102 WHITE BASS ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning I fished with a crew of five from the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group (ASOG), headquartered at Fort Hood.

Included in the crew were Mike Stock, who coordinated the trip, D.V. Dvareckas, Chaplain Steve Kim, Matt Getz, and Julian Rey.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Chaplain Steve Kim, Julian “Doohickey” Rey, Mike Stock, Matt Getz, and D.V. Dvareckas, all of the USAF’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 15 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Due in part to yet another marginal wind forecast (I was concerned about winds too high to be out in open water on either Belton or Stillhouse today with forecasts for 15mph straight-line, gusting 22), and good success on Lake Belton yesterday, I opted to run this morning’s trip on Lake Belton so I’d have some options on protected water.

We got right onto fish this morning, doing the same things in the same places as yesterday morning, thanks to near-identical weather.  These low-light fish were up in about 24 feet of water, grouped tightly, and ready to feed.  Four of my five fellows had prior experience with spinning rods, so the casting accuracy and distance required to reach out horizontally to these fish was not an issue as we employed the “sawtooth method” using MAL Heavy Lures with white blade/chartreuse tail.  The gusts of wind were a bit of a challenge at times as I had all 5 men abreast of one another casting straight out in front of themselves.  In this situation, the wind would blow a belly of slack downwind into the next guy’s “lane”, but, for 4+ hours of casting, we had relatively few tangles.

We landed 18 fish very quickly before that early surge of activity died down.  The cloud cover thickened up at that point, and it actually got darker out.  The fish did not respond well to that, and we went about 35 minutes before contacting fish again.   When we did, they were in ~35 feet, still grouped tightly, albeit a bit less aggressive.  It was at this point that I introduced the vertical tactics we would alternate to over the course of the morning, making use of MAL Heavy Lures (with white tail) seen clearly on Garmin LiveScope used in downward mode to monitor both fish and baits.  We added another 18 fish to our count by working vertically, taking our tally to 36 fish by 9 a.m. as we saw this bite taper off.

Watching 5 active duty airmen acting like kids in a candy store over the Garmin LiveScope was a comical thing to hear to behold.  As Julian reeled his MAL Lure up off the bottom and timed its rise to intersect a school of white bass moving parallel to the bottom and up about 4 feet off of it, he watched the red signature of his lure and the red signature of the fish merge into one as his rod loaded under the weight of the fish he just hooked.  He (literally) yelled (and quite loudly), “YES, I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!!  I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!!”.

It was around this same time (just after 9 a.m.) yesterday that we made a move which set us up for a very productive final two hours, so, I made that same move today, and once again it paid off.

We found fish using side-imaging, positioned the boat cross-wind from them and within a cast’s distance, then barraged these fish with MAL Heavy Lures cast horizontally and worked back to the boat using a sawtooth tactic.  Since the men already had exposure to, and success with, the Garmin LiveScope, I left the transducers in the water and three units turned on so everyone could monitor the water column beneath them.  Whenever a “pack” of fish moved under the boat, they’d change over to a vertical presentation, then return to a horizontal presentation once these fish directly beneath the boat had moved on.

Over the next 2 hours we worked our tally up to 89 fish by 11 a.m.   Since we’d gotten off to a bit of a later start than I’d hoped for, I told the fellows we’d stay until 11:25 or 100 fish, whichever came first.

By 11:18 we saw the morning’s 100th fish swing over the side, then, just for good measure, we landed 2 more as I was prepping the boat for travel back to the dock.  Our catch consisted of 100% white bass today.

The horizontal fishing was accomplished using the MAL Heavy Lure with a white blade and with a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 102 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker, Hurricane Nicholas, has moved inland north and east of Louisiana; we saw the last of the outer bands of cloud cover through around 10:45, then rapid clearing and brightening took place.

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.60′ low, .03′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 41cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.4

Wind Speed & Direction: NE8-12 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Hurricane Nicholas which is NE of Louisiana

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 60-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Hurricane Nicholas passed overhead; the final bands of clouds cleared by 10:45; skies brightened quickly thereafter

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 68% illumination.

GT = 38

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 813

**Area vic 1933/B0132C

**Area 171/788

**Area B0116C

 

 

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

#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 #mepps

WHITE BASS FIRST-TIMERS – 136 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Due to a marginal wind forecast (I was concerned about winds too high to be out in open water on either Belton or Stillhouse today with forecasts for 15mph straight-line, gusting 22), I opted to run this morning’s trip on Lake Belton so I’d have some options on protected water.

I fished this morning with U.S. Army Major Jon Austin and his wife, Lauren.  As a man directly involved in his unit’s operations, MAJ Austin’s schedule is full all the time.  When he earned some much-needed downtime, he and Lauren dropped their 6-year-old twin boys off at school and came and joined me for a little time spent together and away from life’s pressures for a few hours.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   U.S. Army Major Jon Austin and his wife, Lauren, on their first-ever white bass fishing trip.  The couple used vertical and horizontal tactics to catch the lion’s share of their fish, with a bit of exposure to downrigging and topwater sight-casting, as well.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 14 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

This trip allowed me to compare and contrast Belton versus Stillhouse under similar weather conditions.  In general, the bite was better in the latter part of the morning on both lakes, but we caught fish steadily in the first two hours on Belton, whereas Stillhouse was shut down tight for the first two hours after sunrise yesterday.  Generally, there were more, but smaller, fish to be had on Belton, with much better quality over on Stillhouse.  Finally, the ratio of fish caught on a vertical presentation versus a horizontal presentation was roughly 1 to 5 in favor of the horizontal (or “sawtooth”) retrieve on both lakes.

We encountered fish in three distinct areas this morning, catching 28 fish in our first two hours of fishing in 30-38 feet of water after spotting loosely assembled white bass on or near bottom, Spot-Locking close to them, fishing very quickly with a vertical presentation (aided by Garmin LiveScope) until the fish turned off to that, then immediately transitioning over to the sawtooth method.

Same went for our second area which we fished in the third and fourth hours of the trip, only our fish count went way up as the fish seemed to get more aggressive as the wind and light level rose (through 100% grey skies).  In the second two hours we landed 78 more fish through 12:05 p.m.

After we had essentially packed it in and were heading back to the boat ramp, I spotted multiple schools of white bass which had forced shad to the surface and were feeding on them there.  Even in the chop created by the 11-12 mph N. wind, the white spray from these primarily 2-year class fish could be see fairly easily.

We eased in with the trolling motor in advance of their direction of travel and caught them as they came to us, as surrounded us, and as they moved beyond us.

We added a final 30 fish to our tally in an unplanned additional 15-20 minutes throwing MAL Heavy Lures in white to these fish.  Most fish regurgitated multiple young of the year shad between 1 1/8 and 1 3/4 inches in length.

The horizontal fishing was accomplished using the MAL Heavy Lure with a white blade and with a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

We landed 128 white bass, 7 undersized hybrid stripers, and 1 largemouth bass.  As it turned out, the wind never really would have been an issue, but, better safe than sorry in this business!

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 136 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker right now and for the next 2 days is Hurricane Nicholas, which made landfall early this morning.

Start Time: 8:00A

End Time: 12:45P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.57′ low, .02′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 41cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.8

Wind Speed & Direction: N8-12 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Hurricane Nicholas which is in the Gulf north of Galveston

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 20-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Hurricane Nicholas passed overhead.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 57% illumination.

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1933 to 1791 – 28 fish at a slow, but steady pace in our first 2 hours

**Area vic 691 – 78 fish at a strong pace for our final 2 hours

**Area 1562 – strong topwater feed from mouth to mid-point

 

 

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

#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 #mepps

I’LL TAKE THAT AS A COMPLIMENT — 66 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: After a lengthy break from fishing our local waters, I returned to Texas Saturday, and guided my party of three this morning on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

I’d spent a week vacationing with my wife in Oregon last week, and, due to bright, calm conditions forecast for the entire week prior to that, I only conducted sonar training at that time, so, I’d not actually wet a line on Stillhouse since Aug. 26th.

This morning, I fished with a trio of returning guests.  Shawn Leverington, a U.S. Army officer working out of North Fort Hood booked the trip while his dad, John Leverington, a soon-to-retire missionary, would be in Texas for a visit.  Shawn also invited his friend, Jerry Saikley, who works with military contractors on West Fort Hood, along for the trip.

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left, John and Shawn Leverington, and Jerry Saikley with white bass they took on the MAL Heavy with white blade using a sawtooth tactic.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 13 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Generally speaking, the fishing is just so-so right now, and will likely continue to be that way until cooler fall weather arrives and the water temperature begins to trend downward.  The bite today, as it had been for most of the latter half of August, was a late morning bite, with nearly all of our action coming in the last 2+ hours.

Although we found fish in the first two hours, these fish were moving slowly if at all, they were tight to the bottom, and they were very reluctant to chase.  After a 7:15 a.m. start, we’d only landed 2 fish and missed a third by 9:00 a.m.

The window of time from 9:15 a.m. through 10:35 a.m. produced best for us this morning.  During this time the fish became much more active, rising 3-5 feet off bottom to patrol aggressively for shad.  The fish responded to both vertical and horizontal presentations.  The horizontal fishing was accomplished using a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

A big key to the sawtooth method is knowing which side of the boat the greatest number of active fish are on, and about how far from the boat they are located.  This is all gauged via very well-tuned side-imaging sonar (I’m using my H’bird Solix 15 for this task).

The go-to bait for the sawtooth fishing this morning was the MAL Heavy with white blade and chartreuse tail.

Between 10:45 and 11:45 we saw a slow taper from post-peak to nil, and wrapped up at 11:45.

After landing his fair share of the fish, and as we fished our last area of the morning, John hooked up with three fish in quick succession.  He “lamented” at that point, “Man, my wrist is really sore,” to which I replied, “Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

We landed 66 white bass.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 66 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker right now and for the next 3 days will be Tropical Storm Nicholas which is now in the Gulf between the Tex/Mex border and may strengthen to a Cat. 1 hurricane overnight.

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.18′ low, .03′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.7

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE6-11 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Tropical Storm Nicholas which is in the Gulf between the Tex/Mex border.

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 20-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Tropical Storm Nicholas passed overhead.

Moon Phase: First quarter at 46% illumination.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 251-SH0066G – 23 of our first 25 fish landed here, starting around 9:15.

**Area 828 – 25 white bass here, mostly via sawtooth method

198/SH0057C – final 16 fish landed here from 10:40 to 11:45 (at a slower catch rate than previous two areas as the bite tapered off).

 

 

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

#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 #mepps

SUNFISH SATURDAY — 55 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, August 28th, I fished a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip wherein we focused specifically on the success of my two child anglers, 8-year-old Charlotte Scott, and her brother, 6-year-old Oliver Scott.

The kids’ father, John Scott, and uncle, Matt Laakso, were present to help me help the kids be successful.  Matt has fished with me numerous times before, and came prepared with a license in his possession so he could be very “hand on” in aiding his niece and nephew.

I chose Lake Belton for this morning’s effort for a number of reasons, despite not having fished it much of late.  First, the fishing at Stillhouse for white bass, though consistent, was going to be too technical for young kids.  Second, the unprecedented hydrilla growth at Stillhouse has choked the shallows, thus preventing me from putting the kids on sunfish there as I have in years past.  Since I knew we’d fish for sunfish at some point this morning for variety’s sake, Belton got the nod today.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Charlotte’s sea monster … a 5.25 pound Lake Belton largemouth!

PHOTO CAPTION:   Poor Oliver did his best to open his eyes and smile in that cloudless, bright sun this morning as we tried to capture his white bass on film.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday (AM), 28 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The NW wind which greeted us pre-sunrise this morning pretty much guaranteed we would not enjoy any extended topwater action this morning, so, I focused on sub-surface fish by using downriggers.

We saw very few well-organized schools of fish during the first 45 minutes of the trip when the downriggers typically shine.  During that time we landed a single white bass and a really nice 5.25 pound largemouth (way to go, Charlotte!).

After looking unsuccessfully in a number of areas, and after observing that any topwater action occurring on the steadily calming surface was very brief in nature, I decided to focus on sunfish early, gauge the kids’ interest in that, and go from there.

As it turns out, the sunfishing was a hit, allowing the kids to fish fairly independently and enjoy continuous success.  We coupled that with moving from place to place as soon as the fishing in an area began to fade, and made a morning of landing bluegill, longear, and green sunfish up in shallow water using poles and floats.

The kids have access to a pond which holds sunfish back where they live near Houston, and those sunfish had largely eluded capture thus far.  Armed with new-found skills from this morning’s trip, John went away well-equipped to help the kids be successful upon their return home.

As with all of my kids’ trips, we wrapped up at the 3.5 hour mark (versus 4+ hours for adult trips).  Given the lack of wind and increasing heat, the kids were ready to head on in as we wrapped up just shy of 10:30.

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:

Start Time: 6:45A

End Time: 10:25A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.06′ low, .01′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 24cfs

Water Surface Temp: 84.3

Wind Speed & Direction: NW5 before sunrise, tapering to near calm by trip’s end

Sky Condition: Zero cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 67% illumination

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas 1583, B0163C, B0035G, and 492 all gave up ample 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) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#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 #mepps

GOTTA LOVE WIN-WINS — 77 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, August 26th, I fished with two first-time guests, James Wilson and Austen Barnes, both of Morgan’s Point, Texas.

I originally had another gentleman booked, but, due to airline flight complications, he was not able to make it, so, I posted a “last minute” opening note on Facebook and James contacted me as a result.

James runs his own HVAC business (https://www.facebook.com/performanceclimate/) and needed a day off.  Austen, who, with his wife, runs a housekeeping service, was invited along by James, his neighbor.

I offered the trip at a discount versus having the date go unclaimed, so, it was a win-win in that I was able to operate today while James and Austen got to catch fish and save a bit of cash doing it.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  James Wilson, left, and Austen Barnes with a pair of quality Stillhouse white bass which fell for MAL Heavy Lures in deep water worked both vertically and horizontally.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 26 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

For the second trip in a row, this morning was a pretty typical late summer trip.  We found fish and they were either really “on” or they were really “off”, and there wasn’t much in between.

In our first two hours on the water, we landed 4 fish.  In our final two hours on the water, we landed 73 fish.

During those first two, slow hours, I had no problem finding fish — in fact, I found fish at three distinct locations, but, for every 50 or 60 fish we saw on LiveScope, only a handful would perk up and chase, and even fewer would commit and bite.

That all began to change around 9AM when the very first small ripple began to develop from out of the NE.  Although the breeze never exceeded 5mph, it also never let up until just after 11AM.

During that span of time, we sat on one area and fished both vertically and horizontally using MAL Heavy Lures, catching solid white bass one or two at a time.

We caught our first 60 fish on the MAL Heavy with silver blade and white tail, then, for variety’s sake, we threw the MAL Heavy with white blade and chartreuse tail, landing our last 17 fish on them.

The horizontal fishing was accomplished using a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

We landed 77 fish, including 1 largemouth bass, 3 channel catfish, and 73 white bass.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 77 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) Light topwater activity by largemouth feeding on shad was observed this morning –  when high pressure combines with light (but still present) winds, topwater has been predicatable.  2) Approx. 13 terns were helpfully working some patches of open water.

Start Time: 7:00A

End Time: 11:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:   0.26′ high, .01′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 86.4

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm through 9A, then light and variable under 4-5mph for the balance of the trip

Sky Condition: Zero cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 83% illumination

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 070/883  – 73 of 77 fish landed 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

#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 #mepps

REALLY ON, OR REALLY OFF – 44 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 23rd, I fished with returning guest John Gossard, this go-round accompanied by his son-in-law, Richard Green, visiting from Harrisburg, PA.

John is retired now and resides in Morgan’s Point. Richard has leadership responsibility for a lawn and garden tool manufacturing company in the Northeast.  Most of Richard’s fishing experience of late has been on the many streams of Pennsylvania stalking trout.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   For the sake of ensuring survival of the fish we release, I try not to hold fish in the livewell for photos, so, we take photos quickly whenever everyone aboard catches fish simultaneously.  Here, around 8:10AM, both John and Richard landed fish seconds apart.  Richard’s fish is a yearling, and John’s is a 3-year class fish, however, all of our fish this morning were of legal size, attesting to the outstanding growth rate on Stillhouse fish.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 23 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

This morning was a pretty typical late summer trip.  We found fish and they were either “on” or they were “off”, and there wasn’t much in between.  By “on”, I mean moving and patrolling aggressively and willing to chase and strike.  By “off”, I mean lethargic and unwilling to move any distance for a presentation.

Our middle two hours, from 8 to 10 A were the best, with our first hour being slow (although we found fish, they were tough to elicit a strike from), and our final hour seeing a slow “fade to black”.

We landed only one fish on downriggers during the low light period, so, going forward, I’m going to start my trips a bit later and forego the downrigging, going instead right to the more effective vertical MAL work.

Once the fish perked up a bit, we were able to use both vertical and horizontal (sawtooth) presentations to tempt our fish.  Given the brilliant sun and clear water, we used MAL Heavy Lures with white tails and silver blades.

The Garmin LiveScope certainly enhanced our success, letting us know when fish were present and in a feeding posture (up off bottom and moving parallel to bottom with intentionality).

Likewise, the Humminbird Side Imaging which I had playing simultaneously let us know when pods of fish were found to the port and/or starboard side.  When they showed, we’d fire casts out in their direction, switching back and forth between vertical and horizontal as sonar dictated.

We landed 44 white bass.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 44 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) Light topwater activity was observed this morning –  when high pressure combines with light (but still present) winds, topwater has been predicatable.  2) the first terns of the season showed up, with a small flock of about 9 birds helpfully working some patches of open water.

Start Time: 6:50A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:   0.32′ high, .02′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 85.0

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW5-8 all morning

Sky Condition: Zero cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 99% illumination ( 1 day past full)

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0063G through SH0065G

**Area 193 through 1229

 

 

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

#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 #mepps

BACK TO SCHOOL BLAST — 41 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 16th, I fished with returning guests father-and-son team Trent and Jackson (age 11) Huey, joined by first-time guests Kortny Huey (Trent’s wife), and Olivia (age 5) and Kinley (age 8) Huey (Trent and Kortny’s daughters).

Some time ago Trent contacted me about getting a fishing gift certificate for Kinley’s birthday which happened back in July.

With only two days to go until public school begins in Crawford, TX, the Huey’s decided it was time to cash in the certificate and have one last shot at some family fun before academics come calling.

I should note here that I’ll be forever grateful to the Huey family for putting me onto Guess Family BBQ in Waco.  Although our favorite will always be Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton,  Guess’ trademark appetizer — deviled eggs with pimento cheese and brisket jam — is now something we look forward to when travelling north.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Olivia, Kinley, and Jackson Huey, each with a white bass they truly worked for this morning under tough, post-frontal conditions complete with bluebird skies, bright sun, and calm winds.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 16 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

As far back as last Wednesday, NOAA predicted a cold front would impact our weather over the forthcoming weekend (14 & 15 Aug.).  As the weekend approached, the details and timing got a bit more exact.  When all was said and done, the cold front actually entered into Central Texas “air space” around 7pm on Saturday, bringing a windshift to the NE, along with a temperature drop, and spotty rain.  A second round of rain with continued north winds came through from 10AM to 1PM on Sunday, then clearing began to take place.

As I made a call as to what to do about this trip on Saturday evening, the winds were supposed to be S5-8 this morning with 30-40% cloud cover.  No cause for panic in that forecast — it wouldn’t be like the stable-weather fishery of last week, but I felt we’d catch fish with no problem.

Then reality struck!  As I got up this Monday morning, skies were absolutely clear and there was not a breath of wind.  I then got a bit panicky.

Trent and the gang showed up and we got going.  The areas which gave up between 16 and 31 fish on downriggers in the first hour of light last week gave up 2 fish and 1 missed fish in about 70 minutes of effort.   Not good.

Eventually, a NW ripple developed with perhaps a 4 mph wind behind it.  I changed us over to a vertical approach, literally parking us precisely on top of hand-picked schools of white bass which I felt had enough individual fish in them to cause some competition within the school as my crew worked MAL Heavy Lures through the fish assisted by LiveScope.

Jackson worked independently and did well.  Trent covered down on Kinley and aided her, while Kortny covered down on Olivia and helped her.  Eventually, Kinley got the hang of things so Trent could work a rod of his own.

We began to catch fish, and slowly but surely, put together a solid catch of 41 fish on a super-tough morning.  The key was to make the most of the initial expression of interest the fish exhibited as soon as our lures got down to them and for the first few minutes which followed, then to move on to a fresh batch of fish as soon as the excitement level of the fish began to wane.  The later it got, the shorter the time the fish stayed interested, until, finally, by the four hour mark, the fish had come full circle and would no longer even flinch as our baits went by.

We landed 40 white bass and 1 freshwater drum for a total of 41 fish.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 41 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) A short burst of topwater action by largemouth bass, which lasted about 25 minutes, broke out as the wind velocity peaked, vic Area 1433.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:50A

End Time: 10:50A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F

Elevation:   0.45′ high, no 24-hour elevation change due to local rain over the past 2 days, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 83.1

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm at sunrise and until ~9A, then WNW1-5

Sky Condition: Cloudless all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 60% illumination

GT = 80

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**AreaSH0032G – only gave up 2 fish downrigging until the skies brightened

**Area SH0064G through 1433 – multiple short hops using MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail

**Area  SH0067G – MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail and MAL Heavy in white blade/chart. tail

**Area vic 878/879  – MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail and MAL Heavy in white blade/chart. tail

 

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

#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 #mepps

BOB, THIS IS GONNA BE AN EXPENSIVE TRIP – 100 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, August 12th, I fished with three first-time guests.  Joining me were Charles Stichler and his son, David, as well as Charles’ friend, Terry Lockamy.

This trip was in celebration of David’s birthday.

Charles and Terry live in the Georgetown area and are retired from Texas A&M’s agricultural extension program, and David, who lives out between Lakes Waco and Whitney, is a sales director for a major agriculture-oriented company.

Although they’ve been doing a lot of fishing, they hadn’t been enjoying much catching since June rolled around.  They came to learn what approach they might need to take to become more consistent on summertime white bass.

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: David & Charles Stichler, and Terry Lockamy with a few of the 100 white bass we took under continued stable weather conditions this morning.  16 fish fell to the downriggers; 84 fish came on the MAL Heavy Lures (including the new version with colored blade).

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 12 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The fishing just keeps getting better as this run of stable weather continues on.  With fish doing the same things in the same places and at the same times each day for several days now, it has been pretty easy to put together a “milk run” and stay on fish for a full morning.  Looks like this will all come to an end around 7P Saturday as yet another cold front comes down.  We’ll have to figure it all out again Monday!

This morning we downrigged until the skies got bright, putting 16 fish in the boat, including 3 sets of doubles and 1 triple.  Once I saw fish beginning to coalesce, we changed over to vertical work with MAL Lures and then stuck with that until the fish quit right around 11AM.

As we made this transition, unlike the past three mornings, we experienced a lull in the wind, with a calm surface for about a 35 minute span.  The fishing was tougher during this run, but, eventually a SSW ripple turned into waves, which turned into occasional white caps, and then it was game-on.

We worked a combination of MAL Heavy Lures (with both the new white blades and with standard silver blades) in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope to land another 84 fish from 3 distinct areas.

We had exactly 95 fish in the boat by 10:45.  I told the fellows we’d stay until 11AM or 100 fish, whichever came first.  Well, they caught three fish nearly the instant those words left my mouth, but, we came right down to the wire with barely more than a minute to spare when Terry “Blind Sow” Lockamy came up with an acorn.

David, who had his first exposure to Garmin LiveScope technology on this trip, came away committed to having LiveScope technology aboard his own NauticStar Hybrid within the week (right after he checks with his wife)!!!

To their credit, these fellows were all solid anglers, they all took the time to watch my MAL Lure fishing tutorial before the trip, and they were all willingly coached when I saw shortfalls in their technique.

As many anglers do on their first experience using MAL Lures, the tendency to set the hook, and the tendency to reel too slowly, were things we were able to quickly address so everyone could cash in on this morning’s solid bite.

In all, we landed 100 white bass this morning.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) No topwater action was observed this morning. 2) High pressure sitting atop us has fish in a good, predictable groove.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45A

End Time: 11A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:   0.49′ high, .02′ fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 84.4

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm at sunrise and until ~8:15, then coming up SSW and steadily increasing to SSW12-13

Sky Condition: Cloudless at sunrise, increasing to 20% white clouds on blue sky by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 17% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**AreaSH0032G – this was “center of mass” for downrigging for 16 fish until the skies brightened

**Area vic 1417 – MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail and MAL Heavy in white blade/chart. tail worked vertically for solid results on white bass

**Area vic 1569 – MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail and MAL Heavy in white blade/chart. tail worked vertically for solid results on white bass

**Area vic SH0066G/1244 – MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail and MAL Heavy in white blade/chart. tail worked vertically for solid results on white bass

 

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

#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 #mepps

GOT ME A FISHIN’ BLISTER — 66 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, August 11th, I fished with two first-time youngsters —  Shona Rogers (age 12) and Blake Rogers (age 11) from Belton, Texas.

Back in the spring, I had a friend of mine who wanted to anonymously sponsor a few kids who may not otherwise have an opportunity to go fishing over the summer.

I reached out to my niece who is part of the Belton Independent School District for some help in identifying kids who would genuinely benefit from such and thing, and enjoy it, as well.

She didn’t have to think too long or hard before recommending Shona and Blake.  We worked through the proper channels to reach out to the kids’ mom, Carolyn, and, long story short, everything came together very nicely this morning.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Blake and Shona Rogers of Belton had their back-to-school fishing trip sponsored by an anonymous Salado donor.  The kids landed 66 fish in 3 1/2 hours.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Blake was a real trooper.  Despite getting a blister on his hand about halfway through the trip due to all the reeling he was doing as we used MAL Heavy Lures, he pressed on and kept fishing to the end of the trip.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: I was eager to try out my newest color combination for the MAL Heavy.  I think it’s gonna become a ‘new favorite’.  Besides all that, Blake thought it looked “cool”!

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 11 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

When I saw this week’s weather forecast developing back last Saturday, I was as excited about fishing as I’ve been since May.  June and July’s crazy, atypical weather with high water, dam discharges, rain, and multiple cold fronts really had the fishing off.  But, this week called for stable, high pressure with nearly identical weather each day, which meant predictable fishing.  We cashed in on that for the third consecutive day.

This morning’s downrigger bite was the longest and strongest of the week thus far, contributing 31 of our 66 fish, of which 10 came as doubles, and 3 came as a triple, all on the trusty 3-armed umbrella rig with Pet Spoons affixed.  The downrigging bite lasted until just after 8AM.

Next, we were blessed with spotting some light topwater action, mainly by small, schoolie-sized largemouth bass.  However, this mean shad were getting pushed around, and, that in turn often attracts white bass.  This morning was no exception.

We fished a full two hours in an area perhaps 250 yards in diameter, hopping (using the Minn Kota Ulterra’s jogging function) from one school of active fish to another.  The fish would respond best when we first presented our lures to them, then they’d cool off and we’d cruise to another school, and so on.

These fish were just suckers for the MAL Heavy, including a new version I have just worked out with Mepps which has colored blades (white or chartreuse) instead of silver metallic ones.  I’m excited about these!!!!

We watched as school after school of fish meandered beneath the boat just cruising and feeding on shad.  When the time was right, as revealed by Garmin LiveScope, we’d bring the MAL Lures up through these fish and watch them pursue until they hooked themselves over and over again.

With the kids being young and inexperienced (neither had ever been on a boat before), there was certainly potential to catch more than we did, but what we caught I was grateful for.  By the time we hit that 3.5 hour mark, the kids were doing more resting and snacking than fishing, so, we knew it was time to head on in.

In all, we landed 66 white bass this morning.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 66 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) First light topwater action in quite some time was observed. 2) USACE stopped releasing water at both Belton and Stillhouse this past weekend. 3) High pressure sitting atop us has fish in a good, predictable groove.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:40A

End Time: 10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:   0.51′ high, .02′ fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 84.4

Wind Speed & Direction: S8 at sunrise, steadily increasing to S13  by trip’s end.

Sky Condition: 40-50% white cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 10% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1397 to SH0031G – downrigging for 31 fish until the skies brightened

**Area 910 to 1968 – MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail and MAL Heavy in white blade/chart. tail worked vertically for solid results on white bass; 7 short hops in 250 yard 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) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#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 #mepps

FISHIN’ WITH DAD & UNCLE KEVIN – 77 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 10th, I fished with three first-time guests —  father and son T.J. & Tommy Yagalla (age 8), and T.J.’s brother, Kevin.

T.J. owns Elite Heating and Air Conditioning offering HVAC service, repair, and installation, as well as duct-cleaning and insulation services.

This trip was a gift to T.J. from the Deorsam family presented to him for his birthday last October.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: T.J., Tommy, and Kevin Yagalla with three Stillhouse white bass landed just seconds apart as LiveScope revealed a school of fish below us, allowing all three anglers to time the rise of their MAL Heavy Lures through the school for a hookup.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 10 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Thanks to the stable, “cookie-cutter” weather this week, the fishing today was nearly identical to how it was yesterday in that the fish did the same things in the same places and at the same times as they did the day before.

This predictable behavior will likely continue until we get a “wrinkle” in the weather (likely on Saturday, according to the current forecast).

We began the day putting singles and four sets of doubles in the boat for a total of 16 white bass caught and released inside an hour’s time from sunrise (which was obscured by cloud cover) through about 7:35.  Once this action dwindled, we did not stick around in this vicinity, as yesterday’s results indicated that doing so would be a less productive option than moving and finding more aggressive fish elsewhere.

As the interest in downrigged Pet Spoons presented on 3-armed umbrella rigs dwindled, we made the change over to MAL Heavy Lures in white color and used these vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope for the remainder of the trip.

We hit three separate areas and found fish at each (again, avoiding the areas at which we found no fish yesterday, thus enhancing our efficiency).  Normally, the bite dies down pretty quickly by 10:00A, but, this morning around that time we had a spike in the wind from S13 to S16, and the fish turned on to that.  We landed our final 15 fish inside our last 30 minutes on the water.

In all, we landed 77 white bass this morning.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 77 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) No topwater action observed. 2) USACE stopped releasing water at both Belton and Stillhouse this weekend. 3) High pressure sitting atop us has fish in a good, predictable groove.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:40A

End Time: 11:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Elevation:   0.53′ high, .03′ fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 83.9

Wind Speed & Direction: S9 at sunrise, steadily increasing to S15-16  by trip’s end.

Sky Condition: 40-50% white cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 4% illumination

GT = 100

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1397 to SH0031G – downrigging for 16 fish until the skies brightened

**Area SH0064G – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass; 1 stop

**Area SH0065G – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass; 2 short hops

**Area SH0066G – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass;  1 stop

 

 

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

#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 #mepps