The Fishing Trip Time Stood Still - Lake Somerville, TX

There always going to be times that makes the world stop spinning. Everything stops except for what is happening right then and there. My most recent event was our trip Crappie fishing on Lake Somerville. I am pretty sure my heart stopped for at least 30 seconds. Maybe I'm exaggerating on that part but time did stand still during the trip. 

Let's back up. We planned a family trip for Friday night to hit the lake after multiple reports of the Crappie biting and a treasure awaiting. Mother nature has been a bit cranky everywhere but here in Texas has brought thunderstorms, confirmed hail, small tornado's (any tornado freaks me out!), wind and abnormal high & low temps. We debated leaving out and decided against it. It was a good call as a strong front moved through with wind, rain and chaos and didn't stay on the predicted track. 

My Captains! 

My Captains! 

The weekend progressed and we left out mid day to get there and make an evening run. This was an adventure in itself. Hubby, who was fighting a nasty flu like cold, my father in law is dealing with arthritic knees, two young kids (3 & 6) and me all on a pontoon boat looking for action and no one really feeling their best. We launched at Lake Somerville Marina and headed for Snake Island. I landed a small bass, whoo hoo. Then I killed it. When I went to release him I pulled the trigger on the lipper a bit to early and he was taken by a wave under the belly of the boat. I almost dove in after him and it upset me. My husband tried to console me and told me he would be fine after a bit but I just know I messed up. It happens I know but dang it - the first catch. 

T playing in the spray as we cruised across the lake. 

T playing in the spray as we cruised across the lake. 

From there we raced across the lake to the 'hot spot' Big Creek Marina. It has been years since I've been to the marina and let me tell you it was a sight to see or better to say not see. Somerville was an area that was hit in 2015 & 2016 with flooding worse then they had seen in over 20 years. Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin have all experienced significant flooding in the last 2 years. I was unable to get home for right at 36 hours last May. The 2016 flood levels passed 2015 leaving areas that had barely recovered dealing with another devastating event. Check out this video of an air boat touring the flooded lake that shows just how bad it really was. The first part of it show the areas we were in. 

The shell of Big Creek Marina. 

The shell of Big Creek Marina. 

Back to Big Creek. This being a popular spot we arrived to find lots of boats tied up to the poles that use to be part of the marina. The sun was setting giving the abandoned shell of building a mystical yet eerie look. It was a stunning sun set. After fussing and fighting children resulting in yelling parents, I came to figure out that we had drifted into 'stuff' in the water and were temporarily stuck. Not a good feeling when you realize that your clogged up ears are going to be a problem for a touchy situation. When you have no clue what to do but try to avoid a panic attack and help, it was a bit rough. After some tense moments on board we were able to get free with only a few scratches to the pontoons and tie off in a more appropriate less underwater danger location. By this time I had caved and gave up my phone to the princess and the tablet to T just to get a moment of peace. As the sun set I realized my jacket and the kids sleeping bags were tucked securely and safety in the truck... the one across the lake. A small failure in preparation. Happens to the best of us. We concluded the night with a few nice Crappie in the boat.

I'm going to give the marina the benefit of still working out the kinks but it was a struggle to get the boat loaded in the dark with the lack of lighting at the ramp. Of course the little had to pee as we sat backed into the lake waiting to get the boat loaded with no bathroom in sight. She's learning how to squat and not pee on her pants. It is an important skill for a future Outdoors Woman (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).   At last the boat was loaded, the loose items secured and off we went to spend the night in the hotel. 

S soaking up the sun and relaxing with her Pa Paw 

S soaking up the sun and relaxing with her Pa Paw 

Sunday morning bright and early (I don't do mornings unless it involves water with any level of enthusiasm) we headed down for a bite then back to the lake. We launched at Welsh Park this time being they have a ramp closer to the target location. Breezy and cool we headed across to return to the target location. I can with confidence say that this in NOT a secret location. It is popular and busy. We tied up in a good spot and lowered the chilled minnow into the water.

Our company

Our company

I had the opportunity to use my new linecutterz ring a few times - read that as got stuck on objects that kept my hook- and gained confidence in rigging myself up without having to bug my husband to do it.  It was slow but the company was good. Lots of friendly banter among fishing buddies, carefully worded trash talk due to small ears and me. The ones in ear shot loosened up when the kids took a nap and they realized I have a potty mouth with an attitude and a come back that was willingly on the boat and not a tag along. The sun creeped up and knocked down the chill. S caught a fish all by herself. T wasn't much for fishing this trip. Hubby and Father in law brought a good number of crappie in the boat. I caught a few, an adorable small mud catfish (yes it was cute with a potbelly and smiley face) and almost landed a massive catfish. He straighten my hook right before we got him in the boat. The fight was fun and at least i got to see him surface!

S right before she caught a fish all by herself!

S right before she caught a fish all by herself!

At this point the winds had picked up and the waves were steady. I was seated in my chair at the front of the boat. The kids were sitting in the opening swinging their feet in the water enjoying the morning and each others company.  Then It happened. Time stood still. T hollered
'Mommy sissy....' and I head the splash. My thoughts raced as I tried to recall if she had her puddle jumper on or not. I'm surprised I didn't throw my pole in the water as I lunged forward. She was literally just popping back up to the surface as I grabbed her and pulled her back in. She went completely under water. After I checked her for any bumps and found her unharmed I realized Scott was standing beside me and the noise of the world started again. She was scared and cried some. We pulled her out of the wet clothes, wrapped her in a towel and she sat with daddy for a minute before she sat by herself on the seat.  I think i was actually shaking before I settled down. 

Dramatic much - So the  reality - I was sitting within 2 feet of both kids, she had her life jacket on, the water was chilly but it was not awful and we were tied up to posts and the boat was not moving!  It was a good lesson for both of them. We tell them constantly - you have to keep your life jacket on when we are moving, stay away from the front of the boat because you can fall off the boat, listen to us to stay safe. Now we are just not making empty threats or telling stories. It can happen.  Shortly after this the bites slowed and the water continued to be choppy. We reeled in and pushed off to wrap up our adventure. 

Fishing and boating with little's is always an adventure. If you're new to it just prepared for anything. I'm sure this will be a faded memory by the time summer gets here! It was a decent haul on Crappie and hope to go back out soon!

Two of the big ones and my  Hook it fishing company  shirt

Two of the big ones and my Hook it fishing company shirt

Texas has a statewide minimum length limit of 10 inches and daily bag limit of 25 crappie. We were definitely under our limit but it was a trip to remember. We caught a mix of black and white crappie this time. One was interesting with his striped markings. For more information on crappie visit here

Predominant Fish Species

5 Fishing Fanatic Instagrams to Follow

Social media offers ways to connect with people all over the place! I wanted to share a few to add to your following list that I think are pretty awesome and have a passion for outdoors, fishing and others.  These reviews are not sponsored by any of the listed companies.

Gluckgear

@Gluckgear - Gluck is slang for saying "Good Luck". How neat is that. What makes them follow worthy? They have a huge heart and support The National Foster Parent Association by way of donation from their sales. Big dreams in the work for this crew with a long term goal of bigger ways to support Foster Parents.

Gluckgear.com  

@texas_boys_outdoors - This group of giving super heroes aim to gets kids, veterans and first responders involved in the beautiful Texas outdoors. They are a non profit organization and are active in the community. From outings of fishing and hunting to gear they are providing those an opportunity to enjoy getting outdoors. I happen to have a few hard working first responders in my world and thankful for the job they do and amazed to watch them give back to others just as selflessly. (If you fall in that category Thank you for your service)

texasboysoutdoor
Photo:@annettallen   Grey Ladies T Shirt 

Photo:@annettallen   Grey Ladies T Shirt 

@hookitfishingcompany- Just a small business starting to build great things. This company started with a business philosophy of, "Start Small and then grow strong and take care of the people that helped you grow when you started". Born in Texas out of a passion for fishing. Check them out for some great gear. 

www.hookitfc.com

 

Photo: @fin_and_pin

Photo: @fin_and_pin

@fin_and_pin - For anglers by anglers kind of small business. A unique way to display your passion for fishing with a pin to put on your cap or shirt collar or anywhere you want to display it with a quality label pin. New additions to the shop are cuff-links. Have a stuffy suit to wear to that corporate event? Add a little bass to you look!

www.finandpin.com

Photo: @cobo_black

Photo: @cobo_black

@linecutterz - I started following this company without much information on what they did. They posted pretty consistent cool images. After seeing their product I was intrigued. Do you ever find yourself fumbling for a knife or scissors when you need to cut a line? Use a braided wire that just is too thick to bite through? Well this will make fishing life easier, a ring with a blade that boasts cutting up to 100# braid!  Simple and functional whats there to question. Vance Zahorski even made an appearance on Shark Tank and got a big bite!

www.linecutterz.com

These are just a few of the fishing fanatic's you can find on Instagram. Let me know if you have someone you follow that's rocking fishing, small business and uniqueness! 

 

 

 

 

Sun Safety - 5 Simple Ways to Say No To Lobsters

A little sun block talk

In today’s times we are hit constantly with going green, reducing contact with chemicals, eating clean, using all natural products and everyone has that oily friend with a concoction for everything! I HATE getting a bad sunburn and refuse to let my kids turn in to lobsters if I can avoid it. At the same time we live in a world that moves rapidly and convenience is a high priority.

I am that mom that chases the kids down and slathers on sunblock and never leaves the house during the summer without it. Problem with that is we spend a lot of time outside in the sun. Having a greasy, sticky or pasty child hugging me or sitting in my lap is not my idea of fun either. So what’s the balance? How do you get enough sun to not become Vitamin D deficient (which I am fighting currently) but not have mini lobsters and expose yourself to possible cancer causing ingredients or skin damage from sun exposure? 

This post may contain affiliate links. I only recommend products or services that I use and love though.

5 Easy Tips to stay safe in the sun:

1.     Find some shade - UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday, so it’s best to avoid activities in the direct sun. If this is not possible, seek shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a pop-up tent. We love our popup shade tent (affiliate link). Its perfect for a nap or a snack.

2.    Cover up – There are a ton of options that offer protection from the rays. If the temps are cooler a long sleeve shirt can provide coverage as well as pants and caps. There are cute hats for little’s with longer backs for neck protection. Caps or hats with brims can add shade for the face too. No one like roasted ears.

3.    Add some style with sunglasses - Look for sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.  I always pick up a few extra when I hit the dollar store to keep in my Essentials Bag.  These are the #1 item miss placed, lost or broke by the little’s in my world.

4.    Apply Sunscreen – The recommendations are to use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB protection. There are several on the market that boast an SPF of 50. This is an overkill and way above the needed level.  I’m working on finding a new favorite that is ‘safer’, effective and easy to keep on hand. I’ll come back with an update after more research.  Word of caution there are many a great debate about ingredient’s, SPF levels, UV blockers and more. I am going to leave those decisions up to you.

5.    Medication cocktails - Be aware of what medications are on board. There are some that can increase sun sensitivity. The majority of mediations carry a label on them but everyone reacts differently. For more information check out this quick list of medications/supplements to watch.

 

Hope these tips help you enjoy your fun in the sun and avoid the bloodshot eyes, tears and tiny glowing lobsters.

 

 

Chasin' the fishing fix At Burroughs Park

While we would rather be hitting the lake on the boat chasing crappie's we took the time to load up and hit the local pond.  Burroughs Park has a great size pond that is stocked with bass, catfish and perch. The weather has been weird. Seriously all 4 seasons in a week. Lows in the 30's to high's close to 80. Storms, hurricane force winds with no rain are common this month! Forecast showed a mellow day so we jumped on it hoping it wouldn't be too wet. 

Boroughs park has a really nice list of amenities that include a pier to fish on, walking trails, fully enclosed dog park and a variety of play ground set ups. One of my favorite is the bench swing!

