In a month and season which many in our culture do not associate with fishing, this week saw a number of notable events take place in the local angling scene.

Central Texas High School Tournament Trail

Mr. Henry Niemiec, coordinator of the CTHSTT, provided me with the results of the most recent competitive event held among Central Texas high school and middle school angling teams. This third tournament of the season was a single-day tournament held on Belton Lake.

Under the CTHSTT format, two youth anglers are paired with an adult boat captain whose responsibility is to safely escort the youth, via boat, to the fishing areas they desire to fish.

During this most recent tournament, 52  teams headed out in search of the heaviest five-fish limit each could muster.

As the scales closed at the tournament’s conclusion, the top five finishers were as follows:

Landen Bennett and Ty Eaton of Team Tightlines took the top spot with a five-fish limit weighing 18.93 pounds.

Right behind them in second place was the team of Grant Parr and Frank Talley of the Midway Bass Club with a five-fish limit totaling 12.65 pounds. Taking the third-place spot was the team of Logan Drake and Colton Zahn, also of Team Tightlines, with another five-fish limit weighing 12.06 pounds. Holding on to the fourth-place spot was the team of Joseph Mesecke and Dylan Carpenter of the Cen-Tex Bass Club with a five-fish limit weighing 12.01 pounds. Fifth place went to the team of Jacob Mesecke and Rayvonne Williams of the Cen-Tex Bass Club. They, too, weighed in a five-fish limit totaling 11.90 pounds.

Niemiec expressed his appreciation to the parents and others who volunteered as boat captains.

Rachel and Aaron Cherry, Nolanville

Sister and brother team Rachel and Aaron Cherry of Nolanville set out with Holding the Line Guide Service on Tuesday morning in pursuit of hybrid striped bass and white bass on Belton Lake.

This trip was offered free of charge to these siblings by the Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun program. The SKIFF program is open to all military children whenever they are separated from a parent due to that parent’s military duties, including deployment, temporary duty assignments, gunnery and field training and military schooling.

The Cherrys’ father, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Cherry is currently deployed to South Korea.

The youths’ mother, Charlotte Cherry, home-schools the pair and planned a break in their academics to allow the trip to take place on a weekday morning when ideal, uncrowded conditions existed.

For their efforts, the pair landed exactly 50 fish in just under four hours, including hard-fighting hybrid striped bass that mistook their well-presented slabs for threadfin shad.

Mike Pappas, Belton

Under tough fishing conditions on Nov. 25, local avid angler Mike Pappas, part owner of Best-Way Carpet Services in Temple, hooked and landed a catfish of a lifetime.

With bright, clear skies and next to no wind, Pappas reported working his artificial lure for white bass, hybrid striped bass and largemouth bass in and around some standing timber.

Pappas got a big surprise when a large yellow catfish (also known as a flathead catfish) took notice of his bait and engulfed it.

After a lengthy tussle, Pappas, who was fishing by himself, managed to get the fish boatside and then landed it.

The fish weighed 32.80 pounds.

Thanks to a rather mild autumn, our local reservoirs are still showing surface temperatures in the mid-60’s, so there is still a lot of excellent fall and early winter fishing ahead. No matter your age, what species you prefer to catch or whether you enjoy fishing for fun or in competition with others, don’t let the last month of 2017 pass you by without wetting a line.

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