This morning I fished with father and son Joe and Joey L. of Robinson, Texas, in celebration of Joe’s birthday.
Joe took big fish honors today with this 4.00 pound hybrid striped bass taken on live shad.
Joey learned a lot on this trip, including how to cast with spinning gear and how to fight larger fish and work with the net man to successfully get hooked fish in the boat.
Joe’s wife, Melissa, phoned me about 6 weeks ago and set up this birthday trip for Joe. The family was going to be camping at Cedar Ridge Park on Belton, so, I did a dockside pickup at the ramp near the marina there and off we went at 5:55am. As we got to know each other I learned that Joe sells fasteners and hardware for a living and that Joey has his sights set on attending the U.S. Air Force Academy when his upcoming senior year of high school is behind him.
Our first stop was in the vicinity of Area 151 as we stopped to look for some topwater. A very helpful blue heron led us right to the fish and we quickly put 5 fish in the boat before this very brief action died for good, followed by a lull in the action.
We did a lot of looking with sonar and a bit of downrigging once we found something of interest, but, for about 90 minutes worth of effort, we only came up with a short hybrid, two white bass, and a small largemouth, all from out of about 23 feet of water near Area 1019, and all on doctored Pet Spoons.
More looking …
More looking …
Finally! Active fish suspended up off bottom over a break from 35 to 42 feet of water at Area 1099 with abundant bait in the area. This looked good. We carefully e-anchored right over the breakline and baited up with live shad (gizzard and threadfin) on downlines. We were very particular about getting the baits down to the right level — 24 feet was the ticket today. We got lines down, got some chum going, and in came the fish. We stayed on this spot and enjoyed continuous action from about 9:15 to 11:30. Most of our hybrid came during a window of activity from 9:45 to 10:15, with fewer hybrid striper, blue cat, and channel cat coming both before and after that peak.
In all, we boated 36 fish here at least half of which were solid, keeper-sized (18+ inch) hybrid. Our big fish of the trip was the hybrid shown held by Joe above. It came in at exactly 4.00 pounds on a certified scale. I noted that the few large gizzard shad we had in the bait tank all got hit immediately, whereas the threadfins spent a little longer dancing around before they attracted gamefish. Unfortunately, I only had 4 gizzards to my 90+ threadfins, so, this could have just been coincidence — not really enough there to make a statistic out of it.
By 11:35, the winds were lightening, the skies were brightening, and small catfish were moving in on our chum causing a lot of missed strikes, so, we called it a good trip right there and headed back to the campground.
TALLY = 45 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:00a
End Time: 11:35a
Air Temp: 77F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 83.7F
Wind: Winds SSE8 at sunrise, then slowly building to SSE12.
Skies: Skies were lightly overcast around sunrise, clearing to fair with 30-40% cloudiness.