“Knee-How-Mah?” – A Tale of Henry’s Very First Fish — 29 Oct. 2011 – 23 Fish

While away in Juarez, Mexico last week on a home-building mission trip I received a call from Jiashi Zhao. She wanted to take her 7 year old son fishing.

Henry caught the first fish of his life today and earned a Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. First Fish Award doing it!

Little Henry had never been fishing before in his life, and Mother Nature dealt us a tough hand to try to get him initiated, but, we prevailed.

Late this past Wednesday night a significant cold front pushed through leaving us with cold, clear, calm, post-frontal conditions to deal with today. These are not impossible conditions, but they are tough.

Before Henry arrived, I made very sure I pre-located sunfish so as to give him some immediate success and confidence.

When Henry and his mom arrived, I greeted them with the only Chinese phrase I know which means, “How are you?” and is pronounced “Knee-How-Mah?” Henry’s mom, Jiashi, moved to the United States from China in 1998, initially living in Queens, NY. A few years ago she joined the U.S. Army where she now serves on active duty with a Quartermaster unit on Ft. Hood.

We got down to the business of fishing, first with a slipfloat rig targeting sunfish. Henry boated 3 sunfish, all bluegills, in about 20 minutes’ time at our first stop, Area 239. He was so excited!! Both he and his mom were shouting and clapping!! Henry’s first fish earned him a TPWD “First Fish Award”.

As happens with kids who are 7 years old, the novelty of our first approach wore off, so, we then chased white bass in open water using downriggers. We located fish holding tight to the bottom in 20-27 feet of water between Areas 459 and 908 and managed 4 white bass in about 40 minutes’ time. The novelty again wore off.

Next, we made an attempt at locating heavily schooled white bass in open water so we could fish with a vertical jigging technique, but failed at that, which was not surprising given we had no wind at that time.

So, we returned to fishing for sunfish, this time at Area 231, and Henry did much better, this time landing 8 fish with very little help.

By around 11:15, a consistent, albeit light, SSW wind had begun to blow over the entire lake’s surface. I suggested we head out to check a few more deepwater spots before we finished up our day as the direction and velocity of the wind was favorable to “turn on” deepwater white bass.

As we ran sonar over Area 232, a small school of bottom-hugging white bass clearly showed in a feeding posture in about 40 feet of water. Henry, who had already practiced the vertical jigging technique with me, caught a foot-long white bass the first time his slab approached bottom. We continued working over these somewhat reluctant fish for about 25 more minutes, boating 7 more white bass.

Our tally today included 12 white bass, 10 bluegill sunfish, and 1 longear sunfish. Not bad for a boy’s first trip and in post-frontal conditions!!

TALLY = 23 FISH, all caught and released

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp: 38F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~69.1F

Wind: Winds were near calm until 11:30 when a light SSW4 breeze began, blew for 40 minutes and then stopped.

Skies: Clear, post-frontal, blue-bird skies.