Capt. John Havens has spent his entire life learning to become a complete angler. His true passion is the pursuit of Big trout on artificial lures. He specializes in his home waters of Galveston bay, as well as Sabine Lake and East Matagorda Bay.
May 04, 2012
"FTU" Grand Opening
by Captain John Havens
Just a quick heads up about the "Grand Opening" celebration going on over at the new "Fishing Tackle Unlimited" location on the Katy Freeway. Come check out the all new store-within-a-store concept and speak personally with factory reps from Shimano, Simms, G-Loomis, TFO, Daiwa, Strike Pro and many more. The layout of the new store is quite impressive and well thought out, with tons of extra room in all areas.
Shimano's new "Tech Center" is amazing, an exclusive area for Shimano and Power Pro, it offers just about every item in their catalog to be seen in person at the store. With over 500 rods and almost every reel they make, you can spend hours in this one area alone. The store also has a "Shimano Service Center" located towards the back, which is always convenient for dropping off reels for cleaning or repair.
This is a true "all about fishing" store featuring a full service fly shop, as well as a fishing travel service that can set up custom fishing trips to just about anywhere in the world. The staff is among the best in the business, very knowledgeable and always ready to assist.
Take advantage of the 10% off everything, which is happening at the Fuqua location also. Many other promotional offers are happening as well as daily drawings, all of this going on until closing Saturday May 5th at 7pm. Doors open at 9am.
March 21, 2012
"Waterproofing your iPhone"
by Captain John Havens
With today's technology it is amazing what information we have at the touch of a finger, especially when it comes to using an iPhone. Over the past month or so I have been putting the new "LifeProof IPhone Case" to the test, seeing if it could actually protect my phone in some of the harshest conditions we face as fishermen. So far the case has done everything it's advertisements claim it can, as in protecting your phone from water, dirt, snow and impact or drops.
When I got my first iPhone I was a bit cautious with it in my boat and around the water, understanding that a small amount of water exposure could cause it to be useless and a costly replacement. With this new case I am much more at ease, as much so as I carry my phone with me nearly all times when wading now. Having my phone with me wading allows me access to much needed information anytime I need it. Over the past two months we have fished a few tournament days that were incredibly nasty conditions, pouring rain and lightning being the two biggest factors. Having my phone with me during these times in the past was not feasible, but with the new case it now became possible to carry my phone in such conditions without the fear of it being exposed to water. One tournament day in particular my phone spent hours submerged in water, with no problems at all. With my phone in hand I now had access to tons of real time weather information, including radar and realtime winds. With this information I am able to tell which way storms are approaching, wind changes and warnings. All of these helping me make the right decisions on where I should be, or which direction I should head in order to find some sort of protection or my way around a storm. Having my phone with me also allows me quick access to emergency services shall something bad happen during the day.
Besides the weather information it provides, I am also able to look up tide tables and feeding times during the day, without having to remember or write them down, as I have had to do in the past. With the iPhones camera and video capabilities I no longer carry a digital camera along, the quality of pictures and video is pretty amazing for a phone. The only downfall I have found with this case so far is it's ability to trap heat inside. Just as it keeps water out, the airtight case keeps heat trapped inside with no way of escaping. This is more a user error rather than a design flaw, therefor you must be cautious to not leave your phone exposed to direct sunlight or hot areas. From everything I have seen about this case I would definitely recommend it to fellow fishermen, the case can be purchased for around $80, which I feel is a small price for what it offers. The case can be seen here: http://www.lifeproof.com/
remains inconsistent at the time being. There have been some really good catches and there have been many hours spent searching for a bite. If it is big trout you are after, then wading is most likely your best bet. Areas around marsh drains, mud and grassy shorelines have provided the most consistent bite while wading. The areas around the passes leading from the Gulf into the bays are really starting to heat up. Conditions change quite a bit this time of year from day to day, adapting to and overcoming the conditions are the key. There may be hours of searching and casting, but keep with it and you can truly be rewarded with the fish of a lifetime. Over the past few weeks some of our biggest fish came during slow times in knee deep water, keep chunking and grinding instead of running from spot to spot. When looking for big trout this time of year I really prefer to fish shallow throwing mostly topwaters and corkies.
This time of year I also spend a lot of time at the jetties, the variety of fish available out there now is always a bonus. Big trout running the rocks, monster redfish and huge Big Uglies(drum) can keep a day very interesting. Don't forget the sheephead, they have saved many a trip for those just wanting to stretch a line. For the trout a free lined shrimp is hard to beat as close to the rocks as possible. Redfish and drum are falling for the same, but seem to prefer half cracked crabs when available. The sheephead like a shrimp under a float drifting along the rocks, or a carolina rig slowly drifted along the bottom about 10-15 feet off the rocks.
January 17, 2012
Highs and Lows
by Captain John Havens
Fishing remains about the same as it has been over the last month, and should remain to be consistent with that for the next month or so. We are continuing to see unreal days, and we are still having days that are extremely tough. I feel it is only fair and honest that I speak of both type of days, I also believe it to be most beneficial if I focus my discussion on the tougher days rather than the really good days. The good days are producing numerous trout in the 25" class and bigger, the tough days are hour after hour searching and grinding to get a bite or find a pattern. For every 1 or 2 great days we are faced with 2-3 days of grinding, putting our confidence and patience to the test. The most consistent days for wading have still been days that are overcast or foggy accompanied with a light or southerly wind, usually the 2nd or 3rd day after the frontal passage or the days leading up to the next approaching front. Many of the tougher days lately have been clear skies with higher pressure and gin clear water, usually the day of and the first day or two after the front passes . If you can pick and choose your days to fish right now I suggest the overcast days, rather than the bright sunny clear ones, but that is not always an option so we have to go when we can. To me no day on the water is ever wasted, there is always something to be learned and there is always time and opportunity to get better. One thing we must understand is we will never be able to control the weather so we must learn to adapt and over come.
Since Christmas I have spent time in Galveston, Sabine and Lake Calcasieu. What I have been seeing in all three bay systems is pretty much the same. The most consistent bite has definitely been drifting, especially when the water on the shorelines is holding really clear. In some areas the water has been so clear you can still see the bottom when in 5' of water, when this is the case I prefer to find the depth or area where I can no longer see the bottom and begin fishing. I also focus on mud streaks or stirred up water when possible. Many of the most consistent areas at this time are close to deep water, areas that are still holding a decent amount of water when the tides are extremely low. Many of the flats areas that normally hold good numbers of fish this time of year are really good one day and then tough the next. These fish are being pulled in and out with the tides, when the tides pull way out so are most of the fish, as the tide finally comes back in only a small percentage of fish are coming back at first. As the tides get back to normal and the temperature rises, more and more fish make their way back onto the flat, until the next change causes them to retreat again.
On the days when the tide is extremely low it is best to concentrate on the outside areas of the flats where the water is still holding around 4-5'. In other words find the nearest deep water, or any close by gut or channel that holds a good amount of water during the lowest tides. Fish and bait will both be finding the nearest safest deep area to seek refuge from both dropping temperatures and dropping tides. Even as the temperature and tide get back to normal there will still be a good number of fish and bait hanging in the area described, as they have everything they need during these colder months. Many time these are some of the most catchable fish day in and day out.
When wading we have still been catching the majority of our fish on fatboys and soft plastics, with a decent topwater bite every now and then. While drifting our best baits have been rat tailed jigs, either assassins or Texas Trout killers, mostly in darker colors such as plum and redshad.
In the comments area of my last blog I was asked to "share techniques for fishing the rivers". Since my last blog we have experienced a good rain, thus slowing down the fishing in many of the nearby rivers and creeks from what it was. Many fish are still being caught, it is just not as good as it had been. Mainly due to the fresh water influx, which we much needed. A portion of the fish have made their way back into the bay and lakes, a good portion still remain in the rivers, but are a bit harder to catch at the moment due to the water clarity and fresh water that has been coming down the rivers. When fishing the rivers I prefer to focus on things out of the ordinary like, flats, deep holes, ridges, rocks, pipelines and concrete walls. Concrete walls on the banks with deep water nearby can hold lots of fish, especially at really cold times. The sun and ground heat up the concrete and the heat radiates into the mud below creating a little warmer water than in other areas. Many times pipelines are covered both with rock and shell, which both create good fish holding areas. The Flats can be very good on the warming trends and many times are stacked with bait. Also always pay attention to shell on the bank, in many areas the shell continues in a much bigger area than visible. Outfalls and drains hold lots of bait and normally feeding fish nearby. Till next time, good luck and be safe.
December 24, 2011
Is it worth it?
by Captain John Havens
Fishing this time of year can be a true test. A test of our patience, confidence and our drive to get the task done. There are times when we begin to question ourselves, wondering are we doing the right things and is this really worth it? Once you have actually seen the rewards yourself, you will understand in the end it is much worth the time and effort. Recently we have seen fishing trips from both ends of the spectrum, days that were nearing epic, and then those that it seemed nearly impossible to get a bite.
Some of the best days recently have been extremely cloudy days with a strong southerly flow, coupled with rain and low barometric pressure these days can be unreal. Many times these days are followed by an approaching front, but that does not always have to be the case. This fishing is not for everyone, but those willing to make the sacrifices may see a day they will never forget. My preference on days like these is to be standing waist deep, wading always helps to keep me a little more in tune with what is going on around me. While also allowing me to feel the subtle changes such as small drops and ledges, or transitions such as mostly shell to soft mud with scattered shell. Which can be so important this time of year. Wading also allows us to stand in one spot to thoroughly cover an area while disturbing it in the least way possible. Don't be afraid to fish shallow during these conditions, big trout love little muddy depressions in knee deep or less water. Topwaters and Corky Fatboys are my two favorite choices for these conditions, with a black SuperSpook and pink Skitter walk topping the list. Mostly I work topwaters at a slow steady pace with pauses of about 5 seconds every 10-15 feet. Many times the fish will hit on the pause or when the lure begins to move again. But again this is fishing and there is not just one way to do it, so varying up your retrieve and trying different speeds and angles will help show what is producing on a particular day and time.
On the days following the fronts we have had to work a bit harder for our fish recently. As the pressure rises and the skies clear we have focused on wading drops and ledges closer to deep water. Fish are still catchable on the flats, but the best bite has been on the outside drops, especially on low tides. The afternoon bite has been best, with 4:30 till dark being one of the best bites nearly everyday. It is not always necessary to cover a ton of water this time of year, pick an area you have confidence in and cover it thoroughly.
Drift fishing has been the most consistent bite, drifting mud and scattered shell in 4-7' has been best. Drifting allows us to cover a lot of area in a small amount of time. Do not be afraid to continue your drift shallow, some of the biggest trout we catch each year at this time come from drifting 2-4', especially in areas that are too soft for wading. An important thing is to be as quiet as possible, use you big motor as little as possible when repositioning for another drift. Also be respectful of others fishing the same area. Most of the time it only takes a few extra minutes to do the right thing and go around a productive area, instead of motoring right back through the prime area. As hard as it is to understand, we see it everyday. A little courtesy can go along way when showing respect to our fellow fisherman.
With the approaching fronts expected over the next few days we should see a decent drop in temperature. Hopefully our temperatures will get closer to where they should be for this time of year. This is when we can use the high salinity level to our advantage. Many of the rivers are full of fish right now. Like the Colorado, San Bernard, San Jacinto, Trinity, Sabine and Neches river. These areas are fishable in strong winds, low temperatures and extremely low tides. Recently they have all been producing consistent catches of both trout and redfish. My best baits lately while drifting have been a Texas trout killer in white/chartreuse, or a "chicken on a chain" assassin, I prefer to rig both on a 1/4 ounce screw lock jig head. This blog is meant to be both informative and helpful, feel free to leave a comment if there is something you would like me to address or discuss more thoroughly. Until next time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
December 07, 2011
Big Trout Time is Here
by Captain John Havens
In the past 2 weeks I have spent quite a bit of time on the road traveling and fishing, I fished Galveston, Sabine and East Matagorda. Most of my trips have been in Galveston lately, but with the recent fronts I felt it was time to begin checking the other two bay systems to see if the trout were in their winter time patterns in all 3 bay systems. What I saw was very encouraging, we had trout in the seven pound range or bigger in each bay.