It is time for armchair quarterbacks to leave the cozy confines of their warm living rooms and head out for some cold weather catfish action on Calaveras Lake. When the weather is bad, the fishing is good and we are ready and willing to brave the cold to put anglers on limits of channel and blue catfish! Winter is really the most wonderful time of the year!
After catching good numbers of big blue catfish on downriggers during redfish season, we were expecting good numbers of both blues and channels to get into a biting mood this winter. So far, we have not been disappointed. Right now we are hooking into good numbers of channel catfish and a few nice blues in water about 10-15 feet deep. There are big schools of both species to be found at Calaveras Lake, where the warm water discharge from the CPS Energy power plant fires up the fish by helping produce an abundant food source. Not only do the catfish feed all year long, they get bigger faster than their cousins living in the cold climates of the frozen north. Channel catfish about 2-3 pounds each are normal and we are seeing a few blues tipping the scales at 4-6 pounds. That is some nice sized fish!
We are expecting the fish to move into the shallow water as the temperatures continue to drop. Even when the air temperatures drop to the 30’s and 40’s, the water temperature never dips below about 55-58 degrees. Any reading under about 65 degrees means some red-hot catfish action. Unfortunately when the water temperature drops below the upper 60’s the redfish turn off and catfish take over as kings of the lake. We may manage to hook into a nice redfish or two on the warmer days, but the changes of any redfish action is slim until the spring.
Our bait of choice for both channel and blue catfish is CJ’s Punch Bait in original, minnow or shad flavors. We mold a ball of the bait around a No. 4 treble hook (the bait stays on the hook better in the winter than during the warm summer months) and fish on bottom in the deep water and with a cork in the shallows. Both methods can result in some red-hot action that will chase away the chill.
As always, our anglers will be offered a Fishing With Manny bonus of a free, emailed photo of your catch. All our trophy shots will be taken with our Cannon Model EOS Rebel T3I digital camera and, if requested, we will send a copy to your email address for a picture-perfect portrait of your day on the water. It is just another way for us to make each trip a memory of a lifetime!
We also feature Sirius Radio (about 240 channels) on our boat to help our anglers enjoy the day and to monitor the changing weather conditions. In addition, we provide a free I-Pod Samsung connection for our anglers to listen to tunes or check the web if they ever get a break in the action. Check out our calendar for available dates and come on out for some hot action and good times on the water!
Call Us Today and Book Your Trip Now!

Seasoned Anglers of All Ages Enjoy Winter Catfish Action

By Ralph Winingham

Carefully bringing a chunky four-pound blue catfish into the net, veteran angler Sienna Martinez was all smiles with a slightly sore armas she took advantage of some winter catfish action at Calaveras Lake.

“I think the smaller catfish fight harder – they are more afraid of getting in the boat,’’ said the seven-year old Martinez, who has been fishing for both redfish and catfish since she was three.

“It kind of hurts my arm reeling them in, but I really like it,’’ she added.

The youngster was enjoying a chilly afternoon on the water with her father, Roland Martinez, on a trip with veteran Guide Manny Martinez.

In just about an hour, the young angler landed three nice blue catfish, including the four-pounder that was her first catch of the day, and four channel catfish ranging in size from about a pound and a half up to three pounds. Her father brought in one channel cat, but was happy to be out fished by his avid angler daughter.

“This is the third time we have been out this year,’’ he said. “She really loves it.”

The cold winter months are a prime time for anglers of all ages to venture onto Calaveras and Braunig lakes in search of Mr. Whiskers, according to the guide who has been plying his trade on the lakes for more than three decades.

“This is a particularly good time to bring out youngsters because the action can be really fast and furious. That keeps the youngsters on fish rather than just sitting in the boat – it is more fun for everyone,’’ he said.

Helping fire up the action this year is the operation of two of the three units at the Calaveras Lake CPS Energy power plant, which has increased the amount of warm water discharge into the reservoir. This discharge produces a bait-rich environment, resulting in an abundant food source for the catfish that can feed all year long.

Even when the air temperatures drop to the 30’s and 40’s during the winter months, the water temperature never dips below about 55-58 degrees. Any reading under about 65 degrees normally will result in some red-hot catfish action.

“Typically we will find a mix of channels and blues in the same area,’’ the guide said, pointing out that blue catfish are normally a little larger than their channel catfish cousins. Channel catfish being brought in normally weigh between 2-3 pounds, while blue catfish tend to tip the scales at 3-6 pounds, with 10-15 pounders occasionally giving anglers a good tussle.

The lake limit is 25 catfish of any combination for each angler and Martinez said the winter months are when quick limits are pretty common.

“There are thousands of catfish in the lake and we are seeing some huge schools at various places around the lake,’’ he added.

Early in the winter, catfish school in water about 12-15 feet deep and then move into shallower water of 3-4 feet deep as air temperatures plummet. Cold, cloudy days with light winds seem to be the optimum time for some hot action.

While Martinez is pretty secretive about the honey holes he has baited with a combination of horse and mule feed and cattle pellets – the scattered bait, particularly the large pellets, sink to the bottom and can attract catfish from quite a distance – he is open about his bait of choice.

Both channel and blue catfish seem to favor CJ’s Punch Bait or Big Marv’s Punch Bait, depending upon the fishing conditions, with original, minnow or shad flavors producing good action.

“One of the secrets is to use a very sharp hook and to replace the hook after about six or eight hook ups,’’ the guide said. Martinez has settled on a VMC 4X Strong No. 6 treble, molding a ball of the baitabout the size of a walnut around the hook.

With the colder water temperatures, the bait stays on the hook better in the winter than during the warm summer months. Fishing on the bottom in the deeper water and with a bobber holding the bait slightly off the bottom in the shallows both can produce some high quality fishing action.

Another tip that Martinez readily offers up is concerning how to remove the smell of the punch bait from an angler’s hands after a successful catfish trip.

“The secret to removing the smell from your hands is to wash with warm soapy water right after the trip and then rub your hands with toothpaste,’’ he said.

For more information on some cold weather catfish action, Martinez of L&M Guide Service can be reached at www.fishingwithmanny.com or by calling (210) 386-6695.

 

 

The clock is ticking for Calaveras and Braunig Lake redfish ready to fire up the action in their annual reproduction effort and the spawn alarm is just about to go off! This is the best time of year to hook into some massive redfish in both lakes.  Come get you some!

While their reproductive efforts in freshwater are fruitless, the redfish in Calaveras and Braunig Lakes go through the motions each fall with about mid-September through mid-October the prime time to be on the water.  There are good, healthy populations of the transplanted saltwater predators stocked at both lakes over the years, with both sight-casting and downriggers producing hefty hook-ups. Because of the slightly lower afternoon air temperatures, the water temperature at the lakes is hovering around the 85-90 degree range that puts redfish in a fighting and biting mood.   We are seeing big schools of redfish cruising in water about 15 to 25 feet deep when they are not on the surface busting bait fish.

In just a couple weeks are expecting male redfish to be full of sperm and the eggs in females to be near full development  — that is when the angling action will really kick into high gear. We give most of the credit to this big fish action to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stocking program that has been so successful in making both Calaveras and Braunig Lakes the places to go in the Lone Star State for some top notch freshwater redfishing.

When the schools of redfish are chasing bait on the surface, the winning technique seems to be casting gold or silver spoons as far away from the boat as possible, letting the lure sink for a count of about 10-20.  When the lure is cranking in with a slow, steady retrieve, the redfish are regularly enticed into biting.  If the sight-casting action slows down, we can always rig up the old reliable downriggers for some few hefty hook-ups.

Based upon the unusual number of big blue cats that have been snagging our downrigger lures throughout the summer, we are anticipating some good catfish action later this year.  Cool weather catfishing can really be the bomb for outdoor enthusiasts willing to hit the lakes in the winter.

As always, our anglers will be offered a Fishing With Manny bonus of a free, emailed photo of your catch.  All our trophy shots will be taken with our Cannon Model EOS Rebel T3I digital camera and, if requested, we will send a copy to your email address for a picture-perfect portrait of your day on the water.  It is just another way for us to make each trip a memory of a lifetime!

We also feature Sirius Radio (about 240 channels) on our boat to help our anglers enjoy the day and to monitor the changing weather conditions. In addition, we provide a free I-Pod Samsung connection for our anglers to listen to tunes or check the web if they ever get a break in the action. Check out our calendar for available dates (a lot of weekends are already booked) and come on out for some hot action and good times on the water!

Call Us Today and Book Your Trip Now!

The redfish pre-spawn is just around the corner and with our surprise catch of very nice blue catfish on downriggers; September is looking like a double whammy month for Calaveras Lake action! While the redfish go through the motions of spawning (it can’t happen in fresh water) they attack sight-cast and downrigger lures with vigor. We are looking forward to some high quality time on the water this fall. Your limit is waiting!
About this time every fall, the redfish action explodes at Calaveras Lake and all signs indicate this fall may be one of the best ever. In addition to large schools of redfish getting ready to spawn, we are also finding large schools of blue catfish that are hitting downrigger lures on a regular basis. Most of the blues are in the five to 10 pound range, so they put up a good tussle and are a welcome bonus on our redfish trips. There are a world of blue catfish at Calaveras and with the falling water temperatures as summer subsides, we are expecting the action to really kick into high gear. While the summer water temperatures can hover at 100 degrees or better, the heat tones down in the fall and the fish-catching range of 85-90 degrees really seems to put both redfish and blue cats in a biting mood.IMG_0837

 

We expect the redfish spawning efforts to start slow and kick into high gear about the middle of September. At that point, sight-casting lures into schools that can churn up the surface of the lake as they attack bait fish often results in a lot of arm-testing hook ups. This type of big fish action is a testament to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stocking program that has been so successful in making both Calaveras and Braunig Lakes the places to go in the Lone Star State for some top notch freshwater redfish action.

The technique that seems to produce the best catches is to cast gold or silver spoons as far away from the boat as possible, letting the lure sink for a count of 20. When the lure has almost reached the bottom, a slow, steady retrieve seems to entice the bite. If the casting action slows down, we can always rig up the old reliable downriggers for a few hefty hook-ups.
As always, our anglers will be offered a Fishing With Manny bonus of a free, emailed photo of your catch. All our trophy shots will be taken with our Cannon Model EOS Rebel T3I digital camera and, if requested, we will send a copy to your email address for a picture-perfect portrait of your day on the water. It is just another way for us to make each trip a memory of a lifetime!IMG_0566
We also feature Sirius Radio (about 240 channels) on our boat to help our anglers enjoy the day and to monitor the changing weather conditions. In addition, we provide a free I-Pod Samsung connection for our anglers to listen to tunes or check the web if they ever get a break in the action. Check out our calendar for available dates (a lot of weekends are already booked) and come on out for some hot action and good times on the water!
Call Us Today and Book Your Trip Now!

The pre-spawn is on! The annual redfish reproduction effort (a no go in fresh water but they still give it a try) is kicking off right on schedule this year and we are hauling in good numbers of big fish. Your limit is waiting!

 

This is the time of year when redfish action kicks into high gear and we are already seeing the results of a good, healthy population of the millions of saltwater predators that have been stocked at Calaveras and Braunig Lakes. A recent trip resulted in a haul of more than 140 pounds of reds, some topping the 25-pound mark, with both downriggers and sight-casting producing battles with the big bruisers. The water temperature at Calaveras Lake is ranging between 85-90 degrees and should stay in that fish-catching range for several more weeks. Big schools of redfish are roaming throughout the lake, typically in water from 15 to 25 feet deep.

As most veteran redfish anglers are aware, the reds go through the motions of spawning about this time each year, but they don’t produce any fry in fresh water. We are finding the male reds brought to our boat have a limited amount of sperm and the eggs in females are not fully developed. We expect the spawning to continue for at least the next three weeks and that is when sight-casting to schools of the big fish can produce great action. This type of big fish action is a testament to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department stocking program that has been so successful in making both Calaveras and Braunig Lakes the places to go in the Lone Star State for some top notch freshwater redfish action.

The technique that seems to produce the best catches calls for gold or silver spoons to be cast as far away from the boat as possible, letting the lure sink for a count of 20. When the lure has almost reached the bottom, a slow, steady retrieve seems to entice the bite. If the casting action slows down, we can always rig up the old reliable downriggers for a few hefty hook-ups.

Action at Braunig Lake remains a little slower than at Calaveras, with water temperatures at the smaller reservoir remaining a little cooler than we would like to see for red-hot redfish runs.

We are anticipating some healthy catfish action at Calaveras later on this year, based upon the unusual number of big blue cats that have been snagging our downrigger lures throughout the summer. Both blues and channel catfish are cruising the lake in good numbers and as the weather turns a little cooler, the cats will start their bite. A little ball of CJ’s Punch Bait in both minnow and shad flavors on a No. 6 treble hook can be just the ticket for some solid catfish action. We are a San Antonio distributor of CJ’s Punch Bait and have a ready supply on hand for catfish anglers.

As always, our anglers will be offered a Fishing With Manny bonus of a free, emailed photo of your catch. All our trophy shots will be taken with our Cannon Model EOS Rebel T3i digital camera and, if requested, we will send a copy to your email address for a picture=perfect portrait of your day on the water. It is just another way for us to make each trip a memory of a lifetime!

We also feature Sirius Radio (about 240 channels) on our boat to help our anglers enjoy the day and to monitor the changing weather conditions. In addition, we provide a free I-Pod Samsung connection for our anglers to listen to tunes or check the web if they ever get a break in the action. Check out our calendar for available dates (a lot of weekends are already booked) and come on out for some hot action and good times on the water!

 

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