Los Angeles Smells a Little Fishy!! 61 Fish, Belton Lake, 02 April 2012

This morning I welcomed “Grandpa” Dolph M. of Austin, and three of his grandchildren on Spring Break from Los Angeles, California — Cade (11), Rowan (11), and Evan (9).

I love it when the little guy catches the big one! It’s just an American thing to root for the underdog!!

Cade about wore a blister on his reeling hand getting this one in the boat!!

Rowan and her Grandpa Dolph landed these fish at the exact same time — in fact, we had a number of doubles and triples today when the action got hot and heavy.

I was on the lake before first light to net live shad and did just fine at that chore (which is not always the case!) pulling about ~95 baits in 15 throws at Area 499.

Dolph and the kids joined me around 6:45a and we headed out hunting for fish. We looked for bird action and on sonar for evidence of feeding fish, but found most of the bird action was focused on small patches of spawning shad here and there with little in the way of gamefish found nearby. The shoreline from Area 133 to Area 014 was particularly active.

I worked a circuit in and around Area 027 with the downriggers resulting in 1 short hybrid coming on my White Willow spoon and no takers on the umbrella rig. Same thing at Area 147 — 1 short hybrid on the White Willow.

Things then got really quiet for about an hour and a half we check a number of areas without success.

Finally, I spotted some bird action right on top of Area 1066 at the transition from 25 to 30′. We got the boat in position and prepared to fish with our live bait. The first few fish we caught came right off the bottom. Slowly, as we began to pull more and more fish in and as we kept the chum going, we saw the fish get higher and higher in the water column until we were fishing 4-5 cranks off bottom.

The fishing was essentially non-stop for about 2.5 hours during which time we landed 59 fish on our ~95 baits. Fortunately, Grandpa Dolph is an old salt with experience from around the Channel Islands off the California coast, so, he helped out in retying hooks, baiting up, etc., and that definitely improved our catch by keeping baits in the water to the greatest extent we could.

Our catch included an 80/20 mix of hybrid/white bass, with one crappie thrown in for good measure. Only one white bass was short, and, of the hybrid we boated, 8 were legal with the largest measuring exactly 23 inches and weighing 5.25 pounds. We also had one smallmouth hooked, but after an athletic leaping display at boatside, he found freedom before he found the bottom of the net!

By 11:50 the fish were thinning out and the bait was gone so we battened down the hatches for a bumpy ride back to the dock and said our farewells.

TALLY = 61 FISH, all caught and released

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Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp: 70F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 68.9F

Wind: Winds were SSE8-11 for the entire trip.

Skies: Skies were heavy grey and 100% cloudy until 9am, then slowly cleared to 30% cloudy with a fair blue sky by trip’s end.

Environmental Note: Since the heavy rain of 20 March, Belton rose ~9 feet, and went ~6 feet above full pool, prompting a release of ~4600-4700 cfs for about a week now. The threadfin shad spawn began in earnest ~28 March.

Other Notes: Received a very reliable report of white bass and mostly short hybrid coming out of 25′ from the vicinity of Area 1067, also on shad, begun by chumming and then keeping the feed going with bait.