WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I was joined by Mr. Frank “Big Dad” Ellis, his step-son, Richard Garrison, and four of Frank’s grandchildren — Alexis (age 12) and Aubrey (age 10) Mikeska, and Eliana (age 11) and Janessa (age 8) McKee, all of Copperas Cove. The girls all fished while Frank and Richard helped me help the girls with technique, taking off fish, untangling lines, and more. The girls are all on spring break and this was the first of a few big events they had planned for the week. Aubrey, the only “morning person” in the bunch, really warmed my heart when, in the middle of the white bass feeding frenzy tells her grandpa, “Man, this works great. I’m gonna teach my kids this technique when they go fishing.”
From left, Aubrey Mikeska, Richard Garrison, Alexis Mikeska, Janessa McKee, Frank Ellis, and Eliana McKee with a few of the 105 fish they landed as the opening act of their Spring Break 2018.
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip during which we caught white bass (primarily), as well as crappie, largemouth, and drum.
WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake
WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday morning, 10 March 2018
HOW WE FISHED: Fishing got off to a bit later start this morning thanks to some heavy grey cloud cover which obscured sunrise, and thanks to very light winds. By 7:30am things started to happen as nature came alive, fish began biting, and birds started flying and feeding. We fished only two areas this morning. The first half of the trip, while the bite was more subdued, we used a snap-jigging tactic for smaller white bass holding very tightly to the bottom. During the second half of the trip we witnessed the most aggressive white bass feed I have seen so far this year. Hundreds of white bass were feeding in an area of about 2 acres in size and in about 25 feet of water. The fish were primarily in the middle third of the water column with individual fish occasionally breaking the surface as they chased shad. Fishing was super easy with a smoking tactic and the trusty 3/8 oz. slab with Hazy Eye Stinger hook affixed. This aggressive feed lasted about 75 minutes. Afterwards, fish were still catchable, but were on bottom and much less aggressive, thus requiring that we go back to snap-jigging. At this point anything short of another frenzy would have been anticlimactic. As this was a “Kids Fish, Too!” package trip, we wrapped up right around the 3.5 hour mark with exactly 104 fish landed. I think Aubrey would have fished ’til midnight if we let her, Alexis could have hung a bit longer, and Eliana and Janessa were ready for an early lunch.
OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: 1) A number of the larger white bass we landed from out of the suspended school we smoked for were males dripping milt. That was the first time I’ve observed that on either Belton or Stillhouse this season.
TALLY: 105 FISH, ALL CAUGHT AND RELEASED
Start Time: 6:30 am
End Time: 10:00 am
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F
Water Surface Temp: 60-62F
Wind Speed & Direction: S3 at trip’s start, building to S7 by 9:00am, then shifting suddenly to WSW9-10.
Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover, tapering off to 30% cover with white clouds on a blue sky by trip’s end.
Water Level: 2.43 feet low
GT = 50
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 382 – snap-jigging for small white bass hugging bottom
**Area 617 to 378 to 380 – frenzied white bass caught via slow-smoking
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)