Sunday, December 8, 2013

Big Mama Slaunchbelly

Last wednesday, I hit Lake Austin with John Ward and Trey Epich in the TTZ Skeeter FX20. Trey caught an 11-7, I caught an 8-10, and our top five for the night went about 35lbs.

Here's the pics:
Here's the video of Trey's new personal best:
And the audio transcript (thanks to John Ward):

Trey: We don't have a scale do we?
John: No we can call Craig.
Trey: Ohhh Slaunchbelly
(Trey lifts bass over into net, John starts to swing net on to boat)
Kyle: Nice Buddy
Trey: I don't know if that's a 10
John: It's pretty damn close
Trey: (in unison) pretty damn close
Trey: That's a 10...definately
John: That's a 10, 10 plus
Kyle: Let's see, oh god yeah, that's 10 easy buddy
John: That thing is huge
(Trey lifts bass from net)
Kyle: uhh yeah
Trey: That's like an 11
John: Freakin big, mumbles
Kyle: That's a freaking beast
John: let me turn the live well on
Kyle: That would be a beast
Trey: Ohh my goodness......Hide your kids, hide your wife, big momma slaunchbelly is going to eat your children.
group laughter

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another Wednesday Win... plus a Double Digit

Craig Cordoba and I had a really fun night of fishing on Wednesday!! The weather was cool and overcast, perfect for fishing topwaters over the shallow grass. Instead of that, we started the tournament on a deep spot and said we would commit to it for 10 minutes and see if we could get a big bite before going shallow. After about five minutes, I caught our first little keeper of the night. That was enough to make us stick around and fish it a little longer. After about 15 minutes, I called last cast and started a very slow retrieve with a Zoom brush hog. I felt the slightest little tap on the line, and set the hook as hard as I could. I could feel that the fish was heavy, and when it came up for a jump, we realized it was huge. It went for deep water, and I loosened up the drag on the 15lb test line to take the fight slowly. She finally came boatside and Craig got the net under her. The second fish of the night weighed in at 11.30lbs. She was 26.5" long, with an 18.5" girth. My second double digit fish this year from Lake Austin, and my fourth DD overall. 

We knew we were in a good spot to go for the win, and we stuck around the same spot and filled our limit with three more keepers over the next hour. From there, we decided to stay deep, and hit a few brushpiles. The brushpile bite was pretty slow, so we decided to head back to our start spot. There was a boat sitting on it, so we continued uplake and fished some docks until we saw that same boat cruise by us. At that point, we knew our start spot was open, so we set up on it again with about 40 minutes to go. We fished deep for a while and I decided to try a toss up shallow. The line felt a little mushy, so I set the hook on what I thought was a little fish. I was reeling it in, when it suddenly turned and started ripping drag toward the engine. I looked down at the trolling motor pedal to turn the boat, and the fished jumped. Craig said it was another big one, so I loosened the drag to take it easy on it. After a tough fight, we finally got it in the boat. Our second biggest fish was an 8.5lbr!! 

We culled two more times after that to finish out our 25.36lb limit. It was enough to win the tournament by over 10lbs and collect our first place and big bass $$$!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday Night Win

Ander Meine and I took down the TTZ Wednesday nighter last week on Lake Austin. We found a group of fish on Tuesday, and our game plan came together nicely. We caught a quick limit on wake baits and spooks, and then went to deep brush piles after dark. We culled twice on the brush using big worms and ended up with 17.13lbs to take the win!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Massacre at Mansfield & Epich snook fishing

After watching the weather closely last week, Trey Epich and I decided to head south for some blue water action. We got to Harlingen late on friday and geared up Keith's Panga with freedive spearfishing on our minds. After a few hours sleep, we headed out early toward Port Mansfield, along with Keith's spearfishing partner in crime, Cesar. We were greeted at the port with very light winds and a flat calm bay.

The first stop was about 15 miles out at an anchored shrimp boat. We had a 30 pack of High Life that we traded for a 5 gal bucket of fresh chum and a big bag of headed shrimp. We fished for a bit behind the shrimper and Trey broke off something big and toothy on a 1oz rattletrap. Not much else was happening, so we headed on toward the tower rig. At about 20 miles out, I looked up and spotted this tree that was drifting. 

