Floyd Ciruti, with his fishing clients
Todd Johse and Ryan Wagner
Captain-Coach Floyd Ciruti
is a fishing guide who listens to his clients. Ciruti said, "I ask
them what they would like to know and then I coach. I'd like the whole experience
to be fun for them. I want them to feel like they learned something about
reading the water, watching bait, and how to decide whether or not to fish
an area. And I try to get them to understand and see nature."
- Ciruti has a unique background especially suited to his profession.
A native of Baytown, Texas he grew up playing sports and fishing in Trinity
and Galveston Bays. After high school, Ciruti went to college at Sam Houston
State University in Huntsville where he played baseball. In 1972 he was
named to the All-America first team in the National Association of Intercollegiate
Athletics Lone Star Conference as a center fielder. After graduating from
Sam Houston, Ciruti played semipro baseball for four summers. He found
his true calling, however, when he accepted a position with Wharton High
School as coach and teacher.
- The Wharton High School baseball team won 550 games in the 30 years
that Ciruti coached. They only had two losing seasons, and were almost
always in the playoffs. Fishing was Ciruti's way to escape during his coaching
career, to get away from everything and sort things out in his head.
- He said, "I didn't
have a boat when I moved to Wharton, and I just started driving to places
to fish. Then I got a boat and started fishing East and West Matagorda
Bays, and have been fishing them ever since."
- When asked what it took to be such a successful coach he said, "Good
coaching is finding ways to get average kids to perform up to and beyond
their capability. The ones with talent are going to perform well anyway."
- Helping fishermen perform up to their capabilities involves a lot of
factors but after retiring from coaching in 2007, Ciruti got his captain
license and decided to take on that challenge.
- I met Coach Ciruti in the early morning
darkness at Matagorda Harbor. He made me and his fishing clients, David
Tovey, Todd Johse, and Ryan Wagner, feel welcome aboard his 22 foot Gulf
Coast boat with his friendly smile and handshake. Todd is a fireman who
grew up in Wharton; he played baseball with Ciruti's son in grade school,
and graduated from Wharton High School. He said, "Last year at a Wharton
Fire Department fund raiser I talked to Coach about taking me to West Matagorda
Bay. I told him I that I have a 23-foot Majek and wanted him to show me
some spots and what to look for." He said, "I'll show you everything
I can, you can bring your GPS along and mark some spots that I take you
to." We left the harbor and headed for West Matagorda Bay.
- As the sun rose, we slowly approached the shoreline to avoid scaring
the fish. Coach said, "What a gorgeous sunrise, and listen do you
hear all those coyotes singing? We are going to get on this shoreline,
and wade this whole flat. There are some little guts in between patches
of sand. It's fine if you want to go up in those deep bayous, but the farther
you get up in there, the muddier it gets."
- Later Todd said, "I really didn't know where to start wading.
Coach told us where the grass beds start in West Matagorda Bay, and how
the guts run at a northwest angle, then cut back west. Usually, I will
wade one location for hours and not catch anything, but Coach said fish
for 25 minutes; if you aren't catching anything, it is time to move."
- Coach uses Lacross snake boots to protect himself from stingrays. He
said, "My stingray fear factor is gone." He wears gloves and
covers his face for protection from the sun, and carries his tackle with
a wide neoprene wading belt made by E-Z Wading Belt. His "go to"
rod is a 7-foot American Rodsmith medium light, with either a small light
weight Shimano Chronarch, or Abu Garcia Revo reel. And he floats a large
plastic container on a line as a shark proof fish box. He told us that
sharks in West Matagorda Bay will follow a stringer or bucket with holes
in it, like following a chum line, but they leave the sealed box alone.
As we approached one shoreline a five foot shark crossed our bow.
- Ryan wanted to fish the bayou for redfish and asked, "What do
you think I should throw at reds?" Coach handed him a blunt nosed,
five-inch-plum-colored soft plastic called Eel Diablo, made by Hogie from
El Campo, Texas, "This lure shoots through a wind like we have today
because it has a blunt nose." I had a gold spoon on and Coach said,
"You have a lure on that a lot of people don't use anymore, but it
is probably the best lure ever made."
- Coach fished the ED Special, a jointed swimming lure, handmade by Eddie
Douglas in Bay City, TX. Coach said, "It takes awhile to learn how
to use this lure but, when those fish hit it - they tag it, it's a whack."
- Coach gave Todd a Plumtreuse Flappin Devil soft plastic from Brown
Lures. His favorite soft plastic colors are green and plum. For shallow
water wading he likes a 1/8 oz. jig head, and in 4-5 feet of water he uses
a 1/4 oz. head because it sinks faster.
- He said, "I hop soft plastics, pump twice that's what shrimp
do. They take two hops and then shoot through the water."
- David and Todd fished the flats with Coach close by, and Todd went
into the bayou in search of redfish. "You see that little bitty slick
that just came up," Coach said. David threw to it and caught a small
trout. Coach told him to holler "yoo-hoo", and thereafter whenever
anyone caught a fish we all shared the fun of it with a loud yoo-hoo!
- Coach's detailed explanations of the terrain, above and below the water,
reflected his 33 years of wade fishing experience in West Matagorda Bay.
- We moved to another bayou and Coach said, "This bayou is deep,
you may want to cross at an angle from this grass point to that other grass
point. There is a lake in the back of the bayou, also sandbars, and oyster
reefs. It's a pretty good walk all the way back. You don't have to come
back to the boat, I'll come and get you, where ever you are."
- He told Todd to stop and cast around, "You've got a good grass
bed right out in front of you." Shortly thereafter Todd caught the
best fish of the day, a 20-inch trout.
- After hearing a large splash in the bay everyone looked in that direction
to see a bottle nose dolphin causing the ruckus. Coach said, "Bottle
nose dolphin like to eat speckled trout so I try to fish between the shoreline
and the dolphin activity. They chase the trout in."
- David, Todd, and Ryan went out with Coach Ciruti in order to learn
where and how to fish West Matagorda Bay. They fished at five locations,
and Coach handed them a wealth of fishing tips. They were also made privy
to Coach's philosophy about a truly successful day of fishing: Yes, it's
feeling a jolt climb up your arm from a big trout slamming your lure, and
it's knowing how to spot a slick, and where the grass beds and guts are,
but it is also hearing the songs of coyotes as you step out of the boat
while the rising sun peeks through the clouds.
- For more information on Captain-Coach Ciruti's "KNEEdeepFishing
Guide Service visit www.gofishmatagorda.com. He can also be reached at
979-533-0893 or 979-532-3810.
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