This morning I welcomed first-time guests David Stuhan and his 3 children, Paris, Aden, and Layton, aboard. David works as a contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy in Carlsbad, New Mexico, dealing with the safekeeping of radiologic waste. His children live and go to school in Temple, Texas.
David with his 3 kids, (L to R) Aden, Layton, and Paris and the 3 white bass we caught fishing deep this morning.
Paris would eventually work up the nerve to hold a fish by hand today.
Aden, on the other hand, emphatically announced that he would not be touching ANY fish or bait today.
And easy-going Layton was just thrilled to be doing anything fishing-related. He turned out to be our luckiest angler this trip.
My plan today with 3 kids on board was to “mix it up” with a variety of approaches to give them a good exposure to various effective techniques for multiple species in this warm-water season.
We began the day up shallow fishing a hydrilla bed for sunfish using slipfloats and Gulp! maggots. David and I ran “crowd control” by taking off fish, rebaiting hooks, and untangling tangles. This kids did real well at this, eventually boating exactly 14 fish (including both bluegill sunfish and green sunfish) before the fish “wised up” and began ignoring our presentations.
Next, we set out to fish deep water where I’d been moderately successful earlier this week on downriggers with Pet Spoons fished on umbrella rigs. Although we graphed fish regularly, we encountered only a few schools of white bass. It is schooled white bass that generally provide success, as they take on a competitive posture with their schoolmates and will race to a bait to be the first one to the groceries and get hooked. We did take 3 white bass in this fashion, but the bite just wasn’t “on” here this morning.
Next, we headed to a breakline near the river channel and e-anchored with the trolling motor to fish bait on the breakline. Here, again, the action was a bit slow. We picked up 2 freshwater drum and 1 white bass before moving to greener pastures.
Our final, and most productive area was also adjacent to the river channel in about 27 feet of water. As I motored in and studied sonar, I saw heavily schooled white bass from 19 feet down to the bottom over an area approximately 80 feet by 100 feet. I killed the outboard, got us in a hover with the i-Pilot, and we smoked TNT180 slabs in both 3/8 oz. silver and 3/4 oz. white to boat 19 white bass in very short order. I kept reminding my crew of the fundamentals of this technique, which we had rehearsed earlier when things were slow, so they could maximize their catch. Fishing like this never lasts long, so, when I recognize it, I really try to “make hay while the sun shines”. No breaks, no fish storiess, no snacks, no photos — just fish catching when a bite like this is on! After about a 25 minute frenzy, these fish slacked off and began to disperse. We then again employed the downriggers for “mop up duty”, boating a final 9 fish including 2 doubles for our efforts. By 11:05 we landed what would be our final fish, and David and I agreed it would be wise at that point to end on a strong note, so, we wrapped ‘er up right then.