Hybrid Galore and a Visit from Obi Wan Kenobi — SKIFF #2-2012, 40 Fish

The following blog entry appears in the form of a report to those who support the S.K.I.F.F. program …

Jacob B. of Harker Heights with our best fish of the trip, a nice 3.25 pound hybrid taken on a vertically worked TNT 180 slab in 32 feet of water.

This is a sonar screen shot of what lurked beneath us as the wind picked up and the grey clouds moved in — literally hundred of hybrid striped bass — and our downrigger ball sitting pretty at 22′ deep right in the middle of the action!!

Jacob and Hannah with a brother-sister double brought in the boat just seconds apart from out of a large, suspended school of hybrid.

The S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) Program exists to take the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on fishing trips at no charge to the soldiers’ families as a way of showing our support for our troops and providing a respite for their spouses. The following is a note to SKIFF supporters about this most recent outing…

Monday, 30 Jan. 2012

Dear Austin Fly Fishers and Friends of SKIFF,

This morning’s adventure began around 8am as I arrived at the Bretthorst home in Harker Heights, TX, to pick up Jacob (5th Grade) and Hannah (2nd Grade), the two oldest childen of Major John and Mrs. Rachel Bretthorst.

John is currently deployed as part of a NATO effort in Afghanistan for approximately 11 months. The kids had the day off from school for a teachers’ workshop day and, with the weather forecast looking just right, we decided to try our luck.

I had two other special guests aboard today, as well — Kyle and Marty Wall of Killeen. Kyle is in his early 20’s and is trying to make his way into the videography industry; Marty, Kyle’s dad, was along for technical support as the two experimented with various pieces of equipment and techniques figuring out how best to capture outdoor footage with variables of wind, light, movement, etc. that nature brings their way. We hope to work out a win-win, where Kyle gets quality footage, a good reputation, and a solid portfolio and where SKIFF get some memorable film clips to use in our fundraising and publicity efforts.

We got launched around 8:25 and were blessed to sight and drive right to actively working birds that were preoccupied with feeding upon the shad that gamefish were forcing to the surface from beneath, generally from Area 836 to Area 301. These fish were truly on the move, refusing to stay put for any length of time, just as I had encountered on this past Saturday’s trip. We had a brief on-the-water meeting with Mr. George O. of Belton Lake fame. He’s a retired guide and an excellent hybrid fisherman. I good-naturedly refer to him as “Obi Wan Kenobi” because he’s just a sage, knowledgeable fellow and who has always treated me very kindly and has given me a lot of good advice over the years. Anyway, George told me that it has been his experience over the years that the fish will tend to behave as they were behaving today following a significant lake elevation rise. After last week’s rains we saw a 2+ foot rise on Belton.

So, there we were with birds feeding and fish moving about too quickly to really set up and fish for them for any length of time. We started off with a downrigging approach and drove from bird flock to bird flock with baits staggered and set at depths where we encountered fish on sonar. The fish weren’t too wild about a horizontal approach, which is typical for the winter. So, I did the best I could to get us on top of fish, catch a few with a vertical presentation, knowing we’d have to move frequently to keep up with the fish. This actually worked pretty well as we slowly “smoked” our baits ( TNT 180s in 3/4 oz.) through the active schools of suspended fish. We found a mix of hybrid stripers (~80% of our catch today) ranging from 15 to 20 inches, with occasional white bass thrown in for good measure.

We stuck with this approach, catching fish consistently, until the winds picked up and the skies clouded over completely with grey clouds. Once this happened the birds and fish went into overdrive and we were finally able to use a horizontal approach with our downriggers fishing with both umbrella rigs and single Pets spoons while in the vicinity of Area 844 and in the open water to the NE of there. This allowed us to keep up with the constantly moving fish and upped our success, as well. The kids boated fish after fish, taking our tally up to 28 by the time 11:30 rolled around. At this time the skies brightened a bit and the birds began to slack off and eventually came to rest at the site of their last feed around Area 830.

We were about to pack it up when, just 70 yards away, a flock of birds came off the surface and began another frenzied, albeit brief feed. We hustled over to the action, I hovered the boat atop Area 1023 and we again slowly “smoked” our slabs and ended the day on a great note, adding exactly another dozen fish to our count including a 50/50 mix of white bass (all ~12″) and hybrid (most short).

By 12:15 we were putting the boat on the trailer, and by 12:30, Jacob’s head was doing the “bob and travel” as he fought off sleep in the cab of my truck on our drive home. Rachel was very happy for the kids’ success. She’d just been able to enjoy about 5 hours of time accompanied only by her youngest daughter … I hinted that if she fed Hannah and Jacob a good lunch, they’d probably doze off and give her at least another good hour of the same!!

Thank you for your support so that when opportunity knocks, I know the support is there to be able to offer trips to kids like these as they make do as a family until the time of dad’s return.


–Bob Maindelle


TALLY = 40 Fish, all caught and released

Start Time: 8:25a

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp: 54F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~54.7F

Wind: Winds were due S at 4 at trip’s start, later increasing to ~S9.

Skies: Skies were fair until mid-morning, then a bank of grey clouds moved in on the S. wind keeping the direct sun off the water right up until our departure

We got by with a little help from our friends (the birds!); 39 Fish, Belton Lake, 28 Jan. 2012

Today I held off fishing until the afternoon as the mornings of late have been really spotty. I fished with 9 year old Nathan G. of Fort Hood today, so, the extra 12-14 degrees of warmth versus the cold and windchill of the morning turned out to be a good call.

Heavy concentrations of suspended white bass and hybrid stripers were found under the birds today, but the action was typically pretty short-lived.

The fish were active enough to chase a lure versus just having it presented nearly motionless in front of them as is typical for cold water fishing. Nathan took this 3.50 pound hybrid on a TNT180 slab moving along at a moderate pace as we worked our slabs through fish seen on sonar.

As we got going today, I was hoping for some bird action to provide some clues as to fish location. We both got excited when, upon launching, we spotted a white flurry about 1/2 mile away. As we crept in for a look, we saw that the birds were working over top of their cormorant cousins — no fish there. This scenario would play out a few times over the course of the trip, but, we did find fish under birds as well.

The fish seemed to feed in “spurts” today. We’d see some active fish pushing bait to the surface with birds working over both, we’d get to them, catch some suspended fish by working a bait up from the bottom, then when the suspended fish disappeared, we’d jig a few off the bottom, then the fish would disappear altogether. We stayed hard after them for 4+ hours encountering this trend over and over again and were able to put together a respectable catch for our efforts.

We were able to “pin down” fish at the follow locations today long enough to hover over them and vertically jig, at least for a few minutes: Areas 1020 (30′), 1021 (35′), 1022 (30′), and 1019 over to 929 following the contour of the shoreline (~15-17′).

Nathan was a trooper! I could look over as he was jigging and see his rod tip shake as he fought off shivers due to the cold, but, every time I asked if he was cold, he’d just say, “Nope, I’m okay.” I just smiled and kept him on the water as long as I could. The fish actually bit right until dark today and were finally done around 6:25p.

TALLY = 39 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 2:15

End Time: 6:30p

Air Temp: 52F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 54.0F.

Wind: Winds were NNE13-14, tapering to NNE9.

Skies: Skies had high, thin clouds at ~55% coverage just enough to diffuse the direct sunlight.

Recovery Operations, and a Cool Limit of Whites, to Boot!! — 26 FISH — Stillhouse, 21 Jan. 2012

Today, Miss Rebecca (my wife) and I set out to assist local authorities on two separate projects.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. divers and Morgan’s Point Fire Dept. divers work together to identify two submerged vehicles in Stillhouse.

First, we were to link up with the Morgan’s Point Fire Dept. dive team and Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. personnel to locate two submerged vehicles which I’d first located and reported to them before the holidays while running sonar in search of white bass. I’d placed a GPS waypoint right on top of the vehicles’ location, so, we were able to go right back to the location, put buoys down on both vehicles and let the divers go to work.

After about 30 minutes in the 52F water, the divers confirmed that the vehicles were 1950’s vintage autos that had been there prior to the creation of the reservoir.

While waiting for the dive team to arrive (10:00 to 10:30am), and then shortly after the operations began to wrap up (around 12:10) we encountered some light tern activity over Areas 074, 1017, and 401. The wind was blowing cold out of the NW as we encountered the first bunch of fish at Area 1017. These fish were active, but slow and suspended. Active, suspended, winter fish are a sure prescription for a technique I call “sniping” where sonar is used to target and “pick off” specific, individual fish one at a time as they appear on the screen. I boated 9 fish using this technique before engaging with the recovery operation.

