Thursday, November 23, 2006


In case any readers of this blog want to try their luck, here is the spot for night-fishing in Palacios:

The callouts from left to right are:

Pavilion Pier, 1st Street Pier, Seawall, and Cleaning Table.

For a better view, click on the image, then maximize the view by clicking on the double icon icon that appears. If you are using Internet Explorer the icon looks like this:


Giving Thanks

One picture that Tracy took while we were in Florida last week did not appear until later. In it I was up before the sun and enjoying some predawn surf fishing on Cocoa Beach before we packed up and headed home.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm not sure this scale does it justice but it has become one of my favorite fishing pictures.

It displays the majesty of God's creation and the relative insignificance of man. For fishermen & non fishermen alike the beauty of the scene cannot be missed. I remember the stillness of the morning and the peacefulness and tranquility of that time of day.

As a father, I was reminded of the great blessing of children and as a husband the love of a Christian wife. I was also reminded of the great prosperity we have living in this time and the responsibility that accompanies such.

I am thankful for good and loving parents that were concerned about my physical and spiritual health, for my brothers and sisters who share in that great legacy, and for my inlaws and extended family for their love and support.

Most of all I am thankful for the spiritual family - the Church - established by Christ and of which He is the Head.

We attended a Wendesday evening service here in Ft. Worth and sang, prayed, and heard several Scriptures read concerning thankfulness to God. I was struck by how, far from home, we could still be "at home" with other Christians seeking to honor God.

May God bless each of you as you offer your own thanks to Him.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Up Against The Wall

Tracy says it is my new Friday M. O.

Sleep on the plane - go to bed early and sleep for four more hours.

Get up at midnight and go fishing in Palacios until daylight.

This is probably not for everyone but it seems to be right up my alley.

The morning was cool and calm when I arrived at the 1st Street Pier at 1:30AM.

There were several fishermen on the pier so I decided to try fishing the seawall. There is a light on the big bend of the wall so I started fishing in the dark as I approached this area.

I picked up my first keeper trout on a Lil' Speck Killer from Texas Tackle Factory. I have found that the glow chartruse on a red jig head is the deadly setup for this spot.

There were no sand trout to be found all night which is pretty unusual. I normally catch 5 sand trout for each speckled trout caught but not this morning. Everything I caught had spots.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I picked up this pair of keeper trout on one cast!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The stringer is getting filled up!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Early morning Six-Pack

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
At the cleaning table.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Toothy Grins

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Dawn on Tres Palacios Bay

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, November 17, 2006

One Fish Two Fish

Dr. Seuss would be proud.

I didn't catch a Blue Fish.

For those of you with a sensitivity to fishing please click this LINK and read no further. You will be redirected to a site where the poor fish are not dragged from the sea and eaten or at least photographed against their will.

For the rest of you - read on!

I was up at the crack of dawn bracing against the cool breeze and stringing up my trusty 10-footer, ready to do battle with the surf.

Armed with shrimp and sand fleas, I strode out into the pre-dawn waters of the Atlantic ocean off Cocoa Beach.

I fished until dawn without a nibble but then shortly after sunrise the action began.

I hooked up on a nice black drum and had some fun bringing him in through the breakers.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A passerby visiting from York PA stopped and took my picture.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I continued to fish but this time I tried in a little closer.

This pompano was waiting for breakfast.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I caught another drum and another pompano before calling it a day.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Not a bad way to spend the morning!

We visited the world famous Ron Jon surf shop yesterday.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I call it the Bass Pro for surfers!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cocoa Beach

From coast to coast we are covering the state of Florida on this trip.

We left the Gulf side and drove to the Cape Canaveral and then south to Cocoa Beach to catch up with my workmates for another meeting.

I managed to find a bait shop called, "SHUT UP & FISH" and picked up a variety of bait including finger mullet, clams, sand fleas, and shrimp.

The word was that the bluefish were running and that there were also pompano and whiting willing to do battle in the surf.

I had my trusty photographer (Tracy) nearby and she caught several shots of me soaking up the salt.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I had the 10 footer with a 4 oz weight and was winging it out beyond the breakers when I hooked this whiting.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We had a brief chat and I decided to return him to the deep.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I fished for a while longer and switched to the lighter rod as the tide was coming in.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I managed to hook and land a couple small jack cravelle and one hardhead catfish.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'll display pictures of the jacks but I'll pass on Mr. Hardhead.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Ya'll come back now, hear?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ultralight Surf Fishing

Is it OK to fish while on a date with your wife?

Only if you catch something!

After scouting around last evening we found the local Starbucks and a great looking bagel place, Morty's Bagel Cafe across the Manatee River in Palmetto.

We had planed to take a day of vacation and do some exploring while in Florida.

We had seen enough development and traffic since we had arrived and decided to try out some of the "Real Florida" by visiting some of the nearby state parks.

There are several in the area including Desoto and the two we chose - Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island. Both are considered good for nature hikes, shelling, bird watching, and "other aquatic activities".

After a couple of cups of Starbucks finest and some of Morty's bagels, we took the long way to Clearwater and then up 19A to the entrance to Honeymoon Island. There was a change in weather coming but the temperature was a comfortable 80 deg and despite the gusty wind it looked to be a nice day.

We arrived at Honeymoon Island shortly after lunch and were scheduled for the next ferry ride to Caladesi Island at 1:00PM. I noticed some other visitors looking at something off the boardwalk and went over to see what all the commotion was about.

They were looking at a 6-7 ft Coachwhip snake.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
The word on the "street" was that it had been chasing a rodent and it was fast!

After checking it out and taking some pictures, I motioned for Tracy to come over so she could see it. After she got a look we headed back the way she had come from and saw another equally as big and very close to the walkway.

That was a little un-nerving to Tracy.

She hadn't even seen it when she walked by it the first time.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We boarded the ferry to go to Caladesi and the wind was blowing about 20 knots. We got a little spray on the trip over as we were going against the wind most of the time.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Ferry Dock

The island was beautiful and we enjoyed a long walk down the beach picking up sand dollars and shells and watching the shore birds and pelicans.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Beach Access

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Egret in the Surf

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Raft of shore birds

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Sea Oats

After a time, we decided to stop and take some pictures. I had "volunteered" to bring my backpack to carry water and snacks and it just so happened that I had the telescopic UL and some lures handy.

I began casting out into the surf of the eastern Gulf of Mexico not sure about what I might catch.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I soon spotted several fins cutting the surface of the water. They were black and together in a pod and I couldn't tell if they were sharks, dolphin, or what.

I repositioned and started casting to them with a Renegade stickbait.

Whatever it was all but ignored my offering but I continued to cast as the school moved up and down the coastline.

I was retrieving right through the middle of the pod when I hooked one and off it went.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
It turns out that these were Atlantic Devil Rays and I had "winged" one.
I was woried I might not be able to land them on the UL even though I had spooled up 10 lb test Berkley Fireline.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I found out that I don't know much about these sea dwellers but I am a quick learner.

I now know that they will jump like a Rainbow trout when hooked.
They flap their fins and look very similar to a bird in the air.

I even saw one jumping that was not hooked.

I caught two Atlantic Devil Rays on the UL.

It was quite a ride but I managed to beach them and get them back to the pod unharmed.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This baby had a nice wingspan.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
This is where they get the "devil" from.
These are supposed to look like horns.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Hold on!

I'm trying to get you back in the water!

We took a little nature hike on the way back to the ferry dock but arrived 30 minutes before the boat was due. I took the time to make a few extra casts and managed to find this little redfish across the channel near the mangroves.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We had a uneventful ride back to Honeymoon Island and decided to hang out and watch the sun go down before heading back.

I made a few final casts with my medium weight rod but the surf was too rough for there to be anything in close to shore.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Fading Light

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Working the Surf

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
God's Blessings

Believe it or not we actually did spend most of the day together even though this post seems to be all about fishing! Thanks for taking the pictures Tracy. I had a great day!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tampa Bay

On the road again.

Tracy & I headed to Florida today for a business meeting. I brought some fishing gear intending to wet a line in the eastern Gulf and the Atlantic but found myself with a new opportunity that I had not previously considered.

We crossed Tampa Bay on SR 92 and pulled off on the western shore to get some air and take some pictures. I was the photographer and Tracy was modeling her new sweater when right behind her was a big SPLASH!

I had to get a line in the water even thought I knew that my chances of success were slim to none.

Tracy took over the camera and did get some great shots of the shoreline and of me fishing!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We continued on to Pinellas Park and to the Gulf Beaches.

We drove south from Indian Shores through Redington Shores, Redington Beach, and Maderia Beach. We decided to park & get out for a walk and once again I proved that the Ultralight goes with me everywhere.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I wasn't getting quite the distance I needed but just wait until I pull out the big gun later this week. My 10ft surf rod with enough lead on the end will reach past the breakers!

I had a hard time exercising my Smith Driver training in this place:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm pre-programmed to back into parking places but it's not allowed on Maderia Beach!

Tomorrow promises to be a busy day but we are staying in a hotel right on the Manatee River.

You never know where I might be casting after supper tomorrow!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Best laid plans of mice & men....

I had it all figured out. We were having our annual church leadership retreat at a beach house in Sargent this past weekend and some of us use our "down time" to see what's biting in the Intercoastal Canal just off the edge of the lawn.

Troy and I were able to head down early and decided to fish Mitchell's Cut before our first evening session. We were also looking to fill our bait bucket with shrimp & baitfish for the night-time fishing.

It should have been obvious that we were off to a bad start when I ended up leaving my camera behind. We were less than successful even though Troy caught a handful of shrimp, one mullet, and a small unidentified bait fish with his cast net. He also landed a whiting, but I got skunked.

We decided to head back and fish the IC for a little bit before the meeting started and Troy again had the hot hand. He caught a small sheepshead, and this nice redfish.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I caught a croaker and a couple of gafftop on dead shrimp but was still looking for the real deal.

When the meeting broke up about 10:30PM we headed out to continue where we had left off. We weren't out 15 minutes when a Norther blew in with 30mph wind, light rain, and the temperature dropping 15-20 degrees.

It was obvious that fishing here was a bust. There were whitecaps on the Intercoastal and the wind was blowing right in our faces.

Then Troy came up with "the idea". I'd been talking about how much success I'd been having recently in Palacios and he asked, "Why don't we go there?". Hmmm - the wind would be at our backs if we fished the seawall and we could wear jackets. If nothing else we at least could say we tried.

While our compadres continued to visit and some got ready for bed, we headed off into the night for a fishing adventure.

We found fish in Palacios. The sand trout and several small specks were liking the 1" glow double shad rigs and Troy caught another small redfish.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

For a while we were catching doubles.

This shot shows a triple between two fishermen.

Three specks!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I was in the thick of them when Troy took this picture.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

We didn't catch any keepers - many that were mighty close - but none legal. We were offered two nice fish from a gal who had hoped for a heavier stringer and we gladly took them to the cleaning table.

When we returned with our fish story several couldn't believe we had stayed up all night catching little fish in the cold and wind and others wanted to know when we were planning the next trip so they could join us.

It takes all kinds!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Midnight Madness

I've been thinking about it all week.

A cold front blew in to the Houston area while we were out of town. Night time temps have been in the 40's & 50's and the weather has been clear. To a night-fisherman looking for speckled trout, this news is like honkey tonk music is to a boot-scooter.

I got a few hours of shut-eye after work and dinner with Tracy and woke up without the alarm about 11:30pm.

It was cool and breezy (wind from the E-NE), when I arrived at the 1st Street Pier in Palacios.

There were a few hardy souls braced against the wind with their lines in the water. Some were fishing live bait (mullet & shrimp) and a few were fishing soft plastics.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Fisherman's view.
Looking West along the seawall and towards the Pavilion Pier.

When I first walked out to the pier there was a guy fishing live finger mullet at the first light. He looked tired and cold and was sitting on a five gallon bucket hunched over his rod like a heron waiting for a fish to appear.

I stopped 50 feet past him at the next light which was unoccupied and rigged up my 1/16 oz double shad rig on the ultralight. One shad had become so chewed up during the last outing that I had replaced it with a 1/16 oz Mini Mite 2 glow jig.

I hooked up on a keeper speck on the first cast, much to the surprise and dismay of my neighbor. He had a strike as I was walking by (apparently the first in a while) and had missed the hookset.

After measuring and stringing up my fish, I cast again and hooked another fish over 15". Two casts and I had outfished the guy who had been there all night. He reeled in his rig and grabbed his bucket and stomped off to his truck in total defeat. I found out later that he had talked to some folks on the way in about "some guy with a little rod walking up and catching two trout right under my nose".

I fished the pier and didn't catch or see caught anything except sand trout.
I saw Joe Riveria and was happy to see he was using the Crazy Shad topwater. He had a couple hits and had hooked up on some undersized specks but mostly all he had seen were sand trout as well. I presented him with one of the Crazy Shad I had acquired since the last time I had seen him and informed him about the color - "Smokey Joe". How fitting!

Another guy I met last weekend, "Shane from Bay City", arrived and made the circuit of lights on the pier. He asked me whether I had seen anyone fishing the sea wall and I had not. He went in to give it a try and came back a few minutes later carying a trout that was 14-3/4". He casually dropped me a hint to come on and fish the wall.

I waited until he returned and discretly followed not wanting to attract a crowd (there were only four people fishing - crowded is a relative term).

Shane informed me that he had caught four and lost two casting his soft plastic shrimp tails into the dark water in front of the wall. I hooked and landed a nice 16" fish in about 5 minutes and then hit pay dirt.

This bad-girl was 19-1/2 inches and 2.5 lbs.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photo by Shane

I continued to fish "the wall" and the trout came and went for the next two hours. They never got up on top but if you were patient, persistent, and fished slow, you could fill up a stringer with some nice trout.

I ended up with seven trout over 15". Not a bad payoff for a night's fishing.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I even made some new friends at the fish cleaning table:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

These juvenile pelicans were waiting for the carcasses.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

When I threw one to the water there was a race
to see which one could get to it first.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

The winner still had to escape the hoard of others trying to steal the prize.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

They will have fish for breakfast -

We will have fish for supper!