Louis Rogers' Fishing Journal (1997-present)
Sept ’11 The c
Sept ’11 The condo stayed leased like never before and I just didn't have the time to make the trip too often this summer.
June ’11 We fished that tournament again this June. Man was that fun...we caught a few fish and made it to the weigh in. No trophies for top fish, but we didn't have the time needed to search it all out...we just wanted to get on the board. Linda, Eric, Laurie, Mark, George, all the kids that have grown up into young adults...I can't say enough about it all.
May ’11 We were lucky enough to get some fishing in this month. I had the pleasure to fish with several new folks and that is always a lot of fun. This past week we found over-size reds along the KR shoreline, although they weren’t stacked like they’ll be when it starts warming. The trout fishing was much better…and ran from the shoreline out into deeper guts. Also fished with a handful of Bowie HS graduates. This was a blast. The wind howled out of the SE the entire time, but these guys hung in there and we managed to put a few nice fish on th stringer. That wind sure made things interesting. It was 1 of those times where the day before was perfect…and then blow. We’ve got the annual fishing break tournament to benefit the Austin Firefighters next month. Sure hope the wind cuts just enough…know it’ll be a hot one.
April '11 fished 3 days from sun up to sun down this month. We never found that big concentration of fish, but the KR sure is consistent. The winds have blown steady and hard and I'd recommend staying in areas that are mostly windblown. Searching protected water probably won't pan out with a mess of fish.
March '11 Went back to the well for a handful of specks and a few reds. Its been a warm and dry spring. The spring tide seemed extremely strong this season with many back lakes flooded. The reds are up over shallow flats and the specks are moving back out to more open water...or so it seems to me.
January '11 Started out a little slow this month, but a few is better than none. Fish seem to have moved back out into open bays of mixed grass and sand, deeper water. Reds were right along the backside of the spoils.
2010 was a great year. Thanks to all that helped make it so!
December '10 Wow. December is a good month for fishing. In fact, its downright spectacular! I went 3 times this months and had a blast each time with a different group in tow. We really slammed the trout and flounder for a change, and when the trout bite was off it seemed like the flounder, reds and drum wanted to cooperate in some of the same locations. George fought that drum on the right for over 30 minutes....what a catch on a soft plastic. Sharptail plastics (like I'll throw anything but pump/chart?!) worked slowly...particularly on that first day after the cold front, in drains with current, between spoils is where I'd suggest.
November '10 Fished a couple of days here and there. Mostly reds were piled up in channels along the Humble with a few trout on the flats. Shrimp migration is in full swing. Big brownies south of Baffin pouring into the ICW. Guys were just slaying the trout and reds under the lights at night off of Yarborough. Heard some very interesting stories of multiple limits over the course of multiple days south. Other than that it's been sort of a hit and miss year for me. Every time we're able to figure out a pattern it changes and we start over searching. there seem to be a ton of drum in some of the north holes and along the humble. Not as many reds as usual in these areas although the humble and crash channels were super hot for awhile. I know there were a lot of reds caught along the packery this season. The edges of the lights have been good for keeper trout along this same area. Not as much activity along the KR shoreline as usual. Perhaps that'll heat up.
October '10 Weather is perfect wish you were here????something like that any way. Fished a few days in October and had some success with the reds along the channels. Seemed like they were hanging right in the middle of the deeper channels too. Not so much along the edges as usual. We caught them on soft plastics and mullet. When they were there, they were biting. Had 4 hooked up at once and that was fun. Hey Rangers in the series???!!! How good is that?
September '10 Went for a quick weekend, and didn't even put the boat in. Messed around with yaks and caught a couple reds. Walked the south jetty and really didn't find anything much going on. I was surprised at how few people were out. I hung a big snook on a 3/8 ounce jighead and fatty gulp sharptail...but the sucker straightened my hook. That's the kind of luck I've had this year so far. Maybe it'll stack up to a fine year in the end. We'll see.
August '10 HOT is an under statement...I'm not sure if it's me getting weaker or if it's just plain hotter, but either way I struggled in August. We caught some fish along the ICW and in various holes....even found reds along the east shoreline, but everything seemed like 1's and no 2's. Just tough to put a decent box together.
June 19-26 '10 (NH,S YC spoils) Perfect weather on and off...mostly on. Searched through KR shoreline grass edges and pots and found numerous smallish specks and 1 large pod of oversized reds (same place as last year open water 200 yards of KR shoreline south of PO). Better specks on grass edges east of YC spoils south....deep wades in 4'-5', but worth it. Knee deep flats in NH for slot reds over mixed grass and sand pockets. What a gas. Another successful tournament with my good buddy Eric and that group. Thanks Mike for coming down and helping out. Got the girls on skippys with tops....now that's an easy visual good time. Photos to follow.
April 24-25 '10 (Chub,North) The wind blew...and changed from SE to NW to SW to S twice. It was hardly fair. We ran from Baffin to Shamrock and managed to catch a handful of nice fish...but no concentrations what so ever. Big fish was Bob's Jack caught wading a north sandbar. Big trout was caught off chubbies drifting under some birds. Slicks popping all along the shoreline...75 yards off the coast just out of wading distance along the run to ShamRck. SR put a red on the table. We ate all we kept....and released all the big ones to fight another day.
April 1-3 '10 (Nrth Csway) The wind howled all Easter, but the water held up pretty well. We concentrated on fishing the edge of a particular spot and did well for a few days...a few too many extra boats here and there, but still the same it was good fishing. I hung a potential "PB" but it pulled off anyway, so I'm still looking for the next one. Did have a nice topwater bite turned on a couple mornings early...managed a nice 25" speckled trout. Wind went from light southerly to hard easterly. Temps were mild to the 80's and the water is still coolish to 70. Specks had egg sacks and mostly empty stomachs.
March 8-9 '10 (Nrth Csway, Emm, NH) Fishing was ok...not a bad start to the New Year. Caught a couple of nice trout, few reds and drum. Water was a little on the cool side and it was overcast and windy to 30 knts. Water looked good and when it heats up some reds will be on the flats. Looks like this weekend will be a good one for the BB tourney. Still lots of ducks flying.
Jan 19 '10 Another year passes and with it goes my brother Ernest. I suppose he was better prepared than I was, because I wasn't prepared at all. All of my life my older brother was my confidant, teacher, friend and brother all rolled in to one. I'm going to miss him on many different levels.... forever. Ernest was a retired Merchant Marine...a life-long sailor. He left a wonderful wife, a grown daughter and son, and 3 grandkids. I'll keep on keeping on because that's the way it goes, and I won't even try to put it all in this message.
October 26-31 '09 (Nrth Csway) Fishing was poor. Did catch a couple of trout over 25", but not much for the freezer. Killed a limit of Redheads Sunday. Lots of ducks flying high, a few that showed up on the dekes.
September 26-29 '09 (Nrth Csway, Pcky) Best luck on tops right on top of the spoil islands along the intracoastal and the edge of those flats. Really had a difficult time putting a decent box together, but it was topwater action so not all bad.
August and early September '09 Just wasn't able to put much together. Did a couple of trips down and struggled in the heat. We did catch some reds and trout, but had trouble putting more than a couple fish in the boat at any one location. Unusual, but only means there are some good trips on the horizon. We'll see how it all pans out for the fall. I'd bet its going to be good!
June 22-27 '09 (Austin Fireman's Fishing Tournament) Eric, Scott, Mark and I fished the annual tournament this year and we managed to have a good time, catch some fish and get on the board....so it was another success. We never did find any large fish that might have won the deal, but finished with a stringer around 14 lbs. It was hot beyond belief but no one came away the worse for it. Mostly fished the spoil island drops and breaks. Reds are beginning to group up on the shorelines but no big schools, more pods of 2-6 fish mudding around. Another couple weeks and that should be in full swing, so the red hunt will be the order of the day for me. Tons of smallish trout over grass and sand mix. Plenty of bait. Water was off-colored in some area's but held nice clarity over mixed grass. Wind blew in the afternoons.
May 11 '09 (Pcky) Wanted to try and find a fish while I was down sorting out the condo, so walked out on the jetty for an hour late and another hour before I left. Caught a big jack crevalle the first night on a gulp and had another break me off. Should've changed the leader after the 1st one. Same result the next day around noon. Caught the biggest jack I've ever caught. They are a good tug on the curado with 12lb line and about 10' of 40lb leader. It's not all the rig will handle, but it is a test. The guy standing next to me thought my rod was going to break with the big old bow I had, but it all works like it is supposed to and the jack was cut up for shark bait by the guys on the rocks. Not bad for a couple hours of fishing. Saw a few reds caught in the late afternoon the 1st night.
April 17 '09 (NH) Ok, '09 is different...I'm busier, took awhile to figure out this market but it is working out now. Haven't had as much time to fish as earlier years...hoping to make a run down in May. A quick recap on the little bit of fishing done this winter includes a wonderful trip down in early March with Mike. On a coolish morning we searched the flats for bait. Ran both the mainland and some of the island shore line from Baffin north. Picked a spot to wade on a shallow flat with silt bottom where it falls into 3' of water with more of a mud bottom and mixed grass. I picked up a 6.5 lb speck and then another shortly after. Great! Kept at it until we each had our limits of reds. Mike caught red's on topwater, spoon, and softy plastics. We headed back the next morning and were welcomed with more reds and a nice handful of 20" trout. Payoff!
(Em) We did a duck hunt with my son in February and managed to shoot some redheads in Nighthawk. Also caught some nice trout. We had success catching fish on the same old patterns of working the edges and color changes.
Nov 12-16 '08 (Ic, Yc1) Great weather into the front and then windy...we spanked the trout every day along the ICW drops, caught more flounder than ever and a few reds too. One school of oversized fish showed up and then gone again. We caught keeper trout and red under birds working the deep guts off the shoreline. Shrimp popping every where. We had a blast again.
Oct 2-4 '08 (Em) Brian and I hadn't fished in years, but we finally got together for a weekend trip. We started on the same pattern as the last trip, but this time it seemed things had changed up some. Highlight was drifting over a school of over-size reds. We got in them and hooked up with every rod in the boat including tops...man it was on. I didn't realize how big they were until one broke off my topwater...and then played one for 30 minutes...including cranking up and chasing the thing around. Got it up to the boat and huge red...for sure 4' of fish..got my hand around it's tail and he slipped out while picking up...took off for another run..then he broke it off when I was trying to horse it around. Would've been a great picture, but that's the way it goes.
Sept 16-20 '08 (Em) Aleks and I went down for a long weekend of fishing...we cleaned up on the red's and caught a few trout too. Seemed you had to be in the right place at the right time, so we managed to get there enough. We caught 3 big trout and lost 2 hogs right at the boat. Mostly drifting the color changes over deep grass and potholes..no wading since it was deeper water. Water needed to be pristine gin clear to hold the fish.
August 25 '08 (Jty) Had to do a HOA meeting, so fished a couple hours off the south Packery jetty Sunday and Monday. The Tarpon are in the stained current at the end of the rocks and the blue water isn't but a mile or so out....good fishing is on the way for jetty rats. I caught 3 reds and had something make a strong run before dropping the jig.
August 6-11 '08 (DM) Ray came down for a couple days of fishing, then Mike for a day, then Aleks for 3 days....I wore myself out. We caught enough redfish to keep us in fillets for a few months. Reds are thick again this year.
June 24-29 '08 (Austin Firemen's Fishing Tourney) Mostly just good company with a lot of nice redfish and a couple super trout. We finished 3rd Stringer, so a big success. Congratulations Eric, Nick and Scott.
April 27,28 '08 (DM, Flats n Chub) Mixed bag of fish over grass flats...specks mainly on the transitions between 2' and 3' of water. Red's scattered here and there. really never got into a major congregation of fish. So much water on the flats it has 'em really scattered around.
