This morning I with father and son team Rans and Brian O. of Austin for a trip on Decker Lake (a.k.a. Walter E. Long Reservoir) near the Austin-Bergstrom Airport.
As this hybrid, our 3rd fish of the day, came aboard after about 30 minutes on the water, Brian turned to me and said, “Well, we’ve already beat the results of any of our past trips to Decker!”
Rans boated this nice hybrid just after the passage of a disturbance that shifted our winds quickly out of the north and brought heavy cloud cover with it.
Brian, a dad of 3, works at Dell, and Rans is retired from a career in retail sales. One of Brian’s children is but 4 months old and is not yet in a “sleep through the night” routine, so, Brian was a bit haggard upon arrive this morning, but, the adrenaline from his first hybrid seemed to clear the fog for him a bit (aided by a great-smelling breakfast burrito and a Coke Zero, no doubt).
Brian contacted me about a month ago interested in fishing with his retired dad on Decker Lake, as that is near to them and so they wanted to learn to fish it better to up their results when they returned on their own. I don’t fish Decker very often and let them know that up front. Fishing a lake infrequently forces you to figure things out during the trip and do a lot more “looking” with sonar than a lake you fish regularly. Brian understood this and chose to stick with Decker, so, today was the day.
Before their arrival, I netted about 115 shad. Due to the 10mph S. breeze blowing before sunrise, what topwater action may have existed was not able to be seen.
There is definitely a “band of life” set up on Decker at between 17-21 feet, and a majority of the bait and insect life we saw on sonar was in that band. I gave downrigging a try first and we put one big drum in the boat after it fell for our Pet Spoon. As we downrigged, I saw bottom-oriented fish right at Area 006 and so we e-anchored and put baits down on these fish. We had near instant results and put a slot largemouth, 3 hybrid, and another drum in the boat. The best action came as the skies darkened and the wind picked up from the N. as thunderstorms up between Temple and Waco fell apart and sent outflow winds down our way. Once the winds slackened, the bite slowed. We boated an additional drum and a nice white bass at this time.
We downrigged a bit more without success here and then move on to Area 1095. We picked up a drum in 25′ right away and picked up one more hybrid here as well.
We moved on to the vicinity of Area 004 and downrigged one small largemouth.
We moved on to another patch of water between Areas 1087 and 1088 right as another disturbance moved into the area. This one was much stronger with gusts of wind peaking at 25+ mph, the lightest bit of rain, and ominous clouds. It was at the exact time that the winds suddenly increased that the fish began to feed hard for the first time all day.
Over the next 90 minutes we would more than double our catch, putting both hybrid and white bass on in the boat on pass after pass over these fish suspended right at 18-19 feet deep. The white bass we caught in this area were exceptional fish. Over half were within 1/4″ either side of 15 inches. Brian boated the largest white bass of all which measured 15 11/16 inches and tipped the scales at 2.25 pounds, beating the existing Rod and Reel TPWD Record. Next, it was Rans’ turn. He boated a 15 5/16 inch white bass which we chose to enter as the new water body record in the Catch & Release category. All of these large fish were long, with average body condition, and they had that “old” fish look to them — eyes a bit cataract covered, fins a bit messy, some bumps and bruises from many seasons in a fish-eat-fish environment.
As the winds from the disturbance tapered off, the skies cleared, the sun brightened the sky, and the winds shifted to the E., the fishing dropped off. We managed a few more fish when we slowed down with the fish and reverted to live bait. On a few occasions we saw schooled white bass beneath the boat and quickly broke out our jigging rods and landed 1 or 2 before the fast-moving schools moved on.
By 1:30p we’d seen all we were going to for the morning and returned to the dock. The paperwork and photos require to make the records official have already been submitted and their receipt acknowledged by TPWD-Austin.
TALLY = 28 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 1:35p
Air Temp: 72F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 81F
Wind: Winds were varied today — see report above.
Skies: Skies were cloudy until a mild disturbance’s passage in late morning.