I enjoyed fishing a pretty intense trip with 3 fired-up young men from north Austin today — Reid, Zach, and Alex, all accompanied by Reid and Zach’s dad, Craig, who runs a veterinary practice near Mansfield Dam at Lake Travis. I use the word “intense” because of the excitement level of the boys from the time they learned of the trip earlier in the week, right up through the taking of the last photo on the dock today, and also because of the intensity level of the topwater feeding fish we found today which always serves to boost the adrenaline a bit.
Zach with one of his better fish taken on topwater today – a healthy hybrid.
Alex holds a hybrid taken on a Cicada bladebait just sub-surface.
Reid’s all smiles over his big blue cat that hit a downrigged spoon going about 3 mph.
I welcomed the boys at the courtesy dock and immediately put a closed-faced outfit in their hands and made sure they could use it safely and appropriately so that if we encountered topwater action, which I had a hunch we would, we could take full advantage of it. Based on the outcome of the practice lessons, I seated Zach on the front deck to my left, Alex on the front deck to my right, and little Reid on the back deck with his dad providing some one-on-one oversight. This setup worked really well — all the boys caught fish steadily and no one got hooked!!
As we waited for the 7:07am sunrise and the action that arrives with it, we arrayed ourselves in our battlestations and did some practice casts so everyone knew where they were supposed to cast once I got us close to the fish.
Right on time (right at sunrise) the fish began feeding on the surface from Area 027 to Area 133, heading generally from W. to E. in numerous distinct schools. I tried to keep us in the fray as best I could so all boys had a shot at active fish, and we enjoyed success “early and often” today. I started the boys off with Sassy Shads due to their single hook and propensity to stay tangle free, knowing that the upright-riding hook on those lures leave something to be desired. Once I saw the boys getting the hang of things, I switched them over to a more effective bladebait. Then, finally, when I saw the novelty of using a blade bait was wearing off, we switched over to topwater lures (Sammys and Spooks). We enjoyed an exceptionally long feed this morning which finally died at 9:40 — that’s 2 1/2+ solid hours of topwater!! During this melee, we boated 102 fish including white bass ranging from 10 to 13.5 inches, and short hybrid ranging from 12 to 17 inches.
When the topwater ended, I picked right up downrigging at the first breakline to the E. of where the fish finally sounded, along the 28-29 foot contour stretching just shoreward from Area 080 to Area 347. We put the balls down at 22-25 feet and used both a small white Pet and a White Willow. The White Willow did a bit better on the final 9 fish we boated today. This catch of 9 consisted of 2 short hybrid, 6 white bass, and 1 blue catfish (which was caught by Reid, who was very excited to land something that the big boys did not).
By 10:45 we’d had the boys on the water 4+ hours, the fishing was waning, and this particular area had given up all it was going to. Craig and I concurred this would be a good stopping point, so, we wrapped things up and headed back to the dock for some photos and farewells. In all the boys caught 111 fish (Craig and I never did cast a line).
I had an evening trip to prepare for, so, as Craig and the boys headed out, I went back out on the lake to search over some areas to see if I could find bait concentrations. I was fortunate in that I did locate some solid schools of shad from Area 181 to Area 493. I mentally noted this and was about to head out looking elsewhere when a small flock of terns showed up and started looking “fishy” right in my vicinity. I just cut the engine and watched them and sure enough, one dipped, then another, then the whole flock was feeding. By then the fish beneath the bait had caught up with that bait and now fish became visible on the surface. I was right in the middle of a feeding frenzy. Some of the shad I saw skipping out ahead of the gamefish were up to 4 inches in length, so, I baited up with a soft plastic and went to work. In about 25 minutes, I boated an additional 31 fish — a roughly 50/50 split of solid white bass and short hybrid up to 16 inches.
By now it was ~11:45 and I decided to hang it up to get some lunch and a nap before the evening trip began at 5:30pm.
TALLY = 142 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 10:40a
Air Temp: 78F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~88.8F
Wind: Winds were light from the S at around 5 until ~9:40 when they tapered up quickly to S10, then eased off and leveled out at S8 by trip’s end .
Skies: Skies were bright and clear the entire morning.