WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, May 12th, I fished with long-time clients Tommy and Sylvia Maedgen of Temple, TX.
Sylvia retired from the USDA and Tommy worked for many years for Exide Battery. The Maedgen’s are “think ahead” kind of folks. They like to catch fish, they are good at it, and they plan their trips well in advance to secure dates at peak times of the season. This, plus their flexible “retiree” schedules, pave the road to fishing success.
Here is how the fishing went …
My next openings will be on July 6th and 7th. Weekday mornings are always best. Saturdays are available for on-the-water sonar training sessions (only) until after Labor Day when I’ll again offer Saturday morning fishing trips (until mid-March 2023).
PHOTO CAPTION: Bell County Master Gardener Sylvia Maegden was also a Master Angler this morning, taking our largest fish of the trip. This 4.75 pound hybrid striped bass swallowed her MAL Dense Lure as we fished in 36 feet of water.
PHOTO CAPTION: The Maedgens “fish smart”, booking their trips months in advance, planning around peak fishing conditions and, as a result, enjoy much better than average results.
PHOTO CAPTION: The fish just tore things up today! This was Sylvia’s lure which accounted for two of our three legal hybrid and her fair share of the 186 fish boated today. Paint or no paint, the MAL Dense Lures did their job today.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 12 May 2022
HOW WE FISHED:
We enjoyed a nice “bonus” this morning! Right as the Maedgens stepped aboard just a few minutes prior to our scheduled 6:45AM start time, we made a beeline for some surface activity I’d spotted with my spotting scope in the lull between getting the boat all prepped for fishing and the Maedgen’s arrival.
As we approached the “scene of the crime” white bass continued to pin shad up against the surface, thus announcing their location inside a small “pocket” in under 13 feet of water. I equipped Tommy and Sylvia with 8′ St. Croix spinning rods with large arbor reels and light, 10-pound test braid all matched to maximize casting distance and allow us to stay as far away from the fish as we could so as not to spook them.
I had MAL Original Lures (the lightest in the MAL family) already tied on in anticipation of this.
We enjoyed right at an hour-plus of both sight-casting and blind-casting to these fish, racking up a total of 44 fish before the clearing clouds and brightening sun chased the white bass and shad out of the large, pocket-like cove they’d been holed up in.
From this point forward, this trip was a “cookie-cutter” version of what my trips have been over the last several weeks … we found fish in deep water, heavily schooled together, and primarily with side-imaging. We marked them, parked on them, and fished them with MAL Dense Lures worked vertically with a “smoking tactic” enhanced with Garmin LiveScope. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get the spinner blade spinning as close to bottom as possible, and to avoid a reflexive hookset. Setting a hook with MAL Lures like you would with a soft plastic bait for largemouth bass is a ticket to frustration — many fish will be unnecessarily lost this way.
As we sat on Spot-Lock, I kept my side-imaging (Humminbird Solix 15) playing so I could watch for schools of white bass moving out to my left and right. Whenever we saw more fish out to our port or starboard than we saw beneath us, we’d fire a few casts out to them and worked our lures back. By doing so, we drew these fish in closer to us and helped “merge” the various schools. Actually catching one or two by throwing horizontally was just icing on the cake. This method involved a “sawtooth” retrieve.
A complete description of the vertical “smoking:” method is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
Our 186 fish catch included 182 white bass, 3 legal hybrid striped bass, and 1 sub-legal hybrid striped bass.
The entire family of MAL Lures is found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 186 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: I’m afraid this prolonged spell of unseasonably warm temperatures is going to bring on the tough summer conditions sooner than later. The topwater action I saw today was longer and closer to the surface than I’ve observed yet this spring. I also noted that the fish were a bit reluctant to pull up high off the bottom into the lower third of the water column through the 9 o’clock hour, despite good wind and sky conditions.
Start Time: 6:40A
End Time: 11:40A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F
Elevation: 3.93 feet low, 0.04’ fall in last 24 hours, 36 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 76.7F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE8 at trip’s start increasing to SSE13 with no gusting
Sky Condition: Moderate grey cloud cover only for an hour today, then partial clearing to ~60% white clouds on a blue sky
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 83% illumination.
GT = 25
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Areas SHAD031 (pocket), B0075C, vic B0118C, B0012C, 1374, 344
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)
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