Legendary fishing trip that was

By TODD NAFE Outdoors

Sometimes, people regret things they’ve done, and other times, we regret things we didn’t do. On the second point, I had one of those times last week when my schedule didn’t allow me to take a fishing trip with guide Michael Houston and catfishing legend Danny King to Richland-Chambers.

Conditions were just right for loading up on catfish, and the day played out like a movie script. “We put in at Oak Cove Marina, and Michael has a very nice boat,” said King. “It’s all set up with modern depth finders and things that I couldn’t even read until he showed me what I was looking at. He knew the lake very well even in low water conditions, and knew how to avoid the big stumps that’ ll tear your boat up.”

The morning was foggy and calm, and Houston set up shop in some timber, and the duo immediately started getting bites. “We were fishing under the trees full of water birds, and started catching box fish as fast as we could throw the bait back in,” King said. “After the fast action, we started looking for big blue cats, and Mike put us on them, too. I missed one big fish that laid my pole plum over in the water.”

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The two seasoned angles typically take different paths to catching catfish, but on that day, they compromised a little and met each other halfway. “I only use natural baits like shad, cut carp and drum, and other fish,” said Houston. “But Danny talked me into putting some of his Suki Gizzard bait on a hook – a circle hook at that – and it caught as many if not more fish than the shad.”

King was impressed with the Whisker Seeker gear that Houston uses, but brought along some of his own brand of rods, too, and his praise continued for the guide himself. “Mike provides a top-rate service,” he said. “He provides the boat, furnishes all the bait and tackle, and he cleans and bags the fish when the trip is over. All a person has to do is show up, pay, and catch fish.”

Houston was just as impressed with King’s knowhow and experiences, and said the awesome stories would’ve made for a great trip even if they hadn’t been fishing.

Catching good numbers of quality fish on a consistent basis isn’t about luck. It’s about hard work, paying attention to conditions and patterns, and putting in the time on the water to know where to go and how to fish. Hiring a guide would be a great gift to consider for the angler on your shopping list.

Fishing on fire

Pro striper guide Clay Yadon (Reel Deal Striper Guide Service) reports that fishing at Lake Whitney is on fire. “It’s fantastic,” he said. “We’re catching limits every day, but we have to be versatile in how we’re catching them. On the same day, we’re finding them in six inches of water, then later on in thirty feet.”

He says the lake enjoyed a strong shad spawn, and with plenty of shad spread throughout the lake, the fish chasing them down for meals are harder to pinpoint than usual. “The fish are moving really fast,” Yadon said, and they’re not setting up on structure like they normally do this time of year when you can sit over a hump and catch a bunch. You can still find them on places like that, but you have to wait them out, and I tend to go looking for a home run and catch a limit. It’s like an old man once told me, ‘They are where you find them.'”

He says for best results, look for signs of fish activity like birds hovering, or maybe seeing just one fish crashing the surface – because those signs mean there’s likely a big school of fish below. Another piece of advice is to avoid running up on schools with the big motor, which will almost always scatter the fish and end the feeding.

Haley’s hog

White-tailed deer season opened on Saturday, and hunters found plenty of bucks and does in their sights. Deer are in mating season, known as the rut, and with single-minded focus on making babies, they’re less wary than during most of the year.

This benefits hunters, but it can also be hazardous to drivers, as rutting deer will often run onto roadways and in the direct path of fast-moving vehicles. Wild hogs are also plentiful in Central Texas, and my daughter Haley recently saw one run across a two lane highway and took up nearly half of the space.

Happy hunting and safe driving to everybody out there in the fields and on the rural roads.