Fished a half-day morning trip today with father and son team Pitt and Robert G. of Round Rock. The Garrett’s are in the insurance business together and Pitt is a new boat owner. His goal today was to learn to use downriggers.
Pitt came to learn downrigging today and did well by mastering the basics by trip’s end.
Rob holds the largest of our white bass today, 14.75+ inches taken on a Pet / Licker combo
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 12:15pm
Air Temp: 75F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~85.5F
Wind: Winds were light and variable up through 10:40, when a sustained WNW ripple pushed by a 5-6 mph breeze finally began.
As we began our day I explained a few things at dockside about the day I anticipated: topwater at sunrise followed by downrigging thereafter, and gave the fellows some tips about retrieve methods and speed to help them be successful. The fact that we had absolutely no wind was a big concern. As we searched for topwater action just as the sun rose just to the WSW of Area 062, I found the fish had a “delayed start” versus the past several trips, but finally did feed, albeit fairly lightly, beginning around 7:20. We took only 4 fish on top today. By 8:10 things were quiet here. We went to Area 333 looking for more topwater but found about the same.
At this point it seemed a good time to provided the detailed coaching Pitt desired on downrigging. We began with just one rigger out. I set it and explained each step of the process as I did so. We were blessed to catch a white bass immediately so they could both see what a strike looked like in the rod tip, and so they could then work through re-setting the downrigger themselves. At first, I explained each step again, but, by the end of the trip both fellows were able to get the gear down efficiently and accurately based on where fish showed on sonar. Once we had the basics down and bumped up to two downriggers, we enjoyed some consistent action in the vicinity of Area 480 / 481. It gave up 11 fish in short order but then the bait dissipated and the whites did, too. We then struggled a while as the sun increased in intensity and the surface was mirror slick, catching only 2 more fish over a 55 minute span. We found ample bait with gamefish nearby around Area 444, Area 205, and Area 217, but the fish just refused to turn on.
Around 9:30, a light NW ripple began, so we immediately headed to the south side of the lake where this wind was impacting the most. We looked hard on sonar with riggers down from Area 495 to Area 452 but still came up with nothing. By now, that NW blow had rippled the entire surface of the lake and so, having already identified a number of areas holding bait, we headed back to those areas to see if the wind would spur on some activity. We first checked in the vicinity of Area 444. We found a little better action here, but small fish. We headed to the SSW and finally got into some fish just as they turned on for a about an hour coinciding with the best wind we’d had to that point, a 5-7 mph WNW breeze. From 10:45 to 12:15, at Area 471 / 476 we put the majority of our entire catch in the boat — 29 more fish to be exact — including 4 sets of tandems. During the peak of this activity, some fish were seen chasing shad clear to the surface, although the action was too far dispersed to consider casting to them.
By noon, the wind had slacked back off, the fish were settling down, and Pitt’s back got to hurting a bit from all the bending, reaching, cranking, and reeling that he was doing while going through the downrigging learning curve. At 46 fish boated, we called it a morning and headed for lunch.
TALLY = 46 FISH, all caught and released
Bob Maindelle, Owner, Holding The Line Guide Service and Kids Fish, Too! Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide, Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Lake Georgetown Fishing Guide, Walter E. Long (Decker) Lake Fishing Guide. Offering Salado Fishing, Killeen Fishing and Ft. Hood Fishing