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

A Pretty Fishy Birthday Present — 100 Fish, Stillhouse, 23 June ’17

This past Saturday I helped 10-year-old Kyle Benson of China Spring, TX, celebrate his birthday along with his grandpa, William Dickson, and his step-dad, Kyle Jewell.

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Largemouth, white bass, and freshwater drum were stacked in and around a 50 foot draw and readily struck our white Redneck Model 180 slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger Hooks attached.  We landed 60 our our 100 fish fishing this shoal of fish with a vertical approach.

We got going right at 6:15am and, after the skies brightened a bit, found a collection of white bass “wolf packs” occupying a patch of water about 5 acres in size.  These fish were holding together in groups of 6-10 fish per “pack” and were suspended at around 31 feet beneath the surface.  This scenario is just right for downrigging and that is exactly how we approached this situation.

Running a pair of downrigger rods, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig complete with a trio of Pet Spoons, we took singles and doubles for about a 90 minute span, taking our tally up to 31 fish.  After the fish dispersed and the fishing slowed, we moved on.

Next, I searched for fish in a large, deep draw and, after a bit of sonar work, found enough white bass holding closely enough together that I felt a vertical tactic, aided by the consolidating influence of my thumper, would be effective.  We put the boat into a hover over this bottom feature using the Minn Kota Ulterra’s Spot Lock feature, got the thumper going, and got 4 slabs working vertically.  Before long, the colored sonar began to reveal fish coming in to the commotion we were creating.  Once we caught the first “icebreaker” fish, it was game on.  We sat in this one area for another 90 minutes and landed a total of 60 additional fish including mainly white bass with a few largemouth and drum sprinkled in.  As this bite died right at 10am, our tally stood at 91 fish.

I suggested that we head shallow and finish up doing some simple, fun sunfishing with poles and slipfloats, mainly to give Kyle and son a way to catch fish without the aid of a boat.  We moved to the back of a cover-filled cove and, in a matter of minutes put 9 more fish in the boat so as to make it a bona fide 100 fish day.

 

TALLY: 100 FISH, all caught and released

 Wx Snapshot:

 

23JUN17

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 84.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW6-9

Sky Conditions: ~40% cloudy

Water Level: 0.06 feet high and slowly falling; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 789-790 – low light vertical tactics for white bass on breakline in 38′ — 2 fish

**Area 649 to 1506 – downrigging for singles and doubles – 29 fish

**Area 1952 – deep white bass action on slabs in 50 feet under open water – 60 fish

**Area 1948 – shallow sunfish on slip float – 9 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 Walleye Man from Lake Erie – 36 Fish, Belton, 21 June ’17

This past Wednesday morning I fished with Marcus Mitchell of the Austin area and his dad, Jim Mitchell, who is visiting from the Cleveland, Ohio, area where he typically fishes for walleye and yellow perch on Lake Erie.

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Jim Mitchell shows our best hybrid from Wednesday morning’s trip on Belton.  The fishing was just so-so on this second day of an atypical summertime north wind.  Jim came down from Cleveland, OH, to visit his son, Marcus.

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Marcus displays his best of the eight keeper (18+ inch long) hybrid we took on live shad today.

Given the current fishing situation, I presented Marcus with two options: first, we could focus on pursuing higher numbers of smaller fish by using a combination of downrigging and vertical jigging on Stillhouse, or, we could take a bit slower approach and fish for fewer but larger fish by using live shad for hybrid striped bass over Belton. Jim’s preference was for the larger fish, so, with ample live bait on board, we began our trip at 6:15 and looked for some easy surface action to sight cast for before beginning to grind it out for hybrid in deeper, open water.

Thanks to a second day of northerly winds, the topwater bite was not all that strong, nor all that visible in the chop. Add to this the fact that both Jim and Marcus were a bit rusty on the casting, and we were only able to capitalize on the topwater to the tune of five white bass. The fish simply did not stay up very long and so 2 to 3 casts per surface feeding school was about all of the chance we got at these fish.

By around 7:15 AM all topwater was done and we began the process of searching out active hybrid striped bass and tempting them with our live shad. We fished four distinct areas, all between 34 and 41 feet deep, and the scenario was very similar at each one. We found white bass, typically heavily schooled and moving quickly about, some fairly reluctant hybrid moving very closely along the bottom, with abundant young of the year shad all throughout the water column, and some pesky, small blue catfish in the lower third of the water column. As we fished these several areas over the four hours that followed, we picked up exactly 31 additional fish, of which eight were legal hybrid striped bass, one was a short hybrid, one was a channel cat, one was a blue cat, and the balance were white bass in the two and three year class.

Most of the white bass did not come on our live bait, but rather came on smoked slabs which we dropped down only when I saw abundantly schooled white bass move  beneath the boat as shown on sonar.

These summer months are my least favorite for pursuing hybrid, as the fishing for that species is generally slow, and hot, and somewhat tedious. However, for those willing to put in the effort, quality hybrid stripers can certainly still be caught.

TALLY: 36 FISH, all caught and released

 Wx Snapshot:

21JUN17

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:15a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Water Surface Temp: 83.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE7-9

Sky Conditions: Grey cloud bank to the E which obscured sunrise, then clearing off by 7:15a

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

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 133 thru 1657 – very light topwater action for white bass

**Area 152/086 – hybrid on shad and whites on smoked slabs

**Area 1800 – small blue cat

**Area vic 1297 – hybrid on shad and whites on smoked 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

Just a Little Bit Competitive — 62 Fish, Lake Belton, 23 May ’17

This past Tuesday morning, May 23rd, I fished with Mr. David Baird, a Temple, Texas, native now living in San Antonio, and his eight-year-old grandson, Huck Trottmann. The pair came based on a referral from long-time client Mr. Steve Niemeier, also of Temple.

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David Baird and his grandson, Huck Trottmann, landed 62 fish this past Tuesday, May 23rd, on Lake Belton.
We started our trip under cool and cloudy skies with an ambient temperature of 65°. Although it looked like it could rain at any time through around 10:45 AM, we never did see a drop.

We started our morning in pursuit of hybrid striped bass using live shad in around 42 feet of water with our baits suspended slightly above bottom. We managed to catch 15 hybrid in our first hour. At that time, the easterly winds we had began to settle to near calm.  As we prepared to move on to our second area, Huck gave a summary of our success, clearly communicating that he had landed more fish than his grandpa – my first clue that this young man was a tad competitive.

We moved on to a second area in pursuit of hybrid on live shad, again in 40 to 42 feet of water and put another 17 fish in the boat of which roughly 1/3 were hybrid. This bite ended when the winds begin to abruptly blow at about 8 to 9 mph from the northwest as a storm cell passed to the north of us.

The bite weakened a good bit and we finished our pursuit of hybrid at that time, choosing to pursue white bass using slabs instead of putting young Huck through a live bait waiting game that appeared to be materializing with the weather change. This turned out to be a good choice. We were able to find fairly active white bass in 50 to 52 feet of water and used a smoking retrieve to take our fish count from 32 fish up to 51 in about 45 minutes’ time.

Around 10:45 we experienced yet another weather change. The wind went calm once again and our cloud cover burned nearly completely off. This did not bode well for the slabbing bite we were into, so, based on a comment made by Huck earlier in the day expressing interest in trolling, we wrapped up our trip using downriggers to put a final 11 fish in the boat.

That brought our tally to 62. Huck was shooting for 62 fish today because he had read my report about Steve Niemeier and his granddaughter, Macy, catching 62 fish and he wanted to do likewise.

It took a bit more than 4 hours, and there was some doubt that it might happen at all, but, by trip’s end we had “mission accomplished”!

 

TOTAL = 62 FISH, all caught and released

Wx SNAPSHOT:

23MAY17

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:35a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 65F

Water Surface Temp: 73.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: Variable, see report text above

Sky Conditions: 100% cloud cover until ~10am, then clearing rapidly to <20% cloud cover

Water Level: 0.9 feet above full pool and falling; 45 cfs release at Belton Dam

GT = 70

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1297/150 – 15 hybrid on live shad by 8a

**Area vic 1269 – 17 fish with a 3:1 mix of hybrid to white bass by 9a

**Area 1945/1290/1325 – spot hopping for “patches” of schooled white bass on bottom with slabs

**Area 1945– downrigging at 30′ over a breakline cresting at 33′ for 11 whites coming as singles and doubles on a pair of tandem-rigged Pet Spoons

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, Graduate; then, go fishing — 68 Fish with the Hadelers, 22 May ’17 (AM)

This past Monday morning, May 22nd, I fished with Mike and Amy Hadeler and their son, Mason, accompanied by his girlfriend, Michelle Ponce, all in celebration of Mason’s graduation from college with a chemistry degree.  This was slated as a multi-species trip.

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Amy Hadeler landed the largest fish of her life today, several times over.  The hybrid striped bass cooperated early in the trip giving all four anglers a chance to land several of these hard-pulling fish.

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Michelle Ponce also landed her personal best fish today.  Previously she’d only landed smaller bass and sunfish while fishing from the bank.

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Mason’s graduation from college with a chemistry degree gave the whole family reason to celebrate — and they chose to do it by going fishing together.

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Michael Hadeler coordinated this whole family fishing event then got to enjoy watching (and videoing) everyone in action.  He even caught a few himself!

The day started off cool and rainy – – 57° in the wake of a damp cool front that moved through on Saturday. We launched in a light rain after delaying until 7:15; the rain tapered to nothing within 30 minutes.

We put 22 hybrid in the boat in our first two hours on the water before the hybrid bite got soft as the winds died down to near calm.

Around 9:30a I began searching water deeper than that which we were fishing for hybrid in seeking white bass holding in large, bottom-hugging schools.

Once we found what we were after on sonar, we “spot hopped” four different times to put a grand total of 41 additional fish in the boat including three legal hybrid with the rest being white bass.

With about 75 minutes remaining in the trip I offered that we could once again pursue hybrid given that the skies had lightened a bit, and our wind had returned and shifted to just north of east.

We hit three different areas, all with live bait, encountering blue catfish at the first two and moving quickly away from those two areas. At the last area we got baits and chum down and picked up three quick hybrid before things fizzled for good. By 11:50a all was said and done. Our tally this morning was 68 fish, all caught and released, with personal bests landed by Amy, Michelle, and Mason, thanks to the large hybrid they had the opportunity to land.

TOTAL = 68 FISH, all caught and released

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:

22MAY17

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Water Surface Temp: 73.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: Near calm at trip’s start, then a NW ripple in the last 90 minutes or so

Sky Conditions: Bluebird, post-frontal skies

Water Level: 0.85 feet above full pool and falling; 45 cfs release at Belton Dam

GT = 0

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1012/150 – 22 hybrid

**Area 1945/1290 – 4 short hops for whites on the slab

**Area 344/1378 – 3 hybrid in the final 30 minutes after a late morning lull

 

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

Catfish Conversion — 95 Fish, Belton, 19 May ’17 (PM)

This past Friday evening, May 19th, I fished with Jeff Atchison of Killeen, his dad, Ricky, and Jeff’s son, Logan.  With their own boat, these fellows normally pursue catfish on either Inks or Buchanan, but wanted to sample some variety closer to home.

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Jeff Atchison with a nice 4 pound class hybrid — one of several we landed before the winds ramped up too high to stay on ’em.

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Ricky came up with a nice surprise as we were working slabs for white bass.  As you might imagine, a hybrid like this landed on spinning gear intended for white bass “took a little doing”.

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Look at that grin!  Logan was really focused in his fishing and did very well at all of the techniques we used this evening.

Jeff and I spoke briefly at this past January’s Central Texas Boat Show after he heard my presentation about the use and interpretation of marine electronics.  Jeff is a Killeen native and owns Budget Used Car Sales in Killeen, which he bought from his father.  Jeff and his dad do some ranching, as well, raising livestock and coastal grass on acreage south of town.

Jeff, Ricky, and Logan were all up for using a variety of tactics for a variety of species, so, given that the wind forecast showed our winds to be lightest at the beginning of the trip, I hit open water early on in an attempt to catch hybrid striped bass using live shad.

This worked out well, as we were able to land six hybrid in right at 45 minutes before the wind ramped up to the point where our baits were being jerked up and down very unnaturally and we decided to close out this chapter of the trip pretty quickly.

Next, I introduced the fellows to downrigging. We found scattered, suspended white bass holding consistently at 24 to 25 feet beneath the surface and so we ran Pet Spoons rigged on tandem rigs on a pair of downriggers and wound up catching a double followed by a single in short order.

Next, I endeavored to find deep, heavily schooled white bass so I could show these fellows how to use a smoking tactic with slabs. Unfortunately, the fish had other ideas. Most of the white bass we found were scattered and suspended. As I was studying sonar intently, Jeff noticed a school of white bass feeding nearby on the surface in open, deep water. We worked it so I stayed on the front deck working the trolling motor to keep us within casting distance, and all three fellows cast off of one side of the boat to avoid tangles and to avoid anyone getting hooked.

We quickly took our fish count up to 39 fish and no time as we caught a variety of sizes of both white bass `and largemouth bass. Between the time this schooling action ended and the time the sunset white bass bite began, we tried the smoking tactic on at least three other groups of fish, but they simply did not respond well as they were very transient and were not heavily grouped on the bottom to begin with, which is really a prerequisite for success using this tactic.

The last thing we did this evening was cast paddle tail grubs on quarter ounce jig heads to white bass feeding just subsurface as they pushed shad upwards and shorewards. Once again, just as was the case this past Saturday, we had these fish all to ourselves which is a bonus anytime fishing around the weekend on Belton in the warm months.

We closed out our trip with 95 fish landed.

TOTAL =  95 FISH, all caught and released

Wx SNAPSHOT:

19MAY17PM

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  4:30p

End Time:  8:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 88F

Water Surface Temp: 72.9

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE15-16 the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 50% cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.81 feet above full pool and falling; 45 cfs release at Belton Dam

GT = 55

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1269 – all hybrid on live shad

**Area  1940 – downrigger demo for suspended whites

**Area 1943 and out to the channel for surface feeding whites

**Area 1625 – aggressive low-light action on subsurface whites

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 Whole College of Hybrid — 73 Fish, Belton, 11 May ’17

This past Thursday morning, May 11, I fished with the Campbell kids from Gatesville, Texas. Joining me today were David who is about to be 12, Dalton, Shiloh, and Nicole.  This trip was in celebration of David’s birthday.

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From left: Nicole (16), David (12), Dalton (10), and Shiloh (14).

We took a multi-species approach this morning and fished for what was most eager to bite. The first thing we found were very willing hybrid striped bass in 42 feet of water with next to no white bass intermingled with them. We enjoyed two hours and 45 minutes of continuous hybrid action and during that time put 38 legal hybrid and 4 white bass in the boat on both live shad and on some special cut baits I prepared.

There were times when I wasn’t sure if David or Dalton had a fish, or if the fish had them! These hybrid stripers were a good bit larger and much more aggressive than the largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish they are accustomed to catching from the bank.

At one point, the hybrid were so numerous beneath the boat that I pointed out their signatures on sonar to the kids.  David said, “Wow, there must be a whole college of them down there!”   When Nicole asked if he meant to say “school”, David replied, “No, these fish are too big for school.”

About the time the hybrid stopped hitting both live and cut bait, the wind was beginning to ramp up beyond a level I was comfortable in keeping kids out in open water, so, we retreated to the protection of one of the tributaries, and searched out bottom hugging, tightly congregated white bass. The first area we located fish at gave up a few whites, but the fish were pretty nonchalant about chasing our baits. I gave up on this in hopes of finding some better action, and I was glad I did.

In 44 feet of water at the base of a gentle slope, I found hundreds of white bass within 3 feet of the bottom. Using the Minn Kota’s “Spot Lock” feature, we hovered right over top of these fish, got our three-quarter ounce slabs complete with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks down to them, and began using a smoking tactic to land fish after fish. We took our tally from 42 fish up to 73 fish in the final 50 minutes on the water fishing two distinct areas just a few boat lengths apart, but over the same group of fish.

At the close of the trip I was sure to mention to Mr. and Mrs. Campbell how respectful and well-behaved their kids were. All four are homeschooled and, given that they are growing up on a 40 acre ranch, all have responsibilities to tend to regarding schoolwork and livestock. Wish all of our kids in America could be like this crew.

TOTAL =   73 FISH, all caught and released

Wx SNAPSHOT:

11MAY17

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00a

End Time:  11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 71F

Water Surface Temp: 73.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:

Sky Conditions: 40% white clouds on a fair sky

Water Level: 0.66 feet above full pool and falling; 0 cfs release at Belton Dam

GT = 45

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 150/1012 –  38 legal hybrid & 4 white bass by 9:40a

**Area 1942 – 31 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

Happy 8th Birthday, Luke!! — 66 Fish. Lake Belton, 06 May ’17 (PM)

This past Saturday afternoon, May 6th, I fished a birthday trip for eight-year-old Luke Phillips, accompanied by two of his buddies, Colby Anthony and Brooks Hull, as well as Luke’s dad, Will Phillips.

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The birthday party, from left, Colby Anthony, Will Phillips, Luke Phillips, and Brooks Hull with a sampling of the white bass they caught on slabs in our last hour on the water, from 5:15 to 6:15pm.

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Brooks pulled in the largest fish of the trip this evening, a 3.25 pound, 18.50 inch hybrid striper that fell for a slab.

Due to Will’s work commitment, we had to adjust the timing of this trip around his work schedule, which put us fishing from 2:30 to 6:30 PM.

Given the boys’ age, I knew it would be important to introduce a variety of tactics and transitions during the trip so as to keep their interest and help them be successful.

We began by downrigging which produced eight fish, followed by shallow water sunfishing which produced five more fish, and then we closed with working vertically for deep, heavily congregated white bass using a smoking tactic.

This was the first time this year where the fish were active enough to respond to a smoking tactic versus the easing tactic that has been necessary up to this point. I noted that the water surface temperature went from 70 to 74 from morning to evening today. At our one and only area that produced white bass on the smoking tactic, we took our fish count from 13 up to 66. Two of these fish were legal hybrid, both landed by Brooks while fishing right in between his two buddies, literally 4 feet away from both of them.

Some guys have all the luck!

TOTAL = 66 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  2:30p

End Time:  6:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  80

Water Surface Temp:  74F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S10

Sky Conditions: Fair and cloudless

Water Level: 0.65 feet above full pool and falling; 1592 cfs release at Belton Dam

GT = 0

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  473 through 1584 – downrigging for white bass – 8 fish

**Area  166 – slipfloats for sunfish – 5 fish

**Area  1940 – smoking for white bass – 53 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

Fishing for Answers — 37 Fish, Lake Belton, 05 May ’17

This past Friday after noon, May 5th, I fished with Clay Lohse who drove four hours from Abilene to do an instructional trip on Lake Belton in order to help him in his own efforts on Fort Phantom Reservoir, his “home” lake.

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Clay Lohse drove from Abilene for answers to some very specific questions he had about the pursuit of white bass, hybrid stripers, the use of sonar, the use of downriggers, and more.

 
Clay is an ER nurse and is progressing towards nurse practitioner status. He came prepared with 11 very specific questions that he wanted to be sure to cover with me during our time on the water. He emphasized that he was not so much interested in catching a lot of fish, but rather was interested in learning about my approaches to catching fish through the seasons of the year.

With this in mind, I tried to demonstrate for him as much as this season and today’s weather and fish behavior would allow for.

I started out by responding to his questions about sonar use, and then provided a live demo as we searched for, found, and successfully caught heavily congregated, deep water white bass holding in 42 feet of water on bottom.

Next, knowing these fish were present, I demonstrated two different downrigging tactics. The first was the “wrecking ball” tactic I wrote of in my recent In-Fisherman magazine article. The second involved the use of Pet Spoons used on a tandem rig to catch white bass. This resulted in two singles and two doubles caught in just a matter of minutes.

Next, we moved to a less steeply sloped and shallower area where I was able to demonstrate the use of blade baits. Clay successfully put a small white bass in the boat using this tactic.

Next, we went to the back of a shallow cove where I demonstrated the use of a pole and slip float combination targeting sunfish.  This was mainly because he mentioned he has a 3-year-old, and I knew this would be helpful as Clay introduced his child to fishing.

We wrapped up the trip this evening fishing live shad on tightlines and boated numerous white bass and hybrid striped bass using this tactic.

As a bonus, Clay and I were able to take advantage of subsurface feeding white bass we found driving shad to the surface on our ride back into the boat ramp.

For our efforts, we landed a total of 37 fish this evening, and Clay went away a very satisfied, and much more well-prepared angler.

Here is the first sentence of an email Clay sent me after fishing on Fort Phantom:  “Hey Bob, wanted to let you know I did awesome at Fort Phantom thanks to the techniques you taught me!” 

It is very gratifying to get a note like that from someone I’ve provided instruction to.

 

TOTAL = 37 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:00p

End Time: 8:20p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Water Surface Temp: 76F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE7

Sky Conditions: Clear

Water Level: 0.67 feet above full pool and falling; 1592 cfs release at Belton Dam

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:

05MAY16

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 308/508 easing for deep white bass & downrigger demo

**Area 818 bladebait demo

**Area 1754 sunfish demo

**Area 1935 sunset hybrid on shad

**Area 1938 post-sunset topwater whites fished subsurface

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

 

Cold Front Crew scores 116 fish on Belton; 22 April ’17 (PM)

This past Saturday afternoon, I fished Lake Belton on a multi-species trip with Mark Greger, his fianceé Liz Nutter, and friends Gary Ross and his son, Allen, age 15.

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Saturday’s “Cold Front Crew”; from left: Gary Ross, Allen Ross, Liz Nutter, and Mark Greger.

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Allen definitely had a knack for catching the big hybrid.

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Liz, an Army nurse practitioner for 16 years now, cut her teeth on West Coast trout and salmon.

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Gary, a catfisherman at heart, got to compare and contrast the pursuit of cats with the pursuit of hybrid.

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Mark took what would be our last hybrid of the evening just as the sun set.

Mark and Gary both work as aircraft mechanics with DynCorp International, a defense contractor supporting Fort Hood. Liz is an active duty major who is in the US Army Medical Corps serving pregnant women who come through Darnall Army Medical Center. Allen is a student at Lake Belton middle school.  Mark and Liz are due to be married soon, then move to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

The straight-line winds at 16 mph which were forecast to blow nearly all day today in conjunction with a late spring cold front that moved in early in the morning, blew just as predicted. Also, the cloud cover that was forecast to stick with us most of the day, also behaved as forecast.

We fished five areas this evening. Our efforts at the first two were strictly focused on white bass using white, 3/8 oz. slabs equipped with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks. At the last three areas, we fished with live shad on downlines and did what we could to select for hybrid striped bass in areas that held both white bass and hybrid.

By the time all was said and done, everyone had the opportunity to feel the incredible pull of at least one hybrid striper. Allen caught more than his fair share of these hard pulling, line – sided fish.

By trip’s end, we had landed a total of 116 fish. This compares favorably with our morning catch of 74 fish. Although we tried numerous times during the morning trip to get a slab bite going while sitting atop schools of white bass, it was not until the 11 o’clock hour that these fish truly began to respond well to that.  Once we got within 4 hours of sunset, the white bass once again turned on and bit well on the slab.
TALLY = 116 FISH, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:30p

End Time: 8:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 58F

Water Surface Temp: 69.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW15-17

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds at trip’s start, clearing to 30% clouds on a fair sky.

Water Level: 4.91 feet above full pool and falling; 3900+ cfs release

 

GT = 40

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 1922

**Area 1678/1757

**Area 1623

**Area 1620/1757

**Area1628

 

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