This morning I fished with “Grand-Dad” Jack S. of Temple, TX, and his grandson, 11 year old Jackson visiting from Houston.
Jack and Jackson are shown here holding the best 4 of our 41 fish boated on this hot late July morning in Texas!!
I normally start any trip with kids with a bit of an assessment on how the kids can use the various casting and spinning rigs that we may need to employ over the course of the trip. This lets me know how much teaching/coaching is going to be needed, and if lessons need to start at the dock or if we can simply do some “OJT” while on the water. Well, Jackson stepped on the boat, took the spinning rig I pointed out to him, gripped it, flipped the bail, and whipped out a 70 foot cast with a very light lure like it was nothing, and looked up at me as if to say, “Is there anything else I can do for you, Mister?” I knew this was going to be a great trip!!
And indeed it was! We got out on the fishing grounds this morning, started charting fish on sonar holding at 23-26 feet down (suspended, as usual in the summer) and got our downrigger array set up and working. Jack had a double (2 fish on one rod) on in less than 30 seconds, and no sooner did we release his fish than Jackson got his first fish. We encountered this initial burst of activity right at sunrise, then things slumped for about 30-40 minutes, but then started building up again as the winds got some legs to it and increased to the 8-9mph range and shifted slightly W. The best 75 minutes of fishing occurred from 8:15a to 9:30a and Area 1115 was “ground zero” for this action. After 9:45 or so things started to taper off again as the skies brightened, boat traffic increased, and the wind slacked off. We’d boated 39 fish by this time including 37 white bass, 1 drum, and 1 largemouth bass.
By 10am we changed up a bit and started “lift/dropping” slabs through bottom-oriented fish with precious little to show for it. These summertime fish want that bait going horizontal and little else. We had ample opportunity today to watch a number of boat come in around us and zero by attempting to vertical jig, all to no avail, as we steadily caught fish by moving our baits parallel to the bottom.
By 10:45 or so, after our first fishless spell of the day, we knew we didn’t have much time left if we were going to get one more bite so as to end the day on a good note. So, we worked together to throw a few different looks at a loosely schooled bunch of fish holding just off the breakline at Area 1116. They ignored our ‘rigger spread. Then, they ignored our slabs. So, we went back to the downrigger and used “stealth mode” by letting the baits back further behind the boat and putting them very precisely (vertically) where these fish were holding. We kind of held our breath as we went through this school of fish (for the fourth time!) and finally Jackson’s rod went off under the weight of a just-legal largemouth. We landed it with much celebration (after all, we worked harder for that one than any 10 of our other fish combined) and called it a day right there as the winds began to flatten and the heat started pouring on.
TALLY = 40 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 11:35a
Air Temp: 77F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 85.7F
Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.