WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, May 23, I’ve fished with returning guests, Joe Oliver, Larry Haines, and Larry Latimer, all joined by first-time guest, Brent Burkes from the Admissions Department at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, TX.
Joe and Brent first got to know one another when Joe coached Brent in high school football up in Hillsborough, Texas. Joe, Larry, and Larry are buds from “way back” — from well before written records were common 😉
A little wrinkle in the weather overnight really gave the fishing a bump today.
Here is how the fishing went…
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PHOTO CAPTION: Larry Lattimer, Joe Oliver, Brent Burkes, and Larry Haines teamed up for a 212-fish morning on Lake Belton
PHOTO CAPTION: The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s own Brent Burkes landed this aggressive blue catfish. We stood side-by-side and watched this fish surge about 3 feet forward and upward toward Brent’s MAL Lure which at that time was rising through about the 20′ level over a 40+ foot bottom. This was one of three bluecats which went for our moving baits this morning.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday, 23 May 2023 (AM)
HOW WE FISHED:
Fishing was about as straightforward as it gets this morning. Bottom line: this foursome put 212 fish in the boat in four hours flat and did it while fishing just one lure at each of two locations.
Under low light conditions, I spotted a mix of white bass and short hybrid stripers busting shad on the surface within about 100 yards of the shoreline along a slow, tapering bank. I believe these gamefish picked up on the shad as they left the bank after spawning as the slowly brightening sky brought the spawn to a close this morning.
I put all four men abreast of one another on either the starboard or port side of the boat for safety’s sake, and then had them cast perpendicular to that side of the boat straight out to the fish which were routinely churning the surface, forcing adult shad to skip out of the water regularly.
Although many anglers would have chosen to throw a topwater, I have discovered these fish breaking the surface are but the tip of the iceberg. For every one white bass on the surface, I assume there are 15 to 20 or more beneath the surface. For this reason, I had everyone throw MAL Heavy Lures with chartreuse tails to match the size & appearance of these spawning adult shad. Depending on what I was seeing on the surface and on sonar, I would let the fellows know whether to retrieve the lure immediately after it hit the surface, or to do a four-count or six-count, just letting the lure sink a little bit deeper before beginning the retrieve.
We boated a total of 39 fish before the sun got up high enough to push these fish downward in the water column, and outward from the shoreline, thus killing this bite.
After this nearshore bite wrapped up, I spent about 20 minutes doing some looking on the slightly rippled surface under significant cloud cover for any sort of natural sign giving away fish location. After not seeing much, I went to investigate the general area where I’ve finished up yesterday’s morning trip.
I encountered fairly well congregated fish suspended up off the bottom and to within 20 feet of the surface over about a 40 foot bottom. These fish were within about 200 yards of where I had last contacted the fish yesterday.
From around 7:40 to 10:40, we sat on one spot and landed the balance of our 212 fish using MAL Heavies with the vertical “smoking“ tactic in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope. Of the 173 fish we took here, one was a largemouth bass, three were blue catfish, and the remainder were white bass, of which only 11 were short.
As the light ripple on the surface died down and the cloud cover began to clear simultaneously, our bite began to drop off right around 10 AM. We called it a good morning before the action completely died at 10:40, but were still pulling fish now and then even at that time.
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: 212 fish caught and released
Find the entire family of MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/
OBSERVATIONS: Light threadfin shad spawning was observed this morning, ending about 25 minutes before sunrise. “Offshore” schools of nomadic white bass feeding on the tiny young-of-the-year shad continues to increase in frequency and abundance. Here was the water temperature profile taken on 22 May:
0 feet, 76.3F
5 feet, 77.1F
10 feet, 77.4F
15 feet, 77.4F
20 feet, 76.6F
25 feet, 73.8F
30 feet, 71.2F
35 feet, 68.4F
40 feet, 66.4F
45 feet, 65.0F
50 feet, 63.9F
55 feet, 62.4F
60 feet, 61.7F
Start Time: 6:30A
End Time: 10:45A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F
Elevation: 12.90 feet low, 24 CFS flow, a 0.06′ increase over the last 24 hours
Water Surface Temp: ~76.7F on the surface.
Wind Speed & Direction: SSW at 5-6 most of the morning, then slacking off as the sky brightened beginning around 10A
Sky Condition: Grey skies at 100% gradually brightening to 30% white clouds on blue sky by trip’s end
Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 14% illumination.
GT = 55
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Area 179 to B0019G – 39 fish on MAL Heavies sight-cast & counted down
Area B0224G – 173 fish on on smoked MAL Heavies
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