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Welcome! I hope you enjoy the content. I try to keep it up-to-date with my latest stories. If you like what you read, I encourage you to leave a comment. You can do so by clicking the numeric link beside each blog entry title. I typically make several posts each week, so if you would like to keep up, you can subscribe to my feed by clicking on the orange icon just under the banner image on the right. If you have a suggestion for a new topic, or a link to a pertinent web site, please leave a comment describing the details. You are welcome to use my content for commercial and non-commercial purposes, as long as you quote the original content unaltered, give me credit, and provide a link back to the source. If you use my content, I would appreciate being notified about the way it is being used, and where it can be viewed.

Best Regards,

Scott Gaspard

Windy Day on Lake Belton

The fishing was tough on Lake Belton, yesterday. The lake is about 4 feet below full, and the water is very clear. The temperature was about 84 degrees at the surface. The sunny sides, combined with the sheer bluff walls around this lake made the fish go deep. I was marking fish on my sonar at about 30 - 35 feet. I must have made 300 casts, and did not get a bite. I tried everything I could to get down to the fish, including some deep diving crankbaits, Carolina rigged worms and jigs. We fished the rocky southern shoreline of the Cow Creek arm, then crossed the lake to fish the trees. We worked our way from the main body of the lake back toward Fort Hood. Jim managed to catch a small bass on a deep diving metal billed chrome blue crankbait amongst the trees. Soon after, he snagged a deep branch of a tree and lost the lure.

Small Bass

We tried fishing the northern half of the lake, including a couple of promising looking coves, but no luck.

Lake Belton

Belton is a very picturesque lake, but it seems to be more condusive to striper fishing than anything. I discovered a very pretty waterfall on Belton, that I captured on video.

It is quite a long-haul to get to Belton from my house, so I may not be back for a while.

Monterey California

As it is for very many people, Monterey California is one my favorite places in the world. I have been fortunate enough to vacation here many times over the years. Its one of the few places I can think of that doesn't seem to change much between visits.

Point Lobos
Point Lobos

As a teenager, when my parents would take the family to Pebble Beach on vacation, I liked to go fishing down at Stillwater Cove. My brother and I would build a campfire, and use surf rods to fish for rockfish. We would use squid or blood-worms for bait. The fishing was usually pretty slow, but occasionally you caught a nice fish.

I caught a very nice Ling Cod once. I did not know what it was, and I almost threw it back because the inside of its mouth was bright blue. I'm glad I kept it, because it tasted great.

View of Pescadero Point from Point Lobos
View of Pescadero Point from Point Lobos

Once I went poke-pole fishing for Monkeyface Prickleback Eel at low tide off of Carmel Beach. The technique was to use a cane pole with a heavy gauge wire wrapped around the tip, and protruding about 2 feet with a small loop on the end. You tie a hook onto the loop and bait it with a freshly smashed mussel. Wearing waders, you would walk around in about knee-deep water, looking for large rocks with submerged holes under them. The eels would hide in the holes, so when you poked the bait down into the hole, you sometimes caught one. My brother hooked one that broke his cane pole! It was a huge California Moray Eel. Prickleback Eels are surprisingly good to eat.

Crystal Beach
Crystal Beach

Another time, my brother and I went fishing off of the 7th hole at Pebble Beach. This is that famous golf hole where the green is at the end of a peninsula, below the horizon from where you tee off. You have to launch the ball out into the clear blue yonder and hope it lands on the green. Fortunately for me, the balls often landed in the water, so low tide was a gold-mine. Believe me, golfers who play Pebble Beach don't use range balls. I would go out at low tide, and collect loads of golf balls. I would sort them, then sell them back home in Houston for $.50 or $.75 each, depending upon the quality. It put cash in my pocket that was otherwise hard to come by as a teen.

We went fishing at low tide, but before we knew it the tide had started come up behind us, leaving us stranded on the rocks. The Pacific Ocean is mighty cold, and there are things like Great White Sharks and Killer Wales to think about. The waves can be pretty brutal, even in 'Stillwater Cove'. There was no getting around it though, the tide was coming up quick and the sun was going down, so we had to make a swim for it. My parent's house was a couple of miles from the beach. Although we made it to shore without much incident, by the time we got back to the house I was so cold that I could not feel my feet! Have you ever gotten into a tub of water when you are chilled to the bone? Even room temperature water feels like it is about two thousand degrees!

On one trip, I bought a two-man rubber boat. My brother and I had the bright idea to paddle out to the island at Stillwater Cove, and see if we could find some Abalone. We got about halfway to the island, when I jumped in the water to get used to the cold. I had my wetsuit, goggles, and flippers on. I put my head down into the water to clear my mask, and looked down to see a long vine of sea-weed going down until it dissapeared in the murky depths. It was really deep. I had only imagined that it was about ten feet deep, but it must have been a hundred! I was quickly beginning to get freaked out, when my brother tapped the side of the boat and said that he thought he saw a shadow. Thats all it took to cause me to give up on the abalone plan. I was beach-side in minutes after that!

Surf at Spanish Bay
Surf at Spanish Bay

Another time, I went fishing with my step father and younger brother on one of those party boats. The depth drops to about 1000 feet right off the coast of Monterey. The captain would drive around looking for fish, then everyone would drop their line to the bottom, and reel up whatever number of cranks the captain would tell us. Dropping at a rate of about two feet per second, it takes about 500 seconds to reach the bottom. You can imagine how long it takes to reel back up. We would have four hooks on the line, spaced about one foot apart. There would be a piece of yellow and red yarn on the hook for bait (apparently fish get really stupid once you get past 500 feet). You would jig up and down until the line got heavy, reel up, and usually have two or more fish on the line. After reeling up 1000 feet of line, you would be pretty tired. The problem is that if you slow down, your fish would get robbed by sharks or seals. Also, after reeling up from that depth, the fishes stomachs would be protruding from their mouths, and their eyes would be bugged out. Often times the fish would come off of the hooks and bob around in the water waiting for something to eat them.

My step-dad spent too much time in the galley on the way out to the fishing waters, and my brother was running around the boat looking at things in the water. I learned early on to sit on the outside edge of the boat and watch the horizon. Needless to say, by the time I was fishing, they were chumming. It was up to me to catch the limit for all of us, so I put eight hooks on my line. Well, I was pulling up four to six fish at a time! I have to admit, it was pretty exciting. My adrenaline was pumped up, so I didn't notice that I was wearing out my arms. By the end of the trip, I couldn't move my arms. I had pulled every muscle in both fore-arms, and it hurt for a week! I have since given up party-boat fishing, which I equate to commercial fishing. There is no sport in it. If I want to get meat, I will go down to the local HEB. The grocery store in my neighborhood has a nice sea-food selection, and it is all fresh. I prefer to fish for sport, and I usually catch and release. Of course, if I get into some keeper sized Speckled trout I will bring home dinner.

Tidal Pool at Spanish Bay
Tidal Pool at Spanish Bay

The last time I went to Monterey, I brought my wife. We stayed at the Inn at Spanish Bay, which is a pretty ritzy place. Unfortunately, my wife was very intimidated by the whole experience. She is Latina, and she had never been exposed to the level of wealth that is common place around this area of Monterey. She passed some snob of a woman in the hall that asked her for some towels or something, so she sulked in the room for the rest of the time. On the other hand, I have no problem being myself in front of snobs. I find it quite humorous at times. On this trip, I wanted to go fishing. I went on a charter boat by myself, and returned with my limit of fish, smelling like the underside of Cannery Row! The bellman thought it was very funny, and you should have seen the appalling looks I was getting. Ha, ha!

View of Carmel from Point Lobos
View of Carmel from Point Lobos

The last few times we have visited my mom (who is lucky enough to live in Carmel Valley), we have rented convertables. It has become a tradition of sorts. I think it really adds to the experience, and it is not much more expensive than renting a mid-size car. We have done and seen all of the tourest attractions, so I am planning to do more hiking and picture taking next time we go. I enjoy the scenery and wildlife more than anything, and fishing can be a hassle when you don't have any of your gear. If I go fishing in California again, it will probably be for tuna off of Baja. I think I will leave the Monterey fish alone, at least until I can afford to live there and own a boat.

Fish With Human Teeth

Strange fish with nasty teeth caught near Lubbock, Texas
Strange fish with nasty teeth caught near Lubbock, Texas

I'm guessing someone let a pet pacu go in the local pond, and it grew up. This one looks like a heavy smoker. Here's the story quoted from

Fisherman Scott Curry reeled in the 20-pound fish on Buffalo Springs Lake and immediately noticed the catch had human-like teeth.

A game warden photographed the fish and is attempting to identify it.

General Manager of Buffalo Springs Lake Greg Thornton told KLBK13-TV in Texas that he has never seen anything like the fish in the 36 years he has lived near the lake.

A search for what the fish may be suggested that it may be a pacu, which is found in South America.

Curry said he believes he saw another similar fish while on the lake.

A Texas television station reported that lake officials will give $100 to anyone catching a similar fish.

Port Lavaca

My wife an I drove down to the coast this weekend. We had heard that the Port Lavaca area was a diamond in the rough, so we wanted to check it out. Our primary objective was to scope out some property in the area, but I did bring my fishing poles (of course). We met our friends, who brought their kids along too. The plan was to check out the property, then the gals would go for a long drive while the guys went fishing.

What? No Ammo?
What? No Ammo?

Highway 87 Fishing Pier
Highway 87 Fishing Pier

Fishing appears to be the primary recreation in the area, evident by the many piers and bait shops. To our surprise, the area was not choked with tourists and fishermen, like in Aransas Pass. We did do a little afternoon fishing, when the tide started flowing. We paid five bucks each to fish from the pier at Indianola Fishing Marina. Although we did not catch much, the bait was cheap and there was easy access to shade and cold beer. There was a glut of pogies in the water, and some small aggressive fish that would steal your bait. I caught a small White Grunt, that had really sharp teeth.

White Grunt
White Grunt

Down the road from the hotel is the causeway bridge between Port Lavaca and Port Comfort. After not catching much at the Indianola pier, we tried to fish at the city park which is on the Port Lavaca side of the bridge. We did not catch anything here, and we ultimately called it quits for the day.

The city park had a bird walk, which was a semi-circular pier that was erected over a grass marsh (or estuary). There were various bird species in the marshes, with placards placed along the pier explaining things. There were also a billion or so mosquitoes (I suppose they could have been birds; they were certainly large enough).

Bird Walk - Mosquito Run
Bird Walk - Mosquito Run

There is an old washed out road with a pier on the Port Comfort side of the causeway bridge. I took note of this as I passed over the bridge on my way to Palacios. I planned to catch some bait with my cast net, and try this spot out in the morning.

Early the next morning, I found a spot where a small bridge passed over a bayou with a public boat ramp. I threw my cast net a few times, and captured some pogies and finger-mullet. There was a small alligator (about 4 feet long) in the water, that swam around just out of reach. We tried fishing here for about 20 minutes, but after not getting any bites, we made our way across the causeway bridge to fish the spot I had picked out the day before. The water was very clear, and the tide was low. There were redfish chasing finger-mullet in the shallows. I was successful in landing a small redfish, that put up a formidable fight. I saw the redfish chasing bait, so I threw a silver spoon ahead of the fish and lured it to strike. The fish was not large, but it was not too small either.

Fishing from the bank can be difficult, so catching that one allowed me to finish my trip on a positive note.

Causeway Bridge
Causeway Bridge

As I explored the area, I noticed lots of intriguing spots that I could reach if I had a boat. One of these days I will probably trade my bass boat in for a bay boat. I think a bay boat would be more flexible. I could use it for fresh water or salt water fishing. I really liked the area, and see why it is considered by some to be a diamond in the rough.

Alligator Attacks Dog in Port Lavaca

I'm going down to Port Lavaca this weekend, to look a vacation house, and to do a little wade fishing. My wife was doing some research about the area, and came across this story. Apparently a 4 foot alligator tried to eat the family pet. Thankfully it was rescued in time, and is presumably doing well. I'm not so sure about wade fishing now. Maybe I will bring my boat...

Pogies For Bait

Pogies (or Menhaden) are a type of shad that spend their lives between brackish water river estuaries and nearshore bays. They are grey-silver in color with a green tinted back and yellow tinted fins. They have a black spot behind the gill cover, and may or may not have a row of smaller spots along the lateral line (depending upon the species). They can grow five inches in their first year, and can grow up to twelve inches during their five to six year lifespan.

Illustrations By: Duane Raver

Pogies are not good table fare, but make excellent bait. They are very oily, so active feeding of prey, such as redfish or speckled trout, can often be identified by a slick on the water (especially if the slick is below a bunch of gulls picking at the water). It is difficult to keep pogies alive for very long in a livewell -- it is best to use a round cornered livewell with lots of fresh circulating sea water. This keeps the pogies swimming and not sloshing around too much, like you would see in a square tank.

They are easy enough to catch with a cast net, so don't bother buying them at a bait shop. They wont survive long in captivity anyways (click here for instructions on throwing a cast net). Look for shimmering at the water surface to locate schools of pogies. Trout or redfish are probably not far behind.

When using live pogies for bait, I find that it is best to use a 4/0 circular hook, and hook the pogies through both lips if you want the bait to swim down, such as when fishing under a bobber at the surface, or through the tail if you want the fish to swim up, such as when fishing on the bottom. Dead pogies can be cut or ground up and used for chum; their oily flesh makes a great attractant. Hook young pogies about two feet below a popping cork, with a split shot in between. Cast out and pop the cork periodically. This is a great way to catch trout and redfish. The same technique can be used with live finger-mullet, croakers, or shrimp.

Sometimes in fall, you will see millions of large pogies in the water, especially at the mouths of rivers. There is no use in using live pogies for bait at this time, because there is nothing that distinguishes your bait from the other million shad in the water. Use a freshly killed shad at this time, and fish off of the bottom. The big redfish that follow the schools around are lazy, they wait for dead or dying shad to sink down to them. Use a 1oz egg sinker above a swivel and 2 foot leader with a circular hook. Hook the dead shad through the eye sockets, then cast out and let the bait drift along the bottom with the current on an outgoing tide. I have caught huge redfish this way (see red bull), and nice black-tip sharks. You will also catch some large nasty catfish, but that is a hazard of this game.

Camping on Millwood Lake

Our campsite was under the trees along the shoreline of a shallow cove, at the south west corner of Millwood Lake. There was plenty of shade, and a nice view of the water. Several species of water foul walked among the lilly pads, and the brown water reflected the pines, oaks, dogwoods and cypress trees that enclosed the cove.

This is what the area of the lake around the campsite looks like in the daytime. Its more of a swamp than a lake.

There were mocking birds, crows, and the occasional woodpecker flying from tree to tree within the camp, as the geese picked through the grass in a few sunny spots along the forest floor. The bird song was occasionally interrupted by passing logging trucks, as they made their way across the dam hauling timber to one of many mills in the area.

This is a nice shot of the trees reflected on the water. Millwood is a very beautiful lake.

Today a pleasant cool breeze filtered through the trees. You could catch a glimpse of a boat or two as they made their way out to the main body of the lake. Most of the holiday campers were gone, leaving only a few isolated campsites occupied. The ground was trying to dry off from the down-pours we had yesterday. The cool dry breeze was helping things along. The birds were enjoying the change in weather, and they seemed unafraid of me, or my dog. I guess they could sense the contentment everyone was feeling this morning.

Did I mention that Millwood was a beautiful lake?

Yesterday, because of the rain, we decided to go on a road trip. I remembered there being some clear running trout streams, somewhere in Arkansas. We set out in search of one. I traveled north from Millwood Lake toward the Ouachita Mountains. It was a very beautiful journey, and I did not mind getting stuck behind logging trucks, because it gave me a chance to enjoy the scenery. The clouds and rain were backing up against the hills, so we did drive through a few isolated heavy downpours. We worked our way up the steps of the foot hills, and found the Caddo River. I could see from a bridge that the water was clear, so we found a nearby park with access to the river. You could see small trout and other fish in the water. It was a very picturesque scene, so I snapped a couple of photos, and let my dog walk in the shallow water.

Caddo River

We decided to try to make it to Washita before we turned around. Ouachita Mountains are not mountains by California standards, but it was nice to have some variance of topology for a change. We found a park with a nice view of Lake Ouachita, and had a picnic lunch. Lake Ouachita seemed like the kind of lake I am used to in Central Texas. It appeared to be much deeper than Millwood Lake, with a rocky shoreline and clear water. Millwood is more like what you would expect to find in Louisiana, with brown shallow water, and cypress stumps. We enjoyed our lunch, and headed back to the camp.

Lake Ouachita

It was a long day of driving, but I'm glad we went because from the look of the campsite when we returned, it had been raining all day long. We rented a small pop-up camper, and I brought some movies to play on my laptop in case we got stuck in the rain, but even though a pop-up camper is better than a tent, it still gets pretty cramped with two people and a dog.

I attempted to do some fishing during the trip, but I was not successful in catching anything. Millwood Lake does not offer much shoreline access. Much of the shoreline is bordered by thick weeds and deep mud. There is a large population of alligators, so one must be circumspect when walking the shoreline. Although there are well maintained trails that offer picturesque views of the lake, there are only a few access points where you might try to cast a lure. Needless to say, a boat is a necessity on this lake. As I was pulling a pop-up camper, I had to leave my boat behind.

This is typical shoreline on Millwood. You can see why you need a boat. Check out the beaver lodge in the background.

Although the local marina offered boat rentals, they were underpowered flat-bottom aluminum boats. The 9hp motor was loud and there was no trolling motor, so you could not sneak up on any fishy spots without scaring away all the wildlife in the area. The boats were much better suited for catfishing than bass fishing, so I only attempted this once. I was able to get some nice photos of the lake from the boat, so it was not a total loss. Plus, I was able to spend some time with my dad, which was very enjoyable. He developed a recipe for catfish doughbait that works very well. He actually caught a few small catfish, while I fished for bass. The doughbait he developed has some very good properties. It does not stink, it is easy to work with, keeps well, and it stays on the hook cast after cast. My wife suggested that he try to market it to women, because of the stink-free factor.

This looks like a bass hangout, doesn't it?

There is lots of wildlife around Millwood Lake. I saw many species of woodland birds, and water fowl. There were lots of deer, although they stayed well clear of campers. I saw a family of nutrias (giant water rats), snakes, alligators, and even a beaver.

Here is a picture of a beaver lodge. If you look closely, you might see the beaver that lives here.

One evening, I attempted to fish for catfish on the river below the dam. There was a small park with a dock. I aimed my truck headlights toward the dock, set up a couple of lines with my dad's catfish doughbait, and cast out to see what I could catch. As the sun sank down, the alligators started waking up. I counted five large alligators in the water, each between 10 and 12 feet long! As the sun dropped below the horizon, I could see their glowing eyes getting closer and closer. One of them must have been below the dock, because as I walked from one end to the other, there was a large splash below my feet that made me jump out of my skin! I did not want to become alligator dinner, and I was not getting any bites, so I decided to call it quits for the night. I tried to get a photo of the alligators, but it was too dark so I could only see glowing eyes against a black background.

The orange dot in this picture is the reflection of my trucks headlights in the eyes of a big alligator

I had seen all of the signs saying "Don't feed the alligators", but after actually seeing them, I was considerably more alert.

Here's a fishy looking spot. I bet a big 'ol alligator has the same impression.

Imagine the sound of cicadas and bullfrogs. Now imagine a sneaky alligator slowly swimming up to get a closer look...

I decided that continuing to fish would only frustrate me, so I opted to enjoy the rest of my camping trip for what it was. I soaked in the scenery and the wildlife. I read a book by the campfire. I captured some more pictures, including one of a brilliant sunset.

A very pretty sunset reflected on the water. A fish jumped just as I took this picture.

It was a very nice camping trip, which I would highly recommend to anyone traveling through south west Arkansas. Millwood State Park is very well maintained. Its only about 30 miles from Texarkana. The public bathrooms were exceptionally clean, and the staff was very friendly. If you have a boat with a trolling motor, try to bring it with you. Also, bring a good pair of hiking shoes, some mosquito repellent, and a good flashlight. Don't forget your fishing license!

Lake O' The Pines Catfish Eats Dog

A few weeks ago I posted an article about pictures of a giant alligator on Lake Conroe with a deer in his mouth, that turned out to be a hoax. It sure garnered a lot of attention, though. For those of you who enjoyed that story, here's another that is sure to get you going. My dad sent me this article, about a giant catfish that ate a German shepherd on Lake O' The Pines, which is about 20 miles north of Longview, Texas. The original source is unknown.

Jenny Carter was walking her German Shepherd by a lake near her Texas home when she says a monster catfish jumped out of the water and swallowed the dog!

The incident was just the latest in a series of sighting of a notorious giant catfish cruising the dark waters of Lake O' the Pines near Longview.

But it was the first report of any fatalities.

Jenny, 26, says she had let her 85-pound dog, (Yogi weighs about 75 lbs. more or less), Sarge, run freely along the lake as she does every night when she suddenly realized that something was terribly wrong.

"Sarge let out a bark like I never heard before," she sobs. "It really scared me, I ran over as fast as I could and I saw him struggling with this monster in the lake.

"It was so big, I didn't know what it was. I never saw anything like it in my life. I was screaming real loud and running to help Sarge. But there was nothing I could do. I saw the fish swallow his head and I went crazy. I guess I was hysterical and in shock."

Two other witnesses verified Jenny's gruesome tale - and now authorities say they are on the lookout for the catfish, now turned killer Prior to the incident involving her dog, there had been wild speculation about the mysterious fish whom some have likened to the Lock Ness Monster in Scotland.

There had been several sightings of the huge catfish estimated to be 15 feet long and weighing 1,000 pounds. Although officials from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department had officially denied the existence of the monster, sportsmen from as far away as Japan had expressed interest in trying to catch the fearsome fish.

"It's worth a least $1 million to the person who can catch it." says a gaming expert. "But it will take extraordinary equipment to reel it in.

"We have reports that some fishermen had the killer catfish on line, but let it get away.

"This fish is very, very powerful. He even straightened out a 20-0 shark hook - and that's not easy to do.

Here's a picture of a 646 pound Mekong catfish that was caught in northern Thailand.

According to National Geographic, this is supposed to be the largest freshwater fish ever caught. I think that this catfish could easily swallow a large dog. If there is something nearly twice the size of this swimming around Lake O' The Pines, he's got to be eating something!

About me

  • I'm Scott Gaspard
  • From Austin, Texas, United States
  • I really like to fish. I go every chance I can. You can pretty much bet that at any given moment, I'm using whatever spare cycles I have to plan my next trip.
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