WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, Jan. 14th, I fished with returning guest and retired Georgetown restaurateur, Dwight Stone, under ideal pre-frontal conditions on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
A mild, dry front was forecast to hit around 10AM, and NOAA hit this one right on the head. We enjoyed all of the benefits of pre-frontal fishing with no rain and no strong winds.
It would be an understatement to say the fish were fired up!
PHOTO CAPTION: My first 10.00-pound largemouth bass for a client in my 15 years of guiding for white bass and hybrid stripers was landed this morning by Dwight Stone of Georgetown. He caught this on one of my white Hazy Eye slabs with stinger hooks attached.
PHOTO CAPTION: About a half-hour later, Dwight put this one on the deck, as well. 6.25 pounds.
PHOTO CAPTION: I chipped in with a 7.75 early in the morning …
PHOTO CAPTION: …and a 9.50 after the wind started to blow. What a morning!!
WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake
WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 14 January 2021
HOW WE FISHED:
The big story this morning was the wonderful bycatch of quality largemouth bass we landed on light slabs and spinning gear intended for our target species — white bass.
The top 5 fish Dwight and I landed this morning weighed 10.00 pounds, 9.50 pounds, 7.75 pounds, 6.25 pound, and 5.125 pounds (38.625 pounds total, all measured on a certified scale). Dwight’s 10-pound fish was the first ten-pound largemouth I’ve ever had a client land in 15 years of guiding for white bass and hybrid stripers. It measured 24 1/8 inches and was in excellent shape. The tail lobes were not even scarred or nicked.
Every last one of these fish was taken on my Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook attached. We used the lighter 3/8 oz. version when the winds were calmed, and I upped to to 3/4 oz. when things got nautical.
Those stinger hooks really earned their keep this morning, as every one of the bass we landed (9 total) did at least one head-shake, and that stinger, in combination with the treble, held the slab fast and kept it from being whipped around like a ball-and-chain, and thus coming loose.
We handled all of these fish very quickly and gently, and that, combined with a slow rise from bottom due to taking our time using light spinning gear, made for a barotrauma-free release for each one of them.
Amidst all of this excitement we landed a steady stream of quality white bass, as well — 98 of them to be exact. The fish we found in the first three hours came from scattered, small groups wandering on deep flats, and the fish we found in the final hour were smaller, more bunched up, and were closer to the channel break.
We landed more fish in our final hour than in the first three hours, combined, thanks to the pressure change accompanying the arrival of the dry cold front.
Since we’d done quite well, and had increasing winds and decreasing action by 11:20A, we wrapped it up right at the 4-hour mark this morning and I prepared to turn around and head over to fish an afternoon trip on Belton.
An easing tactic was the primary fish-catching technique this morning.
Hazy Eye Slabs and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 107 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Classic, strong, pre-frontal fishing activity experienced this morning; with helpful bird action through 10:15AM in multiple locations.
Start Time: 7:20A
End Time: 11:20P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 40F
Elevation: 0.72′ low with a 0.0’ 24-hour change and 34 CFS flow thru the dam (note that Belton rose about 0.50 feet with the rain which fell last Wednesday and Thursday).
Water Surface Temp: 50.0F
Wind Speed & Direction: SW5-6 at sunrise, slowly and steadily increasing while swinging through W to WNW. By trip’s end we had WNW16 gusting 20 as the front arrived.
Sky Condition: Clear, bluebird skies
Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 2% illumination
GT = 5
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Areas 0082 (2 fish), 1138 (14 fish), 1950 (20 fish), and SH0001C (71 fish as the front arrived)
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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