This past Saturday morning, April 30th, I fished with Andy Bell, his father-in-law, Will Zschiesche, and Dylan Murray, Andy’s nephew.
Andy Bell with a nice Belton hybrid striped bass taken on live shad.
Will Zschiesche with one of the many hybrid we boated this morning. Circle hooks made for quick, easy releases, thus allowing us to get fresh baits back down to the fish quickly while they were still present and biting.
This was Dylan Murry’s first time fishing for hybrid striper after mainly casting for whatever would bite his lure while dock fishing at a family lake house on Possum Kingdom.
Will is a retired firefighter, Andy is a physical fitness trainer for the Premier Jewelry Company, and Dylan is a 17-year-old high school junior and avid golf player. As Andy asked his nephew about his latest golfing accomplishments, Dylan said he just missed an “albatross” recently. Not being a golfer of any sort, and having never heard the term “albatross” used in a golfing context, I just had to inquire further. It seems an albatross is when one makes it from the tee to the hole in just 2 shots on a par 5. Back to fishing…
Andy and I had been corresponding since before Thanksgiving of 2015 trying to get a date to fish, but on a number of occasions winter weather hindered us.
A mild cold front pushed into the area in the late afternoon yesterday, and caused turbulent weather during the overnight and early morning hours, complete with thunder, lightning, brief heavy downpours of rain, and occasional pellets of hail. Within 30 minutes of our planned start time of 7:15 AM, this weather began to move off to the east leaving a north-northwest wind and heavy grey cloud cover in its wake. Additionally, although the Corps of Engineers is running 5000 to 6000 ft.³ per second out of the dam, Belton still rose slightly over this past 24 hour period. Fortunately, none of the areas that have been producing fish lately were impacted by off colored water.
We fished four areas this morning, the first three specifically in pursuit of hybrid striper, and the last (for variety’s sake), targeting schooled white bass caught via a jigging spoon. The first area we hit gave up only one keeper hybrid and a short white. We saw plenty of fish near bottom, and even had fish approach our baits suspended a few feet up off bottom, but despite chumming and thumping, these fish would not respond.
The second and third areas we hit were in approximately 48 feet of water, and produced much better following a wind shift from north-northwest to west-northwest. We put an additional 48 fish in the boat at these two areas with a majority of the fish being legal hybrid striped bass of at least 18 inches. Our single largest fish today weighed in at 4.25 pounds.
At the last area we fished, we targeted heavily schooled white bass in over 60’ of water. Although these fish responded to our presentations allowing us to put 3 fish in the boat in short order, the morning bite was just about over and after the initial interest these fish showed, they turned right off and refused to bite. We wrapped up right at 11:15a.
TALLY = 53 fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 11:15a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F
Water Surface Temp: 72F
Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were NNW13 at trip’s start, shifting to WNW11 within an hour, and staying at that velocity.
Sky Conditions: Light grey cloud cover at 100%
Water Level: Running 5664 cfs out of the dam, Belton still fell 0.12 feet in the last 24 hours and is now 9.54 feet above full pool.
Other: GT= 50
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1742 – subdued action at low-light with NNW wind blowing hard after wet front’s passage.
**Area 346/1318 – solid hybrid striper action for just-legal fish for 1.5 hours.
**Area 1390 – solid hybrid striper action for 19-20 inch fish at 3.25 to 4.25 pounds
**Area 1717 – deep vertical jigging (easing) for white bass in 62′
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