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