Outdoors

April is ranked as one of the best months to go after trophy largemouth bass. Right about now, they are up shallow to spawn and easier to catch than at any other time of year. A good example about what I’m talking about can be found on Houston County Lake. Anglers there are catching bass to 9 pounds on worms and lizards in 4 to 5 feet of water. The water temperature on the lake is between 66 and 70 degrees.

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One of the greatest things about duck hunting and fishing on the middle Texas coast during the winter months is that you stand a very good chance of getting up close to one of the world’s most treasured birds – a whooping crane.

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I’ll begin with some information that will likely not be a surprise to many hunters, but it could be to the general public. At least it could be a surprise to those that are members of the anti-hunting crowd. These statistics have been compiled by several groups including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report comes from National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the International Hunters Education Association Hunter Incident Clearinghouse.

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Over the past several months, there has been little written about the pursuit of largemouth bass. With all three of the big lakes being extremely low on water there was a constant danger to boaters. Now that the levels have begun to rise and with the springtime and warm weather, the scenario has begun to change. Bassing will continue to get more attention for the next few months.

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A few days ago I pulled my boat up to the ramp on the Sabine Pass side of the causeway bridge and notice something a little strange. The ramp was closed. It looked like something out of a Third World country. Apparently it’s already coming unglued, and it’s not even more than a few years old. The wind was blowing about 20 mph out of the southeast so it’s basically useless to put in there anyway. The waves were crashing over the bulk head. So I did what I normally do — put in at the protected and very nice ramp on the Louisiana side of the causeway bridge.

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As most saltwater anglers already know, there is an annual flounder run that occurs usually in October and early November. What gets much less attention is the spring flounder run that is beginning about now. For a reason that is unknown to me, the springtime fish are not as large on the average as are the fall fish. I know that they do not shrink during the wintertime lull.

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It’s official – as of Tuesday, March 20, Old Man Winter is history, and spring will be upon us. But hey, who needs to wait for the official spring opener? We’re looking at a run of really fine weather for Southeast Texas, and that translates into some excellent fishing options.

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Yes, it is nearly time for the general Rio Grande Turkey season. The south zone season begins on March 17. There is a special youth-only opening March 10-11 and again May 5-6. The South Texas season remains open through April 29 in 54 counties.

The 101 counties in the north zone will open for the youth only March 24-25 and again May 19-20. The general north zone Rio Grande Turkey season will begin March 31 and run through May 13.

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Lamar University students Danny Iles of Hemphill and Justin Royal of Vidor will be fishing in the National Guard FLW College Fishing tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir on Feb. 26 for the second of four stops in the Southern Conference. Forty college teams will be competing for a top award of $5,000 and a berth in the Southern Regional Championship tournament.

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February has long been a difficult time for folks in the outdoors media. The major hunting seasons are nearly all history except the conservation goose season. There are always the exotics to go after. The fish don’t really care about the weather, but the fishermen do. There are, of course, some dedicated anglers that head out no matter what the weather happens to be, except for summer hurricanes. Even then there are those folks that will risk life and limb to catch a bull redfish in the surf.

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