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             Captain-Coach
            Floyd Ciruti
            Gulf Coast Closeup - Fall 2010

            by Mike Price

             

            CURRENT MOON
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            Captain-Coach, 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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