Hybrid Fishing on Lake Belton with Ray Johnson — 41 Fish, 10 May

This morning, Tuesday, May 10th, I fished with retired U.S. Navy Captain and flight surgeon Ray Johnson of Harker Heights. Our target species was hybrid striped bass on Belton Lake.




When the clouds cleared, the sun illuminated the depths and the hybrid turned on.  We had been fishing 4 rods and had to immediately drop back to just one or two due to the intensity of the action over a 50 minute span.


 Ray poses with the first fish of the morning taken, literally, less than a minute after dropping our first live bait down to within feet of the bottom.
Thanks to lingering cloud cover from our most recent mild storm system, the sudden brightening of the skies which normally occurs at sunrise was somewhat muted this morning, thus the shad spawning run was a bit delayed and took place around 6:30am.

When the shad came in, they came in strong but they also came in very briefly.  The entire window was about 12 minutes long. This was really a case of being at the right place at the right time.

I got Ray on board and settled in, and by 7:10am we were locked on top of our first fishing area using the Spot Lock feature on my Minn Kota Ulterra. This first area we fished look really good on sonar, with multiple thick yellow arches showing on colored sonar – – a signature typically given off by sizable hybrid striper. These marks were also 1 to 3 feet off of bottom, telling me these fish were in a feeding posture.

Indeed, as soon as we got baits down to these fish, we started catching. Over our first 25 minutes we had a nice run of nine keeper hybrid, then it took 10 to 15 minutes longer to get the next two, and then it really tapered off quickly, forcing us to move. We spent about an hour stopping, putting baits down, and coming up with just one or two fish, but never really getting things going until around 9:10 AM.

At this time I found a nice concentration of fish in 48 to 49 feet of water a few yards back from a nearby breakline.   As soon as we got baits down, we picked up three fish right off the bat, and then things settled down. We pulled fish steadily, but they were far from worked up into a frenzy of any sort. Then, as the morning murk gave way to thinning clouds, followed by the first direct sun’s rays hitting the water, things really started to click. We had a roughly 50 minute streak where it was all we could do to drop back from four baited lines, to keeping just one or two in the water. We quickly took our fish count up into the 30s.

These fish would later ramp down as quickly as they had ramped up as the nice south southeast wind that has been blowing right at 13 mph began to slack off to 10, then 9, and so on.  As the wind decreased, so did the intensity of the bite. By 11:10 we had caught our 41st and final fish of the day. We pressed on for another 10 to 15 fishless minutes, and then called it a day. Roughly 1/2 of our catch consisted of legal sized hybrid striped bass of 18+ inches in length.


TALLY = 41 fish, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:50a

End Time:  11:25a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Water Surface Temp:  72.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were SSE13 taper down to SSE 8-9

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

Water Level: 7.36 feet above full pool with a fall of 0.30 feet in the last 24 hours with a release of ~4890cfs ongoing.

GT = 0


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)

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