This morning, November 24th, I welcomed aboard Mr. Steve Niemeier and his 10-year-old grandson, Caleb Fowler. The pair has been fishing with me several times each year since 2011.
Persistence paid off today. After a fishless first 90 minutes, the wind started to move and clouds built in, turning the bite on for a full 2 hours for Steve Niemeier and his grandson, Caleb Fowler.
Caleb, a student at Kennedy Powell Elementary School in Temple had the day off, along with the rest of the Temple Independent School District, and Steve, like a lot of (wise) middle-aged hard-chargers, has come to realize that if he’s going to stay with it for the “long haul”, periodic breaks to go fishing are a must!
The weather and the fishing were both kind of funky today. We started off dry, cold, clear and windless and finished up humid, warmer, cloudy, and breezy. We went nearly 1.5 hours without catching a fish under the calm, bright conditions, but, about 20 minutes after the wind came up, things started happening. The fishing peaked from 9:30 to 10:30 as the grey clouds built in and the wind increased steadily up to about SSE12.
The very productive pattern that we’ve been on just fell apart with the strong cold front that pushed through on Saturday. That fishing involved finding heavily concentrated fish in 12-26 feet of water depending on time of day, and working both vertically and horizontally for them within 24″ of bottom.
Today, we found fish inhabiting the upper third of the water column, chasing bait long and hard over great spans of open water. For the first time this season bird activity made a significant contribution to our success. This isn’t to say one can expect to find fish anywhere birds are found. Rather, they have to be “read” and responded to accordingly.
By watching the rate of travel of the birds as they kept up with hungry schools of white bass and hybrid stripers, we could tell the fish were really moving quickly — too quickly, in fact, to make a stationary approach inadequate. So, we stayed on the move by using downriggers with our baits kept constantly adjusted so as to be just slightly shallower than the fish we saw on sonar.
We wound up with a mixed bag of keeper hybrid, short hybrid, and white bass of all sizes. The baits we chose — Pet Spoons on one rod and White Willow Spoons on the other rod — worked equally well in imitating the bait which was generally around 2 to 2.25″ long.
The fish quit feeding at right around 10:45. We stayed a bit longer, but boated only one “straggler” for the additional 45 minutes of effort.
TALLY = 35 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 11:30a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 47F
Water Surface Temp: 66.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm at trip’s start, tapering up to SSE12 by trip’s end
Sky Conditions: Bluebird, transitioning to 100% grey clouds
Other: GT= 50
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
** Fish followed contour from Area 715 through 1546 through 841 through 952 — downrigging worked best; smoking produced a few, as well.
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