The Urbans from Tuscon – 100 Fish, Stillhouse

This morning, Saturday, July 22nd, I fished with the Urban family of Tuscon, Arizona.  Dave is a member of the Arizona Air Guard, Edilia is on a temporary duty assignment to Fort Hood, and the boys, 17-year-old Ivan and 9-year-old William, are still in school.  Dave and the boys drove in for a few days’ visit with Edilia.

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Dave Urban landed this personal best 5.125 pound largemouth on a slab in 38 feet of water.  My clients routinely catch quality largemouth as a by-catch as we fish for white bass on Stillhouse year ’round, although the incidence rate is much greater in the cold months.

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The Urban family of Tuscon, AZ.  From left: Ivan, Edilia, William, and Dave.  Both Dave and Edilia serve in the military.

As we began this morning’s trip, the productive fishing centered on Area 1960 finally played out.  Bait was scarce, only a few small largemouth were popping on topwater, and white bass were hard to come by after multiple searching passes with the downriggers.

I didn’t waste any time getting to “Option 2” which I came upon yesterday morning.  In water from 36 to 50 feet deep I found abundant fish and bait within just a few yards of where I’d found them with sonar yesterday.  This morning’s topwater bite was definitely less aggressive than yesterday’s, but, thanks to a southerly breeze, the bite held up well through 8:40a, then did a slow taper down to near nothing by 10:30.  Even so, we were still able to catch fish by alternating between downrigging (to both catch and find large collections of fish), and vertical jigging (once bottom-hugging concentrations of fish were found).  The commotion caused by the thumper and by all 4 anglers’ presentations did a good job of keeping fish in the area and interested in biting.

We stayed inside a 90 yard radius for all but the short time I spent checking out Area 1960, and we put exactly 100 fish in the boat, consisting of 3 drum, 4 largemouth bass, and 93 white bass.  A majority of the white bass were 2-year class fish or older.  Slabs did well for us until the mid-morning slowdown, then tail-spinners ruled for the balance of the morning.

TALLY: 100 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25am

End Time: 10:25am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Water Surface Temp: 86.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze under 8 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: No cloud cover.

Water Level: 0.17 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

22JUL17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1969 – produced all but 2 of our 100 fish as we alternated between downrigging and vertical work with slabs early, then used tail-spinners late.

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

Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited offers “Fishing 101” Course for Youth — 58 Fish

This morning, Friday, July 21st, I welcomed aboard 15-year-old Aaron Cherry of Nolanville who was participating in the “Fishing 101” program I offer through the Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited program.  We fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse.

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Aaron Cherry of Nolanville with one of 58 fish we landed this morning.  Most fish came in the first 2.5 hours under breezier conditions than we would encounter for the remainder of the trip.  No fish were caught in less than 35 feet of water.

 

Aaron has fish with me before so much of the learning curve I must take new youngster through was already behind us, allowing us to get right down to catching.  We downrigged for just a few minutes just prior to sunrise, but quickly changed over to vertical jigging based on the number of fish we saw both suspending and along the bottom.  We caught a mix of white bass, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum on white 3/4 oz. slabs.

Because we were fishing in deep water (38 feet) and because the water is about as hot as it is going to get all year, some of our fish experienced barotrauma.  This allowed us to experiment with a new device I’d had recommended to me by Jim Hester, a local bass tournament angler, called the Flip Clip.  This is essentially a weighted alligator clip made of lead which pulls fish to the bottom of the live well and helps the pressure in their swim bladder equilibrate so they can be released and swim back to or near bottom.  I was please with the performance of the device and now have 3 sets of 3 clips onboard to help with the release of fish retained for client photos.

All told, Aaron and I landed 58 fish.  Most of these came in the first 2.5 hours of the trip.  The last 1.5 hours was very tough as it got hotter, brighter, and more windless.

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: 58 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25am

End Time: 10:25am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 81F

Water Surface Temp: 86F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze under 4 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: No cloud cover.

Water Level: 0.19 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

21JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1239 downrigging briefly, then transitioning into smoking with slabs once solid sonar returns were seen.

