This morning I welcomed returning guest Steve N. of Temple aboard, this time with grandson, 6 year old Caleb, and Caleb’s dad, Ryan.
Caleb gets a little help from dad holding up his 3.25 pound largemouth we boated on live shad this morning amidst a school of aggressive white bass.
Steve (a.k.a. Grandpa Baboo – Left), Ryan (center), and Caleb (right) pose for a “guys’ group photo”.
We’ve had this trip on the books for several weeks and, as we corresponded this past week, Steve let me know that “Our number one goal is to keep Caleb on fish…”. So, with that in mind and with the white bass fishing at Stillhouse going gangbusters the past few weeks, Stillhouse once again got the nod and did not disappoint.
I decided to start our trip a bit later than usual given Caleb’s age. Over the past two weeks I’ve encountered a hit-or-miss early morning topwater bite, but, even when it is “hit”, accurate casts and maintaining proper bait depth are essential. Both of those are well beyond the ability of a 6 year old, so, we delayed our start time to coincide with when I thought the deepwater bite might get going.
As we launched, we got over some deep water and did some practicing using the smoking technique so everyone was familiar with it and so Steve and Ryan could both coach and help Caleb.
We checked out two areas to no avail (and not surprisingly, as the skies were still heavily overcast). The third place we looked at, Area 783, was just “lit up” with fish. These fish were just beginning to coalesce on this area, as I could see bunches of fish in distinct groups not yet blended together for a feed holding here, there, and everywhere in close proximity to Area 783. I went ahead and put us into a hover over these fish and got everyone situated. On our first drop we all immediately got hit and up came 3 healthy white bass.
This area continue to produce for 2+ hours straight, giving up exactly 109 fish, of which 104 where white bass (most in the 1, 2, and 3 year range), 4 were largemouth bass, and 1 was a drum.
To their credit, Steve and Ryan understood the importance of keeping the momentum going when it comes to fishing for schooling fish, so, they did all they could to keep baits in the water and not allow for lulls in the action. When things did cool down a bit, we chummed and put down a single tightline with live shad. That rod rarely sat for more than a minute without garnering some manner of attention. Our largest fish of the day, a 3.25 pound largemouth (shown above) landed by Caleb, came on a large threadfin shad on this bait rod.
Steve’s goal was to fish until Caleb was ready to go, and, by around 11:15 or so we seemed to have reached that point. The fish were getting more and more lethargic, and the “lunch factor” was kicking in for his little stomach. So, we started heading in when Caleb whispered to Steve, “I want to fish some more.” Well, you can’t argue with that! So, we adjusted course and headed to Area 782 and found some reluctant, albeit still biting white bass here in about 26 feet of water. We got our baits down to them and had to work a bit to get them interested. I pulled up one, Ryan nabbed two, and, we hooked one last fish for Caleb. That satisfied his desires and we (once again) headed to the dock — I believe I head Five Guys Burgers and Fries mentioned.
I couldn’t have asked for a better scenario with a 6 year old on board that we had today and that’s really a blessing.
TALLY = 113 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 8:00a
End Time: 11:45a
Air Temp: 69F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~71.8F
Wind: Winds were S10 at (obscured) sunrise, and slowly increased to S13 by trip’s end.
Skies: Skies were 100% greyed over this morning, slowly clearing beginning around 9:35 and then totally clearing and turning fair toward midday.