Fished a morning half day trip with Mr. Steve H. of Austin. What a pleasant, easy going fellow. I really enjoyed his company. Steve is semi-retired from the computer industry. He fishes a lot, but admittedly doesn’t catch a lot. He wanted to get some basics down on techniques, sonar interpretation and fish location, so I tailored the trip to meet that expectation and we were rewarded for our efforts. Steve stated that he does what I find a lot of anglers do, which is to visit the same spots over and over based on past success, but without really observing for natural clues upon arrival. We worked on changing his approach to things, and started with using our underwater eyes called sonar.
Steve H. with a 3 pound hybrid taken via downrigging at 21 feet this morning.
Start Time: 6:40a
End Time: 11:55am
Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~85.6F
Wind: Winds were from the SW the entire trip and tapered from 2-3mph pre-dawn, steadily up to ~13 by near noon .
After meeting one another, we headed out slowly and I immediately began pointing things out and answering questions about sonar. We were very fortunate today to find abundant bait at the first area we searched. In the few minutes before dawn, we spotted and cast to schools of smallish white bass and short hybrids feeding just sub-surface and occasionally breaking the surface, between Area 171 and the shore. These fish stayed on or near the top for about 25 minutes allowing me to introduce Steve to the use of blade baits and the Cork Rig.
By the time the last of these schooling fish broke the surface, we’d already boated 16 fish and the sun was barely clearing the horizon. Now, knowing the fish were still shallow, based on both experience and sonar readings, we worked our blade baits lift-drop style and continued to pick up fish, albeit less frequently then when they could be seen on top. Once that blade bait bite died, we searched a bit deeper still and put the downriggers to work for us.
As usual, these summer time fish really loved the speed and horizontal presentation and we caught fish after fish, often having a fish on one ‘rigger as soon as it was set to the point where we only had one rigger in and working at any given time for about a 40 minute span. Steve landed 2 legal hybrid in all this action and we missed a third. After feeling that he had the hang of downrigging, Steve let me know he was ready to learn more. This time, we slipped out to a bit deeper water as the fish were continuing to move deeper as well.
I’d previously rigged up slabs. We began fishing them vertically and keeping the baits on sonar while hovering with the trolling motor. We took 2 whites that way. Next, we added a twist by smoking these lures – 2 more whites. Next, we fish them lift-drop style in a more horizontal fashion – 2 more whites. Finally, we then hit a 10-12 minute dry stretch. By now it was nearly 10am and the bite was beginning to go soft here.
Steve had to make a run to Dallas to help one of his daughters, so we planned to wrap up a little earlier than usual. I suggested he shouldn’t go home having ended on a dry spell, so we rigged up the downriggers for one last hoorah and came up with 2 nice white bass in no time to polish off the trip nicely. I returned Steve to the ramp safely with 46 fish under his belt and hopefully more confidence to find the fish by putting nature’s clues together for himself the next time he gets a chance to chase ’em.
After dropping Steve off, I spent about 90 minutes looking for other concentrations of bait and/or gamefish. Once I located fish, I fished until I landed just one, and then moved on before the bite died completely so I’d have some other areas to fish for trips later this week. I was successful in finding fish at Area 507 (on top), at Area 508 (suspended at 30-34′), and in the open water between Area 507 and 310 (noted terns working pretty hard in this area). I landed 2 fish on topwater and 2 on downriggers from these 4 areas and called it a day.
TALLY = 50 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