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Outdoors: Wildlife behavior should return to normal heading into December

Outdoors: Wildlife behavior should return to normal heading into December

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The weather system that’s currently pushing through Texas has scuttled the plans of a lot of outdoorsmen, from the Panhandle all the way down to the salty shores. The pain should be short-lived, though, and within a week or so, fish and wildlife behavior patterns should be where they normally are as we head into December.

Catfish and striped bass anglers live for this time of year, and lots of big fish should be knocking on the door when water temperatures cool and stabilize. Also keep in mind while you’re shopping that a guided fishing trip with a reputable pro can’t be beat as a gift for the angler on your list.

Former Centex broadcaster and current coastal citizen Tyler Thorsen (Lago in the Morning on in Corpus) can be counted among those negatively impacted by Saturday’s frontal passage, as his morning dove hunting trip was washed out by heavy rains.

He says that before the front, anglers were catching good mixed bags of fish in the bay on live shrimp and soft plastics under popping corks, with one report of a 49-inch red caught in Baffin Bay last week.

“The front should kick up the big trout corky bite,” said Thorsen, referring to a popular lure for catching cold-water speckled trout, “and turn on the pompano and jacks in the surf.”

Thorsen said that everything is running at least a month behind normal, with water temperatures still in the low 70’s in the surf.

“Normally, the pomps and jacks would be peaking now,” he said. “Historically, the last time you see jacks in the surf is December 19, and so far only a few have been caught.”

He added that it’s possible that baitfish could be migrating offshore out of reach, but time will tell.

Thorsen is also test-driving a new duck recipe for Vortex Kitchen (Facebook). He says it has proven itself so far – even with scaup and redheads. Once the recipe completes the peer-review process, he’ll post it.

In the meantime, the Vortex Kitchen features a lot of other fish and game recipes, along with other meals. I even spotted a recipe for Figgy Pudding just in time for Christmas.

King recovering

Best wishes go out to catfishing legend Danny King, who’s on the mending side of recent health woes, including separate bouts with COVID-10 and pneumonia. He says there’s a lot going on in the catfishing world, and he’s ready to get back in the middle of it.

By the way, if you’ve ever used his Danny King’s Catfish Punch Bait, one of the first things you probably noticed was the strong odor. In fact, if smell was represented by light, you’d have to wear a welder’s mask to look directly at it.

I got to fish with King a number of years back, and learned that he uses scented baby wipes to remove the smell from his hands. He said he didn’t know what chemical combination was at play to counteract the bait’s lingering odor on skin, but as long as it worked, he was ok not knowing.

Hope you’re slathering up with baby wipes again soon, Danny.

Toys for Tots benefit

U.S. Marines are used to being up against tough odds, and this year, their Toys for Tots campaign is having to dig in extra hard to overcome pandemic-related barriers and meet its gift-giving goals. They’re out in force, as usual, but with more folks avoiding public places, not as many people are donating in person this year.

But the number of kids in need hasn’t decreased. In fact, the trend is heading in the wrong direction, and more families than ever are looking for support during the holidays. There are a lot of ways to help, and if your budget allows you to help out somebody else this Christmas, consider giving to Toys for Tots – and help bring some joy and cultivate hope in the future for some Central Texas kids.

There are different ways to donate, and the organization’s website makes it easy to give. Also, if you’re outdoor-minded, there will be a Toys for Tots fishing tournament on Saturday that will gather gifts for the cause.

The fourth annual Fish On Texas Toys for Tots Catfish Tournament will take place Dec. 5 beginning at 5 a.m. (with a 3 p.m. ceremony) at Lake Waco’s Lacy Point boat ramp. Organizers request that participants bring along a new, unwrapped toy (or fishing gear) for the collection.

More information can be found on the Fish On Texas Facebook page.

Litter group kudos

Tip of the hat to Group W Bench Litter Patrol for providing cleanup services to the new gravel kayak launch at Lake Waco’s Bosque Park, located below the dam. GWB volunteers routinely empty the trash barrels located at the site with the goal of keeping garbage from becoming litter.

Group W Bench Litter Patrol is a 501©(3) that aims to raise awareness and build a sense of responsibility for keeping the city and its natural attractions litter-free. It provides volunteer and service opportunities for groups and individuals interested in roadside cleanup and other projects that put a shine on Central Texas.

Donations are needed and are tax-deductible, and GWB president Bruce Huff, a Vietnam veteran who took on the cause of battling litter in Waco four years ago, will welcome your support, ideas, or cooperative efforts.

More information can be found on the group’s social media pages.

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