WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday morning I fished with returning guest Dr. Michael Szkrybalo. Michael is an emergency medicine physician who got his start in the U.S. Army and now works at Baylor Scott & White. It was a wacky weather day and the fishing reflected that. We began the day with what would be a high temperature of 56F, a balmy feel to the air, calm winds, and some thin fog. Under these conditions we fished for nearly 2 fishless hours until a SE breeze began to move the water and the fish began to feed. We caught the vast majority of our fish in about 90 minutes, between 10:30a and noon. Nearly all of our fish were small, from the 2017 year class, but the action was steady during this “window” on slowly smoked 3/8 oz. slabs. As I came off the lake, the winds were blowing at 20, gusting 25+ and the temperature had fallen to 50F. By 3:30pm, the winds were blowing 30, gusting to 40, and the temperature had fallen to 41F.
This is what I refer to when I write about “year classes” of white bass. The top fish is a 3-year-old white bass of ~13″, the fish in the center is a 2-year-old white bass of roughly 11.5″, and the fish on the bottom is a 1-year-old fish measuring about 8″. In most years on Belton and Stillhouse, we have some representation in at least the 1, 2, and 3 year-old fish classes. Due to the past three year’s worth of spring water conditions (when the white bass spawn), the 2017 year class is by far the most abundant in both reservoirs right now. Mike and I caught mainly 1 year class fish.
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass using artificial lures.
WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake
WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday morning, 11 January 2018
HOW WE FISHED: We fished in no less than 36 feet of water today, and out to as deep as 52 feet. As the winds began to push from the SE and the bite slowly began, we used a snap-jigging tactic in very deep (45-52′) water. As the winds built and shifted through the S, to the W, and then to the NW, the bite strengthened and went shallower. During this window, a slow smoking tactic worked well during which time I sync’ed the rhythm of the thumper to the speed we needed to turn our spinning reel handles so as to avoid going too fast.
OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: 1) The pre-frontal wind shift had everything to do with turning the fish on. 2) The arrival of cold, dry air on the NNW wind had everything to do with turning the bite back off.
TALLY: 81 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:20a
End Time: 12:30p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 56F (then falling with an approaching cold front)
Water Surface Temp: 52.8F
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm until around 9:20, then light SE until 10:30, then swinging quickly through S, to W, to NNW and building to 20+
Sky Conditions: 100% cloud cover with light fog with slow clearing to 30% by the time the front roared in
Water Level: 3.09 feet low
GT = 10
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 1177
**Area B0014C (with 2 short hops)
**Area 382 (with 2 short hops)
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)