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Digital Edition

www.FishGame.com A Beginner’s Guide to

Surf Fishing

January 2014 | VOL. 30 • NO. 9 | $3.95

Driving Your Best

Boat Show Bargains The

Wild Cats of Texas

Top 5 Texas Cold Water

Bass Lakes

In the Belly of the Beast

Goosed on the

Prairie One Texan’s Pope & Young

Black Bear


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

Roy Neves PUBLISHER

Chester Moore EDITOR in chief

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

Joe Doggett • SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Doug Pike • SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Ted Nugent • EDITOR AT LARGE Bob Hood • HUNTING EDITOR Matt Williams • FRESHWATER EDITOR Calixto Gonzales • SALTWATER EDITOR Lenny Rudow • BOATING EDITOR Steve LaMascus • FIREARMS EDITOR Lou Marullo • BOWHUNTING EDITOR Kendal Hemphill • POLITICAL COMMENTATOR Reavis Wortham • HUMOR EDITOR Greg Berlocher • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Paul Bradshaw • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Capt. Mike Holmes • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Dustin Ellermann • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Dustin Warncke • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Lisa Moore • CONTRIBUTING PHOTO EDITOR Stan Skinner • COPY EDITOR John Gisel • STRATEGIC ADVISOR A D V E R T I S IN G ardia neves

VICE PRESIDENT/ADVERTISING DIRECTOR viga hall • NATIONAL ADVERTISING SALES linda shelton • LOCAL ADVERTISING SALES tonisha shields • ADVERTISING COORDINATOR 1745 Greens Road Houston, TX 77032 Phone: 281/227-3001 • Fax 281/227-3002

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duane hruzek PRESIDENT

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

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Table of

Contents

January 2014 • Volume 30 • NO. 9

Features

top 5 cold water bass lakes in texas Picking the “best of anything” in Texas—especially if it involves bass lakes—is a tough assignment. Luckily, we had just the writer to take up the challenge.

cover: What to Look for in Boat Show Season Boat shows can be overwhelming—gleaming fiberglass and aluminum hulls, new heights in horsepower, and—Jet Skis! How do you make sense of it all? Well, here is a guide to getting the best boat for your buck, and the various uses you and your family need.

STORY:

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by Matt Williams

In the belly of the beast Bicycle parts, pocket change, nails, human body parts... you name it, and it has probably been found in the stomach contents of a fish or other form of wildlife.

Story by Lenny Rudow Cover Graphic by TF&G

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by Bob Hood

ALSO IN JANUARY:

Big Game Cross to bear Wildlife photographer Gerald Burleigh had a lifelong dream of hunting and bagging a bear. Here is the story of how he not only realized that dream, but succeeded in getting it into the record books while doing it.

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TF&G Staff Report Goosed on the Prairie The current goose season has gotten off to a great start with sooner than normal migrations favoring those hunters who hit the fields early.

STORY:

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Wild cats in texas The first installment of our new yearlong photo essay series, “Wild in Texas,” looks at Texas wild cats, both big and small.

Story by Bob Hood

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by Chester Moore

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Contents (continued)

Inside Fish&Game

Columns

by Roy & Ardia Neves | TF&G Owners

New Year, Big New Directions

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the Focus

by CHESTER MOORE

TF&G Editor in Chief

Misses

Texas Fish & Game is a family-owned business, and the owners welcome your comments and questions. E-mail Roy and Ardia Neves or Ron Ward at owners@fishgame.com J a n u a r y

Doggett at Large 14 Mighty

The New year has brought a whirlwind of new challenges and opportunities to Texas Fish & Game. Obviously, the most jarring change we had to face was the death of Don Zaidle, who led the content creation divisions of this growing publishing enterprise for most of the current century. It goes without saying, especially since we tried to put these thoughts into words with our tribute issue last month, that Don will be sorely missed. His steady hand on the tiller gave all of us a comforting sense of direction. Fortunately, we were far better prepared to deal with such a potentially devastating loss than we might have been. That good fortune was embodied in the person of one Chester Moore, Jr. For seven years, Chester has been an integral part of our aggressive efforts to build stronger, better tools with which to promote and celebrate Texas fishing, hunting and wildlife. As Executive Editor, he produced a super-human share of the stories, photos, blogs, videos and other content for our magazine, books, website, and newsletters. While engaged in these prodigious efforts, he also served as the “face” of Texas Fish & Game in countless public appearances and special events. So when we were faced with the urgent need to replace the key position of Editor in Chief, we were not in any kind of pressurized bind at all—it was a no-brainer decision. Chester will be the fourth editor in Texas Fish & Game’s 30-year history. He follows in the footsteps of great talent and vision—not just of Don Zaidle, but also of founding editor Marvin Spivey, and his immediate successor, Larry Bozka. We have no doubt that Chester will blaze new trails of his own and lead Texas Fish & Game to great new heights of excellence. We have many challenges ahead. Publishing is in a crazy new place. The business side of fishing and hunting is also evolving at a breathtaking rate. We are excited by all of the new things that lie before us, and in Chester Moore, we feel we have placed the most important part of our business—our connection with you, the consumers of our information-based products—in the right hands.

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Editor’s Notes 10 Wildlife Must be

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by JOE DOGGETT

TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

Pike on the Edge 16 Pulling

the Plug

by Doug Pike

TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

TexasWild 18 Most Mystical Flight of

the Arrow

by Ted nugent

TF&G Editor At Large

Commentary 19 The Real Bow

by Kendal Hemphill

TF&G Politcal Commentator

24 Texas Freshwater

An Editor and an Angler, Great Friends to Many

by matt Williams

TF&G Freshwater Editor

Departments 8 letters 12 tf&g report 12 big bags

& Catches

38 Texas

department of defense

42 True green

Texas Saltwater 33 Resolution

by Calixto Gonzales

TF&G Saltwater Editor

Hunt Texas 37 Shedding Some Light

by bob hood

TF&G Hunting Editor

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Texas Bowhunting

by Lou Marullo

TF&G Bowhunting Editor

Follow us on:

Those Late Season Whitetails

Open Season 48 Tagged

by reavis wortham

TF&G Humor Editor

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Letters to the Editor A Disturbance in the Force For several weeks, I have discerned a disturbance in the force but, have not been able to determine its source. I am not going to say it has haunted me, but I have definitely noticed something is amiss. Yesterday I picked up the November 2013 issue of TF&G and as I always do, turned first to “Editor’s Notes” to read Don Zaidle’s column, my favorite part of TF&G. It was good. Don never lets me down. This month’s “Editor’s Notes” reminded me of the things that matter in my life, and for a moment put into perspective the things that do not -- especially his excerpt from Corey Ford describing the hereafter -- “someplace you’ve been where you want to be again.” After I finished, I laid the magazine down for a moment and went into the kitchen to pour a fresh cup of coffee. As I was pouring, the phone rang. One long phone conversation about goose hunting and sight casting to reds, two cups of coffee and a pit stop later, I finally returned to my new TF&G. I re-read Don’s piece, which is pretty much the standard ritual. It was excellent the second time around. Just as I was about to turn the page I noticed the prominent red box in the center of the page that I had read around, completely ignoring, entitled “Publisher’s Note.” I was stunned. The disturbance in the force was now clear. Saying a little prayer in my head for Don, not sure if it really matters but just in case, I asked that he be welcomed into Heaven with open arms and wagging tails and backward spins of exuberant bird dogs overwhelmed with joy to see him. I prayed for his family, who over the years I have come to learn, through Don’s columns, that he loves with all his heart. I thought of my favorite Twilight Zone 8 |

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Editor’s note: Archie went back and checked them out and gave exact directions to the location, which we have withheld for obvious reasons. If anyone knows about these white deer e-mail us at contactus@fishgame.com. We would like to do a follow-up. —Chester Moore episode, “The Hunt,” that I recently viewed (youtu.be/nI-M5c56V1s) which was about the true nature of good, evil, men, dogs and the hereafter. No doubt in my mind that Don made it. As to Don’s life here on earth: Well done, Sir. Very well done. Gregory R. “Buck” Ford Via Email All that I can say is “DAMN.” I always looked forward to reading Don Zaidle’s column. My favorite recently published column was entitled “Practical Water Conservation” I totally agreed with everything that he wrote. He had a different way of looking at many things, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading his comments and opinions. I am sad that he has passed, but am sure that he has a spot in Heaven where he can continue to enjoy the outdoor life. I will miss him!

Donald Klinzing Via Email

White Deer Chester, I read your article on white deer in November issue. We have hunted in Lampasas for almost 30 years and just north of town there is a herd of white deer. We have stopped and looked them over good. They look like whitetail in every why except they are white. They are not in a high fence so they could leave if they wanted to. Do you know anything about them?

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Gift of Dreams Chester, I really enjoyed your column from the December issue of TF&G entitled “The Gift of Dreams.” The article mentions your Dad and that really caught my attention. You see, my Dad died when he was 47 and we buried him on Christmas Eve. It took a while for me to get through the article because the words became blurred from time to time, I don’t have to explain do I? Previous Christmas Eves were always the time when we opened our presents so we decided to go ahead and continue that tradition as that is what Dad would have wanted. After all the gifts were opened one was left under the tree and that one was meant for Dad. That one last gift was from my little brother to my Dad, a pair of house shoes. Not a dry eye right. My Dad was not a big outdoorsman but he did teach me how to fish and hunt squirrels. I dream of him often and wonder how it might have been like with him around us after we were grown. But like you said I consider the dreams a gift from God and I know the kind of man he was and believe he is now up there with Mom and your buddy and mine, Don Zaidle. God bless you and your future efforts with TF&G.

Bill Arnold Via Email

Send your Comments to: Editor, Texas Fish & Game 1745 Greens Rd Houston TX 77032 Email: editor@fishgame.com

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Editor’s Notes by Chester Moore | TF&G Editor in Chief

Wildlife Must be the Focus

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he name of this publication for the last 30 years has been Texas Fish and Game. It could have just as easily been Texas Fishing and Hunting or something of that nature but in the beginning, someone decided to make the “Fish and Game” part of the equation prominent. That is extremely important, but it is easy to look over. We have a micro niche society where people through social media attain their self-identity through their very specific recreational endeavors. There are fan pages, e-newsletters, smart phone apps and organizations dedicated to virtually every outdoor pursuit. People are no longer just anglers but “topwater specialists” or “ocean kayakers” or “flats fishermen”. The title of hunter has become passé and we now have “traditional bowhunters,” “hunter/survivalists,” “duck men” and way too many kids referring to deer by their Boone & Crockett score. None of this is wrong from a moral standpoint, but we are a long way down a dangerous road of taking the focus off wildlife. The reason there are bass tournaments is because of bass. And the deer hunting industry would be obsolete without deer. This may seem elementary but the fact is we are raising a generation that in many ways does not get it because the idea of being a complete outdoor person has been lost. I am amazed how many saltwater anglers under the age of 30 have never caught a bass. Ditto for duck hunters who have never been deer hunting or deer hunters who cannot identify animals like ringtails and badgers.

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Last year I was fishing with my friend (and all-time fishing hero) Rick Clunn. Yes, he is the four-time Bassmaster Classic champion but my endearment to Rick is all about his all-around passion for the outdoors. In a story that appeared in the Sept.-Oct. 2012 edition of Bassmaster, I wrote about how he believes GPS is a double-edged sword for young anglers. “Instead of learning minute details of seasonal patterns, water conditions, weather factors and ecology, I fear we will have people who simply get the GPS coordinates, which are so easily obtainable, and run the numbers until they find fish,” Clunn said. “There is an art to fishing and there is potential for some of that to be lost by total reliance on GPS.” In the same way, social media, which I happen to love, is a double-edged sword for young sportsmen. Although it can serve as a powerful promotional tool, that same aspect can be addictive. Now, instead of seeing a full hunting video or television program we can just watch the highlight reel and we are becoming programmed to live for the kill shot. The actual encounter with the duck or speckled trout is usurped by the ability to enhance social status by creating a self-highlight reel. At TF&G, we look at this as an opportunity. Beginning in this issue we start a yearlong series called “Wild in Texas,” a unique photo essay giving often obscure information about a different creature each month. From wild cats to sharks, we will cover it all. We also plan to take this to our own social media and will be working with wildlife classes around the state to do some unique things with photos and wildlife to help them gain a better appreciation for the resource. We are continuing our weekly “Wild Ed Newsletter” that goes out to 700 teachers in Texas, impacting thousands of students with free wildlife and fisheries lessons, stories and videos. If we continue down the road of allowing the technology and gadgets to be the focus, they will eventually become so alluring

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and so far advanced, kids will opt for airconditioned, tech-based comfort with instant results instead of hitting the field. The same kids, however, if challenged to learn about wildlife and ecology at a young age can get hooked on the outdoor lifestyle and be valuable stewards of our great resources. By getting them on deer hunts, duck hunts and fishing trips at young ages and allowing them to see a truly wild creature in person, we give them something that will stay with them forever. My wife and I have a ministry called Children’s Kingdom Ministries where we teach kids about God through the Creator. We have seen lives changed when kids, like my little buddy Erin Beard, bottle fed a wolf pup and a host of other kids saw snakes for the very first time. If they care about the creatures, they will care about the land and if they are taught that hunting and fishing are a valuable part of keeping this cycle going, then they are less apt to be influenced by the progressive animal rightists. Social media has a great potential to actually to help us steer things in the right direction and we plan on being a part of the solution through our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We plan on engaging people on these issues in a fun, positive and educational way. We at TF&G are proud to begin our 30th year of publication and are more motivated than ever to ensure people get a complete picture of the great outdoors for bowhunting to self-defense and crappie fishing to wildlife photography. The “Fish and Game” part of our title will always be important to use because without it, none of the pursuits we love would be possible.

E-mail Chester Moore at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. Watch him Saturdays on getv/getv.org at 10 a.m. on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore” and hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays, 6-7 p.m. on AM 560 KLVI.

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The TF&G Report Grants Awarded for Texas Coast The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced $8.8 million for five Texas projects that address high priority conservation needs. The projects, developed in consultation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas General Land Office and federal resource agencies, are designed to remedy harm or reduce the risk of future harm to natural resources that were affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The moneys are the first disburse-

ments from NFWF’s Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, created earlier this year as part of the settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice, BP and Transocean to settle certain criminal charges against both companies in relation to the spill. Today’s announcement represents the initial obligation of funds from the first disbursements received by the Gulf Fund. Under the allocation formula and other provisions contained in the plea agreements, $203 million will be paid into the Gulf Fund over the next five years for conservation projects in the State of Texas. “Texas has a vast coastline with abundant natural resources, and this funding will help preserve the coast’s diverse habi-

tats and contribute to the enrichment of the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry. “NFWF is proud to partner with the State of Texas to make these critical conservation investments,” said Jeff Trandahl, Executive Director and CEO of NFWF. “Building on these projects, we hope to make a lasting impact on the sustainability of natural resources of Texas’s vast coastal landscape.” Texas Phase I Projects include Sea Rim State Park coastal dune restoration, Galveston Island State Park marsh restoration and protection, West Galveston Bay Conservation Corridor habitat preservation, and oyster reef restorations in East Bay. —Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

Big Bags&Catches

Redfish

Speckled trout

South Padre Island

Arroyo City

Ashley Weldon was fishing for shark on South Padre Island when she caught and released this bull red, on an 11-inch whiting. She rigged the rod herself down to sharpening the hook and even caught the whiting it ate.

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Paul Salinas caught this 24-inch speckled trout while fishing in the Lower Laguna Madre out of Arroyo City. Grandpa and Dad fished hard for three days and caught a few reds but Paul went out one afternoon and within 20 minutes hooked this nice speck which was the biggest fish of the trip. G a m e ®

Photo credit

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Exotic Hunting Industry has Large Economic Impact Texas A&M University recently conducted a study called “The Economic Impact of the Exotic Hunting Industry”. According to the authors, “Exotic wildlife operations generate an estimated $679.7 million in direct economic impacts. This value represents the estimated increase in final demand of all goods and services consumed by the industry. These industries include feed suppliers, farm and ranch supply stores, veterinary services, medical and sedation product suppliers, construction, utilities, advertising, insurance, and numerous others.” “As these direct expenditures are multiplied throughout the economy, the exotic wildlife industry generates an estimated $1 billion of economic activity. This value represents the total industry output generated by the exotic wildlife industry and those industries that supply it.” In addition, the report concluded exotic

Whitetail Brooks County Five-year-old Diego Trevino of San Antonio killed his first 12-pointer in Brooks County while hunting with his dad, J.G. Trevino.

wildlife operations contribute approximately $359 million of value added in the form of employee compensation, proprietary income, other proprietor income, and indirect business taxes. “Hunters supply an additional $143 million in direct economic impacts. This number represents annual retail (clothing, guns, hotels, food, fuel, etc.) and hunt related (venison processing, taxidermy services, etc.) expenditures of hunters that consume the products of this industry.” The study concluded that combined, exotic wildlife industry generates $1.3 billion of economic activity. In addition, the industry provides the economic activity that supports 14,383 jobs in the economy, most of which are located in rural areas. “If this industry were to disappear, these jobs would have to find support from some other sector of the economy.” —TF&G Staff Reports

Shocking Results on Lake Ray Hubbard Recent electrofishing surveys conducted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologists turned up a surprising number of big largemouth bass in Lake Ray Hubbard. TPWD’s Inland Fisheries district office in Fort Worth is responsible for managing and monitoring Lake Ray Hubbard’s fishery. Each fall they conduct a nighttime electrofishing survey on Lake Ray Hubbard. Electrofishing, commonly known as “shocking,” uses electricity to temporarily stun fish, which are then collected using dipnets, measured and weighed. The two-night survey consisted of 24 randomly selected stations around the shoreline of the lake. Each area was electrofished for five minutes and all target species, which included shad, sunfish and black bass, were collected. Despite low water levels, this year’s survey revealed record catch rates for largemouth bass over 14 inches. Incredibly, the best five fish weighed 34.62 lbs. That is not T e x a S

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bad for a lake within easy driving distance for many DFW area anglers. Most big fish were collected along the many areas of riprap found around the lake. The two biggest fish were each 23 inches long and weighed 8.1 and 7.2 pounds. Ray Hubbard continues to be a great spot for sportfishing and has produced two Toyota ShareLunkers, fish weighing 13 pounds or more. The most recent ShareLunker entry was in 2003. Because of its big fish history and good habitat, Ray Hubbard has been stocked annually with Florida largemouth bass since 2010. This year TPWD added another 502,264 fingerlings with expectations that the Florida influence will produce even more big fish. —Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

Live Oak Value to Wildlife Studied A study conducted by by the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute gives an interesting look at the conservation value of live oaks. According to its authors, live oaks are an ecologically important component of the diverse landscape in South Texas. “Live oaks are beneficial to wildlife, including many species that are either of economic value or are threatened or endangered. Live oaks provide valuable mast, browse, and cover for white-tailed deer and are an essential component of wild turkey habitat.” “More than 80 percent of the 332 species of long-distance North American migrants travel through the Texas Coastal Bend. A reduction in live oak forests potentially could decrease populations of these birds because they are valuable stopover habitats for migrating birds.” Live oaks provide nesting habitat for many bird species, some of which have a very limited range in the U.S. Live oak forests should be a high priority for conservation because of their significant role in the ecology of South Texas and their importance for a broad variety of wildlife.”

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—Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute

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

Mighty Misses

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utdoor writers almost never miss big bucks. There’s a reason for this. It was explained by Texas scribe Tom Hayes in his classic1960 book, Hunting the Whitetail Deer. The no-nonsense Hayes wrote: “I honestly believe that a deer is, relative to size, the easiest creature to miss that God has yet created. Remember that, though many of our writers are poison on whitetails, it’s a damned sight easier to hit one with a typewriter than with a rifle.” Remarkable technological advancements with the keyboard aside, not much has changed on the outdoor desk during the past half-century. Maybe what we need is a “Delete BS” button. Trust me, outdoor writers muff great chances just like most other hunters. Put another way, if you haven’t blown at least one or two set-up shots it’s probably because you haven’t been deer hunting very long. Here’s a couple of personal heartbreakers: The first occurred on a desert mule deer in West Texas. The ranch owner and I were driving a rough trail that meandered around the base of a series of foothills. The old Bronco turned a corner, kicking rocks and sand, and we saw three mature bucks standing together midway up a ridge 200 yards away. He cut the engine. Two of the deer were fine Texas mulies grossing in the mid-160s on the Boone & Crockett scoring system. The third was a superbuck—a monstrous typical 4x4 with heavy chocolate beams and soaring forks. “Oh, my!” the grizzled rancher said (or words to that effect). “That’s the biggest buck I’ve ever seen around here.” The great buck threatened the B&C 14 |

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record buck (190 net), a rare feat for the desert -strain mule deer native to arid West Texas. It dwarfed the other two which, to repeat, were very respectable bucks. The three deer watched our stationary vehicle then bounded in the odd mulie “pogo” gait over the top of the ridge. “They’re not really spooked,” the rancher said, smiling. “They should be just on the other side. Get your rifle and let’s go get him.” I grabbed the Sako 7mm Remington Magnum and ran a cartridge softly into the chamber and slipped the safety into the “on” position. I checked that the Leupold variable scope was turned to about the midway point to provide an expanded field of view for quick target acquisition on a sudden chance. Last, I grabbed a shooting stick—a professional drill going on here, if you’re bothering to take notes. Granted, a telescopic tripod would have been better but, well, they weren’t available on the commercial market back then. At least I had a decent single stick. We paced quickly through the stubby grass along the edge of the road (to avoid unnecessary rock/gravel crunch, another proclass tactic) and angled up the ridge. The wind was in our favor, funneling over the top. We paused about 10 feet below the summit. I was panting from the climb and the excitement. The rancher raised an eyebrow. I took several deep breaths. I felt steady. I nodded. We moved in a crouched shuffle over the top and paused. “Down low in the draw at one O’clock,” the rancher whispered. “About 100 yards. Angling slightly away and looking over his shoulder. Take him!” I gasped at the incredible magazine-cover image. I planted the stick and braced with my right knee on the ground. I thumbed the safety off and settled the bright crosshairs on the gray shoulder—and shot right under the buck. I flinched the 160-grain bullet at least a foot low at popgun range. A gigantic plume

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of rock dust and sand exploded behind the unscathed deer. It made a huge leap and was swallowed forever by the tangled ravine. I stared, thunderstruck. This was a braced shot at a pie-plate kill circle I could have made 10 out of 10 times while screwing around at a range. Or 100 out of 100 with the keyboard—but here you have the real story. The second soul-deadening choke occurred several decades ago on a giant South Texas whitetail. We were riding “up top” in a high-rack hunting vehicle on a primo Webb County ranch. I was to be dropped off in a stand for the afternoon hunt, but the “green light” was on as we traversed the back pasture. The late-December rut was hot and big bucks could be moving at any time, at any place. Ahead, a narrow field of green winter oaks framed the left side of the sendero. As we approached, the driver abruptly braked to a halt and cut the engine. Four or five does were feeding in the open field. They all stood and stared. And I made the classic rookie mistake. I deliberately looked at each and every boldly visible doe. I should have discounted them immediately. Unless we were auditioning for a Walt Disney cartoon they were of absolutely no significance. When the rut is on and you surprise deer in the open when high racking or still hunting (opposed to leisurely glassing from a blind), promptly disregard the non-shooters and start scanning the thick perimeters for a trailing warlord. Uh, oh! There, several steps inside the thornbrush, stood the visible head and neck of an awesome 10 pointer. The buck was about 75 yards away. No question—a 180-class typical, way above the net 170 B&C minimum for white-tailed deer. And this was an honest South Texas buck. This was before the proliferation of genetically tweaked, protein-jacked freaks. This was back when a legitimate 160 gross was a big deer in Leonel Garza’s original

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Freer-based Muy Grande contest. “Shoot, shoot,” hissed the ranch hand riding topside with me. I snatched the Ruger Model 77 from the gun rack. The rifle was approaching my shoulder and aiming in the general direction of Nuevo Laredo when the buck wheeled and bolted. The bounding white flag and magnificent crown disappeared. I was unable to shoot, and we never saw the deer again.

Well, that’s not quite true. They found two shed antlers near the field that spring and, based on a conservative inside spread of 20 inches, the rack did, indeed, net a bit over 180. We later called it the “Eight Second Rule.” You have maybe eight seconds before an abruptly faced mature buck bolts. I would have had those precious seconds, not to mention a record-book buck, had I not frittered away the clock while trying to

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count each and every pair of cocked ears in the oat patch. OK, I’ve owned up to two catastrophic missed opportunities on trophy deer. There were others. Now, if you’ll pardon me, I think I need to fill a glass with ice and “build one.”

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Contact Joe Doggettl at JDoggett@fishgame.com

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

Pulling the Plug

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t wasn’t until November that I realized how dependent we all are on electronic communication. More important, I also realized that even without it the world around us doesn’t skip a beat. Not that there’s anything wrong with cell phones and GPS and email and Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and all the other social media that people younger than I access every few seconds. Each is a valuable tool in one regard or another, but as with any technology, each has its downsides.

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GPS enables us to travel confidently to any point on the globe and return safely. Internet access warns of approaching storms. The cameras in phones enable hunters – who can listen to my radio show from their deer stands now – to send me real-time photographs of what’s hanging around the feeder on a cold winter morning. Facebook and Twitter let us communicate our thoughts instantly, to one person or 10,000 people. All, of course, if the batteries are charged and you haven’t dropped your phone into

water or a long way down onto a hard surface. (I’ve done both, and neither worked out well.) At some point in time, and I couldn’t tell you when, my telephone and all its apps transformed from tool to crutch. I carried that thing on fishing trips and hunting trips and hikes and everywhere I went, even occasionally into the bathroom – as if I could have solved a friend or client’s problem from there. I caught myself checking it with increased frequency and was convinced that ignoring it for more than an hour or so might somehow

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alter the course of history. At day’s end, I checked email before I went to bed. And when I woke, even before I brushed my teeth, I was staring at that screen. Except on maybe one out of every couple hundred days, nothing had happened that required immediate attention. So, back to November. On a much needed and long-awaited vacation with my family, on a ship somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, I made a decision to unplug myself from the electronic grid ̶ not permanently. That would have been too great a shock, like kicking an addictive drug cold turkey. Instead, I set an achievable goal of three nights and four days. What, after all, could happen in such short time away from email and the Internet? My mind thumbed through a thick catalog of “what ifs” that ran the gamut of potential train wrecks. No, a deal’s a deal. I would do it. And I did. I locked my phone and iPad in the stateroom’s safe and, figuratively, swallowed the key.

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Minutes passed. Then hours. My brain got a break from that constant barrage of information. And it felt good. And four days later, I welcomed the devices back into my life. They were missed, but not nearly as much as I’d feared they would be. And nothing that happened during the blackout changed anything in my life. My head feels somehow lighter, but maybe that’s just the lingering effects of being at sea for so long. Either way, I’ve promised myself after this experience to do something I hope each of you will try in 2014. In the first quarter this year, any time you go fishing or hunting or otherwise enjoy the outdoors, set your phone to “Silent” mode and throw it into your day-bag for at least two consecutive hours. You get to choose which two hours. It’ll be OK. From April through June, raise the ante to four hours and physically shut it down, either from sunup to lunchtime or the back half of the day. Except in the case of a genuine emergency – checking office email does

not qualify – leave the device stowed. It’ll be OK. By Q3, depending on your age, you’ll either remember or realize how much more vibrant the outdoors experience can be without distractions. By year’s end, you’ll welcome every chance you get to turn the phone off and get back to it on your own terms. (Sending me photos from deer stands and fishing spots is just fine and encouraged. That’s an “approved” use of your electronic devices.) Nobody my age grew up tethered to a telephone. We had one, maybe two in the house, and when you left home, you left that part of the world behind. You told loved ones when you’d be back, and they didn’t worry unless you missed that appointment. Modern electronics keep us safer and in touch, but there are times and places when and where it feels pretty good to cut the cord ̶ or at least unplug it for a while.

Contact Doug Pike at DPike@fishgame.com

12/9/13 12:32 PM


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

Most Mystical Flight of the Arrow

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kunked! And skunked again! I think this was my 15th or 16th day of nothing. Zero. Nada. Zilch. Backstrapless. Empty handed. Like

nuthin! But alas, ol Nuge never gives up. I never say never, and I never, ever give in. Every morning, every afternoon, like predator clockwork, I am in my best strategized tree-stand, ambush perch, ready to rock. And I very carefully determine exactly which of my many stands will be the ultimate kill zone of the day. Based on rotating pressure, animal sightings, tracks, droppings, trailcam photos, wind, sun, acorn drop, food plot growth and use, I do my very best to put it all together in my never ending addiction to outwit the beasts. Right place, right time is what deer hunting is all about ̶ always has been, and always will be. So, my quest scrambles on unabated. On this fine October day in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas, on our own sacred SpiritWild Ranch hunt grounds, Ace VidCam Dude Kris Helms and I agreed that we would sneak into the front live oak, and see if we might just get lucky and break the skunky streak. Hate skunks, and hate getting skunked even more. This lone, old oak tree is the only one nearby, say for a few hundred yards or so, and it was raining sweet mast like no other. A huge swath of thick, nasty, tangled cedars and junipers choked the hillside not far from the ranch gate, and earlier that day I had seen a good group of does and fawns leave the sanctuary as a large antlered stag circled back into the puckerbrush. Aha! Our hopes were that the old boy was still somewhere in this half-mile tangle, and with a solid south wind, maybe, just maybe, the 18 |

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huge buck would grab a quick acorn snack before making his way into the mesquite prairies where the does went earlier. Fingers were crossed and silent prayers were repeated. Within the first hour, a large herd of blackbuck antelope began to wander our way, and before we knew it, we had more than 20 of these beautiful animals nearly underneath us gobbling up the Primos Swamp Donkey and shell corn we had placed as an incentive for optimal shot setup. I so wanted to arrow one of these tasty critters, as they maneuvered perfect broadside shot after perfect broadside shot for the longest time. But I knew their feeding would provide the ultimate decoy in the event a whitetail wanted in. So I waited. A good buck appeared a few hundred yards out, then another, and another and yet another, till there were five gorgeous shooter bucks watching the feeding antelope. Maybe! The blackbucks moved off after a while, but instead of coming our way, the five whitetails simply faded back into their coniferous hideout and disappeared from sight. Dang it. We waited some more. With less than an hour of shooting light left, a very large buck busted out of the cedars on a trot, swinging directly behind us headed for the big field. Kris and I both carefully maneuvered 180 degrees, squatting to find a hole in the leafy branches to get a clear view of the moving stag. Kris whispered “I’m on him” and I came to full draw in a rather uncomfortable deep squat as I let out a loud doe bleat, stopping the buck just under 40 yards in the only small window through the vegetation I could find.

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My 40-yard pin was already settled low on his chest when my muscle memory from a gazillion arrows took over, and my zebra shaft arched up and over the cactus flats, drilling the beast in the last rib. With the Lumenok glowing at the end of the shaft, the buck scrambled wildly for the mesquite jungle to the east. We watched him lie down as Kris and I smiled broadly for a killer deer hunting ballet well done. Good God, that was a pretty arrow, arching across the opening like that. It was a little far back, but I knew my freshly resharpened Muzzy two-blade head was deep into his liver or thereabouts, slicing and a dicing a death knell on my great buck. We waited 40 minutes or so, then very carefully investigated the spot we saw him bed down, but only found my very bloody arrow. The dark, almost purple, blood confirmed a liver shot, so we backed out quietly and decided to pick up the trail in the morning. Rain greeted us the next morning, but once it backed off a bit, Kris was the first one on the scene, and fortunately drove right up on the very dead beast just off the main ATV trail in the mesquite jungle. He was a beauty! Estimated to be 6½ years old, his huge 160-plus-pound body and stunning 10-point rack was what deer hunting dreams are made of. He hadn’t been dead all that long, and was still soft and pliable for posing beautiful photos and Spirit of the Wild TV celebration. Practicing diligently every day out to 50 and 60 yards had prepared me for just such a scenario. The shot wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done. Twisting and squatting in that tree had caused a bit of unpredictable torque on my shot, so lately I have been doing more practice from just such awkward positions. Aim small, miss small, but celebrate as big as big can get! The beast is dead, long live the mighty whitetail beast.

Contact Ted Nugent at TNugent@fishgame.com

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Commentary by Kendal Hemphill | TF&G Political Commentator

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hristmas came early for me this year. To be exact, it showed up on September 28, the opening day of the archery deer season in Texas. Besides having a successful hunt, I received a life lesson in values and ethics, and a renewed appreciation for time spent outdoors. My best friend, Dale McCorkle, was an outstanding archer in high school. He won state in archery his senior year at San Angelo Central, and encouraged me to buy a bow. Money was tight, as usual, but my cousin had a used Bear recurve, and agreed to sell it to me for 30 dollars in 1980. The Black Bear wasn’t much to look at. Black fiberglass over a white maple riser, it was as simple and basic as a bow gets. At 48 pounds it was technically a legal hunting bow for deer, but as a nineteen-year-old I considered it too light. I wanted a compound bow, and planned to use the Bear only until I could afford something newer, stronger, fancier. Still, I killed a cottontail rabbit with the recurve, which was the first live animal I had managed to arrow. That rabbit, shot with a cedar arrow from an “inferior” bow, may have had more to do with my enjoyment of bowhunting than anything that has happened before or since. If I could hit such a small target, I reasoned, couldn’t I hit one as large as a deer? Give a boy a deer and you feed him for a week. Give him a bow and you cause him to spend all his spare time hunting for years. Once I’d shot the rabbit, I was hooked. Not that I was satisfied with the old Bear, of course. Dale kept telling me I needed a “real bow,” by which he meant a compound. In 1983 I managed to save up enough money to buy a PSE Vector, which was about as technologically advanced a bow

Dale kept telling me I needed a ‘real bow,’ by which he meant a compound.

The Real Bow

as was available at the time. I shot the compound without sights, and after a lot of trial and error ̶ mostly error ̶ I finally managed to kill my first deer with it in 1987. I doubt the doe was any more surprised than I was when the arrow struck her. A few years later I got a call from Ed McCorkle, Dale’s father, asking me to shoot with him in a traditional archery tournament. I raked the old Bear out from under a bed and began to familiarize myself with it again. Surprisingly, after a few shots, I was grouping fairly well with it. By the time the tournament was over I’d had so much fun I decided to sell the compound and go back to traditional equipment.

Not that I was satisfied with the Bear. I still wanted something faster and prettier, but now I began to eye Black Widow recurves and sleek, reflex/deflex longbows. Every time my shafts missed their mark I blamed the old recurve, instead of the guy behind it. If I could just get a better bow, I figured I’d be the Howard Hill of my generation. A brand new, 55-pound Bear Kodiak recurve, with a gorgeous camo laminated riser came along a couple of years later, and in 1992 I had Pat O’Brien build me a truly custom longbow. Each in turn was sure to solve all my accuracy problems, make me the envy of my peers, and keep my ice cream from melting. Except it didn’t. The Kodiak arrowed my first deer with traditional equipment, and the O’Brien was the prettiest, T e x a S

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smoothest, fastest thing I’d ever seen, but I still missed a lot. They were great bows, but the fellow shooting them wasn’t any better than he’d been before. A shoulder injury in 2002 caused me to have to quit bowhunting, as I was unable to draw the Kodiak or the O’Brien. Thinking my archery days were over, I never considered hunting with the old Black Bear. Until this past summer, when a ten-point buck started showing up at one of my deer feeders. With great misgivings I once again dragged the old Grayling Bear out and strung it up. I was skeptical of its promise, but more skeptical of my ability to shoot it accurately. I found my shoulder allowed me a few shots at a time, and I was still on target at close range. I decided I would only take a shot if my prey were less than ten yards away. Any farther and my chances of wounding a deer without killing it were too great. As I sat in my stand on opening day and watched the ten-point buck make his way alertly toward me, I felt the excitement I’d missed for over a decade. It seemed to take longer than ever to slowly and quietly press, aim, and release, but the cedar arrow flew true, and as I waited to allow the buck time to die, some does came wandering in, and I pushed my luck to the limit. The opening of the 2013 bow season was a banner day. Just getting to bowhunt again was a fine thing in itself, but I also took the largest buck I’ve ever killed, and a doe 16 minutes later, with the first bow I ever owned, a bow I had long considered inadequate for hunting. We make our own opportunities in the outdoors, and although there’s nothing wrong with new ideas, sometimes the old work just as well. I had a “real bow” all along, and just didn’t realize it. I hope you got what you wanted for Christmas. I was blessed with far more than I deserve.

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12/9/13 1:11 PM


What to Look for in

Boat Show Season A guide to getting the best boat for your buck, and the various uses you and your family need BY LENNY RUDOW 20 |

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Boat shows can be overwhelming—gleaming white fiberglass hulls of all sizes surround you in every direction, dozens of aluminum boats sit to your left and to your right with everything from sizzling-hot paint jobs to camo finish to shiny bare aluminum, and—wait a sec—those Jet Skis sure do look like a lot of fun! So, how are you to make sense of it all? How can you intelligently shop the shows? And perhaps most important, once you’ve picked out the right type of boat how can you make sure you get the best deal available?

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Boat Show Shopping, 101 Effective boat show shopping takes some preparation. Although the whole point of going to a show is to see a huge selection all at once, you should at least have a solid idea of what type of boat you’re looking for, before starting the shopping process. You don’t go to an automotive dealership without having narrowed down the field between an SUV, a pick-up, and a sport coupe, right? Think of boat show shopping the same way. Before you pay the price of admission, you should know whether you’ll be best served by a fiberglass bay boat, an aluminum jon boat, or a cuddy cabin boat. So do some research ahead of time, and go to the show with a solid idea of what size boat is appropriate for your uses, which hull material is going to be best for you, and what the basic design should be. Once you’re at the show, it’s time to get busy: start off by walking around and seeing which models catch your eye. Don’t let pricing drive you away from or attract you to specific boats just yet (you’ll see why in Te x a S

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a moment). For this initial boat show shopping phase, just gather data. When you see any boat that could be a contender, grab a brochure and keep going. This should take you most of the morning, so now’s a great time to grab some lunch. Sit down, have a bite, and let your head clear a bit. You should have seen several dozen models of interest by now, and giving your brain some time to digest all of that info is a good move. When you feel ready to get started again, break out all of those catalogs, a pen, and some yellow sticky notes. At this point, you’ll probably discard a few makes and models which, after a bit of thought, don’t seem so good anymore. But in each catalog which still holds a boat of interest, use a yellow sticky note to mark the model’s page. Then get a show guide, and plot your course to visit each one. Now that the field’s been whittled down a bit, start collecting hard numbers. But remember, just like buying a car or a computer, prices can be deceiving. That’s why you don’t want to let the price turn you off (or conversely, get you too excited) at the beginning of the process. After recording the “sticker” price, ask a sales rep to help you make a list of every option you need, and how much it adds to cost. Same goes for power plant options, which can make a huge difference in a boat’s bottom line. Smaller powerplants are less F i s h

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Photo: Ranger Boats

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expensive, for sure, but remember that boats with max power (or close to it) usually have much better resale value, and are easier to sell a few years down the line. Also ask the rep about the hidden costs. Shipping, dealer prep and rigging, and tax and licensing fees, for example, are all things that often aren’t included in the sticker price you see on the boat. But you can bet you’re going to end up paying for them. After working your way through the show again and gathering hard numbers on all your boats of interest, it’s time to break out a calculator. When you add up all those extra costs, the appeal of this model versus that one is likely to change around quite a bit. Take a coffee break, clear your head again, and sit down to make a new list of your top 10 contenders, ranked by price. Then, make a completely separate list ranking those 10 by sheer emotion—how the boat looks, its “wow” factor, and other things that just plain make you want it. Finally, make a third list ranking the same 10 boats by construction quality. Lay the three lists side by side, and a few models are going stand out, ranking at or near the top of all three lists. Eliminate as many of the other

contenders as you can, and you’re ready to get serious about the remaining top three to five candidates.

Brass Tacks Now that you’ve limited the field to a handful of choices, it’s time to start bargaining for real. Circle back to each boat one at a time, and make sure you speak with the same sales rep who helped you earlier. These guys are usually pretty sharp, and will remember the conversation. They’ve seen you taking notes, they’ve seen you gather brochures, and yes, they did notice when you walked over to their competitor’s display and did the same things. When you walk back into their territory, they know you’re a serious buyer who’s doing his homework—and they’ll treat you accordingly. Sit down with each rep, and let them know up-front you won’t sign anything until you’ve also spoken with reps about the other top few boats on your list. Here’s where all that walking and shopping pays off. At this point, you should know what each specific model offers in terms of standard features, power, and price, as compared to the competition. Call out any failings to the salesman,

Negotiating Tactics Essentially, buying a boat is just like buying a car (though the down payment and interest rates are usually higher). But there are a few boatspecific tactics you can use to get the best deal.

ships, boats dealers pay on a “floor plan” (a short-term loan which carries the value of the boats on their showroom “floor”), so the longer a dealership has a specific boat in stock, the more they’ll want to sell it.

• Even if the powerplant or optional equipment isn’t ideal, consider bargaining for a boat the dealership already has in stock. Much like automotive dealer-

• Look for last year’s models. As new models come out old ones lose value, even if the boat’s never been in the water. Dealerships will often reduce

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Strict adherence to a disciplined boat show plan of attack will pay off the first time you break a plane in your new boat.

and see if he has an effective way to counter them. In some cases they may offer an optional feature or two free of cost, and in others, they may be willing to chip away at the overall cost to make up for it. Live up to your word, and DON’T sign anything—no matter how excited you may get about the specific model, until you’ve had the same conversation for every boat on your final list. When you feel like you have a winner and the best possible deal is on the table, remember to make it contingent on a sea trial. You need to be sure the boat lives up to your expectations when it comes to handling waves, performance, stability, and the like. Dealers won’t always like this, but they will understand it and usually accept this contingency as long as you’re willing to lay down a (refundable) deposit on the boat. Yes, this is one more hoop to jump through – and we’ve already made quite a bit of work for you, at the boat show. But the first time you advance the throttle, break a plane, and feel the wind in your hair on your brand new boat, it’ll all have been worthwhile.

them quite a bit, to make room for the new models. When you find a prime candidate at the boat show, ask the salesman if they have any left-over of the same type from last year, back at their showroom. • Let the dealer know that you can get financing through your own bank (assuming you can), or, if you have cash in hand. —Lenny Rudow

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Texas Freshwater by Matt Williams | TF&G Freshwater Editor

An Editor and an Angler, Great Friends to Many

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whether the masses agreed with him or not. Not only did he look like a mountain man, Don sometimes thought like one. I’m not sure whether he ever put it in print, but on more than one occasion he told me he thought it should be legal to hunt deer with a Bowie knife. “If somebody has the guts to jump out of a tree on top of a deer, they should damn well be allowed to do it,” he said.

“ The 56-year-old angler was gunned down October 13.

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y parents always told me that the older I get, the more often death will touch my life or somebody else’s life around me. They were right. With each year that passes, it becomes more apparent that death is indeed a fact of life. Even when you think you are prepared for it, you are never prepared quite enough. The unexpected ones can be particularly hard to deal with. Last fall, Texas’s outdoor community was dealt a couple of shocking blows when Don Zaidle of Boonsville and Jimmy Johnson of Ganado were taken away so unexpectedly that nobody saw it coming. Zaidle, this magazine’s veteran Editorin-Chief, passed away in his sleep on Oct. 12, presumably from a heart attack. He was only 55 years old. Johnson, a tough-as-nails bass pro, died much more tragically. The 56-year-old angler was gunned down on the night of Oct. 13 in a Motel 6 parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was in town competing in the Bassmaster Central Open bass tournament on nearby Ross Barnett Reservoir. It is believed that Johnson was shot when he interrupted the burglary of his fishing rig, which was parked outside the room where he and his wife, Mona, were spending the night. The shooter, 17-year-old Shaun Brown, was arrested two days later and confessed to the senseless crime, according to reports from the Jackson Police Department. I never had the opportunity to meet Johnson, but I knew Zaidle well through the many telephone conversations we shared about everything from story assignments, to political issues to poking pigs and cows. He was as opinionated a person as I have ever met, one who never shunned the chance to take a stand for things he believed in,

TF&G publisher Roy Neves and the magazine’s staff and contributors paid full tribute to DZ’s colorful character in a feature story that appeared in the December 2013 issue. In the meantime, I reached out to a few of Johnson’s friends and asked them to share some thoughts about a man who will forever be remembered as a super nice guy who adored his family and friends and held the sport of bass fishing close to his heart. • • • “Jimmy was as good a guy as you will ever meet. He was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back. The type that if he didn’t like you he would still have a conversation with you and not talk

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bad about you when you walked off. He never said a bad word about a soul. He was as genuine as they come.” — Shane Gibson, Kilgore “With Jimmy Johnson, what you saw was what you got. He would go out of his way to help anyone with their fishing whether he knew them or not. He was looked up to around here. If you beat him in a tournament on a South Texas lake you had accomplished something, but he could take you to East Texas and spank you, too. He was just that tough. He was smart, too. When he caught a fish, he always wanted to figure out why that fish was there. He usually did it.” — Craig Crim, Victoria “He was one of few guys I know who had more of a passion for this sport than me. We fished tournaments and traveled together for 20 years. If you needed help, Jimmy was always there. I had back surgery eight years ago and the doctor told me I wasn’t going to be able raise my leg very high. I remember Jimmy bought me some steps for my truck and installed them. He wouldn’t take a dime. That’s just who he was. He was a great friend, and I’m gonna miss him.” — Derick Kuyrkendall, Bergheim “One of the neat things that I remember about Jimmy is taking his faithful dachshund Jesse fishing with him. You might not have seen Jimmy but when he hooked a fish ol’ Jesse would just start barking up a storm and you knew exactly who was within hearing distance from you and that a fish was just landed. Jimmy took Jesse with him in the boat all the time until he passed away earlier this year in March. Jimmy and his wife Mona did not have any children but their six dachshunds were as close to children as you could get.” — Debra Hengst, San Antonio Contact Matt Williams at MWilliams@fishgame.com

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Photos: Matt williams; TPWD; Sealy Outdoors

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BEST SHARELUNKER LAKE

BEST LITTLE LAKE

BEST ALL-AROUND LAKE

BEST TOURNAMENT LAKE

Compiled by Matt Williams

BEST POWER BASS LAKE

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The “best of anything” assignments make me nervous. Especially when the topic revolves around Texas bass lakes. Texas enjoys a passel of great bass lakes. So many, in fact, that it is going to be next to impossible to whittle the list down to the Top Five winter fisheries without somebody feeling as though their sacred honey hole got left out. T e x a S

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what many consider to be one of the very best trophy bass lakes in the world. The Fishing: In most years, winter on Falcon is like spring on Sam Rayburn. It is located far enough south that temperatures rarely dip lower than 55 degrees. Several patterns will be at work in January with good numbers of fish actively spawning around thick stands of heavy cover in shallow water and armies of others staged along channel ledges. Falcon’s bass are big, mean and powerful. Bring along the heavy artillery or you’ll be sorry. Also, remember that Falcon can get nasty with any big wind, but it can very dangerous when it comes out of the north. Falcon has a dark history of drug smuggling, so always avoid any suspect activity when fishing the Mexico side.

q The author demonstrates why Lake Nacogdoches is on his list.

Best Lake For a ShareLunker: Lake Fork Size: 27,000 acres

Winter’s chilly weather has a history of making the fishing tough in some states, but Texas isn’t one of them. While Jack Frost will occasionally deliver a knockout punch to the fishing in these parts, the lulls are typically so short lived in parts of the state that you may not even notice them unless you have the luxury of being able to wet a hook every day. Here are my Top Five picks to get your string yanked when it’s cold outside:

Best Lake For Busted Tackle: Lake Falcon Size: 83,600 acres Description: Located along the Texas/Mexico border, Falcon is divided by the Rio Grande River but also is heavily influenced by Mexico’s Salado River and numerous creeks and draws during periods of heavy rainfall. The lake was built in the 1950s, flooding old towns and numerous homesteads that now serve as primo offshore structure for anglers to drag their baits. That factor, along with an abundant Florida bass population, jungles of underwater cover created by extended periods of low water and plentiful forage have combined to create 28 |

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Description: First there were bass lakes in Texas. And then came Lake Fork -- 27,000 acres of sport fishing nirvana that continues to shock the imagination of discriminating anglers and fisheries scientists alike. Like a 34-year old Energizer Bunny, Fork just keeps going and going and going. When it will stop, nobody knows. But one thing is for certain. Plenty of folks have enjoyed the ride. Located in Wood and Rains counties in northeast Texas, Fork is arguably the best known spot in America for largemouths built to stretch your string. Its fertile waters have grown bass to gorilla-like proportions, and produced some remarkable records along the way, including back-to-back state records (the current record is 18.18 pounds) and an astonishing 253 ShareLunkers. The Fishing: After several years with very little emergent vegetation to speak of, hydrilla appears to be making a come back in numerous creeks and along several main lake shorelines. Anglers can use assorted moving baits to pluck big pre-spawn females off shallow grass beds in 2-6 feet of water or they can target deep or mid-range structure and wood with jigs, Carolina rigs, swim baits and deep diving cranks. Don’t forget about the bridge support pilings at the

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FM 515 East and West crossings, either. Big bass set up camp there to dine on roving schools of crappie.

Best Tournament Lake: Sam Rayburn Size: 114,000-acres Description: There are a passel of great bass fisheries in America. But when it comes to producing rock-solid stringers of quality largemouths along with good numbers of trophy-size fish upwards of eight pounds on a year-round note, there’s not many that can hang with 114,000-acre Sam Rayburn Reservoir. With a current lake record largemouth of more than 16 pounds, many believe Big Sam is a likely candidate to cough up the next state record largemouth. It also ranks among the nation’s most popular lakes for bass tournaments. The Fishing: If this January is like most, there will be a strong Rat-L-Trap bite around shallow grass beds up and down the lake. Chatterbaits, swim baits, suspending Rogues also can be productive. Grassy flats near creek breaks and main lake and secondary points are ideal spots to snatch prespawn lunkers with moving baits, especially in the wake of a warming trend that heats the upper water column a few degrees. Additionally, there should be good numbers of fish grouped around underwater ledges, humps and other structure as deep as 30-35 feet that can be caught using spoons, football jigs and Carolina rigs.

Best All-Around Lake: Toledo Bend Size: 186,000 acres Description: Toledo Bend has maintained a five-star bass rating ever since it was built on the Sabine River in the late 1960s and is showing no signs of slowing down. Structure-wise, I think of it as a giant scrub board. The lake’s bottom is one stump-covered hump and ridge after another with a generous mix of points, creeks, a major river and hundreds of shallow flats and pockets where bass can find plenty of room to roam. Cover is abundant, too. In addition to thousands of acres of hydrilla, the lake supports a host of native aquatic

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plants, gobs of terrestrial vegetation and underwater jungles of brush that promote one of the highest survival rates among juvenile bass of any lake in the state. The Fishing: It is such a massive water body that it is almost like three lakes in one -- north, central and south. Anglers catch fish a variety of ways during winter but some lures and tactics are naturally more productive than others. The shallow prospects shine brightest following a few days of sunshine, which beckons the fish closer to the surface to bask in the sun-baked upper water column. Lipless crank baits, spinnerbaits, square bills and suspending jerk baits are deadly in this situation, especially when tossed around lush hydrilla beds found in any number of well known bay systems. During periods of cold good numbers of bass of will be relating to deeper ridges where they can be caught on deep diving cranks, Carolina rigs and football jigs. Jigging spoons fished vertical around deep timberlines also can be good for big numbers of 2-3 pound fish when the weather turns nasty.

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Best “Little” Lake: Lake Nacogdoches Size: 2,200 acres Description: If you like to fish smaller water bodies, you’ll love this one. Although it may not be the very best minilake for giants, it may be the state’s best for quantity and quality. It’s an excellent bet for fish in the 4-6 pound range and also kicks good numbers of fish in excess of 10 pounds. Long and narrow, “Lake Nac” is fed by three primary creeks -- Big Loco, Little Loco and Yellow Bank. The impoundment contains a variety of emergent and terrestrial vegetation, but hydrilla beds and lily pad stubble always get the most play during the winter months. Both can found be in abundance up and down the lake, but some of the best stuff is located at the lake’s upper reaches where grass beds can be found growing in water as deep as 12 feet on flats that border Yellow Bank and Big Loco Creeks.

The Fishing: Lots of anglers abide by the “fish slow, fish deep” mantra during the winter months, but that’s not always the rule on grass lakes like this one. Some of winter’s best fishing occurs in relation to submerged grass beds and lily pad stubble in skinny water using an aggressive approach with a Rat-L-Trap, Chatterbait, swim bait, square bill crankbait and spinnerbait to trigger reaction strikes. The fish are apt to be just about anywhere, but you can refine the search by sticking fairly close to the creek channels and keying on the bends. Deep water fishing can be productive for those who use their electronics to locate schools of fish holding tight to channel ledges and other main lake structures. Carolina rigs, spoons and jigs are orders of the day. Anglers are reminded of the lake’s restrictive 16 inch maximum length limit, which is designed to protect all fish bigger than 16 inches and allow more bass to reach trophy size.

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You know what most birds, fish and animals love to eat, and as hunters and wildlife conservationists you often provide them with many of their favorite foods plus other morsels enhanced by the sweet scents and tastes of apples, cinnamon, garlic and other additives.

What Drives All Forms of Wildlife to Eat Just About Anything? by bob hood

Have you ever stopped to realize that many wildlife would just as soon grab a mouthful of bicycle parts, shoes, or even yourself if given the chance? Feast or Famine? No, in the real world of many animals, birds and fish it is more about Beast and Feast. Yes, wildlife will first eat what they like best, just like people. However, if given the opportunity, the instincts of many wildlife species to survive and remain at the top of their food chain sometimes leads them to chomp down on some things that have little to do with taste. Although these accounts may be appalling and on the grotesque side to some people, they are not intended to be offensive. Some of these accounts are odd in nature and perhaps humorous while those involving humans and animals may not be pleasant to absorb. T e x a S

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However, all accounts are just a part of nature. Animals eat some things for food, they eat some things for protection, and they will eat some things simply out of their instincts as wild creatures. Bicycle parts, tires, nails, basketballs, tin cans, baby pacifiers, engagement rings, pocket change? Yes, they all have been found in the stomachs of wildlife, but so has the feet, arms and legs and other remains of humans, horses, bears, caribou, octopus and other animals as large as, and including elephants. Among the most dangerous predators to humans and large animals have been sharks, crocodiles and pythons. They often prey without discrimination. Indeed, wildlife eats other wildlife and often even those of their own species. I and many other anglers have experienced the sight of a largemouth bass

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wads, parts of plastic bottles, jig heads and even pebbles in the stomachs of redfish. Strange incidents, indeed, but it is the larger animals and reptiles that add flavor and suspense to many people’s accounts of unusual appetites. One of the most recent interesting finds on a Hawaii beach was a 14-foot long dolphin called a false killer whale that had in its stomach numerous hooks, the partial remains of a large marlin, a tuna, and several species of squid. On the more serious side, one of the most horrific recent incidents involved a black bear. It occurred at George Lake, Alaska, where officials found the remains of Robert Weaver, 64, who had been mauled at his cabin. The partial contents inside a black bear later shot by an Alaskan trooper were identified as those of Weaver. The death was only the fourth fatality by a black bear in the past 61 years in Alaska. In another report, the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is said to have autopsied a shark that had a seven-foot long dolphin in its stomach, but the “find of the decade” for American anglers had to go to Nolan Calvin, a Washington State angler who found a human finger in the stomach of a lake trout he had caught at Priest Lake in September, 2012. Calvin turned the finger over to authorities who, through fingerprints from it, linked the finger to 31-year-old Hans Glassig, a Cobert, Wash., wakeboarder who told authorities he had lost all four fingers from his hand after it had become tangled in a tow-line while he was wakeboarding. In the Florida Everglades, officials recently captured and killed a nine-foot long python that had a full-grown carcass of a deer in its stomach. Other pythons there have been found with hogs, dogs, and deer in their stomachs. One python was found

Sharks are known to injest all sorts of man-made objects, not to mention actual parts of man himself.

