This morning I fished Kenny R., pastor of Skyline Baptist in Killeen, and his friend, Dan, a recently retired missionary to Brazil.
The fish were very scattered today, we had to hunt and peck, hunt and peck all morning to put together the 39 fish bag that we did. That’s Dan, the missionary, on the left, and Kenny, the preacher, on the right.
As we got started this morning, right before sunset we saw a small pack of white bass “crashing bait” by forcing spawning threadfin shad up to the bank and up to the surface as they pursued in shallow water. We managed to boat a quick 7 beefy white bass out of this school before the sun rose, the skies brightened and the fish disappeared from Area 667.
Next, we hung around Area 116 and did some flatline trolling while monitoring two broad flats that have provided consistent action over the past several weeks. We came up with just one small white bass here and decided to press on without seeing any bird action or topwater action.
We stopped and fished with both horizontally cast Cicada bladebaits and with downriggers equipped with tandem-rigged Pet Spoons in a large expanse bounded by Areas 100, 101, and 330. As we began fishing over fish we’d located with sonar, several great white egrets began feeding over open water and were quickly joined by 3 gulls. These birds were drawn by white bass feeding on shad. While it was great to be in the midst of fish, these birds were easily covering a quarter-mile’s worth of water which spoke to the scattered nature of the fish today. Unfortunately, the bird action (and the topwater feed that fueled it) lasted only 5-10 minutes at most. Small packs of 3-4 fish were here, there, and everywhere, so, we’d catch a few, then have to move, catch a few more then have to move. We never really got covered down on a sizeable population of fish for any period of time. Of all the techniques we employed today, the downriggers really shined, as they allowed us to cover the span between packs of fish quickly and allowed us to have 4 baits in the water right where the fish were. To this end, we caught 3 or 4 sets of doubles today on the tandem rigs. At one point we put out two flatline rods in addition to the downriggers for a total of 6 baits in the water and caught fish on them, as well, as they dove down to the 12-14 foot mark, just above our downrigged baits fishing at 15-18 feet down.
By 10:30 this bite was winding down and so we set out to search deeper water for more congregated fish. We found one spot of fish right at Area 036 and vertically jigged that area for 1 drum and 3 white bass. By 11:15, knowing the best was now behind us, we decided to call it a day and head in for some lunch. We’d boated a total of 39 fish for our effort, including 1 white crappie, 1 drum, 1 largemouth bass, and 36 white bass of all sizes, from 6″ up to 14″.
I was intrigued by Dan’s lifetime of service to the Lord as a missionary with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He had plenty of stories to tell. When I specifically asked about a “how we had to improvise” story, he fondly remembered the time a local fishing boat accidentally struck his own boat, shearing off his exhaust pipe. Given that marine exhaust pipes are hard to come by on the Amazon River, he rigged up a big baked bean can to serve as a makeshift exhaust pipe until a more suitable repair could be made. He added that the boat, named “The Apostle” should have been named “The Lazarus”, as it had sunk twice and had twice been “resurrected” before being replaced by a more grand vessel nearly twice the size thanks to the $200,000 donation of a woman from Kansas!!
TALLY = 39 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 11:20a
Air Temp: 45F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 66.4F
Wind: Winds were SSE6-8 for the entire trip.
Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.