The afternoon fishing began with a slow jigging approach in deeper water, and ended with a bang as we cast into sub-surface hybrid stripers pushing bait to the surface. Sabrina and Mitch Randles show a sampling of the hybrid we caught under birds.
The Randles family migrated to Texas after losing their home to the devastating tornado that hit Joplin, MO, in May of 2011. Mitch has worked for the Temple Fire Dept. since then, and Sabrina (affectionately known as “Squirt” to her dad) works with the Temple Parks and Recreation Dept. in addition to attending Temple College where she is now in her sophomore year.
Mitch and I first got acquainted last winter after the Central Texas Boat Show when he hired me to train him on the sonar equipment on his bass boat. After that, his son, who now lives in Hattiesburg, MS, came for a visit and the three of us had a half day of solid cool-water white bass fishing over on Stillhouse.
Because fishing on Belton has been a bit spotty, I did some scouting on Stillhouse earlier this week and intended on taking father and daughter there to fish vertically for white bass for this trip.
Plans changed when a much-welcomed and stronger-than-forecast wind from the SSE ramped up this morning and really turned the fish on. As my morning trip wrapped up, I phoned Mitch, hoping we could change our plans to continue enjoying the strong bite on Belton.
We met up at 1:15pm and, for the first 2 hours, fished the same areas that gave up so many fish in the morning. At exactly 4:00pm we witnessed the first of what would turn out to be a solid 75 minutes of aggressive bird action, driven by gamefish feeding on shad from below, thus forcing them to the surface.
We slowly and methodically jigged with slabs for white bass, hybrid stripers, freshwater drum, and largemouth bass for the first two hours. When the birds cranked up, we all sat abreast of one another on the wide front casting platform of my boat — I chased fish and birds with the trolling motor and Mitch and Sabrina fired cast after cast, connecting on at least every third cast with the best quality fish of the day including a good number of keeper hybrid stripers.
As sunset approached and the birds relented and began to head to roost, we slowed back down and fished vertically, albeit in shallower water than we had fished in at the start of the trip (~17-20′).
The bite died hard just as the sun disappeared below the horizon, right around 5:20pm.
We boated a total of 94 fish this afternoon. The ride back in was chilly and Sabrina din’t have much insulation on her frame, so, Mitch’s first act upon beaching the boat (keep in mind all Belton courtesy docks are inaccessible due to flooding) was to start the heater in his truck for his little girl.
TALLY = 94 FISH, all caught and released
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Start Time: 1:15p
End Time: 5:30p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F
Water Surface Temp: 61.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE10-11 the entire trip
Sky Conditions: Fair and cloudless
Other: GT= 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Areas 1642, 1643,1644, 1645, 1646, 1647, and 1648 slow jigging.
**Areas 1650-1651 chasing birds, casting as we went
**Area 1652-1653 final stop of the night — mainly small white bass plentiful and scattered over a large area in shallower 17′-20′ water
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