On The Fly!! — 22 “Fly-only” Fish with Reggie White

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Fly fishing enthusiast Reggie White of Richmond, Virginia, who came to Texas this week to visit family.

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Reggie White booked with me specifically to pursue species of fish he’d never before landed on a flyrod.  With just 25 minutes to go before dark, the white bass pushed shad shallow and gave us several opportunities to add their names to Reggie’s list.

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As the sun still shone brightly, we probed shallow, cover-rich, wind-protected areas in pursuit of sunfish.  Reggie nabbed this redear on a bead head nymph.

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A closeup of the redear sunfish – very ornate!

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: Reggie, a devoted flyfisherman, wanted to pursue species he had never before landed on a fly rod. Hence, after pursuing sunfish in the first, brightest half of our afternoon trip, we pursued Whitebass from 6 to 8 PM.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  4 PM to 8:15 PM

HOW WE FISHED: Reggie used a Temple Fork Outfitters 4-weight fly rod with floating line to fish both a number 12 bead head nymph and a number 16 Parachute Adams dry fly to amass a total of 16 sunfish, including three green sunfish, one redear sunfish, one readier/bluegill hybrid sunfish, and 11 bluegill sunfish. After that, from 6 through 8 PM, we pursued white bass.  We fished near visible cover in the back half of several coves.

We went after the white bass with a Temple Fork Outfitters 6-weight rod equipped with a short, flat fluorocarbon 10 pound test leader attached to a length of Rio T-8 tungsten-weighted shooting head, which in turn was connected to a 30 pound mono running line. In the last 25 minutes of light, we were able to put six white bass in the boat. These fish really did not show on the surface but had pushed shallow into less than 14 feet of water in pursuit of shad just after the sun dipped below the horizon.  We fished casting from shallow to deep, allowing the T-8 shooting head to take the buoyant crease fly I chose down to bottom.  Based on where the fish were holding, most all of the fish that struck did so as the connection between the running line and the shooting head had just entered the top guides on the flyrod.  We landed about half of the fish that struck.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS: Once again, the winds from the north kept the sunset topwater action pretty subdued.  There were a lot of fish present, as seen on sonar, but they did not give their positions away by breaking the surface.

TALLY: 22 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:00p

End Time: 8:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 85F

Water Surface Temp: 79F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light NNW breeze at 11 mph, tapering to 6mph by dark

Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip.

Water Level: 1.01 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

11SEP17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 184 and 1992 for sunfish

**Area 018 to 013 for white bass

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

20th “SKIFF” Program Trip of the Season — 48 fish on Lake Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Nancy Phimmasone and her four children, Isaiah (age seven), Aiyana (age nine), Qwentin (age 14), and Asia (age 16).  Nancy and her kids have fished with me under the SKIFF program several times after Nancy’s husband passed away while on active duty, often in conjunction with the timing of Ft. Hood’s annual “Good Grief” camp for surviving family members.
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Smaller bluecat were our first targets from out of large, deep schools of fish in ~40 feet of water.  From left: Asia, Aiyana, Isaiah, and Qwentin, each with a blue cat going 12-14″.  Mom (Nancy) looks on from over Qwentin’s shoulder.

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The white bass got active in the final hour of light, allowing each of the kids to take several turns on the twin downriggers.  From left: Isaiah, Aiyana, Asia, and Qwentin.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip in which we targeted blue catfish for 2 hours and white bass for 2 hours.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday evening, 09 Sept., from 4 to 8:10p.

HOW WE FISHED: The first half of this trip we focused on small blue catfish heavily congregated in deep water.  I used cut shad on tandem hooks suspended off bottom with a beefy slipfloat to present the baits to these fish which were on an above bottom, to within 4 feet of it.  We landed 20 catfish and missed many more as the kids went through the learning curve of how and when to set the hook.

The  second part of the trip we focused on white bass using downriggers in the third and fourth hours.  We fished out deep (25-30′) through 7p, and followed up shallow with the downriggers in under 20′ in the last hour. We landed 28 white bass.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS: Thanks to a NNW wind, there was very little topwater action by white bass visible in the “magic” time from 7:20 to just after 8:00pm.  This was the 20th SKIFF trip of the 2017 season.

 

TALLY: 48 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:00p

End Time: 8:10p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 85F

Water Surface Temp: 79F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light NE breeze 4-6 mph

Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip.

Water Level: 0.98 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

09SEP17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 973 – blue cat in 40′

**Area 903 – 1575 – downrigging for sunset white bass

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

Wicked White Bass — 60 Fish for Kennedy Rosario

WHO I FISHED WITH:  8-year-old Kennedy Rosario, accompanied by her mother, Mrs. Avonne Rosario.  Mother and daughter booked this trip through the Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited program.  Kennedy got “extra credit” from me for being a huge fan of the show “Wicked Tuna”.

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8-year-old Kennedy Rosario with one of 60 fish she landed on Stillhouse Hollow during her Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited “Fishing 101” class.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: Multi-species trip focused on white bass for the first 3 hours, then sunfish in the last our. Our catch included 49 white bass, 1 largemouth bass, 1 longear sunfish, and 9 bluegill sunfish

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning, 09 Sept., from 7a to 11a.

HOW WE FISHED: We downrigged for the first 45 minutes following sunrise as the fish began to become active in response to the unobscured sunrise.  We landed singles and doubles on 3-armed umbrella rigs.  As the sun rose and penetrated the depths, the bait moved toward the surface and largemouth bass followed, with white bass staying near bottom in large, fairly immobile schools.  From around 8am and until 10am, we were able to catch fish continuously from just two locations just yards apart from one another.  Given Kennedy’s age, I chose a tailspinner for her to use as the retrieve speed necessary for making it effective is slower.  She landed a total of 50 fish through 10am.

Next, we moved up shallow for our last hour on the water for a change of pace and targeted sunfish.  Kennedy did well here, too, landing 10 sunfish of various sorts.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS: With Hurricane Harvey seeming to have broken the back of the hot, summer weather, the water surface temperature has come 6 degrees off the summer peak of 86F; today’s white bass schooling behavior on bottom in 37-40′ of water involved a substantially greater number of fish which fed for a longer period of time that I’ve seen since early July.  I’ll be observing to see if this trend continues.

ABOUT SKIESUnlimited:

SKIESUnlimited stands for Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills.  SKIESUnlimited offers dozens of activities for military and Department of Defense kids of all ages, ranging from gymnastics to piano lessons, from academic tutoring to various forms of dance, and more.  Monetary credit for such courses is available for children whose military parents are deployed.  To participate in such courses, children must first be registered with Child and Youth Services.  Registration is free and is accomplished by contacting Parent Central Services at 254-287-8029.  Once registered, parents may go online to enroll their children for the myriad courses available.

TALLY: 60 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F

Water Surface Temp: 78.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light ENE breeze 3-5mph

Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip.

Water Level: 0.78 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT:

09SEP17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1715-1523-1522  – 49 white bass and 1 largemouth in 3 hours; found them with downriggers and caught them steadily on tailspinners thereafter

**Area 1572 – 10 sunfish on slipfloats up shallow

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

When Harvey Gives You Lemons … 78 Fish for 3 Generations of Stebbins

WHO I FISHED WITH:  “Grandpa” Pete Stebbins of Salado,TX, Pete’s son, Herb, of Cypress, TX, and Herb’s 16-year-old son, Zach.  With the school year postponed until further notice due to Hurricane Harvey flooding, Herb and Zach paid Pete a visit and decided to do some fishing while they were at it.

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Herb Stebbins with a nice channel cat which moved in for “floor cleaning duty” after white bass had fed strongly for over an hour.

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Pete Stebbins with a schoolie largemouth he caught up high in the water column after the white bass we were catching made some commotion and drew in other fish.

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Zach Stebbins with a pair of white bass he landed on tailspinners after the white basses’ initial enthusiasm for faster slabs faded.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR: Multi-species trip focused on white bass. Our catch included 73 white bass, 4 largemouth bass, and 1 channel catfish

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday morning, 08 Sept., from 7a to noon.

HOW WE FISHED:  We fished downriggers for the first 90 minutes for very inactive, scattered fish with sparse results.  Around 8:30a we encountered our first school of tightly congregated, bottom-hugging fish on a slope adjacent to the river channel in 37-42 feet.  We made a series of “short hops” using the “Jog” function on the Minn Kota Ulterra to maintain contact with these fish as we enjoyed success on “smoked” slabs.   After this school dispersed, we found similar action at a second location on the deep end of main lake point.  Although smoked slabs did well initially, tailspinners saw us through from the time the fish geared down from chasing aggressively and until the school dispersed.  We landed 48 of 78 fish at this last location in our final 75 minutes on the water.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS:

TALLY: 78 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F

Water Surface Temp: 79.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable through 8:30a, then a breeze from the SE tapered up to 13 mph over the next 40 minutes

Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip.

Water Level: 0.74 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

08SEP17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1203 – smoked for a bottom-hugging school we encountered while downrigging.  Fish were holding on a slope in 37-42′.  Downrigging up to this time had been slow, producing only 7 fish.  This area produced 23 more fish by 10:15.

**Area  1150 – 48 fish in 75 minutes from bottom-hugging school in 40′. Smoked slabs then used tailspinners.

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

Had to File for an Extension — 37 Fish, SKIFF Trip #19

This morning, Saturday, September 2nd, I conducted the 19th SKIFF program trip of the year taking out 15-year-old Jayce Chesworth and his step-brother, 14-year-old Tyrel Allred, both students at Harker Heights High School in Harker Heights, TX.  We fished this morning on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

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From left: Jayce Chesworth and Tyrel Allred with a “double-double” — two sets of two fish caught simultaneously on 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.

 

I first got acquainted with the boys’ family when their younger brother, Logan, participated in a SKIFF trip earlier this summer while his step-dad, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chesworth, a US Army Apache helicopter pilot with 15 years of military service, was pulled away from home to participate in recurring gunnery training.  Jayce and Tyrel are both self-confessed video game junkies, with Battlefield and HALO being their top picks.

Earlier this week I actually rescheduled a trip when I say bright, calm conditions called for this past Friday.  Bright, calm conditions are the worst of the worst for fishing, so, we bumped that trip up a day to Thursday where NW winds were to blow at 7-9 mph.  Today, NOAA forecast SSW winds at 6-8 all morning after yesterday’s winds were flat calm all day, as predicted.  Unfortunately, this morning brought flat calm, as well and we struggled badly for 3.5 hours, putting only 4 fish in the boat during that time.

Fortunately, around 10:30, a SSW breeze picked up very suddenly at 8-9 mph and the fish responded instantly.  We put 20 additional fish in the boat through 11am, when Mrs. Chesworth was supposed to return to pick her boys up.  We “filed for an extension” which Mrs. Chesworth graciously granted, so, we were able to keep right on fishing beyond the usual 4 hour mark, and, in doing so, picked up another 13 fish in the next 45 minutes which followed.

So, we went from a tally of 4 fish by 10:30 to a final catch of 37 fish by 11:45 — crazy!!

As we made our final run in to the boat ramp, I turned around and told the boys, who were seated on the baitwell behind me, “If that isn’t a testimony for persistence, I don’t know what is!”

On three separate occasions today, just after catching fish on the downriggers from out of large schools of fish that were initially holding on bottom, we attempted to double back to “Spot Lock” on top of these fish with the Ulterra, but the fish, though present, would not respond.  I tried using both bladebaits and tailspinners; the tailspinners were presented with both a slow and a moderate cadence to no avail.

