Thursday, November 5, 2015

week of November 2, 2015

A short trip this week with Rhandy Monday afternoon and Tuesday and Dale on Wednesday.  I got out there about 2 pm Monday and Rhandy and I ran around catching lots of small bass on Carolina rigs.  I don't think we ever saw one over 2 pounds.  We planned to spend half a day crappie and half a day bass on Tuesday but it took us a little longer to limit out than we thought.  Rhandy has put out a bunch of new crappie piles and we moved around a lot as the action slowed.  For every keeper we weeded out a lot of little ones.  I ended up with a full limit by the end of the day and Rhandy fileted them up for me.  The four crappie in the photo above were around 2 pounds each.  We have some nice eatin' ahead!

I went out at 6:30 am with Dale on Wednesday and we hit a number of spots with jigging spoons, crank baits, and Carolina rigs.  We finally found one point where they were stacked up and biting almost every cast, but they were all dinks.  Still fun to catch though.  We had hopes maybe a good 'un would show up in the mix but it never happened.  Dale somehow arranged to have an awesome bald eagle do some fishing about 100 yards from his boat.  That was quite a sight.  We went in a little early so I could miss the traffic back in Dallas.

My camera battery was mysteriously dead this trip so thanks to Rhandy for the snap above.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Week of September 13, 2015

Back again this week for 3 days and 4 evenings with Dale and Rhandy.  I spent 12 hours a day on the water on Monday-Wednesday and 4 hours on Sunday.  The word this week was DINKS.  We caught a few fish but the big fish must have left for vacation.  The biggest we saw all week was a 6 pounder Rhandy caught, a 5 something Dale caught, and a big drum I caught.  The biggest bass I hooked was about 3 pounds but I even caught a sand bass that big.  Both guides worked very hard to find us some bigger fish but it was just not happening.    We did have beautiful weather every day and even my usual rain attraction lasted just a few minutes on Tuesday.
On Wednesday Dale finally found a spot where we caught some fish that were bigger than bait.  I had the last fluke of a color that was working and something took a chomp out of it.  Sort of like the amazing Mighty Bite lure!  I decided to heck with it and kept throwing the chomped on fluke and caught 2 fish with it.  The fluke inspector would not have approved, but the fish did!
Even though we didn't get a big fish all week, we did have fun and caught fish every outing.  Next time out those big fish better watch out.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Week of September 6, 2015

A quick 2 day trip this week with Dale during the day and Rhandy in the evening.  Tuesday was toasty and we had a tough time finding fish that would bite during the day. There was enough of a breeze that the temps in the upper 90's were bearable most of the day.  We went through the tackle box throwing carolina rigs, wacky worms, and crank baits with little success.  We had just a handful of bites and I think we boated 3 fish, not counting sandbass and a 7 pound drum.  I only hooked one small one but he jumped off.  Rhandy found a few more fish but nothing of any size until just before sunset when he found an 8 pounder on a small crank bait.  I caught a few small bass and a bar fish.
Wednesday dawned with some heavy rain (I AM the Lake Fork Rain God!) and postponed our start to about 8 pm.  I still got in 6 and a half hours with Dale and we had better luck.  My biggest was about a 5 pounder but it was still raining so I left my camera in the bag.  The rain quit around noon and we were finally able to get our rain gear off, but eventually some more thunder approached and we went in about 2:30 pm, just to stay on the safe side.

After a short siesta I met up with Rhandy at 4 pm and we hightailed it to a spot that was occupied the previous day.  We found a bunch of small bass on a shelf edge and I found a bunch of hang ups which let Rhandy show how good he was at re-tying carolina rigs.  Thanks Rhandy!  Eventually we wore them all out and we went off to another favorite spot where we continued to find small bass and those stinking sandies.  Right before we quit I hooked a big fish on a crank bait but he twisted off while I tried to hang on.  We never saw the fish but it left a big swirl.  Rhandy is convinced it was a big bass.  I prefer to think it was a big drum or carp.  Next time we will find out!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Week of August 3, 2015

In the midst of the Summer heat, night fishing is the way to go.  I got in 3 evenings this week with Rhandy Simmons and my buddy David joined us on Monday night.

We headed out Monday about 6:30 pm and it was still pretty steamy.  Fortunately there was a light breeze that kept it from being too awful.  We hit a couple of good spots with no success.  I think we had maybe one bite.  Maybe.  Around 8 pm the sandbass started schooling nearby so we headed over there to get some "eating fish" for Pippin.  We caught fish almost every cast for about 30 minutes.  We had to cull through a bunch of small ones to gather 18 good ones for Rhandy to clean.  That was still a pretty good mess.
After the sandies quit playing with us we went back to bass fishing.  They just were not playing our game.  Rhandy moved us around to a number of great spots, but we just couldn't get bit.  On a few he found lots of fish on his graph, they just ignored us.  We finally gave up about midnight and went in to drink much beer.
After a lazy day on Tuesday I joined Rhandy about 6:30 pm.  David had to head back to town but I knew once he left the fishing would improve.  Little did I know how much!  Thanks for only messing up the fishing for one night, Pippin!

We headed to a spot we had not hit the previous night and started out throwing crank baits around a hump.  No sale.  So we moved up on the hump to throw at a great little timber pile that had produced many times for us before.  No one home.  So I started fan casting out towards a shelf break and some timber away from where we usually fish.  Then Rhandy snagged one up on the hump.  It was a nice fish around 4 pounds.  Next as I was coming up through some submerged timber my line felt spongy so I whanged on it.  Nothing there.  The first bite I had this trip and I wasn't even positive it was a bite.  The second was a little easier.  I threw back past the same spot and found I had somehow gotten a loop in my spool.  It hanged up and dropped short.  Well I started to pick out the loop when a good fish picked up my fluke and tried to leave with it.  I set the hook and started reeling but after a short fight it broke me off.  It was a pretty good fish.  My rod was bowed over enough Rhandy was grabbing the net for me.  Never saw it.

The next 45 minutes were very fun.  Rhandy handed me his Carolina rig and started retying mine.  I quickly hooked a 3 pound bass and interrupted his work.  The next cast he was further interrupted as I snagged a 7 pound 8 oz good 'un.
I caught fish or had a good bite every cast for the next 5 or 6 casts.  As it got darker I added a couple of 6 pounders to the list.  We stayed tied up to the same tree until 11 pm and totaled 17 bass, none under 3 pounds. Rhandy got 6 and I got 11.
The bugs were buzzing pretty good (if you look closely in the photos you can see them) so we didn't weigh any more fish, but I had several in the 5.5-6 pound range.  It was a lot of fun.  This time of year 17 bass would be a good full day trip.  For a 4 hour night trip it is pretty awesome. Thanks for going home, Pippin!
Wednesday evening we had high hopes of a repeat, though I know from experience that is pretty tough to do.  We high tailed it to the same spot as there were several boats nosing around us the previous evening.  We found it unoccupied.  After a little drifting around nearby, we tied up and locked down and waited for dusk to approach.  We had a few bites, I caught 2 small bass under 3 pounds, and had 1 small fish that broke me off in timber.  That was it.  I guess we put holes in all their mouths the night before.  We finally gave it up about 9 pm and headed for a few other good spots.  Not a bite.  I guess every fish in the lake was on that one spot and we caught them all.  We gave it up about 11 pm and went in to drink much beer.

Rhandy is a talented guy.  Not only does he like bass but he also loves bass.  I don't know what lure he used to catch this one but it's a beauty.  Good thing it's not a slot bass.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Congrats to Taylor and Adam

The wife and I went to a wedding down in Galveston this past weekend and this was the groom's cake.  No way I could have gotten away with that!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Week of May 17, 2015

I had so much fun last week I had to go back for more this week.  I started out Sunday evening with Rhandy. We hit some excellent spots but ended the evening with just 1 green fish.  They just were not cooperating.  Rhandy was not a happy camper, but that's just fishing.  We were at some mighty good spots but found nobody home.  We did find a couple of huge sand bass on a main lake point but those don't count.  We drowned our sorrows with lots of BBQ and beer.

Monday I went out with Dale at 6:30 am and we had a good day with 13 fish.  I caught a couple on topwater Yellow Magic but most came from Carolina rigs fished shallow in flooded willow trees and grass.  The lake is still a bit over full pool so there's lots of flooded vegetation all along the shoreline.  My biggest fish of the day was a 6 and a half pounder from about 2 feet of water.
I got off Dale's boat around 2:30 pm and off we went on Rhandy's boat.  Off I went again with Rhandy and we found 7 bass with the biggest being about 5 pounds.  We finished the evening with some schooling fish on a main lake point.  Rhandy even threw a Alabama rig for a bit.  All we caught were sand bass but a 6 pound bass chased one of his catches up to the boat.  We knew there were some good bass mixed in but we never could hook one, despite trying several techniques

Tuesday started off at sunrise again with Dale and we went back to the same spot that had been successful the previous day. Many other guides only had 2 or 3 fish all day so we felt we were on to something good.  Again I had some success with a Yellow Magic including a nice 6 pounder.
After an adventure that made us go in for a bit, we came back out and ended up with 8 fish for the day.

Dale dropped me at Rhandy's trailer and I got this nice shot of them together.
Off again With Rhandy we found more fish than Monday including a great 9.1 that Rhandy caught.  As usual he was throwing off in "the paw paw patch" while I fished the main structure.  Wham.  Another paw paw fish.  We got chased in by storms and only got about an hour in for the evening.
Wednesday Dale was booked so Rhandy got the full day trip.  We headed out early with dark and ominous skies.  It looked like most of it was passing north of us.  We scooted across the lake planning to stay close to the ramp til the weather settled.  Rhandy caught one fish before a stiff north wind blew up from one of the storms.  It looked ugly so we ran back across the lake, getting soaked from waves in the process.
I went back to my room to change clothes and we waited out the passing storm.  When we went back out we both had our rain suits on.  It stayed rainy and nasty for a few more hours but we caught some fish on a secondary point with Carolina rigs.  Later on the sun came out and off went the rain suits and on went the sunscreen.  It got very hot after awhile and the wind layed down.  We found some more fish in deep water on a hump at 20 feet and those were a fun tug.  The biggest went about 5 and a half pounds.
Later on we went off to another hump where Rhandy caught another "paw paw fish" while I fished the main feature.  I think I may start fishing the paw paw patch more often.  That seems to be where the big fish are!  We ended up with 13 fish for the day.
We went in about 4 pm because it was just miserably hot and humid with no wind.  I made the decision to head back that evening and it worked out well. Thursday morning was rain and thunder all morning long.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Week of May 10, 2015

I had 4 half days with Rhandy and 3 and a half days scheduled  with Dale this week and I feared the weather would cause us to miss half of that.  It worked out better than I could have hoped.  We only missed one half day due to weather, despite forecasts of 75% plus for rain and thunderstorms every single day.

Lake Fork is now full pool and even a bit over.  The drought has officially ended in east Texas and now the flooding begins.  Compare these two pictures from January 2015 and taken this week.

I started off Sunday with Rhandy.  We got in a little over 3 hours before threats of storms sent us in a bit early.  I think we had 6 fish with the biggest being around 6 pounds.  Later that night there was a hell of a storm and a tornado hit nearby Van.  It caused over $40mm in damages.

I started out the next morning at 6:30 am with Dale.  We began on a main lake point with Carolina rigs and I managed to catch a 7-3 and a 7-5 in about an hour and a half.  Both nice fish and the first one fought very hard.  That was fun.  We had a tougher time the rest of the morning and ended up with 7 fish for the day.
After 8 hours with Dale I stepped onto Rhandy's boat for the afternoon.  Rhandy found a couple of good stops and we ended up with 13 fish for the afternoon.  I think the biggest went about 5 pounds.  I spent over 13 hours on the water and would repeat that on Tuesday.

The weather this whole trip was pretty squirrely.  It felt more like early March than May.  Temperatures were in the upper 50's to low 70s and cloud cover and a stiff breeze kept it chilly.  More than once I wished I had brought my big coat.

Tuesday morning started out with more cloud cover and again we caught most of our fish in the morning.  At one point we went down a good bank in about 6 feet of water throwing in and out with Carolina rigs.  We had 5 bites in less than 6 feet, 5 bites deeper than 6 feet.  I caught 1 and jumped off two while Dale caught 2.  At 3 pm I stepped off Dale's boat and onto Rhandy's and we hunted up another 7 fish.  My biggest of the day was with Rhandy and went about 4 pounds.
Wednesday morning I was surprised to find both Rhandy and Dale at the Minnow Bucket ramp.  Dale went to pick up his boat and found it had a flat.  Rather than having me wait on the bank a couple of hours, he waked up Rhandy so I wouldn't miss any fishing.  I appreciate both of them being so flexible and allowing me to make the most of my trip.  I asked Dale if he wanted to take the afternoon slot but he said there was a forecast of heavy storms and we would probably be in early anyway.  The forecast proved correct.

Rhandy had a tough day and we only managed to boat 7 fish in 8 and a half hours.  He caught a 7 pounder but my biggest was under 5.  We had to run in once due to heavy rain and I even caught one bass right next to his dock.  We had the rain gear on and off all day.  We came in about 3 pm with strong showers approaching on the radar.  They hit about 4:30 pm and it rained hard and heavy for about an hour and a half. That was the only half day I missed this trip.
Thursday dawned foggy with a heavy mist.  Dale headed us out north and we found a few along the bank with Carolina rigs.  Then he saw a few chasing shad and we headed out to a nearby hump to chunk Yellow Magics.  We had a couple of pretty good downpours of rain but I still managed to hook 2 decent fish on topwater.  One went about 5 and a half.  We rolled in about 10:30 with another 7 fish to the total.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Week of April 19, 2015

Finally made it out for my first bass trip of 2015 and found the water levels of Lake Fork much improved. When I was last out in January, the lake was 7.5 feet low.  As of this week it was only 2 feet low.  Of course, since I was out there it rained some more and is still rising.

I made it out early Sunday afternoon and spent 4 hours on the water with Rhandy.  He has a new boat (again) and with the black and white trim he calls it his tuxedo boat.  After we both got skunked on Sunday I decided it was more of a penguin.  I think we only had one bite.

Monday went a little better, despite a brisk north wind that made me glad I had brought my coat.  We fished Carolina rigs and wacky worms and ended up with 8 fish for the day.  I think I had 3 of them.

Tuesday started off chilly again but the wind had turned around to the south.  We caught a couple of small fish early but I finally hooked a good 'un mid morning on a Carolina rig.  7 pounds and 7 ounces and a good fight to the boat.
Shortly after that I hooked another fish, around 3 pounds, that hit like a hammer and jumped and fought all the way back to the boat.  Another fun fish.  After that things got tougher.  Rain, thunder, and lightning chased us off the lake again and again.  We'd head back to Rhandy's dock, which is once again accessible, tie up and run for cover.  Things would clear up again, then we'd get chased back with more lightning.  It was frustrating, but the smart thing to do. We got in a full day of fishing but there were a lot of breaks in between short runs.  I appreciate all of Rhandy's extra effort to keep trying despite dicey weather.

Wednesday I met up with Dale at 6:30 am and we were off to the 515 east ramp to throw wacky worms and flukes all day long.  He had been having some good success back in Glade and was hoping for more of the same.  I hooked one after about an hour and as I was fighting it back to the boat he set his rod down to see if I needed a net.  I didn't, but when he picked up his rod he found a fish swimming off with his fluke.  Our first fish of the day was a double.  Unfortunately, that was about all she wrote back there and we headed off to greener pastures mid morning.  Later in the day we found a small deep pocket with lots of flooded grass and cypress.  We threw weightless flukes at them and got several to bite.  Nothing big, but it was fun wrestling them out of the grass.  I think we ended up with  8 or 9 fish for the day.

As we loaded out at the ramp, I saw a sight that made me laugh.
After trucking back from the 515 ramp Rhandy already had the penguin in the water and we headed out to fish til sunset.  We tried Carolina rigs in a couple of good spots but had no takers.  Except for some hang ups which took a hook or two.  We decided to head back north where I had caught the good fish the day before to see if something bigger had moved in. As we rolled up we found another boat near our spot so we decided to work the bank and some small pockets with weightless flukes until they moved off.  That was a good plan as we quickly found a couple of stout fish that were hungry for flukes.  Nothing huge, but FAT fish.
As we headed back in one pocket we noticed a bunch of rubber snakes all over a dock, presumably to keep the birds off.  As we came out of the pocket the owners had come down to fish and we joked they should look out for the snakes. The guy told us one of his friends had come down to fish on his dock and put two .38 holes in one of his rubber snakes before figuring out it wasn't real.

Eventually the other boat moved off our spot and we headed out to see if anyone was home.  They weren't.  We ended up the evening at one of Rhandy's Carolina rig spots that we had hit Monday and Tuesday with no success.  He hooked a giant fish which broke him off.  Rhandy saw it wallow and said it was well over 10 pounds.  I never saw the fish but I did see a big flash when it broke him off.  Much wailing and gnashing of teeth followed.  Eventually Captain Ahab gave up the quest and we headed in to drink much beer.

I had half a day planned with Dale Thursday morning but heavy rain and thunderstorms rolled in at 4 am and I suspected I would get that knock on the door.  Sure enough Dale stopped by to say the storms would not be done til noon or so.  The bad news was I didn't get to fish that half day.  The good news is I got a few extra Zs before heading back to town.

As usual we saw some bald eagles and weird clouds.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Another quick crappie trip 1/27/15

Temperatures in the mid 70's in January once again led to fishing fever.  Rhandy called and asked if I wanted to come out for another day of crappie fun fishing and he didn't have to ask twice.  We found 9 big ones on one crappie pile but spent the rest of our time catching one here and one there.  At  the end of the day we had 20 big ones and only one that was too small to keep.
The most fun I had was hooking a chunky 6 pound bass on an ultra lite rod with 4 pound test.  He had that rod bent over double but it still did the job.  The photo doesn't do that fish justice.  It was small but wide!
Rhandy cleaned them up and I came home with another 10 pounds of beautiful crappie filets.  The cleaning station at the Minnow Bucket is almost completely out of the water now.  Sad to see Lake Fork so low.  However it is still better to be in Texas where it's 75 degrees in January than in Boston where they have 2 feet of snow!  Hah hah!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Lake Fork Crappie 1/20/15

I missed my fall fishing opportunities due to bad weather so I have been itching to get back to the lake.  A brief spurt of warm days in January combined with the Mrs's travel schedule led me to call Rhandy to see if he was up to a 1 day crappie excursion.  He was so we made the most of it.
Poor Lake Fork is down over 7 feet now.  The continuing drought has Dallas now pulling water from the lake and things will get really low if we don't get some rain.  The docks in the distance above are where we put in last year in the spring when there was still plenty of water.  Not now.  

After waiting a bit for the fog to lift we headed out to Rhandy's favorite spot with some crappie jigs.  Things started out slow but picked up a bit after noon and we ended up with 18 crappie by 2 pm.  Only one was under 10 inches and several were great big 2 pounders.  We also caught 3 small bass and a catfish.

We headed back to Rhandy's where Bud helped him clean the mess while I drank beer.  Ah, the good life!  Not bad for a January day in Texas.