Thursday April 28th 2011
Chinquapin, TX

Rick invited me to his buddies place in Chinquapin again to do some night fishing.  This time my buddy Jason came with me on the trip.  He knows the area well and we made it down much faster than my first trip out there.  We started fishing around 8:45 PM and fished till around 3 AM.  The tide was much better this time and we got hung up a lot less.  The fish weren't biting as much, but they sure seemed to be tearing into the shrimp and shad in the water.  I wasn't having much luck with the 3" glow minnows so I started trying different lures; but it was too late into the trip.  I caught five fish total, and my only two keepers were caught after 3 AM on the same lure, a S&P bass assassin; Rick caught most of his on a TTF double rig.  Both Jason and Rick boxed a keeper red.  We called it around 3:30 with 8 trout and two reds amongst all of us.  I got to bed around 5 and after a long nap, I cleaned fish and found they were all full of shiners and a few shrimp.

Friday May 20th 2011
Sargent, TX

Jason sent me a text on Wednesday asking if I wanted to go kayak fishing for reds on Friday.  We were leaving around noon that day for Dripping, but if it was a short trip and I packed everything beforehand, I could sneak it in.  I met Jason at his house bright and early for a trip down to Sargent.  When we got to where he liked to launch, the water was up so much he couldn't cross the beach, so it was back up to the levee and parked down by the ICW.  The wind was really strong that day and we had to fight it and the waves it created all day.  The paddle to the first little bay was fun to say the least and everything got wet; so much for a clean easy trip.  We saw cutlassfish (ribbonfish) jumping out of the water and figured something was after them so we headed over that way.  On the way over I had one jump in my kayak.  A had my paddle in one hand and used my hat to scoop the sucker over board.  After that exciting moment, I cast towards them and caught a keeper spec.  That was it for there, so we worked our way down the shore until we got to a spot Jason likes to wade for reds.  A trip up and back with no reds and then it was back in the yaks for the return journey.  On the way back we fished a few moreshore lines where I hooked up with a red, but didn't set the hook well enough.  It was a short trip, but fun to get out on the water.

Saturday June 11th 2011
Galveston, TX

As usual when I am at work, the surf looks great and people are catching lots of specs, so when I got back on Wednesday I started watching the wind and surf cams.  On Saturday it looked good enough, so Ginger and I went down to the beach; she went just for a bronco burrito.  I got in the water by 6:30 and started off throwing a spec colored super spook jr. and had a 17" trout on my second cast; sweet.  A few more casts with no hits so I decided to switch to a SheDog and had one blowup.  The surf was getting a little rougher so I switched to a 51/52MR and started catching more fish.  I boxed one more keeper and had two other throwbacks then nothing.  I tried a lot of different lures but didn't get any more hits so by 9 I called it.  My last fish was at 7 and I should have quit then.  You could actually see the water greening up around me, kinda cool.  I talked to two guys who got out of the water the same time I did and they had six between them.  Oh well, enough to eat and it was fun, albeit rough.

Sunday June 12th 2011
Galveston, TX

After spending most of yesterday in Galveston and getting to bed around midnight, I got up at 4:30 and the surf looked even better, so off to the beach again.  I told Ginger she had to go with me this time to make sure I made it safely since we were down there so late because of her.  This time I'm in the water by 5:30 and so were other fishermen as far as I could see, plus some people who camped out on the beach.  The water was green and flat and I was excited to start catching them on top.  I started with shedog and gave it a good while with no luck.  Then I tried a few other topwaters, then 51/52/17, and an Academy brand surface walker (I really like this lure) that I picked up for cheap; nothing.  Next up all sorts of soft plastic with no luck either.  A few guys were drowning croaker next to me and they'd catch a trout every so often, but mostly small black tips.  By 7 I had enough and it was off to bronco burrito again.  Just goes to show you never know with fishing.  I would have bet Sunday would have been the better day.

July 6-8th 2011
Kenai, AK

I fished with a co-worker from the 6th to the 8th on the Kenai for king salmon.  It was pretty slow; during the three days we fished hard and only caught one fish and didn't see that many caught either.

Tuesday July 12th 2011
Bolivar, TX

Richard and I had been trading texts about hitting the surf, but the forecast was bad so the pocket it was.  I made the 5 AM ferry with only minutes to spare, in-fact I was the last person on there.  I met up with Richard and his buddy, who turns out I went to HS with and was childhood friends with his younger brother.  We get to the beach and find it MUCH more crowded that I would have expected for a Tuesday morning.  Once in the water, it wasn't long before I had a trout, not a keeper though.  I was trying to get their attention, but they were too far away from me towards to the jetty.  I fished my way there catching a few more, just no keepers.  They were both throwing tops and only had one fish to show for it.  We all switched to soft plastics and started catching fish; I caught one keeper and countless throwbacks.  Around 11 we went back to the beach where another one of Richard's friends, Tracy, was and he had a nice stringer of trout caught closer to the jetty.  Richard and Quinn left (giving me one of his fish) and I went back out with Tracy.  We fished a few more hours and I caught a whiting on a soft plastic.  Not a great day, but enough to fry, so I'm happy.

Saturday July 16th 2011
Bolivar, TX

My brother, Brandon, and I decided to try the pocket with some croaker.  We got some bait at Boyd's and then on to the ferry.  It was rougher than I had hoped, but I still took out two rods.  There were lots of people already there, so we just got in and worked our way to some open water.  I started off with soft plastics and started catching fish pretty soon, but they were all dinks.  I was able to follow the school pretty easily and told Andrew and Brandon where to cast but they weren't catching anything.  After about 10 dinks, I put on a mirrodine and finally caught a keeper.  A few more casts with nothing, I switched again, and then again.  By the time I went back to a soft plastic, I couldn't find the fish anymore.  We worked towards the jetty and ran into Tracy who has a nice stringer of 6 fish, 18"+.  He was telling us he was in the water early and fishing towards the jetty before some dumbasses walked through his school.  Tracy was done for the day and we went over and cast next to the jetty with croaker.  There was a guy using shrimp there we talked too, he had a couple, but we could not buy a bite on croaker.  Oh well, it's still better than being stuck indoors.  Oh, and on the way back, the rain just OPENED up and flat out poured on us.

Friday August 5th 2011
East Galveston Bay, TX

I flew in on the 3rd and had talked to Richard about fishing either the pocket or the surf.  He told me they did well in East Bay last week and he wanted to try it again; worked for me.  I knew we were going to be wade fishing, but for some reason I wore shorts; I would sure regret that later in the day.  We launched from the dike pretty early and made a run east along the ICW until a cut into the bay.  The spot he wanted to fish was rougher than he had hoped, but we still anchored up there and tried it a while.  We both started throwing topwaters and he caught a couple of fish early but got a hook caught in his do-nut.  I started working my way to him and had a good bite on my lure, but wasn't paying full attention to it and didn't get a good hook set.  A little later and we moved to a spot that was more protected by the wind.  Working my way back to the boat I got stung pretty good by a jellyfish; why oh why did I wear shorts.  The water was all glass and we could see bait being chased and had high hopes.  Richard worked the deeper water and I worked near the shore where I could see bait being chased.  I tried a lot of different lures with nada before I started throwing out deeper where I hooked a 17" trout.  That was it there before we moved back to where we first started.  We covered a good bit of water with no luck and moved one more time.  I started out toward the shoreline and Richard headed out into the bay when I got stung again; much worse this time.  That was it for me; I headed back to the boat and just tossed lures from there.  It wasn't a great day and the jelly fish stings didn't help.

Sunday August 7th 2011
Galveston Bay, TX

I bought a rod from a guy on 2cool and he said he would show me a few spots, so Sunday I picked him up and he showed me one of his spots that is protected from a west wind.  Great spot, kinda questionable if its trespassing or not.  We got there early and could already see bait being chased, so it was tops and start working them.  He caught a few early, but all small ones and I hooked a needle fish, but no trout.  A little later I put on my cheap Academy bait, which is a wake bait, and finally caught a keeper; a nice 19" trout.  We tried a few more things, before it got REALLY hot and then called it.  He said normally it's a evening spot, but still good to learn a new spot.

Monday August 8th 2011
Bolivar, TX

Back to the pocket...  I picked up Richard and we met Tracy on the ferry for some more fishing on Bolivar.  Tracy wanted to start close to the jetty so we walked a good long way on the beach until we were within a few hundred yards of the jetty.  The water was pretty flat and we could see slicks all over the place; sweet.  We started throwing all manner of lures, nothing, not even a bump.  We kept trying and worked our way over to the jetty where something was chasing the bait.  I tried all sorts of lures there, no luck either.  After a couple hours of that, I was done and so were both the other guys so we started working our way back.  Richard tripped over a sunken shrimp boat, a little excitement for the day.  We were almost at the pilings when I caught a little trout.  So the other guys started casting near me and they started catching fish too.  So much for the early ferry.  We were all catching fish, just not any keepers when Tracy landed a nice flounder and a solid trout.  WWR and I blanked.

Tuesday August 9th 2011
Texas City, TX

I met Richard at his house again since he has a TXC resident sticker.  A new fishing spot today, we were going to Skyline off the TxCity Dike.  We parked behind Tracy who was already in the water after seeing a slick pop up.  Once geared up, and chased by mosquitoes, I made it into the water.  There were a couple of older slicks and you could see something chasing trout near the seawall, but no fish for me.  Richard caught a small spanish mackerel, but despite slicks, we weren't catching fish.  I started varying my retrieval speed and finally started getting some action.  I caught a dink I turned loose and a few casts later I hooked a nicer trout that I think was part tarpon.  The trout jumped out of the water a few times and when it got close to being netted it jumped up and spit the hook.  We worked our way back and didn't get another bite, oh well, it was good to learn a new spot.

Thursday September 1st 2011
Austin, TX

It was just me on opening day this year.  A couple of the guys I invited backed out and it was probably a good thing since the pump was down at Dripping and we had no water.  I got there on the 31st to fix what my brother said would be an easy repair job on the pipe.  Well I saw what he was talking about and got that fixed.  I turned on the pump and found a new leak, then another new leak.  Then when I thought I had everything fixed outside I go inside to see water all over the floor.  It was coming out from under the walls, so my best guess is a broken pipe in the wall going to the sink.  I could cut and cap those easily, which I did.  No more leaks, but now the pump would not hold pressure.  I gave up at this point and just went to bed. 

I arrived at Connie's not in a big hurry, parked at the top of the hill and walked my way down picking up birds here and there.  There were a lot more shooters out there this day and I couldn't really pinpoint a good flight pattern.  But there were still plenty of birds around and I walked around seeing all the new work the road the city put through her front field.  Talk about a surreal experience, to see a major highway where I used to dove hunt.  Progress my ass.

Friday September 2nd 2011
Austin, TX

Back to Dripping; cleaning birds and working on the pipe again before I gave up and went to my buddy Steve's house to get a shower and good night's sleep.  Since I already walked around everything yesterday I knew I could drive right where I wanted and unload gear.  I unloaded all my gear at the small tank and parked the truck at the top of the hill.  The mojo didn't bring the birds in as I would have hopped so I started trying to kick up a few birds walking around, I finally called it with 10 birds.  I talked to my brother and we deiced to just scrap Dripping and go to Luling; again it was good none of my friends came as we only have 3 beds there.

I got everything packed and headed over to Luling.  By the time I got everything put away Andrew and Brandon showed up and we all piled in Andrew's truck and headed over to Connie's.  Someone had been shooting a lot in the back field so I wanted to start there and see how it was, plus the birds really weren't feeding in the field I was hunting.  We setup near a cut in the tree line and put the mojo's in that path hoping to draw the birds towards us.  Unfortunately we setup with the sun in our eyes, making it a wee bit hard to see.  Far too many birds were landing in the middle of the field instead of flying towards us, so we got in a big line and started walking and everyone picked up a few birds.  We called it a little before sundown with a nice pile of birds, more than I thought we had and I shot my 1st or 2nd collard dove.


Saturday September 3rd 2011
Austin, TX

So on the first AM hunt we went down to the old tank and all positioned ourselves around there.  The shooting wasn't fast and furious, but it was pretty steady.  At one point I had four birds down and was able to find all four and shot my 2nd/3rd collard dove.  For whatever reason the birds would fly directly over the dried tank and it was pretty void of weeds and easy to find birds.  I was pretty surprised on how few WW we were shooting.  We called it pretty early and went back to Luling to cook the birds we shot and listen to a little football.  Andrew had some whiskey mixed with a decongestant and was out for the count.  My feet were KILLING me (I blame the boots) and Brandon was having all sorts of asthma issues so we decided just to hang out at Luling and go down to the tank and see what flew in.  Over the previous 10 years, I don't think we have shot more than 10 doves combined there, so I wasn't expecting much.  I guess we had the only water around because every few minutes doves would come in to the tank.  The afternoon turned into a heck of a shoot; my first time to dove hunt in flip-flops.  Andrew picked a bad day to pass out.  Video's from the PM hunt. 1 2 3 4

Sunday September 4th 2011
Austin, TX

I must be getting old because I was really wiped out after only 4 days.  We hunted by the tank again and the birds has slowed down considerably and my shooting was pretty bad by this time.  So I started walking and tried to jump some from the south part of an adjacent field and noticed them flying by a dead oak tree.  I ended up standing by that tree and shot a few as they tried to cut through the field and ended up with 11 for the day.  We setup at Luling for a little bit, but I missed an easy shot and didn't add any to my bag.  Oh well, not a bad trip considering its one of the worst droughts on record.

Saturday September 10th 2011
Eagle Lake, TX

The day before Craig and I went out scouting.  He showed me a spot where to watch in EB and I dropped him off at one in EL then back to EB.  I was there at sunup right next to flooded rice and didn't see more than 10 birds in the air.  On the way to pick him up I found a big flat of water with a few birds on it, but nothing like the record setting bird count indicated.  Craig said he saw about 20 fly into the rice he was watching, but still not very encouraging.  We checked out one field that was JUST, I mean that day, being flooded and it looked very promising as there was already lots of rice floating.  We then drove over to Garwood and El Campo and looked at some other land of Craig's and my brothers lease.  We decided to try the one freshly flooded field and hopefully enough shooters would push the birds around.  I'm used to being on the lease with guys with lots of other gear, but I was the only one with a mojo this year.  I don't think it mattered too much, but it would of been nice to draw a little more attention to us.  It was a pretty simple setup, just a few dozen decoys, my mojo and a chair to sit on over by a tree line.  Craig and I had sleds to drag out our gear in; turns out mine had a leak.  Once we get setup it wasn't long before the the birds started piling in.  This was Jeff's dog, Lady, first time to hunt, so he wasn't shooting just yet and wanted her to work.  Despite not having much wind, the birds were decoying pretty well and keying in on the mojo.  We were able to get our 5 man limit before 8.  We forgot to take pictures before we left and Craig and I just took a couple at his house.  Videos 1 2 3 4

Sunday September 11th 2011
Eagle Lake, TX

Same time, same place, but with only three of us this time.  My good shooting from the day before was gone and I got video of some nice misses on my part.  The bird's didn't want to work quite as well as the day before and seemed to come in from over our backs.  Oh well it was still good decoying action and Lady has a good nose on her and found a bird I was sure was lost.

Monday September 12th 2011
Eagle Lake, TX

Today was a quick hunt with my brother and I at the same field, just out more in the middle which seemed more birds were working than over on the sides.  We crossed the metal bridge and I walked past the water before I decided the best spot was closer to the road, putting us a wee short on time.  My brother and I setup the decoys and I brought out my old wonder duck to create a little more motion.  I put my decoy bag in a nice pile of ants and spent the first few minutes getting eaten alive.  Even as the first birds of the hunt come into the spread you can hear me mention my arm.  We each double on the group birds in the decoys and a little bit later a pair came in and split, giving us an easy shot each.  That would be it for the day, 3 birds each.  We didn't see any others.  Like I had kinda thought from the Friday trip, just not many birds down yet.  A week later Jeff would hunt that same field and said he has never seen that many birds before in his life.

Wednesday October 5th 2011
Matagorda Bay, TX

Jason asked me if I wanted to go fishing for redfish this week and sure I was home and down for some reds.  The weather looked MUCH better this time.  He had a co-worker with a yak who was also going and was primarily a fly fisherman.  His buddy was a bit late and we didn't on the water till after 8, but where we parked the truck something was tearing up the bait.  A few guys anchored up ahead of the action were pulling in big reds on bait, so I got my rod and a paddle tail and two casts later had a 14" trout in the net.  We all tried for a little bit, but never did land any more.  I wish we had tried it longer, but oh well.  The wind wasn't too bad nor were the currents and we started working shore lines and it wasn't long till Jason hooked up.  I had an early bite but lost it.  We were trying both sight casting at tails and just throwing towards the shore.  At the start of one island chains I threw a paddle tail and hooked up almost immediately.  I was using my Stradic 4000 with a cheap 6' 6" Academy rod and it handled the fish pretty good.  I had my drag a wee bit tight and if I had a bad hook set or a weak spot in the line, the fish would have broken it.  And trust me, my shitty net job gave him plenty of chances to do just that.  Its been so long since I caught a redfish of any size I actually forgot if I could lip it or not.  It measure about 25".  Video thanks to Jason.  After that we moved down this island chain and Jason picked up a few more keepers and two trout, but all I could catch was undersized ones.  In this one flat it was nothing but redfish in a feeding frenzy and sure enough, I caught a dink.  That was the end of my fish catching.  We got into some REALLY shallow and grassy area and I couldn't do anything but catch grass and once I looped back the way we came I never caught anything else.  On the way out Jason was up front and found some reds in the bay feeding on top and caught one more.  Fun day, but damn I really want a good Hobie with foot drive.

Wednesday October 26th 2011
Galveston Bay, TX

I was reading good reports of flounder so I texted a buddy asking if he had gone reticently.  His response was fishing yes, but he wanted to go gigging, did I want to go.  Yes I did.  I met him at a spot just past the causeway and we loaded up the kayaks and were off.  It was a short paddle to some sandbars he knew about and then time to start looking.  The sandbars were pretty big, but the tide was up higher than optimal reducing the visible water to gig.  About halfway around the island I spotted a flounder.  It wasn't a monster, but it was legal and dinner!  A lot of people complain about damaging the meat, but its two really small holes, so I wasn't worried about it.  With one on the stringer we finished the walk only seeing one little one.  After we loaded up, we went out to seawolf but it was too rough so we called it a night.  Not great, but it was dinner.

Saturday November 5th 2011
El Campo, TX

On Friday Craig and I hit the road early looking for ducks.  We started off in East Bernard and worked our way over to El Campo.  I was not too hopeful until we got to one place near El Campo.  It wasn't covered with ducks, but it looked ducky, would be a pretty easy hunt, and we did see a few wood ducks flying about.  After that we drove over to my brothers place which was COVERED up in cranes and specs; too bad crane season isn't open till 12/24.  Plans were made for four of us to hunt there tomorrow and we moved a boat down to help us put out decoys.  We all made plans to meet at the Buc-ee's in EC and Jeff at the corner of the road.  My brother was hunting his place and drove by us as we were going into the gate.  We were told we might be the only one hunting the place and as we drove by the main body of water we could see a lot of decoys; so much of a quiet hunt.  I wish we would have checked the water depth before because it was DEEP and the mojo pole wasn't long enough.  We had no wind or the decoys would have blown away.  As is usually the case on opening morning, it was a cluster of birds working every which way and shots going off everywhere.  Turns out the pond that might not be hunted had 18 guns on it; hard for us to get anything working with shooting like that going on near us.  The birds would not finish all morning so we just took the shots we had, which weren't great shots.  Once the sun came up, I wanted to move into the island in the middle of the pond so we weren't blinded by the sun, but no-one else really wanted to move so we stuck it out there.  We were able to grind out our limit, but by the time we did the other parties were done also, so we weren't able to get any good decoying action.  The final count was a 24 birds with a nice mix of gadwall, widgeon, pintails, wood ducks and teal.

Sunday November 6th 2011
Garwood, TX

Today we were given a pond to hunt with our neo tubs, which normally I really like; but not when there are five other groups around you.  It was supposed to be five of us, but we got a call from Scott saying that his truck died on the way out of his neighborhood so he was out.  We get there and weren't quite sure where to setup, so after 20 minutes of walking around we find some open water.  By that time it was creeping up on LST so we half ass grassed the blinds and got ready for the show; and a show it was.  We had teal buzzing all around us at first light and right over the layouts, I was gonna wait for the bigger ducks to work; if they would work.  It wasn't long before the birds starting wanting to land behind us, so we moved back into some taller grass, where we should have been in the first place.  It was probably too little tool late, but we did pick up three more pintail and a pair of widgeon.  Its a great spot for layout blinds if there are no other groups around so you can actually work birds.

Monday November 7th 2011
Garwood, TX

My brother and I wanted to do a quick hunt before I flew out to AK, so we were given the Tick Pond near where we hunted the day before.  We didn't know what to expect, so we brought our layouts, but turned out we just stood in a canal behind some shrubs.  After a pretty tough walk in waders that didn't fit too well we put out the decoys and mojo's and got ready.  We had birds landing in the spread before LST, they kept getting up and coming back but we couldn't ID them.  Finally on one pass we heard tat-tat of a gadwall so when LST arrived I shot one.  Turns out it was a pintail hen :(.  Well after that I was going to wait until I could 100% ID them.  We started having big groups of pintails work us, but were having a heck of a time picking out drakes.  My brother IDs a drake and drops one, then another; short time later I drop one too.  Looking at them in hand you can tell why we are having a hard time ID'ing them, they were still molting to their fall plumage.  Well now we each had our pintail limit and were gonna hang out a little longer for a bonuses teal or whatever would show up.  As the next group of pintails showed up I watched them and noticed what I thought was a drake widgeon in them, I told my brother to watch out for the widgeon and sure enough on the next pass I was 100% sure it was a widgeon, I made the shot and it went down behind us.  My brother made a mad dash over to it and we called the hunt.  Not too bad, 5 shots, 3 ducks and on the road about 9 AM.

Thursday November 24th 2011
Garwood, TX

I landed the day before and wanted to hunt on Thanksgiving morning, so did Jeff and Scott.  So we got the spot near where we hunted on the 6th, but supposed the blind was moved.  We got there early and Jeff and I looked for the blind to and walked quite a bit to make sure that was it because it was a little father from the water than I wanted.  We got setup and could hear another hunter near us, I knew the pond was pretty big, so I hoped it was just because we had 0 wind.  I knew today was gonna be tough, so I called the shot on any birds that were in range.  They weren't going to work with no wind, that close to other shooters, and in a giant taco stand that far from the water; sure enough I was right.  I don't remember what we shot for the day, but it was maybe a bird each.  It could be a very good pond if there were pit blinds and hunters spaced farther apart.

Friday November 25th 2011
Galveston, TX

I scouted on the way back and the only geese I found were at the Vineyard.  We had a plowed field I thought we could pull some geese in, or I heard the flounder action was hot, maybe lets go try that.  Andrew was sold on the flounder so we headed down to Seawolf and got in the water a little before 7.  A buddy told me the hot setup was yellow and pink curly tail gulp on a double drop fishing SLOW on the bottom.  We tried the bay side and there were already 20-30 guys fishing there.  After about 30 minutes without a bump and only seeing one little one caught, we went over to the channel side.  Lots of people here too, but they were much more spread out.  I haven't caught very many flounder before and was using a setup I was told by Kody, but I knew the thump-thump-thump was a flounder.  I gave it a good 5 count and set the hook; flounder number one in the net.  With so many people out there it was hard to walk much so we just sorta claimed a spot and cast in every direction.  A little later I caught one that hit it hard; two in net.  Andrew still didn't have any, so he told me to keep fishing.  A short time later I had a solid hit right at my feet.  I missed at my first netting attempt and the fish spit the hook, it would have gone 18" easy; teach me to make fun of a guy having trouble netting a 13" flounder.  Andrew caught one at that same time, so if I had caught it, we'd of been done.  He wanted his two, so he told me to keep fishing.  This time I cast right towards the rocks and the line suddenly got heavy, so I counted to 3 and set the hook.  A little later, I put it in Andrew's net and we were both limited out.  I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever caught a limit of anything in Texas.  We talked about trying to catch some more and release the smaller ones, but I knew that was a bad practice so we called it there.  We didn't walk 10 feet before other people moved into our spot.

Saturday November 26th 2011
China, TX

I wanted to hunt today, but not any of our leases, plus a cold front was blowing in that night and it was supposed to be a wet one too.  I talked to a few guys and Brent has a spot for me at his lease north of Winnie, near China.  I haven't hunted with him in a while and I was up for a new drive to see new area.  During the drive out there you could see the sky was getting darker and darker.  We met at a gas station and Brent suggested we get dressed there, good call.  I followed him to his place where we parked, got geared up and I rode with him to a rice field.  I put out my decoys, got my mojo up and going, and Brent went to get more decoys from their pit blinds.  After that we went back to the trucks to wait on Brent's cousin.  And then the rain opened up, and I mean like for an hour we waited in the truck.  My brother sent me a text about coming down to our parents to cook the flounder if I could make it.  Once the rain got to a slow point, we went back out to the blind.  It wasn't long before a pair of teal came in and we dropped those.  One sailed off and luckily Brent's cousin arrived around that time with his dog.  And that would be it for the hunt.  Saw more ducks, but none wanted to work.  Packed up, headed back home and made it to my parents just in-time for flounder stuffed with crabcake.

Sunday November 27th 2011
Bay City, TX

Today was the closing day of the split and Jeff and I wanted to hunt and Steve wasn't sure.  I told him where we'd be meeting and to text me in the AM if he was in.  We were hunting the canal pond at the Bay City property.  I have never seen it before, so I wanted to get there early and look it over, plus I brought my layout gear incase we needed to hunt in the pond.  After a few wrong turns getting into the ranch, we get to where the GPS said water was.  Hmm... I don't see any water, just a bunch of cattle.  So we get out and walk and found there is just enough water to float the decoys in some tall grass.  We debate setting out the layouts vs just laying against the canal banks and then start putting out decoys.  I wish I had my full body pintails today, they'd of been great for this spot.  As we are setting up, birds were already in the air and looking at our decoys.  So we hurry up and get down on the canal bank and they take a shot before I'm even loaded.  Luckily, I had one in the magazine and was able to get off a shot in-time to bring down a duck passing over me.  Turns out mostly gadwall in the area.  We had a good number of birds work us till about 9, but they never really fully committed, so our shots weren't the best.  I know one time Steve jumped the gun and called the shot early and I was the only one to bring down a bird.  If we were in our layouts or hidden better, I bet we could of easily had four or five more birds.  Plus if Craig was there, I think we'd of had some specs too.  But all in all, not a bad hunt, super easy and we shot good ducks.  It was fun to see them circle and work like you don't get on a rice field.

Wednesday November 30th 2011
Galveston, TX

Duck season was closed and we hadn't scouted in a while and I wanted to get another shot at flounder.  So Craig and I went down to Seawolf again and got in the water just at daybreak.  I was amazed at the number of fishermen there in the middle of the week.  We started out on the channel side and with either my first or second cast I had a hookup; one in the net.  I should have stayed right there, but I worked my way down the shore line only getting maybe one more bump; Craig had one hookup, but I think he set the hook too early and lost it.  We worked our way back watching one guy catch a few fish and he was trading out the smaller ones for larger ones.  Craig took one from him and we tried it a little while longer before we called it with one a piece.

Thursday December 1st 2011
Galveston, TX

Even though the day before sorta sucked, I wanted to try it again on the 1st with the limit changing from two to five.  I was supposed to meet a guy there, but he no-showed, so when I got ready I hit the water.  I had my hat light and was in the water while it was still dark.  I caught a fish on my 1st or 2nd cast and boxed flounder number one.  Less than a dozen casts later I had flounder number two, but I let it get the hook too far in its gut and spent too much time messing with it, so I just cut the line and re-rigged; good thing it was a keeper.  Well after wasting 15 minutes with that I got hung up on a tire and could not get my hook free; leader number two done.  Thankfully I always over pack and it was on number three that I caught my 20" flounder.  I was casting down the road towards the park and noticed that my line was swimming parallel to how I was retrieving it, so I reeled up slack and set the hook, off went the drag.  I was thinking I might have picked up a red at first, but the closer I got the fish to me the more it was hugging the bottom, that's when I knew it was a big flounder.  When I finally saw it I got a little nervous, this was my biggest flounder to date, but I got it netted and in my donet.  Number four was with me casting towards the channel proper and this was kinda just hit the lure and I waited then hook set, 19" flounder in the net.  I really wanted number five to just say I had a limit and I caught one more right at 14" but decided it was his lucky day and let him go.  Not a bad day at all, I have flounder for the next few months.

Friday December 2nd 2011
El Campo, TX

While I was out fishing, Craig was out scouting.  He found some geese flying over one of our properties and we got the go to hunt it.  Not quite the field we wanted, but just one over.  Thanks to the drought, it was DRY so Craig had no trouble driving his F150 into the field to unload all the gear.  We had a pretty diverse spread of 500-600 SS, some Canada outlaws and GHG fullbody specs.  David and Craig where in whites and Troy and I were using my RS blankets off to the right.  The first group of the day wouldn't center up even with our calling and the shot wasn't great for us on the right.  We should have moved right then and there, but waited till later in the hunt.  Pretty much every group for a while did that and the specs would not work either.  Finally after awhile of that we moved to our left and re-arranged the decoys a little; of course by then it was too late.  A little later while Craig was out looking for a cripple, I knocked down my second spec and of course after that the rest decoyed in perfectly.  When Craig was back, a group decoyed in perfectly and they knocked down the last three that were needed.  On we the way out we stopped and looked at our rice field and found two more birds, one was already ruined and the other was just eaten on the neck.  Ended with 24 in hand, plus the two more in the field.  Videos 1 2


Friday December 3rd 2011
El Campo, TX

After the hunt today we got the OK to hunt the rice where we wanted to hunt after all, but we had to take out a single member and his girlfriend.  We wanted to put out a bigger spread today, so Craig invited a buddy with more decoys and I invited Jason.  Everyone met up off 59 and then we headed into the field.  The other member had a ATV and trailer that were used to haul all the gear in the field.  Unbeknownst to us, while we were putting out decoys in a easy dry rice field, the other guys gf was sitting in the truck.  I could understand if its nasty and cold and wet, but it was maybe in the mid 50's and a dry rice field.  Plus, they had ZERO gear, they had to use all of Craig's; not cool at all.  So after we all the gear and decoys out we get down and wait.  We never heard the big sound of all the geese getting off and heading out way, uh oh.  Sure enough looking around we could see geese going the other way.  We ended up picking up around 10 birds for the group.  Afterwards a REALLY strong wind storm picked up making everything real fun to pack up and it took us 30 minutes to find the poles for the SS, oh and again the gf went back to the truck and sat there.

Video 1 2 3 4 5

Thursday December 22nd 2011
Bay City, TX

I had just arrived from Alaska the day before and after doing some scouting I was itching to get in some hunting with the cold weather and rain.  We were hunting the Bay City property, so I got up extra early because it was going to be raining the entire drive down and I didn't want to speed through all the small towns.  Just as I was getting close to my turn off on 521 I was checking the GPS and wasn't really noticing my speed when I saw some red and white lights, crap.  Cop was a TOTAL prick, not carrying that tomorrow was my birthday and that it was 4 in the AM and there wasn't anyone else around, so I made him stand in the rain as long as I could acting like I couldn't find my DL and insurance card.  Needless to say, this put us behind.  Anyways, I met up with Craig and Scott and put my gear in his truck (4x4) and then we drove out to our pond and decided on a course of action.  It was REALLY flooded and still coming down and since we were short on time, it was just easier to hunt in the blind.  So we float out all the gear, those sleds are awesome, and get setup.  Craig takes a few decoys and heads off to the right edge of the pond as a little side spread.  It wasn't long before we have two teal come in to my side and I waited on them to hopefully come around and give us both a shot, nope.  They landed over on my left just out of range; I should have shot as they flew over.  Soon the teal start coming in and we are knocking down a bird here and there and Craig is picking up a few also.  After a lull he comes back in the spread and we pick up birds and just as we are out of the blind a group of gadwall start to work us.  We all hunch down and out of no-where Steve takes a shot without being told and doesn't hit anything.  Its one thing if a single bird comes in your side and you are an experienced hunter, but a novice shouldn't have called the shot, especially when you aren't a good shot.  A little later a pair of birds come towards us and one breaks away while the other flies over that Craig and I both realize is a drake mallard and call the shot simultaneously; dead green head.  Hunt is winding down when a group of snow geese get a little too low and I'm able to wing one.  Craig is bored and wants to explore so he goes over the snow and looks around.  That's the hunt with 12 birds.  It was actually not bad, if we had taken the teal early and not messed up on the gadwall, we would have had a great chance at a limit.  On the way out we see just how much water there is when every single ditch is overflowing; you can see that in the picture of me.

Friday December 23rd 2011
El Campo, TX

Today was the first time all year I needed my ATV so it was also the first time I used since having a circlip replaced on it.  I was a little nervous about running it in the dark incase it broke down a long way from the trailer; I had no way to get it back to the trailer.  It was Andrew, Jeff, and myself at Lee Glass and we drew the farthest blind from the truck.  Luckily we were the first ones there because as soon as we pull in another few trucks try to park inside the gate, but had to park outside.  It took a while to get all the gear on the ATV, but I took down my brother first with as much gear as possible, pushed the axle back in and went to get Jeff.  Pushed the axle back in, loaded up Jeff and gear and went back to the blind.  Lady was hurt, so she wasn't hunting with us today.  After I unloaded, we pushed the axle back in and I went and hid the ATV.  Damn I knew I should have checked the circlip better before I picked it up.  The wind was blowing pretty good sorta quartering at us, so we set the decoys out sorta in a J-hook pattern.  It wasn't long before teal started coming in and landing just outside the decoys.  We'd get a few swinging by and started picking up a few teal here and there.  At first we had talked about using the layouts and going out into the water and if it was just a tad bit shallower, I think that would have been the way to go.  We had gadwall work us, but just not finish well enough for the shot so we only picked up a fraction of what could have been.  We called the hunt around 10 or 11 with a bag of mostly GWT and a few gadwall.  If there was a pit blind or a way for us to use the layouts, close to a 3 man limit would of been possible.

Saturday December 24th 2011
Eagle Lake, TX

My brother really wanted to hunt sandhills on his birthday and so did I with my eight sandhill decoys ordered from Body Language Decoys made by Don Mintz.  Four were in and the other four were late, so I brought my four, some SS and David brought out two stuffers he made.  I scouted when I got in on 21st and found enough cranes to hunt and it would be an easy hunt because we could hide in a ditch and put the decoys out in front.  Jeff wanted to hunt and so did Steve, so that made six of us.  Easy to hide in the creek and it made hauling out gear with the sleds pretty easy.  I wasn't sure how I wanted to transport the decoys because of the flocking.  If it was just burlap, Avery slot bags would be fine, so that is what I used on this first hunt, with one slot being used for the heads and the stakes just in the sleds.  By the time I had out the four full bodies, the guys had out my four dozen SS and David had up his 2 stuffers.  The wind wasn't ideal, but on the opening day of crane season, we were hoping it didn't matter; sure enough it didn't.  On the first group to take a look at us, we dropped four birds, I shot one behind us so I know 100% I got one.  Next up my brother cripples one behind us and Craig goes over two more cripples.  They are out looking for their birds leaving just Jeff, Steve, and myself in the ditch when a new group comes in.  Jeff called the shot and I raise up and click; damn I never reloaded.  I think they each drop one and I know if I had ammo in the gun I could have doubled, if not tripled.  I get a call from a panicked Craig saying he just shot a coyote.  Turns out he was sneaking up on a crippled crane and unbeknownst to him, there was a coyote sneaking up on it from the other side.  After he shot there was a huge commotion behind the crane and at first he thought some kid was sneaking up on the bird and he shot someone, turns out he just crippled the coyote.  After he dispatched it he called me asking for help; talk about a stinky beast.  We get back as my brother has given up looking for his crane and after a little lull some specs get just a litlte too close and they drop two but can only recover one.  We called it shortly after that with eight cranes, one spec, and a coyote.  Interesting hunt to say the least.

  Monday December 26th 2011
Bay City, TX

Every since the rain created some more hunting areas, there was a certain pond I wanted to hunt in Bay City.  It was a pond surrounded by timber.  Not a true flooded timber spot, but still a cool place to hunt and we saw a lot of cranes in the area, so maybe a chance for both.  Jason was free so he joined me with Jeff, Scott and Jackson.  We setup two pods, one left and one right with the mojo in the middle and us behind the trees.  Jeff wanted to sit in front of the trees as did Scott and Jackson on the left, Jason and I made a QUICK little brush pile and setup on the right.  Pretty soon we had birds coming into the decoys just about picture perfect.  The first ones up were a pair of mottle Jeff brought down.  We had teal, gadwall, and spoonies work us and we brought down some each time.  When a group of spoonies came in I picked out a widgeon mixed in the group dropped it.  After many cranes flew over, I decided to move across the pond in hopes of getting one.  I never did have a shot, but I was able to watch mallards come in and work the pond.  Pretty sure if the guys were covered up better and calling more aggressively they would of had a shot.  Jackson was cold and kept having to get up and walk around, I know that cost us some birds and as we chased down some gadwall, we had a pair of mallards come in on us.  The drake wouldn't get within range, but I dropped the hen with one shot.  Scott left a little early so all of the birds aren't in the picture, but it was one of my top hunts of the year.  The birds worked perfect and just about all were shoot feet down wings cupped.

 Saturday December 31st 2011
Palacios, TX

 We had a weekend planned at the bay along with my brother and Lauren and Brad and Kara.  Whitney and her BF were at her dad's place along with Lori and her bf.  I talked to Rick who was gonna hunt a bay over from our place invited my brother and myself to hunt with him.  Due to the thick fog, we didn't need to get an early start, so I think we woke up around 6 and met up with Rick a little before 7.  A quick load up and off we start a slow ride out in the thick fog.  Rick hugs the shore until he finds a spot he likes.  We anchor up, setup a long string of decoys and put the mojo out in the middle.  Rick moves the boat down the way while Andrew and I get our get put away and just sat down against the bluff.  Not long after Rick returns a pair of drake pintail come in from right to left and Andrew and I each drop one.  Rick said he shot the left one, so I give it to him; two more for me to shoot.  It doesn't take long before we hear shots off in the distance and have redheads come into our spread so we start picking out drakes.  We had a handful of ringnecks and scaup flying around and we able to pick up a few.  There were several times we had large rafts of divers swim by just outside our decoys and one of those times I thought they were cans.  Andrew pulled out his big lens and sure enough, a small group of canvasbacks.  That would of been a nice kicker to add a full bull cans to the group.  Around 11 most of the fog was burned off and we decided it was a good time to call it.  Talk about a super easy, yet very enjoyable hunt; Andrew and I really need a boat.

Thursday January 19th 2012
Palacios, TX

I now had all of my crane decoys and had been talking with Brian Mucks (the guy who told me about them) about hunting with him for them.  He called me on Wednesday saying that his truck was down, but his hunting partner still wanted to go after them.  So I called John and setup to meet him at his place.  After he gave me directions I realized it was right down form the bay house, which I had planned to stay at anyways.  I met John nice and early on a foggy morning where we drove down the trucks, got the decoys setup and unloaded our gear and then had a easy walk down a gravel road.  He told me the birds would most likely be coming at us so we laid in a ditch and waited on the birds.  The fog was really thick, but you could hear some off in the distance and it wasn't long before a pair came in towards the middle, John raised up, fired twice and brought down two birds; now it was my turn.  A short time I could see a four birds heading our way, so I got down and waited for my shot.  Once they were in range, I raised up fired on the first bird, hitting it but not bringing it down, so I fired again bringing it down, a second bird turned and fly right back at me, so I waited a second for a closer shot and fired bringing it down.  Five total shots fired with four birds.  I took some pictures of the decoys at 7:09 AM and by 7:23 AM we were done.  Great way to start a crane hunting weekend.  Here is a video of my limit.

Friday January 20th 2012
Bay City, TX

I was staying down at the bay this weekend and Friday I made a crane hunt at Bay City.  I think the fog really hurt me today as I could see birds in the distance, but they weren't flying close enough to me to see my decoys.  I never fired a shot.

Saturday January 21st 2012
El Campo, TX

Craig found some geese on one of our places and invited a few of his buddies out there and I brought Andrew.  This place wasn't too far from the bay, so we didn't have to get up super early and the field was dry was we were able to drive the trucks right into it; very nice.  The spread was interesting to say the least, I wasn't a fan nor was David, but we went along with it.  I'm always of the opinion everyone gets a shot or no-one gets a shot, so I don't like splitting up the group; unless one party wants to move after the initial setup.  So the guys were spread out pretty good and of course the birds started going to the furthest spot from Andrew, David, and myself.  We did have a few shots, I brought down a snow solo and doubled on pintail but after that the wind REALLY shifted and the temperature dropped a good 20 degrees in minutes and it started raining.  Luckily the rain wasn't enough to cause the trucks to get stuck, but just enough to get everything muddy and you cold.  We also had out a few crane decoys and a few cranes were in the area, but never really gave us a look.  One pair had a whooper with it.  Pretty cool to see and hear; you have to be a complete idiot to mistake the whooper for anything else.  We called the hunt with a little over 10 birds.  Throughout the hunt Craig kept wondering where the geese were he saw yesterday and on the way out we thought we saw a cripple in the next field, so we drive over to see 2-3k geese; guess we found the birds.  We never saw them in the air, so our guess is they flew in from the back early enough for us not to see or hear them.

Sunday January 22nd 2012
Palacios, TX

Through my buddy Chuck, I found a landowner/leaser of an area that was holding a good number of cranes.  I met with him on Friday and my brother and I scouted a little on Saturday.  Sunday we were gonna hunt and invited Terry along for the ride.  I ALWAYS like to hunt in the spread so we chose a spot that had a little draw through it and put the decoys around it.  It was really foggy, so we started off just standing behind a tree BS'ing until the birds started flying.  Well they came in quietly and we didn't see them until it was too late to get into the spread, so we just stayed behind the tree until they came into range.  I stepped out and dropped one right off the bat, but it didn't really give Andrew or Terry a good shot.  After that I moved into the draw underneath my camo blanket and they moved to some different trees.  Short time later I had my second bird and I got out and moved back to the first tree so I could tell them about birds.  Pretty soon they had birds looking at the decoys and started getting shots.  They crippled one that flew right by me so I dropped it; I hate loosing birds.  It was nice limiting out early, because I was able to film their hunts.  I shot my first bird at 7:24 and by 7:54 they were done.  Great day and talk about easy, a 7 minute drive from the bay house.  Videos 1 2 3 4

Saturday January 28th 2012
Palacios, TX

Back at the cranes again.  We scouted on Friday and they appeared to be further back in the field, which was better for us, so we moved deeper in back.  This time it was a different draw, but one that would work better for the wind.  We saw a few birds early, but none really wanted to look at the decoys.  I was laying down in the draw and couldn't see them if they came in low in either front or back of me, but my brother was behind me under some trees with this camera.  He told me I had two come in hard and to get ready.  Well they landed before he told me to shoot, so I turned on the lidcam and setup not wanting to ground swat them.  When they finally jumped, I got the first one with one shot and didn't get the second.  Pretty sure I hit it, but it never went down.  Well I got the bird and them back under the blanket when I had a juvy work me pretty good and when I thought it was in range I shoot up to shoot and missed.  Andrew said it was going to land and I shot too early.  Well after that, I traded positions with him.  After what he thought were a few birds flaring, he went and got underneath a tree.  What did the next bird do?  Come right in the middle of the spread, so if he were still underneath the blanket he'd of had an easy shot.  A little later a group of birds came in behind us and landed way out of range of Andrew, but from where I was, I had a decent shot, so I shot it while on the ground only to kill it with my second shot in the air.  That was it for the cranes.

Sunday January 28th 2012
Palacios, TX

Andrew invited his college roommate to drive down and try his hand at some cranes and we brought Terry along as well.  We had been seeing a lot of birds flying even farther back than we were, so that is where we went for today.  The decoys were behind us in a big clearing behind a tree thicket.  We had a lot of good cover so hopefully the birds wouldn't see us, but would also give us room to move around underneath the trees.  LST arrives and we see birds again even further away and the ones we do see don't even look at the decoys.  Terry had a buddy down the road a little that has a lot of cranes in his place, but its too close to the road for us to hunt it; we are probably seeing all of their birds.  We finally have some birds fly right over us and it was sorta a cluster.  Instead of being on the backside of the trees and shooting them as they came right over, someone went on the front of the trees and shot scattering all the birds while the three of us on the backside didn't have a good shot; one bird fell.  More birds were seen flying by till a little later a single comes in to take a look and while it doesn't finish, four guns going off at once was enough to put it down.  Andrew and Brad move down underneath some different trees and some birds fly right over them.  Andrew shoots bringing down a bird.  He was shooting #4 buckshot and said he aimed at the front bird hitting the back one; yep, that is how slow buckshot is.  Well we pretty much call it with three birds.  We eat lunch in Palacios and drive over to my lease in Bay City in hopes of getting a duck or two.  Nothing there either.  So that ends hunting season 2011-2012.