Who says 13 is an unlucky number? — 64 Fish, Stillhouse, 19 Aug ’17

This past Saturday morning I welcomed aboard Mr. Robbie Hohhertz and his 13-year-old son, Ethan, of Holland, TX, along with Ethan’s cousin, Ryder Hohhertz of Moody, TX.  Ethan’s mom, Charity, set this trip up for this crew in celebration of Ethan’s 13th birthday.

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From left: Ryder, Robbie, and Ethan Hohhertz came out for a morning of multi-species fishing on Stillhouse Hollow in celebration of Ethan’s 13th birthday.  This crew landed 61 white bass, 2 largemouth, and 1 drum in about 5 hours of fishing.

 

As has been the case all week this week, the first 45 minutes or so from 7-8 am has been pretty slow.  This has been the case both with and without cloud cover at sunrise.

Around 8 am, things started happening, with a few terns seen working bait on the surface, shad schools moving around in panic mode, bass and gar working the surface routinely, etc.  During this time we enjoyed our fastest 45 minutes of fishing on downriggers, routinely taking singles and doubles with the balls set around 28 feet over a 30-36 foot bottom.  When this action slowed, all of the other natural signs slowed, as well.

From 9 – 10:45am we fished two additional areas and really had to work at it and comb over fish-holding water a number of times to get the fish we found to bite.  Finding fish was not the issue — I was seeing suspended schools of white bass every few minutes, but even with our baits placed very precisely, it was necessary to go over a lot of fish to get just one or two to come up and strike.  As of 10:45, we’d put 1 drum, 2 largemouth, and 32 white bass in the boat.

I changed locations at 10:45, heading back to near where the fish had fed well from 8-9 am to see if they might turn on again, given that that feed was pretty brief.

As I neared the area, a small flock of 4 terns which were working bait helped boost my confidence that our trip was not yet over.  I ran sonar very slowly over the broad area the terns were working and found a large, bottom-hugging school of white bass in about 32 feet of water.  I put the Ulterra in Spot Lock mode after using the i-Pilot Link function on my Humminbird Solix to pinpoint the fish and send the trolling motor to the exact location those fish appeared at on bottom as shown on sonar.  The electronic magic worked and we were onto fish in no time.  Aided by the thumper, white bass responded well to our vertically presented tailspinners.

When this bite ran its course, I repeated this procedure and locked onto a second school of fish about 7-8 boat lengths away and we got into our second and final group of whites on the tailspinners.  In the 75 minutes that transpired after sighting the terns, we took our tally from 35 fish up to 64 fish, and ended the trip with a bang instead of a whimper.

TALLY: 64 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Water Surface Temp: 85.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: WSW breeze 8-10 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: <20% white cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.30 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT:

19AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1960-1198-1981 – downrigging and blades for white amidst largemouth surface action

**Area vic 1568 – downrigging; noted lots of fish, but not in a biting mood

**Area 1440-1971 – downrigging; noted lots of fish, but not in a biting mood

**Area 1984 & 1985 – vertical presentation with tailspinners from 10:45 through noon; most aggressive action of the trip

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

Dance With Who Brung Ya’ — 47 Fish with Hiram and Mashell

This past Friday morning I hunted white bass on Stillhouse Hollow with Hiram Dixon and Mashell Retherford, both of Nolanville.

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Hiram Dixon and Mashell Retherford with their first fish of the trip this morning.  Downrigging definitely outperformed all other presentations.

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Once she heard about the possibility of catching a “triple”, Mashell was determined that she was going to catch a triple of her own before we came off the lake.

Mashell, an avid pickleball player, learned of my guide service via Facebook through a mutual friend, Pert Garraway, a fellow pickleball player.

Based on slow starts over the past few morning related to grey cloud cover in the eastern sky, I bumped our start time back a bit to 7:00am.

We still got off to a bit of a slow start, but, I believe that was mainly due to the calm wind conditions we encountered just after sunrise.  Once the winds began and then built and sustained at 11-13 mph, the bite ramped up and stayed solid through 11:15am.

We fished 3 areas very thoroughly this morning.  The first was a deep breakline, and the last two were cove mouths — all produced a bit more that the one before it as the bite peaked around 10am.

There were few instances this morning when fish were poised such that we could hover atop them and vertically jig for them.  I stopped to do this only twice and only the first attempt panned out.  The second group of heavily schooled bottom-hugging fish I found ignored slow tailspinner, fast slabs, and even horizontally presented bladebaits — we literally zeroed on these attempts.

