I fished this evening with returning father and daughter guests Jim and Shena S. of the N. Austin area.
Jim and Shena pose with fish we boated before approaching thunderstorms drove us off the lake. Pre-storm fishing proved to be much more intense than the action following the storm’s passage.
All three of us kept a wary eye on weather for the last several days leading up to the trip and thought we were going to be okay for a 4-5 hour trip “in the clear”. However, after about 75 minutes on the water, thunderstorms started popping up in large cells to the west of us, near Brownwood, and heading our way.
We got going right around 4pm. I checked out two areas with sonar and wasn’t impressed with the findings, so we moved on.
As I ran sonar over Area 767, the bottom was littered with white bass over a stretch of ~30+ yards. I buoyed these fish, got in a hover over them and all 3 of us began using a “smoking” retrieve for these fish. The fish were active and willingly took our presentations — 3/8 oz. TNT 180 slabs — for about 30 minutes straight. After the action waned a bit, we used a “blasting” technique to reach out beyond sonar and tempt fish that hadn’t seen our slabs. This accounted for several more fish over another 15 minute period. We had now boated exactly 37 white bass in less than an hour’s time, all from a relatively tight area here. Things were going well when, very suddenly, the wind shifted and cooled, and I knew a storm was either approaching or falling apart. I checked in with home base and found that 2 bands of thunderstorms were headed our way, so, we packed up very quickly and headed for safety to wait it out.
After about an hour’s wait time we returned to the water to very different conditions. The skies had brightened and the winds were light from the WSW.
We returned to Area 767 and found more fish suspended than on bottom, but focused on those bottom oriented fish by fancasting using a blasting tactic. We all picked up a few more fish that way, and then as that was tapering off, saw some light topwater action from white bass in this general vicinity (a few yards to the NW). We re-rigged with cork rigs and managed to put a few in the boat this way before the schooling action died as the wind increased a bit more.
We left these fish and searched other areas but found little, and wound up returning to the scene of the surface action after the winds died to near calm as sunset approached. We boated a final 2 white bass here and as far S. as Area 118 and 119 as the setting sun brought the surface action to a close.
In all, we wound up with 49 fish for our efforts; 37 came in the 75 minutes before the storm, and 12 more came in the 2.5 hours after the storm. If there was ever a doubt that winds and barometric pressure affect fish, this trip would have been the cure for it.
TALLY = 49 FISH , all caught and released
Start Time: 4:00p
End Time: 8:30p
Air Temp: 81F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~73.7F
Wind: Winds were S8 at launch time, turning WNW with the approach of a thunderstorm around 5:15p, and then wend light at <5 from the WSW following the storm's passage
Skies: Skies were grey the entire time, with clearing in the west following the storm’s passage.