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

ROY NEVES PUBLISHER

DON ZAIDLE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

CHESTER

MOORE

EXECUTIVE EDITOR

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

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

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

A D V E R T I S I N G

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

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

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• SUBSCRIBER SERVICES MANAGER • FIELD REPRESENTATIVE • NEWSTAND REPRESENTATIVE

P R O D U C T I O N

JIMMY BORNE ART DIRECTOR

LINDSAY WHITMAN YEATES GRAPHIC DESIGNER

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

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

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FEATURES DECEMBER 2009 • Volume XXV • NO.8 THE KAYAK IN WINTER

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Just because water temps drop doesn’t mean it is time to lock up your kayak. Like a seasoned plugger wading a winter tide, don’t let the elements keep you off the water.

by Greg Berlocher

DEATH OF A WHITETAIL

28

While segments of the non-hunting community see hunters in a non-favorable light, painting us as bloodthirsty, the truth is, killing a whitetail is a bittersweet experience, an event most hunters do not take lightly, yet few talk freely about.

by Paul Bradshaw GOING DEEP FOR...CRAPPIE, BASS, & CATFISH

32

In December, Jack Frost puts a chokehold on water temperatures, sending game fish deep. Here are some deep-water rigs and tactics to use in pursuing them into the winter depths.

by Matt Williams SIXGUN STRATEGIES

36

Hunting with pistols — revolvers, not scoped “hand rifles” — requires a dose of reality. Stories of 300-yard kill shots by even the best marksmen are either cases of luck or malarky. But there are practical steps that can lead to successful handgun hunting.

ON THE COVERS: COASTAL: The iconic Eskimo plying frigid waters among ice flows in a fragile craft epitomizes the kayak in winter. Stalwart Texas coastal anglers put a new face on the winter kayaker with modern gear, space-age hulls, and big trout.

Photo by Vincent Rinando INLAND/NORTH: Mirroring the old saw, one fact about whitetailed deer is universal and inescapable: death is a certainty. Disease, old age, predators, entrapment, automobiles, or hunter’s bullet; the cause is irrelevant, the ultimate fate remains unchanged--returning to the earth from which it sprang, completing the cycle of life in death.

Photo by Don Zaidle

by Steve R. LaMascus www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Fish-Game-Magazine/86524948620

THE CHRISTMAS MOUNTAINS

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The 9200 acres in the Big Bend, containing the Chrismas Mountains, are the focus of a landsale controversy involving the Texas General Land Office, National Parks Service, TPWD, and private interests.

by Herman W. Brune 4

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COLUMNS and DEPARTMENTS DECEMBER 2009 • Volume XXV • NO.8

COLUMNS 10 Editor’s Notes The Gift Of Giving

51 Texas Offshore

The Future Of Offshore Fishing

by DON ZAIDLE TF&G Editor-in-Chief

16 Chester’s Notes Fred & Ted

by CAPT. MIKE HOLMES TF&G Associate Offshore Editor

Anti-Gun Mayors

8

YOUR LETTERS

12

TF&G REPORT

14

BIG BAGS & CATCHES

40

TROPHY QUEST

41

TRUE GREEN

52 Texas Saltwater Parenting’s Dirty Secret

by CHESTER MOORE, JR. TF&G Executive Editor

18 Commentary

DEPARTMENTS

by CALIXTO GONZALES TF&G Saltwater Editor

53 Texas Freshwater Handle With Kid Gloves

by KENDAL HEMPHILL TF&G Commentator

by MATT WILLIAMS TF&G Freshwater Editor

20 Doggett at Large If It’s Broke, Fix It

by JOE DOGGETT TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

22 TexasWild

Double Gobble, Double Whack by TED NUGENT TF&G Editor-at-Large

50 Hunt Texas

www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Fish-Game-Magazine/86524948620

54 Open Season

Lessons Of the Hunt

Chaos Theory

by BOB HOOD TF&G Hunting Editor 6

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by REAVIS WORTHAM TF&G Humor Editor

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Letters TF&G A “TURN-OFF” TO KIDS? In response to John Baggett’s letter to the editor, “TF&G a Turn Off to Kids” in the November issue: I, too, have been a lifelong hunter and fisherman, winning many amateur fishing tournaments, and with three trophy whitetail mounts on my living room wall. However, I choose to enjoy every article in TF&G, and so do my children and grandchildren. In looking back on my life, I was an Eagle Boy Scout and later a Scout Master. I spent three years in the U.S. Army, and to this day honor and respect the American Flag. In the article you mentioned, “Respecting Our Flag”, I learned more about my flag than in any or all of my past experiences. My Cub Scout grandson also enjoyed it—more than the hunting and fishing stories, I think. The variety of stories in TF&G makes it a very outstanding magazine, and my advice to you is, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. Thanks, TF&G, for an extremely good and versatile magazine, and thanks to all your staff writers. Gerald Callaway Via email The November issue contained a letter to the editor that Texas Fish & Game was turning off kids because of “politically conservative” articles. I’ve never felt that the magazine had an agenda that was politically driven. The articles are germane to attacks made by eco-nuts, tree huggers, and other leftist quacks that can’t stand conservative hunters enjoying their constitutional rights. The letter by John Baggett is exceptionally well written and might be a type of “serial writers” effort to influence and determine direction of the magazine. His logic is flawed in asserting that you are negatively influencing a lot of kids. He presents only two kids who were turned off by “those views.” 8

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It is ironic that anecdotal evidence does not establish or prove a universal truth. Since when have the “tree huggers” and “left wing” misguided individuals become hunters? I’m including the ACLU, PETA, and others—those are mutually exclusive types. Baggett objects to discussions about the American flag, assault weapons (his term, not yours), and national political thinking (Does he think that hunters are local in outlook and don’t discuss national and world matters?) All of these things interest most hunters and fishermen because we are affected by them. Ignorant citizens enable scoundrels and politicians the ability to control us—and I feel that is what Mr. Baggett is trying to do. Good try, Mr. Baggett, but it won’t work. Jim Limbaugh Via email In response to Mr. Baggett’s letter in your November issue: I would like to point out that, without TF&G’s input, where would we get the other side of the story? Like our President, he just doesn’t want to hear opposing views. Baggett should point out to the young people he is in contact with that open discussion is the best way to work through any problem or idea. It’s sad the so many people only want their ideas put forward. Ray Bishop New Braunfels, TX Apparently, editor-in-chief Don Zaidle has lost some of his editing or writing skills if John Baggett of the People’s Republic of Austin thinks Texas Fish & Game can be “somewhat-inaccurately” described as “politically conservative.” Go ahead and let the dogs loose, Don! Let’s see what it takes to be called outright conservative by the “non-extremist, leftwing, tree-hugger hunters and fishermen” from Fairyland on the Colorado. F i s h

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Apparently, even the kids in Austin (according to Baggett) have already been spoon-fed enough socialist, Hollywood propaganda that standing up for our flag and fighting idiotic attempts at flavor-of-themonth gun control are viewed as alien points of view there. I believe youth involvement in hunting, fishing, and shooting sports is critical, and sharing copies of Texas Fish & Game is certainly admirable. But I also believe that there is no such thing as “extremist” flag-waving or defense of our Second Amendment rights. You either support these concepts whole hog, or not at all. Baggett reminds me of the people who say they support “reasonable” gun control. I think Texas Fish & Game should not spend any time, effort, or words trying to appease the Austin leftists. Remember, Kay Bailey is coming! Richard Ogden Flatonia, TX In response to “Turnoff to Kids”, I have seen people like Mr. Baggett on the road. On the back window, they have TTHA, DU, bowhunting, and Mossy Oak decals; then I look at the bumper and there it is an Obama sticker. Mr. Baggett, open your eyes and really look into our current administration and what it is pushing. In defense of Mr. Baggett, he is from Austin. TF&G, keep the flag, the “assault weapons”, and your thinking—which is on the right track. Milus Steen Via email I love your magazine. As an avid hunter and fisherman, I enjoy the articles on bowhunting, the tips I receive, the articles on kayaking, and the way you keep me up to date on what is happening in our state in relation to wildlife. However, I have continually been turned off from our magazine by


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the political commentaries. I want to echo John Baggett’s recent letter that TF&G’s political commentaries are a big turnoff to kids and to many adults. Kendal Hemphill’s opinion of federal health care legislation or the federal cash for clunkers program does nothing to further wildlife conservation nor promote hunting and fishing in Texas, and has no place in our magazine. Your readers subscribe or purchase your magazine because we want to learn more about hunting and fishing in Texas, not to find out how a TF&G staffer might feel about the flag, cash for clunkers, Che Guevara, or health care. Please try to keep the main thing the main thing in TF&G and stop polluting our magazine with the political opinions of the staff. This would be the most helpful to promote hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation for our state. Owen K. Ross Via email I am writing this in direct response to a letter in the November issue by a Mr. Baggett. I could not help but write in and let it be known that I could not disagree more with his views on current writings in TF&G. I am a 44-year-old Texas hunter, fisherman, and outdoors lover, I have lived in East Texas all my life within 20 miles of the same place, and I am very glad to see TF&G take the lead in values such as protecting our Second Amendment rights and promoting God and country. What American could not feel the same? Unlike Mr. Baggett, I feel our outdoors magazines are the perfect place to support such things and really think the bulk of TF&G readers will, too. Most outdoors folks I know support you all the way, and I say keep up the good work. From reading your magazine for quite a few years, I have no doubt that the likes of Don Zaidle, Kendal Hemphill, Chester Moore, Bob Hood, Ted Nugent, and all the rest will defend the U.S. Constitution all the way. Sorry, Mr. Baggett, I really think your views are in the minority, but I will defend your right to express them until the end. Joe H. Harrell Via email

JUST SAY “NO” TO BOWHUNTING I appreciate your magazine and the quality of stories you have in it each month. I would like to comment, however, on one of your stories in the October issue titled, “Eye-level Deer Hunting” by Lou Marullo. I am an avid deer hunter and have been in the field since before my sixth birthday, raised in East Texas, and taught hunting by my half-Cherokee grandfather and my older brother. I was lucky in that we had quite a bit of access to hunting land, not only on my grandparents property, but all the land around it; several thousand acres all together. What I want to say is I consider myself neither professional nor novice, but an experienced hunter of most all animals offered in Texas. I presently hunt the central Hill Country around Lampasas, as well as the West Texas area of Winters. I even still get in some East Texas hunts in between my traveling to the other properties in Texas. I have enjoyed all hunting except bowhunting, as I feel it is a skill most people do not or cannot master to a point of accomplishment that will lead to a clean kill—one of our sworn duties as good hunters. I have seen my share of bad shots from hunters, and have killed deer in November after bow season with horrid wounds and infected wounds with the arrow still protruding from their bodies. I did the deer a favor and put them out of their misery with one well placed accurate shot. I have been taught this and I have taught my children the same: to respect the game God has given us and not take a chance on wounding one just for sport, and that is what most bowhunters are—just sportsmen and not hunters. Please try to show a difference between a hunter and a sportsman. A bow is not as lethal or as accurate as a bullet, and if you really put it to the test, you will see I am right. I am glad people hunt, but they should either hone their skills to the level of a gun hunter, or stay home and not possibly wound a trophy buck for no reason except to say, “I am skilled and it takes a good hunter to get a deer within 10 yards and kill it with a bow.” I have done this with, bow pistol, and T E X A S

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rifle, but real skill is hitting a trophy buck at 300-plus yards and having it fall within 30 yards of where you shot it. If I can’t feel confident enough to place my 130-grain .270 bullet in a quarter at 100 yards, I could never feel confident bowhunting unless I could do the same at 25 yards. I now argue for the gun hunter and against the bow sportsman. I asked my halfCherokee grandfather a question once when I was a young man: “Grandpa, why don’t you use a bow to hunt with like your Indian brothers did?” He gave a good answer I have never forgotten: “Bowhunting is for people who have no better way to harvest game .A sure kill is a gun kill.” Thanks for hearing my opinion and thought maybe you might be able to show a little difference between sportsmen and hunters. Jimmy Malone Via email

POOL CUE COOL I tried out my newly-modified founder rod today (per Chester Moore’s “Pool Cue Flounder” in the October issue) and it was a rousing success. I caught a total of nine Flounder, five of which were keepers. The hook went right thru the gill plate in most of them. I was able to release the small ones without any obvious damage. I modified a Berkeley Lightning Rod that I have been using for flounder for several years. Mine is a bait-casting model rigged with a little Shimano TX 100 reel and PLine CX premium 12-pound-test line, which has very little stretch. This is a very lightweight rig, which I like since I am usually wade-fishing. Today, I had on two 1/8-ounce jigs tied in tandem, about 18 inches apart. It all worked well, especially the rod. Thank you so much for the tip and the instructions. Troy M. Stewart Webster, TX

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Editor’s Notes by Don Zaidle| TF&G Editor-in-Chief

The Gift Of Giving OMETIMES, THE BEST GIFTS HAVE NO monetary worth, but great value. I received this letter some time ago and published it in the June 2006 issue. I thought it worthy of reprinting in honor of the holiday season.

S

Dear Mr. Zaidle: I ran across a recent copy of Texas Fish & Game magazine at work the other day. One of my buddies left it lying on his desk. So, I sat down on my break and looked through it. I read your editorial column as you described your younger years and growing up in the woods. I grew up on a decent sized ranch about 20 miles out of Fort Worth. Daddy always took me and my younger brother hunting and fishing in our spare time, when we weren’t working his cattle or baling hay. I have some good memories of those times, and I try to think back on them frequently for relaxation now that I am older and don’t have near as much free time as I used to. I often think particularly of one winter evening about 25 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday: We had just finished supper when I heard a knock at the door. There was a man standing outside our front door who looked like Jim Bridger going to a trapper’s rendezvous. He had a long beard and was wearing his well-used hunting gear. You could definitely tell this man had spent a lot of time in the great outdoors. Out in the driveway, he had an old pickup truck and I could hear a couple of dogs whimpering and carrying on in the back of the vehicle. This really piqued my interest as I stood there in awe, looking at him as if he were some kind of hunting god. He asked my father if he could go coonhunting. We lived on a creek and the man said he grew up around the area, and used to hunt this property when he was younger. My father said he did not mind at all. The hunter 10

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also said it would be okay if my brother and I wanted to go along. I was really excited now. As mentioned earlier, I grew up hunting and fishing, but mainly only in daylight. We would sometimes go varmint calling at night, or just drive around the ranch shooting a spotlight up in the trees, but this coon hunting business with dogs would be a new experience for us. We hurriedly put on some warm clothes and rubber boots, and we were off. The hunter took his hounds—beautiful male and female Treeing Walkers—out of the truck on their leashes, and we struck out for the creek bottom. It was about 35 degrees outside and dead calm. I didn’t know if I was shaking from the cold, the excitement, or both. We walked on down the creek about a mile or so and came out into an old pecan orchard. I remember the hunter then kneeling down over his dogs that were still leashed, and saying a little prayer for us and them. You could tell the hounds had been through this no less than a thousand times, as they sat quietly, but you could see the anxiety in their eyes, waiting for that moment when the leashes were off. Their freedom was granted, and it was time. The hounds took off for a little draw, and it wasn’t five minutes before they were running on the hot trail of a coon. That was the most beautiful music I have ever heard; the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Soon after that, the intensity of the baying picked up and so did our pace. The hunter hollered out, “They’re treed now!” We began to trot now as we went for the sound, and we came up on the biggest tree on that draw. There at the bottom were his hounds, baying at the top of their lungs, trying to claw and scratch their way up the tree. We then learned how to “shuck” the coon out of the tree by having someone climb up toward it until it jumped out. This is what the dogs were waiting for, and I think they caught it before it even hit the ground. The fight was on! After a couple of minutes of letting the dogs get their fill of this, the coon was put down with a .22 pistol. I knew from that point on that coonhunting was in my blood, and I had to get some coonhounds. I went on to buy my own bluetick pup, trained it myself, and went on many coonhunts in the following years on that same ground. These are memories I will never forget, and I will get back there someday and do it again.

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I still remember that hunter to this day, blowing an old horn he had. It looked like a mountain man’s powder flask with a mouthpiece on it. You could here it for miles on that still night, with the dogs baying, and he would occasionally yell out for his male dog, “Echo, here!” Yes, I remember it like it was yesterday. Do you remember that, Mr. Zaidle? You, sir, put coonhunting in my blood. Brent Creamer Indeed, I remembered it well, and remembered Gene Creamer’s boys. How humbling to learn that so brief an encounter so long ago had positive and enduring effects. One day, a strapping young man came up to me at the feed store and offered his hand. “You probably do not remember me,” he said. “You taught me Hunter Education about four years ago.” He was right: I didn’t remember him; there were so many young faces. But he remembered me, and proceeded to tell me why. “In the class, you were talking about ethics. You said, ‘Ethics are the personal rules we follow when we think no one is watching.’ You told a story about your grandfather, and how he once snagged a fishing line still attached to a rod, and that still had a big flathead catfish on it. He could have kept both fish and rod; no one would have known because he was fishing alone. Instead, he took them to another man who had a fishing cabin down the lake from his, and asked if he was missing a rod. He was, and described it to a tee. Your grandfather then gave him the rod and the fish, refusing offers of reward or sharing of the fish. I’ve remembered that story ever since, and many times followed its principles. I just wanted you to know I remembered.” For sure, I will now remember him. I hope that long after my salts return to the earth, distant descendants will share the knowledge, practice the skills, and hold the values passed down from Dad, Pop, and Papa—and from young men I taught what seemed small lessons many years ago.

E-mail Don Zaidle at editor@fishgame.com


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Biologists Solve Lake Fairfield Fish Kill Mystery S

EPTEMBER MEANS AT LEAST TWO UNPLEASANT annual natural phenomena in East Texas: ragweed is blooming and fish are dying at Lake Fairfield. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries management and Kills and Spills Team (KAST) biologists investigated a major fish kill on Fairfield Lake the second week of September. Anglers fishing the lake the morning of September 13 noticed the dead fish and notified the TPWD 24-hour Communication Center at 512-389-4848. Unlike previous kills, notification was received early enough that TPWD personnel were able to get to the scene while fish were still dying. This allowed them to collect fish that were stressed but not yet dead and take water samples in several areas of the kill. Main locations of dead fish were along the shoreline of a cove immediately northwest of the dam to the spillway and in the cove south of the dam, but also extending up the shoreline to mid-reservoir. The fish appeared to have died no earlier than Saturday, September 12. TPWD personnel returned to the lake on Monday and Tuesday to collect water samples and conduct a thorough investigation and enumeration of the kill. Water quality field data were measured both in and out of the area where dead fish were observed. Dead fish were distributed along approximately 10 miles of shoreline. A series of detailed counts were conducted along approximately 0.75 miles of that shoreline to allow estimation of the total kill. Water quality datasondes (electronic data gathering devices) were deployed in the 12

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northwest and south coves where the main kills occurred. These datasondes were able to collect temperature and oxygen concentration every 30 minutes for the following 14 days. Water quality field data collected on September 13 indicated extensive areas of lower than normal oxygen and abundant phytoplankton (chlorophyll a) in the areas where the fish kill occurred. Using information on oxygen concentration from the datasondes, water quality data collected the day of the kill, and information on sunlight level from a local weather site, TPWD biologists began to piece together a theory on the cause or causes of the kill. Normally photosynthesis (oxygen production) by phytoplankton during daylight hours increases oxygen concentration enough to compensate for respiration (oxygen use) by those same phytoplankton as well as bacterial decomposition at night. However, during periods of cloudy weather, sunlight (measured as solar radiation) is reduced; oxygen consumption remains high but oxygen production is greatly reduced. When cloudy weather lasts for several days and oxygen concentration falls below the minimum level to support aquatic life, fish begin to die. A good rule of thumb is at oxygen concentrations below 5 milligrams per liter (5 mg/L) many species become stressed, and at concentrations below 3 mg/L, most species can die from oxygen deprivation. These concentrations are also known as the daily mean and minimum dissolved oxygen criteria for high aquatic life use in the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards. Although oxygen F i s h

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levels may stay above the minimum level during the day, it only takes a few minutes below the minimum at night to be fatal to fish. Cloudy weather in the Fairfield area began on Thursday 10 September. By Saturday, solar radiation was only 1/3 of normal for that time of year, and fish began dying. By the time KAST personnel deployed the datasondes on the afternoon of September 14, the sun had begun to break through the clouds, and oxygen levels had begun to temporarily climb back above 5 mg/L. This reprieve was short-lived; cloud cover reduced solar radiation on September 15-17 and oxygen concentrations remained below the minimum level. By the September 18, the weather pattern had improved and oxygen production in the north cove remained above the minimum level. Oxygen production in the south cove lagged several days behind due to its higher phytoplankton level, but by September 20, abundant sunshine was once again allowing phytoplankton to produce high levels of oxygen in both areas. Another short period of cloudy weather September 22-25 reduced oxygen concentration again, but was of short enough duration that no substantial fish kill occurred. By combining oxygen data from the datasondes with solar radiation data from the weather station, TPWD biologists now had the critical information needed to understand the complex dynamics of the repeated kills at Lake Fairfield. In September, water temperature and bacterial activity were still high, but day length had been getting shorter incrementally since the summer solstice on June 21 (the


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date in the Northern Hemisphere when daylight hours are longest relative to darkness). Extremely high phytoplankton levels due to high nutrient levels produce sufficient oxygen during sunny days to compensate for lack of production at night; however, when early fall cool fronts and cloudy weather limit solar radiation, oxygen levels drop rapidly and fish may die. Initial estimates from the 2009 TPWD fish kill investigation indicated that nearly 1 million fish died compared to an estimated 7345 that died in September 2008 and an additional 114,223 that October. However, the species distribution in the current kill was considerably different than in September 2008. In 2009, 96 percent of the kill (an estimated 875,793 fish) were threadfin and gizzard shad, and 3.3 percent (an estimated 30,168 fish) were sunfish species; the remaining fewer than 1 percent were bullhead minnow, inland silverside, channel catfish, flathead catfish, yellow bullhead, largemouth bass, blue tilapia, and red drum. In the 2008 kill, 51 percent were large red drum with an average length of 32 inches. Water samples and tissue samples from live but stressed fish collected during the day of the kill have not shown the presence of any toxins that could be responsible for the kill. TPWD has stocked more than 5.3 million red drum in Lake Fairfield since 1984, and despite the estimated 3750 red drum lost in the 2008 kill and the far lesser number lost in the recent kill, anglers fishing the lake report excellent success for this popular fishery. Anglers spent over 9000 angler hours seeking red drum at Lake Fairfield from 1 September 2008 through 31 May 2009, accounting for over 47 percent of the directed effort; angling continued during and after both fish kills. The TPWD Kills and Spills Team is a group of biologists who respond to pollution reports or natural incidents that threaten state fish or wildlife resources. If you see dead or dying fish or wildlife or pollution threatening fish and wildlife, please contact the 24-hour Communication Center at 512389-4848, or contact your local game warden.

On the Web http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater /water/environconcerns/kills_and_spills/

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“Knife Control” Rule Narrowly Avoided The American Knife & Tool Institute (AKTI) fought intense legal and legislative battle to clarify switchblade law and prevent U.S. citizens’ potential criminal charges fir carrying, owning, or selling common pocket and belt knives. Thanks to lobbying efforts, your folding pocketknives are still legal to use. Until the House and the full Senate passed HR 2892 on October 20, that issue was very much in doubt. After nearly five months of intense, AKTI-led legal and lobbying efforts, the U.S. Senate approved the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for FY 2010 (with a very important amendment) and sent it on to the President for his signature. “Very active support came from Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, Senator Orin Hatch of Utah, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, and many other federal lawmakers in making a change to the 1958 Switchblade Act that will clearly protect the rights of more than 35 million knife owners and users to carry the folding knives that are important tools in their everyday lives,” said Goldie Russell, President of A.G. Russell Knives and President of the American Knife & Tool Institute. During 2005-2008, U.S. Customs issued four separate ruling letters that declared assisted-opening knives were not switchblades and could be imported. Then in May 2009, Customs proposed to revoke those earlier letters and included new definitions of a switchblade knife. These definitions were so broad that AKTI feared virtually every folding knife would become illegal under interstate commerce rules. AKTI responded by arousing an entire industry. They created a coalition of concerned groups including the NRA, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, and Knife Rights; reached out to millions of ordinary, law-abiding citizens who are regular knife users; and allied with a powerful group of Washington, D.C. lawmakers who recognized the threat to all folding knives and their owners. T E X A S

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In a time of industry bailouts and 10 percent unemployment, the U.S. Customs action would have virtually killed an industry with $1 billion in annual sales at the manufacturing/importer level, and a vital tool supply source for millions of Americans. “AKTI-produced revenue and employment studies show that the proposed Customs action would have threatened 80 percent of the revenue of the privately-held companies in the sporting knife industry, and nearly 4000 direct jobs, and jeopardized every person who carries or uses a common folding knife,” said Jan Billeb, AKTI Executive Director. AKTI estimates more than 35 million law-abiding Americans carry and use folding knives. They range from EMTs, police officers, and firefighters to construction workers, hunters and fishermen. Throw millions more hikers, bikers, boaters, and gardeners in the mix and you have huge social implications. Custom knife makers, knife collecting, and knife shows that promote knives as art and as man’s oldest tool were also threatened. U.S. Customs became a supporter of Senate Amendment 1447, co-sponsored by 20 U.S. Senators, which clarified the Federal Switchblade Act. Folding knives with a blade bias toward closure will not be considered switchblades. As a practical matter, U.S. Customs recognized that the clarification would actually help their field agents more easily evaluate knives with multiple and unique design features. Turning this understanding into law meant convincing U.S. Customs that millions of Americans were deeply concerned about the proposed changes. Lawmakers needed to understand the issues. The result was negotiated statutory language that will solve the problem.

On the Web www.akti.org

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

Fred and Ted E LIVES IN THE HEARTS OF THOUSANDS OF bowhunters across the country who realize they probably would never have considered archery had it not been for his hunting prowess, ingenuity, and communication skills—Fred Bear. “In the wind he’s still alive...” Fred Bear the inventor, Fred Bear the adventurer, and Fred Bear the founder of Bear Archery was elemental to making the bowhunting industry what it is today. The focus of this column, however, is about “Fred Bear” the song. Written by none other than TF&G editorat-large and living legend Ted Nugent, the track is an emotional tribute to not only its namesake, but also the spirit of camaraderie that exists among hunters and their mentors. Ted wrote it back in 1988 after learning of the death of his hero and friend. “I just picked up a guitar and it poured out of me in a very emotional way,” he said. The song entered the hunting scene in a very low key way and became an underground sensation that represents the soundtrack of hunters across America, and is a rallying cry for the opening of hunting season, whether in Saginaw or Sonora. Sadly, the hunting industry has never picked up on the song collectively. While thousands of its members blast the track in their trucks on the way to the woods, it has received no official nods of acknowledgement or recognition. That could be because elites in the industry still cannot fathom a guy with a ponytail and a Gibson Byrdland writing their anthem. Then again, it could be because,

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industry-wide, there are still some rifts between the archery and firearms segments amongst an old guard steadily losing its grip. Another possibility is the majority might have forgotten Fred Bear the man. Americans are, after all, terrible at history, and someone whose greatest accomplishments took place more than 40 years ago might seem old hat or unworthy to some. Then again, there is no way anyone in this industry who has ever heard Ted Nugent speak (everyone has) or the song blasting from a buddy’s sound system could forget the name Fred Bear. Ted has made it his mission to keep Bear’s name alive and remind the public of the man who changed it all. I will never forget standing in Ted’s garage holding some of Bear’s personally owned broadheads and watching my friend beam as he told me of his plans. “The next time I go to Africa, I’m going to hunt with these,” he said. The first time we hunted together, Ted took a nice Corsican ram and he explained how Bear was a big fan of wild sheep meat. “Fred said there was nothing like fresh wild sheep roasted over an open fire.” He spoke those words with a tender reverence for a fallen friend, yet a fiery determination to remind anyone and everyone that Fred Bear was the man. Bear’s influence is omnipresent in Ted— the way he tracks game, or passionately defends bowhunting. Although unspoken, it is a legacy he is proud to carry and one he wishes to pass on to the next generation who sees him as a modern day hunting icon. I once saw a kid bring a guitar to an event for Ted to autograph and the very next year he brought a bow and a photo of himself with a hog he had taken in South Texas. “Man, last year I was just a rocker who was a fan of Ted Nugent. I was out partying, drinking, and all of that kind of thing, and then I saw you speak and met you, and it F i s h

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changed my life. I still like to rock, but I like hunting even more” he said. That kind of influence could be an even more powerful tribute to Bear than the song, but for me, its lyrics, melody, and raw emotion got hold of me 17 years ago, and have not let go. It is one of three songs I have requested to be played at my funeral, which is hopefully a long, long way away. I know, however, that when it is my time to go, no song could express my feelings about the great outdoors like “Fred Bear.” Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and give the song as a gift for Christmas. Buy it on iTunes or get the whole “Spirit of the Wild” album, which contains other hunting-related songs inspired by Ted’s time in the wild. Fred Bear was a great man and “Fred Bear” is a great song. Listen, and I guarantee it will become a part of your hunting tradition the same way it has mine.

On the Web • Video interview with Ted Nugent: http://www.fishgame.com/video/default.aspx ?Vid=e73803c78c384b0fba51eaaea49efe 28&Title=Nugent • Fred Bear’s last interview: http://www.forum.fishgame.com/vbtube_sho w.php?tubeid=10#watch

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmoore@fishgame.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)


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Commentary by Kendal Hemphill | TF&G Commentator

Anti-Gun Mayors OU HAVE PROBABLY HEARD IT SAID THAT guns have two enemies: rust and politicians. Of the two, by far the most menacing threat today is the latter. Of those, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ranks near the top of the list. Bloomberg possesses two attributes that make him a serious nemesis to Second Amendment freedoms—not just in New York, but everywhere in the United States: money and influence. Currently listed as the eighth richest man in America with a net worth of $16 billion, Bloomberg is the founder and 88 percent owner of the financial software services company, Bloomberg LP A lifelong registered democrat, Bloomberg hoodwinked voters when he switched his registration in 2001 to run for the office of mayor of New York City as a Republican. Amidst allegations of sexual harassment of employees and accusations of using threats to solicit aid from non-profit organizations, he has been reelected to the office twice. Bloomberg even persuaded the New York City Council to amend the city’s term limit laws so that he could run for his third term. In 2006, Bloomberg started a coalition called Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which, on the surface, sounds like a no-brainer. Every law-abiding citizen in the country, and certainly every politician, could not help but be in favor of depriving criminals of weapons. The problem is that most of the organization’s activities focus on depriving honest folks of their firearms, and pushing legislation that would make it more difficult to own and carry a gun legally.

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Its first order of business once MAIG was founded was to set up sting operations against gun shops. Bloomberg claimed “crime guns” were being smuggled from southern states to New York City, and used private investigators to lure gun dealers into illegal “straw purchases” so that he could then file lawsuits against the dealers. Using non-law enforcement purchasers to buy guns out of state was itself illegal, and Bloomberg’s actions were against both state and federal laws. In May of 2007, Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell sent Bloomberg a “cease and desist” letter, threatening federal felony charges if he did not stop sending the illegal buyers into Virginia. MAIG started with 15 mayors, but the group grew quickly. Too quickly to believe, some thought. An investigation into MAIG’s list of member mayors revealed that many were not aware they had joined. Some members on MAIG’s list were not even mayors, and some were no longer mayors, but were left on the roster anyway. Some mayors learned after joining the true nature and intent of the group, and resigned—only to find later that their names had never been removed, even after several months. One such mayor, Marlene Angelskin, of Walton Hills, Ohio, joined the organization hoping to help fight crime. After finding out the group’s intent, she quickly backed out and on 17 August 2009 wrote Bloomberg a letter of resignation, saying: “I am withdrawing because you are attempting to erode all gun ownership, not just illegal guns...you are using this coalition of mayors to advance a hidden agenda of bringing lawsuits against members of the firearms industry and spreading anti-gun propaganda. Mayor, you and your coalition of allies have misrepresented yourselves to the mayors of America and its citizens. This effort is simply another attempt to shift blame for violent crime from criminals to law-abiding gun owners. This is gun control, not crime prevention.” The letter goes on, but the tone is consistent. Mayor F i s h

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Anielski got duped, and she was not happy about it. MAIG’s purported goal is to combat illegal guns, but some of its claims are suspect. The group aims to close down the “gun show loophole” that MAIG alleges criminals and people on the FBI terrorist watch list to purchase firearms at gun shows without a background check. The fact is that no such loophole exists. Any gun purchase which is illegal anywhere else is also illegal at gun shows. No exceptions. MAIG also opposes national right-tocarry reciprocity, which would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry weapons in any state that issues such permits, while being subject to the laws of the state they are in at the time. MAIG’s stated reasoning for this is that such reciprocity would override the “authority of individual states to decide whether to recognize concealed carry permits from out-of-state residents who have criminal records or who cannot meet in-state safety training requirements.” But there are no such concealed carry permit holders. If a person has a criminal record or cannot meet their state’s requirements, that person cannot be issued a concealed carry permit. MAIG is, in effect, creating its own dragons to slay, dragons that do not exist in the real world. In his military treatise, The Art of War, written during the 6th century B.C., Sun Tzu wrote, “Know your enemy.” Good advice being timeless, American gun owners would do well to keep an eye on Michael Bloomberg and his group of misled mayors. Because an enemy by any other name is just as threatening. Next month: An interview with the only Texas MAIG member.

E-mail Kendal Hemphill at commentary@fishgame.com


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

If It’s Broke, Fix It HE WHITE RUMP OF THICK-BODIED MULE deer was small but distinct amid the brown tangles in the valley below. Colorado guide Dean Billington nudged with an elbow and raised his binoculars. We were sitting on a ridge, waiting and watching for game movement under the afternoon sun. “That’s a pretty good buck that just stepped out down there—about 1000 yards, to the right of that lone green tree,” he said. I steadied my 10x50s. “I got him. What do you figure, maybe 160 or 165 B&C gross?” Billington, of Bull Basin Outfitters, shook his head. “Oh, no—much better than that. The distance is deceiving. We need to take a better look at this one.” He focused a compact spotting scope. “He should gross 180, easy, and—oh, no— his front right fork is broken off several inches above the beam. Take a peek through here and tell me what you think.” I steadied behind the powerful magnification. I had one day remaining in the five-day trip. The mature buck was a clean 5x5 with deep forks and a wide, dark, “boxy” main frame. “I think we need to get closer. Right now.” We eased down the ridge, utilizing a screening hill, and closed the distance to 125 yards. The buck stood in the open. Broken tine or no broken tine, the rack now looked awfully impressive to whitetail-tuned eyes. “I’m gonna take him,” I whispered, raising the .300 Weatherby Magnum and pressing the trigger. Besides, I thought, I’ll bet Rocky can replace that missing fork. A week later, I strutted with the antlers and cape into Rocky Cooper’s Houstonbased Brush Country Studios. Naturally, the first thing I saw was a dark, heavy mule-

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deer rack that easily grossed in the 190s; such is the deflating risk of toting a proud trophy into the storage vault of a major taxidermist. But, record-class competition aside, I was proud of my buck. It was a career deer and a fine example of a solid Rocky Mountain mulie. The shoulder mount would look great on my wall—and I wanted every inch the buck grew to show. If you carry deer tags in your pocket, you probably know what I’m talking about. A few extra inches of hard-won antlers can be a big deal. “Not a problem,” Cooper said. “We replace tines all the time. Broken antlers are more common with whitetails than mule deer, but either way, it’s usually a simple job to create an honest reproduction. And that’s the key: We’re not adding something that wasn’t there to begin with; we’re just giving back what the buck started the season with. “Of course, a reproduced antler does not count for record-book or contest scoring, but most hunters just want a quality mount to hang on the wall.” Hard antlers during the fall/winter often are broken during violent clashes between dominant bucks during the rut. This risk has increased across Texas during the past 10 or 15 years with the proliferation of high-fenced and game-managed ranches. The emphasis on low doe-to-buck ratios only increases the competition for breeding rights and juices the combative nature of mature bucks. “South Texas is really a problem area because so many intensely managed ranches are down there,” Cooper said. “The South Texas rut starts in early- or mid-December and, frankly, it’s unusual for us to get a big Brush Country buck during December and January without something broken. “Primary tines are most common, but even main beams can be broken. Non-typical forks and kickers and drops are easy to snap and they can be harder to accurately replace; trail camera photos taken earlier in the season can be a big help there.” I assumed that the normal fix for a broken antler would be to cut a similar piece from an available surplus rack. Cooper dismissed that notion.

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“Now and then you can do that, but a good match is not always available. For example, you don’t want to use an antler from a Canadian or Midwestern buck to match a South Texas buck; the northern antlers usually have a smoother, glossier surface. “The best method is to take a silicone rubber mold of a similar tine from the existing rack. Silicone is great because it reproduces all the surface details such as bumps, grooves, or blading. You get an extremely lifelike copy.” He added that the skilled taxidermist seldom uses the opposite left/right antler because of the differences in angle and curvature. A better fix can result from using a tine from the same side. For example, the G2s and G-3s on whitetails often are similar in length and circumference. Once the molded piece is fitted, the color is matched with acrylic paint. The fast-drying paint forms a strong seal that won’t discolor with age. The typical charge for replacing a broken tine is $50 to $100. “Repairing broken antlers is easy, but I stress again that the job of a reputable taxidermist is to accurately reproduce the original rack,” Cooper said. “We are not trying to embellish the deer, and you can tell if you fake it too much. “For example, you’ve got a nice typical mule deer here, but there’s no way you’re getting 190 inches from a 180-class buck. At least, not from me.” Cooper did a great job; the reproduced tine faithfully matches the others. Nothing about the rack suggests tampering. Replacing a broken antler might not be for everyone. Some hunters prefer an “as-is” mount, and a broken tine might help define the character of a rough-and-tumble warlord of the brush. And, to reiterate, a repair job cannot be used as a “ringer” in a contest. But, if you prefer wall credit for every inch, a professional replacement can bring a prized mount back to true life at modest cost.

E-mail Joe Doggett at doggett@fishgame.com


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

Double Gobble, Double Whack EAR LORD; MY FEEBLE ATTEMPTS AT recreating anything sounding like a sexy hen turkey were dismal and rather funny. I winced. I sounded horrible. It was an unnatural, abrasive noise somewhere between an ancient screen door squeaking and Geddy Lee having a bad night on a tinny PA system with his band Rush. Not good. I was pretty sure all living creatures within a mile of my Double Bull blind were making a mad dash for parts unknown in the opposite direction of my ambush setup. I’m such a butterball. I chalked up my Knight and Hale box call and roughed up my slate with a small square of coarse sandpaper, took a deep breath, and slowly tried again. Much to my amazement, this series of subtle yelps sounded pretty darned good. I smiled ear to ear, rotated between box call and slate, and did my best to keep the realism in each seductive call. I think we have something going on here. My beautiful SpiritWild Ranch was alive with a cacophony of spectacular birdsongs, and the crows had some violent attack going on nearby. As usual, this lovely spring turkey morning in Central Texas was awe inspiring to say the least. Then I heard it. A thunderous deep gobble erupted somewhere behind me, and was then followed immediately by another out front. Wow! I’m turkey hunting now, baby! I turned up my Walker’s Game Ears so I could hear everything better, cut a few yelps and was answered by toms in every direction. Double live gonzo gobble! My turkey whacking deluxe Mossy Oak Remington 1187 thumbhole 12 gauge shotgun was loaded with terminal jelly-head 3 inch number 5 shot, and my Martin bow had an arrow nocked, ready to rock, leaning against the blind wall. I figured if a big dumb

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strutter gave it to me at close range, I would arrow it, but if a long beard tempted me farther out and in a difficult position, I would lambaste it with the mighty 12. After a number of unsuccessful mornings, I was here to kill a turkey, one way or another. Just as I flicked on my vidcam, a hen walked right in front of my blind and joined the four decoys in the grassy grove before me. A perfect, slight intermittent breeze caused the decoys to sway slowly to and fro, and the hen pecked away with them. Soon, four F i s h

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more hens arrived and made themselves right at home with their uncle Ted. Another loud gobble shook the woods and I could see a sun drenched iridescent fan glowing against the morning dew fifty yards to my right. The beautiful Rio Grand gobbler thundered off in response to every quiet hen yelp I uttered, and then there were two. Now the hens were giving me the ultimate lesson in hen-speak, and I did a pretty good job of replicating the subtleties of their vocalizations. I was loving it. The setup looked


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too good to be true, and I was already mentally preparing a delicious marinade for my turkey breasts, confident that the hens in front of me would lure the big boys over any minute now. I have a dream. With the two competing toms raising increasing hell to my right, I could now see that a single hen was with them, and slowly but surely, my hens wandered over to them and eventually they all walked off together. Too good to be true, indeed. Frustrated, I simply continued to call and watch my decoys. Then, wham! Four toms came charging in from behind me and surrounded my decoys. Each tom would take turns strutting and gobbling as I fired up my vidcam and grabbed my bow. All four stayed just beyond the dekes, with the closest gobbler about 35 yards out. I aimed small to miss small and let ‘er rip. My first arrow sliced breast feathers and caused the tom to leap high into the air, but he came down and immediately began strutting again. He was a little farther out now and my second arrow looked like it may have hit its mark, but I got the same reaction.

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Now all four toms were looking about, heads up, when arrow number three clipped the same tom again. Amazingly, they stood their ground as I nocked arrow number four. The tom I had grazed with three arrows now walked away to the left with his three comrades in tow. I drew back my arrow, he stopped at 35 yards, and this arrow hit him center mass and flipped him drumsticks over teakettle a flopping! The other three made a mad dash for the forest behind me as I laid down my bow and grabbed the Remington 12. I peeked out the back window of the Double Bull and saw them cross the creek and dart up the ridge directly behind me as I slid the barrel through the window, leveled the fiber optic front sight on the last birds head, and at 40 yards, blew him away. Hallelujah! Two gorgeous Rios, one with the bow and one with the shotgun. Wild. I retrieved my two hard won prizes and admired their beauty. Not only are there more wild turkey in North America today than ever in recorded history, but there are certainly more wild turkey on my property

than in recorded history. Ya gotta love that. Godbless the American hunters, and Godbless the National Wild Turkey Federation. Wild turkey flesh is special, and it has to be handled with special care. I have come to conclude that the most important step for optimal table fare is to hang the bird whole at around 35 degrees for a week. Then I carefully skin and filet the precious breast meat and cut off the drumsticks at the ball joint. I marinate the meat in the frig overnight in a deep glass dish covered with apple cider vinegar and olive oil, well saturated with garlic pepper, garlic salt and parsley flakes. Adding a good coating of ground Rosemary and Thyme is real good too. Then you simply grill over quality wood charcoal coals, brushing liberally with butter infested with herbal chicken seasoning until well singed, and it makes one of life’s greatest, most delicious, and healthy meals. You can hear a thundering double gobble in every bite. E-mail Ted Nugent at tnugent@fishgame.com


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he cold fronts of December are decidedly harsher than the puffs of cool air that end the dog days of summer and usher in autumn cheer. Strong blasts of cold air charge across the state and collide with warm, moist air from the Gulf, creating deluges of frigid rain, the chilly runoff quickly robbing landmasses and water bodies of heat. Just because water temperatures drop doesn’t mean it is time to house and shelter your kayak. Like a seasoned plugger wading a winter tide, don’t let the elements keep you off the water. Winter fishing is pleasing for a number of reasons. There are exponentially fewer anglers on the water and the winter paddler usually has the best venues all to themselves. Winter brings clear water and coastal fishermen can actually see bay structure normally masked by margarita-green water. Even water hauls can be productive if the fishless kayaker takes time to conduct a bathymetric study of their favorite shorelines. Plus, cold-

Jim Sammons of '"Game On" the Movie with a winter flounder.

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Warm headgear and layered clothing equip the kayaker for winter action.

water fish are most active during the warmest part of the day- i.e. the afternoon. This means more shuteye and regular strength coffee in the morning rather than high octane. Yaks come in two basic models: Sit-inside and sit-on-top hulls. Sit-inside hulls envelope the seated paddler, providing an impervious moisture barrier, whereas the sit-on-top offers no such protection. Sit-inside kayaks are the obvious choice for serious winter duty, but owners of sit-on-tops shouldn’t 26

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despair. With the proper equipment, they can be used in the winter as well. Regardless of the choice of hull, you are going to get some water in your boat. The goal is to minimize the amount and what it touches. Let me be frank: No activity is as intense as exposing one’s nether regions to frigid water. Obviously, this tops the list of imperatives when it comes to winter fishing from a kayak. Wearing a set of waders provides the needed protection. Breathable and neoprene waders are both acceptable for kayak duty. I F i s h

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prefer breathable as they do not cling, chaff less, and vent moisture allowing your clothes to stay dry. Breathable waders are cut very generously and are consequently very “blousy”. Fall overboard and a friend will likely fasten a rope to your shoulder straps and use you for a drift anchor. Because they are cut very full, unsecured breathable waders will fill up with water, making it hard or impossible to get back into your kayak. Waders, regardless of style, should always be cinched at the waist with an external belt and then topped with personal flotation device. A belt helps seal the waders, preventing water from rushing in should the top become submerged. Belts are not perfect,


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but the bilge in your waders will likely be measured in quarts and not gallons should you take a tumble. If you get out of your yak to wade-fish, this trick will help minimize the influx of water should you experience the unfortunate “hat floater” The importance of personal flotation devices cannot be stressed enough in normal conditions. Never go afloat with waders on unless you are wearing a PFD. Water is going to find a way into your kayak no matter the season. Winter’s chill simply highlights every drop caught trespassing. You cannot eliminate the water that gets in or on your kayak, only minimize it. Drip rings are pliable, rubber washers positioned on the paddle shaft between your hands and paddle blades. They prevent water from the airborne paddle blade from running down the shaft onto your hands. Paddle rings are inexpensive and help keep your hands dry. If your paddle doesn’t have drip rings, buy some. Scupper holes, molded into sit-on-top hulls, allow water in the cockpit area to drain. As the weight of the paddler approaches the carry capacity of the hull, water tends to come up through the hull to “greet” your backside. You can plug these holes - foam golf balls are a popular choice which minimizes water intrusion. Although their hulls are solid, water will find a way into sit-inside kayaks. Water from paddles, wading boots, and flopping fish will ultimately get in your boat. A small sponge is handy to rid the moisture inside your hull. A small hand towel is always a valued ally when afloat to clean sunglasses and dry wet hands. Once your hind parts have been water proofed, staying warm while on the water is the next priority. Dressing in layers is a good start. A generous dusting of baby powder under clothing absorbs moisture and minimizes chaffing. Wool and synthetic clothing are better matches for winter kayaking than cotton. Top your stratified clothing with a waterproof jacket. Hooded jackets are even better. A stocking cap pulled down over the ears is the final wardrobe accessory. High-energy snacks should always be onboard to give you a little pick-me-up. A Thermos full of hot chocolate, soup, or coffee will further fortify the paddler. Always file a game plan with a friend or loved one. Let them know the area you intend on paddling, your departure time and

when you intend on returning to the shore. Don’t forget your vehicle description, license plate, and cell phone number. Strong cold fronts move with startling speed. In a blink of an eye, bluebird days quickly become raw and dangerous. Forget this important detail and you may find yourself paddling directly into a howling wind, with rain stinging your eyes. Before you depart on any winter kayak trip, check the weather forecast a few minutes before you leave. In this age of internet-enabled phones,

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here’s your buck,” I whispered as the six-point walked out into the shooting lane next to the blind. The problem was, it was on my side instead of the hunter’s, which meant we would have to scramble to get in position and take a shot before it moved off into the thicket. Then, as if on cue, the young buck laid down in the shooting lane, giving us time to get the rifle up, make sure everything was just right, and make the shot as easy as pos-

trigger later, the buck was again on the ground—but this time, it wasn’t getting back up. The report from the rifle was still echoing through the pines as I slapped the new hunter on the back to celebrate the first deer in what would hopefully be a life-long love affair with whitetail hunting. The small buck wouldn’t come close to meeting the minimum inches of antler required for entry in any official record book, but it was a trophy nonetheless, just as all first deer are. I was opening the door to the blind and

and pretty much every one since has had the same impact. The non-hunting community sees hunters in a rather unfavorable light, painting all of us with the broad stroke of bloodthirsty killers, but the truth is that killing a whitetail is a bittersweet experience that conjures emotions most of us do not freely talk about. The death of a whitetail at the hands of a hunter is not something to be taken lightly. The jolt of adrenaline sent through the system at the sight of antlers moving through mesquite trees can be minor, causing only slight cases

sible. I love it when a plan comes together. “When you’re ready, I’ll grunt, he’ll stand up, and you take him.” A nod of the head was all the hunter could muster to acknowledge the instructions were understood. One quick grunt and single pull of the 30

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getting cameras out preparing to take the requisite trophy shots when my wife (the first-time hunter) looked at me and said, “Give me a minute, I can’t stop shaking.” I smiled and sat back down because I knew the feeling. I had it after taking my first deer, F i s h

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PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

Deer stressed from disease or rigors of the rut usually meet a fate presided over by coyotes.

of buck fever and indecision; or so severe that it feels like—and sometimes causes—a heart attack. Anyone who has hunted and tells you they have not experienced even slight bouts of buck fever is lying. I still shake during bow


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season when a doe walks out. Don’t even get me started about how bad I fidget at the sight of a buck. It’s even worse when I can’t see them but can only hear them walking through the woods. Unlike other predators—and don’t kid yourself into thinking we are not predators— humans feel a wide range of emotions when faced with the decision of whether or not to pull the trigger. In the overall scheme of things, humans often provide the quickest death for a whitetail simply because we have a conscience, but we are far from the only way a deer can meet its demise. On a numbers basis, hunters are probably the most inefficient killers on the woods. Humans kill almost as many deer with our vehicles as with bows and firearms, and we are not even trying. With over a million hunters taking an estimated half-million whitetails in Texas annually, our average per hunter is fairly miserable. Even a skinny coyote couldn’t survive if it was as poor a hunter as we are, especially in spring and early summer when fawns are most susceptible to pre-

dation. In some areas, whitetail fawns can make up to 75 percent of the local coyote population’s diet, reducing the overall deer population quite a bit before hunters ever enter the woods. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since predators help maintain the balance between prey and habitat carrying capacity. Whether killed by disease, starvation, predation, the antlers of another whitetail, or even stuck climbing through a fence, not all whitetails are killed for food—but eventually end up that way just the same. This past summer, I got a call from my dad, who mentioned that he had come across the remains of a young buck while shredding near a creek on his place. It is unknown how the buck (sporting its first set of antlers) died, but it was clear from the scattered remains that it was a meal for multiple coyotes or even a bobcat or two. In nature, nothing is wasted; the end of one life provides for the continuation of others. A few seasons back, while sitting in my stand on opening day, I saw a yearling buck

come by that seemed to have a specific destination in mind, not even slowing to take a few bites of corn from the feeder. Just minutes later, I discovered why the deer seemed to be on a mission as a large bobcat followed the same path, intent making sure the young buck never reached maturity. I guess the cat didn’t know about antler restrictions and hadn’t read the reports that bobcats are not big enough to take down a whitetail deer. Someone might want to tell that to the other buck killed by a local hunter later that same year with claw and bite marks on its neck. It also had all of its tines broken off in what I could only imagine was a fight for its life with a cat somewhat larger than your neighbors tabby. These are the scenes in nature Disney never told you about. Every whitetail that lives also dies, and not all of them by the machinations of bipedal hunters.


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by Matt Williams T E X A S

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t’s December in Texas—time for all freshwater buffs to factor some cold weather into the equation when scheming pregame fishing plans. Jack Frost puts a chokehold on water temperatures and gradually drives them so low that bait and game fishes reposition themselves deeper in the water column to find their comfort zones. Depending on where you fish, and what you fish for, the big chill could mean that you will need to soak a bait in water depths beyond 20 feet in order to get bit. Here’s a look at some deep water rigs and tactics to help you score on the big three — bass, crappie and catfish — once water temperatures plunge beyond 55 degrees:

Bass • Jigging Spoon: The jigging spoon is an elongated, flat piece of metal adorned by a single treble hook. It comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes ranging from 1/2 ounce to upwards of 1 ounce. Not only does the spoon cast like a bullet and sink like a rock, it’s simple to fish with. Some guys like to cast it, while others prefer to drop it vertical into pods of fish turned up by an electronic fish finder. The trick is, let the spoon reach bottom, and then hop it up and down. Most bites come as the spoon flutters erratically towards bottom like an injured or dying shad. • Carolina Rig: The Carolina rig is ideal for deep-water applications, because it gets the bait (usually a soft plastic) to the strike zone quickly and allows for optimum contact as it drags slowly across bottom. The rig is built by placing a slip sinker (1/2-3/4 ounce) on the main line, then adding a couple of beads (for noise) and a barrel swivel. Attach a leader to the open end of the swivel and tie the hook to the opposite end of the leader. The bait free floats without a weight, so the bass feels no resistance when it latches on. • Drop-Shot Rig: An excellent choice for use with small finesse worms or creature baits when targeting finicky or heavily pressured bass, or when the fish are suspended just off the bottom. Though many anglers prefer drop-shotting in open water with light tackle, it also can be effective when used in 34

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combination with heavier artillery around wood, grass or rock. Can be presented vertically or by casting. Build the rig by tying a 1/0 straight-shank hook to the main line using a Palomar knot; leave a tag 18-24 inches long. Pass the tag back through the hook so it stands straight out away from the line, then add a weight to the open end. My favorite weights are made by Mojo and Bass Pro XPS, both of which come through heavy cover extremely well. The cylinder-shaped weights have clip-on line ties that cut the line and prevent losing the whole rig in case you hang up. • Jig: A large-profile bait with a rich history of fooling big winter bass. Available in sizes ranging 1/4 to 1 1/2 ounces, the jig has a lead head molded around a heavy-duty hook that is protected by a plastic weed guard to prevent snagging on brush or rocks. It has a rubber skirt that pulsates as it hops across bottom. Most anglers will add a pork or plastic trailer for extra bulk and action. Fishing slow is the recipe to consistent success with the jig.

Crappie • One Hook “Knocker” Rig: A good choice for soaking live shiners vertically in relation to brush piles in deep water. Build it by sliding two slip sinkers on the main line. Place the top sinker so the fat end faces down, the bottom one so the fat end faces up, then add a No. 2 gold Aberdeen hook. Rigged properly, the weights should resemble a missile with points at both ends. The idea behind the dual weights is to help reduce break offs as the result of hanging up. If the hook snags on brush, jiggling the line up and down will cause the top weight to slam repeatedly into the bottom one, thus jarring the hook free. • Shiner Rig: The most elementary crappie rig is constructed by placing a slip sinker or clam weight on the main line, then adding a No. 2 hook. An alternate method is to place the hook on a 3- to 4-inch loop staging about 12-16 inches above a 1/2-ounce bell weight. Both rigs are well suited for vertical presentations with minnows around bridge pilings, standing timber or scattered brush. • Tandem Jig/Shiner Rig: Designed to fish two baits in unison when drifting or slow trolling over deep structure. It can be used F i s h

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with shiners, jigs or in combination with a jig and minnow. Ready-made tandem rigs are available at most bait shops, or you can build your own by tying two loop-knot bait stagings 12-15 inches part on the main line. The best weighting system depends on the situation. In open water, a 3/4-ounce bell sinker works nicely when secured to the main line, 12-15 inches below the bottom bait. For brushy conditions, center a 3/4-ounce egg sinker on the main between the two baits.

Catfish • Basic Drift Rig: The standard drift rig is built using 20-25 pound test line, a 3/0-80 J-style bait hook, and a 3/4 to 2-ounce bell sinker. Hook and weight size can vary with bait size and wind velocity. It works best when making slow drifts over underwater humps, points and other structure using shad, perch or cut bait. Construction is simple. Tie a 6-10 inch hook loop in the main line, leaving a 12-24 inch tag for the weight. • Carolina Rig: Built exactly like the bass rig, except you might use a heavier weight and a much larger circle-style hook, depending on wind speed and bait size. Leader length can range 12-24 inches. The shorter leader works best when using cut bait, while a longer leader gives live bait more freedom to roam. Some anglers like to elevate the bait off bottom by pegging a three-inch Comal cork a few up inches above the hook. • Jugline: Operates along the same principles as the trotline, except for the main line hangs vertically in the water. Hooks are spaced 2-4 feet apart on individual stagings anchored by a 3-way swivel to help reduce line twist. A jugline can contain up to five hooks and may be weighted to bottom, or allowed to drift over open water. Non-commercial juglines must be marked with a white, free-floating device such a onegallon bleach or milk jug with an airtight lid, plus a gear tag naming the owner and the date the line was set out. Tags must be updated every 30 days.


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A thumbnail guide to hunting with the short arm

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by Steve LaMascus T E X A S

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a stationary target at an undetermined 600 yards with a scope-sighted high-power rifle from field positions is darn near impossible. Doing so with a short-barreled handgun would be a miracle of the first water, even for someone of Keith’s talent. Instead of contemplating shots at such ridiculous distances, a novice handgunner should consider his new sport in the same light as bowhunting; effective range is about the same. I consider 50 yards the far limit of practicality with a hunting revolver and open sights. Most beginners, unless they are true prodigies with a pistol, should limit their shots to around 25 yards. With a solid rest and unlimited time to squeeze off the shot at

PHOTO BY STEVE LAMASCUS

A successful handgunner practices at realistic hunting ranges.

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estimated the range to the big buck at about 300 yards. Quickly, I took a rest against the trunk of the mesquite tree, held up a bit of extra front blade to allow for the extended range, and gently caressed the trigger. At the roar of the big Ruger .44 Magnum, the buck dropped in his tracks. The 240-grain Keith slug had taken the buck in the center of the shoulder, collapsing it like a dynamited bridge. That is the type of hooey I have seen in print dozens of times over the years. I doubted it then, and I certainly doubt it now. It is a disservice to the hunting world that such tripe is printed at all, and it is certainly a disservice to anyone contemplating taking up a handgun to hunt with for the first time. It provides an unreasonable goal for those novice hunters who are searching for a basis whereby to judge their own competence with a hunting handgun. First, let me establish I am not talking about the single shot hand-rifles, firing rifletype cartridges in short guns with scopes. I am talking about the type of handgun that most of us start with and many of us stay with—a large caliber revolver of the Ruger, Smith & Wesson, or Taurus species wearing open sights. I have taken game at longer ranges with a scope-sighted Thompson Contender. My disbelief rears its cynical

Sixguns in heavy calibers have earned the moniker “hand cannons.”

head at claims of extremely long range shots made with standard revolvers. Yes, I am aware of what the International Handgun Metallic Silhouette Association (IHMSA ) competitors do with handguns. I was in IHMSA when it was a fledgling organization. I competed with an 8-3/8inch Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum. I even managed to hit a few of the rams at the farthest range, 200 meters. However, I had determined through experimentation that I had to raise the sights—I think, 18 clicks between the chickens and the rams. Both the exact range and the exact sight settings were known. I strongly question shots at extra-long and undetermined ranges over undulating terrain, taken with Hail Mary sight pictures. Forgive the blasphemy, but I do not believe that even Elmer Keith ever killed a running mule deer at 600 yards with a standard .44 Magnum revolver. Even if he did, it was purely bad luck for the deer. Hitting F i s h

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an undisturbed animal, some may be able to stretch the range to 75 yards, but that is a very long distance indeed with a six-gun. That said, let’s look at what type of pistol you should choose for your first real hunting handgun. We will rule out the single shot specialty guns like the Wichita, Thompson’s Contender, and Encore, and the now discontinued Remington XP-100, and concentrate on the big revolvers that a shooter would see under the glass at the local gun shop. The generally available, reasonably priced guns are pretty limited. They are the Ruger Blackhawk, Super Blackhawk, Red Hawk, and Super Redhawk; Smith & Wesson Models 629, 657, and 625, and the Taurus Raging Bull. There are, of course, several other brands and models. Years ago, I saw an article by Jeff Cooper in which he presented a formula for a minimum big game handgun. He wrote that


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inch group is a perfectly attainable goal for most of us. Anyone who cannot shoot 9inch groups at 50 yards should not hunt with a handgun. The secrets to shooting a handgun well are sight alignment and trigger control. When I was in the Border Patrol Academy, I heard those two phrases so often I had nightmares about them. A handgunner must concentrate on the front sight of the handgun, letting the target and rear sight blur to some degree. A good trigger squeeze is mandatory. The shorter barrel and lack of support other than two shaky hands greatly magnifies any

PHOTO BY JOHN JEFFERSON

In the feild, take advantage of rocks or trees for stability and concealment.

any hunting handgun should conform to the .40-200-1000 rule. That means the it should shoot a bullet of at least .40 caliber, weighing not less than 200 grains, at a minimum muzzle velocity of 1000 feet per second. I generally agree with this formula. This immediately rules out the .357 Magnum as a serious hunting handgun. I certainly agree with that. Although I have killed white-tailed deer, coyotes, and javelina with the garden variety .357, it is marginal for the purpose. A more practical minimum is the .41 Remington Magnum. Also suitable are the .44 Remington Magnum; .45 Colt with custom hunting loads or good handloads with Keith-type bullets or premium quality jacketed bullets at velocities approaching 1200 feet per second; the new .480 Ruger; and the fearsome .454 Casull. Smith & Wesson recently introduced another behemoth handgun and cartridge combination that pushes the envelope of reality—the .50 S&W Magnum. I cringe to think of shooting this monster that develops several times the energy and recoil of the .44 Remington Magnum. There are other suitable calibers on the market in custom and specialty firearms, and you can push the .45 ACP and a few other semi-autos to this level. These are what Joe Novice is going to see when he walks into Lynn Walker’s Gun Shop in Uvalde and says he wants a “deer pistol.” The average guy, even if he has some experience shooting a handgun, is not doing himself a favor buying the .480 Ruger or .454 Casull. They are wonderful cartridges that will humanely take any animal in North America if used properly. However, they

also produce what most consider vicious recoil. I have over 35 years experience shooting handguns, including 23 years as a law enforcement officer, and I do not enjoy shooting the .454. The only word I can think of to describe its recoil is “punishing.” I am convinced that a novice would almost invariably find himself “duckin’ and dodgin’ “after a few shots. I would instead try to persuade novice hunters to purchase either a .41 or .44 Magnum. The .41 has noticeably less recoil than the .44 and may shoot a little flatter, but it is harder to find ammunition for and is not as versatile as the .44. I love the .41 Remington Magnum, but the truth is that the .44 is a better choice. My 17-year-old daughter, Allison, shoots the big .44 and loves it, so recoil is obviously not a serious problem for most shooters. Accuracy-wise, the standard for handguns has been greatly exaggerated over the years. I have heard that no one should try to hunt deer with a handgun unless he can keep all his shots inside 6 inches at 50 yards. That standard is a bit optimistic. There are not many shooters out there who can consistently put 5 shots into a 6-inch circle at 60 yards under hunting conditions— awkward positions, shooting quickly, and so on. However, with sufficient practice, a 9T E X A S

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tremor, jerk, or flinch. Whereas a rifle shooter might still make a decent hit if he jerks the trigger a little, the handgunner will miss by a mile. Line up the sights and squeeze the trigger properly, and more often than not, you will hit your target. That is the hardest lesson for any beginning handgunner to learn, and one that is absolutely crucial to mastering the handgun. Remember, too, that a .22 rimfire handgun is the cheapest and best training tool you can find. There, in a nutshell, are the what and how of handgun hunting. You will have to supply the when and where yourself. You must also decide what your capabilities are, and stay within those limits. Shooting deer at 100 yards with an open-sighted .44 Magnum may be okay for the experts, but we mere humans must set our goals at a more pedestrian level. The vast majority of hunters—male, female, young, and old— can enjoy the challenge and reward of handgun hunting. All it takes is a little time, patience, and practice. Good hunting.

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Trophy Quest

September Dove Hunt HEN DON FORSYTHE FOUND OUT HE was the September Trophy Quest winner of a dove hunting trip, he was all for the idea. Forsythe is a deer and squirrel hunter who lives in Henderson about 35 miles east of Tyler. Dove hunting in his part of Texas is done over stock tanks. Dove hunting where they were going, Medina County, is over cornfields. Forsythe invited his brother-in-law, Bruce Richmond, to come along and sample some South Texas dove hunting. They were hunting with guide Robert Trotti of Texas Dove and Waterfowl. His specialty is providing professionally guided dove hunting west and

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by Tom Behrens south of San Antonio for mourning and whitewing doves. During waterfowl season, he guides for duck and geese in the KatyEagle Lake area. “We got there in time to hunt the last two hours on Thursday,” said Forsythe. “We called Robert on the way down, and he said if we got there early enough to call him and he would give us directions to where we were hunting.” Their hunt originally was scheduled for Friday.

HOW YOU CAN WIN! TEXAS FISH & GAME HAS GIVEN AWAY OVER 200 TROPHY QUEST TRIPS. TROPHY QUEST is free guided hunting or fishing trips within the state of 40

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“Those birds, when they leave out of San Antonio, they fly the main artery, the major roads, and creek bottoms that come out of town. One of the creeks that come out of San Antonio comes right up to us. When they get there, there is a big cornfield right at the end of it. The birds were coming out of the cornfield, flying right over where they were standing on the perimeter.” Trotti sets up 15 Mojo decoys around his hunters, turns them on each morning and off each night. “That seems to work really good, drawing in birds,” said Trotti. On Friday morning, Forsythe The dove hunting for Donald Forsythe (right) and Bruce Rich- and Richmond had one more mond in Medina County was different from what they are used to chance at the birds, but most of Northeast Texas. the birds were sleeping in and not moving much. “They just Forsythe and Richmond hunted from weren’t flying Friday morning, but it was about 5:00 p.m. to dusk and then again Fri- fun.” day morning from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Out of the eight birds Forsythe knocked WHAT: Dove hunting down, six were whitewings. He was shooting WHERE: Medina County, northwest of a vintage Stevens side-by-side 16-gauge that San Antonio was originally his father’s shotgun. GUIDE: Robert Trotti, Texas Dove and “I had never seen dove that would fly to Waterfowl, 281-482-3297, 281-381-2969, you while you were standing out in the www.txdovehunts.com field.” ACCOMODATIONS: Ramada Inn, 7043 Trotti described the field Forsythe and Culebra Road, San Antonio, TX; 210Richmond hunted as a cornfield with five 521-1485, www.ramada.com spring fed tanks spread throughout the field:

Texas. The package includes a guided trip for two people, one night's lodging and all food and beverage (non-alcohol). Winners are responsible for all travel expenses getting to and from the destination point. HERE'S HOW YOU WIN! If you are a TF&G subscriber, your name is automatically entered on our monthly Trophy Quest Trip drawing. If you are a subscriber and would like

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your name entered 15 more times in our next monthly drawing, simply send us an email with your name, address and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com. You can still win even if you are NOT a subscriber. Simply email us with your name, address, and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com and you're entered in our next drawing. One winner is chosen at random each

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month. The winner must be available to go on one of two previously scheduled dates. If the winner is unable to attend on either dates scheduled for the TROPHY QUEST TRIP, the winner's name will be returned to the pool for future drawings and another winner will be drawn. *Phone numbers will ONLY be used to contact the winners and will not be used for any other purpose. PHOTO COURTESY OF DONALD FORSYTHE


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The Duck Commander TTER THE WORDS “DUCK COMMANDER” TO any one of legion waterfowlers, and you conjure images of flooded hardwood bottoms, limits of mallard, and a rough, straighttalking man named from West Monroe, Louisiana, by the name of Phil Robertson. A legendary call maker, hunting video host, and outspoken personality, Robertson shoots straight and pulls no punches, whether he is speaking on hunting techniques or political issues in the outdoors. “The biggest mistake most duck hunters make is a lack of concealment,” Robertson said. He and his hunting team, The Duck Men, all wear face paint whether hunting in hardwood bottoms or on the prairies. “We go to great efforts to conceal ourselves, and having our white faces looking up at the ducks would send most birds away,” he said. “I highly recommend hunters wear paint and brush out their blinds really good because it will make a difference.” A prime case in point is the challenge of concealing all of the cameras and cameramen that go into the production of the longrunning video series with catchy titles such as “For a Few Ducks More” and their new television show, Duck Commander. “Doing the television show was a real challenge because we had to do certain things for the kind of show they wanted to

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produce. We had multiple cameras in the field and it made hunting much more chal-

lenging and problematic,” Robertson said. The show is based in a reality type format, but Robertson said that is nothing new to him: “We were doing reality TV before

by Chester Moore, Jr. anyone ever heard of such a thing. The Duck Commander videos are about as real as you can get.” Robertson’s lifetime of waterfowling A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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experience and decades of traveling throughout the country to hunt have given him unique insight into problems facing waterfowlers. He believes one of the biggest problems is the federal refuge system. “It sounds great that the ducks will have a place to rest and all, but in reality it makes hunting very difficult, as it does not take them long to figure out where they are being shot and where there is no pressure,” he said. By law, hunting and fishing are considered “priority” uses of refuge land, but that leaves vast tracts of the 110 million acres of refuges off limits to hunting. Robertson, who hunts all around the country, said when scouting locations to film hunts for his home videos, he goes as far away from refuges as possible. “You can literally watch the ducks pile into the no-hunting areas. A lot of guys will get excited because they get a duck hole near a refuge, but soon learn that it works against them in most cases,” he said. A big part of the problem is that most of the refuges are in the flyways and wintering areas, not in the prairie pothole or “duck factory” region where the birds nest. This is a fact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service boasts of on its website: “Most of the more than 520 National Wildlife Refuges and additional Waterfowl

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In This Issue

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT • Should Cedar Bayou Be Opened? | BY CAPT. MAC GABLE

GEARING UP SECTION

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: LOWER COAST • Deck the Halls with Fish from Holly | BY CALIXTO GONZALES

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

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • Special Holiday Advertising Section | BY TF&G STAFF INDUSTRY INSIDER • Bellville Meat Market; Red Wing Boat Co. | BY TF&G STAFF SHOOT THIS • 1917 Enfield–An Old Warrior | BY STEVE LAMASCUS FISH THIS • The Badonk-A-Donk | BY GREG BERLOCHER

HOW-TO SECTION

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COVER STORY • The Duck Commander | BY CHESTER MOORE, JR.

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY TOM BEHRENS, CALIXTO GONZALES, TRIPP HOLMGRAIN, & KYLE TOMEK

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: UPPER COAST • Organize, Prepare, Fish in December | BY CAPT. EDDIE HERNANDEZ

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: GALVESTON COMPLEX • Christmas on the Coast | BY CAPT. MIKE HOLMES

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: MATAGORDA • Lower Tides and Temps Push Fish to Mud | BY BINK GRIMES

Production Areas managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service are located along the migratory flyways, serving as breeding and wintering grounds and as ‘rest stops’ for these birds. “For example, in the ‘duck factory’ of the upper Midwest, the National Wildlife Refuge System manages just 2 percent of the landscape, yet 23 percent of the region’s waterfowl breed there.”

Duck Commander Quick Shots HARDEST DUCK TO CALL: “Where we mainly hunt in the bottoms, pintails are pretty hard to bring in.” MOST OVERRATED DUCK TO EAT: “Probably a mallard. They are good, but there are others that probably taste better.” MOST UNDERRATED DUCK TO EAT: “Teal are really good and so are some of the big, fat wood ducks you get.” LATEST VIDEO AVAILABLE: “Fear the Bear”

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BOWHUNTING TECH • A Special Gift | BY LOU MARULLO

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • The One Indispensable Rifle Caliber | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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SALTWATER BAITS & RIGS • The Tuna Torpedo | BY PATRICK LEMIRE

TEXAS BOATING • Boating Bloopers | BY LENNY RUDOW TEXAS KAYAKING • Pause, Reflect, and Plan | BY GREG BERLOCHER

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Slinging Blades | BY PAUL BRADSHAW WILDERNESS TRAILS • Christmas with the Lost Rider | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

Robertson said it doesn’t make sense to have all of this refuge land in areas where the ducks winter if you’re trying to do something about duck production. “They keep telling us we are losing crucial breeding grounds, but they keep buying refuge land down in the wintering areas. I think they have good intentions, but should be buying up more nesting grounds to protect.” Just as frustrating for him as the presence of so much refuge land off-limits to hunting, is the lack of predator control programs in the prairie pothole region. “Pretty much everyone agrees we are losing about 85 percent of our ducks before they ever fly down due to predation in the nesting areas,” Robertson said. “Think about that for a second. What we get to fly down is around 15 percent of the potential ducks. If you have a total flight of 100 million ducks, decreasing predation by only 5 percent would add 30 million ducks to that. If you could ever get predation down to around 70 percent, you could pretty much double the fall flight every year.” Robertson said he believes if hunters knew just how much of a role raccoons, foxes, mink, and other predators played in duck production, they might support paying F i s h

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HUNTING TALES • Blue Runners | BY STEVE LAMASCUS SPORTING TALES • Panhandle Pheasant Bonanza | BY BOB HOOD TROPHY FEVER • The Value of Trophies | BY TF&G READER DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF NEWS FROM THE COAST • No More Redfish Cup | BY TF&G STAFF TEXAS TASTED • Habanero Glazed Quail | BY BRYAN SLAVEN PHOTO ALBUM • Your Action Photos | BY TF&G STAFF

more for federal duck stamps to support predator control. “No one wants to wipe out the predators,” he said. “God put them here to do their role, but he also put ducks here for us to hunt and to eat, and we can balance things out if we put the effort into it. With fur being out of fashion because of the animal rights people and [therefore] very little trapping, you have a situation where you have more predators on the breeding grounds than ever, and we are seeing the results every fall.” Robertson said even after all these years, he remains amazed by what he sees in the field: “The good lord created some awesome stuff and really outdid himself with the duck. We are blessed to live in a country where we have, at least for a while, the freedom to pursue happiness—and in my case, that happiness involves taking out a mallard at 30 yards.”

On the Web www.duckcommander.com


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the bay out into deeper water on a mild day. Trout will be spreading out on the flats and holding in deeper pockets. If the tide is up and little wind, try and stick near the mud along the shoreline and fish depth breaks and edges. Live shrimp is best, when available, but a slow-worked slug-type of soft plastic can be deadly.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.548, W97 11.023

SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. Topwaters, SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Drift from the Southeast corner of

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.454, N97 12.195 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live bait. Cut Bait SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter, glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: A long drift will locate redfish that tend to spread out along these flats. Some

are good-sized fish. During a warm trend, fish soft plastics in shallower water. Live shrimp or cut ballyhoo chunks under a popping or rattling float work well in chillier weather. The key is to fish as slowly as you can stand, even in warmer weather. Fish need time to locate your offering and decide if they want to kill it. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Mexequita Flats GPS: N26 3.624, W97 11.532 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live bait. Cut Bait SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter, glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Work near the shoreline with live bait or cut bait during high tide. If there is an incoming tide, back up and work deeper pockets and edges with soft plastics or live shrimp. The fish might be scattered, but their larger average size more than makes up for the extra effort. LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: Andie Bowie Park Shoreline (bank access) GPS: N26 11.541, W97 10.327 SPECIES: Pompano BEST BAITS: Live or fresh shrimp, Fish Bites strips in shrimp CONTACT: Quick Stop, 956-943-1159 TIPS: Shorebound anglers can get into some great action for these feisty and delicious little panfish. Find a spot on the beach where the first gut is deep. You can purchase live shrimp and keep them alive in sawdust for easy portability, or fresh shrimp. Many fishermen are starting to use Fish Bite strips because of the no-muss, no-fuss principal behind it. Use long-shank hooks. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel GPS: N26 4.080, W97 9.280

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SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, soft plastics, topwaters CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Look for snook near pilings and other structure. Locate the edges and dropoffs along points in the Ship Channel and fish them with live on a free-line rig. Braided line is recommended, because most fish will try and pull you into the snags and break off. If there is a stretch of mild days, try working the shoreline with a Top Dog or Super Spook. You may draw some crashing strikes that way. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Y GPS: N26 3.061, W97 12.542 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny; SPI Lures Tandems in red/white, new penny, root beer CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Start by fishing the point where the Port Isabel Channel connects with the Brownsville Ship Channel. Fish the center island with jerkbaits. Focus on drains that push water out of the center tidal pool on and outgoing tide. The edge along the shoreline is also a good spot for trout. Fish it with live bait or soft baits.

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CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: The ICW current scours out deeper holes in front of the fishing shacks that line it. Anchor up near where a set of pilings marks where a shack used to be, or where on may still be standing, and toss a live shrimp or fresh shrimp out on a fish finder or splitshot rig towards the edge of the ICW. If the current is pulling hard, you may want to go with the heavier weight of the former. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Marker 53 GPS: N26 15.589, W97 16.994 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. SPI Lures Tandems in Pearl/chartreuse, Pearl/pink CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Linesiders have made a steady march north over the years, and you can find some up near Arroyo City. They have a weak spot for large live shrimp under a popping cork, but jerkbaits fished at a moderate speed are also very effective. Fish deeper water off the spoils, or behind in Stover Cove.

LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Big Oaks GPS: N26 41.468, W97 27.791 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Topwaters, Catch 5’s or B&L Corkies in smoke, pinfish patterns. Soft plastics in red/white, bone-chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: December is a transition period on the Lower Laguna Madre. Big trout start shifting form their summer/fall patterns into winter habits and haunts. Focus on holes close to shore. Fish topwaters early on mild days, and throughout the whole trip when clouds dominate. If the fish are sitting deeper, switch to suspending plugs in natural patterns, or soft plastics on small (1/16-1/8ounce) jigheads. Smoke and Texas Shad are good colors to work with. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: The Targets GPS: N26 30.590, W97 24.603 SPECIES: Trophy speckled trout BEST BAITS: Topwaters, Catch 5’s or B&L Corkies in smoke, pinfish patterns.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Drum Boats GPS: N26 10.713, W97 11.107 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live Shrimp, live finger mullet, cut bait. Jerkbaits, gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Target the deeper basin where the first Drum Boat was moored prior to Hurricane Dolly. Redfish that didn’t move out to the Gulf in the fall are cruising around the grass and vegetation. Live bait or stillfishing with cut bait are good choices. The old standard, a 1/4-ounce gold spoon, still catches its share of fish, too. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Cabins. GPS: N26 23.932, W97 20.591 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, fresh shrimp, crab chunks A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Soft plastics in red/white, bone-chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Fish slowly if you are looking for a bragging-sized trout. Fish suspending baits in 3-4 feet of water. If you are fishing shortly after a front, focus on muddy bottoms. Try an oversized topwater such as a Super Spook or Big Bug on a calm day. Again, fish as slowly as you can stand. Winter trout don’t like moving too far to eat. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Mansfield Jetties GPS: N26 23.800, W97 18.029 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: Live shrimp/popping cork, fresh shrimp CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, (956)-944-2367 TIPS: sheepshead will start showing up around the rocks when weather starts to cool. Cast near the rocks with a live shrimp or fresh shrimp rigged under a popping cork. Fish won’t necessarily pull the cork down. Sometimes, it will simply start moving sideways, or even just flop over on its side. If either happens, set the hook. Short shank hooks such as a #1 Owner flounder hook are best for these nibblers.

LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Badlands GPS: N27 18.228, W97 24.338 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Topwaters early, soft plastics in morning glory, plum/chartreuse pumpkinseed/chartreuse, Corkies in darker patterns CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The dark mud bottom retains warmth after a cold front, and speckled trout gravitate to the area. Fish slowly and methodically around and through color changes with lightly weighted soft plastics. If there is a stretch of nice weather, switch over to a topwater and work it slowly, especially around rock piles. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Penescal Point GPS: N27 15.852, W97 25.436 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Limetreuse, pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Look for nervous bait. That’s usually a sign that there are predators lurking.

Plastics should be fished on light jigs. 1/8ounce is good. 1/16th is even better. Once you begin working the area, fish deeper water around the rocks with soft plastics and suspending plugs. Work your lures slowly. Low-stretch lines will help detect subtle bites. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: South Shoreline GPS: N27 15.641, W97 27.361 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Topwaters in bone, 1/4 gold spoons, soft plastics in dark patterns CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: redfish cruise around the rocks near shore. Wading helps you cover territory slowly or quickly, depending on how active fish are. Fish topwaters early in the morning, or as long as calmer conditions last (especially if it is overcast). Fish a spoon or a large soft plastic around the rocks later in the day. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: East Kleberg Point GPS: N27 16.413, W97 30.479 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, fresh shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Don’t forget about black drum. When other fish don’t seem to cooperate, the uglies will. You can drift, anchor, or wade while fishing bait under a cork, or on a bottom rig (best when you are holding in a stationary position). The best thing about black drum is if you locate one, there are others cruising around, too. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Humble Channel GPS: N27 39.153, W97 15.664 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, fresh shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com

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TIPS: Big black drum begin cruising the depths of the channel after the first big cold fronts blow in. One of these larger fish (up to 30-35 pounds) is more than enough for anyone. Large “hand-picked” live shrimp or fresh table shrimp are excellent baits on fishfinder rigs. Day in and day out, however, a chunk of fresh crab is tough to beat. Boat rods and large reels aren’t necessary. Trout and redfish tackle will do, and is more fun. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Humble Flats GPS: N27 38.996, W97 16.277 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. Soft plastics in Avocado/chartreuse, Motor Oil/chartreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Flats that are adjacent to deep water will always hold good trout. Live shrimp under an Old Bayside float is a good combination. If you opt for artificials, then try a soft plastic on a 1/8- or 1/16-ounce head. A float will help you slow down your presentation. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Pure Oil Channel GPS: N27 30.627, W97 17.645 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. Soft plastics in red/white, Texas Shad CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the grasslines and edges. Live bait under an Old Bayside Paradise Popper float is tough to beat, but you can also work the edges and breaks with a shad tail or eel in the classic red/white pattern. Use a small (1/8- to 1/16-ounce) jighead to swim the bait about grass. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Padre Isles GPS: N27 37.587, W96 17.387 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastics in Plum, Mardi Gras, rootbeer, rootbeer/red flake CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: speckled trout seek out deeper, warmer water after a strong cold front, and

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the channels of Padre Isles are a good choice. Fish slowly and near the bottom with soft plastics. These fish have their noses in the mud, so you will have to put the bait right in front of them. Don’t rush things. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Oalesby Hole GPS: N27 31.431, W96 18.274 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live shrimp/Popping cork, soft plastics in Plum, Mardi Gras, rootbeer, rootbeer/red flake CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: trout have access to both the ICW and Pure Oil Channel from Oalesby, so it is an important aggregate point. Fish either live bait or soft plastics under an Old Bayside Paradise Popper on mild days. If you are fishing post-frontal conditions, ditch the cork and fish deeper water with soft plastics. Like anyplace else in winter, fish very slowly.

Plastics Bully Trout LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: East Bay GPS: N28 38.098’, W95 55.327’ SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Norton Bull Minnow soft plastics - Limetreuse and white with 1/4ounce leadhead jigs

CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: If mild temperatures persist, shrimp will still be in the bay. Chase birds and drift scattered shell bottoms. LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: Colorado River GPS: N28 41.758’, W95 58.676’


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SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: 1/4 to 3/8-ounce leadhead jigs; Hogie Double Shrimp Tails in chartreuse and Norton Bull Minnows in Margarita and Limetreuse CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: Try a bait with a wiggle to it.

SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Cut mullet or large table shrimp, Carolina rigged using a 1/2 to 1ounce weight, 18-inch leader, 5/0 hook CONTACT: Capt. Larry Robinson, 361549-4389 TIPS: Fish drop offs after passage of a cold front and dropping tides.

LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: West Matagorda Bay GPS: N28 31.094’ W96 12.617’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Darker baits, 1/8-ounce Norton Sand Eel jigs in Black Magic CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: Target redfish after a front, on real low tides; the fish will be up in the guts close to the shoreline. If you can find one, you can usually find a bunch of fish.

LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Shrimp Boat Channel GPS: N27 52.327’, W97 05.302 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Cut mullet or large table shrimp, Carolina rigged using a 1/2 to 1ounce weight, 18-inch leader, 5/0 hook CONTACT: Capt. Larry Robinson, 361549-4389 TIPS: Good spot to try with a dropping tide after a cold front

LOCATION: Goose Island State Park HOTSPOT: Big Tree GPS: N 28 07.572’ W 96 59.407’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, Bass Assassins, and spoons in darker colors CONTACT: Rockport Tackle Town, 361729-1841 TIPS: When you think you are reeling slowly, slow your retrieve even more. BANK ACCESS: Take Park Road 13 all the way down to St. Charles Bay where there is a spot with a sign saying Big Tree. LOCATION: Port Aransas Intracoastal Waterway HOTSPOT: Sail Boat Channel GPS: N27 52.542’, W97 05.751 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, bass Assassins, and spoons in darker colors CONTACT: Rockport Tackle Town, 361729-1841 TIPS: Anglers have a choice of fishing from the bank or wade fishing. BANK ACCESS: Take Hwy. 361 in between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas. LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Morris & Cummings Cut GPS: N27 52.851’, W97 06.661’ C10

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LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N27 53.635’, W97 05.631’ SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Large table shrimp fished under a popping cork CONTACT: Capt. Larry Robinson, 361549-4389 TIPS: Drift, fish under a popping cork if the tide is up and the wind is blowing LOCATION: Port O’Connor HOTSPOT: Matagorda Ship Channel Jetties GPS: N28 25.779’, W96 19.878 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Cut mullet, 1-ounce weight, and 3/0 Kahle hooks CONTACT: Capt. Bob Hill, 361-920-4615 TIPS: Fish the end and outside of the jetties with the bait on the bottom on an outgoing tide LOCATION: Port O’Connor HOTSPOT: Matagorda Ship Channel jetties GPS: N28 25.779’, W96 19.878 SPECIES: Black drum BEST BAITS: Cut mullet and blue crab, 1ounce weight, 3/0 Kahle hooks CONTACT: Capt. Bob Hill, 361-920-4615 TIPS: Fish the end and outside of the jet-

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Give Reds the Devil Eye LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: East Pass GPS: N29 58.920’ W93 47.135’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area

CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: Fish only on falling tides. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Sidney Island GPS: N29 58.590’, W93 49.433 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: In early December key on little shrimp and groups of mullet. Drift, and make long casts. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Coffee Ground Cove GPS: N29 58.575’ W93.46.618’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: Swim the jig along the bottom. LOCATION: Sabine Lake


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HOTSPOT: North levy GPS: N29 53.818 W93 52.641’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: Swim the jig along the bottom.

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CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: Mid December: go up in the marshes; fish the cuts and drains. “I catch redfish up to 25 pounds in mid December. I swim the bait real slow, just like a mullet.

LOCATION: Galveston East Bay HOTSPOT: North side GPS: N29 33.137’ W94 37.199’ SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 51 Series MirrOlure CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: A great place to wade fish at time of the year.

LOCATION: Galveston West Bay HOTSPOT: Carancahua Reef GPS: N29 12.898’ W95 00.442 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 52M26 Series MirrOlures and red or Limetreuse bass Assassin, 5 1/2 inch, fished on 1/16 jighead CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: The trout are mainly going to be on the shell bottom. Look for water colorchange lines. That is where the bait will try to hide

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Keith Lake GPS: N29 46.150’ W93 57.002’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye in Morning Glory, 1/16 weight

LOCATION: Galveston West Bay HOTSPOT: Chocolate Bay GPS: N29 11.528’ W95 06.767’ BEST BAITS: 52M26 Series MirrOlures and red or Limetreuse bass Assassin, 5 1/2 inch, fished on 1/16 jighead

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Largemouth like Watermelon LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Wood Creek GPS: N32 04’ 26” W96 17’91” SPECIES: black bass

BEST BAITS: Watermelon and Blue/Black Jigs CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252 TIPS: A lot of timber and stumps exist here. Just take a jig work the edges of the docks and stumps. Slow down the bait if you struggle for bites. BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marine LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Warm Water Discharge Cove GPS: N31 47.646, W96 04.481 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon Reds and Firetiger Carolina-rigged Creature Baits and Rattletraps CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com TIPS: The colder temperatures move the shad and baitfish into the warm water discharge cove where the power plant discharges water about 84 degrees keeping the cove an astounding 70 - 80 degrees. There is a flat about four feet in front of the cable going across the discharge channel. The turbines make a strong current and the bass will run in and out of this cut. The Carolina rig will catch both bass and reds. The extended leader on the rig will have plenty of action in the strong current. Just drag it along the bottom and hold on. C12

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LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Live Oak Park Cove GPS: N31 06.925, W97 28.650 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Shad crankbaits (warm days), small jigs with pork eels (cold days) CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Watch for shad flicking along the east cove shoreline. Fish near bait activity. BANK ACCESS: Via Live Oak Ridge Park (Corps of Engineers) LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Colinas Timber Edge GPS: N31 02.039, W97 34.903 SPECIES: largemouth, occasional smallmouth BEST BAITS: Dark 4-inch soft plastic worms on Carolina Rig CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Best fished during SE to SW wind so you can fish deep to shallow and maintain contact with rig.

LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Big Rocky Creek GPS: N52.795’, W97 23.682’ SPECIES: stripers BEST BAITS: Storm’s Wild Eye Shad (chartreuse) CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539 TIPS: The stripers have the shad pushed back up in the creek past the first cut; make longs cast and drag baits behind the boat using the trolling motor. BANK ACCESS: Walling Bend LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Triplet Point GPS: N31 53.533, W97 12.375 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Chartreuse 1-ounce Slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539 TIPS: The whites have the bait pushed up in the cuts on triplet point. Keep on the lookout for birds working. Make long casts with slabs and work them up and down fluttering them through the fish. Most bites occur during the bait’s descent. LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Willis Creek Flats F i s h

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GPS: Area Northeast of Willis Creek Park SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: Live shad, Sure Shot prepared bait CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell TIPS: Fish the shallow open and timbered flats with rod and reel. Good fish will be in water as shallow as 2 feet. BANK ACCESS: There is good access all along Willis Creek Park especially around the Pavilion. LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Juniper Point East GPS: N33 51.892, W96 49.833 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Cool water temperatures make the fish go into a feeding frenzy. Large fish up to 20 pounds will be on the prowl; 4- to 6inch Sassy Shad on a 1-ounce jighead will work the best. Texoma’s stripers prefer white glow and chartreuse colors. Road Runner 1-ounce jigs with a 7-inch worm are deadly on the big fish holding on structure. Fish the main lake points, mouths of creeks and humps near deep water. Large schools of stripers can be under the birds. BANK ACCESS: Juniper Point East

Dam Shad Blues LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Deep water near Dam GPS: Along entire dam and out to 1/2 mile SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: fresh shad CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell


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TIPS: Drift-fish the deep flats from 15 to 25 feet deep using wind socks if necessary. BANK ACCESS: Wilson Fox Park

Mill Creek Bass

LOCATION: Lake Medina HOTSPOT: Masterson Point GPS: N29 33.373 W98 55.422 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 2” white and chrome slab spoons, live minnows CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Focus on main lake points and islands in 15 to 30 feet of water. Vertically jig slab spoons, watching slack line as you allow the spoon to fall. Most bites will occur on the fall. Spoons will be hit fairly hard so you should have little difficulty detecting bites. If fishing with minnows, hook through nose or just below the dorsal fin. Fish at depths the bass are working and let your minnow do the work. White bass are will bunched up; when you will catch, one you should catch several! BANK ACCESS: Bandera County Park, crappie on live minnows and crappie jigs, Guadalupe bass on soft plastics

LOCATION: Toledo Bend South HOTSPOT: Mill Creek GPS: N32 12.20, W93 39.36 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white/chartreuse spinnerbaits with double willowleaf blades (one gold,

Flip for Falcon Bass LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: San Ignacio GPS: N26 54.949, W99 19.230 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms and flipping tubes in red, red watermelon, red bug

CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle, 956-7654866 TIPS: If bass are not already in spawning mode, they will be staging for the spawn. Most will be, especially if the winter has been thus far mild. The higher water levels will push bass into the new brush produce during this past summer’s drought. Texasrig your worms and tubes, and toss along the edges of the brush. Watch for big fish. They require stout (20-25 pound) gear to winch them out of the brush.

one nickel), spoons, football head jigs, Carolina-rigged 10-inch worms, Texas-rigged 7inch worms, deep-diving crankbaits CONTACT: Joe Joslin, 337-463-3848, www.joejoslinoutdoors.com TIPS: Spinnerbaits are now tops, both over grass (hydrilla) in 6 to 15 ft. depths, and slow-rolling in 10 to 25 feet. Over grass, use 3/8 oz. double willowleaf spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse with one gold and one nickel blade. Use 3/4 and 1 oz when slow-rolling. Mill Creek is perfect for deep spooning with lots of deep/clear water. Opt for 5/8 and 3/4 oz. spoons, targeting 25 to 45 feet of water. Work off-shore humps and ridges with 1/2 oz. football jigs and Carolina-rigged 10-inch worms. Bring out the deep-diving crankbaits when all else fails, or slow things down with a medium-tolight Texas-rigged 7-inch worm. Mill Creek is usually very clear so use fluorocarbon line is recommended. Jigging spoons will now catch 4 to 5 species of fish: largemouth. Bass, yellow bass, crappie, spotted bass and striper. BANK ACCESS: Below generators for catfish/striper Fishing is best when generators are running. Call 337-286-5244 for prerecorded generator schedule. LOCATION: Toledo Bend North HOTSPOT: Main lake river channel ledges and drops GPS: N31 47.065, W93 50.090 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: slab spoons, tail spinners, Rat-L-Traps, mid-diving crankbaits in shad colors CONTACT: Greg Crafts, 936-368-7151, www.toledobendguide.com TIPS: White bass are now migrating up the lake, traveling along the main lake river A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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channel heading to the river proper where they stack up on river channel sandbars to feed heavily. Target sandbars found on the inside of major bends along the river channel’s edge and use electronics to locate baitfish, and white bass. Be prepared to catch a limit of 25 fish per person, many of which will tip the scales at three pounds! BANK ACCESS: Public parks and marinas, crappie on live minnows, catfish on cut bait and liver OCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir HOTSPOT: Five Fingers Cove GPS: N31 08.291, W94 07.672 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: red shad colored Rat-LTraps, white or chartreuse Nichols spinnerbaits CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633. www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: In December, Five Fingers cove still contains fair amounts of Hydrilla, which bass seek out for cover, warmth, and food. Bigger, pre-spawn bass will hold just inside the edges or suspend in the Hydrilla. Throw a Rat-L-Trap over these grass beds in 3 to 8 feet of water, working them just fast enough to tick the tops of the grass. When hung up in Hydrilla, rip the bait loose to trigger strikes by bigger fish Spinnerbaits are effective when worked over the same area. Spool up with 15 lb. fluorocarbon line with for good results. BANK ACCESS: Public boat ramps, largemouth on artificials, catfish on cut bait, liver, or stinkbait LOCATION: Lake Livingston HOTSPOT: Hwy 190 roadbed - middle bridge GPS: N30 51.840, W95 25.360 SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: fresh 4-inch cut shad, fresh chicken liver, Danny King’s Punch Bait CONTACT: Dave Cox, 936-291-9602, www.palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Anchor directly on top of the old bridge and fish straight down to the old roadbed in about 15 feet of water, suspending bait just off the bottom. For bigger blue cats, fish the deeper side of the old bridge where the water is about 30 feet deep. Fish you are your bait suspended about 18 to 22 feet down and hold on. BANK ACCESS: Public parks and boat

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ramps, largemouth bass on artificials, catfish on cut bait, stinkbait, or liver LOCATION: Lake Conroe HOTSPOT: Main Lake GPS: N30 22.980, W95 34.930 SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: live shad, Storm Swim Shad, CONTACT: Richard Tatsch, 936-2911277, www.fishdudetx.com TIPS: hybrid stripers are now in full swing and this is the time of year to catch trophy fish and possibly a lake record. Fish will be found on main lake points and humps electronics will be a necessity to locate them! Locate schools of shad and you will find hybrids. Focus on 12 to 26-foot water columns. Live shad is your bait of choice but a Swim Shad will work well if you can its their depth. BANK ACCESS: Stowaway Marina, bream and catfish on live minnows or worms under cork

Jigs Yield Twin Whites LOCATION: Twin Buttes HOTSPOT: Ledge off Spring Creek GPS: N31 21.517, W100 32.137 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigging spoons, crappie jigs CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net

TIPS: This ledge drops off into the Spring Creek River channel and holds large schools of white bass most of the winter. With electronics, follow the ledge until you find schools of baitfish and then concentrate on that area. Drop a spoon down to bottom on a slack line and once it hits bottom fish by jerking the bait up a couple of feet and letting it settle back to the bottom. Most bites happen on the fall so pay close attention to your line. You will load the boat fast once you find them. BANK ACCESS: Twin Buttes Park off of Merzon Highway LOCATION: O.H. Ivie HOTSPOT: Turkey Bend GPS: N31 31.900, W99 41.464 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Citrus Shad DD-22 crankbaits, 1/2 oz. rattling jigs, Rat-LTraps CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: The Colorado River runs right along this bluff to a good point with small pockets 15 to 22 feet deep. Cast a Citrus Shad DD-22 parallel to the point on 12 lb. test line to get it to the right depth. Also, fish rattling jigs trailered in black/blue or black/red, and work them through the treetops for suspended fish. Another good trick for warm sunny days this time of year is to get on top of the point and throw a shad colored 1/2 oz. Rat-L-Trap in 2 to 5 feet of water. Big bass will often move up from the depths to give you a battle. BANK ACCESS: Concho Park, Elm Creek Park LOCATION: Lake Meredith HOTSPOT: The Marina at Lake Meredith GPS: N35 42.250, W101 33.199 SPECIES: walleye BEST BAITS: minnows, red wiggler earthworms CONTACT: Mel Phillips, 806-353-3654, fishman@suddenlink.com

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TIPS: In cold December, fish the marina’s heated crappie house for walleye and a variety of other species. Minnows and red wiggler earthworms are your baits of choice but chicken livers, shrimp, and cut bait are also productive. Walleye is the draw on Lake Meredith but half the fun of fishing the crappie house is not knowing what you will catch until you catch it. Walleye, largemouth bass, sand bass, and catfish are all likely to end up in the ice chest! BANK ACCESS: The main ramp at the marina, catfish on stinkbait, cut bait and chicken or turkey livers

Storm the Castle LOCATION: Lake Amistad HOTSPOT: Mouth of Castle Canyon GPS: N29 30.127, W101 02.104 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 3/4 oz. football head jigs in green pumpkin, DD-22 crankbaits

CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: December means big bass at Lake Amistad and a green pumpkin football jig is the answer to catching your share. Drag the jig with a green Rage chunk trailer along the rocky ledges of the Castle Canyon area in 25 to 35 feet of water and you will get some bites. Find a ledge with a flat top at this depth and let your bait free-fall to catch fish suspended off the ledge. BANK ACCESS: Diablo East Park or Black Brush area Contact the National Parks Service at 830-775-7491 for more information.

Email: Calixto: cgonzales@fishgame.com Kyle: ktomek@fishgame.com Tripp: tholmgrain@fishgame.com Tom: tbehrens@fishgame.com


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Organize, Prepare, Fish in December ECEMBER IS A GREAT TIME TO TAKE CARE OF some of the much-needed fishing related business that doesn’t necessarily involve the use of a rod and reel—all of the little things you kept telling yourself you would get around to soon, but just never quite found the time; little things like cleaning out and organizing your boat. If you are anything like me, cleaning your storage compartments can have the potential of being like an early Christmas. Usually, once I’ve weeded through the layers of rusty hooks, chewed up soft plastics, old potato chips, and wads of monofilament, I get to the good stuff: bags of new topwaters and other baits that I thought I bought but could never find, as well as bulk bags of leadheads that mysteriously went missing after one, trip and an assortment of other goodies. Once you have the treasure chest emptied, you can start the reloading process. Having everything neatly organized and knowing your inventory can save you time, money, and headaches. It’s also a good time for doing some maintenance on your boat, motor, and trailer. Take a screwdriver and check every screw you can get to, ensuring they are tight. Change the lower unit oil if needed, and check your fuel and water separator filters. A simple tune-up is not a bad idea, either. Make sure your tires are in good shape,

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repack the bearings, and check the seals. Check your trailer wiring and replace that taillight that hasn’t worked in a few months. Taking care of these things now can drastically reduce your stress level in the future. Once you have these things taken care of, you can head to Sabine Lake, where the north end should produce some nice trout and upper-end slot reds. Coffee Ground Cove is usually one of our first stops. Make long drifts down the shoreline in about 4 to 6 feet of water. Longer soft plastics (5 to 7 inches) work real well when slowly bumped off the bottom. Red Shad, Morning Glory, Purple, and Glow with chartreuse are the best color choices. Other good bait choices are slow sinkers like a Corky, MirrOlure Catch V, and Catch 2000. Let it get down and give it a couple of light twitches. Darker colors usually get the job done better. Some other areas that consistently hold fish in December are East Pass, the flats behind Sydney’s Island, and the flats across from Stewt’s Island where the Intracoastal Canal meets the Neches River.

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THE BANK BITE LOCATION: TMesquite Point (South end of the lake by the Causeway Bridge) SPECIES: reds, black drum, whiting BAIT: fresh dead shrimp, cut mullet BEST TIMES: High tide. It’s not uncommon to encounter birds working on Sabine Lake in December, so keep an eye out for that or surfacing shrimp and fish. Hopefully, you can knock out the organizing and maintenance in time to hit the lake and take advantage of some fantastic December fishing on Sabine.

Contact: Eddie Hernandez, ehernandez@fishgame.com

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Christmas on the Coast ECEMBER IS HOLIDAY SEASON PAR excellence in this country, and a time when most of us see a renewal of hope in life and the coming of a new beginning. Texas coastal weather is notoriously fickle, and we could see short sleeve weather and sun, cold, drizzling rain, or perhaps a repeat of the Christmas “blizzard” of a few years ago that dropped as much as 6 inches of the white stuff on the upper coast—even on the beaches. Families that enjoy the outdoors together might be spending time at the deer camp, in the beach house, or decorating the boat for one of the Christmas Boat Lane parades that are so enjoyable. Other outdoorsmen might be spending time alone or with their normal companion for hunting and fishing excursions, or letting some nice December days “get away” while electing to spend holiday time with family members not so attuned to the natural world. Having gone

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both the solitary route and spending time with larger groups, I find merit in both, with some seasons better for one than the other. Our coast is rebounding from the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Ike, as it has done after every major storm since time began. There will be changes: old businesses gone, new ones to take their place, old cuts and holes filled in, new cuts and passes scoured out. The residents and regular visitors to the Texas coast are resilient and determined; Jimmy Buffet might well have had us in mind when he penned the words, “If a hurricane doesn’t kill you, it will surely make you strong.” Weather and temperature will determine the game plan for fishermen this month. Warm water urges a continuation of the practices and techniques used in late summer and fall; colder weather slows the fish and pushes them to the shelter of deeper holes and channels. Extremely low tides make fishing tough, but expose a lot of underwater stuff that is easier to see with our eyes than to figure out from a depthfinder screen. As the original fair weather fisherman, I seldom wade water colder than my summertime beverages, or shiver in a boat at night while a generator-powered light attracts speckled trout; but I know other folks tougher than me who do enjoy such pursuits. I am more likely driving around to visit

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bait camps and “look” at the water with the truck heater turned high, or maybe warm my hands in the glow of a roaring fire on a deserted beach or near the Gulf outlet of a Texas river. Whichever your December leanings and however our Christmas weather turns out for 2009, have a happy holiday season and gear up for a whole new year.

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.

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: At this time of year, where else but Christmas Bay. Watch for soft mud and sharp shells, and wade the fringes of the south shoreline. ALTERNATE SPOT: There should be access at the Texas City Dike by now, if not a lot of creature comforts. On warm, sunny days, wade the flats on the north side, or look for panfish in the deeper water of the channel off the north bank. SPECIES: redfish, speckled trout, flounder, panfishes BEST BAITS: Live bait increases the number of hardheads to be unhooked, and artificials normally eliminate this problem. Shrimp and shrimp imitations work, but winter is the time of year for using baitfish and any lure resembling a small mullet or croaker. BEST TIMES: Tidal movements and the number of daily tides often wane in winter, although a low winter tide can be low indeed. If the peak of water movement can be determined, either in or out, this would be the best time. Colder water fish are sluggish, and wait for bait to come to them much of the time.


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Lower Tides and Temps Push Fish to Mud OLD WATER, NORTH WINDS, GRAY CLOUDS, and low tides are pictures of a Texas December. By now, many anglers have winterized their boats and tackle, and tucked them in the closet or locked away in storage until the first buds of spring. For those able to jet off in a moment or make a mad dash to the bay between cold fronts, December can be just as productive as its autumn predecessors. “It is all weather-dependent,” said guide Bill Pustejovsky. “If the weather allows me to fish, I fish. If it doesn’t, I deer hunt.” That has become the plight of many outdoorsmen, and because of the hunting option, the bays are often quiet from lack of boats. “Most of the time, there is no one out there,” said guide Jesse Arsola. “I love it. You can work whatever shoreline you want and don’t have to worry about people running over you and the fish.” Arsola likes to work the muddy bottoms on the south shoreline of East Bay for the obvious reason: mud is much warmer in the winter. “Corky Fat Boys are my baits of choice,” he said. “I do throw a topwater every once in a while when I see active bait and warming weather.” It doesn’t happen every year, but two out of the last three years the birds have worked in East Matagorda Bay through the middle of the month. Granted, the months in question were milder than normal and devoid of significant rainfall.

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By late mid to late December, most of the white shrimp crop has left the bays and speckled trout adapt their diets to finfishes. That’s when slow-sinking mullet imitation plugs like Catch 5s, Catch 2000s, MirrOlure 51Ms, 52Ms, and Corkies go to work. “If you see a mullet flipping, you better fish it,” said Pustejovsky. “If the water is cold, the mullet become less active like the fish, so work your baits slow and methodical.” Locales receiving the most tidal flow often hold the majority of schools (that means reefs and mud flats adjacent to the Intracoastal in East Bay). Brown Cedar Flats, Chinquapin Reefs, Bird Island, Half-Moon Reef, and the Log are all proven winter spots holding healthy specks. Drifting is also an option, especially with the height of the low-tide winter solstice occurring in December. East Bay is often 2-3 feet below normal in December, depending on how hard the north wind blows. Raymond Shoals, Boiler Bayou, Pipeline Reef, and Cleveland Reef hold good fish during the winter, and when tides are extremely

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THE BANK BITE LOCATION: LCRA Park at the Mouth of the Colorado River SPECIES: flounder BAITS: inger mullet or jigs tipped with shrimp low, shoreline redfish move off the flats to these reefs in the middle of the bay. When the wind really blows, never discount the Colorado River. Low tides in West Bay drain the delta at the mouth of the Diversion Channel and funnel all fish to the deep channel. Anglers drift across the channel with Plum, black, or Glow soft plastics, or troll with DOA TerrorEyz. Nighttime is even better under lighted piers as fish seek the warm solace of the deep river. Deep or shallow, mud or shell? Tides and temperatures dictate.

Contact: Bink Grimes, www.binkgrimesoutdoors.com

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Should Cedar Bayou Be Opened? NYONE WHO IS AN OUTDOOR WRITER OR columnist in the Rockport area has had reason of late to voice opinion on the opening of Cedar Bayou. I am no different in that respect from anyone else. The ground swell of interest has put the issue at the forefront of peoples’ minds, and seeped into the political arena. It is my wish and hope by the time this magazine issue appears on newsstands, we will be well on our way to a final and well thought-out approach to this more than 20-year-old political brouhaha. Instead of plowing the same ground, I will present some of the data my son and I collected while doing his master’s thesis in Estuarine Ecology on Mesquite Bay. He spent 16 months using nine radio sonde units (electronic instruments that measure a number of variables in the water column). One unit was at the entrance to Cedar Bayou on the Gulf of Mexico side, one was place halfway down Cedar Bayou between the Gulf and Mesquite Bay, and two at the mouth of Cedar Bayou on the Mesquite Bay side. The other five were placed at strategic points through out the bay. He conducted frequent data flow tests, crisscrossing the bay while checking for additional nutrients across a wider range of the bay. The data flow measured transmissivity (light transmission), dissolved organic matter, suspended solids, and chlorophyll levels. The real focus of his thesis was water quality and the effects Gulf water inflow and freshwater inflow have on Mesquite and surrounding bays. He spent many hours hud-

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dled over a microscope studying the numerous water samples taken from the bay. As is the case with any data collected over time, one looks for trends and patterns to emerge. He and I went to the same nine locations and tested the water quality on 6 September 2009 to compare to his thesis data. What we found was alarming to say the least. The instrument we used in September was a Hydrolab Quanta Multiport that measures water quality. We had a backup check to test salinity in case our instrument’s baseline needed to be recalibrated. Two parameters of our tests were salinity and temperature. A 71-year average for salinity for our test area was 25.332 ppt (parts per thousand). During my son’s thesis period three years ago, the range was 11 ppt - 38.24 ppt, which included an anomaly period of a lot of freshwater inflow and some Gulf water flowing through Cedar Bayou. The readings taken on 6 September 2009 at the nine stations that included Carlos, Mesquite, and Ayres bays and three stations in Cedar Bayou averaged 45.8 ppt with a high reading of 51.5 ppt at the sanded inlet where Cedar Bayou hits the Gulf of Mexico. These higher levels affect how efficiently fish species utilize energy from food sources for use in growth. Mid-range salinity levels of 25 to 30 ppt for this area promote better growth and more frequent feeding patterns. When water temperatures approach 86 degrees, the evaporation rate goes up, leaving salt residue behind and further increasing salinity measurements. These environmental conditions affect habitat utilization for a wide range of species and can cause migration of species to other habitats such as other bay systems or even the Gulf. In juxtaposition, higher salinity levels in Lower Laguna and the record number of trout in that area account to genetics; fishes that reside in that area have evolved to thrive in higher salinity levels, which could account for why fisheries managers stock hatchery

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fishes only in the bays from which their progenitors originate. Fishes in the Rockport area have not so evolved, and the drastic increase in salinity levels causes their metabolisms to switch to survival mode, or they migrate to other bay systems where conditions are more favorable. The master plan to open Cedar Bayou presented to the Corps of Engineers includes opening two 6-feet-deep, 100-feetwide channels: one for Cedar Bayou, the other for Vincent Slough (for hydrology reasons) with a merge point into one channel. Doing so will aid in diluting high salinity waters in Mesquite and surrounding bays through the transition of fresh Gulf water. The influx of more stable salinity levels from the Gulf of Mexico (average 35 ppt) would return the environmental requisites for a wide variety of recreational and economically important species, and support and promote the various life stages for all species. During periods of high freshwater inflow, the cleansing and flushing effect will help rid the bays of bad bacteria, toxins, and manmade pollutants. Today, the nearest outlet is more than 30 miles away. Put me down for opening the Bayou, and let’s not forget how we got here lest we fall prey to the past again. It is my fervent wish that those who have championed the cause to open Cedar Bayou be rewarded with the permit and funding to dredge the bayou. Doing so will benefit Rockport and the surrounding communities as well as recreational fishing.

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


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Deck the Halls with Fish from Holly ECEMBER COLD FRONTS HAVE A HABIT OF making their way down on Fridays and don’t clear out completely until Mondays, and those fronts during an El Nino year (such as this one) usually bring pretty crummy conditions. The north winds, steady drizzle, and temperatures in the 50s seem tailor made for the dedicated duck hunter, but anglers should hit the snooze button, roll over, and bury themselves in the bedcovers. Contrary to the latter school of thought, December is the beginning of some solid fishing on Laguna. Many hardcore anglers love snotty conditions—the snottier the better. Lower winter tides concentrate fishes along deeper guts and drop-offs and simplify the fishing for those willing to put on an extra jacket and head out. If you can locate some muddy bottom near one of these guts, you will find trout. Trout are poikilothermic (cold blooded) and gravitate to darker, muddy water that retains heat better. Big trout hover over the warm bottom most of the day, rarely moving more than a few feet. One excellent choice for fishermen looking for chillin’ trout is Holly Beach (N26 6.888, W97 17.839). The ankle-deep silty mud that makes wading the area a tribulation during the summer makes Holly Beach a good wintertime trout spot. After a series of mild days, speckled trout spread out on the flats to forage and absorb warmth from the winter sun. As cold-blooded trout warm up, they become more active and look for a large, easy meal to meet their appetites—a large eel-style soft plastic such as a 7-inch Gulp! Jerk Shad on a 4/0 offset worm hook. A 1/16-ounce ounce jighead works just as effectively. Dark colors are the norm because the water will be off-col-

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ored, even on a bright day. Norton Sand Eels and Brown Devil Eyes in Baffin Magic, Morning Glory, Cockroach, and straight black/chartreuse are very good choices. Should a north wind drive a cold front down from Canada, trout will back off into the relatively deeper water of a now-defunct barge channel that bisects the waters off Holly Beach. In that case, you can fish the edge of the drop-off with a Mansfield Mauler/jig combo. Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny or Ivory are the go-to baits for post-frontal trout. The Mauler allows you to slow down your retrieve, and keeps the lure in one spot for a longer time. The klick-klack of the Mauler provides the sound factor that trout find so attractive, and the length of the leader between it and the lure keeps the latter in the strike zone. These fish are in a neutral mood due to the weather change, and the longer you can keep a lure in their faces, the better your chances at drawing a strike. Keep in mind that even in milder conditions, the trout will be nowhere near as active as in more moderate months. Fish the area slowly as you can. If you don’t mind the hard slog, you can anchor up and slowly wade the area. Focus on an area of darker bottom or deeper water and fish the area with a makeyou-arteries-harden speed (don’t laugh, but singing a song in your head such as “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground” will help set the tempo; Zaidle says EMTs do this with “Stayin’ Alive” to maintain proper CPR rhythm). Don’t expect a crashing strike. Most of these fish will take the lure with a soft “tap.” Don’t be surprised if that turns out to be a 20inch-plus trout. If redfish are your preference, then Holly Beach also fits the bill. Redfish are not as A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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picky about weather conditions as the speckled trout. They will roam all over the flats, even when the inclement weather drives trout off. The 1/4 ounce gold spoon is a preferred lure to gain their attention. If the water is murked-up from a north wind, then you may want to deploy the same Mauler/Gulp! combo that was working on the trout along the edges of the bar. Artificial crabs such as the new Z-Man Ultra Crabz. If you spot any tailing reds, flip an Ultra Crabz in front of them, wait for the redfish to be in the bait’s range, and start skittering the faux crustacean back across the bottom. Slather some crab-flavored Carolina Lunker Sauce onto the lure to complete the illusion. The scent should get the fish’s attention, and when it is within range, the lifelike appearance should finish the sale. If you do intend to fish for the redfish, then outfit yourselves accordingly. You do not need to break out the war club and well rope for these fish, but a solid, high capacity spinning or bait-casting reel loaded with at least 15pound mono (I prefer 10/40 or 12/50 braid) on a solid medium to medium heavy rod is a good pick. Some of these reds can push the upper-end of the slot. Wintertime fishing can be fun and memorable, but play it smart. If conditions start to deteriorate, and the bay begins to really roughen up, there is no need to prove you can stick with it. Haul in and head to the barn. But if the weather is just a bit on the yucky side, give Holly Beach a try. Just bundle up. Contact: Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Dolphin Cove GPS: N26 04.00, W97 09.410 SPECIES: black drum, sheepshead TIPS: Live or fresh dead shrimp. Fish near the rocks with a float rig for sheepies, farther out in the deeper water for drum.

G a m e ® / D E C E M B E R

2 0 0 9

C19


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Tides and Prime Times

DECEMBER 2009 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

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

T12

T4

T11

T10

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

T13 T7

T6 T5 T17

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

T15 T16

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

T14 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

SOLAR & LUNAR ACTIVITY: Sunrise: 6:34a Sunset: 7:51p

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.

T20

AM Minor: 9:11a AM Major: 2:57a PM Minor: 9:40p PM Major: 3:25p

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.

Moonrise:9:27a Moon Set: None Moon Overhead:

T21

4:55p

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

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

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

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

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

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

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

T22 T23

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

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Green: Falling Tide

AM/PM Timeline Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

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

AM/PM Timeline

C20

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.)

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

6p

12a

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

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

• D E C E M B E R

2 0 0 9 /

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

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

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

KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

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

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

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

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

T E X A S

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

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

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


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 = New Moon  = First Quarter  = Full Moon  = Last Quarter  = Best Day

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

 2

 D EC 1

FRIDAY

 3

SATURDAY

 4

SUNDAY

5

6

Sunrise: 6:54a Moonrise: 3:52p

Set: 5:20p Set: 5:09a

Sunrise: 6:55a Moonrise: 4:43p

Set: 5:20p Set: 6:15a

Sunrise: 6:56a Moonrise: 5:43p

Set: 5:20p Set: 7:22a

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 6:49p

Set: 5:20p Set: 8:24a

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 7:58p

Set: 5:20p Set: 9:21a

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 9:09p

AM Minor: 2:40a

PM Minor: 8:54p

AM Minor: 3:32a

PM Minor: 9:47p

AM Minor: 4:31a

PM Minor: 10:47p

AM Minor: 5:36a

PM Minor: 11:51p

AM Minor: 6:43a

PM Minor: 12:27p

AM Minor: 7:50a

PM Minor: 1:35p

AM Minor: 8:54a

PM Minor: 2:40p

AM Major: 8:54a

PM Major: 9:21p

AM Major: 9:47a

PM Major: 10:17p

AM Major: 10:47a

PM Major: 11:18p

AM Major: 11:51a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:27a

PM Major: 12:58p

AM Major: 1:35a

PM Major: 2:05p

AM Major: 2:40a

PM Major: 3:08p

Moon Overhead: 11:01p

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:01a 12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 1:04a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:08a

Moon Overhead: 2:07a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 5:20p Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 6:59a Set: 10:11a Moonrise: 10:18p Set: 10:55a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 4:06a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 30

WEDNESDAY

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 10:32a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 1:36p BEST:

3:00 — 5:00 P

Moon Underfoot: 2:38p BEST:

8:30 — 10:00 A

9:30 — 11:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 3:37p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:33p +2.0

BEST:

10:30A — 12:00P

11:30A — 1:00P TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

2:30 — 4:00 P

Moon Underfoot: 12:32p

TIDE LEVELS

1:30 — 3:00 P

Moon Underfoot: 11:31a

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

7:59 AM 4:26 PM 8:59 PM 11:41 PM

-0.26 ft Low Tide: 8:41 AM 1.57 ft High Tide: 5:21 PM 1.37 ft Low Tide: 9:45 PM 1.40 ft

-0.46 ft High Tide: 12:03 AM 1.65 ft Low Tide: 9:27 AM 1.45 ft High Tide: 6:16 PM Low Tide: 10:27 PM

1.47 ft -0.61 ft 1.67 ft 1.51 ft

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

12:38 AM 10:17 AM 7:11 PM 11:11 PM

1.53 ft High Tide: 1:22 AM 1.53 ft Low Tide: -0.68 ft Low Tide: 11:08 AM -0.68 ft High Tide: 1.66 ft High Tide: 8:02 PM 1.60 ft Low Tide: 1.51 ft High Tide:

12:11 AM 2:10 AM 12:01 PM 8:46 PM

1.46 ft 1.47 ft -0.58 ft 1.51 ft

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

1:40 AM 3:12 AM 12:55 PM 9:21 PM

1.32 ft 1.32 ft -0.38 ft 1.40 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

7

THURSDAY

 9

8

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

10

11

SUNDAY

12

13

Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 7:02a Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 7:01a Set: 12:07p Moonrise: 12:26a Set: 12:40p Moonrise: 1:27a

Set: 5:20p Set: 1:13p

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 2:28a

Set: 5:20p Set: 1:48p

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 3:29a

Set: 5:21p Set: 2:25p

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 4:30a

Set: 5:21p Set: 3:06p

AM Minor: 9:53a

PM Minor: 3:40p

AM Minor: 10:46a

PM Minor: 4:34p

AM Minor: 11:34a

PM Minor: 5:22p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 6:07p

AM Minor: 12:37a

PM Minor: 6:49p

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 7:32p

AM Minor: 2:04a

PM Minor: 8:17p

AM Major: 3:40a

PM Major: 4:06p

AM Major: 4:34a

PM Major: 4:58p

AM Major: 5:22a

PM Major: 5:46p

AM Major: 6:07a

PM Major: 6:30p

AM Major: 6:49a

PM Major: 7:13p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

AM Major: 8:17a

PM Major: 8:42p

Moon Overhead: 4:59a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:37a

Moon Overhead: 5:49a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:23a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:00a

Moon Overhead: 8:11a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:50a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 7:00a Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 11:23p Set: 11:33a Moonrise: None

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 5:24p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:47p

BEST:

4:00 — 6:30 A

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 8:35p BEST:

6:00 — 9:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 9:25p BEST:

6:30 — 10:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 10:16p +2.0

BEST:

9:00A — 12:30P

8:00A — 1:00P TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 7:00p

TIDE LEVELS

4:00 — 6:30 P

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 6:13p

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

C22

3:13 AM 5:31 AM 1:51 PM 9:48 PM

1.10 ft 1.11 ft -0.12 ft 1.28 ft

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

• D E C E M B E R

4:08 AM 8:12 AM 2:51 PM 10:11 PM

0.80 ft 0.94 ft 0.20 ft 1.19 ft

2 0 0 9 /

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

T E X A S

4:55 AM 10:31 AM 3:59 PM 10:29 PM

0.48 ft 0.91 ft 0.52 ft 1.12 ft

F i s h

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

&

5:40 AM 12:33 PM 5:27 PM 10:44 PM

0.15 ft 1.01 ft 0.80 ft 1.10 ft

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

6:23 AM 2:16 PM 7:18 PM 10:56 PM

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

-0.13 ft 1.17 ft 1.00 ft 1.11 ft

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

7:05 AM 3:33 PM 9:07 PM 11:00 PM

-0.36 ft Low Tide: 7:47 AM 1.31 ft High Tide: 4:33 PM 1.12 ft 1.14 ft

-0.51 ft 1.39 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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ALMANAC C-FINAL.qxd:0912 Coastal

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Page C24

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

 15

14

THURSDAY

 16

FRIDAY

 17

SATURDAY

 18

SUNDAY

 19

20

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 5:30a

Set: 5:21p Set: 3:52p

Sunrise: 7:05a Moonrise: 6:27a

Set: 5:22p Set: 4:42p

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: 7:20a

Set: 5:22p Set: 5:35p

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: 8:08a

Set: 5:22p Set: 6:30p

Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 8:50a

Set: 5:23p Set: 7:27p

Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 9:28a

Set: 5:23p Set: 8:22p

AM Minor: 2:50a

PM Minor: 9:03p

AM Minor: 3:39a

PM Minor: 9:53p

AM Minor: 4:31a

PM Minor: 10:44p

AM Minor: 5:24a

PM Minor: 11:07p

AM Minor: 6:16a

PM Minor: 12:04p

AM Minor: 7:08a

PM Minor: 12:57p

AM Minor: 7:58a

PM Minor: 1:48p

AM Major: 9:03a

PM Major: 9:29p

AM Major: 9:53a

PM Major: 10:19p

AM Major: 10:44a

PM Major: 11:10p

AM Major: 11:07a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:04a

PM Major: 12:29p

AM Major: 12:57a

PM Major: 1:20p

AM Major: 1:48a

PM Major: 2:09p

Moon Overhead: 10:42a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:27p

Moon Overhead: 11:35a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:18p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:53p

Moon Overhead: 2:07p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 5:23p Moonrise: 10:02a Set: 9:17p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:37p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:08p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 12:53a

BEST:

4:00 — 6:00 A

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00 A

5:30 — 8:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 1:43a BEST:

6:00 — 8:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 2:30a BEST:

6:30 — 9:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 3:15a +2.0

BEST:

7:00 — 9:30 A TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 12:01a

TIDE LEVELS

3:00 — 5:00 A

Moon Underfoot: None

Low Tide: 8:27 AM High Tide: 5:21 PM

C24

-0.59 ft Low Tide: 9:08 AM 1.41 ft High Tide: 6:04 PM

• D E C E M B E R

-0.62 ft Low Tide: 9:47 AM 1.38 ft High Tide: 6:43 PM

2 0 0 9 /

T E X A S

-0.60 ft Low Tide: 10:25 AM -0.56 ft High Tide: 1:05 AM 1.33 ft High Tide: 7:18 PM 1.27 ft Low Tide: 11:02 AM Low Tide: 11:38 PM 1.19 ft High Tide: 7:48 PM Low Tide: 11:41 PM

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

1.20 ft High Tide: 1:54 AM 1.14 ft Low Tide: -0.48 ft Low Tide: 11:37 AM -0.37 ft High Tide: 1.21 ft High Tide: 8:15 PM 1.15 ft Low Tide: 1.13 ft High Tide:

12:28 AM 2:28 AM 12:10 PM 8:38 PM

1.04 ft 1.05 ft -0.24 ft 1.10 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC C-FINAL.qxd:0912 Coastal

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 = New Moon  = First Quarter  = Full Moon  = Last Quarter  = Best Day

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

21

22

THURSDAY

 24

23

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SATURDAY

25

SUNDAY

26

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 5:26p Sunrise: 7:10a Moonrise: 12:28p Set: 12:49a Moonrise: 1:02p

27

Set: 5:27p Set: 1:47a

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 1:42p

Set: 5:27p Set: 2:49a

AM Minor: 8:46a

PM Minor: 2:36p

AM Minor: 9:32a

PM Minor: 3:21p

AM Minor: 10:15a

PM Minor: 4:05p

AM Minor: 10:57a

PM Minor: 4:47p

AM Minor: 11:39a

PM Minor: 5:28p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 6:10p

AM Minor: 12:42a

PM Minor: 6:55p

AM Major: 2:36a

PM Major: 2:57p

AM Major: 3:21a

PM Major: 3:42p

AM Major: 4:05a

PM Major: 4:25p

AM Major: 4:47a

PM Major: 5:07p

AM Major: 5:28a

PM Major: 5:50p

AM Major: 6:10a

PM Major: 6:34p

AM Major: 6:55a

PM Major: 7:21p

Moon Overhead: 4:18p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:39p

Moon Overhead: 4:59p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:20p 12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 7:52p

Moon Overhead: 7:04p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 5:24p Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 5:25p Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 5:24p Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 5:25p Moonrise: 10:32a Set: 10:10p Moonrise: 11:01a Set: 11:02p Moonrise: 11:29a Set: 11:55p Moonrise: 11:57a Set: None

12a

FRIDAY

Moon Overhead: 8:44p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 3:58a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

9:00 — 11:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 5:59a

Moon Underfoot: 6:42a

BEST:

4:30 — 6:00 P

BEST:

5:00 — 7:30 P

Moon Underfoot: 7:27a BEST:

5:30 — 7:00 P

Moon Underfoot: 8:18a +2.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 A

1:00 — 2:30 A TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 5:19a

TIDE LEVELS

8:00 — 10:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 4:39a

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

1:51 AM 2:49 AM 12:41 PM 8:58 PM

0.93 ft Low Tide: 1:11 PM 0.93 ft High Tide: 9:14 PM -0.08 ft 1.04 ft

0.10 ft 0.99 ft

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

3:55 AM 7:53 AM 1:42 PM 9:26 PM

0.60 ft 0.65 ft 0.29 ft 0.95 ft

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

4:20 AM 10:17 AM 2:16 PM 9:30 PM

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

0.40 ft 0.64 ft 0.50 ft 0.93 ft

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

F i s h

&

4:51 AM 12:21 PM 3:00 PM 9:25 PM

0.18 ft 0.74 ft 0.70 ft 0.93 ft

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

5:26 AM 2:01 PM 4:07 PM 9:03 PM

-0.06 ft 0.91 ft 0.89 ft 0.98 ft

G a m e ® / D E C E M B E R

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

6:07 AM 3:08 PM 5:57 PM 8:38 PM

2 0 0 9

-0.31 ft 1.08 ft 1.05 ft 1.07 ft

C25

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC C-FINAL.qxd:0912 Coastal

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9:48 AM

Page C26

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

 30

29

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

 Ja n 1

 31

SUNDAY

 2

 3

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 2:28p

Set: 5:28p Set: 3:53a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 3:24p

Set: 5:28p Set: 5:00a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 4:27p

Set: 5:29p Set: 6:05a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 5:36p

Set: 5:30p Set: 7:05a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 6:49p

Set: 5:30p Set: 8:00a

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 8:01p

Set: 5:31p Set: 8:48a

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 9:10p

Set: 5:32p Set: 9:29a

AM Minor: 1:29a

PM Minor: 7:43p

AM Minor: 2:20a

PM Minor: 8:35p

AM Minor: 3:17a

PM Minor: 9:33p

AM Minor: 4:18a

PM Minor: 10:34p

AM Minor: 5:21a

PM Minor: 5:52p

AM Minor: 6:26a

PM Minor: 6:55p

AM Minor: 7:28a

PM Minor: 7:56p

AM Major: 7:43a

PM Major: 8:11p

AM Major: 8:35a

PM Major: 9:06p

AM Major: 9:33a

PM Major: 10:04p

AM Major: 10:34a

PM Major: 11:05p

AM Major: 11:37a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:11a

PM Major: 12:40p

AM Major: 1:15a

PM Major: 1:42p

Moon Overhead: 9:42p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:47p

Moon Overhead: 10:44p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:52a

Moon Overhead: 12:51a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:49a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

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Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 9:13a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

2:30 — 4:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 12:19p BEST:

3:30 — 5:00 A

4:30 — 6:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 1:22p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 2:21p BEST:

5:30 — 7:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 3:16p +2.0

BEST:

6:00 — 7:30 A

1:00 — 3:30 A TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 11:15a

TIDE LEVELS

2:00 — 3:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 10:12a

Low Tide: 6:52 AM High Tide: 3:58 PM

-0.55 ft Low Tide: 1.22 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

7:40 AM 4:43 PM 9:06 PM 9:57 PM

-0.77 ft 1.32 ft 1.21 ft 1.22 ft

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

8:30 AM 5:26 PM 9:24 PM 11:42 PM

-0.94 ft Low Tide: 9:20 AM -1.04 ft 1.35 ft High Tide: 5:59 PM 1.34 ft 1.23 ft Low Tide: 10:05 PM 1.15 ft 1.25 ft

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

1:19 am 10:08 am 6:32 pm 10:50 pm

1.21 ft -1.01 ft 1.28 ft 1.03 ft

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

2:37 am 10:58 am 7:04 pm 11:43 pm

1.15 ft High Tide: 3:57 am 1.04 ft -0.90 ft Low Tide: 11:46 am -0.69 ft 1.18 ft High Tide: 7:32 pm 1.08 ft 0.85 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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Give ‘em What They Want WAS ONCE THE UNFORTUNATE AND SOMEWHAT embarrassed recipient of a toilet seat as a Christmas gift. Not that there is anything wrong with toilet seats (some of my best friends use them) or that the gift was not utilitarian, but there is something unsettling about settling oneself onto a clear Lexan potty perimeter with assorted wild game detritus embedded in the plastic. No doubt, the gifter had good intentions (it was not a gag gift) and figured something “outdoorsy” appropriate for someone of my interests and vocation. Nonetheless, the relationship has been strained ever since due to the giver’s insistence on inquiring at every opportunity how I am enjoying his gift, which leads to awkward moments at social gatherings. I have also received gifts of ties, which I never wear (ever tried buttoning a 17-1/2inch collar around an 18-1/2-inch neck?) emblazoned with leaping salmon, for which I do not fish; fishing lures made in the likeness of beer cans; dog sweaters with embroi-

I

dered ducks; a butterfly net; soap-on-a-rope shaped like a shotgun cartridge; and a sixpack of camouflage toilet paper—the latter coupled with the toilet seat suggesting nonoutdoorsman gifters labor under the delusion that all outdoorsmen have some sort of scatological fetish. Of course, I have received some truly nifty gifts from knowledgeable acquaintances (some of whom do have scatological fetishes) that I still own, use, and cherish. The gifts, I mean, not the acquaintances. It is not difficult to select gifts for outdoorsmen: Just buy something you would like to have while resisting the temptation to keep it for yourself. As an aid to that end, we have here assembled a collection if items and services that most any outdoorsman would be pleased to receive. Look around these pages with your outdoors friend or family member in mind—and steer clear of bathroom accessories. —Don Zaidle

APPAREL Wilderness Dreams Wilderness Dreams by Weber Leather has a full selection of Mossy Oak-patterned camo lingerie, swimwear, and loungewear, and now they even have swimwear for men. The new Naked North Pink Camo Series features some of Wilderness Dreams’ most popular styles in the hot new Naked North Pink Camo.

Wilderness Dreams camo lingerie Also new this year is Wilderness Dreams’ Pink Lace - Trimmed Camisole and Boy Short Pantie. They have also added a One Piece Scoop Neck and Swim Skirt to their ever growing women’s swimwear line. See more at www.wildernessdreams.com.

Automotive J&S American Vault If you are looking for the best way to securely store your concealed hand gun, GPS system or other valuables, look no C28

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further. J&S American Vaults, authorized Texas distributor of Console Vaults, offers high quality, high security, custom designed console vaults for over 26 different trucks and SUV’s. There are even several Universal models available for cars, older vehicles, vans and RV’s. Custom vaults are available for Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hummer, Lincoln and Toyota model trucks and SUVs, and even for Harley Davidson. Console vaults are designed to fit into the console space provided by the vehicle manufacturer. They are constructed of 12 gauge plate steel with welded tab and notch seams, and have an attractive powder coated finish. Installation usually takes ten minutes and requires only a screwdriver and the supplied mounting hardware. Because of the vault’s unique design no drilling or modification of the console is required.

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Swift Hitch

GMC 2003-2009 Fold Down Arm Rest Console These vaults make the perfect gift for concealed handgun license holders. See the full line of products at www.jsamericanvaults.com.

Swift Hitch is an easy-to-use video system that assists you in hitching a vehicle to a trailer. A portable video camera with a magnetized base attaches to the vehicle tailgate, focused on the trailer hitch. A hand-held display unit shows a live picture in full color while you guide your hitch right up to the trailer. The camera transmits to a distance of 300 feet. It has fully automatic night vision (up to 15 feet) and comes with a 4 hour built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery. The display unit has a full color 2.5inch LCD color screen with 960 x 240 resolution. It can display either Normal or Reverse image. The display unit also has a 4-hour rechargeable lithium ion battery. Boat Owners can position the camera on the corner of their boat while backing


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Swift Hitch trailering-assist video system. tive maintenance; to locate something dropped in the bilge. The camera and display unit are priced at $289.00 for the set. For more information, see www.swifthitch.net.

BAITS & LURES The Bait Saver

down a ramp to launch or while backing in to a slip; to visually inspect an inboard engine for leaks while performing preven-

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The Original Bait Saver is a 2" x 1" plastic mesh basket. This container allows you to easily insert your bait and close the lid. Eye hooks (located on the side and the bottom of the bait saver) allows for the hook of your choice. You can select the bait of your choice (e.g. minnows, chicken livers, blood bait,

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The Bait Saver acts as a protective cage for live bait, and comes in two basic designs. etc.). Just drop it in and close the lid. The fish can see the bait, smell the bait and taste the bait. However, they are not able to take the bait. Now you will finally be able to easily reuse your bait, as the fish do not get the


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bait, all they get is mouth full of hook. The bait saver is great for trotlines, jug lines, or rod and reel. All types of fisherman can use this bait saver. Freshwater or saltwater, there's no reason to waste your bait. Check our their website: www.savemybait.com

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Katchmor/Nemire Lures John Nemire, founder of Nemire Lures, began baiting fish when he was as tall as his grandfather’s wading boots. As a child, Nemire spent every opportunity fishing for

Nemire Lures: Red Ripper, Spoon Buzzer, and Spin Ripper. everything he could catch from his grandfather’s row boat, with the help of his “lucky” cane pole. In the Early 1970’s, Nemire started making his own fishing lures, including the first stand-up jig head, Drop Spinner Bait and the original Spoon Buzzer. The popularity of his lures caught on with fellow fishermen across Ohio, but he was unable to gain broader footing due to economic contitions. In January 1998, Nemire decided to take another crack at the lures by improving the original Spoon Buzzer, which won six consecutive tournaments in the 1970’s and to design his Red Ripper. One of Nemire’s goals was to design the Red Ripper – a weedless metal crank bait with a rattle. The first time he tested it against other proven lures, the Red Ripper out-fished them 3 to 1, hooking six bass in 45 minutes. The Red Ripper was a success. And the rest is history. The full line of Nemire Lures by Katchmor is available online at www.nemirelures.com.

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Kicker Fish Bait Co. The goal at Kicker Fish Bait Company is to offer anglers distinctive new baits that can be added to their own catching arsenal. For bass fishing, the Original Texas Weedless Wacky Worm offers weedless presentation, great vibration, deadly slowtwitch action and a truly unique design that bass have yet to see. The new Kicker Kraw and Kicker Kraw JR, designed with the help of F.L.W. and B.A.S.S. pro Cody Bird, have everything an angler could want in a flipping-pitching type bait. Great lifelike fall and retrieve, solid body for firm rigging, diamond cut tube tentacles for added movement, and wings to eliminate line-twist combine to make it a deadly lure.

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The Shad Stick, takes the popular stick-bait craze to the next level. This innovative design maintains the darting action that the soft-jerk bait provides, but the stick

Russelure The legendary Russelure is back! With its unusual wobble swimming action, which can be varied from eccentric fast motion to a slower, smooth natural movement, the Russelure is irresistible to fish. Formed from aluminum with anodized colors, solid

Kicker Fish baits: Kicker Kraw, Shad Stick, and Byrd Dawg.

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tail gives the bait the vibration and wiggle action needed for realistic movement on the fall. The Shad Stick will be available in both Fresh and Saltwater styles in a wide variety of colors. Says Kicker Fish founder Kelly Jones, Jr., “For me, Bass fishing is truly a passion that I share with millions of other anglers who have become addicted to this mysterious predator we call Bass... and our continuous quest for new ways to catch them!” Check out their full line at www.kickerfishbait.com.

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brass brackets riveted to the body and superior quality Mustad hooks attached with stainless steel rings, the Russelure is a virtually indestructible lure. The Russelure comes in 8 different sizes and 11 different colors. Corrosion-resistant materials and all

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metal construction creates a virtually indestructible lure. The Russelure is a wobble-type lure (as opposed to a spinner, which twists the line). The lure’s action allows for a slower troll or retrieve, giving fish more time to see

The legendary Russelure is made of rugged aluminum to create a truly unique swim action. and take the lure. Different attachment ring locations on the larger lures allow for varied action and greater depths. For more information, visit www.russelure.com.

BOATING Onyx Outdoor Onyx outdoor recreation products provide reliable, dependable, and trustworthy gear you are looking for to keep you outdoors longer and will allow you to experience nature on your terms.

Onyx Advantage Max-4 and Select Vest. Onyx products are comprised of a complete line of EVA, PVC, and Nylon rainwear, fishing & hunting life jackets and accessories. C38

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Explore the outdoors in a new way with our exciting line up of new products sure to enhance your fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, camping, or any other memorable outdoor experience. Our products will make a good experience great…and wherever you’re going, we’ll be keeping you there. Onyx is a newly formed brand under the Absolute Outdoor, Inc. company, located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.onyxoutdoor.com.

ator and up to 3 passengers including pets and kids, allowing unrestricted movement about the boat. If the operator falls overboard the motor will shut off and an alarm will sound or if a passenger falls overboard the alarm will sound. Hard-wired kill switches protect only the operator. Autotether protects others onboard, with one receiver serving up to a maximum of four sensors. The Autotether Wireless Solor Fisherman System retails for $235. The Wireless Laynard System sells for $295. Visit www.autotether.com.

Autotether Inc. Autotether Wireless Lanyard for Fishermen and Recreational Boaters shuts off your motor within 1 1/2 seconds. The Autotether uses cutting edge RF technology and is the only patented wireless lanyard on the market. It connects directly to the engine kill switch. Protecting the boat oper-

Edson International Autotether wireless kill switch system.

In 2008 Edson officially entered its 150th year of operation. Edson’s core values back “then” when Jacob Edson founded this company in


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1859, and what they stand for “now”, remains remarkably similar and still totally entwined. Through Edson’s history these words ring as true today as they did 150 years ago, “Honesty”, “Integrity”, “Innovation” and “Passion”.

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Edson has introduced countless marine innovations in its long history, serving the commercial, sailing and recreational boater. Their vast catalog is available online, including new steering products such as their Power Knob Sportsman Series Composite steering knob. This attachment

Edson’s Power Knob Sportsman series and Pro Series Stainless steering wheels. straps or bolts to any off-road vehicle or boat wheel, making it easy to turn the wheel quickly with one hand. Edson also carries a wide selection of stainless steel comfort steering wheels, including their Pro Series Stainless wheels. Check out the entire inventory at www.edsonmarine.com, or call toll free, 1-800-450-8405.

SeaSense Unified Marine, Inc. was formed in 1984 to provide the marine industry with

Everything from rod holders to trailer winches is available at SeaSense C42

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the latest in innovative products at competitive prices, backed by a service commitment second to none. Unified boasts a 40,000 square foot distribution center and 5,000 square foot office building on 37 acres in Newport, Tennessee. This central location puts Unified within a one day shipment of most U.S. businesses. SeaSense offers a vast catalog of marine equipment, and has a huge selection of products that make great gift ideas. These products cover a wide range of prices, from under $10 to over $100. From rod holders to trailer winches, aerators to anchors, SeaSense is the perfect source for boaters’ gifts. Check us out at www.seasense.com.

Texas Marine of Beaumont Texas Marine has a large variety of boats to choose from. Bass Boats: Texas Marine of Beaumont carries the complete line of the legendary Ranger bass boats with highest customer satisfaction 3 years in a row. We also

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carry the complete line of the value packed Stratos fiberglass bass boats. Bay Boats: They also stock the number one selling bay boat in Texas, Blue Wave Bay Boats, from 16 to 24 feet, and Texas Marine is the number one Blue Wave dealer in the nation! We also carry the complete line of Robalo Bay & Offshore boats from 16 to 28 feet. Offshore Boats: For fishermen who demand the best, Texas Marine features the top name center console, Robalo, a name offshore fishermen have trusted for years, factory installed with Yamaha outboards. Texas Marine is proud to be a Marine Industry Certified Dealership. Certified Dealers must pass rigorous tests by an independant third party showing that customers can expect to find: Friendly, knowledgeable staff, Quality Products, Reliable Service. Visit the store at 1140 IH-10 North in Beaumont, Phone: (409) 898-7632, or check out their website at www.texasmarine.com.

Wells Marine Tech Wells Marine Technology, Inc. is the recognized leader in Electronic Battery Management Systems, and holds three U.S. patents on its Pulse Detection System. Wells Marine Technology also introduced “Automatic Battery Management Systems” to the marine and recreational vehicle industry. Their BassMaxxII puts an end to dead trolling motor batteries. The automatic switching system allows the main engine

The BassMaxx II from Wells Marine Tech


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alternator to charge the 12, 24, or 36 volt trolling motor batteries whernever the main engine is running. When the main engine is shut down, the trolling motor batteries automatically return 24 or 36 volts to the trolling motor. The trolling motor will run stronger longer, and deep cycle battery life

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will be significantly extended. Fishing time can be dramatically extended. The BassMaxxII is available for $280, and comes with a 3 year warranty. Visit www.wellsmarinetech.com.

ELECTRONICS Angler Products Angler Products sells Fishing Hotspots preloaded on a card for most current GPS makes and models. Simply choose the area you want to fish, show us what GPS you have and we'll send you a preloaded card with simple installation instructions that

Angler Products’ Post Ike Galveston hotspots. will allow you to load literally hundreds of good fishing locations in less time than you can manually load one. Angler Products and Hook-N-Line Fishing Maps have teamed up to bring you Post Ike Galveston Bay Fishing Maps and Hotspots Now you can have the best, most recent fishing map for the Galveston Bay area and be able to load over 400 updated fishing locations and boat ramps to your GPS instantly. Visit www.angler-products.com.

Hatcams Most activities require the use of both hands, which unfortunately makes filming these experiences difficult if not impossible … until now. Hatcam’s patent pending hatcam mounting system allows you to capture everything you hear and see, all while having both hands free. With the hatcam kit, experiences that would be just a memory can now be captured forever. Hatcam is great for the angler who wants to relive their fishing experience with first person video footage. Hatcam is lightweight, extremely stable, C44

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hands-free video recording. There are no wires. AA and lithium-ion powered camcorders are available, or use your pocket camcorder — the universal-mounting system fits any small camcorder with a tripod thread. Shooting is simple. The mount is

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designed so anything you look at gets captured, and transfering video to your PC or MAC is a easy with the camcorder's builtin USB port. Hatcam is sold as a kit, with hat and camcorder starting at $149, or just the mounting system hat for $34.99 (supply

Hatcams are available with and without the optional pocket camcorder. your own lightweight camcorder with universal tripod mount). Order online and view a large number of hatcam videos at www.hatcams.com.

The Fisherman’s Analyst The Fisherman’s Analyst is a comprehensive computer program which provides an integrated tide prediction table, journaling section, and charting capabilities. The software is sold by Third Stone Software (www.thirdstonesoft.com). TF&G Kayak Editor Greg Berlocher reviewed The Fisherman’s Analyst in the June, 2009 issue. In his review, Berlocher wrote: “The main screen features a tide chart which can be easily adjusted to display a day at a glance, a week, or even longer. The bright colors on the tide chart are configurable, allowing you to pick your favorite colors for high tides, low tide, and periods of major feeding activity. “Many tide charts provide high and low tide information but not much granularity on tide strength. The Fisherman’s Analyst C46

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ments of water and target fishing trips around water movement. “I found the software easy to manipulate and extremely affordable: $39.95 MSRP. It is available online from Third Stone Software’s website, www.thirdstonesoft.com, and you can also find it on Amazon.com.”

A colorful new line from Charter Arms includes The Pink Lady .38 special.

FIREARMS Charter Arms Part of the main screen view for The Fisherman’s Analyst, by Third Stone Software. takes this to a whole new level.” “Because entire bay systems are large bodies of water you won’t see a lot of height change during a tide but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of tide strength. There is a strong horizontal movement of water but it takes a while to affect the height. The horizontal movement of water is what triggers fish to feed.” “The Fisherman’s Analyst allows anglers to see these strong horizontal move-

Charter revolvers were conceived by American engineers who sought to achieve a new and distinctive approach to handgun design, without disturbing fine gun traditions. These revolvers are the smallest, lightest one-piece frame—stronger than screw-on side plate designs. They have the fewest critical moving parts for simplicity of design and trouble free operation. All barrels are machined with eight grooves instead of six for higher velocity, flatter trajectory and better accuracy. Their

completely blocked hammer system cannot fire unless the trigger is held in full rear position - the safest revolver design in the world. In fact, Charter invented the hammer block transfer bar safety system used by almost every revolver manufacturer. These guns have the shortest hammer throw, fastest lock time and a wide trigger and hammer spur. The cylinder lock up is in three places instead of two: cylinder stop and ejector rod collar for additional safety, strength and cylinder-to-barrel lock up. Charter Arms are 100% American owned, and 100% American made. Visit www.charterfirearms.com.


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Cor-Bon Custom Bullet Co.

Cor-Bon has expanded its popular DPX line of hunting cartridges.

Cor-Bon is the manufacturer of loaded high performance ammunition. Cor-Bon’s product line includes high velocity hollow point ammunition for law enforcement and self-defense, hunting and cowboy action.

Glaser safety slug, the original pre-fragmented ammunition. This year, Cor-Bon has made additions to their popular Pow'R Ball, DPX and

Cor-Bon ammunition line. Cor-Bon is the original designer and manufacturer of the 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum ammunition and the 460 Smith & Wesson Magnum. Visit www.corbon.com.

Trijicon If you want the very best riflescopes and sights money can buy, look no further than Trijicon. Trijicon’s optical excellence has been battle-tested by those who protect and defend us around the globe — rightfully gaining Trijicon the reputation as having the most sophisticated and dependable optics on the market. When precision is the only option, your best option is the Trijicon RMR Sight. Built to provide optimum red-dot visibility against the target, you can acquire and hit your target quickly and more accurately.

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The new Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) has been introduced to match the legendary toughness of the Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight). The RMR offers two illumination configurations. One choice is an innovative LED (light emitting diode) insert that automatically adjusts for brightness in any lighting situation and ensures optimum visibility of dot against the target. The second option is a dual-illuminated, battery-free model featuring Trijicon fiber optics and tritium. Accuracy is further enhanced with adjustments for windage and elevation and clarity is assured with the sight’s ultra-clear, hard-coated lens. Visit www.trijicon.com

Fishing Accessories Faultline Outdoors The Hook-Holster provides a fast and convenient place to hang your hook or lure. This great product has many other advan-

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and cause it to break. And placing hooks into a cork handle dulls the hook. The Hook-Holster is available at Academy, Bass Pro Shops, and online at www.faultlineoutdoors.com.

Fishing Lights, Etc. Fishing with artificial light has been around for many years. It doesn't take a $100 to $300 fishing light to attract fish. Bait fish such as shad and minnows are

Faultline Outdoors’ Hook-Holster tages that make it a great tool for all fishermen. The Hook-Holster conceals points on single hooks, prevents tangled lines in the car or boat, protects hands, clothing, carpet and upholstery, fits snuggly to your rods with no noticeable effect on balance. It’s also immune to damage from UV and saltwater. Hook barbs make small abrasions in rod eyelets that damage fishing line, causing the line to weaken and break. Hooks placed in the eyelet can weaken the eyelet

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drawn to the light to feed on the plankton; and larger game fish move in to feed on the bait fish. It's not uncommon to see bait fish stacked in columns 15 feet thick under the lights, with game fish suspended directly below them. Since 1981, Fishing Lights Etc. has

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established itself as the leader in Underwater Fishing Lights. Their lights are built in the heartland of America and are guaranteed never to leak or they will replace them for free. They produce dock lights, submersibles for boats, rigs for crappie and flounder.

They invite anglers to visit their website, www.fishinglightsetc.com, to view their wide range of products. They also encourage visiting the sites of competitors to see why their lights are preferred by the majority of fishermen.

Frabill Sporting Goods Frabill’s patented new Hibernet is the most completely portable, retractable landing net. Stored, it’s no bulkier than your nighttime running lights. It’s the first net that fits cleanly inside any standard rod

Frabill’s Hibernet... open for business. locker. You’ll forget it’s even there…until you need it. Grab the handle, slide the grip forward, and out shoots a hoop and net, locking into place for the big moment. Hibernet is unquestionably the best portable landing net solution we’ve seen,” states Frabill Engineer, Ryan Kleckner. The beauty of the Hibernet really lies in its simple, foolproof design, Kleckner believes. “There are no buttons or confusing push connections. All you do is slide the handle upward.” Hibernet retracts instantly, too. Just pull the Slide Grip back toward the handle. This unlocks the hoop and draws it back inside the tube. And it’s as solid in construction as it is in performance. “Hibernet’s handle and hoop frames are built with heavy-walled, extruded aluminum,” reports Kleckner. “The Slide-Grip uses pultruded fiberglass C50

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springs, which power the automatic hoop lock. There’s no tension when the net’s retracted, so it never wears out. The whole product is extremely corrosion resistant, so it works equally well in saltwater.” The netting itself is a soft, black poly mesh. Retracted, Hiber-Net is 52-inches in length, with a triangular-shaped hoop that’s 22- by 22-inches by 24-inches deep. Check it out, along with the other great Frabill products at www.frabill.com.

Gulf Coast Waders Gulf Coast Waders is family owned and operated business, selling quality products with superior customer service to fisherman (and women) all over Texas. They sell two products, a Breathable suit and a full Neoprene suit, to offer the best prices and fast delivery. All suits are in stock at our Houston facility and ready for immediate delivery. You can buy your waders at any time at the Gulf Coast Waders website, www.gulfcoastwaders.com or by phone at 281-682-0656. Gulf Coast Waders has a wading suit

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Breathable waders for Texas fishermen, by Texas fishermen, so give them a call today. You too will see why their motto is “we build waders to keep you in the water and keep the water off you.” For more information and to see the full line of waders visit their website, www.gulfcoastwaders.com.

Plano Molding If you have ever had a bottle of simulated live bait spilled on the floor of your boat, or had one of the bags dry out…. then you understand the value of the Liqua-Bait Locker System. The Liqua-

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Plano Molding’s Liqua-Bait Locker System Bait Locker System (LBL) has been developed to contain the liquids and the odors of simulated live baits, while ensuring their freshness. The LBL systems will withstand the beating that anglers can put on their equipment. The Dri-Loc O-ring seal makes all components of the LBL system leak-proof and airtight, keeping baits fresh and tackle box and boat odor free. Noncorrosive pinned hinges provide a strong solid hinge that will last through years of use. The 4642 Extra Deep LBL includes

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one bottle, one bait grabber, and one wallet. It will hold 4 bottles or wallets (or two of each) with room left over for additional packages of softbait. It measures 14” x 9.13” x 4.75 and retails for $24.99. The 4641 Deep LBL includes one bottle and one bait grabberand holds one

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bottle with room for additional packages of softbait. It measures 14” x 9.13” x 3.25” and retails for $14.99. The 4648 LBL Wallet holds multiple packages of softbait or individual softbaits in their juices without the packaging. The 4648 LBL Wallet retails for $9.99.

The 4651 LBL Bottle holds up to 23.5 ounces of simulated live bait and the liquid they are stored in. It retails for $7.99. For more information about the new Liqua-Bait Locker System, or any other Plano Tackle Systems products, visit www.planomolding.com.

Hunting Accessories Pradco-Moultrie Feeders The new Moultrie Game Spy Game Management System allows you to view pictures your game camera takes from the comfort of your home, office . . . anywhere with internet access. You can check on your hunting land by simply logging on to a web site. The game management system consists of three components: the game camera, the cellular modem and the web site. Moultrie’s game cameras are designed

Moultrie Game Spy game management system.

to be compatible with the Game Management System. Each camera features the latest in scouting technology. The Game Spy I-45 and I-65 models feature virtually invisible infrared technology, and the Game Spy M-45 and M-65 white-flash cameras capture color nighttime video. The AT&T cellular network wirelessly transmits images from your game camera to your private-access web site. You can easily access the game management web site using your computer, PDA C52

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or cell phone. Once there, you have private access to a web page where you can see photos, check battery status or even change the settings on your game camera. If you'd like to be one click away from 24/7 access to your game photos, get into the Moultrie Game Spy Game Management System. Visit www.moultriefeeders.com.

x 7.5’ tall to 8’ wide x 10’ long x 7.5’ tall. Coolers are available with or without insulated floors. Standard features include Galvalume finish with aluminum floor; insulated door with hardware; thermometer, light, fully self-contained refrigeration system by Bhon, a brand of Heatcraft Refrigeration Products LLC; 110 volt systems, 4 inches

Sportlock SportLock LLC is your source for gun and bow safety. They sell pistol, rifle, shotgun and bow cases in a variety of sizes and compositions. If you need home security safes for handguns, jewelry, or document storage, Sportlock’s compact steel safes come in a variety of sizes and access.

Port-A-Cool portable evaporative coolers. pools, garages, fishing docks and hunting camps. GEM Cooling of Texas is an authorized Port-A-Cool® dealer for the entire Lone Star state located in Selma, Texas. Port-A-Cool, LLC is located in Center, Texas. Port-A-Cool® coolers are available at Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear in Houston, or at www.gemcoolingtx.com.

KT Coolers KT Coolers is a Texas-based manufacturer of walk-in deer, wild game, and ranch coolers. They build a variety of standardsize coolers ranging from 4’ wide x 6’ long

KT Coolers walk-in deer cooler. of insulation; and 2 galvanized steel meat rails with hooks. Optional delivery and installation is also available. Visit www.ktcoolers.com.

Sportlock Gun Vault Sportlock’s goal is to provide products to meet your needs. Customer service is the component that has made their business a success. See their entire product line at www.sportlockllc.com.

General Products G.E.M. Cooling of Texas Port-A-Cool® Portable Evaporative Cooling Units are Portable, Powerful, and Practical. These American-made portable evaporative cooling units cool anywhere using 115 volts and tap water for a dollar a day. No assembly required. They will work anywhere that traditional air conditioning is not available, impractical or cost prohibitive. Port-A-Cool® is not only used for warehouses, loading docks, and work bays, but is also perfect for home patios and A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Randolph Engineering’s Ranger Series : XLW, XL, Classic, Sporter.

Randolph Engineering Eye protection is always important, whether you're in the field or on the line. RE Ranger lenses, by Randolph Engineering, are designed to protect your eyes

while highlighting your target and increasing overall contrast. Key design elements include fast and easy interchangeability of lenses, optical

grade polycarbonate lenses in 16 custom tints, prescription frame quality with a lifetime warranty on all solder joints, and comfort fit temples. The Ranger series has four models: XLW, XL, Classic and Sporter. Each model offers a variety of temple styles, including Skull which follow the curve of your ear and head; Cable which securely and comfortably hold eyewear in place even in extreme conditions; and Bayonet (XLW only), for military pilots to fit comfortably under head-gear. See the full line of eyewear at www.randolphusa.com.

Outdoor Cutlery AccuSharp The AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is a knife sharpener anyone can use. No more messy oils or stones. In about 10 seconds, sharpen knives, (even serrated knives), cleavers, axes, machetes, and many other cutting tools. C54

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Lansky Controlled-Angle Sharpening System. The Lansky system makes it easy to keep professional edges on all sporting, household and work knives. The Controlled Angle Sharpening System is a gift of sharper, safer knives. Visit www.lanskysharpeners.com.

Mad Cow Cutlery AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener. The large ergonomic handle fits either hand safely and securely. The full length finger guard protects your fingers. Sharpening blades are Diamond Honed Tungsten Carbide for years of reliable use. AccuSharp Knife Sharpeners will not rust and can be cleaned with soap and water or in the dishwasher. Replacement sharpening blades are available. Sportsmen, Cooks, Craftsmen, and Gardeners will appreciate the easy-to-use, affordable AccuSharp line of knife and tool sharpeners. Visit www.accusharp.com.

Lansky Sharpeners Since 1979, Lansky Sharpeners has been recognized as the world leader in Sharpening Technology. Each Lansky Sharpeners product is

Mad Cow Cutlery is a family owned and managed cutlery business located in the Heart of Texas, between Austin and San Angelo. Their central location helps reduce shipping times and expense.

selections of cutlery and cooking utensils than the larger corporate distributors of processing and restaurant knives and accessories. Personal service is the key to shopping with Mad Cow Cutlery. Their vast inventory includes knives, sharpeners and processing tools for meat processing, hunting and fishing, commercial and residential food service. Shop online for gifts, starting as low as $5 for stocking stuffers, at www.madcowcutlery.com.

Puma Knife Company USA Puma Knives have been produced in Germany since 1769. Hunters and craftsmen know and trust Puma performance, heritage and technology.

Mad Cow Cutlery’s wide selection of knives, sharpeners and cutting tools. Being a small business doesn't mean small selections and limited services. Since they are more specialized in the products they sell, Mad Cow Cutlery stocks larger

Puma “Prince”.

Lansky Controlled-Angle Sharpening System. carefully designed to meet unparalleled performance, reliability, and safety standards. All Lansky Sharpeners products are engineered to be completely ambidextrous, and manufactured with superior quality materials by craftsmen who are committed to providing you with a product that is second to none. New for the 2009 holiday season is the A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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The highest grades of stainless steel, innovative designs, genuine stag handles, and traditional German craftsmanship are why Puma knives are considered at the top of every major ranking of classic hunting and sporting knives. Key innovations include the Puma White Hunter, the Duke, The Prince, and the Earl. A Puma knife is a gift that will last more than a lifetime. See the full line at www.pumakifecompanyusa.com.

Retail Fishing Tackle Unlimited In 1980, Cut Rate Sporting Goods began in space less than 1,200 sq.ft. carrying general sporting goods. Today, Cut Rate Fishing Tackle Unlimited is still an independently owned retail store serving customers world wide with their tackle needs. In 2002, Fishing Tackle Unlimited, and Gulf Coast Trolling Motors moved from Telephone Road to Gulf Freeway at Fuqua into a 33,000 sq. ft. building. It is

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They feature dozens of optics manufacturers and offer a 110% low price guarantee. They feature SWFA SS riflescopes, designed to operate in the most extreme conditions (from minus-50 to 130 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, 30,000 ft altitudes, and 15 ft depths in saltwater). Order by phone at 1-972-726-7348 or online at www.swfa.com.

Fishing Tackle Unlimited said to be one of the largest independent fishing tackle stores in the world. Whether you are a freshwater, saltwater, fly fisher, bank, pond, party boat, offshore, tournament fisherman or fisherwoman Fishing Tackle Unlimited has the inventory and selections you will need. Visit their online store at www.fishingtackleunlimited.com.

S.W.F.A. Inc. SWFA is the world’s largest dealer in sports optics. Through direct order by phone or online, they sell riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, range finders, night vision and thermal sights, mounts, laser sights, rings and bases.

Rods and Reels Ardent Outdoors, Inc. Ardent is the leading designer and manufacturer of freshwater fishing reels and Reel Care products and accessories. Made by fishermen for fishermen, the design of every Ardent reel and Ardent accessory is the result of input from professional anglers that are members of Team Ardent. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Ardent is proud to be the only manufacturer of freshwater casting and spinning reels Made in the USA. The company was founded on the principle of creating high performance fishing reels that can endure the test of time. Every Ardent reel is hand assembled and performance tested prior to shipment. Each Ardent reel is also backed by the industry’s best 3-year warranty to ensure years of great performance.

Get Smart Cull free when you purchase Ardent’s XS1000 or XS600 reels. C56

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Daiwa

American Rodsmith’s The Pink Lady

Daiwa began making reels in 1955. It has since grown into one of the largest tackle companies in the world. By continuing to create new and innovative rod and reel technology, Daiwa continues to earn the appreciation of freshwater, offshore and inshore anglers. One such new innovation is the TD Zillion Coastal Casting Reel. With the

Visit their website, www.americanrodsmiths.com.

Ardent’s latest product releases include: The XS1000 and XS600, magnesium framed baitcasters; C400, aluminumframed 4-ball bearing baitcaster; S2500 spinning reel featuring Ardent’s Total Titanium Protection System (TTP); SmartCull, a two-stage culling system to manage fish in your livewell during fishing tournament situations; plus Reel Butter, Reel Kleen, and Reel Guard cleaning and protecting products. Since the company originated in 2003, Ardent has been committed to offering the highest quality reel with expert craftsmanship only a fisherman can appreciate. They are available at Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s Gander Mountain and Fishing Tackle Unlimited. Visit www.ardentreels.com.

American Rodsmiths American Rodsmiths has become one of the nation’s premiere manufacturers of performance fishing rods for both fresh and saltwater. Innovation is the key to their success, both in sales and in wins on the bass and saltwater tournament circuits. American Rodsmiths is excited about their Lady Rodsmith lines, with signature tournament series rods from Judy Wong and Shellie Gray, and especially The Pink Lady Special. The Pink Lady Special was developed to give lady anglers a fishing rod that was not only functional, but also stylish. It is available in both 6’6” and 7’ spinning and casting models. The Pink Lady Special is the perfect gift for the lady angler in your life, or the daughter or granddaughter you have been wanting to introduce to the great sport of fishing. American Rodsmiths has joined the fight to help support breast cancer research and will be donating a portion of all Pink Ladies sales to help win this battle. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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fastest gear ratio available in a compact saltwater reel of this kind, anglers waste less time getting a bait or lure back and more time working it through productive areas. At 7.3 to 1, the gearing rips in 32 inches of line with every crank of the handle. Specialized materials and anti-corrosion treatments provide total corrosion protection. It is perfect for topwaters. To learn more about the TD Zillion Coastal and all of Daiwa’s innovative fishing products, visit www.daiwa.com.

Kistler Custom Rods Kistler Custom Fishing Rods celebrates 10 years of success in 2009, driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence and a heritage of rodbuilding in the Kistler family. Trey Kistler, founder of Kistler Custom Rods and his dad, Billy Kistler, who both have years of experience with legendary Texas rodbuilding manufacturers have created new and exciting engineering in the rod industry. Kistler’s new Argon and CarNew for bon Steel series rods 2009 are • D E C E M B E R

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two rod lines, the Argon Series and the Carbon Steel Series. Don’t forget to take a look at the reengineered Helium LTA and Helium 2 LTX rods as well. They have also implemented their “Build Your Own Rod” (BYOR) System. Visit the Kistler website to design and build your one-of-a-kind custom rod based on their most popular rod features, including the new Z-Bone. Choose your features, and a Kistler rod technician will custom build it by hand. Go to www.kistlerrods.com.

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Taxidermy Gulfcoast Waterfowl Gulfcoast Waterfowl is Texas' own bird taxidermy studio. With more than 15 years of Waterfowl, upland, and exotic bird experience, Gulfcoast can do just about anything with feathers that you can imagine. Clients include museums and learning facilities as well as some of the most recognized waterfowl hunting clubs in the counGulfcoast Waterfowl has more try. Quick turnarounds than 15 years experience in and competigame bird taxidermy. tive prices set Gulfcoast Waterfowl on a different standard of waterfowl taxidermy. Contact them at 281 961 2474 today. Visit www.gulfcoastwaterfowl.com.

Overall Taxidermy For the Last Two decades, Overall Taxidermy has been offering a wide range of taxidermy and wildlife art services in and around Texas. From life-size African big game to exot-

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ic offshore sport fish, Overall Taxidermy is sure to meet your taxidermy needs. Overall also offers a number of incentives such as children Overall Taxidermy offers a discounts and rush services for wide range of taxidermy birthdays and and wildlife art services. other special occasions. Call today at 281-380-1856 for more information.

Texas European Mounts Texas European Mounts is a family owned and operated business. A passion for hunting and wood working mixed with an entrepreneurial spirit brought forth Texas European Mounts. They are located in Charlie, TX, which is a farming community about 25 Miles northeast of Wichita Falls. Their mission is to provide you with a beautiful and unique plaque to accent your prized trophy. They have their own sawmill Texas European Mounts harvests and access and mills the wood used in its to land for distinctive mounts. harvesting lumber, so most of the wood that they use comes from a tree that they harvested and milled into lumber. Having a sawmill also gives them access to unique pieces of lumber that are not commercially available. Visit their website at www.texaseuropeanmounts.com, or call (940) 631-4334.

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Bellville Meat Market THE BELLVILLE MEAT MARKET IS AN AWARDwinning meat processor recognized by its peers for providing some of the tastiest jerky, sausage, brisket, and hot links in the Lone Star State. While customers come from miles away to visit the butcher counter for a wide selection of hand cut meats, the Bellville Meat Market is known statewide for outstanding game processing. With hunting season here, the ramifications are clear. Jerrod and Marcus Poffenberger, second-generation owners of this family-owned business, can process your venison into a wide assortment of culinary masterpieces, including jerky, dry sausage, summer sausage, and smoked sausage. Their Jalapeno Cheese Summer Sausage was named Grand Champion in the Texas Meat

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heavy demand for their processing, the market accepts deer on a 24/7 basis during rifle season. A telephone number is posted on the door for late-night drop offs. —Greg Berlocher

On the Web www.bellvillemeatmarket.com

Red Wing Boats WHEN YOU HEAR OR READ ABOUT A COMPANY that has been in business for over 50 years, still at the same location, and family owned, you know they must be doing something right. The Lester family has owned Red Wing Boat Co. since the beginning. Fred Lester took over the operation of the dealership after his father, Clyde, passed on. Elizabeth,

Processors Assoc. Jerrod and Marcus Poffenberger, second-gener- Clyde’s wife, is the product competition. owner of the compaation owners of Bellville Meat Market Bellville Meat ny now but is not Market is easy to find at 36 South Front involved in the day-to-day operation. BarStreet in downtown Bellville, at the inter- bara Stringfield, Lester’s sister, handles the section of highways 36 and 159. Due to the administrative end and helps out with sales PHOTO COURTESY BELLVILLE MEAT MARKET

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when there is a need. Their brother, Ralph, who is confined to a wheelchair, helps in whatever way he can. Fred likes to tell people that he has never filled out an employment application in his life. He started working for his dad when he was in elementary school and has been there ever since. Red Wing’s products include Gulf Coast, Parker, Champion, Frontier, and Black Jack boats. Customers can choose between Evinrude and Yamaha in engines. As for all the extras—trolling motor, electronics, jack plates, etc.—they carry it all. The Lester name is well known in the boating industry in Houston. Fred was recently elected president of the Houston Boating Trades Association. This is the third time he has held the influential office. Red Wing is a boat dealership that does a little bit of everything. “Sometimes a boater brings in something he wants done on his boat and a dealer might say, ‘We don’t do that here. You need to take it over there’,” Fred said. “A customer doesn’t want to do that. He wants to leave it, get it fixed, and come back and get it. There are some things that are somewhat profitable, some things that aren’t, but you take care of all a customer’s service needs if you want to maintain that customer. If the customer wants something done that we might not do here, if the customer agrees we get it done at another shop for him. The main thing is servicing the customer in whatever they need.” Red Wing Boat Company is located at 836 South 75th St, Houston, TX; 713921-0656. —Tom Behrens

On the Web www.redwingboatco.com.

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Blue Runners WAS PANTING FOR BREATH AND PERSPIRING copiously (actually, I was gasping like a fish out of water and sweating like a pig in a pepper patch) as I jogged uphill through and around boulders and catclaw bushes. My legs felt like they were made of lead, the shotgun in my hands had gained about a hundred pounds in weight in the last 300 yards, and I desperately wanted to shed the coat that had felt so comfortable an hour before. Above me, the mountain reared up to a jumbled pass between two rocky peaks. Ahead of me, always just out of range, adamantly refusing to fly and apparently enjoying the game, were about 20 scaled quail. Running from bush to bush, dodging between car-sized boulders, the little expletives-deleted had been taunting us for over a quarter of a mile. Finally, with the pass only a few feet above, we got close enough to force the covey into the air.

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For a few seconds, the thin mountain air was filled with the sound of shotguns and the smell of gunsmoke. One of the quail, the one that had been sneering at, squatted, ducked its head, and then leaped into the air, trailing a thin contrail of caliche dust. I stopped, staggered as I tried to find some solid footing,

by Steve LaMascus slapped the little Ithaca shotgun to my shoulder, forced the barrels ahead of the quail, and pressed the trigger. At the first shot, the quail staggered in the air but didn’t fall. I slapped the trigger for the second barrel. The bird folded, tumbled end over end, hit the ground limply, and finally rolled to a stop under a catclaw bush at the apex of the pass. As I picked up the bird, I looked back at the tiny blue dot that was the pickup far below in the canyon, and won-

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dered if I could talk one of my companions into going back and driving the 4x4 up the mountain through the maze of boulders to the top of the pass. I gave up the idea as unrealistic. We ended up not going back down the mountain. Well, at least not the same side of the mountain. We trudged down the far side and met our host in his truck on a road about a hundred miles down the rocky, thorny slope. The quail scattered and then disappeared as completely as ground fog on a sunny day. We managed to take a few before they vanished, but the death march to the truck took until dark and we encountered no more quail. We did, however, see some javelinas and a couple of mule deer, and right at sunset a maniacal chorus of coyotes serenaded us. My bed that evening, a foam rubber mattress and sleeping bag on the concrete floor of a huge barn/bunk house, felt like the best bed at the Waldorf. I was too tired to even ache. That hunt for scaled quail was in the Quitman Mountains of West Texas, a.k.a. the Big Bend Region (that part of Texas generally west of a line from Del Rio through MidPHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN


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land/Odessa) is home to assorted types of desert quail. It is the northernmost part of the Chihuahuan desert and is composed of a mishmash of widely diverse terrain, with rugged, isolated mountain ranges thrusting to over 7000 feet, scattered across a vast expanse of thinly vegetated thorny desert. West Texas, with the obvious exception of El Paso, is the least densely (most thinly?) populated portion of the state, truly the last of the wild frontier. I have shot scaled quail and Gambel’s quail there, and am told of scattered bands of Mearn’s, which are protected. The most common are definitely scaled quail, which are called blue quail by every Texan I ever met. Blue quail are runners, taking wing only as a last resort. We hunted three days and climbed mountains and ran after blue quail until I was so tired my tail was dragging out my tracks. I love quail of all kinds. Bobwhites are popular because they will sit for a pointer. This makes the dog lovers happy. On the other hand, a pointing dog trained on bobwhites becomes a raving lunatic after a short time hunting blue quail, because blues run and will not hold. The best dog for blue or Gambel’s quail is a dog that would be good for pheasants. I like Labrador retrievers. Although I once raised and hunted Brittany spaniels, I no longer have any pointing dogs because I have come to believe that the flushing retrievers are more versatile. Also, in many instances I need a dog that can find my birds in the densest thickets. This is retriever territory. Yes, a pointer can be trained to retrieve, but they are bred to point and retrieving is not what they do best. A pointer will usually make one pass at finding a downed bird and then head out to find more birds to point. A retriever will hunt as hard as a pointer, but will also put its heart into finding the dead bird for its hunting buddy. Shotguns are personal choices and there is no accounting for taste. I find desert quail best hunted with 12- or 16-gauge guns with tighter chokes than normally used for quail elsewhere. I have determined modified and improved-modified, or modified in both barrels great combinations in my doubles, and modified in a single-barreled gun is about right. Skeet choke, which I use for quail in South Texas, is just too open for the longer ranges encountered in West Texas. I tried it at first

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and “fringed” or “feathered” far too many birds. Also, desert quail seem to be tougher and harder to kill cleanly than the gardenvariety bobwhite, so a bit larger shot is a good idea. I use No. 7 (not 7-1/2) a lot and find it very good for West Texas birds, but No. 6s would also be a great choice. Just expect the ranges to be farther and gear up accordingly. Geronimo, the great Chiricahua Apache war chief, once said: “I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there

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was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.” While I do not like to anthropomorphize wild animals, I think that statement, and Geronimo’s fighting spirit describe perfectly the little scaled quail. May their presence always enrich the desert.

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Panhandle Pheasant Bonanza G

ET READY FOR SOME GREAT PHEASANT hunting in the Texas Panhandle. That’s the word from another little bird that helps provide wildlife biologists like Gene Miller with a measuring stick for predicting the upcoming pheasant-hunting season in the popular plains area of North Texas. The season opens 5 December in 37 Panhandle counties and closes 3 January with a three-bird (roosters only) daily bag; possession limit six.

by Bob Hood “We had a good carryover of pheasant from last year and some favorable rains that point to good pheasant reproduction,” said Miller, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department biologist. Although biologists don’t make their annual assessment pheasant numbers until late October and early November via 44 roadside counts along 20-mile stretches, Miller said summer observations of another bird, quail, which also is dependent upon good spring and summer rains for reproduction, has painted an optimistic forecast for the pheasant season. “We have seen a lot of bobwhite and blue quail in many counties,” Miller said. “That’s always a good sign. I think it is setting up to be an average or above average reproduction of pheasant in several areas.” Texas Panhandle pheasant hunting is a much-celebrated event among not only hunters, but also among numerous small town non-profit and service organizations. Hunters flock to the Panhandle from all over the nation, and even from overseas each December and early January to participate in “community pheasant hunts” held by local organizations. The money hunters pay to hunt pheasant has helped many cashC62

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Pheasant season in the Texas Panhandle runs strapped communiThe key to finding from December 5 to January 3. ties build volunteer the best pheasant fire stations, support hunting areas in the senior citizen groups, underwrite college Panhandle is finding the combination of scholarships for area youths, purchase grassy cover near the edges and corners of ambulances, and much more. grain fields consisting of wheat, milo or Among the small communities that hold corn; or grassy cover near playa lakes close these hunts are Hart, Olton, Vega, Easter, to grain fields, said TPWD biologist Jeff Lazbuddie, Stratford, Dalhart, Dimmit, Bonner of Pampa. Friona, and Nazareth plus several more. A “Where you have a good mix of grasses few calls to various chambers of commerce that the landowners have let grow around in the Panhandle region for information the corners of their fields or CRP (Conserabout the open-to-the-public community vation Reserve Program) lands next to grain hunts is well worth the effort for pheasant fields, you can expect to find the best pheashunting enthusiasts. ant hunting,” Bonner said. “Dallam Coun-

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ty is particularly good because it is interspersed with CRP lands and corners with some type of grass cover. In addition to Dallam, other top Panhandle pheasant counties include Deaf Smith, Hansford, Ochiltree, Gray, Randall, Bailey, Haile, Sherman, and Floyd. Chinese ringneck pheasant first appeared in the U.S. in 1791 when Benjamin Franklin’s son-in-law, Richard Bache, stocked a New Jersey plantation with pheasant from China. In 1881, Judge Denny, U.S. Consul to China, made a more successful stocking of the birds in Oregon and Pennsylvania. According to TPWD records, pheasant first appeared in the northern Panhandle in 1939 or 1940. Those birds reportedly drifted across the border from western Oklahoma, where they had been introduced around 1910. In 1941, two Hereford residents who had hunted ringneck pheasant in the Dakotas initiated a stocking program in Deaf Smith County. Soon thereafter, other private landowners began stocking pheasant to help establish populations on their Panhandle lands. As the years passed, TPWD, the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, more private landowners, civic organizations, and sportsman groups began stocking the beautifully colored and sporty bird with a rocket-launch like flight throughout the region. Unlike many other game birds that do well on rangeland, pheasant are dependant upon lands that produce corn, wheat, milo, sorghum, and similar grains. If the land is not cultivated, it will not have pheasant. Moderate farming, such as leaving grassy areas for cover from predators, shade, and resting areas next to grain fields, playa lakes, and ditches is much like leaving timbered areas next to wheat or oat fields for deer. Although deer do not need the oat and wheat fields for food as much as the pheasant do, neither would survive without the cover. When searching for the best pheasant hunting opportunities in the Texas Panhandle, ask questions about the farming practices in the county you want to visit. Although many landowners intentionally leave stands of grassy cover in the corners of their fields, in areas next to playa lakes, around abandoned houses, and along old or new irrigation ditches; or leave rows of unharvested grain on field margins for pro-

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tective cover, some do not. A landowner with a pheasant management strategy mixed in with his farming operations generally will have the best hunting. Now is a good time to choose an area you want to hunt and also a good time to prepare some of the necessary gear. Most pheasant hunters go with a 12-gauge autoloader and No. 6 shot. A pair of sunglasses or shooting glasses; hunter orange caps; and clothing that will turn stiff grass, briars, and

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barbed wire should also be on your BEL (Basic Equipment List). Some type of hydration system for bird dogs is a must. Pheasant hunting provides great camaraderie among friends, lots of exercise, and gracious retrieves by bird dogs, all during the relentless pursuit of one of the sneakiest game birds that ever has taken wing—which usually occurs when you least expect it.

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1917 Enfield—An Old Warrior F YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE “SERGEANT York” starring Gary Cooper, you need to. It is a classic. Sergeant York was the best known American hero of World War I; a country boy from Tennessee and a Christian man who went in harm’s way to serve his country, just like thousands of others who have served and are serving now. God bless them all. Without men and women willing to put their lives on the line, we would not be the greatest free nation on Earth. For his inconceivably heroic service, York earned the Medal of Honor. Most folks think Alvin York was armed with a 1903 Springfield, as portrayed in the movie, but the truth is that the rifle he was issued was a 1917 “American” Enfield (as opposed to the British “SMLE” Short Magazine Lee Enfield .303) in .30-06 caliber. Also, the movie depicts him shooting German soldiers with a 9mm Luger. This, too, is incorrect. He actually used a Model 1911 (maker unknown, but probably a Colt) in .45 ACP. Movies notwithstanding, the 1917 Enfield served honorably and dependably from its introduction on through World War II. I have a soft spot in my heart for the 1917 Eddystone Enfield. The first rifle I ever used on game other than a .22 was a 1917 Enfield made at the Eddystone Arsenal in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Dad “sporterized” it by removing most of the military wood, leaving just the butt and bottom-rear fore-end. Then he cut the butt off at the wrist and mated it with the butt, similarly cut from a surplus Mauser stock. This was a good thing because

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the original Enfield stock lacked a raised comb, sporting instead a swaybacked stock like on the British SMLE Enfield, which was the 1917 Enfield’s immediate progenitor. By replacing the poorly designed Enfield stock with that of the Mauser, it gave the Enfield a comb high enough to allow solid cheek contact while looking through the sights. It was a brilliantly simple solution. My Enfield still wore the original battle sights, consisting of a rear peep and front blade. Since I was shooting in the 4-H Shooting Sports Program, I was very familiar with this type of sight. The old gun was ugly as homemade soap, but it performed beautifully. The first shot I fired at game produced a dead coyote and I was immediately sold on the old gun as a super-accurate and deadly hunting rifle. One of the weaknesses of the 1917 Enfields was their barrels. They, or at least all of them that I have seen, used barrels with only two rifling grooves. Because of this, when the barrel became a bit worn—which didn’t take all that long in those days because of the softer steel used in the barrels—the accuracy went downhill in a hurry. In other rifles with four-groove barrels, the guns would continue to shoot with acceptable accuracy for hundreds if not thousands of rounds after a twogroove Enfield needed a new barrel. I kept the Enfield for years and shot it a lot even after I had better guns. It never failed me. Then Dad had the gun completely customized with a new stock, pretty bluing, plated trigger and bolt, and the ears on the rear of the action that protected the rear sight ground off so the gun could be drilled and tapped for a scope. We mounted a good scope on the gun

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and took it to the range. Sad to say, it would just barely stay on a footsquare target at 100 yards. After a while, Dad sold the old gun to someone who wanted beauty more than accuracy. The truth is that it was never very accurate. It was, however, sufficiently accurate to do what I asked of it. I seldom shot more than 100 yards. Most of the coyotes I shot were called up and shot at fairly close range and the old Enfield was plenty accurate for that kind of work. Which goes to prove that we don’t really need those sub-1-inch deer rifles we crave. I always wanted to replace that old Enfield, but never ran across one. Then a few months ago, a friend gave me one. It was strangely similar to my old gun. It had been partially “sporterized” but still wore the battle sights. It was so ugly that, once again, I fell madly in love. I originally considered converting it to a .375 H&H. I don’t have one at the moment, and no serious shooter should be without a DGR (dangerous game rifle). Then I decided that it would be a shame to change the gun from its original chambering. I finally decided to leave it just as I got it. I might, someday, find an old Mauser stock and have this Enfield altered to match my first one. It would be a kick to take it deer hunting or use for coyotes, and I know it would get the job done just as it did for Alvin York. The 1917 Enfield is an old gun, but still tough and serviceable. They are neither rare nor expensive. I just checked one of the gun auction websites and it had at least 20 Enfields listed, from full-military condition to beautifully done custom rifles. After nearly a hundred years, these old warriors are still worth owning and shooting. E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com PHOTO BY STEVE LAMASCUS


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A Special Gift HE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE, AND TO MANY that means it is time to hurry up and buy all those gifts for your friends and family; but in reality, it is a time to reflect on what is most important to us. I realize this is a bowhunting column, but I would be remiss if I did not discuss the most important gift. Last year at this time, I wrote about various gifts for the hunter in your family. This year, I decided to write about the one gift that you cannot find in any store; it is not found on any shelf and it does not come giftwrapped—it is the gift of your time. Take the time to teach your child to draw a bow. Show them how much fun it can be to break balloons by shooting an arrow. You must remember that, for a child, it has to remain fun. If the fun stops, then it becomes a chore and something that loses its charm quickly. Take the time to bring a child along on a hunt. Yes, you will probably miss more than your share of opportunities. After all, it is almost impossible for an excited child to stay still, even when he thinks he is. It is not about shooting game, but sharing a moment in time with someone you love; about showing the young hunter what lies in store for them for years to come; about creating memories for you and your little one so that he may carry on the great hunting tradition that bowhunters love so much. The wonderful thing about hunting in Texas is that it is legal to hunt year-round. Unlike so many other states, here we can enjoy the seasons with bow in hand and child by our side. Texas, as you well know, has an abundance of game, so the child you bring will always have some excitement, be it

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a beautiful whitetail slowly searching the woodlot for its favorite food, or maybe a fast rabbit leaping from a nearby brush pile. Either way, it is guaranteed that the wide-eyed youngster will bring home a huge smile and be eager to tell Mom everything in great detail. Rest assured the tale the future hunter tells will bring a smile to your face as well. A trip to the hunting grounds is not only fun, but also educational. In schools, children learn about different types of foliage. In the hunting woods, they learn about different types of trees and understand what each tree produces. A half-chewed pecan on the ground or a forest floor covered with acorns that are still falling all around you brings wonder and a true understanding of what the hunting grounds hold. To be in the woods and actually touch the foliage they read about in school or to see the trees they have heard so much about is exciting to a child. As adults, do we not hold onto a memory when we see the wonders of the world? For the little one, is the memory of an afternoon spent in the woods any less important? So much to see, so much to do. Show them the many different animal tracks you find. I remember as a child pouring some plaster of Paris into an animal print my dad and I found. When it finally dried, I had a “real” animal print to keep on my dresser as a trophy to show my friends. I told them it was from a hungry wolf. More than likely, it was from a raccoon, but for a while at least, I was the talk of the school—the boy with the courage to rival Daniel Boone himself!” Teach the child the difference between an adult deer track and a young one. Explain why some deer tracks are splayed out and others are close together. Show them a rub and then a scrape and explain the significance of each. Before you know it, they will be teaching their friends all they have A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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learned and turn them on to the hunting world. For who do not have children, a special call goes out to you. You probably have a friend who does not share the same interests as you, or just cannot find the time to spare. He might appreciate the idea of you introducing his child to the outdoors. On a personal note, I would rather take a child with me on a hunting trip than have them play video games for hours at a time. Too many children today live in a hectic world. They have more pressure with their everyday lives than we as children could ever think of. With all the after-school activities, it does not leave much time to just leave the pavement for a while and enjoy the outdoors. Think of when you were small. Your dad taught you everything he knew about the hunting world. How proud he was when you took your first whitetail. Now, think about the kids that do not have a dad at home or a good friend who is willing to teach them the beauty of the season. It truly is the most important gift—a very special gift that comes from the heart. Have fun out there, and always remember to hunt safe. E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com

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The Value of Trophies UCH LIKE VALUED FRIENDS AND TIME spent with family, trophies are subjective and their value is not always obvious to others. Some of the trophies that mean the most to me pertain to hunting, but are not really hunting trophies. As I walk through my house and look at memorabilia I have collected from my hunts, it is actually hard to tell I am an avid hunter. On my bookcase, I have knives that have been traded around numerous campfires and passed down by family at the deer camp. There is also a jar of sand and rocks I picked up on safari in Zimbabwe, and a stack of dry thorns and porcupine quills my wife and I collected in South Africa. My

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coffee table is filled with duck and goose feathers, and shotgun hulls from memorable hunts. In my photo box is a collection of empty rifle cases with notes tucked inside them that have dates and notes scrib-

by James Jeffrey, TF&G Reader bled on them. I also have a small baggie with the first .22 cases my daughter ever fired; those are precious trophies to me. It is really quite odd how certain items strike a cord of remembrance in me. I have a single spike horn about 6 inches long and worn perfectly smooth. The horn itself is nothing special, but it is a reminder of the great times my brother and I spent hunting across Texas. Over the years, I have collected many oddities, from skulls to arrowheads and C66

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fossils. As I go through them, I get a chance to relive those experiences and the joy I felt as I was able to collect these sim-

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ple trophies and remember those campfires and hunts with past friends and family. I certainly won’t pass up a beautiful buck or not shoot at a busting covey of quail to pick up a snakeskin or a shed horn, but even though I might miss, I still like to have something that reminds me of the times I have spent in search of game. It’s nice to have beautiful heads of game mounted and displayed, but not all hunts end as they are planned—in fact, some of my best hunts ended without a shot fired. It

is hard for a taxidermist to make a good campfire look real, and camp food just doesn’t look good over the mantle. Not all trophies need to have horns, but all should have stories to accompany them. Take a kid hunting—that’s a trophy in itself.

WHITETAIL BUCK—LASALLE COUNTY Michael Andrews, age 12, of Crosby, Texas, shot this 9-point, 191-pound buck at 140 yards with a .243 at the Fox Ranch in LaSalle County.

WHITETAIL BUCK—CROCKETT COUNTY Shelby Walling, age 8, of Magnolia, Texas, shot her first buck in Ozona, Texas, in Crockett County while hunting with her dad, Chad Walling.

WHITETAIL BUCK—BIG LAKE Charles Martin, age 13, shows off his first deer while his proud fans look on. The buck was an 8-pointer, shot in Big Lake, Texas. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Boating Bloopers HERE WAS ONLY 15 MINUTES LEFT BEFORE shooting time as we skimmed the across dead-calm water toward my blind. The ducks had been flying the past few mornings and this one should be no different, but we were running late and would have to get the dekes overboard in a hurry. I squinted to keep the morning mist out of my eyes, straining to see through the darkness. With less then 300 yards to go I still hadn’t spotted the blind but I knew I was on the right course—until the tiller handle started jerking violently and the outboard came to a sudden stop. There was plenty of water here, dang it, what could I have hit? I tried to tilt the outboard up but it seemed to weigh a ton. I had to throw all of my weight against it, then discovered there was a mass of netting balled up around the prop, with more mesh dragging behind. I’d run right over an untended gill net. It had no business being there and I felt a strange sort of pleasure in knowing I’d wrecked an outlaw’s illegal harvesting tool—I could see several redfish and a lifeless speck hanging in the netting—but I was stuck nonetheless. Of course, it was through no fault of my own... but for what I did next, I can only blame myself. With only a few precious minutes of setup time left, I grabbed a knife and started hacking through the netting. Once I had most of it cut free, I marked the net with a decoy for later retrieval, tilted the motor back down, and cranked it back up. We zipped over to my hunting spot, threw decoys overboard in a mad panic, and jumped in the blind. It turned out to be a banner morning, and as I’d suspected, running the motor had

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disposed of the few odds and ends of netting that had still been tangled in the prop. It wasn’t until a week later when I tried to hunt again that my stupidity became apparent; shortly after launching, the outboard’s lower unit blew. A few strands of netting had remained wrapped around the prop, worked their way to the prop seal, and cut into it. I’d lost all of my lower unit oil without even realizing it, and my johnboat was out of action for weeks. The moral of the story? Anything that can wrap around your prop can damage the seal, not just fishing line. Thin but strong decoy line, crab trap float lines, and, of course, nylon netting can be ruinous. If you wrap something around your prop, take the time and care to be sure every bit of it is pulled free before you re-start your outboard, or you’ll pull the same boating blooper I did. And here are some more boneheaded moves I’ve managed to make through the years, which you’ll want to avoid. ANCHORING ASTERN: This one’s a big nono for safety reasons. Any time you anchor astern, you’re putting the square end of the boat into the seas, and even if it’s perfectly calm out you can’t predict when a boat wake will appear out of nowhere, and swamp your boat. You’re in the backcountry, and there’s no way this will happen? You still shouldn’t anchor astern. If you forget to pull the anchor and try to take off (hey, we’ve all made mistakes like this at one time or another) tension against the line will suck the stern of your boat down. As soon as you lay off on the throttle, the taunt line will pull you backwards and may swamp the boat. DRY-START AN OUTBOARD: Right after making a repair, charging a battery, or discovering your may be drained, you might be tempted to dry-start your outboard. “It’ll just be for a second,” you might tell yourself. “What could go wrong that quickly?” Plenty. No, you don’t need cooling water

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flowing through the motor in the first minute or two it runs, but your raw water impeller does need water for lubrication. Dry start that motor, and you risk tearing the impeller to pieces. Then you’ll head for the boat ramp confident that everything is working fine, only to discover that a few minutes later (and a mile from the boat ramp) your engine is hopelessly overheated. LAUNCH WITHOUT THE DRAIN PLUG: Yup, this one’s the mother of all boating bloopers, and if you’ve never done it yourself, then you probably don’t launch your boat very often. Here’s my method of prevention: I keep my garboard drain plugs in the armrest pocket of my truck’s door. Every time I open or close the door, I hear the things rattling around annoyingly. So every time I pull into the marina and prepare to launch, those drain plugs “ask” me to put them in. RUN OUT OF FUEL: Another common blooper for sure, but it’s not the embarrassment we’re worried about—it’s engine damage. Contaminants that get into your fuel tank settle to the bottom, and whenever you run your fuel down to the last drop you risk sucking that goop into your engine. That junk can damage the fuel pump(s), restrict the fuel filter, and clog injectors. Soon, your engine is running poorly and you’ll be due for an expensive trip to the mechanic—one you could have avoided, simply by filling up more often. TRAILER WITH THE BIMINI TOP UP: This is an egregious crime, because it’s so darn easy to put a Bimini down and common sense tells you that the frame and canvass can both be damaged whipping in 60-mph winds on the highway. So, why does this blooper occur? Mostly out of laziness, when someone simply doesn’t feel like taking the time to fold the top down and wrap it in the boot. Too bad—it would save so much trouble down the line!

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The Badonk-ADonk ART STILLWELL, WHOSE CLASSIC TEXT Hunting and Fishing in Texas was published in 1946, chronicled catches of snook, redfish, and trout on plunkers and other topwater plugs, which were at the time considered bass baits. Broken backs were the rage on the coast during the late 1980s and early 90s, but were supplanted when saltwater anglers became acquainted with “walking the dog.” Cigar-style topwaters are still the top draw with coastal anglers; their heft and aerodynamic shape allows anyone with a limber rod and

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educated thumb to launch long casts, even in obstinate winds. Best of all, the tubular plugs catch big fish. Given this heritage, it is hard to be skeptical when Bomber Lures brings out a new bait. Still, the shelves of tackle stores are lined with popular surface plugs that have stood the test of time. Mutts and mongrels don’t last long in this dog show. I was curious how well the Badonk-ADonk would take to the leash, so it was off to the lake several blocks away, my rod in one hand and a box full of my favorite topwaters in the other. When I arrived, I set everything down right next to the sign, which promiPHOTO COURTESY BOMBER LURES

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nently states: No Fishing! Since I was doing an official Texas Fish & Game research project, obviously the sign didn’t apply to me. The Badonk-A-Donk is a handsome lure, featuring large, recessed eyes and realistic fin patterns molded into the sides. The translucent-bodied plug with a silver scale pattern I was testing glistened in the sun as I snugged the loop knot. Moments later, the faux baitfish was sent arching toward a vegetated shoreline. The first thing I noticed was the BadonkA-Donk landed with a bit of a splat. Not expecting this, I made repeated casts to

by Greg Berlocher gauge the surface disturbance during touchdown. After a dozen casts, I quickly knotted on another surface plug of the same length and weight and made the same looping cast. The other plug entered the water with less surface disturbance and less noise. Walking the dog has been

described as making a “loose line twitch” with your rod. While retrieving the other topwater, I noticed a more confined action. Switching quickly back to the Badonk-A-Donk revealed that it was more sensitive to twitching. A gentle twitch would cause the plug to veer to the side, just like the competitor’s bait, but the BadonkA-Donk traveled 4-6 inches farther with each twitch. In comparison, both carved nice V-patterns, cutting back and forth easily, but the V made by the Badonk-A-Donk was a capital letter, not a small one. The bass in our lake are really stupid. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Perhaps this is why they put up No Fishing signs. The bass wouldn’t leave the BadonkA-Donk alone. Big, beefy saltwater trebles dangled from stainless split rings. The color scheme of the lure I was testing was called Silver Mullet. What’s more, the packaging even stated in big, bold letters: “Saltwater Grade.” Stupid bass. At rest, the Badonk-A-Donk squats a bit, with its hindquarters just below the water line. Just like ships, big fish push bow wakes when moving along at a fast clip. The wake created by a sow trout attacking a plug floating jauntily on the surface will often move the lure just enough to cause the trout to whiff. For this reason, I like tail draggers, as I believe it is easier for predators to latch onto a plug. The Badonk-A-Donk is available in a wide assortment of colors; some color schemes are coastal favorites while others are completely new. Badonk-A-Donks are available in both high and low pitch models. The instructions on the back of the lure card suggests the use of high pitch lures for windy days and in stained water, while low pitch models are better on calm days and when the water is clear. Overall, I give the Badonk-A-Donk extremely high marks and suggest they would be a welcome addition to any fisherman’s Christmas stocking. The plug does land with more authority than others in the same genre and the noisy touchdown might spook skittish fish in skinny water, but the lure it is well made, casts like a bullet, and dips its derriere just below the surface. Count on catching lots of trout and reds when you take the Badonk-A-Donk for a walk, and maybe even a few stupid bass. Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com

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Pause, Reflect, and Plan ECEMBER IS A GREAT TIME TO PAUSE AND reflect, taking time to give thanks for our many blessings. It is also a time to ponder what lies ahead. Having spent the last three decades selling some derivative of telecommunication technology, December has always been a forward-looking month for me rather than rearview mirror time. Goals, forecasts, and planning, which might as well have been Greek to me fresh out of college, are now deeply ingrained; so much so, that they spill over into my outdoor activities. Before your paddling correspondent shares what he will be working on in the upcoming year, I wandered down memory lane and looked back on some of my past goals. At the beginning of 1997, three of my goals were: 1. Get on the Internet (I wasn’t sure what it really was). 2. Learn how to use e-mail. 3. Submit one outdoor article to a magazine for consideration. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. I receive more than 100 emails a day now, sometimes 200; spend countless hours on the “net” doing research; and joined the Texas Outdoor Writers Association back in 1998, ultimately ascending to the bully pulpit as president of the organization. To say the least, things have definitely changed for me over the last dozen years. I bet they have in your world, too. Here are five of my outdoor goals for 2010: 1. Spend one more days on the water

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than I did in 2009. I want to see one more cumulative sunrises and sunsets while on the water than I did the year before. I haven’t totaled the numbers of days I spent on the water this year, but regardless the sum, I want to up it by at least one day. Technology makes a strange mistress, and spending time outdoors grounds us in reality and refreshes our spirit. 2. Check out one new paddling venue. Outdoor experiences should be invigorating. While some venues are comfortable, like that favorite pair of well-worn jeans in your closet, new water is fun to explore and learn. There are more than 200 major reservoirs in the Lone Star State. I am embarrassed to admit I have been to only about 20 of them. New adventures bring new enthusiasm. 3. Add one new entry to my species list. I have been stuck at 68 different species for several years. There is only one way to make it to 69 or, with a little luck, 70: Spend more time fishing and less time reading e-mails. Keep in mind that some fish won’t be caught out of a kayak, such as blackfin tuna. These small members of the tuna family are caught in 200-plus feet of water and will give you everything you can ask for on stand-up tackle. I just don’t see myself battling a blackfin from a kayak. However, I do have designs on catching a rather large striper from a yak. A large picture of my smiling mug in this space will confirm my success. 4. Paddle the Devil’s River. Living waters don’t haunt only Norman MacLean, author of A River Runs Through It. They haunt me as well, and a lot of my friends. There is just something special about a river. Each has its own unique personality. They even smell different. I have paddled many different stretches of rivers in all parts of the state, but I long to paddle the aquamarine chutes and pools of the Devil’s River west of Uvalde. The challenge for me has been finding access. All of the land bordering the river is private. While you can launch at a river

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crossing, the only legal places to camp are on the solid rock bars in the middle of the river, making an overnighter a refresher course in being supremely uncomfortable. Nonetheless, it is something I am going to do. Although paddling and fishing the Devil’s River would technically satisfy Goal No. 2, I am singling out the Devil’s River as a separate and distinct goal. 5. Convert a landlubber. I have a good friend who refuses to go wade-fishing with me on the coast. He loves to catch trout and redfish, but absolutely refuses to step out of the boat into shin-deep water. I don’t want to embarrass him, so I will simply refer to him by his first name, Kendal. He is a great husband, father, and patriot, and has a faith so strong he would charge the gates of Hell with a water pistol, but mention wade-fishing and he backs away muttering things under his breath about rabid stingrays, voodoo crabs, and attacks of vampire jellyfish. Accomplishing this last goal is going to be tough, kind of like some of the entries on the to-do lists my wife gives me on weekends. A list of mundane chores, such as mowing grass and taking out trash, dramatically escalates in difficulty at the end. Painting the house and solving world hunger usually cap most lists. If I finish the list, she finds me and the kayak missing. Smart woman. Solving world hunger and converting the landlubber might have the same degree of difficulty. We will see. I will submit progress reports throughout the year. Until them, I would like to wish you and yours a blessed holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.

Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com


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The One Indispensable Rifle Caliber OU HAVE HEARD IT ASKED BEFORE: “IF YOU could have only one rifle, what would it be?” Most of the time, the answer is couched in terms of the mythical “all-around” caliber that is useful for everything from shooting elephants to plowing the lower 40. While it’s fun to talk about such things, it certainly isn’t realistic. If we can afford to do those things, we can afford more than one gun. So, instead, let’s ask: What is the most indispensable rifle caliber made? The answer is easy—the .22 Long Rifle. Most of us older guys, especially if we were raised in a rural setting, began our shooting and hunting with a BB gun as soon as we were old and strong enough to work the lever. But as soon as our parents thought we were able and sufficiently safe, we graduated to a .22 rifle, usually shooting shorts. By age 12, I was hunting alone with my grandpa’s .22. My own first .22 was a Model 55 Winchester. It was a funny little gun, a single-shot that automatically ejected the fired case. It kicked the spent case out the bottom and the next round was fed through a trapdoor in the top of the receiver. It is now a rare collectible, I am told, and I wish I still had it.

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Actually, it was a poor choice for a first rifle. A better choice would have been one of the bolt actions with a manual striker that had to be pulled to the rear to cock the gun. There were several such guns, such as the Mossberg Model 25 and Winchester Model 67. In my opinion, there has never been a better learning tool made, and I wholeheartedly recommend this type of .22 for youngsters. Several manufacturers now make miniature versions. I have a vintage Chipmunk (my daughters’ first gun) cleaned and oiled, waiting for my grandkids to reach the age where they can shoot it. As for us adults, there is still no better practice than the .22 rifle. Ammo is cheap and plentiful; there are plenty of inexpensive firearms available; there are some very high quality rifles available; the .22 Long Rifle hollow point round is sufficient for small game up the size of jackrabbits and even gray foxes if the range is kept short and the shooter is careful. For practice, the shooter can fire thousands of rounds a year from a .22 rifle without having to file for bankruptcy. And, should a crisis arise, a backstock of .22 hollow points would allow the hunter to keep meat on the table for

years. A .22 Long Rifle, while not legal, will kill a deer should circumstances and desperation call for it. Financially speaking, today one box of 20 .30-06 cartridges costs in excess of $30. That same $30 buys two 500-round boxes of .22 Long Rifle hollow points. It seems to me that it is only logical for the serious shooter to have at least one .22 rifle and a good stock of this inexpensive ammunition. We argue ballistics and cartridge suitability because it’s fun and because most of us are independent and opinionated. We each have our sacred cows. I, personally, am a lover of the .25-06. However, I will readily admit a number of cartridges are just as good for whitetails as that venerable former wildcat. I also like the .30-06, but again I will admit that several calibers are just as good and just as capable of doing the job of the mythical all-around rifle. However, nothing ever invented is as good as the .22 rimfire at doing what it does best, and I seriously doubt anything is ever invented will be a better teacher, plinker, or emergency survivalist game-getter. In short, if you don’t own a .22 rifle, you are not a serious shooter and I have serious doubts about you.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

TEXAS BOATING  Continued from Page C68 Bent frames, ripped canvass, and stress cracking around the support bases are all symptoms of a top left in the up position on the road. If you’ve ever grabbed onto one of your Bimini’s supports while your

boat was running, then you probably know that even at 30 or 40 mph, these things are under a ton of stress and get racked back and forth constantly. So, when you catch a glimpse of the erected Bimini in your rearview, get back out of the truck and secure it properly. Doing so will save you a lot of A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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trouble and expense. Trust me—been there, done that.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

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The Tuna Torpedo HE TUNA TORPEDO RIG CAME FROM AN OLD salt who is no longer with us—“Tuna Joe” Semunovich. I’ve used the rig successfully over the years, and the addition I’ve made to it is the small paper bag of bait chunks that are released after it’s at the depth to be fished. The basic rig was intended primarily for tuna fishing from a drifting boat. The paper bag of chunk baits is an idea that’s been around for a long time; its released chunks were just a logical addition. It’s also an old Hawaiian trick that has the bait pieces in a folded cloth having a slipknot holding it together. A tug on the fishing line untied the knot and three of the corners of the square unfolded, releasing the cut bait pieces into the current. The procedure and pieces I use to make up a “Tuna Torpedo” start with white 100pound Power Pro Spectra. White is easier for you and your fellow fishermen to see— important with multiple fishermen and hookups such as on an overnight party boat trip. The white might also be seen by the fish. Color the last 15 feet above the swivel with a blue Marks-A-Lot. I tie a short Bimini twist or an eight-turn surgeon’s loop into the Spectra, then attach a Spro Power Swivel, size 1-330, using an offshore swivel knot. Next, tie a piece of 80-pound mono about 12 feet long to the swivel’s other eye. I give it my “Poor Man’s Fluorocarbon” treatment with a Scotch-Brite pad to kill its surface reflection. You can also use fluorocarbon. Circle hooks I use on the business end of the leader could be Eagle Claw 2004G 7/08/0, Mustad 39950 5/0-7/0, or Owner Super Mutu 5/0-7/0. Knotted together, you

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should end up with about 9 feet of leader. The paper bag/chunks/torpedo weight assembly goes like this: I bought the natural color (tan) Pint Liquor Bags at Sam’s Club. They measure about 4 inches in diameter when unfolded from flat and are close to 12 inches long. Place 10 or so 1-1/2-inch cubes of blackfin tuna, bonito, or other cut bait in the bag. Twist the bag tight a couple of inches from the top. Wrap a 6-inch piece of vegetable or garden tie around the bag neck and secure with three tight twists. Pass one tie end through the swivel eye that has the main line tied to it, and twist the tie ends together with three tight twists. Pass one end of the tie through the torpedo weight eye and twist the two ends together with three medium tight twists. Bait the circle hook with another chunk (hook in the meat only, not through the skin) and cover the hook with the meat. To fish this rig, let it down into the water gently, as the bag is somewhat fragile. Lower it to the appropriate depth and give the rod tip a twitch to break the now wet and F i s h

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weakened paper bag. The dispersed chunks flowing with the current will make your hooked chunk the end of the free lunch line. To ensure the bag is breaking open and the twist tie is still holding the torpedo sinker, examine it at boatside after a short bag soak. The twist tie is supposed to release the torpedo sinker shortly after a hookup. This breakaway sinker was first used with J hooks. The weight being dumped kept it from being thrown around and possibly helping to dislodge the hook. While that’s not likely with a circle hook, dump the weight anyway to eliminate a worry. Fish this rig this winter. At the take, when the line straightens out and comes tight against the drag, you will be hooked up. The Tuna Torpedo rig has done its job and now your fun begins.

E-mail Patrick Lemire at saltrigs@fishgame.com

ILLUSTRATION BY PATRICK LEMIRE


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Slinging Blades HIS MONTH WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT something that I’m willing to bet 99 percent of you do not own, and no, it’s not a Barbara Streisand’s greatest hits CD. It’s a blade bait. See, I told you that you didn’t have one, and for the 37 of you who do actually own one, it was probably given to you as a gift from your strange aunt that you talk to only at Christmas. You don’t hear a lot about blade baits around here because we’re Texans and we fish plastic worms. We even have a rigging method named after us. When we’re not throwing soft plastics, we’ll chunk spinners and crankbaits or swimbaits, but no self-respecting bass angler in Texas has a blade bait in their boat, but maybe they should. Time to state the obvious: It’s cold in Texas in December. Well, relatively cold, anyway. Unlike our angling brothers to the north, we can still launch boats in our lakes instead of walking across the top of them and drilling holes where we want to fish. However, the one thing we do have in common with them is that our fish move deep this time of year, and sometimes a plastic worm just won’t work. Blade baits don’t exactly jump out at you when you walk by them at the sporting goods store. Most of them are not what you would call elaborate. Simply put, they look like the offspring of a marriage between a spinnerbait blade and a spoon. The front half of the bait is made from thick heavy steel, like a spoon, while the tail end is thin like a spinnerbait blade. This design makes the bait wobble or flutter as it falls, like an injured baitfish, instead of falling straight like a hunk of steel. Blade baits are much more popular up north due to the fact that they were originally intended to be fished vertically and when

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you’re ice fishing that’s the only way to present a bait. Down south we’ll be using these baits to chase bass suspending deep which not only allows you to make vertical presentations but also cast and retrieve the bait through the schools of fish. Presenting a blade vertically is a simple procedure. Locate a school of bass hanging over a hump, point, ridge, or creek channel and drop the bait into the middle of them. Jig the bait up, then let it flutter back down into the fish. The fish can be lethargic so don’t expect rod-bending strikes. Watch your line and if you see it jump, or if when you start to jig it again it feels heavy, then set the hook. A vertical presentation works best if you are working a specific small school of tightly bunched big fish and can stay positioned directly over them with minimum effort. If the school is more sporadic and spread out over a larger area then it’s time to start fan casting to cover more ground (here is where the use of light line to make long casts provides

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a substantial benefit) Make as long as cast as possible, then on a semi-slack line let the bait sink to the depth at which the fish are suspending. Jig the bait back up a few feet, then let it flutter back down again. Repeat this until the bait is directly under the boat. Take the time to jig the bait under the boat a few times as well, just in case a bass is following it. Repeat this fan casting process in a complete circle around the boat before moving to a different area. The efficacy of a blade bait comes from its wiggle as it drops vertically through the water column. To maximize this action, tie the bait on using a loop knot so as not to restrict the side-to-side movement. Also, it never hurts to change out or sharpen treble hooks that come straight from the manufacturer. Most lure manufacturers are using higher quality hooks now, but while chasing light-biting bass, you want to have the sharpest hooks available. E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

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Christmas with the Lost Rider N EMBER ROLLED OUT OF THE FIRE AND hissed when it touched the snow. The yellow blaze danced and the small circle of light was the limit of our attention. The sky was dark with no stars or moon. A coffee pot was shoved into the coals and we waited for it to boil. My horse stomped the ground where it was tied and occasionally we could hear my friend’s team grazing in the open meadow. Large fluffy flakes sifted in the air, enough to accumulate in my saddle and add weight to the already loaded tree limbs. We sat somber and quiet as I stared at the

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burning stumps. My rear was planted on a log and I balanced a jug on my left knee. My old buddy puttered in the darkness and checked on me from time to time with inane questions about my health and the weather in Texas. “Hey, cowboy, how’s your back? I hear y’all went through a bad drought last summer.” “Hell, my back is like it’s always been. It just hurts all the time. I suppose I’ve learned to live with it. Last spring, my roping pony throwed me against a post and messed up my knee again. Then the other day, I separated my good shoulder. Sometimes I ache in so many places I can’t tell which to hold. But, you know none of that stops me from doing whatever I want to do. I can still break twoyear-olds and I probably worked harder shoeing horses and hauling hay this year than in the past 10 years.” “Maybe I’ll get you to bring me some hay. I always have to buy mine every year. I get a mix of alfalfa and grass hay.” The old man tottered around our circle in

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black high-heeled riding boots. His white beard harbored bits of tree bark and sticks from gathering wood. His wide-brimmed hat was kicked back on his head and it made me smile to see him wearing the “All Aggie Bronc-Riding” buckle that I’d given him on his wide belt. His large hands looked dry and cracked and the crow’s feet around his happy blue eyes turned up in smiles. His demeanor disallowed anyone in his company from being sour, and though I was both mentally and physically worn, being near my oversized friend made me feel better. “It sounds like a long way to haul hay, and I didn’t know there were any roads to your place.” He chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right, there are no roads. But you’d get a kick out of driving a team with a sled. It’s a road trip and we take seven or eight outfits. Sometimes we get lined out and race—that can get wild! You know how it is, cowboy; life gets dull if you don’t get your hair blowed back once in a while.” Just then, the coffee boiled and he lifted it from the coals. Then he set it away from the fire and added two cups of snow to settle the grounds. I sipped at the jug and extended my cup as he again lifted the pot and set it nearer the fire. “Tell you what: I’m too butt-ass tired to get my hair blowed back much anymore. Or maybe it’s just because I’m too broke. Seems like everything I put a hand to goes to hell. Horse prices fell out, cattle prices ain’t worth a damn, and my writing is on par with my bronc-riding—good enough to be entertaining, but not good enough to make a living.” “Sounds to me like you’re beat up because of a bad market.” “Yeah, well, I’m tired of seeing disappointment in people’s faces. There’s things a Dad should be responsible for, and I sorta dropped the ball.” “Now wait a minute, cowboy! You can’t help being you. There’s plenty of folks in this world that appreciate you.” “I know, but I’ve got to do better. I should


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have my family along when I go to the hills, not be entertaining everybody else’s. You know, I never cared for the outfitting business; that’s why I’m only a guide. But I need my own camp for family and friends. I need a place where there are no success ratios, repeat clients, or production line statistics. I want to be in a camp with dominoes and poker. I want to be in a place where I don’t have to watch what I say.” “I didn’t realize you watched what you said.”

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My gaze shifted from the crackling campfire to his round, grinning countenance. I smirked, and then shifted back to studying the disintegrating stumps. “There’d be a lot more cussings handed out if I didn’t watch what I said.” “Yeah, right. The good lord put an angel on your shoulder in the beginning. Of course, I reckon that fella got real put out with some of them head-knockings and dirt baths y’all took, but he’s still there. And, you know that fella whispered in your ear every

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time the going got tough. Good thing you had enough sense to listen, and you’re too damn mean to quit once you’ve made up your mind. I remember you driving up to 1000 miles every other weekend to see little Sam...that’s who you’re fretting about.” “Well, partly. I suppose the empty nest stuff got me. The definition for stupid is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I gotta do some-

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TEXAS SALTWATER

CORPUS CHRISTI

BAFFIN BAY

GALVESTON

Jerid wit h Capt. Ak 30-inch R ins edfi Akins Salt sh water Guide Serv ice

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

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: AKINS SALTWATER GUIDE SERVICE Captain Larry E. Akins is USAF Retired. Other than the twenty years I spent in the Air Force, I grew up here on the Gulf Coast. I started fishing these waters when I was too young to remember. My father got me started fishing in Galveston Bay, and as I grew older I ventured out. I am at home anywhere from Sabine Lake to Port Isabel. Fishing is all I do now. I started guiding about six years ago and became full-time two years ago. Most of my guiding expertise has been at special request. I have guided people from Washington state, South Africa, and Holland. I have guided people from all over Texas. The reason I like guiding is because I have traveled all over the US and the world fishing. I have caught a lot of fish and now I gain the most satisfaction from seeing other people catch fish. I especially enjoy seeing young people catch fish. I don’t help young people by reeling in their fish, I encourage them. I was with a young man of eight, Matt, when he reeled in his first trophy trout. He did it and that is something no one can take away from him. That day he caught eight trout, the smallest being 19 inches. I would rather help someone catch a record fish, than I would to catch it while out fishing alone. In Montana, I also guided some hunting trips and there are a lot of people who have trophy mounts because of my guiding and their shooting ability. I would rather be guiding. One of the things about traveling so much is that I always make friends everywhere I go. In 2006, I took eight weeks and traveled the Rockies. I fly-fished everywhere; call me and we can talk about it. — Captain Larry Akins, 409-267-5486 (cell) Email me at capt.akins@yahoo.com C76

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Gus Fuentes Matagorda Bay Re dfish Hillman Guide Service

ir’s Guide ile fishing with Bla Crappie caught wh

ROCKPORT

Service

TEXAS HUNTING

Mark, Jim, Molly & Larmar Speckled Trout and Flounder Hugo Ford Guide Se rvice

TEXAS HUNTING

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

UPPER COAST (SABINE LAKE)

OUTDOOR SHOPPER ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

TEXAS FRESHWATER

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE AMISTAD

EAST TEXAS

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No More Redfish Cup HE CHAMPIONSHIP WAS HELD JUST WEEKS ago down in Florida, with all the hoopla and celebration afforded to top teams and champion anglers. Now, that event has become the swan song for the Redfish Cup inshore saltwater tournament circuit. Officials with Career Sports & Entertainment (CS&E) of Atlanta, parent company of the Redfish Cup circuit, confirmed to The Fishing Wire that it would not continue the tournament trail in 2010. The circuit just completed its seventh season. “You’ve heard correctly: The Redfish Cup will not be moving forward with a 2010 season,” Cama Poffenberger, public relations specialist for CS&E, said via email. “Career Sports & Entertainment is looking forward to 2010, which will include the 15th season of Spanish Fly, the sixth season of Under Armour College Bass, and our continued work with ESPN on the Bassmaster Classic and 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series.”

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The Redfish Cup website is still up, showing the championship winners, photos, and the logos of major sponsors—Plano, Academy, Crocs, and others—but to run a major fishing circuit with events spanning the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, it takes a lot of money along with manpower, time, and effort. The latter three things did not appear to be a problem. Neither was media coverage, which ESPN and other outlets provided. Money, of course, is a big factor. Tournament circuits are not held for goodwill. Tournament circuits like this one are held for profit, and if there is not any profit or it has always break-even, then at some point the bottom line has to be examined. This marks at least the third major fishing tournament circuit to die in the last couple of years. The In-Fisherman Professional Walleye Trail ended a year ago, and the FLW Outdoors saltwater circuits were eliminated after the 2008 season. Other circuits

have taken body blows with the current economic problems, but so far remain active. The Redfish Cup appeared to have a nice following along the coast. Weigh-ins were relaxed and, in the past, combined with the popular “Dock Dog” events. There was a bit of laid-back beach attitude with the formalities of weighing in redfish. We cannot see into the crystal ball, but do not foresee another major circuit springing up anytime soon. —The Fishing Wire

WILDERNESS TRAILS  Continued from Page C75 thing different or I might as well be wearing a sign. I’m not too old. I can still make everything turn out like it was a master plan.” “Yes, but you’re gonna have to let that guardian angel help and be wise enough to let him have the credit. And I wish to hell you’d stay away from Mexico. Damn, you stumbled into the bad guys the last time you were down there.” “Folks have the wrong impression of C78

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that country. There’s been poverty and strife in that desert forever. Bandits have raided ranches across the border since the border existed. I believe the only reason we fear that region is because it’s finally getting media coverage. Don’t be scared of your own shadow, old man.” “Sometimes you’re a fool. But I guess that’s what makes you fun to watch. You can take crap and make caviar. Okay, maybe next year I’ll meet you in Mexico.” I stood and stretched. My coffee cup was empty and I bent to refill my cup. At F i s h

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that instant, something nudged my backside, almost tilting me into the fire. Dancer stood there snuffling and peering at me. “Dadgum mooching reindeer...” I rifled through my pockets and came up with a chocolate chip cookie leftover from an old lunch.

E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com LOGO COURTESY REDFISH CUP


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Habanero Glazed Quail UAIL HUNTING IN SOUTH TEXAS THIS season might be the best in several years. With the wet spring and summer we experienced, there have been plenty of insects, which are crucial to the nutritional health of chicks. The undergrowth has created good cover for a bumper crop of hatches, producing a great comeback year. If you go bird hunting, don’t forget your snake leggings because we have seen a bumper crop of rattlers, too. The odds are low for encountering one in January, but it is South Texas, after all. I created this recipe several years ago, and it has been enjoyed on many ranches and in several gourmet restaurants. I hope you enjoy it as well. This recipe is for 12-18 quail. Be sure to pluck, clean, and rinse well. Check for pellets.

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The Glaze

For the Brine Add 1/2 cup sea salt to 1/2 gallon of ice water in a large bowl. Submerge the quail in the ice water. Allow meat to sit for 1-2 hours. Pour off water and rinse the meat again with cold water.

spoon, and place into a blender with 1 cup of the liquid. Blend until all the chunks are gone and the mixture is smooth. Return to the saucepan and place on low heat. Add the Habanero Jelly, honey, and remaining ingredients. Heat for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat to allow flavors to blend, then bring to a good boil. Add the tequila and ignite the mixture with a match or long handled lighter (be careful, and use a long-handled spoon as well). Stir down while on boil until the flame goes away, then remove from heat. Spray the quail with Pam or rub down with olive oil. Place the quail on a pre-heated grill indirectly over fire (mesquite or charcoal) skin side up. Cook with the lid closed or cover with an aluminum pan. Baste with the glaze mixture, turning every 3-5 minutes, basting as you turn. Cook for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t overcook. Remove from grill and rest the meat by covering with a foil tent for approximately 8-10 minutes. Be sure and check out our website at www.thetexasgourmet.com for other wild game and spicy food recipes, and our fine family of products. Call us at 888-234-7883.

Preparation Place the ancho pepper into a saucepan with the chicken broth, garlic, and cilantro; bring to a boil and cook 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, scoop out ingredients with a slotted

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

1 dried ancho pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped 1/2 jar Texas Gourmet Habanero Pepper Jelly 16 oz. can chicken broth 3 Tbs fresh cilantro 4 Tbs honey 2 cloves garlic 1 Tbs black pepper 1 Tbs soy sauce 2 Tbs lime juice 2 oz. Gold tequila (substitute apple juice) 2 tsp. olive oil cooking spray (Pam Olive Oil) PHOTO BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO: photos@fishgame.com or by mail at:

1745 Greens Road Houston, Texas 77032

REDFISH & TROUT—ARROYO CITY

BUCK—CISCO

BASS—LAKE CONROE

Hayley Shiver, age 14, shot her first buck at her L-R Marco Garcia and Art Rendon of Harlingen, Texas, Kasen Clark, age 4, from Point Blank, Texas, caught family’s lease in Cisco, Texas. The buck was an 8- caught these fish while fishing in Arroyo City at Cul- this 6.92-pound bass on Lake Conroe. The bass lens Bay. The red was 31-1/2 inches and 10 pounds measured between 23 and 24 inches in length. pointer. and the trout was 27-1/2 inches and 6 pounds.

SPECKLED SEATROUT—MATAGORDA BEACH

HOG—EAST TEXAS

Jack Hardy caught this 31-inch speckled seatrout from the shore at Matagorda Beach, Texas. It was landed on finger mullet and released to fight again.

Daniel Harris (left) of Wichita Falls, Texas, with the 380-pound wild hog he killed while hunting in heavy cover with an outfitter in East Texas.

PERCH—ELKHART

BUCK—HASKELL

CATFISH—EVANT

Eleven-year-old Hunter Shiver shot this 10-point Camryn Smith, age 2, of Fairfield, Texas, caught her Hannah Starnes of Kyle, Texas, caught this 2first fish, a perch, at her grandparents, Bobby and pound catfish while fishing on a private pond on buck at Krooked River Ranch in Haskell, Texas. Janice Collins’, pond in Elkhart, Texas. She used a the Massey Ranch, just outside of Evant, Texas. Barbie rod with a worm. C80

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WAS PANTING FOR BREATH AND PERSPIRING copiously (actually, I was gasping like a fish out of water and sweating like a pig in a pepper patch) as I jogged uphill through and around boulders and catclaw bushes. My legs felt like they were made of lead, the shotgun in my hands had gained about a hundred pounds in weight in the last 300 yards, and I desperately wanted to shed the coat that had felt so comfortable an hour before. Above me, the mountain reared up to a jumbled pass between two rocky peaks. Ahead of me, always just out of range, adamantly refusing to fly and apparently enjoying the game, were about 20 scaled quail. Running from bush to bush, dodging between car-sized boulders, the little expletives-deleted had been taunting us for over a quarter of a mile. Finally, with the pass only a few feet above, we got close enough to force the covey into the air. For a few seconds, the thin mountain air was filled with the sound of shotguns and the smell of gunsmoke. One of the quail, the one that had been sneering at, squatted, ducked its head, and then leaped into the air, trailing a thin contrail of caliche dust. I stopped, staggered as I tried to find some solid footing,

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slapped the little Ithaca shotgun to my shoulder, forced the barrels ahead of the quail, and pressed the trigger. At the first shot, the quail staggered in the air but didn’t fall. I slapped the trigger for the second barrel. The bird folded, tumbled end over end, hit the ground limply, and finally rolled to a stop under a catclaw bush at the apex of the pass. As I picked up the bird, I looked back at the tiny blue dot that was the

by Steve LaMascus pickup far below in the canyon, and wondered if I could talk one of my companions into going back and driving the 4x4 up the mountain through the maze of boulders to the top of the pass. I gave up the idea as unrealistic. We ended up not going back down the mountain. Well, at least not the same side of the mountain. We trudged down the far side and met our host in his truck on a road about a hundred miles down the rocky, thorny slope. The quail scattered and then disappeared as completely as ground fog on a sunny day. We managed to take a few before they vanished, but the death march to the truck took until A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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dark and we encountered no more quail. We did, however, see some javelinas and a couple of mule deer, and right at sunset a maniacal chorus of coyotes serenaded us. My bed that evening, a foam rubber mattress and sleeping bag on the concrete floor of a huge barn/bunk house, felt like the best bed at the Waldorf. I was too tired to even ache. That hunt for scaled quail was in the Quitman Mountains of West Texas, a.k.a. the Big Bend Region (that part of Texas generally west of a line from Del Rio through Midland/Odessa) is home to assorted types of desert quail. It is the northernmost part of the Chihuahuan desert and is composed of a mishmash of widely diverse terrain, with rugged, isolated mountain ranges thrusting to over 7000 feet, scattered across a vast expanse of thinly vegetated thorny desert. West Texas, with the obvious exception of El Paso, is the least densely (most thinly?) populated portion of the state, truly the last of the wild frontier. I have shot scaled quail and Gambel’s quail there, and am told of scattered bands of Mearn’s, which are protected. The most common are definitely scaled quail, which are called blue quail by every Texan I ever met. G a m e ® / D E C E M B E R

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In This Issue

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SHOOT THIS • 1917 Enfield–An Old Warrior | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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FISH THIS • The Badonk-A-Donk | BY GREG BERLOCHER

HOW-TO SECTION

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COVER STORY • Blue Runners | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY TOM BEHRENS, CALIXTO GONZALES, TRIPP HOLMGRAIN, & KYLE TOMEK SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • Tides, Solunar Table, Best Hunting/Fishing Times | BY TF&G STAFF

GEARING UP SECTION

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TEXAS BOATING • Boating Bloopers | BY LENNY RUDOW

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TEXAS KAYAKING • Pause, Reflect, and Plan | BY GREG BERLOCHER

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • The One Indispensable Rifle Caliber | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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WILDERNESS TRAILS • Christmas with the Lost Rider | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

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FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Slinging Blades | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

INDUSTRY INSIDER • Bellville Meat Market | BY TF&G STAFF

PHOTO COURTESY UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE

Water Guzzlers for Quail

THE SECRET TO FINDING QUAIL IN THE desert is water. The landowner who makes the effort to provide numerous water sources will have more quail than those who don’t. The most common types are called guzzlers. They are small, covered to lessen evaporation, sunken into the ground, and usually filled by hand or by rain, as opposed to from a well. A bit of work, to be sure, but worthwhile for the quail lover.

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BOWHUNTING TECH • A Special Gift | BY LOU MARULLO

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Blue quail are runners, taking wing only as a last resort. We hunted three days and climbed mountains and ran after blue quail until I was so tired my tail was dragging out my tracks. I love quail of all kinds. Bobwhites are popular because they will sit for a pointer. This makes the dog lovers happy. On the other hand, a pointing dog trained on bobwhites becomes a raving lunatic after a short time hunting blue quail, because blues run and will not hold. The best dog for blue or Gambel’s quail is a dog that would be good for pheasants. I like Labrador retrievers. Although I once raised and hunted Brittany spaniels, I no longer have any pointing dogs because I have come to believe that the flushing retrievers are more versatile. Also, in many instances I need a dog that can find my birds in the densest thickets. This is retriever territory. Yes, a pointer can be trained to retrieve, but they are bred to point and retrieving is not what they do best. A pointer will usually make one pass at finding a downed bird and then head out to find more birds to point. A retriever will hunt as hard as a pointer, but will also put its heart into finding the dead bird for its hunting buddy. Shotguns are personal choices and there is F i s h

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OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • Special Holiday Advertising Section | BY TF&G STAFF TROPHY FEVER • The Value of Trophies | BY TF&G READER DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF TEXAS TASTED • Habanero Glazed Quail | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

no accounting for taste. I find desert quail best hunted with 12- or 16-gauge guns with tighter chokes than normally used for quail elsewhere. I have determined modified and improved-modified, or modified in both barrels great combinations in my doubles, and modified in a single-barreled gun is about right. Skeet choke, which I use for quail in South Texas, is just too open for the longer ranges encountered in West Texas. I tried it at first and “fringed” or “feathered” far too many birds. Also, desert quail seem to be tougher and harder to kill cleanly than the garden-variety bobwhite, so a bit larger shot is a good idea. I use No. 7 (not 7-1/2) a lot and find it very good for West Texas birds, but No. 6s would also be a great choice. Just expect the ranges to be farther and gear up accordingly. Geronimo, the great Chiricahua Apache war chief, once said: “I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.” While I do not like to anthropomorphize wild animals, I think that statement, and Geronimo’s fighting spirit describe perfectly the little scaled quail. May their presence always enrich the desert.


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Trout Take Smoked Mullet

ping or rattling float work well in chillier weather. The key is to fish as slowly as you can stand, even in warmer weather. Fish need time to locate your offering and decide if they want to kill it.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.548, W97 11.023 SPECIES: speckled trout

BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. Topwaters, SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Drift from the Southeast corner of the bay out into deeper water on a mild day. Trout will be spreading out on the flats and holding in deeper pockets. If the tide is up and little wind, try and stick near the mud along the shoreline and fish depth breaks and edges. Live shrimp is best, when available, but a slow-worked slug-type of soft plastic can be deadly. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.454, N97 12.195 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live bait. Cut Bait SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter, glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: A long drift will locate redfish that tend to spread out along these flats. Some are good-sized fish. During a warm trend, fish soft plastics in shallower water. Live shrimp or cut ballyhoo chunks under a popI4

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Mexequita Flats GPS: N26 3.624, W97 11.532 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live bait. Cut Bait SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter, glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Work near the shoreline with live bait or cut bait during high tide. If there is an incoming tide, back up and work deeper pockets and edges with soft plastics or live shrimp. The fish might be scattered, but their larger average size more than makes up for the extra effort. LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: Andie Bowie Park Shoreline (bank access) GPS: N26 11.541, W97 10.327 SPECIES: Pompano BEST BAITS: Live or fresh shrimp, Fish Bites strips in shrimp CONTACT: Quick Stop, 956-943-1159 TIPS: Shorebound anglers can get into some great action for these feisty and delicious little panfish. Find a spot on the beach where the first gut is deep. You can purchase live shrimp and keep them alive in sawdust for easy portability, or fresh shrimp. Many fishermen are starting to use Fish Bite strips because of the no-muss, no-fuss principal behind it. Use long-shank hooks. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel F i s h

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GPS: N26 4.080, W97 9.280 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, soft plastics, topwaters CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Look for snook near pilings and other structure. Locate the edges and dropoffs along points in the Ship Channel and fish them with live on a free-line rig. Braided line is recommended, because most fish will try and pull you into the snags and break off. If there is a stretch of mild days, try working the shoreline with a Top Dog or Super Spook. You may draw some crashing strikes that way. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Y GPS: N26 3.061, W97 12.542 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live bait, Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny; SPI Lures Tandems in red/white, new penny, root beer CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Start by fishing the point where the Port Isabel Channel connects with the Brownsville Ship Channel. Fish the center island with jerkbaits. Focus on drains that push water out of the center tidal pool on and outgoing tide. The edge along the shoreline is also a good spot for trout. Fish it with live bait or soft baits. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Drum Boats GPS: N26 10.713, W97 11.107 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live Shrimp, live finger mullet, cut bait. Jerkbaits, gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Target the deeper basin where the first Drum Boat was moored prior to Hurricane Dolly. Redfish that didn’t move out to the Gulf in the fall are cruising around


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the grass and vegetation. Live bait or stillfishing with cut bait are good choices. The old standard, a 1/4-ounce gold spoon, still catches its share of fish, too. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Cabins. GPS: N26 23.932, W97 20.591 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, fresh shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: The ICW current scours out deeper holes in front of the fishing shacks that line it. Anchor up near where a set of pilings marks where a shack used to be, or where on may still be standing, and toss a live shrimp or fresh shrimp out on a fish finder or splitshot rig towards the edge of the ICW. If the current is pulling hard, you may want to go with the heavier weight of the former. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Big Oaks GPS: N26 41.468, W97 27.791 SPECIES: speckled trout

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BEST BAITS: Topwaters, Catch 5’s or B&L Corkies in smoke, pinfish patterns. Soft plastics in red/white, bone-chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: December is a transition period on the Lower Laguna Madre. Big trout start shifting form their summer/fall patterns into winter habits and haunts. Focus on holes close to shore. Fish topwaters early on mild days, and throughout the whole trip when clouds dominate. If the fish are sitting deeper, switch to suspending plugs in natural patterns, or soft plastics on small (1/16-1/8ounce) jigheads. Smoke and Texas Shad are good colors to work with. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: The Targets GPS: N26 30.590, W97 24.603 SPECIES: Trophy speckled trout BEST BAITS: Topwaters, Catch 5’s or B&L Corkies in smoke, pinfish patterns. Soft plastics in red/white, bone-chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Fish slowly if you are looking for a

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bragging-sized trout. Fish suspending baits in 3-4 feet of water. If you are fishing shortly after a front, focus on muddy bottoms. Try an oversized topwater such as a Super Spook or Big Bug on a calm day. Again, fish as slowly as you can stand. Winter trout don’t like moving too far to eat. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Mansfield Jetties GPS: N26 23.800, W97 18.029 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: Live shrimp/popping cork, fresh shrimp CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, (956)-944-2367 TIPS: sheepshead will start showing up around the rocks when weather starts to cool. Cast near the rocks with a live shrimp or fresh shrimp rigged under a popping cork. Fish won’t necessarily pull the cork down. Sometimes, it will simply start moving sideways, or even just flop over on its side. If either happens, set the hook. Short shank hooks such as a #1 Owner flounder hook are best for these nibblers.

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LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Badlands GPS: N27 18.228, W97 24.338 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Topwaters early, soft plastics in morning glory, plum/chartreuse pumpkinseed/chartreuse, Corkies in darker patterns CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The dark mud bottom retains warmth after a cold front, and speckled trout gravitate to the area. Fish slowly and methodically around and through color changes with lightly weighted soft plastics. If there is a stretch of nice weather, switch over to a topwater and work it slowly, especially around rock piles. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Penescal Point GPS: N27 15.852, W97 25.436 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: soft plastics in Limetreuse, pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Look for nervous bait. That’s usually a sign that there are predators lurking.

Plastics should be fished on light jigs. 1/8ounce is good. 1/16th is even better. Once you begin working the area, fish deeper water around the rocks with soft plastics and suspending plugs. Work your lures slowly. Low-stretch lines will help detect subtle bites. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: South Shoreline GPS: N27 15.641, W97 27.361 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Topwaters in bone, 1/4 gold spoons, soft plastics in dark patterns CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: redfish cruise around the rocks near shore. Wading helps you cover territory slowly or quickly, depending on how active fish are. Fish topwaters early in the morning, or as long as calmer conditions last (especially if it is overcast). Fish a spoon or a large soft plastic around the rocks later in the day. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Humble Channel GPS: N27 39.153, W97 15.664 SPECIES: black drum

BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, fresh shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Big black drum begin cruising the depths of the channel after the first big cold fronts blow in. One of these larger fish (up to 30-35 pounds) is more than enough for anyone. Large “hand-picked” live shrimp or fresh table shrimp are excellent baits on fishfinder rigs. Day in and day out, however, a chunk of fresh crab is tough to beat. Boat rods and large reels aren’t necessary. Trout and redfish tackle will do, and is more fun. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Humble Flats GPS: N27 38.996, W97 16.277 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. Soft plastics in Avocado/chartreuse, Motor Oil/chartreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Flats that are adjacent to deep water will always hold good trout. Live shrimp under an Old Bayside float is a good combination. If you opt for artificials, then try a soft plastic on a 1/8- or 1/16-ounce head. A float will help you slow down your presentation. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Pure Oil Channel GPS: N27 30.627, W97 17.645 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. Soft plastics in red/white, Texas Shad CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the grasslines and edges. Live bait under an Old Bayside Paradise Popper float is tough to beat, but you can also work the edges and breaks with a shad tail or eel in the classic red/white pattern. Use a small (1/8- to 1/16-ounce) jighead to swim the bait about grass.

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Plastics Bully Trout LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: East Bay GPS: N28 38.098’, W95 55.327’

SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Norton Bull Minnow soft plastics - Limetreuse and white with 1/4ounce leadhead jigs CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: If mild temperatures persist, shrimp will still be in the bay. Chase birds and drift scattered shell bottoms. LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: Colorado River GPS: N28 41.758’, W95 58.676’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: 1/4 to 3/8-ounce leadhead jigs; Hogie Double Shrimp Tails in chartreuse and Norton Bull Minnows in Margarita and Limetreuse CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: Try a bait with a wiggle to it. LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: West Matagorda Bay GPS: N28 31.094’ W96 12.617’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Darker baits, 1/8-ounce Norton Sand Eel jigs in Black Magic CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: Target redfish after a front, on real low tides; the fish will be up in the guts close to the shoreline. If you can find one, you can usually find a bunch of fish.

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and spoons in darker colors CONTACT: Rockport Tackle Town, 361729-1841 TIPS: When you think you are reeling slowly, slow your retrieve even more. BANK ACCESS: Take Park Road 13 all the way down to St. Charles Bay where there is a spot with a sign saying Big Tree. LOCATION: Port Aransas Intracoastal Waterway HOTSPOT: Sail Boat Channel GPS: N27 52.542’, W97 05.751 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, bass Assassins, and spoons in darker colors CONTACT: Rockport Tackle Town, 361729-1841 TIPS: Anglers have a choice of fishing from the bank or wade fishing. BANK ACCESS: Take Hwy. 361 in between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas. LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Morris & Cummings Cut GPS: N27 52.851’, W97 06.661’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Cut mullet or large table shrimp, Carolina rigged using a 1/2 to 1ounce weight, 18-inch leader, 5/0 hook CONTACT: Capt. Larry Robinson, 361549-4389 TIPS: Fish drop offs after passage of a cold front and dropping tides. LOCATION: Aransas Bay HOTSPOT: Shrimp Boat Channel GPS: N27 52.327’, W97 05.302 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Cut mullet or large table shrimp, Carolina rigged using a 1/2 to 1ounce weight, 18-inch leader, 5/0 hook

CONTACT: Capt. Larry Robinson, 361549-4389 TIPS: Good spot to try with a dropping tide after a cold front LOCATION: Port O’Connor HOTSPOT: Matagorda Ship Channel Jetties GPS: N28 25.779’, W96 19.878 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Cut mullet, 1-ounce weight, and 3/0 Kahle hooks CONTACT: Capt. Bob Hill, 361-920-4615 TIPS: Fish the end and outside of the jetties with the bait on the bottom on an outgoing tide LOCATION: Port O’Connor HOTSPOT: Matagorda Ship Channel jetties GPS: N28 25.779’, W96 19.878 SPECIES: Black drum BEST BAITS: Cut mullet and blue crab, 1ounce weight, 3/0 Kahle hooks CONTACT: Capt. Bob Hill, 361-920-4615 TIPS: Fish the end and outside of the jetties with the bait on the bottom on an outgoing tide.

Give Reds the Devil Eye LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: East Pass GPS: N29 58.920’ W93 47.135’

LOCATION: Goose Island State Park HOTSPOT: Big Tree GPS: N 28 07.572’ W 96 59.407’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, Bass Assassins, A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: Fish only on falling tides. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Sidney Island GPS: N29 58.590’, W93 49.433 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: In early December key on little shrimp and groups of mullet. Drift, and make long casts. LOCATION: Galveston East Bay HOTSPOT: North side GPS: N29 33.137’ W94 37.199’ SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 51 Series MirrOlure CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242

TIPS: A great place to wade fish at time of the year. LOCATION: Galveston West Bay HOTSPOT: Carancahua Reef GPS: N29 12.898’ W95 00.442 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 52M26 Series MirrOlures and red or Limetreuse bass Assassin, 5 1/2 inch, fished on 1/16 jighead CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: The trout are mainly going to be on the shell bottom. Look for water colorchange lines. That is where the bait will try to hide LOCATION: Galveston Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Jack’s Pocket GPS: N29 45.766’ W94 47.643’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: 52M26 Series MirrOlures and red or Limetreuse bass Assassin, 5-1/2inch, fished on 1/16 jighead CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: Fish the shell bottom.

Watermelon Bass LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Wood Creek GPS: N32 04’ 26” W96 17’91”

SPECIES: black bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon and Blue/Black Jigs CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252 TIPS: A lot of timber and stumps exist here. Just take a jig work the edges of the docks and stumps. Slow down the bait if you struggle for bites. BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marine LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Tree Top GPS: N32 04’ 02” W96 14’43” SPECIES: black bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon and Blue/Black Jigs CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252 TIPS: A lot of timber and stumps exist here. Just take a jig work the edges of the docks and stumps. Slow down the bait if you struggle for bites. BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marine LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Warm Water Discharge Cove GPS: N31 47.646, W96 04.481 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon Reds and Firetiger Carolina-rigged Creature Baits and Rattletraps CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com

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TIPS: The colder temperatures move the shad and baitfish into the warm water discharge cove where the power plant discharges water about 84 degrees keeping the cove an astounding 70 - 80 degrees. There is a flat about four feet in front of the cable going across the discharge channel. The turbines make a strong current and the bass will run in and out of this cut. The Carolina rig will catch both bass and reds. The extended leader on the rig will have plenty of action in the strong current. Just drag it along the bottom and hold on. LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Warm Water Discharge Cove GPS: N31 47.646, W96 04.481 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Watermelon Red and Firetiger Carolina-rigged Creature Baits and Rattletraps CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com TIPS: The colder temperatures move the shad and baitfish into the warm water discharge cove where the power plant discharges water about 84 degrees keeping the cove an astounding 70 - 80 degrees. There is a flat about four feet in front of the cable going across the discharge channel. The turbines make a strong current and the redfish will run in and out of this cut. The Carolina rig will catch both bass and reds. The extended leader on the rig will have plenty of action in the strong current. Just drag it along the bottom and hold on. LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Brushy Point GPS: N31.47.480, W96.04.610 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon-red Carolinarigged Creature Baits CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com TIPS: bass cruise the discharge cove to eat on large schools of shad. This point has an abundant amount of sunken brush piles all over the Point. From four feet out to about 12 feet you will find this heavy brush. Drag this rig along the cover. Work the sides the top and the end of the point and when you feel a brush pile just shake that weight on your rig. The leader should be about two feet long. The current is very strong. When

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the weight is sitting still, the leader allows the bait to move all around presenting a great reaction bite for both bass. LOCATION: Lake Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Long Arm Branch Point GPS: N31.59.201, W96.12.294 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce Silver or Chartreuse Slabs TIPS: The fish will be pushing shad up on the edges of this point and having a feeding frenzy as they prepare for the colder weather. Use your electronics to find the baitfish and fish in water depths of 25-35 feet. Bounce the slab slowly off the bottom. CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina 903-389-5218 LOCATION: Lake Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31 58.9490, W96 10.600 SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: 1.5-ounce Chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 TIPS: The Pelican Island area is a wintertime haunt for big hybrids and white bass. Tie on a larger Slab and move it slowly off the bottom in water depths of 30’ or greater. The fish will be hugging the bottom. As the water temperature cools to the low 50’s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will be soft; you just feel dead weight on the end of your line. LOCATION: Lake Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31.58.9490 W096.10.600 W SPECIES: White bass BEST BAITS: 1.5-ounce Chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 TIPS: The Pelican Island area is a wintertime haunt for big hybrids and white bass. Tie on a larger Slab and move it slowly off the bottom in water depths of 30 feet or greater. The fish will be hugging the bottom. As the water temperature cools to the low 50’s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will be soft; you just feel dead weight on the end of your line. LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Live Oak Park Cove


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GPS: N31 06.925, W97 28.650 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Shad crankbaits (warm days), small jigs with pork eels (cold days) CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Watch for shad flicking along the east cove shoreline. Fish near bait activity.

BANK ACCESS: Via Live Oak Ridge Park (Corps of Engineers) LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Live Oak Park Cove GPS: N31 06.925, W97 28.650 SPECIES: smallmouth bass BEST BAITS: Slow shad Crankbaits (warmer days), small jigs with pork eels on colder days CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Watch for shad flicking along the east cove shoreline and fish near the bait BANK ACCESS: Via Live Oak Ridge Park (Corps of Engineers) LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Colinas Timber Edge GPS: N31 02.039, W97 34.903 SPECIES: largemouth, occasional smallmouth BEST BAITS: Dark 4-inch soft plastic worms on Carolina Rig CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Best fished during SE to SW wind so you can fish deep to shallow and maintain contact with rig. LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Comanche Cove GPS: N31 01.800, W97 37.790 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Live minnows under slip bobber CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: If fishing with multiple anglers, vary your depths. Once fish are located, move all baits to successful depth. BANK ACCESS: Comanche Gap Road LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Deep Humps GPS: N31 54.214, W97 12.178 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce Chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539 TIPS: Watch graph along humps and you will see the white bass stacked up on the edges of the humps. Drop slabs down and bounce off bottom making contact with bait as it falls. Carry binoculars and watch for the birds diving on shad, the white bass push the shad to the surface and quick limits are coming from under the birds.

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LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Big Rocky Creek GPS: N52.795’, W97 23.682’ SPECIES: stripers BEST BAITS: Storm’s Wild Eye Shad (chartreuse) CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539 TIPS: The stripers have the shad pushed back up in the creek past the first cut; make longs cast and drag baits behind the boat using the trolling motor. BANK ACCESS: Walling Bend LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Willis Creek Flats GPS: Area Northeast of Willis Creek Park SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: Live shad, Sure Shot prepared bait CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell TIPS: Fish the shallow open and timbered flats with rod and reel. Good fish will be in water as shallow as 2 feet. BANK ACCESS: There is good access all along Willis Creek Park especially around the Pavilion. LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Juniper Point East GPS: N33 51.892, W96 49.833 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Cool water temperatures make the fish go into a feeding frenzy. Large fish up to 20 pounds will be on the prowl; 4- to 6inch Sassy Shad on a 1-ounce jighead will work the best. Texoma’s stripers prefer white glow and chartreuse colors. Road Runner 1-ounce jigs with a 7-inch worm are deadly on the big fish holding on structure. Fish the main lake points, mouths of creeks and humps near deep water. Large schools of stripers can be under the birds. BANK ACCESS: Juniper Point East LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Paw Paw Creek and Willis Bridge GPS: N33 53.992, W96 53.796


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SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Large stripers up to 20-plus pounds will hold on structure. A 7-foot medium heavy Castaway Rod with 20pound test is recommended. The 1-ounce Road Runner jigs with a white 7-inch worm will produce fish located on main lake points, the mouths of creeks and humps with deep water nearby. Keep your eyes on the seagulls; they can be your best fish locator. BANK ACCESS: The Oil Wells and Texas Flats

Flip for Falcon Bass LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: San Ignacio GPS: N26 54.949, W99 19.230 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms and flipping tubes in red, red watermelon, red bug

CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle, 956-7654866 TIPS: If bass are not already in spawning mode, they will be staging for the spawn. Most will be, especially if the winter has been thus far mild. The higher water levels will push bass into the new brush produce during this past summer’s drought. Texasrig your worms and tubes, and toss along the edges of the brush. Watch for big fish. They require stout (20-25 pound) gear to winch them out of the brush. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tiger GPS: N26 44.326, W99 8.750 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms in red, red watermelon, grape. Flipping tubes CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle 956-7654866 TIPS: Fish back up in the creeks and all around primary and secondary points. This

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is going to be close-in work with a flipping or jigging rod. Keep an eye out for bedding bass along shallow gravel. The idea is to put the lure right in the fish’s nest so that it will get angry enough to whack it. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tiger GPS: N26 44.326, W99 8.750 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Cut Shad, prepared baits CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle 956-7654866 TIPS: It’s a weird experience to fish the thick brush under cormorant nests, but the catfish are there in huge numbers. Use a float over your cut bait to suspend it above submerged deadfalls, and fish as close to the trees as you can. Ambitious fishermen can actually go into the thicket to fish untouched waters.

Dam Shad Blues LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Deep water near Dam GPS: Along entire dam and out to 1/2 mile SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: fresh shad CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell TIPS: Drift-fish the deep flats from 15 to 25 feet deep using wind socks if necessary. BANK ACCESS: Wilson Fox Park LOCATION: Lake Medina HOTSPOT: Masterson Point GPS: N29 33.373 W98 55.422 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 2” white and chrome slab spoons, live minnows

CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Focus on main lake points and islands in 15 to 30 feet of water. Vertically jig slab spoons, watching slack line as you allow the spoon to fall. Most bites will occur A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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on the fall. Spoons will be hit fairly hard so you should have little difficulty detecting bites. If fishing with minnows, hook through nose or just below the dorsal fin. Fish at depths the bass are working and let your minnow do the work. White bass are will bunched up; when you will catch, one you should catch several! BANK ACCESS: Bandera County Park, crappie on live minnows and crappie jigs, Guadalupe bass on soft plastics LOCATION: Lake Travis HOTSPOT: Riviera Marina GPS: N30 25.526, W98 52.525 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: pink/white, or chartreuse crappie jigs, live minnows CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Locate brush piles in 12 to 30 feet of water along creek channels, bluff walls and under docks. Due to lower water levels, much of the lake’s brush will be above water, so crappie should be suspended under docks or using a rock ledges piles for cover instead. When you do locate submerged brush you have got a real bonus for catching crappie. Vertically jig these areas after looking for the fish with electronics. Crappie are bunching

up for the winter so you should find many of them in one place. BANK ACCESS: Bob Wentz Park, largemouth bass on soft plastics

Get ready for action - you will often catch many good fish this way. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, crappie on jigs and minnows

LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Morgan Creek GPS: N30 50.003, W98 21.257 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: shad colored crankbaits, white and white/chartreuse spinnerbaits with willow leaf blades, white or pearl flukes, white or black jigs with matching trailers, black/blue fleck plastic worms CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: bass are in heavy feeding patterns now so locating baitfish in creeks and the backs of coves and pockets is the key to your success. Start with crankbaits and spinnerbaits, working them at a 45-degree angle to the bank. Look for likely ambush spots created by rocks, brush and docks, and don’t be surprised to find several bass holding on one piece of cover. If action with faster lures is slow, opt for jigs, flukes, or plastic worms. If you locate schools of shad that seem nervous or have bass actively feeding on them, cast a fluke and allow it to fall through the school, twitching it occasionally as it falls.

LOCATION: Lake LBJ HOTSPOT: Station Creek GPS: N30 35.520, W98 23.406 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbaits with gold blades, shallow running crankbaits, white flukes, watermelon/red and green fleck CONTACT: David Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Good bass can still be found in creek beds off the main channel upriver, but they are beginning to move toward the main river. Bass found on the main river will tend to grouping around secondary and primary lake points. Your number top lure now is the spinnerbait, with the crankbait a close second. If bass follow a spinnerbait, but won’t’ give it a solid hit, switch to flukes and fish them with a jerk-jerk-pause retrieve. Also, pitch tubes under docks and around any heavy cover you find to catch less active bass. BANK ACCESS: Jacobs Creek, largemouth bass on spinnerbaits, topwaters, and crankbaits

LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Party Cove GPS: N29 53.150, W98 15.150 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Secret Weapons buzzbaits, Texas-rigged worms, small crankbaits, Jewel CONTACT: Kandie Candeleria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Fish the bluff wall to the left of the island in Party Cove. Early morning, just before dawn, burn a black Secret Weapons buzzbait in black along the bluff wall. When the sun rises a bit throw a small white or shad colored crankbait such as Lucky Craft 1.5. When you get to the point, just before the deeper side of the island switch to a drop-shot, black/blue 3/8 oz. Jewel Jig or Texas-rigged worm. Use a 1/8 oz Tru-Tungsten weight with a white glass bead placed just before the hook. Colors that have been producing are Watermelon Red, WatermelI14

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on Candy, Motor oil Red flake, and Blue Fleck. BANK ACCESS: Canyon Park Campground, crappie on minnows and crappie jigs

Mill Creek Bass LOCATION: Toledo Bend South HOTSPOT: Mill Creek GPS: N32 12.20, W93 39.36

SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white/chartreuse spinnerbaits with double willowleaf blades (one gold, one nickel), spoons, football head jigs, Carolina-rigged 10-inch worms, Texas-rigged 7inch worms, deep-diving crankbaits CONTACT: Joe Joslin, 337-463-3848, www.joejoslinoutdoors.com TIPS: Spinnerbaits are now tops, both over grass (hydrilla) in 6 to 15 ft. depths, and slow-rolling in 10 to 25 feet. Over grass, use 3/8 oz. double willowleaf spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse with one gold and one nickel blade. Use 3/4 and 1 oz when slow-rolling. Mill Creek is perfect for deep spooning with lots of deep/clear water. Opt for 5/8 and 3/4 oz. spoons, targeting 25 to 45 feet of water. Work off-shore humps and ridges with 1/2 oz. football jigs and Carolina-rigged 10-inch worms. Bring out the deep-diving crankbaits when all else fails, or slow things down with a medium-tolight Texas-rigged 7-inch worm. Mill Creek is usually very clear so use fluorocarbon line is recommended. Jigging spoons will now catch 4 to 5 species of fish: largemouth. Bass, yellow bass, crappie, spotted bass and striper. BANK ACCESS: Below generators for catfish/striper Fishing is best when generators are running. Call 337-286-5244 for prerecorded generator schedule.

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Rat-L-Traps, mid-diving crankbaits in shad colors CONTACT: Greg Crafts, 936-368-7151, www.toledobendguide.com TIPS: White bass are now migrating up the lake, traveling along the main lake river channel heading to the river proper where they stack up on river channel sandbars to feed heavily. Target sandbars found on the inside of major bends along the river channel’s edge and use electronics to locate baitfish, and white bass. Be prepared to catch a limit of 25 fish per person, many of which will tip the scales at three pounds! BANK ACCESS: Public parks and marinas, crappie on live minnows, catfish on cut bait and liver LOCATION: Caddo Lake HOTSPOT: River channel in front of Johnson Ranch GPS: N32 42.442, W94 07.087 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: live bait, BNB hair jigs #001 and #003, Ozark Secrets tube jigs #08, #10 and #12 CONTACT: Dennis North, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Big crappie are now moving into the river channel, feeding on bait fish to prepare for the spring spawn, and the river channel in front of Johnson ranch is a good place to find them. Rig a #6 light wire hook with a #4 split-shot, one inch above, and a

small bobber 3 feet up from the hook. Adjust the bobber as needed to reach the crappie’s depth. Try fishing this area with a spider rig, but with only one jig or hook as you will be fishing only 6 to 10 feet deep. Rig a second, longer pole (10 to 12 feet long) to fish the edges of the lily pads at the edge of the channel. BANK ACCESS: Caddo Lake State Park, panfish, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, and white bass LOCATION: Lake O’ the Pines HOTSPOT: Main river channel GPS: N32 45.366, W94 30.130 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: live bait, 1/8 and 1/16 oz BNB CLDT jig #005 and #012, Ozark Secrets tube jigs # 7, #16 and #17 CONTACT: Dennis North, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: The multiple pole spider setup is most productive when drift-fishing for crappie over the old river channel and points. Fish up and down the channel starting where the channel is about 45 feet deep and work your way to the flat which is about 18 feet deep until you find where the crappie are holding. On a two jig rig, set a 1/8 oz jig on the bottom and a second jig about 30 inches off the bottom. For live bait, fish with a 3/16 to 3/8 oz. weight on the bottom with a first hook 12 inches off the bottom and a second hook 36 inches off bottom weight. BANK ACCESS: Dam Shoreline around the

LOCATION: Toledo Bend North HOTSPOT: Main lake river channel ledges and drops GPS: N31 47.065, W93 50.090 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: slab spoons, tail spinners, A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Tejas boat ramp, bass, panfish and catfish, wade-fishing good in this area LOCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir HOTSPOT: Five Fingers Cove GPS: N31 08.291, W94 07.672 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: red shad colored Rat-LTraps, white or chartreuse Nichols spinnerbaits CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: In December, Five Fingers cove still contains fair amounts of Hydrilla, which bass seek out for cover, warmth, and food. Bigger, pre-spawn bass will hold just inside the edges or suspend in the Hydrilla. Throw a Rat-L-Trap over these grass beds in 3 to 8 feet of water, working them just fast enough to tick the tops of the grass. When hung up in Hydrilla, rip the bait loose to trigger strikes by bigger fish Spinnerbaits are effective when worked over the same area. Spool up with 15 lb. fluorocarbon line. BANK ACCESS: Public boat ramps, largemouth on artificials, catfish on cut bait, liver, or stinkbait LOCATION: Lake Livingston HOTSPOT: Hwy 190 roadbed - middle bridge

GPS: N30 51.840, W95 25.360 SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: fresh 4-inch cut shad, fresh chicken liver, Danny King’s Punch Bait CONTACT: Dave Cox, 936-291-9602, www.palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Anchor directly on top of the old bridge and fish straight down to the old roadbed in about 15 feet of water, suspending bait just off the bottom. For bigger blue cats, fish the deeper side of the old bridge where the water is about 30 feet deep. Fish you are your bait suspended about 18 to 22 feet down and hold on. BANK ACCESS: Public parks and boat ramps, largemouth bass on artificials, catfish on cut bait, stinkbait, or liver LOCATION: Lake Conroe HOTSPOT: Main Lake GPS: N30 22.980, W95 34.930 SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: live shad, Storm Swim Shad, CONTACT: Richard Tatsch, 936-2911277, www.fishdudetx.com TIPS: hybrid stripers are now in full swing and this is the time of year to catch trophy fish and possibly a lake record. Fish will be found on main lake points and humps electronics will be a necessity to locate them!

Locate schools of shad and you will find hybrids. Focus on 12 to 26-foot water columns. Live shad is your bait of choice but a Swim Shad will work. BANK ACCESS: Stowaway Marina, bream and catfish on live minnows or worms under cork

Twin Butte Whites LOCATION: Twin Buttes HOTSPOT: Ledge off Spring Creek GPS: N31 21.517, W100 32.137

SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigging spoons, crappie jigs CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: This ledge drops off into the Spring Creek River channel and holds large schools of white bass most of the winter. With electronics, follow the ledge until you find schools of baitfish and then concentrate on that area. Drop a spoon down to bottom on a slack line and once it hits bottom fish by jerking the bait up a couple of feet and letting it settle back to the bottom. Most bites happen on the fall so pay close attention to your line. You will load the boat fast once you find them. BANK ACCESS: Twin Buttes Park off of Merzon Highway LOCATION: O.H. Ivie HOTSPOT: Turkey Bend GPS: N31 31.900, W99 41.464 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Citrus Shad DD-22 crankbaits, 1/2 oz. rattling jigs, Rat-LTraps CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: The Colorado River runs right along this bluff to a good point with small

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pockets 15 to 22 feet deep. Cast a Citrus Shad DD-22 parallel to the point on 12 lb. test line to get it to the right depth. Also, fish rattling jigs trailered in black/blue or black/red, and work them through the treetops for suspended fish. Another good trick for warm sunny days this time of year is to get on top of the point and throw a shad colored 1/2 oz. Rat-L-Trap in 2 to 5 feet of water. Big bass will often move up from the depths to give you a battle. BANK ACCESS: Concho Park, Elm Creek Park LOCATION: Lake Graham-Eddelman HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area GPS: N33 07.594, W98 36.340 SPECIES: sand bass BEST BAITS: live shad, cut bait, 1/4 to 3/8 oz. jigs in yellow and white, crankbaits in black, blue back and purple back CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Cast live shad and cut bait as close to the cement outflow as possible. If your bait gets hung up, let your next bite dislodge it and you will catch more fish! Troll crankbaits through active discharge areas at depths of 8 to 12 feet. If fish are active try a 3/4 oz. Rat-L-Trap in black, blue back or purple back. Hop jigs off the bottom from the cement outflow working back downstream. Watch for cold fronts on the Texas/Oklahoma border as they mean good fishing and be considerate to other fishermen; this productive area is popular. BANK ACCESS: Hwy 380 public boat ramp, crappie on live minnows, bass on plastic worms, catfish on cut bait and liver

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the bottom with the current. If warm water is discharging, you are going to catch fish! Watch for cold front lines on the Texas/Oklahoma border; they bring rising pressure and biting fish! BANK ACCESS: Any of the parks and public boat ramps by the generator plant, crappie on live minnows, catfish on stinkbait, cut bait, and liver LOCATION: Lake Meredith HOTSPOT: The Marina at Lake Meredith GPS: N35 42.250, W101 33.199 SPECIES: walleye BEST BAITS: minnows, red wiggler earthworms CONTACT: Mel Phillips, 806-353-3654, fishman@suddenlink.com TIPS: In cold December, fish the marina’s heated crappie house for walleye and a variety of other species. Minnows and red wiggler earthworms are your baits of choice but chicken livers, shrimp, and cut bait are also productive. Walleye is the draw on Lake Meredith but half the fun of fishing the crappie house is not knowing what you will catch until you catch it. Walleye, largemouth bass, sand bass, and catfish are all likely to end up in the ice chest! BANK ACCESS: The main ramp at the marina, catfish on stinkbait, cut bait and chicken or turkey livers.

Storm the Castle LOCATION: Lake Amistad HOTSPOT: Mouth of Castle Canyon GPS: N29 30.127, W101 02.104 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: 3/4 oz. football head jigs in green pumpkin, DD-22 crankbaits CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: December means big bass at Lake Amistad and a green pumpkin football jig is the answer to catching your share. Drag the jig with a green Rage chunk trailer along the rocky ledges of the Castle Canyon area in 25 to 35 feet of water and you will get some bites. Find a ledge with a flat top at this depth and let your bait free-fall. BANK ACCESS: Diablo East Park or Black Brush area Contact the National Parks Service at 830-775-7491 for more information.

Email: Calixto: cgonzales@fishgame.com Kyle: ktomek@fishgame.com Tripp: tholmgrain@fishgame.com Tom: tbehrens@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Palo Pinto Reservoir HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area GPS: N32 39.318, W98 18.244 SPECIES: sand bass BEST BAITS: live shad, cut bait, slabs, 1/4 to 3/8 oz. jigs in yellow and white CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Slow down when working artificials and hop them along the bottom in the current. Try to get live bait in as close to the pump station as you can. If a bait gets hung up, don’t worry; just wait for your next bite to dislodge it. Fish crankbaits from 8 to 12 feet or deeper just outside the generator fence. Get jigs as close to the cement inside the fence as possible and slow hop them off A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Tides and Prime Times

DECEMBER 2009 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

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

T12

T4

T11

T10

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

T13 T7

T6 T5 T17

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

T15 T16

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

T14 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

SOLAR & LUNAR ACTIVITY: Sunrise: 6:34a Sunset: 7:51p

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.

T20

AM Minor: 9:11a AM Major: 2:57a PM Minor: 9:40p PM Major: 3:25p

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.

Moonrise:9:27a Moon Set: None Moon Overhead:

T21

4:55p

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

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

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

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

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

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

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

T22 T23

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

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Green: Falling Tide

AM/PM Timeline Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

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

AM/PM Timeline

I18

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.)

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

6p

12a

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

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

• D E C E M B E R

2 0 0 9 /

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

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

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

KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

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

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

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

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

T E X A S

F i s h

&

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

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

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


ALMANAC I.qxd:0912 Inland

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10:07 AM

Page I19

 = New Moon  = First Quarter  = Full Moon  = Last Quarter  = Best Day

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

 2

 D EC 1

FRIDAY

 3

SATURDAY

 4

SUNDAY

5

6

Sunrise: 6:54a Moonrise: 3:52p

Set: 5:20p Set: 5:09a

Sunrise: 6:55a Moonrise: 4:43p

Set: 5:20p Set: 6:15a

Sunrise: 6:56a Moonrise: 5:43p

Set: 5:20p Set: 7:22a

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 6:49p

Set: 5:20p Set: 8:24a

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 7:58p

Set: 5:20p Set: 9:21a

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 9:09p

AM Minor: 2:40a

PM Minor: 8:54p

AM Minor: 3:32a

PM Minor: 9:47p

AM Minor: 4:31a

PM Minor: 10:47p

AM Minor: 5:36a

PM Minor: 11:51p

AM Minor: 6:43a

PM Minor: 12:27p

AM Minor: 7:50a

PM Minor: 1:35p

AM Minor: 8:54a

PM Minor: 2:40p

AM Major: 8:54a

PM Major: 9:21p

AM Major: 9:47a

PM Major: 10:17p

AM Major: 10:47a

PM Major: 11:18p

AM Major: 11:51a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:27a

PM Major: 12:58p

AM Major: 1:35a

PM Major: 2:05p

AM Major: 2:40a

PM Major: 3:08p

Moon Overhead: 11:01p

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:01a 12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 1:04a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:08a

Moon Overhead: 2:07a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 5:20p Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 6:59a Set: 10:11a Moonrise: 10:18p Set: 10:55a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 4:06a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 30

WEDNESDAY

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 10:32a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 1:36p BEST:

3:00 — 5:00 P

Moon Underfoot: 2:38p BEST:

8:30 — 10:00 A

9:30 — 11:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 3:37p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:33p +2.0

BEST:

10:30A — 12:00P

11:30A — 1:00P TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

2:30 — 4:00 P

Moon Underfoot: 12:32p

TIDE LEVELS

1:30 — 3:00 P

Moon Underfoot: 11:31a

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

7:59 AM 4:26 PM 8:59 PM 11:41 PM

-0.26 ft Low Tide: 8:41 AM 1.57 ft High Tide: 5:21 PM 1.37 ft Low Tide: 9:45 PM 1.40 ft

-0.46 ft High Tide: 12:03 AM 1.65 ft Low Tide: 9:27 AM 1.45 ft High Tide: 6:16 PM Low Tide: 10:27 PM

1.47 ft -0.61 ft 1.67 ft 1.51 ft

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

12:38 AM 10:17 AM 7:11 PM 11:11 PM

1.53 ft High Tide: 1:22 AM 1.53 ft Low Tide: -0.68 ft Low Tide: 11:08 AM -0.68 ft High Tide: 1.66 ft High Tide: 8:02 PM 1.60 ft Low Tide: 1.51 ft High Tide:

12:11 AM 2:10 AM 12:01 PM 8:46 PM

1.46 ft 1.47 ft -0.58 ft 1.51 ft

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

1:40 AM 3:12 AM 12:55 PM 9:21 PM

1.32 ft 1.32 ft -0.38 ft 1.40 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:0912 Inland

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10:07 AM

Page I20

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

7

THURSDAY

 9

8

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

10

11

SUNDAY

12

13

Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 7:02a Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 7:01a Set: 12:07p Moonrise: 12:26a Set: 12:40p Moonrise: 1:27a

Set: 5:20p Set: 1:13p

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 2:28a

Set: 5:20p Set: 1:48p

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 3:29a

Set: 5:21p Set: 2:25p

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 4:30a

Set: 5:21p Set: 3:06p

AM Minor: 9:53a

PM Minor: 3:40p

AM Minor: 10:46a

PM Minor: 4:34p

AM Minor: 11:34a

PM Minor: 5:22p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 6:07p

AM Minor: 12:37a

PM Minor: 6:49p

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 7:32p

AM Minor: 2:04a

PM Minor: 8:17p

AM Major: 3:40a

PM Major: 4:06p

AM Major: 4:34a

PM Major: 4:58p

AM Major: 5:22a

PM Major: 5:46p

AM Major: 6:07a

PM Major: 6:30p

AM Major: 6:49a

PM Major: 7:13p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

AM Major: 8:17a

PM Major: 8:42p

Moon Overhead: 4:59a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:37a

Moon Overhead: 5:49a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:23a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:00a

Moon Overhead: 8:11a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:50a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 7:00a Set: 5:20p Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 11:23p Set: 11:33a Moonrise: None

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 5:24p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:47p

BEST:

4:00 — 6:30 A

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 8:35p BEST:

6:00 — 9:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 9:25p BEST:

6:30 — 10:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 10:16p +2.0

BEST:

9:00A — 12:30P

8:00A — 1:00P TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 7:00p

TIDE LEVELS

4:00 — 6:30 P

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 6:13p

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

I20

3:13 AM 5:31 AM 1:51 PM 9:48 PM

1.10 ft 1.11 ft -0.12 ft 1.28 ft

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

• D E C E M B E R

4:08 AM 8:12 AM 2:51 PM 10:11 PM

0.80 ft 0.94 ft 0.20 ft 1.19 ft

2 0 0 9 /

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

T E X A S

4:55 AM 10:31 AM 3:59 PM 10:29 PM

0.48 ft 0.91 ft 0.52 ft 1.12 ft

F i s h

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

&

5:40 AM 12:33 PM 5:27 PM 10:44 PM

0.15 ft 1.01 ft 0.80 ft 1.10 ft

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

6:23 AM 2:16 PM 7:18 PM 10:56 PM

G a m e ® / A L M A N A C

-0.13 ft 1.17 ft 1.00 ft 1.11 ft

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

7:05 AM 3:33 PM 9:07 PM 11:00 PM

-0.36 ft Low Tide: 7:47 AM 1.31 ft High Tide: 4:33 PM 1.12 ft 1.14 ft

-0.51 ft 1.39 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:0912 Inland

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10:07 AM

Page I21


ALMANAC I.qxd:0912 Inland

11/2/09

10:07 AM

Page I22

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

THURSDAY

 16

FRIDAY

 17

SATURDAY

 18

SUNDAY

 19

20

Sunrise: 7:04a Moonrise: 5:30a

Set: 5:21p Set: 3:52p

Sunrise: 7:05a Moonrise: 6:27a

Set: 5:22p Set: 4:42p

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: 7:20a

Set: 5:22p Set: 5:35p

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: 8:08a

Set: 5:22p Set: 6:30p

Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 8:50a

Set: 5:23p Set: 7:27p

Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 9:28a

Set: 5:23p Set: 8:22p

AM Minor: 2:50a

PM Minor: 9:03p

AM Minor: 3:39a

PM Minor: 9:53p

AM Minor: 4:31a

PM Minor: 10:44p

AM Minor: 5:24a

PM Minor: 11:07p

AM Minor: 6:16a

PM Minor: 12:04p

AM Minor: 7:08a

PM Minor: 12:57p

AM Minor: 7:58a

PM Minor: 1:48p

AM Major: 9:03a

PM Major: 9:29p

AM Major: 9:53a

PM Major: 10:19p

AM Major: 10:44a

PM Major: 11:10p

AM Major: 11:07a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:04a

PM Major: 12:29p

AM Major: 12:57a

PM Major: 1:20p

AM Major: 1:48a

PM Major: 2:09p

Moon Overhead: 10:42a 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:27p

Moon Overhead: 11:35a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:18p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:53p

Moon Overhead: 2:07p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 5:23p Moonrise: 10:02a Set: 9:17p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:37p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

WEDNESDAY

 15

14

12a

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 11:08p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 12:53a BEST:

5:30 — 8:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 1:43a BEST:

6:00 — 8:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 2:30a BEST:

6:30 — 9:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 3:15a +2.0

BEST:

7:00 — 9:30 A TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

4:00 — 6:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 12:01a

TIDE LEVELS

3:00 — 5:00 A

Moon Underfoot: None

Low Tide: 8:27 AM High Tide: 5:21 PM

-0.59 ft Low Tide: 9:08 AM 1.41 ft High Tide: 6:04 PM

-0.62 ft Low Tide: 9:47 AM 1.38 ft High Tide: 6:43 PM

-0.60 ft Low Tide: 10:25 AM -0.56 ft High Tide: 1:05 AM 1.33 ft High Tide: 7:18 PM 1.27 ft Low Tide: 11:02 AM Low Tide: 11:38 PM 1.19 ft High Tide: 7:48 PM Low Tide: 11:41 PM

1.20 ft High Tide: 1:54 AM 1.14 ft Low Tide: -0.48 ft Low Tide: 11:37 AM -0.37 ft High Tide: 1.21 ft High Tide: 8:15 PM 1.15 ft Low Tide: 1.13 ft High Tide:

12:28 AM 2:28 AM 12:10 PM 8:38 PM

1.04 ft 1.05 ft -0.24 ft 1.10 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:0912 Inland

11/2/09

10:07 AM

Page I23

 = New Moon  = First Quarter  = Full Moon  = Last Quarter  = Best Day

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

21

22

THURSDAY

 24

23

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SATURDAY

25

SUNDAY

26

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 5:26p Sunrise: 7:10a Moonrise: 12:28p Set: 12:49a Moonrise: 1:02p

27

Set: 5:27p Set: 1:47a

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 1:42p

Set: 5:27p Set: 2:49a

AM Minor: 8:46a

PM Minor: 2:36p

AM Minor: 9:32a

PM Minor: 3:21p

AM Minor: 10:15a

PM Minor: 4:05p

AM Minor: 10:57a

PM Minor: 4:47p

AM Minor: 11:39a

PM Minor: 5:28p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 6:10p

AM Minor: 12:42a

PM Minor: 6:55p

AM Major: 2:36a

PM Major: 2:57p

AM Major: 3:21a

PM Major: 3:42p

AM Major: 4:05a

PM Major: 4:25p

AM Major: 4:47a

PM Major: 5:07p

AM Major: 5:28a

PM Major: 5:50p

AM Major: 6:10a

PM Major: 6:34p

AM Major: 6:55a

PM Major: 7:21p

Moon Overhead: 4:18p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:39p

Moon Overhead: 4:59p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:20p 12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 7:52p

Moon Overhead: 7:04p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 5:24p Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 5:25p Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 5:24p Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 5:25p Moonrise: 10:32a Set: 10:10p Moonrise: 11:01a Set: 11:02p Moonrise: 11:29a Set: 11:55p Moonrise: 11:57a Set: None

12a

FRIDAY

Moon Overhead: 8:44p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 3:58a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

9:00 — 11:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 5:59a

Moon Underfoot: 6:42a

BEST:

4:30 — 6:00 P

BEST:

5:00 — 7:30 P

Moon Underfoot: 7:27a

Moon Underfoot: 8:18a

BEST:

5:30 — 7:00 P

+2.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 A

1:00 — 2:30 A TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 5:19a

TIDE LEVELS

8:00 — 10:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 4:39a

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

1:51 AM 2:49 AM 12:41 PM 8:58 PM

0.93 ft Low Tide: 1:11 PM 0.93 ft High Tide: 9:14 PM -0.08 ft 1.04 ft

0.10 ft 0.99 ft

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

3:55 AM 7:53 AM 1:42 PM 9:26 PM

0.60 ft 0.65 ft 0.29 ft 0.95 ft

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

4:20 AM 10:17 AM 2:16 PM 9:30 PM

0.40 ft 0.64 ft 0.50 ft 0.93 ft

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

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

F i s h

4:51 AM 12:21 PM 3:00 PM 9:25 PM

&

0.18 ft 0.74 ft 0.70 ft 0.93 ft

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

5:26 AM 2:01 PM 4:07 PM 9:03 PM

-0.06 ft 0.91 ft 0.89 ft 0.98 ft

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

G a m e ® / D E C E M B E R

6:07 AM 3:08 PM 5:57 PM 8:38 PM

2 0 0 9

-0.31 ft 1.08 ft 1.05 ft 1.07 ft

I23

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:0912 Inland

11/2/09

10:07 AM

Page I24

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

 30

29

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

 Ja n 1

 31

SUNDAY

 2

 3

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 2:28p

Set: 5:28p Set: 3:53a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 3:24p

Set: 5:28p Set: 5:00a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 4:27p

Set: 5:29p Set: 6:05a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 5:36p

Set: 5:30p Set: 7:05a

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 6:49p

Set: 5:30p Set: 8:00a

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 8:01p

Set: 5:31p Set: 8:48a

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 9:10p

Set: 5:32p Set: 9:29a

AM Minor: 1:29a

PM Minor: 7:43p

AM Minor: 2:20a

PM Minor: 8:35p

AM Minor: 3:17a

PM Minor: 9:33p

AM Minor: 4:18a

PM Minor: 10:34p

AM Minor: 5:21a

PM Minor: 5:52p

AM Minor: 6:26a

PM Minor: 6:55p

AM Minor: 7:28a

PM Minor: 7:56p

AM Major: 7:43a

PM Major: 8:11p

AM Major: 8:35a

PM Major: 9:06p

AM Major: 9:33a

PM Major: 10:04p

AM Major: 10:34a

PM Major: 11:05p

AM Major: 11:37a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:11a

PM Major: 12:40p

AM Major: 1:15a

PM Major: 1:42p

Moon Overhead: 9:42p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:47p

Moon Overhead: 10:44p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:52a

Moon Overhead: 12:51a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:49a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

28

12a

Tides and Prime Times for DECEMBER 2009

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 9:13a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

2:30 — 4:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 12:19p BEST:

3:30 — 5:00 A

4:30 — 6:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 1:22p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 2:21p BEST:

5:30 — 7:00 A

Moon Underfoot: 3:16p +2.0

BEST:

6:00 — 7:30 A

1:00 — 3:30 A TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 11:15a

TIDE LEVELS

2:00 — 3:30 A

Moon Underfoot: 10:12a

Low Tide: 6:52 AM High Tide: 3:58 PM

-0.55 ft Low Tide: 1.22 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

7:40 AM 4:43 PM 9:06 PM 9:57 PM

-0.77 ft 1.32 ft 1.21 ft 1.22 ft

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

8:30 AM 5:26 PM 9:24 PM 11:42 PM

-0.94 ft Low Tide: 9:20 AM -1.04 ft 1.35 ft High Tide: 5:59 PM 1.34 ft 1.23 ft Low Tide: 10:05 PM 1.15 ft 1.25 ft

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

1:19 am 10:08 am 6:32 pm 10:50 pm

1.21 ft -1.01 ft 1.28 ft 1.03 ft

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

2:37 am 10:58 am 7:04 pm 11:43 pm

1.15 ft High Tide: 3:57 am 1.04 ft -0.90 ft Low Tide: 11:46 am -0.69 ft 1.18 ft High Tide: 7:32 pm 1.08 ft 0.85 ft

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Give ‘em What They Want WAS ONCE THE UNFORTUNATE AND SOMEWHAT embarrassed recipient of a toilet seat as a Christmas gift. Not that there is anything wrong with toilet seats (some of my best friends use them) or that the gift was not utilitarian, but there is something unsettling about settling oneself onto a clear Lexan potty perimeter with assorted wild game detritus embedded in the plastic. No doubt, the gifter had good intentions (it was not a gag gift) and figured something “outdoorsy” appropriate for someone of my interests and vocation. Nonetheless, the relationship has been strained ever since due to the giver’s insistence on inquiring at every opportunity how I am enjoying his gift, which leads to awkward moments at social gatherings. I have also received gifts of ties, which I never wear (ever tried buttoning a 17-1/2inch collar around an 18-1/2-inch neck?) emblazoned with leaping salmon, for which I do not fish; fishing lures made in the likeness of beer cans; dog sweaters with embroi-

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dered ducks; a butterfly net; soap-on-a-rope shaped like a shotgun cartridge; and a sixpack of camouflage toilet paper—the latter coupled with the toilet seat suggesting nonoutdoorsman gifters labor under the delusion that all outdoorsmen have some sort of scatological fetish. Of course, I have received some truly nifty gifts from knowledgeable acquaintances (some of whom do have scatological fetishes) that I still own, use, and cherish. The gifts, I mean, not the acquaintances. It is not difficult to select gifts for outdoorsmen: Just buy something you would like to have while resisting the temptation to keep it for yourself. As an aid to that end, we have here assembled a collection if items and services that most any outdoorsman would be pleased to receive. Look around these pages with your outdoors friend or family member in mind—and steer clear of bathroom accessories. —Don Zaidle

APPAREL Wilderness Dreams Wilderness Dreams by Weber Leather has a full selection of Mossy Oak-patterned camo lingerie, swimwear, and loungewear, and now they even have swimwear for men. The new Naked North Pink Camo Series features some of Wilderness Dreams’ most popular styles in the hot new Naked North Pink Camo.

Wilderness Dreams camo lingerie Also new this year is Wilderness Dreams’ Pink Lace - Trimmed Camisole and Boy Short Pantie. They have also added a One Piece Scoop Neck and Swim Skirt to their ever growing women’s swimwear line. See more at www.wildernessdreams.com.

Automotive J&S American Vault If you are looking for the best way to securely store your concealed hand gun, GPS system or other valuables, look no I26

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further. J&S American Vaults, authorized Texas distributor of Console Vaults, offers high quality, high security, custom designed console vaults for over 26 different trucks and SUV’s. There are even several Universal models available for cars, older vehicles, vans and RV’s. Custom vaults are available for Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hummer, Lincoln and Toyota model trucks and SUVs, and even for Harley Davidson. Console vaults are designed to fit into the console space provided by the vehicle manufacturer. They are constructed of 12 gauge plate steel with welded tab and notch seams, and have an attractive powder coated finish. Installation usually takes ten minutes and requires only a screwdriver and the supplied mounting hardware. Because of the vault’s unique design no drilling or modification of the console is required.

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Swift Hitch

GMC 2003-2009 Fold Down Arm Rest Console These vaults make the perfect gift for concealed handgun license holders. See the full line of products at www.jsamericanvaults.com.

Swift Hitch is an easy-to-use video system that assists you in hitching a vehicle to a trailer. A portable video camera with a magnetized base attaches to the vehicle tailgate, focused on the trailer hitch. A hand-held display unit shows a live picture in full color while you guide your hitch right up to the trailer. The camera transmits to a distance of 300 feet. It has fully automatic night vision (up to 15 feet) and comes with a 4 hour built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery. The display unit has a full color 2.5inch LCD color screen with 960 x 240 resolution. It can display either Normal or Reverse image. The display unit also has a 4-hour rechargeable lithium ion battery. Boat Owners can position the camera on the corner of their boat while backing


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Swift Hitch trailering-assist video system. tive maintenance; to locate something dropped in the bilge. The camera and display unit are priced at $289.00 for the set. For more information, see www.swifthitch.net.

BAITS & LURES The Bait Saver

down a ramp to launch or while backing in to a slip; to visually inspect an inboard engine for leaks while performing preven-

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The Original Bait Saver is a 2" x 1" plastic mesh basket. This container allows you to easily insert your bait and close the lid. Eye hooks (located on the side and the bottom of the bait saver) allows for the hook of your choice. You can select the bait of your choice (e.g. minnows, chicken livers, blood bait,

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The Bait Saver acts as a protective cage for live bait, and comes in two basic designs. etc.). Just drop it in and close the lid. The fish can see the bait, smell the bait and taste the bait. However, they are not able to take the bait. Now you will finally be able to easily reuse your bait, as the fish do not get the


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bait, all they get is mouth full of hook. The bait saver is great for trotlines, jug lines, or rod and reel. All types of fisherman can use this bait saver. Freshwater or saltwater, there's no reason to waste your bait. Check our their website: www.savemybait.com

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Katchmor/Nemire Lures John Nemire, founder of Nemire Lures, began baiting fish when he was as tall as his grandfather’s wading boots. As a child, Nemire spent every opportunity fishing for

Nemire Lures: Red Ripper, Spoon Buzzer, and Spin Ripper. everything he could catch from his grandfather’s row boat, with the help of his “lucky” cane pole. In the Early 1970’s, Nemire started making his own fishing lures, including the first stand-up jig head, Drop Spinner Bait and the original Spoon Buzzer. The popularity of his lures caught on with fellow fishermen across Ohio, but he was unable to gain broader footing due to economic contitions. In January 1998, Nemire decided to take another crack at the lures by improving the original Spoon Buzzer, which won six consecutive tournaments in the 1970’s and to design his Red Ripper. One of Nemire’s goals was to design the Red Ripper – a weedless metal crank bait with a rattle. The first time he tested it against other proven lures, the Red Ripper out-fished them 3 to 1, hooking six bass in 45 minutes. The Red Ripper was a success. And the rest is history. The full line of Nemire Lures by Katchmor is available online at www.nemirelures.com.

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Kicker Fish Bait Co. The goal at Kicker Fish Bait Company is to offer anglers distinctive new baits that can be added to their own catching arsenal. For bass fishing, the Original Texas Weedless Wacky Worm offers weedless presentation, great vibration, deadly slowtwitch action and a truly unique design that bass have yet to see. The new Kicker Kraw and Kicker Kraw JR, designed with the help of F.L.W. and B.A.S.S. pro Cody Bird, have everything an angler could want in a flipping-pitching type bait. Great lifelike fall and retrieve, solid body for firm rigging, diamond cut tube tentacles for added movement, and wings to eliminate line-twist combine to make it a deadly lure.

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The Shad Stick, takes the popular stick-bait craze to the next level. This innovative design maintains the darting action that the soft-jerk bait provides, but the stick

Russelure The legendary Russelure is back! With its unusual wobble swimming action, which can be varied from eccentric fast motion to a slower, smooth natural movement, the Russelure is irresistible to fish. Formed from aluminum with anodized colors, solid

Kicker Fish baits: Kicker Kraw, Shad Stick, and Byrd Dawg.

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tail gives the bait the vibration and wiggle action needed for realistic movement on the fall. The Shad Stick will be available in both Fresh and Saltwater styles in a wide variety of colors. Says Kicker Fish founder Kelly Jones, Jr., “For me, Bass fishing is truly a passion that I share with millions of other anglers who have become addicted to this mysterious predator we call Bass... and our continuous quest for new ways to catch them!” Check out their full line at www.kickerfishbait.com.

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brass brackets riveted to the body and superior quality Mustad hooks attached with stainless steel rings, the Russelure is a virtually indestructible lure. The Russelure comes in 8 different sizes and 11 different colors. Corrosion-resistant materials and all

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metal construction creates a virtually indestructible lure. The Russelure is a wobble-type lure (as opposed to a spinner, which twists the line). The lure’s action allows for a slower troll or retrieve, giving fish more time to see

The legendary Russelure is made of rugged aluminum to create a truly unique swim action. and take the lure. Different attachment ring locations on the larger lures allow for varied action and greater depths. For more information, visit www.russelure.com.

BOATING Onyx Outdoor Onyx outdoor recreation products provide reliable, dependable, and trustworthy gear you are looking for to keep you outdoors longer and will allow you to experience nature on your terms.

Onyx Advantage Max-4 and Select Vest. Onyx products are comprised of a complete line of EVA, PVC, and Nylon rainwear, fishing & hunting life jackets and accessories. I36

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Explore the outdoors in a new way with our exciting line up of new products sure to enhance your fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, camping, or any other memorable outdoor experience. Our products will make a good experience great…and wherever you’re going, we’ll be keeping you there. Onyx is a newly formed brand under the Absolute Outdoor, Inc. company, located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.onyxoutdoor.com.

ator and up to 3 passengers including pets and kids, allowing unrestricted movement about the boat. If the operator falls overboard the motor will shut off and an alarm will sound or if a passenger falls overboard the alarm will sound. Hard-wired kill switches protect only the operator. Autotether protects others onboard, with one receiver serving up to a maximum of four sensors. The Autotether Wireless Solor Fisherman System retails for $235. The Wireless Laynard System sells for $295. Visit www.autotether.com.

Autotether Inc. Autotether Wireless Lanyard for Fishermen and Recreational Boaters shuts off your motor within 1 1/2 seconds. The Autotether uses cutting edge RF technology and is the only patented wireless lanyard on the market. It connects directly to the engine kill switch. Protecting the boat oper-

Edson International Autotether wireless kill switch system.

In 2008 Edson officially entered its 150th year of operation. Edson’s core values back “then” when Jacob Edson founded this company in


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1859, and what they stand for “now”, remains remarkably similar and still totally entwined. Through Edson’s history these words ring as true today as they did 150 years ago, “Honesty”, “Integrity”, “Innovation” and “Passion”.

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Edson has introduced countless marine innovations in its long history, serving the commercial, sailing and recreational boater. Their vast catalog is available online, including new steering products such as their Power Knob Sportsman Series Composite steering knob. This attachment

Edson’s Power Knob Sportsman series and Pro Series Stainless steering wheels. straps or bolts to any off-road vehicle or boat wheel, making it easy to turn the wheel quickly with one hand. Edson also carries a wide selection of stainless steel comfort steering wheels, including their Pro Series Stainless wheels. Check out the entire inventory at www.edsonmarine.com, or call toll free, 1-800-450-8405.

SeaSense Unified Marine, Inc. was formed in 1984 to provide the marine industry with

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the latest in innovative products at competitive prices, backed by a service commitment second to none. Unified boasts a 40,000 square foot distribution center and 5,000 square foot office building on 37 acres in Newport, Tennessee. This central location puts Unified within a one day shipment of most U.S. businesses. SeaSense offers a vast catalog of marine equipment, and has a huge selection of products that make great gift ideas. These products cover a wide range of prices, from under $10 to over $100. From rod holders to trailer winches, aerators to anchors, SeaSense is the perfect source for boaters’ gifts. Check us out at www.seasense.com.

Texas Marine of Beaumont Texas Marine has a large variety of boats to choose from. Bass Boats: Texas Marine of Beaumont carries the complete line of the legendary Ranger bass boats with highest customer satisfaction 3 years in a row. We also

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carry the complete line of the value packed Stratos fiberglass bass boats. Bay Boats: They also stock the number one selling bay boat in Texas, Blue Wave Bay Boats, from 16 to 24 feet, and Texas Marine is the number one Blue Wave dealer in the nation! We also carry the complete line of Robalo Bay & Offshore boats from 16 to 28 feet. Offshore Boats: For fishermen who demand the best, Texas Marine features the top name center console, Robalo, a name offshore fishermen have trusted for years, factory installed with Yamaha outboards. Texas Marine is proud to be a Marine Industry Certified Dealership. Certified Dealers must pass rigorous tests by an independant third party showing that customers can expect to find: Friendly, knowledgeable staff, Quality Products, Reliable Service. Visit the store at 1140 IH-10 North in Beaumont, Phone: (409) 898-7632, or check out their website at www.texasmarine.com.

Wells Marine Tech Wells Marine Technology, Inc. is the recognized leader in Electronic Battery Management Systems, and holds three U.S. patents on its Pulse Detection System. Wells Marine Technology also introduced “Automatic Battery Management Systems” to the marine and recreational vehicle industry. Their BassMaxxII puts an end to dead trolling motor batteries. The automatic switching system allows the main engine

The BassMaxx II from Wells Marine Tech


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alternator to charge the 12, 24, or 36 volt trolling motor batteries whernever the main engine is running. When the main engine is shut down, the trolling motor batteries automatically return 24 or 36 volts to the trolling motor. The trolling motor will run stronger longer, and deep cycle battery life

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will be significantly extended. Fishing time can be dramatically extended. The BassMaxxII is available for $280, and comes with a 3 year warranty. Visit www.wellsmarinetech.com.

ELECTRONICS Angler Products Angler Products sells Fishing Hotspots preloaded on a card for most current GPS makes and models. Simply choose the area you want to fish, show us what GPS you have and we'll send you a preloaded card with simple installation instructions that

Angler Products’ Post Ike Galveston hotspots. will allow you to load literally hundreds of good fishing locations in less time than you can manually load one. Angler Products and Hook-N-Line Fishing Maps have teamed up to bring you Post Ike Galveston Bay Fishing Maps and Hotspots Now you can have the best, most recent fishing map for the Galveston Bay area and be able to load over 400 updated fishing locations and boat ramps to your GPS instantly. Visit www.angler-products.com.

Hatcams Most activities require the use of both hands, which unfortunately makes filming these experiences difficult if not impossible … until now. Hatcam’s patent pending hatcam mounting system allows you to capture everything you hear and see, all while having both hands free. With the hatcam kit, experiences that would be just a memory can now be captured forever. Hatcam is great for the angler who wants to relive their fishing experience with first person video footage. Hatcam is lightweight, extremely stable, I42

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hands-free video recording. There are no wires. AA and lithium-ion powered camcorders are available, or use your pocket camcorder — the universal-mounting system fits any small camcorder with a tripod thread. Shooting is simple. The mount is

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designed so anything you look at gets captured, and transfering video to your PC or MAC is a easy with the camcorder's builtin USB port. Hatcam is sold as a kit, with hat and camcorder starting at $149, or just the mounting system hat for $34.99 (supply

Hatcams are available with and without the optional pocket camcorder. your own lightweight camcorder with universal tripod mount). Order online and view a large number of hatcam videos at www.hatcams.com.

The Fisherman’s Analyst The Fisherman’s Analyst is a comprehensive computer program which provides an integrated tide prediction table, journaling section, and charting capabilities. The software is sold by Third Stone Software (www.thirdstonesoft.com). TF&G Kayak Editor Greg Berlocher reviewed The Fisherman’s Analyst in the June, 2009 issue. In his review, Berlocher wrote: “The main screen features a tide chart which can be easily adjusted to display a day at a glance, a week, or even longer. The bright colors on the tide chart are configurable, allowing you to pick your favorite colors for high tides, low tide, and periods of major feeding activity. “Many tide charts provide high and low tide information but not much granularity on tide strength. The Fisherman’s Analyst I44

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ments of water and target fishing trips around water movement. “I found the software easy to manipulate and extremely affordable: $39.95 MSRP. It is available online from Third Stone Software’s website, www.thirdstonesoft.com, and you can also find it on Amazon.com.”

A colorful new line from Charter Arms includes The Pink Lady .38 special.

FIREARMS Charter Arms Part of the main screen view for The Fisherman’s Analyst, by Third Stone Software. takes this to a whole new level.” “Because entire bay systems are large bodies of water you won’t see a lot of height change during a tide but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of tide strength. There is a strong horizontal movement of water but it takes a while to affect the height. The horizontal movement of water is what triggers fish to feed.” “The Fisherman’s Analyst allows anglers to see these strong horizontal move-

Charter revolvers were conceived by American engineers who sought to achieve a new and distinctive approach to handgun design, without disturbing fine gun traditions. These revolvers are the smallest, lightest one-piece frame—stronger than screw-on side plate designs. They have the fewest critical moving parts for simplicity of design and trouble free operation. All barrels are machined with eight grooves instead of six for higher velocity, flatter trajectory and better accuracy. Their

completely blocked hammer system cannot fire unless the trigger is held in full rear position - the safest revolver design in the world. In fact, Charter invented the hammer block transfer bar safety system used by almost every revolver manufacturer. These guns have the shortest hammer throw, fastest lock time and a wide trigger and hammer spur. The cylinder lock up is in three places instead of two: cylinder stop and ejector rod collar for additional safety, strength and cylinder-to-barrel lock up. Charter Arms are 100% American owned, and 100% American made. Visit www.charterfirearms.com.


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Cor-Bon Custom Bullet Co.

Cor-Bon has expanded its popular DPX line of hunting cartridges.

Cor-Bon is the manufacturer of loaded high performance ammunition. Cor-Bon’s product line includes high velocity hollow point ammunition for law enforcement and self-defense, hunting and cowboy action.

Glaser safety slug, the original pre-fragmented ammunition. This year, Cor-Bon has made additions to their popular Pow'R Ball, DPX and

Cor-Bon ammunition line. Cor-Bon is the original designer and manufacturer of the 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum ammunition and the 460 Smith & Wesson Magnum. Visit www.corbon.com.

Trijicon If you want the very best riflescopes and sights money can buy, look no further than Trijicon. Trijicon’s optical excellence has been battle-tested by those who protect and defend us around the globe — rightfully gaining Trijicon the reputation as having the most sophisticated and dependable optics on the market. When precision is the only option, your best option is the Trijicon RMR Sight. Built to provide optimum red-dot visibility against the target, you can acquire and hit your target quickly and more accurately.

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The new Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) has been introduced to match the legendary toughness of the Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight). The RMR offers two illumination configurations. One choice is an innovative LED (light emitting diode) insert that automatically adjusts for brightness in any lighting situation and ensures optimum visibility of dot against the target. The second option is a dual-illuminated, battery-free model featuring Trijicon fiber optics and tritium. Accuracy is further enhanced with adjustments for windage and elevation and clarity is assured with the sight’s ultra-clear, hard-coated lens. Visit www.trijicon.com

Fishing Accessories Faultline Outdoors The Hook-Holster provides a fast and convenient place to hang your hook or lure. This great product has many other advan-

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and cause it to break. And placing hooks into a cork handle dulls the hook. The Hook-Holster is available at Academy, Bass Pro Shops, and online at www.faultlineoutdoors.com.

Fishing Lights, Etc. Fishing with artificial light has been around for many years. It doesn't take a $100 to $300 fishing light to attract fish. Bait fish such as shad and minnows are

Faultline Outdoors’ Hook-Holster tages that make it a great tool for all fishermen. The Hook-Holster conceals points on single hooks, prevents tangled lines in the car or boat, protects hands, clothing, carpet and upholstery, fits snuggly to your rods with no noticeable effect on balance. It’s also immune to damage from UV and saltwater. Hook barbs make small abrasions in rod eyelets that damage fishing line, causing the line to weaken and break. Hooks placed in the eyelet can weaken the eyelet

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drawn to the light to feed on the plankton; and larger game fish move in to feed on the bait fish. It's not uncommon to see bait fish stacked in columns 15 feet thick under the lights, with game fish suspended directly below them. Since 1981, Fishing Lights Etc. has

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established itself as the leader in Underwater Fishing Lights. Their lights are built in the heartland of America and are guaranteed never to leak or they will replace them for free. They produce dock lights, submersibles for boats, rigs for crappie and flounder.

They invite anglers to visit their website, www.fishinglightsetc.com, to view their wide range of products. They also encourage visiting the sites of competitors to see why their lights are preferred by the majority of fishermen.

Frabill Sporting Goods Frabill’s patented new Hibernet is the most completely portable, retractable landing net. Stored, it’s no bulkier than your nighttime running lights. It’s the first net that fits cleanly inside any standard rod

Frabill’s Hibernet... open for business. locker. You’ll forget it’s even there…until you need it. Grab the handle, slide the grip forward, and out shoots a hoop and net, locking into place for the big moment. Hibernet is unquestionably the best portable landing net solution we’ve seen,” states Frabill Engineer, Ryan Kleckner. The beauty of the Hibernet really lies in its simple, foolproof design, Kleckner believes. “There are no buttons or confusing push connections. All you do is slide the handle upward.” Hibernet retracts instantly, too. Just pull the Slide Grip back toward the handle. This unlocks the hoop and draws it back inside the tube. And it’s as solid in construction as it is in performance. “Hibernet’s handle and hoop frames are built with heavy-walled, extruded aluminum,” reports Kleckner. “The Slide-Grip uses pultruded fiberglass I48

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springs, which power the automatic hoop lock. There’s no tension when the net’s retracted, so it never wears out. The whole product is extremely corrosion resistant, so it works equally well in saltwater.” The netting itself is a soft, black poly mesh. Retracted, Hiber-Net is 52-inches in length, with a triangular-shaped hoop that’s 22- by 22-inches by 24-inches deep. Check it out, along with the other great Frabill products at www.frabill.com.

Gulf Coast Waders Gulf Coast Waders is family owned and operated business, selling quality products with superior customer service to fisherman (and women) all over Texas. They sell two products, a Breathable suit and a full Neoprene suit, to offer the best prices and fast delivery. All suits are in stock at our Houston facility and ready for immediate delivery. You can buy your waders at any time at the Gulf Coast Waders website, www.gulfcoastwaders.com or by phone at 281-682-0656. Gulf Coast Waders has a wading suit

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Breathable waders for Texas fishermen, by Texas fishermen, so give them a call today. You too will see why their motto is “we build waders to keep you in the water and keep the water off you.” For more information and to see the full line of waders visit their website, www.gulfcoastwaders.com.

Plano Molding If you have ever had a bottle of simulated live bait spilled on the floor of your boat, or had one of the bags dry out…. then you understand the value of the Liqua-Bait Locker System. The Liqua-

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one bottle, one bait grabber, and one wallet. It will hold 4 bottles or wallets (or two of each) with room left over for additional packages of softbait. It measures 14” x 9.13” x 4.75 and retails for $24.99. The 4641 Deep LBL includes one bottle and one bait grabberand holds one

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bottle with room for additional packages of softbait. It measures 14” x 9.13” x 3.25” and retails for $14.99. The 4648 LBL Wallet holds multiple packages of softbait or individual softbaits in their juices without the packaging. The 4648 LBL Wallet retails for $9.99.

The 4651 LBL Bottle holds up to 23.5 ounces of simulated live bait and the liquid they are stored in. It retails for $7.99. For more information about the new Liqua-Bait Locker System, or any other Plano Tackle Systems products, visit www.planomolding.com.

Hunting Accessories Pradco-Moultrie Feeders The new Moultrie Game Spy Game Management System allows you to view pictures your game camera takes from the comfort of your home, office . . . anywhere with internet access. You can check on your hunting land by simply logging on to a web site. The game management system consists of three components: the game camera, the cellular modem and the web site. Moultrie’s game cameras are designed

Moultrie Game Spy game management system.

to be compatible with the Game Management System. Each camera features the latest in scouting technology. The Game Spy I-45 and I-65 models feature virtually invisible infrared technology, and the Game Spy M-45 and M-65 white-flash cameras capture color nighttime video. The AT&T cellular network wirelessly transmits images from your game camera to your private-access web site. You can easily access the game management web site using your computer, PDA I50

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or cell phone. Once there, you have private access to a web page where you can see photos, check battery status or even change the settings on your game camera. If you'd like to be one click away from 24/7 access to your game photos, get into the Moultrie Game Spy Game Management System. Visit www.moultriefeeders.com.

x 7.5’ tall to 8’ wide x 10’ long x 7.5’ tall. Coolers are available with or without insulated floors. Standard features include Galvalume finish with aluminum floor; insulated door with hardware; thermometer, light, fully self-contained refrigeration system by Bhon, a brand of Heatcraft Refrigeration Products LLC; 110 volt systems, 4 inches

Sportlock SportLock LLC is your source for gun and bow safety. They sell pistol, rifle, shotgun and bow cases in a variety of sizes and compositions. If you need home security safes for handguns, jewelry, or document storage, Sportlock’s compact steel safes come in a variety of sizes and access.

Port-A-Cool portable evaporative coolers. pools, garages, fishing docks and hunting camps. GEM Cooling of Texas is an authorized Port-A-Cool® dealer for the entire Lone Star state located in Selma, Texas. Port-A-Cool, LLC is located in Center, Texas. Port-A-Cool® coolers are available at Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear in Houston, or at www.gemcoolingtx.com.

KT Coolers walk-in deer cooler.

KT Coolers KT Coolers is a Texas-based manufacturer of walk-in deer, wild game, and ranch coolers. They build a variety of standardsize coolers ranging from 4’ wide x 6’ long

of insulation; and 2 galvanized steel meat rails with hooks. Optional delivery and installation is also available. Visit www.ktcoolers.com.

Sportlock Gun Vault Sportlock’s goal is to provide products to meet your needs. Customer service is the component that has made their business a success. See their entire product line at www.sportlockllc.com.

General Products G.E.M. Cooling of Texas Port-A-Cool® Portable Evaporative Cooling Units are Portable, Powerful, and Practical. These American-made portable evaporative cooling units cool anywhere using 115 volts and tap water for a dollar a day. No assembly required. They will work anywhere that traditional air conditioning is not available, impractical or cost prohibitive. Port-A-Cool® is not only used for warehouses, loading docks, and work bays, but is also perfect for home patios and A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Randolph Engineering’s Ranger Series : XLW, XL, Classic, Sporter.

Randolph Engineering Eye protection is always important, whether you're in the field or on the line. RE Ranger lenses, by Randolph Engineering, are designed to protect your eyes

while highlighting your target and increasing overall contrast. Key design elements include fast and easy interchangeability of lenses, optical

grade polycarbonate lenses in 16 custom tints, prescription frame quality with a lifetime warranty on all solder joints, and comfort fit temples. The Ranger series has four models: XLW, XL, Classic and Sporter. Each model offers a variety of temple styles, including Skull which follow the curve of your ear and head; Cable which securely and comfortably hold eyewear in place even in extreme conditions; and Bayonet (XLW only), for military pilots to fit comfortably under head-gear. See the full line of eyewear at www.randolphusa.com.

Outdoor Cutlery AccuSharp The AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is a knife sharpener anyone can use. No more messy oils or stones. In about 10 seconds, sharpen knives, (even serrated knives), cleavers, axes, machetes, and many other cutting tools. I52

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Lansky Controlled-Angle Sharpening System. The Lansky system makes it easy to keep professional edges on all sporting, household and work knives. The Controlled Angle Sharpening System is a gift of sharper, safer knives. Visit www.lanskysharpeners.com.

Mad Cow Cutlery AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener. The large ergonomic handle fits either hand safely and securely. The full length finger guard protects your fingers. Sharpening blades are Diamond Honed Tungsten Carbide for years of reliable use. AccuSharp Knife Sharpeners will not rust and can be cleaned with soap and water or in the dishwasher. Replacement sharpening blades are available. Sportsmen, Cooks, Craftsmen, and Gardeners will appreciate the easy-to-use, affordable AccuSharp line of knife and tool sharpeners. Visit www.accusharp.com.

Lansky Sharpeners Since 1979, Lansky Sharpeners has been recognized as the world leader in Sharpening Technology. Each Lansky Sharpeners product is

Mad Cow Cutlery is a family owned and managed cutlery business located in the Heart of Texas, between Austin and San Angelo. Their central location helps reduce shipping times and expense.

selections of cutlery and cooking utensils than the larger corporate distributors of processing and restaurant knives and accessories. Personal service is the key to shopping with Mad Cow Cutlery. Their vast inventory includes knives, sharpeners and processing tools for meat processing, hunting and fishing, commercial and residential food service. Shop online for gifts, starting as low as $5 for stocking stuffers, at www.madcowcutlery.com.

Puma Knife Company USA Puma Knives have been produced in Germany since 1769. Hunters and craftsmen know and trust Puma performance, heritage and technology.

Mad Cow Cutlery’s wide selection of knives, sharpeners and cutting tools. Being a small business doesn't mean small selections and limited services. Since they are more specialized in the products they sell, Mad Cow Cutlery stocks larger

Puma “Prince”.

Lansky Controlled-Angle Sharpening System. carefully designed to meet unparalleled performance, reliability, and safety standards. All Lansky Sharpeners products are engineered to be completely ambidextrous, and manufactured with superior quality materials by craftsmen who are committed to providing you with a product that is second to none. New for the 2009 holiday season is the A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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The highest grades of stainless steel, innovative designs, genuine stag handles, and traditional German craftsmanship are why Puma knives are considered at the top of every major ranking of classic hunting and sporting knives. Key innovations include the Puma White Hunter, the Duke, The Prince, and the Earl. A Puma knife is a gift that will last more than a lifetime. See the full line at www.pumakifecompanyusa.com.

Retail Fishing Tackle Unlimited In 1980, Cut Rate Sporting Goods began in space less than 1,200 sq.ft. carrying general sporting goods. Today, Cut Rate Fishing Tackle Unlimited is still an independently owned retail store serving customers world wide with their tackle needs. In 2002, Fishing Tackle Unlimited, and Gulf Coast Trolling Motors moved from Telephone Road to Gulf Freeway at Fuqua into a 33,000 sq. ft. building. It is

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They feature dozens of optics manufacturers and offer a 110% low price guarantee. They feature SWFA SS riflescopes, designed to operate in the most extreme conditions (from minus-50 to 130 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, 30,000 ft altitudes, and 15 ft depths in saltwater). Order by phone at 1-972-726-7348 or online at www.swfa.com.

Fishing Tackle Unlimited said to be one of the largest independent fishing tackle stores in the world. Whether you are a freshwater, saltwater, fly fisher, bank, pond, party boat, offshore, tournament fisherman or fisherwoman Fishing Tackle Unlimited has the inventory and selections you will need. Visit their online store at www.fishingtackleunlimited.com.

S.W.F.A. Inc. SWFA is the world’s largest dealer in sports optics. Through direct order by phone or online, they sell riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, range finders, night vision and thermal sights, mounts, laser sights, rings and bases.

Rods and Reels Ardent Outdoors, Inc. Ardent is the leading designer and manufacturer of freshwater fishing reels and Reel Care products and accessories. Made by fishermen for fishermen, the design of every Ardent reel and Ardent accessory is the result of input from professional anglers that are members of Team Ardent. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Ardent is proud to be the only manufacturer of freshwater casting and spinning reels Made in the USA. The company was founded on the principle of creating high performance fishing reels that can endure the test of time. Every Ardent reel is hand assembled and performance tested prior to shipment. Each Ardent reel is also backed by the industry’s best 3-year warranty to ensure years of great performance.

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Daiwa

American Rodsmith’s The Pink Lady

Daiwa began making reels in 1955. It has since grown into one of the largest tackle companies in the world. By continuing to create new and innovative rod and reel technology, Daiwa continues to earn the appreciation of freshwater, offshore and inshore anglers. One such new innovation is the TD Zillion Coastal Casting Reel. With the

Visit their website, www.americanrodsmiths.com.

Ardent’s latest product releases include: The XS1000 and XS600, magnesium framed baitcasters; C400, aluminumframed 4-ball bearing baitcaster; S2500 spinning reel featuring Ardent’s Total Titanium Protection System (TTP); SmartCull, a two-stage culling system to manage fish in your livewell during fishing tournament situations; plus Reel Butter, Reel Kleen, and Reel Guard cleaning and protecting products. Since the company originated in 2003, Ardent has been committed to offering the highest quality reel with expert craftsmanship only a fisherman can appreciate. They are available at Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s Gander Mountain and Fishing Tackle Unlimited. Visit www.ardentreels.com.

American Rodsmiths American Rodsmiths has become one of the nation’s premiere manufacturers of performance fishing rods for both fresh and saltwater. Innovation is the key to their success, both in sales and in wins on the bass and saltwater tournament circuits. American Rodsmiths is excited about their Lady Rodsmith lines, with signature tournament series rods from Judy Wong and Shellie Gray, and especially The Pink Lady Special. The Pink Lady Special was developed to give lady anglers a fishing rod that was not only functional, but also stylish. It is available in both 6’6” and 7’ spinning and casting models. The Pink Lady Special is the perfect gift for the lady angler in your life, or the daughter or granddaughter you have been wanting to introduce to the great sport of fishing. American Rodsmiths has joined the fight to help support breast cancer research and will be donating a portion of all Pink Ladies sales to help win this battle. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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two rod lines, the Argon Series and the Carbon Steel Series. Don’t forget to take a look at the reengineered Helium LTA and Helium 2 LTX rods as well. They have also implemented their “Build Your Own Rod” (BYOR) System. Visit the Kistler website to design and build your one-of-a-kind custom rod based on their most popular rod features, including the new Z-Bone. Choose your features, and a Kistler rod technician will custom build it by hand. Go to www.kistlerrods.com.

Daiwa’s TD Zillion Coastal baitcaster fastest gear ratio available in a compact saltwater reel of this kind, anglers waste less time getting a bait or lure back and more time working it through productive areas. At 7.3 to 1, the gearing rips in 32 inches of line with every crank of the handle. Specialized materials and anti-corrosion treatments provide total corrosion protection. It is perfect for topwaters. To learn more about the TD Zillion Coastal and all of Daiwa’s innovative fishing products, visit www.daiwa.com.

Kistler Custom Rods Kistler Custom Fishing Rods celebrates 10 years of success in 2009, driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence and a heritage of rodbuilding in the Kistler family. Trey Kistler, founder of Kistler Custom Rods and his dad, Billy Kistler, who both have years of experience with legendary Texas rodbuilding manufacturers have created new and exciting engineering in the rod industry. Kistler’s new Argon and CarNew for bon Steel series rods 2009 are I56

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Taxidermy Gulfcoast Waterfowl Gulfcoast Waterfowl is Texas' own bird taxidermy studio. With more than 15 years of Waterfowl, upland, and exotic bird experience, Gulfcoast can do just about anything with feathers that you can imagine. Clients include museums and learning facilities as well as some of the most recognized waterfowl hunting clubs in the counGulfcoast Waterfowl has more try. Quick turnarounds than 15 years experience in and competigame bird taxidermy. tive prices set Gulfcoast Waterfowl on a different standard of waterfowl taxidermy. Contact them at 281 961 2474 today. Visit www.gulfcoastwaterfowl.com.

Overall Taxidermy For the Last Two decades, Overall Taxidermy has been offering a wide range of taxidermy and wildlife art services in and around Texas. From life-size African big game to exotF i s h

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ic offshore sport fish, Overall Taxidermy is sure to meet your taxidermy needs. Overall also offers a number of incentives such as children Overall Taxidermy offers a discounts and rush services for wide range of taxidermy birthdays and and wildlife art services. other special occasions. Call today at 281-380-1856 for more information.

Texas European Mounts Texas European Mounts is a family owned and operated business. A passion for hunting and wood working mixed with an entrepreneurial spirit brought forth Texas European Mounts. They are located in Charlie, TX, which is a farming community about 25 Miles northeast of Wichita Falls. Their mission is to provide you with a beautiful and unique plaque to accent your prized trophy. They have their own sawmill Texas European Mounts harvests and access and mills the wood used in its to land for distinctive mounts. harvesting lumber, so most of the wood that they use comes from a tree that they harvested and milled into lumber. Having a sawmill also gives them access to unique pieces of lumber that are not commercially available. Visit their website at www.texaseuropeanmounts.com, or call (940) 631-4334.

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to the heavy demand for their processing, the market accepts deer on a 24/7 basis during rifle season. A telephone number is posted on

the door for late-night drop offs. —Greg Berlocher

PHOTO COURTESY BELLVILLE MEAT MARKET

THE BELLVILLE MEAT MARKET IS AN AWARD-WINning meat processor recognized by its peers for providing some of the tastiest jerky, sausage, brisket, and hot links in the Lone Star State. While customers come from miles away to visit the butcher counter for a wide selection of hand cut meats, the Bellville Meat Market is known statewide for outstanding game processing. With hunting season here, the ramifications are clear. Jerrod and Marcus Poffenberger, secondgeneration owners of this family-owned business, can process your venison into a wide assortment of culinary masterpieces, including jerky, dry sausage, summer sausage, and smoked sausage. Their Jalapeno Cheese Summer Sausage was named Grand Champion in the Texas Meat Processors Assoc. product competition. Bellville Meat Market is easy to find at 36 South Front Street in downtown Bellville, at the intersection of highways 36 and 159. Due

Jerrod and Marcus Poffenberger, second-generation owners of Bellville Meat Market A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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1917 Enfield—An Old Warrior F YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE “SERGEANT York” starring Gary Cooper, you need to. It is a classic. Sergeant York was the best known American hero of World War I; a country boy from Tennessee and a Christian man who went in harm’s way to serve his country, just like thousands of others who have served and are serving now. God bless them all. Without men and women willing to put their lives on the line, we would not be the greatest free nation on Earth. For his inconceivably heroic service, York earned the Medal of Honor. Most folks think Alvin York was armed with a 1903 Springfield, as portrayed in the movie, but the truth is that the rifle he was issued was a 1917 “American” Enfield (as opposed to the British “SMLE” Short Magazine Lee Enfield .303) in .30-06 caliber. Also, the movie depicts him shooting German soldiers with a 9mm Luger. This, too, is incorrect. He actually used a Model 1911 (maker unknown, but probably a Colt) in .45 ACP. Movies notwithstanding, the 1917 Enfield served honorably and dependably from its introduction on through World War II. I have a soft spot in my heart for the 1917 Eddystone Enfield. The first rifle I ever used on game other than a .22 was a 1917 Enfield made at the Eddystone Arsenal in Eddystone, Pennsylvania. Dad “sporterized” it by removing most of the military wood, leaving just the butt and bottom-rear fore-end. Then he cut the butt off at the wrist and mated it with the butt, similarly cut from a surplus Mauser stock. This was a good thing because

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the original Enfield stock lacked a raised comb, sporting instead a swaybacked stock like on the British SMLE Enfield, which was the 1917 Enfield’s immediate progenitor. By replacing the poorly designed Enfield stock with that of the Mauser, it gave the Enfield a comb high enough to allow solid cheek contact while looking through the sights. It was a brilliantly simple solution. My Enfield still wore the original battle sights, consisting of a rear peep and front blade. Since I was shooting in the 4-H Shooting Sports Program, I was very familiar with this type of sight. The old gun was ugly as homemade soap, but it performed beautifully. The first shot I fired at game produced a dead coyote and I was immediately sold on the old gun as a super-accurate and deadly hunting rifle. One of the weaknesses of the 1917 Enfields was their barrels. They, or at least all of them that I have seen, used barrels with only two rifling grooves. Because of this, when the barrel became a bit worn—which didn’t take all that long in those days because of the softer steel used in the barrels—the accuracy went downhill in a hurry. In other rifles with four-groove barrels, the guns would continue to shoot with acceptable accuracy for hundreds if not thousands of rounds after a twogroove Enfield needed a new barrel. I kept the Enfield for years and shot it a lot even after I had better guns. It never failed me. Then Dad had the gun completely customized with a new stock, pretty bluing, plated trigger and bolt, and the ears on the rear of the action that protected the rear sight ground off so the gun could be drilled and tapped for a scope. We mounted a good scope on the gun F i s h

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and took it to the range. Sad to say, it would just barely stay on a footsquare target at 100 yards. After a while, Dad sold the old gun to someone who wanted beauty more than accuracy. The truth is that it was never very accurate. It was, however, sufficiently accurate to do what I asked of it. I seldom shot more than 100 yards. Most of the coyotes I shot were called up and shot at fairly close range and the old Enfield was plenty accurate for that kind of work. Which goes to prove that we don’t really need those sub-1-inch deer rifles we crave. I always wanted to replace that old Enfield, but never ran across one. Then a few months ago, a friend gave me one. It was strangely similar to my old gun. It had been partially “sporterized” but still wore the battle sights. It was so ugly that, once again, I fell madly in love. I originally considered converting it to a .375 H&H. I don’t have one at the moment, and no serious shooter should be without a DGR (dangerous game rifle). Then I decided that it would be a shame to change the gun from its original chambering. I finally decided to leave it just as I got it. I might, someday, find an old Mauser stock and have this Enfield altered to match my first one. It would be a kick to take it deer hunting or use for coyotes, and I know it would get the job done just as it did for Alvin York. The 1917 Enfield is an old gun, but still tough and serviceable. They are neither rare nor expensive. I just checked one of the gun auction websites and it had at least 20 Enfields listed, from full-military condition to beautifully done custom rifles. After nearly a hundred years, these old warriors are still worth owning and shooting. E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com PHOTO BY STEVE LAMASCUS


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A Special Gift HE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE, AND TO MANY that means it is time to hurry up and buy all those gifts for your friends and family; but in reality, it is a time to reflect on what is most important to us. I realize this is a bowhunting column, but I would be remiss if I did not discuss the most important gift. Last year at this time, I wrote about various gifts for the hunter in your family. This year, I decided to write about the one gift that you cannot find in any store; it is not found on any shelf and it does not come giftwrapped—it is the gift of your time. Take the time to teach your child to draw a bow. Show them how much fun it can be to break balloons by shooting an arrow. You must remember that, for a child, it has to remain fun. If the fun stops, then it becomes a chore and something that loses its charm quickly. Take the time to bring a child along on a hunt. Yes, you will probably miss more than your share of opportunities. After all, it is almost impossible for an excited child to stay still, even when he thinks he is. It is not about shooting game, but sharing a moment in time with someone you love; about showing the young hunter what lies in store for them for years to come; about creating memories for you and your little one so that he may carry on the great hunting tradition that bowhunters love so much. The wonderful thing about hunting in Texas is that it is legal to hunt year-round. Unlike so many other states, here we can enjoy the seasons with bow in hand and child by our side. Texas, as you well know, has an abundance of game, so the child you bring will always have some excitement, be it

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a beautiful whitetail slowly searching the woodlot for its favorite food, or maybe a fast rabbit leaping from a nearby brush pile. Either way, it is guaranteed that the wide-eyed youngster will bring home a huge smile and be eager to tell Mom everything in great detail. Rest assured the tale the future hunter tells will bring a smile to your face as well. A trip to the hunting grounds is not only fun, but also educational. In schools, children learn about different types of foliage. In the hunting woods, they learn about different types of trees and understand what each tree produces. A half-chewed pecan on the ground or a forest floor covered with acorns that are still falling all around you brings wonder and a true understanding of what the hunting grounds hold. To be in the woods and actually touch the foliage they read about in school or to see the trees they have heard so much about is exciting to a child. As adults, do we not hold onto a memory when we see the wonders of the world? For the little one, is the memory of an afternoon spent in the woods any less important? So much to see, so much to do. Show them the many different animal tracks you find. I remember as a child pouring some plaster of Paris into an animal print my dad and I found. When it finally dried, I had a “real” animal print to keep on my dresser as a trophy to show my friends. I told them it was from a hungry wolf. More than likely, it was from a raccoon, but for a while at least, I was the talk of the school—the boy with the courage to rival Daniel Boone himself!” Teach the child the difference between an adult deer track and a young one. Explain why some deer tracks are splayed out and others are close together. Show them a rub and then a scrape and explain the significance of each. Before you know it, they will be teaching their friends all they have A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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learned and turn them on to the hunting world. For who do not have children, a special call goes out to you. You probably have a friend who does not share the same interests as you, or just cannot find the time to spare. He might appreciate the idea of you introducing his child to the outdoors. On a personal note, I would rather take a child with me on a hunting trip than have them play video games for hours at a time. Too many children today live in a hectic world. They have more pressure with their everyday lives than we as children could ever think of. With all the after-school activities, it does not leave much time to just leave the pavement for a while and enjoy the outdoors. Think of when you were small. Your dad taught you everything he knew about the hunting world. How proud he was when you took your first whitetail. Now, think about the kids that do not have a dad at home or a good friend who is willing to teach them the beauty of the season. It truly is the most important gift—a very special gift that comes from the heart. Have fun out there, and always remember to hunt safe. E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com

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The Value of Trophies UCH LIKE VALUED FRIENDS AND TIME spent with family, trophies are subjective and their value is not always obvious to others. Some of the trophies that mean the most to me pertain to hunting, but are not really hunting trophies. As I walk through my house and look at memorabilia I have collected from my hunts, it is actually hard to tell I am an avid hunter. On my bookcase, I have knives that have been traded around numerous campfires and passed down by family at the deer camp. There is also a jar of sand and rocks I picked up on safari in Zimbabwe, and a stack of dry thorns and porcupine quills my wife and I collected in South Africa. My

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coffee table is filled with duck and goose feathers, and shotgun hulls from memorable hunts. In my photo box is a collection of empty rifle cases with notes tucked inside them that have dates and notes scrib-

by James Jeffrey, TF&G Reader bled on them. I also have a small baggie with the first .22 cases my daughter ever fired; those are precious trophies to me. It is really quite odd how certain items strike a cord of remembrance in me. I have a single spike horn about 6 inches long and worn perfectly smooth. The horn itself is nothing special, but it is a reminder of the great times my brother and I spent hunting across Texas. Over the years, I have collected many oddities, from skulls to arrowheads and I60

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fossils. As I go through them, I get a chance to relive those experiences and the joy I felt as I was able to collect these sim-

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ple trophies and remember those campfires and hunts with past friends and family. I certainly won’t pass up a beautiful buck or not shoot at a busting covey of quail to pick up a snakeskin or a shed horn, but even though I might miss, I still like to have something that reminds me of the times I have spent in search of game. It’s nice to have beautiful heads of game mounted and displayed, but not all hunts end as they are planned—in fact, some of my best hunts ended without a shot fired. It

is hard for a taxidermist to make a good campfire look real, and camp food just doesn’t look good over the mantle. Not all trophies need to have horns, but all should have stories to accompany them. Take a kid hunting—that’s a trophy in itself.

WHITETAIL BUCK—LASALLE COUNTY Michael Andrews, age 12, of Crosby, Texas, shot this 9-point, 191-pound buck at 140 yards with a .243 at the Fox Ranch in LaSalle County.

WHITETAIL BUCK—CROCKETT COUNTY Shelby Walling, age 8, of Magnolia, Texas, shot her first buck in Ozona, Texas, in Crockett County while hunting with her dad, Chad Walling.

WHITETAIL BUCK—BIG LAKE Charles Martin, age 13, shows off his first deer while his proud fans look on. The buck was an 8-pointer, shot in Big Lake, Texas. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Boating Bloopers HERE WAS ONLY 15 MINUTES LEFT BEFORE shooting time as we skimmed the across dead-calm water toward my blind. The ducks had been flying the past few mornings and this one should be no different, but we were running late and would have to get the dekes overboard in a hurry. I squinted to keep the morning mist out of my eyes, straining to see through the darkness. With less then 300 yards to go I still hadn’t spotted the blind but I knew I was on the right course—until the tiller handle started jerking violently and the outboard came to a sudden stop. There was plenty of water here, dang it, what could I have hit? I tried to tilt the outboard up but it seemed to weigh a ton. I had to throw all of my weight against it, then discovered there was a mass of netting balled up around the prop, with more mesh dragging behind. I’d run right over an untended gill net. It had no business being there and I felt a strange sort of pleasure in knowing I’d wrecked an outlaw’s illegal harvesting tool—I could see several redfish and a lifeless speck hanging in the netting—but I was stuck nonetheless. Of course, it was through no fault of my own... but for what I did next, I can only blame myself. With only a few precious minutes of setup time left, I grabbed a knife and started hacking through the netting. Once I had most of it cut free, I marked the net with a decoy for later retrieval, tilted the motor back down, and cranked it back up. We zipped over to my hunting spot, threw decoys overboard in a mad panic, and jumped in the blind. It turned out to be a banner morning, and as I’d suspected, running the motor had

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disposed of the few odds and ends of netting that had still been tangled in the prop. It wasn’t until a week later when I tried to hunt again that my stupidity became apparent; shortly after launching, the outboard’s lower unit blew. A few strands of netting had remained wrapped around the prop, worked their way to the prop seal, and cut into it. I’d lost all of my lower unit oil without even realizing it, and my johnboat was out of action for weeks. The moral of the story? Anything that can wrap around your prop can damage the seal, not just fishing line. Thin but strong decoy line, crab trap float lines, and, of course, nylon netting can be ruinous. If you wrap something around your prop, take the time and care to be sure every bit of it is pulled free before you re-start your outboard, or you’ll pull the same boating blooper I did. And here are some more boneheaded moves I’ve managed to make through the years, which you’ll want to avoid. ANCHORING ASTERN: This one’s a big nono for safety reasons. Any time you anchor astern, you’re putting the square end of the boat into the seas, and even if it’s perfectly calm out you can’t predict when a boat wake will appear out of nowhere, and swamp your boat. You’re in the backcountry, and there’s no way this will happen? You still shouldn’t anchor astern. If you forget to pull the anchor and try to take off (hey, we’ve all made mistakes like this at one time or another) tension against the line will suck the stern of your boat down. As soon as you lay off on the throttle, the taunt line will pull you backwards and may swamp the boat. DRY-START AN OUTBOARD: Right after making a repair, charging a battery, or discovering your may be drained, you might be tempted to dry-start your outboard. “It’ll just be for a second,” you might tell yourself. “What could go wrong that quickly?” Plenty. No, you don’t need cooling water F i s h

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flowing through the motor in the first minute or two it runs, but your raw water impeller does need water for lubrication. Dry start that motor, and you risk tearing the impeller to pieces. Then you’ll head for the boat ramp confident that everything is working fine, only to discover that a few minutes later (and a mile from the boat ramp) your engine is hopelessly overheated. LAUNCH WITHOUT THE DRAIN PLUG: Yup, this one’s the mother of all boating bloopers, and if you’ve never done it yourself, then you probably don’t launch your boat very often. Here’s my method of prevention: I keep my garboard drain plugs in the armrest pocket of my truck’s door. Every time I open or close the door, I hear the things rattling around annoyingly. So every time I pull into the marina and prepare to launch, those drain plugs “ask” me to put them in. RUN OUT OF FUEL: Another common blooper for sure, but it’s not the embarrassment we’re worried about—it’s engine damage. Contaminants that get into your fuel tank settle to the bottom, and whenever you run your fuel down to the last drop you risk sucking that goop into your engine. That junk can damage the fuel pump(s), restrict the fuel filter, and clog injectors. Soon, your engine is running poorly and you’ll be due for an expensive trip to the mechanic—one you could have avoided, simply by filling up more often. TRAILER WITH THE BIMINI TOP UP: This is an egregious crime, because it’s so darn easy to put a Bimini down and common sense tells you that the frame and canvass can both be damaged whipping in 60-mph winds on the highway. So, why does this blooper occur? Mostly out of laziness, when someone simply doesn’t feel like taking the time to fold the top down and wrap it in the boot. Too bad—it would save so much trouble down the line!

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The Badonk-ADonk ART STILLWELL, WHOSE CLASSIC TEXT Hunting and Fishing in Texas was published in 1946, chronicled catches of snook, redfish, and trout on plunkers and other topwater plugs, which were at the time considered bass baits. Broken backs were the rage on the coast during the late 1980s and early 90s, but were supplanted when saltwater anglers became acquainted with “walking the dog.” Cigar-style topwaters are still the top draw with coastal anglers; their heft and aerodynamic shape allows anyone with a limber rod and

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educated thumb to launch long casts, even in obstinate winds. Best of all, the tubular plugs catch big fish. Given this heritage, it is hard to be skeptical when Bomber Lures brings out a new bait. Still, the shelves of tackle stores are lined with popular surface plugs that have stood the test of time. Mutts and mongrels don’t last long in this dog show. I was curious how well the Badonk-ADonk would take to the leash, so it was off to the lake several blocks away, my rod in one hand and a box full of my favorite topwaters in the other. When I arrived, I set everything down right next to the sign, which promiPHOTO COURTESY BOMBER LURES

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nently states: No Fishing! Since I was doing an official Texas Fish & Game research project, obviously the sign didn’t apply to me. The Badonk-A-Donk is a handsome lure, featuring large, recessed eyes and realistic fin patterns molded into the sides. The translucent-bodied plug with a silver scale pattern I was testing glistened in the sun as I snugged the loop knot. Moments later, the faux baitfish was sent arching toward a vegetated shoreline. The first thing I noticed was the BadonkA-Donk landed with a bit of a splat. Not expecting this, I made repeated casts to

by Greg Berlocher gauge the surface disturbance during touchdown. After a dozen casts, I quickly knotted on another surface plug of the same length and weight and made the same looping cast. The other plug entered the water with less surface disturbance and less noise. Walking the dog has been

described as making a “loose line twitch” with your rod. While retrieving the other topwater, I noticed a more confined action. Switching quickly back to the Badonk-A-Donk revealed that it was more sensitive to twitching. A gentle twitch would cause the plug to veer to the side, just like the competitor’s bait, but the BadonkA-Donk traveled 4-6 inches farther with each twitch. In comparison, both carved nice V-patterns, cutting back and forth easily, but the V made by the Badonk-A-Donk was a capital letter, not a small one. The bass in our lake are really stupid. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Perhaps this is why they put up No Fishing signs. The bass wouldn’t leave the BadonkA-Donk alone. Big, beefy saltwater trebles dangled from stainless split rings. The color scheme of the lure I was testing was called Silver Mullet. What’s more, the packaging even stated in big, bold letters: “Saltwater Grade.” Stupid bass. At rest, the Badonk-A-Donk squats a bit, with its hindquarters just below the water line. Just like ships, big fish push bow wakes when moving along at a fast clip. The wake created by a sow trout attacking a plug floating jauntily on the surface will often move the lure just enough to cause the trout to whiff. For this reason, I like tail draggers, as I believe it is easier for predators to latch onto a plug. The Badonk-A-Donk is available in a wide assortment of colors; some color schemes are coastal favorites while others are completely new. Badonk-A-Donks are available in both high and low pitch models. The instructions on the back of the lure card suggests the use of high pitch lures for windy days and in stained water, while low pitch models are better on calm days and when the water is clear. Overall, I give the Badonk-A-Donk extremely high marks and suggest they would be a welcome addition to any fisherman’s Christmas stocking. The plug does land with more authority than others in the same genre and the noisy touchdown might spook skittish fish in skinny water, but the lure it is well made, casts like a bullet, and dips its derriere just below the surface. Count on catching lots of trout and reds when you take the Badonk-A-Donk for a walk, and maybe even a few stupid bass. Email Greg Berlocher at fishthis@fishgame.com

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Pause, Reflect, and Plan ECEMBER IS A GREAT TIME TO PAUSE AND reflect, taking time to give thanks for our many blessings. It is also a time to ponder what lies ahead. Having spent the last three decades selling some derivative of telecommunication technology, December has always been a forward-looking month for me rather than rearview mirror time. Goals, forecasts, and planning, which might as well have been Greek to me fresh out of college, are now deeply ingrained; so much so, that they spill over into my outdoor activities. Before your paddling correspondent shares what he will be working on in the upcoming year, I wandered down memory lane and looked back on some of my past goals. At the beginning of 1997, three of my goals were: 1. Get on the Internet (I wasn’t sure what it really was). 2. Learn how to use e-mail. 3. Submit one outdoor article to a magazine for consideration. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose. I receive more than 100 emails a day now, sometimes 200; spend countless hours on the “net” doing research; and joined the Texas Outdoor Writers Association back in 1998, ultimately ascending to the bully pulpit as president of the organization. To say the least, things have definitely changed for me over the last dozen years. I bet they have in your world, too. Here are five of my outdoor goals for 2010: 1. Spend one more days on the water

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than I did in 2009. I want to see one more cumulative sunrises and sunsets while on the water than I did the year before. I haven’t totaled the numbers of days I spent on the water this year, but regardless the sum, I want to up it by at least one day. Technology makes a strange mistress, and spending time outdoors grounds us in reality and refreshes our spirit. 2. Check out one new paddling venue. Outdoor experiences should be invigorating. While some venues are comfortable, like that favorite pair of well-worn jeans in your closet, new water is fun to explore and learn. There are more than 200 major reservoirs in the Lone Star State. I am embarrassed to admit I have been to only about 20 of them. New adventures bring new enthusiasm. 3. Add one new entry to my species list. I have been stuck at 68 different species for several years. There is only one way to make it to 69 or, with a little luck, 70: Spend more time fishing and less time reading e-mails. Keep in mind that some fish won’t be caught out of a kayak, such as blackfin tuna. These small members of the tuna family are caught in 200-plus feet of water and will give you everything you can ask for on stand-up tackle. I just don’t see myself battling a blackfin from a kayak. However, I do have designs on catching a rather large striper from a yak. A large picture of my smiling mug in this space will confirm my success. 4. Paddle the Devil’s River. Living waters don’t haunt only Norman MacLean, author of A River Runs Through It. They haunt me as well, and a lot of my friends. There is just something special about a river. Each has its own unique personality. They even smell different. I have paddled many different stretches of rivers in all parts of the state, but I long to paddle the aquamarine chutes and pools of the Devil’s River west of Uvalde. The challenge for me has been finding access. All of the land bordering the river is private. While you can launch at a river

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crossing, the only legal places to camp are on the solid rock bars in the middle of the river, making an overnighter a refresher course in being supremely uncomfortable. Nonetheless, it is something I am going to do. Although paddling and fishing the Devil’s River would technically satisfy Goal No. 2, I am singling out the Devil’s River as a separate and distinct goal. 5. Convert a landlubber. I have a good friend who refuses to go wade-fishing with me on the coast. He loves to catch trout and redfish, but absolutely refuses to step out of the boat into shin-deep water. I don’t want to embarrass him, so I will simply refer to him by his first name, Kendal. He is a great husband, father, and patriot, and has a faith so strong he would charge the gates of Hell with a water pistol, but mention wade-fishing and he backs away muttering things under his breath about rabid stingrays, voodoo crabs, and attacks of vampire jellyfish. Accomplishing this last goal is going to be tough, kind of like some of the entries on the to-do lists my wife gives me on weekends. A list of mundane chores, such as mowing grass and taking out trash, dramatically escalates in difficulty at the end. Painting the house and solving world hunger usually cap most lists. If I finish the list, she finds me and the kayak missing. Smart woman. Solving world hunger and converting the landlubber might have the same degree of difficulty. We will see. I will submit progress reports throughout the year. Until them, I would like to wish you and yours a blessed holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.

Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com


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The One Indispensable Rifle Caliber OU HAVE HEARD IT ASKED BEFORE: “IF YOU could have only one rifle, what would it be?” Most of the time, the answer is couched in terms of the mythical “all-around” caliber that is useful for everything from shooting elephants to plowing the lower 40. While it’s fun to talk about such things, it certainly isn’t realistic. If we can afford to do those things, we can afford more than one gun. So, instead, let’s ask: What is the most indispensable rifle caliber made? The answer is easy—the .22 Long Rifle. Most of us older guys, especially if we were raised in a rural setting, began our shooting and hunting with a BB gun as soon as we were old and strong enough to work the lever. But as soon as our parents thought we were able and sufficiently safe, we graduated to a .22 rifle, usually shooting shorts. By age 12, I was hunting alone with my grandpa’s .22. My own first .22 was a Model 55 Winchester. It was a funny little gun, a single-shot that automatically ejected the fired case. It kicked the spent case out the bottom and the next round was fed through a trapdoor in the top of the receiver. It is now a rare collectible, I am told, and I wish I still had it.

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Actually, it was a poor choice for a first rifle. A better choice would have been one of the bolt actions with a manual striker that had to be pulled to the rear to cock the gun. There were several such guns, such as the Mossberg Model 25 and Winchester Model 67. In my opinion, there has never been a better learning tool made, and I wholeheartedly recommend this type of .22 for youngsters. Several manufacturers now make miniature versions. I have a vintage Chipmunk (my daughters’ first gun) cleaned and oiled, waiting for my grandkids to reach the age where they can shoot it. As for us adults, there is still no better practice than the .22 rifle. Ammo is cheap and plentiful; there are plenty of inexpensive firearms available; there are some very high quality rifles available; the .22 Long Rifle hollow point round is sufficient for small game up the size of jackrabbits and even gray foxes if the range is kept short and the shooter is careful. For practice, the shooter can fire thousands of rounds a year from a .22 rifle without having to file for bankruptcy. And, should a crisis arise, a backstock of .22 hollow points would allow the hunter to keep meat on the table for

years. A .22 Long Rifle, while not legal, will kill a deer should circumstances and desperation call for it. Financially speaking, today one box of 20 .30-06 cartridges costs in excess of $30. That same $30 buys two 500-round boxes of .22 Long Rifle hollow points. It seems to me that it is only logical for the serious shooter to have at least one .22 rifle and a good stock of this inexpensive ammunition. We argue ballistics and cartridge suitability because it’s fun and because most of us are independent and opinionated. We each have our sacred cows. I, personally, am a lover of the .25-06. However, I will readily admit a number of cartridges are just as good for whitetails as that venerable former wildcat. I also like the .30-06, but again I will admit that several calibers are just as good and just as capable of doing the job of the mythical all-around rifle. However, nothing ever invented is as good as the .22 rimfire at doing what it does best, and I seriously doubt anything is ever invented will be a better teacher, plinker, or emergency survivalist game-getter. In short, if you don’t own a .22 rifle, you are not a serious shooter and I have serious doubts about you.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

TEXAS BOATING  Continued from Page I-62 Bent frames, ripped canvass, and stress cracking around the support bases are all symptoms of a top left in the up position on the road. If you’ve ever grabbed onto one of your Bimini’s supports while your

boat was running, then you probably know that even at 30 or 40 mph, these things are under a ton of stress and get racked back and forth constantly. So, when you catch a glimpse of the erected Bimini in your rearview, get back out of the truck and secure it properly. Doing so will save you a lot of A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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trouble and expense. Trust me—been there, done that.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

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Christmas with the Lost Rider N EMBER ROLLED OUT OF THE FIRE AND hissed when it touched the snow. The yellow blaze danced and the small circle of light was the limit of our attention. The sky was dark with no stars or moon. A coffee pot was shoved into the coals and we waited for it to boil. My horse stomped the ground where it was tied and occasionally we could hear my friend’s team grazing in the open meadow. Large fluffy flakes sifted in the air, enough to accumulate in my saddle and add weight to the already loaded tree limbs.

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We sat somber and quiet as I stared at the burning stumps. My rear was planted on a log and I balanced a jug on my left knee. My old buddy puttered in the darkness and checked on me from time to time with inane questions about my health and the weather in Texas. “Hey, cowboy, how’s your back? I hear y’all went through a bad drought last summer.” “Hell, my back is like it’s always been. It just hurts all the time. I suppose I’ve learned to live with it. Last spring, my roping pony throwed me against a post and messed up my knee again. Then the other day, I separated my good shoulder. Sometimes I ache in so many places I can’t tell which to hold. But, you know none of that stops me from doing whatever I want to do. I can still break two-year-olds and I probably worked harder shoeing horses and hauling hay this year than in the past 10 years.” “Maybe I’ll get you to bring me some hay. I always have to buy mine every year.

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I get a mix of alfalfa and grass hay.” The old man tottered around our circle in black high-heeled riding boots. His white beard harbored bits of tree bark and sticks from gathering wood. His widebrimmed hat was kicked back on his head and it made me smile to see him wearing the “All Aggie Bronc-Riding” buckle that I’d given him on his wide belt. His large hands looked dry and cracked and the crow’s feet around his happy blue eyes turned up in smiles. His demeanor disallowed anyone in his company from being sour, and though I was both mentally and physically worn, being near my oversized friend made me feel better. “It sounds like a long way to haul hay, and I didn’t know there were any roads to your place.” He chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right, there are no roads. But you’d get a kick out of driving a team with a sled. It’s a road trip and we take seven or eight outfits. Sometimes we get lined out and race—that can get wild! You know how it is, cowboy; life gets dull if you don’t get your hair blowed back once in a while.” Just then, the coffee boiled and he lifted it from the coals. Then he set it away from the fire and added two cups of snow to settle the grounds. I sipped at the jug and extended my cup as he again lifted the pot and set it nearer the fire. “Tell you what: I’m too butt-ass tired to get my hair blowed back much anymore. Or maybe it’s just because I’m too broke. Seems like everything I put a hand to goes to hell. Horse prices fell out, cattle prices ain’t worth a damn, and my writing is on par with my bronc-riding—good enough to be entertaining, but not good enough to make a living.” “Sounds to me like you’re beat up because of a bad market.” “Yeah, well, I’m tired of seeing disappointment in people’s faces. There’s things a Dad should be responsible for, and I sorta dropped the ball.”


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“Now wait a minute, cowboy! You can’t help being you. There’s plenty of folks in this world that appreciate you.” “I know, but I’ve got to do better. I should have my family along when I go to the hills, not be entertaining everybody else’s. You know, I never cared for the outfitting business; that’s why I’m only a guide. But I need my own camp for family and friends. I need a place where there are no success ratios, repeat clients, or production line statistics. I want to be in a camp with dominoes and poker. I want to be in a place where I don’t have to watch what I say.” “I didn’t realize you watched what you said.”

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ting media coverage. Don’t be scared of your own shadow, old man.” “Sometimes you’re a fool. But I guess that’s what makes you fun to watch. You can take crap and make caviar. Okay, maybe next year I’ll meet you in Mexico.” I stood and stretched. My coffee cup was empty and I bent to refill my cup. At that instant, something nudged my backside, almost tilting me into the fire. Dancer stood there snuffling and peering at me.

“Dadgum mooching reindeer...” I rifled through my pockets and came up with a chocolate chip cookie leftover from an old lunch.

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

My gaze shifted from the crackling campfire to his round, grinning countenance. I smirked, and then shifted back to studying the disintegrating stumps. “There’d be a lot more cussings handed out if I didn’t watch what I said.” “Yeah, right. The good lord put an angel on your shoulder in the beginning. Of course, I reckon that fella got real put out with some of them head-knockings and dirt baths y’all took, but he’s still there. And, you know that fella whispered in your ear every time the going got tough. Good thing you had enough sense to listen, and you’re too damn mean to quit once you’ve made up your mind. I remember you driving up to 1000 miles every other weekend to see little Sam...that’s who you’re fretting about.” “Well, partly. I suppose the empty nest stuff got me. The definition for stupid is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I gotta do something different or I might as well be wearing a sign. I’m not too old. I can still make everything turn out like it was a master plan.” “Yes, but you’re gonna have to let that guardian angel help and be wise enough to let him have the credit. And I wish to hell you’d stay away from Mexico. Damn, you stumbled into the bad guys the last time you were down there.” “Folks have the wrong impression of that country. There’s been poverty and strife in that desert forever. Bandits have raided ranches across the border since the border existed. I believe the only reason we fear that region is because it’s finally getA L M A N A C / T E X A S

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TEXAS SALTWATER

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ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: AKINS SALTWATER GUIDE SERVICE Captain Larry E. Akins is USAF Retired. Other than the twenty years I spent in the Air Force, I grew up here on the Gulf Coast. I started fishing these waters when I was too young to remember. My father got me started fishing in Galveston Bay, and as I grew older I ventured out. I am at home anywhere from Sabine Lake to Port Isabel. Fishing is all I do now. I started guiding about six years ago and became full-time two years ago. Most of my guiding expertise has been at special request. I have guided people from Washington state, South Africa, and Holland. I have guided people from all over Texas. The reason I like guiding is because I have traveled all over the US and the world fishing. I have caught a lot of fish and now I gain the most satisfaction from seeing other people catch fish. I especially enjoy seeing young people catch fish. I don’t help young people by reeling in their fish, I encourage them. I was with a young man of eight, Matt, when he reeled in his first trophy trout. He did it and that is something no one can take away from him. That day he caught eight trout, the smallest being 19 inches. I would rather help someone catch a record fish, than I would to catch it while out fishing alone. In Montana, I also guided some hunting trips and there are a lot of people who have trophy mounts because of my guiding and their shooting ability. I would rather be guiding. One of the things about traveling so much is that I always make friends everywhere I go. In 2006, I took eight weeks and traveled the Rockies. I fly-fished everywhere; call me and we can talk about it. — Captain Larry Akins, 409-267-5486 (cell) Email me at capt.akins@yahoo.com I68

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ROCKPORT


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Slinging Blades HIS MONTH WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT something that I’m willing to bet 99 percent of you do not own, and no, it’s not a Barbara Streisand’s greatest hits CD. It’s a blade bait. See, I told you that you didn’t have one, and for the 37 of you who do actually own one, it was probably given to you as a gift from your strange aunt that you talk to only at Christmas. You don’t hear a lot about blade baits around here because we’re Texans and we fish plastic worms. We even have a rigging method named after us. When we’re not throwing soft plastics, we’ll chunk spinners and crankbaits or swimbaits, but no self-respecting bass angler in Texas has a blade bait in their boat, but maybe they should. Time to state the obvious: It’s cold in Texas in December. Well, relatively cold, anyway. Unlike our angling brothers to the north, we can still launch boats in our lakes instead of walking across the top of them and drilling

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holes where we want to fish. However, the one thing we do have in common with them is that our fish move deep this time of year, and sometimes a plastic worm just won’t work. Blade baits don’t exactly jump out at you when you walk by them at the sporting goods store. Most of them are not what you would call elaborate. Simply put, they look like the offspring of a marriage between a spinnerbait blade and a spoon. The front half of the bait is made from thick heavy steel, like a spoon, while the tail end is thin like a spinnerbait blade. This

design makes the bait wobble or flutter as it falls, like an injured baitfish, instead of falling straight like a hunk of steel. Blade baits are much more popular up north due to the fact that they were originally intended to be fished vertically and when you’re ice fishing that’s the only way to present a bait. Down south we’ll be using these baits to chase bass suspending deep which not only allows you to make vertical presentations but also cast and retrieve the bait through the schools of fish. Presenting a blade vertically is a simple procedure. Locate a school of bass hanging over a hump, point, ridge, or creek channel and drop the bait into the middle of them. Jig the bait up, then let it flutter back down into the fish. The fish can be lethargic so don’t F i s h

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expect rod-bending strikes. Watch your line and if you see it jump, or if when you start to jig it again it feels heavy, then set the hook. A vertical presentation works best if you are working a specific small school of tightly bunched big fish and can stay positioned directly over them with minimum effort. If the school is more sporadic and spread out over a larger area then it’s time to start fan casting to cover more ground (here is where the use of light line to make long casts provides a substantial benefit) Make as long as cast as possible, then on a semi-slack line let the bait sink to the depth at which the fish are suspending. Jig the bait back up a few

feet, then let it flutter back down again. Repeat this until the bait is directly under the boat. Take the time to jig the bait under the boat a few times as well, just in case a bass is following it. Repeat this fan casting process in a complete circle around the boat before moving to a different area. The efficacy of a blade bait comes from its wiggle as it drops vertically through the water column. To maximize this action, tie the bait on using a loop knot so as not to restrict the side-to-side movement. Also, it never hurts to change out or sharpen treble hooks that come straight from the manufacturer. Most lure manufacturers are using higher quality hooks now, but while chasing light-biting bass, you want to have the sharpest hooks available.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW


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Habanero Glazed Quail UAIL HUNTING IN SOUTH TEXAS THIS season might be the best in several years. With the wet spring and summer we experienced, there have been plenty of insects, which are crucial to the nutritional health of chicks. The undergrowth has created good cover for a bumper crop of hatches, producing a great comeback year. If you go bird hunting, don’t forget your snake leggings because we have seen a bumper crop of rattlers, too. The odds are low for encountering one in January, but it is South Texas, after all. I created this recipe several years ago, and it has been enjoyed on many ranches and in several gourmet restaurants. I hope you enjoy it as well. This recipe is for 12-18 quail. Be sure to pluck, clean, and rinse well. Check for pellets.

Q

The Glaze

For the Brine Add 1/2 cup sea salt to 1/2 gallon of ice water in a large bowl. Submerge the quail in the ice water. Allow meat to sit for 1-2 hours. Pour off water and rinse the meat again with cold water.

spoon, and place into a blender with 1 cup of the liquid. Blend until all the chunks are gone and the mixture is smooth. Return to the saucepan and place on low heat. Add the Habanero Jelly, honey, and remaining ingredients. Heat for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat to allow flavors to blend, then bring to a good boil. Add the tequila and ignite the mixture with a match or long handled lighter (be careful, and use a long-handled spoon as well). Stir down while on boil until the flame goes away, then remove from heat. Spray the quail with Pam or rub down with olive oil. Place the quail on a pre-heated grill indirectly over fire (mesquite or charcoal) skin side up. Cook with the lid closed or cover with an aluminum pan. Baste with the glaze mixture, turning every 3-5 minutes, basting as you turn. Cook for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t overcook. Remove from grill and rest the meat by covering with a foil tent for approximately 8-10 minutes. Be sure and check out our website at www.thetexasgourmet.com for other wild game and spicy food recipes, and our fine family of products. Call us at 888-234-7883.

Preparation Place the ancho pepper into a saucepan with the chicken broth, garlic, and cilantro; bring to a boil and cook 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, scoop out ingredients with a slotted

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

1 dried ancho pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped 1/2 jar Texas Gourmet Habanero Pepper Jelly 16 oz. can chicken broth 3 Tbs fresh cilantro 4 Tbs honey 2 cloves garlic 1 Tbs black pepper 1 Tbs soy sauce 2 Tbs lime juice 2 oz. Gold tequila (substitute apple juice) 2 tsp. olive oil cooking spray (Pam Olive Oil) PHOTO BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO: photos@fishgame.com or by mail at:

1745 Greens Road Houston, Texas 77032

REDFISH & TROUT—ARROYO CITY

BUCK—CISCO

BASS—LAKE CONROE

Hayley Shiver, age 14, shot her first buck at her L-R Marco Garcia and Art Rendon of Harlingen, Texas, Kasen Clark, age 4, from Point Blank, Texas, caught family’s lease in Cisco, Texas. The buck was an 8- caught these fish while fishing in Arroyo City at Cul- this 6.92-pound bass on Lake Conroe. The bass lens Bay. The red was 31-1/2 inches and 10 pounds measured between 23 and 24 inches in length. pointer. and the trout was 27-1/2 inches and 6 pounds.

SPECKLED SEATROUT—MATAGORDA BEACH

HOG—EAST TEXAS

Jack Hardy caught this 31-inch speckled seatrout from the shore at Matagorda Beach, Texas. It was landed on finger mullet and released to fight again.

Daniel Harris (left) of Wichita Falls, Texas, with the 380-pound wild hog he killed while hunting in heavy cover with an outfitter in East Texas.

PERCH—ELKHART

BUCK—HASKELL

CATFISH—EVANT

Eleven-year-old Hunter Shiver shot this 10-point Camryn Smith, age 2, of Fairfield, Texas, caught her Hannah Starnes of Kyle, Texas, caught this 2first fish, a perch, at her grandparents, Bobby and pound catfish while fishing on a private pond on buck at Krooked River Ranch in Haskell, Texas. Janice Collins’, pond in Elkhart, Texas. She used a the Massey Ranch, just outside of Evant, Texas. Barbie rod with a worm. I72

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WAS PANTING FOR BREATH AND PERSPIRING copiously (actually, I was gasping like a fish out of water and sweating like a pig in a pepper patch) as I jogged uphill through and around boulders and catclaw bushes. My legs felt like they were made of lead, the shotgun in my hands had gained about a hundred pounds in weight in the last 300 yards, and I desperately wanted to shed the coat that had felt so comfortable an hour before. Above me, the mountain reared up to a jumbled pass between two rocky peaks. Ahead of me, always just out of range, adamantly refusing to fly and apparently enjoying the game, were about 20 scaled quail. Running from bush to bush, dodging between car-sized boulders, the little expletives-deleted had been taunting us for over a quarter of a mile. Finally, with the pass only a few feet above, we got close enough to force the covey into the air. For a few seconds, the thin mountain air was filled with the sound of shotguns and the smell of gunsmoke. One of the quail, the one that had been sneering at, squatted, ducked its head, and then leaped into the air, trailing a thin contrail of caliche dust. I stopped, staggered as I tried to find some solid footing,

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PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

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slapped the little Ithaca shotgun to my shoulder, forced the barrels ahead of the quail, and pressed the trigger. At the first shot, the quail staggered in the air but didn’t fall. I slapped the trigger for the second barrel. The bird folded, tumbled end over end, hit the ground limply, and finally rolled to a stop under a catclaw bush at the apex of the pass. As I picked up the bird, I looked back at the tiny blue dot that was the

by Steve LaMascus pickup far below in the canyon, and wondered if I could talk one of my companions into going back and driving the 4x4 up the mountain through the maze of boulders to the top of the pass. I gave up the idea as unrealistic. We ended up not going back down the mountain. Well, at least not the same side of the mountain. We trudged down the far side and met our host in his truck on a road about a hundred miles down the rocky, thorny slope. The quail scattered and then disappeared as completely as ground fog on a sunny day. We managed to take a few before they vanished, but the death march to the truck took until A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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dark and we encountered no more quail. We did, however, see some javelinas and a couple of mule deer, and right at sunset a maniacal chorus of coyotes serenaded us. My bed that evening, a foam rubber mattress and sleeping bag on the concrete floor of a huge barn/bunk house, felt like the best bed at the Waldorf. I was too tired to even ache. That hunt for scaled quail was in the Quitman Mountains of West Texas, a.k.a. the Big Bend Region (that part of Texas generally west of a line from Del Rio through Midland/Odessa) is home to assorted types of desert quail. It is the northernmost part of the Chihuahuan desert and is composed of a mishmash of widely diverse terrain, with rugged, isolated mountain ranges thrusting to over 7000 feet, scattered across a vast expanse of thinly vegetated thorny desert. West Texas, with the obvious exception of El Paso, is the least densely (most thinly?) populated portion of the state, truly the last of the wild frontier. I have shot scaled quail and Gambel’s quail there, and am told of scattered bands of Mearn’s, which are protected. The most common are definitely scaled quail, which are called blue quail by every Texan I ever met.

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In This Issue HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

GEARING UP SECTION

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

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE • Special Holiday Advertising Section | BY TF&G STAFF

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TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY TOM BEHRENS, CALIXTO GONZALES, TRIPP HOLMGRAIN, & KYLE TOMEK

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INDUSTRY INSIDER • Bellville Meat Market; Red Wing Boat Co. | BY TF&G STAFF

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION HOW-TO SECTION

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WILDERNESS TRAILS • Christmas with the Lost Rider | BY HERMAN W. BRUNE

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FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Slinging Blades | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

COVER STORY • Blue Runners | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

PHOTO COURTESY UTAH DIVISION OF WILDLIFE

Water Guzzlers for Quail

THE SECRET TO FINDING QUAIL IN THE desert is water. The landowner who makes the effort to provide numerous water sources will have more quail than those who don’t. The most common types are called guzzlers. They are small, covered to lessen evaporation, sunken into the ground, and usually filled by hand or by rain, as opposed to from a well. A bit of work, to be sure, but worthwhile for the quail lover.

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • The One Indispensable Rifle Caliber | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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Blue quail are runners, taking wing only as a last resort. We hunted three days and climbed mountains and ran after blue quail until I was so tired my tail was dragging out my tracks. I love quail of all kinds. Bobwhites are popular because they will sit for a pointer. This makes the dog lovers happy. On the other hand, a pointing dog trained on bobwhites becomes a raving lunatic after a short time hunting blue quail, because blues run and will not hold. The best dog for blue or Gambel’s quail is a dog that would be good for pheasants. I like Labrador retrievers. Although I once raised and hunted Brittany spaniels, I no longer have any pointing dogs because I have come to believe that the flushing retrievers are more versatile. Also, in many instances I need a dog that can find my birds in the densest thickets. This is retriever territory. Yes, a pointer can be trained to retrieve, but they are bred to point and retrieving is not what they do best. A pointer will usually make one pass at finding a downed bird and then head out to find more birds to point. A retriever will hunt as hard as a pointer, but will also put its heart into finding the dead bird for its hunting buddy. Shotguns are personal choices and there is F i s h

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DISCOVER THE OUTDOORS • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

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TEXAS TASTED • Habanero Glazed Quail | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

no accounting for taste. I find desert quail best hunted with 12- or 16-gauge guns with tighter chokes than normally used for quail elsewhere. I have determined modified and improved-modified, or modified in both barrels great combinations in my doubles, and modified in a single-barreled gun is about right. Skeet choke, which I use for quail in South Texas, is just too open for the longer ranges encountered in West Texas. I tried it at first and “fringed” or “feathered” far too many birds. Also, desert quail seem to be tougher and harder to kill cleanly than the garden-variety bobwhite, so a bit larger shot is a good idea. I use No. 7 (not 7-1/2) a lot and find it very good for West Texas birds, but No. 6s would also be a great choice. Just expect the ranges to be farther and gear up accordingly. Geronimo, the great Chiricahua Apache war chief, once said: “I was born on the prairies where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures.” While I do not like to anthropomorphize wild animals, I think that statement, and Geronimo’s fighting spirit describe perfectly the little scaled quail. May their presence always enrich the desert.


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Tides and Prime Times

DECEMBER 2009

MONDAY

TUESDAY

1

Low Tide: 8:41 AM High Tide: 5:21 PM Low Tide: 9:45 PM

Sunrise: 7:17a Moonrise: 4:58p AM Minor: 3:51a PM Minor: 4:20p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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

3:13 AM 5:31 AM 1:51 PM 9:48 PM

1.10 ft 1.11 ft -0.12 ft 1.28 ft

Sunrise: 7:22a Moonrise: 11:41p AM Minor: 10:11a PM Minor: 10:37p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

8

11:30A — 1:00P

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

Set: 5:34p Set: 11:53a AM Major: 3:58a PM Major: 4:24p 5:18a 5:43p

14

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 8:27 AM High Tide: 5:21 PM

Sunrise: 7:27a Moonrise: 5:54a AM Minor: 3:09a PM Minor: 3:35p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

-0.59 ft 1.41 ft

8:00A — 1:00P

Set: 5:35p Set: 4:06p AM Major: 9:22a PM Major: 9:48p 11:01a 11:27p

21

PRIME TIME

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

1:51 AM 2:49 AM 12:41 PM 8:58 PM

Sunrise: 7:31a Moonrise: 10:53a AM Minor: 9:05a PM Minor: 9:25p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

0.93 ft 0.93 ft -0.08 ft 1.04 ft

Low Tide: 6:52 AM High Tide: 3:58 PM

Sunrise: 7:34a Moonrise: 2:43p AM Minor: 1:47a PM Minor: 2:16p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

7:00 — 9:30 A

Set: 5:38p Set: 10:28p AM Major: 2:54a PM Major: 3:15p 4:37p 4:17a

28

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PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME -0.55 ft 1.22 ft

1:00 — 2:30 A

Set: 5:42p Set: 4:17a AM Major: 8:01a PM Major: 8:30p 10:01p 9:32a

• D E C E M B E R

4:08 AM 8:12 AM 2:51 PM 10:11 PM

Sunrise: 7:23a Moonrise: None AM Minor: 11:04a PM Minor: 11:29p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

15 

Low Tide: 9:08 AM High Tide: 6:04 PM

Sunrise: 7:28a Moonrise: 6:51a AM Minor: 3:58a PM Minor: 4:24p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

2

1:30 — 3:00 P

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

Set: 5:34p Set: 6:39a AM Major: 10:06a PM Major: 10:35p None 11:50a

9

4:00 — 6:30 P

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

Set: 5:34p Set: 12:27p AM Major: 4:52a PM Major: 5:16p 6:08a 6:32p

PRIME TIME -0.62 ft 1.38 ft

3:00 — 5:00 A

Set: 5:36p Set: 4:55p AM Major: 10:11a PM Major: 10:37p 11:54a None

Sunrise: 7:31a Moonrise: 11:20a AM Minor: 9:50a PM Minor: 10:10p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

0.10 ft 0.99 ft

8:00 — 10:30 A

Set: 5:38p Set: 11:21p AM Major: 3:40a PM Major: 4:00p 5:17p 4:57a

29

PRIME TIME 7:40 AM 4:43 PM 9:06 PM 9:57 PM

Sunrise: 7:34a Moonrise: 3:38p AM Minor: 2:39a PM Minor: 3:09p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

T E X A S

-0.77 ft 1.32 ft 1.21 ft 1.22 ft

2:00 — 3:30 A

Set: 5:42p Set: 5:24a AM Major: 8:54a PM Major: 9:24p 11:03p 10:32a

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1.47 ft -0.61 ft 1.67 ft 1.51 ft

PRIME TIME 4:55 AM 10:31 AM 3:59 PM 10:29 PM

16 

0.48 ft 0.91 ft 0.52 ft 1.12 ft

4:00 — 6:30 A

Set: 5:34p Set: 12:59p AM Major: 5:41a PM Major: 6:04p 6:56a 7:19p

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 9:47 AM High Tide: 6:43 PM

-0.60 ft 1.33 ft

Sunrise: 7:28a Moonrise: 7:44a AM Minor: 4:49a PM Minor: 5:15p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

3:55 AM 7:53 AM 1:42 PM 9:26 PM

0.60 ft 0.65 ft 0.29 ft 0.95 ft

Sunrise: 7:32a Moonrise: 11:47a AM Minor: 10:33a PM Minor: 10:53p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

30 

8:30 AM 5:26 PM 9:24 PM 11:42 PM

4:00 — 6:00 A

Set: 5:36p Set: 5:49p AM Major: 11:02a PM Major: 11:28p 12:46p 12:20a

23

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

2:30 — 4:00 P

Set: 5:34p Set: 7:46a AM Major: 11:05a PM Major: 11:36p 12:20a 12:52p

Sunrise: 7:24a Moonrise: 12:45a AM Minor: 11:52a PM Minor: ——Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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

THURSDAY PRIME TIME

12:03 AM 9:27 AM 6:16 PM 10:27 PM

Sunrise: 7:18a Moonrise: 5:57p AM Minor: 4:50a PM Minor: 5:21p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME 0.80 ft 0.94 ft 0.20 ft 1.19 ft

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 1:11 PM High Tide: 9:14 PM

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PRIME TIME -0.46 ft 1.65 ft 1.45 ft

22

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

WEDNESDAY

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

1.53 ft -0.68 ft 1.66 ft 1.51 ft

3:00 — 5:00 P

Set: 5:34p Set: 8:49a AM Major: ——PM Major: 12:10p 1:23a 1:55p

PRIME TIME 5:40 AM 12:33 PM 5:27 PM 10:44 PM

Sunrise: 7:24a Moonrise: 1:47a AM Minor: 12:13a PM Minor: 12:37p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

0.15 ft 1.01 ft 0.80 ft 1.10 ft

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 10:25 AM -0.56 ft High Tide: 7:18 PM 1.27 ft Low Tide: 11:38 PM 1.19 ft

Sunrise: 7:29a Moonrise: 8:32a AM Minor: 5:42a PM Minor: 6:07p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

5:00 — 7:00 A

Set: 5:34p Set: 1:31p AM Major: 6:25a PM Major: 6:49p 7:42a 8:06p

17 

9:00 — 11:00 A

Set: 5:43p Set: 6:29a AM Major: 9:51a PM Major: 10:23p None 11:35a

12:38 AM 10:17 AM 7:11 PM 11:11 PM

10

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

2:30 — 4:00 A

PRIME TIME

Sunrise: 7:19a Moonrise: 7:03p AM Minor: 5:54a PM Minor: 6:26p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

24 

PRIME TIME

Sunrise: 7:34a Moonrise: 4:41p AM Minor: 3:35a PM Minor: 4:07p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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

PRIME TIME

Set: 5:39p Set: None AM Major: 4:23a PM Major: 4:43p 5:58p 5:37a

-0.94 ft 1.35 ft 1.23 ft 1.25 ft

3

5:00 — 7:00 A

Set: 5:36p Set: 6:45p AM Major: 11:25a PM Major: ——1:37p 1:12a

PRIME TIME 4:20 AM 10:17 AM 2:16 PM 9:30 PM

Sunrise: 7:32a Moonrise: 12:15p AM Minor: 11:15a PM Minor: 11:36p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

31 

0.40 ft 0.64 ft 0.50 ft 0.93 ft

Set: 5:39p Set: 12:15a AM Major: 5:05a PM Major: 5:26p 6:39p 6:18a

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 9:20 AM -1.04 ft High Tide: 5:59 PM 1.34 ft Low Tide: 10:05 PM 1.15 ft

Sunrise: 7:35a Moonrise: 5:51p AM Minor: 4:36a PM Minor: 5:08p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

4:30 — 6:00 P

3:30 — 5:00 A

Set: 5:44p Set: 7:29a AM Major: 10:52a PM Major: 11:24p 12:07a 12:39p


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Tides and Prime Times

DECEMBER 2009

FRIDAY

4

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 1:22 AM 1.53 ft Low Tide: 11:08 AM -0.68 ft High Tide: 8:02 PM 1.60 ft

Sunrise: 7:20a Moonrise: 8:14p AM Minor: 7:01a PM Minor: 7:32p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

PRIME TIME 6:23 AM 2:16 PM 7:18 PM 10:56 PM

-0.13 ft 1.17 ft 1.00 ft 1.11 ft

Sunrise: 7:25a Moonrise: 2:49a AM Minor: 12:56a PM Minor: 1:20p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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

6:00 — 9:30 A

Set: 5:35p Set: 2:04p AM Major: 7:08a PM Major: 7:32p 8:30a 8:54p

PRIME TIME

1:05 AM 11:02 AM 7:48 PM 11:41 PM

1.20 ft -0.48 ft 1.21 ft 1.13 ft

Sunrise: 7:29a Moonrise: 9:14a AM Minor: 6:35a PM Minor: 6:59p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

5:30 — 8:00 A

Set: 5:37p Set: 7:42p AM Major: 12:23a PM Major: 12:47p 2:26p 2:02a

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

8:30 — 10:00 A

Set: 5:34p Set: 9:45a AM Major: 12:46a PM Major: 1:17p 2:26a 2:57p

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

SATURDAY

PRIME TIME 4:51 AM 12:21 PM 3:00 PM 9:25 PM

0.18 ft 0.74 ft 0.70 ft 0.93 ft

Sunrise: 7:33a Moonrise: 12:45p AM Minor: 11:57a PM Minor: ——Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

5:00 — 7:30 P

Set: 5:40p Set: 1:10a AM Major: 5:46a PM Major: 6:08p 7:23p 7:01a

5

PRIME TIME

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

12:11 AM 2:10 AM 12:01 PM 8:46 PM

Sunrise: 7:21a Moonrise: 9:25p AM Minor: 8:08a PM Minor: 8:38p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

1.46 ft 1.47 ft -0.58 ft 1.51 ft

Set: 5:34p Set: 10:34a AM Major: 1:54a PM Major: 2:23p 3:27a 3:57p

12



New Moon



First Quarter

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

9:30 — 11:00 A

PRIME TIME 1:40 AM 3:12 AM 12:55 PM 9:21 PM

1.32 ft 1.32 ft -0.38 ft 1.40 ft

Sunrise: 7:21a Moonrise: 10:35p AM Minor: 9:12a PM Minor: 9:40p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

7:05 AM 3:33 PM 9:07 PM 11:00 PM

Sunrise: 7:26a Moonrise: 3:52a AM Minor: 1:38a PM Minor: 2:03p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

-0.36 ft 1.31 ft 1.12 ft 1.14 ft

Low Tide: 7:47 AM High Tide: 4:33 PM

Set: 5:35p Set: 2:40p AM Major: 7:51a PM Major: 8:15p 9:19a 9:44p

19 

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 1:54 AM 1.14 ft Low Tide: 11:37 AM -0.37 ft High Tide: 8:15 PM 1.15 ft

Sunrise: 7:30a Moonrise: 9:51a AM Minor: 7:27a PM Minor: 7:50p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

Set: 5:37p Set: 8:38p AM Major: 1:15a PM Major: 1:38p 3:12p 2:49a

PRIME TIME

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

5:26 AM 2:01 PM 4:07 PM 9:03 PM

-0.06 ft 0.91 ft 0.89 ft 0.98 ft

Sunrise: 7:33a Moonrise: 1:18p AM Minor: 12:17a PM Minor: 12:41p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

Set: 5:41p Set: 2:09a AM Major: 6:29a PM Major: 6:52p 8:11p 7:46a

PRIME TIME 12:28 AM 2:28 AM 12:10 PM 8:38 PM

1.04 ft 1.05 ft -0.24 ft 1.10 ft

Sunrise: 7:30a Moonrise: 10:23a AM Minor: 8:17a PM Minor: 8:39p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:



Full Moon



27

PRIME TIME 6:07 AM 3:08 PM 5:57 PM 8:38 PM

-0.31 ft 1.08 ft 1.05 ft 1.07 ft

Sunrise: 7:34a Moonrise: 1:57p AM Minor: 1:00a PM Minor: 1:26p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

Last Quarter



Good Day

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

6:30 — 9:00 A

Set: 5:37p Set: 9:34p AM Major: 2:06a PM Major: 2:28p 3:56p 3:34a

PRIME TIME

BEST DAYS

F i s h

12:00 — 2:00 A

Set: 5:41p Set: 3:11a AM Major: 7:13a PM Major: 7:39p 9:04p 8:37a

PRIME TIME SYMBOL KEY 5:30 — 7:00 A

9:00A — 12:30P

Set: 5:35p Set: 3:21p AM Major: 8:35a PM Major: 9:00p 10:09a 10:35p

20

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

5:30 — 7:00 P

-0.51 ft 1.39 ft

Sunrise: 7:26a Moonrise: 4:54a AM Minor: 2:22a PM Minor: 2:48p Moon Overhead: Moon Underfoot:

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

6:00 — 8:30 A

26

PRIME TIME

13

6:30 — 10:30 A

10:30A — 12:00P

Set: 5:34p Set: 11:16a AM Major: 2:59a PM Major: 3:26p 4:25a 4:52p

PRIME TIME

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

PRIME TIME 4:30 — 6:00 A

SUNDAY

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PRIME TIME 6:00 — 7:30 A

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)

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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

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by Tom Behrens, Calixto Gonzales, Tripp Holmgrain, and Kyle Tomek

Largemouth Like Watermelon LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Wood Creek GPS: N32 04’ 26” W96 17’91”

SPECIES: black bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon and Blue/Black Jigs CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252 TIPS: A lot of timber and stumps exist here. Just take a jig work the edges of the docks and stumps. Slow down the bait if you struggle for bites. BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marine LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Tree Top GPS: N32 04’ 02” W96 14’43” SPECIES: black bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon and Blue/Black Jigs CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252 TIPS: A lot of timber and stumps exist here. Just take a jig work the edges of the docks and stumps. Slow down the bait if you struggle for bites. BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marine LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Warm Water Discharge Cove GPS: N31 47.646, W96 04.481 N6

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SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon Reds and Firetiger Carolina-rigged Creature Baits and Rattletraps CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com TIPS: The colder temperatures move the shad and baitfish into the warm water discharge cove where the power plant discharges water about 84 degrees keeping the cove an astounding 70 - 80 degrees. There is a flat about four feet in front of the cable going across the discharge channel. The turbines make a strong current and the bass will run in and out of this cut. The Carolina rig will catch both bass and reds. The extended leader on the rig will have plenty of action in the strong current. Just drag it along the bottom and hold on. LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Warm Water Discharge Cove GPS: N31 47.646, W96 04.481 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Watermelon Red and Firetiger Carolina-rigged Creature Baits and Rattletraps CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com TIPS: The colder temperatures move the shad and baitfish into the warm water discharge cove where the power plant discharges water about 84 degrees keeping the cove an astounding 70 - 80 degrees. There is a flat about four feet in front of the cable going across the discharge channel. The turbines make a strong current and the redfish will run in and out of this cut. The Carolina rig will catch both bass and reds. The extended leader on the rig will have plenty of action in the strong current. Just drag it along the bottom and hold on. LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Brushy Point GPS: N31.47.480, W96.04.610 F i s h

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SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon-red Carolinarigged Creature Baits CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com TIPS: bass cruise the discharge cove to eat on large schools of shad. This point has an abundant amount of sunken brush piles all over the Point. From four feet out to about 12 feet you will find this heavy brush. Drag this rig along the cover. Work the sides the top and the end of the point and when you feel a brush pile just shake that weight on your rig. The leader should be about two feet long. The current is very strong. When the weight is sitting still, the leader allows the bait to move all around presenting a great reaction bite for both bass. LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Brushy Point GPS: N31.47.480, W96.04.610 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Watermelon-red Carolinarigged Creature Baits CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, donmat@windstream.net, matternguideserviec.fghp.com TIPS: Reds cruise the discharge cove to eat on large schools of shad. This Point has an abundant amount of sunken brush piles all over the Point. From four feet out to about 12 feet you will find this heavy brush. Drag this rig along the cover. Work the sides the top and the end of the point and when you feel a brush pile just shake that weight on your rig. The leader should be about two feet long. The current is very strong. When the weight is sitting still, the leader allows the bait to move all around presenting a great reaction bite for both redfish. LOCATION: Lake Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Long Arm Branch Point GPS: N31.59.201, W96.12.294 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce Silver or Chartreuse Slabs


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TIPS: The fish will be pushing shad up on the edges of this point and having a feeding frenzy as they prepare for the colder weather. Use your electronics to find the baitfish and fish in water depths of 25-35 feet. Bounce the slab slowly off the bottom. CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina 903-389-5218 LOCATION: Lake Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31 58.9490, W96 10.600 SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: 1.5-ounce Chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 TIPS: The Pelican Island area is a wintertime haunt for big hybrids and white bass. Tie on a larger Slab and move it slowly off the bottom in water depths of 30’ or greater. The fish will be hugging the bottom. As the water temperature cools to the low 50’s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will be soft; you just feel dead weight on the end of your line.

