WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I fished with Temple Fire Chief Mitch Randles, his adult son, Kevin Randles, his adult daughter, Sabrina Randles, and Sabrina’s fiance, Dakota McDonald. This trip was in celebration of Sabrina’s birthday and has become a bit of a family tradition. I really enjoy taking this family out — they are just solid people with a love of family. When the tornado hit Joplin, MO, several years ago, the Randles lost just about everything, but picked themselves up by the bootstraps, dusted themselves off, and made a new start here in Central Texas. Missouri’s loss was definitely our gain! Now Sabrina and Dakota have wedding plans for the autumn of 2018 and plan to stay local, so, hopefully we’ll have these fine folks around for years to come!
From left: Sabrina, Dakota, and Kevin landed these nice hybrid all just seconds apart as a nice school moved beneath the boat and crushed their slabs.
Chief Randles picked this nice one up on a slow-smoking retrieve. I noted Mitch was reeling a bit more slowly than everyone else and was doing a bit better on getting bit, so, we all observed his retrieve speed, slowed down, and everyone began doing better from that point on.
Without even trying for them, nor changing our tactics to suit them, we caught at least 2+ limits of keeper largemouth bass today in the 40+ foot water we fished. As the water cools, the largemouth will continue to go deep, bunch up, and hit slabs. Just make sure you’ve got your Hazy Eye Stinger Hook on those slabs!!
And the birthday girl with her best fish of the trip! As her dad would say, “Happy birthday, Squirt!”
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass and hybrid stripers using artificial lures.
WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake
WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday morning, 30 December, 2017
HOW WE FISHED: Our first stop came on a breakline in about 34′ where we found a mix of white bass, largemouth, short hybrid, and freshwater drum using sonar. It is always beneficial to have fish cooperate early in the trip so I can coach folks out of any bad habits in their jigging techniques so they build on a solid foundation for the rest of the outing, and such was the case this morning. After this first area tapered off, we went looking for more action. At just before 9am, I spotted bird activity as I scanned with my spotting scope. We were fortunate to find fish under birds without other boats around and enjoyed 30 minutes or so of undisturbed, fast fishing using a smoking tactic for fish that were both bottom-oriented and suspended from 25 feet down to bottom in ~43 feet of water. When this dried up, we made four more stops, all under birds, over the remainder of the morning. We only encountered one lull in the action shortly after the wind shifted from E to N, at which time the wind picked up and the conditions began to feel more “raw”. The bite went strong until 11:35, then tapered to nil by 11:50. Right at noon or so we were headed back to the dock with 167 fish landed and a smoked pork butt on the Randles’ minds!!
OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: 1) After a full day of “birdlessness” yesterday, the birds were “all over it” this morning, working from just before 9am through about 11:35 with just a brief lull as the wind shift from E to N came in. 2) The largemouth bass are really coming on strong in deep water. Without trying, we landed at least 2 full limits of keeper largemouth as a by-catch targeting white bass and hybrid. 3) A very slow smoking retrieve outperformed all others when fish were suspended. 4) Fish have begun to respond well to snap-jigging.
TALLY: 167 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 8:00a
End Time: 12:15p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 49F
Water Surface Temp: 55.3F
Wind Speed & Direction: ESE4-6 at trip’s start with a balmy feel to the air; a wind shift around 9:40am shifted winds 90 degrees through to the NNW at 4-6, then, the velocity slowly tapered up to just shy of whitecapped (~12mph) by trips end. The cool dampness and wind chill factor could definitely be felt versus the nearly comfortable starting temperature.
Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds
Water Level: 2.90 feet low
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area B0023c/348/1144 (under birds and over a wide-spread area; still had to use sonar to find the spot on the spot)
**Area vic 1556
**Area vic 1152
**Area B0023c/348/1144 (after birds started feeding here a second time)
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)