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”.

Web Photo

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

Fish Have Hurricane Parties, Too! — 95 Fish, Stillhouse, 25 Aug. ’17

This morning I had the pleasure of fishing with a 10-year-old young man, Keyonte’ Charleston, who first came out with me last week and caught the first fish of his life through the SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) program.  Keyonte’ enjoyed the outing so much that his mom enrolled him in the Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited program and signed up for a “Fishing 101” trip.

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Keyonte’ Charleston with the largest of the 95 fish we landed this morning, including 79 white bass, 1 largemouth bass, and 15 sunfish.  The 9-10am window was our most productive as we sat over a moderately aggressive school of white bass for nearly an hour and landed 41 fish from out of that school using tailspinners.

With a falling barometer in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, a gentle ENE breeze, and grey skies greeting us during an obscured sunrise this morning, we found the bite, which started right around 7am, very aggressive and longer than the 2 hour feed that had occurred Tuesday through Thursday this week.  As the skies got brighter (although through 100% cloud cover), the third hour of the day turned out to be our most productive.

We landed 20 fish in our first hour mainly via downrigging, 19 fish in our second hour mainly on bladebaits, and 41 fish in our third hour mainly on tailspinners with some cleanup duty via downriggers as the bite softened.  By 10:30am, the bite was done.  Keyonte’  then specifically requested that we do some sunfishing, as we had only pursued white bass up to this point.  With exactly 80 fish in the boat, we put the downrigger rods, tailspinner rods, and bladebait rods away and went up shallow for sunfish.

The sunfish were also very active, as the wind and waves brought them further out from the cover they would typically be buried into during brighter, calmer conditions.  Keyonte’ landed an additional 15 sunfish in under a half-hour, taking his tally to 95 fish by the time we spotted his mom pulling into the parking lot to pick him up.

I was really impressed with how quickly Keyonte’ picked up on several skills.  He handled the rigging of the downriggers very deftly and he learned to cast with spinning gear on this trip.  After about 4 “work the bugs out” casts, he was effectively working a 1/2 ounce bladebait in 32 feet of water right along side me and was catching fish steadily.

What I do on the water during a SKIFF trip and a SKIESUnlimited Fishing 101 trip are identical.  SKIFF trips are available free of charge when kids are separated from their military parent due to that parent’s military duty obligations; kids are eligible for one trip per parent’s absence.  The SKIESUnlimited program is fee-based, however, when a parent is deployed families may obtain credit towards activities and use that credit before paying out of pocket.

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: 95 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp: 86.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE8-10

Sky Conditions: 90% grey cloud cover the entire trip; light sprinkle as I drove to the launch around 6:15a

Water Level: 0.49 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

25AUG17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 699-131 downrigging for 20 fish in our 1st hour

**Area 558 bladebaits for 19 fish in our 2nd hour

**Area 331 tailspins, then 332-558-104 for 41 fish during the 3rd (+) hour

**Area 667 sunfish

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

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

Joint Angling Operations – 64 Fish, Stillhouse, 05 Aug. ’17

This past Saturday morning, August 5th, I fished with Rob Mixer and Josh Dow in pursuit of white bass on Stillhouse Hollow.

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From left: Rob Mixer and Josh Dow with a pair of white bass we took right at sunrise this morning on downriggers.  The stable weather following Wednesday’s storms has left predictable fishing in its wake.

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Josh Dow with our largest fish of the trip, a 3 pound class largemouth taken from near bottom in 38′ on a slab worked vertically.

Rob’s wife arranged this trip for Rob’s birthday, initially inquiring about fishing on Lake Georgetown because it is closer to where they live.  Unfortunately on most warm weekends Georgetown is a wake-filled zoo due to increased traffic there which occurred when Austinites went searching for an alternative to Lake Travis during the recent drought.  Botttom line: we agreed Stillhouse would be the best choice for this weekend.

As I went over the several thing I typically review before we get lines in the water (safety, intro to spinning and casting gear, and prayer), I learned that Rob is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and that Josh is a graduate of the US Naval Academy.  So, being a US Military Academy grad myself, we had a lot in common.  After the required chiding about this season’s Army football victory over Navy, we cleared the air and got down to fishing.

