On Wednesday morning, 29 Oct. I fished with husband and wife team Mike and Nancy Kelley of Masterson, TX, out near Amarillo.
(L to R) Mike and Nancy “grip and grin” with a sampling of the white bass we caught on slabs this morning from out of 40+ feet of water.
Of course the Amarillo area is “oil country”. Mike worked for Conoco for a number of years before leaving that vocation to run a Christian campground. Nancy has worked for many years for Conoco and is currently working in their solvent sales division. At one time Mike was employed as a cat-cracker. That’s oil-speak for someone involved in the process of catalytic cracking used to derive petroleum-based products from it.
As the old line from “Get Smart” goes, we “missed it by that much.” “It” was the timing on the passage of our third autumn cold front. As dry fronts like this one pass, fishing is typically best as the wind velocity rises to a peak. Fishing then declines after that peak velocity is reached and begins to drop off. Unfortunately for us, that rising wind speed took place in the overnight hours and, by safe light had already begun to taper off, leaving us with a tough row to hoe.
We found plenty of fish, but getting them to strike was an entirely different story. We encountered fish at four distinct areas but found two of these populations totally turned off (1463/1383 and 1388/1209), and the other two with just reluctant fish.
We started off at both areas with a vertical jigging tactic to bring the fish in to just beneath the boat and to get that competitive nature working in our favor. This yielded 9 fish at the first area and 3 at the second. Once the initial interest waned, we threw a wider net by using downriggers to cover a bit more water in the same vicinity to add a few more fish to the count.
In one area (Area 1388/1209), right over the Leon River channel, I encountered “sonar screen-fulls” of fish which I suspect were smaller white bass. Both a friend of mine and I worked downriggers through these fish extensively without result — he actually stayed on these fish all morning exclusively (~5 hours) and only came up with 4 fish for the effort — more evidence of how turned off these fish really were. It was interesting to note that the first 2 fish he landed came within 5 minutes of the first of the nine fish we landed at the first location we experienced limited success at. The areas we were fishing at this time were over a mile apart.
We never saw any birds working or any fish schooling, and never caught the scent of shad on the water’s surface nor saw any bait slicks. Things were just very, very slow this morning. For our efforts we landed 1 largemouth bass, 1 blue catfish, 4 short hybrid striped bass, and 11 white bass — and this was after extending the trip by an extra hour.
TALLY = 17 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:15a
End Time: 12:40p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F
Water Surface Temp: 73.6F
Wind Speed & Direction: NNW13 tapering down to NNW6
Sky Conditions: 70% grey clouds over a fair blue sky
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)