This past Monday I fished with long-time buddies Rick Klein and Randy Pritchett. Both fellows are retired now, and were therefore able to enjoy the uncrowded conditions offered on a weekday trip.
Here in 36 feet of water was the first quantity of fish of any significance we encountered this morning. Each white “grain” in the center bottom of the screen up off the continuous white bottom is an individual fish. The Christmas tree-like object to the left of the scattered fish “grains” is a very tightly bunched school of small white bass and small hybrid stripers.
We fished Belton today targeting white bass and hybrid striped bass. For the second trip in a row now on Belton, we experienced a very late developing bite. In fact, our first four hours on the water were nearly fishless, with one smallmouth bass hooked and lost, one drum hooked and lost, and two drum and one blue catfish landed. We struggled with easterly winds all the way up until around 1030, when the winds begin to shift south of east and increased in speed substantially. This wind shift, accompanied by increased cloud cover, seem to turn fish on, albeit still not tremendously. I extended our trip by about 90 minutes, and only during this time did we find any significant concentrations of catchable fish.
We located fish at two distinct areas approximately 200 yards apart, and in roughly 36 to 40 feet of water. We worked silver, three-quarter ounce TN T180 slab in a smoking fashion in order to keep the fish coming over the side. Experimenting with a straightforward jigging tactic did not do nearly as well. Even when we found fish, the size was generally small. We landed 33 fish in these most productive last 90 minutes and roughly a third of these were keeper whites, with the remainder being small whites and short hybrid no more than 11 inches in length. As the wind speed continued to increase and occasional waves broke over the bow we decided to wrap it up as the bite was beginning to wane. At this point, Murphy’s Law really kicked in. The wind was blowing hard and as I tried to crank my outboard it made a sound that wasn’t quite right. Long story short, I wound up hand cranking it to get it running, then the alternator few fuse blew setting off an alarm we had to listen to all the way back to the boat ramp. When we beached, the wind was blowing so hard Rick and Randy had to babysit the boat to keep it from washing up on the shore while I got back down to load onto the trailer.
There is always a transition after turnover when the fishing gets tough, and we are still in that time right now. Add to that unfavorable wind and weather conditions, and we got very deep, scattered, tight-lipped fish that were just hard to get on and stay on. This definitely wasn’t one of those days that will go into the record books. I’m actually looking forward to the decreasing water temperatures to cause these fish to bunch up, to move less, and for some stability to kick in through the winter months. For our efforts today we landed 36 fish.
TALLY = 36 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 12:30p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 53F
Water Surface Temp: 69-70F
Wind Speed & Direction: NE10 at sunrise, shifting and increasing to ESE20+ by trip’s end
Sky Conditions: Light grey skies
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
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