Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Lake Bastrop 6/20/2015

I was finally able to get out to Lake Bastrop this past weekend on a Father's Day trip with my Son.   We knew before we left we weren't going to get a lot of time to fish as he needed to be home around 3:00 in the afternoon, but we decided to go anyway.  The reports we were hearing were just too good to pass up so we figured almost 7 hours of drive time would be worth 5 hours of fishing. The thing we found out once we got back to the ramp after fishing was that it was an off day.  Everyone we talked with said they could only find some small ones and they were far and few between.  I'll admit I thought it was just us being new to the lake was the reason we hadn't caught the 20-30 bass that the reports said were being caught.  After it was all said and done I'm thinking we did pretty good considering this was our first time fishing the lake.  Well heck before I give anything away, why don't I just tell you the full story.

I pulled out of the drive about 3:50 that morning and was at my Son's house which isn't far by 4:00.  After getting his gear loaded we headed out, but he realized he had forgotten his sunglasses, so we circled back around.  By the time we had stopped and gotten ice for the drinks it was 4:30 before we were rolling down the road.  At my age I can only drive about 1 to 1.5 hours before I need to take a break to stretch my legs and back, so we stopped a couple times along the way.  Oh and I also needed more coffee to keep the old motor running.  We made it to the North Shores Boat Ramp about 7:30 and saw a very full parking lot.  We did get the boat launched and my Son was able to find a spot to park the truck and trailer.  By the way the Skeeter's motor fired right up which is always a good sound.  With my Son on board and his PFD on I backed out of the slip and pointed my girl towards open water.  As we cleared the "No Wake" buoys I stood on her and she immediately jumped into action.  Everywhere we looked there were bass boats and folks fishing.  The game plan that I'd drawn up in my previous article was out the door as there were folks fishing all those spots, but as I pointed out in that article I always have a plan "B".  From the reports we had been getting the bass were in the grass and so I continued south until I saw a place open that looked fishy.  That place was a point not far from the South Shore Boat Ramp. Not only was there grass on the point, there was a good grass line that followed the shore line and a secondary submerged grass bed out from the shore line in 6-8 foot of water.   This really looked like a good spot but I was worried as there wasn't anyone there.   With as many bass boat as there were on this small lake I was worried that this spot might not be holding bass.

The reports I'd hear said the bass were hitting topwaters and flukes, which I just happen not to have any of either of those baits.   Where we fish in the Bayous neither of these has caught many bass so I just don't have any.  So we started out fishing with some Creme Lures Same Thing Stickbaits. We rigged them with a standard worm hook and no weight to be fished similar to a fluke or senko style bait.  I also added some Liquid Mayhem in Garlic Minnow to my Watermelon Chartreuse stick.  I told my son to do the same but he didn't or at least not yet.  The wind was blowing out of the South South West and sort of pushing us along the point and down the shore line.  It was almost moving the boat too fast along to work these baits in the manner we wanted.   The first pass didn't get us any strikes so I turned the boat around and tried working against the wind on the secondary grass bed in the deeper water.  It was then I noticed tree in the water in the middle of this bed.  So I made a cast at this tree and let my ST Stick sink all the way to bottom before moving it.   The first twitch of the bait brought a very hard strike and I leaned back on my rod to feel the pressure of a bass in the grass.  Let me tell you he felt like a monster in that grass, but it turned out to be one of the smaller ones we would catch on the day. We continued to fish but it didn't dawn on me that first bass told me what I needed to know about the pattern of the day.  It was about the fall and then the fast move from the bottom that was triggering the strike.   So for a while longer we continued to fish the ST Stick more like flukes and not seeing the real pattern.

Finally without having any more luck and starting our third pass down the grass line I made the switch to a Santone Lures Finesse RayburnSwim Jig, in the Acid Perch color.  The swim baits I normally fish on swim jigs are much too big for the finesse sized Rayburn so I selected a 4 inch curly tail white grub.  Even though the grub was 4 inches is still has a smaller profile than even a 3.5 inch swim bait.  I really like this combo when the bass aren't really aggressively feeding.  The smaller profile will get you strikes when a bigger swim jig won't.   I'm currently writing an article on Swim Jig fishing so I'll hold off giving you a lot of information on finding out what the bass want.  However I will say that you need to play with your retrieve or technique in working the jig.  You also have to pay attention on what draws a strike.  Before I made my first cast, I applied some Garlic Minnow Liquid Mayhem  to the tail of my grub.  I then made about a dozen casts or so and working the bait a little different on every two or three casts.   It was then I spotted a small isolated clump of grass between the shoreline bed and the secondary bed in deeper water  I made a cast over top of this bed and worked the bait to the grass and pulled it up on top.  When it came over the top I let it fall to the bottom.  As soon as I picked up off the bottom, Wham it got clobbered!!  I leaned back to set the hook and felt a good fish on the other end which quickly pulled line off my reel.  After a couple head shaking jumps in an attempt to throw my hook she came along side for my son net the first 5 pounder to be put in my Skeeter.  The day was looking up very quickly.  In fact about 3 casts later I hooked up again with a 2 pounder using the same basic tactic.  It was about that time my son decided to tie on one of the Acid Perch Finesse Rayburn Swim Jigs.   I told him what I was doing to get the strikes and also advised him to also put on some Liquid Mayhem.  He declined the Liquid Mayhem as he hadn't learned just what an awesome product it really is in getting fish to hold on to your bait once they strike.

A few casts later I saw my son set the hook hard and then I heard him cuss so I knew he had missed a good strike.   The next cast I hooked up with another 2 or so pounder and as I was fighting him to the boat my son once more set the hook and missed.   Once I landed and released my fish, I added some more Liquid Mayhem to my trailer then tossed the tube back to my son. He looked at me and I told him if he wanted the next bass to hold onto his bait then he would put some on his trailer.  He picked up the tube and squirted some the magic juice onto his trailer.  It is funny just how things work sometimes as the very next cast he hooked up with a very nice 3 plus pounder.  After landing the fish he looked up and said, dang dad you weren't joking about that stuff working.   I just smiled and made another cast.  Needless to say that one of my tubes of Liquid Mayhem was put in his tackle box for use later.   We continued to fish the swim jigs and we both caught more bass in the 1-3 pound class.  We had worked these grass beds hard for about 4 hours and the bite was starting to slow down some.   We decided to make one more pass and I was moving the boat back out to the end of the point.  As we passed along the edge of the secondary weed bed I once more saw that tree that had produced my first bass of the day.  I made the cast past the tree and then worked it back and over the one out stretched branch and let it fall.  I let it sit on the bottom for a second then cranked it fast, Wham another strong bass hammered my Rayburn.  This one got in the grass on me and I really thought I had a monster.  I moved the boat to the fish and finally was able to get her out of the grass and guided into the net.  The picture isn't the best to show size, but this fish also would push the 5 pound mark.

We made one more pass down the main grass bed and fished the secondary bed as well with no more strikes.  It was almost noon so it was time for us to head to the ramp.  We got all our gear stored and I motioned for my son to take the helm.  After showing him the instruments and where to adjust the trim he fired up the motor and eased us out onto the main lake.  He stepped down on the Hot Foot and the Skeeter jumped and was off to the races.   I think he really enjoyed taking her back to the ramp and I know I enjoyed watching him.   We have spent a lot of great Father and Son time over the years on the water and in the woods, and I look forward to spending more with him.

Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!!

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