Dec
22

Freshwater Fishing Trip Rotation (Self-chartered)

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The following is a rotation list for self-chartered freshwater fishing trips on central Texas lakes within 90 miles of Austin.  We primarily target largemouth bass but can also go after crappie, white bass, hybrids, and/or stripers, so be prepared (for reel, line, and lure recommendations see the bottom of this page).

As I, Randy Rowley, have a full-time Monday – Friday job, am not a guide, fish on Saturday’s or state of Texas holidays (usually), and fish on highly pressured lakes, do not expect to always catch limits on these trips.  However, we usually have some success, including:

We will fish either Lakes Travis, Bastrop, Fayette, Decker, Stillhouse Hollow, Belton, Lady Bird, Austin, or a creek such as Yegua off of Somerville during the white bass run.  I can take up to two fishermen (three if they’re smaller) on my boat (not counting me).  Trips will usually be six to ten hours, counting travel time, unless the fish are biting well, in which case we may decide to fish later, or if they’re not biting well or at all, in which case we may decide to quit earlier.

We will fish out of my 20′ 3″ 2019 Excel Bay Pro 203 with a 115 HP Yahama motor, an 80 lb. thrust trolling motor, and a fish finder (unless we’re fishing a creek during the white bass run, in which case we’ll be on foot).  I usually will have at least one of these trips a month during non-hunting months (February through August), but will not guarantee a set number of times.

We will primarily fish with artificial lures.  I’m willing to fish part or all of the time with live or dead bait, but everyone in the boat must agree how we will fish before we leave as people who want to fish with lures will become frustrated if the boat isn’t moving often and people who want to fish with live bait will become frustrated if the boat is moving (as movement will drown the minnows).

Decker and Bastrop have 14 – 21″ slot limits, which allows you to keep up to five bass under 14″ or up to four bass under 14″ and one bass over 21″.  Anything between 14 – 21″ must be returned to the water.  The reason that the authorities have slot limits is those lakes are small and; therefore, can easily be depleted of bass.  Slot limits ensure that there will be a lot of 1 – 5 lb. bass for people to catch.  Fayette has a 14 – 24″ slot limit for the same reason.

Costs:

  • The participants (excluding me, if my boat is being used) will split the vehicle and boat gas (the amount depends on the distance traveled and the number of people sharing the gas), state or county park fees (if applicable), boat launch fees (if applicable), and toll road fees (if applicable).  I have to replace my boat’s batteries, tires, etc., and repair things like my trolling motor more quickly due to going on such trips than I would if I didn’t take members and guests on such trips; therefore, I am exempt from the above expenses.
  • We’ll also stop at Whataburger on the way to the lake and will probably stop for brunch on the way home.
  • Fishermen can buy live and/or dead bait and/or use artificial lures.

What to Bring:

  • Freshwater fishing license.
  • Rods and Reels (at least two in case you break one; I usually fish with eight).
  • Lures and/or terminal tackle for fishing with live and/or dead bait.
  • Headlamp/cap light (preferred) or flashlight (to help ready my boat for launch).
  • Cap/hat (optional).
  • Sunglasses (optional).
  • Sunscreen (optional).
  • Bug repellent (optional).
  • Drinks and snacks (optional; drinks are highly recommended).
  • A small ice chest or bag to take fish home in if we decide to keep them (I usually return largemouth bass to the water; there will be a large ice chest on my boat to put your drinks in and storage compartments to put your snacks in).
  • Rain gear, if rain is predicted.

I have five life jackets so you won’t need one.

I have extras of many of the items that are listed above and will happily loan things if you let me know that you would like to borrow something before we leave.  Of course, if you borrow something and break or lose it I will expect reimbursement.

Being on this rotation is a privilege and is not an FCS membership benefit.  This rotation is a service to FCS members and guests, but I will not tolerate the below actions.  I can and will remove a person from the rotation for any of the following reasons (this list is not all-inclusive):

  • Not fishing in a safe manner, including deliberately not following my instructions and the FCS Fishing Rules during a fishing trip.
  • Not paying your fair share of truck and boat gas and park entrance fees/boat launch fees.
  • Not paying for items (that are not yours) that you broke or lost (including losing lures that you borrowed).
  • Not helping during a fishing trip (including not helping get the boat back on the trailer).
  • Not talking quietly (bass can hear you and will get away from the sound).
  • Indicating that he or she will attend a fishing trip and then not showing up.
  • A pattern of being more than a few minutes late.
  • A pattern of canceling at the last minute.
  • Not returning my phone calls and/or emails.

The following people are on the Bass Fishing Rotation for 2020:

  1. Nathan Hoeft
  2. Roy Zengerle
  3. Dustin Rhodes
  4. Kevin McConnell
  5. Earl and Janet Prochnick
  6. Chris Campbell
  7. Jeff Cates
  8. Jim McGee
  9. Mike Pozhenko
  10. Darryl Swann
  11. Harold and Edward Terry
  12. Zack and Yuri Tumlinson
  13. Monalisa Almanza and child
  14. Ryan and Claire Rowley
  15. Chris Rowley
  16. Binh Chu
  17. Roland and Lena Olivarez or grandson
  18. Jonathan Fleming
  19. Burl and Daniel Fulenwider
  20. Don Hebert
  21. Tim Cadena
  22. Mark Kelton

Lure recommendations for Bass

Topwaters – walk the dog lures like Heddon’s Zara Spook, Zara Spook Jr., or Zara Puppy, Xcalibur’s Spittin’ Image, or Rapala’s Skitter V; poppers like Heddon’s Chugger Spook or Hula Popper, Storm’s Rattlin’ Chug Bug, or Rebel’s Pop-R; torpedo lures like River2Sea’s Whopper Plopper, Heddon’s Baby Torpedo; and Buzz baits like Booyah’s Buzz Clacker.  Colors – bass, shad, chartreuse, bone, and clear.  For lakes with a lot of grass (such as Bastrop, Decker, and Fayette) you can add frog colored topwaters or plastic frogs such as River2Sea’s Phat Mat Daddy, Bully Wa II, and Spittin’ Wa, Lunkerhunt’s Lunker Frog, Strike King’s KVD Sexy Frogs, American Baitworks’ Scum Frog Bigfoot, Scum Dog, and Scum Frog Popper, and toad style baits such as Stanley’s Ribbits.

