This past Monday morning, August 8th, I fished with Mr. Randy Williamson, his wife, Holly, and their friend, Phillip Fagan, all from out in Coryell County, TX, near Topsey.
Despite decades of his own experience on Belton Lake (since it was constructed in the 1950’s), Randy told me he really learned a lot today, in particular about how to be prepared to change tactics for different species and varying conditions “on the fly”.
As a guide, I find some trips with some parties more enjoyable than others. This was the kind of trip I most enjoy — having folks aboard that did not require constant instruction because of their prior experience, and who enjoyed the trip regardless of what manner of fish we caught because they enjoyed being outdoors and each others company.
Randy and Holly’s experiences through the years reminded me of my own with my wife, Rebecca. It seemed each time they traveled to a vacation destination, they mixed in a bit of fishing, and had good stories and good memories from having done so.
We experienced a good variety of fishing this morning, beginning with some downrigging at first light for white bass and hybrid stripers which began to push bait toward the surface. This got more organized and aggressive and, for a short time, resulted in some topwater feeding which we were able to capitalize on by sight casting.
After this peak activity faded, we reverted to the downriggers to get a few more fish as they tapered off their feed, then, a slowdown from 8:00 to 9:00 am ensued.
We did a bit of bait fishing with fresh, dead shad for blue cat to bide our time, then I searched, generally unsuccessfully, in several areas for white bass and hybrid action. During this time the light breeze we’d enjoyed slowed to nearly calm and made our already tough job even more difficult.
Evenutally, I found a few more loosely schooled hybrid stripers in about 29 feet of water on a gradual slope and we hung live shad just up off bottom for these fish. We landed 4 hybrid over the next 4 minutes and lost as many just due to everyone’s lack of familiarity with the use of circle hooks. As has been the case for the past several weeks, no matter where I’ve put baits down for hybrid, smallish blue cat moved in quite quickly and became a nuisance as they stalked and killed our live shad routinely before the hybrid would make of their minds to feed.
We ended up the trip with a total of 64 fish boated, the majority of which came in the first 70 minutes during that initial, strong, low-light feeding time. It was both complimentary and encouraging to have Randy tell me at the end that, after having fished Belton Lake since it was constructed in the 1950’s, he learned a lot while fishing it this morning with me.
TALLY = 64 fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 11:00a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F
Water Surface Temp: 85.4F
Wind Speed & Direction: S9-12
Sky Conditions: 20% white clouds on a fair sky. Unobscurred sunrise at 7:12.
Water Level: ~2.90 feet high and falling ~ 0.7 feet per day with a flow of ~5,200 cfs
GT = 50
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1654 – low light downrigging and topwater sightcasting for white bass & hybrid stripers
**Area 1271/1069 – post-sunrise topwater and downrigging after the topwater died
**Area 1655/1070- bluecat with fresh, dead shad
**Area 1019 – hybrid on live shad in final hour from 10-11am
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)