Compressional heating of the atmosphere and high pre-frontal winds are sure-fire clues that a heavy feed is going to take place and today it played out perfectly.
Bob and Bobbie tag teamed 126 fish today including several magnum white bass measuring right at 14 inches.
Bob displays the two largest white bass we boated today — both were long, thick, and healthy.
Robert W., a Killeen-Shoemaker High School teacher and his daughter, Bobbie, a freshman trackster at Southern Alabama near Mobile whose events include shotput, discus, and hammer-throwing, joined me today for one of our most productive trips of the year.
I got out to Belton around 10am and drove to several boat ramps and observed the wind. It was clear that safety and boat control were going to be very real concerns today. I launched and sought out the very limited number protected areas that would produce fish this time of year, and was very fortunate to find a solid congregation of fish at just west of Area 382 in 26-27 feet of water. I fished over this school for only about 25 minutes and boated 17 fish including 2 keeper hybrid and 15 keeper white bass. I then left these fish alone feeling pretty confident that they would turn off at midday and then turn back on in the late afternoon, and awaited Bob and Bobbie’s arrival.
The pair arrived at around 1:30. We did a dockside introduction to vertical jigging and then headed out after the fish. I commented to Bobbie that I could tell she was an athlete. She really listened to the nuances of the techniques I explained to her; she was able to duplicate the technique necessary to fool the fish consistently, and she remained very focused the entire time.
Within minutes of returning to Area 382, I ran sonar, located fish, dropped a buoy, and we began jigging, boating 4 smallish white bass immediately. We widened the radius of our search out to Area 691 and continued pulling fish, although the pace was slow as these fish were in a neutral mood. For variety’s sake, we spent a short time downrigging in this same general vicinity just to introduce the pair to that method, although the heavy chop on the water made it near impossible for the uninitiated to see a bite in the wildly moving rod tips. We boated two whites and left the downrigging behind.
As the afternoon progressed, the activity level of the increased, reaching a fevered pitch between 3pm and 4:45pm. During this entire time, we were able to leave the jigging behind and use a smoking tactic to boat fish after fish after fish at Areas 619, 692, 381, and 693.
By the time the feed began to taper to nil around 5:05p, we’d boated 126 fish including a number of solid 14 inch long white bass. This trip had an unusually low percentage of the catch made up by hybrid. We boated only 2 more legal hybrid and only a handful of short hybrid, the remainder of the catch was all white bass, and those were of mixed sizes.
From 5:05 until we headed for home at around 5:35, we downrigged back at Area 691 with large Pets trying to target hybrid, and although sonar showed plenty of fish still here, we did not have any takes on our outsized baits.
This trip was originally scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, but, as I looked at the forecast and saw poor conditions coming, I offered to adjust the timing of our trip to hit the pre-frontal fishing. Fortunately, Bob’s schedule was flexible and that adjustment paid off for us big time.
TALLY = 143 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 11:15a
End Time: 5:350p
Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start, rising to the low 80’s.
Water Surface Temp: ~67F
Wind: Winds were S17 at launch time and cranked up to S22 around 1:30-2:30p.
Skies: Skies were ~80% cloudy through noon, clearing to 50% cloudy thereafter.