WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday I fished a full day trip (from just before sunrise to just after sunset, with an off-the-water lunch break in the middle). In the morning, Mr. Jim Downing, Mr. Coby Whiteside, Mr. Chad Parsons, and Chad’s 16-year-old son, Chase Parsons made up my 4-man crew. In the afternoon, Jim and Coby continued on with me, and we were joined by Jim’s 7-year-old son, Noah, and Coby’s 10-year-old daughter Aubree.
ABOVE: Coby Whiteside and his 10-year-old daughter, Aubree, with one of the hybrid we landed near trip’s end with live shad.
ABOVE: Jim Downing and his 7-year-old son, Noah, with a hybrid striper they battled together near sunset.
ABOVE: Fish number 100, 101, 102, and 103 held by (from left) Coby Whiteside, Chase Parsons, Chad Parsons, and Jim Downing. This foursome put 182 in the boat during the morning half of today’s full day trip.
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass and hybrid striped bass
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday morning, 02 December 2017
HOW WE FISHED:
AM Portion: We had really “fishy” conditions this morning with a mild SSE breeze at around 6-9mph and at least some thin, grey cloud cover for the entire trip, save a about 45 minutes right at the 1:45pm start of our afternoon trip. Helpful bird activity led the way to an abundance of caught fish from around 7:35am until 11:15am. We fished two distinct locations with the first yielding primarily white bass and the second yielding a mix of white bass and hybrid striped bass. Every last fish we caught was caught on a 3/4 oz. white Redneck Fish’n’ Jigs slab Model 180 with my Hazy Eye Stinger hook attached used with a smoking tactic. Most of the fish we encountered were in the lower 1/3 of the water column. We finished the morning trip with 182 fish landed.
PM Portion: In contrast with the morning, not a single bird (and there are hundreds now residing on Lake Belton) was helpful in finding fish this afternoon. We found fish exclusively using sonar and in 5 distinct locations. Each location but the last produced primarily white bass, which worked out well to provide steady action for my two younger guests. Again, we smoked with white slabs. Around 4:30pm, and with about an hour’s worth of fishing light left, I gave Jim and Coby the option of continuing on in pursuit of white bass, or intentionally pursuing hybrid striped bass using live shad. Since the kids’ wrists had about given out anyway, they gave the thumbs up for a hybrid hunt. We put out a full compliment of 6 downlines with two set at 20′, two set at 25′, and two set at 37′. The 25′ rods were our best producers. In our final 50 minutes we were able to pick up five keeper (18″ or greater) hybrid, thus putting our afternoon tally at 73 fish landed, and our grand total for the day at 255 fish landed.
OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: 1) For the first time this fall, the Hazy Eye Stinger hook accounted for more hooked fish than the treble hook; I expect this ratio will continue to increase as the water continues to cool. When under active birds, the hybrid were much more likely to suspend and move horizontally whereas the white bass stayed glued to bottom. The movement and feeding of the hybrid was the primary factor for the presence of birds.
TALLY: 255 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 5:45p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 53F
Water Surface Temp: 64F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE6-9 all day
Sky Conditions: Light grey cloud cover for all but the period from 1:45 through 2:30pm
Water Level: 2.66 feet low
GT = 20
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS (MORNING):
**Area 2035 through 1339 under birds for white bass (122 fish by 9:15am) on smoked slabs
**Area 2059 white bass by smoking slabs
**Area 836 through 1304 – mid-morning bird action for mixed white bass & hybrid stripers
**Area 1294 through 344 – late-morning bird action for mixed white bass and hybrid stripers
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS (EVENING):
**Area 1297 – lethargic white bass (9 fish)
**Area 1338 through 297 – lethargic white bass (24 fish)
**Area 2052/2061/2062 – lethargic white bass (10 fish)
**Area 2060 – moderately active white bass (25 fish)
**Area vic 1294/344 – hybrid stripers on live shad at sunset (5 fish)
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)