Each time I stopped we had been successfully downrigging, and the reason I stopped was because I believed I could catch more fish in less time and with less hassle via jigging than was involved with the downriggers.  When this turned out not to be the case we  went back to “dance with who brung us” and relied heavily on the downriggers today.

Of the 47 fish we landed today, 1 was a largemouth and 46 were white bass with most being 1- and 2-year class fish.  The 3-armed umbrella rig with Pet Spoons trailing was the ticket.

Because the bite went late this morning and Hiram and Mashell were enjoying themselves, I extended our trip an extra 30 minutes to fish the bite to completion.  As we wrapped up, Hiram said several times how much the two of them enjoyed the outing; Mashell added that she’d like to come again when the weather cools and the fish begin to “feed up” for the winter (referring back to when I pointed out how productive the window of time between the 2nd week of November and the 3rd week of December typically is).

TALLY: 47 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:30am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 85.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW breeze 11-13 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 20% white cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.26 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

17AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 040-854 – slow white bass success on downriggers

**Area 1982 – downrigged in vic of it and vertically jigged successfully on it

**Area 1568-1983 – solid white bass action for ~75 minutes, all downrigging

 

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

Rookies No More! — 45 Fish for the Culpepper Kids, 17 Aug. ’17

This past Thursday morning I fished a SKIESUnlimited trip with Mrs. Tania Culpepper and her two children, 10-year-old Jasmine, and 5-year old Tristan.

 

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Jasmine Culpepper went from rookie to technically capable all in one trip today.  She was expertly handling the rigging of our downriggers and bringing in the white bass once they turned on about midway through the morning.

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Like most 5 or 6 year olds, Tristan did great up until the sun got hot, then he got to asking about when lunch time was going to be.  He caught his fair share of fish today, as well.

Neither Tristan nor Jasmine had ever landed a fish in their lives before, so I had my work cut out for me today.

As was the case yesterday, we had some lingering grey cloud cover completely obscuring sunrise and beyond thus preventing a sudden brightening of the sky and that triggering of the fish to begin feeding that comes with it. So, the bite got off to a slow start and slowly ramped up with a peak at around 9:00 to 9:45.

This morning we ran sonar over four distinct areas finding fish at the last three of those four areas and really getting into them just at the last area we fished. Between fishing the first two areas for white bass and the last two areas for white bass, we went up shallow and inserted a bit of sunfishing into the agenda while waiting for the skies to clear and brighten.

The kids did really well at everything I showed them. I was really impressed how Tristan remembered the button push sequence on my downriggers necessary to get them deployed to the correct depth after showing him this just one time.

Jasmine essentially operated autonomously after I showed her how to rig everything on the downriggers from start to finish just two or three times. She untangled the rigs if they needed to be untangled, stripped out the right amount of line that the rigs were supposed to trail behind the boat, put the fishing line into the downrigger release clip, set the downrigger balls to the correct depth, and correctly tensioned the fishing rods so we would not miss a bite.

When all was said and done, the kids (and mom) put exactly 45 fish in the boat.  Just under half of these were a mix of bluegill sunfish, longear sunfish, and bluegill sunfish, with the balance consisting of a mix of one, two, and three – year class white bass.

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: 45 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 10:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 81F

Water Surface Temp: 84.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW breeze 11-13 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 80% grey cloud cover through 8:00am, tapering off to 20% white cloud cover

Water Level: 0.24 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

17AUG17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 040-854 – sparse white bass success on downriggers

**Area 200 – sunfish on slipfloats

**Area 1435-1971 – sparse white bass success on downriggers

**Area 668-453 – solid white bass action for ~75 minutes

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

Lightning Strikes Twice — 31 Fish, SKIFF Trip #17

This morning, Wednesday, August 16th, I conducted the 17th SKIFF program trip of the 2017 season. Joining me today was 10-year-old Keyonte’ Charleston.  If that name sounds familiar, it’s because I took his younger brother, Jayvion Charleston, on a SKIFF trip just last week.  We fished on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

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This 13 1/8″ white bass was the first fish of 10-year-old Keyonte’ Charleston’s life.  It earned him a TPWD “First Fish Award”.  Mr. Dave Hill of the Austin Fly Fishers, sponsors of the SKIFF Program, came along as a capable first mate.  Dave holds up 4 fingers indicating Keyonte”s landing of 4 fish all at the same time, 3 fish on one rod immediately followed by 1 fish on another.

Keyonte”s father, SSG Christopher Charleston, is a Cavalry scout currently deployed to South Korea.

Keyonte’ showed up this morning with a big smile that never went away in 4 hours of fishing, even during some slow times at the start of the trip when the sun was hidden by clouds and the fish weren’t yet playing their A-game.

Also showing up this morning was special guest Mr. Dave Hill of the Austin Fly Fishers.  Dave and Manuel Pena are the two men who carry the lion’s share of the fundraising and donation work behind the scenes that make SKIFF happen.  It was great to have capable help onboard to rig lines, undo tangles and unhook fish.

Prior to this trip, Keyonte’ had never before caught a fish.  He has watched all manner of fishing shows, he has studied fish behavior and knew about the behavior of various sorts of fish, and he even owns his own fishing rod and reel (which mom got him for his most recent birthday), but, despite all of that, he had never caught a fish.

Well, he ended that drought in a big way this morning.  As we got our lines in the water (2 downriggers, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig) and downrigged across the mouth of a cove near where an old streambed and the old Lampasas River channel join, sonar revealed a nice school of fish holding just below the level our downrigger balls were set at.  The starboard rod went off first with a triple (3 fish at a time).  As we moved a few yards further, the port rod went off as well with a double.  Keyonte’ landed the triple, then had one of the fish on the double drop off, so, we wound up with 4 of those 5 fish on the “fish counter”, but, what a way to land your first fish!  This scenario earned Keyonte’ a TPWD “First Fish Award”.

We went on to fish 2 more areas, each producing better than the one before, and taking our fish count up to 27 fish by 10am.  At this point, I switched gears and introduced Keyonte’ to sunfishing with a bream pole.  He landed 4 bluegill sunfish before we had to make the rough ride across open water to get back to his mom on time at 10:45.

Keyonte’ ended his morning with 31 fish caught and released, including 25 white bass, 2 largemouth bass, and 4 bluegill sunfish.

Yes, lightning struck twice — both Charleston boys landed the first fish of their lives just days apart!

“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 supportive allies they have developed along the way.

TALLY: 31 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 86.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze 11-15 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 20% white cloud cover

Water Level: 0.20 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

16AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 202-400 –  5 downrigged white bass under low light

**Area vic 1198 – 6 fish downrigging for white bass

**Area vic 668-820 – 13 fish downrigging and 3 fish smoking tailspinners

**Area 1098 – 4 sunfish on slipfloats

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

5 Sets of Triples! What a Day to Downrig! — 61 Fish, 15 Aug. ’17

This morning, Tuesday, 15 Aug., I fished with Al Sachnik and his teenaged son, Jeffrey.  The Sachnik’s live in Harker Heights, TX.  Al serves as a commissioned officer in the US Army where he has recently been assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division.

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From left: Jeffrey Sachnik and his dad, Al, did a father-and-son multi-species morning trip with me on Stillhouse today.  We landed 58 white bass, 2 largemouth, and 1 sunfish.  Downrigging was the ticket today.

As we got going today, a grey cloud bank in the east kept things just so-so until the sun cleared those clouds and things started to happen.

Al and Jeffery have made some DIY attempts as various forms of fishing with limited success, and were very interested in fundamentals.  Although much of what I do from a boat in open water in pursuit of white bass doesn’t translate directly to bank fishing, there are some common skills and I pointed those out as opportunity knocked.

We had a great downrigger bite today including five sets of triples. I’ve never before had a half- or full-day party land that many sets of triples (3 fish caught on one rod at the same time using an umbrella rig with 3 arms).  Several times as we downrigged sonar would reveal heavy concentrations of fish sulking on bottom, and several times we stopped over top of these fish with Spot Lock on the Ulterra trolling motor.  The results were the same each time:  we’d pick up a few fish right of the bat, then the fish would turn off and lose interest despite still being present right under the boat and within a few feet of bottom.  We just rolled with these punches, caught what we could quickly using vertical tactics, then returned to downrigging to move on, catch fish horizontally, and seek out the next big group of bottom-huggers to vertically jig for.

All told today we landed 58 white bass and 2 average largemouth bass.   Our white bass included a blend of 1, 2, and 3-year class fish.

After boating our 60th fish right around 11am, I thought it would be helpful to do a quick demo of how to go about catching sunfish up in shallow cover, so, I spent a good bit of time explaining the approach, then had Jeffery put the theory into action until he landed a sunfish using the system I’d just explained.  The nice thing about sunfishing is that you don’t need a boat, motor, expensive electronics, etc. to get your string stretched.

TALLY: 61 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Water Surface Temp: 85.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze 10-14 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 40% grey cloud cover until 7:20am, then quickly thinning to <20% white cloud cover

Water Level: 0.15 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses each day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

15AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1981-1965 – white bass via downrigging and smoking tailspinners from 7:30 thru 9:00

**Area 1970-1085- white bass via downrigging and smoking slabs & tailspinners from 9:30 thru 11:00

**Area 231 – quick sunfish demo for just 1 fish

 

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

New Lake Record for 9-year-old Will McCabe – 62 Fish, 14 Aug. ’17

This past Monday morning I fished with Leon Kyrish of Canyon Lake, TX, and his two grandsons, Connor (age12) and Will McCabe (age 9) of San Antonio.  We fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse primarily in pursuit of white bass.

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This 1/2 pound, 8.5 inch sunfish landed by Will McCabe replaced the long-standing lake record for redear sunfish held by Christian Molyneaux (6 inches and 0.14 pounds) since 2006.  Molyneaux, also a client of mine, is now serving our nation in the US Air Force.

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Big brother Connor McCabe did very well on the white bass today.  He was a fast learner and was very consistent in his presentation when we jigged vertically.

The cloud cover in the eastern sky this morning was fairly thick and grey, so the light level remain subdued through about 8:15, as did the fishing.  Once the sun thinned the clouds and the sky began to brighten, bait and gamefish began moving and the bite picked up well for the middle two hours of our trip.

We began downrigging for white bass with balls set at 29-31 feet for fish just slightly deeper that that and picked up a half-dozen fish in our first hour.

As the clouds thinned around 8am, I spotted the first largemouth working shad on the surface and we keyed in on that in order to find even more white bass in that vicinity nearer the bottom.

We picked up our first few fish downrigging, then, as the action built, found a single bottom-hugging school of fish stationary enough to hover over top of and jig for using both slabs and tailspinners.  As the action slowed, we went back to downrigging to comb out those still-active fish from amongst a decreasing active population.  By the time the gamefish feed ran its course, the boys had put 47 fish in the boat.

Because the boys enjoy sunfishing and have access to a farm pond near their home, they were anxious to pick up some tips about how to improve their presentation to this species after I mentioned it in my “opening briefing” at dockside just after their arrival.

The boys seemed to track the several key components of my finesse sunfishing system, and, while putting that system to the test, landed a total of 15 sunfish in the boat including bluegill sunfish, longear sunfish, and redear sunfish.  One of the redears Will latched into in about 3.5 feet of water near a stand of submerged woody brush turned out to be a new lake record.

This redear sunfish weighed 0.50 pounds on a certified scale and measured 8.50 inches.

With a late checkout from the house the family rented near Lake Belton awaiting them, and a 5:00pm departure from their home in San Antonio planned so as to get Will to football practice on time, we wrapped it up right at the 4-hour mark at 10:45am with exactly 62 fish landed for our efforts.

TALLY: 62 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F

Water Surface Temp: 85.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW breeze 9-12 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 80% grey cloud cover until 8am, then quickly thinning to 20% white cloud cover

Water Level: 0.10 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:

14AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1704-664 – downrigged for suspended fish at mid-depth under low-light

**Area 1965-1980 – downrigged for increasingly active whites tipped off by surface feeding largemouth

**Area 1980 – smoked on this number

**Area  1980-1501 – downrigging up thru the end of the morning bite around 10:10

**Areas 1979 and 456 – sunfish on slipfloats

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

Belton Sisters Earn First Fish Awards — 41 Fish, 12 Aug. ’17

This past Saturday morning on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, I welcomed Mrs. Suzette Sullivan and her two daughters, Asia (age 16) and Sara (age 8) for the girls’ first fishing trip and their first time on a boat.

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This white bass was the first catch of Sara’s life.  It earned her a TPWD “First Fish Award”.

 

AsiaSullivanFirstFish

 

…and this white bass was the first fish of Asia’s life.  She, too, earned a “First Fish Award”.

Mrs. Sullivan works at Baylor Scott & White where another client, Dr. Bill Johnston, referred her to me.  She booked the trip just for the girls and came along as a non-fishing chaperone.  During our trip, she shared that her intention was for the girls’ grandfather to introduce them to fishing, but that he passed away before that could happen.

Asia was quite leery of the movement of the boat, but got more used to it as the day went by.  Both girls screamed with excitement anytime something new happened — our first fish biting, our first fish flopping on the floor of the boat, the first time we accelerated to over 20mph, the first time I opened the worm box, etc., etc.   For someone who does this day in and day out for a living, it was a bit of an eye-opener on how much I can take for granted sometimes.

The stable weather, bright skies, and favorable winds assured a good bite this morning.  We were able to enjoy some variety in the fishing by employing downriggers, using slabs and tailspinners in a vertical mode, and by sunfishing up shallow with bait.

Less than 15 minutes into the trip I was snapping photos of the girls’ first fish of their lives, for which each will receive a “First Fish Award” from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

Particularly exciting to Sara was catching white bass from out of deep water using a “smoking” tactic with a spinning reel.  Whenever she hooked a fish and got it near the surface, she started screaming loudly — so loudly, in fact, that I had to tactfully address “curbing our enthusiasm”.  Unfortunately, on busy summer weekends if we begin to draw attention to ourselves, other boats will crowd us and try to horn in on the action.  I don’t mind others catching fish, but when they run nearby with an outboard going and with sonar pinging and interfering with my onboard units, that’s a bit much.   Sara understood and celebrated more quietly for the remainder of the trip.

By the time 10 o’clock rolled around, the wind had slacked off, most of the cloud cover had dissipated, and it was getting very hot.  We wrapped up with a total of 41 fish landed by the girls.

TALLY: 41 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:40a

End Time: 10:10a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F

Water Surface Temp: 85.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: S breeze 7-9 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 20% white cloud cover

Water Level: 0.04 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 15

Wx SNAPSHOT:

12AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1506-664 – downrigged for suspended fish at mid-depth under low-light

**Areas 1960 and 1510 – smoked on these numbers for white bass

**Area 1312 – smoked on it and downrigged around it for white bass

**Area 1572 – sunfishing

 

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

And the “First Fish Award” Goes To … — 41 Fish, SKIFF Trip #16

This past Friday morning I conducted the 16th SKIFF program trip of the 2017 season. Joining me today were two 5-year-old boys, Tyler Haas and Jayvion Charleston.  Mrs. Jessica Charleston came along as a chaperone.  We fished on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

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The 3.5 inch sunfish was the first fish of 5-year-old Jayvion Charleston’s life.  It earned him a TPWD “First Fish Award”.

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Tyler Haas scored on some nice 2-year class white bass.

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Jayvion with a typical central Texas white bass taken from deep, clear water on a downrigged bait.
Both boys’ fathers, SSG Christopher Charleston and SSG David Haas, are staff sergeants in the U.S. Army, both are Cavalry scouts, and both are currently deployed to South Korea.

Although Jayvion had been on a boat before, he had never before landed a fish, so, that was priority number one. Given the boys’ age and what I suspected of their attention spans, I chose to start off the day fishing for sunfish up in shallow, cover filled water for the sake of “instant gratification”.

After explaining to the boys how the bream poles that we were going to be fishing with worked and why we were cutting the bait (earthworms) into such small segments, I decided to go one-on-one with the boys at first as they worked their way through the learning curve of reacting to their float being pulled under by a sunfish.

Jayvion’s hook, line sinker, and slip float were in the water, literally, less than three seconds when the first fish of his life pulled the float down; Jayvion reacted well and latched into a 3.5 inch juvenile sunfish. His smile was bigger than the fish.

After taking a few photos so we could apply for his TPWD “First Fish Award”, we released that fish and went on to catch 11 more — six sunfish for each boy– before moving on to something different.

Our next chapter in the day was to fish deep water with downriggers in hopes of landing some larger white bass. Fortunately, the first area I chose to search out with sonar revealed enough suspended fish present to downrig for. We got two downriggers in the water and, over the next 50 minutes, were able to put six singles and a double in the boat thus taking our fish count up to 20.

Both boys seemed more interested in investing our remaining time in pursuing more sunfish and so, that is exactly what we did, right up until about 10:15, when little Tyler wore out on us. We split another 21 sunfish across two similar, shallow, cover-filled areas and finished the trip with a total of 41 fish boated.

“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 supportive allies they have developed along the way.

TALLY: 41 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:40a

End Time: 10:20a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 86.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze 8-10 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 20% white cloud cover

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

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

11AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 239 –  sunfish under low light

**Area 041-1962 – downrigging for white bass

**Areas 1418 and 1416 – sunfish on slipfloats

 

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

An Analog Dad in a Digital World — 60 Fish, 10 Aug. ’17

This past Friday morning, August 10th, I was joined by Mr. Ryan Dunlap and his friend, Joni Lethco. Ryan’s kids, Brooke and Logan, and Joni’s son, Flynt, also joined in the fun.  We fished a multi-species trip focused on white bass on Stillhouse Lake.

