Gary, now retired, is one of the founding partners of Davidson Freedle Espenhover & Overby, P.C., a certified public accounting firm in Kerrville, and got to know Ken through his line of work.
The fellows drove in from the west on the coat tails of a storm system which moved through Central Texas beginning around 6:45 PM last night, dumping 1.5 inches of rain area wide.
PHOTO CAPTION: Gary Davidson landed our one and only legal hybrid for this trip. Although we were gunning for white bass, we also picked up smallmouth and drum as a bycatch.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Ken Cox and Gary Davidson with a few of the mature white bass we landed on MAL Heavy Lures this morning. It seemed the later it got, the more small fish we picked up. We never caught a short fish until around 9:10 with over 50 landed by that time; thereafter a majority of our fish were smallish.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 29 September 2021
HOW WE FISHED:
Although a low pressure system moved through overnight from the west with gusting winds and rain, this morning’s fishing conditions were much the same as they’ve been since late last week. Accordingly, the fish were in the same locations doing the same things at the same times as they have been over the past week or so since our first major cold front passed on 21/22 Sept.
The shallowest we encountered fish this morning was in 23 feet of water. They made a brief feeding foray there, allowing us a catch of 19 fish on MAL Heavy Lures with white blades before they moved out to deeper water at a steady clip as we followed by keeping tabs on them with side-imaging.
We found a significant congregation pausing around 32 feet on a fairly flat bottom and caught them well for a while until they drifted off, after which we moved on out to ~40-43 feet and continued catching them. As these fish got to this deeper, 40-foot water, they occasionally drove shad to the surface for seconds at a time. This was just long enough for us to get a bearing on them, scoot to them, and fish atop them. We caught our first fish of the morning with a vertical presentation and MAL Heavy Lures with silver blades/white tails at this time, although the response to that vertical presentation was tepid. Once the fish grew disinterested in the vertical work, we changed rods and threw the MAL Heavy Lures with white blades instead to continue catching.
Once these “breakline” fish settled down, we went looking in the 40-45′ range for more fish. The next batch of fish we found was willing, but averaged pretty small. We caught a few, saw the trend, and left these fish biting.
At this point, we’d landed 66 fish and I asked the fellows if they had any curfew as we entered into what would normally be our final, fourth hour on the water. Neither had plans, so, with their permission we changed over from working to catch fish to scouting new fish locations.
We checked a number of areas, finding fish at two of them. The first area was at the end of an underwater draw in 53′; there were fish here both on bottom and suspended and moving, thus making them hard to pin down. We landed a dozen and moved on. 2-3 of these fish pursued our MAL Lures from off the bottom in 53′, making them the deepest fish I’ve yet found this fall.
Our next success (after checking 4 areas without success) came in ~32 feet of water on a blunt, underwater point. We landed 32 fish here, with the majority of them on the small side. Although fish were seen throughout the water column, only those in the middle third of the water column would follow and strike our MAL Heavy Lures.
Our final success came in 40′ in open water. On a bare, limestone bottom, I saw just a few fish on down-imaging, but, given the late hour, I knew not to expect much more than that. As our lures fell vertically, the bottom came alive with fish — hundreds of fish. We all caught three fish in rapid succession, but all three were this year’s crop of ~6-7″ fish. We decided we’d end on a good note and left those little guys biting at around 12:30 pm with exactly 116 fish landed for our efforts.
MAL Lure fishing tutorials:
MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 116 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Found fish down as deep as 53′ today — deepest fish I’ve found since late May/early June.
Start Time: 7:00A
End Time: 12:30P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F
Elevation: 0.94 feet low, .14 foot rise due to overnight rainfall, 72 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 78.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE5-6 at dawn, then varying from SSE to SSW at no more than 8mph through 10:30, then picking up to SSE13 for the remainder of the trip.
Sky Condition: Skies were 100% greyed over at sunrise, slowly and completely clearing by trip’s end
Moon Phase: Last quarter moon at 46% illumination.
GT = 140
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 813 – shallowest action of the AM under low light conditions; horizontal MAL Heavy work in 23′
**Area B0180C – caught whites as they transitioned away from shallow water as the skies brightened; horizontal MAL Heavy work in 32′
**Area 1205 to 1151 – mid-morning fishing for white bass in ~40-43′; some spotty topwater helped us stay atop the fish with short hops w/ the trolling motor; first vertical work with MAL Heavy Lures here although fish were still sluggish. Once they lost interest, we kept catching by going horizontal.
**Area 1298 – strong vertical bite with lots of small fish; we left the small fish biting
**Area 1235 – suspended fish only; caught 12 and kept looking for fish dwelling on bottom
**Area vic 956 – scouting led to a moderate bite from primarily small fish; left them biting
**Area 098 – largest, most aggressive congregation of fish we found all morning; all small 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
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