Monday May 14th 2012
Galveston, TX

I had been watching the weather and the surf was going to lay down pretty good this week.  I met Tracy at the McDonald's on the east side and followed him to a parking spot near the beach.  The water was a rougher and off color, but I was already down there and it wasn't that bad.  We were in the water by 4:10 and I started off with a much hyped manic mullet only to have it came off the quick swivel; damn!  I switched to a white TTKII and was catching nothing but blue fish, damn those things can tear up a lure in a hurry.  Tracy was getting lots of bites, but no hook ups; probably more blue fish.  We were heading back around 6:15 when he caught a 18" trout on a pearl paddle tail; I put on the same lure and nothing.  He caught one more before we were out of the water by 6:30.  Probably could have ground it out, but I hate cleaning gear and fish in the dark and I was getting up early to fish in the morning.

Tuesday May 15th 2012
Galveston, TX

I met Richard near 14th street on the seawall at 6.  He and a buddy of his were already in the water by the time I got there and I could see so were lots of other guys.  They had one keeper between the two on his buddy's pink skitterwalk; Richard was throwing a mirrordine 17.  I had on the white TTKII again and caught a nice keeper, 19" or so and had a few more bites, but due to bad hook sets and no more fish.  More and more people were starting to fish and not as much action as you'd of thought, so we decided to make a move.  Back in the water by 7:45, with another of his buddy's and his GF, at pretty much where we had fished last night.  We were getting a few bites and fish here and there and around 8 it seemed Richard and myself were getting hits every cast and that lasted till 8:30.  I boxed four more during that time period and Z had six.  We fished till after 9 with no more bites and called it.  His buddy with the pink skitterwalk was working the first gut pretty hard and boxed four as well, but they were much spaced out.  Seems during that 30 minute window, the 3 of us working the second gut caught trout on all different colors and types of lures.  I was using the biggest lure and caught the biggest fish, 1-15", and the rest around 19".

Wednesday May 16th 2012
Galveston, TX

Dane and Travis did much better out west yesterday, so we started off near BA15 or 16.  Steve's brother Kevin was off work and he met us there.  There were a good 20+ guys in the water before sunup and even the guys throwing shrimp weren't catching anything.  After about 30 min with no bites we made the move west, checking a few places until going over the pass and stopping at the car bodies.  There were a handfull of guys there and they reported they were catching some, but it seemed like a school were moving down the beach.  We could see a ton of shrimp getting worked over, so we had high hopes.  Kevin was throwing new penny gulp, I was using the same TTKII, Richard same mirrodine and his buddy the pink skitterwalk.  We all caught some, but it wasn't as I would have thought with the amount of shrimp there.  At one point I had to cast side arm to not hit any birds that were gorging on the shrimp, but I would not get a bite.  Kevin he best with five keepers, I had two, both with different colors (neither on the white TTK) and my buddies with hard lures had a couple.  We left there around 10 and stopped at BA35 or 34 and fished for a while more before putting up the rods.  A friend of Kevin's showed up with shark gear and I hung out a little while and watched them reel in a 5' bull shark.

Thursday May 17th 2012
Galveston, TX

Jason fished surfside last night and did really well with gulp and a popping cork, so I met up with Dane and some of his buddies there around 4.  We fished near BA4 for a while with no bites before going over the pass and trying at BA32 for a while, nothing there either.  I drove back east and pulled in ever few BA and watch guys fishing.  At one of them I saw a guy catching a few on shrimp, I fished there a little while without a bite.  Not even a blue fish today.

Friday May 18th 2012
Galveston, TX

Ginger and I wanted to try Jimmy's on the Pier for breakfast, so it was good excuse to go fishing and then eat breakfast afterwards.  This time I chose to fish east and got in the water a little after 6.  There were two other guys there with shrimp and a father and 8 year old son rigging up to fish.  I should have taken it as a sign when the kid was yelling SUPER loud that the guys were catching sharks and for his dad to come see.  Later when the dad finally started fishing he in-turn yelled really loud for his son to get in the water with him; some people.  This time I brought some gulp with me and after an hour of only one bite where something cut my white TTK in half, I put on a pearl gulp shad.  It wasn't long before I had a bite and reeled in lure sans tail.  Next I put on a new penny shrimp and had a good strike.  I went to set the hook only to have the line break and an instant later I see a three foot shark come out of the water where my line broke.  I figured that was a good sign to go eat.

Sunday May 20th 2012
Texas City, TX

Andrew has a sucky job and can't take off during the week anymore, so he was now delegated to being a weekend warrior.  We debated about going to the pocket on Saturday, but I was flat out beat and he had to go oven shopping, so we deiced to try Skyline on Sunday.  He bought two dozen croaker and a pint of shrimp and we drove down Skyline looking for a good area and got in the water a little after 6 past the old marina.  One guy was already there throwing shrimp and we saw him catching some fish.  I was messing with shrimp (I don't use bait very often, so its sort of a novelty to me) while Andrew was free lining croaker.  I was catching nothing but trash fish, and after he netted a 18" trout, I switched over to croaker.  He boxed one more when it was my turn.  I had my bait make a good run, then the line went slack.  I thought the fish spit out the croaker, so I slowly tightened the line and when it felt heavy set the hook on what turned out to be a 19" trout (first trout on a croaker).  He caught one more and I had something hit and kill my bait but not take it.  That would be it for the day, four for him, one for me.  Not a bad day, except for the fact he dropped my do-net breaking one of my lure boxes and after we got back to our trucks, I broke my rod tip.  :(

Thursday June 7th 2012
Bolivar, TX

I wanted to fish and my buddies were doing really well here last week, so I made the 5 AM ferry along with a buddy.  We each went different directions on the beach and when I got to my spot I sat in the truck and looked at the water a long time before I got out.  It was pretty rough and off color.  When I finally got out, I walked down the beach and ran into two of Richard's buddies who were heading out after only 15 minutes.  I should have followed them as they went to a different spot and caught a good number of fish.  I walked back to the truck and called it a day with a takeout from Bronco Burrito.

Friday June 8th 2012
Bolivar, TX

My brother had wanted to try flounder gigging and maybe catch some crabs.  So Ginger and I met him at Bolivar Friday night.  We got there early and did a little fishing with Tracy.  I hooked one keeper trout on a manic mullet and Tracy lost three lures to sharks.  We got rigged up with lanterns and gigs and started looking.  The water was pretty dirty, but we could find really good pockets of clean water, but didn't find any flounder and only some small crabs.  After a long walk down the beach a storm blew in and we hauled ass back to the trucks only to get caught in a heck of a little storm.  It rained so heavy so fast I couldn't see the exit from the beach and my brother had to drive using his GPS.

Sunday June 10th 2012
Texas City, TX

Ginger and I were house sitting for her brother on the island so when Andrew wanted to fish the dike on Sunday, it was an short drive for me, so I was in.  This time no shrimp, just croaker.  He started off using 1/8 oz. weights with red beads and I was using 1/16 oz. weight with green beads.  After he had five fish to my zero I switched over to his color setup and started catching fish pretty quickly.  I was amazed that the colors and weight made that much of a difference.  Tracy and his brother were wade fishing with lures and only had one blow up before they left around 8.  Andrew was stringing up the fish before I finally started catching up just as he ran out of croaker.  I gave him a gulp as he went in search of flounder and I fished my last bait.  Not long after I gave him a gulp he caught a flounder so after a few more casts, I chunked the mostly dead croaker and put on a gulp in search of flounder.  We fished that area for a good 15 more minutes before going to the truck and driving skyline looking for signs of trout.  One spot looked pretty good and we tried there a little while before calling it a day.  If we had each bough two dozen croaker, or maybe even 18 I'm pretty sure we would have limited on trout.

Wednesday June 13th 2012
Bolivar, TX

Richard was supposed to take out his boat today, but as the day went on I never heard anything.  Finally around 8 on Tuesday I sent him a text and they said they were fishing Bolivar.  I wasn't super thrilled with the idea of making the 5 AM ferry, but after I checked the tides and wind I figured it could be a good day so I was in.  I met them on the ferry and we got in the water a little after 6.   We started working our way to deeper water and could see some pretty decent bait action, but no-one was catching anything.  I could see one guy out a little deeper getting hook ups on every 3rd cast.  I had enough of that and put on a gulp mullet.  Pretty soon I had a nice 18" trout in the basket, but that was it for that lure.  I couldn't tell what the bait was, but I thought it was shrimp so I put on a Chickenboy PB&J colored lure; first cast I had a fish.  I used that lure and added some fish to the basket until something bit it in half.  Next up, I tied on a Holographic Passion Pink shrimp and something nailed it the first caught and cut the line; crap.  Ok so next I tied on his red and white and couldn't buy a bite with that.  After that we started working back and I put on a Chicken on the Bone and started catching trout, smaller, but they were still keepers.  I had eight in the basket and was hoping to get two more for my first limit but it wasn't meant to be.  I think Richard had seven, Jordan had nine, and Tracy got there late had only one.  Great day and I'm glad I got up for the 5 AM ferry.

Sunday June 17th 2012
East Matagorda, TX

Andrew and I had a trip booked with Run-n-Gun for a croaker trip in West bay along with Ginger and Lauren.   We wanted the girls to catch a lot of fish, not really worried about big fish, so we wanted to go to west bay.  As soon as we met the guide, Nick, he told us we were heading to east bay; I knew the day wasn't going to be what we were hoping for.  He said the wind, bad tide, and jelly fish all combined to make the south shoreline a bad bet, but he had some fish located in east bay.  First spot he hands us some leaders, puts the bait bucket in the water and is out fishing before we can even finish tying on the leader.  Hmm... not off to a good start.  That is one thing if you have a group of experienced fisherman, but not if you have two girls who have never fished before.  Well I get my leaders tied on and Ginger's and Andrew is ready, so we head out towards the north shore line.  The water looks like crap, wind isn't too bad, but the color is awful.  We try there for a little bit then pack up and move to a little oyster island.  Again as soon as the power pole is out, Nick is gone looking for fish.  I know he is trying to find fish so he can tell us where to fish, but I would have appreciated telling the girls how to work the croaker.  Up to this point, I have caught exactly five trout on croaker, so I'm by no means an expert.  At this island Nick goes to the far side and catches one pretty quick, Ginger and I are fishing one way, Andrew and Lauren the other when Andrew gets one smaller trout.  Ginger catches a hardhead here and then we move to a different island.  I had a rod issue and Andrew backlashed, so I put my reel on his rod and get in the water a little later than Andrew and Nick.  The girls had sort of had enough and it was only near 8, so they were gonna stay in the boat unless we started catching fish.  I also switched to a different leader setup, I put on my which was a bigger chatter weight on a flourcarbon leader.  My first or second cast past the oyster bar I had a fish, turned out to be just under 25" and around 4 pounds.  Andrew then hooked up and I lost one, that got the girls out of the boat.  Nick went to the far right and was catching fish every cast so Ginger and I went down there and couldn't get a bite.  We all moved down to the left, but couldn't catch anymore.  I think Nick strung 8 trout there and a nice redfish.  One the way back to the boat Ginger cut her foot on an oyster, so after some first aid we were off to the shore line again.  After a long wade from the boat to the shore with no hits we moved to a different spot down the north shore line.  We worked in towards the shore, I caught a keeper trout on the way in.  Ginger and I were on the left and I started catching rat red after rat red.  Nick went to get some more bait and moved down past my left along with Andrew and Lauren.  Nick was catching some pretty often and started passing off the rod and reel to the girls so they got to fight some fish.  After that slowed down they moved further to my left and I hooked up with a nice red I left Ginger fight; turned out to be 24".  With this spot done, we moved one more time.  The girls were really done this time, so we loaded up and mowed in towards a grass flat.  We all had a little contest going, everyone entering $5 for the biggest trout and $5 for the heaviest stringer.  At this point either Andrew was head by 1/2# or I was (on the heaviest stringer), but it was close.  Nick again was catching fish and we couldn't buy a bite, so I decided to try working the croaker like a lure, I would slowly reel then thump it.  One of the retrieves I had a solid thump, I opening my bail and as soon as the line took off I set the hook on another nice trout.  This one was also about 24" and 4# securing me with the heaviest stringer.  After that we fished for a good 30 more minutes, but never getting any more action.  Overall we were disappointed that the girls couldn't catch any fish on their own.  Maybe drifting shrimp would have been a better option for them.


Friday July 6th 2012
Galveston, TX

As is usually the case, after I first get back from AK, my desire to fish outweighs my judgment on the surf conditions; no exceptions today.  I drove down to the surf and met Tracy and a couple of Richard's friends there.  They got ready to go in as I just sat there and watched.  Not long after they went in, they came back out and were gonna try a different spot near Pelican Island.  I was already down there, so might as well go learn a new spot that maybe had better conditions.  So I followed the guys back over to Pelican and parked in this little park area right near the bridge.  Hmm... all I could see were trees and grass, but I followed the guys on a good little walk until finally we came to the shore and could get out into the water.  Pretty nice clean shore I bet would hold flounder during the fall, but we waded our way away from the bridge and the other two guys picked up a few smaller trout but I couldn't buy a bite.  After an hour of not even a bite, I put on a gulp and started trying to pick up a flounder, no luck there either.  Oh well, Ginger and were going to workout so I packed it up at 9 and started my way back.  I got out of the water at what I thought was the right spot, hmm... was it this thick before?  Well two hours later and many miles out of the way I get back to my truck.  Sorta sucky, but at least I learned a new spot.

  Sunday July 8th 2012
Bolivar, TX

We had lunch/dinner plans at Adam & Emily's today, but I had time for a trip.  I met Tracy over at the pocket and started off with what looked pretty promising.  Did a lot of casting and walking without much to show for it.  Finally decided to call it an early trip and was sorta half ass working a lure when a fish hit, thankfully I was using braid and I was able to set the hook good enough on a 20" trout.  After that I tried a handful of times with a gulp looking for a flounder but no luck.  Oh well, its still fresh fish for dinner along with some sausage, made for a good meal.

Sunday July 15th 2012
Bolivar, TX

Ginger and LL were at a swimming tournament all day so I figured I might as well drive down to the beach.  Got to east beach around 6:15 only to find dirty water and a bum looking for a beer.  Caught the 7 AM ferry to Bolivar and as soon as I turned into the beach it was flat and I could see some action in the water; sweet!  I parked and got in the water in record time and started with a chicken boy, nothing.  Ok, then a mirrodine, nada, then a paddle tail, nada, this went on for a while even though I could see lots of action on the surface.  Finally I put on a gulp and figured out what it was, sand trout.  Hmm... usually I can catch those on other lures, but no luck.  So I packed it up and drove down to the pocket.  The weather in the distance looked horrible, but if I was gonna die, might as well be fishing, so I went out anyway and started wading near the curve.  The water looked decent and there were a fair amount of boaters here but I couldn't tell if anyone was catching fish.  I figured as I worked my way to deeper water I'd use a gulp and try for a flounder along the way.  Sure enough while working the edge of a sand bar I feel my line go tight, so I wait a second, then reel down and set the hook.  Fish on and its fighting pretty good, when I get it about five feet from me it spits the hook; I'd say 99% that was a flounder.  Damn, ok well I move on and get no other hits as I get to deeper water where I get POURED on over and over.  The water will be glass for a little while, then a rain storm comes in and messes it up, then back to glass.  I can see some movement in the water but I never get a good bite.  Finally I've had enough and head back to the truck.  On the way there I see a guy doing pretty good on live shrimp so I work my way over and see if I could share some of his luck.  I finally catch some specs, but they aren't even worth measuring.  He says he is almost done with his limit and hasn't moved from that spot for the past two hours.  Well I put it up and head back to town.

On the way I get a text from a guy on 2cool about a super secret flounder spot in Seabrook and since I have nothing else to do, I drive that way.  I get there early and park sorta where I think he said too and after about 15 minutes he pulls up.  I follow them over to a drainage ditch right off a pretty big road.  Hmm... but I can see how there are fish there, its constant movement in and out of a large marsh.  Turns out a lot of the locals know this spot as there are already two guys there chunking a cast net (never a good thing) and more people show up as we are fishing.  One guy there catches a small flounder and a rat red and after a few casts I catch a small trout, but no flounder.  After an hour of various lures I call it and head home to clean up.  No fish, but I learned a new spot.

Monday August 6th 2012
Surfside, TX

The previous weekend was my brothers bachelor party down at the bayhouse.  Thanks to a flakey guide, we weren't able to go flounder gigging, but I brought my gear so Andy and I gave it a shot at one spot.  The water was HORRIBLE otherwise we'd for sure been able to stick something.  But, we were up till 3 that night and on Saturday night we went hog hunting with dogs and were up till 6.  So when Dane called me Sunday to talk about the surf I was only thinking sleep, but after cleaning up and looking at the forecast I figured it was worth a shot.

I told him I wasn't going to be there super early and luckily I knew the spot, a place where one of his clients used to own.  I showed up around 6:30 to find the water looking pretty good, a little rougher than I had hopped for, but not bad though.  He was catching them on top, so I decided to put on a mirrodine and first cast I had a trout; great way to start.  There was a recent thread on the refuge about using nets when fishing with treblehooks and the older guys said they prefer nets to lessen the chances of getting a hook in the hand, I like nets because I suck at grabbing trout.  Well even after I netted this guy and go to grab him he shook and put hook right in my thumb; great, first first of the day and I've already got a hook in me.  We each pick up a fish here and there and then it sorta dies down.  Hindsight I wish we would have stuck it out, but we moved down the beach towards BA #6.  I picked up one more keeper here and several throw backs and got to watch a lady fish knock my mirrodine about three feet out of the water.  Dane called it around 9 and I told myself I was gonna give it till 10 before I left, but then I swear I saw a tarpon stick his head out for just a second.  I had a silver spoon I wasn't attached to, so I put it on and tried to catch whatever I saw, no luck.  Oh well, got some fresh fish for dinner.

Tuesday August 7th 2012
Surfside, TX

Dane was gonna try it again and after the forecast said it was going to even better, I was in for sure and this time even early.  I was meeting him at the Buc-ee's at 523 and 332 and since I was a little early, their sign, "Come Czech out our kolaches" worked on me; blah, they were just normal pigs in blankets.  We were also meeting Ryan down there and since he was running late, we went to the beach.  We entered at the Purple Cow and waited for sunup.  Once it got light enough we all got in and started fishing.  Water looked good, not much bait, but a enough to try fishing.  Everyone was throwing all different colors and types lures with not a bump.  Dane swims out to the next bar and fishes there with no better luck.  After about an hour or so, we deiced to make a move and I wanted to go to the place we started the day before.  The water looked great and as soon as we started fishing we had action.  I was catching a lot of smaller ones on the mirrodine and had some trouble with the hooks in the small holes of my nets so I switched to chickenboy soon.  For a solid 15 minutes, ever cast I had a hit and if I would have been on my game I'd of limited out soon.  I was missing hook sets and had fish spit the hook when I tried to net them and when I finally did net them, I'd drop them before getting them into my donut.  I had a nice 19" one in hand and as I transfer her from my wade net to my donut she gave a hook shake and something tore open a good gash on my finger.  After that I finally started catching and boxing fish.  The entire time we didn't have to move more than 30 yards to get back into the trout.  Around 10 Ryan had to leave and shortly before he left two guys showed up, turns out they were Richard's friends Jordan and one other guy I had met before.  I had eight trout and really wanted to get my first limit ever but the bite really seemed to moved into the deeper water which was hard for me to fish, but I put on a gulp and moved over to the far right of the last guy in a little more shallow water.  It wasn't long before I started catching trout, though most of them were undersized.  Soon I picked up number nine, then followed by number ten.  Sweet, first limit of trout ever.  Later in the afternoon Dane called and told the fishing got better with more and bigger fish after I left.

Wednesday August 8th 2012
Surfside, TX

I wanted one more shot at them before the offshore trip with work, so I made sure I was down there at the spot before sunup.  I talked to Kevin the night before and he was just getting off a 7 day shift and he wasn't sure if he was going to make it; he knew the spot.  When I arrived there were already two guys fishing there, both were younger and one "looked" the part as a serious fishermen and the other had a bait bucket.  The bait guy (on my right) was throwing a top water and said it was too good on top and no need for croaker yet.  The guy on my left was wearing them out on top so I put a mirrodine, that I had rigged with single hooks the night before after reading about it on 2cool.  I was getting plenty of hits but felt I was having issues with a hook set vs the treble hook.  After boxing a few, I switched over soft plastics for a while producing more fish, albeit smaller ones.  Meanwhile the guy to my right stopped getting hits on topwater so he switched over to his croaker.  It wasn't long before he started boxing fish after fish, and some nice fish too; he quickly limited out and left.  The guy to my left was still doing good and I asked him what he was throwing, a bone SS jr; I had that same lure.  So I put it on and start walking the dog and it didn't take long before I started catching fish.  I was using my Curdao 201BSF with braid and the fish were hitting so hard they were hooking themselves.  I boxed my biggest fish during this time period before the bite died for both of us.  While we were catching fish a truck pulled up and some guys got out who I thought were construction workers, nope they were gonna fish.  These guys were super barnies at their finest, drowning shrimp, using gear WAY too heavy for trout and in general having no clue what they were doing; so much for piece and quiet.  Got to love it when a guy decides to dunk his reel while getting a fish off because he doesn't want to risk getting his cigarette wet; not to mention saying that spanish mackerels were the best eating fish out there and to not throw them back.  Oh well I had seven or eight again by 8:30 and told Ginger I would be out of the water by 9 so I switched to gulp and finished off my limit with time to spare.  I bid the other guy a farewell and hit the road.  I told Andrew and Ginger the night before that they should really come fishing with me and I was pretty sure if they used bait they could limit and sure enough I would have been right.  I know if they were in the water by 6 with croaker they could of been on the way home by 7:30.

Thursday August 9th 2012
Freeport, TX

The WCP division of work has one shift that lives all in Texas/LA area and was tired of never being able to make a summer fishing trip in AK, so their manager got permission to book a trip in Texas for all the guys in the area.  Luckily for me I got to go on this trip as I lived close as well; turns out they had an extra spot so I invited Andrew as well.  We went out with Blue Fin Charters out of Freeport for tuna, AJ, and kings in a 48 foot twin inboard boat.  It had a cabin with a few beds and a toilet, very cool on a 12 hour trip.  We met at the dock around 6 and were off soon after that once everything was loaded.  The weather was great for running offshore, light winds and flat waves.  Soon we were past the jetties and heading wide open.  I brought some breakfast food and everyone ate and BS'ed a little bit towards the first rig where we were stopped to catch bait.  Catching bait was actually pretty fun, we were using sabiki rigs for blue runners and I doubled on my first rig.  We made a few more stops before getting to the first rig to fish for Amber Jacks.  I had no clue about an AJ, but after seeing the size of the reels, I think Shimano TLD-50s, I assumed we would be able to bring them up pretty easily... ha.  They have us a little run down on how it was going to work, the deck hands would hook the fish and then would pass the rod to us to reel in.  They said the AJ were sorta sensitive and if they broke off the line, it would shutdown that rig for the rest of the day, so keep reeling and don't stop until they gaffed the first.  At the first stop Nick was up first and the hand handed him the reel and what turned out to be a large barracuda, no-one wanted it so it went back in.  The guide then tried again only to have something, probably another barracuda, bite off the hook, so we moved after that.  Next rig it was George's turn and after the guide handed him the reel I think George was only able to turn the handle a few times before the fish broke the line and as the guide predicted, that was it, no more bites; next rig.  I was up next and after seeing that I wasn't gonna have that happen to me so I made sure my brother was next to me to help incase I needed it.  As soon as I was handed the reel I knew I needed help.  The guide said they were spooled with 250 pound braid and the drag was locked down tight as they didn't want to risk the fish breaking off on the rig legs.  With my brother helping me it still seemed like we could hardly turn the handle.  For the longest two minutes of my life it seemed like we weren't taking in any line on the fish and had to hear the deck hand giving us shit the entire time; here is video for proof of the struggle.  Looking back now I am pretty sure the reel was set on high speed and they wanted us to get all of our AJ (thankfully one each) and the goal was speed over fun.  Just about everyone's fish was a group effort, one guy on the rod holding it and reeling, then one person to hold the rod straight and someone else to help reel.  I have since talked to other people and they will hook a fish on the rig and while the rod is in a holder they use the boat to pull the fish away from the rig then fight it for up to an hour.  So when people say, oh my kid caught an AJ, not on this setup; your kid would be fish food.  After everyone caught their AJ and we pulled ourselves off the floor we went in search of tuna and kings.  I brought beer to trade for shrimp and at every trailer the hands tried to see if anyone was awake, everyone ignored us; damn.  We hit about 10 boats on the way in looking for tuna with no luck.  We caught several kings, I caught two, and someone caught a ling and Nick got schooled by a big bonita but that was the trip.  On the way back in everyone drank a beer or two and fell asleep in the nice air-conditioned cabin.

Pretty fun trip, experienced something new and have some good eating fish to take home.

Saturday September 1st 2012
Austin, TX

Another year back in Austin.  I returned from AK on the 29th and had plenty of time to pack up and get to Dripping early and scout.  I drove by one of the south fields and noticed it was all sunflower and someone had mowed strips in it; sweet, I know where we are hunting.  I didn't have a lot of confidence in getting the pump working so I bought a portable battery powered shower just incase.  Andrew and Jeff got there around 9:30 with some BBQ and whiskey and after dinner and a drink, we crashed.  Brad showed up around midnight and after he and Andrew talked they crashed too.  I wanted to make sure we got the area I wanted first so we got there a little earlier than needed, but it was decently cool and we could drive our trucks right into the field.  Once we got the decoys and gear setup we moved the trucks and waited on LST.  No-one other than one person should have permission to hunt Connie's land so I was a bit surprised to see truck after truck after truck enter the field.  These idiots drove to the other side where they had the sun in their eyes and one guy drove right past us down to the end.  After talked to a game warden a few days later, turns out the executer of the will gave permission to a local outfitter to hunt the field, which I'm pretty sure is not in the will and is for damn sure against the wishes of Connie.

We were spaced out, Brad, Andrew, myself and Jeff and it wasn't long before birds started flying.  I started knocking down birds left and right and helped Jeff a little until he started getting his aim down.  I was limited around 8 and went to help Andrew and Brad find birds and they too were done shortly there after.  After we were done we cleaned up and took pictures and then the WW started flying thick.  If we had waited till 8:45 to start shooting, we could of limited out in WW in less than an hour.  This wasn't the best shooting I've had out there, but it was top three for sure.  Constant singles and doubles were flying from just after LST till we left around 9:30.  I shot pretty good today using my SBE2 and averaging about 2.3 shots per bird.

Vidoes 1 2 3 4 5 6

That afternoon I met some buddies by the new tank and bird dogged for them since I was already done.  They got there around 5 and were done by 6:55, plenty of birds flying with more of a mix of WW.

Sunday September 2nd 2012
Austin, TX

Same place, same crew; Andrew still owes me an iced coffee from that AM.  Brad had to leave early that day, so we let him take some shots on singles and helped me out so he had enough birds to cook to take home.  Shooting was fast and furious again, but with less white-wings; glad I didn't wait till later in the day for WW otherwise I would have a rough go of it.  I gave five birds to Brad who left before 8 and I still limited out by 8:05 shooting my SBE2 at 2.6 spb.

The game wardens came out and we talked to them about the people who were hunting and she said she would find out and call me back.  A few days later after I was already home, she did and turns out the executor of Connie's will gave permission to some local outfitter to let his friends hunt out there.  Mike had no idea about this and said he would look into it.  One of the few times we've been checked out there and for sure the most hunters I've ever seen out there.

Monday September 3rd 2012
Austin, TX

Andrew and Jeff left that the previous afternoon so it was just me today and I went back to the sunflower field and had the sun to my back.  I shot my 682 a little the day before and didn't do all that well with it, so I switched to my SBE2 this time and still started off shooting poor.  My shooting did pick up and I did shoot into a group of pigeons and knock down three of them.  I was done around 8:15 with 2.86 spb.  Some videos 2

Tuesday September 4th 2012
Austin, TX

I invited my buddy Garett out today and of course of the week, it was the worst day for his dog, Dixie; it was hot and muggy with no wind.  I remember a few times we'd watch a bird go down right in front of us and the three of us couldn't find it, yet we'd sail one over the trees behind us and could walk right to it.  Still shot ok today with my 682, 2.53 spb and I was done by 8:49 and Garett was done a little earlier.

Wednesday September 5th 2012
Austin, TX

Due to the shifting of days and my fixed work schedule, this was a shorter trip this year and today was my last hunt as we were going fishing the following weekend and I wanted time to put everything up at home.  I went back to the same place and had out my same decoys and shot my SBE2.  I didn't think I shot all that well, but when I was done and counted my hulls, I as at 30 shots for 15 birds in hand, plus a few cripples and a pigeon, so under 2 spb; I'll take that any day of the week.

This was by far the best overall trip we've ever had out there, 18 straight limits.

Friday September 7th 2012
Rockport, TX

Craig invited me and a few other guys down to his place in Rockport for some fishing.  Thanks to our schedules, we left decently early Friday AM and after unpacking we geared up in search for some reds.  Craig has been fishing the area for a good while, so he knew the areas he wanted to start.  First we hit a back lake and even though we saw some action, no bites, so next we went to an area with a drain and saw tailing reds.  Craig had to leave shortly after we got there to pick up another person was arriving, so I stayed and fished and finally hooked up with a red using a white gulp paddle tail.  They got back and we worked over the area a little more and it was only right at sunset when I started picking up more fish; I worked into the gut and sight casted them.  I only boxed one fish, but I caught three or four in a span of 20 minutes.

Saturday September 8th 2012
Rockport, TX

First real day and we went to a different area this morning, a big glass flat near a shoreline.  There were six of us on the boat, a father and son, Steve from the lease and another friend of Craig's who is a big trout fisherman in Galveston.  As soon as I got geared up I started working my way towards the shore and a cut in hopes of reds.  I was throwing lures along the way there and hooked up with a red not far from the boat.  After I boxed that one, I worked the shoreline for a little bit without much luck, then back in the grass flat.  I could see some action in the water a fair distance away and worked that way.  I hooked up with a keep spec that I lost at the net and then caught a couple more smaller reds before we moved from there.  One the way out Craig stopped at some oyster reef where he always catches fish.  All I see is a giant mud flat with lots of shallow water and oysters, so I stay in the boat and watch.  It only takes Craig about a minute to hook up with a red using redfish magic, so after that everyone by Harry starts trying to work this place.  Everyone is working the side by Craig, so I decided to try the other side and when I get to a spot with open water I start casting.  Not long I have a good hit, but miss the hookset.  I work along the back to where Harry has the boat to find 50 yards of knee deep mud mixed with oysters shell, awesome.  Craig picked up a nice flounder and two or three reds there.  If I hadn't seen it, I'd never of believed it.

After lunch, we go to a spot sorta in the same area but the wind has picked up a little.  I'm working the shore line when I notice Harry out deep catching trout, so I work my way over and he is using chicken on the chain, a color I've never tried, and is the only one catching trout.  After a little while there without much luck, we head to some wells and try out hand there, nothing.  Last spot of the day is where we caught the fish Friday evening and as soon as we get there I notice some action up the shore line.  I head that way and when I get closer notice they look like black drum, damn.  Lure after lure I throw at them without much luck and I'm about to move up the cut when I see some tails farther up the shore line heading to me.  So I wait until they get within range and make a cast, nothing, so I make another when I hook up with a smaller red.  I wait for the fish to calm down and cast that direction and bump, after that I motion to Craig and we both work a little ways out from the shore and just cast in the same area and are catching fish just about every cast.  Not keepers mind you, but still fun.  Everyone else sees the action and joins us.  This wouldn't be an issue, but three of the other guys are inexperienced fishermen and they don't know that if you hook a fish, its your job to keep it from swimming towards other people, esp. when you caught it on a top water.  After nearing being hooked, I work my way to the edge of the school and proceed to catch fish on just about every lure I try.  From first fish to last fish, this went on for about an hour and was by far the best redfish action I've ever had.

Sunday September 9th 2012
Rockport, TX

It was just Craig and I today and we fished for a few hours in Copano without a bite before calling it quits.  Fun trip and a great place to stay; his bay house is pretty nice with an awesome pool.  I have since read that RP isn't known for the trout, but plenty of redfish down there.

Thursday September 27th 2012
El Campo, TX

This was the first year in a long while I haven't been home for the opener of teal season, so my first hunt was the Thursday before the closing weekend.  It was just Craig and I and it might as well have been my opening day.  Somehow between two alarms, I didn't get up on time and then when we get there, I jackknifed my trailer and put another dent in my truck; great start.  Once I had the ATV unloaded it was a pretty easy drive to the pond, which was an open spot in a rice field, and then a few dozen decoys, two mojo's and then swat mosquitoes until sunrise.  It would of been nice to have some wind, but oh well, the birds still came in pretty good.  My shooting and decision making weren't very good and we had to chase far too many birds down, but we still shot our birds in 45 minutes.

Video 1 Video 2 Video 3
Video 4 Video 5 Video 6

Friday September 28th 2012
Lissie, TX

Day two, different spot.  We were hunting less than a mile from our old Lissie lease and I knew this area pretty good and was confident of a good shoot.  We could drive down to the end of a road, then I had to take the ATV to the pond, this time it was a big pond and an even easier drive.  Craig brought out one of his friends and a customer and I carried all the gear and they did the pretty easy 300 yard walk to the blind.  That water was MUCH deeper than it looked and my hip waders were not cutting it.  I helped as much as I could putting out decoys, but I couldn't get too far from the edge of the water.  The blind was kinda a big tacostand so we just stood behind it and had no trouble at all shooting our birds.  I shoot pretty good today and we could have shot over 50 birds all within 15 yards of us.  Some video.

Saturday September 29th 2012
Rock Island, TX

Today's forecast was rain and lots of it.  No-one wanted to hunt, so I got Andrew out for a hunt.  He was still loving at my parents and had pretty much zero gear, but just enough to hunt and not put out decoys; I'll have to remember that trick.  Well this time I wore my new waders I got for fishing, they are very thin and light breathables and an old drake pullover that was sorta waterproof.  I hadn't been to this place in a while and for sure never during a t-storm and I did not wear the right wading boots, I wore my beach boots where are made for sand, damn sure not good in slick mud.  They made a pretty easy 300 yard walk very tricky.  Well we get to the place, figure might as well hunt the blind and get setup.  Birds start coming in small groups so we picked our shots and avoided the mojo, unless you were Andrew and then you shot Craig's mojo and some of my decoys.  The birds were slowing down and I was worried if we were going to finish it out but eventually enough came in for Andrew to get his last couple of birds.

Sunday September 30th 2012
Lissie, TX

Woulda, coulda, shoulda day.  I should have checked the damn wind forecast first.  Last day of the season and it was a full house.  My, Jeff, Scott, Jackson, Rick, and the other member of the lease who only hunted once with me.  I knew it was gonna be muddy, so I thought I just pulled in far enough to get off the county road and as I came to a stop, the truck slid off the road into the field, awesome.  Worry about it later, I unloaded the ATV and waited for everyone to get there.  Unlike Friday, we parked MUCH further back and since no-one else had an ATV, they had a long walk.  Hey, if I spent the money for one, you can too.  I carried as much gear as I could carry and took off.  Well the blind was completely under water and we had it coming over a low spot in the road even.  I'm really not sure what I was thinking, maybe I was really tired, but we had a STRONG wind in our face, so we should of moved along the side of the pond and used a J-hook, or just went out into the field and try to hide as much as possible in short grass.  Anways, bird after bird came from our back and just wouldn't give us good shots.  Rick limited out pretty quick and walked out, he said it was over a mile to the truck.  After that we decided to move to the side and use the J-hook, which turned out pretty good, but I was shooting poorly and the other three aren't really good shots.  Jeff stayed in the spread and was able to pick off some.  I got into some ants and spent time fighting them and not watching birds and I hate to think how many we crippled off.  If I was on my game I should have shot a limit there for the group.  After it pretty much died we picked up, looked for cripples then started back to the trucks.

I didn't think my truck was gonna be that bad, so I just took off the trailer and tried to back up, nope.  Ok next up I got someone in the truck and I tried pulling it with my ATV, nope again.  Well then next up