This morning I fished with friend and fellow fishing guide, Bruce Shuler, of Port Mansfield.
We had a few intentions today including: 1) to enjoy some time on the water together, 2) to help Bruce re-familiarize with state of the art sonar, and 3) to catch a few fish under what we both knew would be some tough, post-frontal conditions. We accomplished all of the above and still had time to share a pizza over at Joe’s on Hwy. 195 before noon!!
Bruce has spent many years now wading and drifting the Laguna Madre where 5 feet of water is deep and where a 6″ change of depth is considered a breakline. There, sonar is basically used to keep from going aground and for whatever nautical chart features they offer — not so much for looking for fish and the structures they hold on. Our deep, clear, Hill Country lakes, on the other hand are among the most sonar intensive kind of water to fish due to lack of visible cover. So, we spent an inordinate amount of time today just idling and interpreting sonar.
We did manage to hunt down some fish despite the bright, clear, calm conditions you can see in the photo. We found some fish up shallow in 16-18 feet after a slow first hour, in the vicinity of Area 1194/052. A handful of terns and gulls helped us zero in on these fish. We boated 42 white bass here in the 1, 2, and 3 year old year classes.
Later, from about 9:45 to 10:45 we found a few more fish in 25 feet of water a few yards back off the river channel at Area 1196/566, and put a final 14 fish in the boat here. These fish were distinctly clustered together. As we idled over these fish, the otherwise flat, white line representing the lake’s bottom on my sonar screen set to down-looking mode showed a series of closely spaced oval shapes holding very near to, but not quite on, the bottom. These were fish. I pointed these out to Bruce with my forefinger and said as I pointed to each oval, “Okay, you see these? Dit, dit, dit, dit, dit … each one of these is a fish.” Bruce chuckled at my choice of that descriptor and said he now knew to look for the Dit-Dits.
Earlier, we’d discussed his preference for casting tackle versus spinning gear. I personally prefer spinning gear because I can teach novices to cast quality gear in very little time, thus helping them catch more fish. Bruce, on the other hand, calls spinning reels “cross dressers”, a nickname he came up with given the reels’ ability to quickly have their handles switched from left-hand retrieve to right-hand retrieve.
So, to summarize, I suppose I chose to fish for dit-dits with cross dressers, where as Bruce chose to angle for them with baitcasters.
Can you tell we kept it light today?
Oh yeah, we caught 54 fish despite ourselves!!
TALLY = 54 fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 10:45a
Air Temp: 46F at trip’s start
Water Surface Temp: ~62F
Wind: Winds were light and variable the entire trip.
Cloud Cover: Skies were bluebird under high pressure following Wednesday’s cold front passage.