The Lions Roared! Belton Fishing Guide Report, 101 Fish, 06 April 2012

This morning I welcomed aboard returning guest Joe O, his old running buddy, Eddie D., and a student athlete that both of them are mentoring at Central Texas Christian School, Noah S., age 15.

Coach O. showing he’s still got the touch!! As usual, he landed the trip’s big fish today. Noah said over and over again how he was amazed at the quantity and quality of fish we were boating.

Dr. Eddie and Noah boated these fish simultaneously (doubles were a common occurrence today) on both live shad and on slabs.

First and foremost, the shad spawn on Belton Lake is in full swing. I saw the strongest activity of the past 10 days or so this morning (possibly coinciding with the full moon). This is an annual event that lasts for ~6 weeks and involves a pre-sunrise movement of spawning shad right up to the bank where they can be seen by the millions moving slowly along as the females drop their sticky yellow-orange eggs onto wood, rocks, weeds, sticks, etc. and the males fertilize them. By sunrise the effort begins to slow only to repeat the next morning. This spawn often coincides with some of the fastest hybrid action of the year.

Today, we began our efforts with downriggers set from 12-14 feet down and trolled the circuit from Area 356 to Area 132 several times over, boating 6 fish including 2 short hybrid and 4 barely legal white bass. Things were a bit tough early on as the wind was slack and the skies were bright, but, as the morning progressed, the winds picked up from the NE, then swung ENE, and the skies went from clear to fair, then developed high, thin clouds.

As this wind came up, we moved to the most wind-exposed area we could find, Area 1068. We got e-anchored and, simply put, got bit and stayed bit as long as we had bait in the water. There really was no ebb or flow, the fishing stayed strong and steady the entire time from 8:45 to 11:30.

We boated a total of 101 fish, with more hooked and missed. Our catch consisted of a mix of white bass and hybrid striper. We landed 13 “keeper” hybrid of 18+ inches, and twice as many short hybrid. The balance of our catch consisted of white bass, most right at 11 inches. Those that were longer were also thinner. We also boated one chubby blue catfish and missed a smallmouth at boatside as he jumped.

About 2/3 of the way into our stay at this very productive area, we encountered a large school of suspended white bass passing beneath the boat. We quickly swapped over to spinning tackle and worked 3/4 oz. TNT slabs through these fish. Only white bass would strike these spoons — the hybrid would have nothing to do with them. As soon as we put a few live baits back on, the hybrid began nailing them again. This is not unusual when they are so keyed in on abundant shad.

The boys’ kitchen passes expired at 11:15 and we even pushed that a bit in order to break that elusive 100 fish mark, and, by 11:30 or so we were blessed to be able to do just that.

Thanks, Coach O. for the fun, friends, and fellowship!! You represented the CTCS Lions well!!

TALLY = 101 FISH, all caught and released

back to home page


Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp: 56F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 73.2F

Wind: Winds were NNE4, gradually turning more easterly and ramping up to ~7-8mph .

Skies: Skies were clear, then went fair by the time the winds were ENE.

“Guy Time” with Kayleigh and Maddisen, Stillhouse, 47 Fish, 06 April

This Friday evening found me on the water with Miss Maddisen and Miss Kayleigh S. of Killeen, accompanied by their soon-to-graduate high school brother, Brandon.

Sisters Maddisen (L) and Kayleigh (R) both did very well over top of a school of aggressive white bass, each landing their share of the 44 fish we boated along a breakline.

Kayleigh got big fish honors tonight, literally! She earned a TPWD “Big Fish Award” for boating this white bass that measured exactly 15 1/8 inches.

We’d been trying to coordinate this trip for quite some time now but Shannan (the kids’ mom) and I just couldn’t seem to sync our schedules until now.

In my role as Children’s Pastor at my church in Killeen (Memorial Baptist Church) I try to keep an eye on those kids in our congregation without a full-time dad in their lives. This situation is often brought about by death or divorce, and so I regularly set aside “Guy Time” to spend just with these kids. Tonight’s trip was a “Guy Time” fishing trip!

As we launched, I reviewed the basics of boat safety, how to summons help, and some fishing tackle basics. Then, a chance to be a Good Samaritan arose! It seems an older gentleman from Minnesota now living in Salado had launched his small boat at the ramp we had used and, as he went to park his vehicle and trailer, his boat floated away from shore and was about 120 yards away by the time we caught up with it. We did a side-to-side “transfer” of the man and his little dog; his old Evinrude 2-stroke fired right up, and we headed our separate ways.

We looked over Area 121 with sonar first. I saw a few fish on bottom at the extreme E. end of the feature, so, we e-anchored and set out some live baits (shad) and let things settle down a bit. We picked up a single white bass here, but no more promising signs were apparent, so we moved on.

Next, we looked over the stretch of water from Area 429 to 430 and found fish on the N. facing slope right on Area 429 in 20-22 feet of water. Again, I e-anchored but this time we got slabs down to the fish and began “smoking” these lures to try to tempt the white bass. The fish responded well, and in less than 40 minutes we boated 44 white bass with several more missed. These fish were healthy and averaged 12.5″, with one tipping the tape at 15 1/8″, which qualified Kayleigh for a “Big Fish” award from Texas Parks and Wildlife. These fish turned off rather abruptly, which is typically a sign that some threatening predator fish (big largemouth or gar) has moved into the area. Regardless, the action was not to be revived, forcing us to move once again.

I looked over several areas and ran some flatlined baits out over the 10-14 foot flat in the vicinity of Area 1062, hoping white bass would come shallow to feed as the sun began to set. We only saw a few fish on sonar over this whole area, picking up one channel catfish that decided he needed to try to swallow a RipShad crankbait.

We moved on and came to rest at Area 145 after seeing fish suspended at about 17 feet. Sunset was drawing near and little fish activity or bird activity was evident, indicating to me that we’d seen the best of the night’s action already. So, we put down 4 tightlines with live shad and just “chilled out” having some snacks and talking while keeping our eyes on the rods for a bite. We had 2 hits, missed one, and landed a 12″ suspended crappie on the other. The sun was now set and mom’s minivan was seen at the boatramp, so, we called it a day there and then with the girls having boated 47 fish for their “Guy Time” efforts.

TALLY = 47 Fish, all caught and released

back to home page

Start Time: 4:30p

End Time: 8:00p

Air Temp: 81F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 72.3F.

Wind: Winds ESE8.

Skies: Fair and 40% clouded.