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Brooke Dunlap got the ball rolling for us this morning, taking this nice 3 year class white bass from out of 36 feet of water.  Brooke may look chipper in the photo, but she only got 3 hours of sleep before the trip after competing in a rodeo up near Ft. Worth the night before.

 

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Logan Dunlap and Joni Lethco with a pair of white bass that struck our downriggers right about the same time.

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Flynt Lethco, a high school student from the small town of Mullin, TX, with a nice double he came up with as we downrigged in an area thick with baitfish this morning.

 

Fishing has been just so – so this week, and I let my crew know that we would have to work for each fish we caught today. I anticipated we would catch fish with the downriggers, and also hoped that we could add some variety by fishing vertically for more heavily congregated fish we found near bottom as we downrigged.

We fished four distinct areas this morning and found fish at the last three of them.

The fish behaved in much the same way at each — the fish would perk up and take interest in our downrigger presentations, allowing us to catch on the first three or four passes over them, then, after that, even though the fish were still in the same locations, they just lost interest quickly.

I noticed similar behavior during the three or four times that we stopped over top of congregated fish to vertical jig for them. As soon as we got baits down to the bottom and started working our slabs, the fish would bite aggressively, allowing each angler two or three fish. After that, even though the fish were still present, they would just “sit tight” and ignore our presentations. The activity just seemed to come in spurts.

As Joni and the kids did most of the fishing, and Ryan and I just helped with getting the downriggers set and other supportive tasks, they racked up a catch of exactly 60 fish one or two fish at a time, enduring the often windless heat as they did so.

By around 11 AM, with the fishing slowing down, the temperature rising, and the wind staying near calm, we decided to call it a good day with exactly 60 fish in the boat.

As we wrapped things up, I let Ryan know I’d be sending him photos and links to this summary by email.  He then informed me he didn’t do email.  I asked about Facebook — no Facebook.  I kidded him that he was just an analog dad in a digital world, and let him know I’d send everything to the kids instead!

TALLY: 60 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 84.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze 4-6mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 30% white cloud cover

Water Level: At exactly full pool (622.0 ft ASL)  and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

10AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1962-1976-039 — downrigging and smoking

**Area 1977 & 1978 – smoking on these numbers and downrigged in between

**Area 1971-1440 – — downrigging and smoking

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

Hot Ain’t the Word for It — 37 Fish, SKIFF Trip #15

This past Wednesday evening, August 9th, I fished a “last-minute” SKIFF program trip with the Erp family of Killeen.  This was the 15th such trip this season.  Thus far, 33 kids have had the opportunity to fish for free this year while their military parent was away from home on duty.

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Despite the afternoon heat, intensified by light winds and high humidity, Eden Erp landed the majority of the 37 fish she and her 5-year-old brother, Warren, put in the boat this hot August afternoon.

Mrs. Katie Erp and her two children, Eden and Warren, have taken advantage of the SKIFF program previously, and so when her husband, Andy Erp, a US Army warrant officer, got “hey – you’d” unexpectedly and sent to the National Training Center (NTC) in Death Valley California at Fort Erwin, Katie gave me a ring to see if we could get the kids on the water during his absence.

I normally would not take younger kids in the heat of a Texas summer afternoon, but afternoons are all I had open to accommodate her request, given my very busy schedule which is always quite full in the weeks prior to the start of public school as parents and grandparents try to squeeze in a little bit more vacation before the school year.

The fishing for other than sunfish was predictably slow, so I made sure we started the trip successfully sunfishing, and ended the trip successfully sunfishing, saving the middle part for hunting a few deep white bass.

The heat got to five-year-old Warren after about 70 minutes after which he crashed in a shady corner of the boat while his big sister, Eden, hung in there like a real trooper and caught both white bass on downriggers and sunfish up shallow right up through around 8 PM.

When the kids had all the fun and sun they could muster, we had put together a catch of 37 fish for our efforts.

“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 supportive allies they have developed along the way.

TALLY: 37 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:30p

End Time: 8:00p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 90F

Water Surface Temp: 87.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE breeze 3-4mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 60% white cloud cover & very humid

Water Level: 0.1 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

09AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 239 – sunfish on slipfloats

**Area 865 – whites on downrigger

**Area 660-1241 – whites on downrigger

**Area 200 – sunfish 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