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Texas Fish & Game « MARCH 2012 • VOL. XXVII NO. 11 N orth EDITION

North Edition

www.FishGame.com

Bass Rod

BASICS

MARCH 2012 | VOL. 27 • NO. 11 | $3.95

Bass FISHING IN A Drought

STRESSED OUT OVER COASTAL BEND

Specks

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RULES OF THE GAME:

Trotlines

Magnum Minds: THE GREAT BULLET DEBATE

Eastern Turkey:

WHAT WENT WRONG?

VOL. 27 • NO. 11

5 Things

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

Roy Neves PUBLISHER

Don Zaidle EDITOR-in-chief

Chester moore Executive EDITOR

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

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

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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

A D VE R T I S IN G

Ardia Neves

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

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

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

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CONTENTS

ter Moore Photo: Ches

FEATURES

MARCH 2012 • Volume XXVII • NO. 11

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RULES OF THE GAME: UNATTENDED LINES

Trotlining and juglining are age-old fishing traditions in Texas. While they are still legal practices, the use of “unattended lines” does come with a number of restrictions.

by Chester Moore

Stressed Out Over Coastal Bend Specks A proposed expansion of trout limits has drawn a spirited response from Mid Coast anglers

STORY:

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by Will Leschper

TEXAS EASTERN TURKEY: WHAT WENT WRONG

Inadequate stocking, poor land use, and Mother Nature’s cruel “nurturing” methods have combined to silence the gobbling of Eastern Turkey across East Texas. What can TPWD do about it?

ter Moore Photo: Ches

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COVER STORies

by Bob Hood Fishing the Bass Drought of 2011

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magnum minds

Ackley, Keith and O’Connor, three revered names in the world of firearms and hunting who each voiced loud and opposing positions in the Great Debate over how much bullet is enough.

by Steve LaMascus

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by Matt Williams ALSO IN MARCH:

the great wet hunter

If you think Quint from “JAWS” was a bit of a sissy, and have always wanted to hook into something that could just as easily pull you out of the boat as you could pull it in, we have just the sport for you.

5 Things that Screw Up Saltwater Fishing STORY:

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by Paul Bradshaw 4 |

The drought of 2011 wreaked havoc all across Texas, nowhere more evident than in the state’s prime bass lakes.

STORY:

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Five things that can ruin a perfectly good day on the water.

by Chester Moore

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CONTENTS COLUMNS & DEPARTMENTS

MARCH 2012 • Volume XXVII • NO. 11

COLUMNS 12 Editor’s Notes In Defense of PETA

DEPARTMENTS

by DON ZAIDLE TF&G Editor-in-Chief

16 Chester’s Notes

46 Hunt Texas

by CHESTER MOORE TF&G Executive Editor

by bob hood TF&G Hunting Editor

18 Doggett at Large

47 Texas Bow Hunting 14 big bags & Let’s Talk

Go ‘Hog Wild’ and F.L.E.X. Fishing

The Bass of Winter

Following New Trails

Turkey

14 TF&G Report catches

by JOE DOGGETT TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

by Lou Marullo TF&G Bow Hunting Editor

20 Pike On the Edge

52 Texas Saltwater

department of defense

by Doug Pike TF&G Senior Contributing Editor

by Calixto Gonzales TF&G Saltwater Editor

54 True green

22 TexasWild

58 Texas Freshwater

by Ted nugent TF&G Editor At Large

by matt Williams TF&G Freshwater Editor

23 Commentary

64 Open Season

by Kendal Hemphill TF&G Politcal Commentator

by reavis wortham TF&G Humor Editor

A 20-Year Wait for 20 Pounds

Fred Bear Showed Me How

Suppress the Rage

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Light Touch

40 NEW! texas

The Skinny on Spinnerbaits

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Letters to the Editor Personal Best, at Age 74 I know you get these every day of the week, but I just had to send the attached photo. My dad stopped hunting after 30 years as an avid outdoorsman. His responsibilities as a com-

Dad, Lt. Col. Odis G. Wehrly, USAF (Ret.) shot the largest Texas white-tailed deer he had ever had a chance to, and I put him on it! Dad shot the battle-scarred, broken 10/9pt with “his lawn-mowing-moneypurchased,” 60-year-old Remington 760 Gamemaster, chambered in .270 Win, at 120 yards with a simple 6X scope. It isn’t a trophy for most, but some day it will hold an honored spot on MY wall. Gerald R, Wehrly Brazoria

Red Hot Lures

mander in the USAF and at home took too much from him to enjoy the simple pleasure of a day in the woods. I eased him back into hunting when I got on an awesome lease in west Texas. This Thanksgiving break I spent my time near Del Rio scouting for a nice buck to shoot. We had two “Blue Moon” hunting trips and I would always see this really nice buck before shooting hours. After Christmas, I took my 74-year-old dad out to the lease. We hit the area I had seen the deer 4 times and saw a lot of does. I even began to think he would have to take my doe for the year. On the third morning, I saw the deer chasing does at 7 ...still too dark... and told my dad there was a nice buck on the skyline that I kept seeing through my light gathering binoculars. I told him to just hold on for a few more minutes and he’d be able to see him through the scope. A molasses-slow 30 minutes later, my dad said he could see the deer and began sighting him. As I spotted through the field glasses I heard the safety click off and a slow sigh, then BOOM! 8 |

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Your article, “Red Hot Lures” [Texas Saltwater by Calixto Gonzales], in the January 2012 TF&G was spot-on. One of my faves over the years that consistently produces for me is the Hogie 3.5 inch shad in various colors (red with white tail, cajun pepper with chartreuse tail, pumpkin, glow with chartreuse tail, chartreuse with flecks, and motoroil or black). Sadly they seem to be harder and harder to find in the big box stores like Academy. I ended up calling Hogie Lures in El Campo last fall and made the drive from Houston to stock up on my favorite colors. Turns out they are a very small Texas-based company that has been around for quite awhile, which made it all the better in my mind. My confidence is in Hogies. Sure other lures work, but as you pointed out, confidence is primary and I having caught so many more fish on Hogie’s over the years relative to other plastics (probably because I have used them the most). I know they work for me. Again, great article . . . keep up the great writing.

Greg Ford Houston, Texas Thank you for reading, and thank you for the kind words. I’m gratified that you were able to re-stock F i s h

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your supply of Hogies. It’s a great company and a great product. I’m the sort that buys as many of my favorite lures and colors at one time as I can. That way, I don’t run out very quickly. Even if I’m well stocked, I’ll still get a few packages when I see them. Leave some fish out there for me, will ya? Calixto Gonzales

Rollover Pass Solution A copy of an email I sent to the General Land Office of Texas: I don’t understand why the State of Texas doesn’t try to come to a solution to keep rollover pass open while preventing the erosion. With a set of granite jetties built parallel into the Gulf approximately two to three hundred yards would not only protect the beach, it would also naturally start building the sand back onto the beach, as proven by the very wide beaches outside the Galveston jetties and other jetties down the Texas coast. This would keep a Gulf Coast attraction open while providing additional fishing opportunities and making it a great tourist/fisherman destination for the upper Texas coast. Yes, I understand the cheap route would be to fill it in and be done with it, but now there is a pier going to be built to substitute it? At what cost? The attraction for the fisherman is the pass itself, not just a place to fish, and not to mention how well the pass keeps East Galveston Bay the best bay in Texas that can handle the magnitude of fishing pressure it receives from all the residents and vacationers on the Boliver Peninsula and surrounding areas. I understand the problems Rollover Pass has caused, but I know building a new set of jetties out into the gulf would be an answer that would make everyone happy and be beneficial to tourism and East Galveston Bay.

Dan VanDeventer Liberty, Texas

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Letters to the Editor Long Range Shots With 55 years of shooting experience and thousands of hours spent reading hunting and fishing magazines and even more time in the field, I feel that the Steve LaMascus article on long range shooting [Texas Guns, February, 2012

issue] has hit the mark! This is probably the best article that I have read in any outdoor magazine. It is often easy to buy your way in but long range shooting isn’t one of those places... It takes practice, equipment, knowledge and lots of help from spotters and range finders to even get close at very long ranges. Thank you for publishing something

worthwhile and factual. Thanks for publishing a great article! Ron Edmundson Via Email

Pig Hunting I read your article “Pride in our Pigs” [Pike on the Edge, February, 2012 issue] with a touch of humor but also some serious info about their number increase. You suggested a way to maybe reduce their numbers that may have a beneficial (?) impact. However I have a suggestion that you did not note and that is: Open up the land to hunters like me that would hunt but can NOT pay the exorbitant fees that land owners want for me to hunt. As a retired senior citizen and others like me that cannot support that dollar amount. There is a restriction on public land too -- limited information of just where and when and how. I contacted TPWD and got some info but not too clear. I know that if you would contact those that have a pig problem and make arrangements for them to permit hunters like me to hunt their problem pigs they would not have as many. I have hunted all my life as a boy and now in old age and I remember that Dad let others hunt on our farm if they asked or let us know. Wild game does not belong to anyone -- they are God’s creatures. I am A WW-II vet, ex Deputy Sherriff, Galveston Co. and worked with Houston bomb squad research project. So Safety is most important to me. M. Fred Krch P.E. retired Via Email I just read your article in the February issue. It made me chuckle a little when I read about your friend from Sugar Land who encountered a pig. I’ve been hiking around Texas and other parts my entire life. I’ve heard them in the distance a few times, but I’ve never encountered one in the wild. However, there’s this park in Sugar Land, I think called sugar Land Memorial Park, off 59 and University.

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One night as a friend and I were driving out, I saw something odd. He was on his phone, not even looking, and therefore denies my story, but as I was driving, this massive pig, probably the size of my boxer and akita combined, just ambles on out in front of my car like it was no big deal. I was like, “wtf, did you see that!?” It blew my mind, really. But what can we expect, when these suburbs encroach on the forests? Certainly, more encounters with these wild animals. I also had a bit of an experience with coyotes at this park. It was dusk and I was still on the trail when it was dark. Out of nowhere, I hear a wall of barking and howling. I thought to myself, “Wait, the dog park is in the opposite direction. The barking is coming from the river side.” Coyotes. It stopped as fast as it started and I got out of there as fast as I could. But, the only time I’ve seen a real live coyote was in Houston, of all places. Rode my bike to the bar, and there’s one single patch of trees left on West Houston center road. It was dark and lonely, but out of nowhere this coyote sprints across my path to the other side where the trees are. I heard its nails clack on the concrete. It stopped and looked at me. “What an odd dog. Wait, look at those colors, that long face. That’s a coyote, I tell ya what!” and he left.... I enjoy my experiences with nature, even though they can be scary or occur in odd places. And, I enjoy your articles!

been pulled hours earlier. In the dim light, I reached down to pet what I thought was the neighbor’s black cat. Only this cat, right at my feet, had a broad white stripe down its back. Kept my cool and avoided getting hosed down, but the encounter served as a reminder. Also rescued a few snakes from shovel-wielding neighbors, watched a coyote run down the street and had other sightings until all the lots were developed. Keep watching, especially at first and last

light. You’ll be amazed at what’s still roaming around our community. Doug Pike

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

Cat G. Via Email Thanks for taking the time to write. I wish more readers would do the same. (And since you’re local, in Sugar Land, give a listen to my radio show on SportsTalk 790 Saturday and Sunday mornings.) I can guarantee you there are pigs around that park. A good friend who lives down there had one try to get through his back door one afternoon, but the family dog scared it (sort of) away. We can’t forget that building a house, or even hundreds of them, doesn’t immediately displace local wildlife. When I moved into my home in Sugar Land 18 years ago, we were among the first in what’s now a huge neighborhood. Before Lasik surgery, before I stopped smoking, I was on the front porch late one night having a smoke. Contacts had

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

In Defense of PETA

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ost readers know I have no truck with animal rights terrorists, save in adversarial context. I loathe what animal rights stands for, believe those who subscribe to its doctrines are mentally deficient, and that movement leaders are hypocrites, mercenaries, and con artists cashing in on human gullibility and misplaced sentiment. I was therefore nonplussed by the disclosure some years ago that police had charged two People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) employees with animal cruelty. Not that I was in any way surprised that a couple of PETA weenies would be cruel to an animal, nor that police had charged representatives of the self-proclaimed defenders of all that is not human with such an act. My problem was and is with my peers’ reporting and ensuing commentary about the event. The basic story is that police caught Adria Joy Hinkle and Andrew Benjamin Cook dumping 18 dead dogs and cats into a Dumpster behind a Piggly Wiggly grocery store. On investigation, officers found 13 more dead animals in a PETA-owned van the pair was driving. Police charged Hinkle and Cook with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty and nine misdemeanors for illegal disposal of dead animals and trespassing. The felony charges carry a maximum 15 months in jail each on conviction. Considering that PETA routinely euthanizes a variety of “non-human animals” that it “rescues” from animal shelters and elsewhere, the hypocrisy in its stated beliefs is self-evident. And it is no surprise that PETA “animal lovers” illegally dumped dead animals; so much for “ethics.” My dilemma did not stem from PETA’s actions in this or any other of the orga-

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nization’s absurdities, but that authorities charged Hinkle and Cook with animal cruelty for killing the animals—even though they used the same lethal injection commonly used by veterinarians and animal shelters for the purpose. In other words, they simply killed unwanted animals—not tortured, not starved, not neglected, simply killed. Killing an animal—any animal, including dogs and cats—whether by bullet, lethal injection, or a few thousand grains of applied claw hammer, is not cruel. Death is quick and painless. Nonetheless, many states (including Texas) have laws that make it a felony to kill a dog or cat. Sorry, animalphiles, but if your neighbor shoots your dog or cat after it repeatedly overturns his garbage can and scatters the contents across his yard, at worst he has committed a property crime by destroying something that belongs to you. Nonetheless, legislators in the State of Texas et al have catered to animal rights terrorists and made it a felony. That stinks. Imagine, then, my discomfort at the handrubbing, literary glee of my fellow outdoors communicators over Hinkle and Cook. The editor of one outdoors news service wrote: “In response to this incredible act [of] animal cruelty, PETA’s not marching around the country seeking the scalps of those horrible humans. Instead, they find themselves frantically working to preserve what’s left of PETA’s public image.” David Martosko, Director of Research for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a group that supports hunting, said to the press: “This is disturbing behavior on the part of self-professed animal lovers, and I hope the public takes notice.” An editorial linked by a popular outdoors blog stated: “It is a small sect of human beings that commit these heinous acts of disrespect and violence towards innocent animals. Apparently, some members of the radical animal rights movement fit into this category too.” Phrases like “incredible act of cruelty,” “disturbing behavior,” and “heinous acts of disrespect and violence” fit well in comF i s h

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mentary about Saddam Hussein, Nazis, or a serial killer, but do not belong in writings about humanely killing animals. In their zeal to rub salt into PETA’s wounds, many of my fellow outdoor writers and editors lost sight of the big picture. Further, they actually helped PETA and other animal rights terrorists by reinforcing the notion that killing animals—especially cute ones—is “cruel”, “disturbing”, and “heinous.” As much as it pleases me to see PETA get its comeuppance, the fact remains that what Hinkle and Cook did—humanely kill animals—should not be a crime of any sort, let alone a felony, and that they should not have been so charged. I am now in the distressing position of, for once (and only once, so far), agreeing with PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, who told the press that the animal cruelty charges would not stick because there was no indication of “pain or suffering” among the 31 animals Cook and Hinkle killed. (She was right. A North Carolina jury acquitted Cook and Hinkle in February 2007.) So, here I am, defending PETA and chastising my own for poor judgment. I harbor hope that good will come from all this. Maybe PETA and the rest of the animal rights terrorists will get a clue that humanely killing an animal is not cruel. Maybe outdoor writers and editors will get a clue that even when PETA humanely kills an animal, it is not cruel. Maybe legislators will get a clue that humanely killing an animal is not cruel. Maybe people in general will get a clue that humanely killing any animal—including Fluffy and Fido—is not cruel. And maybe the public will once again recognize that animals are animals and rights belong exclusively to humanity. For with rights comes responsibility, and animals are incapable of responsibility.

Email Don Zaidle at dzaidle@fishgame.com

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The TF&G Report Mountain Lion Attacks 6-Year-Old at Big Bend In February, a mountain lion mauled a 6-year-old boy just steps from the lodge where he was staying with his family in Big Bend National Park in West Texas. Rivers Hobbs was walking with his mom and dad on a sidewalk between a restaurant and the Chisos Mountain when the cougar crept up on him and lunged for his head. “It had a hold of his face... the cat was clamped on his face,” his father, Jason Hobbs, told CBS News. “I reached down and got my pocket knife out and stabbed the cat in the chest and it let go at that point,” Hobbs said. Rivers suffered two large gashes and puncture wounds to his face and was rushed

to a hospital in Alpine. A park employee told CBS News that the same lion tried to attack another family earlier that day, but ran off after someone hit

it with a backpack. The Hobbs family was fuming after the attack, claiming the lodge wasn’t doing enough to

Big Bags&Catches

FLOUNDER

Feral Hog

Mule Deer

Galveston

Central Texas

Brewster County

Travis Prendki caught these flounder at the Galveston Yacht Basin on his birthday. The largest was 25-by 13.5-inches. He didn’t weigh it, but the fish was very mad that it got caught. It latched on to the aluminum rim of the net and shook it like a dog! Photo submitted by Joe Prendki.

Ten-year-old Mitch Robinson shot his first hog at 200 yards off shooting sticks while hunting in Central Texas with his father, Dan and his grandfather, Ralph.

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Brandon Rodriguez, age 15, of Dale shot his first deer, a 9-point mule deer, hunting on the Terlingua Ranch in Brewster County.

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catch the cougar. “I heard them say right in front of me that they were not going to tell the other people at the lodge that there was an attack and the lion is still at large,” says Rivers’ mom, Kristi Harris, told CBS News. “We’re lucky he’s walking away with scars and it didn’t get him by the neck,” Jason Hobbs said. Park employees said they will kill the animal if they find it. The cat, described as “young and in bad shape”, had not been found as of press time, despite tracking efforts with hounds.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to www.nssf.org.

FOX Network Bans Firearms and Ammunition Advertisements The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has reported that FOX Sports Media Group has banned advertisements featuring firearms and ammunition from its coverage of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events. From an NSSF alert:

While the UFC has yet to make an official announcement, NSSF has confirmed that “absolutely no firearms, ammo, hunting or knife companies will be permitted as sponsors in any Zuffapromoted events.” NSSF is encouraging all gun owners, sportsmen and firearms enthusiasts to contact FOX today and urge them to rescind this antigun corporate policy. FOX’s decision to ban advertisements for lawful products owned by more than 80 million Americans is nothing more than corporate gun control. We expect better from FOX. So should you. Make sure your voice is heard. Here’s how to contact FOX: Corporate Headquarters FSN 10201 W. Pico, Bld. 103 Los Angeles, CA 90035 Phone: 310-369-1000 Web: www.FOXSports.com T e x a S

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

Go ‘Hog Wild’ and F.L.E.X. Fishing

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n case you have not noticed, we at Texas Fish & Game like to go all out with our promotions. From partnering with U.S. Reel last fall to put an angler in the boat with fishing legend Jimmy Houston on Lake Conroe to our Trophy Quests, we love to do things in a fun, informative way. With that said, I am happy to announce the release of my latest book Hog Wild: Hog Hunting Strategies, Tactics & Facts. It has been in the works for several years and goes where I believe few have ventured in terms of creating a detailed picture of hogs and hog hunting in not only Texas but also the world. My passion is always first and foremost about the creatures we pursue so there is lots of information in the book about hogs not only in the chapters that deal specifically with their biology and life history but also woven into the chapters on specific facets of hog hunting such as archery, rifle and tactics such as baiting. The book also details hog-dog hunting and has an exhaustive profile section of hog dogs used around the country. Now back to the promotions… March 19-23 has been designated as TF&G Hog Wild Week. To celebrate the release of my book, which is available at fishandgamegear.com, I will be hog hunting for five days and nights. This will see me hunting with rifles, crossbows and perhaps even air guns as well as utilizing state-of-the-art technology while hunting them at night. There will be daily

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blog updates with photos and videos on my blog at fishgame.com and in our daily TF&G newsletter. Besides promoting the book, the idea is to highlight the amazing hog hunting opportunities we have in Texas and to do something positive. Half of the meat from hogs taken on the expedition will go to Hogs Gone Wild, a charity that helps feed

The subject will be Secret Strategies for Super-Sized Trout and will focus on using my F.L.E.X. Fishing system to teach you how to systematically catch big trout. This seminar in particular will help you create a game plan by unlocking rarely spoken of aspects of speckled trout behavior and habits as well as some solid techniques. It will also give you some ideas on how to tie in the very latest in fishing technology using those techniques. Over the last couple of years, the fishing industry has put out some incredible products that can give trout anglers an edge and they will be part of this demonstration. But as the infomercials say, wait, there is more. Everyone who attends the seminar will get a coupon for a free e-book download of my F.L.E.X. Fishing manual that will help you get started in the system. We will also conduct a drawing for a $500 fishing tackle package for those in attendance as well as give away a signed copy of Texas Reds, Chester is scheduled to present a seminar on Catching Flounder Fever and Texas Big Trout at the Houston Fishing Show, Saturday, March 3. Trout Tactics, my top-selling books on the Gulf Coast’s the hungry with wild pork and the other half Big 3 as door prizes. to Tiger Creek Refuge in Tyler. They are I will be available for a limited time immedoing great things with endangered species diately after the seminar to sign books at the like Siberian tigers and are always in need TF&G booth. of meat for their 42 big cats. We at TF&G are truly looking forward It will certainly be an exciting week in the to bringing you more of the very best content field and it will give you a bunch of great in 2012 and plan to have plenty of fun in extra content at fishgame.com. the process. In addition, I am speaking Saturday See you in the woods, on the water or on March 3rd at the 37th Annual Houston a seminar stage soon. Fishing Show at the George R. Brown Convention Center. At the time of this writing, the exact seminar schedule had not been Catch Chester on the radio Fridays, 6pm set but I will be speaking some time around on 560 KLVI Beaumont, (www.klvi.com) 1 p.m. Check www.houstonfishingshow.com Email him at cmoore@fishgame.com for exact times. F i s h

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Photo: Chester Moore

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

The Bass of Winter

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ate winter is traditionally a dreary time. Bursts of tolerable weather do occur but, in the sum, the period between late February and late March is a throwaway. Well, unless maybe you are serious about catching a really big bass. Late winter is prime time to target a career fish. Statistics from TPWD’s ShareLunker program support this statement. The bigbass hatchery breeding program accepts bass weighing at least 13 pounds. Almost 550 fish have qualified since the program started in 1986. ShareLunker runs Oct. 1 through April 30, and TPWD’s website states, “Catches normally peak in March, with 42.8 percent of total entries having been caught that month.” There’s a reason for the big numbers during the third month: Sows heavy with eggs are easing from winter holes and nosing into pre-spawning areas. The big females are at their heaviest and, as water readings gradually warm, the fish become increasingly active and aggressive. In the real world, few anglers ever will catch a 13-plus bass. To be honest, I’ve yet to put my hands on one. I’ve caught several “legit” 10’s and one that had the potential to weigh in the low teens. That fish measured approximately 27 inches and if you know anything about Micropterus, you will concede that is exceptional length. But it was a post-spawn summer bass, all head and a thin body. Well, I’m straying from the main subject. Aiming for an honest ShareLunker candidate might be a bit optimistic, but what’s good for the 13-plus is good for the 10-plus. Or even the 8-plus. And, for many levelwind devotees, an 8-plus is a career fish. These pot-bellied bass especially are 18 |

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vulnerable during March, and in most reservoirs the so-called “Big Bass Belt” between approximately eight and 15 feet is the prime zone in which to locate them. I wouldn’t go super-shallow nor would I grump around in 25 or 30 feet water. Stick to the BBB, especially near pronounced dropoffs. Big bass prefer access to deep-water; if a stiff late-season cold front hits, bringing a brief lash of surface chill, the fish can roll back temporarily into the insulation of a channel or hole. Also a factor during the on-going drought, lower-than-normal levels on most lakes and ponds discourage fish from moving far from reliable depth. Conversely, a flush of new water encourages bass to seek out flooded shorelines. That scenario looks unlikely this spring. The timing of the actual spawn can be a factor. As a general rule, the farther south you go, the sooner the fish will move to beds. Also, the smaller and shallower the body of water, the sooner the bass will spawn. In a given region, ponds and stock tanks usually “go off” before the major reservoirs. If you care to get really scientific about it, the northern banks of a major reservoir often draw spawning bass earlier than the southern banks. You’d perhaps expect the opposite but think about it: The northern banks are exposed to warm south wind and buffered from chill north wind; they heat faster and retain warmth longer. This may not be absolute but, all things equal, it’s something to consider. During late winter, as lakes struggle to warm, a few degrees can make a big difference in bass activity; a month from now, as water readings move into real spring, it’s a non-event. Regardless of venue, the serious March angler carries a big-bass mindset onto the water. A major mistake for the trophy hunter striving to maximize potential is to get impatient and start fishing for numbers. Fishing for numbers usually means downsizing, and most lures intended for bass weighing one to three pounds lack the hardware suitable for sticking and holding a jumbo sow. A puny split ring can pull or a small F i s h

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treble can open. The lighter line (say, 10- to 15-pound test) suited for 1/4- to 3/8-ounce lures is a liability amid cover. So, for that matter, is the limber rod that loads properly with the school-bass baits. Also a thought, a really big bass might not be interested in expending the energy to chase a two- to three-inch baitfish-type offering moving midway through the water column. The hoary old sow prefers a real mouthful, usually something bumping on or near bottom. A soft plastic “thing” with a chunky body and a few claw-type feelers and legs and measuring at least five or six inches in length is an excellent choice _ probably better during late winter that the traditional plastic worm. And keep it dark _ black, purple, motor oil, with a few sparkly flakes mixed in. Of course, now that I’ve said all this, the next state record will swallow a 1/4-ounce Rat-L-Trap swimming plug or a slim fourinch strawberry worm. But I do believe big, thick, dark bottom-bumper is the percentage choice. And, as a real plus, you need a serious 5/0 or 6/0 worm-type hook to balance this beefy chunk of plastic. This is the sort of gaff you need to really nail a jumbo, and the lack of trailing trebles discourages snags if _when _ the big bass dives for cover. Don’t be a cheapskate; buy a packet of top quality hooks for this big-league assignment. Rig this monstrosity on a medium-heavy 7- or 7 1/2-foot rod (for powerful hook-setting ability and increased leverage) backed by a reel spooled with 50- or 60-pound super-braid (similar in diameter to 15-pound monofilament). You might want to add a five- or six-foot mono leader testing 20 or 30 pounds. Just be sure to use a true knot for the braid/mono connection. Most big-bass water is relatively murky so the heavier line should be no handicap in fooling fish. And, most important during the next few weeks, stay the course and keep chunking. Email Joe Doggett at jdoggett@fishgame.com

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

A 20-Year Wait for 20 Pounds

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or 20 years now, without good excuse, we Texans have lived with a constant reminder that not everything is bigger here. Somebody get the Compound W; I am ready to see this wart removed from the Lone Star’s backside. It was that long ago exactly this past Jan. 24 that Barry St. Clair caught what, at the time, was considered just another great bass in what seemed almost like a parade of new state records. Fifteen pounds, 16, 17, and then St. Clair’s 18.18-pound behemoth, all 25.5 inches of it. Around the newspaper at which I worked then, the three of us who wrote about this state’s natural resources wondered when St. Clair’s benchmark would be bettered. Bets at the time were that a bigger fish would be caught within months, too, not years, and certainly not decades. Lake Fork already had spit out a few dozen fish almost in that class. Smart money was and still is on that reservoir near Dallas to produce a new record, something worthy of Texas, but it hasn’t happened. Not in 20 years. Even today, a half-dozen presidents or so later, the same reservoir accounts for 12 of the state’s top 15 largemouths – all of which weighed more than 16 pounds. If our state-record bass were bigger, even by 10 percent, I might not be so glum about its lengthy stay atop the heap. What Texas needs to reestablish itself as having the best bass water on the planet is one fish. Just one. And it’s got to weigh 20 pounds plus whatever more it wants to weigh. There’s no arguing that Lake Fork produces more double-digit bass – on average more than 500 annually – but not a single one of those fish ever weighed 20 pounds.

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Texas, my home state, with its sophisticated hatchery system, its Sharelunker program that accepts monster bass and then breeds them to other monsters, and its elaborate network of forage-rich reservoirs, can’t manage to cough up a single 20-pound bass. California has more than a handful. Florida and Georgia each has certified 20s on its books. And we, since gas cost $1.05 a gallon and Time magazine named Bill Clinton its Man of the Year, have aspired to beat 18.

When Barry St. Clair caught the last State Record Largemouth, gas was $1.05 a gallon and Bill Clinton was Time’s Man of the Year.

There could (and should) be a fair good number of 20-pound bass swimming in Texas lakes. Most any impoundment that’s produced a largemouth weighing more than 15 pounds, and that covers a lot of Texas water, is capable of supporting a fish 30 percent heavier. We feed them well, too, but not like the Californians feed their fish. There, into its F i s h

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curious network of small, deep lakes, the state stocks tens of thousands of rainbow trout annually. Those fish are intended for recreational fishermen, but largemouths respond to the hatchery trucks like kids to the ting-a-ling of the ice-cream man’s bell. How Florida and Georgia did it I don’t know or care. I just want someone here in Texas to catch a bigger bass, and I’ve waited 20 years to see that happen. The fish is out there. Someone please catch it. The trouble with 20 pounders, of course, is that they don’t wear bells around their necks or electronic location devices on their tails. Which brings Texas’ legions of bass fishermen into question. We spend millions of hours slinging baited hooks into premium water. We know when, where and how to catch big bass. Odds are, if a 20-pound bass truly swims in Texas, that somebody would have caught one fish by now. Maybe that fish, in our state anyway, is something like Bigfoot (no offense, Chester.) Maybe 18 is our top end. Twenty years is time enough, after all, for the twin sister of St. Clair’s fish to have spawned in 1992 and, under absolutely ideal circumstances, for one or two fish from that nest to have reached 20 pounds. Lots of things would have to go absolutely right for such an event to occur, but that’s as plausible a theory as any just now for the existence of 20-pounders in Texas water. We’re flanked on both coasts by states with record bass that outweighed Texas’ best by a kilo – if you don’t recognize the weight, ask one of the guys who fish our side of Falcon. We have good water and plenty of it. We have great fishermen and more of them than any other state. For God, country and Lone Star pride, would someone please tie on a foot-long worm and bring us into the 21st century of bass fishing.

