Monday, March 2, 2015

Low pressure and fishing

Stopped into Highlander Outfitters in Burnet, TX the other day and talked to Stacy. Besides having just started a very nice new store in Burnet, he was very informative regarding some of the tricks he has to catch fish in all kinds of weather.  If you have a chance, stop in and see Stacy.  He is a walking fishing knowledge base on the best way to catch fish.

One of the subjects that came up was the misconception that fishing on a warm calm sunny day in January is a good way to catch fish.  It actually fanned my ego when he said you might as well stay home since I *have* caught fish on those days.  However, to his point, I decided to prove his theory that the best time to fish during the winter is at the end of the good weather just as the low pressure comes in.

So recently I had a chance to head out to go fishing when the weather was less than perfect.  It was at the end of a warm spell just before a cold front came in.  It was threatening to rain yet my wife and I were crazy to go try the theory.  Well, I must say, the theory is no longer a theory.  I believe now.  It's a fact.  <grin>

5lbs 21.25in  Caught on the San Gabriel east of Georgetown, TX.
The picture here is a little fuzzy because my phone was in a waterproof sport bag.  However, I think you can see that besides the big cheesy grin, this fish is just plain huge.   Weighed in at 5lb and 21.25in long.  Made for a monster battle on a med-light spinning rod.  You can see my hog trough at the bottom of the pic if you have any doubts about trick photography.

The craziest and coolest thing about this fish is that while we were fishing we saw this fish jump near some tree structure and knew there was a good sized fish around.  I had seen a couple other fish come clean out of the water as well and knew there was some top-water action going on. 

This had me tying on my large sized 1/2oz buzz bait from Booyah and started casting. It was the first time trying a buzz bait since last fall when the fish stopped hitting the surface. I remembered that Stacy had told me that if he knew there were fish around a particular cover that he would cast over and over until he was sure they weren't biting - up to 20 or more times. This was exactly the case for this monster - I cast about 7 times around that structure and was starting to lose faith in Stacy when I almost lost my rod. Took several minutes to land her since I was using my spinning rod which is a custom built medium light fast action rod. Didn't have quite the backbone needed to drag her in, but the fact of the matter is that she was in pretty good shape after it all and recovered quickly.

This fish marked a new period for me in that I had never caught a spring bass of any size before and so had never caught a bass of any spectacular weight.  I had caught a 22in bass on Inks lake once during the summer but it only weighed in at 2lbs.  I realize now that the same bass caught in the spring could have easily weighed 6lbs.  But this trip wasn't to be my only success on Stacy's advice...

On Saturday the 21st, my wife and I went out fishing on a whim because we knew that a cold front was coming in that morning and a low pressure was supposed to be heading in.  There was some uncertainty on how cold the front would be but the morning turned out to be very nice for fishing.  We went to a small lake on the N. Fork San Gabriel river that we know in Georgetown that has been our quick spot when we have the itch to get out there.  This day was another good day for fishing - at least until the front went through.  We caught several fish that morning while it was cloudy and windy.

About 4lbs at 19.75in Caught in an unnamed lake in Georgetown, TX.
This fish was a little shorter at just less than 21in, it weighed in at right around 4lbs.  Which if I hadn't caught the 5lber the week before it would have been my record as well.

And the cool part?  I caught it on the buzz bait as well and the best part is that I was casting less than 20ft because we were drifting close to shore... and the fish grabbed the lure just as I was to pull it out of the water.

Just goes to show that when you are kayak fishing that if you are doing everything right you are not as obvious to the fish as you might think.  We caught two other fish that day and where one was landed in seconds after hooking because it grabbed it right as we were lifting the bait out.

And to prove Stacy's point, as soon as the front went through it became sunny and wind nearly died.  It was very calm and lovely and the fish weren't biting at all.  We worked that beautiful weather for about 2 hours and gave it up.  5 fish when it was cloudy and blustery and zero fish while lovely and calm.

So lesson learned from my new friend Stacy - forget the calm sunny days in January when it comes to black bass.  You're wasting your time.  Better to get out there when the wind is blowing and the rain is spitting.  Check the weather and make sure there is a low pressure sitting on top of you and then head for the lake.

You'll be much happier with your results.

Tight lines!