Monday, October 20, 2014

Venice, LA Yellowfin Tuna

We had a great trip last week with Capt. Eric Newman out of Venice, LA. We caught a total of 13 tuna between 60-100lbs, and one sailfish. Most of the tuna were caught on live baits, and several smaller ones caught on topwaters... Great trip with a fun group of fishermen.

Here's the video:

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

SPI Snook & Tarpon

I spent the end of last week in Port Isabel. We had a wedding to go to on saturday, so we made a little trip out of it. I got 4 fishing trips in. The first afternoon, we hit the jetties and found tarpon rolling pretty regularly. We caught a few kings & spanish mackerel before the tarpon finally started eating about 45 minutes before sunset. Between the 3 of us, we went 0 for about 15. They were biting mirrolures and other treble hook baits really well, and were positioned in a very specific spot on a current rip. We just couldn't keep them hooked up... 

The next morning, I went snook fishing by myself and caught a couple of pretty nice ones on a lunker punker. The mangrove snapper were also eating the punker....

We had a rehearsal dinner that evening, so I didn't get back to the jetties until the next morning. We were seeing big ones rolling early, and the guy I was fishing with broke off a 100+ lbr on the rocks after having it on for about 4 jumps. I rigged up some circle hooks with a 6" gulp jerk shad trailer and finally made it happen... we ended up going 2 for 4 that morning:

The next morning, the front had blown in and the jetties were blown out. We went out there, but had to turn back because the waves were breaking over the rocks. We ended up going to south bay and caught reds, trout, and a little barracuda on topwaters... on the way out, we found big jack crevalle busting bait in front of the coast guard station. We caught a couple of those, then called it a day. It had been a while since I put a tarpon in the sky, so it was a good weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Back on board.

Well, it's been a while... and for a good reason. Fishing was tough for me all winter, and we have a new member of the family. Evangeline Rose Jud was born on 1/4/14.

The fishing is finally picking up! Barrett McClendon and I won the Tuesday nighter on Ray Roberts this week with a 3 fish limit for 14.69lbs, with my 7.76lb kicker.

I also caught a nice one on Lake Austin on Sunday while fishing with Lance Hale. This one was 8.02lbs:
One more good one from Raybob... This one was just under 8:
Here's a video of Barrett doing damage on a 5lbr on Ray Roberts:

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.