Sunday, August 30, 2009

Personal Best Speck

Last weekend Tracy caught her biggest speck ever. This weekend it was my turn.

After supper I started throwing a Spook Jr. while Tracy went in the trailer to mix up some hummingbird nectar and change. On the second or third cast I got a solid fish on but didn't realize how big it was until later. There was a boat cruising down the river watching me so I acted like it was just another hardhead even though the whole time the fish was stripping line and making me move up and down the river bank to keep up.

Tracy finally came out and expertly netted the 25" big girl. I was pumped up as this beat my previous record by 2". This fish was easily over 4lbs and gave it her all before coming to hand.

The mosquitos chased us in at sundown but we were up early and headed upriver with our topwaters and a baitwell of live shrimp. Tracy had a big fish early on her topwater but after 30 seconds of drag screaming runs it came off. We didn't get our eyes on it but for the record we are going to call it a redfish otherwise she will continue to have nightmares about the big trout that got away. We caught lots of ladyfish and I managed a couple of sheepshead including this little guy.

His big brother showed some battle scars and had no trouble chomping the live shrimp.

Tracy caught this little redfish. These guys were bright copper colored and feisty.

I got in on the redfish action too!

This was the most unusual catch of the day - a needlefish on a topwater. Tracy caught three nice specks and I added one so when we headed back to PPRV for lunch we were already feeling pretty blessed.

I didn't manage the baitwell and we lost the remaining shrimp, so I decided to throw the topwater a few times before going in for lunch. Once again there was a big girl just waiting for a hapless mullet to swim by.

This 21 1/2 incher grabbed the dog walking lure and did a sumersault before crashing back into the river and the fight was on!

Tracy came out in time to help me land the nice speck and took some nice pictures.

I could see some more big specks in the river so after lunch I headed back to the bait shop for some more shrimp. We fished for a while but apparently the trout had moved. We hadn't yet washed the boat so I suggested another ride on the river to see if we could find some fish. It was plenty warm but we had enough cloud cover to keep the extreme heat of the direct sun off our necks.

This time we went down the river below the intracoastal. On the way down river we spotted two whitetail bucks on the edge of the water. Cool! We found a spot with a grassy shoreline and anchored the Second Honeymoon. Here Tracy is fighting a ladyfish.

We caught all kinds of fish - Tracy even added another 21" trout to the box. I hooked a big shark and played it to the boat but after we both got a few looks at it and decided not to bring it onboard I did a LDCR move which solved the problem. Wade fishing anyone?

We finished the day trying once again to temp a fish in the river in front of the trailer but the remaining shrimp ended up feeding the pinfish and hardheads along the rocks. We had a great day and boxed seven quality trout over the two days. I'll be making some friends happy with some fresh fish!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Tracy's Big Trout

We were in for a short weekend, so after my volunteer activities at the nature center and dinner at Spoonbills with our new neighbors, Tracy and I spent a little time fishing under the lights off the boat slips. There was some stormy weather inland and we got chased off the water by wind and lightning. The rain pooped out before it made it to our location but some areas got some much needed moisture.

After the storm, the morning was cooler and pleasant. We decided that since we were going to leave after lunch we would just fish from the bank in front of the trailer. The topwaters didn't seem to draw any strikes so off we went to get some live shrimp.

Though we weren't seeing the big trout due to the lack of clarity in the river there were some big schools of mullet heading upstream. We could see a flash from time to time and my guess was that there were some predators down below the mullet school.

Tracy confirmed our suspicions when she hooked this big girl!

This was her biggest trout ever and the 22-1/2" speck matched the biggest trout we have caught in the river. Our neighbor Stephen had a picture of his big trout (29 - 1/2") caught a couple of weeks ago in the same spot.

This big yellowmouth had already spawned and came in without too much of a fight. Tracy is getting pretty good at handling fish on her line and she kept the big trout busy while I scampered off to get out long handled net.

I managed to find a couple of undersized reds under the mullet school.

Not long before we had to pick up, I finally caught a trout of my own.

My 19"+ trout looks small compared to the big girl.

Mine still had her eggs so she was a little more filled out but Tracy definitely had bragging rights.

I like to think her success is related to the fact that she has a great guide.

Fish On!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Summer's End

The heat of summer is beginning to wear me down. This year has been especially harsh as there has been a lack of rain and weeks of temps above 95 degrees.

That being said, we have spent more time outdoors this year and have figured out how to beat the dog days of summer.

We arrived on Friday and after a delicious meal at Spoonbills we tossed our topwaters into the setting sun. While we didn't catch any keepers, we did see some big trout in the river.

In my opinion, we have the best spot on the river. We get to see scenes like this most every night. Pelican Point is accurately named!

We took the Second Honeymoon for a ride up the river on Saturday morning. Tracy scored early catching this redfish on a topwater. I brought some live shrimp and we managed to boat four trout by the time we arrived back at the launch.

We saw another alligator in the river on the way back. This one was between 12-14 feet and didn't look like anything I wanted to swim with. Anyone want to go skiing?

Here are the specks - all over 19". I know what we will be having for supper one day soon!

The colors on these predators are spectacular in natural sunlight.

Saturday afternoon saw us fishing live shrimp under popping corks out in front of the trailer. We caught mostly ladyfish and other small stuff until Tracy caught this nice fat speck.

The day ended with another beautiful sunset. The days are already starting to get shorter and before long the weather will moderate. I'm looking forward to the fall and the flounder run. We are also ready to launch the kayaks for a trip to the marsh as soon as we can do so without risking heat stroke.

Pelican Point RV & Boat slips has provided us a place to get away from the daily grind and an opportunity to spend some time together pursuing our fishing, beachcombing, and kayaking.

We are blessed to have found this spot and look forward by God's grace to many more enjoyable trips.

Monday, August 10, 2009

San Juan River

I was asked to participate in a meeting in Durango, CO this week and since the closest Southwest flight was to Albuquerque NM, I felt obligated to visit the San Juan River for some aquatic sampling.

It just happened to be on the way!

This river is a favorite destination for "bug whippers" and is a classic tailwater fishery at the outlet to the Navajo Dam.

The rainbows and browns in this river are highly educated and pressured but I was hopeful we could find a blind or sick one that would fall for a poorly presented fly.

My co-worker Daniel showed that under the proper guidance even a beginner can learn to catch fish on a fly. If you click on the picture above you can see a nice midge hatch in progress.

Danny hooked all his fish on a Griffith's Gnat. This juvenile rainbow was small but feisty.

The Griffith's Gnat is a simple fly that looks like a group of hatching midges.

This pretty baby rainbow still has it's parr marks.

I tried several flies including the white wooly bugger and the river's namesake - the San Juan worm.

The midges were the bug de jour. Both the adult and the larva (above) were what the fish wanted.

All my fish came late and the dim light made for grainy pictures but no matter - I had a great time wading in the cold water watching the fish eat bugs on the surface and finally getting some to take my offering.

It was a nice way to spend the evening. Now it's time to get back to work!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Big Ugly

The fishing was a little slow this weekend but there were some surprising catches made at PPRV #7. We got to see a picture of a 29 1/2" trout our neighbors caught off the rocks in front of our spot so we were eager to get in on some of that action.

Tracy (definitely NOT a big ugly) caught this nice 20" trout on a topwater on Friday evening.

The big girl had a cat eye on one side.

Here is the happy fisher and her catch. Catching a big trout is always fun!

After an unsuccessful trip up river in the boat, I managed to catch my own big trout on live shrimp off the bank in front of the trailer. I had two trout blow up on my topwater but both managed to perform a Houdini manuver and got loose before I could bring them to the boat.

After lots of slack time I hooked this huge black drum aka "Big Ugly". It was 41" long and weighed in at 36 lbs! We see these brutes working up the shoreline but since we normally fish with lures, we haven't caught one until now. I could have done a commercial for the light tackle industry as this guy really tested my graphite rod and 14lb line! After measurement and some pics it went back to the river.

We kept on fishing with the shrimp and I snagged this big sheepshead.

These guys have some chompers! They can be found nibbling barnacles off the rocks.

My dentist would have a field day with this mouth.

Tracy caught a few hardheads but couldn't seem to get into the variety of fish that were taking my shrimp. She fished hard all day but couldn't seem to find the trout.

Everything will eat shrimp - even this jack crevalle. You never know what you are going to catch in the Colorado river.

We were blessed with this beautiful sunset as the day cane to a close. We had enough trout for our dinner and to share with our neighbors. God is good.