36 FISH HAUL FOR HAZEL GIBSON — S.K.I.F.F. TRIP #21

WHO I FISHED WITH:     This past Monday evening I conducted the 2019 season’s 21st S.K.I.F.F. trip.  Joining me was 5-year-old Hazel Gibson and her mom, Jennifer Gibson.  Back on August 17th, I fished with Hazel’s two siblings, 8-year-old Riley Gibson and 10-year-old Vince Gibson.  Due to the age difference, I thought pairing Hazel’s siblings with one other young man their age would work best, in addition to providing a shorter, less technically demanding trip just for Hazel.

Hazel’s father,  U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (E-6) Alan Gibson, has served for 12 years and is currently serving as a scout in a Ft. Hood cavalry unit.  SSG Gibson recently received orders sending him to Afghanistan.

This fishing trip was provided to this military family at no charge.  S.K.I.F.F. stands for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun.  This program began in May of 2009.  It is funded by the donations and fundraising efforts of the Austin Fly Fishers and other organizations they have partnered with.  S.K.I.F.F. provides the children of military personnel separated from their families due to duty commitments with the opportunity to go fishing.  In mid-2019, SKIFF also began providing trips to dependents whose parents’ military-related disabilities prevent them from taking their own children fishing.  I coordinate and conduct these 3.5 to 4 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just outside the gates of Fort Hood in Bell County, TX, year ’round.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:    5-year-old Hazel Gibson, daughter of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (E-6) Alan Gibson and Mrs. Jennifer Gibson of Harker Heights, with two of the 35 fish she landed during a free S.K.I.F.F. outing on Stillhouse Hollow.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  Sunfish and white bass

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  16 September 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  I tried to keep it simple tonight while making sure we had fish coming over the side of the boat routinely.  We began by sunfishing with a bream pole up in shallow water for the first half of our adventure, resulting in a catch of 30 sunfish, including bluegill, longears, and redears.

When Hazel’s interest in sunfishing dropped off, we headed out to deep water and used downriggers in two distinct areas to catch another 5 white bass and a single largemouth bass.

TALLY:  36 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The winds reversed 180 degrees over the course of the day today.  At sunrise, we had westerly winds around 12mph which swung around to ENE by the start of this evening’s trip as a less than tropical storm-strengthed disturbance in the Gulf moves closer to the Texas coast and is due to impact our weather through mid-day Friday.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   5:15pm

End Time: 7:45pm

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 93F

Elevation:  0.81 low, 0.02′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   87F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ENE9-11 with weather and wind becoming increasingly influenced by an organized low pressure system spinning in the Gulf.

Sky Conditions: 40% cloud cover

GT =  0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  SH0134C – 30 sunfish

**Area  vic 1150 – 3 white bass and 1 largemouth downrigging with balls set at 20′

**Area  vic SH0133C – 2 quality white bass downrigging with balls set at 28′

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

WINDS FROM THE WEST, FISH BITE BEST – 64 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Monday, September 16th, I fished with first-time client Dwight Stone of Georgetown, TX.  Dwight recently retired from operating a string of Sonic restaurants and intends to get back to his fishing roots in his retirement.  The purpose of this morning’s trip was two-fold; first, we went to catch fish, and second, Dwight wanted to see Lowrance, Humminbird, and Garmin sonar products in use in real-world applications so he could choose wisely when rigging up his Ranger bass boat.  We accomplished both of those objectives this morning.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:    Dwight Stone with the one and only hybrid striped bass we landed this morning.  It came as a “double” on a three-armed umbrella rig.  Hooked right along side the hybrid was a 2-year class white bass.  I thought it unusual that the fish looked lean in the belly given the tremendous amount of bait in the area.

PHOTO CAPTION:    Dwight Stone with a pair of white bass.  We caught fish just about everywhere we looked this morning.  I believe this past weekend’s poor conditions (bright, hot, calm), followed by this morning’s favorable conditions (west wind) combined to get fish in a feeding mood.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass & blue catfish

WHERE WE FISHED:  Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  16 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:    I wanted to give Dwight a solid overview of Belton’s fishery, so, we downrigged for white bass in 4 separate locations, we vertical jigged with tailspinners, and we fished for suspended blue catfish, all while covering a good bit of water so Dwight could see the various segments of the lake.

The low-light, shallow (<18′) bite was on, giving up 2-year class white bass on the downriggers at our first stop.  We then encountered smaller white bass caught on downriggers set at 22′ at our second stop and therefore moved on.  At our third stop we found a mix of young-of-the-year white  bass and 2-year class fish, plus a bonus hybrid all caught via downrigging with balls set at 26-28 feet.  In order to leave time to gun for bluecat, we left these fish biting and headed elsewhere for catfish.

The blues were easy once a density of suspended fish were found on sonar.  I got range cubes down to consolidate the fish, then followed up with punchbait on trebles to seal the deal.  We fished at 34 feet over a 40 foot bottom for these fish, all of which ran 13-16 inches — lots of fun on light spinning gear.

We closed out the trip right at 10:30 with one final round of downrigging which gave up two sets of triples (all three lures on the 3-armed umbrella rig caught fish), as well as a few singles.

Right at 10:30 I got Dwight back to shore per his request to honor his exercise class commitment he made to his wife.

TALLY:  64 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: No prolonged topwater action today.  I thought it just might happen, but, the wind was a bit stiff (to the point of lightly whitecapping) and it did not materialize.  The westerly wind definitely had fish in a feeding mode today.  If we found them, they bit!

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   6:45am

End Time: 10:35am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  0.86 feet low, 0.2′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   82.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  W10-12 through 7:50, then scaling back to W5-6 for remainder of trip

Sky Conditions: 20% cloud cover in the eastern sky at sunrise, then dissipating to nil 

GT =  5

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1802 to 813 low light downrigging for whites

**Area B0174C center of mass for downrigging for whites (attempted vertical work twice; fish not interested)

**Area vic 993 – range cube/punchbait blue cats

**Area 1291 center of mass for downrigging for whites

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

IN A WORD: TOUGH – A 10-FISH SATURDAY ON STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:     This past Saturday morning I fished Stillhouse with Jason Earles of Temple.  Jason received a gift certificate from his in-laws this past Christmas and wanted to redeem it this weekend.  As we spoke by phone I laid out the pros and cons of fishing Belton and Stillhouse on a weekend, and the reduced traffic on Stillhouse appealed to us both.

Jason works for McLane’s in Temple, grew up in the Houston area and hasn’t done as much fishing as he’d like to since job and family responsibilities have come along.  Despite the slow fishing, Jason commented a number of time about how nice it was to be outside of an office environment and in the relative quiet of Stillhouse’s 6,500 acres.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Those are definitely NOT fishy sky or wind conditions!!  Fishing was tough today, but, we persisted and pulled a few healthy white bass regardless of the weather.  That’s Jason Earles with a pair of 2.5 year old fish.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  14 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:   With bright skies and calm winds, there was zero natural sign to leverage on — no birds, no bait working, and only gar sipping on the surface here and there.  We did a lot of downrigging to cover water, and I kept at least one ball near the bottom hoping to pull up fish laying belly-to-bottom that we could then hover atop of and jig for.  We therefore alternated between downrigging and working tailspinners assisted by LiveScope.

Between 9:30 and 10:30 am, over a patch of water perhaps 2.5 acres in size, we found repeated incidents of small (young of the year) white bass feeding on shad they trapped at the surface.  I worked over this area intensively, hoping to find larger fish nearer the bottom in this locale (and did see 2 such schools on sonar), but ultimately caught only small fish here.

Between 10:30 and 11:15 I returned to one area where I’d seen larger white bass showing on sonar earlier in the morning, but which refused to go for our vertical presentations.  When we got to this area, fish were still present, and we picked up 2 solid white bass on downriggers while witnessing more “belly-to-bottom” fish rise 6-12 feet off bottom to investigate the downrigger ball.  I changed over quickly to working tailspinners to try to excite a school of fish and draw other fish beneath the boat, but the fish were not having it.  We pulled only one fish on the tailspinners here and wrapped up at 11:15 with 10 fish landed.

Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to the change of seasons.  The idea of grey skies, wind, and not sweating through my clothes by 8:30 am seems almost foreign at this point!

TALLY:  10 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: N/A

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   6:45am

End Time: 11:15am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  0.77 low, 0.0′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   85.4F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light and variable the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 0% cloud cover 

GT =  20

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1708 thru SH0133C thru 645 – a few quality fish here at ~35′

**Area 1146 – topwater action by Y.O.T.Y. whites

 

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

CAN WE ASK MY DAD FOR MORE TIME? — 64 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:     This morning, Friday the 13th of September, I fished with Mr. Max Lopez of Harker Heights, his college-aged son, Max, and young Max’s cousin, 13-year-old Eli Lopez, of Killeen.

If the name looks or sounds familiar, that’s because Max came out with me just ten days ago on September 3rd during which I gave him a “fishing overview” of Stillhouse Hollow, and went over some boating fundamentals, given that he is a new, first-time boat owner.  Based on his fishing experience that day, Max wanted his son and nephew to experience what he had just experienced

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:    From left,  father and son Max Lopez and Max Lopez, and Eli Lopez, the elder Max’s nephew, with three of the 64 fish we landed this morning.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass, sunfish, and blue catfish

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  13 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  My aim today was to give the boys a “broad brush” introduction to different types of fishing for different species of fish in Lake Belton, after doing likewise for their dad/uncle over on Stillhouse about a week and a half ago.

Over our time on the water this morning we successfully downrigged for white bass, worked tailspinners vertically for white bass, fished up shallow for sunfish under slipfloats, and used punchbait to fish for chummed-up blue catfish (the topic of this coming Sunday’s Killeen Daily Herald article).

In all, my crew landed 64 fish (not counting quite a few that dropped off right at the boat while we worked through a learning curve on leaving some line between the rod tip and the hooked fish while working tailspinners).

I was gratified to note that, as the trip began, the boys were talking about video games, modern-day electronics, and features of their smart-phones; by the time the trip came to a close, both boys were silent and focused on their rod tips with a death grip on their spinning rods, anxiously awaiting the next “thump” of a bluecat striking their bait. Then, when Eli’s dad phoned us to check in to see if we were headed back yet, Eli lobbied for “just a little more time” to fish!

 

TALLY:  64 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   6:45am

End Time: 11:15am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  0.79 low, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   83.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light and variable the entire trip

Sky Conditions:0% cloud cover through 9:00am, then 20% cloud white clouds on blue sky thereafter

GT =  0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0154C through 1792 – low light downrigging

**Area B0172C – center of mass for downrigging white bass, plus 3 short-hops here for tailspinner white bass

**Area B0168C and 184 – sunfish

**Area B0173C – blue catfish

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

I’M A FAST LEARNER, BUT … — 70 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:     This morning, Tuesday the 10th of September, I fished with the Hodo cousins, Chris and Mike, and their girlfriends, Samantha Husk and Bretne Aloisioh.  Mike and Samanatha came down from the Columbus, Ohio area, while Chris and Bretne are from near Lorena, Texas.  Both fellows are truck drivers, with Mike doing moves for Wheaton, and Chris on a more localized delivery route which keeps him closer to home.

The couples fished Lake Belton once before during some cold weather and managed to land one fish while fairly randomly trolling, but, they decided to give it another try and we did well today, boating 70 fish.

Funny story:  As I explained why we were doing what we were doing as we downrigged, I let everyone know to try to stop reeling in their fish with about 4 feet of line separating the rod tip from the hooked fish.  This makes it easier to unhook the fish and also prevents tangling of the leaders on the 3-armed umbrella rigs.   For whatever reason, Samantha (who was genuinely excited about each fish she caught — which is a good thing) reeled her fish in all the way up to the rod tip about 5 out of every 6 times.  I tried to tactfully remind her to do otherwise, while Chris, Mike, and Bretne just flat out made fun of her about doing this.  The very first time Samantha got it right, I tried to provide some positive reinforcement, letting her know she was getting the hang of it.  In reply she said, “You know, I really am a fast learner, but, I’m also a fast forgetter!”.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:    From left, Mike Hodo, Samantha Husk, Bretne Aloisioh, and Chris Hodo with a few of the 70 fish we boated in right at 4 hours on Lake Belton under typical late-summer conditions.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  10 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  After one of the slowest first hours I’ve had on the water in quite a while (thanks to heavy grey cloud cover obscuring the sunrise and keeping it abnormally dark until around 8:20), things began to improve as the skies lightened up and the SSE wind continued to blow and ripple the water.

After a so-so round of downrigging which resulted in the catch of 2 blue catfish and a few small white bass we moved to what would be the 6th area over which I ran sonar checking for fish.  I liked what I saw and decided to give this area a try with downriggers first in order to cover some water, get our baits exposed to a lot of fish, and gauge those fishes’ activity level.  We wound up with 3 fish right off the bat on our very first pass and wound up staying in this vicinity for a full 2 hours.

During this time we downrigged for the multiple, moderately sized schools of white bass we saw moving about on sonar, each numbering around 50-80 fish per school.  When I found larger schools, they tended to be more stationary, thus allowing me enough time to set up on top of them and give vertical work a try.  If everyone on board did not have the prior experience both with fishing in general, and specifically in using spinning gear, I may not have tried the vertical work, but, I felt confident all 4 of my anglers could do all they needed to do for us to take advantage of the scenario.  This turned out well.  We “Spot-Locked” three separate times and everyone caught multiple fish on each stop at a pace better than the downrigging.  When the school moved on, we returned to downrigging until another good, immobile school appeared on sonar, and so on.

TALLY:  70 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   6:40am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  0.79 low, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   84.0F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE8 entire trip

Sky Conditions: Full grey cloud coverage at sunrise, slowly and gradually clearing to 50% white clouds on a blue sky by trip’s end

GT =  0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1814 to 1936 – downrigging circuit yielding small whites and catfish

**Area B0170C and B0171C – vertical jigging with a few short hops at each location, and downrigging on and between these areas – 2 full hours of successful fishing here

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

NAMES WITHHELD TO PROTECT THE INNOCENT – 70 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:    On Saturday morning, 07 Sept., I fished with a family (returning guests) from the N. Austin area who preferred not to be identified, nor have their photos appear on social media.  So as to create a “placeholder” and include this catch in my annual records, I’m entering this summary of our efforts.

I fished with a father and his two kids, aged 4 and 7.  This was a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip in which only the kids fished.

 

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  Sunfish and white bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  07 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:   With two youngsters onboard, we headed up shallow for some “instant gratification” sunfishing right from the get-go.  This worked out well as we landed sunfish at each of the areas at which we stopped, amassing a catch of 41 fish, including all manner of sunfish and a few largemouth bass.

When I saw the novelty wearing off concerning the sunfishing, we made a move to open water to target white bass (and have snacks!).  The white bass were pretty cooperative once the wind began to ripple the water, at around 8:45am.  We strictly downrigged for these freshwater pelagics, and wound up adding another 24 fish to our count including 0, 1, and 2-year class fish coming as singles and doubles on the Pet Spoons rigged up on 3-armed umbrella rigs.

The kids lasted until around 10:30, by which time they had landed a mixed bag of 65 fish.  I dropped them off and then headed back out to an area where, using a spotting scope, I saw terns working (which, by the way, have been in short supply on Stillhouse this summer).

These birds led me to a nice concentration of fish on a moderately sloped patch of bottom in about 35 feet of water.  As I arrived, there were individual fish popping shad occasionally (definitely NOT an aggressive topwater feed, but enough action to cause me to want to investigate further).  I went to work, solo now, with LiveScope and ferreted out a few nice schools of bottom-oriented white bass patrolling in this area.  I landed five in short order on my own version of tailspinners and then stopped fishing after confirming this was a worthwhile area.  I continued combing over this area with sonar, finding at least 3 other similar schools of white bass of approximately 70-100 fish each.

TALLY:  70 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Terns led me to fish today; these normally helpful birds have been scarce on Stillhouse this summer due, I suspect, to a lack of topwater action and therefore a lack of dead/crippled shad near the surface for them to feed on routinely.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   6:40am

End Time: 10:30am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  0.79 low, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   86.8F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE5 beginning around 8:45a; calm prior to that

Sky Conditions: No cloud cover on a blue sky.

