North vs. South — 143 Fish for the Zills, 05 Dec. 2015

This morning, Saturday, 05 December, I fished  Belton Lake in pursuit of hybrid striped bass and white bass with Andrew and Megan Zills of Killeen, Texas.

Bird action began around 7:40, leading us to fish.  Although the birds only stayed active for about 45 minutes, that was long enough for us to pattern what the fish were doing.  We caught fish continuously right up until 11am.

The two met in Alabama where Andrew is from, and where Megan was going to college.  Megan actually has dual Canadian and US citizenship. She was born in Vancouver and moved with her family to Tupelo, Mississippi, at age 11 when her dad took a job with American Family Radio.

Andrew is a corporal in the US Army assigned to an engineer unit where he does horizontal construction (i.e roads).  Megan is a nanny for several local families. The couple’s trip was a gift from Mr. Dean Renkes of the Dallas area. Megan looks after Dean’s grandchildren, and Dean thought so highly of the couple that he wanted to send them on a fishing trip. Today was the day.

The weather forecast had me concerned because we were due to have very light southeast winds and very little cloud cover. I was pleasantly surprised to find the wind blowing 6 to 8 from the SSE before sunrise and very slowly increasing up to SSE12 mph by late morning. This favorable direction and wind speed really turned the fish on this morning. We began our day downrigging for fish that were not yet really turned on. By around 7:40, however, birds spotted fish working bait and we followed those birds to what would be a full morning of catching.  From 7:40 until 11 AM, we caught fish steadily. Our catch included white bass of all sizes, keeper and short hybrid striped bass, freshwater drum, and largemouth bass.

I observed closely beneath the bird activity to try to catch a glimpse of the size of forage the fish and birds were feeding on. This led me to select baits that were of the same size and color as those I observed being fed upon. A three-quarter ounce slab in silver and white equipped with a stinger hook did the job well this morning. Despite the water temperature still being above 60°, the fish were not all that active. A slow intentional jigging stroke did the trick for us, and I observed that we clearly outfished nearby boats by a substantial margin using this slow jigging tactic.

To say that Andrew and Megan are competitive would be an extreme understatement.  Throughout this morning’s trip the responsible party notified the other party when the first fish, largest fish, and most fish were caught.   All such claims were immediately challenged and debate often ensued.

By the time the fish activity tapered off, we had boated exactly 143 fish including several keeper hybrid which were all right at the 18 to 19 inch mark.

TALLY = 143 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 7:00am

End Time:  11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 38F

Water Surface Temp:  61.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE6-8 increasing to and leveling off at SSE12

Sky Conditions:  Fair and cloudless

Other: GT= 45



**Area 024 downrigging for bottom-hugging white bass and hybrid with White Willow Spoons and silver & white Pet Spoons

**Area 1642, 1643,1644, 1645, 1646, 1647, and 1648 initially found fish under birds, then “spot-hopped” in the same general vicinity along the same contour.



Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX