Archive for Facebook

Apr
18

Becoming a Registered User Policy

Posted by: | Comments (0)

There is no need or benefit to becoming a registered user on this website.  The Registered Users section is for website administrators/managers to create, revise, or delete posts.  Contact info@fcs-texas.org if you wish to have something considered for posting or as a reply to a post

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Dec
16

Scorecard

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Welcome to the FCS Clay Target Scorecard page!  This page contains a spreadsheet that has most Sporting Clays (mainly), Skeet, and 5-Stand scores and 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place finishes from 1993 to the present.  Unfortunately, scorecards were not always turned in after every shoot or sometimes for our early shoots they were turned in but we only recorded the scores on those who placed (the first place or top three finishers).  However, all but two of the shoots since 6/20/98 show every competitor.

The averages are figured on a round of 50 sporting clays or 5-stand targets basis.  Consequently, skeet shoots are not included in each shooters sporting clays/5-stand average as only 25 targets were shot and skeet averages cannot be included with sporting clays averages as skeet’s an easier game.

Capitol City Clays (where the vast majority of our shoots have been held) added a hunters course in 2005.  This course is easier than their previous masters course, consequently the averages for shooters who just shot the masters course or a combination of the two courses will be lower than shooters who have just shot the hunters course.

The scores can be viewed as follows:

Annual Tab – lists monthly scores, annual scores, and 1st-3rd places of each individual by year.

FCS Summary Tab – summarizes annual scores and 1st-3rd places for each year, and cumulative scores and 1st-3rd places for all years.

Top Shooters Tab – lists top scoring shooters from 1993 to the present.

Click on the link below to view scores of the FCS Clay Target Shoots – wait patiently for a few seconds while it downloads. To exit, hit left arrow instead of hitting “x” (If the Windows Security window pops up, you can hit “X” to view the score sheet).

===============================================================

https://fcs-texas.org/FCS_Scorecard_Master_121623.xlsx

Comments (0)

FCS goes on one to two self-guided/chartered/ blasts and casts (duck hunts and bay fishing trips and duck hunts) per duck season – usually at least one at Port O’Connor (POC).  However, in 2023 we did one at a ranch and hunted for hogs and turkeys and casted for bass and in 2022 we did one on a ranch and hunted for ducks and casted for bass.  We have hosted also Blasts and Casts for dove and bass, but haven’t hosted one one in several years.

We’ve had many successful duck hunts and fishing trips but our boat captains are not guides and two of them have full-time jobs and only hunt and/or fish on weekends, so do not expect to always bag and/or catch limits on these trips.

We’ve had many successful duck hunts at both locales and have often gotten our two-duck limit of redheads.  We’ve also killed a few other ducks, including scaups, wigeons, pintails, buffleheads, common mergansers, and a green wing teal, but redheads are the predominant species.

Note that these hunts usually require wading in water at night, with only a cap light or head lamp for illumination, while carrying a shotgun, ammo, drinks, etc.  They also require putting out and picking up decoys and retrieving dead ducks.  Hunters sometimes get stuck in muddy bay/lake/river/pond bottoms and trip over stumps and logs.  Being able to get yourself unstuck if stuck in the mud and back on your feet if you’ve fallen is essential.  Consequently, these hunts are not recommended for hunters who have difficulty freeing themselves from the mud or getting back up if they’ve fallen.

We’ve also had many successful bay fishing trips, but generally don’t do as well in the winter as we do during the warmer months.

We primarily target redfish, black drum, and speckled trout but can also catch sheepshead, flounder, jack crevalle, sharks, rays, and a variety of non-game fish such as hardheads and lady fish, so be prepared.  For lure and line recommendations see the bottom of this page.

Here are pictures of some of our successes.

Boats can include Kevin McConnell’s, Randy Rowley’s, Daryl Shipper’s, and Wayne Weilnau’s bay boats, and possibly others.  All four captains can take three sportsmen in their boats, in addition to them.  For duck hunting, the boats are used to ferry the hunters to the hunting spots and then beached or anchored around 100 yards away.  We fish from the boats, unless fishermen want to wade fish.  In which case the captain’s will take the fishermen to the desired wade fishing spot(s).  If the captain doesn’t want to wade fish, he’ll drop the wade fishermen off and pick them up at an agreed upon time.

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding the captain) will split the vehicle and boat gas, a boat wash after the event (to wash the salt and mud off), state or county park fees (if applicable), boat slip fees (if applicable), boat launch fees (if applicable), and toll road fees (if applicable).  The captains have to replace their boat batteries, trailer tires and wheel bearings, etc., and repair things like their trolling motors more quickly due to taking FCS members and guests on such trips than they would if they didn’t take FCS members and guests on such trips, and pay boat and trailer insurance; therefore, they are exempt from the above expenses.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.
  • For Corpus Christi, we’ll stay in an Airbnb house, a townhouse, or a motel.
  • For Port O’Connor, Wayne Weilnau’s house can hold up to eight participants.  If we have more participants going than that, some will have to stay in Burl Fulenwider’s travel trailer, or at The Inn at Clark’s (a waterfront inn on the Intercoastal), an Airbnb house, or a motel.  We’ll take the maid cleaning fee to clean Wayne’s house, the RV park rental cost or The Inn at Clark’s/Airbnb’s/motel’s cost, an extra boat(s) slip fee and divide it by the participants (not counting Wayne and Burl).  If Wayne’s house is not available, all participants will stay in Burl’s travel trailer and/or The Inn at Clarks, an Airbnb house, or a motel.
  • Fishermen can use live and/or dead bait (and/or use artificial lures).  If so, the captain will buy the bait and Wayne will divide the cost among everyone.  Everyone in the boat must agree how they will fish before they go out as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if the boat isn’t moving often and people who want to fish with dead or live bait will become frustrated if the boat’s moving (as movement will drown live bait and get bait caught in rocks).  Typically, Kevin and Wayne fish primarily with artificials, but will also fish with live and dead bait if artificials aren’t getting results.  Daryl and Randy fish primarily with live and dead bait, but also with artificials.

What to Bring If Bay Fishing

  • Saltwater fishing license.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your saltwater fishing license.
  • Rod & Reel combos (at least two (in case you break one) and no more than four).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for fishing with live and/or dead bait.
  • Tackle box, bag, or backpack.
  • Headlamp or cap light (waterproof is recommended).
  • Clothing appropriate for the season (including a cap).  You never know when it will rain on the coast, so bring rain gear.
  • A fillet knife, knife sharpener (recommended), three gallon-sized Ziploc bags (as to be legal, you’ll need to have your fish in separate bags for separate days), and a small or medium-sized hard or soft ice chest to take your fish home in (if you get any).  You won’t need a ice chest for your fish and a ice chest for your ducks (one will do).  Leave it in your vehicle or where we’re staying.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Waders (if you plan to do wade fishing; except during late spring, summer, and early fall trips).

What to Bring If Duck Hunting

  • Texas hunting license and migratory bird endorsement and federal duck stamp.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird endorsement, and saltwater fishing license but does not include a federal duck stamp.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston-operated semi-automatic is recommended (but keep them clean, as if they get gunked up they’ll stop working).  A recoil (aka inertia)-operated semi-automatic takes second place (as they kick more than piston-operated semi-automatics), followed by a pump (or slide)-action.  A plug is required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine (almost all of them are) while hunting migratory game birds.
  • Camo or dull non-cloth shotgun case.  Cloth cases during waterfowl hunts tend to get muddy.  A floating case is recommended.  If your case is bright you’ll need to hide it well.
  • Non-lead 3″ (if your shotgun is also chambered for 3″) shotgun shells (HEVI-Steel, Winchester Xpert, or equivalent) in 2, 3, or 4 shot – the 1550 FPS variant for steel shot and the 1500 FPS variant for HEVI-Steel) are recommended.   Don’t use anything smaller than 4 shot.  10 gauges and 3 1/2 inch shells in 3 1/2 inch-chambered 12 gauges are overkill for all but the biggest ducks.  Steel shot (if of adequate size) will kill ducks – there is no need for HEVI-shot, Tungsten, Bismuth, etc.  You’ll pay a lot more for those shells and they aren’t needed.  You’ll not need more than three boxes and will probably shoot less than two boxes.
  • Camo or dull blind bag, shell bag, vest, or bandoleer.  If your shell bag is bright (e.g., a red HEB shopping bag) you’ll need to hide it well.  A floating blind bag is recommended.
  • Headlamp or cap light (waterproof is recommended).
  • Camo outer hunting clothes, including cap/hat and a face mask or face paint (face coverings are absolutely essential as oily skin glows in a duck’s eyes).  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • Waders (absolutely essential).  Uninsulated breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene breathable waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on an early season hunt you might cook yourself).  We don’t put our waders on until we reach the boat ramp, unless we’re wearing uninsulated breathable ones.
  • Bucket, stool, or folding chair.  We usually hunt from natural cover, so you’ll need to see over it.
  • Game shears (optional), a fillet knife, knife sharpener (recommended), and three gallon-sized Ziploc bags (as to be legal, you’ll need to have your ducks in separate bags for separate days), and a small or medium-sized hard or soft ice chest to take your ducks home in (if you get any).  You won’t need a ice chest for your ducks and a ice chest for your fish (one will do).
  • Ear plugs or muffs (electronic ones allow you to hold conversations).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • Non-mirrored shooting glasses or sunglasses (optional).
  • Bug repellent (optional, but recommended).

The boat captains are required to have a life jacket for every passenger, so you won’t need one; however, you can bring your own if you want to.

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above (e.g., waders, floating shotgun cases, stools, small and medium-sized ice chests, cap lights, rods and reels, lures, etc.) and will happily loan them if you let him know before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.  Those who bring decoys (which is mainly Randy) will expect reimbursement when hunters shoot their decoys and they’re beyond repair.

For ducks, Randy usually starts out with a modified waterfowl choke if the ducks are coming into the decoys.  If all he’s getting is shots as they fly past (pass shooting), he’ll switch to a full waterfowl choke.  Clay target chokes often shoot tighter with non-lead shot (e.g., a modified clay target choke will often perform as a full choke with non-lead shot).  A choke that delivers that performance should say that on the choke.

Here is what sitting in the typical cover looks like:

Or, if we find a blind that someone isn’t using, we can try to hunt it.  Here’s what one looks like:

Randy has 112 decoys (33 mallards (including 28 decoys, two quiver ducks, a swimmer, a motorized duck, and a wind-activated duck that he only uses when it’s windy enough to spin its wings), 26 pintails, 17 redheads, 12 teal, 11 gadwalls, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, and a widgeon.  However, he’ll only bring 60 – 72 due to Cam’s (his boat) space limitations.  Daryl, Kevin, and Wayne also have at least a dozen decoys each.

Expectations

These blasts and casts are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinator/leader will enforce the below expectations:

  • Follow the captain’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of the vehicle and boat gas, motel rooms, and boat launch fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including decoys that you shot and sank and lures that you borrowed and broke or lost).
  • Help (including helping get the boats back on the trailers).
  • Be prepared to fish (if others have to help you rig properly on the boat, it takes away from their fishing time).  This does not apply to new fishermen.
  • Control your dog during a hunt (a dog that wants to go play with the decoys or charge the ducks as they’re coming into the decoys will ruin the hunt for everyone).
  • Talk quietly, especially when ducks are coming into the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away).  Fish can also hear you and will swim away.
  • Don’t be rude.  Examples of rude behavior include deciding to go get coffee after the boat has already launched and your partners are ready to fish, throwing a cast net from the boat while your partners are actively fishing, and fishing with too many rods out – which prevents your partners from fishing at all.  All of these examples have happened on FCS bay fishing trips.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would have known the answers for if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Let Randy know if you have any questions at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484.

Lure recommendations

Soft plastics – Egret Baits’ VuDu Shrimp and VuDu Vixen, Z-Man’s EZ Shrimpz, scented Jerk Shad, Paddler, and Pogy, Berkley’s Gulp Alive Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Shrimp, Swimming Mullet, Pogy, Ripple Mullets, Mud Minnow/coakers, Salt Strong’s Slam Shaddy, and Saltwater Jerk Shad, Zoom’s Salty Super Fluke, Norton Lures’ Sand Shad, Sand Eel, and Bull Minnow, and Bass Assassin’s BANG Die Dapper, Sea Shad, Saltwater Shad Assassin, and Saltwater Curly Tail Shad.

Soft plastics colors – salt and pepper (Bass Assassin calls it Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom), white/red, red/white, and Bass Assassin’s Chicken on a Chain (light green and white with black specks and a chartreuse tail).

Jig heads – H&H Lure Double-Eye, Pro Shad, Rattilize, Arrow Head, Cocahoe, Strike King Trokar, Bass Assassin, and Z-Man Redfish Eye and Trout Eye.  1/8, 3/16, 1/4, or 3/8 oz. in red, white, or lead.

Spoons – Nacho Daddy Loaded Nachos, Johnson’s Silver Minnow and Gold Minnow, H&H Lure’s Secret Weedless Redfish Spoon, Strike King’s Sexy Spoon, and Nichols Lures’ Mojo Flutter Spoon.  1/2 – 1 ounce in gold or silver.  These are particularly good for redfish and speckled trout.  Redfish seem to prefer gold and trout seem to prefer silver.

Topwaters – walk the dog lures like Bomber’s Badonk-A-Donk, Heddon’s Zara Spook, Zara Spook Jr., and Chug’n Spook Jr., Rapala’s Saltwater Skitter Walk and Skitter V, MirrOlure’s Series III, Pro Dog Jr., or Top Dog Jr., and Yo-Zuri 3DB Topwater Pencil and 3-D Inshore Pencil; poppers like MirrOlure’s C-Eye Poppa Mullet Surface Popper and Heddon’s Chuggar Spook; and torpedo lures like River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper.  The last two lures don’t come with saltwater hooks, so be sure to rinse the hooks with freshwater after use in saltwater.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Lipless crankbaits/twitch baits – Bill Lewis’s Magnum Force, Mag-Trap, Knock-N-Trap, and Rat-L-Trap, MirrOlure’s MirrODine, MirrODine XL, Paul Brown’s Fat Boy, MirrOMinnow, MirrOMullett, Series III Catch 2000, 52 MR, She Dog, She Pup, Glad Shad, and XXL, and Rapala’s X-Rap Twitchin’ Minnow and Twitchin’ Mullet.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Crankbaits – Bill Lewis’s Echo and MirrOlure’s MirrOLip 1/2 oz Suspending Crankbait.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard jerk baits/swim baits – Yo-Zuri’s Pin’s Minnow Floating Swim Bait, Crystal 3-D Minnow, Crystal Minnow, 3DS 2-3/4″ Suspending Minnow, Mag Minnow, and 3-D Inshore, Bomber’s Jointed Long A, Saltwater Grade Heavy Duty Long A, and Magnum Long A, and Cotton Cordell’s Red-Fin.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard bait lure colors – white with red heads, silver with red heads, silver with black backs, silver with blue backs, silver with pink backs, gold with pink backs, bone, and chartreuse.

Line Recommendations for baitcasting and spinning reels (you can use lighter line with spinning reels)

For topwater lures use 12 – 15 lb. test mono or 20 – 30 lb. test braid.

For diving lures use 14 – 17 lb. test fluorocarbon or 12 – 15 lb. test mono.

Leader Recommendations

20 – 30 lb. test fluorocarbon or mono.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Dec
11

Self-guided Duck/Teal Hunts

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Randy Rowley hosts several self-guided duck/teal hunts on central Texas lakes, within 103 miles of Austin.

Do not expect limits on these hunts, as Randy has a full-time job, isn’t a guide, hunts on weekends or state of Texas holidays (usually), and hunts on highly pressured lakes in an area of Texas near where he lives (Leander) that isn’t known for great duck hunting.  Results have usually been far from great on the lakes, especially since the 2016/2017 season.  Here is our scorecard to date:

Season Number of Ducks Bagged Number of Hunts Number of Hunters Average Number of Ducks Per Hunt Average Number of Ducks Per Hunter
2023/2024 44 (23 on lakes and 21 on ponds) 14 49 3.14 0.90
2022/2023 6 (3 on lakes and 3 on ponds) 6 16 1.00 0.38
2021/2022 1 (on a lake) 5 20 0.20 0.05
2020/2021 50 (6 on lakes and 44 on a pond) 11 39 4.55 1.28
2019/2020 5 (on a pond) 6 24 0.83 0.21
2018/2019 8 (on lakes) 6 18 1.33 0.44
2017/2018 0 4 24 0.00 0.00
2016/2017 9 (on lakes) 5 15 1.80 0.60
2015/2016 10 (4 on lakes and 6 on a pond) 7 28 1.43 0.36
2014/2015 11 (9 on lakes and 2 on a pond) 6 18 1.83 0.61
2013/2014 16 (on lakes) 6 18 2.67 0.89
2012/2013 16 (on lakes) 5 17 3.20 0.94
Total 176 (95 on lakes and 81 on ponds) 81 (average of 6.75 hunts/ season) 286 (average of 23.83 hunters/ season) 2.17 0.62

Some of our successes include:

Randy can take up to three adult hunters (four including him) on Cam (his 2019 bay boat – a 20-foot 3-inch camo Excel Bay Pro 203 with a 115 HP Yamaha motor), which has a camo Beavertail blind that sits on top (see below).

Here is Randy’s first motor boat, Bob, all brushed out (below the hunter’s head).  However, as hunters usually don’t want to leave an hour earlier than they normally do (2:00 – 3:00 AM), they rarely brush out Cam.

Note that these hunts usually require wading in water at night, with only a cap light or head lamp for illumination, while carrying a shotgun, ammo, drinks, etc.  They also require putting out and picking up decoys and retrieving dead ducks.  Hunters sometimes get stuck in muddy lake/river/pond bottoms and trip over stumps and logs.  Being able to get yourself unstuck if stuck in the mud and back on your feet if you’ve fallen is essential.  Consequently, these hunts are not recommended for hunters who have difficulty freeing themselves from the mud or getting back up if they’ve fallen.

Also note that a law was enacted in 2022 that requires hunters to either on-sight register or electronic on-sight register (if available) upon arrival and departure from a TPWD public hunting area.  The signage at least on Lake Granger is inadequate to explain to hunters what they must do.  It simply states, “E and the unit number” (such as E285).  Game wardens are ticketing hunters who don’t on-sight register or electronic on-sight register upon arrival and departure at Lake Granger.

Hunters will hunt either Lakes GrangerStillhouse Hollow (aka Stillhouse), Somerville, or Waco in their Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs).  Lake Belton is Randy’s last choice as they’ve hunted it seven times (three times in the Owl Creek WMA, twice in the Iron Bridge WMA, once in the White Flint WMA, and once from the shores of Fort Hood) and only fired shots on the Fort Hood hunt.  They also didn’t see hardly any ducks in the WMAs.  In order to hunt the Iron Bridge WMA successfully, hunters need a flat bottom or airboat to get up the usually shallow Leon River, which Randy doesn’t have.

All five lakes are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).  Hunters will hunt until 8:30 – 10:30 AM, depending on how the ducks are flying and the weather conditions (ducks often fly longer when it is overcast).

Hunters will not hunt Lake Georgetown.  The USACE requires a Small Game Permit to hunt waterfowl and the Lake Georgetown Project Office will only issue 50 small game permits each season.  Small game permits will be administered through an application and a random drawing process and there is a $25 application fee.

Our best hunts have been on Lakes Granger and Stillhouse Hollow (aka Lake Stillhouse), so they’re tied for Randy’s first choice.  Lake Somerville is his third choice.

Lake Granger doesn’t require a USACE lake hunting permit.  However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) leases Lake Granger’s WMA’s; consequently, a TPWD annual public hunting permit is required.  The cost is $48/year.  If hunters decide to hunt Lake Granger they will hunt in the San Gabriel, Willis Creek, or Sore Finger WMA’s.  Wilson Fox Park on Granger is 38 miles from Randy’s house.

Lakes Stillhouse and Waco do not require a TPWD annual Public hunting permit nor a USACE lake hunting permit (see http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/stillhouse/Recreation/Hunting.asp).

If Randy decides to hunt Lake Stillhouse they’ll launch at Riversbend Park (50 miles from his house) and hunt in the Union Grove WMA on the island (the side depends on the direction of the wind) or in a small cove.  Or they’ll launch at Cedar Gap Park and hunt in the Gravel Crossing or Twin Creek WMA’s, up the Lampasas River, but that area isn’t very wide so Randy usually doesn’t hunt it.

If Randy decides to hunt Lake Waco they’ll hunt either in the Flat Rock hunting area or in the South Waco hunting area.  Depending on where they hunt, Waco is 56 miles further than Lake Granger (97 miles from Randy’s house), so they’ll have to leave an hour earlier than they would if they were going to hunt Lake Granger.  Note that all hunters who hunt on Lake Waco must sign a Disclaimer and Waiver of Liability and have it in their possession while hunting.  Also, duck hunters on Lake Waco must wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange material (144 square inches on both chest and back) and some type of orange headwear when leaving their hunting destinations.  In addition, no hunting is permitted around Waco Wetlands.  Randy has yet to hunt Lake Waco, so the jury is still out on it.

Lake Somerville doesn’t require a USACE lake hunting permit.  However, hunters will need a TPWD annual public hunting permit if they hunt in the TPWD day hunt area.  They must hunt from Cam, be far enough from the shoreline that their shot will not fall on dry land, and must not set up so that they’re shooting in the direction of the shoreline.  The USACE day hunt area doesn’t require a TPWD annual public hunting permit, although they can only hunt from the shore in that area (they can’t hunt from Cam), so it’s Randy’s last choice.  Lake Somerville is 62 miles further than Granger (103 miles from Randy’s house), so they’ll have to leave an hour earlier than they would if they were going to hunt Lake Granger.  They’ve only had one good hunt on Lake Somerville, so it’s Randy’s next to last choice.

Where they hunt will depend on lake levels and hunting reports that Randy receives from various sources.

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding Randy, if Cam is being used) will split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas), boat launch fees (if applicable; no more than $5 each), and toll road fees (if they take any).  Randy has to replace Cam’s starter batteries, trailer tires and wheel bearings, etc. more quickly due to taking FCS members and guests on duck hunts than he would if he didn’t take FCS members and guests on such trips, and pay boat and trailer insurance; therefore, he’s exempt from the above expenses.  If they’re not using Cam then Randy will join the other participants on splitting the vehicle gas and toll road feeds (if they take any).
  • They’ll stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and might stop for second breakfast or brunch on the way home.

They typically launch at free ramps so there usually isn’t a boat launch or state or county park fee.

What to Bring:

  • Texas hunting license and migratory bird endorsement and federal duck stamp.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license and migratory bird endorsement but does not include a federal duck stamp.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston-operated semi-automatic is recommended (but keep them clean, as if they get gunked up they’ll stop working).  A recoil (aka inertia)-operated semi-automatic takes second place (as they kick more than piston-operated semi-automatics), followed by a pump (or slide)-action.  A plug is required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine (almost all of them are) while hunting migratory game birds.
  • Camo or dull non-cloth shotgun case.  If hunting from Cam, a floating case is recommended.  If your case is bright you’ll need to hide it well if hunting on land.
  • Non-lead 3″ (if your gun is also chambered for 3″) shotgun shells (HEVI-Steel, Winchester Xpert, or equivalent) in 2, 3, or 4 shot – the 1550 FPS variant for steel shot and the 1500 FPS variant for HEVI-Steel) are recommended.   Don’t use anything smaller than 4 shot.  10 gauges and 3 1/2 inch shells in 3 1/2 inch-chambered 12 gauges are overkill for all but the biggest ducks.  Steel shot (if of adequate size) will kill ducks – there is no need for HEVI-shot, Tungsten, Bismuth, etc.  You’ll pay a lot more for those shells and they aren’t needed.  You’ll not need more than three boxes and will probably shoot less than two boxes.  Several times hunters haven’t shot at all.
  • Camo or dull blind bag, shell bag, vest, or bandoleer.  If hunting from Cam, a floating blind bag is recommended.  If hunting from land and your shell bag is bright (e.g., a red HEB shopping bag) you’ll need to hide it well.
  • Headlamp or cap light (waterproof is recommended).
  • Camo outer hunting clothes, including cap/hat and a face mask or face paint (face coverings are absolutely essential as oily skin glows in a duck’s eyes).  As you never know when it will rain, bring rain gear.
  • Waders (absolutely essential).  Uninsulated breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene breathable waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on an early season hunt you might cook yourself).  Hunters don’t put their waders on until they reach the lake (unless they have uninsulated breathable waders).
  • If hunters hunt from Cam, they’ll not need a bucket, stool, or chair, as Cam has fishing chairs and benches.  However, if they have to hunt from shore (because the cover is too far from shore and Cam will stick out like a sore thumb) they’ll use Cam to ferry them to where they’ll hunt, beach him 100 or so yards away, and sit in the cover.  In which case you’ll need a bucket, stool, or chair.
  • Ear plugs or muffs (electronic ones allow you to hold normal conversations).
  • Non-mirrored shooting glasses or sunglasses (optional).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in Cam to put drinks and snacks in.
  • Bug repellent (optional, but recommended).
  • Game shears (optional), small fillet knife, a gallon-sized Ziploc bag, and a small hard or soft ice chest to take your ducks home in, if you get any.

Randy has seven life jackets and three ponchos in Cam, so you won’t need either one.  However, you can bring your own if you want to.

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above (such as waders, floating shotgun cases, stools, small and medium-sized ice chests, cap lights, etc.) and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before they leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it Randy will expect reimbursement.  He’ll also expect reimbursement if hunters shoot his decoys and they’re damaged beyond repair or if his motorized duck is submerged while in their care (water will fry its motor).

Here are examples of sitting in cover (all but the top left picture include a mesh blind):

Randy usually starts out with a modified waterfowl choke if the ducks are coming into the decoys.  If all he’s getting are shots as they fly past (pass shooting), he’ll switch to a full waterfowl choke.  Clay target chokes often shoot tighter with non-lead shot (e.g., a modified choke will often perform as a full choke with non-lead shot).  A choke that delivers that performance should say that on the choke.

Randy has 112 decoys (33 mallards (including 28 decoys, two quiver ducks, a swimmer, a motorized duck, and a wind-activated duck that he only uses when it’s windy enough to spin its wings), 26 pintails, 17 redheads, 12 teal, 11 gadwalls, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, and a widgeon; however, he’ll only bring decoys for the types of ducks found on the lake that they’re going to.  For example, he’s never seen canvasbacks or buffleheads on Lakes Somerville or Granger, so those decoys will stay in his garage when they hunt there.  He’ll bring between 60 – 72 decoys to the lakes, due to Cam’s space limitations.  For ponds, when there is a pond that they can hunt on, he’ll just bring 12 to 24 decoys (depending on the size of the pond).

Expectations

These hunts are a service to FCS members and guests, but Randy will enforce the below expectations:

  • Follow his instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of truck and boat gas and and park entrance fees/boat launch fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including decoys that you shot and sank).
  • Help (including helping get Cam back on his trailer).
  • Control your dog (a dog that wants to go play with the decoys or charge the ducks as they are coming in will ruin the hunt).
  • Talk quietly, especially when ducks are coming into the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away).
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read Randy’s emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in the emails (and you would’ve known the answers if you had read the emails).
  • Return Randy’s phone calls and/or emails, if he asks you a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Let Randy know at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484 if you have any questions.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Randy Rowley hosts several self-chartered freshwater fishing trips on central Texas lakes within 100 miles of his home in Leander.  He primarily targets largemouth bass but can also go after crappie, white bass, hybrids/stripers, and catfish, so he recommends to bring at least one light rod/reel combo (for reel type, line, and lure recommendations see the bottom of this web page).

Do not expect limits on these fishing trips, as Randy has a full-time job, isn’t a guide, fishes on weekends or state of Texas holidays (usually), and fished on highly pressured lakes.  However, they often have some success, including:

Randy will fish either Lakes Travis, Bastrop, Fayette, Decker, Stillhouse Hollow, Belton, Lady Bird, Austin, Somerville, Buchanan, a river, such as the San Gabriel off of Lake Granger, or a creek, such as Yegua Creek off of Lake Somerville during the white bass run.  He can take up to two fishermen if fishing with lures (three if we’re fishing with live of dead bait or jigging with slabs).  Trips will usually be six to ten hours, counting travel time, unless the fish are biting well, in which case they may decide to fish later, or if they’re not biting well or at all, in which case they may decide to quit earlier.

They will fish out of Cam – Randy’s 20′ 3″ 2019 Excel Bay Pro 203 with a 115 HP Yamaha motor, an 80 lb. thrust trolling motor, and two fish finders (unless we’re fishing a river or creek during the white bass run, in which case they’ll be on foot).  Randy usually has at least one of these trips a month during non-duck hunting months (February through September), but will not guarantee a set number of times.

Decker and Bastrop have 14″ – 21″ slot limits, which allows you to keep up to five bass under 14″ or up to four bass under 14″ and one bass over 21″.  Any bass between 14″ – 21″ must be returned to the water.  The reason that the authorities have slot limits is those lakes are small and; therefore, can easily be depleted of bass.  Slot limits ensure that there will be a lot of 1 1/2 – 5 lb. bass for people to catch.  Fayette has a 16″ – 24″ slot limit for the same reason (any bass between 16″ – 24″ must be returned to the water).  Its slot limit ensures that there will be a lot of 2 – 7 lb. bass for people to catch.

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding Randy, if Cam is being used) will split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas), state or county park fees (if applicable), boat launch fees (if applicable), and toll road fees (if applicable).  Randy has to replace Cam’s batteries, trailer tires and wheel bearings, etc., and repair things like Cam’s trolling motor more quickly due to taking FCS members and guests on such trips than he would if didn’t take FCS members and guests on such trips, and pay boat and trailer insurance; therefore, he’s exempt from the above expenses.  If Randy isn’t bringing Cam, the expenses will be split evenly among the participants.
  • We might stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and will probably stop for brunch on the way home.
  • Fishermen can use artificial lures and/or buy live and/or dead bait.  The default is artificial lures.  Everyone in the boat must agree how we will fish before we get to the lake as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if Cam isn’t moving often, people who want to fish with live bait will become frustrated if Cam is moving (as movement will drown their bait), and people who want to fish with dead bait will also become frustrated if Cam is moving.

What to Bring:

  • Freshwater fishing license.
  • Rod & Reel combos (at least two in case you break one and no more than five).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for fishing with live and/or dead bait.
  • Tackle box, bag, or backpack.
  • Headlamp or cap light (waterproof is recommended).
  • Cap/hat (optional) and clothing appropriate for the season.  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in Cam to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional, but recommended)
  • Sunscreen (optional, but experts recommend it)
  • A fillet knife, knife sharpener, gallon-sized Ziploc bag, and a medium-sized hard or soft ice chest, if fish are kept (Randy usually returns largemouth bass to the water; there will be a large ice chest on Cam to put your drinks in and storage compartments to put your snacks in; leave your ice chest in your vehicle).
  • Water shoes or waders (if the water is cold) to help put Cam back on his trailer.

Randy has seven life jackets and three ponchos in Cam, so you won’t need either one.  However, you can bring your own if you want to.

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above and will happily loan things if you let him know that you would like to borrow something before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it I will expect reimbursement, including lures that were borrowed and lost or broken.

Expectations

These fishing trips are a service to FCS members and guests, but Randy will enforce the below expectations:

  • Follow Randy’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay your fair share of truck and boat gas and park entrance fees/boat launch fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including lures that you borrowed and broke or lost).
  • Help (including helping get Cam back on his trailer).
  • Be prepared to fish (if Randy or others must help you rig properly while on the boat, it takes away from their fishing time).  This does not apply to new fishermen.
  • Talk quietly (fish can hear you and will swim away from the noise).
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Read Randy’s emails and don’t ask questions that have already been answered in his emails (and you would have known the answers if you had read his emails).
  • Return Randy’s phone calls and/or emails, if he asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Let Randy know at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or at 512-922-2484 if you have any questions.

Lure recommendations for Bass

Topwaters – walk-the-dog zigzag lures like River2Sea’s Rover, Lucky Craft’s Sammy and Gunfish, Heddon’s Zara Spook and Zara Spook Jr., Xcalibur’s Spittin’ Image, and Rapala’s Skitter V; poppers like Heddon’s Chugger Spook and Hula Popper, Storm’s Rattlin’ Chug Bug, and Rebel’s Pop-R; torpedo lures like River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper and Heddon’s Baby Torpedo; and Buzz baits like Booyah’s Buzz Clacker.  Colors – bass, shad, chartreuse, bone, and clear.  For lakes with a lot of grass (such as Bastrop, Decker, and Fayette) you can add frog-colored soft plastic frogs such as River2Sea’s Phat Mat Daddy, Bully Wa II, and Spittin’ Wa, Lunkerhunt’s Lunker Frog, Strike King’s KVD Sexy Frogs, American Baitworks’ Scum Frog Bigfoot, Scum Dog, and Scum Frog Popper, and toad style baits such as Stanley’s Ribbits.

Lipless crankbaits – Rapala’s Rippin’ Rap and Rattlin’ Rapala, Xcalibur’s Xr75 or Xr50, Strike King’s Red Eye Shad, 6th Sense’s Quake 70, 80, and THUD and Snatch 70X, Berkley’s Warpig, BOOYAH’s One Knocker, Yo-Zuri’s Rattl’n Vibe and 3DB Vibe, and Bill Lewis’ Rat-L-Trap.  Colors – bass, shad, perch, red (best in spring), and chartreuse (best in the summer).

Crankbaits – Norman’s Deep Little N and Little N, Strike King’s Pro-Model 3XD and 3XD, Rapala’s DT-10, DT-8, DT-6, Scatter Rap, and Shad Rap, 6th Sense’s Crush 250 MD, Curve 55, and Cloud 9 C6 and C10, Bomber’s Flat A, 5A, and 6A, Bandit’s 100, 200 and 300 Series, and Storm’s Wiggle Wart.  Use the same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Deep diving crankbaits – Norman’s DD-22, Bomber’s Deep Fat Free Shad and Fat Free Shad, Strike King’s 5XD, 6XD, 8XD, and 10XD, and 6th Sense’s Cloud 9 C15, C20, and C25 and Crush 300DD and 500DD.  Use the same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Square bill crankbaits – River2Sea’s Biggy Poppa, Strike King’s KVD 2.5, Rapala’s Crankin’ Rap 03, Storm’s Arashi, Spro’s Little John, Zoom’s W.E.C. E-1, E-2 and E-3, Luck-E-Strike’s Rick Clunn RC2, 6th Sense’s Fishing Crush 50X and Cloud 9 Magnum Squarebill, Yo-Zuri’s 3DB, BOOYAH’s XCS Series, and Rebel’s Bluegill.  Use the same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Jerk baits (stick baits) – Bomber’s Long A, Rapala’s Husky Jerk and X-Rap, Smithwick’s Rattlin’ Rogue, and Storm’s Thunderstick.  Same colors as the crankbaits.

Spinnerbaits/chatterbaits (aka bladed swim jigs and vibrating jigs) – white, yellow, chartreuse, combo white/yellow or white/chartreuse, watermelon (green), red (in the spring), and black/blue or black/red when it’s dark or there is a heavy overcast.  I prefer spinnerbaits with two blades over one.  The type is not that important but I tend to prefer the Colorado blade, as they dive deeper.  Spinnerbait brands include River2Sea, Nichols, Strike King, BOOYAH, Terminator, and War Eagle.  Chatterbait brands include Z-man, Strike King, BOOYAH, and Terminator.  Spinnerbaits on steroids include Umbrella/Alabama rigs.

Slabs/spoons – 1/2 – 1 1/2 ounce in white, silver, chartreuse, or combos of those colors.  These are particularly good for white bass, hybrids, stripers along steep rocky ledges.

Soft plastics (usually will only attract largemouth bass – not whites, hybrids, or stripers) – Zoom’s finesse worms, flukes, crawdads, lizards, or baby brush hogs, Berkley’s power worms, crawdads, or lizards, Gary Yamamoto’s Senko and Swimming Senko worms, Yum Dinger’s worms, Big Bite worms and grubs, Grandebass’s rattlesnakes, and Blakemore’s Road Runner with grub tails.  Colors depend on the time of year and such things as if it’s overcast or sunny.  The general rule is darker colors work best when it’s overcast and during the winter.  Lighter colors work best in the fall, spring, and summer and when it’s sunny.  Some of Randy’s favorite colors include Green Pumpkin, Watermelon, Watermelon Red, June Bug, Red Bug, Red Shad, Motor Oil, Pumpkinseed, Dark Blue, and Camo.  Zoom’s Baby Brushhog in pumpkinseed is a good choice for Travis in the fall.  Lizards and crawdads in pumpkinseed are good in the spring.  Soft swimbaits are good in the grass.

Lure Recommendations for Crappie (also good for white bass)

Crappie jigs (1/16, 1/8, or 1/4 ounce and crappie grubs such as the Bobby Garland Mo’Glo (glow-in-the-dark) 2″ Baby Shad or Hyper Grub in Ghost Sparkle or Ghastly Minnow).

Spinners – Blakemore’s Road Runner (the grub version is preferred, 1/8 ounce in white, yellow, or chartreuse), Johnson’s Beetle Spin (1/8 or 1/4 ounce in white, yellow, or chartreuse), or inline spinners such as Mepp’s Aglia Ultra Lite spinner (1/18 ounce with a gold blade and yellow wool).

Line Recommendations for Bass Reels

Baitcasting reels

For topwater baitcasting reels use mono in 12 – 15 lb. test.  The exception is fishing with soft plastic frogs, in which case 50 – 65 lb. braid is the best (to cut through weeds, lily pads, etc.; braid also floats).

For crankbait/spinnerbait/chatterbait/jerk bait baitcasting reels use fluorocarbon in 12 – 15 lb. test.

For soft plastics, reels use fluorocarbon in 12 – 15 lb. test or braid in 30 – 50 lb. test (braid does not have the same thickness as fluorocarbon or mono – 40 lb. braid = 12 lb. fluorocarbon or mono).

Spinning reels

Spinning reels shine using light lures, which most baitcasting reels have trouble with.  Therefore, I recommend 8 – 10 lb. fluorocarbon or lighter.

Spincast reels

These are the least desirable reels for bass reels.  Most are cheaply made and will not last long if used regularly.  Generally, for most spincast reels you don’t want to use anything heavier than 10 lb. mono.

Line and Reel Recommendations for Crappie Reels

Spinning reels (preferred)

Use fluorocarbon or mono in 2 – 8 lb. test, the lighter the better.

Spincast reels (ultralights)

Use mono in 2 – 8 lb. test, the lighter the better.

Baitcasting reels

Don’t use.  They won’t be able to cast the light lines and lures that are required for crappie fishing.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Nov
29

Chartered Bay Fishing Trips

Posted by: | Comments (0)

FCS has at least an annual chartered bay fishing trip, usually in the spring or summer, usually out of Port O’Connor, and usually in conjunction with a self-chartered bay fishing trip.  The most that we have taken is 15 participants, which required three guides/boats.  We have caught speckled trout, redfish, black drum, and several non-game fish.

Here are pictures from some of our chartered bay fishing trips:

Costs:

  • If we have four fishermen on a boat the cost is $138 – $150 per person.  The guide(s) will supply the boat, rod and reel combos, landing nets, and a fish box.  They’ll clean the fish and bag them.  The price does not include bait (for some guides), shared gas, eating out on the way home, and an optional but highly recommended tip.  A 20% tip would be $28 – $30.  We recommend tipping based on the effort, not the results.
  • We’ll split the vehicle gas.  If we take a toll road, because we’re running late, we’ll split that fee.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.
  • Most guides clean the fish for you for an additional fee.  Or you can clean them yourself.
  • For lodging, see that section in the Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trip web page.

What to Bring:

  • Saltwater fishing license.
  • Clothing appropriate for the season (including a cap).  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your fish home in (if you get any; leave it in your vehicle).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Headlamp or cap light (optional)

The captains are required to have a life jacket for every passenger, so you won’t need one.

Expectations

These fishing trips are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the captain’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of vehicle gas.
  • Help when the captain asks you to.
  • Talk quietly – fish can hear you also and will swim away.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Don’t ask questions regarding information that has already been conveyed in the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails (and you would have known the answers if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s emails, phone calls, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

An RSVP and payment in full is required to Wayne Weilnau at txfalcon59@gmail.com or 512-589-4120.  Also contact Wayne if you have any questions.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Nov
29

Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trips

Posted by: | Comments (0)

FCS hosts self-chartered bay fishing trips, primarily to Port O’Connor (POC).

We’ve had many successful fishing trips but only one of our boat captains is a guide and three of them have full-time jobs and only fish on weekends, so don’t expect to always catch limits on these trips.

We primarily target redfish, black drum, and speckled trout but can also catch sheepshead, flounder, jack crevalle, sharks, rays, and a variety of non-game fish such as hardheads and lady fish, so be prepared.  For lure and line recommendations see the bottom of this page.

Here are pictures of some of our successes:

Boats can include Kevin McConnell’s, Randy Rowley’s, Daryl Shipper’s, and Wayne Weilnau’s bay boats, and possibly others.  Kevin, Randy, Daryl, and Wayne can take three hunters or fishermen on their boats in addition to them.  We fish from the boats, unless fishermen want to wade fish and the captain agrees.  In which case the captain’s will take the fishermen to the desired wade fishing spot(s), if possible (factoring in water level, the tide, etc.).

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding the captain) will split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas), a boat wash after the event (to wash the salt and mud off), state or county park fees (if applicable), boat slip fees (if applicable), boat launch fees (if applicable), and toll road fees (if applicable).  The captains have to replace their boat batteries, trailer tires, wheel bearings, etc., and repair things like their trolling motors more quickly due to taking FCS members and guests on such trips than they would if they didn’t take FCS members and guests on such trips; therefore, they are exempt from the above expenses.
  • For Corpus Christi, we’ll stay in an Airbnb house, townhouse, or a motel.
  • For Port O’Connor, Wayne Weilnau’s house can hold up to eight participants.  If we have more participants going than that, some will have to stay in Burl Fulenwider’s travel trailer, or at The Inn at Clark’s (a waterfront inn on the Intercoastal), an Airbnb house, or a motel.  We’ll take the maid cleaning fee to clean Wayne’s house, the RV park rental cost or The Inn at Clark’s/Airbnb’s/motel’s cost, an extra boat(s) slip fee and divide it by the participants (not counting Wayne and Burl).  If Wayne’s house is not available, all participants will stay in Burl’s travel trailer and/or The Inn at Clarks, an Airbnb house, or a motel.
  • Fishermen can use live and/or dead bait (and/or use artificial lures).  If so, the captain will buy the bait and Wayne will divide the cost among everyone.  Everyone in the boat must agree how they will fish before they go out as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if the boat isn’t moving often and people who want to fish with dead or live bait will become frustrated if the boat’s moving (as movement will drown live bait and get bait caught in rocks).  Typically, Kevin and Wayne fish primarily with artificials, but will also fish with live and dead bait if artificials aren’t getting results.  Daryl and Randy fish primarily with live and dead bait, but also with artificials.
  • We’ll eat out or get drive-through food.

What to Bring:

  • Saltwater fishing license.
  • Rod & Reel combos (at least two in case you break one; ask your captain what the maximum number is that you can bring – it’s usually no more than four).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for live and/or dead bait.
  • Tackle box, bag, or backpack.
  • Headlamp or cap light (waterproof is recommended).
  • Clothing appropriate for the season (including a cap).  You never know when it will rain, so bring rain gear.
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in the boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Sunglasses (optional, but highly recommended).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Waders (if you plan to do wade fishing; except during late spring, summer, and early fall trips; ask your captain if he plans to do any wade fishing).
  • A fillet knife, fillet board (recommended), and knife sharpener (recommended), four gallon-sized Ziploc bags (to be legal, you’ll need to have your fish in separate bags for separate days), and a medium-sized hard or soft ice chest to take your fish home in (if you get any; leave it in your vehicle or where we’re staying).

The captains are required to have a life jacket for every passenger, so you won’t need one.  However, you can bring your own if you want to.

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above (e.g., cap lights, rods and reels, lures, etc.) and will happily loan them if you let him know before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it he will expect reimbursement.

Expectations

These fishing trips are a service to FCS members and guests, but the Event Coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations:

  • Follow the captain’s instructions and abide by the FCS Bylaws Regarding Conduct.
  • Pay for your share of the truck and boat gas, motel rooms, boat launch, and bait (if used) fees.
  • Pay for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including lures that you borrowed and broke or lost).
  • Help (including helping get the boats back on the trailers).
  • Be prepared to fish (if others have to help you rig properly on the boat, it takes away from their fishing time).  This does not apply to new fishermen.
  • Talk quietly – fish can hear you also and will swim away.
  • Don’t be rude.  Examples of rude behavior include deciding to go get coffee after the boat has already launched and your partners are ready to fish, throwing a cast net from the boat while your partners are actively fishing, and fishing with too many rods out – which prevents your partners from fishing at all.  All of these examples have happened on FCS self-chartered bay fishing trips.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.3
  • Don’t ask questions regarding information that has already been conveyed in the Event Coordinator’s/leaders emails (and you would have known the answers if you had read the emails).
  • Return the Event Coordinator’s/leader’s emails, phone calls, and/or texts, if he or she asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

Let Wayne Weilnau know if you have any questions at txfalcon59@gmail.com or 512-589-4120.

Lure recommendations

Soft plastics – Egret Baits’ VuDu Shrimp and VuDu Vixen, Z-Man’s EZ Shrimpz, scented Jerk Shad, Paddler, and Pogy, Berkley’s Gulp Alive Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Shrimp, Swimming Mullet, Pogy, Ripple Mullets, Mud Minnow/coakers, Salt Strong’s Slam Shaddy, and Saltwater Jerk Shad, Zoom’s Salty Super Fluke, Norton Lures’ Sand Shad, Sand Eel, and Bull Minnow, and Bass Assassin’s BANG Die Dapper, Sea Shad, Saltwater Shad Assassin, and Saltwater Curly Tail Shad.

Soft plastics colors – salt and pepper (Bass Assassin calls it Salt and Pepper Silver Phantom), white/red, red/white, and Bass Assassin’s Chicken on a Chain (light green and white with black specks and a chartreuse tail).

Jig heads:

Spoons – Nacho Daddy Loaded Nachos, Johnson’s Silver Minnow and Gold Minnow, H&H Lure’s Secret Weedless Redfish Spoon, Strike King’s Sexy Spoon, and Nichols Lures’ Mojo Flutter Spoon.  1/2 – 1 ounce in gold or silver.  These are particularly good for redfish and speckled trout.  Redfish seem to prefer gold and trout seem to prefer silver.

Topwaters – walk the dog lures like Bomber’s Badonk-A-Donk, Heddon’s Zara Spook, Zara Spook Jr., and Chug’n Spook Jr., Rapala’s Saltwater Skitter Walk and Skitter V, MirrOlure’s Series III, Pro Dog Jr., or Top Dog Jr., and Yo-Zuri 3DB Topwater Pencil and 3-D Inshore Pencil; poppers like MirrOlure’s C-Eye Poppa Mullet Surface Popper and Heddon’s Chuggar Spook; and torpedo lures like River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper.  The last two lures don’t come with saltwater hooks, so be sure to rinse the hooks with freshwater after use in saltwater.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Lipless crankbaits/twitch baits – Bill Lewis’s Magnum Force, Mag-Trap, Knock-N-Trap, and Rat-L-Trap, MirrOlure’s MirrODine, MirrODine XL, Paul Brown’s Fat Boy, MirrOMinnow, MirrOMullett, Series III Catch 2000, 52 MR, She Dog, She Pup, Glad Shad, and XXL, and Rapala’s X-Rap Twitchin’ Minnow and Twitchin’ Mullet.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Crankbaits – Bill Lewis’s Echo and MirrOlure’s MirrOLip 1/2 oz Suspending Crankbait.  1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard jerk baits/swim baits – Yo-Zuri’s Pin’s Minnow Floating Swim Bait, Crystal 3-D Minnow, Crystal Minnow, 3DS 2-3/4 inch Suspending Minnow, Mag Minnow, and 3-D Inshore, Bomber’s Jointed Long A, Saltwater Grade Heavy Duty Long A, and Magnum Long A, and Cotton Cordell’s Red-Fin. 1/2 – 1 ounce.

Hard bait lure colors – white with red heads, silver with red heads, silver with black backs, silver with blue backs, silver with pink backs, gold with pink backs, bone, and chartreuse.

Rods & Reels, Lines, and Leaders – bass rods & reels work fine for bay fishing.  Just be sure to wash the reels with freshwater after every use (even if you don’t get them wet; especially if you fish from a boat as the spray coming over the deck will get saltwater on them).  Rods should be medium heavy or medium.  Reels should be equipped with 12 – 17 lb. test monofilament or fluorocarbon line or 30 lb. test braid.  If you use braid, be sure to tie on up to a 25 lb. mono or fluorocarbon leader, as braid is easy to cut.  For topwater lures use mono in 12 – 15 lb. test.  For diving lures use fluorocarbon in 14 – 17 lb. test or mono in 12 – 15 lb. test.

Hooks and Swivels – as to hook size, weights, etc., it depends on the fish you’re targeting and where you’re fishing.  If targeting slot redfish (20 – 28″), speckled trout, keeper black drum, flounder, etc., with live shrimp I’ll use a size 2/0 hook and a 1/8 or 1/4 oz. pinch weight or egg sinker above a size 2, 3, or 4 barrel swivel (tie about 18″ of line from the swivel to the hook).  If the current is preventing the shrimp from sinking, use a heavier weight.  The lighter the weight, the more action the shrimp will have.
If the bait stand is out of shrimp or if going after speckled trout exclusively (which is very rare), use either live croaker (and a 3/0 Mustad croaker hook) or piggy perch with a size 2/0 hook.  See above for weight recommendations.
If going after oversized drum (big uglies) or bull redfish (over 28″) with cut sardines, mullet, or 1/2 crab, I’ll use at least a 5/0 – 12/0 hook, as those fish are strong and will tear up lighter hooks.  Below is a picture of a heavy rig that Daryl Shipper came up with and directions for it and another one (a Carolina rig).  If you’re going to fish off of jetties use Daryl’s rig, as the golf ball keeps the weight out of the rocks (somewhat).  Use a one-ounce egg sinker up to 2 oz. (the brand doesn’t matter, as it’s just lead) inside of the golf ball (you’ll need to cut a 1/2″ slit in the ball (from a hole to another) and push the weight inside it.  You’ll also want to use 25 lb. mono or fluorocarbon as a leader, as those rocks will easily cut lines used for bass fishing.  Also, if you catch a ladyfish (aka baby tarpon or poor man’s tarpon) keep it.  They’re not good to eat, but they make good cut bait for big uglies, bull redfish, sharks, sting rays, etc.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Nov
01

Lake Conroe Duck Hunting and Fishing

Posted by: | Comments (0)

We are considering Thanksgiving in a VRBO on Lake Conroe.  Do you have any insights to the fishing and duck hunting there?

I’ve never been there.  Ragan Brock replied to an email that I sent out about the low water in our duck-hunting lakes on 9/5/23, “I grew up on Lake Conroe and though it does have public access I would suggest steering clear unless it’s the last possible resort!  Very low activity on that lake unless everything freezes over.

What I read on one of my duck hunting Facebook pages was that hunters concentrate on the north half of the lake, specifically above Hwy 1375.  There are coves and islands.  Launch at the Cage boat ramp or Stupefied Lake campground.

Here’s some fishing tips:

https://fishtips.com/body-of-water/lake-conroe-tx-fishing?utm_source=google_paid&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=lanier&gclid=CjwKCAjw7oeqBhBwEiwALyHLMzDtuVL6OZM0WWDbRpzEic3v9Bh4Lh2MdqQt117jOC69-I_6rGrt4hoCDrcQAvD_BwE

https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/recreational/lakes/conroe/

Lake Conroe Fishing: The Complete Guide for 2024

Lake Conroe Fishing Report: Essential Angler’s Guide

Lake Conroe Fishing Report: Essential Angler’s Guide

There are many more websites on Conroe if you do a Google search.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Oct
03

Guns for Sale

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Read More→

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

For baitcasters, I prefer reels with a 7.1:1 or so gear ratio (except for deep diving crankbaits – I’ll use around a 5.2:1 gear ratio) and medium or medium heavy 7′ or longer rods.  Through years of buying and replacing inexpensive rods and reels, I no longer recommend reels under $50 and rods under $50.

For reels in the $50 – $100 range, I recommend the Abu Garcia Revo X Low-Profile (I have four Revos and love them), Lew’s Classic Pro Speed Spool SLP CP1SHC (I have a Lew’s Speed Spool and love it), KastKing Crixus ArmorX, KastKing Valiant Eagle BFS, KastKing Spartacus II (I have a KastKing and like it), Ardent Apex Pro (I have an Ardent and like it), Shimano Caius (Shimano and the Caius have good reputations), Shimano SLX 150, Lew’s Speed Spool LFS 100, and Lew’s American Hero Speed Spool.

For rods in the above range, I recommend the Falcon BuCoo SR Series (I have one and love it), Falcon HD, Falcon Coastal XG, All Star Nano (I have one and love it), Lew’s TP1X, Lew’s Mach, Lew’s Hack Attack, Shimano GLF, Abu Garcia Vendetta, and Abu Garcia Veritas.  I used to like All Star Classics, but I’ve broken too many of them to recommend them.  The same applies to Castaways.

You can often get better deals by buying a rod & reel combo but look closely at them.  They often have good reels paired with cheap rods.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
28

Unsubscribe Options

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Please do not follow Google’s instructions on unsubscribing from a Google Group (distribution list), as you will be emailing the entire Google Group instead of just Randy Rowley.  Instead:

  • Reply to one of Randy’s emails and change the subject line to “Unsubscribe.”
  • Reply to one of Randy’s emails and type “Unsubscribe” in your reply message.
  • Send a new email to Randy at randywrowley@gmail.com with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.
Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
27

Duck Hunting

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Have you ever hunted Choke Canyon Reservoir?

No.  It’s 187 miles from my house, so I’d have to leave around 12:30 AM to get there in time to set up decoys.  It has a good reputation, but it also has a lot of gators, including big ones.  Therefore, it’s best not to hunt alone or bring our dog for November or early December hunts.

What decoys do I need for duck hunting?

The majority of the ducks that you’ll see and shoot on the Central Texas lakes are green-winged teal, gadwalls, wigeons, and redheads.  Pintails are a distant fifth place (but they’re good decoys to have as they’re highly visible).

Teal decoys really aren’t necessary, as teal will decoy to bigger decoys quite readily.  And redheads will decoy to pink decoys with purple polka dots – I’ve had them land close to me on afternoon hunts when I’m setting out decoys and on morning hunts when I’m picking decoys up.  So, I recommend starting out buying gadwalls and wigeons.

Scaups, shovelers (spoonbills), canvasbacks, buffleheads, mallards, and wood ducks are rarer.  It’s probably not worth buying decoys for them (except you often get 12 mallards per box, compared to six for the others).

As to brands, my Flambeau decoys have held up for more than 30 years and my Academy Game Winner Carvers Series decoys are holding up well.  My Greenhead Gear decoys aren’t holding up as well as my Flambeau’s.  I haven’t tried anything more expensive than Flambeau or Greenhead Gear.

I’ve done a lot of walk-in duck hunting up at Granger and the coast and have had a lot of trouble with hunters setting up on top of me.  Obviously, that’s public hunting at its finest.  Do you have any recommended walk-in areas where you’ve done well?

Granger – that’s a tough one, as the entire lake (except the parks) can be walked into, as it’s surrounded by Wildlife Management Areas (WMA’s).  However, the San Gabriel WMA gets less traffic than the Sore Finger and Willis Creek WMAs.  The problem there is if you go up the river you’ll be setting out your dekes where guys drive their boats.  I’d park at the end of CR 378 (Number 5 on https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/granger/Brochures/Granger%20Lake%20Map.pdf). Also see https://www.google.com/maps/@30.6860252,-97.4030205,14z?hl=en.  Granger gets a lot of traffic from Austin hunters.

The Coast – walking in at the coast is a whole lot tougher as the bottom can be really sticky.  I’ve seen walk-in hunters at Wilson’s Cut on Hwy 361 between Corpus Christi and Port A (about five miles north of Corpus Christi).

Here are other lakes that I’ve done walk-in hunts at:

Belton – tougher as there are only three WMA’s where you can walk in – Owl Creek WMA (very tough walking with lots of trees and vines to trip over if you come in from Grove Road – so come in from Owl Creek Park – https://www.google.com/maps/@31.2234113,-97.5270029,15z?hl=en), White Flint WMA (https://www.google.com/maps/@31.2337599,-97.4790235,15z?hl=en – the problem with this area is the water by shore can be too deep for your dekes; there’s a pond in that WMA that sometimes has water in it, but it’s surrounded by trees, which makes shooting challenging), and Iron Bridge WMA (https://www.google.com/maps/@31.304313,-97.4931195,15z?hl=en but you’ll have the same problem there as you will going up the San Gabriel on Granger – the river will be too skinny to set out decoys).  Also, Belton has some of the stickiest mud that I’ve ever encountered.  Belton gets a lot of traffic from Fort Hood hunters.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/belton/images/BELTON_LAKE_OVERALL_RECREATION_MAP.pdf for more details.

Stillhouse Hollow – Even tougher as there are only two WMA’s to walk in to – at the end of Union Grove Road in the Union Grove WMA – https://www.google.com/maps/@31.0117237,-97.5982209,16z?hl=en and south and west of Cedar Gap Park (https://www.google.com/maps/@31.016002,-97.6527159,15z?hl=en – it’s a long walk to get to huntable areas and if you go up the river in a boat you’ll run into the same problem that you’ll find going up the San Gabriel on Granger or in the Iron Bridge WMA on Belton – you’ll be putting your dekes out where guys will come through with their boats).  The point to the north in the Union Grove WMA is a good spot, but if you want to get away from the other hunters, head east.  Stillhouse gets a lot of traffic from Fort Hood hunters.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/stillhouse/images/STILLHOUSE_HOLLOW_OVERALL_RECREATION_MAP.pdf for more details.

Somerville – the toughest as there is only one day hunt area to walk in to – the “cup bottom” to the east of the end of Iron Bridge Rd. (https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2901251,-96.6281178,16z?hl=en).  The shortest walk involves parking at the end of Iron Bridge Rd. and heading east.  Be aware that it’s almost as thick there as it is at the Owl Creek WMA, so skirt the shore if you can.  You can also park at the end of Frischer Rd., but it’s a longer walk to get to the “cup bottom” to the west (see https://www.google.com/maps/@30.2898657,-96.619685,16z?hl=en).  Somerville gets a lot of traffic from College Station hunters.  See https://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/somerville/Information/Waterfowl%20Hunting%20Lake%20Map.pdf for more details.

As to how I’ve done:

  • Granger – three good walk-in hunts in the San Gabriel WMA.
  • Stillhouse Hollow – one good walk-in hunt in the Union Grove WMA.
  • Belton and Somerville – no good walk-in hunts.  In fact, for Belton, I’ve had no good hunts via boat either and for Somerville, I’ve had one good hunt via boat (it was in the walk-in area before I knew that you had to hunt from shore in that area).

So, I’d focus on Granger and Stillhouse Hollow for walk-in hunts.

You must possess the Annual Public Hunting Permit to hunt Granger.  The other three do not require it (unless you go into the boats-only section of Somerville (with a boat) that is leased by the TPWD).  Here is the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Fort Worth District Hunting Guide.

Where can I go for a walk-in self-guided duck hunt?

All the below walk-in hunts are 1/2 – 1 mile so travel light (gun, a couple of boxes of shells, calls, a stool or bucket, and a strand of decoys).  Hopefully, you’ll be carrying back dead ducks on the way back, so your return trip will be harder.  I once went with a friend on Granger where we each carried the above plus a Mojo each and an extra strand of decoys.  We were worn out when we were done.

For all of these hunts, it’s a good idea to go to the DU migration map to see how hunters have been fairing at a particular lake.  But realize that some hunters are deliberately deceitful.  For example, Granger might be their pet lake and they’ll make a post saying that all that they’re seeing on Granger is cormorants (when they’re really doing well), just to keep other hunters away.  So, it usually takes more than one report to sway me.

Your best bet for a walk-in hunt is probably Lake Stillhouse Hollow, near Salado.  I’ve walked in at the end of Union Grove Rd. in the Union Grove WMA (it’s the only road in the WMA).  When you get to the water either go left (preferably) or right.  Look for other hunter’s headlamps and set up at least 200 yards from them.  Stillhouse’s water level can vary considerably (as with all these lakes).  See http://www.lakelevels.info/USA/Texas/.  So, the cover that is normally at the shore’s edge might be inland or underwater.  A good thing about Stillhouse is it does not require the TPWD Public Hunting Permit, nor does it require a US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit.

Lake Somerville, near Somerville, has a USACE Day Hunt Area that does not require a TPWD Public Hunting Permit, nor does it require a USACE permit.   It is the bottom of a cup-shaped area on the opposite side of the lake from Birch Creek Park.  Most guys set up to the left side of the cup.  I recommend that you park at the end of Fisher Rd.  There is a good trail, but there are lots of vines and stuff to trip on.  Don’t park at the end of Iron Bridge Rd. and go to the right.  It’s a very tough walk and I poked about 10 holes in my waders the only time that I did it.

For Lake Granger, near Granger, I’ve walked in at #2 before.  It’s across from the Doppler Radar station.  It’s a fairly easy walk, going slightly downhill until you get close to the water.  Then it gets thick with trees and bushes.  Going back is tougher as it’s slightly uphill.  We’ve gone straight down to the cove below #2.  We’ve also gone to the cove on the right, which is a shorter walk.  We’ve also walked in at #6 straight down to the cove/San Gabriel River.  The bad news is I haven’t seen any good reports this season for Granger on the DU migration map.  Granger does not require a USACE lake hunting permit.  However, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) leases Granger’s WMA’s; consequently, a TPWD Public Hunting Permit is required.  The cost is $48/year.

I’ve walked in before at Owl Creek WMA on Lake Belton, near Temple, and do not recommend it.  It was a very tough walk through a lot of trees, bushes, and vines that love to trip you in the dark.  I’ve also walked in at White Flint WMA.  It was a long walk as well, but not nearly as tough as Owl Creek.  A problem with Belton is the shoreline can have very sticky mud.  I’ve sunk down to my knees before.  Fortunately, I had a young, much lighter, man with me or I would have never made it 30 yards out in the water to put out the decoys.  The good thing about Belton is it does not require the TPWD Public Hunting Permit, nor does it require a USACE permit.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

You can start an FCS chapter in your neck of the woods.  Our bylaws state: “V. Chapters:

A.  A minimum of two supporting FCS members are needed to start a Chapter.  These two supporting FCS members must serve as officers for their local Chapter (one as Chapter president and one as Chapter vice president).  Additional approved Chapter officer positions include Chapter treasurer, Chapter secretary, and Chapter Chaplin.  All Chapter officers must also be supporting FCS members.

B.  Each chapter will be governed by the FCS Bylaws and Statement of Faith.  Chapters may organize their own meetings and events and maintain their own funds.  Chapters can add their own bylaws and statement of faith, as long as they do not conflict with the FCS bylaws and statement of faith.

C.  Officers can vote in chapter officer elections for their chapter only.

There will be challenges for us to support chapters that are far away.  They will not be insurmountable, but they will exist.  However, they can be overcome with tools such as Zoom.

Spell out everything that you can think of so there are no surprises.  Our FAQs, About UsHistoryMembership InfoLiability Waiver, and Sportsmen’s Links pages, in particular, may be of help to you in making decisions.  The Sportsmen’s Links page first lists Christian Sportsmen’s Links.  It will probably benefit you to see how other Christian hunting and fishing clubs other than us do things.

You’ll need money to pay for chapter expenses.  Your basic choices are to require chapter membership dues, to meet expenses by donations, or a combination of the two.

Interest polls, properly worded, they can tell you what your members are interested in doing and what they’re not interested in doing.

A website is a great way to promote your club.  Emphasize what is coming up and what you’ve done. Make it user friendly.  We use www.siteground.com and the WordPress blog program.

It’s better to start with a few events.  Promote them frequently and plan them well.  After you have a few successful events under your belt word will spread and there will be a demand to add more events to your calendar.

Our annual events typically include a Chartered Bay Fishing Trip, a Chartered Hybrid/Striped/White Bass Fishing Trip, a Family Celebration Banquet, a Guided Upland Bird (chukar, pheasant, and quail) Hunt, a Ministry Event (Wild Game Dinner), a Semi-guided Hog Hunt, FCS Meetings/Dinners, FCS Sporting Clays Shoots, Guided Inland Waterfowl (duck, goose, sandhill crane, and teal) Hunts, Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trips, Self-chartered Freshwater Fishing Trips, Self-guided/chartered Blasts and Casts (Duck Hunts and Bay Fishing Trips), Self-guided Duck and Teal Hunts, and Semi-guided Dove Hunts, but it would be foolish for a new club to try to implement that many events.

What you do will be determined largely by your target participants and you’re available time and energy.  If you’re going to target adults you’ll have the widest range of options.

Catering to kids will limit what you can do.  Historically, the FCS events kids have received the most enjoyment from are chartered bay fishing trips, chartered hybrid/striped/white bass fishing trips, guided upland bird hunts, semi-guided deer hunts, semi-guided hog hunts, sporting clays shoots, and semi-guided dove hunts.  Most chartered fishing trips require no experience or equipment.  Deer and hog hunts require a weapon of choice and ammo, at a minimum, and upland bird hunts and dove hunts require guns, shells, and an orange vest/cap for the upland bird hunts, at a minimum.  Not a lot happens during deer and hog hunts, until a deer or pig comes out, so shy away from them if you’ll have first time kid hunters.  Duck hunts aren’t a good option for kids, as in addition to guns and shells they’ll need waders, which aren’t easy to find in kids’ sizes.  In addition, duck hunters have to get up at dark-thirty.  Also, deer and waterfowl hunts are also often cold, with the latter also being wet.  Many kids have trouble handling both, especially if they’re not seeing deer or ducks.  Banquets, meetings/dinners, and ministry events probably wouldn’t interest most kids.

As far as expenses go, sporting clays shoots are the cheapest, followed by semi-guided dove hunts, chartered hybrid/striped/white bass fishing trips, chartered bay fishing trips, semi-guided hog hunts, guided upland bird hunts, and semi-guided deer hunts.

We rarely do great on our self-chartered/guided events, so shy away from having only them and not also having chartered/guided events.

Don’t do as Moses did and try to do everything yourself.  If you do, you WILL burn out. Recruit people who you know and trust to be your officers.  Give them clear job expectations and follow up to ensure that they are doing their jobs.  Two hard-working involved officers are better than ten uninvolved ones.

Have prayer and devotionals at as many events as prudent.  Try to keep the devotionals to 15 minutes and under.  If you go longer than that you will lose many in your audience.  Perhaps it’s because our meetings start at 7:00 PM and people are tired from long days at work.  Or perhaps people have been overloaded with meetings and their brains can’t accept another one that late.  This will be true no matter where in the country a meeting is being held.

The following is by Jeremy Harrill with www.GoMission.net – Eight Truths They Don’t Tell You About Being An Outdoor Ministry Leader:

When ministry is done right, you’ll see God transform the lives of men around you.  Unfortunately we’re often told only about the “warm and fuzzy” side of ministry.  Negative happens, and if you let it blind-side you, it could take you out of the game entirely.  Here’s some brutal truths I’ve learned over the years.

The Biggest Disappointment In Ministry Is: Disappointment.  Why?  Because people are flawed, imperfect works in progress.  People will disappoint you.  And guess what, you will disappoint people too!  Show some grace, because you’ll want people to show you grace at some point, too.

Ministry Is Messy.  People often times only see the cool stuff (the camo, the hunting and fishing trips, the shirts with the ministry logo, big-burly dudes who would never step foot in a church accepting Christ at one of your events, etc.).  The real truth is that ministry is dirty and even nasty sometimes.  So don’t expect it to be easy.  You will have to deal with problems and there will be conflict.  Ministry is about pouring into people – often at the darkest times in their life.

Success Takes Time.  Ministry isn’t immune to life in a world of instant gratification.  We want to launch the ministry on Friday and have the Wild Game dinner or Outdoorsman Bible Study the next week.  Relationships take time, especially with men, so don’t expect it to take root overnight.  You cannot microwave relationships.  Be patient and well planned.

You Cannot Do It Alone.  Repeat this over and over again to yourself.  If you go it alone, you’ll kill the very movement you started.

It’s A Calling.  If it’s not – you will give up at the first sign of trouble.  Check out Jason Cruise’s MissionU piece for greater depth on the power of the call.

Numbers Do Not Tell Your Story.  Success is not measured by a number.  We are infatuated with “the numbers” in our society, especially in churches.  You hear it all the time at church: How many were there?  How many accepted Christ?  How much money did we raise?  Recently, a guy who was starting a Bible study for outdoorsmen say to me, “I only have 8 guys coming to the study.”  He sounded like he was giving up.  Never forget that Jesus started with 2: Simon and Andrew.  Don’t judge the ministry by a number.  If you have 3, then that’s 3 families that reap the benefits of a husband and father who comes home changed by interaction with the living God.

Expect Opposition.  In fact, if you aren’t getting any pushback at all, then something isn’t right.

Ministry Is Never About You.  It might sound harsh, but it’s true. It’s Gods ministry.  Let Him work through you.  Many who start outdoor ministry think it will open the door for more hunting opportunities.  Honestly, I think I hunt less than I did before all of this started.  John Maxwell said, “We impress people at a distance, we impact them up close.”  We’re in this business to impact people with the life-changing message of Christ, not to impress people.  That means getting in the pit with guys when they are struggling and doing life with them regularly.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

FCS is a small (360+ member, but only 105 members who are current in their dues, as of the end of 2022) hunting, fishing, and sports shooting club.  We do not have, nor have we ever had, paid positions or internships and do not anticipate that will ever change.  Our officers are all volunteers.  We recommend that you contact the following for possible paid positions or internships:  Christian Bowhunters of America (44 chapters) and Legacy Outfitters (15 chapters).  For other Christian organizations that you might explore check out our Christian Sportsmen’s Clubs and Organizations Link web page.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Randy Rowley, FCS president, is flattered that many of you want him to attend a specific event.  FCS events are the heart and soul of FCS and they, along with spending time with his wife, kids, grandkids, and mom are his top priorities.

Since 1991, when he became FCS president, he has attended almost 60% of FCS events.  For example, in 2019 he attended 44 out of 76 events.  With that many events, we have a few dates where more than one FCS event will occur at the same time.  Like you, it is impossible for him to be in two places at once.  Also, like most of you, he simply cannot afford to attend all of our more costly events, as his piggy bank only holds so much.  That means that he has to prioritize.

Furthermore, he attempts to take as many people as possible who are on his duck hunts and freshwater fishing trips.  If he has a duck hunt or bass fishing trip planned on the same date as another FCS event he will always attend the duck hunt or bass fishing trip because the only way that those events will happen is for him to be there (they can’t go in his boat without him).

From October through January he will be deer or duck hunting just about every weekend.  This means that there is no room for sporting clays shoots in his schedule for those months.  Hunting is his first love and he makes no apology for it.  So, if there is another event that is on the same day as a hunt guess which one will win.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
25

How do I renew my FCS membership?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

See How to Renew.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
25

What do I need to do to join FCS?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

See How to Join.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

FCS supporting members are active in their membership dues.  Supporting FCS members have the following rights:

  • Make amendment proposals to the FCS Bylaws, Statement of Faith, Annual Calendar of Events, and/or Annual Fiscal Year Budget;
  • Participate in all supporting FCS member discussions and votes; and
  • Check out (borrow) FCS equipment items, videos, and books.

Supporting FCS members will have their articles, classified ads, hunting and fishing stories, jokes, links, members’ profiles, pictures, poems, product and service reviews and recommendations, recipes, safety tips, and useful information for sportsmen submissions posted on the FCS website.  All FCS members will have their devotionals, praises, and prayer requests submissions posted on the FCS website.  FCS members who are presently not supporting the Club do not have the rights that supporting FCS members have.  All FCS members can purchase FCS Gear at any time.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Simply ask Randy Rowley to add you at randywrowley@gmail.com.  You can unsubscribe at any time.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
25

Who can buy FCS Gear?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Anyone can buy FCS Gear at any time.  FCS Gear can be mailed to your address or are available at Club Meetings and many other FCS events.  For all FCS Gear purchases except the Magellan Fishing Shirts (the details are explained on the FCS Gear web page) please make your check out to “FCS” and mail it to Randy Rowley, FCS President, at 1007 Oak Hollow Dr., Leander, TX 78641 along with your order.  Please do not send cash.  If you would like to have an item(s) shipped to you please indicate the address that you would like it (them) shipped to and include in your check enough money to cover the cost of postage and a large envelope (see the FCS Gear web page for specific postage and envelope amounts).

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

FCS is not a political organization.  Politics does nothing to further our primary purpose “to encourage Christian fellowship opportunities for people who like to hunt, shoot, and fish” and only accomplishes division.  When we distributed something political, including political jokes, people sometimes became offended.  We lost a member, came extremely close to losing another member, lost a guest who probably would have joined, and have had a lot of heated words exchanged over politics.  Therefore, on 10/27/05, the active Club members approved added to our Bylaws that FCS is a “non-political” organization.

However, our purpose and Bylaws do not prevent us from encouraging everyone to vote for pro-gun/pro-hunting candidates.  We just won’t name a particular candidate or party.  Nor do they prevent us from letting our members and potential members know of political attacks on hunting, fishing, and guns (if we did not possess guns our opportunities to hunt would be very limited and we would no longer be able to shoot clay or other targets).  Call it self-preservation.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

FCS invites articles, classified ads, hunting and fishing stories, members’ profiles, product and service reviews and recommendations, and safety tips from supporting FCS members.  We invite devotionals, praises, and prayer requests submissions from all FCS members.  We reserve the right to edit and refuse to post material.  Submissions from prospective FCS members (men and women who are not FCS members) will not be posted on the FCS website.

FCS can only use original submissions unless the author’s work is not copyrighted.  No material on our website may be reproduced in print or electronically without Randy Rowley’s written or electronic permission.  FCS members can email their requests/documents to Randy at randywrowley@gmail.com.  For classified ads, include a lot of details and submit pictures (a picture is worth a thousand words).  Please research your used item on https://www.ebay.com/ or http://austin.craigslist.org/ (for general items) and www.gunbroker.com, www.gunsamerican.com, or www.texasguntrader.com (for guns and accessories) and find out what the going rate is.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
25

Is FCS affiliated with a church?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

No.  We assist local churches by providing Christian fellowship and reaching sportsmen who won’t darken the door of a church.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Romans 13:1-5 exhorts us to “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.  Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority?  Then do what is right and you will be commended.  For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good.  But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason.  They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.  Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.”

Christianity and obeying laws, including game laws, go hand and hand.  When we break a game law we’re rebelling against God.  A Christian club that is lax on game laws is a dishonor to God and a poor witness.  Therefore, we expect all game laws to be followed on FCS events in full.  Hunters and fishermen who deliberately and flagrantly break game laws will be asked to leave the FCS event that they are on and will be reported to the game warden.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Supporting FCS members can email their requests to Randy Rowley FCS president at randywrowley@gmail.com for consideration.  Reasons for refusal to post include but are not limited to, not having an FCS member who is willing to lead the event and lack of interest in some aspect of the event.  For example, our self-guided hog hunts have been popular and well attended.  However, if a supporting member wants Randy to put a muzzleloader-only self-guided hog hunt on the FCS calendar he would post it as an Any-weapon self-guided hog hunt because to his knowledge only a couple of men in the Club own muzzleloaders.

Agreeing to post an event also depends on the difficulty in planning the event.  For example, if a supporting member wants Randy to put a mule deer hunt in the Panhandle on the calendar then Randy will have to plan the trip (big game hunts are his responsibility).  As he’s never gone on a mule deer hunt it would require extensive planning.  He’ll then have to weigh whether it would be worth 40 or more hours of his already very limited time to plan a trip that probably no more than four guys would go on.  The best way to ensure that an event is placed on the calendar is to also state that you will plan, coordinate, and lead the event.

In order for an event to happen an FCS member must lead it.  If only one FCS member attends he or she must lead the event (a guest cannot lead an event).

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
25

Does FCS go on day deer hunts?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

FCS rarely goes on day deer hunts.  As a lot of day leases are over hunted,  Randy Rowley, as he’s in charge of big game hunts, only arranges day deer hunts with people that he knows (and who let him know that they’re willing to let FCS hunters hunt on their land).  Since 1988, we’ve only had five semi-guided day deer hunts.

Most of our deer hunters are either on season or year-round leases, so they’re not interested in also going on day deer hunts.  They’ve invested a lot of money in stands, feeders, corn, and maintaining their lease, so they have no interest in paying to hunt a place somewhere else that has worse odds (because they’re over hunted) than the places that they’re season or year-round leasing.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

We have discussed having a Club lease and even buying property on more than one occasion, but the obstacles have always been insurmountable, including lack of funds, how to handle land or lease payments, what to do if a member wants to sell his share of the land or lease, maintaining the property, how to handle guests and other rules that will need to be developed and enforced, and the need for at least a part-time lease manager.  Every time that we have discussed it we simply have not had enough members willing to pay the kind of money that was involved.  We are predominantly a bird hunting club – probably less than 30 of our members are on deer leases.  We’ve also always focused on low cost events, as the vast majority of our members are on a tight budget.

Other factors that we’d have to tackle are whether we’d make a lease (if we found one) the Club, where, for example, $2,500 gets you in the Club, with extra events that the lease members get to do (e.g., bird hunts, fishing trips, sporting clays shoots, etc.).  If that’s the route we’d have taken, we’d have been a very small club.  We have had and continue to have Club members join leases together but that is far from a Club lease, where any member could hunt at the lease.  Presently, the Club officers are not interested in fundamentally changing our membership requirements and focus.  Consequently, when we deer hunt at ranches or with guides the hunts are day hunts.

Another option is to contact the Austin Woods and Waters Club.  They’re even older than us and focus on higher-end events (e.g., trips to Africa, Alaska, Costa Rica, etc.).  They might have a Club lease that members are allowed to join; however, if they do they don’t advertise it on their website.

For 2019 – 2023 FCS has had an “FCS members-only” dove lease near Bartlett.  The cost is $250 for both halves of the season.

If you are looking for a year-round, season, or day lease, here are five websites that advertise leases (they aren’t limited to just deer):

And here are six Facebook Groups that advertise leases (you have to join the groups; they aren’t limited to just deer):
  • Texas Hunting & Deer Leases
  • Texas Hunting and Deer Leases (they ripped off the first site’s name)
  • Texas Hunting Leases and Day Hunts
  • Texas Hunting Leases and Outfitters
  • Texas Hunting Guides & Outfitters
  • Texas Cheap Hunts and Fishing (this site tends to focus on day hunts)
Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Since 1991 FCS has used a variety of officers to perform the work of the club.  The most that we have had serving at one time is ten and the fewest that we have had was three.  Although Randy Rowley, FCS president, has had and continues to have the most communication with current and future club members by far, our vice presidents and event coordinators also communicate to our members/guests on occasion.

While Randy is flattered that some people think that he should be doing all the communication, the reality is that is not possible for an organization of our size that is run by unpaid volunteers.  Back in 1991, we had the wisdom to develop different jobs because we recognized that one man could not do it all.  This is true now more than ever with over 70 events on our calendar for 2023 and over 360 members.

It is Randy’s goal to continue spreading the work of the club out over more and more people so if he gets hit by a bus the club will continue without a hitch.  Therefore, you will continue to hear from officers other than Randy.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Many outfitters and guides do what they do for a living.  When they book with a party they are possibly turning down other hunters or fishermen who want to hunt or fish on the same day.  To ensure that the party actually does show up, many outfitters and guides require not only an RSVP but also partial or full payment in advance.

Outfitters also will hire/schedule guides based on the size of the party.  For example, if we tell an outfitter that we will have eight duck hunters, for example, he will probably split the group between two guides.  But if two don’t show up then he’s out money because he could have had one guide handle the group of six.  Consequently, many outfitters will charge you for exactly the number of hunters you promised them.  If you tell them that you will have eight hunters and only six show up then they will still charge you for eight.

We have had this happen at least four times and it will happen no more.  So even if the land owner, outfitter, or guide doesn’t require a deposit we require the charter or guide fee to be paid in full as protection for those who do show up (so they don’t have to pay for the spot of someone who canceled at the last minute or didn’t show up).  Fishermen and hunters who do not pay the charter or guide fee by the due date will be removed from the list of people who RSVPed for the trip.  We realize that this might sound harsh, but irresponsible and inconsiderate behavior on the part of a few people has forced us to have to implement this policy.

We realize that not everyone agrees with this philosophy.  That’s fine.  We’ll be happy to give you the land owner(s), outfitter(s), or guide(s) name and contact information and you can schedule your own trip with him or her.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

We try to find a balance between expensive and inexpensive events.  Through years of experience, we have learned that inexpensive hunting and fishing trips often result in poor harvests (you get what you pay for) and in frustrated participants who will not return.  We prefer to pay a standard landowner/outfitter/guide rate to have a better chance of success.  Additional expenses often include tips for guides, game cleaning fees (for those who wish to have their game cleaned), motel rooms, gas, and food.  But we also understand that not everyone can afford expensive events; therefore, we offer events with minimal costs.  At many events we are able to cut expenses by carpooling, sharing motel rooms, camping, and cooking out.

Many of our events are very affordable. The only required expense for our self-guided hog hunts is each hunter must bring corn to replenish the corn that the landowner threw out for him and shared gas and food.  Our self-chartered freshwater fishing trips usually only involve shared gas, a shared boat launch fee, and eating out one or two meals.  Our self-chartered bay fishing trips usually involve only shared gas, shared bait, and eating out.  Our self-guided duck hunts usually involve only shared gas and food and eating out one or two meals.  The cost for meetings is an optional meal fee (between $5.00 – $20.00, depending on what we’re cooking).  A round of sporting clays goes for $27.06.  Dove hunts cost $60.00 a day and up.

Our chartered bay and bass fishing trips, guided goose/duck/crane hunts, guided upland bird hunts, and semi-guided deer and hog hunts are held with reputable and experienced landowners, outfitters, and guides.  These events are more expensive but we do a lot of research to find the best deals for our bucks.  However, be aware that we do not offer a guaranteed harvest for any of the hunting or fishing trips that we book.

We are aware that expensive events usually are less well attended, but we are also aware that inexpensive events may be well attended one year but few people will attend them again because the results are often poor.

Hunting and fishing have become big business in Texas and across the country.  For example, years ago many farmers and ranchers would pay to have hunters remove hogs from their property.  Now most farmers and ranchers charge around $200/weekend for hunters to hunt their pigs.  Some even charge by the pound or the length of the tusk!  For the most part, the days of shooting a trophy animal for free are long gone.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
25

Why doesn’t FCS focus on children?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Our focus is, and has always been, on adults (hence the name – ‘Sportsmen’).  We encourage members and guests to bring their children, other minor relatives, and other minors who are not related to them to FCS events, as long as they supervise them.  However, our focus is on adults who can pay their own way.  We have a ministry fund that is based solely on donations.  Our ability to pay a child’s sporting clays fee, for example, is limited.  Our ministry fund has paid for groups of children to shoot clay targets four times.  If the donations dry up, so does our ability to offer to pay for a child to shoot.  We have done shoots with two churches (one twice) and Kids Outdoor Zone (KOZ).  We also have helped Operations Orphans and Cross Trail Outfitters with donations of clothing, ammo, money, etc.  The above organizations, along with Hunt with Heart, all focus on children.  If you’re wanting to be involved in a Christian ministry that focuses on children, we encourage you to consider becoming involved with one or more of them.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Absolutely, if space allows.  Your spouse does not have to be an FCS member to participate in events; however, the Event Hierarchy (pecking order) applies.  Therefore, if a supporting member and your spouse or child want the last available spot for an event, the supporting member will get it.

We are very family-friendly.  Most of our events are designed to maximize fellowship.  Sporting clays shoots, dove hunts, meetings, banquets, and ministry events are excellent events to take families to.  Our sporting clays shoots are great events for men, women, and children to learn how to shoot or to improve their skills.  For hunts, we try to pair new hunters up with veterans so that the veterans can assist the newbies.  Guided deer/hog hunts, goose/duck/crane hunts, upland game bird hunts, and chartered bay and bass fishing trips are less family-friendly due to space limitations and gear requirements.  Also, some outfitters and guides charge a ‘spectator fee.’  If you bring a child please closely supervise them for their safety and the safety of others.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

No.  Many FCS members and guests have extra equipment and would be happy to loan it to another member or guest with adequate notice and if it is available.  All events on our Calendar have an event coordinator listed.  Contact him or her if you need to borrow equipment.  Of course, equipment must be returned clean and in good working order.  If you break or lose something that you borrowed you must repair or replace it.  Also, only one shooter shoots at a time at our sporting clays and skeet shoots, so it is not necessary for everyone to have a shotgun (one shotgun will work for an entire squad).  However, for some events, such as dove hunting, each hunter will need a shotgun.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

No.  We have all types of sportsmen at FCS events, from novices to veterans.  We delight in teaching others what we know.  However, some events require a certain amount of familiarity with techniques in order to be successful.  For example, it would be better for someone who has never shot to learn how to hit clay targets before trying his hand at dove hunting.  It would also be better for a novice fisherman to learn how to plastic worm fish before signing up for a guided bay fishing trip where the bait will be croakers and/or piggy perch (which have a bite similar to a bass hitting a plastic worm).

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

No; however, participation is encouraged.  The more that a person participates the more likely it is that he or she will feel that he or she is a part of the organization.  It is also more likely that he or she will develop friendships.  It’s a totally different thing to shoot sporting clays with a bunch of strangers than it is to shoot with a bunch of friends, for example.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

No.  Anyone can attend FCS events.  However, people who will attend an event that is potentially hazardous must sign a Release of Liability Waiver before participating.  Anyone is welcome to join FCS providing that he or she has expressed a desire to be a member by completing an FCS Adult Membership Application and paid a membership due.  The primary reason that we have membership dues is to share expenses.  These include liability insurance, web hosting, our domain name, photocopying, postage, DVD purchases, miscellaneous office supplies, filling up the FCS propane tank, etc.  Membership also instills a sense of belonging and commitment.  We appreciate it when people join the Club and when members renew their memberships.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
25

What types of events does FCS host?

Posted by: | Comments (0)

FCS hosts dozens of quality and affordable family events year-round throughout the state.  Examples of frequently hosted events include:

  • 24-hour Sporting Clays Shoots
  • Chartered Bay Fishing Trips
  • Chartered Hybrid, Striped, and White Bass Fishing Trips
  • Chartered Largemouth Bass Fishing Trips
  • Family Celebration Banquets
  • FCS Meetings/Dinners
  • FCS Officers Meetings
  • FCS Sporting Clays Shoots
  • Guided Upland Bird (chukar, pheasant, and quail) Hunts
  • Guided Waterfowl (duck and teal) Hunts
  • Ministry Events (dinners)
  • Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trips
  • Self-chartered Freshwater Fishing Trips
  • Self-guided/chartered Blasts and Casts (duck hunts and fishing trips)
  • Self-guided Inland Duck and Teal Hunts
  • Semi-guided Dove Hunts
  • Semi-guided Hog Hunts
  • Sporting Clays Tournaments
  • Student Sporting Clays Shoots

We have hosted many other events, including:

  • 5-stand, Flurry, Skeet, Trap, and Wobble Trap Shoots
  • A Dart (archery) Shoot
  • A Self-guided Varmint (bobcats and coyotes) Hunt
  • A Semi-guided Hog and Sheep Hunt
  • A Texas Hunter Education course
  • A Turkey Shoot (shooting at clay targets – winners were awarded with frozen turkeys)
  • Camping Trips
  • Chartered and Self-chartered Deep-Sea Fishing Trips
  • Guided Goose Hunts
  • Guided Sandhill Cranes Hunts
  • Hunting and Gathering (shopping) Trips
  • Kayaking and Canoeing Trips
  • Laser Tag Games
  • License to Carry (LTC) Classes
  • Nights at the Races (car)
  • Promotions
  • Self-guided Hog Hunts
  • Self-guided Rabbit Hunts
  • Self-guided Sheep Hunts
  • Semi-guided Deer Hunts
  • Shooting (handgun) Classes
  • Shooting Range Shoots
Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

We are a Christian club because our purpose is:

  • To offer fellowship opportunities for people to experience hunting, fishing, and sport shooting.
  • To encourage people to establish and maintain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • To encourage people to serve God and others.
  • To encourage people to fellowship in a local body of believers that teaches the Bible.

There are many clubs/organizations that focus on a particular animal or cause (e.g., Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, The National Wild Turkey Federation, The NRA, etc.). We choose to focus on hunting, fishing, shooting, and similar activities in a Christian atmosphere. We are not ashamed of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ and that we are his disciples. We are not going to attempt to hide who we are just because it might offend some who are perishing (destined for hell because they do not belong to Jesus) or Christians who are ashamed to let people know that they belong to Jesus. On 1/19/09, the officers unanimously agreed that we should be up-front about who we are and that sportsmen who are put off by our name would also be put off by the things that we do (hold devotionals and pray) and not do (gamble, cheat on our spouses, etc.) even if we changed our name to a more generic one, such as The Hill Country Sportsmen’s Club.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Lever-action Rifle Recommendations

Posted by: | Comments (0)

I’m looking for a decent lever-action rifle in a caliber that I can find ammo for.  One of the most popular is the 30-30 and I’d be ok with it but was more looking for something in the .38/.357.  I had a Rossi 38/357 that I sold a few years ago and I really miss it.  To me, the gem would be a model 94 with something other than a .30-30.

For traditional lever guns, you might consider the Marlin 1895 (comes in .45/70 Government) and the Marlin 336C (comes in .35 Remington and .30-30).  The .45/70 Government and .35 Remington have considerably more oomph than the .30-30, but they’re harder to find ammo for.  (I’d find a source of ammo before I bought one.)

For non-traditional lever guns, consider the Browning BLR.  It uses a box magazine, so it is not limited to flat-nosed cartridges.  It comes in popular cartridges such as .30-06. .308, .270. and .243.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Gunsmiths

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Do you have a gunsmith that you use?  What is your opinion of his work?  Currently, I use Hank Fleming on South Congress.  I think he is good but he seems to take a while for repairs to be completed.

Hank does indeed have a good reputation, but he does take longer than most.
I use Blackjack Guns on Pond Springs Rd.  Their phone number is 512-450-3535.
Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Taxidermist

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Any recommendations for a local Taxidermist? 

See our Service Reviews and Recommendations web page (the categories are in alphabetical order).  I recommend either Hang ’em High Taxidermy near Granger or Top Gun Taxidermy in Davilla (11 miles east of Bartlett), off CR 403 on the north side of Davilla (look for the Top Gun Taxidermy signs).  Hang ’em High’s taxidermist is Dan Michalik.  He did a wood duck for me.  Top Gun’s taxidermist is Lee Lackey.  He did a canvasback and a hooded merganser for me.  Their prices for ducks are the same, but Hang ’em High is closer.
If that’s too far for you to drive, then my next choice is Professional Taxidermy Studio in Cedar Park on FM 1431.  The taxidermist is Dan Lansford.  He did a Catalina goat and a speckled belly goose for me several years ago that have held up well.  The reason that he’s not my first choice is he’s more expensive than Hang ’em High Taxidermy and Top Gun Taxidermy and takes longer.
Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Crossbows

Posted by: | Comments (0)

What are two – three of the best crossbows for your money?  Can you hunt with a crossbow in the archery season?  Where are some places that will let you test crossbows?

Killer Instinct, Center Point, Wicked Ridge, Excalibur, Bear, PSE, and Horton are well known, although Horton went out of business.  Raven and Tenpoint are very good but a lot more expensive.  I bought a Killer Instinct KI350 (350 feet per second).  It has a lifetime warranty (the best in the industry).  It came with a Lumix illuminated 4x32mm crossbow scope and cost $220, including shipping.  Barnett has some budget bows, but Archery Country won’t work on them.

Yes, the Texas Legislature passed a law several years ago that made it legal for anyone to hunt with a crossbow during archery season (or gun season), not just people with upper extremity weakness.

I’m not sure if Archery Country will let you shoot crossbows on their indoor range.  I advise that you call them at 512-452-1222 before you head there.  Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s also have small indoor ranges for people to test their compound bows.  I’m not sure if they offer the same service for crossbows.  I recommend that you call them before you head there.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

European Mounts

Posted by: | Comments (0)
 

Could you send me the process of how you do European mounts?

I wrote an article on the subject called Skull Mounting Basics.  Be forewarned – it’s a stinky job.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Game Cameras

Posted by: | Comments (0)
Looking to buy three game cameras for our ranch in NE Texas.  Do you have a favorite?  Preference?  What should I look for in making a decision?

I own a game camera, but I bought it because it was 50% off at Academy, so I really can’t answer your questions other than to say that having a screen on the camera where you can view your pictures is a really nice feature (rather than having to take the SD card out and put it in another device to view the pictures).  Here is an article on the 5 Best Trail Cameras for 2017.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Silencers

Posted by: | Comments (0)

Do you know of anyone I can call and ask questions about a silencer?

Call the Silencer Shop at 512-843-0017 or contact Ryan Rowley.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Gun Appraisals

Posted by: | Comments (0)

How do I get an inexpensive gun appraisal in a short amount of time?

I’d go to www.gunbroker.comwww.gunsamerica.combudsguns, etc. and see what they’re selling for.  Look at several “buy it now” prices.
If you need something more official I’d go to Blackjack Guns or McBride’s.  Blackjack charges $20 to appraise guns.
Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
24

Gun Gifting

Posted by: | Comments (0)
A very close friend recently passed away and gave me his 7mm mag with 20x scope.  With the addition of that gun, I don’t really need my .270, so I want to give to my son.  I also have an old .22 that was my dad’s and I want to give it to my sister in Florida.  Any issues with gifting these rifles?

No, there are no issues presently with gifting guns.  However, if many people get their way and close what they call the “gun show loophole” you would have to transfer them via a licensed firearms dealer, which would require the recipient to complete the ATF Form that gun buyers complete when we buy a gun at a dealer.  At least the recipient would have to pay the dealer a transfer fee.  It would be another layer of unneeded bureaucracy that would protect no one.  Their theory that criminals would no longer be able to buy guns at gun shows is bogus, as criminals don’t buy guns – they steal them.  (I realize that’s shocking.)

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
21

Clothing

Posted by: | Comments (0)

It all depends on where you are hunting.  I prefer Real Tree Max-4 or Mossy Oak Break Up as they fit in a variety of terrains, with the exception of South Texas, where Brush Country is king.  The general rule is to go with more greenish camo early in the season, when there are more green leaves on the trees and a more brownish camo later in the season when the leaves have fallen off the trees.

Deer are red-green color blind like some humans.  Their color vision is limited to the short [blue] and middle [green] wavelength colors.  As a result, deer likely can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red, or orange from red.  So deer hunters up north, who are forced to wear hunter orange, appear to be green to deer.  Pigs can differentiate colors, but not as well as humans.

Waterfowl don’t see color the way we do.  They see reds, greens, yellows, and blues more vibrantly – thanks to their retinas – plus an extra set of cones allows them to see ultraviolet radiation.  This gives them exceptional light sensitivity.  As a result, shine and glare are the waterfowl hunter’s enemy.  For ducks, a lot of guys prefer Real Tree Max-5, as it has canes in it, which are often located on shorelines.  However, they aren’t on the shorelines where I hunt usually, so I get by with my one-camo-fits-all Real Tree Max-4 or Mossy Oak Break Up.

You can see the different styles in the below picture. Four of the guys are wearing Max-5.  I think that I’m wearing Mossy Oak Break Up, as is Earl immediately to the right of the ducks.  I’m just happy to find camo on sale that fits me.  I don’t pay much attention to the pattern.  You’ll often see me wearing a different pattern top than bottom for this reason.  Some guys, on the other hand, want everything to match.  But I kill deer, hogs, and ducks just as dead as they do – I just don’t look as coordinated.

What clothing do you recommend for both deer and hog hunting, particularly since we’re in Texas and I’m not sure cold-weather gear will be as needed.  I want to purchase enough to get started.  Also if you have any recommendations regarding clothing that could serve both for bird (e.g., dove, duck) hunting and hunting big game.
No, we don’t have a specific checklist for clothing.  However, we have a generic Trip Check List.  The weather in Texas can vary wildly, often on the same day.  And it can get quite cold (as I recall the coldest duck hunt that I went on it was 14 degrees air temp, and we were standing in the water).  The key is to dress in layers.  In that way, if you get too hot you can always take a layer off.
Depending on how cold it is, wind, rain, etc.  I might start with a base layer of medium weight thermal underwear.  Then a layer of fleece (sometimes two layers for my upper half), then bibs, and a heavy coat.
I usually buy hunting clothes at the end of or after deer season when Academy drops the price 30%.  I have a lot of their Game Winner brand.  They keep me warm enough.  I could spend a lot more (my son has a $200 coat for duck hunting), but if I’m going to spend $200 I’d rather buy a gun.  I’ve not been cold deer hunting since 1987 when I owned cheap boots.
The three biggies are your head, hands, and feet.  If they get cold you’re done.  You’ll at least get fidgety and have a terrible experience.  As with jackets, I have a variety of gloves, caps, face masks, boots, and socks.
Rubber boots are the best for deer and hog hunting, as they leave no scent.  I own Muck Edgewater’s (insulated ones).
I like gloves that are fingerless, with mittens that cover the fingers if they get cold.  If it’s too cold for that I’ll wear ones where the trigger finger is thinner so I can feel the trigger well.
I like to have facemasks with holes for my nostrils and mouth.
Wool socks are good, but they can make you sweat.  I like a liner sock (base layer)to ward off sweat.  I particularly like liner and wool sock combos (in one), such as the Cabela’s Ingenius socks, but they’re discontinued and hard to find.  I also like Randy Sun waterproof ski socks.  They keep me warm and dry quickly if they get wet.  I do not recommend Worn (formerly called Wetsox), as they make my feet sweat.  It does no good if they’re waterproof on the outside if your feet get wet from sweat.
Cold weather hog hunting requires the same clothing as deer.  Warm weather requires a lot thinner camo.  I’ll often wear my dove hunting wear while warm weather deer or hog hunting.
Scent-free hunting clothing is an unnecessary option in my opinion.  It’s a lot more expensive.  Instead, I’ll buy Scent Away spray and spray myself liberally right before I head to the stand.
Dove hunting is done in 90 – 100+ degree weather – think lightweight, thin, and comfortable.  Camo is fine, but so is khaki.
Duck and deer require basically the same clothes, with the exception of waders for duck hunting.  I own three pairs of waders.  One is for warm days (breathable), another is for cool days (3mm neoprene), and the new ones are for cold days (5mm neoprene).  If you’re only getting one pair get them stout in the chest so you can wear a heavy coat under them and 3mm or 3.5mm neoprene.  Buy the boots the size of your shoes.  Again, Christmas or after Christmas sales at Academy are the way to go.  Also, fleece pants with stirrups are nice for ducks as they keep the pants from riding up.
I see deals all the time on Facebook Marketplace.  I’ve bought several things there.  Most have been good purchases, with a couple of exceptions (I didn’t check to ensure they had the gazebo and bed hardware).  I haven’t bought any clothes there, but I don’t need any (and in fact have way too much).
Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
21

Shotgun Recommendations

Posted by: | Comments (0)
I have a buddy at work looking for a good deal on an over/under for his son.  He wants to take his son dove hunting this season, but he wants to buy it now so he has time to practice a bit before the opener.  I was wondering if we had anything up for sale in the group, or if you knew of any stores that might have something going on or coming up?
We presently don’t have any O/U for sale on the FCS Guns and Accessories web page.
Depending on his son’s size, I highly recommend a semiauto over an O/U for the following reasons:

  1. Piston operated semiautos kick substantially less.  Part of the gas going down the barrel goes down two holes in the magazine tube, which pushes a new shell out and operates the bolt to eject the spent hull and chamber a new round.  The result is a longer recoil action which feels more like a gentle push than a sharp jolt.  This is especially true for heavier duck and goose loads.
  2. O/U’s are not as safe for hunting (they’re designed for clay target shooting).  The breach has to be opened, even if only one round has been fired.  This results in a partly loaded gun possibly being aimed towards others.  In other words, I only recommend that hunters experienced with O/U’s use them for hunting.
  3. He will probably appreciate the third shell that a semiauto or pump offers.  Many times I’ve missed a dove, for example, on my first two shots and then nailed it on the third.
  4. O/Us are usually very pretty guns – often with fancy wood and scrollwork.  It would be a shame to have such a pretty gun beat up in a duck blind or scratched up hunting dove in mesquites.
  5. O/Us cost twice as much for chokes as you have to buy two improved cylinder, two modified, etc., if the gun doesn’t come with them.
O/Us are better balanced, shorter (which is an advantage for shorter folks), and have the advantage of having one choke in one barrel and another choke in the other barrel.  For example, many are set up to shoot the first shot with an improved cylinder choke, and then the follow-up shot will be with a modified choke (when the bird is now further away).  However, most hunters, especially, keep the same chokes in both barrels.

Around 8/1 – 8/15 just about every sporting goods store will start to run shotguns on sale for dove season, but most will be semiautos and pumps.  I also highly recommend Texas Gun Trader.  I’ve sold 10 guns on that website in a little over a year, without a hitch.

Feel free to have him call or email me.
I’m kicking around the idea of getting an auto-loader shotgun.  Is there a particular time of year the stores put them on sale that you know of?  I’m trying to figure out if I need to try and figure out which one is a good fit for me sooner than later.  Any ideas?
Typically stores will run sales about two weeks before dove season starts and about two – four weeks before Christmas.  However, you can find deals year-round at places like https://texasguntrader.comwww.gunbroker.com, and www.gunsamerica.com.
When you go on the FCS sporting clays shoot at Capital Clays ask guys if you can shoot their guns.  It will give you a good feel for the different brands and features.  I’ll be happy to let you shoot my Browning Maxus or Browning Gold (whichever I decide to bring), if I’m there.  They are excellent guns.
Here is an article that I wrote on the subject – Choosing a Shotgun for Birds and Clays.  Your biggest decision will be whether to go with a piston operated gun or a recoil-operated gun.
The former has the advantage that some of the expelled gases are forced into the magazine and operate the piston, through two holes in the barrel.  This causes the recoil to be more spread out and results in a softer felt kick.  Their disadvantage is the piston needs regular (around every 100 shells or so) cleaning or the piston can get fowled and fail to eject a shell or chamber a new one.
A recoil-operated gun has no piston so it kicks like a pump or double-barrel gun.  They also have the advantage that they don’t have to be cleaned nearly as often.  Their disadvantage is you will feel more recoil with heavy dove loads and heavier.  I haven’t updated the article in over 11 years, so be aware that there are newer models available.

There is a gun show this weekend and I would like to pick up a shotgun that would be good for the clay shoots and bird shoots the club hosts.  But I have no idea what to get and could use some advice.   It needs to be a gun both I and my 12 year old son can use.  And not too expensive.

I wrote an article on the subject titled Choosing a Shotgun for Birds and Clays.  I last revised it in 2007, so all of the manufacturers have added new guns or revised existing ones.  For example, Browning now offers the Maxus, which is an upgraded Gold.

As your son is not a full-grown man yet it will probably be difficult for him to shoot a regular sized 12 gauge (unless he’s bigger than normal, a boy really can’t handle a 12 gauge until around age 15).

The problem with youth models is after two or three years they’re worthless (as boys outgrow them) and then you’ll be stuck with a gun that few people are in the market for.  Also, it will be hard for you to shoot a youth model as it has a shorter stock.

Consider a Remington 1187 LW (lightweight) or 1100 LW (they only come in 20 gauge).  The barrel is normal length (26 or 28 inches) but the gun is lighter because of an alloy receiver and mahogany or composite stock.  The Premier is much better (steel, fit, etc.) than the Sportsman.  You can get a used one for around $450.

CZ 712’s are lighter than average 12 gauges if you can find one, due to an alloy receiver.

I don’t recommend Benelli’s, Franchi’s, or Stoeger’s for boys (inertia/recoil) operated as they kick more than gas/piston operated guns.  The exception is the Franchi 720, which is gas/piston operated.

The Beretta A300 Outlander, Browning Maxus, Gold, and Silver, and Winchester Super X4 and Super X3 are fine guns but are probably out of your price range.

I recommend McBride’s Guns for used guns.  Although you’re going to have a harder time finding a used 20 gauge.

You might have to settle for seeing how new 20 gauges fit him at McBride’s and then finding a used one on www.texasguntrader.com or  www.gunbroker.com.  I have sold nine guns on Texas Gun Trader and have bought six guns and sold three on Gunbroker without a problem.  If you buy a gun online, it must be received a Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealer.  I use my son, Ryan, Leander.  He only charges $20 to receive a gun.  He is a lot cheaper than the Austin boys.

A standard game/target load in 20 gauge with 7/8 ounce shot only has 1/8 ounce shot (12.5%) less than a standard 12 gauge game/target load with 1 ounce shot.  That translates to 50 less #8 shot (350 instead of 400).  So with game/target loads, you’re not losing that much firepower with a 20 gauge.  However, it cannot keep up with the 12 gauge with the magnum loads for ducks/geese/turkey/deer/hogs.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)
Jul
21

Fishing Rods

Posted by: | Comments (0)

What baitcaster rod and reel combo is your pick?  Do you do a right-handed or left-handed retrieve?

I don’t spend more than $100 for a rod/reel combo.  To me, there’s not much difference between a $100 combo and a $150 combo in performance.

Bass Pro Shops

This one has good reviews, including one from a beginner – https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/bass-pro-shops-100187478.  I’d get the 7′ medium rod strength (Jack-of-all-trades) version.

This one also had good reviews – https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/abu-garcia-mlf-baitcast-combo.  It only comes in a 7′ version.  Get the medium instead of the medium-heavy rod.

But if you’re willing to spend more then this is the one to get – https://www.basspro.com/shop/en/Abu-Garcia-Revo-SXBass-Pro-Shops-Johnny-Morris-CarbonLite-20-Baitcast-Rod-and-Reel-Combo.  The Revo has an excellent reputation.  Its drawbacks are the rod only comes in medium-heavy and it’s out of stock.

Academy

Lew’s combos (they have a good reputation) that are worth looking at include:

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews-speed-spool-lfs-7-ft-mh-baitcast-rod-and-reel-combo#repChildCatid=8216508.  It has three 5-star reviews.  It comes with a 7′ rod, in medium-heavy only.

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews-mach-smash-slp-6-ft-10-in-mh-baitcast-combo#repChildCatid=8190502.  Similar reviews to the first one and it’s $20 cheaper.  It comes with a 6′ 10″ rod, in medium-heavy only.

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews%C2%AE-american-hero%C2%AE-7-mh-baitcast-rod-and-reel-combo#repChildCatid=1480325.  It’s cheaper than the last one but has better reviews.  It comes with a 7′ rod, in medium-heavy only.

https://www.academy.com/shop/pdp/lews-laser-txs-6-ft-10-in-mh-baitcast-rod-and-reel-combo#repChildCatid=7988009.   It comes with a 6′ 10″ rod, in medium-heavy only.

For rods, I go by feel.  I fake cast them in the store.  If it feels like a broom handle or like a whip I put it back on the rack.  Both Bass Pro Shops and Academy have sales on combos frequently.  Academy sometimes runs all of their combos 25% off.

Probably 95% of right-handed guys go with a right-handed retrieve.  However, some don’t like casting the rod with their right hand and then switching it to their left hand to hold it while the right-hand is retrieving the lure, as that takes a couple of seconds of precious fishing time to make that switch.  To me, it feels awkward to retrieve with my left hand.  However, that may just be because that’s the way I’ve always done it.  Try them both and see what feels best for you.

Categories : Facebook
Comments (0)

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

Bible Verse of the Day

Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart.