Lot’s Of Fish But None For Dinner.

Monday (1/19/15) fellow “Angler’s Elite” teammate Grant and myself made a short trip to explore a new location. It was less than an hour from the town in which we live so it seemed like a worth while experiment. When we first arrived we were greeted by some scary signage, strong winds and dirty water.

Warning fish consumption sign

We were at first nervous about our choice of locations however, Grant had done some research and found us a bay with fairly deep water in the 6′- 8′ range.  Our plan was not to bring home dinner but search for some larger winter trout. Grant started by throwing some plastics and I chose to stick with my trusty Tsunami “Corkie” imitation baits.

The action was slow at first as we explored some uncharted waters.  (Since the beginning was fish-less I took some pictures of the scenery.)

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After a while, Grant started having success with some split tail plastics. The fish weren’t real large so I decided to stick it out with the slow sinking suspension bait.

I managed to grind out three this way and they were all just as small as Grant’s, ranging from 14″ to 18″. After watching Grant reel in trout after trout I decided to switch lures to a Voodoo Shrimp in a natural new penny color. This attempt proved to be  fail as it scored zero action.

I then switched to a Big Bites Saltwater Series 3″ Shrimp in a Morning Glory color. I thought maybe this would be a good fit for the dirty water.  Again I was shut out with no fish.

I reached in to my hatch and pulled out a Gulp Swimming Mullet in chartreuse. This proved to be the ticket. I quickly landed 10 or so trout.

Gulp swimming mullet

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The fish were much smaller then we hoped to find.  We decided to make the best of the trip and grind out a few more in hopes of finding at least one larger fish.

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It started to get late and the wind picked up. The fish all seemed small so we decided to pedal back past the launch and let the wind push us back as we made one last drift. Grant began catching fish again, but my Gulp Swimming Mullet stopped producing strikes.

I watched as Grant’s bait again out fished me.  I decided to switch baits once again. This time I put on a Down South Lures “Skinny Water Fishing” plastic in Watermelon Red

Down South Lures

with a chartreuse tail. This seemed to work and I quickly was back in action.

I was forced to switch baits multiple times, however Grant threw the same straight split tail mullet in a Morning Glory color all evening and out produced me. In retrospect, I later found out he was throwing a 1/4 oz jig head where as I was using a 1/8 oz.  You never know with trout. They can sometimes be finicky and desire a certain color, pattern or action.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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First Trip of 2015

My work schedule has me booked for the next couple of weeks and my only free day to earn points for the “TexasKayakFisherman.com” Trout Tango III Tournament (found on 321fish.com) was Jan 1st.

I had to run a wrestling practice in the morning and left for the coast when the last athletes left the building. Around 3:10 pm I made my first cast. I was greeted with hundreds of feeding birds and it would turn out to be a great day.

Todd Hart 2 29.25 trout

(The trout above was the largest measuring just over 29″.)

All trout were caught using a Tsunami (imitation Corkie) slow sinking twitch bait. The first trout I landed measured a nice 23.5″.

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I continued fishing an area of shell in roughly 4-5′ of water close to a deeper hole. I went on to land a number of trout. I think over the next 2 1/2  to  3 hours I landed somewhere between 10 and 15 trout.

There were a number of good sized trout for the frying pan ranging  in the upper teens.

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Five of the trout I caught measured over 20″.

Todd Hart 4 trout

Todd Hart 5 trout

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After each trout I landed with the twitch bait. I would switch to a top-water plug for a few casts.   I was unable to entice any fish with the top-water baits.  It gets kind of boring working a slow sinking twitch bait. You really have to force yourself to fish it slow, but it finally paid off with my personal best trout.

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Todd Hart 1 29.25 trout

This was nice fish with a great deal of girth. Why is it I just can’t seem to catch these kind of fish during the “CCA Star Tournament”?

Around 5pm the wind and the rain picked up. It was already cold but with those added elements it was a bit uncomfortable. I stuck it out and lost another giant fish.  After a small fit of rage and once I calmed down I continued to fish but the bite had really slowed and I only caught a few smaller trout.

I called it a day and went home happy with a new personal best trout. I guess I have to keep plugging away until I finally get one over the coveted 30″ goal.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Last Chance to Upgrade in December

It seems I have been in a slump when it comes to catching nice trout. One of my favorite places seemed to have shut down for me on my last three trips. The water temperature had fallen about 10 degrees and with it the large trout seemed to have moved on.

I decided to hit another one of my favorite locations I just don’t hit very often. It turns out it was a good choice. I landed a number of decent trout, three of which served as upgrades and helped me to finish the December TKF Trout Tango tournament in 3rd place.

