MATAGORDA LOCKS by
staging glounder during the Fall migration...
Ronny Stilwell works his fishing rod for flounder with finesse, like
Minnesota Fats used to work a pool cue. Stilwell is sensitive to even the
slightest vibration generated by his two five-inch soft plastic lures. He
is king of the Matagorda Lock fishermen. Not that there is a formal organization,
but Stilwell gets to the south side of the East Matagorda Lock well before
sunrise, and well before anyone else; he fishes nearly every day, and he
consistently catches flounder. The Matagorda Locks are located at the confluence
of the Colorado River and the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) in the town of
Every fall, flounder follow the ebbing tides to guide them
on their journey offshore. When they reach their destination, the larger
females release their eggs and the smaller males fertilize the eggs. Having
fulfilled their instinctive duties the mature flounder follow the flooding
tides back into the bays in the spring, usually February through April.
Their tiny offspring enter the estuaries in late winter or early spring,
where they feed and grow...
ESCAMBIA REDS by David Brown
Trrade some spare time for Escambia Bay
Days are growing shorter and nights are getting cooler, but inshore anglers
are finding "red" hot action throughout the Escambia Bay region.
Indeed, the ever-gluttonous redfish cranks up its feeding priority in preparation
for winter's approaching leanness.
The Bay hosts the heavyweight reds earlier in the year, but by the time
autumn reaches the Florida Panhandle, these bulls will have made their offshore
spawning migration. Redfish remaining in the bay will be at or below the
maximum slot length of 27 inches. These fish will perk up during early fall,
taking seasonal cues from their environment.
According to local guide, Capt. Wes Rozier, 65-70 degrees is the ideal
range for bay fishing. Below 65 will chill the scene to lethargic levels,
so the rate at which fall advances determines the length and intensity of
the year-end redfish bonanza.
"The redfish will stay right in their summer pattern as long as
the food remains available and until that water temperature plummets,"
he said. "When that water drops below 65 degrees, that's their first
cue to start falling off into the deep holes because they know that winter
is on its way.
y lead to the largest shipping center in the state, and they contain quite
a few more buoys. This means more structure for fish to hide in and feed
by Capt. Robert Sloan
Now is the time for that once
in a lifetime catch.
What was quiet is now chaos. A 7-foot long silver hulk of TNT explodes
from the water, cart 'wheeling head over tail 10 feet from my face. No doubt
about this one definitely one heck of a tarpon in the 180 to 200 pound
It's my lucky day. Or is it?
This silver king is huge. On stand up tackle it's a battle between fish
and angler. If the fisherman is lucky, the tarpon's spirit is broken quickly.
If you're not, you'll soon understand why the angling fraternity worldwide
calls this, "The King."
In its element, a smart tarpon rules. The deck is stacked in the fish's
favor. In a long battle the angler will have to fight through a fog of fatigue,
and in the end feel like you've been dragged down 10 miles of bad road.
With this particular tarpon I was fishing out of Venice La., the home
of world class silver king angling adventures. And yes, even after the oil
disaster last year, the tarpon are back in big time numbers. In fact, while
running a boat there during the oil cleanup it wasn't unusual for us to
see schools of tarpon on the surface no more than a few miles off the mouth
of the Mississippi River...
Gulf Coast Closeup - by Capt. Danno Wise
BOCA CHICA - Down on the Rio Grande
The Rio Grande River has been a fabled part of South Texas as long as
people have inhabited the area. Alternately called the Rio Bravo, it is
the fourth longest river in the United States and meanders its way some
1,900 miles through Texas and New Mexico before reaching the Gulf of Mexico
just east of Brownsville, Texas. Between this confluence of river and Gulf
waters and the Brazos Santiago Pass some dozen miles north lies Texas' southernmost
stretch of sand - Boca Chica Beach. This remote beach is one of the best
places in the United States to pursue surf-run redfish, speckled trout,
snook, tarpon and more. Quite often, anglers are able to pursue these fish
without seeing so much as another angler.
Though the Rio Grande has been in the collective consciousness of the
American public through fables, fact and folklore, its reputation as an
angling destination is much shorter-lived. The potential of the Rio Bravo
was first outlined to America's angling public by Brownsville outdoor writer
Hart Stillwell through the pages of Field & Stream. In 1952, while describing
a day of fishing on the Rio Grande, Stillwell wrote that "hundreds
of tarpon were constantly lunging and flashing and blasting the surface."
Paddling Out - The Art
of Artist Boat...
- This issue in OUR DEPARTMENTS...
- Paddling Out - The
Art of Artist Boat - by Jeff Herman
- Rod & Reel'n Offshore - The Uncommon Slipweight -
by Patrick Lemire
- Equipment Notebook
Tackle Tips- by David Ayers
- The Bay Naturalist
- The Crustacean Color Wheel - by
- The Fly Guy -
The Short Rod Advantage - by
Pete Cooper, Jr.
- Tackle Time
- Wading Belts - Essential Gear - by Colby Sorrells
- The Bait Hook -
Going the Distance - by
- From the Publisher...
- Besides all these great articles and departments, Gulf Coast Fisherman
is the only source for the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast.
Each issue carries three months of the Wells Daily
Fishing Forecast - with Monthly Fishing Calendars. Also, don't forget
about the Advance Planning Calendars in each issue that takes you out three
months past the current issue. This will provide what you need to intelligently
plan your fishing trips - hours, weeks, and up to six months in advance!
- Top saltwater guides and fishermen use the Wells Daily Fishing Forecast - shouldn't you be using it ,too?...
- "The fisherman that knows what the currents
are doing has the advantage - over fish and fishermen!"
- And remember - "Fish feed everyday, somewhere
" - Harold Wells
- Gary Ralston
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