Hybrid Fishing 101 — Mason Party Boats 101 Fish, 07 May

This past Saturday morning, May 7th, I fished with Jim Mason of Waco, TX, his friend, Jerry Morgan, also of Waco, and Jim’s son and daughter-in-law, Peyton and Helen Mason, of Denver, CO.

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From left:

Photo 1: Helen Mason had the best technique when it came to properly hooking fish with the circle hooks we used; as a result she landed the highest percentage of fish that bit on her live baits.

Photo 2: Jerry Morgan hoists the second largest fish of the trip, a 6.25 pound hybrid that struck his live shad in 48′ of water.

Photo 3: Jim Mason shows the 7.00 pound, 25 3/8″ fish that anchored the stringer today as his son, Peyton looks on.  This is the largest hybrid I’ve seen caught on Belton since 2009 when Mrs. Lacy Sparkman boated a 25.5 inch fish which stands as the catch-and-release lake record to this day.

Photo 4: Peyton Mason with a very long, but more lean hybrid we boated in the closing 30 minutes of our trip.


Peyton initially contacted me back in February and wanted to get a gift certificate for his dad’s birthday, and today was the day to cash that in.  Peyton and Helen tried to kill several birds with one stone, timing their travel to coincide with Mothers’ Day.

We all got a strong first impression that today would be a good fishing day when, while drifting near the launch site and demonstrating the use of the line-counter reels we’d be gearing up with, I managed to hook and land a 1.5 pound freshwater drum on a bare hook.

It only got better from there.  We made only two stops today, in water from 48-51 feet deep, and put exactly 101 fish in the boat (not counting the drum!).  Not only did we catch a lot of fish, the impressive part to me was that easily 80% of these 101 fish were “keeper” sized (18+ inch long) hybrid striped bass.

Fittingly, Jim the birthday-boy wound up catching the largest fish of the trip.  He landed a 7.00 pound, 25 3/8 inch long hybrid striped bass which is the largest hybrid I’ve had landed by a client since 2009.  We also landed two fish weighing 6.00 pounds and another weighing 6.25 pounds.

Although it may seem obvious, one of the keys to our success was having baits in the water when the wolfpacks of patrolling hybrid came under us.  This was easily accomplished when we had four lines down and were waiting for the fish to bite, however, once the fish started biting and we worked them into a frenzy, keeping at least one bait down amongst them to keep them interested in staying beneath the boat was critical.  This is where the use of circle hooks really shines.  When used properly, circle hooks allow for a super quick, easy release that causes little more than a prick in a fish’s upper lip.  Being able to net a fish, unhook and release it, re-bait, and get a fresh bait right back down to the fish is made much easier with such hooks and translated into more fish in the boat over any given period of time versus the use of J-shaped hooks which often get caught in the fishes’ gullets and require more lengthy removal or replacement.

I estimate we have another 2 weeks of solid fishing in conjunction with the threadfin shad spawn before the water begins to stratify and the fishing declines as less productive summer-time fish behaviors and patterns kick in.


TALLY = 101 fish, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:50a

End Time:  11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F

Water Surface Temp:  73-74F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were SSE9-13

Sky Conditions:  Fair skies with ~20% cloud cover.

Water Level: 8.38 feet above full pool with a fall of 0.25 feet in the last 24 hours with a release of ~4900cfs ongoing.

GT = 120


Wx Snapshot:




**Area 1749 – 80% keeper hybrid on live shad

**Area 1739 – 80% keeper hybrid on live shad


Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

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