This afternoon I fished with Rev. Eric Whitfield and his wife, Kris, of Round Rock, TX. Eric sent me a pre-Easter e-mail with the subject line: Chaplain Needs a Break! So, today, I did my best to provide a little respite from the rigors of dealing with the terminally ill and their families and concerns.
This afternoon’s trip offered up both quality and quantity for Eric and Kris Whitfield — 137 fish, with many 3-year-class fish beating the 14″ mark in the mix.
Eric is a U.S. Army veteran who left the military following a parachute malfunction during his attendance at Ranger School near Dahlonega, Georgia. Kris recently sold the financial services business she had built and now volunteers as a volunteer coordinator and as president of the Round Rock Arts Council.
The two had above average prior fishing experience, both with spinning and fly gear, which helped reduce their learning curve and increase their catch this afternoon.
When I arrived early to launch, Eric was already walking the banks with light tackle in hand casting an in-line spinner. I commented as I prepared the boat for launching about how I really liked the weather conditions — balmy, breezy, and with solid grey cloud cover. I covered the two foundational techniques I felt we’d need to use today: jigging and easing, and then we were off to hunt for fish.
We didn’t have to hunt long. After finding no active fish at our first stop, I moved us after just 5-6 minutes to a second area. I got very excited seeing fish blanketing the bottom over a span of about 30 yards in about 36 feet of water.
The first unsuccessful stop we made had already allowed us to work out the kinks on technique, so now Eric and Kris were primed and ready to take full advantage of the potential the situation offered. Long story short, we sat on one boat-sized patch of water for over 2 hours and boated fish continually using both the jigging and easing tactics we’d practiced. By 6:00p, when these fish finally let up, our count stood at 114 fish.
Given the heavy clouds and strong bite we’d experienced, I felt our final 45 minutes would provide lesser results and I communicated that to Eric and Kris so they’d have reasonable expectations. In our final 45 minutes on the water, we jigged at two locations and tried casting blade baits up in shallower 10-15 foot water. The blade baits were ignored, but both areas at which we tried jigging gave up fish.
As the light failed, the fish moved up surface-ward to take advantage of the light still penetrating there. This level was higher than our easing tactics could reach, so, we actually began using a slow form of my “smoking” technique to access these fish. We finished the evening with exactly 137 fish, including over a half-dozen freshwater drum with the balance consisting of white bass.
TALLY = 137 FISH, all caught and released
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Start Time: 3:45p
End Time: 7:50p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 69F
Water Surface Temp: 66.1F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE10-12 the entire trip
Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover to the point of misting.
Water Level: 623.73 and falling with 622.0 being full pool. Water being released at 1135 cubic feet per second. Lake fell 0.15 feet in the past 24 hours
Other: GT= 0
Wx SNAPSHOT (a graphical look at the forecast that faced us today):
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
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