This morning I fished (and froze my butt off!) with father and son Larry and Tony H., both from Louisville, KY, as a stiff cold front pushed its way into Central Texas.
Tony went "hardhats to helmets" transitioning from a carpenter in the private sector to now serving in the U.S. Army Cavalry at Ft. Hood. He's served two combat tours in five years.
Proud papa Larry had to come check on his boy-turned-soldier and decided to spend some father and son time aboard my boat to do it.
This was a "spur of the moment" sort of trip. Larry came to Fort Hood to visit his son and had but a one day window to get in some fishing. When we spoke by phone the day before our trip, I told him the forecast was for poor fishing weather due to the arrival of the cold front overnight following a nice 5 day warming trend.
Larry said he'd fished plenty of trips without landing a thing, and if our trip turned out that way, he'd just be glad for the time spent outdoors with his son and learning a thing or two about our lakes and the fish in them. I told him I could work with a fellow with that kind of attitude!
We struggled through 3 fishless hours until finally, around 10:30, things began to change. Up until this time the skies had been dark and the temperatures slowly and steadily falling. But, at this time, the cloud cover thinned so that the skies brightened, although no direct sun shone. Also, the temperatures halted their decline and began to rise ever so slightly.
As all this came together, we were on Area 1024 and, after watching sonar and seeing some fish beginning to coalesce along bottom, we ran twin downriggers set within 6 inches of bottom. In less than 5 minutes with the riggers down we had a double hookup on white bass. I got a buoy in the water right on top of the fish we marked and immediately after getting the two hooked fish in the boat we brought the riggers in and began vertical jigging very meticulously over the school we'd just downrigged through. Over the next 90+ minutes we worked and worked over this area and scrubbed exactly 21 white bass and 1 short hybrid off this area using both 3/4 oz. white TNT 180's and 3/8 oz. chartreuse TNT 180's.
At no time today did we see any fish-related bird activity. We did observe birds feeding right after the (obscured) sunrise, but these were feeding on shad at or on the surface of their own volition, not shad forced there by gamefish beneath.
By 1:15 the fish had slowed back down and we were all wind-whipped and ready for lunch. When I suggested Schoepf's BBQ, that was the straw that broke the camel's back for Tony. He just had to have some of that, and quickly, too!! So, we packed it in and headed back to civilization.
Honestly, I was very pleased to have boated 22 fish given today's adverse conditions. About the only thing that could have made this weather situation worse would have been precipitation accompanying it and perhaps a more easterly direction to the wind. Great job today grinding it out with me fellows!
TALLY = 22 FISH all caught and released
Start Time: 7:30a
End Time: 1:15p
Air Temp: 51F at trip's start and falling through 10:30a, then stabilizing.
Water Surface Temp: 56.4F.
Wind: Winds were NNW13-15.
Skies: Skies were grey the entire trip.