Dec 19 '07 (DM,NorthCt) Upper slot red's and drum in a 200 sqft pocket on a drain during the front every cast or so, Red's on the shallow flats the next day and keeper trout further out the drain on the channel edges with the sun warming everything back up.....super trip for fillets, no big sows. We had a great time fishing in '07. Seemed like about the time we thought it might be a bad trip, we found redfish or drum....they always saved the day....the introduction of the gulp type lures has resurrected my black drum fishing. i had pretty much written them off for several years and along came the gulp lures and BAM we all started to catch drum again. It is true that gulp are not as durable, but if you learn to not pull them away from the little fish, let them peck at the shrimp style lure and wait for the big boys to show up, you will catch reds and drum. This time of the year, when there aren't near the little critters out there, you can use one lure to catch multiple fish. I catch occasional trout, but they are absolutely sight feeders and I use my go to pump/chart almost exclusively for them just as well. The old 3X Strike King in the half pump and bottom chart is so supple and works so much better than other softys....yet they aren't readily available any longer...tough break. A light weight floating type softy is the best for all of the above species of fish....as it offers a wagging tail approach when sitting on the bottom that produces like so many suspending baits and for the same reason. I have trout , reds and some drum pick them up while not being moved....so after the drop while resting on the bottom, and that is definitely because of the "wagging tail" floating upwards and moving in the current. The slowed down version of the bump-bump-sit retrieve still takes the awards from me. I just have a hard time being that patient all of the time....but when I concentrate it works. Fishing the drops and breaks and color changes and drains or a mix of the above is what i like to do. I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of fish on any given flat....but the competition needs to be at its peak for the fishing to be real good, so many fish in one area is best. I like the winter months to concentrate the fish on easy to find places...especially low tide periods. '07 was a great year. Have a super '08!
Dec 2,10 '07 (DM) Nice big red's, some keeper trout and herds of drum are all cruising various area's of the deeper flats. Warm temps have everything sort of upside down, but it is worth fishing and man those red's pull hard. Tops and softy's. used to snag specks to just over 25"s.
Nov 26 '07 (DM,ShR) Red's are prowling along the edge of the protected sandy shorelines. We had to look high and low, but we eventually came up with the right combination. Black Drum are schooling in the flats too. If you look close you can see them moving around...look for that copper color..if you find a few individuals, hang on because there are probably a thousand close by. Trout fishing seems to have slowed for me. I'll do it different after the next nice frontal passage if I can make it down.
Oct 15 '07 (ICW) We stuck to our guns and basically fished the edges of the ditch since this was the first big front and the shrimp were working there way out the hiway. The specks are there, but it requires some degree of patience to find the decent fish. We worked the drop with soft plastic sharp tails...bumped it to the bottom.
Sept 5-6 '07 (KR,DM,J) Red's are pretty thick. Did find some oversized fish in mix grass and pot holes...still holding on the edges. I haven't had to run far to have good fishing so I'm happy. New Majek is doi ng fine. Condo is great. I have no complaints...just wish I could make it down more often. South Jetty had some Mangrove Snapper and Flounder up around the rocks. Didn't see the Red's around the jetty like we have in the past couple years....or for that matter the piles of bait.
July 30-31 '07 (DM) Red's are still holding around the drops. We fished for a few hours and caught a handful along the edges of deeper holes. Just haven't had the time to get down there and do the fishing like usual....it's been one of those years. Maybe this fall my time will allow for a better break for fishing.
June 17-19 '07 (KR,DM) Red's are where they are supposed to be. We had success "slow-planning" the shorelines looking for pods of small mullet....when we found them, out of the boat adn walked up to. If the bait was nervous well that much better. School of over-size red's located. That gulp shrimp is a killer on red's....I suppose it is as close to live bait as there is. We also found red's on wind driven flats in 2' of water. Water is still pretty clear, although it is starting to look yellowish in some of the Laguna.
May 22-23 '07 (KR,YC1) We waded the shorelines and spoils...found a huge number of smallish speckled trout, so if this is the stock, we're in good shape. Tuesday morning Scott managed to pick up a limit of red's and a nice 26" speck. His patience paid off big dividends. I put the boat in the shop for a 10 hour service and some more rigging.
May 4-6 '07 (KR) Wind blew hard the entire time I was down. Did manage to have some success one morning with a limit of reds and 3 nice trout. All in the same water within 100 yards of each other. I kept one of the larger specks that took a hook deep when she.inhaled the soft plastic...and a small speck...but released the others. The 20v ran like a champ. I can't wait to get back down in some better weather conditions.
April '07 (KR) I haven't had as much time for fishing lately as trading boats and so forth has taken it's toll. Mike and I did fish a couple times this winter and it seemed that we ended up on the King Ranch shoreline, as usual, and doing ok. I have a new boat being prepped for me now and hope to pick it up next week. I'll break it in and do some fishing all in the same run. Been busy again with business, thank the Lord, so it'll be August before I can make any real time down. Hope to get Ray and his buds down for a weekend before he starts his summer baseball rigors which keep all of us hopping through July. I sold the old boat and have been going through withdrawals even though I wouldn't have had time recently to use the thing....it was a great boat for 12 years...never left me hanging...and was reasonable to operate. I have a "new to me" 03 Majek 20V coming with a 07 Yamaha 150 so I'll be looking forward to enjoying it for 12 years + I hope! Have a great year. Heck I just noticed that I started this journal exactly 10 years ago this month. Wow time flies when your raising kids! I have been very fortunate to have a couple of truly wonderful kiddos, and the fishing has been good too...and my beautiful wife allows me the time and freedom to break away periodically...so it's truly been a great decade...and here's to another!
Dec '06 (KR,Pt) Well I lost some data late this year with a hard drive crash on my server and so learned again how important it is to keep up with the backups. I'm going to recount a handful of trips down, but particularly this one trip...actually one morning. Since I spent a lot of time trying to update the condo, and got a lot of help from Mike Edwards, we got to spend a fair amount of time fishing this December. My Dad passed away in late November and so I have spent time remembering the good times and just sorting out things in my life. I did manage to finally catch a Snook off the Packery south jetty, although one of my sons buddies caught 2 larger Snook on the same tip, but the big event without a doubt occurred on a stretch of the King Ranch shoreline that I have fished for several years. Mike and I had decided that we would venture from the Redfish we had been nailing with regularity north of the causeway and try for some trout for a change...that's another small story I'll cover in a sec. Any way we anchored the boat and hopped out for the early morning Thursday wade and as we approached the "hot" zone we noticed a flash and scattering mullet. I hung on for a few extra casts in an area I had done good in several time previously and Mike moved on down the "edge" of the grass break. It wasn't long before Mike had hooked an obviosly nice trout that fought with a typical head shake of a larger fish. I had moved some closer to him and we=hen the fish swam my way i snatched her up. What a beautiful fish. She measured just over the 28" knot on my stringer and as I was reviving her Mike made another cast into the same patch. Wam!Bam! This next fish was a monster. She came up twice and shook her head for us...just so we would know what she was, and then she just hunkered down about 10' away from Milke. The water is so clear, call it dark rum or gin, and there is not hardly a ripple this morning. We could see her hunkering down and not really moving much, so I asked Mike if he wanted me to take a shot at wading over to her and grabbing her..which he did...so I did. I started to get her with one hand, as usual, but decided I best get her with both...a good decision. I got her up next to me and didn't let her go. This is the best speckled Trout I've ever seen....magnificent in all ways...maybe 9 or 10 spots a side, all down around the n two top side closest to her tail, and thicker than two hands pinky to pinky. This is a good 11 pounder plus and she is measuring somewhere close to 31". We kept her in the water and spent a fair amount of time admiring her from every angle. Mike made the decision to release her and that's what I did. No camera...only our memories to record this great event. We continued to fish this area and while Mike moved further north I stayed on the grass break....we never breached this pocket in any way but stayed back and let the fish do as they would. I caught my first trout a few minutes later that was a good 28" and then another about the same size a bit later. I am amazed at this point and I'm wondering what else is in store for this morning wade. I caught a fish that went about 24" and strung her and then a red about the same size. I continued and so did Mike as he strung another 24" speckled trout. I had another on that went right at 29" plus change...and then it seemed to slow some. Mike and I reconvened and drank some water while we discussed what was happening. He had been seeing tails and about a school of trout he had spotted moving along the edge with a monster leading the pack. I had seen some large fish shadowing the fish I had on earlier as well...just amazing. Any way, we went back for one more wade. I noticed a large black tail just barely moving out in about 4' of water....I know it's not tailing like a traditional redfish kind of thing...but just hanging with it's head down looking at the lower column of water. I started my wade to get close enough to make a cast over the top. Just as I had made my way there and was about to release the cast, the tail dropped under ever so slowly. I got the cast of over the top of her and worked the soft plastic a couple bumps when BAM! I knew this was her when I set the hook and the drag gave way. this is an excellent feeling as the rod bucked under the weight and strength of this fish. She fought nicely and did the obligatory head shake for me, but I brought her to my side and grasped her behind the gills. I hoisted her up and measured her length...a nice 30" fish...she's healthy and many spots...not as thick as Mikes earlier fish but still the best trout I've caught and finally the 30" barrier is broken for me. I had always said I would mount my first...but with Mike releasing a larger fish earlier that sort of set the standard so I released her to fight another day. That was it. There wasn't another fish taken that day. We went back to the well the next morning but the fog was so thick it took forever to get there and when we did we managed only one nice 24" trout and that was it. The pack had moved off to another location....and so it goes.... I mentioned the reds///well get up into the back creeks and channels when the tide is falling out and they seem to stack nicely along some of those edges. We caught reds one morning until we said uncle. They were gorging on little pinfish that were hunkering down inthe grass along the edges while the tide was rushing out. Those Berkley Gulps are killer for reds. By the way the 3X StrikeKing in rootbeer/chart was the trout killer...go figure!
For fishing 2006 was a great year! anddddddd.....bring your camera every time out!!!
Sept 29 '06 (J,NH,Pt) Jetty still had reds on and off again. I hung a Tarpon for 2 jumps off the end of the rocks on a Gulp in smoke. I was shocked and probably could've responded better to the jumps. He threw the jig back at us on his second leap....what a thrill, but still want to land one. A Snook was caught right before we arrived. Most Mullet I've ever seen in one place...like a highway. Water in the bay was still stained from the recent rain and warm weather.
Sept 1-3 '06 (J,NH,Pt) Jetty had reds stacked knee deep///everyone caught some. It seemed the pressure finally ran the reds of, but they'll be back. I caught specks along the King Ranch shoreline and on the intracoastal drop. I had a blast sight casting to drum in the shallow water and managed to put a fine couple stringers together. I've never seen the drum so shallow working the little shellfish I suppose. I waded the drops for the best fish red's and drum alike. Needless to say we're set with fillets for a little while. If fishing stays this good I'll be the happiest guy around.
July 28-29 '06 (DM) Too windy for the jetty and perfect for the bay! Hunted around and stumbled onto a huge herd of red's, sniffing around the back of side of an army of Black Drum and Cownose Rays. This is what it is all about as we spent 3 or 4 hours chasing them around and staying hooked up. It was one of those days where the red's paid no attention to the boat or anything and basically just gorged. I foul hooked a big Pin Perch and, right next to the boat the reds banged on it over and again...something to see. No photo's but the reds are going in the fryer tonight!
July 19-20 '06 (P-Sj) Didn't even put the boat in the water. Just stuck a pole in the hands of the kids and we all headed for the Packery south Jetty. Easy to supervise the kids. A fellow out there recommended a Gulp if I had one and so I tossed Berkley gulp in rootbeer (a 5/8 ounce jig head, 40lb leader and my normal speck/red tackle) and managed to catch a Spanish Mackeral and break off a few big ones before I figured out the right leader-tackle combination. Just before dark Thursday I got a resounding bump that upon hookset turned into a pretty good run by a 4' King. After doing some rock hopping and maneuvering we were able to land it by grabbing the tail after it rolled over at the end of the jetty. What a great time this fish was on the light tackle. This is the largest fish I've ever caught off the land and I have to do it again soon. Here's a photo.
June 14-16 '06 (KR, PkCh) Had a goodtime fishing and hanging around with my old buddy Eric. We caught some nice fish early and it slowed as the wind picked up. Eric managed to put a 25" Speckled trout on a stringer. Handful of reds made a nice add-on. Just haven't managed to put the time and the catching together this year. Here's a shot of Eric with the best speckled trout of the trip.
May 1,2 '06 (KR, DM) Wind blew us out. We stayed up shallow on the backside of the spoils and walked up on reds scattered in 6"-10" of water. I am using a weightless jig with a screw-holder and 1/16 ounce skinny slip weight. Talking about weedless...whew...no snags and the floating soft plastic sharp tails stick straight up wigglin' in the current...looks just like a bait fish feeding on the bottom to me...except I'm not a red...but they ate it without a missed hookup...some specks too. That was about all there was to the trip...trying out some new stuff, 'cause the wind blew and the water murked up terrible. Folks that stayed in the condo after us did better with a handful of larger specks to 27". Here's a photo, taken at the dock behind the condo, of Suzan Johnson with some nice speck's.
Feb 28 '06 (KR, DM) Some nice speckled trout for the taking right now...same ole' deal...just have to be there and keep your line wet. Some nice redfish are back on the prowl too. Stay on the EDGE...never far off. Rootbeer soft plastic is the model of the decade? We nailed a 26 and 26.5....and here's a decent picture for a change...
Feb 3 '06 (no wet line) Whoever would've believed that 2006 would come around and I'd be in better physical condition now than I was 10 years ago? Effort is 10 fold, but I want to be able to get up the next hill and wade the next flat without wearing myself out. Fishing on the north end of the Laguna should be killer this season. I can't wait to get back at it, but first I need to complete a laundry list of honey do's that I have put off to no end....that's what fishing can do for you. Have a great 2006 and many more.
Dec 27-28 '05 (KR) Well I had the flu, but it didn't get me down for the count this time. We fished all over but they were stacked against the western shorelines.. just like they are supposed to be this time of year. We found the numbers sparse compared to other years but the specks were big and fat. I caught 2 nice fish that made the trip...one was a real nice 27" fish that was an easy 8 lbs. Soft plastics were the bait of the day...bounced slowly along the bottom. Weather was perfect...75 degrees and sunny.
Dec 19-20 '05 (PC) Cold wet and windy...could prove to be the only real frontal system of the season. We fished on the flats just off the main channels and did well. Slicks popping up and reds mixed with trout. Stayed in waders and cold weather gear both days.
Dec 1-2 '05 (ICW) Without a doubt there is nothing like the Laguna Madre for top notch Speckled Trout fishing! and I am sure happy to be a able to take part in it. Winter time fishing patterns can be some of the easiest to read and the drops are the place to start...look for nervous bait holding to structure and you may very well find a fat sow to eat your soft plastic...work it slow and when you think you might go to sleep...work it slower. A nice floating rat tail hovering just above the bottom can be all the enticement she needs. Mike nailed a 29" and 25" back to back after a commotion on a drop off was spotted. Turns out that after wading the area and thoroughly working all of the water there was another half dozen better than 20" fish to be caught there. On a warming morning the red's showed up on a flat with their heads down and tails in the air...and they ate pumpkinseed and chartreuse for breakfast. This is 7 pound speckled trout on one side and sight casting to tailing redfish on the other....and Texas rules! It does not get better than that. I've taken better pictures, but it still shows the size of this great fish.
Nov 1-2 '05 (ABay) Water is perfect in the Aransas Bay area. Mike and I sight cast red/white paddle tails to red's along the spoil island shore lines...what a blast. Caught another batch of nice reds with topwaters early against the same shore...would've been a perfect deal for a red tourney as they were all right at 27"....of course we wouldn't be that lucky on a given day. We did catch a speck or 4 to round out the box of fish. Not enough to plan a large fish fry, but enough to keep us in fillets for a spell. I am anxious to see what happens with the Laguna this winter. A good cold front and let's see if the specks don't jam up on the channals.
Oct 20-23 '05 (NH,Ic) Water is still brown in the laguna, and the fish were really hard for us to find. We ended up catching a few reds and trout, but nothing spectacular for sure. Not really a lot to talk about on this trip.
Sept 17-18 '05 (J) Once again the water looked pretty good, but I have been fooled before. I had been down with a good friend a week earlier and with no real degree of success we had tried to duplicate what was done a couple weeks earlier..so that made for making new plans this weekend. Early on it appeared we would have another tough day and a half of fishing with not even sporadic catching mixed in, but along came the idea of fishing at the new hole and it worked like a champ. I saw herds of reds that looked like rusty clouds making their way around the bends and turns and it was a welcome sight. Could be a new answer to the dog days of late summer.
Aug 26-28 '05 (Ic) The water looked pretty good north of the intracoastal with the influx from the Packery. Wow it is going to make and interesting fall and winter this year. I'm really looking forward to fishing the cold weather pattern in the Laguna. I made up my mind a few years ago that I was going to fish the short runs from the condo and that's what I do, so as you might imagine the events taking place this year should mark a major turn for a person that doesn't want to go all the way to Baffin...and the price of gas just re-instills that desire. Any way, Mike, Aleks and I waded all the usual haunts and picked our way into a fine mess of red's and specks. We managed to put 9 red's to 30"'s and another 20 or so trout to 29 1/4", so as you might imagine, it proved a successful couple days of fishing. I was lucky enough to do battle with the big speck, and she put on a real show making a couple of strong runs stripping line like a big red and shaking her yellow mouthed head like the pig she was. Ol' Aleks thought I was kidding when I said "it's a trout" with enthusiasm. Mike saw her pop up right on the edge of the channel and since he was closest to her did the net job (which made my day since I have had the propensity to loose the last several big trout I have hung including the last one that was less than 4 feet from my hand and might have been the 30" fish I want to catch so bad). This last one is a big, fat speckled trout that was just a couple notches short of 30" and a touch shorter than my 2 biggest ever. I'm still hunting for that 30" fish...and as I go forward I am gaining a greater respect for the guys that find and catch those 30"+ wall hangers 'cause they are tough to find. I think they are tough to find because I don't seem to catch them, or maybe I'm on them and then don't manage to entice them. Aleks landed a 25"er, that would make any body proud, shortly after I caught that big one. I missed a big red the day before but then ended up sticking a 30" red later that same day...they sure pull hard....but they aren't as quick or pesky up close as those big old trout. The Laguna south of the causeway didn't seem to be holding the life that it has in the recent past...now I don't go all the way to Baffin or the landcut, but some of the places that have produced fairly recently just didn't seem to hold the fish. We caught fish on soft plastics and mullet free-lined along the edges. I didn't have a camera...again...but I have witnesses and they're good friends as they are, so that's what'll have to do...memories!
Aug 8-9 '05 (NH) The Laguna is looking better now. Packery channel is flowing with at least 4' of water through and it is beautiful. I caught reds, trout and drum on soft plastics and the kids used shrimp. It was fun for all of us. I have missed the last 3 big specks I have had hooked and I'm starting to get a little worried about it. The last one hit my soft plastic right on an edge of grass I was wading against and she stripped line like a red. I worked her up to 4' from me and we did a little dance in circles and just as I was preparing her to make the final few feet to me the hook popped out clean. She just moved away slowly, a tail waggle at a time and I watched her go. She is a nice 8 lber any way and she deserved to go as she fought gallantly, but I'm ready to get my hand around one next trip down, especially since the trips have been far and few between this season.
June 15-19 '05 (Aransas) The Laguna had the brown tide in, so it was pretty tough fishing. Visibility was probably 1/2". Went to Aransas to fish with the crowds and found some fish here and there. Seemed like we'd have a good afternoon and then a slow to nothing bite the next period. I enjoyed fishing with my old buddy Eric and that pretty much made the trip. I have heard since that the water was trying to clear up in the Laguna. Keep your fingers crossed it turns better.
April 20 '05 (NC) It was blowing like hell out of the se. Water actually looked pretty good early and streaky-stained later. We didn't drift at all. We pulled up, anchored and walked everywhere. NH was barren the first morning as was the King Ranch shore and even the point which was rough fishing with waves coming in on our backs....morning sucked. We went north to that last cut in the afternoon and its howlin' now....anchored at the very back of the channel where the water was murkiest with a line of green in the channel, got out and waded back toward the east side of the spoil islands casting into 10"'s of water with a pumpkinseed/chart super softy and bam....I hooked up on a 27"+ speck and she stripped line and ran like a red until her head popped up for a shake....it was a rush. We ended up with reds and trout for a couple nice heavy stringers but not quite limits....made the day in about 2 hours of catching. Next morning same for another 8 or 9 nice fat trout...talked to P&W guys who said the big reds are back on, but we didn't have time to find them before we got the condo cleaned and headed home. I'm better now thanks very much!
April 2-3 '05 (NH) We fished with limited success on Saturday, but Sunday was great. Aleks and I got in and waded after we found a red, and it turned into a limit of reds and trout for both of us. Nothing better. Soft plastics sharp tail in rootbeer did the trick. Man there is a color you just can't go wrong with. I'm getting to the point where I don't pay as much attention to the color of my lure anymore, as long as it is rootbeer, watermelon or purple with chartreuse tail or firetiger. I don't think I'll buy anything new for another long while. Different retrieves seemed to work at different times. I worked it super fast for the specks and slow for the reds. Go figure. Specks had some eggs so it is that time.
January 4 '05 Another year zips past and I'm still searching for that one big Speckled trout. Can't say that I'm not having the time of my life with my family, fishing partners and all. I have some definite plans this year and I'm sure you do too. This marks the 9th year this board has been in existence. Time flies when your having fun.
December 22 '04 (Upper Laguna) Absolutely slayed them in potholes surrounded by mixed grass right up on the shorelines. Speck's were nice heavy fish in the 19"-27" range with some red's mixed in. My son caught a couple of trout right at 24"s and he was pumped. Dark soft plastics did the trick with a super slow bump. Didn't need to get up to early as the fish seemed to slumber until the sun got up high.
December 16 '04 (Upper Laguna) I fished the most beautiful afternoon you would ever want to see. Temps in the 60's and wind no more than a whisper. You could cast in any direction with equal success. Water has really pulled out of the Laguna, which makes for an easy read of the flats, provided you have some ripples to follow. Finally found some decent specks. I was beginning to wonder what happened to them this winter. I'll say this, they were tight to structure and shallower than you might expect with water temps in the 50's. Reds to 24" and specks to 24" mixed up in the same area. The reds were a bit lethargic, but he specks were feisty and fierce. The 24"er ran like a skipjack. I didn't have but an afternoon and morning, but I'm ready for more of this as soon as is possible. Belly's were full of shrimp and thumpers. Wade if you can as the bait is scarce and extremely jumpy.
December 2 '04 (Upper Laguna) Cold front had passed on through and I thought the fishing would be excellent in the Laguna Madre. It was rainy, blustery weather and I couldn't catch worth a darn. I We found pretty much all of the specks in a gut cutting out to some super skinny flats where the current was really ripping. I am told the fish are in the back lakes right now, and it must be so. The pattern is definitely different in the Laguna right now.
Thanksgiving weekend '04 (Upper Laguna) Took the kids fishing Saturday and Sunday. We fished with shrimp on the bottom and caught sheepshead, drum, flounder and trout, a real plethora of fish but not many of any one thing. Jessica was the big catcher this time out with the biggest sheepshead, flounder and trout. Weather was perfect for hanging around outside. too good for fishing. A front will move through the area this week and that's when Daddy hits the water looking for good fish.
November 1-2 '04 (Upper Laguna) The overall conditions were about as bad as you could imagine....30mph sustained winds, first out of the south and then out of the north. I can't believe we made the trip down. I should learn to use up my kitchen passes more wisely after 15 years. We did manage to catch a couple drum, red's and trout but that is about it. I can't wait for the weather to turn and the water temps to hit 65. For me, that's when the fishing gets to be at its best. You don't see many red's, but the trout really turn on.
October 7-14 '04 (Upper Laguna) I fished on and off for about a week. There weren't many in numbers, but the red's that were headed to the big bay were brutes to 38". In the week I caught and released about 8 fish from 29" to 38". Biggest red's I have ever caught on the flats. The largest hit it on the first drop after the cast and I thought it was going to spool me for sure or I would have to crank up and chase it down, but I started to get some line back about the time I thought I might loose the battle. There were a handful of speck's around but nothing really memorable. After a week of fishing the fillets stacked up fairly good and we are back to eating fish three or four times a week.
Sept 12 '04 (Upper Laguna) The overall conditions were about perfect for this time of the year, just enough breeze to keep it cool most of the time and intermittent sunshine. Fishing was good, catching another thing. We worked hard and covered alot of territory for a few fish. We caught a few reds to 24', although mostly undersized. Aleks caught a mice 28" speck - we doubled up for just a second until mine came up shook her head and pitched my soft plastic lure and hook right back at me. Both fish were about the same size. The fish was caught over an area of pot holes and grass in about 3' of water. Firetiger and pumpkin/chart.
August 25 '04 (Upper Laguna) The wind blew 30mph sustained and we fished it. We finally found the redfish (that would feed on our soft plastics) on a grass flat southwest of pure oil and they "stretched our lines" to the max. I caught a limit in the upper slot and 1 that I put a tag on. The specks were in there as well, but no great concentrations. I'm looking forward to getting down after a good cool front moves through. The wind never did let up and a nice 10mph breeze is welcome. Water temps were real low for this time of year. I found plenty of water that was 85 degrees. Usually this time of year that same stuff is 90+. The Strike King Xtra strong soft plastics have allowed me to fish area's I couldn't have fished in years past because of the little fish eating my tails this time of year. I call them panty hose stuff because they stretch way out and when the little critters let go of the tail they pop right back to normal. I fished with one all day. I am having my luck with the pumpkinseed/chart belly.
August 4-10 '04 (Upper Laguna) It has been hot and the fishing is pretty good too. With all the bait in the bay it is hard to pick the right place to fish. I concentrated on area's where there were several different types of bait and plentiful, and I tried to find "nervous" bait when I could. We caught red's to 29" and speck's to 24". No easy limits, but enough to keep us going at it. The kids did some good with soft plastics and live bait. I would suggest fishing the edges of the deepest guts, concentrating on water and bottom change lines. Early stay close to the shorelines, later work the deeper water. Glen showed Ray and I some new water and I ended up with my largest trout of the trip down. Beach is beautiful with some of the clearest water I've seen in a long time.
July 11-12 '04 (Upper Laguna) You have to be specific right now. I think there are some good fish to be caught, but they are feeding right on the very edge of the drops and grass lines. If you drift you just don't stay on the spot like you need to. Water in the Laguna was gin clear in many areas and trout green in others. It was pretty and the wind is light. We managed to find specks to 23" and a couple of reds with one monster coming close to spooling Mike before it broke off. My boat ran good, thanks to John Reynolds, and it was a great trip. By the way, don't use Island Marine for any boat repair work. They kept me in suspense and never did figure it out for 6 months. I was told it ran and drove down from Austin only to find that it wasn't true. They basically butchered the work I asked them to do and Reynolds figured it out with no problems. Be aware and listen and maybe you won't get screwed like I did.
June 19 '04 (Aransas Bay) I had the pleasure of fishing for a day out of Port A with a buddy. He has been drifting the Quarantine shoreline in about 4' of water with bass assassins and catching limits of speckled trout with regularity and it wasn't any different with us. We stayed on the pattern and caught a box full of nice frisky specks. I haven't been over in that area in 2 years and I really enjoyed the trip. Caught a monster Gafftop on the same plastic. I thought it was a red until I saw the sail. Beautiful for a catfish. Bait was pretty thick. Schools of mullet all over the north side of Mud Island. Aleks had a dolphin eat a trout off his stringer while wading. Those buggers are pretty aggressive. I had one make a dash at my hand and then stop just short when I was splashing the trout scum off.
May 23 '04 (KR) The wind blew 20-30mph the whole day I had to fish...it wasn't going to quit, probably still blowing now, and I wasn't NOT going to fish. We caught 5 trout and 1 red. Water in the Laguna looked like milk. I heard there are some real nice fish coming out of Baffin, but I didn't make the trip. We stayed around Emmords and tried a variety of soft plastics in different shades of water, bait and different depths. Never got on any pattern. Boat gave me fits and wouldn't run in rough water. More electrical stuff.
May 6 '04 (KR, NH) Weather was about perfect. There are some nice fish hanging around and I caught a few. Specks were in 2-3' against shorelines and in some of the shallow guts. Soft plastics and topwaters. I'm sure happy to see the topwater bite on.
April 20-21 '04 (KR, NH) Reds are scattered with a mix of nice trout. We didn't catch a bunch, but it was enough to keep us entertained. I had a nice red pull off on a topdog and caught a nice speckled trout on a bass assassin in plum/chart. We put together a nice mess just by hit and miss. never found any great concentration of fish. Wind blew 30mph out of the se.
April 4-5 '04 (KR, CC) Nice reds are scattered in small schools and the specks are fat and on the shorelines. Black drum are roaming the 3-5' flats in huge schools. The wind blew hard, but the fishing was good. Our Trout seemed to be getting larger, but more scarce. We were fishing during a full moon and that's not always the best unless you are out at night. My boat has been less than reliable lately, so we stuck to fishing the daytime hours. Topwater bite was real slow, but soft plastics did the trick. Mostly plum/chart and firetiger.
January 28 '04 (KR) Albeit somewhat cooler than some of the other trips down, it was beautiful weather considering it is the end of January. We managed to catch a limit of specks with most of the fish a solid 17 to 19"'s. Caught a handful of rat reds this time around, so no hosses to pull the drag. Exact same pattern as before....find the pin fish and you have found the trout. They ate watermelon green soft plastics. Pleasure fishing with Mike Edwards on a trip we had talked about for years and never pulled together until now.
January 9-10 '04 (KR) Once again, right after the front, while the wind blew out of the north, we slayed the trout with some nice red's mixed in. Aleks and I caught our limit the first day and I caught a nice red. I had one pull off 5' from the boat. I was really leaning on this over-sized brute and the jig popped out and hit me in the head. Fitting ending to that 5 minute battle. Next day found us working the same pattern with less large fish so you really had to pick through it. Aleks managed to make his limit and I left 2 off of mine with another red. I like the firetiger right now. Look for color changes and drops on deeper flats.
December 6-7 '03 (KR,PO) Same basic pattern. We showed up on the tail end of a front and managed to scare up a fairly good number of fish before the high pressure set in. Specks to 22" were hanging here and there on drops in 3'-4' of water and along the shorelines. Red's were primarily over soft mud in the same area's. I think the people that tossed bait probably got wore out with the little Specks eatin' them out of house and home, but by throwing soft plastics and having some patience, a strong back and equally tireless casting arm we seemed able to find the decent keepers in the bunch. Alex fought the reds and I picked my reel Sunday. I just couldn't get in sync that day. I'm pretty sure the Reds were somewhat more cooperative for those that threw bait. We lost a couple and caught a couple to 24". In the end it was a fine trip. I'd say stay close to the channels and deep drops and fish over the flats adjacent to soft mud. As usual follow the signs. I'm on a cormorant kick these days. Ever since last December when we had a cast it-reel 'em in time over some of these bird made me a believer. I didn't have it in me to take photo's after the days on the water wore me out. Seems the goto color is back to pumpkinseed/chart.
November 9-11 '03 (KR, e ICW n BB) I have often said that I do better immediately after a frontal passage and man this was one of those times. Aleks had a memorable couple days of fishing as he just could do no wrong. No matter what color he threw or how he retrieved it seemed like he was right on 'em. We fished with mostly soft plastics, bass assassin and trout killers, and a topwater here and there. Turned out that pumpkinseed/chart was the go to, and a slow bottom-bump the preference. Sunday the weather was still blustery and cold (50-60) we pulled up on the hundreds of gulls working the edge of the intracoastal and we caught nice speckled trout all day long. The northeast wind blew us right down the intracoastal, so it was a series of pretty easy drifts. We were able to find some reds on the flats, one going just under the 28" max. All in all it was a wonderful trip. The fish were mostly solid 17"-22". It was one of those trips where I "wish" I had brought my camera.
October 10-12 '03 (ICW) Fished a day and then took the kids out for the rest of the trip. I didn't have too much luck with a fish here and there, the best being a 22" speck caught off some obvious structure along the intracoastal on a topdog. Kids all caught fish with shrimp under a popping cork. Jessica caught the 2 biggest with a nice slot red and 21" speck. Cat caught her first fish, a keeper speck, and Marty caught a nice drum. Picked up a bunch of smallish specks and rat reds mixed in with the occasional hardhead. Nice time.
Sept 29 '03 (ICW) Fished a day by myself. Nothing much beats doing something you really like to do, with or without a companion. Did ok. Found a handful of nice specks just off the intracoastal. Lots of water in the Laguna. Area's that are normally 1' deep are more than 2' deep now. Guess that storm and a steady ne wind pushed the tides around. I would say that when the water runs out to normal, fishing will be real good. Still too many little scrub fish around to throw soft plastics. I heard that topwater action is back on the way up, but had no success this time myself. All in all I enjoyed some super weather and a day of fishing.
Sept 10-12 '03 My brother Ernest and I headed south for or annual fish/relax deal. We caught a handful of specks and a red or 2. Not too much doing anything really.
Aug 28 '03 Kind of slow, but managed to find enough fish to keep us occupied. Big catch was the flounder and red pictured here. Work it slow, fish early and stay late.
July 31 '03 Ray and I fished a day, hit the beach and had some fun. I think the fish are headed back into the "hot-weather" pattern.
July 1-4 '03 (BH) Took the family to the coast for some fun in the sun. Fished on and off with the kids and others and really didn't catch much. A red here and there and a trout or 2. I have seen better fishing in the areas I typically have fished. Did have a ball one morning in the boat hole with a school of big skipjacks.
June 8 '03 (NH,ICW,CCt) Fished over the last couple of days. Man it was great. I am finally holding to my word and wading some of the areas I have had success fishing in the past. It paid off in huge dividends with better average fish and a more pleasant atmosphere out of the boat. Be patient as the fish would hit hard for a couple minutes and then gone to not return for another 10-15 minutes. Caught 30-40 nice specks to 24" or 25" and a couple of reds about the same size. Can't wait to do it again.
May 5 '03 (KR) I'm telling you the wind blew 40 mph and when it died down the fishing shut right off. We did pretty good drifting along the pot holes with salt water assassins. I like that new "space guppy" or plum/chart. Its pretty much the same pattern for me. Drift until you identify the water they are holding in and then fish that same basic pattern. With the wind it is easy to pick a water color or change you want to drift. Clear water has really held up in the Laguna this year. Not too much grass yet. We managed to catch 18 or so fish.
April 15-19 '03 (KR) You have to be patient and you have to search around but there are fish there. We found specks to 26" and reds to 28". Days were overcast and mostly windy with temps in the 70's.
April 2-3 '03 (KR) Right back on 'em. Same basic patterns as years before. Both mornings produced nice fat speck's and a red prior to the strong wind. Soft plastics worked through the water column and then quicker as the bite picked up.
Dec 7 '02 (KR) The fish are there to be had, although it takes a little searching around. We found the larger specks and reds on the shallow flats just off deeper, say 5', flats. 1/8 ounce jig with purple/chart and white/chart SW Assassins worked with a super slow bottom bump. The winds had laid down so you could really feel the tap of the strike. After we had our limits of Specks, we released a dozen or so fatty specks trying to get the last couple reds. We ended up with 2 limits of specks and 5 reds.
Nov 11 '02 (ICW) Scattered trout along the edge of the intracoastal and large schools of redfish cruising the deep flats. We caught the speck's, but had no luck enticing the red's to bite. Who knows, not me. We probably saw 50 red's up close and personal, but never even hooked up. Fished with soft plastic SW Assassin in various colors, but white/chart caught the numbers and firetiger seemed to be the ticket for the larger fish. Finished with less than a limit up to about 22".
Oct 29-30 '02 (NH) Searched around and best I could find were right close to home along the deepest drop on a shallow flat. We did get our limits of trout and managed a couple of flounder and a nice red. Aleks had a big red pull off on a nice 25 yard run. All the fish were caught on soft plastics in firetiger, white/chart and plum/chart. They bite what you throw.
Oct 8-10 '02 (CCt, nw of PC) Well it started off waiting for the storm to pass, too much electricity to take a chance. After getting on the water I worked a bone TD Jr while the clouds were still thick and a little rain sprinkled around us. We started on the edge of the intracoastal and picked up a keeper or two, but when we got over the west side of the spoils and around the edge of a particular channel.....a 27" speck slammed the topwater and was hooked up solid. OK now we're off and running. We picked up another handful and then the sun popped out and east wind kicked in and the fishing slowed way down. Next day was more of the same except no big fish early. Around 6pm we were heading back north across a deep flat and ....what the heck that smell and then I spotted a series of slicks, at least 300 yards long. The sickly sweet acrid smell I love most, gotta be specks. Now I have seen some slicks before, but nothing like this. I figured it was a huge school of little specks, but no immediate strikes. Weird. We kept throwing the SW Assassin in purple-blue fleck/chartreuse tail. I slowed it way down to a single bump-sit....bump-sit retrieve and about the time I was ready to pull off and go somewhere else - BAM - and this fish was big. I thought it was a nice red because she stayed down and started the circle the boat stuff. Never saw her till her first pass close to the boat and I couldn't believe it, a speckled trout! After another minute or so she was in the boat, a nice 29 3/4" wide shouldered speck. At the time I thought she was the 30" speck I had been hunting for and I boxed her for the wall. We continued fishing the same series of slicks and after 30 minutes or so and on the very same plastic I caught another that was right at 29 1/2". I released her after some time reviving. That felt good, but rubbed me a little the wrong way. I have always eaten my catch, ever since I was a kid. That's just the way my folks do it. It just hurts to waste good food. I know that sounds chicken shit, but it's true. I struggled with it some but put her back to produce more, and by God if I can do it, anybody can. Not even a picture of the second fish even though it was literally the largest or second largest, as of that hour, I have ever caught. I will have photo's of the fish I boxed, and felt bad about doing so with all the pressure from my sportsman buddies, but will eat her off the grill with a bunch of folks that will appreciate her. So now when I catch a big speck I feel bad about keeping them, bad about releasing them - and - good about doing either one....go figure that one out. What an experience. Maybe I will get that 30" speckled trout after all. It's been along time coming, and in a way, even though I felt a little cheated that these fish didn't quite make it, I am tickled pink to be able to say...I'm still hunting for that 30" + speck...and don't get me wrong, I had a goodtime with these two: I smelled the slick, located it, positioned to drift onto it, used the right artificial bait to have a shot (floating grass and all), worked it right and came away with a a couple of super fish, and that's a heckuva lot more than I could have even thought in my wildest dream two or three years ago. btw they were the only 2 fish I landed that day.
Sept 15-16 '02 (KR, NH) Started on the edge of the intracoastal and reds were there. Topwater in bone TD Jr was the strong producer. Over to the east side and trout were there on soft plastic - SW Assassin in white/chartreuse. We caught a limit of reds and trout. Weather was rain, sprinkle, and clouds threatening to rain and no one else out to bother us...think about it, no sun, nice breeze and no other boats around. It was perfect. Same start Monday with same weather. Fish were off the east side but stacked on the kr shoreline. We caught limits of trout again but it took some doing. Ended up catching nice fat ones over the green lights at night. Same baits - top for reds and SW A for specks. Great trip.
Aug 24-26 '02 (nw of PC) 2 boats and 5 guys, you would think we would have caught a freezer full, but it is fishing. We did catch some very nice red's in several different places and a handful of trout. Seemed that the fish were in potholes that contained grass patches in the middle, and in overall areas where the potholes were scarcer than grass. Does that makes sense? If we got on the edge between areas with a lot of sandy potholes and areas where there were fewer pothole and more grass, and concentrated on the fewer potholes that seemed to have a grass bed within the hole we caught fish and had plenty of strikes. As soon as we drifted off the change area hits diminished to nothing. It was tough to figure out and tougher to stay on the fish because of this so we did good and then worse as the clouds pass or sun got low in the sky where we couldn't see the changes. Fished both the evening and very early in the morning, hours before sunup, and didn't do as good as we did early morning and late afternoon. Didn't sleep much and kept our lines wet. I found the saltwater assassin most productive in glow/white/bone and chartreuse, although did catch some fish on other plastics - especially flapping tails opposed to sharp tails - made it harder for the little suckers to eat the tip. Topwaters weren't the ticket for me this time out. Lots of floating grass to throw between. Easy to do because of the distinct lines of it to aim between. Buddies threw some shrimp and even croaker but weren't really anymore or less successful than soft plastic. I lost a pretty good trout or maybe two. Reds were a real blast. Might have a pic or so to throw on here, but I didn't take the digital this time out. I did notice that in Nix's Saltyangler that Jay Watkins described basically the same thing about the grass within the grass thing and they said in the Caller-Times that fish were in the middle of Emmords Hole - two clues I should have followed a little closer on and we might have caught more fish. I expected to find higher concentrations of fish than what seemed to be available using this technique, but never did. Got to take what is available sometimes and listen a little closer to the real pro's.
Aug 1-7 '02 (M of BB, nw of PC, ne of YC, KR) Another wonderful week in paradise. My son Ray got his first "Grand Slam" catching a flounder, red and 1/2 dozen specks in the same day - all on artificial lures I might add. Scott Coll fished a couple days with us and we did pretty good here and there. As usual Scott was able to string both nice specks and red's. We were successful throwing soft plastic - my new goto is the Texas Trout Killer roach color pattern - and working a mostly slow bottom-bump retrieve. We didn't catch any records or tagged fish, but it was fun. Fish are in the deeper flats and against the King Ranch shoreline. In the clear water before the winds picked up I was able to actually see very nice specks swimming away from the boat. Need to teach Ray about wading, but most of the water was a little deep for it anyway. Lots of red's cruising around. We caught at least 10 undersized on various lures right on the shorelines. I heard about some really great red's being caught so the big fish are out there. Our largest red went to 30", speck to 25". Here are some of the pics:
July 10-12 '02 (w of PC, s of CCt) Weather was iffy, or so I thought, but we packed the family up and headed down anyway. Flooding everywhere to our north. Low and behold the conditions were pretty much perfect at the coast with light winds, unseasonably cool temps, rain on and off, and crystal clear water. I don't think I have ever seen the water so clear this time of year in both the surf and Laguna. Water temp had dropped to low-mid 80's. Anyway everybody caught fish. I got up early and did the first light thing by myself, was I ever rewarded. Both Thursday and Friday morning I found myself on a cove just off the King Ranch shoreline with a whisper of wind, coyotes yelping and speckled trout crashing topwaters pretty much every cast. Because there were some small fish mixed in you had to work the topwater aggressively. After the little ones started the peck-splash routine on the topwater I would start an aggressive retrieve. Pretty much jerk-jerk-reel-jerk-reel-etc. The larger fish would attack only after the little ones pecked and the big ones wanted it fast and hard. I have to call it "topwater nirvana" and if I ever see it that perfect again, I don't know what I might do. Thursday I caught a limit up to 25" with most in the 22" range and chunky. Friday was actually better with some larger fish to 26". Kids had a blast riding horses and swimming. Thank you God.
June 3 '02 (w of BH) Rode down for a quick in and out with Aleks and Glen. Didn't do so good Sunday afternoon while fishing around Estes Flats and California Hole for the first time in a real long time. Monday morning decided to fish close by for an hour or so. Found nervous bait on a shallow point. Threw a saltwater assassin into 6" of water. It was nailed on the first drop and then she shook free. After the lure was dropped by the first fish I started ripping it through the water with a very fast retrieve, and bam- it was picked up again only this time she was on. Nice 27" speck. What a relief, I hadn't lost it. Glen took a picture or 2 (that somehow are lost) and I ended up gutting/heading her for the grill. She had taken the bait into her gullet, guess it was the competition that made her take it deep like that. That is 2 nice fish I shouldn't have killed but for them taking the jig into their gullet. She will be on the grill in all her majesty Friday night.
April 12-14 '02 (e of YC) Weather was perfect, new moon, plenty of fish. Temps were in the 70's, 60's @ night. Fish seemed to be close to the intracoastal in the guts between islands and the nearest flats to these guts. We had a ball and fished till we dropped. Managed to boat close to 70 fish, 60 specks and a handful of nice reds. Sand pockets mixed with grass over 3-4'. Without a doubt, the largest fish were along the edge closest to the channels in shallower water. When I say shallow, I mean 6". You have one drift to catch these fish, or you have to sneak up on them while wading. They won't hold after the first drift. I don't know where they go, or if they just shut down the bite, but be advised if you want to catch the bigger fish with some degree of consistency, get out of the boat and walk to the area you feel might hold fish. We finished with a bunch of specks over 20" with 2 @ 25" and 1 @ 28 1/2".
Feb 2 '02 First trip of the year was a bunch of fun, but weather-wind and moon didn't play out too well for me. I managed to not get shutout and did see some very nice fish being caught, so all in all the trip was a success.
Nov 2 '01 Knew the moon and stars weren't lined up in the manner you might choose to fish, but the weather was so perfect - I went anyway. We pretty much got what we expected, very few fish, and some sunshine. Like I said the weather was too perfect and too little water movement. I'm going to wadefish the area's I have drifted for so long. We'll see how that pans out by the end of summer 2002.
Oct 31 '01 (S of CCt) Fished again this week - caught a handful of nice speck's along the dropoffs adjacent to the spoil islands. Seemed most of the fish I found were again on the west side of the intracoastal, west side of the spoil island dropoffs and guts running through the spoil islands. I had a great time as the weather was picture perfect. Condo is leased until April, so I probably won't have anymore frequent opportunities to fish until then.
Oct 18 '01 (N of CCt) Fished during and after the front that blew through. I always seem to catch more and larger fish with a frontal passage this time of the year. Reds were schooled up on the flats west of the intracoastal waterway. Winds were light out of the north. I hammered them for an afternoon and the next morning on a bone/black/gold spook and watermelon/fire soft plastics. Specks (keepers) were scattered along the west shoreline south of Pita. Smaller specks were thick along both dropoffs of the ditch. After the wind turned back out of the east, my bite shut down. I lost the reds and specks of 14" got boring quick.
Oct 9 '01 Well I got away and fished to my hearts content. Spent 3 days fishing the waters in and around Baffin Bay. We found the fish scattered mostly along the Rocky Slough and dropoffs along the Yarborough areas. Full moon didn't help our effort and the wind blew as usual. I did best immediately after the front came through fishing the west dropoff along the intracoastal waterway across from Padre Isles. There seemed to be alot of 15" specks, which is good, but the larger fish were mixed in. Made it worth while to throw the topwaters. Best red was right at 28", but what a football, thick at the shoulders. Best trout went 25" and ate topdog jr in bone with a red bucktail. Without a doubt the post front nasty looking weather treats me the best.
Aug 25 '01 Fished a couple days with my brother and caught a speck or 2, didn't really fish that hard but had some fun. Specks were in the clear water along the King Ranch shoreline. Reds were along the ditch. Hot and they need the rain.
Aug 11 '01 (W of PC, W of IC) Down to the condo for some r&r. Fish were a bit hard to locate, but once on them it was good. Ron nailed a 28" red first cast of the morning on a chart/firetail flapping shad. He was pumped and ready for more. Well you might know how it can be when the first cast produces a fish as fine as this one...it can be an omen that this excursion will be a one fish deal. We hunted and pecked our way to the shoreline and I stuck a 6" croaker, full of life, on the kalin and heaved it to the edge of the point that protruded out to the side of out anchored down boat, stuck the rod in the rear holder (1. Never do this when you have a large croaker for bait) and proceeded to get my good buddy Ron setup...which , I might add he can do himself from now on. I turn and see my rod is bent over double. I jumped on it and, knowing I hadn't been able feed any lineout to be sure she got that big ol' croaker in her throat good (see 1. above), decided to be proactive and set the hook home. It was the speck I have fished for for many years, I knew it. She fought like the champ she is but I brought her to the boat side for a good look (I actually think she was looking at us looking at her). She had enough left to nimbly avoid the net and sprint under the boat and to the right and back again and around and then...nothing but a wet hook, just like that. and I could see her hesitate for that split second after the hook popped out and then bolt off....and I'm still fishing for a 30"+ speckled trout. What a hoot, 'cause we caught a few more and then it shut down like the lights went out (2. See "Tip of the Decade #2" and handle the net yourself after you have located the darn thing).
July 8 '01 (BB) Family vacation was a real blast. We fished a couple days with a fine guide and a heckuva guy, Kevin Akin. Kevin did a good job keeping us off the lightning and on the fish, for which I am grateful. My son Ray had a blast and managed a limit of specks thanks to Kevin (Coach) helping out. I know for a fact that Ray would prefer to fish with Kevin than running all over tar nation hunting for fish with me. Hope Kevin didn't spoil him too much! I am not accustomed to fishing with a guide, but Kevin did a great job with the youngster and I learned a lot. One thing for sure, I am going to do it again in the near future. I managed to find a fish or two on my own including a nice 30" red - matching Chris' biggest, a 30"er. Christine caught the 2 specks her Dad is holding up in front of her. He put her on those fishing in his favorite hole. Here are the photo's:
June 20 '01 Loaded the gear up and headed to the Aransas complex for some early summer action. We found reds on the flats running up and down the guts with the falling tide. The specks were holding on the shorelines of larger islands in 3' of water where there is grass and sandy points. We caught a at least 15 reds to 24" and found the specks about an hour before I had to leave...should've caught a tub full, but managed 10 to 20". All solid fish and man are they putting up a fight. I don't know if it is the water temp or the competition, but they are aggressive. Plan for the heat and an occasional thunderhead.
May 15 '01 Fished a couple of hours around Shamrock and found afew nice fish. Caught the Speckled Trout pictured to the right 3' off the shoreline. Would have liked to of fished more but time wouldn't allow it.
April 16 '01 (CCt) Planned to take the family to the condo for Easter weekend and, what do you know???but fine weather for a change. Fished a little everyday and had my best luck Sunday morning scoring a limit of red's off the flats. Never ran south of marker 68 and managed to catch a few reds and specks everyday. I didn't leave the area and we ate what we caught. Biggest redfish was 26" and caught on shrimp, although did nail a couple on topwaters, that new halloween-bone-silver top dog jr. Too bad but had to head home for work. Got a picture of the big red coming. Wind howled out of the e-se and hot and cloudy, say mid-80's. Water temp is up and spring tide is in full swing. Fishing will continue to improve.
Feb 9 '01 Finally, a chance to go and marginal weather....I went. Fished pretty hard in windy and cool conditions, some sun. Spotted some red's cruising the flats and was able to finally entice a 28" fish to slam a top dog in trout. Wonderful to feel the red strip line for his life....he ended up in the ice box. Other than that spent our time enjoying the fishing - rather than catching. Fished with mostly soft plastics and aside from the occasional bump, just exercised the muscles.
12-01-00 The weather seemed right, but must have been not cold enough and not warm enough because I had little or no luck. Boxed 2 keeper specks and that was it. Really only fished a couple hours. I didn't even post this one until now, Jan 2. Come April 2001 I'll be looking for decent weather and a box full of specks or maybe just a few real good ones.
10-31-00 I found the time, and made the most of it...reds and specks were few and far between in the upper Laguna Madre. We found them in very shallow water over the islands that were flooded with the high tide. Top water baits seemed to work the best. Wade if you can because the reds were spooky on this Halloween. Biggest red was 27" on bone and silver topdog. I couldn't get them to eat the soft plastics. Things could be worse.
10-19-00 Took the other baseball coach fishing for a day...we had a great time catching fish on top water baits exclusively. I love it when you can tie on artificial lures and not hassle with the live stuff. The weather couldn't have been better, 70's and part time sunshine with a light south breeze. First fish of the day was a 26" speckled trout caught in 8" of water adjacent to a gut north of pure oil channel. She blew up on a topdog (bone/silver) and I knew she was hooked good when she continued to thrash on the surface that extra second. Nice healthy fish that peeled several yards of 10lb test before she succumbed to the landing net. I matched her with a 27" red that sucked the lure in while it lay still in the same stretch of water. This guy didn't even make a significant blowup...just sort of sucked it under. It was a memorable battle and the hook fell out of his mouth without being touched once the fish was in my hand. The remaining catch included a nice 25" red that Carl caught on his topdog (Halloween) which was his first significant catch on a topwater. He had the pleasure of seeing the redfish approach and slam his lure....he hollered "holly Toledo" right before the fish hit. I know the adrenalin rush this can bring and I think Carl might be hooked on the surface lures for awhile - or until he wears his throwing and twitching arm out. I also caught 2 specks on the same lure at the same time....this is a first for me, one on each treble hook. I've heard of this happening, but have never seen it. We ended up with three gallon bags of fish fillets. Try the flats on warm days and channels on cooler days. Drum should be running in force after the next major cold front. See you out there. I am still fixated on the fish that broke off my top water in June. I want another shot at her as she, without a doubt, will be the largest fish I have taken on a top water. I am still plugging.
10-7-00 Fished a couple days out of Corpus. Stuck close to the condo and did most of the catching along the drop off along the intracoastal north of the causeway. Specks hit piggy perch free lined in the pot holes and guts. Smaller red's were around, but again I failed to find the large schools. Weather was beautiful until Friday after the front rolled in. Ended up catching redfish, drum, and trout in the Padre Isle canals, using cut mullet.
9-12-00 Went to Corpus for a day of fishing and fun. Caught a handful, specks and reds, along the drop-offs and flats north of the causeway. I did most of the damage between 6am and noon on bone/silver top dog jr - my kind of fishing. The trout were held up in a hole about 5' deep. The specks were real competitive slamming the topwater almost every cast for an hour or so. I heard these fish before I saw them. The larger fish were "plunking" the surface with that type of sound. I knew there were keeper fish in the area. Bait was thick. It had been awhile since I have been able to scratch out a decent number of fish on topwaters, so I suppose it is that time of the year again...GREAT. Water was moving and throngs of finger mullet were scattered along the intracoastal and various channels. It really looked good to see so much bait in the water. Ended up with just less than a limit of trout and one red. A guide at Clem's cleaning table was filleting 2 monster reds, 40" and 42", both caught in the bay system, so he said - maybe east flats. Most of the fishers are soaking piggy's and croaker. Reds were cruising the flats in 2's and 3's. I missed the large schools or they weren't where I was.
8-16-00 Catching fish is fun! We fished Sunday and Monday with a fair amount of success. Sunday early evening the speck's and red's ate soft plastic for supper....all the colors of the rainbow....it was great. The reds hit the bait on the drop - just cast to the edge and let it slowly sink and bam. The specks liked the bait worked across the surface where it would spit and pop. We caught several trout over 20" plus a large number over 15" and 5 nice reds to 24" or so. Almost a full moon and they turned on just as the moon came up. Caught the largest speck (25") under the full moon on a top dog jr in bone. Hooked her in the anal fin, I'd say she slapped the topwater to kill it and I got lucky and snagged her. This makes about half a dozen or so I have hooked this way over the last couple years. We set up on the edge of a grass flat adjacent to a spoil island with a channel right in front that ran all the way to the intracoastal. Technically they should have been there and, more importantly, luckily they were. Monday same basics, tough wind with the storm blowing through, fewer fish, but bigger specks...I had a great time on the water. Picture to the right.
7-27-00 Specks and reds are out on the flats hanging close to dropoffs. I have been concentrating my efforts fishing the middle grounds and trying to find good fishing without having to run all the way to Baffin. My little old boat motor makes it a long run and ..I'd rather be fishing. Anyway I have been fortunate to find fish along the intracoastal up on the flats and over to the King Ranch shore. Managed to get a 30" bull red to the boat after hooking it on a red/white gambler flapping shad. He was in a pocket or gut just off the intracoastal. Absolutely a very cool fight on my little penn. Usually my fishing partner would be the one to get the big red, but not this time. Every fisher has his day! Put together an ice chest full of fillets and headed home.
7-21-00 Still hot, but worth the time to wet a line. Specks are hitting bait in deep water around structure and on the intracoastal waterways edge. Reds are still hitting shrimp and soft plastics on the flats around spoil islands. I fished periodically through the week and did ok scratching out a few fish an outing. My son caught a Mangrove Snapper in the intracoastal around marker 63. Next thing you know Snook will show?
7-5-00 Fishing is just fine. It is getting hot, so plan accordingly. This day there was a light breeze early and 15mph winds later in the day. Trout were hanging around the edge of channels and the intracoastal. Later after the wind picked up I found nice specks up on the flats in and around these same areas. Best fish was caught around 3pm on a flooded grass flat with quick access to deeper water. Didn't catch any reds, but spotted several cruising the flats.
6-5-00 Fishing was great. Weather near perfect. Light winds out of the northeast, overcast sky. We fished the edge of channels and up on the flats and scored plenty of keeper specks to 23". After a monster explosion and hookup, this behemoth of a big fish cut the 20lb leader as it peeled line heading straight away. First topwater bait I have left in the mouth of a still swimming fish! This one was a hard charger with the weight to back it...certainly the largest fish I have had on the line after eating any of my topwater plugs. Most of my activity was on a bone topdog jr. Put the boat in at marker 37 and headed south. Mostly fished between the humble and pure oil channels. Find water that is moving and bait and you can't loose. Can't wait to carve enough time out to head back.
4-18-00 Wow! What a wonderful way to spend a day and a half....FISHING! Put in at Fin and Feather and headed for California Hole Sunday late afternoon. We had live shrimp, and I had my top water arsenal. Caught about 5 nice speck's and a couple red's including a 29" specimen that David nailed with shrimp under a alameda float. Monday morning dark and early we made the jaunt to the same area. Concentrated on working the trolling motor along the islands and super shallow water and it paid off. I finally stuck a nice red, and got this one into the boat, with a Halloween Top Dog (all blowups were short and uneventful until I slowed way-way down and tied the Halloween on). We managed about 15 fish total mixed with red's, speck's and a flounder. We had a self imposed minimum of 16" and 21" on the trout and red's so we didn't have to head for a tape every other fish. One nice speck about 20" or so. The spring tides have arrived and should do nothing but get stronger and fishing should do the same - now is the prime time for me. With any fortune, I'll be able to fish again soon. Weather was nice and hot. Breeze out of the e-se. Water looked real good, clear to green with some sandy-muddy stuff in the normal area's. No rain, some clouds early and late.
03-01-00 Recently I have been fishing the Pedernales and catching whitebass consistently with shad raps along the drop off of the main river channel along rocky drop offs and sandy points. The weather has been so dramatic this season that it is difficult to plan a trip to the coast. Should it remain warmer than usual and when the tides come back up Speck's should turn on. I have read recent reports that the drum run is underway along the intracoastal waterways and slot red's are showing back up on the flats. First break I can find, weather permitting, I'm headed for Corpus.
02-07-00 Well, I've had better fishing trips - thank God - because we sure didn't find any decent fish this time out. Fished about every drop off we could find in the south Aransas Bay and Redfish Bay area. Wind was light from the se and water temp varied from 52-62. Partly cloudy to sunny. Water is gin clear except on top of the dark mud, which of course warmed up the fastest. We found trout to 16" in the various cuts off the main channels. Not one redfish. You have to take the bad with the good and this was one of those trips for me.
01-14-00 Finally, an opportunity to fish. First go at it in 2000 was a little lame, but managed a handful of keepers. We searched long and hard to find the fish and when we did find them we were only 30 minutes from having to pack it up. Some days peanuts - some days shell. Gary caught a nice 27" Red and also topped us with a 20" Speck. Both caught right up on the drop off of an old pass off a main channel. Never did find much on the flats and tidal movement was nill until an hour or so before we caught fish. Searched from yucca cut to the flats of redfish bay. Waded Steadmans and the east pass into redfish bay. Threw top dogs and soft plastic. Biggest fish were caught on strawberry and white cocahoes. If I did it again, I would stick to the passes and spoil islands along main channels and skip working the flats. Wind was se and mild, partly sunny and 70 degrees, just prior to a ne front that dropped the temps abit and kicked the wind up to 20+. Didn't have the water temp gauge although water was gin clear to clear green. Moon was 1/4 or so.
11-16/19-99 I got a load of fishing done (although I'm ready to go back) and caught some fish. Conditions on Tuesday through Thursday were next to perfect, water temp around 74, sunny and mild easterly wind with temp in the high 70's. Water was gin clear on the flats west of California Hole and if you move quietly the red's could be spotted pretty regular. Thursday morning caught a limit between 24" and 28" plus another handful of throw backs. A few trout mixed in to 23". Red's were hanging in very shallow water early and late. Look for bait fish activity against the islands and spoil banks and clouds of mud on the flats for red's and trout. I found the Top Dog jr. in Halloween most effective, a gold Excalibur swimming image ok and shrimp under a float very productive after the sun got up. I'm telling you the weather could not be beat for comfort while fishing, and the catching is good too. Look for a front soon to bring the water temps down into the 60's and watch for the top water action for Speck's to really turn on after the sun warms the flats. I'm excited about the prospects for an outstanding winter during "between fronts" and even in the cold 50's and 60's that are coming (I can't stand it when it get's colder than that). BTW sheepshead were pretty thick to.
11-7/9-99 Finally loaded the boat and made a trip to the coast. It had been too long since the last time out. Fished around the pure oil channel south of Corpus. Found red's to 24" and speck's to 19" in clear water close too the King ranch shoreline. Mostly in 4' of water. Didn't tear them up but had a fine time. Fished afternoon and next morn.
Packed up and headed for Aransas Pass at noon. Found a couple nice red's against the shell where Morris-Cummings pops out into Aransas Bay. Caught a 26" on a bone topdog jr and a 28" with shrimp. Coach of my son's fall baseball team nailed the big one - great tussle on light tackle. Also caught some nice trout bumping a rb/chart gambler along the bottom real slow. The next morning red's were bunched up (and so were the fisherman) along the pot holes west of California Hole. Caught a 22" and 25" and a bunch of 19 7/8" fish. Trout were mostly small.
Winds e/ne light. water temp early a.m. 70-72, late 74-76. Clarity gin clear (where the fish were) to greenish. Red in the dark but clear water against the K.R. shoreline was bright orange and specks caught there were also very brightly colored. Perfect weather. Put a few fish dinners together and was ready to turn around and head back 1/2 way to Austin....if not for the family....
8-2\4-99 Loaded the family up for our annual trip to Port Royal - kids love the pool and beach access! I took all the boys fishing and we caught fish. Put in at Marker 37 and headed south about 8 miles. Fished guts along spoil islands and cuts off the flats. Specks and Reds everywhere...caught fish every time out and when it wasn't great fishing was able to spot fish cruising in 2's and 3's. Concentrated effort between Pure Oil and Bird Island toward the King Ranch shoreline. The kids caught specks to 24" and reds to 23". They had a memorable time and will probably be somewhat hooked on bay fishing. I caught a 25" flounder one morning as well as a number of specks and Monday afternoon caught a 27" Speck! Hard to find shrimp but did find some for the kids to fish with....and after all the top water and soft plastic chucking I have done, that's what I caught the big speck on! The only cast I made that afternoon after the kids were starting to let the line drift under the boat. I picked up a rod and treated myself to a cast and bam! I guess I was rewarded for introducing the kid's to fishing! Can't wait too get back. Falling barometer (30.04-29.95), rising dew pt (73-75), increasing winds (0-10mph), temp increasing to 91. Scattered clouds.
7-13/14-99 Fished an afternoon and a day. Had to dodge the rain, but winds layed down nicely and fishing was ok. Caught red's, speck's and flounder. Most of the nice fish were caught in the shallow water right up against shell banks adjacent to deep water, 6'-12' along channels. Fished around the Aransas Bay area. Ended up with specks to 22" and reds to 24". Finished with about 20 fish between 2 of us. Used croaker, shrimp and top dogs early. Watch out for the heat!
6-10-99 Drove down to fish a day with buddies who were down for the week. They had excellent luck anchoring along the rigs on the far north side of the bay. We did the same but wind was too strong and soaked us all. Trout were there. Free lining croaker right up against the rigs. Spent the late afternoon wading and casting topwaters along the Quarantine shoreline. Tailing red's wouldn't eat any of the arsenal I threw at them. Did catch 2 trout to 19" on top dog's. I'd recommend the rigs for trout, say 3'-9' of water and as always shallow banks with topwaters real early and late. I should have tossed the reliable cocahoe minnow in white/red to the red's?? Right??
5-29/30-99 Fished around the Aransas Bay area. South side of Mud island was definitely the hotspot for red's and trout. Trout were hanging around the break outside the shrimp boat. Red's were inside and scattered. Afew fish here and there other wise. Top waters just didn't produce. Hits were typically short. Did catch a 21" trout and hooked up with a nice red a couple sec's. Couple other blowups. Most of the fish were caught on live shrimp. Way too many boats on the water in this area. Next time I'm going back to the Laguna Madre.
5-13-99 Fishing around the Aransas Bay complex is HOT! Tuesday evening kept myself entertained throwing a Top Dog in blue/chart/silver. Action was hot right at sundown along the Klondike's. Landed a 21" Speck that looked like a trophy when she hit the lure, coming completely out of the water with gills and mouth wide open! Had 2 more huge blowups with one stripping line hard but did not stay hooked up. Finished with 4 nice fish. Wednesday Specks were thick on the north beach of Mud island in 4' of water. They liked rootbeer/chart gambler under a rattling cork until the porpoise ganged up around us. These animals played until we would hook up and then would lay around the boat waiting to see if we were going to release the fish for them to eat. California hole is holding trout and reds and there are even flounder on some of the sand banks. Finished the day with a Speck limit to over 21", 2 red's and a flounder. Great day. Most of the fish including the red's were caught on the before mentioned Top Dog. Barometer steady @ 29.83, dew pt steady @ 70-72, winds 13mph, scattered clouds, air temp in the 70's.
4-13-99 Just have not had the proper time on the water recently - will definitely make a point to fish more soon. Put in at Fin and Feather early Tuesday and headed for the back side of Mud Island. The se wind blew 30mph pretty much all day and we needed the protection. Caught a nice mess of Specks to 24" on top dog in mullet and shrimp under a rattling rig. Found afew reds and more Specks on far south end of Estes Flats in 2' of water adjacent to spoil islands. Had a lot of fun and intended to fish Wedn but was called back to Austin.
A note: Had heard they tore up nice sized Specks, culled a limit to 20"+, at the Fin and Feather dock between 1am and 5am (was told there and then heard again from some folks in town). Also most of the Specks we caught were carrying row.
2-20-99 Thought we would try Baffin, but didn't. Stayed close to Corpus and did the best around Pure Oil close to the shoreline. Did boat a 31" red that my buddy caught and tagged. This fish was around the spoil island on the Humble just north of the JFK. We had a goodtime and put a nice mess of fish together, spec's, red's and sheepshead. Got out of the water just before the norther blew in. Watched a group that fished the badlands clean 38 spec's and 11 red's (3 tagged). Should have gone to Baffin. Barometer steady @ 29.92, dew pt steady @ 64-68, winds 6mph, mist, air temp in the 60's.
2-1-99 Up at 4am, put in at Conn Brown by 8:30am. Tried Steadmans and HogIsland early and on to California Hole by mid day. Primarily fished top waters, top dog in blue-green chartreuse was the producer. Caught 3 keepers to just under 26". All were caught in 1' of water after the sun popped out and warmed the flats.
1-19-99 I have enjoyed the opportunity to fish a day with fine company! Put in at Conn Brown Harbor and fished sun up to down with a couple of great fishing partners. Wore us out and then we made the trip home. Weather could not have been better - high 70's with intermittent fog and light wind. I did best with a "gold Kroc" spoon for redfish to 24" and rootbeer/chartreuse Gambler bait for smallish trout. Hog island produced the red and most of the trout were found drifting Steadmans. Ended up with a few pounds of nice fillets as a bonus! I sure appreciated the trolling motor on the flats and around the islands, kept us on good water. Lots of bait fish around Hog Island. I would fish that area more meticulously if I had the time. Gold is the color.
1-8-99 Fished a few hours on Travis. Not much fish and none for me. Buddy did catch a nice 3lb Blackbass and upon dropping a glob of Uncle Charlies stink bait down 40' he darn near got pulled out of the boat - 12lb yellow cat grabbed it before it hit bottom. I thought it was going to be too big for the net the way it pulled, funny what 40' of depth does for a fish. Anyway that was it for the day.
1-4-99 I did it! Before I even had a chance to cast the first lure, I stuck one of the treble hooks clean up to the shank in my right index finger. I had to look twice before I could believe it. Gary reminded me of the slip the fishing line around the rounded part of the hook and hold the eye down flat and yank the hook out trick. Well he did it and it worked - not even any meat on the barb. Get your specific directions from a doctor, but in a pinch this method works, or I should say "worked". It will probably yank your tonsils out by way of your thumb! We didn't catch much in the way of fish.
12-31-98 Made it to Corpus for a couple hours of fishing. The wife and I hooked up the scout and in a whirlwind headed out. Actually spent about 4 hours on the water. Fished the north end of the Humble channel and around Boat Hole, up and down the intracoastal in the marker 69 vicinity, and around Pure Oil Channel. I thought the Boat Hole and north end of the Humble would be stacked with trout but only small fish to be found. Same around marker 69 and Pure Oil for me. I did nab a couple of twin 19" sheepshead, but that was about it for keepers - they are a bitch to clean, but I did it. What a great day to be on the water. Mild temps, soft breeze and not many boats about. I was pretty much in heaven. I'm not going to wait so darn long before I go back, it had been almost 3 months. As far as what seems to be hot: Nice spec's, some drum and sheepshead coming out of the mouth of Baffin. They are catching limits of drum at night under the lights at Clem's Marina under the JFK on shrimp and cut bait. Marker 69 area had yielded nice spec's the afternoon before I arrived but I had no real luck early.
12-20-98 Have been fishing Pedernales arm at night under lights with grubs in chartreuse, brown and black and catching smallish white bass. A decent fish here and there. Just some fun. Blacks are pretty much thick but have not caught many of much size.
12-4-98 I plugged in the trolling motor today, it was a handful to mount. All systems go, now all I need is an opportunity to fish! Now I need to get a manual jack plate. I believe a manual will do the trick and I just don't want to invest in a hydraulic. I figure I can adjust to conditions as I really
need the thing to get up on plane in the shallow water and still be able to pull my kids around on their tube things. We'll see.
12-2-98 Apparently I'm going to miss fishing the coast in this great weather! I have fished a couple days around here and caught a couple blackbass. Nothing major just enough to keep a line wet. Seems to be alot of fish on the Pedernales arm of lake Travis. I mark a bunch and catch afew. A friend stopped by the other night and offered to let me use a trolling motor he's had stashed in the garage. Could be my opportunity to improve my catching. I always drift off the fish before I'm finished trying to catch 'em. I'll probably have the chance to head to the coast in the worst conditions. Actually I do better in the cooler weather. It seems I find the biggest fish in the rainy, cold, windy combo weather and freeze my butt off miserable to the bone catching them. Actually I'm glad to do it. Last couple years I put more fillets in the freezer between December and May.
10-28-98 Put in at the "Narrows" on Lake Travis. Water was 4' low and made the trip up abit treacherous. Did catch a couple decent fish with shad raps. Great weather. Best bet would be to fish around the island just around the cliffs headed north from the ramp at the narrows. Fish seemed to be stacked around the drop off closest to the island.
10-7/9-98 Fished out of White Sands in Port Isabel Wednesday and Thursday. Conditions were gusty winds out of the north and choppy. Water looked like nasty tea south and in the South Bay. North water was crystal clear with abrupt color changes on both sides of the intracoastal waterway. We fished the color change between the clear and the murky white, say it was trout green. Area was couple miles north of the convention center to couple miles south and on east side of channel. We did well, trout to 25", on shrimp under a popping rig and rootbeer/chartreuse Gambler 6" flapping shad. Ended up with about 18 nice fish - no limits but enough to enjoy the fishing. The clear water was chalk full of small fish and they would tear up even the artificials. Never found any decent red's although I'm sure they are around. Rough water kept us off the jetty area. Fished the Stover Point and Airport areas - rough ride to get there - with no decent fish.
9-17-98 Put the boat in Decker (Walter E Long) to fish an hour or so. Fished with crank baits and Shadrap (one of the best fish catching lures - imitates a shad, runs about 9' ). Caught 3 blacks to 3.5 pds. Had a goodtime - released all fish.
8-6/7-98 Fished Port Isabel area with very limited success. Probably the sorriest fishing I have experienced in this area. Fished along the spoil islands, color changes on both sides of the intracoastal, Stover Point to Cullen House and Gas Well Flats plus Mexiquita Flats. Most of the fish were caught on Top Dog or red/white super spook early. Just could not get on them and stay on them. The last few trips have been skinny for me. Time for my luck to turn - next time out!
8-1/3-98 Took the wife and kids to camp one night and hotel another. We had all had a wonderful time. Fished alittle, didn't catch much - few red's to 21". Did have a couple blowups on topdogs early Monday south of the Pink cabin just north of Bird Island and south of Pure Oil. Camped at the park across the causeway and toward Port A. Nice park for the kids, not alot of hollering and drinking. Stayed at the Holiday Inn on island side of causeway and lots of partying and loud hard rock going on Sunday. Didn't like the atmosphere for the family. Atmosphere mellowed for an improved Monday.
7-8-98 Found fish at Shamrock Cove. The nw side of Shamrock where the water flows out from the flats and into a small cove, where the tank and stuff are, and into CC bay is one beautiful spot. Grass and potholes abound and wading the outside shoreline is a pleasure on the hard sand bottom. Thing is trout were still mostly small 15" although red's were up to 28". We didn't fish much but caught afew and had a great time.
6-15/17-98 Fished hard and caught very few decent fish. I say decent because the small trout and rat red's were everywhere - I'll bet we caught 50 fish too small to keep, and we kept on the move trying to find the decent fish - never stayed on the hole where we caught small fish. Disappointing trip and hot too.
5-31/6-2-98 Fished Estes, Steadmans, Redfish areas and outside islands to no avail. Picked up and headed to Corpus. Tore the trout and red's up on the "old" King Ranch shoreline (north end of the Humble channel) at dusk. Finished with several Red's plus a tagged 32" and good number of trout to 21".
5-4/7-98 Fished Estes Flats to Jetties. Did the most damage catching specs north side Quarantine Island shoreline in 4' of water. Caught several over 20" and another handful over 18". Red's were mostly around the barrier islands around the intracoastal off of Estes and Steadmans. Picked up several keepers each day-mostly late afternoon and early morn. Trout were scattered compared to last year at this time.
3-13/15-98 Took the family to meet some friends and their kids in Port Isabel. Had a blast! Weather was ok, overcast (some light rain) and breezy (winds to 30mph out of the SE). We caught spec's to 24", mostly in the 19" range, and red's to 23". Most of the fish were caught drifting Mexiquita flats and both side of the spoil islands along the intracoastal. Sunday we almost got blown out but managed to stay in shallow or protected water - wind really whistled at 30+mph - kind of a rough, wet ride home especially close to the bridge. Threw every kind of artificial, soft plastics and top waters in variety of colors, to not much success. The fish were into live bait - mostly shrimp which were fair size and in abundance. Winds shifted Monday to the NW and real mild with temps in the 80ish - didn't catch but a spec or 2 in the nice weather. So we headed (via van) north for the remote beach and dunes hunting sea shells - kids loved it!
2-13/26-98 Well I fished freshwater an afternoon there and morning here and a mid-day over there! It's not easy to find the time to wet a line with kids running around the house and baseball coaching and throw in some soccer and, of course, you have to make a living (making a living is not the same as making a life). Anyway the white bass fishing on Lake Travis has slowed some. Waters all murked up from the rains and fish are getting tough to find. It seems you either catch a 5" fish or a 16", nothing in between. A buddy caught a white that was 16 1/2" and fat! I'm ready for the coast, but....I'll make time sometime.
2-9/10-98 Left Marker 37 early Monday morning and headed to Baffin Bay. Started at the rocks along marker 4 in mouth of Baffin. Drifted over rocks most of the morning catching large sheepshead and trout on shrimp under popping cork. Kept 4 trout in the 22 - 24" range and a couple of sheepshead. After the wind started howling that afternoon we headed for protected water along the King Ranch shoreline. Pretty much hit and miss, mostly miss, the rest of the day. Tuesday started early and decided to hang around the causeway adjacent to Flour Bluff. Concentrated on the channels and along any drop-offs. Ended up with a handful of specs to 21". Ate lunch and decided to go ahead and fish that afternoon in a gusty 20-30mph NW wind. Tried fishing shrimp on the bottom for drum but never had any luck. Saw some folks releasing a big drum along the main channel late the day before and heard about some 32"-38" drum caught the night before from Clem's fishing pier (they just rigged up lights in the water). We ended up spending most of the afternoon on the north end of the New Humble Channel and it paid off. Caught 3 trout around 20" and 3 red's (2-26", 1-30"). All caught on the drop-offs along the channel edges. My partner tagged the 30" bull red and chalked up another successful fishing trip to perseverance - keep your line wet.
1-29-98 thru 2-2-98 Have caught the biggest whitebass (avg 14" to 16") I have ever caught in any numbers! Fishing Lake Travis this past week I have caught up to 35 fish a day, including Saturday morning in a stiff and cold rain, and culled them to 13"+. The increase in size limit (12" minimum on Lake Travis) over the past few years has been a major success. When I was a kid we would catch tub fulls of the white's along sandy points that were mostly 10". In the past few years, after my return to fishing hard, it seemed catching the 12" minimum whitebass was tough. I guess those that were released have all come back as bigger fish. Makes sense to me. Anyway, although I am just recently reacquainting myself to serious fishing, I am a believer in the conservation techniques setup by current wildlife management folks and practiced by the majority of fishers.
1-24-98 Took the wife to Corpus for some fishing and fun Friday and Saturday. Put the boat in at marker 37 around 4pm Friday and headed to Pure Oil channel. First cast brought a 24" spec to the boat! and it didn't stop there. We worked the rootbeer/chart flapping shads along the edge of the intracoastal out from the grass at barely a crawl. The best fish actually picked the bait up as it lay, what appeared to be, motionless on the bottom. We seemed to catch specs solid for about an hour, finished with 8 nice fish (20"-24"). Saturday got up early to a cold (40's) and blustery day (5-15mph). Sun was bright - breeze cold. Tried several areas along intracoastal and Baffin with no success. Pulled into area just north of Compuerto Pass along the King Ranch shoreline and made drift after drift catching nice spec's (pretty much all over 19") and a bunch of rat reds - wife landed a 24" red that made it to the deep fryer last night. Same bait, including red/white and purple queen cocahoes. I lost a real nice trout on the way back just north of pure oil - darn! Found a few flounder on sand banks here and there. Finished with a good bunch of fillets and lot of fun. The wind shifted to the southeast as we were heading home so I had the wind at my back coming and going but I bet the fish are elsewhere to be found now. We bumped into a Captain Carl Wentrcek who had been catching loads of nice trout and red's in Baffin. He sure seemed like a nice enough fellow and definitely knowledgeable.
12-9-97 Made a run down to the coast between fronts and enjoyed great weather and fair fishing: Docked at Palm Harbor and fished the Estes Flats and California Hole area's sunrise to sunset. Mild breeze and temps in the 70's made for an excellent time. Ton's of trout in the 14" to 18" size on the flats primarily over shell bottom in 3' of water. They tore up the rootbeer and chartreuse 6" flapping shad's and didn't hit the red, purple, glow, or anything else including topwaters early. Found red's in 18" of water along the drop between grass and holes. Kept one red of 23" and caught several more in the 16" to 20" range. Same bait moving quick. Trout hit a medium bump retrieve, not too slow or fast. It's too cold for me till the next break between fronts.
11-6-97 Have taken the time to fish a little freshwater lately since I haven't had time to make the coast run. Travis is down and difficult to maneuver. Didn't have much luck there. Did get into a few hybrids on Decker last week. I really enjoy the hybrids spunkiness. Caught a dozen or so on the southwest side of the lake on shadraps and rattletraps. Will be back for more and will soon make a trip to fish the drop-offs around Shamrock Cove unless some???fisherman??? provides some insight on where the fish are elsewhere around the Corpus/Rockport area.
10-2/3-97 Hit Port Isabel ready to fish after a relatively long hiatus from the coast. Weather was fair, hot and intermittent rain with a easterly wind. Plenty of "red tide" looking stuff in the main channel although further north toward Stover Point and the Cullen House water looked good. It was too windy to spot the herds of red's I had heard were around that area, so cast 'till our arms wore out and caught only a handful of keeper red's and some very few keeper trout. South Bay was apparently not affected by the red tide and caught afew red's there as well. All in all it was fun but rather dismal fishing. We finished with less than 2 limits of red's and less than 1 limit of trout over 2 day's of casting and chasing. There were lines of dead fish drifting in the currents from the causeway to the jetty's. Stunk. Didn't bother to check out the beach as I am sure reports were correct about the numbers of dead fish there. Maybe next time - my source's all claimed fishing had been great up until the day before we arrived and the red tide hit hard. Hope this red tide will pass quickly as this is the largest fish kill I remember hearing of from it.
7-23-97 Caught limit of trout outside Traylor Island early a.m. on shrimp and cocahoes (glow/red tails). It was hot with slight breeze! Searched for red's in the p.m. and scared up a few individuals on the flats of South Bay. Ran into a large school in a cut of Quarantine Island and had some fast action. Seemed they were all 19+" but under 20". Fun on light tackle with Cocahoes.
6-29-97 Winds finally laid and did much better for the next couple days in the Stover Point area including several trout over 22". Caught most of the fish with red or chartreuse soft baits under alameda popping cork. Birds were all over the area. Seemed fishing would improve but had to go home.
6-27-97 Fished the islands along the intracoastal north of Port Isabel. Caught 6-8 nice trout including a 24"er. Most fish located in the trout green water and caught on shrimp under alameda cork. Fished through the tough wind the next day with similar results.
6-25-97 Fished early around Traylor Island out of Palm Harbor. Caught a handful of nice trout on red/glow cocahoe's and later on the falling tide all the red's we could handle on outside beach of Quarantine island in shallow water on shrimp. The family had a blast. A repeat the next day.
6-4-97 Waded the SE side of Traylor early and picked up 3 trout to 20". Late morning found birds working bait on NE end of Quarantine shoreline, huge schools of smallish trout and skipjack. Worked further south and found decent trout in 3-5' of water. Between 4 of us caught 24 keepers and umpteen throwaways on red-white tail and glow-red tail Cocahoes worked at less than a crawl bumping the bottom. Locals said the trout had been bigger earlier in the week, but had slowed down some. Back around 4pm and 2 of us waded same area and used same soft baits but working quick through the shallow water, grass line out to about 18" of water and caught red's to 26" till our wrists wore out! Water in the channel was varied shades of clear green. Caught red's to a limit and released another handful in the muddy stuff and more trout in the deeper water at our backs. Best fishing trip of the year.
6-3-97 Arrived late afternoon. Put in at Palm Harbor and chased birds around Estes Flats area catching a few red's and trout. Used shrimp under alameda cork. Finished with a good mess of fish and weather was great, mid 80's and mild breeze, partly cloudy - same both days.
5-9-97 - Friday morning, prior to the big storm, fished the Shamrock Cove west banks around cuts to the shallow flats and caught several trout (20"-22") and a red. Picked up a bunch of trash fish and schoolies around the east flats general area later. Cleaned fish in a driving rain - could be worse!
5-8-97 - Late Thursday afternoon we drifted the flats west of boat hole, intracoastal adjacent to high line wires to cut between islands, and caught 4 red's(22"-24") with shrimp under alameda float. All fish were in 16" water.
4-17-97 - Fished Thursday and Friday all over mouth of Baffin Bay and King ranch shoreline. Did ok with several redfish and drum over a day and half of fishing. Nailed one bull red just under 32", super fight. That made the trip - had to since we didn't do so well. Weather was overcast with intermittent rain, wind mostly from the northeast-east and cool. Water looked a lot better from JFK to south end of emmords hole. Never did find any decent trout, all small. Heard that a guide tore um' up Thursday, but not us. Saw a good bit of redfish caught pretty much all around. I'm ready for the real Texas spring to start - not this soso stuff.
4-5-97 - Launched at Marker 37 in Corpus and headed down to Baffin for trout I had heard were around. I fished live shrimp under alameda rattling cork because the water was off color. Fished inside marker 4 (Baffin) to the shoreline and did well - better than those I saw fishing artificials. 9 nice trout with two just under 25". Also scared up a bunch of drum and caught a few. Late in the day anchored in the channel close to JFK, fished on the bottom with remaining shrimp and caught 32"+ drum every cast till sundown. That's a gas for those of you who haven't tried it or forgot about it. Didn't see a redfish.
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