SKIFF stands for “Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun”.  SKIFF provides free fishing trips to the children of soldiers separate from their kids due to duty requirements.  “Homefront” spouses with a husband or wife away from home on military duty (not just deployments) are welcomed to call me at 254.368.7411 to arrange for free 4-hour outing for your children.  Homefront parents are always welcome to attend, but are equally welcome to take some downtime from their own children and leave them in my care for this time on the water.  This is all made possible through the sponsorship and work of the Austin Fly Fishers and the network of supportive donors and allies they have developed along the way.

 

TALLY: 37 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:45am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F

Water Surface Temp: 80F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable through 10:30a, then a breeze at S8 picked up very quickly and blew for about 75 minutes, then went calm again.

Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.56 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

02SEP17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1983-1986 – two sets of downrigged doubles at the same time, then the bite went sour

**Area  1150 – 33 fish in the only 75 minute window during which the wind blew this morning, from 10:30 – 11:45

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

First Post-Hurricane Trip — 43 Fish, Belton

This morning, Thursday, August 31st, I fished a multi -species trip on Lake Belton with SD Hearn Jr. of Temple.  SD specifically requested Belton as it will be the lake he most likely fishes on his own with his new boat.

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SD Hearne is a new fishing boat owner who asked me to “show him the ropes” on Lake Belton so he and his 7- and 12-year-old sons could put a few fish in the boat on their own going forward.

SD recently purchased a 19 1/2 foot aluminum V-hull from Rockwall Marine and chose to hire me so he could see how the boat, trolling motor, and sonar all work together in the pursuit of fish.

We originally had this trip scheduled for Monday, but Hurricane Harvey changed those plans.  Although the rain stopped that day, the low pressure and winds from the NE caused me to push this trip back to a time with more stable weather.

Since learning to fish, not catching a bunch of fish, was the goal, I employed more techniques and covered more of the lake than I normally would have in order to give SD as much of an exposure as a morning would allow.

We began searching for topwater action under lowlight conditions, followed by downrigging. The downrigging produced fish and also lead us to fish that were heavily concentrated on bottom and therefore could be jigged for. Hence, we jigged for white bass, then used blade baits in a horizontal presentation to reach beyond the area directly beneath the boat once the vertical jigging slacked off.

In all, we found three productive areas, and ran sonar over a number of other areas that we either chose not to fish, or which did not produce once we began probing.

By the time five hours had rolled by, we managed to put 42 fish in the boat, and added another sunfish at dockside as I explained yet another tactic that I thought SD’s seven-year-old would take to. While on the lake, our catch included exactly 39 white bass, two hybrid striper, and one largemouth bass.

Our downrigger presentation today consisted of three-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons, our jigging was all done with 3/8 else Redneck Fish’n’ Jigs Model 180 slabs, and our blade bait tactics were accomplished with Reef Runner Cicadas in the 1/2 ounce silver on silver model.

As we wrapped up, SD very sincerely thanked me for the teaching and the explanations that went along with the fish catching.

TALLY: 43 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:50am

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 71F

Water Surface Temp: 79.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW7-9

Sky Conditions: 20% high white cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.63 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

31AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 811 downrigging early for scant, small schools of white bass

**Area 1975 vertical jigging (easing tactic) in 42′ for abundant but lethargic white bass

**Area vic 1126 – made three “short hops” in this same vicinity for heavily schooled, bottom-oriented white bass in the 0-, 1-, 2-, and 3-year class taken via slabs with an easing tactic and with bladebaits using a lift-drop tactic.

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

Fish Have Hurricane Parties, Too! — 95 Fish, Stillhouse, 25 Aug. ’17

This morning I had the pleasure of fishing with a 10-year-old young man, Keyonte’ Charleston, who first came out with me last week and caught the first fish of his life through the SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) program.  Keyonte’ enjoyed the outing so much that his mom enrolled him in the Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited program and signed up for a “Fishing 101” trip.

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Keyonte’ Charleston with the largest of the 95 fish we landed this morning, including 79 white bass, 1 largemouth bass, and 15 sunfish.  The 9-10am window was our most productive as we sat over a moderately aggressive school of white bass for nearly an hour and landed 41 fish from out of that school using tailspinners.

With a falling barometer in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, a gentle ENE breeze, and grey skies greeting us during an obscured sunrise this morning, we found the bite, which started right around 7am, very aggressive and longer than the 2 hour feed that had occurred Tuesday through Thursday this week.  As the skies got brighter (although through 100% cloud cover), the third hour of the day turned out to be our most productive.

We landed 20 fish in our first hour mainly via downrigging, 19 fish in our second hour mainly on bladebaits, and 41 fish in our third hour mainly on tailspinners with some cleanup duty via downriggers as the bite softened.  By 10:30am, the bite was done.  Keyonte’  then specifically requested that we do some sunfishing, as we had only pursued white bass up to this point.  With exactly 80 fish in the boat, we put the downrigger rods, tailspinner rods, and bladebait rods away and went up shallow for sunfish.

The sunfish were also very active, as the wind and waves brought them further out from the cover they would typically be buried into during brighter, calmer conditions.  Keyonte’ landed an additional 15 sunfish in under a half-hour, taking his tally to 95 fish by the time we spotted his mom pulling into the parking lot to pick him up.

I was really impressed with how quickly Keyonte’ picked up on several skills.  He handled the rigging of the downriggers very deftly and he learned to cast with spinning gear on this trip.  After about 4 “work the bugs out” casts, he was effectively working a 1/2 ounce bladebait in 32 feet of water right along side me and was catching fish steadily.

What I do on the water during a SKIFF trip and a SKIESUnlimited Fishing 101 trip are identical.  SKIFF trips are available free of charge when kids are separated from their military parent due to that parent’s military duty obligations; kids are eligible for one trip per parent’s absence.  The SKIESUnlimited program is fee-based, however, when a parent is deployed families may obtain credit towards activities and use that credit before paying out of pocket.

SKIESUnlimited stands for Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills.

SKIESUnlimited offers dozens of activities for military and Department of Defense kids of all ages, ranging from gymnastics to piano lessons, from academic tutoring to various forms of dance, and more.  Monetary credit for such courses is available for children whose military parents are deployed.

To participate in such courses, children must first be registered with Child and Youth Services.

Registration is free and is accomplished by contacting Parent Central Services at 254-287-8029.

Once registered, parents may go online to enroll their children for the myriad courses available.

TALLY: 95 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp: 86.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE8-10

Sky Conditions: 90% grey cloud cover the entire trip; light sprinkle as I drove to the launch around 6:15a

Water Level: 0.49 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

25AUG17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 699-131 downrigging for 20 fish in our 1st hour

**Area 558 bladebaits for 19 fish in our 2nd hour

**Area 331 tailspins, then 332-558-104 for 41 fish during the 3rd (+) hour

**Area 667 sunfish

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

…before the novelty wore off & the donuts ran out… — 70 fish with Webb & Cyan Johnston

This morning, Thursday, 24 August, I fished a second multi-species trip on Stillhouse Hollow with Bill Johnston and two of his grandkids, Webb and Cyan Johnston.  These same two grandchildren came out with me this past Monday, as well.

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Cyan and Webb Johnston with a nice pair of white bass taken while the fish were most active during our first 75 minutes on the water this morning, from 7:00 to 8:15 am.

 

Webb, age 4, is from New Orleans, LA, and Cyan, age 7, lives in Austin, TX.  Even after bearing with me through a very slow morning of fishing on Monday, the kids were just as excited to get our adventure underway this morning.

The last thing I wanted to do was to give the kids two slow trips back-to-back, yet, the potential was certainly there thanks to a wrinkle in the weather that occurred yesterday.  Around 2pm, our winds which began from the SW, then went calm at midday, turned out of the NE while thunderstorms began to erupt all across central Texas.  We got a 4-hour long, 0.35 inch rain event before evening cooling eliminated the showers.  The wind shift is what concerned me.

Typically summertime fish do best on long, stable stretches of weather, and wrinkles either really fire them up or really turn them off.  So, this morning was a gamble that turned out well for us.

I had found 3 distinct locations holding fish on Tuesday of this week, and these same areas produced again yesterday, so, that is where we started our hunt for fish today.

I opted for downriggers (versus a horizontal casting approach using bladebaits which produced so well yesterday), mainly due to the kids’ limited manual dexterity and how finicky the fish can be about presentations under the conditions we had this morning.  This decision turned out well, as the kids enjoyed an action packed 2 hours of catching singles, doubles, and even 2 sets of triples with 0-, 1-, 2-, and 3-year class fish aggressively rising out of the depths to inspect and strike our Pet Spoons presented on 3-armed umbrella rigs.

By the time 75 minutes had gone by we’d already boated 29 fish (3 more than during our 4-hour outing on Monday).  By the 2.5 hour mark we’d taken that tally up to 47 fish, including 45 white bass, 1 drum, and 1 largemouth.  I was around this time (~9:30am) that the white bass fishing really fell off sharply.  I looked over several areas with sonar and saw little.

We spent our final 30+ minutes on the water targeting sunfish up shallow at the kids’ request.  They definitely retained their skills from Monday’s trip and did really well on setting the hook in a timely manner and with just the right amount of “umpf” to set the hook without overdoing it and send these small fish sailing through the air!

We landed exactly 23 sunfish, including longears and bluegills, before the novelty wore off and the donuts ran out.  Bill and I both knew it was time to wrap it up.

TALLY: 70 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:55am

End Time: 10:40am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp: 85.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE6

Sky Conditions: 60% grey cloud cover the entire trip; light sprinkle as I drove to the launch around 6:15a

Water Level: 0.46 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 100

Wx SNAPSHOT:

24AUG17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area   1987-699-139 – downrigging for first 1.5 hours for 29 white bass

**Area   vic 1960/1510 – hovered to present tailspins and blades to congregated fish tight to the bottom

**Area  1990-1496 – downrigging for whites that were growing increasingly disinterested

**Area 1572 – sunfishing for 23 fish

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

Killeen Angler Earns “Big Fish Award” for White Bass Over 15″ – 23 Aug ’17

This morning, Wednesday, 23 August, I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse Hollow with returning guest Anthony Vaughters, accompanied by his fishing buddy, Corey Alexander.

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Anthony Vaughters with his first step toward TPWD “Elite Angler” status — a white bass exceeding 15 inches in length.

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Corey Alexander with one of the fish we downrigged for at the second area we fished this morning.

Anthony is a fellow small businessman who owns and operates Kid’s X-pression Learning Center in Killeen.  Corey works as a mail handler on Fort Hood, supporting the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU).

Anthony was presented with a fishing gift certificate by his kids and his father and today was the day he decided to cash it in.

We linked up at 7:00a and were into our first fish by 7:15am.  The bite went strong until 9:00a, then got weaker but continued until 9:30a, then tapered slowly out to nil by 11:00a.

We fished 3 areas in much the same fashion.  When the sun and wind conditions were right at our first area, we took advantage of surface-feeding largemouth and sight cast to them with good success by matching our presentation to the small shad these fish were feeding on.  When these fish disappeared, we either downrigged or cast bladebaits for the abundant white bass in the area.

One of the white bass Anthony landed just before the bite tapered off at this first area we fished was the largest white bass I’ve had a client land in several weeks.  This white bass measured 15 3/8 inches, thus qualifying Anthony for a TPWD “Big Fish” award.  A “Big Fish” award is earned when an angler catches a particular species of gamefish and that gamefish’s length exceeds a minimum length established for that species by TPWD.  For example, the minimum length for white bass is 15″; the minimum length for largemouth bass is 24″, etc.  When 5 species of freshwater fish exceeding the “Big Fish” minimum lengths are captured, the angler then qualifies for a TPWD “Elite Angler” status.

At our second area, we were drawn to some scant topwater action seen across the nearly calm surface.  We found more scattered white bass and far less topwater action, and primarily downrigged until we found heavily concentrated white bass on bottom, which we threw bladebaits at.

By the time we got to our third area, the bite had slowed to a crawl.  We stopped just once to throw bladebaits after seeing the suspended white bass here generally refuse our downrigged offerings 9 times out of 10.

We put a total of 52 fish in the boat today, with a few missed opportunities on the topwater largemouth as the fellows went through the learning curve of accurately casting and promptly retrieving on these skittish surface feeders.

TALLY: 52 FISH, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 85.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: W breeze 1-6 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.44 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

23AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1987 – topwater largemouth, downrigged for white bass, used bladebaits for white bass

**Area  1988 – draw to this area by scant topwater action; downrigged for white bass, used bladebaits for white bass

**Area 453/1568 – action very slow by 10:15; downrigged for white bass, used bladebaits for white bass

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

 

 

Pretty Glad They Didn’t Sleep In — 50 Fish, SKIFF Trip #18

This morning, Tuesday, 22 August, I fished the season’s 18th SKIFF program trip with the Minchew family currently stationed at Fort Hood.

IMG_3679

 

9-year-old Julia Minchew landed this nice Stillhouse white bass in our first hour on the water during this morning’s SKIFF trip.

IMG_3683

 

6-year-old Rachel Minchew held on tight as this big ol’ white bass gave her a run for her money.

Donna Minchew contacted me as her husband, a US Army major, was completing a deployment to Afghanistan where he served as an information operations officer.  She hoped to get her girls, 6-year-old Rachel and 9-year-old Julia, out fishing before school went back in session and life suddenly got much busier.

SKIFF stands for “Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun”.  SKIFF provides free fishing trips to the children of soldiers separate from their kids due to duty requirements.  “Homefront” spouses with a husband or wife away from home on military duty (not just deployments) are welcomed to call me at 254.368.7411 to arrange for free 4-hour outing for your children.  Homefront parents are always welcome to attend, but are equally welcome to take some downtime from their own children and leave them in my care for this time on the water.  This is all made possible through the sponsorship and work of the Austin Fly Fishers and the supportive allies they have developed along the way.

We met at 7:00am on Stillhouse Hollow.  Given the girls’ ages and what their mom had relayed to me about their prior experience, I came prepared primarily to downrig, then to do some sunfishing, and, possibly, to try some vertical jigging if the fish cooperated.

We were fortunate this morning to encounter some topwater action driven by largemouth bass as they fed on shad on and near the surface.  This gave away the location of bait, and the bait led us to handsome quantities of white bass suspended at 25-35 feet beneath the surface and ready to eat.

We had 90 solid minutes of non-stop action catching singles and doubles on our 3-armed umbrella rigs catching white bass in the 0-, 1-, and 2-year classes, as well as a few small largemouth mixed in.  After this peak feed ended around 8:30am, we continued riding the curve as the fish wound down for another hour.  By the time the white bass quit, we’d landed 36 fish and missed a few more.

We invested the remainder of the time introducing the girls to fishing for sunfish using bream rods.  The girls both did very well at this, landing longear, bluegill, redear, and green sunfish — 14 in all — before the sun got hot and it was time to head in.

We landed exactly 50 fish this morning.  The girls shared early in the trip that they had grown accustomed to sleeping in over the summer and that getting up early was a bit painful.  When all was said and done, they were glad they got up early this morning.

TALLY: 50 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 85.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: S breeze 8-11 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.38 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

22AUG17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  699-139-1986 – topwater largemouth pointing the way to suspended white bass

**Area  vic 1981 – downrigged white bass after the fish went past peak feeding

**Area 832 – sunfish

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle