Today I fished a rare mid-summer afternoon trip with father and son Mario and Mario P. of Copperas Cove.
Mario and Mario with a nice bunch of downrigger’ed white bass.
“Big” Mario holds up a triple — three fish caught at the same time on a 3-armed umbrella rig.
“Big” Mario is a U.S. Army commissioned engineer officer currently assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division. His son, Mario, just graduated from Copperas Cove High School and is headed to Texas Tech in Lubbock tomorrow. This trip was likely to be young Mario’s last bit of fish as he begins his first semester of college.
I first got to know young Mario when he and his brother, Gabriel, came out with me on a “SKIFF” trip back in 2010 when their dad was deployed. We’ve had occasional contact since and, on this special occasion, I was honored to be called upon to provide a vehicle for some father and son time.
I actually postponed a morning trip due to a poor weather forecast (calm winds, turbulent atmosphere, and rain that later blew in from the NW). I’m not a fan of summertime afternoon trips, but, we really didn’t have any other options, so, we made due with what we had.
We got going at 4:15 and fished until just past sunset. We got into fish right off the bat at Area 1249, finding moderate schooling activity at the top of the lower 1/3 of the water column here. We worked slabs vertically via a “smoking” method and boated 4 fish right off the bat.
We next moved on to Area 842/1228 and both downrigged and slabbed in this general area. It was slow going, but we pulled fish consistently for about an hour.
Next, it was off to Area 040. This produced the fastest fishing of the day, although that pace was still off a good bit due to our weather conditions (NE wind). Although finding plenty of fish here and doing well on the downriggers, the fish failed to respond to several attempts made to slab or throw bladebaits to them.
Our final stop came at Area 1246. We picked up fish very steadily here until, right before sunset the fishing just took off for about 10-15 minutes. It was during this time we caught 5 fish at a time (3 on the 3-arm rig and 2 on the 2-arm rig) and noted that our baits got hit several time after barely getting the rods down and set. Then, like someone flipped a switch, it was over right at sunset.
Like many folks I have on board, “big” Mario noted how he had seen downriggers on boats, on fishing shows, and in fishing magazines, but never exactly understood how or when to use them — until today. They are a very precise instrument used for fish that are very exacting as to the depth at which they hold as dictated by the location of the thermocline.
Good luck during your first semester at Texas Tech!!
TALLY = 49 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 4:15p
End Time: 8:35pa
Air Temp: 90F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 86.1F
Wind: Winds were NE9.
Skies: Cloudless fair sky.
Holding the Line Guide Service