I fished a morning half-day trip of ~5 hours in length today with Bernard and Trish K. of Austin, and their two children, Benjamin (8), and Amanda (6).
Amanda K. of Austin with her first fish caught as an adult!! She attributed much of our success today to all the gadgetry onboard the boat, thus potentially greasing the skids for husband Bernard to obtain some more fishing gadgets of his own!! Truly an enviable position for any fellow to be in!
Benjamin, a young man with a penchant for precision, “nailed it” almost every time as he let the downrigger balls down to “just the right depth” time and time again today. It paid off!!
This family just returned from a whirlwind summer vacation trip of a few days in length down to Sea World, and between the late return home the night before the trip and the early wake up the morning of, little Miss Amanda never really made a showing today. Young Benjamin, on the other hand, was ready to go, had a laser-focus on the fishing activity and stayed enthusiastic and engaged the entire time. Dad had done quite a bit of fishing, so he left the fishing mainly to mom and Benjamin to enjoy on this outing.
We experienced an easterly component to the S. wind this morning, and, as I’ve noted for the past 4-5 weeks in this blog, that seems to dampen the fishes’ mood a bit. They didn’t shut down or anything, but it required more passes over more fish to comb out the active fish among them.
Our first hour gave up one strike and no fish boated — the slowest start we’ve had in over 3 weeks. By 7:25 we headed to Area 833-214 and picked up our first two fish — two white bass which both struck the larger of the two baits we had out — the Swimmin’ Image.
As we came in view of the Area 830-831 complex, it was as if nature very suddenly woke up. Whereas just a few minutes previously I had commented on how there were no deer drinking, no buzzards flying, no songbirds singing, and no bait flipping, all of the sudden we saw buzzards, observed a flock of cormorants begin to feed in the water, saw martins began to sip insects from over the surface of the water, and saw some topwater eruptions began to occur as white bass and hybrid began to push shad to the surface.
We slipped over to the topwater action and immediately boated 5 fish on Cork Rigs with 2 more lost right at boatside. As the fish quickly settled back down, we then went with a smoking tactic using slabs and put 9 more fish in the boat with one more lost at boatside right at Area 848.
Once I saw that the concentration of fish was beginning to thin and knew that the heaviest of the feed was subsiding, we went right back to a downrigging regimen and put two more fish, both keeper hybrid, in the boat at that time.
By now, (around 9:30) Miss Amanda had reached the limits of her attention span, so, dad very unselfishly opted to take her on over to a swimming area as a suitable distraction while allowing wife and son to continue to enjoy the fishing.
We hit a bit of a lull during which time we picked up just one hybrid, but then got back into the fish, finding a mix of white bass and short hybrid, this time showing a preference for a mid-sized Pet Spoon. We downrigged Area 686-844 thoroughly and combed out 11 more fish in our last 45 minutes before calling it a day right around 11:15.
Unfortunately the falling water has all but eliminated the sunfishing option we usually have this time of year to offer to younger children. The shoreline cover like logs, brush, man-made objects, and (on Stillhouse only) aquatic vegetation, is now all high and dry and the sunfish have pulled way back from the banks in most cases.
Thus, the use of downrigging to both catch fish and to help find active fish that can be worked over more thoroughly with other tactics, is about the only thing that I’m having consistent success with. The “slabbing” crowd has really thinned out due to lack of success near bottom and the topwater is definitely off since the last good feed I observed on 02 July.
That’s summer fishing — suspended fish and short bursts of action otherwise.
TALLY = 30 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 10:15a
Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~84.8F
Wind: Winds were SSE5 at trip’s start, slowly turning S6.
Skies: Skies were ~20% cumulus clouds on a blue sky.