Fishin’ with the Newlyweds! — 34 Fish, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide Report, 30 March 2013

This morning I fished with newlyweds, Marcus and Samantha, recently moved to Ft. Hood from Indiana.

We enjoyed a strong, albeit fairly brief, bite on slabs fished “smoking”-style this morning in ~22 feet of water.

This couple is from the same hometown in Indiana and neither had fished much since childhood. They were married back in September and moved to Fort Hood that same month. Fort Hood is now Marcus’ first duty station where he serves as a tanker with the First Cavalry Division, and Samantha works in Killeen as a waitress. Samantha’s dad, Frank, called me a few weeks ago and arranged this trip for the two of them. Fishing is something Frank loves and so he wanted to do something nice for his daughter and son-in-law in this arena.

After a nice run of “fishy” days with light overcast and good winds, things went downhill today as the clouds were so thick as to make it murky, and the weather was more turbulent with windspeeds varying constantly.

As I met them at the boat ramp, we started with the basics of casting spinning gear and how to vertically jig with a slab, then, it was off to hunt for fish.

We struggled a bit to find fish early, but managed to get on top of a nice bunch of white bass right at Area 103. This moderately active school would provide the majority of our catch today. We stayed on these fish for about 70 minutes as they responded to a slow smoking retrieve for quite some time, then settled down and continued to respond to a vertical jigging retrieve. Samantha (who danced and played a number of sports in high school) really got the hang of the “smoking” technique and caught the majority of our fish while that tactic was attractive to them. Then, when the bite got more tedious and we had to use a vertical jigging approach, it was Marcus’ time to shine. We boated a total of 27 fish at this one area.

After this bite settled down, we moved on and continued searching for fish, with our only success coming at Area 074/1017. We found smaller fish here tight to the bottom and vertically jigged for them, adding 7 more fish to our tally.

By now it was around 11:45, the wind was picking up, and, due to the thick cloud cover, the ambient temperature hadn’t increased much at all. Samantha had dressed a bit lightly and was getting cold, so, we decided to wrap things up at that point.

Neither Marcus or Samantha had been out on Stillhouse before and both commented several times about how peaceful it was out on the water. As I idled over prospective areas studying sonar, they snuggled in, sat back and just enjoyed the downtime spent with one another.

TALLY = 34 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 8:00a

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp: 61F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~61-62F

Wind: Winds were S9-12.

Skies: Skies were heavy leaden grey and murky the entire trip with no “squint-factor” of the sun’s brightness coming through.

Dad, My Fish was Bigger than Yours! — 70 Fish, Stillhouse Fishing Guide Report, 29 March 2013

This afternoon I fished with returning guests Will M. of Salado, and his 10 year old daughter, Amy

Yes, Amy won the big fish contest by a landslide today — this largemouth weighed 3 1/8 pounds on a certified scale.

Larger white bass like these were in short supply this afternoon, but we managed a few photo-worthy rascals.

As with most afternoon trips this time of year, this one got off to a slow start but ended handsomely.

We had to hunt and peck for the first two hours by which time we’d only managed to put 23 fish in the boat. We found fish at two locations between Area 074/1017, then found a few on top of Area 946, then a few more in the vicinity of Area 1181, but each of these areas only gave up 5 or 6 fish each, and even those few were smallish.

Around 6pm, halfway through the trip, Will mentioned to Amy that we may not do as well as during our last trip (May 2012, 52 fish caught primarily via downrigging). I encouraged them not to give up hope yet, as the better half was just about to begin.

It was then that we made our way over to Area 103/549. Right at the upper end of the 20-25 foot breakline the bottom was carpeted with white bass. We made a good buoy throw right on them then circled back and hovered over top of them for over an hour. We made up for some lost time here, more than doubling our catch and pushing past the magic “52 fish from last trip” mark, as well. By the time these fish quit, we had amassed a catch of 58 fish. These fish were very aggressive and fell to both a vertical jigging technique, as well as to a slow-smoking tactic.

For variety’s sake, we decided to head shallow at last light to do some flatline trolling, but, as we geared up to move out, we spotted another patch of bottom blanketed with white bass in the vicinity of Area 702. We stopped and again used a slow-smoking tactic to boat a final 12 fish before the action died for good.

We did give flatline trolling a try just briefly, but, given the heavy cloud cover and the late start we got due to our unexpected find at Area 702, it was too little, too late.

