WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, May 15, I fished with David Hermann, David’s uncle Matt Bierwirth, and David’s grandfather, Bob Shull.
Bob recently attended the Public Arts League of Salado‘s (PALS) fundraiser and bid on a fishing trip I had donated to the cause. Bob is not much of a fisherman, but knew Matt and David were, and so he bid on this, intending to gift it to David in celebration of his graduation from the civil engineering program at Texas A&M.
Bob is a retired OB/GYN physician, Matt is a practicing pediatric physician, and David has been employed with a Waco-based engineering firm since before his graduation.
Here’s how the fishing went…
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PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Matt Bierwirth, Bob Shull, and David Hermann with a few of the fish they labored for on a very tough morning with calm winds and 3 hours of fog.
PHOTO CAPTION: If you look past the fish (and brand-spanking new Aggie ring!!) and note the sky conditions, the fish fired up for about 25 minutes just as the fog was lifting, but before the direct sun began to shine. Once the sun shone, it was over. This Lake Belton hybrid fell for a downrigged Pet Spoon and went 4.25 pounds on a certified scale.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Monday, 15 May 2023 (AM)
HOW WE FISHED:
In a word, this morning’s fishing was … tough!
After this weekend’s rains, we experienced calm and foggy conditions for three of the four-plus hours on the water.
Neither the calm winds nor the fog were forecast as I closed out the day on Sunday, so they caught me a bit off guard as I was prepping for the trip this morning. We were initially due to have winds from the south around six, and the ambient temperature and dewpoint showed at least a bit of separation which is necessary to avoid fog. Neither of those materialized.
We had a brief spurt of activity with the typical low-light bite that is still taking place in conjunction with the threadfin shad spawn, but after that ended, both finding and catching fish became a real chore. I never once found any schools of white bass of any significance on side-imaging, and what we drove directly over top of, typically on drop-off areas, showed as just handfuls of individual fish on down-imaging and colored sonar.
After giving up on trying to find enough fish to present to vertically, I shifted to downrigging. For about a 25 minute span, just as the fog was burning off, but before the direct sun shone brightly, we more than doubled our catch from 11 fish up to 24 fish in a quick spurt. But, once the sun burned the fog off completely just a few minutes afterwards, it became calm and bright, and the fishing tanked once again.
Having fished Lake Belton for 30 years with the last 18 of them fishing professionally, I recognize the boats of most of our regular retirees out on the water on the weekdays. I noted that we were all doing exactly the same thing this morning with very limited success.
I found it interesting while comparing notes at the end of my trip with a bass angler, that the five smallmouth he managed today all came right at the transition as the fog burned off. So, to summarize, we caught 11 fish early with MAL Heavy Lures fished vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope, and then our remaining 19 fish came as singles, doubles, and one triple taken on three armed umbrella rigs fished behind downriggers.
,Of the 30 fish landed, two were legal hybrid striped bass, and the remainder were legal white bass.
Here is a video I put together on the Smoking Tactic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
And, here is a video I put together on the Sawtooth Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ
TALLY: 30 fish caught and released
Find the entire family of MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/
OBSERVATIONS: One BIG observation: I spotted the first “offshore” schools of nomadic white bass feeding on the tiny young-of-the-year shad which were the earliest spawned this year. Shad were still spawning on windblown shorelines this morning. Here is the water temperature profile:
0 feet, 76.3F
5 feet, 76.7F
10 feet, 75.7F
15 feet, 75.1F
20 feet, 73.9F
25 feet, 72.2F
30 feet, 67.4F
35 feet, 66.8F
40 feet, 66.0F
45 feet, 65.0F
50 feet, 64.1F
55 feet, 62.2F
60 feet, 60.8F
Start Time: 7A
End Time: 11:35A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F
Elevation: 13.50 feet low, 24 CFS flow, 0.03′ rise over the last 24 hours
Water Surface Temp: 70.9F on the surface.
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm all morning
Sky Condition: Moderate density fog through 10A, clearing to 50% white cloud cover on a blue sky with calm winds
Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 19% illumination.
GT = 20
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Area B0022C – 11
Area vic 835 – 19 fish on downrigged Pet Spoons
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Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
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