Vertical jigging a slab through a school of white bass causes bottom hugging fish to perk up.
An HDS-10 screen shot of a school of hundreds of white bass in a feeding posture as we worked slabs through the school. November 2011
The linear blue trace of a downrigger ball running over a breakline and under a school of shad.
The downrigger is adjusted from 29' to 22.5' to put the lure at the exact depth of the suspended gamefish.
We're running a downrigger ball at 12 feet just above this huge school of aggressively feeding white bass. October 2011.
Belton Lake hybrids on a rampage eating shad from top to bottom in 0 to 50 feet of water.
Holding The Line Guide Service
Catch & Release White Bass and Hybrid Striper Fishing near Austin, Texas
The Queen of Cats and the King of Stats -- 59 Fish -- Belton Hybrid Fishing, 23 May 2013
This afternoon I welcomed John and Kelly M., and their son, Matthew aboard for their 8th outing with me.
Hybrid seemed to perk up first at each area we fished, beating the bluecats to our baits. This was our first hybrid of the evening. It struck before we could get our other 3 rods in the water.
Kelly nicknamed herself "The Catfish Queen" and rightly so, as her catch of catfish far exceeded the ratio of catfish to hybrid caught by Matthew or John. Queen or not, she also boated our largest hybrid weighing in at 5.25 pounds.
Our conditions were favorable -- a light wind with a southerly component and cloud cover -- so I was hopeful that we'd be able to put together a good trip today.
Afternoon trips targeting hybrid striped bass on Belton using live shad have produced a mix of hybrid and blue catfish lately, with afternoon trips seeing a higher percentage of the catch consisting of catfish in the mix (which I cannot yet explain). Today's trip was to be no exception. Of the 59 fish we boated, we had a nearly 50/50 split of legal hybrid stripers and catfish.
We fished two areas today. We began at Area 835 and stayed in that general vicinity the entire trip, save the last 30 minutes. We noted a definite trend as we "spot hopped" a few yards N, E, S or W to get on "fresh fish" after catching several fish from a given area and then seeing the bite's intensity drop off. That trend was that most of the hybrid stripers we caught during a given stop would typically strike first (meaning before the catfish) and very soon after we initially placed our baits near bottom. If we stayed any length of time, our catch of catfish would increase and trend eventually to nearly 100% catfish. I attribute this to the catfishes' attraction to scent -- the longer we remained in an area, the more the scent of our baits and chum would mix in the water thus attracting more catfish from downwind (that's my theory, anyway).
The action was steady and moderate for the entire afternoon. Matthew, who has a penchant for statistics, kept me honest making sure I had clicked my fish counter for each and every fish that came aboard.
Due to an unusually cool late spring, our water surface temperatures are still depressed a bit over a "normal" year, hence, I've seen very little topwater action so far this season. As we were e-anchored over one particular area, a school of feeding fish erupted on the surface within a cast's distance away. John fired a cast with a topwater bait out in a timely manner, but, the fish has already sounded and he did not hook up. This lasted all of 15 seconds.
Our bite at Area 835 lasted right up until nearly dark (with a cloud-obscured sunset). Once it ended, we had a very brief window in which I felt we may be able to connect with some white bass and/or hybrids feeding near the surface in the vicinity of Area 1207. We got over there, got downriggers in to cover some ground quickly and pulled up one white bass on a ball set at 23 feet. By this time, the cloud cover took the light level down beyond the fishes' preferred level, and the bite was over for the night.
Our total catch came to 59 fish tonight, consisting of 1 white bass, 2 channel catfish, 2 short hybrid stripers, and a roughly 50/50 split on the remaining 54 fish between blue catfish and legal hybrid striped bass. Our largest hybrid pulled the scale down to 5.25 pounds. The blue cat ranged from 11 to 18 inches.
TALLY = 59 FISH, all caught and released
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Start Time: 4:30p
End Time: 8:45p
Air Temp: 82F at trip's start.
Water Surface Temp: 74.5F
Wind: Winds were ~8-10mph from the SSE.
Skies: Skies were fully clouded over (100%) bust still bright.
Holding the Line Guide Service
Holding The Line Guide Service offers guided fishing trips in the Salado, Texas region, focusing on Lake Belton, Stillhouse Hollow Lake, and Georgetown Lake. Fish species pursued include white bass (sand bass), hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass (black bass), and panfish. Techniques employed include fly fishing, light tackle spinning and casting, live shad fishing and downrigging. I cater to visitors to the Village of Salado, as well as those traveling for business or pleasure to Ft. Hood, Killeen, Harker Heights, or Temple.
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