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Welcome! I hope you enjoy the content. I try to keep it up-to-date with my latest stories. If you like what you read, I encourage you to leave a comment. You can do so by clicking the numeric link beside each blog entry title. I typically make several posts each week, so if you would like to keep up, you can subscribe to my feed by clicking on the orange icon just under the banner image on the right. If you have a suggestion for a new topic, or a link to a pertinent web site, please leave a comment describing the details. You are welcome to use my content for commercial and non-commercial purposes, as long as you quote the original content unaltered, give me credit, and provide a link back to the source. If you use my content, I would appreciate being notified about the way it is being used, and where it can be viewed.

Best Regards,

Scott Gaspard

Another Fine Day on LBJ

Every once in a while you have to let your friends fish too. Today was one of those days. I find that when your friends come along, its best to stick to the tried and true fishing spots. Its also best not to go into the backs of coves. Not because there's no fish in the backs of coves, but because there are lots of stumps and logs. Although stumps and logs can hold lots of fish, your buddy's inexperience will likely mean that he will get hung up more than once. That was the story today.

Earlier this week I bought a couple of new fishing poles. Believe it or not, I actually found a couple that were worth while at Cabelas. I did spend a little money, but got two rods -- a 6'6" St. Croix crankbait rod, and a two-piece 7' Fenwick spinning rod, for the price of one G-Loomis. I put my Shimano Calais reel on the St. Croix, then moved my Quantum Burner reel to my All-Star Top-Water Special. The All-Star Top-Water special works very well as a crankbait rod, because it is medium power, with moderate action.

The St. Croix is also medium power, moderate action, but it is considerably more ergonomic, lighter, and exceptionally responsive. I love this new rod. Like the Shimano Calais reel, it is well balanced, and fits nicely in the hand. There is plenty of casting power, and with fluorocarbon line you can feel every bump and contour of the bottom. It is also very forgiving when a fish strikes. I landed a few fish today that I'm not sure I would have using a different rod and reel combination.

I put my Shimano spinning reel on the Fenwick rod. This rod is very fine, although I'm not so sure about the reel. It may be that I have grown much more comfortable with a baitcast reel, and I find spinning reels to be cumbersome. There is always a delay between when the bait hits the water, and you can flip the bail, and stop the line from spooling out. When you are in shallow water, or fishing over the tops of weeds this delay can put salad on your hook, and make you waste an otherwise perfect cast. Perhaps there are some more responsive spinning reels out there, but I haven't found one yet. One of the things I like about this 7' light-weight rig is that it is easy to flip with.

Today we started out fishing the same places I was catching fish last week. The only difference was that last week the sky was overcast, and the wind was blowing briskly. Today, it was clear blue, warm, with only the slightest breeze. The water was also very murky with lots of floatsom and debris because of the heavy rains that came down two days ago. Last week the water was super clean and clear.

The fishing action was not as good. In the morning there was a fairly decent bite, but as the sun came up, the bite tapered off quickly. Although we caught around 30 fish total by noon, the majority of the fish were caught before 10:30 am. Early, we were catching fish by casting shad-painted lipless crankbaits to shoreline cover. The fish were noticeably further away from the shoreline than last time; my guess is that the warmer water and the turbid conditions had the bass roaming further from cover in the morning.

The blue sky and hot sun had the fish going deep by mid-day. I anticipated this, so I had switched to a deep-running crankbait and managed to pick up about 5 or 6 decent bass between 10:30 and noon by casting to about 12-15 feet deep along a granite shoal. There were a lot of juvenile bass in the mix, which has been common this spring. I hope it means that last year's spawn was successful, and there is a huge crop of new bass in the lake.

Another surprising pattern that emerged today, was that there was quite a few 2-3 pound bass on the grass beds. I used a chartreuse willow-leaf spinner bait to catch a three pounder at the intersection of two grass lines where there happened to be a lay-down log. Who could ask for a more fishy place than that? I switched to a pearl-white soft plastic jerkbait rigged with the hook run through then buried back, so that it was weedless. I would spot bass patrolling the grass, cast just ahead of them, give a couple of twitches, trigger a strike. I caught three additional fish between 2 and 3 pounds this way. This kind of fishing is very exciting; kind of like spotting for redfish. I counted about 50 carp on the grass beds, and there was some carp spawning going on at the back of the cove. These are kind of like little teasers, because from 75 yards, it hard to distinguish a carp from a big ole' bass. I even had one follow my lure, which was kind of weird. I guess it was just curious.

At about high-noon, I caught an interesting bass by casting a small hard suspending jerk bait (Luck Craft Pointer) to a shady spot at the back of a boat dock. I thought it was a rock bass, but it did not match the pictures I turned up on the Internet. This one was a little more than one pound, and I found it to be very beautiful. It was dark emerald green -- almost black, with a blueish belly. It looks exactly the same as the fish I caught on Lake Bridgeport, that I called a rock bass in a previous blog. Now, I'm not sure what it is. I wish I had a picture. I need to get a cheep digital camera for the boat, for times like these. Interestingly, the one I caught on Lake Bridgeport was hiding in a shady area beside a large rock at the shoreline. The one I caught on LBJ was in a similar shady area beside a jet-ski dock, right at the shoreline. Most of the bass I caught today, I caught well away from the shoreline. I know it is not a largemouth, because it had a smaller mouth that was positioned in front of the eyes. The teeth were almost black, and there was no clearly defined markings on the sides. The fins were all very dark green. Its going to drive me crazy until I can figure out what it is.

All and all it was another successful Spring day on Lake LBJ. I've been seriously considering buying some water-front property on LBJ. The lots I have found are not cheap, but there are only a few lots left, so it is a scarce resource. This means that it will more than likely be a good investment. I just need to raise some more cash to make that big down payment.

Until next week, happy fishing!

Lordy, Lordy -- I caught forty!

There was a big bass tournament on LBJ this morning. I wasn't participating, but I had to compete none the less. I got to the boat ramp before the sun came up, but the parking lot was already full! I just knew that all of my fishing holes would be over-run with would-be bass masters. I decided to resort to 'Plan B'. Over the past couple of years, I have mapped out LBJ fairly well. There are a few spots that I keep in my back pocket; these are the ones where I have caught fish before, but rarely see anyone else fishing.

Honey-Hump is one of these. Its a great spot, and of all of the times I have fished it, tournament or not, there is no one else in sight. This morning was no different. As I motored up the lake, I noticed fishing boats working all of my prime spots on the eastern shoreline. I tucked into my secret cove, hoping to catch the morning bite. I saw fish working the mouth of the cove, so I tried my traditional morning lure selection. First I tied a small popper on one rod, a small spinner on another, and a frog on my third rod.

I have found that three rods is about all I can manage on my small boat. I can still switch quickly between these three rods, and I'm not fumbling around trying to keep things organized on deck. I would like to trade one of my rods in for a new one. Its a 7' All-Star that Skeeter gave me for my birthday after I bought my boat. The rod is neat, because it has my name on it -- 'Specially Made for Scott Gaspard' -- which is really B.S. because I can tell they just slapped a decal on the blank with my name on it, then laminated over it. It should say 'Specially labeled for Scott Gaspard'. Anyway, the rod is a fast action and heavy power. It wears me out by the end of the day, and it is way too stiff for crank baiting. You can't argue with free, so I will have to find a good use for it. I would really like a medium action, medium power G. Loomis crankbait rod, but who has the $300-$400 to spend on a fishing rod? Not me. I hope they come with an insurance policy.

So I started out throwing the popper around brush piles. No luck. I switched to the spinner, and I managed to get snagged a couple of times, but no strikes. The frog produced no results. I thoroughly worked all the way to the back of the cove. I saw a couple of snakes and turtles, but no fish.

By this time, the sun was starting to rise, so I switched to a small chrome and black rattletrap (spot). I caught a small bass on the first cast, but did not get another bite until I got all the way back out to the mouth of the cove. I caught another small one as I exited the cove, so before I trolled out over the off-shore hump, I switched to my Lucky Craft lipless crankbait. There is an underwater ridge that runs from the middle of the mouth of the cove to the offshore hump that has been a steady producer for me. I positioned the boat to troll parallel to the ridge, then cast to the shallow area behind the ridge, pulling the lure over the ridge into deeper water. By the time I got to the hump, I had caught 6 more. These were all small bass, one pound or less. I picked up several more on the back side of the hump. These were a little larger, but no keepers yet. I decided that I could fish here all day, and probably catch as many of these small bass as I could stand, but I would rather catch larger fish. I saw another fisherman approaching from the east, so before he could see me on my secret spot, I motored off across the lake in search of bigger bass.

The last time I was on LBJ, I scouted a shallow ridge that extended from a granite shoal on the east side of the main body of the lake. I could see that there was a fisherman entering the other side of the cove; he was pitching around a few boat docks. I knew that I could get to the ridge first, and cut him off. Although I did not catch anything as I fished from the ridge back into the adjacent cove, I did manage to spook off the other fisherman. He was feeling the pressure, because he kept getting his trolling motor hung up in some lay-down trees toward the back of the cove. It was obvious to me that he was in new territory. I showed off a bit deftly casting a small square-billed floating crankbait between the branches, bouncing it off of stumps, and floating it over logs. I caught a couple of tiny bass, but I did not get hung up.

The wind was starting to pick up out of the south east, blowing straight into the cove. The other guy was having a hard time, and I could tell he was getting frustrated because he finally fired up the big motor and took off. I had the cove to myself, so I reversed direction, and headed back out to the ridge at the mouth of the cove. I switched back to my Lucky Craft lipless crankbait. The wind was really howling by this time; probably blowing steady 20 mph, with stronger gusts. It was all I could do to keep from drifting into the bank, but as the waves started breaking against the granite shoreline, I started catching fish. These were considerably larger fish, in the 2-3 pound range. I caught several of these as I worked around the rocky point, and I started to see the pattern emerge. The bass were hanging out near submerged timber, about 25 yards off-shore, and would ambush shad that were caught up in the wind and waves. I started looking for this pattern as I worked the eastern shoreline. This paid off well. I worked several main lake points that fit this profile, and easily caught over 40 bass.

The largest bass I caught was about 4 pounds. I missed several decent bass that were only partially hooked on crankbaits. I attribute this to the stiffness of my rod. I have another rod with lighter action at the tip that was getting hooked up much more frequently. I worked the backs of a couple of coves, but it was a wasted of time and energy because I only caught a few fish, and they were small. I did get a huge perch to chase my lure, but he struck just as I raised the lure out of the water so I did not catch him. I also rescued a great big alligator gar that was caught on an abandoned trot-line. He was about 3 feet long, and he thrashed about as I tried to free him. I managed to get him loose, but not before he scraped his teeth against my fingers, and gave me good rasping for my effort.

I think trot-line fishing sucks. If you are going to set trot lines, the least you could do is check the line from time-to-time, and bring them back in when you are done fishing. Could you imagine the slow starving death you would face if you were stuck on an abandoned trot-line?

By noon the wind was really howling, and I noticed that I was having a difficult time keeping the boat moving forward into the wind. I had my trolling motor maxed out, and the batteries were beginning to drain. I have two deep cycle batteries wired in parallel for my accessories. This is usually enough to get me through an entire weekend on a full charge. I had a full charge when I started this morning. This is the first time I had worn out both batteries in the wind.

So I headed back to the dock. I was unpleasantly surprised to find that my trailer had a flat tire. Luckily, I keep a spare, and I had checked the air pressure before my trip to Lake Bridgeport. Although the dinky little jack they give you with a new car works, it takes a lot more effort than it should. I was soaked with sweat by the time I finished installing the spare. I need to remember to get the tire replaced, and also to get a tow-strap in case of on-the-water emergencies.

I'll probably go out again next weekend, but I think I will try a new lake. I'm not sure what lake that will be, there are not too many within an hours drive that have not already fished.

Bridgeport Bonanza

This past weekend, I rented a cabin on Lake Bridgeport. We got there on Thursday, and returned on Monday. The cabin had a boat slip, so I got to go fishing several times over three and a half days.

We stayed at North Side Marina, which is situated on one of the North West arms of the lake. The marina is in a protected cove with a large no-wake zone, so it was easy to take the boat out using only the trolling motor. Although the wind was fairly strong by bass-fishing standards, the cove was well protected and calm. It was a very pleasant experience, and at only about $80 per night, I will most likely use them again.

The lake was about 12 feet below full, so access was somewhat limited when it came to launching the boat. The marina owner was kind enough to ride with me as I drove around to Wise County Park, which is located on the North East side of the lake. I launched the boat, and the owner drove my truck back to the marina, as I drove the boat across the lake. I thought I had a good idea of where the marina was on the lake, from my lookup on google maps. Unfortunately, the map had it wrong, so I ended up taking the wrong cut from the main lake, and driving my boat around for about an hour looking for the marina!

The lake is mostly undeveloped, because half of the shoreline is within the boundaries of a boy-scout camp. From lakeside, there is not much to differentiate one cove from another, if you are not familiar with the landscape.

Luckily, I found a guy fishing from a boat dock, who gave me directions back to the marina. When I got back to the marina, the owner was getting his boat ready to come out and find me! I think he suspected that I stopped to fish along the way, but I promised him that I had not! I did see several schools of white bass chasing shad, and it got me pretty excited. I have to admit that I did consider stopping to fish, but I did not want anyone to worry. It was mid afternoon on Thursday, and about 100 degrees anyways. I was pretty tired from the 5 hour drive to get there, so I decided to take a small siesta and go back out just before sun-set.

In the evening, as it cooled off, I trolled around the cove, and managed to catch about 15 white-bass (which the locals call 'Sandies') by casting a shad-like crankbait around a secondary point, and between boat docks. I love catching those little whites, because they sure put up a fight! I did catch one small 2 pound largemouth between a couple of docks, but the pattern that was emerging for the white bass was rocky areas that divided wind and water current.

After a restless sleep, I got up early on Friday morning, and set off to explore the rest of the cove. The wind was blowing pretty hard at the mouth of the cove, but I managed to catch 8 more whites, a few of which were pretty decent size. I tried variations on the crank bait I was using, including a lipped version that dives to about 4-5 feet. I noticed that they were hitting the lipped version much more readily. I wasted a lot of time exploring the backs of the coves, but I found that most of the action was near the mouth of the coves where the wind and current were stronger. I went back to the dock at mid-morning, and chatted with one of the locals. He told me that there was a rocky shoal on the north side of the main lake that was normally underwater, but was about 2 feet out of the water since the lake was down. He had heard that they were catching a bunch of whites around that structure, so I decided to check it out in the afternoon.

When I went back out in the afternoon, I had to fight some waves, because the wind was blowing about 20 mph. I saw the island the guy was talking about, so I got up-wind of it, and used my drift-sock to slow down my drift, as I cast around the east side of the island. I caught a fish on every cast, and these were a different class of fish! I was catching a few whites, but mostly hybrid white-bass/stripers (or wipers), that were averaging around 2-3 lbs. I even caught a couple of decent 3 lb black bass, as I repeated this maneuver a few times.

As I was doing this, I noticed a guy with two passengers struggling to start his motor, and he was stranded on the little island. It looked like he drove over some rocks, and knocked out his lower-unit. I knew from the wind that it was quickly becoming a dangerous situation, and the guy wasn't likely to make it back using his trolling motor. I decided to do the right thing, and offered to tow him back to the marina. The fishing was good, so I was definitely torn, but I figured a little karma in my corner wouldn't hurt. The guy seemed grateful of my offer, and I towed him back to the marina. This took about an hour, so I lost some precious fishing time, but when I got back to the fishing hole I caught about 30 fish in the next hour. Those wipers are addictive! I noticed that there were several boaters nearby that were 'working the birds'. The birds were in a frenzy, and I know from experience that this means a large school of stripers or wipers were in the area. I decided that I would try chasing the birds before I went back to the dock. I would position my boat up-wind from the pack, set out my drift-sock and drift through the school while casting a 1/2 oz Lucky Craft lipless crankbait that looks like a shad. All of the other fishermen were jigging slabs while I cast and retrieved. I was catching fish on about every other cast, but I did not see any of them land a fish. These fish were considerably larger than the ones I caught off of the rocky shoal.

I normally catch and release, but the past several times I have gone camping with my wife, she brings the fish-fry, and I get skunked. This time, I had to break the curse, so I kept enough fish for dinner. I called ahead, so my wife prepared the frying pan and the batter, and I cleaned the fish. We fried the fish up immediately after cleaning them -- it doesn't get any fresher than that. That was some good tasting fish. I believe white-bass are the best tasting fresh water fish (besides maybe rainbow trout) that you can find. The meat is white, and tender, and the flavor is slightly sweet. The fish is easy to filet, and the filets are small so they cook up quickly. The filets are perfect size for eating - you can eat them like potato chips. They are also the perfect size for a sandwich; two filets cover a slice of bread perfectly. There were no left-overs, believe me.

Sunday morning, I slept late so I didn't get out on the lake until about 10:00 am. The wind was calm, so I decided to explore the lake more thoroughly. I felt that I had perfected the white-bass and wiper technique, so I went out in search of some large-mouth bass. My GPS showed an island toward the southern part of the lake, called 'Horse Island'. I decided to start there, and see what I could turn up. There was a very lite wind blowing out of the North East. As I worked my way around the island, starting from the North East side (which was rocky, but about 12 feet deep at the shoreline), at first I didn't have any luck. As I rounded the corner to the North side, I started picking up more sandies. When I rounded the corner to the shallower west side of the island, I picked up about 5 more. I caught another 10 on the South side of the island. As I completed my circuit around to the East side, the bite tapered off quickly. Although I did not catch any black bass here, a pattern started to emerge with the whites. They seemed to prefer the shallow, protected side of the island.

There was another island about 100 yards away, so I motored over to see what I could do. On this island, I only caught a couple of white bass, but I managed to hook a huge largemouth, that threw the hook after a brief but intense fight. The fish flashed up to the surface, and I could see from the boat that it had a very prominent black stripe, that was about 1.5 inches wide! I estimated the fish to be around 8-10 lbs! I must have cast back to the same area 50 times, but could not get a follow-up strike. Excited, and dismayed at the same time, I moved on.

The water on the North East side of this island was about 4-5 feet deep, and there were several large submerged rocks about 10 yards off-shore. By the time I had rounded the North East corner, I had caught 4 more decent black bass, all between 3 and 5 lbs! I studied the situation, and figured out the pattern. I then set off to find other areas of the lake that matched the same features.

The next spot I found was the Southern shoreline that was directly South of the islands I just came from. There was a line of submerged large rocks in about 3-4 feet of water, all about 50 yards off shore. I drifted down the line of rocks, casting a lipless crankbait while keeping my rod-tip high to avoid getting snagged. I easily caught 4 more largemouth of about the same size, and one very nice little rock bass that was about 2 lbs. I had never caught a rock-bass before. It was very dark in color, with a blue belly. A very pretty fish, indeed.

I motored over to the South Eastern shore of the main lake, where there was a lot of shoreline rocks. I caught a few sandies here. The water was clear, and I saw several large bass in pairs on the rocks. They looked and acted like they were spawning, because I wiggled everything in my tackle box in front of them, but could not get a bite. It is interesting how bass can behave very differently in different parts of the same lake. The water was between 69 and 71 degrees, and the air was about 100 degrees, so it seemed a little late in the season for spawning behavior - but that is exactly what was going on here.

By this time, It was about 3 in the afternoon, and the Sun was broiling. Even under two coats of SPF-45, I thought I was going to cook alive. I have learned that when fishing stops being fun, its time to call it quits for the day. Actually, by this time in my trip, I had caught well over 100 fish in three days, so I decided that I was done. I headed back to the dock, and chilled out watching the sun-set from my cabin porch. We left early the following morning, to come home.

All-in-all the vacation was a huge success. I am really pumped up for the Spring season, and I can't wait to get back out on my home lakes. Next month, I will be deep-sea fishing near Freeport, and fishing for red-fish and specs at Lake Calcasieu. You can be sure, I will let you know how it goes.

Spring Fling

I fished LBJ again this past Sunday. The weather was nice - light wind blowing out of the north that shifted to the south east by mid-morning. I was on the lake at daybreak, but I couldn't get a topwater bite. I checked out the backs of coves, and there were no bass on the beds. The water temperature was about 67 - 69 degrees. I noticed a few bass chasing small shad, so I put on my tried and true chrome and black rattle-trap, which is my fish-finder on LBJ. I managed to catch a few small bass, but nothing to brag about. As the sun came up, and the wind shifted the bite picked up. I managed to catch a dozen small bass (all 1lb or less) by 2:00, when I decided to call it quits. I got a few short-strikes on a red sinko worm, but I think they were juvenile bass or perch, because I couldn't get a hook set. I think they were nibbling on the tail, and not inhaling the worm like a larger bass would.

I believe that the big bass are finished spawning, and are resting while the young sexually immature bass are active. I did manage to snag a small shad with my rattle-trap, so I found a lure that 'matched the hatch'. I used a shad-colored Lucky Craft that would dive to about 5-6 feet, and worked across the granite blocks and ridges that were submerged in 2-4 ft of water at the ends of main-lake points. This is how I caught most of the fish. I managed to discover a couple of new fishing spots, and a couple more to avoid -- so it was not a bad day after all. I think the fishing will continue to improve as the weeks go by, especially if we keep having this warm weather.

I will continue to work the shorelines in the mornings, and the secondary points and structure during the heat of the day. I know from my notes taken last year where the fish should be starting in May. You can bet that I will be there too.

About me

  • I'm Scott Gaspard
  • From Austin, Texas, United States
  • I really like to fish. I go every chance I can. You can pretty much bet that at any given moment, I'm using whatever spare cycles I have to plan my next trip.
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