SEASON’S FIRST SKIFF TRIP YIELDS 82 FISH FOR SOLDIER & SON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, February 2nd, I fished with Austin Fly Fishers member Dave Bush.  We welcomed aboard 8-year-old Jarrett Rowell for the first Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (S.K.I.F.F.) trip of the 2019 season.

Jarrett had been patiently waiting for this trip since before Christmas, as foul weather forced two postponements.  Jarrett’s mom, Lesa Rowell, initially contacted me after hearing of the S.K.I.F.F. program from another mom at her church.

SKIFF serves to put the kids of soldiers on the water at times when duty pulls parents away from their families.  Begun in 2009, SKIFF offers trips free of charge to any military family wherein kids are separated from their parent due to that parent’s military obligations from short-term commitments like gunnery or field time at Ft. Hood, to lengthy deployments, and anything in between.  Simply call me, Bob Maindelle, at 254.368.7411 to reserve a date.

 

From left: U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Matthew Rowell, his 8-year-old son, Jarrett, and Austin Fly Fishers’ Dave Bush landed 82 fish on the first SKIFF outing of 2019.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir
 
WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 02 Feb., 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  It just so happened that on Sunday, January 27th, Jarrett’s dad, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Matthew Rowell, redeployed to the United States from a split tour to Iraq and Kuwait as a field artilleryman.  Therefore, he was able to join his son on this SKIFF trip!

The ambient temperature was about 55F as father and son stepped aboard my boat at 7:30am on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just west of Salado.  The reservoir stood at 4.79 feet above full pool and was dropping fairly quickly, with a 24-hour fall of 0.61 feet as the Corps of Engineers released 3,180 cubic feet per second of water through the dam.

After a safety talk, adjusting equipment for my guests, and a word of prayer, we headed to the fishing grounds strictly relying upon GPS to navigate in the thick fog.

As we reached a main lake point, we deployed a pair of crankbaits to attempt some flat-line trolling for white bass.  In about 30 minutes of effort we got only one strike which resulted in a missed fish.

I had warned everyone that our first hour would likely be slow, as it typically is with foggy, calm conditions.

Around 8:20 am, our luck changed when the lightest of ESE winds began to ripple the surface.  This kicked off the morning white bass feed.  As white bass fed on threadfin shad from below, they drove bait toward the surface where ring-billed gulls dipped down to pick up dead and injured forage.

The white birds were tough to spot in the fog, but we got to them and confirmed the presence of fish with sonar.  The fish were tight to the bottom, but were ready to feed.

We all dropped 3/8 oz. slabs of my own design, equipped with a Hazy Eye Stinger Hook, to the bottom and used a “smoking” retrieve to tempt these active fish.  Young Jarrett went 5 for 5 on his first several attempts at the technique, each time landing a white bass between 12-13 inches.

As we three adults also hooked fish, we passed them off to Jarrett to reel in if he wasn’t already engaged with a fish of his own.

We fished three distinct locations over the 4 hour span of the trip, amassing a catch of 82 fish including approximately 4 drum, 1 blue catfish, and the balance consisting of white bass.

One of these fish is a pending lake record … but more on that when TPWD certifies the catch!!

As the trip concluded, we presented Jarrett with his own red tacklebox with an assortment of gear inside, a closed-faced rod and reel, and a red, logoed S.K.I.F.F. ballcap, all provided by Dave Hill and Manuel Pena.

OBSERVATIONS:  Calm, foggy conditions (as usual) produced poor results; once the slightest of breezes began and the light level rose a bit, the fish turned on and stayed actively biting from about 8:20 through to around 11:30.

TALLY: 82 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 55F

Water Surface Temp: 53.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were calm through 8:20, then began out of the ESE at 3-4, slowly increasing to 7-9 and turning SE.

Sky Conditions:  Grey, overcast conditions the entire trip.

Water Level: 4.79′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.61 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 3180 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0063C to 1697 to SH0092C – snap-jigging/smoking/easing for~65 fish

**Area vic 1195- snap-jigging and easing for 6 fish

**Area vic 1309 – snap-jigging and easing for 11 fish

 

 

Bob Maindelle

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

Great Trip, Eh? — 107 Fish on Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Monday morning, January 28th, I fished with Mr. Dave Hill, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran, and two buddies of his, George Godfrey from east of Austin, and Barrie Welch, originally from South Africa, who now resides in Ontario, Canada, near the Bay of Quinte.

Dave has, since 2009, been leading the charge for the Austin Fly Fishers fund-raising efforts to support the Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) program, along with Mr. Manuel Pena.  But, today was Dave’s day to bend a rod, and that is exactly what we did.

NOTE: In fairness, despite my blog entry title, not once did Barrie say “eh”.

 

 

From left: Dave Hill, George Godfrey, and Barrie Welch with a sampling of the white bass action from today’s trip.  Take a look at that bluebird sky; that always means tough fishing, but, thanks to their experience level and willingness to be coached, we missed very few bites and pulled out a good sack this morning.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday,  January 28th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  Today’s weather indicated average or below-average fishing in that we had bright, nearly cloud-free skies and a light breeze.  The early going was slow, but, as the breeze built, the fishing improved right up to around 10:30, when it began to drop off once again, as it often does on days with such weather.  Nearly 100% of the 107 fish we landed today came via snap-jigging, save for a handful of fish taken right around 9am when the school of fish we had teased up below the boat were active and joined by a new school of fish that moved into the area.  During this short span (maybe 12 minutes or so) we were able to use a slightly more aggressive easing tactic, but went right back to snap-jigging after that flurry ended.

We fished 5 distinct locations and caught fish at the middle 3 stops, stopping just once at the first two of these productive areas in 32-36 feet, and taking 2 short hops at the last productive location in about 48-50 feet of water.

The diminutive 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye Slab with Hazy Eye Stinger Hook did the trick all morning long.

We landed 2 largemouth, 1 short hybrid, approx. 15 drum, with the balance of our 107 fish consisting of white bass.  We hit 100 fish by 10:40a, then put just another 7 in the boat between that time and our wrap-up at 11:30a after the bite had fully run its course.

OBSERVATIONS:  No helpful bird activity this morning.

TALLY: 107 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:20a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Water Surface Temp: 51.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were SSE3 at trip’s start, slowly building to SSE7-8, then tapering back down around 10:30.

Sky Conditions:  The wispiest of white cloud cover at about 30% on a blue sky.

Water Level: 7.08′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.31 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 3156 CFS 

GT = 40

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    N/A

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0133C – snap-jigging for moderately interested fish

**Area B0134C – snap-jigging for moderately interested fish

**Area vic 1291 – snap-jigging for moderately interested fish

 

 

Bob Maindelle

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

WOUNDED WARRIORS WHOOPED ‘EM — 184 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday morning, January 18th, I was honored to be invited by the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) to provide a guided fishing trip for six of their members.  Planning for this began back in early December when I met with WWP’s San Antonio-based outreach specialist over lunch and we ironed out the logistics paving the way for this morning’s successful trip.

The WWP believes every warrior has a next mission. WWP knows that the transition to civilian life is a journey. And for every warrior, family member, and caregiver, that journey looks different. WWP is there for their first step, and each step that follows because they believe that every warrior should have a positive future to look forward to. There’s always another goal to achieve, another mission to discover — WWP is their partner in that mission.

More than 52,000 servicemen and women physically injured in recent military conflicts. 500,000 are living with invisible wounds from depression to post-traumatic stress disorder. 320,000 experience debilitating brain trauma.  WWP helps these men and women.

————————–

By our 7:30 a.m. start, I had the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all represented and ready to go.  I suppose I’ve never felt safer on a fishing trip before!!  Joining me were Hector Licon (Army), Tito Cortez (Army), Antonio Oquendo (Army), Devon Wikstrom (Air Force), Doc Richardson (Navy), and Carlos Espinosa (Marine Corps).

Carlos got the award for most enthusiastic.  Devon got the big fish award for his 6.75 pound drum. Hector got the early-bird award for showing up first.  Doc got the best beard award; Antonio got the award for most persistent angler; and Tito earned the best story-teller award.  There is still much debate about who caught the most fish.  We expect this will be figured out about the same time that the government shutdown is resolved!

 

THE WARRIORS: from left — Antonio Oquendo, Doc Richardson, Tito Cortez, Devon Wikstrom, Carlos Espinosa, and Hector Licon, each with one of the 2-year class white bass we landed this morning.

 

Air Force veteran Devon Wikstrom with the trip’s largest fish landed — a 6.75 pound freshwater drum, nicknamed “gasper gou”.  All five other participants claimed to have hooked and lost larger fish!!

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday,  January 18th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  Today’s approach involved a mix-and-match of snap-jigging, easing, and smoking, all depending upon how the fish presented on sonar.  During the time the fog persisted, the bite was slower, and the fish were glued to the bottom; we used a snap-jigging tactic and pulled fish steadily during this time.  Once the fog cleared, we were treated to two distinct episodes of helpful bird activity, each of which lasted about and hour with about a 30-minute pause in between.  When we first arrived in the vicinity of the birds, a more aggressive approach worked, then, as the frenzy died (as witnessed on sonar) and the fish settled, we changed up our tactics accordingly to continue to boat fish.  The white, 3/8 oz. slabs I make, rigged with my Hazy Eye Stinger hooks, caught every last one of our fish today.  No 3/4 oz. slabs, no soft plastic.

OBSERVATIONS:  Due to the amount of time we focused on suspended fish this morning, the number of drum we caught relative to our total catch was much lower.  When we have to rely on snap-jigging more heavily, the drum count seems to increase.

TALLY: 184 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 49F

Water Surface Temp: 49.9 – 52.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were SSE7 from trip’s start through about 10:30a, then quickly tapered up to SSE13 by 11:30a

Sky Conditions:  A moderate fog until 9:06a, then 100% coverage of light grey clouds.

Water Level: 10.21′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.23 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 2,978 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0132C – bottom-hugging juvenile hybrid in 38′ under a blanket of fog

**Area B0130C – fast action under birds

**Area B0131C- fast action under birds

**Area vic 1861 – fast action under birds

 

Bob Maindelle

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

WE PASKO-TIZED ‘EM — 60 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday morning, January 15th, I fished with long-time friend Bill Pasko on Lake Belton.  Bill is a great multi-species fisherman originally from upstate New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario.  After a short stint as a U.S. Army Infantry officer in Vietnam, Bill worked through age 55 putting his chemistry background to work for him and others.  He’s now retired and fishes nearly as much as I do!!

The main focus today was to introduce Bill to many of the capabilities of the Garmin LIveScope technology. It also served as a scouting opportunity for me, as I’d not fished Belton since 04 Jan. when the lake flooded once again. Bill called me the day before after seeing my 11 Jan. 2019 post comparing the spread diameter of two kinds of cast nets at depth. His curiosity was piqued and so, off we went this morning in search of fish.

 

Long-time Lake Belton multi-species angler Bill Pasko with a pair of hybrid we caught over 50′ of water.  These fish were suspended and on the move, but readily identified using the Garmin LiveScope technology.  We used soft plastics on jigheads to seal the deal.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  January 15th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Today’s fishing was focused around the 34-37 foot mark and involved both snap-jigging with slabs for fish we saw on bottom and sniping with soft plastics on jigheads for fish which were suspended.  The deeper the water, the better the fish responded to the thumper.  The fish activity correlated with windspeed.

OBSERVATIONS:  I was pleasantly surprised to see even smallish white bass eagerly strike Bill’s 4″ long soft plastics as we sniped for suspended fish.  I’ve traditionally defaulted to smaller presentations.  We experienced one episode of helpful bird action offered by ~8 terns over a short 10 minutes span, despite hundreds of ring-billed gulls sighted over open water.

TALLY: 60 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 42F

Water Surface Temp: 49.9 – 51.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were calm through about 9:30, then blew SSE6 for the remainder of the trip.

Sky Conditions:  100% coverage of light grey clouds

Water Level: 10.75′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.21 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 2,984 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0107C – snap jigging

**Area vic B0110C – snap jigging

**Area B0117C to B0111C – slow smoking/sniping under minimal bird activity

**Area B0129C – sniping for suspended “thumped” fish

**Area 1291 – deep, slow smoking for “thumped” fish in 50′

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

 

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

3 DADS, 3 SONS & 156 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Saturday afternoon I fished with three father-and-son pairs on Stillhouse Hollow in pursuit of white bass.  Mr. Wes Stearns was a returning guest, along with his son, Knox, age 6.  Wes invited two other dads whom he became acquainted with through coaching Little League Baseball.  Mr. Will Hughes works in information technology focused on the medical field; he brought his son, Clay, age 7.  Mr. Jordan Lowe works in construction, also focused on the medical sector; he brought his son, Baylor, age 7.

From left:  Mr. Jordan Lowe and his son, Baylor, Mr. Will Hughes and his son, Clay, and Mr. Wes Stearns and his son, Knox.  

Baylor Lowe landed the trip lunker today.  This fish was our 151st fish caught.  It weighed in at 4.75 pounds on a certified scale.  The bass struck a 3/8 oz. white slab with Hazy Eye Stinger hook attached in 25 feet of water.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday,  January 12th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  To say I was concerned about the outcome of this trip would be an understatement.  I forewarned the dads that due to cold water, clear skies, recent flooding, and the winter season, the fishing we would likely have to do would be tough for younger kids to get the hang of and then stay focused on.  The dads took this to heart and each worked selflessly to make sure his son was successful.  Their coaching background definitely shone through.

Once the boys were fishing fairly autonomously, the dads all managed to wet their own lines, regularly passing off hooked fish to their sons if the kids experienced a lull of any sort.

As it turned out, the fishing was not nearly as tough as it could have been in this season.  In fact, the first group of fish we encountered were quite active, showing in a feeding posture well up off the bottom and spread over a roughly 30 yard area when I first encountered them on sonar in about 43′.  We sat over these fish for 2.5 hours and caught white bass steadily.  At first, it was easy pickings, as the fish were so aggressive they fell for a smoking tactic at a moderate cadence.  Later, these same fish toned down a bit and went for an easing tactic; finally, these same fish were taken with a deadstick tactic, and then we left them alone after that slowed to a crawl.

We encountered our next best area in shallower water, at the base of a breakline in about 27 feet of water.  The fish were spread along the face of the break, but were most heavily concentrated at the deep end of the break.  We did a slow version of smoking for these fish which were spread throughout the lower half of the water column.

In contrast with the solid low-light bite I experienced this past Wednesday from 5:00p to 5:30p, tonight’s bite slowed to near nil by 5:00p.

OBSERVATIONS: This was the longest single hover over a single group of fish I’ve encountered this entire fall/winter.  Several females were dripping eggs when captured today.

TALLY: 156 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:00 p

End Time: 5:00 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Water Surface Temp: 53.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds blew at NW16 the entire afternoon with gusts and lulls.

Sky Conditions:  ~30% coverage of thin, white clouds, enough to obscure the direct sun, but still with ample ambient light

Water Level: 12.36′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.03 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 1,898 CFS 

GT = 170

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0090C – a long stay over a single group of fish which fell for smoking, then easing, then deadsticking

**Area SH0091C – slow smoking for fish in shallower water and in lower 1/2 of water column

**Area vic 1701 – a handful of fish caught via slow smoking to fish that came in to the thumper as the bite died

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

 

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

SHOW AND TELL – 100 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Wednesday evening I fished Stillhouse Hollow with fellow guide Jason Weisberg of Round Rock, TX.  Jason owns Integrity Mechanical where he and his employees focus on HVAC repair for all manner of equipment, including commercial and industrial-sized gear.  He primarily fishes Belton and Georgetown, and mainly during the cooler months when A/C repairs and hot attics aren’t calling.

Our purpose today was to give Jason an introduction to the Garmin LiveScope technology.  Jason, who, like me, fishes with live shad for hybrid striped bass on occasion, was particularly curious about the performance of a standard cast net versus a “tape” net designed for use in deeper water.  We desired to observe the sink rate and openness of these nets on the high-resolution, high-refresh rate screen of the Garmin equipment.

 

ABOVE: This screenshot shows a standard, well-thrown 7-foot cast net with 3/8″ mesh after it descended to about 30 feet.  The bag is high above the lead-line and the diameter of the net is necked-down substantially to just under 5 feet.

 

 

ABOVE: This screenshot shows a “tape net” designed for use in deeper water.  It, too, was well-thrown and was 7′ diameter with 3/8″ mesh.  At 30′, the net bag is not nearly as extended (a good thing) because the net is spread much wider (about 2.5 feet, or 35%, more than the standard net) to its full 7-foot diameter, hence providing more coverage, and enabling it to net more bait.  

 

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday,  January 9th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   We located fish in 3 distinct areas today after about a hour of fruitless searching.  Each of the groups of fish we found were found by observing bird activity, mainly by terns.  The first location was just off the Lampasas River channel and the fishing was for loosely congregated schools of suspended white bass holding between 20-25 feet over a ~34′ bottom.  We “sniped” these fish using the same horizontal soft-plastic setup I normally  use for deadsticking.  The sniping was made much simpler with the aid of the Garmin LiveScope technology.

