Who got hooked — fish or fisherman?? — 111 Fish, Belton Lake, 20 Oct.

This past Sunday evening I welcomed aboard Rachel and Aaron Cherry of Nolanville, TX.

After several days of high pressure and winds from the N and E, the winds turned more southerly and the fish responded in a big way.  My two novice anglers boated 111 fish in their 4 hour evening trip including white bass, hybrid striped bass, drum, blue catfish, and largemouth bass.

Rachel and Aaron’s faces may be familiar to you, as I took both kids out separately earlier this week (Aaron on Tuesday and Rachel on Thursday).  Because she homeschools, mom thought giving the kids a bit of a break from one another might be a good idea.  However, they both came back from their trips so enthusiastic and wanting to go again, that Mrs. Cherry called me on Saturday to arrange another trip for the two kids together on Sunday.  Rachel’s trip fell under the Ft. Hood SKIES program, and Aaron’s trip fell under the SKIFF program banner.  I smiled realizing that fish weren’t the only ones who got “hooked” on the kids’ trips last week.

After days of winds from the north and east, and some pretty tough morning trips wherein the fish just stayed kind of sluggish, this afternoon’s wind shift to the south was quite welcome.  We got on the water and essentially drove right to the fish.  They were right where I’d anticipated they would be given the direction of the wind.  White bass and hybrid stripers often orient on underwater features, and, specifically on the side of those features being most impacted by wind-driven waves.  This afternoon was no exception.

In our first hour on the water the kids boated exactly 64 fish — catching more than a fish per minute, literally.  These fish were tightly bunched together on the bottom and responded well to slabs fished vertically.

This bite slowed a bit from 5:00p to 6:00, and then bounced back from 6:00p to 6:30p when we found some cooperative schools of suspended fish at the second location we searched.  Suspended fish call for downrigging, and the 3-armed umbrella rigs we used to present small baits which imitated the shad these fish were feeding on did the trick. We added 14 more fish to our tally via the downriggers.

By 6:30, we were within a half-hour of sunset, so I moved us a third and final time to position ourselves where I felt our best shot at a shallow, low-light bite would come.  As we idled in, I saw a lot of fish and bait, with most all of the action on or near bottom with a few “early bloomers” already beginning to move upwards in the water column for the last feed of the day.  We once again hovered and used slabs fished vertically to capitalize on what we’d discovered, then “mopped up” with the downriggers once the sun set and the fish began to wind down.  The kids added another 33 fish to the count as these fish also fed very aggressively.

Rachel and Aaron teamed up to boat a grand total of 111 fish of five different species this evening.  For the second evening in a row (and under excellent conditions tonight with a moon just past waxing past new) no topwater action occurred as the sun set.  I suspect this year’s topwater bite is over for keeps.

TALLY = 111 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 3:30p

End Time: 7:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 84F

Water Surface Temp: 78F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE10-12

Sky Conditions: Cloudless, fair skies with very dry conditions

Note: Lake has dropped 0.05 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 592.68 above sea level, with 594.00 being full pool

Other: GT= 0



**Area 1615 aggressive smoking

**Area 1610-1616 downrigging

**Area 1019 aggressive smoking pre-sunset

**Area 823 downrigging for last-light fish post-sunset


Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX