This morning I fished our monthly trip with John M. and his son, Matthew. These trips have served as an incentive for Matthew to keep his grades and attitude up, and have provided an opportunity for others to join in on the fishing fun, too. Today's lucky guest was Matthew's cousin, Bennie, from Rogers, TX.
This hybrid would be our largest fish of the trip, weighing in at 4.25 pounds. The white bass, though dwarfed by the hybrid, was a solid 14" fish.
This 3 pound blue cat nailed one of our live shad later in our trip. It took the boys approximately 62 attempts to net this fish. Talk about teamwork!?!
Matthew enjoyed catching different species today. This smallmouth also came on a live shad fished over a rocky bottom.
I knew from the forecast that we were in for a tough go of it today -- not impossible, but tough. We had a high pressure system (with some great fishing) break down and be replaced by low pressure and characteristic damp winds from the north.
Fish, when they feed under low pressure conditions, always seem to feed in short spurts, and those spurts never seem to be very enthusiastic.
So it was today ... we experienced two distinct periods of activity. First, at Area 788, we tried downrigging so we could have baits in the water as I looked the area over with sonar. There was a ton of bait in the area, and gamefish, too, but nothing was interested in moving fast enough to hit a downrigged lure. I came prepared with live bait as a safeguard after seeing the forecast prior to our trip. We got live bait down and working and began to pull fish. We boated white bass, a few hybrid, a few catfish, and a few largemouth, all on shad and all just off bottom in about 25'. As we sat over top of these fish, we saw several short eruptions of schooling activity by white bass forcing shad to the surface. Some were within casting distance, so we picked off a few white bass as we maintained our position while fishing the bait. Rarely did the fish stay up long enough to allow for more than 1 or 2 to be caught. We boated a total of 18 fish here.
Now, this is where the "statistician" part comes in. Matthew is a baseball stats nut. He has taken to running numbers in his head about other things he enjoys, too, including fishing. So, after our first hour had gone by, we'd boated 7 fish. He was planning on a 4 hour trip, and so confidently reported to all of us that we were on track for a "definite double-digit 28 fish day". I had to chuckle at that one. Despite their pea-sized brain, fish are often not such linear thinkers...
After this area played out, we struggled a bit doing more sonar searching than fishing until, finally, we located a suspended, loosely congregated bunch of fish hanging at mid-depth along with baitfish at around 27-29 feet at Area 365/192. We first downrigged for these fish with doctored Pet Spoons and got our first fish of the day using this tactic. This told me we were dealing with more active fish than we'd encountered up to this point. We worked these fish over with pass after pass of the downrigger, picking up a fish each time. We found suspended largemouth, hybrid, and white bass here. After the downriggers failed to produce, but while fish still showed on sonar, we immediately slowed down and switched over to live bait to try to tempt the fish as they got increasingly disinterested. By 1:00pm, we'd managed to work our way slowly but surely up to a tally of 40 fish thanks to the live bait action.
I really enjoyed fishing with these young men. They were both respectful, considerate of one another, and appreciative of the opportunity that John was providing for them. John and Matthew have now fished with me in all seasons and have seen most all of the techniques I commonly employ. We've had great days and not so great days. This one was somewhere in the middle! Thanks, fellows! TALLY = 40 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 1:00p
Air Temp: 71F at trip's start.
Water Surface Temp: 81F
Wind: Winds were NNW5-8
Skies: Skies were heavily overcast following a night of rainfall due to a low pressure system sitting over Central Texas.