This morning I fished with returning client Curtis W. of Georgetown, accompanied by his 12 year old son, Josh. We just couldn’t convince the sisters to rise before 7am … maybe next time!!
134 fish made for some lasting Thanksgiving Day father-and-son memories today.
Josh landed our big fish of the trip — a 17.75 inch largemouth which evidently was a long-term deepwater resident given how pale his coloration was.
I first fished with Curtis last winter after his wife, Debra, purchased a Christmas fishing gift certificate from me for Curtis. Curtis works a lot of hours and days off come few and far between, so, he was ready to get after them today.
Josh is a middle-schooler with interests in basketball, football, and computer programming. He came into the trip with limited fishing experience but was a very fast learner, picking up the skill of casting with spinning gear in all of 3 practice throws!
As we got going, I’d hoped birds would help point the way to some fish, but, that was not to be this morning, so, we had to find them “the hard way” — with sonar.
I’ve noticed a trend over the past 3 weeks for the fish to be moving gradually upstream, even if just by a hundred yards or so at a clip. Given this, I began looking a bit farther uplake than I had been at any point in the fall thus far. This paid off as we began our day at Area 103, finding fish on a gentle breakline from 21 down into 40 feet of water. We got stopped right overhead and began “smoking” with TNT180 slabs in 3/4 oz. and immediately began to put fish in the boat. Eventually (as often happens in shallower water) the school scattered, but, side-looking StructureScan showed fish out to our starboard side, so, we began to work bladebaits through these fish and picked up our final 4 fish here on these baits worked “lift-drop” style . We landed 19 here before the well went dry forcing us to look elsewhere.
The sky had brightened now with sunrise in the rearview mirror, so, I decided to probe a bit deeper figuring the shallow bite would be tapering off due to the increased light level. We hit Area 1153, found fish on the prowl here, buoyed them, got on top of them, and worked them over with smoked slabs, taking our tally up to 43 fish before this school lost interest and drifted away.
We made another move, deeper yet, to a breakline that topped out at 31 feet (Area 036). We found another sizeable, and even more active, school of fish here. Again, they responded well to the smoking tactic and we stayed on these fish for about 50 minutes, taking our tally up to 97 fish before they shut down. Toward the end of our stay here, I kept seeing “bottom huggers” on sonar which would linger for a few minutes, but which failed to respond to a smoking tactic. So, I experimented with an outright slabbing tactic, and the fish immediately gave a “fins up” to that. I got Curtis and Josh both switched over to a slabbing outfit and they both continued to catch fish after the smoking tactic no longer produced.
With 97 fish in the boat, and the cloud cover and wind building, I had no doubt we could exceed the 100 fish mark again today, but, it wasn’t going to happen at this particular location. We moved once again, but, this time I just cut a serpentine idling pattern over the very same breakline we’d just been fishing and followed it downstream (deeper) until I once again contacted fish. This didn’t take too long and, as soon as our lures struck bottom, we were fast into fish at Area 1154. We stayed here until our previously agreed upon “Thanksgiving curfew” of 11:00am (actually fudged back to 11:15, but don’t tell my wife) at which time my kitchen pass expired. During our time on this area, we again saw an initial interest in a smoking tactic which then declined to nothing, followed by an interest in a slabbing tactic accounting for our last few fish taken. We brought our tally to 134 fish on this location.
TALLY = 134 Fish, all caught and released, including 1 largemouth bass, 2 freshwater drum, and 131 white bass
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 11:00a
Air Temp: 56F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 64.5F
Wind: SSW the entire trip, building from 2-3mph at sunrise up to 13mph by trip’s end.