On this cool, crisp early October morning, I met up with a party of three on Belton Lake for a morning of chasing white bass and hybrid striped bass. The “ringleader” was Brian Bishop from the Houston area. Joining him were his nephew, Corwyn Raesz, and Corwyn’s grandfather, Bobby Rusk, both from the Fort Worth area.
From left: Corwyn, Brian, and Bobby with a mess of white bass caught via a vertical approach, after fish were found using downriggers as a search tool. As has been the case all summer, most of the fish we caught were smaller than these we held onto for photos.
Brian is a computer guy still in his working years, Bobby retired from computer-oriented civil service over 20 years ago, and Corwyn works for an ad agency and focuses on Bank of America as his primary client.
The crew encountered what can only be described as some “Murphy’s Law” this morning. We were to meet at 6:45 AM so as to be on the water for any top water bite that developed. When GPS sent them in the wrong direction, and as they toured through a Belton neighborhood in Bobby’s really-cool looking 1970’s vintage Continental, they drew the attention of local law enforcement. A friendly neighborhood Bell County Sheriff’s Dept. patrolman pulled the odd looking car over just to make sure the occupants were legit.
Convinced that they were indeed okay fellows, the deputy sent them on their way, and they arrived at the boat ramp about 35 minutes late, just as the top water bite was shutting down. Then, as they went to exit the vehicle (which, by the way had some groovy, retractable headlight covers!!), the driver’s side window stuck in the down position, costing us even more precious time as the topwater bite clock ticked down.
I sped to my best bet on remaining topwater action and we wound up catching 3 fish on the surface before the bright, direct sun shut it down.
Fortunately, we were able to find some deep water fish by using downriggers to probe the depths, catching quite a number of singles, doubles, and triples beginning at around 8 AM. When multiple passes with the downriggers continued to produce fish on every pass, I decided to use the Spot Lock feature on the Minn Kota trolling motor in order to hang right above the fish we were seeing on sonar. At times, the bottom was blanketed with fish, and stayed that way for fair lengths of time. We made for “short hops” by moving a few yards forwards, backwards, left, or right of where we first encountered fish, and stayed on fish for three solid hours from 8 AM to 11 AM.
When all was said and done we boated exactly 142 fish including white bass, hybrid striped bass, freshwater drum, and one blue catfish.
As has been the case nearly all summer, most of these fish were smallish, but the numbers were through the roof.
As has also been the case all summer, the three armed umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons did the trick for downrigging, and the 3/8 ounce Redneck Fish’n’ Jigs (formerly known as the TNT 180) in 3/8 ounce did the trick on the bottom-oriented fish we slabbed for vertically.
TALLY = 142 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:20a
End Time: 11:30a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F
Water Surface Temp: 80.6F
Wind Speed & Direction: NNW9-11
Sky Conditions: Cloudless
Other: GT= 65
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1607 & 1119 light, concluding topwater action
**Area 1602/841/1019 downrigging leading to slabbing
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