The ‘Horns Fans “Hooked ’em” !! — 41 Fish, Belton Lake, 08 Oct. 2011

This morning I was joined by John and Kelly M. of Troy, TX, and their 13 year old son, Matthew.

Mom landed the big one today! This keeper hybrid hit Kelly’s TNT 180 slab in ~36 feet of water

John and Matthew show off a double caught just seconds apart. Matthew hadn’t used spinning gear prior to this trip, but learned quickly and did well, boating hybrid, largemouth, white bass, and a blue cat today.

We came very close to postponing this trip as the wind forecast fluctuated between SE (marginal) and ESE (very tough) influenced by a low pressure system out to the west of us, but, by 7pm the night before, the weatherman stuck with SE winds in the morning changing to SSE by afternoon, and forecast decreasing cloudiness, so, we made a go of it and the calculated risk paid off.

As expected, the day started off slowly with heavy clouds reducing the amount of sunlight brightening the depths, and with winds as easterly as they would be at any point in the day. We found two small “patches” of fish at Area 929 (caught 3) and at Area 301 (caught 5) and picked up fish at both areas downrigging with a single White Willow spoon and a single Pet Spoon. After Area 929 played out we went searching with sonar over several areas to no avail over the course of almost an hour.

Finally, around 10am, the wind decreased significantly and the skies began to brighten although still 100% clouded over. We headed to Area 904 and saw schooled gamefish on sonar just sub-surface, as well as near bottom but holding up off of it in a feeding posture. We put downriggers down to test the waters and had immediate success and marked two concentrations of fish along the breakline on the NE quadrant of this feature. I prepared to bring the downriggers in and work these congregated fish over thoroughly with jigging spoons. As we made preparations to do that, a mixed school of white bass and short hybrid began to feed on the surface for all of 45 seconds, but, there was no doubt we were in the presence of active fish. We worked our slabs in 35 to 42 feet of water and in the end pulled 7 fish from this location before things went soft.

I then headed back over to Area 929 hoping that would have come alive with the now more favorable conditions, but that didn’t pan out.

I then headed us over to Area 344 and there in 35-36 feet of water we graphed a large school of gamefish and buoyed them. We immediately circled back and e-anchored over them and quickly got our slabs down to bottom. The response was instant and fairly aggressive. Long story short, we sat in that one spot for about an hour and boated 26 fish including keeper white bass, short and keeper hybrid, and even one blue cat. The fish, although responsive, were still far from aggressive as is often the case when there is an easterly component to the wind. We would hook a fish, begin reeling it in, get the entire school jazzed and get a second or third hookup, only to have the school cool off and settle right back to bottom as we unhooked the caught fish and let our slabs fall back to bottom. I watched this play out on the sonar screen over and over again. Interestingly, John and I both noted that some of the more aggressive feeding came during periods of brief rainfall.

By trip’s end we’d boated 41 fish and had missed a few more that came “unbuttoned” as we reeled them in. All in all I was satisfied that we’d done as well as we could have given the conditions this day.

From this point on to at least mid-December fishing will rise and fall with frontal activity. Windy and warm pre-frontal conditions will see excellent fishing, while wet, cool post-frontal conditions will make for good “boat maintenance” days! In between fronts we’ll have average fishing.

Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 1:15p

Air Temp: 67F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~76.4F

Wind: Winds were SE11-14 with occasional higher gusts.

Skies: 100% leaden grey with occasional brightening, but no clearing.