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
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.