I fished Belton Lake all day today, with guests on board in the afternoon only. Unfortunately, the afternoon’s bite just paled in comparison with the morning feed.
Fishy Princess Lily with one of her royal subjects — a 13.5 inch Belton Lake white bass
I welcomed back Miss Lily L. of Belton, accompanied by Jason B. As we met at dockside there was not a breath of air and I knew it was going to be pretty tough, hoping that we’d at least get a good sunset bite.
We struggled for the first 2 hours, boating 4 white bass, a blue cat and a keeper largemouth. All but 1 white came on the downriggers off Areas 678, 683, and 474, and the white bass came on a smoked slab off Area 294.
As sunset approached, we headed to the vicinity of Area 081 (BA: 5 HG) and finally got a break. Sonar lit up with fish beginning to lift off the bottom and both suspend beneath and pursue after baitfish above. Several times on the barely chopped surface we could see fish break water and shad skip out ahead. We kept downriggers going due to the suspended posture of these fish and Lily’s limited ability to cast effectively. We also put out 2 flatlines given the near-surface action. We boated 8 fish and missed 3 more all in the last 35 minutes of the day. These fish slowly moved shallower up toward Area 024 as the light dimmed. At 5 years old, 7:00pm is pressing close to Lily’s bedtime and so, despite the biting fish, we left a few minutes early than I normally would so mom didn’t have a hard time dealing with a cranky fisher-girl.
This was Lily’s 3 trip out with me in a 2-month period and she has really progressed over that span of time. She has excellent technique when a smoking tactic is called for using slab spoons, she understands the working of the downrigging equipment, and she’s overcome her fear of touching and holding fish safely by their lower jaw. She’s been able to catch sunfish, white bass, blue catfish, hybrid striper, and largemouth bass and is a fast learner. We agreed that with the cold weather coming we’d probably put off any further trips until Spring, but, once she’s turned 6, we’d give casting a try — always something to look forward to.
As the sun rose, high pressure was still building in on the heels of a cold front’s passage the day before. As the cool, dry air came in from the NW, the fish fed aggressively. I fished 4 areas, found fish at 3 of them, and, by noon had boated exactly 81 fish with all but a handful being solid, legal white bass, with 2 legal hybrid and 5 short hybrid mixed in.
The fishing activity mimicked the wind nearly exactly as it often does on days on and after a front’s passage — the harder the wind was blowing, the better the fish bit…as the wind slowed, so did the bite, and when the wind died, fish were very hard to tempt or even find separated from the deep bottom on sonar.
I found fish in the following locations today:
Pre-Sunrise to just Post-Sunrise: Area 147. Only managed 6 fish here despite seeing better sonar returns. Fish were a bit tentative before the sun brightened things up. A smaller 3/8 oz. TNT 180 did the trick on an easing technique combined into a smoking tactic.
Early morning: Area 681 to 682 (BA: 5HG, 1T) These fish were the most active I found today. They were thick on bottom, found in fast moving schools at mid-depth, and occasionally were breaking water chasing bait to the surface. A lift-dropped slab was the best approach when they ramped up, and an easing tactic was best as they settled down. A TNT 180 in 3/4oz. did the trick. Boated 49 fish here.
Late morning to noon: Area 683 — I hit this area as the winds swung from NW to NE, and as they tapered out to nothing. Although there was little here to indicate the presence of gamefish, abundant bait and the occasional blip on bottom gave some clues. Boated 26 fish here including 1 legal and 4 short hybrid — balance was legal white bass.
TALLY = 95 FISH, (81 AM, 14 PM)
Start Time: 7:30a
End Time: 7:00p
Air Temp: 43F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~74.3F
Wind: Winds were light from the WNW at 11 at sunrise, slowly dying to calm by 10:15am, then staying calm until a light/variable puff arose just before sunset.
Skies: Skies were bright and clear the entire trip.