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Digital Edition

www.FishGame.com Achieving Balanced

Fishing

AUGUST 2012 | VOL. XXIX • NO. 4 | $3.95

Flipped Out

FLIPPING ADDS HEAT TO SUMMER BASSING

Welcome to the AGE of the

Kayak

NOT JUST FOR OFFSHORE:

Chum the Bay

Alternative TV FOR SPORTSMEN

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WHO SHOOTS

a Coot? 7/27/12 9:12 AM


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Digital Edition

www.FishGame.com Achieving Balanced

Fishing

AUGUST 2012 | VOL. XXIX • NO. 4 | $3.95

Flipped Out

FLIPPING ADDS HEAT TO SUMMER BASSING NOT JUST FOR OFFSHORE:

Chum the Bay

Paddle Fishing Welcome to the AGE of the

Kayak Alternative TV FOR SPORTSMEN

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WHO SHOOTS

a Coot? 7/27/12 9:13 AM


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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 & Stephanie Ward and Roy & 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

Joe Doggett Doug Pike Ted Nugent Bob Hood Matt Williams Calixto Gonzales Lenny Rudow Steve LaMascus Lou Marullo Kendal Hemphill Reavis Wortham Greg Berlocher Paul Bradshaw Capt. Mike Holmes Dustin Ellermann Lisa Moore John Gisel

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR EDITOR AT LARGE HUNTING EDITOR FRESHWATER EDITOR SALTWATER EDITOR BOATING EDITOR FIREARMS EDITOR BOWHUNTING EDITOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR HUMOR EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR CONTRIBUTING PHOTO EDITOR WEB CONTENT MANAGER

A D VE R T I S IN G

Ardia Neves

VICE PRESIDENT/ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Viga Hall • NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032 Phone 281/227-3001 • Fax 281/227-3002

MA R K E T IN G

Sheila Nelson •

MARKETING MANAGER

S ubs c r i pt i o n s 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032 Phone 800/725-1134

action subscription fulfillment

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A D MINI S T R A T I O N

Dennise Chavez ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR 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. Content is not to 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.

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CONTENTS FEATURES

august 2012 • Volume XXIX • NO. 4

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Chum the bay

When you can’t seem to find the fish, use cut bait for chum and they will very likely find you. Sure, it’s an offshore tactic, but it works just as well for inshore as it does offshore.

by Will Leschper

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Who Shoots a Coot?

Duck hunters normally ignore coots — a.k.a. “water hens” — unless they get bored from staring at empty skies.

ON THE COVERS:

Paddle Fishing

by John N. Felsher

The explosion of kayak usage for fishing makes it easy to forget that not too long ago they were just an occasional curiosity among the bass boats, center consoles and john boats.

STORY:

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Alternative tV for Sportsmen

For outdoorsmen with higher expectations from their television viewing than the standard “outdoors” channel fare, we offer a few alternative programming suggestions.

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by Greg Berlocher Photos by George Knighten

by Don Zaidle

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Flipped out summer

Most of the top money-winning pro bass anglers know that the tactic of flipping turns hot weather into broiling hot bassing action

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CONTENTS COLUMNS & DEPARTMENTS

august 2012 • Volume XXIX • NO. 4

COLUMNS 10 Chester’s 14 Editor’s Notes Notes

X Public Hunting XExpansion a Home Run

Smoke, Mirrors and the UN Arms Treaty

by CHESTER DON ZAIDLE MOORE TF&G Executive Editor-in-Chief Editor

by Kendal Hemphill TF&G Politcal Commentator

14 Chester’s Notes

21 Texas Bow Hunting

by CHESTER MOORE TF&G Executive Editor

by Lou Marullo TF&G Bow Hunting Editor

16 Doggett at Large

43 Texas Hunt Texas 29 Saltwater

X X

X X

XThe Hunger to XShoot Better

XGetting Jiggy, XPart Deux

DEPARTMENTS 8 letters 10 TF&G Report 10 big bags & catches

by JOE DOGGETT TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

bob hood by Calixto Gonzales Hunting Editor TF&G Saltwater Editor

18 Doggett 16 Pike On the at Large Edge

47 Hunt TexasTexas Saltwater 43

department of defense

by JOE Doug DOGGETT Pike TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

Calixto Gonzales by bob hood SaltwaterEditor Editor TF&G Hunting

40 True green

20 Pike 18 TexasWild On the Edge

51 Texas Freshwater 47

by Doug Ted nugent Pike TF&G Senior Editor AtContributing Large Editor

by matt Williams TF&G Freshwater Editor

21 TexasWild 19 Commentary

56 Open Season 48

by Ted Kendal nugent Hemphill TF&G Editor PolitcalAtCommentator Large

by reavis wortham TF&G Humor Editor

X A Picture’s XWorth

X Adjusted for XInflation

X Guns and XPatriots

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XAn Old Friend Lost, a XNew Friend Gained

34 NEW! texas

XTargeting the Lowly XCarp

XThe XRaft

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Letters to the Editor 1 7 4 5

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Anti-Gun Bank of America Bank of America has long been a big supporter of any anti-gun organization and movement there is. Check out who they donate their money to. See if there are any donations to NRA, TSRA, or any other pro-gun group. All you will find is large donations to anti-gun politics and organizations. Our local gun club closed our accounts with BofA several years ago for this very reason. Keep up the good work, Kendall. I know some find your topics not worthy of an outdoor magazine, but I read letters to the editor first and your column second. Keep telling it like it is.

Kenneth Gaby Via email

Return of the Flounder With the singular efforts Chester Moore and David Abrego have dedicated to our flounder fishery, we just wanted to let you know that we at CCA Texas STAR have never seen such an onslaught of flatties entered in the tournament so soon. Indeed, flounder entries are outpacing even gafftop, a very rare anomaly. Even better, you will note on the attached STAR leaderboard, barely two weeks into the event, that the weights recorded for both kids and adults are virtually double the weight we see at this time in a typical year. Of course, this is not scientific tracking, but there is no question, anecdotally and in our record keeping, that a healthy resurgence in the fishery is more than underway. Kudos to you both for raising the angler awareness and contributing to the recent hatchery successes of this important game fish. Several years ago when we all hoped to reverse the long-term decline curve, I would have never believed the comeback, both in numbers and size, would happen so soon. Yes, we know others are due credit as well, but you boys were the catalyst. 8 |

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If what we are seeing continues, it is evident that all the great work you invested is paying off handsomely! We appreciate the results so much, we just wanted to let you know. Bill Kinney,Director CCA Texas STAR Tournament

Doggett’s Snakes I loved Joe Doggett’s article in the July issue. It seems people just want to kill every snake in sight, regardless of the situation. Recently, I was with a friend looking for leopard frogs along Buffalo Bayou. We saw a broad-banded water snake (a very healthy guy about 19 inches) and his first instinct was “Cottonmouth! Kill it!” Even after catching it and then releasing it, he was still wary of the snake. I think snakes are just one of those animals (spiders, rats, etc.) that people fear and therefore want to kill. Snakes have always intrigued me, and I’ve caught most of the types that live around the Houston area (still need to catch a milk snake) but hognose by far are my favorite. They’re fairly easy to catch this time of year when they move slowly after eating a toad.

Davis Lamberton Via email I agree with Joe Doggett’s “snake article.” I grew up in Victoria, Texas, in the country. As a kid of five, we would play with all of the good snakes, learn how to handle them, and knew which ones were venomous and non-venomous. My rule of thumb: If a snake has round-pupil eyes, they were friendly; the ones with cat eyes are venomous. Over my lifetime with snakes, this has seemed to work. Even if the snakes were venomous, I wouldn’t kill them. They are here for a reason and we need to protect them when we can. Don Hanselman Via email F i s h

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Antelope vs. Pronghorn I was surprised when reading Ted Nugent’s “TexasWild” article entitled “Crossbow Antelope” in the June issue. I was disturbed when I read he and his wife, Shemane, were hunting turkey during the spring turkey season. The article was illustrated with a pronghorn, called antelope in the U.S., so I presumed she would be illegally hunting pronghorn, as there is no open season in Texas for pronghorn in the spring. However, she was hunting blackbuck, an exotic antelope from India. I was relieved to know she was hunting an exotic, which is legal year-round. I’m sure “Uncle Ted” was surprised to see the pronghorn used as an illustration of his article.

Keith Garner Abilene, TX

Raising Cane Doug Pike’s column “Raising Cane” reminded me of my first memorable fishing trip. It was a family picnic on the local Hildebrandt Bayou in the Port Arthur area. I must have been about 6-8 years old and just old enough to be able to do a little for myself. The bait of choice was a piece of bacon instead of bologna. The cane pole must have been about 6-7 feet long, but I thought it was 12 feet. I can still remember swinging the bait out in the middle of the lily pads and waiting for the cork to go under. It was an exciting time. I remember my dad helping me at first, but I wanted to do it myself and he let me learn. I don’t remember how many sunfish I caught, but it hooked me on fishing for life. I just passed my 80th birthday, but I am still looking forward to my eleventh trip to Alaska and some wonderful silver salmon fishing this coming August.

Vernon Broussard Spring, TX

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Contentious Gator Trial Postponed

The August 20 trial date for three men accused of killing a 13-foot American alligator illegally on private property in June 2011 in Leon County will likely be delayed, according to Leon County Attorney Jim Witt of Centerville. Witt said Friday that a trial date for the 13-month-old case was set about two weeks ago. However, attorney J. Keith Stanley of Houston has since filed a motion for continuance. Witt said Leon County Judge, Byron Ryder, would likely grant the motion. Stanley is the attorney on record for one of the three defendants, Ryan Burton of Kennard. Last July, Burton was named in a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department news release as one

Sam Lovell of Kennard (right) was cleared of charges in the alleged illegal harvest of two American alligators on the Trinity River in June 2011

of three outfitters who guided clients to an 880-pound alligator along a remote stretch of the Trinity River on June 11, 2011, and a smaller ‘gator the day before. The release named Dallas attorney Levi

Photo: COURTESY SAM LOVELL

The TF&G Report

McCathern as the shooter of the big alligator. Also named were guides Steve Barclay and Sam Lovell, both of Kennard. TPWD game wardens charged the four

Big Bags&Catches

Black drum

Speckled Trout

Catfish

San Antonio Bay

Arroyo City

Galveston County

J. Wark caught this black drum in San Antonio Bay near Seadrift on a crankbait. It took 45 minutes to land, and was too big for the net so it had to be landed manually by a friend.

Jose Rios, Jr., 13, from Edinburg, Landed this 29-inch trophy trout near “The Saucer” area in Arroyo City while fishing with light tackle and artificial soft plastic lures.

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Jacob Harris, 11, of League City with his first trotline catch. At 42 pounds, this was the largest of three caught in Galveston County that day.

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verbal permission to take clients hunting alligators and hogs on Brown’s property, and that they had done so several times prior to last June with no issues. Barclay, Burton, and McCathern have entered not guilty pleas in the case. Taking wildlife on private property without landowner consent is Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, the men could face fines up to $4,000, up to one year in jail or both, and more than $5,000 restitution fees for the two alligators. Witt said Ryder plans to have a conference phone call between the attorneys so an agreed trial date can be set. --Matt Williams

Photo: COURTESY BRENT CRAWFORD

men with taking wildlife on private property without landowner consent. Charges were dropped against Lovell a few weeks later after further investigation determined that he (Lovell) was working in Michigan at the time the offenses allegedly took place. Two TPWD Non-Consent Affidavits obtained through an open records request to the Leon County Clerk’s office name Michael Brown as the landowner who filed the complaints against Lovell. The affidavits, both sworn under oath, describe the property in question as “Brown Farm” in Leon County. Both affidavits signed by Brown on June 24, 2011 state: “Sam Lovell did not have permission or consent to hunt, fish, enter on the above described property on or about 6-11-11 and 6-10-11. It is my wish that criminal charges be filed against the above named person (Sam Lovell). I am aware that I may be called upon to testify in court.” The documents are signed by Leon County game warden, Oscar Henson. Barclay claims that he and Lovell had

Potential State Record Gar Filleted Before Weighed

A man who arrowed a potential new state record alligator gar in Lake Corpus Christi filleted the giant fish without having it

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TF G&Report weighed on certified scales, missing out on the record shot. Bowfisherman Brent Crawford stalked then arrowed the monster gar that weighed more than 300 pounds on non-certified scales. Crawford shot the 8-foot, 2-inch, leviathan with a 45-pound recurve bow. The nylon cord attached to the fishing arrow had become tangled at Crawford’s feet. When he grabbed the line, it became wrapped around his hand. The line went taut and the fish yanked the Crawford into the water headfirst. Crawford’s dog, Bleux, grabbed him by the cuff of the jeans and a tug-of-war ensued. Crawford ultimately freed his hand from the cord and stood knee-deep in the shallow canal, gripping his fishing bow. The gar stole 200 feet of cord in a battle that lasted 45 minutes. A neighbor arrived with a pistol and dispatched the gar. The men used an ATV to drag the quarry to Crawford’s house. They suspended it from a forklift, where it bottomed-out a 300-pound scale.

Google Announces Anti-gun Policy

Google, the internet search engine giant, has chosen to ban search results related to firearms and other products it deems not “family safe” in its Google Shopping function. Until recently, gun-related products appeared just like other products in search results, giving shoppers a powerful pricecomparison tool. But not anymore. Google’s new, anti-gun policy, announced May 31, assigns a “family status” to all products. Products in the “non-family safe” or adult categories are blocked from Google Shopping and include guns, ammunition, knives, vehicles, tobacco, and traffic devices such as radar scramblers. As of press time, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) was attempting to reach Google to urge the company to reconsider the discriminatory policy. Firearms cannot be purchased online and transferred directly to the purchaser. Purchases must be physically sent from one 12 |

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federal firearms licensee to another, with the latter conducting the mandatory FBI background check on the purchaser (represented in person) and then transfer the firearm only after the purchaser has passed background check. The company’s new, anti-gun policy has rightly caused firearms owners to reconsider having Google be their search engine of choice. According to reports, the search engine Bing.com, for example, currently does not block firearms from appearing in shopping results. Though Google Shopping works to aid commerce by making it easy to research products and pricing, Google’s new policy raises barriers to one of the country’s strongest economic trends--the robust sales of firearms and ammunition, one of the true bright spots in the U.S. economy. Firearms and ammunition sales are at all-time highs, accounting for a 30.6 percent increase in jobs from 2008 through 2011 and an overall economic impact of nearly $32 billion to the nation. Google’s restrictive policy comes at a time when retailers and other online information resources have increased their content about firearms because of consumer demand. —NSSF

Z-Man Wins ChatterBait Patent Judgement

A federal judge has ruled that both defendants Renosky Lure, Inc. and Joseph F. Renosky (referred to as “Renosky”) infringed a patent of Z-Man Fishing Products, Inc. by selling fishing lures similar to Z-Man’s ChatterBait brand bladed swim jigs. United States District Judge Richard M. Gergel, in an order dated June 15, 2012, ruled Z-Man’s patent at issue valid and that Z-Man was entitled to partial summary judgment on its patent infringement claims against Renosky. “We are extremely pleased with the judge’s ruling in this case,” said Z-Man President Jonathan Zucker. “Watching a

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competitor blatantly copy our patented lure design has been frustrating, and our hope is that the court’s ruling in this case will help deter further copycats.” In 2006, the ChatterBait brand bladed swim jig burst onto the bass fishing scene. To protect the advancements and technology in its lure design, Z-Man obtained two patents, in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, Renosky began to sell a knock-off lure that was strikingly similar to Z-Man’s ChatterBait lure. Z-Man sued Renosky on February 22, 2011, alleging claims of patent infringement, trade dress infringement, interference with prospective advantage, unfair competition, breach of contract, and conversion. Subsequently, Z-Man moved for summary judgment on patent infringement and validity. In essence, the court rejected Renosky’s invalidity arguments and found that Renosky unlawfully infringed Z-Man’s patent as a matter of law because Renosky’s knock-off lures could not be distinguished, from a patent perspective, from Z-Man’s baits. Renosky lost on its argument that the eyelet on the Renosky lure was not “fixed within” the jig head as required by the patent. The court ruled that “fixed within” does not mean “immovable,” but instead assigned a broader definition of “to make firm, stable, or stationary in or into the interior.” This broad definition helps create a high barrier for those who may attempt a patent “work around” to produce a copycat product. This court order is the latest in a string of successful enforcement actions either litigated or settled by Z-Man to protect its baits. Z-Man intends to continue its aggressive policing campaign to actively dissuade other lure companies from violating its wellestablished intellectual property rights in its ChatterBait product line. Z-Man will litigate as an option, but has resolved many knockoff issues by settling with copycatters on a confidential basis. —Z-Man Press Release

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Chester’s Notes by Chester Moore | TF&G Executive Editor

Public Hunting Expansion a Home Run

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ccess is the greatest single threat to the future of hunting in Texas. With 97 percent of the land privately owned and much of it leased out at extremely high fees, many hunters find themselves facing hard choices. Do they contribute to their children’s college fund or spend extra dollars on a hunting lease? For others it is a question of keeping the lights on or continuing a long-standing tradition. The lights always win. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) is doing something that allows families to not only continue time-honored hunting traditions but also engage a multitude of access points at a very affordable rate. For $48, hunters can purchase an Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH) and have an opportunity to pursue their outdoors passions on more than 900,000 acres of land. “The price stays the same but the amount of land in the program has increased,” said TPWD private lands leasing biologist Terry Turney. TPWD received a grant from the Farm Services Administration under USDA that has expanded acreage in the program particularly in areas close to urban centers. “The good thing we have not cut back the state money we have been spending on public hunting. This over and above that with a goal of allowing easy access to hunting for a variety of species,” Turney said. Doves in particular are an important part of the program. “Our stats have show hunters will drive about 70 miles to dove hunt. We try to get as many areas within that distance of urban centers with the idea a hunter can leave it noon, hunt until dark and then return home at a decent hour.” 14 |

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Dove (and small game) leases are distributed from South Texas (Brooks County) to the Panhandle (Hansford County) and from the Beaumont region (Orange County) to far West Texas (Hudspeth County). Some 84 percent of the dove units and 80 percent of the acreage are located in the Dallas/Ft Worth (Reg. 4), Austin/Waco (Reg. 6), Houston/Beaumont (Reg. 7), and San Antonio/Corpus Christi (Reg. 8) public hunting regions. This aspect of the public hunting program began in 1994 as a pilot program to benefit both hunters and agricultural producers in Texas. Their short team public hunting lease program, sought to lease private lands during the dove season for use by purchasers of the APH permit. It accomplishments are as follows: • Since the first year, the program has found acceptance from both hunters and participating landowners. Participants are enthusiastic. • The program has grown to from 10 units in six counties and 4,375 acres to many times that amount. • Youth hunts were added in 2002 TPWD now offers Youth Only and Youth Adult areas. “Just before our sign up deadline we added spots on the 1604 loop around San Antonio and in Somerset,” Turney said. “The white wings coming out of the city are amazing and the mourning doves are covering the properties up. We have leases within easy driving distance of all the major metropolitan areas and will continue looking for prime properties.” TPWD is using the funds to get more long-term leases on some of the properties which benefits landowners and hunters who can take advantage of intimately learning a location over the course of several seasons.

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An APH permit is not just about dove hunting of course but gives dozens of options for deer, hogs, pheasant, waterfowl and a variety of small game. Having grown up in East Texas, the public hunting program was an important part of my hunting experience as timber company lands were leased in key areas and allowed for convenient access to deer and squirrel hunting. During my first year of college I had a permit and after class (and occasionally in lieu of class) I drove up to a remote creek on a lightly pressured unit and enjoyed the most memorable squirrel hunts of my life. It was fun and cheap. It might be tempting to look at this program as something that benefits older and middle aged hunters resisting pressures to quit hunting altogether. And while that is undoubtedly a positive aspect, it is the youth that may benefit the most. Young hunters can find places to hunt without breaking their budget and forge their own traditions. We can promote hunting to this generation until we are blue in the face but if they cannot afford to go, efforts are futile. TPWD has hit a home run with the APH program and their entire public hunting program. The results is an incredible amount of acreage to hunt for only $48, which is less than eating out these days. There is no greater value to be found in the outdoors market and this year in particular hunters are in for treat as the program moves onward and upward. APH permits go on sale this month and I am eager to purchase mine. There is a unit only five miles from my home that has lots of wood ducks that need to be dealt with and if we have enough water come September there may be a few teal hanging around as well. Sounds like a formula for a good time and one that will not bust the budget. Those are always the best kind. Catch Chester on the radio Fridays, 6pm on 560 KLVI Beaumont, (www.klvi.com) Email him at CMoore@fishgame.com

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Doggett at Large by Joe Doggett | TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

A Picture’s Worth

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he big Alaskan rainbow trout yielded against the 7-weight fly rod and slid onto the gravel bar. The fish was special, the type that immediately gets you fumbling for a camera. Newhalen Lodge guide Drew Pozzi grabbed the black-spotted tail and held the fish gently in the shallow current. “Great fish,” he said. “Especially from this small stream. Look at that—the hook just fell out. Get your camera ready while I measure him.” If the deep, thick rainbow took a deep breath, it would tape an honest 30 inches from tip of snout to fan of tail. Pozzi’s tape came up just short—29-3/4.

He looked up and grinned. “I could give you a ‘Texas tape’ and maybe get you 30.” “No, he’s great just the way he is.” I fished the compact digital camera from my parka pocket, thumbed the “On” button, and passed it over. Pozzi, always conscious of careful catchand-release on the wild Alaskan trout, secured the fish gently in the shallow water. The trout floated on its gleaming crimson and green side and the gills pumped smoothly. “Okay, I’m ready,” Pozzi said, aiming the camera. “Good sun angle, great backdrop. Grab him around the tail and just under the pectoral fins and don’t let him flop on the rocks. Let’s hurry so we don’t tire him out.” I crouched knee-deep and grabbed with both hands and, sporting a triumphant grip-and-grin pose, lifted the broadside slab. The gorgeous trout gave one quick flounce, slipped from my hands, and vanished into

For the catch-andrelease angler, a good photo is a must.

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the flow. Too fast—all Pozzi captured was a blurry splash and a shocked expression, from grip-and-grin to grip-and-grimace. He shrugged and handed back the camera. My rookie mistake was pointing the head of the trout at the deeper water and stronger current; had the fish been reversed, aimed at the bank, it would have been easy to reclaim in the shallows. That incident, which occurred several years ago, was a bitter fumble of a “photo op” on a world-class fish. Just recalling it gets me in a bad mood. Maybe this is a good time to offer a few tips on taking the celebrated grip-and-grin, the universal image of light-tackle conquest. You might question my credentials, having admitted to ham-handing a monster, but I’ve certainly clicked enough shutters over the decades to have a fair grasp on this slippery subject. First, take the time to capture the shot while the fish is alive and vibrant. With catch-and-release this is mandatory, but the same urgency should apply for catchand-keep. A fish hoisted hours later from the cooler back at the dock is bent and stiff and slime-streaked, a poor substitute for the gleaming prize fresh from the water. Also a consideration, the jumbled backdrop of a launch ramp or parking lot is a lousy trade for open water and clean sky. The savvy grip-and-grinner holds the fish out in front, maximizing the image. But don’t get carried away by thrusting the fish at arm’s length toward the camera; yes, the fish will appear larger but the overall effect can be ridiculous. Keeping the elbows in while extending the forearms and hands keeps things in realistic perspective. On the subject of hands, minimize the fingers and knuckles as much as possible. Remember, big paws curled around the fish are the closest image to the lens and detract from the fish. If the fish is held in a horizontal position, angling the head slightly toward the camera can enhance the impact. For the vertical hold, grip the fish by Photo: Joe Doggett

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the lower jaw. This is assuming we’re not dealing with a barracuda. If the fish is to be killed, you can slide hidden fingers inside the closest gill plate. The other hand can also remain hidden while pushing the lower portion of the vertical fish out a tad. Again, this enhances the image without appearing out of proportion. It is the photographer’s duty to compose the shot. Shooting from a slightly lower angle helps avoid distracting background clutter by putting open sky behind face and fish. Composing the shot also means filling the frame. Standing too far away, shrinking both angler and minnow amid wide margins of wasted space is a major mistake. Stepping close with a wide-angle lens is SOP among salty grip-and-grinners. The wide angle enhances the subject while minimizing the background. When prompt catch-and-release is an issue, you are forced to deal with the available lighting conditions. Low-angle sun— great, so long as the sun is behind the camera. Shooting into a low sun is among the worst of rookie mistakes, rivaled only by

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dropping a big—well, never mind. Of course, many grand fish are caught during midday hours. High bright sun can create harsh shadows. Flat light can result in washed-out backdrops. Do the best you can, and remember that a “fill flash” setting (which forces the camera’s flash to shoot even amid bright conditions) can both illuminate and highlight the subject. Unless the angler’s face is crisply illuminated, make certain the lucky rascal removes his hat or cap before hoisting the fish. Almost every anglers wears one, so be mindful of this potential pitfall. Many otherwise fine grip-and-grins are compromised by midday hat shadows creating blacked-out faces. Sunglasses are a judgment call. A pair of bright eyes focused on the fish or at the lens helps “snap up” the image, but a blank stare or blink can be a deal-killer. Maybe try with and without the glasses. And be wary of a stiff, frozen grin. A great advantage of today’s digital cameras is the ability to promptly spot-check each shot. Click and check, click and check until you get one that looks good. If neces-

sary, give the fish a drink and a rest during this trial-and-error process. A pocket-sized digital camera is great for the basic grip-and-grin shot. Most important, the trim, compact unit is there when you need it. This quick-draw capability can be huge when wade fishing. While you are at it, select a water-resistant model. And pick one with a bright and shiny body. A small drab camera absently placed in the shoreline grass or weeds might require 30 minutes of increasingly frustrating effort to reclaim. Trust me. Some pocket digital cameras with remarkable capabilities are available for under $400. Two excellent water-resistant ones are offered by Lumix (Panasonic) and Olympus. Both are amazingly durable. Just remember to keep the battery charged—and to have a firm grasp on the business at hand.

Email Joe Doggett at JDoggett@fishgame.com

7/9/12 4:48 PM


Pike on the Edge by Doug Pike | TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

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t makes little difference to me whether global warming is fact or fantasy. My opinion of the phenomenon is irrelevant to this discussion, because either way, each recent summer has seemed a little hotter than its predecessor. Whether temperatures actually have risen incrementally or not is of little concern. In Texas, summer is just plain hot and has been since I was a kid. Some summers were hotter than others, but through more than half a century, I cannot recall thinking back to a particular summer and remembering it as surprisingly mild. The good news, to which I cling proudly, is that I can still muster for full days, even consecutive ones, on the water or--forgive me--the golf course. What’s changed of late is how much hydration and mental preparation goes into the efforts and how slowly I rebound from them. Measured recovery time is mandatory now, not optional. In a former, younger life, I could work (or dance) deep into a summer night, go out for breakfast with friends, drive immediately to the coast and fish from dawn past lunch; return home, catch a two-hour nap on the couch, shower, and repeat the entire process. So long as tide schedules and water clarity remained favorable, my closest friends and I kept making those grueling loops. Today, or any other day this month or next, I couldn’t retrace those steps on a bet. Adjusted for inflation (of my age), the Piper’s recompense is far too steep now even to consider ignoring the pillow for any real length of time. I can work into the night, perhaps to meet a deadline, or I can watch the sunrise over green tide. Not both. Regardless of age, if you still can func-

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tion without fatigue through a day, night and subsequent day, I tip my sweat-stained cap your way and advise that you take full advantage of that ability. It will pass, and that passage will occur without fair warning. Heat is a great equalizer and, in a roundabout way, a motivator. But for the hottest days of a Texas summer, many of us might never get any real work done. Imagine if the best surf wading and bay fishing and offshore action occurred when clear-sky, calmwind temperatures averaged 65-75 degrees.

Work, schmirk; we’re going fishing. I once caught myself telling a buddy, while we ripped big trout every cast on Matagorda Bay one sizzling afternoon, that it was so hot I might as well go to the office the next day. Worse, he agreed. Fortunately, the air-conditioned ride home and a cool, deep sleep generated in full recharge. Work that summer was newspaper columns behind a comfortable desk, not hammering shingles on black tarpaper. That next day, I pounded out six or seven hundred entertaining (hopefully) words and hit the “Send” key in time to catch the incoming afternoon tide along the Galveston beachfront--and a half-dozen speckled trout. For more than my share of years, heat wasn’t any bother. In fact, I welcomed midsummer swelter because it weeded out the softies--of which there are far more today than in my youth. The majority of us, truth be told, are squishy as marshmallows, products of airconditioned cars and homes and offices and shopping malls and even stadiums. We

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don’t go outdoors as often now. And when we do, we consider sweat an offensive bodily function. Not that many years ago, sweat was your personal air-conditioning system. As a child growing up in Sharpstown, one of Houston’s earliest suburbs as the city sprawled in all directions then, our modest home was partially air-conditioned. We had a single, noisy window unit in the den. On its highest setting, the unit’s fan pushed cool air across the den and half the kitchen. Beyond that, as I remember, it was open windows and prayers for breezes that kept us reasonably comfortable. And back then, when we played outdoors, it didn’t seem so hot, because indoors and outdoors were much closer to the same temperature. Oppressive heat may be nature’s way of telling me us that it’s time to let someone else have a turn on the best rides in life’s outdoor amusement park. I’ve ridden nearly all of them, from the cane-pole merry-go-round to the blue-water roller coaster, and am willing now to let a few folks go ahead of me on some of those rides. I’ll still belt myself into the front car now and then or, with my son, climb onto the purple unicorn with the pole through its back, but I’m beyond racing to be first through the turnstile. Before you reach the stage when heat hits your neck like an anvil, ride all the rides at least once. Catch a snake barehanded (after you learn one from another). Climb something tall. Ride a wave. Snorkel, at least, or dive if you have the chance. Land one blue marlin, any size, without help on the rod. The effects of a Texas summer depend on how much time you spend in the elements. If most of your world is set at 72 degrees, 85 will seem oppressively hot. If you occasionally do a little fishing or hiking or walking on 95-degree days, that same 85--under a wide-brimmed hat and maybe with a slice of cold watermelon in one hand, can be heavenly. Email Doug Pike at DPike@fishgame.com

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7/9/12 4:34 PM


Ted’s TexasWild TexasWild Ted’s by Ted Nugent | TF&G Editor-at-Large

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trio of uniformed cops strolled into my dressing room with big smiles on their faces, hands outstretched and glowing with positive energy. My band and I greeted them with open arms and began the increasing nightly ritual that would ensue for a gravity defying fifty plus year musical career that is more intense and celebratory today than on that wonderful day back in 1965. These warrior heroes of law enforcement, and the never ending parade of US Military men and women that have graced my life forever, just wanted to talk rock-n-roll, guns, hunting, the American Dream and make it a point to thank me for standing up for law and order and my indefatigable support for those who put their lives in harm’s way, serving and protecting “we the people” on every battlefield where evil needs to be beat back by good men willing to do violence upon the enemy. My more than 6200 high energy concerts are eclipsed only by the sheer number of media interviews I have conducted over the years, and being the only right-wing, gun-nut, hunt-master in the world of entertainment, I identified the mindless culture war attack on self-evident truths and The American Way that was fostered by leftists who infested the media as far back as the not so roaring 1960s. Even though the vast majority of radio, TV, and print interviewers that I took on were hardcore hippie leftists who hated guns, hated hunting, hated cops, and were more inclined to side with Jane Fonda than the U.S. Military heroes, they still couldn’t resist the intensity and fun factor (ratings) that I brought to their socialist agenda driven arenas. They all seemed genuinely fascinated at the rare, “unhip” point of view that I

I am still blessed with the backstage visits by those special human beings that qualify as warriors.

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brought to the debate, and deep down inside, a spark of logic compelled them to keep inviting me back over and over again and again. Now celebrating the greatest rockin’ tour of my life in 2012, I am still blessed with the backstage visits every night by those special human beings that qualify as warriors. And though America is experiencing the most egregious infestation of anti-Americanism of all times within our government, these patriots remain steadfast, and dare I say, increasingly dedicated to return to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights as the guiding forces to take back America and return to a course for the greatest quality of life

known to humankind. My concerts are wall-to-wall patriots, NRA members, hunters, fishers, and the hardest working, hardest rocking music lovers and freedom lovers you will ever find gathered in a single place. People of every stripe, young, old, from every imaginable walk of life, celebrating the musical soundtrack of defiance and excellence that my band and I exude everywhere we go. It seems that the more I am attacked and the vile hate for what I am and stand for increases by an increasingly leftwing media and gang of liberal politicians, the more energized my audiences, supporters, and I become. The line in the sand has never been more defined, and one only needs to listen T e x a S

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to and watch my critics/haters to know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. It is no fluke that the NRA just celebrated our greatest record breaking convention ever, proving that more and more Americans have identified the freedom destroying agenda of the left that is manifested by their intoxicated scramble to disarm law abiding Americans in any way they possibly can. That more American families own more firepower today than any society in the history of the world says volumes about how we the people feel about our government. “Don’t tread on me” has once again become the battle cry and mantra of free people across the land, and we mean it with every fiber of our souls. Our 25th record breaking sold out Ted Nugent Kamp for Kids is another indicator how focused families are to steer their children on a True North compass setting in life, and the marksmanship and archery courses at our camp were nonstop smiles and giddiness to aim small, miss small, literally and figuratively. November 2012 will not only usher in the annual soul cleansing, healing through nature hunting season ritual that we all so look forward to, but this year, we plan on making a cleansing statement at the voting booths across America. Logic and self-evident truth remain common and sensible to Americans tuned in and deeply concerned about the future of this sacred experiment in self-government, and I feel a wonderful upgrade about to take place where once again, conscientious, productive Americans will out vote those who are not interested in being an asset to the last best place. I see it every night as I rock across America, and I still believe that the good will be victorious over the bad and the ugly. Show me a guy who hangs out with cops and military heroes, and I will show you a guy who is an asset to America. And it all has a soundtrack that rocks.

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Commentary by Kendal Hemphill | TF&G Political Commentator

Smoke, Mirrors, and the UN Arms Treaty

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udging by the number of calls and emails I’ve received, one of the most troubling issues for Texas citizens of late, besides the SCOTUS decision on Obamacare, seems to be the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, and what it means in regard to our Second Amendment rights. The fact that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton signed the treaty has many wondering if, sometime in the near future, we will wake up one morning to discover BATFE agents rifling our gun cabinets and piling all our firearms into a trailer, to be hauled off and beaten into plowshares. Myriad websites, blogs, and electronic newsletters notwithstanding, the threat posed by this treaty to the right of Americans to keep and bear arms is minimal. While I am loathe to condone laxity in the diligence of citizens to protect their freedoms, there are, frankly, more serious dangers to deal with. And the longer the U.N. Small Arms Treaty holds our attention, the less likely we are to notice attacks on our rights in other areas. The U.N., for all intents and purposes, is toothless. It is basically a collection of self-important poster children for worldwide impotence. The fact that Muammar Gaddafi, one of the most heinous human rights offenders in history, was ever allowed to darken the door of the U.N. building should tell us everything we need to know about the group’s interest in fairness and freedom. It’s true that Hilary Clinton signed the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, but unless ratified by the United States Senate, the treaty is not binding on the American government. And despite calls from anti-rights groups like the International Action Network on Small Arms and Handgun Control, Inc., I believe the senate is more likely to vote 20 |

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to cut its own pay in half than ratify the UNSAT. Clinton knows that, and only signed the treaty to appease the rabid gun grabbers that she thinks are representative of the American people. Of course, I’ve been wrong before. So, if the senate should decide to appease Ms. Clinton and ratify the treaty, what will that do to our Second Amendment rights? Not a lot. That’s not what you’ve been hearing, though. A recent Forbes article entitled ‘U.N. Agreement Should Have All Gun Owners Up in Arms’ was representative of the hype the UNSAT has generated across the nation. It said the treaty would, among other horrible results, create an international gun registry (the first step toward confiscation), make licensing requirements tougher, outlaw all semi-automatic guns overnight, and pretty much dissolve our national sovereignty like zombie skin in sunlight. In fact, the UNSAT is an international treaty, so it would have no effect inside the borders of the U.S., or any other country, for that matter. The treaty would create restrictions for import and export of firearms between nations, making it more difficult for Russia to continue selling AK-47s to Syria, and for China to sell their version of the same rifle to anyone and everyone, etc. It would create end user certificates designed to prevent sales of small arms to terrorists and other bad guys. The U.S. already applies such restrictions and agreements. This is not, by any means, to say that the treaty would have any affect whatever on international firearms commerce. In order for the UNSAT to actually make a difference, good or bad, to the gun trade, federal governments would have to adhere to it. And here we’re talking, obviously, only about countries that actually ratify the

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treaty. Those that don’t ratify are as exempt in theory as they are in practice. And practice is where the pin meets the primer, when it comes to the illegal arms trade. Anyone, Hilary Clinton and Rebecca Peters (of IANSA) included, who thinks they can stop the sale of guns from one country to another by applying ink to paper probably also believes Al Gore deserved his Nobel Peace Prize. But then, they know better. This treaty, like every law ever passed, is not about stopping the criminal act in question, but applying punishment when, and if, the criminal is caught. Regardless of the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of such a treaty on illegal arms trafficking, delegates from over 150 countries met at the U.N. in New York during the entire month of July in an effort to draft a global arms trade treaty. The results (or lack thereof) of this august conference have not yet been released, but the effort has been touted as a high-level meeting which will produce a ‘legally-binding treaty,’ according to a June 28 Voice of America article. The last paragraph of that story sums up the tragically naïve view held by the entire gun grabbing community. It said that, according to “many western military analysts, the weapons provided by Russia to Syria could be used against civilians.” As if weapons could be good or bad, and not the inanimate objects they in fact are. The bottom line is that the UNSAT is worth just a little less than the paper it’s written on. But if the antis can keep us worried about the treaty, we are much more likely to overlook their real agenda. And don’t be fooled: the gun control issue, as always, is not about guns. It’s about control.

Email Kendal Hemphill at khemphill@fishgame.com

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7/9/12 4:46 PM


Texas Bowhunting by Lou Marullo | TF&G Bowhunting Editor

The Hunger to Shoot Better

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ecently, my wife and I joined the ranks of the many that saw The Hunger Games. I was drawn to the film not only for the story itself, but also because of a trailer that showed a young girl shooting a bow and arrow. The trailer for the movie sparked an idea for this column. As I sat in the comfort of my living room, I watched as the lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence, pulled a bowstring back and committed a very common and dangerous mistake. She holds the bow and as she draws the arrow back, her forefinger is resting on the top of the arrow as if to guide it and keep the arrow on the arrow rest. In fact, the theatrical release poster of The Hunger Games is this exact picture of Jennifer at full draw. This film, according to many different media sites, is a major factor in the increase of young adults who want to try archery. However, as in any sport, understanding that good form equals better success is paramount to be the best that you can be in whatever sport you attempt. With that in mind, here are some tips on good form while shooting a bow and arrow. Draw Your Bowstring Slowly: Too many times, people think of this as a macho sport where they feel the need to be able to pull back a heavier bow to be successful. Not true! As a master bowhunting instructor, I watch so many archers, both young and notso-young, pull their bows back hard and fast as if they were jerking some heavy weight up over their shoulders. Another common mistake made is when the student aims for the sky as they start to pull the bowstring back eventually bringing the bow to the correct parallel position.

Simply put, if you cannot draw the bowstring straight back slowly and smoothly, then the weight is too much for you and you should adjust it. Loosen Your Grip: While you are at full draw, there is no need to grip the bow so tight that your knuckles turn white! An open hand is the correct approach. Invest in a wrist strap to insure your expensive bow will not fall from your hand after the shot. By keeping a loose grip, you also will insure a better follow through keeping the bow upright and straight until well after your shot. The Draw Arm: Your draw arm should be an extension of the arrow. Most people will do that automatically, but I have seen some that will either have their elbow at a 45-degree angle up or the elbow is down near their side. Both prove that, once again, the draw weight is too much for the shooter and should be adjusted. At full draw, keep your draw arm “as straight as an arrow.” The Feet: The feet? Yes, the feet. Like a golfer, your feet should be perpendicular to your target. In other words, as you stand ready to shoot, if someone were to put a yardstick in front of both of your toes, the end of the stick should be aiming directly at your intended target. After you have gotten proficient enough, then you might try to open your stance a bit if you feel comfortable with it. The Release: If you have perfect form, but then have a bad release, then it will reflect in your shot. It does not matter if you shoot with your fingers, a tab, glove, or mechanical release, it has to be perfect to achieve that ethical shot we should all seek. If you choose to forgo a mechanical release, then it is imperative that your fingers release the bowstring at the same time. A mechanical release eliminates that problem. However, just shooting with a mechanical release does not guarantee that you will harvest your game. Target panic, which is a very common problem, could occur. Even to the veteran bow hunter, target panic strikes every once in a while, which causes you to flinch just before your T e x a S

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shot and in turn, causes the arrow to miss the intended target. The release should come as a surprise. A back tension mechanical release will correct target panic, but with practice, a slow, smooth action on the trigger of any mechanical release will result in a surprise release as well. Now to get back to the movie The Hunger Games: As I said earlier, the lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence, pulled the bowstring back and committed a very common and dangerous mistake. She leaves her finger on the top of the arrow shaft as she draws the arrow back. This action is just an invitation to an accident. When dealing with razor sharp broadheads, you stand a good chance to slice your finger open if you choose to continue to keep your finger on top of that arrow. I know, a hunting buddy of mine had to cut --no pun intended-- his hunt short because he sliced his finger bad. In fact, I told him it was the best blood trail I have seen in quite a while. As a bowhunting instructor, I see kids do this all the time. A bad habit like this can and should be avoided right from the start. In the end, nothing corrects bad form in any sport better than practice, and plenty of it. I have been hunting with a bow now for over 40 years and I practice all the time. Last night was no exception. I enjoy shooting my bow and it sure beats sitting in front of a television. Now is a good time to remind you that you should shoot from unknown distances and from different angles. As the season gets closer, practice wearing the clothes you plan to hunt with. Concentrate on good form when you shoot your bow and I will guarantee that you will soon see an improvement in your accuracy in no time at all. Hunt safe and have fun out there.

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Email Lou Marullo at LMarullo@fishgame.com

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7/11/12 10:47 AM


PADDLE Welcome to the AGE of the

Kayak not that many years ago, the only boats sighted around lakes and reservoirs were bass boats, ski boats, and johnboats, with the occasional deck boat thrown in to round out the mix. Kayaks are not the curiosity they used to be and can be seen on every watershed of the state. Canoes have always had a devoted following, but kayaks have brought paddling into the mainstream.

Excerpt from TEXAS KAYAKING by Greg Berlocher

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Freshwater Yakking Kayaks are reliable fishing platforms to chase anything that swims in freshwater. Interest in bass fishing dwarfs the other freshwater species so we will first look there first. Bass ‘yakers use their crafts to fish the same water as their brethren in metal-flaked hulls do, only at a slower pace. Once on station, the kayaker works an area thoroughly before moving even a short distance. “Run and gun” isn’t in the kayaker’s vernacular. Kayaks can be outfitted with the same electronics found in powered vessels. GPS location units and depth finders are a must to pinpoint humps, drop-off, and the edges of channels. A kayak’s slender shape allows it to penetrate deep into brush and push through narrow openings, something even a mini bass boat can’t do. The down side is you can’t stand up to fish. You can, however, turn sideways and fish sidesaddle. Many kayak anglers prefer this orientation and, with practice, learn to twist in the seat without capsizing. Of course, it is best to master this maneuver sans fishing tackle. Remember the Three L’s: leash it, lanyard it, or loose it. This applies to rods and reels, too. Working tight to brush and pitching or flipping jigs is productive. Kayaks penetrate

Kayakers fish just like bass-boaters, just at a slower pace.

tangles of brush easily, allowing the angler to sneak into areas that deter other boats. Kayaks can be stationed over structure in deep water, too. Pinpointing turns in creek channels and anchoring is your best bet if the wind is blowing. An anchor system utilizing pulleys makes the task much easier and safer. Mushroom anchors are a good choice in lakes, as they are easy to deploy and retrieve. Quietly easing down a shoreline and pitching crank- and spinnerbaits is a great tactic for spawning bass. Paddles are significantly stealthier than even the quiet hum of a trolling motor. Plus, you don’t have to worry

about a mutinous propeller beating against a submerged branch. Bedding bass are spooky and a fisherman seated in a kayak presents a significantly smaller silhouette than does a fishermen standing in a bass boat. Bream fishermen can get in on the action too. Conventional gear, fly rods, and cane poles are all good choices for dispatching a mess of bluegill and redear for a fish fry. Kayaks can be used to run trotlines, but there isn’t much room in the cockpit to dodge prickly spines. A small bucket is a good option to drop fish in. Kayaks are also a good option for tracking down jug lines. Regardless whether your favorite catfish rig is tethered or free floating, use goof judgment and don’t tangle with extremely large fish while afloat; instead, tow them back to shore.

Saltwater Yakking Kayaks give saltwater anglers unparalleled access to skinny water, but there are plenty of other salty places fishermen take their boats. Let’s look at some of the great opportunities for fishing the salt from a kayak. A surprising number of good fishing spots are just a short paddle across a deep channel; the deep water is a significant barrier to entry. Kayakers can make the short hop and then disembark to wade the shal-

A kayak can get you up-close and personal with more than just fish.

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lows. Or if you prefer, deploy a drift anchor and work a large swath of the shallows until you find fish. Spoil islands along channels are popular destinations that were previously the exclusive fishing domain of power boaters. Every spoil island features are drop-off of some sort and the change in bottom contour attracts fish. Consider anchoring your kayak on the lee side of the island and fishing the entire perimeter, focusing on the area with the greatest depth change. Gas and oil wells sprinkled throughout our major bay systems have great fishing due to the oyster shell pads on the bottom. The shell pads attract bait and always seem to hold trout and redfish. The wells are particularly productive during the late summer and fall. A good map will help you find potential launching points that can shave some distance off your trip. Start early and pack lots of water and snacks for a long paddle. Paddling to the end of a jetty to fish is much easier than hopscotching across granite boulders with a double fistful of tackle and bait. There are some stretches of jetties accessible only by boat. The north jetty at

Access to skinny water makes the kayak ideal for salt anglers.

Port Aransas is a good example. Fishing traffic on the North Jetty at Port Aransas is significantly less than at its twin sister to the south. When paddling near a jetty, keep in mind that fishermen on the rocks won’t appreciate you paddling through their fishing spot. Make sure there is plenty of space

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between you and the rocks on your way to and from the beach. Offshore is the ultimate saltwater destination. The shallow Gulf holds lots of fish and a number of large jacks and kingfish are landed by kayakers every year. If your physical ability is up to it, you may even wish to sample the fishing next to an offshore platform. Likely destinations can be located on maps and some platforms are just a few miles off major beaches. Offshore enthusiasts leave early, tie up in the shade of the platform to fish, and then paddle home in the afternoon. Paddling with several friends is the only prudent thing to do when fishing offshore. Kayaks are a great way to skim shallow flats in search of fish. In addition to covering more water, floating over knee-deep mud is much more civilized than traversing the sludge on foot.

Get the book, TEXAS KAYAKING, at www.FishandGameGear.com

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Using cut bait essentially is chumming as anglers seek to entice any number of game fish species into a particular area. LEFT: a Florida deckhand ties on cut bait for use around reefs.

It’s the first rulE IN FISHING: FISH where the fish are. However, sometimes despite our best efforts, the fish simply are not around. In those instances, we as anglers must stack the deck in our favor, and the easiest way to do that is to get our hands a little dirty. 26 |

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Chumming Works Just as Well Inshore as it Does Offshore by will leschper

ABOVE: Why not catch your own chum— menhaden or mullet­—to be used as cut bait?

Chumming often is thought of mainly as an offshore tactic, but in Florida and some other Gulf coast locales it is used for inshore situations. The method can take a variety of forms but the approach is the same as you attempt to lure angling targets with a concoction consisting of dead shrimp, baitfish, or other small edibles that can be dispensed in a number of ways. A July 1965 report from the Texas Parks & Wildlife archives offers a glimpse

at bay chumming, most of which holds true to this day. “Menhaden, anchovies, small sand trout and croakers can be cut up or run through a meat grinder to make chum. Trickled slowly but steadily overboard from an anchored boat, carried along the side of a good reef by the current, the chum line will almost certainly bring fish to the baited hook and have them excited enough to bite,” according to the report. T e x a S

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The description also detailed a common way to find your own live bait with a cast net. “Menhaden, mullet, silversides, mollies, pupfish, killifish, small crabs, and shrimp are common around bay edges, sometimes only a few steps from the shoulder of a road. Taken home and frozen whole or ground into meal, they make good chum and also serve to pre-chill your portable ice box on the way to the bay,” according to the report. The report also discussed how to entice

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at least one species that typically lurks near bulkheads, oil wells, piers and other manmade structure. “If the sheepshead won’t bite, try exciting them into a feeding mood by scraping the barnacles and other crusted animals off the pilings or rocks with a long handled shovel or hoe taken along purposely for this trick.” There is more than one way to skin a cat as the old saying goes, and in the case of chumming, it’s all a matter of preference. I had the opportunity to use chum bait bags packed with ground shrimp on an excursion out of Key West a couple of years ago. Patch reefs are common in Florida and typically teem with fish, but during our outing, the angling was slow -- until the chum bags were flipped over the side. As the chum slowly crept from its putrid hiding spot, the bite almost instantly spiked. We went from flipping small jig heads tipped with shrimp to no avail to hooking up on every cast before the lure could even get near the underwater structure, catching yellowtail snapper -- which typically are wary of heavier line -- and a variety of other reef dwellers. The key to chumming is concentrating fish. The best way to do that is to create a scent trail that will maximize how many scaly denizens are attracted. That means however you put out chum, make sure it is allowed to work with the current and is above whatever location you are working. There are a number of tested approaches to chumming. The easiest on a shallow flat is to simply toss diced shrimp or bait fish into the water and wait a little while. The downside to this method is you may attract gulls and other birds that could also scoop up live or dead baits you throw out.

Chumming for flounder is a little tougher than attracting other species, but the flatfish will congregate anywhere there are bits of shrimp or baitfish in the water.

Other ways to brew a foul attractant are to make your own frozen mixture by plopping your bait choice into water and freezing it to make a block that can be toted along in an ice chest. I have seen anglers who stuffed a milk carton halfway with diced baitfish and filled the rest with water before sticking it in the deep freeze. They then simply tied a line to the handle, popped the lid and threw it in the water when it was needed. Another approach is to use a chum bag. There are specially made bags of mesh that are relatively inexpensive, but you also can use whatever you may have laying around such as a burlap sack or other porous container. You simply place your frozen or fresh offering in the bag and cinch it closed before dumping it overboard tied to a line. Chumming will bring in anything that likes eating other critters -- which can be irritating if less desired species such as hardheads or gafftops move in. However, many anglers dismiss the effectiveness of using chum for sought species including redfish,

Terminal Tackle Tips LIVE BAIT USUALLY is the best choice to throw while fishing around chum, but a number of artificial lures can be just as effective. Among the best are scented offerings such as Berkley’s Gulp! and PowerBait, which mimic the smell and shape of a number of bait options including shrimp and mullet. Fish reacting around chum typically inhale baits, but you can ensure that you hook a fish in the corner of the mouth by using a circle hook. I have observed a number of guides augment their standard tackle by using the hooks 28 |

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typically used on live croakers and other baitfishes. It really works, too. The circle hook will cut down on the number of fish you gut hook, especially those undersize specimens you intend to throw back. Simply hook a bait through the lead end with the circle hook and throw it as you normally would. I have also seen guides add beads for effect, which may not really work to entice a fish but looks cool, and also thread on a popping cork ahead of plastic imitations. The sound especially can work when you have chummed up a

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trout, and even flounder. The two former species will gang up around any food source so chumming makes great sense, especially is the bite has slowed. Flatfish also will come to the smell of dead bait, especially if you are fishing along drop offs or small variances in terrain. Many anglers also may not consider their angling pursuits to include chumming but anytime you sling out multiple rods with cut bait of any form on the other end you technically are offering up chum. One sure way to find speckled trout or redfish is to follow what veteran anglers term “slicks,” which are produced by feeding fish just below the surface eating shrimp or small bait fish and essentially are moving chum balls. The game fish eat until they can’t anymore and have to spit out some of their prey, while parts of some of the baitfish and oils also will escape through the gills of trout and reds. This will leave a sheen on the surface, which sometimes can be large and is best discerned with a pair of polarized lenses. Seasoned anglers also will smell around when winds are up for what hints of watermelon, the aroma that emanates from these slicks. The Parks & Wildlife report summed things up nicely when discussing the implications of chumming. “It may mean the difference between success and an empty stringer,” the report states. I couldn’t agree more.

spot and are hoping to entice a school of speckled trout or redfish -- or both. Among the best places to use chum is around the almost never-ending channels formed by the Intracoastal Waterway that surround flats areas along the coast. The current along the deeper terrain works well to spread out your chum, including on nearby grassy shallows, and there could be hungry flounder lurking along the edges, too. Using chum isn’t an exact science, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little work, you can find the right mix that will bring success. —Will Leschper Photos: Will Leschper

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Texas Saltwater by Calixto Gonzales | TF&G Saltwater Editor

Getting Jiggy, Part Deux

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or years, jigs were a mainstay of offshore anglers up and down the Texas Gulf Coast. Deepwater anglers knew that the secret to pinning a larger than average red snapper or tempting a much prized amberjack was a large white curly-tail on a bullet-head jig or an economysized bucktail sweetened with something out of the bait trough. I’ve seen plenty of more experienced fishermen catch some amazing fish on jigs while everyone else on the headboat was catching barely-legal snapper on squid and cigar minnows. I knew they were on to something then. For some reason, offshore jigging fell out of favor among fishermen who were headed out into the Big Briny for both bottom fish and pelagics. Stores would still stock large jigs, diamond jigs, and 8- to 10-inch curlytails, but it seemed that they would sit on the racks for months and even years at a time. All the big circle hooks and heavy sinkers and 100 pound leader material would be snatched up once Federal Red Snapper season opened, but the only big water artificials that got any attention were big plugs, jetheads, and topwaters—not exactly snapper and grouper-friendly lures. The biggest complaints about using jigs for groundfish were the size of the tackle used. Let’s face it, bottom tackle wasn’t exactly lure-oriented. Big heavy beefsticks and winch-style conventional reels loaded with 80 and 100-pound mono or Dacron were horrors to fish lures with. They were cumbersome, heavy, and lacked the sensitivity needed to feel either the lure or the strike. The jigs were no better. Yes, they caught fish, but bouncing 8 ounces of lead anywhere between 17 and 50 fathoms down could be

wearisome after a couple of drops. It just wasn’t worth the effort if you could just send a big hook with a bunch of bait weighted by a large hunk of lead and just wait for a fish to bite. Things have changed, however. Technology has facilitated the development of rods, reels, and jigs that make jig-fishing for bottom critters not only easier, but more fun. The heavy fiberglass rod and 9/0 Senator loaded with well rope have been replaced with thin, strong rods, compact reels and braided lines that have tremendous tensile strength-to-diameter ratios. Shimano, for example, has developed the Trevala series of jigging rods for their Butterfly series of jigs (more on that in a bit), but the rods are more than suitable for any jigging application. These rods come in actions ranging from Light to Extra Heavy, but are lightweight and a joy to use. Penn’s Torque series of conventional and spinning rods provide the same Manny Pacquiao combination of heavy power in a compact package. Match up the rods with a high-capacity reel such as a Tekota (my preference because of the levelwind), Torsa, Squall or similar reel and you have a helluva jigging combo. The most important part of any quality jigging system is the line used. Braided line has come a long way in the past 20 years. The latest formulations of Power Pro, Spiderwire, and FINS create remarkable products. Tighter weaves make for stronger, thinner lines (65 Power Pro, for example, has the equivalent diameter of 16 pound mono) and, more importantly for bottom fishing, less water resistance (which translates to less weight to get your presentation down to where the lunkers lurk). Modern jigging rods are designed specifically for use with braid, and have softer, more forgiving tips that absorb the shock of a big fish lunging against a tight drag and no stretch braid. Thinner braid and the reduced water resistance also translate to a smaller package to deliver into the depths. There should always be a place in the offshore tacklebox for the giant leadhead, but next to it should be a spot for modern jigs such as T e x a S

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the Butterfly and the Bomber Saltwater Grade Vamp. These jigs resemble the classic Slab jig that is popular among white bass anglers in freshwater. The have sharp edges, however, which provides the jigs with the fluttering and wobbling actions that are their calling cards. Their slim, hydrodynamic profiles mean even less water resistance, which means that you can use a 4- or 5-ounce jig instead of a 12- or even 16-ounce leadhead. That difference in weight is a big deal when you are bouncing your offering on the bottom. One other jigging tip: I’ve heard plenty of stories of how finicky and tough to hook a big ling can be. Captain Richard Bailey has told me stories of how a ling can suck in a bait and spit it out faster than you can react to set the hook. He had one particular fish aggravate him so for over an hour. My Uncle Bob Renaud used to have an old trick that he used to slay many a finicky ling. He’d pin a whole squid on a 3/4-ounce white bucktail jig and fling it in front of a curious ling. He’d twitch it a couple of times and then let it sink. More often than not, the ling would dive after the jig and inhale it. Then the fight was on. The first time he showed me pictures of a 72-pound ling he caught that way when no one else could get the thing to eat, I bought all the white bucktails he had in his tackle shop. I paid full price, too; no family discount for me. Well, maybe a small one. Uncle Bob knew what it was like to get jiggy.

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aCoot? Duck hunters largely ignore them unless they grow bored from staring at empty skies, but the American coot or mud hen can turn a humdrum day into an exciting hunt. Not a duck, but a member of the rail family, a coot looks like a black or slate gray chicken. Often called poule d’eau — meaning “water hen” — on the east side of the Sabine River, coots look similar to gallinules only with pointy white rather than reddish bills. Although they enter brackish or salty systems, coots generally prefer sweeter water with abundant aquatic weeds. Excellent swimmers, they may dive as deep as 25 feet to pluck aquatic plants growing on T e x a S

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the bottom. Opportunistic feeders, coots mainly eat the roots of aquatic plants, but may also eat seeds, tender shoots, stems, insects, snails, worms, amphibians and small fish. F i s h

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It is not legal to hunt coots from a motorized boat, but small paddlepowered craft make excellent shooting platforms.

Although seemingly weak fliers with stubby rounded wings, coots do migrate

from Canada as far as South America. Coots cannot jump into the air to fly like

mallards or other puddle ducks. Coots use their oversized lobed feet, not webbed like ducks, to patter across the surface kicking up water behind them for some distance to become airborne. In the winter, the Texas coot population swells to several million as migrants head south. Several hundred thousand remain in the Lone Star State all year long and breed here. On any given day, just about any freshwater system or coastal estuary in Texas might hold flocks of these birds. About 60 percent of the Texas coot population occurs along the coast, but the species ranges statewide. Besides coastal marshes, coots like sluggish rivers with numerous backwaters such as the Sabine, Neches, lower Trinity and other streams found in the eastern half of the state. They may even inhabit golf course water hazards, wastewater treatment ponds, stock tanks, irrigation ponds, and aquaculture ponds. Each winter, coots raft up by the thousands on major reservoirs like Toledo Bend, Lake O’ the Pines, Palestine, Fork, Texoma, Tawakoni, Livingston, Caddo and other big lakes. Anahuac, Aransas, and Brazoria national wildlife refuges usually hold good winter coot populations. Numerous high plains playa lakes in Castro, Lamb, Swisher, Parmer, and Deaf Smith counties may also hold birds. Although coots often swim into duck ponds, they seldom decoy or respond to calls. Bored duck hunters sometimes shoot coots that swim into their decoys or make low passes over their blinds. However, to hunt coots effectively, go looking for them. Sportsmen cannot shoot at coots from boats moving under motor or sail power, but a small paddle-powered craft makes an excellent platform for a coot shoot. Although not the brightest of game birds, coots on open water can see long distances. In open water, they frustratingly swim along with the boat, but stay just out of range. Therefore, hunt them in reedy backwaters, swampy sloughs, bayous, or broken marshes interPhoto: John N. Felsher

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laced with ponds. In a canoe, kayak, or pirogue, sportsmen can frequently approach coots closely. To avoid detection, hug shorelines or other available cover and proceed slowly. Take the inside curve on any bends. Watch for movement, feathers, patches of loose floating weed stems, or other bird signs. Listen for their raucous calls or the sound of feet pattering on the water. Highly visible even from long distances, white splashy trails of running coots can pinpoint birds. As silently as possible, dip the paddles into the water. In very shallow, hard-bottomed areas, use paddles almost like push poles, sculling along without lifting the paddles from the water. Water dripping from a paddle can alert birds because sound travels long distances over water, especially on still mornings. For the best results, paddlers hunt in teams. One person in the bow holds a shotgun ready for any action while the person in back paddles and positions the boat for the best shot. For safety reasons, only keep one gun loaded at a time. When hunting alone, paddlers can stretch their shotguns across their laps or put them in some other convenient place for easy access when targets present themselves. Rarely hunted and therefore not very wary, coots may remain in cover until well within shotgun range. When rounding a point, a flock of coots could explode from a weedy shoreline. Fortunately, coots prefer to swim from danger or run across the surface. As they patter across the surface, coots make easy targets. Even when spooked, coots seldom fly far, frequently landing within sight of the hunters a few hundred yards away. Watch where the birds go. After dispatching cripples and retrieving the kills, let the flock settle down for a few minutes. Then, make another sneak on the flock. If they disappear, look for coots feeding around patches of aquatic grass or hiding near broken reedy shorelines, coves, points or other irregularities. Even on major reservoirs, sportsmen might find some creek channels, coves, or reedy backwaters that could provide good jump shooting. Although sportsmen cannot shoot from a boat under power, they could use a motorboat to find a good area for paddling up coots. With a favorable wind, boaters could possibly lay on their backs to avoid making human silhouettes as breezes push the canoe or flatboat forward into the flock.

