Bass on Top; Whites on Bottom — 106 Fish on SKIFF Trip #6

This past Monday morning I fished the sixth SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) program trip of the 2017 season with returning guests Charley and Addison Elgin.

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We found willing white bass from the surface to the bottom this morning with largemouth bass pointing the way to them as they thrashed shad in the upper 4 feet of the water column.

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Charley really got good at sight casting accurately with both a lightweight grub on a jighead and with a heavier slab to cover distance.  He worked over the largemouth up high, while Addison worked the white bass down below.

 

These siblings joined me previously while their dad, US Army Specialist Sean Tinkelenberg, was deployed to Southwest Asia.  After being on the ground a few months at Fort Hood he was assigned to train cadets at Fort Knox, KY, this summer.

After some pretty turbulent weather over the weekend, the sun cleared from behind a low deck of clouds in the east right around 6:30 and, with calm wind conditions, topwater action by largemouth bass and white bass was easy to spot. This surface feeding behavior has just taken on the first bit of consistency in this summer season and we should see it continue in all but turbulent weather conditions.

We fished just one area this morning about 4 to 5 acres in size and caught largemouth bass in the upper 4 feet of the water column on both slabs and grubs, and we caught white bass throughout the water column down to as much as 68 feet deep on slabs using a smoking tactic.  It is clear that no thermocline has yet set up.

Because the kids came into this trip with prior experience under their belt, they were able to capitalize on all the potential the fish offered this morning. Charley and Addison wound up landing 106 fish this morning with very few fish hooked and missed. Honestly, most adult clients don’t demonstrate such a good hook-to- land ratio.

I told the kids’ mom I would have them back to the dock right at the 4-hour mark, around 10:15, and for better or for worse, the fish tapered off right around 9:50, so we were able to head in punctually without leaving the fish biting.

TALLY: 106 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:10a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Water Surface Temp: 83.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE0-4

Sky Conditions: Low grey cloud bank in the east obscured sunrise, but once sun cleared that, ~30% cloud cover

Water Level: 0.25feet high and slowly rising; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

26JUN17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area encompassed by 1259 through 1953 through 945 through1694 –  this ~ 5 acre area produced all of our fish this morning

Bob Maindelle

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

A Trio of First Fish Awards — SKIFF Program Trip, 24 June ’17

This past Saturday afternoon I conducted the fifth free SKIFF program trip of the 2017 season, welcoming aboard Mrs. Mylani Cantero and her three children, Chloe (age 5), Boyka (age 6), and Ben (age 17).

Chloe

Chloe Cantero, age 5, caught this 13.25 inch white bass — the first fish of her life.

Boyka

Boyka Cantero, age 6, also caught his first fish during a free SKIFF program fishing trip available to all military kids separated from their parents.

Benji

Ben Kalio, age 17, took care of his siblings first by helping me operate the downriggers we fished with, and then caught the first fish of his life, as well.
Mylani’s husband, US Army Staff Sergeant Charles Cantero is currently deployed to Kuwait.

Our trip was initially scheduled for this morning, but a slow-moving line of storms which dropped over 3 inches of flooding rains on the Waco area, moved into our area right at sunrise and persisted through 3 PM.

When we met at 4:45 PM, I asked about the kids’ prior fishing experience. None of the kids had ever caught a fish before. I explained that Texas was a great state to catch your first fish in because the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers a “First Fish Certificate” to those landing their first fish in the Lone Star State.

To say that it was hot would be an understatement. We had a humidity level near 100%, cloudless conditions, and the sun shining brightly after the storms passed. This definitely did not make for great fishing conditions, nor great conditions to have young children in the outdoors.  The kids were already sweating as they sat still, even before I had them place their life vests on.

My first instinct was to get the boat moving and to do some downrigging so as to create our own breeze and make the trip a bit more comfortable for all concerned. We did so, and with our downrigger ball set around 24 feet, scored a first fish for each of the kids within our first 25 minutes on the water. Each child landed a cooperative white bass.

As is often the case with young kids, even when success is coming our way, the novelty can wear off and the kids start getting fidgety. I am very vigilant about looking for this and transitioning to something new when I see that happening.

So, shortly after everyone caught at least two white bass we moved on to targeting sunfish in shallow water. We were successful at that endeavor, allowing everyone to catch at least two sunfish.

Next, it was back to downrigging for a few more white bass, and then back to sunfishing for a few more sunfish coming off of a thick hydrilla bed.

Because some younger kids just simply can’t make a full four hours on the water, I let Mrs. Cantero know that if we needed to conclude the trip a bit earlier then the planned time of 8:45, that she could let me know that. Around 8:15, our youngest, Chloe, had absorbed all of the fun and sun she could stand and Mrs. Cantero let me know that it would be a good time to head back to the boat ramp.

We concluded the evening’s efforts with 27 fish landed and three First Fish Certificates earned.

TALLY: 27 FISH, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:45p

End Time: 8:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 95F

Water Surface Temp: 84.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE2

Sky Conditions: Clear skies at trip’s start with increasing high, thin haze

Water Level: 0.12 feet high and slowly rising; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1716 thru 157 early downrigging at 24′

**Area 1948 sunfish

**Area 1132 downrigging at 38′

**Area 231 sunfish

 

Bob Maindelle

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

A Pretty Fishy Birthday Present — 100 Fish, Stillhouse, 23 June ’17

This past Saturday I helped 10-year-old Kyle Benson of China Spring, TX, celebrate his birthday along with his grandpa, William Dickson, and his step-dad, Kyle Jewell.

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Largemouth, white bass, and freshwater drum were stacked in and around a 50 foot draw and readily struck our white Redneck Model 180 slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger Hooks attached.  We landed 60 our our 100 fish fishing this shoal of fish with a vertical approach.

We got going right at 6:15am and, after the skies brightened a bit, found a collection of white bass “wolf packs” occupying a patch of water about 5 acres in size.  These fish were holding together in groups of 6-10 fish per “pack” and were suspended at around 31 feet beneath the surface.  This scenario is just right for downrigging and that is exactly how we approached this situation.

Running a pair of downrigger rods, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig complete with a trio of Pet Spoons, we took singles and doubles for about a 90 minute span, taking our tally up to 31 fish.  After the fish dispersed and the fishing slowed, we moved on.

Next, I searched for fish in a large, deep draw and, after a bit of sonar work, found enough white bass holding closely enough together that I felt a vertical tactic, aided by the consolidating influence of my thumper, would be effective.  We put the boat into a hover over this bottom feature using the Minn Kota Ulterra’s Spot Lock feature, got the thumper going, and got 4 slabs working vertically.  Before long, the colored sonar began to reveal fish coming in to the commotion we were creating.  Once we caught the first “icebreaker” fish, it was game on.  We sat in this one area for another 90 minutes and landed a total of 60 additional fish including mainly white bass with a few largemouth and drum sprinkled in.  As this bite died right at 10am, our tally stood at 91 fish.

I suggested that we head shallow and finish up doing some simple, fun sunfishing with poles and slipfloats, mainly to give Kyle and son a way to catch fish without the aid of a boat.  We moved to the back of a cover-filled cove and, in a matter of minutes put 9 more fish in the boat so as to make it a bona fide 100 fish day.

 

TALLY: 100 FISH, all caught and released

 Wx Snapshot:

 

23JUN17

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 84.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW6-9

Sky Conditions: ~40% cloudy

Water Level: 0.06 feet high and slowly falling; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 789-790 – low light vertical tactics for white bass on breakline in 38′ — 2 fish

**Area 649 to 1506 – downrigging for singles and doubles – 29 fish

**Area 1952 – deep white bass action on slabs in 50 feet under open water – 60 fish

**Area 1948 – shallow sunfish on slip float – 9 fish

Bob Maindelle

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

D’ya Hear the One About the Doctor & the Band Director? — 156 Fish, 22 June ’17

This past Thursday morning I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse with retired doctor and Navy Captain Ray Johnson, accompanied by his neighbor, Chris Lewis, who serves as the band director at Eastern Hills Middle School in Harker Heights.

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Largemouth bass were schooling on the surface in force this morning under grey skies and light winds.  Sight casting to these “wolfpacks” of fish as they aggressively pursue young of the year shad is challenging and engaging, requiring accurate and timely casts. Ray Johnson was up to the challenge.

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Ray’s neighbor, Chris Lewis, had fished Stillhouse on a number of occasion but caught his first fish from this 9-mil-long reservoir today.

Now into our third day with northerly winds, this morning’s weather presented with full coverage of gray clouds for the entire 4.75 hours of our trip.

The combination of a light breeze and grey cloud cover served us well, as it allowed for the very first widespread top water action I’ve seen thus far this season on Stillhouse to occur.

Our first stop this morning came in about 37 feet of water on a breakline adjacent to the river channel. Here, white bass were suspended in the lower two thirds of the water column and loosely schooled feeding on young of the year shad. We used a smoking tactic to take a number of these fish over a span of about 45 minutes.

Just about the time this bite, which never really got very aggressive, was about to taper to nothing, I spotted consistent bursts of water in the distance – – the telltale sign of fish forcing shad against the surface and feeding on them there. As we slowly motored near these fish, then turned off the outboard and closed the last few yards with the electric trolling motor, I could see we had a mix of white bass and largemouth bass feeding on shad about 1.25 inches in length.

Over the next 45 minutes both men were able to sight cast using smoke colored grubs on 1/4 ounce jig heads to tempt a number of largemouth bass ranging in size from 11 to 15 inches.

After this action died, and with a total of 25 fish now landed for the morning, I headed to deeper, clearer water in search of schools white bass that we could either downrig for or vertical jig for.

Once again, surface feeding fish, including a mix of white bass and largemouth bass, gave away the location many more fish holding closer to the bottom in the lower half of the water column, as revealed by sonar.

We spent the balance of our trip using a smoking tactic equipped with three-quarter ounce slabs to which my hand-tied Hazy Eye Stinger hooks were attached, to land and additional 126 fish through 11 AM.

We wrapped up our trip today with exactly 156 Fish boated for our efforts, including primarily white bass, with a number of largemouth bass and freshwater drum included in that count.

TALLY: 156 FISH, all caught and released

 Wx Snapshot:

22JUN17

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 83.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE7-9

Sky Conditions: Grey 100% of the trip

Water Level: 0.08 feet high and slowly falling; 200 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 992-1951 – low light vertical tactics for white bass on breakline in 38′ — 8 fish

**Area vic 649 – schoolie largemouth topwater action on grubs — 17 fish

**Area 1687 thru 989 thru 1047 – deep white bass action on slabs in 41-49 feet under open water largemouth action –126 fish

 

Bob Maindelle

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

A Walleye Man from Lake Erie – 36 Fish, Belton, 21 June ’17

This past Wednesday morning I fished with Marcus Mitchell of the Austin area and his dad, Jim Mitchell, who is visiting from the Cleveland, Ohio, area where he typically fishes for walleye and yellow perch on Lake Erie.

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Jim Mitchell shows our best hybrid from Wednesday morning’s trip on Belton.  The fishing was just so-so on this second day of an atypical summertime north wind.  Jim came down from Cleveland, OH, to visit his son, Marcus.

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Marcus displays his best of the eight keeper (18+ inch long) hybrid we took on live shad today.

Given the current fishing situation, I presented Marcus with two options: first, we could focus on pursuing higher numbers of smaller fish by using a combination of downrigging and vertical jigging on Stillhouse, or, we could take a bit slower approach and fish for fewer but larger fish by using live shad for hybrid striped bass over Belton. Jim’s preference was for the larger fish, so, with ample live bait on board, we began our trip at 6:15 and looked for some easy surface action to sight cast for before beginning to grind it out for hybrid in deeper, open water.

Thanks to a second day of northerly winds, the topwater bite was not all that strong, nor all that visible in the chop. Add to this the fact that both Jim and Marcus were a bit rusty on the casting, and we were only able to capitalize on the topwater to the tune of five white bass. The fish simply did not stay up very long and so 2 to 3 casts per surface feeding school was about all of the chance we got at these fish.

By around 7:15 AM all topwater was done and we began the process of searching out active hybrid striped bass and tempting them with our live shad. We fished four distinct areas, all between 34 and 41 feet deep, and the scenario was very similar at each one. We found white bass, typically heavily schooled and moving quickly about, some fairly reluctant hybrid moving very closely along the bottom, with abundant young of the year shad all throughout the water column, and some pesky, small blue catfish in the lower third of the water column. As we fished these several areas over the four hours that followed, we picked up exactly 31 additional fish, of which eight were legal hybrid striped bass, one was a short hybrid, one was a channel cat, one was a blue cat, and the balance were white bass in the two and three year class.

Most of the white bass did not come on our live bait, but rather came on smoked slabs which we dropped down only when I saw abundantly schooled white bass move  beneath the boat as shown on sonar.

These summer months are my least favorite for pursuing hybrid, as the fishing for that species is generally slow, and hot, and somewhat tedious. However, for those willing to put in the effort, quality hybrid stripers can certainly still be caught.

TALLY: 36 FISH, all caught and released

 Wx Snapshot:

21JUN17

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 83.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE7-9

Sky Conditions: Grey cloud bank to the E which obscured sunrise, then clearing off by 7:15a

Water Level: 0.34 high and holding; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 133 thru 1657 – very light topwater action for white bass

**Area 152/086 – hybrid on shad and whites on smoked slabs

**Area 1800 – small blue cat

**Area vic 1297 – hybrid on shad and whites on smoked slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Best Buddies from Belton — 109 Fish, Stillhouse, 20 June ’17

This past Tuesday morning I fished Stillhouse with high school friends Daniel Gonzalez and Rob Borman.

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While jigging over the top of a large school of white bass, Rob pulled out this 5 1/3 pound largemouth on the same shad-imitator the white bass found attractive.

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Daniel poses with a 2-year old and 3-year old white bass he caught early on in the trip as we worked slabs in 35-45 feet of water for aggressive, tightly schooled white bass using Redneck Model 180 slabs with Hazy Eye Stingers attached. The bite was so aggressive that at one point, Daniel actually landed two fish on one lure at the same time.

Both fellows grew up in Belton – – Rob stayed local and now drives a truck for McLane’s, and Daniel headed west to Reno, Nevada, where he now manages a casino. Both men have six-year-olds and, on his annual visit home, one of Daniel’s plans was to bring his family to Rob’s daughter’s birthday party, and of course the two fellows needed to do a little fishing along the way.

We experienced a third day of winds from a northerly direction with some gray cloud cover in the early part of the trip out to the east, with partially cleared skies for the second half of the trip.

We found our first fish right around 6:40 AM on a breakline that drops from 35 feet down into much deeper water. We stayed in this general vicinity for three hours making just three “short hops” over this span of time, and landed over 100 fish comprised mainly of white bass with a few largemouth and freshwater drum thrown in for good measure. The fishing was very straightforward and very effective. We used three-quarter ounce Redneck Model 180 slabs, in white with a Hazy Eye Stinger hook attached. We used a “smoking” tactic in order to tempt fish located from bottom up into the water column some distance off bottom.

By 9:30 these fish had lost interest and we had to move on.

With the winds now the lightest they had been all morning, and clearing, bright skies, the fishing really dropped off sharply. We only landed five additional fish in our final hour on the water via downrigging as we covered three distinct open water areas.

We wrapped up this trip with exactly 109 fish boated for our efforts.

TALLY: 109 FISH, all caught and released

 

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp: 83.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE7-9

Sky Conditions: Grey cloud bank to the E which obscured sunrise, then clearing off by 9:30

Water Level: 0.08 high and falling; 40 cfs release at dam

GT = 30

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1951-1305 – short hops for 105 fish

**Area 190 – 1301 – just 2 whites via downrigging

**Area vic 129 – just 2 whites via downrigging

 

Bob Maindelle

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

On-the-Water Training – 60 Fish, Belton, 19 Jun. ’17 (PM)

This past Monday evening I did a combined sonar training, downrigger training, and fishing trip with Brandon Rudloff.

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One of the tactics I use while downrigging is to stop over top of larger congregations of any bottom-hugging fish I see on sonar.  I then work slabs vertically for these fish and then move on once the school moves or loses interest.  Brandon caught this hybrid on such a “slab stop”.

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Brandon was grinnin’ like a kid when his first triple came over the gunwale using a 3-armed umbrella rig as he learned the ins and outs of downrigging on Lake Belton with me this evening.

Brandon is a dedicated catfisherman, typically pursuing large catfish during the cold months. However, with his son about to turn four, Brandon needed to figure out how to steadily catch quantities of fish so as to keep his son engaged.

As we met up at Lake Belton, I first went over some sonar fundamentals addressing the pros and cons of traditional colored sonar, of down-imaging, and of side-imaging.

We then set out on Brandon’s boat, and dialed in his Humminbird Helix so that the map, the colored sonar, and the down –, and side – imaging were all as fishing – friendly as they could be for him. We then left his boat at the launch area and took my boat out so that I could demonstrate how I use slip floats for panfish, and how I use downriggers for white bass.

Brandon immediately grasped the efficiency of my slip float system, and realized he was using tackle much too large, thus only taking the largest of whatever sunfish may be present where he fishes. My method allows even the smallest sunfish to be caught. This, of course, is ideal for youngsters.

After that slip float demonstration, we set out to deeper, open water and I begin explaining all the components of my downrigging system. Over the next two hours, we caught singles, doubles, and triples of white bass in the one, two, and three year class taking our tally of white bass to 26, plus a hybrid striper thrown in for good measure, all in addition to the half-dozen sunfish we had landed earlier.  The entire time I explained why I was doing what I was doing as I responded to what information sonar continued to feed me.

Based on what I was seeing on sonar, with white bass moving closer to shore and closer to the surface as the sunlight began to dim, we put away the downrigging equipment around 8:15 PM and began to search on the surface for signs of topwater feeding fish.

By 8:25 we had found what we were looking for and spent the next 25 minutes throwing quarter ounce grubs to topwater feeding largemouth bass and white bass in large schools. We took our grand total up to 60 fish before the topwater action ended at 8:55.

Brandon was beyond enthusiastic about all he had learned and the potential these lessons held for making his son successful. To me, this was very gratifying.

 

TALLY: 60 FISH, all caught and released

Wx Snapshot:

19JUN17

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:45p

End Time: 8:55p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 96F

Water Surface Temp: 84.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: E3-4

Sky Conditions: Fair with a fine layer of haze

Water Level: 0.20 feet above full pool and falling; 200 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1391 thru 1750 – downrigging primarily for suspended, small schools of white bass

**Area vic 1186 – downrigging primarily for suspended, small schools of white bass

**Area vic 1800 – downrigging primarily for suspended, small schools of white bass

**Area vic 1206 – mix of white bass and largemouth bass on grubs/jigheads on topwater

Bob Maindelle

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

Eden caught ’em 3 at a time! – SKIFF Program Trip, 19 June ’17


This past Monday morning I fished the 4th SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trip of the 2017 season with Eden and Warren Erp, accompanied by their mom, Katie Erp.

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From left: Mrs. Katie Erp, and her two kids, Warren and Eden, enjoyed a SKIFF fishing trip while their dad, Andy, is involved in an Army field training exercise away from home.

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Eden, who lost a second front tooth just the day before our trip, managed to land the trip’s one and only “triple” catching a fish on each of the 3 lures of our 3-armed umbrella rig all at the same time.

The kids’ dad, Andy Erp, a U.S. Army warrant officer working with the Army’s unmanned aircraft program, is currently away from home on a field training exercise (FTX).

I suspected we would begin our trip doing some downrigging, but, as I searched for fish with sonar, the very first signs of life I saw this morning came in the form of a nicely grouped school of white bass holding on a deep breakline dropping from 35 feet to over 50 feet.  Although there were fish holding off the face of this slope over deep water, the ones that got my attention were the ones holding right on bottom in around 38 feet of water.  Instead of using the downriggers, we began the trip dropping slabs down to these fish as we held over top of them in a hover using the Spot Lock function on the Minn Kota.

Both Warren and Eden were able to put three or four fish in the boat before this school moved on and we had to look for greener pastures.

We headed to the main basin of the reservoir and ran a pair of downriggers at 28 to 35 feet depending on depth and at what level the fish were holding. The Cannon ‘riggers I use are electronic, so, I was able to call out depths to the kids positioned on the ‘riggers and they worked the touchpads to manipulate the level of the weights so as to keep our baits just above the level of the fish.  We used 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons on the business end.

The kids routinely took singles and doubles as the took turns on the rods; Eden even managed a “triple” — 3 fish on one rod at the same time.  Whichever sibling wasn’t catching a fish was helping me raise the balls by pressing the “Auto Up” button on the Digi-Troll 10 ‘rigger and helping me get ready to drop the fishing line back in that much more quickly.

I kept a weather-eye out today as we had 30% chances of rain in the forecast and, as I awoke, I saw some storm activity up in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area slowly heading our way.  When these storms reached the Gatesville/North Fort Hood area, I moved us back in the vicinity of our launch site and we continued catching fish on the downriggers until it was no longer safe to stay out.

As a quick “bonus” the kids took turns on my long sunfish rods equipped with slip floats and were able to put a half-dozen bluegill sunfish in the boat that were holding in hydrilla near the shore where we’d launched.

We wrapped up about 40 minutes early and the kids camped out with their mom in the family car as we waited to see if the storms would pass, but, as it turned out, they kept up until around 2pm.  So, even with the trip shortened a bit, we still managed to land 34 fish.  With their dad facing a possible deployment at the start of the new school year, the kids were already talking about getting to go out again.  This is one of the intents of the SKIFF program — to bring something positive to an otherwise difficult time of separation for our military families.

A huge thanks to the Austin Fly Fishers and all of the “allies” they’ve gathered along the way to provide funding, support, and encouragement for this program.

TALLY: 34 FISH, all caught and released

Wx Snapshot:

19JUN17

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 83.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: S7-8

Sky Conditions: 100% grey skies in advance of some rain that moved in from the NNW

Water Level: 0.20 feet above full pool and falling; 200 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1951-992 – low light slabbing

**Area vic 039 – 1112 – downrigging

**Area vic 088 – 1439 – downrigging

**Area 456 – panfish on slipfloats

Bob Maindelle

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 One Who Lands a Triple Buys Lunch — 54 Fish, Stillhouse

This past Saturday morning, June 17th, I fished a Fathers’ Day trip with Mr. Robert Haisler of Temple, accompanied by his children, 10-year-old Cole Haisler and 9-year-old Hannah Haisler.  Robert’s lifelong friend, Charles Mikeska also joined us.  Robert’s wife, Tammi, coordinated everything for this Fathers’ Day outing, then remained at home with the family dog while husband and kids were fishing.

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As is appropriate for a Fathers’ Day fishing trip, dad caught the triple!!

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Cole took big fish honors by landing a bass which never even had a hook point come in contact with it — read on!

 

The fishing was a bit slower today than it was the rest of the week.  The fish just seemed a bit lethargic save for about a 45 minute window when the first rays of direct sun hit the water and the wind peaked all at the same time around 9am.  Other than during this time, fish rarely raced up off bottom to inspect the downrigger balls and rarely appeared in near-bottom schools in a feeding mode.  Additionally, although shad were certainly not in short supply, they were generally relaxed and blanketing the bottom and were not in tight “balls” as they are when being chased and threatened by gamefish.  Finally, there was next to no topwater action witnessed despite ideal siting conditions.

So, we had to work for each of the fish we boated this morning.  Fortunately, my crew consisted of all fast-learners who, after being shown how to set the downriggers once, were able to do this on their own so I could focus on reading sonar and maneuvering the boat.

Our first area fish yielded 13 fish in about 90 minutes.  We moved to our second, most productive area and it produced another 31 fish including quite a number of doubles.  As the direct sun got covered by clouds and the winds slacked off, the fishing in this area slacked off with it.

The trip’s highlight took place on this area as Cole began reeling in what started off as a double – two fish hooked on his 3-armed umbrella rig.  As he reeled it in, I was keeping an eye on him and his rod and saw the bend in the rod increase very suddenly as line began to peel off the spool against the drag.  I prepared the net, not knowing what we had.  As Cole continued to reel the big picture began to come into focus.  A 4 pound largemouth bass had engulfed one of the two yearling white bass he had hooked and, although the bass wasn’t hooked, the dorsal fins of the white bass were poking into the inside of the bass’ mouth such that the white bass couldn’t “back up”.  The end result was Cole landing both the white bass and the largemouth – a 4 pounder, which turned out to be the largest of the trip.

We moved to a third area, still in search of an elusive “triple” – 3 fish caught at the same time on a 3-armed umbrella rig.  After about 20 minutes on this area, covering an ellipse of about 110 yards in length, it finally happened – Robert’s rod went off and bent well down into the butt section as he connected with a trio of 10-inchers.  The running joke was that whoever got the first triple got the privilege of buying the rest of the crew lunch, so, naturally, the kids were rejoicing when the triple came in.  Their enthusiasm was quenched when dad informed them that the lunch venue happened to have the same address as their own home.

We fished a fourth area during which time the morning bite died to nil and we called it a day.

We ended the morning with 54 fish.

TALLY: 54 FISH, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 10:50a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 82.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW5-6, spiking briefly to SSW13 around 9am, then slacking off again

Sky Conditions: Fair skies with 20% cloud cover.

Water Level: 0.40 feet above full pool and falling; 400 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1112-041 slow downrigging

**Area 1741-1950 – best bite of the morning with bright skies and peaking winds at 13mph; tried smoking with little success

**Area 428-349 average downrigging

**Area 190-1301 average downrigging; tried smoking with little success

Bob Maindelle

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

Summertime’s Just Right for Father & Son Fishing — 78 Fish, Stillhouse

This morning, Friday, June 16th, I fished with Mr. Mike Russell and his 6-year-old son, Cole, on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

Deep Bass

Mike hoists our largest fish of the trip — a largemouth taken in 41 feet of water.  This fish was likely stalking the yearling white bass that we found spread across the bottom and caught on downrigging gear.

IMG_2924

Summer time is for father and son time.

 

Mike makes his living as an attorney in Temple, and Cole is a newly minted Kindergarten graduate.

With this week’s very consistent weather came some very predictable, consistent fishing – just right for when young anglers like Cole are aboard.

We began our day making two “listening stops” both looking and listening for topwater action which is due to start in the mornings on Stillhouse any time now.  None was to be found this morning, however, so, we took to deep water and began presenting young-of-the-year shad imitations to gamefish (both white bass and largemouth bass) holding right near bottom in 30 to 42 feet of water by using downriggers.

Using two rods, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig (not to be confused with an Alabama rig), we presented  6 baits at all times and regularly caught singles and doubles (no triples today), taking our tally up to 21 fish.

Around 8:30am we encountered a large, bottom-hugging school of white bass which just begged to be jigged for.  I got the Ulterra in the water, turned on Spot Lock and we hovered over these fish for about a half hour, regularly catching white bass using a smoking tactic rigged up with ¾ oz. white slabs retrofitted with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks.  We took our tally up to 36 on these slabs.

Around 9:00am I felt Cole could use a bit of a transition to help keep him engaged, so, instead of returning to downrigging right away (which certainly would have still produced fish), we headed shallow to fish for sunfish with bait and slipfloats.  This was also intended to give Mike an idea of what he could do to make Cole successful and keep him engaged while fishing from the shore.  Father and son landed exactly 20 panfish in one stop, including bluegill sunfish, longear sunfish, green sunfish, and blacktail shiners.

By 9:45am our panfishing was playing out given how many fish we’d already taken from this one area, so, we moved to another area and wrapped up the trip with yet another round of downrigging.  The downrigging immediately began to produce doubles, which led me to sample the area to see if the fish were able to be lured in under the boat with the thumper, consolidated, and smoked for .  Well, they were!  We took our tally from 56 fish up to 78 in the closing half-hour of the trip catching fish very consistently on slabs using the smoking tactic.

 

TALLY: 78 FISH, all caught and released

Wx Snapshot:

16JUN17

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 10:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 81.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW8-10

Sky Conditions: Fair skies with 20% cloud cover.

Water Level: 0.50 feet above full pool and falling; 400 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1128 thru 1112   – white bass and largemouth on downriggers with smoking tactic used when large congregation of whites seen on bottom @ vic 1112

**Area 1098 – sunfish on slipfloats

**Area 1741 thru 1364 thru 1537 thru 1950

 

Bob Maindelle

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