WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday afternoon, April 7th, I fished with first-time guest Nathan Young and his 6-year-old son, Rob.
Nathan works in real estate appraisal, and Rob does a combination of home-schooling and participation at Providence Preparatory School in Belton.
Although my preference is to fish mornings, as the bite is typically a bit longer and a bit stronger then versus afternoon’s, a combination of Nathan’s schedule and the incoming weather made the afternoon our best option today.
Nathan let me know ahead of time that he actively follows my fishing reports and very much wanted to witness first-hand the use of the various sonar technologies aboard my boat in a real-world find-and-catch scenario.
I was a bit concerned that accomplishing that while at the same time trying to keep a 6-year-old engaged would be a bit tough, but, as it turned out, Rob was quite advanced for his age in his ability to handle a spinning rod. Further, he was quite articulate, grasped the whole sonar concept (especially Garmin LiveScope) very quickly, and contributed handsomely to our 100+ fish tally.
PHOTO CAPTION: Nathan Young and his 6-year-old son, Rob, with a few of the early-afternoon deep-water fish we took on Lake Belton. The father-son team would go on to land 104 fish on the evening.
WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake
WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (PM), 07 April 2021
HOW WE FISHED:
After another dark, murky morning which got uncomfortably humid and warm in the calm before the dry cold front moved in, we enjoyed favorable windspeed sufficient to move the water and motivate the fish all afternoon.
Due to the lack of cloud cover, we began our afternoon search deep and moved progressively shallower, catching fish well over the entire 4 hour span.
The slowest fishing occurred earliest in the afternoon. We used 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs in 50+ feet of water to get quickly down to bottom-dwelling fish. For every 15 or 20 fish we observed on LiveScope, we were able to get one or two to strike. Once a fish was hooked, many nearby schoolmates would briefly fire up, thus allowing for doubles to be taken routinely.
The lower the sun got, the easier and shallower the fishing became. We wound up having to fish only 4 distinct areas, making to “short hops” at the first three areas to fish them thoroughly, then “camping out” on top of an abundant school of white bass at our final stop without having to move at all.
By the time we got to our third area and found fish in ~34 feet of water, these fish were fired up enough to chase and overtake the MAL Lure, so, I switched Nathan over to that first and we could see the definite preference the fish had for that active bait versus the more reserved action of the slab Rob was still using.
Before long, we got Rob trained up on the MAL Lure and from that point on that was all we used.
We’d amassed a catch of 62 fish prior to moving to our last area around 6:50. Over the next 40 minutes Rob and Nathan quickly landed another 40 fish after setting our sights on 100 fish by 7:30, the time by which I felt the fish would slack off significantly due to the setting of the sun.
With 102 fish in the boat right at 7:30, and given that Nathan had expressed interest earlier on my downriggers, I offered that we may be able to “strain out” another fish or two via downriggers, primarily just to show him how they worked. We set a single 3-armed umbrella rig out behind us, armed with #13 Pet Spoons, and set the ball to run at 20 feet on our first pass and then at 35 feet on our second pass. Both passes resulted in a hookup on a single white bass — enough for Nathan to connect all the dots and see how this form of controlled-depth trolling was very efficient and effective.
We headed on in with 104 fish landed and released.
Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 104 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: First trip fished in shorts and during which I “wet waded” for boat launching. Just a handful of laughing gulls observed which offered no assistance in fish-finding. A majority of the deeper fish we took at our first two areas (717 & 150) were obviously spawned-out fish — very gaunt sides.
Start Time: 3:30P
End Time: 7:30P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F
Elevation: 0.81 feet low, .01 foot 24-hour rise, 26 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 63.2 F
Wind Speed & Direction: NW13 with higher gusts during the first half of the afternoon, tapering down to NW7-8 by sunset
Sky Condition: Cloudless skies the entire trip.
Moon Phase: Waning gibbous at 20% illum.
GT = 25
Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area B0009C thru B0003G
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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