Jul
24

Chartered and/or Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trip and Coastal Blast and Cast (Self-guided Duck Hunt and Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trip) Rotation

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The following is a rotation list for Self-chartered Bay Fishing Trips (only) at POC and Self-guided/chartered Blasts and Casts (Duck Hunts and Bay Fishing Trips) at Port O’Connor (POC) and Corpus Christi.

We’ve had many successful duck hunting 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 kill 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 killed a few other ducks but redheads are the predominant species on the coast.  We’ve generally not been as successful fishing in the winter as we are the warmer months.

We primarily target redfish, black drum, and speckled trout but can also catch sheepshead, flounder, jack crevelle, 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 Wayne Weilnau’s, Daryl Shipper’s, and Randy Rowley’s bay boats, and possibly others.  Wayne, Daryl, and Randy can take three hunters or fishermen on 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 about 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).

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, tires, etc., and repair things like their trolling motors more quickly due to taking Rotation members on such trips than they would if they did not take Rotation members on such trips; 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 or townhouse.  For Port O’Conner, Wayne will allow up to eight participants to stay at his home.  If we have more participants going than that, some will have to stay at The Inn at Clark’s (a waterfront inn on the Intercoastal).  We’ll take the maid cleaning fee to clean Wayne’s house, the Inn at Clark’s cost (including an extra boat slip fee (if applicable)) and divide it by the participates (not counting Wayne).
  • Fishermen can buy live and/or dead bait (and/or use artificial lures).  Everyone in the boat must agree how we will fish before we go out as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if the boat isn’t moving often, people who want to fish with live bait will become frustrated if the boat is moving (as movement will drown the bait), and people who want to fish with dead bait will also become frustrated if the boat is moving.

What to Bring (if duck hunting)

  • Hunting license, state migratory bird stamp, and federal duck stamp.  If you bought a super combo license it includes your hunting license, migratory bird endorsement, and saltwater fishing license but does not include a federal duck stamp.
  • Shotgun.  A 12 gauge piston operated semi-automatic with a 3-inch chamber is recommended.  A plug is required for semi-automatics and pumps capable of holding more than two shells in the magazine while hunting migratory game birds.
  • Camo or dull non-cloth shotgun case.  Cloth cases during waterfowl hunts tend to get muddy.  We’ll leave the cases in the bed of the guide’s truck.  If we’re hunting from a boat a floating case is recommended.
  • Non-lead shotgun shells (HEVI-Steel, Winchester Xpert, or equivalent in 2 shot – the 1550 FPS variant) chambered for 3-inch chambers (if your gun is also chambered for 3 inches) are recommended.   Randy Rowley does not recommend anything smaller than 4 shot.  10 gauges and 3 1/2 inch shells in 3 1/2 inch chambered 12 gauges are overkill for ducks, in his opinion.  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.
  • 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 on the coast, so bring rain gear.
  • Waders (absolutely essential).  Breathable waders are recommended for warmer hunts.  Neoprene waders are recommended for colder hunts (if you wear 5mm thick neoprene waders on a December hunt you might cook yourself).  We don’t put our waders on until we reach the boat ramp.
  • Bucket, stool, or folding chair.  We’ll hunt from natural cover, so you can sit on the ground, but you won’t be able to see the ducks as easily.
  • A fillet knife, fillet board (recommended), and sharpener (recommended).
  • Three gallon-sized Zip-Lok bags, as to be legal, you’ll need to have your ducks in separate bags for separate days.
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your ducks home in (if you get any).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).  There are storage compartments in all three boats to put your drinks and snacks in.
  • Non-mirrored sunglasses (optional).
  • Bug repellent (optional).

What to Bring (if bay fishing)

  • Saltwater fishing license.
  • Rods and Reels (at least two in case you break one; no more than four).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for live and/or dead bait.
  • Headlamp or cap light.
  • 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, fillet board (recommended), and sharpener (recommended).
  • Three gallon-sized Zip-Lok bags, as to be legal, you’ll need to have your fish in separate bags for separate days.
  • A medium-sized ice chest or bag to take your fish home in (if you get any).  If on a blast and cast you won’t need a medium-sized ice chest for your ducks and a medium-sized ice chest for your fish – one will do.
  • 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).

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

Randy has extras of many of the items that are listed above (e.g., waders, floating gun cases, stools, small 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.

For ducks, Randy usually starts out with a modified choke.  If the ducks are coming into the dekes, he’ll switch to an improved cylinder.  If the ducks are only offering long pass shots he’ll switch to full.  Most modern screw-in chokes are designed for lead and non-lead shot without a change in the pattern density.

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 127 decoys that he can bring to the coast if three boats are going (53 mallards (including 46 decoys, four motorized ducks, two quiver ducks, and a wind-activated duck that he only uses when it’s windy enough to spin the wings and when it’s too windy to use the motorized duck), 18 redheads, 16 pintails, 14 gadwalls, six canvasbacks, six buffleheads, and a widgeon.  If only two boats are going, Randy will probably only bring around 84 decoys, due to space limitations.  If only one boat is going, Randy will probably only bring around 60 decoys, due to space limitations.

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not an FCS membership benefit.  This rotation is a service to FCS members and guests, but the event coordinators/leaders will enforce the following expectations.   Randy Rowley has and will remove people from the rotation for violations of the expectations, which include (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Hunting and/or fish in a safe manner, following the captain’s instructions, and abide by the FCS Safety and Shooting rules, Hunting and Fishing Rules, and Game Law Clarifications.
  • Pay for your share of the truck and boat gas and motel rooms.
  • Pay or items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including decoys that you shot and sank and lures that you borrowed).
  • 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 in will ruin the hunt for everyone).
  • Talk quietly, especially when ducks are coming to the decoys (ducks can hear you and will veer away – 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 bay fishing trips.
  • Show up.
  • Be on time.
  • Don’t have a pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Return the event coordinator’s/leader’s phone calls, emails, and/or texts, if he asks a question or asks you to acknowledge something.

The following people are on the Self-guided/chartered Blast and Cast (duck hunt and bay fishing trip) and bay fishing trip Rotation for 2021 (as stated in How the Rotations Work, the Event Hierarchy applies; Randy, Daryl, and Wayne will always have Spot #’s 1 – 3, as they are the boat captains):

  1. Randy Rowley
  2. Daryl Shipper
  3. Wayne Weilnau
  4. Ryan and Claire Rowley (Claire will not go without Ryan)
  5. Steve Fusco
  6. Raul Pena
  7. Ken Miller
  8. Harold Terry (Harold and Edward Terry prefer to go on trips together)
  9. Edward Terry (Edward and Harold Terry prefer to go on trips together)
  10. Steve Ritter
  11. Zack Elmer
  12. Mark Kelton
  13. Mike Pozhenko and his minor son
  14. Ted Lieb (Ted, Blake, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  15. Isaac Lieb (Isaac, Ted, and Blake Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  16. Jonathan Fleming
  17. Patrick Kelley (bay fishing only)
  18. Christian Bana (bay fishing only)
  19. Steven Babin (bay fishing only)
  20. Binh Chu and his minor son
  21. Blake Lieb (Blake, Ted, and Isaac Lieb prefer to go on trips together)
  22. Larry Mitchell
  23. Roy Zengerle
  24. Darvin Borgfeld
  25. Chris Rowley (Chris will not go without Randy)
  26. Jim McGee
  27. Burl Fulenwider
  28. Zack and Yuri Tumlinson (Yuri will not go without Zack)
  29. Ron Campbell

Let Randy know at randywrowley@gmail.com (his preference) or 512-922-2484 if you would like to be added to this rotation.  Individuals added after 9/17/20 will be added to the bottom of the rotation.  Let Randy know if you have any questions.

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 mono in 12 – 15 lb. test or braid in 30 lb. test.

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

Leader Recommendations

30 or 25 lb. test fluorocarbon or mono.

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