This past Saturday morning I fished with U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) Ray Behan, his wife, Gaby, his dad, Steve Behan, the Behan’s daughter, Virginia, and Ray’s niece and nephew, Tyler and Reese Volk. Steve came in for a visit from Louisiana, and the Volk’s were visiting from Salem, Oregon.
From left: Gaby Behan, Reese Volk, Steve Behan, Virginia Behan, Tyler Volk, and Ray Behan, each with sampling of the 163 fish we caught on Belton this past Saturday as the white bass fed long and hard at the surface in pursuit of threadfin shad.
To say the fish cooperated today would be an understatement. Not only was there surprisingly few boats out (the weatherman’s bark was worse than his bite), the grey skies, gentle winds, and low-pressure conditions we experienced in advance of an afternoon of rain was just a perfect combination to get Belton’s white bass population fired up enough to feed on the surface long and hard.
We caught white bass from 6:40a to 9:30a by downrigging with a pair of downriggers with baits set up high in the water column (just 9-12 feet down), while Ray carefully sight-cast from the front deck of the moving boat into schools of fish off to our left or right. By 9:30 we’d boated exactly 80 white bass and 1 hybrid striper.
As the skies brightened a bit, the surface action died, so I quickly switched us over to fishing for catfish with cutbait. We caught a mix of 33 blue catfish and a channel catfish in just 45 minutes. The time was now around 10:15am. I asked if everyone would like to ride out the remainder of our trip continuing to catch catfish, or if they’d like to roll the dice and take a chance on finding (or not finding) more white bass action. By this time the skies had begun to darken a bit and a large weather complex sat just off to our SW over the Hill Country.
The family vote was for more white bass action, so, we simply rode from place to place being observant. We spotted some well-spread, aggressive white bass action by around 10:30, and fished over these fish another 40 minutes until the changing wind and weather put them down for good. In this final 40 minutes of fishing we boated another 49 fish, including 2 hybrid stripers and 47 white bass.]
Throughout the trip, Reese kept exclaiming, “This is SO exciting!” as she watched schools of white bass force young of the year shad to the surface and church the water white with their aggressive pursuit of these small baitfish. I would have to agree with her!
TALLY = 163 fish, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 11:10a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F
Water Surface Temp: 84.7
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE5-6
Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds with rain beginning to fall on our way back in to the dock at the end of the trip.
Water Level: ~3.01 feet high. Lake rose 0.30 feet in the past 24 hours with a flow of ~1570 cfs at the dam
GT = 130
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1142 to 1141: nomadic, fast moving schooling white bass under terns
**Area 814-085 catfish on cutbait
**Area vic 307: nomadic, fast moving schooling white bass under terns
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