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Others use drift streams with mild current while looking for game. For jump shooting in big waters, sportsmen may wish to use a full choke with No. 2 steel or other comparable non-toxic shot. For jumping birds in sloughs and marshy ponds where shots may come at close ranges, use a modified or improved cylinder shotgun loaded with high-powered No. 4 steel or No. 6 or 7.5 in Hevi-Shot or other non-toxic shot. Since most waterways belong to the public, sportsman can usually find good shooting

close to home, but check local regulations before hunting any specific area. Coots usually don’t move far, so sportsmen don’t really need to start too early. Many waterfowlers hunt from duck blinds at first light. After the ducks stop flying, get out the paddles for some bonus shooting. A limit of coots could cap off one of those days when ducks just won’t cooperate.

7/9/12 5:23 PM


Texas Department of Defense Surviving a Nuclear (or Zombie) Apocalypse

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ack in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when I was a kid, one of the great overarching threats was nuclear war. Those with the money to spare were digging fallout shelters in their back yards and everyone was discussing what you would need to survive an atomic war. Even gun writer Skeeter

Skelton got into the act when he was asked to write an article about what handgun and equipment he would take with him if he had to head to the hills of

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| Concealed Carry | | Tactical | by Steve LaMascus & Dustin Ellermann New Mexico after a Russian first strike. His article still makes good sense. The threat still exists, although these days you are more likely to hear about the “Zombie Apocalypse” or “SHTF Scenario” than nuclear war. Still, since this department is about selfdefense, and since that includes what to do if the nuclear waste matter really does impact the whirling blades, I think it is valid to dis-

Dustin’s SU16 with a compact 4x scope, removed front sight and replaced takedown pin.

texans are blessed to have the freedom to travel with firearms in our vehicles. Yet, the ideal car gun can be a bit different from your daily carry gun or home defense gun. The ideal firearm might not be a full size carbine or shotgun as you might choose for home defense, for it might not be as manageable inside the vehicle’s interior. But at the same time, it can be larger than a concealed carry handgun, for it doesn’t need to be concealed on your person. While on my quest for the “ideal vehicle defense weapon,” I found that Kel-Tec had some of the most unique firearms that fit a niche. The following is a list of “car guns” that I have considered.

Kel-Tec SU16 Series

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The SU16 fore end folds out into a handy bipod.

an MSRP of $600 I’ve found used ones as low as $400. These piston-driven .223 rifles accept the plentiful AR-15 magazines and are available in several versions.

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cuss what we will need to survive a disaster like the one we just witnessed in March when the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan; or what we will need to do if Yellowstone’s super-volcano really does erupt; or if, God forbid, some hyper-radical politico really does push the Big Red Button. In other words, what will we need and what will we do if the entire country, or even out little piece of it, is hit with some catastrophic disaster that affects our loved ones, and us and causes civil authority to break down into chaos and anarchy. (It is realistic that such could occur in the event of a long-term power outage over a wide area.) First, I believe every family should have a grab-and-go bag containing essentials should an emergency strike. Two bags are better: one that has medical supplies and one that has survival gear. The best such commercially available grab-and-go bag I have ever seen is from Ready Freddy. It has just about everything you need, including a survival radio, flashlight, cell phone charger with connections for just about every cell phone made, and many

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other important items. It comes with the materiel packaged in zippered, labeled bags. You will need at least one good knife; several would be better. With a knife, a skilled outdoorsman can survive. Next, you need firearms and ammunition. I suggest a good handgun suitable for both self-defense and gathering food, a highpowered rifle, and a .22 rifle. For the handgun, a small hand reloading kit such as that made by Lyman could prove invaluable. The little 310 tool is available in the major handgun calibers and will load perfectly good ammunition. Obviously, you need primers and powder. The powder needs to be something that will load high velocity ammunition with the smallest charge, thus stretching the small amount you can carry. I recommend a .357 Magnum, 1000 primers, and a pound can of Unique or Universal Clays. Last but not least, a bullet mold in the appropriate caliber. You can lubricate the bullets with anything from axle grease to lard, and you can melt lead from batteries or

wheel weights in a cast iron pot. Just don’t use the pot for cooking after you have melted lead in it. I prefer the wheel-gun because it will digest ammo of a quality that would make a semi-auto turn up its toes and die. A revolver is very forgiving in this regard and is still a better choice than the more modern semi-autos. For a rifle, select something in .223 or .308, both military calibers, in whatever configuration you prefer. The smaller caliber allows you to carry more ammunition in a given weight on your person, but the larger caliber might require fewer shots to get the job done, so which one you choose is a matter of opinion. Have at least 200 rounds of ammo for the rifle and a hundred for the handgun. The .22 is your everyday food-gathering device. For it, you will need a minimum of 500 rounds of .22 Long Rifle hollow point ammunition. Your emergency ration pack should have enough freeze-dried or dehydrated food to last each person two weeks. It should also

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Texas Department of Defense have water purification tablets and a purification pump. You can scrounge food, but pure water could be a serious problem; the tablets will kill bacteria, but to use seriously polluted water you need the purification pump. Remember, too, that you can live a long time without enough food, but without

The PLR-16 mounted with an Aimpoint Micro and using Black Hills 55 grain yielded this very adequate 50 yard group.

I’ve found these lightweight rifles to be dependable and accurate, but what I love most is the handy feature of being able to fold the rifles to fit into tight spots. On an interstate trip, my vehicle broke down. When I was abandoning the truck for the weekend and riding with an acquaintance, I was able to fit the SU16 into my 5.11 backpack by sticking the barrel about 5 inches out of the top through an hydration hose access hole.

Kel-Tec PLR-16

Dustin’s SU16 with a compact 4x scope, removed front sight and replaced takedown pin.

Kel-Tech t Continued from page 34 capable of storing two 10-round Kel-Tec magazines. One of the coolest features is the stock folds down right in front of the trigger guard with the removal of one pin. This is equivalent to an upper/lower on an AR-15, but the SU16 folds into a much 36 |

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more compact package than any AR I’ve seen. All SU16 models have fore ends that fold down into a handy bipod. The next variant, the SU16B, keeps all the handy features of the Alpha series but shaves off half a pound with a minimumlength 16-inch barrel. Finally, the SU16C comes with a treaded 16-inch barrel and the stock folds behind the trigger guard, which allows the rifle to be fired while folded.

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Another one of Kel-Tec’s innovations is the pistol version of the SU16. This .223 also takes AR-15 magazines and can be outfitted with a variety of accessories on its Picatinny rail. It is also threaded for suppressors, flash hiders, and muzzle brakes. With a shorter 9-inch barrel, you will definitely need earplugs and perhaps a set of muffs on top of those to shield you from the muzzle blast, but this “pistol” is easily capable of 3-inch groups at 50 yards. A one-point sling attached to the rear of the pistol will add stability while shooting; simply push out the pistol and apply tension to the sling. I found the sights a bit hard to acquire because you can mistake the front sight protective wings for the sight itself. I threw on an Aimpoint micro. It is one cool-shooting gun. There are arguments of the effectiveness in a tactical situation of a .223 short barrel. The .223 cartridge thrives on high velocity and it looses a few hundred feet per second with the 9-inch barrel. It also produces a crazy loud blast and muzzle flash. But if needed, I’d sure be happy to have the firepower tucked away in my vehicle as opposed to a standard serPhotos: Hannah Royer

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water, you are dead in a matter of a day or two. In the other bag you should have some rope, parachute cord, fire starting paraphernalia (lifeboat matches and a flint and steel are good choices), a small magnifying glass, fishing line and hooks, mirror, compass, candles, some space blankets of high quality (not the super-thin Mylar stuff that rips as you take it out of the package), a small binocular, flashlight with batteries (or one that

is self-charging), a disaster radio (preferably one of those that you can crank to charge), whatever medicines and personal items you might decide you can’t live without, a small plastic tarp, a small ax, and GI folding shovel. That is my list, but there are ready-made emergency kits that are very well thought out. I have a couple of them that I have been sent for testing. I already mentioned the Ready Freddy; the other is by ASAP

(asapsurvivalgeat.com). Just remember this: Being prepared for the Big One does not make you a paranoid survivalist. —Steve LaMascus

vice-style handgun. The MSRP on this overgrown pistol is $665, but again, you can find deals a little under $500 occasionally.

Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Whereas the PLR is a pistol firing a rifle cartridge, the Sub-2000 is a rifle firing a pistol cartridge. This 4-pound folding rifle is the lightest and most compact rifle offered by Kel-Tec. It comes in 9mm or 40 S&W and with its longer barrel will produce higher velocities more comparable to a .357 magnum. It folds directly in front of the trigger guard into a small 16x7-inch package. Yet the best part about this rifle is the capability of being configured to accept one of several popular pistol magazines. You can order it to function with Glock 22 or 23, Beretta 96, S&W 4006, or Sig 226 magazines. If you carry any of those pistols, you would have double duty for magazines. This retails at $400. When I first sat down to write this article, I didn’t intend to focus only on Kel-Tec; it just naturally played out that way because of the unique weapons Kel-Tec offers. The folding and lightweight firearms play to an interesting niche of compact, concealable, defensive, survival, and utility uses. The plastic stocks might concern some, and not be as durable as a mil-spec AR15, but it has its advantages as well. These guns are definitely worth consideration. —Dustin Ellermann

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T

he dedicated

“outdoors” cable and satellite TV channels have plenty to offer outdoorsmen--too much, in fact. Much of the programming is simply repackaging of the same material with different hosts and personalities: Billy-Bob shoots a bear/deer/ duck. Earl and Boudreaux catch some fish. Arnold tunes his bow. For the outdoorsman of eclectic interests and higher expectations, many non-traditional “outdoors” channels offer excellent alternatives that inform, entertain, and educate. Animal behavior and natural history, biology, entomology, firearms history, wilderness survival, exotic fishing, and even feral hog control are just the tip of the proverbial available to the outdoors-mined channel surfer. Here are our picks of the best alternative TV programming for outdoorsmen: History Channel Program: Swamp People Website: history.com/shows/swamp-people Description: This program follows Louisiana alligator hunters through the 30-day alligator season that is crucial to their economic survival. At its core, this is a uniquely American story of a proud and skillful people fighting to maintain an ancient way of life in a rapidly modernizing world, despite the many perils and trials that stand in their way. Program: Mountain Men Website: history.com/shows/mountain-men Description: Modern-day mountain men face off against mudslides, falling trees, ravaging weather, and even hungry animals in America’s great wilderness areas to obtain the food and supplies to

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make it through the brutal winter months ahead. H2 (formerly History International) Program: Top Guns Website: history.com/shows/top-guns Description: Some of the country’s best marksmen competed in the hit History Channel series Top Shot (one of which Season Champions, Dustin Ellermann, is on the Texas Fish & Game staff). Top Guns highlights the weapons those sharpshooters so skillfully mastered. Each week, host Colby Donaldson and two expert marksmen lock and load three iconic weapons and decide which one outshines the others. Viewers also learn the amazing history behind such famous firearms as the Kentucky flintlock, military M14, and legendary Colt .45 revolver. Discovery Channel Program: American Guns Website: dsc.discover.com/tv/american-guns Description: The Wyatts are your typical suburban family except they just happen to own one of the premiere firearms facilities in the world. Rich Wyatt and his wife Renee own Gunsmoke, where they buy, sell, and trade guns. They--and the oneof-a-kind and historic guns they make and sell--are featured in each episode. Program: Planet Earth Website: dsc.discover.com/tv/planet-earth Description: More than five years in the making, Planet Earth redefines blue-chip natural history filmmaking. The series exposes never-before-seen animal behaviors, startling views of locations captured by cameras for the first time, and unprecedented high-definition production techniques. Narrated by award-winning actress and conservationist Sigourney Weaver (of the “Aliens” movies fame). Program: Dual Survival Website: dsc.discover.com/tv/dual-survival Description: Survival experts Cody photos: Canstock; The history Channel, Discovery, National geographic

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Lundin and Dave Canterbury take on some of the planet’s most unforgiving terrain to demonstrate how the right skills and some creative thinking can keep you alive. Program: Flying Wild Alaska Website: dsc.discover.com/tv/flying-wild-alaska Description: Meet the unconventional family that rules Alaska’s most dangerous skies. Operating their family-run airline, Era Alaska, the Tweto family battles unforgiving Alaska weather and terrain to transport hunters, anglers, and life’s necessities to one of the most remote and extreme regions of America. Program: Hogs Gone Wild Website: dsc.discover.com/tv/hogs-gone-wild Description: The feral hog is strong, mean, and wreaking havoc on U.S. businesses, farms, and landowners. Follow three pestcontrol companies as they battle this wily and dangerous enemy. Program: River Monsters Website: dsc.discover.com/tv/river-monsters Description: Extreme angler Jeremy Wade discovers and catches the world’s largest, strangest, and most dangerous fishes. (A recent headline of his exploits: “River T e x a S

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Monsters Angler Catches Testicle-eating Fish that Killed Two Men”.) Military Channel

Program: Top Sniper Website: military.discover.com/tv/sniper/sniper.html Description: Every year the Sniper School at Fort Benning, Georgia, invites the most elite sniper teams in the world to compete in a weeklong contest to determine the best two-man team. The challenges and techniques of these master long-range riflemen carry over well in long-range hunting scenarios. National Geographic Channel

Program: Explorer Website: nationalgeographic.com Description: You never know what Explorer might serve up (unless you cheat and consult the program schedule), but it is assured to be interesting, entertaining, and sometimes wonderfully weird. Recent episodes include, “Mystery of the Disembodied Feet” (about shoes containing human feet found by fishermen and beachcombers on the Oregon coast), “Jellyfish Invasion”, “Python Wars”, “Shark Superhighway”, “Python vs. Gator”, and “Monster Fish of the Congo.” The outdoor experience is more than hunting, fishing, and trapping. It is the essence of mystery and majesty, the esoteric and familiar, and the fun and funny. These shows and others offer all that and much more. We encourage you to expand your horizons and your mind; embrace the total outdoors of Texas and beyond.

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TRUE GREEN Jefferson Co. Ranchers Stewards of the Year

CWD Found in Far West Texas Samples from two mule deer recently taken in far West Texas have been confirmed positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). These are the first cases of CWD detected in Texas deer. Wildlife officials believe the event is currently isolated in a remote part of the state near the New Mexico border. Tissue samples were initially tested by the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, with confirmation by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. “Now that we have detected CWD in Texas, our primary objective is to contain this disease,” said Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director. “Working collaboratively with experts in the field we have developed protocols to address CWD and implementation is already under way.” “This is obviously an unfortunate and rather significant development,” said TPW 40 |

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Commission Chairman, T. Dan Friedkin. “We take the presence of this disease very seriously and have a plan of action to deal with it. The Department will do whatever is prudent and reasonable to protect the state’s deer resources and our hunting heritage.” Although wildlife officials cannot say how long the disease has been present in Texas or if it occurs in other areas of the state, they have had an active CWD surveillance program for more than a decade. “We have tested more than 26,500 wild deer in Texas since 2002, and the captive-deer industry has submitted more than 7,400 CWD test results as well,” said Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director with TPWD. “But that part of West Texas is the toughest place to conduct an adequate CWD surveillance program because so few deer are harvested out there each hunting season. Thanks to the cooperation and active participation of several landowners, we were able to begin getting an idea of the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease without needing to remove many deer.” The TAHC regulates cervid species not indigenous to Texas such as elk, red deer, and sika deer. TAHC oversees a

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With the majority of Texas’s remaining coastal prairies and wetlands in private ownership, we all depend heavily on the conservation ethic of private landowners. In 2011, the Pipkin family elevated their level of commitment to natural resources by enhancing 3,000 acres of freshwater coastal marsh, one of the rarest and most important habitat types on the Texas Gulf Coast. “Coastal wetlands are vital for people and wildlife,” said Matt Kaminski, DU regional biologist. “The Pipkin’s efforts have improved habitat and resources for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, and alligators within the region and have provided important ecological functions like storm surge protection and groundwater recharge for the people that live here..” Perhaps most extraordinary, the Pipkin’s have completed this enhancement effort despite losing virtually all ranch infrastructure (homes, barns, fences, etc.) and much of their livestock to Hurricane Ike in September 2008. Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Pipkin family, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Texas Rice Industry Coalition for the Environment Continued on page 42 u

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TRUE GREEN Although breeding habitat conditions have declined from previous years, the 2012 “Trends in Duck Breeding Populations” report estimates waterfowl production in North America’s duck factory is at a record high. This year’s report estimate of 48.6 million is significantly higher than the 45.6 million birds estimated last year and 43 percent above the long-term average. This annual report summarizes information about the status of duck populations and wetland habitats collected by wildlife biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Canadian Wildlife Service for the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey (Survey). The Survey samples more than two million square miles of

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waterfowl habitat across the United States and Canada.

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2012 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations

Highlights from the Survey in the northcentral United States, south-central and northern Canada, and Alaska (the traditional survey area) include the following population estimates: • Mallard abundance is 10.6 million – a 15 percent increase over 2011 and a 39

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TRUE GREEN CONTINUED... 2012 Ducks t Continued from page 40 percent increase over the long-term average of 7.6 million. • Gadwall abundance is 10 percent above the 2011 estimate, and 96 percent above the long-term average. • American wigeon abundance increased 3 percent from 2011, but remains 17 percent below the long-term average. • Abundance of green-winged teal

Land Stewards t Continued from page 40 (R.I.C.E.) on a two-phase restoration project in Jefferson County. The first phase was to replace aging water control structures and three re-lift pumps damaged by Hurri-

CWD in Texas t Continued from page 40 voluntary CWD herd monitoring status program with the intent to facilitate trade and marketability for interested cervid producers in Texas. Cervid herds under either TPWD or TAHC authority may participate in the commission’s monitored CWD program. The basis of the program is that enrolled cervid producers must provide an annual herd inventory, and ensure that all mortalities during the previous year were tested for CWD and the disease was not detected. Wildlife biologists, hunters, and landowners would certainly have 42 |

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and blue-winged teal were 3.5 million and 9.2 million, which were 20 percent and 3 percent above their 2011 numbers. Both species continue to remain well above their long-term averages by 74 percent and 94 percent, respectively. • Abundance for northern shovelers is 5.0 million, which is 8 percent above 2011, and 111 percent above their longterm average. • Northern pintails are at 3.5 million, which is 22 percent below the 2011 estimate, and 14 percent below the long-term average.

• Redhead abundance was unchanged from last year but 89 percent above the long-term average. • Canvasback abundance was 0.8 million, which was 10 percent above last year’s estimate and 33 percent above their long-term average • The combined lesser and greater scaup abundance estimate was 5.2 million, which was 21 percent above the 2011 estimate and 4 percent above the long-term average. —Staff Report «TG

cane Ike. This vital infrastructure permits the Ranch to pump water from Spindletop Bayou and circulate water between managed marsh impoundments and adjoining rice fields. The second phase focused on laser-leveling 350 acres of rice fields to improve water use efficiency and the ability to manage water levels

for breeding, migrating, and wintering waterbirds. The Ranch now captures and re-uses water for rice production, manage their marsh for submerged aquatic vegetation such as wigeon grass, and improve grazing for their cattle – “a win-win-win,” states Fletcher Pipkin.

preferred for Texas mule deer populations to have not been dealt this challenge, but TPWD and TAHC have developed a CWD Management Plan that includes management practices intended to contain the disease. The management plan includes input from the CWD Task Force, which is comprised of deer and elk producers, wildlife biologists, veterinarians and other animal-health experts from TPWD, Texas Animal Health Commission, Department of State Health Services, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, and USDA. The disease was first recognized in 1967 in captive mule deer in Colorado. CWD has also been documented in captive and/or free-ranging deer in 19 states and 2 Canadian provinces, including neighboring

New Mexico. “We know that elk in southern New Mexico are also infected with CWD,” said Dr. Dee Ellis, State Veterinarian and TAHC Executive Director. “It will take a cooperative effort between hunters, the cervid industry, and state/federal animal health and wildlife agencies to ensure we keep this disease confined to southern New Mexico and far West Texas. I am confident however that will be able to do that, and thus protect the rest of the Texas cervid industry.” More information on CWD can be found on TPWD’s website, www. tpwd.state.tx.us/CWD

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7/10/12 6:13 PM


Hunt Texas by Bob Hood | TF&G Hunting Editor

An Old Friend Lost, a New Friend Gained

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he spring turkey-hunting season is now in the distant past, which is sad for those of us who start gobbling and clucking in February every year weeks before the seasons open in Texas and other states. Yes, turkey hunting is in my blood and it has been ever since the late 1960s when the first spring turkey-hunting season was approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Sure, it opened in only one county (Kerr) initially, but as it spread to other counties, so did my eagerness to pursue the big bird. Today, Rio Grande turkey can be hunted each spring in virtually every county with a population. My long-time turkey-hunting gun, a M66 Ithaca, crashed before this year’s spring season opened due to a worn-out locking mechanism. The single-shot, 30-inch barrel 12-gauge with a lever-type opener had taken 137 gobblers over a span of more than four decades before having to be set aside. Most of the gobblers were taken in Texas, but some were in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Oklahoma. My Nikon and Canon cameras have taken even more gobblers, but I loved that old gun, which I also used while predator calling. Before last spring’s turkey season opened in Texas, I pondered about using one of my other 12- or 20-gauge shotguns. But I didn’t ponder for long. By a stroke of luck and help from a friend, I located another antique M66 Ithaca 12-gauge, 30-inch barrel and all, that was exactly like my old M66, yet brand spanking new. In other words, it showed no signs of ever being used. On opening day last season, I called up two long-beards on a ranch in Lampasas County and took the largest with a 10-inch

Photo: Bob Hood

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beard with my “new” Ithaca. A week later on Skipper Duncan’s Adobe Lodge and ranchland near San Angelo, I called up four gobblers and took one of them, another 10-incher with the single-shot M66. The four gobblers came to my calls in pairs at two different locations. As most turkey hunters know, last season was a good one for long-beards because of poor breeding activity and extremely hot drought conditions months before the season opened

which reduced the numbers of jakes afield. I thought my M66 was going to take its second gobbler of the season when I saw the first pair of gobblers strutting and coming right toward me and a hen decoy I had set out about 20 yards away. The birds couldn’t see the decoy because of a tree and circle of brush between them and the decoy until they got to within about 35 yards. When the rounded the brush and saw the decoys, they spun like a top, jumped behind the brush and quickly retreated. T e x a S

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I have used decoys before and they have worked well for me…most of the time. Since I can’t get into a turkey’s head, I have no idea why they sometimes are spooked by a decoy and other times come right in aggressively. I know my setup was good, there was little wind to affect the decoy, I made no movement, and the birds definitely spooked when they sighted the decoy. The San Angelo area is perhaps one if not the prime turkey hunting area in Texas, and Skipper Duncan has visited with scores of turkey hunters over the years at his Adobe Lodge, quizzing them every chance he gets on their daily experiences hunting for gobblers. When I told him about the two gobblers that had spooked at the decoy, he said he had heard the same story over and over again. Sometimes the decoys have worked, hunters have told him, and sometimes they have done just the opposite. The following day, I set up in another area. Like the day before, I backed up into a large cedar tree and sat comfortably at its base, only this time I did not put out the decoy. Ten minutes after I started calling, another pair of gobblers responded. They eventually worked their way to within 25 yards of me and the M66 did its work on one of them. It’s now summer and those sporting goods shelves that were lined with hundreds of turkey calls, decoys, turkey head targets and other turkey hunting gear are now stocked full of antler-enhancing minerals, food plot mixes and other concoctions their makers guarantee will attract whitetail deer. Yes, the archery-only season is just around the corner and the firearms season isn’t far away. It’s a good time to spend some moments in the woods at dawn and dusk to view deer and, with the help of trail cameras watch their antlers grow from week to week, which for some is a sport in itself. And while you are at it, look for turkey tracks.

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Flipping turns summer weather into broiling hot bassing action

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DEAN ROJAS, A professional angler who once called Grand Saline, Texas, home, pulled up to an old roadbed on Toledo Bend along the Texas-Louisiana line. The old highway route made a distinct passage through the flooded brush. “On both sides of the entry way is a deep cove with little ditches on each side of the old roadbed,” Rojas explained, reaching for a long rod loaded with a 4-inch black neon tube rigged Texas style, pegged to a 3/16-ounce tungsten slip sinker. Photos: John N. Felsher

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Professional bass anglers Gerald Swindle (left) and Brian Snowden (above) demonstrate their flipping techniqe.

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“Small and compact, a tube slides through cover well, but it’s a little chunkier than a worm. As long as water stays up in bushes, bass will always be here. Someone can fish this spot all year long under these conditions.” Almost like using a cane pole, Rojas stripped off a length of line and held the excess loosely in one hand while swinging the tube toward his intended target. As the bait reached the end of the arc, he released the excess line, allowing the lure momentum to pull the slack tight. The bait landed with incredible accuracy and slipped into the water next to a twig with barely a ripple. “Whenever I’m fishing shallow water, I try to make the lure entry as light as possible,” the pro advised. “The less I spook an area, the more likely I’ll catch a big bass here. Point the rod tip toward cover as the

Flipping can be compared to fishing with a cane pole.

tube goes out. As it lands, pick up the rod tip to make a soft entry.” The bait never reached the bottom, less than three feet below the surface. A 5-pound largemouth engulfed the offering. After lipping the lunker, Rojas flipped his tube toward another brush top protruding from the surface. Almost effortlessly and without much splash, Rojas continued to accurately flip the short, fat bait into almost every inch of exposed cover. He also dropped baits into the ditches lining the old roadbed. He finished the day with nearly 22 pounds, including two bass just shy of six pounds, and eventually won the tournament with a three-day limit of 15 bass weighing 55.5 pounds. Many people consider “flipping” a technique best employed during the spawning 46 |

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season when bass hole up in thick, shallow cover, but some bass stay shallow all year long. During hot weather, bass hunker down in flooded brush, fallen trees, thick weed patches, lily pad fields, and other cover that blocks the broiling sun. Although hot water bass probably won’t leave their lairs to chase fast-moving lures, they may slurp tempting morsels that suddenly plunge into their hiding spots. By flipping, anglers can drop jigs, tubes, worms or other enticing soft plastics into specific bits of cover, such as a quartersize open pocket in a grass mat, to penetrate where lunkers lurk. “I use a tube around heavy cover, like the flooded buck brush and willows at Toledo Bend and Lake Sam Rayburn,” said Alton Jones, a former Bassmaster Classic champion from Waco, Texas. “A tube allows me to put a bait into hard to reach places to target bass others don’t target. The key to fishing a tube is the fall. I fish tubes on a slack line and watch the line. When the line stops falling, either it hit bottom or I have a strike. If I feel anything heavy, I set the hook. Bass tend to hold onto a tube longer because the soft, hollow body feels real to them.” In the summer, grass can grow quite thick on many Texas lakes. Even on the hottest days, massive grass mats or forests of flooded brush could hold monster bucketmouths in very shallow water, as long as the fish can find sufficient food and oxygen. In steaming temperatures, bass congregate under such cover to seek cooling shade. A thick mat may look nearly impenetrable, but beneath the canopies, water opens up. Matted grass blocks the sun, killing any other submerged vegetation beneath it. Grass stems growing from the bottom to the surface create an aquatic forest, an ideal lair for bass to ambush anything that ventures too close. “A mat is a sanctuary for bass,” said Ken Cook, a former Bassmaster Classic champion from Meers, Okla. “In really hot weather, bass will either be in deep water or under overhead cover. If there’s no deep water, they go under anything that puts a roof over their heads, whether it’s a boat

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Texas-style tubes are a proven rig for flipping.

dock, overhanging rock or a grass mat to get in the shade.” When flipping grass mats, slip a Texasrigged bait or weedless jig through pockets in the cover. When it hits bottom, jig it up a little. Try different depths. Sometimes, bass hover near the bottom, suspend up the water column, or hang beneath the roof. If nothing bites deep, raise the bait slowly. Then, bang the bait against the underside of the mat. Sometimes, that dislodges minnows, crawfish, freshwater shrimp, or other morsels, sparking a feeding frenzy. Around grass matted too thick to slip a bait through, anglers may try something more drastic. Some anglers toss heavy jigs into the air. They come down with force, punching through the grass like bunker buster bombs smashing through a roof. A sudden invasion of its lair may provoke a reaction strike even from a non-aggressive bass. “Sometimes, the best places to fish are the places that are the toughest to go through, the thickest places,” Cook emphasized. “Often, the thicker the cover, the bigger the fish! When I’m fishing really thick cover, I use a big sinker to punch through the canopy. I might throw the bait 20 feet up in the air to make it crash through the mat. Do whatever it takes to get it through the mat to where the fish are.” While most of the summer armada heads to the depths to drag Caroling rigs over ledges, shallow-water anglers might find the bass action close to shore. Pull out the long rods and place baits around every possible piece of cover to see what happens.

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7/12/12 6:28 PM


Texas Freshwater by Matt Williams | TF&G Freshwater Editor

Targeting the Lowly Carp

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’ve been fortunate to travel the world and catch some big fish from some exotic places over the years. Still, some of my fondest freshwater memories are linked to the rocky banks that line the Colorado River tailrace behind the Lake Buchanan dam in Central Texas. My wife and I spent hours sitting on the rip raft back when we were dating. It was usually peaceful there and the air always wore the poignant stench of fish. While it wasn’t the most romantic setting, it was a great spot to kick back and pass a lazy August afternoon with a few cold beers as we watched our rod tips for any signs of a taker. Jan and I caught white bass, stripers, largemouth bass and catfish off of those rocks, but it was the lowly carp that always provided the most fun. Some days we might only catch a couple. On others, we might reel in two dozen. Regardless, we always had a good time catching and releasing the freshwater misfits. I call them misfits mainly because of the way the look. Next to gar, carp have to be the ugliest ducklings of the freshwater fishing scene. They’re boney. They’re scaly. They’re slimy. And they have a funny-shaped mouth that closely resembles suction cup, a physical trait that earned them the distinctive nickname “bugle mouth bass.” But make no mistake about it. What carp lack in appearance they make up for in sheer brawn and reliability. Carp fight with the tenacity of a saltwater redfish, and a big one weighing upwards of

15 pounds can push traditional bass tackle to the limit. Even more attractive are the facts they can be found in big number in lakes and rivers all around the state, are relatively easy to catch, and you don’t need a boat to fish for them. Once considered just another “rough” fish, carp are becoming increasingly popular with anglers across Texas and beyond, too. So popular that several tournaments are held across the state each year by organizations structured solely around carp fishing. The tournaments are strictly catch and release and typically draw contestants from several states who come to fish for thousands of dollars in prize money. To wit: Last March, the Lake Fork Sportsman’s Association teamed with Wild Carp Companies of Syracuse, NY and Californiabased US Carp Pro Magazine to host the first annual Lake Fork Carp and Buffalo Challenge team event. Teams fished for 44 straight hours and they landed some monsters. Included in the

mix were 35 pound lake record common carp, a 65.12 pound lake record smallmouth buffalo and a new IGFA junior world record for smallmouth buffalo weighing 50.6 pounds. In 2006, Texas angler Al St. Cyr of Austin caught a new state record common carp and won $250,000 in the fiveday Texas Carp Challenge held on Town Lake. Located within the Austin City limits, Town Lake kicked out another state record T e x a S

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carp weighing 43.75 in 2009. It is considered one of Texas’ premier carp fisheries. Regardless of where you go after them, fishing for carp is a relatively simple practice to master. They feed at all depths, but bottom fishing tactics rule. A basic level-wind or spinning reel mounted to a medium or medium action rod will work just fine. Just be sure to use a fairly heavy line (15 pound test is good) and keep all your rods secured at arm’s reach to prevent having them jerked in the water. Many anglers like to use some sort of prepared dough bait on a small hook or using hardened “boilies” in combination with a hair rig. Chumming with grain or range cubes is an effective way to concentrate the fish and stimulated feeding. Another highly effective carp bait can be made using Wheaties cereal and bottle of Big Red soda. To make your bait, grab a handful of corn flakes and soak them with Big Red. Mush the cereal together, adding more soda when needed to form a thick consistency. Once you’ve made three or four pieces of bait, lay them on a rock to dry in the sun for about five minutes. In the meantime, you can rig up your line. I like to stage a bell sinker off the main line about 18-20 inches above small treble hook. This will allow the bait to free-float away from the weight, which prevents the carp from feeling any resistance when he inhales it. Once the bait has dried “sticky to the touch,” break off a small chunk and ball it up around the hook, making sure to cover the points. Loft the bait out using a soft, stiff-arm motion to avoid slinging the bait off. Once the bait is on bottom, prop the rod against a rock or in a rod holder, reel up the slack, and wait. If you are in good carp water, you’ll know it pretty quick.

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Open Season by Reavis Wortham | TF&G Humor Editor

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ne summer after reading Huckleberry Finn, Cousin and I felt the pressing need to build a raft and float it down a river. The thought of drifting idly, fishing from a raft with a cane pole and bobber was almost mythical. Though the idea was sound in theory, putting into practice was a little more difficult. For one thing, the only river close by was the Red, which seemed to be as wide as the ocean one week and narrow enough to jump across from sand bar to sand bar the next. I fished it a few times with the Old Man, but his stories of recovering bodies that had been in the water for days or weeks scared us silly. I decided to hold off on it until I was older, like the next year. The second ribbon of moving water was Sanders Creek. If the adults were frightened by the Red, the smaller creek was just as scary. Relatives had succumbed to its muddy water and again, the stories kept us away from everything but the Rock Hole, where we fished for catfish when the Old Man was in the mood. So we were left with the only body of water available to us, The Pool. Somehow less romantic, the cow-flop-lined stock tank was the only thing big and deep enough to float a raft; albeit a small one. Unfortunately, we had no experience in building watercraft. With that in mind, our first experiment was surprisingly beautiful. Made of aged 1-inch oak and four 55-gallon barrels, Cousin and I were quite pleased with the result that sat in splendid regality on the barn floor. “You think it’ll float?” he asked. I climbed on the splintery surface the size of a small bedroom and surveyed the barn. I jumped up and down. “Yep, it feels solid.” He joined me. “Do you think we put the 48 |

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tops on the barrels tight enough?’ I knelt and peered upside down at the rings holding the lids on. “They were so tight we barely got the lever closed. They’ll keep the water out.” “We’ll need to put up a tarp so we don’t get too hot.” “Right,” I answered and pulled a canvas tarp free from its former home under dirt and hay. We built a frame for the dusty tent and stepped back to survey the results. “All right, now all we have to do is get it to the pool.”

Cousin evaluated the 100-yard distance from the barn to the pool. “At least it’s downhill.” “That’s right,” I said, proud to have already made the connection. “These barrels will roll easy.” I’d forgotten we’d nailed the boards to them. After huffing and puffing for an hour, I stared at the deep ruts leading from the barn to the gate, a distance of six feet. “Gravity is helping,” I said. “Not much.” We disassembled the raft, finally letting the barrels roll downhill to the pool. We drug the planks, heavy as railroad timbers, down to the bank and reusing used nails, rebuilt the vessel along with the listing tent topper. With much struggling and huffing, and watched closely by a herd of whiteface cattle, we finally pushed and pulled the raft into the water. It listed for a moment, and then sank

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as the barrels filled through a variety of holes including, but not limited to, rust spots, nail holes, cracks, and leaks around the rings. “It makes a nice dock, though, don’t it?” I asked. Cousin agreed, and stepped onto the raft to cast toward the middle, where he hooked some underwater structure and broke the line. Back at the barn, we utilized a different design. Cousin considered the finished product. “That’s not a raft.” “It kinda is,” I replied. “It’s a johnboat with a thingy sticking out on the side like one of them Hawaiian canoes.” “Outrigger,” I said. “But it isn’t a raft.” “I’ve given up on that.” “The whole idea is to build a raft like Huck Finn.” “You have to lean the meaning of flexibility,” I said. “Huck was more than flexible. Here, grab this and we’ll drag it down to the pool.” “Well, at least it floats,” Cousin said afterward. “But I think it floated before you put that thing on the side.” “It’s filling with water,” I said, staring at the water sloshing in the boat’s bottom. “That’s why it was up in the barn. It needed to be fixed.” “Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked, exasperated. “I thought that thingy on the side would make it float.” “It stabilizes it,” I told him. “It’s working. It’s sinking pretty level.” I tied the sinking boat to the sunken raft dock and we thought for a long moment. “You want to go eat supper?” Cousin finally asked me. “Yeah, and I’m gonna read some more Huck Finn,” I answered. “Maybe I can learn something else about raft making.”

Email Reavis Wortham at rwortham@fishgame.com

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7/9/12 5:09 PM


Digital Edition

Balanced Fishing by reavis z. wortham

PHOTO: LUCELUCELUCE, CANSTOCK

I WAS “SKUNKED” AGAIN this past weekend while fly-fishing with my family on a skinny Oklahoma river. Skunked is an Old Timey word meaning I didn’t catch a fish. Not one. There is probably a good reason for being skunked, since a couple of kids sitting on the bank not far away were hauling them in with a traditional cane pole outfit including line, a weight, a hook, and a can of worms. Traditionalists. I was showing my daughter and son-in-law how to use a fly rod, but the wind was a bear that day. The little 5-wt rod is almost perfectly balanced with the reel, and is a dream to cast, but not in a hurricane. In a frustrated effort to heave the fly into fishable water, I dug out a box of salmon flies and tied on a monstrosity that worked like a champ, but on a 9-wt rod. T F & G

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The whole desperate mess was virtually impossible to cast. We gave up, went back to camp, and opened a bottle of single malt to salve our wounded pride. While sitting beside an aromatic cedar-wood fire that cool night, I explained how the casting ability of the rig was completely destroyed by the sodden, heavy fly, and that conversation branched into a discussion of properly balanced fishing

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TF&G ALMANAC Table of Contents Hotspots • Texas’ HotGEARING UP SECTION 74 Texas test Fishing Spots | , &

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texas tested • NauticStar, Alumacraft, Tactical Solutions, Savage Arms, Vortex | by TF&G staff

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fish and game gear• Hot New Outdoor Gear | by TF&G staff special section• Texas Biodiversity | by TF&G staff

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COVER STORY • Balanced Fishing | by reavis z. wortham

HOW-TO SECTION

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hotspots focus: upper coast • Some Like it Hot | by capt. eddie hernandez hotspots focus: galveston • Head for the Horizon -­ and All Points in Between | by capt. mike holmes

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52 texas kayaking • Holding | 56 Back 70 paul’s tips • Double Down | 57 73 guns & gear • Combat 58 texas Rifles or Hunting Rifles? | texas boating • Neutered Sissy Boats | by lenny rudow by greg berlocher

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OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

107 texas tasted • Grillades | 108 sporting tales • Failed! | CLASSIFIED 112 OUTDOOR DIRECTORY • Guides, Gear and More | TF&G by

bryan slaven

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paul bradshaw

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gear in general. Balanced tackle casts appropriate lures easily, and to great distances. Improperly matched equipment makes a day on the water nothing more than frustrating. Today some tackle comes pre-packaged, allowing the angler to leave the store with a minimum of fuss. Even then, the purchase of the wrong line, or loading too much line on the correct reel, can cause the uninformed much misery. Also, instead of buying carefully matched equipment, many people make the simple mistake of purchasing a rod, slapping on any old reel, and then lamenting the rig’s action. For the purpose of this discussion, we will assume you are not buying a prepackaged combo. There is nothing wrong with those products, but most experienced anglers want to partner their favorite reels with a specific rod, or vice versa. Let’s talk about a basic combo that feels right and casts properly in most conditions. I guess y’all know the difference between a spin-cast rod, as opposed to one designed for a spinning reel. (sigh) Alright, let’s keep it as simple as possible. Spin-cast rods have a finger grip on the

by calixto gonzales bob hood george knighten

bottom to aid in casting a bait-cast or spincast reel, which attaches on the top. Spinning rods have no finger grip, and the spinning reel attaches to the bottom. The rods and reels are not, or should not be, interchangeable between the two. Personal preference and experience dictates the type of reel you choose. Beginners drift toward the reliable spin-cast reels, because the push-button action is the easiest to learn, and solves a world of casting ills. These reels were designed for lines somewhere in the neighborhood of 8- to 10-pound-test line, and they are the workhorses of traditional outfits. Rods come in different actions and lengths. They can be listed as anything from light, medium light, medium, medium heavy and heavy. The power of the rod determines its strength. The best explanation is how much power the rod has is how much it can flex. For the general-purpose combination we are designing, you will want a medium action between five and a half and six feet long, which will cast lures ranging from-1/2 to 1/3 of an ounce. The third ingredient is fishing line. Today’s manufacturers make everything from gossamer-thin, virtually invisible line, F i s h

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www.FishGame.com to stuff strong enough to use as parachute cords. Now, we have to put all this together to create a balanced outfit. This is where I tell you to read the manufacturer’s recommendations. The serious angler knows full-well to read the small print on the reel that says “Line Capacity.” Each year my bride endures several hours of mumbling as I search for, and eventually discover, my reading glasses to peruse the tiny writing. Then I wonder aloud what size line I put on the Ambassadeur 6500 (bait-cast reel) last year. Was it the recommended 245 yards of 14-pound-test? Or did we go after larger game and load 155 yards of 20-pound? You don’t want to try to cast a 1/16-ounce Roadrunner on 20-pound line with a 6-1/2-foot heavy action rod. I have three reels on my desk at this writing, and they all have a complete set of instructions to match the line. All I needed to do was follow the recommendations, and then label the reel with the proper line strength. So, we have a properly balanced and loaded rig—now what are you fishing for? CONTINUED ON PAGE 52

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he biggest problem with half the fishboats on the market today is that they aren’t even fishboats anymore. In our politically correct pleaseeverybody world, many hard-core fishing machines have been feminized to the point that they are better suited for picnic cruises and sunbathing than they are for slime-laden bloodbaths. Thanks a lot, you metro-sexual boat designers. What are you going to do next, spike my chum with estrogen? The worst part of this design trend is the fact that women and kids who like fishing don’t want all of that stuff, either. And those who do desire the frilly features are not very likely to get up at 4:00 a.m. for a full day of fishing in the first place. Your wife won’t pee in a bucket and demands a boat with a head? Sorry, bud, you should have chosen better. Your kids

partment into a “cabin” with a teak and holly sole, berths, and entertainment centers? My aluminum rod butts, lead weights, and splattering bunker oil will make short work of that garbage; all it’s really good for is driving up the boat’s price and impressing babes at boat shows.

1. The Center Console Head - Get that thing out of my way, and let me mount my tackle boxes and rod racks in there. Why waste all of that perfectly good stowage space on a luxury item? Besides, going into a center console head makes a huge number of people sick, and they may well end up holding it in or doing their business on deck in a bucket, anyway. And what about those big, fancy center consoles that turn this com-

2. Winches - What do you think I am, a girly-man? Then let me get to work and use my biceps. Pulling up an anchor really isn’t all that big of a deal, and putting a windlass on a boat provides you with one more mechanical item that can fail. And, yes, anchor winches do fail with startling regularity. Besides, when you are trying to pinpoint anchor on a wreck or reef, you can drop the anchor faster and monitor how much scope

Photo: a Dogs Life Photo, Canstock

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insist on having a cabin with a TV? Don’t even bother training them to make a good gaff shot, because they will be too busy exercising their thumbs on the X-Box to bother with those stinky old fish. If you want to be a serious angler who owns a serious fishboat, and put those hard-earned dollars towards maximizing length instead of leisure, it’s time to ditch Mom’s Mink and start shopping. While you are at it, look for these specific features that have been added to half the “fishing” boats being built today—and avoid them at all cost.

COVER STORY: BALANCED FISHING t CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50 Bass will require different gear than panfish, though none of this means you can’t catch a crappie with bass gear. The best guideline is: The smaller the fish, the lighter the outfit. Once again, following the recommendations on the rod will go a long way toward a successful fishing trip. Most quality rods have specific lure weights listed somewhere near the butt, or reel slot. In my opinion, a spinning reel loaded with 4- to 6-1/2-pound line on a 6-1/2-foot 52 |

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light action rod is perfect for getting 1/16- to 1/8-ounce lures to crappie or fat bluegills. Bass fishermen lean more toward medium rods to land the heavier fish. A bait-casting reel loaded with 10- through 17-pound line will throw any lure in the 3/8- to 1-ounce range. Balanced tackle makes fishing a much more pleasant experience than using mismatched equipment. Proper gear will provide more distance on the cast, better hookups, and a successful fight. What it doesn’t do is make the tackle F ish

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more sensitive, but it relieves hand fatigue, helps the angler sense vibrations easier, and gains distance and accuracy in casting. Now, before you put pen to paper because you disagree with these recommendations, remember these are personal preferences. Your own rig, balanced to your personal experience and preferences, will most likely catch more fish than mine. So there.

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is out more accurately if you do it by hand. 3. Removable Leaning Post Backrests - That backrest slides into a pair of rodholders that act as receiver mounts. So what am I supposed to do, choose whether to take the backrest along or leave it in the garage and get an extra pair of rodholders? Like that’s a choice? I have the best, biggest rods around and I want—no, I need—each and every rodholder I can get. 4. Bow Cushions - When I am on the water, I don’t want to waste one single second of my precious fishing time. I don’t even like to slow down to eat, much less rest. So, those bow cushions will only serve to get in my way when I try to access the foredeck fishboxes, or step up onto the bow casting deck. That slows me down, and that’s unacceptable. 5. Transom Bench Seats - Get that damn thing out of my way! What in the world makes you think for a moment that I am willing to sacrifice cockpit space on my fishing machine, so some lazy-asses can sit down? You say that transom bench seat is removable? Great—then leave it off and

don’t charge me for it in the first place. You say it folds flush? Even so, it will keep me 8 or 10 inches farther back from the transom, which makes landing fish a lot harder. Besides, another big, fat cushion just provides one more item for me to snag my hooks on. And if my passengers are such wimps that they can’t follow the “sit down, shut up, and hold on” drill when we are running to the fishing grounds, then I don’t want them on my boat in the first place. 6. Eurotransoms - No. You didn’t. Really? You designed that transom to be swoopy and curvaceous purely because it will look nice, and as a result, the boat will sell better? That makes me so mad I want to pop a 6/0 octopus hook through your nose. Squared transoms are a far more efficient use of space, and as a die-hard fish-killer, I put function far, far ahead of form. If I want to look at soft curves and pretty lines, I’ll go to the beach—leave ‘em off my boat. 7. Colored Gel Coat Hull Sides Here’s another example of you guys adding cost to my boat (thousands of dollars worth, in many cases) purely for looks. Yeah, I want my boat to look good, but it’s a fish-

catching tool, not a piece of art I plan on hanging on the wall. Let me save that extra cash for bait and fuel, and leave the hull sides white. 8. Freshwater Systems - Oh yes, it sure feels good to rinse down with freshwater now and again. It keeps my skin feeling fresh. Oh, and pass me the moisturizing lotion please, Mr. Boat Designer—you wuss. If I wanted comfort, I would be sitting at home in the air conditioning, on the couch. And the space you would dedicate to a freshwater tank could have been used to hold more of the liquid I really care about, fuel. 9. Electrically-actuated Vents - If I was such a loser that I couldn’t open up a windshield vent with my own two hands, I wouldn’t deserve a boat in the first place. And, yes, you guessed it, the ability to open that vent at the press of a button drives up the cost of that “fishing” boat, yet again. 10. Built-in Cockpit Grills - Okay, I admit it, I would love to have one of these on my own boat—if it was a yacht! Recently I tested a 26-foot center console that had a grill built into the leaning post, right where a livewell and/or tackle center belonged. And, just how much did that 26 footer cost? Over $100 grand. Seriously, folks, do we need this sort of stuff!

E-mail Lenny Rudow at LRudow@fishgame.com

Get more boating tips in LENNY RUDOW’s Texas Boating Blog at www.Fishgame.com/blogs

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he text message was simple but I knew there was a story behind it: What type of backrest do you use? I suspected Shorty was suffering from a case of “yak back” and the next text message confirmed that his back was hurting and his backrest was the prime suspect. A few more exchanges clarified the situation; he had been using a backrest that had come bundled with his kayak as part of a promotional package. What could I recommend to help remedy the situation? Flat water kayaking is not generally thought of as an extreme sport, such as rock climbing, but it can be physically taxing— especially on your back. The human spine is a wonderful chassis made up of individual vertebrae which are separated by cartilage disks. When viewed from the side, the spine is shaped like the letter “S”. The lower part of the spine, just above your hips, is known as the lumbar. The lumbar area is stressed every time you sit in a kayak but you can minimize the amount of stress with proper gear and technique. Proper posture, whether sitting in an office chair or on a sit-on-top kayak, is important. When we sit for long periods of time, we tend to lean, or slouch, forward. This puts uneven pressure on your vertebrae, causing the cartilage discs in between to get squeezed or pinched. Abuse a disc long enough and it will fail, ushering in severe back pain. Every kayaker should equip their hull with a quality backrest. Without a backrest, you tend to hunch forward while paddling, which puts undue pressure on your spine. Backrests provide something to lean back against and allow the paddler to maintain an erect and upright posture while paddling.

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“ Proper posture, whether sitting in an office chair or on a kayak, is important.

Holding Back

Another important aspect of kayak posture involves the legs. On a sit-on-top hull, your legs should be slightly bent at the knee, with your feet on either rudder pegs or in a foot rest. Your legs should be relaxed, the muscles just tight enough to keep you firmly in place. Many kayakers exert too much backpressure with their legs while they paddle, as if they were leg pressing a heavy weight at the gym. This heavy and steady backward pressure works against the natural curvature of the lumbar, trying to flatten the spine against the backrest.

When you are really paddling hard, it is easy to exert a lot of leg pressure against the backrest, essentially pinning you in place. While leg pressure provides that rigid feel, it contorts the spine’s natural curve. If it takes you an hour to unwind and unkink after a long paddle, excessive leg pressure is the likely culprit. I am trying to break myself of this habit and have even contemplated painting notes on my wading booties to relax my legs. It isn’t always easy to do but remind yourself and your paddling partners to relax their legs when you are on the water. As mentioned earlier, it is prudent to invest in a quality backrest for your kayak. F i s h

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When buying their first kayak, many anglers spend the lion’s share of their budget on the hull they want, with the remaining funds going to some sort of paddle. Virtually zero first-time buyers consider a backrest in their purchasing decision. Even if the hull you are buying comes with a backrest from the manufacturer, you might want to upgrade it. Full service kayak shops can offer you good advice on a backrest that will meet your needs. Backrests should be sized to your torso height. They should be tall enough to support your back but should not rise above your arm pits. Paddlers with long torsos need taller backrests and vice versa. You also want to make sure the height of the backrest doesn’t impede you from reaching rods and gear stowed behind you. One of my favorite backrest is the GTS Expedition from Surf to Summit. Typical of the company’s line of quality backrests, the GTS Expedition features rugged snaps and buckles that will stand up to wear and tear. Different gear bags and even a hydration pack can be snapped on as options. Plus, the GTS Expedition has a 2-inch thick butt pad. The padding minimizes pressure on your derriere, thus keeping large blood vessels open, allowing you to maintain good circulation in your legs and feet. If your legs go to sleep during a long paddle, a quality butt pad will likely solve this problem. Proper posture and a good backrest will minimize the wear and tear on your lumbar but common sense should rule the day. If you sit in a car for 4 hours straight, you are going to be stiff at the end of your trip. The same thing happens in a kayak. If you find your back flaring up after a trip, perhaps you are spending too much time in your yak. I hate to admit it but it can happen. Shorty, I hope this helps. Greg Berlocher can be reached for question or comment at GBerlocher@fishgame.com. A L M A N A C

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f a little bit of something is good then twice as much must be better right? If you don’t believe me then I submit as proof Double Stuffed Oreos. A little bit of cream filling is good, double it and it gets so much better. If you don’t love Double Stuffed Oreos then you’re un-American. The same is true in the outdoor world as well, especially when talking about baits. If one bait on your line is good, then adding a second makes the whole thing better, but rarely do we take advantage of this. I was talking striper fishing recently will Bill Carey, of Bill Carey’s Striper Express (striperexpress.com), and he told me about one of his favorite rigs that he calls the Double Trouble. Bill has been guiding for stripers on Lake Texoma for three decades so when he gives out free advice I tend to listen. The Double Trouble is normally used for stripers and hybrids but is also effective for black bass that are suspending deep during the summer months. Start this rig by tying on a jigging spoon to the end of your main line. You want something heavy, start with something weighing one ounce and go up from there. Don’t be afraid to use something upwards of two or three ounces. On the main line, about 18 inches above the spoon, tie on a small, 1/8th ounce, bucktail jig. Use a Palomar knot to tie on the jig. This set up isn’t for casting and winding all day, but rather for a vertical drop on suspending fish. Drop it to the bottom and if it makes it all the way without something hammering it rip it up as fast as you can. When fish are schooled up in deep water, the first fish will normally hit the spoon while the rest of the fish are attracted to the action and will hit the small jig. Don’t be surprised when T F & G

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bait on the end of the line and another about 18 inches above it. Start with a 1/32nd ounce jig head on the end of the line. Above it tie on a slightly heavier jig, around 1/16th ounce, but you can go up to 1/8th ounce to get the bait down quick for really deep fish. I’m a fan of using the lightest jig heads feasible when crappie fishing because I think they dance more and have more action than slightly heavier ones, but that’s just my opinion. Experiment with jig weights until find a combination you’re comfortable with. You have a choice of what to dress up the jigheads with. Some people prefer tube bodies, but right now I’m using the Stanley Wedgetail Crappie Minnow with good success. They have a very lifelike shape that I think is important when using a rig that the crappie can examine before eating. One of the best parts of this rig is that you can use multiple colors at one time to see if the fish prefer one to the other. You can even tip one of the jigs with a minnow to see if the fish are in a live-bait mood that day. The advantage to tipping one jig with a minnow is that the minnow moving around will also make the jig move giving it a more life-like appearance. If you know the fish are hitting minnows and want to double up on live bait then you can change this rig up slightly. On the end of the line, tie a small crappie hook. About 18 inches above this tie on another crappie hook (use a Palomar knot again). Now between the two hooks crimp on a split shot or two. This rig allows the minnow on the bottom hook the freedom to swim around a little but still keeps you in direct contact with the bait on the top hook.

only fish that can be caught on duel bait rigs. Crappie can also be suckers for multiple baits on one line and there are a couple different rigs to entice them. The first is a doubled up jig rig. Like on the striper set up, you have one

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you get to the end of the line and find two fish hanging on. Bass, both striped and black, aren’t the

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at PBradshaw@fishgame.com Get more tips from PAUL BRADSHAW’s Outdoor Blog at www.Fishgame.com/blogs A U G U S T

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Combat Rifles or Hunting Rifles?

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ver since the first gun was invented, it has been man’s idea that the gun that was good for war was also good for hunting. This was true of the muzzleloading musket, the trapdoor Springfield, the .30-40 Krag, the 1903 Springfield, the 1917 Enfield, and so on, right on down to today. Of course, today it is necessary to buy a “civilian version” of a battle rifle like the M16 because it is gener-

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ally against the law to hunt game animals with a full-auto firearm. These days the AR15, which is the civilian version of the M16, is just about as popular as it is popular for a military-type rifle to be. It is everywhere. There are even magazines and websites devoted entirely to the AR15. This is not surprising since military rifles, and especially military calibers, almost instantly become popular with the

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civilian market. However, there are two very obvious exceptions to this rule. Both the M1 Garand and the M14 (semi-auto version is the M1A) have never been popular with the public for sport hunting. For the life of me, I do not understand why, unless it is the difficulty of mounting a scope on them. Mounting a scope on the old bolt-action guns was usually as simple as drilling and tapping the proper holes for mounts. On the 1917 Enfield, the gunsmith had to grind off the big ears on the rear of the action that protected the rear sight, but that was a small thing. I had never played with an M1A, but I did for a time carry an M14 for duty along the Rio Grande. The Border Patrol acquired some of these old battle rifles and issued them for duty for a time during the late 1980s. Since the alternative was a pump .308 Remington with a 5-round magazine, I gladly chose the M14 with its 20-round magazine. Since I wanted to test out a new M1A, I got in touch with Springfield Arms and requested a Standard M1A for test and evaluation. They readily agreed and presently the gun arrived at Oasis Outback in Uvalde, the dealer I use for sending and receiving test guns. Oasis Outback (830-278-4000) has been kind enough to perform this service for me for several years. On top of that, they have the most complete gun shop and sporting goods store in the whole of Southwest Texas, as well as a danged good restaurant. If you can’t find what you are looking for at Oasis Outback, you are unlikely to find it anywhere this side of Dallas or Houston. I fell in love with the big M1A at first sight. It is long and heavy, but that makes it easier to shoot well and mitigates the recoil of the powerful .308 (7.62x51 NATO) cartridge. It looks for the most part like an M1 Garand with a bit less forestock and a big magazine sticking out of the bottom. This one only came with a 10-round A L M A N A C

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Springfield’s M1A is long and heavy, which makes it easier to shoot.

magazine, so I shelled out the bucks for a 20-round. There is just no sexiness about an M14 without the added profile of the bigger mag. Shooting the M1A was a pleasure. Recoil, contrary to what you might have heard, was not excessive. I got my nextdoor neighbor, Ray Melton, who is also my preacher, to come over and shoot it, just to see for sure that my recoil-deadened nerves were not lying to me. Nope, Ray said, “This thing doesn’t kick much at all. Does it?” Well, no. I guess it doesn’t. In fact, Ray has a bad shoulder and is very susceptible to recoil. The inch-thick, soft rubber, recoil pad helped a lot. I really enjoyed shooting the M1A. I tried it with Federal Premium ammunition, loaded with 150-grain Nosler Ballistic Tips. It devoured them without a belch, shooting groups that, truthfully, surprised me. I measured a couple of the groups just to see if I was hallucinating. One I shot at 100 yards measured just over an inch. Less than 2 inches was standard stuff. I have seen a number of rifles that wouldn’t do that well with a scope.

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With my handloads using 150-grain Speer and Sierra bullets, it did just as well. I wish there had been a military-type match somewhere near here. I would like to have shot this M1A against others of its kind. Sadly, although I feel that the gun had accuracy that was deserving of a rifle scope, I was unable to test that theory. I ordered a scope mount from Springfield, but was unsuccessful in attaching it to the rifle. No matter how hard I tried, the holes would not line up. I kept trying until I either stripped the hole in the rifle or ruined the threads on the bolt, or both. If I had the time I would send it back to Springfield and let them attach the scope, but time ran out. Sorry. This M1A is every bit the battle rifle that were those old M14s I carried and shot all those years ago. It is dependable, accurate, and has a lot of heavy-hitting firepower. A 20-round magazine filled with 150-grain .308 ammunition makes an AR-15 with its 30-rounds of .223 look pretty anemic. And this oldster will shoot, too! Maybe I can find someone who wants to trade one for a couple of fancy bolt-actions.

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E-mail Steve LaMascus at SLamascus@fishgame.com

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Nautic Star 203 SC

Photo: Lenny Rodow

You need a boat that can fish hard on day one, and take the family to the beach on day two? Maybe water skiing or wakeboarding is in the plans? And, you also need the maximum amount of deck space available for the LOA? Then Nautic Star’s 203 SC is a boat you’ll want to check out. When I tested a 203 SC rigged with a Yamaha F150 four-stroke outboard, the first thing that struck me was the huge bow area with a bow boarding-platform and ladder. Nautic Star found extra room

able 25-qt. Igloo cooler, an in-deck ski locker, under-seat stowage, and a rockin’ JBL stereo system with four speakers and a MP3/USB port. Nautic Star shows some unique construction touches on the 203 SC, especially in the Bimini top. It has ball-and-socket connectors, over-sized supports, and the fabric is Sunbrella. In fact, it’s so stout that you can run the boat with the top up, without worrying about damaging it. Another construction perk is hidden from view, below the waterline: At the keel and chines, the fiberglass is doubled up to provide extra strength.

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up there by using a deck boat design for the topsides. But deck boats often have a bumpy ride, thanks to their wide, low-V hulls. So, the 203 SC is built on a traditional V-hull bottom, with 15 degrees of deadrise at the transom. How does it ride? When we poured on the coals and ran at speeds in excess of 45-mph, one-foot boat wakes barely made a bump. Re-entries were vibration-free and solid, thanks to the boat’s all-composite construction and onepiece molded fiberglass foam-filled stringer grid. Anglers take note: You’ll want to get the Fishing Package, which turns the forward cooler into a livewell and adds some must-haves, like the trolling motor wiring harness. Otherwise, the boat comes well equipped with goodies, including a remov60 |

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While hard-core fishers might gravitate to a dedicated center-console bay boat, those of us with multiple personalities to please are going to find the 203 SC quite interesting. Because whether your goal is jumping wakes, catching rays, or catching redfish, this is one platform that can do all of the above. —Lenny Rudow

Alumacraft Dominator 175 CS: Heavy Metal When you want maximum ruggedness and safety, one hull just isn’t enough—so Alumacraft gives you two on the DominaF i s h

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tor 175, with double 0.08” aluminum plating from bow to stern. But that extra heft won’t slow you down. Rigged with a Yamaha F115 four-stroke outboard, the Alumacraft I tested blasted past 40-mph. Having a fast top-end speed is great, but considering today’s fuel costs, efficiency is also a high priority. With the throttle pulled back to 3500 RPM, we cruised along in the low 20’s and the engine sipped a mere 3.3 gallons per hour, delivering an eye-opening 6.5 miles to the gallon. This Yamaha is a new and improved model for 2012—the F115 now has single throttle body fuel injection for more precise fuel delivery, and it also has a knock sensor, which can retard the timing to protect the engine from low octane fuel. The boat has a single-piece keel, and the hull rivets are aircraft-grade. Alumacraft is backs them up with a lifetime warranty. Is the rest of the boat just as tough? You bet. The deck, for example, is secured with aircraft-grade nylock locking nuts on each and every bolt. And take a gander at the transom—a high-stress area of the boat—which is notably thicker than those found on most competitors. Just because a boat is tough doesn’t mean it will ride well. So during my sea trial of the Alumacraft Dominator 175, I made sure to hit plenty of waves while running full-tilt. No disappointments. Landings were solid, vibration-free, and surprisingly dry. Of course, dryness has nothing to do with how well the boat rides; in this case, it’s due to the use of spray rails on the bow, which are unusually large. Handling was also good thanks to the standard hydraulic steering, which is a feature usually considered optional on boats of this size. Once you get where you’re going and grab your rods out of the locking rod boxes, you’ll appreciate the fore and aft livewells, which hold a total of 35 gallons between them. There are also a half-dozen fishing seat pedestal bases (with grab rails smartly A L M A N A C

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and CCI Subsonic ammunition tightened the groups down to 1” at the same range. The obvious advantage of using these conversion kits is that you are using the exact same rifle with controls, weight and optics and you aren’t trading it out for a smaller lighter AR version. Now if you want to invest a little more to shoot a rimfire cartridge out of a tactical carbine you could purchase a dedicated 22LR AR upper for your current rifle system. Simply remove the two takedown pins on your AR and replace your current upper, insert a 25 round .22LR magazine and you are ready to rock. This setup is can be quite light because you won’t need near the heavy metal required for firing a .223 cartridge. I ordered the Tactical Solutions SB-X AR upper because of it’s unique suppressor ready flashhider that’s permanently attached to the 12.25” barrel. This system fits your .22LR silencers so you may have a legal compact package without the hassle of purchasing a separate tax stamp for a short barrel rifle. The 1/2x28 threads are simply concealed in the flashhider with enough clearance to slide in any 1” suppressor. This lightweight aluminum upper provided some impressive groups with a variety of match and subsonic ammunition. The barrel isn’t short enough to keep high velocity ammo under the sound barrier as a 5” pistol will, but still yielded plenty of velocity to strike 100 yard steel targets with ease. The only disadvantage to this system is you will have to purchase another optic or sights whereas the conversion kit utilized your current setup. Yet the light weight of this package make it ideal for allowing children to shoot with a lightweight, tacticool looking adjustable stocked carbine. —Dustin Ellermann

Alumacraft Dominator 175 CS

located near each seating position), and a battery box for the triple 12-v deep cycles you’ll want to power the bow-mounted trolling motor. Put it all together and you get a ruggedly-built, well-equipped boat— with hull plating that’s double the norm. —LR

Tactical .22LR Rimfire

PHOTO: Cody Conway

Ammunition costs continue to rise without any sign of a decline in the near future. This has led to manufactures offering some very unique and affordable ways to enjoy your beloved tactical rifles

replacing your existing bolt carrier. Conversion can be done in a matter of seconds out on the range. You can tuck the conversion kit with the 25 round .22 mags in your range bag and switch back and forth effortlessly. Since the .223 bore size is so very close to the .22LR, your round can travel shortly through the extended chamber, engage in the rifle barrel, stabilize and fly downrange. It’s surprisingly simple, fun, and affordable. There are unfounded concerns on online forums about excessive leading in the rifling or fouling of the gas port, but all my research and experience shows this to be just fearful speculation. The .22 bullets obviously stabilize consistently because suppressor manufacturers Firing the .22LR Tactical Solutions SB-X Suppressed Upper on a Standard AR-15 Lower

without the high cost of standard ammunition. Now .223 ammo is fun to shoot, and doesn’t have punishing recoil, but for the price of one 30 round magazine of .223 you can enjoy 500 rounds of .22LR in the same tactical rifle platforms. There are various conversion kits available to give you an option of shooting more affordable .22LR ammunition in your existing AR-15 platform. One I have used extensively is the CMMG “Alpha” model. This simple conversion converts your .223 AR upper into a .22LR fun gun by simply T F & G

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like GEMTECH actually recommends these .22LR kits for suppressor use. The CMMG kit recommends having a rounded type AR hammer as opposed to the square design for reliable functioning, yet I found my mil-spec square hammer to function just fine. But better yet, both of my newly installed Geiselle trigger systems function excellently, and give an amazingly crisp 2-stage trigger press. Accuracy seemed to be ammunition dependent, because Federal 550 bulk pack would yield about a 3.5” group at 25 yards, yet the GEMTECH

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SavageRascal – The Perfect Starter Rifle For a while, Crickett has been the household name for a child sized .22LR starter rifle, but that’s all fixing to change with Savage Arm’s new “Rascal” series. The first thing most shooters will notice when they see the Rascal is that it contains

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Texas Tested Savage’s admired AccuTrigger. This is quite impressive for a pint-sized single shot .22. In addition to the manual safety the AccuTrigger ads an invaluable safety option to this rifle, but best of all is the crisp break. Trigger control is everything for shooting accurately and younger shooters will be able to pull off much better shots with a light, crisp trigger. The one my six-year-old son Kody tested came set at 3 pounds. Some folks might think that is too light, but you’ll need to remember the strength of the little shooter’s index finger for which this was designed. But if you want it heavier, simply insert the adjustment tool and give it a few twists until you find it to be to your liking. The Rascal’s bolt is also very user friendly. Whereas older designed .22’s required the young shooter to work the bolt, then pull a cocking knob, the Rascal’s is all internal. This makes the rifle less complex and safer to operate especially when you consider a younger, less coordinated marksman attempting to decock a bolt while manipulating a trigger in an attempt to unload the action. My son naturally picked up the bolt action and had no issue dropping cartridges on the feed ramp each shot. The rear peep aperture was easily adjustable for both windage and elevation, and once again, I was pleasantly surprised how naturally Kody picked up this concept. In no time, he was ringing steel at 15 yards and moving on to shooting clay pigeons placed on the berm. The rifle was also surprisingly accurate, after a few small adjustments, I was able to hit a golf ball every shot at 15 yards. Shots at that range presented a half-inch group with cheap bulk ammunition, and that’s with a full size shooter attempting to shrink himself down to utilize the child-sized stock. Although I firmly believe in teaching shooters the basics of iron sights before adding a scoped optic, the Rascal does come drilled and tapped to accept scope mounts. In addition to the small-scaled stock the rifle is also lightweight tipping the scale right under three pounds. As another added feature, it comes in almost every color of the rainbow: black, blue, green, 62 |

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red, orange, pink, yellow and of course wood. Some critics have expressed displeasure in making stocks “fun” colors. So, for those Mayor Bloomberg like-minded folks I’d encourage you to train your children the basics of firearm safety and practice safe storage. Because I believe my daughter is going to love her pink rifle and treat it just as safely as if it were an “evil black rifle.” Savage’s new Rascal is the perfect starter rifle for that new shooter you are training. Retail price is $174 for the colored option composite stocks and $213 for the wood stock. An excellent value for a rifle designed for younger shooters and full of great features that should last until the next generation. —DE

Vortex Optics Strikefire I bought my first assault rifle in October of 2011 and immediately recognized its potential for becoming both a money-pit and obsession. Having spent a little over $650 at Cabela’s on the Smith & Wesson M&P-15 Sport, I knew it would be a while before I was ready to hammer down on outfitting the weapon. I made a list of wants and needs and arranged them in order of importance and cost, choosing to purchase a front sight tool and grip before quad rail and optics, and went to work building my dream rifle. When the time came for me to purchase an optic, I returned to Cabela’s to research my options. I had known since before purchasing the rifle that I would want an optic capable of quick target acquisition and some form of magnification. I quickly realized I could easily shell out more for the optic I wanted than I originally paid for my gun. It was then, while speaking to an outfitter whom I’ve known and hunted with for many years, I was introduced to the Vortex Optics Strikefire “red dot” scope. Priced at $150, my first thought was “you get what you pay for.” I handled and played with the small optic and was impressed by its sturdiness as well as its ability to switch from a red to green reticle. F i s h

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A separate button activated the night-vision function, which significantly dimmed the LED. The optic even came with a threaded 2x magnifier to turn the sight from a simple red dot, to a low-powered scope. Even the rubber flip-up lens covers seemed stout enough for ranch use. Never one to take anything at face value however, I went home and researched the product and was pleased at what I found. Numerous reviews and YouTube videos swore by the Strikefire and a week later, I purchased my own. First thing out of the box, I inserted the included CR2 battery and was pleased to see the optic come to life. The on/off switch is a round, covered button, soft enough to press with relative ease, but stout enough to prevent accidental activation. A quick test revealed that if the button was accidently pressed and held down for more than a couple of seconds, the optic would not activate. Similarly, to deactivate the optic once on, a user must hold the power button down for more than three seconds to prevent accidental deactivation, a potential tactical nightmare. Momentarily pressing the power switch changes the color of the reticle from red to green and a separate switch will turn the optic to its dimmest, night-vision setting. Two additional buttons allow the user to increase or decrease the brightness of the reticle to their liking and a non-volatile memory allows the optic to remember the user’s last color and brightness setting. The mount that came with my Strikefire was one of Vortex’s extra high, absolute co-witness mounts, tailored for use with a flat-top AR15. The benefit of a co-witness mount is that it places the optic in such a way that both the reticle of the optic and the front sight are visible. Should a shooter choose to use iron sights, or in the event of optic failure, he or she still has an effective and familiar way to aim the weapon by simply looking through the optic to align the front and rear sights. The mount is affixed to the picatinny rail by a single knob, familiar to all AR users who have ever had a detachable rear sight, another plus should the optic become disabled and need to be removed. A L M A N A C

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Sighting the Strikefire proved to be quick and simple. From 25 yards, out of the box the Strikefire placed three rounds eight inches below the center of the target. With each click of the elevation knob shifting the zero by ½ inch at 100 yards, I calculated that at 25 yards each click would alter the zero by 1/8 of an inch. I shifted the zero up and was pleased with the accurate and consistent results. Later, I re-zeroed the optic for 50 yards following the same procedure. With the optic effectively zeroed for a known distance and a number of subsequent practice rounds fired, I began carrying the rifle throughout my daily activities, ranging from feeding cows, to working on vehicles, to a relaxing hike through the woods. Over the next several weeks, I carried my AR equipped with the optic and after affixing a Streamlight Poly Tac LED flashlight to the front of it, began night shooting and varmint hunting with it. Never once did I detect a shift in zero or uncover any problems with the sight. After one trip however, I did notice the sight cover spring had come out of place. I attempted to fix it myself and ended up further damaging the spring. I subsequently removed the front cover. Ever since I was a kid, I have enjoyed still-hunting; slipping through the woods quietly, weapon in hand, hoping to walk up on game. Shortly after zeroing the sight, I found myself once again in the woods with my AR attempting to maneuver in behind a group of feral hogs I had spotted earlier that day. For nearly two hours I had the red dot turned on, dialing down the dot’s intensity as I moved into darker parts of the woods and as the sun set. Though this hunt was not successful, I got a good feel for the sight and its versatility. Perhaps the ultimate testament to this sight however, came in mid-November. It was nearing dusk and I had been craving more range time with my AR. Driving my truck through a gully in the middle of my grandfather’s ranch I spooked a white-tail deer. All I saw was the tail bouncing but, being the type to hunt for meat and not trophies; I promptly came to a stop and exited my vehicle. I do own other weapons. A more conventional Savage .270 would have normally accompanied me on a hunting trip and my Mossberg 835 loaded with T F & G

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No. 4 buckshot would have certainly done the trick. But the situation I was presented with was not that unlike a real-world tactical encounter. Exiting my truck, I pulled my AR across the center console from the passenger seat and activated the red dot sight. I had known this was a possibility and with an ever growing population of coyotes and feral hogs (despite my damndest attempts), I had learned to chamber my rifle before leaving the house and to set the safety. Fast-walking along the treeline where I had seen the deer flee to, I began scanning the open fields back to the west and south. I could hear a squirrel barking a few yards away and I was hopeful that he could see my prey. Then from the tall grass I spotted movement. An eight-point buck came into view. Instinctively I shouldered my rifle and found the buck covered by the red dot. At 5:52 pm however, the dot was too bright. I fired a shot and missed. The buck’s head snapped around and I knew it would be a matter of seconds before he spotted me and bounced off into the woods. Practicing with the StrikeFire paid off in the next moment. Without hesitating or even giving it a conscious thought, I pressed down on the button marked “NV,” for night-vision, and fired a follow up shot. The buck dropped in his tracks. The smaller, dimmer reticle had given me

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the precise pin-point dot I needed to make a surgical shot, striking the buck in the upper chest. It was in this moment that I was truly sold on the sight. To offer a fair review however, on future models of the Strikefire I would like to see them designed to hold brightness “presets.” At times and in certain lighting conditions, such as on an overcast day or in heavy fog, the maximum brightness setting I use during normal sunlight is too bright and immediately switching to NV mode drops the dot to a difficult to see setting. At the very least, having the option to adjust and preset the brightness in NV mode would be nice, though being able to cycle through at least three presets would be, in my opinion, best. All in all however, as both a shooter and outdoorsman, I’ve been very pleased with this sight. I would recommend it to anyone seeking a stout and effective red dot that won’t break the bank. “And being a family owned company based in Wisconsin doesn’t hurt them either.” —Robert Gillock

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Fishermen all have at least one favorite accessory – from pliers to hemostats, and landing nets to wading staffs – they need to have always ready and available. T-Reign retractable gear tethers are the accessory that keeps these necessities safe, secure and ready for immediate action. T-Reign retractable gear tethers offer a range of sizes and attachment options to meet any requirement. With a carabiner, they connect easily to a D-ring, a belt loop or a strap. A stainless steel clip makes it slide easily on belts and straps but doesn’t slide off, and it has 360º rotation. With a hook-and-loop strap it secures to D-rings, straps and bars. “With appreciation for the fisherman‘s essentials, we consider our retractable gear tethers to be the accessory to protect their necessities,” said Randy Martin, sales director for the T-Reign (pronounced “terrain”) Outdoor Market. “Our goal for fishermen: never lose your gear again!” There are four T-Reign fishing models to meet the various sizes and applications of gear. All have a rugged Kevlar cord to assure reliable performance. The XD (Xtreme Duty), great for fishing nets and wading staffs, has a 36-inch cord with 14-ounce retraction force. The Large model has a 48-inch cord with 10-ounce retraction force. Both the XD and Large have a cord-lock to take tension off the cord. The Medium gear tether has a 36-inch cord with 6-ounce retraction force, and the Small model has a 24-inch cord with 4-ounce retraction force. All have a quick disconnect gear attachment, and stainless steel springs and hardware. Proudly made in the USA, T-Reign retractable gear tethers are backed by a Lifetime Service Policy. For more information visit their web64 |

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Photo: T-Reign

T-Reign retractable gear tether

site, www.t-reignoutdoor.com or call 909.923.7800.

XD-S Single Stack has Arrived The XD-S single-stackXD is a slim, powerful new addition to the XD line that delivers all the performance of a .45…in a package engineered to fit any size hand. The XD-S shoots naturally, intuitively-as if it were an extension of your own body. Our superior point-and-shoot design allows you to acquire your target without having to adjust your wrist to line up the sights. A single-position Picatinny rail puts lights and lasers in easy reach. Low-profilerear and fiber-optic front sights enable rapid target acquisition. The XD-S may be slimmed down, but it’s complete with all of the quality and safety you expect from the XD line of pistols. Along with our ultra safety assurance (USA) action trigger system, loaded chamber indicator and grip safety, the XD-S™ also offers an enhanced, secure grip texture for holster retention. F i s h

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Your pistol should be as simple and natural to use as your own hand. Shooting it should be as intuitive as pointing your finger. Every carefully crafted design element of the XD-S comes together to give you just that. At only 1 inch wide, the XD-S slips as comfortably into even the smallest hands as it does into your concealed-carry strategy. We’ve combined the proven assurance of the .45 caliber

Photo: Springfield Armory

Retractable Gear Tethers

with the concealability of a micro-pistol… all without sacrificing shooting Springfield’s comfort or XD-S .45 knock-down ACP power. A L M A N A C

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Photo: Underwater Lighting Specialties

Underwater Lighting Specialties International LLC. Innovator of Fish Vector sound technology introduces Fish Vector underwater lighting systems. The only products of their kind in the world that integrate a patent pending fish-attracting sound technology with an underwater light that is specifically designed to call fish to the light source. These products meet the needs of recreational sport fishermen and boaters, individuals who enjoy a fish-filled nighttime view from their dock, and commercial businesses that cater to the desire of their customers. Fish Vector lighting comes in 400 and 1000 watt units for both dock and portable models with Fish Vector sound technology and 1650 watt’s for commercial applications. The new portable system features a propriety bulb design and a stainless steel Fish Vector portable light system

case to meet the demands of a portable lighting system in the tough marine and boating environments. All of our systems utilize 20 thousand hour burn time bulbs so your investment will give you many years of trouble free pleasure. Residential home owners, charter boat captains, commercial fishermen, and resorts worldwide utilize Fish Vector Underwater Lighting. Visit our website or give us a call today and remember that Fish Vector is” The only light that talks to fish” For more information, check out Fish Vector Underwater Lighting at their webT F & G

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Wilson Combat

site, www.fishvector.com or call email them at sales@fishvector.com; by phone: 985718-0432

BoreSnake Venom Hoppe’s, makers of renowned gun care products for more than 100 years, has introduced the new BoreSnake Venom Cleaner and BoreSnake Venom Oil with T3. The new BoreSnake Venom products provide some extra bite, making the world’s quickest bore cleaning system faster and more effective. Specially formulated to complement the patented design of the Hoppe’s BoreSnake, Venom Gun Cleaner helps removes more carbon and other fouling than ever before. Hoppe’s unique formula deeply penetrates the Hoppe’s pores of the bore while BoreSnake cleaning carbon, copper Venom and lead fouling and conditioning the bore to repel fouling. The BoreSnake Venom Gun Oil is formulated with a special T3 additive that contains liquid molybdenum and liquid PTFE, a synthetic substance with the lowest coefficient of friction known to man. The oil’s thin coat technology will not separate or breakdown and provides long-lasting corrosion protection while withstanding temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. BoreSnake Venom Gun Cleaner and Gun Oil with T3 are biodegradable, nontoxic and odorless and available in 2 oz. and 4 oz. bottles. The Venom Gun Cleaner retails at $8.95 and $11.95 respectively, and the Venom Gun Oil retails at $7.95 and $13.95 respectively. To learn more about the BoreSnake Venom product line, visit the product pages online – BoreSnake Venom Cleaner and BoreSnake Venom Oil with T3. For information about Hoppe’s and its complete line of gun care products, visit www. hoppes.com or call 1-800-423-3537.

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On the test fire and competition range Bill Wilson and the staff of Wilson Combat have fired millions of rounds of test ammunition through our custom guns and guns from other manufacturers. After years of testing and load development, we have applied this knowledge and have engineered a comprehensive lineup of exceptional defensive, hunting, and practice ammunition, designed and tested in our world-renowned custom firearms. We have assembled ultrareliable ammunition with excellent shooting characteristics, match grade accuracy and outstanding terminal performance that you can confidently stake your life on. We are certain that Wilson Combat Custom Ammunition is defensive and hunting ammunition without peer in the ammunition industry. Wilson Combat Custom Ammunition has been thoroughly evaluated for unsurpassed feed reliability, match grade accuracy, low flash and superior terminal performance. Wilson Combat Custom Ammunition is the ideal high-performance ammunition for your fine firearms for sport or defense. It sets the new standard for relentless reliability. And “Peerless Performance.” Available in .45 ACP, 9mm, .380, .40 S&W, 10mm, .38 Super, .223, .308, 6.8 SPC and many more. For more information, visit the website, www.wilsoncombat.com

Photo: Hoppe’s

Let There Be Underwater Light

Shop for innovative, new and hard-tofind outdoor gear at www.FishandGameGear.com

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Some Like It Hot Welcome to the Gulf Coast in August. I hope you like it hot. If you do, you’ll fit right in down here. If not, you may be better off sleeping in or simply hanging out in a nice, air conditioned room all day. For those who can take the heat, I can’t think of a better place to be than Sabine Lake when the thermometer is reading triple digits. The entire Sabine ecosystem should be invaded by giant schools of shad and, when coupled with the midday slick-offs of late summer, the rod-bending action can be just as hot as the temperature. Fishing in the main lake can be red hot during these slick-offs, as not only hoards of shad, but also shrimp and ladyfish can lead you to giant schools of trout and redfish.

Locating and staying on these schools is relatively easy when the lake is like glass and the lack of any breeze whatsoever makes it seem like you’re fishing in a vacuum. It’s not uncommon for several boats to stay with a school of fish for very long periods. Just last summer, we sat on one school with about 12 other boats for over an hour. The bite had tapered slightly when we left, but we really just needed to crank up the 300HP air conditioner. When we returned, there were still just as many boats and just as many fish being caught. One of the best things about fishing these giant schools is you can expect to get bit no matter what you have tied on the end of your line. From topwaters to dead shad, it doesn’t matter; these fish are aggressively feeding and will gladly accept your offering. We do most of our damage with topwaters, or soft plastics rigged on a 1/8-oz. leadhead, maybe under a popping cork. Baits like Flounder Pounder’s C.T. Shad, with

its extra wobbly curl tail, as well as Assassins and D.O.A. shrimp can be deadly. The shorelines of both the Texas and Louisiana sides should also produce real nice boxes of trout, reds, and flounder, especially early. With the abundance of baitfishes, if there’s any tidal movement, you should have little problem filling the ice chest. Throwing topwaters for about the first hour of daylight will usually result in some better trout, but plastics and jerkbaits can definitely hold their own. If you’re looking for flounder, you don’t need to go any farther than the mouths of the bayous on the Louisiana shoreline. Try to hit it on an incoming tide and work it over good with curl tail grubs tipped with shrimp or finger mullet and mud minnows. Prepare to fish in some serious heat and come see us here on Sabine Lake in August.

the bank bite Location: Walter Umphrey State Park public fishing pier Species: Speckle trout, redfish, flounder, and black drum Baits/Lures: Speck rigs under the lights, mud minnows and dead shrimp Best Times: Early mornings and nights under the lights

Contact Eddie Hernandez at, EHernandez@fishgame.com

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Head for the Horizon–and All Points In Between!

S

ome might think it strange that I feel August is the premier month for offshore fishing on the Texas coast. The August heat can be oppressive-even dangerous--and must be allowed for, but the seas in August will be usually the calmest of the year, and consistent if no tropical weather comes to visit. For the fellow with a smaller boat (anything in the 17- to 21-foot or so class), a flat Gulf is often worth carrying extra sunscreen. Been there, done it.

August heat can be oppressive—even dangerous—and must be allowed for.

to spend a lot of time extolling the virtues of deep water fishing this month. For those who can afford enough boat and the cost of running far offshore for tuna and billfish—I envy you. Most of us, however, will probably be looking for sport closer to the shoreline. Luckily, there will be a lot of sport to be had in that area—even in the span from the beach to nine nautical miles out which is claimed by the State of Texas. Spanish mackerel will often be found in huge schools, usually mixed with bluefish and working bait right at the surface. While they may or may not hit a trolled bait, a bit of chum and appropriately sized natural bait will often do the trick, and once they are “started,” jigs or small spoons cast to

them will pay off. King mackerel will be found closer to shore in August than in most of the year, and rigs, buoys, weed lines and other floating debris harbor ling and schoolie dolphin. Always have some sort of chum on board. I prefer tiny menhaden caught in a cast net for both their “flash” and scent, but bits of bait shrimp will work. When dolphin are finicky, some freebies will usually get them going, and this also works to pull a ling out of cover or draw kings in open water. The bag limit on Spanish mackerel is 15 per day, minimum length 14”, kings are limited to 2 per day of 27” or better. Cobia (ling) also have a limit of two per day, 37” minimum length. Should you get into a school of frisky dolphin, there is no size or bag limit except that which we impose on ourselves in the interest of general conservation. Strangely, while few people fish for triggerfish on purpose, and NOAA Fisheries lists them as undergoing overfishCONTINUED ON PAGE 68

u

One of my life’s greatest achievements was when I got the generator installed in my old 31 Bertram to run the AC--but you can’t fish a lot from inside the cabin. A good general rule is to leave early, do your drifting and chumming while it is still relatively cool, then troll through the heat of the day to make your own breeze. And by the way, start that trolling by going back through the chum line, to start with any fish that may still be looking for a free meal there. With the generally weak economy and remarkably high fuel prices, I am not going T F & G

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an it get any hotter? West winds, normally a July thing, push dry, blistering air off the Mexican desert and give us the stifling, arid days we have endured the past two summers; and, these west winds suck water out of the bays, draining tides from the shorelines and boiling what is left. With tides low and water temperatures feeling like bath water, a change in fishing

tactics is in order. “The water is hot and most of the trout leave the shorelines in East Bay,” said Matagorda pro Bill Pustejovsky. “Best fish in East Bay right now are in the middle, but you have to have the right winds to wade the reefs.” Though winds do dip below 10 knots during August, weak tides often do not allow East Matagorda Bay to clear, espe-

PHOTO:

Boiling Brine Pushes Fish to Deeper

cially when water temperatures are in the upper 80s and tides are two feet below normal. “That’s how it goes in the summer,” said Pustejovsky. “As hot as the water is, it takes the bay a little longer to clear. It (bay) will get green again, and when it does the fish turn on.” Guide Ken Marshall said trout continue to eat in off-colored water; you just have to throw live shrimp at them. “Sometimes it is not the fastest fishing in the world, but do manage to catch some nice boxes of fish,” said Marshall. “Fish slick late in the morning and we get behind them and drift.” Again, live shrimp is the ticket, but plastics like Bass Assassins’ Chicken on a Chain, TTF East Beast Flats Minnows, and Norton’s Black Magic take fish as well. “I think the low tides congregate the fish on the deep shell,” said Marshall. “Find some streaky water with bait and you will probably find fish. Most of the fish we catch

GALVESTON t CONTINUED FROM PAGE 67 ing, the bag limit--yes, there is one--in Texas waters is 20 per day, with a 16” minimum. Shark fishing probably peaks in August, for everything from the little ankle biters to true sea monsters. Remember that the bag limit on all shark species is one per day. For smaller species like sharpnose, bonnethead, and blacktips the minimum length is 24”, for all other species the length is 64”. Many species of shark are now off limits to anglers, although some of these may be hard to identify and most will not be found within Texas waters. Of those that could be encountered, the sand tiger, sandbar, and silky should be released. When red snapper are found in Texas waters—think shrimp boat wrecks and close rigs—you must use circle hooks with 68 |

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come in less than eight inches of visibility.” Port O’Connor guide Lynn Smith said his August hangout is usually somewhere around Pass Cavallo in West Matagorda Bay. “Somewhere around the pass is the place to be, especially with the weak tides we often see,” said Smith. “Tides are going to be strongest around the pass.” The best days of August yield light north winds that drop the humidity and flatten the surf. The attractive aspect of Matagorda is the 18 miles of beach available to anyone with a 4x4 and it’s just not good fishing. It is great fishing along the east beach. “Many times the guys who drive in catch just as many fish as those who go west out of the boat,” said Pustejovsky. “There are lots of good fishermen down here and many of them live to fish the surf.” Tides can be too clear at times along the beachfront, so many anglers switch to live bait like croakers, pogies, finger mullet, and live shrimp under a popping cork. “It’s an early bite on artificials when the water is clear,” said Pustejovsky. “Especially when the fish are in the first gut. Later in the day when the tide falls you can catch them out of the boat in about five feet of water on topwaters.” It’s hot out there. Be safe.

the bank bite Location: Matagorda jetty, beachfront Baits: Live shrimp, mullet, croakers, topwaters, soft plastics When: High tide fish the first gut, falling tide work the secondary bars

Capt. Bink Grimes owns and operates Sunrise Lodge on Matagorda Bay (www.matagordasunriselodge.com). Contact him at BGrimes@fishgame.com

FOCUS bait, but the season is open year round with a bag limit of four per day of 15” or better.

the bank bite Location: Piers may be the best spots for shore bound fishermen this month Species: Trout, reds, flounder, pan fish, bigger game off beachfront T-heads. Best Baits: Live bait will always be best, but use what you can get—including artificials. Best Times: Combine a good tidal movement with a lighted pier at night for optimum results. 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.

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The Mysterious Leviathans of Ayres Bay

Graphic Illustration: Texas fish & Game

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dismiss most fish stories as wishful thinking. For while fishermen tend to have the best intentions, they are in fact the most eloquent liars of any sport we enjoy. It’s just natural to stretch the truth. I like to think the good Lord forgives us of this transgression for I have it on good authority

My favorite: “When I set the hook I knew it was a trophy red so I cut the anchor rope but couldn’t get to the key to start the motor to chase it. Instead I just tighten the drag and the ole bull pulled my 20 foot Kenner into deep water where after a half mile it wrapped my line around something

that The Father favors trout, The Son leans toward reds and the Holy Spirit is a bona fide flatfish expert: So let it be written, so let it be done. (Lord, forgive me for that last sentence.) Here are a few possible stretches I have heard lately: “That fish that broke off was every bit of 30 inches”; “You should have seen the yellow mouth on that sow trout it was as big around as my leg.”

and broke the leader.” Still another: “We were wading a 100yard hole and these dolphins were circling us when all of a sudden I hooked this monster trout, and just as I’m getting the sow to my wade net, this huge dolphin heads between my legs to snatch my trout, and I get hung on its dorsal fin and this flipper on steroids starts swimming off with me on its back, rod in hand waving in the wind like

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some new bay water rodeo sport. But I kept the line tight, and having bulldogged steers, I just slid off the side and landed the biggest trout of my life.” The sad part is I still listen like a kid whose been told they have free reign in the world’s biggest candy store. So, when a friend showed up at the dock after a day’s fishing and said l “got spooled today,” I immediately set my heels for yet another elongated version of the truth. Like the world’s best drug to a junky, I was all ears when I looked down at his reel, and sure enough, I saw a medium action Shimano spinning reel whose bare spool was shining back at me like a beacon of truth. “Was it a fish or did you hang up on the bottom while the anchor gave way and the stiff wind spooled you?” (as has happened to me) I asked about half sarcastically. “Just forget it!” he said and went to load his boat. Feeling bad that I had insulted him, I grabbed an ice cold Coke from my ice chest and walked over to winch his boat up. “It was a damn fish, and it’s not the first time it’s happened and in just about the same place!” “Was it a dolphin that maybe grabbed your fish?” I asked in a very humble tone. “It was no dolphin!” he said. “I saw the dorsal fin for just a second, 20 bucks worth of power pro line gone.” he growled. Then looked me square in the face, said, “Ayres Bay!” took my Coke, got in his truck, and drove off. He wasn’t bragging, he was upset. Okay, noted. A few weeks later at breakfast with some friends, I overheard a conversation between an old salt of a man and a waitress that took me away from the less than light conversation at our table. He described a fish that he fought for the better part of 30 minutes that was too big to get in his net once along side his boat. He said it was half-red half-shiny with a black stripe down its back that ran A L M A N A C

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past its dorsal fin. Big black spot on its tail. As a friend paid for our meal, the man was coming out of the restaurant. I intercepted him and asked him about his story I had overhead. “Yes,” he said. “It was a great fish and that it was a privilege to fight it.” I asked what it was and he said, “I don’t know, seemed like some sort of hybrid cross.” But he could not positively say what it was, but that it looked almost prehistoric. “Where were you?” I asked. “Alaska, Canada, some place like that?” He laughed. “No, right here--Ayres Bay.” Okay, a couple of stories do not the truth make. I believe God but want everyone else to bring the facts. My attention meter was now turned on and tuned in. A month later a local fishermen (nonguide) who is a good friend and one of the best kayak fishermen I know was at the bait stand with a friend, his kayak loaded on a boat and what looked like a deep sea Penn reel strapped to his yak. “Please tell me you are not going into the surf with that thing. There are 5-footers out there right now,” I said. “No, I am headed to Ayres Bay,” he said. “He’s gonna fish from his boat (meaning his friend with the boat), me from the green meanie.” (meaning his kayak) “Yeah, I hear Moby Dick is out there and you’re gonna need that 50-pound Penn reel to land him.” He smiled and said, “Make your jokes, but three days ago I hooked something out there that drug me, the green meanie, and my half-ass anchor from the east shoreline of Ayres into the middle of San Antonio Bay, and it was a long paddle back, too--into the wind, no less. “This rig (the Penn) is going to help me see just what the heck it was that I hooked, for I never got to see it, just a huge black dorsal fin.” One story could be wishful thinking, two possible coincidences; three and I am believing something big was prowling around in little Ayres Bay. A fourth story came to me at the local Exxon station along with a broken All Star rod, a Quantum reel spooled with 50-pound braid line, and one heck of a fishing story. I began to ask questions of those I knew frequented the Ayres Bay area, and most had little to say other than the fishing has T F & G

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been slow since Cedar Bayou plugged up. One said he had heard a few “fish that got away” stories, but lent little credence to them. Over the next few months, when fishing by myself or with friends and family, I made it a point to spend at least part of the day seeking the answer to the mystery of these stories. I used all types of bait, from cracked crab, cut mullet, skipjack, cut menhaden, whole menhaden, finger mullet, mud minnows, and every type lure that I had access to; no mysterious monster fish privileged my line. I was convinced that it would be a finfish-type bait that would entice whatever these fish were to bite, as that has just about always been the case where truly large saltwater predators are concerned. The months went by with not even a hint of the behemoths I had heard about. A visit from my brother-in-law, Adam, in early April saw him, my wife, and me heading out in my Haynie to mostly enjoy a boat ride and the beautiful weather. It is a cardinal sin for me to not have a few rods and some type of bait on the boat, so with a quart of shrimp and three rods with popping corks, we set up on a reef called Michelle’s Reef on the east shoreline of Ayres. After 45 minutes or so with little to no action, my wife, Lisa, and her brother had quit fishing to enjoy an ice cold drink.

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As they relaxed, I grabbed my wife’s pole, hooked two flea-sized shrimp on a #4 treble hook, and cast it into the 8- to 10-inch water off an oyster shell reef. The sun was on the horizon and my mind drifted to feeding patterns and baitfish theories I had about late-evening fishing, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a 6-inch wake heading for the cork. The closer it got, the shallower the water became. By the time it got to the bait, 8 inches of the fish just below the dorsal was out of the water. The cork swirled in a surreal motion and glanced off the back of the goliath as it hammered the shrimp. It then quickly headed to deep water away from the oyster reef, cork in tow. I waited for three to four seconds, not moving my rod, then quickly but smoothly reeled the slack as I lowered the rod tip and waited for the tension of the fish to present itself. I could feel the weight of the fish now, and it was enormous in comparison to other bay fish. It issued a “set the hook” message to my brain, which I did, but all I got was a screaming noise from my drag and it did little to alter the fish’s course to deeper water. Lisa and Adam were on their feet by now, hearing the 12-pound Trilene Big Game line ripping off the medium action Shimano Sahara reel at lightning pace. By habit, I handed the rod to Adam and

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Hotspot Focus: Rockport told him sternly, “That’s a big fish, and if you want to land him, keep your rod tip up no matter what.” He grabbed the rod, leaned back into the weight of the fish, and said “Holy @#$% what do I do?” “Wait ‘til he stops running. If he does, then reel down and lift up; don’t reel while he’s stripping drag. All it will do is mess the line and the reel up and spook the fish even more.” The fish headed toward the deep water off San Antonio Bay. I got ready to cut the anchor loose. As I watched, half of the spool line disappeared. My mind went back to the stories, and even though I didn’t convey my next thought, I knew it would take a minor miracle to land this fish on 12-pound line. Those other fish had broken 50- to 60-pound braid on more than three occasions. The good news: The fish headed to deep water. The line on the spool was getting less and less. Then as if on cue, the fish turned and we made up some of the lost line, only to have the run-and-turn sequence repeated 10 or so times. After about a 25-minute fight, the fish saw the boat and ripped most of the line off once again. This time when it turned, it headed straight for my boat with Adam barely able to keep up. I kept saying, “Reel, don’t allow any slack.” Twenty yards from the boat, I grabbed the net and was issuing instructions: “Our only chance is to swim him into the net. If we miss and he goes under the boat, it’s all over.” The fish was coming like a freight train straight at the boat. I readied the net...10 feet...50 feet...2 feet...now! The head went into the net. I heard Adam say, “Oh my god, he’s a monster!” Only a third of the fish would fit in the net, and I knew one or two thrashes and it would roll out of the net back into the bay. I grabbed my dock rope, made a loop, threw it at the tail, and pulled it tight. One hand on the net the other on the rope, I couldn’t lift the fish out of the water. It took three of us to get the fish into the boat. It was a black drum of monstrous pro72 |

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portions: 60.5 inches long, 17 inches thick from belly to bottom of dorsal. The tail was 12.7 inches wide and it maxed a 75-pound scale. My wife said it looked freakish, almost like a throwback to the Jurassic period. The fish was in excess of 25 years old based on my research, and I am convinced it is not the only monster in these waters. There really wasn’t much time to marvel, and I mentioned in the haste to get this ugly beauty back into the water; that it might well be a state record (but just another fish story once back in the water). In my humble belief, a fish this magnificent deserved to be turned loose, so as the big bull drummed away like a deep bass percussion instrument, we lowered it back into the water. After a few seconds of reviving, it swam away with a soaking swish of its big tail. “My Lord!” Adam said. “Who would have thought such a fish would be here.” I couldn’t have said it better myself! Note: In 1983, there was an attempt to cross reds with black drum with some success. The idea was to combine the size and power of a black drum with the speed and attitude of a redfish a for sure-winning game fish. A good friend and local guide caught one of these 10 years ago and has a picture of the trophy. Half the body from the tail up was redfish, with the upper half black drum. It, too, was caught in the area close to Ayres. Copano Bay – Grass lines between Newcomb Point and Shell Point are good for trout using free lined mud minnows. The deeper edges of Shell Bank Reef are holding trout with croaker, the preferred bait. The shallow parts of this reef are good for reds early morning on a rising tide with cut mullet and free lined finger mullet being the bait of choice. Aransas Bay – Long Reef is holding some trout with free lined croaker. Target the ends of the reef and don’t be afraid to cast over the reef and fish the other side. Poverty Reef is good for keeper black drum using peeled shrimp on a light Carolina rig. Don’t move your bait here, wait for a hit/ bite or you will break off in the shell. St. Charles Bay – McHugh Bayou is a F i s h

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good place for reds using cut mullet or mud minnows. Get into the mouth of the bayou during a rising or falling tide. The deepwater transition at the mouth of Cavasso Creek is a good place for trout using free lined shrimp. Drifting this area is a good technique. Carlos Bay – On high tide, the shell reefs around Carlos Lake are good for reds using finger mullet or cut mullet. Throw on top of the reefs and don’t move your bait until you get a strike. Mesquite Bay – The mouth of Little Brundrett Lake is a good place for reds early morning using Berkley Gulp crab under a bubble cork. Approach this area quietly or better yet anchor out and wade into the mouth of the lake. The new spoil area off of Roddy Island is good for some sheep head action. Small hooks and cut squid are the ticket here. A few drum frequent this area as well. Ayres Bay – Mid Bay Reefs are holding a lot of gaff top and some keeper trout using live shrimp under a popping cork as the bait of choice. The area close to Ayres Island is a good place for reds on a high tide with early morning preferred. The bait of choice here is mud minnows or finger mullet.

the bank bite Midweek, the cut between St. Charles and Aransas Bay is a good bet for trout and a few flounder. A Berkley Gulp jerk shad works well here is root beer and New Penny colors or as close as you can get to those colors. Throw into the deep channel and slowly jig your lures up to shallow water. Don’t pull your lure out of the water too soon as flounder often hit the lure right at the edge of the shallow water.

Contact Capt. Mac Gable at Mac Attack Guide Service, 512-809-2681, 361-790-9601

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Intense Redfish

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ost anglers know August for hurricane season winging into its annual groove, and for the dog days that follow a tropical system that goes inland anywhere east of the South Texas Coast. Any fisherman on Lower Laguna Madre will add that August is the advent of some of the most intense redfish action you could ever see. “Reds get pretty thick starting in August,” said Captain Richard Bailey (956-369-5090). “There isn’t much else to chase after, because the reds are so thick.” Mature redfish (mostly over 26 inches, and quite a few over the 28-inch slot) are schooling up (or “herding,” as many locals say, perhaps in a tip of the cap to some of the bull reds they encounter) in August and foraging heavily in anticipation of their fall migration into the Gulf of Mexico to spawn. Smaller fish, 18- to 24-inchers, are also schooling up and partaking of the annual mullet run that occurs in the fall. It isn’t uncommon to find schools of redfish chasing hapless schools of finger mullet against either the spoil banks shorelines (immediately West of the Intracoastal Waterway), or the Padre Island shoreline. These aren’t small pods of redfish, either. On more than one occasion, while fishing with Captain Jimmy Martinez (956-5513581), I have seen schools of large redfish numbering hundreds of fish. A strawberry field of that size is something to behold, though some fishermen who still remember Laguna Madre before Hurricane Beulah, remember schools three times that size. Schools that size, however, are more than enough for the modern fishermen with aspirations of latching onto the sort of lineT F & G

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peeling action these fish can provide. “The east side of Laguna Madre is just full of redfish,” said Captain Martinez. “If there is a little wind and some moving water, you can drift into them over and over again. The action can be non-stop.” Gaswell Flats (GPS 26.228533, -97.253417) is an excellent starting point when looking for September reds. This broad flat on the south side is deep enough for drifting, but still shallow and clear enough for sight-fishing. Look for tailing reds, or when the tide is in, for disturbed water and skipping bait. The water is sometimes clear enough that you might actually be able to spot the fish themselves (you will often see fishermen standing on their center console, or in a fish tower looking for these brutes). Lure selection for these fish is pretty straightforward. The Pettys stick to the venerable gold spoon for their reds. A 1/4ounce gold weedless spoon is an effective classic lure for redfish. Topwaters such as the Top Dog, SkitterWalk, or Producers Ghost are also good choices. The three most popular patterns for these are bone, Halloween (black back/ gold sides/orange belly), and chrome/blue. Swimbaits such as the Storm WildEye Shad and Berkley Power Swimbait have also started to develop a following among LLM fishermen. The wobbling, throbbing action of these baits throws off an incredible amount of vibration, and I’ve had redfish come from a good ways off to kill these baits. If you prefer bait, live shrimp under a popping cork is always tough to beat, but cut ballyhoo is a solid close second. Take the front half of a 6- to 8-inch ‘hoo, break off the beak, and run a 3/0 Kahle hook up through the chin. Cast the bait out in front of a school of reds, and work the lure back as you would a topwater. Redfish will not ignore it. Fishermen who prefer staying close to Port Isabel or South Padre Island would do well fishing the Pasture, which is just north

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of the Queen Isabella Causeway (GPS 26.088867, -97.171767, Mexequita Flats (26.057383-97.1971) and South Bay (GPS 26.0281, -97.20185). All produce excellent numbers of redfish in the fall. It’s important though, that you need to pay attention to the tides, otherwise you’ll be waiting a while for high tide. Anglers looking for something bigger than the typical slot redfish should consider surfing. Some of the real giants of the species start roaming the surf up and down the Texas Coast. Local fishermen interested in tangling with a real bull over 40 inches should look to Boca Chica Beach, across Brazos Santiago Pass. It is a bit of a drive to get there (take US 77 to Brownsville, take the Boca Chica exit, and continue until it turns into SH 4, and ends at the beach), but it is well worth the drive. Most anglers prefer using large spinning outfits (I prefer a Shimano 8’ Terrez paired with a Stradic 8000 FJ loaded with 50-pound Power Pro). Use a fish-finder rig with a 1- to 2-ounce pyramid or flat sinker and a 5/0 Kahle or circle hook. Cut bait works well, but live mullet or pinfish works best. Some fishermen will drive down to the mouth of the Rio Grande to cast net baits, but you can also find some finger mullet in the first gut along the beach. Cast your rig into the second gut right up against the third bar. It may take some work to find and land a true Boca Chica bull, but many will consider it well worth the effort.

the bank bite Location: North Brazos Jetties Species: Speckled Trout Techniques: Fish live shrimp under a popping cork near the rocks. Soft plastics work too.

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UPPER GULF COAST

Bull Specks on East Galveston by GEORGE KNIGHTEN gtkphoto@yahoo.com

LOCATION: East Galveston HOTSPOT: Bull Shoals GPS: N29 28.63356, W94 44.6343 (29.477226, -94.743905) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: jerkbaits like Bass Assassins or Mirro-lures5” Soft Mullet, or live shrimp under a popping cork CONTACT: Capt. George Knighten 832-310-9146 gtkphoto@yahoo.com TIPS: Drift the shell around the visible ridge. Shell extends out several hundred yards past the ridge. LOCATION: East Galveston HOTSPOT: Deep Reef GPS: N29 31.64664, W94 40.61544 (29.527444, -94.676924) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastic lures, MirroLures soft shad, 5” soft mullet or other shad body plastics CONTACT: Capt. George Knighten 832-310-9146 gtkphoto@yahoo.com TIPS: Drift the reef keying on bait and slicks. The main reef is lined with white PVC poles but the shell goes out much farther. Use 1/4-ounce leadheads and work the water column from top to bottom. LOCATION: East Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Drulls Lump GPS: N28 42.29802, W95 49.77456 (28.704967, -95.829576) SPECIES: speckled trout 74 |

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GPS COORDINATES are provided in two formats: “Decimal Degrees” (degrees.degrees) and “Degrees and Minutes” sometimes called “GPS Format” (degrees minutes. minutes). Examples (for Downtown Austin): Decimal Degrees: N30.2777, W97.7379; Degrees and Minutes: N30 16.6662, W97 44.2739. Consult your manual for information specific to your GPS device.

BEST BAITS: Bass Assassins or topwater CONTACT: Capt. Bill Pustejovsky 979-863-7353 captbill@goldtipguideservice.com TIPS: Can be waded or drifted. Use topwaters early and go to Bass Assins when the topwater bite stops. Use red shad if the water is off color and day-glow or something light color if the water is clear. LOCATION: East Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Chinquapin Reefs GPS: N28 44.41554, W95 47.81244 (28.740259, -95.796874) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Bass Assassins or topwater CONTACT: Capt. Bill Pustejovsky 979-863-7353 captbill@goldtipguideservice.com TIPS: Can be waded or drifted. This spot has several small shell islands and a lot of submerged shell. If wading, corkys can work great. LOCATION: Galveston Jetties HOTSPOT: The Rocks GPS: N29 21.25644, W94 42.83952 (29.354274, -94.713992) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Capt. George Knighten 832-310-9146 gtkphoto@yahoo.com TIPS: Anchor out from the rocks and throw live shrimp up close. Put some under a cork and some with just a split shot. F i s h

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Make sure you anchor has a good hold before cutting your engine and figure on your boat swinging with the current. LOCATION: Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: C Lease Wells GPS: N29 32.1333, W94 50.31708 (29.535555, -94.838618) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, croaker, or soft plastic lures CONTACT: Capt. George Knighten 832-310-9146 gtkphoto@yahoo.com TIPS: Fish live croaker around the rig or drift near by shell using soft plastic shad bodies like Mirro Lures 4” Soft-Shad or the provoker. Some times you will hang up on the structure like pipe lines but it can be worth loosing a few leadheads. LOCATION: Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: East Shore Flats GPS: N29 36.45552, W94 44.54922 (29.607592, -94.742487) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastic lures or 52M Mirro-lures CONTACT: Capt. George Knighten 832-310-9146 gtkphoto@yahoo.com TIPS: This area has a lot of deep shell. Fish in 5 to 7 ft. of water about a half mile off shore. Look for mullet and slicks to help you pin point the fish. Use a 1/4-ounce leadhead and work the water column. LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: West End Flats GPS: N29 6.66456, W95 6.28164 (29.111076, -95.104694) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters like the Top dog or Super Spook CONTACT: Capt. Greg Francis 409-790-8107 captgreg@saltwaterassault.net TIPS: Early morning best on an incomA L M A N A C

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ing tide. Locate rafts of mullet in knee to waist deep water. This area has a good hard bottom and is protected from East to South winds.

MIDDLE GULF COAST

LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Caranchua Reef GPS: N29 6.66456, W95 6.28164 (29.111076, -95.104694) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp or soft plastic lures CONTACT: Capt. Thomas Barlow 281-827-6815 texxan2000@yahoo.com TIPS: You can anchor up with live bait or drift using soft plastic lures. This reef has great structure and will hold bait and in turn game fish. The reef goes across most of the bay from the north shoreline to Galveston Is.

The Mott is Hot for Aransas Trout by CAPT. CHARLES NEWTON (361) 729-8220

LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Pauls Mott GPS: N28 2.84172, W96 56.83326 (28.047362, -96.947221) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwater, soft plastics, Corkys CONTACT: Capt. Ben Wells 361-790-8107 www.wingandrod.com TIPS: Work the shoreline and mouth

LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Greens Lake GPS: N29 16.2945, W94 59.76708 (29.271575, -94.996118) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Soft plastic lures, Gold spoons CONTACT: Capt. Thomas Barlow 281-827-6815 texxan2000@yahoo.com TIPS: Work the grass lines and shell pads. The lake has a muddy bottom and a lot of marsh near by and a good population of redfish. Depending on tide the lake can get very shallow. LOCATION: West Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Cotton’s Bayou GPS: N28 30.65172, W96 12.49998 (28.510862, -96.208333) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwater or soft plastic lures CONTACT: Capt. Bill Pustejovsky 979-863-7353 captbill@goldtipguideservice.com TIPS: Can be waded or drifted. Key on areas holding bait. Great protection on windy days.

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of the bayou. Also you can fish the shell points coming off of the bank. Can be waded or drifted, great structure. LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Lighthouse Shoreline GPS: N27 51.84564, W97 3.25878 (27.864094, -97.054313) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live Finger Mullet, live croaker, shrimp CONTACT: Capt. Charles Newton 361 729-8220 TIPS: Work the ledge along the shoreline. Use a mustad croaker hook rigged Carolina style. Use 1/8 to 1/4-ounce depending on the current. LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Allyns Bight GPS: N27 59.23644, W96 58.42452 (27.987274, -96.973742) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Top Dogs, corkys, mirrolure provoker or soft shad CONTACT: Capt. Ben Wells 361-790-8107 www.wingandrod.com TIPS: Drift or wade. Lot of grass lined shore in the back and shell out in the front. Wage the grass line or drift the flat. LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Long Reef GPS: N28 3.57336, W96 57.4872 (28.059556, -96.958120) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp or soft plastic lures CONTACT: Capt. Ben Wells 361-790-8107 www.wingandrod.com TIPS: Good drift fishing spot or you can anchor up. Great structure, lot of shell. Tip of the reef or gaps in the shell can be good. LOCATION: Rockport HOTSPOT: Aerich Island GPS: N27 55.94814, W97 6.07548 (27.932469, -97.101258) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: little live perch and live 76 |

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finger mullet CONTACT: Capt. Charles Newton 361 729-8220 TIPS: Live perch are great for reds because of the wiggle they do and the finger mullet. LOCATION: San Antonio Bay HOTSPOT: Panther Point GPS: N28 12.95262, W96 42.2223 (28.215877, -96.703705) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: TTF soft plastic lures or some thing similar CONTACT: Capt. Chris Martin 888-677-4868 TIPS: The point can be waded; it has a lot of shell and a gradual drop-off. The gap between the point and the island just off shore is a good spot to drift. LOCATION: San Antonio Bay HOTSPOT: 2nd Chain Reefs GPS: N28 11.80518, W96 48.66432 (28.196753, -96.811072) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, jerkbait, and shad bodies CONTACT: Capt. Ben Wells 361-790-8107 TIPS: Can be drifted or waded. Redfish will be on the edges of the fingers and in the guts between the fingers of shell. Live shrimp under a cork or soft plastic like mirro-lures 5” soft mullet worked close to the bottom.

LOWER GULF COAST

Ship Out for Laguna Snook by CALIXTO GONZALES cgonzales@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel GPS: N25 57.89448, W97 21.74994 (25.964908, -97.362499) SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: Freelined live shrimp, live F i s h

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finger mullet, Attraxx and soft plastics in Pearl/orange, Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956561-4535 TIPS: Watch for snook chasing bait along the shoreline near seawalls and points early. Fish deeper drop-offs with soft plastics later in the day. Electronics are helpful in locating dropoffs and structure. Using braid or at least 14-pound mono. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Penescal Point GPS: N27 15.672, W97 25.29 (27.261200, -97.421500) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live pinfish; Soft plastics in strawberry/black back plum/chartreuse, rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361449-7441 TIPS: Switch over from live croaker to pinfish on a Texas Rattlin’ Rig to entice speckled trout. Grinders should use soft plastics under a Mansfield Mauler or Old Bayside Paradise Popper. Watch for birds. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.206, W97 34.362 (27.270100, -97.572700) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live pinfish; Soft plastics in strawberry/black back plum/chartreuse, rootbeer/red flake, Morning Glory, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361449-7441 TIPS: Fish deeper water during the heat of August’s Dog Days. Small pinfish on a Texas Rattlin’ Rig are tough to beat. Soft plastics in bright colors mimic the noisy little baitfish. Work around the edges of the reef. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Intracoastal Waterway GPS: N26 13.25598, W97 16.18002 (26.220933, -97.269667) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Freelined live shrimp, live mullet, Gulp! shrimp, DOA shrimp in A L M A N A C

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chartreuse, glow, Pearl CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: Free lining live shrimp or Gulp! A lure with just enough split shot to get the bait down along the ICW drop-off is the best bet. Anchor up and fish the edge of the drop-off. The fish will be holding there or cruising along the drop-off. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: East of Three Islands GPS: N26 16.7781, W97 16.31172 (26.279635, -97.271862) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Freelined live shrimp, live finger mullet, Attraxx and soft plastics in Tequila Gold, chartreuse, gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956561-4535 TIPS: Watch for tailing and cruising reds. Weedless rigs such as Texas Tandems or Texposed jerkbaits, or a Red Ripper mitigate floating grass. Use and chartreuse patters in your plastic or gold spoons tipped with a red tail. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Boca Chica Beach GPS: N26 3.82674, W97 8.98866 (26.063779, -97.149811) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live finger mullet, cut bait, gold spoons, Catch 2000 in gold patterns CONTACT: Quick Stop, 956-943-1159 TIPS: Hook live finger mullet through the anal fin to get them to swim above the surf bottom. Throw both live and cut bait on fish-finder rigs. Gold spoons and plugs are also effective on calmer days. Fish the first gut early, second gut later in a.m.

LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: North of East Cut GPS: N26 34.35798, W97 22.128 (26.572633, -97.368800) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Pearl/red, strawberry/white, topwaters in Bone, chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Danny Neu, 979942-0165 TIPS: Drift the flats early in the morning. Fish the sand closest to the island with topwaters early. Watch for guts and depressions where trout will hold as the day warms up. Fish with soft plastics Texas rigged or on small jigheads. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Marker 22 in East Cut GPS: N26 33.74214, W97 17.57598 (26.562369, -97.292933) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Pearl/red, strawberry/white, topwaters in Bone, chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Danny Neu, 979942-0165 TIPS: Locate and wade to the deeper guts around Marker 22 and fish into them. Topwaters work well early. Fish soft plastics on a 1/8th-ounce head into the guts and potholes. Fish the eddies formed by outgoing currents during a falling tide.

LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Community Bar GPS: N26 34.26096, W97 25.48014 (26.571016, -97.424669) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Topwaters in Bone, chrome/blue, 1/4-1/2-ounce gold spoons, soft plastics in red/white, fire tiger CONTACT: Captain Danny Neu, 979942-0165 TIPS: fish the tip of the bar near the ICW for redfish. The grass still has not grown back, so topwaters are still effective. Fish soft plastics in deeper water during the day and late afternoon.

PINEY WOODS

Play Deep for Lake Livvy Stripers by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Livingston HOTSPOT: Deep Water Area GPS: N30 37.97598, W95 1.509 (30.632933, -95.025150) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: live shad, 1 1/4-ounce

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Marker 85 GPS: N26 11.05002, W97 15.18 (26.184167, -97.253000) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, cut ballyhoo, soft plastics in Salt/Pepper, clear/red flake, gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: Fish potholes with live shrimp/ popping cork combos or cut ballyhoo. Use soft plastics under an Alameda Float or Cajun Thunder Gold spoons cover a lot of territory in searching for fish. T F & G

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white Slabs, spoons, Tsunami Holographic Swim Shad CONTACT: David S. Cox, dave@palmettoguideservice.com, 936-291-9602, palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Bounce the baits off the bottom and expect the bites to come when the baits are falling. Troll the Tsunami Swim Shad behind a No. 10 Jet Diver. LOCATION: Caddo HOTSPOT: Jackson Arm GPS: N32 43.75164, W94 7.27824 (32.729194, -94.121304) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Soft plastics, buzzbaits, semi-surface lures CONTACT: Paul Keith, caddoguide1@att.net, 318-455-3437, caddolakefishing.com TIPS: Early-morning action is the best. Fish buzzbaits, semi-surface lures and Texas-rigged soft plastics around the grass beds and cypress trees in this area and Alligator Bayou to the north. Watermelon and purple colors often work the best. LOCATION: Caddo HOTSPOT: Jackson Arm GPS: N32 43.58268, W94 7.2885 (32.726378, -94.121475) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Soft plastic frogs, buzzbaits, semi-surface lures, spinnerbaits CONTACT: Paul Keith,

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caddoguide1@att.net, 318-455-3437, caddolakefishing.com TIPS: Start early with buzzbaits around the cypress stumps and grass beds. Later in the morning, fish plastic worms and spinnerbaits around the bases of the trees and outside edges of the grass beds. LOCATION: Conroe HOTSPOT: Main Lake GPS: N30 22.79892, W95 35.40384 (30.379982, -95.590064) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Primos dipping bait CONTACT: Richard Tatsch, admin@fishdudetx.com, 936-291-1277, fishdudetx.com TIPS: Bait an area close to the main channel in 15 to 25 feet of water with cattle cubes or soured maize. It usually takes about 30 minutes for the fish to move into a baited hole. Anchor and fish straight down with Primos dipping bait on a 4-ought hook.

PRAIRIES & LAKES

Snake Island for Fayette Cats by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Fayette County HOTSPOT: Snake Island GPS: N29 55.8768, W96 43.36602 (29.931280, -96.722767) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, FishTalesGuideService.com TIPS: The fish will be in 20 feet of water close to deeper water off the point. There is timber on the bottom. Anchor and chum the area. Use a long enough leader so the hook rests on the bottom. Expect very slight bites. F i s h

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LOCATION: Fayette County HOTSPOT: Lakeview Point GPS: N29 55.8768, W96 43.36602 (29.931280, -96.722767) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, FishTalesGuideService.com TIPS: The fish will be in 20 feet of water close to deeper water off the point. There is timber on the bottom. Anchor and chum the area. Use a long enough leader so the hook rests on the bottom. Expect very slight bites. LOCATION: Gibbons Creek. HOTSPOT: Intake Canal GPS: N30 37.02102, W96 4.33098 (30.617017, -96.072183) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Deep-diving crankbaits, Carolina-rigged soft plastics CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, FishTalesGuideService.com TIPS: Fish the shoulders of the submerged channel around structure. Start at the mouth of the area with crankbaits and then switch to Carolina rigged soft plastics and work the deeper areas. LOCATION: Aquilla HOTSPOT: Triplet Point GPS: N31 55.52424, W97 12.55002 (31.925404, -97.209167) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Tail Hummers, Rat-LTraps CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com 817-822-5539, teamredneck.net TIPS: The white bass are chasing shad along Triplet Point early and late. Throw Tail Hummers and Rat-L-Traps early and then go to the Bubbler after the sun gets up. Expect quick limits at both places. LOCATION: Lavon HOTSPOT: Tickey Creek A L M A N A C

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GPS: N33 5.63892, W96 29.03598 (33.093982, -96.483933) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Small or medium minnows, chartreuse-black jigs CONTACT: Billy Kilpatrick, straightlineguide@yahoo.com, 214-232-7847, straightlineguide.com TIPS: The crappie will be around structure at 15-25 feet. Use small or medium minnows or chartreuse-black jigs and fish them about one-foot above the structure. There should be lots of baitfish in these areas. Use medium-light poles and 10-pound test line. LOCATION: Lewisville HOTSPOT: Old Lake Dallas Area GPS: N33 7.29366, W96 59.94672 (33.121561, -96.999112) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Fresh shad CONTACT: Bobby Kubin, bobby@bobby-catfishing.com, 817-455-2894, bobby-catfishing.com TIPS: Concentrate on the Old Lake Dallas channel and flats at 10-25 feet. I prefer a Santee-Cooper rig wt. one-ounce weight and 24-36-inch leader on 3-0 or 5-0 circle hook. Drift speed should be less than 1/2 M.P.H. so you may need to use a drift sock. LOCATION: Palestine HOTSPOT: Main-Lake Points GPS: N32 9.41166, W95 27.96978 (32.156861, -95.466163) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Mr. Twister Thunder worms, crankbaits, French Frys CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-561-7299, rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Fish the boat docks, main-lake and secondary points with Carolina-rigged soft plastics. Work the crankbaits around rocks and stumps. Watermelon usually is the best color at this time of the year. LOCATION: Palestine HOTSPOT: Blackburn Points GPS: N32 4.62684, W95 26.33988 (32.077114, -95.438998) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Slabs, swimbaits T F & G

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CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-561-7299, rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Watch for surfacing action from white bass as they chase schools of shad into shallow water off the points. Cast chrome or white Slabs or swimbaits into the schools and try to keep the lures close to the surface.

ing and early afternoon move out to the channels and drop-offs and fish the Sassy Shads as close to the dropoffs as possible.

LOCATION: Somerville HOTSPOT: Little Crappie Point GPS: N30 18.49998, W96 31.75998 (30.308333, -96.529333) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Shad, stinkbait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, FishTales-Guide Service.com TIPS: The south side of the island is best when the water level is low. If there is a south wind blowing, shad should be gathered here from daylight until noon. Anchor close enough to cast to the shore. Use a tight line when winds are high.

LOCATION: Tyler East HOTSPOT: Stillwater Bay GPS: N32 13.12536, W95 7.86252 (32.218756, -95.131042) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Topwater lures, spinnerbaits, DD22s, football jigs

LOCATION: Somerville HOTSPOT: Little Crappie Point GPS: N30 18.49998, W96 31.75998 (30.308333, -96.529333) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Minnows, pink-white or black-chartreuse jigs CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, FishTales-Guide Service.com TIPS: Fish the minnows or jigs around the brushpiles near the drop-offs. The fish usually bite very lightly. Using a small cork will let you see when a light bite is happening. Lift the cork occasionally because a fish may already have taken the bait. LOCATION: Texoma HOTSPOT: Juniper Point GPS: N33 51.84066, W96 49.73358 (33.864011, -96.828893) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Pencil Poppers, Chug Bugs, Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, bigfish@striperexpress.com, 877-786-4477, striperexpress.com TIPS: Start at daybreak casting topwater lures close to the banks. Later in the morn-

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CONTACT: Sonny Kopech, Marion. Kopech@HDSupply.com, 903-399-8822 TIPS: The bite has slowed but you still can find some fish shallow early in the mornings on topwater lures and spinnerbaits. When the sun gets high and you are looking for larger bass you should go deeper with a DD22 or jig on a Carolina rig on humps. LOCATION: Whitney HOTSPOT: State Park Road Bed GPS: N31 54.90798, W97 22.33542 (31.915133, -97.372257) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Jigs with trailers CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck@hotmail.com, 817-822-5539, teamredneck.net TIPS: Trolling and downrigging is the ticket and the bites usually come later than normal, after 8:30 a.m. and lasting until mid-afternoon. Locate the thermocline with your graph and set your baits just above it. White and chartreuse are best colors. LOCATION: Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Windsock Point GPS: N31 56.42784, W96 7.1991

(31.940464, -96.119985) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Tiny Torpedoes, Rat-LTraps CONTACT: Royce and Adam Simmons, royce@gonefishing.biz, 903-389-4117, www.gonefishing.biz TIPS: Early morning and late afternoon hours are the best times to fish here. Check out the south shoreline from Ferguson Point to Windsock Point. Chrome Tiny Torpedoes and black-blue Rat-L-Traps can produce awesome action for kids.

PANHANDLE

Channeling Bass on OH Ivie by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: O.H. Ivie HOTSPOT: Main Lake River Channel GPS: N31 31.6353, W99 39.18678 (31.527255, -99.653113) SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: Plastic worms, spinnerbaits crankbaits CONTACT: Dave Caudle, fishinwithdave@aol.com, 325-365-1020, fishinwithdave.com TIPS: Night fishing on the flats near the river channel works well. Early-morning topwater action also can be good as can drop-shotting the deeper bluffs in 30 feet of water. LOCATION: O.H. Ivie HOTSPOT: Main Lake Flats GPS: N31 30.81, W99 40.88634 (31.513500, -99.681439) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Slabs, spoons CONTACT: Dave Caudle, fishinwithdave@aol.com, 325-365-1020, fishinwithdave.com TIPS: White bass will be schooling on the surface in large schools early and then on the deeper flats in 25 feet of water later in the day. White or chrome Slabs and spoons work best. LOCATION: O.H. Ivie HOTSPOT: Main River Channel GPS: N31 32.17986, W99 39.34656 (31.536331, -99.655776) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Minnows, jigs CONTACT: Dave Caudle, fishinwithdave@aol.com, 325-365-1020 TIPS: Crappie are in the trees along the river channel and holding close to 20 feet of water. Channel catfish also can be caught on cheese baits in the trees and in the grass beds. Low water conditions persist so use caution. LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Stump Patch GPS: N32 50.72478, W98 33.6759 (32.845413, -98.561265) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: crankbaits, Sassy Shadtype jigs, topwaters CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036

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TIPS: I fish from the last light until midnight for suspended fish in 24-42 feet of water with live shad. I never have caught past 42 feet. Take along plenty of insect repellant. The action here is best on hot, still days for white bass and stripers.

BIG BEND

Bass in the Grass on Amistad by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Amistad HOTSPOT: Main Lake Grassbeds GPS: N29 32.1006, W101 2.595 (29.535010, -101.043250) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Zara Spooks, Pop Rs CONTACT: Stan Gerzsenyl, stan@amistadbass.com, 830-768-3648, amistadbass.com TIPS: Early mornings produce great catches on Zara Spooks and Pop Rs near the main lake grass and points. During the day, the fish can be found on humps and ledges from one end of the lake to the other. I prefer light winds over the deeper hydrilla.

area produces the most fish. LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Mystic Shores Point GPS: N29 54.75396, W98 17.547 (29.912566, -98.292450) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Shaky Head with BassKandi Sweet Stik CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, kandie@gvtc.com, 210-823-2153 TIPS: Fish all the way around the bend on the right and fish the opposite side near the boat ramp. The best colors at this time of the year are Watermelon red, Pumpkinseed and blue fleck. I use a Shaky Head with Bass Kandi Sweet Stik on a Carolina rig. LOCATION: Granger HOTSPOT: Main Lake Brushpiles GPS: N30 42.68598, W97 21.00648 (30.711433, -97.350108) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: live and dead minnows, maribou jigs, Stanley Wedge Tail Minnows, Stanley Wedge Runner Spinners CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, crappie1@hotmail.com, 512-365-7761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Fish the brushpiles and plastic structures. With the clear water at this time of the year, minnows will produce much

better than jigs. Torn up and mangled minnows will catch bigger crappie so don’t throw away minnows that have caught only one fish.

SOUTH TEXAS PLAINS

Choke Channel Cats Play Possum by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: Possum Cove GPS: N 28 32.646, W 98 21.927 (28.544097, -98.365445) SPECIES: channel catfish best baits: cut shad, cheese baits, Fish Bites in Shrimp; chicken livers CONTACT: Wallace Gee, 361-786-2749 TIPS: Catfish will start spreading out onto flats and drop-offs after the weather begins to moderate. Fish around the channel edges with prepared baits or cut shad. If the weather is still summer-time warm, then fish shallow water among the stick-ups and trees.

HILL COUNTRY

Dance a Jig for Canyon Stripers by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Canyon Dam GPS: N29 52.0314, W98 11.95878 (29.867190, -98.199313) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Striper jigs CONTACT: Steve Nixon, steve@sanantoniofishingguides.com, 210-573-1230, sanantoniofishingguides.com TIPS: Look for the striped bass to be deep, 50-80 feet. They will be suspending over the river channel and close to the dam. Trolling the jigs on downriggers in this T F & G

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Tides and Prime Times

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

Aug 1 «

High Tide: 5:53 am Low Tide: 10:43 am High Tide: 2:54 pm Low Tide: 10:40 pm

6

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 1:12 am High Tide: 7:46 am Low Tide: 2:16 pm High Tide: 8:55 pm

0.53 ft. 1.19 ft. 0.40 ft. 1.05 ft.

9:30 — 11:30PM

Sunrise: 6:56a Set: 8:28p Moonrise: 2:30p Set: 12:20a AM Minor: ----- AM Major: 6:05a PM Minor: 12:19p PM Major: 6:33p Moon Overhead: 7:50p Moon Underfoot: 7:22a

13

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 4:53 am Low Tide: 8:27 pm

1.40 ft. -0.01 ft.

3:30 — 5:30PM

Sunrise: 7:01a Set: 8:22p Moonrise: 8:11p Set: 6:54a AM Minor: 5:42a AM Major: 11:54a PM Minor: 6:05p PM Major: ----Moon Overhead: 1:13a Moon Underfoot: 1:36p

20

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 12:00 am High Tide: 6:36 am Low Tide: 12:40 pm High Tide: 7:19 pm

0.49 ft. 1.37 ft. 0.48 ft. 1.31 ft.

8:30 — 10:30AM

Sunrise: 7:05a Set: 8:15p Moonrise: 11:57p Set: 1:14p AM Minor: 11:09a AM Major: 4:57a PM Minor: 11:32p PM Major: 5:20p Moon Overhead: 6:14a Moon Underfoot: 6:37p

27

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 3:55 am Low Tide: 9:33 am High Tide: 11:11 am Low Tide: 8:03 pm

1.61 ft. 1.44 ft. 1.45 ft. -0.19 ft.

3:30 — 5:30PM

Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 8:07p Moonrise: 5:31a Set: 7:00p AM Minor: 4:26a AM Major: 10:39a PM Minor: 4:52p PM Major: 11:06p Moon Overhead: 12:19p Moon Underfoot: None

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Low Tide: 1:39 am High Tide: 8:03 am Low Tide: 3:09 pm High Tide: 10:33 pm

High Tide: 4:55 am Low Tide: 10:07 am High Tide: 12:39 pm Low Tide: 9:02 pm

PRIME TIME 0.76 ft. 1.18 ft. 0.31 ft. 1.04 ft.

11:00A — 1:00P

PRIME TIME 1.42 ft. 1.30 ft. 1.32 ft. -0.03 ft.

4:30 — 6:30PM

Sunrise: 7:01a Set: 8:21p Moonrise: 8:42p Set: 7:50a AM Minor: 6:28a AM Major: 12:17a PM Minor: 6:49p PM Major: 12:38p Moon Overhead: 1:58a Moon Underfoot: 2:19p

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Low Tide: 12:39 am High Tide: 6:50 am Low Tide: 1:29 pm High Tide: 8:47 pm

PRIME TIME 0.73 ft. 1.37 ft. 0.29 ft. 1.30 ft.

High Tide: 4:18 am Low Tide: 9:29 am High Tide: 12:59 pm Low Tide: 8:57 pm

PRIME TIME 1.58 ft. 1.34 ft. 1.45 ft. -0.11 ft.

6:00 — 8:00 PM

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Low Tide: 1:55 am High Tide: 8:13 am Low Tide: 4:06 pm

0.95 ft. 1.19 ft. 0.24 ft.

7:00 — 9:00PM

THURSDAY

High Tide: 6:18 am Low Tide: 11:19 am High Tide: 4:04 pm Low Tide: 11:22 pm

PRIME TIME 1.38 ft. 0.99 ft. 1.30 ft. -0.20 ft.

7:00 — 9:00 PM

Set: 8:32p Sunrise: 6:54a Moonrise: 10:03a Set: 10:20p AM Minor: 8:29a AM Major: 2:16a PM Minor: 8:54p PM Major: 2:41p Moon Overhead: 4:15p Moon Underfoot: 3:50a

High Tide: 8:02 am Low Tide: 5:08 pm

PRIME TIME 1.22 ft. 0.18 ft.

8:00 — 10:00PM

Sunrise: 6:57a Set: 8:27p Moonrise: 4:34p Set: 2:01a AM Minor: 1:40a AM Major: 7:54a PM Minor: 2:08p PM Major: 8:23p Moon Overhead: 9:45p Moon Underfoot: 9:17a

Sunrise: 6:58a Set: 8:26p Moonrise: 5:28p Set: 2:57a AM Minor: 2:31a AM Major: 8:45a PM Minor: 2:59p PM Major: 9:14p Moon Overhead: 10:41p Moon Underfoot: 10:13a

15 «

16 «

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 5:07 am Low Tide: 9:53 am High Tide: 1:49 pm Low Tide: 9:36 pm

1.44 ft. 1.24 ft. 1.34 ft. -0.02 ft.

5:00 — 7:00PM

0.98 ft. 1.39 ft. 0.12 ft. 1.34 ft.

10:30A — 12:30P

Set: 8:20p Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 9:12p Set: 8:45a AM Minor: 7:13a AM Major: 1:03a PM Minor: 7:34p PM Major: 1:24p Moon Overhead: 2:40a Moon Underfoot: 3:01p

22

PRIME TIME

Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 8:13p Moonrise: 12:40a Set: 3:03p AM Minor: 12:23a AM Major: 6:35a PM Minor: 12:47p PM Major: 7:00p Moon Overhead: 7:51a Moon Underfoot: 8:16p

29

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 4:39 am Low Tide: 9:48 am High Tide: 2:18 pm Low Tide: 9:45 pm

4:30 — 6:30PM

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 8:06p Moonrise: 6:37a Set: 7:38p AM Minor: 5:15a AM Major: 11:28a PM Minor: 5:42p PM Major: 11:55p Moon Overhead: 1:12p Moon Underfoot: 12:45a

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Low Tide: 1:17 am High Tide: 7:02 am Low Tide: 2:25 pm High Tide: 10:30 pm

9:30 — 11:30AM

Set: 8:14p Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: None Set: 2:09p AM Minor: 11:58a AM Major: 5:46a PM Minor: ----- PM Major: 6:10p Moon Overhead: 7:01a Moon Underfoot: 7:25p

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1.44 ft. 1.15 ft. 1.35 ft. -0.39 ft.

PRIME TIME

Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 8:32p Moonrise: 8:58a Set: 9:44p AM Minor: 7:32a AM Major: 1:19a PM Minor: 7:58p PM Major: 1:45p Moon Overhead: 3:24p Moon Underfoot: 2:59a

Sunrise: 6:57a Set: 8:28p Moonrise: 3:34p Set: 1:08a AM Minor: 12:46a AM Major: 7:00a PM Minor: 1:15p PM Major: 7:29p Moon Overhead: 8:48p Moon Underfoot: 8:19a

14

AUGUST 2012

1.52 ft. 1.19 ft. 1.46 ft. 0.02 ft.

5:00 — 7:00PM

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 8:05p Moonrise: 7:44a Set: 8:16p AM Minor: 6:07a AM Major: ----PM Minor: 6:33p PM Major: 12:46p Moon Overhead: 2:04p Moon Underfoot: 1:38a

G a m e ®

T F & G

High Tide: 5:23 am Low Tide: 10:11 am High Tide: 2:50 pm Low Tide: 10:10 pm

PRIME TIME 1.45 ft. 1.15 ft. 1.36 ft. 0.03 ft.

6:00 — 8:00PM

1.21 ft. 1.43 ft. -0.01 ft.

11:30A — 1:30P

Set: 8:19p Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 9:41p Set: 9:38a AM Minor: 7:59a AM Major: 1:49a PM Minor: 8:19p PM Major: 2:09p Moon Overhead: 3:22a Moon Underfoot: 3:43p

23

Low Tide: 1:56 am High Tide: 7:06 am Low Tide: 3:29 pm

PRIME TIME

Set: 8:12p Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 1:29a Set: 3:56p AM Minor: 1:11a AM Major: 7:24a PM Minor: 1:37p PM Major: 7:50p Moon Overhead: 8:42a Moon Underfoot: 9:09p

30 «

High Tide: 4:58 am Low Tide: 10:15 am High Tide: 3:27 pm Low Tide: 10:28 pm

PRIME TIME 1.47 ft. 1.02 ft. 1.47 ft. 0.19 ft.

6:00 — 8:00PM

Sunrise: 7:11a Set: 8:04p Moonrise: 8:52a Set: 8:53p AM Minor: 7:02a AM Major: 12:49a PM Minor: 7:28p PM Major: 1:15p Moon Overhead: 2:56p Moon Underfoot: 2:30a

A L M A N A C

7/27/12 8:53 AM


Tides and Prime Times

FRIDAY

7:30 — 9:30 PM

High Tide: 6:08 am Low Tide: 6:09 pm

PRIME TIME 0.03 ft. 1.26 ft. 0.66 ft. 1.16 ft.

11

8:00 — 10:00 PM

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 5:50 am Low Tide: 7:02 pm

1:30 — 3:30PM

1.34 ft. 0.07 ft.

SUNDAY

Set: 8:30p Sunrise: 6:55a Moonrise: 12:16p Set: 11:37p AM Minor: 10:24a AM Major: 4:11a PM Minor: 10:51p PM Major: 4:37p Moon Overhead: 5:59p Moon Underfoot: 5:33a

PRIME TIME 1.28 ft. 0.13 ft.

Low Tide: 12:02 am High Tide: 7:04 am Low Tide: 12:42 pm High Tide: 6:20 pm

Sunrise: 6:54a Set: 8:31p Moonrise: 11:09a Set: 10:57p AM Minor: 9:26a AM Major: 3:13a PM Minor: 9:52p PM Major: 3:39p Moon Overhead: 5:07p Moon Underfoot: 4:41a

10

SATURDAY PRIME TIME

High Tide: 6:42 am 1.32 ft. Low Tide: 11:59 am 0.83 ft. High Tide: 5:11 pm 1.24 ft.

Low Tide: 12:39 am High Tide: 7:26 am Low Tide: 1:27 pm High Tide: 7:33 pm

0.28 ft. 1.22 ft. 0.52 ft. 1.09 ft.

8:30 — 10:30 PM

Set: 8:29p Sunrise: 6:56a Moonrise: 1:23p Set: None AM Minor: 11:22a AM Major: 5:08a PM Minor: 11:49p PM Major: 5:36p Moon Overhead: 6:54p Moon Underfoot: 6:27a

12

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 5:26 am Low Tide: 7:47 pm

2:00 — 4:00PM

PRIME TIME

1.38 ft. 0.02 ft.

3:00 — 5:00PM

Sunrise: 6:59a Set: 8:25p Moonrise: 6:17p Set: 3:56a AM Minor: 3:21a AM Major: 9:35a PM Minor: 3:48p PM Major: 10:02p Moon Overhead: 11:35p Moon Underfoot: 11:08a

Sunrise: 6:59a Set: 8:24p Moonrise: 6:59p Set: 4:56a AM Minor: 4:10a AM Major: 10:22a PM Minor: 4:35p PM Major: 10:48p Moon Overhead: None Moon Underfoot: 12:00p

Sunrise: 7:00a Set: 8:23p Moonrise: 7:37p Set: 5:55a AM Minor: 4:56a AM Major: 11:08a PM Minor: 5:21p PM Major: 11:33p Moon Overhead: 12:25a Moon Underfoot: 12:49p

17 l

18 «

19 «

High Tide: 5:41 am Low Tide: 10:41 am High Tide: 3:51 pm Low Tide: 10:46 pm

PRIME TIME 1.44 ft. 1.02 ft. 1.36 ft. 0.13 ft.

6:30 — 8:30PM

High Tide: 6:00 am Low Tide: 11:16 am High Tide: 4:54 pm Low Tide: 11:22 pm

High Tide: 12:33 am Low Tide: 2:34 am High Tide: 6:57 am Low Tide: 4:41 pm

PRIME TIME 1.42 ft. 1.40 ft. 1.49 ft. -0.11 ft.

High Tide: 5:17 am Low Tide: 10:47 am High Tide: 4:31 pm Low Tide: 11:06 pm

25

1.54 ft. 1.53 ft. 1.53 ft. -0.17 ft.

1.42 ft. 0.85 ft. 1.47 ft. 0.39 ft.

6:30 — 8:30PM

8:00 — 10:00PM

Set: 8:16p Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 11:18p Set: 12:19p AM Minor: 10:20a AM Major: 4:09a PM Minor: 10:42p PM Major: 4:31p Moon Overhead: 5:28a Moon Underfoot: 5:51p

26

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 3:28 am Low Tide: 7:02 pm

1:00 — 3:00PM

PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 6:19 am 1.40 ft. Low Tide: 11:55 am 0.67 ft. High Tide: 6:03 pm 1.33 ft.

Set: 8:10p Sunrise: 7:08a Moonrise: 3:22a Set: 5:35p AM Minor: 2:48a AM Major: 9:02a PM Minor: 3:15p PM Major: 9:29p Moon Overhead: 10:30a Moon Underfoot: 10:58p

1.60 ft. -0.21 ft.

1:30 — 3:30PM

Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 8:08p Moonrise: 4:25a Set: 6:19p AM Minor: 3:37a AM Major: 9:50a PM Minor: 4:04p PM Major: 10:17p Moon Overhead: 11:25a Moon Underfoot: 11:52p

PRIME TIME SYMBOL KEY

l

Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 8:03p Moonrise: 10:00a Set: 9:33p AM Minor: 8:00a AM Major: 1:47a PM Minor: 8:27p PM Major: 2:14p Moon Overhead: 3:50p Moon Underfoot: 3:23a

º

¡

New First Full Moon Qtr Moon

T F & G

ALMANAC Digital.indd 83

7:00 — 9:00PM

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 2:46 am Low Tide: 4:03 am High Tide: 5:31 am Low Tide: 5:54 pm

12:30 — 2:30PM

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 8:11p Moonrise: 2:23a Set: 4:47p AM Minor: 1:59a AM Major: 8:13a PM Minor: 2:26p PM Major: 8:40p Moon Overhead: 9:36a Moon Underfoot: 10:03p

31 «

1.42 ft. 0.86 ft. 1.35 ft. 0.28 ft.

Sunrise: 7:04a Set: 8:17p Moonrise: 10:43p Set: 11:25a AM Minor: 9:32a AM Major: 3:22a PM Minor: 9:54p PM Major: 3:43p Moon Overhead: 4:45a Moon Underfoot: 5:07p

Sunrise: 7:03a Set: 8:18p Moonrise: 10:11p Set: 10:32a AM Minor: 8:45a AM Major: 2:35a PM Minor: 9:06p PM Major: 2:56p Moon Overhead: 4:03a Moon Underfoot: 4:24p

24 º

PRIME TIME

A L M A N A C

»

Last Qtr

T e x a S

«

PRIME TIME

best days

Good Day

F i s h

&

G a m e ®

AUGUST 2012 Tide Station Correction Table (Adjust High & Low Tide times listed in the Calendar by the amounts below for each keyed location)

NOT FOR NAVIGATION

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)

A u g u s t

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

2 0 1 2

|

83

7/27/12 8:53 AM


Tides and Prime Times

August 2012

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.

T9 T8 T7

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

T6 T17

T3 T2 T1

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 many wildlife species.

T13 T5

T14

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

T18

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.

T19

T20

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. 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.

T21

Tide Correction Table

Add or subtract the time shown at the rightof the Tide Stations on this table (and map) to determine the adjustment from the time shown for Galveston Channel in the calendars.

KEY PLACE T1 Sabine Bank Lighthouse T2 Sabine Pass Jetty T3 Sabine Pass T4 Mesquite Pt, Sab. Pass T5 Galveston Bay, S. Jetty T6 Port Bolivar

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

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 Round Pt, Trinity Bay +10:39 T11

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

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

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 PLACE San Luis Pass T18 Freeport Harbor T19 Pass Cavallo T20 Aransas Pass T21 Padre Island (So. End) T22 Port Isabel T23

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

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

T22 T23

KEYS TO USING THE TIDE AND SOLUNAR GRAPHS TIDE GRAPH:

Yellow: Daylight

12a

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

5:30 — 7:30 AM

Green: Falling Tide

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

MINOR Feeding Periods (+/- 1.5 Hrs.) Time Moon is at its Highest Point in the Sky

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY:

12a

AM/PM Timeline

84 |

AM/PM Timeline

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

12a

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

A u g u s t

ALMANAC Digital.indd 84

6p

2 0 1 2

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.) Time Moon is Directly Underfoot (at its peak on opposite side of the earth)

T e x a S

F i s h

&

G a m e ®

T F & G

A L M A N A C

7/27/12 8:53 AM


NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

l = New Moon º = First Quarter l = Full Moon » = Last Quarter « = Best Day SUNDAY

= Peak Fishing 7:45-9:40 AM Period BEST:

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

30

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 8:12p Moonrise: 6:12p Set: 8:07p

TUESDAY

« Aug 1

Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 8:11p Moonrise: 7:47p Set: 9:25p

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

«2

¡3

SATURDAY

«4

«5

Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 8:10p Sunrise: 6:40a Set: 8:09p Sunrise: 6:40a Set: 8:08p Sunrise: 6:41a Set: 8:08p Moonrise: 8:27p Set: 10:02p Moonrise: 9:03p Set: 10:40p Moonrise: 9:38p Set: 11:21p Moonrise: 10:12p Set: None

AM Minor: 3:17a

PM Minor: 3:46p

AM Minor: 4:10a

PM Minor: 4:39p

AM Minor: 5:04a

PM Minor: 5:31p

AM Minor: 5:56a

PM Minor: 6:22p

AM Minor: 6:49a

PM Minor: 7:13p

AM Minor: 7:41a

PM Minor: 8:04p

AM Minor: 8:32a

PM Minor: 8:55p

AM Major: 9:31a

PM Major: 10:01p

AM Major: 10:25a

PM Major: 10:53p

AM Major: -----

PM Major: 11:17a

AM Major: 11:45a

PM Major: 12:09p

AM Major: 12:37a

PM Major: 1:01p

AM Major: 1:29a

PM Major: 1:52p

AM Major: 2:21a

PM Major: 2:43p

Moon Overhead: 11:24p

12a

31

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 8:11p Moonrise: 7:02p Set: 8:47p

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:33a

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:27a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:04a

Moon Overhead: 2:17a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:50a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for August 2012

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 11:07a

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

4:30 — 6:30 PM

High Tide: 4:58 am Low Tide: 10:01 am High Tide: 12:04 pm Low Tide: 9:03 pm

BEST:

5:30 — 7:30 PM

1.51 ft. 1.36 ft. 1.38 ft. -0.57 ft.

High Tide: 5:27 am Low Tide: 10:15 am High Tide: 1:38 pm Low Tide: 9:53 pm

1.49 ft. 1.28 ft. 1.37 ft. -0.51 ft.

High Tide: 5:53 am Low Tide: 10:43 am High Tide: 2:54 pm Low Tide: 10:40 pm

Moon Underfoot: 1:52p BEST:

6:00 — 8:00 PM

T F & G

ALMANAC Digital.indd 85

Moon Underfoot: 1:00p

7:00 — 9:00 PM

1.44 ft. 1.15 ft. 1.35 ft. -0.39 ft.

A L M A N A C

High Tide: 6:18 am Low Tide: 11:19 am High Tide: 4:04 pm Low Tide: 11:22 pm

T e x a S

Moon Underfoot: 2:41p

Moon Underfoot: 3:27p

BEST:

BEST:

7:30 — 9:30 PM

&

G a m e ®

0.03 ft. 1.26 ft. 0.66 ft. 1.16 ft.

A u g u s t

+2.0

BEST:

8:00 — 10:00 PM

1.38 ft. High Tide: 6:42 am 1.32 ft. Low Tide: 12:02 am 0.99 ft. Low Tide: 11:59 am 0.83 ft. High Tide: 7:04 am 1.30 ft. High Tide: 5:11 pm 1.24 ft. Low Tide: 12:42 pm High Tide: 6:20 pm -0.20 ft.

F i s h

Moon Underfoot: 4:12p 8:30 — 10:30 PM

Low Tide: 12:39 am High Tide: 7:26 am Low Tide: 1:27 pm High Tide: 7:33 pm

2 0 1 2

|

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 12:05p

0.28 ft. 1.22 ft. 0.52 ft. 1.09 ft.

+1.0 0 -1.0

85

7/27/12 8:53 AM


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

TUESDAY

6

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 8:12p Moonrise: 6:12p Set: 8:07p

8

Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 8:11p Moonrise: 7:47p Set: 9:25p

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

9

10

SATURDAY

11

SUNDAY

12

Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 8:10p Sunrise: 6:40a Set: 8:09p Sunrise: 6:40a Set: 8:08p Sunrise: 6:41a Set: 8:08p Moonrise: 8:27p Set: 10:02p Moonrise: 9:03p Set: 10:40p Moonrise: 9:38p Set: 11:21p Moonrise: 10:12p Set: None

AM Minor: 3:17a

PM Minor: 3:46p

AM Minor: 4:10a

PM Minor: 4:39p

AM Minor: 5:04a

PM Minor: 5:31p

AM Minor: 5:56a

PM Minor: 6:22p

AM Minor: 6:49a

PM Minor: 7:13p

AM Minor: 7:41a

PM Minor: 8:04p

AM Minor: 8:32a

PM Minor: 8:55p

AM Major: 9:31a

PM Major: 10:01p

AM Major: 10:25a

PM Major: 10:53p

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 11:17a

AM Major: 11:45a

PM Major: 12:09p

AM Major: 12:37a

PM Major: 1:01p

AM Major: 1:29a

PM Major: 1:52p

AM Major: 2:21a

PM Major: 2:43p

Moon Overhead: 11:24p

12a

7

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 8:11p Moonrise: 7:02p Set: 8:47p

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:33a

Moon Overhead: None

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:27a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:04a

Moon Overhead: 2:17a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:50a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for August 2012

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 11:07a

+2.0

-1.0

BEST:

Low Tide: 1:12 am High Tide: 7:46 am Low Tide: 2:16 pm High Tide: 8:55 pm

86 |

0.53 ft. 1.19 ft. 0.40 ft. 1.05 ft.

Low Tide: 1:39 am High Tide: 8:03 am Low Tide: 3:09 pm High Tide: 10:33 pm

A u g u s t

ALMANAC Digital.indd 86

2 0 1 2

Moon Underfoot: 1:52p

BEST:

9:30 — 11:30PM 11:00A — 1:00P

TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 1:00p

BEST:

7:00 — 9:00PM

0.76 ft. Low Tide: 1:55 am 1.18 ft. High Tide: 8:13 am 0.31 ft. Low Tide: 4:06 pm 1.04 ft.

T e x a S

&

1:30 — 3:30PM

1.22 ft. High Tide: 6:08 am 0.18 ft. Low Tide: 6:09 pm

G a m e ®

Moon Underfoot: 3:27p

BEST:

8:00 — 10:00PM

0.95 ft. High Tide: 8:02 am 1.19 ft. Low Tide: 5:08 pm 0.24 ft.

F i s h

Moon Underfoot: 2:41p

T F & G

BEST:

2:00 — 4:00PM

1.28 ft. High Tide: 5:50 am 0.13 ft. Low Tide: 7:02 pm

Moon Underfoot: 4:12p

+2.0

BEST:

3:00 — 5:00PM

1.34 ft. High Tide: 5:26 am 0.07 ft. Low Tide: 7:47 pm

1.38 ft. 0.02 ft.

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 12:05p

+1.0 0 -1.0

A L M A N A C

7/27/12 8:53 AM


ALMANAC Digital.indd 87

7/27/12 8:53 AM


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

13

Sunrise: 6:46a Set: 8:01p Moonrise: 3:01a Set: 6:37a

TUESDAY

THURSDAY

Sunrise: 6:47a Set: 7:59p Moonrise: 4:51a Set: 8:26a

Sunrise: 6:47a Set: 7:58p Moonrise: 5:49a Set: 9:19a

«15

«16

FRIDAY

l 17

SATURDAY

«18

SUNDAY

«19

Sunrise: 6:48a Set: 7:57p Sunrise: 6:49a Set: 7:56p Sunrise: 6:49a Set: 7:55p Moonrise: 6:48a Set: 10:11a Moonrise: 7:48a Set: 11:04a Moonrise: 8:48a Set: 11:57a

AM Minor: 2:25a

PM Minor: 2:50p

AM Minor: 3:09a

PM Minor: 3:34p

AM Minor: 3:54a

PM Minor: 4:19p

AM Minor: 4:40a

PM Minor: 5:04p

AM Minor: 5:27a

PM Minor: 5:51p

AM Minor: 6:16a

PM Minor: 6:40p

AM Minor: 7:07a

PM Minor: 7:32p

AM Major: 8:37a

PM Major: 9:02p

AM Major: 9:22a

PM Major: 9:47p

AM Major: 10:06a

PM Major: 10:31p

AM Major: 10:52a

PM Major: 11:16a

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 12:03p

AM Major: 12:04a

PM Major: 12:28p

AM Major: 12:55a

PM Major: 1:20p

Moon Overhead: 10:04a

12a

14

Sunrise: 6:46a Set: 8:00p Moonrise: 3:54a Set: 7:32a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:43a

Moon Overhead: 10:54a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:32p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:09p

Moon Overhead: 1:21p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:58p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for August 2012

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 10:29p

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

High Tide: 4:53 am Low Tide: 8:27 pm

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BEST:

2 0 1 2

1.42 ft. 1.30 ft. 1.32 ft. -0.03 ft.

Moon Underfoot: 12:08a

BEST:

4:30 — 6:30PM

1.40 ft. High Tide: 4:55 am -0.01 ft. Low Tide: 10:07 am High Tide: 12:39 pm Low Tide: 9:02 pm

A u g u s t

Moon Underfoot: None

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00PM

High Tide: 5:07 am Low Tide: 9:53 am High Tide: 1:49 pm Low Tide: 9:36 pm

T e x a S

1.44 ft. 1.24 ft. 1.34 ft. -0.02 ft.

F i s h

Moon Underfoot: 12:57a BEST:

6:00 — 8:00PM

High Tide: 5:23 am Low Tide: 10:11 am High Tide: 2:50 pm Low Tide: 10:10 pm

&

1.45 ft. 1.15 ft. 1.36 ft. 0.03 ft.

G a m e ®

Moon Underfoot: 1:45a BEST:

6:30 — 8:30PM

High Tide: 5:41 am Low Tide: 10:41 am High Tide: 3:51 pm Low Tide: 10:46 pm

T F & G

1.44 ft. 1.02 ft. 1.36 ft. 0.13 ft.

7:00 — 9:00PM

High Tide: 6:00 am Low Tide: 11:16 am High Tide: 4:54 pm Low Tide: 11:22 pm

Moon Underfoot: 2:33a

+2.0

BEST:

8:00 — 10:00PM

1.42 ft. High Tide: 6:19 am 1.40 ft. 0.86 ft. Low Tide: 11:55 am 0.67 ft. 1.35 ft. High Tide: 6:03 pm 1.33 ft. 0.28 ft.

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

3:30 — 5:30PM

Moon Underfoot: 11:41P

+1.0 0 -1.0

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l = New Moon º = First Quarter l = Full Moon » = Last Quarter « = Best Day SUNDAY

Tides and Prime Times for August 2012 TUESDAY

20

21

Sunrise: 6:50a Set: 7:54p Sunrise: 6:50a Set: 7:53p Moonrise: 9:50a Set: 12:51p Moonrise: 10:53a Set: 1:46p

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 6:51a Set: 7:52p Moonrise: 11:58a Set: 2:40p

Sunrise: 6:51a Set: 7:51p Moonrise: 1:03p Set: 3:33p

Sunrise: 6:52a Set: 7:50p Moonrise: 2:07p Set: 4:24p

22

23

º 24

SATURDAY

25

Sunrise: 6:52a Set: 7:49p Moonrise: 3:08p Set: 5:12p

26

Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 7:48p Moonrise: 4:05p Set: 5:57p

AM Minor: 8:02a

PM Minor: 8:27p

AM Minor: 8:59a

PM Minor: 9:25p

AM Minor: 9:58a

PM Minor: 10:26p

AM Minor: 10:59a

PM Minor: ——-

AM Minor: 11:34a

PM Minor: 11:58a

AM Minor: 12:27a

PM Minor: 12:56p

AM Minor: 1:22a

PM Minor: 1:51p

AM Major: 1:49a

PM Major: 2:15p

AM Major: 2:46a

PM Major: 3:12p

AM Major: 3:45a

PM Major: 4:12p

AM Major: 4:44a

PM Major: 5:13p

AM Major: 5:44a

PM Major: 6:13p

AM Major: 6:42a

PM Major: 7:11p

AM Major: 7:37a

PM Major: 8:06p

Moon Overhead: 3:48p

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:35p

Moon Overhead: 4:40p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:32p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:29p

Moon Overhead: 7:30p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Moon Overhead: 9:28p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 3:23a

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

8:30 — 10:30AM

Low Tide: 12:00 am High Tide: 6:36 am Low Tide: 12:40 pm High Tide: 7:19 pm

BEST:

9:30 — 11:30AM

0.49 ft. 1.37 ft. 0.48 ft. 1.31 ft.

Low Tide: 12:39 am High Tide: 6:50 am Low Tide: 1:29 pm High Tide: 8:47 pm

0.73 ft. 1.37 ft. 0.29 ft. 1.30 ft.

Low Tide: 1:17 am High Tide: 7:02 am Low Tide: 2:25 pm High Tide: 10:30 pm

Moon Underfoot: 6:03a

Moon Underfoot: 7:01a

BEST:

10:30A — 12:30P

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Moon Underfoot: 5:07a

BEST:

11:30A — 1:30P

0.98 ft. Low Tide: 1:56 am 1.39 ft. High Tide: 7:06 am 0.12 ft. Low Tide: 3:29 pm 1.34 ft.

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Moon Underfoot: 8:00a BEST:

12:30 — 2:30PM

1.21 ft. High Tide: 12:33 am 1.43 ft. Low Tide: 2:34 am -0.01 ft. High Tide: 6:57 am Low Tide: 4:41 pm

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1.42 ft. 1.40 ft. 1.49 ft. -0.11 ft.

Moon Underfoot: 8:59a

High Tide: 2:46 am Low Tide: 4:03 am High Tide: 5:31 am Low Tide: 5:54 pm

G a m e ®

1:30 — 3:30PM

1.54 ft. High Tide: 3:28 am 1.53 ft. Low Tide: 7:02 pm 1.53 ft. -0.17 ft.

A u g u s t

+2.0

BEST:

1:00 — 3:00PM

2 0 1 2

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TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:14a

1.60 ft. -0.21 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

TUESDAY

27

Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 7:47p Moonrise: 4:56p Set: 6:39p

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 6:55a Set: 7:44p Moonrise: 6:22p Set: 7:57p

Sunrise: 6:55a Set: 7:43p Moonrise: 7:00p Set: 8:36p

Sunrise: 6:56a Set: 7:42p Moonrise: 7:35p Set: 9:17p

29

«30

«31

SATURDAY

¡ Sep 1

SUNDAY

«2

SSunrise: 6:56a Set: 7:41p Sunrise: 6:57a Set: 7:40p Moonrise: 8:09p Set: 10:01p Moonrise: 8:43p Set: 10:49p

AM Minor: 2:15a

PM Minor: 2:43p

AM Minor: 3:05a

PM Minor: 3:32p

AM Minor: 3:53a

PM Minor: 4:18p

AM Minor: 4:39a

PM Minor: 5:04p

AM Minor: 5:26a

PM Minor: 5:49p

AM Minor: 6:13a

PM Minor: 6:35p

AM Minor: 7:01a

PM Minor: 7:24p

AM Major: 8:29a

PM Major: 8:57p

AM Major: 9:18a

PM Major: 9:45p

AM Major: 10:06a

PM Major: 10:31p

AM Major: 10:51a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 11:13a

PM Major: 11:37a

AM Major: 12:02a

PM Major: 12:24p

AM Major: 12:50a

PM Major: 1:12p

Moon Overhead: 10:24p

12a

28

Sunrise: 6:54a Set: 7:46p Moonrise: 5:41p Set: 7:18p

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:43p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

Moon Overhead: None 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:08a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:42a

Moon Overhead: 12:56a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:27a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for August 2012

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 9:56a

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

BEST:

3:30 — 5:30PM

1.61 ft. 1.44 ft. 1.45 ft. -0.19 ft.

High Tide: 4:18 am Low Tide: 9:29 am High Tide: 12:59 pm Low Tide: 8:57 pm

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2 0 1 2

1.58 ft. 1.34 ft. 1.45 ft. -0.11 ft.

Moon Underfoot: 12:32p

BEST:

4:30 — 6:30PM

High Tide: 3:55 am Low Tide: 9:33 am High Tide: 11:11 am Low Tide: 8:03 pm

90 |

Moon Underfoot: 11:43a

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00PM

High Tide: 4:39 am Low Tide: 9:48 am High Tide: 2:18 pm Low Tide: 9:45 pm

T e x a S

1.52 ft. 1.19 ft. 1.46 ft. 0.02 ft.

F i s h

Moon Underfoot: 1:19p BEST:

6:00 — 8:00PM

High Tide: 4:58 am Low Tide: 10:15 am High Tide: 3:27 pm Low Tide: 10:28 pm

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1.47 ft. 1.02 ft. 1.47 ft. 0.19 ft.

G a m e ®

Moon Underfoot: 2:04p BEST:

6:30 — 8:30PM

High Tide: 5:17 am Low Tide: 10:47 am High Tide: 4:31 pm Low Tide: 11:06 pm

T F & G

1.42 ft. 0.85 ft. 1.47 ft. 0.39 ft.

7:00 — 9:00PM

High Tide: 5:36 am Low Tide: 11:21 am High Tide: 5:32 pm Low Tide: 11:41 pm

Moon Underfoot: 2:49p

+2.0

BEST:

7:30 — 9:30PM

1.39 ft. High Tide: 5:54 am 1.37 ft. 0.69 ft. Low Tide: 11:57 am 0.56 ft. 1.45 ft. High Tide: 6:33 pm 1.42 ft. 0.61 ft.

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 10:51a

+1.0 0 -1.0

A L M A N A C

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PHOTO:

By Chester Moore, Jr.

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Wildlife Completes the Wildlife Experience Whether you are a diehard Texas deer hunter or pursue the state’s mammoth largemouth bass, you are blessed. Sure, the hunting and fishing is tremendous. In fact, it is the best in the nation, however Texas is tops in another category: biodiversity. No other state can boast the wide variety of creatures that roam the wild lands from the Pahandle to the Rio Grande and everywhere in between. A huge part of the outdoors experience is the creatures we encounter and every single outdoors excursion involves sightings of some kind. Some are of the common variety but we Texans have opportunities afforded few, which has inspired me to ponder our creatures great and small.

The shrew is a mouse-sized insectivore that is arguably the most vora-

Let us go against Texas tradition and start with something small.

southern short-tailed shrew and the least shrew.

cious predator on the planet and the

Shrews have an extremely high

two most common varieties are the

metabolic rate. According to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, this rapid conversion of food to energy requires that these animals consume up to their own body weight in food every single day. “The highly social and gregarious least shrew often cooperates in building burrows or nests, which are sometimes shared with other least shrews during the nesting and wintering seasons. The species uses the runways and burrows of moles, voles and other small mammals but will make its own runways in soft, loose soil. Tunnels under the snow provide protection from wind and intense cold, allowing least shrews to remain active all winter. Least shrews rely mainly on their

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senses of touch and smell. Sight and hearing are not well developed.” They also said the least shrew only lives a short time, usually a little over a year. “After being born in the summer, shrews overwinter as juveniles, breed the following spring, raise 2 to 3 litters of young, and then die.” On the other side of the spectrum is a mammal that is infrequently seen in our region but that pops up now and then is the West Indian Manatee. According the wildlife officials at Louisiana State University (LSU), manatees are a marine mammal of the order Sirenia, derived from the Latin word “siren” or “mermaid”. “Many people believe that sailors mistook manatees for the mythological mermaid.” Manatees have a body form similar 94 |

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to a seal, but they are much larger reaching 13 ft in length. Manatee can live to be 50 years old. The average manatee is 10 ft long and weighs roughly 1000 lbs. Females are usually larger than males.

According to LSU officials manatees spend 6 to 8 hrs a day in shallow water grazing grass beds consuming roughly 100 lbs of food each day which equals 4 to 9 percent of body weight. “They can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes and have been known to sprint for short distances at 15 mph. Manatees will communicate through sound, sight, taste, and touch. Manatees can hear very well even though they do not have external ear lobes.” Texas is home to more than 100 varieties of snakes and is well known for the western diamondback, which is found in most counties west of the Trinity River. Did you know East Texas also has rattlesnakes? The timber or canebrake rattlesnake is the one most commonly encountered 96 |

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tipped with rattles. “Timber rattlesnakes have yellow eyes with elliptical or cat-like pupils. Twenty to 29 dark, V-shaped crossbars with jagged edges form a distinctive pattern across their back.� As rattlers go, they are very docile and there are few instances of people being bitten by these beautifully marked pit vipers. The pigmy rattlesnake is also present

and even they are shy and reclusive.

light yellow, gray or greenish-white

According to the Texas Parks & Wild-

body with a rust-colored strip along the

life Department, they have a heavy,

length of their back and a black tail is

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The eastern third of the state has

A cousin to the cottonmouth and

the southern copperhead while mov-

rattlesnakes, these pit vipers have a pat-

ing toward Austin the broad-banded

tern that when hidden amongst pine

copperhead takes over. Additionally the

straw, sticks and leaves is nearly invis-

Trans-Pecos copperhead lives in the

ible. In fact, copperheads can be hard

arid country of the far west.

to see when positioned on top of the

in the Pineywoods region and is very rarely seen. I have only seen one and that was in 2000 on my old deer lease in Newton County. These snakes only attain lengths of around 18 inches and are super reclusive. They are most often seen crossing roads in the evening and are a true enigma in the region. Most outdoor lovers are not even aware of their presence. Most Texas outdoors lovers are familiar with copperheads but did you know Texas has three varieties?

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forest floor but when they bury most

These are venomous snakes but they

fatalities related to a copperhead bite

of their body under the leaves they are

have very small fangs and reportedly

and in fact TF&G Editor-In-Chief Don

pretty much using the great outdoors

have less toxicity than rattlesnakes and

Zaidle has been bitten twice and never

best stealthy technology.

cottonmouths. There are almost no

went to the hospital.

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That is definitely not recommended.

How could this be?

Always seek medical attention after a

If they are crossing into our two

snakebite but it does go to show cop-

neighboring states, there is no reason

perheads are not killers.

they cannot cross into ours. Some argue

Over the years, I have encountered

that on the South Texas border there is

relatively few copperheads compared to hundreds of cottonmouths. While filming a television program for Animal Planet, I stepped on two copperheads in the same day and never got as much as a strike. Both of these snakes were about two feet long and did not seem to mind my rude treatment. There is some debate over the temperament of this beautiful snake with some claiming them to be extremely aggressive and others saying they are passive. In experience, they have been non-aggressive but that can vary by individual and even by area. Like all venomous snakes, they are to be respected and treated as potentially dangerous. They are best left alone to serve their important role in the ecosystem. Texas hunters are familiar with Texas’ vast bobcat population, increasing cougars and to a lesser extend the ocelots in the Rio Grande Valley region. But did you know Texas has two other native cat species? Jaguars are native to Texas and once roamed throughout most of the state but they were eliminated by the 1920s. Now however jaguars have been verified by state-sponsored trail camera programs in New Mexico and Arizona and are believed to be coming in from Mexico. I first hypothesized jaguars were still moving into Texas on these pages several years ago and have since spoken with a couple of very reliable witnesses who claim sightings along the border in South Texas. D I G I T A L

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too much development between the

mean body size of 102 centimeters for

Mexican side and known jaguar popula-

females and 114 for males according to

tions in Mexico.

Mexican researcher Arturo Caso. Other

Texas is also home to the jaguarundi. They are a medium-sized cat with a

sources list them as ranging from 100 to 120 centimeters with the tail making up the greatest part of the length.

Most specimens are about 20 centimeters tall and sport a dark gray color while others are chocolate brown or blonde. Jaguarundis are known to range from South America to the Mexican borders of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. The key word here is “known�. That means scientists have observed or captured the species within those areas,

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No treatise on Texas fauna would be

sacred place in my memory banks. You can shoot whitetails in many

compete without mention of one of the

states but there are few places you can

most enigmatic, powerful, and (these

see ringtails.

days) highly prized aquatic specimens,

That is just one of many creatures

the alligator gar. These leviathans prowl our freshwa-

that makes Texas special.

however they are reported to range much farther north in the Lone Star State and perhaps elsewhere. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials solicited information from the public and received numerous reports of the species in the 1960s, including several sightings from central and east Texas. Additional sightings were reported from as far away as Florida, Oklahoma, and Colorado In a study conducted in 1984, TPWD biologists noted a string of unconfirmed jaguarundi sightings in Brazoria County, which corners the hugely populated areas of both Houston and Galveston. Hunting trips do not always end in shooting an animal but many times, they involve unforgettable sightings. I will never forget watching a beautiful ringtail crawl out of a live oak stump and sit in front of my ground blind at less than 20 yards for what seemed like forever. I shot a buck that evening and while that was the goal, the rare daylight ringtail sighting has a much more D I G I T A L

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ter lakes and rivers, sporting a snout fes-

used the conveniently-shaped scales

pounds. It’s highly robust and can sur-

tooned with dual rows of spiked teeth

for arrowheads.

vive out of the water for up two hours.

that lend its name. It sports an armored

Alligator gar grow to horror-

coat of diamond-shaped scales com-

movie proportions, up to 14 feet in

prised of ganoid over dentin--the same

length according to some references,

stuff as your teeth. American Indians

and attain weights approaching 400

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to its throat, giving it the ability to draw in air from above the water--often with a spooky “growling” sound that will give even a hardened coonass the shivers. Long considered a “trash fish,” alli-

gator gar have become highly popular sport fish in Texas among conventional and bowfishermen. The fish are now protected by harvest regulations. *Atractosteus

spatula* is a genu-

inely prehistoric fish, with modern spec-

imens largely unchanged from fossils dating to the late Cretaceous Period. The aggregation of size, power, and overall coolness make the alligator gar a true Texas treasure. PhotoS: chester moore, Istock, camstock, brent crawford

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Texas Tasted

PhotoS: SHEILA NELSON

Grillades (pronounced GREE-yahds)

T

his traditional New Orleans recipe is always a crowd-pleaser and is a good way to get those last few pieces of meat out of your freezer. I serve it over rice, but it is traditionally served over grits. Either way, it is an easy, fix it and forget recipe that you will want to save and use over and over.

• 2-3 lbs. of meat cut into 1in. cubes (deer, pork, beef or a combination) • Salt • Pepper • Garlic Powder • Flour • Vegetable Oil • 5-6 ribs of celery, diced • 2 bell peppers, diced, • 1 large onion, diced • 6-8 cloves of garlic, pressed • 2 cartons beef broth • 1 can rotel tomatoes • 1/4 cup Worchestershire Sauce • 1 tbsp Tabasco Coat the diced meat pieces with salt, pepper, garlic powder and flour. In a dutch oven, heat enough oil to have roughly 1/2 inch of oil in the pan. Brown the meat in the oil and remove meat to a large crock pot. Add enough extra flour to the pan to make a roux and cook the roux along with the pan scrapings until it is a light chocolate color. Add the celery, peppers, onions and garlic to the rough and cook until vegetables start to soften. Add tomatoes and enough beef broth until the sauce coats the back of a T F & G

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spoon. Add Worchestershire sauce, tabasco and additional salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce into the crock pot over the meat and stir together. Cover and allow the mixture to simmer for 3-4 hours. This slow cooking will ten-

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Failed!

Worst. Trips. Ever. Photo: Fedlog

by paul bradshaw when I stepped out of the truck into ankle-deep water, I knew we were in trouble. My usual partner in crime, Chris Jenkins, and I had spent the previous night sleeping in the cab of his truck. We were on 108 |

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one of our usual fishing and beach camping trips to the upper coast of Texas when during the night a thunderstorm had driven us out of our tent and into the truck. Not a big deal, we have had worse trips, or so we thought. The next morning the sky was clear but the surf was up, way up. It seems we underestimated the time it would take the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina to reach Texas by about a day and were now dangerously close to losing the truck. The tent was already somewhere under the Gulf of Mexico and we were about to follow it if we didn’t act fast. Kayaks and what fishing equipment we could still locate were thrown into the bed of the truck and we high-tailed it to the closest beach exit we could find, leaving behind a rooster tail of water, sand, and driftwood. Luckily, we made it off the beach with the truck and most of our gear. I know that most of the time all you read about in these pages are stories about successful trips in the woods or on the water, but not this time. This time you get to read

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about some of my worst trips--and trust me, there was a long list. Despite all indications, outdoor writers have crappy trips too. Like a duck-hunting trip a few years back on Lake Fork. Chris and I launched the boat (you will notice a pattern here) in the dark and motored north from the ramp into a stiff wind. It was too dark to see, but I’m pretty sure my dog was giving me the stink eye. Motoring through the stumps we eventually made it to a small island out of the wind and waves where we set up decoys and waited for the ducks. They never showed up, but the wind did. The 10 mile per hour wind turned into 20, then 30 with the occasional gust that reached “holy crap” status. Early in the hunt, we noticed a beaver swimming through our decoys, also giving us the

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stink eye, but didn’t think anything of it until some of the decoys started floating away. I’m not sure if the beaver was irritated we were in his spot or got tangled in the lines and had to chew his way out, but either way, he gnawed through the lines of about half a dozen decoys, which were being pushed out in the lake by the tropical storm force winds. It was about then that we decided to cut our losses and try to make it home. We loaded the few decoys we had left, chased down the ones that were now drifting into the main body of the lake and headed south. There were times when we would go down into the trough between waves and couldn’t see anything but walls of water all around us. The dog laid down in the bottom of the boat behind Chris. It has often been argued

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in the middle of the night we finally found another road heading the general direction we wanted to go and even though we were now behind schedule we were at least back on track. Then the tire blew out on the boat trailer

Despite all indications, outdoor writers have crappy trips too.

that the dog was the smartest animal in the boat that day. When we finally got back to the boat ramp (we might or might not have gotten lost on the way back) the situation didn’t get any better. The waves that were now measured in feet were crashing directly onto the ramp. Stopping for more than a few seconds meant the boat would be swamped so I had to do a drive by, dropping Chris on the bank while I tried to keep the bow of the boat pointed into the waves. It’s no exaggeration when I say that the wind was so bad that the water inside the boat was white capping. When we finally got the boat loaded on the trailer and pulled the plug the water drained for 10 minutes. While these trips were bad they can’t even compare to the epic failure road trip to Louisiana a few years back. I have told this one before, but it’s so bad I have to share it again. It started around 2:00 one morning when Chris and I (see, I told you there was a pattern) were driving through the middle of nowhere East Texas and our route was blocked by a train stopped on the tracks. This was before either of us had smart phones or GPS and we sure didn’t have a map so after a couple hours of searching

while doing 65 down Interstate 10. It was now 4:00 a.m. in case you are keeping track of these things. Pulling to the side of the road, we got out to go over the damage and that’s when Chris advised he did not own a spare tire. No time to worry about that; we

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unhooked the trailer and I stayed with the boat, a flashlight, bug spray, and some tools. The plan was for me to get the trashed tire off the trailer while Chris went looking for a new one. Three hours later (that’s right, I’m stuck on the side of the road for three hours without anyone stopping) Chris showed up with not one, but two new tires. It seems that there’s not much open at four in the morning and when he finally found an open store they didn’t have any tires the size he needed so he had to buy two smaller tires. We replaced those two tires faster than a Nasser pit crew and were back on the road. Since we were fishing out of Texas we needed licenses, luckily there was a bait shop right by the boat ramp that sold them so we sped, I mean drove the legal speed limit, directly to it. The lady behind the counter (that I swear was 106 years old) informed us she had just sold her last two out-of-state licenses but there was a store right up the road that sold them so we headed that way. At that store, the lady behind the counter (again about 106 years old) told us she had just sold her last license, but a store just up the road sold them. This went on at the next two stores until we finally ended up at the sheriff’s department, which sold fishing licenses, and bought the last two licenses they had. It was now 10:00 and we still weren’t fishing. Finally, we launched the boat and motored out to our fishing spot, dropped the trolling motor and started casting. Behind us, we heard thunder. We tried to ignore it, but about this time, the rain started the kind of rain where you can’t see 10 feet in front of you. From somewhere in the storm I heard Chris say, “Could have done without that.” As we stowed our rods we were both thinking the same thing: Worst trip ever.

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feral hog Webb County Ashley Stewart of Portland got her first kill on this hog from 100 yards with a .243 on the 6N Ranch in Webb County. She was guided by her boyfriend Jack Nohavitza.

sun fish Canyon Lake Redfish

19-month old Hayden Guillory of San Antonio with her first catch, a sun perch caught on Canyon Lake with her proud dad Michael Guillory.

Galveston Bay Six-year-old Blake Lance caught this 17-inch redfish in Galveston Bay. It was his first redfish and proud mom Amanda says he loves fishing and being outdoors.

Largemouth

Pheasant

Lake Conroe

Muleshoe

Julia Skero, age 4, caught 7-pound largemouth with her Barbie pole on Lake Conroe.

Wiley Web sent this photo of Robert Rinehart, Les Atwood, Jerry Rinehart, and Jim Rinehart from a successful pheasant hunt on opening weekend outside of Muleshoe. In addition to these six pheasants, they also got a “mess” of quail, all thanks to their guide James.

Sheepshead

Trout

Port Mansfield Jetties

Matagorda Kevin Chovanec caught this 23-inch Speckled Trout while fishing the Matagorda surf with his Mom and Dad. He was one happy fisherman.

Richard Roussett of San Antonio caught this nice sheephead on shrimp at the Mansfield Jetties.

Wild Turkey Briggs Grady King shot his first turkey while hunting with his dad on Papaw’s ranch in Briggs.

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MAIL TO: TFG PHOTOS 1745 Greens Rd, Houston TX 77032 NOTE: Print photos can not be returned.

EMAIL: photos@FishGame.com

For best results, send MED to HIGH quality JPEG digital files only, please.

No guarantee can be made as to when, or if, a submitted photo will be published.

Flounder Lower Laguna Madre Alethea Cruz caught her first flounder (catch and release) in Lower Laguna Madre.

Whitetail Wilbarger County Speckled trout Port O’Connor Will Hunt, 9, of Friendswood caught this 21-1/2inch trout in Port O’Connor while fishing with his grandparents.

Shark

Kasen Ramsey, 6, with an 8-point Whitetail Buck taken at 75 yards with .223 Remington. He was hunting with his dad, Russ Ramsey, and older brother Kreed on the family ranch, in Wilbarger County.

feral Hog

Sabine Pass

Hebronville

Joey Murty caught this 30-inch blacktip shark at the Sabine Pass jetties while fishing with mom dad and his two sisters. It was his biggest fish ever and his first shark.

Wesley Witzsche of Corpus Christi shot his first pig, while hunting with his dad, Dwayne Witzsche, at the lease near Hebbronville. He used a .22-250.

Red Snapper Port Aransas Hailey Hester with one of the two Red Snapper she caught while fishing with her dad and “Grampie” on a fishing trip out of Port Aransas.

Whitetail Duvall County

Redfish

Peter Garcia IV with his first buck, a 13-pointer with a B&C Score of 136. He killed the buck on Corbin’s Compound ranch in Duvall County.

Freeport

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Whitetail

Bethany Wines, 11, with her first limit of Redfish, caught with her dad at Freeport.

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Buffalo Riley Satterwhite, 12, of Conroe took her first buck on the Birch Creek Ranch near Buffalo while hunting with her father Chris.

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August 2012