TEXAS FLAT RAT

Kayaks, Rods & Redfish

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LSKS #3 for 2015

IMG_0980Yesterday was the third LSKS event of 2015. This event has a few conflicts with people fishing in the BWKC and a few pre fishing for the IFA, but there was still a strong turn out with a total of 101 anglers. If you are looking for an organized tournament, that is well run and offers plenty of opportunities for some great gear, even if you don’t catch the biggest fish, then you should really consider signing up for these events. Dustin Koreba does a great job, and puts a ton of effort into running a quality tournament.

So I have been trying a few new spots over the past weeks trying to find a location that didn’t require me to spend 6 hours on the road for tournament day. My efforts were to no avail. All I had been able to find were small fish and lots of them. About mid-week I started to realize why there were never any other kayakers launching in these locations. On Wednesday night I started sending messages to a few buddies who had been fishing familiar water and their reports were as bleak and dismal as mine. So by Friday morning I realized I had no choice. . .I’m going in blind!

I spent most of the day Friday on google earth scanning the Texas coastline looking for something that fit the description. Now everyone has a different opinion of what makes the perfect redfish spot, but just for reference this is what mine looks like. . .

  • Marsh – I am a shallow water sight caster and the marsh is where I want to stay
  • Access to deeper water – fish need access to deeper water, the closer the better
  • Transitional cuts – I like to see a few deep cuts in between several back lakes
  • Current – Look for shell and grass  to pinch the water and increase current flow
  • Structure – Again, shell and grass shorelines, places redfish can ambush from

I arrived at my launch earlier than expected, it was about 4:45 when I pulled in and I was the only one there. That quickly changed and by 5:15 there were 5 of us loaded up waiting on the 6 o’clock buzzer. At 6 am sharp I was off and paddling hoping to make it to my first stop before the sun cracked the horizon. Upon arrival the water was like glass and so I elected to tie on a SS Jr since it is considerably quieter than my Skitterwalk. On my third cast I was rewarded with a huge “CHUG” and it was off to the races.

IMG_0975The fight had not gone on very long when I came to the realization that this fish was not going to be in the slot. He went on 5 big runs and took half of my spool with him each time. After something close to 15 minutes I had my personal best redfish on the deck. He tipped out at just over 33”. The crazy thing about this catch, as soon as I grabbed onto my SS, the hook he was IMG_0986caught on pulled completely out of the back of my lure! One more run and he would have probably been gone. I snapped some pictures and let him go. Happy that I set a personal record, but disappointed that it wasn’t a really nice SLOT red.

I moved on to start fishing some shell reefs and found the pattern that would hold true for the rest of the day. Most fish were cruising the reefs and were mixed in with multiple black drum and sheepshead. In order to pick them out you would have to sit side saddle and just wait on the reds to show themselves. Later in the afternoon they began to school up and as the birds would find them so would I. For the last hour or so I chased birds and pulled singles from the outside edges of schools. Unfortunately, I was never able to find an upper slot fish. I finished the day with a 22 ¾” and one that was barely legal. Out of 10 fish those were the only two slot reds I caught all day.

Overall, yeIMG_0984sterday was a great day to be on the water. I finished just out of the money, 28th, with 7.5 lbs and I set a new redfish PR on my kayak. Exploring a new location was fun and finding a few fish along the way made it even better. Hopefully my pointers for finding a new fishing hole using google earth will both help and inspire you to get out there a trying something new. There is one more event in the 2015 LSKS on October 3rd. If you’re interested then follow this link www.lonestarkayakseries.com to get registered. I hope to see you there!

And by the way, congratulations to all the anglers who were able to find ’em yesterday. It only takes one cast. . .well, technically two!

Wind Tide Weather Baro Depth Bottom Lures
8 MPH Outgoing w/Avg Differential Partly Cloudy Rising 6”-2 ft Mixed Mud & Shell  SS Jr                KFM  Hunchback

At Least I Got To Be On The Water

The moral of yesterday’s fishing story is. . .”At least I got to be on the water.” Or at least that is how my wife phrased it in her text reply to me. It was just one of those days where nothing was going to go as planned and at a certain point I just started preparing for the worst instead of acting surprised when it happened.

It all started on Monday when I began checking the forecast to determine what day this week would be the best day to hunt for tailing reds in the marsh. I had a new area in Matagorda I have been wanting to explore and my week was pretty wide open. As of Monday, Tuesday, and early Wednesday it appeared that Thursday was going to be my best day. It looked like there would be a decent window in the morning when the wind would be less than 15mph and that was all I needed to make the call.

Fast forward to Thursday morning >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I am sitting in my driveway, loaded up and ready to head out. Radio on, hot cup of coffee in my hand and the daily forecast pulled up on my phone. WHAT THE . . . 22mph with gust up to 27mph ALL DAY! What happened to my window? This was the first of several surprises that would seemingly follow me for the rest of the trip.

I arrived at the launch around 5:30 and was off paddling by 6:00. It looked like the tide was extremely low, but it was dark and I wasn’t familiar with the area so I decided to press on. It didn’t take me long to realize I hJust Reelingad been poling through mud for the last 800 yards or so and according to Google Earth I should have been in the deepest section of the canal. After passing my third drain that was completely blown out I made the decision to cut my losses and relocate.

When I returned to the truck I thought I would try to save time and just cart my yak, fully loaded, back to the truck and try to keep things intact as much as possible. The drive to my next location would not be a long one and I could just drive slowly. My plan was going perfectly until half way to the truck my cart broke. Please fill in the bank with any expletives that come to mind, I assure you I did. I made an attempt to “engineer” things back into working order, but it was to no avail. So at 7 am, instead of fishing, I am lugging my things back to my truck so that I can load up my now EMPTY kayak and change locations.

Half strapped with my gear just thrown all over the bed of my truck I head off to my next spot. When I finally get things ready to go, for the second time, I am greeted with a wonderful sight W-A-T-E-R! Who knew you needed this stuff to kayak? I paddled to a familiar location that usually holds a few fish and set up my first drift. The wind was howling and I was really glad I remembered to grab my drift sock. At the end of a 45 minute drift I had nothing. Not even a blowup. So I headed off to find some more protected water.

Shooting PicsI pretty quickly decided that it was just not going to be my day and with the super low tides I converted my fishing trip into a research trip. I started taking picture of points, deep cuts and shell reefs. I made note of their stop and starts, referenced them with familiar landmarks and even made guesstimates about their distance away from nearby shorelines. I have fished this particular location dozens of times, but I was still able to discover a few things that I had not previously known. I even played around with some new camera angles for the go pro.

In summary, the day started out as a disaster and had I not refocused it probably would have ended that way as well. However, once I realized that the current conditions gave me a great opportunity to gain some valuable information about one of my favorite fishing spots I decided to enjoy the outdoors and take what mother-nature gave me. After all “At least I got to be on the water.”

New Angle 2 New Angle

Wind Tide Weather Baro Depth Bottom Lures
25+ MPH Outgoing w/Small Differential Sunny Steady 6”-3 FT Mixed Mud & Shell Skitterwalk KFM         Down South

Exploring New Marsh

Alright guys, so I am little behind on this most recent report. Unfortunately I have had quite a bit of “school work” to do since my last trip and have just not had the time to sit down and organize my thoughts. But without further ado, here we go.

I hit the Galveston marsh last Tuesday looking for some tournament size fish. I have been able to weigh in at the last two tournaments, but I just have not been able to find any consistent size. To try and remedy this problem I decided to try some new water. I left the house around 4:15 and was on the water by 6. I hadn’t paddled ¼ of a mile when the sun started to come up and the grass line erupted. It seemed as if every paddle stroke was some sort of signal and another red would crash. Normally this would be great news, but the entire grass line was extremely flooded and these fish were nowhere near the edge.

I started off with a favorite bait of mine, I blame “legocrusader” & “jgj5533”, the pink and chrome skitterwalk. I started working the grass all the way down thinking surely the noise would draw a few fish out. . .NOTHING! I went back over that same section of shoreline with a KFM in East Beast rigged weedless so I could try and get my presentation a little closer to the activity and again I came up empty handed. However, on my second pass I noticed a few wakes moving about 10-20 feet off the shoreline.

On my third pass I moved a little further off the bank and that seemed to be the answer. I was immediately awarded with 3 fish in less than 15 minutes. Unfortunately these were not the chunky tournament reds I had been looking for, but after listening to them feed for the last hour or so it was just satisfying to hook up. I boated 2 reds that were both around 22” and a 16” flounder.

RedFlounder

Even though there was still activity in the area I decided to follow my float plan and move on. After all, this was intended to be more of an exploratory trip than anything else. As I made my way across the small back lake towards a deeper canal I could see some fish tailing in the distance. I increased my pace hoping I could get there before the feeding frenzy stopped. As I got closer to the action I realized these tails were way too big to be red fish. I had stumbled into a pod of Big Uglies. Now I have always been told that black drum would not hit on artificial bait, but seeing how I have never caught one I had to try. I made a few casts at one and he didn’t even spook. After following tBig Uglyhem around for a bit I made the decision for one last cast. I thumped one right on the head with my jig and in a huge swirl, FISH ON!

The water was too shallow for the fish to make a huge run, but as he methodically made his way across the marsh there was nothing I could do but follow along. The fight was short lived as he quickly tired of dragging me through the mud. I tried netting him, but could only get about 1/3 of his body in the net. I laid him across the front hatch of my Ride and started looking for a place to stand so I could get a few pics. I finally found a reef that I could stand on and was able to get a few snap shots. They aren’t great pictures because of the sun, but I had to document what is currently the largest fish I have ever taken in my kayak.

Again, I was back on track, hoping that the rest of the day would be as eventful as the morning had been. Unfortunately this was not the case. After spending several more hours poling around in lifeless marsh I made my way back to the ICW in hopes of catching a trout to complete the slam. I drifted almost 2 miles down the ICW on the way back to my truck and didn’t get a single bite. Not even a small blow up. Once I had the truck in sight I decided it was time to call it a day and so I headed in. I was off the water by noon and looking for lunch.

Wind Tide Weather Baro Depth Bottom Lures
10-15 MPH Incoming w/Avg Differential Sunny Rising 1-3 FT Mixed Mud & Shell Skitterwalk        Flats Minnow  Down South

Egret Baits Lonestar Saltwater Survival Series

This past weekend I fished in my 2nd tournament of 2015 the Egret Baits Saltwater Survival Series, hosted by the Lonestar Fishing Team. This interesting twist on tournament red fishing was well thought out and it was definitely a challenge. My hat goes off to Cameron Barghi and crew for putting on a great event.

Now to get into the details. For anyone who isn’t sure how this tournament was different from any other allow me to explain. Not only were all of the participants limited to very minimal water, there was also a limit on the baits you were allowed to use. Egret Baits sent over packets of 6 lures for each of the anglers registered. You were only allowed to use those 6 baits for the entire day. If you one was lost, eaten, or mutilated then you had to fish the rest of the day without that particular lure. To make it even more interesting we all had to be present at the 6 am Captain’s Meeting for some final instruction and all fish had to be caught in West Bay.

At 5:30 those of us that were there received our bag of baits and hFullSizeRendereaded back to the trucks to start tying a few of them on. At first glance my biggest concern was the lack of dark colors. In the majority of West Bay I would say visibility was less than 4 inches and darker colored lures would have definitely helped, but at least we would all be fighting the same battle. At 6 am Cameron hosted the mandatory meeting and sometime around 6:10 we were off. Some sprinted to their vehicles, others walked, but all were anxious to get to their spot and see how many anglers they would be competing with.

Luckily when I arrived at my spot there was no one in sight. That changed as I was almost ready to launch, but at least I would be the first one out and could claim my spot. I was out of the truck and on the water in less than 10 minutes. I started off throwing a Vudu Shrimp under a popping cork into some main drains with no success. I then moved on to fishing flooded grass lines hoping to pull a big one out of the weeds, but again no luck. As the sun starting to rise overhead I moved deeper into the marsh hoping that I could find a few crawlers.

In my very first shallow lake I was rewarded with that ever familiar gleam breaking the surface of the water. I started slowly working my way towards him and . . . TOO SHALLOW! My yak comes to a screeching halt and I am definitely out of range. I make the decision to get out and drag my boat into position, but as soon as I get both feet out . . . KNEE DEEP MUD! My last opportunity is to give him a shot and see if I can get there, but more power equals less accuracy. I deliver a shot right on the end of his nose and off he goes. As he leaves the small back lake I see about 4 other wakes go with him.

I searched long and hard for another fish, blind casting into the occasional drain or pocket, but hours into the tournament things are not looking good. I am about 4 miles from the launch and I take a gamble to paddle down a random canal that I have never before explored and about half way down, another back. I make a great cast and the wake moves right into my bait and then stops. I give it a twitch and he blows out. Feeling defeated I continue down the canal, but at some point I look over my shoulder and see that same red still cruising the grass line. I backtrack to give him more shot and this time he takes it. I get him to the boat and he’s only slightly over 21”, but he’s legal and he’s on the stringer.

IMG_0763As hard as I tried I was never able to locate another fish. I did catch a blue crab that grabbed onto my rudder while I was poling around. Shortly after I took the following picture I flung him into the tank well by flipping my rudder up. It wasn’t much, but after the day I had it was pretty entertaining.

I paddled back to the launch, filled up my new live well with water and headed to weigh in. I stopped on the way back and grabbed a subway sandwich since I had plenty of time and made it to the weigh in around 2 o’clock. After 45 minutes in the live well my fish was still upright and swimming around. After all was said and done I finished the tournament in 12th place and got a check for 65 bucks. Overall I would say the tournament was a success. As I said earlier Cameron and the Lonestar Team were great hosts and I can’t wait to give it a shot in the next one. If you were not in attendance you really missed out and you should try to make the fall event. Follow the Facebook page at Saltwater Survival Series for more info.

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Wind Tide Weather Baro Depth Bottom Lures
20-25 MPH Incoming w/Small Differential Sunny Rising 1-3 FT Mixed Mud & Shell Egret Baits

Galveston Vacation

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Last week my wife and I stayed in Galveston with some good friends of ours. The good news is this meant lots of fishing for me, the bad news 20+ mph winds all week. One of the guys that stayed with us had never been kayak fishing before and so I spent most of the week trying to get him on some fish. I think he may be hooked for life.

Monday morning I went out on my own to do some scouting and see if I could find a few reds in one of my favorite Galveston spots. Not to mention my wife had added fresh fish to the menu Monday night and so she wasn’t giving me much time to “shop” around. I was on the water by 6:00 am and saw my first back by 6:15. Four casts later I was tied into a pretty hefty 26 incher that would eventually make his way to the dinner table.IMG_0707

As soon as the sun began to peek over the horizon it brought the wind with it. Even in the little back lake I was in I started to see white caps early. After fishing the grass line with a topwater for a little while with no luck I decided to try drifting for a while. Paddled back into the wind for a bit, deployed my drift sock and started fishing. In the first drift I picked up two trout so I tried it again. On the second drift I picked up two more. After that the bite just shut off completely. I called it a day at10:30 and paddled back to the truck with dinner in tow.

Tuesday IMG_0719morning my buddy was ready to go so we went to the same place I had been Monday and we were on the water at about the same time. Tuesday morning the wind was worse and it did not wait on the sun to rise. We fought the wind from launch to paddle back. There were a few tailers early, but my buddy got “buck fever”, which I still get sometimes, and botched up both casts. We had a good laugh and then started looking for more fish.

After about an hour of searching the marsh with no luck I thought we should try drifting like I had done the day before. We paddled back to give it a shot and . . . NOTHING!  No bites, no blowups, not a single thing. We called it a day at 11:00 with no fish.

Wednesday morning we decided to spend a little time in with the family and give the fish a break. I mean after all we had just slaughtered them the day before HAHAHAHAHA!

Thursday morning I gave my buddy the option to try something new or go back where we had been the first day. He said he wanted to go back where we had seen fish. We were on the water by 5:30 and we fished some docks on the way out. We put a few rat reds in the boat, but nothing to write home about.

When the sun started to come up we made our way back to where we had seen reds the previoIMG_0728us 2 trips and just like clockwork they were there again. I picked out a good one and my buddy makes a great cast. The red noses right up to it and FISH ON! I noticed pretty quickly that this fish wasn’t taking any drag which surprised me a little because the fish I saw was plenty big enough to peel some line out. As the fish got closer to the boat I realized it wasn’t a red fish at all, but a 20” flounder. Somehow in the midst of all the action they played the ol’ swticheroo. Still a good fish, but not the fight I had hoped for.

Since we were both checking out that morning we called it an early day as soon as the wind picked up. I must admit it was a little different for me as I tried my hand at guiding. I won’t be starting that business any time soon so no one has to worry. All in all it was a good week on the water. The conditions were not the best, but as I have been told many times, “The best time to fish is when you can!”

Thanks for reading and thanks for checking out my blog. Stay tuned after this weekend for an update on the Saltwater Survival Series.

Wind Tide Weather Baro Depth Bottom Lures
20-25 MPH Incoming w/Small Differential Sunny Steady 1-3 FT Mixed Mud & Shell Flats Minnow SS Junior

Fishing the LSKS

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This past Saturday (6/6/15) I decided to fish in my very first fishing tournament and what better tournament to fish than the Lone Star Kayak Series. Sonny Mills has been trying to talk me into fishing one of these events for quite some time and I finally decided there is no time like the present. With the school year wrapping up on Friday I needed something to kick off summer with and this seemed like the perfect plan.

The alarm went off at 3:00 am and I was loaded up and headed to “Reel Life’s” house by 3:30. After stopping for breakfast and a few quick snacks we were headed out. We met up with “Legocrusader” at one our favorite spots and shoved off at 6 am on the nose. I kind of expected to see more yaks on the water, but I was pleasantly surprised when I realized we had the place to our self.

After a short paddle I made my first cast of the morning and half way through my retrieve, FISH ON! A short fight later and I had my first red in the boat. She was a little over 20” and this is where I made my first tournament angler mistake. . .I let her go! I know, I know, I know, you can always upgrade, but when you land a fish on your first cast of the day you think surely I can catch two more. Well, we can talk about this later.

There was nervous bait and fish popping everywhere and a few casts later “Reel Life” hooks up with his first fish of the day and at 26.25” it goes on the stringer. We worked that section of water for another hour and never hooked up with another fish. At this point we decided to change locations to see if we could find them somewhere else.

As much as I love paddling when there is almost no wind sometimes it causes more harm than good. On this particular day it made fishing any form of protected water absolutely miserable. There was very little tide movement and with no wind blown current the fish were scattered everywhere and very difficult to find. After a couple of hours searching for fish in stagnant water we decided to head for the open bay and look for some under water structure.

After a little exploring I was able to locate a shallow water shell reef located on a point that had some decent water movement over it. On my first drift I hooked up again. This fish had some shoulders and was dragging me all over the place. In my mind this is the fish I had been looking for. When I finally get theIMG_0614 first good look at it I realize it has way too many spots. This is probably the only time in my life I was disappointed about landing a fat 23.5” trout. I made a few more drifts and finally put one more red on the deck. At a perfect 21” I strung her up thinking I might have a good shot at winning the blackjack competition.

With time running out I turned my attention from fisherman to guide. I was thinking if “Reel Life” could get one more fish he might have a shot at the money. We fished until the absolute last minute and couldn’t find another fish. So we made the decision to hit the road and try to make weigh in. If nothing else the beer would be cold and the food would be good so we packed up and headed to the Lazy Lizard.

We pulled in the parking lot with 5 miIMG_0621nutes to spare and upon arrival the weigh master said that we would both getting paid because were two of only 31 anglers to weigh in fish. After a few pictures were taken and some good food we received the final tally. I finished 27th out of 125 anglers with a total weight of 3.7 lbs and even took down the black jack pot with a perfect 21” fish. “Reel Life” came in 18th with his fish at 6.2 lbs. All in all it was a pretty good day and I am already looking forward to the August event. Next time around I won’t make the mistake of cutting loose a legal fish!

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Wind Tide Weather Baro Depth Bottom Lures
0-3 MPH Incoming w/Small Differential Sunny Steady 1-3 FT Mixed Mud & Shell Hunchback Skitterwalk

The Topwater Bite Is On Fire!

I had my choice of days this weekend to hit the water and after some consideration, and a list of honey-do’s I decided Sunday would be the day. The alarm went off at 3:00 am and “Reel Life” and I were loaded up and coast bound by 4:15. After stopping for a few breakfast burritos we were paddling by 6:00.

The morning started off with a brisk east wind and lots of chop. Paddling to my spot was rendered more difficult (and wet) than I had expected. After seeking shelter in the marsh we were greeted with tons of bait and what appeared to be active and feeding fish. They were feeding alright just not on anything we had to offer.

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Since the tide was extremely high we decided to take this opportunity to explore the marsh a little bit. There were several areas now open to paddlers that had not been previously accessible. We paddled until we hit a dead end and I picked up my first fish of the day, a 24” red, in a marsh drain with just a little bit of wind induced current. For those of you new to the fishing game, if bait and current are both non-existent it is time to look for a new spot. He was CPR’d and two cast later I hooked up with another red on the opposite side of the same drain. This one shook the bait before I could get him in the boat.

Thinking I had a picked up on a pattern I tried every location with similar conditions on my way out of the marsh, but it was to no avail. I decided on a new plan and headed to open water with my drift sock hooked up and ready to be deployed.

I set up on a good 30 min drift across mixed mud and shell in about 4 feet of water and started working the topwater. After about 5 minutes I had seen my lure take a fIMG_0594lying leap on 3 different occasions. The good news: there were fish to be caught. The bad news: they were a terrible aim. A few minutes later the successful sound of drag and my second red of the day. I ended up making two more drifts and finished the day with a limit of reds, and a 21” trout. All in all the weather ended up being great and the fishing wasn’t bad either.

Oh and just to add a word of caution. . .Stick It Pins DO NOT FLOAT. After netting my second red of the day I was trying to anchor off and stop my drift when my stake out stick slipped out of its clip and was claimed by Davy Jones’ Locker. They make a great product, but it doesn’t swim very well so leash it or lose it!

Wind Tide Weather Baro Depth Bottom Lures
1-5 MPH ≥ 1 Foot Above Normal Mostly Sunny Rising 1-4 FT Mixed Mud & Shell Hunchback Skitterwalk

Are Custom Rods Really Worth The Money?

The most common question asked by those looking to take the plunge and join the community of custom rod owners, “Is it worth it?” Most people want to know what the difference is between a custom rod and one they bought on clearance at a big box store. Well I am hereto tell you that it is most definitely worth it and hopefully by the end of this article you will understand why.

TFR Custom Rods Long

  1. Put that backbone where it belongs

Every graphite blank has what is known as a spine. The spine of a rod is where the fibers overlap the most and it is the most powerful part of the rod. When a rod is under load, i.e. when you are fighting a fish, it will naturally begin to work its way into a spine up position. If your rod has not been spined properly then it will begin to twist in your hands. This puts the pressure in a strange angle and can cause you to lose fish. Many fishing rods that are built in a commercial setting are not correctly spined. You might get lucky, but why risk it.

spinefinder

  1. Let your conscious be your guide

Guide spacing is another important aspect of custom rod building. Every blank is like a fingerprint and has its own unique points of strength and weakness. The distance between the guides is dependent upon the particular curve in each blank. Most commercial rods are built on a preset spacing for what has been determined to work best for that blanks length and weight. This will get you very close, but custom rods are put under tension and then fine-tuned so that the guides will give each angler the maximum advantage when fighting a fish.

guides

  1. Don’t make fishing a balancing act

A good rod-smith will try and determine the type of reel you will be using on your custom rod, so that he can do his best to balance your rod to that particular weight. A properly balanced rod will lessen the fatigue on your arm and wrist. Sure, this may seem like a small thing, but the average tournament bass angler casts somewhere between 500 and 750 times a day. Do you really want to spend that much time holding a rod that isn’t maximizing your endurance on the water?

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  1. Eliminate “The one that got away!” from your vocabulary

If the spine is working against you it changes the direction that pressure is applied and can assist the fish in throwing the hook. If the guides aren’t spaced appropriately then you are not getting maximum power on your hook set and depending on your species of choice this could be critical to successfully landing your fish. Also as fatigue sets in with an unbalanced rod you may decide to call it a day just before the bite picks up. When you purchase a custom rod you are making the choice to improve your hook up ratio and get one step closer to showing your buddies pictures instead of telling them stories.

hooked up

Hopefully this article has helped you realize it is totally worth biting the bullet and investing in a tool that will help you land more fish. Even though it may cost you a little more money up front, in the long run I am fully confident that you will be happy in your investment. If you’re not sure where to start looking please feel free to drop me a line and I will do everything I can to help you out. Maybe even have you hitting the water with a brand new Texas Flat Rat Custom Rod. Thanks for reading and as always tight lines, tall tales, and full stringers!

Cleaning Flounder the Right Way

When I first started fishing the salt my experience cleaning fish was very limited. I had only really prepared catfish for the table and so I had quite a bit of learning to do. The only thing I really knew going in was that I didn’t want to use an electric knife. I know, I know, I know, an electric fillet knife means less time at the cleaning station, but I rarely keep enough fish for it to be a huge chore anyway. Besides, in all of my years as an outdoorsman I have always been taught the old school way of doing things.

Well as you can imagine, cleaning trout came pretty easy. Redfish were a little bit more of a challenge with their tough scales and rib cage, but then one day I put the elusive flat fish in the boat. Being new to the game I had no idea where to even begin and so I did what every child of the up and coming technology age does. . .I “youtubed” it! I went to the first video I found, tried it, liked it and never turned back.

I always assumed I cleaned flounder like everyone else. That is until one day a gentleman approached me at the fillet table and asked what I was doing. I gave him that “here’s your sign” look and said, “cleaning fish”. He continued to watch me and then began to mimic me with his own flounder. We chatted for a while and when he had finished he proceeded to tell me that I had changed his life.

After that day I began to ask a few of the guys I fish with how they fillet flounder. Each and every one had their own tricks of the trade, but they were all pretty similar. None of them however, did it quite like I do. This being the case I thought I would share the video that I watched on that first day.

Before you view the video I should let you know that I did go ahead and purchase the specific knife that Captain Russo sells. (There will be a review coming soon on my gear page) All of his videos are pretty good and his recipes are even better. Please enjoy the video and maybe his method will change your life, well at least your flounder fillets, as well.

Exciting Opportunity

As much as I enjoy building custom rods I must admit it has become an expensive hobby. And to be completely honest after a certain point it just becomes impractical unless you are selling them. Every reel I own is affixed to a custom rod and at this point any more of them I make will just lean up in the corner and collect dust. The problem is I really enjoy making them.

Up until this point I have never really tried to market my product, but a few days ago that all changed. I reached out to tournament angler Jason Bonds and asked him if he would be interested in fishing one of my rods to work out a few kinks and help me fine tune my craft. I want to know what it takes to produce something that is durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of a tournament season yet still fit all of the technical specifications required to put quality fish in the boat. As luck would have (at least for me) Jason recently had to retire his favorite rod, and the kicker is, that particular rod is no longer in production.

Jason agreed to give me a shot and that afternoon we started putting together a profile for a “secret weapon” he can add to his arsenal. It has was a long afternoon of scouring blanks for just the right power, speed and line weight combination, but we have narrowed down our search to just a few options and are very close to getting this project started. Bonds has won his last two tournaments and is anxious to replace his beloved flippin’ stick. With a little patience and a lot of work I think we can upgrade his previous equipment and keep the streak alive.I’m not sure where this is all headed in the long run, but for now it’s an exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds.

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