Lipless crankbaits – Rapala Rippin’ Rap and Rattlin’ Rapala, Xcalibur Xr75, Strike King Red Eye Shad, Berkley Warpig, BOOYAH One Knocker, Yo-Zuri Rattl’n Vibe and 3DB Vibe, and Bill Lewis Rat-L-Trap.  Colors – bass, shad, perch, red (best in spring), and chartreuse (best in the summer).

Crankbaits – Norman Little N, Strike King KVD 2.5 or Pro-Model 3XD, Rapala Shad Rap, Bandit 200, and Storm Wiggle Wart.  Same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Deep diving crankbaits – Norman DD-22, Bomber’s Fat Free Shad, and Strike King 5XD, 6XD, 8XD, and 10XD.  Same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Square bill crankbaits – River2Sea Biggy Poppa, Strike King KVD, Luck-E-Strike Rick Clunn RC2, 6th Sense Fishing Crush 50X, Yo-Zuri 3DB, BOOYAH, and Rebel Bluegill.  Same colors as the lipless crankbaits.

Jerk baits (stick baits) – Bomber Long A, Rapala Husky Jerk and X-Rap, Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue, and Storm Thunderstick.  Same colors as the crankbaits.

Spinnerbaits/chatterbaits (bladed jigs) – white, yellow, chartreuse, combo white/yellow or white/chartreuse, watermelon (green), red (in the spring), and black/blue or black/red when it’s dark or there is a heavy overcast.  I prefer spinnerbaits with two blades over one.  The type is not that important but I tend to prefer the Colorado blade.  Spinnerbait brands include River2Sea, Nichols, Strike King, BOOYAH, Terminator, and War Eagle.  Chatterbait brands include Z-man, Strike King, BOOYAH, and Terminator.  Spinnerbaits on steroids include Umbrella/Alabama rigs.

Slabs/spoons – 1/2 – 1 1/2 ounce in white, silver, chartreuse, or combos of those colors.  These are particularly good for white bass, hybrids, stripers, and largemouth bass along steep rocky ledges.

Soft plastics (usually will only attract largemouth bass – not whites, hybrids, or stripers) – Zoom finesse worms, flukes, crawdads, lizards, or baby brush hogs, Berkley power worms, crawdads, or lizards, Senko worms, Yum Dinger worms, Big Bite worms and grubs, Grandebass rattlesnakes, and Blakemore Roadrunners with grub tails.  Colors depend on the time of year and such things as if it’s overcast or sunny.  The general rule is darker colors work best when it’s overcast and during the winter.  Lighter colors work best in the fall, spring, and summer and when it’s sunny.  Some of my favorite colors include Smokin’ Green, Watermelon, Watermelon Red, June Bug, Red Bug, Red Shad, Motor Oil, Pumpkinseed, Dark Blue, and Camo.  Zoom’s Baby Brushhog in pumpkinseed is a good choice for Travis in the fall.  Lizards and crawdads in pumpkinseed are good in the spring.  Toad style baits like Stanley’s Ribbits and Frog style baits like Lunkerhunt’s Lunker Frog and Strike King’s KVD Sexy Frog are good early and late in grassy areas or lily pads.  Soft swimbaits are good in the grass.

Lure Recommendations for Crappie (also good for white bass)

Crappie jigs (1/16, 1/8, or 1/4 ounce and crappie grubs such as the Bobby Garland Mo’Glo (glow-in-the-dark) 2″ Baby Shad or Hyper Grub in Ghost Sparkle or Ghastly Minnow).

Spinners – Blakemore Roadrunners (1/8 ounce white or chartreuse, the grub version) or inline spinners such as the Mepps Aglia Ultra Lite spinners (1/18 ounce with a gold blade and yellow wool).

Line Recommendations for Bass Reels

Baitcasting reels

For topwater baitcasting reels use mono in 12 – 15 lb. test.  The exception is fishing with soft plastic frogs, in which case 50 – 65 lb. braid is the best (to cut through weeds, lily pads, etc.; braid also floats).

For crankbait/spinnerbait/chatterbait/jerk bait baitcasting reels use fluorocarbon in 12 – 15 lb. test.

For soft plastics, reels use fluorocarbon in 12 – 15 lb. test or braid in 30 – 50 lb. test (braid does not have the same thickness as fluorocarbon or mono – 40 lb. braid = 12 lb. fluorocarbon or mono).

Spinning reels

Spinning reels shine using light lures, which most baitcasting reels have trouble with.  Therefore, I recommend 8 – 10 lb. fluorocarbon or lighter.

Spincast reels

These are the least desirable reels for bass reels.  Most are cheaply made and will not last long if used regularly.  Generally, for most spincast reels you don’t want to use anything heavier than 10 lb. mono.

Line and Reel Recommendations for Crappie Reels

Use fluorocarbon or mono in 2 – 8 lb. test, the lighter the better.  Spinning reels are the preferred reels for crappie.

Let me know at randywrowley@gmail.com (my preference) or at 512-922-2484 if you would like to be added to this rotation.  At present, any individual requesting to be added to the rotation will be placed at the bottom of the list.  Contact me if you have any questions.

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