This morning I was joined once again by Chris and Cooper Kerbow of Austin.
Cooper’s largest fish today, this 3.125 lbs. hybrid he’s holding, came on a smoked slab, but, we also caught fish on topwater, casting swimbaits, and by downrigging.
Chris owns the Georgetown Catfish Parlour restaurant where my wife and I are regulars (by the way, you need to go to if you’ve never been, and, while you’re there make sure you at least sample the jalapeno tartar sauce). Chris and his 12 year old son Cooper have made it an annual Fathers’ Day tradition to go on a guided fishing trip with me for 3 years in a row now.
The topwater fishing has been very consistent, but, as the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. The strongest action has been in the short window of time between first light and sunrise. Today we found fish between Areas 014 and 027 and caught them on Cork Rigs. Cooper really improved on his casting after shaking off the cobwebs in the first few casts. Releasing the line with his index finger at just the right time and following his lure to the water with his rod tip both helped him greatly. We boated 28 fish before the fish sounded and left the skinny water.
We next experience a resurgence of topwater action in open water between Areas 836 and 837. In this scenario, short hybrid striped bass were nailing good sized 3.5″ threadfin shad after driving them to the surface. We switched over to soft plastic swimbaits that offered a slightly larger profile to “match the hatch” and did well here, as well as just to the S. of Area 835. At both areas, when the fish sounded, we continued catching by letting our swimbaits sink, and, when the fish showed deeper (in the lower 1/3 of the water column over ~40-45 feet) we used slabs and smoked these fish. Our two largest fish came on TNT 180 slabs in 3/4 oz. They were right on with the profile of the bait these fish were feeding on in this deep water.
By around 8:45a, the fish were throttling back and so we went with a downrigging approach from that point forward to top off our day with a total of 84 fish boated. Our ‘rigging spread consisted at first with a pair of Pet/Licker combos. Later, we changed one of those out with a Swimmin’ Image and did just as well. All of our downrigging was done in the vicinity of Area 835, along the breakline.
When this fishing went soft, we headed over to Area 214 and found a lot of bait, but it was relaxed and blanketing the bottom, not balled up and defensive. We managed our final fish, another short hybrid, here and then called it a day right at about 11am.
As I drove away from the launch site, I left the two of them enjoying one of the swimming areas on Belton Lake. They had the whole beach to themselves!
TALLY = 84 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:00a
End Time: 11:00a
Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~82.1F
Wind: Winds were S3 at first light increasing to S6-7 by trip’s end .
Skies: Skies were fair, dry, and bright with no clouds.