Temperatures are bumping up against the 100-degree mark nearly every day here in the Heart of Texas, but that doesn’t mean you have to shelve your outdoor plans.
Timing out your golfing, fishing, gardening, or other outdoor activities to avoid the searing heat and sunlight is smart and can keep you healthier. Early morning, late afternoon, and overnight fishing trips will keep you out of the blast furnace of a summer day but keep you in the fish, and protective clothing, sunblock, and a hydration regimen will make your time outside a lot more comfortable.
Clay Yadon has been following that recipe and helping his clients catch early-morning limits of big striped bass throughout the summer, and on most days, he’s back at home sipping coffee before most people are settled in to their chairs at work.
“It’s been crazy good this summer,” he said. “The lake is in great shape, there’s tons of bait, and the stripers are fat and happy. It’s a great time to be a guide on Lake Whitney.”
He’s finding stripers stacked up in big schools, and they’re massacring those poor shad. “It’s been pandemonium in the boat on most days, with every rod you’ve got out bent over in the water with a fish on it,” Yadon said. “Sometimes, we’ve had to just fish one pole per person to keep up with it.”
Live bait is working best, fished along humps and channel edges in 25-35 feet of water, but he says the topwater bite kicks in once in a while, too. “We had an incredible shad hatch this year, and the fry are just now getting big enough to catch the stripers’ interest,” he said.
The baitfish school up into balls and it has been proving too much for the striped bass to resist. “We keep our eyes open for surface feeding, and when we see them blowing up, we head over and catch them on topwaters,” Yadon said.
Like with any topwater action, patience is hard but key to success. A lot of people give in to the temptation of running in hard to get to the school faster, but that always results in the school dispersing. Go in slowly and quietly, and make long casts for best results.
Gathering Eel data
A few years ago, I got a photo from an angler who had caught a freshwater eel in the Bosque River, and since then I’ve seen a growing number of social media posts from people around the state showing their eel catches.
Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists are asking for the public’s help in gathering data to help conserve freshwater eels in our waters. They’re asking anyone who catches one to photograph it, record the location, and contact the River Studies Program at 512-754-6844.
Plus, if you want to donate the eel for scientific study, you can freeze it and they’ll take it off your hands. Officials say the research will shed light on population numbers, reproductive data, genetics and age structure of the population, when they move from saltwater into rivers, and more.
Clearing out the garbage
“Giving by taking away” sounds like something a politician would say, but if you want to do something good for our community, show up next Sunday (July 23) from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Cameron Park East and help the Fish On! Texas group, along with others, to give a little time and take away some trash from Lake Brazos.
Organizer Andre Bravo says the river cleanup is the group’s second of the year, but not the last. “We plan on doing it more often,” he said. “We cleared out about 1000 pounds of trash during the last cleanup, and we’re tired of seeing trash left by fishermen and others at our fishing spots.”
Other groups taking part in the cleanup are Centex Hunting & Fishing, Cen-Tex Bass Fishing, Group W Bench Litter Patrol, Tortilla Fishermen of Waco, Central Texas Fishing Addiction, and Yak-N-Bass Tournament.
With that many anglers in one place, there’s bound to be some “shop talk” – and it should be a good way to pick up some new tips and techniques from some good folks.