So the weather in Central Texas has finally stabilized... for the time being. But its Texas, it could be snowing tomorrow and a hundred degrees the next day for all I know.
Today was the first time the LCRA opened up Lake Travis to recreational boaters and fishermen. I have been itching to get back on Travis as see what all this rain has done for the lake. I had a feeling the fish would have moved up into all the new cover... well I was right!
So I hit Travis today around noon, I launched out of Cypress Creek. (Thank God that's finally open! I was getting sick of launching from Mansfield since its a pain to beach my boat there) I started out by running up to Sandy Creek and checking a few spots that were producing a while back. A few of them did, a few were in too deep of water. But that's ok, I was there to try all the new water while its fishable... Travis fluctuates a ton, so it won't be long before the lake is being slowly drained for drinking water for Austin.
I started out using a heavy flipping set up...my preferred combo is a Dobyns FR805 FLIP, this is a very heavy 8 foot long flipping stick. If you know me you know I have an expensive habit of buying nice tackle... this rod is actually one of my cheaper rods. It retails for less than a hundred bucks, but its worth every penny. I have several other expensive flipping sticks, but this one is still my favorite despite it being cheaper. A sensitive rod is important, but its flipping... you don't need the sensitivity of a Dobyns Champion HP series. I pair this up with a high speed 7:1 reel and 65 pound braid. If you have a higher gear ratio reel, that's even better. You just want something that can take up line quick enough if you have to react to a fish that's taken your bait and is swimming at you. It also helps with getting that bait back in quicker when you are ready to make your next flip... I am big about efficiency. If I can put in a few hundred more casts in a day than you, statistics says I will catch more fish that you in the long run... let that sink in the next time you are fishing a tournament.
The other key part of this rig is a 4/0 flipping hook, I personally like Trokar's hook... the trokar point does not dull like a needle point hook does and its very strong. I always tie a snell knot and use a tungsten weight with a metal bead to help make that hook point up when I set the hook. Today I threw two baits... a Strike King beaver in pumpkin, and a Berkeley Havoc flipping bug in watermelon blue.
I started the day off flipping and jacked them for a good hour off this nice piece of bank that had a lot of submerged trees. The key seemed to be the deeper brush. You want cover in 4' of water or deeper. I hit the lake around noon, so I suspect the flipping bite would have been better in the morning.
After messing around with the flipping bite, I decided to do some exploring. Right now the water is pretty stained and turbid due to all the flooding. I tried a few areas I suspected the water to be cleaner. Sure enough it was and I proceeded to wack them on a neko rig. Red Bug and Tequila Sunrise were very productive colors... I have said it before, but I can't get over how good that 1/0 VMC Neko hook is... not affiliated with them at all, it just works. I throw that on a Dobyns Sierra micro series 704 spinning rod... I LOVE this rod, it has a ton of backbone compared to most spinning rods, I can still make a long cast but I don't have to baby the fish when I fight them. I use a Stradic 2500 with 10# braid and a little heavier leader. I like 12# Seaguar since I like being able to pull those fish out of the brush before they can wrap me.
This technique produced the majority of my fish. Any big boulder or transition between brush seemed to hold fish. Clean water and new cover was the ticket.
If you follow me on Instagram (@laketravisfishingguide) you may have saw my Live video and already heard me say this. One patter that I feel gets over looked when the lake comes up like it has is deep creek bends, especially ones with cover near by. As I was heading back to the ramp I idled across one of my favorite creek channels with a brush pile on it.... I proceeded to catch 8 fish off it in about 20 mins before it got dark and I needed to head home. A simple drop shot with a tomato trick worm was the ticket.
In total between about noon until dark I must have caught around 40 fish. Lots of little ones, nothing huge, but all fun fighters!
Right now Lake Travis is fishing very well. If you are in Austin or the Central Texas area and are looking for a fishing guide give me a shout. I can put you on some good fish right now! Lake Buchanan is also fishing well if you want to get out there and explore.
I haven't been back to LBJ in a while, but as soon as I hear it is open back up I will be giving it a try. Unfortunately I have a feeling that Lake LBJ will need some time to recover. It took quite a beating during the recent flooding. The Hill Country is resilient and I'm sure LBJ will be just fine!