HAPPY 14th TWINS!! — 67 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This afternoon, Friday, Feb. 26th, I fished a “Happy Birthday” trip for twin 14-year-old sisters Diane and Desirae Manguerra of Copperas Cove.  Accompanying the young ladies were their father, Dex, their brother, Darius (age 11), and the girls’ friend, Kylie Green (age 13).

Dex is a licensed realtor working with the Salas Team here in Central Texas’ “hot” real estate market.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Dex, Diana, and Desirae Manguerra, Kylie Green, and Darius Manguerra pose with a catch of white bass taken this past Friday on Lake Belton.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday (PM), 26 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

We had a fruitless first 50 minutes under cloudy but calm skies.  Last week’s cold spell has definitely moved fish off the lake’s bottom.  As I compared notes recently with fellow guide Jason Weisberg, he is seeing on Richland-Chambers what I am seeing on Belton and Stillhouse — suspended fish which are channel-oriented.  I suspect that despite the cold water, the increasing daylength is moving these fish toward spawning areas.

Around 3:15, I noted a few gulls and terns looking “fishy”, so, despite them being in an area I would not normally have searched for fish, I went to them because it was clear their behavior was not driven by loons or cormorants.  As I came off plane, I saw in all of 5 seconds more fish on sonar than I’d seen in the previous hour (actually, more fish than I’ve seen all week!).

These fish were in 62 feet of water, they were moving slowly, and the majority of them were suspended in the middle third of the water column.

Anticipating tough fishing today, I’d placed finesse 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs on all the rods, but very quickly changed everyone over to 3/4 oz. to help them get to bottom quickly and because I knew that with as tightly bunched as these fish were, they weren’t going to be hard to fool.

The kids, already accustomed to video screens, immediately grasped what Garmin LiveScope was telling them, and took full advantage of it for the next 1.75 hours to come.  The fish weren’t going gangbusters, but the kids were landing fish steadily, and perhaps one in 5 or 6 seen on sonar would give chase.

By about 5PM, the gulls had moved, then settled down on the water and I knew this bite was over.  We searched elsewhere, but found no more catchable fish.

We wrapped up at 6:15 with exactly 66 white bass and 1 largemouth bass landed.  All but one of these fish came from a 150 yard stretch of open water which we fished with three “short hops” to keep up with the general direction the birds seemed to be moving in.

 

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 67 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  2:15p

End Time: 6:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Elevation:  0.72′ low with a 0.02’ 24-hour rise and 34 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 53.2F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light and variable from the E through 9:45A, then picking up quickly to SSW14 thereafter

Sky Condition: 100% grey, clouded skies

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 99% illumination (full moon tomorrow)

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**B0070G thru B0071G – helpful bird action led to 1.75 hours of solid fishing for suspended white bass.

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

SLOW BUT STEADY — 22 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, February 23rd, I fished with father and son pair Michael and Joey English who drove in from Leander, TX.

Michael is retired from the City of Austin where he worked in several of the city’s drinking water plants, and Joey is in high school.

I presented the option several days in advance to pursue either quantities of fish at Belton or quality fish at Stillhouse, and, since Michael indicated the two had done their fair share of fishing previously, they opted for quality fish at Stillhouse.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Deep water and slow presentations were the key to getting bit once again this morning.  100% of our fish came on a slowly moved 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook.  Over 50% of the catch was made on the stinger.  P.S. – I promise you Joey was fully awake — he just had the sun in his eyes!!

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 23 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Today’s fishing played out much the same as yesterday’s.  Cold water is definitely dragging on the fishing and will for a while to come.

We enjoyed the assistance of some birds (mainly gulls) in helping to generally locate active fish in the first 70 minutes following sunrise.  The fish these birds led us to stayed biting until around 9:30A.  The fish we caught were all out of small packs of 12-30 fish each.  For every 4 or 5 of these “packs” we had move slowly under the boat, we encountered one pack from which we could raise 4 or 5 fish and get 1 or perhaps 2 of them to actually bite.  This made the fishing slow, but steady.

Side imaging was crucial to finding these “packs” of fish spread over the large areas of bottom signaled by the birds.

Because aggressive fish were in such short supply due to the still-cold water, I tried to coordinate working together to double or triple up after a single hookup briefly excited other nearby fish, and we had some success at this.

The go-to tactic was S-L-O-W-L-Y smoking my smallest slab — the 3/8 oz. version of the Hazy Eye Slab — upward and away from pursuing fish to give the appearance of forage escaping.  Fish, although moving slowly, were not densely populating areas sufficiently to make snap jigging profitable.

Once we passed 9:30, the wind was still very light and the fishing took a dive for about an hour.  Around 10:30, a sudden WSW breeze started blowing at 14 and, about 20 minutes thereafter, the fish turned on for a while longer.  This was certainly not an aggressive feed, but, a return to the slow but steady catch rate we’d enjoyed earlier in the morning.

For our efforts, we boated 22 fish this morning, and missed another 8 as Michael and Joey worked to get the timing down on hooksetting on these slow-biting fish.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 22 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Working together to double or triple up after a single hookup briefly excites other nearby fish is something that can be exploited by experienced anglers.  We did this to a limited extent today.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7 A

End Time: 11:40 A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation:  0.53′ high with a 0.01’ 24-hour drop and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 47.3F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light and variable from the E through 9:45A, then picking up quickly to SSW14 thereafter

Sky Condition: Cloudless blue skies

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 83% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Productive Areas:

1536 thru 0098 – moderate action on slabs by chunky white bass in first 2.5 hours of the morning with bird assistance.

SH0102C to SH0092C – over channel

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

FIRST POST-THAW TRIP – 19 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, February 22nd, I fished with retired Austin policeman Jim Cottingham, who primarily focuses on competitive bass fishing.

Jim’s primary focus was seeing Garmin LiveScope used in a real-world scenario to catch fish and to understand the settings needed to dial the unit in, thus allowing it to be used to its fullest potential.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Stillhouse continues to produce beefy white bass despite the chilled water.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 22 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

This was my first guided trip since last Monday.  The recent winter storms cost me a full week off the water.  I went out briefly Sunday night to sample the water temperature, see if a shad kill of any sort had taken place, and exercise all the systems on the boat before welcoming Jim aboard this morning.

Fortunately, with the coldest water I detected (down to 65 feet) being 43.6F, and the threshold temperature for threadfin shad thought to be 42F, it appears we dodged a bullet and did not lose our forage base.  Sonar readings this morning verified an abundance of living shad suspended between 20-24 feet, and than again below 55 feet.

This morning’s bite had its good points and its bad points.  Good: I was pleased to see the speed at which the white bass we caught this morning pursued the vertical presentations we offered.  I bypassed the icejigs and jighead/soft plastics I thought we’d have to use, and had success right off the bat on a VERY slowly smoked 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook attached.  The only reason we smoked these is because the fish were following farther than we could routinely lift without interrupting the rate of rise.

We put 17 fish in the boat in the first 2 hours on a pretty steady bite with fish that definitely responded to the thumper, the, at the same time the wind went slack, the birds quit, and the fish stopped feeding.  We only caught 2 more fish from that point on.

As I anticipated, I found fish very deep in the belly of the old Lampasas River channel, but these fish were exceptionally lethargic.

 

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 19 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:    Temperature profile taken around 6pm, Sunday 21 Feb.:

0 feet 46.4

5 feet 46.4

10 feet 46.2

15 feet 45.8

20 feet 45.8

25 feet 45.6

35 feet 45.6

35 feet 45.5

40 feet 45

45 feet 45

50 feet 45

55 feet 44.4

60 feet 43.7

65 feet 43.6

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:50A

End Time: 12:15 A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F

Elevation:  0.53′ high with a 0.01’ 24-hour drop and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 46.4F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  W7 through 9A, then dying to light and variable

Sky Condition: Cloudless blue skies

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 75% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas: 350 thru 089 – moderate action on slabs by chunky white bass in first 2 hours of the morning with bird assistance.

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

A PRETTY FAIR DAY ON “FAIR DAY” — 59 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, February 8th, I fished with Todd Hudler of Academy, Texas, and his sons, Luke (age 13), and Hunter (age 11).

Todd is part of the Nuclear Medicine Department at Baylor Scott & White in Temple, Texas, where he manages the mobile PET Scanning operations.

Both of the boys are involved in the Academy Future Farmers of America (FFA), and, at a recent fund-raiser, their dad bid on a fishing gift certificate I had donated.

The boys were off from school today for “fair day” which is when the kids involved with FFA make preparations for showing their livestock at the Bell County Expo Center, so they invested the morning in pursuit of fish then got down to business in the afternoon.  The boys both raise rabbits and were planning on getting their prep done after the fishing trip.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Todd, Hunter, and Luke Hudler of Academy, TX, with slab-caught white bass taken under cool, foggy conditions this morning on Lake Belton.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 08 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The prevailing weather factor this morning was a persistent fog which cut visibility to about a third of a mile through around 10:30A when it finally began to thin (although it never cleared during the trip’s duration).

Given this scenario, I started looking for fish up shallow this morning where the limited light would be illuminating the bottom more so than in deeper water.  We took our first 7 fish in under 25 feet of water after making a few short hops to target “fresh fish”.

Our next move was out to 30 feet of water.  We found 3 pods of fish on a slow-tapering bottom and found them willing to strike as soon as we arrived, but also found they would shut off pretty quickly.

As I was looking for our fourth pod of fish in this same vicinity, some helpful bird activity pointed the way to our best fishing of the morning in terms of both quality and catch rate.  About 30 terns aggressively worked a patch of water about 200 yards in diameter for about 30 minutes.  Although the fish still were not uber-aggressive (after all, the water temp is just 53F), they were willing to chase MAL Lures better than the slower Hazy Eye Slabs we’d been using up to that point.  Once the bird action subsided, our catch rate dropped back off, and we moved on to our two final areas, both in deeper (50+ foot) water.

We found primarily small fish carpeting small segments of bottom at two distinct areas and were able to tempt perhaps one in every 15 or 20 that showed themselves with some target separation off bottom.

We finished up right around 11:15 as the bite was slowing to a crawl with exactly 59 fish landed in our 4.25 hours on the water.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 59 fish caught and released (2 largemouth bass, 2 drum, 55 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   The fog, as usual, made it tough (but not impossible) to excite fish today … I wish I understood that connection.  Understand it or not, there is definitely a connection between fog and slow fishing.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 11:15 A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 50F

Elevation:  0.60′ low with a 0.04’ 24-hour drop and 34 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 53F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  SE all morning at 9mph

Sky Condition: Light fog all morning to 10:30, then slight clearing to 100% grey cloudy conditions

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 12% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: N.A.

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas: 606 thru 099 (shallow), B0111C thru B0117C (short hops), 1859 thru 1733 (bird assistance), BG0026 (deep), vic 1391 (channel side)

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

ABC SUPPLY CREW COMES TO STILLHOUSE — 42 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, Feb. 6th, I fished with a crew from ABC Supply Co. Inc., a building supply chain.

Stiles Parker put the trip together for his co-worker, including Sebastian Coy, Jay Stone, Thomas McCoy, Bryce Yount and,Tony Urquidi.

Stiles has fished with me a number of times previously and the rest of the crew joined me for the first time today.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Bryce Yount, Stiles Parker, Thomas McCoy, Jay Stone, Tony Urquidi, and Sebastian Coy, each with a white bass taken under birds from over a deep flat early on in our trip.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Sebastian took this 5.00-pound largemouth from 38 feet of water while working his slab for white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday (AM), 06 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Fishing was pretty tough this morning.  Despite the fact that a mild, dry front was moving in, we faced much the same scenario as we did this past Thursday morning, with light winds moving from SE to W over the course of the morning in advance of the front.

We found fish all morning long, but typically caught just a handful upon arrival at a given area before the fish quickly lost interest in our presentations.  Seeing this, and knowing what it took to catch fish under last Thursday’s similar scenario, I moved us frequently to keep the “novelty factor” going the best I could.

We used MAL Lures to catch about 70% of our fish in the first 3 hours while the fish were showing a willingness to chase, then switched over to 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye slabs in the final 2 hours as the fish got more and more reluctant as the morning bite tapered off.

Only at our first area fished did we find fish on deep flats under birds this morning for about an hour, then all else was fishing on the channel edge.

TALLY: 42 fish caught and released (1 largemouth bass, 1 drum, 40 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:  The lead edge of the wind shift came around 11:30, with the winds going W13, but they then died back around noon for a brief time before the actual front arrived with a stiff (20+) N wind around 2pm.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 12:00 Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 46F

Elevation:  0.60′ high with a 0.00’ 24-hour change and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 52.8F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE at trip’s start, slowly swinging thru S to SSW over the duration of the trip.   Just after 11, a brief lull developed with the SSW wind going nearly calm, then, around 11:30 the first W winds began which would, about 2 hours later give way to a strong NW wind over 20mph which ushered in yet another mild, dry front.

Sky Condition: Overcast skies steadily thinning to clear conditions by 11 AM.

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 31% illumination

GT = 105

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas:  SH0080C thru 2019 (low light deep bite on deep flat), 1167 (channel edge), 0127 (draw with multiple short hops), 0113/Sh0085C (channel edge), SH0041G (channel edge)

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

AS THE FRONT BLEW IN … 132 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday afternoon I welcomed back returning guests Dave Ross and Allen Sandor.

Allen operates Sandor Construction LLC, based in Salado, and Dave, an accomplished and well-traveled big game hunter, is a pharmacist at HEB in Harker Heights going into his seventh year there.  Both Allen and David have fished with me previously, but in different seasons, so, they got to enjoy a very different sort of fishing on Belton this afternoon.

The front that was due in earlier this morning but failed to materialize during that time, finally arrived with a sudden uptick in the wind and a wind shift from W to NW, between 2:45 and 3:00pm.

The front was mild and dry, but did drop the ambient temperature from 76 to 64 over a 3 hour span.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Dave Ross (left) and Allen Sandor with a few of the Lake Belton white bass we landed on 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye slabs with stinger hooks this afternoon as a mild, dry cold front blew in and turned the fish on.

PHOTO CAPTION: Although we were not targeting hybrid striped bass, when we make enough commotion catching white bass, hybrids eventually show up to investigate.  This one investigated a bit too thoroughly!

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (PM), 04 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Fishing was pretty straightforward this afternoon.  We started out deep in 43-48 feet of water after finding fish primarily by using side-imaging, then worked our way gradually shallower as the light level decreased toward sunset.  The fishing was pretty good as the west wind blew, then got really good and stayed that way once the incoming cold front shifted the winds to the NW and increased the velocity to just over 13mph.

We used a slow-smoking tactic with my 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye slabs with stinger hooks attached to draw fish up off the bottom.  We encountered very few suspended fish this afternoon.

The fishing got so good that, mainly for variety’s sake, Dave and I switched over to the MAL Lure (with chartreuse tail) for a 15-20 minute window about 25 minutes following the wind shift.  The fish just sailed off bottom to come get it, but fairly quickly settled back down, thus necessitating the slower pace of the slab.

Both fellows very quickly got the hang of allowing Garmin LiveScope to aid them in knowing when to continue presenting to interested fish, and when to return their slab to bottom.

We did a few “short hops” at the first area we fished, then just one Spot-Lock each on the final three areas we fished.

The fish fed hard right up until the sun dropped below the horizon, then they quit suddenly.  The last area we hit we hit because birds were acting “fishy” over a stretch of open water.

TALLY: 132 fish caught and released (4 drum, 1 largemouth bass, 1 hybrid striper, and 126 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   Observed the first over-channel migrating white bass of this season on sonar this evening. They were cruising at about 22 feet deep.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  2:00P

End Time: 6:15P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Elevation:  0.53′ low with a 0.02’ 24-hour fall and 34 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 53.4F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  W9 at trip’s start, shifting to NW and increasing to 13 by 3:00, then slowly tapering to NW9 by dusk

Sky Condition: Fair skies with occasionally passing bands of white clouds

Moon Phase: Last quarter moon at 53% illumination

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas:  0147 thru 2041(multiple short hops), B0112C, 380 (mostly small fish), and B0116C (sunset 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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

BY 11:30, IT WAS MILLER TIME — 52 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I welcomed back perennial guest Dwight Stone of Georgetown, this time accompanied by his brother Duane Stone, a retired Alaskan State Trooper from Glenn Allen, AK.

Like Dwight, Duane enjoys just about everything outdoors.  Lots of good fishing stories were shared this morning!  My favorite was listening to the process of cutting a 4′ x 4′ hole through several feet of ocean ice to drop a crab trap through, only to place styrofoam and snow over it as insulation so the same several feet of ice didn’t have to be removed a second time to retrieve the fresh crabs a week or so later.

Most of our action came early this morning and, by 11:30, despite the bottom we were over being littered with fish, those fish were done.  We proclaimed it “Miller Time”, which meant Dwight would be taking Duane over to Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton, as has become his custom anytime he brings someone to fish on Stillhouse or Belton for their first time.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Dwight and Duane Stone with a portion of our catch taken from ~52F water on Stillhouse this morning.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 04 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

With an incoming, dry, mild cold front due to change the weather once again, today was what I anticipated would be the best of the weekday fishing, which Dwight had asked me to try to hand-pick for him and his brother, since both are retired and have flexible schedules.

The front did, indeed, arrive, but at around 3pm with winds shifting from W to NW and increasing from 14 to ~17 just briefly.

Our fishing this morning, was a few hours too early to get in on the pre-frontal bite, so, we dealt with pretty average mid-winter conditions.

Birds helped out for about 90 minutes, and some passing cloud cover late in the first half of the morning helped out as well.

We took fish on a combination of MAL Lures when we found fish willing to rise up off bottom for a lure and give chase, and we used bladebaits when the fish were more reluctant and were in under 22 feet of water (as blades don’t work quite as well in water much deeper than that).

We observed that moving frequently was a great asset today, as the fish we caught generally were caught soon after arriving at an area and beginning our presentations.  The longer we stayed, the more reluctant the fish became.  It was tempting to sit on top of fish clearly displaying on Garmin LiveScope, but, when those fish just wouldn’t play along, chances were better that we’d put fish in the boat by moving, even if only a few boat-lengths away.

We caught 4 fish here, 6 fish there, maybe 7 or 8 at most at a single area.  Moving was essential.

We wound up with 52 fish in 4.5 hours of effort, including 1 largemouth going right at 4 pounds, and 51 white bass.

Although I was pleased that with the water warming from a low of 48F a week or so ago to its current 52+ allowed us to bring the MAL Lure back into our arsenal, I’m afraid we’ll be headed back down the scale if next week’s forecast comes to fruition.

TALLY: 52 fish caught and released (1 largemouth bass, 51 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   Most of this morning’s feed took place by 9:30A.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F

Elevation:  0.60′ high with a 0.00’ 24-hour change and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 52.8F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  SW9 at trip’s start, swinging to WSW and increasing to 13 by trip’s end, still a few hours in advance of the incoming, dry cool front.

Sky Condition: Fair skies with occasionally passing bands of white clouds

Moon Phase: Last quarter moon at 53% illumination

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas:  SH0004G thru SH0035G thru 100 (3 short hops for morning’s most aggressive fish on MAL’s), SH0040G (bladebait action), 1167 (scant), SH0005C thru 331 (reluctant, bottom-hugging fish on MAL’s)

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

LARGEMOUTH ICING ON OUR WHITE BASS CAKE — 31 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Wednesday, February 3rd, I did a combination sonar refresher/fishing trip with Mr. Ronnie Trower which many of you will recognize from the Texas Boat World staff.

Ronnie recently rigged his new Avid aluminum bass boat with large-screen Lowrance HDS Live units on the console and bow, as well as Garmin LiveScope at the bow.

In order to avoid the pitfall of fixing the Garmin LiveScope transducer to the trolling motor, and to avoid what many consider a hassle in having to handle a separately deployable LiveScope transducer pole, Ronnie uses a Rite-Hite “Turret” mount which, like a trolling-motor mounted H’bird 360 pod, holds the LiveScope transducer parallel to the trolling motor shaft and stows/deploys it along with the trolling motor.  The Turret has its own slowly turning motor which allows the LiveScope to be turned and “aimed” in a ~360-degree field.

Today we continued to work out the kinks on all of Ronnie’s equipment and put that equipment to use in a real-life fishing scenario.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: A little “largemouth icing” on our “white bass cake” this morning as Ronnie Trower and I worked the kinks out of his new electronics setup.  This girl went 7.16 pounds and took a 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook.

PHOTO CAPTION: Ronnie got to try his hand at working my MAL Lure once the wind came up and the fish got more active.  Restraint on the hookset is a big part of converting strikes to landed fish on this customized, heavy spinner made to sink fast for vertical work.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 03 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Since Ronnie is primarily interested in putting his electronics to work to fish for largemouth bass in tournament settings, we spent a little more time than I normally would anytime we found fish near woody cover, as such habitat normally yields a better chance of attracting largemouth bass.  Moving less meant fewer white bass, but a better shot at largemouth.

Today, our action was front-loaded into the first 2.5 hours, with fairly slow fishing thereafter.

We focused on fish working bait on deep flats early, then shifted our focus to the channel drop in the latter part of the morning.  Birds were somewhat helpful, although the probability of getting fooled by loons is high now.

We swapped back and forth between my 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks (for less aggressive fish unwilling to leave bottom) and my MAL Lures (for fish which were either already suspended, or showed a willingness to chase from bottom upward into the water column).

We picked up two nice largemouth, the first at 4.28 pounds, and the second just a shade over 7 pounds.  Both came in the first two hours on the small, 3/8 oz. slab.

Before we came off the water I wanted to be sure we had accomplished what Ronnie had hoped to accomplish in putting this trip together.  He said the main thing was that he now felt more confident in “target identification” with the Lowrance side-imaging after observing what we did and did not stop to fish for this morning, and after simply covering a lot of water and just looking and asking questions to confirm or deny his own suspicions.

Truth be known, fishing is one of the biggest obstacles to people getting to learn their sonar better.  I see this many times with those I take out for sonar training … they tend to commit too early to too little and wind up fishing low percentage scenarios, or, worse, fishing where there are no fish at all.

We wrapped up with 31 fish — a little more icing on the cake!!!

Hazy Eye Slabs and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

Additionally, Tightlines Premium Fishing Tackle has a few of the white 3/8 oz. and 3/4 oz. versions on the rack right at the cash register.

TALLY: 31 fish caught and released (2 largemouth bass, 1 drum, and 28 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   Most of this morning’s feed took place by 9:30A.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 12:40P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 44F

Elevation:  0.60′ high with a 0.02’ 24-hour fall and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 52.4F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  S3 at trip’s start, increasing and shifting to SSW14  by trip’s end

Sky Condition: Fair skies with no clouds

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 64% illumnination

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas: 338, vic 1013, 1536-1538 (best white bass action as wind came up), 1892 (scant), 390 (scant)

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

DOES A FAT BABY GET GAS? — 101 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Thursday, January 28th, I welcomed back Dwight Stone of Georgetown, accompanied by his son-in-law, Ryan Renfrow.  This was Ryan’s first time out with me.

Dwight is retired from the restaurant business and Ryan, born and raised in Austin, conducts research at the University of Texas.

It was pretty chilly this morning.  As I sprayed screen cleaner on my sonar units before Dwight and Ryan arrived, it froze onto the screen!

As we reeled in our 101st fish this morning around quitting time, and after talking about BBQ joints on and off over the last 90 minutes of the trip, I asked Dwight if he was going to take Ryan to Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton.  Dwight quipped, “Does a fat baby get gas?”   I took that as an emphatic “yes”!

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left:  Dwight Stone and his son-in-law, Ryan Renfrow each with a football-shaped Stillhouse white bass taken on a combination of MAL Lures, slabs, and bladebaits.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 28 January 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The fish have settled into a pretty predictable winter pattern now.  Unless we have extreme weather, most mornings are seeing about 2 hours worth of feeding on deep flats by fish patrolling in small packs, followed by these fish collecting at the drop into the old Lampasas River channel thereafter, and remaining catchable for another ~2 hours.

The birds, too, have become fairly predictable with most of the bird action in the first 2 hours focused on fish, with the birds (gulls and terns) quickly transitioning to chasing loons once the gamefish quit working the deep flats.

We fished a couple different ways today.  First, because we had both wind and cloud cover, I assumed the fish would be in a positive mode (versus negative or neutral), therefore, instead of defaulting to slabs, I went with MAL Lures retrieved just fast enough to keep the blade turning around the shaft.  This worked well in the first 60-80 minutes.  We then noted that the fish grew more reluctant to chase as far and fast as the MAL Lures were being retrieved, so, I switched us over to bladebaits so as to fish more territory horizontally, and to keep the baits closer to the bottom for longer periods of time.  This was a good call and kept us catching fish through about 9:45.

About this time the deep flats bite wrapped up, the birds quit hunting over fish, and we had to rely solely on sonar.

We found fish on the channel edge at two distinct areas.  The first gave up 38 fish, and the second (and final) gave up 37.

These fish were not as aggressive as those we’d found earlier on the flats, thus, we used smaller slabs (the white 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye with stinger) with a slow-smoking tactic to fool these fish.  Combined with Garmin LiveScope, Dwight and Ryan didn’t miss many opportunities as we employed this tactic.

We noted the average white bass taken along the channel was smaller/younger than the average white bass taken earlier in the morning up on the deep flats.

We wrapped up with 101 fish.

Hazy Eye Slabs and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 101 fish caught and released (2 largemouth bass and 99 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   Typical Stillhouse winter pattern is solidly in place now with much the same things happening in the same places and at the same times each day.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:10A

End Time: 12:40P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 32F

Elevation:  0.68′ high with a 0.02’ 24-hour fall and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 51.9F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  ENE all day, starting around 8mph pre-sunrise, increasing to 10-12 by mid morning, then tapering back to 6-7 by trip’s end

Sky Condition: ~50% cover at dawn, increasing to 80% coverage (light grey in color)

Moon Phase: Full moon today

GT = 15

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas:  SH0019C (flat), 0286/0287 (flat), SH0001C (channel), 0113 (channel)

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

TIMING IS EVERYTHING — 53 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Monday, January 25th, I welcomed a boatful of returning guests aboard including Jack Oliver, his friend, Hank Lewis, and two of Jack’s grandkids, Jack and Roy Martin, the sons of his daughter Emily.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Hank Lewis, Jack and Roy Martin, and Jack Oliver with beefy Stillhouse white bass taken on MAL Lures moved just fast enough to spin the blade.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: This is a panoramic photo taken facing east just before sunrise.  It shows the front we had hoped to fish in front of passing by a good bit earlier than forecast, thus denying us the prefrontal action which I’d hoped for this morning.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 25 January 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

On Sunday, NOAA forecast the approach and passage of a mild cold front during the mid-morning hours today.  This typically makes for above average fishing.  Seeing this, I first asked the gentleman I had sonar training scheduled with today if he would mind moving back to Tuesday so we would not have to contend with wind (which makes things unnecessarily difficult when trying to dial in sonar, but is ideal for fishing).  He agreed.

Next, I checked to see if the client I had scheduled for Tuesday could bump up to Monday to take advantage of the pre-frontal action I anticipated.  He could not, but we were at least able to move him away from Tuesday’s calm, clear, cool conditions (the toughest of winter conditions).

So, now I had ideal weather and no party to enjoy it.  I posted about this on Facebook, and Jack replied within an hour.

Now, we just needed the weather to follow the weather forecast.  Unfortunately, that didn’t exactly happen as planned.

The front I’d hoped to fish in front of actually sped up overnight and the lead edge wound up moving by quickly around 6:20AM, still under cover of darkness, versus the 10:00-10:30AM forecast time.

With our meeting time set for 7:20AM (about the earliest the white bass begin feeding, based on light levels), we had missed the pre-frontal window and now were back to average fishing conditions for the first 2 hours or so until the wind kicked in good from the NW and spurred the fish on to a late-morning bite, during which time we more than doubled our first three hours’ catch of 25 fish to a final tally of 53 fish, the last 28 of which came in the last hour of effort.

For simplicity’s sake, and because the fish we encountered were willing to chase (as they were still positively influenced by the changing pressure related to the front), and because many fish were already suspended in the water column, we used MAL Lures (in chartreuse) the entire trip today.  We got the spinner blade working with a short, single handle crank to minimize its speedy departure from the bottom, and then settled back to as slow a retrieve as possible while still keeping the blade whirling.

With everyone’s eyes glued to well-tuned Garmin LiveScope, everyone stayed alert to opportunities as they swam by and we did well by timing our retrieves in response to witnessed fish behavior.

The fish we landed in the first half of the trip were on deep flats and were not as numerous, but were of a much better average size than the smaller fish stacked on the river channel during the latter part of the morning.  Every fish we landed was of legal (10″ minimum) size.

Not a bad morning, but also not the haul I anticipated had our forecast held true — timing is everything!

Hazy Eye Slabs and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 53 fish caught and released (2 drum and 51 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   More gull and tern action focused on loons than on fish this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:20A

End Time: 12:00P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 63F

Elevation:  0.72′ high with a 0.01’ 24-hour rise and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 52.2F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  Calm for first 80 minutes, then slowly increasing and shifting from WNW to NW up to 18mph by noon.

Sky Condition: Clear skies the entire trip

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 82% illumination 

GT = 85

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas:  0090 (flat), Sh0002C (flat), 419 thru 1167 thru 0231 (channel)

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec