Fished a 1/2 day morning trip today with Mr. Paul Johnson and his son, Daniel. Paul is a Laguna Madre guide (captain) working for Bruce Shuler’s Getaway Adventures lodge in Port Mansfield, TX, and Daniel is a non-commissioned officer in the US Army stationed at Ft. Hood. The two decided to try something with a little less salt in their diet for today.
Paul with a hybrid just shy of 7 pounds taken under terns around mid-day.
Daniel with a hybrid going 5.5 pounds taken out of a small, suspended school of fish in around 31 feet of water.
Start Time: 6:40a
End Time: 12:15pm
Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~84.4 to 85.5F
Wind: Winds were from the N and were very light today following a weak cold front that eased in from N. Texas yesterday afternoon, turning winds northerly at 12-14 last evening, and triggering thunderstorms here and there as it pushed in. By 11:00 the winds had gone ENE, and by noon ESE with building clouds that would produce thunderstorms from 2-3:30pm
Skies: Skies were clear until around 10am when cumulus clouds began to build going quickly from 20% to over 90% cloud cover with thunderheads building all around the region. Following the passage pf the light rain from 2:00 to 3:30, it remained humid and grey with high 90’s.
As we began the day with flat calm waters, we found scatter, brief surface action fueled by whites and short hybrid working the surface over open water from Area 496 to Area 497 in the 15 minutes prior to sunrise. As so often happens, once a school was sighted and we got to them, the fish would disappear very quickly. We managed just 1 short hybrid on a Cork Rig. At sunrise a light N wind began and the switch went off on the topwater.
We then broke out the downriggers and never put them away for long for the rest of the trip. We downrigged from Area 307 to 474 and immediately got into what would be the best fish of the trip – a nice series of 4-5 pound hybrid all taken at 31′ on Pets. We had a few white bass mixed in with these, as well.
Once these fish and the bait were were seeing on sonar dissipated, we checked out from Area 168 around to the E. of Area 472 and managed some short whites and a small blue cat.
We moved to Area 154 and found lots of bait and very small whites here, as well so we moved on.
At around 9:45, I spotted some terns pointing the way to some open water surface action over Area 344 to 489. We got to the terns and found “popcorn” whites spread over a pretty sizeable area of water. We both chased and waited and got into the fish twice, but only for short whiles, allowing us to put 9 more fish, all 11.5 to 12.5 inch whites in the boat. After the surface quieted down, we thoroughly worked over this area with sonar and downriggers and added 4 more keeper hybrid to the tally, including the largest of the day caught by Paul which went just a shade under 7 pounds. Once these fish quit, things got tough all over — it was the beginning of the end of the morning feed.
We hit Area 155. As we came into the area, a single school of small whites erupted boatside. I pulled one white out and Daniel hooked a short largemouth from the mix.
We left these fish and returned to Area 307 – 474 and zeroed. We stuck one last barely keeper hybrid right off of Area 506, and then called it a day with a total of 36 fish taken, 15 of which were legal hybrids.
After dropping Paul and Daniel off, I headed out to search for additional concentrations of bait for an upcoming trip. It was just beginning to cloud up significantly and I failed to locate bait on sonar at one area I very much expected it to be, so, I took a little detour, got out my 2 wt. flyrod and hunted some sunfish to pass away the “dead time” from noon to 4pm. From 1:15 to 3:30, I put 38 sunfish in the boat consisting of a mix of ~60% bluegill, 20% green sunfish, and 20% longear sunfish. No yellowbellies hit today. I found these fish at Areas 503, 184, 185, 504, and 505 with each giving up about the same number of fish; Area 503 was the best producer.
With some turbulence in the air and some local thunderstorms cropping up. I holed up in the back of a cove and waited on conditions to improve for about 40 minutes or so. By 3:30, things were looking better and the skies were greyed a bit, so I again began the search for more concentrations of bait. I finally found solid sonar readings at Area 171 over to Area 437. There was a stong presence of gizzard shad in here, and so I decided to test the waters with the downrigger. I found there were significant numbers of legal hybrid mixed in with this bait. These hybrid were tight to the bottom. From 3:45p to 7:50p, I downrigged a circuit through these fish and put 31 fish in the boat, of which 21 were legal hybrid, 7 of which went over 5.5 pounds. The remainder of the fish were either average white bass or very short (juvenile) hybrid.
Around 7:50, the first little bit of what would be a very light surface bite began. I moved up into the fish I could see and fancast a blade into and beneath them. By dark at 8:30, I’d put 11 more fish in the boat, all of which were juvenile whites or hybrids.
TALLY = 115 FISH, all caught and released
Bob Maindelle, Owner, Holding The Line Guide Service and Kids Fish, Too! Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide, Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Lake Georgetown Fishing Guide, Walter E. Long (Decker) Lake Fishing Guide. Offering Salado Fishing, Killeen Fishing and Ft. Hood Fishing