First Hybrid Ever — 39 Fish, Belton Lake, 23 July 2015

This past Thursday evening I fished Belton Lake with Mr. Tom Carroll, his adult nephew, Mike Farris, and Mike’s 13-year-old son, Josh Carroll.  This was all arranged by Tom’s wife, Wanda, some months ago, but rains, then floods fell on the primary and alternate dates we selected.  Based on a good outing this past Tuesday, I felt the fish would be doing the same things at the same times given our stable weather.



13-year-old Josh Farris strains to display his very first hybrid striped bass as his dad, Mike, assists.

Before we officially began fishing, I first showed Josh how to correctly cast a spinning outfit so that if the fish went on a topwater blitz, he could independently catch his fair share.  This skill would also allow him to work bladebaits should the fish require a bit more coaxing.

As we got going, sonar revealed abundant bait and gamefish in the vicinity of Area 165.  We started off using downriggers with a variety of trailers on the 3 arms of the umbrella rigs we were using, just to gauge activity level and see if the fish had a preference on bait size.  We narrowed our selections down to small Pet Spoons and White Willow Spoons and were able to pick up single fish on every 2nd or 3rd pass.  The fish were sluggish and had a ton of natural bait to choose from.

From time to time when I saw a heavy school of bottom-oriented fish, we would stop and fancast bladebaits for some “bonus” fish added to the steady flow of downrigger fish coming over the side.  As we idled over a 23 foot deep section of bottom, the sonar screen lit up with fish and I told the fellows to watch the line closely.  Within 5-8 second of passing over those fish, the starboard downrigger went off in a big way and the rod bent deeply into the butt section.  Josh was connected to his first hybrid.  He did a great job listening to my coaching, keeping the fish away from the outboard, and the line away from the side of the boat.  When the fish came to net, it turned out to be a double — his hybrid’s struggle had attracted an average white bass, and that white bass latched on to one of the other 2 spoons on the 3-armed umbrella rig.

As sunset approached, the action slowly drifted to the south and up shallower until we were up in 12-14 feet casting shallower and working bladebaits slowly to get bit consistently.  There was very little action actually on the surface this evening.

When all was said and done, we boated 37 white bass up to 13.75 inches and 2 hybrid, both between 3 & 4 pounds.


TALLY = 39 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 5:15p

End Time:  8:55p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  99F

Water Surface Temp:  86.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: S11

Sky Conditions:  5%  cloud cover under a strong high pressure dome making hot, dry conditions for the past several days

Note: Lake has dropped 0.24 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 1.85 feet above full pool.

Other: GT= 0



**Area 165 downrigging and bladebaits

** Received credible report from TB of similar sunset action at Area 024 with similar results



Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX