February 10, 2006 — North Pole Conditions!!!!

With the approach of our first COLD front in the past few weeks, I was really concerned with getting our mission completed. Bill Olson with Texas Outdoors Journal had been asking us to help with a feature winter time trophy trout story. After juggling schedules and flights early last month, we decided on 10 and 11 Feb. As I waited at Harlingen Airport for Mark from Shakespeare, Pflueger, All-star, I watched south winds blowing 30 mph plus, all the while the radio was predicting a switch to the north with HIGH winds on the frontal arrival the evening of the 10th. Talk about a short window of opportunity, Mark and I both expressed BIG CONCERNS if we could get the right fish to eat and the corresponding pictures required. Having been on really GOOD fish the last few days I felt we had a better than 50/50 chance.

Danno Wise arrived and in true outdoor writer form, proceeded to express how his black cloud on previous attempts seemed to be following him again! After breakfast the morning of the 10th, we left the Lodge with what I would call GUARDED optimism we could even get a decent trout to make a photo with! After pounding our way to my most consistent spot, I decided to make a short drift to see if the fish possibly had moved. It only took two casts to validate they were still there. I dropped the anchor and we piled out.  As this area has a very soft bottom, Danno chose to bring cameras with him on the wade to avoid trips back and forth to the boat.

By the time we had arrived at the spot, south wind had really cranked it up with gusts of 30mph plus. Still DEEP CONCERN we wouldn’t get’er done! After a short wade yours truly could only entice OLD RUBBER LIPPED REDS to take my Cajun pepper. Danno got enough photos from my best two reds to at least change the topic to reds in the flats if nothing else. Seemed all I could contribute was slot and oversized reds with sprinkling of small trout. Well my ol' pod-joe Mark stepped up to the plate and saved our bacon. I knew immediately when he set the hook and she came to the top it was our PICTURE TROUT! With everyone shouting instructions and help, Mark did a few complete circles as he had her barely hooked and was afraid of losing her at the rod tip. It was just our day, she stayed screwed on and Mark got a hand hold and we had our mission complete with photos of a trophy trout and a wild story to go with it.

She did not end up 30” plus as we wanted, but weighed in excess of 8#. Good enough to call calf rope. Pictures will be posted on our site shortly after Danno reviews which ones will be used in the article, and which ones he will allow us to post. All I can say was, we had enjoyed wading mud and having waves break over our wader tops in 2 foot of water long enough. With waders full of 65 degree, water we pointed the bow to the barn and we came in satisfied we had not only been lucky but set a goal and fulfilled it! Total time required 1 hour 25 minutes start to finish. Had we not been soaked, we possibily could have gotten a better fish from that area as that is the 3rd good trout I have caught in the last two weeks from that area.  I JUST CAN’T STAND THE COLD!!!!!!!!! THANK GOODNESS for LUCK and cooperative fish gods!!!!!! Had our weather remained stable no telling what we could have done. BUT! This blast of cold air should put more big girls on the prowl. Boy do I love Feb!