I had the pleasure of fishing with one of my best friends Craig Rader and his father-in-law, Chuck, last weekend. The morning started off rather unique as Craig, who is normally very punctual, slept straight through his alarm. I would accept part of the blame for that since he was enjoying a few adult beverages at my house the night before but he knows better than to be late for fishing. The problem was we were running Craig’s boat that day so Chuck and I were left standing in the driveway. Apparently even Craig’s dog had a rough night as knocking on every door and window on the house didn’t even illicit a bark. After waiting thirty minutes I decided to go check on my parents to see how the crabbing was going since they were just about 10min away from Craig’s house. They already had a little over a dozen nice blue crabs when I got the phone call from Craig asking, “where you at?” Well…I’m eating donuts and catching a few crabs since you couldn’t wake up!
I met Craig and Chuck at Walmart in Bridge City and we were off, albeit a late start but we were going to have a great time regardless. Spending so much time guiding it is rare to get a day to fish with buddies or family so I wasn’t going to miss out on this opportunity. We headed out to the jetties first but the bite was too slow for me to stick around. I wanted to fish a couple spots in the channel so we moved on. We wound up spending the next several hours in one location in part due to a driving rain but mainly since the redfish were going crazy. Craig was catching them on Down South’s Chicken of the “C” Southern Shad and Chuch was throwing a Gambler Flapping Shad. I threw both a Texas Tackle Factory Killer Flats Minnow and Egret’s Wedgetail. Color did not seem to be nearly as important as the size jighead we were using. We got way more bites using a 1/4oz jighead versus the 1/8oz jighead. The majority of the redfish were in the slot but we also let quite a few oversized fish go as well. I was able to sneak a few of the upper slot fish back into the water while Chuck wasn’t paying attention. I didn’t mess up his meat haul too bad though as I think we ended up boxing 24 or 26 fish total, I can’t remember. The landing part would have been much easier but Craig forgot the net, I suppose that was due to his oversleeping and hangover but we still did alright! After the rain the redfish bite slowed so we made another move to go catch trout before calling it a day. Unfortunately, with all the rain our phones stayed in dry storage for the trip so we ended up with only one picture from the water but the memory of the trip won’t soon be forgotten!
This year Christmas came for me in August. I took delivery on my new 2018 Haynie 23′ Magnum from K & J Marine last Thursday and really could not be more pleased. It is my fourth Haynie in the last 6 years and has already become my favorite one yet. I had never even been in one of the Magnums before but after the numerous conversations I had with Glenn, the owner of K & J Marine, I was confident that the 23′ Magnum was the better route for me to go over the 24′ HO.
Of course, I went with a Mercury power plant on the back again, a Pro XS 225 to be exact along with another MinnKota 36v 112lb thrust iPilot trolling motor. I did however change electronics again due to cost and being unsatisfied with the GPS/sonar units I have had in the past. I chose to go with the Humminbird Helix 10 SI. To my surprise the side imaging and down imaging display images appear as detailed as what you see in their advertisements on television. The reason for my surprise is the units I have had in the past that I spent 2-3 times as much on never once gave me a clear picture of what was underneath me, I will admit that I am sure that had to do with user error as well. It is not a touch screen though but so far I have not missed that aspect as often the screen would be accidently touched in the first place taking me away from what I was wanting on there.
The other change I made was going with fiberglass hatches this time around. I was hesitant as I had always heard that they were “wet.” However, after the reassurance I received from Glenn at K & J Marine that these new fiberglass hatches were just as dry if not dryer than the plastic ones I decided to make that switch. After the down pour we had yesterday in Bridge City and all my compartments remaining bone dry I would say they are definitely dryer! I also went back with a leaning post this time over the captain’s chairs. I did not like how on my last boat there was so little room to move around in between the chairs and the back deck. The leaning post allows more room as well as storage inside the leaning post and room for my YETI underneath. The overall rigging and neatness is nothing short of impressive. I also really appreciate the fact that the guys at K & J Marine took the time to thoroughly clean every compartment and under the console in the boat of all wire clippings and shavings. Also, for all of my customers that enjoy wade fishing I finally have got a wade ladder installed on one of my boats to make it a little easier on you getting in and out of the water! About time, I know. Another huge positive from purchasing through Glenn at K & J Marine was the fact that it cut my drive time by more than half to go pick my boat up!