WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, May 17, I fished with long-time client, Dwight Stone, a well-traveled sportsman and retired restaurateur from Georgetown, Texas.
There is a subtle transition taking place as the threadfin shad spawn comes within two weeks or so of wrapping up. Those young of the year shad spawned early on, back in April, are now growing out with some reaching about 1/2″ in length now. Additionally, spawned out shad are beginning to use the upper portion of the water column as sun and warmth cause algae to bloom there. More fish are now found suspended than there has been up to this point in the season.
Here is how the fishing went…
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PHOTO CAPTION: Dwight Stone enjoyed a 1-man, 100-fish outing this morning. He worked MAL Heavy lures both vertically and horizontally to put this sizeable catch together.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday, 17 May 2023 (AM)
HOW WE FISHED:
After seeing topwater action increasing in frequency and abundance on my trips earlier this week, I had Dwight meet me a tad earlier today as the cloud coverage was to be much reduced versus Monday and Tuesday.
Unfortunately, we had very little cloud cover, and very little wind, so the exciting sight casting we were both hoping for did not materialize to a great extent, however, there was enough action to help us get to where the fish were and work our baits according to the fishes’ position relative to the bottom and in the water column.
Under low light conditions, while the sun was still low in the morning sky, we found fish in shallow water and in the middle third of the water column in under 22 feet of water. These fish lent themselves well to horizontally casting with the MAL Heavy Lure, and counting it down to a two-, four-, or six-count, depending on what we were observing.
We put just over 30 fish in the boat this way before the wind slacked off, the cloud cover was at its low point for the morning, and the sky began to brighten. From this point on, we found fish with sonar, typically in the lower 4 feet of the water column, and typically with side-by-side down-imaging and traditional sonar.
As frequently happens on Lake Belton due to a rise in the lake’s elevation (this time caused by locally heavy rains over the weekend and on Monday), the fish tend not to hold tightly to the bottom in large schools, but rather use the space just up off the bottom as they hunt under bright conditions.
By moving whenever the bite got quiet, by taking full advantage of Garmin LiveScope, and employing the MAL Heavy with chartreuse tail using a smoking tactic, we were able to land exactly 100 fish by 11:20 this morning.
On occasion, when things got slow for Dwight as he worked the MAL, heavy vertically, I would cast an MAL Dense out horizontally and work it back with a sawtooth method. Whenever we were on fish responding to a vertical tactic, the sawtooth method did not fail to produce additional fish.
Our catch included one freshwater drum, and an 80/20 mix of white bass and short hybrid striped bass. Additionally, under the low light conditions early in the morning, I brought and tested a Cork Rig with a streamer selected to match the size of the threadfin shad we watched fish feeding on.
Even though fish were not feeding heavily on the surface, the Cork Rig drew fish upward, and this rig was able to produce, as well.
One important observation I have shared over the past few days is that of the presence of young of the year shad are now found here, there, and everywhere out in open water. Schools of primarily smaller white bass are definitely keying in on these juvenile shad. When we found this to be the case, lures imitating adult shad get largely ignored. For this reason, I went prepared this morning, with some very small baits to fish behind a Cork Rig, as well. Unfortunately, we did not get a real good chance to try this out. More on that end in next week’s reports, I’m sure.
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: 100 fish caught and released
Find the entire family of MAL Lures & Cork Rigs here: https://whitebasstools.com/
OBSERVATIONS: The first “offshore” schools of nomadic white bass feeding on the tiny young-of-the-year shad continues to increase in frequency and abundance.
Start Time: 6:15A
End Time: 11:20A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F
Elevation: 13.33 feet low, 24 CFS flow, 0.01′ rise over the last 24 hours
Water Surface Temp: ~76F on the surface.
Wind Speed & Direction: NNW2-4 until around 8A, then going calm for the remainder of the morning
Sky Condition: Bright blue skies with ~20% white cloud cover.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 5% illumination.
GT = 25
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Area B0109G – 7 fish on MAL Heavy w/ countdown
Area B0221G – 25 fish on MAL Heavy w/ countdown
Area 150 – 6 fish on smoked MAL Heavy
Area B0081C – 6 fish on smoked MAL Heavy
Area B0042G – 28 fish on smoked MAL Heavy
Area vic B0017G – 28 fish on smoked MAL Heavy
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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