ON THE EDGE OF TOPWATER TIME — 60 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday morning, July 3rd, I fished with first-time guests Todd Roach and Jason Walrath, both of Salado.  Todd works as a chiropractor in Killeen, and Jason, after recently retiring from the U.S. Army as an aviation officer, is now a pilot for United Airlines.

We pursued white bass on Stillhouse Hollow both because the fishing has been solid, and so as to avoid the holiday crowd on Lake Belton.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Todd Roach (left) and Jason Walrath put 60 fish over the gunwales this past July 3rd via a combination of downrigging and vertical work.

WHEN WE FISHED:  03 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  With fairly stable wind, weather, and water conditions each day now for well over 2 weeks, the fishing has settled into a predictable summer pattern.  All the action is above the thermocline which is set up around 35 feet in the upper 2/3rds of the lake, and deeper in the main basin.

The tactic which put fish in the boat for us this morning was to find (and catch) fish with the downriggers and then stop atop strong groups of bottom-oriented fish to work vertically for them.

The action started early today, with the strongest bite and most active fish up off bottom and up ~4-5 feet in the water column between 6:40AM and 7:50AM.

We found that the cooperative schools of fish hugging bottom which responded to our vertical tactics did not stay put long.  Once the fish cleared sonar, we moved, as these fish did not hold in the area, nor did they circulate back underneath the boat, despite efforts at thumping and beating on the water to draw them in and keep them there.

I noted today that the fish we encountered also seemed to be in smaller, more splintered groups.  By 9:15, the fish were clearly already on their way to shutting down.  For every 4 or 5 schools of fish we encountered, each with 20-40 fish per school, we’d only get one school jazzed enough to pursue baits, and even then would only get 1-3 fish out of that school.

I used a combination of #12 and #13 Pet Spoons on my 3-armed umbrella rigs today, and the fish definitely showed a preference for the slightly larger #13s.  For the vertical work, we used MAL lures.

TALLY: 60 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Although not to the extent encountered on Wednesday under a better wind and cloud cover scenario, each location giving up white bass this morning also had, “schoolie” largemouth bass popping shad on the surface, as well.  I’m anticipating the topwater action to really come on strong over the next few weeks — very exciting!

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  0.22′ low, 0.04′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  82F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW5 increasing to SSW11 by trip’s end with occasional gusts to 13

GT = 22

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas v1423, v062, v1708, and v1146

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

FIRST, LARGEST, AND MOST — 54 FISH FOR ADI

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Wednesday, July 1st, I fished a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip for Adi Zwern, the youngest granddaughter of Mr. & Mrs. Larry Brewer of Georgetown, TX.   Adi just got into town last night from Houston for about a week’s stay with her grandparents.  Adi’s sister, Finley, was treated to a similar trip last week, and the girls’ brother, Eymon, will get to go fishing next week, weather permitting.

Adi had never landed a fish before.  By the time 3 1/2 hours had passed, she’d not only landed her first fish, but (it goes without saying), the largest fish, and the most fish, as Pop Pop Larry and his buddy, Blake Hoekstra, both came along as able assistants helping me help Adi be successful.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  This is the first fish of Adi’s life!!!

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:   This is Adi’s current PB (personal best) — a 3 1/8 pound largemouth bass!!

 

WHEN WE FISHED:  01 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Fishing was just right for having a youngster aboard today.  The fish cooperated for the entire time, thanks to a southerly wind and grey cloud cover, thus keeping fish coming over the side from start to finish, and helping Adi stay engaged.

We began our trip by probing with downriggers to which we’d attached 3-armed umbrella rigs rigged with Pet Spoons.  We caught singles and doubles steadily, most of which were suspended 3-5 feet up off bottom.  I believe these fish were up off bottom making use of the light there.  As the sun continued to climb and brightened the sky thru the thick, grey cloud cover, more and more bottom-hugging fish showed on sonar.  I believe the light was sufficient at that point to allow them to feed well at that greater depth.  Once I saw fish on sonar holding on bottom, we used a vertical tactic with MAL lures to the greatest extent possible.  The fish were mainly 2-year class fish with 1-year and 3-year fish sprinkled in.  These 2-year fish put up a good fight, especially when you’re 7 and weigh about 45 pounds!!  From time to time Adi’s arms got tired and we switched back over to downrigging until she gave us the thumbs-up that she’d recovered sufficiently to “go vertical” again.

We wound up with 37 white bass and 2 largemouth, including a nice 3 1/8-pounder before the fish started to slow down around 9:15.

At this point, we invested the rest of the trip into the pursuit of sunfish up shallow.  Adi landed 15 sunfish, including longears, redears, and bluegill.  We caught these on bait under slipfloats.

TALLY: 54 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Due to clouds/Saharan dust since Sunday, water surface temperature has dropped to 80 F.  Noted topwater largemouth feeding on 1.25″ shad from 1960 to SH0033C in open water.  Temperature profile was taken on Fish Hawk TD.  Note the 8 degree change in a matter of 5 vertical feet from 35 to 40 feet:

0 feet 82.1
5 feet 82.1
10 feet 82.1
15 feet 82.1
20 feet 82.1
25 feet 82.1
30 feet 81.9
35 feet 81.1
40 feet 73.0
45 feet 68.1
50 feet 63.9
55 feet 62.3
60 feet 60.9
65 feet 60.1

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:45A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  0.16′ low, 0.04′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  80F

Wind Speed & Direction: S9 at sunrise, tapering steadily up to S13-14.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic 517 thru 853 to 1395 – white bass on MAL’s fished vertically after finding fish with downriggers; 39 fish

**Area 1948 – 15 sunfish

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

3 FIRST FISH AWARDS — 78 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, June 27th, I fished a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip for sisters Sophia (age 9), Hannah (age 8), and Emmelia (age 6), accompanied by their father, Ken Staples, of Belton, TX.

Back on May 23rd, I conducted a similar trip for James and Andrea Beaver and their four kids.  The Staples saw the summary of the trip on Facebook and contacted me about doing something similar for their girls.  Today was the day we made that happen.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  That’s Ken in the background, and, from left, Emmelia, Sophia, and Hannah, each with the first fish of their lives!!

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Sophia landed our first largemouth bass of the morning.  It went 3.75 pounds. This was a beautifully marked fish showing strong Florida-strain coloration in the black blotches down its sides.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #3:  Not to be outdone by her older sister, Hannah hauled in this 5.50 pound largemouth about 30 minutes later.

 

WHEN WE FISHED:  27 June, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  As I welcomed everyone aboard this morning, I quickly learned that the girls had never caught fish before, so, we were literally starting from “Square 1” with the fundamentals of how to hold the gear, how to use the gear, etc.   The girls father, Ken, was a great help, but also had limited prior experience, and so was limited as to the extent of aid he could lend.  In the end, all turned out well.

Ken understood my rationale in pursuing the toughest fish requiring the most patience and attention (white bass) first, while the girls were all keen to fish, and then taking on easier, more abundant, but smaller, fish (sunfish) toward the end when their enthusiasm had waned a bit.

We put about 2.5 hours of effort into white bass fishing.  We were fortunate to find active, bottom-oriented fish right off the bat this morning before putting downriggers in, so, we set up over top of these fish and worked MAL lures vertically for them, putting 17 fish in the boat before they moved on.

We then turned to downrigging.  This transition came at a good time, as the girls were starting to lose focus on the pretty exacting technique the vertical work required.  We landed singles, two doubles, and a triple on the downriggers and found two more schools of white bass hunkered down on bottom which allowed us to work vertically for them. We used one 3-armed rig and one 3-armed rig with a “tailgunner” — 7 baits in all.

By 9AM, we’d amassed a catch of 51 white bass and 3 legal (14″+) largemouth bass.  The bite was starting to fade, so, we moved on to our final adventure — sunfishing.

We made two stops in the shallows fishing bait beneath small, sensitive floats, landing bluegill, longear, and green sunfish — 2 dozen of them, to be exact.

By 10:15, our second area was petering out and the time had come to wrap up.  All of the girls thanked me (without prompting by their dad), expressed that they had fun, and asked dad when they could go again.

Each of the girls earned her TPWD “First Fish Award” with the first three white bass we landed this morning.

TALLY: 78 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Saharan dust once again obscured the sun today and is forecast to linger for some weeks to come.  Despite the cloud cover and wind, some minor, open water surface feeding by largemouth blitzing shad was visible in the chop.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  0.01′ low, 0.04′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  82F

Wind Speed & Direction: S9 at sunrise, tapering steadily up to S13-14.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1395 – white bass on MAL’s fished vertically and via downrigging from 6:45 to 7:45

**Area vic SH0058C – white bass on downriggers leading to vertical work through 9A

**Areas 238 and 1572 – 24 sunfish

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

ONE GRANDKID AT A TIME – 50 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Friday, June 26th, I fished a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip for almost-9-year-old Finley Zwern of Houston, the granddaughter of Mr. Larry Brewer of Georgetown, TX.

Larry first got the idea of taking his grandkids out fishing as they visit with he and his wife one at a time this summer as he himself fished with me back in May when he was invited along by Mr. Dwight Stone, a long-time friend of his.

Finley was the first grandchild to visit for the week this week.  She excitedly told me all about making a cake, snickerdoodle cookies, and DIY Play-Doh.   I suspect these three activities were not organized by Grandpa Larry.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Larry Brewer and his granddaughter, Finley Zwern, with a pair of white bass taken on Stillhouse Lake.  Finley landed 50 fish this morning.

 

WHEN WE FISHED:  26 June, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: We devoted about the first 2/3rds of the trip to the pursuit of white bass, then left time at the end for fishing for sunfish up shallow.

We struck out at the first location we searched out for white bass, although it was grey and murky with the newly risen sun obscured by cloud cover at this time.  We then found fish in deeper, clearer water spread over a wide area with small packs of 10-15 fish each glued to the bottom as the sun cleared the clouds in the eastern sky and it began to brighten up.  By running the downrigger within 5-8 feet of the bottom we got these fish to peel away from bottom and expose themselves to sonar.  We picked up a lot of singles today among the 27 white bass we landed, with only one double  — this was testament to the sluggish mood the fish were in.

When one particularly large group of bottom-hugging fish were seen on sonar (which produced one caught fish on the downriggers), we stopped atop these fish and really worked them with MAL lures with excellent results, right up until Finley complained of wrist pain from catching the 2- and 3-year class white bass we’d found.  So, we returned to downrigging, landed another couple of fish bringing our tally up to 27 white bass, at which time we switched over to shallow-water sunfish.

The sunfishing was simple and resulted in 23 fish, including bluegill, green sunfish, and longear sunfish, all landed on bait fished beneath a float.

We hit two potential areas on our final ride back to the ramp, but to no avail.  The white bass had turned off by this time.

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Saharan dust obscured the sun today and is forecast to linger for some weeks to come.  I laid off fishing Tue.- Thu. this week due to unstable weather, incl. N. winds and rain, and did sonar training instead.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:15A

End Time: 10:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  0.03′ high, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  82F

Wind Speed & Direction: S9 from sunrise to 9:15, then spiking up to S13-14, and then blowing harder and gusting just as I pulled out of the water at trip’s end

Sky Conditions: 100% grey skies all morning.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1395 – 27 white bass – downrigged to find, worked MAL’s vertically to capitalize

**Area 1256 – 23 sunfish

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

SUMMER SOLSTICE — 70 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Monday, June 22nd, I fished with Mr. John Clawson, his wife, Mrs. Natalie Clawson, and their youngest daughter, 15-year-old Lena Clawson, of Gatesville, TX.

The Clawson learned of me through a Facebook post of one of my most regular clients, Mr. Steve Niemeier, whom Natalie once worked with as an accountant.

John has served as both a music minister at their church in Gatesville, as well as the assistant superintendent of the Mullin school district, a small town out near Goldthwaite, TX.

Lena is working her way through high school in Gatesville where she participates in powerlifting.

PHOTO CAPTION: This might top the list of oddities I’ve seen while on the water.  Here “mom and pop” are, out for a ride in their baby blue “bar (boat-car)?”  or is that a “coat” (car-boat)?  They were several hundred yards out from where they’d launched this morning.  After a bit of “Googling”, I think this was a 1960’s “Amphicar” in really good shape.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Lena, Natalie, and John Clawson with a catch we certainly labored for.

WHEN WE FISHED:  22 June, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  As much as Saturday’s weather helped, this morning’s weather hindered.  Despite a NOAA forecast calling for SE winds all morning, I faced a stiff NE breeze through 9AM, then a storm blew through at 9:30A, with 20mph gusts, briefly dropping air temperature, and a wind shift to the NW.  We actually took shelter outside one of the Corps of Engineers’ structures along the shoreline for about 20 minutes as the worst blew over.

After that cleared, the NE wind returned.  All this time fishing was just slow and tough.  The few fish we landed came on downriggers spread over multiple locations, with very little consistency.

By 10:30A (already 4 hours into our 4 hour trip) we’d landed only 17 fish.

Because at this time the wind shifted to the SE, I asked the Clawsons if they were okay extending the trip.  I observed how improving weather really jazzed the fish on Saturday, and saw that a similar scenario was now developing.  I got the thumbs-up, so, we redoubled our efforts.

Long story short, from 10:55 through 12:15, we landed 53 additional fish.  We found these fish tight to the bottom and willing to swim off bottom upwards 4-6 feet from a depth of ~28′ to inspect the downrigger balls as they passed overhead, and then were active enough to pursue and overtake the baits we had trailing behind the balls.  After two passes over the same area, each with a very positive result, we Spot-Locked on these fish and worked MAL lures vertically for them until they quit.

Persistence definitely paid off today, as did being observant in regards to wind direction.

TALLY: 70 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  This was the longest day of the year.  From this point on, day length grows shorter until the winter solstice on Dec. 22nd.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 12:20P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  0.08′ low, 0.05′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  81F

Wind Speed & Direction: NE12 through ~9:30A, then a storm front shifted winds to NW20 briefly with some brief cooling.  After the front and light rain passed, the winds slowly shifted NE to E to SE7-8.

Sky Conditions: 100% grey skies all morning.

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 017 – sparse low-light action

**Area vic  – 709 to B0177C – post-storm downrigging for still-reluctant fish

**Area vic B0021G – 53 fish in 80 minutes’ time right after windshift to SE for first time all morning

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

WACKY WEATHER WOWS WHITES – 162 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Saturday morning, June 20th, I fished with Brandon Griffith and Eli Schlabach.  The two men are co-workers at Real Star Property Management with offices in Temple and Killeen, and have fished with me previously on several occasions.

As I rose just before 4AM, I thought I needed to adjust one of the sprinkler heads which waters my lawn, as there was water pelting my bedroom windows.  As I went to let our dog, Pumpkin, out, I realized it was raining – actually, pouring.  There was a steady downpour for over an hour which dropped 1.2 inches of rain on us.

Since there was only a minimal chance of rain overnight, I quickly checked the updated forecast and the weather radar to see what the morning prognosis now looked like.  The storm cell which was dumping rain was due to pass just before sunrise, so I contacted Brandon and Eli, letting them know all was still a go.

The rain tapered off to a sprinkle, and then finally ended around 5:50AM.  As we launched, the weather was still turbulent with 14mph SE winds, thick clouds, and a rain-cooled atmosphere at 66F. There was actually “sea smoke” on the water thanks to the cool air chilling the lake’s surface and creating this low layer of fog just above the water’s surface.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Brandon Griffith and Eli Schlabach used sight casting, downrigging, and vertical tactics to put 162 fish in the boat during their 4-hour morning trip after passing storms left white bass in a feeding mode.

WHEN WE FISHED:  20 June, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As we got going just before sunrise, the weather’s impact on fishing pressure was immediately evident.  The normal sunrise rush of boats at the boat ramps was a fraction of what is normally present on a Saturday morning.

With thick, grey clouds obscuring sunrise and a very turbulent atmosphere left in the wake of the rain event, the fishing got off to a slower-than-normal start from 6:15 to 7:00AM.  We picked up 10 white bass spread across two locations but it was clear the fish were off due to weather.

Around 7AM, a noticeable brightening of the skies took place, accompanied by a lessening of the winds down to S8-9, as well as a change from grey cloud cover to white cloud cover.

As this happened, and as I continued looking for fish at a third area, I spotted several small schools of white bass forcing shad to the surface and feeding on them aggressively.  These shad were mature, 2.75 to 3+ inch long forage fish.  The changing, clearing weather was definitely energizing these fish.

Although the boat traffic slowly increased, we had these fish to ourselves the entire time they fed on the surface, which is a rarity on a summer Saturday.  Part of this was because there was a chop on the water making the fish hard to see.

I chose Gangbanger spoons with my own tandem stinger hooks attached in order to match the forage size and give Eli and Brandon enough weight in the lures to cover the distance they needed to cast in order to maintain a standoff distance from the fish so as not to spook them and drive them from the surface.  We went through 60+ fish before the thinning clouds and brightening sky conditions drove these fish down.

Our next stop came in a decidedly more crowded area; we picked up another 30 fish downrigging and working MAL lures vertically once well-congregated fish were located, then getting right back on the ‘riggers once the school we were working vertically moved on.  We noted that boats strictly fishing vertically were not faring well at all.

We moved on to our final stop of the morning a few minutes before 10AM.  A bottom-oriented school of white bass was holding on a gentle slope.  These were mostly 2- and 3-year class fish, and allowed us to close out the trip on a good note with a final 50+ fish landed in our final 30 minutes on the water.  The fish were taken vertically from the lower 1/3 of the water column.

In all, we landed 162 fish this morning including 1 largemouth bass and 161 white bass in the 1-, 2-, and 3-year class.

TALLY: 162 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The white bass we caught regurgitated shad routinely, whereas those we took on downriggers and via vertical jigging did not.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:10A

End Time: 10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F

Elevation:  Lake was at full pool following a , 0.08′ overnight rise, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  79.5

Wind Speed & Direction: SE14 following storms, backing off to SE9-10 thereafter

Sky Conditions: 100% grey skies following the storms, tapering to 75% white cloud cover on a blue sky thereafter

GT =

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 811- sparse whites on downriggers under turbulent conditions

**Area vic 1081 – sight casting to topwater feeding whites blitzing ~3” shad for 60 fish

**Area vic 687 – downrigging with multiple, short, productive stops for vertical work

**Area B0020G – vertical work for a final 50 fish in 30 minutes

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

WHITE BASS & BRISKET JAM — 80 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Friday morning, June 19th, I fished with a crew of 4 spanning three generations, all from near Crawford, TX.  Mr. Trent Huey was presented with a Fathers’ Day gift certificate last year and redeemed it today.  With him were his son, Jackson Huey, age 10, Trent’s brother-in-law, Jake Weaver, and Jackson’s grandpa, Roy Westerfield (Trent and Jake married Roy’s daughters).

Roy is a retired farmer and rancher who recently got into the floral/gift shop business with his wife.  Trent works with Mr. Electric franchisees, Jake is in auto sales, and Jackson is working his way through elementary school.

As we got to talking at one point, I shared my plans to take Rebecca to a few different places in Waco for our 25th anniversary coming up soon.  I hit Trent and crew up for suggestions on where to go for dine-in BBQ.  Their go-to spot is Guess Family BBQ.  As soon as that topic came up, so did the topic of one of the restaurant’s trademark appetizers:  deviled eggs with pimento cheese and brisket jam.  When I heard about that, I just wanted to wrap the trip up early and trailer the boat up to Waco to pick up a dozen of those!  Can’t wait for my anniversary to roll around now!!

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Jake Weaver, Trent Huey, Jackson Huey, and Roy Westerfield.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Jake nabbed this healthy hybrid, literally, within 50 yards of, and about 45 seconds away from, the place at which I’d already announced to everyone we’d be wrapping up our trip. It was the largest of our 80 fish landed this morning.

WHEN WE FISHED:  19 June, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As summer progresses, all fish life is now found above the thermocline.  These fish are located either suspended above the thermocline or on bottom in depths shallower than that at which the thermocline is set up.  The thermocline is now right around 32 feet in the areas I’ve been fishing on Belton.

If I can summarize our approach it would be: downrig to find ’em; then go vertical to capitalize on what you’ve found.

By and large, white bass are much less interested in vertically moving lures than in horizontally moving lures at this point in the season.  Vertical tactics work well when fish are really bunched up tightly and are aggressively feeding and competing with one another, which is a minority of the time; otherwise, going horizontal is the theme for the summer.

We followed this plan from start to finish today and put fish in the boat from start to finish.  The vast majority of our fish came on the downriggers using 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.  On the several occasions where sonar revealed congregated fish tight to bottom, we used a smoking tactic with MAL lures and capitalized on those fish, as well.

Of the 80 fish landed, 79 were white bass and 1 was a legal hybrid striper.  The age distribution on the white bass was roughly equally spread across the 1-, 2-, and 3-year classes.

TALLY: 80 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Only one of the 80 fish we landed regurgitated shad.  There was a mix of sizes of shad among those that one fish burped up.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:10A

End Time: 10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  0.09′ low, 0.05′ fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  81.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE10-14

Sky Conditions: 75% white cloud cover on a blue sky

GT =  55

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1646 – downrigging only

**Area vic 1606 – downrigging with a few stops for vertical work; majority of our fish landed here; lots of bait present.

**Area vic 1611 – downrigging for sparse fish at trip’s end

 

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaind

SOLDIER’S SON GOES FISHING — 35 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Thursday, June 18th, I conducted the season’s 7th Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) program trip with the 14-year-old Matthew Merchant aboard.

Matthew’s dad, US Army Captain Courtney Merchant, is currently separated from his family attending a course qualifying him to become a hospital chaplain.  Matthew’s mom, a Kindergarten teacher at a local Christian school, dropped him off and picked him up while enjoying some mother-daughter time with Matthew’s sister, Allison.

ABOUT SKIFF:  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.  SKIFF trips are also provided, free of charge, to Gold Star families who have lost their service member while he or she was on active duty.  In mid-2019, SKIFF also began providing trips to dependents whose parents are bona fide disabled veterans.  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.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Matthew Merchant with a pair of Lake Belton white bass.  We landed 6 blue catfish, 1 channel catfish, and 28 white bass during our trip.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: During the toughest part of this afternoon’s trip, from 5:15 to 6:30, we focused on catfish, then switched over to targeting white bass as the light level diminished toward and beyond sunset.  Here Matthew holds a channel cat he landed from off bottom in about 22 feet of water.

WHEN WE FISHED:  18 June, 2020, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  Just as the last hour (which is typically the hottest and brightest) of a morning trip is often the least productive, so the first hour (also typically the hottest and brightest) of an evening trip is often the least productive.

Knowing this, we focused on fishing for catfish prior to turning our sights on white bass.  Using my “Catfish Plumbs” on spinning rods rigged with braided line, we presented doughbait, cut shad, and prepared cutbaits to catfish which were suspended at 18-22 feet over a deeper bottom which we located using sonar while searching a wind-impacted, steep bank.

We managed 9 catfish including 8 blues and a channel before moving on to fish for white bass, beginning around 6:45.

We found scattered, suspended white bass in an area roughly 300 yards in diameter and worked these over with tandem 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons using my two downriggers.

As sunset came a bit early (thanks to the sun “setting” behind a thick cloud bank in the west which completely obscured it), we began looking for larger, organized groups of white bass gathering to push shallow and feed.  We found what we were after off a gentle point in 18-22 feet of water.  We used the downriggers initially to verify that these were white bass and make sure they were in a feeding mood, then we Spot-Locked on them and used MAL lures with a smoking retrieve to tempt them right up until they quit at dark.

TALLY: 35 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Too windy for topwater action tonight.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  5:15P

End Time: 9:00P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 92F

Elevation:  0.08′ low, 0.05′ fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  81.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE14

Sky Conditions: 75% white cloud cover on a blue sky

GT =  NA

Wx SNAPSHOT: NA

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 687 – blue cats suspended, caught on doughbait, shad, and cutbait

**Area vic 1923 – downrigging for scattered, suspended white bass in the mid part of the trip

**Area B0019G – downrigging and smoking with MAL lures for stacked fish in 18-22′ on bottom

 

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

148 FISH, 3.75 HOURS, 2 FIRST FISH AWARDS (BELTON)

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip on Lake Belton with three young ladies, accompanied by Mr. Steve Niemeier.

Joining Steve was his 12-year-old granddaughter, Macy Fowler, his 8-year-old granddaughter, “Lils” Haberer, and Macy’s friend, Talayia Walker, age 14.  Talayia and Lils had never landed a fish before in their lives and earned TPWD “First Fish Awards” for their efforts.

My “Kids Fish, Too!” trips are tailored just for kids in that they are shorter than the 4+ hour adult trips I offer, they are a bit less expensive, and, we fish for what is biting best to keep the fish coming over the side of the boat, no matter the species.

This morning my plan was to fish for white bass as long as they would bite, and then switch over to sunfish, but, thanks to a nice southerly wind and abundant cloud cover, the white bass kept right on biting through 9:45am.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Talayia Walker (14), Macy Fowler (12), and “Lils” Haberer (8) with a few of the 3-year class white bass that made up at least a third of our 148 fish haul this morning on Lake Belton.

 

WHEN WE FISHED:  16 June, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: After getting everyone acquainted with both spinning and casting gear, we set off in search of low-light activity up in shallow (<20 feet) water.

After about two minutes of searching with sonar, we found what we were after, got downriggers down equipped with 3-armed umbrella rigs, and started pulling singles, doubles, and triples routinely with the balls set at ~16′.

At this first location we fished, we encountered one instance where fish were so well-schooled that I stopped the boat atop them and fished for them vertically with MAL lures, allowing us to take multiple fish without the delay of re-rigging and circling back over fish which is involved with downrigging. We landed 30 fish before this shallow bite concluded.

We spent some time looking for our next group of fish to fish for, checking 3 areas with sonar and fishing one of them, to no avail.

We moved to yet another area and found fish up off the bottom and feeding on mature shad from about 1/3 to 1/2 the way up off bottom in 25 to 30 feet of water.  This scenario just screamed for downriggers, and so that’s the way we went for them.  We took another 28 fish in this manner before the bite weakened.

We moved on to what would be our final area of the morning after I chose an area similar in topography to the one we’d just departed, and, fortunately found abundant fish there.

We started off fishing this area with twin downriggers in, thus allowing me to get a feel for the fish and forage situation while still having hooks in the water.  We stated catching fish with the downriggers, and then sonar revealed a scenario I felt certain would produce for us if we stopped and fished vertically.  We changed back over to MAL lures and just wore the white bass out right up until they quickly tapered off around 9:45 a.m.  During this frenzy, we took our count from 58 fish landed up to 148 fish landed.  These fish included 1-, 2-, and 3-year class fish, with 1-year fish being in the minority.

Before heading out to the nearest Chick-fil-A with girls in tow, Steve put another Summer 2020 trip on the books for one of the granddaughters who didn’t make this trip.

TALLY: 148 fish caught and released, including 147 white bass and 1 freshwater drum

OBSERVATIONS:   Despite abundant young-of-the-year shad now showing up in open water just about everywhere, the regurgitated shad found in the fish we’re catching are large, adult shad.  I noted this exact same scenario on Stillhouse this past Saturday.  We witnessed the season’s first sustained topwater feed I’ve seen thus far.  It lasted about 17 minutes and went from 9:05 to 9:22 AM.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:15A

End Time: 10:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  0.30′  high, 0.04′ drop, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  80.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: S6-7 all morning

Sky Conditions: 75-100% grey cloud cover with only brief shots of direct sun breaking thru

GT =  20

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0123C to B0202C – downrigging in under 20 feet with 1 stop for vertical presentations; 30 fish

**Area 677 – center of mass of downrigging action for fish suspended at 16-18′; 28 fish

**Area vic 1579 – found these fish with downriggers, then worked them with a vertical presentation for over an hour, landing 90 fish

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

SMELLS LIKE FREEDOM — 36 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir with Tim Rudolph and his step-son, Jonathon Tumlinson, of Temple, TX.

Tim is a 75-year old hospice chaplain who is also serving as the interim pastor for a local church.  He is a Vietnam-era veteran who served in a personnel military occupational specialty after going through basic training at Fort Benning, GA.

Jon is a U.S. Navy veteran who served as a corpsman (naval medic).  COVID has placed him into a stay-at-home-dad situation as the daycare for he and his wife’s two pre-schoolers is shut down.  At the end of our trip, as I had Tim and Jon hold a few of their fish for a photo, Jon smelled of the fish on his hands after releasing them and said, “Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve smelled that … smells like freedom.”

I realized right then that the catching of fish was not as important to him as the getting away from the norm in order to pursue those fish this morning.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Triple!

PHOTO CAPTION:  Triple!

WHEN WE FISHED:  13 June, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: We had a great start, a great ending, and a slow middle portion to our trip this morning.  For the 4th morning in a row, pre-sunrise temperatures were in the 60’s.  Once again, contrary to the NOAA forecast, the winds were from the SW for about an hour, then went calm for 2+ hours, then picked up at the forecast speed and direction.

We caught 100% of our fish on downriggers today using twin 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.  In fact, we only attempted vertical work with MAL lures one time, during which each of us got hit on our first drop without a hookup, and that was it.

The low-light fishing was solid for the first hour.  We picked up 19 fish as singles, doubles, and two triples, then things got slow right about the time the wind died.  Unlike earlier this week, no light topwater action took place at this time to give away fish location.  Only occasional gar were seen sipping on the surface.  Balls were set around 21′.

We fished a number of places, picking up only 4 singles up until 10AM.  By this time, the ENE wind had been blowing steadily for about 30 minutes and began to energize the fish a bit.

We found a ~450 foot long stretch of bottom which held suspended whites up and feeding in small packs ranging from 4 to 20 fish each.  Balls set around 24′ did the trick.

With 23 fish in the boat at this time, we began to slowly add to our tally over the next 75 minutes.  We had 13 more fish landed and 2 more lost, including a largemouth around 2.25 pounds that headshook and got off right at the boat.

We finished up with 36 fish boated for our efforts, including 35 white bass and 1 smaller largemouth bass.

TALLY: 36 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Despite abundant young-of-the-year shad now showing up in open water just about everywhere, the regurgitated shad found in the fish we’re catching are large, adult shad.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:15A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation:  0.36′  high, 0.03′ drop, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  81F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW4 at sunrise & for about an hour, going calm for about 2 hours, then picking up from the ENE at 10

Sky Conditions: Cloudless “bluebird” sky

GT =  15

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  SH0017C through 544 – low light downrigging for aggressive, suspended fish

**Area 0326 to SH033C – late morning, wind-driven fish feeding over deep flat at base of submerged point

**Area v1960 – active, wind-driven feeding over a saddle area

 

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)

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle