This past Wednesday afternoon, August 10, I fished with Mr. Eron Hedgecoth and his 10-year-old son, Grayson, of Little River, Texas.
Grayson Hedgecoth and his dad, Eron, with our largest catfish of the trip, a 17 inch channel cat taken on fresh, dead shad in 32′ of water while the air temperature was 102F.
After the catfishing and before the white bass went crazy on top, we did some downrigging, resulting in this nice hybrid striped bass which fell for a Pet Spoon.
Eron is a signalman for the railroad and therefore travels quite a bit. We would both have preferred to fish in the cool of the morning, but neither of our schedules allowed for that to happen before Grayson heads back to school, so we chose this afternoon to make that special event happen.
In many ways my afternoon trips are conducted in reverse of my morning trips. By this I mean we set out looking for blue catfish in deeper open water first, awaiting a resurgence of activity in progressively shallower water by white bass and hybrid striper as sunset approaches.
We spent our first 70 minutes hovering over 32 feet of water with fresh, dead shad suspended just above the bottom targeting heavily schooled catfish. During that time we hooked and landed exactly 30 catfish, including 27 blues, and 3 channels, the biggest of which was approximately 17 inches long and about 2 1/2 pounds.
For variety’s sake, and given Grayson’s age, we next began to search for relatively inactive but heavily schooled white bass also in deep, open water, although we could have continued to catch catfish. Such fish this time of year tend to congregate on breaklines when they are inactive between morning and evening feeds, and today was no exception. On several gentle breaks we found heavily schooled fish (literally hundreds of them) and used the downriggers to present our baits to many inactive fish in hopes of getting the handful of more active fish among them interested in biting. This did the trick for multiple singles and two sets of doubles allowing us to put another 16 fish in the boat, including 15 white bass and one keeper hybrid striper.
As we downrigged, I noted that the fish were progressively moving shallower and appearing gradually higher in the water column. This was our signal to leave the downriggers behind, move up shallow, and begin working baits horizontally. For this work, I chose spinning gear equipped with blade baits. We worked our blade baits in 15 to 17 feet of water and picked up both white bass and freshwater drum at a moderate, but consistent pace right up through sunset. At sunset, when I did not see nor hear any top water action immediately near us, I began cruising and looking for the distinct appearance of nervous water indicating white bass and or hybrid striper pushing shad to the surface. Within minutes, we found exactly what we were looking for, got the boat situated a cast’s distance away from the fish to keep from spooking them, and began putting the fish after fish in the boat casting blade baits to them and immediately retrieving our lures to keep them high in the water column. We quickly put another 22 fish in the boat before the action died about 25 minutes after sunset. We ended our trip with exactly 73 fish landed for our efforts.
TALLY = 73 fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 4:40p
End Time: 8:45p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 102F
Water Surface Temp: 89.2F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE9-12
Sky Conditions: 20% white clouds on a fair sky.
Water Level: ~2.20 feet high and falling ~ 0.7 feet per day with a reduced flow of ~2800 cfs
GT = 9
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1798/1799 – bluecat and channels on fresh, dead shad
**Area 302/1271 – downrigging for inactive whites and hybrid
**Area 015 – shallow water white bass and freshwater drum on bladebaits
**Area 023 – low light topwater action following sunset in under 15′ of water
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