Saturday, February 4, 2023

BOB MAINDELLE: Rapidly falling water temperature requires adjustment | Texas News

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Since the sturdy line of storms that tore by way of Central Texas on Veterans Day, now we have not had even a single hour of time the place the air temperature has been hotter than the water temperature on the floor of our two native lakes.

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This has led to a speedy cooling of Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes. Before going into this weekend, the floor temperature on each our bodies of water hovered close to 60 levels, a temperature we usually don’t fall to till the second or third week of December. In some years, now we have not reached a 60 floor temperature till after New Year’s Day.

Although reducing water temperatures are regular within the fall and thru the top of February, I’ve discovered up to now, and definitely famous this week, that such a speedy lower negatively impacts the fishery.

Fish are a cold-blooded creature, that means a fish’s physique temperature shall be roughly the identical temperature as that of its environment. As water temperature falls, the metabolism of cold-blooded creatures falls as properly. Fish have a tendency to not transfer as far nor as quick in chilly water as they did in hotter situations, they usually definitely don’t eat as typically, on condition that their our bodies demand much less meals to maintain life.

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For the statistically-minded amongst you, think about this. My common catch per journey for Nov. 7-12 was 149.6 fish. My common catch per journey for Nov. 14-19 was 119.25 fish. This week, Nov. 21-26, my common catch per journey was 83.0 fish.

It just isn’t that the fishing is horrible, and it isn’t that the fish usually are not biting, relatively all the things is solely slowing down, and anglers should respect this and do likewise.

Now that the water temperature has fallen to the 58-60 vary, I’ve made three main changes in my pursuit of white bass and hybrid striped bass.

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First, for the primary time since spring, I changed the MAL Lure with the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook as my main presentation. See for an illustration. While I nonetheless preserve a full set of rods aboard rigged with the MAL Lure, it isn’t the primary rod I now place in my purchasers’ arms.

As good because the MAL Lure is, I’ve discovered that it have to be moved too rapidly (to maintain its blade spinning successfully) to be of curiosity to gamefish a majority of the time on this cool season. Only throughout actually aggressive feeding sprees which embrace an abundance of fish (as witnessed on sonar) will I alter again to the MAL Lure throughout the winter months.

The Bladed Hazy Eye Slab has two distinctive options. First, it incorporates a small willow-leaf blade so the enticing energy of that (demonstrated by the effectiveness of the MAL Lure) is maintained on a winter-time bait. Secondly, it incorporates a stinger hook which can tremendously enhance the strike-to-catch ratio. The colder the water, the more true this shall be. The slab’s profile can be smaller than that of the MAL Lure.

The second adjustment I’ve made this week issues retrieve pace. Colder water requires a slower retrieve. The Bladed Hazy Eye Slab I’ve described may be (have to be!) moved extra slowly than the MAL Lure. As it rises off the underside, both by being reeled upward or steadily lifted upward, the lure’s physique wags a bit, and the small spinner blade spins and flashes, thus attracting fish.

To guarantee I don’t outrun and disinterest the fish, I are inclined to depend on spinning reels with small spool diameters and low gear ratios to mechanically restrict how briskly purchasers can reel their baits up off backside.

Most anglers default to a retrieve pace which is simply too quick and too uneven to attraction to white bass and hybrid stripers.

Smaller reels within the 1500 and 2000 class do properly, particularly with gear ratios round 5.2-to-1.

In a typical cold-water state of affairs, I’ll discover fish with Humminbird side-imaging, use the i-Pilot Link interface between my sonar unit and my trolling motor to hover atop the fish I’ve discovered, then depend on down-looking Garmin LiveScope to trace fish and my purchasers’ displays.

I’ve them drop right down to backside and reel slowly and steadily upward. A fee of rise of about 2 ft per second is an efficient start line. Keeping the rod tip parked in a single spot by easily turning the deal with is important.

The closing adjustment I’ve made entails altering over from my “splasher” to my “thumper.” The splasher, a small, 12-volt trolling motor with a modified propellor meant to make a splashy commotion on the floor, is meant to imitate the sound fish make as they churn the floor consuming bait there. This sort of floor feeding just isn’t taking place any longer, so imitating it isn’t as efficient because it was within the heat months.

The thumper creates extra of a direct thud on the ground of my boat which resonates with a decrease, bass sound than the splashy sound of the splasher. Although out there commercially, I made my very own thumper which includes a small electrical motor which repeatedly causes a brief, iron bar to be lifted and allowed to drop, thus putting a metallic plate positioned under the iron bar. All of that is contained in a plastic weatherproof, transportable field in regards to the dimension of a navy ammo can.

I’m so satisfied these noise-making gadgets successfully draw fish to the boat that I might now really feel handicapped fishing with out them.

Bottom line: the quickly cooling water calls for a major adjustment in techniques, particularly by decreasing retrieve pace and lure dimension. Fishing will seemingly choose again up with both extra secure climate or a warming pattern, however even when/when it does, these cool-water techniques will stay efficient proper up till the spring warm-up.

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