A Little Deprogramming Goes a Long Way; Stillhouse, 30 Dec. 2010 (PM). 108 FISH

What beautiful weather this afternoon! A south wind, sunny skies and temps around 70 made it a great way to close out the year today. I fished today with C.W. of north Austin who grew up stream fishing for trout in Utah. Given this background, C.W. already handled a spinning rod real well which gave him a leg up on this trip.

C.W. with a sampling of the 106 fish we took today. Eager learners always do best on my boat, and such was C.W.

Given the sun’s intensity, we began our trip in deeper water and gradually moved to mid-depths. We were fortunate to locate fish very shortly after we began searching, finding abundant white bass schooled tightly on bottom in ~36 feet of water near Area 079. The fish got frenzied for a while as we first began fishing here, thus allowing for a smoking tactic to be used. That’s where the deprogramming came in … C.W. was used to setting the hook “on contact”, as is appropriate in most angling situations, however, in this scenario, simply allowing the rod to load as the fish grabs the lure results in infinitely more landed fish. Indeed, C.W. missed the first 4 fish that he reflexively set the hook on, and then settled in and landed fish steadily for the remainder of the afternoon after retraining his brain and muscles. Together, we boated 25 fish before the smoking retrieve no longer attracted strikes, after which we changed over to a jigging technique. We boated the majority of our fish — 79 to be exact — here, and then hopped here and there to boat the remainder of our 106 fish take.

We had success at Areas 145, 697, and 698. At each area we found roughly the same scenario — fish present but sluggish, allowing a few fish to be caught right off the bat, then forcing us to really work for a few additional fish. It was clear that we’d experienced the majority of the afternoon’s “window of opportunity” on Area 079 as that afternoon feed ramped up, peaked, and dropped off. So, this marginal activity was to be expected, especially given the decreasing winds.

By sunset, our count stood at 107 fish. I told C.W. we’d try one more area given how bright the skies were following sunset.

As we idled into area 329, I saw suspended white bass on sonar. This was going to afford C.W. an opportunity to do a bit of “sniping”. As we hovered over the fish, I’d point out fish on the sonar, and C.W. would work his lure right to the fish trying to provoke a response. We took chances on about 8 fish, and, finally, got one to take the bait. The fish wasn’t anything to write home about, but there is a sense of satisfaction that comes when you’ve been successful using a technique that is new to you.

C.W. and I both thank his lovely wife for getting him a fishing gift certificate for Christmas. This was a very enjoyable trip for me. I fancy myself a “teaching and coaching guide” and C.W. was a very teachable fellow and did well as a result of his willingness to learn.

TALLY = 108 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 1:15p

End Time: 5:35p

Air Temp: 66F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~54.6F

Wind: Winds were S11 at trip’s start and slowly tapered to S4 by trip’s end.

Skies: Fair.

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