By John Jefferson, Correspondent
The late Gene Hill was one of the most respected hunting writers of all time. He wrote a monthly column for Sports Afield and ultimately became executive editor. In one of his first columns, he introduced himself since readers should know something about a guy who claims to be an outdoor writer. I was blessed to have known him briefly and hope some of his talent rubbed off.
He denied knowing everything about the outdoors, guns, gear or places. That much did stick. I learned early that knowing more than all my readers was impossible. More important is to know the guys and girls that do. Fortunately, I know a lot of them.
Hill immodestly told what he did know (my comparisons in parenthesis): dogs (check); hitting anything with a shotgun (occasionally); spending more money on hunting, fishing, guns, gear, tackle, and wandering outdoors than he should (definitely!); and talking about it around a campfire with a wet dog beside you (of course). He said he and his readers shared the yen to be “out there”, and that was what counts. He alluded to an old quote about what’s more important than shooting a deer or killing a fish – it’s being there and “seeing the elephant and hearing the owl.”
This column will have some of both – taking game and fish and savoring the experience. So here goes.
Summer isn’t the best time for freshwater fishing, but it’s OK to fish whether they’re biting or not. The more you fish, the better you become at knowing when, how and where to fish. Allen Christenson guides Lake Travis and has caught or guided clients to 18 largemouths over five pounds within the past few weeks. Two were over eight. He fishes early before it gets too hot, and in water 25-feet deep.
Two of the hottest selling new bass lures are the “Whopper Flopper” and the “Teckel Sprinker Frog”, both topwater baits. Both have splashing tails like buzz baits. They’re pricey, but who’s counting if they catch fish.
Now’s the time, though, for saltwater fishing. Plentiful redfish and trout are being hammered in the bays. They’ll take shrimp, croakers or mullet, and hit many artificial lures.
And if you like to fish for big game, that’s about to start. The “bull red run” is usually a September-October ritual. Reds live in the bays their first three or four years, and then migrate into the Gulf. By then, they’ve grown up – many weighing over 30 pounds. The Texas record is 59.5 pounds! Passes from the bays into the Gulf are hotspots, and many bulls are caught off jetties and in the surf.
Parks and Wildlife biologist Justin Efflinger, recommends the north jetties in Port Aransas. It’s a short boat ride from Woody’s in Port A.
Rockport guide, Jim Friebele, cautions that since most bull reds are over the state maximum length limit of 28 inches, you’ll need to use the trophy tag off your license, if you land one.