WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning, April 2nd, I welcomed aboard returning guests — the father-and-son team of Robin and Tyler O’Dell. Joining them for the first time aboard my boat was Robin’s fiancee, Lori Ostberg, and Lori’s 15-year-old daughter, Leslie Ostberg.
Now, Robin and Tyler know how to fish. In fact, they were two of a group of six which scored last year’s highest 1/2-day trip tally of 288 fish, back in November of 2020. They have their own boat and do pretty well.
In addition to that, Lori (a volleyball coach and guidance counselor) and Leslie (a student athlete focused on volleyball) were both very coachable and had some prior fishing experience. They got the hang of the essentials quickly, and willingly made the little fine-tuning adjustments to their technique necessary to maximize their results whenever I pointed things out to them.
Finally, everyone really stuck with it. There was no snacking, no lounging, no sightseeing, and no bathroom breaks. Everyone was focused on catching fish from start to finish. All of these things, combined with good weather (wind speed, wind direction, and moderate cloud cover) and rising water temperature came together in a perfect storm of good results.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Tyler O’Dell, Lori Ostberg, Robin O’Dell, and Leslie Ostberg. This crew amassed a catch of 333 fish in just a shade over 4 hours of fishing on Lake Belton.
WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake
WHEN WE FISHED: Friday (AM), 02 April 2021
HOW WE FISHED:
With just-right wind and sky conditions, the fish got feeding right at sunrise, and kept feeding strong up until around 11:10 when things began to slow to a stop, which occurred right around 11:30.
In order to get everyone to master the fundamentals of effective lure movement, I started everyone off with my 3/4 oz., white Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook attached. This helped everyone get the hang of feeling bottom and minimized wait time on the drop. Everyone caught multiple fish this way right off the bat, thus bolstering their confidence and engaging each person.
Next, I layered in the use of Garmin LiveScope. Now, everyone was able to more purposefully present their lures to fish seen in the water column, and time their presentation to correspond with the passage of fish in that vertical segment of water each was fishing in.
Finally, I changed each person over, one at a time, to using the MAL Lure which is quickly beginning to outperform slabs now that the water temperature is solidly at or above 58F.
We fished only five distinct areas this morning, with three courtesy of some bird assistance. At each location, white bass first showed on bottom, but then quickly got aggressive and rose up into the water column up off bottom once we began working our lures, and once hooked fish began to be reeled up through the water column. The higher in the water column fish appeared, the more likely they were to strike our presentations.
We used slabs only at our first and least productive area, then fished MAL Lures the balance of the trip. My crew of 4 landed their 100th fish (with a 7:05 boarding time) by 9:07A. By 10:57A we swung our 300th fish aboard. We put a final 33 fish in the boat in the ~40 minutes which followed and as the bite was quickly tapering off.
Doing the math, that was 333 fish landed in 270 minutes, or 1.2 fish per minute over a 4.5 hour span. I attribute this extended, aggressive feed to the slow but steady warmup we are enjoying this spring and to stable water conditions. The “metabolism trumps all” factor I have mentioned, written about, and posted about is playing out now. See my recent article on this topic here: Metabolism Trumps All Else
Since some will ask, my single best trip with clients aboard took place in early January many years ago. Harker Heights resident Jerry Worley, owner of the Jerry Worley Insurance Agency, accompanied by two young men he had mentored in his role as assistant youth pastor at Memorial Baptist Church in Killeen, landed 354 fish on a full day trip (sunrise to sunset) just in advance of a major cold front.
Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 333 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Three separate episodes of bird activity (including laughing gulls now in the mix) helped keep us on the fish this morning.
Start Time: 7:05A
End Time: 11:35A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F
Elevation: 0.77 feet low, .02 foot 24-hour drop, 26 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 59.7 F
Wind Speed & Direction: Light ENE winds around 6-8mph, save for the period from ~5-6P (our toughest window)
Sky Condition: Cloudless skies the entire trip.
Moon Phase: Waning gibbous at 71% illum.
GT = 95
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1007 – low light action on least active and most bottom-oriented fish; slab bite
**Area 1871 – aggressive action on MAL Lures
**Area B0078G – aggressive action on MAL Lures
**Area B0079G – aggressive action on MAL Lures
**Area B0080G – aggressive action on MAL Lures
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
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