Like so many have recently, this trip started with a simple E-Mail.
I read one of your posts on the Bass Fishing Home Page regarding the fishing on the Angelina River, and would like to bring my son and nephew up from Houston for an overnight camping trip. What are the fish biting and how do we catch them?
You see, William is an old friend and fishing buddy who has accompanied me on many fishing adventures. And just a couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to be guiding him on Sam Rayburn when his son, Abel, reeled in his first bass. I say reeled in, because William actually hooked the fish and handed him the rod. While this semi-qualifies as a catch, William was disappointed that the boy was not able to enjoy the experience from start to finish.
In my original post, I reported that the Spotted Bass on the Angelina River were consuming baits with a vengeance, and that it was a great way to introduce youngsters to bass fishing. It was this account that had perked his interest.
So the plans were made for an overnight camping trip. The boys were on "Spring Break" from school, so we decided on a mid week excursion. I would supply most of the camping equipment and food, and stake out a nice spot on the bank. William would bring his shallow draft bay boat to help ferry supplies down from the bridge on Highway 63.
A couple of days before the trip was to begin, I got another E-Mail from William.
I read that you are catching a bunch of crappie on Sam Rayburn, how about we go out first and catch a few to fry up at the camp?
Well, I'm not one to pass up a good perch jerkin session, so we allocated a couple of hours on the first afternoon to land a few slabs. As it turned out, this was no problem. We launched at Twin Dikes and within 30 minutes we had 10 nice brushpile crappie in the livewell.
We headed back over to the river with about an hour of daylight left and started our run down stream. I had chosen a camping spot for us just above the Bevilport landing. The site is located near a sloping sandbar on the inside of a sweeping turn of the river. I set up the tents as William prepared the fish for dinner. The sound and smell of those crappie frying over a Coleman Stove was enough to bring on some serious stomach growling. As we sat around the fire talking, I discovered that Williams's nephew, Jonathon, had never fished before, or for that matter, ever been on a camping trip. Obviously we had some catching up to do.
The next morning dawned cool and clear with the sun rising over the pines. We all jumped in my boat and rigged up for bass. Heading downstream, we spotted some fishy looking laydowns and decided to give them a try. We rigged small spinners for the boys and William and I worked soft plastics. After a couple of hours of this, and only a couple of fish for William and I, we headed back to the camp.
As we regrouped and discussed a new plan of attack, the boys stood on the river and cast small watermelon colored grubs from the sand bar. " William, I got one!!" Abel shouted. You would have thought a bear was chasing William as he raced down to the waters edge. "Don't horse him. Keep your rod tip up. Don't give him any slack. Etc, etc" Mission accomplished, Abel had his first, "all by himself " bass. In short order, Jonathon also hooked up and landed his first fish.
Well, to make a long story a little less long, we sat on that sandbar for the next few hours and watched as those two boys took turns setting the hook, reeling in and releasing about 15-20 fish. Most of them nice little chunky Kentucky Spotted bass that put up a real fight on light line.
Folks, this is what it's all about. Camping, fishing, and hunting are made to be shared with kids. Nothing is more fulfilling than watching a youngster land his first fish, or take down his first deer. The look of excitement and accomplishment on their faces is reward enough.
Yesterday, I received another E-Mail.
I just want to thank you for the time you spent with us on the river. The kids have talked about nothing else since we left, and can't wait to come back. By the way, you mentioned that the topwater fishing can be awesome on the river, when does that start to get good?
Looks like I better go gather up the camping stuff.
Set the Hook Hard
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