This past Friday morning, April 24th, I awoke early to a steady rain on a southeast wind. My crew for this day was a pretty hardy bunch without much flex in their schedule, so, with no thunder or lightning accompanying the rain, we pressed on with our plans and got out on Lake Belton for a morning of hybrid striped bass fishing, beginning around 7:45am.
Corey Oliver and his son, Cullen, with one of the hybrid we boated during a steady rain over Belton Lake this morning.
Joe Oliver coordinated this trip and included his father, affectionately called “Pa”, as well as his son, Corey, now working for Nike in Oregon, and Corey’s not-quite-5-year-old son, Cullen.
Joe has been on a wide enough variety of trips with me through the years to know I would have some misgivings about taking a child that young on a live-bait fishing trip, but, Cullen did far better than I expected he would, and I let both his dad and grandfather know that.
The aim today was to give Joe and Corey some overdue father-and-son time, and go get Cullen a bit of exposure to the outdoors, to being on a boat, and to doing a little fishing.
Our best action today came during the steady rain in the first 90 minutes of our trip, and then again just after skies cleared and before the winds went totally slack. At one point in time during the rainfall, the winds ramped up to 17-18 mph and our results definitely dropped off (likely due to the unnatural movement of our baits thanks to the boat bouncing heavily in the swells) from that time and until we found some more fish at a new location under clearing skies with a gentle westerly breeze (which would die after just 15-20 minutes).
When all was said and done, we boated exactly 31 fish, including a 50/50 mix of hybrid stripers and blue catfish, with 2 white bass thrown in for good measure.
For whatever reason, Cullen was just fascinated with the mouths of the fish we caught, requesting a look inside each one. Sure, he enjoyed reeling the fish in, aided by his father or grandfather, but, once that fish was in the boat, he asked, without fail, “What’s in his mouth?”.
Now, I am not at liberty to disclose all of the details at this point in time, but, suffice it to say that Cullen was totally amazed when one of the smaller blue catfish we reeled in had a year 2000 nickel in its mouth as I gently used a pair of curved-tip forceps to part its lips and give Cullen a peek.
After enduring a ~75 minute spell of bright, calm weather in the aftermath of the rain, we were invited over to share in some fishing success a friend of mind had gotten in to just as the south wind began to blow and strengthen. We headed over, boated 2 fish and, no doubt could have stayed for more, but, to their credit, dad and grandpa saw that Cullen had reached the end of his attention span and we agreed it was a good time to call it quits, fish or no fish, so as to keep this a positive first fishing experience for this young man.
TALLY = 31 FISH, all caught and released
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Start Time: 7:45a
End Time: 12:00p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 62F
Water Surface Temp: 69-70F
Wind Speed & Direction: SE9-16 during the early morning rain event, then going slack under bright conditions after the storm’s passage, with a S. wind picking up around 11:30a
Sky Conditions: Rainy skies, clearing to 40% clouds on a fair blue sky.
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1554 during the rain
**Area 1555 immediately after the rain
**Area 1556 once the wind began from the S. after a period of calm
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