Outside: Time to go fishing | Sports News
By TODD NAFE
Whenever I asked my Uncle George what time it was, he always said, “It’s time to go fishing!” Spring in Texas is arguably the best time of year to fish, thanks to many species spawning and settling into predictable patterns.
Good reports from crappie and sand bass anglers are on the rise, and whether you have a boat, a paddle craft, or are fishing from shore, you can put yourself in the heart of a school and stock up on fish tasty and rambling.
Largemouth bass, sand bass, and crappie are all in the spawning phase, meaning they move into shallow waters to lay and protect their eggs. During spawning, they are usually found within casting distance of shorelines and river banks, and relatively easy pickings.
Over the past week, the white bar has started its migration upstream, thanks to some decent rain, and the outlook for this week promises another round of precipitation, which should put the white bar back in place.
These fish congregate in shoals and prowl the bottom of rivers and streams in search of food to build up energy for the spawning process, and if you catch a white bass there are probably dozens of them – if not hundreds – others nearby. The best baits are live minnows, jigs, slabs, hanging lures and small spinnerbaits.
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There is a minimum length requirement of 10 inches to keep a white bass, with a limit of 25 fish per day per angler, and the same regulations apply for crappie. In Lake Waco and other lake systems in our area, hybrid striped bass have been introduced, and these fish generally inhabit the same areas as white bass – they are often even caught in the same schools.
Hybrids have a different set of regulations – five fish per day/angler with a minimum length limit of 18 inches, so it’s important to be able to distinguish between a white bass and an undersized hybrid. They both have similar bodies and markings, including broken stripes that run along the sides of the fish from gill to tail, but there are ways to tell the difference.
The best way is to watch on the fish’s tongue. Both species have a plate of teeth on the top of their tongue about 2/3 of the way back, but they have different shapes. The whites have a football-shaped patch, while the hybrids have two side-by-side patches with a smooth stripe between them. As the fish get bigger, they’re easier to see, and when you catch one that weighs more than a few pounds, chances are you’re looking for a hybrid.
A fast-growing species, the hybrids were reintroduced to Lake Waco in 2009 as part of an overall plan to improve the quality of the city’s drinking water. They need regular stocking to maintain a healthy population structure, and fisheries biologists in the area seem to have found the right formula for keeping these hard-to-fight fish alive. The Lake Waco hybrid record is a 13.75 pounds caught on swimbait by Colby Hill in March 2017.
Unlike most other Lake Waco fish, white bass and hybrids do not use cover to ambush their prey. Instead, they travel in large schools and use their speed to surround and overwhelm their prey, pinning baitfish to the bottom or chasing them to the surface of the water in a feeding frenzy.
As with anything you eat, much of the flavor depends on how the meal was handled and prepared. Hybrids have a strip of fatty red meat that needs to be cut away after filleting. Once the strip is cut, you will have thick and tasty fish fillets.
Shooting on the Waco River
The next time you read the Tribune Herald outdoors will be in April and on April 9, Fish On Texas, along with Texas Farm Bureau and Catch One Bait and Tackle, will host the Waco River Shootout 4 Catfish Tournament.
It’s not like most other tournaments in that it is a shoal fishing only tournament and much of the competition will take place after dark. It also has restrictions on where you can fish – the Brazos River from the Loop 340 Bridge, the Lake Waco Spillway, to the Lake Shore Drive Bridge.
Registration and weigh-in will take place at Brazos Park East, with registration opening at 2 p.m. and fishing beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is $25 per adult/$10 per child (under 16); adults can use up to four rods and children up to two. The weigh-in will take place at 11 p.m. and the heaviest bag of 5 fish will win.
For more information, do a Google search for Fish On Texas.
Crappie and bacon – what else do you need?
People fish for many different reasons. Some people fish to get away from everyday life for a while; some do it for the challenge of testing their skills against nature and the thrill of catching; many people fish for the tasty meals that come with success; and I knew a guy whose doctor prescribed fishing as therapy to help him find a way to relax. His name was Hoyt and he found no relaxation in fishing – he was too busy setting up his 15 rods and running non-stop along the pier to check for bites and stings. bait.
Most people fish for a combination of the reasons listed above, and last week I found one of my favorite crappie recipes that longtime Tribune-Herald outside contributor Josh Sears shared with me. given years ago. Crappie is one of the tastiest fish you can catch in Centex waters, and the recipe makes it amazing. I took that as a sign to go out and catch some crappies this weekend.
1 pound boneless crappie fillets
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Chupacabra rub
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
Cook bacon until crispy. Once cooled, crumble the bacon and mix 1 teaspoon bacon juice with melted butter. Pat the fillets dry and bathe them in butter in a shallow bowl. In a separate dish, combine the bacon bits, breadcrumbs, cheese and seasonings. Coat the fillets in the breadcrumb seasoning and bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fillets flake easily with a fork. Serve with dirty rice and a slice of lemon.