As Central Texas enjoys Chamber of Commerce weather, more people are finding their way to outdoor pursuits, and if you’ve got a fishing trip in mind, you’re likely to find a willing audience.

Lake Whitney striper guide Clay Yadon (Reel Deal Striper Guide Service on Facebook) reports that the shad spawn is taking place right now and the fish are up in the shallows taking easy meals. “There’s been some crazy good topwater action for stripers, sand bass, and largemouths,” he said. “They’re all in there together schooling together, and you never know what you’re going to crank in when you get a bite. I don’t know how the fishing could be any better.”

He’s been catching bigger stripers (including a growing number of 20-plus pounders) on large shad fished along channel edges and bends in river channels at around 30 feet deep. “They’re pounding the baits as soon as we can get them down,” he said, “and I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have a customer walk away without a limit. We just stick the baits down there and the fish come and find us.”

In fact, his customers are enjoying the benefits of cooler water temperatures, since they’re able to catch and release fish even after reaching the limit. “Once the water warms up a little more,” Yadon said, “stripers don’t release very well, so once we hit the magic number, we’re done.”

Kayak guide John Gilbert (Brazos Kayak Fishing on Facebook) says he and his customers also been finding good topwater action on the Bosque River between the MCC boat ramp and the Lake Waco spillway. “The warmer water really has the fish getting active,” he said.

He’s also finding good white bass and hybrid-striper action along the shoreline at Airport Park.

Lake Waco angler Keith Rodriguez says the springtime pattern is in high gear, with lots of white bass falling for ghost minnows early and late in the day, adding that “whenever they’re chasing bait in the evenings just before dark, you can throw anything shiny and get a limit.”

He says that, if the pattern holds true, the fish will slow down and move to deeper water by the end of the month. Keep up with daily fishing action on his Facebook page at Fish On Texas.

If you’re eyeballing a trip to the coast, former Central Texas television and radio personality Tyler Thorsen says you should bring along some poles.

The big disappointment for coastal anglers this year is the 3-day red snapper season, due to private recreational fishermen exceeding last year’s quota by more than 25 percent. However, charter boat captains will have a 49 day season. Both seasons start June 1.

“Pompano and whiting are good under Bob Hall Pier in Corpus, and I expect Spanish mackerel to show up soon,” he said. “Trout are starting to hit the surf and should arrive in bigger numbers throughout May. I saw a report that they’re already catching them in Freeport,” Thorsen said.

Croaker are now available at most bait shops, and Thorsen says anglers usually do well soaking them in potholes in the grass and along edges of grass lines. “Up in Aransas Pass and Aransas Bay, cut mullet tossed in potholes in the flats have been producing reds, and when the boats have been able to get offshore, they have been catching kings, barracuda and ling. There should still be some ling around the near shore areas, too,” he said.

Creepy crawlers

Waco has its share of wild critters – it’s not unusual to see a raccoon, opossum, snake, fox, or even the occasional coyote or big cat. But not so many years ago, it was even more dangerous to walk around outside than it is now.

According to the October 30, 1927 edition of the Waco News Tribune, the last person to shoot a black bear in McLennan County was Frank Richey, who, not long after the Civil War had ended, pursued and killed the bear with the assistance of a pack of dogs and other hunters.

The chase began around Walker’s Crossing, near the present-day Lake Waco Dam, and ended near the South Bosque.

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