This morning I fished with Ryan and Lacey S. of Temple. The highlight of our trip was this pending Belton Lake Catch & Release category hybrid striped bass measuring exactly 25.50 inches.
Lacey S. with her pending lake record hybrid. It measured 25.50 inches long (tail squeezed) and weighed 8.00 pounds on a certified Boga Grip. Check out the thickness of the “neck” and tail section on this fish.
Ryan holds his own 5.75 pound hybrid, which, on any other day would have been cause for celebration in and of itself.
After a very turbulent afternoon and evening last night with heavy thunderstorms covering the area dropping 1-4 inches of rain locally, we got a few hours of fishing in this morning before additional bands of thunderstorms redeveloped and drove us off the lake by 10:35am.
Ryan works in Anesthesiology at Scott and White and has been out with me on 3 other occasions (all of which included weather-related difficulties!!). This was the first time Lacey came aboard — but hopefully not the last because she is definitely good luck!!
Our plan today was to focus on netting and fishing with live shad for whatever species might be tempted by them. Catching shad is never a “gimme”, and although May is usually an easy go of it, shad respond to weather extremes, so, I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as effort required to net our bait today. Ryan was interested in being part of the bait gathering process, so, he arrived earlier than he would have for a fishing trip and brought his own cast net with him. All the worry was for naught, though, as soon after launching, I saw literally thousands of shad in the pre-dawn grey light blanketing the surface near Area 663. Two throws filled the 35 gallon bait tank with enough left over to use for chum and that chore was over!!
Since it was still fairly dark, we fished from Area 663 to the mouth of Area 184 and boated 2 largemouth and 2 smallmouth with one other smallmouth jumping and throwing the hook. These fish were keyed in on the bait here. We also had several white bass swipe at the Spook Jr.’s we had on, but none made it into the boat.
After the skies went from dark grey to lighter grey and I was confident that it was light enough to fish deeper, we headed to Area 788 and found fish holding close to the bottom from 25 feet on up to about 20 feet. The very first time I dropped a slab down and smoked it I got a white bass, so things looked good. I had Ryan and Lacey drop down and work their slabs for a while and we enjoyed limited success. Next, we expanded our coverage of the bottom by tossing Sandblasters out away from the boat, and we worked up a few more. Still, based on the sheer number of fish we saw on sonar versus what we were catching, I could tell the fish were sluggish (as they often are in turbulent or changing weather conditions). As things got slower, we moved on to fishing with live bait. In all, we boated 9 white bass and 1 short hybrid on artificials before things slowed to a crawl.
We then fished with up to 6 tightlines over the course of the rest of the morning, baited with threadfin shad ranging from 2.5 to 5.5 inches long. In summary, we boated 4 keeper hybrid, 2 keeper white bass, and 1 average blue catfish on the bait rods before weather began to threaten. The last of these four hybrid came right before we pulled lines in.
By 10am we were scooting across the water and back at dockside as the first audible rumbles of distant thunder to the SW began. By 10:35 it was thundering, lightning, and pouring down rain.
We considered waiting it out in the parking lot, but didn’t, and, in hindsight, that turned out for the better. The electrical storm was followed by high winds. Conditions didn’t calm until nearly 2:20pm.
Congratulations, Lacey, on your big catch. 8 pound hybrid are truly a rarity these days!
TALLY = 21 FISH, all caught and released