As I made my traditional night-before-the-trip phone call to Melissa R., I told her I expected that we’d do very well on this morning’s trip. Melissa had arranged a few weeks earlier for this trip for her son, Coleman, as a 14th birthday present to him.
Coleman with our two best white bass of the morning, both going just shy of 15 inches, and both falling for a 3/4 oz. TNT 180 slab.
Craig nabbed our only black bass of the day, also on a TNT 180, out of a school of white bass feeding hard on shad about 2.25 inches in length.
Chris, whose face here clearly communicates, “I am not a morning person.”, chipped in with his fair share of white bass, too.
Coleman was also able to invite his two buddies, Craig and Chris, along. The three of them will be entering Killeen High School in a few weeks as freshman in the class of 2015.
Knowing that 1) the white bass fishing has been excellent of late, 2) that the weather is extremely stable, and that 3) I’d have young men old enough to precisely follow the guidance I provided on the techniques we’d be using, all added up to a good forecast — and the fish did not disappoint!!
We met at 6:30a, shoved off, and did some on-the-water training on how to properly use a slab on a spinning rod if/when we encountered bottom-hugging white bass on today’s trip. The boys got the hang of the technique very quickly, so I was then especially hopeful that we’d find some fish schooled tightly enough to jig for, thus letting us maximize our fish-catching potential.
As we got underway, we started fishing for suspended fish by using downriggers rigged with Pet Spoons. Over the past 2 weeks, the action has been nearly the same on a daily basis — suspended fish appear in the lower third of the water column at sunrise and until about 8:00 to 8:30, then small schools of white bass begin moving towards shore and congregating on the bottom. Next,largemouth bass begin to feed on the surface around 9:00a with larger white bass schools underneath. The action then comes to a peak, followed by a slow tapering off of the action by around 11am.
This same pattern played out again today. We downrigged for 24 fish from 6:48 to 7:55a, all in the vicinity of Area 040. We then spotted our first bottom-oriented school of white bass. We worked these fish over with TNT 180 slabs in both silver/black back (3/8 oz) and white (3/4 oz). The 3/8 oz. bait was definitely closer to matching the forage size and definitely caught more fish for us. We encountered these fish at Area 863 and spent over 45 minutes on them, catching fish continuously, and taking our fish count from 24 up to 81 fish boated. When the vertical action ended, we added a horizontal component by “blasting” with tailspinners to add a few more fish to the count. After most all of the school dissipated, we moved slowly into the wind and along the same topographic line to try to find another nice school of white bass. We put the downriggers in, and, no sooner did we do that, than we nailed 2 whites, saw the sonar screen load up with gamefish, tossed a buoy, and went back to e-anchor and fish for these fish We had about 25 minutes on top of these fish right at Area 864, and, while continuing to slab for them we managed 22 more white bass.
Again the action slowed, and again we searched out fish, found them with the downriggers, and manuevered back on top of the fish we’d found and again jigged for a final haul at this area (Area 865) of 42 white bass and our sole largemouth bass of the day.
By 10:45 bait was beginning to relax and the fish were turning off, so we neatened things up, took photos of our catch, and delivered America’s 3 most enthusiastic new anglers back to mom who was anxious to hear of their adventures.
Happy Birthday, Coleman!!
TALLY = 147 FISH, all caught and released.
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 10:50a
Air Temp: 82F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~86.4F
Wind: Winds were SSW7 at trip’s start, building to SSW9 by 10:00, then stabilizing.
Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.