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attempting to ingest a smaller largemouth bass, usually head-first, and I even have seen a small bull snake attempting to swallow his own tail section. Many of us also have seen bullfrogs attempting to eat other bullfrogs, striped bass attempting to eat their cousin, the white bass, and catfish eating another catfish. Their theory seems to mean that “if it moves, it’s mine to eat.” On this smaller scale, freshwater and saltwater fish often will strike and swallow just about anything that moves or shines. That’s why they often don’t hesitate to strike objects thrown from a boat or dropped overboard. There are records of fishing reel parts, dog collars, crushed beer and soda cans, rings, car keys, rubber gloves and, at least in one case at a Washington State lake, a $5 bill, that have been removed from the stomachs of pike, trout, largemouth bass, lemon fish and halibut. In another recent report, a woman who was cleaning a 12-inch baby shark as part of her dinner discovered the shark had swallowed a strange-looking medallion which turned out to date back to the 12th century when Portuguese soldiers of that country wore the medallions as a sort of divine protection while they were pillaging “lesser civilizations.” Fish swallowing shiny moving objects should come as no big surprise. After all, anglers have known that fact for decades if not centuries and have used it to create such things as spinnerbaits, buzz baits, slabs, spoons and other flashy lures to catch fish. However, many objects found in game fish continue to puzzle biologists and anglers. Prior to his passing, our beloved, former Texas Fish & Game Editor Don Zaidle mentioned a redfish with a 23-inch garter snake, a smallmouth bass that had swallowed a water moccasin and a coyote that had swallowed a condom, plus TF&G Facebook fan Ruben Paez, Jr., reported he had caught a spotted sea trout at Port Mansfield that had a chicken bone in its belly. Earlier this year, a 19-inch rainbow trout caught in the Kanektok River, Alaska, was discovered to have 20 shrews inside its stomach, prompting many to wonder just how a rainbow trout could catch and eat that many of the small land-dwelling rodents at one time. A whitetail deer hunter once reported finding rusty nails inside a buck’s stomach, and saltwater anglers have found shotgun

trying to swallow a smaller python. In South Africa, a game warden was notified by a hunter that another man had been attacked by a crocodile. The game warden found the giant croc, shot it, and the resulting autopsy not only turned up the crocodile hunter’s friend but the corpses of three other humans lying beside it inside the reptile. The stomachs of bull sharks have turned up remains of human feet, arms and legs, parts of a hippopotamus, dolphins, and parts of a human skull. White sharks’ stomachs have revealed smaller sharks, parts of an elephant, hind quarters of a horse and parts of other animals, while the jaws of a young polar bear were found inside a tiger shark. On the lighter side, these same sharks have been found to swallow automobile license plates, people’s shoes, tennis balls, cameras, batteries, pliers, and flashlights, just another reminder that not all wildlife eat simply to satisfy their appetites. They eat because they are wild life.

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Texas Saltwater by Calixto Gonzales | TF&G Saltwater Editor

Resolution

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he last two years have been rough on me. At no time was I more reminded of my mortality than during the stretch from March of 2012 to last October. In those 20 months, I said goodbye to three of four mentors whom I considered pivotal to my growth and development as a writer. Fortunately, number four, my mother, is in great health and going strong. I am indeed blessed to have her and my dad still in my life. Still, the loss of my other three mentors, Bert Randolph Sugar, Patricia Meador, and most recently Don Zaidle, shakes me and inspires a moment of reflection and, most important, resolution. Many of you may know who Bert Sugar was. He was a boxing writer in the classic mold of Damon Runyon, Herb Goldman and Nat Fleischer. He was a past editor and publisher of boxing stalwarts Boxing Illustrated and The Ring. He was a fixture at every big fight dating back to 1968. I met him in October, 1993 at the famed Kronk Gym. I was writing for The Boxing Times, a small newsletter that paid me with bylines and press passes. I had found my way into the Kronk to watch Thomas Hearns as he trained for his fight with Andrew Maynard. I was interviewing Anthony Jones for a peripheral feature when I saw Sugar standing by a training table watching Hearns cool down after his workout. How could I resist? I walked up to him and introduced myself. Without blinking, Sugar asked me around the Haupman Churchill he was chewing on, “You write for Boxing Times, don’t you?” I was thrilled that he knew my byline and nodded. “That’s a quaint little magazine you’ve got there,” he said. I was deflated by the adjectives he used to describe The Times. Yes, we were small, and I guess we were quaint, but jeez! “You’re probably the only thing they have that’s worth a damn,” he offered, and then began discussing with me the merits of

some points I had written about Oscar De La Hoya in an op-ed piece. Just then, Manny Steward and Jackie Kallen, who had been negotiating a possible fight between Hearns and her fighter, James Toney, called out, “Hey, Bert, Jackie, Tommy and I are going to Giannapoli’s for dinner. Come with?” Sugar put his hand on my shoulder and asked, “Is it all right if my good friend Calixto goes with us?” I spent the next four hours seated at the table with Steward, Hearns and Kallen, laughing and entranced as Sugar held court and told stories about the old days of the ring. At the end of the night, Bert gave me his card and told me to call him about some work covering some fights around the Midwest. What followed was two years of learning how to write a good sports feature. Those skills have carried me through my tenure with Texas Fish & Game. I last saw Sugar at the Las Vegas Hotel in 2011. I was there for ICAST, and he was there covering some fight card. He was holding court as usual at the bar. He’d been sick, and you could tell he was frail, but those eyes still sparkled. “Calixto! How’s shakes?” he asked when he saw me. He didn’t seem surprised that I was there on a writing assignment. He seemed quite pleased, in fact. Sugar passed away from heart failure in March, 2012. I never got a chance to tell him how much his help meant to me. Pat Meador was my high school journalism teacher. She was also one of the kindest, gentlest women I’ve ever known. She always had a smile on her face, and she put up with a Gifted and Talented, argyle and corduroywearing, metal heel protectors on his penny loafers preppy who thought he was the greatest high school newspaper editor ever. She also somehow got me to listen to her and trained and shaped me as a writer. In the four years she tutored me, Ms. Meador helped me refine my writing from the wordy and bellicose tripe that she had to edit before pasting into the school paper, into the tight, refined product that got me state honors in T e x a S

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Feature Writing and a state championship in Editorial Writing. She also nurtured my nascent love and passion for the written word. She gave me writing assignments that challenged me and compelled me to constantly work on my craft. The skills she taught me to refine and hone what I put on paper serve me today. Pat Meador was ill for a long time, and passed away in a nursing home this past July. I never got the chance to tell her how much her help meant to me. I don’t think I can add to the superlatives written in Don Zaidle’s memory over the last few months. I can reiterate that he was my friend, a mentor, and the man who, like Sugar in boxing, gave me my start in the industry. Thanks to him, I have been able continue to develop my voice as a writer. Through his guidance, patience, and counsel, I have learned more about the outdoors than I could have hoped, and I’ve also developed several meaningful and enriching friendships because of the opportunities Don provided me. When magazine co-owner Ardia Neves called me to break the news of Don’s death, I was so stricken I sat in my office chair in the dark for some time. Another of my mentors—another of my teachers—was gone and, again, I never got the chance to tell him how much he meant to me. The loss of these three giants in my life have moved me to make a resolution in their memories: I will work to take young people under my wing and mentor them and show them the paths these three showed me. I will offer them my counsel and help them along in their dreams as best I can. I will prepare them for a world that sets the achievement bar as high as it does, and I will encourage, cajole, inspire, and guide them so they can navigate the path as best they can. And I will remind them to thank these three great, wonderful people who so enriched my life. It is in their honor I will do this. I hope they don’t mind.

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Through the lens of a camera and the eyes of a sportsman, Gerald Burleigh has seen many amazing things in his career. The longtime TF&G photographer grew up as a hunter and found a love for photography at a young age. He has done everything from bowhunt mule deer in New Mexico to crawl into rattlesnake pits with editor Chester Moore and photographed the Northern Lights with his wife in Alaska. He recently wrote a testimonial on his journey as a bowhunter we would like to share, because it matches so well with feedback we have received on crossbow hunting over the last few years. It is also perfect timing as the TF&G staff heads to the SHOT Show in Las Vegas where we’ll see the latest in crossbow innovations. “As we grow older, we start to think back to our youth. I grew up on an egg farm on 10 acres of land in Orange County Texas. There was no one close to play with so I used to entertain myself with hunting and fishing in nearby woods and bayous. Someone gave me a 35-pound Bear recurve. Back then it was just a stick and string. I learned to shoot instinctively with bow and wooden arrow. Living on an egg farm meant any varmints posed a loss of egg production. Pop would pay in bullets for every rat, opossum and other varmints. “I like the bow because it was quiet around the caged chickens. Learning to hunt also put food on the table which helped out on the farm. That started my taste for bowhunting. I found out years later we were poor. But as a kid I had a full stomach, clothes on my back and a loving family. 34 |

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TF&G Staff Report • Photos by Gerald Burleigh ABOVE: Gerald Burleigh realized his lifelong dream of shooting a bear. He ended up getting one that would be large enough to qualify for Pope & Young. T e x a S

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“Growing up that way put a lot of good values in my soul. To me it would be hard not to see the amazing creations in animal and plants and not believe in God. As some years passed, they came out with compound bows. I purchased a Bear LTD compound bow. Man, this was a lot faster and had sights on it. I was up town with this bow. Hunted and killed some good deer with this stick and wheel. As technology goes, this bow was out date before long. But I hunted quite a few years with it. “I got married and had two boys at first. Then a sweet little girl came along. We still lived on the old farm place. It was ideal for two little boys to grow up on. I taught them the skills they need to hunt and fish. They each started out with a two-wheel kid’s bow. As they got older, they moved up to hunting bows. We did this as a family. They now have deep roots in the outdoors. As time speeds up, I am 50 years old. I have a faster bow with more let off ̶ easier on the old man, my oldest son told me. However, as things go, I had heart trouble and had to have five bypasses. I did not have a heart attack, so the surgery went well. However, I could not shoot my compound bow any more. And I could not bowhunt with the boys anymore. “Now I am closing in on 65 years; and

Burleigh said trailing an animal large and powerful enough to hunt you made the hunt that much more interesting.

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as usual, technology keeps going. The crossbows have come a long way since knights in shining armor. I got my hands on a TenPoint XLT cross bow. It is one fantastic piece of equipment. It has a cocking device on the bow, so an old, wore-out bow hunter can cock it. The TenPoint also has a nice scope on it with The thick the yardage mark inside it. It forests in the was getting hard to see the region make sight on my old compound perfect bear bow. With this bow I can habitat. now bowhunt with my oldest son and his 13-year-old stepson. “They both still use compound bows, but my grandson sure is eyeing this crossbow. With the help of technology, disabled veterans ( I am one) or anyone else with upper body strength will be able to hunt and enjoy the great outdoors and pass along their love and skill to the next generation. “It is a great feeling to watch a young person learn and enjoy the outdoors. Take time to take a kid ̶ yours or some else’s ̶ fishing or hunting. It’s great for the soul, and the use of a crossbow is a great way to bridge the generation gap and share the excitement of close-range hunting with all generations.” Just as Burleigh sent in his testimony he called us with news he had picked up a TenPoint Stealth SS crossbow and was headed to Manitoba to realize his lifelong dream of hunting black bears. “I’m like a

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kid at Christmas. I just can’t wait to get up there and hunt bears in the great woods of Canada,” he said. Before deadline time we received an email with the photos you see attached and exciting news. “I took a 241-pound bear with the TenPoint Stealth SS. It had a 19 1/16-inch skull and the most beautiful coat you have ever seen. I could not have been happier with the hunt or the performance of the crossbow,” he said. Burleigh pursued his bear-hunting dream with Scott Smith of Canadian Wilderness Outfitters (www.canadianwildernessoutfitters.com) and said the whole experience was top-notch. “Scott is a straight-up honest guy with lots of bears on his properties and a strong work ethic. If you hunt with crossbow, bow or gun, he is the man to see. I could not have been happier with my experience,” Burleigh said. Burleigh said his journey from hunting with longbows and recurves to crossbows has been an exciting one. “It’s nice to know that no matter what your age or situation there is an effective hunting device for you. I’m now more motivated to hunt than I have been in years and taking a bear with that crossbow is a big part of that.”

Photos: Gerald Burleigh

12/9/13 9:48 AM


Hunt Texas by Bob Hood | TF&G Hunting Editor

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found my first shed deer antler when I was a youngster slipping up behind a stock tank dam on my grandparents’ dairy pasture in Comanche County with the anticipation of bagging a bullfrog or two with my BB gun. The antler find wasn’t as grand as discovering an arrowhead along the same cow trail a year earlier but it was a grand prize for me. After all, anytime I can discover an arrowhead, skull, bone carcass or any other token left behind by wildlife or users of wildlife of past generations, it’s a great incident to me and it is ones like it that I deeply cherish. The discovery of the whitetail deer antlers that a buck had dropped gave me an urgency. You might have felt it too, if you had discovered the right side of a proud buck’s defense head ornament. For me, it instilled a deeper desire to see if I could find the second half of the antlers to make it a complete set. To my pleasant surprise, the left side of the buck’s sheds lay on the ground only a few yards away near a barbed wire fence bordering my grandparents’ dairy. It was a lesson I have remembered to this day. Sheds often fall from a buck’s head when the deer leaps over a fence, the jolt causing both antlers to drop away. I have searched for “complete” antler sheds many times since then, but I have found only a few. Nevertheless, it is that first find on my grandparents’ Comanche dairy in the early 1950s that fueled my personal hunting strategies for the many great whitetail bucks I have shot since then. The most recent was an eight-pointer I shot on a west Lampasas County ranch last November. As you may recall, the usual winter cold fronts were just beginning to bring a change in deer movements. The bucks in Lampasas County, as usual, were in the major rutting season. Cold fronts do not prompt deer into

“ I think a lot of us hunt much by habit.

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going into the rutting season. Instead it’s the length of daylight. I realize that may go against what your father or grandfather may have taught you, but bucks and does have their own clocks. They do not care what Old Man Winter’s clocks say. I had tied together that pair of old Comanche County whitetail buck sheds with boot laces and hung them from a nail above the bed on my hunting cabin. An hour before daybreak two weeks before last Thanksgiving morning, I pulled them down, placed them with my normal hunting gear and went hunting.

I think a lot of us hunt much by habit. I will be among the first to admit my errors with that, but I don’t forget them. When I realized most of the “early feeders” had come and gone at the deer feeder by 8 a.m., I took the pair of shed antlers and moved about 175 yards away to a trail that led to a heavily wooded patch I had calculated to be a bedding area. No, I wasn’t expecting deer to be moving there to bed down that morning. I expected bucks to be moving through it in search of does. Many people have asked me how to rattle up deer. My answer always has been the same. Attempt to sound like two bucks fighting. Rattle at first like two small bucks sparring. Then escalate the “fight” into a more aggressive battle between a pair of larger bucks, tapering off at the end with more sparring. It is a lot like predator calling or calling turkeys during the spring. If you sound like T e x a S

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something those animals or birds can relate to, stay with it but don’t overdo it. The same is true for duck calling. I have hunted with many “expert” duck hunters whose calling sounds more like ducks in distress than ducks doing what ducks do naturally. Try to sound like real ducks, not duck callers trying to win a duck calling contest. My hunches, or instincts, paid off. About 20 minutes after using the antlers, I saw movement through a small opening about 100 yards away. I grabbed my binoculars and quickly saw it was a big-bodied animal although I couldn’t see its antlers. Nevertheless, the deep and broad body told me it probably was a buck. I watched the deer move slowly through the tiny openings, gradually closing the gap between me and him. Within a matter of a minute or so, the buck was within 35 yards and coming straight in to my position. I have rattled up more aggressive bucks in the past, but this one seemed to be hoping to steal a doe away from the fighting bucks. He didn’t particularly want to get himself into a fight. I judged the buck to have about a 15-inch or better inside spread with eight points. The shot was the climax to that morning’s events, but not to a lifetime of carrying afield those old eight-point sheds I had found as a youngster. To those antlers, it was just another chapter in the book, just as it was for me. I have lost count of the number of bucks I have rattled up with those antlers, but if I took the time I feel certain I could remember each deer, each setting and the anxious moments of each event. Maybe some of you have your own rattling antlers that mean a lot, too. The buck now is in my freezer, awaiting some great cookouts in the days to come. Those old antlers are back hanging on that nail on the wall of my Lampasas County deer cabin, no doubt looking forward to the next time they fool maybe an even greater whitetail buck.

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Texas Department of Defense Gun Control

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am a firm believer in reasonable gun control. Now, before you get your tonsils in an uproar, let me explain my idea of gun control. My old Border Patrol shooting instruction used to say that the only things you needed to master to be a good shooter were trigger control and sight alignment. While it really isn’t quite that simple, that pretty much explains what true gun control is. If you properly align the sights and release the trigger without disturbing the sight picture, you will hit the target ̶ period ̶ gun control. The trick is doing this with a pounding heart, panting lungs, and raging

nerves. Easy, right? I used to practice trigger control when dry-firing my double-action revolver. I’d place a coin on the front sight, then squeeze the trigger until the hammer fell, all without the coin falling off the front sight. After a couple of years of practice I could accomplish this feat several times in a row. This practice greatly enhanced my qualification scores, but I doubt it did a thing for my accuracy when someone was shooting at me. Actually I don’t know whether it did or

| Self Defense | | Concealed Carry | | Tactical | by Steve LaMascus & Dustin Ellermann not, since I never had to use my handgun in a fight. Mostly because if I thought there was a chance in . . . well, a chance at all, I had a long gun in my hands – usually a 12-gauge shotgun. The only time I ever had to fire a handgun in self defense wasn’t against an armed attacker, but against a water moccasin. Several of us, including my children, were sitting under a huge willow on the bank of a stock tank in South Texas. We were fishing and just enjoying the peace and quiet when a small cottonmouth crawled up on a

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Walther PPQ M2 We are blessed to have such a huge variety of firearms to select what fits each one of us perfectly. There is an endless supply of calibers, actions, finishes, frames, sizes and even colors to satisfy most every shooter. I’ve attempted to stay away from any type of brand loyalty and just recommend that folks buy a quality gun of their preference yet I keep getting drawn back to the Walther P99 series and their new PPQ line is no exception. I think Walther has been left out of becoming a huge hit like Glock, M&P and XD simply for lack of marketing. I’ve owned a P99AS for years and it’s always been my “go to” range pistol because of its ergonomics, reliability and 38 |

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crisp factory trigger. Although many folks find this handgun attractive, some don’t because of the ambidextrous, lever-style magazine release located below the trigger guard. I think lever style releases are great and that most shooters just don’t know how to use them correctly, which is to acti-

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The Walther PPQ M2 Navy series also boasts a threaded barrel, perfect for muzzle attachments such as this Osprey suppressor.

vate it with their trigger finger. Instead they attempt to manipulate it with their thumb which forces one to awkwardly change their grip. But once again this is more of a training issue, not an equipment issue. So in adapting to better serve the American market Walther decided to Photo: Dustin Photo Ellermann credit

12/9/13 2:18 PM


limb of the willow that was sticking out in the water about ten feet from the bank. One of the kids in attendance had a pellet gun and before anyone could say no had plinked the snake with the pellet gun. The snake didn’t take too kindly to this, and with its head out of the water, hissing in a most frightening way, it came at us in a rush. People scattered to the four winds, scattering lawn chairs in their wakes. I stood up, surprised that the snake was actually, for lack of a better word, charging. Then, the next thing I knew there was a loud noise and the snake was floating at the edge of the muddy bank. I actually had to look down to realize that my Glock 17, which habitually rode in a pancake holster on my right hip, was in my right hand. I did not remember drawing and shooting, but my reflexes had taken over and done the job. Thank God for all that practice. I hit the snake about three inches behind its head, killing it instantly. Again, gun control. Trigger control can be anything from a slow squeeze and a surprise break, to a quick draw and shot in less than a second. But one thing it absolutely must be is controlled. A jerk can cause a miss, even at knife fighting distance. The trigger must be squeezed, not jerked, but the squeeze can be condensed

embrace the ever-popular push-button magazine release with their PPQ M2. They also modified the trigger over the P99 predecessor. While the P99 had a great crisp trigger it also had an unusually long and light “anti-stress” take up that some users might find undesirable. The new PPQ’s trigger has a built in Glock-style trigger safety bar with about ¼-inch of take up and a very crisp, five-pound break. Its break, over travel and reset is far superior to every other mainstream striker-fired polymer pistol. The factory Walther trigger’s clean, short break surpasses some custom jobs I’ve had on other striker-fired pistols. The PPQ has excellent ergonomics and gives the shooter lots of contact. You can see just by a picture that it seems “curvy” and that it should fit your hand just right. Like several Continued on page 40 u T e x a S

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Texas Department of Defense managed to miss once and almost twice at an animal the size of a small summer cottage, all from about 25 yards. Why? He yanked the trigger. The professional hunter did not jerk his trigger, which is why he survived to write about the incident. In the good old days the first part of the Border Patrol combat course was six rounds in six seconds, fired from seven yards. If you wanted to shoot a decent qualification score you had best put all six of those shots in the 10 ring, and the X-ring was even better. After a bit of practice it was possible for most shooters to cut one ragged hole at the seven yard line. This was all double-action shooting. No cocking the gun, at all. Today, with a good single-action trigger on a 1911 .45, I can do even better. But I practice a lot. And the

young shooter who shares this column with me practices even more. The old saying is that gun control means hitting what you shoot at. I am often amazed at the shooters who come by my place and cannot keep all their shots on a combat target at seven yards when firing from the leather in rapid fire. If you carry a gun you need to develop the skills necessary to make those shots count when someone is attempting to stamp out your life, just as surely as that elephant intended to stamp out the life of that professional hunter and his client. Trigger control and sight alignment is gun control. I guess it really is that simple. —Steve LaMascus

The PPQ M2 Navy (rear) beside the authors favorite P99AS (front)

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until it doesn’t take much more time than a jerk. That is where the practice comes in. I once read a story of a professional hunter in Africa who had a client who wanted a big elephant. The client was carrying, if memory serves, a .465 double rifle. The professional had a .375 H&H, usually considered minimal for charging elephants. They had stalked up to within about 30 yards of a big bull and the client was getting ready to shoot when, without warning, the bull whirled around and charged. The pro was screaming for the client to shoot as the bull ate up the 30 yards. The client, obviously not a coward, didn’t cut and run, instead he raised his cannon and shot. The first shot hit the ground about halfway to the bull, the second shot just grazed the bull’s head, not slowing it down at all. With about 10 yards left, the pro raised his little .375 and killed the bull in its tracks with a frontal brain shot. The bull fell close enough that the pro could reach out and touch it with the barrel of his rifle. The moral of this story is that the client

Walther PPQ M2 t Continued from page 39 other pistols on the market the PPQ comes with three different replaceable backstraps to fit to any hand size. But if memory serves me right Walther was t Continued from page xx one of the first to offer replaceable backstraps when they introduced the original P99 back in 1996. The controls are easily reachable. The ambidextrous slide stop is large and long, yet doesn’t stick out in a cumbersome way. The reversible magazine release button is large enough but again, doesn’t stick out too much to be accidentally depressed. Rear sights are adjustable for windage, and the pistol comes with a set of replaceable front sights of different heights for tuning elevation. And of course it also comes with a full standard picatinny rail dust cover in case you feel the need for any attachments. Walther also beefed up the variety

Story Jump

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with the M2 series. Not only do they offer a standard version in 9mm and .40, but they have the “Navy” version with a threaded barrel perfect for attaching a sound suppressor as well as including an extended 17-round magazine vs. the standard 15 rounds of 9mm. Then they also offer a competition long-slide model that will attract many speed shooters for the longer sight radius. The PPQ should be making a few

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waves in the shooting community. If you like your polymer pistols with a great trigger pull and excellent ergonomics you should really check them out. They also have the new more inexpensive PPX and compact slimline PPS perfect for concealed carry. Find out more at www. waltherarms.com. —Dustin Ellermann Photo: Dustin Ellermann

12/9/13 2:18 PM


Texas Bowhunting by Lou Marullo | TF&G Bowhunting Editor

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t ain’t over until it’s over!” I am sure that somebody famous first used that line though I have no idea who that could be, but how true that statement is especially for deer season in Texas. This great state still offers three more weeks of whitetail hunting in south Texas in the month of January. I suggest that if you still have a tag and an empty freezer you should not give up. Believe it or not, even though many deer have already met their demise, there are still plenty left out there. You should change your hunting tactics a little, but with a little luck and a lot of patience, you can fill that tag. Late season deer are survivors. They have eluded hunters for months. They have found hiding spots that have proved to be successful. They have learned through this season and seasons past when to venture out into the open and when it is not safe. No longer are the bucks looking to mate; although given the opportunity, I am sure they will. These survivors are looking for food sources now to get them through the coming months. This time of year should find the late season hunter near an old apple orchard, or on the edge of a field that still has a crop. During these later months, whitetails will fill their bellies and give you the opportunity to fill your freezer. Another fact to consider is that you have much less competition out there. Most bow hunters have either already scored on a whitetail, or they have just gotten discouraged enough to prefer the comfort of the living room couch instead of the cold, steel seat of a tree stand. Human scent is at a minimum and the deer are more relaxed in

Late season deer are survivors.

Those Late Season Whitetails

their activities with each passing day. If you go to that favorite stand you hunted in the early season, you have a good chance of filling your tag. Hunt the food sources. If you have a deer sanctuary on your lease, a place that you have left clear of human odor and off limits during the season, then you have a golden spot for the late season. A stand located just outside this deer haven could prove to be the ticket. You always have to remember to keep the wind in your face so your scent will not give you away to a smart whitetail. You might catch a deer walking out of that hot spot with his guard down, totally unaware of your presence.

So, let’s assume your lease does not have such a safe place. Then where do the deer go? Where do you find the deer in late season? Time to think like a true Star Trek fan and “Go where no man has gone before.” Those little woodlots everybody walked by during the middle of the season quite possibly will have a deer or two waiting inside because it has been their safe home for a few months. It’s the area hunters have avoided simply because the woods looked too small to hold deer. After all, the big woods is just a stone’s throw away. It might be that small patch of brush sitting 30 feet from the road. Once I walked to one of those small patches I just talked about. There, to my surprise, stood a nice big doe I had spooked while she slept. She stayed there and stared at me for a few seconds before deciding it was time to move on. Then, to my bigger surprise, I witnessed a nice buck get up next to where the doe T e x a S

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stood seconds ago. Two big deer were in a small patch that would take me a total of 10 minutes to walk around completely. I wondered how long they were using this small spot for safety. Even more important, how many hunters had carried their bows and rifles right past that area while the deer hid and watched? I once had a lease that had tons of deer and tons of pressure. Early in the season, I would see whitetails every day and always thought I would wait for the “big one.” Well, that day never came. As I waited and as the days passed, the deer seemed to become invisible. The lease had two large woodlots and three huge fields. To get to the woods, we would have to walk a long distance along a sparse hedgerow that led to one of the fields. One afternoon after another unsuccessful morning stand, I headed back to my truck for some lunch. As I walked by that open hedgerow, four deer appeared out of the knee-high grass and left in a hurry when they saw me. You wouldn’t think a mature deer could lie in that grass and be totally hidden from view, but that was what happened. I will admit that late season deer are a little tougher to take with a bow, but it’s certainly not impossible. Isn’t that one of the reasons we decide to bow hunt in the first place? We are looking for the challenge. You can’t raise your bow and shoot at a deer that has been spooked. You must either make the deer stop completely or walk slowly. For me, late season deer are better hunted with two or more hunters. I like to bump the deer along as I walk slowly through a small woodlot and have my buddies wait for a nice easy shot at one trying to sneak away. Again, if you keep the wind in your face, you can be successful with late season whitetails. So, with this in mind, get off the couch and “Go where no man has gone before.”

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12/9/13 5:38 PM


TRUE GREEN

Reported by Will Leschper

photo: Wikimedia Commons

p Sea grasses are vital to the coastal ecosystem and are now protected by law.

Sea Grass Protection Enforced by New Law No matter the variety, the different forms of sea grass that inhabit shallow coastal flats are vital to maintaining coastal ecosystems, in particular those places that harbor speckled trout, redfish

and flounder that we Texas anglers love to pursue all year. The species of underwater vegetation found from Sabine Pass to South Padre Island may take on slightly different variations, but their mere presence

Scientists Create New Oyster Reef

90 percent during the past 130 years, according to university officials. Researchers evaluated polarity, voltage and electrical current to identify the conditions under which artificial oyster or hard bottom substrate habitat could be created, and to determine correct current type and voltage to maximize reef formation, according to university officials. They found that the growth was strongly affected by current type and polarity. Once they were able to perfect the formation of artificial reef in a laboratory setting, they moved their work to the field. A

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researchers have fine-tuned a method to create oyster reef by charging sea water with electricity, something that officials said is a way to replenish the coastal ecosystem. In some areas of the Gulf of Mexico, oyster reefs have declined nearly 42 |

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helps to improve water quality by buffering currents, stabilizing bottoms to prevent erosion and hiding a bevy of game fish species. That’s precisely why it’s important to use common sense – and now follow the letter of the law – when it comes to uprooting sea grass of all shapes and sizes. A law passed by last year’s regular session of the state Legislature makes it a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of as much as $500 if a boater is found to be negligent in regard to the framework of the law. site in Corpus Christi Bay was used to test this system consisting of structures built from rebar and charged them using solar power. The researchers not only monitored the growth on the rebar, but also the environment around the formations. They found there was no negative impact on aquatic or avian populations from the electrical current. —Staff Report «TG

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TRUE GREEN However, there remain defenses to the uprooting rule in some scenarios, including using an anchor in areas with grass or using an electric trolling motor, should you bring back vegetation. It also is defensible if you uproot grass while operating a craft in a way that’s needed to get up on plane. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has long stressed the mantra of “lift, drift, pole and troll” in shallow areas frequented by anglers in a variety of craft featuring sea grass that needs sunlight to thrive, but accompanying meetings and discussions haven’t been without controversy. A regulation in place since 2006 has prohibited the uprooting of grass in the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, a more than 30,000-acre swath of pristine habitat from Rockport to Aransas Pass to Port Aransas. After the regulation was in place, biologists noted a 45 percent reduction in prop scarring, according to TPWD officials. While getting up on plane is seen as

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a defense to prosecution under the new statewide law, that wasn’t included in the scientific area framework. With sea grass in mind, TPWD convened a public meeting on the issue of creating a similar scientific area in Corpus Christi waters near the JFK Causeway, which would have designated roughly 15,000 acres as a sea grass protection buffer zone. The main contention was the issue of the designation, which would allow fisheries officials broad power to enact any kind of regulations they deem necessary for scientific purposes. In the end, that designation never materialized, but the new law essentially covers the sea grass issues that fisheries officials are most seeking to remedy – the intentional disregard and uprooting of a key component to any coastal ecosystem. The lasting impact of prop scarring is clear: It damages a vital portion of a fragile habitat, and on the Texas coast, where boat traffic only continues to increase,

the issue has never been more critical. In many shallow locales, especially in areas where boaters have easy access via the Intracoastal Waterway, it’s easy to see the lasting impact of prop scarring. Head east of Rockport into Aransas Bay or south into Redfish Bay and you quickly see trenches running through a variety of sea grass areas in some of the best angling habitat we’ve got in Texas. And it’s a good bet those aren’t recent dugouts. While it’s ultimately up to each boater and angler to protect native habitat for future generations, it’s great to see that legislators and fisheries officials stepped up to the plate to help ensure that your kids and your kids’ kids can enjoy the same experiences that you and I do, today.

«TG Will Leschper’s work has won state and national awards. Contact him at leschperw@yahoo.com

12/9/13 2:36 PM


Goosed on the Prairie The New Season Starts with a Bang • by Bob Hood 44 |

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12/9/13 9:43 AM


Lying on their backs in the middle of a wheat or rice field, many coastal goose hunters this year watched dawn break under wet, cloudy skies while listening to the cackling and honking as dark silhouettes rose from roosting places to fill the skies with undulating waves of geese. Instead of “the early bird gets the worm,” it has been “the early hunter gets the geese.” If you are a coastal Texas goose hunter and haven’t experienced a great hunt or two this season, you probably have missed some of the best hunting of the season, most coastal outfitters report. Coastal goose hunters who keep up with such things say the migrations from Canada and the northern U.S. came much earlier this year. Hunters who booked their hunts early probably weren’t disappointed with the action. “The migration of geese was really early this season” said veteran goose and duck hunting outfitter Mike Ladnier of Bay Prairie Outfitters and Lodge at Midfield, a small town that is smack in the middle of some of the coastal prairie’s best waterfowl hunting south of El Campo. “It all has been because of the colder weather and rains we had in late November and predicted for early December that pushed a lot more geese down early,” Ladnier said. “ That’s been really unusual. I can’t remember ever having seen it that cold that early.” Indeed, this fall’s coastal geese and duck hunting prospects appeared dim as late as last October when a large portion of Texas, including the coastal prairies, were undergoing severe drought conditions. “Basically, without water we are without ducks and geese,” Ladnier said. This year, however, the rains may have come late, but they were enough to replenish many low-water areas including rice, wheat, milo and rye grass fields, prairies and marshes, many outfitters report. Nevertheless, changing weather conditions aren’t the only things that affect goose hunting prospects. Fewer fields in which to feed, fewer water areas in which to roost, and heavier hunting pressure in some areas have brought about changes in the geese’ behavior that demanded changes in hunting strategies. Like many coastal goose hunting guides, Ladnier said using larger spreads rather

than the shorter spreads using fewer decoys the prime goose hunting along the coast used 10 or more years ago is a big ticket to is southward to the coastal counties of better success. Years ago, the use of white Jackson, Lavaca, Matagorda, Wharton and rags draped over stubble and lying among Brazoria. them in white smocks or other clothing was Spurred by the late rains, some of the name of the game to trick the the best coastal goose hunting geese into coming within shotgun this season has been in wheat Hunting range ̶ not so in all situations fields. Coastal guides in the tactics of old just today. prime counties say rice won’t cut it this season. “You have got to use the farmers have cut their proEffective spread placement requires more thought and higher quality decoys.

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best of the best decoys–full-bodied shell decoys, sillosocks, half-shells and silhouettes,” Ladnier said. “The hunting has changed over the past few years so you have to adapt with larger spreads to attract the geese, smaller groups and not over-hunting the fields. We pre-scout our fields closely so we don’t over-hunt them.” Of course, that’s the strategy echoed by just about all coastal goose hunting guides who have access to prime goose hunting areas. Getting into the fields early, before dawn, and setting up decoys and hunter positions in fields where the geese had been feeding the evening before is the key to successful hunts. Although Texas’s Eastern Zone for geese stretches all the way from Bowie in extreme North Texas near the Red River, T e x a S

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duction in recent years, but there still are plenty of wheat fields to attract geese. Some milo, rye grass, corn and soybean fields also attract geese. By the end of January, many geese will be leaving the coastal prairies, some outfitters predict. At least, that has been the case in recent years. Ladnier and many other guides have shifted their operations to other areas such as Arkansas that hold more geese during the Feburary period. It’s all about rainfall and food supplies. If it is there, the geese will not only come but they will remain longer.

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12/9/13 9:43 AM


The wild cats of Texas represent the most mysterious and beautiful elements of our native fauna. Throughout the years, I have learned that nothing grabs the attention of an outdoors lover quicker than a wild cat encounter. It was the sighting of a cougar in 1987 that I consider to be one

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of the most pivotal moments in my life. That sighting, along with a few brushes with wolves, steered me into a career in the great outdoors. Whether you love to photograph them as I do or are a diehard varmint hunter, there is no denying wild cats represent Texas’s very best.

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What about “black panthers” in Texas? Do they exist? Here are a few facts to consider. There has never been a black cougar observed by science, killed by a hunter (and confirmed), born in a zoo, etc. As far as we know, they do not exist in the wild in Texas. Jaguars throw melanistic (black) offspring and recent research has shown melanism is a dominant trait. A majority of jaguars in some areas of Central America are black. People have a hard time judging the size of cats. Some “black panther” photos shown on the Web are simply house cats. T e x a S

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photo essay by chester moore Cougars are not considered “big cats.” That title is only given to cats that can roar, such as lions. Cougars are the largest of what scientists call the “lesser cats” although anyone who has seen a 150-pound specimen in person would have a hard time accepting this designation. Photos: Chester moore; USFW

12/9/13 9:31 AM


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The bobcat is the most common and adaptable wild cat species in the Lone Star State. I have seen them in distant brushy thickets of Southwest Texas, and I once saw one walking in a McDonalds parking lot in Metro Houston. They are super adaptable and can survive on everything from field mice to deer.

Bobcats are incredible jumpers. They are often mounted chasing quail, but even in the best bobwhite habitat they rarely prey on them. In one study, only six percent of 125 bobcat stomachs surveyed contained quail feathers or bones.

Jaguars are native to Texas, but are not currently confirmed to live here. Owing to my personal research, which includes extensive interviews and historical records, I believe some exist on the Texas-Mexico border and in the Trans Pecos. I predict jaguar presence will be confirmed through game camera photos within two to three years.

q The ocelot is found only in remnant populations in South Texas, mainly along the extreme southern coastal areas. Stunningly beautiful, they prefer the kind of thick habitat now converted to agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley area. Ocelots are relatively common in Mexico and Central America but are an endangered species stateside. T e x a S

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Open Season by Reavis Wortham | TF&G Humor Editor

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rong Willie and I were sitting in a large deer stand, admiring the south Texas countryside. “Did Cash say we could both take a buck?” he asked. I glanced out the window on my left side. “He said one of us could take a buck, and the other needs to get a doe.” “Which one do you want?” “I don’t care,” I said. “I just want some venison, so you can have the buck.” “Fine by me,” he said and carefully opened the window in front of us. Knowing he wasn’t just getting fresh air, I leaned forward to look outside. A wide ten-point buck with two drop tines was standing broadside a hundred yards away. “Hey, you set me up,” I accused. “Shhhh. I just asked you a simple question.” He pointed his rifle out of the window. “Not the point,” I argued, glassing the big deer. “This guy is a trophy and you knew he was standing there when you asked me.” “He won’t be standing there long if you keep arguing so loud,” Willie said. “Now let me shoot my deer. And keep your voice down.” “We should have flipped for him,” I said. My argument was drowned by the sharp bang of Willie’s .270. The buck spun around and fell as if hit with a howitzer. “Good shot, though.” We climbed out of the tower stand and trudged across the broken terrain to where the deer lay. “That’s the biggest rack I’ve ever taken!” Willie said and danced a jig through the cactus. “It would have been the biggest deer I’ve ever taken if you’d been fair about it,” I said, unloading my rifle and leaning it against a large mesquite. “Quit crying and help me skin this deer.” In preparation, Willie filled his bottom lip with the Brand of the Week and unloaded his rifle. He dug in a pocket and perched

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“ Quit Crying and help me skin this deer.

Tagged

a pair of smudged reading glasses on his nose. After fumbling through wallet, Willie located his license, tore off and filled the appropriate tag, and wired it to the big buck’s antler. He’s been a stickler for detail since he got a ticket a few years ago for using the wrong tag on a deer. “Where’d you hit him?” I asked. Willie didn’t answer. Instead, he rolled the buck onto its back, pinched up a flap of skin and reached out to make his first incision. The buck kicked him so hard in the stomach that water squirted out of seven orifices. He swallowed his dip and went backwards like a felled tree.

The up-until-then-stunned-buck regained his feet and tore off across the ranch like a kid after an ice cream truck. “#*$)#!!!” Willie said to me and gave chase with nothing but the skinning knife in his hand. Because he’d been kicked so hard, he ran almost apelike, hunched over and helping himself along with his empty hand. I grabbed my unloaded rifle and charged after him. The buck ran down into a dry wash and sprinted along the sandy course. We followed at a gallop until we both ran out of steam. Willie stopped to catch his breath, both hands on the ground. I fumbled three loads into my gun just as we heard the report of another rifle. “Somebody shot my deer!” Willie shouted and ran even harder.

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When I came around a sharp curve in the draw, Willie and a stranger were arguing over the deer. “It’s my buck,” Willie said, pointing at the one we’d been chasing. Stranger shook his head. “Nope. That old boy ran past me here and I dropped him. He’s mine.” Willie wheezed for a minute and then stood up straighter. “Wrong. Just look at that right antler. He has my tag on it. You can’t claim another man’s deer after he’s been tagged.” Stranger frowned and gave the buck a closer look. He face registered the shock of his life. “Well I’ll be, he is tagged.” “That’s how Willie hunts,” I said. “He drops down on them from a tree and clubs them senseless with the handle of that skinning knife there in his hand. Then he tags them and while they’re out, he finishes them off and skins them. Says it’s more sporting.” Stranger looked back forth between the two of us. “You have a rifle.” “I’m backup,” I said. “He just surprised me is all.” Undecided, Stranger wasn’t convinced. “Show me your license.” Willie produced the required document with the missing tag. “You’ll find my name on that one wired to his antler.” Just in case the buck was pretending again, we stepped back as the Stranger examined the tag,. He rose and sighed. “All right. I reckon you can have him. Anyone who can take a buck like that deserves him.” He turned to walk away and then stopped. “Hey, would you guys mind if I go with you next time and try it myself?” “Sorry,” Willie said. “I always said if I got a buck that scored this high, I’d retire. Looks like that day has come.” “Well, all right,” Stranger said and wandered away, talking to himself. “What will these Extreme Sportsmen think of next?” “Whatever it is,” I said, grateful the encounter was over. “I hope I’m not part of it.” Contact Reavis Wortham at RWortham@fishgame.com

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12/9/13 12:50 PM


Digital Edition

A Beginner’s

Guide to

Surf Fishing

PHOTO: BINK GRIMES

Story by Lee Leschper

T F & G

A L M A N A C

MILLIONS OF TEXANS PLAY ALONG THE Gulf beaches. The sand, waves, birds, and shells blend into a glorious place to play. It is also among the most bountiful fishing waters in the world. Forget your image of lawn-chair sitting anglers, chugging beer as they wait for a hit on rods stuffed in a sand spike. The key to catching fish regularly off the beach is to become a predator, as mobile and resourceful as any shark or osprey. T E X A S

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TF&G Almanac Table of Contents GEARING UP SECTION

60

TEXAS TESTED • Abu Garcia, Chevy Silverado, BioBor, and Sure Grip Racks | by tfg staff

62

INDUSTRY INSIDER • College Kayak Fishing, Sportsman Shooting Center | by tfg staff

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FISH AND GAME GEAR • Hot New Outdoor Gear | by tfg staff

FISHING FORECAST SECTION

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COVER STORY • Beginner’s Guide to Surf Fishing | by lee leschper

66 67 68

HOW-TO SECTION

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: UPPER COAST • Promise of a New Year | by capt. eddie hernandez HOTSPOTS FOCUS: GALVESTON • by capt. mike holmes

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: LOWER COAST • Braving the Elements | by calixto gonzales

HOTSPOTS • Texas’ Hot74 TEXAS test Fishing Spots | SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK • 84 Tides & Prime Times | by tfg staff

by tfg

staff

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

92 93 94

TEXAS TASTED • Chowhound Chicken Tenders | by bryan slaven OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Guides, Gear and More | by tfg staff TF&G PHOTOS • Your Action Photos | by tfg readers

TEXAS BOATING • Up, Down, All RDA • Winter Fish-Finding Factors 52 Around | | TIPS • Marshmallows and HOTSPOTS FOCUS: UPPER MID 56 PAUL’S Maggots | 70 COAST • Chasing Coldwater Fish TEXAS KAYAKING • 9.5 Tips for | . 57 Becoming a Better Kayak Angler | HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT 71 . • Things to Do | TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • My New www.FishGame.com 58 Pet | by lenny rudow

HOTSPOTS FOCUS: MATAGOby mike price

by paul bradshaw

by capt chris martin

by greg berlocher

by capt mac

gable

by steve lamascus

Sharks are just one of many varieties of fishes available to surf fishermen. Catching them involves more than picking out a pretty patch of beach and lobbing out a bait. Just like a bass fisherman working a brushy shoreline or deep creek channel, surf anglers must look for structure that attracts fish. “You have to look for something different. If you stop, ask yourself ‘why did I stop here?’ If it was just to take a break, get back in the truck and keep driving. What you’re looking for is food chain activity—birds, obvious surface feeding activity, baitfish. Watch for calm water where there’s a break in the sand bar; where there’s a solid line of surf, and then you see a 50-yard gap, that’s where water is exiting that first gut and entering the Gulf. That’s where the predator fish are waiting,” said former guide and surf-fishing legend Billy Sandifer. Waiting for the fish to come to you is not productive, he said. “Even if you are shark fishing, you need to run baits. If they’re not run in two hours, move.” The variety of fishes also allows unlimited choices in tackle and lures. “I rarely fished with live bait except during the finger mullet migration, when there was too much live bait for an artificial to compete,” Sandifer said. “I would lure fish 50 |

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for all species, including fish that were too big. But, there’s nothing wrong with using dead shrimp on bottom to fill a cooler with big whiting.” Sandifer said timing is critical for catching certain species. “For example, there are 10 days of the year, Sept. 20-30, that are most appropriate for tarpon. The dusky anchovy or red bone minnow, a baitfish about 1-1/2 inches long, comes in to spawn, and the tarpon come with them and stay with them. And at the same time, a quarter million fish-eating birds are here for the same reason. They’re fixing to migrate to South America.” Fly-fishing the surf is not the equipmentintensive chore you might think. “I had flyfishermen come down who swore you could never sight-cast to jack crevalle. So, I traded a casting outfit for an 8-weight rod, and on the second attempt landed a 25-pound jack. They go straight out. You’ve just got to pay attention, learn to catch big fish.” Sandifer said an angler can land huge fish on light tackle if he doesn’t lose his composure. “Once you get some experience with big fish, you do not do all that goofy stuff that loses fish. You can catch a hell of a fish on 10-pound line.” Jacks are a barroom brawl of a fishing

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adventure on the beach. “They’ll be everywhere. You can see birds from a half-mile, pelicans and terns, and you can see the explosions of jacks. They’ll be moving quite fast. They mess up the neighborhood and split. And they’re always running north. When we would find them, I would throw the Suburban in reverse and floor it. When we got 100 yards ahead of them, everyone grabbed a rod and then here they came.” Sandifer said sight-casting to autumn jack crevalle was his favorite trip down the beach. “They’re meaner than a junk yard dog, they average 22 pounds, and they’re 10 yards in front of you. The adrenaline is in overdrive. I’ve chased them with everything from fly rods to 8-pound-test spinning tackle to 20-pound-test casting rods. “The jacks will be right in front of you in the first swell, 25-pound torpedoes everywhere. It starts in late September and runs into December, during the traditional run of finger mullet out of the bay systems. They know the finger mullet are there, and the pelagic predators come out there to feed on the finger mullet. Everything—Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, tarpon—rocking and rolling right there in front of you.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 52 A L M A N A C

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Texas Boating by Lenny Rudow | TF&G Boating Editor

Looking Up, Down, and All Around

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IDE-SCANNING SONAR HAS NOW been around for several years, downscanning units have come to incorporate CHIRP technology, and for 2014 even more new ways to find those fish have been released on the market. Is this stuff worth buying, or are we just being bombarded by more marketing ploys designed to separate you and your hard-earned dollar? If this stuff is worthwhile, which one of these technologies should you invest in? There’s a lot of confusion surrounding scan-

ners vs. sonar, so let’s cut through the BS and figure out where and if it’s money well spent. Every “Truth” you’ll read below is IMHO, and some manufacturers and some anglers are bound to disagree—but this is what I’ve discovered, through hands-on experience.

Side-Scanners: Tech

Side-scanning (called Side Imaging or Structure Scan depending on which manufacturer you’re looking at) uses very high

frequency fan-shaped beams to look out to either side of your boat. While traditional finders commonly use frequencies in the low 200-kHz range and in the 50-kHz range (for very deep water), these side-finding beams are in the 455- and 800-kHz range. As a result they have much higher detail levels, but range is limited to 150 feet or so and can be notably less in unfavorable conditions.

Side-Scanners: Truth

Yes, they do work and yes, they are worth the investment. But don’t get giddy over seeing sideways just yet. Although they are excellent for finding structure, the 455and 800-kHz beams don’t seem to show fish as well as an old-fashioned 210-kHz beam does. They often appear as specks or blips

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO WADEFISHING t CONTINUED FROM PAGE 50 Pompano, the tasty panfish caught almost exclusively in the surf, are prime in the December and January surf. Sandifer said speckled trout are a regular treat in the summer surf. “I’ve seen trout so big the ‘experts’ won’t acknowledge that they get that big, trout that would frighten any biologist. I’ve seen a dozen trout that were bigger than the state record. “Once they spawn and the water gets hot and the bays turn hyper-saline, they go to the surf. Caution is paramount in the surf. Never fish alone—treacherous undertows claim anglers every year: “We do not wade across guts down here. We have the deepest water in Texas here. When you’re fishing in knee deep water, you’re part of the food chain.”

Wheels on the Beach

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down there,” Sandifer laughed. “You need a high-center vehicle. It’s so soft; when you start dragging the differential, then you’re in trouble. That’s when they get frustrated, hit the brakes, and they’re history. I advise novice beach drivers to stay in the main tracks, whether they like it or not. If you see an area that looks like it’s good, but nobody else has driven there, there’s a good reason. “My best advice is to let your tire air pressure down to 25 pounds, carry a jack, reasonable supplies, and a cell phone. Stay in the main tracks, don’t hit the brakes or try to go too fast, and you’ll be okay.” Life on the beach involves more than vehicles. To be there when the water clears and the fish turn on, you often need to camp on the sand. “Most people camp too high, take too much gear, and sit too far from their rods,” Sandifer said. “They sit in a circle around the cooler, getting a horrendous sunburn. The boys that catch the fish don’t carry much gear or stay too long in one place. You’ll see them at the 30-mile mark, then at the 40, then at the 45. They’re the apex

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predators, stalking and hunting. Then when they find fish, they stack ‘em up.”

Great Surf-Fishing Destinations

Mustang Island, from Port Aransas to Corpus Christi, offers great beach access with a number of park roads. On much of the beach, you have to park and walk rather than drive to your fishing spot, so pack light. A quick ferry ride takes you from Woody’s at Port Aransas to the St. Joseph’s Island jetties, offering access to many miles of prime beach along St. Joe. Again, it is all walking. Many anglers prefer the jetties with more visible structure and less walking. You can likewise catch a ride from Matagorda to the beach on Matagorda Island. This is superb angling territory, frequently visited by tarpon from Pass Cavallo south. Some anglers bring a mountain bike to help cover more beach.

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Side-Scanners: News

Garmin has just introduced their own version of side-scanning, called SideVu. It will be available on stand-alone units, as well as in a black-box form (the GVC 10). It will work with echoMAP 70, 700, 800, and 1000 series units, though a (free) software update may be necessary. Look for them to start showing up in stores this winter

or spring.

Down-Scanners: Tech

Down-scan “imagers” use the same type of high-frequency beams as side-scanners. Again, you get much higher detail at the cost of range. One of the newer models, the Dragonfly from Raymarine, incorporates CHIRP technology to get a range boost. CHIRP sends out a blast of sonar waves spread through a band of frequencies instead of a single frequency. The Dragonfly has a more limited frequency spread than fullblown (and much more expensive) CHIRP units, so call it CHIRP-light.

Down-Scanners: Truth

Detail levels are magnificent; you can see everything from sprigs of weed to individual tree-limbs, and you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at. True, there’s a loss of range, but realistically most of us are usually fishing in depths well under 100 feet—so the “cost” of limiting range to 150 feet is irrelevant for many anglers. Those who do need additional depth range can consider CHIRP-light. When it comes to this type of down-scanning, depth range increases significantly. Raymarine says that in ideal con-

ditions it can see all the way down to 600 feet, though when I’ve had the Dragonfly offshore, range was closer to 400 feet. As mentioned earlier, fish often don’t show up as well when seen with the highfrequency beams. This isn’t as big a problem as it might be since most down-scanners also shoot out a traditional beam frequency, and you can use a split screen or flip back and forth between the two, as necessary. I’d beware, however, of very inexpensive stand-alone imagers that don’t include a traditional down-looker and/or those with very small screens that can’t realistically be split. CHIRP-light eliminates this problem, since the frequency spread shows fish quite well.

“ Fish often don’t show up as well with high-frequency beams.

instead of hard arches, and it can be much harder to differentiate fish from clutter. That said, in many fishing situations, finding the structure is really what you need to do—the fish will be there. One other item to bear in mind is that the screen size of your unit has a huge bearing on just how well side-scanning works for you. On very large screens (10 inches or bigger) it’s much easier to pick out the fish and judge what type of structure you see. Often you’ll want to split the screen between a traditional down-looker and sidescanning, or between your chartplotter and side-scanning, and in these cases having a large screen becomes that much more important. When you buy one of these, push the envelope to get as large a screen as you can afford—you won’t regret it.

Down-Scanners: News

Very soon, the Dragonfly will have some company in the world of CHIRP downscanning fishfinders. If you favor a competitor’s units but you want this type of downscanner it would be smart to sit tight for a few months. At the time of this writing they haven’t made an announcement yet, and manufacturers get very upset when this sort of news leaks out too early, so I’m not going to name names. But stay tuned.

All-Around Scanners: Tech

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so. In the case of Humminbird, 360 Imaging seeks to paint a picture 360-degrees around. You get a circular view on-screen, with your boat in the middle, and you can also isolate a “sweep area”. Lowrance, on the other hand, developed SpotlightScan Sonar, which was just released a few months ago. It’s pretty much what it sounds like from the name. With a trolling-motor-mounted transducer, you get lateral viewing ability, but with a unidirectional, spotlight-like beam.

All-Around Scanners: Truth

These systems more or less take sidescanning technology and apply it a bit differently. So the results are similar, just with a different view. That said, one thing should be noted with the 360. Instead of mounting a transducer on the transom or through the hull, this system requires a “transom pod” that raises and lowers the transducer. When deployed, it does stick down below the boat and creates an obstruction. As far as SpotlightScan goes, the unit’s so new I haven’t been able to give it a hands-on test just yet. I wonder about boat steering vs. scanning conflicts since you point the motor to point the transducer, but again, stay tuned.

All-Around Scanners: News

At the moment, the real news in this category of scanners is the actual release of the SpotlightScan. If history is any indication, other competitors will follow with versions of their own in the next year or two. So, which one of these technologies should you spend your hard-earned money on? That depends on the type of fishing you do, and what type of system you already have at the helm. Now that you’re familiar with the nuts and bolts of each, the truths about them, what’s new and what’s coming soon, you’ll be able to make the right decision.

Contact Lenny Rudow at LRudow@fishgame.com Get more boating tips in LENNY RUDOW’s Texas Boating Blog at www.Fishgame.com/blogs


Paul’s Tips

Marshmallows and Maggots

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ET’S GO AHEAD AND GET THIS OUT there, we’re Texans and we’re proud of it. We think we have the biggest and best of everything. World-class deer? Yep, we’ve got them. Bass big enough to eat your pet Chihuahua? Yep, we’ve got those too. Speckled trout, geese, hogs, chupacabra? Yes, yes, yes, maybe. Snowmeltfed, world-class, cold water streams flowing through mountains where native trout swim freely? Wait…what? OK, you caught me. Texas isn’t exactly the “must fish” destination for wild native trout. However, the smart folks at Texas Parks and Wildlife worked around this little issue by stocking certain water bodies with trout during the winter months, giving us an opportunity to catch fish that we normally wouldn’t. Who needs Colorado? We’ve got state parks stocked with trout. No, you’re not going to catch a world record, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy fishing trip with the kids, then chasing stocked trout is right up your alley. Since we don’t get to fish for them often, chances are you don’t know how. Lucky for you, it’s fairly easy. I’m going to share with you a technique that was shared with me a few years back by a trout guide on the Little Red River in Arkansas (this river has grown brown trout up to 40 pounds). If you’re a purist fly fisherman dedicated only to catching sophisticated trout on dry flies, you might want to skip this article. There is a good chance you’ll be offended at what I’m going to suggest. This is bait dunking at its finest. We’ll start with the nuts and bolts of the rig itself before getting into the good stuff. First, the best and simplest rig for stocked trout is the split shot rig. If you

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prefer, you can use a really small Carolina rig, but that’s a little bit of overkill and takes longer to tie on. When fishing for hatcheryraised trout, it’s best to keep it simple. Start the split shot rig by tying a small bream hook on the end of your line. Small and light are the keys here. Then about a foot above the hook, crimp a split shot onto your fishing line. Again, think small. There’s no need to tie on an ounce of lead to

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chase a half-pound fish. That’s it. You’re done. Now, for the baiting part I’ll take you back to a conversation I had with the Arkansas fishing guide while my wife and I were fishing the Little Red River a few years ago. The fishing guide

handed me a small white object, and I just looked at him trying to decide if he was joking or serious. He didn’t appear to be the joking type. It was a marshmallow. It was the small kind that you ̶ I mean your wife ̶ puts in her hot chocolate. I didn’t have any hot chocolate so I didn’t know what to do with it. Split Shot “Bite it in half and put half of it on your hook.” I wondered what to do with the other half but figured it was better not to ask so I swallowed it. The guide handed me another small white object. This time it was a maggot. If he tells me to bite it in half, this fishing trip is over. “Now put that meal worm on the hook behind the marshmallow.” “Isn’t a meal worm just a fancy name for a maggot,” I asked before I could stop myself. “Yes, but I wasn’t going to say that in front of your wife.” It seems that trout cannot resist a good marshmallow and maggot sandwich since we caught quite a few fish that day. Really the trout just want the maggot, not the marshmallow, but the marshmallow is the key to the whole rig. The split shot takes the line to the bottom of the river while the marshmallow acts like a small float picking the bait up off the bottom and into the area where the fish are feeding. It’s as simple as that. A hook, a weight, a marshmallow, and a maggot (or prepackaged trout bait or even corn) is all you need to catch a few trout.

Contact Paul Bradshaw at PBradshaw@fishgame.com

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ILLISTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW

by Paul Bradshaw | TF&G Contributing Editor


Texas Kayaking by Greg Berlocher | TF&G Kayaking Editor

9.5 Tips for Becoming a Better Kayak Angler

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ECOMING A BETTER KAYAK ANGLER is quite easy. All it takes is time; however, if you were thinking this means years of experience, you would be wrong. Noted basketball coach Bobby Knight was fond of saying: “The will to prepare to win is as important as the will to win.” Translation: You must take practice as serious as the game. This is as true for kayak fishermen as it is for athletes. If you want to be successful on the water, you need to be serious about it before your trip. Each of the following tips will elevate your game but each requires an investment of time or money. If you want to become a better kayak angler, tear this page out and tape it to the wall where you can read it periodically. 1. GAME PLAN Do you have a game plan for where and how you will fish before you arrive on location? Have you checked out the forecast, wind direction and strength, tides, water clarity, and solunar tables? How about water and air temperatures? Each can have a significant impact on your success. Since kayak fishermen are extremely limited in their range, a game plan is essential to your success. Game plans are not immune from failure. Weather patterns change. Cold fronts are notorious for stalling and getting to a location ahead of time. And, of course, sometimes the fish don’t cooperate. You need to be committed to your plan but if you are several hours in and it is not working, don’t hesitate to adjust your game plan based on conditions. 2. SCOUT Nothing is more valuable than first-hand reconnaissance. Distances can be deceiving on maps. If you scout an area before you fish, you can look for launch spots ahead of time rather trying to make an impromptu decision as the sun is rising. Do T F & G

other kayakers launch in the same area? How rough will the water be? Are there dangerous rips, currents, or boat traffic? All these questions can be answered with the investment of a little time ahead of your fishing trip. 3. EXTEND YOUR VISION Frustration, annoyance, and irritation are all accurate descriptors of my emotional state when I paddle a good distance, only to find that it was a waste of time and energy. For instance, paddling a half mile to cast to a pod of tailing reds, only to discover that the tails were mullet tails. A set of waterproof binoculars, will extend your vision and help you make better decisions while you are on the water. 4. PREP YOUR GEAR Spend enough time getting everything ready beforehand so getting on the water is quick and stress free. A recent trip to the coast serves as a good example of what not to do. A late business meeting delayed our arrival in Rockport Friday night. The days prior to the trip were consumed attending a trade show. In short, there was no time for preparation. By the time we were settled-in Friday night, it was midnight. When the alarm went off four hours later, I couldn’t find the gear I needed when it counted most – a rookie mistake. 5. MAINTENANCE PAYS Kayaks and fishing tackle are not maintenance free. Straps and buckles break. Metal cables and hinges rust and corrode. Electronics go on the fritz. A fresh water rinse is needed after every fishing trip. Create a maintenance clipboard for your kayak and fishing tackle. After every trip, note anything that requires attention. Date all entries and periodically review your maintenance record. Set up a schedule to regularly lubricate all mechanical linkages. Do you remember the last time you changed

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the line on your reel? 6. ORGANIZATION I organize my tackle boxes at least once a year and they stay that way for a month or two. At the end of every trip, lures and tackle get dumped on the work bench. I am a piler, not a filer. However, I am getting better. I transfer the lures or terminal tackle I will use on a trip (think game plan) from my main tackle box to several kayak-friendly clear plastic boxes. I also organize the contents of my milk crate before and after every trip so everything is easy to extract when needed. 7. FANCY GEAR ISN’T NEEDED Advanced gear, such as a depth finder, won’t necessarily increase your success. Invest the time and energy in the basics before worrying about electronics. 8. KEEP A JOURNAL Keep a journal in your vehicle, and spend five minutes jotting down major points from your trip as soon as you get off the water. You can turn the bullet points into complete sentences later but capture important information such as wind direction and speed, water movement, moon phase, and bait activity. What was your game plan? Did it work or not? This allows you to remember key points from good and bad trips. Review your journal when putting together a game plan. 9. TAKE A PADDLING COURSE The term kayak angler is made up of two separate words. Most kayak fishermen are fishermen who happen to paddle. Paddling takes a back seat to fishing. Taking a course to improve your paddling skills will increase your mobility and range, and will put less wear and tear on your body. 9.5 BECOME A STUDENT OF THE GAME There are no shortcuts to success. Time spent on the mental aspects of kayak fishing will translate to achievements on the water. Investing time, and perhaps a few dollars, in the sport you love will yield a surprising amount of dividends.

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Texas Guns by Steve LaMascus | TF&G Shooting Editor

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DON’T KNOW WHETHER YOU HAVE noticed it or not, but good gunsmiths, like virtuous women and honest politicians, are getting harder and harder to find. I am not talking about people who can swap a few parts around or put in a new trigger, but the kind of machinist/technician/ blacksmith who can take your gun to a lathe for a new crown, hand-make a no longer available part, or fit a new barrel to your

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Ted@tedscustomshop.net, 580-774-8726) Ted came highly recommended by people I trust. A few emails and a couple of phone calls convinced me that Ted had the qualifications and specialized knowledge I was looking for. So I packed up my old Winchester and sent it off. Then I left on a lengthy trip across the Mountain West. I wanted to visit my eldest daughter and her husband in Washington State and to escape the hellish temperatures of late summer in Southwest Texas. I was gone for about two months, and when I returned Ted had the gun ready. A week later I had my new .243 Ackley Improved in my sweaty hands. It had a new

“ To put it succinctly, the gun shoots better than I do.

My New Pet

action and get the headspace exactly right. Good gunsmiths are still out there, but you won’t find one in every other little hamlet and village, as there was when those of my generation and those before us were growing up. If you want a new custom gun or if you need some fairly technical work done on one of your pets, you are forced to look long and hard for someone who is qualified to do that work. For instance, it is at least a half-day’s drive from where I live to the nearest gunsmith whom I trust to do such technical work. Not long ago I began to feel the need to have a new barrel put on my old .243 Winchester Model 70. I didn’t just want another .243 barrel screwed in. I wanted a barrel in .243 Ackley Improved, along with all the accuracy work that should go with such an improvement. If you aren’t familiar with it, the headspace on an Ackley Improved cartridge is a tricky thing to get right. It has to be a slightly crush fit on the original cartridge, so you don’t get case head separation when you fire-form the brass. There must be just enough pressure that the bolt is a little stiff when closing over the cartridge, but not enough to keep the bolt from closing on the pre-fire-formed round. A matter of a couple of ten-thousandths of an inch can mean the difference between a fine rifle and a ruined and wasted barrel. In addition to the stringent metal work, fitting the barrel into the stock and doing the necessary pillar bedding and glassing of the stress points is equally important and can mean the difference between a so-so rifle and one that can put all the bullets into one hole at a hundred yards. I wanted the rifle done right, so I looked all over the country for a gunsmith who had the qualifications I wanted. Also, I wanted one who wasn’t so far behind that it would take three years to complete the project. You see, truly good gunsmiths are usually in such demand that they really are that busy. In the course of my search I finally made contact with Ted Borg of Ted’s Custom Shop, in Weatherford, Oklahoma (email:

Hart barrel 26 inches long, was pillar bedded and glassed in all the right places. I couldn’t wait to shoot it, but first I had to do all the fire-forming and barrel break-in that comes with a new barrel in a wildcat caliber. Since the gun was precisely chambered, fire-forming was simple. I loaded some new Hornady brass with some old 100-grain bullets I had lying around over a fairly stiff charge of IMR4350. When I shot the loads, the brass came out of the chamber perfectly formed into .243 AI dimensions. I would shoot five rounds then clean the barrel until there was no sign of metal fouling, then shoot five more. It was a bit tedious, but necessary A L M A N A C


.243 Winchester improved (left) and .243 Winchester (right).

ting better. To put it as succinctly as possible, the gun shoots better than I do. Thanks primarily to the 40-degree shoulder, brass does not seem to stretch or run, so trimming does not have to be performed every time the brass is reloaded. At this time I am still using the original 50 rounds of brass I first fire-formed. Besides the excellent accuracy (it really does average around a half-inch), velocity is about 150 to 200 feet per second higher than I got from my original .243 Winchester. So, let’s see, now: I get higher velocity, better accuracy, and longer case life. I see no down side, other than the slight added work of fireforming. Yep, I’m a happy camper. If you need any gunsmithing done, especially any that is of a technical nature, I highly recommend Ted Borg. He is a fine gunsmith and a pleasure to work with.

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if I wanted the barrel to produce the ultimate in accuracy. After I had the barrel properly broken in, I neck-sized the now re-formed brass, loaded

some 87-grain Hornady V-Max bullets, and headed to the range for some accuracy testing. The first three rounds went into a half-inch at 100 yards, and it just keeps get-

Contact Steve LaMascus at SLamascus@fishgame.com


Texas Tested

Abu Garcia Revo STX

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WHETHER YOU CAST INSHORE WATERS FOR specs and reds or ply lakes and rivers for largemouths, chances are you’ve heard of the Abu Garcia Revo line of reels. Now, there’s a new, thirdgeneration Revo in town. Abu Garcia Let’s look at Revo STX the Garcia Revo STX. second half of the This is a mid-priced reel which cast. MSRPs at right around $200, but it The STX comes in three verhas some features usually found on pricier sions with different gear ratios, 6.4:1, competitors. Take bearings, for example: 7.1:1, and 8.0:1. That super-high 8.0:1 the STX has a whopping 11 of them. It ratio reel cranks in 33 inches of line, with also has dual braking systems (centrifugal every revolution of the handle. All three of and magnetic) to prevent backlash. these models are rated to hold 145 yards of The centrifugal brake acts during the 12-pound test monofilament, or 140 yards first half of the cast, when spool rotation is of 30-pound braid. They can put out up to at its maximum speed. Then, as the spool 20 pounds of drag, and yes, lefty models begins to slow, the magnetic brake kicks in are available. and maintains complete control during the The 6.5 ounce Revo STX is con-

structed with light-weight, carbon side plates, and an alloy frame. The drag is carbon matrix, and the handle with EVA grips and star drag maintains the reel’s sleek, low profile. Overall, the use of these materials cut about 2.5 ounces—that’s about 29-percent—off the weight of previous generation reels. Other changes include a profile that’s been lowered even more, a slightly wider spool that doesn’t increase the reel’s overall width, a gear design upgrade, and more corrosion-resistant alloys. For more information, head to abugarcia.com. —Lenny Rudow

2014 Chevy Silverado I RECENTLY HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF DRIVING the new 2014 Chevy Silverado for a month, and I was outright impressed. I’m not usu-

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Dustin Ellermann test drove this 2014 Silverado to shooting events around Texas.

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has been sitting for more than a couple of 15-hp outboard on my waterfowl boat, weeks, that stuff will gunk up your carburethe 90-hp outboards on my bay boat, and tors, shut down the fuel tank I keep for a leaf blower and your engines, and chainsaw. In all cases, as long as I added create sludge in it in, the engines have run fine. I forgot your fuel tanks. to add it into the lawnmower once and It happens in yup—a couple weeks later it ran terribly. everything from Other Biobor additives, called Biobor MD outboards to and Biobor JF, address fuel problems spelawn mowers to cific to diesel. ATVs. You can get more info, at biobor.com. Biobor EB prevents —Lenny Rudow this issue by stopping phase separaSURE GRIP RACKS PROVIDE A LARGE VARItion for up to ety of gun and bow racks that will fit any18 months, one’s need. I tested the basic mount on my which is obviATV and found it to be very secure and ously more than easy to use. It held strong on the toughest enough to get you trails and I never had to worry about my through the winter. It comes in a squeeze bow being damaged. Although it comes bottle with a built-in measuring section with extra Velcro straps to help secure your on top, which makes it easy to figure out bow or gun, I found it wasn’t necessary exactly how much of the additive to pour because the rack held so well. into your tank. With some competing The mounts come with high products, you have to make your Sure Grip quality foam inserts to hold a bow best guess. racks hold and will convert to hold a rifle by bows, guns & One ounce treats up to 15

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ally a fan of any type of vehicle, but Chevy changed my mind. The truck is loaded with features that made me look forward to several hours on the road to my various events. The MyLink Infotainment center has GPS navigation, OnStar, SiriusXM Radio, vehicle information and even the speed limit at your fingertips, on the display and even in the dash. It has Bluetooth connectivity, USB docks, an SD card port, and Biobor will even a 110V AC power protect idle outlet. motors from LED lights brilliantly ethanol. illuminate the bed of the truck, interior and consoles. It has a sunroof, folding side mirrors, power sliding rear window and even air-conditioned seats perfect for our Texas summers. Safety features include backup video cameras, 360 degree sensors and a collision alert system that will vibrate your seat and flash red lights in a HUD display if danger approaches. It has plenty of cargo space that is easily reachable with built in steps on the bumper. The rear seats fold up easily to load the rest of your cargo. The Silverado’s drive also saved me several times from walking as clay roads got too saturated for normal vehicles to maneuver. MSRP for a standard package starts at $25,575. Customize yours at chevrolet.com/ silverado. —Dustin Ellermann

Sure Grip Racks

gear tight.

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PHOTOS: PURE FISHING; CHEVROLET; BIOBOR; SUREGRIP

BioBor: Prep for Winter YES IN THE PAST, WE’VE TOLD YOU ABOUT the Hammonds fuel additive, Biobor. And yes—unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years—you’ve also heard plenty about the problems with ethanol in your fuel supply. But now’s the time to really pay attention. Many small engines get left sitting idle for months at a time during the winter, and the fuel in them is almost guaranteed to go bad. Ethanol is hydroscopic. As it sits it will bond with water molecules and sink to the bottom of your fuel tank. This causes your fuel to break down faster than ever before. When you start an engine up after the fuel T F & G

gallons of gasoline. At about $20 for a 16-ounce bottle, that means it only costs about eight cents a gallon to prevent phase separation and eliminate those ethanol problems. As an added bonus, it also cleans and disperses sludge in your fuel tank. I’ve tried Biobor EB (the EB stands for ethanol buster) in my lawn mower, the

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removing a small piece. The basic mount starts at $54.95 and they have an amazing number of racks for every off road vehicle and mounting position. Find out more at suregripracks.com

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Industry Insider

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COLLEGE TEAMS REPRESENTING LSU, Lamar, Stephen F. Austin, and Texas A&M launched kayaks in Galveston recently to fish the College Kayak Series. The event was hosted by the area’s premier kayak and tackle shop, Fishing Tackle Unlimited. The teams competed for gear, bragging rights; and most important, they were fighting for an invitation to the national championship and a chance to win serious prizes, including scholarship funds. The College Kayak Series (CKS) was founded by members of Jackson Kayaks Pro Staff to give college students a way to connect and compete in the sport of kayak fishing. The tournament series is made up of a saltwater and a freshwater competition. In only the second year, the series is seeing growth and national recognition. Team and Individual divisions will compete throughout the year at multiple events. Toward the end of the season (summer) a national championship event will be held consisting of a multi-day tournament to determine the Team National Champion and the Angler of the Year. November 16th started out overcast and windy. The three-member teams launched from various locations in the Galveston bay complex. CKS is conservation minded and uses a Catch, Photo, Release format. The cool thing about the CPR format is that with today’s technology, the fish caught during the tournament get uploaded from the anglers’ smart phones, and the public can watch live updates online during the event. Lamar University’s WiIlie Nelson (no, not that Willie Nelson) was first to upload a fish, which was a 15.5-inch sea trout. Not big, but with the tough conditions getting any fish on the ruler and photo was a good start. Soon after Nelson’s upload, the

PHOTOS: FISHING TACKLE UNLIMITED

College Kayak Fishing Series

Individual winner Alex Beck of LSU.

crew from Stephen F. Austin University found and caught decent fish. Seth Moore from SFA put a 20.5-inch red on the

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ruler, and then his teammate Travis landed a decent trout. The next fish was a big one and came on the rod of LSU Tiger Alex Beck. Alex threw a Cajun roundhouse blow and landed a 28.75-inch redfish. That is over the slot in Texas, but in a Catch, Photo, Release tournament it counts. Alex also added a 17.5-inch sea trout, putting LSU in a good spot. If the Tigers could add some more fish they’d certainly be in the catbird’s seat. Texas A&M’s Joe Harrison got the Aggies on the board with some very respectable slot redfish. But as the results trickled in it looked to be a battle between Lamar and SFA for the win. Teams met at Fishing Tackle Unlimited at 3 p.m. for the “weigh-in” and official results. The weigh-in consists of the tournament officials reviewing the uploads and posting the winners online for the official announcement. When the final results were tallied, David Roberts, Stuart Flowers, and Willie Nelson representing Lamar University won the team competition. Big smiles and high fives overflowed as the three young men A L M A N A C


collected their winnings and congratulations from the other teams. Lamar beat out SFA by just 7.25 inches with a total length of 110 inches. The individual win went to LSU’s Alex Beck, his monster 28.75-inch red made him hard to beat. Aside from the competition between the schools, The College Kayak Series fosters sportsmanship, fellowship, and conservation. The tournament series is ongoing and it’s not too late to get a team together for the next event. Or just put on your college colors, come on down and cheer on your school at the weigh-in. Get more information on the tournament at takemekayakfishing.org. —Jeff Herman

Grapevine Gets USA’s First Indoor Training Center

when shooting at a moving target,” Sportsman Shooting Center general manager Randy Skyora said. “It could be the shooter didn’t follow through with the shot, but it also could be the shooter’s body posture, how he is holding the rifle, or something else.” The third and final session is one of the most fun and exciting shooting experiences I have ever seen except for hunting live animals. It is called the Live Shot Video Cinema Range and is a great place for individual shooting or for three or four hunting buddies to challenge each other’s shooting skills while firing at a variety of animals on a large screen. The target animals include everything from hogs, red deer, bear and moose to numerous African plains animals. The Live Shot Video Cinema Range includes four bench shooting stands and a projector that displays various real-life wildlife videos on a large screen. An instructor uses a flat screen computer to select which video to use. As mentioned earlier, you may bring your own rifle on this final stage course. Or you can use one of the center’s Blazer RBs and ammunition available at the shooting center. “We also have numerous women who come here to learn to shoot,” Skyora said. “Many of them have told us they never have gone hunting before other than just to accompany their husbands. You might be surprised how well they have shot. I can’t tell you how many Sportsman have said they can’t wait to Shooting come back to the center to Center is shoot some more.” now open in Skyora sees the center as Grapevine. a place where groups such as the Boy Scouts, hunter education classes, youth associations, and many others can educate their members about firearms and teach them to be good marksmen. The Sportsman Shooting Center is just across the highway each animal. This data shows whether you from Bass Pro Shops and close to DFW followed through with the shot or stopped Airport as well as the Fort Worth-Dallas as soon as you pulled the trigger. A line Metroplex. shows your “swing” as you tracked the animal before the shot was fired. —Bob Hood All this information helps the instructor identify any problems you may have in making a good shot with a good swing. “A lot of people don’t know how some really small things can affect their accuracy

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PHOTO: SPORTSMAN SHOOTING CENTER

IF YOU THINK YOU ARE A GOOD SHOT WITH a rifle, chances are you are a candidate for America’s first indoor shooter training center that opened recently in Grapevine. The Sportsman Shooting Center is a first-class facility designed to do one thing—help a hunter attain better, more accurate skills when shooting at wild game, especially animals that are moving.

you are encouraged to do so, whether your rifle is a long-time favorite or one you have recently obtained. If you have a new scope, an NRAcertified shooting instructor will be there with you to mount the scope for you. The instructor will also assist in sighting-in your rifle or help solve scope- and rifle-related problems. Each time you fire a round through the 100-yard tunnel, your shot placement will show up on a flat-screen computer located on your bench rest table next to you. This helps you and the instructor see exactly where your shots strike each time you make a scope adjustment. If you don’t want to bring your own gun, you can use one of the center’s Blazer RBs in .223, .308, .270 or 30.06 calibers. Each is equipped with an AimPoint red dot sight. Once your gun is sighted in, you go to another room where you participate in an interactive Laser Training Simulator session where NRA-certified instructors teach you a kind of shooting you may not be used to—shooting at running or walking animals. The shooter uses a specially made rifle to fire a red laser beam at a variety of animals projected on a video screen. Each time the shooter fires, a computer records barrel speed, hits and misses. It also tracks the barrel’s path as the shooter swings on

A unique course involves three stages of marksmanship, beginning with the basics. The course closes with an incredibly realistic test of an individual’s ability to shoot a variety of animals under various conditions. It’s a two-hour experience that will help both the beginner and the veteran hunter. The course begins at the center’s 100yard, indoor tunnel located on the bottom floor. You may bring your own rifle, and T F & G

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Fish and Game Gear

GAME WINNER HAS MADE HIGH QUALITY, affordable camo gear for years, but its latest line of camo is easily the best yet. New “Dura” technologies woven into each product stand up to other top name brands in terms of scent control, wind/water resistance, and more. Our favorite men’s items are the Game Winner Dura-Flex Systems Parka ($99.99), which provides maximum range of motion with a fleece lining and removable inner jacket. The matching Fleece Beanie Infinity ($5.99) and Dura-Repel HD gloves have Mossy Oak’s new Infinity® camo pattern. Game Winner also updated their line of women’s hunting apparel. Check out the Ladies Dura-Proof Systems Parka ($99.99) or their Dura-Repel Soft Shell Jacket ($49.99), matching shooting gloves ($14.99) and fleece beanie ($6.99). They all feature RealTree’s new Xtra camo pattern. This year’s line of backpacks includes the Game Winner Hunter’s Essential Pack ($42.99) and the Trophy Taker Backpack ($52.99). Both have a host of features and storage capacity for all your hunting accessories. Grab the Trophy Taker Backpack for your big-game hunts. It includes a bow or rifle holder, their advanced padded shoulder straps and side waist pockets. The Hunter’s Essential Pack is a great all-weather hunting pack with an oversized main compartment . It comes in Mossy Oak’s Infinity® camo pattern. You can find all these great Game Winner products exclusively at your 64 |

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Game Winner Camo from Academy Sports + Outdoors.

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local Academy Sports + Outdoors store or online at academy.com.

HiViz Develops New Generation Handgun Sight HIVIZ SHOOTING SYSTEMS (A DIVISION OF North Pass Ltd.), has announced the third generation of light-gathering sights. “We have developed a cuttingedge new design that combines the durability of our overmolded sights

p New HiViz light-gathering sight.

with the versatility of our interchangeable LitePipe sights,” says Trevor Young, Product Manager.

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This unique new sight design features a skeletonized steel sight body which protects the LitePipes and gives it the strength of the popular overmolded series of sights. Another important feature of the new design is the internal locking mechanism that has been machined into the sight body. “The locking feature will provide the highest level of reliability and longevity of the LitePipes,” adds Young. The result is a sight with superior light gathering capability that allows you to choose a color to best suit your personal preference or existing lighting conditions. The new line maintains many of the other features HiViz sights have become known for, including a ramped and serrated sight blade with a square profile and LitePipe brightness that is even effective in low light conditions. It now fits select models of Smith & Wesson, Glock, Ruger and Springfield handguns with plans to expand to other brands and models in the coming months. These new sights, along with other A L M A N A C

PHOTOS: ACADEMY SPORTS + OUTDOORS; HIVIZ SHOOTING SYSTEMS; CORTLAND LINE CO.; DAREX

Academy Launches New Season of Game Winner Camo


HiViz shooting accessories, are available through selected sporting goods stores and at HiVizSights.com. HiViz Shooting Systems manufactures light-gathering sights, recoil pads and accessories for the shooting industry.

Cortland Offers New Sinking Duck Decoy Line CORTLAND LINE EXPANDS THEIR RANGE OF hunting products with the introduction of Sinking Duck Decoy Line. The lead-free, eco-friendly PVC-based decoy line offers duck and geese hunters around the world

Sinking Duck Decoy Line.

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Onion Union for Sharper Knives DAREX, MAKERS OF THE WORK SHARP Knife & Tool Sharpener have done it again. Work Sharp has partnered with legendary knife maker and designer Ken Onion (Kershaw, CRKT) and added to their sharpening product line by developing an expanded feature sharpener that delivers what customers have been asking for – adjustable sharpening angles, variable speed and bigger, flexible abrasive belts. Work Sharp is proud to introduce the Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition! “The Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition is the result of listening to our customers and working with the biggest name in the knife industry,” says Matthew Bernard, president and owner of Darex. “We are proud to have Ken on our team; he has been a great asset to the creation and development of this new knife sharpener. Our flexible belt sharpening technology sharpens anything from a camp axe to kitchen cutlery with incredibly sharp and repeatable results.” The Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition ($149.95)

comes with a complete set of flexible abrasive belts and a fully adjustable precision sharpening guide (15°-30°) that can sharpen any knife. Look for it wherever you buy your outdoor equipment or cutlery. Designed, engineered and assembled in Ashland,

p Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition sharpener.

Oregon, the Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition brings professional sharpening results to the sportsman, outdoorsman or knife enthusiast. Visit worksharptools.com for more information.

an environmentally safe and innovative new product. Constructed on a high breaking strength, low stretch braided nylon core, the decoy line remains supple with virtually no memory even in freezing cold hunting conditions. The fast sink rate technology allows the decoy line to remain sub-surface to ensure that waterfowl remain unspooked on their final descent to your spread. MSRP is $18.75 (200ft) and $37.50 (400ft). Cortland Line Company, Cortland NY, is a leading manufacturer of braided fishing lines, monofilament fishing lines, fly lines, hunting and outdoor products. Utilizing the latest materials and proprietary innovative techniques, Cortland Line assures the consumer the finest products available.

