This morning I got to fish with Matt, Karsyn (8 years old), and Heath (4 1/2 years old). of Round Rock on a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip. You’ve heard that saying, “All good things must come to an end.”? Well, we officially reached an end to the white-hot topwater that had been going on at Belton in the morning for the last several weeks with the arrival of the season’s first mild cold front on Wednesday. The front brought clouds, cooler temperatures and a N to NE wind with it, and the fish just went into a funk as they typically do in August and September given such conditions or “hurricane” weather involving a deep low pressure system.
Karsyn with our big fish of the trip, a 3.5 pound 19.0 inch hybrid striped bass.
Karsyn, Matt, and Heath — life jackets on, ready for adventure!!
We got underway right around 6:50 after doing some dockside instruction on casting with closed-face reels. I was initially encouraged as we approached Area 487 because about 10 minutes prior to sunrise I saw a small pod of white bass chasing a school of shad over open water and thought perhaps we’d see that continue as the skies brightened. But, that was to be the ONLY topwater we saw all morning. In this same general area I saw ample gamefish, all holding suspended at 27-29 feet over a deeper bottom. We geared up the downriggers and put 3 white bass in the boat in the first 20 minutes or so of fishing between Areas 487 and 488. Then, things went quiet and never really perked back up all day. After making several runs over these suspended fish without a hookup, we ran to a few areas but found little in the way of bait or suspended fish. Eventually, we returned to Area 487/488 and found the same fish in the same orientation but they were just locked down and unwilling to do much. We did pick up a legal hybrid going 19 inches and 3.5 pounds (Karsyn’s biggest fish ever!) and one more white bass, but subsequent passes went untouched. I should mention here that Heath did a great job helping me net his sister’s big fish!
I decided to switch over to panfishing at this point, a bit earlier than I’d hoped. We beached at Area 492 and used slip float rigs to target the ample numbers of sunfish of all sizes in this area. Over the next hour and a quarter we boated 41 fish consisting of bluegill sunfish ranging from 3 to 7 inches in length, with a few black-tail shiners mixed in. This was easy fishing and it fully engaged the kids as they had a rod in hand and had to keep a sharp eye on their float, so they stayed focused on the task. I was actually surprised at how long this held little Heath’s attention. After a while we wore the sunfish thin and I asked the kids if they’d like to try for some bigger fish again before we concluded our trip. Heath was getting sleepy in dad’s lap, but Karsyn was ready for more. We again looked at Area 487/488, again found fish here, and again failed to get them to respond. Finally, we headed to Area 305 to 509 and right on a minor breakline, with baits down at 29′ we had a release. Karsyn jumped right up and brought that fish in — a smallmouth bass. We ran a few more passes in this area, but suspecting diminishing returns were in store for us, we called it a day at that point.
As I got the kids back to the dock I asked each of them what their favorite part of the trip was. Karsyn immediately answered, “Catching that big fish!”, and Heath said he liked helping his sister land her big fish using the net.
So, our tally today included 4 legal white bass, 1 legal hybrid, a short smallmouth, and a mix of 41 sunfish flavored with a few black-tail shiners.
Due to the touch conditions for the white bass and hybrid striped bass this morning, I went ahead and postponed a trip scheduled for this evening at least until we see a southerly component return in the winds. Hopefully our hot, dry, stable conditions aren’t yet done for the season — only time will tell.
TALLY = 47 FISH, all caught and released