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BOB MAINDELLE GUIDE LINES
BOB MAINDELLE: Fish get hungry every November
Bob Maindelle | For the Herald | Posted 11 months ago
It happens every November. As the water surface temperatures begin to fall through the 70s and into the 60s, something wired into fishes’ DNA tells them to feed, to feed long and to feed hard. That time is now on Belton Lake.
My past three guided trips yielded an incredible total of 756 fish.
On Nov. 3, I fished with Barrett and Dave Covington of Belton. The brothers put together a tally of 267 fish in just a tad over four hours on the water. The pattern the fish followed would continue to hold true right through this past week. As the pre-dawn light grew strong enough to reveal the lake’s surface, schools of white bass and hybrid striped bass began to actively chase the baitfish (threadfin shad) in shallow water of 12 feet or less. Horizontally cast lures roughly imitating the size and color of the shad produced well. I prefer the Cicada bladebait for this kind of work.
Once the skies brightened following sunrise, this shallow activity abated, and the fish moved deeper, to the nearest breakline. We used sonar to keep up with this movement to deep water, and found fish stacked up heavily in the lower 2-3 feet of the water column, typically in 22-27 feet of water.
In this situation, vertical presentation with lead slabs got the nod. Using electronic anchoring technology, like the Minn Kota Spot Lock function on i-Pilot equipped trolling motors, makes staying over top of fish a simple task to accomplish.
We noted that when we first found fish on sonar and began to fish for them, they would immediately go into a frenzy as the first few fish were caught from the school. The fish would then settle down a bit, and, eventually, refuse to bite. In such cases, moving just a boat-length or two left, right, forward, or backwards would often put us right on top of a very eager new school of fish that was nearby all the time, but which just refused to move horizontally along the bottom to come to our baits at our previous position.
On Monday, this same scenario played out when I guided retired Texas judge Bob Schwartz, of Temple, and his adult son, Will Schwartz, to another plentiful catch of 143 fish taken over a four-hour span.
On Tuesday, I fished a full-day trip with Dr. Tom Wells and his wife, Patricia Wells, of Sun City. They landed a total of 346 fish from 6:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., including an award-winning white bass which measured 15 3/8 inches, thus qualifying Mrs. Wells for a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department “Big Fish Award.”
Given that we are in the dark of the moon in the lunar cycle, that the water surface temperature is still at an unseasonably warm 69-70 F, and that there are no severe cold fronts currently in the extended weather forecast, I predict this ultra-productive fishing will hold up at least two or three more weeks. Typically, as the water temperatures fall into the high 50s, this bite moderates.
It is unfortunate that our culture typically equates fishing with warm weather. As summer gives way to fall, kids go back to school, vacation plans fall by the wayside, and football and hunting become more of a focus, fishing often takes a back seat in the cool months of the year. The statistics in my 23 years of detailed record keeping bear out the fact that November’s fishing is as good as, or better than, the fishing typically experienced in March, the month most equate with the best fishing of the season.
Will work for fish.