Because the catching had improved to a most acceptable level over the past couple of weeks, my only question was how we could fish all day virtually every day without missing any bowl games.That minor problem was taken care of by Mother Nature. Every parent wants to spend as much time as possible with their youngsters while they are out for the holidays and scheduling issues can become a bit hectic for returning college students.There is only so much time before they are packing up again! I really don’t know how it works with the young ladies, but my wife and daughter seem to have something entertaining planned every day for my granddaughter.Stalking a good buy in the mall does not rate very high on my list, but the weather certainly doesn’t seem to hinder those plans. On the other hand, it can negatively affect well planned fishing and hunting trips.When the bite started drastically improving the first week of December, we started penciling in fishing trips between duck hunting, disc golf, bowl games and family gatherings. It was all working out perfectly prior to Mother Nature deciding that we should have a winter this year. While it could still be termed just miserably cold, we continued to get in our days as scheduled and caught a lot of nice redfish and trout. I knew, however, when the wind was blowing 20 mph out of the northwest and it was already 33 degrees at 6 p.m., that we should probably be proactive and postpone the trip set for the following day. The decision was a good one as our dog wouldn’t even go outside and pee with the mercury hovering at the 26 degree mark the next morning, but I had no idea that would be the norm for the next several days.When you have to peel off layers of insulated clothing for five minutes just to reach your truck keys, it is too cold to enjoy fishing! I have no doubt that part of this is simply another symptom of growing too old to cut the mustard, but wipers frozen on the windshield and ice in the rod guides seem to deter youngsters as well.The good news is that, save the biggest one, the bowl season is now in the books and it is supposed to warm up to 42 degrees by the weekend.Even forty-two degrees, however, can be unpleasant while on the water with any wind at all. So……what can we expect when it gets warm enough to thaw out our courage and get back on the lake?My initial concern is any effect the extended freeze may have had on fish that failed to transition to deeper water.Redfish are notoriously bad about hanging around too long. One thing is for certain.The warmer afternoon hours and incoming tides will provide the strongest bite each day.The feeding sprees will be very brief, especially for shallow water enthusiasts, but they can be phenomenal.The bite in the deeper water will be more consistent and last longer, but it can involve slowly dissecting a lot more water. For years, local fishermen in the know, tied on Hoginars and prospected for both stripers and reds on the main river channel.The reds are still there, but the striper bite has all but disappeared since Ike passed through.I still catch a handful up to seven or eight pounds, but that pales in light of what used to take place. I will be the most interested, however, to see how this affects the prolific bass bite that has definitely been the shining star in 2017.They fare much better in colder water than their saltwater counterparts and are never far from deeper water.It will be very interesting to see if the local anglers that have done so well pitching and flipping shallow structure all year long will continue to do so in colder water. The Houston Boat Show kicks off Friday at 1:00 p.m. and lasts through the 14^th . Doors open at eleven on the weekends and one o’clock on the week days.I am not much on the drive to Houston, but it is a very entertaining way to spend a day.

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