Sunday, October 22, 2006

Micro Mania

I was out of town most of the week (imagine that) in a place where fishing was out of the question.

When thoughts of the weekend began to sneak into the edges of my mind I was finding it hard to nail down a time slot to get in a little fishing. Our area had recently received over 8 inches of rain and I was pretty sure that Evans Lake would be slow going. I thought about Brazos Bend State park - I haven't been out there in some time but they close the park down to the public this time of year and conduct "wildlife management" activities.

My thoughts kept drifting south to the coastal bays and pier fishing under the lights. The Saltwater Siren Song kept up all the way home and I decided that if I woke up early, I would head to Palacios for a few hours of aquatic sampling before tackling the lawn, picking up the dogs, preparing for my Bible class, catching up on e-mail, drafting up my monthly report (due Monday), and whatever else I could squeeze into the weekend.

The key idea was if I woke up early. I had been in training classes and meetings for three days and traveling from Atlanta to Birmingham to Houston and finally to Needville was sure to set me up for a good long sleep-in morning. Fortunately, I slept on the plane most of the way from Birmingham to Houston. Once my mind gets to thinking about the possibility of fishing I can get pretty focused. I did promise Tracy that I wouldn't set the alarm and for her not to be concerned if she woke up and I was gone.

We got in around 10 PM and after a few hours of sleep I was awake and heading for Palacios. I was hopeful and excited about the possibility of catching it right. The last time I went out like this it was windy and the fishing was off. I hit some light showers on the way through Bay City and began to wonder if this was going to be a bust again.

When I arrived I got a nice surprise. Joe Riviera, another pier fisherman pulled up at the same time I did. I met him last time I was down and enjoyed his company. He is from El Campo and reminds me of Cholo from the movie Lonesome Dove.

Remember this verbal exchange between Cholo and Clara:

Clara Allen: Sometimes it seems like grave digging is all we do around here, don't it Cholo? What do you think happens when we die?

Cholo: Not much. You are just dead.

Clara Allen: Maybe it's not as big a change as we think. Maybe you just go back to where you lived or near your family, or wherever you were the happiest. Only you're just a spirit now... and you don't have the troubles the living have.

I think Cholo and Clara need to come to Bible class.

There were some fishermen (and women) on the 1st Street Pier but many of them were heading in having been out all night. Some reported catching several sand trout and a couple had some keeper specs.

I had played this game before and was ready for just this situation. The bay was dead calm and the lights on this pier are pretty powerful. The water wasn't perfectly clear but it was clear enough and I could hear the trout popping the surface all around the pier. Joe had parked himself at the first light and aready had a line in the water by the time I got my act together. He was using a soft plastic shrimp tail and told me that they were hitting all around his offering but that he had no strikes yet.

I hooked up my ultralight with a flourescent micro jig I had purchased for just this situation. When I fished here in the past, I used a tiny (1/16 oz) double shad "spec rig" made by The Texas Tackle Factory. I was catching two trout every third cast and I was convinced that going smaller was the ticket for these fish.

I took a page from the world of western brown trout fishing and some advice from big brother Mark who told me about using micro jigs for ice fishing and realized you can hook, hold, and land big fish with a small hook if you use light tackle and take your time.

This new 1/32 oz jig is called the Mini-Mite and is made by Cubby.

Another manufacturer, K&E, has a similar product called Whip’r Stoppers .

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The micro jigs are on the bottom right.
The 1/16 oz shad is just above them.
Also shown on the left are some micro grubs.

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This picture shows some other offerings in more standard sizes.

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I tried comparing the glow capabilities of these flourescent baits.

I had to add a split shot to provide enough weight to cast this tiny jig out but once in the fish it was very effective. I alternated between the shad rig and the micro jig and caught over 40 sand trout and several speckled trout including 4 keepers over 15" each. I broke off two additional ones attempting to lift them up on the pier. My next item to purchase is a long handled net!

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Much to the joy of Tracy I decided to practice "Catch & Filet".

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We had a nice grilled trout supper with enough left over for lunch!

Sometimes breaking the rules can lead to fun and success in the world of fishing. If I were to tell some coastal fishermen that I intended on using an ultralight rod with 6 pound test mono and no leader along with 1/32 oz micro jigs intended for perch and panfish I would likely get laughed off the pier. As it was, I shared some jigs with Joe and others and they are all heading to Walmart to buy light rods as we speak. Go figure....................


Bawana said...

Nice going Brother! Way to micro manage those fish. I love Lonesome Dove too.

eatmorefish said...

I think you are way past the sick stage........
Almost makes a bowhunter think about..well....bow fishing! Keep up the good work those fish are training you well, along with the help of the real fisherman...the asian boy!