Yesterday I fished Lake Travis with Brad, his girlfriend Samantha, and her father. We met at Mansfield Dam ramp bright and early and headed out hoping to find some schooling fish.
Right now the lake is in an awesome transition phase where the shad get super active and the bass start gorging themselves on them. You can catch so many fish on swimbaits right now, both offshore and up in the coves. Honestly, if you are a beginner and want to guarantee yourself a fish just tie on a Keitech or similar style swimbait.
A pattern that has been working really well is finding those coves with a little bit of wind blowing into them that also have flooded brush. Those bushed that are covering in that green snot grass are great places to start. Those flukes an swimbaits I keep talking about are perfect for this. If you are new to my reports read the last few about Lake Travis and you'll get a better understanding of what exact baits I have been throwing. Not much has changed with that in the last week or so. Mostly though I am throwing Keitech's Easy Shiner on a small lead head. If you are after those bigger bites go with a Fat swing impact and fish it slowly over the tops of the brush. Even though those lead heads aren't weedless they seem to not get hung up that often. Even when they do as long as you don't set the hook into the tree you can usually get them un-snagged. I've only lost two lead heads in my last four trips! (I probably just jinxed myself)
We plugged away catching several out of a cove that has been good to me lately, but not as many as I wanted. We left in search of some offshore fish. Right now deep ledges and offshore structure that bass can push shad up against are good places to try. They use these types of spots to help them feed on the bait fish easier. Untimely those shad have nowhere to go but up which is why you'll often times see them breaking the surface... if you're lucky enough to be close by when they do bust on the surface get a cast in their as fast as you possibly can! Use those same small swimbaits but use a heavier head or let it sink on a slack line a little longer. I like to turn on the Mega imaging on my side scan and drive along those ledges and bluff walls looking for those active schools of bass. Its like Garmin Panoptics for poor people and it covers more water faster. haha
Once you locate those beautiful little yellow dots on the side scan pay attention to the sonar (put it on the widest beam... 83 khz in most cases) and note the depth they are at. This wide beam will help pick up more of the fish around you. Since they are schooling and on the move you only care about the depth they are at, not their exact position in relation to the boat. This will tell you right where to position your boat and how deep to let the bait sink. Totally takes out all the guess work! Once they quit biting rinse and repeat until the school of fish disperses.
We bounced around the rest of the day plugging away at fish and ended up having an awesome trip. We had awesome numbers... probably 25 fish just for a morning trip plus several bigger fish as well as some doubles!
Right now I think Lake Travis has been fishing better than it has been all year. That's just my opinion, if you have little ones you want to introduce into fishing I think now is the time to do it. The weather isn't super hot and a lot of the fishing we are chasing do not require accurate casts. For children I find this to be helpful since they won't get frustrated if they cast too far or not in the right place! If you're and adult and just want to catch a mess of fish, now is a great time also. I personally don't like keeping those big largemouths, but those 14-16 inch fish that are plentiful are great table fare so keep that in mind too!
If you are looking for a fishing guide in Austin give me a shout! I have openings next week.