This Friday evening found me on the water with Miss Maddisen and Miss Kayleigh S. of Killeen, accompanied by their soon-to-graduate high school brother, Brandon.
Sisters Maddisen (L) and Kayleigh (R) both did very well over top of a school of aggressive white bass, each landing their share of the 44 fish we boated along a breakline.
Kayleigh got big fish honors tonight, literally! She earned a TPWD “Big Fish Award” for boating this white bass that measured exactly 15 1/8 inches.
We’d been trying to coordinate this trip for quite some time now but Shannan (the kids’ mom) and I just couldn’t seem to sync our schedules until now.
In my role as Children’s Pastor at my church in Killeen (Memorial Baptist Church) I try to keep an eye on those kids in our congregation without a full-time dad in their lives. This situation is often brought about by death or divorce, and so I regularly set aside “Guy Time” to spend just with these kids. Tonight’s trip was a “Guy Time” fishing trip!
As we launched, I reviewed the basics of boat safety, how to summons help, and some fishing tackle basics. Then, a chance to be a Good Samaritan arose! It seems an older gentleman from Minnesota now living in Salado had launched his small boat at the ramp we had used and, as he went to park his vehicle and trailer, his boat floated away from shore and was about 120 yards away by the time we caught up with it. We did a side-to-side “transfer” of the man and his little dog; his old Evinrude 2-stroke fired right up, and we headed our separate ways.
We looked over Area 121 with sonar first. I saw a few fish on bottom at the extreme E. end of the feature, so, we e-anchored and set out some live baits (shad) and let things settle down a bit. We picked up a single white bass here, but no more promising signs were apparent, so we moved on.
Next, we looked over the stretch of water from Area 429 to 430 and found fish on the N. facing slope right on Area 429 in 20-22 feet of water. Again, I e-anchored but this time we got slabs down to the fish and began “smoking” these lures to try to tempt the white bass. The fish responded well, and in less than 40 minutes we boated 44 white bass with several more missed. These fish were healthy and averaged 12.5″, with one tipping the tape at 15 1/8″, which qualified Kayleigh for a “Big Fish” award from Texas Parks and Wildlife. These fish turned off rather abruptly, which is typically a sign that some threatening predator fish (big largemouth or gar) has moved into the area. Regardless, the action was not to be revived, forcing us to move once again.
I looked over several areas and ran some flatlined baits out over the 10-14 foot flat in the vicinity of Area 1062, hoping white bass would come shallow to feed as the sun began to set. We only saw a few fish on sonar over this whole area, picking up one channel catfish that decided he needed to try to swallow a RipShad crankbait.
We moved on and came to rest at Area 145 after seeing fish suspended at about 17 feet. Sunset was drawing near and little fish activity or bird activity was evident, indicating to me that we’d seen the best of the night’s action already. So, we put down 4 tightlines with live shad and just “chilled out” having some snacks and talking while keeping our eyes on the rods for a bite. We had 2 hits, missed one, and landed a 12″ suspended crappie on the other. The sun was now set and mom’s minivan was seen at the boatramp, so, we called it a day there and then with the girls having boated 47 fish for their “Guy Time” efforts.
TALLY = 47 Fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 4:30p
End Time: 8:00p
Air Temp: 81F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 72.3F.
Wind: Winds ESE8.
Skies: Fair and 40% clouded.