I fished a half-day morning trip this morning with returning guest Ben W. of Taylor, TX, and his wife, Carrie.
Ben and Carrie with one of several largemouth taken on a fair mixed-bag trip despite high winds and difficult conditions.
As we worked over a school of active white bass, this bait slick popped up on the surface. Note the “slick” round area in the center of the photo versus the rough, windblown surface surrounding it. This “slick” is caused by the body oils of half-eaten baitfish floating to the surface, and indicates the presence of gamefish. Slicks are much more prevalent in saltwater but do appear for shorter spans of time in freshwater, as well. If you’re positioned directly downwind, you’ll often also smell the scent of this oil resembling something between mowed grass and watermelon rind.
Start Time: 6:20a
End Time: 1:30pm
Air Temp: 73F at trip’s start, heading towards the mid-90’s.
Water Surface Temp: ~82.1F
Wind: Winds were SSE at 10 before sunrise and increased to over 20 by 10:30am.
Skies: Skies were overcast until around 11:45, then some brightening took place.
We’re into the topwater season, and, when conditions are right, there has been some topwater action getting going, but, we just haven’t had many days with the right conditions, and this was one of them. As I got up to prepare for the trip around 4:15am, the wind was already blowing around 10mph, and it only increased from there, going to 20+ by around 10am and beyond.
We started off looking hard at the waves to see if any topwater action was there, but, at this point in the season the fish are feeding topside on young of the year shad and only lightly sip, which is tough to spot even under ideal conditions. Bottom line: we didn’t find any surface action. Failing at that, we headed to between Areas 453 and 452, still looking for topwater, but also keeping an eye on sonar looking for downrigging potential. In this area we found some scattered, small white bass suspended down around 26 feet. We took a crack at these and put 3 whites and 1 largemouth in the boat for our efforts. Although the fish were scattered throughout, all of the fish we caught came from right near Area 452.
We were next successful at Area 193. Right at the breakline, schooled white bass were congregated on and just off bottom on the upwind side of this feature. We began using slabs and the fish responded well, especially to a smoking technique. Both Ben and Carrie worked these fish over, putting an additional 17 fish in the boat including 16 whites on the slab, and 1 largemouth on tightlined bait. The wind increased to the point where boat control was very difficult as the action was waning, so, we headed out for calmer water.
We were next successful at an 800 foot long strip of water located from just S. of Area 118, to just NW of Area 529. Here we spotted both suspended bait and gamefish around 19-25 feet and knew this was ripe for downrigging. We struggled a bit at first, putting baits over a lot of fish before hooking up with any consistency. As the murky, dark skies began to brighten the action picked up with the increasing light. We ran a single Pet on one rod and a Pet/Licker combo on the other and began catching fish with the greatest consistency from 11:45 to 1:15. On this area, we boated a total of 15 fish including 1 small crappie, 1 channel cat, 3 drum, and 10 white bass.
With action slowing and the babysitter’s stint drawing to a close, we wrapped things up around 1:30p and took a “refreshing” boatride back to the dock, complete with kidney-busting waves, cool spray, and 23 mph winds.
TALLY = 36 FISH, all caught and released