This morning I fished with perennial guests Dr. David Butler and his boys, Jack (age 14) and Jay (age 12). David is a career dermatologist who got his start as an Army doctor, and now, as a civilian, is once again serving (veteran) soldiers through his work at the Veterans’ Administration hospital system.
David set the example for the boys by landing the first legal-sized hybrid of our trip.
12-year-old Jay then landed this nice 3 pound hybrid on a downrigged Pet Spoon.
And before all was said and done, Jack chipped in with a hybrid of his own.
On a number of occasions as we brought hooked fish to boatside, they regurgitated the shad they’d eaten. This gave us a good idea as to the size of bait they were pursuing, and allowed us to match that bait size with our lures. Here, a white bass regurgitates a recently swallowed shad.
We had a very productive trip on Belton Lake this morning, although it was cut short at the three-hour mark at precisely 9:15a as lightning began to flash just to the south of us, in the vicinity of US Hwy. 190 and Loop 121.
We met at 6:15am, spotted our first topwater feeding fish at 6:25am and stayed on the topwater action (thanks to grey cloud cover and light winds) for nearly 2 hours. After that we combed back over the areas that held these topwater fish by using the “Trails” function on sonar to identify where these fish had been, and worked them over with downriggers when we (more often than not) found the fish still present, only suspended instead of up on the surface.
In those first two hours we tried to match the hatch the best we could, although the young of the year shad that most of these topwater-feeding fish were eating are quite small. I found a white/blue Cicada produced best, although was far from perfect. Despite staying in the fish the entire time, we hooked up on roughly 1 in 8-10 casts. This ratio will improve as the shad grow out and larger lures look more like the bait (and vice versa).
Our final hour was spent downrigging. I chose to run small Pet Spoons on an umbrella rig on one ‘rigger and slightly larger Pet Spoons on a tandem rig on the other ‘rigger. We caught a blend of all sizes of both white bass and hybrid stripers up to 3.25 pounds.
By the time the lightning began to flash, we’d boated exactly 46 fish. After making a beeline to the boat ramp and getting my party to safety, I studied the weather radar. It looked like the weather was stacked up all the way down I-35 to Austin and beyond and was moving our way at a pretty good clip. Thinking we weren’t going to get another window without lightning present, we decided to play it safe and call it a good trip right there.
TALLY = 46 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:15am
End Time: 9:15am
Air Temp.: 75F @ trip’s start
Water Surface Temp.: 80.9F
Skies: 100% bright grey cloud cover
Other Notes: N/A
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1283 to 1271 — topwater for 90 minutes
**Area 1143/1372/1283 – downrigged for 90 minutes after topwater ended
Holding the Line Guide Service