This morning, Thursday, July 13th, I fished with Mr. Alan Payne of Salado and two of his four grandkids — 14-year-old Trip Mitchell and 12-year-old Zeke Payne.
The very first fish of the day was this record-setting spotted bass landed by Zeke on a downrigged umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons.
We found nice white bass on bottom; Trip shows one of the 3 year old fish he landed.
We found nice largemouth on top; Zeke shows a plump largemouth we found chasing shad in open water.
Several times during the trip we had a 3-way hookup with everyone landing a fish at the same time.
I’ve been off the water since last Friday after celebrating my 22nd wedding anniversary on Saturday, heading to church and resting on Sunday, and helping at our church’s Vacation Bible School each morning this week.
I felt a bit out of touch with things since I’d been fishing nearly every day except Sunday for the last 3-4 weeks and had been really keeping my finger on the pulse of the fish and bait movements as a result of doing so.
There was no need for concern, however, as the very stable weather kept the fish doing the same things in the same places and at the same times as they were before my break in the action, so, this morning we got right down to catching.
The first hour (spent downrigging) was a bit slow as the light level varied back and forth due to a direct sunrise which was then obscured by a low bank of clouds in the east. The winds at sunrise were calm and stayed low for the first hour until a lake-wide ripple began to develop with an increasing southerly breeze.
Our first fish, caught by Zeke, was a new Junior Angler category lake record spotted bass. Some years ago the 14″ statewide length limit on spotted bass was dropped as these fish were found to rarely attain this length in Texas waters. Zeke’s fish was 10.5 inches in length and weighed a quarter-pound. Spotted bass are fairly easily distinguished from largemouth bass thanks to several rows of olive-flecked scales on their white belly and an oval-shaped, dark tooth back on the rear center of their tongue.
Things really got going right around 7:15 am when a mix of largemouth at and near the surface and white bass down beneath along bottom in many of the same areas.
With the energy the fish were putting forth feeding on young of the year shad, and with seeing how the fish presented in the water column as shown on sonar, I went with alternating between casting to surface-feeding fish and slabbing vertically for bottom-huggers, just depending on what sonar showed.
The fish fed hard right up until around 10:30, at which time the surface eruptions slowed to very infrequent and widely scattered and the bottom bite dried up. The boys had read accounts of 100+ fish days on my blog in the days leading up to their trip this morning and were elated that their own trip was now in the logs as one of those adventures surpassing the century mark.
TALLY: 153 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:15am
End Time: 10:40am
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F
Water Surface Temp: 84.2F
Wind Speed & Direction: S. breeze under 6mph the entire trip
Sky Conditions: <5% clouds
Water Level: 0.30 feet high and steady with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 5
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 1310 – ground zero of a 150 yard radius of long-lived largemouth action on top and white bass action on bottom
**Area 1960 – exact location of large white bass school we smoked slabs for at mid morning
**Area 1961 – exact location of large white bass school we smoked slabs for at trip’s end
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