Exploring Keith Lake (Port Arthur, TX)


Sunday morning (4-13-14) I launched on Keith Lake. The forecast called for strong south winds, therefore I launched on the south side of the lake, hoping to avoid the rougher water.

keith lake south launch map

I began working the south shoreline tossing my favorite Pink Skitterwalk (top-water lure).

pink skitterwalk

It wasn’t too long before I hooked my first red.

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I lost a few more red fish. I am guessing my hooks were a bit dull. I could have switched lures but with my stubborn attitude I decided against it. Boy was that dumb, as I ended the day losing five potential fish.

After missing a few fish I worked my way along the shoreline to the north entrance connecting Keith Lake to the inter-coastal waterway. The wind and waves were increasing. I left the shoreline and worked a Paul Brown’s Original Corky in hopes of catching some trout. The trout bite was slow and after an hour or so of bobbing in the rough waves I ended with only one trout to show.

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I decided to head back to the protected side of the bay. I threw the Corky a few times along the grass and landed my first flounder.

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The action on the Corky was slow so I switched back to my pink Skitterwalk. I lost another fish or two and then finally landed a slot red.

smaller red

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I then decided to switch to a pearl colored Berkley Gulp Swimming mullet. This landed me another flounder.

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After a while I switched back to my Skitterwalk. I really enjoy throwing top-water lures.  I continued working the shoreline, missed another fish or two and finally landed my last red of the day.

unhooking red

larger red

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I promised my wife I would be home early so I was off the water between noon and 1pm. It turned out to be a good day. I ended with a slam, one trout, two flounder and a handful of redfish.

All redfish and flounder were caught tight up against grass. The redfish seemed to come from protected coves.

Operationfish.com sighing out,

Todd Hart

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Evening Full of Bass

Thursday, March 27 I decided to make an after work, evening bass trip to Lake Fayette. I pulled out of school parking lot shortly after 3:00 pm and pointed the nose of my truck west. Just over an hour later I found myself unloading my kayak on the north end of Lake Fayette.

The bigger bass were being stingy. My first few bass were caught on a blue and silver Cotton Cordelle lure.

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They all seemed to be between 14″ and 15.5″.

lucky hat bass 2

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lucky hat bass

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I waded through a few more smaller bass, before landing another score fish.

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Shortly after that I landed another.

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The next few fish small so I switched to a worm. This gave me similar results.

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Once it got dark the fish stopped hitting my blue and silver lure. I switched to a heavier gold Cotton Cordelle lure and I landed a few more fish. These turned out to be some the biggest of the evening.

gold cotton cordelle

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It was a successful evening of catching bass.  I must have caught roughly 20 fish.  I would have stayed to catch a few more, but I had left head-lamp in my truck and was having a hard time fishing. It was challenging landing the bass in the pitch dark.

Operationfish.com signing out.

Todd Hart

 

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Exploring Lake Livingston


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On March 22, my wife and I made a trip to Lake Livingston.

Lake Livingston street map

The goal was to catch a striper big enough to count for the kayakwars.com tournament. (Which is something I have yet to do.) We launched at the state park shortly after sunrise.

Lake Livingston state park

We worked our way south towards the dam. I was trolling a deep driver crank bait on one pole and some small road runner jig heads on the others in case we came across some white bass. My wife was armed with minnows.

I searched for schools of fish with my fish finder. Whenever I located fish we would stop and fish the area. Before long my wife hooked up on a small striper using a minnow.

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It wasn’t quite large enough to count, but she was still impressed that she caught a striper before me. (And she continues to remind me even today.)

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We continued searching for fish and my wife caught yet another fish, a freshwater drum. It wasn’t exactly what we were aiming for, but it was points she got to count for Kayakwars.com.

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By this point, I was getting a bit disgruntled as I just couldn’t seem to entice anything into biting. I finally found an area where the water dropped from 6′ -60′ within just a short distance. Schools of fish were continuously swimming by. I decided to steal a minnow from my wife’s bait bucket and grind it out and managed to catch two small crappie.

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I never caught the fish I was targeting but the day was not a total waste. I managed to score a couple of points for kayakwars.com and got to spend some much needed quality time with my wife, Kristen.

We decided to call it day and load up. The state park provides a nice launch site which seems to have very little traffic.

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While loading up we talked to a couple of locals that did inform us that the crappie are spawning in the shallow water located in the cove south of the boat launch.

Lake Livingston Crappie

We were informed that the spawning crappie were biting on minnows suspended 1′-2′ below a small red and white round bobber in 4′ of water near tree stumps.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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It’s IFA Season in Texas and Lousiana

Spread the news and let’s make this the best IFA season to date!!

IFA page 1

IFA page 2

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Cotten Cordelle Lures Strike Again!!


On Thursday, March 20th, I decided to make an evening bass run. I left work/school and headed straight for Lake Fayette.  The wind was so strong the waves were crashing right over the bow of my kayak.

The two parks from which you can launch are both located on the north side of the lake. This makes for rough fishing when there is a strong South wind.

I worked my way through the waves looking for some protection from the wind. I started throwing my favorite Cotton Cordelle lure.

cotton cordelleHowever, the fish seemed to be in a bit deeper water this evenings. I armed a second pole with a heavier Cotton Cordelle lure of the same style, but a different color. The heavier weight allows for it to drive a feet deeper.

gold cotton cordelleThis seemed to be just what the fish wanted. As I soon landed a number of nice bass.

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I landed a few others that did not quite make the 16″ minimum requirement for Kayakwars.com.

It was a short successful trip. This is one of the reasons I frequent this lake, as it always seems to produce quality bass.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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A Slow Day At The Livingston Dam (3/15/14)


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Saturday, March 15th, I woke my wife up with a surprise. She moaned. She groaned, but eventually she climbed out of bed and staggered to my truck. I drug her out on a fishing trip bright and early to the Lake Livingston dam.

We arrived shortly after sun rise, unloaded the gear and hit the water.

loading

The fish were stingy and not really wanting to participate.  We first tried near the spillway and had little luck so we made our way to the dam, only to find that site uneventful as well. We decided to head back to the spillway and grind out some fish.

I soon caught a few white bass. The action was slow and I only caught a handful all morning.

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I also landed some small yellow bass.

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My wife, Kristen, was working hard trying to land a fish.

Todd and Kristen

Her patience paid off with a nice slab of a crappie.

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She was pretty excited.

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I was hoping the white bass would be in larger numbers, but I guess we were just a bit to early.  Soon the run should start, the action should really pick up, and the fishing should really turn on.

All fish were caught with 1/8 ounce Roadrunner jig heads rigged with either white or a mix of black and chartreuse.

roadrunner

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Early Morning Bass Run 3/14/2014


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Friday (3/14/2014) fellow “Anglers Elite, team member Grant Justus and myself decided to make a short early morning Lake Fayette run. Both our wives had plans that included us and we were given strict instructions to be home early.

We hit the water a bit later than we had hoped, but we still each managed a few early morning bass. A cold front had passed through a few days prior to our trip encouraging the fish to head back out to deeper water. most of our fish were caught between 7-12′ of water.

Most of our fish were caught using Cotton Cordelle’s version of a rattle trap. I was throwing a blue and silver pattern while Grant was throwing a purple and bone color.

The first fish I caught was a bit undersized.

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We continued grinding away and I soon caught one a bit larger.

fayette bass 2

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After a while we came across a small cove protected from the recent north wind. It seemed the fish liked this protected area as we each caught a number more in this small area. I did manage to pull one from the cattails.

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We each landed a few more in the deeper water, again ranging from 7-12′.

fayette bass measure

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fayette bass mouth

It was a short trip and to liven things up we made a small wager. Prizes would be split between the most inches total for all fish caught combined and the largest fish caught. I won with the total inches, however Grant won the largest bass pool.

It was a successful day; fish were caught, “kayakwar’s.com points were scored and we each made it home in time to keep our wives happy.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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Wind, White Bass and Buffalo


Wednesday, 3-12-14 I had a chance to fish with a former wrestler of mine. It’s been a while since he was on the team. As matter of fact, It’s been a while since he graduated from high school as he is now a dentist and often  to busy to hang out. However, he had a free day over spring break.

The weather forecast was rough with 30 plus mph winds. He has limited days to fish and this was his only free day so we decided to “suck it up” and look for a place to fish I thought would be sheltered from the wind. We hit the Lake Livingston Dam.  We arrived late in the morning and people were leaving with stringers of white bass. They claimed the bite had stopped and they were calling it a day. Just our luck, we arrived shortly after the bite.  Beggars can’t be choosers, so we unloaded the kayaks and hit the water.

The action was slow but I was able to grind out 5 white bass in a wind protected finger protruding from the main river.

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After a while I talked my buddy into heading to the main river and checking out the dam. The wind was miserable. It took forever to pedal against the gusting wind. Once we arrived close to the dam I noticed schools of hundreds of large buffalo sitting right below the surface. I cast my small jig heads in front of the fish and allowed the current to drift my bait into the school of fish. It was only a moment before I was hooked up with a monster fish.

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The wind was so strong I had to go close to shore just to take my pictures.

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These aren’t normally something I would fish for, but they were certainly fun to catch. I think I ended the day with roughly 12 buffalo. Only a few were over the 24″ minimum length required for “kayakwars.com”.

Todd Hart with a buffalo

buffalo face

Even my former wrestler, Ayham, was able to get in on the action.

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Despite the wind and weather we ended with a fun day.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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First BTB Trip in 2014 Resulted in Black Drum!!!


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I wasn’t able to fish for a few days due to some family plans and traveling. I was anxious to get back on the water.  The weather forecast for Tuesday, 3/11/2014, was calling for low winds and calm waters.

We decided to make our way to McFaddin Beach, about an hour and a half east of Houston.  We departed early to avoid the Houston rush hour. Next we made a short stop at my favorite Winnie Bait shop(the Sea Pony Bait Shop) and picked up some mullet and whole crab.

We launched shortly after sunrise and pedaled out to 7-8′. We fished at this depth for roughly 45 minutes with little to no action. We then decided to pull anchor and head out to deeper waters. Around 12′ we began marking fish, so we dropped anchor again.

We had a few runs, but the bite was very soft. All runs were only on the crab. Nothing touched the cut mullet. After a while I finally hooked one nice fish.

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This black drum bit the crab softly. I had the reel set to click with little to no drag and it was still a soft and slow bite. He measured just over 36″.

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He bit a whole blue crab. I removed the legs off the dead crab and pushed the large circle hook through a leg hole and out the back of the shell.

After a while my cohort, Grant hooked up.

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Black drum aren’t known as fighters like their cousin the Bull Red. However, this guy had some fight in him and gave his rod quite a bend. It pulled him around for a short while.

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This turned out to be larger drum measuring just over 40″.

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This was it for our fish. The action was slow, but at least we weren’t skunked.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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In Search of White Bass, Trip to Lake Livingston Dam


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Every spring the white bass make a spawning run.  This is a fun time of year. On March 1st, I decided to make a trip to the Lake Livingston dam hoping to catch some of these hungry fish.

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The dam is located on the south side of the lake just an hour north-east of Houston.

map livingston dam

To launch at the dam you must first visit to Browders Marina located just down the road at 1333 FM 3278 Near Coldspring, TX. They charge $9 and will give you parking pass.

I launched a little ways off the main river near a spillway.

sat image of dam launch site

I pedaled over near the dam and ran into some fellow kayak fisherman I know from past trips.  I fished and visited for a while but had no luck. Caleb, the young man pictured below did manage to land a gar while I was there.

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After about an hour with no one catching any white bass I decided to move on to a different location.  (Later that evening, I learned that Caleb ended up landing a couple of white bass, freshwater drum, carp, buffalo and most impressively a 58″ paddle fish.

I worked my way back toward the spill way and landed 6 white bass.

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I also landed two large mouth bass.

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The third species I caught this day was a nice crappie.

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All fish were caught using tiny 1/8 oz Road Runner jigs.

Operationfish.com signing out,

Todd Hart

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