WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, December 1st, I fished with Dennis Christian and Cliff H. who goes by the “handle” Cliffshot on the Texas Fishing Forum.
If you aren’t familiar with the Texas Fishing Forum (TFF is found at texasfishingforum.com), you’ll find it is a wealth of information, especially if you are a new or less experienced angler, as it is a place where many experienced folks freely share information about catching all manner of fish.
I met Dennis and Cliff through the TFF some time ago, but, today was the first time we had a chance to meet in person.
We had much in common in that each of us are followers of Christ, each of us is retired/semi-retired, and each of us love figuring out the white bass puzzle through the changes in seasons and weather.
Both men are excellent white bass anglers, so, instead of being the guide today, I got to just settle in and be comfortable amongst peers.
My next weekday opening is on 7 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 31 Dec. (New Year’s Eve)
Here is how the fishing went …
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Cliff H. and Dennis Christian with typical Lake Belton white bass. We took all of our fish in 28-42 feet of water this morning with a majority of our catch coming on the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hooks.
PHOTO CAPTION: I got a rare chance to be on the front side of the camera today as Cliff took this snapshot of me with our only keeper hybrid of the morning. It, too, came on a Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 01 December 2022 (AM)
HOW WE FISHED:
Wow! Where to start? I kicked off our trip this morning trying to nail down what would make Dennis and Cliff’s 2+ hour drive from the Malakoff/Athens area worth their while. They expressed an interest in 1) seeing how I was using side-imaging to find white bass in deep water, 2) how I used the i-Pilot Link interface between my Minn Kota trolling motor and my Humminbird Solix to position on fish, 3) how I used spinning gear to fish the Mepps MAL Lure (as both men primarily use casting gear), 4) seeing Garmin LiveScope applied to white bass fishing scenarios, and 5) seeing the bite shut down around the 4-hour mark as it typically does on both Belton and Stillhouse.
The fishing today was pretty average. We endured a short span of classic post-frontal conditions with light wind, clear skies, and cold temperatures, but, the residual north wind from yesterday’s front turned quickly through the east then southeast. Some light grey cloud cover kicked in and the fish got in a biting mood by around 8A, and stayed interested through around 11:30A.
The gulls assisted us in finding fish today for about 2 hours, but, that was a double-edged sword. The fish the birds helped us find were in fairly small groups and those groups were really on the move, so, we caught a few fish under each group of birds we chased, but no more. Finally, I decided to leave the birds alone and to seek out fish in larger schools holding on bottom topography. As it turned out, even though this was not just incredibly productive, we were able to catch more fish and for longer whiles as we did this, thus ignoring the bird action.
The majority of our 110 fish catch consisted of legal-sized white bass (89 in all). Cliff and I worked side-by-side using my go-to bait for this time of year, which is my white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab. I guess you could say Cliff and I were the “control” in this experiment. Dennis tried various presentations including multiple Mepps Aglia baits and a Little Cleo-style spoon (different from a slab), so, I guess you could say he was the “variable”.
We fished until just after 12:30. As for the objectives we hoped to accomplish, we thoroughly covered all of the sonar-related topics simply as a by-product of finding and catching fish. Both fellows gave the spinning gear a fair shot and felt there were pros and cons to using it. As for the bite going soft in the fourth hour after sunrise, I felt there was both subtle and some not-so-subtle evidence of that, but left it to Dennis and Cliff to make their own conclusions.
I had two valuable “take-aways” of my own today. The first was a neat tactic Dennis uses once action dries up at a spot he’s been fishing. That tactic was to take the trolling motor off of Spot-Lock, turn the motor ~90 degrees to the keel, and then spin the boat in a 360 using the trolling motor while observing side imaging in order to inspect the surrounding area for additional, nearby fish before taking off to hunt fish elsewhere.
The second take-away for me was finding out what Dennis like to do when he gets a strike which does not result in a hookup while using his version of what I call the sawtooth method. Back when I used to use bladebaits, I would always kill my retrieve after missing a strike, thus allowing the lure to return to bottom. Dennis said he has found that continuing his retrieve will bring about a better result.
What a great day on the water to exchange ideas and opinions and to solicit some advice for all concerned!
When all was said and done, we landed 110 fish including 1 legal hybrid, 5 short hybrid striped bass, 4 freshwater drum, 1 largemouth bass, 10 short white bass, and 89 keeper white bass.
TALLY: 110 fish caught and released
Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/
OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 13th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity. Birds active from 8A-10:20A. Bird action was less intense, more widely dispersed, and more mobile than over the past few days. Here is the water temperature profile taken this morning:
0 feet 59.2F
5 feet 59.2F
10 feet 59.2F
15 feet 59.4F
20 feet 59.4F
25 feet 59.4F
30 feet 59.4F
35 feet 59.4F
40 feet 59.4F
50 feet 59.2F
55 feet 59.2F
60 feet 59.2F
65 feet 59.2F
Start Time: 7:15A
End Time: 12:35P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 34F
Elevation: 12.91 feet low, 0.03 fall in last 24 hours, 41 CFS flow.
Water Surface Temp: 59.2F
Wind Speed & Direction: NW0-4 for ~40 minutes, then swinging thru E to SE at 7-9 for the remainder of the trip
Sky Condition: Clear, cloudless, “bluebird” skies at sunrise, quickly clouding over to fully grey by trip’s end.
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 60% illumination.
GT = 50
Wx SNAPSHOT: We had winds from 3 of the 4 compass directions today!
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS: N/A
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)
#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec