Outdoors

This past weekend, professional and college-level bass anglers on Toledo Bend made it clear that this East Texas lake is still one of the best in Texas. They caught bass — big bass and lots of them. Could it be global warming in February? Or maybe it’s just that Toledo Bend is and has been a great bass fishing lake for decades. Whatever the explanation, one thing is certain – bass on big T-Bend are definitely not in a winter cold-water stupor.

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For whatever reason over the years, most of the local outdoor writers including present company have spent little ink about East and Trinity bays. Both of those waterways have nearly direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Both Rollover Pass and the Galveston Ship Channel serve as access points for saltwater fish to move in and out of the bays with little effort. Add to that, there are numerous shell reefs in both bays as well as the north and south jetties as stopover points for the fish.

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Before

Christus Hospital – St. Elizabeth was honored with an historic visit from Nancy Bechtol of the Smithsonian to the gardens of the Phelan Mansion last week.

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A Valentine’s Day surprise came a little early for Falcon Lake angler Isaac Denson. Feb. 7, he was fishing in about 3 feet of water when he got the bite of a lifetime, one that turned out to be the heaviest bass he’s ever caught – she weighed 13.4 pounds and measured 26.5 inches in length.

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With all of the local music and sports talent from our area comes some national outdoors recognition. The History channel’s “Swamp People” has now added two local men to their team. The new season of the highly popular, nationally aired program about people that follow traditional means in order to work outdoors begins on Feb. 14. It will be shown each Thursday at 8 p.m.

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This time of year, we are all looking for some greenery to add to our vases for a little cheer in the house. Why go buy greenery when you probably have some in your own yard. How about using the classic greenery of asparagus fern?

The asparagus fern is the voluminous greenery we’ve all seen gracing large urns and pots in the South. If you don’t want to bring in the whole garden pot, just clip some because this fern will reward a good haircut with even more abundant growth.

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Fishing in February can be iffy at best. Since the wind, weather and water temperatures fluctuate greatly, it is difficult to learn a feeding pattern. There are some days that make trying to go fishing too dangerous. Lighting and high winds in the 25 mph plus zone along with torrential rain make for those types of days. Other than that, there is some really good fish catching available where the weather is less of a deterrent.

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During February and March, thousands of anglers across the Lone Star State will be looking to latch onto the largemouth bass of a lifetime. The three most important questions center on where to go, when to fish and with what lures. I’ve got some answers for you.

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It’s that time again! Yep, time to get out there in the yard and begin the spring cleanup. Our winters aren’t so long or so cold, but they can be really messy. Chances are your yard and garden are full of half-alive or half-dead plants, wind strewn debris and maybe even some old damp sheets or things used to cover your most sensitive plants during a couple of chilly nights.

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So when do folks quit going fishing? They don’t! Although most of the anglers are also hunters, there is no reason to overlook some great cold weather fishing. Even back during deer season, many deer hunters, especially in the Hill Country and in West Texas, were privileged to have access to stock tanks. There are also rivers and streams that meander near to or on their hunting grounds. The majority of ranchers that I’ve talked to about fishing in their tanks are super agreeable.

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