This morning I welcomed Nick E., the birthday boy, aboard, along with 3 friends — brothers Andrew and Christian W. of Killeen, and Sam(antha) of Kempner, all in celebration of Nick’s 18th birthday.
Everyone caught plenty of fish this morning on all 4 methods we employed — trolling, casting, jigging, and downrigging. From L to R: Andrew, Sam, Nick, and Christian.
Andrew was the anchorman today. He boated this nice 3.00 pound largemouth from out of 18′ of water casting a bladebait on a shallow flat.
First, kudos to Nick’s parents, Joey and Laura. Of all the things a kid could want to do, and of all the places a kid could want to be on their 18th birthday, to be spending it in pursuit of fish on a boat amongst friends speaks well of how that kid was raised. That is a blessing from the Lord!
Nick has been long-time friends with Andrew and Christian through their church, Memorial Baptist, in Killeen, and Nick knows Sam through a robotics club both of them participate in over in the Copperas Cove/Kempner area.
Everyone arrived on time, bright-eyed, and eager to both learn and to catch fish. We covered a few safety basics followed by a few fishing basics and then headed out to hunt for fish.
We began our day in the vicinity of Area 116 flatline trolling. On the first half of our first pass everyone landed their first fish, 3 of which went 13+ inches. We were literally only 12 minutes into the trip and everyone was already even more excited than when they’d arrived and were anticipating more to follow.
From our vantage point near Area 116, we could see for quite some distance. I spotted 3 herons, an osprey, 6 cormorants, 4 terns and a gull all working over the same small patch of water — something was going on!! We brought our trolling lines in, headed for the action, and cashed in on the very first few minutes of what would be a lengthy, moderate feed which would go for over 2 hours between Areas 556 and 1194. The depth here was 16-19 feet, and so I taught each teen how to cast a spinning rod and we threw bladebaits and worked them along the bottom for the entire time here and caught fish steadily throughout this time. We boated exactly 58 white bass and 1 largemouth bass in this area during this feed.
Around 9:45a the skies began to clear and the wind began to ramp up. The brightening skies brought an end to the shallow bite and it was once again necessary to go hunting for fish.
We were fortunate to find fish at the very first mid-depth spot we searched — Area 334. At this location, just a few yards back off the channel lip, I found tightly bunched white bass holding tight to the bottom. We hovered over top of these fish and began to vertical jig for them. This was a new technique, and it was difficult to learn from a moving boat being buffeted by the wind as badly as we were, but, the kids got the hang of things pretty quickly and we wound up boating 13 fish here including 12 white bass and 1 drum before the wind continued to increase and made line control nearly impossible for my boatload of beginners. We then changed over to downrigging to access these same fish, but to do it on the move. We boated another 6 fish here via downrigging, including 4 white bass and a double catch of short largemouth bass for Sam (two fish caught simultaneously on one rod). By the time 11:10 rolled around, the sky had nearly entirely cleared and the winds were reaching a peak near 20 mph. The fishing shut down pretty quickly thereafter and we called it a great morning and headed on in.
TALLY = 82 fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:15a
End Time: 11:15a
Air Temp: 53F at trip’s start
Water Surface Temp: ~62.2F
Wind: Winds were SSE at 7 at trip’s start, quickly ramping up to SSE18 by trip’s end.
Skies: Skies were 80% cloudy with diffuse light coming through.