Lordy, Lordy -- I caught forty!

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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.

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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