Thousands of Central Texas kids will be away this week for Spring Break, and anyone who knows kids understands that when they’re bored, they can easily get into trouble.
Fishing Hall of Famer Charlie Pack’s Tadpole Foundation was founded on the saying ‘Off the Streets and On the Creeks’ – and it has brought the love of recreational fishing to thousands and thousands of Texas families over the years.
He always told me that it’s hard to get in trouble with a fishing rod in your hands, and in my personal experience, that’s pretty much true. I mean, my friends and I have had more than enough trouble, but never while fishing.
The number of children involved in fishing and other traditional outdoor sports has declined sharply in recent decades, and some would argue that there is a correlation between this fact and the rise in youth crime and disorder. during the same period.
Of course, that’s not the only reason, but I agree it’s a factor. These activities teach lessons about perseverance, imagination, strategy, innovative thinking, and matters of life and death, and these are difficult to learn in other sports and activities.
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Unfortunately, being aware of the problem does not mean there is an easy solution. What I try to do is promote outdoor sports to people in a way that makes them want to get out there and try it out for themselves. I also encourage experienced anglers to bring children and their parents or grandparents to guide them.
If you’re looking for a way to help some kids enjoy the outdoors, this would be a great week to do something. Not only do many students come out for the week, but crappie and white bass prepare for their spawning, making them easier to locate and catch.
Even if you don’t have a boat, it’s a good time of year for shore fishing, and while many shore accesses are limited by those rusty pipe barriers at Lake Waco and in other other reservoirs in the area, you can still get to some good fishing holes with relative ease.
Lake Waco’s Bosque Park, located below the dam near the soccer fields, offers good fishing both near the spillway and downstream. Crappie, white and black bass, stripers and hybrids, catfish, sunfish and just about anything else you might want to catch can be found along these shores.
Koehne and Twin Bridges parks also offer shore access, and if you’re up for a little hiking, you can find plenty of great fishing in the Lacy Point area, among other places around the lake. Also, the rivers should have plenty of fish, as white bass and crappie move shallow to spawn.
The water temperature is still too cold for spawning to take place, but the pre-spawning process is underway and crappie will be looking for good places to lay their eggs. If you’re fishing from the shore and don’t have access to electronic gadgets for locating fish, look for shallow, wooded flats with drop-offs or creek channels nearby, and adjust your bait depth to until you locate the fish. Crappie, like white bass, is a schooling species, and when you find one there will likely be at least a dozen others nearby.
Good baits for spring crappie are minnows and small jigs. If you are casting from the shore, a slip plug will be your friend. It will allow you to easily fish between 8 and 10 feet deep. They use bobber stops (small diameter string or elastic tied around the line to hold the bobber in place) which makes it easier to cast your bait all the way down to where the fish are. Simply tie to the desired depth and the cork will easily pass through the rod eyes – both on casts and retrieves.
The weather this week won’t be perfect for spring break, but the weather is rarely perfect. Smart anglers will use the windy and cold weather to their advantage. For example, on a windy day, shad and other baitfish will be blown towards the shore, so positioning yourself on those shores will be good places to try. Common sense tells us that predatory fish will likely be in the same areas as the fish they feed on.
If you are able to catch your own bait, then these freshly caught shads and minnows will probably perform better than any bait you can buy. Otherwise, store-bought minnows or decoys that mimic their natural prey are good bets.
Place your bait as close to grassy areas or other structures as possible. You can sometimes get caught in the salad, but that’s where the action is. Small fish use the structure for protection and predators use it to ambush their prey. The structure also provides protection from the sun’s rays and also absorbs heat on a cold day – and just a degree or two of temperature difference can mean the difference between an area with fish or not.
Safety is another thing to consider when fishing, and it’s wise to have a conversation with kids and novices before they start casting hooks. Think about what to do if someone falls in the water, talk about the danger of hooks and how sticking one in your thumb will ruin the trip, and report any poison ivy or other potential danger in the area so people don’t. have to learn lessons the hard way.
To turn someone into an angler, all it takes is a good day of fishing. On the other hand, all it takes to deter someone from fishing is a bad trip. Prepare a plan B in case the fish do not cooperate. Bring along a well-stocked cooler, soccer ball or Frisbee, or some other form of backup recreation.
If a lot of anglers do a little to promote the sport, surely we can turn the tide and get more people to add fishing to their leisure options.
Talking trash can
Speaking of doing something about a problem, Group W Bench Litter Patrol has had a significant impact in reducing the amount of litter in Lake Waco and other area waters. With the placement and maintenance of trash receptacles at boat launches and other places where litter on the ground was a problem, the amount of litter on the banks and in the water has noticeably increased. decreases.
There are still some dirty people who leave a mess behind, but most people take a trash bag with them and throw away their rubbish at the end of the trip. Nobody wants to know what kind of bait you used, beer you drank or food you stuffed in your face. Pack and wrap your trash. You will see a trash barrel or dumpster on the way back.
Thanks to GWBLP, Fish On Texas, Keep Waco Beautiful, and other area organizations that support keeping trash where it belongs. Volunteer and community service opportunities are available through GWBLP, and volunteers are appreciated.
Recent warm weather has brought back some of these animals that stay low through the winter, and if you plan to go out on the water or into the woods, and if you’re careful, you might see a snake sitting on the shore or swim in the water.
Most snakes you will encounter are not dangerous, and if left alone they will move on or go back to hiding. Despite these things we have all heard, snakes will not chase you. People who study and treat snakes for a living say that if a snake comes towards you, it’s coincidence instead of aggression, and once it knows you’re there, it will vamoose into a other direction. They don’t want to bite us any more than we want to be bitten.
If you see a snake in your yard or garage, spray it with a garden hose to let it know it’s not welcome. If it doesn’t go away after being hosed down, there are snake removal experts in Central Texas who will come and remove it – and most of them will do it for free.
I welcome non-venomous snakes around my home. They keep the mice and other nuisances under control, and they’ll step aside whenever I’m in the shed to get the weed killer out.