Better Than Golf! — 56 Fish, Belton Lake, 28 Aug. 2015

This morning I met U.S. Army Colonel Dave Mauser of Belton, TX, on Lake Belton for a morning of white bass and hybrid striped bass fishing.

Dave Mauser with our best fish of the trip — a Belton Lake hybrid striped bass that revealed its location during a brief surface feed on shad.

As I expected for an Army colonel, Dave showed up early, which I appreciated.  This gives me time to adjust equipment to my client’s preferences, allows me to evaluate a few practice casts so I know their range and accuracy, and otherwise allows us to get off to an unhurried start in a too-hurried world.

Dave had some widely varied prior fishing experiences, from flyfishing for bass in the northeast, to chasing bottomfish from a charterboat offshore inFlorida, to some bay fishing for redfish on the Texas Gulf Coast.  He handled a spinning rod well enough, so, I decided to try to put him on some topwater action in the low-light period just before, during, and after sunrise.

Although the topwater feed was not overly aggressive, it was steady and lasted for just over an hour, affording us the opportunity to land 31 fish on cork rigs equipped with my own hand-tied flies which were scaled way down to match the still-small forage size of the bait these fish were trapping against the surface.  The fish were a mix of white bass and hybrid stripers of all sizes.  After catching his 4th or 5th fish on topwater, and seeing fish feeding over the span of several acres, Dave said kind of matter-of-factly, “This is better than golf.”  I grinned.

After the topwater melee subsided, we went after “popcorn” schools of white bass and hybrid stripers appearing briefly on the surface out over open water.  These fish were relating to nothing but bait.  We would get to a school as quickly as possible, allowing Dave a cast or, at most, two.  While he was working the topwater, I would quickly rig at least one of our two downriggers up to run just under the surface.  More times than not, we found the school that had just sounded and were able to catch a fish or two from each eruption.  We landed another 11 fish this way prior to 9:30am.

At 9:30am, we headed out in search of a congregation of fish that have been patrolling a particular 25-27 foot contour for some time now.  Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve been able to find these fish with downriggers, then take advantage of what we’ve found by going back over the fish, hovering over top of them, and slabbing for them.  Today was no exception.  Although it took a bit of doing to find a “slab-able” population of these fish, once we did, they cooperated well, staying turned on for about 25 minutes and allowing us to boat our final 14 fish of of the day on 3/8 oz. slabs.

Dave will soon be headed back to Southwest Asia in his role as a civil affairs officer, this time returning to retire with over 25 years in the service.

Thank you for your service, Dave.

TALLY = 56 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 6:30a

End Time:  10:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Water Surface Temp:  86F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW3-6

Sky Conditions:  Cloudless conditions following the sun’s rise above a thin grey cloud bank in the east at sunrise

Note: Lake has dropped 0.02 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 594.08 above sea level, with 594.00 being full pool

Other: GT= 0



**Area 188 topwater at first light

**Area 1586 downrigging and surface casting for popcorn schools

**Area 210 smoking at trip’s end


Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX