Page 1

Inland.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

1:59 PM

Page 1

$3.95US

0

74470 74695

02

9


C2_ALL.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:02 PM

Page 1


Staff Box.qxd:0405 Staff box

12/30/09

2:09 PM

Page 1


Staff Box.qxd:0405 Staff box

12/30/09

2:09 PM

Page 2

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

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

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

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

DUANE HRUZEK MARKETING/CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

HEIDI GERKE LARRY FRIEDMAN JOE LUCA

• 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.

MEMBER AUDIT BUREAU OF CIRCULATIONS

2 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

2:10 PM

Page 3


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

2:12 PM

Page 4

FEATURES FEBRUARY 2010 • Volume XXV • NO. 10

22

THE WALKABOUT ANGLER: BELOW THE SALT In the second installment of our series on low-tech access to high-yield fishing spots, we explore places where you can step into fresh- and saltwater with the same foot.

by John Felsher ON THE COVER:

26

ALL CHOKED UP With a reputation that is spreading like wildfire, it’s not hard to swallow claims that Choke Canyon is the Next Lake Fork.

by Matt Williams

30

BEATING THE BLACK DRUM The black drum is not as pretty as its bronzed cousin, the redfish, but when it comes to raw determination to avoid the landing net, the great ugly fish is more than admirable.

Bassmaster Classic champ Alton Jones admires a Fayette County bass with Shawn Johnson and two-time BASS Women’s Tour champion Judy Wong. Shawn was the winner of Texas Fish & Game’s Ultimate Trophy Quest contest, and won a day of fishing with Alton and Judy on Fayette County Reservoir. The trip took place in December and was a great success, despite a frosty wind chill and whitecaps on the tiny lake. See the full story on PAGE 42

Photo by Chester Moore

by Chester Moore ALSO IN FEBRUARY:

38

DRIVING SNOWS AWAY Once relatively scarce, snow geese now number in the millions. But are Texas management practices actually creating a decline in the number of birds that winter in our state?

46

BRUISER BLUES Few freshwater game fishes hit as hard as a bad-boy Blue Catfish. by Paul Bradshaw

by Chester Moore

48

TEXAS LURE MASTERS Eighty-odd years ago, saltwater lures did not exist in Texas tackle stores. Thanks to the minds, hands and heart of a talented few, that situation changed—ushering an entire industry and a passion for collecting that rivals the passions of the original innovators.

by Doug Pike 4 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

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

www.twitter.com/FishandGame

www.FishGame.com


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

2:12 PM

Page 5


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

2:15 PM

Page 6

COLUMNS and DEPARTMENTS FEBRUARY 2010 • Volume XXV • NO. 10

COLUMNS 11 Editor’s Notes

52 Texas Saltwater The Stomach Flu Column

Photos and Smart Readers

DEPARTMENTS

by CALIXTO GONZALES TF&G Saltwater Editor

by DON ZAIDLE TF&G Editor-in-Chief

14 Chester’s Notes

53 Hunt Texas

Dire and Desirable Predictions

10 YOUR LETTERS

The Epicurian Hunter

by CHESTER MOORE, JR. TF&G Executive Editor

by BOB HOOD TF&G Hunting Editor

16 Doggett at Large

12

TF&G REPORT

34

TRUE GREEN

‘Tween Season Respites

by JOE DOGGETT TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

18 Pike On the Edge Zero Tolerance Idiocy

42 ULTIMATE

by DOUG PIKE TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

TROPHY QUEST

20 TexasWild Strap Assassin One

by TED NUGENT TF&G Editor-at-Large

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

41 Texas Freshwater

Looking for Lunkers in All the Right Places

54 Open Season by REAVIS WORTHAM TF&G Humor Editor

by MATT WILLIAMS TF&G Freshwater Editor 6 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

How to Train Bird Dogs

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

www.twitter.com/FishandGame

www.FishGame.com


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

2:15 PM

Page 7


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

2:15 PM

Page 8


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

2:15 PM

Page 9


Contents.qxd:0405 ContentsAlt

12/30/09

7:08 PM

Page 10

Letters Just Say “No” to Bowhunting In response to Jimmy Malone’s letter in the December issue titled, “Just Say ‘No’ To Bowhunting”: I myself took up bowhunting after deer hunting with slugged shotgun and rifle for many years on family and public lands. But I must say ethics are ethics. You were either raised with them or not. I have put down more deer than I really care to count that had been shot by rifle or shotgun with wounds that I will not describe--and not once have had to put one down poorly arrowed. I am not saying it does not happen, but I, along with many other bowhunters, will tell you that deer can jump string as well, as some rifle hunters get buck fever so bad that they could not hit the broadside of a barn from the inside, much less hit a deer at, as Malone claimed, 300 yards. Mr. Malone, we as hunters have a choice at this time to choose a weapon of legal means. So, rather than sit back and throw stones at fellow hunters or sport hunters, why don’t you write your local congressman and use your energy to support hunting in general; because if the anti’s have it their way, you may not get to hunt “your way” for very much longer. To TF&G: Thank you for the great magazine and all the great tips and advice. It just goes to show, you’re never too old to learn more about whatever sport you choose. Jody A. Finklea Via email I just completed reading Jimmy Malone’s letter, which basically just badmouthed bowhunting. While I would never argue that a hunter has an ethical responsibility to make a clean kill, I would definitely argue most of his other points. To read his letter, you would think that every deer shot with a bow was a bad shot, and an unethical activity. Not only that, he goes on to brag that he can shoot a deer dead at 300 yards with his rifle and it will run only 30 yards, and that is “real hunting skill.” Wrong. That was marksmanship skill. Hunt10 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

ing skill is getting within bow range, and making a clean kill. Most people I know who bowhunt have practiced extensively to prevent a bad situation. As an NRA High Power Long Range competitor (600-1000 yards), I can attest to the fact that many things can happen with a 300-yard rifle shot that will result in a wounded deer. It has nothing to do with the skill of the marksman, just bad luck. Crosswind and mirage play a big factor when you get out to 200 yards and beyond. The thing I would stress to hunters is that you need to hone your skills and go hunting--but never would I try to tell a person to give up his chosen method of hunting. Please disregard letters like Malone’s in the future. Charles “Chick” Collins Via email

Flounder Bite Videos a Hit I just watched the flounder bite videos on the TF&G website. It still amazes me, even after watching that footage over and over again. Thanks for the insight and keep plugging away at all the stuff that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Scott Bandy Via email Fantastic videos! We thought we knew what was happening with our strikes, but now we can, in our minds eye, see it each time one hits. Great job! Troy M. Stewart Webster, TX

On the Web www.fishgame.com/video (Keyword: flounder) T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

The Wealthy Soak the Poor Thank you so much for Chester Moore’s column in regarding no-fishing zones. We have been aware of this problem for many years along the Galveston coast. When the wealthy move in, the poor and middle-income are forced out. It started on West Beach and stretches all the way to Beaumont and so on. I’m sure it happens to the south also, but our family is Galveston area fishermen. When development started on West Beach (there was no bridge over San Luis Pass), we camped with our three young children nearly every weekend and had so many wonderful times. There were no stores for miles (this was in the 1970s) so we had to carry everything we would need for the 2-3 nights or more that we would be there. We saw the development start and the area became “closed” to vehicle traffic, then it became too far from your vehicle to walk to get to an area suitable for camping, and it pushed us all the way to East Beach. Then we moved to Bolivar. Guess what? Around Crystal Beach began to develop and we were pushed closer to High Island and found Rollover Pass. Over the years, the landowners along Bolivar Peninsula have slowly choked off wade-fishing, camping, automobiles, and so on. Now the wealthy have a voice in state government and it looks like Rollover will close and the wealthy will be rid of the poor and middle class that bother them. I hope our letters help, but I don’t hold out any hope. When our legislators and elected officials from the dogcatcher to the White House are bought and paid for, our chances are really quite slim. I used to think a petition drive would help influence our legislators, but since many of them own property on the island or peninsula, or have relatives that do, it is a lost cause. Kenneth and Mary Everitt Via email


Editors Notes.qxd:Layout 1

12/31/09

11:16 AM

Page 11

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

Photos and Smart Readers OMETIMES, OUR READERS ARE SO SMART they scare me. Well, maybe not scare, but certainly impress and awe. Such was the case regarding response to my January “A Thousand Words” column, wherein I presented uncaptioned photographs of assorted non-traditional flora and fauna and asked readers to identify them. I purposely chose difficult subjects, but amazingly, some of you guys nailed it. Reader Weldon Hatch, III, correctly identified all eight subjects, and Ray C. Telfair II, Ph.D., got all but one, demonstrating far above average knowledge. Photo No. 1 depicted a species of conenose bug, a member of the Triatoma subfamily that feeds on mammal blood, including humans. The initially painless bite produces painful, itchy welts that last for days, and provokes anaphylactic reactions in some people.

S

These insects do not crawl on prospective hosts, but remain on the ground or other surface and crawl up to the meal to remain undetected. I found the one in the photo after the damned thing fed on me three times

PHOTOS BY DON ZAIDLE

in a week as I slept, hiding out during the day underneath the bed. Photo No. 2 is a real stumper for most people. I knew what it was but not the proper name until Mr. Hatch informed that the ice formation sourced from a class of vegetation generically called “frost weed.” Certain plants that remain alive into fall and early winter sprout “ice flowers” near the stem bases under certain conditions, specifically, when air temperature is at or below freezing while the ground remains warm enough to support an active root system. Moisture flows from the roots up into the stem, where the cold air freezes it. Expanding ice crystals split the stem and extrude out to form ice ribbons. The first time a saw this phenomenon was after a sharp cold snap following several days of warm temperatures. I first thought someone had “toilet papered” the creek bottom because, from a distance, the ice looked like toilet paper wrapped around plant stem bases. I chose photo No. 3 from a series I shot of a Texas rat snake because the foliage obscured its head, making identification a bit more difficult. Messrs. Hatch and Telfair both identified the snake, and Dr. Telfair correctly identified the foliage as hackberry; impressive knowledge, to put it mildly. My grandfather always told me not to shoot cottontail rabbits in months with an “R” because they had “worms.” Turns out he was right, as photo No. 4 depicts. I was in the process of cleaning the late summer (September) cottontail when two botfly larvae voluntarily popped out from the skin on its back. Fascinated, I grabbed my camera to document the event.

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

Photo No. 5 captures an excellent example of nature’s near-perfect camouflage. Even from a short distance, distinguishing the katydid from a leaf is nigh impossible until the insect moves. I have always wondered at but never investigated the spine-and-rib markings on the underside of a deer hide as shown in photo No. 6. The markings do not match rib count, so I doubt there is any association. Perhaps another astute reader or 12 can educate the rest of us about this. I found the shrew in photo No. 7 on the parking lot at the Texas Fish & Game offices in Houston, apparently squashed by a tire. Everyone who had noticed it thought it was a mouse, but woods rats Moore and Zaidle immediately recognized the tiny predator and regaled the staff with fact and lore about these fascinating mammals. I photographed the large rat snake in photo No. 8 on my front porch. It had crawled up one of the juniper posts that support the porch roof and ensconced itself in the rafters. I have twice seen copperheads in trees mating, so I know they can climb, too. After making this discovery, considering my knack for acquiring copperhead bites, I am now understandably nervous at the prospect of attack from above while on my porch. Below are a few more of my non-nongame photos for your amusement and inspiration. Remember, we want to see your photos, too. Send them via email to readerphotos@fishgame.com.

E-mail Don Zaidle at editor@fishgame.com

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

11


Editors Notes.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:20 PM

Page 12

TF&G Report

Plans to Reopen Squaw Creek Reservoir UMINANT, A SUBSIDIARY OF ENERGY FUTURE Holdings Corporation and owner of the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant and associated Squaw Creek Reservoir, is developing plans to reopen the lake on a limited basis to employees, charitable events, and eventually to the public. “We know that employees and our plant neighbors have been looking forward to the opportunity to fish on Squaw Creek once again, and we are excited to be able to share this great news,” said Comanche Peak Site Vice President Mitch Lucas. “While we still have a lot of planning to do and park infrastructure upgrades to make, we will share updates as they are available. “We’ve watched as other nuclear facilities have reopened their lakes for fishing. And now, after careful consideration and an extensive review, we have started planning to

Q: When will it be open to the public? A: As part of our commitment to surrounding communities, it is our intention to initially provide access to the public through fishing tournaments that benefit charitable organizations. Broader public access beyond this will be decided in 2010. Q: How do I register to fish on Squaw Creek, how many boats will be allowed and will there be admission fees for the public? A: We are currently exploring several registration options as well as the number of boats that will be allowed on the reservoir. We have not made a decision regarding public access fees. More details will be forthcoming

PHOTO COURTESY OF LUMINANT

L

reopen the reservoir by mid-2010.” In a press release issued in early December 2009, the company addressed a number of anticipated questions about the re-opening:

in the first quarter of 2010. Q: Why did you close Squaw Creek Reservoir, and why are you planning to reopen it? A: We decided the prudent course of action was to close the lake after the events of September 11, 2001. In the past eight years, we have significantly enhanced our security measures to protect Comanche Peak. There has been strong interest from within our company, our community and throughout the state to allow access for recreational fishing at Squaw Creek Reservoir. Q: How will Luminant ensure the safety and security of the plant and surrounding communities? A: The safety of our employees and the community has always been, and will continue to be, our top priority. Since September 11, 2001, Luminant has worked closely with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to augment security around Comanche Peak. We will continue to exercise security procedures and install infrastructure designed to protect both public and plant safety and security. In addition, Comanche Peak security, game wardens, and other licensed peace officers will be on site to patrol the lake and surrounding areas. Q: What will have to be done to reopen the lake? A: Reopening the lake will require several infrastructure updates to ensure a safe experience for visitors. We will also continue to keep the Nuclear Regulatory Commission informed of our plans. At the time of its closure in 2001, Squaw Creek was open to the public during daylight hours for general recreation and fishing. It was best known for its smallmouth bass and channel catfish fisheries.

On the Web www.luminant.com

12 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®


Editors Notes.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:20 PM

TPWD Studies Blue Catfish Slot Limit N MID DECEMBER 2009, TPWD BEGAN WORK AT Richland-Chambers Reservoir on a study to determine if it will implement a slot limit for blue catfish on some reservoirs. The trip was the first of a series of wintertime research trips to help biologists better understand what it takes to produce big blue catfish at Richland-Chambers and two other Texas reservoirs. The research is designed to evaluate an experimental 30- to 45-inch slot length regulation geared towards enhancing the trophy catfish potential of lakes Waco, Lewisville, and Richland-Chambers. The regulation went into effect in September 2009 for the three lakes and allows anglers a total daily bag of 25 fish per day. Harvested fish may be any size below 30 inches, but only one fish over 45 inches is allowed as part of the daily bag. The research is being directed by fisheries biologist John Tibbs of TPWD’s Inland Fisheries office in Waco and is being conducted by staff from fisheries offices in Tyler, Fort Worth, and Waco. During the study period, biologists are conducting simulated angler jugline sets to evaluate catch rates and size distributions of blue catfish. Length, weight and growth data are being collected from the fish to determine just how long it takes blue catfish to grow to 30 inches and beyond in these reservoirs. Preliminary results indicate that it may take 10 years or more for a blue catfish to reach 30 inches. Muscle tissue samples are being collected from fish below 30 inches in length, those 3045 inches in length, and over 45 inches in length to evaluate the potential for bioaccumulation of toxicants as the fish age. Angler support for the regulation is also being evaluated as part of the study. Angler interest in fishing for large blue catfish has

Page 13

increased in recent years, and TPWD hopes to increase the opportunities anglers have to catch a trophy. The three reservoirs were selected for the experimental regulation due to their ability to support a large population of

I

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

PHOTO COURTESY OF TPWD

blue catfish and the fact they have all produced fish in excess of 45 inches. Research will be ongoing through 2016, and results will be used to evaluate whether the regulation is achieving the goal of increasing the number of large blue catfish in the reservoirs. If the lakes begin to produce larger fish, variations of the special regulation may be considered for other Texas reservoirs. Juglines may be constructed and fished differently by each angler, although most utilize a surface float with a vertical line attached to a small weight on the bottom. Up to five hooks are spaced out evenly at various depths along the line and commonly baited with cut shad or sunfish. Floats are often designed to move or “flag” to alert the angler from a distance when a fish is hooked. Jugline floats are required to be white and must have a valid (dated) gear tag while being fished in Texas. Consult the Outdoor Annual or the TPWD web site for specific regulations regarding juglines before fishing.

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

13


Chester's Notes.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:21 PM

Page 14

Chester’s Notes by Chester Moore, Jr. | TF&G Executive Editor are having an impact. Bad or good, trout regulation changes are coming.

TF&G FIRST Widgeon Restrictions: Hunters can currently (and as far as I know, have always been able to) take a full limit of widgeon. As we reported in the January 2009 issue, widgeon numbers are consistently below the long-term average and barely above half of the scaup population, and scaup have been reduced to two birds in the Central Flyway. I suspect we will see something happen with widgeon unless trends increase.

Dire and Desirable Predictions N CASE YOU HAVE NOT NOTICED, TIMES ARE changing in the outdoors world. Prices, regulations, and access are all concerns for hunters and anglers in the Lone Star State, including myself. A few things have been on my mind lately that have inspired some research into the future of our beloved outdoors lifestyle. While I certainly do not claim to be a prophet of any kind, I have been able through study predict outdoors trends in the past and have a few ideas on what is coming in the not so distant future.

I

Here we go… Coastwide 5-trout Limit: Within five years, I believe there will be a coast wide speckled trout bag limit of five fish. Surveys show some disturbing trends over the last few years, with huge dips in abundance in some bay systems on the middle coast. The minimum I believe we will get is a five-fish limit, perhaps between San Antonio to Aransas area, but if things do not get better, coast wide is likely. The amount of pressure exerted on our coastal resources is staggering, and by that I do not mean simply harvest of fish. Everything from the closing of fish passes to restrictions of freshwater flow and pollution 14 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

Big Buck Backlash: When you walk into a hunting show and see numerous signs reading, “Deer Semen for Sale,” you know something is not right. I have no problem with people breeding deer or even high fences, but I do believe the big buck craze has gotten way out of hand. When you can produce 200-class bucks on demand, is it still a trophy? And who can afford them? Since I believe our current economic situation will fundamentally change the way America spends its money and values its resources, there is a very good chance we will see more respect paid to “8-pointers” and “10-pointers” instead of everyone judging a deer only by its Boone & Crockett score. Then, when someone takes a big buck, no matter what kind of fence it was shot behind, it will mean something. Cast Net Comeback: Two things are happening now in fishing, particularly in freshwater. People are staying closer to home and fishing in their local rivers, bayous, and private ponds, and those same people are realizing they do not have to go a long way to have a quality fishing experience. I have been receiving many more questions about how to use cast nets and live bait in freshwater. I think with the price of fishing lures and many more people starting to pursue crappie and catfish, we will see a cast net renaissance on inland waters.

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

No Fishing Zones by Default: This ties in with last month’s column and must be mentioned in any outdoors predictions. The federal government does not have to come in and create official “no fishing zones.” By closing down areas it controls, as it has at various times at Pleasure Island on Sabine Lake—and as the state government wants to do at Rollover Pass—the government is making “no fishing zones” by default. Expect more to come. On top of that, expect executive orders that shut down key fishing areas in the Gulf. The Flower Gardens is the first area that will go down off the Texas coast, but there are other possibilities. Further Federal Encroachment: The federal government was not happy when the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission voted to keep state-water snapper fishing open year-round. In case you have not noticed, the federal bureaucracy is growing in power daily, exerting its influence over states all over the place. With bailout money flowing like floodwaters and the state government taking in far less money than it thinks is needed, look for further federal restrictions on the outdoors to come, tied with funding like matching grants to state projects and other ventures. You will never find any hard connections, but it will not take a genius to connect the dots. I fully expect the state-water snapper season to match federal mandates, and if you doubt it, look at the recent changes with sharks. While the state left a small loophole, our shark size and bag limits match those for federal waters. How long before other restrictions reach from 9 nautical miles to the beach? I expect not long.

(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.)


Doggett.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:23 PM

Page 15


Doggett.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:23 PM

Page 16

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

‘Tween Season Respites EBRUARY IS THE THROWAWAY CARD IN THE deck of 12 for the outdoor enthusiast in Texas. Most of the major hunting seasons are finished and most of the prime fishing waits somewhere over the horizon. Plus, the blasts of cold, wet weather can be among the worst of the year. February is a lousy draw, no doubt, but opportunities for quality trips are available, especially for the sportsman with a flexible schedule and proper priorities. The key is to hit it when it’s right. A few days, even a few hours, can mean the difference between a great session and a miserable bust. Keeping this all-important factor of timing in mind, here are a few choices to consider. Quail Hunting: The “bird” season runs through February 28 statewide, and hunting for non-migratory bobwhites and blues can be excellent during the final weeks. Quail, unlike ducks and dove, don’t relocate. The coveys are there and, as a huge plus, the conditions can be favorable for quality dog work. The mornings often are cool—even cold—and the green underbrush of early season has thinned considerably. The depleted ground cover allows noses to function effectively, and the odds of recovering “long falls” and cripples improves. Also a thought: you are less apt to stumble blindly over a 6-foot western diamondback rattlesnake. If the lease or ranch had good numbers of quail during November, and no major winter die-offs occurred, the February hunting can be the most enjoyable and productive of the season. Hog Hunting: The deer seasons closed

F

16 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

during January, but feral hogs are open yearround—and February is a great month to bear down on a resident pig population. You are not that far removed in spirit from the hunt, and the chill weather often is conducive for being in the brush. A pig patrol is a good excuse for “one more trip to the lease” and, as added incentive, you are not interfering with anyone hunting a trophy whitetail. If the available property hosts any “exotics,” February offers a shot at something different. Keep in mind that several species of exotics have free-ranging populations; axis deer in the Hill Country and nilgai antelope along the lower coast are good examples, and both are excellent on the table—so, for that matter, is a young cold-weather hog. Big Trout: February can be a good month for large speckled trout on the flats. The key is to intercept the warming, rising tides behind a stiff norther—and the second month is no stranger to these frontal weather patterns. Wading is the best approach, and afternoons under the mild sun are prime. The drill is to grind for hours hoping for the one big hit. This can be lonely fishing along a shrouded shoreline, but you have the chance at a career trout, a fish crowding 30 inches. The big sows usually are loners, cruising the warming shallows over sand and mud to feed on baitfishes. For this reason, a slowsinking mullet imitation plug is an excellent choice for this specialized early-season fishing. Big Bass: February is perhaps a bit early for trophy largemouth bass (March and April have the ShareLunker numbers), but a sustained warming trend can produce potbellied results for determined anglers. Two factors can improve the odds in February: First, look south. The reservoirs of South Texas such as Choke Canyon, Amistad, and Falcon warm faster than the traditional Pineywoods lakes. Pick the right run of mild weather and be prepared to trailer south for a “long weekend” expedition. Optionally, seek out a pond or stock tank known to hold big bass. These smaller, shalT E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

lower waters heat faster during brief winter warming trends, encouraging pre-spawn bass to move early. Regardless of venue, the odds for a double-digit bass favor a big bottom-bumping plastic, or maybe a large spinnerbait or crankbait (especially in the smaller lakes where bass often snug close to the banks). As with the big trout on the coast, muggy southwind afternoons often see the most aggressive feeding. White Bass: The annual spawning runs of white bass from reservoirs into rivers and creeks often start during late winter. Much depends on the water flow; too much muddy current or localized runoffs can be a deal killer. But, when low-water conditions align, February can provide flurries of outstanding fishing for schools of pre-spawning whites. Again, lakes along the warmer southern tier of the state usually “go off ” first, but the Trinity River on Lake Livingston and the Sabine River on Toledo Bend Reservoir can offer excellent early-season runs. White bass staging to spawn in cold water usually gather in deeper holes and bends, and the right spot can provide phenomenal action for anglers using small jigs and spinners. But, to reiterate, get it while you can. This can be extremely fickle fishing; one big rain can wipe out a river or creek for several weeks. The Nearest Airport: February is one of the best months of the year to jump on a jet and fly south. Latin latitudes beckon, and our winter is the dry season across most of Central and South America, not to mention Mexico and the Bahamas. Texans are fortunate to be within easy air time of numerous prime tropical fishing/hunting destinations. Many flights are non-stop, dropping you into an “endless summer” within a few hours of departure. Reserve a week (or even a long weekend), shop some prices (many attractive package deals are available), and pack the appropriate gear. Take a much-needed break from winter—but don’t forget a valid passport.

E-mail Joe Doggett at doggett@fishgame.com


Pike.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:25 PM

Page 17


Pike.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:25 PM

Page 18

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

Zero Tolerance Idiocy OLITICAL CORRECTNESS HAS RUN SO LONG and so far from reality that we are numb now to its presence and the noxious effect it has on us. As outdoors enthusiasts, we must be vigilant of and proactive against this tomfoolery or risk losing that which we love. Examples of PC lunacy abound. This past summer, the leader of a highschool drill squad—a good student—was suspended under her district’s zero-tolerance policy against weapons on campus. The offense: Carrying wooden practice rifles (painted white) onto school property in her car. These were nothing but sculpted 2x4s. No metal parts. No triggers. No barrels. They looked something like rifles—which a practice rifle should—but had the same capacity as a fence post to fire a bullet. A few months later, an otherwise troublefree California high school student was expelled under similarly myopic and intolerant policy. After an early morning bird hunt with friends, he didn’t want to be late for school. Knowing the rule about guns on campus, he parked a block off school property and walked to class. Someone wholly ignorant of guns and hunting told someone else no more educated either, and the boy subsequently was tossed from school. (His mother appealed for obvious reasons.) Want one more? Let’s make it two. A Cub Scout who brought his folding camp utensil set—a gift from his outdoors-loving father—to school to eat his lunch originally faced juvenile detention (with truly unruly kids) until someone with a brain intervened.

P

18 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

And another kid caught trouble for bringing empty shotshells to Show and Tell. The hollow hulls, if memory of the incident serves correctly, were collected at a charity sporting clays shoot a few days earlier. They, like the wooden practice rifles, posed no more threat than paper clips or Eberhard Faber erasers. So-called “zero tolerance” policies are to blame. They eliminate the need for administrators to actually sit down, study an individual case, and make an informed decision. It’s the easy way out, plain and simple, like buying a gift card because you don’t want to invest time selecting a personal gift. In the cases mentioned earlier, ZT and PC made it impossible for honest, outdoorsminded kids to get fair shakes. Each of these young people was told, even if not in the specific words, that their passions for firearms or folding spoons or military precision were somehow bad. To the contrary, fishing and hunting and camping are avenues that rarely intersect with dishonesty or misbehavior. The outdoors and all its associated activities promote good and responsible action, and that has been proved at the scientific level. (Read Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv or From Boys to Men of Heart by Dr. Randall Eaton.) The farther you are from the city, the fewer the temptations and bad influences. Trouble now is that kids have a harder time exploring the outdoors on their own. Parents, especially those who were not introduced to the outdoors themselves, often fail their children by not taking the time or making the effort to provide outdoors experiences. The activities you and I so deeply enjoy won’t be for every child, and that’s okay. But children who show interest should get an age-appropriate chance to make their T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

own decisions about fresh air and sunshine. School district administrators and board members across the nation and even in Texas fail those same children by telling them, through inflexible ZT and PC directives, to avoid the outdoors and its tools. We have an obligation to wildlife, to fisheries, and to children that can only be met by making young people aware of those precious resources. PC and ZT are contrary to provision of that awareness, especially for urban kids. You and I won’t be here forever, and for the first time ever, there are more people living in cities than in rural areas. The majority of Americans, in other words, don’t know squat about the outdoors because they rarely, if ever, go there. If we remain silent as cases such as those mentioned earlier in this column arise, we’ll see further erosion of natural resources and our access to them. Emphasize the value of the outdoors to your children and anyone else who will listen. Otherwise, the only message they’ll hear is that delivered by people for whom issues can be only black or white, yes or no. To borrow from the acronym-fancying kids impacted most tragically by this silliness, I’m about to OD on PC and ZT. Hunting is okay. Fishing is okay. Target shooting is okay. Being outdoors in general is a healthy activity and can make you LOL. The tools used to enjoy those pastimes are safe in sane hands and valuable for their intended purposes. Anyone who tells children differently is misguided and should be ashamed. E-mail Doug Pike at offshore@fishgame.com

PHOTO © CANTOR PANNATTO


TexasWild Nugent.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:28 PM

Page 19


TexasWild Nugent.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:28 PM

Page 20

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

Strap Assassin One HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A HAPPY STRAPPER. Backstraps are my life. I sure wish I had photos of my jubilant kills from the 1960s--young, skinny Nuge, long haired rock dog all a glitter and toothy with little whitetail does and fawns in my smiling grasp. More glowing than many a photo I have seen of hunters with a fistful of record book boneheads, I can assure you. I always was and remain what you would call unsuspecting, uninhibited, and hopelessly pure in my predatorship. My primal scream cup runneth over. Many of my hunting buddies are bona fide bone collectors; stealthy, patient and dedicated trophy hunters of the highest order. I admire them immensely, and though I occasionally, too, luck into a mega-antlered beast at the end of a good arrow, I am by far and away simply a meat guy. A strap assassin. Backstrap barbecue boy, pure and simple. Want food? Kill beast. The purest, naked pulse of life. Raw. Natural. As it should be. What I seek from life is happiness and meat; and good, accurate arrows with the reward of backstraps is all I really need and all I really want. Really. This wonderful hunting season was truly the most exciting and enjoyable of my 61 years. If we could compare a snapshot of young Ted with his trusty recurve bow, turkey fletched cedar arrows, and a dainty Michigan doe from the 1960s, to a photo of elderly Nuge in 2009, with yet another gorgeous whitetail she-deer at my feet, I dare say that the grey-bearded old man might very well outglow the teenage whippersnapper of yore. My life is all about the growth of glowage. Each day afield today is as pure and primal as those early years, but there is no question that with all these many years and long hunting seasons trying to figure it all out, my

I

20 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

woods time is more cherished today than ever before. And each and every arrow and each and every deer I kill are as thrilling as the very first time, every time. My awe for the beast has increased exponentially over time, and I thank God every day for giving me such unbridled passion for the simplest and purest lifestyle on earth. I am a hunter. A very happy hunter. Period. It was my fourteenth ambush setup in the last seven days since, how appropriately, Thanksgiving. I had killed a magnificent Texas Hill Country buck that magic morning, giving much thanks, and that highest of highs had remained strong in my belly since that intense encounter, shot, kill, and recovery of the stunning buck. But six-plus hours a day for seven without a shot presenting itself days does tend to create a sense of frustration, made even more exasperating on such deer rich grounds as our home SpiritWild Ranch. Quite honestly, it was driving me nuts. Good nuts, and certainly fun nuts, but nuts nonetheless. Hoping I had finally picked the right tree stand for this rare northeast wind, VidCamDude Bobby Bohannon and I had climbed into a pair of sturdy ladder stands to greet another spellbinding Texas dawn in the beautiful habitat. A nice scattering of golden kernels peppered the rocky ground before us, but after the first hour of daylight, no animals had shown themselves. We remained poised, statue still, cocked, locked, and ready to rock, doc, nonetheless. Patience we have. Stealth we know. Dreams we dream. And there she was. One moment, nothing; the next instant, a handsome Hill Country matriarchal whitetail doe nosed her way ultra cautiously out of the ash juniper clump into our little bowhunting arena. Game on. Showtime. Bring it. With all the heavy breathing coming from Bobby and me, you would think that a gargantuan world record behemoth trophy beast had arrived. But to us, the test of predator radar versus prey radar was it, everything these two bowhunters craved. She came, she went, she looked, she T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

sniffed. The old girl was afraid of her own shadow and I doubted I would ever get a shot at her. Finally joined by five other handsome whitetails, she nosed a yearling out of the way and gave me the picturesque broadside shot I wanted. Without missing a beat, my arrow came back and was instantly on a mission from God directly through her pump station, bloodied and sticking hard into Texas terra firma. Deer scattered every which way and all was silent once again as I turned to Bobby, nearly burning the lens of the vidcam with my effervescent smiling glow. It was timeless, it was wonderful. We tracked that old doe on video to celebrate a perfect bowhunting morning, and gave much adulation to our prize strapper for all the world to see that this old bowhunter, like the vast majority of American bowhunters, cherished each and every encounter, each and every morning afield, and most exuberantly, every good arrow into every good critter, big, small or otherwise. That afternoon we pulled off a genuine Texas bowhunting miracle as we performed the identical predator torture-test ballet on a wary old axis doe, which may very well be the most difficult deer to arrow on earth. But we lucked out, pulled it all together, and once again celebrated as if she were a monster antlered deerzilla. Trophy hunting is wonderful, fun, and ultimately challenging, but don’t forget why we originally went hunting in the first place. Keep it simple, keep it fun. Every herd needs a balanced kill each season, and never let a doe kill become an also ran. Make the most of our beloved time in the deer woods. It should always be about exciting times, good friends, good arrows, and predator stealth. And of course, the mighty backstraps. Strap Assassins are cool. I am Strap Assassin One. Good hunting forever my fellow strappers, wherever you are. E-mail Ted Nugent at tnugent@fishgame.com


Fea1.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:30 PM

Page 21


Fea1.qxd:Layout 1

22 |

12/30/09

F E B R U A R Y

2:30 PM

2 0 1 0

Page 22

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

PHOTO BY JOHN FELSHER


Fea1.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:30 PM

Page 23

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

23


12/31/09

9:53 AM

Page 24

THE TROLLING MOTOR PROP kicked up clear green water hiding beneath a layer of muddy river water, floating on the brine like molten grease as I tossed a topwater bait toward shore. Moments later, a largemouth bass smashed the plug while another fishing partner hooked up with a redfish demolishing a spinnerbait. The third member of our crew enticed a flounder into sucking down a plastic worm. Our fourth companion landed a speckled trout on a jighead. Freshwater bass should not live near salty redfish, flounder, and specks, but they often share the same coastal waters blow the salt line. “Below the salt” is an archaic term of inferiority, harkening to the seating arrangements at noblemen’s tables where a saltcellar centerpiece was the line of demarcation between “blooded” and common diners, the latter prohibited access to the rare and expensive table salt. There is a “salt line” in Texas, a boundary ostensibly separating salt- from freshwater, but nothing inferior lies beneath it nor are “commoners” denied access save appropriate licensure. For the angler worth his salt, it marks a place of unrivaled variety. Among the most fertile habitats in North America, river deltas spawn incredibly rich and diverse fauna where fresh and salty waters collide into a smorgasbord of life. Many freshwater species can tolerate some salinity while some marine species thrive in pure freshwater, creating conditions where ranges overlap in many brackish estuaries. Along the Texas coast, bass, redfish, flounder and several other predators often compete for the same prey, including menhaden, sunfishes, shrimp, crabs, minnows, mullet, and sometimes each other. “Studies show that largemouth bass don’t even notice salinity of 5 parts per thousand,” said Todd Driscoll, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department district fisheries biologist in Jasper. “They don’t alter their behavior or move from those areas. Above 5 ppt, bass 24 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

live near largemouth bass, but might try to move away from prefer saltier water. that salinity, but in some sys“We see many largemouth tems, they might not have a bass and blue catfish below choice. They can tolerate the saltwater line,” said salinities of 5 to 10 ppt, Lance Robinson, a but grow slower. When TPWD biologist with the salinity goes above 10 ppt, Dickinson Marine Laboratory. they don’t do very well. If the “After we’ve had considerable water stays that salty and they rainfall, we’ll pick up blue can’t get away, bass will cats in our trawls when die.” sampling for shrimp in Blue catfish also tolerthe middle of Galveston ate higher salinity than Bay. We’ve stocked red many freshwater fishes. drum in some reserBluegill, crappie, and voirs. Flounder can also white bass also enter survive very well in a brackish systems. Redfish freshwater environment. and flounder can exist in We often hear reports almost pure freshwater, although they cannot A YEAR-LONG SERIES of people catching flounder, red drum, and crabs on the breed there. Tarpon and garfishes can breathe air and live anywhere. Bull sharks lower Trinity River below the Livingston readily enter rivers. In Texas, bull sharks occa- Dam.” Texas has an established legal demarcation sionally venture as far up the Trinity River as the Livingston Dam. Like salmon, striped between fresh- and saltwater based on historic bass live in saltwater, but enter rivers to salinity samples along the coast. Unless otherspawn. Speckled trout and black drum might wise exempt, anyone fishing public waters

On the fresh/salt boundary, a plastic worm meant for bass might net you a flounder. T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

PHOTO BY GRADY ALLEN

Fea1.qxd:Layout 1


Fea1.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:31 PM

Page 25

Below-the-Salt Bank Accessible Hotspots LOCATION: Simmons Drive Boat Ramp (Orange) SPECIES: blue catfish, striped bass, largemouth bass, flounder, redfish BAITS/LURES: live and cut mullet, spinnerbaits BESTTIMES/CONDITIONS: The fishing is best for a variety of species when saltwater is pushed far into the river system. Avoid night-fishing for safety reasons. LOCATION: Entergy Intake Canal (Bridge City) SPECIES: redfish, black drum, blue catfish BAITS/LURES: dead shrimp, cut mullet BESTTIMES/CONDITIONS: Incoming tides on warm afternoons. Avoid night-fishing for safety reasons. LOCATION: Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge (Anahuac) SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish, largemouth bass, crappie

east or south of this line must possess a saltwater license or endorsement, regardless of the species targeted. “The legal definition of the saltwater line is not necessarily true biologically or environmentally on any given day,” Robinson said. “The creel regulations apply to the various species; it doesn’t matter where people catch them. People can keep any freshwater fish in accordance with state regulations if they catch them below the saltwater line as long as they have the proper licenses for fishing in that area. The same is true for any saltwater fish they catch above the saltwater line.” As daily conditions dictate, the actual saltwater gradient zone, not a line, might vary greatly. Sometimes, conditions change by the hour. Anglers at a given location might start catching bass, but soon begin landing redfish followed by speckled trout as the tides change. Winds can also influence tidal movement. In addition, heavier saltwater sinks to the bottom as freshwater “floats” over the top. When a river enters the Gulf of Mexico, currents might push freshwater downstream over a salty wedge moving upstream as the tide rises. “Before coming to Texas, I did some work

BAITS/LURES: soft plastics in pink, Glow/chartreuse; spoons BESTTIMES/CONDITIONS: Incoming and outgoing tides. LOCATION: McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge (Sabine Pass) SPECIES: flounder, redfish, alligator gar, blue catfish BAITS/LURES: live finger mullet, cut mullet, shrimp BESTTIMES/CONDITIONS: Outgoing tides. LOCATION: Wallisville Lake Project (Wallisville) SPECIES: flathead catfish, blue catfish, largemouth bass, redfish, flounder BAITS/LURES: live perch, live and cut mullet, spinnerbaits, light-colored soft plastics BESTTIMES/CONDITIONS: Watch for periods of clear water and high salinity in the river.

on water stratification in the Mobile River Delta of Alabama,” Robinson said. “On some days, we measured zero salinity on the surface. As we put our probe down deeper, water became more salty. In the channel, the water was more than 30 feet deep, with the salinity near the bottom at 28 parts per thousand. For comparison, the Gulf of Mexico is typically at 35 ppt salinity. We were 50 miles from the Gulf in the upper Mobile Bay estuary. Theoretically, the water at the bottom of the channel could have supported king mackerel, cobia, and other Gulf fish.” Fed by the Sabine and Neches rivers, the Sabine Estuary on the Louisiana-Texas border probably offers Lone Star anglers the best opportunity to catch species from both environments. Sabine Lake stretches about 19 miles long and 9 miles wide. Marshes in the 124,500-acre Sabine National Wildlife Refuge on the Louisiana side dominate the eastern shoreline with several canals and bayous entering the system. On the Texas side, a ship channel provides deep water. The system contains about five times as much marsh as Galveston Bay, another estuary where anglers might catch multiple species. T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

“Any bay systems with an influx of freshwater will have some brackish areas where species of both environments might mix,” Robinson explained. “The Trinity River delta is a good example. We see some freshwater influence in Matagorda Bay from the Colorado River and the San Antonio/Guadalupe delta in San Antonio Bay. South Texas doesn’t have as many rivers and ones in that area don’t carry the volume of freshwater as rivers farther north. The Rio Grande is more channelized and doesn’t flow into a true bay system.” When fishing anywhere near the coast, save yourself some trouble. Spend a few extra bucks for the combo license and fish anywhere in Texas you wish.

On the Web www.tpwd.state.tx.us/ publications/annual/fish/ coastal.boundary |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

25


Fea2.qxd:Layout 1

26 |

12/30/09

F E B R U A R Y

2:33 PM

2 0 1 0

Page 26

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速


Fea2.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

PHOTO BY RICK TRACEWELL

2:33 PM

Page 27

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

27


12/31/09

11:26 AM

Page 28

THE SOUTH TEXAS BRUSH COUNTRY might not be ablaze, but one of the region’s most popular bass fisheries is smokin.’ Choke Canyon Reservoir, a 26,000-acre brush-infested impoundment built along the Frio and San Miguel rivers in McMullen and Live Oak counties, has been kicking out scads of lunker largemouths in recent times, and starry-eyed anglers across Texas and beyond have taken notice. Not surprisingly, the lake is fast becoming a hub for big bass nuts with an insatiable appetite for getting the big bite. Though it has not yet gained the fame garnered by legendary Lake Fork, many anglers and fisheries scientists believe it is only matter of time until “Choke” rises to the top of premier Texas big bass factories; some contend it is already there. “Choke Canyon is producing a lot of fish the 8- to 9-pound range, and we’re also seeing quite a few in the double digits, including several giants weighing upwards of 15 pounds that started showing up last year,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist John Findeisen. “Based on what I have seen in the last couple of years, I would put this lake up against the best in the world right now. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see a new state record come out of there any day. My guess is there is a 20-pounder swimming around out there somewhere.” An avid angler himself, Findeisen said the secret to Choke’s recent success is built heavily around one key component: water. That might seem absurd when discussing a reservoir, but quick peek at the lake’s past and present explains it. During mid-1990s, a prolonged drought combined with water demands by the city of Corpus Christi sucked Choke’s water level to nearly 30 feet below normal and shrank its surface acreage more than 50 percent. In the meantime, vast flats and miles of shoreline that hadn’t seen sunlight in years sprouted thick with huisache, mesquite, and other terrestrial vegetation native to the fertile South Texas landscape. In 1998, the lake caught several feet of water. Though it was still well below full capacity, the rise flooded hundreds of acres of 28 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

new plant growth and created a nursery of sorts that allowed existing forage fishes and largemouth bass to flourish the following year. The rejuvenation process got another boost in July 2002, when heavy flooding upstream caused the lake to refill to capacity in a matter of two weeks. Seemingly overnight, Choke Canyon made the transformation from a tired honey hole to a vibrant reservoir ripe with fields of terrestrial vegetation at all the right depths. To hear Findeisen tell it, it was a jungle out there. “The lake pretty much doubled in size and tripled in volume in a matter of two weeks,” he said. “The rise flooded thousands of acres of new-growth brush and other terrestrial vegetation, and that pumped a tremendous amount of nutrients into the water. It got another big shot of nutrients once the vegetation started to die.” Findeisen said native and non-native vegetation seed lying dormant in the soil for years responded to the liquid fertilizer with a vengeance, creating even more quality habitat

Choke Canyon erupted with an unprecedented flurry of huge bass that included six entries of 13 pounds or more in the ShareLunker program. Among them was a trio of giants topping 15 pounds, including a new lake record of 15.45 pounds caught by Brad Bookmyer of Leander. Amazingly, the aforementioned list is but a fraction of the heavyweights reeled in by visiting anglers last year. Findeisen said he knows of five more bass topping the 15-pound mark caught but not entered in the ShareLunker program last year. Three were caught and released during the height of summer, which typically is not optimum big bass season. Additionally, several more 13-pounders were reported and countless fish in the 8- to 10pound range crossed the scales in club and other organized tournaments. “There is no telling how many 5- to 7pounders were caught and released,” Findeisen said. “Fish like that don’t even turn heads here anymore.” As encouraging as it all sounds, those who

PHOTO BY TIM MCCAIG

Fea2.qxd:Layout 1

After finally filling to capacity in the wake of drought relief, Choke Canyon Reservoir established status as a standout bass factory. in which bass and forage species such as shad, bluegill, and tilapia could thrive. Add to the mix the nearly 1 million Florida bass fingerlings stocked during 1998-2003, and the stage was set for a resurrection. Casual anglers and tournament buffs alike enjoyed fairytale outings on Choke during the years that followed, the perfect storm everyone knew was coming finally arrived in 2009. Between February 21 and April 26, T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

have experienced big bass magic at Choke Canyon are surely wondering how much longer the bonanza can last. According to Findeisen, the answer heavily depends on the liquid component that made the lake the heavy hitter it is today. “The main key to Choke’s success is that it was at full capacity, or real close to it, for six straight years after it first refilled in 2002,” he said. “We had an exceptionally dry year in


Fea2.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:34 PM

Springtime Big Bass Tips While Choke Canyon has as proven a lake for all seasons, late winter and early spring rank high with local big bass gurus like Charles Whited of San Marcos. Whited (512-557-6772) has been guiding on the lake for nearly a decade and has recorded a number of tournament wins, including the 2007

Page 29

Bass Champs team event he and Phillip Walker won with a five-fish sack totaling an astonishing 44.98 pounds. Whited said February packs plenty potential for catching numbers and career bass on Choke. The bite is usually best at the lake’s upper reaches in the vicinity of the San Miguel and Frio rivers bottleneck. “The river bite always starts turning on in February and February, usually around the full moon phases,” Whited said. “The water up there should be 4-5 degrees warmer

2009, and the lake had dropped to 9 feet below full pool by November. So, we are starting to lose that critical component. When that happens, you start losing the habitat component, which in turn reduces the carrying capacity of both the forage and predatory species.” Naturally, the best-case scenario is for the

than on the main lake. If the cold fronts will hold off, a lot of the big fish will make their moves then.” If the water level remains low, Whited targets small inlets or indentions off the main channel swings that offer the bass something to relate to, such as stumps, laydowns, or rock. Water depths of 3-7 feet will be key. His baits of choice include a chatterbait, square bill crankbait, and a Yamamoto Senko. Whited suggested putting in at the FM 99 bridge and running west until the two

rain gods to act soon and replenish the water, starting the rejuvenation process all over again. Regardless, the biologist said the bass fishery is in good enough shape to hold its own against any muscle lake on the planet for quite some time to come. “It’s a great lake, even though the water

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

rivers form a Y. He said he likes the San Miguel arm better than the Frio, mainly because it offers more bluffstyle banks with sharp breaks as opposed to tapering shorelines: “The main idea is to put the trolling motor down and cover water. These big fish are going to be crawling up towards the shallows this month. If you time things right, it can be downright phenomenal up there. I’ve seen it happen more than once.”

level is beginning to drop,” he said. “Choke has had some phenomenal spawns and it is full of big fish. After what happened last year, you have to wonder what might be in store down the road. My gut feeling is this lake is really going to shock some people this year.”

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

29


Fea3.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:35 PM

Page 30

COASTAL ANGLERS interested in a super stiff, no frills battle have two choices this month: ugly and uglier. The black drum is not as pretty as its beautifully bronzed cousin, the redfish, and certainly is not as flashy as a speckled trout, but when it comes to raw determination to avoid the landing net, the great ugly fish is more than admirable. 30 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速


Fea3.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:35 PM

Page 31

by Chester Moore

COMPOSITE GRAPHIC BY TEXAS FISH & GAME

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

31


12/30/09

2:35 PM

Page 32

PHOTO BY CHESTER MOORE

Fea3.qxd:Layout 1

Their redfish cousins got all the looks, but black drum make up for it in fighting power and sheer numbers. Slot-sized drum are highly prized by commercial fishermen in Texas and are becoming increasingly popular with recreational anglers. Best of all, blackened and sprinkled with your favorite seasoning, drum meat is hard to beat. On the other hand, the over-sized drum called “bull drum” are not only illegal to retain but are full of big, disgusting spaghetti worms. That on top of their big-mouthed, barbell-chinned profile does make them physically unattractive, but that has nothing to do with their fighting power. Bull drum have incredible stamina and are one of the easiest giant fishes for land-bound anglers to contact. There are thousands of marker buoys and barnacle encrusted channel marker poles in the Intracoastal, and they are good spots to find drum this time of year. These poles make up their own mini ecosystems in much the same way oil and gas platforms do offshore. They are obviously not as productive as rigs, but they do draw fish. The first thing you need to do is check to see if the poles have many barnacles on them. Those spots are 32 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

good ones to fish because they are likely to draw in lots of baitfishes and crustaceans, which drum (and redfish) dine on. Markers located near shorelines with shell are great places to fish. The markers typically designate where the channel and shallows meet, so setting up between the shell along the shore and the marker puts an angler in a great position. Chunk one line in the shallows and another in the deep, and there is a very good chance you will score. From now through spring, a place you are likely to find slot-sized black drum is oyster reefs. Look for some of the deeper oyster reefs on the middle coast in Aransas, Oso, and north toward Matagorda Bay to provide some of the best fishing in Texas. On the upper coast, Hannah’s Reef at Galveston and the big reef on the south end of Sabine Lake also produce plenty fish. The general practice while fishing reefs is to make long drifts using drop-shot rigs with dead shrimp. Look for the structure within T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

structure. An oyster reef is a structure all by itself, but there is structure on top of that structure. A big clump of oysters rising up on a slight ridge on a reef with an average depth of 10 feet is structure on structure, and a sunken boat on a reef is structure on structure. Look for bull drum at the jetties, too. The general rule is to fish the channel side of the jetties when the tide is moving out, and the Gulf side when it is moving in. Once you know the tidal movement, start searching for structure. “What you will want to do is look for the deep holes at the jetties. At both Galveston and Sabine, there are deep holes at the southern tips on both sides and these are usually loaded with monster drum,” said Joe Persohn of Beaumont. Known as the “jetty man” by his friends, Persohn said if for some reason the deepest holes are inaccessible, you should back off and look for dips in the rocks. “These dips are indicative of small spots slightly deeper than the surrounding water, and that’s where the drum will be,” he said.


Fea3.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:35 PM

Page 33

PHOTO BY TEXAS FISH & GAME

An oversized “bull” drum is a great catch, but is not a keeper. It is illegal to retain them, plus they are filled with worms. TF&G’s Ardia Neves caught and released this bull on Copano Bay.

Another sign to look for is vegetation growing on the rocks. These areas hold many small crabs, which big drum like to dine on. I have seen drum with their backs sticking out of the water, feeding right along the surface. Another good spot is the jetty boat cuts. These cuts offer a spot for drum to move from

the channel to the Gulf side of the rocks and easy dining. At these cuts, target the rocks right along the edges as crabs moving through will often cling to the first structure they find. If that does not work, fish with your lines about 50 yards from the cut where the tidal pull widens. It does not matter which tide you

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

fish here because this is a transition zone. Sometimes, the drum will gather there and feed as the forage moves through the cut. If the tide is going from the channel into the Gulf, anchor near the jetty and cast away from it. If it is moving from the Gulf into the channel, anchor out about 75 yards and cast toward the cut. I prefer to fish for drum with heavy tackle in the 30- to 50-pound class using blue crab. Broken in half, and hooked through the carapace, it has a long hook life and is irresistible to drum. Big drum like to peck at the line. Sometimes, they will just double the rod over and take off, but most of the time, they toy with it a while. Try fishing on the bottom first, but if that doesn’t’ work, rig a piece of bait on a hook with a 1/4-ounce split shot above it. Let it drift in the current and hold on tight...black drum fight as ugly as they look.

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

33


True Green.qxd:Layout 1

12/31/09

11:34 AM

Page 34

GREEN

PHOTO © MARIO ROBERTO DURAN ORTIZ

TF&G FIRST

PUBLIC DOMAIN PHOTO

Why Humans Outlive Apes

EPA Delays Decision on More Ethanol in Gas

DESPITE GENETIC SIMILARITY TO HUMANS, CHIMPANZE AND GREAT APE LIFESPANS RARELY EXCEED 50 YEARS. THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE HUMAN RED MEAT-RICH DIET. In the December issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USC Davis School of Gerontology professor Caleb Finch revealed that evolutionary genetic advantages, caused by slight differences in DNA sequencing and improvements in diet, make humans uniquely susceptible to diseases of aging such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia when compared to other primates. However, a major contributor to human longevity is genes that adapt to higher 34 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

exposure to inflammation. “Over time, ingestion of red meat, particularly raw meat infected with parasites in the era before cooking, stimulates chronic inflammation that leads to some of the common diseases of aging,” Finch said. But humans evolved unique variants in a cholesterol-transporting gene, apolipoprotein E, which also regulates inflammation and many aspects of aging in the brain and arteries. Apolipoprotein E is unique to humans and could be what Finch calls “a meat-adaptive gene” that has increased the human lifespan. —Staff Report TG

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ANNOUNCED IN DECEMBER IT WOULD DELAY MAKING A DECISION ON A WAIVER REQUESTED BY THE PRO-ETHANOL LOBBYING GROUP GROWTH ENERGY TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF ETHANOL IN GASOLINE BEYOND THE CURRENT 10 PERCENT LEVEL. The Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) remains concerned that the EPA said that it would review initial findings on testing of mid-level ethanol blends in newer automobiles before revisiting the waiver possibility in mid-2010. BoatU.S. said in a press release that the harm already inflicted on boat owners when ethanol in gasoline was Continued on page 36 


True Green.qxd:Layout 1

12/31/09

11:52 AM

Page 35

PHOTO COURTESY US NAVY

16 Ships are Worse Polluters than All of the World’s Cars the Mail Online on November 21. WORLD’S LARGEST SHIPS CAN PRODUCE AS MUCH LUNG-CLOGGING He also noted that super-ships can burn the cheapest, filthiest, SULFER POLLUTION AS ALL THE WORLD’S CARS high-sulfur fuel that is in fact Fred Pearce, environmental consultant residues left behind in refineries after to New Scientist and author of Confessions lighter liquids are taken and pointed out of an Eco Sinner, has revealed that superthat there are laws prohibiting the use of ships pump out killer chemicals linked to such fuel on land. thousands of deaths because of the filthy Thanks to the International Maritime fuel they use. Organization rules, the largest ships can Super-vessels use as much power as each emit as much as 5,000 tons of sulfur small power stations because they have in a year — the same as 50 million typical colossal engines that are as big as a small cars, each emitting an average of 100 ship, Pearce wrote in a report published in grams of sulfur a year, he added. AN AWARD-WINNING SCIENCE WRITER SAYS JUST 16 OF THE

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

The number of cars driving around the planet is estimated at about 800 million, and this means that only 16 super-ships can emit as much sulfur as the world fleet of cars, he stated. —Staff Report TG

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

35


True Green.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:50 PM

Page 36

GREEN TF&G TRUE GREEN

PETA a Terrorist Threat

CONSERVATION PARTNERS

CCORDING TO A U.S. DEPARTMENT OF Agriculture document, PETA is a terrorist threat. The agency’s “APHIS Facility Security Profile” form sent to research facilities that use lab animals asks security-related questions, including: B. Terrorist Threat. What terrorist activities have occurred in or around your building/facility in the past 5 years (documented cases)? Please check all that apply. [ ] Attack from international terrorists [ ] Attack from domestic special interest terrorists [ ] Earth Liberation Front (ELF) [ ] Animal Liberation Front (ALF) [ ] People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) [ ] Animal Defense League (ADL) [ ] Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) [ ] Formal hate group(s) (please specify): [ ] Other (please specify): ____________________ [ ] Cyber Attack from a known or unknown source. The FBI list of “domestic terrorist” list has long included ELF and ALF whose members commit arson, vandalism, and other terrorist acts. PETA has served as a

 Continued from page 34 increased to 10 percent (E10) several years ago should be a concern for regulators as they debate the effect of higher ethanol blends in all gaspowered vehicles and equipment, not just automobiles. “Waiting for the data is a step in the right direction,” said BoatU.S. Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. “However, focusing on automobiles leaves out 36 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

millions of other gas-powered engines. If you own a lawnmower, chain saw, all-terrain vehicle, generator, or boat, I would be very concerned over the costs to repair or replace those items after using higher levels of ethanol gas. Additionally, the possibility of selling gas with different amounts of ethanol content at the pump raises significant infrastructure and consumer education concerns. “We strongly encourage the EPA

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

PHOTO COURTESY OF MATTHEW FIELD, PHOTOGRAPHY.MATTFIELD.COM

A

The pop singer Pink, affecting a provocative pro-PETA pose. “front group” for those organizations by disseminating propaganda on their behalf, funding legal defenses, and otherwise supporting their activities, but this is the first time PETA been listed in official government documents as a terrorist organization.

—Staff Report TG to use the next six months to consider the effects of higher ethanol blends on all gas powered engines, and not on just new products. Americans deserve to know if all of their gas-powered engines will run reliably and safely on this proposed new fuel.” —Staff Report TG


True Green.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:53 PM

Page 37

CCA to Aid Nueces Restoration CA TEXAS HABITAT TODAY FOR FISH Tomorrow is donating $10,000 and joining hands with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP) and the Fish America Foundation (FAF) to help restore 150 acres of marsh that has been lost to various factors along the Nueces Bay’s Portland Causeway. “This is another vital marsh restoration project and CCA Texas is proud to be a partner with two such fine groups such as CBBEP and FAF,” said HTFT Director, John Blaha. “This restoration project, much like the Sportsman’s Road project in Galveston Bay and the Goose Island Project in Aransas Bay are vital in rebuilding and replenishing Texas marshes. These areas provide vital cover for numerous species as well

C

as help keep our bay water’s clean and clear.” The CCA Texas HTFT Program has donated ten of thousands of dollars for various project including major reef building initiatives along the near-shore waters along the Texas coast. “Habitat projects have become a major focus for CCA Texas in recent years,” stated Blaha. “The more habitat areas we can restore today will mean more habitat, more fish, and better angling opportunities for anglers in the future. CCA Texas is able to continue this important work thanks to the dedication of our 50,000 members who understand the importance of giving today for a brighter future for tomorrow.”

—Staff Report TG

Game Warden Outpost Complete N SEPTEMBER 2008, CCA TEXAS PLEDGED $32,000 to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens for the construction of a floating cabin in Lower Laguna Madre. Construction is now complete. “The Game wardens in south Texas are to be commended for doing such a fantastic job on this floating cabin. Using the money donated by CCA Texas, they built this important facility by hand,” said CCA Texas Executive Director, Robby Byers. “Their hard work on this project as well as their unyielding drive to protect Texas’ natural resources and the people that enjoy them show a dedication in which all CCA Texas members can take pride.” —Staff Report TG

I


Fea5.qxd:Layout 1

38 |

12/30/09

F E B R U A R Y

3:01 PM

2 0 1 0

Page 38

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速


Fea5.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

MAIN PHOTO BY CLOUDRAIN; INSET BY MICHAEL MILL

3:01 PM

Page 39

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

39


Fea5.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:01 PM

Page 40

BILL STRANSKY COULD not believe his eyes. The dedicated waterfowler and founder of Wharton-based conservation group Texas Rice Industry Coalition for the Environment (R.I.C.E.) was stunned at the number of snow geese he saw before him. “I had heard about all of the birds that had started to stack up in Arkansas and made a trip up there a few years ago to see what all of the buzz was about,” Stransky said. “It was stunning.” What he saw was snow geese as far as the eye could see on far more rice and other agriculture than in Texas. “All of the wetlands enhancement we could do in a decade would not equal what you can see down one farm road up there in Arkansas. Those birds have plenty to eat and little pressure,” Stransky said. Arkansas hunters prefer green to white, focusing their efforts on the state’s bountiful mallards and other puddle ducks and do very little snow goose hunting. Juxtapose that scenario with the rice country east of Houston, where there has been a rice loss of 83 percent over the last 30 years and an increase in hunters putting extreme pressure on geese. “There’s scarcely a huntable field anywhere east or west of Houston that does not have hunters on it throughout the season,” said David Schmidt of Baytown. “And if you look at the number of birds you see driving the Interstate 10 corridor, it is obvious that pressure is having an effect on the birds.” Schmidt hunts near Anahuac and said he believes the 2009 season might be a breaking point for waterfowl on the local prairies: “You just do not have any large concentrations of geese here anything remotely comparable to even just a few years ago. And then the ducks were not on the prairie except for a few large reservoirs. The marsh had ducks and even 40 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

some geese, but the prairie was pitiful. Even though there has been some rice in areas that haven’t had it in many years, it was scattered all over the place and not in any large contiguous tracts.” Once relatively scarce, snow geese now number in the millions and are causing major damage to their nesting habitat in the arctic. Special conservation order seasons were put in place to help trim the population. Electronic calls, unplugged shotguns, and a limitless bag were something waterfowl managers hoped would help the population, but some believe in Texas it actually helped send the birds elsewhere. Outfitter William L. Sherrill is not a fan of the special conservation order and puts a strict limit on the number of geese his parties can take. If there has ever been a waterfowl guru out there, Sherrill is it. I have had the pleasure of hunting with him several times and am blown away by the habitat management on the property he hunts and his focus on small details. “There is such a thing as putting too much pressure on the birds, and with geese it seems like that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Sherrill said. When the special conservation order was put in place in 1999, Texas hunters took around 370,000 light geese. The next year, the harvest slipped only a bit, but by the 2007-2008 season, it had dropped to around 250,000 birds. The difference is in the number of geese wintering in Texas, which was a big topic of conversation at last March’s Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission hearing. Speaking to Commissioners, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department migratory bird program leader Dave Morrison used Kansas as an example of how snow geese are changing their patterns. “…they had 350- to 400,000 birds in their state, they killed 15,000. They’re not putting pressure on their birds like we do. We have a mid-winter estimate of around 350- to 400,000 year before last, and we shot about 250,000 birds.” Think about that for a second. Texas hunters shot more than half the light geese that wintered in Texas. According to Morrison’s testimony, there is a direct correlation between the pressure here and wintering bird numbers, and the lack of pressure elsewhere. “Now that’s a direct relationship—I understand, that’s just the indices compared to population estimates. But the decline, you T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

can see the decline, what’s going on. Now, understand that the intent was to cause [the number of] birds to go down. That was the intent of the expanded and liberal seasons. But the continental population has not gone down. It’s simply a Texas problem.” When asked by commissioner Friedkin if biologists were sure the problem was hunting related, Morrison replied: “The reasons for the decline are really very...I mean, you look at what’s going on in Arkansas and Kansas; Kansas had 400,000 birds this year. Typically, Texas would winter anywhere from 80 to 90 percent of the white geese in the Central Flyway; now we’re down to about 41 percent. “But continental populations have not declined. It’s just this Texas portion that, for some reason, birds aren’t getting to Texas, and we’re trying to figure out a way. How do we at least keep those birds here in Texas longer and provide maximum opportunity? We’re not suggesting that we’re trying to back away from harvest, simply because there continues to be a continental population; we’re just looking at how do we restructure this thing to provide the best possible opportunities.” As I sat down to write this story, I could not help but think about what I have seen during the 2009-2010 season. During the month of November, I drove back and forth from Beaumont to Houston nearly a dozen times and saw geese once. Historically, that area has had thousands of geese along Interstate 10. What is interesting, the two years prior there was more rice production in the area than at any time in the last decade, yet the geese stayed away in droves. I hunted the area around Garwood during this time and it was holding lots of birds, but areas like that are undoubtedly on the decline in Texas. Can this trend be reversed, and if so, how? A closure of the special conservation order? A five-bird limit? Let us know your thoughts online in the Texas Fish & Game hunting forums.

On the Web www.forum.fishgame.com


12/30/09

5:05 PM

Page C/1

GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION BY TEXAS FISH & GAME

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

North vs. South—which has the Best Fishing? TANDING IN THE LEFT CORNER, THE SKINNY water and grassy flats of the southern Texas coast are sure to produce magnificent numbers of speckled trout and redfish. In the right corner, hailing from the top half of Texas is the north coast. Both prove themselves day in and day out as wonderful fishing destinations and fierce competitors in attracting fishermen and producing speckled trout and redfish for anglers. But when placing the two halves of the Texas Coast in the trenches of competition and comparing them in terms of fishability, sheer numbers of target species, state records, popularity, and convenience, which coast ranks supreme?

S

Round 1: Formation & Fishability The Lone Star State offers a diverse coastline. Likely, the most polarizing quality between the North and South coast is the structure of the bay systems. Obvious comparisons reveal that the northern waters, including Matagorda and Galveston Bay, are much deeper, muddier, and have average depths over 7 feet. Averaging less than 3 feet, South Texas’

|

A L M A N A C

Lower Laguna Madre is rich with sand and grass, presenting beauty while offering some of the finest shallow sight-fishing for trout and redfish on the entire Gulf Coast. During windy conditions, the abundance of sand and grass provides cloudy green water rather than the chocolate milk color upper coast anglers are so accustomed to; north and south coast anglers define “offcolor” water rather differently. Seasoned fishermen on the upper coast

by Kyle Tomek know the benefits of fishing a muddier bay. Distinct water color-changes, mud boils, and lines of streaky water occur quite frequently, marking ambush zones for speckled trout and redfish. Alternatively, the crystal clear waters of South Texas provide the benefits of precisely casting to potholes and drop-offs. To actually see a fish rise from a patch of subsurface grass to strike a lure is a thrilling experience. No bay can withstand everything nature dishes out. Complaints from northern anglers arise when high winds churn entire bay systems into brown water, causing all anglers to flock to what remains of clear water on a protected shoreline. While high T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

winds might not avert anglers from the south coast, calm spells can hinder fishing success by causing water to become too clear to fish. Fishing tactics that work well on one end of the coast do not always work on the other end. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than fishing for numbers of speckled trout. While artificial lures can work well in muddy water, best effect is in water clear enough for them to be seen. The south coast will always offer more days with better water clarity, thus providing more options. But when live bait is introduced to the upper half of the coast, it seems to level the playing field. There is no wonder so many anglers turn to live bait and scented plastics on the upper coast during times of high winds—it works.

Round 2: Fish Populations For speckled trout and redfish, there is no excuse for anglers not to catch fish on the entire Texas coast. Texas Parks & Wildlife Department catch rate data for 2006 reveals that the majority of Texas bays sport “high” catch rates for both speckled trout and redfish. In the largest bays, there are no drastic differences between the north and south F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/1


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:05 PM

Page C/2

In This Issue

C20

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT • February Solitude | BY CAPT. MAC GABLE

GEARING UP SECTION

C21

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: LOWER COAST • Deep Thinking | BY CALIXTO GONZALES

C30

TEXAS TESTED • SAM Splints, Owl Eyes, and Shimano Extreme Fishing for Wii | BY TFG STAFF

C22

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

C32

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

C34

INDUSTRY INSIDER • Easy2Hook USA | BY TF&G STAFF

C36

FISH THIS • Aquapac Waterproof Cases | BY GREG BERLOCHER

HOW-TO SECTION

C1

COVER STORY • North vs. South: Which has the best fishing? | BY KYLE TOMEK

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

C4 C17

TEXAS HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | BY TOM BEHRENS, CALIXTO GONZALES, BOB HOOD, & KYLE TOMEK HOTSPOTS FOCUS: UPPER COAST • Depth Plus Structure Equals Success | BY CAPT. EDDIE HERNANDEZ

C18

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: GALVESTON COMPLEX • Post-Ike Rebuilding Goes Slow| BY CAPT. MIKE HOLMES

C19

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: MATAGORDA • Consider Other Species in February | BY BINK GRIMES

coast in gill net surveys. However, catch rates for speckled trout were greater in the deeper and larger bays of the upper coast compared to the lower coast. Redfish catch rates were significantly greater on the lower coast.

Round 3: Guide Favorites Captain Jarid Ray Malone is a fly-fishing guide that routinely fishes the entire coastline from Port Isabel to Louisiana. He is well aware of the diversity that Texas has to offer and favors certain bays for specific fish species, whether fishing with fly or conventional tackle. “It’s tough to say whether the upper or lower coast is actually better, but I definitely have my favorites,” said Malone. “For upper coast trophy trout, East Matagorda Bay is my hunting ground. I have caught more trout over 8 pounds in that bay than all of the other bays combined, including my biggest to date, a fish that stretched a Boga to just over 10 pounds. “I seem to catch big fish more consistently in bays like East Matagorda that have such a variety of structure, ranging from mud, shell, grass, and sand.” C/2 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

C35

BOWHUNTING TECH • Tricks of the Trade | BY LOU MARULLO

C37

TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • Eyes & Ears, Part 1 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

C38

TEXAS BOATING • Console Yourself | BY LENNY RUDOW

C40

SALTWATER BAITS & RIGS • Mangrove Buffet Surprise | BY PATRICK LEMIRE

C41

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Froggy Went A-Fishin’ | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

C42

TEXAS KAYAKING • IFA Launches Kayak Tour | BY GREG BERLOCHER

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE

Malone said the southwest corner of East Matagorda Bay is a perfect example of what a trophy trout magnet looks like on paper. In southern waters, he prefers to target the waters inside Baffin Bay. Despite being located on opposite ends of the coast, the trophy trout powerhouses of Baffin Bay and East Matagorda Bay are quite similar in many of their fish-attracting characteristics. Both bays are minimally affected by the Gulf due to little influence from any major passes, consisting mostly of deeper water and containing a wide selection of bottom structure. As a result, the two locales produce high numbers of trophy trout each year. Malone’s favorite style of fishing is undoubtedly sight-casting to redfish. The kayak-friendly, no-prop zone of Redfish Bay is tough to beat for shallow-water excitement. Miles of protected paddling trails range from narrow mangrove passages to big lake sanctuaries that can attract hundreds of feeding redfish, thanks to the area’s low fishing pressure and unique sea grass habitat. Lower Laguna Madre, near Port Isabel, is another of Malone’s favorites: “The area’s water clarity and warm climate allows for world class sight-fishing to the largest variety of Texas’ inshore species, including a T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

C28

HUNTING TALES • Stalking the Arena | BY MATT WILLIAMS

C43

WILDERNESS TRAILS • Growing Horns | BY HERMAN BRUNE

C44

OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

C46

TEXAS TASTED • Chill “In” with Venison Chili | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

C48

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

respectable and very fishable population of snook.”

Round 4: Record Breakers Baffin Bay produced two state record speckled trout. If this “North vs. South” match rested merely on record trout production, the south would win by a knockout.

Round 5: Popularity & Convenience Putting water clarity and state records aside, convenience is very important. When observing the distance of the three largest Texas cities (Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas) to coastal destinations, it is quite apparent that the upper coast is a much shorter distance for city dwellers. Availability to such a large number of fishermen creates trade-offs. Weekend crowds are a nuisance for every angler. The hustle and bustle of busy boat ramps, races to fishing spots, and buzzing of boat motors are increasingly an upper coast norm. The CONTINUED ON PAGE C/4 A L M A N A C

|




ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

|

12/30/09

A L M A N A C

5:05 PM

Page C/3

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/3


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/31/09

12:04 PM

Page C/4

around the area—a great place any time when it gets cold.

Specks on a Jighead LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: South Causeway Reef GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 3/8-ounce jighead using an eel soft plastic type bait; darker colors for off colored water; brighter colors for clear water CONTACT: Capt. Jerry Norris, 409-7188782 TIPS: The best places to fish depend a lot on the rainfall. The retrieve is basically dragging the lure along the bottom off the oyster shell.

BEST BAITS: A 1/4-ounce jighead with a soft plastic minnow type bait CONTACT: Capt. Capt. Bill Watkins, 409786-2018 TIPS: The water will be 10-12 degrees warmer by the outfall. The warmer water will keep baitfish

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Bridge Bayou GPS: N29 53.511, W93 45.823 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: YUM Samurai Shad in Red Shad color for dirty water; Glow Chartreuse in clearer water CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Work the banks using your trolling motor. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Mouth of Madame Johnson Bayou GPS: N29 50.839, W29 50.839 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce jighead with a soft plastic minnow type bait CONTACT: Capt. Jerry Norris, 409-7188782

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Entergy Outfall GPS: N29 59.535, W93 53.967 SPECIES: speckled trout

COVER STORY  Continued from Page C/2 southern coast has its fair share of crowded activity, too, but occurrences are far fewer and actually decreasing in Corpus Christi Bay and Lower Laguna. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports: “Coastwide fishing pressure increased 3 percent in 2003-04, with only Corpus Christi Bay and Lower Laguna Madre showing a decrease.” Regulars to the lower coast can thank the longer drive, higher gas bill, and preparation required for big-city anglers to reach serenity. It is interesting to note the differences in time it takes to get from the boat ramp to a fishing spot. When fishing in big-water bays like Matagorda or Galveston, it is not uncommon to run more than 30 minutes C/4 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

across big water bays or travel the Intracoastal Waterway for miles to reach quality shoreline spots. In south coast areas, it is easy to burn more than half as much gas and typically never run more than 10 minutes to reach a productive flat. Again, there are exceptions. The popularity of a fishing location and duration of the boat ride rests varies with fishing style, boat ramp, and how consistent the area is.

Final Round: Personal Preference After swapping punches of state records, convenience, and all else, which reach of the Texas coast deserves the “best” title? T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

The southern coast has proven a likely candidate among the fly-fishing crowd by achieving a higher population of redfish and some of the coast’s most prized sightcasting waters; and the ability to withstand the blows of high winds on a regular basis is remarkable. It is important to give credit where it is due to the north coast; it is up to the individual angler to take advantage of the greater abundance of trout. Versatility is crucial in exposing its big stringers of specks. Although growingly popular, the north’s deep-water bays have the ability to counteract pressure with its healthy tidal passes. Ultimately, deciding the victor is up to you—but in truth, there is no loser.

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:05 PM

Page C/5


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/31/09

TIPS: A good south wind means good action along the shorelines. Find some bait action and you will find some fish. Cast out and work the lure back to you. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.780, W93 54.439 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies and Bass Assassins using an 1/8-ounce jighead; favorite colors include Red Shad, Wild Fire Tiger, and Chicken on a Chain CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: Wade fish on outgoing tides about 36 hours after a frontal passage.

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Middle Pass GPS: N29 58.922, W93 48.095 SPECIES: speckled trout and redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies and Bass Assassins CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: The area is protected from the north wind; a good fishing area because you are in the lea of the islands in the area. It is also a good wade-fishing venue.

12:06 PM

Page C/6

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Coffee Ground Cove GPS: N29 57.757, W93 46.331 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies and Bass Assassins CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: If the salinity gets high, the north end of the lake will pay off. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Stewt’s Island GPS: N 29 57.899, W93 50.900 BEST BAITS: Bass Assassins in darker colors SPECIES: speckled trout CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: Fish it slowly.

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Sydney Island GPS: N 29 58.590 W93 49.433 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies and Catch 2000 CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: Look for mullet bait action.

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: East Pass GPS: N29 58.920, W93 47.135 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics lures or Gulp! on a jighead CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Fishing success at this time of the year depends on a lot of variables. Fish will move anywhere from two to seven foot of water. A mud bottom is crucial. LOCATION: Galveston-East Bay HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge GPS: N29 33.573, W94 32.266 SPECIES: trophy sized speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies in Pearl, chartreuse colors; chrome/black for topwater baits CONTACT: Capt. R. “Lynn” Waddell, 281-300-5806 TIPS: Fish the topwater baits slow with lots of pauses. Fish will usually hit on the pause. Look for active baitfish action. LOCATION: Upper Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Tabbs Bay GPS: N29 41.635, W94 56.542 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwater in chrome/black back CONTACT: Capt. R. “Lynn” Waddell, 281-300-5806 TIPS: Fish your lure as slow as you can with a subtle twitch of your rod tip every so often. LOCATION: Upper Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Burnet Bay GPS: N29 46.078, W95 03.022 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies in Pearl, chartreuse; MirrOlures CONTACT: Capt. R. “Lynn” Waddell, 281-300-5806 TIPS: Concentrate on an area that you have a lot of confidence in, throw a bait you have confidence in, and it’s going to happen.

C/6 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:05 PM

Page C/7

Corking for Trout & Reds

SPECIES: speckled trout and redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies and soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Don Wood, 979-2404137 TIPS: Look for the soft mud bottom.

LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Bird Island GPS: N28 43.931, W95 45.862 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies and soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Don Wood, 979-240-4137 TIPS: Look for a soft mud bottom.

LOCATION: Galveston-West Bay HOTSPOT: Confederate Reef GPS: N29 16.195, W94 56.974 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: MirrOlures in chartreuse/gold, red/white CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: Fish the shell reefs in the middle of the bays when the wind allows. LOCATION: Galveston-West Bay HOTSPOT: Starvation Cove GPS: N29 14.182, W94 56.461 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: MirrOlures in chartreuse/gold, red/white CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409- 9357242 TIPS: When the south wind blows, fish the south side. The fish will be shallow after the wind warms the water.

LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Bayous near Brown Cedar Flats GPS: N28 44.039, W95 41.814 SPECIE trophy speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies or topwaters CONTACT: Capt. Robert Liebert, 281799-5728 TIPS: Start fishing deep in the marsh and then work your way out, working your bait real slow. A high tide in the afternoon seems to be the best time to fish for a trophy trout. LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Bayous near or behind Hog Island GPS: N28 39.254, W95 52.703 SPECIES: Trophy speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies or Super Spooks CONTACT: Capt. Robert Liebert, 281799-5728 TIPS: Keep up with the tides. Best times to fish is 2-3 days after a cold front when there is a high tide. LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Chinquapin Reef GPS: N28 44.352, W95 46.703

|

A L M A N A C

LOCATION: Galveston-West Bay HOTSPOT: Carancahua Reef GPS: N29 12.898, W95 00.442 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Slow rolled MirrOlures in chartreuse/gold and red/white CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: Shell reefs in the middle of the bay can produce winter trout.

Live Shrimp Sheepies

next to the channel into South Bay. Cast a shrimp/popping rig along the channel edge upstream from your spot and let it drift along the channel edge. Usually, the cork will stop and slowly sink below the surface. Set the hook hard. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel GPS: N26 2.124, W97 13.108 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: The run up the ship channel can be a long ride, but the sheer number of convict fish holding around pilings and riprap makes the run worth it. Stouter tackle (12to 15-pound) is the order of the day, and braided line is helpful when turning and horsing in a ram-sized sheepie away from the junk. Live or fresh shrimp on a free-line or float rig is a top-flight choice. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Long Bar GPS: N26 12.164, W97 15.957 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem rigs in smoke/glitter, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: This area is within sight of the Queen Isabella Causeway. Despite the short ride from all the major marinas, it is always good for solid speckled trout fishing. Fishing bait off the edge in cooler weather is the easiest way to find those trout. Drift the length of the bar and throw either chunks of ballyhoo or tandem jerkbaits. Fish them slowly. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Holly Beach

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay Mouth GPS: N26 2.961, W97 11.031 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Sheepshead begin moving in greater numbers and congregating along drop-offs and any structure around Lower Laguna Madre. Anchor up in the shallows T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/7


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

C/8 |

F E B R U A R Y

12/30/09

2 0 1 0

5:05 PM

Page C/8

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

|

12/30/09

A L M A N A C

5:05 PM

Page C/9

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/9


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:05 PM

Page C/10

GPS: N26 8.802, W97 16.304 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Lures Tandems in chartreuse patterns CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Fish near the channel that cuts through the area. Work soft plastics as slowly as you can (the same twitch-twitch-pause cadence used with suspending plugs is a good technique). Trout will be up on the warm mud on mild days, and down in the ditch when the weather cools.

BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork; topwaters; SPI Lures Tandems in Morning Glory, plum, red/white CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Fish the flats north and east of Three Islands on mild days. If the trout are still cold-shocked after a front, fish primarily with live shrimp and a popping cork such as a Livingston Lures Grand Slam Popper. As fish become more aggressive when mild weather prevails, try soft plastics or topwaters to seek out larger fish.

BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh table shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, 956944-2367 TIPS: If you really want to test your tackle and your biceps, give some of the big uglies that hang out at the end of the jetties during the winter. Shore anglers can have at these fish, but boaters will snag up less. Use stout tackle and fish-finder rigs with 3/0 to 5/0 circle hooks if you go after these bad boys. Some of these big drum can push 40 pounds.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Holly Beach GPS: N26 8.802, W97 16.304 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Lures Tandems in chartreuse patterns CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: When the sun gets high in the sky on a post-frontal day, redfish will tend to hold inside deeper grass and algae beds for cover and ambush. Cast around these areas with chartreuse jerkbaits, live shrimp, or ballyhoo chunks. When you hook a fish, keep steady pressure because they have a habit of run over a grass clump, and then turning broadside against the bed. It might take some effort to horse them out.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Arroyo Colorado Docks at night GPS: N26 20.061, W97 26.375 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: live shrimp; SPI Tandems in glow, pearl CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Calm nights during the full moon mean that some pretty good snook will be lurking around the shadows of lighted docks. Ease into casting range and work the shadows and edges with live shrimp. Watch for leaping bait and swirls to tip you off. If you spot fishermen on the dock, wait to see if they wave you in, or ask if you can play through. Good manners go a long way.

LOCATION: LLM at Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: North of East Cut GPS: N26 34.669, W97 22.403 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: topwaters or soft plastics in red/white, glow, bone; gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: If you are more interested in redfish, head to the north end of the East Cut. Use soft plastics in red/white or glow/chartreuse is the rig of choice for this scenario. Use topwaters close to shore early in the morning. Sight fishing with 1/4 ounce Gold spoons is also effective.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Color Change at Marker 124 GPS: N26 7.500, W97 14.000 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Lures Tandems CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Trout seek the warmth and security of the color change during the inconsistent weather of February. Drift the color line and fish one the darker side if the weather is cooler. On milder days, the clearer water might be more effective. Focus on sand pockets in between grass beds.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Saucer GPS: N26 27.652, W97 21.702 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: gold spoons, topwaters CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Redfish aren’t particularly perturbed by crummy weather. Fish the shallows off of the shoreline. Topwaters work well early in the morning, and on into the day if there is cloud cover. Fish slowly and thoroughly. Back off to the grass beds on sunny days and swim a Nemire Red Ripper over the beds.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Three Islands GPS: N26 16.643, W97 15.102 SPECIES: speckled trout C/10 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Mansfield Jetties GPS: N26 34.025, W97 16.173 SPECIES: black drum T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

LOCATION: LLM at Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: North of East Cut GPS: N26 34.669, W97 22.403 SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: soft plastics in red/white, glow, bone; dark colors on cloudy days CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Flounder hold along the edges of the channel all year around. Hop a shrimp tail or swim a shad tail on a 1/8-ounce head around the edge and any drain you spot. Fish closer to the shoreline on a high tide, and fish the edge on an outgoing tide. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Badlands GPS: N27 18.228, W97 24.338 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Limetreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse; Corkies CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

6089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The mud bottom retains warmth and trout and redfish, as well as forage species, gravitate to it. Fish around and through color changes with lightly weighted soft plastics. Try jointed Bomber Long A’s when fishing deeper water. Speckled trout seem to go crazy over the action. . LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Black’s Bluff GPS: N28 14.237, W97 33.935 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 popping about near drop-offs. That’s usually a sign that there are predators lurking. Plastics should be fished on light jigs; 1/8-ounce is good, 1/16 is even better. Once you begin working the area, fish deeper water with soft plastics and suspending plugs for both trout and redfish. Work your lures slowly, and pay attention. The bites can be very, very subtle. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Rivera Channel GPS: N27 17.395, W97 39.476 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Pods of hungry drum are cruising this area through the winter. Live shrimp can be fished either on a fish-finder rig or under an Old Bayside Paradise Popper (if the fish are up shallow and roaming). If live shrimp are hard to come by, use a chunk of fresh crab with the carapace removed on the Carolina rig. Drum will come a long way for a piece of candy. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.206, W97 34.362 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: jerkbaits, suspending plugs; soft plastics in Morning Glory, Baffin Magic CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com

|

A L M A N A C

5:05 PM

Page C/11

TIPS: Fish the deep points with a B&L Corky or Catch 5. Soft plastics should be pinned on a 1/8-ounce jighead to fish them slowly. Drift-fishing is better than anchoring because it allows you to cover more water around the reef. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 30.057, W97 19.546 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp; soft plastics in black/gold, Baffin Magic, Morning Glory; gold weedless spoons CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the edges of the deeper water to intercept redfish. Again, when live bait is hard to find, try both weedless gold spoons (a 1/2 ounce Nemire Red Ripper is a great choice) and soft plastics on a 1/8-ounce head under a Paradise Popper. The popping cork slows down your action, which is important in winter.

edge of the channel and send out a fish-finder with a large shrimp or large crab chunk. When your rod slowly starts to bend, set the hook. Circle hooks are also great choices for this kind of fishing.

Big Tiger Bass LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tigers GPS: N26 44.326, W99 08.912 SPECIES: largemouth bass

LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: King Ranch Shoreline GPS: N27 25.402, W96 2.075 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish 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: Brave anglers should don some insulated waders and slip into the chilly ULM waters along the King Ranch. Wade depth breaks and guts for best results. Live shrimp under an Old Bayside float is a good combination. Grinders can also opt to throw eel-style artificials on 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jigheads.

BEST BAITS: Texas-rigged lizards or beaver style baits in watermelon red and red bug; white spinnerbaits with gold and silver willow leaf blades; shallow running crankbaits in natural craw colors CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Start out fishing shallow well into the months of February and March to produce those hogs are still in the spawn mode. As the day rolls on, move out to the deeper brush and trees and work each tree slow.

LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Humble Channel GPS: N27 39.153, W96 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: Another spot for some winter excitement is Humble Channel, where the drum can get quite large. Anchor up on the

LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Salado GPS: N26 46.030, W99 20.030 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas rigged beaver style baits or Senko’s in Watermelon; white spinnerbaits with gold and silver willow leaf blades; shad colored swimbaits CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Running a spinnerbait or a swimbait early morning will trigger strikes from

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/11


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

the bass moving around the shallows. As the sun comes up, flip or fan cast Texas rigged baits around the brush and hold on. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Veleno’s GPS: N26 53.092, W99 1.5457 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas rigged 10” worms, Lizards, and creature baits in red bug and watermelon candy CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Fish these flats looking for the last of the spawning largemouth or for the cruisers hanging in this area. LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: Greyhound Point GPS: N28 29.245, W96 23.375 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: chrome/black back Pop-R; lightweight Senko’s or flukes in watermelon red or Red Bug; chartreuse/white spinnerbaits with dual flash willow leaf blades; Texas-rigged tubes in white or Green Pumpkin CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: On the west side of Greyhound,

5:05 PM

Page C/12

you will find a lot of timber, amongst the various points and flats. Throwing a pop r on top of this flat will produce the aggressive fish that are on the move. Follow up with weightless baits for the bass that seem more reluctant to chase. Before leaving this area, take a few minutes to slow down and fish thoroughly, as this flat is a great holding area for those spawners as well. LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: South Shore Boat Ramp GPS: N28 28.384, W98 14.995 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white/chartreuse buzzbaits, frogs; Texas-rigged 10-inch worms or creature baits in watermelon red; shad colored crankbaits; jigs in Camo or Gator CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Look for the spawning bass that are lying up on the flats and throw your Texas rig or jigs, working it slow as to entice those hogs into biting. Switch to your topwater baits and crankbaits for the reaction strikes from the more hostile mossbacks that are in the area.

GPS: N28 29.222, W98 20.709 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: lightweight Senko’s and flukes in watermelon, white; chartreuse/white or white spinnerbaits with silver willow leaf blades; topwater frogs, Spooks, stickbaits in natural colors CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Being on the water at sun up and not having to run far, this flat is a great place to begin your day. Start out with your various topwater baits rotating with your stickbaits to hook up with those fish that are already roaming around looking for a quick bite. If the bite slows, don’t hesitate to pick up that spinnerbait or one of your lightweight baits to boat some of those fish that were missed.

Pelican Cats LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Pelican Island SPECIES: catfish GPS: N30 18.127, W096 34.429

LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: East Calliham Flats

BEST BAITS: shad, cut bait, worms TIPS: Fish steep drop-off on northwest side of island. Water is at its coldest this time of year. Large blue cats cruise deeper water C/12 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/31/09

and will follow this creek channel that comes close to the island. Use 4/0 Kahle hooks with one-ounce slip sinker. Put out several rods around the boat in this area. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Hot Water Discharge SPECIES: catfish GPS: N30 38.351, W096 03.279 BEST BAITS: shad, worms, punch bait TIPS: Spring comes early in power plant lakes. Look for shad to get more active in the discharge area this time of year and the catfish will be right there with them. Anchor on the right side of the discharge. Set out rods into the open area of the discharge using 2- to 3-ounce sinkers, shad or worms on a 2/0 Kahle hook. Use 3/4-ounce egg sinker and No. 4 treble hook with punchbait to cast into the shallower water around the trees and stumps. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Hog Creek SPECIES: catfish GPS: N30 3.557, W096 04.000 BEST BAITS: shad, cut bait TIPS: Water is 18-20 feet deep where the two creeks join in this area. In winter, large blue cats will hang out. Use 4/0 Kahle hook or 8/0 circle hook with 1-ounce slip sinker. Larger baits will attract larger fish. Water is at its coldest now and that is when large blue cats hang in deeper water. Put out several rods in a circle around the boat. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Gibbons Creek HOTSPOT: Hot Water Discharge GPS: N30 38.351, W98 03.279 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad, worms, punchbait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103 TIPS: Spring comes early to power plant lakes. Look for shad to get more active in the discharge area at this time of year and the catfish will be right there with them. Anchor on the right side of the discharge. Set out rods

12:09 PM

Page C/13

into the open area of the discharge using 2-3ounce sinkers with shad or worm on a No. 2 Kahle hook. You can also use a 3/4-ounce egg sinker and No. 4 treble hook with punch bait. Cast into the shallower water around the trees and stumps.

LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Main Point SPECIES: catfish GPS: N29 56.317, W96 44.217 BEST BAITS: stinkbait, shad, chicken liver TIPS: Two advantages to this area include stump field and lake point. Lake is full now, so most stumps are under water, use electronics to anchor in stumpy area, throw out some chum around the boat. Fish chummed area. Water is about 13-feet here. Fish with tight line near or on bottom. Allow 15-30 minutes for chum to produce. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Intake Corner SPECIES: catfish GPS: N29 55.270, W096 44.835 BEST BAITS: stinkbait, shad, worms TIPS: Use slip cork to prevent hang-ups on rocks. Use No. 2 Kahle hook for shad No. 4 treble for stinkbait or worms. Fish are in winter pattern feeding around the rocks and cattails. Best times are dawn to midmorning and evening through night. Fish rocks and grass shoreline left of intake canal or fish cattails on right side of intake canal. Chum if fishing deeper water here. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Slick ’Em Slough SPECIES: striped bass GPS: N33 51.354, W96 52.690 BEST BAITS: Road Runner jigs, Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Chances of landing trophy stripers are in your favor in area. Road Runner 1ounce white bucktail jigs with a 7-inch soft plastic worm are deadly on the big fish holding on structure. Keep your eyes on the seagulls. Cast your 1-ounce white-glow jigs under the birds where large schools of


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/31/09

stripers can be feeding. Multiple hook-ups are common with lots of action in the open water. BANK ACCESS: Sand Point (N33 51.545, W96 51.823) LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Cove near Dam GPS: N31 49.311 W96 02.612 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Zoom Twin Tail Grub (Watermelon Seed) CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr., 903-4782633, 903-724-0961, matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Bass are in the peak of their spawn and can be found up in the saw grass beds. Start at cove west of the dam at the GPS location. Take your twin tail grub and rig it Texas-style with a small bullet weight about 1/8-ounce on a 3/0 wide gap hook. Dip the tails chartreuse dye. Just cast or pitch this bait as close to the saw grass as possible and bounce with short hops. Work this cove all the way back into the little creek and out along the grass. LOCATION: Lake Richland-Chambers HOTSPOT: Long Arm Branch Point GPS: N31 59.201, W096 12.294 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce silver or chartreuse slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 TIPS: This is a great spot for catching magnum white bass in the early winter. The

12:15 PM

Page C/14

fish will be pushing shad up on the edges of this point as they get prepare for the colder weather to arrive. Use your electronics to find the baitfish and fish in water depths ranging from 25’-35’. Bounce the slab slowly off the bottom for best success BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina 903-389-5218 LOCATION: Lake Richland-Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31 58.949, W096 10.600 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 excellent area for wintertime white bass. Tie on a larger slab and move it very slow 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 50s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will often be nothing more than a light tick or often you just feel dead weight on the end of your line. When in doubt, set the hook. LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Big Rocky Creek GPS: N31 52.795, W97 23.682 SPECIES: striped bass 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

HOTSPOT: Flat Creek LANDMARK: (south banks west of 315 bridge) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, Mister Twister Comeda CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, ricky@rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing will be very good in this area. Often, bass can be found up on grass beds in the shallows. Fish lures very slow for best results. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Neches River GPS: (flats above Cades Lake and cuts along the river) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, Mister Twister Comeda CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, ricky@rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing will be very good in this area. Often, bass can be found up on grass beds in the shallows. Fish lures very slow for best results.

Hornblower Crappie LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: San Gabriel River LANDMARK: (mouth of Granger Lake to the Hwy 95 bridge)

LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Kickapoo GPS: (all water west of the 315 bridge) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, Mister Twister Comeda CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, ricky@rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing will be very good in this area. Often, bass can be found up on grass beds in the shallows. Fish lures very slow for best results. SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: 1/16-ounce chartreuse jigs

LOCATION: Lake Palestine C/14 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/31/09

CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Slowly troll jigs along the middle of the river channel. After 2 or 3 warm days, fish in shallow sloughs and ditches using a slip bobber set at 2 feet. BANK ACCESS: Access Point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch, Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Hwy 95 LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: San Gabriel River LANDMARK: (mouth of Granger Lake to the Hwy 95 bridge) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: small white hair jigs CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Fish from bank. Cast jigs while reeling them back with a slow steady pace. BANK ACCESS: Access Point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch, Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Hwy 95

Pre-spawn Bass LOCATION: Toledo Bend North HOTSPOT: Tenaha Area (Pine Island) GPS: N31 52.812, W93 55.689 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, stickbaits, jerkbaits, jigs; soft and finesse plastics CONTACT: Greg Crafts, www.toledobendguide.com, 936.368.7151 TIPS: The bass will begin staging and bulking up on food in anticipation of the spawn. Concentrate on the edges of the creeks, main and secondary points, and the drains and ditches leading to the shallow spawning flats. The male bass will move into the shallow flats

12:15 PM

Page C/15

first making the beds. The females will be close by. If you locate a number of males, back out to deeper water and you will usually find some aggressive females staging in anticipation of moving onto the beds and they are usually hungry and aggressive.

LOCATION: Toledo Bend South HOTSPOT: Texas Islands GPS: N31 11.50, W93 36.96 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits with double willow leaf blades and white/chartreuse skirts; weightless soft plastics in Watermelon Candy, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Seed; crankbaits in Toledo Gold, Crawfish Red, silver/blue. CONTACT: Captain Joe Joslin, 337-4633848, www.joejoslinoutdoors.com TIPS: In February, bass start to move up ditches and drains. Work the edges with the baits mentioned above. Don’t get in a hurry, as the water temperature is still cold and fish will often be in groups. BANK ACCESS: Below the dam for catfish/striper when generators are running; for generator schedule see www.srala-toledo.com

Stripers Galore LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 54.142, W98 280.68

A L M A N A C

LOCATION: Graham/Edelman HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. LOCATION: Graham/Edelman HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. LOCATION: Lake Palo Pinto HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigs, slabs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. “Burn” slabs off bottom if you locate a stacked school.

Email: Calixto: cgonzales@fishgame.com Kyle: ktomek@fishgame.com Bob: bhood@fishgame.com Tom: tbehrens@fishgame.com

On the Web SPECIES: stripers BEST BAITS: slabs and jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com

|

TIPS: Look for working birds and drift toward them. LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 54.142, W98 28.068 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: slabs and jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Look for working birds and drift toward them.

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

www.fishgame.com/hotspots —Interactive fishing hotspot finder, with GPS and inside data on over 1,200 locations.

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/15


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/16


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

Depth + Structure = Success in February ISHING ALONG THE TEXAS GULF COAST IN February can be tough. From the bone chilling north winds to the frigid waters, extremely low tides, and seeming lack of bait and fish, it’s no wonder most folks opt for staying close to the comforts of home. There are fish to be caught, however, and the experienced diehards know exactly where to go and what to do. Experience from years of winter fishing can help eliminate a lot of water. First of all, baitfishes and game fishes don’t particularly like the cold any more than we do. Shallow flats and shorelines are not exactly where they like to hang out on blustery February mornings. They will seek out deeper, warmer nest beds until the mid afternoon sun warms the shallows to something a little more tolerable. Look for deep holes or channels. Finding hidden structure like oyster or clam beds can be like finding a hidden treasure. Baitfishes will utilize these areas for comfort as

F

5:06 PM

Page C/17

well as protection. The south end of Sabine Lake is basically one giant oyster reef where depths fluctuate from 4 to about 15 feet. There is also a deep channel for large boats just north of the Causeway Bridge that allows them to enter the Sabine ship channel or Intracoastal Canal. The entire reef can be an ideal location when targeting Sabine specks in February. Use your sonar to mark bait and find guts, humps, and ledges along the massive oyster bottom. Anchor or drift over these areas and work them slowly with long soft plastics. Assassins, Sand Eels, and Super Flukes rigged with 1/4- or 1/8-ounce heads work well. Darker colors like Red Shad, Morning Glory, and Purple do the most damage. Another time-tested February hotspot is the Entergy Outfall Canal. Located in the Neches River about 1/2 mile north of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, this is a very consistent wintertime fish producer. The warm water discharged from the power plant literally feels like bath water making its

way down the canal and into the Neches River. The mouth of the canal is a good place to start. Anchor and cast toward the middle of the channel. Live mud minnows, finger mullet and fresh dead shrimp work well for specks, reds, flounder, and black drum. Place an egg sinker or split shot about 18 inches above a 3/0 kale hook and let it roll along the drop-off with the current. The very back of the canal can also be very good at times. Mud minnows, fresh shrimp, rat-l-traps, and gold spoons work well on the redfish that stack up along the rocks.

Contact: Eddie Hernandez, ehernandez@fishgame.com

www.twitter.com/FishandGame

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Port Neches Riverfront Park SPECIES: redfish and croaker BAIT: finger mullet, mud minnows, fresh dead shrimp BEST TIMES: High Tide

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/17


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

Post-Ike Rebuilding is Slow Work N LATE SEPTEMBER, I TOOK A DRIVE UP THE coast from Freeport to about the midpoint on Bolivar Peninsula to check recovery progress from Hurricane Ike. It was an interesting trip, with both encouraging sights and somber ones. It is astounding that Ike could have caused such tremendous damage from below Freeport to well above Sabine Pass. The beach between Surfside and San Luis Pass almost touches the road in many places (no dunes at all), and the San Luis Pass Pier is gone. There is a wide expanse of sand for beach fishermen on the west end of the island, and noticeably fewer dunes. I was surprised all the big beach mansions on the west end of Galveston Island had survived,

I

C/18 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

5:06 PM

Page C/18

but dismayed to see the Gulf Coast Pier (90th Street) and the 61st Street Pier destroyed. Much of the beach below the seawall is still gone, and several of the beachfront rock groins were under construction to either beef them up or repair damage. Some had fishermen on them, but others were roped off. The pier on the end of the Flagship Hotel was still there, mostly, but the hotel itself seems extensively damaged and one of the drives from Seawall Boulevard had fallen into the surf. There is obviously no access to the main pier. The Balinese Room and other beachfront standbys were gone, and new construction taking their place. On Bolivar, the most extensive damage seemed to have been on the northern end toward High Island. Many of the older beach houses closer to Galveston were still standing, but many more gone. Old businesses were destroyed, but new ones opening. Construction was everywhere, so the peninsula is rising from the wreckage. The drought pretty much ended in September with large amounts of rain that muddied streams and inshore waters, and brought back hordes of mosquitoes. Those remaining rock groins and the surf will be good spots to find panfishes during colder months, but it is too early right now to predict how cold our February weather will be. Although, rumors from weather guessers are

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

that a wetter, colder winter is expected. Saltwater is heavier than fresh, so fishing deep can produce even when muddy conditions are discouraging. 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: The lone fishing pier still in operating condition in early fall was the one in Seawolf Park on Pelican Island. Since the beachfront piers were mostly washed away and will require complete rebuilding, this small pier could be the only game in town for some time. The location jutting into the ship channel at Bolivar Roads makes this a good winter fishing spot, especially for flounder and migrating black drum. ALTERNATE SPOT: If the pier gets too crowded, fishing from the bulkhead bank of the park on the channel side can be very good as well. SPECIES: Redfish, flounder, black drum, and panfishes. Some of the drum will be oversized, requiring heavier tackle than the normal “trout rig.” BEST BAITS: For the big drum, quartered blue crab on a circle hook fished on or near the bottom is the way to go. Use the shrimp-like “Sea Bob” if crab are not available. Flounder will be fooled by live mud minnows or small live finger mullet worked slowly on the bottom behind a bouncing sinker. Fresh squid will pay off on panfishes. BEST TIMES: As always, inshore fishing is ruled by water movement. Tide tables are often more accurate for the Pelican Island area than other inshore spots, and the key to fast action here will be a strong tidal movement in either direction. A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

Consider Other Species in February ADMIT, FEBRUARY IS MY LEAST FAVORITE month; football is done, baseball has yet to begin, and hunting season is over. Nippy, wet weather is normally the forecast, and gray skies provide a dreary backdrop. Now the good news: you can catch fish, despite my pessimism. It might require you leaving your fishing comfort zone, but February fishing can be productive. First, find a muddy bottom. By now, you have read it countless times how dark, soggy bay floors hold the warmest winter waters. It’s true. One degree of difference is often the only variable in an area holding schools of fish. So, there’s a start. Now, look for bait. It probably will be scarce. Frigid waters turn baitfish lethargic as well, so if you see one mullet flip, you better fish the area. “Sometimes all I see are a handful of mullet all day,” said guide James Plaag. “Trout don’t need a whole lot of mullet this time of year - they might only eat a few times a week.” Redfish, on the other hand, are readily available in guts and bayous. Some of the lowest tides of the year occur this month, so eliminate miles of shoreline with only inches of water. Concentrate on the areas that fall from waist to chest deep during the summer - those same areas are probably shin- to waist-deep in February.

I

|

A L M A N A C

5:06 PM

Page C/19

“Winter redfishing is sometimes too easy,” said guide Mark Talasek. “If your boat can get you in those sloughs with only a few inches of water, lots of redfish will be waiting in the guts. It’s a cold boat ride, but quick limits.” Talasek likes to find points of sloughs and bayous and anchor within casting distance. These points normally hold the deepest water as outgoing and incoming tidal flow provide depressions. Live shrimp under a popping cork works every time, but plastics and gold spoons work as well. Specie that rarely gets rave reviews is the sheepshead. The convict-looking fish with human-looking teeth is a winter stable along rocks and granite. Most sheepies hang just below the surface and dine on crustaceans and organisms hanging against the rocks. Live shrimp under a popping cork is the most effective bait; and, once you get past its motley mug, the sheepshead’s white meat will surely please your palate. Sand trout are another winter option that requires minimal skills. Channels and bayous with tidal flow to and from the Gulf of Mexi-

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

THE BANK BITE WHERE: Texas Baptist Encampment Piers SPECIES: trout, redfish, sheepshead, sand trout BAITS: shrimp, shad, mullet co receive regular influxes of the shrimp-loving bottom-feeders. Carolina-rigged fresh shrimp put plenty of fillets on the deck; and, despite the rumors, the white fillets fry up really nice and store well in the freezer with a little lemon juice. Provided flooding rains do not persist, the Colorado River and Caney Creek in Sargent should be winter players at night. Pier anglers set up lights and find trout, reds, and sandies on shrimp and glow plastics. Black drum show up later in the month.

Contact: Bink Grimes, www.binkgrimesoutdoors.com

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/19


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/20

THE BANK BITE GOOSE ISLAND SHORELINE IS A GOOD

February Solitude EBRUARY IS MY FAVORITE TIME TO WADE; the bays are quiet and boat traffic is at a minimum. Most folks are tucked away in the warmth of their homes. This is artificial lure heaven for me; the gin clear water allows me to see how new lures run and the action that my various rods put on soft plastics and topwaters.

F

This time of year is search and discover at its best. The lower tides, exposed reefs, and sand bars that remain under water most of the year poke their structure-based heads up and always humble me. Just when I think I know it all, a new reef (at least new to me) exposes itself. This is coverall weather and a hot thermos of coffee is a mainstay. The huge apple fritters from the Rockport Bakery seem to find their way into my snack sack as well (don’t tell my wife, she thinks I’m eating tofu and kiwi fruit). The water beckons me to put on my heavy neoprene waders and slip over the edge of my Bigfoot. The light north wind and gray overcast are tailor made for this guide, who is a pure angler at heart. The agenda for the day is lots of very slow shuffling--and get out the Ben Gay for the shoulder ‘cuz it is cast city. No wadebelt, just my old stringer and its sorry excuse for a float and as many lures and Berkley Gulp! baits as I can stuff into my wader pouches. No net, as this is catch and release for the most part with just two or three keepers for supper. My written and mental notes from earlier in the season provide an almost endless list of spots to check. On warmer days, I fish the flats over black mud, which holds the warmth of the sun, and if I can find mud flats scattered with sand pockets, even better. C/20 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

On colder days, I look for cuts and trenches that afford depth and thermocline protection. I know the key to success here is moving slow and casting a lot. The retrieve has to be twice as slow as you would think, especially with topwaters like Super Spooks and my old Cajun Plugs (they don’t make ’em anymore). I cast and let the lure sit until all the ripples are gone, then work the lure slowly back. On real cold days, a single cast might take 2-3 minutes to retrieve. With soft plastics or scented lures, I literally dig mud and sand on the bottom--that’s how slow the retrieve is. As the sun heads toward the horizon, my 18-inch trout and 22-inch red seem to weigh a ton, my lower back is sore, and toward the end, I have to cast with my other arm; my right shoulder finally said, “enough.” I don’t remember wading this far from the boat; I stuck her hard into the mud so I know she hasn’t drifted away. About when I’m plumb give out, I remember that thermos of coffee and apple fritter I’ll get into as I sit on my boat, enjoying the close of a chilly February day. It’s a time of reflection on the upcoming year and the losses of the past year. God knows I miss my sister; cancer doesn’t seem like a fit parting for such a wonderful woman. She was my compass in life, and with her gone, my bearings will not be nearly as clear or straight. It makes my heart glad to know this is where she would want me to be. I wonder if tofu and kiwi fruit taste good. Copano Bay: The Italian shoreline will be holding black drum. Peeled shrimp on a fish-finder rig works well here. Redfish Point is good in a north wind using cut mullet or menhaden for reds; good trout action west of the Turtle Pens using a popping cork and live shrimp. Aransas Bay: Grass Island Reef is good for trout using mud minnows. Berkley Gulp! Sand Eels in Rootbeer and Morning Glory colors are the ticket for flounder and T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

PLACE WITH A NORTH WIND FOR REDS AND TROUT USING MUD MINNOWS, SARDINES, OR CUT MULLET. THE KEY HERE IS TO GET THE BAIT OUT PAST THE DROP. THE SHEEPSHEAD ACTION IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL ON THE LBJ CAUSEWAY USING PEELED SHRIMP ON SMALLER HOOKS. THERE ARE SOME NICE BLACK DRUM THAT FREQUENT THIS AREA AS WELL, BUT YOU WILL NEED A BASKET NET TO GET THEM ONTO THE PIER. reds at the north end of Deadman’s Reef. Paul’s Mott on a falling tide is a good place for trout and flounder using grubs in white and chartreuse on a 1/16-ounce jighead Carlos Bay: On colder days, focus on Carlos Dugout using soft plastics. Black Bass Assassins and natural shrimp colors work well here for reds. The North Reef bank of Carlos Lake on warmer days is good for reds using mud minnows or cut mullet. Mesquite Bay: The trench at Cedar Dugout is good for reds and trout using a popping cork and shrimp. On calm days, there is good topwater action on Beldon’s Reef using Super Spooks in Bone and red colors. Bray’s Cove is good for flounder using finger mullet on a Carolina rig; the key is to move the bait slowly across the bottom until you get a hit. Ayres Bay: Fish into the shoreline of Rattlesnake Island for black drum using peeled shrimp free-lined or on a Carolina rig. Allow the drum to take the bait for a 34 count before setting the hook. The northeast shoreline of the second chain of islands is good for reds using cut menhaden or finger mullet.

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

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/21

THE BANK BITE

Deep Thinking Mr. Gonzales: I’m a long-time reader of your magazine, and I always enjoy your publication’s editorial content. Over the past few years, however, I’ve noticed that you seem to pay more attention to fish such as black drum, sheepshead, mangrove snapper, and pompano during the winter months. Are there no spots on Lower Laguna Madre for speckled trout in the winter? —Sam Rivers R. RIVERS: I REALLY APPRECIATE THE TIME you take to read Texas Fish and Game, and I appreciate you taking the time to write. The short-form answer to your question is that trout and redfish don’t go into hibernation when water temperatures dip below 65 degrees. In fact, I try to provide many trout haunts in the monthly Hotspots reports. Sitting here in front of my laptop, I can think of Long Bar, The Pasture, and Holly Beach. If we move north to the Arroyo City area, then you can add Green Island, the Arroyo mouth, and the Second Color Change. These, of course, are listed elsewhere in our pages and should provide you with some good fishing. However, sometimes, a serious cold snap turns weather colder than the usual winter fare, and water temperatures will dip down below 60 degrees (the Early December cold front that finally finished of the red tide bloom down here, for example, pushed LLM water temperatures down to 58 degrees for three or four days). When that happens, cold-blooded trout will abandon their shallow water haunts and seek the warmer, more comfortable environment of deeper water. Fishermen being fishermen, most of us are willing to brave 50-, 40-, even high 30-

M

|

A L M A N A C

degree weather to wet a line, especially if we have had a trip to the coast planned for quite some time. Our wives will stay buried under the blankets and mumble that we’re crazy, and our dogs won’t even get up and follow us to the kitchen, but we’ll grab rods and tackle box, hitch up the bay boat, and make the run to the coast. The only thing that will keep us in bed is a howling north wind. No one will buck that. If you are among the happy few that will brave drizzle, even rain, and cold temperatures to have a shot at some trout, there are plenty of deep water spots to turn your attention to, and some of them are not very far from most Port Isabel and South Padre Island boat ramps. One spot that anglers who do not want to venture to far from port should consider is the Port Isabel Turning Basin (N26 3.761, W97 9.482). The deep water of the turning basin is a major fish magnet after a serious cold snap, and can offer some excellent fishing. Speckled trout will hold along the dropoff near the shoreline. A depth finder can be very useful here, because it will pinpoint the depth break. Some anglers prefer anchoring in the shallows and casting out towards the drop-off, but I’ve been more successful dogging-up in deeper water and casting up to the edge and easing the bait or lure into the dropoff. Tackle and techniques are relatively simple. A live shrimp on a 1/0 Octopus 14 inches below a No. 3 split shot will present a very natural offering that a trout will not pass up. Let the bait fall along the edge on a semislack line. When you feel a bump or see the line jump, ease the rod up until the line comes tight, and you’re hooked up. Faux shrimp, such as the 1/4-ounce DOA Shrimp are good choices too. Fish them the same way as you would a live bait. Another good cold-water trout spot is the Y (N26 2.860, W97 12.430), which is the confluence of the Port Isabel Boat Channel and the Brownsville Ship Channel. The drop-offs along the inner channel edges and T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

HOT SPOT: Dolphin Point GPS: N26 4.044, W97 9.712 SPECIES: sheepshead, black drum TIPS: Fish live or fresh shrimp under a popping cork. Work near the rocks. Fish on bottom for drum. the points have structure that trout aggregate around in cooler weather. The mangroves on the channel and center island shorelines are also keen trout and redfish spots when the weather is warmer and fish move up to forage. If you choose to work the shallows on a mild day, a gold spoon, Topwater in Bone or Pearl, or a swimbait such as a DOA Tandem or Yum Money Minnow are tough to beat. The DOA Tandem, sold by SPI Lures (956-943-FISH), is a unique rig. Rather than on separate stagings, the baits are in line with one another with a 1/16-ounce bullet weight in between. The smallest amount of action, even just turning the reel handle, induces a darting, walk the dog action. The setup is effective on a variety of game fishes, but especially deadly on trout. This is a shallow bait, but I have experimented with them in deep water and slow retrieves with some promising results. One last thing, this is structure-oriented fishing. Do not be surprised if you run into a variety of structure-loving species during your outing. It is not uncommon to find sheepshead, mangrove snapper, black drum, or even a flounder keeping company with the trout in your cooler. All these fish gravitate to deep-water structure at one point or another during foul weather. On one trip, my fishing partner Jim Brewster and I were only catching dink trout after dink trout. On speculation, I eased my boat further away from the drop-off and located a school of keeper-sized drum cruising along the bottom of the depthbreak. Still, the trout were there, and they will be pretty much all winter when the weather goes in the toilet. Contact: Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/21


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/22

Tides and Prime Times

FEBRUARY 2010 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.

T3 T2 T1

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

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.

TIDE PREDICTIONS are shown in graph form, with High and Low tide predictions in text immediately below.

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

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 T22 T23

KEYS TO USING THE TIDE AND SOLUNAR GRAPHS TIDE LE VEL GRAPH: Yellow: Daylight

12a

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Green: Falling Tide

AM/PM Timeline

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

C/22 |

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 F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

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 C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/23

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

2

THURSDAY

3

Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 9:03p

Set: 5:56p Set: 8:37a

AM Minor: 6:58a

PM Minor: 7:23p

AM Minor: 7:55a

PM Minor: 8:20p

AM Minor: 8:51a

PM Minor: 9:16p

AM Major: 12:45a

PM Major: 1:11p

AM Major: 1:43a

PM Major: 2:08p

AM Major: 2:39a

PM Major: 3:04p

Sunrise: 7:07a Set: 5:57p Moonrise: 10:08p Set: 9:13a

Moon Overhead: 2:21a 6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 5:58p Moonrise: 11:12p Set: 9:48a

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

4

 6

5

7

Set: 6:00p Sunrise: 7:04a Set: 11:49a Moonrise: 2:17a

Set: 6:01p Set: 12:36p

AM Minor: 9:47a

PM Minor: 10:12p

AM Minor: 10:40a

PM Minor: 11:06p

AM Minor: 11:32a

PM Minor: 11:58p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:22p

AM Major: 3:34a

PM Major: 3:59p

AM Major: 4:28a

PM Major: 4:53p

AM Major: 5:19a

PM Major: 5:45p

AM Major: 6:09a

PM Major: 6:35p

Moon Overhead: 4:52a 12a

SUNDAY

Set: 5:59p Sunrise: 7:04a Set: 5:58p Sunrise: 7:05a Set: 10:25a Moonrise: 12:16a Set: 11:05a Moonrise: 1:18a

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: None

Moon Overhead: 4:02a

Moon Overhead: 3:12a

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:35a

Moon Overhead: 5:43a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:27a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 1

12a

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 2:46p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

1:30 — 4:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 5:17p BEST:

2:30 — 5:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 6:09p BEST:

3:00 — 6:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 7:01p BEST:

4:00 — 6:30 AM

5:00 — 8:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 7:53p +2.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:27p

TIDE LEVELS

12:30 — 3:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 3:37p

High Tide: 4:47 am 0.93 ft Low Tide: 12:03 am Low Tide: 11:32 am -0.41 ft High Tide: 6:10 am High Tide: 6:22 pm 0.85 ft Low Tide: 12:17 pm High Tide: 6:42 pm

0.08 ft 0.83 ft -0.08 ft 0.81 ft

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

1:00 am 7:42 am 1:00 pm 7:01 pm

-0.15 ft 0.75 ft 0.25 ft 0.80 ft

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

2:02 am 9:29 am 1:41 pm 7:16 pm

-0.33 ft 0.73 ft 0.54 ft 0.81 ft

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

3:09 am 11:53 am 2:11 pm 7:16 pm

-0.46 ft Low Tide: 4:21 am 0.78 ft High Tide: 3:26 pm 0.77 ft 0.83 ft

-0.55 ft Low Tide: 5:32 am 0.92 ft High Tide: 3:54 pm

-0.60 ft 1.00 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/24

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

9

THURSDAY

10

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

12

11

SUNDAY

 13

14

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 3:12a

Set: 6:02p Set: 1:27p

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 4:02a

Set: 6:03p Set: 2:20p

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 4:47a

Set: 6:03p Set: 3:15p

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 5:28a

Set: 6:04p Set: 4:11p

Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 6:04a

Set: 6:05p Set: 5:06p

Sunrise: 6:59a Moonrise: 6:36a

Set: 6:06p Set: 6:00p

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 7:06a

Set: 6:07p Set: 6:53p

AM Minor: 12:44a

PM Minor: 1:10p

AM Minor: 1:31a

PM Minor: 1:56p

AM Minor: 2:16a

PM Minor: 2:40p

AM Minor: 3:00a

PM Minor: 3:23p

AM Minor: 3:42a

PM Minor: 4:05p

AM Minor: 4:24a

PM Minor: 4:46p

AM Minor: 5:06a

PM Minor: 5:27p

AM Major: 6:57a

PM Major: 7:23p

AM Major: 7:44a

PM Major: 8:09p

AM Major: 8:28a

PM Major: 8:53p

AM Major: 9:11a

PM Major: 9:35p

AM Major: 9:54a

PM Major: 10:16p

AM Major: 10:35a

PM Major: 10:56p

AM Major: 10:52a

PM Major: ——-

Moon Overhead: 8:19a 6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 10:00a

Moon Overhead: 9:10a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:47a 12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 12:15p

Moon Overhead: 11:32a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:57p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

8

12a

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 8:45p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 11:10p

BEST:

1:00 — 3:30 AM

BEST:

10:00A — 1:00P

Moon Underfoot: 11:54p BEST:

11:00A — 2:00P

Moon Underfoot: None

Moon Underfoot: 12:36a

BEST:

3:30 — 6:30 AM

+2.0

BEST:

4:00 — 7:00 AM

5:00 — 7:30 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 10:24p

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 9:35p

Low Tide: 6:36 am High Tide: 4:25 pm

C/24 |

-0.63 ft Low Tide: 1.02 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

7:30 am 4:49 pm 9:44 pm 11:12 pm

F E B R U A R Y

-0.64 ft Low Tide: 8:16 am 0.99 ft High Tide: 4:58 pm 0.87 ft Low Tide: 9:27 pm 0.88 ft

2 0 1 0

-0.62 ft High Tide: 12:30 am 0.94 ft Low Tide: 8:54 am 0.84 ft High Tide: 5:00 pm Low Tide: 9:18 pm

T E X A S

F I S H

0.91 ft -0.57 ft 0.89 ft 0.77 ft

&

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

1:30 am 9:26 am 5:04 pm 9:25 pm

0.92 ft -0.49 ft 0.85 ft 0.68 ft

G A M E ®

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

2:23 am 9:54 am 5:13 pm 9:48 pm

0.92 ft -0.39 ft 0.83 ft 0.56 ft

A L M A N A C

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

|

3:14 am 10:19 am 5:25 pm 10:19 pm

0.91 ft -0.26 ft 0.82 ft 0.44 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/25


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:06 PM

Page C/26

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

16

THURSDAY

17

Set: 6:07p Set: 7:45p

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 8:03a

Set: 6:08p Set: 8:38p

Sunrise: 6:56a Moonrise: 8:32a

Set: 6:09p Set: 9:32p

Sunrise: 6:55a Moonrise: 9:02a

AM Minor: 5:49a

PM Minor: 6:09p

AM Minor: 6:33a

PM Minor: 6:53p

AM Minor: 7:18a

PM Minor: 7:39p

AM Major: 11:35a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:23a

PM Major: 12:43p

AM Major: 1:08a

PM Major: 1:28p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:58p

Moon Overhead: 2:17p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

18

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 7:35a

Moon Overhead: 1:37p

FRIDAY

19

 21

20

Set: 6:10p Sunrise: 6:54a Set: 10:28p Moonrise: 9:36a

Set: 6:11p Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 6:11p Set: 11:27p Moonrise: 10:15a Set: None

AM Minor: 8:06a

PM Minor: 8:27p

AM Minor: 8:56a

PM Minor: 9:19p

AM Minor: 9:48a

PM Minor: 10:14p

AM Minor: 10:43a

PM Minor: 11:11p

AM Major: 1:55a

PM Major: 2:17p

AM Major: 2:44a

PM Major: 3:07p

AM Major: 3:36a

PM Major: 4:01p

AM Major: 4:30a

PM Major: 4:57p

Moon Overhead: 3:42p 12a

SUNDAY

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 5:19p

Moon Overhead: 4:28p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:52a Set: 6:12p Moonrise: 11:00a Set: 12:28a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:13p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

15

12a

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 1:17a +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

Moon Underfoot: 3:20a

BEST:

BEST:

1:00 — 3:30 PM

BEST:

2:00 — 4:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 4:53a

Moon Underfoot: 5:46a

BEST:

9:00 — 11:00 PM

+2.0

BEST:

10:00P — 12:00A

4:00 — 6:30 AM

TIDE LEVELS

12:30 — 3:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 4:05a

TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 2:38a

BEST:

5:30 — 8:00 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:57a

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

4:05 am 10:44 am 5:38 pm 10:52 pm

C/26 |

0.87 ft -0.11 ft 0.80 ft 0.31 ft

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

4:59 am 11:10 am 5:49 pm 11:27 pm

F E B R U A R Y

0.83 ft 0.05 ft 0.79 ft 0.19 ft

High Tide: 5:59 am 0.80 ft Low Tide: 11:35 am 0.23 ft High Tide: 5:56 pm 0.78 ft

2 0 1 0

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

T E X A S

12:05 am 7:08 am 12:02 pm 5:52 pm

0.07 ft 0.77 ft 0.42 ft 0.79 ft

F I S H

&

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

12:47 am 8:36 am 12:26 pm 5:34 pm

-0.05 ft 0.77 ft 0.61 ft 0.84 ft

G A M E ®

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

1:38 am 10:31 am 12:43 pm 5:16 pm

-0.17 ft Low Tide: 2:39 am 0.82 ft High Tide: 5:13 pm 0.80 ft 0.94 ft

A L M A N A C

|

-0.29 ft 1.04 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:10 PM

Page C/27

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

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

22 SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

23 Sunrise: 6:50a Set: 6:13p Moonrise: 12:53p Set: 2:31a

25

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

27

26

28

Sunrise: 6:49a Moonrise: 2:00p

Set: 6:14p Set: 3:28a

Sunrise: 6:48a Moonrise: 3:10p

Set: 6:15p Set: 4:21a

Sunrise: 6:47a Moonrise: 4:22p

Set: 6:16p Set: 5:09a

Sunrise: 6:46a Moonrise: 5:32p

Set: 6:16p Set: 5:51a

Sunrise: 6:45a Moonrise: 6:40p

Set: 6:17p Set: 6:30a

AM Minor: 11:40a

PM Minor: ——-

AM Minor: 12:06a

PM Minor: 12:37p

AM Minor: 1:02a

PM Minor: 1:33p

AM Minor: 1:57a

PM Minor: 2:27p

AM Minor: 2:51a

PM Minor: 3:20p

AM Minor: 3:43a

PM Minor: 4:10p

AM Minor: 4:35a

PM Minor: 5:01p

AM Major: 5:25a

PM Major: 5:54p

AM Major: 6:22a

PM Major: 6:52p

AM Major: 7:18a

PM Major: 7:48p

AM Major: 8:12a

PM Major: 8:42p

AM Major: 9:05a

PM Major: 9:34p

AM Major: 9:57a

PM Major: 10:24p

AM Major: 10:48a

PM Major: 11:14p

Moon Overhead: 7:11p

12a

24

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:13p

Moon Overhead: 8:12p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:13p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None

Moon Overhead: 11:11p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 6:51a Set: 6:13p Moonrise: 11:53a Set: 1:30a

THURSDAY

Moon Overhead: 12:05a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 6:42a +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 9:44a BEST:

12:30 — 3:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 10:42a BEST:

1:30 — 3:30 AM

10:30P — 12:00A

Moon Underfoot: 11:38a

Moon Underfoot: 12:55p

BEST:

+2.0

BEST:

3:30 — 6:00 AM

12:00 — 2:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 8:43a

TIDE LEVELS

6:30 — 9:00 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:42a

Low Tide: 3:49 am High Tide: 5:19 pm

-0.41 ft Low Tide: 5:02 am 1.12 ft High Tide: 3:36 pm

|

-0.54 ft Low Tide: 6:10 am 1.16 ft High Tide: 3:23 pm

A L M A N A C

-0.64 ft Low Tide: 1.18 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

T E X A S

7:11 am 3:37 pm 7:56 pm 11:59 pm

F I S H

-0.70 ft Low Tide: 8:07 am 1.15 ft High Tide: 3:53 pm 0.97 ft Low Tide: 8:27 pm 1.10 ft

&

G A M E ®

-0.67 ft High Tide: 1:31 am 1.09 ft Low Tide: 8:58 am 0.77 ft High Tide: 4:11 pm Low Tide: 9:08 pm

1.14 ft -0.55 ft 1.02 ft 0.52 ft

F E B R U A R Y

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

2 0 1 0

2:50 am 9:47 am 4:30 pm 9:53 pm

|

1.16 ft -0.35 ft 0.97 ft 0.24 ft

C/27

+1.0

0

-1.0


12/30/09

5:12 PM

Page C/28

PHOTO COURTESY BEN BARTLETT

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

Stalking the Arena EN BARTLETT HAS LOGGED SOME MEMORABLE experiences over the years chasing big game critters, but none to compare to the wild chain of events that unfolded deep in the heart of his Angelina County hunting club on the afternoon of 23 October 2009. The deer hunting gods were hard at work that day, and they cooked up a doozy for the veteran archer from Lufkin. Interestingly, killing a deer was the farthest thing from Bartlett’s mind as he boarded a canoe and paddled down the old Neches River channel. His main objectives were to scout for acorns in a stretch of woods in

B

C/28 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

the remote backcountry and ultimately find a good spot to take his 12-year-old daughter, Alli, hunting the following morning.

by Matt Williams Bartlett was making his way down an old logging road shortly before sundown when the distinctive sound of clashing antlers and cracking brush overpowered the sough of a light breeze in the treetops. Experience told him what he was hearing was a pair of heavyweights going at it. “It was pretty obvious this was not a couT E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

ple of pencil-horn bucks sparring,” Bartlett said. “The sound of two mature bucks locking up has a real distinctive sound to it. I had no doubts this was the real deal.” Certain the battling bucks were close, probably within 200 yards, the hunter raced down the road to shave some distance before ditching his daypack and melding into the dark woods. Bartlett pushed through a dense thicket that eventually opened up into an oak flat cluttered with clumps of palmetto and underbrush. He spotted the bucks at about 40 yards, but dim light made it impossible A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

to tell much about either deer other than both were shooters. “The fight was pretty intense, very violent,” he said. “Both of the bucks had their heads down and it was just a tangle of horns. I could see their muscles bulging as they pushed and braced for leverage against one another. It was a pretty awesome sight.” Bartlett played on the fit of rage to trim the gap even closer. He inched closer each time the battle moved behind a palmetto clump, eventually closing to within 18 yards before he dropped to one knee on the soggy ground and brought his compound bow to a full draw. “I really don’t remember drawing; it’s pretty much a blur now because everything happened so quick,” Bartlett said. “But I do remember watching and waiting as the buck that was winning pushed the other one into a small clearing. I was a little nervous about taking the shot, because their movements were so erratic. They stopped for a split second when one of the deer coiled to push back; it gave me a clear shot, so I took it.” The arrow found its mark just behind the shoulder and passed completely through.

|

A L M A N A C

5:13 PM

Page C/29

Remarkably, neither deer reacted or appeared alarmed. The heated battle continued for about eight more seconds before the wounded buck collapsed and died. Seizing the opportunity to finish a job that was already done, the larger buck hooked and gored the lifeless body of its erstwhile adversary multiple times before fleeing the scene a minute or so later. Bartlett said he passed on multiple opportunities to shoot the second buck, which easily had 10 inches on the 140-class whitetail that lay motionless on the ground. “As soon as the buck went down, I started approaching them,” he said. “I blew like a doe four or five times, but it didn’t faze him. He was so pumped up and determined to put the other buck down he either didn’t notice me or just didn’t care. I honestly believe I could have walked up and spanked him on the butt, although that would have been a pretty foolish thing to do.” The eight-point typical Bartlett arrowed grossed 141-6/8 Boone & Crockett, 1402/8 Pope & Young. Bizarre as it might seem, Bartlett’s encounter is not his first with stalking fight-

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

ing whitetails. However, it is the first time he has been successful at killing one. Looking back, he thinks his success might have hinged on the fact he threw caution to the wind and moved in quickly on the brawling bucks, before they had time to finish their business. “I’ve tried sneaking in [on buck fights] before, and each time the fight was over by the time I got there,” Bartlett said. “In retrospect, I think I have always been too cautious and moved too slow to avoid making a bunch of noise. If it ever happens again, you can bet I’ll be trying to get there as fast I can.” Witnessing a brawl between two mature bucks at any distance is a prize encounter few deer hunters are fortunate enough to experience in a lifetime of hunting. Getting a ringside seat and drawing blood with a bow and arrow is virtually unheard of. It just goes to show you anything can happen in good deer woods when the hunting gods are hard at work.

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/29


12/30/09

SAM Splint for Those “What the Sam Hill?” Moments

PHOTO COURTESY SAM MEDICAL PRODUCTS

THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF OUTDOORSMEN: THOSE who have injured themselves while hunting, camping, or fishing, and those who are going to--and the first group is, unfortunately, part of the second group, too. Most sports-related injuries are not life threaten-

Sam Splint ing, but some can be, and preparedness can make the difference between life and death in certain instances. The hunter who sprains an ankle miles from his vehicle in the rough Montana mountains, or the fisherman who breaks a leg stepping over a mossy log in a Colorado trout stream, can die of exposure, starvation, or wild animal attack before help arrives. Having the tools to mend ones own hurts is vital to the outdoorsman. A well-stocked first aid kit is one of the “10 essentials” for outdoor recreation, and no medical kit is complete without at least one SAM Splint. SAM stands for “Structural Aluminum, Malleable.” The SAM Splint is made of a C/30 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

5:14 PM

Page C/30

thin sheet of aluminum encased in closedcell foam. The splint can be shaped to fit any injured body part, and when combined with an ACE bandage, it’s just what the doctor ordered to immobilize almost any sprain, broken bone, or other injury. The splint can even be made into a T shape to rigidly support a damaged back. A trauma surgeon named Sam Scheinberg invented the SAM Splint during the Vietnam War. Dr. Scheinberg noticed that most military medics refrained from using the splints issued by the U.S. Army. One day, while toying with a foil gum wrapper, he had an idea for a better splint, and eventually designed what has become a staple for emergency medical personnel the world over. SAM Splints come in various sizes for ease of use on a variety of body parts, including fingers and toes. The standard is 36x4 inches, but the splint can easily be cut to any size with regular scissors. SAM Splints come in various colors, including olive drab green, which could come in handy for the turkey hunter who would rather keep hunting with a sprained ankle than let the injury cut his trip short. Most EMTs prefer the splint with blue foam on one side and bright orange on the other; they’re easier to find in the grass at accident scenes. The old Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” Put a SAM Splint and an T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

ACE bandage in your tackle box, hunting pack, or vehicle (or all three) before your next outing, and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you have what it takes to treat those annoying minor injuries, and even the occasional serious ones. Contact: SAM Medical Products, 800818-4726, www.sammedical.com —Kendal Hemphill

Owl Eyes for Outdoorsmen WHETHER YOU’RE STALKING IN THE PRE-DAWN hours, pulling through an inlet in inky darkness, or just trying to find your way in the dark, having night vision is an incredible asset. In the past, you could get cold-war era night-vision gear that gathered tiny amounts of light and amplified the images it provided. But these eerie green images weren’t always very clear, and they still required some amount of light to work. Infrared technology, on the other hand, offers a sharp, clear black and white picture. Everything creates some amount of thermal energy, so IR can see everything from tree branches to a bedded-down buck no matter what the light levels are--but it’s always been prohibitively expensive and often required a fixed-mount camera and remote LCD screen to view the images. That’s no longer the case,

FLIR First Mate PHOTO COURTESY FLIR SYSTEMS

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:15 PM

Page C/31

since FLIR introduced its First Mate to outdoorsmen. The First Mate is a hand-held scope that runs for five hours on a set of four AA batteries, has 2x zoom, is waterproof to IPX7 standards (that means it’s submersible to one meter for up to 30 minutes), and weighs a hair under 1-1/2 pounds with the batteries installed. The unit floats, so dropping it into the lake won’t be a tragedy. Add an SD card and still images can be stored for future reference. It also has video output, so you can pipe the images to a different screen if you want. Unlike traditional night vision gear, the FLIR won’t “white out” if you point it at a bright light. Contact: FLIR Systems, 800-4646372, www.flir.com —Lenny Rudow

Playin’ Hooky with Shimano Extreme Fishing for Wii

PHOTO COURTESY SHIMANO

Shimano Extreme Fishing for Wii

Spear- and bowfishing are similar in single-player mode, but multi-player mode didn’t hold our attention for too long because it’s just a matter of point and shoot. After two weeks of “testing,” I’ve noticed that when my boys fire up the video game machine, they reach for Extreme Fishing if playing alone, but if the two of them want to go head to head, it’s back to Smack-Down Pro Wrestling. I have one other complaint: Why is it that we can get a brand-new game, start off on a level playing field, and within an hour, all three of my kids can completely destroy me? They cast 100 feet and I cast 10. They plant an arrow into the beefy flanks of a

giant gar; I’m lucky to ricochet off a carp. They run the boat to the hotspot; I run it into a waterfall. (Note to game designers: We all agreed that the boat should have exploded.) Then again, you should see how bad I am at Smack-Down. —LR

On the Web www.sxf-game.com www.flir.com www.sammedical.com

IF YOU WANT TO CATCH A 200-POUND ARAPAIMA but don’t want to fly the Amazon to do it, then you’ll just have to play Shimano’s new Extreme Fishing for Wii. The coolest thing about this game is that you not only get to fish with a rod and reel, it also includes bowfishing and spearfishing. Why would you “play” at fishing when you could be doing the reel thing? You wouldn’t, and sitting in front of the Wii is no substitute for being on the water. But, when the rain is pouring down or the wind is blowing a gale, my entire family did find that it was a fun diversion. Rod and reel fishing is much like Wii fishing games we’ve seen in the past, where you choose your gear and target small fish first, then work your way up to larger ones. Once you have a fish on the line, you have to raise and lower the controller to keep tension without breaking off. To reel, you swing your hand in the same circular motion as if you were turning a real crank.