Email Doug Pike at dpike@fishgame.com

PhotO: TPWD

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

Fred Bear Showed Me How

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e a two season hunter!” the colorful ad exclaimed, showing a deer hunter dressed half in camo and half in orange, a bow in one hand, a rifle in the other. Everywhere in the pages of sporting publications and even in Playboy magazine in the 1960s, these brilliant words of marketing genius impacted traditional rifle hunters across America and created an instant flurry of interest in returning to the age old mystical flight of the arrow as a means to backstraps, our pure predator instincts, thrilling opportunities for family hours of outdoor recreation, and just as importantly, the revved up battlecry for this relatively new concept in wildlife management for the masses. With the end of unrestricted market hunting in North America, it was clearly obvious to anyone educated to the most basic science of sustain yield that renewable wildlife resources would be only as secure as their perceived and actual hands-on utilitarian value to the people who were willing to pay for said management. Conservation would prove to be a “pay as you go” reality, and today we continue to celebrate this proven system with the healthiest, thriving game populations anywhere in the world. I really, really like that. Fred Bear knew that the average American deer hunter would be intrigued by the increased challenge of closerange bowhunting, and his advertisement campaign throttled an entire industry. My dad and brothers and I were already hooked on bowhunting, but it was an exciting time to watch more and more sporters become bowhunters. It still is. With earlier and extended bowhunting

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seasons due to the reduced impact on the resource, a gun hunter could more than quadruple the length of his annual deer adventures and thereby the thrill of the overall hunting experience and all that goes with it. Though many new archers start their hunting life as a bowhunter, it remains the transition from gun to bow that produces the most new bowhunters each year. We certainly welcome all. My sniper 12 gauge Browning A-bolt hung from a nail next to me, and my Martin

Fred Bear, from Nugent’s personal collection.

bow lay across my lap. I was taking in the mesmerizing dynamo of another cold, damp November morning on the periphery of my sacred Michigan marsh, when rattled cornstalks got my attention. A fat forkhorn was harassing a big doe above the ridge, and as they got closer I felt a bowhunting moment unfolding. From a lifetime of trial and error and a whole lot of luck, I pulled off what will always be a miracle to me, got to fulldraw at the right moment and made a beautiful 35 yard shot right where we are supposed to hit them. I was thrilled beyond words, celebrated quietly on Spirit of the Wild video, nocked another arrow, and settled back down, literally glowing with bursting happiness. About an hour later, movement off through the timber put me on Code Red, F i s h

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and my binocular revealed a very handsome but wounded buck gimping my way at about 100 yards. Though I held only one buck tag left, I knew I would have to finish this deer if I could, to put him out of his misery. I slowly and carefully swapped bow for gun, settled in after a long, uncertain wait, and drilled the old warrior with a heavy slug into the pumpstation. The mature half racked buck ran a short ways before piling up just a few yards from my bow killed doe, making for a most memorable morning of deer hunting using two of my favorite weapons. There are a few hold-out states that still won’t allow archery tackle to be used during their firearm’s seasons, but they will come around eventually if the hunters demand it. Certainly it has been proven conclusively that such a choice is a good idea and provides for a very exciting way to hunt. I’ve enjoyed bringing both my bow and gun along for many, many years, and recommend it to anyone who wants that option at hand when on the deer stand. There was another clever ad campaign by Bear Archery for many years with a photo of gentleman Fred showing a young boy how to shoot a bow, titled; “Fred Bear showed me how.” Having the incredible good fortune of meeting Fred when I was a tyke, that ad has always struck a powerful spiritual chord with me. Because Fred Bear did show me how! So I will always be a two-season hunter and I will continue to dedicate my life to the best of my ability to carryon Fred’s vision and legacy. Be a two-season hunter. Let me show you how. Email Ted Nugent at tnugent@fishgame.com

On the Web Get more of Ted Nugent’s views, writing and music at www.TedNugent.com Photo Ted Nugent

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Commentary by Kendal Hemphill | TF&G Political Commentator

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few years ago, when the Texas Parks & Wildlife commission voted to allow the use of crossbows during the archery-only deer season in Texas, I concluded the commissioners must have been smoking crack. As a long-time archer who hunted with a longbow, cedar arrows, and glue-on broadheads sharpened with a file, I was not firmly convinced that compound bows should be allowed, much less crossbows. Our pristine hunting traditions, I thought, were being trampled under the boots of modernization and laziness. During a discussion with a friend about the issue, I fumed that allowing people to hunt with crossbows did no good at all that I could see. It was just a way for people unwilling to practice with a bow to shoot deer during MY season, with a contraption that was more gun than bow. The rule change was nothing but a disaster. My friend calmly asked me what harm the change caused. I was taken aback. This was a fellow traditionalist, who had shot no telling how many deer and other animals with a longbow. How could he not see the damage being done to our elitist sport? But when I tried to answer him, I couldn’t come up with one valid argument for continuing to prohibit crossbow hunting, other than my myopic view of ‘how things are supposed to be.’ After mulling over the issue a little longer I decided I was wrong, that allowing crossbow hunting created hunter opportunity, and might even attract new enthusiasts to the outdoors. And I felt bad about accusing the TPW commission of being idiots. Now the commissioners are considering another ‘radical’ change to the rules that will, no doubt, evoke the same kind of enraged, spittle-flecked opposition the crossbow decision brought from me. Which

Suppressors have been legally used by private citizens for some time.

Suppress the Rage

reminds me of a quote I once heard about those who are most positive usually being the most mistaken. The issue in question is whether to allow the use of suppressed firearms for hunting game animals. Suppressors are currently legal only for use while hunting exotics, varmints, and ‘nuisance’ species, such as hogs. Pretty much anything, in other words, except native game animals. Those whose exposure to suppressed firearms is limited to Hollywood movies and spy novels may have a tendency to equate

them exclusively with criminals and Navy SEALS. In fact, suppressors have been legally owned and used by private citizens in 35 states for some time. As a Title II item, lumped in with short-barreled and automatic rifles, a special license is required to purchase a suppressor. Getting a license involves some paperwork, a background check, a long wait, and a $200 fee. As for the criminal connection, I have been unable to find record of a single use of a legally-owned suppressor in the commission of a crime in the United States since 1934. This is no guarantee it hasn’t happened, but it seems unlikely a criminal would go to the trouble to document a piece of equipment with which he intended to break the law. But the idea of using a relatively quiet firearm to hunt game seemed rather unethical, until I realized I’d been doing it for years, with my longbow. The effective range of a rifle is far greater than that of a bow, but the principle is the same. So when I T e x a S

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asked myself what it would hurt to allow suppressed weapons for game hunting, I came up with the same answer I did with crossbows. When I considered the plus side, a whole new world opened up. Avoiding irritation of neighbors, especially in places where they may be non-hunters or anti-hunters, could be a big plus, but that ended up low on my list of advantages to suppressors for game hunting. The last time I was in a deer blind when a high-powered rifle was discharged, my ears rang for half an hour. Many of us have been shooting long enough to know how important hearing protection is, but many of us thought we were too tough to use it when we were younger. As a tinnitus sufferer, I would welcome the chance to quiet things down on the range and in the field. Follow-up shots and situations involving multiple targets, such as when turkey hunting, would be made much easier with a suppressed rifle. Such instances would not likely come along often, but practice with a big game rifle makes Jack a better shot, and those situations are frequent for the varmint and hog hunter honing his skills with his favorite big game rifle. Several shots in a row at a herd of nuisance pigs with my Savage .22-250 would leave me deaf for the foreseeable future. The most valuable advantage of suppressed fire is realized when teaching youngsters to shoot. Muzzle blast probably causes more flinching, and therefore missed shots, than recoil, especially with younger shooters, making a decent suppressor an invaluable training tool. To tell the truth, us old farts drop the occasional shot for the same reason, we just don’t admit it. If you have a chance to offer the TPW commission some feedback on the suppressor issue in the near future, I hope you will consider the idea positively. The hearing you save may be your own. Or mine. Email Kendal Hemphill at khemphill@fishgame.com G a m e ®

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When TPWD considered expanding 5-trout limits beyond the current Lower Coast region, it drew a spirited response from Mid Coast anglers by will leschper 24 |

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Photo Chester Moore

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EDFISH MAY FIGHT HARDER. FLOUNDER MAY TASTE BETTER. AND BLACK DRUM IS EVERYMAN’S FISH. HOWEVER, FOR INSHORE saltwater fishing die-hards and even the average weekend angler, the speckled trout is hands down the game fish of choice along the Texas coast year round. Whether it’s chunking free-lined croakers in the summer along sloping flats lined with sea grass or flipping a topwater plug in the dead of winter to find large females aggressively feeding before the spawn, the speck is a mainstay in almost every angler’s bag when the bite is on. T e x a S

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PhotO: Will Leschper

The speckled the middle. There trout hasn’t been were 621 in favor of without its own rollkeeping regulations ercoaster of a ride the same while there though. were 608 in favor of From the days of some type of alteraanglers boxing almost tion, ranging from every fish they caught implementing a fiveto the implementafish limit to changtion of more rigid ing the minimum bag and size limlength limit. its, the fish’s future As part of their always has been tied ongoing research, to the ebb and flow TPWD officials of conservation meahave projected sures. For the most the reductions in part, those actions speckled trout harhave been successful vest expected as in aiding recruitment a result of changof fish and ensuring ing the daily trout what has remained a limit from 10 fish solid fishery up and to five, and those down the coast. figures show some In December interesting trends. The speckled trout bag 2010, an interesting This especially is limit in the Lower Laguna Madre is five fish per trickle of news turned true in regards to day. The limit is 10 along into a river of speculation guided fishing pursuits in the rest of the Texas as it was announced that some notable Coastal Bend coast with a slot limit of Texas Parks and Wildlife bay systems. 15 inches to 25 inches. Department coastal fisherAransas Bay would see Anglers may keep only ies division staff would host a 9 percent harvest reducone oversize fish per day meetings along the coast to tion during non-guided trips as part of their bag limit. gauge interest and get input and a 13 percent reduction on what were termed potential “conserva- from guided trips, according to TPWD protion measures” for speckled trout. Included jections, while Corpus Christi Bay would see in that discussion were length limit altera- a 3 percent harvest reduction during nontions and the lowering of the daily trout bag guided trips and a 27 percent reduction from limit in places where it currently was 10 to guided trips. The Upper Laguna Madre five. seemingly would benefit the most from a A month later, after multiple meetings, bag limit change, with a 14 percent harvest including one in Corpus Christi that had reduction during non-guided trips and a 30 a turnout of more than 100, the agency percent reduction from guided trips, accordproclaimed that it would not recommend ing to the department data. changes to any speckled trout regulations. Coast wide, the halving of the daily bag The department cited no urgency on biologi- limit would elicit a 12 percent reduction cal issues and split reactions to any number during non-guided trips and a 22 percent of alternatives that were received at public reduction from guided trips. meetings and online. According to more data gleaned on the Robin Riechers, coastal fisheries division Lower Laguna Madre by TPWD offidirector for TPWD, noted that speckled cials, non-guided anglers on average return trout recruitment has remained stable or from a day of fishing with about two trout. increased in a number of bay systems while Meanwhile, anglers who pay to utilize the angler surveys showed that they continued to services and know-how of fishing guides be satisfied with their trout fishing pursuits. typically bring home an average of more It should be no surprise, but TPWD than twice that. It’s clear that when you fish received more feedback than it ever has with someone who spends lots of time on on the speckled trout issue, with more the water you’ll have a bigger impact on the than 1,200 comments split almost down trout population. G a m e ®

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WHAT IF... TROUT LIMITS WENT COASTAL Projections on the reduction in speckled trout harvest expected as a result of changing the daily trout limit from 10 fish to five:

reduction from guided trips. Galveston Bay would see an 11 percent harvest reduction during non-guided trips and a 31 percent reduction from guided trips.

Upper Laguna Madre would see a 14 percent harvest reduction during non-guided trips and a 30 percent reduction from guided trips.

Matagorda Bay would see a 14 percent harvest reduction during non-guided trips and an 18 percent reduction from guided trips.

Corpus Christi Bay would see a 3 percent harvest reduction during non-guided trips and a 27 percent reduction from guided trips.

Sabine would see a 13 percent harvest reduction during non-guided trips and a 36 percent reduction from guided trips.

Aransas Bay would see a 9 percent harvest reduction during nonguided trips and a 13 percent reduction from guided trips.

Coast wide would see a 12 percent reduction during non-guided trips and a 22 percent reduction from guided trips.

San Antonio Bay would see a 14 percent harvest reduction during non-guided trips and a 13 percent

Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

In 2007, the TPWD Commission voted to lower the bag and possession limit in the Lower Laguna Madre below Marker 21 in the Landcut to five fish as a result of a downward trend in spawning-age specks, something that ran counter to the increasing populations on the rest of the coast as a whole. Mark Lingo, TPWD Lower Laguna Madre ecosystem leader, said that the decrease in the trout limit hasn’t elicited an increase in numbers either in angler harvest or in TPWD gear, but he said he has observed a significant increase in size of specks there. In that regard, it would seem that a standard bag limit would be a good thing. Kyle Spiller, former TPWD Upper Laguna Madre ecosystem leader, noted that fish-killing freezes in the 1980s and a subsequent increase in minimum size limits and a decrease in the bag limit afterward showed that an alteration in regulations can help a fishery recover not just from those types of events but also from overfishing. Fishing pressure only continues to increase on the Texas coast, which likely fuels most of the worry among concerned biologists and anglers. Hal Osburn, then T e x a S

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coastal fisheries division director, noted at a 2003 TPWD Commission meeting that the state had seen about a 300 percent growth in guides from two decades prior and those guides accounted for about 40 percent of the million trout annual harvest. He also noted that the ratio of trout larger than 25 inches was declining. Subsequently, the department would go on to implement a 15- to 25-inch slot with anglers only allowed to keep one oversize fish per day while guides were prohibited from keeping their limits on paying trips. I would argue that the latter has made a large difference, especially when you examine the harvest reduction figures associated with guide trips. TPWD gillnet surveys actually show a dip in the trout population in a few bay systems, including a large decline in Aransas Bay, but even with the agency’s data showing that we could essentially replenish our stocks rather quickly, it appears there won’t be a change anytime soon to the daily bag limit. If every angler who went out kept their full allotment of fish every time, we’d be in trouble, but that simply doesn’t happen, according to creel surveys and anecdotal evidence.

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Photo: Chester Moore

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much has been written abouT THE DROUGHT of 2011, largely because it was one of such epic proportions. Even the old timers are calling 2011 the most whacked out year for Texas weather — or a lack of it — that they have ever seen. The prolonged lack of moisture has caused everything from havoc to hell statewide. For starters, billions of dollars in crop and livestock losses. Thousands of homes were burned and millions of acres scorched. To make matters worse, people were killed and others injured trying to save their property from wildfires spawned by this slow-motion natural disaster that some weather forecasters, despite recent rainfall in many of the affected areas, are saying is far from over.

BY MATT WILLIAMS

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Evidence of the drought is STILL WITH everywhere, but nowhere is it US: This USDA more evident than on our lakes, drought map, rivers and streams. dated January 31, Everything is low. So low 2012, shows that most of Texas is that relics from yesteryear have still under drought crept mysteriously towards the conditions. surface on many impoundments, creating navigational hazards for boaters and revealing glimpses into the past that have grabbed the attention of everyone from archeologists to homicide detectives. To wit: • Fishermen at Lake Georgetown discovered a human skull along the shoreline that is believed to be that of a male American Indian, possibly several thousand years old. • On Richland Chambers Reservoir, vanishing water lead to the discovery of more than two dozen unmarked graves that experts believe are those of former slaves buried there more than 120 years ago. • Another old cemetery site was revealed at Lake Buchanan and remnants of an old town surfaced at Lake Texoma. Meanwhile, more than two dozen people were arrested for pilfering ancient Indian artifacts exposed by low water at Lake Whitney. • In August, law enforcement was called to Lake Ray Hubbard near Dallas, where skeletal remains were found inside a car submerged just beneath the surface near Robertson Park. • Also in August, NASA officials were summoned to Lake Nacogdoches where a fuel cell from the space shuttle Columbia

was discovered at the lake’s upper reaches, where it came to rest after the space ship exploded over eastern Texas more than a decade ago. That’s all captivating stuff, but Texas’ million-or-so bass anglers might be more interested to learn what types of impacts the lingering drought is having on bass lakes across the state. More importantly, what it could mean for the future of our fisheries. As earlier mentioned, the drought is so widespread that just about every lake in the state has been affected. Common

NOTABLE LAKE LEVELS

Lake O.C. Fisher

as of Feb 6, 2012:

CURR. NORM Amistad 1,103.23 1,117.00 Buchanan 990.09 1,020.50 conroe 194.34 201.00 falcon 274.88 301.20 fork 397.20 403.00 meredith 2,851.21 2,941.00 oc fisher 1,853.58 1,908.00 OH Ivie 1,523.76 1,551.50 ray hubbard 433.38 435.50 ray roberts 630.53 632.50 Rich/chamb. 310.70 315.00 Sam rayburn 156.52 164.40 TEXOMA 615.85 619.00 toldedo bend 164.49 172.00 TRAVIS 627.00 681.00

problems include limited launching access and increased navigational hazards, both of which can deter traffic and cause economic hardship for lakeside businesses. Biologically, low water can cause the loss of critical spawning habitat and hinder recruitment, or result in the loss of an age class altogether. The upside for anglers is low water reduces the size of the playing field and makes fish easier to find. It also allows new growth terrestrial vegetation to sprout on the lakebed. Once inundated, the vegetation pumps nutrients into the water provide prime habitat where game fish and forage can thrive. Scientists sometimes refer to the phenomenon as the “new lake effect.” Naturally, some lakes have been harder hit by the drought than others. O.C. Fisher near San Angelo and Baylor Lake near Childress dried up completely last summer. Meanwhile, Lake Meredith north of Amarillo is listed at zero percent capacity, but still contains about 1,800 acres of water, according to fisheries biologist Charlie Munger of Canyon. Munger said the drought was particularly tough on Panhandle impoundments, because that region has been short on rain since 2000. But there are some bright spots.

Lake Travis

Source: TPWD

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Map: USDA; Photos: TPWD

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Munger said lakes Greenbelt near Clarendon and Alan Henry near Lubbock continue to produce good results for bass anglers. Alan Henry is in the better shape of two (7 feet low), but that could change when the City of Lubbock begins pumping water out of the lake later this year. “We’re dying a slow death out here,” Munger said. “The silver lining is the abundance of terrestrial vegetation that as grown during low water periods. That will be very beneficial to the fisheries if we ever get the rain to fill them back up.” Lake O.H. Ivie — the leading producer of ShareLunkers the last two seasons — has dropped to about 18 percent of full capacity, but still offers decent access, good fishing prospects and a promising future, according to TPWD fisheries technician Charles Cruz of San Angelo. “The bass clubs are still having some decent success,” said Cruz. “Lots of brush has grown around the lake, so we’re hopeful it will take off with a bang once it rains.” In eastern Texas, Sam Rayburn, Palestine, Lake O’ The Pines, Toledo Bend, Fork, Conroe, Richland Chambers, Bob Sandlin, Cooper, Cedar Creek and

Nacogdoches reservoirs were at or near record lows by late November. While access is a problem at some ramps, the main things anglers need to be concerned about here are stumps, sand bars and other navigational hazards. The same holds true for Lake Livingston, which was about four feet low. “Just about all of our lakes are in the same shape,” said TPWD fisheries biologist Todd Driscoll of Jasper. “The access is very limited on some lakes, and that’s causing economic problems for businesses. The good thing is the habitat (hydrilla) is adapting on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend, so we should still see decent spawns there despite the low water.” Several Central Texas impoundments have been hard hit by the drought, especially lakes Travis (34 percent capacity) and Buchanan (37 percent). The bets are much better at LBJ, Austin, Fayette, Inks Walter E. Long and Bastrop, all of which are holding their own. While water levels at many lakes across North Texas are well below normal, access has not been much of an issue, according to fisheries biologist Bruch Hysmith of Pottsboro. “The fishing has remained pretty

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good, too, mainly because the low water has concentrated the fish more,” he said. Hysmith says Texoma (6.59 feet low) and Ray Roberts (4.71) are probably in the best shape of all the major reservoirs is his district. Still, Hysmith says anglers need to be mindful of the blue green algae warning in effect on Texoma, along with potential navigational hazards like stumps and logs. Access also remains good at South Texas giants Amistad and Falcon along the Texas/ Mexico border. Amistad (8 feet low) is in the better shape of the two, while Falcon at 23 feet low is nearing 40 percent capacity. Fisheries biologist Randy Myers says he isn’t overly concerned about the low water Falcon at this point, mainly because the lake is chock full of big bass from several consecutive banner spawns dating back to 2004-05. “We’ve got some big year classes of fish in Falcon that will help it overcome the low water situation and negatives that come with it,” Myers said. “You’re going to have an increase in natural mortality, plus there will be an increase in fishing related mortalities, but I think the fishery is good enough shape to handle it.”

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2/7/12 10:07 AM


SOME OF MY MOST CHERISHEd times fishing involved making no casts. Using nylon string and cinder blocks my friends and I would run trotlines all over the bayous of Southeast Texas and caught some of the biggest fish of our lives in the process. Trotlining as we call it was just something we did growing up and it yielded over the years hundreds of pounds of catfish along with the occasional alligator garfish. Trotlines are a cherished part of the Texas

fishing scene and are a tradition passed down from generation to generation. Trotlines are just one of several types of “unattended” lines legal for use in Texas. Well, they are legal but there many restricT e x a S

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tions involved with them, in particular where they can be used and permitting. Let us take a look at some of the legalities of these unique fish catching devices. Trotlines as defined by the Texas Parks G a m e ®

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These trotlines may not be used in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico or placed within 50 feet of another trotline or 200 feet from the Intracoastal Canal. There are also highly detailed restrictions from Aransas County that should be examined in the TPWD regulations guide for those interested in running a line in that area. There are also restrictions on time lines can be ran. No trotline may be left in or on coastal waters between the hours of 1 p.m. on Friday through 1 p.m. on Sunday of each week. There are allowances for bad weather conditions issued by the National Weather Service. Consult TPWD for more specific details. Red drum, speckled trout and sharks caught on a trotline may not be retained or possessed. Juglines are the second most popular form of unattended line and they are legal for us in freshwater only. A jugline is defined as a fishing line with five or less hooks tied to a free-floating device and they are legal only for catching nongame fish as well channel, blue and flathead cats. Like trotlines they are illegal in community fishing lakes and reservoirs or sections of rivers lying totally within state park boundaries. There are additional bans on various small lakes in the state. Juglines must have a gear tag attached and it is valid for 30 days after the date set out and must include the number of the permit to sell nongame fish taken from fresh water, if applicable. Properly marked buoys or floats qualify as valid gear tags. According to TPWD for non-commercial purposes, a jugline must be marked with a white, free-floating device. For commercial purposes, a jugline must be marked with an orange, free-floating device. As you can see there are lots of regulations pertaining to these unattended lines. Make sure and check out fishgame.com for the continuation of this article detailing sail and throw lines. As with any regulation of which you are not 100 percent sure, consult TPWD’s website or call them at 800-792-1112 and ask to speak to someone in law enforcement. It is much better to take the time to ask questions than to find yourself in court.

In freshwater, trotlines can only be used to catch non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish.

& Wildlife Department (TPWD) are, “A non-metallic main fishing line with more than five hooks attached and with each end attached to a fixture.” In general trotlines may not be a mainline length exceeding 600 feet; hooks spaced less than 3 horizontal feet apart; metallic stakes; or the main fishing line and attached hooks and stagings placed above the water’s surface. Anglers can put no more than 50 hooks on a single trotline. In freshwater where trotlines are by far most commonly used, anglers can only use them to catch and retain nongame fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish. Anglers must affix a gear tag to the line. Gear tags are defined by TPWD as “constructed of material as durable as the device to which it is attached. The gear tag must be legible, contain the name and address of the person using the device and the date the device was set out.” Properly marked floats or buoys qualify as gear tags on freshwater trotlines. These must be attached within 3 feet of the first hook at each end of the trotline and are valid for 30 days after the date set out. Trotlines are illegal for use in a variety of small reservoirs in the state as decided by the governing authority and are not allowed in reservoirs or sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of a state park or community fishing lakes. Trotlines in saltwater are even more restrictive. In addition to the gear tag required for freshwater trotlines, those in saltwater require the placement of a saltwater trotline 34 |

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tag which must be purchased at TPWD law enforcement offices. The gear tag does not need to be dated but the trotline tag costs $5. It is required for each 300 feet or fraction thereof of all non-commercial trotlines (as well as sail lines) in Texas coastal waters. Those last four words, “In Texas coastal waters” is where anglers can get themselves into trouble. The coastal waters are not designated by what species you catch but where the state draws the saltwater line. For example, where I live on the Sabine River Interstate 10 is the boundary and while we catch bass, crappie and blue catfish from the bridge for several miles southward a saltwater trotline license would be required for use in that area. Saltwater trotlines must be marked with a yellow floating buoy not less than 6 inches in height, 6 inches in length, and 6 inches in width, bearing a two-inch wide stripe of contrasting color, attached to end fixtures. These buoys or floats may not be made of plastic bottles of any color or size according to TPWD. These lines may not be baited with anything other than natural bait. TPWD defines natural bait as a whole or cut-up portion of a fish or shellfish or a whole or cut-up portion of plant material in its natural state, provided that none of these may be altered beyond cutting into portions. Anglers can only use circle hooks with a gap from point to shank of no more than one half inch with the diameter of the circle not more than 5/8-inch. F i s h

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2/7/12 10:08 AM


by Bob Hood

THE LOUD GOBBLING OF EASTERN turkeys once heard in woodlands across East Texas have been silenced, mainly by poor land uses, inadequate stocking procedures meant to re-introduce the birds to their former range, and Mother Nature’s way of curtailing the magnificent bird’s reproduction success. T e x a S

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“ Texas wildlife officials have been stocking turkeys since the 1930s.

So what’s next? With 15 counties removed from last year’s list of 43 counties allowed to have a spring Eastern turkey hunting season in 2012, will that ever change or are the birds in those counties and possibly additional counties gone forever? What’s next will be a more determined effort by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and, hopefully, more landowners involvement to improve the stocking procedures and land use practices to give the birds their best chance at survival and reproduction. What is hoped to change is greater populations of birds in the best available habitat and re-openings of Eastern turkey hunting seasons in many counties that basically lie east of the Trinity River where the bird’s former native range is located. But, that won’t happen without a price, about $45,000 per stocking. Texas wildlife officials have been stocking turkeys since the 1930s including Rio Grandes, Floridas, Easterns and RioGrande-Eastern hybrids. The early efforts basically involved pen-raised birds, which were failures. Later, block stockings of wild-trapped Eastern birds from various Southeast states worked well in some East Texas counties, not so well in others. “We used block stockings that involved releasing three gobblers with 12 hens at one site, and we did that at 10 sites in a county,” said Jason Hardin, wild turkey program director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “Some areas did well but we had high mortality and poor production in other areas. There were a large number of reasons for the failures and not just a single silver bullet that caused them. We didn’t stock high enough numbers and there was a lack of land management after the stockings. “ Red River County was and remains one of the top Eastern Turkey hunting counties in the state. “We really intensified the reintroduction of Eastern turkeys in 1979 but it wasn’t until the 1990s that it really took off,” Hardin said. “Red River County was the first to have a spring Eastern turkey hunting season in 1995.” Historically, Red River County has been at the top of the chart on Eastern turkey harvest figures, Hardin said, but it yielded to Grayson County last spring. Unlike

Rio Grande turkey hunters who simply are required to attach a tag from their hunting license to a harvested bird, Eastern turkey hunters must take their bird to a check station in the county where it was harvested within 24 hours after bagging the bird. Also, Eastern turkey hunters are allowed to use only shotguns or archery equipment and the limit is one bird per season, not four as for Rio Grandes elsewhere. Last spring, Grayson County recorded a harvest of 41 birds compared to 32 by Red River County whose check station reports were down from 53 the previous year. Because Grayson County also has a population of Rio Grandes, too, that number may contain some Rio Grande-Eastern turkey hybrids. “The highest total harvest we have ever had was in 2005 when 443 Easterns were taken to check stations, including 132 from Red River County,” Hardin said. “That was our peak year and the numbers have been on a decline ever since. Last year’s F i s h

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overall total was 221 birds.” Any success involved in the re-introduction of a wildlife species is dependent upon adequate stockings, good land management practices and a helping hand from Mother Nature. With two of those things solely in the hands of wildlife managers and landowners, Hardin is hoping more wildlife cooperatives such as the Red River Eastern Turkey Association and similar organizations in Montgomery and Anderson counties step forward to help provide the birds with the best habitat possible. “We have received wild-trapped birds from numerous states throughout the southeast and from Missouri and Ohio but our latest birds have come from Tennessee and South Carolina,” Hardin said. “They cost about $525 per bird. “Instead of doing block stocking, we now do super stockings which involves releasing a total of 80 birds at one site. That’s 60 hens, with 20 gobblers at $525 per bird. When you add staff time, gas costs and other factors it comes out to about $45,000 per stocking.” Yes, that may seem like a hefty price to some people but remember: it is hunters and landowners who are not only footing the bill but also reaping the rewards for their efforts. I haven’t seen a similar program anywhere supported by anyone outside the realm of hunting and true wildlife conservation. When birds are purchased from states like Tennessee and South Carolina, they are transported to Texas inside waxy cartons. The cartons are made to contain up to two turkeys but Hardin said only one is placed inside a single carton headed to Texas. “The process takes three days; one day for shipping them here, one day for us to do our required testing for diseases, and one day for them to be taken out and released,” Hardin said. “They do OK in the crates for three days but they can become stressed after longer periods.” The crates the turkeys are shipped in are provided free of charge to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by the National Wild Turkey Association. And that’s just another example of a hunting organization helping wildlife.

Photo: Bob Hood

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2/7/12 10:09 AM


Texas Department of Defense What is a Concealed Carry Gun?

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his is a subject we have touched on before, but I felt we had left a lot unsaid, so we are going to visit it again. For the purposes of this article we are going to consider a “handgun” the combination of the actual firearm, and the cartridge it shoots. The magazines today seem to be full of new handguns intended for concealed carry. However, as I look at these new wonders I

see a great many that are singularly ill suited for that task. You see, a handgun that is well suited for concealed carry is at best a compromise between power and size. A powerful handgun must be fairly large or it is uncontrollable. A concealed carry gun must be small enough to conceal, so it cannot use the most powerful cartridges. Also, if a gun is too powerful it will simply blow right through the intended target and cause collateral damage to other, probably innocent, standers by. This is something that is to be avoided at all, or almost all, costs. So we must again compromise and

BENCH TEST

Kimber Solo

kimber has just introduced a slick little concealed carry gun called the Solo, or Solo Carry. As I write this I just got my test gun and shot it for the first time yesterday. In short, I like it. The trigger is described as “singleaction, striker fired.” It feels very much like a short double-action pull and has a lot of free travel before the striker falls. It is easy to shoot, as my first group was easily covered with a small hand. The size of the gun rather limits the type of ammo that can be fired in it. Kimber has this to say: “Solo is designed to function optimally using premium hollow-point selfdefense factory ammunition with bullet weights of 124 or 147 grains. While other ammunition may perform well, lighter bullets and inconsistent pressures that can be found in 40 |

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lower-quality ammunition may lead to decreased slide cycle time and compromise function.” This is true of most of the smaller guns in the more powerful calibers. I test-fired the gun with both Speer 124-grain Gold Dot Hollow Point and American Eagle 124-grain full metaljacket ammunition and it performed flawlessly with both, putting both in the same groups at 15 yards, which was the farthest I shot the little gun. While the grip is tiny, allowing me to barely get two of my big fingers on it, it is large enough to give me a sure shooting grip. In fact, my little finger F i s h

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| Self Defense | | Concealed Carry | | Tactical | by Steve LaMascus find a cartridge that is powerful enough, but not too powerful, in a gun that is small, but not too small. We can immediately rule out the true brutes, powerful cartridges like the .454 Casull, the .460 Smith & Wesson, the .500 S&W, and the .44 Magnum, unless loaded down or used with .44 Special ammo. Now we have to decide if we are going to carry a semi-auto or a revolver. This is a difficult decision, because the one deciding must first take a good, hard, unbiased look at his or her abilities. The less skilled and less experienced are much better off choosing a revolver. A revolver is far easier to learn to use well than the more complicated semi-auto. When choosing the cartridge we must, also, judge our own curled under the bottom of the magazine may be a minor advantage in control. The magazine holds 6 rounds, meaning a combat load of 7 with one up the pipe. The slimness of the single-stack magazine adds to its concealability. The barrel is 2.7 inches long, which will cut down the velocity a bit. It has an ambidextrous thumb safety and an easily reachable, ambidextrous magazine release. The sights are the standard three-dot type. The frame is high-grade aluminum. The only place it comes up short is that I would like the safety levers to be a bit more prominent. All in all the Solo is a very good choice for concealed carry. On a scale of one to ten I would give it an eight-plus. —Steve LaMascus Photo: Photo KIMBER credit

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Texas Department of Defense abilities. A person who shoots very little, who intends to shoot very little, and who has very little background with firearms, should not choose a powerful cartridge. The difference would be the difference between a .38 Special and a .357 Magnum. While I was in the Border Patrol, I saw a lot of officers who could shoot pretty well with the .38 Special wadcutters we were issued for practice and qualification, and who couldn’t hit the inside of a big red barn with full-house magnums. In fact, this was such a common malady that The Patrol finally began issuing a loaded down 110-grain “magnum” cartridge because so many couldn’t handle the heavily loaded 158-grain Magnums that were previously issued for carry. Sad but true. It is no sin if you can’t handle the big cartridges. It is a sin, however, if you lie to yourself about it and carry something too powerful for your skills. Think about it.

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Another thing that must be considered is that when you choose a smaller gun you give up either power or ammunition capacity. There are now a number of guns on the market that fire powerful cartridges from tiny platforms. Ruger just came out with their version. Glock has had sub-compacts on the market for some time. Springfield is right in there pitching with their XD and XDm models. And there are several .380s that are so small they look more like toys than serious self-defense tools. If you are contemplating one of the subcompact semi-autos, I strongly suggest you shoot one before you buy it. Also, shoot it alongside a good revolver of equal power. The absolute truth is that if you need more than 5 shots, the meadow muffins are going to be too deep to paddle through anyway. The best effort that I have ever seen put into print on what really happens in a gunfight is an article by Dave Spaulding, a

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police investigator and training officer. It is called, logically, “What Really Happens in a Gunfight?” You can find it on the Internet at www.handgunsmag.com. He says in one paragraph, “While not trying to place a percentage on how often they will be effective with one or two shots, I have seen certain rounds be effective over and over again. They are .38 Special 158-grain lead hollow point; 9mm +P+ jacketed hollow point; .40 cal. 155- or 165-grain jacketed hollow point; .45 ACP hollow points; .223 55-grain full metal-jacket and hollow points; 12-gauge 00 buckshot; and 12-gauge rifled slugs.” We will not dwell at length on the .223 and the 12-gauge. Both are highly effective, but are not generally concealed carry items. Briefly, however, if you have a .223 that you want to use for self-defense, I agree completely with Spaulding: stick with the 55-grain bullets, either hollow point, soft point, or the newer plastic tipped bullets. Heavier bullets tend to be less effective. As for the others, obviously, these rounds are the most often seen because they are the most often issued. However, they are the most often issued because they are effective. The Border Patrol officers I still know tell me that the 155-grain .40 cal. ammo now issued is the best they have ever seen at ending a fight with one shot. Two of the rounds listed by Spaulding are my personal favorites, the +P+9mm and the .45 ACP. The old .45 ACP is a big bullet at relatively slow speed. Even if it fails to expand, which the better rounds rarely do, it hits like the proverbial ton of bricks. There is no better choice for a selfdefense round. The 9mm is also very good, when carried with the right ammo. I carried a 9mm for many years, in uniform and out, loaded with what may have been the first +P+ ammo, the Border Patrol-issued 115-grain Federal 9BPLE. That round was tested in combat numerous times and found to be as effective as nearly anything that could be fired in a handgun. I had and have complete faith in that round, and there are several such rounds now on the commercial market. Three of the best available on the civilian market are the Speer 124-grain +P Gold Dot hollow

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point, the Corbon +P 115-grain jacketed hollow point, and the Federal 124-grain Hydra-Shok jacketed hollow point. The truth is that all of those rounds are a bit hard to handle in a sub-compact handgun. However, they are not so powerful that they are unmanageable. A bit of practice will allow the shooter to do good work with any of them. The .38 Special 158-grain [soft] lead hollow point was issued to plain-clothes cops all over the country. It was used in a lot of shootings and apparently did its job well. There are, however, other .38-special rounds that are effective. The Federal Hydra-Shok ammo is good because it has a little rod sticking up in the middle of the hollow point that prevents the hollow point from filling with clothing or other impedimenta and failing to expand. I carry the 129-grain Hydra-Shok in my own .38 Special. What is not mentioned, and which is one of the worst choices possible is the old 158-grain lead round nosed ammo that was issued to street cops for a half-century. It failed so many times it came to be expected. Most

of the more ballistically knowledgeable cops carried something else in their guns and only had the LRNs in their belt loops for show. Stay far away from this stuff; even the standard target wadcutters are a better choice. Now you need to make a decision or three. First you need to decide if you are going to carry a semi-auto or a revolver. Next you must decide how you are going to carry it. And then you need to decide on the caliber. If you dress correctly you can carry almost anything you want; if you wear oversized shirts of dark colors or large prints it will not be readily visible. However, a large weapon is, as my friend, Kendal Hemphill, has discovered in his quest for concealed carry truths, a physical encumbrance. A gun that is too large and too heavy, if it is worn on the belt, will pull your pants down. If it is uncomfortable to carry, most people will not carry it all the time, and if you do not have in on your person, it is useless. Again, the perfect carry gun is a compromise between power and size. I generally opt for a Commander-sized

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1911 .45 ACP; I have two that I carry interchangeably, a Colt Lightweight Commander and a Kimber Pro-Carry II. These are small enough and light enough without being too small or too lightweight. A gun this size and weight fits my everyday circumstances perfectly. In your case, I expect the circumstances are considerably different. You may wear a suit; you may have to wear a dress; you may wear a uniform or costume. In those circumstances you may have to choose a less powerful gun to find one that is small enough for you to conceal. That’s okay, because the smallest gun is better than your teeth and fingernails. But if you carry one of the pipsqueak cartridges, do not expect it to stop an attacker with one or two shots. Just keep in mind the first rule of gunfighting: 1. Have a gun. If you fail on Rule Number One, nothing else matters, because, as the wise man said, “Only a fool brings a knife to a gunfight.” And any gun is better than your teeth and fingernails.

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2/7/12 10:09 AM


THE 1920s, 30s, 40s and even the early 1950s was a time of experimentation and advancement in ballistics science. We were just coming into the era where velocities of 3-4000 feet per second were commonplace. The time of the .3855, .45-70, and the romantic era of the old big-bore single-shots such as the Sharps “Big Fifty” was still remembered with fondness. The Winchester Model 94 .30-30 epitomized the term “deer rifle,” and the Winchester .32 Special, .25-35, and the similar Remington Rimless lineup were popular. The .30-06 fought in two World Wars. The .270 Winchester and .220 Swift were the darlings of high velocity, and Roy Weatherby introduced his magnum-Magnum lineup. Shooting magazines brimmed with wondrous claims for wildcatters’ pet creations. Affordable, personal chronographs did not exist, so gun lovers of the day took tales of hyper-velocity at face value. Reality, a transient commodity, was often lost in the swirl of wishful fantasy as one gun nut after another discovered a way to achieve 4000 feet per second using a tricky new shoulder angle with Uncle Ben’s Rice soaked in nitroglycerin for powder. Parker O. Ackley was a famous gunsmith, experimenter, and loading manual writer in the 1940s-60s. From 1946 to 1951, he was an instructor in the gunsmith school at Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, Colorado, and a staff writer for Guns & Ammo and Shooting Times. He did an immense amount of testing on the strength of military actions, introduced the still popular Ackley Improved series of wildcat cartridges, and was a loudly outspoken advocate of super-light, sub-caliber bullets at ultra-high velocities such as the .17 caliber, and advocated the use of these lightweight speed demons on game larger than most experts of the day (and the present for that matter) thought reasonable. The vast majority of Ackley’s experience took place on a rifle range, not in the hunting fields. He knew ballistics as well as anyone of his day, but had very little actual experience shooting game animals. He and many others believed there was something magical and mystical about ultra-velocity and small calibers. Wild-eyed speculation abounded about what happened at the ultra speeds

of .220 Swift and some of the .17 calibers, and many large and truculent beasts were killed with small, speedy bullets. We don’t know how many were wounded and escaped because nobody talked about that. One missionary took a .22 Savage High Power (not that speedy by modern standards; a 70-grain bullet at 2800 fps) to the Far East and shot several tigers with it. However, that does not make a proper dangerous game round of the .22 Savage High Power. It simply means he was lucky that one of them didn’t get annoyed and counsel him about his manners. Another man took a .22-250 with very light Sisk bullets at over 4000 feet per second to Canada and killed a grizzly bear. The first bullet hit a rib and blew up. The second one slipped between two ribs and killed the bear instantly. Does that make the .22-250 a grizzly cartridge? Elmer Keith, the proclaimed “father of the .44 Magnum,” was an unabashed proponent of big bullets at moderate velocity. He liked to talk of raking shots and longrange handgunning. He thought any bullet less than .33 caliber and 250 grains was fit only for varmints. He said the .270 Winchester was “a damned adequate coyote cartridge.” He was right about that, but it is also an adequate load for much larger game. Keith wanted heavier bullets of larger caliber because he had experienced a number of bullet failures on big game with the smaller, faster calibers, especially the .30-06. His solution was to use bigger bullets. If he had the benefit of modern bonded core bullets during his formative years, he might have come down on the other side. Jack O’Connor was the acknowledged godfather of the .270 Winchester. He believed in high velocity, but not tiny bullets. He thought higher velocity made cartridges shoot flatter, which made hitting game at longer ranges much easier. He felt bullet placement was far more important than how fast it got there or what it weighed, but T e x a S

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also said he didn’t think deer and other big game should be shot with the micro-calibers. O’Connor wrote in The Hunting Rifle that he thought deer should not be hunted with bullets weighing less than 90 grains. The war of words between O’Connor and Keith raged for decades with no real winner, but consensus these days is that O’Connor was right and Keith (at least in regard to rifle calibers) was stuck in the 1890s. When O’Connor went after lion, tiger, or brown bear, he toted a .375 H&H Magnum. He realized that the bigger the game, the heavier and tougher a bullet needed to be. He also realized that many of the “cartridge failures” were in reality bullet failures caused by poorly designed bullets, or by the use of bullets that were intended for other purposes, such as using varmint bullets on big game. He killed many elk, sheep, goat, deer, moose, and big game in Africa, India, and the Middle East with a .270 Winchester, but he also used a .300 Weatherby, .30-06, .257 Roberts, 7x57 Mauser, .338 Winchester, 7mm Weatherby and Remington Magnums, .450 Watts, .416 Rigby, and other calibers enough to know what worked and what didn’t. During my lifetime, we have been through these “high velocity vs. bullet weight” and “impact velocity vs. penetration” arguments several times, and I expect they will be argued long after I am dead. The truth is, neither side is correct in the most extreme versions. In years past, I have seen game animals lost because of both causes—bullets that expanded too slowly, and bullets that blew up to quickly. Find a happy medium. If you stray to either end of the spectrum, you eventually find disappointment and lose animals; take it from someone who has been there...more than once.

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Hunt Texas by Bob Hood | TF&G Hunting Editor

Following New Trails

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unting has been in my veins ever since I was old enough to point a BB gun and shoot it, not so accurately at first but accurately later as I improved my skills in handling one. Later came a .22 rifle and even later shotguns and larger caliber rifles. One day recently, I watched a 10-yearold boy entering a timbered pasture not far from my home with a pellet rifle. It was an unusually warm morning for this time of the year and it reminded me of myself easing through my grandfather’s pasture on his dairy north of Comanche when I was a youngster of about the same age hunting with a gun. Past thoughts brought back memories of me walking down a cattle trail on other warm mornings, watching for cottontails and squirrels but also just walking through the pasture to enjoy a day with my .22 Stephens rifle. Sure, I hoped to shoot a rabbit or squirrel which I had all the confidence in the world I could do but it was the journey away from ordinary life that really had inspired me to relish what lay before me those days. After just a few years of hunting by myself with a BB gun and now with a .22, I had established a pattern of following certain well-woven trails made by cattle and those of a few deer. I stopped by the first of three stock tanks on my grandfather’s dairy and didn’t see anything to shoot so I started to continue on down the trail. That’s when I remember stopping and leaning back against an oak tree and thinking about where I was going to go next. It seemed like a simple decision. Just go

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where you have been going before—down the same trails, to the same stock tanks, over to the same oak grove, along the same fence rows and then back up the trails to my grandfather’s house. Somehow on this day, that didn’t seem like the right paths to take. No, I was far from being grownup. After all, I still was what most adults would call a kid, but I was growing up, not so much in worldly matters but in matters related to what I loved more than anything else in the world outside my family and friends—wildlife, hunting and learning as much as possible for the rest of my life about animals, birds, reptiles and all

other creatures put here by God. I walked down one of my usual paths from the stock tank that morning but soon spotted a faint deer trail off to my right near a small draw at a low-water crossing. I call it a “deer trail” because it held more deer tracks than anything else. I didn’t know where the trail would lead me but I turned right and eased my way along it, looking or more tracks of anything from deer, rabbits, raccoons, squirrels, quail or any other wildlife that may have been traveling there. The trail took me upwards for about 35 yards before topping out in a beautiful F i s h

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field of sunflowers. Even for a 10-year-old boy not saturated by political philosophies, changing family values and the like at that time, I engulfed myself into what was before me. A cottontail rabbit saw me and scurried into the thick brush behind the field. Three mourning doves rose from the sunflowers and flew far away to my left. Across the sunflower field, a whitetail doe and a fawn had frozen at my approach and stood staring at me for a moment. They then left in a hasty snort into the woods behind them. I didn’t shoot a thing that day, but what heck of a day it had been. The experience prompted me to look for other lesser-known trails to see where they went or came from. As the years have progressed, I have come to realize that many hunters don’t look for unknown or lesser defined trails to follow not just while hunting but in life general. They simply follow the same pronounced trails they have been accustomed with. This past year’s deer hunting season was a disappointment for many hunters because acorn crops were phenomenal in East Texas that curtailed deer activity around corn feeders, drought conditions affected activity elsewhere and wildfires displaced a lot of animals. Pulling yourself away from feeders and other well-traveled areas used by yourself and other hunters is not a detriment to your hunting plans. Don’t plan on always tracking deer movement because they also are tracking you. Finding new trails and following them will lead you to better success afield and a lot more enjoyment pursing what made them.

Email Bob Hood at bhood@fishgame.com

Photo: Ohotnik, Bigstock

2/7/12 10:10 AM


Texas Bowhunting by Lou Marullo | TF&G Bowhunting Editor

Let’s Talk Turkey

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ime flies when you are having fun. How true that is. One minute I was opening Christmas gifts and all of a sudden it is March. January and February were nothing more than a blur. For Texas bow hunters, March is the month we should start to get our gear together for the turkey season. April will be here in a flash so I strongly suggest that you do not procrastinate. How will you hunt those wary birds this year? Will you use the tree stand that you saw them out of during whitetail season? Will you try your luck from a ground blind? What broadheads will you use this year, fixed or mechanical? These are all good questions and ones that should be answered right away. Although many turkeys have been taken from tree stands, it is not the first method that this writer would choose. Normally, if turkey and deer season overlap, then the bow hunter will try his luck on the unsuspecting bird as it strolls by his stand. This is the springtime and this method would still work, but I prefer using a portable pop-up ground blind. Ameristep has one that is called the Carnivore that I love. It is large enough inside to fit 3 people and still have some room for a camera, tripod and whatever else you might feel is necessary for a successful turkey hunt—don’t forget the coffee. The outside material is heavy duty and the blind is equipped with many windows to shoot from. Remember to wear black instead of the traditional camo. You will blend in perfectly with the black interior of the blind. Do not forget to cover your hands and as much of your face as possible. Think of it as a “Ninja” Hunt. A few years ago, Chester Moore did a story in this magazine about that very topic. He included

a pic of himself inside the blind with just his eyes visible. Very cool. You may decide to take a more challenging approach and “run and gun” the birds, except using a bow instead of a gun. If only one tom comes in to your calling, then you could have some luck and be able to draw your bowstring when the turkey is behind a tree or bush. The real challenge happens when more than one bird comes in looking for love. Not only are they looking for the female turkey of their dreams, but they also are constantly looking for predators and you are number one on their list today. I find that although not impossible, it is very difficult to make the movement needed to draw your bowstring without being detected by one of those pairs of eyes. Nine times out of ten, you will get caught and that familiar “putt, putt, putt” sound that a turkey makes when he or she senses danger will seem to be ringing in your ears. Not good. If you still want to try your luck at the more challenging approach, then remember to carry along a small chair or seat that straps to a tree. It is impossible to draw a bow while sitting on the ground with your knees up in your chest. If you have hunted turkeys with a gun, then you know what I am talking about. What broadhead is best for turkeys? I prefer the mechanical ones and I will tell you why. I have said it before but it bears repeating. It has been my experience that a fixed broadhead will certainly do the job needed, but will also blow right through the bird leaving little or no blood trail to follow. The bird will try to take flight as well and if the arrow goes through the bird, then the turkey might just fly away and die somewhere in the woods. The coyotes thank you, by the way. A mechanical broadhead uses energy when it opens up on impact. That loss of energy is enough to usually stop the arrow from completely going through the turkey. I said usually. I am aware that there are bow hunters out there that have had the arrow go through the birds. I can only speak from T e x a S

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experience. I also use a bow that is set up for turkeys. It has a draw weight of 50 pounds. It is enough to send an arrow to its mark, and also have enough energy to penetrate but not go through. That result will also keep the birds from flying off and a quick recovery should be a simple task. New Archery Products has a broadhead that is specifically designed for the turkey hunters out there. Strangely enough, they call it their Spitfire Gobbler Getter broadheads. They have been designed exclusively for taking turkeys. Each broadhead is equipped with what NAP calls, a Silver Bullet, and is designed for bone-crushing power. Once the three –bladed broadhead opens up, it will leave a gapping 1 ¾ inch wound to make sure the bird is taken quickly and humanely. I cannot wait to give these a test run this spring. It sounds like it is exactly what I am looking for in a good quality broadhead. I am sure there are plenty of mechanicals that will do the job, and I am sure they are very good. I just am excited to try these out. Can you tell? I think I should remind all of the bow hunters out there that if you plan on hunting turkeys with a bow, then you should consider either using a lighter bow, or bring down the weight of your bow that you use for deer. 40 to 50 pounds would be ideal. A 70-pound bow may be the ticket for big game, but not for these birds. April is almost here. Are you as excited as I am? Spring is here. The birds are gobbling and I am ready for a memorable season. Hey, It’s turkey time. Email Lou Marullo at lmarullo@fishgame.com

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IF THE THOUGHT of bouncing a 1/16-ounce hair jig in the top of a brush pile in 30 feet of water makes your little heart flutter, or pulling 2-pound bass out of grass on 20-pound-test line makes you all giddy, stop reading right now—this isn’t for you. However, if you think that Quint from Jaws was a little too effeminate and have always wanted to hook into something that can just as easily pull you out of the boat as you can pull it in, then have I got a sport for you; bowfishing for creatures that weigh more than your eight-year-old daughter, have more teeth than the Osmond family, and fight for the last Oreo like a Jenny Craig drop-out.

My introduction to bowfishing came a few years ago on a first class trip with Mark Malfa of Big Fish

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Bowfishing Texas, based in Austin (512431-9037, http://www.bigfishbowfishingtexas.com). Mark will travel anywhere in the state to track down large fish. The day after our trip, he was scheduled to leave for Lake Amistad to guide some hunters for oversized alligator gar. As stated on his website, he will travel from Toledo Bend to the Rio Grande after fish big enough to swallow a basketball whole. After speaking with Mark and seeing the video on his website of a 63-pound buffalo a client recently arrowed, I knew I was going to have my hands full. The thought of hooking into something the size of my Labrador had me excited and a little bit worried. I walked around for the rest of the winter muttering “I think we need a bigger boat” under my breath and laughing maniacally. Any kind of bow works fine for bowfishing, whether recurve, longbow, compound, or crossbow. The only other legal requirement is a fishing license (see sidebar). For my short trip into insanity, I enlisted the help of my lovely and talented assistant, my wife Kari. She said she thought the trip

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would be interesting, but I think she really wanted to go because she didn’t believe that people actually do this for fun. I think her exact words were, “Who in their right mind would try to stick an arrow in a fish and pull it in?” We met Mark at a convenience store in Austin. The first thing we noticed was the fast pace at which he does everything. Mark does not have a pause, rewind, or play button. He moves, talks, and lives in fast-forward, with a purpose and enthusiasm that carries over to his love of bowfishing. I soon found out that this pace was necessary to get shots at fish only feet away, swimming out of the halo of light cast by six halogen floodlights on the front of the boat. Mark’s standard fishing rigs consist of a 50-pound recurve bow, fiberglass fishing arrow with a Muzzy Quick Release point, AMS Retriever reel, and AMS slide system to connect the line to the arrow. After a brief training session covering use of the equipment and boat safety, we were off across the lake in the dark, searching for a cove sheltered from a gusting north wind. Although bass fishermen prefer a soft wind to ripple

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the surface, bowfishermen need a calm, flat surface in order to see fish clearly. Mark motored into a cove, hugging the windless bank, cranked up the generator, dropped the trolling motor, and we started fishing—or is it hunting? The light from the boat extended about 10 yards in front and to the sides of the boat and 2-3 feet down into the water. We were immediately into fish with buffalo and small gar coming in and out of the lights every few minutes. Mark shot a large buffalo to demonstrate how to play and land the fish, but after that, it was up to me. If you are a seasoned bowhunter accustomed to drawing, placing the pin on the vital area, letting out a breath, and releasing, then you have no idea how to bowfish. I attempted to shoot in this style at first and missed—a lot. Bowfishing shots are too close and quick for this method. The archer must shoot instinctively, releasing the arrow as soon as the bowstring touches the cheek. Sometimes even that is too slow. For this reason, many bowfishermen prefer to use a recurve bow, which lends to quick and instinctive shooting. After multiple misses, and a near-death

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Some Restrictions Apply... IT IS ONLY LEGAL to bowhunt for nongamefish species. See page 33 of the 20112012 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Outdoor Annual for Legal Freshwater and Saltwater Devices and Restrictions

experience with a low-flying wood duck, I finally connected on a buffalo that fought fiercely before being subdued and dropped into the bottom half of a 55-gallon drum in the middle of the boat. My first fish weighed in double digits and easily matched my largest rod and reel catch to date, but would prove to be the smallest of the night. For the next three hours, we trolled the shoreline while I flung arrow after arrow at large fish ranging from 10 to well over 30 pounds. I successfully boated a half dozen buffalo, with the largest estimated at just a tad over 30 pounds. At one point during the trip, I released my arrow at a large shape just below the surface in a clump of grass. At my release, I saw Mark draw then let down when he saw me miss. As I reeled in my arrow, I glanced at him and could tell by the look on his face I had just missed a very

for fish. Alligator gar may be bowfished,

but there is a 1 fish statewide daily bag limit. See page 37 of the Annual for specific lake exceptions. —Paul Bradshaw large fish. I didn’t want to, but I asked anyway. “How big?” “Well over 40.” Mark answered. “Fortyfive pounds, easy.” I had just blown my chance at a truly large fish, but with other 20- and 30-pound fish showing up under the lights, I didn’t have time to worry about it. At the end of the night, we wound our way back toward the boat ramp, but Mark wanted to try one more spot to see what we could find, which proved a good move. The lake we were fishing was a cooling pond for a power plant. As we pulled up near the hot water discharge, we could see small gar swimming near the surface. As we got up onto the platform, we could barely make out the image of a large fish directly in front of us. Unfortunately, the

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fish saw us at the same time and took off. Mark yelled “Hold on!” and raced after the fish with the trolling motor on it’s highest setting. Every time we gained a few feet on the fish, it would change directions and the chase would start all over. The boat made figure-eights in the middle of the cove until we finally got close enough to let both of our arrows fly. I won’t go into details about who hit and who missed, but the one fish we took out of this cove was a toothy long-nose gar that weighed in at 25 pounds. The gar was an unexpected bonus on an otherwise terrific first bowfishing trip. The trip was truly an experience that I will not forget anytime soon. Not only did I get to try a different type of fishing (or was it hunting?), I also doubled the size of my personal best fish. My wife is now worried that I have a new hobby. I think her concern is valid. The first thing I did when I got home was start pricing floodlights and generators.

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Texas Saltwater by Calixto Gonzales | TF&G Saltwater Editor

Light Touch

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nyone who fishes with me for any length of time knows that I can be pretty picky about the tackle I use. Everything must be matched and balanced, or I actually don’t feel comfortable about the tackle I use. It should come as no surprise that I have myriad combos, each with a specific role in my fishing arsenal. I have rods for offshore bottom fishing, rods for trolling, live baiting, topwaters, jerk baits, and popping corks. I have combos for light jigs, heavy jigs, big swimbaits, and small swimbaits. I have long rods for long casts, short ones for close work, high capacity reels with smooth drags for fast cosmopolitan fish, low-gear, heavy drags for brute thugs that live in jetties and under docks. I have rods for every season and event. Until recently, however, I only kept one light action outfit that I only used infrequently (usually fishing off a dock or pier for small trout or pinfish for the next day’s offshore trip). Only one. My default rods have always been medium power, fast action rods. If I needed finesse in a certain situation, I had a couple of outfits that I’d tuned and balanced for such an occasion, but they were still medium power, fast action. Even when I went on a freshwater adventure for bass and panfish, I never went with a rod that was lighter than my default combos. My aversion to what was traditionally considered light tackle was simple: I didn’t trust it. When I first started out as a “serious” angler, there were plenty of saltwater rods in the medium light and light categories. The rods were whippy little numbers with little backbone, but they could sling a 1/8th ounce or lighter lure as far as the line capacity of the 2000- and even 1000-sized reels would let them. By the very nature of their size, the diminutive spools were loaded with 8 or 10 pound test line—often with 52 |

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as little as 100 yards on the spool before casting. These buggy-whip fishing systems worked great and a lot of anglers caught a lot of trout and redfish on them. The problems occurred when something bigger than the intended quarry grabbed your bait. If you latched into a big jack or an oversized redfish while wading with one of these gossamerfilled outfits, you were, as my students so eloquently put it, S.O.L. I’ve shared a boat with many an angler who has hooked into an outsized critter with undersized tackle and rarely has one of these people been able to somehow coax the lunker to the net. No, I was quite happy with my medium tackle and 180 yards of 12 pound line. It might be less sporty with the 2 pound trout, but if I latched into a 10 pound redfish or that elusive 8 pound trout, I was less likely to have my heart broken. Time marches on, and technology waits for no man, as they say. Tackle companies such as St. Croix, Shimano, and others have improved what comprises “light tackle” to the point that these systems don’t mean you will be completely out-gunned if you set the hook into a fish of a lifetime. Improvements in technology and materials have mitigated some of my primary concerns with light tackle: The inability to deal with big fish effectively. Take St. Croix’s new Mojo Inshore series for example. The good people at the Wisconsin-based rod company proved they knew the needs of saltwater anglers with their line-ups of saltwater-specific rods. All St. Croix’s saltwater brands (Avid, Tidemaster, Legend, and Premier) are sturdy, well-built rods that more than lived up to the expectations of coastal anglers. The Mojo Inshore still has the sturdy features of its predecessors, but it comes in a variety of lighter actions that Texas inshore fishermen want in a rod. I had the opportunity to use a Mojo Inshore casting model that was designated “Light Power, Moderate Medium Action.” Remember, I prefer a medium power and fast action. Jeff Schluter, Vice President F i s h

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of Sales and Marketing at St. Croix, was certain I’d be impressed with the rod, so I matched it up with a Curado 200-G casting reel (more on that in a moment), and off I went to try and overpower the rod. Let me make that clear: I went out to try and completely overwhelm the Mojo. I took it along with my wife and friends Marin Alvarado and Sarah Cuellar when we went into Port Mansfield’s famed East Cut for some surf-run redfish. On my first cast with the diminutive outfit, I latched into a 28 inch redfish that had no intention of coming in peacefully. I really put as much pressure on that red as I could and waited to see if the rod would explode into a thousand pieces (it didn’t) or turn the fish (it did). The action was rated as “moderate-medium” but the SC Graphite bland and Batson Forecast ® guides gave the rod the toughness needed to whip the 11 pound red. I was very happy with the results. The Shimano Curado 200-G was another example of the improved technology of modern light tackle. The reel is smaller than the traditional 200 series (such as the stillpopular Curado 200-B), but the guts are sturdy enough and the drag smooth enough to be more than a match for the hostile denizens of the Texas coast. When then next big redfish—a beast over 30 inches—went on a long run, the line paid out smoothly and with no hesitation. When loaded with a quality 20 pound test braided line (I was using Power Pro), the reel matched up well to the Mojo and performed beautifully. I’m still not completely converted to light tackle. My default still is a medium power, fast action rod, but I won’t shy away from grabbing a lighter stick when the situation calls for it. In fact, much to my wife’s chagrin, I may start expanding my arsenal to give the Mojo some company. Time marches on, and even a stubborn fisherman can learn something new.

Email Cal Gonzales at cgonzales@fishgame.com

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TRUE GREEN Deer Hunter Exposed to Rabies

photo: Ducks Unlimited

McFaddin NWR Gets Upgrade Ducks Unlimited and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently partnered to complete a project funded through a $378,000North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant. The project improved management capabilities and waterfowl habitat on McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge in Jefferson County. Located along Highway 87 at the southeastern tip of Texas, near the Louisiana border, the 55,000-acre McFaddin NWR consists of the largest remaining freshwater marsh on the Texas Coast and thousands of acres of intermediate to brackish marsh. The project enhanced habitat on the Lost Bayou Unit through the installation of a water control structure and pump. The Lost Bayou Unit is a 1,450-acre fresh/ intermediate marsh located entirely within McFaddin NWR along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The new water control structure, a stainless steel weir with oper54 |

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This water control structure at the Lost Bayou Unit incorporates a low-lift pump station that moves water in and out of the Unit regardless of tide levels.

able gates to regulate water levels and saltwater intrusion, will allow refuge staff to manage water depths to optimize marsh habitat for wildlife benefits. The new structure also accommodates a permanent pump to increase water delivery options and provide Refuge staff with an adjustable and dependable means of managing the Lost Bayou Unit, regardless of tides or salinities. Continued on page 56 u F i s h

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The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported in February that a hunter was given post-exposure rabies shots after killing and field-dressing a deer that ultimately tested positive for rabies. “The hunter contacted us about his concerns that the deer was unfit for human consumption,” said John Veylupek, Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO). “The hunter said that he saw the deer standing in a creek, straining and growling. He thought there was a coyote nearby from the sounds the deer was making. “After gathering samples for testing, it was determined that the deer was rabid. Because the hunter had scratches on his hands and had field dressed the deer without wearing gloves, we urged him to undergo post-exposure rabies shots.” Dr. Walter Cottrell, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian, reiterated the agency’s long-standing recommendations that hunters and trappers avoid harvesting animals that appear sick and to wear rubber or latex gloves when field dressing any mammal. “All mammals are susceptible to rabies and can spread the virus in the right circumstances,” Dr. Cottrell said.

—Staff Report «TG

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TRUE GREEN Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently enhanced one of its oyster restoration projects in East Galveston Bay with the addition of 59 concrete artificial reef domes donated by the Galveston Bay Foundation. The artificial reef domes were placed on a 1-acre patch of restored oyster reef in East Galveston Bay (approximate center point 29° 30’ 44”, -94° 39’ 54”). Each dome was individually placed on the site using a crane on a construction barge. Care was taken to ensure that the domes were not stacked on each other so that water depth over the site would be maintained at safe levels for small craft navigation. The domes will be used to attract fish and oyster

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larvae and will facilitate studies on oyster density and fish utilization. The department’s artificial reef program has enjoyed tremendous success placing large reef domes in the Gulf over the past 15 years. Dale Shively, Artificial Reef Program Director, notes that there was a marked increase in the number of fish after the placement of the reef domes. Though smaller than the large reef dome structures in the Gulf, the reef domes in Galveston Bay may also attract large game fish. Reef domes have been used in several areas affected by natural disasters to encourage marine life to resettle. This project is part of ongoing efforts to restore oyster reef habitats which were severely

PHOTO: TPWD

Artificial Reef Domes Set in Galveston Bay

impacted by Hurricane Ike-induced sedimentation. The 1-acre site is part of a larger 25-acre research reef where different Continued on page 56 u

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Artificial Domes

Approximate location of the 59 domes.

These domes are an integral part of the department’s continuing research efforts on finding the best methods for oyster reef restoration and increasing and improving fish habitats.

t Continued from page 55 oyster reef designs and materials will be evaluated for use in other parts of the bay and in other Texas bay systems.

McFaddin NWR t Continued from page 54 Waterfowl hunting opportunities are available seasonally on both McFaddin and near-by Texas Point NWR. Blue and green-winged teal, mottled ducks, gadwall, scaup and Northern shoveler are a few of the species hunted among the 32 different hunt units. Portions of the

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TPWD has restored approximately 200 acres of oyster reef in Galveston Bay.

refuge are open to hunters free of charge. Elsewhere, for $10 a day, a combined 25,600 acres can be accessed by hunters on foot or by boat. There is also a spaced hunt area reserved for hunters with disabilities. For more information, detailed maps and the Refuge’s required (free) permit, hunters should contact the refuge headquarters at 409-971-2909. Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to con-

—Staff Report «TG

serving North America’s continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. — Staff Report «TG

2/8/12 4:37 PM


The Bear Eating Python of Borneo Recent reports of python troubles in Florida–including one confirmed case of a giant constrictor eating an adult whitetailed deer–pale alongside tales explorers have brought back from the deep jungles of the world. In July 1999, conservation biologist Gabriella Fredriksson was monitoring a female Sun bear and her cub on the island of Borneo via radio collar. One morning, the collar’s signal indicated that the bear

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hadn’t moved for more than four hours, a sign that either the bear had died or the collar had come off. Fredriksson investigated and tracked the signal to the stomach of a 23-foot python curled up in the brush. The bulge of the adult bear could be clearly seen in the middle of the snake, and as the snake fled into a nearby stream when Fredriksson got too close, she could hear the sounds of the bear’s bones snapping. No sign of the cub was ever found. The radio collar remained functioning, so Fredriksson tracked the snake over several weeks as it digested the bear. The snake was eventually captured, escaped, captured again and, when it hadn’t passed the radio collar out by October, the equipment was surgically removed. The snake was released into the wild soon after. In the 1970s, anthropologist Thomas N. Headland lived with and studied the

PHOTO: Thomas N. Headland Archives

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Agta Negritos, the indigenous people of the Philippines’ largest island. When Headland interviewed the Agta about their run-ins with the pythons that shared the rainforest with them, 15 of 58 men and 1 of 62 women said they’d been attacked by a python at least once. Two of the men had been attacked twice, and the interviewees could collectively remember six people who were killed by pythons, including a man whose son found the snake, cut it open and retrieved his father’s body for a funeral-that snake’s skin is pictured here. —Staff Report «TG

2/8/12 4:37 PM


Texas Freshwater by Matt Williams | TF&G Freshwater Editor

The Skinny on Spinnerbaits I’m not sure who invented the first spinnerbait, but I would love to shake the man’s hand. Simply put, spinnerbaits rock. Always have. And always will. Try to depreciate the value of the trusty blade as a bass fishing tool you are sure to stir up an argument in this corner. In my eyes, going bass fishing during spring months without a spinnerbait or two would be like going deer hunting on a

managed ranch in South Texas during the pre-rut without a good set of rattlin’ horns and/or a grunt call in hand. Both are great tools for hunting in that neck of the woods, and the spinnerbait/bass fishing scenario is no different. The spinnerbait has many great attributes. If I had to pick one that stands out from the rest it would be the lure’s ability to perform in any arena regardless of the conditions, or the season of the year.

It can be crawled along the bottom, waked just beneath the surface and slowrolled at a variety of depths in between. Spinnerbaits also can be pitched or flipped around docks, bushes and brush, or cast and fished vertically in muddy water as well as clear.

Spinnerbait Anatomy

While there are many variations on the market today, the basic design consists of a lead head that has a hook protruding from the rear and a thin V-shaped wire arm exiting out of the head. A rubber or silicone skirt slides over the base of the head and drapes down over the shaft of the hook. Attached to the arm are one or two spinner “blades.” The blades turn in unison on swivels as the lure is retrieved. This creates flash and vibration. Plus, it gives the appearance of a small group of bait fish on the move.

Choices, Choices

Like other lures, spinnerbaits are available in an assortment of sizes, colors and brands. Size is dictated by the weight of a lead head. The lures range in size from 3/16ounce on up to 1-ounce or more. The most popular on Texas waters are 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 and 3/4-ounce, although heavier sizes can be useful for deep water applications. There are several factors to take into consideration when selecting a spinnerbait size. Water clarity is always something to look at, as is the size of the available forage and the existing weather conditions. To keep things simple, choose a lure to coincide with the depth of water being fished. Baits weighing upwards of 1/2-ounce usually are most effective in water deeper than eight feet, whereas lighter lures will work better at shallower depths. Another size component involves the blades. Most spinnerbaits are pre-packaged with the proper size blades necessary to maintain optimum lure balance. Some baits have two blades; others have one. While some companies such as Strike 58 |

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King and Texas-based Stanley have modified them to an extent, spinner blades come in three basic styles. They are the willowleaf, Colorado and Indiana. Blade size is dictated by number -- the smaller the number, the smaller the blade. Tandem baits can come equipped with any combination of blades. The size of the blades usually coincide with the weight of the head.

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There are several factors to consider when choosing a blade style. As a rule, Colorado blades are the better choice in off color water because they displace more vibration or “thump.” Willowleaf blades, meanwhile,provide more “lift,” making it the best choice for shallow water applications. Like other bait styles, spinnerbaits come in an assortment of colors. In my book, it is always best to stick with the basics in this department. Choose a white skirt in clear water and chartreuse, chartreuse/white or black in off-color or muddy water. Copper blades tend to work best on overcast days, nickel in clear conditions.

Shallow Spinnerbait Bait Tactics

If you don’t put the bait where the fish are, you aren’t going to catch very many. During the spring spawning season, a

high percentage of the bass are going to be shallow or in the process of moving shallow by way of creeks and ditches. They will be relating heavily to cover and structure such as laydowns, stumps, brush and boat docks. If a spot looks fishy, be sure and work it out thoroughly before writing it off. When fishing a laydown, retrieve the bait parallel with both sides before moving on to another. When fishing a brush top or bush, don’t cast directly into it and don’t just work the edges. Cast several feet past the target and bring the lure right through the thickest part of the cover. This same holds true for stumps. Retrieve the bait right next to the stump and actually bump it if possible. Often times, coming in contact with the cover is all it takes to trigger a vicious strike.

Email Matt Williams at mwilliams@fishgame.com

2/7/12 10:13 AM


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by Chester Moore

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WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT THE SIGNS to look for when seeking speckled trout, redfish, flounder and other residents of our bay and Gulf waters. There are signs however that point to bad fishing or that will perhaps lead us the wrong direction. This very thing happened to me on numerous occasions last year.

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Ribbonfish

Gulls were diving as shad leap from the water in terror. There was no question a predator is under them and due to the location the highest likelihood (or hope) is that it is trout of the speckled variety. We made dozens of casts and did not get the first hit. Usually when trout are feeding under birds it is virtually impossible not to get at

Chester Moore, Sr. caught this huge ribbonfish at the Sabine Jetties. While ribbonfish are great for offshore fishing, finding them feeding on shrimp or menhaden can lead to heartache.

least a nibble with each cast but you are feeling nothing. Zippo. Then we saw flash of silver in long, cylindrical form. It moved through the water with great speed. It was ribbonfish. These strange-looking predators will rarely take a hook but they will kick up baitfish just like specks do. If you see ribbonfish chasing baitfish make a couple of casts just incase trout are below them and 62 |

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then leave. You are wasting your time. The vast majority of the time when the big ribbonfish are in the bays they don’t hang out with trout. That is unless the trout are after them. If you see smaller ribbonfish jumping out of the water, by all means stop and fish. Big trout love ribbonfish and will target them with great focus. Pay extra attention when glassing across the bay for birding action because you can waste a lot of time seeking out trout when ribbonfish are what is kicking up the baitfish. Pay close attention to those flashes of silver.

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A more challenging factor to work around is dredges. Currently there is a lot of dredging work on the Texas coast and this can make the water quite murky. If the tide is pushing the dredge’s remnant onto your fishing hole forget it. Super murky water is no good for anything. This photo shows a beach downcurrent from a dredge and the super murky after effects.

Gafftops

Another fish that can mess up an angler’s day are gafftopsail catfish. They work shrimp and shad just like trout do and will have birds flocking around and picking out the escapees. If you pull up to bird action and your first cast yields a gafftop go elsewhere. They will sometimes run with the trout but usually the trout have enough sense not to run with them. Would you want that much slime in your vicinity? F i s h

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The trout-impersonating gafftopsail catfish.

Photos: Chester moore, FDA, Bigstock

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ever there has been a change and we are seeing far more west in the wind, which has translated to murkier water conditions more frequently. The old saying about wind direction we have been talking about has a second half, which brings us to the last half of our equation. “Wind from the north fish do not go forth? Wind from the south blows bait in their mouth?” There are no historical references but a north wind often comes with a cold front and the first day after a big front usually brings in high barometric pressure, which in turn gives fish lockjaw.

Something else that is important to watch for is wind direction. Bay systems all have winds that are preferable to fish so it is important to learn which ones are good and which ones are the worst. I will give you the example from my home bay of Sabine Lake along with a very common saying. “Wind from the east fish bite the least. Wind from the west fish bite the best.” That is a saying most anglers have heard over the years and some believe it is absolutely true. Growing up in Southeast Texas it was something I thought was a regional theory but after doing some research I found it is popular all over the country. In fact it originated on the Atlantic Coast in the 1600s according to some sources. Barometric pressure is the In that area, bay fishermen experience probably the least understood some tough fishing conditions during ceraspect of fishing and it is one tain times of year on an east wind because I am continually exploring. High pressure it pushes in cold water and air from the puts strain on fish and typically makes Atlantic and can give fish lockjaw, particuthem bit finicky and sometimes not at all. larly during the early spring period. Pressure that is falling or is on a downward From Sabine Lake down to the tip trend means a strong bite. of the jetties west winds are our biggest That is why the day immediately followenemy. ing fronts is beautiful (clear skies As they blow across the mud flats and with high pressure) unprotected shorelines on the north but the fishing is end of the lake, Sabine Lake sub par. Some muddies up. Ditto for the surf suggest preson the west side of the jetties sure over which seems to be a little 30.20 is more silted in than on the too high east side of the rocks. and if Sure the Louisiana it gets side gets murky when below the winds are strong 29.80 for the east but not nearly things as what a much lighter west can get a The barometer, fishing’s wind does to the Texas side. little shaky. If least-understood foreOur prevailing wind is it is above 30 and casting tool. southeast and that optimal falling you have ideal fishing condition for Sabine Lake, the conditions. Remember if you are fishing channel and jetties when high-pressure days, use light line, small it is blowing lightly. lures and be ready for a soft bite. Over the last While these signs certainly lead to lackcouple of luster fishing, we sometimes have no other years option but to fish. By keeping a positive howattitude and working around negative circumstances we can make the best out of the absolute worst the coast has to offer.

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Barometric Pressure

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2/10/12 10:32 AM


Open Season by Reavis Wortham | TF&G Humor Editor

Color Commentary

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elcome to the morning’s fishing event. I’m Buck Shot, announcer for today’s episode. With me doing color here at the crack of dawn is Joe Sack.” “That’s right Buck. We’re announcing from here at the edge of Cottonwood Creek on a cool March morning…hand me a piece of that bacon, will ya?” “Sure Joe. We’re munching on bacon from this morning’s sponsor Crispy Strips, cooked by Wrong Willie over there at the campfire.” His mouth full of bacon, Willie waved with a greasy hand. “All right, down on the field, uh, at the river is Reavis Wortham, taking his first tentative steps into the water after the long off season. He picks up his fly rod and starts a slow wade that will take him to the perfect location for his first cast at spawning white bass.” “That’s true, Joe. He’s worked hard on this stalk since last season’s tragic sand bass run when he had a horrifying series of trips, slips and falls that nearly landed him in the hospital with a torn rotator…” “Sorry to interrupt there Buck, but did you see the recovery that he just made when he tripped over what I know is a submerged log, just like the one that caused his injury last year. His training paid off and is a direct result of the practice he’s put in over the past months.” “The clock is ticking as the sun rises and he still hasn’t made his first cast…but there it is, he’s stripping line, a couple of false casts with nice slowly loops, the double haul and there’s the fly presented to a bend slowing the water. A nice mend, rod tip in just the right position and … no strike.” “A good presentation Buck, but we’re going to score this event a little differently...” “Uh, we’re not scoring.” “That’s right! And that’s why I love this sport, Buck. It isn’t competitive.”

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“Uh, oh. Joe, I see a problem out there and I know exactly what that means. He has a leak in those ratty old waders, so let’s pause for a moment to go to our sponsors.” “Hey Rev! We’re off for sixty seconds. You need anything like a patch kit?” Everyone on shore laughed and drank hot coffee. Buck cleared his throat. “And we’re back. While we were on the break, Wortham backed up into slightly shallower water to prevent further leaks.” “Something like that only comes from a pro. Inexperienced anglers might stand in that deeper water while their waders filled to the level of the hole… and now he’s ready. There’s the load, the false cast that settles softly at the edge of the channel where the water breaks. The mend, the strip as the fly sinks into a likely looking spot and WOW! There it is! Fish on!” “Wow Joe, Wortham strips frantically, the line is tight, he’s reeling the slack and wait, that rod is BOWING! He’s on the reel and now the sand bass is using the current to its best advantage. “A beautiful run, breaking across the current and now back upstream, but Wortham isn’t letting that happen. He pulls the fish’s head back around and takes up slack and we’re done. The fish is to hand. A measure from Doc, our umpire, uh, observer, we see the signal, his hands come apart and it looks like fourteen inches. A good fish. “But wait, there may be a foul. Here comes the game warden to the water’s edge, calling Wortham to the side. I bet we’re going to have a license check and a possible measurement. We’ll be back in a moment.” “Willie! More bacon, in fact, I’d like a bacon sandwich…what? We’re out? You’ve eaten it all? We need more product for next week’s show.” “We’re back and it looks like there is no foul.” “Right Joe. Wortham’s professionalism F i s h

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shows through with all the right documents and a fish of legal length which keeps him in this competition.” “This isn’t a competition!!!” “Of course it isn’t. He’s back in the water, and there’s another cast but it falls apart at the end. He takes up the slack, dries the fly, no wait, he’s biting off the fly and it looks like he’s tying on another. I can’t make it out. Doc moves forward for a look. He steps back. The signal is a strange one, can you make that out?” “I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that one, Buck. He’s holding up a yellow handkerchief, but what’s that other move.” “I don’t know. His hand signals look like he’s having some sort of stomach problem, maybe a convulsion, or his feet are slipping on the bottom. I wish we had him wired with a microphone…wait for it…wait for it…and now I have it. Wortham has tied on a red and yellow Clouser, his old standby. And from Doc’s signal and the number of finger’s he raises it looks like he’s tied on a size five???” “There’s the cast, the mend, bumping the fly along the bottom where we’re going to go to Camera Three to see what’s happening underwater…” “We don’t have an underwater camera, Buck.” “That’s right, and another fish is on! Wow, what a wallop! I don’t know that he can recover from that one, because I don’t think he was paying attention to his fly.” “It could be a costly mistake. There’s way too much line out, but he’s using that educated forefinger to hold the line against the cork while he takes up the slack. It’s one the reel and look at that rod bow…oh, no. The fish broke off and the line is slack.” “That should do it for the day. I see Wortham’s wife, the War Department making the signal to break camp. That will do it for the morning. Thanks for listening and we’ll be back next week for Color Commentary.” Email Reavis Wortham at rwortham@fishgame.com

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PHOTO: MATT WILLIAMS

by mike holmes

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WHEN THE FIRST SETTLERS of European descent came to the Texas coast, they found fish species they were not quite familiar with. In the rivers and natural lakes were none of the rainbow and brook trout they might have been accustomed to catching in the clear streams of the northeast, but in the coastal waters of the bays and surf they discovered creatures that were much closer to those lovely freshwater trout than the catfish and gar of an East Texas river – thus the very common species that was to become one of our top light tackle saltwater sport fish became known as speckled trout. A L M A N A C

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TF&G ALMANAC Table of Contents GEARING UP SECTION

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texas tested • Berkley, Fusion Electronics, Aqua Design, StediStock | by TF&G staff

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industry insider • Humminbird, NauticStar | by TF&G staff fish and game gear • Hot New Outdoor Gear | by TF&G

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COVER STORY • Trout Rod Basics | by mike holmes

HOW-TO SECTION

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hotspots focus: galveston • Galveston Wonders | by capt. mike holmes

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hotspots focus: matagorda • Be Patient with Spring Fishing | by bink grimes

texas boating • Boat Buying, 68 2012 | texas kayaking • Crappie 86 72 Time! | guns & gear • Bruised 73 texas or Deaf; Some Choice | 88 by lenny rudow

by greg berlocher

by steve

lamascus

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sportsman’s daybook • Tides & Prime Times | by TF&G staff

by bryan

slaven

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freshwater tales • Bass Rod Basics | by matt williams OUTDOOR CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY • Guides, Gear and More | by TF&G staff tf&g Photos • Your Action Photos | by TF&G readers

hotspots focus: rockport • Goodwill Fishng | by capt. mac gable

hotspots focus: lower coast • A Cut Above | by calix-

paul’s tips • Carolina Rigging Anything | by paul bradshaw

In actuality, there are no true saltwater trout; the speckled trout is properly a spotted weakfish, and its cousins the sand trout and Gulf trout are actually lesser members of the weakfish family. For those of use born and raised on the Gulf Coast, this is not much of a big deal, but take a fellow from the north, accustomed to catching 6 – 8 inch Brookies to the bay to fish for our version of

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texas tasted • Baked or 108 Grilled Stuffed Flounder |

FISHING FORECAST SECTION hotspots focus: upper coast • The Promise of March | by capt. eddie hernandez

Texas Hotspots • Texas’ Hottest Fishing Spots | by tom behrens, calixto gonzales, & bob

OUTDOOR LIFESTYLE SECTION

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“trout,” and he will not only find a much larger, harder-fighting fish, but the rod he will likely be handed to do battle with these creatures will probably not be the lightweight fly rod he might have been expecting. Not to say a proper fly rod can’t be an effective tool for the speckled trout fisherman, but it will not be the first choice as the basis of an all-purpose trout rod.

For decades, the standard outfit for legions of fishermen on the Gulf Coast was a two handed fiberglass “stick” of at least 7 feet in length mounting a level wind bait casting reel. The more experienced angler would likely have graduated from direct drive reels to the red Garcia 5000. The CONTINUED ON PAGE 68

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Rod Action Types, and What They Mean ROD ACTIONS ARE GENERALLY classed as: heavy, medium, light, or some combination in between. For a bay rod used for trout or redfish, both heavy and light actions would normally be eliminated. That would leave us with medium and medium light as the most common and popular choices. Action type basically defines where and how much the rod bends. A heavy action does not bend much except under extreme pressure, making it too stiff for most casting purposes – better left for trolling or heavy duty bottom fishing. Light action rods would be too whippy to cast all but the lightest of lures – where they might 66 |

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have a use in specialized bay fishing applications for certain anglers, but not for general use. A medium rod has a generally uniform flex along its length, whether under a casting load or when fighting a fish, and is a compromise – stiff enough for top water lures and popping corks, yet with enough flex to cast heavier jigs and spoons and really get behind the cast. Better for most uses is a medium light action, which has a medium strength butt and midsection with a lighter, or faster tip. The more flexible tip allows lighter lures or bait to be cast, and will let a popping cork be worked without pulling it out of the water with F i s h

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too hard a pull. In many cases the lighter tip helps cast live bait without flinging it off the hook – more of a gentle lob. Between these two action types, the rod with the faster tip will have a more pronounced bend nearer the tip end, while the medium action as mentioned bends more uniformly or gradually along its length. Graphite rods are generally stiffer than fiberglass, and of much smaller diameter. They can therefore be lighter in weight as well as action. —Mike Holmes

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Boat Buying, 2012

F

orget what the economists say. Pay no heed to the politicians. And most importantly, ignore your wife’s protestations—or at the very least, buy her a diamond necklace to blunt the offensive—because this very moment in time is probably one of the best times of your life to buy a brand-new boat. Sales are off, dealers want to make deals, and most of the

2008 to 2010 hold-over inventory has been cleared out, so no one’s trying to sell dusty old boats as new. While this may be a great time to sign on the dotted line, naturally, you’ll want to sign smart. And buying a boat can become an emotional affair, even for a guy who thrives on logic and level-headedness. So make sure you shop with a keen eye, and a cold heart—and make good use of these five all-important boat-buying tactics, which will save you big bucks. You’ll need ‘em, to afford that necklace! 1. Slow Down – Sure, more power is more better. But, do you really need 250 horses on the back of a small bay or lake boat? In many cases, the answer will be no. And while opting for max power does tend

to make it easier to resell your boat later on down the line, getting a mid-range or base power plant will save you hundreds or thousands up-front, as well as cutting your fuel and maintenance bills. How much power is enough? Beyond getting the boat on plane, that’s a personal call. Forget about top-end speed, because it’s rare you’ll actually run for more than a moment or two with the engine cranked all the way. Instead, you need to decide what you feel is a reasonable cruising speed, and make sure the package you choose can go that fast with the engine set to 4500 RPM or less. Cruising with the RPM much higher usually causes a huge boost in fuel consumption, as well as wear and tear. 2. Ignore the Floor – Why should

COVER STORY: TROUT ROD BASICS t CONTINUED FROM PAGE 66 5000 had a free spool feature for much easier casting once a fisherman’s thumb was educated, and could chunk lures and bait rigs a considerable distance with less danger of backlash. This reel model has probably accounted for millions of pounds of fish

landed on the Texas coast alone – and it is still a good choice for a bay fisherman. In coastal waters, the popping rod type is used for not just trout, but also redfish, flounder, drum and panfish, so calling it a bay rod might be more accurate; except that it is just as much at home tossing bait or lures in the surf. The two-hand grip rod

photo: mike holmes

Rods used for trout fishing on Texas Coast might be asked to cast (L-R) hard plastic lures, jigs or natural baits under weighted popping corks, midweight lures as this spin-jig, or a much lighter jig head and plastic tail. While some anglers will use a single rod, or maybe a pair to cover all these situations, there are rods designed specifically for each one.

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concept has been tweaked for casting both heavy lures and light jig heads, and it has been morphed from fiberglass construction to graphite. When the rod itself extends through the grip to the butt in a one-piece configuration the rod is stronger in both casting and fish fighting modes. And, of course, the longer butt section allows for resting the rod in a holder on boat or beach. Although a good popping type rod might be a single piece of fiberglass, graphite, or some composite of the two, it can still be considered to have a butt section, a mid section, and a tip section. To simplify things, a rod used mostly for pushing live shrimp pinned to a small treble hook under a popping cork must have enough backbone to handle the rather bulky payload, yet still carry a light enough tip with whip to allow a gentle cast that does not tear loose the bait or tangle the leader around the cork. It must also pull the cork under and make it pop and gurgle to attract fish, without yanking it free of the water. A rod meant to cast hard plugs and spoons into a brisk onshore wind

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you pay for features you don’t need? You shouldn’t – so don’t walk onto a showroom floor, and expect to find exactly what you want sitting there. If you don’t care about listening to music when you’re fishing, for example, it’s a waste to pay $500 for a marine stereo… but many of the boats you look at will already have one mounted at the dash. So use the showroom floor as an opportunity to look at examples of different models, figure out exactly what you do and don’t want, and plan to order a boat built specifically the way you want it. Force yourself to be patient about this process, so you only choose and pay for the features that are important to you. One good research tool you should use before you even head for the dealership is the Internet. While you can’t always depend on the exact pricing you find online, in many cases you can use a Build a Boat feature on the manufacturer’s web site. These web pages allow you to pick and choose what you like, while showing the price for each option and the total cost of your boat. If a model that comes close to your perfect boat is already at a local dealer, in many cases the Build a Boat section will tell you. If not, at

the very least you can go to your local dealer already armed with a list of what you do and don’t want on your new boat. There is one down-side to this tactic that you need to be aware of: It may mean waiting weeks or even months for delivery. And your choices could also have an impact on resale value; leave off popular features, and it could be harder to find a buyer when you’re ready to upgrade.

3. Buy to DIY – In many cases, dealerships make a good mark-up on the extras. Items like Bimini tops, T-tops, electronics, washdowns, rod holders, and safety gear may be no better or worse quality than those on the after-market, and you may end up over paying for them. If you get the bare boat, however, and then add on these items yourself, you could save a bundle. Once you have a dealer’s price list in hand, do some research and then decide if the savings are

needs a stiffer tip section, but a similar strong mid and butt section. The same stiffer rod is perfect for walking top water plugs or giving a slow sinker plug proper action. To successfully cast and work soft plastic shrimp imitations on light jig heads, a smoother progression in the rod’s action and a softer overall feel allows some whip to be put in the cast of a lighter lure, yet the mid section should be still be stiff enough to feel the lure – especially when a fish takes it. My own use of popping rods has been largely in the surf and offshore, but in my rod-building days I put together several for dedicated bay fishermen. My personal favorite rod blank was a Fenwick FenGlass SP 902, a 7 ½ ft blank I thought best finished with a graphite slip on handle with a trigger grip and slip on Hypalon rubber grips, ceramic guides and tip. This is a medium light action that makes a good all-round bay rod. CONTINUED ON PAGE 70

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enough to be worth the extra DIY hassle. 4. Aluminum vs. Fiberglass – The argument over which material makes for a better boat is one for the ages, but here’s the bottom line: When it comes to boats 21’ and under, aluminum is almost always a less expensive alternative. On top of that, since aluminum boats tend to be a lot lighter than fiberglass, you get more speed out of a smaller engine. Aluminum isn’t going to be right for everyone, and you need to consider all of the ins and outs before making a decision. But often (more and more often as the boats get smaller and simpler) the only significant advantage fiberglass holds will be its eye-appeal, and if it’s a toss-up, don’t let gleaming good looks overcome common sense and savings. 5. Shrinky-Dink – Sometimes, smaller truly is better. Stretching your dollar to get the most LOA might make sense if you fish with a lot of friends, cross open waters, and really need the extra space. But if you tend

to go out on protected bays or lakes when it’s calm, only take a buddy or two, and don’t really need that extra size, getting a smaller boat is the smarter move. There are some other big advantages to going down in size: It takes a less powerful tow vehicle (which burns less fuel) to tow; it’s easier to move by hand at dock-side, or when beached; loading and unloading the trailer is easier on your back; and often, smaller boats have less draft and can get into tighter areas. In fact, many guys who opt for larger boats end up down-sizing after the experience. So think long and hard, before deciding to go longer.

Bonus Boat Buying Tips:

• Shop at the end of the month. Much like car dealerships, boat dealers are anxious to get business done during this time frame. • Insist on sea trialing a boat before signing on the dotted line. Without fail, you’ll learn something interesting. • Cash is king. Financing a boat is

tougher than it used to be, so a wad of green gives you some good bargaining power. • Buying last year’s model can bring you a discount. But beware; it also can devalue the boat’s resale value. Make sure that discount is significant enough to make up for it. • When you do your information gathering on a specific brand or model, search on our web site, www.fishgame.com, and read our in-depth Test Pilot boat reviews. E-mail Lenny Rudow at boating@fishgame.com

On the Web Read Lenny Rudow’s Texas Boating Blog at: www.FishGame.com

COVER STORY: TROUT ROD BASICS t CONTINUED FROM PAGE 69 In recent years I have discovered that the Shakespeare Ugly Stick line contains at least two very good popping rods – a 6 ft’ medium action that would be a good choice for casting from a boat and a 7 ½ ft medium light action that works well when wading or

in the surf. Also in my rod collection are two graphite rods, although I am not a big fan of graphite sticks. One is a 6 ½ ft Castaway designed for lures from ¼ to 5/8 ounces that is a bit stiff for my tastes but would work well for surface plugs, the other was built for Bay Flats Lodge of the same length but has a much lighter action, for 1/16 to ¼ ounce

photo: mike holmes

The rod on the left is a 6’5” Medium/Light action graphite stick designed for 8-12# test line and lures of 1/16 to 1/4 ounce in weight. It will work well for lighter jig and tail rigs, but has a stiff enough action to be used for top water lures if needed. The rod on the right is 6’6” in length, of fiberglass in medium action for use with 8-20# test line, and can be used for heavier lures or baits.

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lures – a good jig rod. Those who prefer an open faced spinning rig should look for a rod designed for similar lure weights and to handle lines no heavier than 20 lb. test. One of the most successful inshore guides I know is Capt. Brent Roy, who fishes the trout infested waters near Venice, Louisiana. He uses mostly 4 inch Coacahoe style paddle tail plastics, H&H Sparkle Beetles, and Deadly Dudley Terror Tail lures with light heads, and prefers 7 foot medium action G-Loomis GLX rod for either spinning or bait casting. Ironically, I was once looking for a fly rod blank to build up for myself at Fishing Tackle Unlimited and was having a tough time finding one in their selection of blanks. Danny Myers told me he suspected they were being bought out to build popping rods on, so in some cases maybe all trout rods really are alike.

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rey light began filtering through the hardwood forest that lined both sides of the ribbon of asphalt meandering across East Texas. As the sun rose, the penetrating sunlight eliminated the need for the Tahoe’s headlights and the dark, sullen trees erupted into a riot of spring color with the dawn. Black hickory, sweetgum, and red oak tress flaunted cheerful new leaves. The sight of the first redbud tree, resplendent in full ceremonial dress, demanded full attention as we rolled by. The War Pony quickened her pace and we sped toward the lake, full of hope and anticipation. It was spring and it was crappie time! Crappie move into the extreme shallows to spawn every spring, bringing them within cane pole-distance of just about every angler; well, every angler with legal access to a lake’s shoreline. Most lakes and reservoirs are girdled by private property, thereby restricting bank access to many miles of prime spawning shoreline. Tackle loaded, and all snaps and straps secure, I pushed off into the lake and paddled under the highway bridge where I launched. A small cove, barely 20 acres, juxtaposed the main lake and drew scant attention from weekend crowds. Barbed wire and purple fence posts stood as sentinels, guarding against intrusion from land. A mix of loblolly pines and hardwoods framed the neglected inlet. Tangles of vines and woody plants grew down to the waterline. Fallen limbs from the canopy overhead, victims of a hard norther, littered the edge of the lake; many of the casualties were half submerged in the shallows. Classic rigging adorned my light spinning outfit. A seven-foot rod was the longest

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Private property restricts bank access to prime spawning shoreline.

Crappie Time!

in my quiver and, although the light graphite rod wasn’t as long as a cane pole, the rod’s extra length was helpful when lifting and dropping wiggling shiners into shoreline tangles. The small spinning reel was spooled with fresh 8-pound test line and a gold Aberdeen hook was knotted on. A small splitshot was pinched on about a foot above the hook.

Tackle requirements for crappie fishing are minimal. A hard plastic box that once held dry flies secured a day’s rations of gold hooks, and split shot. Two classic balsa wood crappie floats, trimmed in bright red and white, completed my compliment of tackle. I probed different patches of submerged brush, dabbling minnows on a vertical line for 30 minutes or so, my index finger on high alert for strikes and subtle ticks. But none came. I pulled out the balsa wood float and eyed it keenly, deciding that a two-foot depth was just about right. The float plopped down tight against the shoreline and settled flat against on the surface of the stained water. As the splitshot achieved its full depth, the ice pick-like top of the float sprang to life, standing tall and proud. Several minutes passed before the subtle strike was noticed. The float’s top was white and featured red lines every inch or so. A red-tailed hawk glided overhead, distracting me. My wandering eye finally noticed that the top of the cork now sat at F i s h

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a 45-dgree angle instead of straight up and down. It was a classic crappie bite, so subtle you couldn’t detect it by feel alone. An even but determined rise of the rod tip met with sudden resistance as the hook found purchase. A large black crappie swirled, making erratic circles amid the submerged brush before yielding to the power of arched graphite. The fish taped an honest 12-inches and lay finning next to the hull; the gold hook had winnowed a large hole in the side of the paper-thin membrane just behind the fishes jaw. With thumb and index finger clamping down firmly on the fish’s lower jaw, I hoisted the prize and admired the green and silver mottled flanks glistening in the morning sun. Black crappie and white crappie both spawn in the spring with the former beginning spawning activity when water temperatures reach 60 degrees. White crappie, on the other hand, wait until the water temperature hits 65 degrees. Calendars can only suggest when fish will spawn; water temperature is a much more reliable predictor. Few kayak anglers I know, with the exception of those who have equipped their hulls with depth finders, monitor water temperature. A quick check online revealed an array of inexpensive digital thermometers that would serve yeoman’s duty enunciating water temperatures. Kitchen and aquarium thermometers were both available in the $15 – 20 range, most were waterproof and featured alarms you could set for a specific temperature – very handy in the spring if you are trying to find the warmest water in a cove or coastal flat. Driven by photoperiods and water temperature, crappie push into the shallows every spring to complete the circle of life. When redbuds and dogwoods are in full bloom, it’s a good bet is crappie time! Greg Berlocher can be reached for question or comment at kayak@fishgame.com.

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Bruised or Deaf; Some Choice

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uzzle brakes are a hot topic these days because many of the hunting rifles of the day are in calibers that kick like thoroughly ticked off Missouri mules. When I was just starting to hunt deer, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the most popular deer rifles were the .270 Winchester and the .30-06 Springfield. Many of the local ranchers around my part of the country used the diminutive .222 Remington and were completely satisfied with its performance on whitetails. Now, for some reason that I can’t fathom, it has become the norm to have a .300 magnum to hunt deer. The problem is that the average deer hunter cannot manage the recoil of a .300 magnum, so some way to mitigate or lessen the recoil becomes almost mandatory. The problem rears its ugly head when the hunter goes out to shoot his cannon for the first time after getting it back from the gunsmith with the muzzle brake attached. He sits at the bench, chambers a round, peers through the scope, and tickles the trigger. The result is a mild push at his shoulder, and a blast of sound that causes his eyes to pop, his sinuses to expand like balloons, the dust to rise for yards around, and the standers by to scream and clap their hands over their ears. Is the recoil reduced? Absolutely. But that energy has to go somewhere, so it ends up as greatly increased muzzle blast. What you have to ask yourself is: which is worse, recoil or muzzle blast? It is, or rather was, the old story of trying to have your cake and eat it, too. Then along came Johnny Glueck. Johnny, after talking with our ad director, Ardia T F & G

Neves, called me. He told me he had a muzzle brake that reduced recoil but did not increase muzzle blast. I, frankly, called him a liar. I had heard this line before, I said, and it had always been a pipe dream. Johnny, however, stood his ground and told me he was ready to put his muzzle brake where his telephone was. We agreed that he would come to my place and prove it to me. In short he did just that. However, after a few months of mulling it over, I decided that the short shooting session on my range was not sufficient. Johnny, or his company, Active Tuning Solutions, makes more than one muzzle brake, but just the one -- the Hunters Brake -- that keeps muzzle blast at a lower level. The others do a little more for reducing recoil, but do not have the sound softening technology in them. I decided that to do them justice I needed to do an extended range test with all of the brakes, comparing them to each other and noting what their effect is on the accuracy of the gun and the recoil reduction compared with a bare barrel. After a lengthy telephone conversation or two with Johnny, I sent him my pet .30-338 Magnum to be fitted with his muzzle brakes. In a remarkably short time I got the gun back with all the muzzle breaks and a nifty little thread protector that can be screwed over the threaded muzzle for cleaning, or for when you decide to play Elmer Keith and shoot the gun without any of the muzzle brakes. Johnny had also repaired some damage that my old gun had endured over the years, and the gun shoots a lot better now than it did when I sent it to him. I immediately screwed on the Hunters Brake and headed to the range. Since the final test would be to use the gun, with the Hunters Brake, in a hunting situation, I was doing the shooting with hunting bullets rather than the 168-grain Sierra Match Kings that the gun shoots best. The load was 72.5 grains of H4831 with 165-grain Nosler AccuBond bullets. This is my favorite longrange mule deer load. The scope is a Trijicon 5-20X. Trijicon may be the best American A L M A N A C

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made scopes on the market today and the 5-20X by 50mm, 30mm tube AccuPoint is currently, in my opinion, the best of the Trijicon line. Mine is equipped with the military mil dot crosshairs and has the little tritium dot and fiber optic aiming-point. The gun is a custom built Winchester Model 70 Classic Stainless with a 25-inch Pac-Nor match-grade barrel. After sighting in the gun, I was very happy with the result of the first session. Average group size ran right around sixtenths of an inch, and recoil was reduced to a point where after 20 shots I did not have my usual recoil headache. However, what I had in mind was going to require a lot more that one quick trip to the range. Fade to black and fast forward. As of now I have been shooting and testing the muzzle brakes that Johnny put on my rifle for a little over 4 months. I can now tell you that I am ecstatic with the results, which are exactly what he said they would be. Johnny actually fitted my gun with three different brakes, each with a different amount of recoil reduction and muzzle blast attenuation. I love the Hunters Brake! While it does not actually reduce the muzzle blast (that would make it a suppressor and require a bunch of silly paperwork with the BATFE) In fact, it does increase the apparent muzzle blast, but by so little that it really isn’t noticeable, which is a great step forward in muzzle brake technology. The others reduce the recoil a bit more than the Hunters Brake, but my old recoil deadened shoulder really couldn’t tell the difference. Difference in the muzzle blast, however, was definitely noticeable. I know because I got someone else to shoot the gun while I stood back behind it a few yards and listened, without ear muffs, which I do not recommend. Ever! In the final range test I shot the gun at 300 yards using an accuracy load of Berger 168-grain VLD bullets at 3020 feet per CONTINUED ON PAGE 74

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ometimes as anglers we get stuck in a rut. We know that works, we know what we like, we know what we have confidence in and stick with it no matter what. Most of us won’t admit to trying anything new, due to the fear of us looking really stupid when it doesn’t work, so we stick with the basics. One of the old stand-by rigs for bass anglers is the Carolina-rig and I’m willing to bet that most of you fish it exactly the same way, with the same baits, every time. While it started out as a way to fish lizards and worms (which it does just fine at), I just want to make you aware that it’s possible to Carolinarig anything. That’s right, anything. Ever wondered how to get a small floating jerkbait really deep? Have you ever thought that it would be great to keep a crankbait slowly moving just a couple feet off the bottom through a suspending school of fish no matter what the depth? Have you ever considered the insane idea of somehow using a topwater popper under the water just to see if it would work? With a Carolina rig you can do any of these.

could fish a lizard or worm b u t let’s get beyond that simplistic thinking and imagine what else we can put on the end of the leader. Hard plastic jerkbaits are typically a shallow water bait. There are a few sinking models but for the most part they float and typically you cast it out, reel it down a foot and twitch it back. However, if you tie one onto the end of a Carolina-rig you can now drag this same bait across main lake points or over the top of deep-water humps. Bass have seen jerkbaits their whole life, but never this deep so it will fool a lot of fish. You can even downsize the jerk bait to a small panfishsized bait (one inch long) and chase crappie around deep brushpiles. When’s the last time you threw a jerkbait around a brushpile for crappie? Probably never because you couldn’t get it down to it. Now you can. If you’re worried about the treble hooks on the bait grabbing the brush and not letting go, the simple solution is to change the tre-

bles out for single With the single on you

hooks. hooks c a n almost drag the rig directly through a brush pile without worrying about hanging up. When fishing a hard plastic jerkbait or crankbait on a Carolina rig you have to remember that the fish isn’t going to hold the bait in their mouth like they would a soft plastic. So when you feel a fish hit it, you need to set the hook immediately instead of pausing for a second. Another modification you can make to the Carolina rig is to use it to fish two baits at once. Run your main line through the bullet weight just like before but before tying it to your barrel swivel run it through the eye of a worm hook. Now do the rest just like before where you tie on the leader and put a small floating jerkbait on the end of it. On the worm hook, rig a creature bait, plastic crawfish, or lizard and you give the bass two options. The creature bait drags along the bottom with the weight while the jerk bait suspends a few feet about it. Think of it this way, when there are two anglers in the boat and you are searching for fish you typically use two different kinds of baits until you figure out what the fish want. This way you can fish two baits at once to eliminate options or get to a pattern quicker. E-mail Paul Bradshaw at freshrigs@fishgame.com

texas guns second. I shot groups with each of the brakes without changing the sight setting. Miraculously, every one shot into the same group – and at 300 yards! Some of the 3-shot groups measured well under 3 inches, and this on a windy West Texas day. I really was amazed,

as I had expected at least some difference in point of impact. This is machine work at its very finest. I guess the moral of this story is this: If you have a hard kicking gun that needs to be tamed, I recommend Active Tuning Solutions (http://activetuningsolutions.com/) without any reservations, at all. These are the

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finest muzzle brakes I have ever used, and the best gunsmithing I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. If you decide to use their services, tell Johnny I sent you.

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E-mail Steve LaMascus at SLamascus@fishgame.com

illistration by paul bradshaw

Carolina Rigging Anything

Before we get too deep into the alternate applications of a Carolina-rig, lets look at the basics. The standard Carolina-rig starts by sliding a heavy bullet weight onto your main line. Follow this by tying a barrel swivel onto the end of the main line. On the other end of the swivel, tie on a short (two foot) leader. On the normal Carolina-rig you would now attach a worm hook on the other end of the leader so you


Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the finest fishing line of all? The answer depends on how and where you fish, but one thing is for sure: A top contender for many of us will be Berkley’s new Nanofil. This stuff isn’t a monofilament nor is it a standard braid, but has been dubbed a “unifilament” by Berkley. It’s made up Berkley of gel-spun NanoFil polyethylene, line. which is also the core component of most modern superlines. But in this case hundreds of Dyneema nanofilaments are molecularly linked, into a uniform shape that’s smoother and rounder than those rope-like braids. As a result, Nanofil has the strength of a braid but the feel and handling of a monofilament line. Thanks to this material construction, when it comes to diameter, knots, and cutting, braid rules apply. But when it comes to casting, it sails through the air like a mono. It’s stretch-free, so you can feel the slightest pick-ups and bumps, and it has extremely low memory. I tested 12-pound Nanofil in the Clear Mist color (which looks more or less like an off-white braid), after spooling up a Shimano Stratic 2500 FJ spinning reel. For its first chore, we cast jigs to rips and holes where speckled trout were on the prowl. The line’s perfect for Run your boat this type of fishing; it stereo system casts well, and provides from an iPhone unbelievable sensitivor iPad. ity—even the slightest takes were detectable. When I switched to walking-the-dog with a plug in search of a topwater bite 76 |

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I actually missed the lack of stretch (it’s easy to jump the plug out of the water, and miss strikes), but later in the day when we trolled swimming plugs along a jetty, I discovered that Nanofil cuts the water amazingly well. In fact, the reduced water resistance allows lipped plugs to dive several feet deeper than usual. Nanofil is available in one through 12 pound tests, in 150 to 1,500 yard spools. At about $20 for a 150 yard spool, its pricing runs about the same as a high-end braid. Diameter runs from .001 to .008, which is a little more than half the diameter of monofilament with similar breaking strengths. Check it out, at www.berkleyfishing.com. —Lenny Rudow

Get Fused In today’s phone-do-all world, you can run everything from your home to your office via your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Now, this is even true of your boat’s stereo system—if

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you have a 700 series Fusion marine stereo on your boat. The 700 series was designed to work with Fusion’s Fusion-Link system, which allows you to use your phone as the stereo remote for your marine entertainment system, since it interfaces with a wireless DHCP Ethernet router and auto-configures itself to the network. Then you simply pull up the FUSION-Link mobile app, and take control from the palm of your hand. The entire system is NMEA2000 compliant, so you can also display the stereo controls on any NMEA 2000 display on your boat’s network—including on your chartplotter or fishfinder. The 700 series includes the MS-IP700, and the MS-AV700. The MS-IP700 is designed to work with iPods; simply swing down the faceplate, insert your miniature music archive, and you’re ready to rock out—while your precious iPod remains safely enclosed in the waterproof docking station. Note: Fusion is one of very few stereo builders which constructs true marine units instead of marinizing an automotive unit, which means they usually last a lot longer in the saltwater environment—in my experience, by a matter of years. And these stereos are enclosed in a fully sealed, electrically isolated aluminum chassis. They push 70 watts per channel, through a four-zone system. There’s also a built-in AM/FM receiver, a VHF radio receiver (so you don’t miss important communications on the marine airwaves as you jam out), and the unit is Sirius-ready. Info is displayed on a 2.7” TFT color LCD screen.

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Photos: Berkley; Fusion:

Fine Line


The MS-AV700 has the same specs as its close cousin but adds the ability to play DVDs, and with the Aux-out line, you can even connect the unit to a TV or Multifunction display—while the stereo system continues providing an awesome audio experience. Menu functions for both of these units are designed to work like iPods, and I had no problem figuring out the controls in a matter of moments without once consulting the owner’s manual. The biggest surprise feature from both of these units, however, is just how reasonably they’re priced. The MS-IP700 lists for about $450, while the AV unit ups the ante by about $150 more. For more information, look to www.fusionelectronics.com. —LR

Aqua Design A couple of years ago I came across a product that truly made me go “Hmmm.” Aqua Design clothes designed to break up the human pattern by mimicking the sky filtered through water. Fly fisherman in the Florida Keys and other areas has used fish camouflage for some time. Fish in clear water are super spooky and savvy anglers know anything that can help break up their profile might give them a stealthy advantage. My initial test of this product involved me going underwater in a clear water private lake I have access to and photographing my father, Chester Moore, Sr. dressed head to toe in this clothing. I shot from a depth about three feet under the water up a bank looking at Dad and while he was still very visible, his pattern was not quite as defined as you would normally see. At other times I have worn the clothes and had success catching bass in the same super clear ponds. This is one of those things that is hard to attribute to fishing success directly but if you look at anecdotal evidence you can see they can be an advantage in fishing under clear conditions. Last year Bassmaster Elite Series angler Alton Jones spoke about taking off his red cap when he was targeting bedding fish because it would spook them. Any advantage an angler can get in the pursuit of fish, particularly wary, trophy-sized specimens is advantageous. I have worn my shirt in hot weather and T F & G

found the microfiber technology involved made it very breathable plus it has a 50 UPF rating for sun protection. There are four color variations. Aqua Sky works for sunny to partly sunny skies. Green Bayou blends with trees and vegetation along shorelines. Misty Sky incompatible colors for an overcast sky and Pacific Sand offers concealment and sandy and rocky areas. I have the Adventure and Voyager shirts but there are also the same patterns available in their Fish Hunter These clothes look great and are my go to dress shirts for Texas Fish & Game fishing seminars so you will not only be effective on the water but also look cool wherever you go. To learn more go to www.aquadesign. com —Chester Moore

Stedi-Stock I am a photographer and a hunter. That means I use cameras and scoped rifles to pursue my quarry and I am just as serious about getting a killer image as a killer rack. The rack might hang on my wall and the meat fill my freezer but the photos earn me a paycheck. That is why I was excited to check out the Stedi-Stock. It is a stabilization system that works great for cameras, video

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cameras, spotting scopes and other viewing devices. For example, I could imagine it working wonderfully for some of the handheld thermal imaging units on the market. The Stedi-Stock is ultra lightweight weighing in at only six ounces and is constructed of durable nylon so its tough enough to deal with the situations we find ourselves in the wild of Texas and beyond. The unit comes with a handy shoulder strap so it is easy to carry into the field. We often think our super light modern video and digital still cameras are faulty because of the poor images we get when using them in the deer blind. However, much of that has to do with stabilization. The Stedi-Stock greatly increases stability and can be a real difference maker in capturing the images you are seeking. I have one and plan on using it as my go to instrument for spotting scopes and video cameras in the deer blind. In addition besides the Stedi-Stock itself there are a variety of add-on packages available including one with a monopod which is perfect for photographers. For more information go to www.stedi-stock.com. —CM

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Humminbird Marketing Director Mark Gibson said. “With the new capabilities added to many of our new and legacy models, everything from

either the console or transom of the boat, depending on The NMEA 2000 displays where the Humminbird 12-inch and units were 21-inch radar images. mounted.” In addition to adding radar capabilities to several models, Humminbird is also offering a 21-inch 4kW Radome radar and a 12-inch 2kW Radome radar. All current line Humminbird 800, 900 and 1100 Series™ models, along with the 1157c Combo and 1197c SI Combo sonar, to radar, to engine information can legacy models are NMEA 2000 and be displayed on multiple units at different Ethernet compatible. The 700HD Series locations on the boat.” models are also Ethernet compatible. All NMEA 2000 systems are quickly current line Humminbird 800, 900 and becoming the standard on numerous ves1100 Series models are radar compatible. sels due to their ability to openly route Some models will require a free downloadinformation from a multitude of instruments able software upgrade. The MSRP for the Humminbird NMEA 2000 and Humminbird Ethernet Switch is $199.99 each. The MSRP for the 21-inch radar is $2,199.99 and $1,499.99 for the12inch radar. All products except the 12-inch radar were available in January 2012. The 12-inch radar will be available in March 2012. NMEA 2000 EtherFor more information visit www.humnet Switch has 5 and equipment to minbird.com, contact Humminbird, 678 ports. one location. HumHumminbird Lane, Eufaula, AL 36027, minbird’s waterproof NMEA 2000 black or call 800-633-1468. box (AS ETH NMEA2K) provides a conduit for all the system information to be distributed via Ethernet to multiple Humminbird sonar models. Humminbird’s Ethernet Switch (AS ETH 5PS) has five ports to provide users Taking advantage of the design of one with a multitude of options. “One example of its top sellers the 2200 Tournament, would be to connect NMEA 2000, radar NauticStar, LLC has introduced the newly and two Humminbird sonar models to the featured NauticBay 2200 Sport. Ethernet system,” said Gibson. “All of “Listening to our dealer network, we the vital information could be displayed at were told that their customers that did not

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Humminbird is expanding networking capabilities for many of its sonar models by adding Ethernet expansion, NMEA 2000 and radar capabilities. “In today’s marine market, sharing information has become a vital function for an electronics system,” The Humminbird NMEA 2000 “black box.”

Data displays for single engine (Top) and dual engine (Bottom) configurations.

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Photos: Hummbird; NauticStar:

Humminbird Brings It All Together


fish tournaments were asking for a boat like our 2200 Tournament. They wanted the large casting platforms, the storage and more fishing room at a lesser price. The 2200 Sport hits the mark right on.” says NauticStar president Phil Faulkner. The 2200 Sport is 22’ long and a full 8 ½ feet wide. The beam carries farther forward to give more floor space and larger casting decks. The hull design is 15 degrees dead rise at the transom for stability and shallow water fishing. A deep V dead rise provides a soft ride and the hull design also has a reverse chine that helps the boat plane quickly, giving it more lift and a dry comfortable ride. The 2200 Sport is exclusively power matched with a Yamaha F150TXR. Yamaha Marine has tested the 2200 Sport and has published some really attractive numbers. Powered with a four stroke F150TXR, the boat planed in 3.75 seconds had a top speed of 44.3. MPH with a fuel burn of only 4.6 GPH at cruise. The 2200 Sport is loaded with great comfort and fishability features: • Large aft casting deck with two flip up jump seats. Under the seats and gunnels are storage for starting battery, tackle and six rods. Plus, a 37-gallon aerated release well. • Standard helm seating has an aluminum leaning post and removable 94-qt. cooler. Captain’s station has tachometer, speedometer and fuel gauge, stainless steel wheel with power knob and hydraulic steering. Removable windshield for easy cleaning and a stainless steel grab rail. • Bow has a 20-gallon aerated baitweill under the forward console seat; Underfloor cast-net storage; forward 30-gallon fish box in the step up to the casting deck; two top-entry rod lockers and a large insulated storage box that can double as a second fish box. All live wells and fish boxes drain overboard. Forward on the bow casting deck is a molded-in anchor locker.

NauticStar’s NauticBay 2200 Sport.

Not only does the 2200 Sport have roominess, storage and the fishing features at a reasonable price it is built with the same construction integrity as it counterpart, the 2200 Tournament. For more information, visit the NauticStar website: www.nauticstarboats.com T F & G

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New Year, New Costas The New Year brings new styles to Costa’s collection of performance sunglasses, with Double Haul being first in line to debut. Serious anglers will appreciate Costa’s signature vent system in Double Haul’s frame front to alleviate lens fog in extreme weather conditions, as well full eye coverage to allow full range of vision while on the water.

Costa Double Haul

Double Haul features a large fitting frame with Hydrolite™ no-slip nose pads, sturdy integral hinges and durable co-injected molded temples for a comfortable “forgetthey’re-on” fit. The new style is available in tortoise, black and the new translucent crystal frame colors. Anglers can customize Double Haul in Costa’s patented 580™ lenses in either glass or polycarbonate (580P). Costa’s 580 lenses block yellow light at 580 nanometers on the light spectrum. The result is unparalleled levels of polarization and razor sharp color enhancement, so outdoor enthusiasts can see fish and other objects through the water more clearly. Costa’s 580 lens color options include gray, copper, amber, and blue, green and silver mirror. Double Haul is also available in Costa’s 580 Rx program. The new style will retail from $179 to 80 |

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Photos: Costa; Wildgame Nation; Ande Line;

$249 depending on lens customization, and will be available online at www.costadelmar.com and at authorized Costa retail outlets.

Wildgame Nation and Southern BBQ Outdoor Channel reality hunting show Wildgame Nation is proud to announce its partnership with Southern cooking products Born in the backwoods and swamps of Louisiana, Southern has been a main stay in kitchens and camps for over 50 years. Created by outdoorsman who lived off the land, the Southern recipes have been passed down for generations. Now the Southern family tradition of outdoor cooking comes to your table in the Wild Game Gear pack. Loaded with Southern’s most flavorful ingredients and recipes, the Wild Game Gear pack brings out the best in Fish, Venison, Duck/Goose, Wild Pig, and Turkey. The Southern family of Cajun products are unique in flavor, concept and design, Southern Wild which makes them Game Gear stand out from their package. competitors on the shelves. For great gift ideas and to learn more about Southern go to www. southernbbqsauce.com or call 1-866-61Cajun.

Fluoro-escent Pink All fluorocarbons are not equal. Ande is 100% fluorocarbon with all the properties you expect from a fluorocarbon leader. Excellent knot strength, strong abraF i s h

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Ande Pink

sion resistance, low Fluorocarbon stretch, doesn’t absorb water, sinks quickly and is totally invisible underwater. It’s Ande quality, at a reasonable price. And now there’s Pink.

Solo Safety for Full Frame Handguns ShotLock, maker of the only solovault for shot guns, is introducing a solovault made specifically for full framed hand guns. Designed to hold a single large framed hand gun, the ShotLock 1911 Solo-Vault is perfectly sized to house most full framed home defense hand guns. The solo-vault can be mounted on a wall, or any stable surface either vertically or horizontally. It also features cable slots to allow the unit to be tethered to a solid structure, such as the seat bracket in a vehicle, making it perfect for transporting in a pick-up, sedan, SUV or van. “The ShotLock 1911 Solo-Vault is the perfect solution for someone who owns a large framed personal defense hand gun,” stated Don Fenton, Sales & Marketing Director of TruckVault, Inc., owner of the ShotLock brand. “With this product, you

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can keep your handgun close at hand, yet secure, at all times.” ShotLock Just like the 1911 original ShotLock Solo-Vault made for shotguns and its smaller sister product, the CCW Solo-Vault, the 1911 is constructed of 14-gauge steel and stores a single firearm with room in this instance for spare clips. The compact size allows it to be mounted securely virtually anywhere in the home or a vehicle. “With its 5-button inline programmable lock, the ShotLock Solo-Vault can be opened and allowing you to put a loaded weapon in your hand in less than 3 seconds,” explained Fenton. Marketing plans to support the ShotLock Solo-Vault family of products include print advertising, television spots, Internet/ Social Media ads and sponsorships, an aggressive pricing strategy, and sleek, contemporary packaging. ShotLock SoloVaults available online at www.shotlock. com , www.costco.com , and at select retailers.

Photos: ShotLock; Frabil

A Whole Other Can of Worms

Staff and legendary guide Tom Neustrom has been serious about worm care. “To fish with inferior livebait is like bow-hunting with twigs,” Neustrom quipped. “Don’t waste my time. But going into battle with the kind of nightcrawlers that jump out of your hand gives me a superior fishcatching weapon. “I store large quantities of super-crawlers in my Frabill Habitat system. Then, before heading out in the morning, I’ll grab a couple Crawler Cans. Fill one side with ice, the other side with two or three dozen crawlers. They stay extra cool and watertight inside these insulated containers. And they’re sweet for storing leeches, too.” Sporting dual, top and top and bottom bait compartments, each sealed with a watertight quarter-turn lid, the Crawler Can cools and can store two different types of baits within a single can; crawlers in one side and leeches in the other; ice on one side, worms in the other; even micro baits such as waxworms and maggots can hitch a ride. Insulated with an extra-thick foam liner and tough watertight screw-lids, this handy little container offers intensive-careunit level bait storage in a nearly indestructible package. It even dons a convenient carrying handle, which might remind you

of bringing a fishcatchinglunch-box to a day of “work” on the water. Neustrom: “Frabill rules livebait care – every angler serious about bait knows that. Me? I like happy bait, and the new Crawler Can makes for some pretty cheerful worms, crawlers and leeches. You can almost see the tiny little smiles on their faces.” Frabill, Inc. of Jackson, Wis. is in its 73rd year of engineering premium, trusted fishing equipment. Visit www.frabill.com.

Shop for innovative, new and hardto-find outdoor gear at www.FishandGameGear.com

Time was, procuring a ponderous string of trout, catfish or sunfish involved little more than a willow stick with hook, line, sinker, and a coffee tin filled with lively critters—angleworms, nightcrawlers or even crickets. Fish gobbled ‘em up like candy. Life was easy, until the bait fried and died. Along came Styrofoam, which offered a hint of insulation, but when you accidently stepped on the container – Vegas odds of 2 to 1 of it happening – the flimsy walls collapsed and lid cracked like a peanut shell. And even before, water had likely seeped in and created an icky stew of unusable bait. Guess fishing from the bank wasn’t so peaceful and romantic after all… Well, say goodbye to cream-of-crawler and whipped-worm forever, because Frabill’s new Crawler Can keeps your bait cool and protected from the baitshop to bass. Ever since reading Bill Binkelman’s classic Nightcrawler Secrets, Frabill Pro T F & G

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The Promise of March

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arch is a very special month in the hearts of anglers up and down the gulf coast. Even those who continue plugging away all winter long catching some of the biggest trout of the year are not exempt from the feelings of excitement and hope that accompany it. Those feelings may be magnified to an extent for the anglers who have spent the last few months in hibernation rather than bailing out of the boat when the mercury is well below the comfort zone. However, I don’t think anyone can deny that it is real and we

all feel it. A lot of fishermen, including some guides, shut it down for the winter and are chomping at the bit for the arrival of this much-anticipated, magical month. There is much more to it than catching fish though. In fact, catching fish consistently in March is anything but a guarantee. With the exception of those days that spawn life long memories of fish seeming to jump in the boat, the fickle weather that accompanies March means a lot of times you’re going to have to work a little harder than you’d like to put a successful pattern together. But this month comes with a promise. A promise of warmth, new life, and good things to come. It reminds us that spring conditions are right around the corner and that summer will soon follow. The big tides of March push water deep into places we haven’t been able to reach in a while. New hatches of shrimp and baitfish will ride these tides and begin to rejuvenate the entire system. From the gulf to the back

lakes these signs of new life will be obvious. As water temperatures slowly begin to ascend up the thermometer, more and more young of the year shad, mullet and shrimp will lead anglers to the Big 3 as well as an assortment of other species. The fishes’ metabolism will increase with the water temps and they will begin feeding more aggressively and often. Flounder are slowly making their way back from the gulf and can be intercepted in ship channels and passes. Fishing points in the Sabine Neches Waterway is an excellent place to start. Flounder Pounder’s CT Shad tipped with fresh shrimp as well as GULP! shrimp are super choices for plastics when dragged slowly along the bottom. As usual, live mud minnows and finger mullet should also produce serious results. The mouth and eastern shoreline of East Pass can also be red hot for flatties, especially towards the end of this month. Trout and redfish should begin to gang up on the eastern bank of the lake as we progress through the month and the water continues to warm. Also, keep an eye out for birds working over the new recruits of shrimp on the south end of the lake from the causeway to Pleasure Island Marina. I hope to see you here on Sabine soon. Remember, it’s the beginning of warmth, new life, and good things to come. I promise.

the bank bite Location: Causeway (SH82 at Pleasure Island) Species: Flounder, redfish, black drum, croaker Baits/Lures: Curl tail grubs, mud minnows or fresh dead shrimp Best Times: Moving Tides Contact Eddie Hernandez at, EHernandez@fishgame.com 82 |

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Galveston Wonders

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arch can be a harsh month on the water, with cool temperatures and strong winds as the seasonal norm. On the other hand, this month can be the last chance to get boats, tackle, and other gear ready for the coming of warmer weather and more pleasant and productive fishing. It is also a time when we might look over our options for the season and the area, and give some thought to trying new aspects of the fishing world we might have overlooked in the past. This is especially true with fisheries regulations making it difficult to continue with business as usual in the way of species and techniques we have depended on it the past. The Galveston area is a vast wonderland for a fisherman who keeps his mind open for new and different opportunities. I have never lived on Galveston Island, but in the past I spent a lot of time with fishermen who did, and it would be hard to find a group more dedicated to a strong pull on the end of a line. Those who only visit the Island for fishing may not be able to take advantage of all its opportunities – or might not even want to – but they can certainly get some ideas to broaden their fishing horizons from paying attention to the locals. Beginning at the top of the food chain, Galveston has always had the most shark fishermen outside of the Padre Island crowd in the state. For the most part, these are guys who want to challenge the largest fish in the Gulf, and they do it from yachts, smaller boats, the jetties, rock groins, and the surf (Galveston area piers generally frown on serious shark fishing). Any area home to a club called “The Monster Fishermen” has some serious sharkers. A good many of these fishermen also list tarpon among their favorite targets, T F & G

but there are also those who get their kicks from large stingrays and alligator gar. Rays can be hooked in the surf, but are also sought in deeper holes in the bays, especially behind San Luis Pass or the around the Galveston jetties. Rays pushing 200 pounds are not uncommon, although a 75 pounder will put a kink in your back, and they are very strong, often “sucking’ on the bottom for long periods, requiring a fisherman to wait until his adversary decides to move again to resume the battle. Gars are in the coastal bayous and some lakes in the marshes, and provide tough battles generally protected from strong winds. A gar in the 100-pound class very much deserves the nickname of freshwater tarpon. Interestingly, many serious shark fishermen are also hard-core big trout anglers, and some specialize in flounder when they aren’t after monsters. A lot of these guys can also be found knocking oysters off pilings during low winter tides, and generally making the most out of the bounty of the

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Gulf, bays, and marshes they choose to live in the middle of. We who visit their home area would do well to follow their examples.

the bank bite Location: Beachfront piers and rock groins, Texas City Dike Species: Big black drum will be moving in reach of pier and Dike anglers, otherwise panfish and the occasional red or flounder may be the bulk of a day’s catch. Best Baits: For big drum, quartered crabs with circle hooks; for the other species, dead shrimp, squid, and cut bait. Best Times: Watch the tides for water movement, and avoid strong winds when possible. If it is windy, use it to your advantage by positioning to cast with the wind. Capt. Mike Holmes runs tarpon, shark, and bluewater trips on a classic 31 Bertram. To book a trip, call 979-415-0535. Email him at mholmes@fishgame.com.

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y starched Texas flag usually takes a beating during March from ardent winds ripping in every direction. The same could be said

lakes and catch both trout and reds when tides are high,” said guide Lynn Smith. “Just look for flipping mullet or small minnows.” Calmer days allow anglers a chance at the reefs on the north shoreline of West Matagorda Bay. Live shrimp is best for speckled trout and black drum, but waders scored on Corkies, Catch 5s, soft plastics and topwaters. Sand and grass flats on the south shoreline hold large concentrations of glass minnows at high tide, setting up what traditionally proves to be steady action around diving pelicans. Mid-bay reefs in East Matagorda Bay become fishable after cool fronts, and guide Charlie Paradoski uses Bass Assassins and Gulps under a popping cork to target trout. “Rig them on a jig head and pop it hard,” said Paradoski. “The fish find them 84 |

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Photo: Norman Naill, Bigstock

Be patient with Spring Fishing

for Texas bays, raked and rolled by the same spring gales. Every other day winds subside to a more manageable 10-15 knots, giving pluggers at least a fighting chance to find fishable water. Higher tides help matters as well, giving more room to fish, especially in protected back lakes areas. There are days the tides are so low you can’t get a boat back in the shallow sloughs, then the tides switch and begin to swell and the fish show up like magic. Live shrimp under popping corks is a great pattern for long drifts, but waders score with small topwaters like She Pups and Super Spook Jrs. “You can make long wades in the back


in the off-colored water by the sound and scent.” As clear as East Matagorda Bay has been throughout the winter, if you are going to use artificials, you better use colors as close to the real thing as possible. Paradoski likes Bass Assassins’ version of Opening Night, Chicken on a Chain and Space

it takes to winch a big black ugly to hand. As water warm from winter, fishing will improve dramatically. You never know what will show up in March. Patience is an angler’s best friend.

the bank bite Location: LCRA Park at the mouth of Colorado River

Wipping from every direction, March winds play havoc with flags and Matagorda fishing.

Guppy. When under cloudy skies, use Morning Glory, Plum and 10W-40. Lakes off the Intracoastal hold redfish as the tides grow higher. The mouths of these sloughs and channels are especially potent on falling tides that empty those lakes. Live shrimp is always a good barometer, but Gulps are normally just as compelling when you can’t find the real thing. Never discount public pier along the beachfront as warming tides awaken croakers, sand trout, black drum, redfish and flounder staging in the channels. March is the month oversized black drum roam the highways leading to the Gulf. Cracked blue crabs are the prized bait, with fresh table shrimp a close second. Remember, black drum over 30 inches are catch-and-release only, but that doesn’t discount the brawn

Species: Black drum, redfish, sand trout Baits: Blue crabs, shrimp Capt. Bink Grimes owns and operates Sunrise Lodge on Matagorda Bay (www.matagordasunriselodge.com). Contact him at BGrimes@fishgame.com


Goodwill Fishing must have ten thousand-plus dollars in various rods and reels for my guide business and I suppose it’s necessary to catch more fish. No telling how much I have in tackle, from the latest lures to prototypes, and the latest catch-all gadgets that are advertised on fishing channels. It is, after all, a love of mine to try new things and to hear about the latest tactics of guides and the many anglers I come in contact with in my rounds and travels. One person, on the other hand, had none of the latest fishing gear, nor did he really care to have it. His pleasure was taking old worn out gear that people discarded, fixing it and using it to do his fishing. Shopping at Cabela’s, Academy, or high profile fishing tackle stores was just not an option. Coming from a poor family and living through the Depression meant any significant money ($10 or more) was meant for groceries, a home, transportation or medical bills. His favorite fishing store was Goodwill and he was on a first name basis with most of the staff there. The jewels of his eye were broken rods, reels that ground like rocks in a tin can when the handles were turned, and old, broken corks or lures that most would throw away. Deep winter non-fishing days were meant for getting new fishing purchases in shape for wetting a line when the weather got better. Bearings in reels were fixed by removing and cleaning, then pressed apart and rolled on a sheet of glass, rough spots sanded if needed or replaced from another reel and then shimmed with aluminum washers or with shims cut from aluminum cans he picked up. They held up well and salt water didn’t seem to bother them. Stainless steel was just too expensive.

Rod repair was either a new tip (rods a foot or so short didn’t stop the fish from biting and he was quite certain they couldn’t tell the difference) or, for those with other broken parts, installing flexible inserts created from a mixture he concocted using JBWeld, silicone, and, I think, a two-part epoxy. If the rod was solid he had a fixture he made that helped him drill small holes for his homemade insert. The trick, you see, was the insert would break before the rod pieces did, which allowed him to fix it again at minimal cost. He then wrapped the repaired section with three types of thread and painted it over with women’s fingernail polish, using half-bottles he found at his favorite fishing store (Goodwill). If the repaired rod broke, it meant he’d hooked a really good fish! Broken bobber repair was the science of discarded packing material. The key was finding just the right density foam, because gluing the wrong density meant the repaired cork might float upside down or on its side (I won’t tell you how I know). Broken lures were all about weight and balance. Walking the sides of highways, he looked for old tire weights that some in-ahurry tire store failed to attach properly. Over time, as such establishments increasingly loosened their service standards, his roadside lead scavenging became easier, to the point where a one-mile stretch would yield enough material for his needs. BBs worked in a pinch, but the copper gave off an odor the fish didn’t care for, and they also rattled. He weighed the lure on a drug scale, obtained at Goodwill, and drilled strategic holes he would fill with lead he melted in an old plumber’s pot. Trial and error in the bathtub determined if too much or too little weight had been applied. Live bait was free, as long as you had a coffee can and a stick with a cotton ball attached to the end. Night crawlers could be captured at the old train track by turning over discarded railroad ties and pinning the quick rascals down with the soft end of the

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stick. Trying to catch them bent over was hard on the back. If you dumped your old coffee grounds, tea grounds or your spittoon under the old ties, it was a sure way of keeping the crawlers, and even red wigglers, in the area. Don’t look under that tie though, he’d say, it belongs to someone else (Holy Ground, an honor system thing). And, yes, those worms did catch reds, trout, and even flounder took to the stink bait when it was dragged across the bottom. A Waring blender marked “BAIT” in big Magic Marker letters was a freebie because its motor had seized up. But once the gunk was cleaned out of the windings and the brushes were sanded, it was good for all types of homemade stink baits made from old cheese from the food bank and the brains from various (fresh only) road kills. “If it stinks put it in there!” (Got any Big Red soda?). I was amazed more than once when some kid would show up on his porch and ask him to show them how to make a bicycle tire without a tire. A 20-foot section of old rubber hose, measured to fit around the rim, was cut to length and through an elaborate folding and wiring process with bailing wire, the rubber hose/tire was applied to the rim. This makeshift tire would last for at least a week under daily riding. A 20-section section of rubber hose was good for 4 to 5 tires. If you filled the hose with sand, it would even take bumps pretty well. But you needed to keep a few coils of wire wrapped around under the seat just in case she turned loose from going too fast. He almost always caught more fish than me using these contraptions and it’s I still have fond memories of his rainbow colored rods with the many shades of nail polish he used, or watching him laugh out loud when one of his reels came apart as he reeled a fish in and he had to pull the line in hand over hand to finish the job. He would turn to me and say “Might need help with this one” as a rod would snap in two when he hooked a really big one.

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He fought in WWII but never mentioned it til he got ill and went to the VA and they asked him about his service record. “Sir, it shows here that you were hurt on the USS Cecil battleship but yet I see you never filed for disability benefits.” “I wasn’t out but three months,” he said, “after leaving Iwo Jima and I was able to work after leaving the service all these years so I wasn’t disabled.” When he died he was cremated in clothes that came from his favorite fishing store, no need to waste money on a new suit, and he didn’t have a funeral “cuz’ it’s ridiculous what they were asking for such things” and that money could go to those he loved. He had it all set up and when we had time and it was convenient, if we wanted we could come pay our respects to the gravesite where he had his ashes buried. In his later years he lived on $265.00 a month and told me where his savings was, cuz’ he didn’t trust banks. His bank was some old smelly socks in the top drawer of his dresser. Turns out it held over $40,000 in hundred dollar bills with a hand written note: “please give to my kids.” It would have embarrassed him if I gave his name here, so I won’t; that was not what he was about. He loved fried fish tails and when I look at all my fishing gear I am a little embarrassed. After all he showed me, you don’t really need all this to catch fish and be happy. If you look in my garage, a bucket of old broken corks and reels and a pair of old coveralls reside in the corner. Please don’t touch it. It is holy ground and it makes me happy to look at it, have it, and it makes my Pappy proud!

drum run with the cork for about a 4 count then set the hook. The grass beds on the north shoreline close to the old Sea Gun hotel are good for trout using live shrimp, or new penny colored Jerk Shad on a light jig head. The new Causeway construction hasn’t slowed the sheep head bite down one bit. Small hooks and squid work well here fished up close to the causeway pilings. The lighter the rig the better with free lined being best if you can cast it. St Charles Bay - Still good red action drifting across Cow Chip using bubble corks and Berkley gulp crabs. Midday is best as the water temperatures increase. Twin Creeks is holding black drum with a Carolina rig and peeled shrimp being the ticket to success. Carlos Bay - Slow Drifts across Carlos Lake using tandem rigged grubs in chartreuse and white are good for trout and a few lingering flounder. Reds migrate from the deeper end of Carlos Dugout to the shell on warmer days with slow retrieved Super Spooks in red and white colors being preferred.

lined finger mullet or mud minnows. Flounder can be picked up in Brays Cove using slow retrieved grubs tipped with menhaden or shrimp. The key here is to bounce the jig off the bottom and set the hook at the slightest tap. Ayres Bay- Submerged shell piles close to the east shoreline are good for feeding reds using free lined mud minnows or cut menhaden. Schools of black drum frequent the bay so look for muddy areas in the clear water and set up with the wind casting into or just passed the muddy areas. Peeled shrimp under a silent cork works well here.

the bank bite Bank Bite - Wading the northwest shoreline of St. Charles Bay is productive for reds and black drum using blue/chrome Super Spooks for the reds and small gold colored spinner baits tipped with shrimp. Wade out to the deeper water transition and fish 360 degrees moving very slowly.

Mesquite Bay - The shell reefs that make up Third Chain Island are good for black drum using a silent cork and peeled shrimp. Red action is good here as well using free

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

• • • Copano Bay - The northeast shoreline across from Turtle Pens is keeping some good black drum action using peeled shrimp fished on a light Carolina rig. If this style of fishing bores you use a gold colored spinner bait and tip the hook with a piece of squid or shrimp and drag it slow. Reds can be caught using mud minnows midday over the shallow shell reefs like Shell Bank Reef or Copano Reef. Aransas Bay - Black drum are good close to Deadman Island using a silent cork and dead shrimp. The key here is to let the T F & G

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A Cut Above s I’ve stated repeatedly over the past several years, March begins a period when fishing on the Lower Laguna Madre begins to pick up. The rise in action is due in large part to the beginning of the spring tides, which push warmer, fresh water into the bay from the Gulf. The fresh water pumps nutrients into the bay, warms Laguna water by a few degrees, and serves as a cue to predatory species such as trout, redfish and flounder to begin feeding more actively. Both expert and rank-and-file anglers take their cues from Mother Nature and the turning of the calendar and start plotting on maps and GPS locators where they hope to intercept fish. It should come as no surprise that passes where Gulf water flows into Lower Laguna Madre are very popular choices. On Lower Laguna Madre there are currently two such passes: Brazos Santiago, the southernmost pass in Texas, and the famed East Cut just—well—East of Port Mansfield. The East Cut connects Lower Laguna Madre to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mansfield Jetties. It cuts Padre Island into North and South and is a gateway to excellent offshore and beachfront fishing. It is also a noted location for catching fine bags of trout, redfish and flounder. On a very good day an angler can make the 8 minute run from Port Mansfield and find enough spots to fish for all three without moving elsewhere. So…where does a fisherman begin? The simplest strategy is the run into the cut past channel Marker 17 and fish where the shallows fall into the first drop-off. The water falls from ankle-and-shin deep to waist deep water, and then into the deeper water beyond. Speckled trout will cruise along the first drop and feed on bait that holds there.

Fish soft plastics in light patterns with chartreuse tails pinned on a ¼ ounce jighead. Use a rise and fall retrieve near the bottom and keep constant contact with the bait. Soft baits such as the Gulp! Croaker or Logic Lures Wiggly Jiggly are great choices, especially if flounder are lurking. Some anglers have more confidence in shrimp tails such as the Gulp! 3” Shrimp or a DOA Shrimp, but East Cut fish seem to have a preference for baitfish. If there is an overcast or murky water situation, move to dark colors such as smoke, rootbeer and purple. Also try a small suspending plug like Bomber Saltwater Grade’s Badonk-adonk SS minnow or Mirrolure’s 18MR or 22MR or Catch 2000. All of these plugs range from 2-¾ to 3-½ inches in length, effectively mimicing the smaller forage such as scaled sardines and small mullet found in the East Cut. Popular color patterns are 69 in the Badonk-a-donk and the classic 18 (green back/white belly) in the Mirrolure. Let the plugs sink about 2 feet into the water column, and start a classic twitch-twitchpause technique. Experiment with slowing down and speeding up your cadence until the fish tell you what they want. The East Cut is lined with a series of back bays. The sand bars that separate these small bays to the Cut are usually submerged with 2 to 6 inches of water, but a deeper connecting gut will also be present. There are two ways to locate these guts. First, you can look for a vivid white stripe that breaks up the darker bottom. Second, there is always an eddy formed as water pushes out of the back bay and into the Cut via this channel. Either feature will tip you off to its location. Fish use these guts as egress to and from these bays. Wadefishermen can intercept the fish by wading up to the edge of the gut and casting lures and bait into them. Some guts are very narrow, so it may serve to cast lengthwise. These areas especially shine during an outgoing tide. Water and bait is pushed off

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the bay flats and funneled through the gut and out into the channel. Predators will hold down current and pick off meals as they flow by. Wade to the point where the gut meats the channel and cast across the eddy and swim your bait back. They rarely make the full return to your rod tip (a bit of caution is in order: looks can be deceiving because the white bottom of the guts appear to be sand, but are actually soft silt; if you step into one, you could sink to your knees , or worse fall and fill your waders). Don’t eschew the back of the gut. Captain Richard Bailey (956-369-5090) advises that predators will also sit where the water flows into the gut from the flats. One of his biggest trout came from such an area. The bays themselves offer splendid opportunities for waders to stalk and cast to large trout and redfish. The bottoms are firm sand and mud, and trout and redfish spread out on them on a flood tide. Topwaters, weightless jerkbaits, and gold spoons with orange or red bucktails are good choices for this area. Bomber’s Who Dat spoon was made for such an application. Fly anglers will find area attractive because of the opportunity to lay a fly in front of a big mustard mouth or red. You may even locate black drum cruising around. The East Cut is a unique fishing area of Lower Laguna Madre. It offers a variety of different fishing opportunities in a limited area close to port. Not only is it a top destination in March, but you can save a pretty penny on gas. You win both ways!

the bank bite Location: Brazos Santiago Jetties Species: Sheepshead Techniques: Fish live or fresh shrimp on a #2 hook 4 feet under a popping cork and near the rocks. Set the hook when the cork sinks, or flops over sideways.

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Contact Calixto Gonzales at CGonzales@fishgame.com


CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409673-9211 TIPS: On the soft plastic baits, add a piece of shrimp to the hook.

UPPER GULF COAST

Sabine Specks Go for the Gulp! by TOM BEHRENS tbehrens@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Johnson Bayou GPS: N29 49.449, W93 49.929 (29.824150, -93.832150) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Berkley Gulp CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409673-9211 TIPS: Look for freshwater inflow anywhere on the Lake. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Anahuac Wildlife Refuge GPS: N29 33.573, W94 32.26602 (29.559550, -94.537767) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Mirrolure Series 38 and 51 in orange back/gold sides or chartreuse back/silver side CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041 TIPS: Concentrate fishing efforts on the south shoreline drains and bayous on falling tide. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Siever’s Cut GPS: N29 26.07402, W94 42.69198 (29.434567, -94.711533) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Bass Assassin soft plastic shad body CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041 TIPS: The Bass Assassin soft plastic shad body with a flipping tail gives better action with 1/8-ounce jighead. Pull it 90 |

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

LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Greens Bayou GPS: N29 49.08798, W93 50.90298 (29.818133, -93.848383) SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: Berkley Gulp, soft plastics, or mud minnows CONTACT: Capt. Bill Watkins, 409673-9211 TIPS: Watkins normally uses a 12-14inch leader but for flounder will sometimes shorten the leader length down on his Carolina rig to 4 inches.

slowly off the bottom. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Smith Point GPS: N29 31.46502, W94 46.37202 (29.524417, -94.772867) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Bass Assassin with 1/8ounce; jighead CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041 TIPS: Use a Bass Assassin soft plastic shad body with a flipping tail. The tail action is better with a 1/8-ounce jighead. Pull the bait slowly off the bottom. LOCATION: East Galveston Bay HOTSPOT: Catchall Basin GPS: N28 42.19698, W95 46.61202 (28.703283, -95.776867) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Regular Corky or Corky Fat Boy in chartreuse CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: Wade the south shoreline concentrating on grass beds around the drains coming out of the peninsula. LOCATION: Sabine Lake HOTSPOT: Willow Bayou GPS: N29 51.72702, W93 46.90698 (29.862117, -93.781783) SPECIES: flounder BEST BAITS: Berkley Gulp, soft plastics, or mud minnows F i s h

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LOCATION: Trinity Bay HOTSPOT: Vingt-Et-Un Reef GPS: N29 33.88398, W94 46.18302 (29.564733, -94.769717) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Gold spoon, 1/4-ounce CONTACT: Capt. Paul Marcaccio, 281788-4041 TIPS: Concentrate fishing efforts on the east shoreline. LOCATION: West Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Cotton’s Bayou GPS: N28 30.60198, W96 12.603 (28.510033, -96.210050) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Black Magic Norton Minnow with a 1/8-ounce; leadhead CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: Concentrate on fishing over grass beds in the guts, behind the sandbars. LOCATION: West Matagorda Bay HOTSPOT: Green’s Bayou GPS: N28 29.88702, W96 14.202 (28.498117, -96.236700) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Black Magic Bull Minnow

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with a 1/8-ounce; leadhead CONTACT: Capt. Tommy Countz, 281450-4037 TIPS: In March start concentrating fishing efforts on shallow water.

MIDDLE GULF COAST

Reds Know the Way to San Jose by TOM BEHRENS tbehrens@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Rockport HOTSPOT: San Jose Island Lake Entrance GPS: N27 54.74934, W97 1.82706 (27.912489, -97.030451) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Cut mullet or perch and dead shrimp CONTACT: Capt. Charlie Newton 361729-8220 TIPS: This area is very productive for redfish and drum hiding out. Anchor where you can cast toward the island. LOCATION: Espiritu Santo Bay HOTSPOT: South Pass Lake GPS: N28 18.12, W96 34.56 (28.302000, -96.576000) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Bone colored topwaters CONTACT: Capt. Chris Martin, 888677-4868 TIPS: Fish windward stained water shoreline over mud and grass.

SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Capt. Chris Martin, 888677-4868 TIPS: Look for grass beds.

BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Capt. Bill Sheka, 361-9917191 TIPS: Use live shrimp under an Alameda Rattling Cork.

LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Land Cut GPS: N26 49.96998, W97 28.053 (26.832833, -97.467550) SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Capt. Bill Sheka, 361-9917191 TIPS: The Land Cut is good place to find refuge from the winds of March. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Pure Oil Channel GPS: N27 31.839, W97 18.44898 (27.530650, -97.307483) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp CONTACT: Capt. Bill Sheka, 361-9917191 TIPS: Free shrimp with live shrimp using a number 4 or 5 hook. LOCATION: Upper Laguna Madre HOTSPOT: Pita Island GPS: N27 36.16902, W97 17.199 (27.602817, -97.286650) SPECIES: redfish

LOWER GULF COAST

Big Trout at the Baffin Tide Gauge by CALIXTO GONZALES cgonzales@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Baffin Bay HOTSPOT: Tide Gauge GPS: N27 18.08202, W97 27.51198 (27.301367, -97.458533) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Corkies, large soft plastics in dark patterns, chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Mike Hart, 361449-7441 TIPS: Look for big trout. Fish the area as slowly as you can with Corkies or thick-bodied soft plastics on 1/16th-ounce jigheads. Use light-test (12 or 15) fused braid to detect light bites. A little nip could be a 9-pounder. LOCATION: South Padre Island

LOCATION: San Antonio Bay HOTSPOT: Panther Reef Cut GPS: N28 15.37998, W96 42.99996 (28.256333, -96.716666) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: TTF Flats Minnows in Roach/chartreuse with 1/8-ounce; jigheads CONTACT: Capt. Chris Martin, 888677-4868 TIPS: Work lure slowly across shell bottoms. LOCATION: San Antonio Bay HOTSPOT: Cedar Lake GPS: N28 13.92996, W96 40.26996 (28.232166, -96.671166) T F & G

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HOTSPOT: The Pasture GPS: N26 5.85702, W97 11.1702 (26.097617, -97.186170) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, DOA shrimp in gold/glitter, Logic Tandems in Tequila Gold, Rootbeer/glitter CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: There are trout all over the grass flats starting in spring. Fish the deeper (3-4)-foot grass with live bait or soft plastics. Bigger trout are just on top of the grass, so work your baits deep. LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: Coast Guard Station GPS: N26 4.36002, W97 10.03098 (26.072667, -97.167183) SPECIES: sheepshead BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh shrimp, CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Maritnez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: Sheepshead numbers jump during their spawn. Any structure will hold them. Use live shrimp or fresh shrimp on a split shot rig and fish around pilings and seawalls. Use a cork if they are biting lightly. Moving tides are best.

LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: Dolphin Point (Bank Access) GPS: N26 4.044, W97 9.71202 (26.067400, -97.161867) SPECIES: black drum BEST BAITS: live shrimp, fresh shrimp, crab chunks CONTACT: White Sands Marina, 956943-6161 TIPS: Use a slip sinker rig with a short leader and cast out into the deeper water. If you can get crab, that is the best bait, but shrimp also works well. Use a flat sinker that will glide up in the water column to avoid snagging up. LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: The Drum Boat GPS: N26 10.713, W97 11.10702 (26.178550, -97.185117) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Logic Lures tandems in Clear/glitter, rootbeer/glitter, live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956561-4535 TIPS: Drift the basin for trout around the weeds and potholes. Live shrimp under

a popping cork works great. You can also use soft plastics on a Tandem or Wiggly Jiggly. Use a 1/8th-ounce Wiggly and swim your offering. LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: The Color Change GPS: N26 10.42902, W97 16.09002 (26.173817, -97.268167) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: Logic Lures tandems in Clear/glitter, rootbeer/glitter, live shrimp CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956561-4535 TIPS: The color change marks the transition from a grassy bottom to deeper sand. Drift the transition with live bait under a popping cork or with soft plastics in dark colors. Trout will usually be inside the murkier water in ambush. Drift from south. LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: Gaswell Flats GPS: N26 10.713, W97 11.10702 (26.178550, -97.185117) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: live shrimp, cut bait, gold spoons, tandem rigs in black/glow, glow/ chartreuse CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956561-3545 TIPS: Fish just south for redfish. Live shrimp under a cork is good, but soft plastics get plenty of bites. Fish aggressively and just under the surface. Reds will chase the offering down from a long way to kill it. LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: Green Island GPS: N26 23.53302, W97 19.33002 (26.392217, -97.322167) SPECIES: speckled trout BEST BAITS: live shrimp/popping cork, cut bait, soft plastics in red/white, gold spoons CONTACT: Captain Jimmy Martinez, 956-551-9581 TIPS: The water seems to stay fairly clear, even with strong winds. Fish along the ICW and hit moss beds and sand pockets with live or cut bait. Soft plastics and spoons allow you to cover more water quickly.

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LOCATION: South Padre Island HOTSPOT: Unnecessary Island GPS: N26 13.81098, W97 16.3416 (26.230183, -97.272360) SPECIES: redfish BEST BAITS: Logic Lures tandems in bright colors, live shrimp, live finger mullet CONTACT: Captain Allen Salinas, 956561-4535 TIPS: the shallows are beginning to warm as spring-type weather starts to move in. Live and cut bait can be fished under a heavy popping cork to offset the wind. Use soft plastics around weeedbeds and depth lines. Gold or chartreuse are good colors.

PINEY WOODS

Trophy Hybrids on Conroe Humps

various creeks here. White Rock Creek to the north also is a good place to find spawning white bass. Fish the lures with a medium retrieve. LOCATION: Toledo Bend Res. HOTSPOT: 1215 Area GPS: N31 35.74896, W93 46.20498 (31.595816, -93.770083) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Spinnerbaits, Rat-LTraps, topwaters, finesse soft plastic jigs and trailers CONTACT: Greg Crafts, gregcrafts@ yahoo.com, 936-368-7151, toledobendguide.com TIPS: This is the month most people fish Toledo Bend. The 1215 area is a phenomenal area to catch fish whether the lake is high or low. The grass will attract fish to their future beds. Fish slowly and change baits to see which they are hitting best.

by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

PRAIRIES & LAKES

Lavon Pumps Out the Crappie by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Lake Lavon HOTSPOT: Pump House GPS: N33 2.29866, W96 31.4805 (33.038311, -96.524675) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Jigs, minnows CONTACT: Billy Kilpatrick, straightlineguide@yahoo.com, 214-2327847, straightlineguide.com TIPS: Crappie are moving to shallow water. Target depths of 4-8 feet wherever you can find rocks and other structure that create heat. All pump stations are good areas as long as water levels are adequate. I prefer small minnows but jigs also will work.

LOCATION: Lake Conroe HOTSPOT: Main Lake GPS: N30 23.7141, W95 35.41422 (30.395235, -95.590237) SPECIES: hybrid striped bass BEST BAITS: Storm Swim Shad, live shad CONTACT: Richard Tatsch, admin@ fishdudetx.com, 936-291-1277, fishdudetx.com TIPS: Trophy-size hybrids will be on main lake humps and points. Sonar graphs are a necessity. Hybrids will be under schools of shad. Target what depth you find the hybrids in. Fish will move up and down the water column hourly so be prepared to adjust. LOCATION: Lake Livingston HOTSPOT: River Channel GPS: N30 57.77028, W95 20.05962 (30.962838, -95.334327) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Roadrunners, Rat-LTraps, Blue Fox, Sassy Shads CONTACT: David S. Cox, dave@palmettoguideservice.com, 936-291-9602, palmettoguideservice.com TIPS: Fish the points along the river channel as well as toward the backs of the T F & G

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LOCATION: Cedar Creek Res. HOTSPOT: Twin Creek Area Docks GPS: N32 17.6145, W96 7.26906 (32.293575, -96.121151) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms, jigs, spinnerbaits CONTACT: Jason Barber, kingscreekadventures@yahoo.com, 903603-2047, www.kingcreekadventures.com TIPS: Concentrate on the outside portions of the deeper docks here with jigs and worms. Some of them have brushpiles under them. Cast spinnerbaits toward the bank around rocks, fence posts, retaining walls and any other shallow structure you can see. LOCATION: Fayette County Res. HOTSPOT: Intake Corner GPS: N29 55.21098, W96 43.095 (29.920183, -96.718250)

SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: stinkbait, shad, worms CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_ edna@hotmail.com, 979-229-3103, FishTalesGuideService.com TIPS: Use No.2 Kahle hooks for shad and No. 4 trebles for stinkbait. Look for spawning fish around rocks and cattails. Dawn to mid-morning and late-evening until dark are best hours. Rocks left of the intake and cattails on right side are best.

TIPS: The action is best when a south wind blows toward the bank. Anchor within casting distance of the shoreline. Fish a tight line on a Carolina rig or shallow set slip cork. The bite may be fast so be ready to set the hook as soon as a strike is felt.

LOCATION: Gibbons Creek Res. HOTSPOT: Lone Tree East of Hog Point GPS: N30 37.88088, W96 3.78114 (30.631348, -96.063019) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Shad, crawfish, punch bait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon-edna@hotmail.com, 979-2293103, FishTales-GuideService.com

LOCATION: Lake Aquilla HOTSPOT: Snake Island GPS: N31 54.72192, W97 12.3543 (31.912032, -97.205905) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Little Georges, Tail Hummers, Rat-L-Traps CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com, 817-8225539, teamredneck.net TIPS: Carry a pair of binoculars and watch for birds working over schooling fish around the island. Make long casts with the lures along wind-blown points. Triplet Point also is a good place to try. Chrome lures often work best. LOCATION: Lake Lewisville HOTSPOT: Shallow Flats GPS: N33 5.77062, W97 2.28036 (33.096177, -97.038006) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Fresh gizzard shad, threadfin shad CONTACT: Bobby Kubin, bobby@bobby-catfishing.com, 817-4552894, bobby-catfishing.com TIPS: This is a good month to catch big blue catfish in shallow water. Target windblown flats, points and banks near channels and drop-offs. I prefer fresh shad sprayed with Dead Red Blood Spray. Hybrid stripers and white bass also can be caught here. LOCATION: Lake Lewisville HOTSPOT: Main Lake Points GPS: N33 4.7355, W96 59.87472 (33.078925, -96.997912) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Fresh shad, Secret 7 Dip Bait CONTACT: Bobby Kubin, bobby@bobby-catfishing.com, 817-4552894, bobby-catfishing.com TIPS: Shad are spawning on wind-

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blown points. Look for feeding birds to lead you to where catfish, hybrid stripers and white bass are feeding on them. Anchor near the feeding birds and fish cut or live shad on a Carolina rig or dip bait for catfish only. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Kickapoo Creek Humps GPS: N32 15.99126, W95 29.50728 (32.266521, -95.491788) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Jigs with trailers, spinnerbaits, plastic lizards CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-5617299, rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Fish the series of humps here that are close to old logging roads as well as small pockets off the river channel and in the backs of the creeks. Black and blue jigs and soft plastics and white spinnerbaits work best. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: Main-Lake Points

GPS: N32 12.56736, W95 28.03944 (32.209456, -95.467324) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Rat-L-Traps, small swimbaits CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-5617299, rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Fish the main-lake points in The Villages area as well as those all the way to the dam. Use 1/4-ounce jigheads on shadcolored swimbaits or chrome Rat-L-Traps. The best action will come right after daybreak or close to dark. LOCATION: Lake Palestine HOTSPOT: The Villages GPS: N32 12.56736, W95 28.03944 (32.209456, -95.467324) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Punch bait, shrimp, cut shad CONTACT: Ricky Vandergriff, ricky@rickysguideservice.com, 903-5617299, rickysguideservice.com TIPS: Catfish will be in the shallows

around boat docks where you find sandy bottoms. They also can be caught along the rocks at The Villages. Crappie also are in these areas in three to five feet of water and take jigs and small minnows. LOCATION: Lake Somerville HOTSPOT: Snake Island GPS: N30 18.7476, W96 35.63586 (30.312460, -96.593931) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Shad, stinkbait CONTACT: Weldon Kirk, weldon_edna@hotmail.com, 979-2293103, FishTales-Guide Service.com TIPS: The south side of the island is best when the water level is low. If there is a south wind blowing, shad should be gathered here from daylight until noon. Anchor close enough to cast to the shore. Use a tight line when winds are high. LOCATION: Lake Tawakoni HOTSPOT: Dam Riprock GPS: N32 50.68152, W95 53.38206 (32.844692, -95.889701)


SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Sassy Shad CONTACT: Tony Parker, tawakonifishing@yahoo.com, 903-348-1619, tawakonifishing.com TIPS: The white bass, striped bass and hybrids are attempting to spawn on the riprap and main lake points. I use a fourinch Sassy Shad on a 1/2 or 3/4-ounce leadhead jig in a cast and crank pattern. Move from one area to the next to catch more fish. LOCATION: Lake Texoma HOTSPOT: Paw Paw Creek GPS: N33 51.41022, W96 52.54374 (33.856837, -96.875729) SPECIES: striped bass BEST BAITS: Roadrunners, Sassy Shads on jigheads CONTACT: Bill Carey, bigfish@striperexpress.com, 877-7864477, striperexpress.com TIPS: Striped bass are staging on main lake points and ditches. Fish 12-20 feet deep water with slow retrieve. Watch for seagulls over the stripers. When fishing below birds, keep your lure in the top 15 feet of water. Areas west of Willis bridge are best. LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Mouth of Nolan River GPS: N32 5.24232, W97 28.19058 (32.087372, -97.469843) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Sassy Shad, Flea Fly CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck01@hotmail.com, 817-8225539, teamredneck.com TIPS: If the water level permits, travel up the Brazos River channel to the mouth of the Nolan for spawning white bass. The main lake points at Whitney Creek also are good areas for spawning fish. Use a Sassy Shad with a Flea Fly tied 10-inches above it. LOCATION: Lake Whitney HOTSPOT: Whitney Hump GPS: N31 54.67194, W97 20.87298 (31.911199, -97.347883) SPECIES: striped bass 96 |

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BEST BAITS: Wild Eyed Shad, live gizzard shad CONTACT: Randy Routh, teamredneck@hotmail.com, 817-8225539, teamredneck.net TIPS: Use Wild Eyed Shad swimbaits and cast to the hump and use a medium retrieve. After the sun comes up, back off the hump and anchor in 30 feet of water. Switch to live shad and free line them on a Carolina rig. LOCATION: Richland Chambers Res. HOTSPOT: 309 Flats GPS: N31 58.63926, W96 7.66302 (31.977321, -96.127717) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: RSR Shad Slabs CONTACT: Royce and Adam Simmons, royce@gonefishing.biz, 903-389-4117, www.gonefishing.biz TIPS: Watch for gulls and pelicans picking up shad off the surface. Use one-ounce silver glitter Slabs. Target drop-offs and ridges at the edges of the flats. Bounce the Slabs off the bottom. Most catches will be white bass but big hybrids are here, too.

PANHANDLE

Run the River for Ivie White Bass LOCATION: OH Ivie Res. HOTSPOT: River Channel GPS: N31 34.48812, W99 41.05632 (31.574802, -99.684272) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: Slabs, Sassy Shads, jigs CONTACT: Dave Caudle, fishinwithdave@aol.com, 325-365-1020 TIPS: Look for white bass in about 30 feet of water off the river channel. Some big bass also can be caught in the same area while fishing for white bass. Rocky points nearby also are good places to catch catfish in about four feet of water.

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LOCATION: Possum Kingdom Res. HOTSPOT: Costello Island Area GPS: N32 53.84766, W98 28.20168 (32.897461, -98.470028) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Slabs, Sassy Shads CONTACT: Dean Heffner, fav7734@aceweb.com, 940-329-0036 TIPS: If water is coming in from the mouth of the Brazos, concentrate on the west and south banks from the river mouth to Costello Island. Match the color of your lures with live shad. Watch for birds feeding in shallow water for feeding activity.

BIG BEND

by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

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LOCATION: OH Ivie Res. HOTSPOT: Main Lake Points GPS: N31 32.601, W99 41.5197 (31.543350, -99.691995) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Plastic worms CONTACT: Dave Caudle, fishinwithdave@aol.com, 325-365-1020, fishinwithdave.com TIPS: Low water levels will force the spawning bass into limited areas. The first breaks off the river channel and the rocky points on the main lake will produce the best catches. Use 10-inch worms in darker colors. Fish finesse worms for aggressive bass.

Bass Get Evans on Amistad by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Lake Amistad HOTSPOT: Evans Creek GPS: N29 32.14098, W101 3.6096 (29.535683, -101.060160) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Baybe E swimbaits, spinnerbaits, Senko worms, topwater lures CONTACT: Stan Gerzsenyl, stan@amistadbass.com, 830-768-3648, amistadbass.com TIPS: Bass are in the back two-thirds of

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the creeks looking for spawning areas. This creek produces lots of big fish in March. I prefer slow-rolling a spinnerbait in 10-20 feet of water in shad color. During a cold front, fish slow with a 1/4-ounce Senko.

HILL COUNTRY

Potters Creek Does Double Duty by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Point Near Potters Creek GPS: N29 54.15168, W98 16.39038 (29.902528, -98.273173) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Drop-shot Picasso Shaky Head, Créme Big Pig CONTACT: Kandie Candelaria, kandie@gvtc.com, 210-823-2153 TIPS: I use a Castaway Microwave spinning rod for Drop Shot-Shaky Heads. Use blue fleck, June bug, Watermelon and Watermelon-candy color lures if the sun is bright and green pumpkin if overcast. Fish the rocky side at the ”Y” in the cove. LOCATION: Canyon Lake HOTSPOT: Potters Creek GPS: N29 54.43356, W98 16.7328 (29.907226, -98.278880) SPECIES: white bass BEST BAITS: topwater lures, Slabs, Sassy Shads CONTACT: Steve Nixon, steve@sanantoniofishingguides.com, 210573-1230, sanantoniofishingguides.com TIPS: The key to catching white bass here all the way to Tom Creek is watching for birds feeding on shad injured by the feeding schools of white bass. Find the birds and you will find the fish. Slabs and minnow imitations also work well here. LOCATION: Lake Granger HOTSPOT: Friendship Park Creek GPS: N30 43.08906, W97 20.92932 (30.718151, -97.348822) SPECIES: crappie BEST BAITS: Panfish Assassins, maribou jigs, minnows CONTACT: Tommy Tidwell, T F & G

crappie1@hotmail.com, 512-365-7761, www.gotcrappie.com TIPS: Crappie are moving into shallow creeks and coves to spawn. The best time to fish is after three warm nights in a row. Use 10-foot graphite jig poles with a slip cork set one to two feet above a 1/16-oz. jig. Fish thick cover near the bank.

SOUTH TEXAS PLAINS

Spinners & Cranks on Point for Bass by BOB HOOD bhood@fishgame.com

LOCATION: Falcon Lake HOTSPOT: 3074 Point GPS: N26 51.68328, W99 16.88808 (26.861388, -99.281468) SPECIES: largemouth bass BEST BAITS: Deep-diving crankbaits, spinnerbaits, jigs CONTACT: Robert Amaya, robertsfishntackle@gmail.com, 956-7651442, robertsfishntackle.com TIPS: Work the crankbaits and spinnerbaits slowly through stickups from two to five feet of water near the bank during the early-morning hours. Switch to black-blue jigs and flip and pitch them in and around the stickups and brush once the sun gets up. LOCATION: Lake Calaveras HOTSPOT: Reed Beds GPS: N29 18.44118, W98 19.9926 (29.307353, -98.333210) SPECIES: catfish BEST BAITS: Shad, punch bait, shrimp CONTACT: Steve Nixon, steve@sanantoniofishingguides.com, 210573-1230, sanantoniofishingguides.com TIPS: This is the time of the year when the catfish are moving into the reeds to spawn. Fish punch bait, shrimp or shad off the bottom in the reeds here and in any other reeds you find on the lake in three to four feet of water.

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Tides and Prime Times

USING THE PRIME TIMES CALENDAR

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

T12

T4

T11

T10 T9

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.

T8 T6 T17

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

T15 T16

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

T13 T7

T3 T2 T1

T5

T14

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

T18

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

T19

T20

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

T21

Tide Correction Table

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

T22 T23

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

Tab: Peak Fishing Period

6a

12p

6p

12a

AM/PM Timeline Light Blue: Nighttime

BEST:

5:30 — 7:30 AM

Green: Falling Tide

Gold Fish: Best Time

Blue: Rising Tide Red Graph: Fishing Score

Blue Fish: Good Time

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

AM/PM Timeline

98 |

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

Moon Underfoot: 9:15p

M A R C H

2 0 1 2

12a

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

T e x a S

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

SPORTSMAN’S DAYBOOK IS SPONSORED BY:

NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

Yellow: Daylight

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

F i s h

&

G a m e ®

T F & G

A L M A N A C

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

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


NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION

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

BEST:

= Peak Fishing 7:45-9:40 AM Period = FALLING TIDE = RISING TIDE = DAYLIGHT HOURS = NIGHTTIME HOURS

TUESDAY

27

Sunrise: 6:47a Set: 6:16p Moonrise: 9:48a Set: 1:53p

28

Sunrise: 6:46a Set: 6:17p Moonrise: 10:29a Set: 2:50p

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 6:45a Set: 6:18p Moonrise: 11:13a

Sunrise: 6:44a Set: 6:18p Moonrise: 12:02p Set: 3:46p

Sunrise: 6:43a Set: 6:19p Moonrise: 12:55p Set: 4:41p

29

Mar 1

SATURDAY

2

«3

Sunrise: 6:42a Set: 6:20p Moonrise: 1:51p Set: 5:34p

l4

Sunrise: 6:41a Set: 6:20p Moonrise: 2:50p Set: 6:26p

AM Minor: 9:11a

PM Minor: 9:34p

AM Minor: 10:01a

PM Minor: 10:25p

AM Minor: 10:51a

PM Minor: -----

AM Minor: 11:17a

PM Minor: 11:41a

AM Minor: 12:04a

PM Minor: 12:29p

AM Minor: 12:51a

PM Minor: 1:17p

AM Minor: 1:38a

PM Minor: 2:03p

AM Major: 3:00a

PM Major: 3:22p

AM Major: 3:49a

PM Major: 4:13p

AM Major: 4:39a

PM Major: 5:03p

AM Major: 5:28a

PM Major: 5:53p

AM Major: 6:17a

PM Major: 6:42p

AM Major: 7:04a

PM Major: 7:30p

AM Major: 7:50a

PM Major: 8:16p

Moon Overhead: 4:42p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:18p

Moon Overhead: 5:29p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:08p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:51p

Moon Overhead: 7:59p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:43p 12a

6a

12p

6p

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

MONDAY

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2012

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 4:19a +2.0

-1.0

T IDE LEVEL S

0

Low Tide: 1:12 am High Tide: 9:10 am Low Tide: 12:31 pm High Tide: 5:57 pm

-0.03 ft. 0.79 ft. 0.70 ft. 0.86 ft.

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 5:54a BEST:

BEST:

10:00P — 12:00A 7:30 — 9:30 AM

Low Tide: 2:05 am High Tide: 11:05 am Low Tide: 12:26 pm High Tide: 5:22 pm

-0.04 ft. Low Tide: 3:09 am 0.81 ft. High Tide: 5:07 pm 0.81 ft. 0.91 ft.

T F & G

Moon Underfoot: 6:43a

BEST:

8:00 — 10:00 AM

-0.06 ft. Low Tide: 4:19 am 0.97 ft. High Tide: 5:10 pm

A L M A N A C

Moon Underfoot: 7:34a

BEST:

12:30 — 2:30 AM

-0.09 ft. Low Tide: 5:24 am 1.01 ft. High Tide: 3:26 pm

T e x a S

F i s h

Moon Underfoot: 8:25a

&

+2.0

BEST:

1:30 — 3:30 AM

2:30 — 4:30 AM

-0.14 ft. Low Tide: 6:19 am 1.02 ft. High Tide: 2:58 pm Low Tide: 8:17 pm High Tide: 10:31 pm

G a m e ®

Moon Underfoot: 9:17a

T IDE LEVEL S

+1.0

BEST:

9:00 — 11:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 5:06a

-0.19 ft. Low Tide: 7:05 am 1.05 ft. High Tide: 3:08 pm 0.97 ft. Low Tide: 7:41 pm 0.98 ft.

M A R C H

2 0 1 2

|

-0.24 ft. 1.06 ft. 0.89 ft.

99

+1.0

0

-1.0


NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

Sunrise: 6:38a Set: 6:22p Moonrise: 4:54p Set: 8:10p

Sunrise: 6:37a Set: 6:22p Moonrise: 5:58p Set: 9:03p

Sunrise: 6:36a Set: 6:23p Moonrise: 7:03p Set: 9:57p

5

«6

Sunrise: 6:39a Set: 6:21p Moonrise: 3:52p Set: 7:18p

«7

FRIDAY

¡8

«9

SATURDAY

«10

SUNDAY Beg. DST

11

Sunrise: 6:35a Set: 6:23p Sunrise: 6:34a Set: 6:24p Sunrise: 7:33a Set: 7:25p Moonrise: 8:09p Set: 10:53p Moonrise: 9:17p Set: 11:48p Moonrise: 11:35p Set: None

AM Minor: 2:23a

PM Minor: 2:49p

AM Minor: 3:09a

PM Minor: 3:34p

AM Minor: 3:56a

PM Minor: 4:21p

AM Minor: 4:45a

PM Minor: 5:11p

AM Minor: 5:39a

PM Minor: 6:05p

AM Minor: 6:37a

PM Minor: 7:04p

AM Minor: 8:39a

PM Minor: 9:08p

AM Major: 8:36a

PM Major: 9:02p

AM Major: 9:22a

PM Major: 9:47p

AM Major: 10:09a

PM Major: 10:34p

AM Major: 10:58a

PM Major: -----

AM Major: 11:26a

PM Major: 11:52a

AM Major: 12:23a

PM Major: 12:51p

AM Major: 2:25a

PM Major: 2:53p

Moon Overhead: 10:34p 6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: None

Moon Overhead: 11:35p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:15a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:01a

Moon Overhead: 1:07a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:57a 12a

6a

12p

6p

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

MONDAY

12a

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2012

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 10:08a

+2.0

-1.0

T IDE LEVEL S

0

BEST:

BEST:

3:00 — 5:00 AM

100 |

1.03 ft. -0.25 ft. 1.06 ft. 0.76 ft.

High Tide: 1:20 am Low Tide: 8:31 am High Tide: 3:40 pm Low Tide: 8:38 pm

M A R C H

2 0 1 2

Moon Underfoot: 12:41p

BEST:

4:00 — 6:00 AM

High Tide: 12:08 am Low Tide: 7:48 am High Tide: 3:23 pm Low Tide: 8:04 pm

Moon Underfoot: 11:50a

BEST:

4:30 — 6:30 AM

1.09 ft. -0.21 ft. 1.05 ft. 0.59 ft.

1.15 ft. -0.11 ft. 1.03 ft. 0.38 ft.

F i s h

High Tide: 3:32 am Low Tide: 9:56 am High Tide: 4:17 pm Low Tide: 9:59 pm

&

1.20 ft. 0.05 ft. 1.01 ft. 0.15 ft.

G a m e ®

Moon Underfoot: 2:28p

BEST:

5:30 — 7:30 PM

High Tide: 2:27 am Low Tide: 9:13 am High Tide: 3:59 pm Low Tide: 9:16 pm

T e x a S

Moon Underfoot: 1:34p

BEST:

6;30 — 8:30 PM

High Tide: 4:38 am Low Tide: 10:39 am High Tide: 4:36 pm Low Tide: 10:44 pm

T F & G

1.23 ft. 0.26 ft. 1.01 ft. -0.06 ft.

Moon Underfoot: 4:25p

8:00 — 10:00 PM 2:00 — 4:00 AM

High Tide: 5:49 am Low Tide: 11:23 am High Tide: 4:55 pm Low Tide: 11:35 pm

A L M A N A C

+2.0

BEST:

1.23 ft. High Tide: 8:05 am 0.49 ft. Low Tide: 1:08 pm 1.03 ft. High Tide: 6:12 pm -0.23 ft.

T IDE LEVEL S

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 10:59a

1.22 ft. 0.73 ft. 1.06 ft.

+1.0

0

-1.0


NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

MONDAY

TUESDAY

12

13

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 7:29a Set: 7:27p Moonrise: 1:34a Set: 3:29a

Sunrise: 7:28a Set: 7:27p Moonrise: 2:32a Set: 4:16a

Sunrise: 7:27a Set: 7:28p Moonrise: 3:24a Set: 5:01a

14

Sunrise: 7:32a Set: 7:25p Sunrise: 7:30a Set: 7:26p Moonrise: None Set: 12:44a Moonrise: 12:31a Set: 2:37a

» 15

SATURDAY

16

SUNDAY

17

Sunrise: 7:26a Set: 7:28p Moonrise: 4:09a Set: 5:42a

18

Sunrise: 7:25a Set: 7:29p Moonrise: 4:50a Set: 6:21a

AM Minor: 9:44a

PM Minor: 10:13p

AM Minor: 10:48a

PM Minor: -----

AM Minor: 11:27a

PM Minor: 11:51a

AM Minor: 12:21a

PM Minor: 12:49p

AM Minor: 1:15a

PM Minor: 1:42p

AM Minor: 2:05a

PM Minor: 2:30p

AM Minor: 2:50a

PM Minor: 3:14p

AM Major: 3:29a

PM Major: 3:58p

AM Major: 4:33a

PM Major: 5:03p

AM Major: 5:36a

PM Major: 6:05p

AM Major: 6:35a

PM Major: 7:03p

AM Major: 7:29a

PM Major: 7:56p

AM Major: 8:17a

PM Major: 8:43p

AM Major: 9:02a

PM Major: 9:26p

Moon Overhead: 4:55a

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:54a

Moon Overhead: 5:54a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 7:52a 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:40a

Moon Overhead: 8:47a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 10:29a 12a

6a

12p

6p

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2012

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 5:24p

+2.0

-1.0

T IDE LEVEL S

0

BEST:

BEST:

3:00 — 5:00 AM

10:00P — 12:00A

Low Tide: 1:30 am High Tide: 9:30 am Low Tide: 1:55 pm High Tide: 6:27 pm

102 |

-0.35 ft. 1.20 ft. 0.93 ft. 1.10 ft.

Low Tide: 2:32 am High Tide: 11:08 am Low Tide: 2:54 pm High Tide: 6:32 pm

M A R C H

2 0 1 2

Moon Underfoot: 7:23p

Moon Underfoot: 8:20p

BEST:

BEST:

11:00P — 1:00A

T e x a S

BEST:

7:00 — 9:00 AM

-0.40 ft. Low Tide: 3:44 am -0.39 ft. Low Tide: 5:03 am 1.19 ft. High Tide: 12:54 pm 1.21 ft. High Tide: 2:16 pm 1.08 ft. 1.13 ft.

F i s h

&

Moon Underfoot: 9:14p

BEST:

1:00 — 3:00 AM

2:00 — 4:00 AM

-0.36 ft. Low Tide: 6:23 am 1.23 ft. High Tide: 3:00 pm Low Tide: 8:45 pm High Tide: 11:13 pm

G a m e ®

T F & G

Moon Underfoot: 10:05p

-0.31 ft. Low Tide: 7:33 am 1.21 ft. High Tide: 3:28 pm 1.00 ft. Low Tide: 8:57 pm 1.04 ft.

A L M A N A C

Moon Underfoot: 10:52p

+2.0

BEST:

10:00A — 12:00P

-0.24 ft. High Tide: 12:52 am 1.16 ft. Low Tide: 8:33 am 0.89 ft. High Tide: 3:49 pm Low Tide: 9:17 pm

T IDE LEVEL S

+1.0

Moon Underfoot: 6:24p

1.06 ft. -0.14 ft. 1.11 ft. 0.75 ft.

+1.0

0

-1.0


Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2012 TUESDAY

19

Sunrise: 7:23a Set: 7:29p Moonrise: 5:26a Set: 7:00a

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 7:21a Set: 7:31p Moonrise: 6:32a Set: 8:21a

Sunrise: 7:20a Set: 7:31p Moonrise: 7:04a Set: 9:07a

Sunrise: 7:19a Set: 7:32p Moonrise: 7:36a Set: 9:58a

20

Sunrise: 7:22a Set: 7:30p Moonrise: 6:00a Set: 7:39a

« 21

l 22

SATURDAY

« 23

« 24

« 25

Sunrise: 7:17a Set: 7:32p Sunrise: 7:16a Set: 7:33p Moonrise: 8:10a Set: 10:52a Moonrise: 8:47a Set: 11:49a

AM Minor: 3:32a

PM Minor: 3:54p

AM Minor: 4:12a

PM Minor: 4:34p

AM Minor: 4:52a

PM Minor: 5:13p

AM Minor: 5:33a

PM Minor: 5:55p

AM Minor: 6:17a

PM Minor: 6:39p

AM Minor: 7:03a

PM Minor: 7:26p

AM Minor: 7:52a

PM Minor: 8:15p

AM Major: 9:43a

PM Major: 10:06p

AM Major: 10:23a

PM Major: 10:45p

AM Major: -----

PM Major: 11:24a

AM Major: -----

PM Major: 12:05p

AM Major: 12:06a

PM Major: 12:28p

AM Major: 12:52a

PM Major: 1:14p

AM Major: 1:41a

PM Major: 2:04p

Moon Overhead: 11:15a

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 12:42p

Moon Overhead: 11:59a 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 1:25p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 2:52p

Moon Overhead: 2:08p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 3:37p 12a

6a

12p

6p

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

MONDAY

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

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 11:23p

+2.0

-1.0

T IDE LEVEL S

0

BEST:

4:00 — 6:00 AM

High Tide: 2:09 am Low Tide: 9:23 am High Tide: 4:06 pm Low Tide: 9:40 pm

BEST:

5:00 — 7:00 AM

1.11 ft. -0.02 ft. 1.06 ft. 0.60 ft.

Moon Underfoot: 12:21a 5:30 — 7:30 AM

High Tide: 3:14 am Low Tide: 10:06 am High Tide: 4:22 pm Low Tide: 10:04 pm

1.16 ft. 0.14 ft. 1.02 ft. 0.45 ft.

T F & G

High Tide: 4:11 am Low Tide: 10:44 am High Tide: 4:38 pm Low Tide: 10:31 pm

Moon Underfoot: 1:03a

Moon Underfoot: 1:46a

BEST:

BEST:

6:30 — 8:30 PM

1.20 ft. 0.30 ft. 1.01 ft. 0.31 ft.

A L M A N A C

High Tide: 5:05 am Low Tide: 11:17 am High Tide: 4:53 pm Low Tide: 10:59 pm

T e x a S

1.23 ft. 0.47 ft. 1.01 ft. 0.21 ft.

Moon Underfoot: 2:30a

7:00 — 9:00 PM

High Tide: 5:56 am Low Tide: 11:47 am High Tide: 5:08 pm Low Tide: 11:30 pm

F i s h

&

Moon Underfoot: 3:14a

BEST:

1:30 — 3:30 PM

2:00 — 4:00 PM

1.24 ft. High Tide: 6:47 am 1.24 ft. Low Tide: 12:03 am 0.62 ft. Low Tide: 12:13 pm 0.76 ft. High Tide: 7:41 am 1.02 ft. High Tide: 5:21 pm 1.04 ft. Low Tide: 12:37 pm High Tide: 5:29 pm 0.13 ft.

G a m e ®

M A R C H

+2.0

BEST:

2 0 1 2

|

T IDE LEVEL S

+1.0

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: None

0.08 ft. 1.22 ft. 0.89 ft. 1.07 ft.

103

+1.0

0

-1.0


NOT TO BE USED FOR NAVIGATION BEST:

7:45-9:40 AM

= Peak Fishing Period

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

MONDAY

TUESDAY

26

27

Sunrise: 7:15a Set: 7:33p Sunrise: 7:14a Set: 7:34p Moonrise: 9:26a Set: 12:48p Moonrise: 10:09a Set: 1:45p

THURSDAY

FRIDAY

Sunrise: 7:13a Set: 7:34p Moonrise: 10:55a Set: 2:42p

Sunrise: 7:12a Set: 7:35p Moonrise: 11:45a Set: 3:37p

Sunrise: 7:10a Set: 7:36p Moonrise: 12:39p Set: 4:30p

28

29

SATURDAY

º 30

SUNDAY

31

Sunrise: 7:09a Set: 7:36p Moonrise: 1:35p Set: 5:22p

Apr 1

Sunrise: 7:08a Set: 7:37p Moonrise: 2:34p Set: 6:14p

AM Minor: 8:43a

PM Minor: 9:07p

AM Minor: 9:36a

PM Minor: 10:00p

AM Minor: 10:29a

PM Minor: 10:53p

AM Minor: -----

PM Minor: 11:22a

AM Minor: 11:49a

PM Minor: 12:13p

AM Minor: 12:38a

PM Minor: 1:03p

AM Minor: 1:25a

PM Minor: 1:50p

AM Major: 2:32a

PM Major: 2:55p

AM Major: 3:24a

PM Major: 3:48p

AM Major: 4:17a

PM Major: 4:41p

AM Major: 5:09a

PM Major: 5:34p

AM Major: 6:01a

PM Major: 6:26p

AM Major: 6:50a

PM Major: 7:15p

AM Major: 7:38a

PM Major: 8:03p

Moon Overhead: 4:24p

12a

WEDNESDAY

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:01p

Moon Overhead: 5:12p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 6:51p 12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 8:31p

Moon Overhead: 7:41p 12a

6a

12p

6p

12a

6a

12p

6p

Moon Overhead: 9:21p 12a

6a

12p

6p

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

S O LU N AR A C T IVI T Y

Tides and Prime Times for MARCH 2012

Fishing Day’s Best Good Score Graph Score Score

12a

feet

feet

Moon Underfoot: 4:00a

+2.0

-1.0

T IDE LEVEL S

0

Low Tide: 12:40 am High Tide: 8:40 am Low Tide: 12:59 pm High Tide: 5:24 pm

0.07 ft. 1.20 ft. 0.99 ft. 1.10 ft.

BEST:

Moon Underfoot: 5:36a BEST:

BEST:

10:00P — 12:00A 11:00P — 1:00A

Low Tide: 1:22 am High Tide: 9:50 am Low Tide: 1:20 pm High Tide: 5:03 pm

0.08 ft. 1.18 ft. 1.08 ft. 1.15 ft.

Low Tide: 2:09 am High Tide: 11:14 am Low Tide: 1:43 pm High Tide: 4:53 pm

Moon Underfoot: 6:26a 7:00 — 9:00 AM

0.11 ft. 1.18 ft. 1.15 ft. 1.19 ft.

Low Tide: 3:04 am High Tide: 12:48 pm Low Tide: 2:21 pm High Tide: 4:55 pm

Moon Underfoot: 7:16a BEST:

12:00 — 2:00 AM

0.14 ft. Low Tide: 4:07 am 1.21 ft. High Tide: 1:46 pm 1.20 ft. 1.22 ft.

Moon Underfoot: 8:06a BEST:

1:00 — 3:00 AM

0.16 ft. Low Tide: 5:15 am 1.24 ft. High Tide: 2:11 pm

Moon Underfoot: 8:56a

+2.0

BEST:

2:00 — 4:00 AM

0.17 ft. Low Tide: 6:19 am 1.26 ft. High Tide: 2:30 pm Low Tide: 7:59 pm High Tide: 11:56 pm

T IDE LEVEL S

+1.0

BEST:

9:00 — 11:00 PM

Moon Underfoot: 4:48a

0.18 ft. 1.26 ft. 1.05 ft. 1.13 ft.

+1.0

0

-1.0


march 2012

Tides and Prime Times

MONDAY

TUESDAY

WEDNESDAY

1

SYMBOL KEY

l

First Quarter

New Moon

5

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 12:08 am Low Tide: 7:48 am High Tide: 3:23 pm Low Tide: 8:04 pm

1.03 ft. -0.25 ft. 1.06 ft. 0.76 ft.

¡

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3:00 — 5:00 AM

Full Moon

High Tide: 1:20 am Low Tide: 8:31 am High Tide: 3:40 pm Low Tide: 8:38 pm

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Last Quarter Good Day

PRIME TIME 1.09 ft. -0.21 ft. 1.05 ft. 0.59 ft.

THURSDAY Low Tide: 4:19 am High Tide: 5:10 pm

-0.09 ft. 1.01 ft.

PRIME TIME

PRIME TIME 1.15 ft. -0.11 ft. 1.03 ft. 0.38 ft.

8:00 — 10:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:04a Set: 6:35p Moonrise: 5:03a Set: 4:03p AM Minor: 2:47a AM Major: 8:58a PM Minor: 3:10p PM Major: 9:21p Moon Overhead: 10:31a Moon Underfoot: 10:53p

best days

High Tide: 2:27 am Low Tide: 9:13 am High Tide: 3:59 pm Low Tide: 9:16 pm

4:00 — 6:00 AM

PRIME TIME

4:30 — 6:30 AM

8¡ High Tide: 3:32 am Low Tide: 9:56 am High Tide: 4:17 pm Low Tide: 9:59 pm

PRIME TIME 1.20 ft. 0.05 ft. 1.01 ft. 0.15 ft.

5:30 — 7:30 PM

Sunrise: 6:59a Set: 6:37p Moonrise: 7:06a Set: 7:38p AM Minor: 5:28a AM Major: 11:14a PM Minor: 5:49p PM Major: ----Moon Overhead: 1:18p Moon Underfoot: 12:58a

Sunrise: 6:58a Set: 6:38p Moonrise: 7:34a Set: 8:31p AM Minor: 6:11a AM Major: 12:01a PM Minor: 6:32p PM Major: 12:21p Moon Overhead: 1:59p Moon Underfoot: 1:39a

Sunrise: 6:57a Set: 6:39p Moonrise: 8:04a Set: 9:25p AM Minor: 6:56a AM Major: 12:46a PM Minor: 7:17p PM Major: 1:07p Moon Overhead: 2:41p Moon Underfoot: 2:20a

Sunrise: 6:56a Set: 6:40p Moonrise: 8:36a Set: 10:20p AM Minor: 7:44a AM Major: 1:33a PM Minor: 8:06p PM Major: 1:55p Moon Overhead: 3:25p Moon Underfoot: 3:03a

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13

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15 »

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 1:30 am High Tide: 9:30 am Low Tide: 1:55 pm High Tide: 6:27 pm

-0.35 ft. 1.20 ft. 0.93 ft. 1.10 ft.

