This past Tuesday morning, March 28th, I fished with Mr. Ray Johnson of Harker Heights, and a friend of his from church, Mr. George Morley, of Lampasas.
Retired Lampasas ISD principal George Morley raised the bar for the 2017 hybrid season with the largest hybrid to come in the boat thus far. This healthy fish measured 24.25 inches with mouth closed and tail pinched, and it weighed 6.25 pounds on a certified scale.
Less than 15 minutes before George put his biggest fish in the boat, Ray put a this really sweet hybrid in the net. It taped 23.75 and weighed 6.00 pounds. Although I’ve had other 23.75″ fish caught this season, that was the heaviest up to that point.
Ray is a retired US Navy captain who served as a flight surgeon and then retired into a pediatric practice. George is a retired teacher and principal from the Lampasas Independent School District.
We began our trip at 7:15. I was able to net ample quantities of bait prior to Ray and George’s arrival, and our intent was to use these live baits in pursuit of hybrid.
Because the day was overcast to the point of occasional drizzle, it remained fairly murky and dark for our first hour on the water. During this time, the winds were also quite light. Concerned that the hybrid might not be cranked up quite yet, I suggested we spend some time vertical jigging for white bass since the opportunity presented itself in that I found a huge school of whites right on bottom while on our way to the first area I intended to search with sonar. In under an hour’s time we put 32 white bass in the one, two, and three year class in the boat on slabs. It was now 8:05 and I felt we could find areas sufficiently windblown to get the hybrid stripers really turned on.
As it turned out, the first four areas I searched for hybrid, produced only white bass. This seems to be a common occurrence this season. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with catching a nice mess of white bass, the heavier equipment we were using for hybrid really dulled down their fight, and our intention was to put hybrid in the boat, so, in each instance we continued searching for hybrid stripers after putting just a handful of white bass in the boat.
At the fifth area we searched this morning, and in 42 feet of water, I saw what I suspected were hybrid hugging bottom fairly closely. We put down a pair of large live baits, and much to my disappointment, the first two fish we boated were white bass. I was shaking my head at this point thinking we were not going to be able to get away from these smaller fish, but persisted here because the sonar clearly showed fish that I knew were not white bass. Persistence paid off, as the third and fourth baits we dropped here were both taken by hybrid. That started a chain reaction that resulted in a run of over 40 fish landed at this area, nearly every last one of which was a keeper hybrid of at least 18 inches in length.
In addition to the quantity of hybrid we found here, we also landed the two largest hybrid that have come over the gunnels so far this season. Ray landed a 23.75 inch hybrid which weighed exactly 6.00 pounds. About 12 minutes later, George put an even larger fish in the boat. This one measured 24.25 inches and weighed 6.25 pounds.
The bite started to soften around 10:45, and by 11:30 the sonar was blank and we had gone for quite a spell without so much as a sniff on the baits. We called it a good day right there and then and headed back to the dock with 78 fish landed for our efforts today.
TALLY = 78 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:15a
End Time: 11:30a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F
Water Surface Temp: 68.0F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE10-11
Sky Conditions: Overcast to the point of drizzle for the first hour, then just heavily overcast for the rest of the trip
Water Level: 1.33 feet above full pool
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 565/826 — 32 white bass on 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger Hooks attached fished with easing tactic — moved on in search of hybrid
**Area 211 – 4 white bass on live shad — moved on in search of hybrid
**Area 1912 – 4 white bass on live shad — moved on in search of hybrid
**Area 1915 – 1 crappie, then small bluecat tore up our baits — moved on in search of hybrid
**Area 1012 – At our 5th stop of the AM, found bottom-oriented school of hybrid in 42-43′; caught 40 fish of which 90% were hybrid and of which 4 in 5 were legal 18+” fish. Boated our largest hybrid of the season: 24.25″ & 6.25 lbs.
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)