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/31


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

Buck Folds the ErgoHunter Knife WHEN BUCK KNIVES INTRODUCED THEIR INNOVAtive new ErgoHunter fixed-blade skinners a year ago, they were an instant hit with hunters. Inevitably, it led to the cry, “When will there be a folding knife version?” Many simply prefer folders these days. Typical of their reaction to the market, Buck unveiled three Folding ErgoHunters at the SHOT Show. In keeping with their good-better-best pricing, there are three models. All three have a 3” skinning blade, hollow ground and heat treated by Paul Bos for peak performance. Handles feature ergonomic contouring (called ”palm swell” in firearm grips) for maximum comfort and reduced hand fatigue. Raised, machine-cut checkering provides a secure grip. The Folding ErgoHunters provide

5:15 PM

Page C/32

ambidextrous one-hand opening, and have extra-thick locking liners made of 410 HC stainless steel. Heavyduty construction Buck ensures reliErgoHunter able performance. Conveniently sized, they are smaller than the fixed-blade for easier carry, and weigh just 4.5 oz. Overall length, locked open, is 71/8”. Top of the line is the Model 598 Folding ErgoHunter Pro, with a handle made of handsome Rosewood Dymondwood® inlaid into black rubber for a comfortable, sure grip. The blade is the finest quality S30V stainless steel for ultimate sharpness, superior edge retention,

toughness and corrosionresistance. With a genuine leather sheath, MSRP is $170. Model 597 Folding ErgoHunter Avid has a 12C27 Mod Sandvik steel blade, with a retail of $88. And the Model 595 Select has a blade made of Buck’s reliable 420HC stainless steel. MSRP, $73. These two come with a heavy-duty nylon sheath. As part of Buck’s “American Commitment,” the new Folding ErgoHunters are made in the USA, and are backed by Buck’s Forever Warranty. Contact: Buck Knives, Inc., 660 S. Lochsa Street Post Falls, ID 83854 (800) 326-2825 www.buckknives.com

Ocean Kayak Torque REPRESENTING THE NEXT GENERATION IN FISHING kayaks, the Ocean Kayak Torque is unlike anything else on the market. It seamlessly blends all the necessary equipment anglers need on the water and features a sternmounted Minn Kota Maximizer trolling motor with infinite variable speed drive control and reverse. Crafted around the successful Prowler Trident Angler kayak platform, the 13’ 10” Torque offers true hands-free Ocean trolling, a dry stable ride, good tracking while paddling Kayak

Torque

or under power and foot pegs for all day comfort. The motor provides up to 33 pounds of thrust that is controlled through a cockpit drive control knob in combination C/32 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

with an extra-large rudder. Other key features include a kill switch, large bow hatch, removable skeg for use on days when a motor isn?t necessary, areas to mount fishing accessories, transducer compatible scupper hole, paddle keeper, comfortable seat back and battery box (battery not included). Specs include: Length: 13’10”, Width: 29”, Weight: 71 lbs (75 lbs w/ skeg), Max capacity: 350-400 lbs (w/ motor + battery), 425-475 lbs (w/ skeg). www.oceankayak.com

Check Your Trailer Tongue Weight UNIFIED MARINE, INC., IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE the Safety 800 Trailer Tongue Weight Jack receiving the Innovation of the Year award at MAATS sponsored by the NMMA. The Safety 800 was built to provide valuable and immediate trailer tongue weight information to the towing vehicle’s operator. Tongue weight is often an overlooked but vitally important part of trailering. Trailer tongue weight can vary given the weight and position of gear loaded onto the boat. If the tongue weight is Safety too light the trailer can fish800 tail, swerve and become danTrailer gerous as speeds increase. If Weight the tongue weight is too Jack heavy, the weight can force the rear of the towing vehicle down. The increased weight on the vehicle’s rear wheels and axle can increase tire wear, tire failure and excessive wear on all suspension components. Also, front tire weight is lessened which decreases steering effectiveness. This out of balance situation negatively affects gas mileage, vehicle performance, and safety. The Safety 800 is the first and only

|

A L M A N A C

5:16 PM

Page C/33

trailer jack on the market that will tell the vehicle operator if the load is properly balanced on the trailer for safe, efficient, and proper towing. For more information contact Unified Marine, Inc. at 800-2828725 or visit www.seasense.com.

Low-Cost Night Vision

Cocoons over prescription sunwear

yellow Polar Polarized, scratch resistant lenses. Cocoons have a manufacturers suggested retail of $44.95, for more info visit www.cocoonseyewear.com.

THE ATAC 360° IS A LOW COST, HIGH RESOLUTION thermal imaging system that allows the user to see in total darkness. Utilizing a 320 x 240 resolution FLIR Camera with a full 360° rotation and 135° tilt, the system can easily see targets from over 1500 feet. The system uses long-wave infrared sensor technology and can easily see through many atmospheric conditions that could not easily be penetrated with other technologies.

ATAC 360°

This model includes a wireless hand-held and wireless dash mounted remote controls. The entire system operates on a 12V DC platform and is ideally suited for vehicles and watercraft. Contact: US Night Vision Corporation, 3845 Atherton Road, Suite 9, Rocklin, CA 95765 Toll Free (800) 500-4020 http://www.usnightvision.com/

Whole New Slate COCOONS, THE #1 BRAND OF OVERX (OVER PREscription) sunwear chosen by avid outdoorsmen, has expanded to include a new soft touch slate frame finish in all models. The addition of the slate frame will reiterate this brand reputation and meet the demands of an expanded outdoor consumer base. Slate frame finish is available in all six shapes with the option of gray, amber, copper or T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/33


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:17 PM

Page C/34

Easy2HookUSAWhy didn’t I think of that? MOST OF AMERICA’S 40,000,000 ANGLERS WOULD agree that next to “losing the big one”, the second item on anyone’s list of perennial fishing complaints is the often time-consuming, sometimes infuriating and, in rare instances, the just plain impossible act of knotting your fishing line to a hook. With Easy2HookUSA’s new line of “knotless” fishing hooks, anglers never have to tie a knot to attach their hooks to a line again. According to Ron Baskett, the company’s founder and CEO, the new fishing hooks do not require anglers to utilize a “knot” when tying their lines to a hook, but rather, allow people to employ a loop, wrap, and pull tight process known as E2H that totally eliminates the need for tying any knots at all. Baskett explained he first saw knotless fishing hooks at the ICAST show in Las Vegas in July of 2008 when he and a friend, now one of the partners in the business, where walking the floor looking for new and unique products to add the company’s original Bait Strap line of soft bait and attractant holders. “Basically, we were just walking the show, and as we passed by one of the booths, a man behind the table who spoke English with a foreign accent called us over and with an excited tone in his voice said, ‘You need to look at this hook!’ “ What followed was a demonstration of how E2H hooks attached to any fishing line without requiring a knot to hold them firmly in place. “I think both us said ‘no way’ simultaneously,” Baskett said, recalling the moment, but after seeing the demonstration multiple times and expending every effort to try to C/34 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

dislodge the line from the hooks, they both walked away true believers, determined to somehow be an integral part of the Easy2Hook story in America. As it turned out, the man demonstrating the hooks was Jules Beckman Lapre, managing director of Waterproof Innovations BV, a Dutch company charged with marketing the internationally patented hooks worldwide. A series of negotiations followed, and on 15 April 2009 Waterproof Innovations BV and Outdoor Specialty Innovations, Inc. signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the North American continent and Easy2HookUSA was born. “Our hooks eliminate the necessity of tying knots and do so without sacrificing the integrity of the line itself,” Baskett said, “Our process gives people an option that is easier, faster, and allows you to attach your lines in seconds, thereby increasing your chances for a successful fishing trip simply because your line is in the water a greater proportion of the time.” Baskett said the company believes the easy, convenient, and hassle-free knotless feature of Easy2Hook has the potential to change the future purchasing habits of many anglers around the country, and will potentially also attract new participants to the sport who in the past found the process of tying knots to attach traditional hooks frustrating. “We know we have a learning curve to overcome,” Baskett said. “After all, the fishing public has been tying hooks to their lines with knots in pretty much the same way for T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

a very, very long time. “We just want to give people an option, and our experience has been that there are very few products on the market today that invoke the kind of wow factor that Easy2Hook immediately elicits from anyone and everyone that sees them. We hear the statements like, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ and ‘That’s very cool,’ ‘Let me try one of those,’ over and over again.” Baskett said the company respects the fact that experienced anglers might at first question the new approach: “We understand legitimate concerns about whether or not the hook will hold to the line without a knot. But the E2H process of loop, wrap, and pull tight has been thoroughly tested over a four-year period and has been proven successful in field tests conducted under every fishing condition all over the world. We wouldn’t be marketing the product if we didn’t have total confidence in the attachment process. “I urge anyone considering the purchase of our hooks to view how easy the E2H attachment process is before they make their buying decision.”

On the Web www.easy2hookusa.com www.fishgame.com/video (Keyword: Easy2Hook)

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

Tricks of the Trade NOTHER MONTH HAS PASSED AND WITH IT another deer season. It seems like it just started, and now it is over in what seems like a blink of an eye. I for one have some great memories of the past season. All of the mornings waking up at darkthirty are now a distant memory, and thinking back about it, it was not that tough to do...now that it is over. I have had many hours in my stand to think of some of the tricks of the trade that some of my fellow hunters and I have tried and tested. Some of the ideas we had were absolutely brilliant while others will remain a secret among those of us who tried them. My good friend, Tom Ryan, came up with putting reflective tape on the back of his arrows between the fletching and nock. When I first saw this, I thought it was wasted effort. Then I helped him track a deer at night. He shined his high -powered flashlight ahead in the direction the deer had traveled, and there was his arrow on the ground off the beaten deer path. Had it not been for the reflective tape, we might have walked right passed that arrow. We would have missed all the information the blood on that arrow told us. He told me he lost an arrow while practicing and asked me to help him look for it. I immediately reminded him that it was already very dark outside and should wait until daylight. He took me outside and shined his light. Viola! There was his arrow shining like the morning sun. Here is one that worked like a charm for me, but you better sit down for this one (I would hate to have you fall down laughing): One Halloween I saw my friend’s spooky display. In that array of horrors was a

A

|

A L M A N A C

5:17 PM

Page C/35

dummy he filled with straw sitting in a chair on his front porch. A light bulb went on in my head. I went home and started my own “Halloween” dummy. The following summer, my masterpiece was ready. I dressed it in camo and took it to my deer stand. I strapped my new hunting buddy in the stand and left it there for the deer to see. The whitetails soon got used to seeing that dummy, and on opening morning, a different dummy was up there—one that could draw a bow and harvest a deer. I was amazed at how well this worked. Pretty cool, huh? Make sure you tie it in good and tight so it stays upright. It would be a useless attempt if the original dummy did not look realistic—at least, realistic enough to fool deer. We all have heard stories (or experienced ourselves) about climbing into a tree stand and then accidentally dropping some piece of crucial equipment to the ground. Now you have to climb down and retrieve the item. What a pain! It is especially a problem for those of us who use climbing stands. It is almost easier to carry two of everything rather than climb back down the tree and make all that excess noise. One company makes what it calls “the claw.” Made of heavy-duty plastic, the device is designed to pick up objects you drop. You tie the claw to a piece of rope and hope to drop it close to the object you are looking for. When you start to lift it, the claw closes on the object and you simply pull it up. I must say it works pretty well, but my friends and I have been using something that works even better, and is cheaper, too. I took apart a hard drive from an old computer and took out the magnet that was inside. It is small and very strong. I attached it to a 25-foot piece of mason string and wrapped it around a spool. It took almost no extra room in my pack. The mason string I used was 200-pound test, more than enough to lift whatever you dropped from your tree. Almost everything you have with you has T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

some metal on it someplace. You only need to get close with the magnet and you can pick up your object. If you find something that does not have metal, just attach a washer to it and you will be in business. I picked up an arrow that fell from my quiver once. No problem at all. The broadhead attached to the magnet and lifted with ease. Your release, arrows, knife, radio—the list could go on and on. I even tested it with my 22-ounce hammer. I tried jerking the line up and down to see if the hammer would fall, and it never did. These are just a few of the tricks that my friends and I have come up with. I am sure that the longer you spend time in your tree stands, the more your mind will wander a bit and you will be able to think of a few new tricks you can share. In fact, why not share your thoughts on the new Texas Fish & Game on-line discussion forums. It is a great place to discuss your experiences as an outdoors enthusiast. Remember to always hunt safe and have fun out there.

E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com

On the Web www.forum.fishgame.com (TF&G discussion forums)

www.twitter.com/FishandGame

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

www.FishGame.com F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/35


12/30/09

Aquapac Waterproof Cases PEND ENOUGH TIME OUTDOORS AND YOUR indoor world will eventually come crashing down around you. Case in point: I was bellybutton deep in the Guadalupe River. I had just hopped out of the canoe and successfully traversed a picturesque staircase of limestone rocks with cool river water tumbling over them. Step by step, I eased my way up

S

by Greg Berlocher through the coursing water, taking care to avoid the black algae-covered rocks, --antagonists to sure-footedness. A deep pool gathered just beyond the natural spillway and it looked fishy and inviting. I eased into the “knee deep” pool and my right foot hammered down hard--2 feet deeper than expected. Not planning to get this wet, I accepted my new circumstances with grace and got after the bass. A few casts later, a lingering bubble trickled out of my blue jean cutoffs. The tiny tickle drew my attention to my right pants pocket, where my car keys and car alarm now resided--a foot below the river’s surface. A lone dunderheaded moment? Hardly. A cell phone sacrificed to the waters of Aransas Bay and littering the river bottom with man-made detritus from my canoe are included in my outdoor resume. These sterling outdoor moments came back to me when I opened the box from Aquapac and gazed at the assortment of C/36 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

5:18 PM

Page C/36

bags and cases that protect indoor gear from the outdoors. Aquapac International, Limited, is based in London and their products are sold worldwide. I viewed their outreach as proof of Texas Fish & Game’s global reach. The company is a proud winner of the Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2007. While the Queen certainly knows her stuff, I wanted to test the cases myself. Given the propensity to wade into lakes, bays, and rivers with all manner of electronic devices in my pockets, I was immediately drawn to Aquapac’s cell phone case. Constructed of heavy rubberize plastic, the interior measured roughly 3.5x5.0 inches--just right for iPhones and Blackberry cell phones. Aquapac’s sealable cases incorporate their special Aquaclip sealing system. The clip is a clever clamshell design made of two molded hard-plastic halves. The two halves are placed together and interlocking shafts are twisted, thereby squeezing the halves together and creating a watertight seal. Flip the two thumb tabs down to seal the case, and flip them up to open it. The tabs are big enough to operate with gloves, but are a bit challenging to open with chill-numbed digits. All of Aquapac’s cases include a lanyard that attaches to the Aquaclip. I am a big fan of neck lanyards, as they allow me to tote strategic gear while fishing or hunting without encumbering my shoulders. In reality, Aquapac’s cell phone case is simply a rectangular storage area capable of holding a wide variety of items. You could easily stash an MP3 player, car keys, cash, medicine, matches, or first aid supplies. Just don’t tell the Queen. Next up was Aquapac’s 100 percent waterproof camera case. If you can T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

empathize over the loss of a car key fob or cell phone, imagine the financial risk involved taking a good camera afield or afloat. The Aquapac camera case is similar in size to their cell phone case but has a heavy duty, optical portal molded into one side. This tubular extension provides an area for the lens of your digital camera to safely extend into. The clear plastic cap on the end is “photo grade” so you can shoot through it without distortion. Slip your digital camera into the case and it will be protected from rain, salt spray, and blowing sand. The case is even guaranteed submersible up to 15 feet, allowing you to take underwater images. As with the cell phone case, a lanyard is included and is invaluable if you intend on going Jacque Cousteau. Aquapac’s camera case ships with an adhesive sticker on the lens to protect it from being scratched, but there is nothing to protect the lens from dirt, sand, and grit once the sticker is peeled off. It wouldn’t take much for Aquapac to add a protective lens cap to its camera case. Aquapac has their finger on the pulse of the market, and makes many more products than the ones tested. If you need something to keep your indoor products safe in the outdoors, check out Aquapac’s entire line of products. Overall, I agree with the Queen, and give them all very high marks.

On the Web www.aquapac.net A L M A N A C

|

PHOTO COURTESY AQUAPAC

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

Eyes & Ears, Part 1 HOOTING GLASSES AND HEARING PROTECTION are two of the most basic needs of the shooter. Neither should ever be neglected. I am hard of hearing today

Page C/37

lenses: a pair with yellow or amber lenses for dim conditions, and one with gray or green lenses for bright sunshine. This is definitely basic coverage; the best solution is a bit more complicated. There are high quality glasses with interchangeable lenses in many colors, including amber polarized lenses for fishermen. The most well known are Randolph, Decot, and Wiley-X. Any of these will do anything you desire of shooting glasses and I have used them all at various times. Shooting glasses should ride higher on the face than standard sunglasses. Since the head is inclined forward in shooting, one tends to look over the top of standard glasses. If you need corrective lenses, they, too, are available. Interestingly, Decot makes a lens with a bifocal in the top for handgun shooters who are too, uh, mature to see the sights clearly. Randolph disagrees with that approach. The company instead has a direct relationship with Morgan Optical and through it offers prescription lenses, suggesting a complete lens has advantages over just a bifocal. I don’t know which is better, so pick whatever works for you. Why do I think shooting glasses are indispensable to the shooter? Glad you asked. My brother Randy was once at the range shooting his .38 Special revolver. He was wearing hearing protection, but not shooting glasses. He had fired several rounds of lead wadcutter ammunition when something went wrong. A shot hit the steel bracing of the target stand and fragments of the lead bullet bounced back, hitting Randy in the eye. He nearly lost the eye, but doctors managed to remove the fragments and save his vision. He learned a valuable lesson: You never know what will happen, so wear those PHOTO COURTESY STEVE LAMASCUS

S

5:18 PM

because, in my youth, hearing protection was not commonly used. Since I don’t wish to be hard of seeing, I make certain to wear eye protection when I am shooting, particularly when testing new loads or guns. This edition of Guns & Gear will deal with shooting glasses; next month we will cover hearing protection. There is a wide selection of shooting-type glasses on the market, although anything with shatterproof lenses will suffice, but glasses made specifically for the shooter are better in all ways. In addition, the conditions under which we shoot are so dynamic (everything from ultra-bright July sunshine to dim, cloudy December evenings) it is logical to assume that one pair of lenses will not do for everything. Two pairs of glasses provide basic coverage for those who do not wear corrective

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

shooting glasses. I have seen bullets bounce back from backstops and target stands many times. This is especially true if you are shooting at steel targets with lead bullets. Shotgunners, because of the dynamic forms the shooting takes, should be especially faithful in wearing shooting glasses. I was hunting dove once on a place near Uvalde. We were sitting under a mesquite tree on the edge of a grain field. A few dove were drifting back and forth, but it was still early in the afternoon and the shooting was pretty slow. Some time later, another group of hunters arrived. One of them took up position across from me and a bit to my left. No problem, usually, since dove are shot at in the air. All the shooter has to do is keep his shots up high and the shot rains back down harmlessly. This guy hadn’t read the script. For some reason, a jackrabbit picked that time to run across the field between us. The guy across from me leveled his shotgun on the rabbit and shot straight at me before I could even yell. The shot hit the ground, bounced up, and centered me. It stung like crazy but only one pellet broke the skin. Several hit my sunglasses and the bill of my ball cap. Without the sunglasses, at least some pellets would have hit my eyes. I learned the same lesson that day. Shooting glasses are like bulletproof vests: they protect you only if you are wearing them. Medical science has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last 50 years, but your eyesight is still irreplaceable. Protect it.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

On the Web www.randolphusa.com www.decot.com www.wileyx.com F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/37


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

OR THE MAJORITY OF ANGLERS, THE CENTER console design is our top pick for fishing boats. Most of the rest of us utilize some form of side or dual console designs (think bass boats, multi-species boats, fish-n-ski’s). On the surface, the console itself seems like a pretty simple thing—but there’s a lot more here then what meets the eye, whether you have an offshore center console that boasts a cabin with a galley and berth, or an aluminum side-console johnboat you use to hunt redfish one day and redheads the next. In fact, the console itself gives you a great view into just how a carefully a boat is designed and built—if you know what to look for. How can you be an effective judge and jury when a boat is sitting on the showroom floor?

F

F E B R U A R Y

Page C/38

Check for these details:

Console Yourself

C/38 |

5:18 PM

2 0 1 0

Wiring is a huge issue on many boats, and a peek inside your console, regardless of design or manufacturer, will give you tremendous insight into the boat as a whole. To assess this feature, you first have to find the best place to get a look at it. In the case of side consoles, this means lying down on your back and looking up from underneath the console. If you are checking out a center console, you will need to get an eyeball behind the helm. In most cases, it is visible from inside the console itself, though on larger boats you might need to remove a panel or curtain to access it. Note to self: If the panel is an easily removable hatch or curtain, at-sea fixes will be simple. If it secures with screws, it will take longer and require tools. You can see the wires? Good. They should all be clearly marked, loomed (supported) every six to eight inches, and bundled tightly together. You are really looking for two key factors: first, that the wires will not move or swing as the boat goes through heavy seas, because that would

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

cause chaffing. Second, that the wires are easily identifiable and traceable so you will be able to service them when necessary, with a minimum of confusion. Big balls of wires, spaghetti-like bunches, and lots of movement are all bad. Most consoles have some amount of available compartmentalized stowage in them, but if it is mere dead space inside, your gear will roll around. Now, remember what we just said about loose wires? If your console has them and your gear moves around inside there, it won’t take long for the gear to find the wires and rip them free or become entangled. This counts for battery wiring, too, if your console houses your batteries. Some builders will save a buck by eliminating battery boxes since the console itself counts as an enclosure to meet coast guard regs. If you will be putting any gear in there, however, those batteries need to be sealed away. Better boats will not only have safe and secure stowage in the console(s), they will also have organization. Built-in tackle boxes, glove boxes, and gear stowage compartments are all great. You will often see livewells integrated into consoles, too, usually under a forward console seat. This is an intelligent use of space, but must be separated from stowage compartments with a bulkhead. Otherwise, loose gear could smack into a hose clamp or a drain barb, and knock it out of kilter—and a console full of water is no fun at all. Speaking of which… Water resistance is extremely important, too. Some consoles are glassed shut at the deck, some are screwed down with no form of seal at all, and there are a million variations in between. Regardless of stowage options, you want a dry console, so your wiring and the back of your gauges and electronics all stay dry. Which leads us to… Ventilation will prevent the console from growing moist and stinky with mildew. At least one louvered vent is mandatory, and consoles with heads or cabins get extra credit for having opening ports and/or skylights. And if your boat does have a console cabin, remember than for many people, being cramped into a small space with a lack of ports might lead to seasickness after just a few moments below decks. This is A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

only one reason, however, as to why… Size matters when it comes to console cabins. Some are spacious; others make you feel packed in like a sardine. In fact, if you can’t stand up straight, hold your hands against your chest, stick your elbows out, and turn a 360, then you are sure to feel cramped. Of course, size is mostly a function of your boat’s size. But in any case be sure you have enough legroom to sit on the throne or the whole purpose of having a head is defeated. Also pay close attention to the entry, and make sure it is large enough to get through without scraping a knee or elbow. And, does the door secure open? If not, when you try to access it in rough seas it will swing back and forth, banging things until the hinges get bent. Of course, console cabin space and console size in general is a huge trade-off. The larger they are the more comfortable they are bound to be, and the more gear you will be able to stow inside. But some consoles are so large they eat significantly into deck space, and reduce a boat’s fishability. Top, rails, and windshield vary quite a bit depending on what size and type of boat you run, and this dictates some specifics you will want to look for. In bay, flats, and coastal boats

|

A L M A N A C

5:18 PM

Page C/39

without T-tops, you will be able to spot fish from farther off if your console has a flat horizontal top that is sufficiently beefy to stand on. Make sure it also has enough angled dash space to flush-mount your electronics, however, because a stand-on-top eliminates binnaclemounted electronics. Grab rails and the windshield design also come into play, because they cannot be angled back or across the top, blocking your access. Topnotch boat with consoles designed for standing sometimes have a telescoping rail that pulls up out of the console and catches you at thigh height, providing a bit of security. No matter what type of boat you are looking at, eschew those with access to the interior from on top. Hatches leak, period, and one on top of the console is sure to let water through sooner or later. Still, no matter how well a console is designed and built some moisture is probably going to make its way inside eventually, which is why… Drainage is also a must. The best designs incorporate plumbed tubes that take water to a scupper or drain leading overboard. These can individually drain not just the console itself, but also rodholders, cup holders, and recesses in the console. Those that drain into the bilge

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

are not great, but they are better then nothing. On simple consoles that are bolted to the deck and sealed in place, quite often you will see small holes, drilled into the aftermost corners. Again this is better then nothing, but it is also far from ideal since water can go in just as easily as it comes out. Consider all of these factors carefully when you check out a new boat. Remember that the quality of the console’s design and construction will probably mirror the boat’s overall quality level. And when you look at a boat, you will be fully prepared to act not just as captain, but also as judge and jury—just don’t forget your gavel.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

On the Web www.fishgame.com/testpilot —TF&G Boating Editor Lenny Rudow reviews the latest boats and motors.

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/39


12/30/09

Mangrove Buffet Surprise ANGROVE, THE WARIEST OF TEXAS snappers, sometimes require extra enticement to the hook. These rigs have three baits that a mangrove, when approaching from downcurrent, might be urged into biting after seeing its three options. The first one hit should be the trailing hook bait—the Mangrove Buffet Surprise. Three baitfish is a mangrove “daisy chain” rig similar to billfish and tuna rigs. Concentrated baitfish makes for focused and quickened interest from mangroves, setting up a competition situation that adds strike potential from larger, older, warier individuals. This daisy chain look is another example of adapting a known method to another use. My first Texas Saltwater Record fish was a mangrove snapper caught in 1987; it weighed in at 12 pounds, 5 ounces. Currently, the Texas state record is 18.67 pounds, heavier than the IGFA All Tackle World Record of 17 pounds. The reason I bring up records is that the mid to upper Texas offshore water holds sizeable mangroves. The current IGFA Line Class Records, men’s and women’s, are all in jeopardy if Texas fishermen make the effort to break them. As of this writing, of the men’s and women’s line class records, only two are from Texas and 12 are from Florida. The men’s 16-, 20-, and 30-pound records are 5 pounds, 14 ounces; 8 pounds, 1 ounce; and 11 pounds, 2 ounces. The women’s are 6 pounds, 4 ounces; 5 pounds, 9 ounces; and 4 pounds, 2 ounces. Records are not for everyone, and I under-

M

C/40 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

5:18 PM

Page C/40

stand that, but I am certainly proud of the six Texas State Saltwater rod and reel records I have set, along with my five IGFA All Tackle or Line Class Records. If you are so inclined, these mangrove snapper records are there for the taking. I first had the idea of the triple looped mono rig toward the end of last summer. The multiple baitfish wire rig soon followed. They worked on red snapper, but the boat I primarily go on chose other areas to fish besides mangrove hotspots; 2010 will tell the tale. Each of these rigs, mono and wire, use the same swivels, 7/0 or 8/0 inline circle hooks, mono is 30- to 40-pound clear, and 43-pound wire. The mono gets my “Poor Man’s Fluorocarbon” Scotch-Brite pad dulling procedure. The wire, swivels, and hooks get a camo green painted finish. The spray can finishes are Rust-O-Leum John Deere Green 7435830, and a top coat of Krylon Flat Clear 53530. I also believe 43-pound wire is harder to see than any mono due to its smaller diameter and the camo finish. The mono rig is made up by tying up a piece of line that’s about 30 inches between the swivel and the circle hook. Using three baitfish, pass the hook through a bait’s mouth and out its gills, then back through its mouth and out the gills again; repeat this mono looping with the other two baitfish. Hook the third bait in its body as shown, pull the mono loop snug at its head, position and repeat the snugging procedure with the other two baitfish. It’s ready to fish with something like 7 inches between each baitfish and about 12 inches from the lead baitfish to the swivel. Make sure no loops are crossing each other T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

ILLUSTRATION BY PATRICK LEMIRE

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

that could later turn into a knot. The addition of a squid strip or head and tentacles in the area between the loop and head before snugging up also aids in generating strikes. Atlantic spadefish are thick at times in the area of Buccaneer field wrecks out of Galveston. Their attack of the pieces of squid seems to excite the mangroves into hitting the baitfish. With the wire leader twisted up, leave the tag end of the wire about 1-1/2 inches long after the barrel wraps are completed. This bent impaler securely holds each of the three baitfish. See the illustration for the finished look of the hook and baitfish attachment. Since circle hooks seldom come unhooked, they greatly reduce the chance of an unhooked mangrove taking a lot of its schoolmates along as it vacates the immediate area. My attempts at IGFA Line Class Records this year will be with Ande Hi-Vis Monster Yellow mono. This lets you and your fellow fishermen see the line. For added stealth close to the mono or wire leader, color about 10 feet above the swivel with a blue split tip MarksA-Lot. The yellow mono suddenly becomes a stealth green.

E-mail Patrick Lemire at saltrigs@fishgame.com A L M A N A C

|


12/30/09

Froggy Went A-Fishing KNOW IT’S STILL FEBRUARY AND HALF THE nation is still frozen with lakes that you can drill holes into instead of ride a boat across. However, this is Texas, and down here, we are starting to think about shallow bass and topwater bites. One of the most popular topwater baits on the market is a soft plastic frog. Every lure manufacturer has its version of a frog, and if you are a long-time bass angler, then you will appreciate how far frogs have come in the past few decades. What was once considered a one-dimensional bait has now turned into a lure that many anglers tie on year-round. While frogs are incredibly popular and quite effective, they are not the perfect bait. In spite of what it does well, there are a few flaws with Kermit. The first issue with soft plastic frogs is that they have a 50 percent chance of landing on their backs when cast or rolling onto their sides if retrieved too quickly. An upside-down frog will still catch fish, but this is not how it was designed to run, so you do not get all you can out of it. A bait on its side is less effective that one running upright the way it was intended. The second largest issue with frogs is that, while they entice a lot of strikes, actu-

I

|

A L M A N A C

5:18 PM

Page C/41

ally getting hookups can be difficult. Most topwaters have a low strike-to-hookup ratio, but with frogs, it can be even more difficult to hook a fish. Letting a bass run for a little bit with the bait in its mouth is a must. Necessity being the mother of invention, it was just a matter of time before a tackle company came out with a way to make frogs better, and this time, instead of actually changing the frog itself, the change came in the manner it which it is rigged. For the past few years, if you were fishing a frog you used either the standard worm hook or a wide gap hook like those used with soft plastic jerkbaits. There were no hooks designed specifically for fishing a frog, but over the past year

worm hooks joined together with a single line tie eye. Instead of threading the point of the hook through the tip of the nose and out the bottom of the frog as with a single hook (which can be done but rips a lot of frogs), you start by pushing the eye of the hook up through the bottom of the frog and out the nose prior to tying on your line. Use very durable frogs (like a Stanley Ribbit) with this hook, because every time you have to change frogs, you have to retie. The second type of hook is similar to the first in that it consists of two hooks sharing one line tie eye, but this one has a screw lock to attach the frog. This is convenient in that you do not have to retie every time you need to change f r o g s . However, it does add a slight bit of weight to the nose of the hook, so you will need to use a very buoyant frog (Gene Larew Three-Legged Frog) to ensure it stays on top.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

that all changed. Multiple companies (I can think of at least three off the top of my head) came out with frog-specific hooks with two points. These bifurcated hooks help solve the problem of making the bait run upright and improves the hookup ratio. The increased weight and surface area of the additional hook acts as a keel when retrieving the bait, two hook points are better than one when it comes to increasing your odds of catching a bass. The first basic design looks like two T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ÂŽ

On the Web www.fishgame.com/how-to

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/41

ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

IFA Launches Kayak Tour O FISH COMPETITIVELY, YOU NEED TWO essential things: a boat and cash for entry fees. As I learned from personal experience, both can be stiff barriers to entry on the competitive fishing scene. Kayaks have dramatically lowered the costs of boat ownership, so it was with great interest when I read the Inshore Fishing Association’s (IFA) press release announcing their new Kayak Tour.

GRAPHIC COURTESY IFA KAYAK FISHING TOUR

T

For the last several years, IFA has operated the Redfish Tour, a series of one-day events across the East and Gulf Coasts. The Redfish Tour allows two men per powerboat, lure-only angling, and has a catch-andrelease format. In 2009, nineteen tournaments were held in eight states. Since the Redfish Tour makes lots of stops, the organization reasoned that they could stay several extra days at each destination and cost effectively add kayak-only tournaments to the festivities. The Kayak Tour appeals to my genetic makeup. Growing up with two older brothers, I have always been a competitive fisherman. Bass, crappie, catfish, redfish, trout; it didn’t matter. When the three of us wet lines together, you could count on a lively outing with enough smack bantered about to shame an NFL cornerback. My competitive nature manifested itself as a charter member of the Texas Aggie Bass Club. A scant handful of years later, a wedding ring, car loans, and a mortgage came into my life. Competitive fishing became a distant memory and the gleaming C/42 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

5:18 PM

Page C/42

trophies attesting to my angling prowess were relegated to the attic. But my competitive nature wasn’t dead, just dormant. The IFA Kayak Tour will swing through Texas in 2010, including stops in Port Lavaca on 17 April, Rockport on 12 June, and Port Aransas on 11 September. These dates are preliminary and could easily change. The official dates will be posted in the near future on the IFA website. IFA has teamed with Hobie Fishing to help sponsor the new tournament. In addi-

tion to cash prizes going to the top ten place winners, the angler who finishes in first place will receive a Hobie kayak equipped with their new Mirage Drive. The Mirage Drive utilizes a pair of flippers underneath the hull. Foot peddles drive the flippers, which produce a surprising amount of thrust. The Hobie package is valued at $2399—a handsome return on the $100 entry fee. Second through 10th place will be guaranteed cash payouts. Second place pays $1000, third place $900, on down to 10th place at $100 While there are other kayak tournaments around, the IFA Kayak Tour raises the stakes. Multiple venues make it easier to fish close to home. In addition, there are multiple tournaments grouped together in regions. This allows anglers to test their competitive skills in different bay systems without major travel expenses. The regional format provides additional competition on several fronts. Should you T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

wish to participate in all three tournaments, you get to compete for the regional title in addition to competing for top honors in each event. By fishing in three separate tournaments, you are automatically qualified to fish in the IFA Kayak Tour national tournament. The tournaments do not even have to be in the same region. For instance, if you fish two of the Texas tournaments and miss the third, you can sill qualify for the national event by fishing in a Kayak Tour event in Louisiana. Bart Shad of the IFA explained: “We wanted to provide kayak anglers an affordable series of tournaments. Anglers can choose to compete in the three regional tournaments or three different tournaments across the country. If you enter three tournaments, you are able to fish in the national tournament. Basically, you pay for three, you get one for free. “Since we are leveraging the Redfish Tour, we already have the infrastructure in place to hold the kayak tournament. This allows us to hold a number of different kayak events and to keep entry fees low. Keep in mind that this also means television coverage at the national event. I am not aware of any kayak tournament that has television coverage.” I like the IFA Kayak Tour’s format a lot. There are cash prizes, Hobie kayaks, affordable entry fees, reasonable travel distances, and a national tournament with television coverage. Heady stuff for kayak anglers. For those of us with a competitive itch that needs an occasional scratching, the new tournament provides a lot of fun at an affordable price.

Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com

On the Web www.redfishtour.com A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

Growing Horns HE DOG RAN BEHIND ME AND THE YOUNG cow bellowed and charged. The knobhorned juggernaut had me in her sights, a brand new wet and leggy calf straggled behind her, and I cursed for being afoot instead of horseback. There was no way to escape and I had no club. So, in typical heman fashion, I cocked a foot and prepared to plant a boot heel between her eyes. “I’ll kick her brains out her rear end!” I swore. But that’s not what happened. My championship kick fizzled and the red, white-faced cow hit me like a freight wagon. Her head was lowered, and instead of plowing me down, she scooped me onto her bony crown. Her horns rattled my knees and my hands pressed against her shoulders. For two jumps, our worlds collided. The dog was back in the fray, the calf bawled, maaaaaa!, I cussed, and the cow boomed a continuous ululating war anthem. Then the critter swung her rack and one of those knobby horns smashed into a place where some of my brightest ideas originate. Something lumped in my throat. My eyes crossed and rolled back. Showing no mercy, the cow slung her head again and chucked me into a nest of bull nettle. There was nothing I could do but lay there and whimper. My hat was tromped on. All my air was gone. My guardian angel was screaming through the brain fog that the mad mother might be coming back. The thought jerked me to my feet, but the baby calf had convinced Ma it was safe, and the two trotted back to the herd.

T

5:18 PM

Page C/43

no reason to be upset with the cow. She was a first-calf heifer protecting her newborn. “Wish I had another hundred head just like her,” I muttered, then limped to the pens, rubbing myself, and sniggering at my agony. “You know, that would have killed an ordinary man.” Such is the norm at the Brune Land & Cattle Company (BL&C). There is no sympathy for getting “wrecked-up” in the course of cowboy duties. Having a perturbed cow scatter you across the pasture, or letting a colt potato-plant your head in the dirt is going to get you laughed at. The worst mistake a green hand can make is to whine or lay there like a busted melon. So, you might as well smile past the bruises and cracked bones, and wait your turn to hoot at someone else’s disasters. It was once suggested that Yours Truly is so blasted mean that I should ask for a set of horns for Christmas. The idea was appealing, and ever since the deep longing to sprout a stout set of bull horns has tickled the dark chambers of my sense of humor. A girlish set

of Bevo-style steer horns won’t suffice. My adornments must be shiny black, wickedly curved, and sharper than a surgeon’s steel. They should be thick as drill stem and ring like the Bells of St. Mary’s when beaten against a dense skull. The sight of these mortal weapons would cause evil women to perspire and non-virtuous men’s hearts to seize in terror. Yes, a sturdy set of bull horns would serve me well. But then, something happened at the BL&C. Where once the ranch hands peppered their breakfast eggs with ground cayenne and a chew of tobacco was fine for dessert, now we temper our cussing and keep one pair of boots shined for Sundays. The reason for this sudden change wasn’t caused by any lightning bolts from heaven...or maybe it was. The transformation occurred because Sam, my daughter, wanted to come home. Sam was 12 years old, as pretty as sunrise, as fresh and open as a spring day, wise for her years, and needed a steady dad. This ol’ cowCONTINUED ON PAGE C/46



It was time to catch my breath, brush the hot sand off my hide, and reflect. There was

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/43


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:18 PM

Page C/44

TEXAS SALTWATER

ROCKPORT

BAFFIN BAY

Bev, Scott and Tamm y Limits Akins Salt water Gu of Trout ide Servic e ey Dee Hark Redfish Guide Hugo Ford Service

GALVESTON

UPPER COAST (SABINE LAKE)

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

TEXAS SALTWATER

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

TEXAS FRESHWATER

CORPUS CHRISTI

EAST TEXAS

For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579. C/44 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY! T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:19 PM

Page C/45

Robert Pilling Hybrid Striper Striper Express Guide Service

Wyatt Crappie Blair’s Guide Service

do Perez Veronica and Orlan Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS FRESHWATER

TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

OUTDOOR SHOPPER LAKE AMISTAD

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: WADE AID In 1995, my brother-in-law, Matthew Gregory, and I, George Calhoun, started developing the Wade Aid belt. The Wade Aid belt went on the market in 1996.

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

TEXAS HUNTING

Wade Aid Enterprises prides itself in making the finest wade belt available. Whether you’re fishing for redfish or trout in the bays and surfs of the gulf coast, fighting striper in the Atlantic surfs or fishing for trout and salmon in cool mountain rivers, the Wade Aid belt is for you. The Wade Aid is the most functional and comfortable wade belt available today. It is constructed of closed cell foam incased in neoprene with nylon webbing and hardware. The closed cell foam provides a unique lumbar support system. The rods and accessory holders are conveniently located for quick and easy access. The Wade Aid is clearly in a class by itself. Please visit our website www.wadeaid.com or call us at 1-888WADE AID (1-888-923-3243).

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/45


12/30/09

5:19 PM

Page C/46

PHOTO BY BILL OLIVE

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

Chill “In” with Venison Chili HEN FALL ROLLS AROUND EACH YEAR, those of us who take to the field sporting firearms anticipate an early season cool front and a soon-to-be bountiful harvest of succulent venison. Thoughts of sausage, roast, ground meat, and backstrap, prepared by a variety

W

of methods keep our minds occupied until we watch that venison on the hoof show up at the feeder. Now, with your harvest packaged and put up for the winter, some really

cold Arctic air shows up. Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a big, thick, steaming bowl of venison chili? Well, that’s too long.

WILDERNESS TRAILS 

CONTINUED FROM PAGE C/46

boy had to wise up. The next few years were better than any spent on the rodeo trail or slipping through the dark timber in backcountry haunts. There were basketball games and then treating the team at Pizza Hut; school awards and summer trips; dresses for proms and gulping explanations to questions normally reserved for moms. And throughout our growth together, her smiling reassurance let me know I was a pretty good dad. Then the college boy showed up. I felt my horns bud out. He was taller than me, wore jeans with holes, and had his cap on backwards. His eyes ogled like a perch. The glistening hooks spread past my ears and hooked up. Sometimes he wore baggy shorts sagging to his knees, a torn Tshirt, and his cap tipped northeast. My horns grew thicker. C/46 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

I asked Sam, “Have your eyes gone bad?” “Booot dad-eee I luuuuv him!” she said. I almost choked and my horns stretched forward. His head reminded me of the mascot from Jack in the Box. This was going to get ugly, a hard step for me but easy for him. Then he did the durndest thing and called me on the phone. “Hey, Mr. Brune, I gotta haul Mr. Joe Schindler’s hay and I can’t find any of my buddies. I haul his hay every year and he lets me fish in the river on his place. Would you help me?” Of course, I did, and later he won the Spring Catfish Tournament in the Colorado River. Bit by bit, he ate at my resolve. He understood deer management and listened to country music. He took one of my mama cat’s kittens to his college apartment, kept a beer cooler in the back of his truck, and dipped Grizzly snuff. He always used T E X A S

F I S H

&

“sir” and called me “Mr. Brune.” It was getting difficult not to like him, but I endeavored to persevere. Then he called me again. “Mr. Brune, anytime you need help hauling hay, or working cows, or fixing fence, give me a holler. I’d be glad to help. And, Mr. Brune, I’d sure like to go horseback with y’all on a hog hunt sometime.” My horns drooped. My attention turned to Sam. She’s become a beautiful young woman that I admire and respect. I know she makes good decisions and likes to hunt and fish with her beau. So, it’s time to pull in my horns. For the time being, I don’t need them. I’ll stay ready—that’s what good dads do—but for now, it’s good to see the kids happy. Happy Valentines Day!

G A M E ®

E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com A L M A N A C

|


12/30/09

PHOTO BY BILL OLIVE

ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

Venison Chili 2 lbs. “chili grind” beef chuck roast 1 lb. venison backstrap, cubed in 3/4inch pieces

5:19 PM

Page C/47

cast iron skillet, brown until it starts to make it's own juice. Stir continuously while adding both cans of broth, and Bag No. 1. Cook covered at a medium boil for 45 minutes. Uncover and stir every 10 minutes. Add water and beer as needed. Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and add Bag No. 2. Add one beef bullion cube. Add 1/2 tsp light brown sugar.

Use the following to season to taste: Salt Cayenne Pepper (for hot front taste) White Pepper (for hot front taste) Brown Sugar (for a sweeter taste) Ready to eat, but better the next day. Bon appetite.

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

Seasoning Bag No. 1 (make by placing ingredients in three layers of cheesecloth and tying up into a “bag”) 4 Tbs chili powder (dark ancho) 3 cloves garlic 1 medium white onion 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Seasoning Bag No. 2 3 Tbs Sweet Chipotle Season All 3 Tbs cumin 2 tsp garlic powder 1/16 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp oregano leaf 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped

Other Ingredients 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Swanson Chicken Broth 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Swanson Beef Broth 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes 1 can (8 oz.) Hunts “No Salt Added” tomato sauce 1 Knorr Beef Bullion cube 1 tsp light brown sugar 1 beer, Bock style Add room temperature meat to a hot

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

C/47


ALMANAC C-RN.qxd:1002 Coastal

12/30/09

5:19 PM

Page C/48

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

SHEEPSHEAD—PORT MANSFIELD

BASS—SHERMAN

CATFISH—COLMESNEIL

David Oliver of Round Rock, Texas, likes fishing for sheepshead because they hang around structures. He caught this one using live shrimp near fishing shacks out of Port Mansfield.

Aubrey Means, age 2, of Sherman, Texas, caught her Valerie Brittain of Beaumont, Texas, caught this first largemouth bass while fishing with her parents 11.3-pound catfish at Frog Pond in Colmesneil, at a small pond near their house. The bass was 7 Texas. inches in length.

REDFISH—PORT ARANSAS

REDFISH—PORT O’CONNOR

Evan Kinnebrew, age 3, of Adkins, Texas, proudly shows off his keeper redfish, a 26-inch, 6-pounder, caught while fishing with his mom and dad in Port Aransas. It took 10 minutes to bring it in.

Ashley (Brazil) Tyler of Baytown, Texas, caught this 41-inch redfish while fishing with her dad Joe, brother and uncles at the Port O’Connor Jetties.

SPADE FISH—OFFSHORE OF GALVESTON

BUCK—PALO PINTO COUNTY

KINGFISH—GALVESTON

Bryce Hulstein, age 8, of Frisco, Texas, shot his first Madison Smith, age 6, shows off one of the 27 Haley Smith, age 8, caught her first kingfish deer, a spike buck, while youth hunting in Palo Atlantic spade fish that she caught on her first deep- while fishing with her proud granddad Ricky sea fishing trip with her PawPaw, Ricky, out of Richardson out of Galveston. Pinto County. Galveston. C/48 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:00 PM

EN BARTLETT HAS LOGGED SOME MEMORABLE experiences over the years chasing big game critters, but none to compare to the wild chain of events that unfolded deep in the heart of his Angelina County hunting club on the afternoon of 23 October 2009. The deer hunting gods were hard at work that day, and they cooked up a doozy for the veteran archer from Lufkin. Interestingly, killing a deer was the farthest thing from Bartlett’s mind as he boarded a canoe and paddled down the old Neches River channel. His main objectives were to scout for acorns in a stretch of woods in the remote backcountry and ultimately find a good spot to take his 12-year-old daughter, Alli, hunting the following morning. Bartlett was making his way down an old logging road shortly before sundown when the distinctive sound of clashing antlers and cracking brush overpowered the sough of a light breeze in the treetops. Experience told him what he was hearing was a pair of heavyweights going at it. “It was pretty obvious this was not a couple of pencil-horn bucks sparring,” Bartlett

B

PHOTO COURTESY BEN BARTLETT

|

A L M A N A C

Page I1

said. “The sound of two mature bucks locking up has a real distinctive sound to it. I had no doubts this was the real deal.” Certain the battling bucks were close, probably within 200 yards, the hunter raced down the road to shave some distance before

by Matt Williams ditching his daypack and melding into the dark woods. Bartlett pushed through a dense thicket that eventually opened up into an oak flat cluttered with clumps of palmetto and underbrush. He spotted the bucks at about 40 yards, but dim light made it impossible to tell much about either deer other than both were shooters. “The fight was pretty intense, very violent,” he said. “Both of the bucks had their heads down and it was just a tangle of horns. I could see their muscles bulging as they pushed and braced for leverage against one another. It was a pretty awesome sight.” Bartlett played on the fit of rage to trim the gap even closer. He inched closer each T E X A S

F I S H

&

time the battle moved behind a palmetto clump, eventually closing to within 18 yards before he dropped to one knee on the soggy ground and brought his compound bow to a full draw. “I really don’t remember drawing; it’s pretty much a blur now because everything happened so quick,” Bartlett said. “But I do remember watching and waiting as the buck that was winning pushed the other one into a small clearing. I was a little nervous about taking the shot, because their movements were so erratic. They stopped for a split second when one of the deer coiled to push back; it gave me a clear shot, so I took it.” The arrow found its mark just behind the shoulder and passed completely through. Remarkably, neither deer reacted or appeared alarmed. The heated battle continued for about eight more seconds before the wounded buck collapsed and died. Seizing the opportunity to finish a job that was already done, the larger buck hooked and gored the lifeless body of its erstwhile adversary multiple times before fleeing the scene a minute or so later.

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I1


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I2

In This Issue GEARING UP SECTION

I24 I26

TEXAS TESTED • SAM Splints, Owl Eyes, and Shimano Extreme Fishing for Wii | BY TFG STAFF NEW PRODUCTS • What’s New from Top Outdoor Manufacturers | BY TF&G STAFF

I28

INDUSTRY INSIDER • Easy2Hook: Now Why Didn’t I Think of That? | BY CHESTER MOORE, JR.

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

I35

WILDERNESS TRAILS • Growing Horns | BY HERMAN BRUNE

I36

OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

I38

TEXAS TASTED • Chill “In” with Venison Chili | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

I40

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

HOW-TO SECTION

I1

COVER STORY • Stalking the Arena | BY MATT WILLIAMS

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

I4

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

I18

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

Bartlett said he passed on multiple opportunities to shoot the second buck, which easily had 10 inches on the 140-class whitetail that lay motionless on the ground. “As soon as the buck went down, I started approaching them,” he said. “I blew like a doe four or five times, but it didn’t faze

I2 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

I29

BOWHUNTING TECH • Tricks of the Trade | BY LOU MARULLO

I30

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Froggy Went A-Fishin’ | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

I31

TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • Eyes & Ears, Part 1 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

I32

TEXAS BOATING • Console Yourself | BY LENNY RUDOW

I34

TEXAS KAYAKING • IFA Launches Kayak Tournament | BY GREG BERLOCHER

him. He was so pumped up and determined to put the other buck down he either didn’t notice me or just didn’t care. I honestly believe I could have walked up and spanked him on the butt, although that would have been a pretty foolish thing to do.” The eight-point typical Bartlett arrowed

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

www.FishGame.com grossed 141-6/8 Boone & Crockett, 1402/8 Pope & Young. Bizarre as it might seem, Bartlett’s encounter is not his first with stalking fighting whitetails. However, it is the first time he has been successful at killing one. Looking back, he thinks his success might have hinged on the fact he threw caution to the wind and moved in quickly on the brawling bucks, before they had time to finish their business. “I’ve tried sneaking in [on buck fights] before, and each time the fight was over by the time I got there,” Bartlett said. “In retrospect, I think I have always been too cautious and moved too slow to avoid making a bunch of noise. If it ever happens again, you can bet I’ll be trying to get there as fast I can.” Witnessing a brawl between two mature bucks at any distance is a prize encounter few deer hunters are fortunate enough to experience in a lifetime of hunting. Getting a ringside seat and drawing blood with a bow and arrow is virtually unheard of. It just goes to show you anything can happen in good deer woods when the hunting gods are hard at work.

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

|

6:01 PM

A L M A N A C

Page I3

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I3


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Specks on a Jighead LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: South Causeway Reef GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 3/8-ounce jighead using an eel soft plastic type bait; darker colors for off colored water; brighter colors for clear water CONTACT: Capt. Jerry Norris, 409-7188782 TIPS: The best places to fish depend a lot on the rainfall. The retrieve is basically dragging the lure along the bottom off the oyster shell.

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Entergy Outfall GPS: N29 59.535, W93 53.967 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: A 1/4-ounce jighead with a soft plastic minnow type bait CONTACT: Capt. Capt. Bill Watkins, 409786-2018 TIPS: The water will be 10-12 degrees warmer by the outfall. The warmer water will keep baitfish around the area--a great place any time when it gets cold. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Bridge Bayou I4 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

Page I4

GPS: N29 53.511, W93 45.823 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: YUM Samurai Shad in Red Shad color for dirty water; Glow Chartreuse in clearer water CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Work the banks using your trolling motor. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Mouth of Madame Johnson Bayou GPS: N29 50.839, W29 50.839 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce jighead with a soft plastic minnow type bait CONTACT: Capt. Jerry Norris, 409-7188782 TIPS: A good south wind means good action along the shorelines. Find some bait action and you will find some fish. Cast out and work the lure back to you. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.780, W93 54.439 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies and Bass Assassins using an 1/8-ounce jighead; favorite colors include Red Shad, Wild Fire Tiger, and Chicken on a Chain CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: Wade fish on outgoing tides about 36 hours after a frontal passage. LOCATION: Sabine lake HOTSPOT: Middle Pass GPS: N29 58.922, W93 48.095 SPECIES: speckled trout and redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies and Bass Assassins CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

TIPS: The area is protected from the north wind; a good fishing area because you are in the lea of the islands in the area. It is also a good wade-fishing venue. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Coffee Ground Cove GPS: N29 57.757, W93 46.331 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies and Bass Assassins CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: If the salinity gets high, the north end of the lake will pay off. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Stewt’s Island GPS: N 29 57.899, W93 50.900 BEST BAITS: Bass Assassins in darker colors SPECIES: speckled trout CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: Fish it slowly. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Sydney Island GPS: N 29 58.590 W93 49.433 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies and Catch 2000 CONTACT: Capt. Chris Phillips, 409-7197166 TIPS: Look for mullet bait action. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: East Pass GPS: N29 58.920, W93 47.135 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics lures or Gulp! on a jighead CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Fishing success at this time of the year depends on a lot of variables. Fish will move anywhere from two to seven foot of water. A mud bottom is crucial.

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I5


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

LOCATION: Galveston-East Bay HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge GPS: N29 33.573, W94 32.266 SPECIES: trophy sized speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies in Pearl, chartreuse colors; chrome/black for topwater baits CONTACT: Capt. R. “Lynn” Waddell, 281-300-5806 TIPS: Fish the topwater baits slow with lots of pauses. Fish will usually hit on the pause. Look for active baitfish action. LOCATION: Upper Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Tabbs Bay GPS: N29 41.635, W94 56.542 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwater in chrome/black back CONTACT: Capt. R. “Lynn” Waddell, 281-300-5806 TIPS: Fish your lure as slow as you can with a subtle twitch of your rod tip every so often. LOCATION: Upper Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Burnet Bay GPS: N29 46.078, W95 03.022 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies in Pearl, chartreuse; MirrOlures

Page I6

CONTACT: Capt. R. “Lynn” Waddell, 281-300-5806 TIPS: Concentrate on an area that you have a lot of confidence in, throw a bait you have confidence in, and it’s going to happen.

then work your way out, working your bait real slow. A high tide in the afternoon seems to be the best time to fish for a trophy trout.

Corking for Trout LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Bird Island GPS: N28 43.931, W95 45.862 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies and soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Don Wood, 979-2404137 TIPS: Look for a soft mud bottom. LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Bayous near Brown Cedar Flats GPS: N28 44.039, W95 41.814 SPECIES: trophy speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies or topwaters CONTACT: Capt. Robert Liebert, 281799-5728 TIPS: Start fishing deep in the marsh and

LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Bayous near or behind Hog Island GPS: N28 39.254, W95 52.703 SPECIES: Trophy speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies or Super Spooks CONTACT: Capt. Robert Liebert, 281799-5728 TIPS: Keep up with the tides. Best times to fish is 2-3 days after a cold front when there is a high tide. LOCATION: Matagorda-East Bay HOTSPOT: Chinquapin Reef GPS: N28 44.352, W95 46.703 SPECIES: speckled trout and redfish BEST BAITS: Corkies and soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Don Wood, 979-2404137 TIPS: Look for the soft mud bottom. LOCATION: Galveston-West Bay HOTSPOT: Confederate Reef GPS: N29 16.195, W94 56.974 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: MirrOlures in chartreuse/gold, red/white CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: Fish the shell reefs in the middle of the bays when the wind allows. LOCATION: Galveston-West Bay

I6 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

HOTSPOT: Starvation Cove GPS: N29 14.182, W94 56.461 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: MirrOlures in chartreuse/gold, red/white CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409- 9357242 TIPS: When the south wind blows, fish the south side. The fish will be shallow after the wind warms the water. LOCATION: Galveston-West Bay HOTSPOT: Carancahua Reef GPS: N29 12.898, W95 00.442 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Slow rolled MirrOlures in chartreuse/gold and red/white CONTACT: Capt. James Plaag, 409-9357242 TIPS: Shell reefs in the middle of the bay can produce winter trout.

Live Shrimp Sheepies LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay Mouth GPS: N26 2.961, W97 11.031 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Sheepshead begin moving in greater numbers and congregating along drop-offs and any structure around Lower Laguna Madre. Anchor up in the shallows next to the channel into South Bay. Cast a shrimp/popping rig along the channel edge upstream from your spot and let it drift along the channel edge. Usually, the cork will stop and slowly sink below the surface. Set the hook hard.

|

A L M A N A C

Page I7

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel GPS: N26 2.124, W97 13.108 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: The run up the ship channel can be a long ride, but the sheer number of convict fish holding around pilings and riprap makes the run worth it. Stouter tackle (12to 15-pound) is the order of the day, and braided line is helpful when turning and horsing in a ram-sized sheepie away from the junk. Live or fresh shrimp on a free-line or float rig is a top-flight choice. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Long Bar GPS: N26 12.164, W97 15.957 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem rigs in smoke/glitter, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: This area is within sight of the Queen Isabella Causeway. Despite the short ride from all the major marinas, it is always good for solid speckled trout fishing. Fishing bait off the edge in cooler weather is the easiest way to find those trout. Drift the length of the bar and throw either chunks of ballyhoo or tandem jerkbaits. Fish them slowly. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Holly Beach GPS: N26 8.802, W97 16.304 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Lures Tandems in chartreuse patterns

T E X A S

F I S H

&

CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Fish near the channel that cuts through the area. Work soft plastics as slowly as you can (the same twitch-twitch-pause cadence used with suspending plugs is a good technique). Trout will be up on the warm mud on mild days, and down in the ditch when the weather cools. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Holly Beach GPS: N26 8.802, W97 16.304 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Lures Tandems in chartreuse patterns CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: When the sun gets high in the sky on a post-frontal day, redfish will tend to hold inside deeper grass and algae beds for cover and ambush. Cast around these areas with chartreuse jerkbaits, live shrimp, or ballyhoo chunks. When you hook a fish, keep steady pressure because they have a habit of run over a grass clump, and then turning broadside against the bed. It might take some effort to horse them out. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Color Change at Marker 124 GPS: N26 7.500, W97 14.000 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Lures Tandems CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Trout seek the warmth and security of the color change during the inconsistent weather of February. Drift the color line and fish one the darker side if the weather is cooler. On milder days, the clearer water

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I7


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

might be more effective. Focus on sand pockets in between grass beds. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Three Islands GPS: N26 16.643, W97 15.102 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork; topwaters; SPI Lures Tandems in Morning Glory, plum, red/white CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Fish the flats north and east of Three Islands on mild days. If the trout are still cold-shocked after a front, fish primarily with live shrimp and a popping cork such as a Livingston Lures Grand Slam Popper. As fish become more aggressive when mild weather prevails, try soft plastics or topwaters to seek out larger fish. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Arroyo Colorado Docks at night GPS: N26 20.061, W97 26.375 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: live shrimp; SPI Tandems in glow, pearl CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581

Page I8

TIPS: Calm nights during the full moon mean that some pretty good snook will be lurking around the shadows of lighted docks. Ease into casting range and work the shadows and edges with live shrimp. Watch for leaping bait and swirls to tip you off. If you spot fishermen on the dock, wait to see if they wave you in, or ask if you can play through. Good manners go a long way. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Saucer GPS: N26 27.652, W97 21.702 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: gold spoons, topwaters CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Redfish aren’t particularly perturbed by crummy weather. Fish the shallows off of the shoreline. Topwaters work well early in the morning, and on into the day if there is cloud cover. Fish slowly and thoroughly. Back off to the grass beds on sunny days and swim a Nemire Red Ripper over the beds. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Mansfield Jetties GPS: N26 34.025, W97 16.173 SPECIES: black drum

BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh table shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, 956944-2367 TIPS: If you really want to test your tackle and your biceps, give some of the big uglies that hang out at the end of the jetties during the winter. Shore anglers can have at these fish, but boaters will snag up less. Use stout tackle and fish-finder rigs with 3/0 to 5/0 circle hooks if you go after these bad boys. Some of these big drum can push 40 pounds. LOCATION: LLM at Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: North of East Cut GPS: N26 34.669, W97 22.403 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: topwaters or soft plastics in red/white, glow, bone; gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: If you are more interested in redfish, head to the north end of the East Cut. Use soft plastics in red/white or glow/chartreuse is the rig of choice for this scenario. Use topwaters close to shore early in the morning. Sight fishing with 1/4 ounce Gold spoons is also effective. LOCATION: LLM at Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: North of East Cut GPS: N26 34.669, W97 22.403 SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: soft plastics in red/white, glow, bone; dark colors on cloudy days CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Flounder hold along the edges of the channel all year around. Hop a shrimp tail or swim a shad tail on a 1/8-ounce head around the edge and any drain you spot. Fish closer to the shoreline on a high tide, and fish the edge on an outgoing tide. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Badlands GPS: N27 18.228, W97 24.338 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters early; soft plastics in Limetreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse; Corkies CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-

I8 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

6089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The mud bottom retains warmth and trout and redfish, as well as forage species, gravitate to it. Fish around and through color changes with lightly weighted soft plastics. Try jointed Bomber Long A’s when fishing deeper water. Speckled trout seem to go crazy over the action. . LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Black’s Bluff GPS: N28 14.237, W97 33.935 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 popping about near drop-offs. That’s usually a sign that there are predators lurking. Plastics should be fished on light jigs; 1/8-ounce is good, 1/16 is even better. Once you begin working the area, fish deeper water with soft plastics and suspending plugs for both trout and redfish. Work your lures slowly, and pay attention. The bites can be very, very subtle. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Rivera Channel GPS: N27 17.395, W97 39.476 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Pods of hungry drum are cruising this area through the winter. Live shrimp can be fished either on a fish-finder rig or under an Old Bayside Paradise Popper (if the fish are up shallow and roaming). If live shrimp are hard to come by, use a chunk of fresh crab with the carapace removed on the Carolina rig. Drum will come a long way for a piece of candy. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Center Reef GPS: N27 16.206, W97 34.362 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: jerkbaits, suspending plugs; soft plastics in Morning Glory, Baffin Magic CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com

|

A L M A N A C

Page I9

TIPS: Fish the deep points with a B&L Corky or Catch 5. Soft plastics should be pinned on a 1/8-ounce jighead to fish them slowly. Drift-fishing is better than anchoring because it allows you to cover more water around the reef. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 30.057, W97 19.546 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp; soft plastics in black/gold, Baffin Magic, Morning Glory; gold weedless spoons CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the edges of the deeper water to intercept redfish. Again, when live bait is hard to find, try both weedless gold spoons (a 1/2 ounce Nemire Red Ripper is a great choice) and soft plastics on a 1/8-ounce head under a Paradise Popper. The popping cork slows down your action, which is important in winter. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: King Ranch Shoreline GPS: N27 25.402, W96 2.075 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish 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: Brave anglers should don some insulated waders and slip into the chilly ULM waters along the King Ranch. Wade depth breaks and guts for best results. Live shrimp under an Old Bayside float is a good combination. Grinders can also opt to throw eel-style artificials on 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jigheads. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Humble Channel GPS: N27 39.153, W96 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: Another spot for some winter excitement is Humble Channel, where the drum can get quite large. Anchor up on the T E X A S

F I S H

&

edge of the channel and send out a fish-finder with a large shrimp or large crab chunk. When your rod slowly starts to bend, set the hook. Circle hooks are also great choices for this kind of fishing.

Big Tiger Bass LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tigers GPS: N26 44.326, W99 08.912 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: Texas-rigged lizards or beaver style baits in watermelon red and red bug; white spinnerbaits with gold and silver willow leaf blades; shallow running crankbaits in natural craw colors CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Start out fishing shallow well into the months of February and March to produce those hogs are still in the spawn mode. As the day rolls on, move out to the deeper brush and trees and work each tree slow. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Salado GPS: N26 46.030, W99 20.030 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas rigged beaver style baits or Senko’s in Watermelon; white spinnerbaits with gold and silver willow leaf blades; shad colored swimbaits CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Running a spinnerbait or a swimbait early morning will trigger strikes from the bass moving around the shallows. As the

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I9


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/31/09

12:24 PM

sun comes up, flip or fan cast Texas rigged baits around the brush and hold on. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Veleno’s GPS: N26 53.092, W99 15.457 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas rigged 10” worms, Lizards, and creature baits in red bug and watermelon candy CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Fish these flats looking for the last of the spawning largemouth or for the cruisers hanging in this area. LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: Greyhound Point GPS: N28 29.245, W96 23.375 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: chrome/black back Pop-R; lightweight Senko’s or flukes in watermelon red or Red Bug; chartreuse/white spinnerbaits with dual flash willow leaf blades; Texas-rigged tubes in white or Green Pumpkin CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: On the west side of Greyhound, you will find a lot of timber, amongst the various points and flats. Throwing a pop r on top of this flat will produce the aggressive fish that are on the move. Follow up with weightless baits for the bass that seem more reluctant to chase. Before leaving this area, take a few minutes to slow down and fish thoroughly, as this flat is a great holding area for those spawners as well.

Page I10

baits and crankbaits for the reaction strikes from the more hostile mossbacks that are in the area. LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: East Calliham Flats GPS: N28 29.222, W98 20.709 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: lightweight Senko’s and flukes in watermelon, white; chartreuse/white or white spinnerbaits with silver willow leaf blades; topwater frogs, Spooks, stickbaits in natural colors CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Being on the water at sun up and not having to run far, this flat is a great place to begin your day. Start out with your various topwater baits rotating with your stickbaits to hook up with those fish that are already roaming around looking for a quick bite. If the bite slows, don’t hesitate to pick up that spinnerbait or one of your lightweight baits to boat some of those fish that were missed.

Pelican Cats LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Pelican Island SPECIES: catfish GPS: N30 18.127, W096 34.429

LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: South Shore Boat Ramp GPS: N28 28.384, W98 14.995 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white/chartreuse buzzbaits, frogs; Texas-rigged 10-inch worms or creature baits in watermelon red; shad colored crankbaits; jigs in Camo or Gator CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Look for the spawning bass that are lying up on the flats and throw your Texas rig or jigs, working it slow as to entice those hogs into biting. Switch to your topwater I10 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

BEST BAITS: shad, cut bait, worms TIPS: Fish steep drop-off on northwest side of island. Water is at its coldest this time of year. Large blue cats cruise deeper water and will follow this creek channel that comes close to the island. Use 4/0 Kahle hooks with one-ounce slip sinker. Put out several rods around the boat in this area. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Hot Water Discharge SPECIES: catfish GPS: N30 38.351, W096 03.279 BEST BAITS: shad, worms, punch bait TIPS: Spring comes early in power plant lakes. Look for shad to get more active in the discharge area this time of year and the catfish will be right there with them. Anchor on the right side of the discharge. Set out rods into the open area of the discharge using 2- to 3-ounce sinkers, shad or worms on a 2/0 Kahle hook. Use 3/4-ounce egg sinker and No. 4 treble hook with punchbait to cast into the shallower water around the trees and stumps. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Hog Creek SPECIES: catfish GPS: N30 3.557, W96 04.000 BEST BAITS: shad, cut bait TIPS: Water is 18-20 feet deep where the two creeks join in this area. In winter, large blue cats will hang out. Use 4/0 Kahle hook or 8/0 circle hook with 1-ounce slip sinker. Larger baits will attract larger fish. Water is at its coldest now and that is when large blue cats hang in deeper water. Put out several rods in a circle around the boat. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Main Point SPECIES: catfish GPS: N29 56.317, W96 44.217

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

BEST BAITS: stinkbait, shad, chicken liver TIPS: Two advantages to this area include stump field and lake point. Lake is full now, so most stumps are under water, use electronics to anchor in stumpy area, throw out some chum around the boat. Fish chummed area. Water is about 13-feet here. Fish with tight line near or on bottom. Allow 15-30 minutes for chum to produce CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Intake Corner SPECIES: catfish GPS: N29 55.270, W096 44.835 BEST BAITS: stinkbait, shad, worms TIPS: Use slip cork to prevent hang-ups on rocks. Use No. 2 Kahle hook for shad No. 4 treble for stinkbait or worms. Fish are in winter pattern feeding around the rocks and cattails. Best times are dawn to midmorning and evening through night. Fish rocks and grass shoreline left of intake canal or fish cattails on right side of intake canal. Chum if fishing deeper water here CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Slick ’Em Slough SPECIES: striped bass GPS: N33 51.354, W96 52.690 BEST BAITS: Road Runner jigs, Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Chances of landing trophy stripers are in your favor in area. Road Runner 1ounce white bucktail jigs with a 7-inch soft plastic worm are deadly on the big fish holding on structure. Keep your eyes on the seagulls. Cast your 1-ounce white-glow jigs under the birds where large schools of stripers can be feeding. Multiple hook-ups are common with lots of action in the open water. BANK ACCESS: Sand Point (N33 51.545, W96 51.823)

Page I11

CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr., 903-4782633, 903-724-0961, matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Bass are in the peak of their spawn and can be found up in the saw grass beds. Start at cove west of the dam at the GPS location. Take your twin tail grub and rig it Texas-style with a small bullet weight about 1/8-ounce on a 3/0 wide gap hook. Dip the tails chartreuse dye. Just cast or pitch this bait as close to the saw grass as possible and bounce with short hops. Work this cove all the way back into the little creek and out along the grass. LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Brushy Point Warm Water Discharge GPS: N31 49.248, W96 02.766 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: dead shrimp CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr., 903-4782633, 903-724-0961, matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Redfish will be located in this intake canal. There is a 25-foot channel here. Start at the GPS location and anchor up on point or tie up to the cable. Rig up like a Carolina-rig with about a two-foot leader. Use about a 4/0 treble hook and about a 1/2-ounce weight before your swivel. Frozen shrimp works well. Remember the limit is three over 20 inches.

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 CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 TIPS: This is a great spot for catching magnum white bass in the early winter. The fish will be pushing shad up on the edges of this point as they get prepare for the colder weather to arrive. Use your electronics to find the baitfish and fish in water depths ranging from 25’-35’. Bounce the slab slowly off the bottom for best success BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina 903-389-5218 LOCATION: Lake Richland-Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31 58.9490, W96 10.600 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 excellent area for wintertime white bass. Tie on a larger slab and move it very slow 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 50s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will often be nothing more than a light tick or often you

LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Cove near Dam GPS: N31 49.311 W96 02.612 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Zoom Twin Tail Grub (Watermelon Seed)

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I11


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

I12 |

12/30/09

F E B R U A R Y

6:01 PM

2 0 1 0

Page I12

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

|

12/30/09

6:01 PM

A L M A N A C

Page I13

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I13


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/31/09

12:19 PM

just feel dead weight on the end of your line. When in doubt, set the hook LOCATION: Lake Richland-Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31 58.9490, W96 10.600 SPECIES: hybrid striped 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 stripers. Tie on a larger slab and move it very slow off the bottom in water depths of 30 feet or greater. The fish will be hugging the bottom and as the water temperature cools to the low 50s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will often be nothing more than a light tick or often you just feel dead weight on the end of your line. When in doubt set the hook and hold on! LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: The Island GPS: N31 08.540 W97 28.740 SPECIES: hybrid striped bass BEST BAITS: white or chartreuse slabs CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Once you contact fish, immediately buoy so you don’t lose track of them.

Page I14

LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: The Island GPS: N31 08.540 W97 28.740 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: white or chartreuse slabs CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Once you contact fish, immediately buoy so you don’t lose track of them. LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Lampasas River Mouth GPS: N30 59.920, W97 38.675 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: chartreuse crankbaits CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Trolling at around 2.5 mph is best. Work over successful areas with multiple passes. BANK ACCESS: Via southeast end of FM 3481 Bridge over lake; kayak friendly LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Big Rocky Creek GPS: N31 52.795, W97 23.682 SPECIES: striped bass 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: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Kickapoo LANDMARK: (all water west of the 315 bridge) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, Mister Twister Comeda CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, ricky@rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing will be very good in this area. Often, bass can be found up on grass beds in the shallows. Fish lures very slow for best results. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Flat Creek LANDMARK: (south banks west of 315 bridge) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, Mister Twister Comeda CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, ricky@rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing will be very good in this area. Often, bass can be found up on grass beds in the shallows. Fish lures very slow for best results. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Neches River LANDMARK: (flats above Cades Lake and cuts along the river) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, Mister Twister Comeda CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-561-

I14 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

7299, ricky@rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing will be very good in this area. Often, bass can be found up on grass beds in the shallows. Fish lures very slow for best results.

Hornblower Crappie LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: San Gabriel River

LANDMARK: (mouth of Granger Lake to the Hwy 95 bridge) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: 1/16-ounce chartreuse jigs CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Slowly troll jigs along the middle of the river channel. After 2 or 3 warm days, fish in shallow sloughs and ditches using a slip bobber set at 2 feet. BANK ACCESS: Access Point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch, Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Hwy 95

LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: San Gabriel River LANDMARK: (mouth of Granger Lake to the Hwy 95 bridge) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: small white hair jigs CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Fish from bank. Cast jigs while reeling them back with a slow steady pace. BANK ACCESS: Access Point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch, Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Hwy 95

Page I15

Pre-spawn Bass LOCATION: Toledo Bend North HOTSPOT: Tenaha Area (Pine Island) GPS: N31 52.812, W93 55.689 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, stickbaits, jerkbaits, jigs; soft and finesse plastics CONTACT: Greg Crafts, www.toledobendguide.com, 936.368.7151 TIPS: The bass will begin staging and bulking up on food in anticipation of the spawn. Concentrate on the edges of the creeks, main and secondary points, and the drains and ditches leading to the shallow spawning

flats. The male bass will move into the shallow flats first making the beds. The females will be close by. If you locate a number of males, back out to deeper water and you will usually find some aggressive females staging in anticipation of moving onto the beds and they are usually hungry and aggressive.

LOCATION: Toledo Bend South


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

HOTSPOT: Texas Islands GPS: N31 11.50, W93 36.96 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits with double willow leaf blades and white/chartreuse skirts; weightless soft plastics in Watermelon Candy, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Seed; crankbaits in Toledo Gold, Crawfish Red, silver/blue. CONTACT: Captain Joe Joslin, 337-4633848, www.joejoslinoutdoors.com TIPS: In February, bass start to move up ditches and drains. Work the edges with the baits mentioned above. Don’t get in a hurry, as the water temperature is still cold and fish will often be in groups. BANK ACCESS: Below the dam for catfish/striper when generators are running; for generator schedule see www.srala-toledo.com

Possum Stripers Galore LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 54.142, W98 28.068 SPECIES: stripers

Page I16

CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Look for working birds and drift toward them. LOCATION: Graham/Edelman HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current.

BEST BAITS: slabs and jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Look for working birds and drift toward them. LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 54.142, W98 28.068 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: slabs and jigs

LOCATION: Graham/Edelman HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. LOCATION: Lake Palo Pinto HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigs, slabs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. “Burn” slabs off bottom if you locate a stacked school.

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

On the Web www.fishgame.com/hotspots —Interactive fishing hotspot finder, with GPS and inside data on over 1,200 locations.

I16 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I17


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I18

Tides and Prime Times

FEBRUARY 2010 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.

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

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

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 T22 T23

KEYS TO USING THE TIDE AND SOLUNAR GRAPHS TIDE LE VEL GRAPH: Yellow: Daylight

12a

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Green: Falling Tide

AM/PM Timeline

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 F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

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:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I19

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

2

THURSDAY

3

Sunrise: 7:07a Moonrise: 9:03p

Set: 5:56p Set: 8:37a

AM Minor: 6:58a

PM Minor: 7:23p

AM Minor: 7:55a

PM Minor: 8:20p

AM Minor: 8:51a

PM Minor: 9:16p

AM Major: 12:45a

PM Major: 1:11p

AM Major: 1:43a

PM Major: 2:08p

AM Major: 2:39a

PM Major: 3:04p

Sunrise: 7:07a Set: 5:57p Moonrise: 10:08p Set: 9:13a

Moon Overhead: 2:21a 6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 5:58p Moonrise: 11:12p Set: 9:48a

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

4

 6

5

7

Set: 6:00p Sunrise: 7:04a Set: 11:49a Moonrise: 2:17a

Set: 6:01p Set: 12:36p

AM Minor: 9:47a

PM Minor: 10:12p

AM Minor: 10:40a

PM Minor: 11:06p

AM Minor: 11:32a

PM Minor: 11:58p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:22p

AM Major: 3:34a

PM Major: 3:59p

AM Major: 4:28a

PM Major: 4:53p

AM Major: 5:19a

PM Major: 5:45p

AM Major: 6:09a

PM Major: 6:35p

Moon Overhead: 4:52a 12a

SUNDAY

Set: 5:59p Sunrise: 7:04a Set: 5:58p Sunrise: 7:05a Set: 10:25a Moonrise: 12:16a Set: 11:05a Moonrise: 1:18a

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: None

Moon Overhead: 4:02a

Moon Overhead: 3:12a

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:35a

Moon Overhead: 5:43a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:27a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 1

12a

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 2:46p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

1:30 — 4:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 5:17p BEST:

2:30 — 5:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 6:09p BEST:

3:00 — 6:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 7:01p BEST:

4:00 — 6:30 AM

5:00 — 8:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 7:53p +2.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:27p

TIDE LEVELS

12:30 — 3:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 3:37p

High Tide: 4:47 am 0.93 ft Low Tide: 12:03 am Low Tide: 11:32 am -0.41 ft High Tide: 6:10 am High Tide: 6:22 pm 0.85 ft Low Tide: 12:17 pm High Tide: 6:42 pm

0.08 ft 0.83 ft -0.08 ft 0.81 ft

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

1:00 am 7:42 am 1:00 pm 7:01 pm

-0.15 ft 0.75 ft 0.25 ft 0.80 ft

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

2:02 am 9:29 am 1:41 pm 7:16 pm

-0.33 ft 0.73 ft 0.54 ft 0.81 ft

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

3:09 am 11:53 am 2:11 pm 7:16 pm

-0.46 ft Low Tide: 4:21 am 0.78 ft High Tide: 3:26 pm 0.77 ft 0.83 ft

-0.55 ft Low Tide: 5:32 am 0.92 ft High Tide: 3:54 pm

-0.60 ft 1.00 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I20

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

9

THURSDAY

10

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

12

11

SUNDAY

 13

14

Sunrise: 7:03a Moonrise: 3:12a

Set: 6:02p Set: 1:27p

Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 4:02a

Set: 6:03p Set: 2:20p

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 4:47a

Set: 6:03p Set: 3:15p

Sunrise: 7:01a Moonrise: 5:28a

Set: 6:04p Set: 4:11p

Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 6:04a

Set: 6:05p Set: 5:06p

Sunrise: 6:59a Moonrise: 6:36a

Set: 6:06p Set: 6:00p

Sunrise: 6:58a Moonrise: 7:06a

Set: 6:07p Set: 6:53p

AM Minor: 12:44a

PM Minor: 1:10p

AM Minor: 1:31a

PM Minor: 1:56p

AM Minor: 2:16a

PM Minor: 2:40p

AM Minor: 3:00a

PM Minor: 3:23p

AM Minor: 3:42a

PM Minor: 4:05p

AM Minor: 4:24a

PM Minor: 4:46p

AM Minor: 5:06a

PM Minor: 5:27p

AM Major: 6:57a

PM Major: 7:23p

AM Major: 7:44a

PM Major: 8:09p

AM Major: 8:28a

PM Major: 8:53p

AM Major: 9:11a

PM Major: 9:35p

AM Major: 9:54a

PM Major: 10:16p

AM Major: 10:35a

PM Major: 10:56p

AM Major: 10:52a

PM Major: ——-

Moon Overhead: 8:19a 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:00a

Moon Overhead: 9:10a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:47a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:15p

Moon Overhead: 11:32a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 12:57p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

8

12a

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 8:45p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

BEST:

1:00 — 3:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 11:10p BEST:

10:00A — 1:00P

Moon Underfoot: 11:54p BEST:

11:00A — 2:00P

Moon Underfoot: None

Moon Underfoot: 12:36a

BEST:

3:30 — 6:30 AM

+2.0

BEST:

4:00 — 7:00 AM

5:00 — 7:30 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 10:24p

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 9:35p

Low Tide: 6:36 am High Tide: 4:25 pm

I20 |

-0.63 ft Low Tide: 1.02 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

7:30 am 4:49 pm 9:44 pm 11:12 pm

F E B R U A R Y

-0.64 ft Low Tide: 8:16 am 0.99 ft High Tide: 4:58 pm 0.87 ft Low Tide: 9:27 pm 0.88 ft

2 0 1 0

-0.62 ft High Tide: 12:30 am 0.94 ft Low Tide: 8:54 am 0.84 ft High Tide: 5:00 pm Low Tide: 9:18 pm

T E X A S

F I S H

0.91 ft -0.57 ft 0.89 ft 0.77 ft

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

1:30 am 9:26 am 5:04 pm 9:25 pm

&

G A M E ®

0.92 ft -0.49 ft 0.85 ft 0.68 ft

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

2:23 am 9:54 am 5:13 pm 9:48 pm

A L M A N A C

0.92 ft -0.39 ft 0.83 ft 0.56 ft

|

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

3:14 am 10:19 am 5:25 pm 10:19 pm

0.91 ft -0.26 ft 0.82 ft 0.44 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I21


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/31/09

12:27 PM

Page I22

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

16

THURSDAY

17

Set: 6:07p Set: 7:45p

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 8:03a

Set: 6:08p Set: 8:38p

Sunrise: 6:56a Moonrise: 8:32a

Set: 6:09p Set: 9:32p

Sunrise: 6:55a Moonrise: 9:02a

AM Minor: 5:49a

PM Minor: 6:09p

AM Minor: 6:33a

PM Minor: 6:53p

AM Minor: 7:18a

PM Minor: 7:39p

AM Major: 11:35a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:23a

PM Major: 12:43p

AM Major: 1:08a

PM Major: 1:28p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:58p

Moon Overhead: 2:17p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

18

Sunrise: 6:57a Moonrise: 7:35a

Moon Overhead: 1:37p

FRIDAY

19

 21

20

Set: 6:10p Sunrise: 6:54a Set: 10:28p Moonrise: 9:36a

Set: 6:11p Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 6:11p Set: 11:27p Moonrise: 10:15a Set: None

AM Minor: 8:06a

PM Minor: 8:27p

AM Minor: 8:56a

PM Minor: 9:19p

AM Minor: 9:48a

PM Minor: 10:14p

AM Minor: 10:43a

PM Minor: 11:11p

AM Major: 1:55a

PM Major: 2:17p

AM Major: 2:44a

PM Major: 3:07p

AM Major: 3:36a

PM Major: 4:01p

AM Major: 4:30a

PM Major: 4:57p

Moon Overhead: 3:42p 12a

SUNDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:19p

Moon Overhead: 4:28p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:52a Set: 6:12p Moonrise: 11:00a Set: 12:28a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:13p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

15

12a

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 1:17a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

12:30 — 3:00 PM

1:00 — 3:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:20a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:05a BEST:

2:00 — 4:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 4:53a BEST:

9:00 — 11:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 5:46a +2.0

BEST:

10:00P — 12:00A

4:00 — 6:30 AM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 2:38a

TIDE LEVELS

5:30 — 8:00 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:57a

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

4:05 am 10:44 am 5:38 pm 10:52 pm

0.87 ft -0.11 ft 0.80 ft 0.31 ft

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

4:59 am 11:10 am 5:49 pm 11:27 pm

0.83 ft 0.05 ft 0.79 ft 0.19 ft

High Tide: 5:59 am 0.80 ft Low Tide: 11:35 am 0.23 ft High Tide: 5:56 pm 0.78 ft

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

12:05 am 7:08 am 12:02 pm 5:52 pm

0.07 ft 0.77 ft 0.42 ft 0.79 ft

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

12:47 am 8:36 am 12:26 pm 5:34 pm

-0.05 ft 0.77 ft 0.61 ft 0.84 ft

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

1:38 am 10:31 am 12:43 pm 5:16 pm

-0.17 ft Low Tide: 2:39 am 0.82 ft High Tide: 5:13 pm 0.80 ft 0.94 ft

-0.29 ft 1.04 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:01 PM

Page I23

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

Tides and Prime Times for FEBRUARY 2010 MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

22 SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

23 Sunrise: 6:50a Set: 6:13p Moonrise: 12:53p Set: 2:31a

SATURDAY

25

SUNDAY

27

26

28

Sunrise: 6:49a Moonrise: 2:00p

Set: 6:14p Set: 3:28a

Sunrise: 6:48a Moonrise: 3:10p

Set: 6:15p Set: 4:21a

Sunrise: 6:47a Moonrise: 4:22p

Set: 6:16p Set: 5:09a

Sunrise: 6:46a Moonrise: 5:32p

Set: 6:16p Set: 5:51a

Sunrise: 6:45a Moonrise: 6:40p

Set: 6:17p Set: 6:30a

AM Minor: 11:40a

PM Minor: ——-

AM Minor: 12:06a

PM Minor: 12:37p

AM Minor: 1:02a

PM Minor: 1:33p

AM Minor: 1:57a

PM Minor: 2:27p

AM Minor: 2:51a

PM Minor: 3:20p

AM Minor: 3:43a

PM Minor: 4:10p

AM Minor: 4:35a

PM Minor: 5:01p

AM Major: 5:25a

PM Major: 5:54p

AM Major: 6:22a

PM Major: 6:52p

AM Major: 7:18a

PM Major: 7:48p

AM Major: 8:12a

PM Major: 8:42p

AM Major: 9:05a

PM Major: 9:34p

AM Major: 9:57a

PM Major: 10:24p

AM Major: 10:48a

PM Major: 11:14p

Moon Overhead: 7:11p

12a

24

FRIDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:13p

Moon Overhead: 8:12p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:13p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None

Moon Overhead: 11:11p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 6:51a Set: 6:13p Moonrise: 11:53a Set: 1:30a

THURSDAY

Moon Overhead: 12:05a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 6:42a +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 9:44a BEST:

12:30 — 3:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 10:42a BEST:

1:30 — 3:30 AM

10:30P — 12:00A

Moon Underfoot: 11:38a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 12:55p +2.0

BEST:

3:30 — 6:00 AM

12:00 — 2:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 8:43a

TIDE LEVELS

6:30 — 9:00 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 7:42a

Low Tide: 3:49 am High Tide: 5:19 pm

-0.41 ft Low Tide: 5:02 am 1.12 ft High Tide: 3:36 pm

|

-0.54 ft Low Tide: 6:10 am 1.16 ft High Tide: 3:23 pm

A L M A N A C

-0.64 ft Low Tide: 1.18 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

T E X A S

7:11 am 3:37 pm 7:56 pm 11:59 pm

F I S H

-0.70 ft Low Tide: 8:07 am 1.15 ft High Tide: 3:53 pm 0.97 ft Low Tide: 8:27 pm 1.10 ft

&

G A M E ®

-0.67 ft High Tide: 1:31 am 1.09 ft Low Tide: 8:58 am 0.77 ft High Tide: 4:11 pm Low Tide: 9:08 pm

1.14 ft -0.55 ft 1.02 ft 0.52 ft

F E B R U A R Y

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

2:50 am 9:47 am 4:30 pm 9:53 pm

1.16 ft -0.35 ft 0.97 ft 0.24 ft

2 0 1 0

|

I23

+1.0

0

-1.0


12/30/09

6:02 PM

SAM Splint for Those “What the Sam Hill?” Moments

PHOTO COURTESY SAM MEDICAL PRODUCTS

THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF OUTDOORSMEN: THOSE who have injured themselves while hunting, camping, or fishing, and those who are going to--and the first group is, unfortunately, part of the second group, too. Most sports-related injuries are not life threaten-

Sam Splint ing, but some can be, and preparedness can make the difference between life and death in certain instances. The hunter who sprains an ankle miles from his vehicle in the rough Montana mountains, or the fisherman who breaks a leg stepping over a mossy log in a Colorado trout stream, can die of exposure, starvation, or wild animal attack before help arrives. Having the tools to mend ones own hurts is vital to the outdoorsman. A well-stocked first aid kit is one of the “10 essentials” for outdoor recreation, and no medical kit is complete without at least one SAM Splint. SAM stands for “Structural Aluminum, Malleable.” The SAM Splint is made of a I24 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

Page I24

thin sheet of aluminum encased in closedcell foam. The splint can be shaped to fit any injured body part, and when combined with an ACE bandage, it’s just what the doctor ordered to immobilize almost any sprain, broken bone, or other injury. The splint can even be made into a T shape to rigidly support a damaged back. A trauma surgeon named Sam Scheinberg invented the SAM Splint during the Vietnam War. Dr. Scheinberg noticed that most military medics refrained from using the splints issued by the U.S. Army. One day, while toying with a foil gum wrapper, he had an idea for a better splint, and eventually designed what has become a staple for emergency medical personnel the world over. SAM Splints come in various sizes for ease of use on a variety of body parts, including fingers and toes. The standard is 36x4 inches, but the splint can easily be cut to any size with regular scissors. SAM Splints come in various colors, including olive drab green, which could come in handy for the turkey hunter who would rather keep hunting with a sprained ankle than let the injury cut his trip short. Most EMTs prefer the splint with blue foam on one side and bright orange on the other; they’re easier to find in the grass at accident scenes. The old Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” Put a SAM Splint and an T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

ACE bandage in your tackle box, hunting pack, or vehicle (or all three) before your next outing, and enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you have what it takes to treat those annoying minor injuries, and even the occasional serious ones. Contact: SAM Medical Products, 800818-4726, www.sammedical.com —Kendal Hemphill

Owl Eyes for Outdoorsmen WHETHER YOU’RE STALKING IN THE PRE-DAWN hours, pulling through an inlet in inky darkness, or just trying to find your way in the dark, having night vision is an incredible asset. In the past, you could get cold-war era night-vision gear that gathered tiny amounts of light and amplified the images it provided. But these eerie green images weren’t always very clear, and they still required some amount of light to work. Infrared technology, on the other hand, offers a sharp, clear black and white picture. Everything creates some amount of thermal energy, so IR can see everything from tree branches to a bedded-down buck no matter what the light levels are--but it’s always been prohibitively expensive and often required a fixed-mount camera and remote LCD screen to view the images. That’s no longer the case,

FLIR First Mate PHOTO COURTESY FLIR SYSTEMS

ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:03 PM

Page I25

since FLIR introduced its First Mate to outdoorsmen. The First Mate is a hand-held scope that runs for five hours on a set of four AA batteries, has 2x zoom, is waterproof to IPX7 standards (that means it’s submersible to one meter for up to 30 minutes), and weighs a hair under 1-1/2 pounds with the batteries installed. The unit floats, so dropping it into the lake won’t be a tragedy. Add an SD card and still images can be stored for future reference. It also has video output, so you can pipe the images to a different screen if you want. Unlike traditional night vision gear, the FLIR won’t “white out” if you point it at a bright light. Contact: FLIR Systems, 800-4646372, www.flir.com —Lenny Rudow

Playin’ Hooky with Shimano Extreme Fishing for Wii

PHOTO COURTESY SHIMANO

Shimano Extreme Fishing for Wii

Spear- and bowfishing are similar in single-player mode, but multi-player mode didn’t hold our attention for too long because it’s just a matter of point and shoot. After two weeks of “testing,” I’ve noticed that when my boys fire up the video game machine, they reach for Extreme Fishing if playing alone, but if the two of them want to go head to head, it’s back to Smack-Down Pro Wrestling. I have one other complaint: Why is it that we can get a brand-new game, start off on a level playing field, and within an hour, all three of my kids can completely destroy me? They cast 100 feet and I cast 10. They plant an arrow into the beefy flanks of a

giant gar; I’m lucky to ricochet off a carp. They run the boat to the hotspot; I run it into a waterfall. (Note to game designers: We all agreed that the boat should have exploded.) Then again, you should see how bad I am at Smack-Down. —LR

On the Web www.sxf-game.com www.flir.com www.sammedical.com

IF YOU WANT TO CATCH A 200-POUND ARAPAIMA but don’t want to fly the Amazon to do it, then you’ll just have to play Shimano’s new Extreme Fishing for Wii. The coolest thing about this game is that you not only get to fish with a rod and reel, it also includes bowfishing and spearfishing. Why would you “play” at fishing when you could be doing the reel thing? You wouldn’t, and sitting in front of the Wii is no substitute for being on the water. But, when the rain is pouring down or the wind is blowing a gale, my entire family did find that it was a fun diversion. Rod and reel fishing is much like Wii fishing games we’ve seen in the past, where you choose your gear and target small fish first, then work your way up to larger ones. Once you have a fish on the line, you have to raise and lower the controller to keep tension without breaking off. To reel, you swing your hand in the same circular motion as if you were turning a real crank.

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I25


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:04 PM

Buck Folds the ErgoHunter Knife WHEN BUCK KNIVES INTRODUCED THEIR INNOVAtive new ErgoHunter fixed-blade skinners a year ago, they were an instant hit with hunters. Inevitably, it led to the cry, “When will there be a folding knife version?” Many simply prefer folders these days. Typical of their reaction to the market, Buck unveiled three Folding ErgoHunters at the SHOT Show. In keeping with their good-better-best pricing, there are three models. All three have a 3” skinning blade, hollow ground and heat treated by Paul Bos for peak performance. Handles feature ergonomic contouring (called ”palm swell” in firearm grips) for maximum comfort and reduced hand fatigue. Raised, machine-cut checkering provides a secure grip. The Folding ErgoHunters provide

Page I26

ambidextrous one-hand opening, and have extra-thick locking liners made of 410 HC stainless steel. Heavyduty construction Buck ensures reliErgoHunter able performance. Conveniently sized, they are smaller than the fixed-blade for easier carry, and weigh just 4.5 oz. Overall length, locked open, is 71/8”. Top of the line is the Model 598 Folding ErgoHunter Pro, with a handle made of handsome Rosewood Dymondwood® inlaid into black rubber for a comfortable, sure grip. The blade is the finest quality S30V stainless steel for ultimate sharpness, superior edge retention,

toughness and corrosionresistance. With a genuine leather sheath, MSRP is $170. Model 597 Folding ErgoHunter Avid has a 12C27 Mod Sandvik steel blade, with a retail of $88. And the Model 595 Select has a blade made of Buck’s reliable 420HC stainless steel. MSRP, $73. These two come with a heavy-duty nylon sheath. As part of Buck’s “American Commitment,” the new Folding ErgoHunters are made in the USA, and are backed by Buck’s Forever Warranty. Contact: Buck Knives, Inc., 660 S. Lochsa Street Post Falls, ID 83854 (800) 326-2825 www.buckknives.com

Ocean Kayak Torque REPRESENTING THE NEXT GENERATION IN FISHING kayaks, the Ocean Kayak Torque is unlike anything else on the market. It seamlessly blends all the necessary equipment anglers need on the water and features a sternmounted Minn Kota Maximizer trolling motor with infinite variable speed drive control and reverse. Crafted around the successful Prowler Trident Angler kayak platform, the 13’ 10” Torque offers true hands-free Ocean trolling, a dry stable ride, good tracking while paddling Kayak

Torque

or under power and foot pegs for all day comfort. The motor provides up to 33 pounds of thrust that is controlled through a cockpit drive control knob in combination I26 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:05 PM

with an extra-large rudder. Other key features include a kill switch, large bow hatch, removable skeg for use on days when a motor isn?t necessary, areas to mount fishing accessories, transducer compatible scupper hole, paddle keeper, comfortable seat back and battery box (battery not included). Specs include: Length: 13’10”, Width: 29”, Weight: 71 lbs (75 lbs w/ skeg), Max capacity: 350-400 lbs (w/ motor + battery), 425-475 lbs (w/ skeg). www.oceankayak.com

Check Your Trailer Tongue Weight UNIFIED MARINE, INC., IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE the Safety 800 Trailer Tongue Weight Jack receiving the Innovation of the Year award at MAATS sponsored by the NMMA. The Safety 800 was built to provide valuable and immediate trailer tongue weight information to the towing vehicle’s operator. Tongue weight is often an overlooked but vitally important part of trailering. Trailer tongue weight can vary given the weight and position of gear loaded onto the boat. If the tongue weight is Safety too light the trailer can fish800 tail, swerve and become danTrailer gerous as speeds increase. If Weight the tongue weight is too Jack heavy, the weight can force the rear of the towing vehicle down. The increased weight on the vehicle’s rear wheels and axle can increase tire wear, tire failure and excessive wear on all suspension components. Also, front tire weight is lessened which decreases steering effectiveness. This out of balance situation negatively affects gas mileage, vehicle performance, and safety. The Safety 800 is the first and only

|

A L M A N A C

Page I27

trailer jack on the market that will tell the vehicle operator if the load is properly balanced on the trailer for safe, efficient, and proper towing. For more information contact Unified Marine, Inc. at 800-282-8725 or visit www.seasense.com.

Low-Cost Night Vision

Cocoons over prescription sunwear

with the option of gray, amber, copper or yellow Polar Polarized, scratch resistant lenses. Cocoons have a manufacturers suggested retail of $44.95, for more info visit www.cocoonseyewear.com.

THE ATAC 360° IS A LOW COST, HIGH RESOLUTION thermal imaging system that allows the user to see in total darkness. Utilizing a 320 x 240 resolution FLIR Camera with a full 360° rotation and 135° tilt, the system can easily see targets from over 1500 feet. The system uses long-wave infrared sensor technology and can easily see through many atmospheric conditions that could not easily be penetrated with

ATAC 360°

other technologies. This model includes a wireless handheld and wireless dash mounted remote controls. The entire system operates on a 12V DC platform and is ideally suited for vehicles and watercraft. Contact: US Night Vision Corporation, 3845 Atherton Road, Suite 9, Rocklin, CA 95765 Toll Free (800) 500-4020 http://www.usnightvision.com/

Whole New Slate COCOONS, THE #1 BRAND OF OVERX (OVER PREscription) sunwear chosen by avid outdoorsmen, has expanded to include a new soft touch slate frame finish in all models. The addition of the slate frame will reiterate this brand reputation and meet the demands of an expanded outdoor consumer base. Slate frame finish is available in all six shapes T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I27


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:05 PM

Page I28

Easy2HookUSAWhy didn’t I think of that? MOST OF AMERICA’S 40,000,000 ANGLERS WOULD agree that next to “losing the big one”, the second item on anyone’s list of perennial fishing complaints is the often time-consuming, sometimes infuriating and, in rare instances, the just plain impossible act of knotting your fishing line to a hook. With Easy2HookUSA’s new line of “knotless” fishing hooks, anglers never have to tie a knot to attach their hooks to a line again. According to Ron Baskett, the company’s founder and CEO, the new fishing hooks do not require anglers to utilize a “knot” when tying their lines to a hook, but rather, allow people to employ a loop, wrap, and pull tight process known as E2H that totally eliminates the need for tying any knots at all. Baskett explained he first saw knotless fishing hooks at the ICAST show in Las Vegas in July of 2008 when he and a friend, now one of the partners in the business, where walking the floor looking for new and unique products to add the company’s original Bait Strap line of soft bait and attractant holders. “Basically, we were just walking the show, and as we passed by one of the booths, a man behind the table who spoke English with a foreign accent called us over and with an excited tone in his voice said, ‘You need to look at this hook!’ “ What followed was a demonstration of how E2H hooks attached to any fishing line without requiring a knot to hold them firmly in place. “I think both us said ‘no way’ simultaneously,” Baskett said, recalling the moment, but after seeing the demonstration multiple I28 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

times and expending every effort to try to dislodge the line from the hooks, they both walked away true believers, determined to somehow be an integral part of the Easy2Hook story in America. As it turned out, the man demonstrating the hooks was Jules Beckman Lapre, managing director of Waterproof Innovations BV, a Dutch company charged with marketing the internationally patented hooks worldwide. A series of negotiations followed, and on 15 April 2009 Waterproof Innovations BV and Outdoor Specialty Innovations, Inc. signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the North American continent and Easy2HookUSA was born. “Our hooks eliminate the necessity of tying knots and do so without sacrificing the integrity of the line itself,” Baskett said, “Our process gives people an option that is easier, faster, and allows you to attach your lines in seconds, thereby increasing your chances for a successful fishing trip simply because your line is in the water a greater proportion of the time.” Baskett said the company believes the easy, convenient, and hassle-free knotless feature of Easy2Hook has the potential to change the future purchasing habits of many anglers around the country, and will potentially also attract new participants to the sport who in the past found the process of tying knots to attach traditional hooks frustrating. “We know we have a learning curve to overcome,” Baskett said. “After all, the fishT E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

ing public has been tying hooks to their lines with knots in pretty much the same way for a very, very long time. “We just want to give people an option, and our experience has been that there are very few products on the market today that invoke the kind of wow factor that Easy2Hook immediately elicits from anyone and everyone that sees them. We hear the statements like, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ and ‘That’s very cool,’ ‘Let me try one of those,’ over and over again.” Baskett said the company respects the fact that experienced anglers might at first question the new approach: “We understand legitimate concerns about whether or not the hook will hold to the line without a knot. But the E2H process of loop, wrap, and pull tight has been thoroughly tested over a four-year period and has been proven successful in field tests conducted under every fishing condition all over the world. We wouldn’t be marketing the product if we didn’t have total confidence in the attachment process. “I urge anyone considering the purchase of our hooks to view how easy the E2H attachment process is before they make their buying decision.”

On the Web www.easy2hookusa.com www.fishgame.com/video (Keyword: Easy2Hook) A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/31/09

12:31 PM

Tricks of the Trade NOTHER MONTH HAS PASSED AND WITH IT another deer season. It seems like it just started, and now it is over in what seems like a blink of an eye. I for one have some great memories of the past season. All of the mornings waking up at darkthirty are now a distant memory, and thinking back about it, it was not that tough to do...now that it is over. I have had many hours in my stand to think of some of the tricks of the trade that some of my fellow hunters and I have tried and tested. Some of the ideas we had were absolutely brilliant while others will remain a secret among those of us who tried them. My good friend, Tom Ryan, came up with putting reflective tape on the back of his arrows between the fletching and nock. When I first saw this, I thought it was wasted effort. Then I helped him track a deer at night. He shined his high -powered flashlight ahead in the direction the deer had traveled, and there was his arrow on the ground off the beaten deer path. Had it not been for the reflective tape, we might have walked right passed that arrow. We would have missed all the information the blood on that arrow told us. He told me he lost an arrow while practicing and asked me to help him look for it. I immediately reminded him that it was already very dark outside and should wait until daylight. He took me outside and shined his light. Viola! There was his arrow shining like the morning sun. Here is one that worked like a charm for me, but you better sit down for this one (I would hate to have you fall down laughing): One Halloween I saw my friend’s spooky display. In that array of horrors was a

A

|

A L M A N A C

Page I29

dummy he filled with straw sitting in a chair on his front porch. A light bulb went on in my head. I went home and started my own “Halloween” dummy. The following summer, my masterpiece was ready. I dressed it in camo and took it to my deer stand. I strapped my new hunting buddy in the stand and left it there for the deer to see. The whitetails soon got used to seeing that dummy, and on opening morning, a different dummy was up there—one that could draw a bow and harvest a deer. I was amazed at how well this worked. Pretty cool, huh? Make sure you tie it in good and tight so it stays upright. It would be a useless attempt if the original dummy did not look realistic—at least, realistic enough to fool deer. We all have heard stories (or experienced ourselves) about climbing into a tree stand and then accidentally dropping some piece of crucial equipment to the ground. Now you have to climb down and retrieve the item. What a pain! It is especially a problem for those of us who use climbing stands. It is almost easier to carry two of everything rather than climb back down the tree and make all that excess noise. One company makes what it calls “the claw.” Made of heavy-duty plastic, the device is designed to pick up objects you drop. You tie the claw to a piece of rope and hope to drop it close to the object you are looking for. When you start to lift it, the claw closes on the object and you simply pull it up. I must say it works pretty well, but my friends and I have been using something that works even better, and is cheaper, too. I took apart a hard drive from an old computer and took out the magnet that was inside. It is small and very strong. I attached it to a 25-foot piece of mason string and wrapped it around a spool. It took almost no extra room in my pack. The mason string I used was 200-pound test, more than enough to lift whatever you dropped from your tree. Almost everything you have with you has T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

some metal on it someplace. You only need to get close with the magnet and you can pick up your object. If you find something that does not have metal, just attach a washer to it and you will be in business. I picked up an arrow that fell from my quiver once. No problem at all. The broadhead attached to the magnet and lifted with ease. Your release, arrows, knife, radio—the list could go on and on. I even tested it with my 22-ounce hammer. I tried jerking the line up and down to see if the hammer would fall, and it never did. These are just a few of the tricks that my friends and I have come up with. I am sure that the longer you spend time in your tree stands, the more your mind will wander a bit and you will be able to think of a few new tricks you can share. In fact, why not share your thoughts on the new Texas Fish & Game on-line discussion forums. It is a great place to discuss your experiences as an outdoors enthusiast. Remember to always hunt safe and have fun out there.

E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com

On the Web www.forum.fishgame.com (TF&G discussion forums)

www.twitter.com/FishandGame

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

www.FishGame.com F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I29


12/30/09

6:06 PM

Froggy Went A-Fishing KNOW IT’S STILL FEBRUARY AND HALF THE nation is still frozen with lakes that you can drill holes into instead of ride a boat across. However, this is Texas, and down here, we are starting to think about shallow bass and topwater bites. One of the most popular topwater baits on the market is a soft plastic frog. Every lure manufacturer has its version of a frog, and if you are a long-time bass angler, then you will appreciate how far frogs have come in the past few decades. What was once considered a one-dimensional bait has now turned into a lure that many anglers tie on year-round. While frogs are incredibly popular and quite effective, they are not the perfect bait. In spite of what it does well, there are a few flaws with Kermit. The first issue with soft plastic frogs is that they have a 50 percent chance of landing on their backs when cast or rolling onto their sides if retrieved too quickly. An upside-down frog will still catch fish, but this is not how it was designed to run, so you do not get all you can out of it. A bait on its side is less effective that one running upright the way it was intended. The second largest issue with frogs is that, while they entice a lot of strikes, actu-

I

I30 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

Page I30

ally getting hookups can be difficult. Most topwaters have a low strike-to-hookup ratio, but with frogs, it can be even more difficult to hook a fish. Letting a bass run for a little bit with the bait in its mouth is a must. Necessity being the mother of invention, it was just a matter of time before a tackle company came out with a way to make frogs better, and this time, instead of actually changing the frog itself, the change came in the manner it which it is rigged. For the past few years, if you were fishing a frog you used either the standard worm hook or a wide gap hook like those used with soft plastic jerkbaits. There were no hooks designed specifically for fishing a frog, but over the past year

worm hooks joined together with a single line tie eye. Instead of threading the point of the hook through the tip of the nose and out the bottom of the frog as with a single hook (which can be done but rips a lot of frogs), you start by pushing the eye of the hook up through the bottom of the frog and out the nose prior to tying on your line. Use very durable frogs (like a Stanley Ribbit) with this hook, because every time you have to change frogs, you have to retie. The second type of hook is similar to the first in that it consists of two hooks sharing one line tie eye, but this one has a screw lock to attach the frog. This is convenient in that you do not have to retie every time you need to change f r o g s . However, it does add a slight bit of weight to the nose of the hook, so you will need to use a very buoyant frog (Gene Larew Three-Legged Frog) to ensure it stays on top.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

that all changed. Multiple companies (I can think of at least three off the top of my head) came out with frog-specific hooks with two points. These bifurcated hooks help solve the problem of making the bait run upright and improves the hookup ratio. The increased weight and surface area of the additional hook acts as a keel when retrieving the bait, two hook points are better than one when it comes to increasing your odds of catching a bass. The first basic design looks like two T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ÂŽ

On the Web www.fishgame.com/how-to

A L M A N A C

|

ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW

ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:06 PM

Eyes & Ears, Part 1 HOOTING GLASSES AND HEARING PROTECTION are two of the most basic needs of the shooter. Neither should ever be neglected. I am hard of hearing today

lenses: a pair with yellow or amber lenses for dim conditions, and one with gray or green lenses for bright sunshine. This is definitely basic coverage; the best solution is a bit more complicated. There are high quality glasses with interchangeable lenses in many colors, including amber polarized lenses for fishermen. The most well known are Randolph, Decot, and Wiley-X. Any of these will do anything you desire of shooting glasses and I have used them all at various times. Shooting glasses should ride higher on the face than standard sunglasses. Since the head is inclined forward in shooting, one tends to look over the top of standard glasses. If you need corrective lenses, they, too, are available. Interestingly, Decot makes a lens with a bifocal in the top for handgun shooters who are too, uh, mature to see the sights clearly. Randolph disagrees with that approach. The company instead has a direct relationship with Morgan Optical and through it offers prescription lenses, suggesting a complete lens has advantages over just a bifocal. I don’t know which is better, so pick whatever works for you. Why do I think shooting glasses are indispensable to the shooter? Glad you asked. My brother Randy was once at the range shooting his .38 Special revolver. He was wearing hearing protection, but not shooting glasses. He had fired several rounds of lead wadcutter ammunition when something went wrong. A shot hit the steel bracing of the target stand and fragments of the lead bullet bounced back, hitting Randy in the eye. He nearly lost the eye, but doctors managed to remove the fragments and save his vision. He learned a valuable lesson: You never know what will happen, so wear those PHOTO COURTESY STEVE LAMASCUS

S

Page I31

because, in my youth, hearing protection was not commonly used. Since I don’t wish to be hard of seeing, I make certain to wear eye protection when I am shooting, particularly when testing new loads or guns. This edition of Guns & Gear will deal with shooting glasses; next month we will cover hearing protection. There is a wide selection of shooting-type glasses on the market, although anything with shatterproof lenses will suffice, but glasses made specifically for the shooter are better in all ways. In addition, the conditions under which we shoot are so dynamic (everything from ultra-bright July sunshine to dim, cloudy December evenings) it is logical to assume that one pair of lenses will not do for everything. Two pairs of glasses provide basic coverage for those who do not wear corrective

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

shooting glasses. I have seen bullets bounce back from backstops and target stands many times. This is especially true if you are shooting at steel targets with lead bullets. Shotgunners, because of the dynamic forms the shooting takes, should be especially faithful in wearing shooting glasses. I was hunting dove once on a place near Uvalde. We were sitting under a mesquite tree on the edge of a grain field. A few dove were drifting back and forth, but it was still early in the afternoon and the shooting was pretty slow. Some time later, another group of hunters arrived. One of them took up position across from me and a bit to my left. No problem, usually, since dove are shot at in the air. All the shooter has to do is keep his shots up high and the shot rains back down harmlessly. This guy hadn’t read the script. For some reason, a jackrabbit picked that time to run across the field between us. The guy across from me leveled his shotgun on the rabbit and shot straight at me before I could even yell. The shot hit the ground, bounced up, and centered me. It stung like crazy but only one pellet broke the skin. Several hit my sunglasses and the bill of my ball cap. Without the sunglasses, at least some pellets would have hit my eyes. I learned the same lesson that day. Shooting glasses are like bulletproof vests: they protect you only if you are wearing them. Medical science has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last 50 years, but your eyesight is still irreplaceable. Protect it.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

On the Web www.randolphusa.com www.decot.com www.wileyx.com F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I31


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:06 PM

Check for these details:

Console Yourself OR THE MAJORITY OF ANGLERS, THE CENTER console design is our top pick for fishing boats. Most of the rest of us utilize some form of side or dual console designs (think bass boats, multi-species boats, fish-n-ski’s). On the surface, the console itself seems like a pretty simple thing—but there’s a lot more here then what meets the eye, whether you have an offshore center console that boasts a cabin with a galley and berth, or an aluminum side-console johnboat you use to hunt redfish one day and redheads the next. In fact, the console itself gives you a great view into just how a carefully a boat is designed and built—if you know what to look for. How can you be an effective judge and jury when a boat is sitting on the showroom floor?

F

I32 |

F E B R U A R Y

Page I32

2 0 1 0

Wiring is a huge issue on many boats, and a peek inside your console, regardless of design or manufacturer, will give you tremendous insight into the boat as a whole. To assess this feature, you first have to find the best place to get a look at it. In the case of side consoles, this means lying down on your back and looking up from underneath the console. If you are checking out a center console, you will need to get an eyeball behind the helm. In most cases, it is visible from inside the console itself, though on larger boats you might need to remove a panel or curtain to access it. Note to self: If the panel is an easily removable hatch or curtain, at-sea fixes will be simple. If it secures with screws, it will take longer and require tools. You can see the wires? Good. They should all be clearly marked, loomed (supported) every six to eight inches, and bundled tightly together. You are really looking for two key factors: first, that the wires will not move or swing as the boat goes through heavy seas, because that would

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

cause chaffing. Second, that the wires are easily identifiable and traceable so you will be able to service them when necessary, with a minimum of confusion. Big balls of wires, spaghetti-like bunches, and lots of movement are all bad. Most consoles have some amount of available compartmentalized stowage in them, but if it is mere dead space inside, your gear will roll around. Now, remember what we just said about loose wires? If your console has them and your gear moves around inside there, it won’t take long for the gear to find the wires and rip them free or become entangled. This counts for battery wiring, too, if your console houses your batteries. Some builders will save a buck by eliminating battery boxes since the console itself counts as an enclosure to meet coast guard regs. If you will be putting any gear in there, however, those batteries need to be sealed away. Better boats will not only have safe and secure stowage in the console(s), they will also have organization. Built-in tackle boxes, glove boxes, and gear stowage compartments are all great. You will often see livewells integrated into consoles, too, usually under a forward console seat. This is an intelligent use of space, but must be separated from stowage compartments with a bulkhead. Otherwise, loose gear could smack into a hose clamp or a drain barb, and knock it out of kilter—and a console full of water is no fun at all. Speaking of which… Water resistance is extremely important, too. Some consoles are glassed shut at the deck, some are screwed down with no form of seal at all, and there are a million variations in between. Regardless of stowage options, you want a dry console, so your wiring and the back of your gauges and electronics all stay dry. Which leads us to… Ventilation will prevent the console from growing moist and stinky with mildew. At least one louvered vent is mandatory, and consoles with heads or cabins get extra credit for having opening ports and/or skylights. And if your boat does have a console cabin, remember than for many people, being cramped into a small space with a lack of ports might lead to seasickness after just a few moments below decks. This is A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:06 PM

only one reason, however, as to why… Size matters when it comes to console cabins. Some are spacious; others make you feel packed in like a sardine. In fact, if you can’t stand up straight, hold your hands against your chest, stick your elbows out, and turn a 360, then you are sure to feel cramped. Of course, size is mostly a function of your boat’s size. But in any case be sure you have enough legroom to sit on the throne or the whole purpose of having a head is defeated. Also pay close attention to the entry, and make sure it is large enough to get through without scraping a knee or elbow. And, does the door secure open? If not, when you try to access it in rough seas it will swing back and forth, banging things until the hinges get bent. Of course, console cabin space and console size in general is a huge trade-off. The larger they are the more comfortable they are bound to be, and the more gear you will be able to stow inside. But some consoles are so large they eat significantly into deck space, and reduce a boat’s fishability. Top, rails, and windshield vary quite a bit depending on what size and type of boat you run, and this dictates some specifics you will want to look for. In bay, flats, and coastal boats

Page I33

without T-tops, you will be able to spot fish from farther off if your console has a flat horizontal top that is sufficiently beefy to stand on. Make sure it also has enough angled dash space to flush-mount your electronics, however, because a stand-on-top eliminates binnaclemounted electronics. Grab rails and the windshield design also come into play, because they cannot be angled back or across the top, blocking your access. Topnotch boat with consoles designed for standing sometimes have a telescoping rail that pulls up out of the console and catches you at thigh height, providing a bit of security. No matter what type of boat you are looking at, eschew those with access to the interior from on top. Hatches leak, period, and one on top of the console is sure to let water through sooner or later. Still, no matter how well a console is designed and built some moisture is probably going to make its way inside eventually, which is why… Drainage is also a must. The best designs incorporate plumbed tubes that take water to a scupper or drain leading overboard. These can individually drain not just the console itself, but also rodholders, cup holders, and recesses in the console. Those that drain into the bilge

are not great, but they are better then nothing. On simple consoles that are bolted to the deck and sealed in place, quite often you will see small holes, drilled into the aftermost corners. Again this is better then nothing, but it is also far from ideal since water can go in just as easily as it comes out. Consider all of these factors carefully when you check out a new boat. Remember that the quality of the console’s design and construction will probably mirror the boat’s overall quality level. And when you look at a boat, you will be fully prepared to act not just as captain, but also as judge and jury—just don’t forget your gavel.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

On the Web www.fishgame.com/testpilot —TF&G Boating Editor Lenny Rudow reviews the latest boats and motors.


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:06 PM

IFA Launches Kayak Tour O FISH COMPETITIVELY, YOU NEED TWO essential things: a boat and cash for entry fees. As I learned from personal experience, both can be stiff barriers to entry on the competitive fishing scene. Kayaks have dramatically lowered the costs of boat ownership, so it was with great interest when I read the Inshore Fishing Association’s (IFA) press release announcing their new Kayak Tour.

GRAPHIC COURTESY IFA KAYAK FISHING TOUR

T

For the last several years, IFA has operated the Redfish Tour, a series of one-day events across the East and Gulf Coasts. The Redfish Tour allows two men per powerboat, lure-only angling, and has a catch-andrelease format. In 2009, nineteen tournaments were held in eight states. Since the Redfish Tour makes lots of stops, the organization reasoned that they could stay several extra days at each destination and cost effectively add kayak-only tournaments to the festivities. The Kayak Tour appeals to my genetic makeup. Growing up with two older brothers, I have always been a competitive fisherman. Bass, crappie, catfish, redfish, trout; it didn’t matter. When the three of us wet lines together, you could count on a lively outing with enough smack bantered about to shame an NFL cornerback. My competitive nature manifested itself as a charter member of the Texas Aggie Bass Club. A scant handful of years later, a wedding ring, car loans, and a mortgage came into my life. Competitive fishing became a distant memory and the gleaming I34 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

Page I34

trophies attesting to my angling prowess were relegated to the attic. But my competitive nature wasn’t dead, just dormant. The IFA Kayak Tour will swing through Texas in 2010, including stops in Port Lavaca on 17 April, Rockport on 12 June, and Port Aransas on 11 September. These dates are preliminary and could easily change. The official dates will be posted in the near future on the IFA website. IFA has teamed with Hobie Fishing to help sponsor the new tournament. In addi-

tion to cash prizes going to the top ten place winners, the angler who finishes in first place will receive a Hobie kayak equipped with their new Mirage Drive. The Mirage Drive utilizes a pair of flippers underneath the hull. Foot peddles drive the flippers, which produce a surprising amount of thrust. The Hobie package is valued at $2399—a handsome return on the $100 entry fee. Second through 10th place will be guaranteed cash payouts. Second place pays $1000, third place $900, on down to 10th place at $100 While there are other kayak tournaments around, the IFA Kayak Tour raises the stakes. Multiple venues make it easier to fish close to home. In addition, there are multiple tournaments grouped together in regions. This allows anglers to test their competitive skills in different bay systems without major travel expenses. The regional format provides additional competition on several fronts. Should you T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

wish to participate in all three tournaments, you get to compete for the regional title in addition to competing for top honors in each event. By fishing in three separate tournaments, you are automatically qualified to fish in the IFA Kayak Tour national tournament. The tournaments do not even have to be in the same region. For instance, if you fish two of the Texas tournaments and miss the third, you can sill qualify for the national event by fishing in a Kayak Tour event in Louisiana. Bart Shad of the IFA explained: “We wanted to provide kayak anglers an affordable series of tournaments. Anglers can choose to compete in the three regional tournaments or three different tournaments across the country. If you enter three tournaments, you are able to fish in the national tournament. Basically, you pay for three, you get one for free. “Since we are leveraging the Redfish Tour, we already have the infrastructure in place to hold the kayak tournament. This allows us to hold a number of different kayak events and to keep entry fees low. Keep in mind that this also means television coverage at the national event. I am not aware of any kayak tournament that has television coverage.” I like the IFA Kayak Tour’s format a lot. There are cash prizes, Hobie kayaks, affordable entry fees, reasonable travel distances, and a national tournament with television coverage. Heady stuff for kayak anglers. For those of us with a competitive itch that needs an occasional scratching, the new tournament provides a lot of fun at an affordable price.

Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com

On the Web www.redfishtour.com A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/31/09

12:34 PM

Growing Horns HE DOG RAN BEHIND ME AND THE YOUNG cow bellowed and charged. The knobhorned juggernaut had me in her sights, a brand new wet and leggy calf straggled behind her, and I cursed for being afoot instead of horseback. There was no way to escape and I had no club. So, in typical heman fashion, I cocked a foot and prepared to plant a boot heel between her eyes. “I’ll kick her brains out her rear end!” I swore. But that’s not what happened. My championship kick fizzled and the red, white-faced cow hit me like a freight wagon. Her head was lowered, and instead of plowing me down, she scooped me onto her bony crown. Her horns rattled my knees and my hands pressed against her shoulders. For two jumps, our worlds collided. The dog was back in the fray, the calf bawled, maaaaaa!, I cussed, and the cow boomed a continuous ululating war anthem. Then the critter swung her rack and one of those knobby horns smashed into a place where some of my brightest ideas originate. Something lumped in my throat. My eyes crossed and rolled back. Showing no mercy, the cow slung her head again and chucked me into a nest of bull nettle. There was nothing I could do but lay there and whimper. My hat was tromped on. All my air was gone. My guardian angel was screaming through the brain fog that the mad mother might be coming back. The thought jerked me to my feet, but the baby calf had convinced Ma it was safe, and the two trotted back to the herd.

T

Page I35

no reason to be upset with the cow. She was a first-calf heifer protecting her newborn. “Wish I had another hundred head just like her,” I muttered, then limped to the pens, rubbing myself, and sniggering at my agony. “You know, that would have killed an ordinary man.” Such is the norm at the Brune Land & Cattle Company (BL&C). There is no sympathy for getting “wrecked-up” in the course of cowboy duties. Having a perturbed cow scatter you across the pasture, or letting a colt potato-plant your head in the dirt is going to get you laughed at. The worst mistake a green hand can make is to whine or lay there like a busted melon. So, you might as well smile past the bruises and cracked bones, and wait your turn to hoot at someone else’s disasters. It was once suggested that Yours Truly is so blasted mean that I should ask for a set of horns for Christmas. The idea was appealing, and ever since the deep longing to sprout a stout set of bull horns has tickled the dark chambers of my sense of humor. A girlish set of Bevo-style steer horns won’t suffice. My adornments must be shiny black, wickedly curved, and sharper than a surgeon’s steel. They should be thick as drill stem and ring like the Bells of St. Mary’s when beaten against a dense skull. The sight of these mortal weapons would cause evil women to perspire and non-virtuous men’s hearts to seize

in terror. Yes, a sturdy set of bull horns would serve me well. But then, something happened at the BL&C. Where once the ranch hands peppered their breakfast eggs with ground cayenne and a chew of tobacco was fine for dessert, now we temper our cussing and keep one pair of boots shined for Sundays. The reason for this sudden change wasn’t caused by any lightning bolts from heaven...or maybe it was. The transformation occurred because Sam, my daughter, wanted to come home. Sam was 12 years old, as pretty as sunrise, as fresh and open as a spring day, wise for her years, and needed a steady dad. This ol’ cowboy had to wise up. The next few years were better than any spent on the rodeo trail or slipping through the dark timber in backcountry haunts. There were basketball games and then treating the team at Pizza Hut; school awards and summer trips; dresses for proms and gulping explanations to questions normally reserved for moms. And throughout our growth together, her smiling reassurance let me know I was a pretty good dad. Then the college boy showed up. I felt my horns bud out. He was taller than me, wore jeans with holes, and had his cap on backwards. His eyes ogled like a perch. The glistening hooks spread past my ears and Continued on Page I-38 

It was time to catch my breath, brush the hot sand off my hide, and reflect. There was

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I35


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:06 PM

Page I36

TEXAS SALTWATER

ROCKPORT

BAFFIN BAY

Bev, Scott and Tamm y Limits Akins Salt water Gu of Trout ide Servic e ey Dee Hark Redfish Guide Hugo Ford Service

GALVESTON

UPPER COAST (SABINE LAKE)

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

TEXAS SALTWATER

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

TEXAS FRESHWATER

CORPUS CHRISTI

EAST TEXAS

For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579. I36 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY! T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:06 PM

Page I37

Robert Pilling Hybrid Striper Striper Express Guide Service

Wyatt Crappie Blair’s Guide Service

TEXAS FRESHWATER

do Perez Veronica and Orlan Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

OUTDOOR SHOPPER LAKE AMISTAD

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: WADE AID In 1995, my brother-in-law, Matthew Gregory, and I, George Calhoun, started developing the Wade Aid belt. The Wade Aid belt went on the market in 1996.

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

TEXAS HUNTING

Wade Aid Enterprises prides itself in making the finest wade belt available. Whether you’re fishing for redfish or trout in the bays and surfs of the gulf coast, fighting striper in the Atlantic surfs or fishing for trout and salmon in cool mountain rivers, the Wade Aid belt is for you. The Wade Aid is the most functional and comfortable wade belt available today. It is constructed of closed cell foam incased in neoprene with nylon webbing and hardware. The closed cell foam provides a unique lumbar support system. The rods and accessory holders are conveniently located for quick and easy access. The Wade Aid is clearly in a class by itself. Please visit our website www.wadeaid.com or call us at 1-888WADE AID (1-888-923-3243).

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I37


12/31/09

12:37 PM

Page I38

PHOTO BY BILL OLIVE

ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

Chill “In” with Venison Chili HEN FALL ROLLS AROUND EACH YEAR, those of us who take to the field sporting firearms anticipate an early season cool front and a soon-to-be bountiful harvest of succulent venison. Thoughts of sausage, roast, ground meat, and backstrap, prepared by a variety of methods keep our minds occupied until we watch that venison on the hoof show up at the feeder. Now, with your harvest packaged and put up for the winter, some really cold Arctic air shows up.

W

Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a big, thick, steaming bowl of venison chili? Well, that’s too long.

Venison Chili 2 lbs. “chili grind” beef chuck roast 1 lb. venison backstrap, cubed in 3/4-

inch pieces Seasoning Bag No. 1 (make by placing ingredients in three layers of cheesecloth and tying up into a “bag”) 4 Tbs chili powder (dark ancho) 3 cloves garlic 1 medium white onion

WILDERNESS TRAILS 

Continued from Page I-35

hooked up. Sometimes he wore baggy shorts sagging to his knees, a torn T-shirt, and his cap tipped northeast. My horns grew thicker. I asked Sam, “Have your eyes gone bad?” “Booot dad-eee I luuuuv him!” she said. I almost choked and my horns stretched forward. His head reminded me of the mascot from Jack in the Box. This was going to get ugly, a hard step for me but easy for him. Then he did the durndest thing and called me on the phone. “Hey, Mr. Brune, I gotta haul Mr. Joe Schindler’s hay and I can’t find any of my I38 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

buddies. I haul his hay every year and he lets me fish in the river on his place. Would you help me?” Of course, I did, and later he won the Spring Catfish Tournament in the Colorado River. Bit by bit, he ate at my resolve. He understood deer management and listened to country music. He took one of my mama cat’s kittens to his college apartment, kept a beer cooler in the back of his truck, and dipped Grizzly snuff. He always used “sir” and called me “Mr. Brune.” It was getting difficult not to like him, but I endeavored to persevere. Then he called me again. “Mr. Brune, anytime you need help hauling hay, or working cows, or fixing T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

fence, give me a holler. I’d be glad to help. And, Mr. Brune, I’d sure like to go horseback with y’all on a hog hunt sometime.” My horns drooped. My attention turned to Sam. She’s become a beautiful young woman that I admire and respect. I know she makes good decisions and likes to hunt and fish with her beau. So, it’s time to pull in my horns. For the time being, I don’t need them. I’ll stay ready—that’s what good dads do—but for now, it’s good to see the kids happy. Happy Valentines Day! E-mail Herman W. Brune at wilderness@fishgame.com

A L M A N A C

|


12/30/09

6:07 PM

1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Seasoning Bag No. 2 3 Tbs Sweet Chipotle Season All 3 Tbs cumin 2 tsp garlic powder 1/16 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp oregano leaf 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped

Other Ingredients 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Swanson Chicken Broth 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Swanson Beef Broth 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes 1 can (8 oz.) Hunts “No Salt Added” tomato sauce 1 Knorr Beef Bullion cube 1 tsp light brown sugar 1 beer, Bock style

|

A L M A N A C

Page I39

Add room temperature meat to a hot cast iron skillet, brown until it starts to make it's own juice. Stir continuously while adding both cans of broth, and Bag No. 1. Cook covered at a medium boil for 45 minutes. Uncover and stir every 10 minutes. Add water and beer as needed. Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and add Bag No. 2. Add one beef bullion cube. Add 1/2 tsp light brown sugar.

PHOTO BY BILL OLIVE

ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

White Pepper (for hot front taste) Brown Sugar (for a sweeter taste) Ready to eat, but better the next day. Bon appetite.

Use the following to season to taste: Salt Cayenne Pepper (for hot front taste)

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

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

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

I39


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Inland

12/30/09

6:07 PM

Page I40

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

SHEEPSHEAD—PORT MANSFIELD

BASS—SHERMAN

CATFISH—COLMESNEIL

David Oliver of Round Rock, Texas, likes fishing for sheepshead because they hang around structures. He caught this one using live shrimp near fishing shacks out of Port Mansfield.

Aubrey Means, age 2, of Sherman, Texas, caught her Valerie Brittain of Beaumont, Texas, caught this first largemouth bass while fishing with her parents 11.3-pound catfish at Frog Pond in Colmesneil, at a small pond near their house. The bass was 7 Texas. inches in length.

REDFISH—PORT ARANSAS

REDFISH—PORT O’CONNOR

Evan Kinnebrew, age 3, of Adkins, Texas, proudly shows off his keeper redfish, a 26-inch, 6-pounder, caught while fishing with his mom and dad in Port Aransas. It took 10 minutes to bring it in.

Ashley (Brazil) Tyler of Baytown, Texas, caught this 41-inch redfish while fishing with her dad Joe, brother and uncles at the Port O’Connor Jetties.

SPADE FISH—OFFSHORE OF GALVESTON

BUCK—PALO PINTO COUNTY

KINGFISH—GALVESTON

Bryce Hulstein, age 8, of Frisco, Texas, shot his first Madison Smith, age 6, shows off one of the 27 Haley Smith, age 8, caught her first kingfish deer, a spike buck, while youth hunting in Palo Atlantic spade fish that she caught on her first deep- while fishing with her proud granddad Ricky sea fishing trip with her PawPaw, Ricky, out of Richardson out of Galveston. Pinto County. Galveston. I40 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

EN BARTLETT HAS LOGGED SOME MEMORABLE experiences over the years chasing big game critters, but none to compare to the wild chain of events that unfolded deep in the heart of his Angelina County hunting club on the afternoon of 23 October 2009. The deer hunting gods were hard at work that day, and they cooked up a doozy for the veteran archer from Lufkin. Interestingly, killing a deer was the farthest thing from Bartlett’s mind as he boarded a canoe and paddled down the old Neches River channel. His main objectives were to scout for acorns in a stretch of woods in the remote backcountry and ultimately find a good spot to take his 12-year-old daughter, Alli, hunting the following morning. Bartlett was making his way down an old logging road shortly before sundown when the distinctive sound of clashing antlers and cracking brush overpowered the sough of a light breeze in the treetops. Experience told him what he was hearing was a pair of heavyweights going at it. “It was pretty obvious this was not a couple of pencil-horn bucks sparring,” Bartlett

B

PHOTO COURTESY BEN BARTLETT

|

A L M A N A C

Page N1

said. “The sound of two mature bucks locking up has a real distinctive sound to it. I had no doubts this was the real deal.” Certain the battling bucks were close, probably within 200 yards, the hunter raced down the road to shave some distance before

by Matt Williams ditching his daypack and melding into the dark woods. Bartlett pushed through a dense thicket that eventually opened up into an oak flat cluttered with clumps of palmetto and underbrush. He spotted the bucks at about 40 yards, but dim light made it impossible to tell much about either deer other than both were shooters. “The fight was pretty intense, very violent,” he said. “Both of the bucks had their heads down and it was just a tangle of horns. I could see their muscles bulging as they pushed and braced for leverage against one another. It was a pretty awesome sight.” Bartlett played on the fit of rage to trim the gap even closer. He inched closer each T E X A S

F I S H

&

time the battle moved behind a palmetto clump, eventually closing to within 18 yards before he dropped to one knee on the soggy ground and brought his compound bow to a full draw. “I really don’t remember drawing; it’s pretty much a blur now because everything happened so quick,” Bartlett said. “But I do remember watching and waiting as the buck that was winning pushed the other one into a small clearing. I was a little nervous about taking the shot, because their movements were so erratic. They stopped for a split second when one of the deer coiled to push back; it gave me a clear shot, so I took it.” The arrow found its mark just behind the shoulder and passed completely through. Remarkably, neither deer reacted or appeared alarmed. The heated battle continued for about eight more seconds before the wounded buck collapsed and died. Seizing the opportunity to finish a job that was already done, the larger buck hooked and gored the lifeless body of its erstwhile adversary multiple times before fleeing the scene a minute or so later.

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N1


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

Page N2

In This Issue HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

N4

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

N6

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

HOW-TO SECTION

N1

COVER STORY • Stalking the Arena | BY MATT WILLIAMS

Bartlett said he passed on multiple opportunities to shoot the second buck, which easily had 10 inches on the 140-class whitetail that lay motionless on the ground. “As soon as the buck went down, I started approaching them,” he said. “I blew like a doe four or five times, but it didn’t faze

N2 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

N15

BOWHUNTING TECH • Tricks of the Trade | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

N16

FRESHWATER BAITS & RIGS • Froggy Went A-Fishing | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

N17

TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • Eyes and Ears, Part 1 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

N18

TEXAS BOATING • Console Yourself | BY LENNY RUDOW

N22

TEXAS KAYAKING • IFA Launches Kayak Tour | BY GREG BERLOCHER

F I S H

&

N14

INDUSTRY INSIDER • Easy2Hook - Why Didn’t I Think of That? | BY TF&G STAFF

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

N20

OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

N23

TEXAS TASTED • Chill “In” with Venison Chili | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

N24

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

www.FishGame.com

him. He was so pumped up and determined to put the other buck down he either didn’t notice me or just didn’t care. I honestly believe I could have walked up and spanked him on the butt, although that would have been a pretty foolish thing to do.” The eight-point typical Bartlett arrowed

T E X A S

GEARING UP SECTION

G A M E ®

grossed 141-6/8 Boone & Crockett, 1402/8 Pope & Young. Bizarre as it might seem, Bartlett’s encounter is not his first with stalking fighting whitetails. However, it is the first time he has been successful at killing one. Looking back, he thinks his success might have hinged on the fact he threw caution to the wind and moved in quickly on the brawling bucks, before they had time to finish their business. “I’ve tried sneaking in [on buck fights] before, and each time the fight was over by the time I got there,” Bartlett said. “In retrospect, I think I have always been too cautious and moved too slow to avoid making a bunch of noise. If it ever happens again, you can bet I’ll be trying to get there as fast I can.” Witnessing a brawl between two mature bucks at any distance is a prize encounter few deer hunters are fortunate enough to experience in a lifetime of hunting. Getting a ringside seat and drawing blood with a bow and arrow is virtually unheard of. It just goes to show you anything can happen in good deer woods when the hunting gods are hard at work.

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

|

6:25 PM

A L M A N A C

Page N3

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N3


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

Page N4

Tides and Prime Times

FEBRUARY 2010

MONDAY

1High Tide: 4:47 am

TUESDAY PRIME TIME

0.93 ft Low Tide: 11:32 am -0.41 ft High Tide: 6:22 pm 0.85 ft

12:30 — 3:00 AM

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

WEDNESDAY PRIME TIME

12:03 am 6:10 am 12:17 pm 6:42 pm

0.08 ft 0.83 ft -0.08 ft 0.81 ft

1:30 — 4:00 AM

3

THURSDAY PRIME TIME

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

1:00 am 7:42 am 1:00 pm 7:01 pm

-0.15 ft 0.75 ft 0.25 ft 0.80 ft

2:30 — 5:00 AM

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

PRIME TIME 2:02 am 9:29 am 1:41 pm 7:16 pm

-0.33 ft 0.73 ft 0.54 ft 0.81 ft

3:00 — 6:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:29a Set: 6:11p Moonrise: 9:23p Set: 8:56a AM Minor: 7:16a Set: 1:03a PM Minor: 7:42p Set: 1:29p Moon Overhead: 2:40a Moon Underfoot: 3:05p

Sunrise: 7:28a Set: 6:12p Moonrise: 10:29p Set: 9:31a AM Minor: 8:13a Set: 2:01a PM Minor: 8:38p Set: 2:26p Moon Overhead: 3:31a Moon Underfoot: 3:56p

Sunrise: 7:27a Set: 6:13p Moonrise: 11:34p Set: 10:05a AM Minor: 9:10a Set: 2:57a PM Minor: 9:35p Set: 3:22p Moon Overhead: 4:21a Moon Underfoot: 4:46p

Sunrise: 7:27a Set: 6:14p Moonrise: None Set: 10:41a AM Minor: 10:05a Set: 3:52a PM Minor: 10:30p Set: 4:18p Moon Overhead: 5:11a Moon Underfoot: 5:36p

8

9

10

PRIME TIME

11

10:00A — 1:00P

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

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 6:36 am High Tide: 4:25 pm

-0.63 ft 1.02 ft

12:00 — 2:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:24a Set: 6:17p Moonrise: 3:36a Set: 1:41p AM Minor: 1:03a Set: 7:16a PM Minor: 1:29p Set: 7:42p Moon Overhead: 8:38a Moon Underfoot: 9:04p

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

PRIME TIME

4:05 am 10:44 am 5:38 pm 10:52 pm

0.87 ft -0.11 ft 0.80 ft 0.31 ft

5:30 — 8:00 AM

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

PRIME TIME 7:30 am 4:49 pm 9:44 pm 11:12 pm

-0.64 ft 0.99 ft 0.87 ft 0.88 ft

1:00 — 3:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:23a Set: 6:18p Moonrise: 4:26a Set: 2:34p AM Minor: 1:49a Set: 8:02a PM Minor: 2:15p Set: 8:27p Moon Overhead: 9:29a Moon Underfoot: 9:54p

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

PRIME TIME

4:59 am 11:10 am 5:49 pm 11:27 pm

0.83 ft 0.05 ft 0.79 ft 0.19 ft

12:30 — 3:00 PM

Low Tide: 8:16 am High Tide: 4:58 pm Low Tide: 9:27 pm

-0.62 ft 0.94 ft 0.84 ft

PRIME TIME 12:30 am 8:54 am 5:00 pm 9:18 pm

0.91 ft -0.57 ft 0.89 ft 0.77 ft

11:00A — 2:00P

Sunrise: 7:22a Set: 6:19p Moonrise: 5:11a Set: 3:30p AM Minor: 2:34a Set: 8:47a PM Minor: 2:59p Set: 9:11p Moon Overhead: 10:19a Moon Underfoot: 10:43p

Sunrise: 7:21a Set: 6:20p Moonrise: 5:50a Set: 4:26p AM Minor: 3:18a Set: 9:30a PM Minor: 3:41p Set: 9:53p Moon Overhead: 11:06a Moon Underfoot: 11:29p

17

18

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 5:59 am 0.80 ft Low Tide: 11:35 am 0.23 ft High Tide: 5:56 pm 0.78 ft

1:00 — 3:30 PM

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

PRIME TIME 12:05 am 7:08 am 12:02 pm 5:52 pm

0.07 ft 0.77 ft 0.42 ft 0.79 ft

2:00 — 4:00 PM

Sunrise: 7:18a Set: 6:24p Moonrise: 7:54a Set: 8:04p AM Minor: 6:07a Set: 11:53a PM Minor: 6:27p Set: 12:17p Moon Overhead: 1:56p Moon Underfoot: 1:36a

Sunrise: 7:17a Set: 6:24p Moonrise: 8:21a Set: 8:58p AM Minor: 6:51a Set: 12:41a PM Minor: 7:11p Set: 1:01p Moon Overhead: 2:36p Moon Underfoot: 2:16a

Sunrise: 7:16a Set: 6:25p Moonrise: 8:49a Set: 9:53p AM Minor: 7:36a Set: 1:26a PM Minor: 7:57p Set: 1:47p Moon Overhead: 3:17p Moon Underfoot: 2:56a

Sunrise: 7:15a Set: 6:26p Moonrise: 9:19a Set: 10:50p AM Minor: 8:24a Set: 2:13a PM Minor: 8:46p Set: 2:35p Moon Overhead: 4:01p Moon Underfoot: 3:39a

22

23

24

25

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 3:49 am High Tide: 5:19 pm

-0.41 ft 1.12 ft

6:30 — 9:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:11a Set: 6:29p Moonrise: 12:07p Set: 1:54a AM Minor: 11:58a Set: 5:44a PM Minor: ----Set: 6:13p Moon Overhead: 7:31p Moon Underfoot: 7:01a

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 5:02 am High Tide: 3:36 pm

-0.54 ft 1.16 ft

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 6:30p Moonrise: 1:08p Set: 2:55a AM Minor: 12:25a Set: 6:40a PM Minor: 12:55p Set: 7:10p Moon Overhead: 8:31p Moon Underfoot: 8:01a

PRIME TIME

N4 |

F E B R U A R Y

12:00 — 2:00 AM

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 6:10 am High Tide: 3:23 pm

-0.64 ft 1.18 ft

T E X A S

F I S H

PRIME TIME 7:11 am 3:37 pm 7:56 pm 11:59 pm

PRIME TIME

&

G A M E ®

-0.70 ft 1.15 ft 0.97 ft 1.10 ft

1:30 — 3:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 6:32p Moonrise: 3:26p Set: 4:44a AM Minor: 2:16a Set: 8:31a PM Minor: 2:46p Set: 9:01p Moon Overhead: 10:32p Moon Underfoot: 10:03a

Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 6:31p Moonrise: 2:15p Set: 3:52a AM Minor: 1:21a Set: 7:36a PM Minor: 1:51p Set: 8:07p Moon Overhead: 9:32p Moon Underfoot: 9:02a

PRIME TIME

2 0 1 0

12:30 — 3:00 PM

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

A L M A N A C

PRIME TIME

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

Page N5

Tides and Prime Times

FEBRUARY 2010

FRIDAY

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

SATURDAY PRIME TIME

3:09 am 11:53 am 2:11 pm 7:16 pm

-0.46 ft 0.78 ft 0.77 ft 0.83 ft

4:00 — 6:30 AM

6

SUNDAY PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 4:21 am High Tide: 3:26 pm

-0.55 ft 0.92 ft

5:00 — 8:30 AM

7

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 5:32 am High Tide: 3:54 pm

-0.60 ft 1.00 ft

12:00 — 2:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:26a Set: 6:15p Moonrise: 12:39a Set: 11:20a AM Minor: 10:59a Set: 4:46a PM Minor: 11:25p Set: 5:12p Moon Overhead: 6:02a Moon Underfoot: 6:28p

Sunrise: 7:25a Set: 6:16p Moonrise: 1:42a Set: 12:03p AM Minor: 11:51a Set: 5:38a PM Minor: ----Set: 6:04p Moon Overhead: 6:54a Moon Underfoot: 7:20p

Sunrise: 7:25a Set: 6:17p Moonrise: 2:41a Set: 12:50p AM Minor: 12:15a Set: 6:28a PM Minor: 12:41p Set: 6:54p Moon Overhead: 7:46a Moon Underfoot: 8:12p

12

13 

14

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

PRIME TIME

1:30 am 9:26 am 5:04 pm 9:25 pm

0.92 ft -0.49 ft 0.85 ft 0.68 ft

3:30 — 6:30 AM

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

PRIME TIME 2:23 am 9:54 am 5:13 pm 9:48 pm

0.92 ft -0.39 ft 0.83 ft 0.56 ft

4:00 — 7:00 AM

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

PRIME TIME

3:14 am 10:19 am 5:25 pm 10:19 pm

0.91 ft -0.26 ft 0.82 ft 0.44 ft

5:00 — 7:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:21a Set: 6:21p Moonrise: 6:26a Set: 5:22p AM Minor: 4:01a Set: 10:12a PM Minor: 4:23p Set: 10:34p Moon Overhead: 11:51a Moon Underfoot: None

Sunrise: 7:20a Set: 6:22p Moonrise: 6:57a Set: 6:17p AM Minor: 4:43a Set: 10:53a PM Minor: 5:04p Set: 11:15p Moon Overhead: 12:34p Moon Underfoot: 12:13a

Sunrise: 7:19a Set: 6:23p Moonrise: 7:27a Set: 7:11p AM Minor: 5:25a Set: 11:11a PM Minor: 5:45p Set: ----Moon Overhead: 1:16p Moon Underfoot: 12:55a

19

PRIME TIME

20

21 

9:00 — 11:00 PM

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

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

12:47 am 8:36 am 12:26 pm 5:34 pm

-0.05 ft 0.77 ft 0.61 ft 0.84 ft

PRIME TIME 1:38 am 10:31 am 12:43 pm 5:16 pm

-0.17 ft 0.82 ft 0.80 ft 0.94 ft

10:00P — 12:00A

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 2:39 am High Tide: 5:13 pm

-0.29 ft 1.04 ft

4:00 — 6:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 6:27p Moonrise: 9:52a Set: 11:50p AM Minor: 9:14a Set: 3:02a PM Minor: 9:38p Set: 3:26p Moon Overhead: 4:47p Moon Underfoot: 4:24a

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 6:28p Moonrise: 10:30a Set: None AM Minor: 10:07a Set: 3:54a PM Minor: 10:32p Set: 4:19p Moon Overhead: 5:38p Moon Underfoot: 5:12a

Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 6:29p Moonrise: 11:15a Set: 12:52a AM Minor: 11:02a Set: 4:48a PM Minor: 11:29p Set: 5:15p Moon Overhead: 6:32p Moon Underfoot: 6:05a

26

27

28

Low Tide: 8:07 am High Tide: 3:53 pm Low Tide: 8:27 pm

PRIME TIME -0.67 ft 1.09 ft 0.77 ft

10:30P — 12:00A

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

PRIME TIME

1:31 am 8:58 am 4:11 pm 9:08 pm

1.14 ft -0.55 ft 1.02 ft 0.52 ft

3:30 — 6:00 AM

PRIME TIME

2:50 am 9:47 am 4:30 pm 9:53 pm

1.16 ft -0.35 ft 0.97 ft 0.24 ft

12:00 — 2:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:05a Set: 6:34p Moonrise: 6:59p Set: 6:49a AM Minor: 4:53a Set: 11:06a PM Minor: 5:20p Set: 11:33p Moon Overhead: 12:24a Moon Underfoot: 12:50p

Sunrise: 7:06a Set: 6:33p Moonrise: 5:50p Set: 6:12a AM Minor: 4:01a Set: 10:15a PM Minor: 4:29p Set: 10:43p Moon Overhead: None Moon Underfoot: 11:57a

Sunrise: 7:07a Set: 6:32p Moonrise: 4:38p Set: 5:31a AM Minor: 3:09a Set: 9:23a PM Minor: 3:38p Set: 9:52p Moon Overhead: 11:30p Moon Underfoot: 11:01a

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

PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME

SYMBOL KEY





First Quarter

New Moon

|



Full Moon

A L M A N A C



Last Quarter

T E X A S



PRIME TIME

Good Day

F I S H

BEST DAYS

&

G A M E ®

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)

F E B R U A R Y

HIGH

LOW

-1:46

-1:31

-1:26

-1:31

-1:00

-1:15

-0:04

-0:25

-0:39

-1:05

+0:14

-0:06

+0:33

+0:41

+3:54

+4:15

+6:05

+6:40

+10:21

+5:19

+10:39

+5:15

+5:48

+4:43

+3:16

+4:18

+2:38

+3:31

+2:39

+2:33

+2:32

+2:31

-1:06

-1:06

-0.09

-0.09

-0:44

-1:02

0:00

-1:20

-0:03

-1:31

-0:24

-1:45

+1:02

-0:42

2 0 1 0

|

N5


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

Page N6

by Tom Behrens, Calixto Gonzales, Bob Hood, and Kyle Tomek

Big Tiger Bass LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Big Tigers GPS: N26 44.326, W99 08.912 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: Texas-rigged lizards or beaver style baits in watermelon red and red bug; white spinnerbaits with gold and silver willow leaf blades; shallow running crankbaits in natural craw colors. CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Start out fishing shallow well into the months of February and March to produce those hogs are still in the spawn mode. As the day rolls on, move out to the deeper brush and trees and work each tree slow. LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Salado GPS: N26 46.030, W99 20.030 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas rigged beaver style baits or Senko’s in Watermelon; white spinnerbaits with gold and silver willow leaf blades; shad colored swimbaits CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Running a spinnerbait or a swimbait early morning will trigger strikes from the bass moving around the shallows. As the sun comes up, flip or fan cast Texas rigged baits around the brush and hold on. LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: Greyhound Point GPS: N28 29.245, W96 23.375 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAIT: chrome/black back PopR; lightweight Senko’s or flukes in watermelon red or Red Bug; chartreuse/white spinnerbaits with dual flash willow leaf blades; Texas-rigged tubes in white or Green Pumpkin. N6 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: On the west side of Greyhound, you will find a lot of timber, amongst the various points and flats. Throwing a pop r on top of this flat will produce the aggressive fish that are on the move. Follow up with weightless baits for the bass that seem more reluctant to chase. Before leaving this area, take a few minutes to slow down and fish thoroughly, as this flat is a great holding area for those spawners as well. LOCATION: Choke Canyon HOTSPOT: South Shore Boat Ramp GPS: N28 28.384, W98 14.995 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white/chartreuse buzzbaits, frogs; Texas-rigged 10-inch worms or creature baits in watermelon red; shad colored crankbaits; jigs in Camo or Gator CONTACT: Robin McFarlane, 210-4164563 TIPS: Look for the spawning bass that are lying up on the flats and throw your Texas rig or jigs, working it slow as to entice those hogs into biting. Switch to your topwater baits and crankbaits for the reaction strikes from the more hostile mossbacks that are in the area.

Pelican Cats LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Pelican Island SPECIES: catfish

GPS: N30 18.127, W96 34.429 BEST BAITS: shad, cut bait, worms TIPS: Fish steep drop-off on northwest side of island. Water is at its coldest this time of year. Large blue cats cruise deeper water and will follow this creek channel that comes close to the island. Use 4/0 Kahle hooks T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

with one-ounce slip sinker. Put out several rods around the boat in this area. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Hot Water Discharge SPECIES: catfish GPS: N30 38.351, W96 03.279 BEST BAITS: shad, worms, punch bait TIPS: Spring comes early in power plant lakes. Look for shad to get more active in the discharge area this time of year and the catfish will be right there with them. Anchor on the right side of the discharge. Set out rods into the open area of the discharge using 2- to 3-ounce sinkers, shad or worms on a 2/0 Kahle hook. Use 3/4-ounce egg sinker and No. 4 treble hook with punchbait to cast into the shallower water around the trees and stumps. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Main Point SPECIES: catfish GPS: N29 56.317, W96 44.217 BEST BAITS: stinkbait, shad, chicken liver TIPS: Two advantages to this area include stump field and lake point. Lake is full now, so most stumps are under water, use electronics to anchor in stumpy area, throw out some chum around the boat. Fish chummed area. Water is about 13-feet here. Fish with tight line near or on bottom. Allow 15-30 minutes for chum to produce. CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, www.FishTalesGuideService.com, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Slick ’Em Slough SPECIES: striped bass GPS: N33 51.354, W96 52.690 BEST BAITS: Road Runner jigs, Sassy Shad jigs A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/31/09

12:42 PM

CONTACT: Bill Carey, 877-786-4477, bigfish@striperexpress.com TIPS: Chances of landing trophy stripers are in your favor in area. Road Runner 1ounce white bucktail jigs with a 7-inch soft plastic worm are deadly on the big fish holding on structure. Keep your eyes on the seagulls. Cast your 1-ounce white-glow jigs under the birds where large schools of stripers can be feeding. Multiple hook-ups are common with lots of action in the open water. BANK ACCESS: Sand Point (N33 51.545, W96 51.823) LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Cove near Dam GPS: N31 49.311 W96 02.612 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Zoom Twin Tail Grub (Watermelon Seed) CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr., 903-4782633, 903-724-0961, matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Bass are in the peak of their spawn and can be found up in the saw grass beds. Start at cove west of the dam at the GPS

|

A L M A N A C

Page N7

location. Take your twin tail grub and rig it Texas-style with a small bullet weight about 1/8-ounce on a 3/0 wide gap hook. Dip the tails chartreuse dye. Just cast or pitch this bait as close to the saw grass as possible and bounce with short hops. Work this cove all the way back into the little creek and out along the grass. LOCATION: Lake Fairfield HOTSPOT: Brushy Point Warm Water Discharge GPS: N31 49.248, W96 02.766 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: dead shrimp CONTACT: Don Mattern, Sr., 903-4782633, 903-724-0961, matternguideservice.fghp.com TIPS: Redfish will be located in this intake canal. There is a 25-foot channel here. Start at the GPS location and anchor up on point or tie up to the cable. Rig up like a Carolina-rig with about a two-foot leader. Use about a 4/0 treble hook and about a 1/2-ounce weight before your swivel. Frozen shrimp works well. Remember the limit is three over 20 inches.

T E X A S

F I S H

&

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 CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117 TIPS: This is a great spot for catching magnum white bass in the early winter. The fish will be pushing shad up on the edges of this point as they get prepare for the colder weather to arrive. Use your electronics to find the baitfish and fish in water depths ranging from 25’-35’. Bounce the slab slowly off the bottom for best success. BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina 903-389-5218 LOCATION: Lake Richland-Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31. 58.9490, W96 10.600 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1.5-ounce chartreuse slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, www.gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N7


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/31/09

12:46 PM

TIPS: The pelican island area is excellent area for wintertime white bass. Tie on a larger slab and move it very slow 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 50s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will often be nothing more than a light tick or often you just feel dead weight on the end of your line. When in doubt, set the hook. LOCATION: Lake Richland-Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Island GPS: N31 58.9490, W96 10.600 SPECIES: hybrid striped 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 stripers. Tie on a larger slab and move it very slow off the bottom in water depths of 30 feet or greater. The

Page N8

fish will be hugging the bottom and as the water temperature cools to the low 50s, they will be very lethargic. The bite will often be nothing more than a light tick or often you just feel dead weight on the end of your line. When in doubt set the hook and hold on! LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: The Island GPS: N31 08.540 W97 28.740 SPECIES: hybrid striped bass BEST BAITS: white or chartreuse slabs CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411 TIPS: Once you contact fish, immediately buoy so you don’t lose track of them. LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Lampasas River Mouth GPS: N30 59.920, W97 38.675 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: chartreuse crankbaits CONTACT: Bob Maindelle, 254-368-7411

TIPS: Trolling at around 2.5 mph is best. Work over successful areas with multiple passes. BANK ACCESS: Via southeast end of FM 3481 Bridge over lake; kayak friendly LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Big Rocky Creek GPS: N31 52.795, W97 23.682 SPECIES: striped bass 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


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

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: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Kickapoo GPS: (all water west of the 315 bridge) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, Mister Twister Comeda CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, 903-5617299, ricky@rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing will be very good in this area. Often, bass can be found up on grass beds in the shallows. Fish lures very slow for best results.

Granger Crappie LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: San Gabriel River

Page N9

GPS: (mouth of Granger Lake to the Hwy 95 bridge) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: 1/16-ounce chartreuse jigs CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Slowly troll jigs along the middle of the river channel. After 2 or 3 warm days, fish in shallow sloughs and ditches using a slip bobber set at 2 feet. BANK ACCESS: Access Point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch, Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Hwy 95 LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: San Gabriel River GPS: (mouth of Granger Lake to the Hwy 95 bridge) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: small white hair jigs CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, 512-3657761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Fish from bank. Cast jigs while reeling them back with a slow steady pace.

BANK ACCESS: Access Point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch, Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Hwy 95

Pre-spawn Bass LOCATION: Toledo Bend North HOTSPOT: Tenaha Area (Pine Island) GPS: N31 52.812, W93 55.689 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits, stickbaits, jerkbaits, jigs; soft and finesse plastics CONTACT: Greg Crafts, www.toledobendguide.com, 936.368.7151 TIPS: The bass will begin staging and bulking up on food in anticipation of the spawn. Concentrate on the edges of the creeks, main and secondary points, and the drains and ditches leading to the shallow spawning flats. The male bass will move into the shallow flats first making the beds. The females will be close by. If you locate a number of males, back out to deeper water and


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

N10 |

12/30/09

F E B R U A R Y

6:25 PM

2 0 1 0

Page N10

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

|

12/30/09

6:25 PM

A L M A N A C

Page N11

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N11


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

you will usually find some aggressive females staging in anticipation of moving onto the beds and they are usually hungry and aggressive.

LOCATION: Toledo Bend South HOTSPOT: Texas Islands GPS: N31 11.50, W93 36.96 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: spinnerbaits with double willow leaf blades and white/chartreuse skirts; weightless soft plastics in Watermelon Candy, Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Seed; crankbaits in Toledo Gold, Crawfish Red, silver/blue. CONTACT: Captain Joe Joslin, 337-4633848, www.joejoslinoutdoors.com TIPS: In February, bass start to move up ditches and drains. Work the edges with the baits mentioned above. Don’t get in a hurry, as the water temperature is still cold and fish will often be in groups. BANK ACCESS: Below the dam for catfish/striper when generators are running; for generator schedule see www.srala-toledo.com

Stripers Galore LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 54.142, W98 28.068 SPECIES: stripers BEST BAITS: slabs and jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Look for working birds and drift toward them.

LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 54.142, W98 28.068 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: slabs and jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Look for working birds and drift toward them. LOCATION: Graham/Edelman N12 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

Page N12

HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: hybrid stripers BEST BAITS: jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. LOCATION: Graham/Edelman HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. LOCATION: Lake Palo Pinto HOTSPOT: Power Plant Outlet SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: jigs, slabs CONTACT: Dean Heffner, 940-329-0036, fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: Bump jigs along the bottom downstream with the current. “Burn” slabs off bottom if you locate a stacked school.

Jighead Specks LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: South Causeway Reef GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919

SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 3/8-ounce jighead using an eel soft plastic type bait; darker colors for off colored water; brighter colors for clear water CONTACT: Capt. Jerry Norris, 409-7188782 TIPS: The best places to fish depend a lot on the rainfall. The retrieve is basically dragging the lure along the bottom off the oyster shell.

LOCATION: Galveston-East Bay HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge F I S H

&

Shrimp Sheepies LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: South Bay Mouth GPS: N26 2.961, W97 11.031

SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Sheepshead begin moving in greater numbers and congregating along drop-offs and any structure around Lower Laguna Madre. Anchor up in the shallows next to the channel into South Bay. Cast a shrimp/popping rig along the channel edge upstream from your spot and let it drift along the channel edge. Usually, the cork will stop and slowly sink below the surface. Set the hook hard.

Email: Calixto: cgonzales@fishgame.com Kyle: ktomek@fishgame.com Bob: bhood@fishgame.com Tom: tbehrens@fishgame.com

On the Web

Corking Trout T E X A S

GPS: N29 33.573, W94 32.266 SPECIES: trophy sized speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies in Pearl, chartreuse colors; chrome/black for topwater baits CONTACT: Capt. R. “Lynn” Waddell, 281-300-5806 TIPS: Fish the topwater baits slow with lots of pauses. Fish will usually hit on the pause. Look for active baitfish action.

G A M E ®

www.fishgame.com/hotspots

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:25 PM

Page N13


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:26 PM

Page N14

Easy2HookUSAWhy didn’t I think of that? MOST OF AMERICA’S 40,000,000 ANGLERS WOULD agree that next to “losing the big one”, the second item on anyone’s list of perennial fishing complaints is the often time-consuming, sometimes infuriating and, in rare instances, the just plain impossible act of knotting your fishing line to a hook. With Easy2HookUSA’s new line of “knotless” fishing hooks, anglers never have to tie a knot to attach their hooks to a line again. According to Ron Baskett, the company’s founder and CEO, the new fishing hooks do not require anglers to utilize a “knot” when tying their lines to a hook, but rather, allow people to employ a loop, wrap, and pull tight process known as E2H that totally eliminates the need for tying any knots at all. Baskett explained he first saw knotless fishing hooks at the ICAST show in Las Vegas in July of 2008 when he and a friend, now one of the partners in the business, where walking the floor looking for new and unique products to add the company’s original Bait Strap line of soft bait and attractant holders. “Basically, we were just walking the show, and as we passed by one of the booths, a man behind the table who spoke English with a foreign accent called us over and with an excited tone in his voice said, ‘You need to look at this hook!’ “ What followed was a demonstration of how E2H hooks attached to any fishing line without requiring a knot to hold them firmly in place. “I think both us said ‘no way’ simultaneously,” Baskett said, recalling the moment, but after seeing the demonstration multiple times and expending every effort to try to N14 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

dislodge the line from the hooks, they both walked away true believers, determined to somehow be an integral part of the Easy2Hook story in America. As it turned out, the man demonstrating the hooks was Jules Beckman Lapre, managing director of Waterproof Innovations BV, a Dutch company charged with marketing the internationally patented hooks worldwide. A series of negotiations followed, and on 15 April 2009 Waterproof Innovations BV and Outdoor Specialty Innovations, Inc. signed an exclusive distribution agreement for the North American continent and Easy2HookUSA was born. “Our hooks eliminate the necessity of tying knots and do so without sacrificing the integrity of the line itself,” Baskett said, “Our process gives people an option that is easier, faster, and allows you to attach your lines in seconds, thereby increasing your chances for a successful fishing trip simply because your line is in the water a greater proportion of the time.” Baskett said the company believes the easy, convenient, and hassle-free knotless feature of Easy2Hook has the potential to change the future purchasing habits of many anglers around the country, and will potentially also attract new participants to the sport who in the past found the process of tying knots to attach traditional hooks frustrating. “We know we have a learning curve to overcome,” Baskett said. “After all, the fishing public has been tying hooks to their lines with knots in pretty much the same way for T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

a very, very long time. “We just want to give people an option, and our experience has been that there are very few products on the market today that invoke the kind of wow factor that Easy2Hook immediately elicits from anyone and everyone that sees them. We hear the statements like, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ and ‘That’s very cool,’ ‘Let me try one of those,’ over and over again.” Baskett said the company respects the fact that experienced anglers might at first question the new approach: “We understand legitimate concerns about whether or not the hook will hold to the line without a knot. But the E2H process of loop, wrap, and pull tight has been thoroughly tested over a four-year period and has been proven successful in field tests conducted under every fishing condition all over the world. We wouldn’t be marketing the product if we didn’t have total confidence in the attachment process. “I urge anyone considering the purchase of our hooks to view how easy the E2H attachment process is before they make their buying decision.”

On the Web www.easy2hookusa.com www.fishgame.com/video (Keyword: Easy2Hook)

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/31/09

12:48 PM

Tricks of the Trade NOTHER MONTH HAS PASSED AND WITH IT another deer season. It seems like it just started, and now it is over in what seems like a blink of an eye. I for one have some great memories of the past season. All of the mornings waking up at darkthirty are now a distant memory, and thinking back about it, it was not that tough to do...now that it is over. I have had many hours in my stand to think of some of the tricks of the trade that some of my fellow hunters and I have tried and tested. Some of the ideas we had were absolutely brilliant while others will remain a secret among those of us who tried them. My good friend, Tom Ryan, came up with putting reflective tape on the back of his arrows between the fletching and nock. When I first saw this, I thought it was wasted effort. Then I helped him track a deer at night. He shined his high -powered flashlight ahead in the direction the deer had traveled, and there was his arrow on the ground off the beaten deer path. Had it not been for the reflective tape, we might have walked right passed that arrow. We would have missed all the information the blood on that arrow told us. He told me he lost an arrow while practicing and asked me to help him look for it. I immediately reminded him that it was already very dark outside and should wait until daylight. He took me outside and shined his light. Viola! There was his arrow shining like the morning sun. Here is one that worked like a charm for me, but you better sit down for this one (I would hate to have you fall down laughing): One Halloween I saw my friend’s spooky display. In that array of horrors was a

A

|

A L M A N A C

Page N15

dummy he filled with straw sitting in a chair on his front porch. A light bulb went on in my head. I went home and started my own “Halloween” dummy. The following summer, my masterpiece was ready. I dressed it in camo and took it to my deer stand. I strapped my new hunting buddy in the stand and left it there for the deer to see. The whitetails soon got used to seeing that dummy, and on opening morning, a different dummy was up there—one that could draw a bow and harvest a deer. I was amazed at how well this worked. Pretty cool, huh? Make sure you tie it in good and tight so it stays upright. It would be a useless attempt if the original dummy did not look realistic—at least, realistic enough to fool deer. We all have heard stories (or experienced ourselves) about climbing into a tree stand and then accidentally dropping some piece of crucial equipment to the ground. Now you have to climb down and retrieve the item. What a pain! It is especially a problem for those of us who use climbing stands. It is almost easier to carry two of everything rather than climb back down the tree and make all that excess noise. One company makes what it calls “the claw.” Made of heavy-duty plastic, the device is designed to pick up objects you drop. You tie the claw to a piece of rope and hope to drop it close to the object you are looking for. When you start to lift it, the claw closes on the object and you simply pull it up. I must say it works pretty well, but my friends and I have been using something that works even better, and is cheaper, too. I took apart a hard drive from an old computer and took out the magnet that was inside. It is small and very strong. I attached it to a 25-foot piece of mason string and wrapped it around a spool. It took almost no extra room in my pack. The mason string I used was 200-pound test, more than enough to lift whatever you dropped from your tree. Almost everything you have with you has T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

some metal on it someplace. You only need to get close with the magnet and you can pick up your object. If you find something that does not have metal, just attach a washer to it and you will be in business. I picked up an arrow that fell from my quiver once. No problem at all. The broadhead attached to the magnet and lifted with ease. Your release, arrows, knife, radio—the list could go on and on. I even tested it with my 22-ounce hammer. I tried jerking the line up and down to see if the hammer would fall, and it never did. These are just a few of the tricks that my friends and I have come up with. I am sure that the longer you spend time in your tree stands, the more your mind will wander a bit and you will be able to think of a few new tricks you can share. In fact, why not share your thoughts on the new Texas Fish & Game on-line discussion forums. It is a great place to discuss your experiences as an outdoors enthusiast. Remember to always hunt safe and have fun out there.

E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com

On the Web www.forum.fishgame.com (TF&G discussion forums)

www.twitter.com/FishandGame

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

www.FishGame.com F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N15


12/30/09

6:26 PM

Froggy Went A-Fishing KNOW IT’S STILL FEBRUARY AND HALF THE nation is still frozen with lakes that you can drill holes into instead of ride a boat across. However, this is Texas, and down here, we are starting to think about shallow bass and topwater bites. One of the most popular topwater baits on the market is a soft plastic frog. Every lure manufacturer has its version of a frog, and if you are a long-time bass angler, then you will appreciate how far frogs have come in the past few decades. What was once considered a one-dimensional bait has now turned into a lure that many anglers tie on year-round. While frogs are incredibly popular and quite effective, they are not the perfect bait. In spite of what it does well, there are a few flaws with Kermit. The first issue with soft plastic frogs is that they have a 50 percent chance of landing on their backs when cast or rolling onto their sides if retrieved too quickly. An upside-down frog will still catch fish, but this is not how it was designed to run, so you do not get all you can out of it. A bait on its side is less effective that one running upright the way it was intended. The second largest issue with frogs is that, while they entice a lot of strikes, actu-

I

N16 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

Page N16

ally getting hookups can be difficult. Most topwaters have a low strike-to-hookup ratio, but with frogs, it can be even more difficult to hook a fish. Letting a bass run for a little bit with the bait in its mouth is a must. Necessity being the mother of invention, it was just a matter of time before a tackle company came out with a way to make frogs better, and this time, instead of actually changing the frog itself, the change came in the manner it which it is rigged. For the past few years, if you were fishing a frog you used either the standard worm hook or a wide gap hook like those used with soft plastic jerkbaits. There were no hooks designed specifically for fishing a frog, but over the past year

worm hooks joined together with a single line tie eye. Instead of threading the point of the hook through the tip of the nose and out the bottom of the frog as with a single hook (which can be done but rips a lot of frogs), you start by pushing the eye of the hook up through the bottom of the frog and out the nose prior to tying on your line. Use very durable frogs (like a Stanley Ribbit) with this hook, because every time you have to change frogs, you have to retie. The second type of hook is similar to the first in that it consists of two hooks sharing one line tie eye, but this one has a screw lock to attach the frog. This is convenient in that you do not have to retie every time you need to change f r o g s . However, it does add a slight bit of weight to the nose of the hook, so you will need to use a very buoyant frog (Gene Larew Three-Legged Frog) to ensure it stays on top.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

that all changed. Multiple companies (I can think of at least three off the top of my head) came out with frog-specific hooks with two points. These bifurcated hooks help solve the problem of making the bait run upright and improves the hookup ratio. The increased weight and surface area of the additional hook acts as a keel when retrieving the bait, two hook points are better than one when it comes to increasing your odds of catching a bass. The first basic design looks like two T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ÂŽ

On the Web www.fishgame.com/how-to

A L M A N A C

|

ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW

ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:26 PM

Eyes & Ears, Part 1 HOOTING GLASSES AND HEARING PROTECTION are two of the most basic needs of the shooter. Neither should ever be neglected. I am hard of hearing today

lenses: a pair with yellow or amber lenses for dim conditions, and one with gray or green lenses for bright sunshine. This is definitely basic coverage; the best solution is a bit more complicated. There are high quality glasses with interchangeable lenses in many colors, including amber polarized lenses for fishermen. The most well known are Randolph, Decot, and Wiley-X. Any of these will do anything you desire of shooting glasses and I have used them all at various times. Shooting glasses should ride higher on the face than standard sunglasses. Since the head is inclined forward in shooting, one tends to look over the top of standard glasses. If you need corrective lenses, they, too, are available. Interestingly, Decot makes a lens with a bifocal in the top for handgun shooters who are too, uh, mature to see the sights clearly. Randolph disagrees with that approach. The company instead has a direct relationship with Morgan Optical and through it offers prescription lenses, suggesting a complete lens has advantages over just a bifocal. I don’t know which is better, so pick whatever works for you. Why do I think shooting glasses are indispensable to the shooter? Glad you asked. My brother Randy was once at the range shooting his .38 Special revolver. He was wearing hearing protection, but not shooting glasses. He had fired several rounds of lead wadcutter ammunition when something went wrong. A shot hit the steel bracing of the target stand and fragments of the lead bullet bounced back, hitting Randy in the eye. He nearly lost the eye, but doctors managed to remove the fragments and save his vision. He learned a valuable lesson: You never know what will happen, so wear those PHOTO COURTESY STEVE LAMASCUS

S

Page N17

because, in my youth, hearing protection was not commonly used. Since I don’t wish to be hard of seeing, I make certain to wear eye protection when I am shooting, particularly when testing new loads or guns. This edition of Guns & Gear will deal with shooting glasses; next month we will cover hearing protection. There is a wide selection of shooting-type glasses on the market, although anything with shatterproof lenses will suffice, but glasses made specifically for the shooter are better in all ways. In addition, the conditions under which we shoot are so dynamic (everything from ultra-bright July sunshine to dim, cloudy December evenings) it is logical to assume that one pair of lenses will not do for everything. Two pairs of glasses provide basic coverage for those who do not wear corrective

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

shooting glasses. I have seen bullets bounce back from backstops and target stands many times. This is especially true if you are shooting at steel targets with lead bullets. Shotgunners, because of the dynamic forms the shooting takes, should be especially faithful in wearing shooting glasses. I was hunting dove once on a place near Uvalde. We were sitting under a mesquite tree on the edge of a grain field. A few dove were drifting back and forth, but it was still early in the afternoon and the shooting was pretty slow. Some time later, another group of hunters arrived. One of them took up position across from me and a bit to my left. No problem, usually, since dove are shot at in the air. All the shooter has to do is keep his shots up high and the shot rains back down harmlessly. This guy hadn’t read the script. For some reason, a jackrabbit picked that time to run across the field between us. The guy across from me leveled his shotgun on the rabbit and shot straight at me before I could even yell. The shot hit the ground, bounced up, and centered me. It stung like crazy but only one pellet broke the skin. Several hit my sunglasses and the bill of my ball cap. Without the sunglasses, at least some pellets would have hit my eyes. I learned the same lesson that day. Shooting glasses are like bulletproof vests: they protect you only if you are wearing them. Medical science has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last 50 years, but your eyesight is still irreplaceable. Protect it.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

On the Web www.randolphusa.com www.decot.com www.wileyx.com F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N17


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:26 PM

Check for these details:

Console Yourself OR THE MAJORITY OF ANGLERS, THE CENTER console design is our top pick for fishing boats. Most of the rest of us utilize some form of side or dual console designs (think bass boats, multi-species boats, fish-n-ski’s). On the surface, the console itself seems like a pretty simple thing—but there’s a lot more here then what meets the eye, whether you have an offshore center console that boasts a cabin with a galley and berth, or an aluminum side-console johnboat you use to hunt redfish one day and redheads the next. In fact, the console itself gives you a great view into just how a carefully a boat is designed and built—if you know what to look for. How can you be an effective judge and jury when a boat is sitting on the showroom floor?

F

N18 |

F E B R U A R Y

Page N18

2 0 1 0

Wiring is a huge issue on many boats, and a peek inside your console, regardless of design or manufacturer, will give you tremendous insight into the boat as a whole. To assess this feature, you first have to find the best place to get a look at it. In the case of side consoles, this means lying down on your back and looking up from underneath the console. If you are checking out a center console, you will need to get an eyeball behind the helm. In most cases, it is visible from inside the console itself, though on larger boats you might need to remove a panel or curtain to access it. Note to self: If the panel is an easily removable hatch or curtain, at-sea fixes will be simple. If it secures with screws, it will take longer and require tools. You can see the wires? Good. They should all be clearly marked, loomed (supported) every six to eight inches, and bundled tightly together. You are really looking for two key factors: first, that the wires will not move or swing as the boat goes through heavy seas, because that would

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

cause chaffing. Second, that the wires are easily identifiable and traceable so you will be able to service them when necessary, with a minimum of confusion. Big balls of wires, spaghetti-like bunches, and lots of movement are all bad. Most consoles have some amount of available compartmentalized stowage in them, but if it is mere dead space inside, your gear will roll around. Now, remember what we just said about loose wires? If your console has them and your gear moves around inside there, it won’t take long for the gear to find the wires and rip them free or become entangled. This counts for battery wiring, too, if your console houses your batteries. Some builders will save a buck by eliminating battery boxes since the console itself counts as an enclosure to meet coast guard regs. If you will be putting any gear in there, however, those batteries need to be sealed away. Better boats will not only have safe and secure stowage in the console(s), they will also have organization. Built-in tackle boxes, glove boxes, and gear stowage compartments are all great. You will often see livewells integrated into consoles, too, usually under a forward console seat. This is an intelligent use of space, but must be separated from stowage compartments with a bulkhead. Otherwise, loose gear could smack into a hose clamp or a drain barb, and knock it out of kilter—and a console full of water is no fun at all. Speaking of which… Water resistance is extremely important, too. Some consoles are glassed shut at the deck, some are screwed down with no form of seal at all, and there are a million variations in between. Regardless of stowage options, you want a dry console, so your wiring and the back of your gauges and electronics all stay dry. Which leads us to… Ventilation will prevent the console from growing moist and stinky with mildew. At least one louvered vent is mandatory, and consoles with heads or cabins get extra credit for having opening ports and/or skylights. And if your boat does have a console cabin, remember than for many people, being cramped into a small space with a lack of ports might lead to seasickness after just a few moments below decks. This is A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:26 PM

only one reason, however, as to why… Size matters when it comes to console cabins. Some are spacious; others make you feel packed in like a sardine. In fact, if you can’t stand up straight, hold your hands against your chest, stick your elbows out, and turn a 360, then you are sure to feel cramped. Of course, size is mostly a function of your boat’s size. But in any case be sure you have enough legroom to sit on the throne or the whole purpose of having a head is defeated. Also pay close attention to the entry, and make sure it is large enough to get through without scraping a knee or elbow. And, does the door secure open? If not, when you try to access it in rough seas it will swing back and forth, banging things until the hinges get bent. Of course, console cabin space and console size in general is a huge trade-off. The larger they are the more comfortable they are bound to be, and the more gear you will be able to stow inside. But some consoles are so large they eat significantly into deck space, and reduce a boat’s fishability. Top, rails, and windshield vary quite a bit depending on what size and type of boat you run, and this dictates some specifics you will want to look for. In bay, flats, and coastal boats

Page N19

without T-tops, you will be able to spot fish from farther off if your console has a flat horizontal top that is sufficiently beefy to stand on. Make sure it also has enough angled dash space to flush-mount your electronics, however, because a stand-on-top eliminates binnaclemounted electronics. Grab rails and the windshield design also come into play, because they cannot be angled back or across the top, blocking your access. Topnotch boat with consoles designed for standing sometimes have a telescoping rail that pulls up out of the console and catches you at thigh height, providing a bit of security. No matter what type of boat you are looking at, eschew those with access to the interior from on top. Hatches leak, period, and one on top of the console is sure to let water through sooner or later. Still, no matter how well a console is designed and built some moisture is probably going to make its way inside eventually, which is why… Drainage is also a must. The best designs incorporate plumbed tubes that take water to a scupper or drain leading overboard. These can individually drain not just the console itself, but also rodholders, cup holders, and recesses in the console. Those that drain into the bilge

are not great, but they are better then nothing. On simple consoles that are bolted to the deck and sealed in place, quite often you will see small holes, drilled into the aftermost corners. Again this is better then nothing, but it is also far from ideal since water can go in just as easily as it comes out. Consider all of these factors carefully when you check out a new boat. Remember that the quality of the console’s design and construction will probably mirror the boat’s overall quality level. And when you look at a boat, you will be fully prepared to act not just as captain, but also as judge and jury—just don’t forget your gavel.

E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

On the Web www.fishgame.com/testpilot —TF&G Boating Editor Lenny Rudow reviews the latest boats and motors.


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:27 PM

Page N20

TEXAS SALTWATER

ROCKPORT

BAFFIN BAY

Bev, Scott and Tamm y Limits Akins Salt water Gu of Trout ide Servic e ey Dee Hark Redfish Guide Hugo Ford Service

GALVESTON

UPPER COAST (SABINE LAKE)

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

TEXAS SALTWATER

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

TEXAS FRESHWATER

CORPUS CHRISTI

EAST TEXAS

For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579. N20 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY! T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

A L M A N A C

|


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:27 PM

Page N21

Robert Pilling Hybrid Striper Striper Express Guide Service

Wyatt Crappie Blair’s Guide Service

do Perez Veronica and Orlan Redfish Redfish Charters

TEXAS FRESHWATER

TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

OUTDOOR SHOPPER LAKE AMISTAD

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: WADE AID In 1995, my brother-in-law, Matthew Gregory, and I, George Calhoun, started developing the Wade Aid belt. The Wade Aid belt went on the market in 1996.

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

TEXAS HUNTING

Wade Aid Enterprises prides itself in making the finest wade belt available. Whether you’re fishing for redfish or trout in the bays and surfs of the gulf coast, fighting striper in the Atlantic surfs or fishing for trout and salmon in cool mountain rivers, the Wade Aid belt is for you. The Wade Aid is the most functional and comfortable wade belt available today. It is constructed of closed cell foam incased in neoprene with nylon webbing and hardware. The closed cell foam provides a unique lumbar support system. The rods and accessory holders are conveniently located for quick and easy access. The Wade Aid is clearly in a class by itself. Please visit our website www.wadeaid.com or call us at 1-888WADE AID (1-888-923-3243).

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N21


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:27 PM

IFA Launches Kayak Tour O FISH COMPETITIVELY, YOU NEED TWO essential things: a boat and cash for entry fees. As I learned from personal experience, both can be stiff barriers to entry on the competitive fishing scene. Kayaks have dramatically lowered the costs of boat ownership, so it was with great interest when I read the Inshore Fishing Association’s (IFA) press release announcing their new Kayak Tour.

GRAPHIC COURTESY IFA KAYAK FISHING TOUR

T

For the last several years, IFA has operated the Redfish Tour, a series of one-day events across the East and Gulf Coasts. The Redfish Tour allows two men per powerboat, lure-only angling, and has a catch-andrelease format. In 2009, nineteen tournaments were held in eight states. Since the Redfish Tour makes lots of stops, the organization reasoned that they could stay several extra days at each destination and cost effectively add kayak-only tournaments to the festivities. The Kayak Tour appeals to my genetic makeup. Growing up with two older brothers, I have always been a competitive fisherman. Bass, crappie, catfish, redfish, trout; it didn’t matter. When the three of us wet lines together, you could count on a lively outing with enough smack bantered about to shame an NFL cornerback. My competitive nature manifested itself as a charter member of the Texas Aggie Bass Club. A scant handful of years later, a wedding ring, car loans, and a mortgage came into my life. Competitive fishing became a distant memory and the gleaming N22 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

Page N22

trophies attesting to my angling prowess were relegated to the attic. But my competitive nature wasn’t dead, just dormant. The IFA Kayak Tour will swing through Texas in 2010, including stops in Port Lavaca on 17 April, Rockport on 12 June, and Port Aransas on 11 September. These dates are preliminary and could easily change. The official dates will be posted in the near future on the IFA website. IFA has teamed with Hobie Fishing to help sponsor the new tournament. In addi-

tion to cash prizes going to the top ten place winners, the angler who finishes in first place will receive a Hobie kayak equipped with their new Mirage Drive. The Mirage Drive utilizes a pair of flippers underneath the hull. Foot peddles drive the flippers, which produce a surprising amount of thrust. The Hobie package is valued at $2399—a handsome return on the $100 entry fee. Second through 10th place will be guaranteed cash payouts. Second place pays $1000, third place $900, on down to 10th place at $100 While there are other kayak tournaments around, the IFA Kayak Tour raises the stakes. Multiple venues make it easier to fish close to home. In addition, there are multiple tournaments grouped together in regions. This allows anglers to test their competitive skills in different bay systems without major travel expenses. The regional format provides additional competition on several fronts. Should you T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

wish to participate in all three tournaments, you get to compete for the regional title in addition to competing for top honors in each event. By fishing in three separate tournaments, you are automatically qualified to fish in the IFA Kayak Tour national tournament. The tournaments do not even have to be in the same region. For instance, if you fish two of the Texas tournaments and miss the third, you can sill qualify for the national event by fishing in a Kayak Tour event in Louisiana. Bart Shad of the IFA explained: “We wanted to provide kayak anglers an affordable series of tournaments. Anglers can choose to compete in the three regional tournaments or three different tournaments across the country. If you enter three tournaments, you are able to fish in the national tournament. Basically, you pay for three, you get one for free. “Since we are leveraging the Redfish Tour, we already have the infrastructure in place to hold the kayak tournament. This allows us to hold a number of different kayak events and to keep entry fees low. Keep in mind that this also means television coverage at the national event. I am not aware of any kayak tournament that has television coverage.” I like the IFA Kayak Tour’s format a lot. There are cash prizes, Hobie kayaks, affordable entry fees, reasonable travel distances, and a national tournament with television coverage. Heady stuff for kayak anglers. For those of us with a competitive itch that needs an occasional scratching, the new tournament provides a lot of fun at an affordable price.

Email Greg Berlocher at kayak@fishgame.com

On the Web www.redfishtour.com A L M A N A C

|


12/30/09

6:27 PM

Chill “In” with Venison Chili HEN FALL ROLLS AROUND EACH YEAR, those of us who take to the field sporting firearms anticipate an early season cool front and a soon-to-be bountiful harvest of succulent venison. Thoughts of sausage, roast, ground meat, and backstrap, prepared by a variety of methods keep our minds occupied until we watch that venison on the hoof show up at the feeder. Now, with your harvest packaged and put up for the winter, some really cold Arctic air shows up. Neighbor, how long has it been since you had a big, thick, steaming bowl of venison chili? Well, that’s too long.

W

Venison Chili

Page N23

1 tsp light brown sugar 1 beer, Bock style Add room temperature meat to a hot cast iron skillet, brown until it starts to make it's own juice. Stir continuously while adding both cans of broth, and Bag No. 1. Cook covered at a medium boil for 45 minutes. Uncover and stir every 10 minutes. Add water and beer as needed. Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, and add Bag No. 2. Add one beef bullion cube. Add 1/2 tsp light brown sugar.

Seasoning Bag No. 2 3 Tbs Sweet Chipotle Season All 3 Tbs cumin 2 tsp garlic powder 1/16 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp oregano leaf 2 fresh jalapenos, seeded and chopped

Other Ingredients 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Swanson Chicken Broth 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Swanson Beef Broth 1 can (14-1/2 oz.) stewed tomatoes 1 can (8 oz.) Hunts “No Salt Added” tomato sauce 1 Knorr Beef Bullion cube

Use the following to season to taste: Salt Cayenne Pepper (for hot front taste) White Pepper (for hot front taste) Brown Sugar (for a sweeter taste) Ready to eat, but better the next day. Bon appetite.

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

2 lbs. “chili grind” beef chuck roast 1 lb. venison backstrap, cubed in 3/4inch pieces Seasoning Bag No. 1 (make by placing ingredients in three layers of cheesecloth and tying up into a “bag”) 4 Tbs chili powder (dark ancho) 3 cloves garlic 1 medium white onion 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

|

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

N23

PHOTO BY BILL OLIVE

ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North


ALMANAC N.qxd:1002 North

12/30/09

6:27 PM

Page N24

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

SHEEPSHEAD—PORT MANSFIELD

BASS—SHERMAN

CATFISH—COLMESNEIL

David Oliver of Round Rock, Texas, likes fishing for sheepshead because they hang around structures. He caught this one using live shrimp near fishing shacks out of Port Mansfield.

Aubrey Means, age 2, of Sherman, Texas, caught her Valerie Brittain of Beaumont, Texas, caught this first largemouth bass while fishing with her parents 11.3-pound catfish at Frog Pond in Colmesneil, at a small pond near their house. The bass was 7 Texas. inches in length.

REDFISH—PORT ARANSAS

REDFISH—PORT O’CONNOR

Evan Kinnebrew, age 3, of Adkins, Texas, proudly shows off his keeper redfish, a 26-inch, 6-pounder, caught while fishing with his mom and dad in Port Aransas. It took 10 minutes to bring it in.

Ashley (Brazil) Tyler of Baytown, Texas, caught this 41-inch redfish while fishing with her dad Joe, brother and uncles at the Port O’Connor Jetties.

SPADE FISH—OFFSHORE OF GALVESTON

BUCK—PALO PINTO COUNTY

KINGFISH—GALVESTON

Bryce Hulstein, age 8, of Frisco, Texas, shot his first Madison Smith, age 6, shows off one of the 27 Haley Smith, age 8, caught her first kingfish deer, a spike buck, while youth hunting in Palo Atlantic spade fish that she caught on her first deep- while fishing with her proud granddad Ricky sea fishing trip with her PawPaw, Ricky, out of Richardson out of Galveston. Pinto County. Galveston. N24 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

|


Freshwater.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:05 PM

Page 41

Texas Freshwater by Matt Williams| TF&G Freshwater Editor

EXAS BASS ANGLERS ARE BUZZING THESE days—but Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, I.W. Harper, and associates are not to blame. Nature is at the epicenter of this monumental high. Spring is just around the corner. Those are fighting words in bass fishing circles. Ask around and you will be hard pressed to find a bassing devotee who will not jump at the opportunity to crawl into the ring over the next few months. February, March, and April mean show time on bass lakes across Texas. Driven by the biological urge to procreate, bass are beckoned toward the shallows to spawn during spring. This naturally makes them more vulnerable to being caught than at any other of the year. Certain areas in a reservoir are always more prone to attract spawning lunkers than are others. Here is an angler’s guide of potential springtime hotspots.

T

Pockets and Coves Just about every Texas lake has its share of pockets and coves, small and large. During spring, you can upgrade your chances of success by focusing on inlets bisected by some sort of creek or drainage. Bass use the channels, no matter how deep or well defined, as travel routes from deep water to shallow. Another critical factor to consider about coves is water temperature. Pockets that warm up the quickest usually attract bass sooner than those that lag behind. As a rule,

Spring is just around the corner. Those are fighting words in bass circles.

Looking for Lunkers... in All the Right Places

water temperatures in wind-protected pockets will be a few degrees warmer than in unprotected coves that have been hammered by chilly north winds all winter long. On a reservoir that lies north to south, pockets and coves stemming off a northwest shoreline should hold water that is slightly warmer than unprotected areas. Conversely, pockets and backwaters along the northern shoreline tend to warm the quickest reservoirs that lay east to west. No matter where the pocket is located on the reservoir, it is always a good idea to focus on any available cover or structure such as grass, stumps, brush, bushes, and flats in proximity to the channel break. This holds

especially true when targeting pre-spawn bass. Shorelines, secondary points, and isolated backwaters and flats really start coming into play when full-blown spawning activity kicks in during March and April.

Boathouses & Piers Boathouses and piers hold fish yearround, but they are especially attractive during the spring months, particularly on reservoirs where aquatic vegetation is sparse. While docks with floating Styrofoam bases will hold fish from time to time, those with wooden support pilings provide the fish with more “structure” to relate to. Structures built on main lake and secondary points, or close to some sort of channel break, are always good in early spring. As water temperatures warm, spawning bass gravitate to docks built on skinny water flats. Here is another worthwhile fishing tip pertinent to boat dock bassing: Watch for rod T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

holders and minnow buckets. Both are telltale signs the owner of the dock spends some time dabbling off the edge, quite possibly around a submerged brush pile.

Laydown Logs Laydown logs and fallen trees provide bass with cover, plus put off a little extra heat on warm, sunny days. This can be a major boon during early spring, when water temperatures are still a little on the chilly side. When fishing a laydown, it is a good idea to work the bait parallel with the log rather than to and from it. This allows you to keep the bait in the strike zone longer.

Grasslines & Weedbeds Give bass grass and they will come, particularly if it is an inside grassline. Pre-spawn fish use inside grasslines as “staging” areas as they wait for water temperatures in the shallows to warm sufficiently. The inside edge of the grass also provides fish with cover to ambush baitfishes. Inside grasslines are formed when lakes containing hydrilla drop several feet below normal for an extended period, and then begin to rise. As the lake level rises, hydrilla beds that were once visible along the shorelines are submerged in water. The depth of the inside grassline will depend entirely on how much a lake rises after the fall.

Windy Points Though windy points can be tough to fish at times, anyone who has spent much time fishing for bass knows the effort can be very much worthwhile. When the wind blows, it blows various forms of plankton into the shoreline. The tiny plankton appeal to small forage fishes such a bream and shad. And we all know what dines on those little critters.

E-mail Matt Williams at freshwater@fishgame.com |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

41


Fea7.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:07 PM

Page 42

Contest winner Shawn Johnson spends the day fishing with Alton Jones and Judy Wong at Fayette County Reservoir | BY CHESTER MOORE 42 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速


Fea7.qxd:Layout 1

12/31/09

11:56 AM

Page 43

THE WATER temperature was 81 degrees, the air temperature in the upper 30s with a stiff north wind. The result was Hollywood special effects-like sheets of smoky mist rolling across the water, a shrouded tableau of dreamscape obscurity. It was December 3, 2009, at Fayette County Reservoir, a day Ultimate Trophy Quest winner Shawn Johnson is sure to remember. The Coast Guard medic stationed in the Galveston area won the Texas Fish & Game Ultimate Trophy Quest drawing for a day’s fishing with 2008 Bassmaster Classic winner Alton Jones and 2007 and 2009 Women’s Bassmaster Tour champion Judy Wong. “I can’t tell you how I excited I am for this,” Johnson said as Jones and Wong prepared to launch their boats. A dedicated tournament angler in his own right and an experience outdoorsman who has taken everything from Texas feral hogs to Alaskan halibut, Johnson hoped to use the day to learn from the pros. “I plan on doing a lot of listening and getting pointers from two of the world’s best anglers.” Opening up in a large cove, the first order of business was throwing plastics against stands of cattail. “On this lake, you already have fish moving up to spawn and some pre-spawn things happening because it’s a small power plant lake,” said Wong, who guided on the lake for 15 years. “Some of the best and most exciting fishing here is in the cattails around the lake, which requires some precise pitching skills. “I can’t overemphasize the value of being able to pitch into cover delicately. The softer your approach is, the less chances of spooking a fish; and the bigger a fish is, the spookier it tends to be.” Wong likes to flip jigs or Gary Yamamoto 4-inch Kreature baits with her American Rodsmiths Pitch-N-Flip signature series rod. “The Kreature is great because it has a lot of appendages and movement, and mimics the kind of large prey a large bass likes to eat,” Wong said. PHOTOS BY CHESTER MOORE

T E X A S

F I S H

The trio caught several fish in the area, but soon decided to move on to the main lake due to a hunch Jones had (he also guided the area in the past). “Sometimes, these fish will stack up outside of the outfall canal in deeper water, and when they do, the action can be hot and heavy,” Jones said. Fayette’s power plant kept the water temperature in the 80s near the discharge, and even on the backside of the lake the temperature ran in the mid 60s. The trip across the lake was bumpy and holding a position in the wind and on top of the waves was challenging, but it did not take long after Jones put out a marker buoy to find out his hunch was right. The trio started catching one fish after another. One nice bass Jones hung into jumped into the boat, seemingly attacking the world champion. You can watch a video of the action on the Texas Fish & Game website, www.FishGame.com. “These bass here like the cold weather,” Jones said. A unique aspect of the lake’s warm-water status is that bass spawn early. Fish were already moving up into bedding territory during our time on the lake in December. “I’ve seen bass on the beds at Fayette the week after Thanksgiving,” Jones said. Much of the day’s conversation centered on catching big fish and what it takes to put them in the boat. Johnson recounted being

&

G A M E ®

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

43


Fea7.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:07 PM

Page 44

“You might not catch a lot of fish, but it is certainly the way someone who wants to catch the bass of a lifetime might want to go.” Jones passed on many practical and insightful tips that day, but one of the most unique involved what he believes is the key to catching more truly big bass: “You have to be able to make long casts. Most really big bass are caught on long casts because they are shy fish by nature, and you have to have the right equipment. I use Ardent Reels and they allow me to make longer casts than any others I have used, and that truly makes a difference.” From the perspective of the camera boat, it was easy to see Johnson, Jones, and Wong enjoyed each other’s company and the opportunity to fish Fayette County Reservoir. Watching Johnson confidently fishing with the pros and enjoying this opportunity reminded me that dreams really do come true, and the Texas Fish & Game staff was glad to make this one happen.

PHOTO BY CHESTER MOORE

Mists rising from the warm waters lent the event an ethereal quality.

PHOTO BY CHESTER MOORE; INSET COURTESY COUNTRY PLACE HOTEL

into bass fishing for only a few years, but already having success in tournament fishing and experiencing world-class fisheries like Falcon. “Largemouths can be so challenging, and that is part of the reason I love to pursue them. And, of course, catching really big ones takes it to a whole other level,” he said.

Wong noted that unlike Fayette’s fish, most bass in Texas will not be spawning until this article hits newsstands or later, but there is plenty ways to target those big fish. “Going out and fishing a jig a big Kreature all day long or is a way that you can focus solely on those lunker bass, although the fishing requires some discipline,” Wong said.

Fayetteville’s Texas-sized Hospitality The main event of the Ultimate Trophy Quest was the opportunity for Johnson to fish with the pros, but the town of Fayetteville and its warm, friendly people gave it a peaceful, family-like quality. THE COUNTRY PLACE HOTEL The TF&G crew along with Johnson and Wong stayed at the Country Place Hotel (979-966-7771), a charming bed and breakfast rooted in local history and with a true passion for hospitality. Warm, delicious meals at Orsak’s (979-378-2719) and Joe’s Place (979-378-9035) were enjoyed by all and gave us a great appreciation for Fayetteville, one of Texas’ best kept secrets and a true, old-fashioned hometown. 44 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

On the Web www.fishgame.com/video Video of Shawn’s trip, plus exclusive interviews with Alton Jones and Judy Wong


Fea7.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:07 PM

Page 45


Fea6.qxd:Layout 1

46 |

12/30/09

F E B R U A R Y

3:11 PM

2 0 1 0

Page 46

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

PHOTO BY CHESTER MOORE


Fea6.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:11 PM

Page 47

SOMETIMES, GETTING the wintertime blues isn’t a bad thing—especially when those blues top 20 pounds, pull like a PHOTO COURTESY OF TIM PRUITT

freight train, and taste so good rolled in corn meal and dunked in hot grease. It is the dream of every angler in the world to latch into a fish big enough to rip the rod out of their hand and beat them over the head with it. In freshwater, you are not going to do that by chasing bass, crappie, or even the average channel cat. If you want to hook into something with muscle, you need to chase blue cats, which can push the scale over 100 pounds and more commonly weigh as much or more than the average eight-year-old. Most of the time when you think about catfishing, you’re mind goes straight to humid summer nights where you spend as much time swatting mosquitoes as catching fish. When chasing blues, the best time of year is winter and early spring when the cooler temperatures make the fishing much more tolerable. The key to catching fish this time of year is knowing where to go and what bait to use, and sometimes neither one is what you would expect. Jason Barbe with Kings Creek Adventures makes a living putting customers on fish, and to catch some big blues this time of year, he goes against conventional wisdom. Every other article you read about coldweather fishing for blue cats touts going deep and hitting the deepest holes in the lake to find the biggest fish, and we will get there eventually. For now, though, let’s cover the rarely mentioned shallow-water section of winter fishing, which is where Jason goes to catch the majority of his fish. Not every fish in the lake goes straight to, or stays in, deep water in the winter. Sometimes they hang out on the flats adjacent to it, and that’s where Jason concentrates his efforts. “We fish for big blues in the winter in water between 2 and 6 feet deep,” Jason told me. Not just any water in that depth range produces fish; it has to meet a few specific criteria. First, as mentioned previously, these flats have to be adjacent to deeper water, preferably over 20 feet deep. Second, the area water needs to be dingy. Find the dirtiest water on the lake and you will find blue cats. Last, there must be some form of structure or cover on the flat. “On these shallow flats, key on any creek channel, old levee, old fence line, or stump row that might be on it,” Jason said. Big fish make their rounds in these areas, swimming up and down the fence line or creek channel. You will catch a few fish off them, then the bite will slack off for 30 minutes before another group of fish move through, and you catch a few more. If the fish are not in the area, don’t spend all day waiting for a bite—but don’t give up too soon, either, because more blues might be coming through at any time. Blue catfish are both predators and scavengers. They do not prowl the bottom looking exclusively for the smelliest items on the lake floor, and usually opt for fresh fish. So, you need fresh bait. This is where a cast net comes in handy. If you have good electronics, you can find balls of shad out on the main lake points and catch them in the net. Throw the net until you get tired or think you have enough bait, then T E X A S

Tim Pruitt with his 124pound world record blue catfish caught from the MIssissippi River.

throw it some more because there is no such thing as too much bait. Rigging for shallow water blues is fairly straightforward. Use a basic Carolina rig with a minimum 20-pound main line. If you are fishing in heavy structure or using particularly big baits for big cats, upgrade to 30-pound or heavier main line. Make your leader one size smaller than your main line (20-pound main line, 17-pound leader) so that if you get hung up you can break the leader instead of the main line, saving re-rigging time and some terminal tackle. Make your leader as short as possible, a foot to 18 inches, to help minimize snags. Use a large 5/0 or bigger circle hook on your rig. Cut shad into chunks, put one on the hook, and drop the others into the water as chum. Chumming might not be necessary, but it never hurts. Your basic bass tackle isn’t going to work when a 40-pound blue cat decides to hit, so invest in some stout gear when going after these fish. I am not saying it can’t be done, but when a blue takes off on a run, your little flipping stick isn’t going to slow it down. That brings up another point: When blues bite in shallow water, they head deep as soon as they feel the hook, which is typically right at the boat. You need a reel with a fast gear ratio to keep up. If the fish are not shallow, and sometimes they are not, then fall back into the more traditional deep-water winter tactics. Drift-fish with fresh bait in water between 20 and 30 feet deep. You can even use the same Carolina rig with one small change: Add a small bobber about halfway down the leader. This floats the bait off the bottom to lessen the chances of snagging on the bottom. If this rig doesn’t work, go with a more basic drift rig with a weight at the end of the main line and a hook 18 inches above it. Use a snagfree (think “long and skinny”) weight for this or you might spend a lot of time retying after breaking off in brush. Even when fishing deep water, it pays to key on the edges of the structure. Drift along creek channels, main lake points, or humps for the most consistent bites. Catfishing is not a glamorous sport like chasing bass or even crappie, but when it comes to hard-pulling, heart-pumping action, it’s hard to beat a big blue catfish in shallow water.

F I S H

On the Web www.kingscreekadventures.com &

G A M E ®

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

47


Fea4.qxd:Layout 1

48 |

12/30/09

F E B R U A R Y

3:12 PM

2 0 1 0

Page 48

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速


Fea4.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:12 PM

PHOTO LICENSED BY CREATIVE COMMONS

Page 49

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

49


Fea4.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:12 PM

Page 50

THERE WAS A TIME when there were no saltwater lures in Texas tackle and hardware stores. That changed some 80 years ago thanks to the minds, hands, and passionate hearts of a few dedicated fishermen.

shop, founded American Tackle Company, or Am Tac. He produced a line of swimming plugs remarkably similar to the modern MirrOlure. There was Bowman Lures, too, as well as Sportsman’s Lure Company, which came into being just after the war and best remembered for its Hump (designed by Earl F. Humphrey). SLC somehow spawned the Coastal Lure Company in the late 1940s, but little is known about its history.

Best in their Craft Far more is known about Doug English and Fred Nichols. Best known among all of Corpus Christi’s lure designers was English, whose Bingo lures are as popular today as at any time in their history. English Bait Company did little advertising. Instead, its gregarious founder preferred to visit popular fishing spots and hand out samples.

Bingo produced a variety of lures that are now prized by collectors.

PHOTO BY DOUG PIKE

Early baits produced by a half-dozen tackle companies based in Corpus Christi were somewhat crude by modern standards. Saltwater was viciously cruel to anything slung into it, and what the salinity didn’t

destroy, the jolting strikes of hard-mouthed predators often did. Among the first to fool saltwater fishes with reliable hardware, as early as 1926, was Fred Nichols. Collectors greatly treasure his hand-carved cedar shrimp, which fetch high prices even in slightly “off ” condition. Nichols took his own name off that of the company around 1936 and renamed it Padre Island Bait Company, which ultimately was shortened to the more familiar PICO. Nichols’ PICO Perch and PICO Swimmin’ Minnow, more refined than his early shrimp, were favorites of Texas coastal anglers for years. There is some information that Nichols, despite his profession and proficiency, rarely or never fished with lures. He was, by most accounts, an incurable bait slinger. In plastic, as it became more available around WWII, lure makers found a material easily molded and colored. Quickly, creative minds filled tackle boxes with remarkably durable, effective, and brilliantly painted lures. Richard Svertz, who also owned a metal

50 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®


Fea4.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:13 PM

Beauty is in the Eye... …and the paint, and the hardware. Collectors will pay premium prices for lures in perfect or nearperfect condition, but even a little damage goes a long way toward

Page 51

the devaluation of a plug. The ultimate prize is a never-used lure in its original cardboard box. That is the gold standard among lures. Rarity comes in many forms. It might be a series of lures that featured hand-painted eyes or some unique hardware configuration, or a particular color that was produced only briefly because it never gained

One story tied to the English name is that of what happened after a particularly nasty cold front, when speckled trout were stacked thick in the deep, insulated water of a Port Aransas boat basin. According to wildlife artist and avid Bingo collector Ben Kocian, English showed up that frigid day with a trunk full of lures. He offered them at no charge and, in exchange, asked only that anglers say “Bingo” each time they hooked a fish. Soon, the tale goes, the air was filled with enthusiastic shouts of “Bingo!” English rarely turned down requests to make variations in color, weight, or size, or even to create commemorative lures for companies and special events. “There were all these experiments in shapes and weights, colors and sizes,” said Kocian, “so many I never have counted them.” If a fisherman wanted a Bingo with a blue head, orange body, and pink belly, English would build the man a boxful. He took pride in his baits and even autographed a few before adding his final clear finish. (Those plugs are especially rare and valuable.) One of English’s angling buddies was commercial fisherman Anton Stettner, whose Pluggin’ Shorty rivaled the Bingo in productivity and popularity. A crooked shrimp, for lack of better description, this bait was considered by many fishermen to be more effective even than live shrimp. They were produced in a slightly modified version into the 1960s by

favor with fishermen. If only a few were made 60-70 years ago, bet the farm that even fewer exist today. Cracked paint, missing hooks, dents, and dings can turn a $100 plug into something worth no more than a few bucks. If that is what you have, consider it a family treasure only and think about fishing it to honor your father or grandfather.

Ray Zapalac in Houston. Bingos, Pluggin’ Shorty shrimp, Stettner’s Triple Chance spoon, everything in the PICO family, and most other Texas plugs remain valid fishing tools to this day, although most are in the jealously protective hands of collectors. “There are just as many people collecting Bingos now as ever before,” said Kocian, “The market is still hot.” Without question, there is more awareness now of these baits than even in their heyday. Manufacturers then did little or nothing to market or advertise their products but relied instead on word of mouth to move inventory. A 1950s newspaper article claimed (with crossed fingers behind the writer’s back) that Corpus Christi’s top three lure makers produced more lures than were built in the rest of the country. They were busy down Corpus way, but never that busy. English actually produced a catalog and, briefly, salesmen’s samples (which Kocian gathered in huge quantities after years of fishing with and befriending those vendors). Mostly, however, all those early makers sold their product directly to shops or individuals.

Spun Gold One of English’s rarest lures, fitted with a tail spinner, came into Kocian’s hands recently. He said he sold it to a friend for a fair profit. “I bought it,” confessed Leonard Tucker, insatiable collector who also produces the T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

If you want to display Grandpa’s old plugs, clean them with a mild solution of soapy water and soft-bristled toothbrush. Remove dirt, but not paint. Rinse, dry, and hang on the wall or mount in a display case. Whether they are under glass or dangling from a fishing line, old lures are best admired in full light.

annual Antique Lure and Collectible Show in Houston. “Ben told me he had something I’d want, and I drove right down. I’d only seen one of them before. That trip cost me a lot of money.” Tucker said that fans of the Pluggin’ Shorty willingly pay $150-300 for Stettner’s hand-painted baits, depending on condition. Collectors of Texas plugs will not hesitate to peel off a few hundred bucks for a rare bait in prime condition, and the next of these lures to sell for more than $1000 (especially Nichols’ early shrimp) will not be the first. All the Texas-made lures remain popular today because so many of our fathers and grandfathers fished them. Some of us inherited boxes filled with battle-scarred plugs and direct-drive reels from the era. A lucky few opened a relative’s tackle box to find stacks of old lures never cast and still in their original boxes. Whatever their condition, the value of Texas’ early saltwater plugs is legitimate. Each lure from that era carries the fingerprints and sometimes the brush strokes of a master, a man every bit as artful as any painter or sculptor. Unused lures sell for the highest prices, but the ones accented by a scar or two have the best stories to tell.

|

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

51


Saltwater.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:13 PM

Page 52

Texas Saltwater by Calixto Gonzales | TF&G Saltwater Editor

The Stomach Flu Column CAUGHT SOME KIND OF ICK ON FRIDAY. I BLAME my son. He’s in Middle School--a bacterial and viral cauldron awaiting distribution to unsuspecting parents and siblings. Friday night and Saturday were...interesting. Without going into too much detail, I am genuinely surprised I didn’t lose any internal organs by one means or the other. So, here I am, sitting at my desk, listing a bit to port with a bottle of Gatorade next to me. Sandie and the boy are off working Britney, a 10-year-old Blood Bay quarterhorse that knows she is the thing. I’m bumping up on deadline, and my electrolyte-starved brain is drawing a total blank. I guess it’s time for a column of random musings. The South Texas Coast got off light with the red tide bloom of autumn of 2009. Though there was a substantial fish kill, most were mullet, menhaden, bay anchovy, hardhead, and gafftop catfish. Though some game fishes were killed (most notably 350500 large red drum that littered both Padre Island National Seashore and South Padre Island early in the event), TPWD biologists said that it could have been much, much worse. The loss of game fishes looks bad, but the overall health of the fish populations of along the Lower Texas Coast from Aransas Pass to Brazos Santiago is excellent and should absorb the impact easily. If some environmental wacko is telling you that the red tide event is the latest example of the effects of global warming, tell them to write it on a stiff piece of paper. Red tide

I

52 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

events have been occurring intermittently for millennia. The last one prior to 2009 was 2005. The size and scope of this last one was on the upper end of the scale, but it wasn’t a novel event. Speaking of global warming: It would take someone in very serious denial to not see that the planet is experiencing a warming trend. Earth has been going through warming and cooling cycle since it was first formed. Some are natural trends, others jump-started by catastrophe, such as the famed Year without a Summer, an abnormally cool year in 1816 caused by the particle expulsion of the Mount Tambora eruption in 1815. So much debris was blown into the upper atmosphere that solar radiation was curtailed enough to disrupt weather patterns in Western Europe and North America. There wasn’t a single thing anyone could do about it. I wrote a column a few months back about how PETA tries to worm its way into our children’s consciousness through irreverent and offbeat antics. If you thought I was kidding, consider this: When the University of Georgia’s live bulldog mascot, UGA VII, died of heart failure in November 2009, a PETA blogger suggested he be replaced with an animatronic (robot) dog. A robot dog. Our kids. They’re after our kids. I strongly believe that a coastal angler has not lived until he has had a 40-inch-plus snook breech, tail-walk, and rattle its gills 15 feet from his boat. That will leave your hands shaking so badly that you won’t be able to make a cast for 15 minutes. The most fun any adult can have is taking a couple of sub-teen children fishing at a local pond or canal. Just grab a couple of rods, some hooks, bobbers, and sinkers, and buy a box of night crawlers at Academy. No one has to catch a piscine goliath. Just let the kids catch all the bluegill and perch they can. Re-bait the hooks when needed, and stand by to make sure no one falls in. The real fun comes when you listen to them in the backT E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

seat on the way home. It’s great stuff. A robot dog. Seriously. I can’t make that stuff up. I saw a Winter Texan recently who seems to have this surf-fishing thing down pretty well. He had one of those “mobility impaired scooters” rigged up with a sort of trailer hitch. He hooks a wagon to it and loads up a bait bucket, tacklebox, and ice chest. Then he putters up and down his string of surf rods along a stretch of beach, baiting up, reeling in fish, and checking rods as needed. Pretty nifty, I thought. He saw me watching him, and motored on up. “The only thing I haven’t figured out is getting the sand out of the guts,” he said. “It’s hell to clean!” Someone that ingenious will figure it out, I’m sure. Does anyone remember when I wrote that it is far better to have a reel professionally serviced rather than trying to do it yourself and then paying someone to put it back together? Same rule applies to laptops. I am officially on the record as being for a statewide change in the speckled trout bag limit to five fish per person per day. I have seen first-hand how effective the reduced bag limit has been in improving the speckled trout fishery in Lower Laguna Madre, and if TPWD recommends a similar regulation change for the rest of the state, I am for it. The number of LLM trout has not only improved, but the quality of the fish as well. There are not as many thin, hammer-handle trout as there used to be. Most trout are fat, healthy fish. There are more keeper-sized fish later in the season, too, unlike in past years, when by July you had to weed through 20 small trout for one keeper. You can’t argue with success like that. Well, you could, but I’m too sick to pay attention. A robot dog. Can you believe that?

E-mail Calixto Gonzales cgonzales@fishgame.com


Hunt Texas Hood.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:19 PM

Page 53

Hunt Texas by Bob Hood | TF&G Hunting Editor

The Epicurian Hunter HE EVENING SHADOWS WERE BEGINNING to spread across the grassy openings in the Trinity River bottomlands of Anderson County one warm fall, when a group of eight feral hogs dashed from the woods. Some were solid black, others reddish-brown, and one was almost completely white. The hogs headed single-file toward a small pond that lay no more than 75 yards from my perch in a tree stand at the edge of the timber. I watched them closely, knowing I surely would be able to pick one off with my .243 if I just exercised a bit of patience. After all, they seemed to be on a mission to the pond, and I was well hidden with the wind in my favor. Sure enough, the hogs stomped right into the pond and began to roll with pleasure in its muddiness, bathing as hogs so often do on warm days, both for pleasure and to coat heir hides against biting insects such as the species of Greater Mosquitoes found only in East Texas and coastal marshes. When I first hunted feral hogs many years ago, I just wanted a hog. It didn’t matter to me if it was a 100-pounder or a 250pounder or a larger one. But now, after having shot and trapped many of them, and having gained more appreciation for the wonderful taste of the meat, I have become pickier, especially if I am watching a group of hogs of various sizes and sexes and have the opportunity to pick the one I want. Like many hunters, I have long believed that the “best tasting” hog is a sow, preferably one in the 80- to 125-pound range. A

boar weighing 160 to 250 pounds would have a rank taste and not be as tender as a sow. With this in mind, I decided to go for the 125-pound white sow that was wallowing in the pond at Big Woods on the Trinity, a 700-acre low-fence deer, hog, and duck hunting paradise near Tennessee Colony that warm October evening. The hog went down just after it exited the pond and the others rushed back to the

T

PHOTO BY BOB HOOD

woods. When I field-dressed the sow, I noticed she wasn’t particularly fat and showed signs of recent nursing activity on her teats. Nevertheless, she went into my freezer and later was used in a variety of ways, including barbecue, smoked, and for fajitas. Incidentally, I rank strips of feral hog ham or backstrap right along with wild turkey breasts as the best meat for fajitas: Sautéed in olive oil along with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and even strips of peeled potatoes, with a flour tortilla steamed to softness on top of the meat and vegetables at the finish line, and later topped with grated cheese and salsa. On a return visit to Big Woods early last November, the whitetail bucks were in full rut so my attention was on deer, not feral hogs. I passed up five porkers, knowing I can T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

hunt them year-round. But even while letting those five hogs go, I observed them closely to judge which one I would have shot if hogs were on the agenda. Later that night, while visiting with Dr. Robert McFarlane, owner of Big Woods on the Trinity and an ardent observer of all wildlife with a river bottom full of observations, we talked about hogs and which ones provide the best table fare. Fellow friend and outdoor writer Luke Clayton had shot a 165-pound boar that evening and McFarlane said that boar would be much better as table fare than many sows he had seen. “A sow that has been bred and is being pulled down by her pregnancy, or has been sucked down by her piglets, is not going to be in her best physical condition,” McFarlane said. “Then you have a boar, even one the size of Luke’s hog, that is in good condition without any stress involved and it is going to be a better-tasting hog.” Indeed, it will. Of course, other factors blend into the taste of meat from hogs, deer, or any other game animal or bird we harvest. Shot placement, for example, goes a long way in that department, and I think most hunters realize that. Proper care after the kill also is extremely important. Proper field dressing to remove all internal parts that, if left in the hog, will be the first to spoil and thus taint the meat it is touching, should be first on your agenda. Immediately thereafter should be adequate refrigeration. Feral hog meat, like that from domestic hogs, needs to be cooked thoroughly, but not fast. The slower it is cooked, the more tender and tasty it becomes. No one knows for sure how many feral hogs we have in Texas, but some have estimated between 1 and 2 million and increasing. Yes, they damage pasture roads, fences, etc., and efforts to control their numbers are necessary, but you can’t challenge the taste of the meat.

E-mail Bob Hood at hunting@fishgame.com. |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

53


Humor.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:19 PM

Page 54

Open Season by Reavis Wortham| TF&G Humor Editor

How to Train Bird Dogs REALLY HATED THAT DOG,” DOC declared from the tailgate of his truck, a significant statement since the oldest member of the Hunting Club loves all dogs. We were lounging in the warm sunshine in the parking lot of Doreen’s 24 HR Eat Gas Now Café. “Wow,” I said. “Doc, I’ve never heard you say that about any dog before. Did you tell Jack Hall how you felt about his favorite retriever?” “Didn’t have to,” Doc answered and adjusted his seat in the warm sun. “Everybody hated that dog, including Jack himself.” “What in the world could a dog do to make everyone dislike him so much?” Jerry Wayne asked from his position beside the truck. He examined a chipped coffee cup for suspicious deposits, and then poured himself a fresh cup from his thermos, leaving us wishing for refills in the cups we had carried outside from the cafe. “Well, for one thing, he’d leave presents right beside the driver’s door of the truck no matter where you were. Dog took great pride in placing his little piles within the exact 2 inches where you’d have to put your foot to step into the truck. Jack’s pickup always smelled like a kennel that needed cleaning.” Doc thought a moment. “Maybe it’s because he had only one hind leg.” “Jack?” Wrong Willie asked. He leaned over the side of the truck and examined the rusty bed. “No, stupid. People don’t have hind legs. Dogs have hind legs. Another problem was that he’d eat the first bird on every hunt. Quail or dove, it didn’t matter. We tried giving him treats or praise to get his attention

“I

54 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

and make him stop, but he’d still eat the first bird.” “What was the dog’s name?” I asked. “Herschel.” “Well, no wonder it had problems,” Woodrow said. “You name dogs Bud, Zeke, Sam, or even Snowball, but not something stupid like Herschel.” Doc turned to Jerry Wayne and held his cup aloft, expecting him to share the coffee in his thermos. Jerry Wayne held up his own cup in greeting, and smiled. “Well, anyway, I broke that dog of eating anything on a hunt,” Doc recalled. “What’d you do?” I asked. “I cut a bar of Ivory soap into chunks and put them in my pocket just before a hunt one morning. Then I took a

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

couple dog treats and put them in the other pocket and Jack let the dogs out of the box. They pointed a covey within a couple of minutes and when they flushed, I shot a bird that fell in front of Herschel. “I hurried up to where the bird fell and got there the same time as Herschel. He picked up the bird and swallowed it whole, then gave me a look like a teenager who thinks they’ve gotten away with something. “I whistled to Herschel and he pretended not to hear me, but when I took out a treat and pitched it to him, he grabbed it out of the air. I pitched him another one and he took his time to chew that one up. When I reached into my pocket a third time, he kinda grinned at me like he’d won. “I pitched him a chunk of Ivory. He caught it and chewed

ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS ARMSTRONG


Humor.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:19 PM

Page 55


Humor.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

3:20 PM

Page 56

Open Season for a second before the taste hit him. I real quick-like pitched him a second chunk and I guess he caught it out of instinct, because all of a sudden he had about a ton of soap foaming up in his mouth. He tried to spit it all out, but the soap gummed up between his teeth and he couldn’t dig it out with his tongue. “I’ve never seen a thing like it before in my life. Herschel started gagging and foaming at the mouth, trying to rake the taste out on the ground. Then he sat down and stuck his back leg down his throat to dislodge the soap. He was having a hard time of it because with his only hind leg up in the air, he kept rolling over like a Weeble. “He reminded me of my cousin Bruce the time he took a big dip of Granny’s Garrett snuff when we were kids. He gagged until his eyes bugged and I thought he was going to turn himself inside out, but he

56 |

F E B R U A R Y

2 0 1 0

|

couldn’t get anything up. But Herschel didn’t have that problem. The bird he’d eaten came right back up, feet first, along with about a ton of suds and something that looked like a baby’s pacifier. “Jack came running up about that time and saw his dog foaming at the mouth and he tried to get a shell in his shotgun to shoot Herschel because he thought he was coming down with the hydrophobia. I was watching Herschel so close I almost missed it, but then I stopped Jack from trying to shoot his dog; and besides, he couldn’t get any more shells in the magazine because the gun was already loaded. He just forgot in all the excitement that he hadn’t shot at all when the quail flushed.” “Did it break Herschel from eating birds?” Woodrow asked. “Yep, but it affected him for the rest of his life. Ruined his sense of smell. Wouldn’t

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

even sniff another dog’s rear, which I guess caused him to lose his stature with other dogs. He finally just sat around, wishing for Timmy to fall in a well, and wouldn’t eat anything even remotely light colored, like mashed potatoes or gravy. But you know what?” “What?” Doreen fell for it. “Until the day he died from chasing trucks on the gravel road in front of the house, he had the best breath of any dog I ever knew.” E-mail Reavis Wortham at humor@fishgame.com


C3_ALL.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:03 PM

Page 1


C4_ALL.qxd:Layout 1

12/30/09

2:03 PM

Page 1


February 2010  

Fishing with Alton Jones & Judy Wong, Snow Geese Not Welcome in Texas?, Bruiser Blue Catfish, Black Drum

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you