3:00 — 5:00 AM

Low Tide: 2:32 am High Tide: 11:08 am Low Tide: 2:54 pm High Tide: 6:32 pm

PRIME TIME -0.40 ft. 1.19 ft. 1.08 ft. 1.13 ft.

10:00P — 12:00A

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 3:44 am -0.39 ft. High Tide: 12:54 pm 1.21 ft.

11:00P — 1:00A

Low Tide: 5:03 am High Tide: 2:16 pm

PRIME TIME -0.36 ft. 1.23 ft.

7:00 — 9:00 AM

Sunrise: 6:51a Set: 6:42p Moonrise: 11:27a Set: 1:07a AM Minor: 11:14a AM Major: 5:01a PM Minor: 11:41p PM Major: 5:28p Moon Overhead: 6:44p Moon Underfoot: 6:17a

Sunrise: 7:50a Set: 7:43p Moonrise: 1:25p Set: 3:01a AM Minor: 12:41a AM Major: 6:55a PM Minor: 1:09p PM Major: 7:22p Moon Overhead: 8:40p Moon Underfoot: 8:12a

Sunrise: 7:49a Set: 7:44p Moonrise: 2:27p Set: 3:52a AM Minor: 1:34a AM Major: 7:48a PM Minor: 2:02p PM Major: 8:16p Moon Overhead: 9:36p Moon Underfoot: 9:08a

Sunrise: 7:47a Set: 7:44p Moonrise: 3:33p Set: 4:39a AM Minor: 2:25a AM Major: 8:39a PM Minor: 2:53p PM Major: 9:07p Moon Overhead: 10:31p Moon Underfoot: 10:03a

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PRIME TIME

High Tide: 2:09 am Low Tide: 9:23 am High Tide: 4:06 pm Low Tide: 9:40 pm

1.11 ft. -0.02 ft. 1.06 ft. 0.60 ft.

4:00 — 6:00 AM

High Tide: 3:14 am Low Tide: 10:06 am High Tide: 4:22 pm Low Tide: 10:04 pm

PRIME TIME 1.16 ft. 0.14 ft. 1.02 ft. 0.45 ft.

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 4:11 am Low Tide: 10:44 am High Tide: 4:38 pm Low Tide: 10:31 pm

5:00 — 7:00 AM

1.20 ft. 0.30 ft. 1.01 ft. 0.31 ft.

5:30 — 7:30 AM

High Tide: 5:05 am Low Tide: 11:17 am High Tide: 4:53 pm Low Tide: 10:59 pm

PRIME TIME 1.23 ft. 0.47 ft. 1.01 ft. 0.21 ft.

6:30 — 8:30 PM

Sunrise: 7:42a Set: 7:47p Moonrise: 8:08p Set: 7:18a AM Minor: 5:42a AM Major: 11:55a PM Minor: 6:09p PM Major: ----Moon Overhead: 1:12a Moon Underfoot: 1:39p

Sunrise: 7:41a Set: 7:47p Moonrise: 9:19p Set: 7:57a AM Minor: 6:36a AM Major: 12:22a PM Minor: 7:04p PM Major: 12:50p Moon Overhead: 2:06a Moon Underfoot: 2:33p

Sunrise: 7:40a Set: 7:48p Moonrise: 10:29p Set: 8:38a AM Minor: 7:35a AM Major: 1:21a PM Minor: 8:04p PM Major: 1:50p Moon Overhead: 3:01a Moon Underfoot: 3:30p

Sunrise: 7:39a Set: 7:49p Moonrise: 11:39p Set: 9:23a AM Minor: 8:38a AM Major: 2:24a PM Minor: 9:08p PM Major: 2:53p Moon Overhead: 3:59a Moon Underfoot: 4:28p

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PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 12:40 am High Tide: 8:40 am Low Tide: 12:59 pm High Tide: 5:24 pm

0.07 ft. 1.20 ft. 0.99 ft. 1.10 ft.

9:00 — 11:00 PM

Sunrise: 7:34a Set: 7:51p Moonrise: 2:38a Set: 1:02p AM Minor: 12:22a AM Major: 6:32a PM Minor: 12:46p PM Major: 6:59p Moon Overhead: 7:49a Moon Underfoot: 8:15p

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Low Tide: 1:22 am High Tide: 9:50 am Low Tide: 1:20 pm High Tide: 5:03 pm

PRIME TIME 0.08 ft. 1.18 ft. 1.08 ft. 1.15 ft.

10:00P — 12:00A

Sunrise: 7:32a Set: 7:52p Moonrise: 3:24a Set: 2:01p AM Minor: 1:11a AM Major: 7:24a PM Minor: 1:36p PM Major: 7:49p Moon Overhead: 8:41a Moon Underfoot: 9:05p

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Low Tide: 2:09 am High Tide: 11:14 am Low Tide: 1:43 pm High Tide: 4:53 pm

0.11 ft. 1.18 ft. 1.15 ft. 1.19 ft.

11:00P — 1:00A

Sunrise: 7:31a Set: 7:53p Moonrise: 4:04a Set: 2:58p AM Minor: 1:58a AM Major: 8:10a PM Minor: 2:21p PM Major: 8:33p Moon Overhead: 9:29a Moon Underfoot: 9:52p

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Low Tide: 3:04 am High Tide: 12:48 pm Low Tide: 2:21 pm High Tide: 4:55 pm

PRIME TIME 0.14 ft. 1.21 ft. 1.20 ft. 1.22 ft.

7:00 — 9:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:30a Set: 7:53p Moonrise: 4:39a Set: 3:54p AM Minor: 2:40a AM Major: 8:51a PM Minor: 3:02p PM Major: 9:13p Moon Overhead: 10:14a Moon Underfoot: 10:36p

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Tides and Prime Times

FRIDAY

2 Low Tide: 5:24 am High Tide: 3:26 pm

SATURDAY PRIME TIME

-0.14 ft. 1.02 ft.

12:30 — 2:30 AM

3

SUNDAY

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 6:19 am High Tide: 2:58 pm Low Tide: 8:17 pm High Tide: 10:31 pm

-0.19 ft. 1.05 ft. 0.97 ft. 0.98 ft.

1:30 — 3:30 AM

4

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 7:05 am High Tide: 3:08 pm Low Tide: 7:41 pm

-0.24 ft. 1.06 ft. 0.89 ft.

2:30 — 4:30 AM

Sunrise: 7:03a Set: 6:35p Moonrise: 5:37a Set: 4:58p AM Minor: 3:28a AM Major: 9:39a PM Minor: 3:50p PM Major: 10:01p Moon Overhead: 11:15a Moon Underfoot: 11:36p

Set: 6:36p Sunrise: 7:02a Moonrise: 6:08a Set: 5:52p AM Minor: 4:08a AM Major: 10:18a PM Minor: 4:29p PM Major: 10:39p Moon Overhead: 11:57a Moon Underfoot: None

Set: 6:37p Sunrise: 7:00a Moonrise: 6:37a Set: 6:45p AM Minor: 4:48a AM Major: 10:58a PM Minor: 5:08p PM Major: 11:18p Moon Overhead: 12:38p Moon Underfoot: 12:18a

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High Tide: 4:38 am Low Tide: 10:39 am High Tide: 4:36 pm Low Tide: 10:44 pm

PRIME TIME 1.23 ft. 0.26 ft. 1.01 ft. -0.06 ft.

High Tide: 5:49 am Low Tide: 11:23 am High Tide: 4:55 pm Low Tide: 11:35 pm

6;30 — 8:30 PM

PRIME TIME 1.23 ft. 0.49 ft. 1.03 ft. -0.23 ft.

8:00 — 10:00 PM

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 8:05 am Low Tide: 1:08 pm High Tide: 6:12 pm

1.22 ft. 0.73 ft. 1.06 ft.

2:00 — 4:00 AM

Sunrise: 6:55a Set: 6:40p Moonrise: 9:11a Set: 11:16p AM Minor: 8:34a AM Major: 2:22a PM Minor: 8:57p PM Major: 2:45p Moon Overhead: 4:11p Moon Underfoot: 3:47a

Sunrise: 6:53a Set: 6:41p Moonrise: 9:51a Set: None AM Minor: 9:26a AM Major: 3:14a PM Minor: 9:50p PM Major: 3:38p Moon Overhead: 5:00p Moon Underfoot: 4:35a

Sunrise: 6:52a Set: 6:42p Moonrise: 10:36a Set: 12:12a AM Minor: 10:20a AM Major: 4:07a PM Minor: 10:45p PM Major: 4:33p Moon Overhead: 5:51p Moon Underfoot: 5:25a

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17

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Low Tide: 6:23 am High Tide: 3:00 pm Low Tide: 8:45 pm High Tide: 11:13 pm

PRIME TIME -0.31 ft. 1.21 ft. 1.00 ft. 1.04 ft.

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 7:33 am High Tide: 3:28 pm Low Tide: 8:57 pm

1:00 — 3:00 AM

-0.24 ft. 1.16 ft. 0.89 ft.

2:00 — 4:00 AM

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 12:52 am Low Tide: 8:33 am High Tide: 3:49 pm Low Tide: 9:17 pm

1.06 ft. -0.14 ft. 1.11 ft. 0.75 ft.

10:00A — 12:00P

Sunrise: 7:46a Set: 7:45p Moonrise: 4:41p Set: 5:22a AM Minor: 3:15a AM Major: 9:28a PM Minor: 3:42p PM Major: 9:56p Moon Overhead: 11:26p Moon Underfoot: 10:59a

Sunrise: 7:45a Set: 7:46p Moonrise: 5:50p Set: 6:03a AM Minor: 4:03a AM Major: 10:16a PM Minor: 4:30p PM Major: 10:43p Moon Overhead: None Moon Underfoot: 11:53a

Sunrise: 7:44a Set: 7:46p Moonrise: 6:59p Set: 6:41a AM Minor: 4:51a AM Major: 11:05a PM Minor: 5:18p PM Major: 11:31p Moon Overhead: 12:19a Moon Underfoot: 12:46p

23 «

24 «

25 «

High Tide: 5:56 am Low Tide: 11:47 am High Tide: 5:08 pm Low Tide: 11:30 pm

PRIME TIME 1.24 ft. 0.62 ft. 1.02 ft. 0.13 ft.

PRIME TIME

High Tide: 6:47 am 1.24 ft. Low Tide: 12:13 pm 0.76 ft. High Tide: 5:21 pm 1.04 ft.

7:00 — 9:00 PM

1:30 — 3:30 PM

Sunrise: 7:37a Set: 7:49p Moonrise: None Set: 10:13a AM Minor: 9:44a AM Major: 3:29a PM Minor: 10:13p PM Major: 3:58p Moon Overhead: 4:58a Moon Underfoot: 5:27p

Sunrise: 7:36a Set: 7:50p Moonrise: 12:45a Set: 11:07a AM Minor: 10:48a AM Major: 4:34a PM Minor: 11:17p PM Major: 5:03p Moon Overhead: 5:57a Moon Underfoot: 6:26p

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Low Tide: 4:07 am High Tide: 1:46 pm

PRIME TIME 0.16 ft. 1.24 ft.

12:00 — 2:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:29a Set: 7:54p Moonrise: 5:11a Set: 4:48p AM Minor: 3:19a AM Major: 9:29a PM Minor: 3:40p PM Major: 9:50p Moon Overhead: 10:57a Moon Underfoot: 11:17p

Low Tide: 12:03 am High Tide: 7:41 am Low Tide: 12:37 pm High Tide: 5:29 pm

PRIME TIME 0.08 ft. 1.22 ft. 0.89 ft. 1.07 ft.

Sunrise: 7:35a Set: 7:51p Moonrise: 1:45a Set: 12:04p AM Minor: 11:49a AM Major: 5:35a PM Minor: ----- PM Major: 6:03p Moon Overhead: 6:54a Moon Underfoot: 7:22p

PRIME TIME

Low Tide: 5:15 am High Tide: 2:11 pm

0.17 ft. 1.26 ft.

2:00 — 4:00 PM

PRIME TIME

1:00 — 3:00 AM

Sunrise: 7:27a Set: 7:54p Moonrise: 5:41a Set: 5:41p AM Minor: 3:55a AM Major: 10:05a PM Minor: 4:16p PM Major: 10:26p Moon Overhead: 11:38a Moon Underfoot: None

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

NOT FOR NAVIGATION

PLACE Sabine Bank Lighthouse (29.47° N, 93.72° W) Sabine Pass Jetty (29.65° N, 93.83° W) Sabine Pass (29.73° N, 93.87°W) Mesquite Pt, Sabine Pass (29.77° N, 93.9° W) Galv. Bay, So. Jetty (29.34° N, 94.7° W) Port Bolivar (29.36° N, 94.77° W) TX City Turning Basin (29.38° N, 94.88° W) Eagle Point (29.5° N, 94.91° W) Clear Lake (29.56° N, 95.06° W) Morgans Point (29.68° N, 94.98° W) Round Pt, Trinity Bay (29.71° N, 94.69° W) Pt. Barrow, Trin. Bay (29.74° N, 94.83° W) Gilchrist, E. Bay (29.52° N, 94.48° W) Jamaica Bch., W. Bay (29.2° N, 94.98° W) Alligator Pt., W. Bay (29.17° N, 94.13° W) Christmas Pt, Chr. Bay (29.08° N, 94.17° W) Galv. Pleasure Pier (29.29° N, 94.79° W) San Luis Pass (29.08° N, 95.12° W) Freeport Harbor (28.95° N, 95.31° W) Pass Cavallo (28.37° N, 96.4° W) Aransas Pass (27.84° N, 97.05° W) Padre Isl.(So. End) (26.07° N, 97.16° W) Port Isabel (26.06° N, 97.22° W)

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HIGH LOW -1:46

-1:31

-1:26

-1:31

-1:00

-1:15

-0:04

-0:25

-0:39

-1:05

+0:14

-0:06

+0:33

+0:41

+3:54

+4:15

+6:05

+6:40

+10:21

+5:19

+10:39

+5:15

+5:48

+4:43

+3:16

+4:18

+2:38

+3:31

+2:39

+2:33

+2:32

+2:31

-1:06

-1:06

-0.09

-0.09

-0:44

-1:02

0:00

-1:20

-0:03

-1:31

-0:24

-1:45

+1:02

-0:42

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Baked or Grilled Stuffed Flounder

1/2 lb. bay scallops 1/2 lb. lump crabmeat 1/3 cup chopped onion 4 Tbs chopped celery 3 Tbs chopped red bell pepper 2 tsp minced garlic 1-1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs 1/3 cup white wine 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced chicken stock to moisten 1/2 stick butter

1 large (2 lbs) flounder, gutted 2 Roma tomatoes, cut in half 3-4 whole mushrooms Texas Gourmet Sidewinder Searing Spice

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lounder! No, we are not talking about that pudgy fraternity pledge in the movie “Animal House,” but that flat, spotted, strange bottom-hugging fish known as the southern flounder. For most of the year, the elusive flounder avoids the efforts of a large number of coastal rod and reel fishermen. However, every fall, the urge to migrate out and into the open Gulf of Mexico brings this homely critter into areas where those very same anglers can more easily target them. Flounder might not be glamorous, but one thing is for sure, to quote a well-known TV chef, “Flounder are good eats!” Here’s a recipe that proves that adage.

—Introduction by Loy Moe

Ingredients

Photo: Norman Naill, Bigstock

olive oil for sautéing heavy-duty foil

Join the Texas Gourmet Fanclub on Facebook, at http:// www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=152165096156. Come and share your favorite recipes, restaurants, and hangouts. The Texas Gourmet is waiting on you! 108 |

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Preparation

Heat 2 T olive oil and the butter in a sauté pan, add the scallops, lemon juice, onions, celery, and peppers, and cook on high for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat, add the crabmeat, breadcrumbs and enough wine and stock to moisten the stuffing. Season with Texas Gourmet Sidewinder Searing Spice. Set aside to cool.

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Preheat grill or oven to 400 degrees. Place the flounder, brown side up, on a cutting board in front of you. Using a sharp boning knife, cut along the center bone to peel open the fish, folding the flesh back to work your way around the bones, removing the entire skeleton of bones, leaving you with one piece of fish, all opened up. Spoon the cooked stuffing into the cavity and fold the flaps over the stuffing. Place into a foil boat made with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Place the tomato wedges and mushrooms around the

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flounder in the foil. Place on the grill or in the oven and cook for 20 to 24 minutes with the lid closed. Remove from grill or oven, cover with a loose piece of foil, and rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve and enjoy! Email Bryan Slaven, “The Texas Gourmet,” at texas-tasted@fishgame.com

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PHOTO: MATT WILLIAMS

by matt williams THERE WAS A TIME when choosing a rod for bass fishing meant taking a stroll down the rod aisle at the local sporting goods store and giving a few poles a good shake to test the action. If the rod was stiff as a broom handle, that probably meant it was a good choice for dragging a worm or jig around heavy cover. Those with a little whip at Longview pro Jim Tutt adheres to the the tip were good for casting “technique specific” bass rod selection philosophy. topwaters and other plugs. 110 |

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Modern bass anglers have become much more choosy with time. That’s largely because rod manufacturers have provided them with a wide variety of “specialty” sticks to pick from -- rods that are designed for using certain styles of lures or performing particular fishing tactics. Many rod builders list the specs on the rod butt, near the top of the handle. When it comes to selecting bass rods, pro anglers like Jim Tutt of Longview, Texas put gobs of stock in the “technique specific” analogy. “I look at it like carpenter does his tools,” explained Tutt. “You wouldn’t use tack hammer to drive a railroad spike and you certainly wouldn’t use a sledge hammer to drive a finishing nail. Bass rods are no different. Certain rods will perform certain techniques better than others will.” In the segments that follow, Tutt shares some insight on what he looks for in fishing rods for specialty applications. He broke down his choices to eight different Kistler brand rods, some of which he uses for performing multiple techniques or when throwing a variety of lures:

Topwaters and Jerkbaits Tutt prefers a 6 or 6 1/2-foot rod with a medium action and a fast tip. A fast tip is relatively limber. This aids in launching long casts while providing some critical flex that makes it easier to work lures that require some rod cadence to impart the action. It also provides some “forgiveness” to allow fish a little more time engulf the bait with less worry of ripping the treble hooks free. “Something else to look for in one these is a little shorter handle,” Tutt explains. “I like a double handle, but the rear handle shouldn’t be so long that it hampers your ability to work the bait properly.” Tutt uses this rod for throwing all poppers such as the Yellow Magic or Pop-R, stick baits like the Zara Spook and jerkbaits like the Rogue or Long A.

Texas Rigs and Soft Jerkbaits Tutt likes a 6 1/2 foot Z-Bone series with a medium/heavy action and a double handle. He says the medium/heavy is slightly lighter than the heavy action many anglers prefer for worm fishing. “It provides a little more sensitivity than a heavy action so you feel those subtle bites T F & G

you’ll sometimes get on Texas rig worms and Senkos,” Tutt said. “You may have to set the hook at little harder with the medium/heavy, but the improved sensitivity is worth it.” Tutt uses this rod in open water situations when casting around ledges, points or shallow spawning flats with scattered grass.

Flippin’ Stick Tutt reaches for his flippin’ stick anytime he is making short range, vertical presentations in dense cover such as bushes or matted grass using jigs or plastics. He likes a 7 foot, 6 inch Z-Bone with a heavy action and double handle. The longer rod provides an extra leverage for horsing fish out of thick cover, while the heavy action will withstand the shock of violent hook sets at short distances using heavy fluorocarbon or braided lines. Additionally, a long rod allows you to be efficient when flipping or pitching in deeper water.

Shaky Heads and Drop Shots Spinning rods are ideal for finesse tactics such as fishing shaky heads or drop shot rigging in open water situations using 6-8 pound test line. They also can be used for lofting small crankbaits too light to throw with bait casting gear. Tutt prefers a 6-foot model with a medium action. The shorter rod promotes better accuracy when making short pitches or flips around boat docks, while the medium action absorbs the power of the fish and reduces line stress that can lead to breakage. “You can land some really big fish on a spinning rod if you’ll just take your time and play it down,” Tutt said.

Frog and Alabama Rig Tutt’s go-to choice for buzz frogs, hollow body frogs and throwing multiple swim baits simultaneously on the Alabama rig is a 7 foot Z-Bone series with a heavy action and medium tip. The heavy action provides plenty of backbone for wrestling frog fish out of heavy cover and supporting the extra lure weight inherent with the Alabama rig. Meanwhile, the tip has just enough flex to aid in casting without sacrificing any power. Tutt fishes this rod with braided line exclusively. “It also has long handle that you can bury in your stomach to get some extra lever-

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age for winching fish out of heavy cover,” he said.

Spinnerbait, Chatterbait, Swim Jig, Rat-L-Trap Tutt likes a 6-foot, 9-inch rod with a medium/heavy action for throwing reaction baits. He says the rod is short enough for roll casting accurately around docks, laydowns and other targets, while providing sufficient backbone for ripping a lipless crank out submerged grass without burying up. “Another thing I like about it is the super sensitive tip that allows you to maintain good contact with your bait at all times,” Tutt said.

Jig and Carolina Rig Long range casting in open water with a jig or a Carolina rig calls for a rod with some length to it, and plenty backbone for handling large fish. Tutt’s preferred choice is a 7-foot medium/heavy action with a medium tip. “The reason for such a long rod is it helps you recover excess line quickly so you make a solid hook set on a long cast,” Tutt said.

Crankbaits Crankbaits come in assorted sizes and diving designs for probing shallow, medium and deep depth ranges. Tutt generally relies on two different crankbait rods, depending the diving depth of the bait. • Deep Divers: He prefers a 7 foot, 6 inch, medium-action model for throwing hard-pulling pulling plugs that dive beyond 10-12 feet. “The longer rod will absorb a lot of the pull of the deep diver, so it won’t wear you down near as much when you fish it all day,” Tutt said. “It also helps me make super long casts so the bait can reach its maximum diving depth around the structure I’m fishing.” • Shallow and Medium Divers: Tutt likes a 6 1/2 foot medium action for shallow and medium diving lures. He says the shorter rod isn’t as cumbersome as the 7-6 model, which allows him to be more accurate when casting around stumps, docks and other targets.

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TEXAS SALTWATER

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GALVESTON

BAFFIN BAY

Upper Coast (Sabine Lake) Hook and Ladder

MIDDLE Coast

Rockport Redrunners

TEXAS SALTWATER ROCKPORT

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Garrett Carter Striper Express

Rockport Redrunners

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SPOTLIGHT: HOOK AND LADDER FISHING CHARTERS Hook and Ladder Fishing Charters L.L.C. strive to provide the ultimate experience for our fisherman. Our goal is customer retention; therefore we work hard every trip. From our youngest to our oldest, first timers to OL’ Pros, Captains Adam, and Andy provide a professional yet hilarious and laid back day on the water. Some of my first memories are of fishing with my dad and his friends fishing Galveston Bay which I began learning fish patterns and those “Honey Holes” from those gentlemen who are now considered those Ol’ Pros. Staying up on the fish patterns is the main key to “Whacken Em”. Salinity, wind, bait patterns and movement are just some examples of what can move the fish and determine where to head that day. Hook and Ladder has two boats, a 24 foot and a 35 foot center console with brand new Yamaha motors and both boats are equipped with the latest rods and reels, EPIRBS and safety equipment. From bay to bluewater, Hook and Ladder Fishing Charters provide everything except food, drinks, and sunscreen. Our 35 foot boat also has a head which is a great amenity. We can also use this boat for jetty fishing. Hook and Ladder can customize any trip to fit your wishes and needs along with corporate tournaments or blue water trips. Just remember the best time to fish is when you can go, tight lines and full stringers. Call Captain Adam (281)389-6813 today and book your next trip! T F & G

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Speckled trout Port Mansfield

Flounder | Arroyo City

Corsican ram

Hope Valentine, age 5, of Pearland caught her first speckled trout on an artificial lure at Port Mansfield. Hope was fishing with her parents who later got her some more mature fishing equipment.

John Paul Cabrera, age 4, of Houston caught this 15-inch flounder while on Christmas Vacation at the family fishing house in Arroyo City. He used a Spiderman rod & reel and live shrimp. He was fishing with his Grandpa, Albert Vega of Houston and cousin Roy Sanchez Jr. of Elsa.

Twelve-year-old Blake Smith of Katy shot this Corsican ram near Del Rio with a 308 from 150 yards. It was his first ram, and he was hunting with his dad and uncle.

Del Rio

black drum BASS | Rusk County Jonathan Holland, 6, caught this 5-pound, 20-inch bass at a private pond in Rusk county. He is the son of Nathan and Karen Holland.

Whitetail | Edwards County

Galveston

Savannah Saracco, age 12, of Galveston took her first deer, a 7-point buck at 160 yards using a Savage .243 while hunting with her Dad and sisters, Michaela and Dakota, in Edwards County.

Eight-year-old Brooklyn Polk with a black drum she caught while fishing the North Jetty in Galveston.

Redfish Lower Laguna

Whitetail Willacy Co. Trey Medrano killed this 11-point buck at La Quierda Ranch in Willacy County. It had a 20-1/4inch spread.

First Fish | Aransas Pass Four-year-old Brynn Singleton of Schertz with her first fish, a piggy perch she caught while wade fishing at the ICW RV Park in Aransas Pass. with her “Momo,” Alice Singleton.

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Leo De la Cruz of Brownsville took a day off to hopefully catch a few specs. This was a bonus: 28-inch and 29-inch reds caught on live shrimp east of Three Islands, Lower Laguna Madre.

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

EMAIL: photos@FishGame.com

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

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

Redfish Whitetail

Lower Laguna Madre

South Texas

Jaime Quiroga caught two redfish measuring in at 22 and 26 inches on a Norton Bull Minnow while drifting the lower Laguna Madre near The Saucer. Jaime wanted to thank firefighters Joe Molina and Rick Cruz. He had boat trouble, but caught two speckled trout waiting for help.

James Richardson of Houston with his first trophy buck, an 11-pointer shot in south Texas with a 7 mag while hunting with his friend David. It field dressed at 205 pounds and scored 162.6. Shot with a 7mag.

LARGEMOUTH BASS Lake Weatherford Luke Stout caught this 9-pound bass while fishing off the bank at Lake Weatherford.

Whitetail Choke Canyon Nathan Collins, age 11, of Ft Worth shot his first deer with a .243. It was a nice 8 point buck. Nathan and his grandpa, Doug Ray, were guests of Buddy Scalf on his ranch just south of Choke Canyon Lake.

Redfish | Rollover Pass Louise Pullum of Huffman caught this 38-inch bull red at Rollover Pass last September.

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FLOUNDER Dove

Sabine Pass Nanette Voight of Groves caught her first flounder, 4.25 pounds and 20 inches, at Dick Dowling Park, Sabine Pass.

Burnet Cody and Dylan Surber, on their first dove hunt. It was a late season hunt near Burnet.

bass | South Texas

Redfish | Ingleside

Tomas Edge, age 7, with a 3 ½-pound South Texas lunker he caught on a white spinnerbait in the Rancho Viejo Resaca.

Bryan Dicaro caught this 27-inch redfish while fishing in Ingelside.

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by

one of the most fun and challenging projects of the past year for Texas Fish & Game gave me a chance to travel the state and do what I love best: fish and hunt.

BY CHESTER MOORE T e x a S

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Since Moore is considered the preeminent expert on flounder you knew flounder would be part of the quest. He caught this massive flounder while fishing on Lake Calcasieu during the last week of October.

Whitetails were a major focus of the Cast & Blast. Here Moore shows off a beautiful nine-pointer he took while hunting with Diamond M Whitetails near Inez, Texas.

TF&G and Chevrolet partnered up in the fall of 2011to make the Chevy Cast & Blast a reality. It started Oct. 1 and through the end of December, I took the 2012 Silverado all over the state in search of everything from whitetails to wood ducks and lunker bass to super-sized speckled trout. As with anything we do with our partners, the idea was to deliver quality content that matches the spirit of the project and with the Cast & Blast we are highlighting Texas’ amazing outdoors opportunities and love for trucks. We have a dedicated blog at www. fishgame.com called Chevy Cast & Blast Adventures that has tons of my field notes, commentaries, photographs and videos from this quest. Highlights include: Fork Monster Bass: Learn the best strategies for catching super-sized bass on Lake Fork as well as other East Texas reservoirs. Rub Vs. Scrape: Find out what 118 |

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research shows in the age-old argument of which buck sign is better to hunt. Ducks in Drought: Learn about the impacts of the drought on Texas’ waterfowl. Fast Flounder: Want to see how fast flounder can swim? You will love brief and unique underwater clip. Speaking of flounder, by the time this edition hits readers I will have wrapped up the third year of Flounder Revolution® replica tournaments. March-November, we have an on-line “catch, photo, and release” tournament, where anglers register flounder measuring 20 inches or more. Participants enter the tournament by following the photo, documentation, and release guidelines at www. flounderrevolution.com. At month’s end, the angler with the longest fish wins an awesome replica of their catch, produced by The Fish Mount Store. The Coastal Conservation Association

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One of Moore’s favorite pastimes in ponds fishing for big bass. He took the Silverado 1500 for a spin one afternoon to fish a mediumsized pond near his home and the results were a beautiful bass.

(CCA) is the sponsor of the replica program and through their support and our outreach efforts hundreds of prime breeding-sized flounder are being released to produce more of their kind. While I will never be someone to tell people to release everything they catch, it is important to put back the big, spawningsized fish of any species. It has worked with largemouth bass and it will work with flounder as well. We are in an exciting time because according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department biologists we are seeing the highest coast wide flounder counts in more than a decade. PhotoS: Mark DAVIS, TODD JURASEK, KENNETH HOLDER, Chester Moore, Roger Bacon, Garrett Scherer


To kick off the partnership with Chevy, Moore teamed with TF&G blogger and Top Shot Season 3 Champion Dustin Ellermann for a teal hunt with guide Roger Bacon. They took a quick limit on Toledo Bend reservoir.

Whether trekking across the Pineywoods of East Texas or along the coastal prairie the Silverado 1500 delivered the goods.

Moore and his father Chester, Sr. (left) took the Cast & Blast to South Texas to hunt on their friend Robert Scherer’s (center) ranch. Moore took a 20-inch wide sixpointer while his father killed a monster buck with three main beams.

Things are falling in place for the species and Flounder Revolution is excited to be at the forefront. While the flounder run puts an exclamation point on the fall fishing season in grand fashion, we are in the midst of hunting season. I hunt whitetails but waterfowl and hogs have always been my favorite quarry. A few years ago we released by book Texas Waterfowl that has enjoyed tremendous feedback from the waterfowl hunting community in the Lone Star State. The approach I took with it was to integrate deep knowledge of the birds themselves, their biology and habitat with hunting techniques and tactics. It has always been my contention that we in the outdoors communication business too often overlook the actual creatures we T e x a S

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are pursuing and opt for tech-only oriented pieces on many occasions. I always enjoyed reading the writers who could tie in the scientific, the technical and the excitement in one package. We are about to do just that with my latest book, Hog Wild. Hog hunting is an incredibly important part of the Texas outdoors culture and is one that is as multifaceted as deer hunting. Conducting research for the book saw me learning some unique things about hogs including many things that answered questions about strange situations encountered in the field. As far as I know there has never been a book on hogs that traces the origins of the animals we hunt as much as this one and also one that covers as much ground on tactics for scoring on these animals. It is exciting to be part of TF&G and have creative license to go into these projects with not only the goal of doing good business but creating something that excites me and hopefully all of you.

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March 2012  

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

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