This past Saturday afternoon, December 26th, I welcomed aboard a youthful crew of boys — nearly 9-year-old Pate Palomino, 10-year-old Kaden Lehrman, and 11-year-old Blayne Hoelscher.
From left: Blayne Hoelscher, Kaden Lehrman, and Pate Palomino, each with a nice white bass landed between storms in advance of a big cold front this past Saturday, 26 Dec. We took this shot on shore as we waited for nearby storms to clear before returning to the water.
Pate not only caught the first fish of his life this afternoon, but also landed the largest fish of the trip — this Lake Belton hybrid striped bass, also known as a palmetto bass. Fishing on the 26th of December in short sleeves!
Kaden was given a fishing gift certificate for Christmas by his grandparents, Don and Monica Mikeska of Temple. We had planned to conduct the trip during the week after Christmas, but, when I saw the duration and severity of the cold front forecast to enter the scene on Saturday night, I called to see if we could bump things up.
Kaden invited his two buddies, Pate and Blayne, along. At 1:30p Pate and Kaden’s moms arrived with the three boys in tow and dropped them off at the boat ramp. We agreed to meet back at the same place four hours later.
I covered both safety and fishing basics and then we pushed off and got down to business.
Pate had never caught a fish before and, I quickly discovered, has a flair for the dramatic. So you can imagine, when that first fish hit his line and he connected to the life on the end of it, he about came unglued. He was shouting and panicking and rejoicing, all at the same time. I tried to coach him, but adrenaline drowned out anything I said. We captured that 10 inch white bass pretty smoothly, but you’d have thought a one-ton great white just came over the transom by all the commotion that ensued. That was fun!
The boys all got the hang of the necessary vertical jigging technique that would serve us well all afternoon. Their innate desire to compete with one another created an interesting dynamic. They all understood their technique had to be “spot-on” in order to catch fish, so, when one or both of the “other guys” was catching, the one who was not knew that he had to sharpen up on his presentation. This kept all 3 boys in check and fishing very effectively, as no one wanted to fall behind in the fish catching.
Over the 4 hours we were on the water, we caught fish the entire time, literally, from start to finish. The pre-frontal conditions that led me to invite the boys out early had kicked in and were goading these fish to feed hard.
There were 4 times when we had to stop fishing and go to ground on the shoreline due to the rumbling of thunder in the area as isolated, small storm cells quickly passed from south to north. Despite these brief interruptions, we were able to get right back onto active fish each time.
When all was said and done, the boys caught exactly 120 fish.
That first fish of Pate’s lifetime earned him a Texas Parks and Wildlife “First Fish Award”. That streak of beginner’s luck also helped young Pate to put the largest fish of the trip in the boat, as well — a barely 18″ hybrid striper.
We all got soaked to the bone, we all felt the chill that wet clothes make on your skin, we all caught fish, and we all had a really good time!
TALLY = 120 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 1:30p
End Time: 5:30p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F
Water Surface Temp: 60-61F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE15-16 at trip’s start; winds increased as storm cells passed nearby and eased after their passage
Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover the entire trip, with occasional downpours
Water Level: 4.30 feet above full pool with 0.29 feet of water released in the past 24 hours.
Other: GT= 30
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1659/1671 – vertical jigging for fish found on sonar
**Area 1660/1673 – vertical jigging for fish found on sonar
**Area triangulated by 1674/1620/1658 – vertical jigging for fish found on sonar
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)