afternoon I fished with returning guest Joe R., his son, Joey, and his 9 year old nephew, Ryan, who traveled to Central Texas from near Waller, TX on the west side of Houston to spend some time with his aunt, uncle, and cousin.
I was more than a little concerned going into this afternoon’s trip as for the past several days I’ve struggled in the face of calm, clear, cold conditions. However, as launch-time approached at 1:45p today, a ripple on the water turned into a breeze, and the breeze turned into wind, and the wind into waves, and, just like that it was game on.
We fished 5 distinct areas today, and found active fish at each locale. The situation was similar at each area.. The 31-34 foot mark was where the fish were holding. Also, our action seemed to come very quickly and have a short duration to it — we caught fish as soon as we dropped our slabs down, saw them get “frisky” and rise up off the bottom after hooked schoolmates for a few minutes (10-12), then “cool off” allowing for one or two more fish to be caught. Then the action would die completely, thus requiring that we move and search out more fish.
A few keys to success today included: 1) matching forage size, which we accomplished with the TNT180 slab in 3/4 oz. white, which is a good all-around bait size for Belton, 2) we held our baits still for extended periods while slabbing to give the fish a chance to hit, and 3) we used “short-hops” which means we moved the boat a boat-length or two at a time after initially contacting fish to ensure fish just beyond our initial “slabbing radius” were also exposed to our presentation.
The winter months are tough months to have younger kids (under 6th grade or so) along, as there is not much variety to offer them in order to keep them engaged. Winter fishing for whites and hybrid is pretty much a one-trick pony, and that trick is slow, methodical vertical jigging. The boys did very well, though, all things considered.
As our trip wrapped up I (half-) jokingly told Joe that although the 4 of us caught 39, had just he and I fished, we’d likely have ended up with 70-80. That seems counter-intuitive, but, this technical fishing requires concentration in getting the bait correctly adjusted and in setting the hook when that one tap comes along. The two of us tried repeatedly handing off hooked fish to the boys for them to reel in which typically has a 50%+ loss factor, plus, we both had to be on the lookout for the boys’ safety with the wind working on the open water we were in and so this reduces your ability to focus a bit.
To his credit, Joe wanted this trip to be a good one for the boys, so, lost fish or not, we made sure both Joey and Ryan got to reel in any hooked fish they cared to — and both boys wound up hooking and landing a few fish of their own, as well.
TALLY = 39 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 145p
End Time: 5:35p
Air Temp: 61F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 53.5F
Wind: Winds were just beginning to push from the SSE as we got on the water, and quickly built to 9-11mph as we fishied
Skies: Skies began fair, but quickly greyed over as the evening progressed.
Other Notes: GT25
Areas Fished with success:
** 672/489 (no birds)
** 1270 (no birds)
** 300/151 (no birds)
** 1318 (no birds)
** 714/1288 (no birds)