WOUNDED WARRIORS WHOOPED ‘EM — 184 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday morning, January 18th, I was honored to be invited by the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to provide a guided fishing trip for six of their members.  Planning for this began back in early December when I met with WWP’s San Antonio-based outreach specialist over lunch and we ironed out the logistics paving the way for this morning’s successful trip.

The WWP believes every warrior has a next mission. WWP knows that the transition to civilian life is a journey. And for every warrior, family member, and caregiver, that journey looks different. WWP is there for their first step, and each step that follows because they believe that every warrior should have a positive future to look forward to. There’s always another goal to achieve, another mission to discover — WWP is their partner in that mission.

More than 52,000 servicemen and women 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.

————————–

By our 7:30 a.m. start, I had the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all represented and ready to go.  I suppose I’ve never felt safer on a fishing trip before!!  Joining me were Hector Licon (Army), Tito Cortez (Army), Antonio Oquendo (Army), Devon Wikstrom (Air Force), Doc Richardson (Navy), and Carlos Espinosa (Marine Corps).

Carlos got the award for most enthusiastic.  Devon got the big fish award for his 6.75 pound drum. Hector got the early-bird award for showing up first.  Doc got the best beard award; Antonio got the award for most persistent angler; and Tito earned the best story-teller award.  There is still much debate about who caught the most fish.  We expect this will be figured out about the same time that the government shutdown is resolved!

 

THE WARRIORS: from left — Antonio Oquendo, Doc Richardson, Tito Cortez, Devon Wikstrom, Carlos Espinosa, and Hector Licon, each with one of the 2-year class white bass we landed this morning.

 

Air Force veteran Devon Wikstrom with the trip’s largest fish landed — a 6.75 pound freshwater drum, nicknamed “gasper gou”.  All five other participants claimed to have hooked and lost larger fish!!

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday,  January 18th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  Today’s approach involved a mix-and-match of snap-jigging, easing, and smoking, all depending upon how the fish presented on sonar.  During the time the fog persisted, the bite was slower, and the fish were glued to the bottom; we used a snap-jigging tactic and pulled fish steadily during this time.  Once the fog cleared, we were treated to two distinct episodes of helpful bird activity, each of which lasted about and hour with about a 30-minute pause in between.  When we first arrived in the vicinity of the birds, a more aggressive approach worked, then, as the frenzy died (as witnessed on sonar) and the fish settled, we changed up our tactics accordingly to continue to boat fish.  The white, 3/8 oz. slabs I make, rigged with my Hazy Eye Stinger hooks, caught every last one of our fish today.  No 3/4 oz. slabs, no soft plastic.

OBSERVATIONS:  Due to the amount of time we focused on suspended fish this morning, the number of drum we caught relative to our total catch was much lower.  When we have to rely on snap-jigging more heavily, the drum count seems to increase.

TALLY: 184 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 49F

Water Surface Temp: 49.9 – 52.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were SSE7 from trip’s start through about 10:30a, then quickly tapered up to SSE13 by 11:30a

Sky Conditions:  A moderate fog until 9:06a, then 100% coverage of light grey clouds.

Water Level: 10.21′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.23 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 2,978 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0132C – bottom-hugging juvenile hybrid in 38′ under a blanket of fog

**Area B0130C – fast action under birds

**Area B0131C- fast action under birds

**Area vic 1861 – fast action under birds

 

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

WE PASKO-TIZED ‘EM — 60 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday morning, January 15th, I fished with long-time friend Bill Pasko on Lake Belton.  Bill is a great multi-species fisherman originally from upstate New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario.  After a short stint as a U.S. Army Infantry officer in Vietnam, Bill worked through age 55 putting his chemistry background to work for him and others.  He’s now retired and fishes nearly as much as I do!!

The main focus today was to introduce Bill to many of the capabilities of the Garmin LIveScope technology. It also served as a scouting opportunity for me, as I’d not fished Belton since 04 Jan. when the lake flooded once again. Bill called me the day before after seeing my 11 Jan. 2019 post comparing the spread diameter of two kinds of cast nets at depth. His curiosity was piqued and so, off we went this morning in search of fish.

 

Long-time Lake Belton multi-species angler Bill Pasko with a pair of hybrid we caught over 50′ of water.  These fish were suspended and on the move, but readily identified using the Garmin LiveScope technology.  We used soft plastics on jigheads to seal the deal.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  January 15th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Today’s fishing was focused around the 34-37 foot mark and involved both snap-jigging with slabs for fish we saw on bottom and sniping with soft plastics on jigheads for fish which were suspended.  The deeper the water, the better the fish responded to the thumper.  The fish activity correlated with windspeed.

OBSERVATIONS:  I was pleasantly surprised to see even smallish white bass eagerly strike Bill’s 4″ long soft plastics as we sniped for suspended fish.  I’ve traditionally defaulted to smaller presentations.  We experienced one episode of helpful bird action offered by ~8 terns over a short 10 minutes span, despite hundreds of ring-billed gulls sighted over open water.

TALLY: 60 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 42F

Water Surface Temp: 49.9 – 51.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were calm through about 9:30, then blew SSE6 for the remainder of the trip.

Sky Conditions:  100% coverage of light grey clouds

Water Level: 10.75′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.21 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 2,984 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0107C – snap jigging

**Area vic B0110C – snap jigging

**Area B0117C to B0111C – slow smoking/sniping under minimal bird activity

**Area B0129C – sniping for suspended “thumped” fish

**Area 1291 – deep, slow smoking for “thumped” fish in 50′

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

3 DADS, 3 SONS & 156 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Saturday afternoon I fished with three father-and-son pairs on Stillhouse Hollow in pursuit of white bass.  Mr. Wes Stearns was a returning guest, along with his son, Knox, age 6.  Wes invited two other dads whom he became acquainted with through coaching Little League Baseball.  Mr. Will Hughes works in information technology focused on the medical field; he brought his son, Clay, age 7.  Mr. Jordan Lowe works in construction, also focused on the medical sector; he brought his son, Baylor, age 7.

From left:  Mr. Jordan Lowe and his son, Baylor, Mr. Will Hughes and his son, Clay, and Mr. Wes Stearns and his son, Knox.  

Baylor Lowe landed the trip lunker today.  This fish was our 151st fish caught.  It weighed in at 4.75 pounds on a certified scale.  The bass struck a 3/8 oz. white slab with Hazy Eye Stinger hook attached in 25 feet of water.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday,  January 12th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  To say I was concerned about the outcome of this trip would be an understatement.  I forewarned the dads that due to cold water, clear skies, recent flooding, and the winter season, the fishing we would likely have to do would be tough for younger kids to get the hang of and then stay focused on.  The dads took this to heart and each worked selflessly to make sure his son was successful.  Their coaching background definitely shone through.

Once the boys were fishing fairly autonomously, the dads all managed to wet their own lines, regularly passing off hooked fish to their sons if the kids experienced a lull of any sort.

As it turned out, the fishing was not nearly as tough as it could have been in this season.  In fact, the first group of fish we encountered were quite active, showing in a feeding posture well up off the bottom and spread over a roughly 30 yard area when I first encountered them on sonar in about 43′.  We sat over these fish for 2.5 hours and caught white bass steadily.  At first, it was easy pickings, as the fish were so aggressive they fell for a smoking tactic at a moderate cadence.  Later, these same fish toned down a bit and went for an easing tactic; finally, these same fish were taken with a deadstick tactic, and then we left them alone after that slowed to a crawl.

We encountered our next best area in shallower water, at the base of a breakline in about 27 feet of water.  The fish were spread along the face of the break, but were most heavily concentrated at the deep end of the break.  We did a slow version of smoking for these fish which were spread throughout the lower half of the water column.

In contrast with the solid low-light bite I experienced this past Wednesday from 5:00p to 5:30p, tonight’s bite slowed to near nil by 5:00p.

OBSERVATIONS: This was the longest single hover over a single group of fish I’ve encountered this entire fall/winter.  Several females were dripping eggs when captured today.

TALLY: 156 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:00 p

End Time: 5:00 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Water Surface Temp: 53.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds blew at NW16 the entire afternoon with gusts and lulls.

Sky Conditions:  ~30% coverage of thin, white clouds, enough to obscure the direct sun, but still with ample ambient light

Water Level: 12.36′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.03 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 1,898 CFS 

GT = 170

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0090C – a long stay over a single group of fish which fell for smoking, then easing, then deadsticking

**Area SH0091C – slow smoking for fish in shallower water and in lower 1/2 of water column

**Area vic 1701 – a handful of fish caught via slow smoking to fish that came in to the thumper as the bite died

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

SHOW AND TELL – 100 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Wednesday evening I fished Stillhouse Hollow with fellow guide Jason Weisberg of Round Rock, TX.  Jason owns Integrity Mechanical where he and his employees focus on HVAC repair for all manner of equipment, including commercial and industrial-sized gear.  He primarily fishes Belton and Georgetown, and mainly during the cooler months when A/C repairs and hot attics aren’t calling.

Our purpose today was to give Jason an introduction to the Garmin LiveScope technology.  Jason, who, like me, fishes with live shad for hybrid striped bass on occasion, was particularly curious about the performance of a standard cast net versus a “tape” net designed for use in deeper water.  We desired to observe the sink rate and openness of these nets on the high-resolution, high-refresh rate screen of the Garmin equipment.

 

ABOVE: This screenshot shows a standard, well-thrown 7-foot cast net with 3/8″ mesh after it descended to about 30 feet.  The bag is high above the lead-line and the diameter of the net is necked-down substantially to just under 5 feet.

 

 

ABOVE: This screenshot shows a “tape net” designed for use in deeper water.  It, too, was well-thrown and was 7′ diameter with 3/8″ mesh.  At 30′, the net bag is not nearly as extended (a good thing) because the net is spread much wider (about 2.5 feet, or 35%, more than the standard net) to its full 7-foot diameter, hence providing more coverage, and enabling it to net more bait.  

 

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday,  January 9th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   We located fish in 3 distinct areas today after about a hour of fruitless searching.  Each of the groups of fish we found were found by observing bird activity, mainly by terns.  The first location was just off the Lampasas River channel and the fishing was for loosely congregated schools of suspended white bass holding between 20-25 feet over a ~34′ bottom.  We “sniped” these fish using the same horizontal soft-plastic setup I normally  use for deadsticking.  The sniping was made much simpler with the aid of the Garmin LiveScope technology.

Our second stop came after we observed about 12 terns feeding briefly over a ~60 yard area in about 25′.  The fish here were in distinct wolfpacks of 12-15 fish and were tight to the bottom, as observed on side-imaging.  I worked a slab, then a blade, while Jason stuck with the deadstick bait used more aggressively.

The last, and most aggressive, fish came within 20 minutes of sunset (a classic low-light bite).  We observed terns and at least 2 loons working over bait, stopped, and found abundant white bass in the lower third of the water column.  These fish were so aggressive that I switched from my standard 3/8-oz. bait to a 3/4-oz. bait to cut the sink time to bottom as the fish were aggressive to the point where a slab with a larger profile was of no concern to them.  We stopped at 100 fish even.  Although there was enough light left for a few more minutes of fishing, the substantial amount of floating debris on the surface made me want to get back to the boat ramp while there was ample light to keep a good forward watch.

OBSERVATIONS: In stark contrast with my past several trips to Lake Belton, the “low light window” from 5:00 to 5:30p provided the fastest paced fishing of the trip on Stillhouse.  Belton’s fish have been shutting down at 5:00p with only single digits caught in the last 30 minutes prior to sunset.

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:00 p

End Time: 5:20 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 58F

Water Surface Temp: 53.5-55F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds blew at ~NNE11 for the first 3 hours, then tapered to NNE under 4 in the last hour.

Sky Conditions:  ~70% coverage of thin, white clouds, enough to obscure the direct sun, but still with ample ambient light

Water Level: 12.59′ high with the rising flood water cresting today and beginning to fall with the opening of the dam @ 1,898 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 684 – sniping

**Area vic  745 – snap-jigging a slab, working a blade, and easing a deadstick rig all worked well

**Area vic 1701 – aggressive smoking

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

FULL DAY TRIP YIELDS 174 FISH & NEAR-FLOOD CONDITIONS

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday I fished a full day trip with Belton, TX, native Eric Martin and a friend of his since the 8th grade, Christian Hunter.  We fished lake Belton from 7:15 am until 5:00 pm with an off-the-water lunch break from 11:45a until 1:00p (a typically very slow time fishing-wise).  Eric works at Grime Fighters based in Harker Heights, TX, and had good things to say about his boss and co-workers there; Christian works at Wright Tree Service and has his eye on real estate investing in the future.

This trip was presented to Eric as a Christmas gift from his grandmother, Sandra Gehler.

Eric Martin with the largest of the several hybrid striped bass we landed while focusing on white bass.  The winter months, through to the first part of March, always seem the toughest for consistently landing keeper-sized hybrid.

 

Longtime friends Christian Hunter (left) and Eric Martin cashed in a Christmas fishing gift certificate and then cashed in on a 174 fish day on Lake Belton just as rising flood water threatened to shut down lake access for the second time in just 3 months.

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday,  January 4th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Snap-jigging was the foundation of today’s trip.  We were using spinning gear geared for white bass with 20 pound braid, 25 pound fluoro leader, and white 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached.  Once Eric and Chris got the hang of snap-jigging, I introduced another layer of complexity by turning on the Garmin LiveScope sonar gear and showing them how to tempt fish that presented higher up in the water column than the fish we were snap-jigging for on the bottom.  Eric really got the hang of this quickly, and, once Chris overcame his too-powerful hooksets, he, too, became successful at “sniping” for these fairly lethargic high-riding fish.

OBSERVATIONS: The morning bite was very solid today.  The 4 areas we fished required no short hops.  Once we got on fish, we stayed on fish as they continued to be active and filter in beneath the boat.  As the winds decreased in the afternoon, fishing was much tougher.  Thanks to a 40-fish spurt from ~4:20 to 5:00, our afternoon tally was good, however, the period from 2:30-4:30 was slow, with only a few fish right away each time we stopped at a new area, but with no bite duration at these areas.

TALLY: 174 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 5:00 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F

Water Surface Temp: 49.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at WNW10 through 10:30, then decreased to under W6 for the rest of the day.

Sky Conditions:  Bright, cloudless blue skies

Water Level: 9.31′ high with an overnite rise of 1.81 feet and no flow from the dam  

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 565/1659 (AM)

**Area vic 691 (AM)

**Area vic B0112C (AM)

**Area vic 211 (PM)

**Area vic B0121C/B0124C (PM)

**Area vic B0116C (PM)

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

PULLED A RABBIT OUT OF THE HAT — 83 FISH IN CRAZY WEATHER

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Thursday afternoon I fished Lake Belton with returning guest Gary Hannemann, his son, Carl Hannemann of Waco, and Gary’s grandson (Carl’s nephew) 10-year-old Brayden Monhnke of China Spring.  This trip was originally planned for this past Saturday, but high winds and low temperatures put the wind chill factor in the high 20’s and low 30’s for much of that day, so we ran that trip today instead.

Thanks to rains that largely fell on top of us (but not so much in the watershed to our northwest), both Belton and Stillhouse rose over 2 feet in the 24 hours following the rain event.  Fortunately on Belton, nothing looks to be coming down the Leon from Lake Proctor, so I’m hopeful that the majority of the rising water has already come and that we won’t see yet another shutdown of the ramps.

 

Gary Hannemann and his grandson, Brayden Monhnke, age 10, with a nice Lake Belton largemouth taken on a slab as we encountered some brush beneath the boat while working for white bass.

 

Despite crazy water and weather conditions, the white bass fed this afternoon.  That’s Carl Hannemann on the left, Brayden Monhnke in the middle, and Gary Hannemann on the right — three generations enjoying Creation together today.

 

And the big fish award for the trip went to Brayden with a 4+ pound freshwater drum, nicknamed “gasper gou”.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday,  January 3rd, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Today we snap-jigged for all we were worth.  Fortunately, Gary had already been fishing with me in the winter and understood the tactic, Carl caught on very quickly and was consistent, and Brayden did well when he put his mind to it.  We fished our white, 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks in 31-34 feet of water at 4 distinct locations.  The bite was about the same at each in that we would catch the fish we parked on top of using the Spot Lock function, then, when the action slowed, we jogged one way or another to cover new ground, caught a few more, and then jogged again.  The fish were not willing to move to our commotion.

At one location, as I dropped my slab, several fish actually rose up off the bottom to meet it, indicating very aggressive fish.  We were able to use an “easing” tactic for these fish (and tried smoking, but it was too fast).  These were among the smallest fish we caught, however (but the fast action for about 20 white bass was enjoyable).

In all we landed 83 fish this afternoon including white bass, freshwater drum, short hybrid striped bass, 1 largemouth bass, and 3 crappie.

OBSERVATIONS:    I really feel like we pulled a rabbit out of the hat this afternoon.  With the massive amount of environmental change that took place due to rising water, the fact that the water is cold, and the fact that we were still under cold-front influenced conditions, to catch 83 fish was well beyond my expectations today.  No bird activity, and no life seen shallower than 25′.  All of our action came in 31-34′.

TALLY: 83 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:00 p

End Time: 5:30 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Water Surface Temp: 51.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at NNW13 all day with slightly higher gusts between 1:30 and 3:30pm.

Sky Conditions:  Leaden grey skies all day

Water Level: 7.5′ high with an overnite rise of 2.04 feet and no flow of water from the dam   

GT = 25

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS FRIDAY: 

**Area vic B0126C with 3 short hops

**Area vic  2037 to 164 with 3 short hops

**Area B0127C

**Area vic B0116C

**Area vic 1659

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

BUNDLE UP, BOYS! — 58 FISH ON NEW YEAR’S DAY (PM TRIP)

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday afternoon I fished Lake Belton with first time guest Robert Spencer and his grandsons, 17-year-old Adrian and 15-year-old CJ (Carlos).  The boys both attend Florence High School where Adrian has plans to graduate this year and head to Texas A&M to study mechanical engineering and work through the ROTC program in order to commission into the military after college graduation.  CJ is currently headed into his high school power-lifting season.  Robert retired from Walmart distribution and now works at his own tractor business.

 

STINGERED!  CJ caught two aggressive white bass at the same time, one on the slab’s treble hook and one on the Hazy Eye Stinger hook.  This fish was caught from among a group of fish that proved to be the most aggressive we would encounter all afternoon.  At this one area we landed a blue catfish, several largemouth, two crappie, a number of drum, short hybrid stripers, and white bass, all between 4:00 and 4:30pm.

 

DRUM MAJORS: Adrian and CJ, who had previous experience catching black drum in salt water, enjoyed the fighting ability of the freshwater drum they caught today.  Thanks to a bumper crop of food in the form of zebra mussels, the drum on Lake Belton are healthier and more numerous than I’ve ever seen them in over 25 years on this body of water.

CJ’s creative solution for staying warm during our runs from one fishing area to another.  Handwarmers also helped!

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  January 1st, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   The fish were a bit more fickle this afternoon than they were this morning.  Although I found fish most everywhere I looked, there were not masses of fish at any of these locations.  If I saw a school of 10 or 12 fish on sonar this afternoon, I stopped and fished for them because any more than that was tough to come by.  As is the case as the water chills toward the 40 degree range, presentation really mattered.  Slabs kept consistently in the “sweet spot” near bottom got bit far more than slabs just inches too high or too low.  All of our fish were taken via snap jigging this afternoon.

OBSERVATIONS:   Thanks to the dark grey skies, the bite ended around 4:50 this afternoon.  No helpful bird activity was witnessed.

TALLY: 58 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:30 p

End Time: 5:30 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Water Surface Temp: 52.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at NNW13 all day with slightly higher gusts between 1:30 and 3:30pm.

Sky Conditions:  Leaden grey skies all day

Water Level: 4.91′ high with an overnite rise of 0.14 feet and a flow of 1612 cfs 

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS FRIDAY: 

**Area vic  1678/1658 with 2 short hops

**Area vic  1827

**Area vic B0122C

**Area vic B0123C

**Area vic B0124C

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

The Hog Hunters from Missouri — 100 Fish on New Year’s Day (AM Trip)

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday morning I fished Lake Belton with returning guest Willis Creed.  Willis brought along a friend and co-worker, Chris Lee, for this chilly white bass fishing adventure as a “side trip” to their Bell County hog hunting safari taking place over several days near the Lampasas River.

Willis is a craftsman who builds timber-framed houses in Missouri.  Chris is starting his own roofing company, and the two routinely work together repairing and installing roofs.

 

In addition to our target species (white bass), we also landed hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, blue catfish, freshwater drum, crappie, and this — a smallmouth buffalo which Chris landed on light spinning tackle intended for white bass.  Although buffalo normal feed by vacuuming debris off the bottom, they will sometime eat small baitfish, which our small slabs were imitating.  This one went around 13 pounds.

 

Although we had to work for each fish we caught today, we were able to put together a better catch than most parties I take out would have.  This was due in large part to Willis and Chris’ willingness to be coached and their attention to detail when it came to the presentation we were using on a day where inches truly mattered.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  January 1st, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  As was the case last Friday when I fished an AM and PM trip on Belton, we moved around a lot today.  That is not to say we covered a lot of ground, rather, once we found fish, we caught them until they stopped biting, then moved a few boat lengths, caught a few more, then moved a few boat lengths, caught a few more, and so on.  As I observed sonar, I was finding distinct groups of fish in pods of perhaps 12-25 fish each.  The ability to use the i-Pilot Link feature to return to fish we’d motored over with GPS precision definitely helped put fish in the boat today, as these fish were not willing to travel any distance to come to a thumper or the commotion of our jigging; we essentially had to park on top of them and put slabs right in front of them to get bit.

We relied upon snap-jigging with 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached for the majority of our success.  A few fish were caught with an “easing” tactic when the bite peaked around 8:30 to 9:00.

OBSERVATIONS:   About 2 hours’ worth of helpful tern activity kept us in the vicinity of the fish this morning and although the fishing underneath these birds wasn’t through the roof, it was consistent, which, on a cloudy day with a stiff NW wind, is more than I expected we’d find.

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:20 a

End Time: 11:45 a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Water Surface Temp: 52.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at NNW13 all day with slightly higher gusts between 1:30 and 3:30pm.

Sky Conditions:  Leaden grey skies all day

Water Level: 4.91′ high with an overnite rise of 0.14 feet and a flow of 1612 cfs 

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS FRIDAY: 

**Area vic 1659/565 with 2 short hops

**Area vic B0116C to 2039 with 3 short hops

**Area vic  692 to B0072C

**Area vic  1822 with 2 short hops

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

HIS BOAT, HIS LAKE, MY KNOW-HOW — SCOUTING LAKE BUCHANAN

WHO I FISHED WITH: This New Year’s Eve morning I teamed back up with a client of mine, Ryan Sparkman, who left the Belton area several years ago to pursue his career in medicine in College Station, TX.  After doing some fishing on both Conroe and Somerville while living out that way, Ryan had an opportunity to move his fishing rig to his folks’ retirement home in the Council Creek portion of Lake Buchanan.

Today, he invited me aboard to help introduce him to the approach I take for wintertime fish by actually doing it at Lake Buchanan and alongside him in his boat.  Ryan runs a well-equipped NauticStar 21′ center console with a Minn Kota Terrova GPS-type trolling motor and Lowrance electronics.

Aside from the fishing, I was able to shed some light on trolling motor use, sonar use and adjustment, tactics, and gear, all of which will help Ryan as he makes Lake Buchanan his new home lake.

I did some homework prior to the trip by contacting other successful anglers who spend more time on this lake than I do (thank you, Jason Weisberg and Tim Pham), and by doing a map recon of the lake, looking for areas that stood out as having the potential to hold freshwater pelagics like white bass, striped bass, and hybrid striped bass.

 

Ryan Sparkman with a full-blooded Lake Buchanan striped bass taken via deadsticking from 25′ deep over a 34′ bottom.

 

Ryan Sparkman with a Lake Buchanan hybrid striped bass which took a deadsticked soft plastic at about 15′ deep over a 32′ bottom.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Buchanan

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday,  December 31, 2018

HOW WE FISHED: As we began this trip, we headed to the deeper end of Buchanan, nearest the dam, first, hoping the light would penetrate in that slightly clearer water first and perk those fish up.  The bite was stubborn through about 10:00.  We were able to get fish to come beneath the boat via thumping, but they were very reluctant to respond.

We moved up toward the Colorado River end of the lake later in the morning and into the afternoon to fish this more colored water after it was well-illuminated.  We did better from 10:45 to our trip’s end around 1:30p.

As it turned out, every one of the fish we caught today came as a result of deadsticking for relatively immobile fish that came under the boat in response to the thumper.  We deadsticked with very little movement using shad-imitating soft plastics.

OBSERVATIONS:   No helpful bird activity.  Water was murky green-brown.  All fish caught were suspended.

TALLY: 18 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30 a

End Time: 1:30 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Water Surface Temp: 52.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SW7-10 thru 11am, then ramping up to SW14 with gusts to 17

Sky Conditions:  Clearing skies after yesterday’s overcast and drizzle.  Wispy white clouds to about 60% coverage.

Water Level: ~10 above full pool

GT = 40

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS: 

**Area vic BU0020

**Area  vic BU0001

**Area vic BU0002

**Area  vic BU0021

**Area  vic BU0003

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

A SOLID AFTERNOON BITE – 100 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: After my morning trip with the Pennington party, I laid over during the midday, ate some Christmas leftovers on the boat, and welcomed the Ramsey party aboard at 1:30 this past Friday afternoon.  Mrs. Jennifer Ramsey coordinated everything for her husband, U.S. Army Chaplain Jim Ramsey, Jim’s 14-year-old son, Jadon, and Jim’s father-in-law, Roger Nord, who traveled in from Arizona for the holidays where he makes his living in the paint industry.

 

As is the case all throughout the cool water period from late October through mid-March, largemouth bass show up routinely as a by-catch as we work for white bass, especially when we’re working anywhere near timber, which was the case when this chunky black bass struck.

 

From left: Roger Nord, Jadon Ramsey, and Chaplain Jim Ramsey with a half-dozen of the 100 fish we landed this evening.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday,  December 28, 2018

HOW WE FISHED: As we began this afternoon’s trip, I started off by looking at some areas I had not fished in the morning, but which were similar in bottom composition and depth.  This turned out well for us, as we found ample bait and gamefish at three of the four places we inspected.  If there was any difference between the evening bite and this morning’s bite, it was that the fish were a bit deeper, and, especially during the peak wind period of the day (from 1:30 to 3:30), the bite was a bit more aggressive.

We relied upon snap-jigging at all but our first stop.  At that first stop, while the wind was up, we put a majority of our catch in the boat via a smoking tactic using a moderate cadence.  From 3:30 on, the fish activity backed off a notch, and, in our last hour, we really had to work to put our final 16 fish in the boat to go from a tally of 84 fish at 4:35 to 100 an hour later.  The one and only bait we used was the 3/8 oz. slab with my Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached.  White did the trick.

OBSERVATIONS:   No helpful bird activity today.  No visible signs of water discoloration from Wednesday’s rains which stained the upper third of Stillhouse.  Belton rose about 1.2 feet as a result of the flooding.

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:30p

End Time: 5:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 51F

Water Surface Temp: 53.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at N10-11 all day with slightly higher gusts between noon and 3:30pm.

Sky Conditions:  Cloudless, post-frontal blue skies

Water Level: 3.62′ high with an overnite rise of 1.22 feet and a flow of 1612 cfs 

GT = 18

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS: 

**Area vic 1697 (with 2 short hops)

**Area  vic 1827

**Area  B0121C

**Area  vic 817 to 1671

**Area  vic 2039

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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