COLD FRONT YIELDS HOT FISHING – 27 Sept. 2010 – 71 Fish


I fished an evening “Kids Fish, Too!” trip with little Lily L. and Jason B. Miss Lily had fished one time before and had a close encounter with a turtle, but had never caught a fish in her life at the tender age of 5.

Lily’s first bass – and the largest fish of our trip today!!

So, we set out to change that for the better today and, about 6 minutes after she arrived, we were successful at doing just that. Her first fish, a green sunfish, earned her a Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. “First Fish” award.

We had high pressure building in with the winds calming, meaning the pressure was no longer changing much, but was now high and staying there, so the conditions were much tougher than we experienced this morning with a still-rising barometer.

I introduced Lily to using a slip float rig, and she went right to town on the local sunfish population in and around Area 239, boating a mixed bag of 10 longear, bluegill, and green sunfish in under half an hour.

I then suggested that we try for some bigger fish, and she was game for that. We looked over Area 206-665 and found little. We then downrigged over Area 032 and pulled up a single 2 pound largemouth bass which would be our largest fish of the trip. This area did not continue to produce, so, we headed on to Area 671 to 453. Despite some solid sonar readings on fish at 38 to 41 feet deep that I know were white bass, we only got 2 fish to strike and lost both as they “arm wrestled” Lily’s rod down flat and pulled off without any shock absorption left in her gear.

We let these fish regroup and headed off to Area 231 to once again mix it up with some sunfish, and boated an even dozen sunfish, most of which were greenies.

Once we thinned these fish out, we returned to Area 671 – 453 and again had a tough time catching despite plenty of fish showing deep on sonar.

Finally, just before, during, and after sunset we concentrated our efforts between Areas 644 and 665 and boated 6 nice white bass to cap off the evening.

I think the neatest thing I’ll remember about this trip was Lily’s little “shriek” that she made. It was a blend of a lot of excitement and a wee bit of fear all coming out in one sound at experiencing something very new but being a bit unsure of it all. This was especially noticeable when either Mr. Jason or I let a fish get a bit too close for comfort!!

As we wound down our evening, our count stood at 30 fish, all caught and released.


The fishing this morning was on fire. I fished solo to try to pin down some locations in advance of a trip scheduled for the evening, and on the heels of our first significant cold front that began pushing in Sat/Sun.

I fished 4 areas and found fish at 2.

My first stop came at Area 999. I fancast a Cicada right at sunrise and came up with 3 white bass.

I then hit both Areas 123 and 116 and zeroed.

Around 8:15 I headed to Area 037, saw some fish identifiable ONLY with the downlooking feature of Structure Scan, buoyed them and began jigging. In 90 minutes I boated 38 fish including 2 keeper largemouth, and a mix of 36 keeper and short white bass. Every one of these fish hit a smoked slab. I tried both a 1/4 silver Rattle Snakie and a 3/4 oz. slab. The fish definitely preferred the smaller profile, telling me that the forage was likely smallish threadfin shad.

At 9:00 the fishing was getting soft and by 9:25 it was over.

TALLY = 41 FISH, all caught and released

Today’s tally = 41 in the AM, 30 in the PM = 71 Fish on the day.


Start/End Time: 7:00a to 9:30a and 3:45p to 7:50p

Air Temp: 56F (AM); 76F (PM)

Water Surface Temp: ~80.1F

Wind: Winds were light from the N at around 7-8.

Skies: Skies were high, clear, blue, and dry.

Deployed Soldiers’ Kids Catch ‘Em Up — 25 Sept. 2010 – 39 Fish – SKIFF Trip 2010 #10

S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) exists to take the children of deployed and deceased soldiers on professionally guided fishing trips at no charge to the family. These trips are provided through my guide service, Holding the Line Guide Service, with funds generated by the Austin Fly Fishers, and with the support of businesses and individuals from all over the U.S.

Here is my report for today’s trip…

Megan’s big bass anchored our string today. Look at that smile!!

Dear Austin Fly Fishers,

This morning, Saturday, Sept. 25th, I was joined my Mrs. Martina Patterson and two of her children, 8 year old Megan and 5 year old David, all of Kempner, TX. Sergeant First Class Justin Patterson is deployed to Iraq from Fort Hood, TX, on a one year tour of duty which will conclude in April of 2011. He has served a combined 27 years in the National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and on active duty, where he now serves.

Stillhouse Lake is nearly back down to full pool after rising ~5 feet following the passage of Tropical Storm Hermine, and the fishing is improving after taking a hit for a while following the flooding.

We met at 7:00am and, in order to engage little David right away, got busy fishing for sunfish in the shallows around Area 239. Knowing that David’s attention span wouldn’t hold out near as long as his sister’s, we kept all 7 of the sunfish we boated in the livewell. They would provide entertainment while big sister kept hard after the big ones later in our trip.

A simple slip float rig did the trick for a nice mess of sunfish — we boated 7 before the sun came up!

After our first sunfish stop, we began the search for larger quarry and found a mix of largemouth and white bass in two distinct locations. The first location (Area 665 to 205) held a lot of bait, but the bait was relaxed and blanketing the bottom, not in tight, suspended balls, indicating the lack of a threat by predators. As expected, the bite was soft here. In about an hour of fishing we boated 5 fish (2 largemouth and 3 white bass).

Next, we headed to between Areas 668 and 671. As we came off plane and the sonar began to reveal a detailed picture of what lay below, a smile came to my face as I saw multiple large schools of white bass holding just below tightly schooled shad in 38-40 feet of water, over a slightly deeper bottom. We downrigged for these fish at first and caught fish every time we passed over a school. At one point in time, we found a school about 6 feet thick and about 15 yards long. I tossed a buoy over these fish, brought in the downrigging gear, equipped the kids with spinning rods, and we simply dropped slabs down to bottom and reeled them back up through the school, accounting for 14 fish in less than 10 minutes.

Once that school dissipated, we returned to trolling for a bit longer, boating 3 more white bass and another largemouth. By around 11am (four hours into the trip) the sun was getting hot, the light breeze died, and the novelty of things was wearing off so, we had some snacks, snapped some good photos, had a big time re-catching all of the fish in the liveweill with our hands and releasing them, and enjoyed the “fast” ride back to the dock to say farewell. Our tally for the day stood at 39 fish, including 7 sunfish, 7 largemouth bass, and 25 white bass, of which 24 were of legal size, with two exceeding 14 inches.

Mrs. Patterson and her two junior anglers with two of our larger white bass taken from nearly 40 feet of water this morning.

As always, thank you for your efforts, support, donations, and all that you do to make these trips happen for our troops’ families!!


–Bob Maindelle


Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~81.2F

Wind: Winds were light from the NNE at around 1-3.

Skies: Skies were partly cloudy for the duration of the trip. Only 90 minutes following the close of the trip, a mild cold front began to push through bringing NE winds to 10 with higher gusts, rain, and a 10 degree temperature drop.

Lake Georgetown Fishing Guide Report — 23 Sept. — 23 FISH

I fished once again today with Pitt G. of Austin, this time accompanied by his adult son, Robbie. Pitt made a few specific requests concerning this trip including that 1) we give jugfishing a try so he could see if that would work for trips in his own boat when accompanied by his grandkids, and 2) that we work in some vertical jigging so he could get the hang of that technique.

Robbie (L) and Pitt (R) of Round Rock with a nice Lake Georgetown hybrid striped bass taken from the high waters caused by Tropical Storm Hermine. This fish weighed in at 4.75 pounds.

Well, the effects of Tropical Storm Hermine are still very evident on Georgetown … the lake went from ~7 feet low to over 6 feet high (a 13 foot change nearly overnight) and is only now beginning to drop as the flow from the dam has begun in earnest. As I’ve found at Belton and Stillhouse the fish here are scattered and just not feeding hard. The murky skies and E wind at trip’s start didn’t help, either.

Nonetheless, I fished in the shallows a bit around Area 652 while waiting on Pitt and Robbie’s arrival to sample the sunfishing and secure some live baits just in case. I boated 2 bluegill, 2 yellowbellies, and 2 green sunfish.

Once the boys arrived, we headed out to place our juglines, but the abundant and apparent topwater feed by blue and channel cat we experienced pre-tropical storm was now all but gone. We went through the motions only potting out 10 of the jugs I prepared just so they could appreciate the effort and the method involved. By trip’s end we never had a touch on the juglines, all of which we’d baited with shrimp.

After the jugs were out, I made a few passes looking with sonar down near the dam, but found little. Next, it was off to Area 404 to 669. In this area, over 28-31 feet with balls down around 23-25, we saw abundant gamefish and balled up shad. We downrigged for these fish and began catching fish, but, in comparison to the number of solid gamefish signatures we saw on sonar, our success was quite limited. We boated 1 crappie, 2 small largemouth bass, and 2 small white bass here, with a 3rd largemouth missed on the jump before deciding to head elsewhere.

We looked with sonar at Area 654 and to the N. of it and saw some good sonar returns at 14-16 feet over a 16-20 foot bottom. We downrigged over these fish and picked up our best fish of the day, a 4.75 pound hybrid striped bass — our only hybrid of the trip.

Next, with the wind shifting to just W of S and the skies beginning to clear, we headed out to do some vertical jigging. I had just begun to find fish willing to respond to a vertical jigging retrieve on Stillhouse both before and after the tropical storm, but with water temps still over 80, the fish are still not congregated and are suspended and moving. We found the same thing on Georgetown.

As we hovered over Area 670 in 25-27 feet of water, we saw 1-2 white bass at a time bass beneath us. I coached Pitt and Robbie to default to jigging on bottom, and then “smoke” suspended fish as they appeared on sonar. Everything came together for Pitt as he had a 12 inch white follow and take his bait after we worked for 20 minutes trying to tempt a number of fish unsuccessfully.

We made another stop over some fish on a slowly tapering flat, but, by the time we got set up over them, they had moved on.

We made a final stop at Area 666. I actually stopped here to satisfy a request by Robbie to show him what submerged timber looked like on the side-scan feature of my Lowrance unit. We literally stumbled onto a school of suspended whites holding in an open patch within a stand of timber. I buoyed these fish and we returned to hover over them and worked them over with jigging spoons used in a smoking fashion. We quickly boated 8 whites before the school turned off and then moved on.

Robbie had an afternoon appointment to make, so we wrapped up a bit early at noon with 15 fish boated for Pitt and Robbie.

I went back to collect my juglines and continued looking for additional areas with concentrations of bait and fish and found little else. I boated an additional small white bass and an additional small largemouth bass, both between Areas 404 and 669, and then wrapped it up around 1:15p.

In all, I saw 23 fish boated today — 15 with my guests on board and 8 fish boated before/after their trip out with me.



Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 1:15p

Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~80.1F

Wind: Winds were light from the E at around 7, slowly turning SSW by trip’s end.

Skies: Skies were 100% grey at trip’s start, slowly clearing to 40% cloudy with blue skies following the wind shift around 10a.


What a great trip this morning!! I had two of the most fishing-enthusiastic young men I’ve ever had on board come out with me today. Best friends Taylor and Matt are both from Cedar Park, TX, and had done a little fishing on occasion in a stocked municipal park pond near them, but they really wanted to branch out and use different techniques and catch different species on today special trip. The boys were polite, respectful, eager to learn, and worked well alongside one another when teamwork was called for. Taylor’s mom described them as “brothers with different mothers”, and she was right on with that.

Taylor T. with the 15 3/8 inch white bass that fell for a Pet Spoon and landed him a TPWD Big Fish Award

Matt with his first white bass of the day taken from 27 feet of water over a 32 foot bottom

As we got underway this morning I first introduced the boys to the most basic of fishing techniques — using bait and floats for sunfish. We quickly boxed up 12 sunfish at Area 667 and held onto them for bait just in case the conditions we faced today turned out tough. I then introduced the boys to sonar, the principles it works by, and the important role it plays in helping us locate fish. We had some tough conditions facing us this morning, including an ENE wind on the tail of rain showers that fell through sunset the previous night. Nonetheless, we were persistent in our search for fish and, once we located a few good schools of suspended white bass and largemouth bass, we began to work them over as the boys double-teamed ’em on the downriggers. We used P12’s and P13’s today in both white and silver and caught equally well on all combinations.

Our first bit of success came between Areas 041 and 476 (3 fish). Next, we located scattered fish along the breakline from Area 665 all the way over to Area 205. We scarcely encountered more than 2-3 fish at a time, so the “competition factor” wasn’t working in our favor goading fish into hitting in order to beat their schoolmates to the meal. At two points along the way I threw a buoy out on top of a loose, bottom-hugging concentration of fish, but these fish were not very responsive as this yielded only one white bass and one largemouth, with no sonar evidence of schooling or excited fish egged on by the ones we’d hooked.

Around 10:25am, with our 12 sunfish and mix of 12 white bass and largemouth now under our belts, this area was getting soft and we needed to move on. I gave the boys a choice of fishing with livebait on downlines or continuing on with the downriggers for additional largemouth and white bass. The boys unanimously chose the downriggers so, off we went. We found more heavily schooled fish holding between Area 495 and 453 at 27-30 feet down over a 35-40 foot bottom here. In less than an hour’s time we boated an additional 10 fish (8 whites, 1 largemouth, and 1 channel cat), all on P13’s. The boys were now well-practiced on the downriggers, so, it was a joy just to steer the boat and stay on the fish while the two of them worked together to keep the lines peeled out behind the boat, put the ‘riggers down, pop the fish loose and play them in, release them, and get reset and watch anxiously for the next strike.

When guests are so enthusiastic, it’s a motivator for me to try harder and makes it easier to go the extra mile, show a few extra tricks of the trade, spend a little extra time on the water, etc.

When all was said and done Taylor and Matt had put together a catch of 34 fish, including a white bass that measured 15 3/8 inches, thus qualifying Taylor for a TPWD “Big Fish” award. This award is available to any angler who lands a fish that meets or exceeds the minimum lengths set species-by-species for gamefish in freshwater and salt. For white bass, 15 inches is the threshold length.

As our trip drew to a close, the boys were comparing notes on the dates of Christmas and their birthdays trying to figure out exactly how and when they might be able to cash in their chips and get back out on the water with me.

This was a good trip!!

TALLY = 34 FISH, all caught and released


Tonight I welcomed returning bowfisher Jess D. of Round Rock and her super-trooper mom, Jenn, aboard for Jess’ second bowfishing trip this season. I call mom super-trooper because she sat through 4+ hours of insects, high water, and sleep deprivation to make this trip happen for her daughter between the hours of 8pm and 1am.

Jess’ new lake record Common Carp taken by bow weighed in at 5.25 pounds and measured 22.5 inches.

This thin Longnose Gar (no easy archery target!) weighed in at 1.00 pound and taped at 19 3/8 inches.

On Jess’ previous trip (her first bowfishing excursion) just a few weeks ago, Jess landed her first fish taken with archery equipment, a nice smallmouth buffalo. She was now ready for more.

We had a few more things going for us on this trip than we did last time including 1) the fact that Jess now had some experience and the confidence that goes along with that, 2) we used our “lessons learned” from the previous trip to get her sight set well before leaving the dock, 3) we had a good practice session before launching using a stationary target, a stationary shooting platform, and a submerged target, and 4) Jess invested in an AMS Pro Retriever bottle-type reel which worked like a dream.

As we got on the water, we began to get a feel for how the flood water impacted fish behavior. We found nearly all of our fish in slow-tapering areas with flooded grass. Steeper areas and flooded brush held few fish other than the occasional gar.

We found fish in 4 general locations including Areas (BOW) 006S to 007S, Area (BOW) 008S, Areas (BOW) 010S to 011S and Areas (BOW) 012S to 013S. Of these, the first and the last were the most productive.

By the time our evening came to a close Jess connected with 6 fish, and we brought the four largest back to the dock for photographs — 2 carp, 1 longnose gar, and 1 buffalo. Of these, two qualify for waterbody records, as no entries have yet been made by a Junior Angler for the longnose gar nor the common carp.

We definitely saw some improvement over our last trip in both Jess’ accuracy and in her equipment. To her credit, although we still missed more fish than we hit, Jess never got irritated, flustered, or down – she just kept at it with a level head and a persistent attitude and it paid off.

Congratulations on two more fish for the record books, Jess!!

I FISHED WITH BABOO!!! 13 September 2010 – 29 FISH

In my first post-Tropical Storm Hermine trip with guests aboard, I fished with Mr. Steve N. of Temple, his adult son, Andrew, from the Chicago area, and Andrew’s daughter, Evelyn, who turned 3 just a few months ago. Steve’s wife has done a good bit of African mission work and has some familiarity with the Swahili language, in which a grandfather is called “Baboo”, so, today, for the first time ever, I got to fish with Baboo!!

From L to R: Andrew, Evelyn, Baboo Steve, and an unidentified white bass (in net)

We started off the trip today around 6:50am and immediately went “to the bank” to target sunfish in the newly flooded brush and grass, and to give Evelyn some “instant gratification” needed to keep a 3 year old’s attention. Steve and Andrew took turns helping Evelyn keep a watchful eye on our slip float and together boated 14 sunfish in about 40 minutes worth of effort, including bluegill, longear, and green sunfish. We focused on Area 239 for this effort.

Once we thinned out the sunfish a bit, we changed locales and headed to open water where the sun was just beginning to brighten things up and where the SE breeze was just starting to stir the surface. I studied sonar and found the “band of life” today down at 27-31 feet. We began downrigging for these suspended fish and found the fish only moderately active, but staying this way for the duration of the trip. We did equally well on White Willow, P12’s in white, and on P12’s in silver. Only one fish regurgitated food, and it spat up freshwater shrimp and had black feces indicating insects were making up a good portion of the fishes’ diet. We actually saw very few shad today on sonar.

Once the action over Areas 644 to 205 got soft, we moved on to Areas 39 and north to 209 and found fish a bit deeper (30-31 feet) here and caught them consistently.

By around 10:15, Miss Evelyn’s attention span reached it’s limit, so we took some photos and then made a fun project of releasing all 14 sunfish that she thought would look good in the livewell, one at a time. This bought Steve about 20 minutes’ worth of extra fishing time in which he landed our last 2 white bass of the trip, putting our tally at 15 white bass taken in about 2 1/2 hours’ time. Once the sunfish were all freed and the gear stowed we prepared for a smooth ride back to the dock where we bid one another farewell and discussed the possibility of bringing Baboo’s other fishing buddy, grandson Caleb, out on the water for a trip before too long.

Our efforts today yielded 14 sunfish and 15 white bass, the largest of which went 13.75 inches, with most going about 11.00 to 11.25 inches.

TALLY = 29 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:50a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp: 78F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~84.1F

Wind: Winds were light from the SSE at around 7.

Skies: Skies were bright and fair.

Stillhouse Fishing Guide Report – 11 September 2010 – 40 Fish

I fished my first post-Tropical Storm Hermine trip today solo. I put trips on hold after this past Tuesday’s rain and flooding brought several feet of new water into the lake and dirtied the upper end of the reservoir.

Despite marginal water conditions, the fish are still biting. This 16″ largemouth smacked a slab in some of the clearer water I found today.

Because the rain fell ON our area and not UPSTREAM from our area in the watershed, over 12 inches of rain led to very little rise in pool level at Stillhouse. This was taken at Rivers’ Bend just at the rise peaked.

Today I sought out clear water, fish, and bait, and found that combination at Areas 482 and then 644. At both areas I found fish suspended between 25-28 feet, very near the bottom, and somewhat reluctant to strike a downrigged bait. The fish were also not very mobile, as I continued to see fish within feet of their initial location on pass after pass as I downrigged. Given this scenario, I buoyed and experimented with vertical jigging. This worked very well, as after just a few minutes of jigging, fish seemed to come in from the immediately surrounding area to check out the commotion and, when they were well-congregated, were easily taken on a smoking retrieve. I picked up 4 fish at Area 482, but the best success came at just NW of Area 644 where I stayed on the fish for over 2 hours, all within a 40 foot radius of my initial buoy drop. A 1/8 oz. Rattle Snakie did the trick today for exactly 30 white bass at this location. I did try a 3/8 oz. TNT180, but that was just a bit too large for these reluctant fish today. Once the fishing got soft around 10:30, I continued downrigging to get a bait in front of the few still-active fish among the many sedentary ones. I picked up 2 more whites and 1 largemouth that way.

I then moved on to Area 462 and found sparse, suspended gamefish at 30-32 feet here in open water. I ran a single ‘rigger here due to the presence of timber, and quickly boated a 16 inch largemouth, and began seeing fish on sonar more regularly. I set up for vertical jigging, and managed to tease 2 white bass and another short largemouth into striking before the bite got soft for good on this morning’s bite.

I looked over a few areas with sonar on my way back to the dock, but found little and so called it quits for the day.

TALLY = 40 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:10a

End Time: 11:35a

Air Temp: 77F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~81 to 831F

Wind: Winds were light from the SW at around 8.

Skies: Skies were nearly 100% grey until 8:00am, then cleared to bright and fair.

Stillhouse Fishing Guide Report – 06 September 2010 – 32 Fish

I took a guide’s day off this Labor Day Monday, slept in a bit, and then took my wife, Miss Rebecca, out fishing. Actually, I took Rebecca out reading, and I did the fishing, but, it was the “shoulder to shoulder” time together that counted! Without the pressure of producing for guests today, I did some exploring as the seasons gradually begin to change. I found, for the first time in a long time, fish sufficiently congregated on Stillhouse to sit and vertical jig for.

After looking over a few areas and boating one short largemouth off a deep rock cluster at Area 90, I headed to Area 056 and put out a single downrigger, and covered ground at a pretty good clip while studying sonar. At the breakline found at Area 664, there was both bait and bottom-hugging gamefish, as well as a few suspended fish in this same general area. I moved on past, brought up the ‘rigger, eased back over the fish with the trolling motor and began to jig for these fish. The response was instant as the fish remained in place and responded to both a smoking approach, then, as they “got smart”, they responded to an “easing” technique followed up with a smoking retrieve. In about 2 hours’ time, I steadily pulled 31 fish off this area — all white bass — and all on Rattle Snakies — both the 1/4 oz. silver and the 1/8 oz. white.

With family plans made for midday and beyond, the sun heating up, the fishing slowing down, and the Labor Day pleasure craft beginning to proliferate, we called it a day right at 10am and headed back to the dock.

TALLY = 32 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~82F

Wind: Winds were light from the SSE at around 7.

Skies: Skies were fair.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report – 04 Sep. 2010 – NEW LAKE RECORD!!

This morning I welcomed returning guests Mark L. of Round Rock, and his son, Garrison aboard. This trip was a birthday present for Garrison who just turned 9. Garrison chose two lucky buddies to come along with him — Sean M. and Chase D.

Garrison L.’s pending Jr. Angler Belton Lake Record Blue Catfish!!

I was very concerned about our odds today and expressed this to Mark by phone on my Thursday night “check in” call. We saw pre-frontal conditions make for some great fishing on Wednesday, followed by the passage of a mild cold front on Friday, so today’s Saturday trip was immediately post-frontal. Fish behave oddly after a cold front’s passage, so it was tough to predict what was going to happen. The boys had been so excited for so long, there wasn’t any stopping that momentum, so we decided to go ahead with the trip and, when all was said and done, we’d done better than I expected we might.

The first positive sign was the appearance of some light on and off topwater action right at (obscured) sunrise. Small schools of white bass fed on and near the top for about 35 minutes between Area 663 and 412. Although this was not strong or sustained, it was evidence of gamefish on the move and that was a good sign given the conditions. All three boys broke the ice here by landing a white bass … in fact we left here just after 8am with 5 fish boated and the boys now over the learning curve that comes with casting from a moving boat.

Next it was on to Area 437 and to the NE of it for some downrigging. We found ample bait here, but gamefish were a bit sparse. We boated 2 short hybrid, and 2 white bass on P12’s and P13’s … and then it happened. We took a swing a bit N and E of the track we’d been downrigging on and our “big” rod set up with a hybrid-sized bait went wild, springing free of the downrigger release clip. It was Garrison’s turn to man the rod, so he gripped it for all he was worth and began reeling. I thought we were into a hybrid, so, I just turned the boat downwind, asked one of the other boys to reel up the downrigger ball, and I stood ready with the net awaiting a glimpse of Garrison’s fish. When the fish finally neared the surface, we all said, “Whoa!” at the same time. Our “hybrid” was a nice blue catfish that decided he needed to feed on a big ol’ bait going 3+ miles per hour. A quick check of the records chart (that I always keep onboard) showed this fish would qualify for the Jr. Angler lake record at 3.75 pounds and 21 7/8 inches. After the excitement abated, we got back to fishing, but the fish had done all they were going to do here.

We moved on to Area 365 and I trolled a series of staggered ellipses over the N. facing slope at Area 365. Sonar was just lit up with suspended white bass and hybrid from 22 to 27 feet deep over a slightly deeper bottom. We got baits down and started catching fish with consistency. We boated an additional 10 fish (7 white bass, 2 short hybrid, 1 largemouth)in about an hour’s time and could have kept right on taking them, but, by now the boys’ interest in this method was waning and their curiosity about sunfishing (something I’d mentioned early in the day) was growing, so we shifted gears and pursued the mighty sunfish.

We hit just one area (Area 508) and covered it thoroughly. In about 45 minutes’ time the boys boated 22 fish including a mix of 20 sunfish (green sunfish, longears, and bluegill) and 2 blacktail shiners. There’s just something about that float being pulled under the water’s surface by a living thing that really connects with kids.

By nearly noon (we fished a little longer than normal for a kids’ trip) the boys were beginning to fade and Mark and I decided this was a good time to call it a day. We boated a total of 42 fish on this trip and the boys all headed home happy campers.

TALLY = 42 FISH, all caught and released

Today’s conditions:

Start Time: 6:50am

End Time: 1:40pm

Air Temperature at Trip’s Start: 74F

Water Surface Temperature: 85.6F

Winds: Variable due to T-storm outflow to the N. and SE breeze in advance of an approaching front

Skies: 60-100% cloud cover with grey cast to the skies.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report – 02 September 2010 – 90 Fish

I returned to Belton today in hopes of finding a bit of topwater action given the pre-frontal conditions forecast for the day. With several trips booked over the next few days and a mild cold front due to come in tomorrow, I wanted to at least figure out where congregations of bait were located to give us a shot at some fish when they get tough over these next few days until the winds turn back from the south.

1 of 9 keeper hybrid I landed today — 7 on downrigger and 2 casting swimbaits.

Things got started around sunrise (though it was obscured) with some light topwater action for about 40 minutes between Areas 663 and 412. There were short hybrid and a mix of sizes of white bass in on this feed. I found the blade bait worked best as it allowed me to cover top, mid-depth and bottom all with one lure. A big thunderstorm cell S. of Waco fell apart around 8am, and some outflow air from that brought dark skies, a cool N. breeze, and some light rain from 8am to 8:30am and put a damper on the fishing. As soon as that passed and the skies began to brighten, the fish fed again on top for about 10 more minutes. By now I’d bagged 25 fish. Once the last of the topwater died, I moved on scouting for more fish and bait.

I found bait and hybrid striped bass just off bottom in 17-22 feet of water between Areas 437 and 615. I boated 9 keeper hybrid, 1 short hybrid, and 3 white bass here. All but 2 of these came on downrigged P13’s (white) and P14’s (silver). Once this went soft, I moved on.

I found fish just NE of Area 365 on the N facing slope here and vertical jigged and smoked a mix bag of fish including 2 largemouth, 1 crappie, 3 drum, and 3 white bass.

I next moved to Area 508 and fished from there to to the shore. Despite strong sonar readings, I didn’t manage to hook any fish in the deeper water here, but observed fish feeding on the surface now and then toward shore. I crept in there, waited with a Spook Jr. at the ready and cast once the fish broke the surface. I boated 2 smallmouth on back-to-back casts this way — man do those brown bass jump!! Those fish went 14.50 inches and 15.25 inches and were plump and healthy.

I headed to between Areas 387 and 565 and found well-grouped, suspended schools of white bass and short hybrid here on sonar. I buoyed them, came back around with the trolling motor and hovered over them using a slab to jig and smoke for these fish. I boated an additional 23 fish in a very short period of time. When these fish quit, the feed was done, as there was from that point on not a single shad flicking, no more fish surface feeding, no rough fish rolling — just nothing.

I planned to head back in, but, before doing that I wanted to test a new artificial panfish bait by Berkeley as a possible alternative to live worms when fishing with kids. The bait far surpassed my expectations and actually outperformed live bait when you consider the time not spent re-baiting and the time not spent disgorging deeply hooked fish. That was time well spent to gain some confidence in that product before trying it out with kids on board. I boated 18 fish on this bait at Area 663, including 16 bluegill sunfish, 1 longear sunfish, and 1 large blacktail shiner.

In all, I boated 90 fish today and found several concentrations of bait. Hopefully, this bait will stay put through the weather change and take some of the guesswork out of finding them once we return to the water after the front’s passage.

TALLY = 90 FISH, all caught and released

Today’s conditions:

Start Time: 6:50am

End Time: 1:40pm

Air Temperature at Trip’s Start: 74F

Water Surface Temperature: 85.6F

Winds: Variable due to T-storm outflow to the N. and SE breeze in advance of an approaching front

Skies: 60-100% cloud cover with grey cast to the skies.