WHO I FISHED WITH: Today I fished with Chris Lester and Mike White, both of whom work at the Blackland Research and Extension Center in Temple. They are both husbands, dads with 10-year-old boys, pontoon boat owners, and, according to them, in need of a little instruction on successfully pursuing fish on Lake Belton. They were interested in seeing how all of the components come together, including boat, sonar, trolling motor, and bait selection and presentation — kind of a “Fishing 101”.
With action like this under the boat all morning, it took only 5 hours to put 202 fish in the boat. The steady action on aggressive fish was fueled by the incoming cold front, grey cloud cover, and good breeze. There were several hundred fish in this school which fed hard for over an hour.
By the time we got to fish number 40, Mike said, “I think that is more fish than the two of us have caught on Belton in our lifetimes, combined!!”.
As often happens when fishing over top of a large school of fish for an extended period of time, during which time feces and regurgitated baitfish sink to the bottom after being voided/vomited by hooked fish, bottom feeders like buffalo, drum, and catfish eventually show up. This smallmouth buffalo fell for Mike’s slab.
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday morning, 07 November 2017
HOW WE FISHED: With Daylight Saving Time now concluded, we began at 6:40a. I searched shallow water first (under 18 feet) to no avail. Next, I moved on to some gently sloping terrain on the north side of the lake, where the wind had been impacting up until it shifted in the early hours of the morning. I found ample schools of white bass in 36-40 feet of water in two separate, but similar, areas. I “spot hopped” twice at the first area and fished just one hover at the second area. This yielded 106 fish by 8:50am. We them moved to the south shore (wind impacted) and found smallish, suspended schools of white bass and short hybrid working bait at 12-20 feet deep over a 34 foot bottom. A smoking retrieve did the trick for these fish, as it did for the first batch we encountered. Our final stop of the day came in 49-51 feet of water where the single largest school of fish I’ve observed so far this fall fed and fed and fed, allowing us to take our tally to exactly 202 fish landed before we called it a day at the 5 hour mark around 11:45am.
OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: 1) No helpful bird action yet. 2) This was very easy pre-frontal fishing with fish activity spurred on by the change of wind and weather.
TALLY: 202 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:40a
End Time: 11:45a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 69F and falling throughout the trip thanks to a slow moving cold front easing into the area on a north wind
Water Surface Temp: 70.9F
Wind Speed & Direction: N8, slowly increasing to N13-14 by trip’s end
Sky Conditions: 100% thin, grey cloud cover – not quite enough light coming through to force you to squint.
Water Level: 2.15 feet low
GT = 40
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 957 – smoking for aggressive fish, followed by easing when the fish settled down
**Area 2035 – smoking for aggressive fish, followed by easing when the fish settled down
**Area 2034 – smoking with extra handle turns to get the bait to and past suspended fish at 12-20 feet over a 34′ bottom.
**Area 717 – massive school of mixed white bass from 0-3 years, with ~20% short hybrid in the mix
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)