Belton Fishing Guide Report – 12 August 2010 – 25 Fish

I fished an evening trip on Belton Lake today with William L. of Las Vegas, NV, and 15 year old son, Casey. The family is new to the area and getting acquainted with some of our local outdoor options, and so booked a trip with me to see what mid-summer Central Texas fishing is like.

Casey with his sweet 7.25 pound hybrid striped bass which measured 25.50 inches.

William and Casey with a trio of keeper that fell for our downrigging program.

The pair had some previous experience fishing for school-sized striped bass on Lake Mead and other Colorado River chain lakes out west, but had never downrigged before. I was impressed in that after I explained to them what we’d be doing, they researched the method on the internet so they had some idea of what to expect, and were looking forward to putting theory into practice. I explained that this was the single most effective tactic in the heat of the summer unless (very unpredictable) topwater action broke out.

So, we met around 5:30pm and got to work. We had a very quiet first hour on the water, hooking 5 fish and only boating 2, including a single white bass at Area 472, and another just east of Area 478.

Around 6:30, we made our way over to Area 084 and planned, based on solid sonar returns showing bait and gamefish here, to set up with a series of staggered ellipses. Well, about 40 yards and about as many seconds after setting our first ball down to depth, we were fast onto our first of 23 fish to be taken from this area — a circuit just a few yards W. of Area 084, and oriented N and S.

We kept the program going by first increasing our bait size (changing from P12’s to P13’s that I made), then going from silver to white. Over the next 90 minutes we boated 8 keeper hybrid including one of our better hybrid of the year, a 25.50 inch, 7.25 pounder that Casey fought to the boat while doing really well and keeping his calm. We also boated 3 other short hybrid, and 11 more white bass.

I looked every so often for topwater, but saw none, as the SE wind was blowing ~12mph and making the surface a bit rough to observe. I spoke with another Belton “regular” and he went our specifically in search of topwater, but, judging by how quickly he returned, I suspect he found none.

By dark, we were still graphing fish galore, but they’d done all they were going to do, so, we called it a great day and headed back in.

Both men boated personal best fish on this trip, with William putting a 5.00 pounder over the side, and, of course, with Casey sliding his 7.25 pounder into the net.

Great job, fellows!!

TALLY = 25 FISH, all caught and released

Today’s conditions:

Start Time: 5:30pm

End Time (AM): 8:40pm

Air Temperature at Trip’s Start: 98F

Water Surface Temperature: 88.1F

Winds: SSE7-12

Skies: Fair and partly cloudy.

Lake Georgetown Instructional Fishing Trip — 12 Aug. 2010 – 12 Fish

We did something a little different today. I was contacted by Mr. Pitt G. of Austin who had fished with me once before about a year ago. He and his wife, Vicky, have 10 grandchildren and they own a fairly well-equipped fishing boat, but aren’t using it to it’s full potential. Pitt wanted me to take him out on a body of water close to his home and show him how the equipment I rely on works in hopes of being able to enjoy some success when he takes his grandkids.

Vicky with a short hybrid striper she took on topwater this morning during a very light feed.

Pitt and Vicky with a mixed bag taken on a tough, bright, still Texas day in August.

We began our day looking over the span of water covered by Areas 653, 654, and 655. The skies were bright with a light WSW breeze blowing. I suspected we might find some topwater action here, and, just after sunrise, those suspicions were confirmed. The fish were in small wolfpack and not heavily schooled up, and were feeding near, but not on, the surface. This made for a tough situation, as we only saw fish here and there, and even then only for seconds at a time. Nonetheless, as Pitt and Vicky worked out their casting kinks, they each boated a fish on topwater baits and hooked and lost others.

Finally, near Area 655, we encountered two larger schools of white bass, both over 14 feet of water. This told me the fish were a bit shallower than we’d been looking up to this point, so, with surface action waning, we hooked up the downriggers and ‘rigged up 2 more fish right off the bat.

Things here settled down as the winds died and the sun’s intensity increased, so, we headed on to Areas 404 and 398 and trolled staggered ellipses over this area watching sonar closely. We found pretty solid gamefish returns, but no shad here at all. We did manage to land two solid white bass holding at 14 feet deep over 24-25 feet of water here (close to Area 404), but, not seeing any bait made me decide to move on.

We headed to Areas 656-657 and again trolled a series of staggered ellipses here where, on our initial approach, we’d graphed a several large schools of shad holding along the bottom in 14-16 feet, and then saw two small, briefly appearing schools of white bass working on the top in the same area. We boated only 1 largemouth bass here, but lost 3 other fish that were on for several moments but then shook off.

By around 11 or so it was getting pretty darn hot and windless, so, we decided to call it a day at that point.

We started making our way back in and along the way stopped and fished some man-made cover at Area 652 with bream rods and slipfloats to give Pitt and Vicky an option for the younger grandkids whenever sunfish are accessible. In less than 10 minutes we boated 5 bluegill sunfish allowing them to see the effectiveness and simplicity of this method of angling.

By finishing time, I was able to 1) introduce the pair to several reliable areas to look for fish in this summer season on Georgetown Lake, 2) fish with topwater gear, 3) fish with downrigging gear, 4) fish using the “lift-drop” method with jigs for bottom-hugging fish, 5) use slipfloat rigs for sunfish, 6) differentiate gamefish “signatures” vs. rough fish splashes on topwater, and 7) interpret sonar readings of gamefish and baitfish. This was a lot to cover in a short time span, but, once each discipline is practiced again the slope of the learning curve will lessen and success will come. Bottom line: there is still no substitute for time spent on the water.


Today’s conditions:

Start Time (AM): 6:40am

End Time (AM): 11:25am

Air Temperature at Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temperature: 87.6F

Winds: 0-3 from the WSW

Skies: Clear and bright.