Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mega Bass Food

Tilapia are prolific spawners. Under ideal conditions, tilapia will spawn every 18-21 days, nearly twice as frequently as bluegill, generally considered reproductive factories in their own right. What's more, tilapia adults guard their eggs and young, a technique called "mouth-brooding." This added parental protection represents a significant competitive advantage in a pond, where everything is vulnerable to being eaten by something bigger and faster. The combination of frequent, multiple spawning efforts and parental protection typically translates into a bunch of food for bass. Tilapia may be safely stocked, without worry of cold weather mortality, by mid-spring. This will vary somewhat according to your location, but once water temperatures are consistently in the 60's it is safe to stock tilapia. Tilapia are mainly plankton feeders, collecting plankton by filter feeding. They are also known to eat algae and some types of aquatic weeds. In fact, they are frequently used to control the growth of watermeal, a floating aquatic weed in the duckweed family. Given their feeding habits, they present no potential harm, through competition, to the bluegill and bass populations in sport fish ponds. In addition, tilapia are raised on commercial fish food and, once stocked, will continue to eat pellet feed. A pond owner could control their food supply, providing enough feed to ensure that they are healthy and spawn frequently. A common concern when introducing exotic or non-traditional forage species in ponds is that the new species will overpopulate and "take over." Fortunately, the tilapia has a built in mechanism which absolutely eliminates such concerns: tilapia are tropical and will not survive the water temperatures of a temperate climate. Tilapia can survive and have become naturalized in central to south Florida. When water temperatures reach to mid- to low 50's, however, tilapia begin dying. When this occurs, the large adults are typically the only tilapia which will be observed dead at the surface. Over the next few weeks, as water temperatures gradually decline, nearly all of the juvenile tilapia which have been produced during the preceding growing season - hundreds of pounds per acre - will be consumed by predators. Talk about a feeding frenzy!

This is the second year we have stocked tilapia in our pond.

 A nice 4lb post spawn bass. This fish should be closer to 6 after a month of feeding on tilapia.
I saw this bass cruising down the bank and sight casted to it, she ate an olive wooly bugger. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

City Limit Adventures

Google Earth is gold as my buddy Robert says. I was searching around on Google Earth and found a creek that flows into a nearby lake. It intrigued me enough to go check it out this morning. Its only a few minutes from the house but access is kind of difficult. One of my favorite things about fishing is going out and exploring new areas. I didn't see anyone else on this creek and that says a lot for a Saturday morning during the sand bass run especially being in the middle of the city. Overall the area had very little human traffic and seemed to be a little hidden gem. Not sure how many fish I caught but it was more than plenty. This was a good way to finish off this years sand bass run. Its not completely over yet, but the wife and I will be having our first baby Monday so I wont be getting out for several weeks.      

The fish were hungry this morning. 

Lots of small hybrids mixed it

Lots of variety today

Mr. or is that Miss beaver

The creek was full of spawning shad

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Texas Coast

I fished Port O'Conner several years ago with Capt. Tom Horbey. Had a great time catching tailing red to 30", a big jack crevalle and saw a manta ray playing around at the end of the jetty. Tom put me on fish all day and did a good job of skirting around thunderstorms so we could stay out fishing. We caught almost all our reds on his "Horbey Spoon Fly". Several of the reds would turn around and come back to the fly to eat. The Jack ate a brightly colored deceiver, jacks are strong fish. It pulled Toms Stiify Exile poling skiff around like it was nothing. Tom is set up with top of the line gear, Sage rods and Tibor reels. We fished to rolling tarpon out at the jetties for a little bit but didn't have any bites. Had a great trip and Port O'conner is a fishy little town.

This manta ray was huge, probably 7-8' wingspan. 

Nice orange red

Watching this fish eat was awesome. He was coming around a weed patch and I stripped the fly out right in front of him and he bowed up and his gill plates flared open and inhaled the fly. All right at the bow of the boat. This happened back in August of 2007 and I still remember it clearly. 

Nice little red 

Seeing a school of these fish blow up on bait is unbelievable. 

Playing a red off the front of the skiff. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Caught a lot of nice bass this morning. Caught fish on a variety of flies: texas ringworm, clousers, Galloups butt monkey, decievers and one of my new favorite patterns, the kinky muddler. The bass are in good shape and starting to recover and put on some weight from the spawn. Looks like we had a good spawn this spring with lots of schools of fry swimming around the edges of the pond. Well be putting Tilapia in the pond again this year so the bass should just continue to grow and put on weight.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Get Jiggy

Here is a fly I just started tying. I got the idea from fishing with Rob Anderson up on Pyramid Lake. I figured I could use this fly/technique on some of my local waters.

Hook : 90 degree jig hook
Tail : Marabou
Body : Pearl Chenille
Wing : Zonker Strips
Head : Fish Skulls

Start off with a 90 degree jig hook. The hook in the vise is a #6 sickle jig hook. It is OK, but I think I am going to try a different hook. I want something a little stronger and sharper. 

Tie in the tail. I used marabou, but this can easily be substituted for: buck tail, flashabou, ostrich herl, or synthetic tying material. 

Next tie in the pearl chenille.

Next take a 2" piece of 40lb mono and tie in. 

Wrap the chenille up the hook shank
and tie off on the mono just past the hook bend.

Take a zonker strip and cut to the correct proportion to the hook and body of the fly. 
You will want to poke a small hole in the strip for the hook eye to go through.
Tie off just pass the hook onto the mono.
Whip finish and slide the fish skull onto the mono.
Use super glue to attach the fish skull.
Cut the mono, leaving about 1/8-1/4".

Use a lighter to melt the mono, creating a ball. 
Before the mono cools down and hardens push it against a flat surface creating a lock that will aid in keeping the fish skull from sliding off.

This is a very simple fly to tie and only takes a few minutes. 
Looking forward to fishing it. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Yellow Fellows

Robert and I fished a creek this morning. I think he caught 3 or 4 fish to my 1. We caught a ton of small yellow bass, some whites and Mr. Whiskers showed up. The creek was full of spawning shad. I noticed when I was leaving that Robert was using a much smaller clouser than what I was using. On the bigger sandies I think Robert and I were head to head, but for overall numbers Robert had the right idea by using the smaller fly. Yellow bass are a pretty cool little fish. Sometimes they are confused with white bass or striped bass, especially as juveniles.  Their body is a golden-yellow with 5 to 7 horizontal lines. The lower lines appear broken and offset about midway. The dorsal fins are connected and the second and third anal spines similar in length. Unlike white bass, hybrids and striped bass, yellows don’t have a tooth patch on their tongue. The growth rate of yellow bass is slow and they are generally small. Most will be smaller than 6 inches with bigger yellows running 6 to 13 inches in length. A couple other names for yellow bass are barfish and striped jack. I have never eaten yellow bass, but have heard they are very good.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hell Hole

They don't call it the hell hole for nothing. I tried beating the crowd by getting to the creek before light. I was hoping it would pay off with no people and fish. Neither one happened, there was still a lot of people there even before daylight and the fish weren't really biting. I caught 1 hillbillie coho and got run off by the shoulder to shoulder crowds.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Eating Crow

So I have to admit I normally don't have anything good to say about the creek I fished this morning. It is normally very crowded, and is always full of trash because there is a city dump just north of it. I haven't fished it in years because I don't really get any enjoyment out of fishing there due to the above mentioned. A buddy fished it earlier this week and did pretty good on the sandies, I had a few hours to spare this morning before I had to take care of some other responsibilities for the day and with this creek only being 15 minutes from the house I decided I would run over there and give it a try. We had a strong cold front move in last night so I figured the fishing would be slow. It took me an hour or so to figure out what the fish wanted but after that I was hooking up pretty consistently for the next hour. It was a cold morning for April standards here in Texas. So even though its not my favorite creek and I normally don't have anything good to say about  it, the fishing can be pretty good and the creek treated me well this morning.

Some little yellow bass 

 Mr Hybrid decided to show up

 The whites 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Clear Water Bass'n

I spent a few hours today fishing the pond, the high winds made fishing difficult today. We haven't gotten a lot of rain this spring and the rain we have had has been soaked up by the ground so the there has been very little run off and the water is really clear. The bass are up shallow feeding and spawning. With the clear water I could see a lot of the hits, its always cool to be able to watch a fish come up and chase down and inhale your fly.

This is what happens when the wind blows a lot of slack in your flyline and you try to rod set the hook with a 3weight. Good thing TFO has a great warranty program. :)

There is only one thing to do. And that's to keep fishing. I put the reel in my pocket and kept fishing with the top portion of the rod. It actually casted really well and was a lot of fun to fish with. I ended up catching an additional 3-4 bass on the broken rod. 

I just bought a new line for my 10 weight that I wanted to see how it casted. I got the Outbound Short floating line and it cast like a dream. I see now why they call it Outbound, you can launch that line. Its not a line you want to take to a trout stream. It will be a great line for striping flies off the bank, pulling flies through the surf or any other situation where you are casting long distances and retrieving flies. The 10 weight was way to much rod for these 1-2 lb bass but I tied on a kinky muddler to see if I could catch something bigger and to see how this fly fishes. I caught several more bass on this sweet fly. It will be one of my new staples in the fly box. 

Overall it was a great day with alot of nice healthy bass brought to hand. The wind was brutal but that's to be expected this time of year. There where a few beds, but I think with the approaching full moon it should really kick the spawn into full gear on this pond. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kayak Tie Down Tip

Thought I would share this tip on tying down your kayak/canoe if you carry it in the bed of your truck. Probably like most of yall it is not uncommon for me to run a couple hundred miles to the water for a day of fishing and I'm going to cover those miles as quickly as I can so it is very important that my yak is strapped down good.

 I make a loop out of 1/2" rope. The loop needs to be just big enough to slip over the nose of the kayak.

Slid the loop over the nose of the kayak and attach your ratchet straps to the loop. I like this setup over attaching the ratchet straps to the handle or other part of the yak because you can really crank down on the kayak/canoe without fear of ripping the handle out or damaging the yak. The other thing I recommend doing is going to Auto Zone and getting a portable towing light kit. Use some zip ties to attach the lights to the hooks on the ratchet strap. Make sure you get your left and right blinkers on the correct side and mark them so you will know in the future what side they belong on. This makes night time driving much safer.