WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning, July 28th, I fished with Chad McLean and his two kids, Hunter, age 14, and Victoria, age 11.
Chad is the founder of Sendero Shooting Sports, the most complete indoor shooting facility in Central Texas, where I’ve personally been a member since they first opened in 2020. This venue is super-clean and super-safe and I enjoy going there to practice my small caliber prairie dog skills on the 105-yard indoor rifle range.
Chad approached me recently about offering a fishing trip as a prize for a forthcoming Cast & Blast event being held at Sendero Shooting Sports on July 30th, and decided to book a trip so he could experience for himself exactly what a prize winner would experience.
Here is how the fishing went….
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Next available dates are August 21 – 24 (AM)
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Victoria, Chad, and Hunter McLean cleaned up on Lake Belton this past Friday, boating 72 fish during their 4-hour morning trip using a variety of tactics including sight-casting, downrigging, and sawtoothing.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Friday, 28 July 2023 (AM)
HOW WE FISHED:
We met up at 6:20 and covered the tactics we would employ this morning. We had lines in the water by 6:34 AM, but struck out as we down rigged atop the first area I took us to. With the sun still not yet having broken above the horizon, there was still ample opportunity for topwater action, and we were fortunate enough to find some at the second area we checked out.
The surface feeding white bass kept us busy for about an hour during which time I had all three anglers abreast on either the port or starboard side, with everyone casting MAL Minis on long, light action, St. Croix Panfish series rods with 10-pound braid to enhance casting distance.
Both of the kids were fairly new to casting with spinning gear, so I aided them as needed, and/or as they requested, while still trying to let them do the majority of what was required to land fish independently.
By the time the topwater action wrapped up, we had 22 fish in the boat, which included the last fish caught in that vicinity, which was a 5+ foot long, 18-pound longnose gar which struck Chad‘s MAL Mini spinner with all of about 4 feet of line out as he was concluding a retrieve.
After the sustained topwater action ended as the sun struck the water, we then searched for “popcorn“ action, and counted on those fish at least getting us into the right vicinity so we could loiter and catch additional fish as they appeared.
Most of the fish we took as we keyed off of these popcorn schools of white bass we took by sight casting. At this point, it was not as critical to use small baits only, so, we switched over to MAL Heavies to gain distance and sink rate, when needed. We added another 27 fish to our count before this chapter closed around 8:50.
Next, we change locations, and did some downrigging, again, keying off of popcorn schools of white bass to let us know we were in the right vicinity. We took 10 more white bass and 1 bluecat on the downriggers with one ‘rigger equipped with #12 Pet Spoons and the other with #13 Pet Spoons. I suspected the smaller #12’s might outperform the larger spoons, but, they both caught equally well.
Around 9:50 things were definitely slowing down, so I suggested we start heading back to our start point and keep our eyes and ears open as we went. My plan was to run sonar over a few areas and quickly check them for an abundance of fish. As we made our way, I spotted a great disturbance about a half-mile ahead on the nearly flat surface. It was the single largest school of white bass we would spot all day, and, miraculously, they stayed up long enough for us to get to them and for everyone to make multiple casts before they disappeared for good. We took another 12 fish out of this school, including one “demo” fish I used LiveScope to spot and tempt as Chad looked on. We waited for other schools to pass beneath the boat so he could do likewise, but, the fish were done by then.
We wound up with a total of 72 fish including 70 legal-sized white bass, 1 longnose gar, and 1 blue catfish.
TALLY: 72 fish caught and released.
See a tutorial on the Smoking Method here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
Here is a tutorial on the Sawtooth Method: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ
Find the entire family of MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/
OBSERVATIONS: After zero low-light topwater on Thursday, there was abundant, sustained topwater action on the much more calm surface this morning under low-light conditions.
Start Time: 6:20A
End Time: 10:25A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F
Elevation: 15.12 feet low, 56 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 86.4F on the surface.
Wind Speed & Direction: Variable at SSE4-6 at sunrise, falling of to variable S0-3 by trip’s end
Sky Condition: 0% cloud cover cover, but hazy with Saharan dust
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 76% illumination.
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Area 1549 out to the channel – 22 fish via sightcasting
Area B0210G- sightcasting after keying on popcorn whites – 27 fish
Area B0009C through B0185C – downrigging – 11 fish
Area B0013G – late morning, open-water sightcasting – 12 fish
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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