WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Tuesday, 29 September, I fished with Pollyanna Casey of Belton in pursuit of white bass on Lake Belton.
Polly was introduced to fishing by an aunt in Arizona at age 11. Equipped with an old Orvis bamboo flyrod and some mismatched flies and tackle, Polly slowly but surely figured things out. More recently she’s become a part of a bass fishing club in Copperas Cove and has added spinning and casting gear to her arsenal.
Today was about getting out and doing a kind of fishing she’d never done before. She told me in the still-dark parking lot before we got going, “If I can catch just one fish, I’ll be happy.” We then got in the boat and proceeded to exceed those expectations…
WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake
WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday morning, 29 September 2020
HOW WE FISHED: After sitting out a day yesterday due to a mild, dry cold front’s passage which had straight-line winds at 21-22 with gusts to 30 all day yesterday, I was pleased to see a NW wind was still forecast to be blowing today before post-frontal, calm, bright conditions settled in. This typically means good fishing in the fall.
As I prepared the boat for Polly’s arrival, I checked the temperature profile down to 60 feet and found the thermocline has disappeared a bit earlier than normal. This is a major development which very few anglers will recognize or respond to. This opens the gates to fall fishing and fish that can locate just about anywhere in the water column and at any depth, thanks to complete oxygenation of the lake.
We began covering water this morning by downrigging under low-light conditions and found active white bass in ~35 feet of water feeding throughout the lower half of the water column. We worked these fish over trying to “make hay while the sun shines”, suspecting that, due to the cloudless skies, the fish would shut down once the direct sun hit the water for any length of time (and they did). We landed 12 fish before moving on.
There was a bit of a lull between leaving this first population of fish and finding another willing school to fish for. Our next run of success came in ~40 feet of water on a barren bottom with a gentle slope. I spotted the white bass heavily congregated on the bottom, and carpeting the bottom for about 3 boat lengths as I idled over them. We Spot-Locked on ’em, got the MAL Lures going to work for us and boated another 32 fish in about a 75 minute span — not on fire, but not having to pull teeth, either.
Once these fish shut down around 10AM, the wind was letting up and we moved into more classic post-frontal conditions. In our final hour on the water, I looked over 4 distinct areas (all deep, given the clear, bright skies and nearly calm surface), finding fish at only one of them, and working to land our final 6 fish of the morning to top us off right at 50 fish for the morning
TALLY: 50 fish caught and released (1 hybrid, 2 freshwater drum, 47 white bass)
OBSERVATIONS: Temperature profile indicating the thermocline is nearly dissipated…
5 feet 76.4
10 feet 76.4
15 feet 76.4
20 feet 76.4
25 feet 76.4
30 feet 76.4
35 feet 76.4
45 feet 76.4
50 feet 76.6
55 feet 76.6
60 feet 76.4
65 feet 71.6
Start Time: 6:45A
End Time: 11:15A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 48F
Elevation: 0.50′ high with a 0.24′ 24-hour drop and 1,670 CFS flow thru the dam
Water Surface Temp: 76.3F
Wind Speed & Direction: NNW breeze at 8 at sunrise, increasing thru 10 A to NNW13, then slacking off the NNW 6 by trip’s end.
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 95% illumination
GT = 55
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 085 to 488 – low light downrigging for 12 fish
**Area B0078C – vertical MAL Lure work for 32 fish
**Area B0043G – vertical MAL Lure work for 6 fish
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) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com