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

ROY NEVES PUBLISHER

DON ZAIDLE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

CHESTER MOORE EXECUTIVE EDITOR

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

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

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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

A D V E R T I S I N G

ARDIA NEVES VICE PRESIDENT/ADVERTISING DIRECTOR

NICOLE MCKIBBIN • DENISE BELL •

MARKETING REPRESENTATIVE MARKETING REPRESENTATIVE 1745 GREENS ROAD, HOUSTON, TX 77032 PHONE 281/227-3001 • FAX 281/227-3002

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

DUANE HRUZEK MARKETING/CIRCULATION DIRECTOR

HEIDI GERKE • LARRY FRIEDMAN • JOE LUCA •

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES MGR. FIELD REPRESENTATIVE NEWSSTAND REPRESENTATIVE

P R O D U C T I O N

JULIANA SEALE •

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

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

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

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FEATURES MARCH 2010 • Volume XXV • NO. 11 BANKING A TROPHY

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Shoreline anglers may appear to be at a disadvantage compared to their boated elite counterparts. But the record books paint a different picture, with many current and past state and even world records being caught from the bank.

by Don Zaidle & Chester Moore ON THE COVER:

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COASTAL: A composite photo illustrates the connection between speckled trout and sand eels — which can be exploited by anglers armed with straight-tailed soft plastics ( see page 26 ).

SAND EEL SPECKS The speckled trout’s fondness for sand eels and other soft-bottom bay dwelling worms makes them highly susceptible to straighttailed soft plastic lures.

Inset by Joe Richard

by Kyle Tomek

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TOP WHITE BASS LAKES White bass are one of the most popular game fish sought by Texans. They are prolific, grow to keeper size quickly, and are found in lakes all over the state. Here is a quick look at the best places to catch them in Texas.

by Barry St. Clair

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NIGHT OF THE SAURIANS Hunting gators with bow and arrow... at night. Just one of the more daring ways the face of alligator hunting is changing in Texas, after TPWD opened the new threemonth spring season last year.

INLAND/NORTH: Troy Coates with one of the monster Lake Fork bass he caught from the bank ( see page 22 ).

Photo by Don Zaidle

by Herman Brune

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TRACKING TURKEY KILLERS An East Texas trapper and a South African doctoral student have teamed up to figure out whether predators are to blame for disappointing results in the state’s multi-million dollar restoration efforts.

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COLUMNS and DEPARTMENTS MARCH 2010 • Volume XXV • NO. 11

COLUMNS 10 Editor’s Notes Please Don’t Feed the Women

by DON ZAIDLE TF&G Editor-in-Chief

20 TexasWild

Happy Birthday at the Y.O.

DEPARTMENTS

by TED NUGENT TF&G Editor at Large

21 Commentary

8 YOUR LETTERS

Texas’ First MAIG Mayor

by KENDAL HEMPHILL TF&G Political Editor

34 Texas Freshwater

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TF&G REPORT

Quick Fixes

by MATT WILLIAMS TF&G Freshwater Editor

14 Chester’s Notes The Revolution Continues

by CHESTER MOORE, JR. TF&G Executive Editor

16 Doggett at Large Rewards of Poor Duck Hunting

by JOE DOGGETT TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

18 Pike On the Edge In Praise of Registration

by DOUG PIKE TF&G Senior Contributing Editor 6 |

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41 TROPHY QUEST

38 Texas Saltwater Reader Letters

by CALIXTO GONZALES TF&G Saltwater Editor

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TRUE GREEN

40 Hunt Texas A 26-Point... Doe?

by BOB HOOD TF&G Hunting Editor

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

54 Open Season Water Sports

by REAVIS WORTHAM TF&G Humor Editor F I S H

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Letters Scholarship Support I am writing to thank you for your participation in funding the CCA STARkids Tournament Scholarship, Flounder Division. My son Anthony won the first place $50,000 scholarship with a 6-pound, 6-ounce flounder he caught on July 9, 2009. Your participation is a great gift to our family. My husband and I have eight children, and Anthony is our seventh child. He is ten years old and in the fourth grade; we are thrilled and very proud of him. As you can see by the size of our family, any scholarship is of great financial help. Our five older children have all graduated

very important part of his life. He does not know what college he wants to attend, but you have given him the opportunity to attend the college of his choice, and that is incredible. Getting to know the outdoors, participating in what it has to offer, and giving back through organizations such as CCA has always been a big part of our lives. Our family has always been eagerly involved in actions toward conservation and we feel very fortunate to have the conservation efforts of CCA and its sponsors to give back to us in such a unique way. Mary Skrobarczyk Corpus Christi Thank you for the scholarship, it’s really awesome for you to give me $50,000. I like it because I won’t have to pay for my college. I love to fish and it was fun to catch the flounder and net it. The flounder that I caught was the heaviest fish that I have caught in my life! I’m so glad it didn’t get away. I was wade fishing when I caught it, and it almost pulled me into the Intracoastal. The fish barely fit in my net. I love the fish that I caught. Thank you again for helping me pay for college. Anthony Skrobarczyk, STARKids Flounder Div. Winner Corpus Christi

Anthony Scrobarczyk with his 6-pound, 6-ounce STAR-winning flounder. from high school. Presently, our oldest daughter finished her master’s program in August of this year and holds a career as a speech pathologist. We have another daughter who completed a B.A. in Music Industry Studies and has started her masters program; a third daughter is at Sul Ross University studying for a M.S. in Natural Resource Management with a focus on elk. In addition, we have a son who is a junior at TAMUK who is working on his bachelor’s in architectural engineering. Anthony will not be using his scholarship for several years, and I wanted to extend to you our deep gratitude for helping him with this 8 |

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You and your family illustrate perfectly why TF&G has been a sponsor of CCA’s STAR tournament for the past 15 years. We cannot take anywhere near full credit for Anthony’s scholarship, since Texas Fish & Game is just one of many sponsors who make the STARKids Scholarship funding possible. To my knowledge, there is no other outdoor organization in Texas — and very possibly in the nation — that has devoted so much money toward scholarships than CCA. And they could not do it without the support of their members and sponsors, who we salute. Mrs. Skrobarczyk, you and your husband

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have done an amazing job guiding your family so successfully toward rich and fulfilling lives. And, Anthony, we have great confidence that you will make the most of the award you have so deservingly earned. Thanks to your mom and dad, you’ll also know how to balance your academic and career pursuits with a deep connection to the outdoors. Congratulations. — Roy Neves, Texas Fish & Game Publisher

Wealthy Soaking the Poor Kenneth and Mary seem to be prone to exaggeration (Letters to the Editor, February issue). Unlimited camping is allowed anywhere on the Bolivar and Jefferson County beachfront from the Pocket to Sabine Pass (more than 50 miles). Galveston County charges a beach parking fee of $10/year between the Pocket and Rollover, otherwise that camping is free. No “rich” people have “pushed” anyone out. As for Rollover closing, that is a good thing. Storm surges will still be able to roll over the peninsula as was dramatically demonstrated in September of 2008. I love to fish the beach and bay and think the Texas Open Beaches Act is part of what makes Texas great. Kenneth and Mary need to get a grip. Mark Boyt, Port Bolivar property owner and “rich guy” Via email Let me start by saying I live up in Illinois but have a home in Ingleside that I hope to retire to in the next few years. I pay taxes on the Texas house, so I guess I have a dog in the fight. Anyway, I try to get down to the great state of Texas to fish at least once or twice a year and don’t have a lot of money for guides or to rent boats, so I really depend on bankfishing access and your magazine for tips to


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catch a fish or two from shore. Most of the fish go to Grandma in Laredo, so she really looks forward to my visits and cheers on my angling exploits. What really makes me crazy is the beach permit that you must buy to fish around Corpus Christi. Isn’t this public land and aren’t we supposed to have free access to it? I know that there is a fat-cat faction in Corpus that feels they should set the rules for everyone; that’s one of the reasons we had a tea party a while back. Try fishing from one of the T-heads in Corpus and check out the dirty looks you get. Do these bozos realize that all these “improvements” are paid for by tax dollars and tax dollars are not their own private slush funds? Brad Bremer Via email I would like to make a stand for increasing angler access and rolling back the nofishing zone trend. I am writing from Abilene, Texas, and the only no-fishing zone I have ever come across or even heard of is a power plant

water outlet and inlet at Fort Phantom Lake, which at present is no longer occupied or running. As you probably know, these were hotspots during the winter. I somewhat understand why they had the no-fishing zone, however, where they had marked off the access, to me, appeared as a direct result of ease of fence placement and totally unnecessary. They could have taken back the restrictive line and made it to where anglers could have had some access to great fishing opportunities that we pay for each year. I have a 2-1/2-year-old son and I want him to have the opportunities I have had for fishing if he so chooses. J. Herrera Via email

Calvin Rashall Via email

Send Your Comments to: Letters to the Editor 1745 Greens Road Houston TX 77032

Walkabout Angler Your article series “Walkabout Angler” has brought back a memory. It was 1958 and I was 13, living in Lafayette, Louisiana. At daylight on Saturday, I rode my bicycle to a slough

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about 1/2-mile from home. I started casting an old Heddon wooden plug. I looked down just before the plug reached the bank, and an alligator about two feet long was following it. I almost had to clean my pants. I raced home and told my older brother, who did not believe me, and we drove back. Sure enough, I started plugging again and the gator followed it again. I don’t remember if I caught any fish. I read each issue of Texas Fish & Game with great pleasure. Keep up the good work.

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

Please Don’t Feed the Women HEN COLLEAGUE JIM SHEPHERD, GODfather of the Outdoor Wire family of news wires, announced he was consolidating the Women’s Outdoor Wire with the other wires (essentially eliminating it), the only surprise was that it took so long. This is only the most recent women-centric outdoors publication or organization to meet its demise. Bass ‘n Gal (the magazine and the organization), NRA Women’s Outlook magazine, BASS Women’s Bassmaster Tour, Women’s Bass Fishing Association, et al flashed, splashed, and crashed in relatively short order. Most attempts to cater to women with outdoor interests share similar patterns— and fallacies—based on stereotype: dumbeddown content, a recipes section, and everything from camouflage to cling wrap offered in predictable pink. The reasons for failure of women-centric outdoors offerings are myriad and include cool reception by the target audience, and lack of advertiser/sponsor support. There is no doubt women are a growing contingent in hunting, fishing, and shooting sports, and some manufacturers address this growing market with accurately tailored products. Smith & Wesson was one of the first with its Ladysmith line of handguns designed for shooters with smaller hands; men with smaller hands welcomed the guns, too. A few years ago, a startup called She Safari (now She Outdoor Apparel) introduced a line of outdoors clothing for women. Women are anatomically different from men (vive la difference) in ways other than size,

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and She recognized and addressed this. If the growth of its booth size at the SHOT Show over the years is an indicator, She Outdoor Apparel is riding a wave of success. Every successful women’s outdoor product with which I am familiar is designed for function, not form. If it fits and works, women will buy it. If it is merely “feminized” with insipid “girly” trappings or reads like something out of a daycare how-to manual, women stay away in droves. Although much more is involved than merely slapping pink paint on existing inventory to create a women-centric product, some manufacturers have successfully done just that with everything from pink-themed camo patterns to pink guns. Women who purchase these products seem to use them to send a message: “I’m a woman, I’m here, deal with it.” Indeed, in my experience and observations, women neither desire nor appreciate condescension, getting talked down to (or over), or special treatment. They do not want us (men) to take their fish off the hook or load their guns for them. They do not want information spoon-fed to them, or be expected to know more—or less—than anyone else of similar experience. Outdoorswomen want the same things men do: quality experiences, gear that works, and fun afield. Paraphrasing a line from Jurassic Park regarding Tyrannosaurus rex: Women do not want to be fed; women want to hunt. Before launching into this landmineladen topic, I sought to ensure I was not full of something one is usually obliged to avoid stepping in. I talked to Peggy Tartaro, executive editor of Women & Guns magazine. Published by the Second Amendment Foundation, W&G is the oldest magazine of its type, this year celebrating 21 years in print. Peggy not only franked my observations about outdoorswomen and women shooters, she provided some insight into why so many related genre women’s platforms fail—too specialized. “Women & Guns addresses an area that

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is both vertical and broad based,” she said. “Not all women have a hardcore interest in guns, but most women are interested in self defense, and that is a large component of our focus.” In other words, the target audience is large despite the vertical component. Many men are anglers, but not all of them are interested in competitive bass fishing. Fewer women are anglers, and fewer still are interested in competitive bass fishing. The secret, then, seems to be the philosophy we follow at Texas Fish & Game: Provide good content, accurate information, and compelling photography within a vertical genre such as the outdoors, and they will come. Do not address women disproportionate to participation, nor exclude them. Show it and tell it like it is, without unrealistic or over-hyped “Omigod! Women are hunting and fishing now!” treatment. I have enjoyed sharing fishing boats and hunting grounds with the women in my family. My youngest daughter could out-shoot me from age seven, and my wife inevitably out-fishes me, but times afield with them are always golden and the most recounted on chill evenings around the fireplace; perhaps more a testament to my lack than their excellence, but in either case, it illustrates that their participation is an asset rather than liability—bruised male ego notwithstanding. If you are a man in whose life the women gravitate to the fields and waters, do not try to feed them; let them hunt for themselves. And if you are a woman unsatisfied with tethered goats, please remember that some of my best friends are lawyers.

E-mail Don Zaidle at editor@fishgame.com.

On the Web www.FishGame.com/blogs


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TF&G Report

SHOT Show Upbeat, Surprisefilled HE ANNUAL NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS Foundation (NSSF) Sport Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT) held January 19-22 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, reflected well an industry that has thrived throughout the economic downturn. Near-record attendance by exhibitors, wholesale buyers, and members of the media competed for attention with flash floods spawned by relatively light showers, winter

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temperatures in the desert, and two FBI arrests. The FBI arrested 21 people at the show and one in Miami, Florida, on warrants obtained after an undercover investigation involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspiracy to commit money laundering tied to the sale of guns, body armor, and other law enforcement equipment. The alleged FCPA violations involved bribery of foreign officials. In a “sting” operation, the arrestees allegedly agreed to pay a 20 percent “commission” to agents posing as foreign defense ministry officials and their representatives

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from an unnamed African country in order to win a portion of a $15 million deal to outfit the country's presidential guard. In connection with this case, approximately 150 FBI agents executed 14 search warrants in locations across the country, including Bull Shoals, Arkansas; San Francisco, California; Miami, Florida; Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; Sarasota, Florida; St. Petersburg, Florida; Sunrise, Florida; University Park, Florida; Decatur, Georgia; Stearns, Kentucky; Upper Darby, Pennsylvania; and Woodbridge, Virginia. The case even stretched across the ocean to the United Kingdom, where London police executed seven search warrants in connection with their own investigation into companies involved in the same bribery allegations. The 16 indictments issued in the case represent the largest single investigation and prosecution against individuals in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice enforcement of FCPA. In a separate unrelated case, FBI agents arrested several foreign nationals on charges SHOT SHOW LOGO IMAGE COURTESY NSSF


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of counterfeiting gun products, based on information provided by the companies whose products were being copied. Meanwhile, the SHOT show moved along with robust enthusiasm among attendees and exhibitors. CCORDING TO FIGURES RELEASED BY NSSF, overall attendance was 58,444, a few hundred shy of the all-time record set at the 2008 Las Vegas show and more than 11,000 above last year’s show in Orlando, Florida. The show attracted an all-time high of 31,280 buyers, and 1804 attending media professionals established a new record. Industry members and observers reported brisk sales over the past year despite the economy and expect that trend to continue in 2010. Scott Hanes of exhibitor Remington Arms said, "There's a lot of excitement, and people are very positive. I was a little surprised that there would be this big of a positive attitude at this time of year because last year was so big. You figure you're going to have a little bit of a downfall later on. I'm not seeing it." Mike Slack of optics company Leupold & Stevens said, "This booth has been absolutely flooded with people. I can't remember a busier SHOT Show ever." He added, "How could you not come to the SHOT Show? If you're a dealer, this is the place to be. You just can't miss it." A speaker at a media luncheon said the industry wished to “thank Barak Obama” for the stimulus his election provided for the increased sale of firearms, ammunition, and accessories. All seemed to agree the show was a great success despite adversity posed by rainspawned flooding that left many scratching their heads. Show attendees from around the U.S. were left wondering over weather reports such as: A steady downpour that already has drenched the Las Vegas Valley with more than three-fourths of an inch of rain today disrupted flights at McCarran International Airport and led the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for the valley and southern Clark County through late tonight. The high desert soil around Las Vegas does not readily absorb rainfall, so even a slight rain--what most Texas residents would call “drizzle”--elicits hand wringing and activation of flood contingency plans.

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Indeed, on the second day of the show, light rain produced river-like flooding through a cargo bay at the Sands center, prompting the erection of sand bag berms at the overhead door entrances. NSSF has contracted with the Sands Expo Center to host the show for the next three years. —Staff Report

On the Web Extensive SHOT Show Coverage: www.FishGame.com/video www.FishGame.com/forums


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

The Revolution Continues EVOLUTIONS ARE POWERFUL VEHICLES FOR change. Movements start and then lose steam after a distance, but a revolution keeps going round and round, gaining strength with each turn. Last March, I announced my Flounder Revolution project on these pages, fully expecting strong results and unique upgrade in all areas of the fishery. Within a few months, we saw the first ever Texas Parks & Wildlife Department flounder stocking take place, historic conservation measures passed for the species on top of unprecedented interest in flounder fishing through Flounder Revolution, and the generous support of Texas Fish & Game. And now it continues. An important part of the project is our flounder replica program, whereby at the end of each month March-November, the angler who submits the largest released flounder will receive a high quality fiberglass replica of their catch from The Fish Mount Store. Made possible this year by a $1000 donation from the Coastal Conservation Association, the program seeks to initiate conservation among flounder anglers and promote the release of the largest flounder, which are prime breeders. At the end of the nine-month cycle, the angler who submits the most released flounder measuring 20 inches or more will be our “Flounder Angler of the Year” and receive a special trophy and prizes worth $1000. Last season’s winner was Chris Dial of Houston, who submitted four fish totaling 87.25 inches, including a huge 23-incher that took last November’s replica. The 2010 replica program begins March

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This 13-pound captive flounder outweighs the current state rod and reel record. 1. Complete rules are available at www.flounderrevolution.com. They include: your catch must be alive when measured, photographed, and released; you must take and submit two photographs--one showing the fish alongside a ruler, and another showing the fish with the angler; all submission emails must come with a declaration of release available from the website. After last year’s cycle ended, numerous anglers came forward saying they planned on participating in 2010 to earn a replica and become the “Flounder Angler of the Year.” Do you think you have what it takes? If so, I look forward to seeing your entries, and salute you for joining our growing cause. By now, you have noticed the behemoth flounder I am holding in the accompanying photo. That fish weighs over 13 pounds— bigger than the state rod and reel record— and is alive and well at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute (UTMSI), where it produces young to stock in the Aransas Bay complex. For anyone who wants to know what the potential of our flounder fishery is, look no farther than the photo. While unusually big, this fish is not some laboratory-created muta-

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tion, but a monster among many that UTMSI allowed to reach maximum size. The right ingredients had to come together to make this happen, and the single most crucial is allowing the fish to get this size. During my UTMSI visit, biologist Jeff Kaiser and a very generous flounder boat guide took me out to watch them catch fish for the lab. We captured 50 in three hours, using nets. It was during November when no gigging is allowed, and it was unusual to see the pass empty of gigging boats. We saw hundreds of flounder in just a few spots that would have been killed and not allowed to pass through to the spawning grounds. Even more impressive was the number of empty beds (some of which were scary big) of fish that had likely moved on to the Gulf a few miles away. I saw these things on just one night and at only a couple of spots during a period of unusually murky water. It is hard to imagine how many fish the gigging closure saved this fall throughout the state. Some areas saw poaching, but huge numbers of flounder made it to the Gulf to spawn, and I have no doubt some of those fish have the genetics to produce world-class fish like the one I am holding in the photo. If you would like regular updates on the Flounder Revolution, email cmoore@fishgame.com with “subscribe” in the subject line along with your name and preferred email. Updates will be delivered to your inbox. For signing up, I will send you a free MP3 of one of my flounder seminars. If you would like to see video of the monster flounder in the photo and the historic migration of flounder through Aransas Pass last fall, go to the video center at www.fishgame.com.

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

PHOTO BY CHESTER MOORE


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

Rewards of Poor Duck Hunting OST AVID WATERFOWLERS AGREE THERE is no such thing as a bad duck hunt in the coastal marsh. Well, this is assuming you don’t sit on a cottonmouth in a predawn pit blind or suffer cardiac arrest while staggering through the goopie muck to reach the far pothole. The marsh has a charm, a wildness that the cultivated inland prairies fail to match. The marsh is rich with the sights, sounds, and smells of restless wetlands, and each dawn is a reaffirmation of the rightness of the natural places. Of course, having a few ducks in the air helps. Sadly, this critical ingredient was lacking during a trip last November to Charles McCord’s family property on the east side of a sprawling Louisiana bay. The hunt coincided with a calm, cool “bluebird” morning and the marsh ducks were not moving in significant numbers. McCord, Barry Young, and I sat it out until 9 a.m. then withdrew with a single teal. Being a proper host, McCord allowed me the shot at the solo greenwing. And, being a proper host, he didn’t make a big deal out the easy chance I muffed on a decoying gadwall. That was it—two shots in three hours. We piled the gear into a muddy johnboat and puttered down a cane-rimmed canal for the 15-minute run to the bay house. The bright marsh was alive with shorebirds of many species, and it was a beautiful morning to be on the water—a fact not lost on McCord. “Let’s go fishing when we get back,” he said. “The norther yesterday might push

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One of the hunting party’s substitute “ducks.” some flounder into moving. And redfish, the marsh usually holds plenty of redfish.” “Sounds good to me,” Young said. “But where will we fish?” “Right behind the house. We’ve got a big drainage pipe connecting the marsh to the bay and the fish usually concentrate around it to feed; lots of shrimp and shad and small crabs. It’s letting water out right now, and we can stand right on the bank and cast.” We unloaded the ducking duffle at the dock but, sad to say, my stoke level started drooping from the 5 a.m. alarm clock. The pillow at camp started sounding better than any drainage ditch in the marsh. “You boys walk on down,” I said. “I’m going to rest my eyes for a few minutes.” McCord snorted. He and Young rigged casting rods with 1/4-ounce leadhead jigs and paced across the cut grass to the edge of the canal. Fifteen minutes later, a determined knock rattled my bedroom door. “You’d better get on down there,” McCord said. “We’ve already caught three flounder and a nice red. You can see them chasing the baitfish!” I blinked away the nap, grabbed a light rod, and trotted to the water. As I approached, Young set the hook against a heavy splash. Amid whoops and cheers, he

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slipped a landing net under a preposterous flounder. He held the huge “saddle blanket” aloft. It weighed 7-1/4 pounds on a verified Boga Grip. Flatfish get bigger, but not often; never, in my experience. “Make a hole, young man, and let me show you how to do this,” I said, snatching a fresh Gulp! minnow from the ready pouch. I shouldered into the prime spot and lobbed a cast into the murky water beyond the drainpipe. Following the third lazy pump with the rod tip, the line surged tight and a strong fish pulled 12-pound line from the casting reel. A 25-inch red swirled gold and copper against the dark water; a fine fish, but a bit of a letdown following Young’s semi-halibut flopping on the bank. That was the beginning of a spectacular session on reds and flounder. Repeatedly, thrillingly, we saw flounder free-jumping with pancaking splashes against the calm surface. Several times, the mud boils of feeding pods of redfish pointed the way to immediate hookups. In less than three hours, McCord, Young, and I caught 24 flatfish and 15 reds. The “keeper” reds were between 18 inches (legal minimum in Louisiana) and 27 inches, and the flounder averaged a solid 3 pounds. While reconstructing the bonanza over drinks that evening, we concluded that the big drainpipe acted as a free-running pass from the marsh to the primary bay. The outgoing current combined with the recent cool front encouraged the fall run of jumbo flounder from the estuaries into the open Gulf, and we happened to be standing in ideal intercept position. That sounds solid to me. Whatever the reason, it was the finest big flounder session I can recall. And it was a reminder that, if you leave your options open, it really is hard to have poor duck hunt in the bountiful coastal marsh. E-mail Joe Doggett at doggett@fishgame.com PHOTO BY JOE DOGGETT


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

In Praise of Registration HE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE passed a rule late in 2009 to require the listing of all this nation’s saltwater fishermen in a federal registry. They want to count us. It’ll cost us money somehow, bet on that, but the list should be long and, over time, prove beneficial to us all. Little likely will come of the change this year, but in 2011, coastal anglers could see dramatic and—dare I say it?--positive change in marine fishery management.

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It’s nice to think that good might be showered upon us overnight once the feds know our true count and acknowledge our relationship to the oceans’ resources, but the data won’t be compiled and completed for months. And even then, it must be analyzed and somehow applied. Patience. Patience. That something so significant as a federal registry of coastal anglers garnered little press in Texas is easy to explain. As purchasers of the saltwater endorsement on a Texas fishing license, we already are tallied. Other coastal states also have saltwater-specific licensing in place, too, but a few do not. Maryland was among them, if memory serves, and its coastal fishermen could pay as much as $25 each in 2010 (by a provision within the registry’s rules) to have their information gathered and cataloged.

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In the end, once the final bureaucrat has fingered the final keystroke of the final angler’s name and personal information, federal fisheries managers will know who we are, where we are, and how many of us there are. And that number, with all its commas and zeroes, might surprise them. We are a major and powerful force, one that finally will be seen “actual size” by federal fisheries managers and politicians. Fishermen already know how many we were. All we have to do is look across the water any sunny summer afternoon. If we were fewer, there would be no lines at bait stands— and no explanation for the mountain of revenue infused into coastal economies by fishermen. Billions upon billions of dollars, here in Texas coastal communities alone, are not being spent by a small number of anglers.


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Even better, folks who rely on votes for their paychecks will see just how many voters they have ignored when brushing aside our requests for meetings. For the first time, and with the utmost respect for those who have tried valiantly to speak for us, we will have a singular voice to rival that of the commercial fishing industry, which has out-shouted us at every turn for decades. Three cheers to organizations that fight the good fight for coastal resources, groups like CCA and RFA and so many others, but their best efforts to date have not yet succeeded. We are due an equitable return, in bag limit and season length for the staggering economic impact we have along the nation’s coastline. As sportsmen, we don’t want fish just because we spend money. We want fish because we spend money, and we have agreed with some science-based management plan that accurately assess the fishery and determines its sustainable yield. It’s not managers’ faults that they have failed to get it right for so long. Federal managers didn’t know how many of us there were, and they didn’t know how many red snapper there were; how in the name of such an exact science as mathematics could they possibly set annual allocations that were fair or accurate for any user group? We might as well have asked those overseers to distribute some unknown number of pennies at the bottom of a dark wishing well, half-and-half to the boys and girls who attend a school those managers have never visited. I don’t doubt that most federal fisheries biologists and rule makers want to get it right. Nor do I doubt that they realize the flaws in the system under which they have operated for so many years now. To hear some folks tell it, red snapper have been in dire straits since the Lincoln administration, but year after year of increasingly restrictive bag limits and shorter seasons have done nothing to fix a problem that might or might not exist. You can’t estimate fish populations by how many are caught. That’s like estimating the number of flies at a picnic by how many are stuck to the swatter. You can count the dumb ones that got swatted, but that’s all you have really done. Random creel surveys are indicative of angler success, but little more. Example: Inshore speckled trout populations are excellent, but the average coastal angler who specifically targets the state’s most popular marine

game fish catches only one per trip. Fisheries management is an inexact science at best, especially for offshore species, but it is a science. As such, there always is value in adding valid data to the process. The sooner the better, too, so that we can get about the business of restoring populations that truly need restoration, and take a sober look at increasing limits on species found to be in abundance. Unless federal managers want to hear all of

us yelling at them simultaneously once they have that count and can weigh the number against current participation in and impact of commercial fishing, they might want to listen a little more closely to those who continue to speak calmly on our behalf.

E-mail Doug Pike at dpike@fishgame.com


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

Happy Birthday at the Y.O. LL I COULD THINK ABOUT WERE THE DEER seasons of my Michigan youth that were deerless, year after year after year. Not just deerless in the sense of zero bagged critters, or even missed shot opportunities, but entire hunting seasons that produced no deer sightings at all! It drove me batty. But I never gave up. Now before me on this cold, lovely morning in the Texas Hill Country, among the rock-strewn prickly pear cactus, mesquite scrub, and dark green ash junipers, in every direction I gazed were deer, deer, and more deer. Not just whitetail deer, but different colored fallow deer from Europe; dark brown sika stags from the Orient; and glowing red-coated, white-spotted axis deer from India. Surely, I was in deer hunting heaven. I sat still and silent in my live oak ladder stand, bow upright and ready to rock, as numerous herbivores snuck in and out of the habitat all around me. This was my thirtieth year bowhunting the legendary Y.O. Ranch near Mountain Home, Texas, and I swear there were more deer here this morning than ever before. I have celebrated my December birthday here each year for 11 years with family and friends, and on this sixty-first morning of my life, I was committed to kill me a handsome beast to unwrap. I deserved it. Derek Dieringer, of the world-class Woodbury Taxidermy in Ingram, had positioned my ambush setup perfectly—covered up, and downwind of an old feeder where two steep ridges created a deep, thick draw. VidCamDude extraordinaire Bobby Bohannon was manning the SpiritWild digital vidcam when he signaled sounds to our left. Through the live oak leaves, I could see gold-

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en antlers bobbing our way above the brush, and we readied ourselves for backstrap liftoff. The air was calm, yet electric. Bobby and I shook with excitement. Three very fidgety sika does nosed nervously to our right as a handsome chocolate fallow buck paused in the thicket to our left. He was an old warrior, on the downhill side of his life, palmated antlers somewhat stunted, but still majestic in all their glory. Heavy cedars screened an axis doe, and a fine whitetail buck stood motionless on the far hillside, nearly invisible in the dense mesquite and oak. My birthday fallow took two more steps. The sika skittered back where they came from, and now the trophy fallow was only 15 yards in front of us. Happy Birthday to me! When his foreleg stretched out, my arrow came back to the corner of my mouth with a memorized force of its own, and the nearly imperceptible thump of my bowstring harmonized with the ambient sounds of the Hill Country as my arrow disappeared through the ribcage of the beast. God bless pretty arrows—wherever we find them! The sound of scrambling cloven hooves against the loose white gravel was music to my predator ears, and Bobby tracked the death run of my buck until the habitat swallowed him up. I breathed again, and articulated on film the joys of exotic game hunting in Texas thanks to American freedoms, Texas property rights and the inimitable conservation ethic of Texas landowners and hunters forever. Strap Assassin-1 has struck again. Rejoice! Due to recent knee surgery, my gimping tracking limitations gave way to Bobby and Derek picking up the spoor much more efficiently than I, and after a rather long bloodtrail, I heard a series of small arms fire in the distance. It turned out that Bobby had jumped my buck in its bloody bed and was able to quick draw a couple of 10mm rounds from his Glock M20 into the escaping beast. Joined quickly by Derek, who drew his Kimber .45 ACP and gave the stag another hard-hitting Cor-Bon 180-grainer to put an end to the tracking job.

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My arrow had indeed hit the big buck square behind the shoulder, but that mystical beast adrenalin had driven it beyond science. Much merrymaking transpired in the Hill Country, and we took many reverential photos of my birthday present, loaded it up for strapping, and headed off to another tree stand for more Uncle Ted partying! From a pair of Shadow Hunter box blinds miles apart, I was able to kill a fine sika stag later that day, and my birthday hunt excitement peaked over a waterhole at dusk with the prettiest sunset and arrow ever on a stunning 10-point whitetail buck. I was inebriated on maximum SpiritWild! The more than 30 hunters who joined me on this annual Y.O. adventure accounted for more than 50 amazing big game animals. In our mixed bag were blue wildebeest, eland, zebra, red stag, elk, bison, Asiatic buffalo, oryx, addax, ibex, whitetail, fallow, axis, sika, Corsican rams, four-horned sheep, Texas Dall sheep, blackbuck antelope, aoudad rams, barasinga deer, nilgai, and wild boar. You have never seen a group of happier American hunting families anywhere. To say that the Y.O. Ranch is crawling with game is an understatement. All those species and more thrive in this unique habitat, and every year successful hunters take home backstraps of every imaginable description in massive quantities. The Schreiner family has created a dream adventure for sporters who wish to experience exotic game from around the world without the prolonged difficulties and nightmares of global travel. Variety is the spice of life, and at the Y.O. Ranch, they provide quality and quantity. E-mail Ted Nugent at tnugent@fishgame.com

On the Web www.tednugent.com


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Commentary by Kendal Hemphill | TF&G Commentator

ICHAEL LITTLEJOHN, A REVOLUTIONARY War buff and Colonial America reenactor who lives in Brooklyn, thought it would be nice to own a piece of American history. So, he hired a Tennessee blacksmith to build him an authentic replica of a Revolutionary War era flintlock rifle. Unfortunately, Littlejohn left a receipt for the gun in a copier at a neighborhood Staples store, and someone informed the police. In short order, the cops were knocking on Littlejohn’s door, informing him they were under pressure from “higher ups” to have him surrender the gun or apply for a permit. Littlejohn declined either option, since the strict New York gun laws provide an exception to registration for “antique” firearms, which are defined as those that require the bullet and powder to be loaded separately. The flintlock qualifies, without question, but police refused to back off, and the case may soon end up in court. Littlejohn is quoted in the New York Daily News as saying, “Mayor Bloomberg is driven crazy by my flintlock gun—the one that won the American Revolution.” Yet Bloomberg claims that the coalition he started in 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), targets only those guns that are already illegal to own, or are owned by people who have no right to possess firearms. Richard Ward believes Mayor Bloomberg is a “good guy” and supports him “one hundred percent.” Ward is the mayor of Hurst, Texas, and the only Texas mayor not signed on to MAIG. In an effort to try to understand why the mayor of a Texas town would join forces with the likes of Michael Bloomberg, I contacted Ward and asked some pointed questions about his involvement and MAIG’s goals.

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Texas’ First MAIG Mayor

Ward is an intelligent, personable man, a veteran of the U.S. armed forces, a hunter, and a member of the NRA. This article is in no way an attempt to discredit Mayor Ward. It is intended to reveal MAIG’s true agenda and its less than honest claims. I asked Mayor Ward when he joined MAIG and why. He said, “I’m a charter member of the group, and the ‘why’ is obvious. Its intentions are to get illegal guns out of the hands of criminals. Who wouldn’t want that?”

Who, indeed? But when I asked how MAIG intends to accomplish this, Mayor Ward was somewhat vague. He said, “We hope to influence America’s lawmakers to pass laws that will make it harder for criminals to get guns.” What laws would those be? Ward didn’t know, exactly. When asked how he would stop illegal gun use, Mayor Ward said: “We need stricter punishment for gun crime.” How strict? What should the penalty be for using a firearm in the commission of a crime? He said: “Well, I would make it 50 years.” I asked Mayor Ward how it would help me if the criminal who shot and killed me were sent to prison for 50 years. He really couldn’t answer that, either. Mayor Ward said he is not opposed to the death penalty, but does not believe it “really deters crime.” So, he believes stricter T E X A S

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punishment will deter crime, but the death penalty, which is as strict as it gets, does not work. One of MAIG’s main goals is to close the “gun show loophole.” The claim is that criminals can buy guns at gun shows without a background check, and that those on terrorist watch lists can do the same. The fact is that any gun purchase that is illegal anywhere is also illegal at gun shows. There is no loophole. But Mayor Ward is convinced there is, and wants to help close it. MAIG is also against a national reciprocity law, which would force all states that issue concealed handgun licenses to recognize those of all other such states. MAIG’s stated reasoning is that CHL holders in some states have criminal records, or cannot meet mandated safety requirements. I asked Mayor Ward to name a state that issues CHL permits to criminals or anyone who did not meet standards. He couldn’t come up with any—because none exist. Since MAIG has no actual power, and can only lobby congress, its main purpose is to push passage of gun laws. My main purpose, when talking with Mayor Ward, was to find out how MAIG thinks laws will help fight gun crime, since criminals, by definition, ignore laws. He had no answer for that, either. The bottom line is that the only way a lawmaker can protect you from gun crime is to stand in front of you while a criminal is shooting at you. Mayor Ward has, to date, received about 20 inquiries concerning his membership in MAIG. If you live in Hurst, let him know what you think about the issue. If we don’t speak up, we may end up needing a permit to own a flintlock rifle, even in Texas.

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THE SUN WAS JUST KISSing the horizon in prelude to the long embrace of night— quitting time at the bass factory. Like Jurassic water bugs, bass boats powered by 200-horsepower outboards and equipped with enough electronics to preside over a moon shot skimmed the surface of Lake Fork as anglers headed for the ramps. The boated elite scarcely noticed the lone occupant of a little point of land as they thundered by. Engrossed in conversation about traffic jams at the ramp and the one that got away, they didn’t see the bend in the shore-bound angler’s rod or the green and black Dervish clearing the water to shake and worry at the lure in its mouth. Had they waited around a bit, there might have been just enough fading light to witness the landing and to see what a 17-pound bass looks like, up-close and personal. If you have ever felt pity for some guy tossing bass lures from the bank—especially if you were the guy—I suggest examining the Texas Top 10 largemouth bass record list. There, six places down from the top, is an entry dated February 1991 listed at 17.08 pounds, and beside it the name Troy Coates. Placing a Lake Fork bass in the Top 10, though admirable, is not necessarily an amazing feat; Fork produced eight of the Top 10, including Barry St. Clair’s 18.18pound state record. Neither is it amazing that this angler would catch a couple dozen bass in the 10- to 15-pound range, since he lives practically on the shores of the mightiest of Texas bass meccas. However, that Coates caught all but two of those fish from the bank, I dare say, is amazing. I interviewed Coates back in the early 1990s to learn the secrets for taking trophy 24 |

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Cody Mullennix with nowretired TPWD inland fisheries director Phil Durocher and “Splash,” the state record blue cat caught from shore at Lake Texoma.

Troy Coates poses with replica mounts of two of several largemouth bass caught from the bank at Lake Fork, for which he received TPWD Angler Recognition awards.

largemouths from shore, and his advice proved applicable to shoe-leather angling for just about any species. Coates told me the presumed disadvantages of fishing from shore actually provide an edge: the better to read the water by, my dear, seeing things that a boated angler might miss; lure presentation is easier and more natural when standing at water level; and, perhaps most important, limited mobility forces the angler to work a given stretch of water more thoroughly. “In a boat, the temptation is to kick the troller on ‘high’ and cover as much water as possible,” Coates said. “But when you do that, you miss getting your lure into a lot of cover pockets that you don’t see, or don’t have time to hit.” Clearly no disciple of orthodoxy, Coates’ 17-pounder and a smaller l4-pounder fell to a big, bulky craw worm scented with—ready for this?—WD-40. All else aside, Coates told me the true secret of bank-fishing success is the same as the old real estate salesman’s axiom: location, location, location. The same elements

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of cover, structure, and shallow water with deep water nearby apply as they do for boated angling, and you find these elements handily accessible on any reservoir that a highway crosses. Bridges often span a creek or slough, providing deep water plus some structure in the channel edge. The riprap on the roadbed and the pilings create cover and more structure, and the roadbed slopes up to shallow water. Dam tailraces are prime walk-up trophy hotspots for similar reasons, but post-911 lunacy masquerading as “security” has made many of them inaccessible. More’s the pity, because tailraces and stilling basins have produced some of the state’s best fish, including: - The state record striper, 53 pounds, caught May 27, 1999, by Ron Venerable in the Brazos River tailrace below Possum Kingdom Reservoir. - Two former state record stripers: one at 50 pounds, caught November 29, 1996, by Edward Scott, and the other at 49 pounds caught October 27, 1996, both from the same stretch of Guadalupe River tailrace. Those fish still head the Texas striper Top 50 list in places 1, 2, and 3 respectively. October 2000, John Lindsey, Jr., of

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Ron Venerable caught the state record striper while bank-fishing.

THE

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WALKABOUT

Certified Scale

Measuring Tape

www.boga-grip.com

www.basspro.com

www.nikon.com

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Digital Camera California was practicing his fly-casting in the stilling basin below Lake Meredith when he hooked and landed a 14.14-pound largemouth bass, simultaneously establishing the state fly rod record and an IGFA 6-pound tippet world record. January 2004, Cody Mullennix caught the 121.50-pound state record blue catfish from the bank at Lake Texoma. He named it “Splash” and donated it to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, where it lived in an aquarium for some time as both the state and world record for the species. A 124-pound Mississippi River blue later supplanted Splash as the world record. Splash is undoubtedly the most famous shore-caught Texas trophy fish, but there are many others. Al St. Cyr got a $250,000 payoff for a 41-pound, 8-ounce common carp caught at Austin’s Town Lake during the 2006 Texas Carp Challenge. The big sucker broke the state record and therefore qualified for the huge payoff. Carp fishing from the bank is hugely popular in Europe and is becoming increasingly popular in Texas. Some land-bound trophies aren’t records—they’re just freakin’ huge. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), in unintentional imitation of Troy Coates, Roby Tassion of

Waterproof Notepad

Frisco caught a coveted ShareLunker bass from the banks of Lake Fork. “One cold March day in 1996, my wife and I decided to go bass fishing from the bank at Lake Fork,” Tassio recalled. “I made a long cast over a weed bed, and after about the third crank of the reel, I felt the fish nail my lure. It wasn’t until she jumped, only her head clearing the water, that I realized I had hooked a huge fish. “When I finally landed this ShareLunker, I would have sworn that her weight was over 15 pounds. She was huge! It turned out she was a solid 13.11 pounds with a belly that looked like she had just swallowed a giant grapefruit.” Walk-up trophies certainly are not exclusive to inland waterways. The Texas coast offers hundreds of miles of land access points, and over the years has produced some genuine mega fish. South Padre Island is known for its giant sharks, including tiger, bull, and the occasional mako. The area also produces plenty of jack crevalle, bull redfish, speckled trout, and stingrays. Expert surf-fishermen Marcus Heflin of Christian Surf Fishing Adventures said the stretch of beach between Sabine Pass and High Island harbors many huge fish: “My son, Justin, caught a 200-pound stingray T E X A S

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there last year, and we caught many nice sharks and uncountable numbers of bull redfish. “We host fishing trips for free and provide all tackle to help anglers learn to fish from the surf. With the economy doing what it has been doing, many anglers feel their options are minimal because they cannot afford a boat. However, the reality is if they can make a tackle investment and drive down to any beach in Texas, they have the chance to catch the biggest fish of their life.” Heflin said when people find out the opportunities before them, they are often overcome with excitement. “When someone catches a 100-pound bull shark or a 40-pound redfish or even just a nice speckled trout, you should see their faces. Fishing is for everyone, and once people realize economics cannot take them of the game, they embrace fishing like they did when they were a kid, and that has value beyond measure.” So, just because you fish from shore is no reason to lament your lot in life, but rather cause for celebration—especially if you walk up a trophy.

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Among soft plastic lures that do wonders on the coast, the straight-tailed sand eel imitation rules in its category. This lure originally gained notoriety in freshwater, with a much narrower body and wormlike presentation. Just as so many lures have migrated from

Additional fauna common to soft-bottomed bays includes cinder worms, which are red in color, grow up to several inches long, and swarm by the thousands at nightfall. Speckled trout feed ravenously on these swarms. Austin native Jerry Stripling cut his teeth on freshwater fishing, and succeeded in winning numerous Texas tournaments before converting to saltwater. When he arrived in Port Mansfield in the late 70s, Stripling discovered that applying bass-fishing techniques on Lower Laguna Madre produced remarkable results. “He keyed on bottom structure, grass points, and drop-offs while drifting or using the trolling motor, just as so many freshwater anglers do,” said grandson Cody Stripling. “It is amazing how the trout hang along edges just as bass do.” There was not much of a learning curve for Jerry Stripling when he converted to saltwater, especially when he realized how successful he could be by using worm style soft plastics rigged with a jighead. “We started out using red shrimp tails on Lower Laguna, but switched over to a Norton Sand Eel, Jr., in Tequila Gold, or the Brown Lure Sea Devil in dark Strawberry and white. Trout are suckers for their movements,” said Stripling. “I can stick with the straight-tailed baits all year ‘round. I think it is the presentation the baits offer that draws so many strikes. A little twitch, and the baits

“I like the straight-tailed baits best in summer,” says Port Mansfield guide Captain Danny Neu (979-942-0165). “They are more erratic and move quicker through the water column. There is no resistance on the tail end; straight-tailed baits cover more water.” Neu believes the sharp slices through the water column draw more reaction type strikes because trout have less time to size it up and think about it; it is hit it or lose it. “I work them fast and erratic; pop it three or four times, and let it fall. Mix it up until you find the strikes. You work a lot more water by twitching it more often. Cast into a swimming pool and see for yourself.” Neu’s current go-to bait is a Norton Sand Eel, Jr., in red and white or Tequila Gold. In wintertime, he switches to a more subtle paddle-tailed bait in Plum and white. Neu’s best trip fishing trip ever was with his dad and brother on Lower Laguna Madre. The trio drifted to catch nine trout over 30 inches along with plenty smaller ones, using a red and white Queen Cocahoe Minnow. “That trip was before sand eel tails were introduced to saltwater,” said Neu. “One of my favorite trips consisted of me catching three bruisers using a Brown Lure Plum and white Sea Devil. It was back in 2005, when I consecutively caught a 29-7/8-, a 31-, and a 32-inch trout in 25 minutes.” Fished deep, shallow, fast, or slow, a sand

freshwater to salt, the sand eel’s slender appeal eventually earned its place as one of the most widely used and productive saltwater baits. It seems baffling why a worm-like soft plastic works so well on the coast, especially considering the array of shrimps, mullet, and other baitfishes that occupy the waters. Perhaps the presence of shrimp eels, commonly called “sand eels,” is responsible for speckled trout attacking a finessed straighttailed soft plastic.

dart like crazy.” Cody Stripling fishes his soft plastics with a slightly different retrieve: “Many anglers develop a rhythm and allow the lure to float in wave-like patterns by varying twitches with cranks on the reel handle. Working the baits into areas I think trout are laying up, I reel in only the slack as I bounce the lure.” Instead of passing the soft plastic merely across the zone, Cody forces the lure to dance before the eyes of a trout that potentially waits.

eel soft plastic is versatile and effective for catching big individual speckled trout or big numbers. Whether the appeal to a speckled trout stems from seductive presentation or similarity to bay worms, straight-tailed soft plastics are undoubtedly trout candy.

A PASSERBY NEAR ANY tackle shop worm-bar would recognize the gaggle of crazy, rubber creations made for the Texas Coast. From shrimp imitators, split-tailed tandem rigs, rediculously oversized mullet baits, and weedless curly contraptions to elastic minnows, shad, and crab offerings, it is obvious lure manufacturers let imaginations run wild in the mold-making.

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BY

BARRY ST. CLAIR

IT REMINDED ME OF a Sunday afternoon social: Excited voices echoed across the water with squeals of delight and shouts of triumph clearly discernable. The sound of small splashes and the frenzied cries of terns and gulls enjoying the action added to the festive atmosphere. Calm winds, cool temperatures, and hungry white “sand” bass feeding on the surface were the perfect ingredients for an afternoon of spectacular sport on sprawling Richland-Chambers Reservoir southeast of Corsicana, Texas. Depending on the weather, this drama is repeated on an almost daily basis during the spring, summer, and fall across Texas reservoirs, lasting until cold water-temperatures force baitfishes to suspend in deep water for survival. During mild winters, the action can last all season as panicked schools of shad, hungry birds, voracious white bass, and eager fishermen come together for an aquatic ballet without parallel. White bass are one of the most popular game fish sought by Texas. They are prolific, grow to keeper size quickly, and found 30 |

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in most areas of Texas with suitable habitat. Very scrappy when caught on light tackle, they are also excellent table fare. Perhaps best of all, it doesn’t take a degree in rocket surgery or fishology to understand their habits and where and how to catch them. Here is a quick look at just some of the best places to catch them in Texas.

Cedar Creek Res. Description: Impounded in 1965 as a regional water supply and flood control reservoir on Kings Creek and Cedar Creek in western Henderson County, Cedar

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Creek Reservoir sprawls across more than 32,000 surface acres. The lake has multiple large and small coves with intermittent creeks draining into it. White bass fishing at this lake is exceptional during the summer and fall months. Large schools can be found in open water areas relating to drop-offs around islands and main lake points. They will push schools of shad to the surface and feed on them in a frenzy of activity. Just about any lure that mimics the size and color of the forage fish will work. When fish are not feeding on the surface, small slabs or PHOTO COURTESY USFW


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spoons in chrome, white, or chartreuse jigged vertically over a suspended school will usually produce strikes. Contact: Greater Cedar Creek Chamber of Commerce, 903-887-3152; TPWD District Office, 903-566-2161

Richland-Chambers Res. Description: This giant reservoir sprawls across approximately 44,000 surface acres and is the fourth largest body of water in the state. Its two main tributaries

are Richland Creek to the west and Chambers Creek on the east, which give the reservoir its name. This lake receives little relative fishing pressure because of its size and distance from major urban centers. White bass anglers usually have no problem finding acres of hungry fish on RC. These fish are abundant and readily take small shad-imitating lures. During the spring, summer, and fall they feed on the surface early in the morning and late in the evening. This behavior presents some of the most exciting topwater lure action possible. When they are not active on top, they will T E X A S

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suspend in large schools over humps and along creek channels in the lower end of the reservoir. A slab or spoon jigged up through them vertically is all it usually takes to get them to strike. Trolling is also a popular option. Contact: Corsicana Chamber of Commerce, 903-874-4731; TPWD District Office, 903-566-2161; Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, 903-389-5792

Lake Ray Hubbard Description: This reservoir is located on the east fork of the Trinity River and is

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surrounded by urban cities of the Dallas area. Surface area is 22,750 acres and maximum depth is 40 feet. The watershed for this area is typical of the black land prairie region of north central Texas and as a result, the lake remains somewhat turbid most of the year. Ray Hubbard is noted for its excellent populations of white bass. The best fishing area for whites lies east of the I-30 bridge. Hotspots include the Robertson Park Flats, power plant discharge area, dam face, and mouths of Yankee and Rush creeks. Topwater action is possible daily during the warm months, and anglers have good success using small topwaters, slabs, spoons, and crankbaits in shad patterns. Contact: City of Garland, 972-2052000; TPWD District Office, 817-7320761

Lake Somerville Description: Somerville is a fairly shallow impoundment of 11,500 surface acres located on Yegua Creek 30 miles southwest of Bryan/College Station. Maximum depth is 38 feet and water levels fluctuate 1-6 feet annually. Water clarity is usually somewhat stained. Fish habitat consists of shoreline vegetation, stump fields, points, drop-offs, creek channels, riprap, old roadbeds, and rock quarries. White bass make an annual spawning run up Yegua Creek when water flows coincide with the annual late winter migration up tributaries. Small crankbaits, spinners, and jigs are all productive lures. Slabs, spoons, and swimbaits fished close to the bottom are steady producers. Whites will move back to main lake structure in March. Good places to locate them are on main lake structures such as Rocky Creek, humps, creek channels around Snake Island, and the dam area. Drifting live shad close to the bottom is a very productive tactic. The fish can also be caught bouncing a slab in chrome, white, or chartreuse on the bottom. Trolling shad-imitating crankbaits will also put fish in the boat in those same areas. Contact: Lake Somerville State Park Birch Creek Unit, 979-535-7763; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 979-596-1622; TPWD District Office, 979-822-5067

Lake Wright Patman Description: Wright Patman is a 20,000-acre reservoir impounded on the

Sulphur River 10 miles south of the city of Texarkana in Northeast Texas. Maximum depth is 40 feet. Wright Patman is considered an excellent reservoir to catch a boatload of white bass. Shad-imitating crankbaits, spoons, slabs, and jigs in white or chartreuse are the most productive lures. Concentrate on the ends of main lake points, creek channels, and humps to locate the schools. In late winter, they move into tributaries and the mouths of major coves. During the warm months, they follow the river channel and push schools of shad against main lake points, creating exciting topwater fishing opportunities. Contact: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 903-838-8781; TPWD District Office, 903-938-1007; Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, 903-792-7191; Atlanta State Park, 903-796-6476

Lake Toledo Bend Description: Toledo Bend is the largest reservoir in Texas at 181,000 surface acres. The lake shares its eastern border with Louisiana. The main tributary is the Sabine River. Toledo Bend is so large it spreads across three East Texas counties. The dam at its southern end lies approximately 24 miles north of the city of Jasper. White bass make an annual early spring spawning run up the Sabine River in the northern part of the reservoir. They will gather at the mouth of the river and other flowing tributaries by the thousands and are easily fooled by small spoons, spinners, jigs, and crankbaits. White bass grow large in Toledo Bend and limits of 3-pound or larger fish are common when the females are ready to spawn. Contact: TPWD District Office, 409384-9572; Jasper Chamber of Commerce, 409-384-2762; Sabine River Authority, 409-565-2273

Lake Livingston Description: Livingston is an impoundment on one of the major rivers in the eastern half of Texas, the Trinity. It is also one of the largest, spreading out over 90,000 surface acres. Maximum depth is 77 feet and water level fluctuation averages 2 feet per year. Water clarity is usually turbid in the upper sections of the reservoir and moderately so in the remainder of the lake. Livingston is considered one of the best


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white bass fisheries in Texas. White bass make massive spawning runs up the tributaries in late winter and are easy to catch on a wide variety of small lures. During the rest of the year, they can be found around the creek channels, main lake points, and humps in the lower end of the reservoir. Jigs, spoons, and slabs fished close to the bottom will tease them into reactive strikes. Contact: Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce, 936-327-4929; TPWD District Office, 979-822-5067; Lake Livingston State Park, 936-3652201; Trinity River Authority, 936-3652292

Lake Amistad Description: Amistad is a border lake shared with Mexico located approximately 12 miles north and west of Del Rio. Surface area of this sprawling rocky reservoir is 65,000 acres. The main tributaries are the Rio Grande and Devil’s rivers. Maximum depth is 217 feet and the water is usually clear. In dry years, fluctuation levels can be 25 feet or more. Average is 510 feet. Primary fish habitat is rocky struc-

ture. These include rocky points, islands, humps, steep cliffs, ledges, creek channels, and boulder piles. White bass are easiest to find and catch when they run up the rivers to spawn in late winter. Small spoons, crankbaits, and jigs in shad colors will catch them. In the summer, they will school on main lake points and the mouths of major coves. Small topwaters, slabs, and spinners are excellent choices to entice them. Contact: National Park Service, 830775-7491; TPWD District Office, 210348-6355; Del Rio Chamber of Commerce, 830-775-3551

Lake Meredith Description: Meredith is a 16,500acre reservoir impounded on the Canadian River approximately 45 miles northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. Maximum depth is 127 feet when full, and the water is usually very clear in the main lake and muddy in the upper end. Water levels can fluctuate widely depending on annual runoff. Fish habitat consists mostly of rocky points, drop-offs, ledges, boulder

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piles, and steep bluffs. Some areas of shoreline and aquatic vegetation are available in the creek coves. There are also some regions of standing timber. Meredith offers excellent white bass fishing. Look for them around main lake points and humps. Jigging spoons and live bait are top producers. When they chase shad to the surface and feed on them, the fish are easily duped into striking small spinners, crankbaits, and topwaters. Summer and fall are prime seasons to enjoy this behavior. Trolling crankbaits and spoons across points and the mouths of coves will also take these feisty game fish. White, yellow, and chrome are the best lure colors. Contact: National Park Service, 806857-315; Lake Meredith Marina, 806865-3391; TPWD District Office, 806655-4341

On the Web www.FishGame.com/hotspots

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Texas Freshwater by Matt Williams| TF&G Freshwater Editor

Quick Fixes NYONE WHO HAS SPENT MUCH TIME ON the water is sure to agree:Tinker around with boats long enough, and sooner or later some sort of problem will crop up that duct tape or a screwdriver can’t fix. It’s just the nature of the beast. Aerator and bilge pumps can become clogged or die altogether; wire connections can work loose or corrode; fuses can blow; hoses can rot; wheel bearings can explode or seize up.

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Though no problem is “good,” the best ones are detected early, ideally before you get on the water or on the road to the lake. Unfortunately, it rarely seems to work out that way. If you are like me, things usually go wrong when you least expect it, or at a time when it really puts you in a bind. Something a guy named Murphy said comes to mind. It is always nice if spare parts and the proper tools are readily available when it comes time to fix stuff, but sometimes that is just not the case. When all else fails, you might have to improvise. Lendell Martin, Jr., of Nacogdoches is a master at making things work in a clinch. Martin grew up in Houston, where as a teenager he began working at his parent’s air conditioning business. His father hired a dri-

ver to take him out on troubleshooting calls because he was too young to drive. If it can be fixed, Martin can probably fix it well enough to get out of a bind. That is what he did last spring after the tongue on his boat trailer gave way while motoring through the South Texas Brush Country en route to Lake Falcon in Zapata. Rather than leaving a $60,000 boat sitting on the side of the road, Martin flagged down a local passerby, who had a welding machine on site within an hour, and Martin fixed the trailer himself. Here’s laundry list of other possible quick fixes that can keep you fishing if you happen to get in a bind. Livewells Draining Down: If your livewell won’t maintain full capacity when in


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Texas Freshwater the auto or recirculation mode, there could be a problem with the valve cable or the valve itself. A quick fix is to remove the drain screen on the bottom of livewell and stuff a plug in the drainpipe. If a plug is not available, you can seal the leak by doubling a sandwich bag over the

threaded drainpipe and replacing the screen. Aerators Won’t Pump: Your aerator pumps are the life of your fish. When an aerator pump quits working, it is sometimes due to a faulty motor or impeller mechanism, but not always. A rock, spinnerbait skirt, or plastic worm that finds its way into the housing

will prevent the impeller from doing its job. This can cause fuses to blow continuously until the path is cleared. Most modern boats are equipped with two-piece aerator pumps comprised of a motor/impeller cartridge that can be easily replaced. If one is not available, you can fill the livewells and periodically add fresh water by placing the valve cable in the “empty” position. Cut the steering wheel hard left and back the boat slowly. This will force water through the intake and into the livewells. It would be a good idea to keep a livewell lid open so you can monitor the water level and avoid overfilling. Place the valve cable in the auto or recirculate position to prevent the fresh water from leaking out. Flat Tire and No Jack: Changing a flat tire is a pain, particularly when you have to do the job at night. Anyone who has ever fumbled with a floor or bottle jack with the aid of a flashlight knows the drill. A much easier (and safer) alternative for changing a flat on a tandem axle trailer is using a curb or concrete stopper often found in rest stop parking lots. The first order of business is to loosen the lug nuts on the flat tire. Next, position the good tire on top of the outer edge of the curb by backing or driving forward. This will automatically elevate the flat tire. Be sure to set the emergency brake on the tow vehicle before undertaking the dirty work. Another alternative to using a manual jack or curb is a platform made from four pieces of scrap 2x8 lumber. Stack the boards in stairstep fashion and secure them to one another using nails or wood screws. Drill an oversize hole at the front of the baseboard so you can spike it to the ground. This will prevent the platform from sliding as your good tire climbs the stair steps to elevate the flat tire off the ground.

E-mail Matt Williams at freshwater@fishgame.com

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Texas Saltwater by Calixto Gonzales | TF&G Saltwater Editor

Reader Letters AST YEAR, DURING A FIT OF WRITER’S BLOCK, I dedicated an entire column to answering some of the more interesting e-mails I received from readers, and was pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback. I figured making the “reader’s column” an annual event was a pretty good idea. (Even our circulation director, Duane Hruzek, liked the first one—and he’s a worse curmudgeon than Zaidle.) So, without further preamble, on to the questions.

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Q: I’m sure I’m like a lot of your readers in that I have a very limited amount of discretionary funds (and it seems to have decreased over the last couple of years). Can you recommend some lures that I can use both in freshand saltwater? — T. Innes A: I receive a lot of queries, mostly from younger and entry-level anglers, about using freshwater lures in the Big Briny. Topwaters made for bass, for example, look just like saltwater topwaters. They mostly are the same, save for hardware designed for a more corrosive environment. A decent assortment of medium-sized topwaters, swimbaits (such as the venerable Queen Cocahoe), and jigheads should outfit you well for both fresh and salt. I have enjoyed a great deal of success on bass with three Nemire Lures products: The original Red Ripper (which, as the name

implies, was originally designed for redfish), the Spoon Buzzer, and the Spin Ripper. Bass love all three, especially when they are schooling. One of the things I like about the Nemire products is that they are easy for children and neophyte anglers to use. Just cast toward a grass bed and reel it in. Reel it over the salad, stop when you get to an opening, and let it flutter down. Piece of cake. Q: Do you think you can write about some of the guides that fishermen should avoid? I think you always seem to write about “good” fishing guides. — L. Taylor A: I don’t—and won’t—write about “bad” fishing guides; they are not worth the space (I have encountered some real doozies). I have dealt with a lot of quality guides up and down the coast, and I mention them now and


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then because I trust them. There are also many top-notch guides that I have not had the chance to mention. I do understand the concern that motivates the question. It stinks to go through the trouble and expense of driving down to the coast from Hebbronville, Uvalde, or Abilene, then hiring a guide and discovering he is incompetent or worse. You can avoid such an ordeal with a little research. Of course, the easiest route is to call the captains that we use in Hotspots or the Texas Lakes & Bays Fishing Atlas. Short of that, ask around of other anglers and see who they recommend and why. Or, you can always contact your destination’s Tourist Bureau, which likely can provide several recommendations. Remember one caveat: The best guide in the world can’t buck lousy fishing conditions. Most captains will empty a gas tank, stay out a little long, and beat the water to foam trying to put you onto fish. If the fish won’t bite, there is nothing they can do. Q: How can you say that you are an advo-

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cate of children and a critic of animal advocates? I thought you’d want to teach children about compassion and how to treat all of God’s creatures. — A. Cortez A: First off, what in the wide, wide world of sports are “animal advocates” (which I assume you are) doing reading my column? That’s akin to me reading Barry Switzer’s autobiography. Yes, I am a huge children’s advocate. I love fishing with my son, his friends, and my nephew. My greatest moments as a fisherman have been sharing some of their piscine milestones. I have always maintained that fishing is a great way to teach young people values, such as compassion, moderation, generosity, and other virtues. To be honest, I see more vices such as dishonesty, wrath, pride, and maybe a little envy in the “animal rights” sector. Q: You seem to push species other than trout, flounder, redfish, or snook quite often. Why? Do you just like catching easier fish? — J. Weber A: What I really like is fishing. I am the

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sort of guy who can fish for hours on end without a fish; and if I get a bite, I will fish hours more just on that alone. I love all the fish you mention, and I am also a bit of a tarpon addict. I get just as much thrill out of sitting on a causeway or bridge and catching sheepshead or mangrove snapper, too. I am sure other anglers would, too, and I try to share that information with them. A 28-inch trout is an awesome fish, but I would explode with excitement over a 5-pound mangrove, too. I certainly don’t think other species are easier to catch. A friend of mine and I once spent an entire afternoon trying to catch some of the biggest sheepshead we had ever seen. We could see them moving up and down some dock pilings. We threw live shrimp, could feel the fish pick up and chew the bait, and then we set the hook into nothing. It went on for three hours. We finally moved off and went looking for some trout; they were much easier to catch.

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Hunt Texas by Bob Hood | TF&G Hunting Editor

A 26 Point... Doe?! OST DEER HUNTERS HOPE TO SEE A FAIR to good buck during the season, and others just hope to shoot a doe for the freezer. After all, antlers are good only for stirring the chili. Steve Bowen of Lewisville got both during the 2009 archery-only season—a doe and a big 26-point rack all in one animal. Bowen, 47, is an ardent bow hunter who has been hunting for five years on a lowfenced, 800-acre Cook County ranch that borders the Red River. Like many hunters, he set up a trail camera at a feeder and was pleasantly surprised when a photo of a multiantlered deer appeared during the early part of the archery-only season. On November 4, Bowen sat near the feeder, where fate, patience, luck, and practice all came together. Bowen saw the deer cross an opening near the feeder at about 40 yards, drew his Matthews DKT bow, and nailed the deer. It ran a short distance into a creek bottom and went down. One can only imagine the adrenalin rush Bowen experienced when he walked up to a deer sporting 26 points (including two long dropped tines) and weighing approximately 200 pounds live weight. If you could have been there, you would have hollered, “that’s one great buck”—but you would have been wrong. Great antlers, yes, but great buck, no. The deer was an antlered doe, an oddity for sure but not exactly completely unheard of in the animal kingdom, or even in Texas.“I assumed it was a buck with hardened antlers and had no idea it was a doe,” Bowen said. “It was about five years old, and although we didn’t weigh it, it probably weighed around 200 pounds live weight. It had a 14-inch

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Steve Bowen’s antlered doe sported a mish-mash of 26-point. inside spread and 16 inches between the two drop-tines. It had all the sexual features of a doe. It had 10 inches of base antlers and was the only deer taken on our lease at that time, but we have some really big deer there.” Bowen said a trail camera took a picture of a deer with palm-like antlers three years ago and he thinks that deer might have been the same doe he shot last archery season. Just how rare are antlered does and which tag do you use on one? The last question is

This doe’s rack sported a 14-inch inside spread, drop tines, and 10 inches of base.

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easy. Since it has antlers, you use one of the “buck or antlerless” tags, not an “antlerless only.” But these animals raise another question: Are they really does? Except for caribou, females of the deer family do not normally grow antlers, yet reports of antlered does go back more than a century. Some antlered does have had antlers in velvet while others had hardened antlers. According to wildlife researchers, those with velvet antlers are capable of producing fawns while those with hardened antlers likely do not reproduce. Remember that word “likely.” Hormones and other factors account for gender confused deer. Simply put, whitetail deer antlers are made of bone that grow from pedicels or “buttons” on the skull. During early development, antler growth is triggered by the interaction of increasing daylight, testosterone, and the hormone prolactin. Initially, antlers are composed of blood vessels, nerves, and a hairy skin called “velvet.” In late summer, a second surge of testosterone (the most important stimulant to antler growth) causes the velvet to die and the bone to harden. By late winter, the supply of testosterone declines and a separation forms between the antler and pedicel, causing the antlers to eventually drop off. By early spring, the re-growth of antlers begins again. As for does with antlers, it has been found that female deer with a hormone imbalance, first pregnancy, tumors, or degenerative conditions of the ovaries or adrenal glands can experience a testosterone surge that causes the growth of antlers. It is the second surge of testosterone that appears to be most important in possible fawn production. Doe deer with hardened antlers are usually reproductively malformed males, or vice versa. Research indicates most of these deer are hermaphrodites with male organs predominant, or pseudohermaphrodites with female genitalia but with internal male organs. Do they make good mommies or daddies? Who knows.

E-mail Bob Hood at hunting@fishgame.com. PHOTOS BY BOB HOOD


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Baffin Bay at Last N MY YOUTH, WE FISHED AT CORPUS CHRISTI Bay, Rockport, Copano Bay, and Upper Laguna Madre, but I have been wanting to fish at Baffin Bay for 60 years. While I was away at school, my father went south down the Intracoastal Waterway to Baffin Bay. He told me about the rocks that lurked just below the surface and of the big speckled trout that could be caught there. He called it Cayo del Infernito—his translation of “Bay of Little Hell.” There is a small area that today is called Cayo Del Infierito, but I doubt that he fished there. On the trip, they would poke an oar out in front of the bow to fend off the rocks. Due to his scary tales, I was always reluctant to go there without a guide. The rocks that provide such great structure for a perfect aquatic habitat are unique to that area. They are the remains of large prehistoric worms that have petrified to form limestone rocks. For a more scientific name, these structures are called “serpulid reefs.” Fishing guides now can use depthfinders and GPS to locate the reefs and have very little trouble locating the fishing areas. After fishing there, I could tell the difference in color that the reefs give the surface. In other areas and on other days, the color might not

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be so apparent, so caution is advised. A friend and I have been fishing in the Rockport area for several years and I have tried to promote a guided trip to Baffin Bay, but we couldn’t find an appropriate time. My son, Steve, and I have gone to Ontario, Canada, twice to fish, so I knew I could count on him to be eager to try Baffin Bay. We got on the internet to find a guide. There are many guide services in the Corpus Christi area, but I wanted one who lived

by Charles Cable near Baffin Bay. After talking on the phone to two guides to get prices and conditions, I pulled up their websites and checked their boats and other information. One guide would allow fishing with live bait, but it was quite expensive. Live shrimp are readily available near the Kennedy Causeway to Padre Island, but normally, according to one guide, all live bait must be brought in to Baffin on the fishing day from near Flour Bluff. After all the research, I picked Captain Aubrey Black that fishes only with plastics and lives near Loyola Beech on Baffin Bay. After making a reservation for a day in June, we discovered that my eldest son,

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Tom, and his son, Clayton, who were staying on Padre Island at that time, could join us for the fishing trip. The four of us left Corpus Christi about 5:15 a.m. and arrived at Captain Black’s home on time at 6:30. We followed Black’s boat trailer down to Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Park and boat ramp on the Cayo de Garullo, loaded up, and set out for the fishing area. After about a 15-minute ride, we circled up wind from an area of submerged rocks. As we drifted, Black added a clicking cork, hook, and an off-white plastic split tail worm to my rig. He then started working on the second rod. I cast out and started popping my cork. Bang! A 14-inch specked trout pulled the cork under as I set the hook and reeled it in. The guide netted the fish and removed the hook. Casting out again, I immediately had another trout that needed Black’s attention. Casting out and catching a trout about l6 inches long caused another disruption in the preparation of the other rods, so I said I would quit fishing for a few minutes so my sons could get rigged up fish. The sons caught several fish and I caught another. The clicking cork mentioned above rides

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In This Issue

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: ROCKPORT • Fish or Cut Bait | BY CAPT. MAC GABLE

GEARING UP SECTION

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: LOWER COAST • Forward, March! | BY CALIXTO GONZALES

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TEXAS TESTED • A Bheestly Bheest of a Bag; Shimano’s New Ride; Winchester Super X Power Max ammo| BY TFG STAFF

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

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

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INDUSTRY INSIDER • New Target for Crossbows; Rage 125-Grain, 2Blade Broadhead | BY TF&G STAFF FISH THIS • Russelure Ressurected in Texas | BY GREG BERLOCHER

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HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: UPPER COAST • Mommy Dearest? | BY CAPT. EDDIE HERNANDEZ

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: GALVESTON COMPLEX • Marching Toward Spring| BY CAPT. MIKE HOLMES

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HOTSPOTS FOCUS: MATAGORDA • Set Your Transmission to ‘Transition’ | BY BINK GRIMES

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BOWHUNTING TECH • A Bird on My Knee | BY LOU MARULLO

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • Eyes and Ears, Part 2 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE

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TEXAS BOATING • Stern Warnings | BY LENNY RUDOW

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TEXAS KAYAKING • Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp | BY GREG BERLOCHER

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BAITS & RIGS • Free-lining | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

PHOTO COURTESY CHARLES CABLE

Even though Cable had camera problems, he was able to shoot decent photos of everyone in his party with a trout.

up and down between two glass beads about 6 inches apart. When the cork is popped, it makes a clicking sound that imitates the noise made by feeding speckled trout. I have heard this sound while fishing on the old bridge that crosses the entrance to Copano C2 |

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Bay. The lights on the bridge attract baitfishes and schools of speckled trout. The clicking sound can easily be heard as the trout feed. Looking north, we noticed a weather front moving in from the northwest. The guide used his technology and assured us that it was breaking up and shouldn’t cause any trouble. Sure enough, it passed us by, but the wind changed from onshore to offshore. The fishing slowed down so we moved to another reef west of East Kleberg Point. We noticed some slicks on the surface that are usually caused by feeding fish regurgitating oily material. Casting out over the slicks, Tom got a strike and had a fun time netting a 23-inch trout. Shortly after that, his son, Clayton, fishing a reddish plastic lure reeled in a 23-1/2-inch trout, which he claimed beat his father’s. I cast out over a slick and pulled in another 23-inch trout. Steve pulled in a similar trout. We had to stop between trout to take pictures. Unfortunately, the camera had only a small viewing screen that was useless in

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HUNTING TALES • Turkey on $50 | BY LOU MARULLO

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OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

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TEXAS TASTED • Slaven’s Venison Stew with Red Wine | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

bright light, so each picture on target was a miracle. But we managed to get a picture of each of us that actually contained the entire fish. When Steve had his fish on, it somehow crossed Clayton’s line, and at one point, we

We noticed a weather front moving in from the northwest.

HOW-TO SECTION COVER STORY • Baffin Bay at Last | BY CHARLES CABLE

thought we had two whoppers on at once. But after Steve reeled in his trout, the other one somehow disappeared, much to the dismay of Clayton. After the fishing slowed, Black suggested we pull over near the shore and wade out to cast over some rocks. They left me in the boat and as they waded away and I continued to fish out of the boat. I got one strike CONTINUED on Page C4 

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Match March Eel Hatch LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Reefs @ South end of the lake GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Norton Sand Eels, Flounder

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Pounder soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Red Shad, Pumpkin, Salt & Pepper, with a chartreuse tail CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: In March, the reefs area will probably be the saltiest, drawing the fish onto them. Drift the reefs letting the wind push your boat. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.780, W93 54.439 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics; Catch 2000, Catch 5, Corky CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Wind is a big factor in March.

Concentrate your fishing efforts on the side of the lake that is protected. For example, if the wind is from the northwest, fish the west side. That’s where you will find your clearer water. If the water is fairly clear, throw either a clear-colored bait with a lot of sparkles and a chartreuse tail. Watermelon with an orange tail is best if the water is dirty. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Madame Johnson Bayou GPS: N29 50.839, W29 50.839 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Catch 2000, Corky for bigger fish; soft plastics for numbers CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Fish the shoreline flats, keying on mullet. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.780, W93 54.439

COVER STORY  Continued from Page C2 that missed being hooked, but as I jerked the lure away, a big fish roiled the water, but again failed to be hooked. The waders threw out over the rock reef and Tom got a strike that strained his 14-pound-test line. He reeled in a whopper that measured over 26 inches long. In a few minutes, Clayton duplicated the effort by catching another trout over 26 inches long that was the largest trout he had ever caught. Of course, now I couldn’t stay in the boat with all the success going on with the waders. I climbed off the stern of the boat and joined the boys. I guess I jinxed the wade-fishing because we caught no more fish in that location. Now the trick was getting a 195-pound, 79-year-old man up a C4 |

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wiggly ladder, but with a big push on my backside by Black, it was accomplished. Black suggested we go over near Los Corrallos to try sight-fishing some red drum. Tom and I were let off near some deeper water to fish some red plastic lures with white tails. Tom eventually caught a speck about 16 inches long, which I wrestled with and put on a stringer. The floating sea grass was so thick that each cast pulled in a wad of the grass on the lure. It would have been better to fish a weedless lure. Black, Steve, and Clayton went near the shore and waded to find redfish. They saw three reds and Black caught one rat red. Black came back to get me and we had another struggle getting up the ladder into the boat. After drifting over another rock reef

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and catching a small trout, we called it a day. We caught seven large trout, three more well over the keeper size, and a number of smaller trout. While the young guys were out of the boat, I was listening on the VHF radio to other fishing guides. The best catch I heard about was five fish in the box, so we did an excellent job because at the time we had nine in the box and later 10. After Black cleaned the fish, we joined him at his home to talk to his gracious wife and settle up after he washed his boat. It was a great trip. I’m glad I could be on such a fun adventure with so many of my boys, and I wish I had not waited so long. I’m sure we will go again. Charles Cable is a Texas Fish & Game Reader

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SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Catch 2000, Corky for bigger fish; soft plastics for numbers CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Fish the shoreline flats, keying on mullet.

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LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Coffee Ground Cove GPS: N29 57.757, W93 46.331 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Norton Sand Eels, Flounder Pounder soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse,

Red Shad, Pumpkin, Salt & Pepper, with a chartreuse tail CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Drift the area around the barrel channel in water 6-7 feet deep. Deep water of the ship channel is close by for the fish to retreat to in colder weather. As the temperature warms up, the fish move from the deep water up into the shallower water in Coffee Ground Cove. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Stewt’s Island GPS: N29 57.899, W93 50.900 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Soft plastic baits are always best to use in trying to locate fish. If you find the fish are big, switch off to topwater baits to try catching a trophy fish. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: South Causeway Reef GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Big Nasty and 4-inch Norton Sand Eels CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: In March, when you start getting the bull tides you will start getting a lot of sand eels showing up in the lake at the same time. Visibility is the key to catching fish on Sabine Lake. You want the fish to be able to see it. Use black colors when the water is dirty; clear, sparkly colors when the water is clear. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Keith Lake Cut GPS: N29 46.503, W93 56.427 BEST BAITS: soft plastics SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Incoming tides in March are usually the best time to fish. The tide is bringing a little warmer water out of the Gulf. Fish are feeding on what is coming in from the Gulf. Key your bait retrieve on what

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the water temperature is; 45 to 50 degrees necessitates a slow retrieve. As the water warms up, the fish may then want the bait going pretty fast. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: South Causeway Reef

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GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Key your bait retrieve on what the water temperature is; 45 to 50 degrees

necessitates a slow retrieve. As the water warms up, the fish may then want the bait going pretty fast. BANK ACCESS: At the south revetment wall, there is a road you can drive that allows fishing access to Sabine Lake. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Walter Umphrey State Park GPS: N29 45.798, W93 53.928 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Key your bait retrieve on what the water temperature is; 45 to 50 degrees necessitates a slow retrieve. As the water warms up, the fish may then want the bait going pretty fast. BANK ACCESS: Plenty of bank access at the State Park

Devils Spook Galveston Specks LOCATION: Galveston/East Bay HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge GPS: N29 33.573, W94 32.266 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish

BEST BAITS: Baby Spooks, She Pups; Corky, Corky Devil in Pearl/hologram sides, chartreuse tail, or dark Plum/white tail CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Wade-fish the shoreline if the water temps are in the mid 60s. A key C8 |

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ingredient to a successful trip is a falling tide. Set up on drains and bayous. BANK ACCESS: Exit TX 61 or Anahuac/Hankamer exit off of I-10. Head south on TX 61 for approximately four miles to stop sign. Continue straight through stop sign; the road becomes Hwy 562. Continue on Hwy 562 for approximately 8-1/2 miles to the fork in the road. At the fork, turn left onto FM 1985 and continue straight for an additional four miles to the main refuge entrance. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N27 53.635, W97 05.631 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live mullet, shrimp CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Best fished on an outgoing tide; fish tend to hold here. LOCATION: Galveston/ East Bay HOTSPOT: White Head Reef GPS: N29 31.412, W94 42.892 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic; 1-1/4 ounce gold spoon CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281-7884041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Nobody should leave wherever they are fishing without throwing a gold spoon. It’s amazing when things are a little soft what a gold spoon will do. Drift-fishing is the key after finding scattered shad or mullet. LOCATION: Galveston/ East Bay HOTSPOT: Richards Reef GPS: N29 31.429, W94 45.323 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom. LOCATION: Galveston/Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Fishers Reef GPS: N29 39.914, W94 50.552 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475

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TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom. LOCATION: Galveston/Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Dow Reef GPS: N29 39.202, W94 53.889 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom. LOCATION: Galveston/Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Beasely Reef GPS: N29 40.268, W94 52.000 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: California Hole GPS: N27 55.532, W97 05.040 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: No Name Reef GPS: N27 28.270, W97 03.782 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: Hog Island GPS: N27 53.751, W97 06.679 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored.

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Herding Laguna Sheep LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Coast Guard Station GPS: N26 4.360, W97 10.031 SPECIES: sheepshead

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a 1/4-ounce jighead also works well.

murky water.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Long Bar GPS: N26 12.164, W97 15.957 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem rigs in Smoke/glitter, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: This area is within sight of the Queen Isabella Causeway. Despite the short ride from all the major marinas, it is always good for solid speckled trout fishing. Fishing bait off the edge in cooler weather is the easiest way to find those trout. Drift the length of the bar and throw either chunks of ballyhoo or tandem jerkbaits. Fish them slowly.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre LOCATION: Queen Isabella Causeway GPS: N26 02.961, W97 11.921 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh dead shrimp, frozen crab; Gulp! Crab and Shrimp, shrimp-flavored Fish Bites CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: This is an old reliable when it comes to finding steady action in March. Even if the water is still too chilly for other species to bit, sheepshead will still be in large aggregate around the deeper pilings. Free shrimping near the pilings with live or fresh dead shrimp is tough to beat, but crab, Gulp! baits or Fish Bites are excellent options. You can also use a slip float set at 4 to 6 feet to prevent snags.

BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Any structure around the bay will hold sheepshead, but the outer part of the sea wall holds some large ones due to its close proximity to deep water. Don’t fish directly next to the wall (they don’t like that), but rather off at an angle and along the channel. Use a standard free-line rig with a live shrimp, and fish the drop-offs. If the bite is very light, switch to a cork 3 feet above your shrimp.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.811, W97 16.342 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem Rigs in Tequila Sunrise, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: The shallows warm up on a chilly day, and redfish are available. Work a tandem rig or a gold spoon just under the surface for best results. The ubiquitous Mauler/live shrimp rig is always effective, especially if heavy March winds have murked up the water, or if the fish are deeper. Use an 18inch, 20- to 30-pound leader for added toughness.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel GPS: N26 2.124, W97 13.108 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: live shrimp, soft plastics in chartreuse and New Penny CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Water will probably stay cool through March because of the harsher-thannormal winter. Snook stay in deeper water, where there are more comfortable water temperatures. Large live shrimp or finger mullet are good baits; jerk-style shad tails fished on

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.811, W97 16.342 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem Rigs in tequila sunrise, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Deeper water holds trout along side the redfish. Use the same live shrimp/Mauler rigs or the tandem. You can also skip a section of ‘hoo or fish it under the same popping cork. The added scent is very helpful in

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Three Islands GPS: N26 16.643, W97 15.102 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, topwaters; SPI Lures Tandems in Morning Glory, Plum, red/white CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: As waters begin creeping up past the 60-degree range, Three Islands becomes more and more productive. The fish will prefer meat to anything else this time of the year, especially live, but the dedicated lure fisherman should do well with soft plastics in transition season colors such as Plum, Grape, or Morning Glory. Red and white is always a good producer. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Gaswell Flats GPS: N26 13.811, W97 15.422 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh dead shrimp, crab CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Black drum are a staple of the late winter flats around Lower Laguna Madre. Plenty of these fish are solid 2- and 3pounders that are great on the grill or in the fryer. The shallow water recommends the use A L M A N A C


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of a popping cork rig, but there are deeper spots where a free-line or bottom rig will work just as well. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: North Jetties GPS: N26 33.930, W97 16.303 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live or fresh bait CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, 956944-2367 TIPS: The rocks are good targets for fishermen who run to them on a calm day. Some good black drum lurk in the holes. A fishfinder rig tight-lined on the bottom baited with large shrimp or cracked crab will get their attention. If snagging up on the rocks becomes an issue, then try using split shots secured on a doubled length of line looped over the mainline. When a split gets snagged up, it slides off with a steady pull. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Fred Stone Park (bank access) GPS: N34.329, W97 25.642 SPECIES: redfish

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BEST BAITS: live bait, soft plastics in Glow patterns CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, 956994-2367 TIPS: Stone Park’s fishing pier is within a good cast of the ICW. Thus, the lights from the pier provide night fishing that can be, at times, superlative. Free-shrimping is always tough to beat. If the redfish are sitting closer to the deep water, a bottom rig on a surf rod is a better choice. The pier has not been repaired since Hurricane Dolly and it can get crowded, so leave your temper at home. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: King Ranch west of Marker 46 GPS: N26 46.306, W97 28.352 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters; soft plastics in red/white CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Fish will still be lethargic if the water is cool. In that case, work your soft plastic or topwater as slowly as you can. It may take some cajoling on your part, the fish are there,

and they will strike. A stealthy approach is best, so wading is recommended. Watch for nervous mullet to tip you off to where the fish are. Wear your waders; the water will still be in the high 50’s or low 60’s. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.082, W97 27.512 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: topwaters; soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089,361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: March is one of the best times to fish Baffin Bay and gun for the trout of your life. If there is a north wind blowing, then you’re best bet is to wade the Tide Gauge area with topwaters or eel-style plastics. Fish slowly and methodically to locate good sized trout in the area. Take advantage of both the tides and the winds when. Steel yourself. This type of grinding is not for the week of heart. LOCATION: Baffin Bay


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HOTSPOT: Los Corrales GPS: N27 14.884, W97 30.032 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: suspending lures; topwaters in Smoke, natural mullet; eel-style plastics in Plum/chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The deeper rocks around Corrales are a classic Baffin pattern for late winter/early spring. Fish suspending lures such as a Catch 5 or a Corky with a slow twitch around the rocks. Eel’s should be fished on a light (1/16th ounce) jig head and light line. Lighter lines will impart more action to the baits, but you also run the risk of getting broken off more. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Night Hawk Bay GPS: N27 33.646, W97 17.658 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: B&L Corky; Catch 2000 in silver/black, Smoke, blue/chrome; jerkbaits in Plum/chartreuse, Blood/white, Bone/foil, Opening Night CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-9856089, 361-449-7441, brushcountrycharters.com

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TIPS: Most fish will be suspended in the mid-depths of deeper water, so a Corky, Catch 2000, or jerkbaits such as the RT Slug and Exude Slug are excellent options. Let suspending plugs sit still in the water column as long as you can stand, work them with a couple of twitches, and let them sit some more. Plastics work with 1/8, or even 1/16-ounce heads. If the water is warmer, fish might move shallow; otherwise, drift the deeper grass of the area. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 31.125, W97 19.682 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: Catch 2000 in Bone, Bone/foil, natural mullet; eel-style soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse, purple/chartreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: trout and some redfish will be holding over deeper grass in this hole. A slow presentation with lighter line (8- to 10-pound) is usually the trick. As the water warms up, trout will become more active and you can fish plastics with a bit more erratic retrieve. Long casts are help prevent spooked fish.

LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 30.057, W97 19.546 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp; soft plastics in black/gold, Baffin Magic, Morning Glory; gold weedless spoons CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the edges of the deeper water to intercept redfish. Again, when live bait is hard to find, try both weedless gold spoons (a 1/2-ounce Nemire Red Ripper is a great choice) and soft plastics on a 1/8-ounce head under a Paradise Popper. The popping cork slows down your action, which is important in winter.

Sunny Side Up for Largemouths LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Alligator Cove GPS: N31 59.2122, W96 15.3898 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: lipless crankbait, spinnerbait, Senko Knock Off and Creature lures in Watermelon-red/white, Pumpkin CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252, www.schmidtsbigbass.com TIPS: The fish still will be moving up in the creeks in a pre-spawn pattern. Always start on the sunny side of the creeks C14 |

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because the water warms up faster there. Cold fronts will cause the fish to move in and out. If a cold front hits, move out to a secondary or main lake point. Start with a lipless crankbait or spinnerbait (S.O.B. lures) and slow roll them. If you find the fish moving up on spawning beds, use a Texas-rig with a 3/8 to 1/4-ounce Tungsten weight with 4/0 or 5/0 heavy wire Gama hook. The small weight will allow the bait to look more natural. In addition to Alligator Cove, try Big Buck (GPS: N31 59.768, W96 9.352) and Prairie Creek (GPS: N32 1.503, W96 11.813). BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marina LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Yegua Creek channel GPS: N30 187.149, W96 39.202 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad liver, punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: The water is shallow in lots of areas with occasional deeper holes. Tie up above a slightly deeper area and throw out a little chum. Use a tight line a one-ounce weight in case there is a current, No. 4 treble hook for punch bait and No. 2 Kahle hook for other bait. The water is warming, spring is here, and the fish could be right next to the bank in shallow water. LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Lake HOTSPOT: Diversion Canal GPS: N30 37.910, W96 04.581 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad, crawfish, punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: This is a good area when the south wind starts blowing in March. The lily pads and moss has not started growing so you are able to fish close to the bank where the wind is hitting the shore. Use either a tight line or a cork with a 2/0 Kahle hook or No. 4 treble hook. You can catch more fish by using only one rod this time of the year. The fish may be attracted to one area more than others, so move down the shore 50 yards to find any pockets attracting fish.

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GPS: N29 55.500, W96 44.418 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: punch bait, live perch, worms CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, 979-229-3103, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: The water is 50 to 60 feet deep here with deeper water and submerged trees not far away. A good anchor and long rope are needed here. Spring is close and the fish are getting active. Perch could get you a big yellow cat in this area. Fish punch bait and worms straight down. Start right off the bottom and work up the water column until you find the bite. Set the hook at the slightest nibble.

SPECIES: striped bass: BEST BAITS: live gizzard shad CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: The stripers are moving in on the ledges early and gorging themselves on shad. Use live shad, drop them to the bottom, and then reel up two to three turns. Drift the flats in 22 to 30 feet of water.

LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Penson Bay GPS: N32 53.354, W95 39.387 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: live minnows, crappie jigs on long crappie pole with slip corks CONTACT: Michael Rogge, microg@texascellnet.com, 903-383-3406, www.lake-fork-guides.com TIPS: Crappie begin to move shallow in mid-March. Look for drop-offs in the backs of the creeks with cover that are close to shallow water. Also try White Oak Bay, Rodgers Creek, and Board Tree Branch. BANK ACCESS: Fishing pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Highway 309 Flats GPS: N31 58.239, W96 07.066 SPECIES: hybrid stripers, white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce silver glitter RSR Shad Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, royce@gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117, www.gonefishin.biz TIPS: Watch for gulls and pelicans dipping down to pick up shad off the surface. Concentrate on drop-offs and ridges in the 309 Flats area in water depths ranging from 20 to 30 feet. Bounce the slab off the bottom and when the strike occurs, hold on. It could be a big hybrid. BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina

LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Fite’s Ridge A L M A N A C

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LOCATION: Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Redfish Point GPS: N31 33.834, W96 56.919 SPECIES: red drum BEST BAITS: large crankbaits, any color, shad, and shrimp

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CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, rayado@earthlink.net, 254-744-2104, www.bigtroutman.tripod.com TIPS: Transplanted saltwater reds move in schools, staying mostly in deep water off points in the main lake depths. Down-rigging large crankbaits or drift-fishing with

shad or shrimp can produce good catches. Tight-lining with bait such as crawfish, worms, shad, or shrimp also is good. Reds in the 10- to 12-pound range are common. It takes heavy tackle to bring these monsters to the boat. BANK ACCESS: The old park south of redfish Point; go east over the levee, turn left, drive in, and park along the gravel road. Fish from shoreline for redfish, bass, and catfish. LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Triplet Point GPS: N31 54.533, W97 12,375 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Bounce 1-ounce slabs along the hump. Make long casts out to the point and bounce them off the bottom on the retrieve. Keep a pair of binoculars handy and glass for birds that may be working over schools of fish. Quick limits are being taken at Triplet Point and from under diving gulls. LOCATION: Lake Waco HOTSPOT: Texas Harbor Marina entrance GPS: N31 31.561, W97 13.688 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plum-colored Texas and Carolina-rigged worms; chartreuse spinnerbaits CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, rayado@earthlink.net, 254-744-2104, www.bigtroutman.tripod.com TIPS: Position your boat 20-30 feet from shore. Work a Texas-rigged worm close to the rocky bank by casting up on rocks and working back to water. When the worm falls back into the water be ready for a strike. Cover all of the shoreline outside and inside the marina entrance. If the shoreline doesn’t work, back off and fish a Carolina-rig. If that doesn’t work, back off and work a spinnerbait parallel to the shore about six feet out. BANK ACCESS: Any of the parks scattered

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around the lake for largemouth bass, bream, and crappie. LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Upstream from Gravel Crossing GPS: N30 58.217, W97 41.128 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Small white curl-tail grubs on 1/16-ounce or less jighead CONTACT: Bob Holding, Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com, 254-368-7411, www.holdingthelineguideservice.com TIPS: The river is narrow. Be courteous as you pass others who are already fishing. Practice catch and release as these fish attempt to spawn and sustain the white bass population in the future. Gravel Crossing is unimproved. Consider having a winch in wet conditions. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Old Folks Home area GPS: N95 29.00 E32 15.00 SPECIES: largemouth bass

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BEST BAITS: Mister Twister Comieda worm, spinnerbait; red/black and black/brown/amber Diamond Head jig CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: The bass are beginning to spawn and the Old Folks Home area between Flat Creek and Kickapoo Creek typically produces numerous large bass. Fish the humps with jigs and worms and shallower areas with spinnerbaits. The back of Flat Creek and the edges of the main river channel and the nearby flats also are good places to catch big spawning and prespawning bass. LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Bear Creek GPS: N31 12.566, W97 30.953 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbait with Colorado blade CONTACT: Bob Holding, Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com, 254-368-7411,

www.holdingthelineguideservice.com TIPS: Fish from tree to tree (vertical and horizontal laydowns). Fish slow on trees by flipping a spinnerbait and letting it helicopter down along the trunk. Fish fast when moving from tree to tree for roaming smaller bass. LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Paw Paw Creek, Mill Creek cut GPS: N33 53.992, W96 53.796; N33 49.793, W96 45.306 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, bigfish@striperexpress.com, 877-786-4477, www.striperexpress.com TIPS: In March, the white bass already have spawned and the stripers are staging up the main tributaries. Structure like main lake points, ditches, and creeks will hold stripers. One-ounce Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs in white or chartreuse will work best. Fish the creeks in 13 to 20 feet


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of water with a slow retrieve for fish up to 20 pounds. Pay attention to the seagulls; they can be your best fish finder. When you are fishing under the birds keep your lure in the top 15 feet of water. Most activity will be west of the Willis bridge and north of the railroad bridge on the Washita

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arm of the lake. BANK ACCESS: Slick ‘em Slough, Paw Paw Creek LOCATION: Texana HOTSPOT: Lake Texana State Park shoreline

GPS: N28 58.278, W96 32.203 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: punch bait, shrimp and shad CONTACT: LAKE Texana State Park office, 361-782-5718 TIPS: Fish punch bait, shad, or shrimp under bobbers along the shoreline in three to six feet of water. The fish will be close to the bank at this time of the year and on the move. The shoreline has a lot of underwater branches but tight-lining can pay off in the open areas and off the state park pier.

Getting the Bends for White Bass LOCATION: Caddo Lake HOTSPOT: Twin Islands to Johnson Ranch area GPS: N32.41.618, W94 05.602 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Trap, Bandit 200 series No. 87 Mad Cow, 1/4-

ounce white Chatter Bait, 2-1/2-inch Luck E Strike bass Magic swimbait, 1/4-ounce jigging spoon CONTACT: Dennis North, fishinwdennis@yahoo.com, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Trolling is the name of the game at this time of the year. Good electronics are a must. When you come across a bend in the river, make note of it because you likely will catch fish off that bend. If your electronics show a school of fish is there, use jigging C18 |

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spoons to put fish in the boat. BANK ACCESS: Johnson Ranch has a covered fishing area, a boat ramp, and live bait. LOCATION: Lake O’ The Pines HOTSPOT: Cedar Springs area of Old Channel SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 1/2-ounce red Rat-L-Trap, 1/2-ounce red Chatter Bait, 4-1/2-inch swimbait and weightless Senko CONTACT: Dennis North, fishinwdennis@yahoo.com, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Fish the flats along the river channel very slow. There will be some lily pad stems and some grass that made it through the winter. Start with a Rat-L-Trap to cover a lot of water to locate the fish. If the Rat-L-Trap bite is off switch to the Chatter Bait or swimbait. Later in the day when the water has warmed up go to the weightless Senko and go back over the areas where you caught fish earlier.

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BANK ACCESS: Cedar Springs Park shoreline LOCATION: Lake Livingston HOTSPOT: Harmon Creek GPS: N31 51.524, W95 21.171 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: white jig, Rat-L-Trap CONTACT: Dave Cox, dave@palmettoguideservice.com, 936291-9602, www.palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Locate fish by trolling. Cast out, let bait drop, reel in at medium speed, stop to let bait drop then continue reeling in at medium speed. BANK ACCESS: Harmon Creek Marina LOCATION: Toledo Bend HOTSPOT: Sabine River (Logansport area) GPS: N31 58.352, W94 00.561 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: live crawfish, Road Runners, Rat-L-Traps, shallow diving crankbaits, slab spoons CONTACT: Greg Crafts, Toledo Bend

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fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: Unless there is water flowing upstream, the power plant outlet is the place to be. The best baits are live shad that usually are plentiful at the power plant fence and 1/2-ounce bucktail jigs with white or yellow four-inch twister tail grubs. You will primarily catch hybrids but the sand bass will be in there, too. If floodwaters are coming in, shift to the headwaters for a variety of fish including crappie. The best access is at the Lake Eddleman park ramp across the lake from the power plant off U.S. Highway 380 just north of the city of Graham.

Be Sneaky for Striped Bass LOCATION: Possum Kingdom Lake HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 53.632, W98 28.260 SPECIES: Striped bass

BEST BAITS: live shad, 2-5 inches long CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: The striped bass are moving back and forth through the Costello Cut depending on the flow from the Brazos River. Look for gulls—your best eyes and ears on the lake at this time of the year. They will be feeding early north and south of the cut. This is a good time to troll Rat-L-Traps and shallow-running crankbaits but a 3/8ounce jig or Slab is dynamite under the birds. If you find working birds, it is best to stop your motor and slip in on them with your trolling motor so you won’t spook the fish. The lighter the wind, the spookier the fish are. This is why you want to sneak in them. You not only will catch more fish but you will not destroy a pattern that is developing or ruin it for other fishermen in the area who have just gotten the action going. The best access is Sam’s Dock in front of Costello Island. LOCATION: Lake Graham-Eddleman HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area on Eddleman side GPS: N33 07.594, W98 36.340 SPECIES: hybrid stripers, white bass BEST BAITS: live shad and jigs under weighted corks CONTACT: Dean Heffner, C20 |

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LOCATION: Palo Pinto Lake HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area GPS: N32 39.318, W98 18.244 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Small jigs and live shad CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: This is like any other power generator lake. Go to the water outlet and fish the moving water. Live shad is great but you can catch a basketful of sand bass just bumping jigs off the bottom in the current as it rolls downstream. Use the same tactics as you would on any other generator plant lake.

Crawling Smallies LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Turkey Creek GPS: N29 51.846, W98 13.152 SPECIES: smallmouth bass BEST BAITS: crawfish-pattern Rat-L-Trap, Smoke-colored JDC Craws, Pumpkin-colored Robo worms, Smoke-colored JDC Craws and Picasso Shakey Heads, Texasrigged with 1/8-ounce Tungsten weights CONTACT: Kandie Candeleria, kandie@gvtc.com, 210-823-2153 TIPS: Look for smallmouth bass in 4 to 12 feet of water on the main lake points and edges of bluffs on the above-mentioned lures.

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BANK ACCESS: Potters Creek Park LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Willis Creek Slough SPECIES: white bass, crappie BEST BAITS: small white hair jigs for white bass; 1/16-ounce chartreuse jigs for crappie CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, crappie1@hotmail.com, 512-365-7761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: For white bass, bank-fish and cast jigs, reeling them back with a slow, steady retrieve. For crappie, use a slip bobber set at one foot. Fish along the banks in the thickest brush you can find. Crappie also will be along the clean banks close to deep water. BANK ACCESS: Good access areas are at access point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch Area and Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Highway 95. In Willis Creek Park, go to the east side along the paved road and follow it to crappie Slough. E-mail Tom Behrens at tbehrens@fishgame.com E-mail Calixto Gonzales at freshrigs@fishgame.com E-mail Bob Hood at bhood@fishgame.com

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Mommy Dearest? T IS MARCH, AND THAT MEANS ANGLING POSSIbilities should slowly begin to pop up on Sabine Lake. Although no one really knows what Mother “Mommy Dearest” Nature has up her sleeve, you can bet there will be at least a few mild, warm days mixed in with some late winter-type conditions. For the most part, though, those March winds will be howling from one direction or another. It would be nice to be able to pick only the good days to fish, but I don’t have that luxury. Besides, if I did, I would have to change my “unofficial” slogan to something other than, “If it ain’t blowin’, we ain’t goin’.” If you do get the opportunity to take

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advantage of some of those mild days, I highly recommend it. The Louisiana shoreline from Blue Buck Point to Willow Bayou has the potential to come alive this month, especially if we can string a few mild days together. Water temperatures creeping toward 70 degrees coupled with big, strong March tides should bode well for those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Topwaters, soft plastics, and slow sinkers should all get the job done on the protected shoreline with a good strong incoming tide. If you find bait, you should be able to find fish. It shouldn’t be too hard to find bait, either, as the big tides and warmer water temperatures tend to jump-start the entire food chain. Trout and reds will cruise the shoreline displaying their dominance as they aggressively feed on seemingly helpless mullet, shad, and shrimp. They should be more than willing to accept any offering you have for them.

If you venture a little farther to the north, the mouth of Bridge Bayou should produce similar results. Try to hit it on an outgoing tide and throw soft plastics, curl tail grubs, and Gulp! Shrimp. Red Shad, Morning Glory, and Glow Assassins or Sand Eels are good choices. Gulp! Shrimp in New Penny and Pearl are also hard to beat. Flounder also have no problem with these baits, but seem to prefer the action of a curl tail in Smoke or Glow-chartreuse. If you are like most people and have no choice but to fish in the mid-March wind, give the reef a try. Located on the extreme south end of the lake, from the Causeway to Blue Buck Point, it is one of the March mainstays on Sabine. Have your drift sock handy and make long drifts over the shell. Use your sonar to mark bait and fish and drag soft plastics behind the boat. A 1/4ounce or heavier leadhead will help you stay on the bottom. As long as Mommy Dearest doesn’t get too angry, you should have no problem catching fish on Sabine Lake in March.

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Logan Park Marina (Pleasure Island) SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: mud minnows, Glow or chartreuse curl tail grubs BEST TIMES: incoming tides

CONTACT: Eddie Hernandez at, ehernandez@fishgame.com

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Marching Toward Spring N OCTOBER, THE UPPER TEXAS COAST WENT from drought to flood conditions. Successive fronts bringing heavy rains and strong winds got the area “caught up” on lagging rainfall very quickly. Rivers were high and muddy, bays fresh and off color, fish scattered. As always, this sets up an either-or situation for the Galveston Bay system. If the rains slack off to a “normal” pattern – whatever that may be in Texas these days – the heavy rains we’ve had after a long drought period should be very beneficial to the overall health of the bays. Salinities will eventually return to where they should be for the bays to function both as a feeding and nursery area for fin fish and shell fish, and a lot of accumulated toxins that were concentrated by the low freshwater influx of summer will be flushed out. However, should predictions of a wetter and colder winter have come true, by March bay anglers will be largely twiddling their thumbs, looking forward to better conditions around the corner in spring.

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boat, and trailer. Make sure everything is in order for a good start to spring, repair or replace what needs repairing and replacing – and be especially attentive to safety equipment. It is always better to use “The Idles of March” to prepare for what will hopefully be the bustle of spring and summer.

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: For those who MUST fish – especially if March blesses us with any warm, sunny weather – bank fishing may be as good as it gets. Available beachfront piers and rock groins might offer anything from winter visitors like the delicate pompano to bruising black drum. Panfish are generally good in this season, with whiting, croaker, and sand trout willing to accompany anglers home for dinner. ALTERNATE SPOT: Any area where the water is not completely milky and fresh in the back bays and tributary streams could hold fish, although conditions may change daily. “Wet” wading is probably not here yet, and even wearing waders can get cool at times. Piers along the bays and bayous will rarely be crowded, and provide dry footing and easy access. SPECIES: Redfish and flounder are more tolerant of freshwater and murky conditions than most other bay species, and also less

temperature sensitive. Drum will be around, along with the afore-mentioned panfish species. Some big trout feed sparingly in deeper holes, but also might move onto flats and oyster reefs – many within casting distance of shore – on warmer days with plenty of sunlight. If freshwater is really dominant, blue catfish will move into the bays to feed, for an extreme case of following the going fishing when you can way of life. BEST BAITS: There are not as many small bait nibblers this time of year, and the crabs not burrowed in the mud will be more lethargic, so dead shrimp – the fresher the better – is as good a bait choice as anything. Minnow traps and cast nets can provide mud minnows, finger mullet and other small baitfish good for anything that eats in the bays, and who knows, a fat croaker might lure a big “sow” trout into an early season thrill. BEST TIMES: Any sunny day is “drop everything” time unless the wind is too strong. Tides will be less a factor this time of year, especially if heavy rainfall continues. Fish when it is comfortable, spring is just around the corner. Capt. Mike Holmes runs tarpon, shark, and bluewater trips on a classic 31 Bertram. To book a trip, call 979-415-0535. Email him at mholmes@fishgame.com.

This is the time to do serious scouting. Drive to bait camps to inventory which ones are still open – or will be soon - check the condition of boat ramps and lifts, find out which access roads that were storm damaged have been repaired. Look over maps and assets such as Google Earth for potential new spots to fish and possible changes in your regular honey holes. March could also be considered the last good “down time” to check over tackle, A L M A N A C

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Set Your Transmission to ‘Transition’ WEATERS OR SHORT-SLEEVES, WADERS OR wading wet—March presents that dilemma. Shell or mud, sand or grass— March also presents that dilemma. “You have to work both,” said guide Harold Dworaczyk of Bay Flats Lodge in Seadrift. “Depending on the water temperature, the fish could be on all of them.”

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We have all heard the word “transition” from the fishing lexicon. In fact, I believe it is the most overused word in the fishing language. However, if ever there was a month to use the cliché, March is it. “Those sunny, mild March days send fish to the sand and grass,” said Dworaczyk. “But, they aren’t far from the mud, either. If

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you can find a spot with mud and grass you will probably find the fish.” Winter is a determining factor in March fishing. A late winter keeps fish in deep, muddy haunts; a mild winter enjoys swelling tides, pushing fish to the shallows. “Either way, you can’t go wrong with a Corky,” said guide Jesse Arsola of Matagorda. “The water temperature dictates, but chances are they are going to hit a slowsinker anytime they get ready to eat.” Arsola camps out in the Matagorda mud between spring trips to Baffin Bay. “There are few people willing to wade the mud, but that is where the big trout will be this time of year,” he said. “If you want

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to catch a big trout this time of year, you better get out of the boat and wade patiently.” It is not revelation, but the wind blows briskly in March.

A late winter keeps fish in deep haunts; a mild winter enjoys swelling tides, pushing fish to the shallows.

“We fish in all kinds of wind, unless it is not safe,” said guide Chris Martin, owner of Bay Flats Lodge. “If we didn’t fish in the

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wind, we would fish only about 20 percent of the time.” Martin said many times brisk winds push bait along the shorelines, trapping them against the bank. “We often fish with the wind at our back, tossing plugs and soft plastics against the shorelines,” he said. “When the mullet congregate like that, trout and redfish usually find them.” If winter winds persist, find the nearest deep water channel and try natural baits. Spots like the Victoria Barge Canal near Seadrift, Colorado River and Diversion Channel in Matagorda, and Caney Creek in Sargent harbor winter fish. Never discount boat harbors either (if authorities permit fishing). Most harbors are deep, and the waters are much warmer in the cold. Plus, consider how many boaters dump their bait in the water at the end of the day. The fish aren’t stupid; they know where to get an easy meal. Matagorda Harbor, Palacios Harbor, and the Palacios Pavilion pier are good cold-water spots. Carolina-rigged shrimp,

Gulp!, or other scented baits are good choices for mangrove snapper, trout, redfish, sheepshead, and sand trout. March is all about the weather. Consult

THE BANK BITE a forecast before casting. LOCATION: Matagorda Harbor SPECIES: mangrove snapper, sheepshead, black drum, speckled trout BAITS: DOA Shrimp, live shrimp, fresh shrimp, Gulp!, Glow plastics

CONTACT: Bink Grimes, www.binkgrimesoutdoors.com


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Fish or Cut Bait T IS NOT QUITE SPRING, BUT MOST OF THE colder days are behind us this time of year. Often anglers wonder about the best approach to fishing this in-between month. Many like soft plastics or will drive miles out of their way for live bait for the best chance at filling a cooler with filets. I have had several guides question me as to why I was not at the bait stand in the early cold hours of the morning, having already launched my boat, sipping a cup of coffee awaiting my clients, while they backed their boats down the ramp on St. Charles Bay. After a few innocent insults and comments like how they have pushed boys like me out of the way trying to get to a good fishing

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guide, the conversation (after they ask me for a cup of coffee) is, “Where you fishing today?” Then a vigilant ear is turned to my boat, wondering just what is missing. No noises are coming from my live well bubbler. “You prank baiting it today, or are you so good you don’t need anything but a bare hook?” come the jibes. “No, I had some extra bait left over the past couple of months, and I’m gonna use that today.” I can’t print their comments. My Pappy was probably the best cut bait guy I ever fished with. He loved to fish with me and not tell me what he was doing to catch all the fish he had in the box—until I threw my hands up and said “I give up, same bait, same rig, but no fish in the box for Capt. Mac!” He’d laugh, then ask me questions like: “Where is your bait sitting in the water?” “About 10 feet from yours,” I’d respond. “Is it on the bottom or floating just off the

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bottom, and how is it laying?” One learns from such questions. I have spent many hours watching how my bait is presented and how it relates to the water in which I’m fishing. This is in water that’s usually no more than 4 feet deep, with tides and currents and wind affecting how the bait is positioned. Knowing this is key to getting hooked up. This is not jetty fishing, bumping a bait off the bottom in 10 to 100 feet of water, but rather casting into structure like shell reefs and sand pockets. With stiffer currents or tides, a weighted bottom rig works well, allowing the bait to roll along across the top of the structure. In slack water, I like a floating bait suspended about 6 to 12 inches off the bottom. One can accomplish this in several ways. First, allow any frozen bait to thaw completely, and then just ease it over the edge of your boat (or just off the bank) into the water and watch. Does it sink or float? Then rig according to the conditions in the water. A trick that costs little to no money is to insert small broken pieces of matchsticks into the piece of bait to get it to float. This technique works well, especially when salinity levels are low. Saltier water makes bait float. Another point is how to prepare your bait. This time of year, I use scents to spruce up the flavor that freezing kills in baits— A L M A N A C


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pogy juice, shrimp juice...there are too many to mention. You will find that different pieces of bait work better than others, given where and when and how you are fishing. For murky water, I like the mid section of a mullet or sardine, as it spreads the scent better than the head or tail. On clear water days, the head of a mullet or menhaden hooked through the eyes is hard to beat. On falling tides, I like to let the bait move with the tide and a tail section works better in these conditions Seldom will you see me throw away dead croaker. I bag them, put some scent juice in the bag, and pop them into my freezer. On these March days, those croaker become trout and redfish candy. The trick is to partially filet them before you put them on a hook. Last but not least, use the right size hook for the size of bait you are presenting. I marvel as I visit piers and bank anglers that are using hooks suited for sheepshead, and a bait the size of a silver dollar of bigger. The key to catching fish with bait is matching the size of hook to the bait. If you don’t remember any of what I have just written, remember this: The gap between the point and the shank of the hook cannot be completely filled with bait or you’re going to miss a lot of good fish. Softer baits are not as critical, but still there needs to be some space for the hook to penetrate deeply into the fish’s mouth. This applies to live bait as well. Most misses are attributed to inadequate hook size. Cut bait is cheap, effective, and fun if you will take the time to master the techniques. I enjoy showing up at the ramp with lots of fish caught on leftover bait instead of $70 worth of premium live bait. I think that’s called “green fishing” in the parlance of the times.

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Point is good for reds and trout with a north wind, casting from near shore to the transition to deeper water. Silent corks with cut menhaden and mullet are preferred. The mouth of Allyn’s Lake is good for reds and some good trout on a falling tide using soft plastics in Limetreuse and white/red colors. Carlos Bay: On warmer days, seek the dark mud bottoms in Carlos Lake using free-lined live shrimp for trout and reds. Cedar Point will hold black drum; use peeled shrimp on a Carolina rig. With a south wind, the Carlos Bay side of Third Chain Islands will hold reds; use cut bait on a fish-finder rig. St Charles Bay: Drift Egg Point using soft plastics in Motor Oil and Salt and Pepper colors. The back part of St. Charles Bay around Cavasso Creek is good for black drum on peeled shrimp and cut squid on a Carolina rig.

perch or live shrimp for reds and trout. The east shoreline shell reefs will hold reds and black drum; use live and peeled shrimp freelined or under a silent cork. Bray Cove will hold some keeper reds; use sand eels in red/white and Electric Chicken. Ayers Bay: Work the northeast shoreline for reds using cut menhaden and pin perch on a fish-finder rig or free-lined. On colder days, the deeper reef mid-bay will hold trout; use free-lined shrimp or soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse and New Penny.

THE BANK BITE WADE-FISH LIVE OAK POINT ABOUT 30 YARDS out from shore, casting 360 degrees, moving slowly away from the LBJ causeway. Topwaters in Bone and red/white are the ticket for some exciting trout action.

Mesquite Bay: Wade-fish the sand pockets around Roddy Island using pin

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

Copano Bay: Italian Shoreline will be holding black drum. Use peeled shrimp under a cork or on a Carolina rig, or use a delayed hookset as black drum are scent and feel feeders. The south end of Lap Reef Bank is good for trout using Berkley Gulp! Shrimp or sand eels in Morning Glory and Watermelon colors. Aransas Bay: Slow drift Hamilton’s Reef using soft plastics in black/chartreuse and black/red for keeper reds. Blackjack A L M A N A C

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

M A R C H

2 0 1 0

|

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Forward, March! ARCH MARKS THE BEGINNING OF SOME good times on Lower Laguna Madre. After the coldest winter since 2004, the chilly temperatures start creeping up into the mid-80s. Flats begin warming up, and trout and redfish start spreading out and working the winter kinks out of their bones. The water of the pristine grass flats between Port Mansfield and Port Isabel warms significantly; myriad schools of young-of-the-year mullet, menhaden, and other baitfishes appear; and shrimp begin showing up in greater numbers. The southeast winds start cranking, but it’s a small sacrifice for better fishing. The Cullen House area (N26 15.183, W97 17.398) is a good spot to start a late winter fishing trip. When the conditions are right, especially in March, this place is full of fish. Redfish roam around the flats and terrorize any crustacean or baitfish that has the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the right time. Speckled trout lurk on the edges where sand and grass meet, waiting for any critter that survives the redfish rampage. Higher tides increase the overall depth of Cullen Bay, and fish take advantage of the conditions to patrol along the newly flooded shorelines. There is very straightforward strategically when fishing for trout and redfish in these areas: Weedless gold spoons such as the Red Ripper by Nemire Lures will always be the most effective weapon for redfish up and down Laguna. The 1/4-ounce variety is standard, but if the wind is a little stiff (which has been known to happen in March), a 3/8- or 1/2-ounce spoon might be called for when knuckle-balling a cast into the wind. Topwaters also work well for both trout and redfish,

M

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with blue/orange, Baby Redfish, and Bone the most effective colors. Don’t be timid about throwing these plugs in choppy water. Fish can pick up the sound from a good distance in spite of the hydrointerference. The high-pitched version of the Bomber Saltwater-Grade Badonk-a-Donk minnow is the hottest bait to try on a windy March day, and the results can be very rewarding, if not downright memorable. Soft plastics can be especially effective. Whether you swim the lures on a 1/8- to 1/4ounce head or under a noisy float such as a Livingstone Lures Grand Slam Popper (which is a simple, effective, and successful way to introduce neophytes to fishing with lures), plastics can do a number on trout and redfish in this area. The important part is to fish with a pattern you have the most confidence with (there is a reason, however, that the venerable red/white tail soft plastic is still a best seller along the lower coast). Gulp! baits such as the Shrimp have become increasingly popular among LLM fishermen, especially when live shrimp are sold out. Fish them the same way you would live shrimp— under a popping cork, or free-lined when fishing the depth breaks. Anglers who for various reasons don’t wish to make the long run up to Cullen will find some very good fishing around the Parallel Bars (N26 06.572, W97 13.122), which is a short hop from the marinas and docks in Padre Island and Port Isabel. There are large trout there in March, and they are partial to big noisy topwaters such as the Badonk-a-Donk or Normark SkitterWalk. Again, bright colors such as white or chartreuse are the most effective patterns to goad these fish into striking. A big trout is willing to come up out of deep water to hit what he thinks is an easy, wounded meal. Fishermen who prefer techniques other than topwaters do well fishing a live shrimp under a popping cork or Mauler-type float; a plastic shrimp or shad tail under the same float works just as well (it will save on live bait, too). Slower presentations are critical,

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

even when water temperatures warm up. Keeping a bait in the strike zone long enough for a still-lethargic trout to decide if it wants to eat is critical. An important factor is tidal movement. If the water is moving (especially in the morning), the fish will be actively prowling on top of the Parallel Bars area. If there is no tidal flow, fishing will get very difficult, because the fish scatter in the deeper water and become harder to locate. Still, you might have to grind, but the fish you catch will be good. When fishing in deeper water, watch for color changes that serve as “soft structure” for trout to use as ambush points for prey. This is the sort of situation where a popping cork or rattle float comes in very handy, because you can keep a bait in the color change for a longer time. Note that this is one of the more popular spots on Laguna Madre in June, and don’t be surprised to find several boats drifting the area (some ambitious souls also try to wade the area). A little common sense, combined with patience and tolerance, should make things bearable. I’ve written before that fishing is good year-round on Lower Laguna Madre. There is a special place in everyone’s heart for March, though. The promise of spring and summer is on the horizon. Anglers can sense it and, more importantly, fish can sense it. Everyone and everything responds accordingly.

THE BANK BITE LOCATION: Fred Stone Park (Port Mansfield) GPS: N26 33.329, W97 25.642 SPECIES: redfish, black drum BAITS: fresh shrimp, cut mullet, crab chunks. TIPS: Fish under lights or on the bottom.

Contact: Calixto Gonzales by email at cgonzales@fishgame.com A L M A N A C


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Tides and Prime Times

MARCH 2010 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

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

T12

T4

T11

T10

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

T13 T6

T7

T5 T17

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

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

T14

T15 T16

T18

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

T19

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

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

T20

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

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

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

T21

4:55p

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

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

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T22 T23

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

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

AM/PM Timeline

12a

Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Green: Falling Tide

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

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

AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.)

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

6p

12a

AM/PM Timeline

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

C30 |

M A R C H

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

2 0 1 0

KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

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

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

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

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A L M A N A C

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

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


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

Sunrise: 6:42a Set: 6:19p Moonrise: 10:00p Set: 8:20a

Sunrise: 6:41a Set: 6:20p Moonrise: 11:05p Set: 9:00a

2

3

Set: 6:18p Set: 7:06a

Sunrise: 6:43a Moonrise: 8:54p

Set: 6:18p Set: 7:42a

AM Minor: 5:28a

PM Minor: 5:54p

AM Minor: 6:23a

PM Minor: 6:49p

AM Minor: 7:21a

PM Minor: 7:47p

AM Minor: 8:20a

AM Major: 11:41a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:10a

PM Major: 12:36p

AM Major: 1:08a

PM Major: 1:34p

AM Major: 2:06a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:40a

Moon Overhead: 1:48a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

4

Sunrise: 6:44a Moonrise: 7:47p

Moon Overhead: 12:57a

FRIDAY

5

6a

 7

6

Sunrise: 6:40a Moonrise: None

Set: 6:20p Set: 9:43a

PM Minor: 8:46p

AM Minor: 9:19a

PM Minor: 9:45p

AM Minor: 10:16a

PM Minor: 10:43p

AM Minor: 11:11a

PM Minor: 11:37p

PM Major: 2:33p

AM Major: 3:05a

PM Major: 3:32p

AM Major: 4:03a

PM Major: 4:30p

AM Major: 4:58a

PM Major: 5:24p

Moon Overhead: 3:33a 12a

SUNDAY

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 6:21p Sunrise: 6:37a Moonrise: 12:07a Set: 10:31a Moonrise: 1:05a

Moon Overhead: 5:20a

Moon Overhead: 4:26a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 6:22p Set: 11:22a

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 1

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

Moon Overhead: 6:14a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 1:23p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 3:59p

Moon Underfoot: 4:53p

BEST:

12:30 — 3:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 5:47p

BEST:

1:30 — 4:00 AM

BEST:

3:00 — 5:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 6:40p +2.0

BEST:

10:30P — 12:00A

6:00 — 8:30 AM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 3:06p

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:30 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 2:14p

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

4:05 am 10:34 am 4:49 pm 10:39 pm

1.17 ft -0.08 ft 0.93 ft -0.01 ft

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

5:20 am 11:20 am 5:07 pm 11:29 pm

1.15 ft High Tide: 6:36 am 1.11 ft 0.22 ft Low Tide: 12:05 pm 0.50 ft 0.93 ft High Tide: 5:24 pm 0.94 ft -0.21 ft

A L M A N A C

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

T E X A S

12:21 am 8:00 am 12:48 pm 5:37 pm

-0.34 ft 1.07 ft 0.75 ft 0.97 ft

F I S H

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

&

1:18 am 9:40 am 1:30 pm 5:34 pm

-0.39 ft 1.05 ft 0.94 ft 1.00 ft

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

G A M E ®

2:23 am 12:18 pm 2:06 pm 2:10 pm

-0.38 ft Low Tide: 3:38 am 1.07 ft High Tide: 2:48 pm 1.07 ft 1.07 ft

M A R C H

2 0 1 0

|

-0.34 ft 1.14 ft

C31

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

8 SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

9

10

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

11

SUNDAY

 13

12

BEGIN DST

 14

Set: 6:22p Sunrise: 6:35a Set: 12:15p Moonrise: 2:45a

Set: 6:23p Sunrise: 6:34a Set: 1:10p Moonrise: 3:27a

Set: 6:23p Set: 2:05p

Sunrise: 6:33a Moonrise: 4:04a

Set: 6:24p Set: 3:00p

Sunrise: 6:32a Moonrise: 4:38a

Set: 6:25p Set: 3:54p

Sunrise: 6:31a Moonrise: 5:09a

Set: 6:25p Set: 4:48p

Sunrise: 7:29a Moonrise: 6:38a

Set: 7:26p Set: 6:40p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:02p

AM Minor: 12:25a

PM Minor: 12:50p

AM Minor: 1:10a

PM Minor: 1:34p

AM Minor: 1:52a

PM Minor: 2:15p

AM Minor: 2:32a

PM Minor: 2:53p

AM Minor: 3:10a

PM Minor: 3:31p

AM Minor: 4:48a

PM Minor: 5:08p

AM Major: 5:49a

PM Major: 6:15p

AM Major: 6:38a

PM Major: 7:02p

AM Major: 7:22a

PM Major: 7:46p

AM Major: 8:03a

PM Major: 8:26p

AM Major: 8:42a

PM Major: 9:04p

AM Major: 9:20a

PM Major: 9:41p

AM Major: 10:58a

PM Major: 11:18p

Moon Overhead: 7:06a

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:44a

Moon Overhead: 7:56a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:30a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:55a

Moon Overhead: 10:14a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:36p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 6:36a Moonrise: 1:58a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 7:31p +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

1:00 — 3:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 9:52p BEST:

2:00 — 4:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 10:35p BEST:

9:30A — 1:00P

Moon Underfoot: 11:16p BEST:

9:30A — 1:30P

Moon Underfoot: None +2.0

BEST:

11:00A — 2:00P

5:00 — 7:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 9:07p

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 8:20p

Low Tide: 4:59 am High Tide: 3:18 pm

C32 |

-0.30 ft Low Tide: 1.15 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

6:10 am 3:38 pm 8:59 pm 9:59 pm

-0.27 ft 1.12 ft 0.98 ft 0.99 ft

M A R C H

2 0 1 0

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

7:08 am 3:41 pm 8:35 pm 11:43 pm

T E X A S

-0.23 ft Low Tide: 7:54 am 1.07 ft High Tide: 3:38 pm 0.94 ft Low Tide: 8:30 pm 1.01 ft

F I S H

&

-0.16 ft High Tide: 12:52 am 1.02 ft Low Tide: 8:32 am 0.86 ft High Tide: 3:39 pm Low Tide: 8:34 pm

G A M E ®

1.06 ft -0.08 ft 0.98 ft 0.74 ft

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

A L M A N A C

1:51 am 9:02 am 3:45 pm 8:51 pm

1.09 ft 0.03 ft 0.97 ft 0.61 ft

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

3:44 am 10:30 am 4:55 pm 10:16 pm

1.12 ft 0.16 ft 0.97 ft 0.47 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

 16

THURSDAY

 17

Set: 7:26p Set: 7:33p

Sunrise: 7:27a Moonrise: 7:35a

Set: 7:27p Set: 8:27p

Sunrise: 7:26a Moonrise: 8:05a

Set: 7:28p Set: 9:23p

Sunrise: 7:25a Moonrise: 8:38a

AM Minor: 5:27a

PM Minor: 5:47p

AM Minor: 6:08a

PM Minor: 6:28p

AM Minor: 6:52a

PM Minor: 7:14p

AM Major: 11:37a

PM Major: 11:57p

AM Major: 11:53a

PM Major: 12:18p

AM Major: 12:41a

PM Major: 1:03p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:41p

Moon Overhead: 1:58p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

18

Sunrise: 7:28a Moonrise: 7:06a

Moon Overhead: 1:16p

FRIDAY

19

20

21

Set: 7:28p Sunrise: 7:24a Set: 10:22p Moonrise: 9:16a

Set: 7:29p Sunrise: 7:22a Set: 11:22p Moonrise: 9:58a

Set: 7:29p Set: None

AM Minor: 7:41a

PM Minor: 8:04p

AM Minor: 8:33a

PM Minor: 8:58p

AM Minor: 9:30a

PM Minor: 9:56p

AM Minor: 10:29a

PM Minor: 10:57p

AM Major: 1:29a

PM Major: 1:52p

AM Major: 2:21a

PM Major: 2:46p

AM Major: 3:17a

PM Major: 3:43p

AM Major: 4:15a

PM Major: 4:43p

Moon Overhead: 3:27p 12a

SUNDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:09p

Moon Overhead: 4:16p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:21a Set: 7:30p Moonrise: 10:48a Set: 12:23a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:04p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 15

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 12:56a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

12:30 — 2:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:03a BEST:

1:00 — 3:00 PM

2:00 — 4:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:51a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:42a BEST:

7:00 — 9:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 5:36a +2.0

BEST:

8:00 — 10:00 PM

9:00 — 11:00 PM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 2:19a

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:00 PM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:37a

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

4:36 am 10:56 am 5:06 pm 10:44 pm

1.15 ft 0.30 ft 0.97 ft 0.33 ft

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

5:27 am 11:23 am 5:16 pm 11:15 pm

1.17 ft 0.45 ft 0.98 ft 0.20 ft

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

6:21 am 11:52 am 5:22 pm 11:49 pm

1.18 ft 0.61 ft 0.99 ft 0.08 ft

High Tide: 7:19 am 1.19 ft Low Tide: 12:22 pm 0.77 ft High Tide: 5:19 pm 1.02 ft

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

12:27 am 8:26 am 12:53 pm 5:05 pm

-0.02 ft 1.20 ft 0.94 ft 1.08 ft

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

1:11 am 9:47 am 1:22 pm 4:51 pm

-0.10 ft 1.21 ft 1.09 ft 1.17 ft

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

2:03 am 11:30 am 1:47 pm 4:49 pm

-0.17 ft 1.25 ft 1.23 ft 1.27 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


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

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010 TUESDAY

Sunrise: 7:20a Set: 7:30p Moonrise: 11:44a Set: 1:23a

Sunrise: 7:19a Set: 7:31p Moonrise: 12:46p Set: 2:20a

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 22

23

THURSDAY

24

FRIDAY

25

SATURDAY

26

SUNDAY

 28

27

Sunrise: 7:18a Moonrise: 1:53p

Set: 7:32p Set: 3:13a

Sunrise: 7:17a Moonrise: 3:02p

Set: 7:32p Set: 4:00a

Sunrise: 7:15a Moonrise: 4:11p

Set: 7:33p Set: 4:43a

Sunrise: 7:14a Moonrise: 5:18p

Set: 7:33p Set: 5:23a

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 6:25p

Set: 7:34p Set: 5:59a

AM Minor: 11:30a

PM Minor: 11:59p

AM Minor: 12:06a

PM Minor: 12:30p

AM Minor: 12:58a

PM Minor: 1:27p

AM Minor: 1:52a

PM Minor: 2:21p

AM Minor: 2:43a

PM Minor: 3:10p

AM Minor: 3:30a

PM Minor: 3:57p

AM Minor: 4:17a

PM Minor: 4:42p

AM Major: 5:15a

PM Major: 5:44p

AM Major: 6:15a

PM Major: 6:44p

AM Major: 7:12a

PM Major: 7:42p

AM Major: 8:06a

PM Major: 8:35p

AM Major: 8:56a

PM Major: 9:24p

AM Major: 9:44a

PM Major: 10:10p

AM Major: 10:30a

PM Major: 10:55p

Moon Overhead: 7:03p

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:00p

Moon Overhead: 8:02p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:57p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:43p

Moon Overhead: 10:51p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 6:33a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

12:30 — 2:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 9:29a

Moon Underfoot: 10:24a

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 11:17a

BEST:

1:30 — 3:30 AM

BEST:

9:00 — 11:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 12:08p +2.0

BEST:

10:00P — 12:00A

5:00 — 7:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 8:31a

TIDE LEVELS

5:00 — 7:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 7:32a

Low Tide: 3:06 am High Tide: 4:53 pm

-0.21 ft Low Tide: 4:18 am 1.34 ft High Tide: 2:35 pm

-0.24 ft Low Tide: 5:35 am 1.36 ft High Tide: 2:51 pm

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-0.25 ft Low Tide: 6:48 am 1.35 ft High Tide: 3:07 pm Low Tide: 8:16 pm

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-0.22 ft High Tide: 12:07 am 1.30 ft Low Tide: 7:53 am 1.08 ft High Tide: 3:23 pm Low Tide: 8:32 pm

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1.18 ft -0.14 ft 1.24 ft 0.84 ft

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

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1:50 am 8:52 am 3:39 pm 9:06 pm

1.25 ft 0.00 ft 1.17 ft 0.55 ft

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

2 0 1 0

3:12 am 9:46 am 3:56 pm 9:46 pm

1.34 ft 0.21 ft 1.14 ft 0.26 ft

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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 7:36p Moonrise: 10:50p Set: 8:34a

Sunrise: 7:07a Set: 7:37p Moonrise: 11:52p Set: 9:21a

APR 1

 31

SATURDAY

2

SUNDAY

3

4

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 7:31p

Set: 7:34p Set: 6:35a

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 8:38p

Set: 7:35p Set: 7:12a

Sunrise: 7:09a Moonrise: 9:45p

Set: 7:36p Set: 7:51a

AM Minor: 5:05a

PM Minor: 5:30p

AM Minor: 5:55a

PM Minor: 6:22p

AM Minor: 6:51a

PM Minor: 7:17p

AM Minor: 7:49a

PM Minor: 8:17p

AM Minor: 8:51a

PM Minor: 9:18p

AM Minor: 9:52a

PM Minor: 10:19p

AM Minor: 10:50a

PM Minor: 11:17p

AM Major: 11:17a

PM Major: 11:43p

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 12:08p

AM Major: 12:37a

PM Major: 1:04p

AM Major: 1:36a

PM Major: 2:03p

AM Major: 2:37a

PM Major: 3:04p

AM Major: 3:38a

PM Major: 4:05p

AM Major: 4:37a

PM Major: 5:04p

Moon Overhead: 12:34a 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:18a

Moon Overhead: 1:25a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:12a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: None

Moon Overhead: 5:02a

Moon Overhead: 4:07a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 7:37p Sunrise: 7:05a Set: 7:38p Set: 10:12a Moonrise: 12:48a Set: 11:06a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:57a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

WEDNESDAY

 30

 29

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 12:59p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

7:00 — 9:00 PM

7:30 — 9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:39p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:35p BEST:

8:00 — 10:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 5:30p BEST:

8:30 — 11:00 PM

9:00 — 11:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 6:23p +2.0

BEST:

10:30P — 12:00A TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 2:45p

TIDE LEVELS

11:00A — 2:00P

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:51p

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

4:26 am 10:38 am 4:13 pm 10:29 pm

1.42 ft 0.45 ft 1.13 ft -0.00 ft

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

5:36 am 11:28 am 4:30 pm 11:13 pm

1.48 ft High Tide: 6:44 am 1.50 ft 0.69 ft Low Tide: 12:17 pm 0.91 ft 1.15 ft High Tide: 4:47 pm 1.18 ft -0.19 ft

High Tide: 7:54 am Low Tide: 1:06 pm High Tide: 4:59 pm

1.48 ft 1.09 ft 1.22 ft

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

12:49 am 9:09 am 2:00 pm 4:57 pm

-0.31 ft Low Tide: 1:42 am -0.26 ft Low Tide: 2:42 am -0.15 ft 1.44 ft High Tide: 10:35 am 1.39 ft High Tide: 12:25 pm 1.36 ft 1.22 ft 1.26 ft

+1.0

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Turkey Hunting on $50 AM NOT SURE WHICH I LOVE THE MOST—FALL whitetails or spring gobblers, since both can provide memories that last a lifetime. However, when it comes to straight-up heart-pounding excitement you would be hard pressed to beat the sight of a randy gobbler coming in to a call, strutting proudly, and colored up like a Christmas tree. That is a thing of beauty and one that everyone can enjoy—everyone. With the economy what it is, many

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hunters are feeling pinched and might consider foregoing their annual spring turkey hunting, but that is not necessary. There are literally hundreds of thousand of acres of public land available for the price of a $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH).

by Lou Marullo For $50 in round numbers, you can get in on some awesome turkey hunting action—for the most part eastern birds.

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The bulk of the APH/Wildlife Management Area (WMA) land is in East Texas, where for 20 years turkey stamp fees paid for eastern bird stocking. The result has been huntable populations in most counties and stellar opportunities on certain tracts. If you can’t pay upwards of $1000 to hunt Rios, you should seriously consider the $50 alternative and look into public land. There is even better news: You do not have to do a whole bunch of gear modification or seek additional purchases. Shotgun A L M A N A C

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hunters know what they need, so that’s a given, but there is some confusion among bowhunters regarding turkey gear. In one of my regular columns, I wrote about different broadheads to use for deer and turkey. I like to use a mechanical broadhead for birds and a fixed head for deer. It is not necessary to worry excessively over which broadhead goes with us into the turkey woods. I have my preferences, but the broadheads that you use for your deer hunting adventures can also double as your favorite broadhead for turkey. Believe me, they will do the job and do it well. Portable ground blinds have proven very effective for turkey. The big advantage of a portable ground blind is that you can draw your bow undetected. In fact, you can set up your blind in the middle of a field and be just as successful as when you are hidden in a woodlot. Turkey pay absolutely no attention to this type of blind. I believe, however, that if you carefully build a blind out of the natural surroundings already there in the woods, you will be just as successful. In fact, it gives you that extra chal-

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lenge of drawing your bow undetected. If you wait for the gobbler to come to full strut with the back of its fan facing you, drawing your bow should be a minor detail. Something else you might find useful as a nice blind is a camouflage umbrella. If you already have one that you use for deer hunting, bring it along. Just lay it down in front of you and sit in a chair behind it. It will help conceal any movement you make and will improve your odds of getting that bird. As for calls, choose whichever one you are good with. Really, the only sound you need to imitate is the yelp. It is the most important sound of the spring turkey season. It can be made on a slate, box, wing bone, or diaphragm call. You need only one and they are not expensive at all. A diaphragm call is the least expensive. You could purchase one for under $5. Other than the wing bone and diaphragm, you could probably borrow a call from one of your buddies. That eliminates this expense right off the bat. Ask the buddy to carry the camera and film your hunt. Why spend the money for new broad-

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heads? Who says we absolutely have to hunt from portable blind? Do we really need a backpack full of different calls to bring that wary gobbler into bow range? As far as I am concerned, these are all unnecessary expenses. I know that it seems to be in hunters’ genes to want whatever is new and improved in our bowhunting world. I am probably the biggest believer of that—at least, that is what my wife tells me. She might be right. That must be the reason she hides all of the catalogs I get in the mail. But I also believe that in this world where it is sometimes necessary to tighten our belts a little more to make ends meet, our time spent in the woods should not suffer from it. Life is just too short not to enjoy every minute you can, and as far as I’m concerned, a day relaxing in the turkey woods is far better than any day at the office. It does not matter at all how deep your wallet is. You should still be able to have a lasting memory of a fantastic turkey hunt with little expense.

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A Bheestly Bheest of a Bag VIRTUALLY EVERY OUTDOORSMAN KNOWS THE PAIN of dropping a cell phone into the drink. Maybe it dropped into the lake, maybe it fell into a mud puddle under your tree stand, or maybe it just sat in your jacket pocket as you got rained on until your clothes soaked

through and your phone got wet. In any of these situations, you’ll probably have to buy a new phone. Or you could disassemble it, dry out the pieces and parts, and re-assemble it (throwing away the extra parts, of course...where the heck did that screw come from?). Then, you press the power button four or five times. When nothing happens, you throw the phone away and head to the store to buy a new one, like you should have in the first place. Don’t be so quick to toss out that corrupted communicator. There’s a new way to salvage wet electronics, and if my Texas Tested testing is any indication, it works great. The Bheestie Bag looks like a giant verC40 |

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sion of those little silicon bags (usually filled with silica gel) you find packed with items that are moisture-sensitive, but apparently the stuff inside a Bheestie is a bit different, with listed active ingredients of “molecular sieve.” To test it, I stole my wife’s old cell phone, submerged it for 10 minutes, and then put it into the Bheestie Bag overnight. The next day, when I removed the phone not only was it bone-dry, it actually worked. A week later, my daughter left her treasured iPod in her pants pocket and Mom ran it through the washing machine. When we finally found it, the iPod was deader then a doornail and water droplets were visible behind the LCD screen. After 48 hours in the Bheestie Bag (the directions recommend leaving submerged items in the bag for 48 to 72 hours), the iPod was back in action and none the worse for wear. If you want to revive soaked electronics, check this one out. The results I experienced were well beyond expectations. —Lenny Rudow

Shimano’s New Ride LOOKING FOR THE CADILLAC OF SPINNING REELS? One that’s built tough, can put on amazing amounts of pressure, and takes in line faster then the competition? Check out Shimano’s new Saragosa 1800F. This reel is so good, it can even be used for pelagic big game fishes that usually require heavy conventional gear. The Saragosa is a heavy-duty spinner designed for the salt, and the 1800F is rated to hold 380 yards of 20-pound-test monofilament. If you’re a braid guy, you’ll be happy to hear I squeezed on 400 yards of 60pound braid, no problem. That’s unheard-

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of, but in this case, completely appropriate because the Saragosa’s drag can be torqued all the way to 44 pounds. I used one tuned to 20 pounds while fishing for grouper and found it enough to nearly yank my arms out of their sockets. Thanks to all of that line capacity, we were able to fish it deep, too, and hitting bottom in

Shimano Sargosa

600 feet of water was possible. Take a closer look at the handle shank, which is machined aluminum. On many spinners, this is one spot where the manufacturer tries to save money, and if you stress it from side to side, it bends. But this one’s sturdier than the norm and didn’t give one bit. The downside to cranking with a heavyweight like this is it weighs a lot, coming in at a whopping 28.4 ounces. That’s significantly more then most spinning reels of this size (a comparable Penn is over 10 percent lighter), and after a full day of fishing, you can feel the difference in your arms. You won’t want to use a reel like the 1800F when you’re casting for slot-sized reds or speckled trout; save this one for the seriously big fish. The Saragosa’s anti-reverse is another feature worth mentioning, since it stood out as we jigged in the deep without any kickback. Those jigs came up fast, too, because the Saragosa features a speedy 4.9:1 retrieve ratio, ripping in 41 inches of line A L M A N A C


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with every revolution of the crank. If you want a Cadillac spinner that can do the work of a conventional, has high line capacity, and can put out as much drag as reels twice its size, the Saragosa is a winner—and that’s not just a bunch of spin. —LR

Winchester Super-X Power Max I RECENTLY RECEIVED A TEST SAMPLE OF THE NEW Winchester Power Max Bonded Core ammunition. Winchester literature says this ammunition is “designed specifically for the white-tailed deer hunter.” The bullet is a “protected hollow point” design (whatever that means) with a lead core bonded to the copper alloy jacket. The bullet features a notched and contoured jacket that aids in rapid expansion. I pulled one of the bullets for inspection; it is a flat-based spitzer, weighs 150.4 grains, and is loaded over 58 grains of what looks like Winchester 760 ball powder. Velocity is listed as 2920 feet per second. I shot the Power Max in a Remington Model 700 BDL topped with a Leupold 39X scope, a wonderfully accurate rig. I found quickly that the new ammunition shoots as good as it looks. The first group I fired at 100 yards had all the holes touching. Average accuracy was just over an inch. So far so good. However, this is bonded core stuff, intended for deer hunting, so the only real way to test it was to take it hunting. There are several ranches in the vicinity that cull a large number of deer each season, and the owners kindly allow me to assist. These are the places where I test rifles and ammo on live targets. They are under the MLD program and the deer shot do not count against my license. This buck was probably beyond 6-1/2 years old. It would weigh around 140 pounds, which was perfect for what I wanted. The main beams of its antlers were short and oddly shaped, with only six short points. It was a cull buck of the most obvious kind. The trouble was that my buck was PHOTOS COURTESY MANUFACTURERS

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Winchester’s new Super-X Power Max ammo mixed up with so many other deer that getting a shot at it without hitting another should the bullet pass through (which I hoped it would do) was almost impossible. The waiting was tough, but watching the deer interact was a concentrated class on deer behavior. There aren’t many places where you can sit and watch nearly a hundred deer in such a confined space. Finally, the deer was in the clear. I placed the crosshairs on its shoulder, aiming to break both shoulders and the spine, dropping the buck in its tracks. This shot, performed properly, is as deadly as any you can make on a deer. It is also safer and more positive than neck or head shots, both of which I have seen fail miserably and sickeningly more than once. The high shoulder shot, placed about a third of the way down from the top of the back, in line with the front leg, is as foolproof as any shot can be on a live animal. Check it out on a deer anatomy diagram. Having a solid rest on the blind window, at about a hundred yards I squeezed off the shot as if I was holding for an X on a bulls-

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eye target. When the rifle recoiled, the buck hit the ground so hard it bounced. This was the point where I realized I had forgotten my camera. Sorry. Inspection of the deer revealed that the bullet had done exactly as it should, breaking the near shoulder, shattering the spine, then exiting and taking with it a big chunk of the off shoulder plus a couple of ribs. This is the way a big game bullet is supposed to perform. It did its job, causing massive internal damage yet still managed to exit. If I had pulled the shot and the deer had run off, there would have been a blood trail to follow. A more fragile bullet might have blown up on the shoulder, failed to achieve sufficient penetration, and left no blood trail. I have seen it happen more than a dozen times. Bullets like the Power Max preclude this. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I like this new Winchester cartridge. —Steve LaMascus

On the Web www.bheestie.com www.shimano.fishing-store.us www.winchester.com

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Baby King Shad Takes a Big Bite STRIKE KING LURE COMPANY, IS PROUD TO welcome the newest member of the King Shad family of swim baits in the New Baby King Shad. The Baby King shad is a 3” long, single jointed swim bait designed with the same action as it’s bigger

brother in the King Shad. Features internal reinforced hinge Baby King design, premium comShad ponents and will dive to 5’. The Baby King Shad is one fine little swim bait the will definitely help you catch more and bigger fish! Tie one on today! Suggested Retail Price: $14.99. Visit www.strikeking.com

ItzaBug Mimicks Live Prey

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curlytail tentacles add a liveliness that bass will sense underwater. The movement is accentuated when the soft rings Stanley and body parts bump ItzaBug against grass and weeds, making it hard for bass to resist. The small 4-inch ItzaBug is as versatile as it is effective. The soft bait can be fished behind a 1/8 or 1/4ounce jig head as a jig trailer. The wide ringed body opens up and expands the skirt and escaping air bubbles makes it breathe. Great for Carolina or Texas rig and works just as well on a drop shot. How the ItzaBug is fished, is limited only by one’s imagination. See it at www.fishstanley.com/itzabug.

