Well, the moral of today’s fishing story is that “Persistence pays off.”!!
Proud Pop Mike and his son, Kyle, with a sampling from the brief but intense action we uncovered this morning.
Little tough-guy Kyle boated our largest white bass today and nearly went hypothermic doing it!
The adventure began long before we met at the dock this morning when, from Iraq, Mike M. contacted me by e-mail about taking him and his son on a fishing trip during his R&R. I told Mike that no matter when his R&R was, I would make a hole in my booking schedule so that he and his son could be assured of a trip together. As Mike’s R&R date got closer, we set a tentative date for our trip. With the transition of US forces out of Iraq, things like flights home have gotten harder to come by. Concerned by his platoon sergeant’s report that it took him ~10 days to get back to the US, Mike contacted me and asked to push our date back. We did. Next, once Mike got to the US and back to Texas, we re-looked at our calendars (and the weather) and thought this past Saturday looked good. Nope! That got trumped by pre-existing family plans. Now I was starting to sweat it, as Mike was running out of leave and there wasn’t a single 1/2 day of weather in the forthcoming week that I could get excited about as of this past Saturday night. Nonetheless, with a SSE wind called for on Tuesday evening, we chose that over winds from the N, NE, and E that were forecast the remainder of the week. No sooner did we do that, than on Sunday the forecast changed, moving the SSE wind on Tuesday into the morning hours. Mike was flexible enough to change, so we nailed that down.
Then, at 7:15am at the boat ramp, apparently no one informed Mother Nature that she was supposed to be blowing SSE — her memo read due east at 8 — a real killer for good fishing.
I just shook my head as I launched thinking this was NOT going to be the trip I wanted for this soldier and his son after we’d planned it for so long.
We started off flatline trolling for the first hour or so to have lines in the water as I looked over several patches of bottom and observed for birds and watched sonar. We boated 2 white bass, 1 crappie, and 1 short largemouth on crankbaits during this time at Area 116, at NW of Area 999, and at the circuit through Areas 114, 386, 319, 704, and 343.
By 8:30 the skies had brightened to where I felt comfortable checking out some deeper breaklines. We checked one, then another, then another … nine areas in all and only scattered bait was showing. By 10am we’d only caught one additional short white bass at Area 186 and I was the one who caught it. Five fish in nearly 3 hours … this was looking bad.
As we went to check out our tenth area, the sun appeared (obscured) through the still-heavy clouds to the SE, and the skies brightened just a bit. Simultaneously, the wind shifted about 25 degrees further south. As we idled over Area 329, I saw some signs of life down there in 27 feet of water and buoyed the area. I got the boat in a hover over this area and got the boys up on the front deck. By now they were VERY accustomed to this drill and, without a word, got their slabs down to bottom, adjusted correctly AND THEN IT HAPPENED!! The school of white bass I saw glued to the bottom literally “came unglued” and rose up off the bottom to strike our lures from the first drop down amongst them and for 75 minutes straight thereafter. During this time we caught a mix of white bass ranging from 7 to 12.5 inches non-stop using a smoking technique. We went from a total catch of 5 fish at 10am to an end-of-trip total of 81 fish boated by 11:22. It was truly like Someone flipped a switch.
Needless to say, I thanked the Lord for pulling my bacon out of the fire and helping this father and son have the trip I had intended for them.
Little Kyle was a real trooper. By the time we’d arrived at our 6th “barren” spot, I could see his rod tip quivering as he shook in the cool, damp conditions, but, he persisted and it paid off in the end.
And so went this trip … an awesome ending more than making up for a cold, slow start … and Mike heading back to Iraq with memories of his son and a great day of white bass fishing in Texas!
TALLY = 81 FISH, all caught and released