This morning I was joined by Dave W. and his dad, Dwight. Dave is an electrical engineer and UT grad working in the semi-conductor industry in Austin, and Dwight is retired from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. where he worked as an administrator over state parks.
Dwight (L.) and Dave (R.) with 4.25 and 3.25 pound hybrid striped bass caught on slabs this morning on Belton Lake.
Today, for the 3rd trip in a row, there was no topwater action found in the areas we surveyed at first light.
With the majority of the fish we’ve been finding being suspended, sonar interpretation is critical. Once fish and/or bait is found, I’ve been downrigging to both catch fish and to find “jiggable” concentrations of fish. Once congregations of fish are found, the action has been typically lasting 15-20 minutes and then drying up as the fish continue to move in constant pursuit of bait.
Action first picked up for us in an area triangulated by Area 841/843/845. We downrigged with Pets and picked up a mix of white bass and short hybrid.
Next, we moved on along this same contour line and found fish in a ellipse between Area 840 and 488. We caught a majority of our fish in this vicinity primarily via downrigging and during one round of jigging for concentrated fish. All but one of our 14 keeper hybrid caught today came from this area. Once this tailed off I checked a few areas and came up empty until looking over the patch of water triangulated by Area 833/214/474. Here we found fish a bit deeper — down at 26-28 feet and continued catching fish, although the morning bite was on the downhill slide by this time with the heat and light level rising and the winds beginning to subside.
By the time we’d boated our 47th fish, we felt we were to the point of diminishing returns and decided to leave the ‘riggers down as we prepared the boat for travel and got ready to head in. As we idled along, the wind speed suddenly picked up. No sooner did this happen than I noted a sizable concentration of fish at Area 844. We boated 1 on the ‘riggers as we passed over and I immediately got us rigged up to jig for these fish. We managed 4 more fish here on slabs and finished out the day on a great note with 4 more fish coming over the side in just a few minutes.
Of the 52 fish we boated today, 14 were “keeper” hybrid, exceeding the 18″ minimum length set by TPWD on this species.
TALLY = 52 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:00a
End Time: 11:35a
Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~85.2F
Wind: Winds were S5 at trip’s start, slowly turning SSW7-8.
Skies: Skies were fair, dry, and bright with no clouds.