Army-Navy Rivalry Dies Hard — 62 Fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Sunday evening I fished with returning guest ex-Navy SeaBee Mac McElroy of Harker Heights and his brother-in-law, Charlie Walters, a retired U.S. Army judge from the DFW area.  I rarely take booking on Sundays, but, due to these fellows’ schedule and the fact that I wanted to avoid the poor weather conditions which were forecast for our originally scheduled trip time on Saturday morning (cold and wet) we went ahead with this Sunday afternoon outing when the forecast showed some improvement.  Charlie tried to get Mac’s goat a few times about catching the largest fish of the trip, but Mac kept cool and steadily plucked white bass both snap-jigging and using an easing tactic.

 

Charlie Walters with a nice 3.75 pound hybrid taken during the first hour of our trip in deep, clear water while we still had fog and low light with calm conditions.

 

From left: Mac McElroy and Charlie Walters with fish from the 2016 year class.  The photo is a bit grainy because it was taken right at dark.  The several fish we caught right at dark rose as high in the water column as I’ve seen white bass rise since the lake cooled rapidly in January.

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Sunday evening, 18 February 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   We fished vertically 100% of the time this evening.  We fished 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stingers in deep water for smaller fish when bird activity was lacking, then stuck with these same slabs during some brief bird action, mainly because the bite was tentative most of the trip.  Although we were due to have SE winds at 15+, no winds developed, and, as it typical under mild wind conditions, the bite was also pretty mild.  We found fish in deep, clear water under grey skies during the first 90 minutes of the trip, experienced a 1-hour lull in the middle of the trip as the skies cleared rapidly, and then took our fish count from just 18 fish landed up to a total of 62 fish with the majority of these caught in the last 75 minutes, right up until dark.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) The water is slowly warming due to more mild conditions and increasing day length.  2) The suspended fish we caught at low light rose as high in the water column as I have seen fish go so far in this late winter season — that being just 9-12 feet beneath the surface.

TALLY: 62 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 2:15p

End Time:  6:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  56F

Water Surface Temp:  53.4F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light and variable through 5:30pm, then SSW at <5.

Sky Conditions:  Heavy, low cloud cover and fog to the point of limiting visibility to about a mile for the first 90 minutes, then rapidly clearing and warming.

Water Level: 3.53 feet low

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0036C – in 45′

**Area B0037C – 2 short hops in 44′

**Area B0039C to B0040C – 5 short hops in 32-35′

**Area B0038C – low light bite for fish steadily rising in the water column to within 9-12 feet of the surface by dark

 

 

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

SKIFF Program Surpasses 10,000 Fish Mark

 

The following in bold italics is excerpted from the Killeen Daily Herald’s 18 February 2018 edition…

http://kdhnews.com/sports/fishing/bob-maindelle-fort-hood-siblings-help-skiff-program-reach-milestone/article_e31b7bee-147a-11e8-b1b4-c315494bdb9f.html

Back in the fall of 2017, Alison Errington of Fort Hood contacted me for more information about the Fort Hood SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) program.

CAPTION: Brooke Errington, left, Roy Adams, center, and Billy Errington enjoyed a four-hour Soldiers Kids in Fishing Fun program trip Thursday. The 149 fish caught by the siblings put the cumulative total number of fish landed by those participating in the program since 2009 over the 10,000 mark.

This program is funded by the donations and fundraising efforts of the members of the Austin Fly Fishers, a fly-fishing club which meets monthly in Austin. The program offers free, four-hour guided fishing trips by boat on both Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir. In so doing, the Austin Fly Fishers hope to help ease the strain on military families which occurs when a military parent must be separated from his or her spouse and children due to military duty.

 On Oct. 9, Errington brought her 12-year-old daughter, Becky, and two neighbor boys, Lance and Wells Noon, ages 11 and 13, out for a guided SKIFF fishing trip. At that time, Errington’s husband, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Joey Errington, was in the midst of a deployment to South Korea, and Col. Scott Noon was deployed to Kuwait.

After the four-hour trip concluded, resulting in a catch of 44 fish, Alison knew her two older kids, 15-year-old Billy and 17-year-old Brooke, would enjoy such an adventure as well.

Fast forward to this past week. Once again Alison contacted me, this time to arrange a trip for Brooke and Billy.

After looking at the weather, Thursday’s conditions appeared excellent in that we were forecast to have southerly winds, ample gray cloud cover, and above-average temperatures toward the end of a warming trend, with a mild cold front moving in the following day.

We met at Belton Lake at 2:15 p.m., intending to fish until sunset at around 6:15. The kids were accompanied by their maternal grandfather, Roy Adams, who rode along as a non-angler. Adams resides in central Pennsylvania and arranged to escape the cold winter weather for a few weeks by visiting his daughter and grandchildren here in Texas.

After setting up the spinning reels appropriately for Billy and Brooke, both of whom are right-handed, I showed them the two most common tactics we would employ in pursuit of white bass. After showing them these tactics, I then had them demonstrate the tactics for me so I could coach them on any adjustments they would need to make in order to be successful.

We then headed out in pursuit of fish.

We were fortunate in that we were able to find bottom-oriented fish loosely congregated in about 33 feet of water at the first location we searched with sonar. As the kids got more adept at presenting their 3/8-ounce slabs and detecting bites, they began to steadily catch fish, including one- and two-year-old white bass. We continued catching fish for a full 90 minutes at this first area.

When the action at our first location waned, we cranked up the outboard and moved locations, hoping to find another population of fish willing to bite. As we rode, I spotted two terns which appeared to be feeding on shad. I slowed the boat and observed these terns from a distance. The birds’ feeding activity quickly escalated and soon over 30 gulls and terns were flying and diving atop a small area of water, eating the small baitfish which were being crippled and killed by the hungry, feeding fish beneath them.

 

Seeing this develop, I advised Billy and Brooke to grab different rods with heavier ¾-ounce lures tied on and gave them some instructions on how to work these baits for the suspended fish we had encountered. These fish were holding between 35- and 45-feet deep over a 53-foot bottom.

Our catch rate soared as these aggressive fish fell for our presentations, which very closely matched the size, color and profile of the threadfin shad they were feeding on. By the time the sun had set and the fish stopped feeding, we had landed 149 fish.

Brooke, a senior at Killeen High School, plans to attend Kansas State University and double-major in nutrition and kinesiology to prepare for a career in occupational therapy for special-needs children.

Billy, a sophomore at Killeen, has his sights set on studying architecture as a Golden Gopher at the University of Minnesota.

The siblings’ 149 fish landed Thursday put the cumulative total number of fish caught over the span of the SKIFF program over the 10,000-fish mark. This was the second most productive SKIFF trip ever, falling just short of the 153 fish landed by Cody and Cady McNeal in 2014. The average catch is just over 25 fish per child.

SKIFF began in May 2009 and has placed 391 children on the water. The vast majority of these kids have been from the Fort Hood community, but others have come from as far away as the Dallas-Fort Worth area and from Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Those interested in coordinating a SKIFF trip may call 254-368-7411. Children age 10 and older may fish any time of year. Trips for children ages 5 to 9 take place in the warmer months from early May through the end of September.

TALLY: 149 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 2:15p

End Time:  6:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  67F

Water Surface Temp:  52.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE15-17

Sky Conditions:  <30%  white cloud cover

Water Level: 3.51 feet low

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 382 – snap-jigging and easing in ~34′ for smaller fish prior to start of bird activity

**Area triangulated by B0033C/34C/35C – all aggressive, larger white bass in 35-45′ over a deeper bottom, with fish drawing nearer to the surface as the light failed at sunset.

 

 

 

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

Fishing Referral – 111 Fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday evening I fished with Sophal “Paul” Korng of Harker Heights and his friend, Stan Myer.  Both men are originally from Cambodia and came to the U.S. in the late 80’s.  Paul and his family established the “Top Donut” chain of stores around Central Texas.  My two-man crew really paid attention to the details of the snap-jigging tactic which is nearly mandatory in this still-cold water.  Thanks to that attention to detail, they began to catch fish right off the bat and just got better as the afternoon went on.  I first got to know Paul when a friend and fishing client, Jerry Worley, referred Paul to me after learning of his interest in fishing.

 

 

Sophal (Paul) Korng of Harker Heights landed several nice largemouth and his fair share of our 100+ white bass as the water slowly warms on Lake Belton.

 

Stan Myer, who recently moved to Central Texas from Oregon where he fished routinely for sturgeon, put all of the keeper hybrid we landed today in the boat during a short spurt of activity under birds around 4pm.  This one went 4.25 pounds.

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday evening, 08 February 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   We fished vertically 100% of the time this evening.  We fished 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stingers in deep water for smaller fish when bird activity was lacking, then switched over to 3/4 oz. slabs and used a slow-smoking tactic under birds for more aggressive, large white bass and hybrid.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) The water temperature was up to 52.1 from a low of 47.4 just about 3 weeks ago.  2) The fish we found (albeit briefly during the wind shift) under birds were active and suspended.  They responded best to a slow-smoked slab. 3) The fish we found on bottom with sonar were all 2017 year class fish; the suspended fish under birds were primarily larger, 2015 year class fish – some of the consistently largest white bass I’ve seen since October.

TALLY: 111 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 2:00p

End Time:  6:05p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  53F

Water Surface Temp:  52.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNE3-6 at trip’s start, then shifting ENE6-8 with an increase of clouds around 4:00pm

Sky Conditions:  30% high, thin white cloud cover, increasing slowly to grey 90% coverage by trip’s end

Water Level: 3.45 feet low

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0026C

**Area B0031C and one short hop shallower under birds

**Area vic 1945

**Area B0032C after seeing 2 terns look “fishy”

 

 

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

Asking Good Questions — 136 Fish with the TuffMan Champs

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday evening I fished Lake Belton with last year’s TuffMan tournament series champions Ryan Warren and Frank Ellis.  Ryan’s 6 year old son, Brayden, joined us as well.  Ryan and Frank routinely tune in to my fishing reports and noted that my clients regularly catch largemouth bass in deep water during the cold months while not even targeting that species.  To their credit, Ryan and Frank did not ask me to do anything differently, but rather just observed closely what it was that we were doing.  They came prepared with good questions like, “Is there anything you do during your cold-water jigging that seems to increase the number of largemouth you land?”  I tried the best I could to both answer the questions and illustrate these answers, as well.  For example, my answer to this question was, “Fish near isolated timber.”   To illustrate this answer, I used Spot Lock to hold us in 50 feet of water, in an open space of bottom between two trees spread about 15 yards apart.  We caught white bass, as usual, but we also caught multiple largemouth bass here — more than we would catch at any other area the rest of the evening as we fished over clean bottoms.  I told Ryan a few days before the trip that I was concerned about keeping Brayden engaged in winter fishing with its typical lack of variety.  So, it was music to my ears to hear him say several times enthusiastically, “We need to do this every year, dad!”

 

 

Frank Ellis came up with a bonus blue cat weighing 10.50 pounds on a medium light spinning rod and 3/8 oz. slab while we jigged in 51 feet of water for schooled up white bass.

 

Towards dusk Ryan and Brayden boated this nice father-son double.  Little Brayden’s fish went 22 1/8″ and came on a slow-smoked slab; Ryan’s fish came on a deadstick bait fished closer to bottom.

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday evening, 02 February 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   We fished vertically 100% of the time this evening.  Our first 90 minutes was spent searching out deep schools of what turned out to be smaller white bass on breaklines.  We caught fish steadily by snap-jigging.  The weather got more ‘fishy’ as the afternoon went on, with the winds turning more easterly and the cloud cover increasing and thickening.  I noted some birds working, which turned out to be the first action of what would be the norm for the remainder of the trip as terns led the way to 3 entirely different populations of fish thru sunset.  All three of these populations of fish were found from bottom up to around 25-30 feet over 50-55 feet of water.   The active fish beneath these birds allowed Frank and Ryan to get good at a number of different cold-water tactics.  Frank tended to prefer the slab and both snap-jigging and slow-smoking, while Ryan seemed drawn to deadsticking using sonar for precise depth placement.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) The water temperature was up to 50.5 from a low of 47.4 just about 2 weeks ago.  2) The fish we found under birds were active and suspended.  They did not respond nearly as well to a deadstick as they did to a slowly, steadily moving bait. 3) The fish we found on bottom with sonar were all 2017 year class fish; the suspended fish under birds were primarily 2016 year class fish.

TALLY: 136 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 2:00p

End Time:  6:10p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  53F

Water Surface Temp:  50.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ENE7-8

Sky Conditions:  50% light grey cover, increasing slowly to 80% by trip’s end

Water Level: 3.37 feet low

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1738

**Area vic 1490

**Area B0029C

**Area vic 1945

**Area B0030C

 

 

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