We looked like we were doing some serious fishing lugging everything to the pond. New fishing poles ready to test out the water. The kids dug up worms in the yard with daddy before we headed out. S was very determined that she was putting them in the bucket regardless of who unearthed the wiggly soon to be snacks. 

I would love to say the kids fished for at least an hour but not so much. S caught a perch right away and got so excited she almost dropped her light up Olaf pole but recovered quickly to reel in a tiny prize. I cherish the honest, true and raw emotions of both kids at this age. 

stpark.jpg

As T reeled in his first fish S cheered with delight "Oh bubby you caught anoder one", "I'm so powd of you" followed with "It's so cute, good job".  They posed for a quick picture and off we were.  After another 3 or 4 fish each they were done. I'll give them props for lasting that long with the enticing swing set in the near distance. 

The random weather had the park empty compared to a normal Saturday so they were easy to watch from the pond. The hubs and I continued to catch palm size and smaller perch one after the other. The urge to fish was calmed but definitely not silenced. 

This park and pond offers a wonderful opportunity for practicing your cast, gives the reinforcement of actually catching a fish and space to relax. It's great for kids to get hooked on the adventure! 

Both kids have been exposed to fishing since early on. S younger then T only because other life was happening. I feel its something to expose them to. Its a whole process. The packing, traveling, checking everything, the actual fishing part, education and safety are all involved. I am paranoid of them hooking themselves or someone else. I know its going to happen one of these days. Then there is the wait. Oh the wait. It could be a few minutes, a few hours or even the entire day. Our kids live in such a busy, electronic saturated on demand world that it can be overwhelming. Developmentally a young kid literally  may not have a lot of patience to wait AND stay calm. Heck I know adults that are in constant motion and sitting still would drive them crazy. 

With that being said, take into consideration what your child is capable of and be willing to take a break BEFORE they hit melt down mode.   Fighting a threenager thats pissed off and bored in the middle of a lake when the bites just get going is not the turn I want the day to take. Ill be repacking the 'Busy Box' for the boat soon to keep them occupied when they have given up the fishing. (stat tuned) 

Tips:

  • Take into consideration what your child is capable of and be willing to take a break BEFORE they hit melt down mode.   I can not stress enough that you do not want to have a battle of will power with a tired, cranky, hungry or bored threenager  in the middle of a lake or when you have 3 arm fulls of gear to haul back to your truck or camp site.  Prevention is key - a miserable trip makes everyone less likely to do it again. 

A typical child can focus attention on one task for 2- 5 minutes per year old they are. 

  • 2 years old          4-10 minutes
  • 3 years old          6 - 15 minutes
  • 4 years old          8 - 20 minutes
  • 5 years old         10 - 25 minutes
  • 6 years old         12 - 30 minutes
  • 7 years old          14 - 35 minutes
  • 8 years old        16 - 40 minutes
  • 9 years old        18 - 45 minutes
  • 10 years old      20 - 50 minutes 

Happy Fishing. 

10 Essential Summer Travel Supplies

It's only January but I am ready for warmer weather that is just a smidgen more predictable. With a little time off and cleaning to get tackled I ran across the "magic bag". Seemed like a great time to check it out. Just unzipping the bag brings memories and a smile. It smells of sun, fun and laughter permeate the air as a reminder of adventure's of the past and excitement of the future. 

What makes this bag so magical? This bag lives in my vehicle starting at the first sign of travel. For us it's as early as March when the schedule slows after the first of the year and the weather gets steadier. Im also not opposed to hitting the beach in December. 

The contents are what I have found as my must haves, don't leave home without and don't have to waste time hunting for items. 

This post may contain affiliate links. I only recommend products or services that I use and love though.

Do Not BeCaught Unprepared-2.png

1. Sunscreen - Don't judge but the spray bottle is in the bag currently. Its great for in a pinch and not covering the whole body. I'll be restocking the good stuff soon.  

2. Bug repellant - Seeing that the little's both attract biting bugs, it's a requirement. I prefer to avoid the itchy, swollen red marks. (Currently using Avon Bug Guard Plus from the Skin So Soft Line)

3. Mini First Aid Kit - Just the basics. I'm pretty sure I picked up this little kit at a conference for work. Its small and keeps it all together. Compact is great. Triple Antibiotic Ointment in the pump bottle so you don't have to worry about the cap and Band aids - Per the Princess, Dory makes it all better!  

4. Baby powder - Most effective way to rid the sand from the bodies before loading up. Dust on after towel drying and brush off. Helps dry up the excess moisture too keeping some of the beach on the shore line and out of the carpet. 

5. Wipes -I have the baby wipes as they are handy for everything and if they dry out I just add a little water and go with it. 

6.Sunglasses for everyone! It never fails that someone with forget, break or loose the eyewear just when they need/want it. I pick up extra's at the dollar store when I find them in the preferred character. I also prefer not to wear my good glasses when we're in the water and not on the boat. 

7. Dry box - This is a life saver. Even when unplugging we always keep a phone on us. It keeps the necessities dry. Keys, phones and money goes in here. It floats too just incase. You can find them in many major stores or  here for the one we have been using for at least 2 years. (affiliate link)

8. Back up battery - Cause you just never know. I keep one charged at all times. Its tossed in the dry box and always ready to go. (Not pictured)

9. Thermal Tote - I love my thermal tote. It lays flat and can be smooshed to  take up less room. If it gets dirty it can be tossed in the washer and be ready to rock the next trip out.  Check out the patterns here

10. Wash rag - I picked up a cheap set at the dollar store and keep one handy. They are great for when you need a dry rag instead of a wet wipe. (Not Pictured in bag)

The current bag is a zip top thermal tote from Thirty-one. Its durable and can be wiped out as needed. It's also great when the temperatures rise - toss an icepack in a zip lock bag and don't worry about the contents burning you when you use them or the phones exploding!

Summer is short, Late evenings fade fast so keep your bag packed and be ready to conquer the fun and sun!

Want to get prepped? Get your Summer Travel Bag Checklist here

The Stuff Dreams are Made of

There are so many things to look at when considering boats and campers. The joy of having it all in one place is exciting until you get there! We made the adventure to the Houston Outdoor Show to check it all out. Just imagine wall to wall boats with 1 motor to 3 motors filling a ginormous space (700,000+ sq feet) riddled with booths and people. Oh my the people. Add in a momma thats not feeling great and a daddy thats been working for 8 days straight. Sounds fun right - Oh don't forget two littles in tow and one starting a cold (read that as snotting everywhere and by no means look at her funny). Sounds like a dream right. 

I am glad T can read, He enlightened S on the word "No", even if it said 'No Fees'. He understood it as you can't get on the boat - that saved us from 20 or 30 trips up the ladders. We walked and wondered for 4 hours and still didn't see all of it. We skipped the Ski boats all together. The pontoon boats ranged from 20K to 200k. Seriously, what do you do with a $200,000 pontoon boat with 3 motors? Just doesn't make sense on the lakes around us. To each their own. 

My husband says I'm frugal, his nice way of saying I'm cheap. I fell in love with a Carolina Skiff  brand boat. It was a brand new model with just enough bells and whistles to pull a $40k+ price tag. It had all the needs and wants I didn't even know I had until that moment. Bathroom, plenty of seating, center console, rod holders for everyone, deep enough to keep the kids safe, live well and more. It is a beauty. Ahh to dream. 

Carolina Skiff - Love at first sight!

Carolina Skiff - Love at first sight!

Then to the campers. They had some decked out to a point I find ridiculous. You name you got it. Fireplace? Sure how about. 2 Spa tub? You got it. Front porch? How about a wrap around!