Most trout were caught using a Tsunami imitation Corkie, a slow sinking twitch bait. The fish were caught in 3.5′ – 4.5′ of water over shell. The area is close to a deeper hole that provides a place for fish to retreat to when it’s cold.

Todd Hart 1 trout 12-30-14

Todd Hart 2 trout 12-30-14

The trout were quite hefty. This guy weighed over 6 lbs.

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It took me a while to find the fish. I spent the first hour or so searching.  Around 3:30 pm I found some fish scatted in an area. I was able to grind out a handful.

After landing the first few with the imitation corkie I noticed some fish hitting the surface. I picked up my top water rod and then landed a few more. The pink Rapala Skitterwalk strikes again.

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Todd Hart yellow mouth 12-30-14

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It became dark and cold. The wind picked up so I called it a day or should I say night and pedaled back to the truck.

Operationfish.com signing out.

Todd Hart

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2015 Houston Boat Show

2015 houston boat show

Come visit the 2015 Houston Boat show.  Look for me at the Fishing Tackle Unlimited space. I should be there to answer any questions you might have on both Sunday, Jan 4th, and again the following Sunday Jan. 11th.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Redfish, Apparently a Christmas Color

Dec 27th, two days after Christmas,  we ventured to the bay in search of trout for the TKF Trout Tangle II tournament. The forecast called for a south wind blowing in the upper teens and gusting to the low 20’s. The temperature was forecast to be a comfortable 65-70 degrees. The water temperature was in the mid 60’s. A northern front was scheduled to blow in sometime during the afternoon.  All signs looked good for a successful day on the water, a bit breezy but manageable.

I was armed with my favorite pink Skitterwalk and a box loaded up with an assortment of Corkies and imitation Corkies.  We started the first drift in shallow waters approx 2.5′ deep. I threw the pink Skitterwalk and soon landed a low end slot red. He wasn’t huge but at least he gave me a pleasant tug and served as something to slim my ruler.

todd hart redfish 1 12-27-14

Shortly after, I drifted close to the shoreline and on one of my casts next to the grass I hooked my first trout of the day. He was much smaller then what I needed to place in the tournament.

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I moved along the shore and switched to a Corkie.  I covered a great distance and tried a couple of colors only to have no luck.

I switched to back to my Skitterwalk and soon landed another red.

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I continued working the shoreline, only to land yet another redfish.

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After landing three slot reds I decided to move out to some deeper water in search of the trout I so desperately desired. I switched back to Corkie and tried some deeper water over shell. This resulted in nothing.

We decided to try throwing the Skitterwalk over some shallow shell reefs. I spent about 30-40 minutes and caught one other small trout. This trout was way to small for the tournament.

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We decided to make a couple of other drifts over some different bottom types. No fish were to be found. My wife had given me strict orders to be home early due to some dinner plans, so we called it a day and headed for the truck.  Shortly after loading up the temperature dropped a good 15-20 degrees and a strong north wind brought bunches of chilly rain. I guess we called it a day just in time.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Pluggin’ Away with Corkie’s

This time of year is hectic for me. My real-life job is a teacher /wrestling coach. This is the middle of wrestling season and that takes a toll on my fishing time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I still enjoy the sport and watching the kids grow and train. It’s just hard to be competitive on the fishing scene as well as the wrestling mat.

I try hard to get out once a week and fish for a few hours on Sunday evenings. This strategy earned me 2nd place in last month’s 321Fish.com’s TKF Trout Tango Tournament.  I hope to be competitive again this month with my busy-limited schedule.

I find the best startegy for my limited schedule is to get out on the water and land as many trout over 20″ as possible. I do this using Corkies or imitation Tsunami Corkies (which sink a bit faster.) I fish these over a combo of shell and mud near deeper water. I am forced to cover a great deal of water searching for fish.

This strategy has done well for me landing me many trout up to 27″ and mixed in a number of healthy redfish. I caught this guy below chasing a couple of diving birds Sunday 12/14/14)

Todd Hart redfish2 12-14-14

Depending on the water color I use a combination of colors. I like a bait that is similar to what the natural bait of the area appears to be. I like natural colors that are a mix of silver, brown and yellow. When the water is murky I switch to either pink or Morning Glory (purple and chartreuse yellow).

Working the shoreline in approx 3-3.5″ of water I also landed this nice trout on 12/14/14.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes, once I find a few trout holding in an area I’ll switch to a topwater.  I caught this trout last Sunday evening. He wasn’t big but there were a number of trout hitting the surface about and hour before sunset.

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This is one of my favorite times of year to chase big trout. Often I’m forced with a decision. I can either chase a bunch of schooling trout for fast action or I can plug away in a slow and tedious manner looking for the big solitary monsters often found closer to shore in shallow areas along the shoreline once the winter sun warms the water.

Operationfish.com signing out.

Todd Hart

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Corkie Season is Here

Thanksgiving break has arrived and I had an afternoon off. I loaded up my Pro Angler and headed for the coast. I arrived on the water at roughly 2:30 pm. The tide was a bit lower than it has been, the wind was howling out of the Southwest at 15-25 mph and the water was as dirty as chocolate milk.

The goal was to catch some trout for the current TKF Trout Tango tournament hosted on 321fish.com. The conditions were not looking favorable, even the birds were hunkering down in the marsh searching for bait and hiding from the strong winds. I tried to sneak up on a feeding spoonbill.

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I guess my big green kayak was hard to hide so he flew away in a flurry of pink.

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The wind was so rough I chose to stay along the shoreline to avoid the big waves and seek what little refuge I could find. I found an area where the wind had blown a pocket of dirty water along side some pretty clear-greenish water. I decided to speed some time fishing this color change.

This resulted in my first nice trout.

Todd Hart trout1  11-26

It wasn’t huge but a small upgrade.

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I continued working the color change with a slow sinking Corkie. The only other fish I landed here was a 19.5″ rat red. I decided to move on in search of greener pastures.

I then chased a large flock of aggressively feeding birds out in the open water. I was forced to work my way through some pretty rough waters due to the strong winds. As soon as I reached the feeding grounds the birds scattered. I fished the area for a few minutes. I found no action nor did I see any bait actively. I decided to head back to the sanctuary of the shoreline.

I worked the shoreline for about 2 miles and landed a few trout. Most were around the 17-19″ mark.

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The direction of the wind was actually pretty nice. It blew me right down the shoreline allowing me to drift fish my Corkie. I would just cast it out behind me and twitch it as the wind blew me along the shoreline.  This resulted in another nice upgrade.

Todd Hart trout2  11-26

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The sun had started to go down and I was a few miles away from my truck. I now was faced with pedaling back against the wind. Thank goodness for the Micro-pole. Every time I hooked a fish I could stop myself with the simple push of a button so I didn’t lose ground to the strong winds as I unhooked and took my pictures. (I highly recommend this item. There is a link to it on the right side of this screen.)

I continued catching fish all the way back. I ended with double digits numbers and one more upgrade.

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These three fish were enough to slide me back into first place.

321fish place 11-26

There are still a few days left in the month long tournament. I hope I can get out again to upgrade some more.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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TPWD Needs You: Help Report Illegal Fishing Activities

2014 tpwd wanted flyer

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Slow Fishing and Rough Week for Sea Turtles

This year has been a strange one. The temperatures have dropped much earlier than usual. We have had several days where the temperatures have come close to freezing and it’s only Mid-November. These cold north winds seem to send the fish into hiding and worse yet causes Sea Turtles to suffer from a phenomenon known as cold-stranding, a condition caused by sudden drops in temperature. The turtles appear to be paralyzed or even dead.

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I stopped and took some pictures of a turtle. I felt bad for him but didn’t know what to do so I moved on to fish. I tried my normal spots with no action what-so-ever.  I switched to a Paul Brown’s Original Corkie and still did not seem to have any luck.  My friend, Don (Saltykat) was fairing better then me. He actually landed a couple of 16-19″ trout.

It was then, he explained he was using an imitation brand of a corkie distributed by Tsunami. They are slightly heavier and sink a bit faster which can allow for a bit more action in the water. He handed me one and on my second cast I landed a nice flounder. I may have to purchase some of this baits. (They are even much cheaper than Paul Brown’s Original Corkies.)

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Shortly after, we ran across the same floating/suspended turtle. We were afraid he was going to drown. He couldn’t even lift his head out of the water to breathe. Don and I both felt bad for the cold little fella so we decided to try to rescue the turtle. I know years past there was an effort to save turtles when the sudden temperature changes occurred.  But we couldn’t figure out who to contact in that area. We decided to take matters into our own hands. We figured the water would be warmer in the ocean then in the shallow bays.

We simply picked up the turtle and put him in the back of the kayak. He was so cold and weak he didn’t seem to mind.  We then made a long paddle/pedal back to the a deeper channel that supplied warmer water and a path to the warmer open ocean if he so chose.

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Once we put him in the warmer water he seemed to get a new burst of energy and quickly swam a way. I felt a little saddened he didn’t pop up and at least wave good bye. He simply swam away without so much as a thank you.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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3rd Round – Time to Vote!

We did it!! We made it to the final round!

Operationfish round 3

This contest is put on by Yakangler.com.  We have made it to the final round due to the loyalty of our many readers and followers.

If you enjoy our blog please take a second to log in at  Yakangler.com Choice Awards  and vote for Todd Hart and Operationfish.com. Every vote helps.

Thanks for your continued support.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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