With a SSE breeze, little cloud cover and stable weather conditions, the fishing this morning was predictable and the pace of our catch was average.

We began the morning downrigging with balls set around 28-32 feet over a deeper bottom for white bass that were primarily suspended.  We caught singles and doubles in our first hour taking our tally up to 11 fish before we spotted largemouth chasing shad on topwater some distance away.

As we arrived at the scene of the commotion, the commotion had died down a good bit.  We landed 2 largemouth bass but moved on pretty quickly as the action was not consolidated enough to make it profitable.

Our third stop of the morning found us presenting vertically to the most heavily schooled white bass we’d find on sonar all morning.  These fish were on and near bottom, thus leading me to believe we could effectively use a “smoking” tactic to catch them with.  This did turn out to be the case as we were able to put exactly 33 additional fish in the boat (31 whites, 2 drum) using ¾ oz. slabs.

As this population of fish settled down around 10:10, we moved to our final stop of the morning, an area that in many ways mimicked the topography of the place we just left.

As I motored slowly over the area, sonar revealed abundant white bass, both on bottom and suspended up off bottom.  We took our first crack at them by smoking, which went well for another 8 fish, then, when the bottom action dried up, we closed out the day by making another few downrigger passes at the suspenders, taking our count to 64 fish.

TALLY: 64 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:25a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Water Surface Temp: 85.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE4-5 the entire trip

Sky Conditions: Under 20% cloud cover the entire trip

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

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

05AUG17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 484-444-660 early, low-light downrigging for 11 fish

**Area vic 1783 – scattered topwater action by schoolie largemouth for 2 fish

**Area 453 to 1085 – well-congregated white bass on and just off bottom – smoking slabs for 33 fish

**Area 1971 through 1440 – smoke and downrig for 18 white bass

 

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

Lucky 13! Season’s 13th SKIFF Trip Yields 62 Fish for Copperas Cove Kids

This past Friday morning, July 28th, I fished the 13th SKIFF trip of the 2017 season welcoming Nicole Bretz and her three children aboard. Fishing today with me was five-year-old Logan, seven-year-old Adyson, and eight-year-old Jayden.

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Jayden broke the ice with our first fish of the morning, one of many plump, 13+ inch-long white bass we landed on the downriggers this morning.

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From left, Natalie (“Mom”) Bretz, Logan, and Adyson.

Nicole’s husband, Norman, is currently deployed to Kuwait. Staff Sergeant Bretz has 11 years of service in the US Army as a scout.

We fished in two very different ways this morning. First, we downrigged for white bass as long as they held up and the kids’ attention spans lasted, then we headed up shallow to fish for sunfish.

The white bass fishing yielded 18 fish including quite a number of doubles, and the sunfishing, which was really on today, produced over 40 fish for us include including bluegill, longear sunfish, green sunfish, and blacktail shiners.

Little Logan ran out of steam in the middle part of our trip, but got a second wind just about the time we were going to wrap up, and landed a nice sunfish, capping off our day with exactly 62 fish.

“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 possibly through the work of the Austin Fly Fishers and the supportive allies they have developed along the way.

TALLY: 62 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15am

End Time: 10:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Water Surface Temp: 86.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW breeze 8-9mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: ~30% cloud cover

Water Level: 0.05 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

28JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 484 to 1968 — downrigging and smoking

**Area 668 to 1970 — downrigging and smoking

**Area 1098 – 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

Your Boat, My Lake — 73 Fish with Clay and Brandon

This past Tuesday morning I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse with Clay Lohse and his friend, Brandon Edwards, both from Abilene where they work together as nurses.

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Clay Lohse with a late-morning largemouth taken on a slab out of a school of white bass we found holding tight to bottom in 32 feet of water.

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Clay Lohse and Brandon Edwards with our largest white bass of the trip, a 14 7/8″ fish which, judging by its tail, has had a rough life.

Clay had come out with me once before on an instructional trip to Lake Belton in May of this year.  On this go-round, he wanted to use his boat and gear, which he fishes with regularly on Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir, but still have me take the lead in the fish-finding so he could observe the approach I took to summer fishing.

I normally would decline such an arrangement, but I knew Clay’s equipment was sufficient to help find and catch fish, including his Humminbird Helix 12 sonar, Minn Kota Terrova trolling motor, and Cannon Easi-Troll downriggers.  The only equipment I brought was my thumper and rods with Redneck Model 180 slabs complete with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks, rods with tailspinners, and my downrigger rods with 3-armed umbrella rigs tipped with Pet Spoons.

We fished a shade over 4 hours and landed a total of 73 fish comprised mainly of 2 and 3 year class white bass.  The majority of our fish came on downriggers with a few more falling to vertical tactics on both slabs and tailspinners.

One of the biggest lessons Clay picked up on was how important it is to be prepared to get baits down quickly to fish see on sonar (in our case, while downrigging) so as to get the first fish from out of a school hooked, thus creating some commotion and preventing the rest of the school from continuing to move off.

Since last Saturday, as the heat has really come on strong and the surface temperature has bumped up another 1.5 degrees, I’ve noticed the mid- to late-morning vertical slab bite has declined,, as has the early morning topwater feed by largemouth.  I’ve had no problem finding fish — lots of them, in fact — but getting them to perk up and chase baits veritcally has been another story.  The downriggers’ horizontal presentation definitely has the edge right now.

Clay and Brandon tagged on a self-guided nighttime bow fishing trip on either end of their trip with me and then headed back to Abilene on Wednesday.

TALLY: 73 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 10:40a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:

Water Surface Temp: 85.7F

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

Sky Conditions: 60% cloud cover

Water Level: 0.12 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:

25JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 484 to 485 to 444 – low light downrigging  mixed with occasional vertical jigging stops early under murky skies

**Area 1970-453 – mid-morning downrigging

**Area 458-1436 – late morning downrigging leading to light vertical action to close out the morning

Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

A Sonar-intensive Morning – 70 Fish, Stillhouse, 06 July ’17

This past Thursday morning, July 6th, I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse with Travis McLeod and his adult daughter, Ann Vandergriff.

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While vertical jigging over a school of white bass in 40 feet of water, Travis came up with this nice largemouth mixed in with them.  I routinely have 4-5 pound largemouth follow smaller hooked white bass to the surface, occasionally nipping at them.  Once in a while they get too close for their own good like this one did.

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Ann landed this 2-year old white bass in one of the many areas we stopped at which only produced a handful of fish prior to the wind kicking in from a single direction for any length of time.
Travis owns and operates McLeod Auto Sales in Killeen and runs his own center console fishing boat with a preference for white bass and for flyfishing;  Ann is a professional photographer and mom of three.

Travis had previously come out with me on a sonar training to get the basics of his Humminbird Helix sonar which is connected to his Minn Kota trolling motor via the i-Pilot Link system.

For Travis, today’s trip was as much learning sonar and seeing equipment put to good use as it was about catching fish.

We had a bit of quirky weather this morning, and that always puts the fishing off a bit. We began the day with light winds out of the east, and by the time we came off the water the winds were blowing just slightly north of west – – a full 180° plus wind shift over the course of 4.75 hours.

We began our day by downrigging with balls suspended above the fish we saw on sonar which were suspended about halfway between the surface and the bottom. We saw a lot more fish on sonar than we caught this morning as the fish were in an apathetic mood. By the time we had invested about an hour in the downrigging, we had landed only 12 fish coming as singles and doubles.

I moved us to deeper, clearer water and, with the winds light, hoped to find some fish feeding on the surface that would give away the position of even more fish beneath them. This did not pan out. Every fish we caught after we finished downrigging we had to seek out by looking at different areas using sonar.

This is a bit of a time-consuming process and a necessary one if there are no other natural signs pointing the way to fish.

Travis and Ann were good troopers and hung in there through some slow fishing as we checked one area after another typically putting just one, two, or three fish in the boat and never really seeing the fish turn on like they are apt to under more stable weather conditions.

After the skies cleared, the wind stayed out of the west northwest for about 40 minutes, and the winds built to 11 to 13 mph, we finally got some consistency in the fishing. I pulled up onto a deep underwater point that the west wind was blowing onto and we saw a good density of fish suspended at about the 30 foot mark over a 40 foot bottom. I Spot -Locked on top of these with the Minn Kota Ulterra, we got baits down, turned the thumper on, and the fish began to consolidate under the boat.

Long story short – – we added nearly 40 fish to our tally in the final 45 minutes of the trip under these more favorable conditions, ending our morning with exactly 70 fish landed for our efforts.  Travis landed our largest fish of the morning during this last burst of activity, a 3+ pound largemouth.

TALLY: 70 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F

Water Surface Temp: 83.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Started at E6, then shifted through SE, to S, to SW, then to WNW building to 12-14mph in our final hour on the water

Sky Conditions:  <10% clouds under all wind directiosn

Water Level: 0.36 feet high and steady; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

 06JUL17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1951 – 176 – limited downrigger success

**Area 157 – limited downrigger success

**Area vic 1957 – slow slab bite

**Area vic 039 – slow slab bite

**Area 1958 – strong 45 minute slab bite for ~40 fish from 10:15 to 11:00

 

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

Neck and Neck — 114 Fish with the Wells Brothers, 27 Jun. ’17

This past Tuesday morning I fished with Ethen and Alex Wells of Temple, accompanied by their mom, Sabrina.

Alex Triple

Alex set the tone for our 114 fish trip with a triple on the very first downrigger set we put down this morning.

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Just past the mid-point of our trip, we found some deep white bass in the lower fourth of the water column and got them worked up into a frenzy, allowing for a catch of over 50 fish from an area the size of my boat.  Ethen shows one of the 2-year class fish common in this congregation of fish.

Both boys had prior fishing experience and were both capable with spinning gear. Most of their prior efforts had been made casting from the bank. Before we shoved off from the courtesy dock, I went over how to hold and reel a baitcaster – – the kind of reels I use for downrigging, and how to hold and cast a spinning rod in case we ran into fish feeding on top water.

A very light easterly wind continued today with about 30% cloud cover on an otherwise fair sky. These near-calm conditions made for excellent sighting of any fish breaking the surface. Several minutes before the sun rose, I saw individual white bass dimpling the surface in a fairly small patch of water and, after seeing suspended fish down around the 20 foot mark on sonar in the same vicinity, decided we would attempt downrigging to start the day.

As I put the first downrigger down and explain to the boys how to do so in order that they could rig up their own downrigger for the remainder of the trip, we got Alex’s rod down and his rod went off with a triple before we could even get Ethen’s rod in the water. Over the next 25 minutes we landed 22 fish including three sets of triples and a number of doubles and singles. To satisfy the boys’ bent for competition, Sabrina “kept score” of how many fish each boy caught by using her cell phone as a counter.  All of these fish came on my summertime favorite – – a three armed umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons. These Pet Spoons do a very good job of imitating the young of the year shad so prevalent in the white bass diet right now.

After this area settled down, we moved to deeper water and began seeking out large schools of fish that we could hover over top of and jig for. We made one stop over a fairly sparse school of deep white bass and I hoped we could get them to coalesce beneath us using the thumper and by creating our own commotion by jigging, but, that did not pan out. After going back to downrigging for a bit in order to cover water and catch fish as we did so, we found a nice school of fish in the lower 7 feet of the water column in about 54 feet of water.

Using the Spot Lock function on the Minn Kota Ulterra, we hovered right over top of these fish and they stayed put long enough for us to get our first presentation of slabs down to them. Once the first fish was hooked, the school went on a frenzy. We sat over top of these fish and put 53 in the boat over about an hour’s time.

Eventually these fish played out and we returned to downrigging only to mop up a few more fish in the same general area before it became clear this bite was over. On the now glassy, calm surface, there were no baitfish nor gamefish apparent whatsoever.

Knowing that our most likely option for success from this point forward would be downrigging, and knowing that the boys had already done a good bit of that, I offered that we could pursue sunfish up in the shallows given that was a skill they could immediately apply to make their own bank fishing efforts more successful. The boys seemed genuinely interested in doing this, so, we headed up shallow to cover-filled water to pursue sunfish.  Up to this point the boys’ fish totals stayed “neck-and-neck”, but Alex got his mojo on when it came to sunfish…

We used slip float rigs on poles baited with worms and very quickly took our count from 75 fish to a final tally of 114 fish as the boys very handily got the hang of using poles to present our finesse offerings to sunfish of various species.

As we wrapped up our efforts right around 10:15, Sabrina commented that a trip to Academy for sunfish poles was most likely in their very near future!

TALLY: 114 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Water Surface Temp: 83.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: E0-3

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

Water Level: 0.30 feet high and slowly rising; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

26JUN17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 337-252 – downrigging for 22 fish

**Area 1954 – deep white bass on smoked slabs for 53 fish

**Area 189  – shallow sunfish on slipfloats for 39 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

Goal-Setting 101 — Snelgrooes Party, 101 Fish, 26 June ’17

This past Monday evening I fished Stillhouse with Californian-soon-to-turn-Texan Rick Snelgrooes, his 13-year-old son, Sean, and Rick’s friend, Stuart Gehrke of the Austin area.

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Rick Snelgrooes and his son, Sean, with a pair of 3-year-old Stillhouse Hollow white bass.  We downrigged until we found strong congregations of fish on bottom, then hovered over these fish using Spot Lock to then work slabs through the school.

Rick, a sailor at heart, decided to sample the area’s angling opportunities as he and his wife consider buying a home and property in the Georgetown area.

Our time on the water was pretty evenly split tonight between downrigging and smoking slabs.  The downrigging allows for a continuous catch of fish while at the same time allowing for a methodical sonar-search of fish-holding areas.  When solid concentrations of bottom-hugging white bass were found on sonar, we immediately set up over top of them in a hover to work them over with slabs.

Using the trolling motor/sonar connection known as i-Pilot Link allows me to touch the screen of my Humminbird sonar, place a crosshairs over fish schooling together on bottom, then give the trolling motor a “go to it and stay on top of it” command.  As the trolling motor does its job, I have a few moments to clear the downrigging equipment and get slab rods in everyone’s hands so we are all ready to drop slabs on top of the fish once the boat is in a hover over them.  Tonight, with 4 rods working, this put a lot of fish in the boat.

As we caught our 50th fish, then our 60th, Sean asked what the average catch was on such a trip.  I told him last year’s average was ~72 fish per trip.  Once he heard that and realized we were still just short of 72 fish, he redoubled his own efforts to help get us to that mark.

After steadily landing fish and exceeding the 72 fish mark, Sean then asked if it would be possible to catch 100 fish.  With about an hour’s time left, I told him that would be possible, but that we’d have to work at it.  Due to the sun being obscured behind a thick bank of clouds in the west, “sunset” came earlier than normal this evening, thus cutting down on the time we’d have to make good on our pursuit of 100 fish.  After the deep slabbing bite died, we revisited the area where we’d first contacted fish with the downriggers shortly after launching.

Long story short, as 8:44 rolled around, Rick’s rod and Sean’s rod both went off within seconds of one another as they sat positioned in the downriggers’ rod holders.  In came two yearling white bass — #100 and #101.  We celebrated a bit with that milestone reached and, as we drove in, I told Sean about the truth of Proverbs 29:18 which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”.  In this case, had we not set a goal of 72 fish, then of 100 fish, we most likely would not have seen that many fish landed as the inclination to stay focused and work towards that goal just would not have been there.

This was a great trip with great folks and we wrapped up with exactly 101 fish landed on the evening.

TALLY: 101 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:45p

End Time: 8:55p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 92F

Water Surface Temp: 84.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: E0-3

Sky Conditions: 100% thin, grey cloud cover still allowing for “squinting brightness” until an early sunset caused by a thick bank of clouds to the west

Water Level: 0.30 feet high and slowly rising; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 185

Wx SNAPSHOT:

26JUN17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1716 to 067 – downrigging for suspended white bass at ~24 feet which led to one episode of smoking for bottom-huggers; 31 fish

**Area 1112 – smoking for 54 fish

**Area 067-1498 – twilight downrigging for a final 16 fish

Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

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

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

Chloe

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

Boyka

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

Benji

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TALLY: 27 FISH, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:45p

End Time: 8:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 95F

Water Surface Temp: 84.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE2

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

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

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1716 thru 157 early downrigging at 24′

**Area 1948 sunfish

**Area 1132 downrigging at 38′

**Area 231 sunfish

 

Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle