I fished “Installment #2” with Uncle Greg C. of Virginia today — this time along with his youngest nephew, Luke, of Kempner. Luke is 6 years old. Greg and I took into consideration yesterday’s fish patterns, today’s weather forecast and Luke’s abilities, and agreed a shortened trip, simplified with live bait, would be the best bet at helping Luke have the experience at landing some fish.
Greg helps Luke show the best of the bunch today. Yes, those are ice pellets on Greg’s hood and shoulder!! Said Luke, “Only wimps stop fishing when it’s sleeting!”.
Start Time: 7:15a
End Time: 10:10p
Air Temp: 35F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 51.2F
Wind: Flat calm until ~10:20a when an ESE ripple began and continued the remainder of the trip and beyone.
Skies: Grey, heavy cloud cover dropping frozen precipitation through 10am, changing to a light rain thereafter.
Environmental Note: Shad netted in 5.5 feet at Area 573 after scratching at 317 and 318.
We launched at 7:15a and waited to see if the forthcoming weather change was going to change the fish and game activity which, since last Wednesday’s cold front, has consisted of a brief morning feed lasting only about 90 minutes beginning at sunrise. We didn’t have to wait long to figure this out — a few birds showed up at the appointed time and promptly departed after finding no fish to feed over. We fished live shad on downlines over this entire area with nothing happening. We lost one fish that struck a slab fished lift-drop style as I tried handing the rod over to Luke.
We, too, left the vicinity of Area 093 and made a quick flatline trolling pass off of Area 999 after seeing a few terns working, but scratched there and so headed out to do things the hard way — searching out deepwater fish with sonar.
Fortunately, I spotted fish at the very first place we searched at the base of a breakline from 27 to 31 feet in the vicinity of Area 571 (BA: 3T). We baited up 3 rods with 2.75 to 3.5 inch gizzard shad fished on downlines. No sooner had we set the third line than the first two rods were going down. We quickly boated 11 fish in a brief flurry of activity, and missed several additional fish due primarily to the bait size being on the large side for these 11 to 13 inch fish. We stayed in this general area and to the NW of it by about 120 feet right up until 10am. During that time we landed 6 more whites, lost one more at boatside, and had several more lost on the hookset. As the downlines worked their magic, I cast a slab and worked it lift-drop style trying to pick up a few bonus fish. I hooked only one and we lost that one as I tried to hand the rod off to Luke so he could try his hand at using spinning gear.
At 10:10, with the temperature still in the mid-30’s, sleet falling, and Luke’s clothing growing increasingly damp, Uncle Greg and I decided we’d better call it a day. We took some good photos to capture the memories and headed in to the dock.
After safely delivering the boys back to the minivan, I was about to load the boat on the trailer and call it a day when I observed that the first wind of the day had just begun — a slight ripple out of the ESE. At this same time, the sleet changed to light rain. We now finally had the makings of some “white bass weather” — grey skies and a semi-favorable wind. I headed back out and looked over a number of areas seeing little, but finally located a mass of fish — both white bass and threadfin shad, holding on and just above bottom in 35 to 38 feet of water at Area 572. I dropped 2 downlines down with live shad and left those rods alone while I worked a slab (TNT 180 in 3/8 oz.) while watching sonar. Finally, after 6 days, the fish turned on. From 11:10a to 2:02pm I boated 91 white bass and 1 largemouth, all from an area about 60 feet in diameter. Despite having live shad down amongst these fish the entire time, I caught only 1 of these 92 fish on a live shad. The size of the bait was much larger than the size of the forage these fish were encountering, and they just flat refused to give it a look. My slab, on the other hand, was a dead-ringer for the forage (I know this because I compared it to several regurgitated meals that were coughed up on my front deck). This was very basic, simple slabbing. I did intentionally pause the bait on the fall and the fish hit very noticeably. There were no birds of any sort responding to these fish.
TALLY = 109 Fish, all caught and released
***For a complete listing of gear and lures used, please go to the “About” tab, and click on the “About Your Guide” page on the drop-down menu.