This morning I welcomed 9-year-old Kaden Lehrmann of Killeen aboard, accompanied by his grandpa, Don Mikeska.
Kaden with one of nine legal (18+ inch) hybrid striped bass he landed today.
With STAAR standardized testing now behind him and his two remaining academic projects well under control, mom and grandparents agreed that missing school wouldn’t do Kaden much harm, so, today was the day for a bit of outdoor education.
Kaden is a bright, eager, articulate boy who stayed engaged in the task at hand from the moment he arrived in the parking lot to the time he jumped off the bow and back onto the concrete boat ramp at the close of our morning. I don’t think there was any aspect of what we did that he wasn’t enthusiastic about … from my safety briefing, to understanding why the fish were doing what they were doing today, to chumming, to netting, to fish-fighting techniques … you name it, he was really into it! Kaden shared with me that he actually attended a fishing camp held near Lake Bastrop last summer which he really enjoyed and where he learned a lot of practical fishing lessons.
The day played out just right for us. At our first of four stops we immediately got into a big school of short hybrid. This provided “instant gratification” with lots of action and exactly 20 fish caught. In catching these smaller fish early on in the trip, it allowed Kaden to understand how the reel (with bait clicker and line counter) worked, what the fish felt like on the rods we were using, how to avoid getting hooked fish caught in the other lines and in the trolling motor, etc. Later, as we encountered larger fish, the lessons learned on these smaller ones caught earlier paid off.
Our second and third stops both produced quick results, but, at the second stop, the fish were few and far between, although of good quality; and, at our third stop we caught fish well, but, by 10am the wind was up over 20mph and it became a bit too dicey to stay there any longer. Once swells develop (which caught the bow of the boat to rise and fall sharply) the baits get moved up and down very unnaturally thus reducing strikes and causing many strikes to turn into missed fish as the fish feel the bait being pulled away from them very unnaturally as the boat rises.
For our final stop, we retreated to a more protected area and picked up our final 3 fish there — all smaller white bass or short hybrid. As it did all last week, the bite played out by around 10:45am.
We fished live shad on downlines exclusively by hovering over top of fish we’d found on sonar using the Spot-Lock feature on my trolling motor. We boated 1 blue cat, 2 white bass, 9 legal hybrid striped bass, and 25 short hybrid stripers.
TALLY = 37 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 11:10a
Air Temp.: 64F
Water Surface Temp.: 70.9F
Skies: Fair w/ 20% clouds
Other Notes: GT20
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
** Shad were abundant at Area 1386
** 152 (abundant small fish)
**1209/489 (fewer, but larger fish — all legal hybrid)
**1204 (solid mixed bag fishing)
**1076 (wind protected 2nd choice)
Holding the Line Guide Service