**Area 1241-1968 (in trough) downrigging after the Area 1239 bite soured

**Area 1960, 1528, and 664-649 — all produced scant results after 9a on downriggers

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

Free Fishing for Soldiers’ Kids — 74 Fish on Stillhouse

This morning, Thursday, July 20th, I welcomed aboard Mrs. Mary Tenorio and her two daughters, 9-year-old Elianna, and 5-year-old Abrianna.

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Mrs. Mary Tenorio and her two daughters, Abrianna (left) and Elianna (right) with a trio of the white bass we landed during their SKIFF trip on Stillhouse this morning.

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Elianna with a plump, feisty largemouth bass.

The girls’ father, US Army Staff Sergeant Rafael Tenorio, is a non-commissioned officer in the Field Artillery currently deployed to South Korea.  He headed out just weeks after the family relocated to Ft. Hood from Ft. Campbell, KY.

The girls had a little prior fishing experience, so we built on that this morning.

Over the 4 hours on the water we employed downrigging and vertical jigging to target white bass, and slipfloats up shallow to target sunfish.

We devoted the first 3 hours to chasing white bass and wound up with 66 fish caught via downrigging and vertical jigging including 63 white bass, 2 freshwater drum, and 1 largemouth bass.  About 75% of these came on the twin downriggers, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig, thus putting 6 baits in the water at any given time.  The balance of these fish came on a “smoking” retrieve as we sat hovering atop heavily schooled white bass using the Minn Kota Spot Lock feature on my Ulterra trolling motor.

Around fish number 50, Abrianna conked out on us and assumed a horizontal rest position under a pile of windbreakers on the seat in front of the console, leaving big sister Elianna to do all the heavy lifting on the fish, assisted by mom whenever two rods went off with fish at the same time.

With about 50 minutes or so remaining on the water, we transitioned over to fishing for sunfish up shallow.  Elianna helped cut the livebait we would use and did pretty well at roll-casting with the bream rod we red for this finesse work up shallow.  We added 8 more fish to our count including bluegill, redear and longear sunfish.

“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.

TALLY: 74 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25am

End Time: 10:25am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F

Water Surface Temp: 86F

Wind Speed & Direction: S breeze under 7 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: No cloud cover.

Water Level: 0.21 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

20JUL17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1966 — “ground zero” for early downrigging out to an 80 yard radius for first 90 minutes.

**Area 1510 –“ground zero” for mid-morning downrigging out to a 50 yard radius through 9:30a

**Area 1967 – 8 sunfish up shallow to close out the trip

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

Making Memories with Grandpa Ernie — 43 Fish, Stillhouse

This past Wednesday evening, July 19th, I fished with “grandpa” Ernie Degenhardt and three of his grandsons – – 13 year old Dylan Degenhardt, 11 year old Drake Degenhardt, and 6 year old Noah Voorhies. Dylan and Drake are brothers from Temple, Texas, and Noah is a cousin to the boys, living in the Dallas area.

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Dylan Degenhardt with one of the larger white bass we downrigged for this afternoon.

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Drake Degenhardt with his best white bass of the trip.

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From left: Drake, Grandpa Ernie, and 6-year-old Noah with white bass landed simultaneously on our pair of downriggers.
Although it was a bit against my better judgment to fish with a group which included a child as young as Noah on a Texas summer afternoon, Ernie’s “window” to have all three grandsons was quite limited, so we made a go of it.

Ernie, a Vietnam-era veteran, retired from the U.S. Army after 33 years in the medical field and recently moved to the Temple, TX, area to be near grandkids.

Since this was a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip, it lasted for 3.5 hours versus a full-length 4+ hour outing. Our best results came in the first two hours as we downrigged for loosely congregated white bass spread over a 200 yard area.

Although I did find a few situations where we were able to work slabs vertically, the fish were not schooled heavily and our results using the “smoking” technique which has been so successful of late in the mornings just did not produce as well.  We picked up 3 drum and 2 white bass fishing vertically, and missed a few more whites and a single largemouth which got off on the jump at boatside.

I noted that we saw no topwater action at all this afternoon.

When all was said and done we had managed to put 43 fish in the boat with just a handful of other fish missed.