I'm not sure what kind of tree it was, but it was big. Keith, Cesar and I got geared up to spearfish, and Trey manned the boat. We got in and were immediately surrounded by hundreds of dorado. They were circling the tree along with huge balls of bait and several small sharks. There were fish everywhere. There were two tripletail hanging out in the middle of the tree, so I took the first shot on the bigger one. After that, it was kind of pandemonium. I was swimming towards the boat to box my tripletail, and I saw Cesar with a nice sized dorado that had been mauled by sharks after he shot it. Keith got the other tripletail, and we tied the boat to the tree. The whole time, Trey was catching dorado every cast on a rattle trap and jigging spoon. By the time I got to the boat Trey was covered in mahi blood splatter. I got back in and spotted a nice ling just as Cesar was diving on it. Here's that one:

Trey eventually got tired of catching dorado every cast, and drifted a ribbonfish in the current. He was picking out a little backlash when I saw a shark eat the ribbonfish. I yelled to him that he had a shark, and he got the backlash out just in time to set the hook and catch the shark...

We hung around the tree until it was only dorado still on it, and then left it to go to the rigs and try to get some amberjack. We headed towards the tower rig and after trying one more shrimp boat with no luck, we tied off to the rig. For the next several hours, it was pretty much a free for all. Trey was putting his heaviest bass tackle to the test and learned that a Dobyns swimbait rod and a Curado 300 w/ 65lb braid is pretty much childs play for a big amberjack.

We were dropping chum and had a flasher dangling below the boat, when Keith came up with the first of three African pompano. Cesar shot another ling there, and they both dove deep and got two big AJ's:

The next goal was an AJ for me, so I was hanging by the flasher and waiting for one to come within range. They were coming up every now and then, but weren't coming close enough for me to get down to them. After a while, we swam to the rig leg and Cesar shot a big mangrove snapper. As he was bringing it up, three amberjack came up with it, and were circling it. Cesar brought it up to about 20 feet, and I dove down and missed my first shot. After reloading, I did the exact same thing again. I would get down to them and then take a desperation shot as they were swimming off. Keith swam out to us and brought his big gun and Cesar told me to just relax and get down to them to make a good shot. We waited for a bit for them to get close to the snapper again, and a 6-7' shark came in and started eyeballing the snapper. It only hung around for a minute or so, and the AJ's were getting interested in the snapper again. I dove down and went deeper than I've ever gone (about 30') and finally got a good shot on the amberjack. From there, it was pretty much a fight for my life. We didn't have the gun on a float line, it was just the reel on the gun. So the fish was ripping drag on the reel and I was fighting to keep my snorkel above water. After about 20 minutes and being dragged under several times, I finally got it under control...

From there, we did some drifting with ribbonfish and trolling around the rig. We weren't having much luck with rod & reel, as we broke off several fish. Trey had a huge king mackerel that got bit in half by a giant barracuda.

We headed to the 956 rig to see if we could get some snapper. At this point, Trey decided to get in and check out the underwater scene. He was greeted right away with a huge barracuda and several big tarpon...

There were giant schools of tarpon under both rigs, and you could pretty much swim right up to them. Pretty amazing. At the second rig, we got another ling, and a huge mangrove snapper that Keith shot with a polespear. There is no world record submitted for mangrove snapper on a polespear, so Keith shot the world record. We were going to have it certified and submitted, but Keith got lazy the next day and gave it away to a family walking home from the grocery store.

So that was it for the offshore trip. We made it back to Port Isabel at about midnight and got geared up to go snook fishing. After just a few hours of sleep, Trey and I loaded up the 12' skiff and hit the ship channel. At the first stop, we found fish busting bait just before daylight. I got a big blowup, then on the next cast, Trey hooked into his first snook. His first snook happened to be a 33 incher. Boom.

After that, I caught a little snook and then we started fishing dock pilings. I jumped off a little tarpon, and Trey caught one more snook before we called it a morning at about 9am. We got back to Keiths to clean the boats and hit the road back north with a healthy haul of fish and shrimp. I promised Trey a meat haul, and that's pretty much how it went down. Fun weekend!!! 

Oh, here's the meat haul shots... We could have gotten alot more snapper, but the ice chests were completely full, even with the two big amberjack in the hull of the boat covered in a tarp.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Keith with a big wahoo

Keith got his first speared wahoo on July 4th out of Port Mansfield. This one was 50lbs+ and came up in a chum line. Can't wait to get back down there!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Big bait chunking with Alan Bell

I got lazy on the blog in May, so I have some catching up to do... I got the opportunity to jump on board with Alan Bell last night at the low water crossing on Lake Austin. I was out there monday evening, and saw a giant bass come up and try to eat a dead bass that had gotten sucked through the dam. I told Alan about it,         and he decided to check out the scene. Alan is pretty legendary on Lake Austin for being a big bait/big fish specialist. This spring, he had a 5 fish bag for 46lbs in one morning. I was amused when he made this video and posted it up this morning. (I have gained the nickname of Puma with the locals, because my beard supposedly makes me look like Lance Berkman)

It's not everyday that I get to jump on a boat and throw $250 swimbaits toward a concrete bridge. No giants today, but any opportunity to fish with Alan is a great learning experience.

Friday, April 19, 2013

April Tourney Report

I had a run of good luck this past week, and got in the money twice... The last regular season TTZ tournament was on Travis. Trey and I caught alot of fish, and found one good 6.68lbr in Cypress creek that bumped us up. We finished in 10th out of 118 teams for $500. We ended the year in 19th overall in AOY points.

On Wednesday, Bryan and I fished Lake Austin and got 3rd with only four fish. We caught bed fish early, then had a tough time filling out our limit, so we were surprised and happy to get in the money!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rachel's Sight Fishing Bass

I took Rachel out on Saturday with the intention doing some sight fishing. She caught one small keeper male right off the bat near Quinlan, then we worked our way south looking for a bigger one. We rolled up on this one locked on a bed with a male in about 3ft. Rachel worked her for about 30 minutes, despite the wakeboard traffic, and finally bumped her in the head enough times with a pink Buggs rabbit fur jig to get her interested. Didn't have my scale on me, but I figure this one was at least 6+lbs, maybe 7+...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bass Karma on LA

Yesterday was a wild afternoon on Lake Austin. I started off trying to sight fish on the only little slick spot I could find. It was windy and overcast, but I managed to catch a couple of small males on beds. As I was looking for bed fish, I heard a splash toward the middle of the lake, and found these two keeper fish locked up and floating on the surface!

Here's the video of what happened next:

From there, I decided to give up on the sight fishing for a while and get to fishing in the wind. I set up on the same stretch of water that Trey caught his 9lbr on last week, and started throwing the bone Strike Pro Baby Buster. I caught one about 4lbs on it and had a couple of big followers, so I just stuck with it, trying to find the right cadence to make them bite. I was running the bait about 3-4" under the surface when it got blown up in a huge swirl and splash. I set the hook and the fish started jumping. I could tell immediately that it was huge, and I about had a heart attack as it jumped about 4 times completely out of the water. I was pleading with it and sweet talking it and praying as it slowly came up and I was able to get the net under it. My first thought was Sharelunker (13+lbs). It was certainly long enough to be a teener, and it had the head for it, but I wasn't sure if it had enough gut. I weighed it on a fellow angler's Berkley scale and it said 11lbs 15oz. I went back to the ramp and got my new scale out of the truck and it showed 11.75lbs, so that's what I'm calling it. She was 27.5" long and 19" girth. This was the biggest bass I've ever caught blind casting, and my 2nd biggest overall. I guess I got a little lucky karma for saving the two floaters! Here she is:

TTZ Lake Austin

I fished the TTZ tournament with Trey Epich on March 16th. We had a bit of a slow day, and only had 3 keepers in the box by 3:00. We had weigh-in at 3:30. At about 3:10, I caught 2 keepers back to back to fill out our limit, then on the last cast of the day, Trey caught this 9.21 on his favorite bait, the dirty sanchez Kinky Beaver (yes, that's really the name). We finished 19th out of 128 teams, and we were the bubble boys. They paid 18 places. I was just happy to come in with a respectable limit, and bump up in the AOY standings a bit. Next TTZ tournament is on Travis...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lake Austin Early Spring

I fished the Big Sandy Creek club tournament today on Lake Austin. It was a tough bite for everyone, but I managed to catch a limit for about 10.6 lbs...

Here's some shots of some of the fish I have picked up on LA so far this spring:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lake Travis Report

Here's a nice 4lb+ bass that Matt Johnson caught while fishing with me on Travis. We were pre-fishing for the TTZ tournament, and it bit a PB&J Santone Texas Finesse jig.
The TTZ tournament was alot of fun, but the big fish didn't show for us. We had a small limit of fish and finished around the middle of the pack of the 127 boat field. Here's a shot of the scene at takeoff:
The next couple tournaments are on LBJ. We have a club event on the 9th, and then TTZ again the weekend after that. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Goth bass

Here's an interesting bass I caught today on a chilly lake Travis. It was looking quite goth with it's black lipstick!

Airboat trip

These are some pics we took while on an airboat ride with Ryan Falls in Arroyo City, and a nice sheephead that Jeremiah caught off the dock at the river house.