Belton Hybrid Fishing, 15 Feb., 2 Limits from Cold Water

morning I fished with Jessica M. and her boyfriend, Jay S.  Both are medical professionals with the Scott and White system where Jay works as a heart doctor and Jessica works as a registered nurse.

Jessica scored first and scored often this morning, boating some nice hybrid striped bass on light spinning tackle using finesse presentations.

Jay chipped in as well with fish taken both on the downriggers and with a vertical presentation.

Jay is originally from Minnesota where people typically learn to fish before they learn to walk, so, true to form, he came into the trip with a good bit of previous experience in both fresh and salt water and across many different species.  Jessica was not as experienced, with just a few prior outings under her belt, and those mainly focused on pond-dwelling catfish in Kentucky.  Regardless, both were willing to be coached and did well using the techniques we employed.

The cold water continues to plague our fishing.  Until we break into the low 50’s, it’ll remain tough.  I was hopeful that this late-week warmup would help more than it did, but, with clear nights we lose nearly all the heat gained during the day and have no net gain on heating the water.  So, with still-cold water, things continued as they have been for several weeks with the fishing being slow, deep, methodical and the fish perking up only for short periods at a time.

Today we caught fish by two methods:  slowly downrigging at around 1.8 mph with crankbaits, and by working a tandem rig of my own design equipped with a slab and a stinger very passively around suspended fish.   Most of the gamefish we saw today were holding at 22-25 feet over water as deep as 45 feet.

I noted that the fish we caught and placed in the livewell for photos regurgitated quite a number of partially digested shad.  I suspect that even though their metabolism is quite slow, the bait is nearly motionless right now and these gamefish can essentially feed at will when the mood strikes given the massive quantities of bait that have schooled up tightly and sunk to the depths with this record cold water.

The birds (mainly terns now) did perk up and feed for a short 25 minute spell, but the fish beneath them were still pretty deep and lethargic and well-spread.  Of the 5-6 boats that converged on the bird action, I did not see a single one of them (ourselves included) pick up a single fish under these working birds.

We got off to a slow start this morning, not landing a single fish until 9:15.  Our last hour was the most productive — from 11a to Noon.  When all was said and done Jay and Jessica had boated 2 limits of keeper hybrid, one short hybrid, and 2 white bass – that’s a very respectable catch given the condition we faced.

TALLY = 13 FISH, all caught and released



Start Time: 7:40a
End Time: 12:10p
Air Temp: 35F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 46.1 – 48.2F 
Wind: W9 at sunrise, tapering to light and variable at 3-4, then turning SSE11-13 by 10:30a
Skies: Fair skies with 15% cloud cover.
Other Notes: GT35

Areas Fished with success:

**  1335/1336 – vertical jigging/sniping
**  1337/1338 – downrigging

Bob Maindelle
Holding the Line Guide Service

Salado, Texas

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