A Few FishingTips on Catch-and-Release

Catch-and-Release programs have been around for years.  The idea behind it is that we be mindful of the limits of our resources.  Keep the fish you can eat and return the rest to the wild.

Catch-&-Release requires some preparation. Here are some tips!


What Dry Hands You Have!

Think about the slimy feel of a fish, fresh from the water.  That membrane on the fish’s body protects his skin from infection and disease.

If you handle the fish with dry hands, you can send the fish into shock because of the reaction between the germs on your hands and the fish’s skin.

“When even a small portion of the slime coating is removed, the fish will bleed electrolytes from its body into the surrounding water.” *

Have You Fixed Your Hook?

As I mentioned in a previous article (How Sharp is Your Fishing Hook?), bend down the barb on your fish hooks.                        

Planning on catch-and-release? It is important to use pliers to mash down the barb. That part of the hook is what keeps your fish from sneaking away.

This process makes the hook kinder to the fish … and it is easier to unhook the fish and put it back in the water.

Another option is to use barbless hooks.  Check it out at your sporting goods store.

3 More Tips

  • Return the fish to water as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t toss the fish back.  The fish is already disoriented enough without the shock of hitting the water without warning.
  • Release the fish gently by hand.   Place the fish in the water facing upstream, holding it under water.  It will move out of your grasp as soon as he is able.

Catch-and-Release is becoming a more popular option all the time.  With a little advance planning, you can become a master at the technique!


* from “The Slime Coat is one of the Fish’s Main Defenses Against Infection and Disease,” on the website Fish Slime Coat


‘The Prize’ is used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics


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Published in: on June 13, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments Off on A Few FishingTips on Catch-and-Release  
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Things You Need to Know to Catch Fish!

Catching fish requires some knowledge — of fish and their habitat.  The more you know, the more fish you will haul home!

In no particular order, these are some of the facts great anglers say are important!


Getting a Lot of Fish Action Requires You to Know Some Fishing Basics!


The Senses of Fish

No doubt about it, fish can see, hear and smell.  If you can see the fish, they can see you!  This is no time to wear your hot pink polka dot shirt; mustard, blue and beige are better color choices.

Fish may not hear soft talking, but they do feel the vibrations of a boat motor.  Folks who insist on shouting to others — are alerting the fish, as well as their friends.

Fish are a lot like bloodhounds — they follow the scent of a favored food until they find it.  That is why tossing chum into the water is so effective; fish rush to the stinky fare.

Remember, odors carry better over water than on land!  Thus, smoking or handling kerosene, oil or gasoline is a dead give-away to fish.

Also, be careful with suntan lotion or insect repellent — remove the odors of these items from your hands before casting.

What Fish Like

Have you ever wondered why there are so many colors of plastic worms and lures?  Fish like colors and motion — however, they must seem natural.

On bright days, leave the chrome and nickel lures in your box.  You want to dazzle the fish; but fish are frightened when the light is too bright.

On bright days, it is better to stay with black, copper or brass colored lures.

Fishing in turbid (muddy) waters?  Yellow just might be the best color for the situation.

Fog lights are yellow because they are easier to see (than white) in murky, foggy or dark conditions.  This holds true for fish; they come toward lures they can see in darker waters.

An attractive, noticeable color is nice, but realistic action is what brings the fish in for a bite.

In fresh water, fish like slower moving lures; while saltwater lures need to move rapidly to catch a fish’s eye!

Come Back Tomorrow:  More Things You Need to Know to Catch Fish!


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How Sharp is Your Fishing Hook?


Fishing Hooks Get Dull Quickly -- from Scraping Against Rocks, Dragging Along the Bottom of the Waterway, Etc.

In a phrase:  Probably not sharp enough!

When You Open a New Box of Hooks

When I was a kid, a new box of hooks meant something:  every shiny hook was razor-sharp and ready to go!   I don’t find that necessarily true today.

I’ve even had a sales clerk tell me (with a straight face) that the new hook “is ready for you to apply the sharpness you want for your situation.”  (This is fancy double-talk for:  Here are the hooks, you make them usable.)

Whatever ….

Into catch-and-release? It is important to use pliers to mash down the barb. That part of the hook is what keeps your fish from sneaking away.

If your hook is dull, you are going to lose fish. Also, it’s easy to drag your hook over a rock and grind away the edge.

Look at this photo. Although it is hard to see, there is an area between the point and the barb that should be beveled. Also, the point AND barb should be sharp.

Fortunately there is a way to correct this problem. Most sporting goods stores sell a hook sharpener.

I found a site with instructions and photos. Go to http://fishing.about.com/od/basicfishinginstruction/ss/Sharpen_Hooks.htm for info on sharpening hooks.

It seems that any quality file will work — the author (above) even suggests taking an emery board fishing for emergency repairs.

Hook Tips

Expect to sharpen all hooks, even new ones.

Vary the coarseness of the grit for different hooks:

  •  coarse grit for large trebles,
  • medium grit for average-sized hooks and
  • small hooks need a finer grit.

Expect to change your hooks often.  With use, hooks get brittle and fail just when you need them to snag and keep the fish.


‘The Prize’ used by permission of Restyler’s Choice Graphics


Saturday:  Another Joke

Sunday:  Come See a Variety of Army Graphics!


Upcoming Attractions: When Humans Try to Domesticate the Javelina


Hunting Javelina and Wild Hogs

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


Learning to Fish in Saltwater

Because we live near Galveston, TX, we learned to fish in salt water before we experienced fresh water fishing.  In fact, I remember my first experience in fresh water was pretty boring.

Recalling a Peggy Lee song, I sighed, “Is that All There Is?

Dipping Your Line in the Ocean 

Eventually, I did learn to enjoy the charm of the slower pace of fishing in fresh water … but

Going to Battle with the Fishes off a Jetty!

that’s another story!

Today, let’s talk about putting your line out in the bay or ocean.

Fishing with a Bobber

If you already fish for crappie and catfish, you are familiar with using a bobber, weight and hook to fish in fresh water.

In saltwater, just about everything you use is larger.  Instead of a bobber, you use a popping cork.  The easiest way to get started is to buy a popping cork assembly:  leader, weight with snap swivel.  The only things you will need to add are hook and bait.

With this set-up, you are ready to catch reds and trout.  Attach to your #6 or #8 treble hooks either live shrimp or small fish, in such a way as to keep the bait alive.

Setting the Hook  

As the angler, smoothly cast your line out on the water.  As soon as the cork lands, take up slack in the line and wait a few seconds.  As you give the line a quick jerk, the cork pops against the water.

Continue this process every couple of minutes until either you have pulled your line in (to check the status of your bait) or until the cork disappears under the water.

When the cork goes under, give a sharp jerk to the line:  this is ‘setting the hook.’  Immediately start reeling in your line.

Lots of folks think that once the fish is hooked, they have only to haul in their catch.  Because fish are often larger in bays and the ocean, bringing in a catch can take from a few seconds to hours.

Things can happen between the time the fish sets the hook and the time he is hauled out of the water.

Practice will help you avoid the pitfalls of last-minute losses (the fish wasn’t fully hooked & he got away; you pulled too hard and didn’t let him wear himself out before pulling him in & he broke the line; you didn’t have a net to bring the fish out of the water and he jumped away, etc.)

Next time:  Let’s talk about fishing for bottom feeding fish


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Published in: on May 13, 2011 at 8:25 am  Comments Off on Learning to Fish in Saltwater  
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Take a Look at Snook Fishing Action!

Looking for some fierce action on the end of your fishing line?  Look to snook!

Snook are also known as Sergeant Fish or Robalo and hang out in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Snook Looks & Habitat

Snook are almost colorless, often with yellow fins and a black lateral line (along its back).  Long and lean, they resemble the northern pike.

Trolling for food in the western Atlantic Ocean, from South Carolina to Texas, snook like to stay in waters that are less than 70 feet deep.  Some of the largest snook have been caught off of the Florida coast (44 lbs.).

Water Salinity & Temperature

Although considered a warm saltwater specimen, snook easily transfer into fresh water; they prefer lagoons and estuaries.

The amount of salt in water is not a problem for the sergeant fish, but they are very sensitive to water temperature.

These fish only appear in warm waters … if water dips below 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), their systems go into shock and then they die.

Fishing for Snook

If water turns cold, look for the snook near power plant water discharge areas.   Otherwise, they like to hide in underground structures (rock piles, reefs, etc.), waiting for smaller fish to cross their path.

Mullet is a good bait fish; however, snook have a decided preference for live shrimp.  Only use enough weight (sinker or split-shot) on your line to get the bait to the bottom.

If you want to use a jig or lure, some favorites are:   some Mirrolures or the Red Tailed Hawk jig.

Biologists tell us that the snook are most active feeding from an hour before high tide through the first 3 hours of the falling tide.

Snook Spawning

Between April and October,  snook tend to spawn in the inlets and passes near open waters.

After a few weeks of life, the young robalo move into nearby estuaries – where they stay for the rest of their lives.  They do not roam over as large a territory as other fish.

Freshwater anglers sometimes report catching snook when they are fishing for largemouth bass.

The Snook’s Reputation

Most robalo are caught in the summer months.  They are a popular game fish for two reasons:  they are fierce fighters and they are taste great!

Once you set the hook in your snook, the race is on!   They don’t come in quietly, but put up a great fight.

Getting a snook to take your bait is just the first step.  It requires strength and patience to haul in a snook.


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Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 12:52 am  Comments Off on Take a Look at Snook Fishing Action!  
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Saltwater Bacteria Can Be Dangerous!

This article is to make my readers aware of a problem with saltwater injuries & undercooked or tainted fish.


An Ideal Scene: Fishing off the Jetties in Ocean Waters *

A Cautionary Tale

It was just another Galveston Bay fishing trip for 52 year-old Thomas J. Shurley.  Fishing alone on this July morning, he scraped his knee as he adjusted his johnboat.

What he didn’t know was that a bacterium named Vibrio vulnificus had entered his body through the scraped area.  Like most able-bodied men, Mr. Shurley ignored the abrasion and went on fishing.

A few days later, Shurley died of massive organ failure … even after losing his leg.

What Happened?

‘Vibrio vulnificus’ can be found in warm saltwater around the world.  It is one of a group of pathogens that includes cholera.

The simple answer is that these bacteria are harmless to people in good health.  The bacteria have a hard time penetrating healthy skin.

However, those with an impaired immune system need to stay aware.  As many as 30% of those who delay treatment — die!


Healthy folks exposed to V. vulnificus may notice minor redness or irritation, that quickly disappears.

Symptoms of a problem:

  • a cut or scrape reddens and becomes a rash,
  • redness & soreness increases rapidly,
  • a black or dark purple spot appears on the site of the injury.
  • symptoms of flu often start:  fever, chills and nausea.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) keeps count on these infections.  They note that not all come from a person falling, or cutting, or scraping their body.  Some of these infections come from eating undercooked or tainted seafood!

The Good News

However, incidence is low.  CDC reports that 549 Americans contracted the disease in 2007.

They encourage anglers to be cautious while fishing in coastal areas.  If you experience a cut, scrape or skin-breaking injury, watch the area.  If it turns into a rash-type injury that stays red, head to a doctor or hospital.

The Bad News

Two Houston men suffered serious consequences in 2004.  The younger man lost the skin & flesh between his knee and foot because of the bacteria.

His companion, who waited another day for treatment lost both legs and had kidney failure.  What happened?  He fell on the dock near Port O’Connor!


No one is suggesting that you give up fishing in saltwater.  However, watch skin cuts or scrapes and get help when needed!


‘Ocean Angler’ Shown by Permission of ClearVue Graphics!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com




Published in: on January 25, 2011 at 1:33 am  Comments (1)  
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When Lightning Strikes a Person!

You know to abandon a fishing trip when lightning starts flashing.  However, how do you prepare for lightning when there is only light rain?

In a word:  You don’t!

When Lightning Strikes

Thunderstorms Can Gather Quickly on Water!

Sometimes, there is no warning … no way to prepare … but a bolt from nowhere can take your life!

Scientists say that a single lightning bolt is between 100,000 and 1 billion volts of electricity!  Obviously, this can kill a man.

A Cautionary Tale

The following is an interesting story about a guy who did all the right things and still suffered a freak accident.

Dale Nash of Many, Louisiana, was competing in the McDonald’s Big Bass Splash at Sam Rayburn Reservoir with friends about 18 months ago.

Since rain and thunderstorms were forecast, he was ready to either don his rain suit or abandon fishing, depending on the weather.

About 11:30 am, a light rain started.   The anglers heard thunder rumbling miles away.   After checking the conditions, Mr. Nash put on his 100 mile/hour rated rain suit — and continued to fish in one of the 3 boats.

The last thing he remembers is casting his line.  When he awoke, he was lying in a different boat — almost nude — and aching all over!

What Happened

There was a deafening clap of thunder and the friends watched Nash fly out of his boat.  His clothing was flying like confetti.

By the time the closest angler got to him, Nash was lying in the water, about 10 feet from his boat.

Doctors state that Nash’s heart had probably stopped before he hit the water.  However, hitting the cool water shocked his heart into beating again!

While the friends were struggling to get Nash into a boat and race him to a hospital, other anglers called 911 to alert authorities.

The Damage

Dale Nash spent 4 and 1/2 days in a Burn Center with 1st and 2nd degree burns — to his arms, legs and back.

The impact of the bolt of lightning also knocked the fishing rod from another friend’s hands (in a nearby boat).

However, Nash’s boat and fishing equipment took a direct hit.  Lightning melted both of Nash’s fish-finders, fried the entire wiring system in the 1 year-old boat and seared holes through the fiberglass.

The lightning strike caused the trolling motor’s control unit to explode, ruined the 300 horsepower outboard motor, popped the glass facings off some of the gauges — and more.


Dale Nash counts himself one lucky man; he survived!


‘Lightning’ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Why I Like Night Fishing!

In this very hectic season, I like nothing better than an evening of fishing.  However, I might be in the minority;  night fishing isn’t for everyone.

Peace and Quiet

When the sun sinks below the horizon, there’s something wonderful about the

Fishing in the Evening is a Great Way to Wind-Down from the Busy-ness of the Daytime Hours!

quiet that takes hold. I find night fishing more restful and serene than fishing during daylight hours.

Although there can be more dangers with reduced light, there seem to be many pluses — it’s a chance to tune into the night noises — frogs and crickets singing and the stars winking down from the night sky.

Fish Aren’t So Picky

Without elbow-to-elbow fishing that often occurs during the daylight hours,  fish don’t have so many choices for a meal. Biologists say that fish seem to increase their feeding behaviors  just after the sun goes down and around dawn.

Whether out on a boat or on shore, I like to go out when the moon is full.  The water might be as slick as glass after sundown, and the moonlight is enough light to keep an eye on any rippling in the water.

Dining on Bugs and Lures

By using top water lures, I’m able to throw my line out where the top feeding fish are dining on the mosquitoes and bugs that are skimming along the water.

The Down-Side of Night Fishing in Texas

In the southern parts of Texas, we seem to have 10 months of summer, 20 to 30 days of fall, a couple of days of spring and whatever is left over we call “winter.”

At present, it is still fall; our winter is in January.  All those mosquitoes that have left colder climes are chewing on us — still.   I’m convinced we buy and use more bug spray than any other state in the nation.

Next time you grumble that ‘some folks’ can still fish at night in short sleeves, remember that mosquitoes usually come along for the ride!


‘Sunset Dream’ Rear Window Graphic is used by Permission of ClearVue Graphics!

This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on November 29, 2010 at 2:04 am  Comments Off on Why I Like Night Fishing!  
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The Skinny on Salt Water Fishing Equipment

If you have salt water and fresh water fishing equipment, you know that you spent a bundle more on the gear for saltwater fishing!

