1st SKIFF TRIP OF 2018 NETS 2 FIRST FISH AWARDS!

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday evening I fished with U.S. Army Major Michael Byrnes and his oldest two children, Evelyn (age 13) and Michael (age 10).  We were originally supposed to fish over the holidays, but the weather just didn’t cooperate.  The delay worked out well, as it allowed Major Byrnes to accompany the kids on their big adventure.  Major Byrnes and his wife, Lyndsay, decided to move their family to Fort Hood for just 1 year from their home in Marshall, Wisconsin, instead of being separated from dad after he was called onto active duty to serve at Fort Hood with the 646th Regional Support Group.  This unit helps all National Guard and Reserve units coming through Ft. Hood to get logistically prepared for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan.  This was the year’s first SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trip provided to military kids free of charge courtesy of the Austin Fly Fishers since 2009.

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From left: Major Michael Byrnes, his son, Michael Byrnes, and Evelyn Byrnes, each with a 2-year class white bass caught in the last hour of the day from a near-motionless school we found suspended over a channel beneath birds.

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Evelyn with our largest fish of the trip.

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Michael with the first fish of his life, which earned him a TPWD “First Fish Award”

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass using artificial lures.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday afternoon, 13 January 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  We fished a full four hours.  As is typical of afternoon trips, we more than doubled our catch in the last hour.  Our first 3 hours were spent in deeper, clear water vertically jigging for white bass seen holding in schools on bottom.  We used snap-jigging and a slow easing tactic to catch our first 33 fish by 4:45pm.  There were instances where deadsticking would have been appropriate, but, given that Evenlyn and Michael were brand new to fishing and that setting the hook while deadsticking was going to be tough to get the hang of on their first trip out, I left that tactic alone.  In the final hour of our trip, a flock of helpful terns and gulls got active over top of a nearly immobile school of white bass (with a few hybrid hanging around) in an area where a nearby channel cuts close to the bank.  We slowly smoked our slabs through this large, cooperative school and put a final 35 fish in the boat, including the several largest white bass of the trip.

During this trip, Evelyn landed the first fish of her life — a 17 3/8″ freshwater drum.  Michael also landed the first fish of his life — a 7.25″ white bass.  We caught a total of 2 drum, 5 hybrid striped bass, 3 largemouth bass, and 58 white bass.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) The cold water, north wind, high pressure, and clear skies today combined to really make the fish lethargic.  We saw way more fish on sonar than we had show interest in our baits.  In several instances, we only caught fish during the first few minutes our lures were dropped into a school; after catching 3 or 4, the fish just lost interest and settled back to bottom.

TALLY: 68 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:45p

End Time:  5:45p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  48F (then falling with an approaching cold front)

Water Surface Temp:  51.8 to 52.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  N8-11

Sky Conditions: Clear, bluebird skies

Water Level: 3.14 feet low

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0026C – deep jigging for small whites

**Area B0012C – deep jigging for small whites

**Area B0027C – mid-depth slow smoking for suspended 2 & 3 year class white bass

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

Cold and Getting Colder — 81 Fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday morning I fished with returning guest Dr. Michael Szkrybalo.  Michael is an emergency medicine physician who got his start in the U.S. Army and now works at Baylor Scott & White.  It was a wacky weather day and the fishing reflected that.  We began the day with what would be a high temperature of 56F, a balmy feel to the air, calm winds, and some thin fog.  Under these conditions we fished for nearly 2 fishless hours until a SE breeze began to move the water and the fish began to feed.  We caught the vast majority of our fish in about 90 minutes, between 10:30a and noon.  Nearly all of our fish were small, from the 2017 year class, but the action was steady during this “window” on slowly smoked 3/8 oz. slabs.  As I came off the lake, the winds were blowing at 20, gusting 25+ and the temperature had fallen to 50F.  By 3:30pm, the winds were blowing 30, gusting to 40, and the temperature had fallen to 41F.

This is what I refer to when I write about “year classes” of white bass.  The top fish is a 3-year-old white bass of ~13″, the fish in the center is a 2-year-old white bass of roughly 11.5″, and the fish on the bottom is a 1-year-old fish measuring about 8″.  In most  years on Belton and Stillhouse, we have some representation in at least the 1, 2, and 3 year-old fish classes.  Due to the past three year’s worth of spring water conditions (when the white bass spawn), the 2017 year class is by far the most abundant in both reservoirs right now.  Mike and I caught mainly 1 year class fish.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass using artificial lures.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday morning, 11 January 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  We fished in no less than 36 feet of water today, and out to as deep as 52 feet.  As the winds began to push from the SE and the bite slowly began, we used a snap-jigging tactic in very deep (45-52′) water.  As the winds built and shifted through the S, to the W, and then to the NW, the bite strengthened and went shallower.  During this window, a slow smoking tactic worked well during which time I sync’ed the rhythm of the thumper to the speed we needed to turn our spinning reel handles so as to avoid going too fast.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) The pre-frontal wind shift had everything to do with turning the fish on. 2) The arrival of cold, dry air on the  NNW wind had everything to do with turning the bite back off.

TALLY: 81 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:20a

End Time:  12:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  56F (then falling with an approaching cold front)

Water Surface Temp:  52.8F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Calm until around 9:20, then light SE until 10:30, then swinging quickly through S, to W, to NNW and building to 20+

Sky Conditions: 100% cloud cover with light fog with slow clearing to 30% by the time the front roared in

Water Level: 3.09 feet low

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT:

JAN 11

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1177

**Area B0014C (with 2 short hops)

**Area 382 (with 2 short hops)

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

It’s All Relative — 05 Jan. 2018 (PM Trip)

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday afernoon I fished with Willis Creed and his son, Skyler Creed, from north central Missouri.  Willis is a timber-framed home builder and Skyler is a college student at Missouri State University in Columbia.  The two came down to Texas to visit some friends and go hog hunting here in Central Texas, and decided to “mix it up” a little and do some fishing after the weather moderated a bit.  Since the cold weather we experienced here wasn’t nearly as cold as what these fellows are used to back home up north, they didn’t mind hunting and fishing in the cold — it’s all relative, I suppose!  Either way, all three of us enjoyed fishing Belton with near zero boat traffic.

Father and Son

From left: Willis and Skyler Creed of Missouri with a mixed bag of fish we took in 30 feet of water while working slabs with a finesse tactic.  The pair boated 89 fish in water with a surface temperature around 51-52F.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass using artificial lures.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday afternoon, 05 January 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  We fished primarily in deep, 42+ foot water today until our very last stop, which came in 28-30′.  We fish with just two retrieves: slow smoking for suspended and more active bottom-oriented fish, and snap-jigging for non-aggressive bottom-oriented fish.  100% of our fish were taken on the smaller 3/8 oz. slab with the Hazy Eye Stinger Hook attached.  We used an extended pause while snap-jigging and found many of our fish came on the pause.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) Today, out of necessity, we stopped on what I would normally consider marginal sonar returns.  The extended cold snap really did impact the fishery, dropping our water temperatures about 6 degrees in just 5 days.  Fish were hard to find and definitely not heavily schooled, nor feeding aggressively.  Therefore, when I saw any fish activity, we stopped, worked over top of them and figured out if we could get them turned on.  This worked out for us at about 3 of the 6 or 7 areas we patrolled and paved the way to a respectable 89 fish afternoon as we enjoyed a slow warmup.

TALLY: 89 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:45p

End Time:  5:50p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  48F

Water Surface Temp:  52.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE at 10-12 all afternoon

Sky Conditions: <10% scattered white cloud cover

Water Level: 3.00 feet low

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

JAN 05

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0026C

**Area B0025C

**Area 1024

**Area 163 (out a bit deeper than the waypoint, and with 2 short hops)

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

Cold Snap Sets Fishing Back a Bit — 60 Fish, 05 Jan (AM)

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning I fished with fishing buddies Tim Pham and John Kolbeck.  The two met via an online fishing forum and have been splitting the cost on fishing trips and taking trips of their own ever since.  Tim works in the Austin tech industry and John is a snowbird spending winters in Texas near his kids, then migrating back to International Falls, MN, in the summers where he fishes (and formerly guided on) Rainy Lake, a quarter-million acre natural lake known for walleye fishing and more.

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From left: John Kolbeck and Tim Pham with some of the better white bass we landed today.  Limpsticking/deadsticking came on strong in our last hour for suspended fish otherwise increasingly disinterested in even our slowest vertical retrieves.  All fish came in water with a surface temperature around 51-52F.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass using artificial lures.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday morning, 05 January 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  We fished primarily in deep, 42-45 foot water this morning.  We fished using three tactics: slow smoking for active, suspended fish and for more active bottom-oriented fish, snap-jigging for non-aggressive bottom-oriented fish, and limpsticking/deadsticking for non-aggressive suspended fish.  All of the fish taken via smoking and snap-jigging were taken on the smaller 3/8 oz. slab with the Hazy Eye Stinger Hook attached.  We used an extended pause while snap-jigging and found many of our fish came on the pause.  The fish taken via limpsticking/deadsticking were all taken on a soft plastic and jighead suspended at or just above the level the fish were suspended at.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) Today, out of necessity, we stopped several times on what I would normally consider marginal sonar returns.  The extended cold snap really did impact the fishery, dropping our water temperatures about 6 degrees in just 5 days.  Fish were hard to find and definitely not heavily schooled, nor feeding aggressively.  Therefore, when I saw any fish activity, we stopped, worked over top of them and figured out if we could get them turned on.

TALLY: 60 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:20a

End Time:  12:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  39F

Water Surface Temp:  52.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Calm at trip’s start, building to SSE6-8

Sky Conditions: <20% scattered white cloud cover

Water Level: 3.00 feet low

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:

JAN 05

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0004C – slow smoking and snap-jigging

**Area vic B0014C – slow smoking and snap-jigging

**Area B0025C – slow smoking, snap-jigging, and limp/deadsticking

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

2017 ENDS WITH A BANG — 167 FISH WITH CHIEF RANDLES & THE “KIDS”

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I fished with Temple Fire Chief Mitch Randles, his adult son, Kevin Randles, his adult daughter, Sabrina Randles, and Sabrina’s fiance, Dakota McDonald.  This trip was in celebration of Sabrina’s birthday and has become a bit of a family tradition.  I really enjoy taking this family out — they are just solid people with a love of family.  When the tornado hit Joplin, MO, several years ago, the Randles lost just about everything, but picked themselves up by the bootstraps, dusted themselves off, and made a new start here in Central Texas.  Missouri’s loss was definitely our gain!  Now Sabrina and Dakota have wedding plans for the autumn of 2018 and plan to stay local, so, hopefully we’ll have these fine folks around for years to come!

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From left: Sabrina, Dakota, and Kevin landed these nice hybrid all just seconds apart as a nice school moved beneath the boat and crushed their slabs.

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Chief Randles picked this nice one up on a slow-smoking retrieve.  I noted Mitch was reeling a bit more slowly than everyone else and was doing a bit better on getting bit, so, we all observed his retrieve speed, slowed down, and everyone began doing better from that point on.

 

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Without even trying for them, nor changing our tactics to suit them, we caught at least 2+ limits of keeper largemouth bass today in the 40+ foot water we fished.  As the water cools, the largemouth will continue to go deep, bunch up, and hit slabs.  Just make sure you’ve got your Hazy Eye Stinger Hook on those slabs!!

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And the birthday girl with her best fish of the trip!  As her dad would say, “Happy birthday, Squirt!”

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass and hybrid stripers using artificial lures.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday morning, 30 December, 2017

HOW WE FISHED:   Our first stop came on a breakline in about 34′ where we found a mix of white bass, largemouth, short hybrid, and freshwater drum using sonar.  It is always beneficial to have fish cooperate early in the trip so I can coach folks out of any bad habits in their jigging techniques so they build on a solid foundation for the rest of the outing, and such was the case this morning.  After this first area tapered off, we went looking for more action.  At just before 9am, I spotted bird activity as I scanned with my spotting scope.  We were fortunate to find fish under birds without other boats around and enjoyed 30 minutes or so of undisturbed, fast fishing using a smoking tactic for fish that were both bottom-oriented and suspended from 25 feet down to bottom in ~43 feet of water.  When this dried up, we made four more stops, all under birds, over the remainder of the morning.  We only encountered one lull in the action shortly after the wind shifted from E to N, at which time the wind picked up and the conditions began to feel more “raw”.  The bite went strong until 11:35, then tapered to nil by 11:50.  Right at noon or so we were headed back to the dock with 167 fish landed and a smoked pork butt on the Randles’ minds!!

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) After a full day of “birdlessness” yesterday, the birds were “all over it” this morning, working from just before 9am through about 11:35 with just a brief lull as the wind shift from E to N came in. 2) The largemouth bass are really coming on strong in deep water.  Without trying, we landed at least 2 full limits of keeper largemouth as a by-catch targeting white bass and hybrid. 3) A very slow smoking retrieve outperformed all others when fish were suspended.  4) Fish have begun to respond well to snap-jigging.

TALLY: 167 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 8:00a

End Time:  12:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  49F

Water Surface Temp:  55.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ESE4-6 at trip’s start with a balmy feel to the air; a wind shift around 9:40am shifted winds 90 degrees through to the NNW at 4-6, then, the velocity slowly tapered up to just shy of whitecapped (~12mph) by trips end.  The cool dampness and wind chill factor could definitely be felt versus the nearly comfortable starting temperature.

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds

Water Level: 2.90 feet low

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

30DEC17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0022C

**Area  B0023c/348/1144 (under birds and over a wide-spread area; still had to use sonar to find the spot on the spot)

**Area B0024C

**Area vic 1556

**Area vic 1152

**Area  B0023c/348/1144  (after birds started feeding here a second time)

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

100 Fish in the Morning, 100 Fish in the Evening — 29 Dec. 2017

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday afternoon, December 29th, after fishing a morning trip, I turned right back around and fished with Wes Stearns, his 5-year-old son, Knox Stearns, Wes’ father-in-law, Richard DeArmand, and Richard’s soon-to-be son-in-law, Cameron Kimball.  Richard and Cameron are from western Kentucky and Wes and his family live in the north Austin area.

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5-year-old Knox Stearns and his grandpa, Richard DeArmand, with our largest fish of the trip — a hybrid striper the pair tag-teamed.

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From left: Wes Stearns, Knox Stearns, Cameron Kimball, and Richard DeArmand, each with one of the 100 fish we landed in just 3.5 hours this evening on Lake Belton using slabs in deep water.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday evening, 29 December, 2017

HOW WE FISHED:  We used slabs 100% of the time today, either via snap-jigging or with a slow smoking tactic.  As was the case in the morning, we had to move around a good bit as we found the fish would initially express interest in our presentations and give chase, but would cool off quickly and, after a short while, flat refuse to strike.  We wound up fishing 3 area, but “hopping” around a bit at each.  Also similar to the morning was the great number of smaller fish that showed up in our catch, despite fishing in several very different areas.  We landed our 100th fish right at the 3.5 hour mark and my crew decided to call it a day and head in before the (obscured) sun set and it got even colder for the lengthy ride back to the boat ramp.  Once again, no birds fed over active fish, so all of the fish finding was done via sonar this afternoon.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) No helpful bird action today. 2) We had to gear down on the speed of our smoking retrieve to get bit consistently today.  3) When slow-smoking stopped working, we “mopped up” with snap-jigging.  4) We had a lot of smaller fish in the catch today.

TALLY: 100 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:30p

End Time:  5:00p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  49F

Water Surface Temp:  53.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ESE4-6

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds

Water Level: 2.88 feet low

GT = 70

Wx SNAPSHOT:

29DEC17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0021C

**Area  B0017C

**Area B0018C/B0019C

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

2-Day Delay Yields Another 100 Fish Outing

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning, December 29th, I fished with John Shotwell, John’s 17-year-old son, Hunter, and John’s father-in-law, Bob Shea.  We were originally due to fish on Wednesday of this week, but a raw, windy, wet coldfront put windchill temperatures in the 20’s and air temperatures in the 30’s all day that day, so, we waited until conditions moderated a bit.  Although the air temperature was only 39F as we began our trip, the wind was much more manageable and the temperature did slowly climb.

IMG_4782

 

From left: John Shotwell, Hunter Shotwell, and Bob Sylvia each with white bass taken on vertical tactics using slabs on Lake Belton.  We had to move frequently and encountered a lot of lethargic, smaller fish today as the fishery bounced back from two chilly nights in a row.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday morning, 29 December, 2017

HOW WE FISHED:  We used slabs 100% of the time today, either via snap-jigging or with a slow smoking tactic.  We had to move around a good bit as we found the fish would initially express interest in our presentations and give chase, but would cool off quickly and, after a short while, flat refuse to strike.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) No helpful bird action today. 2) We had to gear down on the speed of our smoking retrieve to get bit consistently today.  3) When slow-smoking stopped working, we “mopped up” with snap-jigging.  4) We had a lot of smaller fish in the catch today.

TALLY: 100 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 8:00a

End Time:  12:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  39F

Water Surface Temp:  53.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  E4-6

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds with a light fog

Water Level: 2.88 feet low

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

29DEC17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1177

**Area   2059

**Area   187

**Area  B0004C

**Area  B0020C

**Area B0016C

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

11:45AM or 100 FISH, WHICHEVER COMES FIRST

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, December 28th, I fished with 10- and12-year-old brothers Peyton and Grayson Hedgecoth, both students in the Little River-Academy school district.  The boys were accompanied by their dad, Eron Hedgecoth, who acted a photographer/videographer, but did not fish.  Grayson and Eron came out with me once before this past summer when we did a multi-species trip focused on blue catfish and white bass.  The boys were out to beat the results of that 74-fish outing.  At exactly 11:28, and with 88 fish landed for the morning, I told the boys we’d stay until 11:45 or until we’d caught 100 fish, whichever came first.  The boys really concentrated on their vertical jigging and, by 11:40 AM, they rose to the challenge, putting our 100th fish in the boat!

IMG_4775

Peyton Hedgecoth, age 10, with a nice Lake Belton hybrid striped bass taken on a white slab with an air temperature at about 38F.  Dad made sure the boys were well-dressed and that allowed them to stick with it for a full morning trip.

IMG_4778

Grayson Hedgecoth, who just turned 12 yesterday, landed this hybrid taken in around 38 feet of water after some wide-spread bird activity helped us in locating the fish.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  We encountered largemouth, drum, crappie, and hybrid striped bass as a by-catch.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday morning, 28 December, 2017

HOW WE FISHED:  Slab are now, and will continue to be, the go-to bait for me through at least early March.  The presentation varied today with fish activity level.  When fish were actively feeding several feet off bottom we used a “smoking tactic”, and when they were glued to bottom and unwilling to chase, we used a snap-jigging tactic.  There seemed to be no middle-ground on this trip for which an “easing” tactic would have been appropriate.  The fish were either on or off, no in between. The smaller 3/8 oz. slab outperformed the 3/4 oz. slab today, and, the stinger hooks accounted for about 60% of the catch.  

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) I delayed our start time today until 8am and we still waited a bit for the birds, bait, and fish to get in gear.  No need to get out in the pre-dawn chill!  2) Although we enjoyed some helpful bird action during the first half of the morning, the birds only got us in the general vicinity of the fish, as the fish they were working over were spread pretty far and wide.  Also, the bird action did not last very long at any one location before dissipating and reforming, typically many yards away.

TALLY: 100 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 8:00a

End Time:  11:40a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  37F

Water Surface Temp:  52.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NE <5mph all day

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds

Water Level: 2.87 feet low

GT = 15

Wx SNAPSHOT:

28DEC17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0012C (under birds)

**Area  vic 838 (under birds)

**Area  B0013C (under birds)

**Area B0014C

**Area B0015C

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

Icemen from the North — 102 Fish, 26 Dec. 2017

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, December 26th, I fished with John and Ryan Evans from Littleton, Colorado.  They came for a visit to Killeen to see John’s dad, a U.S. Army veteran, who retired here.  John works for a software firm and Ryan is working his way through college with a job in the hunting/fishing department at Dick’s Sporting Goods with aims to become a game warden after graduation.  This father and son team are typically icefishing for kokanee, rainbow, and lake trout this time of year.  In fact, they have a trip planned for this coming Sunday after their drive back to Colorado.

IMG_4758

 

John Evans of Littleton, CO, with one of several hybrid striped bass we landed while “smoking” slabs through more aggressive fish.

IMG_4768

From left: Ryan and John Evans with a few of the white bass we took this morning.  A majority of our white bass came on a snap-jigging tactic as we employed light 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks affixed to the line tie.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  We encountered largemouth, drum, and hybrid striped bass as a by-catch.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday morning, 26 December, 2017

HOW WE FISHED:  Slab are now, and will continue to be, the go-to bait for me through at least early March.  The presentation varied today with fish activity level.  When fish were actively feeding several feet off bottom we used a “smoking tactic”; when fish were less aggressive but still up off bottom, we used an “easing” tactic; and when they were glued to bottom and unwilling to chase, we used a snap-jigging tactic.  The smaller 3/8 oz. slab outperformed the 3/4 oz. slab today, and, the stinger hooks accounted for about 60% of the catch.  The fact that Ryan and John had icefishing (vertical jigging) experience, really flattened their learning curve.  Less experienced clients would likely have caught less than half of what we landed today.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) Thanks to the light fog layer, our bite did not start until after 8am.

TALLY: 102 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time:  12:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  46F

Water Surface Temp:  55.4 – 56.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ENE11

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds with steady, light mist

Water Level: 2.84 feet low

GT = 80

Wx SNAPSHOT:

26DEC17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 187 (only area where fish were active enough for smoking retrieve for any length of time)

**Area vic B0005C

**Area vic 1945/2059

**Area B0009C

**Area B0010C

**Area B0011C

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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

Cold and Wet, But Still Smiling – 18 Fish on Stillhouse

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning I fished with a trio of boys from the Liberty Hill, TX, area.  First was the birthday boy, Preston Nichols (age 8), and two of his buddies — Jasper Arnold (age 8), and Luke Lavender (age 7).  The boys were chaperoned by Preston’s dad, Dan Nichols, who help me with crowd control and did not fish.

IMG_4737

 

8 year old Jasper Arnold reeled in this 5 1/8 pound Stillhouse largemouth as we fish 30-40 foot water targeting white bass.  My by-catch of hefty largemouth bass always increases sharply as I jig for white bass in the winter, especially when submerged timber is nearby.

IMG_4741

 

Cold and wet, but still smiling — from left, Preston Nichols, Jasper Arnold, and Luke Lavender.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday morning, 22 December, 2017

HOW WE FISHED:  Due to an ill-timed, damp cold front, the fish were really in a negative mood this morning making them difficult to find and difficult to catch.  Dan had hoped to get a trip in during this holiday season when the kids had off from school, but, the forecast indicated that today’s low was going to be higher than that high temperature any day the following week, so, I thought it best to get the boys out while it was warmest.  Unfortunately, the cold front came in a bit earlier and a bit wetter than forecast, so, we had an uphill battle on our hands.  We put 15 fish in the boat via vertical jigging, and 3 fish in the boat via flatline trolling with shad-imitating crankbaits.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) The fish were very difficult to goad into striking this morning, but I noted that when the boys did hook one, others would lift 2-4 feet off bottom thus expressing a bit of interest, but nothing like a dozen or so fish following their hooked schoolmate toward the surface as is observed under better conditions.

TALLY: 18 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:15a

End Time:  110:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  59F dropping to 46F during the 3.5 hours on the water.

Water Surface Temp:  59.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNW8-12

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds with occasional light rain

Water Level: 3.19 feet low

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

22DEC17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  SH0001C (2x)

**Area  101 (2x)

**Area   114-706

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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