GT =  30

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  SH0131C, SH0132C, and back of 1874 for 41 sunfish

**Area SH0134C was center of mass for late morning downrigging effort yielding 24 white bass

**Area SH0133C – a new area revealed by light tern action and light topwater action; landed 5 fish and stopped, but graphed several hundred fish in 4 distinct schools.

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

SUNFISH FEST WITH THE CRUZ CREW – 87 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:     This morning, Wednesday, September 4th, I fished with the Cruz family of Fort Hood.  Joining me were Dakottah (16), Makenzie (13), Makayla (11), and Gavin (7).  Their dad, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Jose Cruz has been away at a 10-week drill sergeant training course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.  After a brief stop back at Fort Hood, the family will be facing a move to San Antonio where SSG Cruz has been assigned as a drill instructor at the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) course there.  SSG Cruz has served in the military as a medic for 13 years.  The kids’ mom, Katy, knew of the S.K.I.F.F. program and set this up for the kids shortly after the start of public school since she home-schools her children and my calendar is much more open at this time of year.

This fishing trip was provided to this military family at no charge.  S.K.I.F.F. stands for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun.  This program began in May of 2009.  It is funded by the donations and fundraising efforts of the Austin Fly Fishers and other organizations they have partnered with.  S.K.I.F.F. provides the children of military personnel separated from their families due to duty commitments with the opportunity to go fishing.  In mid-2019, SKIFF also began providing trips to dependents whose parents’ military-related disabilities prevent them from taking their own children fishing.  I coordinate and conduct these 3.5 to 4 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just outside the gates of Fort Hood in Bell County, TX, year ’round.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:    From left, Dakottah, Gavin, Makayla, and Makenzie Cruz, each with a sampling of the sunfish we focused on on this third consecutive day of bright, dry, hot, cloudless weather accompanied by little or no wind.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  Sunfish and white bass

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  04 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: It was hard to get excited about the prospect of fishing for white bass today.  After a 3-day run of briliiant sunshine, near-calm winds, and a northeast breeze when the wind did blow lightly, the white bass have really locked down.  With 4 kids spread over a 9 year span, it was going to be difficult to keep everyone engaged with the long waits between fish that I was seeing in the cards were we to pursue white bass, so, I opted to focus on sunfish this morning and treat the whites as icing on the cake toward the end of the trip.

This turned out well.  We visited 3 distinct areas in pursuit of sunfish and landed exactly 81 fish using live bait and slip floats up in shallow water, including bluegill, green, longear, and redear sunfish, as well as a few largemouth bass.

Based on observations yesterday morning, I timed our efforts at closing the trip out by downrigging to take place from 9:40 to 10:15 am, which was the short ‘window’ of time I observed white bass feeding briefly and somewhat sporadically over deep, open water at that time.  This also turned out well, as it allowed each of the kids to take one turn on the downrigging equipment, accounting for a half-dozen white bass.  By the time the last of the kids brought their white bass in, young Gavin was just about done, and we called it a good morning right at the 3.5 hour mark with exactly 87 fish landed for our efforts.

TALLY:  87 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Continued high pressure conditions limited what already minimal topwater action has been taking place this summer on Stillhouse.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   6:45am

End Time: 10:15am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  0.61 low, 0.04′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   84.6F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Calm the entire trip, with an occasional NE ripple that would immediately dissipate

Sky Conditions: 20% clouds forming after 10 AM

GT =  0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0127C (east fork) – 7 short hops for a variety of sunfish and a few small largemouth bass

**Area SH0130C – a variety of sunfish

**Area SH0129 – a variety of sunfish

**Area 1146 – downrigging for white bass in open water

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

AS THE WEATHER AND SEASON ALLOWED – 27 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning, Tuesday, 03 September, I fished with Max Lopez of Harker Heights, TX.  Max is a U.S. Army veteran who recently obtained his credentials to repair heating,ventilation, and air conditioning equipment via his GI Bill by going back to college later in life. Max now works as a partner with Sonrise Services in the local area as well as with Memorial Baptist Church as their one-man maintenance department.  Max now has all of my business for both my own home and my rental properties.

Max was blessed to receive a used boat as a gift from someone and is now endeavoring to learn about boating and fishing.  This morning’s trip was intended to help Max grasp some fundamentals about both fishing and boat handling to help him enjoy his gift a bit more going forward.

When Max arrived ready to fish this morning, he had only caught 1 fish in his entire life.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   U.S. Army vet Max Lopez with a pair of husky Stillhouse Hollow white bass.  We took these fish from suspended schools of fish chasing bait in the upper half of the water column with our baits run at 19 feet deep.  Max, who had only landed one other fish in his entire life before this morning’s trip, rounded out the day with 27 fish landed.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  03 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Given Max’s “rookie” status, I tried to introduce him to as many tactics as the weather and season would allow for this morning, while answering a non-stop stream of good questions that he posed to me.

Over our 4+ hours on the water, we downrigged, we jugfished, and we fished for shallow sunfish using slip-floats on bream poles.

Despite experiencing the polar opposite of good fishing weather (it was bright and windless), we managed 27 fish, including a few 2-year class white bass.

OBSERVATIONS:    There was a very definite uptick in action from 9:40 to 10:30 this morning.  During this time, and over the half-mile stretch of lake we could witness, there was at least one or two small schools of white bass working over young of the year shad on the surface.  This gave us a starting point for downrigging which we exploited to the best of our ability.

TALLY: 27 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   72F

Elevation: .59 feet low, .02 foot 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:     84.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm all morning

Sky Conditions:  0% cloud cover  

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1472 – so-so action on downriggers

**Area 231 – sunfishing

**Area 1995 thru to 1528 – fast downrigging action in the vicinity of white bass feeding routinely on topwater

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

BRIGHT SKIES, CALM WINDS, & SLIM PICKINS – 23 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning, Labor Day 2019 (Sept. 2nd), I fished with the Hunt family, originally from Montana.  Joining me were Ryan and his wife, Stepanie, as well as Ryan’s brother, Jason, and Ryan and Jason’s dad, Don, who still lives in Montana and came down for a visit, including some fishing and dove hunting.

Ryan’s last duty station was here at Fort Hood.  After separating from the military he went to work with First Command, a financial planning organization that works closely with military members.  Stephanie is a veterinarian in Copperas Cove, Jason is an active duty Army aviator stationed at Fort Hood, and Don is an electrician back in Montana. The whole family graduated from the Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho.

The family bid on a gift certificate I had donated to the Killeen Church of the Nazarene for a youth fundraiser back in the spring and decided to redeem it this weekend.

PHOTO CAPTION:   The Hunt crew:  From left: Ryan, Stephanie, Jason, and Don, each with one of the 19 white bass we landed today.

PHOTO CAPTiON: Jason landed this 11th hour Lake Belton smallmouth bass that weighed just a few hundreths less than 3.00 pounds.  It came up off of a 26′ bottom for a bait worked down at 21′ deep.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass & blue catfish

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  02 September 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:   This was a tough day — we had clear skies and light winds following a wrinkle in the weather which shifted winds to the north and east both yesterday and today, partially influenced by Hurricane Dorian which sits off of Florida’s east coast by 105 miles as of this writing.

There was no topwater bite this morning, and precious few fish found subsurface in several of the areas which have produced low-light topwater action of late.  We downrigged successfully in three areas and threw in some jugfishing (which I planned ahead for after seeing the tough weather forecast), as well.

Many of the white bass we caught today were smallish — it seems these small fish will feed even when the larger ones are put off by weather.  I’ve noted this many times in the past.

In getting rigged up for the trip last night, I switched all of my downrigging rigs back to #12 Pet Spoons from #13’s, knowing that a smaller, “finesse” bait would get hit when a flashier, gaudier lure might not.  I feel like this put a few extra fish in the boat today, as we picked up 2 sets of triples and 1 set of doubles.

Our jugfishing went okay given that the calm winds made for little drift and little water covered.  On 20 jugs we had 6 pulldowns and put 2 bluecat in the boat (the third blue in the tally actually came on the downrigger).

We were all sweating through our clothes by 10am, and stayed until 11am, boating a grand total of 24 fish on the morning.

The “first fish” award today went to Don, who landed a small white bass right at 6:30am as we were practice casting by the boat ramp in anticipation of topwater action around sunrise.  Biggest fish award today went to Jason with a “personal best” smallmouth bass.

OBSERVATIONS:    There were actually fewer boats out this morning on a holiday Monday than on a typical summertime Saturday.  The calm winds from a NNE direction and bright sun really turned the fish off this morning.

TALLY: 23 fish caught and released (19 white bass, 3 blue catfish, 1 smallmouth bass)

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   75F

Elevation:  0.52 feet low with a 24-hour fall of 0.03 feet on a flow of 34 cfs

Water Surface Temp:    84.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm all morning

Sky Conditions:  <10% cloud cover most of the morning w/ white clouds on a blue sky

GT = 40

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1746 – low light downrigging for a few white bass

**Area  993 – downrigging for a few white bass and 1 bluecat

**Area 1579  – downrigging for a few white bass and 1 smallmouth

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

PINK PRACTICE – 32 FISH WITH THE WILSONS

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning, Saturday, August 31st, I fished with Doug and Cindy Wilson of Smithville, TX.  The Wilsons plan to participate in next Saturday’s (07 September) “Pink Fishing” tournament held out of Cedar Ridge Park on Lake Belton as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness.

Cindy contacted me about two months in advance, hoping to do some pre-fishing and to get to learn the lake before heading out on Belton (in the dark) on the morning of the tournament.  I was very up front with them about not guiding for largemouth or smallmouth bass and thought I’d talked them out of fishing with me, but, they decided chasing white bass would be fun so long as we could do a little looking around at potential bass-holding cover at some point in the morning.  So, this morning, we accomplished both of those things.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Doug and Cindy Wilson came out with me, caught the best of the low-light bite for white bass, then did some scouting in advance of next Saturday’s “Pink Fishing” breast cancer awareness fund raiser.

 

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  31 August 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:    As I met the Wilsons, they were very open about their lack of familiarity with spinning gear.  Fortunately, they showed up early, thus allowing us to do some practice casting before the fish began doing their thing.  As I approached the area I had in mind to begin at today, I could see gamefish poised to feed on sonar, as well as ample bait for them to feed upon.

As we waited to see if fish would “go topwater”, I introduced the Wilsons to downrigging — which they’d never done before.  We scored 6 white bass (including a triple landed by Cindy) before a light topwater bite began at exactly 7:07 am.  This topwater was different from that which we’ve been observing up to this point in the summer in that the fish did not seem as tightly schooled and were less organized.  Previously, fish could be seen clearly grouped together, clearly pursuing shad in a definite direction (think of troops on an open battlefield advancing abreast of one another), and in great numbers of fish per school (perhaps 400-600 fish per school with multiple schools working at any given time).  This morning the fish seemed to be working independently of one another with wide gaps between surface boils and with no directionality to their pursuit.

Given the Wilson’s were new to spinning gear, I selected weighted slabs instead of the lighter Pet Spoons I’ve been throwing lately, and the fish responded well to these.  After only 17 minutes on top, the fish sounded for good around 7:25.  After that, we continued downrigging successfully through 8:40a while observing boats opting to stay put and jig vertically catch nil.  3-armed umbrella rigs armed with Pet Spoons did the trick on the ‘riggers fished progressively deeper as sonar revealed the post-topwater action moving down in the water column and away from the shore.

OBSERVATIONS:    I was off the water this week on a recon to Juarez in advance of a mid-October mission trip to build a home for a family there.  When I returned, I checked in with Bill P. who shared that the fishing was miserable this past week.  He had 3 outings from first light to around 9am with no fish to show for his efforts, and reported no topwater to speak of.  Although we did catch fish today, once the low-light bite was over, there were slim pickings thereafter.  There was little cloud cover and light winds, plus weekend traffic today.  Got checked by TPWD — no issues.

TALLY: 32 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 10:50a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   74F

Elevation:  0.47 feet low with a 24-hour fall of 0.04 feet on a flow of 34 cfs

Water Surface Temp:    82.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE4 all morning

Sky Conditions:  20% cloud cover most of the morning w/ white clouds on a blue sky

GT = 35

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 793 to 1019 – brief topwater, ~20 minutes’ worth

**Area  1933 and ~ 400 feet both E and W of this point and along the same contour – downrigging with Pet Spoons on 3-armed umbrella rig

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle