WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, Nov. 10, I fished with Cullen Mills and his son, 11-year-old Noah Mills, on Lake Belton.
Cullen makes a living running the family business, Modern Appliance (formerly Modern TV and Appliance), in Killeen. This business has been in the family for several generations and was at one time run by T.J. Mills, after whom T.J. Mills Boulevard on Fort Hood is named.
Noah is making his way through middle school with an eye toward taking over the family business in years to come.
Here is how the fishing went …
My next three openings will be on 15, 16, and 22 December. Weekday mornings are always best.
PHOTO CAPTION: Caught just minutes apart just before (obscured) sunrise, these Lake Belton hybrid stripers were taken on MAL Heavy Lures (white blade, chartreuse tail), worked horizontally in ~20 feet of water under small whites working bait on the surface.
PHOTO CAPTION: Our 100-fish catch included 86 white bass this morning. Once the fish turned off from aggressively feeding, and now that the water temperature has dropped into the 60’s, we began using Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs for working baits more slowly with excellent results.
PHOTO CAPTION: Here is what the Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs look like (far left, and far right) versus the standard Hazy Eye. These are my 3/4 oz. versions. They also come in 3/8 oz. and 5/8 oz.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 10 November 2021
HOW WE FISHED:
We emerged from the “doldrums between the fronts” this morning as another cold front approaches Central Texas. This one is supposed to be dry and mild with pretty tame wind speeds. It is due in around 1AM Thursday morning, 11 Nov.
This approaching front helped “squeeze” the atmosphere and created pre-frontal warming with increasing S winds throughout the day. Our winds ramped up from 8 to ~16 while we fished this morning.
During the low-light conditions preceding the obscured sunrise this morning, the white bass went to work pushing shad to the surface, attracting birds from above. The action spanned an area about 1/8 of a mile with the white bass moving constantly and really pushing the bait hard.
We occasionally sight-cast when the action was on top and obvious, otherwise, we worked MAL Heavy Lures (white blade, chartreuse tail) horizontally with a “sawtooth” pattern to get bit. Once the bird activity scaled back, I stayed in the area, searched for a bottom-oriented school of fish, and worked for them vertically with MAL Heavy Lures (white tail, silver blade), counting on the commotion we created by working our lures and catching fish to draw others in. This succeeded today (whereas it definitely did not succeed yesterday), thanks to the increased energy level of the fish, all tied to the changing weather.
This “hot” fishing wrapped up around 8:30A. By this time we’d landed 56 fish in 1.75 hours. We would then go on to work another 2.25 hours for our final 44 fish as the bite began to slow down and finally ended.
After we left the scene of the bird action, we moved to a moderately sloped bottom near the channel and found two groups of white bass, catching about a half dozen from each. It was here that we really began to notice the reluctance of the fish to chase, even when in the company of many other schoolmates — a scenario which normally goads even reluctant fish to feed out of a sense of competition. This was easily witnessed with Garmin LiveScope.
As we watched this trend continue, I began to experiment with my Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs which I gave a “face lift” to late last winter after having such great success with the MAL and MAL Heavy Lures.
The “new spin” on the old slab comes in the form of the addition of a bladed treble hook. Named the VMC Bladed Hybrid Short Shank Treble, this (pricey!) hook has a very durable swivel attaching a small split ring and a willowleaf spinner blade to the confluence of the hook’s three tines. I’m going to warn you ahead of time (and you can shop this all you want)… these hooks alone retail for about $2.50 – $3.00 each.
Try one here: https://whitebasstools.com/
We took our final 35 fish on my Bladed Hazy Eye Slab in white, 3/4 oz., with stinger hook and bladed treble.
The appeal here is that you have the spin, flash, and vibration of a spinner (albeit a small one), but can move the slab vertically much more slowly than an inline spinner. The very small, light spinner blade on the bladed hybrid treble spins and flashes readily so long as the slab is moving, regardless of speed.
Based on excellent results last winter, I know this is going to pay big dividends as the water cools this winter, and is already doing so now, even in still-warm water (~68F this morning) once the fish turn off.
In our catch of 100 fish, we had 2 freshwater drum, 8 short hybrid stripers, 2 legal hybrid, 2 largemouth bass, and 86 white bass.
MAL Lure fishing tutorials:
Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs and MAL Lures found here: https://whitebasstools.
TALLY: 100 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: 1) Pre-frontal warming positively impacted fish “mood” this morning. 2) This was this fall’s second trip which came together courtesy of bird activity, supplemented by sonar. 3) The wind shift on our next cold front is currently forecast for 1A Thursday morning, 11 Nov.
Start Time: 6:45A
End Time: 10:45A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 62F
Elevation: 1.47 feet low, 0.01 fall, 42CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 69.1F
Wind Speed & Direction: S8 at launch time, slowly ramping up to S16 with higher gusts.
Sky Condition: Very light fog in first 25 minutes, clearing to 100% thin, grey clouds with a bit of sun breaking through in the final 40 minutes
Moon Phase: Waxing crescent at 39% illumination.
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1188 to B0100G to 1789 – 56 fish from this ~1/8 mile stretch on combination of MAL Heavy Lure with silver blade/white tail fished vertically; MAL Heavy Lure with white blade/chartreuse tail fished via the “sawtooth” method.
**Area B0103G/447 – 14 fish on 2 short hops; noted fish getting very “sluggish” here, even when heavily congregated.
**Area vic 1619 – this is where we switched to Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs to tempt these increasingly “sluggish” fish. 2 short hops, 18 fish.
**Area vic 1819 – we continued on with the Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs to finish out the morning with exactly 100 fish in right at 4 hours’ time.
Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service
Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
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