This Week In The Outdoors

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Whistler, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member


    Luke Clayton

    With a late season cold front that blanketed much of the Midwest in a fresh covering of snow and even dusted the Texas Panhandle, hunting and fishing patterns have obviously been in a state of flux. There’s a lot going on in the outdoors right now. Turkey season is in full swing, bream were moving to the spawning beds before the cold snap, crappie were up shallow doing their thing and black bass were locked down on their nests. Let’s visit with a few guides and outfitters this week and put things in the proper perspective. Chances are very good that patterns that were beginning post-cold front will be close to resuming about now. The urge to procreate has a strong influence on fish this time of year and even with unseasonably cold weather, they will get right back to the task at hand within a couple days of warming spring weather. I don’t think anyone really can predict just when the breeding peaks for wild turkeys during the spring. I’ve seen them come to calls like being pulled on a string during all kinds of weather conditions.

    Photo by Luke Clayton

    TURKEY HUNTING UPDATE: Reports on hunting eastern turkeys have been less than banner so far this season. When I checked in with Lee Linderman from Clarksville in Red River County , the report was that he has been seeing plenty of eastern birds early in the season but the gobblers were all “henned up” and not coming to the call. Predictions for mid to late season are excellent with good numbers of mature birds in the area.

    Outdoors writer Bob Hood reports a good opening day hunt on his lease near Breckenridge. “I was set up on the edge of a strip of timber that runs across a corner of the lease. I’d used binoculars and watched birds working through the timber before the hunt. I picked a good place to set up and stayed put, calling every few minutes. After a couple of hours, the birds worked their way down through the timber and once the gobbler spotted my decoys and heard my calling, he came right in and I bagged him at about 20 yards. With the cold snap, turkey hunting should remain good throughout the season. It’s pretty common for early, hot weather to slow the turkey hunting down. That hasn’t happened this year.” says Hood.

    Down in Schleicher County near Eldorado, Kerry Joy reports turkeys were gobbling their heads off from the beginning of the season and his early season hunters all bagged their birds. “We have a lot of mature Toms this year and it appears they are in competition for hens. Decoys used in conjunction with calling are working very well, especially set ups using both a hen decoy and jake. If there’s one thing a mature gobbler doesn’t want to see this time of year, it’s a jake anywhere near a hen.” Says Joy.

    Matt Brown on the S.M. Brown Ranch near Nocona, Texas says flocks of turkeys on his place dispersed out of the bottoms where they spend the winter onto adjacent meadows and hillsides a bit earlier this year. Hunting has been good but many of the gobblers are sneaking up silent without stopping to announce their approach by gobbling. It’s necessary for hunters to remain motionless while calling, you never know when a bird will sneak in unannounced.” Says Brown.

    Photo by Luke Clayton

    SPRING FISHING UPDATE: Crappie guide Billy Kilpatrick says crappie fishing was getting very good in the shallows on small jigs just before the cold front. “All it will take is two or three warm afternoons and crappie will be right back on their annual spring bite. Fishing should remain good in water 2-4 feet until the end of the month when many of the post-spawners will move out to intermediate depths of 8-12 feet before moving to their summer haunts of deep water brush piles.” Tips Kilpatrick. Billy says shad will be “running” close to shore any day now and a smorgasbord of game fish will be herding them on a daily basis. During the first couple hours of day light, fresh shad are easily caught with a 4 foot castnet. For mixed stringers of catfish and white bass, try these fresh shad on a #1 gold crappie hook with a small split shot crimped about 8 inches above.

    Black bass have been locked down on nests for the past month but there’s plenty of post-spawners working depths of 4-8 feet. Guide Larry Large at Fork says he likes to target bass that he can’t see. “Everybody beats the banks this time of year. Sometime the shoreline on popular coves at Lake Fork are lined with boats filled with fishermen “sight” fishing bass on nests. I’ve found fishing out from the bank a bit, in deeper water, with plastic lizards and salamanders often triggers bites from more aggressive bass.” He says.

    At Richland Chambers, about an hour south of Dallas, guide Bob Holmes says he and his clients have been catching lots of white bass around the mouth of creeks and especially around windy points in water 12-20 feet deep. “I usually stick with white or chartreuse slabs from spring to fall. “I’ve been marking fish then working the slabs vertically under the boat. Many of the fish we’re catching have spawned; they are busy feeding on shad, trying to recoop after the rigors of spawning.” says Holmes.

    On the catfish front, Guide George Rule at Lake Tawakoni, about an hour's drive east of Dallas, says channel and blue catfish have began biting on Danny King’s Catfish Punch Bait over holes baited with soured grain. “We’re still catching some big blues on fresh cut bait. For whatever reason, the “trophy” blue catfish bite is lasting longer this year than normal.” Says Rule.