Monday, October 29, 2007

Full moon over the bays

I spent last Thursday through Sunday in Corpus Christi on a fishing trip. As it turned out, this was to coincide with the peak of the full moon cycle. This and the post-cold front "bluebird" weather would indeed have an effect on the fishing and not all for the best...

So, the first day at about mid-afternoon my cousin and I set out on our kayaks in Oso Bay to a power plant water discharge area. However, there was little water being discharged. In the past during cold weather, the trout and redfish migrate up to the discharge area to stack up in the warm water released. My cousin did catch one keeper trout in the first half hour and I landed my first flounder this year though it was just underneath the minimum length limit (MLL) so I released it. This would be the theme for this trip; plenty of fish but most a hair below the MLL.

I ended up hooking up with a large trout using a Corky Devil plug but I lost her before I was able to land her. We continued most of the afternoon and caught a couple more undersized trout but no other keepers.

As the sun started setting, the moon rose as bright as could be and the northeast wind started to die down and the water took on a glassy smooth appearance. There appeared to be a ruckus at the opposite bank, possibly some redfish attacking some mullet but we got no hookups. Switching to small top water plugs drew a couple of strikes but again no hookups.

During the evening, we had a young game warden stop by and check our catch and licenses which were in order. He mentioned having stopped by the night before and caught some fishermen there with some undersized black drum. Shortly afterwards we decided to call it a night and rest for an all day fishing excursion the next day.

On Friday afternoon we set out in motorboat to fish Nighthawk Bay. The water was cool and clear. We started of throwing top waters and I was the first to draw a strike from a large trout that chased the plug and we saw it clearly pull it below the water but I was too slow on the hookset and lost it! We did a couple of drifts in the area and had a few strikes but I was only able to land one undersized trout. Eventually, after having a couple of boats run in front of our drift, we decided to leave to rest for a night of fishing in the kayaks.

That evening, we set out on the kayaks to fish under the causeway that spans across Corpus to neighboring Portland and separates Nueces Bay from Corpus Christi Bay. There were 10 to 15 mph winds and there was good tide movement so we anchored up and shortly afterwards started catching trout. I eventually switched to my 5wt fly rod and tan colored shrimp patterns worked very well. I caught a lot of trout but most of them were 14 to 14 1/2 inches long which was just under the 15" MLL. Still, it was a lot of fun. In total we probably caught six keeper trout so at least we caught something.

On Saturday night we decided to head to Bird Island Basin on Padre Island and put out the sail line. It was possible with the Northeast wind but if the wind switched from the North then it was not going to work. While there we said hello to three elderly gentlemen that had two sail lines out before we set ours out. They had indicated that the lack of wind the nights before had made for slow fishing.

As we set out the sail line and the moon came up, the wind started to die a bit but there were enough gusts that kept the sail going out albeit slowly. It also felt colder compared to the previous nights. It was a good thing we had waders on to keep off the chill.

Sometime during the evening, a couple of fishermen stopped by on their way to wade a neabry point. One had waders on and the other just had a pair of sorts on. He was young so maybe he could take it. I was glad that wasn't me.

We were bringing in the sail line after my cousin detected there were fish on it. After checking it there was only a hardhead catfish and a small trout on it. It looked as if there had been a larger fish on it that got off since one particular drop was all twisted up. We had another drop that had the line broken off.

As we were letting the line back out it stopped and checking it found that a large crab had grabbed one drop baited with shrimp and had caused it to tangle badly. It took almost an hour to untangle the mess. About as soon as my cousin was done fixing it, the wind switched to out of the North. *sigh*. This was a sign that we were done so just before midnight we packed up and left.

Even though it may seem like this trip was a wash, I actually had fun and did catch a few fish. I have had much worse trips so I was grateful for what I caught. That morning, we stopped at a TPWD Shrimp Research location as they were selling shrimp at $2.50 per pound which was a very good deal. The shrimp were not that big but at least it was something I could fry up with the fillets I did bring back.