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LOCATION: Lake Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31.58.9490 W096.10.600 W SPECIES: White bass BEST BAITS: 1.5-ounce Chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 TIPS: The Pelican Island area is a wintertime haunt for big hybrids and white bass. Tie on a larger Slab and move it slowly off the bottom in water depths of 30 feet or greater. The fish will be hugging the bottom. As the water temperature cools to the low 50’s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will be soft; you just feel dead weight on the end of your line. LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Live Oak Park Cove GPS: N31 06.925, W97 28.650 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Shad crankbaits (warm days), small jigs with pork eels (cold days) CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Watch for shad flicking along the east cove shoreline. Fish near bait activity.

BANK ACCESS: Via Live Oak Ridge Park (Corps of Engineers) LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Live Oak Park Cove GPS: N31 06.925, W97 28.650 SPECIES: smallmouth bass BEST BAITS: Slow shad Crankbaits (warmer days), small jigs with pork eels on colder days CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Watch for shad flicking along the east cove shoreline and fish near the bait BANK ACCESS: Via Live Oak Ridge Park (Corps of Engineers) LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Colinas Timber Edge GPS: N31 02.039, W97 34.903 SPECIES: largemouth, occasional smallmouth BEST BAITS: Dark 4-inch soft plastic worms on Carolina Rig CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Best fished during SE to SW wind so you can fish deep to shallow and maintain contact with rig.


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LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: White Flint Cove GPS: N31 13.480, W97 28.450 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Live minnows under Slip bobber CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, Holding the Line Guide Service, 254-368-7411 TIPS: A good location in afternoon to late evening. BANK ACCESS: Via White Flint Park Kayak Accessible

LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Triplet Point GPS: N31 53.533, W97 12.375 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Chartreuse 1-ounce Slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539 TIPS: The whites have the bait pushed up in the cuts on triplet point. Keep on the lookout for birds working. Make long casts with slabs and work them up and down fluttering them through the fish. Most bites occur during the bait’s descent.

LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Comanche Cove GPS: N31 01.800, W97 37.790 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Live minnows under slip bob-

LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Willis Creek Flats GPS: Area Northeast of Willis Creek Park SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: Live shad, Sure Shot prepared bait CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell TIPS: Fish the shallow open and timbered flats with rod and reel. Good fish will be in water as shallow as 2 feet. BANK ACCESS: There is good access all along Willis Creek Park especially around the Pavilion.

ber CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: If fishing with multiple anglers, vary your depths. Once fish are located, move all baits to successful depth. BANK ACCESS: Comanche Gap Road LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Deep Humps GPS: N31 54.214, W97 12.178 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce Chartreuse Slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539 TIPS: Watch graph along humps and you will see the white bass stacked up on the edges of the humps. Drop slabs down and bounce off bottom making contact with bait as it falls. Carry binoculars and watch for the birds diving on shad, the white bass push the shad to the surface and quick limits are coming from under the birds. LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Big Rocky Creek GPS: N52.795’, W97 23.682’ SPECIES: stripers BEST BAITS: Storm’s Wild Eye Shad (chartreuse) CONTACT: Randy Routh, 817-822-5539 TIPS: The stripers have the shad pushed back up in the creek past the first cut; make longs cast and drag baits behind the boat using the trolling motor. BANK ACCESS: Walling Bend

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LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Juniper Point East GPS: N33 51.892, W96 49.833 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Cool water temperatures make the fish go into a feeding frenzy. Large fish up to 20 pounds will be on the prowl; 4- to 6inch Sassy Shad on a 1-ounce jighead will work the best. Texoma’s stripers prefer white glow and chartreuse colors. Road Runner 1-ounce jigs with a 7-inch worm are deadly on the big fish holding on structure. Fish the main lake points, mouths of creeks and humps near deep water. Large schools of stripers can be under the birds. BANK ACCESS: Juniper Point East LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Paw Paw Creek and Willis Bridge GPS: N33 53.992, W96 53.796 F i s h

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SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Large stripers up to 20-plus pounds will hold on structure. A 7-foot medium heavy Castaway Rod with 20pound test is recommended. The 1-ounce Road Runner jigs with a white 7-inch worm will produce fish located on main lake points, the mouths of creeks and humps with deep water nearby. Keep your eyes on the seagulls; they can be your best fish locator. BANK ACCESS: The Oil Wells and Texas Flats

Flip for Falcon Bass LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: San Ignacio GPS: N26 54.949, W99 19.230 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: Plastic worms and flipping tubes in red, red watermelon, red bug CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle, 956-7654866 TIPS: If bass are not already in spawning mode, they will be staging for the spawn. Most will be, especially if the winter has been thus far mild. The higher water levels will push bass into the new brush produce during this past summer’s drought. Texasrig your worms and tubes, and toss along the edges of the brush. Watch for big fish. They require stout (20-25 pound) gear to winch them out of the brush. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tiger GPS: N26 44.326, W99 8.750 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms in red, red watermelon, grape. Flipping tubes


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CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle 956-7654866 TIPS: Fish back up in the creeks and all around primary and secondary points. This is going to be close-in work with a flipping or jigging rod. Keep an eye out for bedding bass along shallow gravel. The idea is to put the lure right in the fish’s nest so that it will get angry enough to whack it. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tiger GPS: N26 44.326, W99 8.750 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Cut Shad, prepared baits CONTACT: Falcon Lake Tackle 956-7654866 TIPS: It’s a weird experience to fish the thick brush under cormorant nests, but the catfish are there in huge numbers. Use a float over your cut bait to suspend it above submerged deadfalls, and fish as close to the trees as you can. Ambitious fishermen can actually go into the thicket to fish untouched waters.

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Mill Creek Bass LOCATION: Toledo Bend South HOTSPOT: Mill Creek GPS: N32 12.20, W93 39.36 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: white/chartreuse spinnerbaits with double willowleaf blades (one gold, one nickel), spoons, football head jigs, Carolina-rigged 10-inch worms, Texas-rigged 7inch worms, deep-diving crankbaits CONTACT: Joe Joslin, 337-463-3848, www.joejoslinoutdoors.com TIPS: Spinnerbaits are now tops, both over grass (hydrilla) in 6 to 15 ft. depths, and slow-rolling in 10 to 25 feet. Over grass, use 3/8 oz. double willowleaf spinnerbaits in white/chartreuse with one gold and one nickel blade. Use 3/4 and 1 oz when slow-rolling. Mill Creek is perfect for deep spooning with lots of deep/clear water.

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Opt for 5/8 and 3/4 oz. spoons, targeting 25 to 45 feet of water. Work off-shore humps and ridges with 1/2 oz. football jigs and Carolina-rigged 10-inch worms. Bring out the deep-diving crankbaits when all else fails, or slow things down with a medium-tolight Texas-rigged 7-inch worm. Mill Creek is usually very clear so use fluorocarbon line is recommended. Jigging spoons will now catch 4 to 5 species of fish: largemouth. Bass, yellow bass, crappie, spotted bass and striper. BANK ACCESS: Below generators for catfish/striper Fishing is best when generators are running. Call 337-286-5244 for prerecorded generator schedule. LOCATION: Toledo Bend North HOTSPOT: Main lake river channel ledges and drops GPS: N31 47.065, W93 50.090 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: slab spoons, tail spinners, Rat-L-Traps, mid-diving crankbaits in shad colors CONTACT: Greg Crafts, 936-368-7151, www.toledobendguide.com

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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

TIPS: White bass are now migrating up the lake, traveling along the main lake river channel heading to the river proper where they stack up on river channel sandbars to feed heavily. Target sandbars found on the inside of major bends along the river channel’s edge and use electronics to locate baitfish, and white bass. Be prepared to catch a limit of 25 fish per person, many of which will tip the scales at three pounds! BANK ACCESS: Public parks and marinas, crappie on live minnows, catfish on cut bait and liver LOCATION: Caddo Lake HOTSPOT: River channel in front of Johnson Ranch GPS: N32 42.442, W94 07.087 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: live bait, BNB hair jigs #001 and #003, Ozark Secrets tube jigs #08, #10 and #12 CONTACT: Dennis North, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Big crappie are now moving into the river channel, feeding on bait fish to prepare for the spring spawn, and the river channel in front of Johnson ranch is a good place to find them. Rig a #6 light wire hook with a #4 split-shot, one inch above, and a small bobber 3 feet up from the hook. Adjust the bobber as needed to reach the crappie’s depth. Try fishing this area with a spider rig, but with only one jig or hook as you will be fishing only 6 to 10 feet deep. Rig a second, longer pole (10 to 12 feet long) to fish the edges of the lily pads at the edge of the channel. BANK ACCESS: Caddo Lake State Park, panfish, catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, and white bass LOCATION: Lake O’ the Pines HOTSPOT: Main river channel GPS: N32 45.366, W94 30.130 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: live bait, 1/8 and 1/16 oz BNB CLDT jig #005 and #012, Ozark Secrets tube jigs # 7, #16 and #17 CONTACT: Dennis North, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: The multiple pole spider setup is most productive when drift-fishing for crapN12

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pie over the old river channel and points. Fish up and down the channel starting where the channel is about 45 feet deep and work your way to the flat which is about 18 feet deep until you find where the crappie are holding. On a two jig rig, set a 1/8 oz jig on the bottom and a second jig about 30 inches off the bottom. For live bait, fish with a 3/16 to 3/8 oz. weight on the bottom with a first hook 12 inches off the bottom and a second hook about 36 inches off the bottom weight. BANK ACCESS: Dam Shoreline around the Tejas boat ramp, bass, panfish and catfish, wade-fishing good in this area LOCATION: Sam Rayburn Reservoir HOTSPOT: Five Fingers Cove GPS: N31 08.291, W94 07.672 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: red shad colored Rat-LTraps, white or chartreuse Nichols spinnerbaits CONTACT: Don Mattern Sr., 903-4782633, www.matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: In December, Five Fingers cove still contains fair amounts of Hydrilla, which bass seek out for cover, warmth, and food. Bigger, pre-spawn bass will hold just inside the edges or suspend in the Hydrilla. Throw a Rat-L-Trap over these grass beds in 3 to 8 feet of water, working them just fast enough to tick the tops of the grass. When hung up in Hydrilla, rip the bait loose to trigger strikes by bigger fish Spinnerbaits are effective when worked over the same area. Spool up with 15 lb. fluorocarbon line with for good results. BANK ACCESS: Public boat ramps, largemouth on artificials, catfish on cut bait, liver, or stinkbait LOCATION: Lake Livingston HOTSPOT: Hwy 190 roadbed - middle bridge GPS: N30 51.840, W95 25.360 SPECIES: blue catfish BEST BAITS: fresh 4-inch cut shad, fresh chicken liver, Danny King’s Punch Bait CONTACT: Dave Cox, 936-291-9602, www.palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Anchor directly on top of the old bridge and fish straight down to the old F i s h

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roadbed in about 15 feet of water, suspending bait just off the bottom. For bigger blue cats, fish the deeper side of the old bridge where the water is about 30 feet deep. Fish you are your bait suspended about 18 to 22 feet down and hold on. BANK ACCESS: Public parks and boat ramps, largemouth bass on artificials, catfish on cut bait, stinkbait, or liver LOCATION: Lake Conroe HOTSPOT: Main Lake GPS: N30 22.980, W95 34.930 SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: live shad, Storm Swim Shad, CONTACT: Richard Tatsch, 936-2911277, www.fishdudetx.com TIPS: hybrid stripers are now in full swing and this is the time of year to catch trophy fish and possibly a lake record. Fish will be found on main lake points and humps electronics will be a necessity to locate them! Locate schools of shad and you will find hybrids. Focus on 12 to 26-foot water columns. Live shad is your bait of choice but a Swim Shad will work well if you can its their depth. BANK ACCESS: Stowaway Marina, bream and catfish on live minnows or worms under cork

Dam Blues on Shad LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Deep water near Dam GPS: Along entire dam and out to 1/2 mile SPECIES: blue catfish

BEST BAITS: fresh shad CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell


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TIPS: Drift-fish the deep flats from 15 to 25 feet deep using wind socks if necessary. BANK ACCESS: Wilson Fox Park LOCATION: Lake Medina HOTSPOT: Masterson Point GPS: N29 33.373 W98 55.422 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 2� white and chrome slab spoons, live minnows CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Focus on main lake points and islands in 15 to 30 feet of water. Vertically jig slab spoons, watching slack line as you allow the spoon to fall. Most bites will occur on the fall. Spoons will be hit fairly hard so you should have little difficulty detecting bites. If fishing with minnows, hook through nose or just below the dorsal fin. Fish at depths the bass are working and let your minnow do the work. White bass are will bunched up; when you will catch, one you should catch several! BANK ACCESS: Bandera County Park, crappie on live minnows and crappie jigs, Guadalupe bass on soft plastics

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LOCATION: Lake Dunlap HOTSPOT: Mid lake GPS: N29 40.132, W98 05.013 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: shad colored crankbaits, white or pearl baby flukes, watermelon/red and green fleck CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Focus around the islands and flats associated with the river channel as these areas often have darker bottoms which remain warmer than the rest of the lake. They now also serve as bass feeding grounds. Work a shallow diving crankbait across the tops of flats and a deeper diving crankbait along the ledges where flats drop into the river channel. Alternate the crankbaits with flukes, particularly around brush and remaining lily pads. If action is poor, trying crawling a tube bait along the bottom, focusing on ledges in these areas. BANK ACCESS: I-35 bridge public boat ramp and park, bass on crankbaits and soft plastics

LOCATION: Lake Travis HOTSPOT: Riviera Marina GPS: N30 25.526, W98 52.525 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: pink/white, or chartreuse crappie jigs, live minnows CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Locate brush piles in 12 to 30 feet of water along creek channels, bluff walls and under docks. Due to lower water levels, much of the lake’s brush will be above water, so crappie should be suspended under docks or using a rock ledges piles for cover instead. When you do locate submerged brush you have got a real bonus for catching crappie. Vertically jig these areas after looking for the fish with electronics. Crappie are bunching up for the winter so you should find many of them in one place. BANK ACCESS: Bob Wentz Park, largemouth bass on soft plastics LOCATION: Lake Buchanan HOTSPOT: Morgan Creek GPS: N30 50.003, W98 21.257 SPECIES: largemouth bass


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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

BEST BAITS: shad colored crankbaits, white and white/chartreuse spinnerbaits with willow leaf blades, white or pearl flukes, white or black jigs with matching trailers, black/blue fleck plastic worms CONTACT: Dave Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: bass are in heavy feeding patterns now so locating baitfish in creeks and the backs of coves and pockets is the key to your success. Start with crankbaits and spinnerbaits, working them at a 45-degree angle to the bank. Look for likely ambush spots created by rocks, brush and docks, and don’t be surprised to find several bass holding on one piece of cover. If action with faster lures is slow, opt for jigs, flukes, or plastic worms. If you locate schools of shad that seem nervous or have bass actively feeding on them, cast a fluke and allow it to fall through the school, twitching it occasionally as it falls. Get ready for action - you will often catch many good fish this way. BANK ACCESS: Thunderbird Resort, crappie on jigs and minnows LOCATION: Lake LBJ HOTSPOT: Station Creek GPS: N30 35.520, W98 23.406 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbaits with gold blades, shallow running crankbaits, white flukes, watermelon/red and green fleck CONTACT: David Burlington, 210-8339417, www.bassindave.com TIPS: Good bass can still be found in creek beds off the main channel upriver, but they are beginning to move toward the main river. Bass found on the main river will tend to grouping around secondary and primary lake points. Your number top lure now is the spinnerbait, with the crankbait a close second. If bass follow a spinnerbait, but won’t’ give it a solid hit, switch to flukes and fish them with a jerk-jerk-pause retrieve. Also, pitch tubes under docks and around any heavy cover you find to catch less active bass. BANK ACCESS: Jacobs Creek, largemouth bass on spinnerbaits, topwaters, and crankbaits LOCATION: Canyon Lake N14

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HOTSPOT: Party Cove GPS: N29 53.150, W98 15.150 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Secret Weapons buzzbaits, Texas-rigged worms, small crankbaits, Jewel CONTACT: Kandie Candeleria, 210-8232153, kandie@gvtc.com TIPS: Fish the bluff wall to the left of the island in Party Cove. Early morning, just before dawn, burn a black Secret Weapons buzzbait in black along the bluff wall. When the sun rises a bit throw a small white or shad colored crankbait such as Lucky Craft 1.5. When you get to the point, just before the deeper side of the island switch to a drop-shot, black/blue 3/8 oz. Jewel Jig or Texas-rigged worm. Use a 1/8 oz Tru-Tungsten weight with a white glass bead placed just before the hook. Colors that have been producing are Watermelon Red, Watermelon Candy, Motor oil Red flake, and Blue Fleck. BANK ACCESS: Canyon Park Campground, crappie on minnows and crappie jigs

Jigs Yield Twin Whites LOCATION: Twin Buttes HOTSPOT: Ledge off Spring Creek GPS: N31 21.517, W100 32.137 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigging spoons, crappie jigs

CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: This ledge drops off into the Spring Creek River channel and holds large schools of white bass most of the winter. With electronics, follow the ledge until you find schools of baitfish and then concentrate on that area. Drop a spoon down to bottom on a slack line and once it hits bottom fish by jerking the bait up a couple of feet and letting it settle back to the bottom. Most

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bites happen on the fall so pay close attention to your line. You will load the boat fast once you find them. BANK ACCESS: Twin Buttes Park off of Merzon Highway LOCATION: O.H. Ivie HOTSPOT: Turkey Bend GPS: N31 31.900, W99 41.464 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Citrus Shad DD-22 crankbaits, 1/2 oz. rattling jigs, Rat-LTraps CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: The Colorado River runs right along this bluff to a good point with small pockets 15 to 22 feet deep. Cast a Citrus Shad DD-22 parallel to the point on 12 lb. test line to get it to the right depth. Also, fish rattling jigs trailered in black/blue or black/red, and work them through the treetops for suspended fish. Another good trick for warm sunny days this time of year is to get on top of the point and throw a shad colored 1/2 oz. Rat-L-Trap in 2 to 5 feet of water. Big bass will often move up from the depths to give you a battle. BANK ACCESS: Concho Park, Elm Creek Park LOCATION: Lake Graham-Eddelman HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area GPS: N33 07.594, W98 36.340 SPECIES: sand bass BEST BAITS: live shad, cut bait, 1/4 to 3/8 oz. jigs in yellow and white, crankbaits in black, blue back and purple back CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Cast live shad and cut bait as close to the cement outflow as possible. If your bait gets hung up, let your next bite dislodge it and you will catch more fish! Troll crankbaits through active discharge areas at depths of 8 to 12 feet. If fish are active try a 3/4 oz. Rat-L-Trap in black, blue back or purple back. Hop jigs off the bottom from the cement outflow working back downstream. Watch for cold fronts on the Texas/Oklahoma border as they mean good fishing and be considerate to other fishermen; this productive area is popular.


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BANK ACCESS: Hwy 380 public boat ramp, crappie on live minnows, bass on plastic worms, catfish on cut bait and liver LOCATION: Palo Pinto Reservoir HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area GPS: N32 39.318, W98 18.244 SPECIES: sand bass BEST BAITS: live shad, cut bait, slabs, 1/4 to 3/8 oz. jigs in yellow and white CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Slow down when working artificials and hop them along the bottom in the current. Try to get live bait in as close to the pump station as you can. If a bait gets hung up, don’t worry; just wait for your next bite to dislodge it. Fish crankbaits from 8 to 12 feet or deeper just outside the generator fence. Get jigs as close to the cement inside the fence as possible and slow hop them off the bottom with the current. If warm water is discharging, you are going to catch fish! Watch for cold front lines on the Texas/Oklahoma border; they bring rising pressure and biting fish! BANK ACCESS: Any of the parks and public boat ramps by the generator plant, crappie on live minnows, catfish on stinkbait, cut bait, and liver LOCATION: Lake Meredith HOTSPOT: The Marina at Lake Meredith GPS: N35 42.250, W101 33.199 SPECIES: walleye BEST BAITS: minnows, red wiggler earthworms CONTACT: Mel Phillips, 806-353-3654, fishman@suddenlink.com TIPS: In cold December, fish the marina’s heated crappie house for walleye and a variety of other species. Minnows and red wiggler earthworms are your baits of choice but chicken livers, shrimp, and cut bait are also productive. Walleye is the draw on Lake Meredith but half the fun of fishing the crappie house is not knowing what you will catch until you catch it. Walleye, largemouth bass, sand bass, and catfish are all likely to end up in the ice chest! BANK ACCESS: The main ramp at the marina, catfish on stinkbait, cut bait and chicken or turkey livers

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Storm the Castle LOCATION: Lake Amistad HOTSPOT: Mouth of Castle Canyon GPS: N29 30.127, W101 02.104 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: 3/4 oz. football head jigs in green pumpkin, DD-22 crankbaits CONTACT: Wendell Ramsey, 325-2274931, bram4@suddenlink.net TIPS: December means big bass at Lake Amistad and a green pumpkin football jig is the answer to catching your share. Drag the jig with a green Rage chunk trailer along the rocky ledges of the Castle Canyon area in 25 to 35 feet of water and you will get some bites. Find a ledge with a flat top at this depth and let your bait free-fall to catch fish suspended off the ledge. BANK ACCESS: Diablo East Park or Black Brush area Contact the National Parks Service at 830-775-7491 for more information.

Trout Take Smoked Mullet LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N26 1.548, W97 11.023 SPECIES: speckled trout

BEST BAITS: Live shrimp. Topwaters, SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Drift from the Southeast corner of the bay out into deeper water on a mild day. Trout will be spreading out on the flats and holding in deeper pockets. If the tide is up and little wind, try and stick near the mud A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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ALL GPS COORDINATES VERIFIED BY

along the shoreline and fish depth breaks and edges. Live shrimp is best, when available, but a slow-worked slug-type of soft plastic can be deadly. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay

GPS: N26 1.454, N97 12.195 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live bait. Cut Bait SPI Lures Tandems in smoke, mullet, black/glitter, glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: A long drift will locate redfish that tend to spread out along these flats. Some are good-sized fish. During a warm trend, fish soft plastics in shallower water. Live shrimp or cut ballyhoo chunks under a popping or rattling float work well in chillier weather. The key is to fish as slowly as you can stand, even in warmer weather. Fish need time to locate your offering and decide if they want to kill it.

CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: Try a bait with a wiggle to it.

Give Reds the Devil Eye LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: East Pass GPS: N29 58.920’ W93 47.135’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area

Plastics Bully Trout LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: East Bay GPS: N28 38.098’, W95 55.327’ SPECIES: speckled trout

BEST BAITS: Norton Bull Minnow soft plastics - Limetreuse and white with 1/4ounce leadhead jigs CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: If mild temperatures persist, shrimp will still be in the bay. Chase birds and drift scattered shell bottoms. LOCATION: Matagorda HOTSPOT: Colorado River GPS: N28 41.758’, W95 58.676’ SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: 1/4 to 3/8-ounce leadhead jigs; Hogie Double Shrimp Tails in chartreuse and Norton Bull Minnows in Margarita and Limetreuse N16

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CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: Fish only on falling tides. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Sidney Island GPS: N29 58.590’, W93 49.433 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Brown’s Devil Eye, Glow or amber with a 1/16 jighead; tip with Fish Bites-Pro Inshore/Nearshore Shrimp if live shrimp are still in the area CONTACT: Capt. Randy Foreman, 409985-7619 TIPS: In early December key on little shrimp and groups of mullet. Drift, and make long casts.

Email: Calixto: cgonzales@fishgame.com Kyle: ktomek@fishgame.com Tripp: tholmgrain@fishgame.com Tom: tbehrens@fishgame.com


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Give ‘em What They Want WAS ONCE THE UNFORTUNATE AND SOMEWHAT embarrassed recipient of a toilet seat as a Christmas gift. Not that there is anything wrong with toilet seats (some of my best friends use them) or that the gift was not utilitarian, but there is something unsettling about settling oneself onto a clear Lexan potty perimeter with assorted wild game detritus embedded in the plastic. No doubt, the gifter had good intentions (it was not a gag gift) and figured something “outdoorsy” appropriate for someone of my interests and vocation. Nonetheless, the relationship has been strained ever since due to the giver’s insistence on inquiring at every opportunity how I am enjoying his gift, which leads to awkward moments at social gatherings. I have also received gifts of ties, which I never wear (ever tried buttoning a 17-1/2inch collar around an 18-1/2-inch neck?) emblazoned with leaping salmon, for which I do not fish; fishing lures made in the likeness of beer cans; dog sweaters with embroi-

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dered ducks; a butterfly net; soap-on-a-rope shaped like a shotgun cartridge; and a sixpack of camouflage toilet paper—the latter coupled with the toilet seat suggesting nonoutdoorsman gifters labor under the delusion that all outdoorsmen have some sort of scatological fetish. Of course, I have received some truly nifty gifts from knowledgeable acquaintances (some of whom do have scatological fetishes) that I still own, use, and cherish. The gifts, I mean, not the acquaintances. It is not difficult to select gifts for outdoorsmen: Just buy something you would like to have while resisting the temptation to keep it for yourself. As an aid to that end, we have here assembled a collection if items and services that most any outdoorsman would be pleased to receive. Look around these pages with your outdoors friend or family member in mind—and steer clear of bathroom accessories. —Don Zaidle

APPAREL Wilderness Dreams Wilderness Dreams by Weber Leather has a full selection of Mossy Oak-patterned camo lingerie, swimwear, and loungewear, and now they even have swimwear for men. The new Naked North Pink Camo Series features some of Wilderness Dreams’ most popular styles in the hot new Naked North Pink Camo.

Wilderness Dreams camo lingerie Also new this year is Wilderness Dreams’ Pink Lace - Trimmed Camisole and Boy Short Pantie. They have also added a One Piece Scoop Neck and Swim Skirt to their ever growing women’s swimwear line. See more at www.wildernessdreams.com.

Automotive J&S American Vault If you are looking for the best way to securely store your concealed hand gun, GPS system or other valuables, look no N18

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further. J&S American Vaults, authorized Texas distributor of Console Vaults, offers high quality, high security, custom designed console vaults for over 26 different trucks and SUV’s. There are even several Universal models available for cars, older vehicles, vans and RV’s. Custom vaults are available for Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Hummer, Lincoln and Toyota model trucks and SUVs, and even for Harley Davidson. Console vaults are designed to fit into the console space provided by the vehicle manufacturer. They are constructed of 12 gauge plate steel with welded tab and notch seams, and have an attractive powder coated finish. Installation usually takes ten minutes and requires only a screwdriver and the supplied mounting hardware. Because of the vault’s unique design no drilling or modification of the console is required.

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Swift Hitch

GMC 2003-2009 Fold Down Arm Rest Console These vaults make the perfect gift for concealed handgun license holders. See the full line of products at www.jsamericanvaults.com.

Swift Hitch is an easy-to-use video system that assists you in hitching a vehicle to a trailer. A portable video camera with a magnetized base attaches to the vehicle tailgate, focused on the trailer hitch. A hand-held display unit shows a live picture in full color while you guide your hitch right up to the trailer. The camera transmits to a distance of 300 feet. It has fully automatic night vision (up to 15 feet) and comes with a 4 hour built-in rechargeable lithium ion battery. The display unit has a full color 2.5inch LCD color screen with 960 x 240 resolution. It can display either Normal or Reverse image. The display unit also has a 4-hour rechargeable lithium ion battery. Boat Owners can position the camera on the corner of their boat while backing


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Swift Hitch trailering-assist video system. tive maintenance; to locate something dropped in the bilge. The camera and display unit are priced at $289.00 for the set. For more information, see www.swifthitch.net.

BAITS & LURES The Bait Saver

down a ramp to launch or while backing in to a slip; to visually inspect an inboard engine for leaks while performing preven-

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The Original Bait Saver is a 2" x 1" plastic mesh basket. This container allows you to easily insert your bait and close the lid. Eye hooks (located on the side and the bottom of the bait saver) allows for the hook of your choice. You can select the bait of your choice (e.g. minnows, chicken livers, blood bait,

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The Bait Saver acts as a protective cage for live bait, and comes in two basic designs. etc.). Just drop it in and close the lid. The fish can see the bait, smell the bait and taste the bait. However, they are not able to take the bait. Now you will finally be able to easily reuse your bait, as the fish do not get the


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bait, all they get is mouth full of hook. The bait saver is great for trotlines, jug lines, or rod and reel. All types of fisherman can use this bait saver. Freshwater or saltwater, there's no reason to waste your bait. Check our their website: www.savemybait.com

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Katchmor/Nemire Lures John Nemire, founder of Nemire Lures, began baiting fish when he was as tall as his grandfather’s wading boots. As a child, Nemire spent every opportunity fishing for

Nemire Lures: Red Ripper, Spoon Buzzer, and Spin Ripper. everything he could catch from his grandfather’s row boat, with the help of his “lucky” cane pole. In the Early 1970’s, Nemire started making his own fishing lures, including the first stand-up jig head, Drop Spinner Bait and the original Spoon Buzzer. The popularity of his lures caught on with fellow fishermen across Ohio, but he was unable to gain broader footing due to economic contitions. In January 1998, Nemire decided to take another crack at the lures by improving the original Spoon Buzzer, which won six consecutive tournaments in the 1970’s and to design his Red Ripper. One of Nemire’s goals was to design the Red Ripper – a weedless metal crank bait with a rattle. The first time he tested it against other proven lures, the Red Ripper out-fished them 3 to 1, hooking six bass in 45 minutes. The Red Ripper was a success. And the rest is history. The full line of Nemire Lures by Katchmor is available online at www.nemirelures.com.

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Kicker Fish Bait Co. The goal at Kicker Fish Bait Company is to offer anglers distinctive new baits that can be added to their own catching arsenal. For bass fishing, the Original Texas Weedless Wacky Worm offers weedless presentation, great vibration, deadly slowtwitch action and a truly unique design that bass have yet to see. The new Kicker Kraw and Kicker Kraw JR, designed with the help of F.L.W. and B.A.S.S. pro Cody Bird, have everything an angler could want in a flipping-pitching type bait. Great lifelike fall and retrieve, solid body for firm rigging, diamond cut tube tentacles for added movement, and wings to eliminate line-twist combine to make it a deadly lure.

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The Shad Stick, takes the popular stick-bait craze to the next level. This innovative design maintains the darting action that the soft-jerk bait provides, but the stick

Russelure The legendary Russelure is back! With its unusual wobble swimming action, which can be varied from eccentric fast motion to a slower, smooth natural movement, the Russelure is irresistible to fish. Formed from aluminum with anodized colors, solid

Kicker Fish baits: Kicker Kraw, Shad Stick, and Byrd Dawg.

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tail gives the bait the vibration and wiggle action needed for realistic movement on the fall. The Shad Stick will be available in both Fresh and Saltwater styles in a wide variety of colors. Says Kicker Fish founder Kelly Jones, Jr., “For me, Bass fishing is truly a passion that I share with millions of other anglers who have become addicted to this mysterious predator we call Bass... and our continuous quest for new ways to catch them!” Check out their full line at www.kickerfishbait.com.

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brass brackets riveted to the body and superior quality Mustad hooks attached with stainless steel rings, the Russelure is a virtually indestructible lure. The Russelure comes in 8 different sizes and 11 different colors. Corrosion-resistant materials and all

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metal construction creates a virtually indestructible lure. The Russelure is a wobble-type lure (as opposed to a spinner, which twists the line). The lure’s action allows for a slower troll or retrieve, giving fish more time to see

The legendary Russelure is made of rugged aluminum to create a truly unique swim action. and take the lure. Different attachment ring locations on the larger lures allow for varied action and greater depths. For more information, visit www.russelure.com.

BOATING Onyx Outdoor Onyx outdoor recreation products provide reliable, dependable, and trustworthy gear you are looking for to keep you outdoors longer and will allow you to experience nature on your terms.

Onyx Advantage Max-4 and Select Vest. Onyx products are comprised of a complete line of EVA, PVC, and Nylon rainwear, fishing & hunting life jackets and accessories. N28

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Explore the outdoors in a new way with our exciting line up of new products sure to enhance your fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, camping, or any other memorable outdoor experience. Our products will make a good experience great…and wherever you’re going, we’ll be keeping you there. Onyx is a newly formed brand under the Absolute Outdoor, Inc. company, located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. For more information, visit www.onyxoutdoor.com.

ator and up to 3 passengers including pets and kids, allowing unrestricted movement about the boat. If the operator falls overboard the motor will shut off and an alarm will sound or if a passenger falls overboard the alarm will sound. Hard-wired kill switches protect only the operator. Autotether protects others onboard, with one receiver serving up to a maximum of four sensors. The Autotether Wireless Solor Fisherman System retails for $235. The Wireless Laynard System sells for $295. Visit www.autotether.com.

Autotether Inc. Autotether Wireless Lanyard for Fishermen and Recreational Boaters shuts off your motor within 1 1/2 seconds. The Autotether uses cutting edge RF technology and is the only patented wireless lanyard on the market. It connects directly to the engine kill switch. Protecting the boat oper-

Edson International Autotether wireless kill switch system.

In 2008 Edson officially entered its 150th year of operation. Edson’s core values back “then” when Jacob Edson founded this company in


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1859, and what they stand for “now”, remains remarkably similar and still totally entwined. Through Edson’s history these words ring as true today as they did 150 years ago, “Honesty”, “Integrity”, “Innovation” and “Passion”.

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Edson has introduced countless marine innovations in its long history, serving the commercial, sailing and recreational boater. Their vast catalog is available online, including new steering products such as their Power Knob Sportsman Series Composite steering knob. This attachment

Edson’s Power Knob Sportsman series and Pro Series Stainless steering wheels. straps or bolts to any off-road vehicle or boat wheel, making it easy to turn the wheel quickly with one hand. Edson also carries a wide selection of stainless steel comfort steering wheels, including their Pro Series Stainless wheels. Check out the entire inventory at www.edsonmarine.com, or call toll free, 1-800-450-8405.

SeaSense Unified Marine, Inc. was formed in 1984 to provide the marine industry with

Everything from rod holders to trailer winches is available at SeaSense N32

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the latest in innovative products at competitive prices, backed by a service commitment second to none. Unified boasts a 40,000 square foot distribution center and 5,000 square foot office building on 37 acres in Newport, Tennessee. This central location puts Unified within a one day shipment of most U.S. businesses. SeaSense offers a vast catalog of marine equipment, and has a huge selection of products that make great gift ideas. These products cover a wide range of prices, from under $10 to over $100. From rod holders to trailer winches, aerators to anchors, SeaSense is the perfect source for boaters’ gifts. Check us out at www.seasense.com.

Texas Marine of Beaumont Texas Marine has a large variety of boats to choose from. Bass Boats: Texas Marine of Beaumont carries the complete line of the legendary Ranger bass boats with highest customer satisfaction 3 years in a row. We also

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carry the complete line of the value packed Stratos fiberglass bass boats. Bay Boats: They also stock the number one selling bay boat in Texas, Blue Wave Bay Boats, from 16 to 24 feet, and Texas Marine is the number one Blue Wave dealer in the nation! We also carry the complete line of Robalo Bay & Offshore boats from 16 to 28 feet. Offshore Boats: For fishermen who demand the best, Texas Marine features the top name center console, Robalo, a name offshore fishermen have trusted for years, factory installed with Yamaha outboards. Texas Marine is proud to be a Marine Industry Certified Dealership. Certified Dealers must pass rigorous tests by an independant third party showing that customers can expect to find: Friendly, knowledgeable staff, Quality Products, Reliable Service. Visit the store at 1140 IH-10 North in Beaumont, Phone: (409) 898-7632, or check out their website at www.texasmarine.com.

Wells Marine Tech Wells Marine Technology, Inc. is the recognized leader in Electronic Battery Management Systems, and holds three U.S. patents on its Pulse Detection System. Wells Marine Technology also introduced “Automatic Battery Management Systems” to the marine and recreational vehicle industry. Their BassMaxxII puts an end to dead trolling motor batteries. The automatic switching system allows the main engine

The BassMaxx II from Wells Marine Tech


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alternator to charge the 12, 24, or 36 volt trolling motor batteries whernever the main engine is running. When the main engine is shut down, the trolling motor batteries automatically return 24 or 36 volts to the trolling motor. The trolling motor will run stronger longer, and deep cycle battery life

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will be significantly extended. Fishing time can be dramatically extended. The BassMaxxII is available for $280, and comes with a 3 year warranty. Visit www.wellsmarinetech.com.

ELECTRONICS Angler Products Angler Products sells Fishing Hotspots preloaded on a card for most current GPS makes and models. Simply choose the area you want to fish, show us what GPS you have and we'll send you a preloaded card with simple installation instructions that

Angler Products’ Post Ike Galveston hotspots. will allow you to load literally hundreds of good fishing locations in less time than you can manually load one. Angler Products and Hook-N-Line Fishing Maps have teamed up to bring you Post Ike Galveston Bay Fishing Maps and Hotspots Now you can have the best, most recent fishing map for the Galveston Bay area and be able to load over 400 updated fishing locations and boat ramps to your GPS instantly. Visit www.angler-products.com.

Hatcams Most activities require the use of both hands, which unfortunately makes filming these experiences difficult if not impossible … until now. Hatcam’s patent pending hatcam mounting system allows you to capture everything you hear and see, all while having both hands free. With the hatcam kit, experiences that would be just a memory can now be captured forever. Hatcam is great for the angler who wants to relive their fishing experience with first person video footage. Hatcam is lightweight, extremely stable, N34

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hands-free video recording. There are no wires. AA and lithium-ion powered camcorders are available, or use your pocket camcorder — the universal-mounting system fits any small camcorder with a tripod thread. Shooting is simple. The mount is

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designed so anything you look at gets captured, and transfering video to your PC or MAC is a easy with the camcorder's builtin USB port. Hatcam is sold as a kit, with hat and camcorder starting at $149, or just the mounting system hat for $34.99 (supply

Hatcams are available with and without the optional pocket camcorder. your own lightweight camcorder with universal tripod mount). Order online and view a large number of hatcam videos at www.hatcams.com.

The Fisherman’s Analyst The Fisherman’s Analyst is a comprehensive computer program which provides an integrated tide prediction table, journaling section, and charting capabilities. The software is sold by Third Stone Software (www.thirdstonesoft.com). TF&G Kayak Editor Greg Berlocher reviewed The Fisherman’s Analyst in the June, 2009 issue. In his review, Berlocher wrote: “The main screen features a tide chart which can be easily adjusted to display a day at a glance, a week, or even longer. The bright colors on the tide chart are configurable, allowing you to pick your favorite colors for high tides, low tide, and periods of major feeding activity. “Many tide charts provide high and low tide information but not much granularity on tide strength. The Fisherman’s Analyst N36

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ments of water and target fishing trips around water movement. “I found the software easy to manipulate and extremely affordable: $39.95 MSRP. It is available online from Third Stone Software’s website, www.thirdstonesoft.com, and you can also find it on Amazon.com.”

A colorful new line from Charter Arms includes The Pink Lady .38 special.

FIREARMS Charter Arms Part of the main screen view for The Fisherman’s Analyst, by Third Stone Software. takes this to a whole new level.” “Because entire bay systems are large bodies of water you won’t see a lot of height change during a tide but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of tide strength. There is a strong horizontal movement of water but it takes a while to affect the height. The horizontal movement of water is what triggers fish to feed.” “The Fisherman’s Analyst allows anglers to see these strong horizontal move-

Charter revolvers were conceived by American engineers who sought to achieve a new and distinctive approach to handgun design, without disturbing fine gun traditions. These revolvers are the smallest, lightest one-piece frame—stronger than screw-on side plate designs. They have the fewest critical moving parts for simplicity of design and trouble free operation. All barrels are machined with eight grooves instead of six for higher velocity, flatter trajectory and better accuracy. Their

completely blocked hammer system cannot fire unless the trigger is held in full rear position - the safest revolver design in the world. In fact, Charter invented the hammer block transfer bar safety system used by almost every revolver manufacturer. These guns have the shortest hammer throw, fastest lock time and a wide trigger and hammer spur. The cylinder lock up is in three places instead of two: cylinder stop and ejector rod collar for additional safety, strength and cylinder-to-barrel lock up. Charter Arms are 100% American owned, and 100% American made. Visit www.charterfirearms.com.


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Cor-Bon Custom Bullet Co.

Cor-Bon has expanded its popular DPX line of hunting cartridges.

Cor-Bon is the manufacturer of loaded high performance ammunition. Cor-Bon’s product line includes high velocity hollow point ammunition for law enforcement and self-defense, hunting and cowboy action.

Glaser safety slug, the original pre-fragmented ammunition. This year, Cor-Bon has made additions to their popular Pow'R Ball, DPX and

Cor-Bon ammunition line. Cor-Bon is the original designer and manufacturer of the 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum ammunition and the 460 Smith & Wesson Magnum. Visit www.corbon.com.

Trijicon If you want the very best riflescopes and sights money can buy, look no further than Trijicon. Trijicon’s optical excellence has been battle-tested by those who protect and defend us around the globe — rightfully gaining Trijicon the reputation as having the most sophisticated and dependable optics on the market. When precision is the only option, your best option is the Trijicon RMR Sight. Built to provide optimum red-dot visibility against the target, you can acquire and hit your target quickly and more accurately.

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The new Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) has been introduced to match the legendary toughness of the Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight). The RMR offers two illumination configurations. One choice is an innovative LED (light emitting diode) insert that automatically adjusts for brightness in any lighting situation and ensures optimum visibility of dot against the target. The second option is a dual-illuminated, battery-free model featuring Trijicon fiber optics and tritium. Accuracy is further enhanced with adjustments for windage and elevation and clarity is assured with the sight’s ultra-clear, hard-coated lens. Visit www.trijicon.com

Fishing Accessories Faultline Outdoors The Hook-Holster provides a fast and convenient place to hang your hook or lure. This great product has many other advan-

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and cause it to break. And placing hooks into a cork handle dulls the hook. The Hook-Holster is available at Academy, Bass Pro Shops, and online at www.faultlineoutdoors.com.

Fishing Lights, Etc. Fishing with artificial light has been around for many years. It doesn't take a $100 to $300 fishing light to attract fish. Bait fish such as shad and minnows are

Faultline Outdoors’ Hook-Holster tages that make it a great tool for all fishermen. The Hook-Holster conceals points on single hooks, prevents tangled lines in the car or boat, protects hands, clothing, carpet and upholstery, fits snuggly to your rods with no noticeable effect on balance. It’s also immune to damage from UV and saltwater. Hook barbs make small abrasions in rod eyelets that damage fishing line, causing the line to weaken and break. Hooks placed in the eyelet can weaken the eyelet

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drawn to the light to feed on the plankton; and larger game fish move in to feed on the bait fish. It's not uncommon to see bait fish stacked in columns 15 feet thick under the lights, with game fish suspended directly below them. Since 1981, Fishing Lights Etc. has

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established itself as the leader in Underwater Fishing Lights. Their lights are built in the heartland of America and are guaranteed never to leak or they will replace them for free. They produce dock lights, submersibles for boats, rigs for crappie and flounder.

They invite anglers to visit their website, www.fishinglightsetc.com, to view their wide range of products. They also encourage visiting the sites of competitors to see why their lights are preferred by the majority of fishermen.

Frabill Sporting Goods Frabill’s patented new Hibernet is the most completely portable, retractable landing net. Stored, it’s no bulkier than your nighttime running lights. It’s the first net that fits cleanly inside any standard rod

Frabill’s Hibernet... open for business. locker. You’ll forget it’s even there…until you need it. Grab the handle, slide the grip forward, and out shoots a hoop and net, locking into place for the big moment. Hibernet is unquestionably the best portable landing net solution we’ve seen,” states Frabill Engineer, Ryan Kleckner. The beauty of the Hibernet really lies in its simple, foolproof design, Kleckner believes. “There are no buttons or confusing push connections. All you do is slide the handle upward.” Hibernet retracts instantly, too. Just pull the Slide Grip back toward the handle. This unlocks the hoop and draws it back inside the tube. And it’s as solid in construction as it is in performance. “Hibernet’s handle and hoop frames are built with heavy-walled, extruded aluminum,” reports Kleckner. “The Slide-Grip uses pultruded fiberglass N40

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springs, which power the automatic hoop lock. There’s no tension when the net’s retracted, so it never wears out. The whole product is extremely corrosion resistant, so it works equally well in saltwater.” The netting itself is a soft, black poly mesh. Retracted, Hiber-Net is 52-inches in length, with a triangular-shaped hoop that’s 22- by 22-inches by 24-inches deep. Check it out, along with the other great Frabill products at www.frabill.com.

Gulf Coast Waders Gulf Coast Waders is family owned and operated business, selling quality products with superior customer service to fisherman (and women) all over Texas. They sell two products, a Breathable suit and a full Neoprene suit, to offer the best prices and fast delivery. All suits are in stock at our Houston facility and ready for immediate delivery. You can buy your waders at any time at the Gulf Coast Waders website, www.gulfcoastwaders.com or by phone at 281-682-0656. Gulf Coast Waders has a wading suit

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Breathable waders for Texas fishermen, by Texas fishermen, so give them a call today. You too will see why their motto is “we build waders to keep you in the water and keep the water off you.” For more information and to see the full line of waders visit their website, www.gulfcoastwaders.com.

Plano Molding If you have ever had a bottle of simulated live bait spilled on the floor of your boat, or had one of the bags dry out…. then you understand the value of the Liqua-Bait Locker System. The Liqua-

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Plano Molding’s Liqua-Bait Locker System Bait Locker System (LBL) has been developed to contain the liquids and the odors of simulated live baits, while ensuring their freshness. The LBL systems will withstand the beating that anglers can put on their equipment. The Dri-Loc O-ring seal makes all components of the LBL system leak-proof and airtight, keeping baits fresh and tackle box and boat odor free. Noncorrosive pinned hinges provide a strong solid hinge that will last through years of use. The 4642 Extra Deep LBL includes

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one bottle, one bait grabber, and one wallet. It will hold 4 bottles or wallets (or two of each) with room left over for additional packages of softbait. It measures 14” x 9.13” x 4.75 and retails for $24.99. The 4641 Deep LBL includes one bottle and one bait grabberand holds one

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bottle with room for additional packages of softbait. It measures 14” x 9.13” x 3.25” and retails for $14.99. The 4648 LBL Wallet holds multiple packages of softbait or individual softbaits in their juices without the packaging. The 4648 LBL Wallet retails for $9.99.

The 4651 LBL Bottle holds up to 23.5 ounces of simulated live bait and the liquid they are stored in. It retails for $7.99. For more information about the new Liqua-Bait Locker System, or any other Plano Tackle Systems products, visit www.planomolding.com.

Hunting Accessories Pradco-Moultrie Feeders The new Moultrie Game Spy Game Management System allows you to view pictures your game camera takes from the comfort of your home, office . . . anywhere with internet access. You can check on your hunting land by simply logging on to a web site. The game management system consists of three components: the game camera, the cellular modem and the web site. Moultrie’s game cameras are designed

Moultrie Game Spy game management system.

to be compatible with the Game Management System. Each camera features the latest in scouting technology. The Game Spy I-45 and I-65 models feature virtually invisible infrared technology, and the Game Spy M-45 and M-65 white-flash cameras capture color nighttime video. The AT&T cellular network wirelessly transmits images from your game camera to your private-access web site. You can easily access the game management web site using your computer, PDA N42

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or cell phone. Once there, you have private access to a web page where you can see photos, check battery status or even change the settings on your game camera. If you'd like to be one click away from 24/7 access to your game photos, get into the Moultrie Game Spy Game Management System. Visit www.moultriefeeders.com.

x 7.5’ tall to 8’ wide x 10’ long x 7.5’ tall. Coolers are available with or without insulated floors. Standard features include Galvalume finish with aluminum floor; insulated door with hardware; thermometer, light, fully self-contained refrigeration system by Bhon, a brand of Heatcraft Refrigeration Products LLC; 110 volt systems, 4 inches

Sportlock SportLock LLC is your source for gun and bow safety. They sell pistol, rifle, shotgun and bow cases in a variety of sizes and compositions. If you need home security safes for handguns, jewelry, or document storage, Sportlock’s compact steel safes come in a variety of sizes and access.

Port-A-Cool portable evaporative coolers. pools, garages, fishing docks and hunting camps. GEM Cooling of Texas is an authorized Port-A-Cool® dealer for the entire Lone Star state located in Selma, Texas. Port-A-Cool, LLC is located in Center, Texas. Port-A-Cool® coolers are available at Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear in Houston, or at www.gemcoolingtx.com.

KT Coolers KT Coolers is a Texas-based manufacturer of walk-in deer, wild game, and ranch coolers. They build a variety of standardsize coolers ranging from 4’ wide x 6’ long

KT Coolers walk-in deer cooler. of insulation; and 2 galvanized steel meat rails with hooks. Optional delivery and installation is also available. Visit www.ktcoolers.com.

Sportlock Gun Vault Sportlock’s goal is to provide products to meet your needs. Customer service is the component that has made their business a success. See their entire product line at www.sportlockllc.com.

General Products G.E.M. Cooling of Texas Port-A-Cool® Portable Evaporative Cooling Units are Portable, Powerful, and Practical. These American-made portable evaporative cooling units cool anywhere using 115 volts and tap water for a dollar a day. No assembly required. They will work anywhere that traditional air conditioning is not available, impractical or cost prohibitive. Port-A-Cool® is not only used for warehouses, loading docks, and work bays, but is also perfect for home patios and A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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Randolph Engineering’s Ranger Series : XLW, XL, Classic, Sporter.

Randolph Engineering Eye protection is always important, whether you're in the field or on the line. RE Ranger lenses, by Randolph Engineering, are designed to protect your eyes

while highlighting your target and increasing overall contrast. Key design elements include fast and easy interchangeability of lenses, optical

grade polycarbonate lenses in 16 custom tints, prescription frame quality with a lifetime warranty on all solder joints, and comfort fit temples. The Ranger series has four models: XLW, XL, Classic and Sporter. Each model offers a variety of temple styles, including Skull which follow the curve of your ear and head; Cable which securely and comfortably hold eyewear in place even in extreme conditions; and Bayonet (XLW only), for military pilots to fit comfortably under head-gear. See the full line of eyewear at www.randolphusa.com.

Outdoor Cutlery AccuSharp The AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is a knife sharpener anyone can use. No more messy oils or stones. In about 10 seconds, sharpen knives, (even serrated knives), cleavers, axes, machetes, and many other cutting tools. N44

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Lansky Controlled-Angle Sharpening System. The Lansky system makes it easy to keep professional edges on all sporting, household and work knives. The Controlled Angle Sharpening System is a gift of sharper, safer knives. Visit www.lanskysharpeners.com.

Mad Cow Cutlery AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener. The large ergonomic handle fits either hand safely and securely. The full length finger guard protects your fingers. Sharpening blades are Diamond Honed Tungsten Carbide for years of reliable use. AccuSharp Knife Sharpeners will not rust and can be cleaned with soap and water or in the dishwasher. Replacement sharpening blades are available. Sportsmen, Cooks, Craftsmen, and Gardeners will appreciate the easy-to-use, affordable AccuSharp line of knife and tool sharpeners. Visit www.accusharp.com.

Lansky Sharpeners Since 1979, Lansky Sharpeners has been recognized as the world leader in Sharpening Technology. Each Lansky Sharpeners product is

Mad Cow Cutlery is a family owned and managed cutlery business located in the Heart of Texas, between Austin and San Angelo. Their central location helps reduce shipping times and expense.

selections of cutlery and cooking utensils than the larger corporate distributors of processing and restaurant knives and accessories. Personal service is the key to shopping with Mad Cow Cutlery. Their vast inventory includes knives, sharpeners and processing tools for meat processing, hunting and fishing, commercial and residential food service. Shop online for gifts, starting as low as $5 for stocking stuffers, at www.madcowcutlery.com.

Puma Knife Company USA Puma Knives have been produced in Germany since 1769. Hunters and craftsmen know and trust Puma performance, heritage and technology.

Mad Cow Cutlery’s wide selection of knives, sharpeners and cutting tools. Being a small business doesn't mean small selections and limited services. Since they are more specialized in the products they sell, Mad Cow Cutlery stocks larger

Puma “Prince”.

Lansky Controlled-Angle Sharpening System. carefully designed to meet unparalleled performance, reliability, and safety standards. All Lansky Sharpeners products are engineered to be completely ambidextrous, and manufactured with superior quality materials by craftsmen who are committed to providing you with a product that is second to none. New for the 2009 holiday season is the A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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The highest grades of stainless steel, innovative designs, genuine stag handles, and traditional German craftsmanship are why Puma knives are considered at the top of every major ranking of classic hunting and sporting knives. Key innovations include the Puma White Hunter, the Duke, The Prince, and the Earl. A Puma knife is a gift that will last more than a lifetime. See the full line at www.pumakifecompanyusa.com.

Retail Fishing Tackle Unlimited In 1980, Cut Rate Sporting Goods began in space less than 1,200 sq.ft. carrying general sporting goods. Today, Cut Rate Fishing Tackle Unlimited is still an independently owned retail store serving customers world wide with their tackle needs. In 2002, Fishing Tackle Unlimited, and Gulf Coast Trolling Motors moved from Telephone Road to Gulf Freeway at Fuqua into a 33,000 sq. ft. building. It is

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They feature dozens of optics manufacturers and offer a 110% low price guarantee. They feature SWFA SS riflescopes, designed to operate in the most extreme conditions (from minus-50 to 130 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, 30,000 ft altitudes, and 15 ft depths in saltwater). Order by phone at 1-972-726-7348 or online at www.swfa.com.

Fishing Tackle Unlimited said to be one of the largest independent fishing tackle stores in the world. Whether you are a freshwater, saltwater, fly fisher, bank, pond, party boat, offshore, tournament fisherman or fisherwoman Fishing Tackle Unlimited has the inventory and selections you will need. Visit their online store at www.fishingtackleunlimited.com.

S.W.F.A. Inc. SWFA is the world’s largest dealer in sports optics. Through direct order by phone or online, they sell riflescopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, range finders, night vision and thermal sights, mounts, laser sights, rings and bases.

Rods and Reels Ardent Outdoors, Inc. Ardent is the leading designer and manufacturer of freshwater fishing reels and Reel Care products and accessories. Made by fishermen for fishermen, the design of every Ardent reel and Ardent accessory is the result of input from professional anglers that are members of Team Ardent. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Ardent is proud to be the only manufacturer of freshwater casting and spinning reels Made in the USA. The company was founded on the principle of creating high performance fishing reels that can endure the test of time. Every Ardent reel is hand assembled and performance tested prior to shipment. Each Ardent reel is also backed by the industry’s best 3-year warranty to ensure years of great performance.

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Daiwa

American Rodsmith’s The Pink Lady

Daiwa began making reels in 1955. It has since grown into one of the largest tackle companies in the world. By continuing to create new and innovative rod and reel technology, Daiwa continues to earn the appreciation of freshwater, offshore and inshore anglers. One such new innovation is the TD Zillion Coastal Casting Reel. With the

Visit their website, www.americanrodsmiths.com.

Ardent’s latest product releases include: The XS1000 and XS600, magnesium framed baitcasters; C400, aluminumframed 4-ball bearing baitcaster; S2500 spinning reel featuring Ardent’s Total Titanium Protection System (TTP); SmartCull, a two-stage culling system to manage fish in your livewell during fishing tournament situations; plus Reel Butter, Reel Kleen, and Reel Guard cleaning and protecting products. Since the company originated in 2003, Ardent has been committed to offering the highest quality reel with expert craftsmanship only a fisherman can appreciate. They are available at Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s Gander Mountain and Fishing Tackle Unlimited. Visit www.ardentreels.com.

American Rodsmiths American Rodsmiths has become one of the nation’s premiere manufacturers of performance fishing rods for both fresh and saltwater. Innovation is the key to their success, both in sales and in wins on the bass and saltwater tournament circuits. American Rodsmiths is excited about their Lady Rodsmith lines, with signature tournament series rods from Judy Wong and Shellie Gray, and especially The Pink Lady Special. The Pink Lady Special was developed to give lady anglers a fishing rod that was not only functional, but also stylish. It is available in both 6’6” and 7’ spinning and casting models. The Pink Lady Special is the perfect gift for the lady angler in your life, or the daughter or granddaughter you have been wanting to introduce to the great sport of fishing. American Rodsmiths has joined the fight to help support breast cancer research and will be donating a portion of all Pink Ladies sales to help win this battle. A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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two rod lines, the Argon Series and the Carbon Steel Series. Don’t forget to take a look at the reengineered Helium LTA and Helium 2 LTX rods as well. They have also implemented their “Build Your Own Rod” (BYOR) System. Visit the Kistler website to design and build your one-of-a-kind custom rod based on their most popular rod features, including the new Z-Bone. Choose your features, and a Kistler rod technician will custom build it by hand. Go to www.kistlerrods.com.

Daiwa’s TD Zillion Coastal baitcaster fastest gear ratio available in a compact saltwater reel of this kind, anglers waste less time getting a bait or lure back and more time working it through productive areas. At 7.3 to 1, the gearing rips in 32 inches of line with every crank of the handle. Specialized materials and anti-corrosion treatments provide total corrosion protection. It is perfect for topwaters. To learn more about the TD Zillion Coastal and all of Daiwa’s innovative fishing products, visit www.daiwa.com.

Kistler Custom Rods Kistler Custom Fishing Rods celebrates 10 years of success in 2009, driven by a relentless pursuit of excellence and a heritage of rodbuilding in the Kistler family. Trey Kistler, founder of Kistler Custom Rods and his dad, Billy Kistler, who both have years of experience with legendary Texas rodbuilding manufacturers have created new and exciting engineering in the rod industry. Kistler’s new Argon and CarNew for bon Steel series rods 2009 are N48

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Taxidermy Gulfcoast Waterfowl Gulfcoast Waterfowl is Texas' own bird taxidermy studio. With more than 15 years of Waterfowl, upland, and exotic bird experience, Gulfcoast can do just about anything with feathers that you can imagine. Clients include museums and learning facilities as well as some of the most recognized waterfowl hunting clubs in the counGulfcoast Waterfowl has more try. Quick turnarounds than 15 years experience in and competigame bird taxidermy. tive prices set Gulfcoast Waterfowl on a different standard of waterfowl taxidermy. Contact them at 281 961 2474 today. Visit www.gulfcoastwaterfowl.com.

Overall Taxidermy For the Last Two decades, Overall Taxidermy has been offering a wide range of taxidermy and wildlife art services in and around Texas. From life-size African big game to exot-

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ic offshore sport fish, Overall Taxidermy is sure to meet your taxidermy needs. Overall also offers a number of incentives such as children Overall Taxidermy offers a discounts and rush services for wide range of taxidermy birthdays and and wildlife art services. other special occasions. Call today at 281-380-1856 for more information.

Texas European Mounts Texas European Mounts is a family owned and operated business. A passion for hunting and wood working mixed with an entrepreneurial spirit brought forth Texas European Mounts. They are located in Charlie, TX, which is a farming community about 25 Miles northeast of Wichita Falls. Their mission is to provide you with a beautiful and unique plaque to accent your prized trophy. They have their own sawmill Texas European Mounts harvests and access and mills the wood used in its to land for distinctive mounts. harvesting lumber, so most of the wood that they use comes from a tree that they harvested and milled into lumber. Having a sawmill also gives them access to unique pieces of lumber that are not commercially available. Visit their website at www.texaseuropeanmounts.com, or call (940) 631-4334.

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE MANUFACTURERS


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Bellville Meat THE BELLVILLE MEAT MARKET IS AN AWARD-WINning meat processor recognized by its peers for providing some of the tastiest jerky, sausage, brisket, and hot links in the Lone Star State. While customers come from miles away to visit the butcher counter for a wide selection of hand cut meats, the Bellville Meat Market is known statewide for outstanding game processing. With hunting season here, the ramifications are clear. Jerrod and Marcus Poffenberger, secondgeneration owners of this family-owned business, can process your venison into a wide assortment of culinary masterpieces, including jerky, dry sausage, summer sausage, and smoked sausage. Their Jalapeno Cheese Summer Sausage was named Grand Champion in the Texas Meat Processors Assoc. product competition. Bellville Meat Market is easy to find at 36 South Front Street in downtown Bellville, at the intersection of highways 36 and 159. Due to the heavy demand for their processing, the market accepts deer on a 24/7 basis during rifle season. A telephone number is posted on the door for late-night drop offs. —Greg Berlocher

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but is not involved in the day-to-day operation. Barbara Stringfield, Lester’s sister, handles the administrative end and helps out with sales when there is a need. Their brother, Ralph, who is confined to a wheelchair, helps in whatever way he can. Fred likes to tell people that he has never filled out an employment application in his life. He started working for his dad when he was in elementary school and has been there ever since. Red Wing’s products include Gulf Coast, Parker, Champion, Frontier, and Black Jack boats. Customers can choose between Evinrude and Yamaha in engines. As for all the extras—trolling motor, electronics, jack plates, etc.—they carry it all. The Lester name is well known in the boating industry in Houston. Fred was recently elected president of the Houston Boating Trades Association. This is the third time he has held the influential office. Red Wing is a boat dealership that does a little bit of everything. “Sometimes a boater brings in something

he wants done on his boat and a dealer might say, ‘We don’t do that here. You need to take it over there’,” Fred said. “A customer doesn’t want to do that. He wants to leave it, get it fixed, and come back and get it. There are some things that are somewhat profitable, some things that aren’t, but you take care of all a customer’s service needs if you want to maintain that customer. If the customer wants something done that we might not do here, if the customer agrees we get it done at another shop for him. The main thing is servicing the customer in whatever they need.” Red Wing Boat Company is located at 836 South 75th St, Houston, TX; 713-9210656. —Tom Behrens

On the Web www.redwingboatco.com.

On the Web www.bellvillemeatmarket.com

Red Wing Boats WHEN YOU HEAR OR READ ABOUT A COMPANY that has been in business for over 50 years, still at the same location, and family owned, you know they must be doing something right. The Lester family has owned Red Wing Boat Co. since the beginning. Fred Lester took over the operation of the dealership after his father, Clyde, passed on. Elizabeth, Clyde’s wife, is the owner of the company now A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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The One Indispensable Rifle Caliber OU HAVE HEARD IT ASKED BEFORE: “IF YOU could have only one rifle, what would it be?” Most of the time, the answer is couched in terms of the mythical “all-around” caliber that is useful for everything from shooting elephants to plowing the lower 40. While it’s fun to talk about such things, it certainly isn’t realistic. If we can afford to do those things, we can afford more than one gun. So, instead, let’s ask: What is the most indispensable rifle caliber made? The answer is easy—the .22 Long Rifle. Most of us older guys, especially if we were raised in a rural setting, began our shooting and hunting with a BB gun as soon as we were old and strong enough to work the lever. But as soon as our parents thought we were able and sufficiently safe, we graduated to a .22 rifle, usually shooting shorts. By age 12, I was hunting alone with my grandpa’s .22. My own first .22 was a Model 55 Winchester. It was a funny little gun, a single-shot that automatically

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ejected the fired case. It kicked the spent case out the bottom and the next round was fed through a trapdoor in the top of the receiver. It is now a rare collectible, I am told, and I wish I still had it. Actually, it was a poor choice for a first rifle. A better choice would have been one of the bolt actions with a manual striker that had to be pulled to the rear to cock the gun. There were several such guns, such as the Mossberg Model 25 and Winchester Model 67. In my opinion, there has never been a better learning tool made, and I wholeheartedly recommend this type of .22 for youngsters. Several manufacturers now make miniature versions. I have a vintage Chipmunk (my daughters’ first gun) cleaned and oiled, waiting for my grandkids to reach the age where they can shoot it. As for us adults, there is still no better practice than the .22 rifle. Ammo is cheap and plentiful; there are plenty of inexpensive firearms available; there are some very

high quality rifles available; the .22 Long Rifle hollow point round is sufficient for small game up the size of jackrabbits and even gray foxes if the range is kept short and the shooter is careful. For practice, the shooter can fire thousands of rounds a year from a .22 rifle without having to file for bankruptcy. And, should a crisis arise, a backstock of .22 hollow points would allow the hunter to keep meat on the table for years. A .22 Long Rifle, while not legal, will kill a deer should circumstances and desperation call for it. Financially speaking, today one box of 20 .30-06 cartridges costs in excess of $30. That same $30 buys two 500-round boxes of .22 Long Rifle hollow points. It seems to me that it is only logical for the serious shooter to have at least one .22 rifle and a good stock of this inexpensive ammunition. We argue ballistics and cartridge suitability because it’s fun and because most of us are independent and opinionated. We each have our sacred cows. I, personally, am a lover of the .25-06. However, I will readily admit a number of cartridges are just as good for whitetails as that venerable former wildcat. I also like the .30-06, but again I will admit that several calibers are just as good and just as capable of doing the job of the mythical all-around rifle. However, nothing ever invented is as good as the .22 rimfire at doing what it does best, and I seriously doubt anything is ever invented will be a better teacher, plinker, or emergency survivalist game-getter. In short, if you don’t own a .22 rifle, you are not a serious shooter and I have serious doubts about you.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

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Christmas with the Lost Rider N EMBER ROLLED OUT OF THE FIRE AND hissed when it touched the snow. The yellow blaze danced and the small circle of light was the limit of our attention. The sky was dark with no stars or moon. A coffee pot was shoved into the coals and we waited for it to boil. My horse stomped the ground where it was tied and occasionally we could hear my friend’s team grazing in the open meadow. Large fluffy flakes sifted in the air, enough to accumulate in my saddle and add weight to the already loaded tree limbs. We sat somber and quiet as I stared at the burning stumps. My rear was planted on a log and I balanced a jug on my left knee. My old buddy puttered in the darkness and checked on me from time to time with inane questions about my health and the weather in Texas. “Hey, cowboy, how’s your back? I hear y’all went through a bad drought last summer.” “Hell, my back is like it’s always been. It just hurts all the time. I suppose I’ve learned to live with it. Last spring, my roping pony throwed me against a post and messed up my knee again. Then the other day, I separated my good shoulder. Sometimes I ache in so many places I can’t tell which to hold. But, you know none of that stops me from doing whatever I want to do. I can still break two-year-olds and I probably worked harder shoeing horses and hauling hay this year than in the past 10 years.”

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“Maybe I’ll get you to bring me some hay. I always have to buy mine every year. I get a mix of alfalfa and grass hay.” The old man tottered around our circle in black high-heeled riding boots. His white beard harbored bits of tree bark and sticks from gathering wood. His widebrimmed hat was kicked back on his head and it made me smile to see him wearing the “All Aggie Bronc-Riding” buckle that I’d given him on his wide belt. His large hands looked dry and cracked and the crow’s feet around his happy blue eyes turned up in smiles. His demeanor disallowed anyone in his company from being sour, and though I was both mentally and physically worn, being near my oversized friend made me feel better. “It sounds like a long way to haul hay, and I didn’t know there were any roads to your place.” He chuckled. “Yeah, you’re right, there are no roads. But you’d get a kick out of driving a team with a sled. It’s a road trip and we take seven or eight outfits. Sometimes we get lined out and race—that can get wild! You know how it is, cowboy; life gets dull if you don’t get your hair blowed back once in a while.” Just then, the coffee boiled and he lifted it from the coals. Then he set it away from the fire and added two cups of snow to settle the grounds. I sipped at the jug and extended my cup as he again lifted the pot and set it nearer the fire. “Tell you what: I’m too butt-ass tired to get my hair blowed back much anymore. Or maybe it’s just because I’m too broke. Seems like everything I put a hand to goes to hell. Horse prices fell out, cattle prices ain’t worth a damn, and my writing is on par with my bronc-riding—good enough to be entertaining, but not good enough to make a living.” “Sounds to me like you’re beat up because of a bad market.” “Yeah, well, I’m tired of seeing disappointment in people’s faces. There’s things A L M A N A C / T E X A S

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a Dad should be responsible for, and I sorta dropped the ball.” “Now wait a minute, cowboy! You can’t help being you. There’s plenty of folks in this world that appreciate you.” “I know, but I’ve got to do better. I should have my family along when I go to the hills, not be entertaining everybody else’s. You know, I never cared for the outfitting business; that’s why I’m only a guide. But I need my own camp for family and friends. I need a place where there are no success ratios, repeat clients, or production line statistics. I want to be in a camp with dominoes and poker. I want to be in a place where I don’t have to watch what I say.” “I didn’t realize you watched what you said.” My gaze shifted from the crackling campfire to his round, grinning countenance. I smirked, and then shifted back to studying the disintegrating stumps. “There’d be a lot more cussings handed out if I didn’t watch what I said.” “Yeah, right. The good lord put an angel on your shoulder in the beginning. Of course, I reckon that fella got real put out with some of them head-knockings and dirt baths y’all took, but he’s still there. And, you know that fella whispered in your ear every time the going got tough. Good thing you had enough sense to listen, and you’re too damn mean to quit once you’ve made up your mind. I remember you driving up to 1000 miles every other weekend to see little Sam...that’s who you’re fretting about.” “Well, partly. I suppose the empty nest stuff got me. The definition for stupid is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I gotta do something different or I might as well be wearing a sign. I’m not too old. I can still make everything turn out like it was a master plan.”

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TEXAS SALTWATER

CORPUS CHRISTI

BAFFIN BAY

GALVESTON

Jerid wit h Capt. Ak 30-inch R ins edfi Akins Salt sh water Guide Serv ice

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

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

SPOTLIGHT: AKINS SALTWATER GUIDE SERVICE Captain Larry E. Akins is USAF Retired. Other than the twenty years I spent in the Air Force, I grew up here on the Gulf Coast. I started fishing these waters when I was too young to remember. My father got me started fishing in Galveston Bay, and as I grew older I ventured out. I am at home anywhere from Sabine Lake to Port Isabel. Fishing is all I do now. I started guiding about six years ago and became full-time two years ago. Most of my guiding expertise has been at special request. I have guided people from Washington state, South Africa, and Holland. I have guided people from all over Texas. The reason I like guiding is because I have traveled all over the US and the world fishing. I have caught a lot of fish and now I gain the most satisfaction from seeing other people catch fish. I especially enjoy seeing young people catch fish. I don’t help young people by reeling in their fish, I encourage them. I was with a young man of eight, Matt, when he reeled in his first trophy trout. He did it and that is something no one can take away from him. That day he caught eight trout, the smallest being 19 inches. I would rather help someone catch a record fish, than I would to catch it while out fishing alone. In Montana, I also guided some hunting trips and there are a lot of people who have trophy mounts because of my guiding and their shooting ability. I would rather be guiding. One of the things about traveling so much is that I always make friends everywhere I go. In 2006, I took eight weeks and traveled the Rockies. I fly-fished everywhere; call me and we can talk about it. — Captain Larry Akins, 409-267-5486 (cell) Email me at capt.akins@yahoo.com N52

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ROCKPORT


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Gus Fuentes Matagorda Bay Re dfish Hillman Guide Service

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

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Slinging Blades HIS MONTH WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT something that I’m willing to bet 99 percent of you do not own, and no, it’s not a Barbara Streisand’s greatest hits CD. It’s a blade bait. See, I told you that you didn’t have one, and for the 37 of you who do actually own one, it was probably given to you as a gift from your strange aunt that you talk to only at Christmas. You don’t hear a lot about blade baits around here because we’re Texans and we fish plastic worms. We even have a rigging method named after us. When we’re not throwing soft plastics, we’ll chunk spinners and crankbaits or swimbaits, but no self-respecting bass angler in Texas has a blade bait in their boat, but maybe they should. Time to state the obvious: It’s cold in Texas in December. Well, relatively cold, anyway. Unlike our angling brothers to the north, we can still launch boats in our lakes instead of walking across the top of them and drilling holes where we want to fish. However, the one thing we do have in common with them is that our fish move deep this time of year, and sometimes a plastic worm just won’t work.

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Blade baits don’t exactly jump out at you when you walk by them at the sporting goods store. Most of them are not what you would call elaborate. Simply put, they look like the offspring of a marriage between a spinnerbait blade and a spoon. The front half of the bait is made from thick heavy steel, like a spoon, while the tail end is thin like a spinnerbait blade. This design makes the bait wobble or flutter as it falls, like an injured baitfish, instead of falling straight like a hunk of steel. Blade baits are much more popular up north due to the fact that they were originally intended to be fished vertically and when you’re ice fishing that’s the only way to present a bait. Down south we’ll be using these baits to chase bass suspending deep which not only allows you to make vertical presentations but also cast and retrieve the bait through the schools of fish. Presenting a blade vertically is a simple procedure. Locate a school of bass hanging over a hump, point, ridge, or creek channel and drop the bait into the middle of them. Jig the bait up, then let it flutter back down into the fish. The fish can be lethargic so don’t expect rod-bending strikes. Watch your line and if you see it jump, or if when you start to jig it again it feels heavy, then set the hook. A vertical presentation works best if you are

working a specific small school of tightly bunched big fish and can stay positioned directly over them with minimum effort. If the school is more sporadic and spread out over a larger area then it’s time to start fan casting to cover more ground (here is where the use of light line to make long casts provides a substantial benefit) Make as long as cast as possible, then on a semi-slack line let the bait sink to the depth at which the fish are suspending. Jig the bait back up a few feet, then let it flutter back down again. Repeat this until the bait is directly under the boat. Take the time to jig the bait under the boat a few times as well, just in case a bass is following it. Repeat this fan casting process in a complete circle around the boat before moving to a different area. The efficacy of a blade bait comes from its wiggle as it drops vertically through the water column. To maximize this action, tie the bait on using a loop knot so as not to restrict the side-to-side movement. Also, it never hurts to change out or sharpen treble hooks that come straight from the manufacturer. Most lure manufacturers are using higher quality hooks now, but while chasing light-biting bass, you want to have the sharpest hooks available.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

WILDERNESS TRAILS  Continued from Page N51 “Yes, but you’re gonna have to let that guardian angel help and be wise enough to let him have the credit. And I wish to hell you’d stay away from Mexico. Damn, you stumbled into the bad guys the last time you were down there.” “Folks have the wrong impression of that country. There’s been poverty and strife in that desert forever. Bandits have N54

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raided ranches across the border since the border existed. I believe the only reason we fear that region is because it’s finally getting media coverage. Don’t be scared of your own shadow, old man.” “Sometimes you’re a fool. But I guess that’s what makes you fun to watch. You can take crap and make caviar. Okay, maybe next year I’ll meet you in Mexico.” I stood and stretched. My coffee cup was empty and I bent to refill my cup. At F i s h

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that instant, something nudged my backside, almost tilting me into the fire. Dancer stood there snuffling and peering at me. “Dadgum mooching reindeer...” I rifled through my pockets and came up with a chocolate chip cookie leftover from an old lunch. E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW


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Habanero Glazed Quail UAIL HUNTING IN SOUTH TEXAS THIS season might be the best in several years. With the wet spring and summer we experienced, there have been plenty of insects, which are crucial to the nutritional health of chicks. The undergrowth has created good cover for a bumper crop of hatches, producing a great comeback year. If you go bird hunting, don’t forget your snake leggings because we have seen a bumper crop of rattlers, too. The odds are low for encountering one in January, but it is South Texas, after all. I created this recipe several years ago, and it has been enjoyed on many ranches and in several gourmet restaurants. I hope you enjoy it as well. This recipe is for 12-18 quail. Be sure to pluck, clean, and rinse well. Check for pellets.

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The Glaze

For the Brine Add 1/2 cup sea salt to 1/2 gallon of ice water in a large bowl. Submerge the quail in the ice water. Allow meat to sit for 1-2 hours. Pour off water and rinse the meat again with cold water.

the liquid. Blend until all the chunks are gone and the mixture is smooth. Return to the saucepan and place on low heat. Add the Habanero Jelly, honey, and remaining ingredients. Heat for 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat to allow flavors to blend, then bring to a good boil. Add the tequila and ignite the mixture with a match or long handled lighter (be careful, and use a long-handled spoon as well). Stir down while on boil until the flame goes away, then remove from heat. Spray the quail with Pam or rub down with olive oil. Place the quail on a pre-heated grill indirectly over fire (mesquite or charcoal) skin side up. Cook with the lid closed or cover with an aluminum pan. Baste with the glaze mixture, turning every 3-5 minutes, basting as you turn. Cook for about 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t overcook. Remove from grill and rest the meat by covering with a foil tent for approximately 8-10 minutes. Be sure and check out our website at www.thetexasgourmet.com for other wild game and spicy food recipes, and our fine family of products. Call us at 888-234-7883.

Preparation Place the ancho pepper into a saucepan with the chicken broth, garlic, and cilantro; bring to a boil and cook 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, scoop out ingredients with a slotted spoon, and place into a blender with 1 cup of

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

1 dried ancho pepper stemmed, seeded, and chopped 1/2 jar Texas Gourmet Habanero Pepper Jelly 16 oz. can chicken broth 3 Tbs fresh cilantro 4 Tbs honey 2 cloves garlic 1 Tbs black pepper 1 Tbs soy sauce 2 Tbs lime juice 2 oz. Gold tequila (substitute apple juice) 2 tsp. olive oil cooking spray (Pam Olive Oil) PHOTO BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO: photos@fishgame.com or by mail at:

1745 Greens Road Houston, Texas 77032

REDFISH & TROUT—ARROYO CITY

BUCK—CISCO

BASS—LAKE CONROE

Hayley Shiver, age 14, shot her first buck at her L-R Marco Garcia and Art Rendon of Harlingen, Texas, Kasen Clark, age 4, from Point Blank, Texas, caught family’s lease in Cisco, Texas. The buck was an 8- caught these fish while fishing in Arroyo City at Cul- this 6.92-pound bass on Lake Conroe. The bass lens Bay. The red was 31-1/2 inches and 10 pounds measured between 23 and 24 inches in length. pointer. and the trout was 27-1/2 inches and 6 pounds.

SPECKLED SEATROUT—MATAGORDA BEACH

HOG—EAST TEXAS

Jack Hardy caught this 31-inch speckled seatrout from the shore at Matagorda Beach, Texas. It was landed on finger mullet and released to fight again.

Daniel Harris (left) of Wichita Falls, Texas, with the 380-pound wild hog he killed while hunting in heavy cover with an outfitter in East Texas.

PERCH—ELKHART

BUCK—HASKELL

CATFISH—EVANT

Eleven-year-old Hunter Shiver shot this 10-point Camryn Smith, age 2, of Fairfield, Texas, caught her Hannah Starnes of Kyle, Texas, caught this 2first fish, a perch, at her grandparents, Bobby and pound catfish while fishing on a private pond on buck at Krooked River Ranch in Haskell, Texas. Janice Collins’, pond in Elkhart, Texas. She used a the Massey Ranch, just outside of Evant, Texas. Barbie rod with a worm. N56

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PHOTO COURTESY USFWS

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Biofuel Production Increases Gulf Dead Zone

PHOTO COURTESY NOAA

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone; low oxygen areas in red.

SCIENTISTS REPORT THAT BOOSTING PRODUCTION OF CROPS USED TO MAKE BIOFUELS COULD MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO COMBAT THE OXYGENDEPLETED “DEAD ZONE” IN THE GULF OF MEXICO. THE ZONE, WHICH REACHED THE SIZE OF MASSACHUSETTS IN 2008, FORMS IN SUMMER AND THREATENS MARINE LIFE AND JOBS IN THE REGION.

Study leaders Christine Costello and W. Michael Griffin said the zone forms when fertilizers wash off farm fields throughout the Mississippi River basin and into the Gulf of Mexico. The fertilizers promote algae growth, which eventually depletes oxygen in the water and kills marine life. Government officials hope to reduce fertilizer runoff and shrink the zone to the size of Delaware by 2015, but that goal could be more difficult to reach due to federally-mandated efforts to increase annual biofuel production to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The scientists studied the potential effects of increased biofuel production on the dead zone with a life-cycle analysis of nitrate fertilizer use on biofuel crops such as corn, soy, switch grass, and stover (corn stems and leaves). They concluded that meeting the biofuel production goals would likely increase the depletion of oxygen compared to current levels in the Gulf due to more nutrient runoff. —Staff Report TG

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“Natural” Pest Control Busts in Houston HE CITY OF HOUSTON’S ATTEMPTS AT “natural” pest control are for the birds. City employees seeking to disperse huge flocks of grackles in the downtown area brought in a “bird abatement specialist,” Ronin Air Falconry Service, which uses falcons and other birds of prey to shoo away nuisance birds. The first trial run in late October ended in a bust when the falcon took off, circled once, and then flew away for parts unknown. It later returned to its muchembarrassed handler. Grackles roost in trees and buildings in the northwest part of downtown, which city health officials said poses a problem due to diseases carried in the bird’s accumulated droppings. City employees have tried fire hoses, loud noises, rubber snakes, and fake birds of prey to discourage the grackles, all to no avail. Apparently, no one has thought to try a half-dozen 10-year-olds armed with BB guns.

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GREEN Governor Clements Enters Texas Conservation Hall Of Fame

Study: Bass Need Protected Spawning Areas

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More recently, Governor Clements became the single largest contributor to the soon-to-be-built Texas Game Warden Training Center. Other members of the Texas Conservation Hall of Fame, established in 2006, include conservation philanthropist Perry R. Bass, wildlife artist Jack Cowan, the Texas Bighorn Society, corporate champion AnheuserBusch, and educator Dr. Jim Teer. —Staff Report TG 42

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RECENTLY PUBLISHED STUDY RESULTS INDICATE GETTING CAUGHT BY ANGLERS IS AN INHERITED TRAIT IN SOME LARGEMOUTH BASS, AND FISHERIES MANAGERS SHOULD SET ASIDE “SPAWNING SANCTUARIES” ON RESERVOIRS TO PROTECT BASS POPULATIONS FROM GENETIC DRIFT. The study began in 1975 with the resident population of bass in Ridge Lake, an experimental study lake in Fox Ridge State Park in Charleston, Illinois. “We kept track over four years of all of the angling that went on, and we have a total record; there were thousands of captures,” said David Philipp, ecology and conservation researcher at the University of Illinois. “Many fish were caught more than once. One fish was caught three times in the first two days, and another was caught 16 times in one year.” After four years, the pond was drained and more than 1700 fish were collected. “Interestingly, about 200 of those fish had never been caught, even though they had been in the lake the entire four years,” Philipp said. Males and females from the group that had never been caught were designated Low Vulnerability (LV) parents. To produce a line of LV offspring, these parents were allowed to spawn with each other in university research ponds. Similarly, males and females that had been caught four or more times in the study were designated High Vulnerability (HV) parents that were spawned in different ponds to produce a line of HV offspring. The two lines were then marked and raised in common ponds until they were big enough to be fished. “Controlled fishing experiments clearly showed that the HV offspring were more vulnerable to angling than the LV offspring,” said Philipp. Philipp recommended protecting nesting males during the spawning season, when they are most vulnerable to anglers. F i s h

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HE TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE FOUNDATION has inducted former Texas Governor William P. Clements and the Meadows Foundation into the Texas Conservation Hall of Fame. Governor Clements, the first Republican Governor since Reconstruction, served from 1979 to 1983, and 1987-1991. During those terms, landmark conservation achievements in Texas conservation included: • Passage the of the Wildlife Conservation Act • Passage of the Redfish Bill, designating red drum and spotted sea trout as game fishes • Passage of the Saltwater Stamp Bill, providing an accurate annual count of coastal anglers and revenue to improve coastal fisheries management and protection • The 215,000-acre Big Bend Ranch purchased and established as a State Park • Establishment of the Texas Artificial Reef Program • Operation Game Thief implemented • State Waterfowl Stamp legislation passed • Operation Share a Lone Star Lunker was initiated • State waterfowl habitat acquisition and development program was initiated • The Type II Wildlife Management Area Program launched • Gill nets prohibited from Texas bays • Texas Saltwater Fish Hatchery became operational

“One of the big issues for concern is the explosion of tournaments,” Philipp said. “Lots of bass tournaments are held during the springtime because there are lots of big fish available. In tournaments, you put fish into live wells, and yes, they’re released, but they could be held for up to eight hours first. They’re brought back to the dock, miles from their nest. So, basically, if a fish is caught in a tournament and brought into the boat and put into a live well, his nest is destroyed.” Philipp said fisheries managers should go even further and set aside bass spawning sanctuaries on reservoirs, where all fishing is prohibited and catch-and-release mandatory on the rest of the lake until after the spawn. “The potential for angling to have longterm evolutionary impacts on bass populations is real. If we truly want to protect this valuable resource into the future, then we need to understand that and adjust our management strategies,” Philipp said. —Staff Report TG

On the Web http://aces.illinois.edu/node/243


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Trout Decline In San Antonio Bay Complex ON WHERE ARE THE SPECKLED TROUT.

“There are lots of factors that go into speckled trout production, and we are looking really hard at all of these factors,” said Reichers. “Our biologists are going in right now and looking at the internals of surveys

“It’s pretty bad,” said Capt. Lynn Smith. “I can’t help but think it’s the salinity level caused by drought, lack of freshwater runoff into the bay.” Local marinas that do their own salinity checks reported that readings of 36 parts per million whereas the normal salinity level is 22-25. “I checked with Norman Boyd,” San Antonio Bay Ecosystem Leader for TPWD. “He told me they set two gill nets in San Antonio Bay and never caught a trout, not one trout. That’s surprising.” In the November issue of this magazine, Chester Moore reported one of the reasons for the decline in speckled trout catches along the entire Texas coast, as stated by Robin Reichers, TPWD science and policy director, could be linked to the destruction of seagrass beds. The spawning potential is not there.

for data like year-class, which could help us get a better idea of what is going on and what to do.” Reichers was referring to gill net surveys conducted this past spring in East and West Matagorda Bays and the Aransas Bay complex. “We are leaning away from the drought being the cause,” said Boyd regarding San Antonio Bay trout. “That doesn’t mean it isn’t necessarily not the cause, but we don’t see the drought and the declining catch rate as evidence of the problem.” Boyd has noticed over the past 12-18 months in the San Antonio Bay System trout moving into areas where historically you don’t find them. He said in an average year, the lower end of the bay and the Gulf passes have higher salinity areas, while the upper end has lower levels. The salinity in the lower bay is more to the trout’s’ liking.

DOCKSIDE TALK AMONG ANGLERS AND PROFESSIONAL FISHING GUIDES WHO FISH THE SAN ANTO-

PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

NIO BAY ALONG THE MIDDLE GULF COAST CENTERS

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“This is not an average year,” said Boyd. “We have high salinities all over the bay. It has opened up new habitat for the fish. We have found a lot of anglers spending a lot of time in the upper bay now fishing for trout. You didn’t normally find trout up there.” Boyd said he has seen trout moving from the lower bay into the upper bay, even above the river into Guadalupe Bay and Mission Lake, where typically you didn’t see very many trout because of very low salinity. “I don’t know if the change in salinity levels in different parts of the bay complex is affecting catch rates or not, but that is one affect we have seen of the drought. We have seen areas that were typically very low salinity, they are now moderate or high salinity, which the trout are finding move favorable to their tastes.” Smith said the fish are still in the bay: “I see slicks popping up, but you are not catching anything of size. We are catching undersized trout, but as far as good, solid keepers, it has been few and far between.” Boyd said there is not a definitive answer to the missing San Antonio Bay speckled trout: “Probably when we get down to the end, we are going to find this is the result of multiple things going on. You have a lot of harvest pressure on trout, redfish, and flounder now. That plays a portion on catch rates, no matter what the population has been doing. You have alteration in fresh water inflows, the drought, and high salinities. They all may be playing a roll. You have habitat loss due to a number of things…coastal development.” Finding the reasons for the decline in the speckled trout catches, not only in San Antonio Bay but all along the coast, is an ongoing study. —Tom Behrens TG

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GREEN TF&G TRUE GREEN

PHOTO COURTESY OF MATTHEW FIELD, PHOTOGRAPHY.MATTFIELD.COM

CONSERVATION PARTNERS

Alligator Monogamy NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS FEMALE ALLIGATORS ARE MONOGAMOUS BREEDERS AND NOT THE INDISCRIMINATE FLOOSIES SCIENTISTS ONCE THOUGHT. The 10-year study of alligator mating habits shows most female crocodilians prefer the same mate, despite the availability of numerous eligible bachelors. Scientists at the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana recorded mate prefer-

Statement of Ownership, Management and Circulation 1. Publication title: Texas Fish & Game. 2. Publication number: 7577-70. 3. Filing Date: 10/01/08. 4. Issue freq: Monthly. 5. No. Issues Annually: 12. 6. Annual subscr. price: $19.00. 7. Complete mailing address of known office of publication (not printer): 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032; Contact Person, Duane Hruzek; Tel, 281-227-3001. 8. Complete mailing address of headquarters or general business office of publisher (not printer): Same. 9. Full names and complete mailing addresses of publisher, editor and managing editor: Publisher, Roy Neves, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032; editor: Don Zaidle, 1745 Greens Road, Houston, TX 77032. managing editor: n/a. 10. Owner: Texas Fish & Game Publishing Co. LLC; Ron & Stephanie Ward; Roy and Ardia Neves. All addresses same as publisher. 11. Known bondholders, Mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1% or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages of other securities: none. 12. Tax status has not changed during preceding 12 months. 13. Publication title: Texas Fish & Game. 14. Issue date for circulation data below: Oct. '09. 15. Extent and nature of circulation: a. Total number of copies (net press run): Avg. no. copies each issue during preceding 12 mos., 68,300; No. copies of single issue published nearest to filing date, 56,658. b. Paid/requested outside-county mail subscriptions stated on form 3541: Avg. preceding 12 mo., 57,966; single issue nearest filing, 46,963. Paid in-county, 0. Sales through dealers, Avg. preceding 12 mo., 4,714; single issue nearest filing, 4,500; Other classes mailed, 14. c. Total paid/requested circulation: Avg. preceding 12 mo., 91,630; single issue nearest filing, 75,074. d. Free distribution outside-county, Avg. preceding 12 mo., 413; single issue nearest filing, 408; In-county, 0; Other classes, 0. e. Total free dist, Avg. preceding 12 mo., 413; single issue nearest filing, 408. Total dist: Avg. preceding 12 mo., 63,093; single issue nearest filing, 51,871. g. Copies not dist: Avg. preceding 12 mo., 5,207; single issue nearest filing, 4,787. h. Total (sum 15f and g): Avg. preceding 12 mo., 68,300; single issue nearest filing, 56,658. Percent paid: Avg. preceding 12 mo. 91.77%; single issue nearest filing, 90.83% 16. Publication of statement of ownership required. Will be printed in November 2008 issue of this publication. 17. Signature and title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager or Owner: Roy Neves, publisher, Date 10/20/09.

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ences by looking at the DNA of young. The data, published in Molecular Ecology, revealed that up to 70 percent of female alligators choose the same partner year after year. “Given how incredibly open and dense the alligator population is at RWR, we didn’t expect to find fidelity,” said biologist Stacey Lance of the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory in South Carolina. “To actually find that 70 percent of our re-trapped females showed mate fidelity was really incredible. I don’t think any of us expected that the same pair of alligators that bred together in 1997 would still be breeding together in 2005, and may still be producing nests together to this day.” Finding mate fidelity in alligators is surprising since most reptilians are polygamous, mating with multiple males in a breeding year and producing young from multiple matings. The researchers are still trying to understand what drives alligator mate choice, and how picking the same mate might benefit future generations. —Staff Report TG


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PHOTO COURTESY OF CLINTON & CHARLES ROBERTSON, CREATIVE COMMONS

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CCA Sues Feds Over Grouper THE COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION (CCA) HAS FILED A LAWSUIT IN FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT IN FORT MYERS, FLORIDA, CHALLENGING THE ADOPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AMENDMENT 29 TO THE GULF OF MEXICO REEF FISH MANAGEMENT PLAN APPROVED BY UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF COMMERCE GARY LOCKE ON AUGUST 30. AMENDMENT 29 GIVES AWAY A MAJORITY SHARE OF GULF GROUPER TO THE COMMERCIAL FISHING INDUSTRY THROUGH A CATCH SHARE PROGRAM. “CCA has stated from the beginning that this management action is fundamentally flawed,” said Chester Brewer, chairman of the CCA National Government Relations Committee. “In moving forward with Amendment 29, the federal government has disregarded multiple provisions in the Magnuson Stevens Act designed to govern the impacts of such action

on other participants in the fishery. The only ones considered in this amendment are the commercial fishermen.” Catch share systems bestow a percentage of a public fishery resource to a select group of commercial fishermen, based on their catch history, to harvest for their own personal gain. The commercial entities pay nothing back to the public for the permanent property right to harvest a public resource, but catch share systems are nonetheless being emphasized in federal fisheries as a way to reduce overcapacity and improve economic efficiency in the commercial sector. CCA has contended that in fisheries where there is a large and growing recreational sector, exclusive fishing rights proposals maximize benefits to the commercial fishing industry while ignoring the participation and beneficial economic impacts of recreational fishing. T E X A S

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“In more than 30 years of practice in fisheries law, I have not seen a more arbitrary action than this one,” said Robert G. Hayes, CCA general counsel. CCA has asked for an expedited hearing and expects the government to answer the lawsuit within the next 60 days. “We are going to proceed as quickly as the court will allow to prevent the implementation of this egregious decision.” —Staff Report TG

On the Web www.JoinCCA.org

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by Herman W. Brune TT Ee Xx Aa S

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ocal legend said that a survey crew was mapping out the Big Bend region and camped in a desolate high desert pile of rocks on Christmas Day. After that, the nearby mountain was dubbed Christmas Mountain and the adjoining ridge and smaller peaks became the Christmas Mountains. The area has only one mile of contiguous border with Big Bend National Park, and to access from that direction requires adept mountain climbing skills. The other bordering 18 miles is surrounded by private property. More than 95 percent of Texas is private property, so most legal issues concerning public lands go unnoticed on the mainstream media radar—that is, until the Christmas Mountains were drug into the limelight by groups unhappy with Texas General Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson’s proposals. The saga began when the Richard K. Mellon Foundation provided capital for the Conservation Fund to acquire the 9200 acres including the Christmas Mountains from private landowners. Then, in 1991, the Conservation Fund donated the land to the Texas General Land Office (GLO). With the donation came deed restrictions preventing any commercial, industrial, or agricultural activities. There could be no road construction, subdivision, access to ATVs, or power lines. The intent of the gift was that the Texas General Land Office would hold the land and then give it to either the National Park Service (NPS) or Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). However, neither of those entities was interested in taking the property at that time. Commissioner Patterson pointed out that the preservation of the property was accomplished by the deed restrictions. He also pointed out that the GLO could not give land away, but must either hold or sell it for market value. Patterson said his job is to raise income for the Texas Permanent School Fund through state lands, and while he can accept land for scientific, conservation, or educational value, it must fit the plan for benefiting the school fund. Since the Christmas Mountains provide no income, 48

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Christmas Mountain itself, namesake of the deep West Texas range. (Courtesy Laredo Chamber of Commerce)

his only recourse was to sell the Christmas Mountains, with deed restrictions in place, to NPS, TPWD, or private interests. Patterson also explained that GLO is the realtor for the state of Texas and manages 23 million acres that are mostly coastal oil and gas. The GLO has put $9 billion in the permanent school fund since 1854. One reason for the brouhaha is that Patterson, writer of the Texas concealed handgun law, put his own restrictions on the sale. He decided that the buyer of the prop-

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erty must manage the land for public hunting and respect Second Amendment rights. NPS did not allow firearms in parks until Public Resolution 111-24 was initiated on 22 May 2009 mandating that firearms be allowed on national park lands, effective 2 February 2010. The controversy kicked into gear when Patterson put the land up for bid. In the first attempt, several private interests submitted bids, but the process was stopped due to problems with maps. Later, bids were once

PHOTO COURTESY OF LAREDO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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Rugged terrain such as this makes the Christmas Mountains all but inaccessible from public access points.

more submitted, but then put aside in an attempt to let NPS submit a new proposal. Bids from private interests range $750,000 - $1 million, and assure that wildlife populations will be managed for limited public hunting. Nevertheless, the process has been put on hold and the Christmas Mountains are in limbo. Patterson’s opponents have stayed busy rattling their sabers. The Mellon Foundation officers have said it is unlikely they will ever again donate land to the state of Texas if the sale of the Christmas Mountains goes to private interests. A bastion of journalistic integrity, Time magazine, accused Patterson of selling off a large chunk of Big Bend National Park, to which he quipped: “I didn’t know I had the authority to do that.” The Environment Texas organization worked during the last session of the legislature to take the Christmas Mountains out of the hands of GLO through legislative action. NPS Public Information Officer David Elkowitz spoke on its position: “NPS put together a proposal but to date it hasn’t been put on the GLO agenda. If the NPS got the PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

land, there would be hiking but no hunting. I don’t envision a hunting program.” Meanwhile, GLO has sought better access to the property and partnered with the Property Owners Association of Terlingua Ranch Inc. (POATRI). The President of the Board of Directors of the Property Owners Association, Liz Demetri, described the ongoing situation: We have the recreational lease on the property, but the GLO retained the hunting rights. The mule deer were shot out and the area is presently closed for hunting. Even without the agricultural deed restriction, there isn’t enough grass here to support a cow. This country is mostly rocks and scrub brush. Visitors must come to the Property Office and get a permit. Then they may go to the access point provided by the GLO. From there, they may go hiking or horseback riding, that’s the only way to enter the property. We had a facility that was sort of a hotel for Terlingua Ranch members but the economy made us close it. There are 4900 members but most of them live elsewhere. There T E X A S

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are only about 200 landowners living in the area. So far, we’ve had about five or six visitors interested in the Christmas Mountains during the last year. The Christmas Mountains aren’t conducive to joining the park. They’re mostly surrounded by private property and are in a pocket. If TPWD bought the property, they would have to buy access from Terlingua Ranch. It’s a Terlingua Ranch road owned by property owners, and by virtue of the recreational lease, the GLO is a landowner. TPWD Assistant Executive Director Scott Boruff gave that agencies position: “TPWD is not in position to purchase the Christmas Mountains and they don’t fit our inventory. We have no funds for acquisition. Nevertheless, we’d love to see it stay in conservation.” Everyone wants to see the Christmas Mountains stay in conservation. The question is whether Texas should sell land to the federal government.

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Hunt Texas by Bob Hood | TF&G Hunting Editor

Lessons Of the Hunt T HAS BEEN SAID THAT HUNTING WHITETAIL deer is not just a season; it is a way of life. Just as with a farmer who learns weather patterns that affect his next season’s crops, avid whitetail hunters pay particular attention to deer behavior. All wildlife we come across while attempting to put venison on the ground and in the freezer teach us something. If they don’t, we aren’t paying attention. Consider body language: Whether with camera, gun, or bow, I always have been intrigued by the body language of wild animals and birds. Just like us, most wildlife species have vocal methods of communication, but their body language is just as informative. I know you have seen many of the same things I have: coyotes, javelinas, or hogs displaying bristling hair or ears laid back in warning; colorful feathers and movements of birds signaling attraction to a mate; or maybe an animal rolling around on the ground with throat and belly exposed, signaling submissiveness. These are ways animals and birds “speak” to one another without actually making a vocal sound. Whitetail deer behaviors are particularly interesting, especially bucks during the rut. The mildest display toward another buck is the eardrop. When a dominant buck drops its ears along its neck, the message to other bucks is “back off.” If that doesn’t get the message across, the next maneuver is a hard look at the opponent with head and neck extended, ears still flattened on his neck. If the buck gets a hard look back from the opponent, the dominant buck moves to the side with head and body turned slightly toward the other buck, advancing with sliding steps, neck tucked in, and hair on its

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neck raised. Thus, the stage is set for the battle of antlers, and it often is a fierce one occasionally resulting in serious injuries and possibly death for one or both of the bucks. Does also fight to establish a pecking order with dropped ears, hard looks, and side body language, and use their front feet to strike out at one another, often rising high on their hind legs in a sort of boxing stance. The curtain soon will close on another whitetail deer season, but the memories and lessons we have learned should not be allowed to fade. As mentioned, hunting whitetails is not just about the quest of a big buck or healthy doe; it is about what you get out of the experience. The deer might have been the focal point of your hunt, but did you pay close attention to other wildlife that you saw? It should be the same with anything you hunt, not just whitetail deer. A long-bearded gobbler strutting under a bright morning sun F i s h

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gives me just as much of a rush as watching a heavy-antlered buck respond to my rattling. Watching the social behavior of wildlife I don’t plan to shoot is just as much part of a hunt as what I bring home. Watching two jakes leaping into the air to spar, or a male cardinal placing seeds or berries into the beak of its mate are things that make a hunt a success regardless whether you bagged that big gobbler or buck. I love hunting and observing all wildlife, something that began in my pre-teen days while wandering the pasture of my grandfather’s dairy near Comanche about 100 miles south of Fort Worth, first with a BB gun and later with a .22 rifle. In those early days, I learned why jackrabbits crouch low with their long ears flat on their backs, how ducks turn in the direction of the wind before taking flight, how horned lizards attempt to look aggressive when sensing danger, and much more. Every form of wildlife has its own way of displaying aggressiveness, submission, breeding behavior, and other unspoken motives. Observing them is a big part of what hunting is all about. It’s a lot like smelling the roses—absorbing it all, learning, appreciating. What did you learn this season?

E-mail Bob Hood at hunting@fishgame.com. PHOTOS BY BOB HOOD


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Texas Offshore by Capt. Mike Holmes | TF&G Associate Offshore Editor

The Future Of Offshore Fishing ILL OFFSHORE FISHING REMAIN A viable pastime for the “working” generation, or rise into the realm of sports reserved for the wealthy? Certainly, trends in boats, tackle, electronics, and other equipment seem aimed at those able to operate on a blank check budget. Center console boats of over 30 feet pushed by triple outboards burning enough fuel per hour to transport dozens of people to work each day are certainly exciting and can go places only large sportfishing yachts once could, but the cost of one of these vessels will exceed that of a pre-owned yacht in most cases. The new electronics are truly amazing, but also very expensive, and like computers, seem to become obsolete very fast. With red snapper nearly out of the picture for Gulf anglers, the best replacement targets are bull dolphin, wahoo, tuna, and grouper—all of which require longer runs offshore, and often better and more specialized tackle. Few of the magazines specializing in saltwater fishing wish to discuss rising expenses and lowered catch limits, because their very existence depends on keeping anglers hyped and advertising dollars from boat companies and electronics manufacturers. If the fisherman of modest means is to be allowed to continue to fish offshore, compromises must be made and lines must be drawn in the sand. There are opportunities for anglers to continue to enjoy their sport and manufacturers to continue to turn a profit, but changes—healthy, productive changes— must be initiated. First, anglers must stand up for their rights and make it known that faulty science and the Pew Foundation’s opinion on every-

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thing cannot be allowed to destroy fishing as we know it. Red snapper are not the nearendangered species people in our government wish us to believe, and closed seasons are not the right way to regulate offshore species. The recreational quota system now being touted is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of, and amounts to blatantly selling the resource to the highest bidder. Ask the commercial snapper fishermen who were allotted an IFQ amount that made it impossible for them to make any money snapper fishing if they now feel they were manipulated. King mackerel are the big success story in offshore fisheries management, but no more fish have been allocated to the recreational TAC, nor will they be, without large public outcry. The other steps to save offshore fishing are more in the control of those who practice the sport. Do not mortgage your children’s future to buy that shiny new half-million dollar gas-guzzler. Do not fish in big money kill tournaments for king mackerel. Stop behaving as though there is a money tree somewhere with another crop ready to fall. Running offshore at over 30 knots in an open boat is not only unnecessary, it really isn’t even that much fun. I am not suggesting a return to “the good old days” of fishing and fishing boats (although many might choose this avenue), but simply using the latest advances in technology in a more intelligent manner. The same 25-foot offshore boats that would run faster than we really needed them to with a pair of 200-hp outboards will still haul butt with one of the new 300-hp engines on the transom. Twin outboards are nowhere near as great as a twin inboard setup for handling and docking, and unless they are stronger than needed, one of them might not bring you home without a prop change at sea. The reliability of modern outboards is such that a second engine is hardly needed for safety. I was a proponent of triple outboards long before it was actually common to see them on fishing boats, but my vision was for a pair of smaller engines flanking one large one, where the main engine was used for cruising, the smaller ones for trolling, get home emergencies, and dockside handling. T E X A S

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That might still be an interesting way to go. As much as I love outboards, a good diesel engine really gets me tuned up to go fishing. Smaller inboard boats with a single diesel are generally as reliable as those with twins, and burn much less fuel. They also need less oil at change time, fewer spare parts, and only one transmission. Diesel-electric systems, where a single diesel serves as a sort of generator to run dual electric motors and shafts turning twin props, is probably the ultimate setup, but few of these are offered by boat builders at this point. An interesting setup was developed a few years ago, using a single diesel to turn two marine transmissions and thus two shafts. The only drawback to this would be that both transmissions have to turn the same rpm, but docking at low rpm or idle speeds could be accomplished almost as well as with a twin engine boat. Volvo and Mercruiser have a version of an under the hull “pod” propulsions system that is becoming popular on high-end boats. The Volvo version has the prop facing forward, as do some large commercial units, but the Mercruiser version (a collaboration with Cummins) has a more traditional aft-facing prop. Both systems use a sealed pod that extends through and below the hull rather than sticking out the back like a stern drive, and rotate a fill 360 degrees. Both also offer space age controls and a “sky hook” feature, which coordinates the controls and GPS to allow the unit to “hold’ itself in place automatically. Both units also boast better performance and economy than a stern drive or inboard. I think this is the ultimate “first mate” for a single-handed captain. Give me a single engine diesel with one of these drives in an open boat of 36 feet or so, with a 10-foot beam (and more realistic red snapper catch limits and I’ll show you why it is more economical and more fun to charter than to own an offshore boat. 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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Texas Saltwater by Calixto Gonzales | TF&G Saltwater Editor

Parenting’s Dirty Secret Y BEST FRIEND, JIMMY BREWSTER, BORE witness to the birth of his second son recently. He was glowing when I talked to him the first time after the big event. “He’s absolutely gorgeous,” Jim said. “I can’t wait until he’s old enough that he and Jordan can go fishing with us. We’re going to have a blast.” I really believe we will. I know that I love fishing with Calito, and our adventures have been the grist for many a column. As long as Jim remembers that it’s okay to lie to a kid once in a while, we’ll be fine. Don’t look at me like that. When you’re a parent, and your kid fishes, you learn to do certain things, like let him fish his way, even if it means catching a trout on a Cheeto. (My boy did that once, much to the chagrin of many a trout aficionado who thinks that trout are too royal for such an insult). You also learn that, sometimes, it’s necessary to lie. I remember something I saw when I was 19: I had a car and my parents begrudgingly gave me permission to make the hour-long drive to South Padre Island to surf-fish. I spent several Saturdays that summer fishing the beaches up and down the Island. If I caught any fish, I drove over to Jim’s Pier to clean them before going home. Jim’s Pier has a fish cleaning station of four tables surrounding an opening in the dock that leads out to the bay. You clean your catch and drop the remains through the opening, where everything is promptly eaten by some of the biggest hardhead catfish you’ve ever seen—some easily over 2 feet long. Throw a handful of guts down there and the catfish would converge, thrash, roll, and lunge while fighting over the stuff. It was

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actually a little scary to watch: What would happen if someone’s pet Chihuahua fell in there? One time, I was cleaning a few flounder when Captain Roman Stockton’s boat pulled into one of the boat slips. Roman, his two clients, and one client’s five-year-old son hopped onto the dock. They had a good day, or at least the kid thought so. He’d caught his first fish—a 6-inch croaker. He was very proud of his catch, running around and showing the now very dead, stiff fish to everyone. It didn’t matter to this little boy that the grownups had caught a cooler full of speckled trout. He had his fish, and there was no other fish on the planet. Except the catfish. They were swimming around underneath the dock, waiting. About that time, the boy decided to let his croaker go—right into the opening the catfish used as a buffet line. The croaker floated for a couple of seconds, then a catfish as long as the boy came up, took the croaker sideways in his mouth, and swam off. You could have heard the scream five miles offshore. The boy’s father came running, a look of terror on his face. He found his son stomping his feet in place, face bright red, tears pouring, and pointing at the hole in the dock. “Oh my God, boy! Did you fall in?” he asked the screaming child, looking him over for missing body parts or exposed bones. When he was satisfied the boy was intact, he cupped the kid’s face in his hands and asked, “What happened, Kevin? What happened?” Kevin pointed to the hole in the dock. “I put my fish in there so he could swim and a big fish got him!” Now the father’s face began to alternate between relief and amusement. “A big fish did what?” he asked. “A big fish at my fish!” Kevin bawled. “Oh, no! No, Kevin,” Pop said. “He just took your fish to the fish hospital so he could get better.” F i s h

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Kevin stopped crying and wiped his nose with a bare forearm. “Really?” he asked “Sure!” Then Pop looked at me and asked, “Right?” I had a choice to make. One meant Kevin would know the truth, but would probably be so traumatized he’d never fish again, and put a bolt through his nose, date a bald girl, and join PETA. I could see the man was very close to drowning, so I chose the second option and threw him a line. “Oh, yeah, yeah!” I nodded, confirming to the boy that his croaker was going to recover to lead a productive life of spiritual fulfillment. The man sent the now smiling boy to the waiting arms of Mommy, who had just shown up. “Mommy!” Kevin blurted, “I caught a fish! And a catfish is taking him to the fish hospital so he can get better! My fish is going to grow up to be a big fish, and I’m going to catch him again!” Mommy just nodded and smiled, and let her son babble on about the croaker on its way to a long recovery. Then dad brought me a soda and clapped me on the back. “Man,” he said. “Thank you for backing me up. The last thing I need is for that kid to be traumatized about fishing because of those damned catfish.” I shook my head. “Lying to a little kid...what is this world coming to.” “Hey,” he said. “If you’re going to have kids that want to fish with you, you’re going to lie. And if you don’t lie, you’re a damn fool or a heartless s.o.b. Either way, your kid ain’t gonna fish very long.” Kevin is somewhere in his mid-20’s now. I hope he’s still fishing with his dad. If I’ve let the cat out of the bag well... Kevin, your dad did it for you.

E-mail Calixto Gonzales cgonzales@fishgame.com


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Texas Freshwater by Matt Williams| TF&G Freshwater Editor

ASS ARE NATURAL BORN BULLIES, BUT they are not near as tough as they look. This is holds especially true of large fish. Biologists have learned from experience that big fish can be super sensitive to the human touch. In fact, research has shown that improper handling of a heavyweight bass can seriously injure the fish, sometimes so badly that it is unable to recover. “How a big bass is handled after it is caught can make a big difference in whether that fish survives or not,” said David Campbell. “Every fish is different, but as a rule, the big ones tend to be extremely fragile and susceptible to stress.” Campbell should know. He has been the point man behind the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department high profile ShareLunker program since its inception in 1986. The program has taken in more than 450 bass weighing 13 pounds or more for use in spawning and genetics research. The heavyweight bass are pampered from start to finish, then released back into the lake of origin. About 70 percent of the ShareLunkers have survived their stay at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. That is a good average, indeed. But Campbell thinks it might be better if more anglers used kid gloves when handling them. The biologist believes this applies not only to double-digit heavyweights, but to smaller fish as well. A fish-handling tactic that has been getting plenty of attention lately centers on how to hold a bass when it is out of the water. The most common method is to grip the fish with one hand by the lower lip. Some biologists contend that is not the best way. In fact, it may be the worst. According to Campbell, holding a large

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fish vertically by the lower jaw with one hand places all the weight of the fish on ligaments and fine bones that hold the jaw and its hinges together. This can tear tendons and even break bones. The potential for injury is compounded when an angler rolls the lower jaw back so the fish hangs at an angle. The proper way to hold a large bass is with one hand supporting the lower jaw and

another under the belly to support the bottom half of the fish. The technique takes the stress off the bottom jaw and reduces the likelihood of injury. “I have seen several ShareLunkers over the years that appeared to be having problems with their mouths, probably as the result of the way they were handled before we got them,” Campbell said. “Two of the fish we picked up last year experienced those types of problems.” Campbell says it is equally important to wet your hands before handling any fish, regardless of its size. Handling a fish with dry hands removes the protective slime coating on its body. This can allow bacteria to attack the skin and cause fungus to form. Biologists are sometimes able to use saline solutions to reverse the process. Left untreated, however, the fungus will kill the fish in time. “I have seen instances where you could actually see fungus form in the shapes of T E X A S

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hands and fingers on the sides and mouths of some of these fish,” Campbell said. “It was pretty obvious those fish were not handled properly before we got them.” When an angler catches a big fish, it is only natural to snap a few pictures to preserve the memory. Taking photos is all right, so long as it is done quickly. It is never a good idea keep a fish out of the water longer than 30 seconds, especially in windy conditions. This can cause the bass’ eyes to dry out and cause serious damage. “Fizzing” is another hot topic with fish care advocates these days. It is actually more of a procedure than a handling technique. Fizzing is used to relieve hyperbuoyancy in fish. Hyperbuoyancy is the scientific term for an overinflated air bladder. It often occurs in fish that are reeled in quickly from deep water. A bass’ air bladder gradually deflates as it swims shallow, and inflates when it goes deep. This allows the fish to maintain neutral buoyancy as it changes depths. A fish caught from deep water that is released immediately can usually regain neutral buoyancy on its own. Conversely, a deep-caught fish that is placed in a livewell may exhaust itself trying to adjust. In severe cases, hyperbuoyancy can cause the fish to die. Fizzing involves using a hypodermic needle to puncture the air bladder so excess air can escape. It can be performed by inserting the needle into the air bladder through the side of the fish or through its mouth. TPWD is currently orchestrating an extensive study using Lake Amistad bass to determine which fizzing method works best. There are several good fizzing demonstration videos on the internet.

On the Web www.sure-life.com

E-mail Matt Williams at freshwater@fishgame.com

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Open Season by Reavis Wortham| TF&G Humor Editor

Chaos Theory Y

OUNGSTER FELL AND BROKE HIS ARM IN THE motel parking lot somewhere around 10:30 at night while hurrying back from the truck with a fresh bottle of fly cement and an unopened bottle of Scotch. The screech of pain echoing across the lot woke up nearly every guest in the motel. The shriek came from Doc, who looked out the open motel door to see Youngster break the bottle of very expensive Scotch on the blacktop. We calmed Doc with the promise of a replacement bottle, and hurried out to check on Youngster’s personal breakage. He sat near a puddle of transmission fluid and rocked back and forth while cradling an obviously fractured arm. “You’ll be able to finish your fly tomorrow,” I said to calm his moans. “A little old break isn’t the end of the world.” Before anyone else could administer carefully chosen words of compassion, a police car roared into the parking lot, lights flashing. “Good work!” one of them shouted and we backed off. “Nice collar,” a second officer asked. “How did you guys manage to catch him?” “That idiot tripped over the tire stop there and fell,” Wrong Willie spoke up. “It’s his own fault.” “Stand up, Mr. Stephenson,” Officer One said. “We’ll get you to the hospital and back to jail.” The conversation took a couple of nasty turns until the officers realized they were at the wrong motel, and Youngster wasn’t an escaped prisoner. They jumped back into their patrol car and roared away, leaving us with our injured fishing partner and no assistance. After loading the moaning Youngster into the Suburban, we were soon at the local emergency room. We’d no more than signed 54

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in and found seats in the waiting area when the same two officers came through leading an injured man in true prison stripes and handcuffs. They had found their escaped prisoner, who was somewhat battered, probably from tripping in a parking lot somewhere. We watched them walk the heavily chained individual toward the back and medical care. Several hours later, well into early morning, a nurse called Youngster into the treatment area. Two hours after that, he emerged and followed us out to the Suburban, arm in a pristine white cast. On the way back to the motel, police lights in our rearview mirror indicated that the local constabulary wanted to visit with us on the dark, empty street.

“No,” Doc answered. “Youngster back there broke my only bottle...hey, don’t you recognize me? You’ve seen us twice tonight. We were there at the emergency room with you. I’m weaving because I’m sleepy.” “Probably,” Youngster said, feeling pretty good from the pain pills he had taken. We related the evening’s events. Reluctantly, the officers removed their hands from the butts of their pistols and let us drive on back to the motel with only a warning. The next morning, due to Youngster’s considerable pain, we packed our gear, loaded the Suburban, and headed home. Ten miles south of town, a thunderstorm blew up directly in our path. Doc slowed on the highway and turned on a dime when a line of large hailstones came directly toward us. He outran the storm, but not the patrol car. We pulled

Doc pulled over and the same two officers stepped up to the driver and passenger windows. “Sir, you’re weaving all over the road,” Officer One said. “Have you been drinking?” F i s h

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ILLUSTRATION BY J GOODWIN


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Open Season under the overhang at the local burger joint, and while the same two somewhat annoyed officers wrote him a speeding ticket, we waited out the hailstorm. Defeated, we returned to the motel, paid for another night, dosed Youngster with enough medication to put a horse to sleep, and spent the remainder of the day watching wave after wave of storms batter the small town. The next morning, we were in the Suburban before daylight. Ten minutes out of town, a shout of “Look out!” startled everyone when Wrong Willie saw a deer racing down a hill toward the highway. It left a pretty impressive dent in the rear passenger door. All the Hunting Club members exited to the truck to examine the dying deer. Jerry Wayne produced a pistol at about the same time as... ...the patrol car rolled up and our two police friends exited the vehicle. Shouts.

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Violence. Handcuffs. Blood splatters. In the end, the officers figured out why Jerry Wayne had a pistol, where the blood came from (the deer), and why we were all standing around a two-lane highway at dawn. Youngster awoke in the back seat and announced to the officers that a dead deer had struck our vehicle. Office One called his chief and explained our continued presence in their county. Once they decided we were mostly innocent, the officers took the next half an hour to tell us their own deer/automobile experiences while I looked over their heads and read the road sign proclaiming that we were indeed parked near Deer Creek. A second patrol car eventually arrived and pulled in front of the Suburban. Its occupant waited while the original officers explained that they would escort us to the county line.

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“Just to make sure you boys get started the right way this time,” he said. The escort car peeled off with a siren whoop and lights, and we followed. Twenty minutes later, they turned around at the county line and we were on our own. Doc smoothly accelerated and we were on the way. “Look out!” Woodrow shrieked just as a prairie chicken collided with the windshield hard enough to crack the glass from side to side. Determined to get home, we simply plowed forward, hoping to get home before a buffalo stampede crossed in front of us while our heavily medicated Youngster offered his pain pills to any interested party. I don’t think we could have had a better trip, all in all. E-mail Reavis Wortham at humor@fishgame.com


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