Back to the frugalness - I want a camper thats light, easy to pull, has a stove, oven optional, a bunk bed, bathroom and 2 full size beds that do not require putting the table down every day.  I found it! Less then $20K brand spanking new!  I just think my vision and this camper didn't mix. I did find a 2017 Forest River Rockwood Roo that did fit the bill that was closer too $25K.  It doesn't have the bunk beds but has adequate space for everyone. It is an expandable, meaning it has beds that extend outside of the walls that are enclosed with canvas. Saves floor space and you still can feel like you're roughing it only with AC or Heat. 

For now I'll keep it on my wishing and dreaming list and keep doing our thing in the pontoon boat and a roomy tent. I have updated my dream board with a few finds from this adventure. Highlight for the kids - The boat with a house in it and a bounce house because climbing of 3000 freaking boats was not enough entertainment! 

If you are in the market or just want to check it all out check out the calendar here to see if there is a show coming near you! There truly is a market for any budget. 

Princess found her chair. Such a sass

Princess found her chair. Such a sass

Center Console Pontoon Boat set up for fishing and fun. Loved the flooring in this one and  the functional use of space!  www.ronhoover.com 

Center Console Pontoon Boat set up for fishing and fun. Loved the flooring in this one and  the functional use of space!

www.ronhoover.com 

I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus

Whoo de whoo! I am still finding wrapping paper, empty boxes and sticky half eaten candy canes all over my house. Honestly I don't care at this time. Its just one more indicator that we had a good day! This was a year with a twist. Looking back last year my Mother in Law made the statement in tears that it could be her last Christmas with us. Well sadly she lost her fight this April and we spent our first Christmas with her in heaven. We miss her dearly. Hug your loved ones as time is not guaranteed.

I think my personal gift list would make a lot of women upset. No I didn't get a vacuum, I gifted myself one on Black Friday. 

I scored big time. I got not 1 but 2 rods and a new spinner reel! One heavy duty for trolling and hitting the beach and one light action to tear up the crappie and white bass! Along with those was a pink camo fishing hat and a cap to keep the sun of my face. I'll spare you the rest but it may be time to actually workout in the work out clothes this year. (Whoops)

S got a 'Olaf' pole, T got a new rod and reel in bright orange and hubby got a collapsible pole. WTH I was thinking by giving him easy access to stop at his leisure to fish I don't freaking know but anyways.

We are geared up and ready to go, now we just have to make it to water that isn't the bath tub! Although it is 82 degrees the day after Christmas. Hence the Texas Style!

Stay tuned, I'll be back soon with tales from the water side! 

A glimpse at my excitement and custom rod holder. 

A glimpse at my excitement and custom rod holder. 

Hubby decorated the project boat. Edited with photogrid

Hubby decorated the project boat. Edited with photogrid

Texas Style Outdoor Momma

Welcome and thanks for joining this adventure! Lets get this party started and find out about your guide. 

My name is Annett and I carry a bag of hats every day. First and foremost I am a wife and a momma. I met my husband the weekend after I moved home from college in December of 2004. I'll add details as we go, he's in most of my adventures. I have two blessings. In 2010 we welcomed a bouncing baby boy T. He is my thinker and builder. Three years later we added princess S. A fearless explorer, unless you are an unfamiliar person. They amaze us everyday. 

From there I add Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I love what I do (just not the pain in the are technical insurance BS) Short version: I work with individuals with developmental delays, Autism, ADHD and a whole list of other behavioral issues. I always say I get my butt whooped by little people for a living. Some of them are not so little!

After that I toss in a little bit of fun... I dabble in network marketing, crafts, love my crock pot and OUTDOORS. Mainly anything associated with fishing, camping, being on the beach or lake and did I mention fishing?

So that is the mini version of my life and how you ended up here. Texas Style Outdoor Momma is my way of sharing the adventure. In the process I'll share tips, tricks and tried and true ways to make enjoying the world of camping, fishing and water life work for the busy family. Who knows what will happen, I never know what is actually going to come out of my mouth. While I'll try to keep it PG 13 I am a sailor mouthed, fun loving lady that isn't always on my best behavior. 

Hope you enjoy!

Me and My Hubby - November 2016 - Tx Ren Faire

Me and My Hubby - November 2016 - Tx Ren Faire