This morning I had the pleasure of fishing with Mrs. Seanna H. and her 3 children, Hadley, Kerstyn, and Audric.
Hadley, being a great big sister, volunteered to be the last of the three kids to take her turn battling a fish. Here is a one of the white bass she caught.
Kerstyn was our cheerleader; she was bubbly, full of energy, and ready pitch in and do whatever she needed to be done so we could keep on catching fish.
Audric stayed engaged much longer than most 5 year olds as I tried to “mix it up” using a variety of different techniques spread out over the span of the 4+ hour trip.
All four are anxiously awaiting dad’s return from his 1 year long deployment to Iraq. During our trip, and despite the 16 hour time difference, we actually got to speak with him by phone and send near-real time Facebook photos of our catch directly to him while we were still on the water!!
As our day began, we got everyone fitted with lifejackets and went over all the safety considerations. We also got to practice a “jigging” technique that I hoped we’d get to use later in the trip. Then, it was time to launch.
We headed to the fishing grounds near Area 040 and found things a bit tougher than they’ve been of late. Today’s weather was “off” from the cookie-cutter weather we’ve had for the last 3 weeks in that we had abundant low cloudiness and a stiff wind this morning versus the near-cloudless and near-calm conditions we’ve had over the past weeks. We had to work for the fish today, but caught plenty and caught them consistently, so the kids stayed enthusiastic the entire trip.
At first, we downrigged, finding most of our fish from Area 041 thru Area 864 and thru Area 863. Downrigging is a form of controlled-depth trolling that very precisely places a lure at the depth at which fish are seen on sonar. In all, over the first two hours of the trip, we boated 17 white bass, all of which were of legal size, with most going 12.5 to 13.75 inches.
As we moved along covering water by downrigging, I kept a close eye on the sonar, looking for tightly-schooled bunches of fish on or near bottom. Around 8:45am we found such a school of fish in 32 feet of water, right at Area 866. We put into practice the jigging skills we’d learned at the boat ramp, and each child got to land at least one fish on the TNT180 3/4 oz. slabs we were using before the school swam off, never to be relocated. Our fish count now stood at 21.
So as to introduce the kids to a form of fishing they could enjoy just about anywhere, and without requiring the use of a boat, we set aside the last hour of the trip to fish with “poles” without reels, using very sensitive balsa floats with maggots for bait. In about an hour’s time the kids caught fish continuously from out of a deep hydrilla weed bed we had stopped near. In all, the kids landed 23 bluegill sunfish and 1 green sunfish at this location.
By 10:45, little Audric had “hit the wall” of his attention span and looked like he could either get real grumpy real fast, or take a long nap, so, we called it a great day right there, took some photos, and headed back in to the ramp.
TALLY = 45 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:40a
End Time: 10:50a
Air Temp: 82F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~86.4F
Wind: Winds were SSE12 at trip’s start, building to S14 by trip’s end.
Skies: Skies were fair with 20% low grey clouds this morning, gradually and totally clearing.