During the afternoon of Friday, the 11th of December, I fished with MJ Linder and his adult son, Elliot, targeting white bass and hybrid stripers on Belton Lake.
Elliot landed our largest fish of the trip, a 6.50 pound flathead catfish (a.k.a. yellow catfish) which fell for a slab worked near bottom.
From left: MJ and Elliot pose with the largest four white bass we caught today. Most of our catch consisted of a nearly 50/50 mix of average white bass and short hybrid, with most of the hybrid running right at 13 inches and having the more slender, striper-like body shape.
MJ runs his own business, Mobility Therapies, which is focused on offering outpatient physical therapy to people in their own homes. MJ’s son, Elliot, age 20, is headed for his first enlistment in the U.S. Navy beginning in February of 2016 where, based on his very high Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test scores, he now has the opportunity to enter into the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.
After a 144 fish morning under birds and grey skies, this afternoon’s trip was a bit tougher. The birds did not work all afternoon, and the skies were quite bright. This all meant we’d be fishing for deeper, more reluctant fish, and that those fish would have to be searched out with sonar.
We found 3 solid concentrations of fish, with each giving up ~30 fish or so until the bite declined and we went looking elsewhere. At each of these 3 locations we used a slow jigging stroke to tempt the fish with 3/4 oz. slabs. The first area we fished (when fish were the most reluctant) saw fish sour on the 3/4 oz. bait after we’d landed about 20, but I still saw plenty of fish on the sonar, so, I downsized our baits to 3/8 oz. and that did the trick, turning the fish back on until the school dispersed.
The second area we fished was much like the first — on a gentle breakline, and the third area we fished, after initially being drawn by birds only to have the birds give up before we got to them, was more flat. Once the fish here failed to respond any longer to a vertical tactic, we continued to catch fish by casting our slabs and working them horizontally along bottom.
With over 100 fish in the boat by 4:00pm, I asked if MJ and Elliot would like to roll the dice and look at a different area of the lake for bird action possibly leading to taking some better hybrid. The gamble was okay with them, so, we set out looking, but, unfortunately, did not find any useful bird action this evening. We still managed to find fish with sonar and fish so as to both catch fish and keep our eyes out for birds, but what we found was really no different size-wise or species-wise than we had found in the areas we’d left behind.
As sunset came and the bite died, we closed out our trip with exactly 129 fish boated.
Sunday sees a mild, fast moving cold front come through so I expect fishing will be off that day. (No fishing)
Monday sees a return to SW winds and should offer improving fishing. (Booked)
Tuesday sees continued, stronger SW winds and continued warming, and should offer good fishing. (I have an AM opening this day 7:15 to 10:15; call if interested)
Wednesday will see another cold front come in so fishing will be off that day. (No fishing)
TALLY = 129 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 1:15p
End Time: 5:30p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F
Water Surface Temp: 62F
Wind Speed & Direction: S14-15, tapering to S12-13 in the last hour before sunset.
Sky Conditions: Fair skies with 40% white clouds following the clearing of fog and grey skies in the morning.
Water Level: 6.54 feet above full pool with 0.32 feet of water released in the past 24 hours
Other: GT= 20
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1623-565 – long easing strokes with slabs (reduced from 3/4 oz. to 3/8 oz. when bite got tough but fish were still abundant on sonar)
**Area 1658- long easing strokes with slabs
**Area (vic) 406- long easing strokes with slabs
**Area 1654- long easing strokes with slabs
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)