MURKY SKIES, MURKY WATER, MEDIOCRE FISHING – 53 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning I fished with a crew of 4 fellows from various walks of life.  John Anderson, the one who organized the trip, retired from environmental compliance work for the McLane Company.  Next was James Mills who took John’s position when he retired.  Then there was Durwin Speidel, who managed the environmental, health, and safety program for Schlumberger before retiring.  Steve Sanders, a retired Killeen banker, rounded our crew.

Although all four men had fished before, none had fished the way we did today, using an electronics-intensive approach for deepwater white bass.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Steve Sanders, James Mills, John Anderson, and Durwin Speidel, each with a white bass taken in over 40 feet of water using tailspinners in conjunction with LiveScope technology by Garmin.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:   20 May 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Once again, thanks to very dark skies through 8:40, the fishing, all of which is taking place in deep water, did not turn on until around 9:00 AM.  I theorize that the deep water is not well illuminated during the earlier morning hours, thus leading to a late-morning bite for going on 2 weeks now.  At 40-50 feet, with thick cloud cover obscuring the sun, and with flood water making the lake murky, it has got to be quite dark at such depths.

We found active fish at two separate locations this morning at which we landed the majority of our 53 fish. Even though we did enjoy success, the action today was relatively subdued.  The fish did not move about along the bottom with the frequency and intensity I saw last week.  When we did raise interested fish, not nearly as many chased their hooked schoolmates upwards, and the schools of fish we encountered moved off with only minor interest in the commotion we created with our lures, the thumper, and hooked fish being played back to the boat.

Tailspinners performed well, and, thanks to this crew following my suggestions to a “T” for minimizing lost fish, we had very few fish hooked which did not make it aboard to be included in our tally.

OBSERVATIONS: After fishing these lakes for 27 years, I suppose I have developed a “sixth sense” for what kind of activity level the fish will likely display, based on water and weather conditions.  That sense told me today’s results would be diminished.  When I try to pin down what gave me that feeling, I believe the gusty wind conditions that existed prior to sunrise, and the very dark cloud cover combined to keep me from getting excited about our prospects once the sun rose this morning.   Gusty pre-dawn winds never seem to bode well, and, on morning trips, anytime the sun’s intensity is insufficient to cause me to squint due to very heavy cloudiness, I feel our chances of doing real well are reduced.  This “gut feeling” turned out right on this morning.  Yes, we caught fish, but the bite was soft as compared to last week’s results with very little other than the current weather having changed over the weekend.

TALLY: 53 fish caught and released – including 69 white bass and 1 freshwater drum

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   76F

Elevation:  8.14 feet high with a 0.02′ 24-hour drop and a 914 cfs flow from the dam.

Water Surface Temp:   80.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:   S12-14 and gusty

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies all morning with varying light levels changing with cloud thickness.  A light, spitting rain through 9AM.

GT = 65

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0116C

**Area SH0117C

 

 

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

70 FISH, AND THEN THE RAIN CAME

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning I fished with Dr. Jim Wood of McGregor, and Harker Heights native Sky Sparks.  These men got to know each other through the wound care medical practice which Jim just retired from, located in Harker Heights.  Jim has fished with me on a number of occasions previously, and Sky made it out with me once before on a hybrid striped bass trip to Belton last year.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Sky Sparks and Dr. Jim Wood with a few of the 70 fish we landed this morning as storms bore down on us from out west.  We got a full 4+ hours in, thanks to good forecasting by NOAA and KWTX (TV channel 10) and my trusty MyRadar Pro weather radar app as a backup.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:   18 May 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Once again, fishing today was a one-trick pony.  The only fish I am currently finding on Stillhouse are deep, well-congregated schools of white bass in 35-45 feet of water.  These fish have been very “moody”, turning on and turning off again fairly regularly.  These fish have shown a definite fondness for the tailspinners my clients and I have been using ever since the waters on Belton and Stillhouse have become murky due to flooding. Using a “smoking” tactic, as we normally would with slabs, produced several hundred white bass for my clients this week alone.

On the trips I conducted Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and today, the last 2 hours has definitely outproduced the first two hours with 8:30 to 9:00am seeming to be the turning point.

OBSERVATIONS:  1) Proactively avoiding a hookset and doing a crankbait-style “swing-landing” of the fish into the boat both prevent a lot of lost fish on these heavy baits fished on a “short leash” of braided line. 2) No evidence of spawning shad this morning.  3) Upper third of reservoir has distinct murky brown tinge due to wind stirring up silt.

TEMPERATURE PROFILE:

0 feet = 78.1F

5 feet = 77.9F

10 feet =  77.4F

15 feet =   76.4F

20 feet = 75.6F

25 feet = 73.3F

30 feet = 71.2F

35 feet = 70.3F

40 feet = 70F

45 feet = 69.6F

50  feet = 68.4F

55 feet = 66.6F

65 feet = 62.8F

70 feet = 61.5F

75 feet = 60.1F

 

TALLY: 70 fish caught and released – including 69 white bass and 1 freshwater drum

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   72F

Elevation:  7.84 feet high with a 0.01′ 24-hour drop and a 1,789cfs flow from the dam.

Water Surface Temp:   77.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:   S11-13

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies all morning with varying light levels changing with cloud thickness.  A light, spitting rain on occasion before severe thunderstorms moved in later in the day, around 2:10pm.

GT = 90

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic SH0113C – 11 fish through 9 a.m. with a number of misses as we sharpened our technique

**Area SH0114C – longest, strongest bite of the a.m. with over 50 fish taken off this area.

**Area SH0115C – a final 7 fish landed here as the bite was waning — lots of potential here; worth a future look

 

 

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

FISH TOUR 2019 – 118 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning I fished with Mr. Rip S. and his wife, Marni.  The couple, originally from Washington, chose to retire to Florida.  With no kids and no pets, this retired couple has the freedom to travel extensively, and, they do — fishing as they go.

In the several days leading up to today’s fishing trip, the couple had fished multiple trips on Lake Fork and, yesterday, on Lake Ray Roberts, each time with a guide.

Today’s trip was originally intended to be a hybrid striped bass-focused trip on Lake Belton, but flooding and unpredictable access issues negated that option for us.  The couple’s next stop: Lake LBJ with lodging in Marble Falls and a planned stop at the Bluebonnet Cafe.

Rip, a former US Marine Corps combat engineer, got his nickname via his remarkable ability to quickly fall asleep under just about any conditions.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Marni and Rip with a few of the better white bass we nabbed today on tailspinners.  The tailspinners are quickly earning their place in my tackle cabinet under these murky, warming conditions.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:   17 May 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  The fishing was really straight-forward, simple, and one-dimensional today.  We found fish on sonar, dropped tailspinners and retrieved them, thus creating enough commotion, along with the thumper’s assistance, to draw fish in and keep them coming by until a full-on feed could be ignited directly beneath the boat, enhanced with light chumming.  A minimalistic hookset with braided line definitely helped the strike-to-land ratio, as did keeping an ample amount of line between the fish and rod tip as the fish reached the water’s surface.

OBSERVATIONS:   The last half of our trip was more productive than the first half, thanks to grey skies and stronger winds from 9 AM on.  The same “fresh fish” notes I made on my previous 2 reports still stood today.  Zero evidence of shad spawning.  I noted the first young of the year shad today up in the top 2 feet of the water column. Water more discolored today in the upper 1/3 of the lake due to stiff S. wind yesterday and overnight churning the flood’s silt back up.

TALLY: 118 fish caught and released – including 114 white bass and 4 freshwater drum

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   72F

Elevation:  7.84 feet high with a 0.01′ 24-hour drop and a 1,789cfs flow from the dam.

Water Surface Temp:   74.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:   S10-13

Sky Conditions:   Light grey skies all morning

GT = 55

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area triangulated within 158 / 067 / SH0100C – four short hops

 

 

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

STILLHOUSE PRODUCES WELL ONCE AGAIN – 82 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning I fished with Mr. Randy Williamson, his wife, Holly, and their friend, Phillip Fagan, all from out in Coryell County, TX, near Topsey.  The Williamsons and Fagans all initially became friends through a small group ministry at their church. They initially met elsewhere, then moved their meetings to the Fagans’ home, and now routinely continue to meet together, typically on Fridays.

Randy bought a gift certificate for a trip about a year ago and, despite our plans to use that certificate toward a hybrid striped bass trip on Lake Belton, we diverted to Stillhouse to fish for white bass now that flooding has shaken things up at Belton and made ramp access unpredictable.

 

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Phillip Fagan, Holly Williamson, and Randy Williamson, each with a 3-year class white bass taken during our first stop this morning, and caught with tailspinners.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:   14 May 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Up until a light rain began at 10:40 on the lead edge of a storm cell moving in from the SW, this morning was nearly “cookie cutter” as compared with the morning prior.  I did run uplake initially and was pleased to see that the water had cleared substantially, however, bait and fish were scarce, so we dropped back to even clearer, deeper water.

Inside our first hour on the water we found some shallow fish on a patch of bottom not covered with hydrilla in about 26-28 feet.  Right now, with the lake ~8 feet high, the hydrilla is generally found out to the 33-34-foot mark, and is therefore growing on a lot of terrain white bass would normally be found on.  These fish fed well for about 40 minutes and allowed everyone to work the kinks out of their tailspinner techniques.  Some of the things we had to remain vigilant about were hooksetting, playing the fish to avoid having a “green” fish right up on the surface still fighting crazily, and leaving a sufficient amount of line between the rod tip and the fish once the fish was lifted from the water.  Doing each of these things well and consistently meant more hooked fish being landed.

Our last two stops came within a stone’s throw of one another, and our single best frenzy encountered came just prior to a storm system moving in from the SW.  We caught fish at a steady pace all morning, ending up with 82 fish, including 79 white bass and 3 freshwater drum.

OBSERVATIONS:  Once again, “fresh fish” was the operative word today. Over and over again we saw that when a new bunch of fish came under the boat, we could count on at least 2 if not all of our 4 rods hooking a fish.  However, once these first few fish were caught, and if the school stuck around long enough to provide follow-on opportunities, those “remnant” fish were much, much harder to fool.  We would then anxiously await the appearance of more “fresh fish” which hadn’t yet seen our baits to appear on LiveScope, knowing these would be much easier to fool.

TALLY: 82 fish caught and released – including 79 white bass and 3 freshwater drum

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   63F

Elevation:  7.84 feet high with a 0.01′ 24-hour drop and a 1,789cfs flow from the dam.

Water Surface Temp:   71.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:   Light and variable at 0-4SSE

Sky Conditions:   Clear, bright skies for the first hour, followed by high, thin white clouds for the next two hours, and closing with grey, thicker cloud cover and an approaching thunderstorm right at the 4-hour mark

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 110 – solid action for ~40 minutes in 26′ for 38 fish at our first stop

**Area SH0112C – added 6 more fish to the tally here

**Area  067/SH0110C a solid, 40 minute white bass bite on tailspinners in 38′

**Area SH0113C – a final hour-plus white bass bite on tailspinners; bite ended as foul weather moved in from the SW with light rain, thunder, and lightning

 

 

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

WOUNDED WARRIORS PREVAIL DESPITE FLOODING – 81 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning I fished with Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) members Shawn Poole, Tywan Cannon, and Mike Clark on Stillhouse Hollow in pursuit of white bass.

More than 52,000 servicemen and women have been physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 are living with invisible wounds from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 experience debilitating brain trauma.  WWP helps these men and women.

This was the third WWP trip I’ve run this season, and this adventure was made up of an all-Army crew.  Shawn is a former tanker, Tywan was in aviation operations, and Mike was a combat engineer.

This was the very first WWP outreach event which Tywan and Shawn ever participated in.  Due to Mike’s lengthy stay at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio recovering from his injuries, including 39 surgeries, he was able to participate in a number of WWP events previously while there.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Wounded Warriors Mike Clark, Tywan Cannon, and Shawn Poole, each with a pair of Stillhouse Hollow white bass we caught fishing tailspinners vertically under flooded conditions (7.85 feet high and rising).  This was the Wounded Warrior Project’s third outing thus far in the 2019 season.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:   13 May 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  This trip was originally intended to be a hybrid striped bass trip on Lake Belton in what is normally the peak of the hybrid striper season.  However, enduring rains have caused Belton to rise and the Brazos River to flood.  With an inflow of water at around 3,200 cubic feet per second coming down from Lake Proctor (which is 12 feet high), and little to no flow coming out of Belton’s dam (to prevent further downstream flooding), Belton has simply been accumulating water at around .7 to .8 feet per day for nearly a week, thus forcing closure of most boat ramps and making questionable the status of any ramps still remaining open.

So, I did some scouting on Stillhouse after church yesterday and pinned down the location of several populations of white bass and we changed the location and focus of our trip to fishing for white bass on Stillhouse.

We enjoyed steady action in our last 3 hours on the water with slow action in our first hour, thanks to flat calm winds and bright sun.

100% of our fish were taken on my experimental tailspinners in around 46 feet of water. We used Garmin LiveScope technology extensively today to time our presentations with the arrival of “fresh” schools of white bass patrolling beneath the boat and get the lures where they needed to be, when they needed to be there.

As I gain experience in coaching anglers to use tailspinners successfully with the spinning gear I have set up for this application, I am finding that a powerful hookset is counter-productive, typically resulting in ripping the bait away from the fish before the hook is well-set.  Once everyone began to simply reel steadily even when a bite was detected, we began landing a much higher percentage of the fish that struck.

OBSERVATIONS:  “Fresh fish” was the operative word today. Over and over again we saw that when a new bunch of fish (which we nicknamed fresh fish) came under the boat, we could count on at least 2 if not all of our 4 rods hooking a fish.  However, once these first few fish were caught, and if the school stuck around long enough to provide follow-on opportunities, those “remnant” fish were much, much harder to fool.  We would then anxiously await the appearance of more “fresh fish” which hadn’t yet seen our baits to appear on LiveScope, knowing these would be much easier to fool.

TALLY: 81 fish caught and released – including 80 white bass and 1 freshwater drum

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   68F

Elevation:  7.85 feet high with a 0.43′ 24-hour rise and zero flow from the dam.

Water Surface Temp:   70.6F

Wind Speed & Direction:   Light and variable at 0-4NE

Sky Conditions:   Clear, bright skies all morning.

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  SH0109C, SH0110C, and SH0111C, with one “short hop” at SH0111C – white bass on tailspinners

 

 

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

CREDIBLE AND AUDIT-PROOF – 104 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Thursday morning I fished with long-time client Jerry Morgan of Morgan’s Point Resort.  Jerry brought with him his friend Robert Stovall and Robert’s adult son, Scott Stovall, both of Waco.  Jerry is a retired educator, and both Robert and Scott’s focus is in corporate accounting.

After a slow start, multiple cooperative schools of white bass allowed us to take our fish count into the 50’s, then 60’s, then 70’s, and all the up to 100 fish.  The accountants in the party indicated this number would be subject to scrutiny in a written report such as this one, and so we kept fishing until we hit upon a number which they agreed would be credible, and which would not cut too badly into Scott’s plans for lunch at a local restaurant!

Robert paid me a very nice compliment at trip’s end, letting me know he really enjoyed the action we experienced and was glad we changed gears to focus on the white bass, and that he learned a lot from me.  Jerry, too, let me know he wanted to try again, even though his preference would have been for more hybrid action today.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Jerry Morgan of Morgan’s Point Resort hosted the Stovall’s on Lake Belton this morning.  Crazy changes in the weather put the hybrid in a funk, but we enjoyed a very aggressive white bass feed later in the morning.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Scott Stovall with a Lake Belton hybrid striped bass taken on live shad from out of nearly 60 feet of water (with ~7′ of that being above our normal full pool thanks to an overabundance of rain this spring).

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was split between chasing hybrid striped bass with live bait in the first half, and chasing white bass with artificial bait in the second half.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:   09 May 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:   I missed a day of fishing yesterday, 08 May, due to stormy weather from before sunrise until after 2pm.  This system dropped more rain on us and east of us, which caused the Brazos River to flood and thus forced the Corps of Engineers to shut down the release of water at the dam.  This, in turn caused the water to rise 0.81 feet overnight.  Add to that a blanket of fog until sunrise, then flat calm and bright, sunny conditions until 8:20 AM, and this morning’s early bite was non-existent, as was any signs of a shad spawn.

We landed only 8 fish, including 3 of our trip’s 4 legal hybrid during this time, as well as 3 blue cat and 2 white bass, all on live shad in deep water.  Around 8:20, a sudden change in the weather brought a NW breeze at ~8mph and ominously dark clouds, which later thinned, but never cleared.  As the morning progressed, the wind continued to shift slowly northward.

We spent another hour in deep water, but only got bluecat to cooperate, and therefore left to pursue white bass instead.

The white bass bite later in the morning under breezier, partially cloudy conditions was solid.

We found fish in 24-26′ and did three “short hops” along this contour to stick with them, each time exciting the fish into biting and keeping them turned on for 20-2=30 minutes at a time.

Long story short, those cooperative white bass bit long and hard, allowing us to take our tally up to 104 fish, with most caught in the last 90 minutes on the water.

The majority of these fish were 2 and 3-year white bass, with a few 1-year whites and short hybrid in the mix.  The experimental tailspinners I’ve been mentioning caught 100% of these fish in more turbid water.

OBSERVATIONS:   

TALLY: 104 fish caught and released – including 4 legal hybrid

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:40a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   68F

Elevation:  6.56 feet high with a 0.51′ 24-hour rise and a flow of 2064cfs

Water Surface Temp:   70.6F

Wind Speed & Direction:   mph

Sky Conditions:   Grey skies all morning, starting off thick and steadily tapering out until the sun finally broke through in patches by around 11:15am

GT = 70

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  v1298 – scant hybrid and bluecat on live shad

**Area  B0075 – scant hybrid and bluecat on live shad

**Area  B0115C – 3 “short hops” for plentiful, active, 2-3 year class white bass on tailspinners

 

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

LARGEST HYBRID OF THE SEASON – 71 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday morning I fished with returning guests Steve Stewart, Jerry Weathers and Jimmy Helm.  The three men have been friends since boyhood, all originally coming to know one another through the church they attended as boys and still attend to this day.  All are “actively retired”, either still engaged in the work they once did full time, and/or engaged in other pursuits requiring their effort and energy.

PHOTO CAPTION: This past Tuesday morning, Steve Stewart of Georgetown landed the season’s largest hybrid to date to come over the gunwale.  This healthy, well-proportioned fish weighed exactly 6.50 pounds on a certified scale.  Nice job, Steve!

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Jimmy Helm with a 5.50 pound hybrid — this fish tied for 3rd largest hybrid of the season behind a 5.75 pound fish landed the week before last.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Jerry Weathers with a 4-pound class hybrid that took a “jumbo” threadfin shad which measured over 5.00″.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was split between chasing hybrid striped bass with live bait in the first half, and chasing white bass with artificial bait in the second half.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:   07 May 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  As has been the case for most trips over the past 3+ weeks now, the strong early morning hybrid bite has really nosedived around 9:30am, with rare instances of seeing multiple fish in schools excitedly tear through baits after that point in the morning.  Seeing this trend over and over has allowed me to offer my guests the opportunity of catching hybrid early, then gunning for other species with lighter tackle using artificial baits later in the morning.

Of course, for the “hard core” who only want big hybrid, we’ll continue to press hard after them, but, for those who prefer action, this is a nice alternative.

Today, we pursued hybrid through 9:30, landing exactly 13 legal fish including the season’s single largest hybrid to date, a 6.50 pound fish landed by Steve Stewart.

When the hybrid action wound down, we then pursued white bass in more turbid waters.  My experimentation with tailspinners versus slabs in the turbid water was a huge success on Monday evening, so, these were our “go-to” baits in the same areas this morning.  We got into two separate groups of active white bass.  The first was in ~26 feet of water, thus, we fished the tailspinners vertically for these fish which were tightly grouped by using a smoking tactic.  The second group of white bass was in only 15-17 feet of water and seemed reluctant to hang under the boat as fish in this shallow of water often do.  Therefore, we backed off of these fish and cast horizontally to them using a lift-drop tactic and caught fish steadily right up until 11:40 when the skies brightened, the sun’s heat could be felt suddenly more intensely, and the fish shut down.

OBSERVATIONS:  SHAD025 was loaded down with spawners this morning allowing for “one and done” netting of high quality, large, colorful spawning shad.  24-26′ was the magic number for white bass this morning.  Everywhere I searched with sonar had at least a few white bass in this depth range.

TALLY: 71 fish caught and released – including 13 legal hybrid

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:40a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   68F

Elevation:  6.56 feet high with a 0.51′ 24-hour rise and a flow of 2064cfs

Water Surface Temp:   70.6F

Wind Speed & Direction:   mph

Sky Conditions:   Grey skies all morning, starting off thick and steadily tapering out until the sun finally broke through in patches by around 11:15am

GT = 55

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area v2059 and B0151C – 23 fish incl. 13 legal hybrid by 9:30a

**Area vB0115C – vertical tailspinners for aggressive white bass at 24-26′

**Area v1634 – horizontal tailspinners for aggressive white bass in under 20′

 

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

West Virginia National Guardsmen Land 137 @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Monday evening I fished with two members of the West Virginia National Guard.  Phil Arnold and Johnny Jacobs are both assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 104th Aviation Regiment, which is a medical evacuation unit using Blackhawk helicopters to get wounded personnel out of harm’s way and to the medical attention they need.  The men were wrapping up a temporary duty assignment here to Ft. Hood and, based on Phil’s past positive experience fishing with me, wanted to get out on Lake Belton once again and this time, bring Johnny with him.  Phil and Johnny routinely fish together in some of the lakes in eastern Ohio near the WV border.

PHOTO CAPTION: Johnny Jacobs landed this nice 5-pound class hybrid just as the sun was setting.  We had live shad down under the boat on tightline rigs in about 48 feet of water when a small wolfpack of fish came into the spread.  We had one more rod go down thanks to this school, but missed that opportunity.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Phil Arnold with a just-legal 18″ Lake Belton hybrid striper.  Thanks to an aggressive bluecat bite, we had to move frequently to keep our baits from getting killed by smaller blues before they could catch the eye of a hybrid.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:   White bass in the first 2.5 hours; hybrid stripers in the last 2 hours

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:   06 May 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED: Given the limited success we had on hybrid this morning, and given that those hybrid we landed were taken during the low-light time just after sunrise, I felt a solid approach for this afternoon’s trip was to gun for less finicky white bass first, then invest our time set up with live bait as the light was failing at day’s end.  This turned out well.

We checked three areas for white bass finding nothing at the first, finding scant fish in 22-24 feet of water at the second, and an abundance of fish in 24-25 feet of water at the third and final place we would search for whites.  At this final location, with a nice wind blowing in on it, and humid, warm, grey skies, the fish were ramped up to feed.  We landed exactly 120 fish by 6:30pm including white bass primarily in the now 3-year class, with a few short hybrid thrown in.  These all came on my newly minted Hazy Eye Tailspinners.  I’m excited about the potential of these baits and am tinkering with blade size and hook arrangements now to overcome shortfalls in many of the commercially available versions.

Toward sunset, we put live baits down to target hybrid.  Abundant bluecat forced us to move more routinely than I prefer.  We buckled down on one area in 48 feet of water and landed 3 of our 4 legal hybrid there.  Then, post-sunset, we setup in shallow water (25′) and landed more whites, short hybrid, and a single legal hybrid there until the fish quit biting around 8:30p.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  Area SHAD014 which I tend to rely upon for bait in May is now inundated with flood water, thus, I had to find shad elsewhere this morning.  SHAD025 produced well and showed potential for producing more than just this morning.

TALLY: 137 fish caught and released – including 4 legal hybrid

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:00p

End Time: 8:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  78F

Elevation:  6.04 feet high with a 0.71foot 24-hour rise, and a flow of 431 cfs.  This was due to heavy, area-wide rains mid-day Thursday and all day Friday, 2 & 3 May.  Downstream flooding on the Brazos is preventing the release of water, so it is presently just accumulating in Belton and Stillhouse.

Water Surface Temp:  70.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ESE6-9mph

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies with varying levels of cloud thickness through the afternoon

GT = 55

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 164/172 – 120 fish on tailspinners

**Area vic 1152 – scant low light hybrid and blue cat

**Area 1778 – post-sunset whites and short hybrid

 

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

BUCKET (and) LIST – 24 FISH w/ STEVE WEBB

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Monday morning I fished with Mr. Steve Webb.   This was one of two trips Steve booked with me as we spoke on the floor of the Central Texas Boat Show back in January.  Steve is a very good multi-species fisherman with a leaning towards catfish.  During our first trip, I got to introduce him to the Garmin LiveScope technology as we used it to vertical jig for deep white bass on Stillhouse.

On this trip, Steve specifically wanted to pursue hybrid striped bass.  He came with a notebook (and a really fancy bucket!) in which he had thought ahead and written down a list of questions he wanted to ask.

Even when you are successful on your own, as Steve is, seeking input from others who do well at what they do helps you become a better angler.  To this end, I try to book two trips a year with professional guides outside of this region to try to stay sharp and keep improving.  Kudos to Steve for having this mindset.

It was very enjoyable for me to share what I know about some things I do often and at the same time learn from Steve about how to handle certain sets of circumstances encountered when catfishing.

PHOTO CAPTION: Although the hybrid didn’t feed long and hard this morning, we enjoyed a few scrapes.  On one occasion Steve had a second rod go down just as he was bringing a hybrid to net.  He grabbed the second rod as I kept the first hybrid in the net and in the water, and we managed a quick “doubles” photo before releasing boat.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Steve Webb, his notebook, and his bucket!!  Some men spend money on cars, some on boats, some on expensive golf clubs, or fancy clothes; not Steve — nope, Steve spends his money on buckets.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:   Hybrid striped bass using live shad (and a few bonus blue cat)

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:   06 May 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: It’s not too often I contact a client before the trip and they say, “I really don’t like catching fish.”, but, Steve did.

We agreed that finding fish is much more challenging than catching fish.

So, on this trip, we did, indeed, find a few pockets of fish – in fact, every stop we made held at least a few fish.  When we found fish, we hovered atop them with Spot Lock, then proceeded to have a conversation about one of the many topics Steve hoped to cover in our morning together.

Steve asked a lot of good questions, many involving the influence of wind on fish location, as well as questions about the whole genre of catching and keeping shad.

The fishing was a bit slow but, when blue cat invaded our bait spread, I got to see firsthand a tactic Steve tried to explain to me at the Boat Show for catching them.  I won’t divulge Steve’s secrets here, but, suffice it to say that I was impressed with both the simplicity and efficacy of the technique.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  Area SHAD014 which I tend to rely upon for bait in May is now inundated with flood water, thus, I had to find shad elsewhere.  SHAD025 produced well and showed potential for producing more than just this morning.

TALLY: 24 fish caught and released – including 6 legal hybrid

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  67F

Elevation:  6.04 feet high with a 0.71foot 24-hour rise, and a flow of 431 cfs.  This was due to heavy, area-wide rains mid-day Thursday and all day Friday, 2 & 3 May.  Downstream flooding on the Brazos is preventing the release of water, so it is presently just accumulating in Belton and Stillhouse.

Water Surface Temp:  70.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ESE9-13mph

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies with varying levels of cloud thickness through the morning

GT = 60

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1945 – low light bite for hybrid on live shad; late morning blue cat present

 

Bob Maindelle

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

IN COUNCIL WITH THE CHIEFTAINS – 50 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Thursday morning I fished what has become an annual event with “The Chief”, including Temple Fire Chief Mitch Randles, Temple Police Chief Floyd Mitchell, and Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis.  These public servants are all stand-up fellows, earnestly concerned about the communities they live in and serve, and have a love for their own families that is, unfortunately, uncommon these days.  I look forward to this trip from the moment they schedule it a year in advance.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Temple Fire Chief Mitch Randles with an early morning Lake Belton hybrid striped bass.  A very short sunrise bite took place this morning, and then the impacts of the unstable weather kicked in an really ate into our hybrid catch this morning.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Temple Police Chief Floyd Mitchell with one of a pair of hybrid he landed on live shad before a cold east wind put a damper on the hybrid bite.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis with one of the six hybrid we landed on live shad Thursday morning before setting our sights on white bass.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:   Hybrid striped bass using live shad, and white bass using artificials

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:   02 May 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: The hot streak of hybrid fishing which began on 21 April faltered today thanks to some “wonky” weather which entered our area in the form of an outflow boundary (think of a mini-cold front) oozing out of the significant weather system that slammed into the DFW/north Texas area the day before.  Just hours before the trip there was thunder, lightning, and strong northwest winds.  By 7am, the winds had gone easterly, there was a chill in the air, and the humid, tropical feel to the atmosphere was gone.  In our first 3+ hours on the water, we managed only 6 legal hybrid and 2 white bass as we targeted hybrid with live shad.

Knowing that our results were driven by weather, not by failing to search where hybrid typically locate, I relocated us and, with the chiefs’ consent, shifted our focus to white bass using artificial lures.  In under 90 minutes’ time were were able to make up for some lost time and succeeded in putting a final 42 fish in the boat, including 3 short hybrid and 39 white bass, all taken from about 26 feet of water on a combination of Hazy Eye Slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks, and tailspinners.

As I bid farewell to the chiefs, I touched base with other anglers in my network.  One retired gentleman who is a very good hybrid angler reported just one hybrid caught by around 10am, and, as of 12:30pm, one of the other guides I spoke with had yet to land a single legal hybrid.   I noted that several other groups of anglers whom I typically see in pursuit of hybrid at this time of year were moving frequently in search of these weather-impacted fish.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  Area SHAD014 produced only scant results this morning.  A few shad moved onshore, then moved right back out and it was all over in a matter of minutes.  I managed to get enough netted to make up for what we would use for the morning, but not much more.  Also saw two small pods of shad, thanks to egret action, at SHAD022 , but did not attempt netting them.

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released – including 6 legal hybrid

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  63F

Elevation:  1.7 feet high with a 0.25 foot 24-hour drop, and a flow of 2700 cfs

Water Surface Temp:  69.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ENE9-13mph

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies with varying levels of cloud thickness through the morning

GT = 30

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0150C – low light bite for hybrid on live shad

**Area B0087C to B0088C – hybrid on live shad

**Area 708 to 788 – white bass on slabs/tailspinners

 

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