"THIS WEEK IN THE OUTDOORS" by Luke Clayton
TOURNAMENT CATFISHING- DONE RIGHT
Brent Pauling and Jered Mounger knew they were on to something good when they first conceived the idea of creating North Texas Trophy Cats (NTTC) tournament trail. Both Jered and I had fished in many catfish tournaments and we decided to create an organization where the entire family could come to enjoy the events. Our desire was to create a family atmosphere rather than just a hard core bunch of guys out to win a fishing contest. We have meals and fellowship for the entire family before each event. Granted, the contestants in our tournaments all have the desire and drive to win but they know having fun and being with the family is every bit as important as taking home a first place prize. Says Pauling.
Photo courtesy NTTC
Sam Morris shows off his 67.5 pound blue catfish that recently took big fish at a North Texas Trophy Cats tournament at Lake Tawakoni.
NTTCs first tournament was held this past December at Lake Lavon, with 39 teams competing- the new tournament trail hit the ground running with contestants coming from as far away as San Antonio. The most recent tournament was held at Lake Tawakoni where the size and numbers of fish weighed in was no less than awesome. Forty Five teams competed and the event was won by Sam Morris and Thomas Cortez with a 5 fish stringer that weighed 211 pounds, Sams 67.5 pound blue took big fish. The top three places were taken by teams that weighed in over 200 pounds of catfish, which equates to fish averaging over 40 pounds apiece!
Catfish tournament trails such as NTTC with a positive, family oriented agenda, are making giant steps in introducing the world to tournament catfish angling. Looks like Mr. Whiskers is finally getting the respect he deserves! The sports of Catfishing now has a national TV show, Catfishing America, on the Sportsmen's Channel.
NTTCs next tournament is scheduled for March 1 at Cedar Creek Lake, followed by tournaments at Lewisville and Fork. The classic is scheduled for May 24, headquartering at Bass Pro Shops at Lake Ray Hubbard. For more information on NTTC events, go online at www.northtexastrophycats.com or call Pauling (972-839-8252) or Mounger (972-658-8070).
WRAPPING UP THE SEASON
Hunters need not hang up their shotguns just yet, theres still plenty of wingshooting to enjoy with the Conservation Light Goose season (through March). The Conservation Season began several years ago in efforts to keep the snow goose population in check. The gregarious birds have been decimating their nesting ground on the Tundra in Alaska and Canada. Geese pull grasses up to get to the roots and hundreds of acres of their nesting grounds have become void of native grasses.
Conservation Season hunts can provide some exciting shooting. Granted, late season snow geese can be challenging to call and decoy within shotgun range, but with regulations such as the use of electronic callers, unplugged shotguns, no limit on birds harvested and extended shooting hours, hunters have a much better chance of success.
I remember my first hunt during this conservation season several years ago with waterfowl guide David Cox of Palmetto Guide Service. David had been guiding goose hunts on ranches on the Katy and Garwood Prairies along the Texas coast for years. We set out several hundred silhouette and full body decoys and when the local population of snow geese heard the recording of thousands of what they thought were their kind being blasted through speakers from Coxs boom box, they were quick to set their wings and glide within shotgun ranch. We enjoyed several hours of shooting with wave after wave of birds coming to our decoy spread and electronic calls. Not all late hunts go so well. Cox is quick to point out that after being hunted from Canada to the Texas Coast, snow geese can be extremely difficult to decoy but, if everything is done correctly and Mother Nature provides a little wind to keep the decoy spread moving, shooting is often excellent.
We hunt flocks of birds on several big Ranches and Ive found that being flexible is the key to good hunts during the conservation season. Most of our shooting is over green fields of rye grass this time of year and sometimes, the birds move from field to field with little notice. We have to remain mobile and ready to pull up and move with the birds. This time of year, when shooting gets slow, my guides and I will scout and find a concentration of birds, plan a way to get our hunters in without spooking them and enjoy some pass shooting. Its all about being in the right place at the right time and thats accomplished by lots of scouting. Says Cox.
For a late season snow goose hunt, contact Cox at 936-291-9602 or visit www.palmettoguideservice.com
GOOD EATING- Snow geese breast are excellent eating when marinated in a 50-50 solution of Coke and Soy Sauce, with a little garlic powder, then wrapped with bacon and grilled over hot hardwood coals. I like to butterfly the breast halves, stuff them with sausage, wrap with bacon and slow smoke for a couple of hours. Goose breast fajitas are also excellent eating when marinated in your favorite fajita seasoning then cooked quickly in olive oil with fresh garlic.
LISTEN TO OUTDOORS WITH LUKE CLAYTON AT www.catfishradio.com