WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Monday morning I fished a full-day trip with Steve and Debra Soukup who traveled in from Helotes, TX, near San Antonio to fish with me as part of a 4-day getaway which involved a stay in Salado, visits to area quilt shops, taking in a few meals from local restaurants, and, of course, fishing.
The couple, parents of 5, retired from running a roofing business a while back.
My full-day trips “cherry-pick” the best of the morning and the best of the evening fishing. Regardless of time of year, we fish the first 4 hours around sunrise, and the last 4 hours around sunset. Between the two, clients are free to enjoy a long lunch, snooze, or whatever they like to do, then, we reconvene for the afternoon shift. I normally offer such trips only Oct.-Feb. when the days (and the wait between AM and PM segments) are shorter, but made an exception after an enjoyable conversation with Steve by phone as he shared his plans with me.
I explained all of the options we had open to us as I checked in with the Soukups on Saturday morning prior to the trip, and we agreed we’d pursue quality white bass on Stillhouse in the AM, then quantities of white bass on Belton in the PM.
PHOTO CAPTION: Debra and Steve Soukup with a few of the quality white bass taken early in the morning on bladebaits fished on Stillhouse before targeting quantities of white bass on Belton that same afternoon.
WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow (AM) / Belton Lake (PM)
WHEN WE FISHED: Monday, 12 April 2021
HOW WE FISHED:
One of the reasons I suggested hitting both Stillhouse and Belton was because I felt Stillhouse would give us an opportunity to work bladebaits which I felt was not likely at Belton based on recent observations. Steve was as much interested in seeing my approach to fishing as he was in catching fish, so, to see multiple tactics in play was of interest to him.
As we got going just after 7A, we saw light topwater action taking place thanks to light winds. Assuming each fish was saw was just the “tip of the iceberg”, we worked bladebaits for the dozens of fish down beneath, and wound up landing 38 fish on the blades prior to that topwater action drying up.
Next, we had a bit of a slow spell as the sun got brighter, but the winds remained light. I did some flatline trolling to keep baits in the water while covering large expanses with side imaging. We pulled 4 fish on the trolled lures before I found what we were after.
We located 2 sizeable congregations of white bass holding just off the river channel and worked them over with MAL Lures in a vertical presentation aided by Garmin LiveScope.
By 11:10AM, we amassed a catch of exactly 100 fish on Stillhouse, the majority of which came on the MAL Lure. The catch consisted of 97 white bass, 2 crappie, and 1 largemouth bass.
We met up again at 3:45P and fished Lake Belton. As is normally the case (unless a weather change is on the way) the fishing started slow (we only landed 8 fish in our first hour), and built steadily up to sunset.
We fished the MAL Lure 100% of the time on Belton and landed another 131 fish, including 130 white bass and 1 largemouth bass. The fishing was pretty straightforward for these strongly congregated, bottom-hugging, post spawn white bass — find ’em on sonar, Spot-Lock atop them, then work the MALs for all they’re worth.
Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 231 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: The catch was nearly all post-spawn fish today.
Start Time: 6:55A, 3:45P
End Time: 11:10A, 7:45P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F AM, 83F PM
Elevation: Stillhouse: .04 low, .04 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow; Belton: 0.90 feet low, .01 foot 24-hour fall, 26 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 65.9 F Stillhouse; 68.8F Belton
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE all day, beginning around 9A
Sky Condition: 30-60% thin grey cloud cover all day
Moon Phase: New Moon 0% illum.
GT = 100
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 110-0120 – blades for fish feeding near surface
**Area 764-374 – flatlining
**Area SH0075C – blades and MAL
**Area 094 – MAL (most productive)
**Area B0188C – MAL (slow)
**Area B0020C – MAL (better action)
**Area B0064G – MAL (lots of small fish)
**Area B0080C – – MAL (average)
**Area B0126C – MAL (rapid fire low light bite)
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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