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Saturday, October 29. 2011
Late October, back when I was without a deer lease, it was an Indian summer day, a four tide day with light wind to boot, unusual for a weekend, especially Saturday, because generally, itâ€™ll blow hardest then! Having passed on an offshore trip with Dewey and Bob, the college football games were not very interesting, so I decided that Iâ€™d drive down to Bayou Vista, launch my 13 foot Whaler and see if there were any birds working in the bay.
Calling Mack Mitchell, he said heâ€™d love to give it a shot, so I drove by and picked him up. On the way down I told him weâ€™d be using artificial only on this trip, mostly jigs, but I wanted to try out a fresh water bait, a plastic worm. For the past couple of weeks, Iâ€™d been kicking the idea around and had decided to attach a 6 inch worm to a Â¼ ounce jig head, this would not be too much weight, anyway Iâ€™d be using light casting gear with a 7 foot rod, so with the wind, I could cast it a â€œmileâ€. Mack opted for a bigger jig head to go along with his traditional trout outfit.
This was back before I had a boat stall behind my house so we went and launched at Deweyâ€™s on Tiki Island and everyone believed that just by happenstance, this was the best launch ramp on the Texas coast! We launched the boat and without further ado, parked the car and sped off to the 6, foot water around the wrecked shrimp boat. This was a trout haven, all the way to Greenâ€™s Cut and the best starting place to look for fish.
Motoring slowly down the old Intercoastal Waterway we spied birds circling and diving on what probably was speckled trout feeding on shrimp. The specs drive the shrimp to the surface, the birds spy the tell tale dimples on the water made by the shrimp evading the fish and the birds then dive on and secure the hapless shrimp, classic food chain stuff! We both cast into the melee, me with my 6, inch plastic worm and Mack with his Tout Tail, connecting with 2 solid strikes, looks like my freshwater rig works OK. It didnâ€™t work OK because my fish threw the hook, so I reeled in and netted his fish, a solid 2 pounder. This late in the year the specs have all summer to gorge and grow so this wasnâ€™t a 10 or 12 incher of the summer, but a full grown fish.
Because of the commotion we made the birds had left, but I assured Mack the fish would still be there and casting back out, we both were rewarded with 2 solid strikes. Netting both fish, more 2 pounders, we cast back out and nothing. Staying in this area for 10 more minutes, the fish had left, so we resumed our motoring down the bay.
Another bird school, 4 more specs fell to our offerings and we motored on, looks like my freshwater rig works OK on specs. We found one more bird school and picked up a single trout and then, once the tide changed, the fish stopped feeding, hence, no bird activity, so we headed back to Deweyâ€™s.
The offshore trip had ended, the fishermen were sitting out in Deweyâ€™s back yard, Bob, Dewey and their wives and another couple unknown to me. Adult beverages were offered to Mack and I, we declined and set to cleaning our specs, no offer of help was made so we finished and iced down the filets and bid adieu to the partiers.
Mack, an Elder in his church, chuckled that it looked like they were having fun, but I told him, â€œWe had fun too, much better fun and we even caught some fish!â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Wednesday, October 26. 2011
Whatâ€™s â€œMeep, Meep?â€ Thatâ€™s the sound the roadrunner made when being chased by the coyote in the old â€œLooney Tunesâ€ cartoons. When I was a kid, all of my pals and I would eagerly wait for the latest â€œLooney Tunesâ€ cartoons and hope it was a new one featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner, they were our favorites! Around my ranch in central Texas, there are lots of roadrunners, but these donâ€™t make the â€˜Meep, Meepâ€ sound, but a sound much like the cooing of a dove. The â€œMeepâ€ sound in the cartoons, according to Wickipedia, was recorded by a man named Paul Julian.
However, Monday afternoon while I was going outside the rock house to continue my chores, I looked up, and of all things, a roadrunner was standing in the driveway. Running back into the house to get my camera, the bird had moved a little, it happened to be looking the other way and I got this â€œshotâ€.
Roadrunners are ground cuckoos, geococcyx californianus and eat lizards, mice, scorpions and snakes. In fact, roadrunners are so fast they can catch, kill and eat rattle snakes!
Mondayâ€™s roadrunner continued hunting around my front yard catching 2 grasshoppers and by standing real still, moving only my arms and the camera, I got these 2 â€œshots, one on the rock wall in front of the old house and the other in the front yard.
After posing for these â€œshotsâ€ the roadrunner ran out into the field and continued hunting, but it never said, â€œMeep, Meep.â€
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 08:05 | Comments (4) | Trackbacks (0)
Monday, October 24. 2011
Dove hunting season had started on September 1st, duck season would kick off late next month and with nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon, Bobby Baldwin and I were headed down to Galveston for some fishing. As high schoolers, our spare time, when not involved with girls, athletics, hunting or studying (ugh) was spent fishing and most of the time this was around the Galvestonâ€™s South Jetty, either walking the slippery rocks or wading along the Gulf or channel side.
Today we were wading along the channel side of the South Jetty, casting into a small gut at the base of the rocks. Bobby had a backlash and as he was removing it, his Dixie Jet spoon with a yellow buck tail attached, floated down to the sandy bottom. One of my old Dixie Jets with a yellow buck tail is pictured.
Removing the snarl Bobby began retrieving the excess line and when his line came tight, he grumbled, â€œI must be snagged on the rocks,â€ just as his line headed east for deep water, he was into a nice fish, what kind, we didnâ€™t know.
After a short, spirited fight a big flounder, 2 or 3 pounds, was on the surface. Of course we didnâ€™t have a landing net. That would have been too easy! So Bobby tried to grab the flounder across its back like a spec. It was more like pinching the fish since a flounder doesnâ€™t have the width or â€œgrabbingâ€ surface that a trout has. When grabbed, the fish flopped away, the hook came loose and the flounder headed for the bottom.
Sensing something, we cast our spoons toward the rocks, let them settle to the bottom, slowly retrieved them and for the next hour had some terrific fishing, not catching, but fishing! Like my dad always said â€œIf you caught fish every time you went out, it would be called catchinâ€™ not fishinâ€™!â€ Without a net trying to grab one was next to impossible. We tried hugging them to our chest and they just squirted up, away from us, trying to use both hands proved fruitless and no matter how hard we tried, they proved to be ungrabable too. Anyway we had fun hooking them and trying to â€œcaptureâ€ one. We probably hooked 25 or 30 and landed zero!
The tide changed and the fish quit hitting and as we were wading out a man fishing from the rocks yelled to us, â€œBoys, that was a great show, and it was free!â€ Being well brought up and taught to respect our elders, we said nothing and dejectedly walked back to our car.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Fishing at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Saturday, October 22. 2011
Getting to know the feeding habits of the many deer using my 2 feeders is one of the benefits of game cameras, one remains at the feeder by Ma Mawâ€™s Blind, the other is on a game trail near a tripod stand. One buck, a nice 8 pointer, but with scrawny brow tines, keeps showing up around Ma Mawâ€™s feeder, showing up with several other bucks and any day now, the fights will start!
Just before sun up on the 15th, the young, scraggly 8 pointer and our pot bellied buck are staring down a coon.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 08:05 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 20. 2011
Hoping for rain, Saturday, October 1st, I planted 2 food plots, one by the Porta Potty blind and the other by a tree stand. This was not just â€œanotherâ€ tree stand, but one that, in the past, has produced some nice bucks, see my post â€œRattled Inâ€ on November 10, 2007.
It looks like Iâ€™ll have to replant the one food plot.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 07:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, October 18. 2011
The last week of October 2004 was comfortable not hot, nor sweaty warm, as my grandson Colton, 11 years old, and I climbed into our famous Scaffold Blind, called by some an elevated contraption. Itâ€™s ideal for young hunters since it has plenty of room for 2 people and 2 real comfortable chairs. Thereâ€™s only one drawback, it has no roof, but as I tell everyone, â€œDonâ€™t worry, if itâ€™s not raining, you wonâ€™t get wet.â€
Texas hunting law enables hunters to feed or bait deer and there was a feeder 95 yards west of the Scaffold Blind, tucked into a clearing along several deer trails. Texas law also requires that youth hunters take a hunter safety course. In many other states hunters are required also to take an online hunter education course.
That afternoon we watched doe and yearlings feed on the corn that was on the ground, and to our surprise, a gray fox trotted not 20 feet in front of the blind. We both wondered what in the world this fox was doing out this early in the day?
We knew the doe would hang around and Colton could take one for camp meat, but he was holding out for a nice buck. Watching and dozing as Colton whispered, â€œPoppy, I see a real nice deer!â€ â€œWhere, sonâ€ I replied? Keeping his hand under the blindâ€™s window he pointed toward a nearby mesquite tree and sure enough, tucked into the tree was a very nice buck, but I was afraid there was too many branches for a clear shot, then Colton said, â€œPoppy, I can hit him in the neck right below his chin.â€ I replied, â€œIf youâ€™re sure, take him!â€
Pow, Coltonâ€™s .257 Roberts barked, and the deer crumpled in his tracks! Colton had hit him dead center! A fine shot! â€œPoppy, I got him,â€ he said as he jumped up to admire his feat, but I told him, â€œBoy, letâ€™s give the buck 10 or 15 minutes and make sure heâ€™s done, no sense rushing it.â€ In Coltonâ€™s case, the objective of the youth hunt was fulfilled. The boy shot a nice buck, received proper training from an adult and, 7 years later, is a successful, careful hunter.
Colton admires his nice buck and is a very happy, youth hunter!
Today, even though heâ€™s now a senior in high school, weighs 200 pounds, has played in 2 State Championship football games winning one, was chosen All-State in 2009 and 2010 and is really into saltwater fishing, he still remembers this hunt.
That afternoon a new ranch rule was also set up, the next buck he takes must be bigger than this one!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Sunday, October 16. 2011
Posted by Jon Bryan in Pictures at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, October 13. 2011
Opening morning of quail season, I was driving up to Goldthwaite to pick up my son-in-law, Mike Mitchell, for an afternoon hunt out to my lease in Millersview. This yearâ€™s quail season opened up a week before deer season and with no deer hunters around, weâ€™d have the place to ourselves,
Driving west to my lease, our guess was correct, but the quail werenâ€™t responding. Weâ€™d already tried a couple of likely places, but our dogs, Sonny and Red, my Brittany Spaniels, hadnâ€™t found any quail sign, where were the birds? An hour and a half before sundown, we were worrying that the opener this year would be a bust, but 30 yards ahead, as we bounced along in the jeep, there was a bevy of bobs running down the road.
Quickly stopping the jeep, we both piled out, unsheathed our shotguns, fumbled with the latches on the dog boxes and, the dogs, being as excited as us, bounced out, quickly took care of their business, then took off down the road after the birds. Pushed by the dogs, the covey took wing and me, feeling like Capt. Angora of goat rodeo fame, told Mike that weâ€™d do better if we slowed down and let the dogs do their work.
A hundred yards out, Sonny, a real pro of a bird dog, pointed first, Red, his son, backed as Mike and I hurried up to them, then 3 birds burst from the cover and boom, boom, boom, down they dropped. The dogs, being more interested in going after the rest of the covey, were reluctant to fetch the birds in, but after repeated, â€œDead birdsâ€, they complied.
The quail, probably 20 or more, now minus the 3 we just shot, had spread out over a wide area and we let the dogs find them. Up ahead, Red pointed and Mike and I walked in on them, a single got up on my side and, boom, chalk up another. Red didnâ€™t go after the dead bird, but was glued to the spot right off his nose, Mike walked in making a swishing sound and a bob flushed, Mikeâ€™s gun boomed, Red brought it in and chalk up another one. Telling him that 5 was enough out of this covey, I whistled in both dogs, we walked back to the jeep and kenneled everybody up.
This was a good start, but we were running out of time, but the next hour scenting conditions would be good and this was prime time for the birds to be moving around. More bouncing along when we came up to a cross road, with some thick cover off to one side, the other side being an old cattle feed lot, then a covey, a big one, thirty birds or more, ran across the road toward the thick stuff, maybe we could head them off!
We unkenneled, unlimbered our shotguns, let the dogs out and hurried to our head off point, where we were in time and as far as we could tell had succeeded in cutting off the birds. This was a big covey and from what we could tell, we knew they hadnâ€™t been busted up, both dogs pointed, this looked like, as Saddam Hussein once said, â€œThe Mother of all coveys!â€
Mike and I walked in on the birds, then pandemonium as the quail flushed wildly, most heading west into the setting sun. Six times our guns boomed, four birds fell, the dogs fetched them to us and to let the birds bunch up again, we sat for 10 minutes, precious hunting time, but we sat! As we got up to press on after the rest of the covey, a late riser, a hen, buzzed off, but we let her fly to safety.
As the light faded, we kicked up the remnants of the big covey, downing 5 more, then we called it a day. It turned out to be a nice afternoon hunt, even though I hadnâ€™t been in the field welcoming in the new quail season.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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