Can’t Keep a Good Man Down — 102 Fish, Belton Lake

This morning, Tuesday, the 8th of December, I fished with retired U.S. Navy flight surgeon Ray Johnson.

2015 DEC 08

Despite suffering a heart attack that involved the “widow-maker” vessel of the heart back in August, Ray bounced back and gave the fish a run for their money this morning.

Ray has battled multiple sclerosis for a number of years now, then, this past August, suffered a heart attack.  Four days and 2 stents later, he was back up and running and all the time looking forward to his next fishing trip.

I looked for “just right” conditions to take Ray out and, seeing today fit that description in the forecast two days ago, gave him a ring.  He gave me a big thumbs-up, and so we met up at 7a this morning and went fishing.

Things started slowly as the skies were bright and clear and the winds at sunrise were light.  As the winds increased, the fishing picked up right along with them.

Our first fish came near Area 124 via downrigged 3-arm umbrella rigs.  We picked up occasional suspended and bottom-oriented white bass and hybrid just one at a time.  When it was clear this area wasn’t going to “turn on” any time soon, we moved.

Our next stop came in 25-27′ along a short breakline.  I spotted a small school of fish tightly clustered together and in a feeding posture, so, we buoyed them and then used the Spot Lock to stay over top.  We used a slow jigging stroke with silver/white 3/4 oz. slabs to boat white bass, short hybrids, largemouth, smallmouth, and freshwater drum — 26 in all in about 3 “short hops” all in this same general location (Areas 1642-1645)

As we enjoyed this slow but steady action, I continued to scan for bird activity.  At exactly 9:30a, I spotted about 20 gulls and terns all working over an 80 yard stretch of water (Area 1655).  We got to them quickly and used a variety of jigging tactics to put another 34 fish in the boat in about 40 minutes’ time.  The birds worked the first ~30 minutes of that time, then we continued to catch fish here for a few minutes after the birds quit.

The action in this segment of the lake died hard once the birds lifted, so, we searched elsewhere, finding heavily schooled fish on bottom in ~27 feet in the vicinity of Area 1623.  With 60 fish in the boat, and given what I was seeing on sonar, I felt Ray and I had a real good shot at boating 100+ fish.  We got down to business and fished hard for an hour straight and put another 42 fish in the boat from out of this area, thus finishing up our day with exactly 102 fish.

Although the numbers were strong this morning, we didn’t catch any outsized white bass or hybrids this morning.

TALLY = 102 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 7:00a

End Time:  11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Water Surface Temp:  62.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: S5 at dawn, increasing to SSW12 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Fair and cloudless

Water Level: 7.29 feet above full pool with 0.36 feet of water released in the past 24 hours

Other: GT= 0



**Area 124 – low light downrigging for spotty success

**Area  1642-1645 – slow tactic vertical jigging for bottom-oriented fish

**Area  1655 for 30 minutes of bird action

**Area 1623 for slow tactic vertical jigging for heavily clustered fish on bottom



Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX