Friday, March 25, 2011

Dances With Fish

Somebody had the fishing love this time and it wasn't me... I managed to get Friday off and that meant we were headed for PPRV #7 as soon as I could escape the city. I cast-netted up some mullet thinking we might be able to entice a flattie or a big trout before dark. It is really nice to see the sun go down after missing it for the last few months.

Well, the mullet was unsuccessful but there were plenty of shad in the river. Tracy requested the double glow shad rig shortly after dark and she promptly connected with a fat 19" trout.

We fished for a couple hours and caught only a few small specks and one more keeper caught by yours truely. I didn't know that would be my only keeper fish of the trip. The morning dawned cloudy and breezy. We headed out to the Redfish Hole with a quart of live shrimp and Tracy caught her second 19" trout on the first cast! While that was fun and a great way to start the day the real show was yet to come. After fishing the "hole" for an hour or so with no more action, Tracy suggested that we cross over the channel to the mouth of the cut. This spot was a little tricky to fish since we were contending with a south wind and an outgoing current. These two opposing forces caused the boat to move about the anchor rope and it was hard to hold a stationary position.

Tracy cast into the outflow and connected with a fat 25" red. This guy meant business and was really having his way with her while testing the limits of the equipment. My fishing partner put up a great battle and even exercised extreme patience when her big red got tangled up in the flooded timber.

The best part of the show was when the red finally came loose from the timber and began circling the boat causing "the dance". Tracy deftly steered the fish along the side of the Second Honeymoon, around the prop and motor, over me, my rod, and the net, and up the opposite side of the boat. Somehow she managed to keep from getting tangled up in the anchor rope. Finally the mighty fish gave up and allowed Tracy to lead him into the net.

Tracy caught several small flounder - one was only 1/8" short of legal. That is a tough way to miss a slam!

We fished a while longer and finally headed in for lunch. We fished off the bank after lunch and though we both caught some small fish, nothing went in the box.

Even though I didn't catch any keepers we had some great fish to cook and share.

God is good!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Slam and Mini-Slam

They say size matters and that is especially true when talking with fishermen.

We got an early start on this Saturday the first official day of Spring Break.

We headed down the Diversion Channel to our favorite spot - The Redfish Hole. As you can see from the picture above it lived up to its name! This 25 incher put up a good fight.

We tried several spots including the cove and even headed up river as the wind began building. It's not much fun being exposed in a 15-20 mph wind. Tracy caught two of the keeper trout but her Mojo wore off early. She fished hard all morning but the fish just didn't cooperate.

After lunch I cleaned the morning's catch and the boat. I was still wanting to see my fishing partner redeem herself so I picked up another pint of live shrimp on the way back from dropping off the boat. Tracy caught a small flounder right away and before long I caught this nice keeper to complete my slam.

Earlier in the day I had caught a 14-incher which is technically the legal minimum but I didn't keep it as fish are known to shrink a little after being on ice. You can see my new springtime secret weapon - the 2" Bass Assassin Chicken on a Chain swim bait. This is a freshwater bass or crappie offering but after reading up on springtime flounder habits and realizing they are suckers for small finfish I thought it would be worth a try. Guess my hunch paid off!

Tracy fished hard all afternoon trying to find that keeper fish. The wind was from the SSE which made fishing off the rocks in front of our trailer the best spot as that put the wind at our backs.

In addition to the undersized flounder Tracy nailed several small reds.

She even found some trout but all were under the legal limit. Catching something is better than nothing but for some reason the big fish stayed away from her line almost all day.

As the day neared a close I thought of one more place we could try. We had recently caught some flounder off the boat dock so when the wind began to lay down near sunset we headed there for a few casts with our remaining bait.

Once again the big fish found my line instead of Tracy's. I added one more flounder to the bag just as the sun was dropping below the horizon.

We fished hard almost all day and caught our share of fish. It was fun to see some of all three target species caught by each of us but I hope next trip the pendulum doesn't swing all the way back.

The Perfect Predator

Not everyone would put the Speckled Trout at the top of the list when describing the Perfect Predator. After what I observed on Friday night under the lights in the Colorado River, I would have to disagree.

The weather was cool and clear and I had some live mullet to offer up. Tracy was throwing the glow shad and the fishing was slow at best. I like to hook the mullet just behind the dorsal fin so they can swim and wiggle to attract the trout. Generally the light attracts bait and the bigger fish figure out that if they hang around near the lights they can make easy pickings of the unsuspecting shad, mullet, or glass minnows.

Trout like other fish have the ability to detect prey from a distance by smell or by sensing vibrations. To be a perfect predator though there must be the means to capture and kill the prey. Specks are fast and deadly, using their powerful tail to accelerate and overtake the fleeing baitfish and their formitable fangs to grasp and hold on to the struggling victim.

I freelined a three inch finger mullet beyond the circle of light and let it drift and struggle along through the light and down stream. Just as I was about to retrieve and recast I saw and heard a violent scene on the fringe of the light as this 21" trout busted the mullet off the surface and inhaled it. I had a nice fight and before Tracy could go back for the net I had her on the grass.

If the Speckled Traou aren't the Perfect Predator they are pretty close!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Big Wind Big Fish

The weather was picture perfect all week - someone called it California weather. With the end of the week in sight though, a cold front was approaching which promised some much needed rain. It was also predicted to arrive with some serious wind so our normal fishing program would need to be modified if we wanted to eat fresh fish on Monday.

I lit a fire in the fire pit and set out the fishing light before we headed out for supper.

Spoonbills was closed on Friday as the staff was volunteering at the Matagorda County Fair. We have been wanting to try the River Bend Restaurant so this was our chance. We enjoyed some fresh seafood and began discussing whether or not the fish were going to cooperate.

There seemed to be some fish activity under the light when we got back to the trailer so I rigged Tracy up with a TTF 1/8 oz double glow shad rig and tied on the back half of clear mirrodine soft plastic mullet to my line.

Before long Tracy hooked something big and the fight was on. Thankfully we had her drag set just right and she was tenacious about getting this fish in.

Now that is a big redfish! This bad boy was 11 lbs and 28" long.

This is the slightly damaged but still intact jighead that was used to catch the big red. We fished for a couple of hours and caught small trout on the glow shad but nothing big enought to keep.

The front came through and the temperature dropped so we were fishing from the bank all day. Tracy continued to have the hot hand all morning and into the early afternoon. She caught a couple more reds and several small flounder. I had cast netted up some live mullet so we had several options.

I finally got into the game by combining cut mullet with chartruese Gulp to catch these two keeper flounder.

We both lost a couple of fish that we believe were big enough to keep but didn't let that minimize the happiness we felt at turning what should have been a blow out day into Monday's supper and a bag of fresh fish to give away. God is truely good!