Sunday, May 13, 2007

Two Pauls (New Pics)

I don't know what else to do. I must bring bad luck to brother Paul.

Every time we go fishing together lately one of us gets the short end of the stick.

I was eager to get him to McNab Lake and after getting the pickup outfitted with some new headgear on Friday, I made the trip to New Caney. The plan was for me to shuttle Paul's boat to Needville and for him to come along later to spend the night before an early morning trip to the Matagorda marsh.

I had the bright idea to drive down to the surf first to see if there were any sea-run speckled trout cruising the shoreline. I've been reading about this and was wanting to throw a silver spoon out into the dark just before dawn.

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As it turned out we probably missed the best hour of fishing in the marsh but I guess you live and learn. We did get to enjoy the stinging bites of some ferocious mosquitoes and Paul barely escaped getting a "soggy bottom" by almost stepping off into a dropoff.

We beat it back to the McNab launch and had the boats in the water by the time it was full light. Paul Huskins joined us and he was ready for a repeat performance from last week.

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2 Pauls at the McNab Launch

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Big John at the Launch Site

The tide was low and going out as we made the paddle in but the wind was flat. We saw lots of mullet and bait (minnows) and tried not to stop too many times on the way in but it's hard to pass up a shot at big swirls and jumping bait!

We arrived at the lake about 7:30AM and planned to be back at the launch by 11:00AM.

I headed back to the inlet where I had missed my chance last week and Paul(1) headed for the eastern side of the lake. Paul (2) was lingering back in the channels no doubt soaking a New Penny Gulp shrimp.

I threw a gold flake TTF Killer Flats Minnow into the opening of the marsh where the water from the lake was draining. The tides definitely have an effect on marsh fishing and this was quite a bit different from last week.

I was suspecting that the predators would be holding near a point of opening where hapless bait would be swept along with the moving water. Last week at high tide, the fish were back up in the marsh feeding on crabs and shrimp right up against the grass.

After a few throws with nothing taking the TTF KFM, I decided to switch to a spoon. I chose a 1/4 oz Weedless Johnson Silver Minnow rigged with a split ring and swivel tied to a 18" 20# mono leader. On the second pass through the current where the bait were jumping I felt a solid whack. I stopped my retrieve and watched as the line began to move. After about 10 feet, I gave a steady pull to feel the fish. "Fish On!" I couldn't tell whether this guy had any size initially but when I tried to bring him to the boat I was made aware that this was no small trout. He took off straight away from the boat taking drag for at least 50 feet. After the first run I got my boat free from its resting place and as I reeled the fish in I was thinking about taking my time. "Don't horse it!"

Once again when the fish saw the bottom of the boat he took off for the other side of the lake. This time in addition to the drag on my reel, he had the free floating weight of "Spot" to contend with. I experienced my first "Texas Sleigh Ride" as this fish pulled me out into the lake and seemed to have energy to spare.

I let him pull me around for a few more runs before trying to bring him into the boat. I finally put the lip grabber on him and pulled him in.

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At last, a keeper redfish.

The slot is 20"-28" with one over 28" per season allowed. This guy measured 21" which gave me pause to think about how much fun a BIG red would be!

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Paul & John with Redfish (Photo by Tracy)

Brother Paul was nearby and provided photographic services and Huskins paddled by some time later with his own supper-on-a-string.

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Paul's Catch

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I heard a story from both Pauls about "the one that got away".

Paul B was disappointed but thought his was an undersized red.

Paul H reportedly hooked a monster on a topwater lure and is fortunate that the hook bent out straight or else he might have been towed back through the channel to the Intercoastal canal and out to the Gulf of Mexico never to be see or heard from again!

My fish story goes like this - I think I may have caught the smallest non-game fish possible on a Zara Puppy topwater. Check out this little mullet:

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Don't worry brother. We are going to hit them again soon!


Bawana said...

I think that I am seeing the tip of a very large iceberg. Not if, but when you guys really hit the fish in there I can't wait to see the pictures. Nice post John and the fish ain't bad either!

Paul Batchelder said...

The lake has not seen the last of me either. I don't think it gets much fishing pressure.....yet. With all the bait there, we will be getting sleigh rides in tandem soon!