This past Wednesday morning I met the Colicher family bright and early for a half-day family fishing trip on Belton Lake.
CJ, Cadence, and their dad, Brandon, all caught a mess of white bass in addition to the panfish we landed.
U.S. Army Major Brandon Colicher phoned me early in the week wanting to get his family out fishing while they were still on summer vacation and while he was still on leave from his assignment with the Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) program out of Camp Mabry in Austin, TX. He and his two children, son CJ and daughter Cadence, would be fishing, and mom, Amy, would just be along for the ride.
For the third day in a row, there was no topwater action at first light. We are now 4 days beyond the new moon, and we were experiencing compressional warming and winds at the atmosphere was being squeezed between our current weather and the cold front that came in on Thursday. This typically does not help the fishing.
We caught a few fish up shallow early on downriggers but all in all the first 90 minutes was the slowest start we’ve had to a trip in the past 2+ weeks.
When it became clear that the white bass and hybrid were just shut down for the early part of the morning, we turned our attention on panfish up shallow and, using bream poles and bait, worked over the resident population of green sunfish, orange spotted sunfish, bluegill sunfish, largemouth bass, and blacktail shiners, boating 42 fish in about an hour’s time. I knew the kids would enjoy this, but wasn’t sure at first how Brandon would like it. I explained that the technique were were employing would work from the shoreline on Lake Georgetown where he and his family occasionally go, so, he was eager to learn so as to be able to duplicate the success he and kids were enjoying.
Oftentimes where sunfish are involved, the largest fish in the area get caught first as they “bully” the other smaller fish and beat them to the bait. So, I was a bit surprised when, after we’d been at the 4th area we’d tried for panfish at for about 20 minutes, Cadence came up with one of the larger sunfish I’ve seen taken on Belton Lake, a 1/4 pound, 7 inch long mature bluegill sunfish. I immediately recognized this as a record breaker over the tie for the record held by two former child clients of mine, Lane Bolin and Emily Soupene, which stood at 0.13 pounds. We measured and weighed the fish, as required, and took all necessary photos.
The final “chapter” of our trip involved fishing for “popcorn” schools of white bass in open water. These fish gave their position away by feeding on shad, albeit briefly, on the surface and making enough commotion for me to spot them with my spotting scope. We used a combination of downrigging to zero in on these fish and then “Spot Locked” over them with the Minn Kota Ulterra in order to exploit what we’d found using slabs worked vertically. In our final hour on the water, we landed exactly 40 white bass in this way.
TALLY = 86 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 11:00a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F
Water Surface Temp: 87-88F
Wind Speed & Direction: S8-10
Sky Conditions: 15% cloud cover on a fair sky
Note: Lake has dropped 0.03 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 594.09 above sea level, with 594.00 being full pool
Other: GT= 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 811/012 light downrigging action at first light
**Area 1583 panfishing
**Area 1584/1581 slabbing/downrigging for “popcorn” white bass
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)