TALLY = 70 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 4:00p

End Time: 8:00p

Air Temp: 69F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~60F

Wind: Winds were SSW11 tapering off to SSW8.

Skies: Skies were leaden grey the entire trip.

That’s a Good Call, Steve! — 34 Fish, Belton Lake Fishing Charter Report, 29 March 2013

This morning I fished with Mr. Steve N. of Temple, and his grandson (and veteran of many trips), Caleb. We shot for quality over quantity today and hit our mark, catching and releasing 26 legal hybrid striped bass (18+ inches).

Steve and Caleb kept the shad going down and the hybrid coming up this morning.

Steve holds one of our better fish of the morning — this one went 22.75 inches.

For a second day in a row our weather conditions were ideal — heavy grey skies with a southerly wind. We only had to make 2 stops today to find all the fish we needed to keep us busy. I came prepared to fish 6 rods, but only needed to put 4 out as the action was very steady for the majority of our morning.

Our first stop came at Area 1191. We fished on the deeper, 30′ side of a breakline and set our baits at 27 feet deep. Over about 50 minutes’ time we put 5 fish in the boat with a few more missed as we worked the bugs out on bait fishing, which was all new to Caleb. I felt with the great weather conditions we could be doing better, so, we moved on.

Our next and final stop came at Area 1190. Again, we fished the deeper, 34′ side of a breakline and set our baits at 29 feet deep. The fish came in waves and seemed to be patrolling steadily through the area. Although we detected schooled fish on sonar that were suspended primarily between 15-21 feet, we did best on the deeper lines, although I did adjust at least 1 rod upwards when we saw good reason on sonar to do so. We enjoyed a solid 2 hours of hybrid fishing at this location before the bite died around 11am.

For our efforts today, we boated 26 legal (18″ minimum) hybrid striped bass, 4 white bass, and 4 “short” hybrid. The fish showed no preference on bait size. I had everything from 2″ threadfin barely large enough to hook, all the way up to 8″ gizzards. It seemed the larger threadfin (3 to 3 1/8 inches) got hit faster, but the smaller shad resulted in more sure hookups. My jumbo gizzards were just a bit much for these still-cold hybrid. One 6 inch gizzard had 5 different fish hit it before one took it well enough to get hooked. One 8 inch gizzard never even drew a look.

Caleb was a real trooper and it is great to see how he’s progressed in his angling abilities over the years. Our last trip was in November when a screaming cold front put the hybrid into overdrive. He worked a slab rod for 3 hours straight in the cold wind and never whimpered a single time. As Steve and I compared notes on this trip, I told him I thought Caleb could handle the waiting that goes with the reward of fishing for larger hybrid stripers, and he agreed. To his credit, once Steve saw Caleb’s enthusiasm was beginning to wane, he made a good call to wind up the trip a bit earlier than we would have were it just he and I out fishing. That’s the way to make a fishing buddy for life by not wearing a kid out by insisting he or she grind it out to the bitter end when the fishing gets slow. I wished more folks would do like Steve did today.

As the live shad bite gets stronger on Belton, shad are still somewhat difficult to come by, but, that ought to change before too long. Should be a good April!!

TALLY = 34 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30p

Air Temp: 59F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~60F

Wind: Winds were SSE8-10.

Skies: Skies were leaden grey the entire trip.

We Caught ’em Two at a Time!! — 84 Fish, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide Report, 28 March 2013

This morning I fished with Paul T. of Giddings, TX, and his long-time friend, John H. of Austin. We caught a total of 84 fish.

As we fished a ~15′ flat, Paul hooked two fish at the same time on his bladebait!!

These longtime friends put a total of 84 fish in the boat today via downrigging, casting bladebaits, vertical jigging, and easing with a slab.

This was my favorite weather to fish in — grey and breezy with winds from a southerly direction. The fish bit over nearly the entirety of our 5 hour trip today. They started a bit “soft”, but ramped up as the skies brightened through the clouds and stayed solid right up until about 12:20.

Our first success came in the vicinity of Area 571 on either side of the the gentle breakline separating the shallow flat to the west from the deeper flat to the east. The first fish we encountered were up between 12-17 feet, holding tight to the bottom, and were scattered. We used blade baits for these fish, catching most of the fish on the 2nd half of our casts, closer in to the boat. It was at this location that Paul landed two fish on the same lure at the same time. He’d hooked a larger, 12-13 inch white bass and was reeling it in when a smaller white bass tried to steal the “shad” out of its mouth and got hooked, too. After this action settled, we moved a bit deeper. Our count stood at 24 fish.

The next concentration of fish we found were holding on the transition at 22-25 feet deep, also near Area 571. We first encountered these fish as we downrigged over the area we’d just fished bladebaits in in order to cover terrain while still having our baits working for us in the water. We’d already boated 3 fish from small groups of white bass holding on bottom as we came across this larger concentration of fish. We hovered over top of this one area and fished using white TNT180 slabs for our vertical jigging work, then did a “short hop” a few yards away to get our baits in front a a few more “fresh fish” that hadn’t yet seen our baits. By the time the bite died down around 10:40, we’d boated a total of 51 fish.

It was now even brighter, although still no direct sun was striking the water. So, we moved deeper, out to 35-40 feet, and continued searching for fish with sonar.

We first encountered fish at Area 074/1017 and picked up 13 fish here adjacent to the Lampasas River channel before the school dissipated. These fish all came on TNT180 slabs worked vertically.

We searched a few other areas without success before heading to Area 074. Right on top of this area we found a very densely packed bunch of white bass right on the “shoulder” where the flat rolls off into the old river channel. We used a combination of vertical jigging and easing here, both using TNT180’s, to boat our final 20 fish of the trip.

By the time all was said and done, we’d landed 83 white bass, and 1 largemouth bass. John treated Paul and I to a collection of great childhood adventure stories, war stories, and stories of his joy in seeing people of all sorts just get along.

TALLY = 84 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 12:30p

Air Temp: 54F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~60-61F

Wind: Winds were SSE9-13.

Skies: Skies were leaden grey the entire trip.

Goncalo, the Chilean Pescador — 94 Fish, Stillhouse Fishing Guide Report, 23 March 2013

This morning I fished with Rob O. of Gatesville, his 19 year old son, Nick (a college student at Tarleton State), and Goncalo, a 16 year old foreign exchange student from Chile, now living with Rob and his family and attending Gatesville High.

Despite cold hands, damp breezes, (and spilled coffee!), everyone boated both good quantities and quality of fish this morning.

Goncalo came up with this largemouth on a crankbait fished in 12 feet of water. It was the first fish of his life!!

We’re at that magic time of year where rising fish metabolism trumps all else including foul weather. Despite a damp, mild cold front pushing in overnight (which usually negatively impacts the fishery), the fish were on a solid feed up shallow for the first 90 minutes of light this morning, and never quit feeding completely until both the wind stopped and the sun began to shine brightly after noon.

I met up with Rob, Nick, and Goncalo and, thanks to a handful of helpful gulls, we were able to drive from the boat ramp to the fish and began bringing fish in on our first series of casts. We first contacted fish in 6-12 feet of water near Area 742/089. We knew the white bass were pushing baitfish to the surface, and, as I idled into the area, I saw even more fish lying tight to the bottom, so, we went with a horizontal approach casting blade baits. This scored a total of 22 fish before the feed eased up, and the fish pushed deeper, scattered a bit, and got a bit sluggish.

At this point, we worked over Area 089/1159 with flatlined crank baits and targeted fish holding on bottom in 12-16 feet of water. We picked up 15 fish, including white bass, largemouth bass, drum and crappie, catching steadily for about 45 minutes until that success began to erode and we decided to search deeper.

We headed out to search the 30-45 foot range and found both fish and shad in abundance along the old Lampasas River channel in several places. We first contacted these deeper fish at Area 1189, boating an additional 7 white bass, then made a “short hop” in the same general vicinity and picked up 10 more before these fish moved off.

We again found fish adjacent to the river channel at Area 074/1017 and had a field day here, taking our tally from 54 fish to a final tally of 94 fish in our final 30 minutes on the water. These fish were tightly bunched and occasionally rose up off the bottom to strike our slabs as they fell downwards.

Rob, Nick, and Goncalo were a fun bunch of fellows to be with; Goncalo was an excellent ambassador and represented Chile well.

I asked Goncalo what he felt his greatest misconception of America or Americans was, now that he’s able to look back and consider his preconceived notions versus the reality he’s now experienced. He said he thought Americans would be very different than he actually found them to be. He said, “Really, Americans are just like the people in my country, except they speak English.”

TALLY = 94 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 8:00a

End Time: 12:50p

Air Temp: 49F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~63-64F

Wind: Winds were NNE13 slowly tapering to calm by trip’s end.

Skies: Skies were leaden grey until 10:30, then the overcast slowly began to thin through trip’s end at which time the sun shone directly for the first time all day.

Controversy Onboard!! 118 Fish, Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report, 22 March 2013

This morning I fished with Don K. and his friend, John. These fellows are partners in crime and buddies in retirement! They drove down from Dallas to fish with me today after winning a trip I’d offered to the American Fisheries Society’s fundraiser last year.

Don boated our largest fish of the trip – this 6.00 pound largemouth fell for a live shad on a flat in about 25 feet of water.

John took our largest hybrid of the day, also on a live shad.

It was a really nice day to be outside today. A long-sleeved shirt was sufficient dress for the mid-60 degree weather, we had some nice, grey cloud cover and the winds were manageable all morning.

As we got underway this morning I began to search between Area 903 and 1129. I regularly saw what I suspected were white bass both tight to bottom and suspended up as much as 3 feet off bottom, so, as I searched for large concentrations of fish, we put both downriggers down to give us a shot at hooking up as I continued searching. We boated 9 white bass before coming upon an area that looked like it would produce some hybrid on live shad.

Evidently a bet was placed in the parking lot concerning first fish and largest fish. Controversy immediately broke out when the first fish caught was a sub-legal white bass. There was evidently a question as to whether a fish not meeting the minimum legal length of that species qualified for the first fish prize at all. Next, more controversy broke out concerning the amount that was wagered. The truth laid somewhere between $1 and $20. Yet more controversy broke out when Don landed what we felt would be the biggest fish of the trip — a 6.00 pound largemouth (and personal best of that species for him), but John claimed that because this was a hybrid striper trip, Don’s largemouth was “by-catch” and did not qualify for the prize. And so it went … all in good fun!!

At Area 1186 we put the boat into a hover and put out 4 downlines baited with shad of various sizes. Over the next hour we steadily caught fish until the sun briefly broke through the clouds and the breeze temporarily died, thus squashing the bite for a while. We picked up 9 hybrid, a crappie, a 6.00 pound largemouth and a number of white bass here for our efforts.

We moved on around 9:30 to Area 098. White bass were tightly schooled right on bottom here and sonar did not indicate hybrid mixed in, so, we vertically jigged slabs for these fish and did well for about a 15 minute span before these fish drifted off.

We were fortunate at that same time to spot a mixture of diving terns and gulls spread between Areas 1187 and 1188. We idled into the action, saw very aggressively feeding fish chasing bait up to within a few feet of the surface and used a smoking tactic to take advantage of this aggression. While Don and John worked the slabs, I set out just a single downline baited with shad using some of our larger baitfish hoping to cull a few larger hybrid out of the melee beneath us. We were able to add a number of additional legal hybrid to our catch while literally boating white bass after white bass after white bass for about 90 minutes.

We finished our day with a nice mixed bag which included white bass, hybrid striper, crappie and largemouth.

Over the course of the day we traded opinions on fishing gear, fish recipes, best places to go for certain species, and more. Fellows, thanks for coming out with me, and thank you both for your service to the nation in the U.S. Air Force.

TALLY = 118 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 12:30p

Air Temp: 63F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~59-61F

Wind: Winds were S7-8, shifting suddenly to WNW12-13 by 10:30a

Skies: Skies were grey but still bright.

And “Team Matthew” Takes the Lead! — 152 Fish, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide Report, 21 March 20

This morning I fished with John and Kelly M. of Temple, and their teenaged son, Matthew.

John took this really nice 13.75 inch white crappie out of 38 feet of water from amongst a large school of smallish white bass.

L to R — Matthew, Kelly, and John with a few of the nice fish we took on bladebaits early in the day.

Matthew is an all-sports fan and has a fascination with statistics, so, it was most fitting today, after he’s kept close watch on my “fishing scoreboard” via Facebook, that he and his family took the lead in the “most fish caught” standings for this calendar year so far.

Our winds returned from the south today and built to over 15mph, AND we had some nice, grey cloud cover. That is perfect white bass weather and, as a result, we wound up boating exactly 152 fish on this half-day outing.

We started the day off with mostly clear skies, but a cloud bank from the north moved in quickly and obscured the sun within an hour of sunrise. While the sun was shining, but still low in the morning sky we flatline trolled with crankbaits in the vicinity of Area 116 in 12-16 feet of water and picked up a total of 9 fish (8 white bass and 1 crappie) in just 3 passes before bird activity caught our attention and took us to better action.

We spotted 3 gulls, 3 herons, and an osprey, all looking “fishy” over a patch of water between Areas 741 and 742. When we idled in, sonar clearly showed abundant white bass spread throughout this area. As things settled down, we witnessed white bass forcing schools of shad to the surface on occasion. This was in 8-14 feet of water, so, I opted to go with a horizontal approach fan-casting bladebaits until we connected, and then saturating productive areas as long as they would produce. Over a 90 minute span, we boated an additional 44 fish here. 90% of these fish were beefy, 13-14+ inch long white bass.

After the shallow bite died, we went looking deep along the old Lampasas River channel. After a bit of searching, we found fish with sonar in ~38 feet of water between Areas 074 and 1017. We arrived at this area at 10:30a, caught fish on the very first drop of our slabs, and kept right on catching fish through 12:15p — nearly 2 solid hours. Most of these fish were small, but what they lacked in size, they made up for in abundance. In all, we pulled 98 fish off this area including 97 white bass and 1 white crappie, which taped at 13.75 inches in length. Every last fish here was taken on a TNT180 white slab fished vertically. We did occasionally nab one on an “easing” tactic, but these fish were reluctant to leave bottom very far behind.

Not much else to report! We essentially fished 3 places, and every last one of them produced today. Minimal time was spent searching for fish as they were up and feeding and readily located given the very favorable conditions we encountered.

TALLY = 152 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 1:00p

Air Temp: 54F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~63-64F

Wind: Winds were S7 building to SSE17+

Skies: Skies were grey but still bright.

We Found ’em the Hard Way! — 54 Fish, Central Texas White Bass Fishing Report, 20 March 2013

In the wake of some mild thunderstorms and about 1/10th of an inch of rainfall overnight, we awoke to a clear, cool, bright morning. I welcomed Ken C., his wife, Kris, Kris’ sister, Angie, and Angie’s son, sixteen year old Andrew, aboard for some white bass fishing on Stillhouse.

L to R — Ken, Kris, Andrew, and Angie with the “best of the bunch” from our catch of white bass today.

Kris boated this nice 2 pounder from deep water on a slab.

Ken and Kris have fished with me once before in the summer months when downrigging was in vogue. Today, early flatline trolling followed by deepwater jigging was the name of the game. Angie and Andrew were down on Spring Break from the Kansas City, KS, area. I think we were all hoping for some warmer weather than we got this morning, so we took the lemons and made some lemonade.

As we got started, we flatline trolled with crankbaits in 12-16 feet of water near Area 116. We scored with 9 fish landed out of 12 fish hooked over the first hour or so. When that shallow bite died, we headed deep looking for congregated fish to jig for.

We encountered deep, congregated fish in two distinct areas: Area 1017/1172 and Area 638/639. At both locations the fish were in ~38 feet, tightly bunched and fed with only moderate aggressiveness. Technique is incredibly important when fish get tight-lipped and with the wind, boat movement and all 4 guests very new to this tactic, technique was difficult to maintain, but we did it.

For our efforts we managed to boat a grand total of 54 fish, including the four shown in the photo above, all of which beat the 13.5″ mark. 52 of these fish were white bass and the remaining 2 were largemouth bass. We got no assistance today from the birds; all the deepwater fish were found “the hard way” via sonar search.

TALLY = 54 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 1:00p

Air Temp: 52F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~63F

Wind: Winds were NNE8 building to NE14

Skies: Skies were clear and bluebird.

Spring Break 2013, Day 5 (PM) – 101 Fish — Harker Heights Fishing Guide Report

This fifth day of Spring Break 2013 (Friday, 15 March) I was joined in the afternoon by Jerry W. of Harker Heights, and twin brothers Daniel and Steven K., both now in their early twenties, whom Jerry has come to know through his ministry to young people.

L to R — Daniel, Jerry, and Steven with just a sampling of the 101 fish that tore up our slabs this evening.

We had an interesting crew aboard today. Jerry, an insurance agent and youth/young adult minister, was the ring leader, keeping things stirred up by regularly and quite audibly announcing to Steven and Daniel whenever he caught a fish, thus making good on his promise at the trip’s beginning to outfish them both. Steven was our young combat veteran and U.S. Army chaplain’s assistant just back from Afghanistan; his motto was “under-promise, over-deliver”, including promises made to self; thus, he set his sights on catching up to as many as 6 fish today so he could then handsomely exceed his goal. And Daniel was our penniless, professional student, existing on a diet of mainly ramen noodles and wearing shirts apparently borrowed from homeless people. He also served as Jerry’s auxiliary conscience, regularly asking questions like, “Does you wife know you are eating that?”. And so it was … my job was to take this rag-tag group of individuals and form them into a highly efficient, fish-catching team in under 5 hours.

Today’s trip unfolded much in the same was most of this week’s afternoon trips have — it started slowly, followed by a solid deep-water bite from 5:30 to 7:00p, then followed by a mid-depth 20-28 foot feet just minutes before sunset.

We searched with sonar for nearly all of our first hour on the water, initially making contact with a small school of white bass at Area 088. We slabbed for these fish in 27-29 feet of water and pulled 17 fish of various lengths before the bite went sour.

Next, we headed to open water and found a large congregation of fish on Area 946. The majority of these fish were small, but the action was consistent and everyone was having so much fun poking fun at each other, the steady action seemed just to be a backdrop to the camaraderie. Daniel pulled a nice 2.00 pound largemouth from this area, and everyone caught a few fish which were photo-worth. Steven hooked into a very nice fish — not sure if it was a big catfish or largemouth — but it ran hard for timber and made it before Steven could turn it and we lost our shot at that one. Every trip needs a “big one that got away” story, right? We wound up boating 77 fish here and hooked and lost quite a few more.

As the sun fell to within 20 minutes of setting, we made a final move to Area 067. I’d encountered a really strong pre-sunset bite in this vicinity the night before, so we headed here to see if a pattern would emerge, and it did. We arrived at this area with a tally of 94 fish; everyone had their sights set on making that 100 fish mark. No sooner did we establish a hover than we were into fish on our TNT180 slabs used in both a jigging and an easing tactic. Steven carried the day for us here, putting 3 of the 6 fish we needed to make the century mark in the boat in no time flat. Everyone soon chipped in and, by dark, the count stood at 101!

TALLY = 101 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 3:30p

End Time: 7:45p

Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~58F

Wind: Winds were S17 tapering to S9

Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.

Spring Break 2013, Day 5 (AM) – Three Generations Go Fishing – 35 Fish, Salado Fishing Guide Report

This fifth day of Spring Break 2013 I was joined in the morning by Jim D. of Mississippi, his son-in-law, John Mark, of McGregor,Texas, and Jim’s 12 year old grandson, John (J.J.).

L to R – John Mark, young John, and Grandpa Jim with John’s morning catch. The larger of John’s 2 white bass taped at 14 3/8 inches and was taken on a crankbait.

This trip was Grandpa Jim’s Spring Break treat to his grandson, so, only young John did the fishing today while Dad and Grandpa looked on, encouraged, and cheered.

We got on fish immediately, finding fish active enough to run down a trolled crankbait in shallow water off Area 116. We took 16 fish in this manner before active, diving terns told us to change our game plan.

We therefore headed out to deeper water hoping for big groups of clustered fish, but, only found small packs of 2-5 fish here, there, and everywhere. So, we downrigged for these fish using tandem-rigged Pet Spoons and came up with 5 fish, including a double-double (2 fish on both rods = 4 fish caught at the same time). This action took place between Area 052 and Area 1158. After catching that foursome, we noted a concentration of fish on bottom where we’d caught these from and circled back to try our first vertical jigging of the day; this yielded only 2 fish. By now a nice SSW wind had developed at 8-9 mph.

As the jigging action played out, we headed to Area 1183 and both jigged and cast bladebaits to add another 9 fish to our count, taking our tally up to 32 fish. We’d now fished for 3 1/4 hours and the novelty was wearing off a bit for John, but, he decided he could hang tough for one more stop to try some jigging again in deep water. We made it worth his while, boating a final 4 fish in just about as many minutes, thus giving him a favorable final impression of the day’s adventure.

TALLY = 35 fish, all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:45a

End Time: 11:45a

Air Temp: 58F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~58F

Wind: Winds were SSW8-10

Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.