WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished with a crew of five from the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group (ASOG), headquartered at Fort Hood.
Included in the crew were Mike Stock, who coordinated the trip, D.V. Dvareckas, Chaplain Steve Kim, Matt Getz, and Julian Rey.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Chaplain Steve Kim, Julian “Doohickey” Rey, Mike Stock, Matt Getz, and D.V. Dvareckas, all of the USAF’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 15 September 2021
HOW WE FISHED:
Due in part to yet another marginal wind forecast (I was concerned about winds too high to be out in open water on either Belton or Stillhouse today with forecasts for 15mph straight-line, gusting 22), and good success on Lake Belton yesterday, I opted to run this morning’s trip on Lake Belton so I’d have some options on protected water.
We got right onto fish this morning, doing the same things in the same places as yesterday morning, thanks to near-identical weather. These low-light fish were up in about 24 feet of water, grouped tightly, and ready to feed. Four of my five fellows had prior experience with spinning rods, so the casting accuracy and distance required to reach out horizontally to these fish was not an issue as we employed the “sawtooth method” using MAL Heavy Lures with white blade/chartreuse tail. The gusts of wind were a bit of a challenge at times as I had all 5 men abreast of one another casting straight out in front of themselves. In this situation, the wind would blow a belly of slack downwind into the next guy’s “lane”, but, for 4+ hours of casting, we had relatively few tangles.
We landed 18 fish very quickly before that early surge of activity died down. The cloud cover thickened up at that point, and it actually got darker out. The fish did not respond well to that, and we went about 35 minutes before contacting fish again. When we did, they were in ~35 feet, still grouped tightly, albeit a bit less aggressive. It was at this point that I introduced the vertical tactics we would alternate to over the course of the morning, making use of MAL Heavy Lures (with white tail) seen clearly on Garmin LiveScope used in downward mode to monitor both fish and baits. We added another 18 fish to our count by working vertically, taking our tally to 36 fish by 9 a.m. as we saw this bite taper off.
Watching 5 active duty airmen acting like kids in a candy store over the Garmin LiveScope was a comical thing to hear to behold. As Julian reeled his MAL Lure up off the bottom and timed its rise to intersect a school of white bass moving parallel to the bottom and up about 4 feet off of it, he watched the red signature of his lure and the red signature of the fish merge into one as his rod loaded under the weight of the fish he just hooked. He (literally) yelled (and quite loudly), “YES, I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!! I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!!”.
It was around this same time (just after 9 a.m.) yesterday that we made a move which set us up for a very productive final two hours, so, I made that same move today, and once again it paid off.
We found fish using side-imaging, positioned the boat cross-wind from them and within a cast’s distance, then barraged these fish with MAL Heavy Lures cast horizontally and worked back to the boat using a sawtooth tactic. Since the men already had exposure to, and success with, the Garmin LiveScope, I left the transducers in the water and three units turned on so everyone could monitor the water column beneath them. Whenever a “pack” of fish moved under the boat, they’d change over to a vertical presentation, then return to a horizontal presentation once these fish directly beneath the boat had moved on.
Over the next 2 hours we worked our tally up to 89 fish by 11 a.m. Since we’d gotten off to a bit of a later start than I’d hoped for, I told the fellows we’d stay until 11:25 or 100 fish, whichever came first.
By 11:18 we saw the morning’s 100th fish swing over the side, then, just for good measure, we landed 2 more as I was prepping the boat for travel back to the dock. Our catch consisted of 100% white bass today.
The horizontal fishing was accomplished using the MAL Heavy Lure with a white blade and with a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:
MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 102 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: The major weather-maker, Hurricane Nicholas, has moved inland north and east of Louisiana; we saw the last of the outer bands of cloud cover through around 10:45, then rapid clearing and brightening took place.
Start Time: 7:15A
End Time: 11:45A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F
Elevation: 0.60′ low, .03′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 41cfs
Water Surface Temp: 81.4
Wind Speed & Direction: NE8-12 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Hurricane Nicholas which is NE of Louisiana
Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 60-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Hurricane Nicholas passed overhead; the final bands of clouds cleared by 10:45; skies brightened quickly thereafter
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 68% illumination.
GT = 38
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 1933/B0132C
Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service
Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com
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