WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, June 27th, I fished a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip for sisters Sophia (age 9), Hannah (age 8), and Emmelia (age 6), accompanied by their father, Ken Staples, of Belton, TX.
Back on May 23rd, I conducted a similar trip for James and Andrea Beaver and their four kids. The Staples saw the summary of the trip on Facebook and contacted me about doing something similar for their girls. Today was the day we made that happen.
PHOTO CAPTION #1: That’s Ken in the background, and, from left, Emmelia, Sophia, and Hannah, each with the first fish of their lives!!
PHOTO CAPTION #2: Sophia landed our first largemouth bass of the morning. It went 3.75 pounds. This was a beautifully marked fish showing strong Florida-strain coloration in the black blotches down its sides.
PHOTO CAPTION #3: Not to be outdone by her older sister, Hannah hauled in this 5.50 pound largemouth about 30 minutes later.
WHEN WE FISHED: 27 June, 2020, AM
HOW WE FISHED: As I welcomed everyone aboard this morning, I quickly learned that the girls had never caught fish before, so, we were literally starting from “Square 1” with the fundamentals of how to hold the gear, how to use the gear, etc. The girls father, Ken, was a great help, but also had limited prior experience, and so was limited as to the extent of aid he could lend. In the end, all turned out well.
Ken understood my rationale in pursuing the toughest fish requiring the most patience and attention (white bass) first, while the girls were all keen to fish, and then taking on easier, more abundant, but smaller, fish (sunfish) toward the end when their enthusiasm had waned a bit.
We put about 2.5 hours of effort into white bass fishing. We were fortunate to find active, bottom-oriented fish right off the bat this morning before putting downriggers in, so, we set up over top of these fish and worked MAL lures vertically for them, putting 17 fish in the boat before they moved on.
We then turned to downrigging. This transition came at a good time, as the girls were starting to lose focus on the pretty exacting technique the vertical work required. We landed singles, two doubles, and a triple on the downriggers and found two more schools of white bass hunkered down on bottom which allowed us to work vertically for them. We used one 3-armed rig and one 3-armed rig with a “tailgunner” — 7 baits in all.
By 9AM, we’d amassed a catch of 51 white bass and 3 legal (14″+) largemouth bass. The bite was starting to fade, so, we moved on to our final adventure — sunfishing.
We made two stops in the shallows fishing bait beneath small, sensitive floats, landing bluegill, longear, and green sunfish — 2 dozen of them, to be exact.
By 10:15, our second area was petering out and the time had come to wrap up. All of the girls thanked me (without prompting by their dad), expressed that they had fun, and asked dad when they could go again.
Each of the girls earned her TPWD “First Fish Award” with the first three white bass we landed this morning.
TALLY: 78 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Saharan dust once again obscured the sun today and is forecast to linger for some weeks to come. Despite the cloud cover and wind, some minor, open water surface feeding by largemouth blitzing shad was visible in the chop.
Start Time: 6:30A
End Time: 10:15A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F
Elevation: 0.01′ low, 0.04′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 82F
Wind Speed & Direction: S9 at sunrise, tapering steadily up to S13-14.
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1395 – white bass on MAL’s fished vertically and via downrigging from 6:45 to 7:45
**Area vic SH0058C – white bass on downriggers leading to vertical work through 9A
**Areas 238 and 1572 – 24 sunfish
Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service
Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
254.368.7411 (call or text)