WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday evening I fished with a crew of 4. Jim Downing was supposed to bring a crew out in pursuit of hybrid last Friday morning, but, the weather had other ideas.
After a few personnel changes to the lineup, I welcomed Jim, his Aunt Sally Hardeman, his nephew, Eric Martin, and Jim’s friend, Gary Hannemann aboard.
Although there are exceptions to every rule, Belton typically does not produce hybrid striped bass nearly as well, nor for as long of a time in the evenings as it does in the mornings. For this reason, I do not offer hybrid-specific trips at that time. Jim was okay with “converting” his trip to a multi-species trip, and so we met up at 4:15pm and put in a good 4 hours in pursuit primarily for white bass.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Jim Downing, Sally Hardeman, Eric Martin, and Gary Hannemann.
PHOTO CAPTION: The first fish taken from our first area fished this afternoon. It would be our largest of the trip as we primarily focused on white bass which tend to be active longer and more predictably in the afternoons.
WHEN WE FISHED: 14 May, 2020, PM
HOW WE FISHED: As I mentioned earlier, there are exceptions to every rule. As a rule, my 4-hour afternoon trips start slowly with the first 2 hours often involving lots of looking, and a little finding and catching, with the fishing taking off in the last 2 hours as the light level decreases. This afternoon, we looked over our first area in search of white bass, saw what I thought were hybrid on sonar, dropped down a bit of live bait I’d brought exactly in case this happened, and Jim landed a keeper hybrid in no time. This area went quiet thereafter, so we moved on, but …
Our next stop would lead us to 2.25 hours of non-stop catching in the early part of the afternoon. We found white bass stacked up about 4 fish high along the bottom in around 43 feet of water. Everyone was rigged up with a 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook attached. We hovered over the fish relying on Spot-Lock technology and just kept the fish coming over the side. Aunt Sally had a knack for drawing vicious strikes from both just-legal and just-short hybrid. 4 of her first 6 fish landed consisted of that species, and, as the day unfolded, she would wind up catching the majority of all of the hybrid we landed, thus earning her the title “Queen of the Hybrid” given by her manservant, Jim.
We used a smoking tactic the entire time spent on this area until finally the fish relented and we moved on to look for more fish.
Things went quiet from about 6:15 to 7:15. Then, about an hour before dark, we found another, smaller, but still active group of fish. Because hybrid often do perk up for a low-light feed just before dark, we decided to try using live shad at this area. We just about could not keep the white bass off of our baits no matter what size we used, nor how high up in the water column we placed them. We landed both white bass and a few blue catfish in this location consistently right up until they quit as last light turned to dark. We ended up with 146 fish landed, including 4 legal hybrid, all of which struck on the 3/4 oz. white slab.
TALLY: 146 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: 4th consecutive day of water flowing thru dam at ~1607 CFS
Start Time: 4:15P
End Time: 8:15P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F
Elevation: 0.37′ high, 0.21′ drop, 1606 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 74.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE12 the entire trip
Sky Conditions: Blue sky with ~20% white cloud cover
GT = 125
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area triangulated by B0037C/1012/2059 – 2.25 hours of solid white bass action
**Area vic B0078C – final hour of light produced well here, as it did on Tuesday
Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service
Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
254.368.7411 (call or text)