Salt Water Fishing Calls for Heavier Gear! *

Saltwater fishing rods/reels are larger and tend to hold more (and heavier) line.  These rigs are used in less friendly climates:  As you fish, surf, spray and humidity are taking a toll on your equipment.

Most rods come with a protective coat, but this wears away in the elements over time.

What we will talk about today are saltwater fishing gear maintenance:

Cleaning, Lubricating and Storing

These elements are important for all of your gear, but saltwater fishing equipment requires attention after every outing.  Failing to do these simple steps is like tossing money out of a window!


You are washing saltwater gear to remove the salt and chemicals — which are very corrosive to fishing tackle.  We line up the rods/reels along an outdoor wall and spray them carefully.

A little dish washing liquid helps cut through the salt and grit. Choose a  dish washing liquid without extra, harsh ingredients.  If you use a soap with degreasers, etc., and don’t remove all of it, you have created a new problem.  Simple is best.


Your reel needs a bit (a tiny bit) of extra tender loving care. Sporting goods stores sell reel lube oil.  A little bit goes a long way!

That dab of oil reduces friction in your reel and other moving parts — and keeps your fishing reel smoothly running.


Why is careful storage important?  Your gear is probably still wet and it needs to air dry.  Placing your reel and rod in a humid, moist area will help rust and mildew form.

Another concern is making sure insects and rodents can’t  make a nest in and on your equipment!

Keeping a rod out of the sunlight is another saver.  Twenty+ years ago, I sewed parts of an old sheet into a long tube.  The rods are still hanging in the garage, safe in that tube!

Even if the fishing line were free, which it is not, it still takes a long time to put new line on your reel.

With saltwater gear, remember: Take a little time now and save money and time later.


Next Time: Hunting – Finding Your Wounded Deer


Today is our Anniversary: My husband and I have been married 41 years!  Where has the time gone?


This is the companion to my website: GreatGhilliesandGraphics.com


* This rear window graphic is used by permission of ClearVue Graphics.

Fresh Water Fishing vs. Salt-Water Fishing

We live near the Gulf of Mexico and our family has done more salt-water fishing than fishing in fresh water.

From a Kid’s Point of View

Of Course, These Aren't Dogfish!

As a child, I always thought dropping my hook in a lake was rather tame compared to going salt-water fishing.  The tackle was larger (for salt-water fishing) and the game fish seemed to have a lot more fight in them.

There was nothing more exciting than fighting a dogfish puffer (I’ve never seen any dog that was as ugly as this fish)!  It was an absolutely useless fish for eating, but it was a great adversary.

(I’ve been all over the net looking for a photo of this awful looking little runt, to no avail.  I don’t think they were members of the shark family.

They were rather fat, short, with pock-marked faces — just generally ugly.  Does anyone know to what I’m referring?  This must have been a local name for this fish — I can’t find a photo online.)

Charter Trips

The great thing about going on a ship fishing, was the size of the fish available 16 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.  However,  the long rides were a drag.

My father worked for printing firms that often offered fishing trips to their employees (this was in the dark ages, just after the dinosaurs stopped roaming the earth).

After a couple of trips, during which I up-chucked my hastily eaten breakfast, I learned to eat very little, until I got used to the rolling and pitching of the boat on the water.

It took a long time to learn to enjoy the trip out to the oil derricks where we fished.  As the eldest of the 4 kids, I understood that the long rides were necessary —  to get to the redfish and snapper we were hoping to catch.

After a couple of trips, my brothers decided to bypass these “adventures” for a few more hours in bed.

Forget ‘Quality’ with Kids …’Quantity’ is King!

These fishing trips, although worth a great deal of money, were never as much fun as just driving down the Gulf Freeway to Galveston and dropping our lines off a pier.  Why?

Getting in the car to drive to the ship, to ride some more, seemed to take too long.   Kids want ACTION!

As kids, we didn’t appreciate the value of those “expensive fishing trips” because it took too long before we could do battle with fish — and (usually) lose!


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Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm  Comments Off on Fresh Water Fishing vs. Salt-Water Fishing  
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