Our catch included exactly 40 white bass and three freshwater drum.

TALLY: 43 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 5:15p

End Time: 8:45p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 97F

Water Surface Temp: 90F

Wind Speed & Direction: S  breeze <7 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 30% cloud cover

Water Level: 0.22 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:

19JUL17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1150 to 1198 and 329 to 033 –  all fish caught downrigging for scattered groups of 2-5 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

1 Boy, 4 Hours, 100 Fish!! — SKIFF Trip #9, Stillhouse, 19 July ’17

This morning, Wednesday, July 19th, I fished the 9th “SKIFF” program trip of the 2017 season on Stillhouse, welcoming aboard 12-year-old Logan Allred.

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Logan Allred with one of the 100 fish we landed together today including white bass, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum.  We used a variety of tactics including downrigging, vertical jigging, and sight casting.

Logan’s step-dad, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chesworth, is a US Army Apache helicopter pilot with 15 years of military service.  He’s currently away from home participating in recurring gunnery training.

It was a real joy to have Logan aboard.  He is very experienced for his age and very capably handled a spinning outfit, throwing both far and accurately.  He had done a good bit of fishing in Utah for several species of trout using a variety of tactics, including icefishing, which is not unlike the vertical jigging we would use for white bass on this trip.  Logan’s abilities let us take advantage of “sharpshooting” for individual largemouth bass seen feeding on the surface which is something I often am not able to do even with adult clients.

We downrigged only long enough to catch one white bass on each of the downriggers before the sonar began lighting up with fish that were suspended about a third of the way up off bottom.  I put the boat in a hover using the Spot Lock function on the Ulterra, and we went to work using a smoking tactic with the “old reliable” white 3/4 oz. Redneck 180 slab with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached.  We worked over the white bass for a while until the sun had risen and brightened the sky sufficiently to get the largemouth popping on top.

We experimented with several shad imitations before finding just the right lure for the situation.  Once we locked onto that solution, we could count on hooking a largemouth on 4 out of every 5 accurate, timely casts.

Things quieted down a bit around 9:15 with our tally at 79 fish.  I told Logan we’d really have to buckle down and make every fish count if we were going to be able to have a 100 fish day.  We downrigged to find more fish, catching singles, doubles, and even one triple as we went, and with, about 20 minutes remaining in our trip, brought our tally up to 92 when we happened upon a “haystack” of white bass in about 29 feet of water.

I Spot Locked on top of these fish, got the thumper going, and we began marching toward 100 fish.  By 10:23 we put our 100th fish in the boat and “boogied” back to the boat ramp to meet up with Logan’s mom who was to link up with us at 10:25.

This catch was a “personal best” for Logan.

TALLY: 100 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25am

End Time: 10:25am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 81F

Water Surface Temp: 86F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze ~8 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: Cloudless

Water Level: 0.22 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

19JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1965 –  all fish caught with 70 yards including topwater largmouth and bottom-hugging white bass and drum.

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 Time on a Boat! — SKIFF Trip to Stillhouse, 59 Fish

This morning, Tuesday, July 18th, I fished the 8th “SKIFF” program trip of the 2017 season on Stillhouse, welcoming aboard 8-year-old Norah Todd, 7-year-old Lilah Todd, and 5-year-old Brenna Todd, chaperoned by their mom, Jeannette Todd.

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From left: Brenna, Lilah, and Norah Todd with their mom, Jeannette Todd in the background.  The girls show off the 3 fish we caught on “Round 2” of downrigging for white bass with 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.

Jeannette’s spouse, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Pepple, is currently deployed to Kuwait and has served in the U.S. Army for 13 years now.

Stillhouse offers great summer variety for such kids’ trips, allowing a variety of tactics to be used for a variety of species.  Today, for our first 3 hours on the water, we alternated between downrigging and slabbing for actively feeding white bass found in the lower third of the water column.  Our last hour was spent up shallow fishing slipfloat rigs for sunfish, many hand-sized, in the abundant shoreline cover now present.

The 3-armed umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons worked like a charm for downrigging, and the 3/4 oz. white Redneck Model 180 slab with Hazy Eye Stinger hook attached did the trick for the vertical jigging.

At trip’s end, after fishing in a windless cove for sunfish, everyone was pretty hot, especially given that the girls all had life jackets on.  On the way back to the boat ramp I “went fast” (about 25 mph) to cool us off and give the girls a bit of a boat ride.  This was the first time the girls had been on a boat and so you can imagine the screams and squeals when we got up a bit of speed — very fun!

“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.

 

TALLY: 59 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25am

End Time: 10:25am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Water Surface Temp: 86F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze under 5 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: Grey cloud bank in the east, but otherwise, <5% clouds

Water Level: 0.24 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

18JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1950 thru 547 and vic 1310 – downrigging for white bass beneath surface feeding largemouth

**Area vic 1312 & 1964 – slabbing vertically for white bass in the lowest 4 feet of the water column

**Area 1572 – sunfishing with 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

‘Twas Toasty Out There — 79 Fish, 17 July ’17

This morning, Monday, July 17th, I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse with Ray Harmon and his adult son, Clinton.

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Ray and Clinton hooked up with this pair of schooling largemouth on topwater just seconds apart, affording us an opportunity for a father and son photo without holding the fish in the livewell unnecessarily.  The largemouth we landed this morning were all plump with bellies full of small threadfin shad.

Ray is a pilot with McLane Aviation in Temple, TX, operating the corporation’s new Bombardier jet aircraft, and Clinton works for Baylor Medical up in Dallas doing medical research.

There is an old saying in fishing… “Don’t leave fish to find fish.”  I try to abide by that and, in doing so, encouraged Ray to consider fishing Stillhouse with me versus his initial choice of Lake Belton.  Belton can certainly produce some good catches in the summer, but is notoriously tough on calm days, which is what our forecast called for.  This, coupled with the fact that Stillhouse has been producing very consistently for six weeks now, made me very hesitant to leave.

We got going at 6:25a, did a bit of downrigging with spotty results, and then got on fish just as they were becoming active on topwater right at 7:00a.

We alternated between casting to schooling largemouth bass and jigging for bottom-hugging white bass as both species used the same areas and fed on the same sized threadfin shad.

By 9:15a, we’d put 50 fish in the boat when things really got tough.  The sun was intense and the wind dead calm.  Surface action was sparse, so, we had to slowly comb out fish with sonar.

Around 10:10a, we got on what would be the last school we would encounter for the morning.  In 45 feet at the top of a breakline we found schooled white bass with a few largemouth and drum mixed in.  We put a total of 29 more fish in the boat, including our largest white bass of the morning, fishing here with 3/4 oz. white slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks affixed to them.

We were all sweat-soaked by the time the fish quit right around 11a, which make the ride back in, and the breeze we enjoyed during that ride, most welcome.

TALLY: 79 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 85.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE breeze under 2 mph the entire trip; often flat calm

Sky Conditions: Grey cloud bank in the east, but otherwise, <15% clouds

Water Level: 0.26 feet high and steady with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

17JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1316 widespread topwater by largemouth on young of the year shad

**Area vic 1960 – white bass on slabs

**Area vic 077/119 widespread topwater by largemouth on young of the year shad

**Area vic 1960 – white bass on slabs for a second round

**Area 1962 – whites, drum, and largemouth from off bottom over a breakline on 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

All the Way from Puerto Rico — 108 Fish, 15 July ’17

This morning, Saturday, July 15th, I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse Hollow with Jonathan, Jose, and Haysel Cancel and family friend, Gustavo Vasquez.

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Haysel caught the first fish of the day and got us started off right.

 

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After Haysel landed her first fish, Jonathan contributed with a double taken on two of the three Pet Spoons on the 3-armed umbrella rigs were were downrigging with.

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Once we began slabbing vertically, we began routinely getting into 2 year class fish like this on caught by Gustavo.

JOSE

The slabbing got pretty intense from 7:15 to about 8:45.  During this time we routinely had 2 or 3 of the 4 rods bent at the same time, and Jose came up with two fish caught on his slab at the same time.

Jonathan and his wife were hosting Jose who traveled in for a visit from Puerto Rico where he regularly fishes in the Caribbean for a variety of saltwater species.

The pre-dawn minutes were calm, but as soon as the sun rose a light ripple formed on the water which steadily increased up to about 10 mph by the end of the trip.  We downrigged until the sun brightened enough to begin to fuel a topwater bite, then used topwater feeding fish as our visual cue as to where to begin searching for white bass stacked up on bottom.  The downrigging got us an even dozen fish in the first 50 minutes of effort before we began slabbing.

Around 7:15a, I spotted an osprey acting “fishy”, in that it kept patrolling over the same small patch of water, occasionally erratically dipping down as ospreys do when they spot fish.  I moved in closer for a look and found that small largemouth bass were feeding lightly on young of the year shad at the surface.  The light chop hid this because the bass were not chasing very aggressively.

For the next 2 full hours we stayed in a 50 yard radius making 3 “short hops” and landed primarily 1 and 2 year class white bass with a few drum mixed in, all on a white 3/4 oz. slab with a Hazy Eye Stinger hook affixed to the line tie.  We added 83 fish to the dozen we’d landed on the downriggers, thus putting our tally at 95 fish by 9:15am.

At this time, things got tough.  The topwater bite died and the sonar showed the white bass along the bottom lost interest.  We motored and checked a number of areas in a variety of depths before encountering what would be the last group of fish we’d find for the morning on a broad, sloping, wind-blown bank.  Again, a mix of white bass and drum allowed for another 8 fish to be landed with several more lost.

We wrapped up the trip back at the boat ramp where I did a quick ‘demo’ of how to set up and use a bream pole.  Heysel landed 3 sunfish in short order and we then called it a day with 108 fish landed for our efforts.

TALLY: 108 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25am

End Time: 10:40am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 81F

Water Surface Temp: 85.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: WSW breeze under 10 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: Grey cloud bank in the east, but otherwise, <5% clouds

Water Level: 0.28 feet high and steady with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT:

15JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 087-1951 along the break with balls set at 24′ and 26′

**Area 1960 for two hours of slabbing with 3 short hops in this same vicinity

**Area 1958-462 – centered between these two areas in 37′; final slab bite of the morning

**Area 456 – quick sunfish demo for 3 fish 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

Lake Record Spotted Bass with Grandpa, Trip, and Zeke — 153 Fish, 13 July ’17

This morning, Thursday, July 13th, I fished with Mr. Alan Payne of Salado and two of his four grandkids — 14-year-old Trip Mitchell and 12-year-old Zeke Payne.

Angler with Fish

The very first fish of the day was this record-setting spotted bass landed by Zeke on a downrigged umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons.

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We found nice white bass on bottom; Trip shows one of the 3 year old fish he landed.

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We found nice largemouth on top; Zeke shows a plump largemouth we found chasing shad in open water.

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Several times during the trip we had a 3-way hookup with everyone landing a fish at the same time.

I’ve been off the water since last Friday after celebrating my 22nd wedding anniversary on Saturday, heading to church and resting on Sunday, and helping at our church’s Vacation Bible School each morning this week.

I felt a bit out of touch with things since I’d been fishing nearly every day except Sunday for the last 3-4 weeks and had been really keeping my finger on the pulse of the fish and bait movements as a result of doing so.

There was no need for concern, however, as the very stable weather kept the fish doing the same things in the same places and at the same times as they were before my break in the action, so, this morning we got right down to catching.

The first hour (spent downrigging) was a bit slow as the light level varied back and forth due to a direct sunrise which was then obscured by a low bank of clouds in the east.  The winds at sunrise were calm and stayed low for the first hour until a lake-wide ripple began to develop with an increasing southerly breeze.

Our first fish, caught by Zeke, was a new Junior Angler category lake record spotted bass.  Some years ago the 14″ statewide length limit on spotted bass was dropped as these fish were found to rarely attain this length in Texas waters.  Zeke’s fish was 10.5 inches in length and weighed a quarter-pound.  Spotted bass are fairly easily distinguished from largemouth bass thanks to several rows of olive-flecked scales on their white belly and an oval-shaped, dark tooth back on the rear center of their tongue.

Things really got going right around 7:15 am when a mix of largemouth at and near the surface and white bass down beneath along bottom in many of the same areas.

With the energy the fish were putting forth feeding on young of the year shad, and with seeing how the fish presented in the water column as shown on sonar, I went with alternating between casting to surface-feeding fish and slabbing vertically for bottom-huggers, just depending on what sonar showed.

The fish fed hard right up until around 10:30, at which time the surface eruptions slowed to very infrequent and widely scattered and the bottom bite dried up.  The boys had read accounts of 100+ fish days on my blog in the days leading up to their trip this morning and were elated that their own trip was now in the logs as one of those adventures surpassing the century mark.

TALLY: 153 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15am

End Time: 10:40am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 84.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: S. breeze under 6mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: <5% clouds

Water Level: 0.30 feet high and steady with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT:

13JUL17

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1310 – ground zero of a 150 yard radius of long-lived largemouth action on top and white bass action on bottom

**Area 1960 – exact location of large white bass school we smoked slabs for at mid morning

**Area 1961 – exact location of large white bass school we smoked slabs for at trip’s end

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

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100 Fish Gets You a “Fat Ernie”!! — 137 Fish, Stillhouse, 07 July ’17

This past Friday morning, July 7th, I fished a multi species trip on Stillhouse with high school buddies Rob Borland, Alex Araiza, and John Wade.

IMG_3218

From left: John Wade, Alex Araiza, and Rob Borland — high school buddies from Belton who came together for a little “fishing reunion” (and breakfast burritos).

All three fellows went to Belton high school together. Rob is a US Army veteran now working as a truck driver for McLane’s in Temple, Alex is a CT tech at a hospital in New Mexico, and John is a local UPS driver servicing the Copperas Cove area.

Rob first got the idea to bring these fellows out after a friend of his, Daniel Gonzalez brought him out recently when Daniel came in for a visit from Reno, Nevada.

On Rob and Daniel’s trip, we landed 109 fish, so, Rob’s expectations were pretty high for this morning’s trip.

Fortunately, we had stable weather overnight and into this morning, and although the fish did not go gangbusters, there was a solid three hour feed this morning.

We started with downriggers off of a main lake point with balls set between 28 and 32 feet for fish suspended just lower than that. In an hour’s worth of downrigging we picked up 20 fish including singles, doubles, and triples on three-armed umbrella rigs equipped with small Pet Spoons selected to match the young of the year shad.

When it became apparent that the downrigger bite was fading, I moved us to deeper, clearer water and searched from 38 to 62 feet attempting to find heavily congregated, bottom hugging white bass for us to hover over top of and slab for.

Some natural sign that I observed got me in the right vicinity of such white bass, and sonar helped to seal the deal.

Sitting atop one area we were able to put 87 fish in the boat over the next two hours.

Our catch included primarily white bass in the one, two, and three year classes, as well as a few largemouth up to 3 pounds and several drum right around a foot long.

The last hour from 9:15 to 10:15 looked like it was going to slow down when this area that gave up 87 fish tapered off on us.

However, by moving back to an area I had previously searched and found only inactive fish at earlier in the morning, we were able to put a final 29 fish in the boat as this population perked up after we left it behind to pursue more aggressive fish.

By 10:25, the fishing had run its course and, with 137 fish landed, the fellows headed off to indulge in some breakfast burritos from Ernie’s Chicken over in Belton.

Because he landed the 100th fish and won the bet on who would nab that one, John would be treated to a free “Fat Ernie” — a burrito about the diameter of a man’s forearm –by his buddies.

TALLY: 137 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15am

End Time: 10:15am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 84.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze under 12mph until the last 90 minutes when it increased to SSW13-14

Sky Conditions: <10% clouds under all wind directiosn

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

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

07JUL16

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1498 thru 175 for 20 fish on downriggers under low light

**Area vic 1430 deep slabbing for heavily schooled bottom-hugging whites – 87 fish caught here

**Area 1959 deep slabbing for heavily schooled bottom-hugging whites — 30 fish caught here

 

Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

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