Friday March 17th
Barrett invited a few of us to do a little frog hunting. Here is my post from the next day.
I think the final tally
was around 60 frogs.
Friday May 26th 2006 - Sunday May 28th 2006
Lake Sam Rayburn
This is a Refuge get together
that goes on every year over Memorial Day and this was the first year I was able
to attend. I rode up with Mike (Sprigbuster) from the north part of
Houston and we left EARLY Friday AM so we could fish a little that day with
Roger. Russ had a cabin reserved at Powell Park for all of us and we met
up with Roger and Russ at the little restaurant there for some breakfast before
we hit the lake. We followed Roger around a few spots and did our best to
catch some big large mouth, but never could find them. I had a few hits
but couldn't set the hook, and that would continue for the rest of the weekend.
We got back after dark to find that most of the others had arrived and were
eating some of Carla's gumbo. I have to say, for chicken and sausage
gumbo, that was mighty fine eating. A shower and a beer and I was out.
We woke up early the next AM to start the bass tournament. I was paired up
with Michael (dukslayr) and we gave it a good try but couldn't get anything to
bite. Back at the weigh in we learn that Dan had won the tourney with a
very nice 6 or 7 pound bass. After that it was back to the cabin for a
good ol' Southern fish fry and some of Russ's homemade hushpuppies. That
was some mighty fine eating! Sunday morning we went out after crappie with
Roger in one of his pontoon
boats. That is all sorts of fun, jerking crappie over brush piles with
minnows. We did really good considering the wind was blowing so hard we
couldn't keep the boat over the spots. After that it was time to pack up
as we were headed back to Houston then and to shoot a little skeet before we
were all done. All-in-all it was a fun weekend and a chance to enjoy the
|Mark's Pictures||Dawn's Pictures|
Friday June 16th
This was my second trip for
halibut and this time it was with the Wireline group. We were meeting at
the Anchorage office and then would ride in a bus, that turned out to be a
stretch Hummer, down to the dock in Seward. The weather sucked! It
was rainy and cold all week and this morning wasn't any different. It
reminded me of London. That week I had left the slope early to attend some
meetings in town and the night before I was visiting with a former co-worker at
her house. I was staying the night at another co-workers house and he
joined us and we ended up leaving close to midnight. By the time I went to
sleep it was close to 2 AM and had to be up at 3. That was not enough, not
even close. I do my best to sleep on the ride down but couldn't.
Once we get our group split up and on the boat we set off for a nice 3 our ride.
Got to see some cool landscapes along the way, the splash of whales and some sea
lions. Once we get there man I am out of it. I actually fall asleep
at one point with the rod in my hand leaning up against the cabin. It
takes me MUCH longer than last year to get down a rhythm so I am the last person
left to fill his limit, hell and even then Jamie had to hook one of them to let
me land it. Once we got back and had the fish cleaned each person ended up
with around 27 pounds per person. I was flying out that night so once back
at Kits I get a quick shower and off to the airport where I flew into Houston
and cooked up some fresh never frozen halibut for my dad on fathers day.
Wednesday July 12th
I was in Kenai from the 11th
till the 14th fishing for salmon, reds and kings. Turns out it was one of
the worst runs in 25 years. I went fishing one day with a co-workers
fiancée for kings and we only saw 4 people catch fish over a 5 hour period.
The next day we went behind the mall in Soldotna to fish for reds just like last
year and we saw NO-ONE along the bank. Gina stopped fishing after 10
minutes. She says you can normally feel the weight hitting salmon as they
swim by, she didn't even feel any. Needless to say we didn't stay too
long. After that I just helped her move stuff back into her house from her
dad's and get ready for her wedding shower. Her dad did give me a bunch of
king salmon he had frozen and in return, I sent him some of
finest. Not what I had planned on
doing on my days off but since she change jobs I was just happy to hang out.
Saturday July 15th
Today was a Refuge frog fry in
Freeport. I got into Houston at 12:32 PM and left for Freeport as soon as
I could, which turned out to be 5 PM. The place is a 3 story house right
on the bay with a HUGE pier and deck. A couple of the guys went out early
that morning and picked up a few trout but overall it was pretty slow.
Barrett brought some pork he shot at Damon and was smoking it and Cooper had
fried trout. I brought some halibut and a couple links of sausage and put
those on the pit. My brother and I were meeting early Sunday morning to
clean out our Grandmother's house in El Campo so I didn't plan on staying too
long, just to get a few fried frog legs and cut up a few links of sausage.
I did be sure to take plenty of pictures in of the place before I left though.
Thursday July 20th
Port Mansfield, TX
Another trip with Dwayne, Greg,
and Keith down to Port Mansfield. I missed out on last years trip because
I was at work, but not this year. I shifted my work schedule to fit it in.
We met at the Sugar Land office and once my gear was in we were out. It
was the first time I'd seen Greg since November or December of last year.
Keith's father-in-law, David, and his brother Nelson were joining us on the trip
and they were ahead of us. The meeting place was Praseks. We aren't
sure where it happened but someone stole Keith's rod and reels. A helluva
way to start the trip. Not much further down the road one of the tires on
Nelson's trailer blows out so we stop to fix it. Nice thing about
traveling with Keith, he has everything with him and pulls out a nice rolling
floor jack. Nelson was using a small bottle jack and it slipped off and
the fender smashed his hand to the tire, luckily not to bad. After that it
was back on the road and the rest of the drive down was uneventful. We
arrived to the place a bit after 2 and after everyone looked around and unloaded
we got ready to fish some that evening. I bought a new rod to use just
with soft plastic baits and I was anxious to try it out. Not long after we
started our first drift that I caught a little 18" red. I caught a few
smaller trout and one keeper before the day was up and Dwayne boxed a nice
flounder. Also staying at the cabin were Ross and Brandon from Ft. Worth
and they had been out the previous two days after red snapper. I have
never been after snapper before and to chance to catch them in a small group in
a small boat was just too much to resist so I opted to go with them.
Friday July 21st
Port Mansfield, TX
The morning started early with some of Dwayne's famous breakfast taquitos. After that we loaded up and launched the boat. David and Nelson were going to follow us to the area they were catching snapper and after catching bait in the harbor we were off to the run to the gulf. The water was pretty calm, enough so we were able to make it out there in a 22' Pathfinder with relative ease. Once at the spot we started chumming and dropped out bait to the bottom with a few cranks and waited. It reminds me of halibut fishing with circle hooks, once the fish is on just start reeling, but these snapper fight harder than halibut. The limit is 4 each so we threw back the smaller ones targeting the bigger fish. During the time I caught a small ling on a Calcutta which was a fun fight. This is the first time I had spent a lot of time outside in Texas this year and I got a bit hot and had to rest up some. Once we had our limit of snapper we decided to go after tuna. The ride was a bit rougher, but we finally got to an area with lots of shrimpers and started trolling. The first pass caught a Bonita and a nice Dorado. From then on it was more fish than we knew what to do with. Here is Ross's post about it.
Catching the tuna was a total
blast. Sure the snapper was fun and the fight was ok, but wow, for their
size the tuna were amazing. I am definitely gonna go after those again.
Saturday July 22nd
Port Mansfield, TX
Ross and Brandon were concerned about the lack of big snapper so they decided to go after tuna and dorado on Saturday. I was looking forward to staying on the bay going after trout and redfish, but after hearing Dwayne say he only boxed two fish that made up my mind for me. I have fished with him for a long time and when he fished for a day and a half and only has two keeper trout, you know fishing is slow. So the next morning Brandon woke me up and we set off looking for blue water and trawlers. The ride out there was pretty rough, enough so that I had to move to the back of the boat by the rocket launcher and Brandon, who was only 4 weeks out from hernia surgery, was hurting by the time we got to the boats. At the first boat we had trouble finding any tuna but we saw a nice dorado swimming around that Ross couldn't get the hook set in. After a few trolling passes we finally connected with a tuna on a long drift. The next boat we hit the mother load, Brandon was hooking tuna like they were crappie on a brush pile and passing off the rod. Ross and I kept trying to pass off the rod so we would be able to rest more. My last one I had to sit down to fight the fish and got it next to the boat and Ross missed with the gaff and the tuna came back to life and took off. I was done, I had to pass off the rod. That was some mighty big fun. Ross's post:
The ride back in was flat, I
think Ross was running at wide open for a good 30 miles back to the harbor.
Sunday July 23rd
Port Mansfield, TX
This might be my last chance for salt water this year so I was ready. I woke up between 2 and 3 this morning with a bad stomachache and went outside and the water was GLASS. I went back to bed hoping it would stay that way. Well when I woke up around 6 it had picked up a bit, but we were still gonna give it hell. One our first drift I was on fire, I caught 4 or 5 trout with two keepers. It was a one man show unfortunately as the other fish weren't biting. Once we moved my luck was shot, I didn't catch anything until the last one when I put on a gold spoon and threw it as far as I could. Keith put up his gear and started cleaning the boat of trash and Dwayne started pretty soon after, I told the guys just a few casts more... and on one of those as soon as the spoon hit the water a red nailed it. I had my drag set pretty light to enjoy the fight as long as possible. Keith netted a 19" red that closed the chapter on another good time in Port Mansfield.
Wednesday September 6th
Another dove season in Austin at
my Godmother's. I got in from Anchorage at around 7 AM the day before and
had planned to pack and drive to Austin that night as fast as I could to hunt
the evening, but I was so tired once I got in I kinda bummed around on the
Internet and started paying bills. I took a nap at 5 and after I woke up I
planned to leave at midnight, but midnight came and went and I was just too
tired. So I packed up and went to bed with the plan to getup at 4:30 and
leave for Austin. I left for Austin a bit later than I wanted and had to
stop right past Columbus for a Rockstar to help stay awake, but once I got to
Austin and saw acres of sunflower at Connie's I was wide awake and pumped.
Following my brother's advise I went to the front tank and setup by the fence
with the mojo in hopes of pulling the birds in a bit on account of all the damn
houses that have been built around the place. It wasn't long before I had
8 birds in the bag and was still adding to it. I got to 11 and the flights
seemed to die so I went walked to finish out my limit. I got it and headed
to Luling to start work on my '03 Grizzly to get her ready to sale.
Well that evening I went out
with my dad and we setup on the backside near a corner where I thought the mojo
would pull some birds in for him since he was shooting a .410 and can't see like
he once could. Turns out the walk to the corner jumped 50 or so
white-wings, but he never got any. Well we got to the corner and setup,
but the mojo really didn't pull them in like I thought it would. There
were lots of WW flying high over us that were too high for his .410 so he used
my 682. There were plenty of birds for a limit, but again with all the new
houses we had to be careful about where to shoot. I took a picture of the
seeds I emptied from the craw of the doves.
Thursday September 7th 2006
My dad and I woke up at 5 and
left for Connie's for a chance at some more doves. The temperature was in
the low 70's and my dad was a bit cold so he put on a long sleeve WHITE shirt.
Well I wasn't hunting near that, so I went below the tank and he was on top
hill. I was shooting a bit worse than the day before and it took me a
little longer to fill my limit and I knocked down a pair of white-wings and I
spent more time than I should have looking for the first one and passed up MANY
other birds while looking for it. I never did find it and I had my dad
move down to the tank and I put the mojo down by the water in hopes of pulling
them in tight for a better shot with the .410. I filled my limit with four
nice shots and came back to help him. He was able to pick up two. I
wanted to go back that PM with him, but I had LOTS of work to do on the ATV so I
spent the next 8 hours working on the ATV.
Friday September 8th
I got up early Friday and
started working on the ATV as fast as I could so I could get in one more hunt
before heading back to Houston for the teal opener on Saturday. Well that
quick job turned into almost 5 hours of work and then pack ASAP and head to
Connie's right around noon. I get there a bit before 1 during the heat of
the day with no birds flying, and since time was critical I decided to try
walking them up. I walked the entire sunflower field and not one bird got
up, so I thought I'd try the tree lines. That worked. I found
white-wings roosted up and started picking them off as they'd flush out of the
trees. I went 4 for 4 before missing a shot at a morning dove and knocked
down a nice pair of white-wings I easily found. Next I just started
working down tree lines and picking up a white-wing here and there. I made
it almost all the way back to the tank where I started and had 3 to go. I
got an easy one and passed on the others that jumped from the trees and as soon
I got to the weedline I saw two white-wings headed my way and I busted both of
them to finish it out. I think the final shot count was 18 shots for 12
white-wings in right under an hour. That is my personal best.
I thought I'd post up me four years ago and me now to show the difference eating right and exercise can make.
Saturday September 9th
This is my first teal hunt at
the Winnie lease as last year it was a nine day season and I missed it all.
Greg couldn't hunt so Andrew came with me. We met Dwayne at his house at
4:45 and had to launch the boat. It was DARK in the morning and overcast
with high chances of rain. So we got there and launched the boat, and
after a bit of bad luck Dwayne got the boat to the right dock and we loaded up
and were off. The boat last year never ran right, but it ran great today.
We were setup before LST but it was too dark to actually see anything till
closer to 7. The first bird of the day was a single that I brought down in
one shot. The next group came in on us while I was out in the spread, so
it hampered Dwayne and Andrew from shooting. I however had a good angle
and am pretty sure I connected on my first shot and crippled one on my second
shot and finished it off on my third. The next two that came in went off
to Andrew's side so I let him and Dwayne split those. The final bag was 6
teal for the day and as we were picking up some more buzzed us. Oh well,
that is always the way it happens. The weather was great and there very
few mosquitoes and even though it rained us on, we were ready for that.
After we packed up I got home and left for College Station to watch the Aggies.
Monday September 11th
Today Dwayne and I were going
after them again to some barrel blinds where he and Keith had shot a limit the
day before. I was staying with Dwayne after the hunt so I needed to pack
enough for a few days and was a bit late getting to Dwayne's. We got to
the spot 10 minutes after shooting time and saw a few birds look at us so we
think if we had been ready we could have got a shot. Again the first bird
of the hunt was one I brought down in one shot. The next group was four
that came in from my side and I waited for D to call the shot and he I, so that
was a blown chance. Dwayne did get one from that group giving us two birds
of the day. We really didn't see many birds for the day, other than tons
and tons of whistlers.
Tuesday September 12th
After talking to another member
who hunted the day before out there we decided to try a different part of the
ranch and see if it mattered any. I wanted to pull a trailer with
Greg's bike and have mine in the bed but both just wouldn't fit so we just took
mine and Dwayne rode on back. Its kinda a long drive to the spot but most
of it is easy riding on levees and then once we get there I have to rely on the
GPS to get to the pond since we can't find the trail. Once we get to the
pond we set up the mojo and 18 decoys pretty fast and get setup. I must
have a weird luck as I got the first bird of this hunt as well. Next a
pair came in and I crushed the first one on my first shot and the second two I
think I brought down the other bird, but so does Dwayne. I'm pretty sure
we both hit it. A quick swat shot and we had 3 birds in the bag. One
the way back one tried to sneak in on us that I dumped over into some grass that
D found pretty easily. Our next opportunity was a pair that came around us
twice before committing and landing away from us. Just before we shot they
separated left and right make it easy for each shooter to know which bird is
his. Two shots rang out in unison and two birds fell. Man I love it
when that happens! This was around 7:42 AM and we had six birds in the bag
with two to go. Our last two of the day was a trio that came straight in
on us and we both kinda waited too long but as the flared up D got one and I got
one both falling in the thick stuff. After some team effort to find the
birds we had our limit by 8:12 AM. My shot count was eight shots for a
possibility of six birds. That is a personal best for me.
Wednesday September 13th
The lease manager called last
night and wanted us to go hunt one pond that no-one else had been to yet this
year. I wasn't too keen on that since the last time I saw the pond, it had
NO cover. The aerial spraying worked a little too good. I needed to
leave early since I had a Dr. appointment later in the day and after talking
with D, we decided to try that pond since it was closer and easier to get too.
Once we park and get ready I see a few pigs in the road. I really wanted
to shoot a 20 pounder and BBQ it! Well after we get loaded up we are off
to the pond and drive down the levy that has had a huge crane working from it
and the once smooth road is HORRIBLE! 5 MPH was too fast and one hole I
hit I was sure I broke the axle but nope, it was fine. We get to the pond
and find the blind via Q-beam, kill the ATV and start the fun walk to the blind.
This pond has a pretty dense grass matt around the edge and walking through it
SUCKS. Oh well, we get to the blind, since it has the only cover around,
put out the decoys and the mojo and into the blind. It doesn't take long
before a single comes in that I dump on the right (again I got the first bird).
Next come in a pair that Dwayne gets one bird and I don't want to shoot over his
head so I pull off. The bird comes back around and I put it on the water.
Then we get in a large group that come right to us. As the bird flair up,
I fall one on my first shot only to have my gun jam and Dwayne drops two.
Well we are both at three and looking for the fourth. A single comes to
Dwayne's side and it doesn't leave. It's 6:59 AM and Dwayne is done, less
than 10 minutes later at 7:08 I get my last one. I go 4/4 and Dwayne is
4/6. I've never had a 1:1 bird:shot ratio before, anther personal best.
One the way out, I hot a hole that threw me into the handle bars and Dwayne into
me, always fun.
Friday September 15th
After taking off Thursday to run
some errands and get some stuff fixed (well I started) on the ATVs I met Dwayne
at his house at 4:45 and after we loaded Greg's ATV and put my gear in the
Expedition we were off to the lease to hunt the same place on Wednesday since he
had an afternoon interview and have a long drink that night for his son's
baseball practice. We left my Q-beam and as soon as we got to the spot we
wish we had it. The HUGE floating grass beds and been blown to in front of
the blind we really couldn't tell where to move too without some extra light.
So we setup as had intended and waited. As I said in the previous two
posts, we had ZERO mistakes, well today we started them off early. Dwayne
saw a teal coming in to my side but it was so dark I never saw it until it was
about 10 feet away. Hmm... ok, next up we decided to put the rest of the
decoys out and Dwayne said one got caught when he threw it and broke the line
cause he saw the weight go flying. I was kinda surprised by that because
these are Texas Rigged with 400 pound mono, but who knows. A short time
later we see some birds in the distance and when Dwayne goes to call at them, he
chuckles and says something to the effect of "I think you line is as tough as
you thought." I looked over and his Echo was missing from his lanyard.
Ouch! Well I forgot to say that first thing in the morning when he tried
to load his shotgun the bolt wouldn't close all the way, so I looked at it and
thought I had it fixed. The next group of birds came right in and I pulled
up and dropped on on my first shot right near the mojo, my second shot missed,
and my third shot crippled one off nearby. I looked over at Dwayne
wondering why he didn't shoot and he said all I got was a "click" as he pulled
the trigger. Damn. I went after the cripple first because I thought
it was in a harder area and after a few I found it and I went over to help
Dwayne find the easy bird. No luck. We have no idea where that bird
fell. I looked three separate times and never could find it. After
that D had to go make a phone call for an interview so I stayed in the blind and
got burned by a group that came from behind me. It would of been a tough
shot, but I could have made it if I saw them in time. My next and last
shot was a group of three that skirted the decoys but I took a long shot and put
a bird down cold and got greedy and shot again only to miss. Well five
shots put down three birds and we found two. Not great, but much better
than D's day.
Saturday September 16th
This would be my last hunt of
the teal season since I was flying back Monday to work and I need to take off
Sunday to put up gear and clean up. That night I tried to work on Dwayne's
gun and the barrel would not come off. I didn't want to pry it so I left
it soaking in WD40 and took a nice 3 hour nap. Too bad I woke up feeling
like I had a bad hangover. Keith came over a little water and we took the
gun down to his house and after some work we got the barrel off. If you
know Beretta 390's there was so much buildup on the shaft that the piston slides
over the barrel would no come off. We got it off and cleaned just about
everything as best we could and put it back together and it seemed much slicker.
We asked Keith if he wanted to join us and if so, just show up at 4:30. I
got up at 4:10 to check the weather, 10 MPH wind my ass. It didn't take us
long to load the gear in Keith's truck and were off. I suggested we hunt
the Gadwall hole since it was via boat and would be easier to get in and out and
faster cleanup. The GPS put us right to the trail back there and it was
MUCH easier to get back there this year than last year with the water
being higher. Since we were a good forth minutes early, we killed the
engine and discussed where to setup. Once we had decided were to setup, we
put out the decoys and all three mojos and waited. The mosquitoes were
pretty bad and I was glad I had yard guard with me. I had a chance, two
actually, at the first bird of the day before Keith brought it down. Damn,
I had a nice streak going there plus I went 0/2. It was pretty slow for a
while and Dwayne took a nap in the boat. I put my head down in my hands to
nap after a few I looked up to see two birds screaming over us. By the
time I could get my gun up, Keith had also saw them and we shot at the same time
at the same bird. When we found it, it was pretty crushed. A short
time later I see three go past us and I tell Keith they are banking around.
Man I love watching them decoy like that. Well the birds went to my left
and I kinda knew it was a far sot for Keith so I went ahead and took the shot.
Keith could only see one and it was the far right bird. I started on that
bird also and moved to the next one and brought it down and then onto the third
and final bird and I hit it (and Dwayne confirmed it) but it sailed off and
landed a few hundred yards away. Damn I hate loosing birds. Well
that was it, 3/6 with one solo bird and two shared birds.
Not a great teal season, but two hunts with short limits. My first ever hunt where I never missed and overall I was shooting good.
Thursday October 5th 2006
Back to Austin for a few more
days of chasing the gray darts. I got to my Godmothers a bit after 5 PM as
I wasn't in a huge rush to beat the sundown. I setup on the back tank in
hopes of catching the birds coming into water, but when I got to the tank there
was no water. Within a few minutes of setting up I had two birds in hand.
Not long after I had another pair down and was 4/5 and I should have been 5/5,
and that is where my good shooting ended. I left the field with 8 birds, 5
white-wings and 3 mornings with 21 shots with my 682. I really wasn't
expecting much when I saw the dry tank but I was quite happy with the results.
Friday October 6th 2006
This afternoon it was my father
and myself and my brother was supposed to leave work early to join us but he got
caught up and didn't get off till 4:30 and had to drive in from downtown
Houston. After seeing how little water there was in the back tank I
thought for sure the front tank would be a good bet, wrong. We had very
little flying and I got desperate and shot a damn pigeon. Not long after
that I got bored and started walking and jumped up some. I missed some
easy shots but I did get two. My brother arrived with just enough daylight
left to make one walk, but we didn't get anything. I was 3/5 that night.
Saturday October 7th 2006
Andrew had bought a new gun and
was anxious to try it out, so we got to Connie's at the crack of dawn. We
setup by the back field of sunflowers that had a few recent strips cut in it.
The birds just weren't flying today as they were the past month, but we did get
a few. I went 5 for 9 and Andrew got one with this new O/U.
Saturday November 4th 2006
Next up was the duck opener.
We have a travel trailer at the lease and I went down the night before and spent
the night. It's been a long time since I put on my boot foot waders
and the weather was right for them today. When I got up around 5 the
temperature was close to 48 degrees. I had left the windows of the
travel trailer open and had to get in my truck with the heater awhile before I could
get motivated to get into my gear. It was just Keith and I as Greg had his
daughter that weekend, so we setup on a pond I hadn't been to before near the
north levy. We setup with the wind to our backs, but it soon became
apparent that all the birds were coming from the other direction so we
re-arranged the decoys and moved to a different spot. Much better!
We soon had birds all around us and we each started dropping them here and
there. I was shooting pretty good and had my limit pretty early but Keith
was having a bit harder of a time. He was getting to the point of getting
frustrated and wanting to call it quits early. On his last two birds a
group of teal came in and he got two birds with one shot, great way to end it.
I'm pretty sure we were done by 8 AM. Brent and Dickson were hunting a few
hundred yards away and they were done shortly thereafter. The final
count was 20 birds, mostly BWT, a few GWT, one gadwall, one mottled, and one
Tuesday November 7th 2006
I left the house Monday to stay
at the lease and hunt Tuesday and Thursday. Hunting wasn't allowed
Wednesday, so I brought my fishing gear. I arrived with just enough light
left to unload my gas grill and put my decoys into one of the boats, then dinner
of left over Johnny Carino's and watching some Family Guy on the laptop before
sleep. Well I was watching TV in bed and all of sudden the trailer starts
to shake. I know its not the wind cause the windows were open and I would
have felt it and I had left my shotgun in the other room, so armed with only the
q-beam I looked outside expecting to see the Chupacabra, but it was just some
cattle using the trailer as a scratching post. The sight of thirty or so
cattle eyes glowing in the light of the q-beam gave me chills of "Cow
Days." The cold weather from the previous weekend was gone and I got
dressed inside to avoid the hordes of mosquitoes. When I got to the boats
and loaded one up I tried to push it off only to find it was high and dry,
great, so I load everything in Brent's boat and then am off, already running 10
minutes behind. I get about halfway into the first body of water and the
engine died and it wouldn't restart. After looking it over I see the gas tank
is turned up 90 degrees. After I lay it back down and start the boat up
I'm off but now even later, so I give up on the idea of going to the far side
and hunt where we did the previous Saturday. With all the decoys out right
at shooting time, I hide the boat and wait. I wanted to pass on the teal
early and see if any big ducks showed up later in the day as I had no-where to
be and nothing to do. I saw a few birds in the air, but NOTHING like the
opener, nor do I hear many shots. I see three birds off to my left and one
cups up PERFECT and comes right in, I love gadwall. The other two bank off
so the single dies and turns out to be a hen. It was getting late and not
much was flying so when three birds buzzed through the decoys all I saw were blue
patches and two of them die. On the walk over they looked kinda big for BWT...
damn, second hunt of the season and I doubled up on spoonies, dukfvr would be
proud. That ended the hunt.
Today I slept in and ran errands and got the generator up and
running to make sure I had AC that night. After that was all done I loaded
up my fishing gear and went to a spot Brent had told me where they were catching
fish. It took me about an hour to get a strike, but I soon caught a
handful of reds, but nothing legal yet. I switched to a saltwater
Rat-L-Trap and within a few casts I had
a nice fish on. It ended up being a 24" red! Sweet, I had dinner for
the following night. Within five more casts I caught a 17" flounder.
I've never seen a flounder inhale a bait like it had with this lure. I
caught a few more small redfish and lost a nice flounder before I called it
quits. I wish I had taken pictures of the redfish right out of the water
because they had the most stunning red tint to them in the sun.
After four long years I was finally able to hunt with my buddy
Shane. We've talk about it since I first met him, but it just never worked
out until today. I wake up a bit before 5 and go outside and there's his
Dodge, turned out I was glad he was early. I get the boat out and start
running. This was the first time I took the boat to the south marsh in the
dark since they removed the power lines and I never realized how much I used
those as a landmark. It took me a bit to get to the island and then I was
able to make it back to the trail. After a few passes looking for a GPS
mark I never made and getting stuck on some cattail, I got us to the pond I
wanted to hunt. We put our gear on the old blind and then setup in the
usual fashion I like with two groups and motion in the middle. The first
birds were a pair of hen scaup that came in and Shane got the one on the left
and I emptied my gun at the one on the right and it flew off un-harmed.
Next up was a group of BWT that I dropped two out of and Shane got one. I
went out to get the birds and move the boat. I was changing my choke back
to IC as all the birds so far have been right in our face and a pair of gadwall
start working us. Well I get the choke in and hunker down. After a
few passes I realize the mojos are off and turn them on, that does it.
Shane calls take up and I stand up and "click" forgot to load after changing
chokes. Well he brings down the drake and the hen cripples off. A
little bit later I swear the other bluebill comes back and I didn't miss that
time. That would be it for the day, six birds. We cleaned birds and
went fishing where Shane caught a keeper red and flounder and I lost a 27"
redfish pretty close to the shore.
The weather promised to be cold
and windy, there was no way I was going to miss that hunt. I got to
Keith's at 4 AM, we loaded up and headed out with his son. He had
an idea where he wanted to hunt, so off we went in the boat to the spot.
When we get to the area to
find nothing but lily pads. After a drive around looking for open water
that was favorable to the wind we decide to go back to the flat we hunted the week
before and setup pretty much the same way. We had a STRONG wind most of the
day to our backs and the birds worked well into it. We didn't hear as many shots as before, but I think it
was because of the stiff wind. I started off shooting pretty good and had
a pair of BWT down when next up a pair of mottled came in and we each dropped
one. After we had those, two birds came locked up way our just riding the
wind down, it was awesome to watch. We each picked one off and had a bird
apiece. Next up for me was a group of spoonies that came in and I dropped one
and so did Keith, but one fell in the grass and we saw something that was either
a gator swimming to it, or the bird swimming away. Not long there after Keith
got another teal to finish out the limit. I had forgotten how much I like
hunting in the cold, no vampires, no sweating your arse off, just enjoy the
sights and sounds. I was done in under an hour today.
After I hunted yesterday I went to a little BBQ where we
watched and cried over the A&M game so I decided it was a good time drink.
I remember our game, but not one bit of the Texas game. I woke up a
bit before 11 when my buddy got back from a dinner party, so I set my alarm for
2:30 and went to sleep. I did all my packing in the morning and was early
at Keith's. The weather was even colder, around 48 but no wind. Each
of us had an idea where we wanted to hunt, but one spot was full of lily pads and the
other was pretty deep so we tried some more back pockets and they looked good.
We were actually setup a good 10 minutes before LST and got to sit back and
watch the birds fly out. I had a feeling it was going to be a good day.
Right at LST we had some teal work us and each were waiting for the other to
shoot and to see if the birds could cup up into the spread. Neither of us
shot, nor did the birds decoy right so they passed without any shots. Not long after that a big group of BWT came right into us and we each
dropped two birds, but even with an IC choke the teal were torn up pretty good.
Next up a pair of gadwall hung right out on the end of the spread and Keith took
a shot and never saw the second one so I made a long shot and brought it down,
turned out to be two hens. A single came in later on Keith's side that he
dropped. Later we saw a big duck flying with a teal and after a few passes
the big duck buzzed through the decoys and I shot just a hair faster than Keith.
Now we each needed one more and a large group of BWT came in and we each picked
out a bird and dropped it. Mine, however was a cripple and swam off before
we could get it. Not long after I swung on number five and we were done by 6:50.
What a great day!
December 2nd 2006
Its been a while since I've been to Damon to hunt snipe and
with duck season being closed, it was a good day to go. My brother met me out
there close to 3 with this new shotgun, a Beretta 686, and we started walking
from pond forty-three south. If you have never been snipe hunting before you
don't know what you are missing, its sort of like hunting quail on speed.
Sometimes they hold tight, most of the time not and they always blend into their
surroundings and you never seen them until they take flight. If the national
average is seven shots per bird on dove, snipe must be close to fifteen and we
were worse. We had a fun afternoon and did manage to bag eleven birds with no
cripples so all-in-all it was a good day. And the first time I've been outshot
by my brother in a long time. Oh and I don't want to hear shit about the
dark pictures, if I had realized it was gonna get dark so fast I would have
brought my G6 with 430 Speedlite.
Saturday December 9th 2006
The opening day of the second split was a cold one, close to
freezing and I was happy I got in my new LaCrosse
Brush-Tuff Extreme waders. Ever since the hunt with Jason a few years
back where my feet got so cold I had to getup and move costing me some shots at
mallards. I told myself I would not let that happen again and I would get
gear for colder weather, well they worked. My brother accompanied Keith
and I on this hunt and he was wearing stocking foot waders whereas both Keith
and I had 1000+ gm insulated bootfoot. The water was way down compared to
when I last hunted and we also had to make a double pass to find the marker to
the cut, but once we find it we went to the teal flat where we hunted opening
day. We setup with the wind and three mojos plus my swimmer since there
wasn't much wind and waited. There were no suicidal teal at first light as
usual, so our first shots came as Keith went into the spread to adjust the mojos
and we three birds come right into the spread. One bird climbed straight
up and I could tell Andrew and Keith were gonna nail it so I didn't even swing
my gun. Sure enough, they crushed what turned out to be a drake woodie.
Not long after some teal came in that didn't swing to give everyone a shot and
Andrew dropped one to his right as Keith missed and I never fired a shot.
Our next, and turns out to be last, group came in and Keith dumped one out front
and I hit one going away. After that it totally shutdown, we had some
birds look at us, but nothing come close for a shot. Three hunters, four
birds, two shots by me.
December 10th 2006
After we picked up yesterday we went to check some barrel blinds that had been totally chocked up in lily pads and we wanted to see if they were still that way. Sure enough they were, but we also jumped up close to a thousand ducks, we have ducks, just to get them to come to our decoys. I wanted to hunt on Sunday since it was my last chance for two weeks. Keith was busy and Andrew wanted to go out Saturday night but Brent said he wanted to hunt, so he said he would call me. We talked later that day and I packed all my gear and went to bed. I was up and out with plenty of time to get to the lease, but a wreck on I-10 had different plans for me. An hour later I was back on the road heading to the lease where I caught up to a BIG crane taking up both lanes being escorted by the police. I was already running late, so I exited and passed on the feeder then back on I-10. Some good driving later I got to the lease and met with Brent who already had the boat packed and warmed up. A short boat ride put us to where he wanted to hunt, which was the other side of the marsh from where I wanted to hunt, but I didn't argue too much and we stared putting out close to four dozen decoys, two spinners and my swimmer. Right at LST a bird came into the decoys that I never saw and Brent put it down. As he was getting it three geese flew over a bit too low and he broke the wing on a blue. As I was getting that one for him he shot another teal. This was all within the first 10 minutes of LST. After he got back to the boat, I got out in a grass clump and had a bird decoy right in that I got in two shoots. Turned out to be a very nice drake woodie. Next up was a teal I let get too close as I missed the easiest shot there was, cupped up about 10 yards away. Throughout the rest of the day we had birds look over us but none would commit. We worked one group of widgeon for a solid five minutes as they made four or five passes, but wouldn't get inside of 60 yards.
December 24th 2006
Dane was gonna make a quick hunt
at his lease and said he had spots for me and my brother. Andrew and I
drove down the night before and got to sleep in for once, very nice for a
change. It rained on us all the way down there and long into the night.
Ya got to love gravel roads when they get wet, about half way down CR421 my
truck gets real squirrelly and starts sliding and I was only doing 45. We
got setup right at shooting time and didn't have to wait long when a pair of
gadwall came in from the left just floating over the decoys. Andrew and Dane
dropped them both before I could even get my gun up, note to self, get good
gloves that are easy to put on when hands are wet. Not long after that we
had about 20 pintails come in right over the decoy and we each picked out one
and bang, three down pintails. Ha, my brother shot a hen! A group of
snows come over a bit too low and we all take a shot and a single spec falls.
Dane and Andrew think I got it, but I'm not quite as sure. And the final
bird of the way was a BWT hen that tried to buzz through the decoys and Andrew
let me drop it.
December 26th 2006
Andrew and I had time for a
quick hunt before he went to work and I caught a plane to San Diego, so we
headed out to Damon. The night before I checked the forecast and when it
said 37, I thought the weather guessers were nuts, damn it was cold that
morning. I wore my old Cabelas waders and only my drake pullover and froze
my ass off. There wasn't much action, but we had two drake gadwall cup up
and right into the spread before they got shot. We had some mottleds
circle and and circle but never come in for a shot. Not many birds, but
pretty easy and not much to clean up.
December 30th 2006
I met up with Greg and a buddy
of his at the lease this morning for a hunt out of his Pro-Drive. I was
more anxious to see the Pro-Drive than duck hunting as I've been thinking over
getting a short tail. Dennis and Ronnie where out there as well hunting
near Dick's Hole and we were over by the blind D&R made last year with about
four dozen decoys and two mojo's. The birds weren't flying as much as I
had hoped and the ones we saw just didn't want to decoy. Of the four teal
we shot, three were our of one bunch and the two divers were both singles.
Our shooting was pretty bad and we should of had four or five more easily and
the best was getting Greg's boat out of the water and getting my truck un-stuck.
January 6th 2007
Today I hunted with Brent near
the South Levy and Dickson and Brandon were in Gadwall #1. We had HEAVY
fog till around 9:30 and we didn't fire a shot till 9. It wasn't fast and
furious but we shot four BWT and should of had more. We started off
shooting good and then it turned to crap REAL fast. After we picked up we
went to scout and the entire west side was flooded and it looked GREAT! If
we were in North Texas, there would be mallards everywhere.
January 7th 2007
After the scouting we were all pumped up and gonna hit the west side. Andrew and I hunted with Ronnie and we setup on a little island with some trees and sat in grass clumps. Hindsight, I would have moved us a little be away from the big water to a little smaller one and had us lay in the grass with back rests. We didn't have many birds get into decoy range, but we landed three mallards and only got one of the two hens. A little bit later a redhead drake came in that Andrew and I tag teamed that he is putting on the wall. The hunt didn't quite turn out like we had wanted but it was still fun none-the-less.
January 23rd 2007
I landed at IAH today and was headed down to El Campo to pick up my ATV and then back home where I would spend the night and then head to the lease to spend a few days. Well on the drive down Dane called me and asked if I wanted to hunt with him, sure, why not. The only thing I had on me was an over night back to stay in a hotel. I had to borrow waders, gun, jacket, etc. I stopped at the Wal-mart in town and bought a box of ammo and some wool socks (good choice on the socks) and then on to Terry's. I BS'ed with Terry and Maryann for a while and ate dinner there and got some GREAT! smoked backstrap and finally left around 8 to meet up with Dane. The whole day was around 40 and raining. I know I work where its -40, but they also have 0% humidity and that makes all the difference. I got to Dane's lease and unloaded everything and we started up a gas heater and it took me every bit of 4 hours to shake the chill I had, this would be a sign of things to come as I am writing this a week later with a nasty cold. We get up at 5:45ish and head to the blind in a nasty cold rain. The only gloves I had were some work gloves I kept in my truck and I had to stop at one point during the ride to warm my hands on the exhaust gasses. Terry let me borrow an old 870, so I wasn't sure how I would be able to shot a pump as it's been about 6 years, but on the first bird of the day I got off two shots. Dane brought the bird down, but it dove and never came back. Up next were a group of teal that landed in the dekes. We let them get up I got two and Dane got one, but both of mine were cripples. I found a nice drake but not the other. We called it quit with those two birds. We were cold and wet and had had enough. Now I know why I spend lots of money on gear, hunts like that make it all worth it.
January 25th 2007
I wanted to hunt the West Side
of the lease as more of a scouting trip than a hunt, but I figure as long as I
was out there I might as well put down a few dekes. I found a spot that
kicked up about ten mottleds so I put out five mallards and just laid back
in the grass and waited; a backrest would of been a nice thing to have.
Pretty close to sun down I see two mottleds off in the distance and I quack at
them a bit and wait. Nothing. So I look up and see one coming right
over me and I swing on it fast. The first shot brings it down but I don't
want to risk loosing it, so I hit it again in the air and just crush it. A
little bit later four teal come right over me from the left and my first shot
hits the bird but it doesn't slow down much and as I keep swinging to finish it
off, the gun jams. Damn! The four fly off and the one lands about
hundred yards out there as the other three keep going. Double Damn!
So ends that night.
January 26th 2007
After I cleaned the mottled from the night before I ate some cold chicken and had a protein shake in the trailer and tried to watch some movies and ignore the sound of the mice in the trailer. I could have filled my limit of mice in short time if I had a mouse trap. It got cold that night! Like down in the mid 30's and I had no heat in the trailer, just fleece pants, drake pullover and underneath a sleeping bag and down comforter and I still woke up with a sore throat. I wanted to hunt an established pond on the west side, so I set off for the long drive. I put out about three pairs of mallards and a handful of teal in two separate spots on the pond and waited, and waited, and waited... At first legal I could have shot some mottled in passing shots but I kept holding out for some decoying shots. The only non-mottled ducks I saw were five mallards with two greenheads. They looked me over a few times, but never came within 70 yards.
That afternoon I did some
scouting and found between 20 - 30 mallards in a sennabean flat and up the
road a bit, fifty plus teal in the north part of the Glory Hole. I also
saw several teal flying up and down the canal like doves do a treeline.
After talking to Brent about the best way to get across the other side of the
canal I decided to drive down the highline road and come over from the back.
The drive is about .3 miles and its not too bad, but being solo with no winch, I
was bit nervous. I got off the ATV a few times and pushed it through some
soft spots. Well I finally make it to the flats and kick up a pair of
greenheads and mottled, but not the twenty or thirty I saw earlier in the day.
After waiting for close to an hour without seeing anything fly except on the
canal again, I walk over there and shoot a snipe, 2 BWT, 1 GWT all within about
10 minutes. I should have limited out, but you know how that goes.
Back to my spot where I watch a few mottleds fly around but nothing close enough
to shoot. One the way back I saw a hundred pound hog on the side of the
ditch, but decided I didn't want to mess with cleaning it.
January 27th 2007
Thankfully it wasn't near as cold Friday night as it was on
Saturday. Brent, Brandon, and Dickson were coming down for the hunt and I
met them at the boat ramp as soon as I got my gear up and loaded the ATV.
With as much water as was there Brent wanted to try for Dick's Hole so we headed
off in two boats for there. Once we got there we decided it was too deep
and there was too much water so I suggested back to that flat and we could hunt
the other side from where I was. Plus it would be a nice easy ride.
We got setup with plenty of time to spare, and as dark as it was and as much as
it was raining, we had a while to wait. We put out the mojo with a
handfull of decoys around the sennabeans. It wasn't long when we had teals
by the ones and two's coming into the spread. Our shooting was pretty bad,
but by 9:30 we had twelve teal in the bag. Not bad for a cold rainy hunt.
This would be my last duck hunt of the year as my brother was having a house
warming party, so I loaded up all my gear and drove back home.
February 1st 2007
I had received an e-mail from a
guy (Mike H.) I knew through Delta about a West Texas crane hunt. After a
few e-mails back and forth with him, all the details worked out so I would be
able to make the trip. I had caught a cold the weekend before, but by this
time I was feeling good enough for the trip. I was riding out with a guy I
knew that used to be on Halls and was on the 'fuge. I met him at his
apartment around noon Thursday and then we were off. The trip was close to
550 miles and we took 290 to up Austin where we picked up 183 and then took that
north to 84 all the way into Lubbock. It started snowing on us pretty good
a little before Post, TX and by the time we got there we were only doing 25 MPH
and that was following a big rig for a solid half-hour. The temperature
dropped to 16 at the lowest. I'm glad I had my gear in a waterproof bag in
the bed of the truck. Once we finally get there and BS'ed with Mike and
Mark for a while it was close to midnight before we went to sleep. Both of
us were recovering from colds, so a shot of NyQuil helped us fall fast asleep.
February 2nd 2007
That dry air is pretty bad, I
woke up a couple of times in the night and had to drink some water. We
wake up to more snow and 18 degrees, I'm glad I brought my
Layering is the key, UnderArmor, the aforementioned Drake pullover, Cabela's
fleece pants, Columbia Bibs, Columbia Quad Parka, and my old pair of Bugabootoo.
Once we are all dressed and loaded up the truck we wait for the other guys to
show up, Chad and his buddy Matt are both tech students. After some coffee
we start on our hour drive near Sudan. Not too far from Littlefield Lucas
and I are following Mike and Mark when we see their truck just break free and
start to slide into the median. Luckily its just a grassy shallow ditch
and they don't flip. After we get the trailer unhooked and onto Lucas
truck, Chad pulls Mike's truck, which has a flat tire as a result the
jack-knife, off the median and onto an entrance into a gated construction site
we were transfer gear and people and keep going. Both Mike and Mark are
ok, just a bit shook-up, so not much else to do until daylight. We are
running a bit late, but with the snow fall all night, the birds aren't in a big
hurry to get up, good for us. Seven of us put out close too 300 decoys and
then settle in for the birds. The first bird of the day comes to my right
and as Mike calls the shot, my BBB found their home and we are one-for-one.
The next few groups of birds angle off once they get about 100 yards from the
front of the spread and a suggestion is made for a group to gather three dozen
decoys and go put them off near a holding tank on the irrigation system.
So Lucas, Mark, and I take some rags and run out to the pivot and put the decoys
in front of it. At first they still flair too far our, so we later move
them seventy-five yards behind us, now the birds start coming into range.
Pretty soon we start picking up ones and two's and in no time, we have our nine.
We dropped three or four out of one group and we had one cripple and sail off.
Being the best in shape there, I got to chase it down. Not fun. Our
nicely frozen ground had melted and warmed up and reminded me of red rice
fields. We return to the spread where they need three more to fill out the
group limit of twenty-one birds. Lucas and I decide to talk the ATV and
look for cripples in the adjacent fields and we find one WAY out that we can see
foot prints in the quickly melting snow. All said and done, I think we
ended with two shy of the limit. Once back to Mike's truck, we put on the
spare and headed back into town where some bought more ammo, some slept, and
Mike went to Discount Tire where they aired it up and checked it out and it was
no worse for ware. They were very lucky that nothing was broke and no-one
February 3rd 2007
Lucas and I went to
Freebirds Friday night and after
watching TV for too long we finally crashed past midnight. The next
morning it wasn't snowing and it had warmed up a good bit. The day before
we needed just a little bit more wind, today, we got all we wanted plus more.
There must of been a solid 20 MPH wing with guests up to 30. The sound of
the rags popping in the wind was deafening. The first birds of the day
came in low and slow and when the shot was called, I was pretty sure I got one
of them. One thing to note, while hunting cranes its legal to use lead,
since they are not waterfowl. So the day before I had some 3" #4 buck (41
pellets @ .24") that I ordered years ago just for cranes and I know I double
tapped one birds and pulled feathers both times and it never slowed down.
I had more luck shooting Xpert HV BB @ 1550 FPS. Anyways, today it was a
mix of BB and some #4 buck. Today was the same verse as yesterday, the
birds would flair 100 or so yards off. So Lucas and I grab decoys and move
off to the right in hopes of having them closer to us, but no luck. So
back to the spread where we discuss our options, and again we decide to move to
pivot. Darren had already moved over by it and was sitting in a wheel.
Lucas, I, and Mark grabbed our gear and ran to the pivot. It wasn't long
before the birds got a little too close and we started dropping them. A
single flew nice and low and Darren dropped it with one shot. Pretty soon
we had close to our limit and Matt and Matt both joined us so we had five guns
hiding behind the tank. The first volley we dropped four or five birds,
and the next was almost as many. After that we all went back and Mike and
Chad came out to get their limit. We must have used up all the luck
because soon as they got there the birds really stopped flying. They did
pick up two more before they called it quits, and I got
video of one of their birds. Back to the
hotel were we got a quick nap and started barbequing the cranes. Pretty
simple, cut them into cubes, marinate in pineapple juice and teriyaki, stick
them on a skewer with pineapple chunks and throw them on the grill. Talk
about slap your momma good!
February 4th 2007
Christ 5:45 came early this
morning, and with a slight headache. Now today was really warm, Gatorade
and aspirin instead of coffee. We decided to go back to the same field as
the day before, but with different wind we walked MUCH farther in the field than
before and setup with a wind blowing parallel to the irrigation system.
The wind was just about perfect for the decoys, and once we were setup it was
just a time to wait. We had a few come in that we got, one I know I
drilled with #4 buck and you could really see the difference on the bird.
After a few birds, Mike and Lucas moved farther behind us and to the right,
which would end up putting them from the best spot to the worst spot. Just
after they got settled, some THICK fog rolled in, I mean to the point of
visibility was down to 80 yards. Wow, talk about perfect weather! In
no time we had all but two birds for our limit, then some game wardens came into
the spread. If it wasn't for them walking around and checking stuff, we
would have limited no questions asked. Since they pretty much ended the
hunt with our time limit, we packed up and headed back for our long drive back
to Houston. It was a great weekend and I'm ready to do it again!