Now That’s a Fishing Family!!, 77 Fish, 30 April 2012

This afternoon I fished with returning guests John, Kelly, and Matthew M. of Troy, TX. Mom and Dad promised Matt a trip per month as an incentive for him to keep his grades up, and, so far, he’s gone 3 for 3. Great work, Matthew!!

Kelly hefts one of her two 5 pounders and Matt chips in with another keeper landed just seconds after Kellie’s came over the side.

And, of course, dad “hooked ’em” tonight, as well!

This morning I netted enough live shad for my morning trip and for this afternoon’s trip and kept them iced down in the heat. By trip time, they were still in great shape.

Prior to our trip beginning, I did a good bit of scouting to be sure I could take this family right to the fish when they arrived. In doing so, I encountered the first significant, sustained topwater action I’ve seen so far this year. I found these fish in two distinct areas: Areas 367 and 136. These were mainly small white bass with perhaps one keeper for every 4-5 throwbacks, and small hybrid stripers feeding on newly hatched shad. The shad spawn is in it’s 6th week and these must have been early bloomers. I used both a Cork Rig when fish were on top and a bladebait when they briefly sounded to land 39 fish between the 12:30pm and 1:45pm.

Knowing that topwater is rarely reliable enough to put clients on, I continued to seek out fish in other areas, as well. I boated 5 white bass in the midst of Areas 171, 725 and 163 and saw plenty more where they came from. I marked this spot to return to it. I also boated one short hybrid at Area 1077, but saw larger fish on sonar.

As our trip began, we went to Area 171/725/163, put down 4 rods with live shad and immediately put 4 keeper hybrid in the boat. Just when things were looking good the wind ramped up another 4-5 mph and between the wind and swells we just couldn’t stay on the fish we’d found. We tried a few times to reposition and boated 3 white bass as we tried, but finally punted on this area.

We dropped back to Area 1077. It was fairly well protected from the wind and, as we idled around looking for the spot on the spot, we saw some good looking “hooks” or fish arches on sonar indicating some sizeable fish awaiting our baits.

We got baited up and, over the next 2 hours, put 25 more fish in the boat including 2 hybrid weighing in at 5.00 pounds (way to go on that Kelly!!). We boated a handful of white bass and 2 blue cats in the mix, but the vast majority of these fish were solid, keeper hybrid striped bass.

Around 7:45 the bite softened as the skies dimmed. I gave Matthew an option of sticking with our current spot or changing things up a bit and going hunting for some topwater white bass action. The changeup appealed to him so, off we went looking for surface feeding white bass. We checked back at Areas 367 & 136, but no one was home. We never did find any topwater, but I liked Matthew’s “roll the dice” attitude and willingness to try something without a guarantee.

With just a bit of “seeing light” left, we put some baits back down at Area 1077 but the bite was done and so we called it a day with the 32 fish we’d boated in addition to the 45 I’d taken on my pre-trip scouting efforts.

TALLY = 77 Fish, all caught and released.

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Start Time: 4:15p

End Time: 8:35p

Air Temp:86F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 72-73F

Wind: Winds were SSE16-17 for the entire trip.

Skies: Skies were overcast but bright grey.

Environmental Note: Elevation was 594.10 ASL releasing water at 111 cfs, with normal full pool at 594.

Got a Question for You … 18 Fish, 30 April 2012 (AM Trip), Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report

This morning I fished with a promising young 7 year old fisherman by the name of Colter B., who was accompanied by his mom, Christy.

This 4.75 pound, 22.25 inch hybrid was Colter’s first fish of the day. It’s hard to improve on that!!

Colter and his mom, Christy, with one of our “short” but feisty hybrid boated this morning

The shad spawn and corresponding white bass and hybrid bite continued today. Netting shad was once again a simple chore so I was more than ready to go when our 7:15am meeting time rolled around.

I believe Colter asked 15 questions in as many seconds aboard my boat, and I tried to answer them all. I found that short answers worked best, as long answers would get me in a backlog as Colter asked more questions while I was still answering his previous ones!

Well, we began our day near Area 1069 over 30′ of water. Fish (which turned out to be hybrid) were suspended just 3-4 feet off bottom here as seen on sonar. We positioned ourselves accordingly and got 4 lines in the water. Less than 4 minutes went by and we had our first strike resulting in boating our first legal hybrid of the day. We were off to a good start! Over the next 30 minutes or so, we would boat 3 more keeper hybrid, but then the bite dried up and we had to go search out more fish.

I tried downrigging a bit just for variety’s sake and to put lines in the water as I slowed swept over potential fish-holding areas with sonar. We came up with little on sonar and on the downriggers and so decided to move locations entirely.

Our next stop came at Area 1076 in about 38 feet of water. We again put our baits down amongst suspended fish, this time coming up 5 turns of the reel handles to get our baits at the depth the fish were using. We had somewhat slow but steady action for nearly 2 hours here and boated an additional 14 fish with at least as many “bite offs” where the fish (typically smaller fish) would either tear off the bait without getting hooked, or would maul the bait thus killing it and requiring the hook be rebaited.

As is typical for most 7 year olds, the novelty of the whole encounter wore off after about 3 hours. Each time a school of fish would pass by and a frenzy of activity would occur, Colter would comment, “This is fun.” Then, after just 6 or 7 minutes of quiet he would comment, “I think I want to go back now.”

By the time all was said and done, Colter landed 18 fish including hybrid striped bass, white bass, and several blue catfish. He did a great job on each one and didn’t give up, even on the big ones that took a while to get to the net.

As we headed back in Colter had already formulated a plan to pick wild blackberries that he’d spotted on his was down to the boat at the start of our trip. On to the next adventure …

TALLY = 18 Fish, all caught and released.

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Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp:70F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 72-73F

Wind: Winds were SSE10-11 for the entire trip.

Skies: Skies were overcast but bright grey.

Environmental Note: Elevation was 594.10 ASL releasing water at 111 cfs, with normal full pool at 594.