I hope I can get out to the coast just one more time before the end of the year.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

South San Gabriel

This morning I tried to see if I could wade a section of the South San Gabriel river near where it joins the North San Gabriel river in Georgetown. I decided against taking the kayak as the South San Gabriel has less water than the northern arm.

The water in the section I fished was very clear and running well. The water was also fairly cool though not really cold. The fish were a bit spooky so it took finesse to catch some of them. I saw small bass but didn't land any. I did catch plenty of green sunfish, bluegill, and redbreast sunfish. I was really hoping to find a Rio Grande Cichlid but not in the couple of hours I was in the river.

I, however, wasn't able to wade all the way down to where the two sections of the river join together. There were some sections that were deeper than I wanted to wade. I may consider next time taking the kayak since most of the section was deep enough to paddle and the water was moving slow enough that paddling back upstream wouldn't be bad at all.

I am reading reports from friends that Lake Travis is on fire at the moment with schools of white bass feeding around points. I would have gone to Travis this morning except the wind was a good 10-15mph and so it would have been a bit choppy on the lake. I need to consider a night trip though as the whites would be located along lighted docks and so it wouldn't be too bad then if it were a bit windy.

I am planning a saltwater trip to the coast in two weekends from now so not sure if I will get a chance to fish Lake Travis next weekend. I may. We'll see.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Micro tools

Not much to report as of recent as I have not been fishing lately but with Autumn now here, I will hopefully get out to the lake soon. In the meantime, I ran across a knife maker in Massachusetts that keeps a blog on that makes some really innovative tools. These tools are tiny though; key chain small but very usable and inventive. This tool/knife makers name is Peter Atwood and his blog can be found at and from there you can find his retail web site from which he sells his wares. Be prepared to see the word Sold Out a lot as his tools are in demand and sell quickly once he makes available a new batch.

Maybe it's the 8 year old in me, but pocket tools still fascinate me. Years ago I bought a couple of Leatherman multi-tools that I used to carry with me but eventually found too heavy and bulky for every day carry and now keep in some gear bags that I take camping or to the gun range just in case.

Recently, I had been looking around for a small, lightweight replacement with just the essentials such as flathead screwdriver and Phillips head screwdriver and maybe something else that I could carry with me every day. I considered a Swiss Army Knife (SAK) which I have yet I already carry a knife. After much research I came across Peter's tools.

What fascinated me about these tools was their simple yet useful designs. I believe Peter started with one or two original designs for small prybar/flathead screwdriver tools that could go on a keychain to new and innovative designs that added other features yet still maintained a small and flat profile.

I ended up deciding on the BottleBug tool which features two prying tips/flat screwdrivers, bottle opener, 1/2" wrench, 1/4" wrench, O- ring retention system and a #1 Phillips bit. The driver bit is a standard one inch 1/4" wide bit that fits into the 1/4" wrench hole and is held in place by one of the O-rings which usually cover the area in which the bit is stored. This is an elegant, economical design and is pure brilliance! What is cool, is that you can replace the bit with say a Torx bit that is the one inch long 1/4" wide standard or any other standard bit if you prefer.

Now, as I mentioned before, Peter's tools are in high demand due to the fact they are so well designed and made by Peter himself. Since they are made by this one man, it takes time to produce enough to sell over time so any time they get posted on his website as available, they quickly sell out. I was fortunate to have seen one of these times and seized the opportunity to purchase one of the last in a recent batch of Titanium Bottlebugs (Peter also makes Bottlebugs in a CPM 154 semi stainless premium cutlery steel). The Ti Bottlebugs have a wonderful heat anodized finish that is not only tough but gorgeous. They are also extremely light.

Now, all I have to do is find something somewhere that needs tightening or prying and I am ready. I suspect I may also attach this tool to my fishing lanyard and thanks to the titanium material will be excellent even in and around saltwater trips.