Posts Tagged With: speckled trout

The Skiff Life

Photo Jul 18

It’s not often that I leave the kayak at home and fish from a boat, but his past Monday, David and I decided to do just that in his new Mitzi Skiff 16.  While this little skiff is going to be a redfish catching machine in the future, we decided to focus our attention on trout this day.

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We launched shortly after 6 am and made the short drive to our spot and set up for a long drift.  David went with his trusty Heddon Super Spook jr while I elected to go with the Heddon One Knocker.  It didn’t take long before we started getting some nice blowups, followed by our first fish of the day.  It was a small dink trout barely bigger than my One Knocker, but it gave us a little confidence knowing that fish were in the area.  David hooked up a few minutes later with another dink trout, followed by our first keeper trout of the day at 17″.  We spent the next two hours catching 10 keeper trout between 17 and 20 inches, 6 dinks, had more missed blowups then we could count, and lost a few that shook the hook at the boat.  Every fish we caught came on tops, so its tough to beat a day like that.

Photo Jul 18, 3 35 19 PM

We fished a small drop-off over a hard sand bottom in 3-4 feet of water, casting to the shallower water, then walking the lure over the edge.  We also spotted a few slicks and determined where they originated based on their size and the direction they were heading to catch a few fish.  Good info that I picked up from the Trout Support DVDs I picked up about 4 years ago.  It was nice to finally put some of that information to use. Don’t forget that you can save 10% off your entire order if you decide to purchase any of their DVDs by using the code “TailTailSigns”.

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Later, we spent a few hours running to a few different spots to explore, and called it a day before it got too hot.  I love kayak fishing, but taking a ride on the skiff on occasion is going to be nice!

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Another money saving code for anyone interested is with Dexter Outdoors Knives.  For the rest of July, you can use the code “Icast16” to save 20% off your entire purchase.  The code changes each month, but we normally post it on the Lone Star Fishing Team Facebook page.  Great knives for filleting fish!

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Willie Wimmer Slam Jam

This past weekend I competed in the Willie Wimmer Slam Jam Tournament out of San Leon, TX to help raise money for a local Galveston fishing guide who sustained injuries from a gun shot wound to the back.  Wade Bullard, the owner of the Hook Spit Fishing Store in League City, TX was hosting the tournament which included a boat and kayak division.  Aaron and I had already registered and with a little bit of coaxing, we convinced David to sign up on the final day.

We chose our location a week before the tournament based on past experiences and reports from friends that had fished the area recently.  For those who do not know, a slam tournament allows you to weigh in one slot redfish, one speckled trout, and one flounder with their combined total weight making up your stringer.  We knew the redfish would come easy since that’s what we spend the majority of our time chasing but were a little unsure about the flounder and trout.  I have a friend that has been killing the flounder in the area we were heading to that supplied me with some great flounder fishing tips including how to tie the same tandem rig he uses, what soft plastics and colors to throw, and a map where he had been having success.  Another friend told me a few areas that the trout had been hanging around the last couple of weeks as well, so we felt pretty confident that we would each get our three fish.

Tandem

When we woke up Saturday morning the winds were under 10 mph from the north and the temperature was holding steady around 50 degrees but would quickly climb to 70 as the day went on.  We arrived 30 minutes before the 6 am launch time, unloaded our gear, and moved one truck a little further down the road to a second launch point so we would have the option of making the shortest paddle back to a vehicle depending on where we were when it was time to head in.  At exactly 6 am we shoved off and made the 2 mile paddle to our first spot.  We were going to try and pick up our redfish first since they had been schooled up early in the mornings during previous trips.  About halfway to the spot David broke away and said he was going to fish a small drain that he’s had luck at in the past.  Aaron and I continued on our way and finally reached the lake we had been heading to.  We didn’t see much action so we decided to split up to try and locate some fish.  I paddled another 1/2 mile across the lake to the opposite shoreline while he worked the near side.  Aaron found a few schools and caught 3 or 4 reds with his largest being 26″.  My side of the lake was pretty slow with no schools in sight.  I decided to work the shoreline with a popping cork and gulp in hopes of finding a good sized single that might be roaming the area.  Ten minutes passed and I hadn’t had a nibble.  After a while I started looking across the lake for any signs of fish nearby and saw one tiny shrimp go airborne to my left about 30 yards off the shoreline.  Without taking my eye off of where it landed, I reeled in my cork and fired a cast in it’s direction.  A few seconds later my cork went under and what felt like a lower slot fish turned out to be a nice 26″ red that went into the fish bag.

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In the video below you can barely see the ripple made by the one little shrimp and will notice that I do not take my eyes away from the area until my cork lands.  By not glancing away, I was able to put the cork exactly where the bait had spooked.

I met back up with Aaron and we were both satisfied with the 26″ reds for the time being.  We decided to head over to the flounder hole Johnathan had told us about to see if we could get our flat fish out of the way.  We were fishing a small channel that turned out to be around 5 feet deep in the middle but closer to 1 foot near the edges.  There was a scattered shell bottom with a small reef near the bend.  Johnathan had told us to work the grasslines along the shallower water as slow as possible.  I had tandem rigged one of my rods the night before with two 1/8th oz jig heads that were about 6 inches apart.  I went with a bone colored killer flats minnow on the top and a Berkley 4″ Gulp Shrimp on the bottom.  I parked my kayak and fished from the bank making casts that were parallel to the grass while working my tandem rig slower than I’ve ever worked any lure.  I would basically give my rod tiny twitches and reel in the slack and repeat.  My twitches resmebled the way you might move your rod if you were trying to scare a dragonfly off of the tip.  The technique and rig paid off as my first flounder was caught less than 10 minutes after arriving.  At 16″ I was glad to have a keeper in the bag but at the same time, was worried about my chance to upgrade.  November flounder limits in Texas drop from 5 to 2 and you’re not allowed to cull them.  With only one chance to upgrade available I was worried I would catch a 17″ flounder next and be faced with the choice of releasing it in hopes of catching a bigger one or keeping it and being done.

I continued working the area looking for an upgrade and picked up a 20″ red before catching a surprise 19″ trout.  This was a decent trout which allowed me to complete my slam by 8:12 am.  Aaron was working the same area trying to catch his flounder but kept catching undersized reds and trout.  After bagging my trout I decided my best chance to upgrade my weight would be to continue working the area for a flounder and it finally paid off when I brought in a solid 19″ flattie.  All of my fish up until this point came on the Gulp Shrimp.

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As soon as I bagged that fish I left Aaron and decided to meet up with David and head out in search of a bigger trout.  When I found David he had a fat football shaped red that was right at 24″ and a 19″ flounder like me.

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We made the short paddle to a nearby area in search of a trout but had trouble locating them.  We moved around to a few different spot but the trout didn’t seem to be around or at least weren’t feeding.  We decided to head to our last trout spot that was near David’s truck determined to camp out on this area and continually work it until we found the trout or ran out of time.

After five minutes at this area we started hearing the distinct sound made by feeding reds in a nearby lake.  I had my slam and was happy with my fish so I told David I was going to chase some reds while he worked for his trout.  Before I could get past him he decided to join me.  He said the thought of those reds feeding like that was to much to resist.

We spent the next hour or so sight casting lower to mid slot reds in shallow water with tons of shell.  I was having a little trouble keeping my soft plastic out of the shell and decided to switch over to a Strike Pro Hunchback.  Not only did this keep me out of the shell, but wakers are a blast to throw at shallow water reds.  I would cast in front of the  small wakes they were pushing and start reeling the lure in.  As soon as they spotted the hunchback they would dart from behind it and explode on the lure which was fun to watch.  After picking up about 4 reds each we decided to head back to the truck.  We arrived at the same time Arron did and found out that he had found a 17″ trout and a 16″ flounder to complete his slam as well.

We arrived at the weighin and visited with friends for a while before the weighin finally opened.  When it was all said and done, David had finished 3rd with 8.84 lbs, Aaron was 2nd with 10.10 lbs, and I had come out on top with 11.19 lbs.  We had a great time on the water fishing with one another, plus its always nice when the plans you make come together as well as they did.

 

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Topwater Lure Painting

 

 

I was going through my tackle box a few months ago and came across half a dozen she dogs and she pups that were on their last leg. Most of them had large chunks of paint that had chipped away and I could tell that I was needing to replace them. While I love throwing she dogs and she pups for redfish, they usually don’t last very long.  The paint always seems to start chipping away once a few good fish are caught and often times they will not last more than a  trip or two.  I hate throwing lures away so I started thinking about what I could do with them other than just getting rid of them. I grabbed a sheet of 60 grit sand paper from the tool box and decided to see if it would remove the remaining paint. With a little bit of work the paint came right off leaving a nice looking bone colored lure that I knew I could use. I followed the 60 grit up with some 320 grit to give it a smoother texture and then started working on the others. By the time I had finished, I was the owner of four bone colored she dogs/pups. While I liked the look of them, I didn’t really need four of the same color.  I decided to experiment with coloring them in a variety of different ways to see what I could come up with. I added a little epoxy once I was finished to make sure they were sealed properly.  The epoxy was clear and would protect them with from chipping or fading away like before.  It’s a fun rainy day project when you can’t get on the water to fish.  The great thing about it is that you can choose whatever color you want and you are only limited to what ever your imagination can come up with.

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Removing the Paint

 

The first thing you need to do is remove the hooks and split rings from the lure.  You’ll have a much easier time sanding paint away without having to worry about them.

Once the lure is hook free you’ll need some painters tape to protect the eyes.  The material the eyes are made of will scratch easily if sandpaper rubs across them so covering them with the tape will keep them from scaring during the sanding process.

Once the eyes are covered and the hooks and split rings have been taken off you are ready to remove the rest of the paint.  You’ll want to use the 60 grit sand paper first to remove the larger portions of paint that are still on the lure.  Working around the eyes can be a bit difficult so tearing the sand paper into small strips or folding it will help.  Be sure to work carefully around the eyes so that you do not scar them in the process.

Now that the majority of the paint has been removed you can follow up with the 320 grit paper to remove any small amount of paint that remains and also to give it a nice smooth texture.  You are now ready to apply your color or design to the lure.

 

Bone She Pup

 

This one was the easiest to create because once the paint had been removed you were done.  The base color used when the she dogs are created is a good looking bone color, so once you complete the steps above you are finished.  I did not coat this one with any epoxy because it would not have served much of a purpose.

 

Pink She Pup

 

To create the pink she pup I decided to give spray paint a try.  I bought a can of the brightest pink I could find and added a design to the side before applying the paint.  I took some painters tape and cut small strips from the roll and placed a long skinny strip down each side of the lure.  Then I cut a few smaller strips and placed them on top and bottom of the first strip angled back towards the tail end of the lure.  I repeated this process on both sides.

I taped up the eyes so that they would remain red and hung it in the garage with a small piece of cardboard behind it.  I sprayed the lure on all sides making sure all areas received an even shade of pink and let it set for the night.

The next day I removed the strips of tape which left small white designs down both sides of the lure.  I thought this would look better than a solid pink one.

I applied the epoxy and sprinkled some silver glitter on the lure while it was still wet.  The glitter stuck to the epoxy and after it had dried the finished product below is what I had.

Photo Sep 18, 5 13 48 PM

 

Sharpie She Pup

 

My next lure involved a fine point sharpie and a good amount of time and patience.  I drew nearly a thousand small circles all over this she dog to make them look like tiny scales.  I started at the back of the lure and began by drawing a line of circles towards the head.  I stopped when I reached the eye and began branching out in all directions by connecting each small circle with the one next to it.  It took about thirty minutes of work but when I had finished I liked how it looked.

I was about to apply the epoxy to seal the lure when I friend mentioned that even though I used a sharpie which has permanent ink, the chemicals in the epoxy might cause it to run a little.  He suggested using a paint pen next time which I plan on doing.  I didn’t have much of a choice since I had done all the work so I went ahead and applied the epoxy to it anyway.  While the marker did run a little, it didn’t completely destroy the design.  Instead, I went from a white lure with small black scales to a gray lure with small black scales.  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted but the end result still looked alright.

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American Flag She Dog

 

Photo Jul 03, 8 52 02 AM

This is by far my favorite lure that I have painted.  I used painters tape, finger nail polish, and small star stickers to create it.  I started off by wrapping a piece of the painters tape around the head of the lure going back behind the eye and stopping about a half an inch past the eye.  Once the head was protected I cut a few short but thin strips of tape and ran them back towards the back of the lure trying to keep them spaced apart evenly.

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I then took the red finger nail polish and painted the entire back end of the lure by covering the exposed areas of the lure and the thin strips of painters tape.  Finger nail polish dries fast so after 30 minutes I was able to remove the thin strips of tape which created the red and white portion of the flag.  I also removed the tape from the head of the lure and did the exact same thing to the back end of the lure.  I carefully wrapped the edge of the tape around the area I had just painted behind the eyes and covered the rest of the back end.  Now the only portion exposed was the head.  I took the small star stickers and carefully placed them all over the head of the lure.

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Once the eyes had been covered with the painters tape I began painting the head of the lure blue until the entire thing was coated, stars included.  I watched the lure closely as the finger nail polish dried and when it was nearly complete I used a pair of tweezers to carefully remove the stars.  I wasn’t sure how well they would come off once nail polish had completely dried and didn’t want to find out.  Once the stars were removed I let the head dry completely before removing all of the tape except for the eyes.  I hit it with a thin coat of the epoxy and the picture below is the finished project.

 

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Specks and Reds (7-2-14)

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Grant and I had a pretty good day of trout fishing with a few reds thrown in the mix.  It had been a while since we’d had a chance to get together to chase fish so with Grant just getting back from a week in the Bahamas, a trip together was long overdue.  We decided to head down to the Matagorda area since we hadn’t been in a while.  We met up at 5:30 am, unloaded the kayaks, and launched into the dark.  We made our way to the first area we planned to fish and found plenty of trout.  They had bait pushed up against a wind blown shoreline and were constantly darting through which sent them scattering in every direction.  We both started off by throwing topwaters with a few blowups that didn’t connect.  I switched over to one of my new Hydra Buggs and immediately hooked up with a solid 18 inch speck.  Grant was needing to restock the freezer so on the stringer it went.  I picked up another couple trout in the same area and all of a sudden they were gone.  Grant landed a couple trout as well on his Skitterwalk and we decided to move into a small cove since the trout bite had died.  I spotted a few reds crawling through a combination of grass and moss so I decided to see if I could pick a few of them off while Grant stayed in slightly deeper water.  Sight casting the reds was more difficult than usual because as soon as the lure hit the water it was covered in the moss.  I managed to pick up two reds by casting past the grass/moss and burning the Hydra Bugg past the fish and hoping for a reaction strike.  Grant managed a couple of reds and lost a another trout or two as well.  We decided to try our luck in slightly deeper water to work a few reefs for trout again.  At this point Grant could do no wrong and I could not do right.  He had plenty of blowups and landed another five specks up to 23″ while I couldn’t even get a nibble on my She Dog or Hunchback.  We ended the day with a combined 10 trout between 17 and 23 inches and four reds in the lower to mid slot.  All of Grant’s fish came on his Pink Skitterwalk while mine came on a Chained Beast Hydra Bugg with a white tail.  I also tried a Bone colored She Dog and ate-o-ate colored Hunchback with no takers.  It was a fun day on the water with a nice meat haul for Grant.

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Several Trout and Bonus Redfish


Grant and I had a chance to hit the water this past weekend in search of a few trout. I got lucky and received my new Shuna: Hooked from Werner Paddles the day before our trip which gave me the chance to test it out.


Werner - Shuna Hooked


The temperatures here in Texas have been much warmer over the last couple of days so we were really hoping to find actively feeding trout this afternoon. I arrived a few hours before Grant and launched from a different location a few miles north of where he would launch so that I could drift with the wind and check out some new water. The plan was to meet him up with him once he arrived and hitch a ride back to my truck once we finished. I wasn’t having much luck on my long drift so once he called to tell me he had launched I picked up the pace a little to meet him. We fished a small area where we’ve had luck before focusing on the edges of small reefs in 4-5 feet of water over mud and shell. The fish weren’t quiet as active as we’d hoped but we managed about 12 trout and 1 nice red between the two of us. I spent most of the day throwing two new lures that I hadn’t used before to see how they would perform. I started off throwing a MirrOlure Catch 5 with a black back and white belly and had plenty of solid bumps but only one hook up. I switched over to a Soft Dine with a red head/white body and immediately picked up a trout before breaking off shortly afterwards.


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After watching Grant catch multiple trout on his Corky Fatboy I made the switch as well and started hooking up soon afterwards. Grant caught the big trout of the day which went a little over 24″ and I had the only redfish at a little over 26″.  We fished until the sun went down and then headed back to the trucks in the dark.


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Sonny - 26 inch red


We each kept a few fish that were around 20 inches for dinner the next day.  I tried a new rub from a fish cookbook my wife had purchased me for Christmas and thought it came out pretty well.  Over the next few weeks I’ll try and post the recipe to the blog.  It was called Autumn Spice Herb Rub.


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I really enjoyed my new paddle and can’t say enough good things about it. The total weight is only 27.75 ounces which makes it the lightest paddle I have ever owned. The blades are nice and stiff which allow me to use less strokes while covering more water on ling trips. They will also enable me to push through the thick marsh mud without fear of snapping them once summer rolls around.  I should get several good years of use out of this paddle before needing to purchase a new one.



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Every Other Cast (12-14-13)


Limit of Trout Inst


I made a quick trip to the coast this morning with high hopes of catching a limit of trout before the winds picked up around noon.  I saw a small window of opportunity and figured I’d better take advantage of it with winter weather being so unpredictable from week to week.  It had been too long since my last trip and I was itching to go.

I woke up around 5:45 and pulled out of the driveway around 6:15.  I reached the launch as daylight started to show itself and started unloading my gear.  A man that had just launched his boat made a comment that I only had a small window of opportunity before the winds were going to get pretty rough and he was right.  I told him that I was just going around the corner and that I could hopefully get my limit before the winds shifted from out of the north and picked up to 20+ mph.  We wished each other luck and headed off in opposite directions.

The spot I planned on fishing was only a quarter mile paddle to reach, with an additional mile or so to drift and cast to locate the fish.  As I approached the area, I made a cast with my pink Corky and waited 5 seconds between each twitch.  On about the third twitch I had a pretty solid thump, but no hook up.  I made another cast into the same area with the same twitch to pause sequence and was rewarded with my first trout of the day.  I decided to drop anchor at this point since I had two hits in as many casts and see if this spot would produce a couple fish.  For the next hour and twenty minutes it was non stop action on just about every other cast with lots of missed strikes mixed in. While my corky was getting a lot of attention, I would have several missed strikes before finally hooking up.  I picked up another couple trout and even a redfish with the Corky before noticing that I was missing the front hook.


Corky Redfish


Corky


Instead of taking the time to tie on another one, I decided to throw a Texas Tackle Factory Trout Killer in plum/white on a 1/8th ounce jighead to see if I could achieve a better hookup ratio.


Trout Killer


The trout killer ended up being a better bait on this day.  Temperatures over night didn’t get that low and had already reached the mid 50s at this point so the fish weren’t near as lathargic as I thought they might be.  I spent right at an hour and 20 minutes sitting in the same spot, catching around 40 fish.  Thirty of them were between 15 and 17 inches so I let them go but kept a limit of 18-22 inchers. All fish were holding in 4 feet of water with a mud and scattered shell bottom picking up the lure as it fell.  After stringing my 10th fish I decided to head home and get cleaned up.  Part of me wanted to drift further down in hopes of finding a big girl, however, I didn’t want to paddle around with 10 trout in tow.  I left them biting and headed back to the truck.

We started frying fish last year on Christmas day as an alternative to the turkey and dressing we eat so much of this time of year and really enjoyed it. These trout will make a great Christmas lunch for the family.

I also finished my first wrap last night and think it turned out alright.  I have a few blemishes that I’ll need to learn how to prevent before wrapping my actual blanks, but overall I’m happy with the way it turned out.


Finished Rod



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