I enjoyed fishing this morning with Steve N. of Temple, his son, Andrew, visiting from Chicago, and Andrew’s 4 year old daughter, Evelyn. Evelyn is a bright, cheerful, and very articulate young lady who, by the way, happens to have a knack for landing big fish!
This 3.125 pounder of Miss Evelyn’s was but a warmup for …
… this 4.75 pounder, also caught by the young lady in the pink dress (hiding)!!
The whole clan with fistfuls of healthy white bass
I was expectant about today’s trip given our fairly turbulent weather of late. The fish were due for a good, hard feed and this morning they put the feedbag on. We got going at 7am and, to ensure some initial success for little Evelyn, we fished for sunfish in the shallows near Area 667. Evelyn really took to the slipfloat method we were using and, to my surprise, actually stuck with it for over 70 minutes during which time she landed 13 sunfish (11 bluegill, 1 longear, and 1 green).
After the skies brightened a bit and the sunfishing waned, we headed out to open water in search of white bass and the shad they feed upon. Sonar returns didn’t show much at the first two areas we looked over, then, at just to the WNW of Area 723 I spotted our first decent school of fish right on the breakline’s upper end. We got into a hover and began working 3/8 oz. TNT 180’s over these fish using a smoking tactic and began catching fish right away. We boated exactly 24 white bass here before things cooled off.
I had a strong suspicion that the fish either hadn’t moved far or that there would be more fish in this locale, as conditions were steadily improving with increasing winds and brightening conditions still shrouded by a grey, hazy cloud cover. Just yards away, at just WNW of Area 774 another slightly larger school of fish showed on sonar. Again, we hovered, got slabs down and smoked up a bunch of white bass. We spend the majority of our time here through the lion’s share of the morning’s feeding window. As things began to slow, I put tightlines out for largemouth and we were handsomely rewarded with a 3.125 pound largemouth and another just-keeper sized black bass in short order. As the action wound down here we’d upped our count to 63 fish.
We checked two deepwater areas with sonar only and found little, then hit Area 792 and got really excited about what we saw as we motored in. Literally hundreds of white bass were carpeting the bottom and were up to as high as half way towards the surface. These fish were very aggressive and even approached the boat as we motored over them, just out of frenzied curiosity. These fish were only in 20-22 feet of water — one of the shallowest encounters I’ve had with significant numbers of white bass in a long time. We went to work on these fish and caught them both via smoking and, when they dispersed horizontally as they often do in shallower water, we also caught them via a blasting technique. This accounted for not only white bass, but also a bonus crappie caught by Andrew. I informed Andrew that crappie were kind of a lethargic sort of fish and Andrew volunteered that he felt a kindred spirit with that species. Anyway, in just under an hour, we peeled through an additional 32 fish until the morning window finally closed on us at 11:28am. During the final morning feed here, I did drop one tightline down for variety’s sake and it yielded our largest fish of the trip, a 4.75 pound largemouth very capably brought to net by Miss Evelyn.
We agreed at this point that we’d seen the best of it and headed back in very satisfied with our mixed bag today consisting of 1 crappie, 3 largemouth bass, 13 sunfish, and 78 white bass.
TALLY = 95 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 11:30a
Air Temp.: 70F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~74.5F
Wind: Winds were S8 at trip’s start, slowing ramping up to S15 by trip’s end.
Skies: Skies were hazy.