Tortorich Kids Land 36 on Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited Trip — 09 Aug. ’17 (AM)

This morning, Wednesday, August 9th, I fished with 12-year-old AmiLee Tortorich and her 8-year-old brother, Brayden.  The kids’ mom signed them up for this “Fishing 101” activity through the Fort Hood SKIESUnlimited Program.

Bro and Sis

 

AmiLee and Brayden Tortorich landed 36 fish during their 4-hour Fort Hood SKIESUnlimited trip on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.  The siblings were introduced to downrigging, vertical jigging, and sight casting under unusually cool August conditions.

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AmiLee landed our largest fish of the trip and didn’t hesitate to grip it like a pro for a quick photo before it was released.  This largemouth bass struck a silver Pet Spoon with a white feather tail.

Our weather was still a bit out of the ordinary for August, with a cool north wind blowing this morning taking the surface temperature down a bit overnight and dropping the air temperature to around 76F.

We primarily used downriggers this morning as the fish were scattered and a bit reluctant to strike.  Quite a few times we saw large schools of fish which, under typical August weather conditions, would strike when the downrigged baits got near them.  This morning, the majority of those encounters resulted in those fish refusing our offerings.

Around 8am we made a move and found some light, scattered surface action driven by largemouth bass chasing shad to the surface.  Mixed in with these largemouth, and lower in the water column, were white bass.

We remained in this active location for the remainder of our trip; this allowed the kids to continue downrigging successfully, but also allowed them to do some vertical jigging and some sight casting to the largemouth on top.  With about 45 minutes left in our trip, I offered that we could either continue pursuing the white bass as we had been doing, or head up shallow and catch more, but smaller, sunfish.

To my surprise, the kids opted to stick with it for more white bass action, as they really enjoyed setting and operating the downriggers.  This choice got them 6 more fish in the last 45 minutes of our trip, including the trip’s one and only “triple” where AmiLee caught 3 fish at a time on her 3-armed umbrella rig.

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: 36 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30am

End Time: 10:30am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp: 83.8F

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

Sky Conditions: ~10% cloud cover.

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 484-1221 downrigging under low light conditions with a grey cloud bank in the east obscuring sunrise

**Area 1510-1316 a mix of downrigging, sight casting, and smoking for a largemouth/white bass mix

 

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

Spotty Fishing After the Rains — 35 Fish, Belton, 07 Aug ’17

This past Monday evening, in the wake of area-wide rainfall that occurred from late Sunday night through early Monday afternoon, I fished for a second time with US Army retiree Lee Walker.

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In the wake of storms that persisted through early afternoon, fishing was very spotty thereafter.  Fish would turn on and then turn right back off again.

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During his introduction to downrigging, Lee wound up catching a “triple”, with one fish striking each of the three Pet Spoons on the 3-armed umbrella rigs which account for the majority of the fish I catch on downriggers.

Lee had previously done both a sonar training trip with me and then, last fall, took advantage of a Veterans’ Day special I was running just for vets.  We were in contact by phone between 4-5 am this morning comparing notes on weather radar hoping to get a morning trip in, but, rain, thunder, and lightning persisted, so, we pushed back to this evening.

Lee is an avid Lake Belton angler and was hoping to get some insights into summer fishing on Belton more than just going out and putting fish in the boat.

The unstable weather made things tough this afternoon, so we had to work for each of the fish we caught.  We kicked off the trip by downrigging.  The downrigging produced singles, doubles, and even a bonus triple (catching 1 fish on each of the 3 hooks of the umbrella rig, thus allowing the angler to catch 3 fish at a time.  All the while we were downrigging, we also kept a sharp eye on sonar to see if there were any large clusters of fish on bottom that could be jigged for.

At the third area we patrolled, we got into such a cluster of fish, picked off 4 whites and 2 hybrid in under 3 minutes, and then never found another active group of fish like that the remainder of the trip.

By 7:00p, with the sun ducking in and out of thick grey cloud cover, some light surface action began to brew and lots of young of the year shad appeared on the calming surface.  We both had high hopes of a sunset topwater feed, but, none developed.

When all was said and done, we landed 33 white bass and 2 hybrid stripers with the majority of the fish coming on the downriggers, 4 coming on topwater, and 6 coming on slabs worked vertically.

With tomorrow’s weather looking very unstable, I postponed that day’s trip; Wednesday looks like we’ll be back in the groove.

TALLY: 35 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:10p

End Time: 8:35p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 85F

Water Surface Temp: 85.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE4-5 for the first 3 hours, then going calm in the final hour

Sky Conditions: ~40% cloud cover the entire trip

Water Level: 0.23 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT:

07AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1946-1584-815 downrigging

**Area 1972-904 downrigging and smoking

**Area 1271-1186 downrigging

**Area 483-1402-501 sparse topwater

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

Sunfish Tips — 34 Fish with the Rowells on SKIFF Trip #14

On Thursday, August 3rd, I conducted the season’s 14th “S.K.I.F.F.” Program trip, treating Grace Rowell and her two children, 12-year-old Delilah and 8-year-old Ryan Jr., to some multi-species angling on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

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From left: Mrs. Grace Rowell and her children, Ryan Jr. and Delilah with our first fish of the morning.

Grace’s husband, US Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) Ryan Rowell Sr. is currently serving in Kuwait where he works as a Field Artillery mechanic.  SFC Rowell has been in the service for 19 years.

Grace and the kids were real troopers, leaving their quarters on Ft. Hood in a downpour to get to our launch site.  Although they outran the rain and we launched under dry conditions, that rain caught back up with us and we fished in about an hour-long rainshower.  It seems the fish didn’t mind (hey, they were already wet, right?) as we caught fish from start to finish this morning.

After the white bass cooperated well, allowing us to put 18 in the boat using 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons, we invested the balance of the trip up shallow in pursuit of sunfish.

Ryan was keenly interested in my approach to sunfishing, as he goes as often as he can to one of the Ft. Hood ponds earmarked for kids.  He learned a number of good tactics, from bait selection and presentation, to the importance of downsizing tackle to account for the small mouths sunfish have.

We landed 34 fish this morning before heading back in.

“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: 34 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30am

End Time: 9:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp: 84.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: NE breeze 5-6mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover with light rain from 7:15 to 8:15a.

Water Level: 0.13′ low slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

03AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 444 to 484 to 1114 to 909 — downrigging and smoking

**Area 1416 – 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

Better than Birthday Cake — 149 Fish, Belton, 02 Aug. ’17 (PM)

This past Wednesday evening, August 2nd, I fished with Mr. Richard Oates, his brother Gerald, Richard’s son, Andy, and Richard’s son-in-law, Jon. The trip was in celebration of Gerald’s birthday.

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The birthday boy, Gerald Oates, was treated to a half-day outing on Lake Belton by his brother, Richard Oates of Harker Heights.

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Andy Oates (you’ve probably seen him at the Harker Heights Chick-Fil-A) with a pair of nice Belton Lake hybrid we took out of 36 feet of water on artificials.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect this evening because of the wet cool front which moved into the area early this morning and soured the fishing for the first half of this morning’s trip.

As it turned out, skies slowly cleared to 60% clouds and the atmosphere dried as the afternoon turned to evening.

The bite this afternoon steadily increased right up until it shut down at 8:50 p.m.

The fishing started off slow – – we downrigged for abundant, suspended white bass and hybrid striper, but if one in every 75 or 80 fish made a motion toward the downrigger ball, we were lucky.

At the second area we fished, we found the same fish situation – – abundant and suspended – – but our “see them to catch them” ratio definitely improved as perhaps 10 to 20% of the fish seen on sonar would make a positive move toward the downrigger ball.

Eventually, we got into fish active enough to hover over top of and “smoke” for using slabs.

There was a bit of a lull between 7;15 and 8;15 when we downrigged for fish that were increasingly higher in the water column and closer to shore.

Finally, there was an all-out topwater blitz as we sighted fish in a number of areas and put nearly 100 fish in the boat in our final 45 to 50 minutes on the water by casting to fish revealing their location as they fed on the baitfish on the surface. We used slabs for this work, as well.

We closed out the evening with exactly 149 fish landed.

TALLY: 149 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 4:30p

End Time: 8:55p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F (actually cooler than the starting temp of this morning’s trip)

Water Surface Temp: 84.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW7-8 due to an early season, wet cold front’s passage

Sky Conditions: 100% cloud cover at trip’s start with the lightest of drizzle, slowly clearing and drying to 60% cloud cover

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

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

02AUG17

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1975 downrigging with low “see to catch” ratio

**Area 904-1972 downrigging and smoking

**Area 1271-814 – pre-dusk downrigging

**Area 016-1602 – aggressive topwater action

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

Mom is never gonna believe this! — 50 Fish with Dan & Landon Phillips

This past Wednesday morning, August 2nd, I fished a Fort Hood SKIESUnlimited program trip with 8-year-old Landon Phillips, and his dad, Major Dan Phillips, who just recently returned from his third deployment to Afghanistan.

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Like most kids his age, 8-year-old Landon Phillips preferred the steady action of smaller fish to the longer waits required to put larger fish in the boat.  So, we spent a good bit of this morning’s trip up shallow gunning for sunfish.  Having his dad home a bit earlier than expected from deployment to Afghanistan was icing on the cake.

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After the heavier rains stopped and the clouds thinned from dark grey to white and let some light through, the white bass and hybrid went on the prowl after baitfish, allowing us some action on downriggers and with vertical presentations made with slabs.  Landon holds our largest fish of the trip.

As I awoke at 4:15 AM, the sound of distant thunder got me looking on weather radar to see a slow moving storm cell just about to cross over Fort Hood from west to east. The thunder and lightning occurred only on the lead edge of this small storm system, but the rain hung around through around 9:30am.

Dan and Landon were okay with a little discomfort if that is what it took to catch a few fish, so with only a 15 minute delay, we shoved off from the courtesy dock at 6:45 AM on Lake Belton in pursuit of white bass and sunfish sufficient to keep eight-year-old Landon’s string stretched.

The unstable weather and gray, murky conditions definitely put a damper on the fishing during the early morning. We witnessed a widespread school of white bass break on the surface for just minutes along a breakline that slowly transitioned from 15 to 25 feet. As we got to the action, both downriggers went off each with a double, allowing us a quick four fish in the boat, and then the action shut down thereafter as more rain moved in and the clouds thickened.

Suspecting that the whites were not going to really get active again until we experienced some clearing, we began our pursuit of sunfish a bit earlier and stuck with it a bit longer than normal, but Landon really enjoyed the action it provided. Over about a 75 minute span, he put exactly 25 sunfish in the boat including bluegill and green sunfish anywhere from 3 to 7 inches in length.

Just as the sunfishing was slowing down at the one area we had elected to try, the skies began to clear from west to east, and the clouds, although still covering at 100%, went from very dark gray to white.

Almost immediately, we began to see signs of bird and fish activity that simply did not exist during the rainfall.

We made a move to the mouth of a windblown cove, ran sonar over it, saw abundant bait and white bass suspended at 27 to 29 feet beneath the surface, and ran when downriggers over these fish with balls set just 2 to 3 feet above them. We picked up fish on both ‘riggers on three consecutive passes before I put us in a hover using the Spot Lock technology on my Minn Kota trolling motor, after which we began to work the fish over using slabs presented vertically. We put a total of 17 additional fish in the boat including primarily white bass with one hybrid and one largemouth bass in the mix, as well.

For the last 15 minutes of the trip I offered Landon another shot at sunfish, because he really enjoyed the presentation to these fish as well as catching them, and he did indeed elect to spend the last portion of our trip up shallow. With much improved accuracy, Landon fished this second area we chose for sunfish very well, taking our grand total up to exactly 50 fish before we called it a good day.

When Dan asked Landon if he thought mom was going to believe they caught 50 fish, Landon was doubtful. Dan even suggested we take a photograph of my handheld fish counter just to make their story more credible.

At around 11 AM, we called it a great day and wrapped up our successful, albeit soggy, fishing trip on Lake Belton.

TALLY: 50 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Water Surface Temp: 84.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW8 due to an early season, wet cold front’s passage

Sky Conditions: 100% cloud cover

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

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

02AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 444 to 484 to 909 to 1238 – strong fishing for 2 full hours under low light and cloud cover; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with Pet Spoons; 30 fish

**Areas 195 and 189  – sunfishing in the shallows; 14 fish

**Area 1436 – a strong presence of fish; only landed 4 and left them biting

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

Girl Trip! Fishin’ with Lilee, Lilli, and Yvette — 48 Fish

I started off August of 2017 on the water at Stillhouse with Yvette Garcia, her soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter, Lilee, and a friend of the family, 9-year-old Lilli Moss.

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From the left: Lilee, Yvette, and Lilli with our first fish of the trip.

 

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Lilli Moss putting 3 fish at a time in the boat and gripping them like a pro!

 

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Lilee Oliver with her own triple which she landed just seconds after Lilli Moss landed 3 fish at once as our pair of 3-armed umbrella rigs went through a very large school of very hungry white bass!

Yvette is a KISD teacher excited about the upcoming school year in the new Smith Middle School which relocated this year from Ft. Hood to Bunny Trail in Killeen.  As we volunteered together recently at Memorial Baptist Church’s Vacation Bible School, Yvette mentioned to me that she’d like to take her daughter fishing before school went back in session and life got busy.  Today, we made that happen!

With near-calm conditions, a bit of thin cloud cover, and the coolest morning we’ve enjoyed in weeks (76F before sunrise), we had ideal conditions for spotting fish and bait and took full advantage of that.

Where fish appeared at the surface pursuing bait, we worked with downriggers presenting 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with 3 Pet Spoons each for a total of 6 baits in the water at any given time.

We put exactly 30 fish in the boat in just under 2 hours before the fishing slacked off and the girls began to lose interest in the repetition of this technique.

Yvette and I agreed it would be a good time for a transition to shallow water to fish for sunfish, which we did very successfully to the tune of 14 more fish added to our count, including blacktail shiners, bluegill sunfish, and longear sunfish.

After the sunfish at the second of the two areas we fished at grew wise to our tricks, I asked the girls if they’d like to spend our last 30 minutes or so pursuing more sunfish or going after more large white bass.  9-year-old Lilli was all about pursuing the big ones, and little Lilee just wanted to use my bait net to return fish to the water, so, we helped Lilli catch white bass on the downriggers, and put those captured fish in Lilee’s net to meet her desires.

After landing another 4 white bass, the calm winds and increasing heat were about all the young ladies could stand, so, we called it a great day right there and then with 48 fish landed, lots of photos taken, and good memories made to last for a long time.

TALLY: 48 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 10:05a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp: 84.9F

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

Sky Conditions: 30% cloud cover

Water Level: 0.08 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

01AUG17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 444 to 484 to 909 to 1238 – strong fishing for 2 full hours under low light and cloud cover; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with Pet Spoons; 30 fish

**Areas 195 and 189  – sunfishing in the shallows; 14 fish

**Area 1436 – a strong presence of fish; only landed 4 and left them biting

 

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

Um, this birthday present seems a little fishy! — 44 Fish with the Kropp Family

This morning, Monday, 31 July, I fished with the Kropp family of Temple, including Paul and his wife, Dawn, and two of their three daughters, 11-year-old Rebekah, and 17-year-old Danielle.  The trip was in celebration of Rebekah’s 11th birthday.

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The Kropp family celebrated Rebekah’s 11th birthday on the water today.  From left: Danielle, Paul, Dawn, and Rebekah.  We landed 44 fish this morning, primarily via downrigging.

 

The morning got off to a fast start with singles and doubles coming readily under low light conditions.  We picked up 18 fish in the first hour, but, once the direct sun hit the water after rising above a grey cloud bank in the east, the fishing quickly tapered off.

We struggled for about 75 minutes, fishing 3 areas and picking up only 4 additional fish.

Around 9:30 we got back into them over top of a submerged channel and worked this area for all it was worth, putting another 15 fish in the boat and taking our tally up to 37 fish.

Around 10:30 I suggested we hit one more area to see if we could make it an even 40 fish trip.  Upon our arrival, sonar revealed good signatures showing white bass suspended near bottom in groups of 5-10 fish per school.  In about 20 minutes we were able to put a final 7 more white bass in the boat, finishing the morning up with 44 fish caught and released.

There were a number of times where I saw strong congregations of fish which we stopped over top of and vertical jigged for, but none of these scenarios worked out.  The fish not only wanted a horizontal presentation, but they were pretty finicky even about chasing and striking at that.

We did experience a wind shift today with winds out of the ENE versus the southerly winds we’ve had for the better part of June and July.  Winds are due to have an easterly component all week with a moderation of daily high temperatures in conjunction with the wind shift.

 

TALLY: 44 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F

Water Surface Temp: 84.9F

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

Sky Conditions: 30% cloud cover

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

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT:

31JUL17

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 485-1239 – strong fishing for the first hour under low light and cloud cover; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with Pet Spoons

**Area 040 – sparse results; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with Pet Spoons

**Area 1499 – sparse results; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with Pet Spoons

**Area 329 – sparse results; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with Pet Spoons

**Area 453 – solid fishing; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with Pet Spoons

**Area 1971 – solid fishing; downrigging a 3-armed umbrella with 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

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

Oliver Family Double-Header — 4 Generations land 113 Fish

This past week I ran two trips (Thursday AM and Saturday AM) with members of the Oliver clan, encompassing four generations.

Cullen and Joe

 

On Thursday morning, Cullen pulled this “double”, catching 2 fish at a time on the 3-armed umbrella rig we were using.

Presley

 

Not to be outdone, Cullen’s twin 7-year-old sister, Presley, pulled up a double of her own just a few minutes after Cullen’s.

Harper and Corey (2)

Cullen and Presley’s 5-year-old sister, Harper (with dad, Corey), hung right in there with her older siblings Thursday morning.

IMG_3419

On Saturday, from left, Cullen made another appearance, this time joined by his cousins, Ben and Beau.  That’s Grandpa Joe looking on.

IMG_3420

3-year-old Beau wasn’t too sure about holding his own fish, so his mom, Amber, gave him a hand.  That’s 87-year-old “Paw” Oliver, Beau’s great-grandfather, on the right!

This past Thursday morning, July 27th, I fished with three generations of Olivers. Mr. Joe Oliver, the principal of Cameron High School, treated his son, Corey, and Cory’s three children,Cullen, Presley, and Harper to a morning fishing trip on Stillhouse Hollow.

Given the kids ages – – seven year old twins and five-year-old Harper, the heat we were expecting by late morning, and how the fishery has been performing as of late, we decided it best to make this a “kids Fish, Too!” Trip, thus focusing just on the kids’ success and reducing the time spent on the water from 4+ hours down to just 3 1/2.

In retrospect, this worked out very, very well.

We began the day keeping the kids as engaged as possible while downrigging for as long as possible, as this horizontal presentation has definitely beat out vertical presentations over the course of this entire week.

In order to keep the kids engaged, we simply try to have them participate in as much as possible by taking the time to explain what needed to be done and why, and then modeling that for them and encouraging them to do these things themselves. Tasks included letting the line out the right distance behind the boat, clipping the fishing line into the downrigger release clip, setting the downrigger ball down to depth, and, of course, reeling in the fish.

Although we did try to mix in a little bit of vertical work for the sake of variety, we really did not see that approach work very well at all.

By about 9 AM, even the horizontal presentation of downrigging was beginning to lose its appeal to the fish.

With about an hour’s time left, we headed up shallow, equipped the kids with bream poles, and began to target sunfish in shallow, cover filled water.

We began this effort with 41 fish already landed, and were able to put an additional 23 fish in the boat in our final chapter.

On Saturday, Joe and Joe’s dad “Paw” Oliver joined us, as his two of Joe’s adult children, Corey and Amber.  Corey’s son, Cullen, made a repeat appearance, and Amber’s boys, Ben and Beau, joined us, as well for a 4-generation boatload of 8,myself included .

We pretty much repeated the downrigging for white bass and shallow fishing for sunfish that we’d enjoyed Thursday, although the white bass bite was a bit softer today.  In 2.5 hours of downrigging effort, we put 28 white bass, 2 largemouth bass, and 1 freshwater drum in the boat, and, in the final hour of sunfishing, put another 20 sunfish of various sorts in the boat for a total of 51 fish on Saturday.

Amber’s capture of a “triple” – one fish on each of the 3 lures on a 3-armed umbrella rig was one of the highlights of the trip, as was 3-year-old Beau’s solo sunfish catch right at the end of our trip.

TALLY: 62 FISH THURSDAY + 51 FISH SATURDAY = 113 FISH, all caught and released

ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Thursday

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 81F (NOAA Heat Advisory in effect)

Water Surface Temp: 85.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE breeze under 10 mph 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

Saturday

Start Time: 6:25a

End Time: 10:20a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 83F (NOAA Heat Advisory in effect)

Water Surface Temp: 85.7F

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

Sky Conditions: 60% cloud cover

Water Level: 0.01 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

 

GT = 210

Wx SNAPSHOT:

Thursday

27JUL17

Saturday

29JUL17

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Thursday

**Area 660-484 for white bass on downriggers early

**Area 484-1221 for white bass on downriggers mid-morning

**Area 851-251 for white bass on downriggers late

**Area 1416 for sunfish

Saturday

**Area 1234-484 for white bass on downriggers first half of bite

**Area 458-1442 for white bass on downriggers last half of bite

**Area 1098 for 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