Monday, October 22, 2001

Fishing Kids, Children, Saltwater Fishing, Guide Perspective

There are no shortage of super “HIGH INTENSITY” fishing trips that come my way. A lot of guides probably find themselves in the same position. We get our share of “we don’t care if we catch a fish” trips as well. It’s the high intensity trips that you remember, however.

Enter Marshall Crawford and family. Marshall wanted to entertain his children with some fishing and he even had us host a two boat boys v. girls tournament on Sunday. Fishing kids is pressure packed and I’m no stranger to it. You need action and I don’t care what kind. That rod had better get bending and bending a lot.

Marshall asked me when he booked the trip as to whether I even wanted the hassle of fishing kids. My answer, a resounding yes! The future generation of fisherman are fighting pony Drum, Sheepshead, Hard Heads, and anything that will bend the pole. The CORE ENJOYMENT of fishing is being established at this young age. I believe that it is our job as guides to establish this LOVE OF THE GAME whenever we get a chance. We do it with a smile and plenty of patience; shrimp and a popping cork; and even a cheer from the movie “Bring It On”. I’ve modified it a little bit though, something to the effect of “those fish are U. G. L. Y. . . . ugly, yeah yeah there ugly. . . U. G. L. Y. they ain’t got no alibi, there ugly yeah yeah there UGLY! If you’ve got kids, you know the movie. I’ve only watched it about 20 times with my daughter and her friends.

There’s nothing like shifting gears from high powered tackle; savvy anglers; and drawing on years of experience trying to hook-up with the elite of the saltwater species to a 180 degree focus on anything that will eat a shrimp underneath a popping cork while anchored. I MEAN ANCHORED! No drifting, no current, no boat movement, nothing that will overly complicate the game. Saturday, we managed to put together a box of Blue Catfish, Redfish, and Drum. Sunday, with no wind, clear water, and little bait activity, we ran through a ton of Pony Drum along with a few keepers and the occasional Trout and Rat Red. Somehow, I managed to avoid a SOLID GOAT BITE, and luckily didn’t have to wrangle the hard to handle PRISONERS. Don’t think I wasn’t looking for Sheepshead, because I was. It just wasn’t meant to be. We managed at the end of the tournament on Sunday to have a “tie”. Capt. Brett Phillips took the girls and I took the boys. Brett tried to break the tie with an oversized Piggy Perch but I had to over rule this veiled attempt to run away with the trophy. All in all it was a great deal of fun and the smiles were plenty of reward. Thanks to Mr. And Mrs Marshall Crawford and their future Troutmasters Marshall Jr., Cameron, Mary Rodman and her friend Jewel.


Capt. Kris Kelley

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Port O'Connor Speckled Trout On Shell

Fishing during the last couple of weeks has been off the chart. From Port O to Rockport, fishing for both Trout and Redfish has been outstanding. Capt. Mike Patterson and Capt. Brett Phillips out of Rockport are still taking some large fish boxes on Croaker and Live Piggy Perch which have been in supply. Mike mentioned that despite some heavy boxes returning on his, Brett’s, and other guide boats out of Goose Island lately, Capt. Jay Watkins has been crushing the fish on lures in the St. Charles Bay area over mud/grass and sand/grass. Mike said that Jay has been on fire with lures the last couple of weeks and smoking everyone throwing Croaker. He said “it doesn’t matter, I may come in with 40 Trout and 12 Redfish, solid, but Jay comes in with 40/12 that just dwarf the fish I’m catching”.

On Wednesday, Capt. Mike Patterson pulled 15 Trout and 9 Redfish off of the south shoreline of Mesquite Bay. Mike said “our numbers weren’t great, but when it was all said and done, all of the Trout were over 23”.

The weekend held a Shell Trout showdown for most of us. With Capt. Mike and Brett working shell from Mesquite to Panther, they managed to limit out on Trout to 22” with near limits of Redfish throwing Croaker and Piggy Perch. My fish were much closer to the ramp out of Charlie’s Bait Camp. I returned with 30 Trout and 7 Redfish on Saturday and 40 Trout on Sunday with the Mark Van Every party out of Lewisville, Texas. We limited both days throwing Piggy Perch over San Antonio Bay shell in the Turnstake area. What a great introduction to fishing for young Matt, Jeremy, and Justin. They have made a number of trips to the coast with their dad’s and have really struggled to catch some fish. Technique was a little rough at first, but even 10 year old Jeremy got with the program quickly.

The fishing was at a frantic pace both days. Saturday’s south wind was a classic set up. Leaving the ramp on Sunday with 10-12 knots out of the North had me concerned that the fish would have made a quick bump off “prime structure”. However, this was not the case. That’s one good thing about Shell Trout, they are pretty easy to “fish backwards”. Not so with sand/grass or shoreline Trout.

One thing about this last cold front, WE ARE FINALLY GETTING RID OF SOME WATER IN THE BAYS. This water fall out should pick things up another couple of notches, not that the fishing can get much better. I saw something Sunday I’ve never seen before. Sixteen Trout short of our 40, I made a little adjustment on the reef. As I was moving into and around the north wind, I noticed something wallowing on the surface. It looked like a Gar or Carp just wallowing right on the surface of the water. As the boat got closer, the fish kept wallowing. Even closer, I noticed a glass minnow flip just out of the water as the fish kept wallowing. Sure enough, as I got right up to the fish, I could see that it was a nice Trout just before it spooked and disappeared. This was certainly not the quick hit and run, surface popping and slashing like you would think. The fish was just acting like a hog up on the surface wallowing in a sea of bait.

Anytime you see something of this nature, you don’t even have to wonder what’s going to happen next. In the blink of an eye we were icing down the fish and heading for the ramp.


Sunday’s cold front has brought the first serious wave of migratory waterfowl to the area. We are seeing a lot of ducks on the bay and I didn’t think the geese were ever going to stop pouring over on Sunday, mostly Specks. This latest cold snap and north wind is pushing water out of our bays. We have been buried in it since about mid July. It is timely for us to lose water in order to hold ducks. If the migration hits when we are stacked up with water, we will lose a lot of birds to areas that have a shallower marsh area. Things are looking good and the timing is perfect on falling tides. This is setting November up for an excellent opener both in duck hunting and fishing.


Have you got your ticket for the SCA Banquet yet? The banquet will be held at the Bay Area Community Center in Seabrook, Texas on Saturday, October 19th. For more information about SCA please visit or call toll free 1-877-JOIN-SCA. To purchase tickets for the Banquet by mail or credit card contact Ed Olson at (281) 392-4145 or via e-mail at I’ll see you there!


Capt. Kris Kelley

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