64° F Thursday, May 25, 2017

By Allen Christenson

The Christmas season always brings back a flood of memories. On Dec. 25, 1991, Lake Travis reached its highest recorded level of 710.44 feet above mean sea level, almost 30 feet above full pool.

Over a week of heavy rains muddied up our normally clear water and flooded over 100 lakeside homes. It took almost two months for the lake to clear up just in time for the spring spawn.

I’ve always been a big fish eater, except for the odiferous Norwegian holiday tradition of lutefisk. My grandmother always presented it at Christmas.

My father loved it, but I always figured the Vikings invented it to torture their enemies. I could not stand the smell or taste.

My favorite fish to eat are crappie and bluegill. My wife frequently commands me to go catch a mess of these small panfish for supper.

In the Lakeway vicinity, it usually takes less than an hour to fill this order. Bluegill cannot resist live worms and crappie go crazy for small jigs or minnows.

Catching these fish is great fun using an ultra-light rod and 4-pound test line. Fun turns to panic, however, when large catfish crash the party.

Big flathead yellow cats love to camp out next to schools of panfish, their favorite entree. Hooking one of these intruders is kind of like going on safari with a BB gun.

It amazes me why these wide-mouthed cats are so duped by a small piece of worm on a tiny hook. My drag starts singing after I set the hook, and sometimes after a long battle, I’m lucky enough to land the catfish.

This past week, I lost a huge cat while worm fishing with 4-pound test line, and a few days later managed to land a 25-pound yellow cat while spoon jigging for white bass with 10-pound test mono.

Tony DiCello of Lakeway did a great job of netting this monster for me near Therman Bend. Tony had his line broken by a big fish in the same area.

The fishing is never dull on Lake Travis.

For updates or a guided excursion, call 512-261-3644, email achristenson1@austin.rr.com and visit northshorebeacon.com.

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