing in upcoming weeks, they reveal that Hill Country open spaces are unusual because they are heading in one direction and becoming Ashe juniper forests, with only major intervention altering this process. The experts have studied reasons for this progression, have suggestions for how to turn it around, and know Hill Country contacts working on reversing the process. The reasons these landscapes are losing the biodiversity battle include: 1. Human interference with wildfires: 100-plus years ago, Central Texas was a vast savannah where fire enabled native plants to thrive and prevented added trees and shrubs from establishing. Now regulatory agencies often ban fires, with the other option being expensive removal of juniper with heavy machinery. Adult Ashe juniper also survive fires well, making it hard to address them once established. 2. Prevalent deer in Central Texas: Deer prefer living in woodland conditions, but do not like the taste of juniper, so they tend to eat other plants and saplings of other trees, reducing biodiversity.

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3. Competition of native plants with nonnative plants: King Ranch bluestem likes disturbed or undisturbed land, whereas native grasses evolved with wildfires and other natural disturbances. Plus, some traditional savannah species such as little bluestem have a hard time taking hold when seeded. The result is that, whereas savanna systems elsewhere can recover if natural cycles such as grazing and wildfire are reintroduced, the Texas Hill Country is different. Restoration requires substantial mechanical removal of juniper trees followed by reintroduction of grasses and wildflowers. These pastures then need to be maintained with prescribed fire or other control methods to keep juniper from reinvading. Dr. Norma Fowler in the university’s School of Biological Sciences has studied Central Texas ecosystems for decades, one of few ecologists doing so. Dr. Mark Simmons is a native plant expert who has studies approaches to restoring Central Texas landscapes to more natural conditions. Between the two of them, we could provide contacts such as those in the City of Austin using fire to maintain city managed lands, and private landowners/conservation organizations restoring Hill Country landscapes. —Staff Report TG

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N THE JANUARY EDITION OF TRUE GREEN, WE reported a growing movement to conserve alligator gar populations. Now the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is considering rules to protect the mysterious fish. At the last Commission hearing, commissioners discussed allowing some limited harvest of trophy fish to ensure population stability while allowing utilization of the resource. Two possible regulation scenarios were highlighted. The first would consist of issuing tags that would limit the size and/or number of alligator gar an angler could harvest in one year. The other would involve setting a minimum length limit of 7 feet and a daily bag limit of one. Under either scenario, harvest through commercial activities would also be restricted. A different proposal from the most recent TPW Commission meeting would change harvest regulations for alligator gar from no length or daily bag limits to a one fish per day bag limit. —Staff Report TG

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TRUE GREEN CONTINUED...

Rice Foundation & DU Publish New Rice Guide

TF&G FIRST

HE USA RICE FOUNDATION-SPONSORED publication, Conservation in Ricelands of North America, highlighted the opening of the second day of the 2008 USA Rice Outlook Conference. Ducks Unlimited Director of Conservation Programs, Scott Manley, Ph.D., and the book’s editor, told the audience of producers and others that the “rice industry is a special steward” of resources. “The rice agriculture and conservation communities have a mutually beneficial and long-lasting relationship with shared interests in habitat management for wetland-dependent birds, sustainable rice production, and conservation of natural resources such as soil and water,” Manley said. “The rice industry holds great conservation potential, and we hope this publication will aid in realizing that potential.” Manley spent several years working with 12 experts to research, summarize, and critique all known available data from more than 25 library databases, land grant university experiment station sources, and author-chosen venues on riceland conservation that 16 independent experts reviewed. —Staff Report TG

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Snow Goose Eggs Help Polar Bears When bears move into tundra areas with the IN AN UNLIKELY SOURCE: SNOW GOOSE EGGS. NEW CALCULATIONS SHOW annual spring sea-ice THAT CHANGES IN THE TIMING OF SEA-ICE BREAKUP AND OF SNOW GOOSE melt, they might enter the nesting grounds of NESTING NEAR THE WESTERN HUDSON BAY COULD PROVIDE AT LEAST snow geese. Goose SOME POLAR BEARS WITH AN ALTERNATIVE SOURCE OF FOOD. THIS NEW eggs and developing ANALYSIS APEARS IN POLAR BIOLOGY. embryos are a highly nutritious source of food to opportunistic “Over 40 years, six subadult male bears foragers. Although geese populations were were seen among snow goose nests, and four in decline in the early 1900s, the population of them were sighted after the year 2000,” rebounded and expanded. There are now said Robert Rockwell, a research associate too many geese for the Arctic to support in in Ornithology at the American Museum of the summer, mainly because their over-winNatural History and a Professor of Biology tering habitat has increased to cover the at City College at City University of New northern plains, where they eat waste corn York. “I’ve seen a subadult male eat eider and forage in rice fields. duck eggs whole or press its nose against the Polar bear and snow geese populations shell, break it, and eat the contents. This is come into contact in the Hudson Bay area, similar to a different research group’s obser- where some bears routinely live on land for vations of polar bears eating Barnacle 4-5 months of the year, subsisting on fat Goose eggs on Svalbard, an island near reserves. —Staff Report TG Norway.” AS POLAR BEARS ADAPT TO A WARMING ARCTIC, THEY MIGHT FIND RELIEF

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50 2STROKE .........................................$4,449 90 2STROKE .........................................$6,245 115 2STROKE .......................................$7,528 200 HPDI VMAX...................................$13,125 225 HPDI VMAX...................................$14,210 300 HPDI VMAX...................................$16,210 115 4STROKE .......................................$8,345 150 4STROKE .......................................$10,945 225 4STROKE .......................................$15,610 350 4STROKE .......................................$20,945

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50 2STROKE .........................................$4,537 90 2STROKE .........................................$6,360 115 EFI.................................................$8,555 75 OPTIMAX.........................................$6,845 90 OPTIMAX.........................................$7,345 115 OPTIMAX.......................................$7,645 150 OPTIMAX.......................................$9,800 175 PRO XS ..........................................$11,950 200 OPTIMAX.......................................$12,550 225 OPTIMAX.......................................$13,445 250 PRO XS ..........................................$16,145

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DF60 ....................................................$6,245 DF70 ....................................................$6,845 DF90 ....................................................$7,545 DF115 ..................................................$8,445 07 DF140 .............................................$8,645 07 DF150 .............................................$9,745 DF175 ..................................................$11,345 DF200 ..................................................$13,345 DF225 ..................................................$14,545 DF250 ..................................................$16,245 DF300 ..................................................$15,610 250SS 20” SHAFT .................................$15,945

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CONSERVATION PARTNERS

Tarpon, Flats Issues In the Spotlight ONEFISH AND TARPON UNLIMITED (BTU) has announced a plan for conserving and restoring flats fish populations. In a press statement on the issue, BTU announced a lack of information regarding many important biological characteristics is severely compromising our ability to manage these species effectively: “For example, the lack of answers to such basic questions as when and where do these fish spawn, where do juveniles rear,

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cycles over time,” he said. “But along the Texas coast, our sand doesn’t come back very well. That’s because it is very silty and so is carried farther away in the Gulf.” He said the state’s coastline also has a lot of development and engineered structures such as jetties, which are meant to stabilize the land, but instead interrupt the natural sedimentary process. “The coast is one of the most dynamic ecosystems there is, and it can totally change in a hurricane,” Feagin said. In some areas, he said, there was only a thin sand veneer on top of clay. With that sand now gone, all of the invertebrate animals are gone because they are not able to live in the clay. That will impact other animals in the food chain, such as birds and fishes that previously fed on the small creatures. —Staff Report TG

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what are the various sources of mortality, how do populations of these species differ from one another genetically, what controls individual size, etc. prevents us from assessing how human activities such as development and fishing impact the longterm health of our flats fish populations. “In addition, because populations of these species exist in only a few states within the U.S., financial support for research and management has been low compared to that dedicated to other species. Scientists and anglers alike now recognize that serious efforts need to be made toward filling many key information gaps, and that scientific information needs to be injected into important management and policy decisions.” The strategy points up a need to identify what important information is still needed to conserve bonefish, tarpon, and permit resources. BTU officials have brought together teams of scientists and anglers, then developed a series of research and education/outreach proposals that were peer-reviewed, ranked, and the best accepted for implementation. Fundraising for those projects is now underway. —Staff Report TG


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ERONS ARE SOME OF MY BEST FISHING buddies. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t disdain human companionship when I fish, but I have come to appreciate and enjoy sharing the same skinny water with my long-legged avian friends. It might be a toss-up who is the best feathered fisherman. Gulls, terns, ospreys, pelicans, and cormorants are all worth a mention, but they all do their work above or below the water surface. Herons take their meals at sea level, and any fish dinner they enjoy comes from only a yardstick away. To eat, they must be masters of stealth. Herons are great mentors for sight-fishermen—if you take the time to watch and learn. Herons use their wings for prospecting. An aerial view allows the wading birds to eliminate barren water and focus on flats with active bait. If you see a congregation of wading birds during winter or spring, rest assured bait is in the vicinity. Stop and introduce yourself, but don’t get too close or you will spook the birds—and any game fish in the area. Herons use their long legs to prowl sand and grass flats. They move Ever so slowly,

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taking one measured step, deliberately pausing for a time before taking the next. Instead of covering lots of water, they concentrate on what is before them, often taking 10 minutes or more to determine whether there is a meal at hand. Have you ever seen a heron stumble, taking huge, cloddish steps before finally righting itself and looking up with a slightly embarrassed face? Although they walk across uneven bottom, herons are sure-foot-

by Greg Berlocher ed. Each step is deliberate and calculated. When a wading angler stumbles, the shock waves the misstep creates is one of the greatest appetite suppressants one can apply to game fishes. The stealthy angler should mimic the heron and move slowly and cautiously, one step at a time, pausing often between steps. Herons are strikingly beautiful birds of large stature, many close to 5 feet tall. Herons eyeball surrounding water with necks extended, but that long conduit quickly telescopes in on sighting prey. Herons A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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know that fish become very skittish in narrow confines and will spook at the slightest movement. A 5-foot bird can become a 2footer in an instant. Crouching helps minimize the large bird’s profile; anglers should do the same. Great blue herons have relatively drab feathers. I can’t speak for the birds to say if they are happy with their dull garb, perhaps envious of the brightly colored roseate spoonbill, but their feathers blend in well against the gray light at dawn and dusk, a definite advantage for close-up fishing. The gray feathers also help herons disappear against sullen, overcast skies. I have plenty of brightly colored fishing shirts in the closet, but they are reserved for restaurants and speaking engagements. When I am on the water, I take my wardrobe cues from my feathered fishing partners and dress in muted colors that blend in rather than stand out. One of the hardest lessons sight-fishermen must learn is how to pick out a fish against a cluttered background. Redfish do not always tail, forcing you to spot them beneath the surface. Cruising trout and red&

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In This Issue

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COVER STORY • Heron Lessons |

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BY GREG BERLOCHER

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: LOWER COAST • House Hunting | BY CALIXTO GONZALES

GEARING UP SECTION

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • Tides, Solunar Table, Best Hunting/Fishing Times | BY TF&G STAFF

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HOW-TO SECTION

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY CALIXTO GONZALES & JD MOORE

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: UPPER COAST • Head South, Young Man! | BY CAPT. EDDIE HERNANDEZ

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: GALVESTON COMPLEX • April Action | BY CAPT. MIKE HOLMES

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: MATAGORDA & MID COAST • Follow the Glass Minnows | BY BINK GRIMES

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT TO PORT ARANSAS • Know Your Limits and Location | BY CAPT. MAC GABLE

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: CORPUS TO BAFFIN BAYS • April Full of Opportunity | BY CHESTER MOORE

fish are fairly easy to see since your eye is drawn to movement, but sedentary fish blend into their surroundings incredibly well. Surface glare, grass beds, and oyster-littered bottoms offer even more help to spotted and speckled game fishes. Rarely is an entire fish visible. More often than not, parts of the fish come into view, only to disappear into the visual clutter moments later. Our brains are programmed to look for entire fish, not just parts. Learning to pick out discrete parts comes only after an investment of time on the water honing your skills. How-

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BOWHUNTING TECH • Finding a New Hobby | BY LOU MARULLO

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TEXAS BOATING • Finding Yourself | BY LENNY RUDOW

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SALTWATER BAITS & RIGS • It’s Ling Time | BY PATRICK LEMIRE

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WOO’S CORNER • Can You Catch a Big Bass? | BY WOO DAVES

TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • The .223 Remington | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Soft Jerks With Treble | BY PAUL BRADSHAW TEXAS KAYAKING • Ich bin ein bluegiller! | BY GREG BERLOCHER

TOURNAMENT NEWS • Ken Cook Says Farewell | BY KEN COOK WILDERNESS TRAILS • A Green Movement | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

ever, a few heron tricks will help both the neophyte and salty veteran. My favorite is to stand perfectly still for a long period—not just a few minutes, but fractions of hours. It took me a long time to grasp this lesson. If the conditions on a flat are right, with baitfish present and a moving tide, chances are there are fish in the vicinity. When I move, I must devote brainpower to taking stealthy steps—brainpower diverted from looking for fish. Remaining motionless allows me to concentrate on spotting fractions of fish. Keep in mind that fish sometimes find

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SPECIAL SECTION • Texas International Boat Show | BY TF&G STAFF TEXAS TESTED • Jerk That Jig; Lowrance | BY TF&G STAFF NEW PRODUCTS • What’s New from Top Outdoor Manufacturers | BY TF&G STAFF INDUSTRY INSIDER • Custom Marine Concepts; Briley; and more | BY TF&G STAFF SHOOT THIS! • Smith & Wesson M&P15PC | BY STEVE LAMASCUS TROPHY FEVER • First Buck - A Trophy x 2 | BY TF&G READER FISH THIS! • Blackstone Fillet Table | BY GREG BERLOCHER

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE

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NEWS FROM THE COAST • Why People Ignore Hurricane Evacuation Warnings | BY ANDREA THOMPSON

TALES • Red River Gobblers | C52 HUNTING R Z. W TASTED • Pan Grilled Speckled Trout C58 TEXAS | B S DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • C60 Classifieds | TF&G S ALBUM • Your Action Photos | C62 PHOTO TF&G S BY

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EAVIS

ORTHAM

RYAN LAVEN

BY

BY

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you instead of the other way around. Redfish and trout often roam across a bait-filled flat, and the stationary angler is already in their path awaiting their arrival. If you see fish in an area and then they disappear, chances are they will be back; they just need some time to cycle back to your immediate area. Another subtle trick learned from my feathered mentors is perspective. Since herons do not have the benefit of polarized sunglasses to cut glare, they are left to their own devices to see fish underneath the surface. Herons will look at the water in front of them from different angles, twisting and turning their heads at perplexing viewpoints in hopes of spotting a finning meal. Anglers should take a page from the heron’s playbook and occasionally tilt their heads, even their torsos, to get a different perspective and give a fleeting glance at spotted or speckled prey beneath the surface. The final lesson I have learned from my friends the herons is commitment. When a heron cocks his neck and stabs at a meal, every ounce of its being goes into that effort; there are no half-hearted attempts. Next time you hit the water, mimic a heron and fish like you mean it.


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by Calixto Gonzales, South Zone Fishing Editor & JD Moore, North Zone Fishing Editor

Boca Chica Bank Bite LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Boca Chica Jetties (bank access) GPS: N26 3.904, W97 8.738

SPECIES: Mangrove snapper BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh shrimp, shiners, squid CONTACT: White Sand Marina, 956-943943-6161 TIPS: Shorebound anglers can have as successful a fishing trip as any boating angler. The only difference is that they have to tote all their stuff up to the truck and back. Mangrove snapper start piling up around submerged rocks around the jetties during spring. Most are 12-13 inches long, and put up a stout fight on most tackle. Live shrimp and fresh shrimp are the best baits, but larger fish seem partial to squid chunks or menhaden (locally called shiners). LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Boca Chica Jetties (bank access) GPS: N26 3.931, W97 8.990 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: live shrimp, live finger mullet; jerkbaits in Pearl, Smoke CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Snook are year-around denizens of the jetties, especially the deeper holes, but they are in pre-spawn mode in April, which makes them aggressive. Free-line a live mullet or large shrimp into the deep holes on the C4

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channel side of the jetty tip early in the morning. If you prefer lures, a Gulp! Jerk Shad or Slug-O in Pearl or Smoke patters rigged on a 1/4-ounce jighead is powerful medicine. Fish deep in the water column near the bottom. Don’t be surprised if you latch into a tarpon. They hang around the tip, too. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Cullen Channel. GPS: N26 15.159, W97 17.273 SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: live shrimp, finger mullet; soft plastics in clear/red, red/white, Pearl/red CONTACT: Captain JJ Vasquez, 956-2392239 TIPS: Flounder lurk around the edges of the channel that feeds into Cullen Bay, especially during high tide. Cast your bait or jig parallel to the shoreline and near deeper water. A simple split-shot rig will work, but if the tide is strong, you may want to move up to a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce barrel sinker and short leader. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Color Change GPS: N26 10.429, W97 12.759 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp; soft plastics in chartreuse, Nuclear Chicken, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 9546551-9581 TIPS: The Color Change marks the boundary where the grass flats of Laguna Madre link up to the deeper water near the ICW. Fish the edges of grasslines, or around weed clumps that are visible along the bottom. Fish shrimp under a popping cork, or hop soft baits along the bottom. Gulp! Shrimp in glow are absolute death in the murkier water. Use a soft touch, because a little tap could be a 20-inch-plus mustardmouth. &

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.785, W97 11.011 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; topwaters early; soft plastics in white/chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse, red/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain JJ Vasquez, 956-2392239 TIPS: Spring tides push warmer water into South Bay, and redfish really put on the feedbag. Fish parallel to boat channels (but not in them; other anglers are entitled to use them) with live shrimp under a popping cork or soft plastics. If the tide is really up, then the redfish will be moving into the small guts that cut into the mangroves along the shoreline. Topwaters are good choices then. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.785, W97 11.011 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; topwaters early; soft plastics in white/chartreuse, glow/chartreuse, red/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain JJ Vasquez, 956-2392239 TIPS: The same influx of warmer water that gets redfish into a feeding mood has a similar effect on speckled trout. Fish further into the flats and work around sand holes with topwaters and live shrimp, The venerable Cocahoe Minnow is another good choice, especially if the wind picks up later in the day. They can also be fished under popping corks, much like live bait. LOCATION: Arroyo Colorado HOTSPOT: Arroyo Mouth GPS: N26 21.604, W97 20.112 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny; soft plastics in red/white, New Penny, Rootbeer; topwaters


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CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 9546551-9581 TIPS: The spoil flats around Colorado Island in the mouth of the Arroyo holds trout that are still cruising and waiting for hapless prey to happen by. Topwaters will work early, but live bait is your best bet. These fish are looking for something that smells and looks natural. Gulp! baits could also work, especially early in the morning.

Baffin Trout Take Plastics LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.206, W97 34.362 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Strawberry/black back, Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse; Corkies in Plum, dark patterns CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com

TIPS: Trout are going to be cruising around the rocks of areas such as Center Reef, ambushing young of the year bait. A Corky Devil is a very popular early-spring lure, especially in dark patterns. Soft plastics should be rigged on smaller jigheads and fished very slowly. A noisy float such as an Old Bayside Paradise Popper wouldn’t hurt, either. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.200, W97 34.360 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Limetreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse; Gulp! lures CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com C6

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TIPS: Where there are trout, there will also be redfish. Fish soft plastics around the shallower parts of the reef. Again, the key is working your bait slowly and close to the bottom, where the fish are foraging for their prey. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.248, W97 27.593 SPECIES: Speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Strawberry/black back Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Work up near the shoreline early in the morning with topwaters for trout that are hunting for breakfast. When the sun gets higher as the day continues, work the deeper guts. Fish with dark plastics with lots of tail action to get their attention. Baits with split-tails are good options. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: JFK Causeway GPS: N27 38.052, W97 14.773 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse. CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: There is a reason why the Causeway is such a popular spot with ULM locals. There are more places to fish than you would ever want. Fish the edges of cuts and depth breaks along the causeway. Topwaters are effective very early in the morning when thrown up on the shallows and fished back; you can also score with soft plastics fished on a 1/4-ounce jighead worked near the bottom at a good clip. Shad tails that give off lots of vibration are best. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 29.754, W97 19.970 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastics &

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Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fishermen should work the edges of grasslines and drop-offs to locate prowling trout. Soft plastics under a Paradise Popper are effective. If the grasslines are in deeper water, switch over to a 1/8-ounce jighead and ditch the float. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: King Ranch N. of Point of Rocks GPS: N27 21.106, W96 23.433 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse, Limetreuse, Rootbeer/red flake; live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Again, look for grasslines in deeper (4-foot) water and swim jigs along them. Darker colors are the order of the season, with plum and rootbeer patterns moving to the front of the list of lure choices. Lighter colors should work when water begins to clear later in the month. If the fish are being finicky, switch over to live shrimp under a popping cork. That may get their attention. .

Blue Buck Specks LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.708 W93 54.371 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Pearl/chartreuse, clear/glitter CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409-7862018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: April is a good time to find the good speckled trout lurking on the South end of the lake. Watch for schools of young-of-the-


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year baitfish and shrimp to tip you to where predators are schooling. If you don’t see any bait on top, look for birds Downsize your bait, to about 3 inches to match the hatch. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Stewt’s Island GPS: N29 57.899, W93 50.900 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Pearl/chartreuse, Limetreuse CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Drift the flats to locate pods of redfish roaming the area in search of menhaden and mullet. Look for birds working over bait as the day progresses. The bigger fish will be around the perimeter, picking off what the schoolies leave behind. Fishing soft plastics down deep are the trick. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Deep Reef GPS: N29 31.863, W94 39.039 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies in Pearl/chartreuse; Catch 2000 in topwater patterns; eel-style plastics; live shrimp/popping cork CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409-256-7937 Captsteve@hillmanguideservice.com TIPS: Moving water is the key to finding where fish will hold over the reef. When you locate the down-current side of the reef, begin fishing slowly and methodically with a slow-sinking lure such as a Corky or Saltwater Assassin on a 1/8-ounce jighead. Live shrimp or soft plastics under a popping cork will help you slow down, and the fish will key in on the sound.

Crawlers for Cats LOCATION: Texana HOTSPOT: Lake Texana State Park (shore access)

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GPS: N28 58.278, W96 32.203 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shrimp, cut shad, prepared bait, night crawlers CONTACT: Park Office, 361-782-5718 TIPS: Both the Park shoreline and the park pier offer access to excellent catfishing in the spring. Most are in the 1- to 2-pound range, but there are some 5-pounders mixed in. Bottom fishing around timber with natural or prepared baits is a good way to kill an afternoon with you family. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tiger GPS: N26 44.326, W99 8.750 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAIT: cut bait, prepared baits CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle, 956-7654866 TIPS: The edges of the same flooded retamas that produced big stringers of catfish through March will also produce some husky bass. Look for the tops of trees to be pushing through the surface and work Texas rigged worms around the bases of the trees. Another good option is to slowly work a spinnerbait through the trees. A gold blade is more effective in stained water.

Coleman Bass Rage

dle of the day, drag a Carolina-rigged Rage Tail Shad with a 3/4-ounce weight in 4-17 feet of water. Lake Coleman is 13 miles north of Coleman, Texas BANK ACCESS: Shore access is excellent at all camping areas.

Big Sam Topwater Bite LOCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir HOTSPOT: Stanley Creek

GPS: N31 18.160, W94 25.490 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, topwaters (frogs and Spooks), Texas-rigged creature baits, 10 inch worms CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr. 903-4782633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Stanley Creek is located on the North end of the lake and can be easily accessed by boat lanes and then turning left into the creek system. The Stanley Creek area is a major spawning ground consisting of willows and buck brush along the bank with hydrilla patches scattered throughout. The spawn is about over and the bass are in a feeding mood to replace the weight they

LOCATION: Lake Coleman

HOTSPOT: Large Flat with Brush GPS: N32 02.856, W99 28.669 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: buzzbaits, Rage Tail Shad, Carolina-rigged worm CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: The best fishing will be early and late in the day. Try the topwater action around stickups. Pay close attention to any large pieces of wood in the area. In the mid-

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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

lost during the spawn. In the morning use spinnerbaits and topwater plastic frogs and Zara Spooks, Flip weightless 10 inch worms and creature baits around the brush along the banks. This will get you some larger bass. BANK ACCESS: Powell Park Marina Fishing Pier, catfish, largemouth, white and striped bass

Buchanan Secret Weapon Bite

CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Wind blown points and humps are producing spawning whites. Using Little Georges and Tail Hummers, casting to the windward side of the humps, points and the spillway at the dam will give you limits of whites. Make long casts up into the concrete spillway area, using light line with either slabs or Little Georges to make the long casts. BANK ACCESS: Tailrace Fishing Pier, white

bass on jigs, Little Georges, Tail Hummers fished in outlet

Contact South Regional Fishing Editor Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com Contact North Regional Fishing Editor JD Moore by email at hotspotsnorth@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Rock Piles GPS: N30 34.496, W98 21.528 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: shad colored Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged Pumpkin Wacky Sticks, white suspending crankbaits; Wave Worm Ticki Dip Sticks, Texas-rigged without a weight CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Fish the 5- to 10-foot breaklines off flats and deepest creeks using 1/4-ounce shad colored Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, etc. Work the rock piles, ledges, and chunk rock. Also areas from Beaver Creek into the Colorado should not be overlooked. JDC poppers in white will also produce. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass

Tail Humming at Aquilla LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Spillway GPS: N31 53.860, W97 12.408 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Little Georges, Tail Hummers, slabs

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Head South, Young Man! OUTH OF THE CAUSEWAY, THAT IS. APRIL IS when we take the opposite heading and begin the migration under the Causeway Bridge down the SabineNeches waterway. Sure the fish are beginning to show up at the jetties, but don’t get in too big of a hurry. Starting at the new LNG plant and on down to Lighthouse Cove is some of the best fish-holding bottom on the entire Texas Coast. A perfect mixture of mud, sand, shell, and riprap offers baitfishes plenty of protection, and the trout, reds, and flounder are abundant. Knowing that deep water is nearby, the trout and reds move onto the shallow, warmer shoreline and stuff themselves full of mullet, shad, shrimp, and crab. We usually try to keep the boat in about 7 feet of water

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and fan-cast parallel with and toward the bank. It’s hard for me not to start with a SkitterWalk or She Dog because the topwater bite can be unreal. We have been catching really nice boxes of trout and reds on tops lately, but have been doing just as well bouncing a 4-inch Old Bayside Shadlyn on the bottom. Rigged with a 1/4- or 1/8-ounce leadhead, depending on the current and wind, it is very tough for the trout, reds, and flounder to resist. The best color for topwaters has been Bone, and black with a chartreuse head. Closing Night has been the most productive with the Shadlyn. Another proven technique is to rig a Shadlyn under a loud popping cork. An Old Bayside Paradise Popper works really well. It’s very cast-friendly and is a real attention getter. Rig it with 18-24 inches of leader and give it a couple of pops. This works really well with children and less experienced anglers because the bottom can be kind of tricky at times. But don’t get me wrong; it’s not just for inexperienced fisher-

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Concrete steps on Pleasure Island SPECIES: flounder, redfish, black drum, croaker BAITS: live mud minnows, fresh dead shrimp men. All I have to do is open my rod box and I have one ready to go. We catch too many fish this way to not have one rigged and ready. Dragging a Shadlyn or curl-tail grub on the bottom catches most of our flounder. We catch them as deep as 10 feet, but the most consistent bite is usually from the bank to about 3 feet deep. Live finger mullet and mud minnows are also very effective when targeting these tasty flatfish. Keep an eye out for very nervous pods of small shad exploding right on the bank. When you see it, cast on top of them. Watch closely and you might see a flounder come completely out of the water with them. Talk about a confidence booster! We work this area hard as we continue south toward Lighthouse Cove and beyond. We continue down the channel, hitting various points on both sides. The channel bite kicks in around April and lasts well into the late summer months. The really good thing about it is we can start here early with tops on our way to the jetties or short rigs. We just make a drift or two to see if anything is happening. A lot of times, our original plan is put on hold. The fish are still doing their thing in Sabine Lake right now, but if you can make it here this month, don’t be scared to take the opposite heading and begin the migration south under the Causeway Bridge.

Contact: Eddie Hernandez, ehernandez@fishgame.com

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April Action PRIL IS THE BEGINNING OF SPRING ON THE upper Texas coast, with warmer air and water temperatures becoming the norm. Green tides will begin pushing into bays scoured clean of a lot of the silt and pollutants of several years by the storms

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THE BANK BITE LOCATION: The many coves and small streams on the north side of Galveston Island within the state park provide opportunities for both waders and those who might prefer to keep their feet dry. There is easy access by road, and camping facilities close at hand. ALTERNATE LOCATION: The surf across the Island, also within the park, provides a clear beach with no traffic or camping on the sand. Again, a fisherman can take a short walk from his RV to the water, and back again for lunch or dry clothing.

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of last summer, providing excellent angling opportunities for boaters, waders, surf-casters, and rock-walkers alike. When those tides are forecast to be at their highest—and when heavy rains haven’t caused muddy, freshwater runoff—the back bays and tidal creeks, bayous, and marsh areas that feed them can be good bets for reds on topwaters or natural baits. Redfish are by nature feeders of the bottom, and will often prefer a dead shrimp or cut finger mullet over live bait. Strangely, I have also caught my largest flounder on cut mullet fished stationary in muddy canals and bayous, but generally, a live finger mullet or mud minnow (or plastic jig) moved slowly along the bottom behind a small sinker (that will create “puffs” in the mud or sand) will be a more consistent flounder getter. The delectable flatfish is designed by nature for ambush style hunting rather than chasing down prey in open water, so they conceal themselves in the bottom strata and wait for dinner to come to them. April is also a good time to start watch-

ing the surf. When green water and sufficient bait are found under fairly calm conditions, speckled trout that moved out of the bays with the late winter rains and flooding will be ganging up along the beach near passes before moving back inside. Live shrimp or jig tails under a popping cork, hardware, and sliver Johnson Sprite spoons are the best medicine. Some very nice trout will be taken in the surf this month, given decent weather. My own best two specks were early surf runners, although since I hardly ever do things according to accepted patterns, both were taken on cut bait while I was targeting bull reds.

Capt. Mike Holmes runs tarpon, shark, and bluewater trips on a classic 31 Bertram. To book a trip, call 979-415-0535. Email him at mholmes@fishgame.com.

SPECIES: The players of spring and summer (speckled trout, redfish, and flounder) are on their way. Panfishes will be available, along with Spanish mackerel in the surf. BEST BAITS: Artificials will do fine, and do not require a trip to the nearest open bait camp. Just about any small baitfish caught “on the ground” in a cast net is likely to draw interest from feeding predators, as you will be “matching the hatch.” BEST TIMES: Sunshine and water movement are preferred in early spring. Watch the weather, as late season cold fronts can make things chilly as well as push a lot of water out of the bays. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Follow the Glass Minnows ROWN PELICANS RESEMBLING THE 12 tribes of Israel were dive-bombing the sand bar on the point of Cotton’s Bayou as I reduced the throttle on my Pathfinder. This was going to be a slam-dunk. Bay anchovies, also known as glass minnows, were inundating the shallow shoreline of West Matagorda Bay with the afternoon incoming tide. I couldn’t fasten my wading belt quickly enough as I bailed off the stern, forgetting my stringer in the process. The minnows were so thick they ran up my pants, filled my knee-high boots, and foulhooked my jighead. I made my first cast with

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a plug and…nothing. Made my twentieth cast and…nothing. Switched to a soft plastic and…nothing. I thought this was going to be a slam-bam easy limit, but it wasn’t. “A lot of times, the pelicans point the way to the bait, but the fish are not there, yet,” said guide Bobby Gardner. “Be patient and keep fishing.” I kept casting and walking, casting and walking, until I found a gut I normally fish in June. That was where I found the fish. “So many people think the fish are right under the minnows,” said Gardner. “And sometimes they are, but many times, they are shadowing the bait and staging around structure, like a gut or drop-off, until they are ready to feed.” Gardner said to prepare to run into hordes of redfish, too. “Those reds love the outer sand bars around Green’s and Cotton’s,” he said. “I have had them so thick they brush up against my legs.” Fishing the glass minnows is not reserved

for Matagorda Bay, according to guide Lynn Smith of Port O’Connor. “They get thick on the south shoreline of Espiritu Santo Bay,” said Smith. “We throw small Super Spooks and plastics and catch plenty of fish. Look for the pelicans.” Black drum are still an option for boaters in deep channels in April. The black bullies head to the Gulf in the spring to spawn and are intercepted in the passes. Deep waters around Freeport Harbor, Cold Pass, San Luis Pass, Mitchell’s Cut in Sargent, the mouth of the Colorado River in Matagorda, the Port O’Connor jetty, Pass Cavallo, Saluria Bay, and the edge of the Intracoastal are all players. Cracked crab, finger mullet, or fresh table shrimp are hard to resist. East Matagorda Bay anglers continue to drift and wade shell and mud in the middle of the bay. Mid-bay reefs like Cleveland, Three Beacon, Raymond Shoals, and Drull’s Lump consistently produce speckled trout. Cuts and drains leading to the marsh and bay hold flounder trickling back into the bay from their ocean spawn. “April should bring with it bigger tides, which will allow us to work back lakes for redfish,” said guide Tommy Countz. “You can sight-cast to reds roaming the shorelines with gold spoons, Norton plastics, or topwaters.” Water temperatures dictate where to fish in April. If chilly, resort to the winter pattern of mud; if balmy, try sand and grass. Sometimes, April doesn’t know if it is ready to put on the shades or keep wearing a jacket. Contact: Bink Grimes, www.binkgrimesoutdoors.com.

THE BANK BITE LOCATION(S): San

Luis

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Know Your Limits and Location T WAS LATE NOVEMBER AND I WAS PULLING into the dock on St. Charles Bay from a late afternoon charter after dropping my clients off at a bait stand on Aransas Bay. As I tied up, I noticed a lady running across the parking lot toward my boat, out of breath, and a look of fear on her face. She said she needed help. It seemed her relatives had gone fishing and were not back yet, and she was worried and wondered if I could help. We had a Blue Norther bearing down on us, and in about 30 minutes, the bays in the Rockport area would be no place to be. The wind had gone from an easterly breeze of 2 knots to a northerly beast of 15 knots and was steadily picking up speed; the temperature had dropped 15 degrees in the last 15 or 20 minutes. I didn’t recognize the lady so assumed her and her relatives were probably not from the area. I tried to calm her and told her I would help, but I needed as much information as she could give me—cell phone numbers (none), how long ago did they leave, and was it mentioned where they might be fishing. All I know,” she said, “is they left early this morning from the hotel and were suppose to be back at noon. Something is terribly wrong—can you please go look for them? I will pay you any amount you require.” I said it’s not uncommon for people to be “onto” (catching) the fish and loose track of time, and that they are more than likely fine. As the cold rain started blowing down my

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back under my shirt and coveralls, she told me there were four people, all over 65 years of age, one in his 80s. The last thing a guide wants to do after a long day on the water is go back on the water, especially in these conditions, but it’s the first thing he will do if people are in trouble. The situation was fairly simple: no means of communication, one person had a heart condition (he was driving the boat), an older boat and motor, no nautical plan communicated, they had never launched at St. Charles Bay before (one of the hardest bays to navigate in the Rockport area), a blue norther was now blowing at close to 30 knots, and a quick conservative estimate was they could be anywhere within 300 square miles. On the bright side, they did have a bay map. I gave the lady my cell phone number and asked if she had access to a ship to shore radio. She didn’t. We then tested the cell phone and I told her I would call her at 30-minute intervals as to my progress. I also gave her the Coast Guard emergency number and my search plan. I would run to Mesquite Bay and work my way back, hitting the ICW, Carlos Bay, Sundown Bay, Aransas, and Copano, and lastly St. Charles. Even making good time, I would be running back in the dark in hopes that I could see their light, if they had one. By luck and the grace of God, I decided to cut across the mouth of Dunham Bay then hit the ICW and make my way to Mesquite Bay. The waves were 3 feet high with the wind blowing the white caps off the tops of them, so seeing a low profile boat was going to be tough if not impossible. Dunham Bay had enough water for me to cut across, but it was dropping fast as the north wind blew the water out; another hour and there wouldn’t be enough water to run across. A quick glance into Dunham, and nothing except a group of whooping cranes. So, I hit the ICW and was about a mile up

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THE BANK BITE REDS WILL BE WORKING THE SHORELINES IN THE ROCKPORT SKI BASIN EARLY MORNING AND LATE EVENING. USE CUT MENHADEN AND FINGER MULLET ON A LIGHT CAROLINA RIG TO DRAW SOME GOOD HITS. the trench when it occurred to me I had not seen whoppers yet this year, and had almost never seen them in Dunham. Besides, they wouldn’t be standing into the teeth of that north wind. I swung my Haney around and secondguessed myself all the way back. The water was dropping fast and I figured I had a short window to get in and out of there before I got stuck. Cold rain and the wind made the visibility poor at best. I saw the white whoopers, and at first glance was convinced again that it, indeed, was birds, but they were standing 50 to 100 yards from the reeds out into the water. It just didn’t add up. Sure enough, it was a boat with a white windbreaker tied to the top of the console. The folks on the boat were ecstatic. All four were shivering, two did not have on PFDs, and they were trading the only jacket they had on the boat back and fourth to stay warm. No lights. I didn’t ask if they had enough PFDs. I gave them mine and told them to put them on. I had a half thermos of coffee left and it was still pretty warm; they drank it all. The pilot of the boat said the engine wouldn’t start. “How are your battery cables?” I asked. “Good as far as I can tell,” he said. “How about the kill switch?” He looked like I had slapped him. Seems he had accidentally hit the switch as he turned the key off to start fishing. Getting their boat up on plane was going to be hard; the water was dropping like a rock but it was still doable. I put the other three on my boat and told the man to give

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April Full of Opportunity HIS MONTH, ANGLERS SHOULD HAVE NO problem finding action between Corpus Christi and Baffin Bay. The sheer amount of water to fish coupled with a variety of species available makes this one of the most sought-after springtime fishing areas. Let’s start with specks, since they are the most coveted of the near-shore species this month. The King Ranch shoreline is an excellent place for waders to find big trout, with live shrimp the most popular and productive bait choice. Target emerging slicks and nervous mullet to find the best action for fish in the legal-size to 5pound class. If it is larger fish you want, do not forsake the slow-sinking lures like the B&L Corky or Tsunami Shrimp. Although water temperatures will be increasing as the month goes on, a slightly slower approach in these waters often leads to the most impressive catches. The Land Cut is probably the most versatile hotspot, with a variety of species available. Redfish action can be excellent on cut bait or gold spoons worked along the shorelines. Black drum can be phenomenal, with some anglers specifically targeting the big bulls. Sea lice or crab fished on the bottom is your best bet for these big brutes. Rod and reel fishing for flounder is rarely discussed in these parts, but the Land Cut is a true flounder hotspot with some of the state’s largest flounder. Fish current breaks along the shoreline and target any eddy that forms around an obstruction or bend in the shore. Live mud minnows are a good choice and should be fished slowly by dragging them across the bottom and waiting for a “thump.” Soft plastics can be just as

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effective, with the Old Bayside Speck Grub or Gulp! Shrimp among the more reliable lures. Remember that with live bait you generally wait around 10 seconds before setting the hook on a flounder, but with an artificial, you cut that down to a couple of seconds. For some reason, they strike them differently; applying the proper hook-set can make all the difference in the world in landing the fish. Another area for anglers wanting variety is around the causeway, where they can find specks and reds running the nearby grass beds and taking live shrimp or Bass Assassins drifted just over the bottom. Drum will hold up in the deeper holes around the causeway itself, and are most often caught on sea lice and large dead shrimp fished on the bottom.

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THE BANK BITE HOTSPOT: Packery Channel Jetty SPECIES: trout and redfish BEST BAITS: live or dead shrimp BEST TIMES: Any tidal movement This region produces more black drum than any other area, and anglers have their choice between the tasty slot-sized fish and the vulgar-looking bulls, which are good for nothing except putting your muscles to the test and a smile on your face when you finally land them. —Chester Moore

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House Hunting PRIL CAN BE ONE OF THOSE MONTHS THAT drive an angler to consternation. The fierce south/southeast winds that make March an absolute nightmare to drift-fish can finally slack off into mild to moderate breezes that optimize fishing conditions, or malinger well past Easter and continue the suffering a while longer. One thing that April means, however, is that

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water temperatures continue to climb from winter lows, which means speckled trout and redfish shake off the mullygrubs and start feeding on fresh young-of-the-year forage. With the newfound activity, fishermen should look for areas with clean, sandy bottoms and plenty of grass lines. A good spot to start is the Cullen House area (N26 15.183, W97 17.398). When conditions are right, this area is full of hungry trout and redfish just waiting for hapless prey to swim by. Small bays such as Cullen are more prone to tidal movement than Laguna Madre proper. Flood tides push a lot of water into these areas. The higher tides increase the overall depth of Cullen Bay,

thus providing access to areas for both fishes and fishermen that were out of reach during winter’s ultra-low tides. The aggressive nature of fishes in an early-spring pattern means that live and fresh dead bait are effective. Live shrimp under a popping cork will find a lot of takers, but you will be culling plenty of short trout in the process of catching a limit. Cut ballyhoo or even fresh mullet will target larger trout and redfish, and eliminate a lot of bait thieves (with the exception of some sizeable hardhead catfish that also roam the area). Grinders do well around Cullen during early spring. Gold weedless spoons such as the Nemire Red Ripper will always be the

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT TO PORT ARANSAS  Continued from Page C14 the Evinrude all it had and not let off until he cleared Dunham point, then follow me back. I would be running via GPS and my searchlight. “Dunham point?” he asked. “Isn’t this St. Charles Bay?” One of the ladies (probably his wife) grabbed a fishing rod and said, “John I’m gonna whack your ass! I told you we were lost!” This story had a happy ending, but unfortunately some do not, as in the case with my son’s friend (both are wildlife biologists), who lost his life in Sundown Bay, swimming after his boat came loose from its mooring. Strong currents and hypothermia were more than likely the lethal combination in this tragedy. Suggestions and facts that deserve attention if you are fishing the Coastal waters of Texas: - Learn how to plot a course using a compass. - Get a GPS and learn how to use it. - Get a ship to shore radio and keep the batteries charged. Uniden makes a good C16

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one for about $100; cell phones don’t always work on the bays. - Hypothermia is a reality, even it Texas. Moisture is the worst enemy in the fight against hypothermia, and gets its start when victims become wet from their own perspiration, a sudden shower, or an accidental plunge into water. If in the water, pull your knees to you chest, lock your arms around them, keep your head and neck out of the water, and don’t thrash about; the swirling water steals heat and carries it away from your body. Huddle together if more than one person. ST. CHARLES BAY: Drifting across Egg Point using soft plastics in Rootbeer, or topwaters in Bone colors, will produce nice trout action. On high tide, East Pocket will hold reds up next to the grass; use mud minnows and cut mullet. COPANO BAY: Little Lap Reef is a good bet for trout using free lined shrimp, or jerk shad in Morning Glory colors. LBJ reef will have reds early morning, and cut menhaden or sardines on a Carolina rig work well here. ARANSAS BAY: Deadman Island is a good spot for keeper reds using mud minnows

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and pin perch on a fish-finder rig. The west end of Jaybird Reef will hold trout. A popping cork and live shrimp is the ticket. CARLOS BAY: Spalding Bight is a good place for reds late evening using cut bait on a Carolina rig or under a cork. Spalding Reef will hold trout susceptible to soft plastics in Watermelon colors, or Berkley Gulp! Shrimp retrieved slowly on the bottom. MESQUITE BAY: The reefs at the mouth of Bray’s Cove will hold reds and trout. A bubble cork dragging a Berkley Gulp! Shrimp or Crab is always a good rig for this area. On calm days, work the Third Chain Islands” using a trolling motor, casting soft plastics in Morning Glory and Electric Grape for trout and reds. AYRES BAY: The southwest end of the Second Chain Islands will hold reds in early morning, and trout mid-day. Freelined finger mullet and jerk shad in Nuclear Chicken will produce some fast action. Contact: Capt. Mac Gable, Mac Attack Guide Service, 512-809-2681, 361-790-9601


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THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Live Oak Point at the south end of the LBJ causeway SPECIES: trout and redfish BEST BAITS: silver slabs, gold spoons, free-lined shrimp BEST TIMES: High tides. traditional weapons for redfish up and down Laguna. The 1/4-ounce variety is standard, but if the wind is a little stiff, a 3/8- or 1/2ounce spoon might be called for when casting into the wind. Topwaters work well for both trout and redfish, with blue/orange and Bone the most effective colors. Don’t be timid about throwing these plugs in choppy water. Fish can pick up the sound from a good distance in spite of the hydro interference. Soft baits can also be effective during April, especially eel-type plastics such as the Z-Man Streakz Elite. Whether you swim the lures on a chatter bait, a 1/8- to 1/4ounce head, or under a noisy float (which is a simple, effective, and successful way to introduce neophytes to fishing with lures), plastics can do a number on trout and red-

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fish in this area. Gulp! baits such as the Shrimp in New Penny or Glow have become increasingly popular among LLM fishermen, especially when live shrimp are sold out. Fish them the same way you would live shrimp, under a popping cork or freelined when fishing the depth breaks. Don’t be surprised to see a few chunky black drum still prowling around. The warmer water has not pushed the slot-sized fish out of Laguna, and they are still foraging between grass beds and grubbing up shrimp, worms, and crab to keep their figures. The same shrimp/cork rig that you are using for trout and reds will snare these whiskered grubowskis. They will also hit a Gulp! or Z-Man Chattershrimp if they are in a particularly aggressive mood. April can be an iffy time weather-wise on Lower Laguna Madre, but the stalwart fisherman will always find some solid fish; they just have to go house hunting once in a while. Contact: Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com.

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Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

The following pages contain TIDE and SOLUNAR predictions for Galveston Channel (29.3166° N, 94.88° W).

T12

T4

T11

T10

TIDE PREDICTIONS are located in the upper white boxes on the Calendar Pages. Use the Correction Table below, which is keyed to 23 other tide stations, to adjust low and high tide times.

T13 T7

T6 T5 T17

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY is shown in the lower color boxes of the Calendar pages. Use the SOLUNAR ADJUSTMENT SCALE below to adjust times for points East and West of Galveston Channel.

T15 T16

AM & PM MINOR phases occur when the moon rises and sets. These phases last 1 to 2 hours.

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AM & PM MAJOR phases occur when the moon reaches its highest point overhead as well as when it is “underfoot” or at its highest point on the exact opposite side of the earth from your positoin (or literally under your feet). Most days have two Major Feeding Phases, each lasting about 2 hours.

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PEAK DAYS: The closer the moon is to your location, the stronger the influence. FULL or NEW MOONS provide the strongest influnce of the month.

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PEAK TIMES: When a Solunar Period falls within 30 minutes to an hour of sunrise or sunset, anticipate increased action. A moon rise or moon set during one of these periods will cause even greater action. If a FULL or NEW MOON occurs during a Solunar Period, expect the best action of the season.

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TIDE CORRECTION TABLE Add or subtract the time shown at the right of the Tide Stations on this table (and map) to determine the adjustment from the time shown for GALVESTON CHANNEL in the calendars.

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

PLACE Sabine Bank Lighthouse Sabine Pass Jetty Sabine Pass Mesquite Pt, Sab. Pass Galveston Bay, S. Jetty Port Bolivar

HIGH -1:46 -1:26 -1:00 -0:04 -0:39 +0:14

LOW -1:31 -1:31 -1:15 -0:25 -1:05 -0:06

KEY PLACE HIGH Galveston Channel/Bays T7 Texas City Turning Basin +0:33 +3:54 T8 Eagle Point +6:05 T9 Clear Lake +10:21 T10 Morgans Point T11 Round Pt, Trinity Bay +10:39

T22 T23

KEYS TO USING THE TIDE AND SOLUNAR GRAPHS TIDE LE VEL GRAPH: 12a

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Green: Falling Tide

AM/PM Timeline Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

SOLUNAR AC TIVIT Y: MINOR Feeding Periods (+/- 1.5 Hrs.) Time Moon is at its Highest Point in the Sky 12a

AM/PM Timeline

C18

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.)

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

6p

12a

Time Moon is Directly Underfoot (at its peak on opposite side of the earth)

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

• A P R I L

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

LOW +0:41 +4:15 +6:40 +5:19 +5:15

KEY PLACE T12 Pt Barrow, Trinity Bay T13 Gilchrist, East Bay T14 Jamaica Beach, W. Bay T15 Alligator Point, W. Bay T16 Christmas Pt T17 Galveston Pleasure Pier

HIGH +5:48 +3:16 +2:38 +2:39 +2:32 -1:06

LOW +4:43 +4:18 +3:31 +2:33 +2:31 -1:06

KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

PLACE San Luis Pass Freeport Harbor Pass Cavallo Aransas Pass Padre Island (So. End) Port Isabel

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

TIDE PREDICTIONS are shown in graph form, with High and Low tide predictions in text immediately below. SOLUNAR ACTIVITY data is provided to indicate major and minor feeding periods for each day, as the daily phases of the moon have varying degrees of influence on a wide variety of wildlife species.

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

HIGH -0.09 -0:44 0:00 -0:03 -0:24 +1:02

LOW -0.09 -1:02 -1:20 -1:31 -1:45 -0:42


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

 APR 1

31

Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 7:35p Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:07a Set: NONE Moonrise: 10:31a Set: 12:14a Moonrise: 11:33a Set: 1:17a

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

2 Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 7:35p Moonrise: 12:40p Set: 2:15a

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

3

SUNDAY

4

5

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 1:48p

Set: 7:36p Set: 3:06a

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 2:56p

Set: 7:37p Set: 3:50a

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 4:01p

Set: 7:37p Set: 4:28a

AM Minor: 9:09a

PM Minor: 9:38p

AM Minor: 10:15a

PM Minor: 10:45p

AM Minor: 11:20a

PM Minor: 11:51p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:23p

AM Minor: 12:52a

PM Minor: 1:21p

AM Minor: 1:46a

PM Minor: 2:13p

AM Minor: 2:34a

PM Minor: 2:59p

AM Major: 2:54a

PM Major: 3:24p

AM Major: 3:59a

PM Major: 4:30p

AM Major: 5:05a

PM Major: 5:36p

AM Major: 6:08a

PM Major: 6:38p

AM Major: 7:07a

PM Major: 7:35p

AM Major: 7:59a

PM Major: 8:26p

AM Major: 8:46a

PM Major: 9:11p

Moon Overhead: 4:53p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:55p

Moon Overhead: 5:54p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:56p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:46p

Moon Overhead: 8:53p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

TUESDAY

30 Sunrise: 7:09a Moonrise: 9:36a

12a

    

Moon Overhead: 10:36p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:23a

0

-1.0

BEST:

3:40-6:10 AM

BEST:

4:50-6:55

Moon Underfoot: 7:26a

Moon Underfoot: 8:25a

BEST:

BEST:

6:10-8:20 PM

7:15-9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 9:20a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 10:12a +2.0

BEST:

8:00-10:15 PM

8:50-10:35 PM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

3:00-5:20 PM

Moon Underfoot: 6:25a

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 5:23a

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:51 AM 9:33 AM 1:35 PM 4:14 PM

-0.28 ft 1.46 ft 1.30 ft 1.33 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

1:48 AM 11:11 AM 2:26 PM 3:51 PM

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 2:54 AM 1.48 ft High Tide: 1:00 PM 1.42 ft 1.43 ft

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 4:09 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:04 PM

-0.29 ft Low Tide: 5:29 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:33 PM

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

F i s h

-0.22 ft Low Tide: 6:45 AM 1.44 ft High Tide: 2:51 PM Low Tide: 8:32 PM

&

-0.12 ft High Tide: 12:21 AM 1.36 ft Low Tide: 7:52 AM 1.05 ft High Tide: 3:06 PM Low Tide: 8:43 PM

G a m e ® / A P R I L

2 0 0 9

1.19 ft 0.03 ft 1.27 ft 0.81 ft

C19

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

6

THURSDAY

8

7

FRIDAY

9

SATURDAY

110

SUNDAY

11

12

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 5:05p

Set: 7:39p Set: 5:04a

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 6:06p

Set: 7:40p Set: 5:37a

Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 7:06p

Set: 7:40p Set: 6:08a

Sunrise: 6:59a Moonrise: 8:07p

Set: 7:41p Set: 6:40a

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 9:08p

Set: 7:41p Set: 7:15a

AM Minor: 3:19a

PM Minor: 9:31p

AM Minor: 4:00a

PM Minor: 10:12p

AM Minor: 4:42a

PM Minor: 10:54p

AM Minor: 5:27a

PM Minor: 11:39p

AM Minor: 6:15a

PM Minor: 12:03p

AM Minor: 7:07a

PM Minor: 12:54p

AM Minor: 8:02a

PM Minor: 1:49p

AM Major: 9:31a

PM Major: 9:54p

AM Major: 10:12a

PM Major: 10:35p

AM Major: 10:54a

PM Major: 11:17p

AM Major: 11:39a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:03a

PM Major: 12:27p

AM Major: 12:54a

PM Major: 1:19p

AM Major: 1:49a

PM Major: 2:14p

Moon Overhead: 11:25p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:11a

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:57a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:57a Set: 7:42p Moonrise: 10:09p Set: 7:52a

Moon Overhead: 2:33a

Moon Overhead: 1:44a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:55a Set: 7:42p Moonrise: 11:07p Set: 8:34a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:23a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:01a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

10:00 am-1:10 pm

Moon Underfoot: 1:20p

Moon Underfoot: 2:08p

BEST:

12:00-1:40 am

BEST:

12:00-2:15 am

Moon Underfoot: 2:58p BEST:

12:00-3:10 am

12:40-3:30 am

Moon Underfoot: 3:48p +2.0

BEST:

9:40-11:00 pm TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 12:33p

TIDE LEVELS

9:20am-12:45pm

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 11:48a

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

C20

1:59 AM 8:52 AM 3:20 PM 9:10 PM

1.26 ft 0.22 ft 1.20 ft 0.54 ft

• A P R I L

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:18 AM 9:46 AM 3:34 PM 9:42 PM

2 0 0 9 /

1.35 ft 0.44 ft 1.16 ft 0.29 ft

T E X A S

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:27 AM 10:36 AM 3:47 PM 10:16 PM

F i s h

&

1.43 ft 0.66 ft 1.15 ft 0.08 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

5:31 AM 11:23 AM 3:59 PM 10:52 PM

1.49 ft 0.87 ft 1.17 ft -0.07 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

6:31 AM 12:09 PM 4:07 PM 11:29 PM

1.52 ft High Tide: 7:31 AM 1.52 ft 1.05 ft Low Tide: 12:53 PM 1.19 ft 1.20 ft High Tide: 4:07 PM 1.25 ft -0.14 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:09 AM 8:34 AM 1:38 PM 3:36 PM

-0.15 ft 1.49 ft 1.29 ft 1.30 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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ALMANAC C.qxd:ALMANAC C

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3:10 PM

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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

13

14

15

Sunrise: 6:54a Moonrise: None

Set: 7:43p Set: 9:19a

AM Minor: 8:58a

PM Minor: 2:45p

AM Minor: 9:55a

PM Minor: 3:42p

AM Minor: 10:50a

PM Minor: 4:37p

AM Major: 2:45a

PM Major: 3:11p

AM Major: 3:42a

PM Major: 4:08p

AM Major: 4:37a

PM Major: 5:02p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:56a

Moon Overhead: 5:06a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

FRIDAY

SUNDAY

18

19

Set: 7:45p Sunrise: 6:50a Set: 11:57a Moonrise: 2:17a

Set: 7:45p Sunrise: 6:49a Set: 12:54p Moonrise: 2:54a

Set: 7:46p Set: 1:50p

Sunrise: 6:48a Moonrise: 3:27a

Set: 7:47p Set: 2:46p

AM Minor: 11:42a

PM Minor: 5:30p

AM Minor: 12:07a

PM Minor: 6:19p

AM Minor: 12:53a

PM Minor: 7:05p

AM Minor: 1:36a

PM Minor: 7:47p

AM Major: 5:30a

PM Major: 5:54p

AM Major: 6:19a

PM Major: 6:43p

AM Major: 7:05a

PM Major: 7:27p

AM Major: 7:47a

PM Major: 8:08p

Moon Overhead: 6:46a 12a

SATURDAY

 17

16

Set: 7:44p Sunrise: 6:51a Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 7:44p Sunrise: 6:52a Moonrise: 12:02a Set: 10:09a Moonrise: 12:52a Set: 11:02a Moonrise: 1:37a

Moon Overhead: 4:14a

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:19a

Moon Overhead: 7:33a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:04a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:40p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:10p

Moon Underfoot: 7:57p

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

4:20-6:15 am

5:20-7:10 am

6:05-9:10 am

Moon Underfoot: 8:42p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 9:25p +2.0

BEST:

12:30-2:00 am

1:40-2:55 am TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

5:20-10:05 pm

Moon Underfoot: 6:21p

TIDE LEVELS

4:30-9:40 pm

Moon Underfoot: 5:31p

Low Tide: 12:52 AM -0.10 ft Low Tide: High Tide: 9:44 AM 1.44 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

C22

• A P R I L

1:40 AM 11:12 AM 1:49 PM 2:37 PM

2 0 0 9 /

-0.02 ft Low Tide: 2:35 AM 1.41 ft High Tide: 3:01 PM 1.39 ft 1.39 ft

T E X A S

F i s h

&

0.08 ft 1.40 ft

Low Tide: 3:37 AM High Tide: 2:28 PM

0.18 ft 1.37 ft

Low Tide: 4:46 AM High Tide: 2:08 PM

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

0.27 ft 1.34 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

5:51 AM 2:11 PM 8:52 PM 11:18 PM

0.35 ft 1.31 ft 1.11 ft 1.13 ft

Low Tide: 6:47 AM High Tide: 2:17 PM Low Tide: 8:15 PM

0.44 ft 1.28 ft 0.98 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

 23

SATURDAY

224

SUNDAY

25

26

Sunrise: 6:47a Moonrise: 3:57a

Set: 7:47p Set: 3:43p

Sunrise: 6:46a Moonrise: 4:27a

Set: 7:48p Set: 4:39p

Sunrise: 6:45a Moonrise: 4:57a

Set: 7:48p Set: 5:38p

Sunrise: 6:44a Moonrise: 5:28a

Set: 7:49p Set: 6:40p

Sunrise: 6:43a Moonrise: 6:03a

Set: 7:50p Set: 7:45p

Sunrise: 6:42a Moonrise: 6:43a

Set: 7:50p Set: 8:54p

Sunrise: 6:41a Moonrise: 7:30a

AM Minor: 2:15a

PM Minor: 8:26p

AM Minor: 2:53a

PM Minor: 9:03p

AM Minor: 3:30a

PM Minor: 9:41p

AM Minor: 4:11a

PM Minor: 10:22p

AM Minor: 4:56a

PM Minor: 11:09p

AM Minor: 5:48a

PM Minor: ——-

AM Minor: 6:47a

PM Minor: 12:32p

AM Major: 8:26a

PM Major: 8:47p

AM Major: 9:03a

PM Major: 9:25p

AM Major: 9:41a

PM Major: 10:04p

AM Major: 10:22a

PM Major: 10:46p

AM Major: 11:09a

PM Major: 11:34p

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 12:29p

AM Major: 12:32a

PM Major: 1:01p

Moon Overhead: 9:47a

12a

22

21

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:14a

Moon Overhead: 10:30a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 12:00p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:45p

Moon Overhead: 12:50p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 7:51p Set: 10:03p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

20

THURSDAY

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

Moon Overhead: 2:44p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 10:08p

0

-1.0

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

2:00-4:15 am

2:50-6:10 am

3:20-6:20 am

Moon Underfoot: None

Moon Underfoot: 12:25a

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 1:17a

BEST:

10:10am-12:50pm

BEST:

11:00am-1:15pm

Moon Underfoot: 2:14a +2.0

BEST:

12:00-2:05 pm

2:40-8:45pm TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 11:37p

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 10:52p

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

12:58 AM 7:37 AM 2:25 PM 8:15 PM

1.18 ft 0.54 ft 1.25 ft 0.80 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

2:13 AM 8:23 AM 2:34 PM 8:34 PM

1.27 ft 0.66 ft 1.23 ft 0.58 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:18 AM 9:09 AM 2:43 PM 9:02 PM

1.38 ft 0.80 ft 1.23 ft 0.35 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:18 AM 9:56 AM 2:49 PM 9:35 PM

1.51 ft 0.95 ft 1.24 ft 0.11 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

5:17 AM 10:45 AM 2:53 PM 10:14 PM

F i s h

1.63 ft 1.11 ft 1.29 ft -0.10 ft

&

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

6:17 AM 11:34 AM 2:54 PM 10:57 PM

1.72 ft 1.27 ft 1.36 ft -0.27 ft

G a m e ® / A P R I L

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

7:20 AM 12:27 PM 2:50 PM 11:45 PM

2 0 0 9

1.77 ft 1.42 ft 1.45 ft -0.38 ft

C23

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

27

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

WEDNESDAY

28

THURSDAY

29

FRIDAY

M May 1

30

Set: 7:52p Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 11:09p Moonrise: 9:25a

Set: 7:52p Set: None

AM Minor: 7:52a

PM Minor: 1:36p

AM Minor: 9:01a

PM Minor: 2:45p

AM Minor: 10:10a

PM Minor: 3:54p

AM Minor: 11:15a

PM Minor: 5:00p

AM Minor: ——-

AM Major: 1:36a

PM Major: 2:07p

AM Major: 2:45a

PM Major: 3:16p

AM Major: 3:54a

PM Major: 4:25p

AM Major: 5:00a

PM Major: 5:30p

AM Major: 6:01a

Moon Overhead: 3:46p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 7:53p Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 7:53p Moonrise: 10:32a Set: 12:11a Moonrise: 11:41a Set: 1:04a

Moon Overhead: 5:51p

Moon Overhead: 4:49p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:37a Set: 7:54p Moonrise: 12:50p Set: 1:51a

Moon Overhead: 6:50p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

2

6a

12p

3

Sunrise: 6:36a Moonrise: 1:55p

Set: 7:55p Set: 2:31a

Sunrise: 6:35a Moonrise: 2:58p

Set: 7:55p Set: 3:06a

PM Minor: 6:01p

AM Minor: 12:41a

PM Minor: 6:54p

AM Minor: 1:29a

PM Minor: 7:41p

PM Major: 6:28p

AM Major: 6:54a

PM Major: 7:19p

AM Major: 7:41a

PM Major: 8:04p

Moon Overhead: 8:35p

Moon Overhead: 7:44p 12a

SUNDAY

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:22p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 6:40a Moonrise: 8:24a

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 3:15a +2.0

-1.0

BEST:

4”35-9:15 pm

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 6:21a BEST:

5:40-10:30 pm

5:00-6:40 am

Moon Underfoot: 7:17a BEST:

12:00-2:00 am

Moon Underfoot: 8:10a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 8:58a +2.0

BEST:

12:00-1:05 am

1:20-2:50 am

TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

2:05-9:00 pm

Moon Underfoot: 5:20a

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 4:17a

High Tide: 8:28 AM Low Tide: 1:29 PM High Tide: 2:37 PM

C24

1.78 ft 1.53 ft 1.53 ft

• A P R I L

Low Tide: 12:38 AM -0.41 ft Low Tide: 1:37 AM -0.36 ft Low Tide: 2:41 AM -0.25 ft Low Tide: 3:51 AM -0.08 ft Low Tide: High Tide: 9:41 AM 1.76 ft High Tide: 10:54 AM 1.71 ft High Tide: 11:55 AM 1.64 ft High Tide: 12:36 PM 1.55 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

5:05 AM 1:04 PM 7:28 PM 11:25 PM

0.13 ft 1.45 ft 1.01 ft 1.16 ft

Low Tide: 6:21 AM High Tide: 1:24 PM Low Tide: 7:46 PM

0.36 ft 1.35 ft 0.73 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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ALMANAC C.qxd:ALMANAC C

3/2/09

3:11 PM

Page C26

TEXAS INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW

From the Bahamas to Texas! J

UST A FEW SHORT YEARS AFTER LEAVING THE Bahamas for Texas to organize the first “Florida Style” Boat Show in the region—the Texas International Boat Show—the organizers are delighted that this event has grown into one of the largest inwater boat shows in the USA.

Corpus Christi, ideally located for visitors from across Texas and Mexico, is a fabulous choice as a venue for the Boat Show. With its brand new Downtown Marina, it has proven a welcoming host city with sponsors more than willing to lend a hand to make the show a complete success.

From its inception, the Texas International Boat Show has attracted visitors from across Texas and the USA, along with international exhibitors and attendees. The goal was to put the fun back into boat shows and create a carnival atmosphere outside of the more traditional style boat show. The Corpus Christi Marina offers a layout for the Boat Show that serves to make comparison-shopping for the right boat easier than ever, as well as the opportunity to view a fabulous display of trucks, exotic cars, and RVs along with all types of products and services for the active boating lifestyle. One major advantage of the Boat Show is the ability for exhibitors and potential buyers to sea trial boats during the course of the Show, adding a further dimension to this style of show. The Boat Show also opens the door to individuals and families who, for whatever reason, have not previously attended a boat


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TEXAS INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW In 2009, despite a flagging economy affecting the rest of the U.S., the Texas economy continues to rev up, named in 2008 by CEO Magazine as the “Best State to Do

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show. Boat buyers, vital to growing the recreational boating industry, have totally endorsed this new concept as the huge number of visitors at last year’s show attest. A lot of people were unsure of what to expect for the first event in 2007, but 25,000 visitors came to see a “Florida Style” Boat Show on the Gulf Coast. By 2008, more than 50,000 attended the event across four days (despite some bad weather), enjoying local food, music from The Bahamas, fashion shows, a tiki bar, and Wakeboard Rail Jam.

Business” for the third year in a row, and for the third year in a row the Texas International Boat Show promises to be bigger and better.


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TEXAS INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW Testimonials from 2008 Boat Show: Congratulations on another very successful show. The Friday and Saturday crowds were truly exceptional and our exhibit stayed busy throughout both days. —Randy O. Bright, Galati Yacht Sales The way in which you advertised, promoted, and organized the event made this year’s show even more impressive, with even

more buyers in attendance. Saturday was incredible. —Billy Holmes, Gulf Coast Marine I enjoy all the excitement you build into your show, like the bands and the exciting cars, motorcycles etc. that give the customers more to do and see James Hampton. —Ron Hoover Companies This year the show really established itself as a major event for the Texas boating community and ranked up there with the Florida shows and it will only get better as the show becomes more and more well known. —James Hedges, Lone Star Yacht Sales As an owner of a multi-location Texas marine dealership, it is great to be part of a well-executed event in such a superb venue. —Rod Malone, Sail and Ski Center After the second, year I think you have proven that a Florida Style boat show can be held in the State of Texas. —Robert H. Byrd, Jr., Tops-N-Towers

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Jerk That Jig PEED JIGGING IS THE HOTTEST NEW WAY OF fishing structure and suspended deepwater fish, and there is no shortage of different styles, shapes, and sizes of jigs on the market. But a new one that’s hitting the water is Jerk That Jig, a company that launched this spring after a full year of fish-testing to bring a unique selection of new jigs to anglers in search of snapper, grouper, and other structure-dwellers. The big surprise is that these jigs really are different from the knock-offs we are all used to seeing every spring. Unlike many speed jigs, all Jerk That Jigs are sold with a hook already installed on the solid ring topping the jig. The split ring attaching the solid ring to the jig is oversized, and the hook leader is copper-fiber Dacron coated with heat-shrink tubing. That makes them more or less impervious to toothy fish like kings and wahoo. The most unique model from Jerk That Jig is the 100-gram Clear Eyes, which has an open slot molded into the center of the jig. Mini Cyalume glow sticks clip into the slot, turning your jig into a lighted lure for nighttime fishing or deep-dropping where

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the sun don’t shine. When I tested these lures, I found the Cyalume stick stayed put, much to my surprise, even when I whipped my rod tip up at maximum velocity for hours at a time. The 150-gram Red Eye is another unusual jig, which looks like a pair of jigs molded together in the middle. The doubleended shape gives it a dancing motion that makes reef fish snap, and the top-hook rigging minimizes snags. Jerk That Jig also has very large models intended for deep-drops and tuna jigging, which range from 300 to 750 grams (10 to 26 ounces) and come in a multitude of color patterns. If you like fishing for grouper in water so deep there’s barely any light, these jigs have a strip of glow paint running down the edges to make them visible no matter how dark it gets. Contact: USA Fishing Supply, 757851-1017, www.usafishingsupply.com —Lenny Rudow

it might zap you or your passengers with microwave radiation. Lowrance’s new Broadband Radar sends out a continuous transmission wave with a 5.2-degree horizontal beam width, which increases in frequency as it moves away from the dome. The difference between frequency in the transmitted and returned wave is how the unit determines target distance. That means this system uses less energy to make low-radiation transmissions, eliminating the power concerns for a radar-equipped boat with a single battery and personnel proximity to the dome. Though I had no way to check it for myself, Navico (Lowrance’s parent company) claims the power transmission is a mere 1/2000 as much as traditional radar, which is about 1/10 the power of a cell phone. The result of using frequency instead of time reflection is also evident on-screen. Target definition in the shorter ranges is phenomenal, good enough to see the difference between piers and the boats moored at them. And the usual “dead zone” of blank space around the boat is eliminated with this system, so you can get returns on boats, land, and other structures just feet away from your own boat. Even on longer ranges up to 10 miles or so, you can expect target resolution in the 2- to 3-meter range. Plus, the antenna uses all solid-state parts, which means there is no warm-up time; just flip a switch and the unit’s up and running. Put all of these factors together, and you have a unit that can be easily mounted and run on a platform far smaller than any that could accommodate radar prior to Broadband. If you have a T-top, you can start running with radar. Contact: Lowrance, 800-324-1356, www.lowrance.com —LR

Lowrance Radar for Small Boats WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO HAVE RADAR ON YOUR boat? But small boats can’t support the weight and power consumption a radome requires—until now. Lowrance’s new Broadband Radar is going to change the radar game, making it possible to install a dome on virtually any boat large enough to support a T-top or arch. The dome is a mere 11 inches tall, 19 inches around, and weighs just 16 pounds. How can this unit be so light, small, and energy efficient, yet still see up to 32 miles into the distance? Traditional radars send out a microwave pulse, then measure the time it takes for that pulse to reflect from a target back to the radome. In doing so, they pull enough juice to drain a single marine battery in a matter of hours. On top of that, they radiate a significant amount of energy that when installed in an improper location, A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Who’s Your Buddy? Give Snakes the Boot

The Buddy Bag is an exciting new product. Nothing like this has ever been available. It is an all-in-one ice chest and gear bag. The set can be used together as adjustable saddlebags, a briefcase or hiker’s over-sized back-

The Buddy Bag: combination ice chest & gear bag.

ScentBlocker, the world leader in scent elimination clothing for hunters has developed a strategic boot to help take the venom out. The SnakeBlocker boots offers the security and protection from the deadliest of snakes without compromising the scent elimination factor. The Dream Season Pro SnakeBlocker Boot 17” features:

pack. The two can be utilized separately as backpacks or handheld bags. The versatility in the attachment system allows them to be secured to many things, such as a boat-seat, horse, atv, pwc, kayak, tractor, motorcycle and many other things. The extensive insulation provided ensures it will perform as the best ice chest you have owned, keeping items cold or hot. It doesn’t leak. You can even make it your insulated livebait-well. It is designed to carry many items for the fisherman or hunter. It will carry your fishing rods and gear for you, or your gun and hunting gear. Attach things like your folding chair, bedroll, blanket, towel, jacket, catch bag, net, or many other things and sling the set over your shoulder leaving your hands free. Each bag has a hidden-pocket for private valuables. It is buoyant, crushable and resilient. It comes in many colors and finishes. For more information see their website at www.thebuddybag.com or call 832-347-8778.

• Removable SPF 60 Activated Carbon Fabric Filter with BodyLock™ • SnakeBlocker™ snake bit protection • Side Zip Construction – Enhanced speed of entry • Removable Activated Carbon Insole with S3™ Antimicrobial Technology and Toe Warmer Compatible • S3™ antimicrobial technology to aid in odor control • 100% Waterproof membrane • Brush Blocker ShinGuard Protection • Triple Density Rock Shock Stabilizer • Lugs for Multi-Terrain Traction • Reinforced Rubber Toe • Climb Right Heel Design • Sizes: Men’s 8-13 Medium & Wide Widths (1/2 sizes up to size 12) • Color: Mossy Oak Obsession® For more information on the ScentBlocker product line and complete scent elimination process, contact: Kyle Wills, Robinson Outdoor Products, Inc., 110 N. Park Drive, Cannon Falls, MN 55009-0018. Phone: (800) 397-1827 www.scentblocker.com

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Honda Adds to 4-Stroke Line Honda Marine will expand its award-winning lineup of fuel-injected four-stroke outboard engines with the all-new BF60. Introduced at the 2009 Miami International Boat Show, the 60-horsepower (hp) outboard still is a prototype model; Honda plans to officially introduce the new engine to consumers this summer. Honda Marine is committed to the development of lightweight, high-performance, fuel efficient four-stroke outboards. In 2006, the company introduced its re-designed BF75 and BF90 EFI, and continued to build on its success in 2008 with the introduction the allnew, fuel-injected BF40 and BF50, which carry many of the performance and efficiency hallmarks of their 75 and 90 horsepower siblings. The new BF60 will feature design cues similar to its 75 and 90-horsepower predecessors, including the cowling’s wing-form design, a performance-oriented gear case, and a host of Honda-exclusive innovations. While specifications of the new engine were not disclosed, Honda Marine Senior Manager, John Fulcher, indicated that the new BF60 will continue Honda’s tradition of offering innovative, fuel-efficient, high-performance outboards, and will set the new best-in-class standard in the mid-range segment. “Honda Marine continues to raise the standard for fuel efficiency and performance,” said John Fulcher, senior manager, Honda Marine. “The all-new BF60 continues that tradition, and reinforces Honda Marine’s strong commitment to market needs and the boating industry.” Honda also announced that it

Honda BF60 four stroke T E X A S

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ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Four-Stroke Outboard Engines” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Marine Engine Competitive Information Studysm, the fourth such honor the company has received in the past five years. For more information – visit www.hondamarine.com

Napier Sportz Truck Tent III Napier Enterprises introduces the Sportz TruckTent III, the number one selling truck tent in the world with its legendary patented sewn in floor. The Sportz Truck Tent III allows you to sleep high and dry in the bed of your truck up off of the cold, dirty ground.

Napier Sportz Truck Tent III The Sportz Truck Tent III assembles in the back of your open-bed pickup, creating a comfortable, restful sleeping area for two people with over 5.5 ft. of headroom. Set up is a breeze with shock-corded fiberglass poles that are color coded to match the corresponding sleeves. The tent’s bed straps and an interior support pole adds strength allowing it to stay secure in the bed of the truck during storms. Durable, polyester exterior and rain fly have 1200mm of waterproofing coating to keep you dry even in the wettest weather. The Sportz Truck Tent III features: two large No-See-Um mesh windows and two ceiling vents for excellent ventilation, and a 6ft. x 6-ft. awning creates a protected storage area for bulky gear and plenty of shade. Two interior pockets and a gear loft keeps your gear organized and off the ground and an access sleeve lets you run electrical cords from the cab of the pickup to power lights and other appliances inside the tent. The tent is available in eight sizes to fit the most popular trucks on the market. For more information, call (800) 567-2434 or visit http://www.sportzbynapier.com

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Cactuflage Pulls a Neat Vanishing Act While most companies are trying to get their products seen, a new clothing company, Sportsman’s Concepts/Cactuflage, is trying to be invisible…..to all sorts of wildlife throughout the West. With a motto like “The best camo you’ve ‘never’ seen”, this “Made in America” camouflage company is making a mark on the outdoor product scene. The unique pattern of “cactuflage” features a variety of cactus for southwest lowland hunting, but amazingly the pattern also works very well in a wide variety of forests. A quick trip to the cactuflage.com website Cactuflage confirms this with pictures of hunting successes. Owner, Ken Thompson, has taken this original Texas product back to the market where it is fast becoming a staple in the closets of hunters throughout the world. Available to hunters world wide through the internet retail site, cactuflage.com, this camo is being worn from Africa to Arizona, and from San Diego to Syracuse, New York. “Our company is trying to use the tried and true “kiss” method. Simply put, a great pattern, a quality product, affordability and “Made in the USA”. Dealers inquiries are welcome. For more information please contact: Ken Thompson, P.O. Box 2806, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86405. (877)805-7773 Email: cactuflage@gmail.com

Mojo Bass Rods Add Magic Park Falls, WI – St. Croix®’s hot new Mojo Bass rods add just the right touch of magic to jigs, plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, frogs, swim baits, and drop shot rigs – or when pitching and flipping. Every one of the 12 technique-specific, advanced technology casting and spinning rods are engineered for maximum performance at a price A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Mojo Bass Rods that will allow you to fill your rod locker! Built from premium-quality SCII graphite with a hot “Black Cherry Metallic” finish, and outfitted with Batson Forecast® hard aluminum-oxide guides with double-plated black chrome frames, the Mojo Bass will turn as many heads as they do fish. With Fuji® ECS reel seats and a black hood on casting models and Fuji® DPS reel seats with black hoods on spinning models, they feature contemporary split-grip handles with premium-quality cork, so the all-new St. Croix Mojos look as great as they cast. Finished with two coats of Flex Coat® slow-cure finish, and handcrafted in North America, the Mojo Bass rods are covered by a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Retail prices range from $90-$120. Contact Jeff Schluter at 800-826-7042 or jeffs@stcroixrods.com. 856 4th Avenue North, Park Falls, WI 54552 U.S.A. www.stcroixrods.com

Is Your HitchSafe? Common Problem... Where do you put YOUR keys when you hunt or fish? On top the tire, inside as lid or using one of those magnetic things that are easy to find and fall off? HitchSafe is popular with outdoor enthusiasts because you secure keys inside your receiver with no need to hassle with or lose keys during outdoor activities. HitchSafe installs via two sliding bars that secure each HitchSafe of the hitch bolts from inside the receiver thus HitchSafe is selfsecured inside receiver and the only way it can be removed is to know the combination to the drawer. The 10,000 combination drawer holds keys and even credit cards, driver’s license and cash if you do not want to take your wallet along (most people use it for keys). An attractive cover secures and conceals HitchSafe so that nobody but you knows it is there.

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Custom Marine Concepts: The Better to See Redfish With NNOVATION SOMETIMES CAN MAKE THE difference between success and failure. Glenn Vann, owner of Custom Marine Concepts, working with Blake Pizzolato and Dwayne Eschete, came up with a better idea on how to see redfish when the fish are in the shallows. Pizzolato and Eschete are professional anglers and members of Custom Marine’s pro staff. If the angler can get higher on the deck of the boat, it gives him a better sightline for seeing a tailing redfish. Many professional anglers had taken to using a stepladder on the

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manner. Vann at Custom Marine Concepts took their ideas and produced a folding aluminum ladder/platform that is both safe and secure. Custom Marine Concepts does custom aluminum work on fishing boats and hunting UTVs. Tower drives are one of Custom Marine Concepts big specialties in shallow water flats boats. Vann described the towers as 6-8 feet above the deck of the boat. The angler drives from the tower: “Their eye level is about 1012 feet above the water so they can get a better sight angle on these shallow-water redfish. When they are running the shorelines, they can see the redfish from a lot farther with these raised towers.” The custom ladder platform that Pizzolato, Eschete, and Vann came up with is different from the tower drives. The combination ladder/platform is so new it did not have an official name as of this report. “The national redfish circuits are kind of frowning on use of step ladders as a means of getting up in the air to fish,” said Vann. “We have developed a product that is a semi-permanent, folding platform that locks down on the deck of the boat. When the angler gets to where they are going to fish, they flip it up, put one pin in it, and it gives them 6 feet of elevation off the deck.” The ladder actually has two casting platforms for anglers to fish from: a lower standard casting platform 20 inches high, and a fold-up ladder section with the second platform 6 feet off the deck. The lower deck dimensions are 16x24 inches and the upper platform is 16x22 inches, room enough for one person on the lower deck and one person on the upper section. The lower person stands below the waist of

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the person on the upper deck. “They can cast side by side and sight-cast,” said Vann. The upper deck has a removable safety rail that is waist high and semi-wraps around the angler. When not in use, it can conveniently be stored in one of the boats gear storage boxes. It has two rod-holders, one on the lower deck and one on the upper deck. “If you are landing a fish for your partner, you can store your rod in one of the rod holders while landing his fish,” said Vann. Attaching the ladder to the deck is accomplished by two heavy-duty stainless steel turnbuckles. The ladder/platform has rear stabilizer legs that fold out and drop to the deck when the ladder is completely deployed. It has a heavyduty stainless steel turnbuckle that actually locks it to the deck, keeps it stable when you are running and fishing on it. “When all set up, the front turnbuckle holds it down and the rear turnbuckle locks it in place. It actually has six legs on the deck,” said Vann. Pizzolato and Eschete said the folding ladder/deck helped them win the $75,000 FLW Redfish Series Championship this past October in Biloxi, Mississippi. Contact: Custom Marine Concepts, 281-350-1950, www.custommarineconcepts.com —Tom Behrens

History of Briley Manufacturing THE STORY OF JESS BRILEY AND THE HISTORY OF Briley Manufacturing are a tribute to American ingenuity and the can-do attitude. Briley, age 81, began his working life as “an ordinary roughneck, making a living swinging iron” in the oil patch. He also had penchant for working with different metals in machine shops. “I was working for Magnolia Offshore Exploration,” Briley said. “From time to time they would all but shut down...you know the oil business. They shut all the offshore rigs PHOTO BY NICOLE MCKIBBIN


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NEW PRODUCTS

MotionEaze— Feel Better Fast

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HitchSafe easily installs or uninstalls in seconds with no tools required. It is made for the weather and is water-tight constructed of high impact aluminum alloy making drawer and body rust proof. To purchase HitchSafe use discount code “fandg” to get 10% off and free shipping at www.padlocks4less.com. To learn more about HitchSafe, go to www.hitchsafe.com

L-R Steve Power, Jess Briley, and Hannah Price of Briley Manufacturing. down, moved us to shore, and I ended up in Luling. We were re-drilling the old Luling field there. “I got involved with a guy there, a little machine shop, and we went into the screw machine business. That’s how I got back into the shop full time.” Briley was also attending the University of Texas, but never finished his degree requirements. Early Hunting Experiences: The first gun Briley owned was a .22 single-shot rifle. Squirrel hunting was the first thing he really enjoyed hunting. “When I was growing up in West Texas, if you used a shotgun on squirrels, there was something wrong with you...go learn to shoot,” Briley said. “I had some guys I worked with, one of the guys that I had as a partner one time. I have seen him skid the tires on the highway to jump a fence and get a squirrel out of tree he saw in a pasture.” From squirrel, Briley moved on to dove and quail hunting. Bigger animals just were never part of what he did. He still likes to hunt dove, but not much quail hunting anymore: “My walking days are just about used up.” Tube Sets & Screw-in Chokes: Through a couple of job moves, Briley ended up in Houston. Looking in the newspaper one day, he read about skeet shooting at the Winchester Whitewing Gun Club in Pasadena. “I said to myself, ‘what in the world is skeet?’ I went out there one day and they loaned me a gun. I bought a couple boxes of shells and shot some skeet. Depending on how you want to look at it, that was either a mistake or the beginning of what we are

Don’t let motion sickness spoil your day! MotionEaze is the most effective motion sickness treatment on the market today. Whether you want to prevent occasional motion sickness or eliminate the symptoms after the fact, MotionEaze does the job. Just rub in a drop behind each ear. Allnatural, non-prescription MotionEaze has no side effects and doesn’t cause drowsiness or that “druggedup” feeling. No matter if it’s seasickness, car sickness, at an amusement park, on the playground or playing video games – during any activity in which motion sickness poses a MotionEaze problem. Motion Eaze really works! For powerful, all-natural relief, try the product that has been saving the day for hundreds of thousands of relieved customers, including doctors, cruise directors, ship captains, fishermen, emergency dive teams and families who simply won’t travel without it. All-Natural Ingredients: 100% natural blend of herbal oils (Lavender, Peppermint, Birch, Frankincense, Chamomile, Myrrh and YlangYlang.) MotionEaze contains no drugs, artificial additives or stimulants of any kind. Only the freshest, highest-quality, natural oils are used in its production. “Traditional” synthetic remedies are famous for their deleterious side effects, such as dry mouth, drowsiness and vision problems. Unlike these drugs, our product has no known side effects. Safe for children and pets. 1-800-785-7675 or Internationally at 863-875-1799 www.MotionEazeWorks.com.

New Lowrance Endura Handheld Lowrance launched its next generation handheld GPS navigation systems, the Endura Series. Consisting of three innovative touch-screen systems, the Endura Series is equally suited for hunting, hiking and fishing, and includes pre-loaded topographical maps, access to aftermarket maps and is compatible with open community content. The economical Outback, high-performance Safari and top of the line Sierra are preloaded with Intermap’s Accuterra mapping, extensive outdoor networks and points of interest as well as the NAVTEQ U.S. road network. The Endura Series includes extra internal storage for additional content and navigational data, and has a micro SD slot that adds up to 32GB of memory for of additional mapping, pictures and MP3 audio file storage. The Endura line is fully waterproof and Lowrance Endura housed in rugged, easyto-hold rubberized armor case. The 2.7-inch touch screen display makes data entry and map manipulation easy and the intuitive keypad makes data entry easy in situations where the touch screen is not convenient, such as when wearing gloves. The units are backed by a 1-year warranty and operate using double AA batteries including the new Lithium Ion batteries available from some manufacturers. Pricing starts at $229.99. Visit www.lowrance.com/endura for more information. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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doing. That’s how I got into the shooting business.” Briley couldn’t afford the guns he wanted, so he just started making them on the machine tool equipment in his garage. Most skeet shooters at that time had interchangeable barrel sets: “Tube sets seemed like a good idea. I

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made some for myself, and some of my friends asked me to make some for them.” With a tube set, a 12-gauge shotgun can be turned into a 20- or 28-gauge, or .410 by inserting the chosen tube into the original barrel. “The additional weight we put into the

gun with the tube sets made them perform better on the skeet field,” said Briley. “Heavier guns break targets better. You don’t want a heavy gun when hunting; you have to carry the pesky thing around.” Briley was approached by a trap shooter who wanted to know if there was some way he could change choke restrictions in his shotgun. Briley accepted the challenge and designed a screw-in choke for the trap shooter’s gun. That choke is still in the Briley line of chokes today. “The people in Mexico understood screw chokes a long time before anyone else,” said Briley. “In Mexico, one weekend you might be shooting at sea level and the next weekend you might be shooting at 4000 feet. You need a different choke for different elevations or you might as well shoot a full choke for everything. They started buying chokes from us early on in the history of the company. That’s what pushed us into the screw choke business.” Today, screw chokes are the top seller in the Briley line. During all of this history, the garage was replaced by a manufacturing plant with the latest in automated machine tools, manned by skilled artisans and a new partner, Cliff Moller, Briley’s son-in-law. Besides tube sets and screw in chokes, the company offers many other shooting products for the shotgun, rifle, and pistol shooter, including custom gunsmithing. Despite all the years in the business, Jess Briley is not ready to retire. “What else would I do?” Contact: Briley Manufacturing, 800-3315718, www.briley.com —TB

Fishing with Joni and Friends FISHING WITH FRIENDS, PART OF THE JONI AND Friends Ministries of Joni Eareckson Tada, plans to expand its outreach from fishing camps in 2008 to planned individual fishing days in different communities across Texas in 2009. Fishing with Friends provides the opportunity for people with physical disabilities and their families to experience the joys of fishing. The Fishing with Friends Team was C34

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formed in 2005 with the help of Synergy Sports. Its stated goal is to share the love and gospel of Jesus Christ as well as provide Christian encouragement and fellowship through fishing activities, events, and programs to individuals, kids, and families affected by disabilities. Doug Gregg of Synergy Sports, a quadriplegic himself, said the program consists of a mixture of fishing guides, semi-pro anglers, and a whole bunch of local volunteer help. “We wrapped their boats with a Joni and Friends logo to raise awareness of the program,” said Gregg in reference to the semi-pro anglers. “The pros fish tournaments, but they also go to the camps, fishing clinics, and seminars, and take kids out in their boats for rides or fishing, depending on the kids’ skills and interests. “It has just been a really great thing. Most of the pros comment after taking a kid fishing that the event was more fun for them than fishing in the FLW Championship.” In 2008, the Fishing with Friends team conducted camps in six locations, two of them in Texas. Camps usually last about 4-5 days. The entire family, not just the disabled child, attends the camp. Activities include swimming, air rifles, archery, and crafts. Fishing is one of the activities. Camps are usually located on a lake or close to a lake. “Everybody can go bank fishing, catch some fish. Most of these kids don’t think they will ever be able to do something like that,” said Gregg. Most of the camps cost on an average of $300 per person, but scholarships are sometimes available. “The Fishing with Friends Camps, one in Jacksonville and one in Tennessee, are completely free,” said Gregg. “We provide rod and reels, bait, and somebody to help them. Also, from time to time, we try to do what we call fish grants for somebody in the area that really loves to fish, but can’t do it because of their disability. We try to connect them with one of the guys to take them out for a day on the lake.” For 2009, in addition to the Fishing Camps, Fishing with Friends Days will be offered. The Days are described as a community outreach event where families affected by disabilities in the community can come out and do some bank or boat fishing, similar to what’s offered at the camps. “It’s for people who can’t afford to go to the camps or can’t get time off to go to camps.

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It will be on a Saturday. We will have volunteers and staff; the team will be there. It is a chance to see what fishing is like.” Presently, there are four Fishing with Friends camps scheduled in Texas for 2009, but Gregg advised anyone interested in participating to check their website regularly “Camps and Fishing Days get added constantly,” he said. Contact: Fishing with Friends, www.joniandfriends.org —TB

Sportsmen Boost Economies ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE CONGRESSIONal Sportsman’s Foundation, if the $76 billion sportsmen spend nationally on hunting and fishing were the gross domestic product of a country, sportsmen as a nation would rank 57 out of 181 countries. Clearly, the economic impact of sportsmen is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, in many states, sportsmen spend more money, support more jobs, and pay more taxes than most industries and attractions in the state. For example, in Texas, annual spending by 2.6 million hunters and anglers ($6.6 billion) is more than the combined cash receipts for the state’s cotton, greenhouse/nursery, broilers, dairy, and corn production of $6.1 billion. Also, Texas sportsmen outnumber the populations of San Antonio and Dallas (2.7 million vs. 2.5 million). That spending results in some 106,600 jobs, $3.5 billion paid in salaries and wages, $793 million in federal taxes, and $654 million in state and local taxes. The ripple effect is calculated at $11.6 billion. (Statistics are from the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation report, Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy—A force as big as all outdoors. It can be accessed online at www.sportsmenslink.org.) Sporting goods retailers such as Bass Pro Shops contribute to the numbers with normal day-to-day operations and special events, such as the Spring Fishing Classic held 27 February through 15 March by the Pearland Bass Pro Shops, attracting some 150,000 people to the 17-day event. Some of these same people spent money at other Pearland area merchants for hotels, gas, restaurants, and other retailers—all part of the ripple effect sportsmen help bring to an area. —Staff Report

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Smith & Wesson M&P15PC MITH & WESSON HAS BEEN ONE OF THE premier manufacturers of handguns since Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed a partnership and began producing revolvers in 1856. The company, no longer under control of the Wesson family, still manufactures what is arguably the finest line of handguns in the world. Over the years, they have occasionally ventured into the production of rifles and shotguns, usually having the guns made by other companies. Recently, the company has begun manufacture of a new bolt-action rifle

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called the i-Bolt, and also a line of semi-auto long guns based on the combat proven AR15 design, which Smith & Wesson has dubbed the M&P15 (“M&P” meaning “Military and Police”). My test gun was the varmint/target version, the M&P15PC (“PC” for “Performance Center”), meaning this is a semi-custom rifle built in Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center shop. It is a flattop version with no open sights and no flash suppressor. It has a free-floating, stainless steel, heavy barrel 20 inches

by Steve LaMascus long; chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge (which means you can shoot military or civilian ammo in it); and with a 1-in-8 twist. The fast twist will stabilize heavier bullets, such as the Sierra 69-grain Match King or 70-grain Speer Hot-Core. It will also handle the standard 55-grain bullets, but probably would balk at anything lighter than 55 grains. The trigger is a two-stage match setup. It

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is a really sweet trigger, crisp and light, letting off at a really shootable 4 pounds and change—a pleasant surprise in this age of triggers too horrid to describe. The buttstock is the standard A2 model. The gun is camouflaged with the Advantage Max-1 pattern, which has a suspicious resemblance to the cenizo sage that is all over my pasture here in Southwest Texas. I mounted a Bushnell 2.5-10X Elite 4200 Firefly scope with a riser and rings from Brownells. Range testing the M&P15PC was a pleasant business. The first group with handloaded 69-grain Sierra Match King hollow points went into just a micron under an inch. It turned out that this first load I tried was the gun’s favorite. Next in line was Speer’s 70-grain Hot Core, which is a better hunting bullet. The M&P15PC shot the Speer bullets quite well, with groups averaging around 1.3 inches. Last were several brands of 55-grain bullets. The M&P15PC shot most of the 55-grain bullets into around 2 inches or slightly less and did not appear to favor any particular one. I tried Federal, Black Hills, and Hornady factory ammo and all worked just fine. I had no factory ammunition in the heavier weights, so I can’t say how that would have worked, but I suspect that with the 1:8 twist, the heavier bullets will have a definite edge. This is a sweet gun that shoots very well. The trigger is one of the best I have ever felt on a straight-from-the-factory AR, and is better than a great many of the custom guns I have played with. I would prefer the gun with a little slower twist rate for shooting 55grain bullets, but it works reasonably well as it is. I actually found no drawbacks at all, which might be a first for me. I guess, if pressed to find something negative to say about the M&P15PC, I would have to say that I don’t like the fact that it throws my once-fired brass on the ground, but I can live with that—or buy a brass catcher.


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First Buck— A Trophy x 2 N SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2007, WE GOT to the stand around 6:15 a.m. on a ranch in Montague County that I have hunted for seven seasons now. By 7:30 a.m., Ross had spotted a cow with calf and two does crossing our field of view to the left of our stand on the west side. Just before 8:00 a.m., we heard noises that would stand the hairs on our necks. Buck growls, snorts, and leaves rustling from deer pushing each other echoed in the woods about 150 yards from our stand. Our stand is surrounded by a creek with woods behind us to the south, and otherwise circled by fencerows of trees that are perfect for funneling deer to our open spot. After hearing the tussle in the woods, we spotted two does on the east side running to beat Speed Racer. They were followed by a small four-point chasing them, and his partner—that looked to be about 14 inches across and a six-point. They were trying to keep up with the NASCAR does. We never had a chance at a shot since their path included two pecan trees at the farthest point between us and them. They were really hauling it, and Ross said that was cool. I told him they might circle back, so get ready. Ross moved to my chair and I knelt down to his left. He readied the rifle and I kept watch with binoculars. After about 10 minutes, we spotted some different deer entering the pasture. A really big doe was casually walking across from behind the pecan trees. I told Ross there was a buck following her. He said, “I see him! Can I shoot him?” I said yes, but to let the buck follow the doe clear of the trees, and when it stopped at the spot she was, then he could shoot. I reminded him to “breath and squeeze” when he took the shot. The buck was not going to stop where we

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needed for a good shot. I told Ross to wait until I stopped the buck. I leaned forward and made a deer “bleat” calling sound. The buck kept walking, following the doe. Again I “mawed” even louder. The buck stopped. Ross took off the safety, then, to my amazement, “breathed and squeezed.” Boom! The buck was headed north to our right. It whirled to face us and took about four steps, whirled again to its left, and dropped with legs kicked up and expired right there. Ross’ first words were, “I can’t believe it! The rifle hardly kicked at all! I got a buck!” The time was 8:15 a.m. We were both very excited to say the least. After giving congratulatory hugs and knuckle bumps, Ross asked, “Can we go get him?” I told him we needed to wait and for us to calm down.

by Adrian O’Hanlon, Jr., A TF&G Reader When we looked out again, the lovely sight of a white belly and antlers sticking up out of the brush looked like heaven. The big doe had come back, too! Ross said, “Dad! There’s another buck!” Looking through the branches of the pecan tree with binoculars, I saw a nice eight-pointer at the treeline. I racked the Remington 710 with another .243 cartridge to take the shot. I looked through the binoculars again to see the buck calmly turn and re-enter the woods. No shot for Dad today. I just enjoyed the moment of being with my youngest son to take his first buck deer at age 11. The vital statistics of Ross’ buck are: six points, 16-inch inside spread, 175 pound live weight, shot at 115 yards with a first-shot from a Remington model 710 chambered in .243, 100-grain Winchester ammunition. We looked out and wondered if the deer was still there. We had lost its figure in the pasture grass and brush. After glassing with binoculars, we found it still laying as we last saw it. After another 10 minutes, we left the elevated box blind to get our hands on it. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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This deer did not suffer from ground shrinkage, but looked bigger as we approached. We gave each other another knuckle bump and began to take field photos. During the photo shoot, Ross asked, “Is my buck bigger than yours was last year?” It was, but I did not respond. The disposable camera worked okay, except that Dad kept cutting Ross’ head off in the frame. I could have sworn it looked good when I snapped the shutter. I also took some with my phone camera. Field dressing brought an unexpected biology lesson. Since Ross asked about the internal parts, I felt obliged as an agriculture teacher to share some education. The weather had been good to us this morning. Now that the buck was loaded in the truck, it began to drizzle and drop some sleet. We went back to camp with our trophy to change clothes for the trip home to the processor and taxidermist. The time traveling from Montague back to Grayson County was spent calling everyone in the family to tell the story. The person Ross was most anxious to call after his mom was Uncle Steve. He must have asked me a half-dozen times, “When can we call Uncle Steve?” Uncle Steve answered the phone with, “How big is he?” I handed the phone to Ross to tell his story. Now we talked more about our experience together and how Ross would have the deer processed. Our next stop would be to the taxidermist for Ross to decide the style of his mount. I hope others can share these kinds of moments in the outdoors with their children, and enjoy the freedom that God-fearing Americans have in this great country. &

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BUCK—ROBERT LEE, TEXAS

BUCK—FRIO COUNTY, TEXAS

Zane Scott, age 10, of Liberty Hill, Texas, shows off his biggest buck with sister Lana. Zane shot the 6-pointer at 150 yards with a perfect shot on their lease near Robert Lee, Texas.

Janene Jones impressed her outdoorsmen in-laws by bagging her first buck with a .7mm Magnum Remington Sako in Frio County. She was guided by her husband Jeremiah Jones, and made dry sausage out of the 7-pointer with 7inch brow tines and a 19-inch spread.

BUCK—KERR COUNTY, TEXAS

BOAR—FREEPORT, TEXAS

Anna McKenzie, age 7, with the 10-point buck Alex Lillie, age 10, shot this 240-pound wild boar that she rattled up for her dad, Greg McKenzie, in at Justin Hurst WMA near Freeport during a youth hunt. Alex took his first hog with a scoped .243 at Kerr County. She was very proud of her work. 100 yards.

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If so, we need photos and hunting stories for our new TROPHY FEVER SPECIAL SECTION. Send pics and hunting tales to : TROPHY FEVER SPECIAL SECTION 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032 or by email: photos@fishgame.com. (Please include “Trophy Fever” in the subject.) F i s h

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BUCK—POTOSI, TEXAS Keith Garner of Abilene, Texas, killed this 8-point, 125-pound whitetail buck near Potosi, Texas. Keith was shooting with a .300 Weatherby Magnum.

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Finding a New Hobby HEN I WORE A YOUNGER MAN’S clothes, I was, according to some of my friends, a little bit out there when it came to bowhunting. In hindsight, maybe they were right. At the time, it was the only thing on my mind. I would go into the field every single free minute, sometimes simply to find new deer sign or beat the morning sun and sit in some comfortable spot to scope out the local

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deer herd. In short, I was a “huntaholic.” Well, bowhuntaholic to be completely accurate. I loved the idea of testing my much-practiced skills or attempts at some sort of skill at trying to steer an arrow to its target. The thought of harvesting a whitetail by bow became an obsession. With a few years of success under my belt, the many hours spent in a tree stand allowed me to come up with a new challenge. I wondered how I could use the different parts of the animal I was hunting to a much more useful end. For years, I would take the hide of a deer I harvested and sell it for a few bucks (no pun intended). Sometimes, I would trade my buckskin for a brand new pair of soft deerskin gloves.

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Eventually, I ended up donating the skin to a needy organization that used the proceeds to help the less fortunate. While this was and still is a wonderful thing to do, I was compelled to try my luck at making my own quiver from a deer that I had harvested. I was excited to get started. I read books about taxidermy and what I needed to do to make the hide usable to hold my arrows in place. I ended up buying an inexpensive quiver and covered it with the tanned hide. After I had pieced the hide together and glued it to the quiver, including a section for the bottom of the quiver, I was ready to try my work of art. I forgot about the need to quiet the arrows as I walked to and from my stand. Not good.


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I made many attempts and ended up with a quiver stuffed with foam. It did work as far as making the arrows silent, but became a problem when I tried to pull out an arrow. At least it looked good. I could not have been more proud of my effort. Geronimo, eat your heart out! Turkey season brought another challenge. After an invitation to hunt with Keith Warren on his Hunting and Outdoor Adventure show came my way, I fell in love with the thought of taking a bird with a bow. Before the hunt with Keith, this child had no luck at all hunting turkey with anything other than a shotgun. Keith showed me how it was done, and since that day, I will not even carry a shotgun to the turkey woods. Again, I had the dilemma of what I could do to put the turkey I harvested to more use. I love the taste of wild turkey (who doesn’t?), but I still wanted to use some part of the bird beyond the stuffing. I decided to try my luck at fletching my own arrows with turkey wing feathers from a bird that I harvested myself. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? I thought so, too, but after several unsuccessful attempts, I finally

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I decided to try my luck at fletching my own arrows with turkey wing feathers.

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decided that this was a job for someone else. I have, of course, fletched my arrows for some time now, using packaged feathers bought at Bass Pro. Any novice can learn how to do this in no time. Using natural turkey feathers involves a long, tedious process that few have the time for in today’s world. The first thing you need to do is split the feathers in half along the quill—as soon as you figure out where the quill is. You will need to cut them again in half and then sand them down so that the end is flat. If that is

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not enough, after you cut the feathers in half, you will find they are cupped to the left or right. You will need to ensure you do not mix the right and left cupped arrows. All that only to find that you need to secure them in some way onto the arrow shaft. I gave that job to a retired person with a lot of time on his hands. The result was that I had a quiver full of arrows with turkey fletching from a bird I harvested the year before. There is something gratifying about using part of an animal you harvested for your future hunts. It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I like to look at it as part of the preparation for the hunt next year. I found that with my new arrows, I was shooting more frequently and becoming a much better archer for my efforts. Try it, if you are looking for something to do during the offseason. You might find a new hobby.

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Blackstone Fillet Table

surface features a molded-in sink, flat work surface, and refuse hole. Fish are filleted on the flat surface, the fillets pitched into the sink while the fish carcass slides through the refuse hole into a waiting garbage can below.

AVE YOU EVER HAD A COOLER FULL OF FISH that needed to be cleaned and were forced to look for a rock or old board to serve as a makeshift fillet table? Or lugged a heavy stringer to the cleaning table near the boat ramp, only to turn way in disgust at the putrid smell and deplorable cleanliness of the wooden planks? At times like these, I opt to clean my catch at home. Over the years, I used a variety makeshift cleaning surfaces: tops of plastic coolers, saw horses topped with boards, etc. All of these worked but left something to be desired, such as a sore back from bending over. I knew I had found the perfect solution when I discovered the Blackstone Fillet Station. The Blackstone Fillet Station was created with the serious sportsman in mind. The injection-molded tabletop is a no-nonsense work place, with plenty of room. Two sets of legs fold out and lock into place, leveling the worktop at waist level. Unlike many folding camp marvels I have had the misfortune to encounter into contact with, this table is stable and stays put—important when working with a sharp knife. The work surface is well thought out, making it easy to transition a cooler of fish or strap of ducks into edible delights. The work

The sink has a drain and comes equipped with a grate to catch debris, and a stopper that allows filling the sink if desired. Some anglers like to toss filets into a bucket or

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water to soak while others like to create a pile and then spray them down. The Blackstone Fillet Station’s sink allows either option. A plastic extension hose connects to the drain on the bottom side of the table, directing drain water away from so it doesn’t splash on your shoes and legs. The developers of the Blackstone Fillet Station added a number of small details that I find extremely handy. One of my favorites is a small, plastic, C-shaped clip at one corner of the table. You snap the end of a gar-

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den hole into the clip, thereby holding it in place. No more bending over to retrieve a slimy water hose that refuses to stay within arm’s reach. The C-clip also allows you to rotate the hose in whatever direction you wish. Sending too many duck feathers or fish entrails down the drain eventually clogs any drain. The Fillet Station’s developers considered this, molding a small channel from the top of the sink to the back of the table. Should the sink overflow, the small channel serves as an “emergency spillway,” directing the threatening wash to the rear of the table and away from your pants. The Blackstone Fillet Station weighs in at 25 pounds, making it light enough for a young charge to carry. The tabletop is a tad shy of 24 inches deep and roughly 46 inches long. With the legs folded, it is just 4 inches thick. The front edge of the table has a molded-in fishlength ruler to quickly size all of the fish you clean. Best of all, the table is well made and should provide many years of good service. It was hard to find many faults with the Blackstone Fillet Station. If I could change one thing, I would add some type of level adjustment to the legs so it could be used on rocky or unlevel ground. The Blackstone Fillet Station is available at Academy and Cabela’s. I highly recommend the Blackstone Fillet Station to any serious fisherman or hunter. Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com PHOTO COURTESY OF CABELAS


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The .223 Remington THINK IT IS A PRETTY SAFE BET TO SAY THAT the .223 Remington is the most popular .22-caliber centerfire on the market today. I would go a step farther and declare that I think it is the most popular .22 centerfire of all time. Now the real question is: Does it deserve its immense popularity? I just looked up on the website Loaddata.com what the maximum attainable velocity is with a 55-grain bullet, the bullet weight the .223 was designed to shoot. I was honestly surprised that it is listed as above 3400 feet per second, with several loads exceeding 3300. I actually expected to find a maximum of just less than 3300. I suspect, however, that the vast majority of rifles will fail to attain anywhere near 3400 with 55-grain bullets. I know none of mine will without extreme pressures. In truth, the case capacity is not sufficient to attain these velocities with slower burning powders, and the faster powders fail to get the velocities before exceeding pressure limits. Still, the .223 is a great cartridge, and 3300 feet per second with a 55-grain bullet is stepping right along—about 200 feet per second faster than the .222 Remington is safely capable of. As for accuracy, any high-quality, wellbedded .223 rifle should put three consecutive shots into an inch at 100 yards. I would never have said that a few years ago, but technology has finally caught up with mythology, and the shooter is the happy winner. (I am not saying that the average gun will group that well; it won’t). I have a Remington Model 700 stainless/synthetic in .223, and with almost any carefully crafted handload, it will shoot into an inch or less— sometimes considerably less. With my pet

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handload of a 55-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 25.0 grains of Hodgdon Benchmark, I just fired a three-shot group that measured less than 1/2-inch. This gun, however, actually averages three-shot groups of almost exactly 1 inch. As for power, I have always been hesitant to use the little .222 on notoriously tough coyotes. A marginal hit with a .222 usually means a lost dog. The .223, on the other hand, is just enough more potent than the .222 when used with proper ammo to make it a great coyote rifle. I wouldn’t push the shots to more than about 200 yards, but used within its limits, the .223 is a marvelous coyote cartridge.

ter accuracy with extruded powders. If you are looking for better accuracy and a bit higher velocity, you might try the various 52and 53-grain hollow points. For serious pursuits, I have never shot bullets lighter than 52 grains in the .223. The only possible use I see for the lightweights (40- and 45-grain) is for shooting in populated areas where a ricochet is a cardinal sin. However, a 45grain Hornet bullet over 12 grains of Blue Dot is a great plinking load in the .223. As mentioned, my pet load is a 55-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 25 grains of Benchmark. Now, let me tell you a dark secret: Smaller cartridges such as the .223, .222, and .17 Remington are sometimes prone to pierced primers. With otherwise perfectly fine loads, the firing pin indentation perforates. I have not found anyone who could tell me why. I found the cure for this malady when I switched to Remington 7-1/2 Bench Rest primers. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the Remington primers are just enough thicker and harder that they don’t pierce. Whatever the answer, if you are having trouble with pierced primers, try this remedy. I love the .222 Remington. I think it deserves a place in the top 10 cartridges of all time. However, for most purposes the .223 is a better choice. It handles 55-grain bullets better, shoots enough faster to make it a better hunting cartridge for most situations, and is accurate enough that all but the most discriminating shooter will never know the difference. Also, with its slightly larger case capacity, the .223 will handle a larger array of powders better than the smallcapacity .222. The .22/250 is faster, the .22 Hornet is smaller and quieter, but all things considered, the .223 Remington truly is a superior cartridge for most pursuits.

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I have seen the .223 used on coyotes with bullets heavier than 55-grains and was disappointed with the performance. On the ballistic charts, the heavier bullets show better downrange performance (slower velocity loss, better energy retention), but paper ballistics are sometimes misleading. The .223 gets its power from its velocity, not bullet weight and diameter. With heavier bullets, the velocity loss is enough to lessen the explosive impact and make the .223 less effective on game. Take my advice and stick with 55-grain bullets, or not more than 60 grains, and you will get the best out of the .223 Remington. The best reloading powders for the .223 are BL-C2, IMR-4895, H-335, H-332, Reloader 7, Benchmark, and Varget. Other powders of this general burn rate also work well. The highest velocities listed are with H-335, a ball powder, but I usually get betA L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Finding Yourself F YOU ARE IN NEED OF A NEW FISH-FINDER OR chart plotter, it makes sense to get both at once in the same unit. Combination units give you more bang for the buck, allowing you to purchase larger screens and more advanced units while taking up less dash space and running fewer wires. There are tons of combo units on the market. How are you supposed to know which one’s best for your boat? Pay attention to these key features, and soon you will be hunting for fish and plotting your position with ease. Size Matters: You will often want to use a combo unit in split-screen mode, which means there will only be half as much screen space for each function. So, overall, screen size is very important. Yup, you’re right; when it comes to screen size, bigger simply is better. But before you can decide what size screen you can afford, you will need to see what size screen your helm can handle. If you are flush mounting the unit, depth counts as much as height and width. Many helm stations have wiring, control cables, and other important items behind them, which might interfere with mounting your unit. So, before you even begin shopping, use a tape measure to nail down the maximum dimensions you can consider. If you are binnacle (top) mounting the unit, depth is still a consideration. Helms with sharply raked windshields or multiple windshield supports might be difficult to fit, and those with rounded helms are even worse. Again, measure carefully to nail down the exact amount of room you have available. Remember to allow space for a clamshell fitting, where your wires will pass through the top of the dash, and also ensure that the sur-

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face is accessible from below so you can through-bolt the unit in place. (Screws don’t cut it, as they will often vibrate loose from the fiberglass.) Finally, even if there is plenty of space on top of your helm, don’t get too crazy. Large units might impede your view and substantially limit visibility if you have a small windshield and a Bimini top that attaches to it. Once you account for available space, it’s all a matter of dollars and sense, and you can expect to pay several hundred dollars more per inch of screen. Consider the Humminbird line-up, for example. Start with the minimal 3.5-inch screen 383c combo, and you will pay about $400. Get a 5-inch screen with the 595c, and cost jumps to $500. Then check out a 7-inch 917c, and the cost will jump up to about $1000. An 8-inch 955c takes the price tag up to $1400, and going to a bodacious 10.4-inch screen takes the cost all the way up to the neighborhood of $2000. The Color Conundrum: Another important consideration (and cost-boosting feature) is whether to go with a color or monochrome unit. The majority of the units on the market today are color, and nearly all high-end units are. But if a minimal unit (or minimal expenditure) is what works for you, monochrome might be worth considering. From a purely navigational standpoint, color is not necessary. It allows you to differentiate between land and water boundaries more quickly, and makes contour lines more readily apparent, but with some squinting and hard looking, you would figure out these differences regardless. If you are an angler, however, the benefits of color cannot be oversold. The differences between reds, yellows, and greens will indicate the density of the fish-finder returns, and you’ll be able to easily differentiate between schools of bait, big fish, little fish, and structure. How big a financial difference does color make? It’s pretty substantial. Consider Eagle’s Fishelite 480, for example. It has a 5inch monochrome display and costs a hair under $400. The nearly identical color-

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equipped 640c, however, goes for about $200 more. Chip Chat: Different units will take different chartography chips. There are two main chartography companies out there: CMap and Navionics. Navionics cards are, for most models, accepted by Eagle, Furuno, Humminbird, Lowrance, Northstar, and Raymarine units. C-Map chart cards are accepted by most Northstar, Simrad, Furuno, Si-Tex, Standard-Horizon, Interphase, JRC, and Cobra units. Garmin has its own Bluechart and g2 chartography chips, as well as Inland Lakes and Lakemaster chips. So, which of these chips is best for sportsmen? Both C-Map and Navionics make specific model lines intended for specific purposes, and offer better detail than the standard chips. C-Map, for example, offers Max Lakes chips, which include shaded depth areas, state-by-state fishing regulations, fish ID charts, and even roadway data. Navionics, on the other hand, offers offshore chips with incredibly detailed bathymetrics. Garmin’s new g2 Vision chips offer bathymetrics plus satellite imagery, 3-D generation, and aerial photographs of many ports and inlets. The unit you choose will probably accept only one of these three choices, so before you spend your cash, make sure you take the unit for a test spin with the chartography installed. Otherwise, you might get a nasty surprise after the fact. Fish-finder Facts: Now that you are ready to nail down a chart plotter choice, it’s time to move along to the fish-finding half of combo units, and in doing so, make this call even tougher. The first detail to look for is the unit’s power rating. Like stereos, it might be given in one of two ways: peak to peak, or RMS. Completely ignore the peak to peak number, as it tells you little about the unit’s actual performance. You will sometimes see a cheap unit with 300 watts RMS, for example, listed as a 2400-watt unit in the marketing hype. Which figure seems more realistic to you?


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Before getting into wattage and what it means, we have to note that transducer size has a huge bearing on fish-finder performance. In fact, doubling the transducer size actually has the same effect as quadrupling the output power. The larger the transducer, the more focused its beam. Think of the everwidening pings it emits as if they were flashlight beams set to spotlight instead of floodlight. So, a machine pushing 200 watts through an 8-inch transducer will see just as deep as a fish-finder pushing 800 watts through a 2inch transducer. That said, the majority of combo units you are likely to see come with a 2- or 3-inch transom transducer, and other transducers will have to be specially ordered. With these common transducers, a 100- to 300-watt machine will do the trick for bay and inland boaters who don’t need to see the bottom in water any deeper than 150-200 feet. Machines of 300-500 watts will hit bottom just fine in waters down to about 500 feet, and 600- to 1000-watt machines are necessary only if you want to get bottom readings in waters off the Continental Shelf. Of course, there is more to this story: frequency. This, too, will determine depth capabilities and detail. Most units run on 200 kHz, which is a great shallow-water frequency. But in water over 500 feet or so deep, lower frequencies like 50 kHz often work better. Just about all units come with high frequency capability, but if the unit you need must see bottom in extremely deep areas, make sure it offers low frequency as well. Phys Ed: The physical casing a unit comes in should also be something you look at closely, since it will have a direct impact on longevity. If something is marked “splashproof,” that usually means, “will fry when wet.” Those rated “water-proof ” are good, but units rated “submersible” are usually going to last a lot longer, particularly at the open helm of a small boat. Look for independent verification, like the mark IP66. (Ingress Protection, which means the unit has been tested with highpressure water jets from all directions. An IP65 rating means it survived low-pressure jets.) Also avoid units that have multiple pieces and parts, such as corner covers and spacers that are glued on or snapped in place. Software: Now that we have technical matters out of the way, it’s time to confront your own personal brainwaves. The geeks who develop the guts of these units (the menu

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patterns and control functions) don’t always think like the rest of us normal folks. As a result, some units are more intuitive to use than others. This is important, unless you like referring to an instruction manual every third button-push; absolutely unacceptable to most of us red-blooded American males. Which unit will be the most intuitive to you? It’s impossible to tell until you play around with a specific model, so you will have to go into a store that has them all on display and start pressing buttons. Work your way

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through the menus, and do your best to drive away any salesman who might pollute the process with their own personal opinions (or advice hinging on which unit has the highest profit margin). Eventually, you will find one that feels right for you, whether you are checking your course or looking for lunkers.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com.

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It’s Ling Time PRINGTIME IS LING TIME IN THE TEXAS GULF, and the early-to-arrive ling are usually some of the heaviest. Baiting, hooking, and taming them is the focus, plus a few pointers to get them to the boat. The first step when ling fishing is to be ready, tackle-wise and otherwise. Always assume that a ling could be below anything floating, or around red snapper and kingfish structure. Polarized sunglasses and a dark underbill cap will definitely bring a ling into view much quicker. While a nearsurface presentation is the old standby, don’t forget the mid-depths to the bottom. This is especially true after a ling disappears. Ling spend a lot of time down there, eating crab, hardhead, et al. Tackle consists of a 7foot casting rod, 250300 yards of 50-pound-test mono or 80- to 100-pound Spectra spooled up on a reel with a drag setting of 15 pounds. For rigging, the first consideration is the line on the reel. Spectra has a lack of stretch, giving a greater feel for what’s going on at the bait and quick, positive hook-sets. Soft plastic baits such as 4-inch crab by Rip Tide, and various manufacturers’ 4- to 7-inch swim baits are good choices. In hard baits, Strike Pro Glide baits do the job, as well as leadhead jigs such as 3- to 5-ounce Snapper Slappers. In natural baits, live or dead ver-

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milion snapper, fin-clipped hardhead catfish, and pinfish are top producers. Dead fresh naturals include squid (glob or whole) or Spanish sardine fished throughout the water column. Fish all these bait options free-lined or Carolina rigged. When ling fishing, be ready to cast at the sighting of a near-surface cruiser. An old trick to use is what I call “stop chumming.” As a ling swims near enough, toss a few pieces of chum about 10 feet in front of it. Many times, it will stop and eat. Now put your bait into the mix. Should the target be farther away from the boat, make a cast where your bait will be crossing its swim

path when retrieved. When there are small ling and a larger one, have one of your fellow fishermen make a cast. The smaller, more aggressive ones often charge that bait, enabling you to put yours within striking distance of the big one. After the hookup, apply side pressure with your rod, using horizontal rod loading; this is whether the ling is deep or near the surface, running away or swimming to your right or left. At some point, most hooked ling come to the near-surface away from the boat.

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A method that brought a 78-pounder and many others from 40 to 70 pounds quickly to the gaff over the years is the reversal of side pressure. If the ling comes to the surface off to your left, apply right side rod pressure. As the ling passes in front of you, immediately swing your rod horizontally to your left. As it passes center again, apply right side rod pressure. As this side-to-side swim motion is being done, you should be gaining line, closing the gap between you and the ling. Bringing ling quickly to the gaff presents a definite safety problem. The ling will be very active on the gaff and in the boat. Should the gaffing fail for whatever reason, the ling will streak away at almost kingfish speed. A tactic I’ve used for many years when any sizeable fish is being gaffed is to put the reel on the clicker and out of gear. Should it come off the gaff, the fish will fall against the clicker, not a tight line that might break, or a hook that might tear loose. As it runs away against the clicker, put the reel back in gear and off the clicker and the fight is back on. These moves are absolute big fish savers. For everyone’s and the boat’s safety, swing it immediately into the fish box. A ling’s powerful tail, body swings, and those 7 to 9 short, stiff first dorsal spines must be avoided. Off our Texas coast, spring through fall, ling are there and ready to do battle. Springtime is prime time for the heavyweights. Your ling of a lifetime is swimming out there right now. E-mail Patrick Lemire at saltrigs@fishgame.com.

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Soft Jerks With Trebles O MOST ANGLERS, SOFT PLASTIC JERKBAITS are pretty much one-dimensional baits. Their sole application is in areas slap full of bass but choked by weeds, brush, or laydowns. The baits were designed for a single worm hook to stay weed free. The only problem with this is that since this is what they were designed for, that is all most anglers use them for. Very rarely will you find an angler throwing a jerkbait in open water with very little visible cover—and that really is a shame because by limiting the locations you use a bait, your are limiting it’s versatility without ever giving it a chance. One of the biggest advantages of a soft plastic jerkbaits is its weedless nature; this is also one of its disadvantages. A soft plastic bait is typically rendered weedless by having the point of the single hook buried in the body. While this keeps it from hanging in cover, it also keeps it from hanging onto the bass well. If you are reluctant to use a maniacal hook set there is the possibility you will miss a ton of fish. The good news is, there is a relatively simple solution to get around the drawbacks, but it is practical only if you are fishing relatively open water, as it involves adding a treble hook. If you have found a school of finicky bass hanging out on riprap or along a point, this is an excellent way to ensure that the few fish that hit do not get away. Traditionally, when we speak of adding treble hooks to soft plastics, it is in the form of a stinger or trailer hook in the tail of the bait. This works well, but in a soft jerkbait, it tends to detract from the action slightly, and realistically there are quicker and easier ways to do it. It takes only about four sec-

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onds longer to rig with an additional treble than it does with just a single worm hook. The first step is the same as the tradi-

jerkbait, but instead of leaving it inside the bait to prevent snagging, run it all the way through, exposing the point on the topside.

The point should ride just on top of the jerkbait, lying parallel with the back of the bait. The choices in suitable aftermarket treble hooks are virtually endless, and there really is no right or wrong answer to the question of which is best. The best advice is to carry a handful of sizes, bare trebles, and trebles with Mylar trailers so that you can change them to see what the bass prefer. This rigging really isn’t new, just rarely used. Some soft plastic swimbaits (which are nothing more than oversized jerkbaits) come packaged with worm hooks as well as a few trebles. Manufacturers have recognized the advantages of having more points hanging off their baits.

tional standard rigging. Tie a 3/0 wide gap worm hook on the end of the main line. Run the point of the hook into the nose of the bait and out the bottom about 1/2-inch from the nose. Run the hook through until the eye is touching the nose of the bait. Now comes the difference: Instead of running the point of the hook back into the body of the bait, slide the point through the eye of a treble hook. Then run the point through a piece of old plastic worm about a 1/4 inch thick. This will hold the treble hook in place. Now you can run the point of the worm hook into the body of the soft plastic

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E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com.

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Ich bin ein bluegiller! N A FAMOUS SPEECH 46 YEARS AGO IN WEST Berlin, President John F. Kennedy proudly proclaimed to the world, “I am a jelly donut.” His actual words were, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” President Kennedy had intended to say, “I am a Berliner,” but the last minute translation, written on note cards, went awry. He added the line to his speech as a way to boost morale of the West Germans, who faced the daunting threat of

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the Soviet Union and the recent erection of the Berlin wall. Regardless of the President’s malapropism, the citizens of Berlin understood his meaning and responded enthusiastically. At the risk of unintentionally saying, “I am a piece of stinkbait,” I proudly proclaim, Ich bin ein bluegiller! Spring is here and there is no better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons than to catch a mess of bluegill. Bluegill, and other handsome members of the sunfish family, have fallen several notches on the popularity scale of late. It seems all my friends want to target doubledigit black bass or mega-stripers. I still encounter plenty of perch jerkers (at least when crappie are spawning), but bream do not seem to have the shine they once enjoyed. It has been several years since anyone told me they were specifically targeting the hand-sized fish on their next outing. Bluegill are an ideal target for kayak anglers. That is not to say that kayakers can catch only small fish; certainly not. Kayaks can be launched in a number of places— lakes, reservoirs, ponds, creeks, rivers, and streams—and virtually every place you can launch a kayak has a population of sunfish. So, why not target them on occasion? If you are fishing a lake or pond, paddling down a shoreline edged with aquatic vegetation is a good place to start. Submerged brush or fallen trees are sure to hold sunfishes. In reservoirs, the riprap faces of bridge abutments and dams provide a neverending series of hidey-holes where bream can lurk. Besides being fun places to paddle, streams and rivers are full of sunfishes. On a memorable trip to the Nueces River just outside Uvalde, Guide Aaron Riggins and I caught over 50 sunfish on 5-weight fly rods in a little over an hour. In one memorable rock-bottomed pool, I had 32 strikes in as many casts, landing 26 fish, each a riot of color. Bright orange and yellow bellies glistened in the sun, while dazzling pectoral fins blazed in shades of orange and red. No bass

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or crappie ever looked this handsome. Bluegill are easy to catch on bait and artificials. For natural bait fans, a small tub of meal- or earthworms will fit easily underneath a bended knee while you are paddling. An old-fashioned cricket cage capable of holding hundreds of baits is another great option. Threaded onto a thin wire hook with a long shank, any of these baits will draw countless strikes. For some reason, my family shied away from the ubiquitous red and white bobber, opting instead to use crappie floats made out of balsawood or wispy-thin porcupine quills, which at the time were natural and not plastic. All three are good options for sunfishes. A plastic bag filled with several hooks, split shot, and corks is all the tackle you need and can be tucked into a shirt pocket. Sunfishes will not hesitate to strike artificial lures. Since bluegill, redear, and other sunfishes have small mouths, it is best to scale your offering accordingly. Small tube or curly-tailed plastic jigs pinned on 1/8- or 1/16-ounce lead heads are deadly baits. Inline spinners are another good option. Fly-fishermen can offer just about any fly they wish without the fear of getting a cold shoulder. Panfishes are so aggressive that flies often come unraveled from numerous strikes. Tiny Clouser Minnows and beadhead nymphs will catch anything that swims. If you like fishing on the film, prospect fishylooking haunts with thread ants, foam spiders, or hard bodied poppers. Many fishermen start out catching bluegill and their assorted cousins, but shift to other species as they grow in age and experience, eventually loosing touch with their fishing roots. Catching bluegill is fishing in its purest form, offering both relaxation and satisfaction. Next time you go paddling, consider making a bluegill your target for the day and capture a little bit of the magic that got you hooked on fishing. Ich bin ein bluegiller! Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com.


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cued from storm-hit areas. Not all were plucked from their roofs though; some simply ran out of water and food and had no gas or electricity. Just why some people decide to stay in harm’s way has been a subject of study for some scientists, and there is a multitude of reasons. “Some people don’t have the ability to evacuate,” Morss said, either because they don’t have transportation or don’t have the money to pay for gas, food, and a hotel for an indefinite period that could possibly stretch to weeks. Others might not understand the warnings because they are hearing impaired,

Why People Ignore Hurricane Evacuation Warnings S HURRICANE IKE’S FLOODWATERS BEGAN TO recede from Galveston, Texas, and other areas of the Gulf Coast, emergency responders surveyed the storm’s damage and rescued thousands of residents who ignored evacuation orders. There are many reasons why some people don’t heed evacuation notices; some think they can ride out the winds and surging waters, while others simply have nowhere to go and no way to leave. Still others remember unnecessary evacuations from botched forecasts and adopt a “boy who cried ‘wolf ’“ mentality. “And then some people just don’t perceive the risk to be that high,” said Rebecca Morss of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. New residents to the Gulf Coast simply might not realize the threat posed by hurricane storm surge, which often causes most of the damage associated with the storm. Any or all of these reasons can combine to cause a few holdouts to decide to take their chances with the storm, instead of seeking safety. The Hurricane Ike evacuation scenario started to unfold when Galveston officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for the entire island, while Ike was still churning out in the Gulf of Mexico. Residents of low-lying areas around Houston were also ordered to leave. Officials largely considered the evacuation a success, as more than 1 million residents heeded the evacuation call and fled inland, but thousands of their neighbors in Galveston and elsewhere stayed behind. “The evacuation, I think, was a great

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success. We had a few hardheads. We always do,” Governor Rick Perry told the New York Times. Some estimates put the number of holdouts as high as 140,000 people, according to the Associated Press. When those thousands became stranded by the storm, officials mounted the largest search-and-rescue effort in the history of the state. By the Monday after the storm, almost 2000 people had been res-

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Can You Catch a Big Bass? HERE ARE MORE FISHERMEN ON THE WATER in January, February, March, and April, and also more big bass caught than any other months put together. The big fish have lounged around all winter, and when the water starts to warm, they come to the shallows to feed and look for spawning areas. Now you have them in a confined fishing area of 5 feet deep or less, reducing 95 percent of the lake you would normally fish. Most fishermen you talk to would rather

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fish shallow than deep. Put these anglers on the water with the bass in less than 5 feet of water throwing Zoom lizards, Bagley crankbaits, jigs, and spinnerbaits, and you have a recipe for catching a lot of big fish. In early spring, I concentrate on one thing: water temperature. If I can find the warmest water in the lake with the best cover available, I will probably have a bonanza day of catching big bass. Sometimes you have to fudge a little bit one way or the other to find bass biting, but as a rule, if you start in the warmest area and don’t deviate too far, you will find bass biting. This time of year, you need to remember that as the day goes on, the water warms up and you could be in a great area that might not turn on until later in the day. If you have baitfish activity in a productive area, sometimes you need to wait the bite out or at least return to the area later on. I have seen many tournaments won over the years by guys sticking to an area after everyone left to get the late bite.

This time of year, I depend more on my Raymarine DS500 for its accurate temperature reading than I do the depth reading. One degree of temperature change makes a difference. Once it reaches that magic degree, it will turn the bass bite on. One key to remember is the shallow, flattest water on the north side of the lake usually warms first, so this is a good place to head in search of warm water. There are four tactics that top the list for me in early spring: cranking shallow running Balsa B crankbaits, Carolina rigging an 8inch Zoom lizard, flipping a Bagley jig or Zoom Brushhog, and slow rolling a spinnerbait. I also need to add Texas-rigged Zoom worms to the arsenal, since they have produced my three biggest bass. I sling the hardware with a 7-foot, 4-inch Woo Daves Extreme Pitchin’ rod. I’m targeting big bass in and around cover, so I want a good hook-set and to be able to move the fish away from the cover. I’m also using heavier line, 17- to 20-pound Bass Pro

NEWS FROM THE COAST  Continued from Page C49 speak a foreign language, or are isolated from other people. Some coastal residents might have ridden out a smaller storm before and think they can do so again, or evacuated for another storm that shifted course or didn’t cause as much damage as expected, in which cases people don’t want to disrupt their lives and uproot their families unnecessarily, Morss said. Such cases were reported in media coverage of Ike. In one Associated Press story, a five-year-old boy named Jack King was said to have been injured when Ike’s storm surge swept through his family’s house in Galveston. “We just didn’t think it was going to come up like this,” the boy’s father, Lee King, told the AP. “I’m from New C50

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Orleans, I know better. I just didn’t think it was going to happen.” Morss conducted a study (detailed in the April 2008 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) and interviewed evacuees of Hurricane Rita, which made landfall along the TexasLouisiana border on 24 September 2005, just weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The evacuees Morss interviewed, who had left areas of Texas that ended up unaffected by Rita, said they would leave again if another storm came. But Morss said this isn’t always the case. “People’s minds change after a couple years,” when memories of disasters like Katrina fade, she said. Related to this are the cases of what Morss calls “hurricane fatigue” in places such as Florida that are often hit by many

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hurricanes in one season. People simply get tired of disrupting their lives and leaving their homes. Some home and business owners decided to stay behind to protect their property from looters or the storm itself. In the case of looters, Morss said that it is a common fear but not something that typically happens after a storm. And in the case of fending off the storm’s attack, “There’s really not much you can do,” she said. Whether or not Texans and other residents of the Gulf Coast will learn from Ike and obey future evacuation warnings is anybody’s guess. “We’ll have to see if next time they remember,” Morss said. —Andrea Thompson, LiveScience.com


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Shops fluorocarbon. I’m also going to use bigger hooks. If I’m pitching Zoom plastics into cover, I use a 4/0 or 5/0 Mustad Ultra Point hook. In order to work a piece of cover better, I like to use a Texas-rigged Zoom worm. When you work a piece of cover in the spring, make sure you fish it thoroughly, making repeated pitches to and around the cover. In other words, treat each good looking piece of cover as if you know there is a bass in there and you have to make him bite.

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When I’m fishing a Killer B11 crankbait, I’m concentrating primarily on secondary points in the first 2/3 of the creeks and working to the back with warming temperatures. Chartreuse with black backs and Crawfish are my two favorite colors by far in the spring. The most important thing I’ve found on early spring crankbaiting is to reel the lure slowly. Big fish like a slow retrieve. I also like to fish a Carolina-rigged Zoom lizard. In early spring, I use a 2-foot leader

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with a 2/0 or 3/0 Mustad J-bend widegapped hook and a Lindy’s Rattlin’ NoSnagg 3/4-ounce weight. I love this weight because it is almost snag free and allows me to fish the toughest places and get my bait through them. You can also cover a lot of water fan-casting a Carolina rig. I always use Jack’s Juice Crawfish scent on all my lures.

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Red River Gobblers OMPLETELY INVISIBLE IN MY BUSHLAN camo, I settled down against a large oak tree in the bottomlands of Red River County, the state’s bright spot for eastern turkey populations since it opened for hunting 10 years ago. Turkey have incredible vision, so I made sure I was comfortable and wouldn’t have to move around. Resting the 12-gauge across my lap, I scraped a few yelps on a box call and waited to see if any lovesick gobblers were interested. A cousin told me about this spot in the midst of a 10,000-acre alliance of farms and ranches, where he’d taken birds during the last couple of years during spring season. My tree grew beside a lane enclosed by thick trees opening into a wide, brush-free pasture. Just days before, my cousin spent several hours in intense conversation with two gobblers who refused to show themselves. I hoped I spoke better Turkey. Interspersed in the thick woods and encroaching on the pasture, eastern red cedars colored the landscape. I wished they were gone, because according to Jason Hardin, Upland Game Bird Specialist for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the thick cedars are fast becoming a detriment to wild turkey populations. Hardin told me overgrowth impacts turkey populations: “Eastern red cedar is one of the biggest problems in turkey habitat right now. If the birds can’t see long distances through the woods, they might be the victim of predators or move somewhere else.” The turkey’s biggest attribute is keen eyesight, and they need to see a long way to feel secure. The open woods behind me were prime turkey habitat. This time, an answer echoed through the woods in

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response. I waited, because many turkey hunters “overcall.” In addition to an explosion of red cedar, changes in land management have resulted in excessive growth of Bermuda grass, something offering little turkey sustenance. These plants were once controlled with fire as landowners burned off pastures, meadows, and grazing lands, but fire bans in time of drought make even trained landowners reluctant to use such a potentially devastating control device.

by Reavis Z. Wortham “The lack of fire being used in to burn off the undergrowth or trash plants allows red cedar and Bermuda grass to grow unchecked,” Hardin said. “When red cedar is burned, it’s gone forever. The fire opens understory to create a park-like setting.” Prescribed fire is necessary to maintain substantial, sustainable turkey populations. Government mandated burn bans in times of drought such as those we’ve seen for the past few years are tough on those who want to maintain good turkey habitat, while at the same time preserve the safety of citizens and property. “We’re trying to promote prescribed burns and a more universal way to burn,” Hardin said. “Toward this end, the Texas Prescribed Burn Board has certified guys who work with the counties to work within the bans and initiate prescribed burning.” The Texas Prescribed Burn School is approved by the Texas Prescribed Burn Board and administered through the Texas Department of Agriculture. Graduates of the course have been trained on such topics as fire weather, fuel moisture, topography,

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fire effects, burn plans, regulations, insurance, post-burn management, and the Certified Burn Manager Program. Today, more and more of Red River County offers an environment that turkey love: riparian corridors in the creek and river bottoms of the Pineywoods and Post Oak Savanna eco-regions of East Texas. Another tom gobbled to my left, vying for my attention. I waited, answered, and waited some more. I knew they were close. The birds around me were the descendents of numerous stockings over 80-plus years. From 1924-1941, Florida, Rio Grande, and pen reared eastern wild turkey were released throughout East Texas, according to TPWD. Of 19 Rio Grande Turkey stockings, Red River County was the only area considered a success. Those birds (68) were released into Red River County in 1940. Beginning in 1978, another effort was underway to reestablish turkey in East Texas. During this period, 7155 turkey were released at 300 sites in 58 East Texas Counties. From 1981-1990, approximately 172 eastern wild turkey were stocked into Red River County. Ten sites were stocked at a rate ranging from 15-23 birds per site in a “block stocking” method. The goal was to release small populations throughout the county with the idea of the birds forming one large population over time. While this appears to have been successful in Red River County, most of East Texas was not so lucky. In 2006, 101 birds were taken in Red River County. In 2007, 73 birds were killed. Biologists currently estimate eastern turkey numbers somewhere around 10,000. I knew I had a pretty good chance at taking


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a gobbler because there were plenty of birds around me, but so far, I hadn’t seen so much as a wattle or feather. I knew that too much calling could drive the toms away, so I waited some more. Poults need rain at just the right times, and eastern turkey need more moisture than Rio Grande birds. Up along the river, the moisture has been good this past year, though not great, but Hardin said that here on the edge of the eastern turnkey ranges, he’s really happy with the numbers of birds that have given the county the highest density in the state: “With enough moisture during the past year to ensure good hatches, the turkey populations in the county are substantial. Along with good hatches, a number of landowners have agreed to delay haying (cutting and baling) until later in July so as not to disturb or damage the bird’s nests.” PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

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A third gobbler tuned up nearby, just out of sight, and my frustration level increased. These old boys were not used to being handled in such a way, and my refusal to move had them baffled. Hens do not usually just float a call into the air and play this hard to get. I hit the box call again. Most of Red River County is lease hunting, with landowners employing the generations-old technique of granting individuals hunting privileges based on friendship, family legacy, or simple courtesy. However, public hunting areas (sometimes called walk-in hunting) are always an option to those without contacts. I clucked again, this time with a mouth call. The result was not what I expected. Instead of a big tom running up to meet me with a bottle of champagne under one wing A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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and Barry White compact disk under the other, the three birds around me shut up as if they had been instantaneously beamed to another part of the state. “I am expecting an average year for turkey in East Texas,” Hardin had told me over the phone. “But I don’t see a big boom in the population for the next year.” I had run the turkey off. There would be no mandatory stop at the designated check station later in the day. I sat in silence and listened to the chi-chi birds overhead. They were the only things I would hear for the rest of the day. There was definitely not going to be a “big boom” for me during this spring turkey hunt.

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Ken Cook Says Farewell Editor’s Note: The following statement comes directly from Ken Cook: OLLOWING A LONG, DIFFICULT DECISION process and aided by the support of my wife, Tammy, and the rest of my family, I announce that the 2009 BASS Elite Series Tour will mark my final season of full-time competitive fishing. I refuse to use the term “retired” since it simply does not fit my situation. I will continue to be a part of the outdoors and the fishing industry, continuing to lend my support to my sponsors whenever I can. I most definitely will continue to fish—maybe even in the occasional tournament—but not at the highest levels on a full-time basis. I still love to fish and do so as often as I can. However,

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with age and other factors, my body simply will not allow me to compete at the level at which I think I should. Standing on the front deck of a bass boat for weeks at a time and taking long, bone-jarring boat rides simply does not agree with my 62-year-old body anymore. While it would be easier to simply walk away from my professional angling career in light of my aches and pains and the financial commitment that it takes to compete on a national bass fishing tour, my final season will be devoted to enjoying the sport of fishing—relishing the fellowship, competition, and camaraderie of the fellow anglers and the support of my fans. That’s why I’m calling this my “Farewell Tour.” My love for the outdoors is unending. From my original career as a fisheries biologist, I made my first major occupational transition in 1983 when I became a full-time tournament angler. Through hard work, support of family, friends, fans, and sponsors, the first tour stop at Lake Amistad will mark my 27th season as a professional angler. The end of the season will find me making my

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transition into a third profession, one that will allow me to maintain a connection with the outdoors. For years, my family and I have made our life on a beautiful piece of land in southwestern Oklahoma near the Wichita Mountains. Tarbone Ranch has been a place of solitude and refuge in an otherwise fast-paced and often frantic life as a professional angler. In recent years, I have devoted my knowledge and expertise in wildlife biology into improving the overall health and genetics of the animals that share the ranch with us. Once my professional angling career is over, my focus will become the ranch and providing outdoor opportunities for sportsmen and -women. As a professional angler who has always taken pride in the ability to teach people to be more successful on the water, the transition to teaching people to appreciate the outdoors and how to be more successful in other outdoor pursuits is an easy one—one that I cherish. Over the course of my final BASS Elite Series season, I will be blogging about my experiences and reflecting on the things I’ve learned on my website, KenCookOutdoors.com. There you can read about Tarbone Ranch, see some of the animals that live there, and get a feel for what I will be doing with my time once the season is over. This announcement would be incomplete if I failed to recognize the companies that have been so instrumental in my long career as a professional angler. I have enjoyed a long relationship with many of them and have partnered with others more recently, but I value each of the relationships I have with these fine sponsors and look forward to continuing my efforts with them in my post-tournament life. My sincere thanks go to Berkley, Abu Garcia, Triton, Mercury, MotorGuide, Tru Tungsten, Storm, Rapala, Lowrance, Costa Del Mar, Navionics, Re-Action System, and the other organizations that have helped to make my dream of professional angling a success. —Ken Cook


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A Green Movement ER APPROACH RESONATED LIKE DISTANT artillery fire striking ever nearer. Her high heels clacked on the polished stone floor. The tempo of her steps made it obvious she was on a mission. I glanced up. A tight, brown, mid-length dress was stretched around her blossoming paunch. Her feet were pinched into shoes two sizes too small. Her hair was jerked into a brunette knot. Her rear end seemed to follow several steps behind. Her face reflected red anger.

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The woman thundered past me in a commotion of nylon and polyester, then planted herself on a nearby bench with a force that tested the buildings granite foundations. Such things are common in the state Capitol. The hallway was full of every stereotype imaginable. There were the witless wealthy who hold position due to campaign donations. There were the equally obnoxious bureaucrats who are afforded arrogance because of their insulation from the general populace. There were the grinning empty suits shaking hands and slithering from constituents to lobbyists; and there were the tired plodding citizens searching for the correct committee conference room. But in this moment’s view, there was only one public servant that was politely relating to an individual how his agency was bene-

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ficial—and there was none of the rare breed known as statesmen. There was nothing for me to do but doze off where I was seated until it was time for our joint committee hearing on Texas Parks & Wildlife Department funding. Austin is sometimes referred to as the next largest communist city north of Havana. It is a bastion of liberalism in Texas. Here, brain cells in charge of destructive moral confusion infect and mutate healthy common sense brain cells. Then the “good ol’ boys” that know how to take advantage wait to inject laws that will best fill their coffers. Too often, the public’s natural resources suffer. However, the recently enlightened mouthpieces of the “green” movement are ready to take the reins from generations of ranchers, farmers, and the land stewards that made our Lone Star State unique and pros-


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perous. While they plan to bend our major cities toward alternative energy sources, it would be interesting to see if they could fix one little problem in Alleyton, Texas. This historical burg situated on the edge of the flat Gulf Coast Plains has 165 residents in need of a wastewater treatment plant. Gene Evans, a local civic leader, donated 1 acre of land and the Colorado County Commissioner’s Court accepted. However, future court minutes show that neighboring landowners objected to effluent water crossing their property on its way to the Colorado River. At the same time, the project’s engineering surveyor deemed that there was no definable route for the effluent water to reach the river. Land was then purchased from Dittmann Harrison west of FM 102. The effluent drains from west to east, beneath an FM 102 bridge, and into a channel excavated on the Harrison Ranch adjacent to the bar ditch. It then bleeds over a level plain for 3000 feet until an elevation decline. It again seeps under an FM 102 bridge back to the east, then percolates south in front of Greak’s Beer, Bait, and Ammo store and finally leaves that property to spread into a chain of gravel pits. Now, this is where the matter gets sticky. Harrison claims there is no permit allowing the

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effluent onto his property, nor has he been paid an easement. The Lower Colorado River Authority, the owner and operator of the treatment plant, says the facility is a money pit and they have all the proper permits. The 1999 permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to discharge wastewater says that the wastewater is discharged into Sandy Branch, which drains to the Colorado River. It goes on to say that this permit does not grant the permittee the right to use private or public property for conveyance of wastewater. The engineering surveyor’s report shows the wastewater being discharged into Sandy Branch. Harrison says the wastewater is discharged into a man-made channel on his property that was dug to raise FM 102 when Interstate 10 was built. That easement was terminated at the completion of the road. His contention is that the wastewater isn’t discharged into Sandy Branch and never reaches Sandy Branch. Harrison readily displays aerial photos showing the green-tinted wastewater on his property and describes its sewer-esque stench. He goes on to say that the American Land Heritage Society has declared that he has a winnable case, but that it could cost $1 million or more to challenge the state.

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Meanwhile, every elected official involved and the LCRA are aware of the issue, but have offered Harrison no solutions. Harrison believes that the only answer is for the LCRA to provide a lift station and pipeline to the Colorado River. The social enigma is having this treated wastewater along FM 102 one-mile north from I-10 and 3.5 miles east of Columbus, Texas. The TCEQ permit to discharge this effluent water ends September 1, 2009. As for my thoughts, San Antonio and the LCRA are exploring the idea of scavenging drinking water from the Colorado River. If the TCEQ permit mandates this effluent wastewater should wind up in the river... Then another set of clacking high heels awakened me from my drifting troubled nap. I glanced up to see a young lady stride by toward our conference room. Her stride was purposeful but unassuming, and she smiled as she made her way through the men crowding the doorway. Okay, there is one thing to like about Austin. I rose and headed to the meeting.

E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com.

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Pan Grilled Speckled Trout HIS MONTH WE WILL FOCUS OUR ATTENTION on Cynoscion nebulosus, a.k.a. speckled trout. No matter by which name we recognize this great game fish, visions of past encounters invade the memories of Texas coastal fishermen. Was it an explosive topwater strike or a subtle wintertime tap? Regardless, the vision rewinds the coastal angler’s experience. The speckled trout, revered for its ferocity, is equally sought for its succulent white flesh. So, catch all you can and keep only what you can eat. Speaking of eating, here is a recipe for this regal fish. —Loy Moe

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Pan Grilled Speckled Trout: With Lump Crabmeat, Mushrooms, & Caper Sauce 2 fillets of fresh speckled trout, skins removed 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese 1 stick of butter cut in half 1/4 cup dry white wine 1 tsp. capers 3/4 cup half & half 3 mushrooms, sliced 1 clove of fresh minced garlic 1/4 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, and Texas Gourmet Sidewinder Seasoning Spice

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Pictured with crab cakes, steamed asparagus, and pineapple & mango pico de gallo In a large cast iron or heavy non-stick skillet, melt 1/2 stick of butter over medium high heat. Dredge filets through flour mixture and place in skillet. Brown on both sides, then move to platter. Place in warm (180-degree) oven. Add remaining 1/2 stick of butter to skillet and let melt over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. flour and stir well until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, capers, and gar-

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lic. Sauté for two minutes, then add wine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Add Parmesan cheese and half & half while stirring. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Spoon lightly over center of fillets. PHOTOS BY JIM OLIVE


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Sauté onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, celery, and corn in olive oil and butter until onion is clear and veggies are soft. Remove from heat, add breadcrumbs. Place in bowl. Add spices to two well-beaten eggs. Mix eggs with the sautéed veggies and breadcrumbs. Now work the lump crabmeat into the mixture gently to keep the crab from falling apart. To form crab cakes, wet hands with cold water, scoop up approximately 4 ounces of the mixture, then form the cake to

about 1-inch thickness. Heat olive oil. Place cakes well separated into pan and allow to brown on both sides (approximately three minutes per side). Serve hot or cold. Makes 4-6 cakes. Contact Bryan Slaven, "The Texas Gourmet," at 888-234-7883, www.thetexasgourmet.com; or by email at texas-tasted@fishgame.com.

Pineapple & Mango Pico de Gallo 1 cup fresh, diced pineapple 1 cup peeled, pitted, fresh diced mango 1 cup fresh chopped cucumber 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup fresh Serrano pepper, seeded and sliced thin 1 cup green onions, sliced thin 1 red bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice 2 Tbsp. honey 2 Tbsp. Texas Gourmet Mandarin Orange Serrano Jelly 2 Tbsp. white pepper 1 Tbsp. salt 1/2 Cup fresh chopped cilantro Whisk together honey, lime juice, mandarin orange Serrano jelly, white pepper, salt, and cilantro. Combine and stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Serve Chilled.

Texas Blue Crab Cakes 1 lb. lump crabmeat (carefully pick through to remove shell pieces) 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs 3 Tbsp. olive oil 1/3 cup onion, diced 1/2 bell pepper, diced 1 medium-size jalapeno, cored, seeded, and chopped fine 1 clove garlic, minced 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter 2 sticks celery, diced 2 eggs 1/2 Tbsp. rubbed sage 1 Tbsp. Texas Gourmet Sidewinder Searing Spice 6 Tbsp. canned corn 1 Tbsp. black pepper A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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TEXAS SALTWATER

ROCKPORT

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Angle 15-pound r Sna Coastal B pper end Outdoors

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ria Sepulveda 6 Redfish Redfish Charters

Brian Patrick and Ma

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Captain Matt Forsh ee of Akins Saltwater Guide Service Limit of Specks Akins Saltwater Guide Service

erford, TX Anglers from Weath Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS FRESHWATER

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OUTDOOR SHOPPER ADVERTISERS, MAIL IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

BAFFIN BAY

For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579.

AKINS SALTWATER GUIDE SERVICE

TEXAS HUNTING

Captain Larry E. Akins is USAF Retired. Other than the twenty years I spent in the Air Force, I grew up here on the Gulf Coast. I started fishing these waters when I was too young to remember. My father got me started fishing in Galveston Bay, and as I grew older I ventured out. I am at home anywhere from Sabine Lake to Port Isabel. Fishing is all I do now. I started guiding about six years ago and became full-time two years ago. Most of my guiding expertise has been at special request. I have guided people from Washington state, South Africa, and Holland. I have guided people from all over Texas. The reason I like guiding is because I have traveled all over the US and the world fishing. I have caught a lot of fish and now I gain the most satisfaction from seeing other people catch fish. I especially enjoy seeing young people catch fish. I don’t help young people by reeling in their fish, I encourage them. I was with a young man of eight, Matt, when he reeled in his first trophy trout. He did it and that is something no one can take away from him. That day he caught eight trout, the smallest being 19 inches. I would rather help someone catch a record fish, than I would to catch it while out fishing alone. In Montana, I also guided some hunting trips and there are a lot of people who have trophy mounts because of my guiding and their shooting ability. I would rather be guiding. One of the things about traveling so much is that I always make friends everywhere I go. In 2006, I took eight weeks and traveled the Rockies. I fly-fished everywhere; call me and we can talk about it. — Captain Larry Akins, 409-267-5486 (cell) Email me at capt.akins@yahoo.com A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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BLACK DRUM—CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

CATFISH—NUECES RIVER, TEXAS

Adair Bates proudly shows off her first black drum to her friend Lillian McCoy. Adair caught the fish on live shrimp with her 4-pound-test spinning reel while fishing the Intracoastal, north of JFK Causeway in Corpus Christi with dad Cody Bates and Lillian’s dad, Tim McCoy.

Amanda Dusek, age 9, caught her first catfish while fishing with her sister and her dad, Darrell Dusek, on the Nueces River. She loves to fish and was excited about her catch.

BUCK—LYTTON SPRINGS, TEXAS

BLACK BASS—LAKE KIOWA, TEXAS

Levi Hallowich, age 9, of Lytton Springs, Texas, Jason Lange of Gainesville, Texas, caught this shot this 10-point, 140-pound buck with a 20- black bass while fishing on Lake Kiowa. The photo inch spread while hunting on his family’s proper- was taken by his wife Nicole Lange. ty in Lytton Springs. He took the buck with one shot from his .223 at 80 yards.

TF&G PHOTO ALBUM

SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO: C62

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1745 Greens Road Houston, Texas 77032 OR BY EMAIL: photos@fishgame.com

HYBRID STRIPERS—LAKE BUCHANAN, TEXAS Pat Sanders of Houston, and his nephew Corey Sanders, age 14, of Schulenburg, Texas, caught these hybrid stripers while trolling on Lake Buchanan. Pat caught the 10-pounder, and Corey’s was 18 pounds and 35 inches.

PLEASE INCLUDE NAME, HOMETOWN, WHEN & WHERE CAUGHT, SIZE AND WEIGHT

Note: All non-digital photos submitted become the property of Texas Fish & Game and will not be returned. TF&G makes no guarantee when or if any submitted photo will be published. F i s h

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BLUE CATFISH—NUECES RIVER, TEXAS

Kent Gray of Lake Jackson, Texas, caught this 28- Erin Gallagher, age 9, caught this 10-pound blue inch redfish while fishing with Carl Otsuki in a bay catfish on a limb line using big grub for bait. She out of Arroyo City, Texas. was fishing the Nueces River in Sandia, Texas. She named her useful grub, “Big Buddy.”

BASS—CHOKE CANYON RESERVOIR, TEXAS Jim McCoy of Garden Ridge, Texas, caught this 9pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass at Choke Canyon Reservoir. The bass was 25.5 inches in length, with a 19-inch girth.


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OMPLETELY INVISIBLE IN MY BUSHLAN camo, I settled down against a large oak tree in the bottomlands of Red River County, the state’s bright spot for eastern turkey populations since it opened for hunting 10 years ago. Turkey have incredible vision, so I made sure I was comfortable and wouldn’t have to move around. Resting the 12-gauge across my lap, I scraped a few yelps on a box call and waited to see if any lovesick gobblers were interested. A cousin told me about this spot in the midst of a 10,000-acre alliance of farms and ranches, where he’d taken birds during the last couple of years during spring season. My tree grew beside a lane enclosed by thick trees opening into a wide, brush-free pasture. Just days before, my cousin spent several hours in intense conversation with two gobblers who refused to show themselves. I hoped I spoke better Turkey. Interspersed in the thick woods and encroaching on the pasture, eastern red cedars colored the landscape. I wished they were gone, because according to Jason Hardin, Upland Game Bird Specialist for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the thick cedars are fast becoming a detriment to wild turkey populations. Hardin told me overgrowth impacts

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turkey populations: “Eastern red cedar is one of the biggest problems in turkey habitat right now. If the birds can’t see long distances through the woods, they might be the victim of predators or move somewhere else.” The turkey’s biggest attribute is keen eyesight, and they need to see a long way to feel secure. The open woods behind me were prime turkey habitat. This time, an answer echoed through the woods in

by Reavis Z. Wortham response. I waited, because many turkey hunters “overcall.” In addition to an explosion of red cedar, changes in land management have resulted in excessive growth of Bermuda grass, something offering little turkey sustenance. These plants were once controlled with fire as landowners burned off pastures, meadows, and grazing lands, but fire bans in time of drought make even trained landowners reluctant to use such a potentially devastating control device. “The lack of fire being used in to burn off the undergrowth or trash plants allows red cedar and Bermuda grass to grow unchecked,” Hardin said. “When red cedar A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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is burned, it’s gone forever. The fire opens understory to create a park-like setting.” Prescribed fire is necessary to maintain substantial, sustainable turkey populations. Government mandated burn bans in times of drought such as those we’ve seen for the past few years are tough on those who want to maintain good turkey habitat, while at the same time preserve the safety of citizens and property. “We’re trying to promote prescribed burns and a more universal way to burn,” Hardin said. “Toward this end, the Texas Prescribed Burn Board has certified guys who work with the counties to work within the bans and initiate prescribed burning.” The Texas Prescribed Burn School is approved by the Texas Prescribed Burn Board and administered through the Texas Department of Agriculture. Graduates of the course have been trained on such topics as fire weather, fuel moisture, topography, fire effects, burn plans, regulations, insurance, post-burn management, and the Certified Burn Manager Program. Today, more and more of Red River County offers an environment that turkey love: riparian corridors in the creek and river bottoms of the Pineywoods and Post Oak Savanna eco-regions of East Texas. Another tom gobbled to my left, vying for my &

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In This Issue

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INDUSTRY INSIDER • Custom Marine Concepts; Briley; and more | BY TF&G STAFF

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

SHOOT THIS! • Smith & Wesson M&P15PC | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

I23 I35 I41

SPECIAL SECTION • Texas International Boat Show | BY TF&G STAFF

I47 I50

TOURNAMENT NEWS • Ken Cook Says Farewell | BY KEN COOK

FISH THIS! • Blackstone Fillet Table | BY GREG BERLOCHER

HOW-TO SECTION

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COVER STORY • Red River Gobblers | BY REAVIS Z. WORTHAM

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY CALIXTO GONZALES & JD MOORE

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SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • Tides, Solunar Table, Best Hunting/Fishing Times | BY TF&G STAFF

GEARING UP SECTION

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TEXAS TESTED • Jerk That Jig; Lowrance | BY TF&G STAFF NEW PRODUCTS • What’s New from Top Outdoor Manufacturers | BY TF&G STAFF

attention. I waited, answered, and waited some more. I knew they were close. The birds around me were the descendents of numerous stockings over 80-plus years. From 1924-1941, Florida, Rio Grande, and pen reared eastern wild turkey were released throughout East Texas, according to TPWD. Of 19 Rio Grande Turkey stockings, Red River County was the only area considered a success. Those birds (68) were released into Red River County in 1940. Beginning in 1978, another effort was underway to reestablish turkey in East Texas. During this period, 7155 turkey were released at 300 sites in 58 East Texas Counties. From 1981-1990, approximately 172 eastern wild turkey were stocked into Red River County. Ten sites were stocked at a rate ranging from 15-23 birds per site in a “block stocking” method. The goal was to release small populations throughout the county with the idea of the birds forming one large population over time. While this appears to have been successful in Red River County, most of East Texas was not so lucky. In 2006, 101 birds were taken in Red River County. In 2007, 73 birds were I2

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BOWHUNTING TECH • Finding a New Hobby | BY LOU MARULLO

I39

TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • The .223 Remington | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

I42

TEXAS BOATING • Finding Yourself | BY LENNY RUDOW

I44 I45 I46

SALTWATER BAITS & RIGS • It’s Ling Time | BY PATRICK LEMIRE

I48 I49

WOO’S CORNER • Can You Catch a Big Bass? | BY WOO DAVES

NEWS FROM THE COAST • Why People Ignore Hurricane Evacuation Warnings | BY ANDREA THOMPSON

TEXAS TASTED • Pan Grilled Speckled Trout | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Soft Jerks With Trebles | BY PAUL BRADSHAW TEXAS KAYAKING • Ich bin ein bluegiller! | BY GREG BERLOCHER

WILDERNESS TRAILS • A Green Movement | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

killed. Biologists currently estimate eastern turkey numbers somewhere around 10,000. I knew I had a pretty good chance at taking a gobbler because there were plenty of birds around me, but so far, I hadn’t seen so much as a wattle or feather. I knew that too much calling could drive the toms away, so I waited some more. Poults need rain at just the right times, and eastern turkey need more moisture than Rio Grande birds. Up along the river, the moisture has been good this past year, though not great, but Hardin said that here on the edge of the eastern turnkey ranges, he’s really happy with the numbers of birds that have given the county the highest density in the state: “With enough moisture during the past year to ensure good hatches, the turkey populations in the county are substantial. Along with good hatches, a number of landowners have agreed to delay haying (cutting and baling) until later in July so as not to disturb or damage the bird’s nests.” A third gobbler tuned up nearby, just out of sight, and my frustration level increased. These old boys were not used to being handled in such a way, and my refusal to move had them baffled. Hens do not usually just float a call into the air and play this hard to get. &

TROPHY FEVER • First Buck - A Trophy x 2 | BY TF&G READER

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DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF PHOTO ALBUM • Your Action Photos | BY TF&G STAFF

I hit the box call again. Most of Red River County is lease hunting, with landowners employing the generations-old technique of granting individuals hunting privileges based on friendship, family legacy, or simple courtesy. However, public hunting areas (sometimes called walk-in hunting) are always an option to those without contacts. I clucked again, this time with a mouth call. The result was not what I expected. Instead of a big tom running up to meet me with a bottle of champagne under one wing and Barry White compact disk under the other, the three birds around me shut up as if they had been instantaneously beamed to another part of the state. “I am expecting an average year for turkey in East Texas,” Hardin had told me over the phone. “But I don’t see a big boom in the population for the next year.” I had run the turkey off. There would be no mandatory stop at the designated check station later in the day. I sat in silence and listened to the chi-chi birds overhead. They were the only things I would hear for the rest of the day. There was definitely not going to be a “big boom” for me during this spring turkey hunt.


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by Calixto Gonzales, South Zone Fishing Editor & JD Moore, North Zone Fishing Editor

Boca Chica Bank Bite LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Boca Chica Jetties (bank access) GPS: N26 3.904, W97 8.738

SPECIES: Mangrove snapper BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh shrimp, shiners, squid CONTACT: White Sand Marina, 956-943943-6161 TIPS: Shorebound anglers can have as successful a fishing trip as any boating angler. The only difference is that they have to tote all their stuff up to the truck and back. Mangrove snapper start piling up around submerged rocks around the jetties during spring. Most are 12-13 inches long, and put up a stout fight on most tackle. Live shrimp and fresh shrimp are the best baits, but larger fish seem partial to squid chunks or menhaden (locally called shiners). LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Boca Chica Jetties (bank access) GPS: N26 3.931, W97 8.990 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: live shrimp, live finger mullet; jerkbaits in Pearl, Smoke CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Snook are year-around denizens of the jetties, especially the deeper holes, but they are in pre-spawn mode in April, which makes them aggressive. Free-line a live mullet or large shrimp into the deep holes on the I4

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channel side of the jetty tip early in the morning. If you prefer lures, a Gulp! Jerk Shad or Slug-O in Pearl or Smoke patters rigged on a 1/4-ounce jighead is powerful medicine. Fish deep in the water column near the bottom. Don’t be surprised if you latch into a tarpon. They hang around the tip, too. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Cullen Channel. GPS: N26 15.159, W97 17.273 SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: live shrimp, finger mullet; soft plastics in clear/red, red/white, Pearl/red CONTACT: Captain JJ Vasquez, 956-2392239 TIPS: Flounder lurk around the edges of the channel that feeds into Cullen Bay, especially during high tide. Cast your bait or jig parallel to the shoreline and near deeper water. A simple split-shot rig will work, but if the tide is strong, you may want to move up to a 1/4- to 1/2-ounce barrel sinker and short leader. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Color Change GPS: N26 10.429, W97 12.759 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp; soft plastics in chartreuse, Nuclear Chicken, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 9546551-9581 TIPS: The Color Change marks the boundary where the grass flats of Laguna Madre link up to the deeper water near the ICW. Fish the edges of grasslines, or around weed clumps that are visible along the bottom. Fish shrimp under a popping cork, or hop soft baits along the bottom. Gulp! Shrimp in glow are absolute death in the murkier water. Use a soft touch, because a little tap could be a 20-inch-plus mustardmouth. &

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.785, W97 11.011 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; topwaters early; soft plastics in white/chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse, red/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain JJ Vasquez, 956-2392239 TIPS: Spring tides push warmer water into South Bay, and redfish really put on the feedbag. Fish parallel to boat channels (but not in them; other anglers are entitled to use them) with live shrimp under a popping cork or soft plastics. If the tide is really up, then the redfish will be moving into the small guts that cut into the mangroves along the shoreline. Topwaters are good choices then. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.785, W97 11.011 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; topwaters early; soft plastics in white/chartreuse, glow/chartreuse, red/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain JJ Vasquez, 956-2392239 TIPS: The same influx of warmer water that gets redfish into a feeding mood has a similar effect on speckled trout. Fish further into the flats and work around sand holes with topwaters and live shrimp, The venerable Cocahoe Minnow is another good choice, especially if the wind picks up later in the day. They can also be fished under popping corks, much like live bait. LOCATION: Arroyo Colorado HOTSPOT: Arroyo Mouth GPS: N26 21.604, W97 20.112 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny; soft plastics in red/white, New Penny, Rootbeer; topwaters


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CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 9546551-9581 TIPS: The spoil flats around Colorado Island in the mouth of the Arroyo holds trout that are still cruising and waiting for hapless prey to happen by. Topwaters will work early, but live bait is your best bet. These fish are looking for something that smells and looks natural. Gulp! baits could also work, especially early in the morning. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: East Cut GPS: N26 33.000, W97 17.029 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Gulp! Shrimp in Pearl; soft plastics in Pearl/red, Strawberry/white; topwaters in Bone, chartreuse. CONTACT: Captain Terry Neal, 956-9442559, www.terrynealcharters.com TIPS: The opening of the Mansfield Pass means that more warm water starts flowing into the bay from the Gulf this spring. The fishing, which has already shown a marked improvement this winter, should take off. The cuts along the shoreline of the East Cut are the first to attract fish. Any fisherman who moseys up the cut will find some concentrations of chunky redfish and trout up there. Fish topwaters up in the cuts early in morning, move back as the sun rises up in the sky and fish the edges. Fish soft plastics deeper on a 1/4-ounce jighead.

Baffin Trout Take Plastics LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.206, W97 34.362

SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Strawberry/black back, Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse; Corkies in Plum, dark patterns I6

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CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Trout are going to be cruising around the rocks of areas such as Center Reef, ambushing young of the year bait. A Corky Devil is a very popular early-spring lure, especially in dark patterns. Soft plastics should be rigged on smaller jigheads and fished very slowly. A noisy float such as an Old Bayside Paradise Popper wouldn’t hurt, either. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.200, W97 34.360 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Limetreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse; Gulp! lures CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Where there are trout, there will also be redfish. Fish soft plastics around the shallower parts of the reef. Again, the key is working your bait slowly and close to the bottom, where the fish are foraging for their prey. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.248, W97 27.593 SPECIES: Speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Strawberry/black back Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Work up near the shoreline early in the morning with topwaters for trout that are hunting for breakfast. When the sun gets higher as the day continues, work the deeper guts. Fish with dark plastics with lots of tail action to get their attention. Baits with split-tails are good options. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: JFK Causeway GPS: N27 38.052, W97 14.773 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastics &

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Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse. CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: There is a reason why the Causeway is such a popular spot with ULM locals. There are more places to fish than you would ever want. Fish the edges of cuts and depth breaks along the causeway. Topwaters are effective very early in the morning when thrown up on the shallows and fished back; you can also score with soft plastics fished on a 1/4-ounce jighead worked near the bottom at a good clip. Shad tails that give off lots of vibration are best. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 29.754, W97 19.970 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fishermen should work the edges of grasslines and drop-offs to locate prowling trout. Soft plastics under a Paradise Popper are effective. If the grasslines are in deeper water, switch over to a 1/8-ounce jighead and ditch the float. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: King Ranch N. of Point of Rocks GPS: N27 21.106, W96 23.433 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse, Limetreuse, Rootbeer/red flake; live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Again, look for grasslines in deeper (4-foot) water and swim jigs along them. Darker colors are the order of the season, with plum and rootbeer patterns moving to the front of the list of lure choices. Lighter colors should work when water begins to clear later in the month. If the fish are being finicky, switch over to live shrimp under a popping cork. That may get their attention.


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LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Humble Channel GPS: N27 39.153, W96 15.664 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse, Limetreuse, Rootbeer/red flake CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The edges of the Channel will hold some trout near deeper water, especially if April gets a bit windy. Fish soft plastics on 1/8-ounce jigheads. If you are fishing in deeper water, use darker patterns.

Blue Buck Specks LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.708 W93 54.371 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Pearl/chartreuse, clear/glitter CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409-7862018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: April is a good time to find the good

speckled trout lurking on the South end of the lake. Watch for schools of young-of-theyear baitfish and shrimp to tip you to where predators are schooling. If you don’t see any bait on top, look for birds Downsize your bait, to about 3 inches to match the hatch. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Stewt’s Island GPS: N29 57.899, W93 50.900 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Pearl/chartreuse, Limetreuse CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Drift the flats to locate pods of redfish roaming the area in search of menhaden and mullet. Look for birds working over bait as the day progresses. The bigger fish will be around the perimeter, picking off what

the schoolies leave behind. Fishing soft plastics down deep are the trick. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay

HOTSPOT: Deep Reef GPS: N29 31.863, W94 39.039 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies in Pearl/chartreuse; Catch 2000 in topwater patterns; eel-style plastics; live shrimp/popping cork CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409-256-7937, Captsteve@hillmanguideservice.com TIPS: Moving water is the key to finding where fish will hold over the reef. When you locate the down-current side of the reef, begin fishing slowly and methodically with a slow-sinking lure such as a Corky or Saltwater Assassin on a 1/8-ounce jighead. Live shrimp or soft plastics under a popping cork will help you slow down, and the fish will key in on the sound. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Fat Rat GPS: N29 28.758, W94 38.809 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters; soft plastics in Limetreuse, Plum; Gulp! Shrimp or shad tails CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409-256-7937 Captsteve@hillmanguideservice.com TIPS: Don’t let the consumption advisory scare you off. There is still some great trout spring trout fishing in East Galveston Bay. A blue/chartreuse or bone Super Spook or Top Dog is a good choice for morning wades. If the water is choppy, switch to a higher-pitched topwater such as a She Dog or SkitterWalk (the chartreuse SkitterWalk is one of the top lures this time of year). You can fish the depth breaks with soft plastics on a 1/8-ounce jig head. If you need a great confidence bait, try a Gulp Shrimp in Nuclear Chicken. LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Alligator Point GPS: N29 10.394, W95 07.152 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters; soft plastics in Limetreuse, Plum; Gulp! Shrimp or shad tails CONTACT: Captain Steve Hillman, 409-256-7937 Captsteve@hillmanguideservice.com.

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TIPS: Wade along the shoreline, stalk, and cast, or you can drift in a shallow draft boat. Either will work well because the flats in this area start loading up with trout in April. The same techniques that work all over the Bay complex will work here too. A topwater early or late in the day, or when you’re in shallower water will draw some startling explosions. When the fish are down in deeper water, high visibility plastics should draw their attention.

SPECIES: Catfish BEST BAIT: shrimp, chicken liver, cut bait CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle, 956-7654866 TIPS: Beginning just above the little community of Salineno, there are a series of islands in the middle of the river. One channel—usually toward Mexico—might be weed-choked. The other channel that runs between the island and the mainland is deeper and forms an eddy at its mouth.

These deep holes are catfish magnets, especially in the heat of a Deep South Texas summer. A standard dropper rig with a 2ounce sinker and a 3/0, straight-shank hook baited with fresh bait or chicken liver works fine. Be aware that there are snags that eat up tackle. LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: Highway 72 roadbed GPS: N28 29.482, W98 20.353

Crawlers for Cats LOCATION: Texana HOTSPOT: Lake Texana State Park (shore access) GPS: N28 58.278, W96 32.203 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shrimp, cut shad, prepared bait, night crawlers CONTACT: Park Office, 361-782-5718 TIPS: Both the Park shoreline and the park pier offer access to excellent catfishing

in the spring. Most are in the 1- to 2-pound range, but there are some 5-pounders mixed in. Bottom fishing around timber with natural or prepared baits is a good way to kill an afternoon with you family. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tiger GPS: N26 44.326, W99 8.750 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAIT: cut bait, prepared baits CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle, 956-7654866 TIPS: The edges of the same flooded retamas that produced big stringers of catfish through March will also produce some husky bass. Look for the tops of trees to be pushing through the surface and work Texas rigged worms around the bases of the trees. Another good option is to slowly work a spinnerbait through the trees. A gold blade is more effective in stained water. LOCATION: Rio Grande River HOTSPOT: Salineno GPS: N26 30.590, W99 7.040 A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas-rigged lizards in Junebug, Watermelon red; deep diving crankbaits in Firetiger CONTACT: Jerry Dunn, 361-449-7647 TIPS: Bass use the bar ditches on either side of the roadbed as a gathering point post spawn. This maximizes your chance of latching onto a good-sized fish. Lizards fished Texas-style are effective. As the water warms up, try burning a deep-diver such as a Rapala DT 15 (15 feet or more) along the bottom. Trace the length of the roadbed all the way to Huisache Island.

Coleman Bass Rage LOCATION: Lake Coleman HOTSPOT: Large Flat with Brush GPS: N32 02.856, W99 28.669 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: buzzbaits, Rage Tail Shad, Carolina-rigged worm CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: The best fishing will be early and late in the day. Try the topwater action around stickups. Pay close attention to any large pieces of wood in the area. In the middle of the day, drag a Carolina-rigged Rage Tail Shad with a 3/4-ounce weight in 4-17 feet of water. Lake Coleman is 13 miles north of Coleman, Texas BANK ACCESS: Shore access is excellent at all camping areas. LOCATION: Lake Nasworthy HOTSPOT: Wind Blown Reed Points GPS: N31 03.736, W100 05.031 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 1/2-ounce spinnerbaits, Rage Tail Space Monkeys and Rat-L-Traps

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CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: Lake Nasworthy is a small lake in the San Angelo City limits, with an abundance of reed beds and boathouses. In April, the fish bunch up on windy reed points to feast on shad and perch that blow into the reeds. Cast parallel to or across these points with a Chartreuse/white spinnerbait with double willow leaf blades to get bit. After you catch a few, ease on into the reed pockets off the point, flip a Rage Tail Space Monkey in Green Pumpkin and you will not be disappointed. Also, work the boathouses and docks. BANK ACCESS: Lake Nasworthy Marina, ask marina operator about bank fishing LOCATION: Possum Kingdom Lake HOTSPOT: Bloodweed Island GPS: N32 55.370, W98 26.763 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Rat-L-Traps; 9- to 10-inch blue metal flake plastic worms, rigged Carolina or Texas style CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-779-2597, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Fish the Rat-L-Traps along the shoreline. Fish the plastic worms off shore in 5-15 feet of water, Carolina or Texas-rigged. BANK ACCESS: Willow Beach RV Park, privately owned, ask for permission to fish; largemouth, crappie, striped, and white bass LOCATION: Possum Kingdom Lake HOTSPOT: North of Costello Island GPS: N32 53.632, W98 28.260 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: small jigs, preferably white/chartreuse or 1/8-ounce jigs with curly tails CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-779-2597, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Fish the jigs in and around any brush, wood, etc. along the island. BANK ACCESS: Willow Beach RV Park, privately owned, ask for permission to fish; largemouth, crappie, striped, and white bass


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Big Sam Topwater Bite LOCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir HOTSPOT: Stanley Creek GPS: N31 18.160, W94 25.490 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, topwaters (frogs and Spooks), Texas-rigged creature baits, 10 inch worms

Buchanan Secret Weapon Bite LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Rock Piles GPS: N30 34.496, W98 21.528 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: shad colored Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged Pumpkin Wacky

Sticks, white suspending crankbaits; Wave Worm Ticki Dip Sticks, Texas-rigged without a weight CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Fish the 5- to 10-foot breaklines off flats and deepest creeks using 1/4-ounce

CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr. 903-4782633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Stanley Creek is located on the North end of the lake and can be easily accessed by boat lanes and then turning left into the creek system. The Stanley Creek area is a major spawning ground consisting of willows and buck brush along the bank with hydrilla patches scattered throughout. The spawn is about over and the bass are in a feeding mood to replace the weight they lost during the spawn. In the morning use spinnerbaits and topwater plastic frogs and Zara Spooks, Flip weightless 10 inch worms and creature baits around the brush along the banks. This will get you some larger bass. BANK ACCESS: Powell Park Marina Fishing Pier, catfish, largemouth, white and striped bass LOCATION: Toledo Bend South HOTSPOT: Texas Island GPS: N31 11.981, W93 36.981 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: tube jigs in red/white or black/Chartreuse CONTACT: Jim Morris, 409-579-3485, cypresscreekmarina@valornet.com TIPS: Fish the west side of the island in 10-12 feet of water. Try using a tandem rig. Experiment using different color jigs on the hooks, red/white on top jig, black/Chartreuse on bottom jig. Try different color combinations if you don’t get a good response on the colors you start with. BANK ACCESS: Ragtown Recreation Area, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, white and striped bass

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shad colored Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, etc. Work the rock piles, ledges, and chunk rock. Also areas from Beaver Creek into the Colorado should not be overlooked. JDC poppers in white will also produce. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Turkey Cove GPS: N29 52.846, W98 13.152 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Smoke red flake tubes on jigheads, 4-inch purple/brown pepper flake drop-shot worm, jerkbaits like JDC’s Sweet Water Chub CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Fish inside of secondary points and transition areas of bluffs in Turkey Cove in 8-15 feet of water using the above listed baits. Twitching a jerkbait like the JDC Sweet Water Chub is also a “go to” bait this time of year. BANK ACCESS: Potters Creek Park, largemouth bass, stripers, catfish

SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: creature baits with chartreuse tails, Secret Weapon spinnerbaits with combo blades and Chartreuse/blue skirts, weightless Wacky Sticks in Watermelon Red; Watermelon Purple flake and JDC Watermelon Red creature baits CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: LBJ bass are known to stay shallow regardless of the time of year. With that said you should target wood structures like old wooden docks in 4-8 feet of water and laydowns near the cement walls. BANK ACCESS: Robin Hood Park, catfish, largemouth bass

Tail Humming at Aquilla LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Spillway GPS: N31 53.860, W97 12.408

LOCATION: Lake Lyndon B. Johnson HOTSPOT: El Rio Area GPS: N30 39.354, W98 25.686

SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Little Georges, Tail Hummers, slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Wind blown points and humps are producing spawning whites. Using Little Georges and Tail Hummers, casting to the windward side of the humps, points and the spillway at the dam will give you limits of whites. Make long casts up into the concrete spillway area, using light line with either slabs or Little Georges to make the long casts. BANK ACCESS: Tailrace Fishing Pier, white bass on jigs, Little Georges, Tail Hummers fished in outlet LOCATION: Lake Belton HOTSPOT: Stampede Creek GPS: N31 14.797, W97 27.132 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbait with single silver Colorado blade CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411, Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com TIPS: Work stumps, logs, laydowns, and any other wood cover. Allow spinnerbait to helicopter down alongside vertical cover. You can also run spinnerbait so that it frequently contacts wood over horizontal cover. Work low and slow. Consider a dark pork trailer on the spinnerbait hook. BANK ACCESS: Temple Lake Park, largemouth, catfish, white bass LOCATION: Fayette County Reservoir HOTSPOT: Boggy Creek Timber GPS: N29 56.501, W96 43.997 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad or punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Fish are in the latter part of the spawn now. This area will offer 1 to 8 foot water in and around tree stumps. Use a Carolina rig on windy days and slip cork on calm days. Use No. 4 treble hooks for punch bait and a No. 1/0 Kahle hook for cut bait or worms. Work the trees and stumps closely, applying some chum in those areas and coming back to work them again within 30 minutes. Do not hesitate to work

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the open areas between the trees, as spawning cats sometimes pile up in this open area prior to spawning. BANK ACCESS: Junkyard Cove, largemouth bass LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Little Caney Creek GPS: N32 50.875, W95 33.280 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, Carolina-rigged plastic worms, flukes, Tiki Sticks, and Baby Brush Hogs. CONTACT: Mike Rogge, 903-383-3406, www.lake-fork-guides.com TIPS: The fish will be in transition about this time. Some will still spawning. Some will be starting and some moving into post spawn. The places to target the movers will be the same secondary and main lake points as before the spawn. Those still spawning will be in water from 6 feet to 6 inches. Besides Little Caney, check the backs of Alligator and School House Creeks and Running Branch in the back of Big Caney. The back of Wolf Creek Bay is also good this time of year. BANK ACCESS: Fishing Pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand, crappie, largemouth bass

LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Running Creek GPS: N32 56.534, W95 30.866 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Comida worm, 430 Special spinnerbait, Shimmy Shaker worm CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Concentrate on the backs of main lake coves where the sun warms the water early. Look for coves that have plenty of grass. This will be where you find the larger amounts of bass. Lake Fork will be mostly clear and you will find surface temps running from 60 to 65 degrees and lots of bass will still be on beds during the first half of April and not so toward the end of the month. Fish the Comida worm and the jig early. As the day warms, cast the Shimmy Shaker and the 430 Special spinnerbait. You can also check Glade Creek and Oil Well Bay. Each of these has good amounts of grass, timber, and drops or ditches for bass to travel. BANK ACCESS: Fishing Pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand, crappie, largemouth bass LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Boat Ramp at Big Cedar

GPS: N30 37.347, W96 03.227 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: minnows or jigs CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: The crappie are spawning. There is a large Cedar tree at this location. Start at this tree and work your way toward the bank, fishing around structure. Reset the depth on your slip cork as you get into shallow water. Fish will be close to vegetation and laydown structure. Keep your cork in one place for at least 30 seconds before you move it slowly to the next structure. Fish can be anywhere between the structures, so only move 2-3 feet at a time. Use a jig under the cork or a minnow on a No. 1 crappie hook. Remember, a dead minnow will often work as well as a live one. If you have structure, crappie can be one feet deep or they can be 10 feet deep for the spawn. BANK ACCESS: Hwy 175 Bridge east; cast lures for bass, minnows for crappie LOCATION: Lake Granger HOTSPOT: Fox Park Point GPS: N30 41.290, W97 20.680 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: 1/16- and 1/32-ounce chartreuse Jigum jigs CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Fish main lake brush piles in 6-12 feet of water. Hold jigs right over the top of the brush using very little action. Tip the jig with a Berkley Crappie Nibble. This gives the jig scent and makes the crappie bite better. Jig color doesn’t seem to matter. BANK ACCESS: Wilson Fox Fishing Dock, crappie on live minnows fished straight down off dock

Contact South Regional Fishing Editor Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com Contact North Regional Fishing Editor JD Moore by email at hotspotsnorth@fishgame.com

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Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

The following pages contain TIDE and SOLUNAR predictions for Galveston Channel (29.3166° N, 94.88° W).

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TIDE PREDICTIONS are located in the upper white boxes on the Calendar Pages. Use the Correction Table below, which is keyed to 23 other tide stations, to adjust low and high tide times.

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T6 T5 T17

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY is shown in the lower color boxes of the Calendar pages. Use the SOLUNAR ADJUSTMENT SCALE below to adjust times for points East and West of Galveston Channel.

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AM & PM MINOR phases occur when the moon rises and sets. These phases last 1 to 2 hours.

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AM & PM MAJOR phases occur when the moon reaches its highest point overhead as well as when it is “underfoot” or at its highest point on the exact opposite side of the earth from your positoin (or literally under your feet). Most days have two Major Feeding Phases, each lasting about 2 hours.

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PEAK DAYS: The closer the moon is to your location, the stronger the influence. FULL or NEW MOONS provide the strongest influnce of the month.

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PEAK TIMES: When a Solunar Period falls within 30 minutes to an hour of sunrise or sunset, anticipate increased action. A moon rise or moon set during one of these periods will cause even greater action. If a FULL or NEW MOON occurs during a Solunar Period, expect the best action of the season.

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TIDE CORRECTION TABLE Add or subtract the time shown at the right of the Tide Stations on this table (and map) to determine the adjustment from the time shown for GALVESTON CHANNEL in the calendars.

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

PLACE Sabine Bank Lighthouse Sabine Pass Jetty Sabine Pass Mesquite Pt, Sab. Pass Galveston Bay, S. Jetty Port Bolivar

HIGH -1:46 -1:26 -1:00 -0:04 -0:39 +0:14

LOW -1:31 -1:31 -1:15 -0:25 -1:05 -0:06

KEY PLACE HIGH Galveston Channel/Bays T7 Texas City Turning Basin +0:33 +3:54 T8 Eagle Point +6:05 T9 Clear Lake +10:21 T10 Morgans Point T11 Round Pt, Trinity Bay +10:39

T22 T23

View TIDE PREDICTIONS for all Texas Coastal Tide Stations and DATES at...

www.FishGame.com • A P R I L

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

LOW +0:41 +4:15 +6:40 +5:19 +5:15

KEY PLACE T12 Pt Barrow, Trinity Bay T13 Gilchrist, East Bay T14 Jamaica Beach, W. Bay T15 Alligator Point, W. Bay T16 Christmas Pt T17 Galveston Pleasure Pier

HIGH +5:48 +3:16 +2:38 +2:39 +2:32 -1:06

LOW +4:43 +4:18 +3:31 +2:33 +2:31 -1:06

KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

PLACE San Luis Pass Freeport Harbor Pass Cavallo Aransas Pass Padre Island (So. End) Port Isabel

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

I16

TIDE PREDICTIONS are shown in graph form, with High and Low tide predictions in text immediately below. SOLUNAR ACTIVITY data is provided to indicate major and minor feeding periods for each day, as the daily phases of the moon have varying degrees of influence on a wide variety of wildlife species.

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

HIGH -0.09 -0:44 0:00 -0:03 -0:24 +1:02

LOW -0.09 -1:02 -1:20 -1:31 -1:45 -0:42


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

 APR 1

31

Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 7:35p Set: 7:34p Sunrise: 7:07a Set: NONE Moonrise: 10:31a Set: 12:14a Moonrise: 11:33a Set: 1:17a

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

2 Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 7:35p Moonrise: 12:40p Set: 2:15a

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

3

SUNDAY

4

5

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 1:48p

Set: 7:36p Set: 3:06a

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 2:56p

Set: 7:37p Set: 3:50a

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 4:01p

Set: 7:37p Set: 4:28a

AM Minor: 9:09a

PM Minor: 9:38p

AM Minor: 10:15a

PM Minor: 10:45p

AM Minor: 11:20a

PM Minor: 11:51p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:23p

AM Minor: 12:52a

PM Minor: 1:21p

AM Minor: 1:46a

PM Minor: 2:13p

AM Minor: 2:34a

PM Minor: 2:59p

AM Major: 2:54a

PM Major: 3:24p

AM Major: 3:59a

PM Major: 4:30p

AM Major: 5:05a

PM Major: 5:36p

AM Major: 6:08a

PM Major: 6:38p

AM Major: 7:07a

PM Major: 7:35p

AM Major: 7:59a

PM Major: 8:26p

AM Major: 8:46a

PM Major: 9:11p

Moon Overhead: 4:53p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:55p

Moon Overhead: 5:54p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:56p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:46p

Moon Overhead: 8:53p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

TUESDAY

30 Sunrise: 7:09a Moonrise: 9:36a

12a

    

Moon Overhead: 10:36p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:23a

0

-1.0

BEST:

3:40-6:10 AM

BEST:

4:50-6:55

Moon Underfoot: 7:26a

Moon Underfoot: 8:25a

BEST:

BEST:

6:10-8:20 PM

7:15-9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 9:20a

Moon Underfoot: 10:12a

BEST:

8:00-10:15 PM

+2.0

BEST:

8:50-10:35 PM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

3:00-5:20 PM

Moon Underfoot: 6:25a

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 5:23a

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:51 AM 9:33 AM 1:35 PM 4:14 PM

-0.28 ft 1.46 ft 1.30 ft 1.33 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

1:48 AM 11:11 AM 2:26 PM 3:51 PM

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 2:54 AM 1.48 ft High Tide: 1:00 PM 1.42 ft 1.43 ft

-0.33 ft Low Tide: 4:09 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:04 PM

-0.29 ft Low Tide: 5:29 AM 1.50 ft High Tide: 2:33 PM

A L M A N A C / T E X A S

F i s h

-0.22 ft Low Tide: 6:45 AM 1.44 ft High Tide: 2:51 PM Low Tide: 8:32 PM

&

-0.12 ft High Tide: 12:21 AM 1.36 ft Low Tide: 7:52 AM 1.05 ft High Tide: 3:06 PM Low Tide: 8:43 PM

G a m e ® / A P R I L

2 0 0 9

1.19 ft 0.03 ft 1.27 ft 0.81 ft

I17

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

6

THURSDAY

8

7

FRIDAY

9

SATURDAY

110

SUNDAY

11

12

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 5:05p

Set: 7:39p Set: 5:04a

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 6:06p

Set: 7:40p Set: 5:37a

Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 7:06p

Set: 7:40p Set: 6:08a

Sunrise: 6:59a Moonrise: 8:07p

Set: 7:41p Set: 6:40a

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 9:08p

Set: 7:41p Set: 7:15a

AM Minor: 3:19a

PM Minor: 9:31p

AM Minor: 4:00a

PM Minor: 10:12p

AM Minor: 4:42a

PM Minor: 10:54p

AM Minor: 5:27a

PM Minor: 11:39p

AM Minor: 6:15a

PM Minor: 12:03p

AM Minor: 7:07a

PM Minor: 12:54p

AM Minor: 8:02a

PM Minor: 1:49p

AM Major: 9:31a

PM Major: 9:54p

AM Major: 10:12a

PM Major: 10:35p

AM Major: 10:54a

PM Major: 11:17p

AM Major: 11:39a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:03a

PM Major: 12:27p

AM Major: 12:54a

PM Major: 1:19p

AM Major: 1:49a

PM Major: 2:14p

Moon Overhead: 11:25p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:11a

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:57a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:57a Set: 7:42p Moonrise: 10:09p Set: 7:52a

Moon Overhead: 2:33a

Moon Overhead: 1:44a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:55a Set: 7:42p Moonrise: 11:07p Set: 8:34a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:23a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:01a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

10:00 am-1:10 pm

Moon Underfoot: 1:20p BEST:

12:00-1:40 am

Moon Underfoot: 2:08p BEST:

12:00-2:15 am

Moon Underfoot: 2:58p BEST:

12:00-3:10 am

12:40-3:30 am

Moon Underfoot: 3:48p +2.0

BEST:

9:40-11:00 pm TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 12:33p

TIDE LEVELS

9:20am-12:45pm

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 11:48a

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

I18

1:59 AM 8:52 AM 3:20 PM 9:10 PM

1.26 ft 0.22 ft 1.20 ft 0.54 ft

• A P R I L

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:18 AM 9:46 AM 3:34 PM 9:42 PM

2 0 0 9 /

1.35 ft 0.44 ft 1.16 ft 0.29 ft

T E X A S

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:27 AM 10:36 AM 3:47 PM 10:16 PM

F i s h

&

1.43 ft 0.66 ft 1.15 ft 0.08 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

5:31 AM 11:23 AM 3:59 PM 10:52 PM

1.49 ft 0.87 ft 1.17 ft -0.07 ft

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

6:31 AM 12:09 PM 4:07 PM 11:29 PM

1.52 ft High Tide: 7:31 AM 1.52 ft 1.05 ft Low Tide: 12:53 PM 1.19 ft 1.20 ft High Tide: 4:07 PM 1.25 ft -0.14 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

12:09 AM 8:34 AM 1:38 PM 3:36 PM

-0.15 ft 1.49 ft 1.29 ft 1.30 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

13

14

15

Sunrise: 6:54a Moonrise: None

Set: 7:43p Set: 9:19a

AM Minor: 8:58a

PM Minor: 2:45p

AM Minor: 9:55a

PM Minor: 3:42p

AM Minor: 10:50a

PM Minor: 4:37p

AM Major: 2:45a

PM Major: 3:11p

AM Major: 3:42a

PM Major: 4:08p

AM Major: 4:37a

PM Major: 5:02p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:56a

Moon Overhead: 5:06a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

FRIDAY

SUNDAY

18

19

Set: 7:45p Sunrise: 6:50a Set: 11:57a Moonrise: 2:17a

Set: 7:45p Sunrise: 6:49a Set: 12:54p Moonrise: 2:54a

Set: 7:46p Set: 1:50p

Sunrise: 6:48a Moonrise: 3:27a

Set: 7:47p Set: 2:46p

AM Minor: 11:42a

PM Minor: 5:30p

AM Minor: 12:07a

PM Minor: 6:19p

AM Minor: 12:53a

PM Minor: 7:05p

AM Minor: 1:36a

PM Minor: 7:47p

AM Major: 5:30a

PM Major: 5:54p

AM Major: 6:19a

PM Major: 6:43p

AM Major: 7:05a

PM Major: 7:27p

AM Major: 7:47a

PM Major: 8:08p

Moon Overhead: 6:46a 12a

SATURDAY

 17

16

Set: 7:44p Sunrise: 6:51a Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 7:44p Sunrise: 6:52a Moonrise: 12:02a Set: 10:09a Moonrise: 12:52a Set: 11:02a Moonrise: 1:37a

Moon Overhead: 4:14a

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:19a

Moon Overhead: 7:33a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:04a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 4:40p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:10p

Moon Underfoot: 7:57p

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

4:20-6:15 am

5:20-7:10 am

6:05-9:10 am

Moon Underfoot: 8:42p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 9:25p +2.0

BEST:

12:30-2:00 am

1:40-2:55 am TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

5:20-10:05 pm

Moon Underfoot: 6:21p

TIDE LEVELS

4:30-9:40 pm

Moon Underfoot: 5:31p

Low Tide: 12:52 AM -0.10 ft Low Tide: High Tide: 9:44 AM 1.44 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

I20

• A P R I L

1:40 AM 11:12 AM 1:49 PM 2:37 PM

2 0 0 9 /

-0.02 ft Low Tide: 2:35 AM 1.41 ft High Tide: 3:01 PM 1.39 ft 1.39 ft

T E X A S

F i s h

&

0.08 ft 1.40 ft

Low Tide: 3:37 AM High Tide: 2:28 PM

0.18 ft 1.37 ft

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

Low Tide: 4:46 AM High Tide: 2:08 PM

0.27 ft 1.34 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

5:51 AM 2:11 PM 8:52 PM 11:18 PM

0.35 ft 1.31 ft 1.11 ft 1.13 ft

Low Tide: 6:47 AM High Tide: 2:17 PM Low Tide: 8:15 PM

0.44 ft 1.28 ft 0.98 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

 23

SATURDAY

224

SUNDAY

25

26

Sunrise: 6:47a Moonrise: 3:57a

Set: 7:47p Set: 3:43p

Sunrise: 6:46a Moonrise: 4:27a

Set: 7:48p Set: 4:39p

Sunrise: 6:45a Moonrise: 4:57a

Set: 7:48p Set: 5:38p

Sunrise: 6:44a Moonrise: 5:28a

Set: 7:49p Set: 6:40p

Sunrise: 6:43a Moonrise: 6:03a

Set: 7:50p Set: 7:45p

Sunrise: 6:42a Moonrise: 6:43a

Set: 7:50p Set: 8:54p

Sunrise: 6:41a Moonrise: 7:30a

AM Minor: 2:15a

PM Minor: 8:26p

AM Minor: 2:53a

PM Minor: 9:03p

AM Minor: 3:30a

PM Minor: 9:41p

AM Minor: 4:11a

PM Minor: 10:22p

AM Minor: 4:56a

PM Minor: 11:09p

AM Minor: 5:48a

PM Minor: ——-

AM Minor: 6:47a

PM Minor: 12:32p

AM Major: 8:26a

PM Major: 8:47p

AM Major: 9:03a

PM Major: 9:25p

AM Major: 9:41a

PM Major: 10:04p

AM Major: 10:22a

PM Major: 10:46p

AM Major: 11:09a

PM Major: 11:34p

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 12:29p

AM Major: 12:32a

PM Major: 1:01p

Moon Overhead: 9:47a

12a

22

21

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:14a

Moon Overhead: 10:30a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:00p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:45p

Moon Overhead: 12:50p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 7:51p Set: 10:03p

Moon Overhead: 2:44p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

20

THURSDAY

= New Moon = Fi r s t Q u a r te r = Fu l l M o o n = Last Quarter = Best Day

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 10:08p

0

-1.0

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

2:00-4:15 am

2:50-6:10 am

3:20-6:20 am

Moon Underfoot: None BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 12:25a BEST:

10:10am-12:50pm

Moon Underfoot: 1:17a BEST:

11:00am-1:15pm

Moon Underfoot: 2:14a +2.0

BEST:

12:00-2:05 pm

2:40-8:45pm TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 11:37p

TIDE LEVELS

+2.0

Moon Underfoot: 10:52p

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

12:58 AM 7:37 AM 2:25 PM 8:15 PM

1.18 ft 0.54 ft 1.25 ft 0.80 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

2:13 AM 8:23 AM 2:34 PM 8:34 PM

1.27 ft 0.66 ft 1.23 ft 0.58 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:18 AM 9:09 AM 2:43 PM 9:02 PM

1.38 ft 0.80 ft 1.23 ft 0.35 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:18 AM 9:56 AM 2:49 PM 9:35 PM

1.51 ft 0.95 ft 1.24 ft 0.11 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

5:17 AM 10:45 AM 2:53 PM 10:14 PM

1.63 ft 1.11 ft 1.29 ft -0.10 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

6:17 AM 11:34 AM 2:54 PM 10:57 PM

1.72 ft 1.27 ft 1.36 ft -0.27 ft

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

7:20 AM 12:27 PM 2:50 PM 11:45 PM

1.77 ft 1.42 ft 1.45 ft -0.38 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

= FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

27

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

WEDNESDAY

28

THURSDAY

29

FRIDAY

M May 1

30

Set: 7:52p Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 11:09p Moonrise: 9:25a

Set: 7:52p Set: None

AM Minor: 7:52a

PM Minor: 1:36p

AM Minor: 9:01a

PM Minor: 2:45p

AM Minor: 10:10a

PM Minor: 3:54p

AM Minor: 11:15a

PM Minor: 5:00p

AM Minor: ——-

AM Major: 1:36a

PM Major: 2:07p

AM Major: 2:45a

PM Major: 3:16p

AM Major: 3:54a

PM Major: 4:25p

AM Major: 5:00a

PM Major: 5:30p

AM Major: 6:01a

Moon Overhead: 3:46p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 7:53p Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 7:53p Moonrise: 10:32a Set: 12:11a Moonrise: 11:41a Set: 1:04a

Moon Overhead: 5:51p

Moon Overhead: 4:49p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:37a Set: 7:54p Moonrise: 12:50p Set: 1:51a

Moon Overhead: 6:50p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

2

6a

12p

3

Sunrise: 6:36a Moonrise: 1:55p

Set: 7:55p Set: 2:31a

Sunrise: 6:35a Moonrise: 2:58p

Set: 7:55p Set: 3:06a

PM Minor: 6:01p

AM Minor: 12:41a

PM Minor: 6:54p

AM Minor: 1:29a

PM Minor: 7:41p

PM Major: 6:28p

AM Major: 6:54a

PM Major: 7:19p

AM Major: 7:41a

PM Major: 8:04p

Moon Overhead: 8:35p

Moon Overhead: 7:44p 12a

SUNDAY

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:22p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 6:40a Moonrise: 8:24a

Tides and Prime Times for APRIL 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 3:15a +2.0

-1.0

BEST:

4”35-9:15 pm

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 6:21a BEST:

5:40-10:30 pm

5:00-6:40 am

Moon Underfoot: 7:17a BEST:

12:00-2:00 am

Moon Underfoot: 8:10a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 8:58a +2.0

BEST:

12:00-1:05 am

1:20-2:50 am

TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

2:05-9:00 pm

Moon Underfoot: 5:20a

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 4:17a

High Tide: 8:28 AM Low Tide: 1:29 PM High Tide: 2:37 PM

I22

1.78 ft 1.53 ft 1.53 ft

• A P R I L

Low Tide: 12:38 AM -0.41 ft Low Tide: 1:37 AM -0.36 ft Low Tide: 2:41 AM -0.25 ft Low Tide: 3:51 AM -0.08 ft Low Tide: High Tide: 9:41 AM 1.76 ft High Tide: 10:54 AM 1.71 ft High Tide: 11:55 AM 1.64 ft High Tide: 12:36 PM 1.55 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

5:05 AM 1:04 PM 7:28 PM 11:25 PM

0.13 ft 1.45 ft 1.01 ft 1.16 ft

Low Tide: 6:21 AM High Tide: 1:24 PM Low Tide: 7:46 PM

0.36 ft 1.35 ft 0.73 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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ALMANAC I.qxd:ALMANAC I

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TEXAS INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW

From the Bahamas to Texas! J

UST A FEW SHORT YEARS AFTER LEAVING THE Bahamas for Texas to organize the first “Florida Style” Boat Show in the region—the Texas International Boat Show—the organizers are delighted that this event has grown into one of the largest inwater boat shows in the USA.

Corpus Christi, ideally located for visitors from across Texas and Mexico, is a fabulous choice as a venue for the Boat Show. With its brand new Downtown Marina, it has proven a welcoming host city with sponsors more than willing to lend a hand to make the show a complete success.

From its inception, the Texas International Boat Show has attracted visitors from across Texas and the USA, along with international exhibitors and attendees. The goal was to put the fun back into boat shows and create a carnival atmosphere outside of the more traditional style boat show. The Corpus Christi Marina offers a layout for the Boat Show that serves to make comparison-shopping for the right boat easier than ever, as well as the opportunity to view a fabulous display of trucks, exotic cars, and RVs along with all types of products and services for the active boating lifestyle. One major advantage of the Boat Show is the ability for exhibitors and potential buyers to sea trial boats during the course of the Show, adding a further dimension to this style of show. The Boat Show also opens the door to individuals and families who, for whatever reason, have not previously attended a boat


ALMANAC I.qxd:ALMANAC I

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TEXAS INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW In 2009, despite a flagging economy affecting the rest of the U.S., the Texas economy continues to rev up, named in 2008 by CEO Magazine as the “Best State to Do

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show. Boat buyers, vital to growing the recreational boating industry, have totally endorsed this new concept as the huge number of visitors at last year’s show attest. A lot of people were unsure of what to expect for the first event in 2007, but 25,000 visitors came to see a “Florida Style” Boat Show on the Gulf Coast. By 2008, more than 50,000 attended the event across four days (despite some bad weather), enjoying local food, music from The Bahamas, fashion shows, a tiki bar, and Wakeboard Rail Jam.

Business” for the third year in a row, and for the third year in a row the Texas International Boat Show promises to be bigger and better.


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TEXAS INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW Testimonials from 2008 Boat Show: Congratulations on another very successful show. The Friday and Saturday crowds were truly exceptional and our exhibit stayed busy throughout both days. —Randy O. Bright, Galati Yacht Sales The way in which you advertised, promoted, and organized the event made this year’s show even more impressive, with even

more buyers in attendance. Saturday was incredible. —Billy Holmes, Gulf Coast Marine I enjoy all the excitement you build into your show, like the bands and the exciting cars, motorcycles etc. that give the customers more to do and see James Hampton. —Ron Hoover Companies This year the show really established itself as a major event for the Texas boating community and ranked up there with the Florida shows and it will only get better as the show becomes more and more well known. —James Hedges, Lone Star Yacht Sales As an owner of a multi-location Texas marine dealership, it is great to be part of a well-executed event in such a superb venue. —Rod Malone, Sail and Ski Center After the second, year I think you have proven that a Florida Style boat show can be held in the State of Texas. —Robert H. Byrd, Jr., Tops-N-Towers

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Jerk That Jig PEED JIGGING IS THE HOTTEST NEW WAY OF fishing structure and suspended deepwater fish, and there is no shortage of different styles, shapes, and sizes of jigs on the market. But a new one that’s hitting the water is Jerk That Jig, a company that launched this spring after a full year of fish-testing to bring a unique selection of new jigs to anglers in search of snapper, grouper, and other structure-dwellers. The big surprise is that these jigs really are different from the knock-offs we are all used to seeing every spring. Unlike many speed jigs, all Jerk That Jigs are sold with a hook already installed on the solid ring topping the jig. The split ring attaching the solid ring to the jig is oversized, and the hook leader is copper-fiber Dacron coated with heat-shrink tubing. That makes them more or less impervious to toothy fish like kings and wahoo. The most unique model from Jerk That Jig is the 100-gram Clear Eyes, which has an open slot molded into the center of the jig. Mini Cyalume glow sticks clip into the slot, turning your jig into a lighted lure for nighttime fishing or deep-dropping where

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the sun don’t shine. When I tested these lures, I found the Cyalume stick stayed put, much to my surprise, even when I whipped my rod tip up at maximum velocity for hours at a time. The 150-gram Red Eye is another unusual jig, which looks like a pair of jigs molded together in the middle. The doubleended shape gives it a dancing motion that makes reef fish snap, and the top-hook rigging minimizes snags. Jerk That Jig also has very large models intended for deep-drops and tuna jigging, which range from 300 to 750 grams (10 to 26 ounces) and come in a multitude of color patterns. If you like fishing for grouper in water so deep there’s barely any light, these jigs have a strip of glow paint running down the edges to make them visible no matter how dark it gets. Contact: USA Fishing Supply, 757851-1017, www.usafishingsupply.com —Lenny Rudow

Lowrance Radar for Small Boats WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO HAVE RADAR ON YOUR boat? But small boats can’t support the weight and power consumption a radome requires—until now. Lowrance’s new Broadband Radar is going to change the radar game, making it possible to install a dome on virtually any boat large enough to support a T-top or arch. The dome is a mere 11 inches tall, 19 inches around, and weighs just 16 pounds. How can this unit be so light, small, and energy efficient, yet still see up to 32 miles into the distance? Traditional radars send out a microwave pulse, then measure the time it takes for that pulse to reflect from a target back to the radome. In doing so, they pull enough juice to drain a single marine battery in a matter of hours. On top of that, they radiate a significant amount of energy that when installed in an improper location, A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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it might zap you or your passengers with microwave radiation. Lowrance’s new Broadband Radar sends out a continuous transmission wave with a 5.2-degree horizontal beam width, which increases in frequency as it moves away from the dome. The difference between frequency in the transmitted and returned wave is how the unit determines target distance. That means this system uses less energy to make low-radiation transmissions, eliminating the power concerns for a radar-equipped boat with a single battery and personnel proximity to the dome. Though I had no way to check it for myself, Navico (Lowrance’s parent company) claims the power transmission is a mere 1/2000 as much as traditional radar, which is about 1/10 the power of a cell phone. The result of using frequency instead of time reflection is also evident on-screen. Target definition in the shorter ranges is phenomenal, good enough to see the difference between piers and the boats moored at them. And the usual “dead zone” of blank space around the boat is eliminated with this system, so you can get returns on boats, land, and other structures just feet away from your own boat. Even on longer ranges up to 10 miles or so, you can expect target resolution in the 2- to 3-meter range. Plus, the antenna uses all solid-state parts, which means there is no warm-up time; just flip a switch and the unit’s up and running. Put all of these factors together, and you have a unit that can be easily mounted and run on a platform far smaller than any that could accommodate radar prior to Broadband. If you have a T-top, you can start running with radar. Contact: Lowrance, 800-324-1356, www.lowrance.com —LR &

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Who’s Your Buddy? Give Snakes the Boot

The Buddy Bag is an exciting new product. Nothing like this has ever been available. It is an all-in-one ice chest and gear bag. The set can be used together as adjustable saddlebags, a briefcase or hiker’s over-sized back-

The Buddy Bag: combination ice chest & gear bag.

ScentBlocker, the world leader in scent elimination clothing for hunters has developed a strategic boot to help take the venom out. The SnakeBlocker boots offers the security and protection from the deadliest of snakes without compromising the scent elimination factor. The Dream Season Pro SnakeBlocker Boot 17” features:

pack. The two can be utilized separately as backpacks or handheld bags. The versatility in the attachment system allows them to be secured to many things, such as a boat-seat, horse, atv, pwc, kayak, tractor, motorcycle and many other things. The extensive insulation provided ensures it will perform as the best ice chest you have owned, keeping items cold or hot. It doesn’t leak. You can even make it your insulated livebait-well. It is designed to carry many items for the fisherman or hunter. It will carry your fishing rods and gear for you, or your gun and hunting gear. Attach things like your folding chair, bedroll, blanket, towel, jacket, catch bag, net, or many other things and sling the set over your shoulder leaving your hands free. Each bag has a hidden-pocket for private valuables. It is buoyant, crushable and resilient. It comes in many colors and finishes. For more information see their website at www.thebuddybag.com or call 832-347-8778.

• Removable SPF 60 Activated Carbon Fabric Filter with BodyLock™ • SnakeBlocker™ snake bit protection • Side Zip Construction – Enhanced speed of entry • Removable Activated Carbon Insole with S3™ Antimicrobial Technology and Toe Warmer Compatible • S3™ antimicrobial technology to aid in odor control • 100% Waterproof membrane • Brush Blocker ShinGuard Protection • Triple Density Rock Shock Stabilizer • Lugs for Multi-Terrain Traction • Reinforced Rubber Toe • Climb Right Heel Design • Sizes: Men’s 8-13 Medium & Wide Widths (1/2 sizes up to size 12) • Color: Mossy Oak Obsession® For more information on the ScentBlocker product line and complete scent elimination process, contact: Kyle Wills, Robinson Outdoor Products, Inc., 110 N. Park Drive, Cannon Falls, MN 55009-0018. Phone: (800) 397-1827 www.scentblocker.com

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Honda Adds to 4-Stroke Line Honda Marine will expand its award-winning lineup of fuel-injected four-stroke outboard engines with the all-new BF60. Introduced at the 2009 Miami International Boat Show, the 60-horsepower (hp) outboard still is a prototype model; Honda plans to officially introduce the new engine to consumers this summer. Honda Marine is committed to the development of lightweight, high-performance, fuel efficient four-stroke outboards. In 2006, the company introduced its re-designed BF75 and BF90 EFI, and continued to build on its success in 2008 with the introduction the allnew, fuel-injected BF40 and BF50, which carry many of the performance and efficiency hallmarks of their 75 and 90 horsepower siblings. The new BF60 will feature design cues similar to its 75 and 90-horsepower predecessors, including the cowling’s wing-form design, a performance-oriented gear case, and a host of Honda-exclusive innovations. While specifications of the new engine were not disclosed, Honda Marine Senior Manager, John Fulcher, indicated that the new BF60 will continue Honda’s tradition of offering innovative, fuel-efficient, high-performance outboards, and will set the new best-in-class standard in the mid-range segment. “Honda Marine continues to raise the standard for fuel efficiency and performance,” said John Fulcher, senior manager, Honda Marine. “The all-new BF60 continues that tradition, and reinforces Honda Marine’s strong commitment to market needs and the boating industry.” Honda also announced that it

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ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Four-Stroke Outboard Engines” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Marine Engine Competitive Information Studysm, the fourth such honor the company has received in the past five years. For more information – visit www.hondamarine.com

Napier Sportz Truck Tent III Napier Enterprises introduces the Sportz TruckTent III, the number one selling truck tent in the world with its legendary patented sewn in floor. The Sportz Truck Tent III allows you to sleep high and dry in the bed of your truck up off of the cold, dirty ground.

Napier Sportz Truck Tent III The Sportz Truck Tent III assembles in the back of your open-bed pickup, creating a comfortable, restful sleeping area for two people with over 5.5 ft. of headroom. Set up is a breeze with shock-corded fiberglass poles that are color coded to match the corresponding sleeves. The tent’s bed straps and an interior support pole adds strength allowing it to stay secure in the bed of the truck during storms. Durable, polyester exterior and rain fly have 1200mm of waterproofing coating to keep you dry even in the wettest weather. The Sportz Truck Tent III features: two large No-See-Um mesh windows and two ceiling vents for excellent ventilation, and a 6ft. x 6-ft. awning creates a protected storage area for bulky gear and plenty of shade. Two interior pockets and a gear loft keeps your gear organized and off the ground and an access sleeve lets you run electrical cords from the cab of the pickup to power lights and other appliances inside the tent. The tent is available in eight sizes to fit the most popular trucks on the market. For more information, call (800) 567-2434 or visit http://www.sportzbynapier.com

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Cactuflage Pulls a Neat Vanishing Act While most companies are trying to get their products seen, a new clothing company, Sportsman’s Concepts/Cactuflage, is trying to be invisible…..to all sorts of wildlife throughout the West. With a motto like “The best camo you’ve ‘never’ seen”, this “Made in America” camouflage company is making a mark on the outdoor product scene. The unique pattern of “cactuflage” features a variety of cactus for southwest lowland hunting, but amazingly the pattern also works very well in a wide variety of forests. A quick trip to the cactuflage.com website Cactuflage confirms this with pictures of hunting successes. Owner, Ken Thompson, has taken this original Texas product back to the market where it is fast becoming a staple in the closets of hunters throughout the world. Available to hunters world wide through the internet retail site, cactuflage.com, this camo is being worn from Africa to Arizona, and from San Diego to Syracuse, New York. “Our company is trying to use the tried and true “kiss” method. Simply put, a great pattern, a quality product, affordability and “Made in the USA”. Dealers inquiries are welcome. For more information please contact: Ken Thompson, P.O. Box 2806, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86405. (877)805-7773 Email: cactuflage@gmail.com

Mojo Bass Rods Add Magic Park Falls, WI – St. Croix®’s hot new Mojo Bass rods add just the right touch of magic to jigs, plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, frogs, swim baits, and drop shot rigs – or when pitching and flipping. Every one of the 12 technique-specific, advanced technology casting and spinning rods are engineered for maximum performance at a price A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Mojo Bass Rods that will allow you to fill your rod locker! Built from premium-quality SCII graphite with a hot “Black Cherry Metallic” finish, and outfitted with Batson Forecast® hard aluminum-oxide guides with double-plated black chrome frames, the Mojo Bass will turn as many heads as they do fish. With Fuji® ECS reel seats and a black hood on casting models and Fuji® DPS reel seats with black hoods on spinning models, they feature contemporary split-grip handles with premium-quality cork, so the all-new St. Croix Mojos look as great as they cast. Finished with two coats of Flex Coat® slow-cure finish, and handcrafted in North America, the Mojo Bass rods are covered by a 5-year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Retail prices range from $90-$120. Contact Jeff Schluter at 800-826-7042 or jeffs@stcroixrods.com. 856 4th Avenue North, Park Falls, WI 54552 U.S.A. www.stcroixrods.com

Is Your HitchSafe? Common Problem... Where do you put YOUR keys when you hunt or fish? On top the tire, inside as lid or using one of those magnetic things that are easy to find and fall off? HitchSafe is popular with outdoor enthusiasts because you secure keys inside your receiver with no need to hassle with or lose keys during HitchSafe outdoor activities. HitchSafe installs via two sliding bars that secure each of the hitch bolts from inside the receiver thus HitchSafe is selfsecured inside receiver and the only way it can be removed is to know the combination to the drawer. The 10,000 combination drawer holds keys and even credit cards, driver’s license and cash if you do not want to take your wallet along (most people use it for keys). An attractive cover secures and con-

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Custom Marine Concepts: The Better to See Redfish With NNOVATION SOMETIMES CAN MAKE THE difference between success and failure. Glenn Vann, owner of Custom Marine Concepts, working with Blake Pizzolato and Dwayne Eschete, came up with a better idea on how to see redfish when the fish are in the shallows. Pizzolato and Eschete are professional anglers and members of Custom Marine’s pro staff. If the angler can get higher on the deck of the boat, it gives him a better sightline for seeing a tailing redfish. Many professional

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L-R Justin Schultz, Glenn Vann, and Larry Standley of Custom Marine Concepts. anglers had taken to using a stepladder on the front or rear deck of their boats to see better. It works, but there are a couple of inherent problems just waiting to happen. First is a matter of safety for the anglers. The ladder could very easily tip over, spilling the angler to the deck or into the water. Second is the problem of stowing the ladder when not in use. Pizzolato and Eschete put their heads together and started brainstorming on how to I30

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achieve the same results in a safe and efficient manner. Vann at Custom Marine Concepts took their ideas and produced a folding aluminum ladder/platform that is both safe and secure. Custom Marine Concepts does custom aluminum work on fishing boats and hunting UTVs. Tower drives are one of Custom Marine Concepts big specialties in shallow water flats boats. Vann described the towers as 6-8 feet above the deck of the boat. The angler drives from the tower: “Their eye level is about 1012 feet above the water so they can get a better sight angle on these shallow-water redfish. When they are running the shorelines, they can see the redfish from a lot farther with these raised towers.” The custom ladder platform that Pizzolato, Eschete, and Vann came up with is different from the tower drives. The combination ladder/platform is so new it did not have an official name as of this report. “The national redfish circuits are kind of frowning on use of step ladders as a means of getting up in the air to fish,” said Vann. “We have developed a product that is a semi-permanent, folding platform that locks down on the deck of the boat. When the angler gets to where they are going to fish, they flip it up, put one pin in it, and it gives them 6 feet of elevation off the deck.” The ladder actually has two casting platforms for anglers to fish from: a lower standard casting platform 20 inches high, and a fold-up ladder section with the second platform 6 feet off the deck. The lower deck dimensions are 16x24 inches and the upper platform is 16x22 inches, room enough for one person on the lower deck and one person on the upper section.

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The lower person stands below the waist of the person on the upper deck. “They can cast side by side and sight-cast,” said Vann. The upper deck has a removable safety rail that is waist high and semi-wraps around the angler. When not in use, it can conveniently be stored in one of the boats gear storage boxes. It has two rod-holders, one on the lower deck and one on the upper deck. “If you are landing a fish for your partner, you can store your rod in one of the rod holders while landing his fish,” said Vann. Attaching the ladder to the deck is accomplished by two heavy-duty stainless steel turnbuckles. The ladder/platform has rear stabilizer legs that fold out and drop to the deck when the ladder is completely deployed. It has a heavyduty stainless steel turnbuckle that actually locks it to the deck, keeps it stable when you are running and fishing on it. “When all set up, the front turnbuckle holds it down and the rear turnbuckle locks it in place. It actually has six legs on the deck,” said Vann. Pizzolato and Eschete said the folding ladder/deck helped them win the $75,000 FLW Redfish Series Championship this past October in Biloxi, Mississippi. Contact: Custom Marine Concepts, 281-350-1950, www.custommarineconcepts.com —Tom Behrens

History of Briley Manufacturing THE STORY OF JESS BRILEY AND THE HISTORY OF Briley Manufacturing are a tribute to American ingenuity and the can-do attitude. Briley, age 81, began his working life as “an ordinary roughneck, making a living swinging iron” in the oil patch. He also had penchant for working with different metals in machine shops. “I was working for Magnolia Offshore Exploration,” Briley said. “From time to time they would all but shut down...you know the PHOTO BY NICOLE MCKIBBIN


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mistake or the beginning of what we are doing. That’s how I got into the shooting business.” Briley couldn’t afford the guns he wanted, so he just started making them on the machine tool equipment in his garage. Most skeet shooters at that time had interchangeable barrel sets: “Tube sets seemed like a good idea. I made some for myself, and some of my friends asked me to make some for them.” With a tube set, a 12-gauge shotgun can be turned into a 20- or 28-gauge, or .410 by

inserting the chosen tube into the original barrel. “The additional weight we put into the gun with the tube sets made them perform better on the skeet field,” said Briley. “Heavier guns break targets better. You don’t want a heavy gun when hunting; you have to carry the pesky thing around.” Briley was approached by a trap shooter who wanted to know if there was some way he could change choke restrictions in his shotgun. Briley accepted the challenge and designed a

L-R Steve Power, Jess Briley, and Hannah Price of Briley Manufacturing. oil business. They shut all the offshore rigs down, moved us to shore, and I ended up in Luling. We were re-drilling the old Luling field there. “I got involved with a guy there, a little machine shop, and we went into the screw machine business. That’s how I got back into the shop full time.” Briley was also attending the University of Texas, but never finished his degree requirements. Early Hunting Experiences: The first gun Briley owned was a .22 single-shot rifle. Squirrel hunting was the first thing he really enjoyed hunting. “When I was growing up in West Texas, if you used a shotgun on squirrels, there was something wrong with you...go learn to shoot,” Briley said. “I had some guys I worked with, one of the guys that I had as a partner one time. I have seen him skid the tires on the highway to jump a fence and get a squirrel out of tree he saw in a pasture.” From squirrel, Briley moved on to dove and quail hunting. Bigger animals just were never part of what he did. He still likes to hunt dove, but not much quail hunting anymore: “My walking days are just about used up.” Tube Sets & Screw-in Chokes: Through a couple of job moves, Briley ended up in Houston. Looking in the newspaper one day, he read about skeet shooting at the Winchester Whitewing Gun Club in Pasadena. “I said to myself, ‘what in the world is skeet?’ I went out there one day and they loaned me a gun. I bought a couple boxes of shells and shot some skeet. Depending on how you want to look at it, that was either a A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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screw-in choke for the trap shooter’s gun. That choke is still in the Briley line of chokes today. “The people in Mexico understood screw chokes a long time before anyone else,” said Briley. “In Mexico, one weekend you might be shooting at sea level and the next weekend you might be shooting at 4000 feet. You need a different choke for different elevations or you might as well shoot a full choke for everything. They started buying chokes from us early on in the history of the company. That’s what pushed us into the screw choke business.” Today, screw chokes are the top seller in the Briley line. During all of this history, the garage was replaced by a manufacturing plant with the latest in automated machine tools, manned by skilled artisans and a new partner, Cliff Moller, Briley’s son-in-law. Besides tube sets and screw in chokes, the company offers many other shooting products for the shotgun, rifle, and pistol shooter, including custom gunsmithing. Despite all the years in the business, Jess Briley is not ready to retire. “What else would I do?” Contact: Briley Manufacturing, 800-3315718, www.briley.com —TB

Fishing with Joni and Friends FISHING WITH FRIENDS, PART OF THE JONI AND Friends Ministries of Joni Eareckson Tada, plans to expand its outreach from fishing camps in 2008 to planned individual fishing days in different communities across Texas in 2009. Fishing with Friends provides the opportunity for people with physical disabilities and their families to experience the joys of fishing. The Fishing with Friends Team was formed in 2005 with the help of Synergy Sports. Its stated goal is to share the love and gospel of Jesus Christ as well as provide Christian encouragement and fellowship through fishing activities, events, and programs to individuals, kids, and families affected by disabilities. Doug Gregg of Synergy Sports, a quadriplegic himself, said the program consists of a I32

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mixture of fishing guides, semi-pro anglers, and a whole bunch of local volunteer help. “We wrapped their boats with a Joni and Friends logo to raise awareness of the program,” said Gregg in reference to the semi-pro anglers. “The pros fish tournaments, but they also go to the camps, fishing clinics, and seminars, and take kids out in their boats for rides or fishing, depending on the kids’ skills and interests. “It has just been a really great thing. Most of the pros comment after taking a kid fishing that the event was more fun for them than fishing in the FLW Championship.” In 2008, the Fishing with Friends team conducted camps in six locations, two of them in Texas. Camps usually last about 4-5 days. The entire family, not just the disabled child, attends the camp. Activities include swimming, air rifles, archery, and crafts. Fishing is one of the activities. Camps are usually located on a lake or close to a lake. “Everybody can go bank fishing, catch some fish. Most of these kids don’t think they will ever be able to do something like that,” said Gregg. Most of the camps cost on an average of $300 per person, but scholarships are sometimes available. “The Fishing with Friends Camps, one in Jacksonville and one in Tennessee, are completely free,” said Gregg. “We provide rod and reels, bait, and somebody to help them. Also, from time to time, we try to do what we call fish grants for somebody in the area that really loves to fish, but can’t do it because of their disability. We try to connect them with one of the guys to take them out for a day on the lake.” For 2009, in addition to the Fishing Camps, Fishing with Friends Days will be offered. The Days are described as a community outreach event where families affected by disabilities in the community can come out and do some bank or boat fishing, similar to what’s offered at the camps. “It’s for people who can’t afford to go to the camps or can’t get time off to go to camps. It will be on a Saturday. We will have volunteers and staff; the team will be there. It is a chance to see what fishing is like.” Presently, there are four Fishing with Friends camps scheduled in Texas for 2009,

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but Gregg advised anyone interested in participating to check their website regularly “Camps and Fishing Days get added constantly,” he said. Contact: Fishing with Friends, www.joniandfriends.org —TB

Sportsmen Boost Economies ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY THE CONGRESSIONal Sportsman’s Foundation, if the $76 billion sportsmen spend nationally on hunting and fishing were the gross domestic product of a country, sportsmen as a nation would rank 57 out of 181 countries. Clearly, the economic impact of sportsmen is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, in many states, sportsmen spend more money, support more jobs, and pay more taxes than most industries and attractions in the state. For example, in Texas, annual spending by 2.6 million hunters and anglers ($6.6 billion) is more than the combined cash receipts for the state’s cotton, greenhouse/nursery, broilers, dairy, and corn production of $6.1 billion. Also, Texas sportsmen outnumber the populations of San Antonio and Dallas (2.7 million vs. 2.5 million). That spending results in some 106,600 jobs, $3.5 billion paid in salaries and wages, $793 million in federal taxes, and $654 million in state and local taxes. The ripple effect is calculated at $11.6 billion. (Statistics are from the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation report, Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy—A force as big as all outdoors. It can be accessed online at www.sportsmenslink.org.) Sporting goods retailers such as Bass Pro Shops contribute to the numbers with normal day-to-day operations and special events, such as the Spring Fishing Classic held 27 February through 15 March by the Pearland Bass Pro Shops, attracting some 150,000 people to the 17-day event. Some of these same people spent money at other Pearland area merchants for hotels, gas, restaurants, and other retailers—all part of the ripple effect sportsmen help bring to an area. —Staff Report


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NEW PRODUCTS  Continued from Page I-29 ceals HitchSafe so that nobody but you knows it is there. HitchSafe easily installs or uninstalls in seconds with no tools required. It is made for the weather and is water-tight constructed of high impact aluminum alloy making drawer and body rust proof. To purchase HitchSafe use discount code “fandg” to get 10% off and free shipping at www.padlocks4less.com. To learn more about HitchSafe, go to www.hitchsafe.com

New Lowrance Endura Handheld Lowrance launched its next generation handheld GPS navigation systems, the Endura Series. Consisting of three innovative touch-screen systems, the Endura Series is equally suited for hunting, hiking and fishing, and includes pre-loaded topographical maps, access to aftermarket maps and is compatible with open community content. The economical Outback, high-performance Safari and top of the line Sierra are preloaded with Intermap’s Accuterra mapping, extensive outdoor networks and points of interest as well as the NAVTEQ U.S. road network. The Endura Series includes extra internal storage for additional content and navigational data, and has a micro SD slot that adds up to 32GB of Lowrance Endura memory for of additional mapping, pictures and MP3 audio file storage. The Endura line is fully waterproof and housed in rugged, easy-to-hold rubberized armor case. The 2.7-inch touch screen display makes data entry and map manipulation easy and the intuitive keypad makes data entry easy in situations where the touch screen is not convenient, such as when wearing gloves. The units are backed by a 1-year warranty and operate using double AA batteries including the new Lithium Ion batter-

ies available from some manufacturers. Pricing starts at $229.99. Visit www.lowrance.com/endura for more information.

MotionEaze— Feel Better Fast Don’t let motion sickness spoil your day! MotionEaze is the most effective motion sickness treatment on the market today. Whether you want to prevent occasional motion sickness or eliminate the symptoms after the fact, MotionEaze does the job. Just rub in a drop behind each ear. Allnatural, nonprescription MotionEaze has no side effects and doesn’t cause drowsiness or that “druggedup” feeling. MotionEaze No matter if it’s seasickness, car sickness, at an amusement park, on the playground or playing video games – during any activity in which motion sickness poses a problem. Motion Eaze really works! For powerful, all-natural relief, try the product that has been saving the day for hundreds of thousands of relieved customers, including doctors, cruise directors, ship captains, fishermen, emergency dive teams and families who simply won’t travel without it. All-Natural Ingredients: 100% natural blend of herbal oils (Lavender, Peppermint, Birch, Frankincense, Chamomile, Myrrh and YlangYlang.) MotionEaze contains no drugs, artificial additives or stimulants of any kind. Only the freshest, highest-quality, natural oils are used in its production. “Traditional” synthetic remedies are famous for their deleterious side effects, such as dry mouth, drowsiness and vision problems. Unlike these drugs, our product has no known side effects. Safe for children and pets. 1-800-785-7675 or Internationally at 863-875-1799 www.MotionEazeWorks.com.

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Smith & Wesson M&P15PC MITH & WESSON HAS BEEN ONE OF THE premier manufacturers of handguns since Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed a partnership and began producing revolvers in 1856. The company, no longer under control of the Wesson family, still manufactures what is arguably the finest line of handguns in the world. Over the years, they have occasionally ventured into the production of rifles and shotguns, usually having the guns made by other companies. Recently, the company has begun manufacture of a new bolt-action rifle

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called the i-Bolt, and also a line of semi-auto long guns based on the combat proven AR15 design, which Smith & Wesson has dubbed the M&P15 (“M&P” meaning “Military and Police”). My test gun was the varmint/target version, the M&P15PC (“PC” for “Performance Center”), meaning this is a semi-custom rifle built in Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center shop. It is a flattop version with no open sights and no flash suppressor. It has a free-floating, stainless steel, heavy barrel 20 inches

by Steve LaMascus long; chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge (which means you can shoot military or civilian ammo in it); and with a 1-in-8 twist. The fast twist will stabilize heavier bullets, such as the Sierra 69-grain Match King or 70-grain Speer Hot-Core. It will also handle the standard 55-grain bullets, but probably would balk at anything lighter than 55 grains. The trigger is a two-stage match setup. It

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is a really sweet trigger, crisp and light, letting off at a really shootable 4 pounds and change—a pleasant surprise in this age of triggers too horrid to describe. The buttstock is the standard A2 model. The gun is camouflaged with the Advantage Max-1 pattern, which has a suspicious resemblance to the cenizo sage that is all over my pasture here in Southwest Texas. I mounted a Bushnell 2.5-10X Elite 4200 Firefly scope with a riser and rings from Brownells. Range testing the M&P15PC was a pleasant business. The first group with handloaded 69-grain Sierra Match King hollow points went into just a micron under an inch. It turned out that this first load I tried was the gun’s favorite. Next in line was Speer’s 70-grain Hot Core, which is a better hunting bullet. The M&P15PC shot the Speer bullets quite well, with groups averaging around 1.3 inches. Last were several brands of 55-grain bullets. The M&P15PC shot most of the 55-grain bullets into around 2 inches or slightly less and did not appear to favor any particular one. I tried Federal, Black Hills, and Hornady factory ammo and all worked just fine. I had no factory ammunition in the heavier weights, so I can’t say how that would have worked, but I suspect that with the 1:8 twist, the heavier bullets will have a definite edge. This is a sweet gun that shoots very well. The trigger is one of the best I have ever felt on a straight-from-the-factory AR, and is better than a great many of the custom guns I have played with. I would prefer the gun with a little slower twist rate for shooting 55grain bullets, but it works reasonably well as it is. I actually found no drawbacks at all, which might be a first for me. I guess, if pressed to find something negative to say about the M&P15PC, I would have to say that I don’t like the fact that it throws my once-fired brass on the ground, but I can live with that—or buy a brass catcher.


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First Buck— A Trophy x 2 N SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2007, WE GOT to the stand around 6:15 a.m. on a ranch in Montague County that I have hunted for seven seasons now. By 7:30 a.m., Ross had spotted a cow with calf and two does crossing our field of view to the left of our stand on the west side. Just before 8:00 a.m., we heard noises that would stand the hairs on our necks. Buck growls, snorts, and leaves rustling from deer pushing each other echoed in the woods about 150 yards from our stand. Our stand is surrounded by a creek with woods behind us to the south, and otherwise circled by fencerows of trees that are perfect for funneling deer to our open spot. After hearing the tussle in the woods, we spotted two does on the east side running to beat Speed Racer. They were followed by a small four-point chasing them, and his partner—that looked to be about 14 inches across and a six-point. They were trying to keep up with the NASCAR does. We never had a chance at a shot since their path included two pecan trees at the farthest point between us and them. They were really hauling it, and Ross said that was cool. I told him they might circle back, so get ready. Ross moved to my chair and I knelt down to his left. He readied the rifle and I kept watch with binoculars. After about 10 minutes, we spotted some different deer entering the pasture. A really big doe was casually walking across from behind the pecan trees. I told Ross there was a buck following her. He said, “I see him! Can I shoot him?” I said yes, but to let the buck follow the doe clear of the trees, and when it stopped at the spot she was, then he could shoot. I reminded him to “breath and squeeze” when he took the shot. The buck was not going to stop where we

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needed for a good shot. I told Ross to wait until I stopped the buck. I leaned forward and made a deer “bleat” calling sound. The buck kept walking, following the doe. Again I “mawed” even louder. The buck stopped. Ross took off the safety, then, to my amazement, “breathed and squeezed.” Boom! The buck was headed north to our right. It whirled to face us and took about four steps, whirled again to its left, and dropped with legs kicked up and expired right there. Ross’ first words were, “I can’t believe it! The rifle hardly kicked at all! I got a buck!” The time was 8:15 a.m. We were both very excited to say the least. After giving congratulatory hugs and knuckle bumps, Ross asked, “Can we go get him?” I told him we needed to wait and for us to calm down.

by Adrian O’Hanlon, Jr., A TF&G Reader When we looked out again, the lovely sight of a white belly and antlers sticking up out of the brush looked like heaven. The big doe had come back, too! Ross said, “Dad! There’s another buck!” Looking through the branches of the pecan tree with binoculars, I saw a nice eight-pointer at the treeline. I racked the Remington 710 with another .243 cartridge to take the shot. I looked through the binoculars again to see the buck calmly turn and re-enter the woods. No shot for Dad today. I just enjoyed the moment of being with my youngest son to take his first buck deer at age 11. The vital statistics of Ross’ buck are: six points, 16-inch inside spread, 175 pound live weight, shot at 115 yards with a first-shot from a Remington model 710 chambered in .243, 100-grain Winchester ammunition. We looked out and wondered if the deer was still there. We had lost its figure in the pasture grass and brush. After glassing with binoculars, we found it still laying as we last saw it. After another 10 minutes, we left the elevated box blind to get our hands on it. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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This deer did not suffer from ground shrinkage, but looked bigger as we approached. We gave each other another knuckle bump and began to take field photos. During the photo shoot, Ross asked, “Is my buck bigger than yours was last year?” It was, but I did not respond. The disposable camera worked okay, except that Dad kept cutting Ross’ head off in the frame. I could have sworn it looked good when I snapped the shutter. I also took some with my phone camera. Field dressing brought an unexpected biology lesson. Since Ross asked about the internal parts, I felt obliged as an agriculture teacher to share some education. The weather had been good to us this morning. Now that the buck was loaded in the truck, it began to drizzle and drop some sleet. We went back to camp with our trophy to change clothes for the trip home to the processor and taxidermist. The time traveling from Montague back to Grayson County was spent calling everyone in the family to tell the story. The person Ross was most anxious to call after his mom was Uncle Steve. He must have asked me a half-dozen times, “When can we call Uncle Steve?” Uncle Steve answered the phone with, “How big is he?” I handed the phone to Ross to tell his story. Now we talked more about our experience together and how Ross would have the deer processed. Our next stop would be to the taxidermist for Ross to decide the style of his mount. I hope others can share these kinds of moments in the outdoors with their children, and enjoy the freedom that God-fearing Americans have in this great country. &

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BUCK—ROBERT LEE, TEXAS

BUCK—FRIO COUNTY, TEXAS

Zane Scott, age 10, of Liberty Hill, Texas, shows off his biggest buck with sister Lana. Zane shot the 6-pointer at 150 yards with a perfect shot on their lease near Robert Lee, Texas.

Janene Jones impressed her outdoorsmen in-laws by bagging her first buck with a .7mm Magnum Remington Sako in Frio County. She was guided by her husband Jeremiah Jones, and made dry sausage out of the 7-pointer with 7inch brow tines and a 19-inch spread.

BUCK—KERR COUNTY, TEXAS

BOAR—FREEPORT, TEXAS

Anna McKenzie, age 7, with the 10-point buck Alex Lillie, age 10, shot this 240-pound wild boar that she rattled up for her dad, Greg McKenzie, in at Justin Hurst WMA near Freeport during a youth hunt. Alex took his first hog with a scoped .243 at Kerr County. She was very proud of her work. 100 yards.

If so, we need photos and hunting stories for our new TROPHY FEVER SPECIAL SECTION. Send pics and hunting tales to : TROPHY FEVER SPECIAL SECTION 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032 or by email: photos@fishgame.com.

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BUCK—POTOSI, TEXAS Keith Garner of Abilene, Texas, killed this 8-point, 125-pound whitetail buck near Potosi, Texas. Keith was shooting with a .300 Weatherby Magnum.

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Finding a New Hobby HEN I WORE A YOUNGER MAN’S clothes, I was, according to some of my friends, a little bit out there when it came to bowhunting. In hindsight, maybe they were right. At the time, it was the only thing on my mind. I would go into the field every single free minute, sometimes simply to find new deer sign or beat the morning sun and sit in some comfortable spot to scope out the local deer herd. In short, I was a “huntaholic.” Well, bowhuntaholic to be completely accurate. I loved the idea of testing my much-practiced skills or attempts at some sort of skill at trying to steer an arrow to its target. The thought of harvesting a whitetail by bow became an obsession. With a few years of success under my belt, the many hours spent in a tree stand allowed me to come up with a new challenge. I wondered how I could use the different parts of the animal I was hunting to a much more useful end. For years, I would take the hide of a deer I harvested and sell it for a few bucks (no pun

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intended). Sometimes, I would trade my buckskin for a brand new pair of soft deerskin gloves. Eventually, I ended up donating the skin to a needy organization that used the proceeds to help the less fortunate. While this was and still is a wonderful thing to do, I was compelled to try my luck at making my own quiver from a deer that I had harvested. I was excited to get started. I read books about taxidermy and what I needed to do to make the hide usable to hold my arrows in place. I ended up buying an inexpensive quiver and covered it with the tanned hide. After I had pieced the hide together and glued it to the quiver, including a section for the bottom of the quiver, I was ready to try my work of art. I forgot about the need to quiet the arrows as I walked to and from my stand. Not good. I made many attempts and ended up with a quiver stuffed with foam. It did work as far as making the arrows silent, but became a problem when I tried to pull out an arrow. At least it looked good. I could not have been more proud of my effort. Geronimo, eat your heart out! Turkey season brought another challenge. After an invitation to hunt with Keith Warren on his Hunting and Outdoor Adventure show came my way, I fell in love with the thought of taking a bird with a bow. Before the hunt with Keith, this child had no luck at all hunting turkey with anything other than a shotgun.

Keith showed me how it was done, and since that day, I will not even carry a shotgun to the turkey woods. Again, I had the dilemma of what I could do to put the turkey I harvested to more use. I love the taste of wild turkey (who doesn’t?), but I still wanted to use some part of the bird beyond the stuffing. I decided to try my luck at fletching my own arrows with turkey wing feathers from a bird that I harvested myself. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? I thought so, too, but after several unsuccessful attempts, I finally decided that this was a job for someone else. I have, of course, fletched my arrows for some time now, using packaged feathers bought at Bass Pro. Any novice can learn how to do this in no time. Using natural turkey feathers involves a long, tedious process that few have the time for in today’s world. The first thing you need to do is split the feathers in half along the quill—as soon as you figure out where the quill is. You will need to cut them again in half and then sand them down so that the end is flat. If that is not enough, after you cut the feathers in half, you will find they are cupped to the left or right. You will need to ensure you do not mix the right and left cupped arrows. All that only to find that you need to secure them in some way onto the arrow shaft. I gave that job to a retired person with a lot of time on his hands. The result was that I had a quiver full of arrows with turkey fletching from a bird I harvested the year before. There is something gratifying about using part of an animal you harvested for your future hunts. It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I like to look at it as part of the preparation for the hunt next year. I found that with my new arrows, I was shooting more frequently and becoming a much better archer for my efforts. Try it, if you are looking for something to do during the off-season. You might find a new hobby. E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com.

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The .223 Remington THINK IT IS A PRETTY SAFE BET TO SAY THAT the .223 Remington is the most popular .22-caliber centerfire on the market today. I would go a step farther and declare that I think it is the most popular .22 centerfire of all time. Now the real question is: Does it deserve its immense popularity? I just looked up on the website Loaddata.com what the maximum attainable velocity is with a 55-grain bullet, the bullet weight the .223 was designed to shoot. I was honestly surprised that it is listed as above 3400 feet per second, with several loads exceeding 3300. I actually expected to find a maximum of just less than 3300. I suspect, however, that the vast majority of rifles will fail to attain anywhere near 3400 with 55-grain bullets. I know none of mine will without extreme pressures. In truth, the case capacity is not sufficient to attain these velocities with slower burning powders, and the faster powders fail to get the velocities before exceeding pressure limits. Still, the .223 is a great cartridge, and 3300 feet per second with a 55-grain bullet is stepping right along—about 200 feet per second faster than the .222 Remington is safely capable of. As for accuracy, any high-quality, wellbedded .223 rifle should put three consecutive shots into an inch at 100 yards. I would never have said that a few years ago, but technology has finally caught up with mythology, and the shooter is the happy winner. (I am not saying that the average gun will group that well; it won’t). I have a Remington Model 700 stainless/synthetic in .223, and with almost any carefully crafted handload, it will shoot into an inch or less— sometimes considerably less. With my pet

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handload of a 55-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 25.0 grains of Hodgdon Benchmark, I just fired a three-shot group that measured less than 1/2-inch. This gun, however, actually averages three-shot groups of almost exactly 1 inch. As for power, I have always been hesitant to use the little .222 on notoriously tough coyotes. A marginal hit with a .222 usually means a lost dog. The .223, on the other hand, is just enough more potent than the .222 when used with proper ammo to make it a great coyote rifle. I wouldn’t push the shots to more than about 200 yards, but used within its limits, the .223 is a marvelous coyote cartridge.

I have always been hesitant to use the .222 on coyotes.

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I have seen the .223 used on coyotes with bullets heavier than 55-grains and was disappointed with the performance. On the ballistic charts, the heavier bullets show better downrange performance (slower velocity loss, better energy retention), but paper ballistics are sometimes misleading. The .223 gets its power from its velocity, not bullet weight and diameter. With heavier bullets, the velocity loss is enough to lessen the explosive impact and make the .223 less effective on game. Take my advice and stick with 55-grain bullets, or not more than 60 grains, and you will get the best out of the .223 Remington. The best reloading powders for the .223 are BL-C2, IMR-4895, H-335, H-332, Reloader 7, Benchmark, and Varget. Other powders of this general burn rate also work well. The highest velocities listed are with H-335, a ball powder, but I usually get betA L M A N A C / T E X A S

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ter accuracy with extruded powders. If you are looking for better accuracy and a bit higher velocity, you might try the various 52and 53-grain hollow points. For serious pursuits, I have never shot bullets lighter than 52 grains in the .223. The only possible use I see for the lightweights (40- and 45-grain) is for shooting in populated areas where a ricochet is a cardinal sin. However, a 45grain Hornet bullet over 12 grains of Blue Dot is a great plinking load in the .223. As mentioned, my pet load is a 55-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip over 25 grains of Benchmark. Now, let me tell you a dark secret: Smaller cartridges such as the .223, .222, and .17 Remington are sometimes prone to pierced primers. With otherwise perfectly fine loads, the firing pin indentation perforates. I have not found anyone who could tell me why. I found the cure for this malady when I switched to Remington 7-1/2 Bench Rest primers. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the Remington primers are just enough thicker and harder that they don’t pierce. Whatever the answer, if you are having trouble with pierced primers, try this remedy. I love the .222 Remington. I think it deserves a place in the top 10 cartridges of all time. However, for most purposes the .223 is a better choice. It handles 55-grain bullets better, shoots enough faster to make it a better hunting cartridge for most situations, and is accurate enough that all but the most discriminating shooter will never know the difference. Also, with its slightly larger case capacity, the .223 will handle a larger array of powders better than the smallcapacity .222. The .22/250 is faster, the .22 Hornet is smaller and quieter, but all things considered, the .223 Remington truly is a superior cartridge for most pursuits. E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com.

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Blackstone Fillet Table

surface features a molded-in sink, flat work surface, and refuse hole. Fish are filleted on the flat surface, the fillets pitched into the sink while the fish carcass slides through the refuse hole into a waiting garbage can below.

AVE YOU EVER HAD A COOLER FULL OF FISH that needed to be cleaned and were forced to look for a rock or old board to serve as a makeshift fillet table? Or lugged a heavy stringer to the cleaning table near the boat ramp, only to turn way in disgust at the putrid smell and deplorable cleanliness of the wooden planks? At times like these, I opt to clean my catch at home. Over the years, I used a variety makeshift cleaning surfaces: tops of plastic coolers, saw horses topped with boards, etc. All of these worked but left something to be desired, such as a sore back from bending over. I knew I had found the perfect solution when I discovered the Blackstone Fillet Station. The Blackstone Fillet Station was created with the serious sportsman in mind. The injection-molded tabletop is a no-nonsense work place, with plenty of room. Two sets of legs fold out and lock into place, leveling the worktop at waist level. Unlike many folding camp marvels I have had the misfortune to encounter into contact with, this table is stable and stays put—important when working with a sharp knife. The work surface is well thought out, making it easy to transition a cooler of fish or strap of ducks into edible delights. The work

The sink has a drain and comes equipped with a grate to catch debris, and a stopper that allows filling the sink if desired. Some anglers like to toss filets into a bucket or

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water to soak while others like to create a pile and then spray them down. The Blackstone Fillet Station’s sink allows either option. A plastic extension hose connects to the drain on the bottom side of the table, directing drain water away from so it doesn’t splash on your shoes and legs. The developers of the Blackstone Fillet Station added a number of small details that I find extremely handy. One of my favorites is a small, plastic, C-shaped clip at one corner of the table. You snap the end of a gar-

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den hole into the clip, thereby holding it in place. No more bending over to retrieve a slimy water hose that refuses to stay within arm’s reach. The C-clip also allows you to rotate the hose in whatever direction you wish. Sending too many duck feathers or fish entrails down the drain eventually clogs any drain. The Fillet Station’s developers considered this, molding a small channel from the top of the sink to the back of the table. Should the sink overflow, the small channel serves as an “emergency spillway,” directing the threatening wash to the rear of the table and away from your pants. The Blackstone Fillet Station weighs in at 25 pounds, making it light enough for a young charge to carry. The tabletop is a tad shy of 24 inches deep and roughly 46 inches long. With the legs folded, it is just 4 inches thick. The front edge of the table has a molded-in fish-length ruler to quickly size all of the fish you clean. Best of all, the table is well made and should provide many years of good service. It was hard to find many faults with the Blackstone Fillet Station. If I could change one thing, I would add some type of level adjustment to the legs so it could be used on rocky or unlevel ground. The Blackstone Fillet Station is available at Academy and Cabela’s. I highly recommend the Blackstone Fillet Station to any serious fisherman or hunter. Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com

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Why People Ignore Hurricane Evacuation Warnings S HURRICANE IKE’S FLOODWATERS BEGAN TO recede from Galveston, Texas, and other areas of the Gulf Coast, emergency responders surveyed the storm’s damage and rescued thousands of residents who ignored evacuation orders. There are many reasons why some people don’t heed evacuation notices; some think they can ride out the winds and surging waters, while others simply have nowhere to go and no way to leave. Still others remember unnecessary evacuations from botched forecasts and adopt a “boy who cried ‘wolf ’“ mentality. “And then some people just don’t perceive the risk to be that high,” said Rebecca Morss of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. New residents to the Gulf Coast simply might not realize the threat posed by hurricane storm surge, which often causes most of the damage associated with the storm. Any or all of these reasons can combine to cause a few holdouts to decide to take their chances with the storm, instead of seeking safety. The Hurricane Ike evacuation scenario started to unfold when Galveston officials ordered a mandatory evacuation for the entire island, while Ike was still churning out in the Gulf of Mexico. Residents of low-lying areas around Houston were also ordered to leave. Officials largely considered the evacuation a success, as more than 1 million residents heeded the evacuation call and fled inland, but thousands of their neighbors in Galveston and elsewhere stayed behind. “The evacuation, I think, was a great

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success. We had a few hardheads. We always do,” Governor Rick Perry told the New York Times. Some estimates put the number of holdouts as high as 140,000 people, according to the Associated Press. When those thousands became stranded by the storm, officials mounted the largest search-and-rescue effort in the history of the state. By the Monday after the storm, almost 2000 people had been rescued from storm-hit areas. Not all were plucked from their roofs though; some simply ran out of water and food and had no gas or electricity. Just why some people decide to stay in harm’s way has been a subject of study for some scientists, and there is a multitude of reasons. “Some people don’t have the ability to evacuate,” Morss said, either because they don’t have transportation or don’t have the money to pay for gas, food, and a hotel for an indefinite period that could possibly stretch to weeks. Others might not understand the warnings because they are hearing impaired, speak a foreign language, or are isolated from other people. Some coastal residents might have ridden out a smaller storm before and think they can do so again, or evacuated for another storm that shifted course or didn’t cause as much damage as expected, in which cases people don’t want to disrupt their lives and uproot their families unnecessarily, Morss said. Such cases were reported in media coverage of Ike. In one Associated Press story, a five-year-old boy named Jack King was said to have been injured when Ike’s A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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storm surge swept through his family’s house in Galveston. “We just didn’t think it was going to come up like this,” the boy’s father, Lee King, told the AP. “I’m from New Orleans, I know better. I just didn’t think it was going to happen.” Morss conducted a study (detailed in the April 2008 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) and interviewed evacuees of Hurricane Rita, which made landfall along the TexasLouisiana border on 24 September 2005, just weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. The evacuees Morss interviewed, who had left areas of Texas that ended up unaffected by Rita, said they would leave again if another storm came. But Morss said this isn’t always the case. “People’s minds change after a couple years,” when memories of disasters like Katrina fade, she said. Related to this are the cases of what Morss calls “hurricane fatigue” in places such as Florida that are often hit by many hurricanes in one season. People simply get tired of disrupting their lives and leaving their homes. Some home and business owners decided to stay behind to protect their property from looters or the storm itself. In the case of looters, Morss said that it is a common fear but not something that typically happens after a storm. And in the case of fending off the storm’s attack, “There’s really not much you can do,” she said. Whether or not Texans and other residents of the Gulf Coast will learn from Ike and obey future evacuation warnings is anybody’s guess. “We’ll have to see if next time they remember,” Morss said. —Andrea Thompson, LiveScience.com

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Finding Yourself F YOU ARE IN NEED OF A NEW FISH-FINDER OR chart plotter, it makes sense to get both at once in the same unit. Combination units give you more bang for the buck, allowing you to purchase larger screens and more advanced units while taking up less dash space and running fewer wires. There are tons of combo units on the market. How are you supposed to know which one’s best for your boat? Pay attention to these key features, and soon you will be hunting for fish and plotting your position with ease.

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Size Matters: You will often want to use a combo unit in split-screen mode, which means there will only be half as much screen space for each function. So, overall, screen size is very important. Yup, you’re right; when it comes to screen size, bigger simply is better. But before you can decide what size screen you can afford, you will need to see what size screen your helm can handle. If you are flush mounting the unit, depth counts as much as height and width. Many helm stations have wiring, control cables, and other important items behind them, which might interfere with mounting your unit. So, before you even begin shopping, use a tape measure to nail down the maximum dimensions you can consider. If you are binnacle (top) mounting the unit, depth is still a consideration. Helms with sharply raked windshields or multiple windshield supports might be difficult to fit, and those with rounded helms are even worse. Again, measure carefully to nail down the exact amount of room you have available. Remember to allow space for a clamshell fitting, where your wires will pass through the I42

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top of the dash, and also ensure that the surface is accessible from below so you can through-bolt the unit in place. (Screws don’t cut it, as they will often vibrate loose from the fiberglass.) Finally, even if there is plenty of space on top of your helm, don’t get too crazy. Large units might impede your view and substantially limit visibility if you have a small windshield and a Bimini top that attaches to it. Once you account for available space, it’s all a matter of dollars and sense, and you can expect to pay several hundred dollars more per inch of screen. Consider the Humminbird line-up, for example. Start with the minimal 3.5-inch screen 383c combo, and you will pay about $400. Get a 5-inch screen with the 595c, and cost jumps to $500. Then check out a 7-inch 917c, and the cost will jump up to about $1000. An 8-inch 955c takes the price tag up to $1400, and going to a bodacious 10.4-inch screen takes the cost all the way up to the neighborhood of $2000. The Color Conundrum: Another important consideration (and cost-boosting feature) is whether to go with a color or monochrome unit. The majority of the units on the market today are color, and nearly all high-end units are. But if a minimal unit (or minimal expenditure) is what works for you, monochrome might be worth considering. From a purely navigational standpoint, color is not necessary. It allows you to differentiate between land and water boundaries more quickly, and makes contour lines more readily apparent, but with some squinting and hard looking, you would figure out these differences regardless. If you are an angler, however, the benefits of color cannot be oversold. The differences between reds, yellows, and greens will indicate the density of the fish-finder returns, and you’ll be able to easily differentiate between schools of bait, big fish, little fish, and structure. How big a financial difference does color make? It’s pretty substantial. Consider Eagle’s Fishelite 480, for example. It has a 5inch monochrome display and costs a hair

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under $400. The nearly identical colorequipped 640c, however, goes for about $200 more. Chip Chat: Different units will take different chartography chips. There are two main chartography companies out there: CMap and Navionics. Navionics cards are, for most models, accepted by Eagle, Furuno, Humminbird, Lowrance, Northstar, and Raymarine units. C-Map chart cards are accepted by most Northstar, Simrad, Furuno, Si-Tex, Standard-Horizon, Interphase, JRC, and Cobra units. Garmin has its own Bluechart and g2 chartography chips, as well as Inland Lakes and Lakemaster chips. So, which of these chips is best for sportsmen? Both C-Map and Navionics make specific model lines intended for specific purposes, and offer better detail than the standard chips. C-Map, for example, offers Max Lakes chips, which include shaded depth areas, state-by-state fishing regulations, fish ID charts, and even roadway data. Navionics, on the other hand, offers offshore chips with incredibly detailed bathymetrics. Garmin’s new g2 Vision chips offer bathymetrics plus satellite imagery, 3-D generation, and aerial photographs of many ports and inlets. The unit you choose will probably accept only one of these three choices, so before you spend your cash, make sure you take the unit for a test spin with the chartography installed. Otherwise, you might get a nasty surprise after the fact. Fish-finder Facts: Now that you are ready to nail down a chart plotter choice, it’s time to move along to the fish-finding half of combo units, and in doing so, make this call even tougher. The first detail to look for is the unit’s power rating. Like stereos, it might be given in one of two ways: peak to peak, or RMS. Completely ignore the peak to peak number, as it tells you little about the unit’s actual performance. You will sometimes see a cheap unit with 300 watts RMS, for example, listed as a 2400-watt unit in the marketing hype.


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Which figure seems more realistic to you? Before getting into wattage and what it means, we have to note that transducer size has a huge bearing on fish-finder performance. In fact, doubling the transducer size actually has the same effect as quadrupling the output power. The larger the transducer, the more focused its beam. Think of the everwidening pings it emits as if they were flashlight beams set to spotlight instead of floodlight. So, a machine pushing 200 watts through an 8-inch transducer will see just as deep as a fish-finder pushing 800 watts through a 2inch transducer. That said, the majority of combo units you are likely to see come with a 2- or 3-inch transom transducer, and other transducers will have to be specially ordered. With these common transducers, a 100- to 300-watt machine will do the trick for bay and inland boaters who don’t need to see the bottom in water any deeper than 150-200 feet. Machines of 300-500 watts will hit bottom just fine in waters down to about 500 feet, and 600- to 1000-watt machines are necessary only if you want to get bottom readings in waters off the Continental Shelf. Of course, there is more to this story: frequency. This, too, will determine depth capabilities and detail. Most units run on 200 kHz, which is a great shallow-water frequency. But in water over 500 feet or so deep, lower frequencies like 50 kHz often work better. Just about all units come with high frequency capability, but if the unit you need must see bottom in extremely deep areas, make sure it offers low frequency as well. Phys Ed: The physical casing a unit comes in should also be something you look at closely, since it will have a direct impact on longevity. If something is marked “splashproof,” that usually means, “will fry when wet.” Those rated “water-proof ” are good, but units rated “submersible” are usually going to last a lot longer, particularly at the open helm of a small boat. Look for independent verification, like the mark IP66. (Ingress Protection, which means the unit has been tested with highpressure water jets from all directions. An IP65 rating means it survived low-pressure jets.) Also avoid units that have multiple pieces and parts, such as corner covers and spacers that are glued on or snapped in place. Software: Now that we have technical matters out of the way, it’s time to confront your own personal brainwaves. The geeks

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who develop the guts of these units (the menu patterns and control functions) don’t always think like the rest of us normal folks. As a result, some units are more intuitive to use than others. This is important, unless you like referring to an instruction manual every third button-push; absolutely unacceptable to most of us red-blooded American males. Which unit will be the most intuitive to you? It’s impossible to tell until you play around with a specific model, so you will have to go into a store that has them all on display

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and start pressing buttons. Work your way through the menus, and do your best to drive away any salesman who might pollute the process with their own personal opinions (or advice hinging on which unit has the highest profit margin). Eventually, you will find one that feels right for you, whether you are checking your course or looking for lunkers.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com.

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It’s Ling Time PRINGTIME IS LING TIME IN THE TEXAS GULF, and the early-to-arrive ling are usually some of the heaviest. Baiting, hooking, and taming them is the focus, plus a few pointers to get them to the boat. The first step when ling fishing is to be ready, tackle-wise and otherwise. Always assume that a ling could be below anything floating, or around red snapper and kingfish structure. Polarized sunglasses and a dark underbill cap will definitely bring a ling into view much quicker. While a nearsurface presentation is the old standby, don’t forget the mid-depths to the bottom. This is especially true after a ling disappears. Ling spend a lot of time down there, eating crab, hardhead, et al. Tackle consists of a 7foot casting rod, 250300 yards of 50-pound-test mono or 80- to 100-pound Spectra spooled up on a reel with a drag setting of 15 pounds. For rigging, the first consideration is the line on the reel. Spectra has a lack of stretch, giving a greater feel for what’s going on at the bait and quick, positive hook-sets. Soft plastic baits such as 4-inch crab by Rip Tide, and various manufacturers’ 4- to 7-inch swim baits are good choices. In hard baits, Strike Pro Glide baits do the job, as well as leadhead jigs such as 3- to 5-ounce Snapper Slappers. In natural baits, live or dead ver-

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milion snapper, fin-clipped hardhead catfish, and pinfish are top producers. Dead fresh naturals include squid (glob or whole) or Spanish sardine fished throughout the water column. Fish all these bait options free-lined or Carolina rigged. When ling fishing, be ready to cast at the sighting of a near-surface cruiser. An old trick to use is what I call “stop chumming.” As a ling swims near enough, toss a few pieces of chum about 10 feet in front of it. Many times, it will stop and eat. Now put your bait into the mix. Should the target be farther away from the boat, make a cast where your bait will be crossing its swim

path when retrieved. When there are small ling and a larger one, have one of your fellow fishermen make a cast. The smaller, more aggressive ones often charge that bait, enabling you to put yours within striking distance of the big one. After the hookup, apply side pressure with your rod, using horizontal rod loading; this is whether the ling is deep or near the surface, running away or swimming to your right or left. At some point, most hooked ling come to the near-surface away from the boat.

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A method that brought a 78-pounder and many others from 40 to 70 pounds quickly to the gaff over the years is the reversal of side pressure. If the ling comes to the surface off to your left, apply right side rod pressure. As the ling passes in front of you, immediately swing your rod horizontally to your left. As it passes center again, apply right side rod pressure. As this side-to-side swim motion is being done, you should be gaining line, closing the gap between you and the ling. Bringing ling quickly to the gaff presents a definite safety problem. The ling will be very active on the gaff and in the boat. Should the gaffing fail for whatever reason, the ling will streak away at almost kingfish speed. A tactic I’ve used for many years when any sizeable fish is being gaffed is to put the reel on the clicker and out of gear. Should it come off the gaff, the fish will fall against the clicker, not a tight line that might break, or a hook that might tear loose. As it runs away against the clicker, put the reel back in gear and off the clicker and the fight is back on. These moves are absolute big fish savers. For everyone’s and the boat’s safety, swing it immediately into the fish box. A ling’s powerful tail, body swings, and those 7 to 9 short, stiff first dorsal spines must be avoided. Off our Texas coast, spring through fall, ling are there and ready to do battle. Springtime is prime time for the heavyweights. Your ling of a lifetime is swimming out there right now. E-mail Patrick Lemire at saltrigs@fishgame.com.

ILLUSTRATION BY PATRICK LEMIRE


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Soft Jerks With Trebles O MOST ANGLERS, SOFT PLASTIC JERKBAITS are pretty much one-dimensional baits. Their sole application is in areas slap full of bass but choked by weeds, brush, or laydowns. The baits were designed for a single worm hook to stay weed free. The only problem with this is that since this is what they were designed for, that is all most anglers use them for. Very rarely will you find an angler throwing a jerkbait in open water with very little visible cover—and that really is a shame because by limiting the locations you use a bait, your are limiting it’s versatility without ever giving it a chance. One of the biggest advantages of a soft plastic jerkbaits is its weedless nature; this is also one of its disadvantages. A soft plastic bait is typically rendered weedless by having the point of the single hook buried in the body. While this keeps it from hanging in cover, it also keeps it from hanging onto the bass well. If you are reluctant to use a maniacal hook set there is the possibility you will miss a ton of fish. The good news is, there is a relatively simple solution to get around the drawbacks, but it is practical only if you are fishing relatively open water, as it involves adding a treble hook. If you have found a school of finicky bass hanging out on riprap or along a point, this is an excellent way to ensure that the few fish that hit do not get away. Traditionally, when we speak of adding treble hooks to soft plastics, it is in the form of a stinger or trailer hook in the tail of the bait. This works well, but in a soft jerkbait, it tends to detract from the action slightly, and realisti-

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cally there are quicker and easier ways to do it. It takes only about four seconds longer to rig with an additional treble than it does with just a single worm hook. The first step is the same as the traditional standard rigging. Tie a 3/0 wide gap worm hook on the end of the main line. Run the point of the hook into the nose of the bait and out the bottom about 1/2-inch from the nose. Run the hook through until the eye is touching the nose of the bait. Now comes the difference: Instead of running the point of the hook back into the body of the bait, slide the point through the eye of a treble hook. Then run the point through a piece of old plastic worm about a 1/4 inch thick. This will hold the treble hook in place. Now you can run the point of the worm hook into the body of the soft plastic jerkbait, but instead of leaving it

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inside the bait to prevent snagging, run it all the way through, exposing the point on the topside. The point should ride just on top of the jerkbait, lying parallel with the back of the bait. The choices in suitable aftermarket treble hooks are virtually endless, and there really is no right or wrong answer to the question of which is best. The best advice is to carry a handful of sizes, bare trebles, and trebles with Mylar trailers so that you can change them to see what the bass prefer. This rigging really isn’t new, just rarely used. Some soft plastic swimbaits (which are nothing more than oversized jerkbaits) come packaged with worm hooks as well as a few trebles. Manufacturers have recognized the advantages of having more points hanging off their baits. E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com.

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Ich bin ein bluegiller! N A FAMOUS SPEECH 46 YEARS AGO IN WEST Berlin, President John F. Kennedy proudly proclaimed to the world, “I am a jelly donut.” His actual words were, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” President Kennedy had intended to say, “I am a Berliner,” but the last minute translation, written on note cards, went awry. He added the line to his speech as a way to boost morale of the West Germans, who faced the daunting threat of the Soviet Union and the recent erection of the Berlin wall. Regardless of the President’s malapropism, the citizens of Berlin understood his meaning and responded enthusiastically. At the risk of unintentionally saying, “I am a piece of stinkbait,” I proudly proclaim,

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Ich bin ein bluegiller! Spring is here and there is no better way to celebrate the changing of the seasons than to catch a mess of bluegill. Bluegill, and other handsome members of the sunfish family, have fallen several notches on the popularity scale of late. It seems all my friends want to target doubledigit black bass or mega-stripers. I still encounter plenty of perch jerkers (at least when crappie are spawning), but bream do not seem to have the shine they once enjoyed. It has been several years since anyone told me they were specifically targeting the hand-sized fish on their next outing. Bluegill are an ideal target for kayak anglers. That is not to say that kayakers can catch only small fish; certainly not. Kayaks can be launched in a number of places— lakes, reservoirs, ponds, creeks, rivers, and streams—and virtually every place you can launch a kayak has a population of sunfish. So, why not target them on occasion? If you are fishing a lake or pond, paddling down a shoreline edged with aquatic

vegetation is a good place to start. Submerged brush or fallen trees are sure to hold sunfishes. In reservoirs, the riprap faces of bridge abutments and dams provide a neverending series of hidey-holes where bream can lurk. Besides being fun places to paddle, streams and rivers are full of sunfishes. On a memorable trip to the Nueces River just outside Uvalde, Guide Aaron Riggins and I caught over 50 sunfish on 5-weight fly rods in a little over an hour. In one memorable rock-bottomed pool, I had 32 strikes in as many casts, landing 26 fish, each a riot of color. Bright orange and yellow bellies glistened in the sun, while dazzling pectoral fins blazed in shades of orange and red. No bass or crappie ever looked this handsome. Bluegill are easy to catch on bait and artificials. For natural bait fans, a small tub of meal- or earthworms will fit easily underneath a bended knee while you are paddling. An old-fashioned cricket cage capable of holding hundreds of baits is another great option. Threaded onto a thin wire hook with a long shank, any of these baits will draw countless strikes. For some reason, my family shied away from the ubiquitous red and white bobber, opting instead to use crappie floats made out of balsawood or wispy-thin porcupine quills, which at the time were natural and not plastic. All three are good options for sunfishes. A plastic bag filled with several hooks, split shot, and corks is all the tackle you need and can be tucked into a shirt pocket. Sunfishes will not hesitate to strike artificial lures. Since bluegill, redear, and other sunfishes have small mouths, it is best to scale your offering accordingly. Small tube or curly-tailed plastic jigs pinned on 1/8- or 1/16-ounce lead heads are deadly baits. Inline spinners are another good option. Fly-fishermen can offer just about any fly they wish without the fear of getting a cold shoulder. Panfishes are so aggressive that flies often come unraveled from numerous

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Ken Cook Says Farewell Editor’s Note: The following statement comes directly from Ken Cook: OLLOWING A LONG, DIFFICULT DECISION process and aided by the support of my wife, Tammy, and the rest of my family, I announce that the 2009 BASS Elite Series Tour will mark my final season of full-time competitive fishing. I refuse to use the term “retired” since it simply does not fit my situation. I will continue to be a part of the outdoors and the fishing industry, continuing to lend my support to my sponsors whenever I can. I most definitely will continue to fish—maybe even in the occasional tournament—but not at the highest levels on a full-time basis. I still love to fish and do so as often as I can. However, with age and other factors, my body simply will not allow me to compete at the level at which I think I should. Standing on the front deck of a bass boat for weeks at a time and taking long, bone-jarring boat rides simply does not agree with my 62-year-old body anymore. While it would be easier to simply walk away from my professional angling career in light of my aches and pains and the financial commitment that it takes to compete on a national bass fishing tour, my final season will be devoted to enjoying the sport of fishing—relishing the fellowship, competition, and camaraderie of the fellow anglers and the support of my fans. That’s why I’m calling this my “Farewell Tour.” My love for the outdoors is unending. From my original career as a fisheries biologist, I made my first major occupational transition in 1983 when I became a full-time tournament angler. Through hard work, support of family, friends, fans, and sponsors,

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the first tour stop at Lake Amistad will mark my 27th season as a professional angler. The end of the season will find me making my transition into a third profession, one that will allow me to maintain a connection with the outdoors. For years, my family and I have made our life on a beautiful piece of land in southwestern Oklahoma near the Wichita Mountains. Tarbone Ranch has been a place of solitude and refuge in an otherwise fast-paced and often frantic life as a professional angler. In recent years, I have devoted my knowledge and expertise in wildlife biology into improving the overall health and genetics of the animals that share the ranch with us. Once my professional angling career is over, my focus will become the ranch and providing outdoor opportunities for sportsmen and -women. As a professional angler who has always taken pride in the ability to teach people to be more successful on the water, the transition to teaching people to appreciate the outdoors and how to be more successful in other outdoor pursuits is an easy one—one that I cherish. Over the course of my final BASS Elite Series season, I will be blogging about my experiences and reflecting on the things I’ve learned on my website, KenCookOutdoors.com. There you can read about Tarbone Ranch, see some of the animals that live there, and get a feel for what I will be doing with my time once the season is over. This announcement would be incomplete if I failed to recognize the companies that have been so instrumental in my long career as a professional angler. I have enjoyed a long relationship with many of them and have partnered with others more recently, but I value each of the relationships I have with these fine sponsors and look forward to continuing my efforts with them in my post-tournament life. My sincere thanks go to Berkley, Abu Garcia, Triton, Mercury, MotorGuide, Tru Tungsten, Storm, Rapala, Lowrance, Costa Del Mar, Navionics, Re-Action System, and the other organizations that have A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Can You Catch a Big Bass? HERE ARE MORE FISHERMEN ON THE WATER in January, February, March, and April, and also more big bass caught than any other months put together. The big fish have lounged around all winter, and when the water starts to warm, they come to the shallows to feed and look for spawning areas. Now you have them in a confined fishing area of 5 feet deep or less, reducing 95 percent of the lake you would normally fish. Most fishermen you talk to would rather fish shallow than deep. Put these anglers on the water with the bass in less than 5 feet of water throwing Zoom lizards, Bagley crankbaits, jigs, and spinnerbaits, and you have a recipe for catching a lot of big fish. In early spring, I concentrate on one thing: water temperature. If I can find the warmest water in the lake with the best cover available, I will probably have a bonanza day of catching big bass. Sometimes you have to fudge a little bit one way or the other to find bass biting, but as a rule, if you start

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in the warmest area and don’t deviate too far, you will find bass biting. This time of year, you need to remember that as the day goes on, the water warms up and you could be in a great area that might not turn on until later in the day. If you have baitfish activity in a productive area, sometimes you need to wait the bite out or at least return to the area later on. I have seen many tournaments won over the years by guys sticking to an area after everyone left to get the late bite. This time of year, I depend more on my Raymarine DS500 for its accurate temperature reading than I do the depth reading. One degree of temperature change makes a difference. Once it reaches that magic degree, it will turn the bass bite on. One key to remember is the shallow, flattest water on the north side of the lake usually warms first, so this is a good place to head in search of warm water. There are four tactics that top the list for me in early spring: cranking shallow running Balsa B crankbaits, Carolina rigging an 8inch Zoom lizard, flipping a Bagley jig or Zoom Brushhog, and slow rolling a spinnerbait. I also need to add Texas-rigged Zoom worms to the arsenal, since they have produced my three biggest bass. I sling the hardware with a 7-foot, 4-inch Woo Daves Extreme Pitchin’ rod. I’m targeting big bass in and around cover, so I want a good hook-set and to be able to move the fish away from the cover. I’m also using heavier line, 17- to 20-pound Bass Pro

Shops fluorocarbon. I’m also going to use bigger hooks. If I’m pitching Zoom plastics into cover, I use a 4/0 or 5/0 Mustad Ultra Point hook. In order to work a piece of cover better, I like to use a Texas-rigged Zoom worm. When you work a piece of cover in the spring, make sure you fish it thoroughly, making repeated pitches to and around the cover. In other words, treat each good looking piece of cover as if you know there is a bass in there and you have to make him bite. When I’m fishing a Killer B11 crankbait, I’m concentrating primarily on secondary points in the first 2/3 of the creeks and working to the back with warming temperatures. Chartreuse with black backs and Crawfish are my two favorite colors by far in the spring. The most important thing I’ve found on early spring crankbaiting is to reel the lure slowly. Big fish like a slow retrieve. I also like to fish a Carolina-rigged Zoom lizard. In early spring, I use a 2-foot leader with a 2/0 or 3/0 Mustad J-bend widegapped hook and a Lindy’s Rattlin’ NoSnagg 3/4-ounce weight. I love this weight because it is almost snag free and allows me to fish the toughest places and get my bait through them. You can also cover a lot of water fan-casting a Carolina rig. I always use Jack’s Juice Crawfish scent on all my lures.

TEXAS KAYAKING  Continued from Page I-46 strikes. Tiny Clouser Minnows and beadhead nymphs will catch anything that swims. If you like fishing on the film, prospect fishy-looking haunts with thread ants, foam spiders, or hard bodied poppers. I48

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Many fishermen start out catching bluegill and their assorted cousins, but shift to other species as they grow in age and experience, eventually loosing touch with their fishing roots. Catching bluegill is fishing in its purest form, offering both relaxation and satisfaction. Next time you go paddling, consider

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making a bluegill your target for the day and capture a little bit of the magic that got you hooked on fishing. Ich bin ein bluegiller! Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com.


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A Green Movement ER APPROACH RESONATED LIKE DISTANT artillery fire striking ever nearer. Her high heels clacked on the polished stone floor. The tempo of her steps made it obvious she was on a mission. I glanced up. A tight, brown, mid-length dress was stretched around her blossoming paunch. Her feet were pinched into shoes two sizes too small. Her hair was jerked into a brunette knot. Her rear end seemed to follow several steps behind. Her face reflected red anger. The woman thundered past me in a commotion of nylon and polyester, then planted herself on a nearby bench with a force that tested the buildings granite foundations. Such things are common in the state Capitol. The hallway was full of every stereotype imaginable. There were the witless wealthy who hold position due to campaign donations. There were the equally obnoxious bureaucrats who are afforded arrogance because of their insulation from the general populace. There were the grinning empty suits shaking hands and slithering from constituents to lobbyists; and there were the tired plodding citizens searching for the correct committee conference room. But in this moment’s view, there was only one public servant that was politely relating to an individual how his agency was beneficial—and there was none of the rare breed known as statesmen. There was nothing for me to do but doze off where I was seated until it was time for our joint committee hearing on Texas Parks & Wildlife Department funding. Austin is sometimes referred to as the next largest communist city north of Havana. It is a bastion of liberalism in Texas. Here, brain cells in charge of destructive moral confusion

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infect and mutate healthy common sense brain cells. Then the “good ol’ boys” that know how to take advantage wait to inject laws that will best fill their coffers. Too often, the public’s natural resources suffer. However, the recently enlightened mouthpieces of the “green” movement are ready to take the reins from generations of ranchers, farmers, and the land stewards that made our Lone Star State unique and prosperous. While they plan to bend our major cities toward alternative energy sources, it would be interesting to see if they could fix one little problem in Alleyton, Texas. This historical burg situated on the edge of the flat Gulf Coast Plains has 165 residents in need of a wastewater treatment plant. Gene Evans, a local civic leader, donated 1 acre of land and the Colorado County Commissioner’s Court accepted. However, future court minutes show that neighboring landowners objected to effluent water crossing their property on its way to the Colorado River. At the same time, the project’s engineering surveyor deemed that there was no definable route for the effluent water to reach the river. Land was then purchased from Dittmann Harrison west of FM 102. The effluent drains from west to east, beneath an FM 102 bridge, and into a channel excavated on the Harrison Ranch adjacent to the bar ditch. It then bleeds over a level plain for 3000 feet until an elevation decline. It again seeps under an FM 102 bridge back to the east, then percolates south in front of Greak’s Beer, Bait, and Ammo store and finally leaves that property to spread into a chain of gravel pits. Now, this is where the matter gets sticky. Harrison claims there is no permit allowing the effluent onto his property, nor has he been paid an easement. The Lower Colorado River Authority, the owner and operator of the treatment plant, says the facility is a money pit and they have all the proper permits. The 1999 permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to discharge wastewater says that the wastewater is discharged into Sandy Branch, which drains to the Colorado River. It goes on to say that this permit A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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does not grant the permittee the right to use private or public property for conveyance of wastewater. The engineering surveyor’s report shows the wastewater being discharged into Sandy Branch. Harrison says the wastewater is discharged into a man-made channel on his property that was dug to raise FM 102 when Interstate 10 was built. That easement was terminated at the completion of the road. His contention is that the wastewater isn’t discharged into Sandy Branch and never reaches Sandy Branch. Harrison readily displays aerial photos showing the green-tinted wastewater on his property and describes its sewer-esque stench. He goes on to say that the American Land Heritage Society has declared that he has a winnable case, but that it could cost $1 million or more to challenge the state. Meanwhile, every elected official involved and the LCRA are aware of the issue, but have offered Harrison no solutions. Harrison believes that the only answer is for the LCRA to provide a lift station and pipeline to the Colorado River. The social enigma is having this treated wastewater along FM 102 onemile north from I-10 and 3.5 miles east of Columbus, Texas. The TCEQ permit to discharge this effluent water ends September 1, 2009. As for my thoughts, San Antonio and the LCRA are exploring the idea of scavenging drinking water from the Colorado River. If the TCEQ permit mandates this effluent wastewater should wind up in the river... Then another set of clacking high heels awakened me from my drifting troubled nap. I glanced up to see a young lady stride by toward our conference room. Her stride was purposeful but unassuming, and she smiled as she made her way through the men crowding the doorway. Okay, there is one thing to like about Austin. I rose and headed to the meeting.

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Pan Grilled Speckled Trout HIS MONTH WE WILL FOCUS OUR ATTENTION on Cynoscion nebulosus, a.k.a. speckled trout. No matter by which name we recognize this great game fish, visions of past encounters invade the memories of Texas coastal fishermen. Was it an explosive topwater strike or a subtle wintertime tap? Regardless, the vision rewinds the coastal angler’s experience. The speckled trout, revered for its ferocity, is equally sought for its succulent white flesh. So, catch all you can and keep only what you can eat. Speaking of eating, here is a recipe for this regal fish. —Loy Moe

T

Pan Grilled Speckled Trout: With Lump Crabmeat, Mushrooms, & Caper Sauce 2 fillets of fresh speckled trout, skins removed 1 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese 1 stick of butter cut in half 1/4 cup dry white wine 1 tsp. capers 3/4 cup half & half 3 mushrooms, sliced 1 clove of fresh minced garlic 1/4 lb. jumbo lump crabmeat 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, and Texas Gourmet Sidewinder Seasoning Spice

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Pictured with crab cakes, steamed asparagus, and pineapple & mango pico de gallo In a large cast iron or heavy non-stick skillet, melt 1/2 stick of butter over medium high heat. Dredge filets through flour mixture and place in skillet. Brown on both sides, then move to platter. Place in warm (180-degree) oven. Add remaining 1/2 stick of butter to skillet and let melt over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. flour and stir well until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, capers, and gar-

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lic. Sauté for two minutes, then add wine. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Add Parmesan cheese and half & half while stirring. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Spoon lightly over center of fillets. PHOTOS BY JIM OLIVE


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S P O N S O R E D BY:

Pineapple & Mango Pico de Gallo

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Sauté onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, celery, and corn in olive oil and butter until onion is clear and veggies are soft. Remove from heat, add breadcrumbs. Place in bowl. Add spices to two well-beaten eggs. Mix eggs with the sautéed veggies and breadcrumbs. Now work the lump crabmeat into the mixture gently to keep the crab from falling apart. To form crab cakes, wet hands with cold water, scoop up approximately 4 ounces of the mixture, then form the cake to about 1-inch thickness. Heat olive oil. Place

cakes well separated into pan and allow to brown on both sides (approximately three minutes per side). Serve hot or cold. Makes 4-6 cakes.

Contact Bryan Slaven, "The Texas Gourmet," at 888-234-7883, www.thetexasgourmet.com; or by email at texas-tasted@fishgame.com.

1 cup fresh, diced pineapple 1 cup peeled, pitted, fresh diced mango 1 cup fresh chopped cucumber 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup fresh Serrano pepper, seeded and sliced thin 1 cup green onions, sliced thin 1 red bell pepper, diced 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice 2 Tbsp. honey 2 Tbsp. Texas Gourmet Mandarin Orange Serrano Jelly 2 Tbsp. white pepper 1 Tbsp. salt 1/2 Cup fresh chopped cilantro Whisk together honey, lime juice, mandarin orange Serrano jelly, white pepper, salt, and cilantro. Combine and stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Serve Chilled.

Texas Blue Crab Cakes 1 lb. lump crabmeat (carefully pick through to remove shell pieces) 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs 3 Tbsp. olive oil 1/3 cup onion, diced 1/2 bell pepper, diced 1 medium-size jalapeno, cored, seeded, and chopped fine 1 clove garlic, minced 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter 2 sticks celery, diced 2 eggs 1/2 Tbsp. rubbed sage 1 Tbsp. Texas Gourmet Sidewinder Searing Spice 6 Tbsp. canned corn 1 Tbsp. black pepper A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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TEXAS SALTWATER

ROCKPORT

GALVESTON

Angle 15-pound r Sna Coastal B pper end Outdoors

For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579.

phrey Alex Hum ut and Reds Tro f Limits o ice uide Serv G n a lm Hil

TEXAS FRESHWATER LAKE AMISTAD

ADVERTISERS, MAIL IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

CORPUS CHRISTI

Daniel Ma re Guided b s with Hybrid Str y Chris Ca ipers rey of Striper E Guide Serv xpress ice

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ria Sepulveda 6 Redfish Redfish Charters

Brian Patrick and Ma

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Captain Matt Forsh ee of Akins Saltwater Guide Service Limit of Specks Akins Saltwater Guide Service

erford, TX Anglers from Weath Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS FRESHWATER

TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

OUTDOOR SHOPPER ADVERTISERS, MAIL IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

BAFFIN BAY

For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579.

AKINS SALTWATER GUIDE SERVICE

TEXAS HUNTING

Captain Larry E. Akins is USAF Retired. Other than the twenty years I spent in the Air Force, I grew up here on the Gulf Coast. I started fishing these waters when I was too young to remember. My father got me started fishing in Galveston Bay, and as I grew older I ventured out. I am at home anywhere from Sabine Lake to Port Isabel. Fishing is all I do now. I started guiding about six years ago and became full-time two years ago. Most of my guiding expertise has been at special request. I have guided people from Washington state, South Africa, and Holland. I have guided people from all over Texas. The reason I like guiding is because I have traveled all over the US and the world fishing. I have caught a lot of fish and now I gain the most satisfaction from seeing other people catch fish. I especially enjoy seeing young people catch fish. I don’t help young people by reeling in their fish, I encourage them. I was with a young man of eight, Matt, when he reeled in his first trophy trout. He did it and that is something no one can take away from him. That day he caught eight trout, the smallest being 19 inches. I would rather help someone catch a record fish, than I would to catch it while out fishing alone. In Montana, I also guided some hunting trips and there are a lot of people who have trophy mounts because of my guiding and their shooting ability. I would rather be guiding. One of the things about traveling so much is that I always make friends everywhere I go. In 2006, I took eight weeks and traveled the Rockies. I fly-fished everywhere; call me and we can talk about it. — Captain Larry Akins, 409-267-5486 (cell) Email me at capt.akins@yahoo.com A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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BLACK DRUM—CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

CATFISH—NUECES RIVER, TEXAS

Adair Bates proudly shows off her first black drum to her friend Lillian McCoy. Adair caught the fish on live shrimp with her 4-pound-test spinning reel while fishing the Intracoastal, north of JFK Causeway in Corpus Christi with dad Cody Bates and Lillian’s dad, Tim McCoy.

Amanda Dusek, age 9, caught her first catfish while fishing with her sister and her dad, Darrell Dusek, on the Nueces River. She loves to fish and was excited about her catch.

BUCK—LYTTON SPRINGS, TEXAS

BLACK BASS—LAKE KIOWA, TEXAS

Levi Hallowich, age 9, of Lytton Springs, Texas, Jason Lange of Gainesville, Texas, caught this shot this 10-point, 140-pound buck with a 20- black bass while fishing on Lake Kiowa. The photo inch spread while hunting on his family’s proper- was taken by his wife Nicole Lange. ty in Lytton Springs. He took the buck with one shot from his .223 at 80 yards.

SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO: I54

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TF&G PHOTO ALBUM 1745 Greens Road Houston, Texas 77032 OR BY EMAIL: photos@fishgame.com

HYBRID STRIPERS—LAKE BUCHANAN, TEXAS Pat Sanders of Houston, and his nephew Corey Sanders, age 14, of Schulenburg, Texas, caught these hybrid stripers while trolling on Lake Buchanan. Pat caught the 10-pounder, and Corey’s was 18 pounds and 35 inches.

PLEASE INCLUDE NAME, HOMETOWN, WHEN & WHERE CAUGHT, SIZE AND WEIGHT

Note: All non-digital photos submitted become the property of Texas Fish & Game and will not be returned. TF&G makes no guarantee when or if any submitted photo will be published. &

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BLUE CATFISH—NUECES RIVER, TEXAS

BASS—CHOKE CANYON RESERVOIR, TEXAS

Kent Gray of Lake Jackson, Texas, caught this 28- Erin Gallagher, age 9, caught this 10-pound blue inch redfish while fishing with Carl Otsuki in a bay catfish on a limb line using big grub for bait. She out of Arroyo City, Texas. was fishing the Nueces River in Sandia, Texas. She named her useful grub, “Big Buddy.”

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Jim McCoy of Garden Ridge, Texas, caught this 9pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass at Choke Canyon Reservoir. The bass was 25.5 inches in length, with a 19-inch girth.

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OMPLETELY INVISIBLE IN MY BUSHLAN camo, I settled down against a large oak tree in the bottomlands of Red River County, the state’s bright spot for eastern turkey populations since it opened for hunting 10 years ago. Turkey have incredible vision, so I made sure I was comfortable and wouldn’t have to move around. Resting the 12-gauge across my lap, I scraped a few yelps on a box call and waited to see if any lovesick gobblers were interested. A cousin told me about this spot in the midst of a 10,000-acre alliance of farms and ranches, where he’d taken birds during the last couple of years during spring season. My tree grew beside a lane enclosed by thick trees opening into a wide, brush-free pasture. Just days before, my cousin spent several hours in intense conversation with two gobblers who refused to show themselves. I hoped I spoke better Turkey. Interspersed in the thick woods and encroaching on the pasture, eastern red cedars colored the landscape. I wished they were gone, because according to Jason Hardin, Upland Game Bird Specialist for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the thick cedars are fast becoming a detriment to wild turkey populations. Hardin told me overgrowth impacts

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PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

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turkey populations: “Eastern red cedar is one of the biggest problems in turkey habitat right now. If the birds can’t see long distances through the woods, they might be the victim of predators or move somewhere else.” The turkey’s biggest attribute is keen eyesight, and they need to see a long way to feel secure. The open woods behind me were prime turkey habitat. This time, an answer echoed through the woods in response. I waited, because many turkey hunters “overcall.” In addition to an explosion of red cedar, changes in land management have resulted

by Reavis Z. Wortham in excessive growth of Bermuda grass, something offering little turkey sustenance. These plants were once controlled with fire as landowners burned off pastures, meadows, and grazing lands, but fire bans in time of drought make even trained landowners reluctant to use such a potentially devastating control device. “The lack of fire being used in to burn off the undergrowth or trash plants allows red cedar and Bermuda grass to grow unchecked,” Hardin said. “When red cedar A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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is burned, it’s gone forever. The fire opens understory to create a park-like setting.” Prescribed fire is necessary to maintain substantial, sustainable turkey populations. Government mandated burn bans in times of drought such as those we’ve seen for the past few years are tough on those who want to maintain good turkey habitat, while at the same time preserve the safety of citizens and property. “We’re trying to promote prescribed burns and a more universal way to burn,” Hardin said. “Toward this end, the Texas Prescribed Burn Board has certified guys who work with the counties to work within the bans and initiate prescribed burning.” The Texas Prescribed Burn School is approved by the Texas Prescribed Burn Board and administered through the Texas Department of Agriculture. Graduates of the course have been trained on such topics as fire weather, fuel moisture, topography, fire effects, burn plans, regulations, insurance, post-burn management, and the Certified Burn Manager Program. Today, more and more of Red River County offers an environment that turkey love: riparian corridors in the creek and river bottoms of the Pineywoods and Post Oak Savanna eco-regions of East Texas. Another tom gobbled to my left, vying for my &

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In This Issue HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • Tides, Solunar Table, Best Hunting/Fishing Times | BY TF&G STAFF

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TEXAS TESTED • Jerk That Jig; Lowrance | BY TF&G STAFF

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY CALIXTO GONZALES & JD MOORE

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NEW PRODUCTS • What’s New from Top Outdoor Manufacturers | BY TF&G STAFF

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INDUSTRY INSIDER • The Briley Story | BY TOM BEHRENS

HOW-TO SECTION

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COVER STORY • Red River Gobblers | BY REAVIS Z. WORTHAM

attention. I waited, answered, and waited some more. I knew they were close. The birds around me were the descendents of numerous stockings over 80-plus years. From 1924-1941, Florida, Rio Grande, and pen reared eastern wild turkey were released throughout East Texas, according to TPWD. Of 19 Rio Grande Turkey stockings, Red River County was the only area considered a success. Those birds (68) were released into Red River County in 1940. Beginning in 1978, another effort was underway to reestablish turkey in East Texas. During this period, 7155 turkey were released at 300 sites in 58 East Texas Counties. From 1981-1990, approximately 172 eastern wild turkey were stocked into Red River County. Ten sites were stocked at a rate ranging from 15-23 birds per site in a “block stocking” method. The goal was to release small populations throughout the county with the idea of the birds forming one large population over time. While this appears to have been successful in Red River County, most of East Texas was not so lucky. In 2006, 101 birds were taken in Red River County. In 2007, 73 birds were N2

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BOWHUNTING TECH • Finding a New Hobby | BY LOU MARULLO

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SHOOT THIS! • S&W M&P15PC | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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TEXAS BOATING • Finding Yourself | BY LENNY RUDOW

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FISH THIS! • Blackstone Fillet Table | BY GREG BERLOCHER

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FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Soft Jerks with Trebles | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

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WILDERNESS TRAILS • A Green Movement | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

killed. Biologists currently estimate eastern turkey numbers somewhere around 10,000. I knew I had a pretty good chance at taking a gobbler because there were plenty of birds around me, but so far, I hadn’t seen so much as a wattle or feather. I knew that too much calling could drive the toms away, so I waited some more. Poults need rain at just the right times, and eastern turkey need more moisture than Rio Grande birds. Up along the river, the moisture has been good this past year, though not great, but Hardin said that here on the edge of the eastern turnkey ranges, he’s really happy with the numbers of birds that have given the county the highest density in the state: “With enough moisture during the past year to ensure good hatches, the turkey populations in the county are substantial. Along with good hatches, a number of landowners have agreed to delay haying (cutting and baling) until later in July so as not to disturb or damage the bird’s nests.” A third gobbler tuned up nearby, just out of sight, and my frustration level increased. These old boys were not used to being handled in such a way, and my refusal to move had them baffled. Hens do not usually just float a call into the air and play this hard to get.

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OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

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DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

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PHOTO ALBUM • Your Action Photos | BY TF&G STAFF

I hit the box call again. Most of Red River County is lease hunting, with landowners employing the generations-old technique of granting individuals hunting privileges based on friendship, family legacy, or simple courtesy. However, public hunting areas (sometimes called walk-in hunting) are always an option to those without contacts. I clucked again, this time with a mouth call. The result was not what I expected. Instead of a big tom running up to meet me with a bottle of champagne under one wing and Barry White compact disk under the other, the three birds around me shut up as if they had been instantaneously beamed to another part of the state. “I am expecting an average year for turkey in East Texas,” Hardin had told me over the phone. “But I don’t see a big boom in the population for the next year.” I had run the turkey off. There would be no mandatory stop at the designated check station later in the day. I sat in silence and listened to the chi-chi birds overhead. They were the only things I would hear for the rest of the day. There was definitely not going to be a “big boom” for me during this spring turkey hunt.


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Tides and Solunar Table for FEBRUARY 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

APR 1 Low Tide: 2:54 AM High Tide: 1:00 PM

Sunrise: 7:26a Moonrise: 11:48a AM Minor: 11:40a PM Minor: ——Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

6 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

1:59 AM 8:52 AM 3:20 PM 9:10 PM

Sunrise: 7:19a Moonrise: 5:24p AM Minor: 3:37a PM Minor: 4:01p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.26 ft 0.22 ft 1.20 ft 0.54 ft

7

8:00 — 10:15 pm

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

Set: 7:58p Set: 5:24a AM Major: 9:49a PM Major: 10:13p 11:44p 11:20a

13

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 12:52 AM -0.10 ft High Tide: 9:44 AM 1.44 ft

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: None AM Minor: 9:17a PM Minor: 9:42p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

12:40 — 3:30 am

Set: 8:03p Set: 9:33a AM Major: 3:04a PM Major: 3:30p 4:33a 4:59p

20

PRIME TIME 12:58 AM 7:37 AM 2:25 PM 8:15 PM

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 4:18a AM Minor: 2:33a PM Minor: 2:55p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

27

High Tide: 8:28 AM Low Tide: 1:29 PM High Tide: 2:37 PM

Sunrise: 6:56a Moonrise: 8:38a AM Minor: 8:10a PM Minor: 8:41p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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1.18 ft 0.54 ft 1.25 ft 0.80 ft

12:30 — 2:00 am

Set: 8:08p Set: 4:01p AM Major: 8:44a PM Major: 9:06p 10:06a 10:27p

PRIME TIME 1.78 ft 1.53 ft 1.53 ft

12:00 — 2:05 pm

Set: 8:12p Set: 11:34p AM Major: 1:55a PM Major: 2:26p 4:05p 3:34a

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PRIME TIME 3:18 AM 9:46 AM 3:34 PM 9:42 PM

1.35 ft 0.44 ft 1.16 ft 0.29 ft

Sunrise: 7:18a Moonrise: 6:26p AM Minor: 4:19a PM Minor: 4:42p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

Set: 7:59p Set: 5:56a AM Major: 10:30a PM Major: 10:53p None 12:07p

14 Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

PRIME TIME 1:40 AM 11:12 AM 1:49 PM 2:37 PM

-0.02 ft 1.41 ft 1.39 ft 1.39 ft

Sunrise: 7:10a Moonrise: 12:26a AM Minor: 10:13a PM Minor: 10:39p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME 2:13 AM 8:23 AM 2:34 PM 8:34 PM

1.27 ft 0.66 ft 1.23 ft 0.58 ft

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 4:46a AM Minor: 3:11a PM Minor: 3:33p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1:40 — 2:55 am

Set: 8:08p Set: 4:58p AM Major: 9:22a PM Major: 9:43p 10:49a 11:10p

28

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 12:38 AM -0.41 ft High Tide: 9:41 AM 1.76 ft

Sunrise: 6:55a Moonrise: 9:39a AM Minor: 9:19a PM Minor: 9:51p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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9:40 — 11:00 pm

Set: 8:04p Set: 10:23a AM Major: 4:00a PM Major: 4:26p 5:25a 5:50p

21 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

8:50 — 10:35 pm

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Set: 8:13p Set: None AM Major: 3:03a PM Major: 3:35p 5:08p 4:37a

&

8

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:27 AM 10:36 AM 3:47 PM 10:16 PM

Sunrise: 7:17a Moonrise: 7:27p AM Minor: 5:01a PM Minor: 5:24p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME -0.33 ft 1.50 ft

3:00 — 5:20 pm

Set: 7:55p Set: 1:43a AM Major: 5:25a PM Major: 5:55p 7:16p 6:45a 1.43 ft 0.66 ft 1.15 ft 0.08 ft

Sunrise: 7:09a Moonrise: 1:16a AM Minor: 11:08a PM Minor: 11:33p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

22

0.08 ft 1.40 ft

9:20am — 12:45pm

Set: 8:04p Set: 11:16a AM Major: 4:56a PM Major: 5:21p 6:15a 6:40p

PRIME TIME 3:18 AM 9:09 AM 2:43 PM 9:02 PM

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 5:15a AM Minor: 3:49a PM Minor: 4:11p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.38 ft 0.80 ft 1.23 ft 0.35 ft

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 1:37 AM -0.36 ft High Tide: 10:54 AM 1.71 ft

Sunrise: 6:54a Moonrise: 10:46a AM Minor: 10:28a PM Minor: 10:59p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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2:00 — 4:15 am

Set: 8:09p Set: 5:58p AM Major: 10:00a PM Major: 10:22p 11:33a 11:56p

29

Sunrise: 7:24a Moonrise: 12:55p AM Minor: 12:19a PM Minor: 12:43p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:30 — 9:40 pm

2:05 — 9:00 pm

Set: 8:14p Set: 12:35a AM Major: 4:12a PM Major: 4:43p 6:10p 5:39a

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 4:09 AM High Tide: 2:04 PM

9

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 2:35 AM High Tide: 3:01 PM

2

PRIME TIME

Set: 8:00p Set: 6:26a AM Major: 11:12a PM Major: 11:35p 12:30a 12:52p

15

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

THURSDAY -0.29 ft 1.50 ft

Set: 7:56p Set: 2:41a AM Major: 6:28a PM Major: 6:58p 8:16p 7:46a

PRIME TIME 5:31 AM 11:23 AM 3:59 PM 10:52 PM

Sunrise: 7:16a Moonrise: 8:29p AM Minor: 5:45a PM Minor: 6:09p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.49 ft 0.87 ft 1.17 ft -0.07 ft

10:00 am — 1:10 pm

Set: 8:00p Set: 6:57a AM Major: 11:57a PM Major: ——1:16a 1:39p

16

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 3:37 AM High Tide: 2:28 PM

Sunrise: 7:08a Moonrise: 2:01a AM Minor: ——PM Minor: 12:01p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

23 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

3:40 — 6:10 am

0.18 ft 1.37 ft

5:20 — 10:05 pm

Set: 8:05p Set: 12:12p AM Major: 5:48a PM Major: 6:13p 7:05a 7:29p

PRIME TIME 4:18 AM 9:56 AM 2:49 PM 9:35 PM

Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 5:46a AM Minor: 4:29a PM Minor: 4:53p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.51 ft 0.95 ft 1.24 ft 0.11 ft

Set: 8:10p Set: 7:01p AM Major: 10:41a PM Major: 11:05p 12:19p None

30

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 2:41 AM -0.25 ft High Tide: 11:55 AM 1.64 ft

Sunrise: 6:53a Moonrise: 11:56a AM Minor: 11:33a PM Minor: ——Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

2:50 — 6:10 am

4:35 — 9:15 pm

Set: 8:14p Set: 1:28a AM Major: 5:19a PM Major: 5:48p 7:09p 6:40a


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Tides and Solunar Table for FEBRUARY 2009 FRIDAY

3

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 5:29 AM High Tide: 2:33 PM

Sunrise: 7:23a Moonrise: 2:05p AM Minor: 1:12a PM Minor: 1:41p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

10 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

-0.22 ft 1.44 ft

4:50 — 6:55 am

Set: 7:57p Set: 3:31a AM Major: 7:26a PM Major: 7:55p 9:13p 8:45a

PRIME TIME 6:31 AM 12:09 PM 4:07 PM 11:29 PM

Sunrise: 7:15a Moonrise: 9:31p AM Minor: 6:33a PM Minor: 6:58p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

 17

1.52 ft 1.05 ft 1.20 ft -0.14 ft

12:00 — 1:40 am

Set: 8:01p Set: 7:30a AM Major: 12:21a PM Major: 12:45p 2:03a 2:27p

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 4:46 AM High Tide: 2:08 PM

Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 2:40a AM Minor: 12:25a PM Minor: 12:49p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

24 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

SATURDAY

0.27 ft 1.34 ft

4:20 — 6:15 am

Set: 8:06p Set: 1:09p AM Major: 6:38a PM Major: 7:01p 7:52a 8:16p

PRIME TIME 5:17 AM 10:45 AM 2:53 PM 10:14 PM

Sunrise: 6:59a Moonrise: 6:20a AM Minor: 5:14a PM Minor: 5:40p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.63 ft 1.11 ft 1.29 ft -0.10 ft

3:20 — 6:20 am

Set: 8:10p Set: 8:08p AM Major: 11:27a PM Major: 11:53p 1:09p 12:44a

4

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 6:45 AM High Tide: 2:51 PM Low Tide: 8:32 PM

Sunrise: 7:22a Moonrise: 3:14p AM Minor: 2:05a PM Minor: 2:32p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

11

-0.12 ft 1.36 ft 1.05 ft

Sunrise: 7:14a Moonrise: 10:32p AM Minor: 7:25a PM Minor: 7:50p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: 3:16a AM Minor: 1:12a PM Minor: 1:34p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

25

0.35 ft 1.31 ft 1.11 ft 1.13 ft

12:00 — 2:15 am

5:20 — 7:10 am

Set: 8:06p Set: 2:06p AM Major: 7:23a PM Major: 7:46p 8:38a 9:01p

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 6:58a AM Minor: 6:06a PM Minor: 6:34p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.72 ft 1.27 ft 1.36 ft -0.27 ft

10:10am — 12:50pm

Set: 8:11p Set: 9:17p AM Major: ——PM Major: 12:48p 2:04p 1:36a

PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME

5:40 — 10:30 pm

5:00 — 6:40 am



New Moon



First Quarter

12:21 AM 7:52 AM 3:06 PM 8:43 PM

Sunrise: 7:21a Moonrise: 4:20p AM Minor: 2:53a PM Minor: 3:18p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

PRIME TIME 6:17 AM 11:34 AM 2:54 PM 10:57 PM

PRIME TIME

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

12

PRIME TIME 5:51 AM 2:11 PM 8:52 PM 11:18 PM

5

PRIME TIME

Set: 8:02p Set: 8:07a AM Major: 1:13a PM Major: 1:38p 2:52a 3:17p

18

High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

6:10 — 8:20 pm

Set: 7:57p Set: 4:14a AM Major: 8:19a PM Major: 8:46p 10:07p 9:40a

High Tide: 7:31 AM 1.52 ft Low Tide: 12:53 PM 1.19 ft High Tide: 4:07 PM 1.25 ft

Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

SUNDAY 1.19 ft 0.03 ft 1.27 ft 0.81 ft

7:15 — 9:30 pm

NOT FOR NAVIGATION

Set: 7:58p Set: 4:51a AM Major: 9:06a PM Major: 9:31p 10:56p 10:32a

PRIME TIME 12:09 AM 8:34 AM 1:38 PM 3:36 PM

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 11:31p AM Minor: 8:20a PM Minor: 8:46p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

-0.15 ft 1.49 ft 1.29 ft 1.30 ft

12:00 — 3:10 am

Set: 8:02p Set: 8:48a AM Major: 2:07a PM Major: 2:33p 3:42a 4:07p

19

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 6:47 AM High Tide: 2:17 PM Low Tide: 8:15 PM

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 3:48a AM Minor: 1:54a PM Minor: 2:16p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

26 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

0.44 ft 1.28 ft 0.98 ft

6:05 — 9:10 am

Set: 8:07p Set: 3:03p AM Major: 8:05a PM Major: 8:27p 9:23a 9:44p

PRIME TIME

7:20 AM 12:27 PM 2:50 PM 11:45 PM

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 7:44a AM Minor: 7:05a PM Minor: 7:35p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.77 ft 1.42 ft 1.45 ft -0.38 ft

TIDE STATION CORRECTION TABLE (Adjust High & Low Tide times listed in the Calendar by the amounts below for each keyed location)

11:00am — 1:15pm

Set: 8:12p Set: 10:27p AM Major: 12:50a PM Major: 1:20p 3:03p 2:33a

PLACE SABINE BANK LIGHTHOUSE (29.47° N, 93.72° W) SABINE PASS JETTY (29.65° N, 93.83° W) SABINE PASS (29.73° N, 93.87°W) MESQUITE PT, SABINE PASS (29.77° N, 93.9° W) GALV. BAY, SO. JETTY (29.34° N, 94.7° W) PORT BOLIVAR (29.36° N, 94.77° W) TX CITY TURNING BASIN (29.38° N, 94.88° W) EAGLE POINT (29.5° N, 94.91° W) CLEAR LAKE (29.56° N, 95.06° W) MORGANS POINT (29.68° N, 94.98° W) ROUND PT, TRINITY BAY (29.71° N, 94.69° W) PT. BARROW, TRIN. BAY (29.74° N, 94.83° W) GILCHRIST, E. BAY (29.52° N, 94.48° W) JAMAICA BCH., W. BAY (29.2° N, 94.98° W) ALLIGATOR PT., W. BAY (29.17° N, 94.13° W) CHRISTMAS PT, CHR. BAY (29.08° N, 94.17° W) GALV. PLEASURE PIER (29.29° N, 94.79° W) SAN LUIS PASS (29.08° N, 95.12° W) FREEPORT HARBOR (28.95° N, 95.31° W) PASS CAVALLO (28.37° N, 96.4° W) ARANSAS PASS (27.84° N, 97.05° W) PADRE ISL.(SO. END) (26.07° N, 97.16° W) PORT ISABEL (26.06° N, 97.22° W)

PRIME TIME SYMBOL KEY



Full Moon

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12:00 — 2:00 am

Last Quarter

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PRIME TIME

HIGH

LOW

-1:46

-1:31

-1:26

-1:31

-1:00

-1:15

-0:04

-0:25

-0:39

-1:05

+0:14

-0:06

+0:33

+0:41

+3:54

+4:15

+6:05

+6:40

+10:21

+5:19

+10:39

+5:15

+5:48

+4:43

+3:16

+4:18

+2:38

+3:31

+2:39

+2:33

+2:32

+2:31

-1:06

-1:06

-0.09

-0.09

-0:44

-1:02

0:00

-1:20

-0:03

-1:31

-0:24

-1:45

+1:02

-0:42

PRIME TIME 12:00 — 1:05 am

BEST DAYS

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by JD Moore, North Zone Fishing Editor & Calixto Gonzales, South Zone Fishing Editor

Coleman Bass Rage LOCATION: Lake Coleman HOTSPOT: Large Flat with Brush GPS: N32 02.856, W99 28.669

SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: buzzbaits, Rage Tail Shad, Carolina-rigged worm CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: The best fishing will be early and late in the day. Try the topwater action around stickups. Pay close attention to any large pieces of wood in the area. In the middle of the day, drag a Carolina-rigged Rage Tail Shad with a 3/4-ounce weight in 4-17 feet of water. Lake Coleman is 13 miles north of Coleman, Texas BANK ACCESS: Shore access is excellent at all camping areas. LOCATION: Lake Nasworthy HOTSPOT: Wind Blown Reed Points GPS: N31 03.736, W100 05.031 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 1/2-ounce spinnerbaits, Rage Tail Space Monkeys and Rat-L-Traps CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: Lake Nasworthy is a small lake in the San Angelo City limits, with an abundance of reed beds and boathouses. In April, the fish bunch up on windy reed points to feast on shad and perch that blow into the reeds. Cast parallel to or across these points with a Chartreuse/white spinnerbait with double willow leaf blades to get bit. After you catch a few, ease on into the reed pockets off the point, flip a Rage Tail Space Monkey in N6

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Green Pumpkin and you will not be disappointed. Also, work the boathouses and docks. BANK ACCESS: Lake Nasworthy Marina, ask marina operator about bank fishing LOCATION: Possum Kingdom Lake HOTSPOT: Bloodweed Island GPS: N32 55.370, W98 26.763 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Rat-L-Traps; 9- to 10-inch blue metal flake plastic worms, rigged Carolina or Texas style CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-779-2597, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Fish the Rat-L-Traps along the shoreline. Fish the plastic worms off shore in 5-15 feet of water, Carolina or Texas-rigged. BANK ACCESS: Willow Beach RV Park, privately owned, ask for permission to fish; largemouth, crappie, striped, and white bass

Big Sam Topwater Bite LOCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir HOTSPOT: Stanley Creek GPS: N31 18.160, W94 25.490

SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, topwaters (frogs and Spooks), Texas-rigged creature baits, 10 inch worms CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr. 903-4782633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Stanley Creek is located on the North end of the lake and can be easily accessed by boat lanes and then turning left into the creek system. The Stanley Creek area is a major spawning ground consisting of

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JD MOORE

CALIXTO GONZALES

willows and buck brush along the bank with hydrilla patches scattered throughout. The spawn is about over and the bass are in a feeding mood to replace the weight they lost during the spawn. In the morning use spinnerbaits and topwater plastic frogs and Zara Spooks, Flip weightless 10 inch worms and creature baits around the brush along the banks. This will get you some larger bass. BANK ACCESS: Powell Park Marina Fishing Pier, catfish, largemouth, white and striped bass LOCATION: Toledo Bend South HOTSPOT: Texas Island GPS: N31 11.981, W93 36.981 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: tube jigs in red/white or black/Chartreuse CONTACT: Jim Morris, 409-579-3485, cypresscreekmarina@valornet.com TIPS: Fish the west side of the island in 1012 feet of water. Try using a tandem rig. Experiment using different color jigs on the hooks, red/white on top jig, black/Chartreuse on bottom jig. Try different color combinations if you don’t get a good response on the colors you start with. BANK ACCESS: Ragtown Recreation Area, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, white and striped bass

Buchanan Secret Weapon Bite LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Rock Piles GPS: N30 34.496, W98 21.528

SPECIES: largemouth bass


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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

BEST BAITS: shad colored Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, Texas-rigged Pumpkin Wacky Sticks, white suspending crankbaits; Wave Worm Ticki Dip Sticks, Texas-rigged without a weight CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Fish the 5- to 10-foot breaklines off flats and deepest creeks using 1/4-ounce shad colored Secret Weapon spinnerbaits, etc. Work the rock piles, ledges, and chunk rock. Also areas from Beaver Creek into the Colorado should not be overlooked. JDC poppers in white will also produce. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, catfish, largemouth, crappie, white bass LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Turkey Cove GPS: N29 52.846, W98 13.152 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Smoke red flake tubes on jig-

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heads, 4-inch purple/brown pepper flake drop-shot worm, jerkbaits like JDC’s Sweet Water Chub CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Fish inside of secondary points and transition areas of bluffs in Turkey Cove in 815 feet of water using the above listed baits. Twitching a jerkbait like the JDC Sweet Water Chub is also a “go to” bait this time of year. BANK ACCESS: Potters Creek Park, largemouth bass, stripers, catfish

Tail Humming at Aquilla

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SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Little Georges, Tail Hummers, slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Wind blown points and humps are producing spawning whites. Using Little Georges and Tail Hummers, casting to the windward side of the humps, points and the spillway at the dam will give you limits of whites. Make long casts up into the concrete spillway area, using light line with either slabs or Little Georges to make the long casts. BANK ACCESS: Tailrace Fishing Pier, white bass on jigs, Little Georges, Tail Hummers fished in outlet LOCATION: Lake Belton


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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

HOTSPOT: Stampede Creek GPS: N31 14.797, W97 27.132 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbait with single silver Colorado blade CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411, Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com TIPS: Work stumps, logs, laydowns, and any other wood cover. Allow spinnerbait to helicopter down alongside vertical cover. You can also run spinnerbait so that it frequently contacts wood over horizontal cover. Work low and slow. Consider a dark pork trailer on the spinnerbait hook. BANK ACCESS: Temple Lake Park, largemouth, catfish, white bass LOCATION: Fayette County Reservoir HOTSPOT: Boggy Creek Timber GPS: N29 56.501, W96 43.997 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad or punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Fish are in the latter part of the spawn now. This area will offer 1 to 8 foot water in and around tree stumps. Use a Carolina rig on windy days and slip cork on calm days. Use No. 4 treble hooks for punch bait and a No. 1/0 Kahle hook for cut bait or worms. Work the trees and stumps closely, applying some chum in those areas and coming back to work them again within 30 minutes. Do not hesitate to work the open areas between the trees, as spawning cats sometimes pile up in this open area prior to spawning. BANK ACCESS: Junkyard Cove, largemouth bass

Boca Chica Bank Bite LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Boca Chica Jetties (bank access) GPS: N26 3.904, W97 8.738

943-6161 TIPS: Shorebound anglers can have as successful a fishing trip as any boating angler. The only difference is that they have to tote all their stuff up to the truck and back. Mangrove snapper start piling up around submerged rocks around the jetties during spring. Most are 12-13 inches long, and put up a stout fight on most tackle. Live shrimp and fresh shrimp are the best baits, but larger fish seem partial to squid chunks or menhaden (locally called shiners).

Baffin Trout Take Plastics LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.206, W97 34.362 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Strawberry/black back, Plum/chartreuse, Rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse; Corkies in Plum, dark patterns CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-

6089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Trout are going to be cruising around the rocks of areas such as Center Reef, ambushing young of the year bait. A Corky

For MORE HOTSPOT listings, go to our website and click CURRENT ISSUE ARTICLES

SPECIES: Mangrove snapper BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh shrimp, shiners, squid CONTACT: White Sand Marina, 956-943A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

Devil is a very popular early-spring lure, especially in dark patterns. Soft plastics should be rigged on smaller jigheads and fished very slowly. A noisy float such as an Old Bayside Paradise Popper wouldn’t hurt, either.

Blue Buck Specks LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.708 W93 54.371 SPECIES: speckled trout

BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Pearl/chartreuse, clear/glitter CONTACT: Captain Bill Watkins, 409-7862018, www.fishsabinelake.com TIPS: April is a good time to find the good speckled trout lurking on the South end of the lake. Watch for schools of young-of-the-year baitfish and shrimp to tip you to where predators are schooling. If you don’t see any bait on top, look for birds Downsize your bait, to about 3 inches to match the hatch.

Crawlers for Cats LOCATION: Texana HOTSPOT: Lake Texana State Park (shore access) GPS: N28 58.278, W96 32.203 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shrimp, cut shad, prepared bait, night crawlers

CONTACT: Park Office, 361-782-5718 TIPS: Both the Park shoreline and the park pier offer access to excellent catfishing in the spring. Most are in the 1- to 2-pound range, but there are some 5-pounders mixed in. Bottom fishing around timber with natural or prepared baits is a good way to kill an afternoon with you family.

Contact North Regional Fishing Editor JD Moore by email at hotspotsnorth@fishgame.com Contact South Regional Fishing Editor Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com.

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Jerk That Jig SPEED JIGGING IS THE HOTTEST NEW WAY OF fishing structure and suspended deepwater fish, and there is no shortage of different styles, shapes, and sizes of jigs on the market. But a new one that’s hitting the water is Jerk That Jig, a company that launched this spring after a full year of fish-testing to bring a unique selection of new jigs to anglers in search of snapper, grouper, and other structure-dwellers. The big surprise is that these jigs really are different from the knock-offs we are all used to seeing every spring. Unlike many speed jigs, all Jerk That Jigs are sold with a hook already installed on the solid ring topping the jig. The split ring attaching the solid ring to the jig is oversized, and the hook leader is copper-fiber Dacron coated with heat-shrink tubing. That makes them more or less impervious to toothy fish like kings and wahoo. The most unique model from Jerk That Jig is the 100-gram Clear Eyes, which has an open slot molded into the center of the jig. Mini Cyalume glow sticks clip into the slot, turning your jig into a lighted lure for nighttime fishing or deep-dropping where the sun don’t shine. When I tested these lures, I found the Cyalume stick stayed put, much to my surprise, even when I whipped my rod tip up at maximum velocity for hours at a time. The 150-gram Red Eye is another unusual jig, which looks like a pair of jigs molded together in the middle. The double-ended shape gives it a dancing motion that makes reef fish snap, and the top-hook rigging minimizes snags. Contact: USA Fishing Supply, 757-8511017, www.usafishingsupply.com —Lenny Rudow

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radar game, making it possible to install a dome on virtually any boat large enough to support a T-top or arch. The dome is a mere 11 inches tall, 19 inches around, and weighs just 16 pounds. How can this unit be so light, small, and energy efficient, yet still see up to 32 miles into the distance? Traditional radars send out a microwave pulse, then measure the time it takes for that pulse to reflect from a target back to the radome. In doing so, they pull enough juice to drain a single marine battery in a matter of hours. On top of that, they radiate a significant amount of energy that when installed in an improper location, it might zap you or your passengers with microwave radiation. Lowrance’s new Broadband Radar sends out a continuous transmission wave with a 5.2-degree horizontal beam width, which increases in frequency as it moves away from the dome. The difference between frequency in the transmitted and returned wave is how the unit determines target distance. That means this system uses less energy , eliminating the power concerns for a radar-equipped

boat with a single battery and personnel proximity to the dome. The result of using frequency instead of time reflection is also evident on-screen. Target definition in the shorter ranges is phenomenal, good enough to see the difference between piers and the boats moored at them. And the usual “dead zone” of blank space around the boat is eliminated with this system, so you can get returns on boats, land, and other structures just feet away from your own boat. Even on longer ranges up to 10 miles or so, you can expect target resolution in the 2- to 3-meter range. Plus, the antenna uses all solid-state parts, which means there is no warm-up time; just flip a switch and the unit’s up and running. Put all of these factors together, and you have a unit that can be easily mounted and run on a platform far smaller than any that could accommodate radar prior to Broadband. If you have a T-top, you can start running with radar. Contact: Lowrance, 800-324-1356, www.lowrance.com —LR

Small Boat Radar WOULDN’T IT BE NICE TO HAVE RADAR ON YOUR boat? But small boats can’t support the weight and power consumption a radome requires—until now. Lowrance’s new Broadband Radar is going to change the A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Who’s Your Buddy? The Buddy Bag is an exciting new product. Nothing like this has ever been available. It is an all-in-one ice chest and gear bag. The set can be used together as adjustable saddlebags, a briefcase or hiker’s over-sized backpack. The two can be utilized separately as backpacks or handheld bags. The versatility in the attachment system allows them to be secured to many things, such as a boat-seat, horse, atv, pwc, kayak, tractor, motorcycle and many other things. The extensive insulation provided ensures it will perform as the best ice chest you have owned, keeping items cold or hot. It doesn’t leak. You can even make it your insulated livebait-well. It is designed to carry many items for the fisherman or hunter. It will carry your fishing rods and gear for you, or your gun and hunting gear. Attach things like your folding chair, bedroll, blanket, towel, jacket, catch bag, net, or many other things and sling the set over your shoulder leaving your hands free. Each bag has a hidden-pocket for private valuables. It is buoyant, crushable and resilient. It comes in many colors and finishes. For more information see our website at www.thebuddybag.com or call us at 832-3478778.

SnakeBlocker ScentBlocker, the world leader in scent elimination clothing for hunters has developed a strategic boot to help take the venom out. The SnakeBlocker boots offers the security and protection from the deadliest of snakes without compromising the scent elimination factor. The Dream Season Pro SnakeBlocker Boot 17” features: Removable SPF 60 Activated Carbon Fabric Filter with BodyLock; SnakeBlocker™ snake bit protection; Side Zip Construction – Enhanced speed of entry; Removable Activated Carbon Insole with S3™ AntimicrobialTechnology and Toe N12

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Warmer Compatible; S3™ antimicrobial technology to aid in odor control; 100% Waterproof membrane; Brush Blocker ShinGuard Protection; Triple Density Rock Shock Stabilize; Lugs for Multi-Terrain Traction; Reinforced Rubber Toe; Climb Right Heel Design; Sizes: Men’s 8-13 Medium & Wide Widths (1/2 sizes up to size 12); Color: Mossy Oak Obsession. For more information, cal (800) 3971827 or visit www.scentblocker.com

strong commitment to market needs and the boating industry.” Honda also announced that it ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with FourStroke Outboard Engines” in the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Marine Engine Competitive Information Studysm, the fourth such honor the company has received in the past five years. For more information – visit www.hondamarine.com

Honda 4-Stroke

Sportz Truck Tent

Honda Marine will expand its award-winning lineup of fuel-injected four-stroke outboard engines with the all-new BF60. Introduced at the 2009 Miami International Boat Show, the 60-horsepower (hp) outboard still is a prototype model; Honda plans to officially introduce the new engine to consumers this summer. Honda Marine is committed to the development of lightweight, high-performance, fuel efficient four-stroke outboards. In 2006, the company introduced its re-designed BF75 and BF90 EFI, and continued to build on its success in 2008 with the introduction the allnew, fuel-injected BF40 and BF50, which carry many of the performance and efficiency hallmarks of their 75 and 90 horsepower siblings. The new BF60 will feature design cues similar to its 75 and 90-horsepower predecessors, including the cowling’s wing-form design, a performance-oriented gear case, and a host of Honda-exclusive innovations. While specifications of the new engine were not disclosed, Honda Marine Senior Manager, John Fulcher, indicated that the new BF60 will continue Honda’s tradition of offering innovative, fuel-efficient, high-performance outboards, and will set the new best-inclass standard in the mid-range segment. “Honda Marine continues to raise the standard for fuel efficiency and performance,” said John Fulcher, senior manager, Honda Marine. “The all-new BF60 continues that tradition, and reinforces Honda Marine’s

The Sportz Truck Tent III assembles in the back of your open-bed pickup, creating a comfortable, restful sleeping area for two people with over 5.5 ft. of headroom. Set up is a breeze with shock-corded fiberglass poles that are color coded to match the corresponding sleeves. The tent’s bed straps and an interior support pole adds strength allowing it to stay secure in the bed of the truck during storms. Durable, polyester exterior and rain fly have 1200mm of waterproofing coating to keep you dry even in the wettest weather. The Sportz Truck Tent III features: two large No-See-Um mesh windows and two ceiling vents for excellent ventilation, and a 6ft. x 6-ft. awning creates a protected storage area for bulky gear and plenty of shade. Two interior pockets and a gear loft keeps your gear organized and off the ground and an access sleeve lets you run electrical cords from the cab of the pickup to power lights and other appliances inside the tent. The tent is available in eight sizes to fit the most popular trucks on the market. For more information, call (800) 567-2434 or visit www.sportzbynapier.com

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Cactuflage While most companies are trying to get their products seen, a new clothing company, Sportsman’s Concepts/Cactuflage, is trying to be invisible…..to all sorts of wildlife throughout the West. With a motto like “The best Continued on Page N15 


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The Briley Story THE STORY OF JESS BRILEY AND THE HISTORY OF Briley Manufacturing are a tribute to American ingenuity and the can-do attitude. Briley, age 81, began his working life as “an ordinary roughneck, making a living swinging iron” in the oil patch. He also had penchant for working with different metals in machine shops. “I was working for Magnolia Offshore Exploration,” Briley said. “From time to time

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they would all but shut down...you know the oil business. They shut all the offshore rigs down, moved us to shore, and I ended up in Luling. We were re-drilling the old Luling field there. “I got involved with a guy there, a little machine shop, and we went into the screw machine business. That’s how I got back into the shop full time.” Briley was also attending the University of Texas, but never finished his degree requirements. Early Hunting Experiences: The first gun Briley owned was a .22 single-shot rifle. Squirrel hunting was the first thing he really enjoyed hunting. “When I was growing up in West Texas, if you used a shotgun on squirrels, there was

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something wrong with you...go learn to shoot,” Briley said. “I had some guys I worked with, one of the guys that I had as a partner one time. I have seen him skid the tires on the highway to jump a fence and get a squirrel out of tree he saw in a pasture.” From squirrel, Briley moved on to dove and quail hunting. Bigger animals just were never part of what he did. He still likes to hunt dove, but not much quail hunting anymore: “My walking days are just about used up.” Tube Sets & Screw-in Chokes: Through a couple of job moves, Briley ended up in Houston. In the newspaper one day, he read about skeet shooting at the Winchester Whitewing Gun Club in Pasadena. “I said to myself, ‘what in the world is skeet?’ I went out there one day and they


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NEW PRODUCTS loaned me a gun. I bought a couple boxes of shells and shot some skeet. Depending on how you want to look at it, that was either a mistake or the beginning of what we are doing. That’s how I got into the shooting business.” Briley couldn’t afford the guns he wanted, so he just started making them on the machine tool equipment in his garage. Most skeet shooters at that time had interchangeable barrel sets: “Tube sets seemed like a good idea. I made some for myself, and some of my friends asked me to make some for them.” With a tube set, a 12-gauge shotgun can be turned into a 20- or 28-gauge, or .410 by inserting the chosen tube into the original barrel. “The additional weight we put into the gun with the tube sets made them perform better on the skeet field,” said Briley. “Heavier guns break targets better. You don’t want a heavy gun when hunting; you have to carry the pesky thing around.” Briley was approached by a trap shooter who wanted to know if there was some way he could change choke restrictions in his shotgun. Briley accepted the challenge and designed a screw-in choke for the trap shooter’s gun. That choke is still in the Briley line of chokes today. “The people in Mexico understood screw chokes a long time before anyone else,” said Briley. “In Mexico, one weekend you might be shooting at sea level and the next weekend you might be shooting at 4000 feet. You need a different choke for different elevations or you might as well shoot a full choke for everything. They started buying chokes from us early on in the history of the company. That’s what pushed us into the screw choke business.” Today, screw chokes are the top seller in the Briley line. During all of this history, the garage was replaced by a manufacturing plant with the latest in automated machine tools, manned by skilled artisans and a new partner, Cliff Moller, Briley’s son-in-law. Besides tube sets and screw in chokes, the company offers many other shooting products for the shotgun, rifle, and pistol shooter, including custom gunsmithing. Despite all the years in the business, Jess Briley is not ready to retire. “What else would I do?” Contact: Briley Manufacturing, 800-3315718, www.briley.com —Tom Behrens

Is Your HitchSafe?

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Common Problem... Where do you put YOUR keys when you hunt or fish? On top the tire, inside as lid or using one of those magnetic things that are easy to find and fall off? HitchSafe is popular with outdoor enthusiasts because you secure keys inside your receiver with no need to hassle with or lose keys during outdoor activities. HitchSafe installs via two sliding bars that secure each of the hitch bolts from inside the receiver thus HitchSafe is self-secured inside receiver and the only way it can be removed is to know the combination to the drawer. The 10,000 combination drawer holds keys and even credit cards, driver’s license and cash if you do not want to take your wallet along (most people use it for keys). An attractive cover secures and conceals HitchSafe so that nobody but you knows it is there. To purchase HitchSafe use discount code “fandg” to get 10% off and free shipping at www.padlocks4less.com. To learn more about HitchSafe, go to www.hitchsafe.com

camo you’ve ‘never’ seen”, this “Made in America” camouflage company is making a mark on the outdoor product scene. The unique pattern of “cactuflage” features a variety of cactus for southwest lowland hunting, but amazingly the pattern also works very well in a wide variety of forests. A quick trip to the cactuflage.com website confirms this with pictures of hunting successes. Owner, Ken Thompson, has taken this original Texas product back to the market where it is fast becoming a staple in the closets of hunters throughout the world. Available to hunters world wide through the internet retail site, cactuflage.com, this camo is being worn from Africa to Arizona, and from San Diego to Syracuse, New York. For more information contact: Ken Thompson, P.O. Box 2806, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86405. (877)805-7773 Email: cactuflage@gmail.com

Mojo Bass Rods Park Falls, WI – St. Croix®’s hot new Mojo Bass rods add just the right touch of magic to jigs, plastics, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, frogs, swim baits, and drop shot rigs – or when pitching and flipping. Every one of the 12 technique-specific, advanced technology casting and spinning rods are engineered for maximum performance at a price that will let you fill your rod locker! Built from premium-quality SCII graphite with a hot “Black Cherry Metallic” finish, and outfitted with Batson Forecast® hard aluminum-oxide guides with doubleplated black chrome frames, the Mojo Bass will turn as many heads as they do fish. With Fuji® ECS reel seats and a black hood on casting models and Fuji® DPS reel seats with black hoods on spinning models, they feature contemporary split-grip handles with premium-quality cork, so the all-new St. Croix Mojos look as great as they cast. Finished with two coats of Flex Coat® slowcure finish, and handcrafted in North America, the Mojo Bass rods are covered by a 5year warranty backed by St. Croix Superstar Service. Retail prices range from $90-$120. Contact Jeff Schluter at 800-826-7042 or jeffs@stcroixrods.com. 856 4th Avenue North, Park Falls, WI 54552 U.S.A. www.stcroixrods.com

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Lowrance Endura Lowrance launched its next generation handheld GPS navigation systems, the Endura Series. Consisting of three innovative touch-screen systems, the Endura Series is equally suited for hunting, hiking and fishing, and includes pre-loaded topographical maps, access to aftermarket maps and is compatible with open community content. The economical Outback, high-performance Safari and top of the line Sierra are preloaded with Intermap’s Accuterra mapping, extensive outdoor networks and points of interest as well as the NAVTEQ U.S. road network. The Endura Series includes extra internal storage for additional content and navigational data, and has a micro SD slot that adds up to 32GB of memory for of additional mapping, pictures and MP3 audio file storage. The Endura line is fully waterproof and housed in rugged, easy-to-hold rubberized armor case. The 2.7-inch touch screen display makes data entry and map manipulation easy and the intuitive keypad makes data entry easy in situations where the touch screen is not convenient, such as when wear-

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S&W M&P15PC MITH & WESSON HAS BEEN ONE OF THE premier manufacturers of handguns since Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson formed a partnership and began producing revolvers in 1856. The company, no longer under control of the Wesson family, still manufactures what is arguably the finest line of handguns in the world. Over the years, they have occasionally ventured into the production of rifles and shotguns, usually having the guns made by other companies. Recently, the company has begun manufacture of a new bolt-action rifle called the i-Bolt, and also a line of semi-auto long guns based on the combat proven AR-15 design, which Smith & Wesson has dubbed the M&P15 (“M&P” meaning “Military and Police”). My test gun was the varmint/target version, the M&P15PC (“PC” for “Performance Center”), meaning this is a semi-custom rifle built in Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center shop.

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It is a flattop version with no open sights and no flash suppressor. It has a free-floating, stainless steel, heavy barrel 20 inches long; chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge (which means you can shoot military or civilian ammo in it); and with a 1-in-8 twist. The fast twist will stabilize heavier bullets, such as the Sierra 69-grain Match King or 70-grain Speer Hot-Core. It will also handle the standard 55-grain bullets, but probably would balk at anything lighter than 55 grains. The trigger is a two-stage match setup. It is

by Steve LaMascus a really sweet trigger, crisp and light, letting off at a really shootable 4 pounds and change— a pleasant surprise in this age of triggers too horrid to describe. The buttstock is the standard A2 model. The gun is camouflaged with the Advantage Max-1 pattern, which has a suspicious resemblance to the cenizo sage that is all over my pasture here in Southwest Texas. I mounted a Bushnell 2.5-10X Elite 4200 Firefly scope with a riser and rings from Brownells. Range testing the M&P15PC was a pleasant business. The first group with handloaded 69-grain Sierra Match King hollow points went into just a micron under an inch.

It turned out that this first load I tried was the gun’s favorite. Next in line was Speer’s 70grain Hot Core, which is a better hunting bullet. The M&P15PC shot the Speer bullets quite well, with groups averaging around 1.3 inches. Last were several brands of 55-grain bullets. The M&P15PC shot most of the 55grain bullets into around 2 inches or slightly less and did not appear to favor any particular one. I tried Federal, Black Hills, and Hornady factory ammo and all worked just fine. I had no factory ammunition in the heavier weights, so I can’t say how that would have worked, but I suspect that with the 1:8 twist, the heavier bullets will have a definite edge. This is a sweet gun that shoots very well. The trigger is one of the best I have ever felt on a straight-from-the-factory AR, and is better than a great many of the custom guns I have played with. I would prefer the gun with a little slower twist rate for shooting 55-grain bullets, but it works reasonably well as it is. I actually found no drawbacks at all, which might be a first for me. I guess, if pressed to find something negative to say about the M&P15PC, I would have to say that I don’t like the fact that it throws my once-fired brass on the ground, but I can live with that—or buy a brass catcher.

NEW PRODUCTS  Continued from Page N15 ing gloves. The units are backed by a 1-year warranty and operate using double AA batteries including the new Lithium Ion batteries available from some manufacturers. Pricing starts at $229.99. Visit www.lowrance.com/endura for more information.

MotionEaze Don’t let motion sickness spoil your day! MotionEaze is the most effective motion sickness treatment on the market today. Whether N16

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you want to prevent occasional motion sickness or eliminate the symptoms after the fact, MotionEaze does the job. Just rub in a drop behind each ear. Allnatural, non-prescription MotionEaze has no side effects and doesn’t cause drowsiness or that “drugged-up” feeling. No matter if it’s seasickness, car sickness, at an amusement park, on the playground or playing video games – during any activity in which motion sickness poses a problem. Motion Eaze really works!

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All-Natural Ingredients: 100% natural blend of herbal oils (Laven&

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der, Peppermint, Birch, Frankincense, Chamomile, Myrrh and Ylang-Ylang.) MotionEaze contains no drugs, artificial additives or stimulants of any kind. Only the freshest, highest-quality, natural oils are used in its production. “Traditional” synthetic remedies are famous for their deleterious side effects, such as dry mouth, drowsiness and vision problems. Unlike these drugs, our product has no known side effects. Safe for children and pets. 1-800-785-7675 or Internationally at 863-875-1799 www.MotionEazeWorks.com.


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Finding a New Hobby HEN I WORE A YOUNGER MAN’S clothes, I was, according to some of my friends, a little bit out there when it came to bowhunting. In hindsight, maybe they were right. At the time, it was the only thing on my mind. I would go into the field every single free minute, sometimes simply to find new deer sign or beat the morning sun and sit in some comfortable spot to scope out the local deer herd. In short, I was a “huntaholic.” Well, bowhuntaholic to be completely accurate. I loved the idea of testing my much-practiced skills or attempts at some sort of skill at trying to steer an arrow to its target. The thought of harvesting a whitetail by bow became an obsession. With a few years of success under my belt, the many hours spent in a tree stand allowed me to come up with a new challenge. I wondered how I could use the different parts of the animal I was hunting to a much more useful end. For years, I would take the hide of a deer I harvested and sell it for a few bucks (no pun

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intended). Sometimes, I would trade my buckskin for a brand new pair of soft deerskin gloves. Eventually, I ended up donating the skin to a needy organization that used the proceeds to help the less fortunate. While this was and still is a wonderful thing to do, I was compelled to try my luck at making my own quiver from a deer that I had harvested. I was excited to get started. I read books about taxidermy and what I needed to do to make the hide usable to hold my arrows in place. I ended up buying an inexpensive quiver and covered it with the tanned hide. After I had pieced the hide together and glued it to the quiver, including a section for the bottom of the quiver, I was ready to try my work of art. I forgot about the need to quiet the arrows as I walked to and from my stand. Not good. I made many attempts and ended up with a quiver stuffed with foam. It did work as far as making the arrows silent, but became a problem when I tried to pull out an arrow. At least it looked good. I could not have been more proud of my effort. Geronimo, eat your heart out! Turkey season brought another challenge. After an invitation to hunt with Keith Warren on his Hunting and Outdoor Adventure show came my way, I fell in love with the thought of taking a bird with a bow. Before the hunt with Keith, this child had no luck at all hunting turkey with anything other than a shotgun.

Keith showed me how it was done, and since that day, I will not even carry a shotgun to the turkey woods. Again, I had the dilemma of what I could do to put the turkey I harvested to more use. I love the taste of wild turkey (who doesn’t?), but I still wanted to use some part of the bird beyond the stuffing. I decided to try my luck at fletching my own arrows with turkey wing feathers from a bird that I harvested myself. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? I thought so, too, but after several unsuccessful attempts, I finally decided that this was a job for someone else. I have, of course, fletched my arrows for some time now, using packaged feathers bought at Bass Pro. Any novice can learn how to do this in no time. Using natural turkey feathers involves a long, tedious process that few have the time for in today’s world. The first thing you need to do is split the feathers in half along the quill—as soon as you figure out where the quill is. You will need to cut them again in half and then sand them down so that the end is flat. If that is not enough, after you cut the feathers in half, you will find they are cupped to the left or right. You will need to ensure you do not mix the right and left cupped arrows. All that only to find that you need to secure them in some way onto the arrow shaft. I gave that job to a retired person with a lot of time on his hands. The result was that I had a quiver full of arrows with turkey fletching from a bird I harvested the year before. There is something gratifying about using part of an animal you harvested for your future hunts. It is not easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I like to look at it as part of the preparation for the hunt next year. I found that with my new arrows, I was shooting more frequently and becoming a much better archer for my efforts. Try it, if you are looking for something to do during the off-season. You might find a new hobby. E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com.

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Finding Yourself F YOU ARE IN NEED OF A NEW FISH-FINDER OR chart plotter, it makes sense to get both at once in the same unit. Combination units give you more bang for the buck, allowing you to purchase larger screens and more advanced units while taking up less dash space and running fewer wires. There are tons of combo units on the market. How are you supposed to know which one’s best for your boat? Pay attention to these key features, and soon you will be hunting for fish and plotting your position with ease. Size Matters: You will often want to use a combo unit in split-screen mode, which means there will only be half as much screen space for each function. So, overall, screen

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size is very important. Yup, you’re right; when it comes to screen size, bigger simply is better. But before you can decide what size screen you can afford, you will need to see what size screen your helm can handle. If you are flush mounting the unit, depth counts as much as height and width. Many helm stations have wiring, control cables, and other important items behind them, which might interfere with mounting your unit. So, before you even begin shopping, use a tape measure to nail down the maximum dimensions you can consider. If you are binnacle (top) mounting the unit, depth is still a consideration. Helms with sharply raked windshields or multiple windshield supports might be difficult to fit, and those with rounded helms are even worse. Again, measure carefully to nail down the exact amount of room you have available. Remember to allow space for a clamshell fitting, where your wires will pass through the top of the dash, and also ensure that the surface is accessible from below so you can through-bolt the unit in place. (Screws don’t

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cut it, as they will often vibrate loose from the fiberglass.) Finally, even if there is plenty of space on top of your helm, don’t get too crazy. Large units might impede your view and substantially limit visibility if you have a small windshield and a Bimini top that attaches to it. Once you account for available space, it’s all a matter of dollars and sense, and you can expect to pay several hundred dollars more per inch of screen. Consider the Humminbird line-up, for example. Start with the minimal 3.5-inch screen 383c combo, and you will pay about $400. Get a 5-inch screen with the 595c, and cost jumps to $500. Then check out a 7-inch 917c, and the cost will jump up to about $1000. An 8-inch 955c takes the price tag up to $1400, and going to a bodacious 10.4-inch screen takes the cost all the way up to the neighborhood of $2000. The Color Conundrum: Another important consideration (and cost-boosting feature) is whether to go with a color or monochrome unit. The majority of the units on the market today are color, and nearly all high-end units are. But if a minimal unit (or minimal expenditure) is what works for you, monochrome might be worth considering. From a purely navigational standpoint, color is not necessary. It allows you to differentiate between land and water boundaries more quickly, and makes contour lines more readily apparent, but with some squinting and hard looking, you would figure out these differences regardless. If you are an angler, however, the benefits of color cannot be oversold. The differences between reds, yellows, and greens will indicate the density of the fish-finder returns, and you’ll be able to easily differentiate between schools of bait, big fish, little fish, and structure. How big a financial difference does color make? It’s pretty substantial. Consider Eagle’s Fishelite 480, for example. It has a 5inch monochrome display and costs a hair under $400. The nearly identical colorequipped 640c, however, goes for about $200 more.


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Chip Chat: Different units will take different chartography chips. There are two main chartography companies out there: CMap and Navionics. Navionics cards are, for most models, accepted by Eagle, Furuno, Humminbird, Lowrance, Northstar, and Raymarine units. C-Map chart cards are accepted by most Northstar, Simrad, Furuno, Si-Tex, Standard-Horizon, Interphase, JRC, and Cobra units. Garmin has its own Bluechart and g2 chartography chips, as well as Inland Lakes and Lakemaster chips. So, which of these chips is best for sportsmen? Both C-Map and Navionics make specific model lines intended for specific purposes, and offer better detail than the standard chips. C-Map, for example, offers Max Lakes chips, which include shaded depth areas, state-by-state fishing regulations, fish ID charts, and even roadway data. Navionics, on the other hand, offers offshore chips with incredibly detailed bathymetrics. Garmin’s new g2 Vision chips offer bathymetrics plus satellite imagery, 3-D generation, and aerial photographs of many ports and inlets. The unit you choose will probably accept

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only one of these three choices, so before you spend your cash, make sure you take the unit for a test spin with the chartography installed. Otherwise, you might get a nasty surprise after the fact. Fish-finder Facts: Now that you are ready to nail down a chart plotter choice, it’s time to move along to the fish-finding half of combo units, and in doing so, make this call even tougher. The first detail to look for is the unit’s power rating. Like stereos, it might be given in one of two ways: peak to peak, or RMS. Completely ignore the peak to peak number, as it tells you little about the unit’s actual performance. You will sometimes see a cheap unit with 300 watts RMS, for example, listed as a 2400-watt unit in the marketing hype. Which figure seems more realistic to you? Before getting into wattage and what it means, we have to note that transducer size has a huge bearing on fish-finder performance. In fact, doubling the transducer size actually has the same effect as quadrupling the output power. The larger the transducer, the more focused its beam. Think of the everwidening pings it emits as if they were flash-

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light beams set to spotlight instead of floodlight. So, a machine pushing 200 watts through an 8-inch transducer will see just as deep as a fish-finder pushing 800 watts through a 2inch transducer. That said, the majority of combo units you are likely to see come with a 2- or 3-inch transom transducer, and other transducers will have to be specially ordered. With these common transducers, a 100- to 300-watt machine will do the trick for bay and inland boaters who don’t need to see the bottom in water any deeper than 150-200 feet. Machines of 300-500 watts will hit bottom just fine in waters down to about 500 feet, and 600- to 1000-watt machines are necessary only if you want to get bottom readings in waters off the Continental Shelf. Of course, there is more to this story: frequency. This, too, will determine depth capabilities and detail. Most units run on 200 kHz, which is a great shallow-water frequency. But in water over 500 feet or so deep, lower frequencies like 50 kHz often work better. Just about all units come with high fre-

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Blackstone Fillet Table AVE YOU EVER HAD A COOLER FULL OF FISH that needed to be cleaned and were forced to look for a rock or old board to serve as a makeshift fillet table? Or lugged a heavy stringer to the cleaning table near the boat ramp, only to turn way in disgust at the putrid smell and deplorable cleanliness of the wooden planks? At times like these, I opt to clean my catch at home.

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by Greg Berlocher Over the years, I used a variety makeshift cleaning surfaces: tops of plastic coolers, saw horses topped with boards, etc. All of these worked but left something to be desired, such as a sore back from bending over. I knew I had found the perfect solution when I discovered the Blackstone Fillet Station. The Blackstone Fillet Station was created

with the serious sportsman in mind. The injection-molded tabletop is a no-nonsense work place, with plenty of room. Two sets of legs fold out and lock into place, leveling the worktop at waist level. Unlike many folding camp marvels I have had the misfortune to encounter into contact with, this table is stable and stays put—important when working with a sharp knife. The work surface is well thought out, making it easy to transition a cooler of fish or strap of ducks into edible delights. The work surface features a molded-in sink, flat work

surface, and refuse hole. Fish are filleted on the flat surface, the fillets pitched into the sink while the fish carcass slides through the refuse hole into a waiting garbage can below. The sink has a drain and comes equipped with a grate to catch debris, and a stopper that allows filling the sink if desired. Some anglers like to toss filets into a bucket or water to soak while others like to create a pile and then spray them down. The Blackstone Fillet Station’s sink allows either option. A plastic extension hose connects to the drain on the bottom side of the table, directing drain water away from so it doesn’t splash on your shoes and legs. The developers of the Blackstone Fillet Station added a number of small details that I find extremely handy. One of my favorites is a small, plastic, C-shaped clip at one corner of the table. You snap the end of a garden hole into the clip, thereby holding it in place. No more bending over to retrieve a slimy water hose that refuses to stay within

TEXAS BOATING  Continued from Page N21 quency capability, but if the unit you need must see bottom in extremely deep areas, make sure it offers low frequency as well. Phys Ed: The physical casing a unit comes in should also be something you look at closely, since it will have a direct impact on longevity. If something is marked “splashproof,” that usually means, “will fry when wet.” Those rated “water-proof ” are good, but units rated “submersible” are usually going to last a lot longer, particularly at the open helm of a small boat. Look for independent verification, like the mark IP66. (Ingress Protection, which means the unit has been tested with highN22

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pressure water jets from all directions. An IP65 rating means it survived low-pressure jets.) Also avoid units that have multiple pieces and parts, such as corner covers and spacers that are glued on or snapped in place. Software: Now that we have technical matters out of the way, it’s time to confront your own personal brainwaves. The geeks who develop the guts of these units (the menu patterns and control functions) don’t always think like the rest of us normal folks. As a result, some units are more intuitive to use than others. This is important, unless you like referring to an instruction manual every third button-push; absolutely unacceptable to most of us red-blooded American males. Which unit will be the most intuitive to

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you? It’s impossible to tell until you play around with a specific model, so you will have to go into a store that has them all on display and start pressing buttons. Work your way through the menus, and do your best to drive away any salesman who might pollute the process with their own personal opinions (or advice hinging on which unit has the highest profit margin). Eventually, you will find one that feels right for you, whether you are checking your course or looking for lunkers.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com.

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arm’s reach. The C-clip also allows you to rotate the hose in whatever direction you wish. Sending too many duck feathers or fish entrails down the drain eventually clogs any drain. The Fillet Station’s developers considered this, molding a small channel from the top of the sink to the back of the table. Should the sink overflow, the small channel serves as an “emergency spillway,” directing the threatening wash to the rear of the table and away from your pants.

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The Blackstone Fillet Station weighs in at 25 pounds, making it light enough for a young charge to carry. The tabletop is a tad shy of 24 inches deep and roughly 46 inches long. With the legs folded, it is just 4 inches thick. The front edge of the table has a molded-in fish-length ruler to quickly size all of the fish you clean. Best of all, the table is well made and should provide many years of good service. It was hard to find many faults with the Blackstone Fillet Station. If I could change

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one thing, I would add some type of level adjustment to the legs so it could be used on rocky or unlevel ground. The Blackstone Fillet Station is available at Academy and Cabela’s. I highly recommend the Blackstone Fillet Station to any serious fisherman or hunter.

Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com

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Soft Jerks With Trebles O MOST ANGLERS, SOFT PLASTIC JERKBAITS are pretty much one-dimensional baits. Their sole application is in areas slap full of bass but choked by weeds, brush, or laydowns. The baits were designed for a single worm hook to stay weed free. The

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only problem with this is that since this is what they were designed for, that is all most anglers use them for. Very rarely will you find an angler throwing a jerkbait

One of the biggest advantages of a soft plastic jerkbaits is its weedless nature; this is also one of its disadvantages. A soft plastic bait is typically ren-

in open water with very little visible cover— and that really is a shame because by limiting the locations you use a bait, your are limiting it’s versatility without ever giving it a chance.

dered weedless by having the point of the single hook buried in the body. While this keeps it from hanging in cover, it also keeps it from hanging onto the bass well. If you are reluctant to use a maniacal hook set there is the possibility you will miss a ton of fish. The good news is, there is a relatively simple solution to get around the drawbacks, but it is practical only if you are fish-

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ing relatively open water, as it involves adding a treble hook. If you have found a school of finicky bass hanging out on riprap or along a point, this is an excellent way to ensure that the few fish that hit do not get away. Traditionally, when we speak of adding treble hooks to soft plastics, it is in the form of a stinger or trailer hook in the tail of the bait. This works well, but in a soft jerkbait, it tends to detract from the action slightly, and realistically there are quicker and easier ways to do it. It takes only about four seconds longer to rig with an additional treble than it does with just a single worm hook. The first step is the same as the traditional standard rigging. Tie a 3/0 wide gap worm hook on the end of the main line. Run the point of the hook into the nose of the bait and out the bottom about 1/2-inch from the nose. Run the hook through until the eye is touching the nose of the bait. Now comes the difference: Instead of running the point of the hook back into the body of the bait, slide the point through the eye of a treble hook. Then run the point through a piece of old plastic worm about a 1/4 inch thick. This will hold the treble hook in place. Now you can run the point of the worm hook into the body of the soft plastic jerkbait, but instead of leaving it inside the bait to prevent snagging, run it all the way through, exposing the point on the topside. The point should ride just on top of the jerkbait, lying parallel with the back of the bait. The choices in suitable aftermarket treble hooks are virtually endless, and there really is no right or wrong answer to the question of which is best. The best advice is to carry a handful of sizes, bare trebles, and trebles with Mylar trailers so that you can change them to see what the bass prefer. This rigging really isn’t new, just rarely used. Some soft plastic swimbaits (which are nothing more than oversized jerkbaits) come packaged with worm hooks as well as a few trebles. Manufacturers have recognized the advantages of having more points hanging off their baits.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com.

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A Green Movement ER APPROACH RESONATED LIKE DISTANT artillery fire striking ever nearer. Her high heels clacked on the polished stone floor. The tempo of her steps made it obvious she was on a mission. A tight, brown, mid-length dress was stretched around a blossoming paunch. Her feet were pinched into shoes two sizes too small. Her face reflected red anger. The woman thundered past me in a commotion of nylon and polyester.

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Such things are common in the state Capitol. The hallway was full of every stereotype imaginable. There were the witless wealthy who hold position due to campaign donations. There were the equally obnoxious bureaucrats who are afforded arrogance because of their insulation from the general populace. There were the grinning empty suits shaking hands and slithering from constituents to lobbyists; and there were the tired plodding citizens searching for the correct committee conference room—and there was none of the rare breed known as statesmen. There was nothing for me to do but doze off where I was seated until it was time for our joint committee hearing on Texas Parks & Wildlife Department funding.

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Austin is sometimes referred to as the next largest communist city north of Havana. It is a bastion of liberalism in Texas. Here, brain cells in charge of destructive moral confusion infect and mutate healthy common sense brain cells. Then the “good ol’ boys” that know how to take advantage wait to inject laws that will best fill their coffers. Too often, the public’s natural resources suffer. However, the recently enlightened mouthpieces of the “green” movement are ready to take the reins from generations of ranchers, farmers, and the land stewards that made our Lone Star State unique and prosperous. While they plan to bend our major cities toward alternative energy sources, it would be interesting to see if they could fix one little problem in Alleyton, Texas. This historical burg situated on the edge of the flat Gulf Coast Plains has 165 residents in need of a wastewater treatment plant. Gene Evans, a local civic leader, donated 1 acre of land and the Colorado County Commissioner’s Court accepted. However, future court minutes show that neighboring landowners objected to effluent water crossing their property on its way to the Colorado River. At the same time, the project’s engineering surveyor deemed that there was no definable route for the effluent water to reach the river. Land was then purchased from Dittmann Harrison west of FM 102. The effluent drains from west to east, beneath an FM 102 bridge, and into a channel excavated on the Harrison Ranch adjacent to the bar ditch. It then bleeds over a level plain for 3000 feet until an elevation decline. It again seeps under an FM 102 bridge back to the east, then percolates south in front of Greak’s Beer, Bait, and Ammo store and finally leaves that property to spread into a chain of gravel pits. Now, this is where the matter gets sticky. Harrison claims there is no permit allowing the effluent onto his property, nor has he been paid an easement. The Lower Colorado River Authority, the owner and operator of the treatment plant, says the facility is a money pit and they have all the proper permits. The 1999 permit from the Texas Commission on


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Environmental Quality to discharge wastewater says that the wastewater is discharged into Sandy Branch, which drains to the Colorado River. It goes on to say that this permit does not grant the permittee the right to use private or public property for conveyance of wastewater. The engineering surveyor’s report shows the wastewater being discharged into Sandy Branch. Harrison says the wastewater is discharged into a man-made channel on his property that was dug to raise FM 102 when Interstate 10 was built. That easement was terminated at the completion of the road. His contention is that the wastewater isn’t discharged into Sandy Branch and never reaches Sandy Branch. Harrison readily displays aerial photos showing the green-tinted wastewater on his property and describes its sewer-esque stench. He goes on to say that the American Land Heritage Society has declared that he has a winnable case, but that it could cost $1 million or more to challenge the state. Meanwhile, every elected official involved and the LCRA are aware of the issue, but have offered Harrison no solutions. Harrison believes that the only answer is for the LCRA

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to provide a lift station and pipeline to the Colorado River. The social enigma is having this treated wastewater along FM 102 onemile north from I-10 and 3.5 miles east of Columbus, Texas. The TCEQ permit to discharge this effluent water ends September 1, 2009. As for my thoughts, San Antonio and the LCRA are exploring the idea of scavenging drinking water from the Colorado River. If the TCEQ permit mandates this effluent wastewater should wind up in the river...

Then another set of clacking high heels awakened me from my drifting troubled nap. I glanced up to see a young lady stride by toward our conference room. Her stride was purposeful but unassuming, and she smiled as she made her way through the men crowding the doorway. Okay, there is one thing to like about Austin. I rose and headed to the meeting. E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com.


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ria Sepulveda 6 Redfish Redfish Charters

Brian Patrick and Ma

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Captain Matt Forsh ee of Akins Saltwater Guide Service Limit of Specks Akins Saltwater Guide Service

erford, TX Anglers from Weath Redfish Redfish Charters

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AKINS SALTWATER GUIDE SERVICE

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Captain Larry E. Akins is USAF Retired. Other than the twenty years I spent in the Air Force, I grew up here on the Gulf Coast. I started fishing these waters when I was too young to remember. My father got me started fishing in Galveston Bay, and as I grew older I ventured out. I am at home anywhere from Sabine Lake to Port Isabel. Fishing is all I do now. I started guiding about six years ago and became full-time two years ago. Most of my guiding expertise has been at special request. I have guided people from Washington state, South Africa, and Holland. I have guided people from all over Texas. The reason I like guiding is because I have traveled all over the US and the world fishing. I have caught a lot of fish and now I gain the most satisfaction from seeing other people catch fish. I especially enjoy seeing young people catch fish. I don’t help young people by reeling in their fish, I encourage them. I was with a young man of eight, Matt, when he reeled in his first trophy trout. He did it and that is something no one can take away from him. That day he caught eight trout, the smallest being 19 inches. I would rather help someone catch a record fish, than I would to catch it while out fishing alone. In Montana, I also guided some hunting trips and there are a lot of people who have trophy mounts because of my guiding and their shooting ability. I would rather be guiding. One of the things about traveling so much is that I always make friends everywhere I go. In 2006, I took eight weeks and traveled the Rockies. I fly-fished everywhere; call me and we can talk about it. — Captain Larry Akins, 409-267-5486 (cell) Email me at capt.akins@yahoo.com A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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BUCK—LYTTON SPRINGS, TEXAS

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BLACK BASS—LAKE KIOWA, TEXAS

Levi Hallowich, age 9, of Lytton Springs, Texas, Jason Lange of Gainesville, Texas, caught this shot this 10-point, 140-pound buck with a 20- black bass while fishing on Lake Kiowa. The photo inch spread while hunting on his family’s proper- was taken by his wife Nicole Lange. ty in Lytton Springs with his .223 at 80 yards.

HYBRID STRIPERS—LAKE BUCHANAN, TEXAS Pat Sanders of Houston, and his nephew Corey Sanders, age 14, of Schulenburg, Texas, caught these 10- and 18-pound hybrid stripers while trolling on Lake Buchanan.

BLACK DRUM—CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS

CATFISH—NUECES RIVER, TEXAS

Adair Bates proudly shows off her first black drum to her friend Lillian McCoy. Adair caught the fish on live shrimp with her 4-pound-test spinning reel while fishing the Intracoastal, north of JFK Causeway in Corpus Christi with dad Cody Bates and Lillian’s dad, Tim McCoy.

Amanda Dusek, age 9, caught her first catfish while fishing with her sister and her dad, Darrell Dusek, on the Nueces River. She loves to fish and was excited about her catch.

REDFISH—ARROYO CITY, TEXAS

BLUE CATFISH—NUECES RIVER, TEXAS

Kent Gray of Lake Jackson, Texas, caught this 28- Erin Gallagher, age 9, caught this 10-pound blue inch redfish while fishing with Carl Otsuki in a bay catfish on a limb line using big grub for bait. She out of Arroyo City, Texas. was fishing the Nueces River in Sandia, Texas. She named her useful grub, “Big Buddy.” N30

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BASS—CHOKE CANYON RESERVOIR, TEXAS Jim McCoy of Garden Ridge, Texas, caught this 9pound, 14-ounce largemouth bass at Choke Canyon Reservoir. The bass was 25.5 inches in length, with a 19-inch girth.


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®

Rayburn Crappie Bonanza ONNIE HOWARD’S FAVORITE WAY OF FISHing is running a trotline for catfish, but since his crappie Trophy Quest fishing trip with fishing guide Clark Moore, he is now thinking that crappie fishing is a lot of fun, too. Howard and his wife, Lois, who live in Brownfield, were fishing out of Jackson Hill Marina on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. They arrived the night before the trip and stayed at the Jackson Hill Marina Lodge, courtesy of owner Terry Sympson. “We had the chance to meet Clark and Terry over a great brisket dinner with all the trimmings that Terry served up,” said Donnie.

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by Tom Behrens In addition to a great meal, Howard and Lois were able to get in a little fishing from the dock at the marina. They knew they were in for some great action next morning when they hooked a 17-inch crappie from under the dock. The Howards and Moore were fishing

HOW YOU CAN WIN! TEXAS FISH & GAME HAS GIVEN AWAY OVER 200 TROPHY QUEST TRIPS. TROPHY QUEST is free guided hunting or fishing trips within the state of PHOTO COURTESY JACKSON HILL MARINA

Donnie and Lois Howard’s crappie trip on Sam Rayburn with guide Clark Moore resulted in near limits. large brush piles in 20 feet of water 2-3 miles south of the Highway 147 Bridge. “Every spot we hit, we caught four or five 11- to 13-inch crappie, then moving on to the next one,” said Donnie. “The weather was perfect, nice and warm, very little wind.” They used some minnows, but the main bait of choice was small chartreuse or white bucktail jigs. “I don’t anchor,” said Moore. “I use the trolling motor so I can continually stay on the brush pile, stay on top of them for my customers. We use a 6- to 8-pound-test line and 1/16- or 1/32-ounce bucktail jigs. Chartreuse and a white with white and black heads are the best colors. We count them down. The top of the brush piles was about seven feet deep. We put the jigs right on top of them. “The jigging action is kind of like a smoker-he kind of thumps the cigarette, dropping

Texas. The package includes a guided trip for two people, one night's lodging and all food and beverage (non-alcohol). Winners are responsible for all travel expenses getting to and from the destination point. HERE'S HOW YOU WIN! If you are a TF&G subscriber, your name is automatically entered on our monthly Trophy Quest Trip drawing. If you are a subscriber and would like

ash. You just kind of pop the jig like that. A lot of times if I am trying to hide a brush pile I will cast out there and let the jig drift across like a pendulum. That works really well too.” Donnie hooked a 5-pound largemouth bass off of one the brush piles with a jig, adding more excitement to an already good day. The Howards went back to Lubbock with 49 cleaned, bagged, crappie filets. Donnie now mixes catfish and crappie fishing “I’m learning more about crappie fishing,” he said. SPECIES: Crappie LOCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir GUIDE: Clark Moore, 936-554-9404, www.clarkmooresfishingadventures.com FOOD, DRINK, & LODGING: Jackson Hill Marina, 936-872-9266, www.jacksonhill.us

your name entered 15 more times in our next monthly drawing, simply send us an email with your name, address and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com. You can still win even if you are NOT a subscriber. Simply email us with your name, address, and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com and you're entered in our next drawing. One winner is chosen at random each T E X A S

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month. The winner must be available to go on one of two previously scheduled dates. If the winner is unable to attend on either dates scheduled for the TROPHY QUEST TRIP, the winner's name will be returned to the pool for future drawings and another winner will be drawn. *Phone numbers will ONLY be used to contact the winners and will not be used for any other purpose.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF SEALY OUTDOORS


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ob Sealy and the folks at Sealy Outdoors are throwing a party April 15-19 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and everyone is invited to attend. Festivities will include country western concerts by a couple of headline artists, and a full blown outdoor trade show featuring vendors representing the nation’s leading boat and outboard manufacturers, tackle companies, RV industry, a Kidz Zone, and all sorts of other fun stuff. The multi-day celebration is scheduled in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the McDonald’s Big Bass Splash, an amateur only tournament circuit that originated from one man’s dream to create a bass tournament that would offer grassroots anglers the opportunity to compete for a mountain of prize money for a blue-collar entry fee. That mountain of money is especially steep this year. Sealy Outdoors will give away an unprecedented $1 million in cash and prizes during the three-day event, including package paybacks of $250,000, $100,000, $75,000, $50,000 and $25,000 for the five single heaviest bass overall. Another $324,000 will be awarded in hourly payouts. Plus, there will be a Little Anglers Division that will offer children age 12 and under to compete for some neat prizes by catching bass, crappie, catfish, and perch. A former real estate salesman/fishing guide, Sealy hosted his first event in April 1983 on Sam Rayburn. A field of 492 men women and children forked over the $37.50 per day entry fee to compete for a guaranteed $10,000 cash purse. The money was divided among hourly and overall winners who weighed in the heaviest fish of the event. Realizing he might be on to something, Sealy went fishing for sponsors to help with the tournament. He eventually hooked a big one in the hamburger giant McDonald’s. A host of other supporters has jumped on board since that time, and it shows. While McDonald’s is known for serving up 47 million meals daily, the Big Bass Splash has developed a rich history for paying out megabucks and valuable prizes for big bass reeled in by paid contestants. The family-oriented fishing tournament has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 2-1/2 decades, attracting thousands of anglers from dozens of states and several countries who have come to cast for a share 60

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Bob Sealy and Ronald McDonald at one of the early Sealy tournaments. of guaranteed cash and prize purses as rich as $560,000. To date, McDonald’s Big Bass Splash events have paid out more than $40 million in cash and awarded more than 600 bass boats and dozens of pickups, ATVs, and recreational vehicles to lucky anglers. The big bass trail now makes regular stops at Lake Fork in Texas, Toledo Bend Reservoir in Louisiana, Lake Guntersville in Alabama, and select venues across Florida. But the annual Sam Rayburn event ranks as the granddaddy of them all, one that has changed the lives of many and created a passel of fond memories for Sealy, his staff, and faithful followers of the popular circuit. Perhaps the most memorable story to unfold at the final weigh-in dates back to 1988, when Simon Oquinn of Silsbee won the tournament with a 9.42-pounder. A construction worker with eight children ages 313, Oquinn was out of work at the time. Sealy said the man entered the tournament using money he sneaked from his wife’s grocery kitty. He fished out of a borrowed johnboat and caught the winning fish close to the Twin Dikes boat ramp, just a stone’s throw from the weigh-in site. Oquinn won $38,000. “He had his whole family up there on stage with him,” Sealy said. “There was not a dry eye in the house. It was a pretty neat deal.” Shift to 1990. That was the year Rodney Cox of Houston won the Big Bass Splash and $45,000 with a 10.66-pounder he caught on a Rat-L-Trap. Interestingly, Cox caught the fish using a reel he bought at a

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garage sale for $2. Then there is the story of Brandon Adams of Florence. Adams has been particularly lucky in Sam Rayburn Big Bass Splash events. In 2004, the 10-year-old won an hourly session and $2000 with an 8.33pounder he caught on a Carolina-rigged Berkley Power Worm. A year later, the Florence Elementary fourth grader went for all the marbles and caught an 11.57pounder. He walked away with the top overall prize package—a brand new H2 Hummer and fully rigged Triton bass boat that carried a combined value of $102,000. Adams also won $1000 for catching the big bass of the hour, capping the richest payday ever for a youth angler in the 50-year history of competitive fishing history. The list goes on and on. In 1987, the third-year tournament advertised a guaranteed first place overall prize of $2500. Dale Robinson of Beaumont caught the winning fish, but he came away with a payday much larger than he bargained for when Sealy surprised him with a check for $35,000. “We really made a statement with that tournament,” Sealy said. “We went from 492 entries to 2267 entries in just three years. That’s when we realized we had something that we could turn into a full-time business. The fishermen really began to take notice at that point and the whole deal just snowballed from there.” Amateur fishermen are not the only ones who have cashed in under the McDonald’s Big Bass Splash format. The tournaments have generated more than $3.5 million in charity donations for Ronald McDonald Houses across America. The RMH’s provide free housing for parents of children who are in the hospital undergoing treatment. “And the neat thing about it is, our tournaments have helped spread the word about the RMH’s,” Sealy said. “That has resulted in a lot of outside donations to the RMH’s from people who previously had no idea the charity even existed.” Admission to the upcoming outdoor show and concerts is free and open to the public. Entry fee for the McDonald’s Big Bass Splash is $110 for one day, $160 for 2 days, or $210 for three days per person. There also are a couple of bonus games contestants can enter to win additional money. Entry fee in the Little Anglers Division is $10 per day, per person. For more information, see www.sealyoutdoors.com or call 888-6982591. PHOTO COUTESY OF SEALY OUTDOORS


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The Watermelon Field IG WHITETAIL BUCKS AND LONG-BEARDED gobblers have a lot more in common for me these days, especially anytime I visit the Holt River Ranch just 15 minutes from my home in Palo Pinto County. I am what you might call a turkey-hunting fanatic. I almost grow feathers while trying to outwit the biggest toms in the spring woods. The Holt River ranch is loaded with turkey, and among my plans this spring is to set up somewhere along the edge of a large food plot called “The Watermelon Field.” It was there last Thanksgiving morning where my nervous system received a burst of adrenalin I haven’t experienced since my youth, when sighting any gobbler or any whitetail buck sent my heart beat into high gear. I never have considered myself a trophy deer hunter. Oh, I have bagged a few beauties over the years, but to me the fun of hunting (besides the great enjoyment of just being in the woods) is to shoot a nice buck whenever the opportunity arises, but to not let the season end without venison in my freezer. Unfortunately, a large number of trophy bucks taken in Texas these days are shot by someone who has paid a hefty price to be driven around in search of “Ol’ Drop Tine,” “Cactus Buck,” or some other named deer inside a high-fenced ranch. I had already bagged a nice eight-pointer in Anderson County and another in Lampasas County early last season, so having venison in my freezer was partially taken care of. I say “partially” because I love to cook venison every imaginable way for my friends and myself. We eat it year-round, and last Thanksgiving I knew another deer would

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BOB HOOD

The author with his “Watermelon Field Buck.”

fit nicely into my freezer. John Bryan of Graham changed my usual pursuit strategies a few weeks before Thanksgiving when he showed me a trailcam photograph of a heavy-bodied 12-pointer with a drop tine on its left side. He also had a photo of a huge eight-pointer. Bryan is the wildlife manager on the Holt River Ranch (www.holtriverranch.com) and told me I could take any mature buck I wanted, but encouraged me to hunt for the 12-pointer. Day after day, I arose at 5 a.m. to hunt one of three blinds in the area. I even tried rattling from the box blind overlooking The Watermelon Field, bringing in three small bucks in one session and three individual eight- and six-pointers on three other occasions. And then came Thanksgiving Day. I figured I could hunt until 10 a.m. that morning and still have time to go home, shower, and be in Graham by noon for Thanksgiving dinner. At daybreak, I watched five does come to a corn feeder about 100 yards from The Watermelon Field. At 7:30 a.m., the huge, dark gray eight-pointer appeared. It was a beauty. Truthfully, I considered shooting him, but couldn’t get that picture of the 12-pointer out of my mind. I watched the eight-pointer leave. At 9 a.m., eight gobblers, all long-beards, came to the feeder. Through binoculars, I T E X A S

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guessed their beards at 9 to 11 inches. The smallest was almost reddishorange. Although the deer had eaten most of the corn, the gobblers scratched the dirt for what remained. They still were under the feeder at 9:20 when a large flock of hens and jakes appeared. I counted 32 as they crossed a pasture road. With little to nothing left under the feeder, most of the turkey wandered out into the large food plot beside me, scratching and pecking for what vegetation had pushed through the drought-dry ground. They still were scratching and pecking at 9:50 when I looked at my watch for the last time. Heavy dew on a stationary door window behind me finally cleared under the sun’s rays. I glanced back to check the area in the opposite direction of the feeder. The sun had brightened the openings, and within one of them about 100 yards away, was the dark reddish-brown body of a deer with its head down. I grabbed my binoculars. The deer lifted its head and the size of the 12-point antlers and drop tine sent my heart racing. Fortunately, the big buck was at ease and my nerves soon were, too. The buck went down where stood; its B&C score of 166 points, 175-pound size, and 5-1/2-year age are nice figures, but only that—figures on paper. The real reward comes from the excitement of harvesting such a nice buck on its grounds in an outdoors theater of turkey, deer, and other wildlife. As I pass through The Watermelon Field with plans to bag one of those big gobblers this spring, I will remember that even for us veteran hunters, patience can’t stop the heart-throbbing excitement that a single whitetail deer can produce.

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APRIL 1995

25th ANNIVERSARY

t was one of the first northers of winter ‘94, a mere whisper of a cold front that had finally forged its way down to the Upper Texas Coast after shrouding the Dallas area for better than three days. Capt. Pat Murray and I watched eagerly as the thick blanket of fog that embraced the north shoreline of East Galveston Bay lifted its skirt and vanished atop the breeze. A few miles to the west, wading over an oyster-studded sand bar just below Windmill Reef, Capt. David Wright was busy casting a pink and silver Bill Lewis Slap-Stik floater-diver. The skies cleared rapidly. Behind us to the east, on the horizon near Hanna’s Reef, only a hundred yards down the bank over waist-deep water, frantically working flocks of seagulls appeared out of virtually nowhere. Murray, Houston Post outdoor writer Ken Grissom and I gazed at each other in disbelief. Here it was, the month of December, and the birds, unbelievably, were diving over trout schools. World-class weird, we concluded, but no stranger than the unseasonably warm weather we had been enjoying for weeks on end. Abnormally warm water temps and the approaching cold front had, to our delight, lit the fuses of East Bay’s resident speckled trout. 62

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Murray whipped one of Heddon’s new saltwater Zara Spooks into lime-green water that could well have come out of a spinning blender set on “frappe’,” a frothy mass of tailsnapping white shrimp and gluttonous specks that were obviously out to fill their bellies fast before rising north winds fouled the water clarity. The strike was immediate and forceful. Murray grinned widely as the 23-inch fish careened out of the water and cartwheeled, but with a sparring trout of my own on the line it was a bit hard to pay attention. For my efforts, a red and white Luhr-Jensen Woodwalker had gotten the same rude treatment. Lest this begin to sound like a lure commercial, bear this in mind: none of the aforementioned lures are “traditional” coastal topwaters. Along the Upper Coast in particular, the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow for years has ruled like a dug-in

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TEXAS FISH & GAME MAGAZINE

SPECIAL FEATURE

Galveston guide Pat Murray with a nice redfish taken on a topwater lure.

by Larry Bozka PHOTO BY LARRY BOZKA

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South American dictator. Down south from Rockport to Port Isabel, though it’s a floater/diver as opposed to a purebred topwater, the Cordell Red Fin is the unchallenged standard. Rare is the coastal tackle box that doesn’t contain at least one of each. Even rarer, though, is the box that carries other options—challengers, so to speak. Fishermen of all breeds tend to get locked into inflexible niches, and so do outdoor writers. Yes, I will readily attest to the bigfish potency of the aforementioned traditional topwaters. After all, the venerable Red Fin granted Corpus Christi angler Mike Blackwood a 13-pound, 9-ounce Baffin Bay trout in 1975 that still reigns as the Texas state record. But in the interest of both fun experimentation and offering you something that’s not yet another re-hash of stories and techniques past, I made this trip and several others in recent months to ascertain exactly what else will do the job for saltwater surface fishing. What I learned, as both hoped and expected, is that topwaters of all kinds including those made for bass fishermen will perform admirably in the brine. In some cases, given the not infrequently fickle nature of marine game fish, they will actually perform better than—gasp!—the tried-and-true Jumpin’ Minnow and Red Fin. To those with a concrete mindset, such a statement borders on heresy. But it’s a fact well worth knowing if you hope to keep your bases covered when stalking that one fish among fish, the yellow-mouthed, pot-bellied and snaggletoothed sow that still has a space reserved over the fireplace mantle. Topwater plugs offer the angler a number of distinct advantages. Foremost is the fact that these baits are selective offerings for oversized speckled trout as well as whopper redfish. Once a trout reaches the 3-pound range, its diet tends to lean toward small baitfish (mullet, menhaden, and glass minnows) as opposed to shrimp. Sure, live shrimp account for a great many big speckled trout, but the fisherman who is after a war horse can’t go wrong if he throws a topwater plug and, in the process, precisely imitates the forage of bragging-sized “leg trout.” Admittedly, you won’t catch as many fish on a surface bait, but the ones you do catch will often be big enough to eat the “pencil trout” that are so fond of smaller artificial offerings. The size aspect ranks No. 1. Big fish, big 64

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With the weather and water warming up, it’s getting time to hit the bays and do some serious wadefishing. The action should be great this spring. bait. However, the element of undiluted and unanticipated excitement is impossible to ignore. There is, without question, no more exhilarating way to hook a fish than on a topwater plug. And there is no better time in which to do it than right now. The month of April marks a wondrous renaissance for saltwater fishing. Speckled trout make several hatches during the year, but the peak period occurs in April and May. The peak of the spawn usually takes place late this month, when the water temperature approaches 68. Spawning is a shallow-water process— yet another reason why surface baits are such fine choices for this time of year. Sow specks move into calf-deep water, small coves, and shoreline inlets that are fringed with vegetation. The design of a topwater plug allows the angler to both effectively work the lure in 18-inch-deep water and, in the process, keep the bait free of grass. Putting the lure in the right place, however, is a much easier proposition than enticing a shallow water spawner to strike. As opposed to shrimp tail jigs and spoons, topwater plugs are not especially easy lures to use. These baits are not nobrainers. It takes no small degree of finesse to effectively retrieve a topwater plug. Patience is imperative. Spawning speckled trout are as fickle as your typical sorority girl, and they often slash at the lure out of aggression

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instead of striking it as a meal. Furthermore, because water temperatures in April and even early May remain relatively cool, the fishes’ metabolisms are in granny gear, not overdrive. Almost without exception, the fisherman who is working a topwater in a productive area without strikes is an angler who is working the lure too quickly. For the same reason that many bass fishermen cannot get the knack of plastic worm fishing, a great many coastal fishermen cannot literally “get the hang” of retrieving a surface plug. They simply can’t slow it down enough. Sounds easy, but it isn’t. Next time you’re wading the shallows or drifting in skinny-water flats, note the movement and attitude of surfaced pods of finger mullet. These, after all, are the same forage fish you are attempting to imitate. They lounge on the surface in small groups, and only hit the accelerator when disturbed or being chased. A surface lure should do the same. If you don’t see baitfish in an area, don’t fish there. When you do spot the bait, cast the lure into the midst of any “nervous” water (areas in which mullet are actively darting about) and let it rest on the surface for at least 10 seconds or so. Then, twitch it slightly. Let it sit again, and don’t take your eye off the plug. Murray is quick to explain why. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a strike while letting a topwater plug sit dead on the surface,” recalls the young fishing guide. “Hopefully, you’ll be paying attention when this happens,” he adds, “but there are invariably going to be times when you stop the bait, take your eyes off of it for some reason, and moments later it suddenly gets creamed. Considering that you might only get one or two ‘big trout’ strikes in an entire day of topwater fishing,” he stresses, “it can be awfully frustrating to miss a hit like that.” Why, one might wonder, would a fish attack a motionless bait? For one thing, reds and trout are sight feeders, and the floating lure cuts a distinct profile on the surface. For another, if you watch mullet pods long enough, it becomes apparent that the fish sometimes indeed cease to move. There is no exact science to enticing a fish to strike; perhaps the best thing to remember is that if a given retrieve drew action once, it’ll likely do the trick again if that retrieve is repeated often enough. Establish the pattern, and PHOTO BY SOC CLAY


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then stick with it. The warmer the water gets, the more you can get away with a faster retrieve. By mid-May, with water temperatures topping the 70-degree mark, a “walk-thedog” retrieve gets the nod. Walking the dog was first popularized among bass fishermen with the original Heddon Zara Spook, but the action is not exclusive to that bait (LuhrJensen didn’t name the “Woodwalker” out of sheer coincidence). It’s basically a slow but steady, rod tip induced left-to-right-toleft surface “walking” action that’s deadly on everything from largemouth to lunker trout. A critical side note: Walking the dog is much more easily accomplished if the fishermen either ties the lure on via a loop knot (a standard improved-clinch knot rigged above an overhand knot, which cinches off the loop) or attaches a split ring or snap ring to the nose of the bait. Monofilament tied directly to the lure seriously inhibits the action, and it’s essential to rig accordingly. It’s a sad fact that in any scenario the percentage of hook-ups with a topwater plug is going to be noticeably lower than with a sub-

surface offering or even a floater- diver like the Red Fin, Storm Thunderstick, SlapStik, Rapala, or Bomber Long A. With no water to “back” the plug and create resistance, lipless topwaters have a thrilling but ineffective proclivity to blow out of the water when struck. “Blow-ups” are major-league adrenaline producers, but for putting fish on the stringer, they’re second-rate. No matter how skilled you might be, you can expect more than a few blow-ups in the course of a day’s topwater fishing. However, notes Murray, blow-ups do serve one valuable purpose: they betray the location of fish. “A missed strike doesn’t necessarily translate to a missed fish,” he comments. “If a fish goes for a bait but misses it, the first thing to do is completely stop the lure and give the fish another shot at it. And if that doesn’t work,” he continues, “then reel in and cast again to the same exact spot. The fish will still be there, and it may well go for the bait on the second or even third cast. Always try again at least once or twice before you move on to another locale.” As a case in point, Blackwood made three casts to the state

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record trout before convincing the fish. Coastal topwater fishing is slow and tedious. Strikes can be scarce, hook-ups even scarcer. For big trout and redfish, it’s at its consistent best when the springtime weather is at its inconsistent worst. It can bore you to tears for hours and then scare you to death in an instant. Small price to pay, I dare say, to fill that space over the mantle.

About This Article Most coastal sportsmen will recognize the name Pat Murray in this article—not necessarily because of his prowess as a saltwater fishing guide, but as a prominent figure in the Coastal Conservation Association. Murray, for years a fixture in the Texas CCA chapter, is now Vice President and Director of Conservation of the national organization. —Don Zaidle

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Float Plans HORT OF THE WORM-DRAPED HOOK, NO image is more associated with the idea of fishing than the float. Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post and Farm and Fireside covers occasionally featured children young and old decked out with cane poles equipped with red-and-white bobbers. Captain Bob Fuston was always a great Port Mansfield guide, but he’s immortalized by the often-imitated Mansfield Mauler noisemaker float. Sporting goods outlets dedicate entire aisles to floats of various shapes, sizes, and colors. The float also has a wide variety of functions, especially in saltwater fishing. Whether you are a die-hard live bait fisherman, lure purist, or angler that alternates the techniques, there should always be space in your tackle box for these ubiquitous pieces of fishing tackle. The obvious role of the float is as a bite detector. Who hasn’t experienced the breathstopping thrill of seeing a golf ball-sized round bobber disappearing with nary a ripple as some unseen predator takes the bait? The simplest example of a float-as-strike detector is the wine cork that we as kids pilfered from wine bottles (or bought at a hardware store, if we were particularly flush). Floats still serve that basic function. I remember one trip where I was having a devil of a time with sheepshead. Those sneaky convict fish were having a grand old time picking my live shrimp up and carefully chewing them off my hook. By the time I felt the thump from a fish taking, only a small piece of shell on an otherwise bare hook remained. In a moment of frustrated pique, I grabbed a 3-inch popping cork from my tackle-bag, fastened it 4 feet above my bait, and sent the rig next to the Queen Isabella Causeway. The cork bounced once, twice, and then started moving off. I set the hook hard, and after a brief struggle, a chunky 18-

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inch sheepshead was flopping in the cooler. I tossed popping corks to my two fishing partners, and we had a triple limit of sheepies to 8 pounds in very short order. It might seem unsophisticated, but the float-as-bite detector is still a very important tool. As I learned with the sheepshead, we occasionally need a tool to help tip us off when the quarry latches onto our offering. It might lack the elegance of a tarpon inhaling a Tarpon Bunny fly, or the visceral excitement of a redfish rolling sideways to explode on a Super Spook, but a float moving sideways across the water and then disappearing still gets hearts pounding. We all know that saltwater floats also serve as noisemakers. The popping cork does exactly what its name indicates: gives off a loud pop! or chug! with each sharp pull on the rod. The standard popping cork is the Styrofoam weighted model that comes in a variety of high-visibility colors. They’ve helped catch millions of fish over the years, and work with equal deadliness with natural or artificial baits. These noisemakers come in a variety of designs, some made from hollow plastic and filled with shot to add rattles to the equation. One of my longtime favorite rigs is a Berkley Jerk Shad under an Alameda cork; I’ve caught three of my biggest speckled trout on that rig. Captain Fuston’s Mansfield Mauler is another example of a highly successful noisemaker float. The design is simple: a crappie float threaded onto an 8-inch length of heavy wire with beads and swivels attached to either end. The swoosh-click the rig makes when ripped through the water is irresistible to game fish. This rig, however, is designed for areas where the traditional popping cork is less effective—the ultra-shallow grass flats of Lower Laguna Madre from Port Mansfield to Port Isabel. The long wire facilitates shorter leaders, which allow baits and lures to suspend over grass in literally inches of water. Another version of the Mauler, the Cajun Thunder, sports brass beads. Floats help anglers make longer casts, a useful quality when fishing long drifts on the

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flats or needing to reach out to spooky fish from distance. Heavy floats such as popping corks and Alameda floats are effective in these applications, but I’ve found that the corks put out by MidCoast Products (www.midcoastproducts.com) are perfect for long-casting situations. The unique design of the corks, with both the mainline and leader fastened to the same swivel, creates a streamlined rig that doesn’t “knuckleball” on occasional casts. The single swivel design doesn’t undermine the floats’ noisemaking capabilities, either. I’ve long used the Inticer when fishing areas such as the Pasture and Long Bar around Port Isabel with a great deal of success. Another float setup that doesn’t see as much use as in the past—that is deadly when fishing deeper water—is the venerable Lemon Rig. The rig was very popular in the Coastal Bend, especially among fishermen who worked the breakwaters around the Theads in Corpus Christi. It got its name from the lemon juice containers—shaped like lemons—that served as the floats. Anglers would tie a thee-way swivel onto the main line, and then attach two equal-length stagings on the other swivel eyes. On one staging, they tied a hook and split shot sinker, and the float on the other. The primary purpose of the lemon rig was to suspend a bait in the deeper water on the drop-offs near jetties, which trout and redfish used as migration routes, while keeping the entire rig short enough to cast. The whole rig wasn’t very long, but when it unfolded in the water, its length doubled. The rig still works, as you can see some oldtimers still using it on the breakwaters and jetties. You’ll find a great many of us still using floats, not only because they work in a variety of ways, but also because our hearts still pound when it disappears beneath the surface with nary a ripple. That’s when you know they really work.

E-mail Calixto Gonzales cgonzales@fishgame.com


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ARP Record Busters UDOS TO KYLE NITSCHKE, 16, OF WILLIS, who set a new Texas Junior Angler state record for largemouth bass on public waters with a 13.07-pounder on 13 December from Lake Conroe in Southeast Texas. Nitschke’s prize catch is remarkable in many ways. For starters, the fish anchored the 32.85-pound, five-bass limit that Nitschke and his 16-year-old team partner, Tyler Goetzman, put together during the Ignition Bass Club Open Division season finale. Not only did the Willis High School juniors win the tournament and the $1575 first-place prize, they also won Angler of the Year trophies for consistency throughout the season. The story gets better. Nitschke’s new Junior Angler record bested the former record of 13.06 pounds. Amazingly, Goetzman set the old record exactly 11 months earlier while competing in a local jackpot event with his father, Mark. “It was pretty cool that we were together when it happened,” said Nitschke. “I knew it was a big fish the second it took the bait, but I had no idea how big it was until I saw it jump on the other side of the boat.” Goetzman netted Nitschke’s fish using the same net his dad used to scoop up his former record. He said he knew his partner’s fish was well above average when he saw it. “I figured it was close to my record, but we didn’t even take the time to weigh it,” Goetzman said. “We just put her in the livewell and kept on fishing. I sure hated to see my record broken so soon. I’m just glad it was Kyle that broke it instead of somebody else. We’re pretty close friends.” More youth anglers are developing the knack for catching the big ones. In April 2005, 11-year-old Brandon Adams of Florence caught a former junior angler state record that weighed 11.57 pounds. Amaz-

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ble for recognition in the All-Ages division if they catch a fish that qualifies. Gray said participation in ARP has increased significantly, largely because of heightened awareness through newspaper and magazine articles. A number of achievement records remain unclaimed or could be easily surpassed. The junior angler water Kyle Nitschke and Tyler Goetzman with their record-setting fish. body record for largemouth bass at Lake Nacogdoches is a prime ingly, the ink was barely dry on Adams’ state example of the latter. The record belongs to record paperwork when 11-year-old Kenny Grace Marshall with a 1.10-pound fish Schuette of Slaton crushed it with a 13caught June 2007. On nearby Lake pounder at Lake Alan Henry near LubPinkston, no junior angler records exist for bock. Goetzman snatched the title roughly 2any species. The list goes on. 1/2 years later. “There are still plenty of water bodies Though Nitschke’s bass might seem a without records, so the opportunity to get tough act to top, Joedy Gray doesn’t expect your name in the books is out there,” said the record hold for long. Gray heads up the Gray. “For example, each bay system repreTPWD Angler Recognition Program sents a separate water body. When you con(ARP). ARP is the official record keeper sider how many coastal fish species there are, for state record lists for public and private the record books are wide open.” waters, and water body records for public As mentioned, a fish doesn’t have to lakes, rivers, and bays. qualify as a state or water body record to “It seems like there are more youths getearn ARP recognition. Certificates of recogting into bass fishing these days, and these nition are available in other categories recent catches demonstrate the high level of including: Elite Angler Award (five troskill that many of them have,” Gray said. phy class fish in fresh- or saltwater); First “Combine that skill level with the great bass Fish Award (first fish, regardless of fishing that Texas has to offer, it is fair to say angler’s age); Big Fish Award (trophy fish that no record is safe these days.” of a selected species, must meet a minimum (See TF&G Report elsewhere in this length limit); Catch and Release Award issue for more about big Conroe bass.) (trophy fish of a selected species, must meet The program is not just about bass. minimum length limit); Outstanding Records are kept for a number of fresh- and Angler Award (fish that does not meet saltwater species in a variety of categories, requirements of other award categories, but including length, weight, public water, and still deserves recognition). private water. There are divisions for rod Contact TPWD and reel, fly-fishing, bowfishing, and unrewww.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/fish/programs stricted methods such as trotlines and stump /fishrecords/index; Joedy Gray, 512-389hooks. 8037, anglers@tpwd.state.tx.us The program maintains separate state and water body lists for junior anglers (under E-mail Matt Williams at 17 years of age). However, juniors are eligifreshwater@fishgame.com T E X A S

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Fisheries Non-Management E VER NOTICE HOW THE WHITE PART OF THE National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) logo looks a bit like a long-winged seabird in flight? Like an albatross? Maybe like the albatross the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service has become, hung around the necks of saltwater fishermen? Federal fisheries management is deeply flawed. That is the assessment of optimists. Marine resources deserve better than their current shake. To say that overseers never have righted an overfished fishery would be unfairly critical. Red drum are doing well enough in the Gulf of Mexico. Oh, wait; much of that success is attributable to aggressive state action to halt commercial exploitation of the species. Beyond red drum, over so many years of effort, there surely must be at least a couple more positive outcomes at the federal level. I will continue to search for them. And for Nessie. It has been 32 years since the MagnusonStevens Act came to be. The act established general guidelines by which overfishing would be measured, and it set deadlines for the reversal of unfavorable trends. If a reduction of catch was deemed necessary to put a fishery back on track, no person or industry was to be spared the cutbacks or changes required to safeguard the future of that resource.

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What most of us know simply as “Magnuson” was amended in 1996, and it was amended again in 2