From live croaker to stinky pink plastics
In all honesty, had it not been for a great visit with some guides that I am lucky to see once or twice a year, the $10 parking fee would have been a waste of money at last week’s Houston Boat Show. Most of the boat manufacturers were represented, but there was little else to see in the way of new fishing tackle, lures, etc. The crowds may have been waiting on the final weekend, but attendance also appeared to be very poor up until that point.
Capt. Charlie Paradoski and Capt. Billy Pustejovsky, no they are not Cajuns, were debating the proposed trout regulations and the fishing in the Matagorda area in general when I found their booth. Both of them are well-known mid-coast guides with years of experience and much of their discussion centered on what they perceived to be the greatest detriment to their fishery.
Surprise, surprise…..it wasn’t too many guides or too many tournaments. It was basically the negative effects of fishing live croaker and the size of the trout that ate them. Because I cannot relate to that problem and they can’t relate to our everyday hassle of dealing with everything from limits to licenses with another state on a single body of water, we quickly moved on to comparing the bite in our respective areas and fishing plastic tails.
Both Captains have been linked with Bass Assassin for as long as I have known them and the backdrop of their booth is always wall papered with sample packages of virtually every style and color of saltwater tail Robin and Vera Shiver produce down in Mayo, Florida. When Billy noticed that I was inspecting the display one package at a time, he asked, “What are you looking for, Dickie….every color is up there somewhere.”
“I don’t think so, Billy,” I replied.“I don’t see any Stinky Pink, but it doesn’t surprise me because there sure isn’t any available from Beaumont to Lake Charles.”Charlie immediately climbed down off his spool to join in the conversation.“I’ve never even heard of Stinky Pink,” he chimed in.“What color is it that anyway…. what does it look like?”
“It kind of looks like faded out cantaloupe minus the glitter and the trout and redfish on Sabine and Calcasieu just love it,” I said. “Cantaloupe? What the hell color is that,” barked Charlie.“I don’t see that color up here either.”Still looking very dubious as to whether or not I was just leading him on, Billy was already on the phone with Vera.
“We’re standing here at our booth talking with Dickie Colburn and I don’t know if he is pulling our chain or not. What is all of this about Stinky Pink and Cantaloupe,” he asked loud enough for anyone in casting range to hear.“Oh, you do?…well why haven’t we?…the phone conversation was suddenly less audible, but Charlie was convinced and already asking about water clarity and when the color worked best for us.
Satisfied that I still had some credibility, our conversation switched gears when Charlie picked up a pack of Pro Elite heads and asked, “Have you tried these,” quickly followed by,”which of their heads do you use the most?” “I love the way the Pro elite heads track regardless of the shape of the tail,” I replied, but it just kills me every time I lose one when fishing over shell or submerged debris.”
I fished Assassin’s spring lock head exclusively until Billy pointed out a couple of years back that client’s don’t have nearly as much trouble threading tails on the JAo6 series heads. The shorter 3/0 hook works well and the tapered lead keeper doesn’t tear up tails as badly.
Charlie still prefers the spring lock head with the 2/0 hook.“I used to swear by the larger hooks,” he said, “but Jay Watkins sold me on the benefits of using the smaller hook and I do miss far fewer fish. If we aren’t just catching a fish a minute under the birds, I will take the time to put the tails on my client’s jigs for them so that we don’t waste any rigging them up wrong.”
There is no doubt that the shorter shank of the 2/0 or even a 3/0 hook will allow more of the tail to flex on the retrieve. Everyone in the house also agreed that regardless of your choice of heads, proper alignment is absolutely critical when fishing tails.
I would be willing to bet that by the time the Holder Show rolls into the George R. Brown Center in early March, Charlie and Bill have at least two new colors on the wall. Should those colors not work for them in Matagorda, I reminded Bill to bring any extras to the show. I know where they will work!
I mentioned it last week on one of my reports on my web site, but for those of you that could care less about those reports…Terry’s Reel Repair on 39th street in Groves just received a pretty good supply of Crazy Croakers. The company was recently purchased and they are back in production. The initial stocking will probably go pretty quickly, but Terry assured me that he will get more in the near future.
The trout fishing slowed down again this past week, but the reds are still doing their thing on the coldest of days. If all else fails, just thread a Gulp shrimp on a jig head and bump it across the bottom. We have been able to get it done most days, however, with a paddle tail in Stinky Pink or Roach.
The weather forecast for the remainder of the week really looks like a roller coaster ride. Be especially careful when fishing ahead of a front as the lake can get rough in a hurry when the wind switches around!