This morning I fished with Dick C. of Harker Heights, TX, and Claude C. of Ding Dong, TX (yes, that’s a real place!).
Claude (L) and Dick (R) shown here at a “less grumpy” moment, with a few of our nicest 14″ class white bass.
The blog entry for these fellows’ last big adventure about a year ago was appropriately titled “Grumpy Old Men”. Well, since then, both men have gotten considerably grumpier, and with due cause. Each spent over 2 consecutive months of 2012 in the hospital!!
I knew right away the day would be “interesting” when Dick showed up at boatside, showed me a washcloth balled up in his pocket, and asks, “You know what that’s for?” Without waiting for my reply, Dick continued, “It’s to stuff in Claude’s mouth when the fish stories start to get out of hand!” And with that, we departed the dock to look for fish.
The fishing was easy for the first hour and a half. Birds showed us the way to fish feeding in the low light of sunrise up on a flat at Area 718. About 15 gulls and terns fed heavily on the shad forced to the surface by hungry white bass beneath them. We used TNT180 slabs in 3/4 oz. white/silver to get the job done and boated 20 fish in our first 25 minutes of fishing. When the birds lifted, we left and looked for greener pastures.
Next, we headed to Area 713 and found another flock of birds working there. This was to be the shallowest water we found fish in this morning, just 10-12 feet deep. So, we fished horizontally with blade baits (both silver and white got equal results) and scored another 15 fish here. It was interesting to note that 12 of the 15 here beat the 13″ mark whereas only 3 of the first 20 fish we caught at Area 718 did so.
As Area 713 played out, we headed for deeper water with the sky now brightening and the winds picking up to around 12-14.
We enjoyed our next bit of success at Area 036 which has been a very steady producer this fall. We found fish here in 30 feet of water, but they were less than enthusiastic beyond the first few minutes, staying tight to bottom and not responding well to a smoking tactic after the first half-dozen or so were caught. We slabbed for these fish and, after sticking with it a while, were able to put a total of 21 fish in the boat here until the bite died to near zero.
We moved on, this time to the deepest water we would fish on this trip — 40 feet, at area 987. There were a few terns working far and wide in this general area, so, I looked at my sonar’s Navionics map to see what topographic elements were in this area and saw a breakline that rolled off into the channel. I began to search it out and found fish on it. There were two distinct groups of fish — one group suspended at 20-24 feet down (these turned out to be schoolie largemouth) and another group tight to bottom at 40 feet. We used both a smoking tactic (which appealed to the suspended largemouth both on the rise and on the fall) and a slabbing tactic which appealed to the white bass on the bottom. We worked for about 40 minutes here and put another 19 fish in the boat, taking our tally to 75. By way of a quick demonstration (because Claude had expressed curiosity about the device) I showed the fellows how the downriggers worked by putting a ball down at 20.5 feet to target the suspended largemouth. After just a few minutes trolling, the rod went off and Dick reeled in a multi-species double — one white bass and one largemouth bass caught on the same rod at the same time. These fish hit the tandem-rigged Pet Spoons I had on that particular downrigging rod.
It was now about 11:45 so we decided to take a look at two more areas on our way back to the dock. The first area was a scratch, the second area, Area 1156, proved otherwise. We saw fairly heavily schooled white bass right on bottom, and, just as we experienced earlier at Area 036, these fish got very excited when we first presented our baits, allowing us to boat 6 fish very quickly, but then they air went out of the balloon and they turned off, allowing only 3 more fish to be taken via slabbing. The fish were now done and we called it a day right there.
TALLY = 86 Fish, all caught and released, including 2 freshwater drum, 8 largemouth bass, and 76 white bass
Start Time: 7:10a
End Time: 12:15p
Air Temp: 64F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 64.5F
Wind: SSW the entire trip, starting at 3-4 and tapering up to 14 then stabilizing.