WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday afternoon I fished with Beverly Travis of Belton and Alex Castillo of Austin on Lake Belton following a tough morning of fishing on Stillhouse. Beverly tried to get her and her grandkids out with me last year, but foul weather prevented. After visiting my booth at the Central Texas Boat and Outdoor Show the week before, we made plans to try again today.
I offered the option of more, but smaller fish at Belton, or fewer, but larger, white bass at Stillhouse. Beverly, who coordinated the trip, opted for greater action at Lake Belton.
This time, Beverly brought Alex Castillo. The two ladies met through a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program called Texas Outdoors-Woman Network (T.O.W.N.). The mission of T.O.W.N. is to provide all women the opportunity to experience outdoor activities in a safe, non-threatening, and supportive environment. The program was started by several graduates of TPWD’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Beverly Travis, a Christian counselor from Belton, and Alex Castillo, who works in the environmental field in Austin, teamed up through TPWD’s Texas Outdoors-Woman Network (T.O.W.N.) to split a half-day white bass fishing trip on Lake Belton, landing 55 fish on a tough day of fishing.
WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 01 February 2020, PM
HOW WE FISHED: I was prepared for a tough afternoon today. As I rolled into the launch area, long-time Belton multi-species angler Mike P. was on his way out after having fished a long morning and into the afternoon for just 24 fish as he chased white bass, resulting in just 2 legal fish in his catch. I had similar difficulties not finding fish, but getting them to bite, over at Stillhouse, landing just 20 fish between 7:15 and noon.
Before we left the launch area I provided a thorough explanation on the very slow, methodical tactic of “easing” we would rely on to catch our fish this afternoon, emphasizing how important very slow movement was, and demonstrating it for Bev and Alex.
The ladies got the hang of the tactic very quickly. As was the case on Stillhouse this morning, finding fish was not all that challenging, but getting them to bite was another story. Routinely, when I found fish on an area, there were several dozen fish in the schools I Spot-Locked atop of. Such a school would typically yield 2-4 fish fairly soon after we began jigging, and then the fish, though still present, would shut down. Seeing this trend develop, we adjusted our approach and moved very readily to new “batches” of fish soon after a given school would shut down.
We did well, given the conditions, boating a total of 55 fish, including 3 drum and 52 white bass. One interesting note was the intensity of this evening’s low-light bite. As we used the trolling motor to ease into our final area of the trip, I saw fish suspended in the water column from halfway to bottom, all the way to the bottom. This was the first time I’d seen fish more than a foot off bottom all day (Belton or Stillhouse). As we fished for these fish and began catching them, the fish suddenly turned on well. We took our tally from 36 fish to a final count of 55 fish (hence, 19 fish caught) in the last 20 minutes of the trip.
We relied on the very reliable white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab, with stinger hook attached. Roughly 80% of the fish caught today (Belton and Stillhouse) came on the stinger hook, as has been my experience for several years now when the water temperatures reach near annual lows.
TALLY: 55 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Experienced a hard low-light feed at and just following sunset tonight, following a day of tough fishing. 19 fish in 20 minutes from fish all throughout the lower half of the water column.
Start Time: 2:00P
End Time: 6:15P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F
Elevation: 3.00 low, -0.02′ 24-hour change, 17 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 53.2F
Wind Speed & Direction: NW7-0
Sky Conditions: Clear, cloud-free, blue skies
GT = 30
#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area B0113C to 1671 to 565 : 3 short hops early, then one final stop near sunset
**Area 1845 to 1619: 3 short hops early, then 2 short hops later on second visit here
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)