This morning I had the pleasure of fishing with two Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Game Wardens from our local Temple office. I was joined by Major Jeff Gillenwaters and Lieutenant Billy Champlin.
Jeff (L) and Billy (R) got a chance to get out and enjoy part of the natural resources of Texas that they work to protect on a daily basis. Thank you, fellows!!
Honestly, I was a bit concerned about this little round of low pressure and the easterly winds it brought with it yesterday, but, by this morning, we had a southerly component return putting winds SE6-8mph and with nice, greyed over sky conditions, so the pucker factor was reduced a bit for me.
We got going around 7am on Stillhouse, tried downrigging in the vicinity of Area 040 and saw little in the way of bait or gamefish, so we headed elsewhere after picking up just 1 fish.
We hit paydirt at the next location we tried (Area 453-495). As we idled in with sonar and StructureScan pinging, sonar lit up with a solid band of fish holding down at 22-24 feet over a deeper breakline beneath them. This large, loose school stayed on sonar for over 100 feet of travel, and, for better or worse, we dropped our downriggers down as soon as we saw the leading edge of the fish, so, we quickly hooked up on both downriggers using Pet Spoons, and promptly yanked all the gear out of the water once those fish were landed so we could fish more thoroughly and stealthily from an e-anchored position while casting.
We spent the next 90 minutes pulling fish after fish, include white bass in the 1 year (10-11″) class, 2 year (11-12.5″) class, and 3 year (12.5-14+”) class. Best bait was the blade bait fished with a lift-drop technique. When we saw fish directly below us on the flasher we used these same baits in a dead-vertical manner, as well.
When the action finally eased up, we went back to downrigging to comb out the few still-active fish from amongst the majority which were turning off by now and we landed a few more that way. Once things shut down here, we moved on.
We ended our day over at Area 1221-1246. The scenario was just about the same. We found abundant white bass loosely schooled over a 100′ horizontal span of bottom, down about 27-29 feet over a deeper bottom. This was custom-made for downrigging. We got the balls down and, on numerous occasions, just seconds after making the final drag adjustments, had “fish on”, adding 8 fish to our tally in no time.
The fellows needed to head back in to the office before noon, so we wrapped up around 11a. On our very last pass, both Billy and Jeff reset their downriggers after both releasing a single white bass each. No sooner did they get everything set at depth than Jeff’s rod went off. Seconds later, Billy’s rod went off. Now, based on what I’d seen on sonar, I advised both fellows to reel their fish in slowly to increase their chances of catching multiple fish. Billy had scored two doubles (2 fish caught at the same time) as a result. It was now Jeff’s turn. As he cranked his fish in, there were “twins” on his line, so, he was hooting and hollering and glad he’d finally scored a multiple hook-up. Just then, cool as can be, Billy looks back at Jeff and asks, “Did you get just two?”, and then proceeds to haul his triple over the gunwale!! So, there we were at the end of the trip with 5 fish flopping around, taking our tally from 55 up to 60 in an instant. Nothing like finishing strong!!
In the end, we boated exactly 60 white bass, and 2 sunfish (caught during a “demo” showing Jeff how I offer “instant gratification” for younger kids I have on board).
Thank you guys for being “Law Enforcement Off the Pavement” and helping safeguard our Texas fisheries!!
TALLY = 62 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 11:00a
Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 84.1F
Wind: Winds were SE6-8.
Skies: 100% greyed over sky with occasional drizzle/light rain.
Holding the Line Guide Service