Kicks Howler Chokes KICK’S INDUSTRIES INC. ANNOUNCES THE release of the new “Howler” chokes. The “Howler” chokes are specifically designed predator/coyote hunting.

THE NEW ITZABUG COMBINES THE SOFT REALfeel rings of the Sidewinder lure for the body with a pair of crawfish claws. Throw in a couple of screw-tail tentacles and you have a bug that’s loaded with underwater action. Perfect for pitching and flipping under boat docks, bushes or around cover. ItzaBug’s soft flexible rings trap air, emitting tiny bubbles that imitate a live, breathing crawfish. Bass will hang on tight to the collapsible rings that feel like moving prey in the fish’s mouth. Two flat appendages with pincers and the pair of C42 |

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Kicks Howler Choke

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These chokes will deliver very tight patterns at long ranges. “Howler” chokes are offered in two sizes. The “Howler H” is designed for the Hevi Shot “Dead Coyote” loads while the “Howler L” is designed to be used with either coated or non-coated lead buckshot, specifically #1 or #4 buckshot. “Howler” chokes feature the Kicks extended/ported design and are manufactured in the USA using PH17-4 grade stainless steel with a black finish. “Howler” chokes are available for most 10, 12, and 20ga. shotguns. Kick’s “Howler” chokes, “a predator choke… with Bite!!!” 1-800-587-2779 www.kicks-ind.com, kicks@planters.net

Lindy’s X-Change Jig System WHETHER YOU’RE AFTER LARGEMOUTH BASS, crappies, white bass or other gamefish, the ability to quickly change hook size, jig weight and color to match fishing conditions means more fish Lindy X-Change Jig on every trip. And Lindy’s XChange Jig System lets you choose from 640 hook and jighead color and size combinations instantly, without retying! The secret is a patented system of specially designed jigheads that snap quickly and securely onto Lindy’s hook-collar receivers. The X-Change lineup features 20 jighead color choices in weights from 1/16- to 3/8-ounce. Hooks are available in new size 2 and 2/0 in four color options, all with Lindy’s trademark Max Gap hook, which has a 10-degree wider gap A L M A N A C


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Lindy X-Change System

than normal jig hooks for increased hookup ratios. Experts like southern crappie and bass pro Todd Huckabee swear by the XChange System for situations ranging from long-poling crappies to pitching shaky-head presentations along docks for bass. “I can tailor my components to get the correct color, fall rate and size in seconds, without retying or changing the plastic trailers,” says Huckabee. “Plain and simple, it makes me a more efficient angler.” X-Change Jig System hooks, jigheads, master packs and kits are available at fine retailers everywhere. Or, learn more at www.Lindyfishingtackle.com.

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“We’ve brought a great product to the fishing tackle market while shattering the price point that most companies would charge for a tool of this quality” stated company Vice President Don Newman. “On the water testing has proven the durability of this tool, from removing hooks, to cutting through braided line and mono, all while exposed to the harsh saltwater environment. It’s a must have for any deckhand or tournament angler.”

Cast Far without Backlash SPEND LESS TIME DEALING WITH TANGLED LINE and more time catching fish. The Sharkfin spinning reel by Castalia Outdoors allows you to do just that. It is uniquely designed to cast farther and eliminate tangles often encoun-

Castalia Sharkfin

P-Line Adaro: Serious Pliers P-LINE, THE COMPANY LONG KNOWN FOR making great fishing line has now entered the premium fishing tool business. The PLine Adaro Pliers are made from machine cut aluminum, which makes them extremely light weight, and resistant to corrosion. The jaws are made from a coated stainless steel for rugged durability. The P-Line most usable feaAdaro ture to the angler Pliers is the tungsten carbide jaws which are specifically designed for cutting through braided line.

Paired up with a free cordura belt pouch and a strong nylon lanyard, you now have the ultimate tool for the serious angler. PHOTOS COURTESY MANUFACTURERS

tered with spinning reels. The German-engineered “fin-shaped” spool design reduces friction on the line during the cast, allowing the angler to cast farther and with greater accuracy, and eliminating tangles and “birdnests.” The Sharkfin needs no special instruction, use like any standard spool, is braid-friendly, and works with all reel-recommended line diameters. Two models are available, the 2000 for freshwater and inshore saltwater; model 4000 for inshore and light offshore. MSRP $119.99 and $149.99. Visit www.castaliaoutdoors.com or call 1-800-558-5541.

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Wiley X Fights Breast Cancer WILEY X IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT IN 2010, it will donate $3.50 from the sale of each pair of its bestselling Lacey sunglasses with advanced 8-layer polarized lenses to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). These top quality, lifetime warranty sunglasses with Italian styling are fashionable yet functional for anglers and boaters. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide. “We’re fortunate that our Laceys have gained such widespread popularity, and we are honored to have the chance to partner with such a successful, well respected organization like BCRF in this fight for a cure,” says Myles Freeman, President of Sales for Wiley X. Wiley X is a leading innovator of performance protective eyewear, each designed with the same impact-resistant lenses and shatterproof frames that have made Wiley X a leading choice of U.S. Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and other elite Special Forces Units in action around the world. Wiley X’s High Velocity Protection

Wiley-X Laceys (HVP(tm)) Selenite(tm) lenses exceed stringent ANSI Z87.1 safety standards for superior impact resistance and distortion free vision, qualifying their eyewear as OSHA grade Occupational Eye Protection. $146 suggested retail price. (800) 7767842/www.wileyx.com

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Target Handles X-Bows THE NEW BLOCK FUSION CROSSBOW TARGET WAS designed specifically to top stop 400+ FPS crossbow bolts. The PolyFusion design in the Block Fusion Crossbow Target provides even longer target life and increases ease of arrow removal. It is Block Fusion target black with white targets and features the new Block Game Face on two of the four shooting sides. This feature offers archers six game species (elk,

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deer, moose, pronghorn, bear, and turkey) in various sizes, thereby simulating both short- and long-range shooting. The Block Fusion Crossbow Targets also features the ever-popular deer vitals. Available in an 18x18x16 and 16x16x12, these new targets will be available immediately at retailers nationwide at retail prices of $159.99 and $109.99, respectively. Headquartered in Superior, Wisconsin, Field Logic is the manufacturer of the award-winning Block and the new Block Fusion. It also manufactures GlenDel 3D targets.

Rage 125-Grain 2Blade Broadhead IN RESPONSE TO CONTINUAL CUSTOMER REQUESTS, Rage Broadheads has announced the production of its new heavyweight 125-grain 2blade broadhead. With the same 2-inch cut-

ting diameter as the popular 100-grain Rage, this new broadhead offers

Rage Broadhead

more weight in the ferrule for inflicting maximum damage and penetration. The revolutionary SlipCam rear blade deployment system on the 125-grain mechanical Rage broadhead offers fully deployed blades immediately upon impact, with no loss of kinetic energy. This results in creating huge entry holes, gaping wound channels, and unprecedented blood trails. Rage is not only the most humane broadhead on the market, it is also the most forgiving, and now it is available in 125-grain 2-blade design. For those wanting a heavier broadhead with the unprecedented success of the Rage design, the 125-grain 2-blade is available at retailers nationwide. The 125-grain Rage has a black ferrule and the practice head is silver. It will be sold in packs of three broadheads with a free practice head for $44.99. The Rage is available in 100-grain in a 2-blade design with the new 1.5-inch or the giant 2-inch cutting diameter, or a 3-blade design with a 1.5-inch cutting diameter.

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Russelure Resurrected in Texas S I SAT IN MIKE FELT’S OFFICE, MY EYES kept wandering to the framed lures on the walls. Shiny metal lures in descending sizes, each nested inside a larger version were tastefully displayed in shadow boxes. I had no idea that Russelures came in so many different sizes. Why didn’t I know about them?

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by Greg Berlocher Russelure was the standard on the Texas coast for many years when it came to offshore baits. Then the brand slowly waned, ultimately disappearing from the shelves of outdoor stores. Fortunately, the brand didn’t disappear from the minds of offshore anglers. Felts, a blue water angler himself, was looking to purchase some new Russelures and ended up buying the company from its owners in California. He recently relocated the company headquarters to Houston and has been busy reintroducing the metal lure to fishermen all over the world. Russelure has an interesting history. J.K. Russel founded the company in 1947, creating an odd shaped lure some likened to a concave banana. The company changed hands in the late 1950s when the Bauth family purchased it from the Russel estate. Felt became the company’s third owner in 2009. Armed with a history lesson and a bag full of Russelures, I headed out to the lake in my neighborhood for some field-testing. Frequent readers of this column know this is as the lake with the “No Fishing!” signs posted prominently around the perimeter. Since I am offiPHOTOS COURTESY RUSSELURE

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cially doing research for TF&G, I have determined that the posting doesn’t apply to me and I sallied forth to lake’s edge gripping a handful of rods. Russelures are manufactured in eight different sizes ranging in length from a scant 1 inch to 6.5 inches. Anglers have eleven different color schemes to choose from. Ask any salty veteran of the Gulf and they will attest that the 5- and 6.5-inch models are deadly on kingfish, dorado, and wahoo. While the 1- inch model appears that it would be villainous on crappie and the 1.5inch lures are widely used for rainbow and brown trout in colder climates, I focused on the 2- and 3-inch models and was eager to test the concave body’s action against a graphite rod and light monofilament. The 2- and 3-inch Russelures are equipped with two different tie rings; the smaller versions have a single ring, while the large lures have three ring ties. Attach your line to the front ring and the lure takes a shallow tack as it is retrieved; snug a knot on the back tie and the lure digs deeper while being retrieved. The Russelure’s concave metal body is a bit deceiving. The rounded gutter suggests it is a deep diver but with the line tied to the front ring and a bit of high sticking with your rod tip, the lure cam be made to run very shallow - just right to buzz over the top of a bed of submerged hydrilla or bed of shoal grass at the coast. The lures will dig deep if you want them to. Images of a Russelure rooting along a mud bottom, kicking up a trail of silt, comes to mind. A 3-inch model would be ideal for taking big bass suspended under “schoolies” busting shad in the fall. It would also be a

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great trolling bait for white bass and stripers in open water. The mid-size Russelures are great bay baits as well. They cover a lot of water and are easy to work. Rigged to dive deep, they would be great to pull down the face of a jetty. Since the lures sport an anodized or powder coated finish, you can bounce them off the granite without fear of marring their luster. What I discovered in “Research Lake” was the pleasing side-to-side action the Russelures exhibit when retrieved. The frenetic side-ways shuffle is much more pronounced than the wiggle of a lipless crankbait. Offshore versions of the Russelure will actually roam three to four feet, or more, skirting from one side to the other and then back again; the smaller freshwater versions do not skitter as far but do a lot more than just wiggle their hips. As far as the future is concerned, Felts is pretty much maintaining the status quo. He will continue to manufacture Russelures in the United States out of high strength aluminum blanks and quality brass components, and he will equip each lure with Mustad hooks. There is a lot to like about Russelure’s line, but there are a few things I wish they offered. The hooks on the 3-inch models are more suited for 50-pound lake trout than 10pound redfish. A smaller set of trebles would be a nice option. An out-of-the-box kingfish version equipped with a factory built 20-inch steel leader would make a nice addition as well. Russelures are available, or will be in the next 90 days, at most major outdoor stores. Depending on the Russelure’s size, the MSRP ranges in price from $4.50 to $12.95.

On the Web www.russelure.com

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2/1/10

7:19 PM

A Bird on My Knee S BOWHUNTING EDITOR FOR THIS MAGAzine, I am not too proud to tell you my sad tale of woe. I have to admit that although this deer season was not the worst one I have ever experienced, it did come very close. To be honest, I did not get a lot of time to hunt this past season. A host of other obligations seemed to take precedence, all of which were unavoidable and certainly more important than taking my bow after the elusive (and it was elusive) whitetail. However, the times I did get to go brought days of promise that this was the day I would score on that big buck that has been making all the deer sign around my stands. What happened? The short answer is: I was showered with luck every time I walked into the woods—bad luck. It might have been the hunter who walked in on my setup, claiming he did not know that it was my lease. It could have been my hunting buddy who claimed he needed a new alarm clock. (Apparently, the one he already owned would not work at such an early hour.) It might have been Mother Nature doing what she does best as she pours buckets of rain on the already saturated ground. At times, it seemed as though it would rain only on the days I was able to find some free time to get out there and try my luck. Whatever the reason, the outcome remained the same. There would be no big bucks in my freezer this year. I was able to arrow a nice doe early in the season and that was a very tasty addition to the family larder. I can say only that had it not been for that lone doe that made the mistake of coming my way, I would have gone without venison entirely.

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I realize that I am not alone here. I am sure there are others out there that had the same type of year that I did. At least I hope I wasn’t the only one. The point is, seasons like this happen to all of us. It is not like on the TV shows where the mighty hunters always seem to have their best luck in the last hour of the last day. I have been on some of those TV hunts, and sometimes you win and sometimes the deer win, just like in real life. A wise man I called “Dad” once told me that if you got a deer every single time you went hunting, it just would not be as much fun. He was right. If we got a deer every time we went out there, we would call it “shopping.”

If we got a deer every time we went out, we would call it ‘shopping.’

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I will admit, however, that after waking up at dark-thirty day after day and staying in the field until I could barely keep my eyes open, I was growing more and more upset over the fact that I just was not seeing any deer. I was not the most pleasant person to be around. That’s what my wife told me, anyway. At the time, I disagreed with her, and in a tone that could have been misunderstood as hostile. Maybe it was just a tad on the hostile side, but I blame it on exhaustion and not being in my right mind. Deer season had taken over my brain. My wife asked one little question that woke me up and magically took away all that hostility: “Why do you hunt?” I sat down and thought about it for a

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moment, and then with a grin as wide as you can imagine, I answered: “I hunt to have a longer season. I hunt for the camaraderie. I hunt for family tradition. I hunt to have fun.” There are many reasons I love to bowhunt for deer, but killing a deer is not on the list. Oh, ultimately, that is what happens. We take the life of a deer or whatever we hunt, but that is not the “reason” we are out there. I am sure that as you read this you will think of many other reasons you love the outdoors. There is a special feeling for the individual that leaves the pavement and becomes one with nature for a while. I had to think about all the good things that did happen to me this season. I was able to watch as a coyote made its way under my stand and searched for its dinner. I watched in amazement as a redtail hawk swooped down on an unsuspecting squirrel. I could almost see its “Oh, crap!” eyes as it went sailing down the field in the grasp of the hawk’s talons. And probably the most fun I had in the woods was when a small bird landed on my boots and began to peck at the rubber bark. I remember smiling and sitting still as the bird decided to rest on my knee while it sang its morning song. This is why I get up so early in the morning. This is why I stay in the field so long. This is why I hunt. You just cannot see anything like this in your living room, and believe me, once you witness something as wondrous as a morning in the woodlot, you will not soon forget it. I had to thank my wife for reminding me about the reasons I hunt. I wish she would join me sometime. “Live every day like it’s your last...one day, you’ll be right.”

E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com A L M A N A C


2/1/10

7:19 PM

Eyes and Ears, Part 2 REMEMBER READING A STORY LONG AGO ABOUT a group of old gun writers who had gathered in the bar at some kind of writer’s convention. As the story goes, the loud voices could be heard all over the lobby of the hotel. People were peeking into the bar, others were trying to sneak out to avoid what they thought was a fight about to erupt. Finally, someone from the hotel waded into the group to break up the argument, only to find out the old gun writers were simply deaf as stones and having a friendly—albeit shouted—conversation. It is, unfortunately, an occupational hazard. I still remember the very first time I fired a .357 Magnum handgun. I was in my teens at the time and thought I was as tough as rawhide. I reared back the hammer on the big Ruger, took a bead on the target, and squeezed off the shot. I thought someone had stabbed me in the ears with ice picks. I nearly dropped the gun it hurt so bad, and my ears rang for a week. Heck, they’re still ringing. Elmer Keith once made the statement that a shooter just had to get used to the loud report of a magnum handgun. He didn’t realize it, but what he was saying was that eventually you got deaf enough it didn’t hurt anymore. Not a very efficient way to overcome a problem. Like most older shooters, I do not hear as well as I once did. Our editor, Don Zaidle, says he has “the hearing of a fireplug” because he “shot out” his hearing. Obviously, we both failed to use hearing protection when it mattered. By the time we figured out we really weren’t immortal and invulnerable, it was too late. Today, I protect what hearing I have left.

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Sometimes, especially when shooting a gun with a muzzle brake, I wear both earplugs and earmuffs. My brother, David, has worn both for years while shooting competition skeet. So, the obvious question is, “What is the best way to protect your hearing?” The obvious answer is to wear both plugs and muffs. However, most of us are not going to do that; some prefer plugs, and some muffs. When I was shooting competition skeet, I preferred a pair of fitted earplugs. They are made by putting a piece of material down into the ear canal with a thread attached so it can be easily removed, and then squirting the ear canal full of quick-drying foam or plastic that conforms to the shape of the ear. The resulting cast is sent to a manufacturer that makes a

Like most older shooters, I do not hear as well as I once did.

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mold of your ear canal and creates a set of earplugs that, hopefully, fit exactly. I used a set of these for years and think they are the best possible protection. However, they are somewhat difficult to insert and are not the most comfortable to wear. Almost as good, when properly inserted, are simple foam earplugs. These are disposable, inexpensive, and help prevent damage to your ears. The working phrase is “when properly inserted.” They must completely seal the ear or they don’t work well. Muffs are easy to use. They are not as comfortable as plugs in hot climates. I tried for a while to use muffs shooting skeet in

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San Antonio. In the middle of the summer, with the temperature soaring well above 100, muffs are bloody uncomfortable; they are also difficult to wear with a hat. I switched to earplugs. However, these days, when I head out to my range to shoot a rifle or handgun, I usually wear muffs. Then there are electronic hearing protectors. I have a set of Surefire electronic earplugs that I love for hunting. They protect my hearing but allow me to hear the little sounds that the Brush Country is full of, and that tell you many things if you can hear them. Around my own range, especially when I have company, I wear a pair of Walker’s Power Muff Quads electronic muffs. These are beautifully engineered, sturdy, durable, directional (they have two microphones on each side), and have enough volume to actually allow you to hear better than normal. Some of the cheaper electronic muffs do not have sufficient volume. Which form of protection you use is up to you. You can go cheap or invest substantial lucre. Whatever you choose, please use it, religiously. People grow weary of you shouting “Wazzat?” with your hand cupped to your ear.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

On the Web www.walkersgameear.com www.howardleight.com www.ehphearing.com

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Stern Warnings ONTHS OF PLANNING, HUNDREDS OF gallons of fuel, and endless hours of preparation had finally come together in this one moment--a 500- to 600-pound blue marlin was greyhounding across the ocean surface just 30 yards away from me, throwing its head from side to side in a frantic effort to rid itself of the circle hook planted in its jaw. The angler cranked his reel, the captain jockeyed his throttles, and I photographed the scene as it unfolded while shielding my camera from spray as waves crashed into the transom. That fish had us fooled. We thought it was close to giving in, but instead it turned tail and ran off a solid 200 yards of line.

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Worried it was getting too far away from the boat, the captain reversed the engines and poured on the coal. Water immediately started rushing into the cockpit from under the transom door, then a wave over-topped the transom. Suddenly, my camera was dripping wet and I was ankle-deep. “Is that engine hatch water-tight?” I shouted, pointing to the deck. I wasn’t happy when the captain yelled back, “I don’t know. Never had this much water in the cockpit before!” I was even less happy when, moments later, one of the engines suddenly shut down. A spot nearly 100 miles from the inlet-which can be distinguished from its endless surroundings only by a set of GPS coordinates--is not a good setting to test the seal on a deck hatch. Nor is it a place one should intentionally flood the cockpit of his boat, whether the fish of a lifetime is on the line or not. As one might expect, soon after losing the ability to maneuver, we lost the fish.

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Luckily, the engine re-started and we continued our trip without further difficulties, but the results could have been disastrous. And it was all because the guy at the wheel forgot the most essential, basic rule of captaining a boat: keep the pointy end into the waves. Whether you run a bay boat, blue water battlewagon, or backwater hunting-rig, this rule holds true for your boat and for virtually every other one on the planet. And as a result, a huge proportion of the sinkings that occur each year result from the transom taking a wave. Will you remember this rule? We sure hope so. Here are some others that will help keep your transom dry and your boat afloat. Rule No. 2: Never anchor astern. There is no valid reason to ever secure an anchor line to a stern cleat, period. This absolutely guarantees that your transom will be facing the waves, and even worse, tension on the anchor line will constantly pull the stern lower. When waves arrive the boat can’t rise over them, and that leaves only one other option; we think you know what that is. You’re not worried, because it’s calm and there are no other boats around. Just ask yourself how many times you’ve been hit by a boat wake without warning. It happens, and if it happens when you’re anchored astern... Rule No. 3: Avoid cutout transoms. Yes, I know there have been hundreds of models of boats built with cutouts, and they’ve been operating safely on the water for many years. I also know that they’re more likely than full-transom designs to suck in a belly full of water. If you absolutely must have a boat that has a cutout transom, consider adding a folding gate or door in front of it, which can be locked into position as soon as the motor is tilted down and you’re ready to push off the dock. Rule No. 4: Slow down slowly in a following sea. In many cases, a following sea is A L M A N A C


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actually more dangerous then a head sea. Again, remember that thing about keeping the pointy end of the boat facing the waves. If the seas are rolling in astern and you cut back the throttles too swiftly, a wave that’s moving faster than your boat can easily wash right in from behind you. And since you’re moving forward at a good clip, the stern of your boat is being sucked down to some degree when you chop the throttle. Slowing down gradually allows the stern to rise up out of the water to its normal height. In extremely rough seas, you might need to consider turning the boat into the waves before coming all the way off plane. In outboard and stern-drive boats, you can also reduce the likelihood of flooding by trimming the outdrive all the way down, so prop thrust helps push the stern up. (Note: Do not do this while running at high speeds. Every action has a reaction, and when you trim the drive to push the stern up, you’re also trimming it to push the bow down.) Rule No. 5: Don’t get close, dangerclose, to any type of float that’s anchored to the bottom. Three or four years ago, I was

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on a boat that came damn near sinking because it came too close to a big polyball marker that was tied off to some sort of fish trap. The captain zigged when he should have zagged, wrapped the float’s line around a prop, and suddenly we were (essentially) anchored off the stern in violation of Rule No. 2. Three waves in a row washed right into the boat, and by the time we cut the line free and began the dewatering process, we were dangerously close to the point of no recovery. Rule No. 6: Watch your weight distribution. Particularly on small boats, crowded boats, and hunting rigs outfitted with plywood brush-blinds, it’s easy to change the boat’s weight distribution for the worse. On an average 16-foot johnboat, for example, putting a pair of grown men on the aft bench seat can lower transom height as much as 2 inches. Add in a heavy blind with most of its bracing in the rear, and you might only have a few inches of freeboard left. Now add an energetic retriever and an unexpected boat wake into the mix...you get the picture. Rule No. 7: Never tow a boat that’s

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significantly larger then your own, particularly in a following sea. You need to apply a fair amount of power to get that large load moving, which means your propeller will be digging a pretty big hole in the water. The stern of your boat will get pulled down, and your transom will go lower and lower. In fact, you don’t even need large waves to make this a dangerous situation. Apply enough power, and it’s possible to literally suck the stern of your own boat below the waterline. Of course, you can’t just abandon someone in need of assistance. Call for help, or if you must, tow the boat at an extremely low rate of speed with as much rope between you as possible. Follow these seven rules, and hopefully, you’ll never look over your shoulder to see water pouring in over the transom. If you just can’t keep ‘em straight, trade in your boat for a kayak. Then, both ends will be pointy.

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E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

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2/1/10

7:20 PM

Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp HILE SHOPPING WITH MY WIFE LAST Christmas, we ran into old friend David Todd, who owns and operates Outdoor Texas Camp. It is hard to believe that five years have passed since I met Todd at the Texas Outdoor Writers Association Conference in Uvalde. Todd, nationally known dealer in outdoor art and a passionate outdoorsman, had just invested a small fortune in the dream of developing a camp for young people where they would be introduced to outdoor activities. Shotgun and rifle shooting, dog training, game calling, bow hunting, outdoor photography, fishing, first aid, and outdoor survival skills were all on the docket during the weeklong camps. Mix in a healthy dose of fun and hold the camp at a modern, comfortable facility, and the stage was set for success. Fast-forward a handful of years, and Outdoor Texas Camp has been a huge success with over 1200 campers immersed in outdoor activities. Todd is a great listener and has his finger directly on the pulse of his young customers and their parents—and grandparents, and aunts, and uncles. Follow-up surveys after the camps revealed a hunger for additional outdoor-related camps. This desire morphed into advanced camps away from the base camp at Stoney Creek Ranch near Columbus. Waterfowl Camp, Deer Camp, Fly-Fishing Camp, and Saltwater Camp have been added over the years. Kayak Camp is an outgrowth of Todd’s highly successful Saltwater Camp where

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campers are introduced to kayak fishing. The campers let him know that they wished there was a camp dedicated to kayak fishing. That is all Todd needed to hear. Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp will be held at a 12-bedroom private retreat in Port Aransas this summer, limited to 15 boys age 11-16. “Port Aransas is hard to beat as a kayak destination,” explained Todd. “Everyone at Saltwater Camp last year wished they could have spent more time fishing from a kayak. At this camp, the campers will be able to fish every morning and afternoon from a kayak. And since there are so many kayak friendly areas around Port Aransas, each group will get to fish a new location every day.”

Kayak Camp is an outgrowth of Todd’s successful Saltwater Camp.

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Todd stresses personal instruction at his camps, and Kayak Camp is no exception. He has five kayak instructors lined up, one for each three campers. Kayak angling is taught in detail throughout the week. Topics include kayak rigging, paddling, safety training, fish identification, lure and fly selection, and a wealth of information about fishing from a kayak. Campers will even have the chance to learn to cast flies on the flats if they desire. There is always some downtime planned at Todd’s camps so the campers can relax and just be kids. Trips to the beach and jetties are on the itinerary at Kayak Camp. “Kayak angling has grown substantially over the last decade,” Todd said. “A family

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can spend $2000 and outfit two really good kayaks. There are a million good places for a father and son or father and daughter to fish. “All of the kids at Saltwater Camp caught fish last year. The day they fished from kayaks, the catch totaled 37 trout and redfish. We have a big fish fry the last night of camp with the fish we catch during the week. They kids caught so many last year there were plenty left over to take home.” Throughout the years, one of the recurring themes Todd has heard from his campers is the desire to share what they have learned with a loved one. Todd has added a new concept this year to Kayak Camp called Add-A-Dad. A father, big brother, or uncle can join their young charge Thursday evening and spend the last day of camp fishing with their camper. Due to space limitations at the retreat in Port Aransas, they can accommodate only five Ad-A-Dads. Many of the kids who attend Todd’s outdoor camps already have a love for outdoor activities, but are often exposed to something new. Many come away passionate about a new aspect of the outdoors, as did like my son. Our youngest son attended a session at Stoney Creek Ranch four years ago and has been completely eaten up with bowhunting ever since. If you send your son to Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp, expect the same response. Kayak Camp is scheduled for July 2531. Greg Berlocher’ latest book, “Kayak Texas” is now available. Order it at www.FishGame.com, or ask your favorite outdoor retailer. Email Greg at kayak@fishgame.com.

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


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7:20 PM

Free-lining AVE YOU EVER HEARD OR USED THE acronym KISS? If not, you are about to learn something new. This one’s free. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid, which is a great way to approach most angling situations. Space age

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lures and hard-to-learn techniques are nice, but are not always necessary. There are literally hundreds of ways to chase the Big Three of inshore saltwater species (speckled trout, redfish, and flounder), from elaborate multi-hook contraptions to basic jigs and soft plastics, and very easy live bait rigs. Sometimes, these simple rigs are the most effective. Well, today you’re in luck because were about to go over the easiest rig in the world to tie, and we’ll even look at a few additions that make this simple setup versatile enough to be used in multiple situations. There isn’t a fish in the ocean that will turn down a shrimp if it’s placed in front of it, so if you want to make sure that you almost never get skunked after a day out on the water, you need to know how to rig a shrimp. A fish-finder (Carolina) rig or popping cork are popular ways to present a shrimp, but both have their limits. A fish-finder goes straight to the bottom so the fish have to be feeding near the bottom if using this one. Also, using a fish-finder around reefs or jetties is a great way to get cut off on the structure. On the other hand, a popping cork is good around structure but is limited because it can only be fished about four feet deep due to the difficulty in casting a cork rigged ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW

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with a leader much longer than three to four feet hanging below it. Instead of using either of these, an easier (and arguably better) way to rig a shrimp is on a very basic free-lining rig. Free-lining can be the epitome of simple. If you want to you can go as basic as simply tying a hook onto the end of your main line. That’s it. Now, if you want to get a little more elaborate you can make a few minor adjustments that will make the free-lining rig a little more

versatile. Start by tying a barrel swivel onto your main line. Don’t use a flashy swivel, go with black. The reason behind this is if you spend a lot of time fishing jetties then you

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will undoubtedly come across Spanish mackerel, which have teeth and like to hit flashy lures. A shiny swivel is just inviting trouble, as the mackerel will hit the swivel and cut you off. On the other side of the swivel tie a short leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon that is heaver than your main line so it can be more abrasion resistant when rubbed against rocks and also be able to stand up to hard hits. This leader should be no more than 18 inches long to make it easier to cast. While we are on casting, free-lining is not

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impossible with a bait-caster but due to the light weight of the rig, it is much easier to cast with spinning gear. At the end of the leader tie on a bait hook. A lot of anglers used to put a treble hook here to increase hook-ups but a circle hook will work just as well in most cases. Just remember that when the fish strikes all you do is apply pressure instead of making a knee buckling hook-set.

The purpose behind freelining shrimp is to allow the bait to sink slowly in a natural manner but sometimes you need it to get deeper just a little quicker, which means you have to add weight. Do this by crimping a small split shot (or some Tung-Fu putty) on the main line above the leader. There are a couple different ways to hook a shrimp when free-lining and which one you use is generally based on angler preference. If you hook the shrimp in the head, run the hook from the side under the horn, being careful not to puncture any of the major organs so the bait stays lively. If rigging through the tail run the hook up from the bottom through the end of the tail just above the fan. Rigging from the bottom up keeps the hook tip pointing up and away from snags.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

On the Web www.fishgame.com/howto

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TEXAS SALTWATER

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Mitchell Skarban’s

Brittany, Andrew , Hannah, Dalton and Johnny all caught trout w/ Rockport Red Runner

First Buck White Oak Outfitters

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SPOTLIGHT: WHITE OAK OUTFITTERS

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

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White Oak Outfitters, Inc. was formed in 1993. They originally hunted on 160 acres, but have now grown to right at 3000 acres of hunting land. They maintain 34 timered feeders year-round and spent the first week of September planting food plots for deer. White Oak Outfitters, Inc. is a family operation headquartered in the barn at their home. The price includes lodging and they have room enough for fourteen. Hog hunting is available year-round and deer season opens up the first weekend in November and runs in to early January. Over the years, they have established many fond friendships and have a high rate of repeat customers. Call Bruce Hunnicut (903.537.2651) today and plan your next hunting trip!

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meal all on its own. It can be baked in the oven if desired.

Slaven’s Venison Stew with Red Wine

Yields: 8 main-dish servings Total Time: 2 hr 30 min Prep Time: 45 min Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min

Ingredients

E HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING ONE OF the coldest winters here in Houston since 1989. This is a great time to serve some venison that will be a sure winner at the camp or at home. Make this stew a tradition for you and your family to enjoy when it gets cold outside. This traditional dish serves as a great

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2 lb. of venison backstrap and 2 lb. boneless beef sirloin tip or chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks (2 pounds of lean eye of round or other type roast can be substituted for the venison, but you still need a total of 4 pounds of meat) 2 Tbs. olive oil 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 3 large carrots cut into 1-inch pieces 3 large parsnips cut into 1/4-inch slices 2 ears of sweet corn, shucked and cut off of the cob fresh 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin

(this results in a smoother flavor) 1 large onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 10 small boiler onions peeled and left whole 10 small new potatoes rinsed, cleaned, and quartered 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour 1 29-oz. can diced tomatoes 2 14-oz. cans of low sodium beef broth 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper 2 cups dry red wine (I really like the peppery taste of a Shiraz for the stew) 4 sprigs fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. dried or fresh basil 2 pints fresh mushrooms sliced into 1/2inch thick pieces 1 red bell pepper sliced into 3/4-inch pieces 1/2 lb. of fresh green beans cut into 11/2-inch pieces 1 bag (16-oz.) frozen peas

Directions In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Pat beef dry with paper towels. Add beef in small batches (do not crowd the meat in the pan) and cook 56 minutes per batch or until well browned on all sides. With slotted spoon, transfer beef to medium bowl. (The meat pieces must be pat dry and not touching to brown properly.) To drippings in Dutch oven, add chopped onion and cook 10 minutes or until onion is browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour, canned tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add wine and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of pan. (The browned bits that form on the bottom of the pan add tremendous flavor. This is known as the “fond.”) Return meat and any meat juices in bowl to Dutch oven. Add thyme, basil, cumin,

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and the rest of the vegetables except the peas; heat to boiling. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1-1/2 hours or until meat is fork tender, stirring a few times. Discard thyme sprigs if using fresh thyme. Just before stew is done, stir in peas and allow them to heat through for 4-5 minutes. If baking the stew, cover and bake at 350 for 1-1/2 hours, stirring once. Enjoy with some fresh yeast rolls. (Some like to serve the stew over egg noodles.) Bon appĂŠtit!

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

PHOTO BY BRYAN SLAVEN

On the Web www.thetexasgourmet.com

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Turkey Hunting on $50 AM NOT SURE WHICH I LOVE THE MOST—FALL whitetails or spring gobblers, since both can provide memories that last a lifetime. However, when it comes to straight-up heart-pounding excitement you would be hard pressed to beat the sight of a randy gobbler coming in to a call, strutting proudly, and colored up like a Christmas tree. That is a thing of beauty and one that everyone can enjoy—everyone. With the economy what it is, many hunters are feeling pinched and might consider foregoing their annual spring turkey hunting, but that is not necessary. There are literally hundreds of thousand of acres of public land available for the price of a $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH). For $50 in round numbers, you can get in on some awesome turkey hunting action—for the most part eastern birds. The bulk of the APH/Wildlife Management Area (WMA) land is in East Texas, where for 20 years turkey stamp fees paid for eastern bird stocking. The result has been huntable populations in most counties and stellar opportunities on certain tracts. If you can’t pay upwards of $1000 to hunt Rios, you should seriously consider the $50 alternative and look into public land.

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There is even better news: You do not have to do a whole bunch of gear modification or seek additional purchases. Shotgun hunters know what they need, so that’s a given, but there is some confusion among bowhunters regarding turkey gear. In one of my regular columns, I wrote about different broadheads to use for deer and turkey. I like to use a mechanical broadhead for birds and a fixed head for deer. It is not necessary to worry excessively over which

by Lou Marullo broadhead goes with us into the turkey woods. I have my preferences, but the broadheads that you use for your deer hunting adventures can also double as your favorite broadhead for turkey. Believe me, they will do the job and do it well. Portable ground blinds have proven very effective for turkey. The big advantage of a portable ground blind is that you can draw your bow undetected. In fact, you can set up your blind in the middle of a field and be just as successful as when you are hidden in a woodlot. Turkey pay absolutely no attention to this type of blind. I believe, however, that if you carefully build a blind out of the natural surroundings

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already there in the woods, you will be just as successful. In fact, it gives you that extra challenge of drawing your bow undetected. If you wait for the gobbler to come to full strut with the back of its fan facing you, drawing your bow should be a minor detail. Something else you might find useful as a nice blind is a camouflage umbrella. If you already have one that you use for deer hunting, bring it along. Just lay it down in front of you and sit in a chair behind it. It will help conceal any movement you make and will improve your odds of getting that bird. As for calls, choose whichever one you are good with. Really, the only sound you need to imitate is the yelp. It is the most important sound of the spring turkey season. It can be made on a slate, box, wing bone, or diaphragm call. You need only one and they are not expensive at all. A diaphragm call is the least expensive. You could purchase one for under $5. Other than the wing bone and diaphragm, you could probably borrow a call from one of your buddies. That eliminates this expense right off the bat. Ask the buddy to carry the camera and film your hunt. Why spend the money for new broad-

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PHOTO BY BRUCE MACQUEEN

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In This Issue

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

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

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INDUSTRY INSIDER • New Target for Crossbows; Rage 125-Grain, 2Blade Broadhead | BY TF&G STAFF

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FISH THIS • Russelure Ressurected in Texas | BY GREG BERLOCHER

HOW-TO SECTION

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COVER STORY • Turkey on $50 | BY LOU MARULLO

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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

heads? Who says we absolutely have to hunt from portable blind? Do we really need a backpack full of different calls to bring that wary gobbler into bow range? As far as I am concerned, these are all unnecessary expenses. I know that it seems to be in hunters’ genes to want whatever is new

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BOWHUNTING TECH • A Bird on My Knee | BY LOU MARULLO

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • Eyes and Ears, Part 2 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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TEXAS BOATING • Stern Warnings | BY LENNY RUDOW

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TEXAS KAYAKING • Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp | BY GREG BERLOCHER

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OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE

BAITS & RIGS • Free-lining | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

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SALTWATER TALES • Baffin Bay At Last | BY CHARLES CABLE

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OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

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TEXAS TASTED • Slaven’s Venison Stew with Red Wine | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

GEARING UP SECTION

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TEXAS TESTED • A Bheestly Bheest of a Bag; Shimano’s New Ride; Winchester Super X Power Max ammo| BY TFG STAFF

and improved in our bowhunting world. I am probably the biggest believer of that—at least, that is what my wife tells me. She might be right. That must be the reason she hides all of the catalogs I get in the mail. But I also believe that in this world where it is sometimes necessary to tighten our belts a little

www.FishGame.com more to make ends meet, our time spent in the woods should not suffer from it. Life is just too short not to enjoy every minute you can, and as far as I’m concerned,

Do we really need a backpack full of calls to bring that gobbler into bow range?

a day relaxing in the turkey woods is far better than any day at the office. It does not matter at all how deep your wallet is. You should still be able to have a lasting memory of a fantastic turkey hunt with little expense.

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Match March Eel Hatch LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Reefs @ South end of the lake GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout

BEST BAITS: Norton Sand Eels, Flounder Pounder soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse,

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Red Shad, Pumpkin, Salt & Pepper, with a chartreuse tail CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: In March, the reefs area will probably be the saltiest, drawing the fish onto them. Drift the reefs letting the wind push your boat. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.780, W93 54.439 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics; Catch 2000, Catch 5, Corky CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Wind is a big factor in March. Concentrate your fishing efforts on the side of the lake that is protected. For example, if

the wind is from the northwest, fish the west side. That’s where you will find your clearer water. If the water is fairly clear, throw either a clear-colored bait with a lot of sparkles and a chartreuse tail. Watermelon with an orange tail is best if the water is dirty. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Madame Johnson Bayou GPS: N29 50.839, W29 50.839 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Catch 2000, Corky for bigger fish; soft plastics for numbers CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Fish the shoreline flats, keying on mullet. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.780, W93 54.439 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Catch 2000, Corky for bigger fish; soft plastics for numbers CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Fish the shoreline flats, keying on mullet. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Coffee Ground Cove GPS: N29 57.757, W93 46.331 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Norton Sand Eels, Flounder Pounder soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Red Shad, Pumpkin, Salt & Pepper, with a chartreuse tail CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Drift the area around the barrel channel in water 6-7 feet deep. Deep water of the ship channel is close by for the fish to retreat to in colder weather. As the temperature warms up, the fish move from the deep water up into the shallower water in Coffee Ground Cove.

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LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Stewt’s Island GPS: N29 57.899, W93 50.900 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881

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TIPS: Soft plastic baits are always best to use in trying to locate fish. If you find the fish are big, switch off to topwater baits to try catching a trophy fish. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: South Causeway Reef

GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Big Nasty and 4-inch Norton Sand Eels CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: In March, when you start getting the bull tides you will start getting a lot of sand eels showing up in the lake at the same time. Visibility is the key to catching fish on Sabine Lake. You want the fish to be able to see it. Use black colors when the water is dirty; clear, sparkly colors when the water is clear. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Keith Lake Cut GPS: N29 46.503, W93 56.427 BEST BAITS: soft plastics SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Incoming tides in March are usually the best time to fish. The tide is bringing a little warmer water out of the Gulf. Fish are feeding on what is coming in from the Gulf. Key your bait retrieve on what the water temperature is; 45 to 50 degrees necessitates a slow retrieve. As the water warms up, the fish may then want the bait going pretty fast. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: South Causeway Reef GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Key your bait retrieve on what the water temperature is; 45 to 50 degrees necessitates a slow retrieve. As the water warms up, the fish may then want the bait going pretty fast. BANK ACCESS: At the south revetment wall, there is a road you can drive that allows fishing access to Sabine Lake. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Walter Umphrey State Park GPS: N29 45.798, W93 53.928 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics

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CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Key your bait retrieve on what the water temperature is; 45 to 50 degrees necessitates a slow retrieve. As the water warms up, the fish may then want the bait going pretty fast. BANK ACCESS: Plenty of bank access at the State Park

Devils Spook Galveston Specks LOCATION: Galveston/East Bay HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge GPS: N29 33.573, W94 32.266 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish

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BEST BAITS: live mullet, shrimp CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Best fished on an outgoing tide; fish tend to hold here. LOCATION: Galveston/ East Bay HOTSPOT: White Head Reef GPS: N29 31.412, W94 42.892 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic; 1-1/4 ounce gold spoon CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281-7884041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Nobody should leave wherever they are fishing without throwing a gold spoon. It’s amazing when things are soft what a gold spoon will do. Drift-fishing is key after finding scattered shad or mullet. LOCATION: Galveston/ East Bay HOTSPOT: Richards Reef GPS: N29 31.429, W94 45.323 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic

CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom. LOCATION: Galveston/Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Fishers Reef GPS: N29 39.914, W94 50.552 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom. LOCATION: Galveston/Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Dow Reef GPS: N29 39.202, W94 53.889 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom.

BEST BAITS: Baby Spooks, She Pups; Corky, Corky Devil in Pearl/hologram sides, chartreuse tail, or dark Plum/white tail CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Wade-fish the shoreline if the water temps are in the mid 60s. A key ingredient to a successful trip is a falling tide. Set up on drains and bayous. BANK ACCESS: Exit TX 61 or Anahuac/Hankamer exit off of I-10. Head south on TX 61 for approximately four miles to stop sign. Continue straight through stop sign; the road becomes Hwy 562. Continue on Hwy 562 for approximately 8-1/2 miles to the fork in the road. At the fork, turn left onto FM 1985 and continue straight for an additional four miles to the main refuge entrance. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N27 53.635, W97 05.631 SPECIES: redfish A L M A N A C

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LOCATION: Galveston/Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Beasely Reef GPS: N29 40.268, W94 52.000 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Drifting with the wind over shell and bounce the bait along the bottom. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: California Hole GPS: N27 55.532, W97 05.040 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: No Name Reef GPS: N27 28.270, W97 03.782 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477

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TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: Hog Island GPS: N27 53.751, W97 06.679 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored. rather off at an angle and along the channel. Use a standard free-line rig with a live shrimp, and fish the drop-offs. If the bite is very light, switch to a cork 3 feet above your shrimp.

Laguna Sheep LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Coast Guard Station GPS: N26 4.360, W97 10.031 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Any structure around the bay will hold sheepshead, but the outer part of the sea wall holds some large ones due to its close proximity to deep water. Don’t fish directly next to the wall (they don’t like that), but

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel GPS: N26 2.124, W97 13.108 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: live shrimp, soft plastics in chartreuse and New Penny CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Water will probably stay cool through March because of the harsher-thannormal winter. Snook stay in deeper water, where there are more comfortable water temperatures. Large live shrimp or finger mullet are good baits; jerk-style shad tails fished on a 1/4-ounce jighead also works well. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Long Bar GPS: N26 12.164, W97 15.957 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem rigs in Smoke/glitter, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: This area is within sight of the Queen Isabella Causeway. Despite the short ride from all the major marinas, it is always good for solid speckled trout fishing. Fishing bait off the edge in cooler weather is the easiest way to find those trout. Drift the length of the bar and throw either chunks of ballyhoo or tandem jerkbaits. Fish them slowly.

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LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.811, W97 16.342 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem Rigs in Tequila Sunrise, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: The shallows warm up on a chilly day, and redfish are available. Work a tandem rig or a gold spoon just under the surface for best results. The ubiquitous Mauler/live shrimp rig is always effective, especially if heavy March winds have murked up the water, or if the fish are deeper. Use an 18inch, 20- to 30-pound leader for added toughness. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.811, W97 16.342 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, ballyhoo; SPI Tandem Rigs in tequila sunrise, Morning Glory CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: Deeper water holds trout along side the redfish. Use the same live shrimp/Mauler rigs or the tandem. You can also skip a section of ‘hoo or fish it under the same popping cork. The added scent is very helpful in murky water. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre LOCATION: Queen Isabella Causeway GPS: N26 02.961, W97 11.921 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh dead shrimp, frozen crab; Gulp! Crab and Shrimp, shrimp-flavored Fish Bites CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: This is an old reliable when it comes to finding steady action in March. Even if the water is still too chilly for other species to bit, sheepshead will still be in large aggregate around the deeper pilings. Free shrimping near the pilings with live or fresh dead shrimp is tough to beat, but crab, Gulp! baits or Fish Bites are excellent options. You can also use a slip float set at 4 to 6 feet to prevent snags. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Three Islands GPS: N26 16.643, W97 15.102

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SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, topwaters; SPI Lures Tandems in Morning Glory, Plum, red/white CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474 TIPS: As waters begin creeping up past the 60-degree range, Three Islands becomes more and more productive. The fish will prefer meat to anything else this time of the year, especially live, but the dedicated lure fisherman should do well with soft plastics in transition season colors such as Plum, Grape, or Morning Glory. Red and white is always a good producer. LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Gaswell Flats GPS: N26 13.811, W97 15.422 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh dead shrimp, crab CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Black drum are a staple of the late winter flats around Lower Laguna Madre. Plenty of these fish are solid 2- and 3pounders that are great on the grill or in the fryer. The shallow water recommends the use of a popping cork rig, but there are deeper spots where a free-line or bottom rig will work just as well. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: North Jetties GPS: N26 33.930, W97 16.303 SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live or fresh bait CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, 956944-2367 TIPS: The rocks are good targets for fishermen who run to them on a calm day. Some good black drum lurk in the holes. A fishfinder rig tight-lined on the bottom baited with large shrimp or cracked crab will get their attention. If snagging up on the rocks becomes an issue, then try using split shots secured on a doubled length of line looped over the mainline. When a split gets snagged up, it slides off with a steady pull. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: Fred Stone Park (bank access) GPS: N34.329, W97 25.642 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live bait, soft plastics in Glow patterns

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CONTACT: Harbor Bait and Tackle, 956994-2367 TIPS: Stone Park’s fishing pier is within a good cast of the ICW. Thus, the lights from the pier provide night fishing that can be, at times, superlative. Free-shrimping is always tough to beat. If the redfish are sitting closer to the deep water, a bottom rig on a surf rod is a better choice. The pier has not been repaired since Hurricane Dolly and it can get crowded, so leave your temper at home. LOCATION: Port Mansfield HOTSPOT: King Ranch west of Marker 46 GPS: N26 46.306, W97 28.352 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: topwaters; soft plastics in red/white CONTACT: Captain Steve Devries, 956289-3631 TIPS: Fish will still be lethargic if the water is cool. In that case, work your soft plastic or topwater as slowly as you can. It may take some cajoling on your part, the fish are there, and they will strike. A stealthy approach is best, so wading is recommended. Watch for nervous mullet to tip you off to where the fish are. Wear your waders; the water will still be in the high 50’s or low 60’s.

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LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: The Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.082, W97 27.512 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: topwaters; soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089,361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: March is one of the best times to fish Baffin Bay and gun for the trout of your life. If there is a north wind blowing, then you’re best bet is to wade the Tide Gauge area with topwaters or eel-style plastics. Fish slowly and methodically to locate good sized trout in the area. Take advantage of both the tides and the winds when. Steel yourself. This type of grinding is not for the week of heart. LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Los Corrales GPS: N27 14.884, W97 30.032 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: suspending lures; topwaters in Smoke, natural mullet; eel-style plastics in Plum/chartreuse, Glow/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089,361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: The deeper rocks around Corrales

are a classic Baffin pattern for late winter/early spring. Fish suspending lures such as a Catch 5 or a Corky with a slow twitch around the rocks. Eel’s should be fished on a light (1/16th ounce) jig head and light line. Lighter lines will impart more action to the baits, but you also run the risk of getting broken off more. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Night Hawk Bay GPS: N27 33.646, W97 17.658 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: B&L Corky; Catch 2000 in silver/black, Smoke, blue/chrome; jerkbaits in Plum/chartreuse, Blood/white, Bone/foil, Opening Night CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Most fish will be suspended in the mid-depths of deeper water, so a Corky, Catch 2000, or jerkbaits such as the RT Slug and Exude Slug are excellent options. Let suspending plugs sit still in the water column as long as you can stand, work them with a couple of twitches, and let them sit some more. Plastics work with 1/8, or even 1/16-ounce heads. If the water is warmer, fish might move shallow; otherwise, drift the deeper grass of the area. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 31.125, W97 19.682 SPECIES: speckled trout. BEST BAITS: Catch 2000 in Bone, Bone/foil, natural mullet; eel-style soft plastics in Plum/chartreuse, purple/chartreuse, Pumpkinseed/chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089, 361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: trout and some redfish will be holding over deeper grass in this hole. A slow presentation with lighter line (8- to 10-pound) is usually the trick. As the water warms up, trout will become more active and you can fish plastics with a bit more erratic retrieve. Long casts are helpful in the prevention of spooked fish. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre

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HOTSPOT: Emmord’s Hole GPS: N27 30.057, W97 19.546 SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp; soft plastics in black/gold, Baffin Magic, Morning Glory; gold weedless spoons CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361-985-6089,361-449-7441, www.brushcountrycharters.com TIPS: Fish the edges of the deeper water to intercept redfish. Again, when live bait is hard to find, try both weedless gold spoons (a 1/2-ounce Nemire Red Ripper is a great choice) and soft plastics on a 1/8-ounce head under a Paradise Popper. The popping cork slows down your action, which is important in winter.

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BEST BAITS: lipless crankbait, spinnerbait, Senko Knock Off and Creature lures in Watermelon-red/white, Pumpkin CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252, www.schmidtsbigbass.com TIPS: The fish still will be moving up in the creeks in a pre-spawn pattern. Always

Sunny Side Bass LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Alligator Cove GPS: N31 59.2122, W96 15.3898 SPECIES: largemouth bass

start on the sunny side of the creeks because the water warms up faster there. Cold fronts will cause the fish to move in and out. If a cold front hits, move out to a secondary or main lake point. Start with a

lipless crankbait or spinnerbait (S.O.B. lures) and slow roll them. If you find the fish moving up on spawning beds, use a Texas-rig with a 3/8 to 1/4-ounce Tungsten weight with 4/0 or 5/0 heavy wire Gama hook. The small weight will allow the bait to look more natural. In addition to Alligator Cove, try Big Buck (GPS: N31 59.768, W96 9.352) and Prairie Creek (GPS: N32 1.503, W96 11.813). BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marina LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Yegua Creek channel GPS: N30 187.149, W96 39.202 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad liver, punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: The water is shallow in lots of areas with occasional deeper holes. Tie up above a slightly deeper area and throw out a little chum. Use a tight line an on-ounce weight in case there is a current, No. 4 treble hook for punch bait and No. 2 Kahle


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hook for other bait. The water is warming, spring is here, and the fish could be right next to the bank in shallow water.

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rope are needed here. Spring is close and the fish are getting active. Perch could get you a big yellow cat in this area. Fish punch bait and worms straight down. Start right off the bottom and work up the water column until you find the bite. Set the hook at the slightest nibble.

Concentrate on drop-offs and ridges in the 309 Flats area in water depths ranging from 20 to 30 feet. Bounce the slab off the bottom and when the strike occurs, hold on. It could be a big hybrid. BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina

LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Lake HOTSPOT: Diversion Canal GPS: N30 37.910, W96 04.581 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad, crawfish, punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: This is a good area when the south wind starts blowing in March. The lily pads and moss has not started growing so you are able to fish close to the bank where the wind is hitting the shore. Use either a tight line or a cork with a 2/0 Kahle hook or No. 4 treble hook. You can catch more fish by using only one rod this time of the year. The fish may be attracted to one area more than others, so move down the shore 50 yards to find any pockets attracting fish.

LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Penson Bay GPS: N32 53.354, W95 39.387 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: live minnows, crappie jigs on long crappie pole with slip corks CONTACT: Michael Rogge, microg@texascellnet.com, 903-383-3406, www.lake-fork-guides.com TIPS: Crappie begin to move shallow in mid-March. Look for drop-offs in the backs of the creeks with cover that are close to shallow water. Also try White Oak Bay, Rodgers Creek, and Board Tree Branch. BANK ACCESS: Fishing pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand

LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Fite’s Ridge GPS: N29 55.500, W96 44.418 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: punch bait, live perch, worms CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3101, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: The water is 50 to 60 feet deep here with deeper water and submerged trees not far away. A good anchor and long

LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Highway 309 Flats GPS: N31 587.18, W96 068.70 SPECIES: hybrid stripers, white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce silver glitter RSR Shad Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, royce@gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117, www.gonefishin.biz TIPS: Watch for gulls and pelicans dipping down to pick up shad off the surface.

LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: West Loafers Bend GPS: N31 52.713, W97 22.404 SPECIES: striped bass: BEST BAITS: live gizzard shad CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: The stripers are moving in on the ledges early and gorging themselves on shad. Use live shad, drop them to the bottom, and then reel up two to three turns. Drift the flats in 22 to 30 feet of water. LOCATION: Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Redfish Point GPS: N31 33.834, W96 56.919 SPECIES: red drum BEST BAITS: large crankbaits, any color, shad, and shrimp CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, rayado@earthlink.net, 254-744-2104, www.bigtroutman.tripod.com TIPS: Transplanted saltwater reds move in schools, staying mostly in deep water off points in the main lake depths. Down-rigging large crankbaits or drift-fishing with shad or shrimp can produce good catches. Tight-lining with bait such as crawfish, worms, shad, or shrimp also is good. Reds in the 10- to 12-pound range are common. It takes heavy tackle to bring these monsters to the boat. BANK ACCESS: The old park south of redfish Point; go east over the levee, turn left, drive in, and park along the gravel road. Fish from shoreline for redfish, bass, and catfish. LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Triplet Point GPS: N31 54.533, W97 12,375 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamred-

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neck01@hotmail.com, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Bounce 1-ounce slabs along the hump. Make long casts out to the point and bounce them off the bottom on the retrieve. Keep a pair of binoculars handy and glass for birds that may be working over schools of fish. Quick limits are being taken at Triplet Point and from under diving gulls. LOCATION: Lake Waco HOTSPOT: Texas Harbor Marina entrance GPS: N31 31.561, W97 13.688 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plum-colored Texas and Carolina-rigged worms; chartreuse spinnerbaits CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, rayado@earthlink.net, 254-744-2104, www.bigtroutman.tripod.com TIPS: Position your boat 20-30 feet from shore. Work a Texas-rigged worm close to the rocky bank by casting up on rocks and

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working back to water. When the worm falls back into the water be ready for a strike. Cover all of the shoreline outside and inside the marina entrance. If the shoreline doesn’t work, back off and fish a Carolina-rig. If that doesn’t work, back off and work a spinnerbait parallel to the shore about six feet out. BANK ACCESS: Any of the parks scattered around the lake for largemouth bass, bream, and crappie.

attempt to spawn and sustain the white bass population in the future. Gravel Crossing is unimproved. Consider having a winch in wet conditions. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Old Folks Home area GPS: N95 29.00 E32 15.00 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Mister Twister Comieda worm, spinnerbait; red/black and

LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Upstream from Gravel Crossing GPS: N30 58.217, W97 41.128 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Small white curl-tail grubs on 1/16-ounce or less jighead CONTACT: Bob Holding, Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com, 254-368-7411, www.holdingthelineguideservice.com TIPS: The river is narrow. Be courteous as you pass others who are already fishing. Practice catch and release as these fish

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black/brown/amber Diamond Head jig CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: The bass are beginning to spawn and the Old Folks Home area between Flat Creek and Kickapoo Creek typically produces numerous large bass. Fish the humps with jigs and worms and shallower areas with spinnerbaits. The back of Flat Creek and the edges of the main river channel and the nearby flats also are good places to catch big spawning and prespawning bass. LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Bear Creek GPS: N31 12.566, W97 30.953 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbait with Colorado blade CONTACT: Bob Holding,

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Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com, 254-368-7411, www.holdingthelineguideservice.com TIPS: Fish from tree to tree (vertical and horizontal laydowns). Fish slow on trees by flipping a spinnerbait and letting it helicopter down along the trunk. Fish fast when moving from tree to tree for roaming smaller bass. LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Paw Paw Creek, Mill Creek cut GPS: N33 53.992, W96 53.796; N33 49.793, W96 45.306 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, bigfish@striperexpress.com, 877-786-4477, www.striperexpress.com TIPS: In March, the white bass have

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spawned and stripers are staging up the main tributaries. Structure like main lake points, ditches, and creeks will hold stripers. One-ounce Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs in white or chartreuse work best. Fish the creeks in 13 to 20 feet of water with a slow retrieve for fish up to 20 pounds. Pay attention to seagulls; they can be your best fish finder. When fishing under the birds keep your lure in the top 15 feet of water. Most activity will be west of the Willis bridge and north of the railroad bridge on the Washita arm. BANK ACCESS: Slick ‘em Slough, Paw Paw Creek LOCATION: Texana HOTSPOT: Lake Texana State Park shoreline GPS: N28 58.278, W96 32.203 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: punch bait, shrimp and shad

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catch fish off that bend. If your electronics show a school of fish is there, use jigging spoons to put fish in the boat. BANK ACCESS: Johnson Ranch has a covered fishing area, a boat ramp, and live bait.

CONTACT: LAKE Texana State Park office, 361-782-5718 TIPS: Fish punch bait, shad, or shrimp under bobbers along the shoreline in three to six feet of water. The fish will be close to the bank at this time of the year and on the move. The shoreline has a lot of underwater branches but tight-lining can pay off in the open areas and off the state park pier.

Caddo White Bass LOCATION: Caddo Lake HOTSPOT: Twin Islands to Johnson Ranch area GPS: N32.41.618, W94 05.602 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Trap, Bandit 200 series No. 87 Mad Cow, 1/4ounce white Chatter Bait, 2-1/2-inch Luck E Strike bass Magic swimbait, 1/4-ounce

jigging spoon CONTACT: Dennis North, fishinwdennis@yahoo.com, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Trolling is the name of the game at this time of the year. Good electronics are a must. When you come across a bend in the river, make note of it because you likely will

LOCATION: Lake O’ The Pines HOTSPOT: Cedar Springs area of Old Channel SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 1/2-ounce red Rat-L-Trap, 1/2-ounce red Chatter Bait, 4-1/2-inch swimbait and weightless Senko CONTACT: Dennis North, fishinwdennis@yahoo.com, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Fish the flats along the river channel very slow. There will be some lily pad stems and some grass that made it through the winter. Start with a Rat-L-Trap to cover a lot of water to locate the fish. If the Rat-L-Trap bite is off switch to the Chatter Bait or swimbait. Later in the day when the water has warmed up go to the weightless Senko and go back over the areas where you caught fish earlier. BANK ACCESS: Cedar Springs Park shoreline LOCATION: Lake Livingston HOTSPOT: Harmon Creek GPS: N31 51.524, W95 21.171 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: white jig, Rat-L-Trap CONTACT: Dave Cox, dave@palmettoguideservice.com, 936291-9602, www.palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Locate fish by trolling. Cast out, let bait drop, reel in at medium speed, stop to let bait drop then continue reeling in at medium speed. BANK ACCESS: Harmon Creek Marina LOCATION: Toledo Bend HOTSPOT: Sabine River (Logansport area) GPS: N31 58.352, W94 00.561 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: live crawfish, Road Runners, Rat-L-Traps, shallow diving crankbaits, slab spoons CONTACT: Greg Crafts, Toledo Bend

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Guide Services and Lake Cottages, gregcrafts@yahoo.com, 936-368-7151, www.toledobendguide.com TIPS: The annual Sabine River white bass run is in full gear in March. Depending on the level of the river and amount of current, the whites may migrate as far north as Longview. There are only a few public boat launches on the river. I suggest Lovett’s (SRA Launch No. 1) south of Logansport, the Logansport bridge, Yellow Dog, McFadden’s, and Highway 2517 bridge south of Carthage. Ask the locals at the launch sites and they usually will tell you what part of the river the whites are running. Work the flooded sloughs, cuts, and drains with Slab spoons, Road Runners, chrome Rat-L-Traps, shallow-diving crankbaits, tail spinners and live crawfish or shiners. If the river is low, work the sandbars, ditches, and creeks that dump into the river. If the river has a lot of current, fish the eddies with the same baits.

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Be Sneaky for Striped Bass LOCATION: Possum Kingdom Lake HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 53.632, W98 28.260 SPECIES: Striped bass BEST BAITS: live shad, 2-5 inches long CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036,

940-779-2597 TIPS: The striped bass are moving back and forth through the Costello Cut depending on the flow from the Brazos River. Look for gulls—your best eyes and ears on the lake at this time of the year. They will be feeding early north and south of the cut. This is a good time to troll Rat-L-Traps and shallow-running crankbaits but a 3/8ounce jig or Slab is dynamite under the birds. If you find working birds it is best to stop your motor and slip in on them with your trolling motor so you won’t spook the fish. The lighter the wind, the spookier the fish are so this is why you want to sneak in them. You not only will catch more fish but you will not destroy a pattern that is developing or ruin it for other fishermen in the area who have just gotten the action going. The best access is Sam’s Dock in front of Costello Island. LOCATION: Lake Graham-Eddleman HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area on Eddleman side GPS: N33 07.594, W98 36.340


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SPECIES: hybrid stripers, white bass BEST BAITS: live shad and jigs under weighted corks CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: Unless there is water flowing upstream, the power plant outlet is the place to be. The best baits are live shad that usually are plentiful at the power plant fence and 1/2-ounce bucktail jigs with white or yellow four-inch twister tail grubs. You will primarily catch hybrids but the sand bass will be in there, too. If floodwaters are coming in, shift to the headwaters for a variety of fish including crappie. The best access is at the Lake Eddleman park ramp across the lake from the power plant off U.S. Highway 380 just north of the city of Graham. LOCATION: Palo Pinto Lake HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area GPS: N32 39.318, W98 18.244 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Small jigs and live shad CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: This is like any other power gener-

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ator lake. Go to the water outlet and fish the moving water. Live shad is great but you can catch a basketful of sand bass just bumping jigs off the bottom in the current as it rolls downstream. Use the same tactics as you would on any other generator plant lake.

Crawling for Smallmouths LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Turkey Creek GPS: N29 51.846, W98 13.152 SPECIES: smallmouth bass BEST BAITS: crawfish-pattern Rat-L-Trap, Smoke-colored JDC Craws, Pumpkin-colored Robo worms, Smoke-colored JDC Craws and Picasso Shakey Heads, Texasrigged with 1/8-ounce Tungsten weights CONTACT: Kandie Candeleria, kandie@gvtc.com, 210-823-2153 TIPS: Look for smallmouth bass in 4 to 12 feet of water on the main lake points and edges of bluffs on the above-mentioned lures. BANK ACCESS: Potters Creek Park

LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Willis Creek Slough SPECIES: white bass, crappie BEST BAITS: small white hair jigs for white bass; 1/16-ounce chartreuse jigs for crappie CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, crappie1@hotmail.com, 512-365-7761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: For white bass, bank-fish and cast jigs, reeling them back with a slow, steady retrieve. For crappie, use a slip bobber set at one foot. Fish along the banks in the thickest brush you can find. Crappie also will be along the clean banks close to deep water. BANK ACCESS: Good access areas are at access point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the

Primitive Launch Area and Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Highway 95. In Willis Creek Park, go to the east side along the paved road and follow it to crappie Slough.

E-mail Tom Behrens at tbehrens@fishgame.com E-mail Calixto Gonzales at freshrigs@fishgame.com E-mail Bob Hood at bhood@fishgame.com

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Tides and Prime Times

MARCH 2010 USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

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

T12

T4

T11

T10

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

T13 T7

T6 T5 T17

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

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

T14

T15 T16

T18

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

T19

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

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

T20

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

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

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

T21

4:55p

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

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

T9 T8

T3 T2 T1

KEY T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T22 T23

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

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

AM/PM Timeline

12a

Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

7:05-9:40 PM

Green: Falling Tide

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

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

AM/PM Timeline

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AM Minor: 1:20a

PM Minor: 1:45p

AM Major: 7:32a

PM Major: 7:57p

MAJOR Feeding Periods (+/- 2 Hrs.)

Moon Overhead: 8:50a 6a

12p

6p

12a

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

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p M A R C H

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KEY T18 T19 T20 T21 T22 T23

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

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

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

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

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NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

Sunrise: 6:42a Set: 6:19p Moonrise: 10:00p Set: 8:20a

Sunrise: 6:41a Set: 6:20p Moonrise: 11:05p Set: 9:00a

2

3

Set: 6:18p Set: 7:06a

Sunrise: 6:43a Moonrise: 8:54p

Set: 6:18p Set: 7:42a

AM Minor: 5:28a

PM Minor: 5:54p

AM Minor: 6:23a

PM Minor: 6:49p

AM Minor: 7:21a

PM Minor: 7:47p

AM Minor: 8:20a

AM Major: 11:41a

PM Major: ——-

AM Major: 12:10a

PM Major: 12:36p

AM Major: 1:08a

PM Major: 1:34p

AM Major: 2:06a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:40a

Moon Overhead: 1:48a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

4

Sunrise: 6:44a Moonrise: 7:47p

Moon Overhead: 12:57a

FRIDAY

5

6a

 7

6

Sunrise: 6:40a Moonrise: None

Set: 6:20p Set: 9:43a

PM Minor: 8:46p

AM Minor: 9:19a

PM Minor: 9:45p

AM Minor: 10:16a

PM Minor: 10:43p

AM Minor: 11:11a

PM Minor: 11:37p

PM Major: 2:33p

AM Major: 3:05a

PM Major: 3:32p

AM Major: 4:03a

PM Major: 4:30p

AM Major: 4:58a

PM Major: 5:24p

Moon Overhead: 3:33a 12a

SUNDAY

12p

6p

Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 6:21p Sunrise: 6:37a Moonrise: 12:07a Set: 10:31a Moonrise: 1:05a

Moon Overhead: 5:20a

Moon Overhead: 4:26a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 6:22p Set: 11:22a

Moon Overhead: 6:14a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 1

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 1:23p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:30 AM

12:30 — 3:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 3:59p BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:53p BEST:

1:30 — 4:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 5:47p BEST:

3:00 — 5:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 6:40p +2.0

BEST:

10:30P — 12:00A

6:00 — 8:30 AM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 3:06p

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:30 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 2:14p

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

4:05 am 10:34 am 4:49 pm 10:39 pm

1.17 ft -0.08 ft 0.93 ft -0.01 ft

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

5:20 am 11:20 am 5:07 pm 11:29 pm

1.15 ft High Tide: 6:36 am 1.11 ft 0.22 ft Low Tide: 12:05 pm 0.50 ft 0.93 ft High Tide: 5:24 pm 0.94 ft -0.21 ft

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

12:21 am 8:00 am 12:48 pm 5:37 pm

-0.34 ft 1.07 ft 0.75 ft 0.97 ft

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

1:18 am 9:40 am 1:30 pm 5:34 pm

-0.39 ft 1.05 ft 0.94 ft 1.00 ft

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

2:23 am 12:18 pm 2:06 pm 2:10 pm

-0.38 ft Low Tide: 3:38 am 1.07 ft High Tide: 2:48 pm 1.07 ft 1.07 ft

-0.34 ft 1.14 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

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7:28 PM

Page I24

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

8 SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

9

10

FRIDAY

SATURDAY

11

SUNDAY

 13

12

BEGIN DST

 14

Set: 6:22p Sunrise: 6:35a Set: 12:15p Moonrise: 2:45a

Set: 6:23p Sunrise: 6:34a Set: 1:10p Moonrise: 3:27a

Set: 6:23p Set: 2:05p

Sunrise: 6:33a Moonrise: 4:04a

Set: 6:24p Set: 3:00p

Sunrise: 6:32a Moonrise: 4:38a

Set: 6:25p Set: 3:54p

Sunrise: 6:31a Moonrise: 5:09a

Set: 6:25p Set: 4:48p

Sunrise: 7:29a Moonrise: 6:38a

Set: 7:26p Set: 6:40p

AM Minor: ——-

PM Minor: 12:02p

AM Minor: 12:25a

PM Minor: 12:50p

AM Minor: 1:10a

PM Minor: 1:34p

AM Minor: 1:52a

PM Minor: 2:15p

AM Minor: 2:32a

PM Minor: 2:53p

AM Minor: 3:10a

PM Minor: 3:31p

AM Minor: 4:48a

PM Minor: 5:08p

AM Major: 5:49a

PM Major: 6:15p

AM Major: 6:38a

PM Major: 7:02p

AM Major: 7:22a

PM Major: 7:46p

AM Major: 8:03a

PM Major: 8:26p

AM Major: 8:42a

PM Major: 9:04p

AM Major: 9:20a

PM Major: 9:41p

AM Major: 10:58a

PM Major: 11:18p

Moon Overhead: 7:06a

12a

THURSDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:44a

Moon Overhead: 7:56a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:30a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:55a

Moon Overhead: 10:14a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:36p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

Sunrise: 6:36a Moonrise: 1:58a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 7:31p +2.0

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

1:00 — 3:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 9:52p BEST:

2:00 — 4:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 10:35p BEST:

9:30A — 1:00P

Moon Underfoot: 11:16p BEST:

9:30A — 1:30P

Moon Underfoot: None +2.0

BEST:

11:00A — 2:00P

5:00 — 7:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 9:07p

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:30 AM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 8:20p

Low Tide: 4:59 am High Tide: 3:18 pm

I24 |

-0.30 ft Low Tide: 1.15 ft High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide:

M A R C H

6:10 am 3:38 pm 8:59 pm 9:59 pm

2 0 1 0

-0.27 ft 1.12 ft 0.98 ft 0.99 ft

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

7:08 am 3:41 pm 8:35 pm 11:43 pm

T E X A S

-0.23 ft Low Tide: 7:54 am 1.07 ft High Tide: 3:38 pm 0.94 ft Low Tide: 8:30 pm 1.01 ft

F I S H

&

-0.16 ft High Tide: 12:52 am 1.02 ft Low Tide: 8:32 am 0.86 ft High Tide: 3:39 pm Low Tide: 8:34 pm

G A M E ®

1.06 ft -0.08 ft 0.98 ft 0.74 ft

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

A L M A N A C

1:51 am 9:02 am 3:45 pm 8:51 pm

1.09 ft 0.03 ft 0.97 ft 0.61 ft

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

3:44 am 10:30 am 4:55 pm 10:16 pm

1.12 ft 0.16 ft 0.97 ft 0.47 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

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7:28 PM

Page I25


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

2/1/10

7:28 PM

Page I26

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

 16

THURSDAY

 17

Set: 7:26p Set: 7:33p

Sunrise: 7:27a Moonrise: 7:35a

Set: 7:27p Set: 8:27p

Sunrise: 7:26a Moonrise: 8:05a

Set: 7:28p Set: 9:23p

Sunrise: 7:25a Moonrise: 8:38a

AM Minor: 5:27a

PM Minor: 5:47p

AM Minor: 6:08a

PM Minor: 6:28p

AM Minor: 6:52a

PM Minor: 7:14p

AM Major: 11:37a

PM Major: 11:57p

AM Major: 11:53a

PM Major: 12:18p

AM Major: 12:41a

PM Major: 1:03p

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:41p

Moon Overhead: 1:58p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

SATURDAY

18

Sunrise: 7:28a Moonrise: 7:06a

Moon Overhead: 1:16p

FRIDAY

19

20

21

Set: 7:28p Sunrise: 7:24a Set: 10:22p Moonrise: 9:16a

Set: 7:29p Sunrise: 7:22a Set: 11:22p Moonrise: 9:58a

Set: 7:29p Set: None

AM Minor: 7:41a

PM Minor: 8:04p

AM Minor: 8:33a

PM Minor: 8:58p

AM Minor: 9:30a

PM Minor: 9:56p

AM Minor: 10:29a

PM Minor: 10:57p

AM Major: 1:29a

PM Major: 1:52p

AM Major: 2:21a

PM Major: 2:46p

AM Major: 3:17a

PM Major: 3:43p

AM Major: 4:15a

PM Major: 4:43p

Moon Overhead: 3:27p 12a

SUNDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:09p

Moon Overhead: 4:16p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:21a Set: 7:30p Moonrise: 10:48a Set: 12:23a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:04p 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 15

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 12:56a +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

12:30 — 2:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:03a BEST:

1:00 — 3:00 PM

2:00 — 4:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:51a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 4:42a BEST:

7:00 — 9:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 5:36a +2.0

BEST:

8:00 — 10:00 PM

9:00 — 11:00 PM TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 2:19a

TIDE LEVELS

12:00 — 2:00 PM

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:37a

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

4:36 am 10:56 am 5:06 pm 10:44 pm

1.15 ft 0.30 ft 0.97 ft 0.33 ft

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

5:27 am 11:23 am 5:16 pm 11:15 pm

1.17 ft 0.45 ft 0.98 ft 0.20 ft

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

6:21 am 11:52 am 5:22 pm 11:49 pm

1.18 ft 0.61 ft 0.99 ft 0.08 ft

High Tide: 7:19 am 1.19 ft Low Tide: 12:22 pm 0.77 ft High Tide: 5:19 pm 1.02 ft

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

12:27 am 8:26 am 12:53 pm 5:05 pm

-0.02 ft 1.20 ft 0.94 ft 1.08 ft

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

1:11 am 9:47 am 1:22 pm 4:51 pm

-0.10 ft 1.21 ft 1.09 ft 1.17 ft

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

2:03 am 11:30 am 1:47 pm 4:49 pm

-0.17 ft 1.25 ft 1.23 ft 1.27 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

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7:28 PM

Page I27

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

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010 TUESDAY

Sunrise: 7:20a Set: 7:30p Moonrise: 11:44a Set: 1:23a

Sunrise: 7:19a Set: 7:31p Moonrise: 12:46p Set: 2:20a

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

 22

23

THURSDAY

24

FRIDAY

25

SATURDAY

26

SUNDAY

 28

27

Sunrise: 7:18a Moonrise: 1:53p

Set: 7:32p Set: 3:13a

Sunrise: 7:17a Moonrise: 3:02p

Set: 7:32p Set: 4:00a

Sunrise: 7:15a Moonrise: 4:11p

Set: 7:33p Set: 4:43a

Sunrise: 7:14a Moonrise: 5:18p

Set: 7:33p Set: 5:23a

Sunrise: 7:13a Moonrise: 6:25p

Set: 7:34p Set: 5:59a

AM Minor: 11:30a

PM Minor: 11:59p

AM Minor: 12:06a

PM Minor: 12:30p

AM Minor: 12:58a

PM Minor: 1:27p

AM Minor: 1:52a

PM Minor: 2:21p

AM Minor: 2:43a

PM Minor: 3:10p

AM Minor: 3:30a

PM Minor: 3:57p

AM Minor: 4:17a

PM Minor: 4:42p

AM Major: 5:15a

PM Major: 5:44p

AM Major: 6:15a

PM Major: 6:44p

AM Major: 7:12a

PM Major: 7:42p

AM Major: 8:06a

PM Major: 8:35p

AM Major: 8:56a

PM Major: 9:24p

AM Major: 9:44a

PM Major: 10:10p

AM Major: 10:30a

PM Major: 10:55p

Moon Overhead: 7:03p

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:00p

Moon Overhead: 8:02p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:57p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 11:43p

Moon Overhead: 10:51p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

MONDAY

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 6:33a +2.0

BEST:

0

-1.0

BEST:

12:30 — 2:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 9:29a BEST:

1:30 — 3:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 10:24a BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 11:17a BEST:

9:00 — 11:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 12:08p +2.0

BEST:

10:00P — 12:00A

5:00 — 7:00 AM TIDE LEVELS

+1.0

BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM

Moon Underfoot: 8:31a

TIDE LEVELS

5:00 — 7:30 AM

Moon Underfoot: 7:32a

Low Tide: 3:06 am High Tide: 4:53 pm

-0.21 ft Low Tide: 4:18 am 1.34 ft High Tide: 2:35 pm

-0.24 ft Low Tide: 5:35 am 1.36 ft High Tide: 2:51 pm

-0.25 ft Low Tide: 6:48 am 1.35 ft High Tide: 3:07 pm Low Tide: 8:16 pm

-0.22 ft High Tide: 12:07 am 1.30 ft Low Tide: 7:53 am 1.08 ft High Tide: 3:23 pm Low Tide: 8:32 pm

1.18 ft -0.14 ft 1.24 ft 0.84 ft

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

1:50 am 8:52 am 3:39 pm 9:06 pm

1.25 ft 0.00 ft 1.17 ft 0.55 ft

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

3:12 am 9:46 am 3:56 pm 9:46 pm

1.34 ft 0.21 ft 1.14 ft 0.26 ft

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

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7:28 PM

Page I28

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

= Peak Fishing Period

7:45-9:40 AM

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

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

MONDAY

TUESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 7:36p Moonrise: 10:50p Set: 8:34a

Sunrise: 7:07a Set: 7:37p Moonrise: 11:52p Set: 9:21a

APR 1

 31

SATURDAY

2

SUNDAY

3

4

Sunrise: 7:12a Moonrise: 7:31p

Set: 7:34p Set: 6:35a

Sunrise: 7:11a Moonrise: 8:38p

Set: 7:35p Set: 7:12a

Sunrise: 7:09a Moonrise: 9:45p

Set: 7:36p Set: 7:51a

AM Minor: 5:05a

PM Minor: 5:30p

AM Minor: 5:55a

PM Minor: 6:22p

AM Minor: 6:51a

PM Minor: 7:17p

AM Minor: 7:49a

PM Minor: 8:17p

AM Minor: 8:51a

PM Minor: 9:18p

AM Minor: 9:52a

PM Minor: 10:19p

AM Minor: 10:50a

PM Minor: 11:17p

AM Major: 11:17a

PM Major: 11:43p

AM Major: ——-

PM Major: 12:08p

AM Major: 12:37a

PM Major: 1:04p

AM Major: 1:36a

PM Major: 2:03p

AM Major: 2:37a

PM Major: 3:04p

AM Major: 3:38a

PM Major: 4:05p

AM Major: 4:37a

PM Major: 5:04p

Moon Overhead: 12:34a 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:18a

Moon Overhead: 1:25a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:12a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Sunrise: 7:06a Moonrise: None

Moon Overhead: 5:02a

Moon Overhead: 4:07a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Set: 7:37p Sunrise: 7:05a Set: 7:38p Set: 10:12a Moonrise: 12:48a Set: 11:06a

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 5:57a 12a

6a

12p

6p

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

SOLUNAR ACTIVITY

WEDNESDAY

 30

 29

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2010

12a

FEET

FEET

Moon Underfoot: 12:59p +2.0

BEST:

BEST:

-1.0

BEST:

7:00 — 9:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 3:39p BEST:

7:30 — 9:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 4:35p BEST:

8:00 — 10:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 5:30p BEST:

8:30 — 11:00 PM

9:00 — 11:30 PM

Moon Underfoot: 6:23p +2.0

BEST:

10:30P — 12:00A TIDE LEVELS

0

Moon Underfoot: 2:45p

TIDE LEVELS

11:00A — 2:00P

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 1:51p

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

4:26 am 10:38 am 4:13 pm 10:29 pm

I28 |

1.42 ft 0.45 ft 1.13 ft -0.00 ft

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

M A R C H

5:36 am 11:28 am 4:30 pm 11:13 pm

2 0 1 0

1.48 ft High Tide: 6:44 am 1.50 ft 0.69 ft Low Tide: 12:17 pm 0.91 ft 1.15 ft High Tide: 4:47 pm 1.18 ft -0.19 ft

T E X A S

High Tide: 7:54 am Low Tide: 1:06 pm High Tide: 4:59 pm

F I S H

&

1.48 ft 1.09 ft 1.22 ft

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

G A M E ®

12:49 am 9:09 am 2:00 pm 4:57 pm

-0.31 ft Low Tide: 1:42 am -0.26 ft Low Tide: 2:42 am -0.15 ft 1.44 ft High Tide: 10:35 am 1.39 ft High Tide: 12:25 pm 1.36 ft 1.22 ft 1.26 ft

A L M A N A C

+1.0

0

-1.0


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

2/1/10

7:28 PM

Page I29


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

2/1/10

7:30 PM

Page I30

Baffin Bay at Last N MY YOUTH, WE FISHED AT CORPUS CHRISTI Bay, Rockport, Copano Bay, and Upper Laguna Madre, but I have been wanting to fish at Baffin Bay for 60 years. While I was away at school, my father went south down the Intracoastal Waterway to Baffin Bay. He told me about the rocks that lurked just below the surface and of the big speckled trout that could be caught there. He called it Cayo del Infernito—his translation of “Bay of Little Hell.” There is a small area that today is called Cayo Del Infierito, but I doubt that he fished there. On the trip, they would poke an oar out in front of the bow to fend off the rocks. Due to his scary tales, I was always

I

I30 |

M A R C H

2 0 1 0

reluctant to go there without a guide. The rocks that provide such great structure for a perfect aquatic habitat are unique to that area. They are the remains of large prehistoric worms that have petrified to form limestone rocks. For a more scientific name,

by Charles Cable these structures are called “serpulid reefs.” Fishing guides now can use depthfinders and GPS to locate the reefs and have very little trouble locating the fishing areas. After fishing there, I could tell the difference in color that the reefs give the surface. In other areas and on other days, the color might not be so apparent, so caution is advised.

T E X A S

F I S H

&

G A M E ®

A friend and I have been fishing in the Rockport area for several years and I have tried to promote a guided trip to Baffin Bay, but we couldn’t find an appropriate time. My son, Steve, and I have gone to Ontario, Canada, twice to fish, so I knew I could count on him to be eager to try Baffin Bay. We got on the internet to find a guide. There are many guide services in the Corpus Christi area, but I wanted one who lived near Baffin Bay. After talking on the phone to two guides to get prices and conditions, I pulled up their websites and checked their boats and other information. One guide would allow fishing with live bait, but it was quite expensive. Live shrimp are readily available near the Kennedy Causeway to

A L M A N A C

PHOTOS COURTESY CHARLES CABLE


ALMANAC I.qxd:1002 Coastal

2/1/10

7:30 PM

Padre Island, but normally, according to one guide, all live bait must be brought in to Baffin on the fishing day from near Flour Bluff. After all the research, I picked Captain Aubrey Black that fishes only with plastics and lives near Loyola Beech on Baffin Bay. After making a reservation for a day in June, we discovered that my eldest son, Tom, and his son, Clayton, who were staying on Padre Island at that time, could join us for the fishing trip. The four of us left Corpus Christi about 5:15 a.m. and arrived at Captain Black’s home on time at 6:30. We followed Black’s boat trailer down to Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Park and boat ramp on the Cayo de Garullo, loaded up, and set out for the fishing area. After about a 15-minute ride, we circled up wind from an area of submerged rocks. As we drifted, Black added a clicking cork, hook, and an off-white plastic split tail worm to my rig. He then started working on the second rod. I cast out and started popping my cork. Bang! A 14-inch specked trout pulled the cork under as I set the hook and reeled it in. The guide netted the fish and removed the hook. Casting out again, I immediately had another trout that needed Black’s attention. Casting out and catching a trout about l6 inches long caused another disruption in the preparation of the other rods, so I said I would quit fishing for a few minutes so my sons could get rigged up fish. The sons caught several fish and I caught another. The clicking cork mentioned above rides up and down between two glass beads about 6 inches apart. When the cork is popped, it makes a clicking sound that imitates the noise made by feeding speckled trout. I have heard this sound while fishing on the old bridge that crosses the entrance to Copano Bay. The lights on the bridge attract baitfishes and schools of speckled trout. The clicking sound can easily be heard as the trout feed. Looking north, we noticed a weather front moving in from the northwest. The guide used his technology and assured us that it was breaking up and shouldn’t cause any trouble. Sure enough, it passed us by, but the wind changed from onshore to offshore. The fishing slowed down so we moved to another reef west of East Kleberg Point. We noticed some slicks on the surface

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Even though Cable had camera problems, he was able to shoot decent photos of everyone in his party with a trout.

that are usually caused by feeding fish regurgitating oily material. Casting out over the slicks, Tom got a strike and had a fun time netting a 23-inch trout. Shortly after that, his son, Clayton, fishing a reddish plastic lure reeled in a 23-1/2-inch trout, which he claimed beat his father’s. I cast out over a slick and pulled in another 23-inch trout. Steve pulled in a similar trout. We had to stop between trout to take pictures. Unfortunately, the camera had only a small viewing screen that was useless in bright light, so each picture on target was a miracle. But we managed to get a picture of each of us that actually contained the entire fish. When Steve had his fish on, it somehow crossed Clayton’s line, and at one point, we thought we had two whoppers on at once. But after Steve reeled in his trout, the other one somehow disappeared, much to the dismay of Clayton. After the fishing slowed, Black suggested we pull over near the shore and wade out to cast over some rocks. They left me in the boat and as they waded away and I continued to fish out of the boat. I got one strike that missed being hooked, but as I jerked the lure away, a big fish roiled the water, but again failed to be hooked. The waders threw out over the rock reef and Tom got a strike that strained his 14pound-test line. He reeled in a whopper that

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measured over 26 inches long. In a few minutes, Clayton duplicated the effort by catching another trout over 26 inches long that was the largest trout he had ever caught. Of course, now I couldn’t stay in the boat with all the success going on with the waders. I climbed off the stern of the boat and joined the boys. I guess I jinxed the wade-fishing because we caught no more fish in that location. Now the trick was getting a 195-pound, 79-year-old man up a wiggly ladder, but with a big push on my backside by Black, it was accomplished. Black suggested we go over near Los Corrallos to try sight-fishing some red drum. Tom and I were let off near some deeper water to fish some red plastic lures with white tails. Tom eventually caught a speck about 16 inches long, which I wrestled with and put on a stringer. The floating sea grass was so thick that each cast pulled in a wad of the grass on the lure. It would have been better to fish a weedless lure. Black, Steve, and Clayton went near the shore and waded to find redfish. They saw three reds and Black caught one rat red. Black came back to get me and we had another struggle getting up the ladder into the boat. After drifting over another rock reef and catching a small trout, we called it a day. We caught seven large trout, three more well over the keeper size, and a number of smaller trout. While the young guys were out of the boat, I was listening on the VHF radio to other fishing guides. The best catch I heard about was five fish in the box, so we did an excellent job because at the time we had nine in the box and later 10. After Black cleaned the fish, we joined him at his home to talk to his gracious wife and settle up after he washed his boat. It was a great trip. I’m glad I could be on such a fun adventure with so many of my boys, and I wish I had not waited so long. I’m sure we will go again.

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Charles Cable is a Texas Fish & Game Reader

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A Bheestly Bheest of a Bag VIRTUALLY EVERY OUTDOORSMAN KNOWS THE PAIN of dropping a cell phone into the drink. Maybe it dropped into the lake, maybe it fell into a mud puddle under your tree stand, or maybe it just sat in your jacket pocket as you got rained on until your clothes soaked

through and your phone got wet. In any of these situations, you’ll probably have to buy a new phone. Or you could disassemble it, dry out the pieces and parts, and re-assemble it (throwing away the extra parts, of course...where the heck did that screw come from?). Then, you press the power button four or five times. When nothing happens, you throw the phone away and head to the store to buy a new one, like you should have in the first place. Don’t be so quick to toss out that corrupted communicator. There’s a new way to salvage wet electronics, and if my Texas Tested testing is any indication, it works great. The Bheestie Bag looks like a giant verI32 |

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sion of those little silicon bags (usually filled with silica gel) you find packed with items that are moisture-sensitive, but apparently the stuff inside a Bheestie is a bit different, with listed active ingredients of “molecular sieve.” To test it, I stole my wife’s old cell phone, submerged it for 10 minutes, and then put it into the Bheestie Bag overnight. The next day, when I removed the phone not only was it bone-dry, it actually worked. A week later, my daughter left her treasured iPod in her pants pocket and Mom ran it through the washing machine. When we finally found it, the iPod was deader then a doornail and water droplets were visible behind the LCD screen. After 48 hours in the Bheestie Bag (the directions recommend leaving submerged items in the bag for 48 to 72 hours), the iPod was back in action and none the worse for wear. If you want to revive soaked electronics, check this one out. The results I experienced were well beyond expectations. —Lenny Rudow

Shimano’s New Ride LOOKING FOR THE CADILLAC OF SPINNING REELS? One that’s built tough, can put on amazing amounts of pressure, and takes in line faster then the competition? Check out Shimano’s new Saragosa 1800F. This reel is so good, it can even be used for pelagic big game fishes that usually require heavy conventional gear. The Saragosa is a heavy-duty spinner designed for the salt, and the 1800F is rated to hold 380 yards of 20-pound-test monofilament. If you’re a braid guy, you’ll be happy to hear I squeezed on 400 yards of 60pound braid, no problem. That’s unheard-

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of, but in this case, completely appropriate because the Saragosa’s drag can be torqued all the way to 44 pounds. I used one tuned to 20 pounds while fishing for grouper and found it enough to nearly yank my arms out of their sockets. Thanks to all of that line capacity, we were able to fish it deep, too, and hitting bottom in

Shimano Sargosa

600 feet of water was possible. Take a closer look at the handle shank, which is machined aluminum. On many spinners, this is one spot where the manufacturer tries to save money, and if you stress it from side to side, it bends. But this one’s sturdier than the norm and didn’t give one bit. The downside to cranking with a heavyweight like this is it weighs a lot, coming in at a whopping 28.4 ounces. That’s significantly more then most spinning reels of this size (a comparable Penn is over 10 percent lighter), and after a full day of fishing, you can feel the difference in your arms. You won’t want to use a reel like the 1800F when you’re casting for slot-sized reds or speckled trout; save this one for the seriously big fish. The Saragosa’s anti-reverse is another feature worth mentioning, since it stood out as we jigged in the deep without any kickback. Those jigs came up fast, too, because the Saragosa features a speedy 4.9:1 retrieve ratio, ripping in 41 inches of line

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with every revolution of the crank. If you want a Cadillac spinner that can do the work of a conventional, has high line capacity, and can put out as much drag as reels twice its size, the Saragosa is a winner—and that’s not just a bunch of spin. —LR

Winchester Super-X Power Max I RECENTLY RECEIVED A TEST SAMPLE OF THE NEW Winchester Power Max Bonded Core ammunition. Winchester literature says this ammunition is “designed specifically for the white-tailed deer hunter.” The bullet is a “protected hollow point” design (whatever that means) with a lead core bonded to the copper alloy jacket. The bullet features a notched and contoured jacket that aids in rapid expansion. I pulled one of the bullets for inspection; it is a flat-based spitzer, weighs 150.4 grains, and is loaded over 58 grains of what looks like Winchester 760 ball powder. Velocity is listed as 2920 feet per second. I shot the Power Max in a Remington Model 700 BDL topped with a Leupold 39X scope, a wonderfully accurate rig. I found quickly that the new ammunition shoots as good as it looks. The first group I fired at 100 yards had all the holes touching. Average accuracy was just over an inch. So far so good. However, this is bonded core stuff, intended for deer hunting, so the only real way to test it was to take it hunting. There are several ranches in the vicinity that cull a large number of deer each season, and the owners kindly allow me to assist. These are the places where I test rifles and ammo on live targets. They are under the MLD program and the deer shot do not count against my license. This buck was probably beyond 6-1/2 years old. It would weigh around 140 pounds, which was perfect for what I wanted. The main beams of its antlers were short and oddly shaped, with only six short points. It was a cull buck of the most obvious kind. The trouble was that my buck was PHOTOS COURTESY MANUFACTURERS

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Winchester’s new Super-X Power Max ammo mixed up with so many other deer that getting a shot at it without hitting another should the bullet pass through (which I hoped it would do) was almost impossible. The waiting was tough, but watching the deer interact was a concentrated class on deer behavior. There aren’t many places where you can sit and watch nearly a hundred deer in such a confined space. Finally, the deer was in the clear. I placed the crosshairs on its shoulder, aiming to break both shoulders and the spine, dropping the buck in its tracks. This shot, performed properly, is as deadly as any you can make on a deer. It is also safer and more positive than neck or head shots, both of which I have seen fail miserably and sickeningly more than once. The high shoulder shot, placed about a third of the way down from the top of the back, in line with the front leg, is as foolproof as any shot can be on a live animal. Check it out on a deer anatomy diagram. Having a solid rest on the blind window, at about a hundred yards I squeezed off the shot as if I was holding for an X on a bulls-

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eye target. When the rifle recoiled, the buck hit the ground so hard it bounced. This was the point where I realized I had forgotten my camera. Sorry. Inspection of the deer revealed that the bullet had done exactly as it should, breaking the near shoulder, shattering the spine, then exiting and taking with it a big chunk of the off shoulder plus a couple of ribs. This is the way a big game bullet is supposed to perform. It did its job, causing massive internal damage yet still managed to exit. If I had pulled the shot and the deer had run off, there would have been a blood trail to follow. A more fragile bullet might have blown up on the shoulder, failed to achieve sufficient penetration, and left no blood trail. I have seen it happen more than a dozen times. Bullets like the Power Max preclude this. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I like this new Winchester cartridge. —Steve LaMascus

On the Web www.bheestie.com www.shimano.fishing-store.us www.winchester.com

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Baby King Shad Takes a Big Bite STRIKE KING LURE COMPANY, IS PROUD TO welcome the newest member of the King Shad family of swim baits in the New Baby King Shad. The Baby King shad is a 3” long, single jointed swim bait designed with the same action as it’s bigger

brother in the King Shad. Features internal reinforced hinge Baby King design, premium comShad ponents and will dive to 5’. The Baby King Shad is one fine little swim bait the will definitely help you catch more and bigger fish! Tie one on today! Suggested Retail Price: $14.99. Visit www.strikeking.com

ItzaBug Mimicks Live Prey

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curlytail tentacles add a liveliness that bass will sense underwater. The movement is accentuated when the soft rings Stanley and body parts bump ItzaBug against grass and weeds, making it hard for bass to resist. The small 4-inch ItzaBug is as versatile as it is effective. The soft bait can be fished behind a 1/8 or 1/4ounce jig head as a jig trailer. The wide ringed body opens up and expands the skirt and escaping air bubbles makes it breathe. Great for Carolina or Texas rig and works just as well on a drop shot. How the ItzaBug is fished, is limited only by one’s imagination. See it at www.fishstanley.com/itzabug.

Kicks Howler Chokes KICK’S INDUSTRIES INC. ANNOUNCES THE release of the new “Howler” chokes. The “Howler” chokes are specifically designed predator/coyote hunting.

THE NEW ITZABUG COMBINES THE SOFT REALfeel rings of the Sidewinder lure for the body with a pair of crawfish claws. Throw in a couple of screw-tail tentacles and you have a bug that’s loaded with underwater action. Perfect for pitching and flipping under boat docks, bushes or around cover. ItzaBug’s soft flexible rings trap air, emitting tiny bubbles that imitate a live, breathing crawfish. Bass will hang on tight to the collapsible rings that feel like moving prey in the fish’s mouth. Two flat appendages with pincers and the pair of I34 |

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Kicks Howler Choke

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These chokes will deliver very tight patterns at long ranges. “Howler” chokes are offered in two sizes. The “Howler H” is designed for the Hevi Shot “Dead Coyote” loads while the “Howler L” is designed to be used with either coated or non-coated lead buckshot, specifically #1 or #4 buckshot. “Howler” chokes feature the Kicks extended/ported design and are manufactured in the USA using PH17-4 grade stainless steel with a black finish. “Howler” chokes are available for most 10, 12, and 20ga. shotguns. Kick’s “Howler” chokes, “a predator choke… with Bite!!!” 1-800-587-2779 www.kicks-ind.com, kicks@planters.net

Lindy’s X-Change Jig System WHETHER YOU’RE AFTER LARGEMOUTH BASS, crappies, white bass or other gamefish, the ability to quickly change hook size, jig weight and color to match fishing conditions means more fish Lindy X-Change Jig on every trip. And Lindy’s XChange Jig System lets you choose from 640 hook and jighead color and size combinations instantly, without retying! The secret is a patented system of specially designed jigheads that snap quickly and securely onto Lindy’s hook-collar receivers. The X-Change lineup features 20 jighead color choices in weights from 1/16- to 3/8-ounce. Hooks are available in new size 2 and 2/0 in four color options, all with Lindy’s trademark Max Gap hook, which has a 10-degree wider gap

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Lindy X-Change System

than normal jig hooks for increased hookup ratios. Experts like southern crappie and bass pro Todd Huckabee swear by the XChange System for situations ranging from long-poling crappies to pitching shaky-head presentations along docks for bass. “I can tailor my components to get the correct color, fall rate and size in seconds, without retying or changing the plastic trailers,” says Huckabee. “Plain and simple, it makes me a more efficient angler.” X-Change Jig System hooks, jigheads, master packs and kits are available at fine retailers everywhere. Or, learn more at www.Lindyfishingtackle.com.

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“We’ve brought a great product to the fishing tackle market while shattering the price point that most companies would charge for a tool of this quality” stated company Vice President Don Newman. “On the water testing has proven the durability of this tool, from removing hooks, to cutting through braided line and mono, all while exposed to the harsh saltwater environment. It’s a must have for any deckhand or tournament angler.”

Cast Far without Backlash SPEND LESS TIME DEALING WITH TANGLED LINE and more time catching fish. The Sharkfin spinning reel by Castalia Outdoors allows you to do just that. It is uniquely designed to cast farther and eliminate tangles often encoun-

Castalia Sharkfin

P-Line Adaro: Serious Pliers P-LINE, THE COMPANY LONG KNOWN FOR making great fishing line has now entered the premium fishing tool business. The PLine Adaro Pliers are made from machine cut aluminum, which makes them extremely light weight, and resistant to corrosion. The jaws are made from a coated stainless steel for rugged durability. The P-Line most usable feaAdaro ture to the angler Pliers is the tungsten carbide jaws which are specifically designed for cutting through braided line.

Paired up with a free cordura belt pouch and a strong nylon lanyard, you now have the ultimate tool for the serious angler. PHOTOS COURTESY MANUFACTURERS

tered with spinning reels. The German-engineered “fin-shaped” spool design reduces friction on the line during the cast, allowing the angler to cast farther and with greater accuracy, and eliminating tangles and “birdnests.” The Sharkfin needs no special instruction, use like any standard spool, is braid-friendly, and works with all reel-recommended line diameters. Two models are available, the 2000 for freshwater and inshore saltwater; model 4000 for inshore and light offshore. MSRP $119.99 and $149.99. Visit www.castaliaoutdoors.com or call 1-800-558-5541.

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Wiley X Fights Breast Cancer WILEY X IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT IN 2010, it will donate $3.50 from the sale of each pair of its bestselling Lacey sunglasses with advanced 8-layer polarized lenses to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). These top quality, lifetime warranty sunglasses with Italian styling are fashionable yet functional for anglers and boaters. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide. “We’re fortunate that our Laceys have gained such widespread popularity, and we are honored to have the chance to partner with such a successful, well respected organization like BCRF in this fight for a cure,” says Myles Freeman, President of Sales for Wiley X. Wiley X is a leading innovator of performance protective eyewear, each designed with the same impact-resistant lenses and shatterproof frames that have made Wiley X a leading choice of U.S. Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and other elite Special Forces Units in action around the world. Wiley X’s High Velocity Protection

Wiley-X Laceys (HVP(tm)) Selenite(tm) lenses exceed stringent ANSI Z87.1 safety standards for superior impact resistance and distortion free vision, qualifying their eyewear as OSHA grade Occupational Eye Protection. $146 suggested retail price. (800) 7767842/www.wileyx.com

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Target Handles X-Bows THE NEW BLOCK FUSION CROSSBOW TARGET WAS designed specifically to top stop 400+ FPS crossbow bolts. The PolyFusion design in the Block Fusion Crossbow Target provides even longer target life and increases ease of arrow removal. It is Block Fusion target black with white targets and features the new Block Game Face on two of the four shooting sides. This feature offers archers six game species (elk,

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deer, moose, pronghorn, bear, and turkey) in various sizes, thereby simulating both short- and long-range shooting. The Block Fusion Crossbow Targets also features the ever-popular deer vitals. Available in an 18x18x16 and 16x16x12, these new targets will be available immediately at retailers nationwide at retail prices of $159.99 and $109.99, respectively. Headquartered in Superior, Wisconsin, Field Logic is the manufacturer of the award-winning Block and the new Block Fusion. It also manufactures GlenDel 3D targets.

Rage 125-Grain 2Blade Broadhead IN RESPONSE TO CONTINUAL CUSTOMER REQUESTS, Rage Broadheads has announced the production of its new heavyweight 125-grain 2blade broadhead. With the same 2-inch cut-

ting diameter as the popular 100-grain Rage, this new broadhead offers

Rage Broadhead

more weight in the ferrule for inflicting maximum damage and penetration. The revolutionary SlipCam rear blade deployment system on the 125-grain mechanical Rage broadhead offers fully deployed blades immediately upon impact, with no loss of kinetic energy. This results in creating huge entry holes, gaping wound channels, and unprecedented blood trails. Rage is not only the most humane broadhead on the market, it is also the most forgiving, and now it is available in 125-grain 2-blade design. For those wanting a heavier broadhead with the unprecedented success of the Rage design, the 125-grain 2-blade is available at retailers nationwide. The 125-grain Rage has a black ferrule and the practice head is silver. It will be sold in packs of three broadheads with a free practice head for $44.99. The Rage is available in 100-grain in a 2-blade design with the new 1.5-inch or the giant 2-inch cutting diameter, or a 3-blade design with a 1.5-inch cutting diameter.

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Russelure Resurrected in Texas S I SAT IN MIKE FELT’S OFFICE, MY EYES kept wandering to the framed lures on the walls. Shiny metal lures in descending sizes, each nested inside a larger version were tastefully displayed in shadow boxes. I had no idea that Russelures came in so many different sizes. Why didn’t I know about them?

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by Greg Berlocher Russelure was the standard on the Texas coast for many years when it came to offshore baits. Then the brand slowly waned, ultimately disappearing from the shelves of outdoor stores. Fortunately, the brand didn’t disappear from the minds of offshore anglers. Felts, a blue water angler himself, was looking to purchase some new Russelures and ended up buying the company from its owners in California. He recently relocated the company headquarters to Houston and has been busy reintroducing the metal lure to fishermen all over the world. Russelure has an interesting history. J.K. Russel founded the company in 1947, creating an odd shaped lure some likened to a concave banana. The company changed hands in the late 1950s when the Bauth family purchased it from the Russel estate. Felt became the company’s third owner in 2009. Armed with a history lesson and a bag full of Russelures, I headed out to the lake in my neighborhood for some field-testing. Frequent readers of this column know this is as the lake with the “No Fishing!” signs posted prominently around the perimeter. Since I am offiPHOTOS COURTESY RUSSELURE

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cially doing research for TF&G, I have determined that the posting doesn’t apply to me and I sallied forth to lake’s edge gripping a handful of rods. Russelures are manufactured in eight different sizes ranging in length from a scant 1 inch to 6.5 inches. Anglers have eleven different color schemes to choose from. Ask any salty veteran of the Gulf and they will attest that the 5- and 6.5-inch models are deadly on kingfish, dorado, and wahoo. While the 1- inch model appears that it would be villainous on crappie and the 1.5inch lures are widely used for rainbow and brown trout in colder climates, I focused on the 2- and 3-inch models and was eager to test the concave body’s action against a graphite rod and light monofilament. The 2- and 3-inch Russelures are equipped with two different tie rings; the smaller versions have a single ring, while the large lures have three ring ties. Attach your line to the front ring and the lure takes a shallow tack as it is retrieved; snug a knot on the back tie and the lure digs deeper while being retrieved. The Russelure’s concave metal body is a bit deceiving. The rounded gutter suggests it is a deep diver but with the line tied to the front ring and a bit of high sticking with your rod tip, the lure cam be made to run very shallow - just right to buzz over the top of a bed of submerged hydrilla or bed of shoal grass at the coast. The lures will dig deep if you want them to. Images of a Russelure rooting along a mud bottom, kicking up a trail of silt, comes to mind. A 3-inch model would be ideal for taking big bass suspended under “schoolies” busting shad in the fall. It would also be a

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great trolling bait for white bass and stripers in open water. The mid-size Russelures are great bay baits as well. They cover a lot of water and are easy to work. Rigged to dive deep, they would be great to pull down the face of a jetty. Since the lures sport an anodized or powder coated finish, you can bounce them off the granite without fear of marring their luster. What I discovered in “Research Lake” was the pleasing side-to-side action the Russelures exhibit when retrieved. The frenetic side-ways shuffle is much more pronounced than the wiggle of a lipless crankbait. Offshore versions of the Russelure will actually roam three to four feet, or more, skirting from one side to the other and then back again; the smaller freshwater versions do not skitter as far but do a lot more than just wiggle their hips. As far as the future is concerned, Felts is pretty much maintaining the status quo. He will continue to manufacture Russelures in the United States out of high strength aluminum blanks and quality brass components, and he will equip each lure with Mustad hooks. There is a lot to like about Russelure’s line, but there are a few things I wish they offered. The hooks on the 3-inch models are more suited for 50-pound lake trout than 10pound redfish. A smaller set of trebles would be a nice option. An out-of-the-box kingfish version equipped with a factory built 20-inch steel leader would make a nice addition as well. Russelures are available, or will be in the next 90 days, at most major outdoor stores. Depending on the Russelure’s size, the MSRP ranges in price from $4.50 to $12.95.

On the Web www.russelure.com

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A Bird on My Knee S BOWHUNTING EDITOR FOR THIS MAGAzine, I am not too proud to tell you my sad tale of woe. I have to admit that although this deer season was not the worst one I have ever experienced, it did come very close. To be honest, I did not get a lot of time to hunt this past season. A host of other obligations seemed to take precedence, all of which were unavoidable and certainly more important than taking my bow after the elusive (and it was elusive) whitetail. However, the times I did get to go brought days of promise that this was the day I would score on that big buck that has been making all the deer sign around my stands. What happened? The short answer is: I was showered with luck every time I walked into the woods—bad luck. It might have been the hunter who walked in on my setup, claiming he did not know that it was my lease. It could have been my hunting buddy who claimed he needed a new alarm clock. (Apparently, the one he already owned would not work at such an early hour.) It might have been Mother Nature doing what she does best as she pours buckets of rain on the already saturated ground. At times, it seemed as though it would rain only on the days I was able to find some free time to get out there and try my luck. Whatever the reason, the outcome remained the same. There would be no big bucks in my freezer this year. I was able to arrow a nice doe early in the season and that was a very tasty addition to the family larder. I can say only that had it not been for that lone doe that made the mistake of coming my way, I would have gone without venison entirely.

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I realize that I am not alone here. I am sure there are others out there that had the same type of year that I did. At least I hope I wasn’t the only one. The point is, seasons like this happen to all of us. It is not like on the TV shows where the mighty hunters always seem to have their best luck in the last hour of the last day. I have been on some of those TV hunts, and sometimes you win and sometimes the deer win, just like in real life. A wise man I called “Dad” once told me that if you got a deer every single time you went hunting, it just would not be as much fun. He was right. If we got a deer every time we went out there, we would call it “shopping.”

If we got a deer every time we went out, we would call it ‘shopping.’

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I will admit, however, that after waking up at dark-thirty day after day and staying in the field until I could barely keep my eyes open, I was growing more and more upset over the fact that I just was not seeing any deer. I was not the most pleasant person to be around. That’s what my wife told me, anyway. At the time, I disagreed with her, and in a tone that could have been misunderstood as hostile. Maybe it was just a tad on the hostile side, but I blame it on exhaustion and not being in my right mind. Deer season had taken over my brain. My wife asked one little question that woke me up and magically took away all that hostility: “Why do you hunt?” I sat down and thought about it for a

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moment, and then with a grin as wide as you can imagine, I answered: “I hunt to have a longer season. I hunt for the camaraderie. I hunt for family tradition. I hunt to have fun.” There are many reasons I love to bowhunt for deer, but killing a deer is not on the list. Oh, ultimately, that is what happens. We take the life of a deer or whatever we hunt, but that is not the “reason” we are out there. I am sure that as you read this you will think of many other reasons you love the outdoors. There is a special feeling for the individual that leaves the pavement and becomes one with nature for a while. I had to think about all the good things that did happen to me this season. I was able to watch as a coyote made its way under my stand and searched for its dinner. I watched in amazement as a redtail hawk swooped down on an unsuspecting squirrel. I could almost see its “Oh, crap!” eyes as it went sailing down the field in the grasp of the hawk’s talons. And probably the most fun I had in the woods was when a small bird landed on my boots and began to peck at the rubber bark. I remember smiling and sitting still as the bird decided to rest on my knee while it sang its morning song. This is why I get up so early in the morning. This is why I stay in the field so long. This is why I hunt. You just cannot see anything like this in your living room, and believe me, once you witness something as wondrous as a morning in the woodlot, you will not soon forget it. I had to thank my wife for reminding me about the reasons I hunt. I wish she would join me sometime. “Live every day like it’s your last...one day, you’ll be right.”

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Eyes and Ears, Part 2 REMEMBER READING A STORY LONG AGO ABOUT a group of old gun writers who had gathered in the bar at some kind of writer’s convention. As the story goes, the loud voices could be heard all over the lobby of the hotel. People were peeking into the bar, others were trying to sneak out to avoid what they thought was a fight about to erupt. Finally, someone from the hotel waded into the group to break up the argument, only to find out the old gun writers were simply deaf as stones and having a friendly—albeit shouted—conversation. It is, unfortunately, an occupational hazard. I still remember the very first time I fired a .357 Magnum handgun. I was in my teens at the time and thought I was as tough as rawhide. I reared back the hammer on the big Ruger, took a bead on the target, and squeezed off the shot. I thought someone had stabbed me in the ears with ice picks. I nearly dropped the gun it hurt so bad, and my ears rang for a week. Heck, they’re still ringing. Elmer Keith once made the statement that a shooter just had to get used to the loud report of a magnum handgun. He didn’t realize it, but what he was saying was that eventually you got deaf enough it didn’t hurt anymore. Not a very efficient way to overcome a problem. Like most older shooters, I do not hear as well as I once did. Our editor, Don Zaidle, says he has “the hearing of a fireplug” because he “shot out” his hearing. Obviously, we both failed to use hearing protection when it mattered. By the time we figured out we really weren’t immortal and invulnerable, it was too late. Today, I protect what hearing I have left.

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Sometimes, especially when shooting a gun with a muzzle brake, I wear both earplugs and earmuffs. My brother, David, has worn both for years while shooting competition skeet. So, the obvious question is, “What is the best way to protect your hearing?” The obvious answer is to wear both plugs and muffs. However, most of us are not going to do that; some prefer plugs, and some muffs. When I was shooting competition skeet, I preferred a pair of fitted earplugs. They are made by putting a piece of material down into the ear canal with a thread attached so it can be easily removed, and then squirting the ear canal full of quick-drying foam or plastic that conforms to the shape of the ear. The resulting cast is sent to a manufacturer that makes a

Like most older shooters, I do not hear as well as I once did.

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mold of your ear canal and creates a set of earplugs that, hopefully, fit exactly. I used a set of these for years and think they are the best possible protection. However, they are somewhat difficult to insert and are not the most comfortable to wear. Almost as good, when properly inserted, are simple foam earplugs. These are disposable, inexpensive, and help prevent damage to your ears. The working phrase is “when properly inserted.” They must completely seal the ear or they don’t work well. Muffs are easy to use. They are not as comfortable as plugs in hot climates. I tried for a while to use muffs shooting skeet in

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San Antonio. In the middle of the summer, with the temperature soaring well above 100, muffs are bloody uncomfortable; they are also difficult to wear with a hat. I switched to earplugs. However, these days, when I head out to my range to shoot a rifle or handgun, I usually wear muffs. Then there are electronic hearing protectors. I have a set of Surefire electronic earplugs that I love for hunting. They protect my hearing but allow me to hear the little sounds that the Brush Country is full of, and that tell you many things if you can hear them. Around my own range, especially when I have company, I wear a pair of Walker’s Power Muff Quads electronic muffs. These are beautifully engineered, sturdy, durable, directional (they have two microphones on each side), and have enough volume to actually allow you to hear better than normal. Some of the cheaper electronic muffs do not have sufficient volume. Which form of protection you use is up to you. You can go cheap or invest substantial lucre. Whatever you choose, please use it, religiously. People grow weary of you shouting “Wazzat?” with your hand cupped to your ear.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

On the Web www.walkersgameear.com www.howardleight.com www.ehphearing.com

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Stern Warnings ONTHS OF PLANNING, HUNDREDS OF gallons of fuel, and endless hours of preparation had finally come together in this one moment--a 500- to 600-pound blue marlin was greyhounding across the ocean surface just 30 yards away from me, throwing its head from side to side in a frantic effort to rid itself of the circle hook planted in its jaw. The angler cranked his reel, the captain jockeyed his throttles, and I photographed the scene as it unfolded while shielding my camera from spray as waves crashed into the transom. That fish had us fooled. We thought it was close to giving in, but instead it turned tail and ran off a solid 200 yards of line.

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Worried it was getting too far away from the boat, the captain reversed the engines and poured on the coal. Water immediately started rushing into the cockpit from under the transom door, then a wave over-topped the transom. Suddenly, my camera was dripping wet and I was ankle-deep. “Is that engine hatch water-tight?” I shouted, pointing to the deck. I wasn’t happy when the captain yelled back, “I don’t know. Never had this much water in the cockpit before!” I was even less happy when, moments later, one of the engines suddenly shut down. A spot nearly 100 miles from the inlet-which can be distinguished from its endless surroundings only by a set of GPS coordinates--is not a good setting to test the seal on a deck hatch. Nor is it a place one should intentionally flood the cockpit of his boat, whether the fish of a lifetime is on the line or not. As one might expect, soon after losing the ability to maneuver, we lost the fish.

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Luckily, the engine re-started and we continued our trip without further difficulties, but the results could have been disastrous. And it was all because the guy at the wheel forgot the most essential, basic rule of captaining a boat: keep the pointy end into the waves. Whether you run a bay boat, blue water battlewagon, or backwater hunting-rig, this rule holds true for your boat and for virtually every other one on the planet. And as a result, a huge proportion of the sinkings that occur each year result from the transom taking a wave. Will you remember this rule? We sure hope so. Here are some others that will help keep your transom dry and your boat afloat. Rule No. 2: Never anchor astern. There is no valid reason to ever secure an anchor line to a stern cleat, period. This absolutely guarantees that your transom will be facing the waves, and even worse, tension on the anchor line will constantly pull the stern lower. When waves arrive the boat can’t rise over them, and that leaves only one other option; we think you know what that is. You’re not worried, because it’s calm and there are no other boats around. Just ask yourself how many times you’ve been hit by a boat wake without warning. It happens, and if it happens when you’re anchored astern... Rule No. 3: Avoid cutout transoms. Yes, I know there have been hundreds of models of boats built with cutouts, and they’ve been operating safely on the water for many years. I also know that they’re more likely than full-transom designs to suck in a belly full of water. If you absolutely must have a boat that has a cutout transom, consider adding a folding gate or door in front of it, which can be locked into position as soon as the motor is tilted down and you’re ready to push off the dock. Rule No. 4: Slow down slowly in a following sea. In many cases, a following sea is

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actually more dangerous then a head sea. Again, remember that thing about keeping the pointy end of the boat facing the waves. If the seas are rolling in astern and you cut back the throttles too swiftly, a wave that’s moving faster then your boat can easily wash right in from behind you. And since you’re moving forward at a good clip, the stern of your boat is being sucked down to some degree when you chop the throttle. Slowing down gradually allows the stern to rise up out of the water to its normal height. In extremely rough seas, you might need to consider turning the boat into the waves before coming all the way off plane. In outboard and stern-drive boats, you can also reduce the likelihood of flooding by trimming the outdrive all the way down, so prop thrust helps push the stern up. (Note: Do not do this while running at high speeds. Every action has a reaction, and when you trim the drive to push the stern up, you’re also trimming it to push the bow down.) Rule No. 5: Don’t get close, dangerclose, to any type of float that’s anchored to the bottom. Three or four years ago, I was

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on a boat that came damn near sinking because it came too close to a big polyball marker that was tied off to some sort of fish trap. The captain zigged when he should have zagged, wrapped the float’s line around a prop, and suddenly we were (essentially) anchored off the stern in violation of Rule No. 2. Three waves in a row washed right into the boat, and by the time we cut the line free and began the dewatering process, we were dangerously close to the point of no recovery. Rule No. 6: Watch your weight distribution. Particularly on small boats, crowded boats, and hunting rigs outfitted with plywood brush-blinds, it’s easy to change the boat’s weight distribution for the worse. On an average 16-foot johnboat, for example, putting a pair of grown men on the aft bench seat can lower transom height as much as 2 inches. Add in a heavy blind with most of its bracing in the rear, and you might only have a few inches of freeboard left. Now add an energetic retriever and an unexpected boat wake into the mix...you get the picture. Rule No. 7: Never tow a boat that’s

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significantly larger then your own, particularly in a following sea. You need to apply a fair amount of power to get that large load moving, which means your propeller will be digging a pretty big hole in the water. The stern of your boat will get pulled down, and your transom will go lower and lower. In fact, you don’t even need large waves to make this a dangerous situation. Apply enough power, and it’s possible to literally suck the stern of your own boat below the waterline. Of course, you can’t just abandon someone in need of assistance. Call for help, or if you must, tow the boat at an extremely low rate of speed with as much rope between you as possible. Follow these seven rules, and hopefully, you’ll never look over your shoulder to see water pouring in over the transom. If you just can’t keep ‘em straight, trade in your boat for a kayak. Then, both ends will be pointy.

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E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

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Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp HILE SHOPPING WITH MY WIFE LAST Christmas, we ran into old friend David Todd, who owns and operates Outdoor Texas Camp. It is hard to believe that five years have passed since I met Todd at the Texas Outdoor Writers Association Conference in Uvalde. Todd, nationally known dealer in outdoor art and a passionate outdoorsman, had just invested a small fortune in the dream of developing a camp for young people where they would be introduced to outdoor activities. Shotgun and rifle shooting, dog training, game calling, bow hunting, outdoor photography, fishing, first aid, and outdoor survival skills were all on the docket during the weeklong camps. Mix in a healthy dose of fun and hold the camp at a modern, comfortable facility, and the stage was set for success. Fast-forward a handful of years, and Outdoor Texas Camp has been a huge success with over 1200 campers immersed in outdoor activities. Todd is a great listener and has his finger directly on the pulse of his young customers and their parents—and grandparents, and aunts, and uncles. Follow-up surveys after the camps revealed a hunger for additional outdoor-related camps. This desire morphed into advanced camps away from the base camp at Stoney Creek Ranch near Columbus. Waterfowl Camp, Deer Camp, Fly-Fishing Camp, and Saltwater Camp have been added over the years. Kayak Camp is an outgrowth of Todd’s highly successful Saltwater Camp where

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campers are introduced to kayak fishing. The campers let him know that they wished there was a camp dedicated to kayak fishing. That is all Todd needed to hear. Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp will be held at a 12-bedroom private retreat in Port Aransas this summer, limited to 15 boys age 11-16. “Port Aransas is hard to beat as a kayak destination,” explained Todd. “Everyone at Saltwater Camp last year wished they could have spent more time fishing from a kayak. At this camp, the campers will be able to fish every morning and afternoon from a kayak. And since there are so many kayak friendly areas around Port Aransas, each group will get to fish a new location every day.”

Kayak Camp is an outgrowth of Todd’s successful Saltwater Camp.

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Todd stresses personal instruction at his camps, and Kayak Camp is no exception. He has five kayak instructors lined up, one for each three campers. Kayak angling is taught in detail throughout the week. Topics include kayak rigging, paddling, safety training, fish identification, lure and fly selection, and a wealth of information about fishing from a kayak. Campers will even have the chance to learn to cast flies on the flats if they desire. There is always some downtime planned at Todd’s camps so the campers can relax and just be kids. Trips to the beach and jetties are on the itinerary at Kayak Camp. “Kayak angling has grown substantially over the last decade,” Todd said. “A family

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can spend $2000 and outfit two really good kayaks. There are a million good places for a father and son or father and daughter to fish. “All of the kids at Saltwater Camp caught fish last year. The day they fished from kayaks, the catch totaled 37 trout and redfish. We have a big fish fry the last night of camp with the fish we catch during the week. They kids caught so many last year there were plenty left over to take home.” Throughout the years, one of the recurring themes Todd has heard from his campers is the desire to share what they have learned with a loved one. Todd has added a new concept this year to Kayak Camp called Add-A-Dad. A father, big brother, or uncle can join their young charge Thursday evening and spend the last day of camp fishing with their camper. Due to space limitations at the retreat in Port Aransas, they can accommodate only five Ad-A-Dads. Many of the kids who attend Todd’s outdoor camps already have a love for outdoor activities, but are often exposed to something new. Many come away passionate about a new aspect of the outdoors, as did like my son. Our youngest son attended a session at Stoney Creek Ranch four years ago and has been completely eaten up with bowhunting ever since. If you send your son to Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp, expect the same response. Kayak Camp is scheduled for July 2531. Greg Berlocher’ latest book, “Kayak Texas” is now available. Order it at www.FishGame.com, or ask your favorite outdoor retailer. Email Greg at kayak@fishgame.com.

On the Web www.outdoortexascamp.com

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Free-lining AVE YOU EVER HEARD OR USED THE acronym KISS? If not, you are about to learn something new. This one’s free. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid, which is a great way to approach most angling situations. Space age

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lures and hard-to-learn techniques are nice, but are not always necessary. There are literally hundreds of ways to chase the Big Three of inshore saltwater species (speckled trout, redfish, and flounder), from elaborate multi-hook contraptions to basic jigs and soft plastics, and very easy live bait rigs. Sometimes, these simple rigs are the most effective. Well, today you’re in luck because were about to go over the easiest rig in the world to tie, and we’ll even look at a few additions that make this simple setup versatile enough to be used in multiple situations. There isn’t a fish in the ocean that will turn down a shrimp if it’s placed in front of it, so if you want to make sure that you almost never get skunked after a day out on the water, you need to know how to rig a shrimp. A fish-finder (Carolina) rig or popping cork are popular ways to present a shrimp, but both have their limits. A fish-finder goes straight to the bottom so the fish have to be feeding near the bottom if using this one. Also, using a fish-finder around reefs or jetties is a great way to get cut off on the structure. On the other hand, a popping cork is good around structure but is limited because it can only be fished about four feet deep due to the difficulty in casting a cork rigged ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW

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with a leader much longer than three to four feet hanging below it. Instead of using either of these, an easier (and arguably better) way to rig a shrimp is on a very basic free-lining rig. Free-lining can be the epitome of simple. If you want to you can go as basic as simply tying a hook onto the end of your main line. That’s it. Now, if you want to get a little more elaborate you can make a few minor adjustments that will make the free-lining rig a little more

versatile. Start by tying a barrel swivel onto your main line. Don’t use a flashy swivel, go with black. The reason behind this is if you spend a lot of time fishing jetties then you

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will undoubtedly come across Spanish mackerel, which have teeth and like to hit flashy lures. A shiny swivel is just inviting trouble, as the mackerel will hit the swivel and cut you off. On the other side of the swivel tie a short leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon that is heaver than your main line so it can be more abrasion resistant when rubbed against rocks and also be able to stand up to hard hits. This leader should be no more than 18 inches long to make it easier to cast. While we are on casting, free-lining is not

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impossible with a bait-caster but due to the light weight of the rig, it is much easier to cast with spinning gear. At the end of the leader tie on a bait hook. A lot of anglers used to put a treble hook here to increase hook-ups but a circle hook will work just as well in most cases. Just remember that when the fish strikes all you do is apply pressure instead of making a knee buckling hook-set.

The purpose behind freelining shrimp is to allow the bait to sink slowly in a natural manner but sometimes you need it to get deeper just a little quicker, which means you have to add weight. Do this by crimping a small split shot (or some Tung-Fu putty) on the main line above the leader. There are a couple different ways to hook a shrimp when free-lining and which one you use is generally based on angler preference. If you hook the shrimp in the head, run the hook from the side under the horn, being careful not to puncture any of the major organs so the bait stays lively. If rigging through the tail run the hook up from the bottom through the end of the tail just above the fan. Rigging from the bottom up keeps the hook tip pointing up and away from snags.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

On the Web www.fishgame.com/howto

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TEXAS SALTWATER

ROCKPORT

BAFFIN BAY

Captain Matt Danysh 29 inch Trout Upper Laguna Madre

GALVESTON

Shelley Trout kins Captain A ice rv e S e id u G

UPPER COAST (SABINE LAKE)

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

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

TEXAS SALTWATER

TEXAS FRESHWATER

CORPUS CHRISTI

EAST TEXAS

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Mitchell Skarban’s

Brittany, Andrew , Hannah, Dalton and Johnny all caught trout w/ Rockport Red Runner

First Buck White Oak Outfitters

Strasmeyer Friends Striper Express Guide Service

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TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

OUTDOOR SHOPPER LAKE AMISTAD

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: WHITE OAK OUTFITTERS

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

TEXAS HUNTING

White Oak Outfitters, Inc. was formed in 1993. They originally hunted on 160 acres, but have now grown to right at 3000 acres of hunting land. They maintain 34 timered feeders year-round and spent the first week of September planting food plots for deer. White Oak Outfitters, Inc. is a family operation headquartered in the barn at their home. The price includes lodging and they have room enough for fourteen. Hog hunting is available year-round and deer season opens up the first weekend in November and runs in to early January. Over the years, they have established many fond friendships and have a high rate of repeat customers. Call Bruce Hunnicut (903.537.2651) today and plan your next hunting trip!

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meal all on its own. It can be baked in the oven if desired.

Slaven’s Venison Stew with Red Wine

Yields: 8 main-dish servings Total Time: 2 hr 30 min Prep Time: 45 min Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min

Ingredients

E HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING ONE OF the coldest winters here in Houston since 1989. This is a great time to serve some venison that will be a sure winner at the camp or at home. Make this stew a tradition for you and your family to enjoy when it gets cold outside. This traditional dish serves as a great

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2 lb. of venison backstrap and 2 lb. boneless beef sirloin tip or chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks (2 pounds of lean eye of round or other type roast can be substituted for the venison, but you still need a total of 4 pounds of meat) 2 Tbs. olive oil 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 3 large carrots cut into 1-inch pieces 3 large parsnips cut into 1/4-inch slices 2 ears of sweet corn, shucked and cut off of the cob fresh 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin

(this results in a smoother flavor) 1 large onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 10 small boiler onions peeled and left whole 10 small new potatoes rinsed, cleaned, and quartered 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour 1 29-oz. can diced tomatoes 2 14-oz. cans of low sodium beef broth 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper 2 cups dry red wine (I really like the peppery taste of a Shiraz for the stew) 4 sprigs fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. dried or fresh basil 2 pints fresh mushrooms sliced into 1/2inch thick pieces 1 red bell pepper sliced into 3/4-inch pieces 1/2 lb. of fresh green beans cut into 11/2-inch pieces 1 bag (16-oz.) frozen peas

Directions In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Pat beef dry with paper towels. Add beef in small batches (do not crowd the meat in the pan) and cook 56 minutes per batch or until well browned on all sides. With slotted spoon, transfer beef to medium bowl. (The meat pieces must be pat dry and not touching to brown properly.) To drippings in Dutch oven, add chopped onion and cook 10 minutes or until onion is browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour, canned tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add wine and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of pan. (The browned bits that form on the bottom of the pan add tremendous flavor. This is known as the “fond.”) Return meat and any meat juices in bowl to Dutch oven. Add thyme, basil, cumin,

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and the rest of the vegetables except the peas; heat to boiling. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1-1/2 hours or until meat is fork tender, stirring a few times. Discard thyme sprigs if using fresh thyme. Just before stew is done, stir in peas and allow them to heat through for 4-5 minutes. If baking the stew, cover and bake at 350 for 1-1/2 hours, stirring once. Enjoy with some fresh yeast rolls. (Some like to serve the stew over egg noodles.) Bon appĂŠtit!

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

PHOTO BY BRYAN SLAVEN

On the Web www.thetexasgourmet.com

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Turkey Hunting on $50 AM NOT SURE WHICH I LOVE THE MOST—FALL whitetails or spring gobblers, since both can provide memories that last a lifetime. However, when it comes to straight-up heart-pounding excitement you would be hard pressed to beat the sight of a randy gobbler coming in to a call, strutting proudly, and colored up like a Christmas tree. That is a thing of beauty and one that everyone can enjoy—everyone. With the economy what it is, many hunters are feeling pinched and might consider foregoing their annual spring turkey hunting, but that is not necessary. There are literally hundreds of thousand of acres of public land available for the price of a $48 Annual Public Hunting Permit (APH). For $50 in round numbers, you can get in on some awesome turkey hunting action—for the most part eastern birds. The bulk of the APH/Wildlife Management Area (WMA) land is in East Texas, where for 20 years turkey stamp fees paid for eastern bird stocking. The result has been huntable populations in most counties and stellar opportunities on certain tracts. If you can’t pay upwards of $1000 to hunt Rios, you should seriously consider the $50 alternative and look into public land.

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There is even better news: You do not have to do a whole bunch of gear modification or seek additional purchases. Shotgun hunters know what they need, so that’s a given, but there is some confusion among bowhunters regarding turkey gear. In one of my regular columns, I wrote about different broadheads to use for deer and turkey. I like to use a mechanical broadhead for birds and a fixed head for deer. It is not necessary to worry excessively over which

by Lou Marullo broadhead goes with us into the turkey woods. I have my preferences, but the broadheads that you use for your deer hunting adventures can also double as your favorite broadhead for turkey. Believe me, they will do the job and do it well. Portable ground blinds have proven very effective for turkey. The big advantage of a portable ground blind is that you can draw your bow undetected. In fact, you can set up your blind in the middle of a field and be just as successful as when you are hidden in a woodlot. Turkey pay absolutely no attention to this type of blind. I believe, however, that if you carefully build a blind out of the natural surroundings

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already there in the woods, you will be just as successful. In fact, it gives you that extra challenge of drawing your bow undetected. If you wait for the gobbler to come to full strut with the back of its fan facing you, drawing your bow should be a minor detail. Something else you might find useful as a nice blind is a camouflage umbrella. If you already have one that you use for deer hunting, bring it along. Just lay it down in front of you and sit in a chair behind it. It will help conceal any movement you make and will improve your odds of getting that bird. As for calls, choose whichever one you are good with. Really, the only sound you need to imitate is the yelp. It is the most important sound of the spring turkey season. It can be made on a slate, box, wing bone, or diaphragm call. You need only one and they are not expensive at all. A diaphragm call is the least expensive. You could purchase one for under $5. Other than the wing bone and diaphragm, you could probably borrow a call from one of your buddies. That eliminates this expense right off the bat. Ask the buddy to carry the camera and film your hunt. Why spend the money for new broad-

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In This Issue

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

HOW-TO SECTION

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COVER STORY • Turkey on $50 | BY LOU MARULLO

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BOWHUNTING TECH • A Bird on My Knee | BY LOU MARULLO

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TEXAS GUNS & GEAR • Eyes and Ears, Part 2 | BY STEVE LAMASCUS

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TEXAS KAYAKING • Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp | BY GREG BERLOCHER

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BAITS & RIGS • Freelining | BY PAUL BRADSHAW

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TEXAS BOATING • Stern Warnings | BY LENNY RUDOW

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

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INDUSTRY INSIDER • New Target for Crossbows; Rage 125-Grain, 2Blade Broadhead | BY TF&G STAFF

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FISH THIS • Russelure Ressurected in Texas | BY GREG BERLOCHER

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE

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OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Classifieds | BY TF&G STAFF

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TEXAS TASTED • Slaven’s Venison Stew with Red Wine | BY BRYAN SLAVEN

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

www.twitter.com/FishandGame

HOTSPOTS & TIDES SECTION

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

heads? Who says we absolutely have to hunt from portable blind? Do we really need a backpack full of different calls to bring that wary gobbler into bow range? As far as I am concerned, these are all unnecessary expenses. I know that it seems to be in hunters’ genes to want whatever is new

GEARING UP SECTION

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TEXAS TESTED • A Bheestly Bheest of a Bag; Shimano’s New Ride; Winchester Super X Power Max ammo| BY TFG STAFF

and improved in our bowhunting world. I am probably the biggest believer of that—at least, that is what my wife tells me. She might be right. That must be the reason she hides all of the catalogs I get in the mail. But I also believe that in this world where it is sometimes necessary to tighten our belts a little

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

www.FishGame.com more to make ends meet, our time spent in the woods should not suffer from it. Life is just too short not to enjoy every minute you can, and as far as I’m concerned,

Do we really need a backpack full of calls to bring that gobbler into bow range?

a day relaxing in the turkey woods is far better than any day at the office. It does not matter at all how deep your wallet is. You should still be able to have a lasting memory of a fantastic turkey hunt with little expense.

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Tides and Prime Times

MARCH 2010

MONDAY

MAR 1 High Tide: Low Tide: High Tide: Low Tide:

4:05 am 10:34 am 4:49 pm 10:39 pm

TUESDAY PRIME TIME

1.17 ft -0.08 ft 0.93 ft -0.01 ft

12:00 — 2:30 AM

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

WEDNESDAY

3

PRIME TIME 5:20 am 11:20 am 5:07 pm 11:29 pm

1.15 ft 0.22 ft 0.93 ft -0.21 ft

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 6:36 am 1.11 ft Low Tide: 12:05 pm 0.50 ft High Tide: 5:24 pm 0.94 ft

12:00 — 2:30 AM

THURSDAY

12:30 — 3:00 AM

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

PRIME TIME 12:21 am 8:00 am 12:48 pm 5:37 pm

-0.34 ft 1.07 ft 0.75 ft 0.97 ft

1:30 — 4:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:04a Set: 6:35p Moonrise: 8:07p Set: 7:25a AM Minor: 5:46a Set: 11:59a PM Minor: 6:12p Set: ----Moon Overhead: 1:16a Moon Underfoot: 1:42p

Sunrise: 7:02a Set: 6:35p Moonrise: 9:15p Set: 8:00a AM Minor: 6:42a Set: 12:29a PM Minor: 7:07p Set: 12:54p Moon Overhead: 2:08a Moon Underfoot: 2:33p

Sunrise: 7:01a Set: 6:36p Moonrise: 10:22p Set: 8:36a AM Minor: 7:39a Set: 1:26a PM Minor: 8:05p Set: 1:52p Moon Overhead: 2:59a Moon Underfoot: 3:25p

Sunrise: 7:00a Set: 6:37p Moonrise: 11:28p Set: 9:15a AM Minor: 8:38a Set: 2:25a PM Minor: 9:05p Set: 2:51p Moon Overhead: 3:52a Moon Underfoot: 4:18p

8

9

10

11

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 4:59 am High Tide: 3:18 pm

-0.30 ft 1.15 ft

12:00 — 2:30 AM

PRIME TIME

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

6:10 am 3:38 pm 8:59 pm 9:59 pm

-0.27 ft 1.12 ft 0.98 ft 0.99 ft

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

1:00 — 3:30 AM

PRIME TIME 7:08 am 3:41 pm 8:35 pm 11:43 pm

-0.23 ft 1.07 ft 0.94 ft 1.01 ft

2:00 — 4:00 AM

Low Tide: 7:54 am High Tide: 3:38 pm Low Tide: 8:30 pm

PRIME TIME -0.16 ft 1.02 ft 0.86 ft

9:30A — 1:00P

Sunrise: 6:55a Set: 6:40p Moonrise: 2:22a Set: 12:29p AM Minor: ----Set: 6:08a PM Minor: 12:21p Set: 6:34p Moon Overhead: 7:25a Moon Underfoot: 7:50p

Sunrise: 6:54a Set: 6:40p Moonrise: 3:09a Set: 1:24p AM Minor: 12:44a Set: 6:56a PM Minor: 1:08p Set: 7:21p Moon Overhead: 8:15a Moon Underfoot: 8:39p

Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 6:41p Moonrise: 3:50a Set: 2:20p AM Minor: 1:29a Set: 7:40a PM Minor: 1:52p Set: 8:04p Moon Overhead: 9:03a Moon Underfoot: 9:26p

Sunrise: 6:52a Set: 6:42p Moonrise: 4:26a Set: 3:16p AM Minor: 2:11a Set: 8:22a PM Minor: 2:33p Set: 8:44p Moon Overhead: 9:49a Moon Underfoot: 10:11p

15 

16

17

18

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

PRIME TIME 4:36 am 10:56 am 5:06 pm 10:44 pm

1.15 ft 0.30 ft 0.97 ft 0.33 ft

12:00 — 2:00 PM

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

5:27 am 11:23 am 5:16 pm 11:15 pm

PRIME TIME 1.17 ft 0.45 ft 0.98 ft 0.20 ft

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

12:30 — 2:30 PM

6:21 am 11:52 am 5:22 pm 11:49 pm

PRIME TIME 1.18 ft 0.61 ft 0.99 ft 0.08 ft

1:00 — 3:00 PM

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 7:19 am 1.19 ft Low Tide: 12:22 pm 0.77 ft High Tide: 5:19 pm 1.02 ft

2:00 — 4:00 PM

Sunrise: 7:47a Set: 7:44p Moonrise: 7:25a Set: 7:53p AM Minor: 5:45a Set: 11:55a PM Minor: 6:05p Set: 12:15p Moon Overhead: 1:35p Moon Underfoot: 1:15a

Sunrise: 7:46a Set: 7:45p Moonrise: 7:53a Set: 8:48p AM Minor: 6:26a Set: 12:16a PM Minor: 6:47p Set: 12:36p Moon Overhead: 2:17p Moon Underfoot: 1:56a

Sunrise: 7:45a Set: 7:46p Moonrise: 8:22a Set: 9:45p AM Minor: 7:11a Set: 1:00a PM Minor: 7:32p Set: 1:21p Moon Overhead: 3:00p Moon Underfoot: 2:38a

Sunrise: 7:43a Set: 7:46p Moonrise: 8:54a Set: 10:44p AM Minor: 7:59a Set: 1:47a PM Minor: 8:22p Set: 2:11p Moon Overhead: 3:46p Moon Underfoot: 3:22a

22 

23

24

25

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 3:06 am High Tide: 4:53 pm

-0.21 ft 1.34 ft

5:00 — 7:30 AM

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 4:18 am High Tide: 2:35 pm

-0.24 ft 1.36 ft

Low Tide: 5:35 am High Tide: 2:51 pm

12:00 — 2:00 AM

PRIME TIME -0.25 ft 1.35 ft

12:30 — 2:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:38a Set: 7:49p Moonrise: 11:58a Set: 1:47a AM Minor: 11:48a Set: 5:34a PM Minor: ----Set: 6:03p Moon Overhead: 7:22p Moon Underfoot: 6:52a

Sunrise: 7:37a Set: 7:50p Moonrise: 1:01p Set: 2:44a AM Minor: 12:24a Set: 6:33a PM Minor: 12:48p Set: 7:03p Moon Overhead: 8:21p Moon Underfoot: 7:51a

Sunrise: 7:36a Set: 7:50p Moonrise: 2:08p Set: 3:36a AM Minor: 1:16a Set: 7:31a PM Minor: 1:45p Set: 8:00p Moon Overhead: 9:19p Moon Underfoot: 8:50a

29

PRIME TIME

30

31

11:00A — 2:00P

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

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

4:26 am 10:38 am 4:13 pm 10:29 pm

1.42 ft 0.45 ft 1.13 ft -0.00 ft

Sunrise: 7:30a Set: 7:53p Moonrise: 7:52p Set: 6:53a AM Minor: 5:23a Set: 11:36a PM Minor: 5:48p Set: ----Moon Overhead: 12:53a Moon Underfoot: 1:18p

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PRIME TIME 5:36 am 11:28 am 4:30 pm 11:13 pm

1.48 ft 0.69 ft 1.15 ft -0.19 ft

High Tide: 6:44 am 1.50 ft Low Tide: 12:17 pm 0.91 ft High Tide: 4:47 pm 1.18 ft

7:00 — 9:00 PM

T E X A S

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PRIME TIME -0.22 ft 1.30 ft 1.08 ft

1:30 — 3:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:35a Set: 7:51p Moonrise: 3:18p Set: 4:23a AM Minor: 2:11a Set: 8:25a PM Minor: 2:39p Set: 8:53p Moon Overhead: 10:16p Moon Underfoot: 9:48a

PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME

7:30 — 9:30 PM

8:00 — 10:00 PM

Sunrise: 7:27a Set: 7:55p Moonrise: 10:08p Set: 8:07a AM Minor: 7:09a Set: 12:56a PM Minor: 7:36p Set: 1:22p Moon Overhead: 2:37a Moon Underfoot: 3:04p

Sunrise: 7:28a Set: 7:54p Moonrise: 9:00p Set: 7:29a AM Minor: 6:14a Set: 12:03a PM Minor: 6:40p Set: 12:27p Moon Overhead: 1:44a Moon Underfoot: 2:10p

Low Tide: 6:48 am High Tide: 3:07 pm Low Tide: 8:16 pm

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Tides and Prime Times

MARCH 2010

FRIDAY

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

SATURDAY

6

PRIME TIME 1:18 am 9:40 am 1:30 pm 5:34 pm

-0.39 ft 1.05 ft 0.94 ft 1.00 ft

7

PRIME TIME

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

3:00 — 5:30 AM

SUNDAY

2:23 am 12:18 pm 2:06 pm 2:10 pm

-0.38 ft 1.07 ft 1.07 ft 1.07 ft

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 3:38 am High Tide: 2:48 pm

10:30P — 12:00A

-0.34 ft 1.14 ft

6:00 — 8:30 AM

Sunrise: 6:59a Set: 6:38p Moonrise: None Set: 9:58a AM Minor: 9:37a Set: 3:23a PM Minor: 10:04p Set: 3:50p Moon Overhead: 4:45a Moon Underfoot: 5:12p

Sunrise: 6:58a Set: 6:38p Moonrise: 12:31a Set: 10:45a AM Minor: 10:34a Set: 4:21a PM Minor: 11:01p Set: 4:48p Moon Overhead: 5:39a Moon Underfoot: 6:06p

Sunrise: 6:57a Set: 6:39p Moonrise: 1:29a Set: 11:36a AM Minor: 11:29a Set: 5:16a PM Minor: 11:56p Set: 5:43p Moon Overhead: 6:33a Moon Underfoot: 6:59p

12

13 

14Begin DST

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

PRIME TIME 12:52 am 8:32 am 3:39 pm 8:34 pm

1.06 ft -0.08 ft 0.98 ft 0.74 ft

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

9:30A — 1:30P

PRIME TIME

1:51 am 9:02 am 3:45 pm 8:51 pm

1.09 ft 0.03 ft 0.97 ft 0.61 ft

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

11:00A — 2:00P

3:44 am 10:30 am 4:55 pm 10:16 pm

PRIME TIME

1.12 ft 0.16 ft 0.97 ft 0.47 ft

5:00 — 7:00 AM

Sunrise: 6:51a Set: 6:42p Moonrise: 4:59a Set: 4:11p AM Minor: 2:50a Set: 9:01a PM Minor: 3:12p Set: 9:22p Moon Overhead: 10:32a Moon Underfoot: 10:54p

Sunrise: 6:49a Set: 6:43p Moonrise: 5:29a Set: 5:05p AM Minor: 3:28a Set: 9:39a PM Minor: 3:49p Set: 9:59p Moon Overhead: 11:14a Moon Underfoot: 11:35p

Sunrise: 7:48a Set: 7:44p Moonrise: 6:57a Set: 6:59p AM Minor: 5:06a Set: 11:16a PM Minor: 5:26p Set: 11:36p Moon Overhead: 12:55p Moon Underfoot: 12:35a

19

20

PRIME TIME

21

8:00 — 10:00 PM

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

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

PRIME TIME 12:27 am 8:26 am 12:53 pm 5:05 pm

-0.02 ft 1.20 ft 0.94 ft 1.08 ft

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

7:00 — 9:00 PM

1:11 am 9:47 am 1:22 pm 4:51 pm

-0.10 ft 1.21 ft 1.09 ft 1.17 ft

PRIME TIME 2:03 am 11:30 am 1:47 pm 4:49 pm

-0.17 ft 1.25 ft 1.23 ft 1.27 ft

9:00 — 11:00 PM

Sunrise: 7:42a Set: 7:47p Moonrise: 9:31a Set: 11:45p AM Minor: 8:52a Set: 2:39a PM Minor: 9:17p Set: 3:04p Moon Overhead: 4:35p Moon Underfoot: 4:10a

Sunrise: 7:41a Set: 7:48p Moonrise: 10:13a Set: None AM Minor: 9:48a Set: 3:35a PM Minor: 10:15p Set: 4:02p Moon Overhead: 5:28p Moon Underfoot: 5:01a

Sunrise: 7:40a Set: 7:48p Moonrise: 11:02a Set: 12:47a AM Minor: 10:48a Set: 4:34a PM Minor: 11:16p Set: 5:02p Moon Overhead: 6:24p Moon Underfoot: 5:55a

26

PRIME TIME

27

9:00 — 11:30 PM

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

28

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

12:07 am 7:53 am 3:23 pm 8:32 pm

1.18 ft -0.14 ft 1.24 ft 0.84 ft

PRIME TIME 1:50 am 8:52 am 3:39 pm 9:06 pm

1.25 ft 0.00 ft 1.17 ft 0.55 ft

PRIME TIME

New Moon

1.34 ft 0.21 ft 1.14 ft 0.26 ft

PRIME TIME

8:30 — 11:00 PM



3:12 am 9:46 am 3:56 pm 9:46 pm

SYMBOL KEY

First Quarter



Full Moon

A L M A N A C



9:00 — 11:30 PM

Last Quarter

5:00 — 7:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:31a Set: 7:53p Moonrise: 6:44p Set: 6:18a AM Minor: 4:35a Set: 10:48a PM Minor: 5:01p Set: 11:14p Moon Overhead: 12:02a Moon Underfoot: 12:27p

Sunrise: 7:32a Set: 7:52p Moonrise: 5:37p Set: 5:43a AM Minor: 3:49a Set: 10:02a PM Minor: 4:15p Set: 10:28p Moon Overhead: None Moon Underfoot: 11:36a

Sunrise: 7:33a Set: 7:51p Moonrise: 4:28p Set: 5:05a AM Minor: 3:01a Set: 9:15a PM Minor: 3:28p Set: 9:42p Moon Overhead: 11:10p Moon Underfoot: 10:43a



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

10:00P — 12:00A

PRIME TIME



Good Day

T E X A S

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PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME 10:30P — 12:00A

BEST DAYS

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TIDE STATION CORRECTION TABLE (Adjust High & Low Tide times listed in the Calendar by the amounts below for each keyed location)

NOT FOR NAVIGATION PLACE SABINE BANK LIGHTHOUSE (29.47° N, 93.72° W) SABINE PASS JETTY (29.65° N, 93.83° W) SABINE PASS (29.73° N, 93.87°W) MESQUITE PT, SABINE PASS (29.77° N, 93.9° W) GALV. BAY, SO. JETTY (29.34° N, 94.7° W) PORT BOLIVAR (29.36° N, 94.77° W) TX CITY TURNING BASIN (29.38° N, 94.88° W) EAGLE POINT (29.5° N, 94.91° W) CLEAR LAKE (29.56° N, 95.06° W) MORGANS POINT (29.68° N, 94.98° W) ROUND PT, TRINITY BAY (29.71° N, 94.69° W) PT. BARROW, TRIN. BAY (29.74° N, 94.83° W) GILCHRIST, E. BAY (29.52° N, 94.48° W) JAMAICA BCH., W. BAY (29.2° N, 94.98° W) ALLIGATOR PT., W. BAY (29.17° N, 94.13° W) CHRISTMAS PT, CHR. BAY (29.08° N, 94.17° W) GALV. PLEASURE PIER (29.29° N, 94.79° W) SAN LUIS PASS (29.08° N, 95.12° W) FREEPORT HARBOR (28.95° N, 95.31° W) PASS CAVALLO (28.37° N, 96.4° W) ARANSAS PASS (27.84° N, 97.05° W) PADRE ISL.(SO. END) (26.07° N, 97.16° W) PORT ISABEL (26.06° N, 97.22° W)

M A R C H

HIGH

LOW

-1:46

-1:31

-1:26

-1:31

-1:00

-1:15

-0:04

-0:25

-0:39

-1:05

+0:14

-0:06

+0:33

+0:41

+3:54

+4:15

+6:05

+6:40

+10:21

+5:19

+10:39

+5:15

+5:48

+4:43

+3:16

+4:18

+2:38

+3:31

+2:39

+2:33

+2:32

+2:31

-1:06

-1:06

-0.09

-0.09

-0:44

-1:02

0:00

-1:20

-0:03

-1:31

-0:24

-1:45

+1:02

-0:42

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Sunny Side Up for Largemouths LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Alligator Cove GPS: N31 59.212, W96 15.389 SPECIES: largemouth bass

BEST BAITS: lipless crankbait, spinnerbait, Senko Knock Off and Creature lures in Watermelon-red/white, Pumpkin CONTACT: Steve Schmidt, steve@schmidtsbigbass.com, 682-5188252, www.schmidtsbigbass.com TIPS: The fish still will be moving up in the creeks in a pre-spawn pattern. Always start on the sunny side of the creeks because the water warms up faster there. Cold fronts will cause the fish to move in and out. If a cold front hits, move out to a secondary or main lake point. Start with a lipless crankbait or spinnerbait (S.O.B. lures) and slow roll them. If you find the fish moving up on spawning beds, use a Texas-rig with a 3/8 to 1/4-ounce Tungsten weight with 4/0 or 5/0 heavy wire Gama hook. The small weight will allow the bait to look more natural. In addition to Alligator Cove, try Big Buck (GPS: N31 59.768, W96 9.352) and Prairie Creek (GPS: N32 1.503, W96 11.813). N6 |

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BANK ACCESS: Oak Cove Marina LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Yegua Creek channel GPS: N30 187.149, W96 39.202 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad liver, punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: The water is shallow in lots of areas with occasional deeper holes. Tie up above a slightly deeper area and throw out a little chum. Use a tight line an on-ounce weight in case there is a current, No. 4 treble hook for punch bait and No. 2 Kahle hook for other bait. The water is warming, spring is here, and the fish could be right next to the bank in shallow water. LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Lake HOTSPOT: Diversion Canal GPS: N30 37.910, W96 04.581 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: shad, crawfish, punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: This is a good area when the south wind starts blowing in March. The lily pads and moss has not started growing so you are able to fish close to the bank where the wind is hitting the shore. Use either a tight line or a cork with a 2/0 Kahle hook or No. 4 treble hook. You can catch more fish by using only one rod this time of the year. The fish may be attracted to one area more than others, so move down the shore 50 yards to find any pockets attracting fish. LOCATION: Fayette County Lake HOTSPOT: Fite’s Ridge

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GPS: N29 55.500, W96 44.418 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: punch bait, live perch, worms CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3101, www.FishTales-GuideService.com TIPS: The water is 50 to 60 feet deep here with deeper water and submerged trees not far away. A good anchor and long rope are needed here. Spring is close and the fish are getting active. Perch could get you a big yellow cat in this area. Fish punch bait and worms straight down. Start right off the bottom and work up the water column until you find the bite. Set the hook at the slightest nibble. LOCATION: Lake Fork HOTSPOT: Penson Bay GPS: N32 53.354, W95 39.387 SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: live minnows, crappie jigs on long crappie pole with slip corks CONTACT: Michael Rogge, microg@texascellnet.com, 903-383-3406, www.lake-fork-guides.com TIPS: Crappie begin to move shallow in mid-March. Look for drop-offs in the backs of the creeks with cover that are close to shallow water. Also try White Oak Bay, Rodgers Creek, and Board Tree Branch. BANK ACCESS: Fishing pier at Minnow Bucket Bait Stand LOCATION: Richland-Chambers Reservoir HOTSPOT: Highway 309 Flats GPS: N31 58.718, W96 06.870 SPECIES: hybrid stripers, white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce silver glitter RSR Shad Slabs CONTACT: Royce Simmons, royce@gonefishin.biz, 903-389-4117, www.gonefishin.biz TIPS: Watch for gulls and pelicans dipping down to pick up shad off the surface. Concentrate on drop-offs and ridges in the

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309 Flats area in water depths ranging from 20 to 30 feet. Bounce the slab off the bottom and when the strike occurs, hold on. It could be a big hybrid. BANK ACCESS: Fisherman’s Point Marina LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: West Loafers Bend GPS: N31 52.713, W97 22.404 SPECIES: striped bass: BEST BAITS: live gizzard shad CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: The stripers are moving in on the ledges early and gorging themselves on shad. Use live shad, drop them to the bottom, and then reel up two to three turns. Drift the flats in 22 to 30 feet of water. LOCATION: Tradinghouse Creek Reservoir HOTSPOT: Redfish Point GPS: N31 33.834, W96 56.919 SPECIES: red drum BEST BAITS: large crankbaits, any color, shad, and shrimp CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, rayado@earthlink.net, 254-744-2104, www.bigtroutman.tripod.com TIPS: Transplanted saltwater reds move in schools, staying mostly in deep water off points in the main lake depths. Down-rigging large crankbaits or drift-fishing with shad or shrimp can produce good catches. Tight-lining with bait such as crawfish, worms, shad, or shrimp also is good. Reds

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in the 10- to 12-pound range are common. It takes heavy tackle to bring these monsters to the boat. BANK ACCESS: The old park south of redfish Point; go east over the levee, turn left, drive in, and park along the gravel road. Fish from shoreline for redfish, bass, and catfish. LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Triplet Point GPS: N31 54.533, W97 12.375 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1-ounce slabs CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com, 817-822-5539, www.teamredneck.net TIPS: Bounce 1-ounce slabs along the hump. Make long casts out to the point and bounce them off the bottom on the retrieve. Keep a pair of binoculars handy and glass for birds that may be working over schools of fish. Quick limits are being taken at Triplet Point and from under diving gulls. LOCATION: Lake Waco HOTSPOT: Texas Harbor Marina entrance GPS: N31 31.561, W97 13.688 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plum-colored Texas and Carolina-rigged worms; chartreuse spinnerbaits CONTACT: Jimmy D. Moore, rayado@earthlink.net, 254-744-2104, www.bigtroutman.tripod.com

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TIPS: Position your boat 20-30 feet from shore. Work a Texas-rigged worm close to the rocky bank by casting up on rocks and working back to water. When the worm falls back into the water be ready for a strike. Cover all of the shoreline outside and inside the marina entrance. If the shoreline doesn’t work, back off and fish a Carolina-rig. If that doesn’t work, back off and work a spinnerbait parallel to the shore about six feet out. BANK ACCESS: Any of the parks scattered around the lake for largemouth bass, bream, and crappie. LOCATION: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOTSPOT: Upstream from Gravel Crossing GPS: N30 58.217, W97 41.128 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Small white curl-tail grubs on 1/16-ounce or less jighead CONTACT: Bob Holding, Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com, 254-368-7411, www.holdingthelineguideservice.com TIPS: The river is narrow. Be courteous as you pass others who are already fishing. Practice catch and release as these fish attempt to spawn and sustain the white bass population in the future. Gravel Crossing is unimproved. Consider having a winch in wet conditions. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Old Folks Home area GPS: N95 29.00 W32 15.00 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Mister Twister Comieda worm, spinnerbait; red/black and black/brown/amber Diamond Head jig CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-5617299, www.rickysguideservice.com TIPS: The bass are beginning to spawn and the Old Folks Home area between Flat Creek and Kickapoo Creek typically produces numerous large bass. Fish the humps with jigs and worms and shallower areas with spinnerbaits. The back of Flat Creek and the edges of the main river channel and the nearby flats also are good

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places to catch big spawning and prespawning bass. LOCATION: Belton Lake HOTSPOT: Bear Creek GPS: N31 12.566, W97 30.953 SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: white spinnerbait with Colorado blade CONTACT: Bob Holding, Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com, 254-368-7411, www.holdingthelineguideservice.com TIPS: Fish from tree to tree (vertical and horizontal laydowns). Fish slow on trees by flipping a spinnerbait and letting it helicopter down along the trunk. Fish fast when moving from tree to tree for roaming smaller bass. LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Paw Paw Creek, Mill Creek cut GPS: N33 53.992, W96 53.796; N33 49.793, W96 45.306 SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs CONTACT: Bill Carey, bigfish@striperexpress.com, 877-786-4477, www.striperexpress.com TIPS: In March, the white bass already have spawned and the stripers are staging up the main tributaries. Structure like main lake points, ditches, and creeks will hold stripers. One-ounce Road Runner and Sassy Shad jigs in white or chartreuse will work best. Fish the creeks in 13 to 20 feet of water with a slow retrieve for fish up to 20 pounds. Pay attention to the seagulls; they can be your best fish finder. When you are fishing under the birds keep your lure in the top 15 feet of water. Most activity will be west of the Willis bridge and north of the railroad bridge on the Washita arm of the lake. BANK ACCESS: Slick ‘em Slough, Paw Paw Creek

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TIPS: Fish punch bait, shad, or shrimp under bobbers along the shoreline in three to six feet of water. The fish will be close to the bank at this time of the year and on the move. The shoreline has a lot of underwater branches but tight-lining can pay off in the open areas and off the state park pier.

Getting the Bends for White Bass

www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Trolling is the name of the game at this time of the year. Good electronics are a must. When you come across a bend in the river, make note of it because you likely will catch fish off that bend. If your electronics show a school of fish is there, use jigging spoons to put fish in the boat. BANK ACCESS: Johnson Ranch has a covered fishing area, a boat ramp, and live bait.

LOCATION: Caddo Lake HOTSPOT: Twin Islands to Johnson Ranch area GPS: N32 41.618, W94 05.602 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Trap, Bandit 200 series No. 87 Mad Cow, 1/4ounce white Chatter Bait, 2-1/2-inch Luck E Strike bass Magic swimbait, 1/4-ounce jigging spoon CONTACT: Dennis North, fishinwdennis@yahoo.com, 903-687-2128,

LOCATION: Texana HOTSPOT: Lake Texana State Park shoreline GPS: N28 58.278, W96 32.203 SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: punch bait, shrimp and shad CONTACT: Lake Texana State Park office, 361-782-5718 A L M A N A C

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LOCATION: Lake O’ The Pines HOTSPOT: Cedar Springs area of Old Channel SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: 1/2-ounce red Rat-L-Trap, 1/2-ounce red Chatter Bait, 4-1/2-inch swimbait and weightless Senko CONTACT: Dennis North, fishinwdennis@yahoo.com, 903-687-2128, www.fishingwithdennis.com TIPS: Fish the flats along the river channel very slow. There will be some lily pad stems and some grass that made it through the winter. Start with a Rat-L-Trap to cover a lot of water to locate the fish. If the Rat-L-Trap bite is off switch to the Chatter Bait or swimbait. Later in the day when the water has warmed up go to the weightless Senko and go back over the areas where you caught fish earlier. BANK ACCESS: Cedar Springs Park shoreline LOCATION: Lake Livingston HOTSPOT: Harmon Creek GPS: N31 51.524, W95 21.171 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: white jig, Rat-L-Trap CONTACT: Dave Cox,

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dave@palmettoguideservice.com, 936291-9602, www.palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Locate fish by trolling. Cast out, let bait drop, reel in at medium speed, stop to let bait drop then continue reeling in at medium speed. BANK ACCESS: Harmon Creek Marina LOCATION: Toledo Bend HOTSPOT: Sabine River (Logansport area) GPS: N31 58.352, W94 00.561 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: live crawfish, Road Runners, Rat-L-Traps, shallow diving crankbaits, slab spoons CONTACT: Greg Crafts, Toledo Bend Guide Services and Lake Cottages, gregcrafts@yahoo.com, 936-368-7151, www.toledobendguide.com TIPS: The annual Sabine River white bass run is in full gear in March. Depending on the level of the river and amount of current, the whites may migrate as far north as Longview. There are only a few public boat launches on the river. I suggest Lovett’s (SRA Launch No. 1) south of Logansport, the Logansport bridge, Yellow Dog, McFadden’s, and Highway 2517 bridge south of Carthage. Ask the locals at

the launch sites and they usually will tell you what part of the river the whites are running. Work the flooded sloughs, cuts, and drains with Slab spoons, Road Runners, chrome Rat-L-Traps, shallow-diving crankbaits, tail spinners and live crawfish or shiners. If the river is low, work the sandbars, ditches, and creeks that dump into the river. If the river has a lot of current, fish the eddies with the same baits.

Be Sneaky for Striped Bass LOCATION: Possum Kingdom Lake HOTSPOT: Costello Island GPS: N32 53.632, W98 28.260 SPECIES: Striped bass

BEST BAITS: live shad, 2-5 inches long CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: The striped bass are moving back and forth through the Costello Cut depending on the flow from the Brazos River. Look for gulls—your best eyes and ears on the lake at this time of the year. They will be feeding early north and south of the cut. This is a good time to troll Rat-L-Traps and shallow-running crankbaits but a 3/8ounce jig or Slab is dynamite under the birds. If you find working birds it is best to stop your motor and slip in on them with your trolling motor so you won’t spook the fish. The lighter the wind, the spookier the fish are so this is why you want to sneak in them. You not only will catch more fish but N10 |

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you will not destroy a pattern that is developing or ruin it for other fishermen in the area who have just gotten the action going. The best access is Sam’s Dock in front of Costello Island.

for a variety of fish including crappie. The best access is at the Lake Eddleman park ramp across the lake from the power plant off U.S. Highway 380 just north of the city of Graham.

LOCATION: Lake Graham-Eddleman HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area on Eddleman side GPS: N33 07.594, W98 36.340 SPECIES: hybrid stripers, white bass BEST BAITS: live shad and jigs under weighted corks CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: Unless there is water flowing upstream, the power plant outlet is the place to be. The best baits are live shad that usually are plentiful at the power plant fence and 1/2-ounce bucktail jigs with white or yellow four-inch twister tail grubs. You will primarily catch hybrids but the sand bass will be in there, too. If floodwaters are coming in, shift to the headwaters

LOCATION: Palo Pinto Lake HOTSPOT: Power plant discharge area GPS: N32 39.318, W98 18.244 SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Small jigs and live shad CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036, 940-779-2597 TIPS: This is like any other power generator lake. Go to the water outlet and fish the moving water. Live shad is great but you can catch a basketful of sand bass just bumping jigs off the bottom in the current as it rolls downstream. Use the same tactics as you would on any other generator plant lake.

Crawling Smallies

LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Turkey Creek GPS: N29 51.846, W98 13.152 SPECIES: smallmouth bass BEST BAITS: crawfish-pattern Rat-L-Trap, Smoke-colored JDC Craws, Pumpkin-colored Robo worms, Smoke-colored JDC Craws and Picasso Shakey Heads, Texasrigged with 1/8-ounce Tungsten weights CONTACT: Kandie Candeleria, kandie@gvtc.com, 210-823-2153 TIPS: Look for smallmouth bass in 4 to 12 feet of water on the main lake points and edges of bluffs on the above-mentioned lures.


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them. Drift the reefs letting the wind push your boat.

BANK ACCESS: Potters Creek Park LOCATION: Granger Lake HOTSPOT: Willis Creek Slough SPECIES: white bass, crappie BEST BAITS: small white hair jigs for white bass; 1/16-ounce chartreuse jigs for crappie CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, crappie1@hotmail.com, 512-365-7761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: For white bass, bank-fish and cast jigs, reeling them back with a slow, steady retrieve. For crappie, use a slip bobber set at one foot. Fish along the banks in the thickest brush you can find. Crappie also will be along the clean banks close to deep water. BANK ACCESS: Good access areas are at access point No. 7 (Fox Bottom), the Primitive Launch Area and Dickerson’s Bottom just east of Highway 95. In Willis Creek Park, go to the east side along the paved road. Follow it to crappie Slough.

Match Eel Hatch LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Reefs @ South end of the lake

GPS: N29 47.221, W93 55.919 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Norton Sand Eels, Flounder Pounder soft plastics in Glow/chartreuse, Red Shad, Pumpkin, Salt & Pepper, with a chartreuse tail CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: In March, the reefs area will probably be the saltiest, drawing the fish onto N14 |

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LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Blue Buck Point GPS: N29 47.780, W93 54.439 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics; Catch 2000, Catch 5, Corky CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409-7862018 TIPS: Wind is a big factor in March. Concentrate your fishing efforts on the side of the lake that is protected. For example, if the wind is from the northwest, fish the west side. That’s where you will find your clearer water. If the water is fairly clear, throw either a clear-colored bait with a lot of sparkles and a chartreuse tail. Watermelon with an orange tail is best if the water is dirty. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Madame Johnson Bayou GPS: N29 50.839, W29 50.839 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Catch 2000, Corky for bigger fish; soft plastics for numbers CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Fish the shoreline flats, keying on mullet. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Stewt’s Island GPS: N29 57.899, W93 50.900 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. Robby Trahan, 337309-7881 TIPS: Soft plastic baits are always best to use in trying to locate fish. If you find the fish are big, switch off to topwater baits to try catching a trophy fish.

CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Wade-fish the shoreline if the water temps are in the mid 60s. A key ingredient to a successful trip is a falling tide. Set up on drains and bayous. BANK ACCESS: Exit TX 61 or Anahuac/Hankamer exit off of I-10. Head south on TX 61 for approximately four miles to stop sign. Continue straight through stop sign; the road becomes Hwy 562. Continue on Hwy 562 for approximately 8-1/2 miles to the fork in the road. At the fork, turn left onto FM 1985 and continue straight for an additional four miles to the main refuge entrance. LOCATION: Galveston/ East Bay HOTSPOT: White Head Reef GPS: N29 31.412, W94 42.892 SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: 1/4-ounce lead jigs with a soft plastic; 1-1/4 ounce gold spoon CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281-7884041, 281-339-0475 TIPS: Nobody should leave wherever they are fishing without throwing a gold spoon. It’s amazing when things are a little soft what a gold spoon will do. Drift-fishing is the key after finding scattered shad or mullet.

Port Aransas Reds and Specks LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: South Bay GPS: N27 53.635, W97 05.631 SPECIES: redfish

LOCATION: Galveston/East Bay HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge GPS: N29 33.573, W94 32.266 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: Baby Spooks, She Pups; Corky, Corky Devil in Pearl/hologram sides, chartreuse tail, or dark Plum/white tail

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BEST BAITS: live mullet, shrimp CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Best fished on an outgoing tide; fish tend to hold here. LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: California Hole GPS: N27 55.532, W97 05.040 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored.

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shrimp, and fish the drop-offs. If the bite is very light, switch to a cork 3 feet above your shrimp.

LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Brownsville Ship Channel GPS: N26 2.124, W97 13.108 SPECIES: snook BEST BAITS: live shrimp, soft plastics in chartreuse and New Penny CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956943-3474

TIPS: Water will probably stay cool through March because of the harsher-thannormal winter. Snook stay in deeper water, where there are more comfortable water temperatures. Large live shrimp or finger mullet are good baits; jerk-style shad tails fished on a 1/4-ounce jighead also works well.

E-mail Tom Behrens at tbehrens@fishgame.com E-mail Calixto Gonzales at freshrigs@fishgame.com E-mail Bob Hood at bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: No Name Reef GPS: N27 28.270, W97 03.782 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored.

On the Web www.FishGame.com/hotspots

LOCATION: Port Aransas HOTSPOT: Hog Island GPS: N27 53.751, W97 06.679 SPECIES: speckled trout, redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, mullet under a popping cork; Gulp soft plastics CONTACT: Capt. John Barbree, 361-2220477 TIPS: Use shrimp while drifting and live or cut mullet while anchored.

Laguna Sheep LOCATION: Lower Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Coast Guard Station GPS: N26 4.360, W97 10.031 SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956551-9581 TIPS: Any structure around the bay will hold sheepshead, but the outer part of the sea wall holds some large ones due to its close proximity to deep water. Don’t fish directly next to the wall (they don’t like that), but rather off at an angle and along the channel. Use a standard free-line rig with a live A L M A N A C

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A Bheestly Bheest of a Bag VIRTUALLY EVERY OUTDOORSMAN KNOWS THE PAIN of dropping a cell phone into the drink. Maybe it dropped into the lake, maybe it fell into a mud puddle under your tree stand, or maybe it just sat in your jacket pocket as you got rained on until your clothes soaked through and your phone got wet. In any of these situations, you’ll probably have to buy a new phone. Or you could disassemble it, dry out the pieces and parts, and reassemble it (throwing away the extra parts, of course...where the heck did that screw come from?). Then, you press the power button four or five times. When nothing happens, you throw the phone away and head to the store to buy a new one, like you should have in the first place. Don’t be so quick to toss out that corrupted communicator. There’s a new way to salvage wet electronics, and if my Texas Tested testing is any indication, it works great. The Bheestie Bag looks like a giant version of those little silicon bags (usually filled with silica gel) you find packed with items that are moisture-sensitive, but apparently the stuff inside a Bheestie is a bit different, with listed active ingredients of “molecular sieve.” To test it, I stole my wife’s old cell phone, submerged it for 10 minutes, and then put it into the Bheestie Bag overnight. The next day, when I removed the phone not only was it bone-dry, it actually worked. A week later, my daughter left her treaN16 |

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sured iPod in her pants pocket and Mom ran it through the washing machine. When we finally found it, the iPod was deader then a doornail and water droplets were visible behind the LCD screen. After 48 hours in the Bheestie Bag (the directions recommend leaving submerged items in the bag for 48 to 72 hours), the iPod was back in action and none the worse for wear. If you want to revive soaked electronics, check this one out. The results I experienced were well beyond expectations. —Lenny Rudow

Shimano’s New Ride LOOKING FOR THE CADILLAC OF SPINNING REELS? One that’s built tough, can put on amazing amounts of pressure, and takes in line faster then the competition? Check out Shimano’s new Saragosa 1800F. This reel is so good, it can even be used for pelagic big game fishes that usually require heavy conventional gear. The Saragosa is a heavy-duty spinner designed for the salt, and the 1800F is rated to hold 380 yards of 20-pound-test monofilament. If you’re a braid guy, you’ll be happy to hear I squeezed on 400 yards of 60pound braid, no problem. That’s unheardof, but in this case, completely appropriate because the Saragosa’s drag can be torqued all the way to 44 pounds. I used one tuned to 20 pounds while fishing for grouper and found it enough to nearly yank my arms out of their sockets. Thanks to all of that line capacity, we were able to fish it deep, too, and hitting bottom in 600 feet of water was possible. Take a closer look at the handle shank, which is machined aluminum. On many spinners, this is one spot where the manufacturer tries to save money, and if you stress it from side to side, it bends. But this one’s

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sturdier than the norm and didn’t give one bit. The downside to cranking with a heavyweight like this is it weighs a lot, coming in at a whopping 28.4 ounces. That’s significantly more then most spinning reels of this size (a comparable Penn is over 10 percent lighter), and after a

Shimano Sargosa

full day of fishing, you can feel the difference in your arms. You won’t want to use a reel like the 1800F when you’re casting for slot-sized reds or speckled trout; save this one for the seriously big fish. The Saragosa’s anti-reverse is another feature worth mentioning, since it stood out as we jigged in the deep without any kickback. Those jigs came up fast, too, because the Saragosa features a speedy 4.9:1 retrieve ratio, ripping in 41 inches of line with every revolution of the crank. If you want a Cadillac spinner that can do the work of a conventional, has high line capacity, and can put out as much drag as reels twice its size, the Saragosa is a winner—and that’s not just a bunch of spin. —LR

Winchester SuperX Power Max I RECENTLY RECEIVED A TEST SAMPLE OF THE NEW Winchester Power Max Bonded Core ammunition. Winchester literature says this ammunition is “designed specifically for the A L M A N A C


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white-tailed deer hunter.” The bullet is a “protected hollow point” design (whatever that means) with a lead core bonded to the copper alloy jacket. The bullet features a notched and contoured jacket that aids in rapid expansion. I pulled one of the bullets for inspection; it is a flat-based spitzer, weighs 150.4 grains, and is loaded over 58 grains of what looks like Winchester 760 ball powder. Velocity is listed as 2920 feet per second. I shot the Power Max in a Remington Model 700 BDL topped with a Leupold 39X scope, a wonderfully accurate rig. I found quickly that the new ammunition shoots as good as it looks. The first group I fired at 100 yards had all the holes touching. Average accuracy was just over an inch. So far so good. However, this is bonded core stuff, intended for deer hunting, so the only real way to test it was to take it hunting. There are several ranches in the vicinity that cull a large number of deer each season, and the owners kindly allow me to assist. These are the places where I test rifles and ammo on live targets. They are under the MLD program and the deer shot do not count against my license. This buck was probably beyond 6-1/2 years old. It would weigh around 140 pounds, which was perfect for what I wanted. The main beams of its antlers were short and oddly shaped, with only six short points. It was a cull buck of the most obvious kind. The trouble was that my buck was mixed up with so many other deer that getting a shot at it without hitting another should the bullet pass through (which I hoped it would do) was almost impossible. The waiting was tough, but watching the deer interact was a concentrated class on deer behavior. There aren’t many places where you can sit and watch nearly a hundred deer in such a confined space. Finally, the deer was in the clear. I placed the crosshairs on its shoulder, aiming to break both shoulders and the spine, dropping the buck in its tracks. This shot, performed properly, is as deadly as any you can make on a deer. It is also safer and more positive than neck or head shots, both of which I have seen fail miserably and sickeningly more than once. The high shoulder shot, placed about a third of the way down PHOTOS COURTESY MANUFACTURERS

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Winchester’s new Super-X Power Max ammo from the top of the back, in line with the front leg, is as foolproof as any shot can be on a live animal. Check it out on a deer anatomy diagram. Having a solid rest on the blind window, at about a hundred yards I squeezed off the shot as if I was holding for an X on a bullseye target. When the rifle recoiled, the buck hit the ground so hard it bounced. This was the point where I realized I had forgotten my camera. Sorry. Inspection of the deer revealed that the bullet had done exactly as it should, breaking the near shoulder, shattering the spine, then exiting and taking with it a big chunk of the off shoulder plus a couple of ribs. This is the way a big game bullet is sup-

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posed to perform. It did its job, causing massive internal damage yet still managed to exit. If I had pulled the shot and the deer had run off, there would have been a blood trail to follow. A more fragile bullet might have blown up on the shoulder, failed to achieve sufficient penetration, and left no blood trail. I have seen it happen more than a dozen times. Bullets like the Power Max preclude this. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I like this new Winchester cartridge. —Steve LaMascus

On the Web www.bheestie.com www.shimano.fishing-store.us www.winchester.com

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Baby King Shad Takes a Big Bite STRIKE KING LURE COMPANY, IS PROUD TO welcome the newest member of the King Shad family of swim baits in the New Baby King Shad. The Baby King shad is a 3” long, single jointed swim bait designed with the same action as it’s bigger

brother in the King Shad. Features internal reinforced hinge Baby King design, premium comShad ponents and will dive to 5’. The Baby King Shad is one fine little swim bait the will definitely help you catch more and bigger fish! Tie one on today! Suggested Retail Price: $14.99. Visit www.strikeking.com

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curlytail tentacles add a liveliness that bass will sense underwater. The movement is accentuated when the soft rings Stanley and body parts bump ItzaBug against grass and weeds, making it hard for bass to resist. The small 4-inch ItzaBug is as versatile as it is effective. The soft bait can be fished behind a 1/8 or 1/4ounce jig head as a jig trailer. The wide ringed body opens up and expands the skirt and escaping air bubbles makes it breathe. Great for Carolina or Texas rig and works just as well on a drop shot. How the ItzaBug is fished, is limited only by one’s imagination. See it at www.fishstanley.com/itzabug.

Kicks Howler Chokes KICK’S INDUSTRIES INC. ANNOUNCES THE release of the new “Howler” chokes. The “Howler” chokes are specifically designed predator/coyote hunting.

THE NEW ITZABUG COMBINES THE SOFT REALfeel rings of the Sidewinder lure for the body with a pair of crawfish claws. Throw in a couple of screw-tail tentacles and you have a bug that’s loaded with underwater action. Perfect for pitching and flipping under boat docks, bushes or around cover. ItzaBug’s soft flexible rings trap air, emitting tiny bubbles that imitate a live, breathing crawfish. Bass will hang on tight to the collapsible rings that feel like moving prey in the fish’s mouth. Two flat appendages with pincers and the pair of N18 |

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Kicks Howler Choke

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These chokes will deliver very tight patterns at long ranges. “Howler” chokes are offered in two sizes. The “Howler H” is designed for the Hevi Shot “Dead Coyote” loads while the “Howler L” is designed to be used with either coated or non-coated lead buckshot, specifically #1 or #4 buckshot. “Howler” chokes feature the Kicks extended/ported design and are manufactured in the USA using PH17-4 grade stainless steel with a black finish. “Howler” chokes are available for most 10, 12, and 20ga. shotguns. Kick’s “Howler” chokes, “a predator choke… with Bite!!!” 1-800-587-2779 www.kicks-ind.com, kicks@planters.net

Lindy’s X-Change Jig System WHETHER YOU’RE AFTER LARGEMOUTH BASS, crappies, white bass or other gamefish, the ability to quickly change hook size, jig weight and color to match fishing conditions means more fish Lindy X-Change Jig on every trip. And Lindy’s XChange Jig System lets you choose from 640 hook and jighead color and size combinations instantly, without retying! The secret is a patented system of specially designed jigheads that snap quickly and securely onto Lindy’s hook-collar receivers. The X-Change lineup features 20 jighead color choices in weights from 1/16- to 3/8-ounce. Hooks are available in new size 2 and 2/0 in four color options, all with Lindy’s trademark Max Gap hook, which has a 10-degree wider gap A L M A N A C


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Lindy X-Change System

than normal jig hooks for increased hookup ratios. Experts like southern crappie and bass pro Todd Huckabee swear by the XChange System for situations ranging from long-poling crappies to pitching shaky-head presentations along docks for bass. “I can tailor my components to get the correct color, fall rate and size in seconds, without retying or changing the plastic trailers,” says Huckabee. “Plain and simple, it makes me a more efficient angler.” X-Change Jig System hooks, jigheads, master packs and kits are available at fine retailers everywhere. Or, learn more at www.Lindyfishingtackle.com.

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“We’ve brought a great product to the fishing tackle market while shattering the price point that most companies would charge for a tool of this quality” stated company Vice President Don Newman. “On the water testing has proven the durability of this tool, from removing hooks, to cutting through braided line and mono, all while exposed to the harsh saltwater environment. It’s a must have for any deckhand or tournament angler.”

Cast Far without Backlash SPEND LESS TIME DEALING WITH TANGLED LINE and more time catching fish. The Sharkfin spinning reel by Castalia Outdoors allows you to do just that. It is uniquely designed to cast farther and eliminate tangles often encoun-

Castalia Sharkfin

P-Line Adaro: Serious Pliers P-LINE, THE COMPANY LONG KNOWN FOR making great fishing line has now entered the premium fishing tool business. The PLine Adaro Pliers are made from machine cut aluminum, which makes them extremely light weight, and resistant to corrosion. The jaws are made from a coated stainless steel for rugged durability. The P-Line most usable feaAdaro ture to the angler Pliers is the tungsten carbide jaws which are specifically designed for cutting through braided line.

Paired up with a free cordura belt pouch and a strong nylon lanyard, you now have the ultimate tool for the serious angler. PHOTOS COURTESY MANUFACTURERS

tered with spinning reels. The German-engineered “fin-shaped” spool design reduces friction on the line during the cast, allowing the angler to cast farther and with greater accuracy, and eliminating tangles and “birdnests.” The Sharkfin needs no special instruction, use like any standard spool, is braid-friendly, and works with all reel-recommended line diameters. Two models are available, the 2000 for freshwater and inshore saltwater; model 4000 for inshore and light offshore. MSRP $119.99 and $149.99. Visit www.castaliaoutdoors.com or call 1-800-558-5541.

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Wiley X Fights Breast Cancer WILEY X IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT IN 2010, it will donate $3.50 from the sale of each pair of its bestselling Lacey sunglasses with advanced 8-layer polarized lenses to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). These top quality, lifetime warranty sunglasses with Italian styling are fashionable yet functional for anglers and boaters. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide. “We’re fortunate that our Laceys have gained such widespread popularity, and we are honored to have the chance to partner with such a successful, well respected organization like BCRF in this fight for a cure,” says Myles Freeman, President of Sales for Wiley X. Wiley X is a leading innovator of performance protective eyewear, each designed with the same impact-resistant lenses and shatterproof frames that have made Wiley X a leading choice of U.S. Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and other elite Special Forces Units in action around the world. Wiley X’s High Velocity Protection

Wiley-X Laceys (HVP(tm)) Selenite(tm) lenses exceed stringent ANSI Z87.1 safety standards for superior impact resistance and distortion free vision, qualifying their eyewear as OSHA grade Occupational Eye Protection. $146 suggested retail price. (800) 7767842/www.wileyx.com

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Target Handles X-Bows

Headquartered in Superior, Wisconsin, Field Logic is the manufacturer of the award-winning Block and the new Block Fusion. It also manufactures GlenDel 3D targets.

THE NEW BLOCK FUSION CROSSBOW TARGET WAS designed specifically to top stop 400+ FPS crossbow bolts. The PolyFusion design in the Block Fusion Crossbow Target provides even longer target life and increases ease of arrow removal. It is black with white targets and features the new Block Game Face on two of the four shooting sides. This feature offers archers six game species (elk, deer, moose, pronghorn, bear, and turkey) in various sizes, thereby simulating both short- and long-range shooting. The Block Fusion Crossbow Targets also features the ever-popular deer vitals. Available in an 18x18x16 and 16x16x12, these new targets will be available immediately at retailers nationwide at retail prices of $159.99 and $109.99, respectively.

Rage 125-Grain 2Blade Broadhead

Block Fusion target

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For those wanting a heavier broadhead with the unprecedented success of the Rage design, the 125grain 2-blade is available at retailers nationwide. The 125-grain Rage has a black ferrule and the practice head is silver. It will be sold in packs of three broadheads with a free

IN RESPONSE TO CONTINUAL CUSTOMER REQUESTS, Rage Broadheads has announced the production of its new heavyweight 125-grain 2-blade broadhead. With the same 2-inch cutting

diameter as the popular 100-grain Rage, this new broadhead offers more weight in the ferrule for inflicting maximum damage and penetration. The revolutionary SlipCam rear blade deployment system on the 125grain mechanical Rage broadhead offers fully deployed blades immediately upon impact, with no loss of kinetic energy. This results in creating huge entry holes, gaping wound channels, and unprecedented blood trails. Rage is not only the most humane broadhead on the market, it is also the most forgiving, and now it is available in 125-grain 2blade design.

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Rage Broadhead practice head for $44.99. The Rage is available in 100-grain in a 2-blade design with the new 1.5-inch or the giant 2-inch cutting diameter, or a 3-blade design with a 1.5-inch cutting diameter.

On the Web www.fieldlogic.com www.ragebroadheads.com A L M A N A C

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2/3/10

1:05 PM

Russelure Resurrected in Texas S I SAT IN MIKE FELT’S OFFICE, MY EYES kept wandering to the framed lures on the walls. Shiny metal lures in descending sizes, each nested inside a larger version were tastefully displayed in shadow boxes. I had no idea that Russelures came in so many different sizes. Why didn’t I know about them?

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by Greg Berlocher Russelure was the standard on the Texas coast for many years when it came to offshore baits. Then the brand slowly waned, ultimately disappearing from the shelves of outdoor stores. Fortunately, the brand didn’t disappear from the minds of offshore anglers. Felts, a blue water angler himself, was looking to purchase some new Russelures and ended up buying the company from its owners in California. He recently relocated the company headquarters to Houston and has been busy reintroducing the metal lure to fishermen all over the world. Russelure has an interesting history. J.K. Russel founded the company in 1947, creating an odd shaped lure some likened to a concave banana. The company changed hands in the late 1950s when the Bauth family purchased it from the Russel estate. Felt became the company’s third owner in 2009. Armed with a history lesson and a bag full of Russelures, I headed out to the lake in my neighborhood for some field-testing. Frequent readers of this column know this is as the lake with the “No Fishing!” signs posted prominently around the perimeter. Since I am offiPHOTOS COURTESY RUSSELURE

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cially doing research for TF&G, I have determined that the posting doesn’t apply to me and I sallied forth to lake’s edge gripping a handful of rods. Russelures are manufactured in eight different sizes ranging in length from a scant 1 inch to 6.5 inches. Anglers have eleven different color schemes to choose from. Ask any salty veteran of the Gulf and they will attest that the 5- and 6.5-inch models are deadly on kingfish, dorado, and wahoo. While the 1- inch model appears that it would be villainous on crappie and the 1.5inch lures are widely used for rainbow and brown trout in colder climates, I focused on the 2- and 3-inch models and was eager to test the concave body’s action against a graphite rod and light monofilament. The 2- and 3-inch Russelures are equipped with two different tie rings; the smaller versions have a single ring, while the large lures have three ring ties. Attach your line to the front ring and the lure takes a shallow tack as it is retrieved; snug a knot on the back tie and the lure digs deeper while being retrieved. The Russelure’s concave metal body is a bit deceiving. The rounded gutter suggests it is a deep diver but with the line tied to the front ring and a bit of high sticking with your rod tip, the lure cam be made to run very shallow - just right to buzz over the top of a bed of submerged hydrilla or bed of shoal grass at the coast. The lures will dig deep if you want them to. Images of a Russelure rooting along a mud bottom, kicking up a trail of silt, comes to mind. A 3-inch model would be ideal for taking big bass suspended under “schoolies” busting shad in the fall. It would also be a

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great trolling bait for white bass and stripers in open water. The mid-size Russelures are great bay baits as well. They cover a lot of water and are easy to work. Rigged to dive deep, they would be great to pull down the face of a jetty. Since the lures sport an anodized or powder coated finish, you can bounce them off the granite without fear of marring their luster. What I discovered in “Research Lake” was the pleasing side-to-side action the Russelures exhibit when retrieved. The frenetic side-ways shuffle is much more pronounced than the wiggle of a lipless crankbait. Offshore versions of the Russelure will actually roam three to four feet, or more, skirting from one side to the other and then back again; the smaller freshwater versions do not skitter as far but do a lot more than just wiggle their hips. As far as the future is concerned, Felts is pretty much maintaining the status quo. He will continue to manufacture Russelures in the United States out of high strength aluminum blanks and quality brass components, and he will equip each lure with Mustad hooks. There is a lot to like about Russelure’s line, but there are a few things I wish they offered. The hooks on the 3-inch models are more suited for 50-pound lake trout than 10pound redfish. A smaller set of trebles would be a nice option. An out-of-the-box kingfish version equipped with a factory built 20-inch steel leader would make a nice addition as well. Russelures are available, or will be in the next 90 days, at most major outdoor stores. Depending on the Russelure’s size, the MSRP ranges in price from $4.50 to $12.95.

On the Web www.russelure.com

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2/1/10

7:57 PM

A Bird on My Knee S BOWHUNTING EDITOR FOR THIS MAGAzine, I am not too proud to tell you my sad tale of woe. I have to admit that although this deer season was not the worst one I have ever experienced, it did come very close. To be honest, I did not get a lot of time to hunt this past season. A host of other obligations seemed to take precedence, all of which were unavoidable and certainly more important than taking my bow after the elusive (and it was elusive) whitetail. However, the times I did get to go brought days of promise that this was the day I would score on that big buck that has been making all the deer sign around my stands. What happened? The short answer is: I was showered with luck every time I walked into the woods—bad luck. It might have been the hunter who walked in on my setup, claiming he did not know that it was my lease. It could have been my hunting buddy who claimed he needed a new alarm clock. (Apparently, the one he already owned would not work at such an early hour.) It might have been Mother Nature doing what she does best as she pours buckets of rain on the already saturated ground. At times, it seemed as though it would rain only on the days I was able to find some free time to get out there and try my luck. Whatever the reason, the outcome remained the same. There would be no big bucks in my freezer this year. I was able to arrow a nice doe early in the season and that was a very tasty addition to the family larder. I can say only that had it not been for that lone doe that made the mistake of coming my way, I would have gone without venison entirely.

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I realize that I am not alone here. I am sure there are others out there that had the same type of year that I did. At least I hope I wasn’t the only one. The point is, seasons like this happen to all of us. It is not like on the TV shows where the mighty hunters always seem to have their best luck in the last hour of the last day. I have been on some of those TV hunts, and sometimes you win and sometimes the deer win, just like in real life. A wise man I called “Dad” once told me that if you got a deer every single time you went hunting, it just would not be as much fun. He was right. If we got a deer every time we went out there, we would call it “shopping.”

If we got a deer every time we went out, we would call it ‘shopping.’

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I will admit, however, that after waking up at dark-thirty day after day and staying in the field until I could barely keep my eyes open, I was growing more and more upset over the fact that I just was not seeing any deer. I was not the most pleasant person to be around. That’s what my wife told me, anyway. At the time, I disagreed with her, and in a tone that could have been misunderstood as hostile. Maybe it was just a tad on the hostile side, but I blame it on exhaustion and not being in my right mind. Deer season had taken over my brain. My wife asked one little question that woke me up and magically took away all that hostility: “Why do you hunt?” I sat down and thought about it for a

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moment, and then with a grin as wide as you can imagine, I answered: “I hunt to have a longer season. I hunt for the camaraderie. I hunt for family tradition. I hunt to have fun.” There are many reasons I love to bowhunt for deer, but killing a deer is not on the list. Oh, ultimately, that is what happens. We take the life of a deer or whatever we hunt, but that is not the “reason” we are out there. I am sure that as you read this you will think of many other reasons you love the outdoors. There is a special feeling for the individual that leaves the pavement and becomes one with nature for a while. I had to think about all the good things that did happen to me this season. I was able to watch as a coyote made its way under my stand and searched for its dinner. I watched in amazement as a redtail hawk swooped down on an unsuspecting squirrel. I could almost see its “Oh, crap!” eyes as it went sailing down the field in the grasp of the hawk’s talons. And probably the most fun I had in the woods was when a small bird landed on my boots and began to peck at the rubber bark. I remember smiling and sitting still as the bird decided to rest on my knee while it sang its morning song. This is why I get up so early in the morning. This is why I stay in the field so long. This is why I hunt. You just cannot see anything like this in your living room, and believe me, once you witness something as wondrous as a morning in the woodlot, you will not soon forget it. I had to thank my wife for reminding me about the reasons I hunt. I wish she would join me sometime. “Live every day like it’s your last...one day, you’ll be right.”

E-mail Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com A L M A N A C


2/1/10

7:58 PM

Eyes and Ears, Part 2 REMEMBER READING A STORY LONG AGO ABOUT a group of old gun writers who had gathered in the bar at some kind of writer’s convention. As the story goes, the loud voices could be heard all over the lobby of the hotel. People were peeking into the bar, others were trying to sneak out to avoid what they thought was a fight about to erupt. Finally, someone from the hotel waded into the group to break up the argument, only to find out the old gun writers were simply deaf as stones and having a friendly—albeit shouted—conversation. It is, unfortunately, an occupational hazard. I still remember the very first time I fired a .357 Magnum handgun. I was in my teens at the time and thought I was as tough as rawhide. I reared back the hammer on the big Ruger, took a bead on the target, and squeezed off the shot. I thought someone had stabbed me in the ears with ice picks. I nearly dropped the gun it hurt so bad, and my ears rang for a week. Heck, they’re still ringing. Elmer Keith once made the statement that a shooter just had to get used to the loud report of a magnum handgun. He didn’t realize it, but what he was saying was that eventually you got deaf enough it didn’t hurt anymore. Not a very efficient way to overcome a problem. Like most older shooters, I do not hear as well as I once did. Our editor, Don Zaidle, says he has “the hearing of a fireplug” because he “shot out” his hearing. Obviously, we both failed to use hearing protection when it mattered. By the time we figured out we really weren’t immortal and invulnerable, it was too late. Today, I protect what hearing I have left.

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Sometimes, especially when shooting a gun with a muzzle brake, I wear both earplugs and earmuffs. My brother, David, has worn both for years while shooting competition skeet. So, the obvious question is, “What is the best way to protect your hearing?” The obvious answer is to wear both plugs and muffs. However, most of us are not going to do that; some prefer plugs, and some muffs. When I was shooting competition skeet, I preferred a pair of fitted earplugs. They are made by putting a piece of material down into the ear canal with a thread attached so it can be easily removed, and then squirting the ear canal full of quick-drying foam or plastic that conforms to the shape of the ear. The resulting cast is sent to a manufacturer that makes a

Like most older shooters, I do not hear as well as I once did.

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mold of your ear canal and creates a set of earplugs that, hopefully, fit exactly. I used a set of these for years and think they are the best possible protection. However, they are somewhat difficult to insert and are not the most comfortable to wear. Almost as good, when properly inserted, are simple foam earplugs. These are disposable, inexpensive, and help prevent damage to your ears. The working phrase is “when properly inserted.” They must completely seal the ear or they don’t work well. Muffs are easy to use. They are not as comfortable as plugs in hot climates. I tried for a while to use muffs shooting skeet in

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San Antonio. In the middle of the summer, with the temperature soaring well above 100, muffs are bloody uncomfortable; they are also difficult to wear with a hat. I switched to earplugs. However, these days, when I head out to my range to shoot a rifle or handgun, I usually wear muffs. Then there are electronic hearing protectors. I have a set of Surefire electronic earplugs that I love for hunting. They protect my hearing but allow me to hear the little sounds that the Brush Country is full of, and that tell you many things if you can hear them. Around my own range, especially when I have company, I wear a pair of Walker’s Power Muff Quads electronic muffs. These are beautifully engineered, sturdy, durable, directional (they have two microphones on each side), and have enough volume to actually allow you to hear better than normal. Some of the cheaper electronic muffs do not have sufficient volume. Which form of protection you use is up to you. You can go cheap or invest substantial lucre. Whatever you choose, please use it, religiously. People grow weary of you shouting “Wazzat?” with your hand cupped to your ear.

E-mail Steve LaMascus at guns@fishgame.com

On the Web www.walkersgameear.com www.howardleight.com www.ehphearing.com

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2/1/10

7:58 PM

Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp HILE SHOPPING WITH MY WIFE LAST Christmas, we ran into old friend David Todd, who owns and operates Outdoor Texas Camp. It is hard to believe that five years have passed since I met Todd at the Texas Outdoor Writers Association Conference in Uvalde. Todd, nationally known dealer in outdoor art and a passionate outdoorsman, had just invested a small fortune in the dream of developing a camp for young people where they would be introduced to outdoor activities. Shotgun and rifle shooting, dog training, game calling, bow hunting, outdoor photography, fishing, first aid, and outdoor survival skills were all on the docket during the weeklong camps. Mix in a healthy dose of fun and hold the camp at a modern, comfortable facility, and the stage was set for success. Fast-forward a handful of years, and Outdoor Texas Camp has been a huge success with over 1200 campers immersed in outdoor activities. Todd is a great listener and has his finger directly on the pulse of his young customers and their parents—and grandparents, and aunts, and uncles. Follow-up surveys after the camps revealed a hunger for additional outdoor-related camps. This desire morphed into advanced camps away from the base camp at Stoney Creek Ranch near Columbus. Waterfowl Camp, Deer Camp, Fly-Fishing Camp, and Saltwater Camp have been added over the years. Kayak Camp is an outgrowth of Todd’s highly successful Saltwater Camp where

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campers are introduced to kayak fishing. The campers let him know that they wished there was a camp dedicated to kayak fishing. That is all Todd needed to hear. Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp will be held at a 12-bedroom private retreat in Port Aransas this summer, limited to 15 boys age 11-16. “Port Aransas is hard to beat as a kayak destination,” explained Todd. “Everyone at Saltwater Camp last year wished they could have spent more time fishing from a kayak. At this camp, the campers will be able to fish every morning and afternoon from a kayak. And since there are so many kayak friendly areas around Port Aransas, each group will get to fish a new location every day.”

Kayak Camp is an outgrowth of Todd’s successful Saltwater Camp.

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Todd stresses personal instruction at his camps, and Kayak Camp is no exception. He has five kayak instructors lined up, one for each three campers. Kayak angling is taught in detail throughout the week. Topics include kayak rigging, paddling, safety training, fish identification, lure and fly selection, and a wealth of information about fishing from a kayak. Campers will even have the chance to learn to cast flies on the flats if they desire. There is always some downtime planned at Todd’s camps so the campers can relax and just be kids. Trips to the beach and jetties are on the itinerary at Kayak Camp. “Kayak angling has grown substantially over the last decade,” Todd said. “A family

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can spend $2000 and outfit two really good kayaks. There are a million good places for a father and son or father and daughter to fish. “All of the kids at Saltwater Camp caught fish last year. The day they fished from kayaks, the catch totaled 37 trout and redfish. We have a big fish fry the last night of camp with the fish we catch during the week. They kids caught so many last year there were plenty left over to take home.” Throughout the years, one of the recurring themes Todd has heard from his campers is the desire to share what they have learned with a loved one. Todd has added a new concept this year to Kayak Camp called Add-A-Dad. A father, big brother, or uncle can join their young charge Thursday evening and spend the last day of camp fishing with their camper. Due to space limitations at the retreat in Port Aransas, they can accommodate only five Ad-A-Dads. Many of the kids who attend Todd’s outdoor camps already have a love for outdoor activities, but are often exposed to something new. Many come away passionate about a new aspect of the outdoors, as did like my son. Our youngest son attended a session at Stoney Creek Ranch four years ago and has been completely eaten up with bowhunting ever since. If you send your son to Outdoor Texas Kayak Camp, expect the same response. Kayak Camp is scheduled for July 2531. Greg Berlocher’ latest book, “Kayak Texas” is now available. Order it at www.FishGame.com, or ask your favorite outdoor retailer. Email Greg at kayak@fishgame.com.

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


2/1/10

7:59 PM

Free-lining AVE YOU EVER HEARD OR USED THE acronym KISS? If not, you are about to learn something new. This one’s free. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid, which is a great way to approach most angling situations. Space age

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lures and hard-to-learn techniques are nice, but are not always necessary. There are literally hundreds of ways to chase the Big Three of inshore saltwater species (speckled trout, redfish, and flounder), from elaborate multi-hook contraptions to basic jigs and soft plastics, and very easy live bait rigs. Sometimes, these simple rigs are the most effective. Well, today you’re in luck because were about to go over the easiest rig in the world to tie, and we’ll even look at a few additions that make this simple setup versatile enough to be used in multiple situations. There isn’t a fish in the ocean that will turn down a shrimp if it’s placed in front of it, so if you want to make sure that you almost never get skunked after a day out on the water, you need to know how to rig a shrimp. A fish-finder (Carolina) rig or popping cork are popular ways to present a shrimp, but both have their limits. A fish-finder goes straight to the bottom so the fish have to be feeding near the bottom if using this one. Also, using a fish-finder around reefs or jetties is a great way to get cut off on the structure. On the other hand, a popping cork is good around structure but is limited because it can only be fished about four feet deep due to the difficulty in casting a cork rigged ILLUSTRATION BY PAUL BRADSHAW

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with a leader much longer than three to four feet hanging below it. Instead of using either of these, an easier (and arguably better) way to rig a shrimp is on a very basic free-lining rig. Free-lining can be the epitome of simple. If you want to you can go as basic as simply tying a hook onto the end of your main line. That’s it. Now, if you want to get a little more elaborate you can make a few minor adjustments that will make the free-lining rig a little more

versatile. Start by tying a barrel swivel onto your main line. Don’t use a flashy swivel, go with black. The reason behind this is if you spend a lot of time fishing jetties then you will undoubtedly come

There are hundreds of ways to chase the big three of inshore species.

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across Spanish mackerel, which have teeth and like to hit flashy lures. A shiny swivel is just inviting trouble, as the mackerel will hit the swivel and cut you off. On the other side of the swivel tie a short leader of monofilament or fluorocarbon that is heaver than your main line so it can be more abrasion resistant when rubbed against rocks and also be able to stand up to hard hits. This leader should be no more than 18 inches long to make it easier to cast. While we are on casting, free-lining is not impossible with a bait-caster but due to the light weight of the rig, it is much easier to

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cast with spinning gear. At the end of the leader tie on a bait hook. A lot of anglers used to put a treble hook here to increase hook-ups but a circle hook will work just as well in most cases. Just remember that when the fish strikes all you do is apply pressure instead of making a knee buckling hook-set. The purpose behind freelining shrimp is to allow the bait to sink slowly in a natur-

al manner but sometimes you need it to get deeper just a little quicker, which means you have to add weight. Do this by crimping a small split shot (or some Tung-Fu putty) on the main line above the leader. There are a couple different ways to hook a shrimp when free-lining and which one you use is generally based on angler preference. If you hook the shrimp in the head, run the hook from the side under the horn, being careful not to puncture any of the major organs so the bait stays lively. If rigging through the tail run the hook up from the bottom through the end of the tail just above the fan. Rigging from the bottom up keeps the hook tip pointing up and away from snags.

E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

On the Web www.fishgame.com/howto

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7:59 PM

Stern Warnings ONTHS OF PLANNING, HUNDREDS OF gallons of fuel, and endless hours of preparation had finally come together in this one moment--a 500- to 600-pound blue marlin was greyhounding across the ocean surface just 30 yards away from me, throwing its head from side to side in a frantic effort to rid itself of the circle hook planted in its jaw. The angler cranked his reel, the captain jockeyed his throttles, and I photographed the scene as it unfolded while shielding my camera from spray as waves crashed into the transom. That fish had us fooled. We thought it was close to giving in, but instead it turned tail and ran off a solid 200 yards of line. Worried it was getting too far away from the boat, the captain reversed the engines and poured on the coal. Water immediately started rushing into the cockpit from under the transom door, then a wave over-topped the transom. Suddenly, my camera was dripping wet and I was ankle-deep. “Is that engine hatch water-tight?” I shouted, pointing to the deck. I wasn’t happy when the captain yelled back, “I don’t know. Never had this much water in the cockpit before!” I was even less happy when, moments later, one of the engines suddenly shut down. A spot nearly 100 miles from the inlet-which can be distinguished from its endless surroundings only by a set of GPS coordinates--is not a good setting to test the seal on a deck hatch. Nor is it a place one should intentionally flood the cockpit of his boat, whether the fish of a lifetime is on the line or not. As one might expect, soon after losing the ability to maneuver, we lost the fish.

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Luckily, the engine re-started and we continued our trip without further difficulties, but the results could have been disastrous. And it was all because the guy at the wheel forgot the most essential, basic rule of captaining a boat: keep the pointy end into the waves. Whether you run a bay boat, blue water battlewagon, or backwater hunting-rig, this rule holds true for your boat and for virtually every other one on the planet. And as a result, a huge proportion of the sinkings that occur each year result from the transom taking a wave. Will you remember this rule? We sure hope so. Here are some others that will help keep your transom dry and your boat afloat. Rule No. 2: Never anchor astern. There is no valid reason to ever secure an anchor line to a stern cleat, period. This absolutely guarantees that your transom will be facing the waves, and even worse, tension on the anchor line will constantly pull the stern lower. When waves arrive the boat can’t rise over them, and that leaves only one other option; we think you know what that is. You’re not worried, because it’s calm and there are no other boats around. Just ask yourself how many times you’ve been hit by a boat wake without warning. It happens, and if it happens when you’re anchored astern... Rule No. 3: Avoid cutout transoms. Yes, I know there have been hundreds of models of boats built with cutouts, and they’ve been operating safely on the water for many years. I also know that they’re more likely than full-transom designs to suck in a belly full of water. If you absolutely must have a boat that has a cutout transom, consider adding a folding gate or door in front of it, which can be locked into position as soon as the motor is tilted down and you’re ready to push off the dock. Rule No. 4: Slow down slowly in a following sea. In many cases, a following sea is

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actually more dangerous then a head sea. Again, remember that thing about keeping the pointy end of the boat facing the waves. If the seas are rolling in astern and you cut back the throttles too swiftly, a wave that’s moving faster then your boat can easily wash right in from behind you. And since you’re moving forward at a good clip, the stern of your boat is being sucked down to some degree when you chop the throttle. Slowing down gradually allows the stern to rise up out of the water to its normal height. In extremely rough seas, you might need to consider turning the boat into the waves before coming all the way off plane. In outboard and stern-drive boats, you can also reduce the likelihood of flooding by trimming the outdrive all the way down, so prop thrust helps push the stern up. (Note: Do not do this while running at high speeds. Every action has a reaction, and when you trim the drive to push the stern up, you’re also trimming it to push the bow down.) Rule No. 5: Don’t get close, dangerclose, to any type of float that’s anchored to the bottom. Three or four years ago, I was on a boat that came damn near sinking because it came too close to a big polyball marker that was tied off to some sort of fish trap. The captain zigged when he should have zagged, wrapped the float’s line around a prop, and suddenly we were (essentially) anchored off the stern in violation of Rule No. 2. Three waves in a row washed right into the boat, and by the time we cut the line free and began the dewatering process, we were dangerously close to the point of no recovery. Rule No. 6: Watch your weight distribution. Particularly on small boats, crowded boats, and hunting rigs outfitted with plywood brush-blinds, it’s easy to change the boat’s weight distribution for the worse. On an average 16-foot johnboat, for example, putting a pair of grown men on the aft bench seat can lower transom height as much as 2 CONTINUED on Page N30  A L M A N A C


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TEXAS SALTWATER

ROCKPORT

BAFFIN BAY

Captain Matt Danysh 29 inch Trout Upper Laguna Madre

GALVESTON

Shelley Trout kins Captain A ice rv e S e id u G

UPPER COAST (SABINE LAKE)

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

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

TEXAS SALTWATER

TEXAS FRESHWATER

CORPUS CHRISTI

EAST TEXAS

For Classified Rates and Information call Dennise at 1-800-750-4678, ext. 5579. N28 |

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Mitchell Skarban’s

Brittany, Andrew , Hannah, Dalton and Johnny all caught trout w/ Rockport Red Runner

First Buck White Oak Outfitters

Strasmeyer Friends Striper Express Guide Service

TEXAS FRESHWATER

TEXAS HUNTING

OUTDOOR SHOPPER

LAKE TEXOMA

OUTDOOR SHOPPER LAKE AMISTAD

ADVERTISERS, SEND IN YOUR PHOTOS TODAY!

SPOTLIGHT: WHITE OAK OUTFITTERS

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

TEXAS HUNTING

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White Oak Outfitters, Inc. was formed in 1993. They originally hunted on 160 acres, but have now grown to right at 3000 acres of hunting land. They maintain 34 timered feeders year-round and spent the first week of September planting food plots for deer. White Oak Outfitters, Inc. is a family operation headquartered in the barn at their home. The price includes lodging and they have room enough for fourteen. Hog hunting is available year-round and deer season opens up the first weekend in November and runs in to early January. Over the years, they have established many fond friendships and have a high rate of repeat customers. Call Bruce Hunnicut (903.537.2651) today and plan your next hunting trip!

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Ingredients

Slaven’s Venison Stew with Red Wine

2 lb. of venison backstrap and 2 lb. boneless beef sirloin tip or chuck roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch chunks (2 pounds of lean eye of round or other type roast can be substituted for the venison, but you still need a total of 4 pounds of meat)

E HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING ONE OF the coldest winters here in Houston since 1989. This is a great time to serve some venison that will be a sure winner at the camp or at home. Make this stew a tradition for you and your family to enjoy when it gets cold outside. This traditional dish serves as a great meal all on its own. It can be baked in the oven if desired.

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Yields: 8 main-dish servings Total Time: 2 hr 30 min Prep Time: 45 min Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min

2 Tbs. olive oil 2 Tbs. unsalted butter 3 large carrots cut into 1-inch pieces 3 large parsnips cut into 1/4-inch slices 2 ears of sweet corn, shucked and cut off of the cob fresh 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced thin (this results in a smoother flavor) 1 large onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 10 small boiler onions peeled and left whole 10 small new potatoes rinsed, cleaned, and quartered 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour 1 29-oz. can diced tomatoes 2 14-oz. cans of low sodium beef broth 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper 2 cups dry red wine (I really like the peppery taste of a Shiraz for the stew) 4 sprigs fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. dried or fresh basil 2 pints fresh mushrooms sliced into 1/2-

inch thick pieces 1 red bell pepper sliced into 3/4-inch pieces 1/2 lb. of fresh green beans cut into 11/2-inch pieces 1 bag (16-oz.) frozen peas

Directions In 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Pat beef dry with paper towels. Add beef in small batches (do not crowd the meat in the pan) and cook 56 minutes per batch or until well browned on all sides. With slotted spoon, transfer beef to medium bowl. (The meat pieces must be pat dry and not touching to brown properly.) To drippings in Dutch oven, add chopped onion and cook 10 minutes or until onion is browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour, canned tomatoes, and 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper; cook 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add wine and heat to boiling, stirring until browned bits are loosened from bottom of pan. (The browned bits that form on the bottom of the pan add tremendous flavor. This is known as the “fond.”) Return meat and any meat juices in bowl to Dutch oven. Add thyme, basil, cumin,

TEXAS BOATING  Continued from Page N26 inches. Add in a heavy blind with most of its bracing in the rear, and you might only have a few inches of freeboard left. Now add an energetic retriever and an unexpected boat wake into the mix...you get the picture. Rule No. 7: Never tow a boat that’s significantly larger then your own, particularly in a following sea. You need to apply a fair amount of power to get that large N30 |

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load moving, which means your propeller will be digging a pretty big hole in the water. The stern of your boat will get pulled down, and your transom will go lower and lower. In fact, you don’t even need large waves to make this a dangerous situation. Apply enough power, and it’s possible to literally suck the stern of your own boat below the waterline. Of course, you can’t just abandon someone in need of assistance. Call for help, or if you must, tow the boat at an

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extremely low rate of speed with as much rope between you as possible. Follow these seven rules, and hopefully, you’ll never look over your shoulder to see water pouring in over the transom. If you just can’t keep ‘em straight, trade in your boat for a kayak. Then, both ends will be pointy. E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

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and the rest of the vegetables except the peas; heat to boiling. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1-1/2 hours or until meat is fork tender, stirring a few times. Discard thyme sprigs if using fresh thyme. Just before stew is done, stir in peas and allow them to heat through for 4-5 minutes. If baking the stew, cover and bake at 350 for 1-1/2 hours, stirring once. Enjoy with some fresh yeast rolls. (Some like to serve the stew over egg noodles.) Bon appĂŠtit!

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

PHOTO BY BRYAN SLAVEN

On the Web www.thetexasgourmet.com

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Trophy Quest

Personal Best Catfish J (GUS) NOVAK WAS USED TO CATCHING CATfish in the 3- to 5-pound range on Choke Canyon, and his biggest fish ever was 5 pounds. In December, fishing with guide Jackie Kennedy, he broke his personal record by 46 pounds, boating a 51-pound blue catfish. His fishing partner, Roger Schott, added a 34-pound blue. Both men are retired schoolteachers from Pleasanton, Texas. Inclement weather prevented Novak,

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by Tom Behrens winner of the November Trophy Quest, from fishing on the scheduled day. The rescheduled day in December wasn’t much better, but if you are going to have a chance at a trophy blue, December-March are the months you need to fish. The temperature was right at freezing and the wind blowing 20 mph at launch time. It was hard leaving the nice warm cabin and breakfast served up at Cabins at Cherry Creek. Kennedy’s preferred method of fishing is anchoring and laying out a baited hook on the bottom. That was not going to happen on this trip without taking on some serious amount of water in the boat.

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

A.J. (Gus) Novak and Roger Schott each caught personal best blue cats on their TF&G Trophy Quest trip. “I drifted some areas that I normally anchor on, using Carolina rigs,” said Kennedy. “I think it is really important on an older lake like Cedar Creek that has a lot of silt on the bottom to get the bait drifting above the bottom. They prefer that bait up out of the silt.” On the first drift in a selected area, nobody hooked a fish. “If somebody would have said, ‘Let’s quit,’ we would have gone back to the cabin,” said Novak. On the second drift, the action and the temperature were on the rise. A few fish

Texas. The package includes a guided trip for two people, one night's lodging and all food and beverage (non-alcohol). Winners are responsible for all travel expenses getting to and from the destination point. HERE'S HOW YOU WIN! If you are a TF&G subscriber, your name is automatically entered on our monthly Trophy Quest Trip drawing. If you are a subscriber and would like T E X A S

were caught, the biggest 19.5 pounds. The third drift produced the 51.3-pound trophy. It got even better on the fourth drift. By this time, it was around noon and the temperature had risen to 47 degrees— almost balmy. Schott boated a 34.5-pound blue. “We had three fish in the boat all at one time that weighed 30-plus pounds each,” said Kennedy. By the time the trip was over at 2 p.m., Novak and Schott had caught 15 blues with a total weight of 235 pounds. They were all returned to the lake, with the exception of seven fish in the 2- to 3- pound range that were filleted. Schott remarked at the end of the day that it was the best fishing trip he had ever had. “I would recommend Jackie to anybody,” said Novak. “And the accommodations at the Cabins at Cherry Creek were excellent. Bringing breakfast to our cabin in the morning was an unexpected treat.” WHAT: Trophy Blue Catfish WHERE: Cedar Cree Lake GUIDE: Jackie Kennedy, 903-603-3793, jackiebluecatattack@yahoo.com, www.jackiekennedyfishingguide.com ACCOMMODATIONS: Cabins at Cherry Creek, Mabank, TX; 214-649-4302, 817798-3101, www.cabinsatcherrycreek.com

your name entered 15 more times in our next monthly drawing, simply send us an email with your name, address and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com.

month. The winner must be available to go on one of two previously scheduled dates. If the winner is unable to attend on either date scheduled for the TROPHY QUEST TRIP, the winner's name will be returned to the pool for future drawings and another winner will be drawn.

You can still win even if you are NOT a subscriber. Simply email us with your name, address, and phone number* to trophyquest@fishgame.com and you're entered in our next drawing. One winner is chosen at random each F I S H

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Bowhunting Gators. Big Gators. In the Dark. by Herman Brune

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Stealth and camouflage make ‘gators challenging quarry.

beneath the surface was visible, its body invisibly angled into the murky depths. The hunter shook his head. He had sworn not to shoot a gator of less than 10 feet. The boat drifted into shooting range. “Are you sure?” asked Lynn. “That’s a nice gator.” The hunter again shook his head. In a moment, the animal submerged and our captain swung the boat to continue searching. Prior to the expedition, Lynn explained his ideas and a unique approach to pursuing our saurian prey: “We’re trying to change the face of alligator hunting in Texas. For years, the season was open for only about 20

days in September, and everybody pretty much went out with a chicken and a hook. Then they’d catch ’em a gator, shoot it, and sell the hide by the foot. “This past year, Texas Parks and Wildlife opened a spring season that runs from April through June. Our notion is to go after these critters with a bow and arrow. You have to shoot a gator somewhere in the neck or behind the shoulder. The arrowhead comes off the shaft and has a 40-foot, 600pound-test line attached. On the end of the line is a float. When the gator takes off after the shot, you follow the float. It might disappear at first, but eventually it’ll pop up. Then you ease up to the float and gently pull in the line. The gator will come back to the top and, if needed, allow for another shot. The second arrow also has a line and float attached. Our guest tonight wants to use only one arrow and plans to deliver the coup de grace with a spear.” The spring alligator season is open The American allistatewide and not limited to the “core gator, Alligator missiscounties” along the coast. sippiensis, is indigenous to Texas and believed to have inhabited the portion of the Pangaea supercontinent that became the state’s freshwater marshes for 65 million years. Alligator populations became threatened and fell under federal protection in 1969. The next step of conservation came with an

PHOTO © PAUL WOLF

A hunting guest stood ready beside Lynn, squinting into the darkness with bow in hand. The humidity hung like a wet coat. Thousands of egrets roosted in a congested colony along the close banks of the narrow finger lake, their white forms dotting the tree branches against an infinite shadowed background. The birds’ incessant squawking pierced the air and their excrement splotched the ground. In contrast, the hunters and the hunted moved silently, save for the small lapping of waves against the boat. “There’s one,” Lynn said, and the boat veered slightly toward a glaring set of eyes. The hunter stepped closer into the bow and braced a knee against the rail. At 25 yards, our captain switched off the motor and we coasted like a leaf on the wind. At 10 yards, Lynn said, “That’s about a 9-footer, maybe 9-1/2.” The alligator’s nose and eyes stuck out of the water, and only its head immediately

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THE RED LIGHT scoured blackness, seeking likewise red reflective eyes. Lynn Everts, tonight’s guide and outfitter, stood on the bow of the 16-foot aluminum boat and directed his partner who ran the trolling motor.


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“endangered” listing under the Texas Endangered Species Act in 1973. After that, the reptile’s numbers made such a dramatic comeback that by 1985 a complete recovery was declared, prompting delisting. Currently, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) wildlife division staff monitors populations by aerial nest surveys and nighttime spotlight counts in 22 core alligator counties. TPWD surveys and research indicate that alligators breed in May and June. The females build nests out of local vegetation during June and early July and lay 30 to 40 eggs. The eggs incubate in the rotting vegetation for two months, and the females are aggressively protective of the nests. At the end of incubation, the hatchlings break from the eggs and call as they struggle from the nest. Female alligators hear the calls and help the young alligators to find their way from the nest to water. The hatchlings might stay close to the female for up to two years. Estimates are that 1 out of 100 young alligators survive to grow 3 feet long. Growth rates vary in accordance to the quality of habitat and the animal’s age. In

the wild, studies show Texas alligators grow 5.68 to 6.29 inches per year. This data is in conflict with the 8 to 12 inches per year reported in like Louisiana and Florida. One universal biological constant is that the distance from the nose to the eyes is relative to the overall length of the creature. If an alligator is 8 inches from snout to eyeballs, the animal will be 8 feet long. Alligators are cold-blooded and carnivorous, eating fish, turtles, birds, snakes, crustaceans, and small mammals. Likewise, fish, turtles, birds, snakes, mammals, and other alligators eat young alligators. Alligators often ingest anything that might splash nearby, including shotgun shells, beverage cans, fishing lures, engagement rings, etc. The giant reptile is also capable of remaining underwater for 20 to 30 minutes; due to its cold-blooded nature, it may at times remain submerged up to 24 hours. Alligators are comfortable at the same relative temperatures as humans. When the weather is too hot or cool, they might disappear in underwater caves dug beneath stream or lake banks. “We’re not hunting little gators,” said

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Lynn. “We’re hunting big gators. Everything we killed last year was over 10 feet, and that ain’t easy. It’s fun, and the archery aspect makes getting a gator more interesting. Also, you see a lot of stuff on the lake at night that you wouldn’t see in the daytime.” Another set of eyes lit up in Lynn’s red beam. “How big is that one?” asked the hunter. “I’m not sure, but it looks as big as the boat...Get ready!” The rodeo was about to begin. Contact: Twisted Fork Outfitters, 281384-4767, 979-885-8284

On the Web www.FishGame.com/video (Keyword: gator)

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GREEN

Beauty Queen Stands Up to AntiHunters PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA

World Rice Needs Could Benefit Waterfowl A HUGE DEMAND FOR RICE IN THIRD-WORLD COUNTRIES COULD GIVE WATERFOWL AND WATERFOWL HUNTERS A BOOST. “To put it simply, there is not enough rice to feed the world,” said Dr. Robert Zeigler, director general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). “To meet the need and keep rice prices around U.S. $300 a ton, which allows poor rice farmers to make some profit yet keeps rice affordable for poor rice consumers, we need to produce an additional 8-10 million tons of rice more than in the previous year for the next 20 years.” Zeigler said many countries do not have the capacity to grow enough rice on their own land to meet existing or anticipated 46 |

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demand. To meet their needs, governments or the private sector import rice and some are exploring ways to invest in rice production or rice-growing land in other countries. “IRRI’s primary focus is on helping farmers increase the productivity of rice farms on existing rain-fed and irrigated land and do it in a sustainable manner,” Zeigler said. “Expanding rice-growing areas into previously uncultivated areas is considered a last option and this must be done with great care.” Waterfowlers know that rice crops in the

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WHEN ANIMAL RIGHTS TERRORISTS POSTED AN UNFLATTERING DOCTORED PHOTO ON THE INTERNET OF MISS NEWFOUNDLAND, SARA GREEN, IN PROTEST OF HER WEARING A SEALSKIN COAT, THE 19-YEAR-OLD BEAUTY QUEEN DIDN’T SUFFER THE FOOLS LIGHTLY. To show her disdain for the tactic and the agenda as well as her support for hunting, she promptly started planning a seal hunt. “It was gruesome. It was unnecessary ... when I saw the photo, of course my jaw dropped,” Green told The Canadian Press. “I couldn’t believe it, but it gave me a bigger motivation to stand up for the seal hunt.” Green holds a required Canadian firearms license, and plans to join her grandfather and uncle on their annual seal hunt this spring. “I wore the sealskin jacket because I do support the seal hunt. I wasn’t expecting it to go this far,” she said. Green, who aspires to a journalism career, said her phone has been ringing non-stop since she went on television about the photo, many callers asking if she is afraid for her safety. “I hadn’t really thought of that,” she told the press. “But I’ve got all of Newfoundland and Labrador backing me up.” —Staff Report TG


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PHOTO COURTESY USDA

Chemical that Attracts Mosquitoes Identified triggers mosquitoes’ keen sense of smell, directing THE DOMINANT ODOR NATURALLY PRODUCED IN HUMANS AND BIRDS them toward a blood THAT ATTRACTS BLOOD-FEEDING CULEX MOSQUITOES, WHICH TRANSMIT meal. WEST NILE VIRUS AND OTHER LIFE-THREATENING DISEASES. “Nonanal is how they The groundbreaking research, pubfind us,” Leal said. “The antennae of the lished in the Proceedings of the National Culex quinquefasciatus are highly develAcademy of Sciences, explains why mosqui- oped to detect even extremely low concentoes shift hosts from birds to humans and trations of nonanal.” paves the way for key developments in mosBirds, the primary hosts of mosquitoes, quito and disease control. are the reservoir for West Nile virus. When Entomology professor Walter Leal and infected mosquitoes take a blood meal, they postdoctoral researcher Zain Syed found transmit the virus to the host, which that nonanal is the powerful chemical that includes birds, humans, horses, dogs, cats, SCIENTISTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, HAVE IDENTIFIED

bats, chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, and domestic rabbits. Since 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 29,397 human cases and 1147 fatalities in the United States alone. Nonanal works in conjunction exhaled carbon dioxide, a known mosquito attractant. “Nonanal, in combination with carbon dioxide, increased trap captures by more than 50 percent, compared to traps baited with carbon dioxide alone,” Syed said. —Staff Report TG


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GREEN Ethanol Pollutes More than Gas

‘Killer’ Catfish GRADUATE STUDENT JEREMY WRIGHT FINDS THAT

AT STANFORD UNIVERSITY HAS REVEALED

AT LEAST 1250 AND POSSIBLY MORE THAN 1600

ETHANOL FUEL PRODUCES MORE OZONE THAN

SPECIES OF CATFISH MIGHT BE VENOMOUS—FAR

REGULAR GASOLINE. WHEN ETHANOL IS

MORE THAN PREVIOUSLY BELIEVED.

BURNED THROUGH COMBUSTION, IT PRO-

The research, published in BMC Evolutionary Biology, found that catfish in some parts of the world have extremely toxic venom that can be deadly to humans. The venoms of North American catfishes are not so virulent, but deliver a painful “finning” nonetheless, with potential for post-injury secondary infection via pathogens introduced through the puncture wound or when pieces of the spine and other tissue break off in the wound. Wright

THAN GASOLINE IN ALDEHYDES, THE CARCINOGENIC PRECURSORS TO OZONE. Much of the fuel dispensed at pumps is a blend of ethanol and gasoline. E85, a typical gasoline blend that is 85 percent ethanol, was found to emit more ozone pollutants than gasoline, especially during warm, sunny days. Diana Ginnebaugh, a doctoral candidate who worked on the study, explained that even on cold days when ozone is typically not a problem, E85 could result in problematic ozone levels. E85 emissions contain several pollutants, including ones that cause throat and eye irritation, and lung problems. —Staff Report TG

 Continued from page 46 South benefit waterfowl and waterfowl hunting. A huge decrease in Texas rice production has been linked to everything from sending geese to more rice-rich states such Arkansas, to contributing to poor winter weights in pintail. Most of IRRI’s work involves foreign lands, but there is much potential in Texas with marginal rice lands currently out of production. “A lot of people don’t realize much of 48 |

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Ictalurus punctatus: a lethal wiskerfish?

said complications associated with these infections and foreign bodies can last several months. —Staff Report TG

It’s the Sun, Stupid CCORDING TO A STUDY BY THE INSTITUTE for Atmospheric and Climate Science, et al, in Zurich, Switzerland, snow and ice melt was greater in the 1940s than in recent years. An inner Alpine solar radiation record showed that in the 1940s, global sunlight

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the rice land east of Houston wasn’t top property for growing,” said Ed Kestler, a veteran Southeast Texas waterfowler who has witnessed the ups and downs of rice production and waterfowl. “We only had a lot of rice when the market was strong. If there can be other markets developed, the need would come back and we might get more crops planted and in turn hold more ducks and geese.”

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over the summer months was 8 percent above the long-term average and significantly higher than today, favoring rapid glacier mass loss. Dimming of solar radia-

PHOTO BY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS LICENSE

DUCES EMISSIONS SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER

PHOTO BY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS LICENSE

A NEW STUDY BY UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN A RECENT STUDY CONDUCTED BY RESEARCHERS

tion from the 1950s until the 1980s is in line with reduced melt rates and advancing glaciers. —Staff Report TG


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A Lure More Effective than Live Bait? RESEARCHER AT LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERsity might have developed a fishing lure more effective than live bait. John Caprio, a specialist in aquatic vertebrate taste and smell systems, has developed and licensed for manufacture a technology that all but forces fish to bite. He spent much of the last three decades researching and perfecting technology based on the natural impulses of a fish’s sensory systems. Caprio discovered the specific natural stimuli that activate taste sensors, resulting in nerve reflexes that cause the fish to ingest food or an appropriate fishing lure. “If you look at how chemosensory input occurs in both our brain and that of a fish, you’ll see that smell input is to forebrain

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whereas taste input is to the back, the highly reflexive part of the brain,” said Caprio. “The take-home message from this is simple: Fish learn and associate particular scents as food, but taste is an actual reflex for them. The taste of particular natural chemicals triggers a feeding response.” In other words, if a fish is exposed to certain taste stimuli, it cannot control its urge to bite. Obviously, this has huge implications for the fishing industry. LSU’s Office of Intellectual Property worked closely with Caprio in the early stages of his technology’s formation all the way through the licensing agreement with Mystic Tackleworks, a company dedicated to developing scientific fishing lure systems.

“This was an exciting advancement,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Intellectual Property, Commercialization & Development, Pete Kelleher. “We evaluated Caprio’s design, assisted with the patent process, and negotiated the licensing agreement with Mystic Tackleworks.” LSU still owns the intellectual property developed by Caprio, but licenses its use to Mystic Tackleworks. Mystic Tackleworks licensed Caprio’s technology and brought in other fish sensory specialists in order to complete the Biopulse Lure System. —Staff Report TG


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ED SNELSON WAS BEGINning to get a little bit antsy. The professional trapper from Huntington had struck up a business deal with Haemish Melville and he needed another bobcat in order to hold up his end of the bargain. Melville, a 38-year-old wildlife research scientist from South Africa, relocated to Texas in 2008 to begin work on his doctorate degree at Texas A&M University. At the heart of his studies is an ongoing research project he and other wildlife scientists hope will help determine the degree of impact predators such as bobcats, coyotes, and raccoons might be having on wild turkey populations in East Texas. Snelson’s mood changed abruptly as we idled past one of his trap sets. The Jake brand foot trap buried in the sand the evening before had been tripped, and there was a bobcat in it. “We’re in business, boys, it’s a cat,” Snelson said. Snelson scrambled to the bed of his pickup and grabbed a valuable tool common to his trade—a catchpole. In the meantime, Melville reached for a small syringe filled with knockout juice to sedate the cat. Within seconds, the juvenile feline fell unconscious and Melville went to work. The first order of business was to fit the cat with a high-tech radio collar. The collar uses global positioning satellite technology to record hourly positions of the animal from dusk to dawn and once at midday. Melville recorded the pertinent data from the collar then placed the bobcat in a holding cage until the drug wore off. Once revived, the bobcat was released back into the wild with the colorful, $3000 necklace.

A Little History Eastern turkey are native to the eastern half of Texas and a host of other southern and midwestern states. The birds were plentiful across the region until the early 1900s, when 52 |

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early settlers logged the habitat and shot the birds into oblivion, wiping out existing populations by the 1940s. Since the late 1980s, millions of dollars have gone to restore turkey populations across eastern Texas, using wild-trapped eastern birds purchased from other states at a cost of $525 each. The restocking efforts have been successful to a point, but not to the degree wildlife experts had originally hoped. Some blame the limited success on subpar habitat management practices, while others suspect initial stocking numbers were insufficient for getting the birds over the hump. Nearly three years ago, the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) launched a series of cooperative research studies to look for definitive answers to help explanation why the birds had done well in some areas and fizzled in others. Turkey were outfitted with electronic transmitters and released at accelerated rates on designated sites with optimum habitat. Using radio telemetry gear, researchers are gathering reliable data about turkey movements, nesting ecology, survival, and poult recruitment. Melville said the predator impact study conducted in cooperation with SFA and TPWD should help fill another void in the perplexing puzzle. “I think everyone acknowledges that predators have had an impact on the turkey populations, but whether they are the main cause of the problem remains up for debate,” Melville said. “What we are trying to find out is if the mesocarnivores are having a substantial influence on the recruitment of wild turkey, or if the problems we are seeing are more of a combination of the other factors in conjunction with predation.”

Tracking Predators Melville is no stranger to such operations. He has a history of tracking lions and leopards in South Africa. Additionally, he designed and carried out a multi-year research project to determine whether caracals (a medium-size cat native to the Middle East and Africa) were having a substantial impact

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UNCOLLARED BOBCAT PHOTO BY MATT WILLIAMS; ALL OTHER PHOTOS COURTESY HAEMISH MELVILLE

on domestic livestock. The results were negative. East Texas is a long way from South Africa, but predators are predators no matter what the continent. According to Melville, most are opportunists and many choose to do their killing under the cover of darkness.


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The research team captured, collared, and released a variety of predators to help track turkey mortality. Haemish Melville, top photo this page (left), has tracked wildlife in Africa, and now, in Texas. Trapper Ed Snelson, bottom photo this page, with a tranquilized coyote.

Study Framework The study is taking place on two sites spanning about 24,000 acres in Nacogdoches County. Both sites have optimum habitat and plenty of turkey, some of which are collared with radio transmitters as part of other ongoing research studies.

Early on, Melville pinpointed nearly a dozen animals he felt could be having a detrimental impact on turkey populations. He eventually narrowed the list to three candidates that he believes are having most significant impact: raccoons, bobcats, and coyotes. That’s where Snelson came in. The veteran trapper was hired to supply the goods for the study. Together, the men caught, collared, and released 15 raccoons, 4 bobcats, and 4 coyotes in the study area between January and April 2009. Melville has been accumulating data on the critters ever since. Though the results of the three-year tracking study are preliminary at this point, the scientist said the most interesting aspect thus far is linked to the data he has gathered in relation to “mock” nesting sites. Last spring, Melville constructed a series of artificial turkey nests in areas where hens are known to nest. He baited the sites with chicken eggs, hen turkey decoys, and turkey feathers. The scientist set up a heat/motion sensitive camera around each nest site to record images of anything that approached the site. “We are hoping to determine whether the predators are focusing on the nesting sites during the nesting season, or if they are opportunistically detecting the nests during the nesting season,” Melville said. Interestingly, Melville’s initial research indicates that predation on wild turkey nesting sites might not be as severe during peak nesting season as one would think. He said about 30 percent of nests were hit by raccoons and opossums during the peak nesting season last year. Come summer, Melville’s cameras showed 100 percent of the nests were robbed by raccoons, bobcats, opossums, and crows. On several occasions, bobcats attacked the turkey decoys. Coyotes were mysteriously absent from Melville’s camera images. “That’s interesting,” he said. “That tells me the coyotes may be using different areas to find food, or they may not be homing in on T E X A S

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that particular type of prey. You also can’t rule out the possibility that they may be avoiding areas where they can detect human scent, but that is highly unlikely.” TPWD wildlife experts said this portion of the study could yield some telling evidence that might change the ways landowners are advised to manage habitat for turkey. “We are fairly certain that the impact predators are having is a direct result of the habitat, but we are not going to jump on the bandwagon and say we need to intensify predator control,” said Gary Calkins, TPWD District 6 wildlife biologist in Jasper. “One of the main things we hope to get out of Haemish’s research study is some good information that will help us alter our habitat management practices in a way that is more beneficial for turkey.” Calkins believes distinctive edges created by logging operations can be death traps for turkey, especially during peak nesting season. Turkey are inclined to nest in relation to edge habitat when it is available. The biologist thinks creating fewer distinctive edges across the landscape could result in improved nesting success and lower predation mortality. “Coyotes, bobcats, and raccoons are not stupid,” he said. “Once they figure out the buffet line is down the edge, that is where they are going to hunt. I think that is a big part of what is happening out there right now.” Melville also expects to gather some useful data on predator movements and range patterns. Interestingly, one of the raccoons he is tracking is prone to travel 3-4 miles in a single night. Data collection on bobcats was cut short last fall after two of the four cats were killed by deer hunters. Luckily, the transmitters were returned. Melville hopes to outfit additional bobcats with transmitters this spring. The biologist said some of the coyotes tracked during the study have been especially wide-ranging. One of the dogs traveled about three miles from where it was caught on the first night. Snelson thinks Melville could be surprised by ranges of coyotes as the study progresses. “Once this thing really gets clicking, I think you’ll see some movement patterns of 25-30 miles in single night,” Snelson said. “These coyotes love to roam.”

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Open Season by Reavis Wortham | TF&G Humor Editor

Water Sports HE ONLY PROBLEM WITH THIS LEASE is a distinct lack of water,” Doc observed, standing on the edge of a sheer ridge. Below us, cactus, salt cedar, and grass spread down to a very, very dry wash. In our continuing search for a deer lease, we examined dozens of potential candidates. They all failed in some way. “Mr. Tom Mills said that draw down there had water most of the time,” Woodrow recalled.

“T

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“It must be underground,” I said. “Let’s hike down there and take a look at it,” the Cap’n suggested. “Can’t we drive down there instead?” Jerry Wayne asked. He doesn’t like to walk when he can ride. “Water is still an issue,” Doc emphasized again. “Animals need a continuous drinking source, or they won’t hang around.” I agreed with him. Without stock tanks to provide water, I wasn’t sure we’d see much game at the end of a long, hot summer. Woodrow found the lease in the newspaper and set up the tour after a long telephone visit, in which he expressed our desire for a quality lease and continuous water. To avoid a crisis with Jerry Wayne, we climbed in the truck and made our slow, four-wheel way through the rocky country.

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“Mr. Mills said he’d meet us here in a little while,” Woodrow said as we bounced over a particularly rough section. “He and his wife wanted to visit with us after they checked the cows over on that section beyond those trees.” Half an hour later, we finally coasted to a stop near the creek bed. The boys scattered to walk the country and get a feel for the lease. I joined Willie after a while and we ran across Jerry Wayne sitting on a rocky outcrop overlooking the creek bed about a half-mile from the truck. “What do you think?” Willie asked, stopping under a live oak. Jerry Wayne shook his head. “I’ve found a lot of game trails that lead down here to this creek bed. But I haven’t seen a drop of water.” Jerry Wayne stood up, carefully picked his way around the rocks and followed the tiny


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Open Season trail to the bottom. “This looks a little damp right here,” he said. “Maybe the deer can paw a little water in the dry months.” Willie snorted. “They’ll more than likely just wander into someone else’s lease. Let’s get out of here.” He turned to leave and Jerry Wayne stepped onto the carpet of fallen leaves covering the damp ground. In a slow-motion move that reminded me of a Jack Woo movie, Jerry Wayne’s lower extremities disappeared into a most foul-smelling muck. Jerry Wayne’s considerable bulk propelled him forward to splat face-first into the mud with a sound so satisfying the only thing I could think to do was applaud. Jerry Wayne flopped over on his side, covering more of his body with goo, and by the time we grabbed his hands to haul his stinking, muddy carcass out of the morass, the only thing not muddy was the back of his head. “Thought there wasn’t any water on this

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lease,” Doc deadpanned when we arrived at the truck. “There isn’t,” I said. “Only mud.” “How am I gonna get this off?” Jerry Wayne asked miserably. His sinuses had closed up from the stench and he sounded like Don Meredith with a head cold. “You can ride home in the back,” the Cap’n suggested. “Won’t work,” Jerry Wayne complained. “I’m already getting cold.” Struck with an idea, I opened our cooler full of bottled water and twisted a top off. “Peel down, boy. We’ll rinse you off.” He looked at the cooler full of ice and water. “I’ll freeze.” “Better than stinking,” Doc said. While Jerry Wayne peeled down to his skivvies, we uncapped bottles and began to rinse him off. He was right—the cold water made him scream like a little girl. The whole thing stopped when an old

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pickup rattled around our grove of trees and abruptly braked. I walked up to the open driver’s window. “Mr. Mills, I’m sorry y’all had to see this...” Before answering, he shifted into reverse for a quick getaway. “I know you boys said water was important to you, but I didn’t realize y’all did something...special...with it. I’ll find somebody else.” He then gunned the motor for a quick escape. “Give me an unopened bottle,” I told Doc. “What for?” “Have you ever seen them launch a ship?” I asked, advancing to christen Jerry Wayne in a good old-fashioned way.

E-mail Reavis Wortham at humor@fishgame.com


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March 2010  

Sand Eel Speckled Trout, Trophy Bass from the Bank, Texas Gators, Texas' Best White Bass Lakes, What's Killing East Texas Turkey

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