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Hotspots Focus: Upper Coast

by Capt. Eddie Hernandez | TF&G Contributor

The Promise of a New Year

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HE TIME HAS COME ONCE AGAIN TO bid adieu to another calendar year and welcome the promise of a new one with open arms. 2013 is now a thing of the past but I hope all of you will have memories of great outdoor excursions with family and friends that will last a lifetime. Now that 2014 is officially upon us there is no time like the present to begin making new memories. For those who are willing to

brave the elements, the Sabine ecosystem can really pay off big in January. Years of logging countless hours of wintertime fishing has taught us a thing or two. For starters, fishing the clearest water that you can find is a key ingredient for success. Also, don’t waste your time on areas with sandy bottoms. The fish will be holding in areas that have the warmest water. Clear water warms faster than murky water and mud warms quicker and retains heat better than sand. A slight difference in water temperature that may seem insignificant to us can be huge to the fish. It can mean the difference between casting and catching. It may only be a degree or less but that is very significant to the fish in cold water. Another thing that will help your chances is to use straight tailed plastic baits rather than those with more movement. Curl tailed or more wobbly baits don’t really do much for these cold blooded fish in cold water. Use a straight tailed plastic on the lightest lead head that the elements will allow and

work it slowly. Other good bait choices are slow sinking mullet imitations like MirOLure Catch V and Catch 2000 as well as Corky Fat Boys and Devils. These baits are designed to sink very slowly so give them time to get down before twitching and retrieving. If you’ve got good sunlight penetrating the water your best bet would be to use dark or natural colored baits. Morning Glory, Red Shad and natural mullet work well in bright sun conditions. Lighter colors like chartreuse, limetreuse, and glow are much more effective with cloud cover. The eastern bank of Sabine Lake has multiple bayous, cuts and drains. Some of these open up into big shallow ponds that have their own cuts and drains. Because of the massive amount of water that moves in and out of the bayous with the tides, your chances of finding decent water to fish somewhere along the eastern shoreline are pretty good. If you can find clear water that is holding bait you should be in business.

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Intracoastal Canal (Hwy 87, Sabine Pass) SPECIES: Redfish, Croaker, Black Drum BAITS/LURES: Fresh dead shrimp, cut bait BEST TIMES: Any tidal movement

Contact Eddie Hernandez at EHernandez@fishgame.com

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Hotspots Focus: Galveston

by Capt. Mike Holmes | TF&G Contributor

Starry Nights, Cold Weather and Hot Fishing

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S ALWAYS, THE WEATHER IN JANUary on the Texas coast could bring just about anything, from a hard freeze to temperatures more suitable for shorts and sandals. Even though I personally feel I have the same allergy to cold

at or near the top of that list. When decent winter tides bring clear water and bait into coastal streams and harbors, fishing can be fast enough to ward off the cold, even for me. One of my favorite spots requires a boat to get there, though not all do. The barge loading dock area of what was once Monsanto Chemical Company on Chocolate Bayou had several things going for it as a winter trout hole. The first was deep water; the second, a light placed near the breakwater in front of the actual loading area. The last little intangible was a “bubble barrier.” Monsanto engineers had designed a system with a perforated pipe running along the bottom through which compressed air

was forced, resulting in a vertical wall of air bubbles intended to break surface tension and resist any chemical spill from making its way out into the bayou channel. This super oxygenated water also attracted hordes of baitfish, and thus the predators who fed on them. Fishing with silver and gold spoons or dead shrimp would produce specks when a cast was made in the area illuminated by the light. A cast to the dark water by the bank would more likely draw a strike from a redfish. Sand trout were also very numerous. While soaking a bait on bottom in hopes of enticing a flounder one night, I ended up boating a 12-pound black drum. Other streams also produce great winter action. My friend, Wimpy Lowe, is famous for catches of trout taken under lights powered by a generator in the Brazos River near Freeport, and homeowners with dock lights on just about any tidal bayou can get into good trout action. Many public piers CONTINUED ON PAGE 69

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weather others have recently complained of, some conditions will get me to brave the cold of a winter night. Speckled trout fishing is T F & G

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Hotspots Focus: Matagorda

by Mike Price | TF&G Contributor

Weighing Key Winter Fish-Finding Factors

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N THE WINTER, FINDING WHERE THE fish are feeding requires consideration of tidal flow, wind, water temperature, depth, underwater terrain, air temperature and the degree of sunshine. It was January 15th and both the air and water temperatures were 55°F. My wife and I were fishing a bayou near the Intracoastal Waterway north of West Matagorda Bay. The tide was incoming and the water had

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fishable clarity of 12 to 18 inches. The sky was overcast. After an hour of lackluster casting, we had only managed to catch a couple of undersized redfish. Then we changed locations, and at the same time the tide changed to very strong outgoing. We moved so that we could fish a narrow passage between a large shallow mudand oyster- bottomed lake and the bayou. Redfish started hitting on every cast. They

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were feasting on baitfish and crabs forced into the narrow passage connecting lake and bayou. We found the bite because we were fishing when the tide changed from incoming to outgoing, and redfish were gathered where an abundance of prey was being pushed through this narrow passage. Dean Thomas, owner of Slowride Guide Service in Aransas Pass said, “You need to find a spot that is a little deeper than the surrounding area, with a good muddy bottom that is close to deep water. That is the key; deep water, when the weather has been cold and dreary and the tide turns. A small window of opportunity opens up when the fish feed at the turn.” There are many places in East and West Matagorda Bays that have shallow water near deep water, such as the flats and oyster reefs near Old Gulf Cut going from the Intracoastal Waterway into East Matagorda Bay; the west side of the Diversion Channel just before the opening to West Matagorda Bay; and Green’s Bayou, which is just south of the Intracoastal Waterway in West Matagorda Bay. It doesn’t matter whether the tide is incoming or outgoing. If you are fishing one of these shallow spots near deep water and the tide changes, most likely the fish will turn on. I was fishing from a kayak on a flat that was near the Intracoastal Waterway. The flat was about 18 inches deep with depressions that were from six to twelve inches deeper. The air temperature was 62 degrees and the water temperature was 58 degrees. A dense fog obscured visibility, the wind was blowing lightly from the north, and the tide was outgoing. For three hours I fished using different lures with no action, although I did see puffs of mud as fish startled when my kayak passed over them. Then the wind shifted to the south and the tide changed to incoming. As I mused about these changes, I was swimming a pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bass Assassin through the water. A strong jerk, followed by the pull of a large fish running, brought me back A L M A N A C


GALVESTON FOCUS to the business at hand. A big trout leaped out of the water and spat out the hook. I continued to drift the flat, and a short time later I caught a 17-inch trout, a 24-inch redfish and an 18-inch trout. This was a true feeding period and I was in the right place. I paddled back and re-drifted this flat and caught another 24-inch redfish and a 29-inch redfish. When the water temperature drops into the low 50s and below, trout, redfish, and flounders go to the deepest spots around because the water there is a little warmer. Fish metabolism slows way down in very cold water because they are cold blooded. Consequently, it is better to fish in the afternoon and give the water time to be warmed by the sun. Water temperatures in the bays will go up by 5°F on a sunny day. Fish tend to gather in deep water locations when a severe cold front lowers the water temperatures. Therefore you should check the Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) website (www.tpwd.state.tx.us) Saltwater Freeze Events web page for offlimits fishing areas before fishing harbors and other deep areas that would hold fish in these circumstances. TPWD website states, “When temperatures on the coast are predicted to fall below 32°F for three or more days, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department executive director has the authority to close some areas to saltwater fishing until the threat from the freeze event is over.” Fishing the bays in January is a challenge, but if you pick the right day and you are fishing when the tide turns, you may find lots of very hungry fish.

t CONTINUED FROM PAGE 67 on these smaller bodies of water, like those on Bastrop Bayou near Demi John Island or the many spots on Galveston Island, can pay off. For those with access or permission, marina and harbor docks can be an excellent hunting ground for winter trout. Empty slips and the boat lanes between docks will often be the scene of hungry trout pushing small menhaden. The abundance of bait in the water can sometimes make it difficult to hook a fish on a dead offering, or even a live one pinned to a small treble hook, but tandem rigged “speck rig” jigs in yellow and white or pink and white will just about always draw strikes. These dock trout are not always big, but are abundant and make a nice foundation on which to build a midwinter fish fry with fresh ingredients. For large fish, try a silver spoon or large jigs, especially those that glow after absorbing light.

THE BANK BITE HOTSPOT: HL&P Spillway Pier LOCATION: Baycliff (There is an RV Park and bait camp for supplies and a place to rest.) ALTERNATE HOTSPOT: San Luis Pass Pier (The channel and deep waters of the Gulf are close enough to attract species like speckled trout to the pier lights in good numbers.) SPECIES: speckled trout, various panfishes LURES/BAITS: live shrimp when available, dead shrimp, small jigs BEST TIMES: a dark night with tidal movement, light wind, and chilly temperatures

Contact Mike Holmes at MHolmes@fishgame.com.

THE BANK BITE OYSTER LAKE If the wind is coming from the northeast and it is a sunny winter day, try fishing West Matagorda Bay at Oyster Lake. Kayakers can launch into Oyster Lake from the bridge going over Palacios Bayou which connects West Matagorda Bay to Oyster Lake. To get to Oyster lake turn south off of FM 521 onto 1095, then turn left on 365 (365 is a bumpy road).

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Hotspots Focus: Upper Mid Coast

by Capt. Chris Martin | TF&G Contributor

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UST BECAUSE CHRISTMAS IS OVER doesn’t mean you have to give-up on fishing. The coastal regions of Texas will still have plenty of speckled-trout, redfish, and even some flounders available this month for those anglers wishing to pursue them. But when the air and water turns chilly, the trout and reds will search for deep-water areas, especially during the overnight and early morning hours. So, depending on just how low the temperatures go, coastal anglers should probably count on having to look for their trout and redfish in deeper locations this month. For anglers of the Texas coastal bend region, such places would include the Colorado River that’s accessible at the town of Matagorda, the Army Hole that’s located behind the protected shores of Matagorda Island at Port O’Connor, the portion of the Intracoastal Waterway that runs between Matagorda and Seadrift, and the Victoria Barge Canal that’s accessible off of San Antonio Bay near Seadrift. During the cold periods of the month when fishing deep water for trout, a preferred fishing practice for wading anglers is to toss soft plastic lures attached to 1/8oz or 1/4oz Lazer-Lock Jigheads. When it’s really cold outside, the fish will generally become quite sluggish, so working the bait slowly across the bottom with a brief hopping rhythm often does the trick. But if hopping the bait doesn’t attract a strike, try slowly working the bait across the bottom in a steady retrieve as you provide an everso-slight twitch of your rod tip every few moments. Both of those methods have pro-

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“ Not every day in January is cold, however. On warmer days, look for trout to move onto shallow flats.

Chasing Coldwater Fish

duced well in deep pockets of water when throwing dark-colored plastics like shrimp tails, bull minnows, Killer Flats Minnows, Cocahoe Minnows, and Trout Killers. Not every day in January is cold, however. On those warmer days, anglers can look for trout to move out of the deep holes and onto shallow-water flats. Whenever temperatures hold higher for about a week or so, anglers should try to take advantage of any shallow water flats that happen to be located adjacent to any of the deep water locations. With January’s weather being sometimes very unpredictable, the trout and the reds like to hold in or near such places where they are able to move fairly easily between

deep water and shallow water based upon what the weather and the bait is doing at the time. During an extended warming period in January, trout can commonly be taken in water as shallow as a couple of feet because the fish will often move up into the skinny water to feed. When there’s a combination of warmth, bait fish activity, and water movement, wading anglers can’t go wrong by chunking top water baits like the Top Dog, She Dog, Super Spook and Super Spook Junior, and the Skitter Walk and Skitter Walk Junior.

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A general practice for using surface-walking baits is that anglers should use bright colors on bright, sunny days in clear water conditions, and should use dark colors on overcast days or in off-colored water conditions. Additionally, the retrieval of these baits should be performed differently for January trout. Preferences vary widely here, but one retrieve which commonly produces is the reel-and-wait routine. This is where you walk-the-dog with the lure for about five cranks on your reel and then simply allow the lure to sit still in the water while you attempt to count to five. Then, repeat the same steps until you have completely retrieved your lure back to where you are standing. If redfish are what you are searching for in January, it is not necessary to look any farther than the many back lakes and drain areas situated all along Matagorda Island between Espiritu Santo Bay and Mesquite Bay. Strong, falling tides this month will sometimes empty the lakes through drain areas such as small bayous and channels. When this happens, large amounts of water are often funneled through small arteries of the channels and bayous as the back lake area is slowly drained into the adjacent main bay system. Where this water dumps into the vastness of a major bay system is where redfish often tend to stage themselves for purposes of ambushing unsuspecting morsels as bait fish and crustaceans are swept from the back country. Wading anglers who have properly positioned themselves at the time of a falling tide can often benefit tremendously from this particular scenario. Here’s to hopes of health, happiness and prosperity for you and your family in 2014. Keep grindin!

Contact Capt. Chris Martin at bayflatslodge@gmail.com A L M A N A C


Hotspots Focus: Rockport

by Capt. Mac Gable | TF&G Contributor

Climate Realities

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VEN THE MOST ARDENT CRITICS OF climate change have to admit that our planet is changing and, for the most part, not for the better. Acidity levels in our oceans are rising due to carbon dioxide uptake. Ocean and sea temperatures have risen an average of a little over one degree. Oxygen levels are dropping as much as three percent in some oceans. Dead zones in our oceans have grown and are believed to be doubling every decade. A trash vortex (trash pile) the size of Texas in the North Atlantic is growing. Global ocean currents are slowing due to warmer temperature levels which have caused earth’s rotation speed to increase, shortening the day by .1 millisecond. Fertilizers running down our rivers are creating massive plankton and algae blooms in the ocean, which in turn is creating even bigger dead zones and further decreasing dissolved oxygen levels. When phytoplankton die, they fall to the sea floor and are ingested by microorganisms. This process removes oxygen, creating low oxygen areas—also known as hypoxic zones. These dead zones will not end up being completely lifeless—jelly fish, for example, could be a winner, for they positively thrive in pollutionrich seas. Jelly fish empires anyone? The warming planet is bleaching to death some of the planet’s biggest reef systems and allowing imbalances of species. This further destroys the filtering marvels that help keep our oceans less toxic. The rise in water temperature causes water to expand. Couple this with the melting at the polar ice caps and you might be launching your boat out of your driveway by the end of the century. The next 90 years will see our population increase to between 9 billion and 11 billion people. The planet is already using T F & G

its natural resources equal to the sustainable production of one and a half planets. How much more will be needed with 30 to 60 percent more people? This truly scares the crap out of me. There are four billion viruses in a one- to two-pint bottle of sea water. While these little guys help hold other microorganisms in place, let them get out of balance and they could exact a devastating toll. Oh, not to worry. There is a profit to be made in the form of climate sequestering. Quite simply this means you figure out a way to store the excess carbon dioxide while removing it from the atmosphere. But wait, the preliminary suggestion is to put it in saltwater, old oil fields or carbon sinks. Great. Let’s pump some more stuff down into Mother Earth. Further, it seems geoengineering is another idea rapidly gaining ground. In its purest form geo-engineering is the a large-scale process of manipulating the earth’s climate to counteract stuff we’ve yet to take control or ownership of. Hell, we can’t

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even predict the weather. So sure, THIS is going to work. “Well, aren’t you a fountain of optimism, Capt. Mac?” you must be saying to yourself. If we are going to hell in a hand basket why does life feel pretty good right now? Because we have yet to really feel the impact of our actions. Any good financial advisor will tell you to spend your profit and not draw from your principal. For decades we have been spending our natural resource capital, and at current pace we will pay sooner than later. Simply put, the currency of life—be it man, or animal, or fish—endures when the birth rate equals the death rate. This equation breaks down in our case, for it seems man has learned to be much better at surviving than dying. Unfortunately, we haven’t given the same attention to the other species on this planet, over which we were given dominion. While we seem to be holding our own, the planet’s species overall are losing the war. Folks, we are tilting already and new pollutants are being introduced as byproducts

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Rockport Focus of our inventiveness and zeal for industry. We better start paying attention. When a species succumbs to environmental pressure, the effect is felt through a complex web of interactions that connect many, many species—and guess what—we are one of them. What can we do? Today we are multiplying faster than the adaptive capacity of our natural resources. For God’s sake, get a grip. Better yet, adopt. We have too many people on this planet. We need to nurture nature to support our needs. Nature offers us things that no other known system can. If we give her a chance she can heal herself but she must have that opportunity. Species that support huge populations and reproduce vigorously have a much better chance of surviving the stresses we throw at them. They do not need to be our focus. We need sanctuaries or, if you will, reserves where hiding, healing, growing, and reproducing can take place. This includes our bays. Not dead zones but life zones, and we should guard them jealously. Let’s do what George W. Bush did when he created the Pacific Protected Area. He added 30 percent to the total area protected in our planet’s oceans. Thirty percent. Like him or not, that makes him the world’s greatest marine conservationist to date. Why can’t we applaud these people? How come they’re not on CNN or National Geographic? That is the kind of legacy we should expect of our elected officials. We no longer have the freeboard to over-exercise willful self-indulgence and flagrant and ugly waste. People have a deep emotional connection to our bays, our oceans and our seas. We need to collectively unleash that power to transform ourselves from being a species that uses up its natural resources to one that cherishes and nurtures them. I for one believe the laws that govern our planetary waters are weak and impossible to enforce in their current state. But at least we have some laws. We need to make them stick. We must learn to live within our means and, given the timetable of the zone of life, we can’t keep looking the other way—we don’t have eons of time left. It’s one thing to destroy a species out of ignorance, but it’s quite another to destroy it with full knowledge. The warning signals are 72 |

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all around us. We can’t cheat nature out of more than it’s capable of producing. We have the means but do we have the will? We need to reinvent what our relationship with nature means. If we heal nature we heal ourselves. I’m not fool enough to believe we can backtrack to some primordial time or condition. Species rise and fall by natural selection, but we don’t have to help. Ecosystems shift and bend, So it has been since the dawn of time. If nature is to weather what looks like the unparalleled challenges ahead, we must help her by strengthening life’s variety and abundance. You see, really, it is basically pretty simple: we must change the way we think. As Margaret Thatcher said: Our THOUGHTS become our words, our words become our actions, our actions become our habits, our habits become our character and our character becomes our destiny. What we THINK is what we become. Happy New Year by the way. ••• Tired of the HO HO HO and mistletoe? Well, let’s fish. You probably have some new fishing gear and the January cold is a good time to use it. Dress warm, bring plenty of warm drink and a warm sweet roll; both go down well on a cold gray day. This is cut-bait time and, of course, soft plastics are a must. You’ll even have some success with finger mullet if you can find them. Live shrimp are scarce and usually pretty lethargic, given the cold water, but if they are lively they can be a great bait to have along. COPANO BAY – The deep dark mud close to Turtle Pen is good for a few trout and some black drum. Use soft plastics for the trout in new penny and morning glory colors. Free-lined, peeled shrimp will trigger the black drum bite. Be patient and quiet and if you have trolling motor use it. The reef adjacent to Smith Channel is a great place for some reds using cut mullet and cut piggy perch. The lighter the rig the better with freelined preferred.

shrimp on a light Carolina rig. Paul Motts Reef is a good wade for some trout and a few reds using new penny jerk shads and sand eels in pepper and pumpkin seed colors. The pot holes in front of Hog Island are a good place for reds using free-lined finger mullet. ST. CHARLES BAY – The mouth of east pocket is a good place to set up for reds and trout on a falling tide. Mud minnows are the ticket here; if they are not available use cut mullet or menhaden on a light Carolina rig. Drifts across Big Sharp Point using soft plastics in smoke and pearl white are good for reds. The key is to drift very slow and be quiet, at the slightest tap set the hook. CARLOS BAY - Carlos Dugout is the best game in town using deep running lures like rattle traps or Bomber HD salt water minnow. A silent cork works well using cut mullet or live shrimp. Let it drift along the shallow shell transition. MESQUITE BAY – Third Chain is good for reds with a north wind, using finger mullet. Cast and try not to reel in until you have a hit. Still some sheepshead around the new spoil area next to Roddy Island. Use a #2 wide gap hook and peeled shrimp. Quick hook sets are the ticket. AYERS BAY – When the wind allows, black drum frequent Second Chain. Use free lined shrimp on a light Carolina rig. Ayers Bay with a north wind is good for trout and reds using live shrimp under a cork.

THE BANK BITE A GOOD PLACE for reds and trout is St Charles Bay cut going into Aransas Bay. You can access via Goose Island State Park. A bucket of live shrimp is hard to beat here and a silent cork is your best rigging. This time of year there is usually not a lot of boats, but be careful as the cut is deep and the current swift. Work the edges of the shell on both sides of the cut.

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

ARANSAS BAY – Grass Island Reef is good for some black drum using peeled

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Hotspots Focus: Lower Coast

by Calixto Gonzales | TF&G Saltwater Editor

Braving the Elements

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UMANS FOR THE MOST PART PREfer comfort over hardship. If we wake up one morning for a fishing trip and the Weather App tells us that isn’t just cold, but DANG COLD outside, we’d as soon call our buddy and tell him to do like we will and go back to bed. The conditions are going to be tough, and the fishing tougher, so why bother? Right? Half of that equation may be accurate because conditions may be below our comfort level, but cold weather fishing can be quite rewarding, even memorable. Trout and redfish don’t go into hibernation when water temperatures dip below 65 degrees. In fact, I try to provide as many spots that are popular trout haunts in the monthly Hot Spots. 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. However, sometimes a serious cold snap turns weather colder than the usual winter fare, and water temperatures will dip down below 60 degrees (the November cold fronts that barreled down into South Texas, for example, pushed LLM water temperatures down to 60 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, some of us are willing to crawl out of bed, bundle up, and brave 50, 40, even high-30 degree weather to wet a line, especially if we’ve 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 T F & G

our dogs won’t even get up and follow us to the kitchen (Stella and Luna, our labs, barely even lift their heads anymore), but we’ll grab rods and tackle box, hitch up the Dargel, 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 don’t want to venture too far from port should consider is the Port Isabel Turning Basin. The deep water of the turning basin is a major fish magnet after a serious cold snap, and it can offer some excellent fishing. Speckled trout will hold along the drop off 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 along the depth break. Tackle and techniques are relatively simple. A live shrimp on a #1/0 Octopus 14 inches below a #3 split shot will present a very natural offering that a trout won’t pass up. Let the bait fall along the edge on a semi-slack 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 three-inch Gulp! Shrimp are good choices too (Glow and Pearl seem to work best, although I have one partner who swears by Nuclear Chicken and does well with it). Fish them the same way as you would a live bait along the depth break and let your offering fall into deeper water. Another good cold water trout spot is the Y, which is the confluence of the Port Isabel Boat Channel and the Brownsville Ship Channel. The drop-offs along the inner

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channel edges and 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 swim bait such as a Berkley Money Minnow are tough to beat. If you want to go a little old school, try using a classic four-inch Kelly Wigglers Shrimp on a ¼-ounce ball or football-style jighead and bounce it along the bottom. If trout are holding in deeper water, one will come along and pick it up; feel for a very subtle tap or even a heavy feel to your line. 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 snappers, 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 farther away from the drop-off and located a school of keeper-sized drum cruising along the bottom of the depth-break. Still, the trout were there, and they will be there pretty much all winter when the weather goes in the toilet.

THE BANK BITE HOT SPOT: Dolphin Point SPECIES: Sheepshead, Black Drum TIPS: Fish live or fresh shrimp under a popping cork. Work near the rocks. Fish on bottom for drum.

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Contact Calixto Gonzales at CGonzales@fishgame.com

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

Bushwhack Some Anahuac Specks by TOM BEHRENS LOCATION: East Galveston HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge GPS: N29 33.804 W94 32.3739 (29.5634, -94.539565) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 51 Series MirrOLures in black back/orange belly, chartreuse/silver sides-something with a lot of flash CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio 281-788-4041 captpaul@gofishgalveston.com TIPS: Leave late in the morning, 8, 9, 10:00 a.m.

to fish. Afternoons can be the best time to fish, but get off the water by 4 p.m. After that it gets cold out there in January. LOCATION: East Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Colorado River GPS: N28 40.539 W95 58.07898 (28.67565, -95.967983) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Norton Sand Shad with a 3/8 ounce lead head CONTACT:

Capt. Tommy Countz 281-450-4037 tcountz@sbcglobal.net TIPS: If it’s not muddy from rains upstream, the Colorado River can be a good spot in January during the day and also at night. Drift along the bank and make casts or if cold let the lure drop to the bottom and drift down the river with the bait behind your boat. LOCATION: East Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Kain Cove GPS: N28 40.32498 W95 50.43 (28.672083, -95.840500) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corky lures CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz 281-450-4037 tcountz@sbcglobal.net TIPS: Wade the south shoreline Working the Corky real slow. Concentrate on the drains coming off the peninsula and around shell. LOCATION: East Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Raymond Shoals GPS: N28 33.02796 W96 18.081 (28.550466, -96.301350) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Bass Assassins in Chicken on a Chain, Hot Chicken, or plum/chartreuse colors CONTACT: Capt. Charlie Paradoski 713-725-2401 CharliePGuideService@gmail.com TIPS: Key on oyster reefs, bait and slicks LOCATION: East Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Half Moon Shoal GPS: N28 43.371 W95 46.22796 (28.72285, -95.770466) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/8 or 3/8 ounce lead heads with Norton Sand Shad CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz 281-450-4037 tcountz@sbcglobal.net TIPS: Fish the mud flats...look for the dirty

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streaks of water.

the entire water column.

LOCATION: East Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Boiler Bayou GPS: N28 38.685 W95 54.06696 (28.64475, -95.901116) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Bass Assassins with 3/8 oz. lead heads CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz 281-450-4037 tcountz@sbcglobal.net TIPS: Drift to locate the fish, keying on dirty streaks of water. Get right in the middle of the streak and that’s where the bait fish and the trout are located.

LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Cove Bayou Shoreline GPS: N29 14.18196 W94 56.4609 (29.236366, -94.941015) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Saltwater Shad Assassins CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio 281-788-4041 captpaul@gofishgalveston.com TIPS: Bait color choice should be based on water clarity. Dark colors in off-colored water, light colors in good water clarity.

LOCATION: Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Jack’s Pocket GPS: N29 44.07696 W94 45.852 (29.734616, -94.764200) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Tidal Surge Maniac Mullet CONTACT: Capt. Steve Hillman 409-256-7937 captsteve@hillmanguideservice.com TIPS: The Tidal Surge Maniac Mullet is very similar to the Corky --a fat body that tapers down to a split tail with a lot of action and swims straight. LOCATION: Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Long Island Bayou GPS: N29 46.707 W94 45.01296 (29.77845, -94.750216) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Bass Assassins CONTACT: Capt. Steve Hillman 409-256-7937 captsteve@hillmanguideservice.com TIPS: Lure color choice depends on water clarity-dark colors in off color water and light colors in clear water. LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Starvation Cove GPS: N29 14.18196 W94 56.4609 (29.236366, -94.941015) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies in pearl/chartreuse, pink or solid plum colors CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio 281-788-4041 captpaul@gofishgalveston.com TIPS: Slow presentation---allow the bait to work T F & G

TIPS: Don’t forget a gold spoon...1/2 ounce if you are drifting, 1/4 ounce if you are wading. Noise and flash--it does not get any better. LOCATION: West Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Greens Bayou GPS: N28 29.73798 W96 13.56498 (28.495633, -96.226083) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: 51 series MirrOLures in chartreuse/gold or Hot Pink colors

LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Snake Island Cove GPS: N29 9.56496 W95 2.21496 (29.159416, -95.036916) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 51 Series MirrOLures in black back/orange belly, chartreuse/silver sides-something with a whole lot of flash CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio 281-788-4041 captpaul@gofishgalveston.com TIPS: Fish 3 days prior to a full moon because of the effect the moon phase will have on tidal movement.

LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: North Deer Island GPS: N29 16.96398 W94 56.22294 (29.282733, -94.937049) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: MirrOLure MirrOdine XL in Texas Chicken color CONTACT: Capt. Steve Hillman 409-256-7937 captsteve@hillmanguideservice.com TIPS: Wade the oyster shell bottoms and drift the deep mud guts. When it gets real cold move to the deep mud guts. LOCATION: West Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Bay Harbor Flats GPS: N29 7.31196 W95 5.92794 (29.121866, -95.098799) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Gold spoon CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio 281-788-4041 captpaul@gofishgalveston.com

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Texas Hotspots CONTACT: Capt. Charlie Paradoski 713-725-2401 CharliePGuideService@gmail.com TIPS: “I like using the Corky for wade fishing because it’s a slow moving bait.The slower you move it, the better it is.” LOCATION: West Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Cotton Bayou Shoreline GPS: N28 31.34196 W96 12.48894 (28.522366, -96.208149) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Black Magic Norton Sand Shad using 1/16 or 1/8 ounce lead head CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz 281-450-4037 tcountz@sbcglobal.net TIPS: Wade fishing...”I love to fish when northers blow all the water out. When that happens the redfish have to come out of the back areas. Some guts that used to be waist deep will now be only knee deep with redfish ganged up.”

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Rocky Reds in Quarantine by DUSTIN WARNCKE and CAPT. CHRIS MARTIN LOCATION: Rockport HOTSPOT: Quarantine Area GPS N27 52.51686 W97 3.00648 (27.875281, -97.050108) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Dead shrimp, live or Cut Mullet CONTACT: Capt. Charlie Newton 361-729-8220 TIPS: Use a 1-ounce egg sinker on a drop line with dead shrimp, cut or live mullet. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: ICW GPS: N27 37.167 W97 15.004 (27.61945, -97.250067) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp. Soft plastics CONTACT:

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Captain Mike Hart 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441 brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Water temperature draws trout to the dropoff of the big ditch in winter, just like in summer. In this case, it’s warmer water. Free-line a shrimp or a shrimp tail on a light (1/16th) jighead along the edge. Gulp! Shrimp tails are an excellent option. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: King Ranch GPS: N 27 25.415 W 97 22.042 (27.423586, -97.367363) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp. Soft plastics in Avocado/chartreuse, Motor Oil/chartreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse. Topwaters CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441 brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: trout will spread out on the potholes after a stretch of mild weather. Drift and fish the potholes thoroughly. A drift sock is a handy tool. It will slow down and direct your drift so you can fish more efficiently. Use a live shrimp or soft plastic under a Paradise Popper or similar noisemaker. Don’t shy away from a topwater. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: JFK Causeway GPS: N 27 38.749 W 97 15.275 (27.645823, -97.254581) SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: live shrimp. Soft plastics in red/ white, Texas Shad CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441 brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Work along the pilings and the deep holes for some robust flatties. Use a bottom rig to get a live shrimp or baitfish down, or a ¼ ounce jighead with a soft plastic such a shad or shrimp tail. HOTSPOT: Tropic Isles GPS: N27 37.587 W 97 17.430 (27.62645, -97.2905) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Soft plastics in Plum, Mardi Gras, rootbeer, rootbeer/red flake CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441 brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The deep water remains a viable option

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after a strong front that drops air and water temperatures precipitously. Fish slowly and near the bottom with soft plastics. These fish have their noses in the mud, so you will have to put the bait right in front of them. Please be aware that these fish are vulnerable to over-exploitation when they are so aggregated. Practice some moderation. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Oalsby Hole GPS: N27 31.431 W96 18.274 (27.52385, -97.304567) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, soft plastics in Plum, Mardi Gras, rootbeer, rootbeer/red flake CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441 brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Anchor up near the edge of the channel and fish the deeper water thoroughly. Hop a jig or shrimp (or a combination of the two) along the channel edges. In cooler weather, trout will be sitting near the bottom, and you will have to put the lure right on their noses

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Point North for Arroyo Black Drum by CALIXTO GONZALES LOCATION: Arroyo Colorado HOTSPOT: North Point GPS: N26 21.36936 W97 20.8443 (26.356156, -97.347405) SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, fresh dead shrimp, Gulp! Shrimp in Glow, Rootbeer/Chart, New Penny. CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez 956-551-9581 TIPS: Those hardy enough to fish on a cold night will be rewarded with some nice to awesome black drum hitting their rigs. Live shrimp or fresh shrimp on bottom rigs or split shot set-ups will do quite nicely if you bounce a scented shrimp tail on a 3/8th ounce jighead along the bottom, you should get some pickups as well The full moon is the best A L M A N A C


time of the month to fish. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: The Y GPS: N26 1.89936 W97 13.69206 (26.031656, -97.228201) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live Shrimp, soft plastics in Red/ white, Mullet, Texas Shad. CONTACT: Captain Carlos Garcia 956-433-6094, 956-433-6028 southtexasredfish200@gmail.com TIPS: Fish the mangrove-lined shallows on warm and mild days. If the fish aren’t feeding up to, then move to the drop-offs into the channels. A depth finder is helpful to locate fish that are lurking on the drop-offs. Use loft plastics if you eschew live baits. Jerkbaits are good shallow, leadheads down deep. Shad tails are often most effective. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Marker 111 GPS: N26 41.10354 W97 25.63914 (26.685059, -97.427319) SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: Live Shrimp/popping cork, Gulp! Shrimp in Glow, Rootbeer/Chartreuse, New Penny. CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez 956-551-9581 TIPS: Find schools of drum moving up and down the ICW and feeding along the edges and on shelves. Use live shrimp under a popping cork when the drum are up on the shallow, or on a split shot rig or on a white bucktail if they are feeding on the drop-off. Gulp! Shrimp on a ball or football head jig also work in deeper water.

HOTSPOT: South Mansfield Jetties GPS: N26 33.75276 W97 16.18398 (26.562546, -97.269733) SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: Live shrimp, fresh shrimp, crab chunks. CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle 956-944-2367 TIPS: Large black drum lurk in the holes around the point of the south jetties and are worth an adventure on a calm day. Use bottom rigs with live or fresh bait. Crab chunks are drum candy and will tempt some beasts that will strain even the sturdiest tackle. Let the fish swim off a bit with the bait before setting the hook. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Fred Stone County Park (bank access) GPS: N26 34.15098 W97 25.77894 (26.569183, -97.429649) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Live bait, cut mullet, soft plastics in glow, Pearl. CONTACT:

Harbor Bait and Tackle 956-944-2367 TIPS: Fish at night on the pier to intercept redfish that are migrating up and down the ICW, which is within casting distance of the pier. Anglers usually use live shrimp, mullet or pinfish. Cut mullet also works well, as does crab bait. Soft plastics in glow patterns work well under the lights. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: West Bay GPS: N26 35.502 W97 24.08094 (26.5917, -97.401349) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Topwaters, soft plastics in red/ white, LSU, gold or copper spoons. CONTACT: Captain Danny Neu 979-942-0165 danny.neu.39@facebook.com TIPS: If you choose to go after trout Walk a topwater along in the shallows. Swimming a shad tail on a 1/16th ounce head in the deeper water also works. The key is fishing slowly. Trout don’t like chasing their meals when the water’s cold.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Marker 75 GPS: N26 12.75402 W97 15.66792 (26.212567, -97.261132) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Live Bait, cut ballyhoo. Topwaters in light colors. Soft Plastics in Red/White, Rootbeer, Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse. CONTACT: Captain Carlos Garcia 956-433-6094, 956-433-6028 southtexasredfish200@gmail.com TIPS: Fish the shallows of the spoils near 75 as the sun warms up the day for trout that are patrolling for an easy meal A larger (4-6”) topwater or plastic fished s-l-o-w-l-y will be most effective because of the feeding habits of bigger trout LOCATION: Port Mansfield T F & G

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Texas Hotspots PINEY WOODS

Slow it Down for Lake Fork Bass by BOB HOOD and DUSTIN WARNCKE LOCATION: Fork HOTSPOT: Caney Creek GPS: N32 50.5542 W95 33.3324 (32.84257, -95.555540) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Jigs, deep-diving crank baits, plastic worms, lizards CONTACT: Seth Vanover 903-736-4557 svanover2008@hotmail.com TIPS: This is the time of the year to fish very slowly with jigs, Texas or Carolina-rigged plastic worms or deep-diving crank baits. Fish the tree lines, points, and roadbeds. Fish very slowly, feeling your line for even the slightest indication of a strike Swim baits fished along the edges of the flats near deeper water also often work well. This is a good time of year to hook into a double-digit size bass.

LOCATION: Caddo HOTSPOT: Britts Gap GPS: N32 42.67548 W94 5.52222 (32.711258, -94.092037) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Spinnerbaits, plastic worms CONTACT: Paul Keith 318-343-7455 caddoguide1@att.net caddolakefishing.com TIPS: Fish your lures as close to the cypress trees as you can, especially the isolated trees away from the main rows of trees except when casting spinnerbaits through the gaps of the trees and moss. Work the lures very slowly. Curly-tailed worms will work best when letting them fall beside the trees. The bass usually will be seeking shady areas for ambush points so fish the shady sides of the trees first. LOCATION: Conroe HOTSPOT: Promenade Point GPS: N30 24.6324 W95 36.41538 (30.41054, -95.606923) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Primos Dipping Bait CONTACT: Richard Tatsch

936-291-1277 admin@fishdudetx.com fishdudetx.com TIPS: Use a sponge for the Primos Dipping Bait. I prefer light line with a one-eighth ounce barrel weight. Work the stumps here and on other points on the lower end of the lake. I chum the area with range cubes or soured maize to draw in the fish. Re-chum the area again about every half hour to bring in more catfish. LOCATION: Lake O the Pines HOTSPOT: Highway 729 Bridge GPS: N32 47.62512 W94 32.88672 (32.793752, -94.548112) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms, lizards, jigs, deepdiving crank baits, spinnerbaits CONTACT: Sonny Kopech 903-592-8221 SKopech@hotmail.com TIPS: Fish the bridge pilings with plastic worms or jigs early. Some of them have brush piles next to them or not far from them near the creek channel. During the middle of the day, fish the edge of the channel above the bridge with crank baits, spinnerbaits and jigs. Work the lures slowly. Some big bass hang out in the stumps close to the channel. LOCATION: Livingston HOTSPOT: River Bend GPS: N30 52.41996 W95 19.17 (30.873666, -95.3195) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Fresh carp, buffalo, tilapia, filleted and scaled CONTACT: David C. Cox 936-291-9602 dave@palmettoguideservice.com palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Big blue catfish like cold, miserable weather so the worst it gets the better the fishing will be. This is a great time to drift fresh cut buffalo, carp or tilapia on a Carolina rig using a 1/2 to oneounce egg sinker. Drift off the bottom in 12 feet of water until you reach the river channel where it drops off into 45 feet of water. Also, Penwaugh Marina offers good bank access if you don’t have a boat. LOCATION: Toledo Bend HOTSPOT: Busby Point GPS: N31 17.89554

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W93 42.387 (31.298259, -93.706450) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Topwater: Stanley Ribbit Frog, Texas Rigged 8” Zoom Lizard or 10” Zoom U-Tail Worm and a 1/4 oz. Shakey-Head with a 8” watermelon Zoom Trick Worm CONTACT: Sure Strike Guide Service 254-368-0294 surestrikeguideservice@yahoo.com www.surestrikeguideservice.com TIPS: Fishing seems to be the best the first half of the day with large numbers of fish in the 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 pound range being caught. Focus mainly on main lake points and flats close to the points and then move to deeper water later in the afternoon. Early morning should provide some great top-water action up in and along shallow grass beds in four feet or less of water. Later in the day, move out to the edge of the flats and cast onto the flats in about 10 feet of water. LOCATION: Toledo Bend HOTSPOT: River Channel Bend GPS: N31 22.34544 W93 38.39412 (31.372424, -93.639902) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Sassy Shads, jigs, minnows CONTACT: Greg Crafts 936-368-7151 gregcrafts@yahoo.com toledobendguide.com TIPS: The white bass are not far from moving up the Sabine River channel to spawn. Look for them to be stacked up on the sand bars and shallow points near the river channel. Watch for bird activity. Work the sand bars closest to the channel with jigs, spoons, Rat-L-Traps or minnows rigged on a Carolina rig with light line.

PRAIRIES & LAKES

Give Deep Lavon Crappie a Face Lift by BOB HOOD and DUSTIN WARNCKE LOCATION: Lavon HOTSPOT: Face of the Dam GPS: N33 2.20092 W96 27.85854 (33.036682, -96.464309) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Jigs, minnows

CONTACT: Billy Kilpatrick 214-232-7847 straightlineguide@yahoo.com TIPS: The crappie suspend deep out from the face of the dam at this time of the year. I like to slow-troll four to six rods at a time with each set at different depths beginning at two feet off the bottom in 15 feet of water. I start at 25 yards off the face of the dam and zig zag for as far as 100 yards. A black and blue jig rigged on a 1/8-ounce jig head is my favorite but I also carry small minnows in case the jig bite is slow. LOCATION: Aquilla HOTSPOT: Triplet Point GPS: N31 54.9453 W97 12.26382 (31.915755, -97.204397) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Tail Hummers, Swim Baits CONTACT: Randy Routh 817-822-5539 teamredneck01@hotmail.com teamredneck.net TIPS: The white bass will be chasing shad early and late off this point unless it is a cloudy day. On cloudy days, you can expect the whites to be chasing shad here off and on all day. Let your lures go down deep beneath the fish that you mark on your graph to increase your chances of catching the larger fish. LOCATION: Bastrop HOTSPOT: West Side Cove GPS: N30 9.7389 W97 17.2824 (30.162315, -97.288040) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas Rigged Mister Twister Pockit Craws in Bull Bream Color, Carolina Rigged plastics, Shad Colored Crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, topwater lures CONTACT: Robert Brown 512-658-5530 ciscobb@yahoo.com www.bassmanaustin.com TIPS: Focus on the outside edges of grass any time of the year. During the schooling months in the summer, chase the schoolies around the main lake and dam areas. Fish Carolina and Texas Rigs on main lake humps, any ledges you can find or outside edges of the grass. LOCATION: Belton HOTSPOT: COA Cove GPS: N31 9.5337 W97 27.5184 (31.158895, -97.45864)

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SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Weightless fluke in Zooms Smokin Shad color, Shad colored Jerk-Bait, Watermelon/red Baby Brush-hog, Texas-Rigged with a 1/4 oz. weight CONTACT: Sure Strike Guide Service 254-368-0294 surestrikeguideservice@yahoo.com www.surestrikeguideservice.com/ TIPS: Fish are being taken early in the morning fishing around stick-up in the backs of the coves. Around mid-morning you will want to move to the mouth of the coves and fish the points leading into the coves. Here a watermelon / red Baby Brushhog, Texas-Rigged with a 1/4 oz. weight has been producing fish. About noon and for a couple hours afterward you will find fish holding along deep main lake points. With the cold fronts moving in, this should cause the water temperature to drop and fishing should be good in the coming weeks. LOCATION: Belton HOTSPOT: Arrowhead Point GPS: N31 7.1733 W97 29.30796 (31.119555, -97.488466) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 1/2 oz. Football Head Jig, “C”-Rigged Stick Bait, Flutter Spoon, 1/4oz. Shakeyhead tipped with a 6-inchTrick Worm. Warmer Days: small medium diving crankbait or Drop Shot. CONTACT: Sure Strike Guide Service and Boat Detailing 254-368-0294 surestrikeguideservice@yahoo.com www.surestrikeguideservice.com TIPS: Bass fishing in Central Texas in January can be summed up in one word “tough”. Fishing Central Texas in January requires small baits, a very slow presentation and multiple casts into the same spot, hoping to get a bit. Water temperatures have dropped and the bass are not going to move far or as fast for a meal. Places that you will want to look for fish are going to be at the ends of main lake points or bends in the main lake river channel. Another good place to find bass especially on the warmer days in January are deep points leading into coves and these points are made even better is if there is a creek channel or deep cut running close to it. Whichever area or method you choose, remember that you will have to fish slowly. LOCATION: Cedar Creek HOTSPOT: Trinity Channel GPS: N32 14.51034 W96 8.11254 (32.241839, -96.135209) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Sassy Shad jigs, slabs, spoons

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Texas Hotspots CONTACT: Jason Barber 903-603-2047 kingscreekadventures@yahoo.com kingscreekadventures.com TIPS: Work your graph over this area to locate the channels and fish the edges off them by bouncing spoons, slabs and Sassy Shad jigs off the bottom until you locate the fish. Work the lures slowly at this time of the year. Casting out and bouncing them back works best but jigging vertically under the boat also will produce fish when they are stacked up at the edges of the drop-offs. LOCATION: Fayette County HOTSPOT: Intake Canal GPS: N29 55.61484 W96 44.99214 (29.926914, -96.749869) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Monster Punch Bait Worms CONTACT: Weldon Kirk 979-229-3103 weldon_edna@hotmail.com FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Use a slip cork to prevent hang-ups. A No. 2 Kahle hook is best for shad and a No. 4 treble hook is best for punch bait. The best times to fish are mid-morning and late-evening. Fish the rocks and grass along the shoreline on the right side of

the canal. Chum with soured maize to increase your catches. LOCATION: Gibbons Creek. HOTSPOT: Gibbons-Hogg Creeks GPS: N30 37.76628 W96 3.73146 (30.629438, -96.062191) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Monster Punch Bait, shad CONTACT: Weldon Kirk 979-229-3103 weldon_edna@hotmail.com FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Concentrate on the water at 15-16 feet deep where the two creek channels meet. Use a 4-0 Kahle hook for the larger blue catfish. The water is the coldest at this time of the year so move into deeper water if you need to for the larger blue catfish. Dip the shrimp into stink bait to produce more catches on that bait. LOCATION: Lewisville HOTSPOT: Windjammer Point GPS: N33 7.37394 W96 56.21574 (33.122899, -96.936929) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Sudden Impact Fiber Bait, fresh gizzard shad CONTACT:

Bobby Kubin 817-455-2894 bobby@bobby-catfishing.com bobby-catfishing.com TIPS: The fish are in their solid winter pattern. Drift fishing still will work but your best bet is to anchor off this and other main-lake points close to a channel or hump in 30-60 feet of water. Locate the schools of baitfish or catfish on your graph and anchor over them. Use either a Carolina or Santee-Cooper rig with fresh gizzard shad or punch bait. LOCATION: Palestine HOTSPOT: Main Lake Points GPS: N32 9.87954 W95 29.67042 (32.164659, -95.494507) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Slabs, Sassy Shads CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff 903-561-7299 ricky@rickysguideservice.com rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Work this point and all others in this area by bouncing the Slabs and Sassy Shad jigs off the bottom. Keep an eye out for birds feeding in the area. They will help lead you the schools of white bass even when the fish are not surfacing. Use chrome or chartreuse colors. LOCATION: Palestine HOTSPOT: Kickapoo Creek GPS: N32 10.67622 W95 28.84824 (32.177937, -95.480804) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Shimmy Shakers, Mr. Twister Pocket Craws, Comida Worms CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff 903-561-7299 ricky@rickysguideservice.com rickysguideservice.com TIPS: There are lots of stumps in Kickapoo Creek on both sides of the highway bridge. Fish the stumps that are the closest to the creek channel first and then fish the stumps that are on top of the numerous ridges here. Large deep-diving crank baits often pick up some big bass in this area, too. LOCATION: Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Windsock Point GPS: N31 57.78216 W96 9.49764 (31.963036, -96.158294) SPECIES: white bass

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BEST BAITS: Sassy Shad jigs, Rat-L-Traps, Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons 903-389-4117 simmonsroyce@hotmail.com gonefishin.biz TIPS: The fish often suspend in the deepest water off Windsock Point at this time of the year. Watch for feeding gulls and pelicans to help you locate the suspended fish. Concentrate on deep drop-offs in 30-40 feet of water but don’t hesitate to move out to 50 feet. Lower your lures and slowly work them back up the water column to locate the depths the fish are holding in. Bank access is available at Fisherman’s Point Marina. LOCATION: Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Pelican Point GPS: N31 59.1684 W96 10.4658 (31.98614, -96.174430) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Cut threadfin shad, punch bait CONTACT: Bob Holmes 214-728-3310 bobholmesgs@aol.com TIPS: The catfish will be in deep water at this time of the year. This point as well as Windsock Point near the dam, Ferguson Point at mid-lake on the south side and the area where the Richland and Chambers creek channels come together are good places to find them using cut shad or punch bait. The cut shad usually will produce the larger catfish.

SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Monster Punch Bait, shrimp CONTACT: Weldon Kirk 979-229-5103 weldon_edna@hotmail.com FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: Drive slow in this area due to lots of submerged rocks that are hazardous when the water level is low. Look for sharp drop-offs in water 16-26 feet deep. anchor and cast toward the island. The deeper water should hold the larger blue catfish. LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow HOTSPOT: North Shoreline GPS: N31 1.58754 W97 33.804 (31.026459, -97.5634) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Texas-Rigged 6” Trick Worm in watermelon / red or a Baby Brush-Hog in the same color, small chrome and black Jerk-Bait, black lipless crankbait. CONTACT: Sure Strike Guide Service 254-368-0294 surestrikeguideservice@yahoo.com www.surestrikeguideservice.com/ TIPS: Fishing has been good all day and most have been taken between the shoreline and the edges of the creek channels running into the backs of the coves. With the lake as low as it is, another good spot has been the small isolated grass beds that have popped up. When you find them, fish a small chrome and black Jerk-Bait

above the grass bed or a chrome and black lipless crankbait along the edge or thru the grass bed. LOCATION: Tawakoni HOTSPOT: Deep Trees GPS: N32 51.83772 W95 57.67848 (32.863962, -95.961308) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Punch bait, cut bait CONTACT: Tony Parker 903-348-1619 tawakonifising@yahoo.com tonyparkerfishing.com TIPS: Anchor or tie up to fish the deeper trees with punch bait for channel catfish. The best action will be in the trees close to gradual deeper water. Big blue catfish also are on the prowl at this time of the year and will take cut bait best when fished on a Carolina rig close to the channels or humps. LOCATION: Tawakoni HOTSPOT: State Park GPS: N32 51.31296 W95 59.62092 (32.855216, -95.993682) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Sassy Shad, Slabs, spoons CONTACT: Tony Parker 903-348-1619 tawakonifishing@yahoo.com tonyparkerfishing.com TIPS: Search for schools of shad or stripers on your sonar graph off the point

LOCATION: Richland Chambers HOTSPOT: Highway 287 Bridge GPS: N32 0.4641 W96 12.19788 (32.007735, -96.203298) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Minnows, jigs CONTACT: Bob Holmes 214-728-3310 bobholmesgs@aol.com TIPS: Crappies will hold tight to the horizontal cross-members on the bridge pilings. Position your boat as close to the bridge pilings as possible and slowly work jigs or minnows down on top of and beside the cross-members. Those that you find with brush on them usually will hold the most crappies. Use small jigs or minnows on a 1/8-ounce split shot and six to eight-inch leader. LOCATION: Somerville HOTSPOT: Dam Rock Island GPS: N30 18.7806 W96 31.66494 (30.31301, -96.527749) T F & G

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Texas Hotspots working from deep water in and then back out again. Jig the lures just off the bottom and if you don’t catch fish move up the water column. working the lures in a slow rise-and-fall method. Chrome and chartreuse are the best colors to use on your lures. LOCATION: Texoma HOTSPOT: Lower River Channel GPS: N33 52.44024 W96 36.1038 (33.874004, -96.601730) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Slabs, Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey 877-786-4477 bigfish@striperexpress.com striperexpress.com TIPS: Fish the lures just off the bottom along the river channel. Watch for bird activity to lead you to the feeding schools in deep water. There may be several other boats in the area you want to fish so exercise courtesy whenever fishing near another boat. Avoid using your outboard motor when close to another boat that is anchored or using a trolling motor to position themselves in an area. LOCATION: Waco HOTSPOT: 340 Bridge GPS: N31 31.578 W97 13.79142 (31.5263, -97.229857) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Watermelon colored 1/4oz jig, flutter spoon CONTACT: Sure Strike Guide Service 254-368-0294 surestrikeguideservice@yahoo.com www.surestrikeguideservice.com/ TIPS: Early is the time to be on the lake and look for largemouth bass holding along rocky shorelines in seven feet or less of water. After about 9 a.m., a few can still be caught in the shallow water, however most have moved to deeper water. A good spot at this time is by the dam in about 40 foot of water and fish a flutter spoon down in about 26 to 28 foot of water. LOCATION: Whitney HOTSPOT: State Park GPS: N31 55.06686 W97 21.97308 (31.917781, -97.366218) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Wide Eyed Shad, Bass Assassins CONTACT:

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Randy Routh 817-822-5539 teamredneck01@hotmail.com teamredneck.net TIPS: Slow is the name of the game. The shad have been pushed up into the creeks and the stripers are gorging themselves on them. Cast three-inch Wide Eyed Shad out behind the boat and slow troll them. Once you locate the fish, switch to 5-6-inch Bass Assassins. Chartreuse is the best color. Cast the Bass Assassins out and let them go to the bottom, then dead stick the lures. The bite will be very light. Set the hook at the slightest tap on your line.

PANHANDLE

PK White Bass Get Ready to Spawn by BOB HOOD and DUSTIN WARNCKE LOCATION: Possum Kingdom HOTSPOT: Carter Island GPS: N32 57.35904 W98 25.46712 (32.955984, -98.424452) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Mister Twister curly-tail grubs, Rat-L-Traps CONTACT: Dean Heffner 940-329-0036 fav7734@aceweb.com TIPS: At this time of the year the fish will move into this area anytime there are some freshwater inflows coming into the lake. They are getting ready to spawn and will stack up wherever the water is coming in. Fish black-chrome, black-blue or bone-colored Rat-L-Traps and Mister Twister curly-tail grubs on 1/8, 1/4 or 3/8-ounce jig heads. If there are no inflows, look for the fish along the river channel between Sky Camp and Costello Island. LOCATION: Alan Henry HOTSPOT: Creek Channel GPS: N33 2.7285 W101 3.7956 (33.045475, -101.06326) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Heavy jigs, heavy spoons, and drop shots CONTACT:

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Norman Clayton’s Guide Services 806-792-9220 nclayton42@sbcglobal.net www.lakealanhenry.com/norman_clayton.htm TIPS: This will be a good time of year to find out how to use your electronics on your boat on Lake Alan Henry because most of the time you will be able to find the bass in the deep water close to a school of shad. It’s a good time to break out the heavy jigs, heavy spoons, and drop shots. The bass will be anywhere from shallow to very deep depending on the day. If possibly, pick a sunny day because it will be a lot easier to catch bass with the bright sun shining than on a cloudy day. The bass will be stacked up in the deep water by the dam area and also in the mouths of the major creeks. Look for bass stacked up in the mouths of Rocky creek, Ince, Little Grape, and Big Grape creeks. Some of the bass will also be stacked up over the main river channel of the Brazos River. Go slow and watch your electronics until you see the blips on the screen. Throw out a buoy so that you can have a reference point and stay on the school of bass or shad. The big part of catching bass in this cold water is to have the patience to look for the schools of fish before you start fishing.

BIG BEND

Draw Down on Amistad Bass by BOB HOOD and DUSTIN WARNCKE LOCATION: Amistad HOTSPOT: Salem Point Draws GPS: N29 29.12802 W101 5.8464 (29.485467, -101.09744) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms, Senkos, Stanley Wedgetail Minnows, Roadrunners CONTACT: James Burkeen 830-734-9652 jjburkeen@gmail.com amistadbassin.com TIPS: Fish the rocky drop-offs with ultra-light equipment, letting the Wedgetail Minnows weightless Senkos or Roadrunners fall slowly and then lifting your rod up very lightly. The strikes often occur when the small lures are on the fall. Later in the day, use Carolina-rigged plastic worms in the A L M A N A C


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HILL COUNTRY

Misery Loves Granger Catfish by BOB HOOD and DUSTIN WARNCKE LOCATION: Granger HOTSPOT: Main Lake Points GPS: N30 42.19236 W97 20.88204 (30.703206, -97.348034) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Punch bait, cut bait CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell 512-365-7761 crappie1@hotmail.com gotcrappie.com TIPS: This is a great time of the year to catch big blue catfish on jug lines. The fish like cold, miserable weather. Set your lines where the wind is blowing shad toward a shallow shoal or point. Drifting these areas with a Carolina rig baited with punched bait or cut bait also can be very productive. LOCATION: Austin HOTSPOT: Docks GPS: N30 21.06078 W97 47.85858 (30.351013, -97.797643) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: River2Sea S-Waver. Pacemaker Flatline Jig or Picasso Jig with a V&M Split Tail Beaver or Delta Bug trailer will work around docks and rocks. V&M Wild Thang 8.5, V&M Crazy Craw, and V&M Flippin Hog CONTACT: Brian Parker and Clint Wright 817-808-2227 lakeaustinfishing@yahoo.com www.LakeAustinFishing.com TIPS: Start fishing on the docks in the morning and move deeper throughout the day. With the recent heavy rains on Lake Austin, the run off of mud and debris has tremendously clouded the lake. I would suggest throwing baits that move water BUT fish them slow as the bite is VERY subtle. The River2Sea S-Waver is a great winter time bait as well. Slow and steady will reward you with that one bite your looking for. Keep in mind the shad movement, so pay attention to your electronics. If there’s baitfish, there is most definitely a big mouth close by ready to eat them. T F & G

LOCATION: Buchanan HOTSPOT: Dam Area GPS: N30 45.1032 W98 25.24572 (30.75172, -98.420762) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Zara Spooks, slabs, jigs, and crank baits. CONTACT: Ken Milam’s Guide Service (325) 379-2051 kmilam@verizon.net www.striperfever.com/ TIPS: The stripers and hybrids are hitting Zara Spooks. Just about anything top water will work. Fish under the gulls and locate them starting at end of the lake around the dam or out in front of it. Fish will also be in open water chasing schools of bait fish. Be sure if you think you have a white bass that it is not a small hybrid that will cost you a fine! Be sure to follow TPWD’s rules. LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Cranes Point GPS: N29 54.2136 W98 17.4684 (29.90356, -98.291140) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Spoons, Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Steve Nixon 210-573-1230 steve@sanantoniofishingguides.com sanantoniofishingguides.com TIPS: Watch for bird activity in this area to help locate schools of fish. Let the spoons or Sassy Shads go all the way to the bottom and then bring them up one to two cranks off the bottom. The fish may take the lures very lightly. Watch your sonar unit to look for schools of shad or striped bass. Work the lures up the water column to search for suspended fish if the fish are not on the bottom. Some white bass also are in this area. LOCATION: Inks Lake HOTSPOT: Upper Lake GPS: N30 44.9505 W98 23.9325 (30.749175, -98.398875) SPECIES: striper BEST BAITS: Pearl/chartreuse flicker shad lures for white bass. Cut bait or stink bait for catfish. Live shad for Stripers CONTACT: Clancy Terrill 512-633-6742 centraltexasfishing@yahoo.com www.centraltexasfishing.com TIPS: Constant level lake. New water from rains always improves fishing. Early morning flat-lining big shad on upper end just past Hwy 29 bridge producing some nice striper catches. Trolling

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

pearl/chartreuse flicker shad in same area good for white bass. Catfish are excellent on cut bait on rod/reel or jug lines early and night/shallow, midday/deep.

SOUTH TEXAS PLAINS

Falcon Bass Head Up-River by BOB HOOD and DUSTIN WARNCKE LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: Upper river coves GPS: N26 40.6884 W99 11.52732 (26.67814, -99.192122) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Football jigs Worms, lizards CONTACT: Robert Amaya 956-765-1442 robert@robertsfishingtackle.com robertsfishingtackle.com TIPS: Concentrate on the outside bushes and fish them tight with the jigs. Brown and blue or black and blue are good colors to use throughout the winter months. Work the bushes slowly all around the point and in the nearby coves. You may have to pitch the jigs into one bush several times before the bass will strike.

Find Thousands of Texas Fishing Hotspots with our HOTSPOT FINDER app: www.FishGame.com/hotspots

NEW EDITION ORDER NOW

www.FishandGameGear.com

G A M E ®

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 4

|

83


Sportsman’s Daybook JANUARY 2014

Tides and Prime Times

USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

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

T12

T4

T11

T10

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

T9 T8 T7

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

T6 T17

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

T13 T5

T14

T15 T16

T3 T2 T1

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

T18

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

T19

T20

PEAK DAYS: The closer the moon is to your location, the stronger the influence. FULL or NEW MOONS provide the strongest influnce of the month. PEAK TIMES: When a Solunar Period falls within 30 minutes to an hour of sunrise or sunset, anticipate increased action. A moon rise or moon set during one of these periods will cause even greater action. If a FULL or NEW MOON occurs during a Solunar Period, expect the best action of the season.

T21

TIDE CORRECTION TABLE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T22 T23

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

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

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

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY:

12a

AM/PM Timeline

84 |

AM/PM Timeline Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

5:30 — 7:30 AM

Green: Falling Tide

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

6p

12a

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 4

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

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

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

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

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

T F & G

A L M A N A C

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


SYMBOL KEY = New Moon l º = First Quarter l = Full Moon » = Last Quarter « = Good Day n = Best Day SUNDAY

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 2nd Score Graph Score Best

30 «

Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 5:29p Moonrise: 5:07a Set: 4:03p

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 5:30p Moonrise: 6:10a Set: 5:06p

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:31p Moonrise: 7:09a Set: 6:13p

Dec 31 « Jan 1 l

2 «

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:31p Moonrise: 8:04a Set: 7:21p

FRIDAY

3 «

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:32p Moonrise: 8:53a Set: 8:28p

SATURDAY

4

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:33p Moonrise: 9:38a Set: 9:34p

5

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:33p Moonrise: 10:19a Set: 10:37p

AM Minor: 2:42a

PM Minor: 3:12p

AM Minor: 3:38a

PM Minor: 4:09p

AM Minor: 4:39a

PM Minor: 5:10p

AM Minor: 5:42a

PM Minor: 6:12p

AM Minor: 6:45a

PM Minor: 7:14p

AM Minor: 7:48a

PM Minor: 8:15p

AM Minor: 8:48a

PM Minor: 9:14p

AM Major: 8:57a

PM Major: 9:27p

AM Major: 9:54a

PM Major: 10:25p

AM Major: 10:54a

PM Major: 11:25p

AM Major: 11:23a

PM Major: -----

AM Major: 12:31a

PM Major: 1:00p

AM Major: 1:34a

PM Major: 2:02p

AM Major: 2:35a

PM Major: 3:01p

Moon Overhead: 10:36a

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:40p

Moon Overhead: 11:38a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:40p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:33p

Moon Overhead: 2:38p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 4:25p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for JANUARY 2014

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 11:07p

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

Low Tide: 7:58 AM High Tide: 4:23 PM Low Tide: 8:29 PM

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 1:10a

BEST:

4:30 — 6:30 AM

-0.77ft. High Tide: 12:17 AM 1.24ft. Low Tide: 8:47 AM 1.05ft. High Tide: 5:06 PM Low Tide: 9:27 PM

Moon Underfoot: 12:09a

BEST:

5:30 — 7:30 AM

1.16ft. -0.90ft. 1.26ft. 0.99ft.

High Tide: 1:25 AM Low Tide: 9:36 AM High Tide: 5:43 PM Low Tide: 10:18 PM

6:30 — 8:30 AM

1.14ft. -0.93ft. 1.26ft. 0.93ft.

High Tide: 2:28 AM Low Tide: 10:25 AM High Tide: 6:23 PM Low Tide: 11:11 PM

Moon Underfoot: 2:10a BEST:

7:30 — 9:30 AM

1.12ft. High Tide: 3:34 AM 1.05ft. -0.89ft. Low Tide: 11:15 AM -0.77ft. 1.21ft. High Tide: 7:02 PM 1.14ft. 0.82ft.

Moon Underfoot: 3:06a BEST:

+2.0

BEST:

8:30 — 10:30 AM

Low Tide: 12:09 AM High Tide: 4:47 AM Low Tide: 12:04 PM High Tide: 7:38 PM

Moon Underfoot: 4:00a 9:30 — 11:30 AM

0.66ft. 0.93ft. -0.56ft. 1.05ft.

Low Tide: 1:14 AM High Tide: 6:10 AM Low Tide: 12:53 PM High Tide: 8:12 PM

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

3:30 — 5:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: None

0.48ft. 0.79ft. -0.29ft. 0.98ft.

+1.0 0 -1.0


Sportsman’s Daybook

SYMBOL KEY = New Moon l º = First Quarter l = Full Moon » = Last Quarter « = Good Day n = Best Day SUNDAY

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 2nd Score Graph Score Best

TUESDAY

6

WEDNESDAY

7

8

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:34p Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:35p Moonrise: 10:59a Set: 11:38p Moonrise: 11:38a Set: None

FRIDAY

9

SATURDAY

10

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:36p Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:37p Moonrise: 12:17p Set: 12:37a Moonrise: 12:57p Set: 1:34a

11

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:37p Moonrise: 1:39p Set: 2:30a

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:38p Moonrise: 2:23p Set: 3:24a

12

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:39p Moonrise: 3:09p Set: 4:16a

AM Minor: 9:45a

PM Minor: 10:10p

AM Minor: 10:37a

PM Minor: 11:02p

AM Minor: 11:27a

PM Minor: 11:51p

AM Minor: -----

PM Minor: 12:13p

AM Minor: 12:34a

PM Minor: 12:58p

AM Minor: 1:17a

PM Minor: 1:41p

AM Minor: 2:00a

PM Minor: 2:24p

AM Major: 3:32a

PM Major: 3:57p

AM Major: 4:25a

PM Major: 4:50p

AM Major: 5:15a

PM Major: 5:39p

AM Major: 6:01a

PM Major: 6:25p

AM Major: 6:46a

PM Major: 7:10p

AM Major: 7:29a

PM Major: 7:53p

AM Major: 8:12a

PM Major: 8:36p

Moon Overhead: 5:16p

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:53p

Moon Overhead: 6:05p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:42p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:19p

Moon Overhead: 8:30p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for JANUARY 2014

Moon Overhead: 10:07p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 4:51a

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

Low Tide: 2:24 AM High Tide: 7:46 AM Low Tide: 1:44 PM High Tide: 8:45 PM

0.27ft. 0.67ft. -0.01ft. 0.91ft.

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00 PM

Low Tide: 3:35 AM High Tide: 9:34 AM Low Tide: 2:38 PM High Tide: 9:16 PM

0.06ft. 0.61ft. 0.27ft. 0.87ft.

Moon Underfoot: 6:29a

Moon Underfoot: 7:18a

BEST:

BEST:

6:00 — 8:00 PM

Low Tide: 4:41 AM High Tide: 11:32 AM Low Tide: 3:46 PM High Tide: 9:48 PM

-0.14ft. 0.64ft. 0.51ft. 0.84ft.

Moon Underfoot: 8:06a 9:00 — 11:00 AM

Low Tide: 5:40 AM High Tide: 1:30 PM Low Tide: 5:43 PM High Tide: 10:20 PM

-0.31ft. 0.74ft. 0.68ft. 0.83ft.

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 8:54a BEST:

7:00 — 9:00 PM 10:00A — 12:00P

Low Tide: 6:32 AM High Tide: 2:59 PM Low Tide: 7:35 PM High Tide: 10:53 PM

-0.44ft. 0.85ft. 0.76ft. 0.84ft.

Low Tide: 7:18 AM High Tide: 3:52 PM Low Tide: 8:44 PM High Tide: 11:31 PM

Moon Underfoot: 9:43a

+2.0

BEST:

11:00A — 1:00P

-0.53ft. Low Tide: 7:59 AM 0.92ft. High Tide: 4:28 PM 0.80ft. Low Tide: 9:23 PM 0.85ft.

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

4:30 — 6:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 5:40a

-0.59ft. 0.95ft. 0.82ft.

+1.0 0 -1.0


Sportsman’s Daybook

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 2nd Score Graph Score Best

TUESDAY

13

14 «

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:40p Moonrise: 3:57p Set: 5:05a

THURSDAY

15 «

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:41p Moonrise: 4:47p Set: 5:52a

FRIDAY

16 ¡

Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 5:41p Moonrise: 5:38p Set: 6:35a

SATURDAY

17 «

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:42p Moonrise: 6:30p Set: 7:15a

18 «

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:43p Moonrise: 7:22p Set: 7:52a

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:44p Moonrise: 8:14p Set: 8:28a

SUNDAY

19

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:45p Moonrise: 9:06p Set: 9:02a

AM Minor: 2:43a

PM Minor: 3:07p

AM Minor: 3:28a

PM Minor: 3:51p

AM Minor: 4:13a

PM Minor: 4:36p

AM Minor: 4:58a

PM Minor: 5:21p

AM Minor: 5:45a

PM Minor: 6:07p

AM Minor: 6:32a

PM Minor: 6:54p

AM Minor: 7:20a

PM Minor: 7:41p

AM Major: 8:55a

PM Major: 9:19p

AM Major: 9:39a

PM Major: 10:03p

AM Major: 10:24a

PM Major: 10:47p

AM Major: 11:10a

PM Major: 11:32p

AM Major: 11:56a

PM Major: -----

AM Major: 12:21a

PM Major: 12:43p

AM Major: 1:09a

PM Major: 1:31p

Moon Overhead: 10:55p

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:42p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

Moon Overhead: None 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:28a 12a

6a

12p

Moon Overhead: 1:57a

Moon Overhead: 1:13a

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for JANUARY 2014

Moon Overhead: 2:40a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 10:31a

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

High Tide: 12:13 AM Low Tide: 8:36 AM High Tide: 4:54 PM Low Tide: 9:41 PM

0.87ft. -0.61ft. 0.95ft. 0.82ft.

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 12:05p BEST:

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 PM 12:00 — 2:00 AM

High Tide: 12:57 AM Low Tide: 9:10 AM High Tide: 5:16 PM Low Tide: 9:48 PM

0.89ft. -0.60ft. 0.93ft. 0.79ft.

High Tide: 1:40 AM Low Tide: 9:41 AM High Tide: 5:38 PM Low Tide: 10:01 PM

Moon Underfoot: 12:51p

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM

0.89ft. -0.57ft. 0.92ft. 0.75ft.

High Tide: 2:23 AM Low Tide: 10:11 AM High Tide: 6:00 PM Low Tide: 10:27 PM

Moon Underfoot: 1:35p

BEST:

12:30 — 2:30 AM

0.88ft. -0.52ft. 0.90ft. 0.69ft.

High Tide: 3:05 AM Low Tide: 10:39 AM High Tide: 6:24 PM Low Tide: 11:01 PM

Moon Underfoot: 2:19p 1:00 — 3:00 AM

0.85ft. -0.45ft. 0.89ft. 0.62ft.

High Tide: 3:48 AM Low Tide: 11:07 AM High Tide: 6:49 PM Low Tide: 11:41 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:02p

+2.0

BEST:

1:30 — 3:30 AM

0.80ft. High Tide: 4:34 AM 0.72ft. -0.35ft. Low Tide: 11:35 AM -0.24ft. 0.87ft. High Tide: 7:13 PM 0.84ft. 0.54ft.

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

11:30A — 1:30P

Moon Underfoot: 11:19a

+1.0 0 -1.0


SYMBOL KEY = New Moon l º = First Quarter l = Full Moon » = Last Quarter « = Good Day n = Best Day SUNDAY

Tides and Prime Times for JANUARY 2014 TUESDAY

20

21

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 5:46p Moonrise: 9:59p Set: 9:35a

THURSDAY

22

23 »

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

24

25

26

Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 5:47p Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 5:47p Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 5:48p Sunrise: 7:11a Set: 5:49p Sunrise: 7:11a Set: 5:50p Sunrise: 7:11a Set: 5:51p Moonrise: 10:53p Set: 10:10a Moonrise: 11:48p Set: 10:45a Moonrise: None Set: 11:24a Moonrise: 12:46a Set: 12:06p Moonrise: 1:47a Set: 12:54p Moonrise: 2:49a Set: 1:47p

AM Minor: 8:08a

PM Minor: 8:30p

AM Minor: 8:57a

PM Minor: 9:19p

AM Minor: 9:46a

PM Minor: 10:09p

AM Minor: 10:35a

PM Minor: 11:00p

AM Minor: 11:26a

PM Minor: 11:52p

AM Minor: -----

PM Minor: 12:18p

AM Minor: 12:41a

PM Minor: 1:10p

AM Major: 1:57a

PM Major: 2:19p

AM Major: 2:46a

PM Major: 3:08p

AM Major: 3:34a

PM Major: 3:57p

AM Major: 4:23a

PM Major: 4:48p

AM Major: 5:13a

PM Major: 5:39p

AM Major: 6:04a

PM Major: 6:31p

AM Major: 6:56a

PM Major: 7:25p

Moon Overhead: 3:23a

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Moon Overhead: 4:51a

Moon Overhead: 4:07a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:38a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:22a

Moon Overhead: 6:28a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:19a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 3:45p

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

Low Tide: 12:24 AM High Tide: 5:31 AM Low Tide: 12:04 PM High Tide: 7:34 PM

0.44ft. 0.64ft. -0.09ft. 0.81ft.

BEST:

9:00 — 11:00 PM

Low Tide: 1:10 AM High Tide: 6:46 AM Low Tide: 12:35 PM High Tide: 7:52 PM

0.33ft. 0.57ft. 0.07ft. 0.78ft.

T F & G

Moon Underfoot: 5:14p BEST:

10:00P — 12:00A

Low Tide: 2:01 AM High Tide: 8:25 AM Low Tide: 1:09 PM High Tide: 8:05 PM

0.19ft. 0.52ft. 0.25ft. 0.77ft.

A L M A N A C

Moon Underfoot: 6:03p

Moon Underfoot: 6:54p

BEST:

BEST:

BEST:

4:00 — 6:00 PM 12:00 — 2:00 AM

Low Tide: 2:57 AM High Tide: 10:19 AM Low Tide: 1:47 PM High Tide: 8:13 PM

T E X A S

0.02ft. 0.55ft. 0.44ft. 0.78ft.

&

-0.16ft. 0.66ft. 0.62ft. 0.82ft.

Low Tide: 4:56 AM High Tide: 1:44 PM Low Tide: 3:58 PM High Tide: 8:45 PM

G A M E ®

Moon Underfoot: 8:48p

+2.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM

Low Tide: 3:56 AM High Tide: 12:13 PM Low Tide: 2:36 PM High Tide: 8:22 PM

F I S H

Moon Underfoot: 7:50p

1:00 — 3:00 AM

-0.37ft. 0.80ft. 0.78ft. 0.87ft.

J A N U A R Y

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

8:30 — 10:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 4:29p

Low Tide: 5:55 AM High Tide: 2:41 PM Low Tide: 5:54 PM High Tide: 9:46 PM

2 0 1 4

|

-0.57ft. 0.93ft. 0.87ft. 0.92ft.

89

+1.0 0 -1.0


Sportsman’s Daybook

SYMBOL KEY = New Moon l º = First Quarter l = Full Moon » = Last Quarter « = Good Day n = Best Day SUNDAY

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

27

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 5:52p Moonrise: 3:51a Set: 2:46p

TUESDAY

28

THURSDAY

29 «

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 5:53p Moonrise: 4:51a Set: 3:49p

FRIDAY

30 l

Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 5:54p Moonrise: 5:47a Set: 4:57p

SATURDAY

31 «

Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 5:54p Moonrise: 6:39a Set: 6:05p

Feb 1 «

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 5:55p Moonrise: 7:27a Set: 7:13p

2 «

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 5:56p Moonrise: 8:11a Set: 8:19p

Sunrise: 7:07a Set: 5:57p Moonrise: 8:53a Set: 9:23p

AM Minor: 1:34a

PM Minor: 2:04p

AM Minor: 2:28a

PM Minor: 2:58p

AM Minor: 3:23a

PM Minor: 3:54p

AM Minor: 4:21a

PM Minor: 4:50p

AM Minor: 5:19a

PM Minor: 5:48p

AM Minor: 6:19a

PM Minor: 6:46p

AM Minor: 7:18a

PM Minor: 7:44p

AM Major: 7:49a

PM Major: 8:19p

AM Major: 8:43a

PM Major: 9:14p

AM Major: 9:39a

PM Major: 10:09p

AM Major: 10:35a

PM Major: 11:05p

AM Major: 11:01a

PM Major: -----

AM Major: 12:05a

PM Major: 12:32p

AM Major: 1:05a

PM Major: 1:31p

Moon Overhead: 9:18a

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:20a

Moon Overhead: 10:19a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:20p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:12p

Moon Overhead: 1:17p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Tides and Prime Times for JANUARY 2014

Moon Overhead: 3:05p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 9:49p

+2.0

-1.0

TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

2:30 — 4:30 AM

3:30 — 4:30 AM

Low Tide: 6:51 AM High Tide: 3:23 PM Low Tide: 7:25 PM High Tide: 11:11 PM

90 |

Moon Underfoot: 11:50p

-0.75ft. Low Tide: 7:45 AM 1.02ft. High Tide: 4:00 PM 0.89ft. Low Tide: 8:20 PM 0.96ft.

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 4

BEST:

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00 AM

-0.88ft. High Tide: 12:31 AM 1.06ft. Low Tide: 8:37 AM 0.84ft. High Tide: 4:34 PM Low Tide: 9:06 PM

T E X A S

Moon Underfoot: None

1.00ft. -0.93ft. 1.06ft. 0.74ft.

F I S H

11:30A — 1:30P

High Tide: 1:44 AM Low Tide: 9:27 AM High Tide: 5:07 PM Low Tide: 9:53 PM

&

1.01ft. -0.90ft. 1.02ft. 0.60ft.

G A M E ®

Moon Underfoot: 12:49a

Moon Underfoot: 1:45a

BEST:

BEST:

12:30 — 2:30 PM

High Tide: 2:54 AM Low Tide: 10:16 AM High Tide: 5:39 PM Low Tide: 10:42 PM

T F & G

1.00ft. -0.79ft. 0.97ft. 0.43ft.

1:30 — 3:30 PM

High Tide: 4:04 AM Low Tide: 11:03 AM High Tide: 6:09 PM Low Tide: 11:34 PM

A L M A N A C

Moon Underfoot: 2:39a

+2.0

BEST:

2:00 — 4:00 PM

0.94ft. High Tide: 5:16 AM 0.86ft. -0.59ft. Low Tide: 11:49 AM -0.34ft. 0.91ft. High Tide: 6:39 PM 0.86ft. 0.24ft.

TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 10:50p

+1.0 0 -1.0


Texas Tasted by Bryan Slaven | The Texas Gourmet

Chowhound Chicken Tenders (Serves 3 to 4 regular eaters or a couple of chow hounds)

I

Gourmet’s Cajun Hot Sauce (or your favorite brand of hot sauce); combine well

HAVE A COUPLE OF BOTTOMLESS PIT chowhound teenagers at home who are good for a cook’s ego, but hard to fill up at the dinner table. I am trying to cook healthy, but also cooking things they enjoy. This chicken tender recipe is quick, easy to make, and won’t break the bank. It’s also an easy meal for the fishing or hunting camp.

1 cup corn meal, seasoned with 1/3 tsp. black pepper, 3/4 tsp. garlic salt, and 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper; place in a shallow, wide bowl or a 1-gallon plastic zipper bag

2 lbs. fresh chicken tenderloins 2 eggs, beaten with 2 Tbs. Texas

Deep fryer with a fitted basket, or a slotted spoon

1-1/2 cups flour in a bowl

1/2 to 3/4 gallon peanut oil

Large platter with paper towels for straining Line the bowls up in a row, flour first, then the eggs with hot sauce combined, then the corn meal. Preheat the deep fryer to 350 degrees. Drop each tenderloin into the flour and cover well, then dip into the egg mixture and then into the cornmeal; coat well and then place on a large platter. Place only as many tenders into the oil so as to not crowd the pot, maybe six to eight. Fry until golden brown, about 4-6 minutes, being careful not to burn them. Remove from the oil and strain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm with Texas Gourmet’s Pineapple Chipotle Grilling and Dipping Sauce, or Texas Gourmet’s Honey Pecan Barbeque and Dipping Sauce, Jalapeno Kiwi Jelly, or other favorite sauce. These are awesome. Hope you enjoy!

Email Bryan Slaven, “The Texas Gourmet,” at BSlaven@fishgame.com

Chowhound Chicken Tenders.

CHECK OUT OUR ONLINE STORE for many of the seasonings and other ingrdients used in all our TEXAS TASTED recipes.

Visit FishandGameGear.com 92 |

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 4

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

T F & G

A L M A N A C

PHOTO: BRYAN SLAVEN

u


TEXAS FRESHWATER

TEXAS SALTWATER

HUNTING

LAKE AMISTAD

UPPER COAST (SABINE LAKE)

SOUTH TEXAS

GALVESTON

OUTDOOR SHOPPER HUNTING & FISHING GEAR

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DFW METROPLEX MIDDLE COAST

ROCKPORT / BAFFIN BAY

MOBILIZE YOUR TEXAS FISH & GAME Check Out our Digital Editions for iPad, iPhone and Android Mobile Devices

Over 2500 Fishing Spots (with GPS) on 50 Texas Fresh and Saltwater Destinations

ROCKPORT

ORDER NOW

Courtesy: Redfish www.FishandGameGear.com Charters

WWW.FISHGAME.COM T F & G

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E 速

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 4

|

93


SPECKLED TROUT Trinity Bay

PIGGY PERCH

Debi Hensley caught this shallow-water speck in Trinity Bay. She also limited out on reds that day. Debi fishes exclusively with artificial lures. Her favorites are Topdogs, RatLTraps and Bass Assassins

Aransas Bay Five-year-old Jade Bishop caught this and many other Piggy Perch in Aransas Bay.

BLACK DRUM BLACK DRUM Nueces Bay Peter Cuva of Corpus Christi caught and released this black drum from a kayak in Nueces bay, 100 yards from Sea Lab. He used his preferred bait, dead shrimp from HEB.

FLOUNDER Matagorda Ray Marek shows off a flounder he caught while fishing at Matagorda.

Nueces Bay Britney Cuva of Corpus Christi caught and released this black drum from her dock on a canal off Nueces Bay. Her catch was more of a battle than her husband’s the day before (see photo at left).

REDFISH Galveston Tom Givens caught and released this massive redfish at the Galveston North Jetties. The bull red was 54 inches and weighed 62 pounds.

CRAPPIE Lake Ballinger Anthony Farris shows off a crappie he caught at Lake Ballinger while visiting his grandfather in the San Angelo area. It was one of his first crappie caught on a jig.

94 |

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 4

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

T F & G

A L M A N A C


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

EMAIL: photos@FishGame.com

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

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

WHITETAIL Gorman J.P. Rathbun shot his first buck fifteen minutes into opening morning. He was hunting with his dad near Gorman in Comanche County,

WHITETAIL Lampasas Kylie Grantland shot her first buck—a huge 10-pointer—on her first hunt. The nine-year-old was hunting near Lampasas with her “very proud” parents. She used a .223 to make an “awesome shot.”

JACK CREVALLE Port Mansfield Frank Garcia with a nice 48-inch jack crevalle he caught at the Port Mansfield jetties. The jack weighed 30 pounds.

TURKEY Rock Springs Eleven-year-old Esau Powell shot two Turkeys while hunting with his Pop and Uncle Jimmy at Rock Springs. Barty Helwig was his guide.

SNOOK Brownsville This 31-inch snook was one of three oversized snook caught and released at the Brownsville Ship Channel by Raymond Garcia.

FERAL HOGS Pattison Sam Pyka, 15, of Pattison, shot these hogs on land that has been in his family since 1885. Using his dad’s Winchester Model 94 30-30 Sam and his dad stalked within 20 yards of the herd. Sam dropped the big hog with a head shot then quickly chambered another round and dropped the second hog, with another head shot, before it had time to react.

SPECKLED TROUT Palacios Lucas Pfeil, age nine, caught this 20-inch speckled trout on his spinning rod while fishing with his Dad at one of the Palacios city piers.

T F & G

A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

J A N U A R Y

2 0 1 4

|

95


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January 2014  

THE Authority on Texas Fishing & Hunting Texas Fish & Game is the largest, oldest, and best outdoors resource of its kind in the nation. No...

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