Thursday, December 25, 2008

Woody Woodpecker Next Door

I'm always watching birds and am even more in tune with their calls. Recently while at Pelican Point, I heard the unmistakable call of a Pileated Woodpecker nearby. This guy is the largest woodpecker in North America and is a treat to see. They have a 2ft + wingspan and their hammer can be heard almost as far as their call.

The chips were flying as Woody Woodpecker went to town.

I was wondering if this may become a nest one day but after reading about the feeding habits of these big birds, I'm thinking this was just a feeding site where there might be some tasty grubs.

Mr. Squirrel was watching but was mostly unimpressed.

Here is a shot of old Woody. Be sure to click on the picture to get the full view.

The Nights Before Christmas

"Twas several nights before Christmas and all along the river, some crazy fishermen were fishing in between the shivers."

We headed to PPRV #7 on Sunday afternoon and got set up in time to attend evening services in Bay City. After church, grocery shopping, and dinner, I headed out to fish for trout in the river. It was cold enough for my wool hat and fishing scarf and I was expecting great things. I caught a 16" speck on the first cast and thought this was going to be one of those nights. It turned out to be a fun night with lots of fish but no more that were legal.

The light puts a mean spot in the water and it attracts the bait like a magnet.

I did catch this small red who was lurking near the rocks on a gulp shrimp.

This little speck took a nice picture for the blog.

The sand trout were small but plentiful.

We were joined by this heron on a few nights. He was a pretty good fisherman!

I got to paddle on Monday morning. McNab was the destination and redfish were the target. I found pretty good water and when I made it to the first fork I also found some redfish! They were undersized but hungry. I ended up paddling all the way to the lake and couldn't find the big ones but it was nice to be out and paddling anyway.

This guy had a short bottom jaw but could still suck in a gulp shrimp!

Sky shot.

Double spot.

This rosy cheek went for a gulp swimming mullet.

I went back out on Tuesday for a rematch. The wind had picked up and I paddled all over the lake before I finally connected with these two brutes.

The first one was a 26" hog that peeled drag like a freight train and made one blistering run after another. I was in a windy spot and he was trying to pull me against the waves. The results were some cold water coming on board but in the end I was happy to string him up.

By the time I had #1 secured, I was pushed up against the bank of the channel leading to the back lake. I heard a big sploosh behind me and flipped my gulp over my shoulder and soon had the 23 incher running for his life.

We had to cut our camping trip short due to the loss of a dear family member.

We will return for some fishing in the New Year. Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lights on the River

I keep trying to get some vacation days in before the end of the year but it seems like there is always something hot that needs attention. I worked half a day on Friday and shortly after I got home we were on the way to Matagorda. The plans included setting the light out right at dark and seeing if any specks would show up before it got too late.

Some of these excellent pictures were taken by my favorite photographer (Tracy).

Saturday was supposed to be mild so we brought the kayaks intending on an afternoon paddle at McNab.
The spot we selected for the trailer has turned out to be a good one. We have a nice view of the river and enough extension cords to reach from our electrical service to the water's edge.

Bank fishing has it's advantges but I must admit I'm watching those boaters with a little envy!

The light we bought is made in Bay City and has four 200W - 30V bulbs. Not quite as bright as a football stadium but I can attest that if you look directly into it you won't be right for a while. If you angle it just right on the water you can reflect a beam strong enough on the far bank to coon hunt!

I put together the "silver turtles" before we left Needville so I got in a little fishing before dinner. The sand trout that had been easy to catch were gone and other than a few nibbles from some yellowtail it was pretty dead.

I had the light set up and turned on well before sundown and I even tremembered a couple of PVC rod holders this time. "Come on fish! We are ready!"

We fished early without much success and spent some time inside. About 9:30PM I went back out and quickly caught several sandy's and a couple of small specks. Tracy came out to join me and soon had me busy taking fish off her line.

She caught a nice 15 1/2" speck and on the stringer he went. The bite died out before long and she headed in to get ready for bed. I hung on long enough to add my own contribution to the string - a 16" speck.

These two will make a nice meal and were fun to catch along with their smaller but feisty buddies.

We enjoyed a beautiful moon and the mild temperatures made for a pleasant night.

We hit the beach on Saturday and were surprised to find some of the best shelling we've ever experienced. The wind came up pretty strong and to avoid a similar experience to what Paul Sr. & Jr. enjoyed, we bagged the McNab paddle until next trip. For now it's back to Needville and to work.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

December Fishing

Thanksgiving has come and gone and after a great visit with the kids it was time to go to Matagorda and log a night at the condo-on-wheels.

I had heard that the trout were in the river and since the temperature was predicted to be in the low 40's I was hoping to find some hungry specks looking for a free meal.

I set out our new fishing light - four 200W bulbs mounted in a sheet metal enclosure purchased in Bay City from a fellow Colorado River fisherman - and hopefully waited for the bait to find the light. I fished until about 9:30PM with one keeper trout to show for my efforts.

I took a snooze until about 1:30AM and went out to check and the game was on!

I fished until about 4AM and caught several nice trout, four of which ended up on the stringer.

Trout on the Rocks

Party of Five

After the action cooled off in the sphere of my light, I headed to the fish cleaning table. There was another fishing fool up late and I stopped and fished with him a while. The trout were plentiful but just under sized. He caught one nice keeper and as I was continuing on my way to the cleaning table he offered me his one fish.

Six fat trout makes for some nice fillets and Tracy and I had someone in mind for a nice early Christmas present. Everyone seems to like fresh fish!

I had plans on a morning run to McNab to see if the reds were still in the marsh. We had the kayaks but it was still pretty cool when I headed out so Tracy took a pass on this trip. She opted for a cup of coffee and some knitting at the trailer.

The recent west and north winds had blown lots of water out of East Matagorda Bay and the launch at McNab was as low as I had ever seen it. I found enough water for the paddle in but didn't see any signs of fish activity.

I paddled all around the lake from end to end twice and jumped a couple of big fish but couldn't get a bite to save my life. I finally set up a rod with a double Gulp shrimp rig and slowly trolled through the north end of the lake. I was pleasantly surprised when finally at 10:30AM I got a hookup with a nice 23-1/2" redfish.

Low water means exposed oyster reefs.

Marsh Mare
Ditch Donkey
Mud Mule

Whatever you call it this guy gave me quite a ride.

Mug Shot

Sky Writing

These Sandhill cranes seemed to be trying to send me a message.
They were circling far above me as I was kayaking around McNab Lake.

Parallel Lines

Chinese Symbology

The Flag Formation

Crane Profile

We fished in the river after lunch (no luck) and took a drive to the beach for some shell picking before supper. I fired up the grill and we had fresh trout served with taters & onions and grilled corn. We topped off the meal with some toasted marshmallows and headed the Jeep back to Needville.

Thank God for the simple pleasures of life.