MLK Holiday Fishing Report from Belton Lake — 77 Fish — 16 January 2012

Today I fished with separate parties in the morning and afternoon. My afternoon trip was spent with 9 and 10 year old brothers Zane (9) and Zach (10) from Georgetown, TX, accompanied by their mom, Robin.

Zach scored the first lunker of the trip, boating this 3.75 pound largemouth we found “ghosting” around the periphery of a school of small white bass.

Not 7 minutes after all the hoop-lah died down over Zach’s big fish, Zane hooked and landed this nice hybrid out of 29 feet of water.

Robin, self nick-named the “internet queen” found me online and gave me a call the night before to check on availability on a spur-of-the-moment thought that the boys might be well-served to spend their warm MLK day off from school in the great outdoors.

We met up around 2pm, and I let the boys know right off the bat that afternoon trips usually start slow and end well. As it turned out, that’s just how things played out today.

We began our trip finding scattered pods of white bass here, there, and everywhere in little clusters of 3-8 fish or so around the vicinity of Area 382. We did just okay as we downrigged for these fish. Each time we encountered a nice bunch of fish as we downrigged, I’d throw a buoy and/or go right back to that spot only to find the fish gone. They just wouldn’t stay put long enough to fish for them with any consistency. So, we stuck with our downrigging approach until natural signs begin to increase and I suspected we could find and catch congregated fish.

This opportunity finally arose around 3:30p when, in and around Area 1015, I spotted a large (several hundred fish) school holding tight to a gentle slope and not in a hurry to go anywhere. The boys, who by now had a pretty good grasp on their jigging technique due to all of the “short stops” we’d attempted when the fishing was slow early on, did very, very well given their age and experience level. They stayed focused on controlling the depth of their presentation and they were rewarded for that with fish after fish.

Over the course of our trip the boys built on some fundamentals they already had been exposed to. They learned how to control the amount of slack in their lines, and how to make sure the lure was where the fish wanted it. They learned to control the speed of their retrieve once a fish was hooked, as well as correct rod positioning. They learned how and when to set the hook, and they learned to steer fish one way or another to avoid tangles or other problems. It was an ideal time to teach these things because the fish were cooperating well, and so the boys had many iterations to try to “do over” something they didn’t quite get right the first time.

As time got close to 5:30p, we encountered one last blast of action near Area 382. This actually got the attention of some birds in the area and they were helpful in keeping us near the active fish. These fish were actually the most aggressive I experienced all day. As we encountered them on sonar, most were suspended. We experimented with a “smoking” technique (usually reserved for warmer weather) and it worked, so, we worked these fish over pretty well, taking our tally up to exactly 77 fish. As the action began to wane with the diminishing light and wind, the boys realized all that fishing had taken a lot out of them. Both reported sore hands and put in their request for snacks, while Robyn predicted a very quiet ride home, thinking the boys were surely going to nod off on the drive back to Georgetown.

Great fishing today, boys!! You both did a good job!

TALLY = 77 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:40a

End Time: 1:00p

Air Temp: 63F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 51.0F.

Wind: Winds were S13 at trip’s start, ramping up to S16 by mid afternoon, and then tapering off to S8 by sunset.

Skies: Skies were grey and nearly 100% clouded all day.

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