Our second stop came after we observed about 12 terns feeding briefly over a ~60 yard area in about 25′.  The fish here were in distinct wolfpacks of 12-15 fish and were tight to the bottom, as observed on side-imaging.  I worked a slab, then a blade, while Jason stuck with the deadstick bait used more aggressively.

The last, and most aggressive, fish came within 20 minutes of sunset (a classic low-light bite).  We observed terns and at least 2 loons working over bait, stopped, and found abundant white bass in the lower third of the water column.  These fish were so aggressive that I switched from my standard 3/8-oz. bait to a 3/4-oz. bait to cut the sink time to bottom as the fish were aggressive to the point where a slab with a larger profile was of no concern to them.  We stopped at 100 fish even.  Although there was enough light left for a few more minutes of fishing, the substantial amount of floating debris on the surface made me want to get back to the boat ramp while there was ample light to keep a good forward watch.

OBSERVATIONS: In stark contrast with my past several trips to Lake Belton, the “low light window” from 5:00 to 5:30p provided the fastest paced fishing of the trip on Stillhouse.  Belton’s fish have been shutting down at 5:00p with only single digits caught in the last 30 minutes prior to sunset.

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:00 p

End Time: 5:20 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 58F

Water Surface Temp: 53.5-55F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds blew at ~NNE11 for the first 3 hours, then tapered to NNE under 4 in the last hour.

Sky Conditions:  ~70% coverage of thin, white clouds, enough to obscure the direct sun, but still with ample ambient light

Water Level: 12.59′ high with the rising flood water cresting today and beginning to fall with the opening of the dam @ 1,898 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 684 – sniping

**Area vic  745 – snap-jigging a slab, working a blade, and easing a deadstick rig all worked well

**Area vic 1701 – aggressive smoking

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

 

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

FULL DAY TRIP YIELDS 174 FISH & NEAR-FLOOD CONDITIONS

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday I fished a full day trip with Belton, TX, native Eric Martin and a friend of his since the 8th grade, Christian Hunter.  We fished lake Belton from 7:15 am until 5:00 pm with an off-the-water lunch break from 11:45a until 1:00p (a typically very slow time fishing-wise).  Eric works at Grime Fighters based in Harker Heights, TX, and had good things to say about his boss and co-workers there; Christian works at Wright Tree Service and has his eye on real estate investing in the future.

This trip was presented to Eric as a Christmas gift from his grandmother, Sandra Gehler.

Eric Martin with the largest of the several hybrid striped bass we landed while focusing on white bass.  The winter months, through to the first part of March, always seem the toughest for consistently landing keeper-sized hybrid.

 

Longtime friends Christian Hunter (left) and Eric Martin cashed in a Christmas fishing gift certificate and then cashed in on a 174 fish day on Lake Belton just as rising flood water threatened to shut down lake access for the second time in just 3 months.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday,  January 4th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Snap-jigging was the foundation of today’s trip.  We were using spinning gear geared for white bass with 20 pound braid, 25 pound fluoro leader, and white 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached.  Once Eric and Chris got the hang of snap-jigging, I introduced another layer of complexity by turning on the Garmin LiveScope sonar gear and showing them how to tempt fish that presented higher up in the water column than the fish we were snap-jigging for on the bottom.  Eric really got the hang of this quickly, and, once Chris overcame his too-powerful hooksets, he, too, became successful at “sniping” for these fairly lethargic high-riding fish.

OBSERVATIONS: The morning bite was very solid today.  The 4 areas we fished required no short hops.  Once we got on fish, we stayed on fish as they continued to be active and filter in beneath the boat.  As the winds decreased in the afternoon, fishing was much tougher.  Thanks to a 40-fish spurt from ~4:20 to 5:00, our afternoon tally was good, however, the period from 2:30-4:30 was slow, with only a few fish right away each time we stopped at a new area, but with no bite duration at these areas.

TALLY: 174 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 5:00 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F

Water Surface Temp: 49.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at WNW10 through 10:30, then decreased to under W6 for the rest of the day.

Sky Conditions:  Bright, cloudless blue skies

Water Level: 9.31′ high with an overnite rise of 1.81 feet and no flow from the dam  

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 565/1659 (AM)

**Area vic 691 (AM)

**Area vic B0112C (AM)

**Area vic 211 (PM)

**Area vic B0121C/B0124C (PM)

**Area vic B0116C (PM)

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

 

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

PULLED A RABBIT OUT OF THE HAT — 83 FISH IN CRAZY WEATHER

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Thursday afternoon I fished Lake Belton with returning guest Gary Hannemann, his son, Carl Hannemann of Waco, and Gary’s grandson (Carl’s nephew) 10-year-old Brayden Monhnke of China Spring.  This trip was originally planned for this past Saturday, but high winds and low temperatures put the wind chill factor in the high 20’s and low 30’s for much of that day, so we ran that trip today instead.

Thanks to rains that largely fell on top of us (but not so much in the watershed to our northwest), both Belton and Stillhouse rose over 2 feet in the 24 hours following the rain event.  Fortunately on Belton, nothing looks to be coming down the Leon from Lake Proctor, so I’m hopeful that the majority of the rising water has already come and that we won’t see yet another shutdown of the ramps.

 

Gary Hannemann and his grandson, Brayden Monhnke, age 10, with a nice Lake Belton largemouth taken on a slab as we encountered some brush beneath the boat while working for white bass.

 

Despite crazy water and weather conditions, the white bass fed this afternoon.  That’s Carl Hannemann on the left, Brayden Monhnke in the middle, and Gary Hannemann on the right — three generations enjoying Creation together today.

 

And the big fish award for the trip went to Brayden with a 4+ pound freshwater drum, nicknamed “gasper gou”.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday,  January 3rd, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Today we snap-jigged for all we were worth.  Fortunately, Gary had already been fishing with me in the winter and understood the tactic, Carl caught on very quickly and was consistent, and Brayden did well when he put his mind to it.  We fished our white, 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks in 31-34 feet of water at 4 distinct locations.  The bite was about the same at each in that we would catch the fish we parked on top of using the Spot Lock function, then, when the action slowed, we jogged one way or another to cover new ground, caught a few more, and then jogged again.  The fish were not willing to move to our commotion.

At one location, as I dropped my slab, several fish actually rose up off the bottom to meet it, indicating very aggressive fish.  We were able to use an “easing” tactic for these fish (and tried smoking, but it was too fast).  These were among the smallest fish we caught, however (but the fast action for about 20 white bass was enjoyable).

In all we landed 83 fish this afternoon including white bass, freshwater drum, short hybrid striped bass, 1 largemouth bass, and 3 crappie.

OBSERVATIONS:    I really feel like we pulled a rabbit out of the hat this afternoon.  With the massive amount of environmental change that took place due to rising water, the fact that the water is cold, and the fact that we were still under cold-front influenced conditions, to catch 83 fish was well beyond my expectations today.  No bird activity, and no life seen shallower than 25′.  All of our action came in 31-34′.

TALLY: 83 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:00 p

End Time: 5:30 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Water Surface Temp: 51.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at NNW13 all day with slightly higher gusts between 1:30 and 3:30pm.

Sky Conditions:  Leaden grey skies all day

Water Level: 7.5′ high with an overnite rise of 2.04 feet and no flow of water from the dam   

GT = 25

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS FRIDAY: 

**Area vic B0126C with 3 short hops

**Area vic  2037 to 164 with 3 short hops

**Area B0127C

**Area vic B0116C

**Area vic 1659

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

 

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

BUNDLE UP, BOYS! — 58 FISH ON NEW YEAR’S DAY (PM TRIP)

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday afternoon I fished Lake Belton with first time guest Robert Spencer and his grandsons, 17-year-old Adrian and 15-year-old CJ (Carlos).  The boys both attend Florence High School where Adrian has plans to graduate this year and head to Texas A&M to study mechanical engineering and work through the ROTC program in order to commission into the military after college graduation.  CJ is currently headed into his high school power-lifting season.  Robert retired from Walmart distribution and now works at his own tractor business.

 

STINGERED!  CJ caught two aggressive white bass at the same time, one on the slab’s treble hook and one on the Hazy Eye Stinger hook.  This fish was caught from among a group of fish that proved to be the most aggressive we would encounter all afternoon.  At this one area we landed a blue catfish, several largemouth, two crappie, a number of drum, short hybrid stripers, and white bass, all between 4:00 and 4:30pm.

 

DRUM MAJORS: Adrian and CJ, who had previous experience catching black drum in salt water, enjoyed the fighting ability of the freshwater drum they caught today.  Thanks to a bumper crop of food in the form of zebra mussels, the drum on Lake Belton are healthier and more numerous than I’ve ever seen them in over 25 years on this body of water.

CJ’s creative solution for staying warm during our runs from one fishing area to another.  Handwarmers also helped!

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  January 1st, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   The fish were a bit more fickle this afternoon than they were this morning.  Although I found fish most everywhere I looked, there were not masses of fish at any of these locations.  If I saw a school of 10 or 12 fish on sonar this afternoon, I stopped and fished for them because any more than that was tough to come by.  As is the case as the water chills toward the 40 degree range, presentation really mattered.  Slabs kept consistently in the “sweet spot” near bottom got bit far more than slabs just inches too high or too low.  All of our fish were taken via snap jigging this afternoon.

OBSERVATIONS:   Thanks to the dark grey skies, the bite ended around 4:50 this afternoon.  No helpful bird activity was witnessed.

TALLY: 58 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 1:30 p

End Time: 5:30 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Water Surface Temp: 52.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at NNW13 all day with slightly higher gusts between 1:30 and 3:30pm.

Sky Conditions:  Leaden grey skies all day

Water Level: 4.91′ high with an overnite rise of 0.14 feet and a flow of 1612 cfs 

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS FRIDAY: 

**Area vic  1678/1658 with 2 short hops

**Area vic  1827

**Area vic B0122C

**Area vic B0123C

**Area vic B0124C

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

 

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

The Hog Hunters from Missouri — 100 Fish on New Year’s Day (AM Trip)

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday morning I fished Lake Belton with returning guest Willis Creed.  Willis brought along a friend and co-worker, Chris Lee, for this chilly white bass fishing adventure as a “side trip” to their Bell County hog hunting safari taking place over several days near the Lampasas River.

Willis is a craftsman who builds timber-framed houses in Missouri.  Chris is starting his own roofing company, and the two routinely work together repairing and installing roofs.

 

In addition to our target species (white bass), we also landed hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, blue catfish, freshwater drum, crappie, and this — a smallmouth buffalo which Chris landed on light spinning tackle intended for white bass.  Although buffalo normal feed by vacuuming debris off the bottom, they will sometime eat small baitfish, which our small slabs were imitating.  This one went around 13 pounds.

 

Although we had to work for each fish we caught today, we were able to put together a better catch than most parties I take out would have.  This was due in large part to Willis and Chris’ willingness to be coached and their attention to detail when it came to the presentation we were using on a day where inches truly mattered.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  January 1st, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  As was the case last Friday when I fished an AM and PM trip on Belton, we moved around a lot today.  That is not to say we covered a lot of ground, rather, once we found fish, we caught them until they stopped biting, then moved a few boat lengths, caught a few more, then moved a few boat lengths, caught a few more, and so on.  As I observed sonar, I was finding distinct groups of fish in pods of perhaps 12-25 fish each.  The ability to use the i-Pilot Link feature to return to fish we’d motored over with GPS precision definitely helped put fish in the boat today, as these fish were not willing to travel any distance to come to a thumper or the commotion of our jigging; we essentially had to park on top of them and put slabs right in front of them to get bit.

We relied upon snap-jigging with 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached for the majority of our success.  A few fish were caught with an “easing” tactic when the bite peaked around 8:30 to 9:00.

OBSERVATIONS:   About 2 hours’ worth of helpful tern activity kept us in the vicinity of the fish this morning and although the fishing underneath these birds wasn’t through the roof, it was consistent, which, on a cloudy day with a stiff NW wind, is more than I expected we’d find.

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:20 a

End Time: 11:45 a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Water Surface Temp: 52.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at NNW13 all day with slightly higher gusts between 1:30 and 3:30pm.

Sky Conditions:  Leaden grey skies all day

Water Level: 4.91′ high with an overnite rise of 0.14 feet and a flow of 1612 cfs 

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS FRIDAY: 

**Area vic 1659/565 with 2 short hops

**Area vic B0116C to 2039 with 3 short hops

**Area vic  692 to B0072C

**Area vic  1822 with 2 short hops

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

 

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