After all was done, we found more active, bottom-oriented fish at Area 074, and put an easy 17 more fish in the boat in just 25 minutes before we had to move on to our next appointment. All fish caught this morning were healthy, keeper-sized fish going right at 12 inches.

That next appointment was with the Harker Heights Fire Dept. working with them to attempt to recover an outboard motor near Cedar Gap.

Long story short, after 2 solid hours of graphing an 800′ x 300′ area, we did not identify the location of the motor we were searching for.

One environmental note today: As the NW wind blew around 11mph this morning, wave upon wave of migrating robins passed over our area. I personally saw several hundred birds winging their way north against the wind.

TALLY = 26 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 10:00a

End Time: 3:30p

Air Temp: 40F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 52.0F.

Wind: Winds were NW11 at trip’s start and had tapered off to NW3 by the end of our day.

Bottom Line: We Struggled Today; 19 Jan. 2012, Belton Lake, 15 Fish

Today I fished with Dr. Jim W. of Temple. Jim is a native of south Texas and cut his fishing teeth on black bass down on Amistad.

Although our fish count was light today, Jim got some very good exposure to sonar use and interpretation, which was his goal for the trip.

Jim and I met at my booth at the recent Central Texas Boat Show and immediately got into a discussion about sonar interpretation. We agreed to do a trip here in the cold water season when fish are bunched up deep and in large congregations so as to give him the best chance at seeing such things portrayed on sonar.

At times I felt a bit like a Lowrance sonar salesman, but, did my best to demonstrate all the fish-finding capabilities of today’s sonar units while searching for fish.

Over the course of our trip today we 1) compared and contrasted traditional sonar versus DownScan and SideScan sonar, 2) discussed the difference in transducers and beam types that account for the differences between traditional and Side/DownScan sonar, 3) we specifically searched for timber with the SideScan so Jim could see the distinct signature it gives off, 4) we sought out both gamefish and baitfish and contrasted the sonar signatures of both of them, 5) we reviewed the networking capabilities of multiple units (I use two HDS-10’s on the console), 6) we used the chartplotter to get back to fish locations originally marked with traditional sonar and with Side/DownScan sonar, 7) we watched our downrigger balls and controlled their height above bottom with sonar, 8) we changed frequencies of front/rear units to avoid interference, and, 9) I think of most interest to Jim, we used the flasher mode to watch as several fish chased a lure from a bottom-hugging or suspended posture, right up through the water column and then saw one fish take the bait, become hooked, and be landed. Jim just shook his head when he saw that!

I was personally disappointed with our results today (just 15 fish boated in 5 1/2 hours and with gallons of fuel burned in the effort). We looked together early in the week at the late-week forecast and Thursday looked to be the pick of the week as we were to have wind from the SW at 13-14 from sunrise until around 2pm, and that wind would be from the SW for the first time in 1 1/2 days following a mild cold front. Well, what actually happened is we had flat calm, bright conditions until 10:30, and only then did the wind begin to puff. It wasn’t until 11am that the wind blew with any consistency, and, that’s typically when the morning feed begins to shut down. We caught a few fish here and there (Areas 382 to 369 (3 fish), 692 (3 fish), and 968 (3 fish), with a brief flurry of 6 fish boated around 11:45 at Area 1012, but we never had more than 10-20 fish on the screen at one time, never got a school of fish teased up and biting hard, never saw a single flock of birds work — it was just flat.

I spoke with a pair of very regular black bass fisherman as we loaded up. They’d fished all morning and had landed just one fish and had experience the same frustration at expecting more than nature gave up today.

TALLY = 15 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 8:00a

End Time: 1:30p

Air Temp: 43F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 52.0F.

Wind: Winds were slack at trip’s start and only light and variable from the SW until 10:30, then ramping up to SW13 by late morning and staying there through the conclusion of our trip.

Skies: Skies were fair.

MLK Holiday Fishing Report from Belton Lake — 77 Fish — 16 January 2012

Today I fished with separate parties in the morning and afternoon. My afternoon trip was spent with 9 and 10 year old brothers Zane (9) and Zach (10) from Georgetown, TX, accompanied by their mom, Robin.

Zach scored the first lunker of the trip, boating this 3.75 pound largemouth we found “ghosting” around the periphery of a school of small white bass.

Not 7 minutes after all the hoop-lah died down over Zach’s big fish, Zane hooked and landed this nice hybrid out of 29 feet of water.

Robin, self nick-named the “internet queen” found me online and gave me a call the night before to check on availability on a spur-of-the-moment thought that the boys might be well-served to spend their warm MLK day off from school in the great outdoors.

We met up around 2pm, and I let the boys know right off the bat that afternoon trips usually start slow and end well. As it turned out, that’s just how things played out today.

We began our trip finding scattered pods of white bass here, there, and everywhere in little clusters of 3-8 fish or so around the vicinity of Area 382. We did just okay as we downrigged for these fish. Each time we encountered a nice bunch of fish as we downrigged, I’d throw a buoy and/or go right back to that spot only to find the fish gone. They just wouldn’t stay put long enough to fish for them with any consistency. So, we stuck with our downrigging approach until natural signs begin to increase and I suspected we could find and catch congregated fish.

This opportunity finally arose around 3:30p when, in and around Area 1015, I spotted a large (several hundred fish) school holding tight to a gentle slope and not in a hurry to go anywhere. The boys, who by now had a pretty good grasp on their jigging technique due to all of the “short stops” we’d attempted when the fishing was slow early on, did very, very well given their age and experience level. They stayed focused on controlling the depth of their presentation and they were rewarded for that with fish after fish.

Over the course of our trip the boys built on some fundamentals they already had been exposed to. They learned how to control the amount of slack in their lines, and how to make sure the lure was where the fish wanted it. They learned to control the speed of their retrieve once a fish was hooked, as well as correct rod positioning. They learned how and when to set the hook, and they learned to steer fish one way or another to avoid tangles or other problems. It was an ideal time to teach these things because the fish were cooperating well, and so the boys had many iterations to try to “do over” something they didn’t quite get right the first time.

As time got close to 5:30p, we encountered one last blast of action near Area 382. This actually got the attention of some birds in the area and they were helpful in keeping us near the active fish. These fish were actually the most aggressive I experienced all day. As we encountered them on sonar, most were suspended. We experimented with a “smoking” technique (usually reserved for warmer weather) and it worked, so, we worked these fish over pretty well, taking our tally up to exactly 77 fish. As the action began to wane with the diminishing light and wind, the boys realized all that fishing had taken a lot out of them. Both reported sore hands and put in their request for snacks, while Robyn predicted a very quiet ride home, thinking the boys were surely going to nod off on the drive back to Georgetown.

Great fishing today, boys!! You both did a good job!

TALLY = 77 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:40a

End Time: 1:00p

Air Temp: 63F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 51.0F.

Wind: Winds were S13 at trip’s start, ramping up to S16 by mid afternoon, and then tapering off to S8 by sunset.

Skies: Skies were grey and nearly 100% clouded all day.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report (AM) — 38 Fish — 16 Jan. 2012

Today I fished with separate parties in the morning and afternoon. My morning trip was spent with bosom buddies Coleman, Chris, and Craig, all from Killeen.

Short bursts of action under the birds accounted for a bunch of hard-pulling hybrid this morning. Here (L to R) Coleman, Chris, and Craig show their schoolie hybrids caught seconds apart under near-surface fish action.

Chris’ rod was bent to near breaking as he worked in this trio of hybrid which all struck at the same time on 3 of the 4 baits of our Captain Mack Umbrella Rig.

Coleman’s mom, Melissa first got him a birthday gift certificate to come out with me in the warm months last season. That went over so well, she got another for Christmas and today was “cash it in day”!

We located 4 separate congregations of fish today, two of which were under birds. The first action today came at Area 1012 in about 27 feet of water. The sonar showed slim pickings, but, little other natural sign existed to indicate fish activity elsewhere, so we put slabs down amidst these fish and worked on the boys’ slabbing technique here to get the kinks out so they could realize the full potential of a better bite later on. We boated 6 fish here in about 20 minutes and moved on once we saw some bird action begin to coalesce.

The first birds we found working were within 70 yards of the shoreline around Area 358. The fish beneath these birds were moving bait very rapidly and, with 4 persons in the boat, casting was a bit dicey, so, we went with a downrigging approaching working 1 White Willow spoon and 1 umbrella rig. Due to the presence of trees, we kept both presentations at the level of the shallowest fish located at 12-20 feet beneath the surface. We quickly added 12 more fish to our tally before this bite fell off and the birds dissipated.

Our next bit of success again came beneath birds, this time off the tip of Area 155 over open water. These fish were strictly focused on bait and were not relating to bottom features of any sort. Most of the fish were at or above the 30 foot level and, with trees lacking in this area, we ran out baits exactly where we saw the fish on sonar. We added 6 more fish to the count here, all via downrigging, again with the White Willow and the umbrella rig.

Our last hoorah for this morning’s trip came right at around noon to about 12:35pm. We found a willing school of average-sized white bass in about 29 feet of water very near Area 1012 where we had started the day off. By now, all three boys got settled into a groove on their vertical jigging and enjoyed success, albeit slow but sure. We pulled a final 14 fish off this patch of bottom including 1 hybrid, 12 whites, and one small, pale largemeouth. All fish here came on 3/4 oz. TNT 180 slabs.

By 1:00p, the birds had settled, the bite had died and the mid-day “lull” was upon us. We called it a good morning right then and packed it in.

TALLY = 38 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:40a

End Time: 1:00p

Air Temp: 63F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 51.0F.

Wind: Winds were S13 at trip’s start, ramping up to S16 by mid afternoon, and then tapering off to S8 by sunset.

Skies: Skies were grey and nearly 100% clouded all day.

Vertical Jigging on Belton Lake — SKIFF Trip 2012-1 – Jan. 7th,. 2012 – 31 Fish

The following blog entry appears in the form of a report to those who support the S.K.I.F.F. program …

Michael holds one of two hybrid we landed today.

Luke yelled, “This is bigger than the other ones!

” as he reeled in this deepwater largemouth.

The boys display the best 4 white bass we boated this morning.

The S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) Program exists to take the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on fishing trips at no charge to the soldiers’ families as a way of showing our support for our troops and providing a respite for their spouses. The following is a note to SKIFF supporters about this most recent outing…

Saturday, 07 Jan. 2012

Dear Austin Fly Fishers and Friends of SKIFF,

This morning I was accompanied on the first SKIFF trip of 2012 by the sons of U.S. Army Specialist Jack Foreman. SPC Foreman is a former brickmason now serving our nation in Afghanistan as a helicopter refueler with the 1st Air Cavalry under the 1st Cavalry Division. Michael (13) is a student at Smith Middle School on Ft. Hood, and his brother, Lucas (Luke) is a 7 year old 2nd grader at Clarke Elementary School there.

I linked up with the boys and their mom, Mrs. Julie Foreman, at a local bank and shuttled the boys to Belton Lake for our trip this morning. We got launched at around 7:30 am and actually struggled a bit until around 9:30 am. I’m beginning to see a “mid-morning pattern” developing here, as this same thing happened on a full day trip I took yesterday.

When the fish turned on the action stayed solid for about 2 hours solid and then died pretty quickly.

Our first success came at Area 1007/1008 in about 27-29 feet of water. We found schooled white bass here and used a very straightforward vertical jigging technique to tempt these fish. The boys really listened well and stayed focused and consistent with their jigging technique and were successful as a result of that. We worked hard to keep our 3/4 oz. slabs a set distance off bottom so they would be right at the level at which we were seeing fish on sonar. As the water gets slowly colder, longer pauses between jigging strokes become more essential, and that was the case today. We fished this first area for about an hour with the boys landing 21 fish (1 largemouth and 20 white bass).

It was interesting to note that two of the white bass we caught today were males dripping milt in advance of spawning. Yesterday, on a full day trip with adults, we boated 177 fish, and not a single fish showed any sign of milt production. What a difference a day makes!

Just as these fish were tapering off, we spotted some bird activity in the distance and ran to it. I saw some “high riding” fish in the upper 1/3 of the water column as we ran sonar over the general area the birds were patrolling, so, we downrigged for about 15 minutes without success. The birds gave up on the area, so, we did, too.

We continued the hunt for fish, this time looking over 3 different areas before finding fish stacked up in about 27 feet at Area 1012. These fish were much more aggressive when we first got our baits down to them as compared to the first area we’d fished, but, as is often the case in the late morning, these fish turned off very suddenly as well. We put exactly 10 more fish in the boat here including 2 hybrid and 1 keeper largemouth.

Luke had never been fishing before today. His grandpa is the fisherman of the family and has an age limit of 8 years old before you get to go out with him, so, when Luke boated his first white bass of the morning, along with it he earned a Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. “First Fish Award” which will arrive by mail in about a week and a half!

We’d now been hard after it for 4+ hours and had an agreed upon 12:15 curfew set to meet mom back at the bank parking lot, so, we stowed the gear, took some photos to commemorate the trip with and send to dad, and took a brisk boat ride back in to the ramp area.

Thank you, always, for your support. I want to especially thank Dave Hill and Manuel Pena for coming down and working our booth at the Central Texas Boat Show representing SKIFF this weekend in Belton. They ran the booth so I could conduct the trip described above. We met a lot of good folks, made some good contacts, kept on getting the word out about SKIFF, and even signed up a handful of kids on the spot.

TALLY = 31 FISH, all caught and released

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:45a

Air Temp: 46F.

Water Surface Temp: 51.0F.

Wind: Winds were WNW9 at trip’s start and stayed constant.

Skies: Skies were clear and bright.

Awesome Day!! – First Trip of the Year!! – 177 Fish — 06 Jan. 2012 – Belton Fishing Guide Report

Today I welcomed back long time clients Jim and Shena S. of Austin for a full-day trip on Belton Lake in pursuit of white bass and hybrid striped bass.

The hybrid went into overdrive in mid-afternoon forcing shad of about 3″ in length to the surface. Long-casting with Kastmasters wired to Berkley NanoFil line made for some great fishing!!

Jim is associated with the University of Texas and Shena is now a student there looking to depart as a middle school/high school credentialed teacher when her studies are complete. We “drilled” the necessary techniques required for consistently boating cold-water whites and hybrid before ever leaving the boatramp area this morning and those lessons surely paid off today as the fish were unwilling to move very far or very fast for a bait for a majority of the day.

Despite the great number of fish we boated today, we actually got off to a very slow start. The winds were okay (barely) but the skies, which were forecast to be ~70% cloudy, were bright and clear as could be. So, while the winds remained light and steady, the fishing stayed at a crawl.

Finally, around 9:45, the SSW wind ramped up a good 5-6 mph and was sustained at around 12 mph. We got on fish at this point and stayed on them the balance of the day, save for a ~90 minute window from 3:00 to 4:30p.

We boated the majority of our fish in 25-30 feet of water in the vicinity of Area 1007/1008, putting 121 of our 177 over the side here with a very straightforward vertical jigging approach (we’d only boated 1 other fish up to this point in our day!).

Around 2:00pm some very suddenly materializing bird action led the way to our first of two encounters with heavily schooled hybrid. These fish were aggressive and were pushing shad ahead of them and upwards toward the surface. We used large Kastmaster spoons to ‘reach out and touch’ these fish on long casts so we could cover lots of water and keep our retrieves fairly flat. When the surface action died, we were able to use a smoking technique to tempt hybrids holding at mid-depths. In all, we put 22 more fish in the boat during this melee, including numerous fish at the 3.5 to 4.0 pound mark. As this action died, we experienced the “afternoon lull” of about 90 minutes in length.

Around 4:30p, things begin picking up again. We found schooled, bottom-hugging white bass at Area 1011, Area 1009/376, and at Area 201. Each time we boated a few fish only to have them move off, forcing us to make a short hop to reconnect with them. All told, in numerous short hops, we boated 23 more fish in these areas, this time using both a jigging and an easing approach.

Finally, just after sunset, we noted a few birds looking “fishy” between Area 1010 and Area 1000. We motored in with sonar on, spotted hybrid down 12-15 feet from the surface, and again worked these fish over with Kastmasters. As the action developed, we saw fish breaking water and boiling, and saw threadfin shad of about 3″ in length skipping out of the water ahead of the aggressive hybrid. We put a final touch of 10 more fish in the boat including 7 hybrid, 2 white bass and 1 largemouth before our birds lifted and our light failed.

TALLY = 177 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 6:15p

Air Temp: 54F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 51.0F.

Wind: Winds were SSW6 at trip’s start, ramping up to SSW16 by late afternoon, and then tapering off to SSW9 by sunset.

Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.

Central Texas Boat Show 2012 / Bell County Boat Show 2012, Belton Expo Center, 6-8 Jan.

Hey all you blog readers! Just wanted to let you know I’ll have a booth once again at this year’s boat show. The hours are Fri. 12-9, Sat. 10-8, & Sun. 10-5.

Click here to go to Boat Show website.

I’ll try to personally be at the booth from 7-9p on Friday and then on Saturday afternoon. Friends and family will be there when I’m not. Please stop by and say hello! This is at the Bell County Expo Center at Interstate 35 and Loop 121 at Exit 292 in Belton, TX.

Bob Maindelle

Holding the Line Guide Service


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