WE QUIT AT 100 – LAKE BELTON FATHER & SON TRIP

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 11th, I fished with father-and-son team Kyle and Luke Halfmann of Rosebud, TX.  This trip was a gift from Luke’s grandparents, Grammy and Papa, from this past Christmas. 

Luke will turn 8 in September and had done a bit of fishing previously, primarily for small bass in a stock tank using closed-faced gear.

Kyle is a construction superintendent in the family’s building/real estate business.

Our first order of business was to get Luke up to speed on casting with spinning gear so he could fling his lures far enough to tempt the white bass feeding on topwater which we were anticipating.  After 4-5 tries he got the hang of this, so, we headed out just before sunrise to hunt fish.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Kyle Halfmann and his son, Luke, caught and released 100 fish on Lake Belton during their 4-hour morning trip today.    

WHEN WE FISHED: 11 August, 2020, AM  

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake  

 

HOW WE FISHED:  We began our day looking intently at the choppy water for telltale signs of white bass forcing shad to the surface.  Although hard to see, they were present.  We sight-cast to these fish before they left the surface about 15 minutes before the sun’s direct rays struck the water (a bit earlier than has been the case lately).  During this feed, we landed 18 white bass.

Next, we moved to an area where white bass had begun “popcorn” schooling a bit earlier than usual.  These fish would herd shad to the surface, feed there for just a few seconds, then sound.  We made one attempt at getting to these and sight-casting, but quickly realized we’d seen multiple briefly-appearing schools from a distance, not just one school feeding at length.  Understanding this situation, we went with a downrigging approach and put a steady stream of fish in the boat until the topwater action subsided and we moved on.

We hit a new patch of water this morning and, upon arrival, found fish holding in abundance on bottom in 26 to 30 feet of water.  We evidently arrived just as the fish were beginning to feed here, as our first couple of attempts at Spot-Locking on the fish and working MAL Lures for them vertically got a so-so reception.  As we stuck with it, the feeding intensity grew greater and greater, then peaked, then, around 9:55, began to fall off. By this time our tally stood at 70 fish, including 69 white bass and 1 largemouth.  Both Kyle and Luke got the hang of using Garmin LiveScope in conjunction with their MAL Lures.

At seven years of age, Luke had hung in there longer than I though he would, but, he was definitely ready for a change of pace, so, we finished off the trip up in shallow water with some fast-paced sunfish action.  Luke went through exactly 30 sunfish in as many minutes.  We stopped fishing as the 100th fish was swung aboard.  

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

 

OBSERVATIONS:  Low-light topwater fish were tough to see this morning due to the chop on the water.  As occurred under similar conditions one day last week, the high winds correlated with a much shorter topwater bite, ending 12-15 minutes before the direct sun struck the water’s surface.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

 

End Time: 10:45A

 

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

 

Elevation:  1.92′ low, -0.06′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

 

Water Surface Temp:  82.9F

 

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 before sunrise, increasing slowly to S14

 

Moon Phase: Last quarter with 52% illumination

 

GT = 30  

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

 

**Area  010 to 1656 – drifting with the wind and sight-casting to low-light, topwater whites with MAL Lures; 18 fish

**Area vic B0030G – some sight-casting leading to downrigging; 8 fish

**Area vic B0172C through 691 through B0040C; 44 fish; most on MAL, then downrigger for mop up after the fish got finicky

**Area B0033G – 30 sunfish

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

TURKEY SHOOT!! – 232 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 10th, I fished with Pastor Robert Butts, his 17-year-old son, Jack, and long-time client Marcus Mitchell, all of Georgetown. Robert leads the Union Hall Baptist Church, located in Liberty Hill, TX.  Marcus works for a company which produces products to track down “bugs” in complex computer server systems, and Jack is entering his senior year of high school.

 

  PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left:  Marcus Mitchell, Robert Butts, and Jack Butts with a sampling of their 232-fish haul from Lake Belton, taken on the new MAL Lures.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Although I don’t like to target them in the summer due to poor survivability and concerns about delayed mortality, hybrid still show up in the mix with white bass routinely.

WHEN WE FISHED: 10 August, 2020, AM

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

 

HOW WE FISHED: I panicked a bit this morning when, at 6:19AM (with a planned trip start time of 6:30AM), Marcus let me know his party would be delayed due to a car fire on U.S. Hwy. 190 which had morning traffic backed up.   

As it was, this delay only cost them about 10 minutes, but, when low-light topwater action lasts only for a brief 40-50 minute window, I was concerned that the nice catch and fast action which normally accompany that would be jeopardized this morning. When everyone arrived, they hustled to the boat.  I postponed my safety briefing, but not my prayer, and then we took off for the fishing grounds. 

Over the next 50 minutes, we enjoyed non-stop catching to the tune of exactly 40 white bass landed, all on my new MAL Lures (found: here). When the sun hit the water, the fish hit the road and shut down in this locale.  We went searching for fish away from the crowd and found good results in two distinct locations.  My plan was to cover water with the downriggers to find active fish and then fish for them vertically with MAL Lures.  However, sonar revealed fish ready to feed before we even got ‘riggers in the water.  I Spot-Locked on these fish, initially in 28 feet of water, and we went to work with the MAL Lures simply dropping and reeling them up, expecting strikes as the lures rose off bottom.  When the fish slowed a bit, I jogged us 2 or 3 boat lengths deeper to ~32 feet and we kept right on nailing fish. I had Garmin LiveScope playing so the fellows could know when to crank their lures up as fish passed by.  As one particularly large, suspended school of fish passed beneath the boat, Marcus exclaimed, “Oh, man, it’s a turkey shoot!”.  It was a pretty wild morning.

By the time the fish slacked off in this area, we’d taken exactly 119 more fish for a tally of 159 fish by 9:30AM.  A thorough sonar scrub of the area revealed that the fish departed this area very shortly following a wind shift from S to SW.

We moved on to one final location where I’d been finding some fish suspended in over 40 feet of water in the late morning last week.  Again, my intent was to downrig to find fish and then work MAL Lures through them to capitalize on what we’d found.  As we downrigged, I noted a large shoal of fish off to our left with my side-imaging manually set to 130 feet to the left and right.  I set a waypoint on the center of mass of these fish, then used the i-Pilot Link system to send the trolling motor to the waypoint with GPS precision.  As the boat moved, we cleared the two white bass which struck the downriggers as we made our way to the fish, stowed the trolling gear, and got ready to work the MAL Lures vertically. 

Long story short, in our final 40 minutes on the water Robert, Jack, and Marcus bagged another 73 fish, including 2 hybrid stripers and 71 white bass, to end the 4-hour trip with a take of 232 fish, every last one of which were released.

TALLY: 232 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Temperature profile from surface to 60′:

0 feet 84F

5 feet 84.8F

10 feet 85F

15 feet 85F

20 feet 85F

25 feet 84.7F

30 feet 83.7F

35 feet 81.2F

45 feet 76.4F

45 feet 72.1F

50 feet 69.1F

55 feet 67.4F

60 feet 66.6F

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  1.86′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  82.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: S11 before sunrise, increasing slowly to S13, the shifting and increasing to SW13-14 around 9AM

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous with 61% illumination

GT = 75

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 813 to B0018G- aggressive low-light topwater action — 40 fish in ~50 minutes

**Area vic 788 – 2 short hops; vertical work with MAL Lures — 119 fish in ~90 minutes **Area vic 1411 – one Spot-Lock; vertical work with MAP Lures — 73 fish in ~40 minutes  

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

FROM VERY DIFFERENT WALKS OF LIFE — 79 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Friday, August 7th, I fished with a group of 4.  Mr. Mike Monk of Salado, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who went on to work in both the oil industry and for the State of Louisiana as an auditor, kindly sponsored a trip for two young men.  Those young men were Alex Angulo, accompanied by his youth pastor, Louis Crooks, both of Killeen, and Gary Yoder.  Gary is a U.S. Army Gold Star family member from Belton, and Alex’s dad is currently overseas where he serves as a government contractor. Everyone had limited prior fishing experience, so, I tried to keep it simple yet effective for our 3.5 hours on the water.  

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left:  Gary Yoder, Louis Crooks, Alex Angulo, and Mike Monk.

WHEN WE FISHED: 07 August, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

HOW WE FISHED: This morning, we started off in search of some “easy” topwater fishing for white bass pushing shad to the surface.  Unfortunately, due mainly to a stiff SSE breeze, the bite did not last all that long, allowing us a total of 14 fish before the action was over as the sun’s rays struck the water. Next, we headed to a slightly more steeply sloped area and did a lot of looking with sonar as we put twin downriggers in equipped with both #12 and #13 Pet Spoons.    We got right into fish as we downrigged and then found a school of “bottom-huggers” in about 24 feet of water.  I quickly got us Spot-Locked on these fish and transitioned everyone over to fishing MAL Lures vertically.  We landed another 4 fish this way before the school dissipated.  We continued downrigging, picking up a single and a triple.  I decided to move because, 1) the fish were smallish, and 2) I did not see any surface action in the area leading me to believe there was an abundance of active fish in this area. It was now about 8:15.  I chose to take the boys up shallow to gun for sunfish to give them a very different experience than the open-water angling we’d been doing thus far. 

As we began our sunfishing effort, we had 22 fish in the boat.  By the time we left the sunfish grounds a short 45 minutes later, we had added another 48 fish to our tally, including longear, green, and bluegill sunfish.  The boys thought it pretty cool when we spotted a 2.5′ longnose gar up in shallow water which showed some interest in swiping at one of the hooked sunfish we tried tempting it with. In our last hour, I headed us back to deep, open water once again in pursuit of larger fish. 

We downrigged to find fish while catching them as we looked.  We landed several fish and then witnessed a large school of white bass herd shad to the surface.  We scurried to that location with downriggers still down, caught several and then set up in this area to work MAL Lures vertically for another 4 white bass.  Once these fish slacked off after just a few minutes, we wrapped it up right at 10AM.

TALLY: 79 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Stiff breezes and a plethora of boat kept topwater action to a minimum this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.71′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 before sunrise, scaling back to S7-8 thereafter

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 018 to B0154C- downrigging in and around topwater schools for singles & doubles (14 fish in 40 minutes)

**Area vic  B0131C – ‘rigging & jigging

**Area vic 1583 – sunfishing

**Area 1081 – ‘rigging & jigging

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

SUNFISH SANDWICH ON WHITE BASS BREAD! — 153 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, August 5th, I welcomed aboard the Puente family who signed up for a family fishing trip through the Fort Hood SKIES Program.  Joining me was Mrs. Denise Puente and her three children, Mario (age 13), Cecilia (age 7), and Pablo (age 5). 

The kids’ father, U.S. Army Master Sergeant Mario Puente is a combat engineer with 18 years in the military. 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. 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, including my own “Fishing 101”.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left:  Cecilia, Mario Jr., and Pablo Puente with three of the 153 fish they landed on a trip which saw each youngster catch the first fish of his/her life.  

WHEN WE FISHED: 05 August, 2020, AM  

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake  

HOW WE FISHED:

This morning, we began and ended with white bass, and fished for sunfish in the middle  … a sunfish sandwich on white bass bread!

Since I had two young children aboard, and since none of the kids had previous fishing experience, I opted not to use any tactics involving casting this morning.  So, when the white bass began to feed on topwater as I anticipated they would on a southerly wind, we ran twin downriggers each equipped with 3-armed umbrella rigs in and around the schools to take singles, doubles, and triples for the first 50 minutes of the morning.  Once the sun’s rays struck the water, the topwater action was over. By this time, the kids had landed 34 fish, including the first fish each had ever caught.

We moved on to deeper water and found sparse action near Area 313/B0186C, and picked up 6 more fish here.  By now, Pablo was “spoiled” by the easy, early fishing, and was getting pretty antsy pretty quickly. I decided to head up shallow and target sunfish.  Mario got the hang of this instantly, then Cecilia got to where she could present to and land fish independently, which left Denise to work one-on-one with Pablo, and me to untangle lines, unhook fish, and re-bait hooks.  We parked in one boat-sized area, fishing within 20 feet of the boat on the port and starboard sides, and landed exactly 101 sunfish here before the bite waned, the air heated up, and Pablo needed another change of venue.

I suggested since we’d begun the trip with downrigging, and then got to experience sunfishing, that we might now once again use downriggers to find more white bass, but, this time, to fish for them vertically using spinning gear and MAL Lures, once (if!) a school of this species was found on bottom using sonar. Fortunately, we made a move to the right place at the right time and were able to put a final 12 fish in the boat, including one fish per child using the MAL Lures retrieved straight up off the bottom in about 32 feet of water. Pablo’s statute of limitation expired at the 3.5 hour mark, and we called it a great morning right at 10AM with 153 fish landed for our efforts.  

TALLY: 153 fish caught and released  

OBSERVATIONS:  Southerly breezes had the fish back in a feeding mode and making up for lost time from yesterday.  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.62′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: S6-8 the entire morning

Moon Phase: Full moon +2 today

GT = N/A  

Wx SNAPSHOT:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 018 to 811 – downrigging in and around topwater schools for singles, doubles and triples (36 fish in 50 minutes)

**Area vic 313 to B0186C – another half-dozen fish on ‘rigger from out of smaller, suspended, roaming schools **Area B0032G – sunfish galore **Area vic 1576 – late morning white bass; downrigged to find; MAL Lures worked vertically to catch

 

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  

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

 

FATHER-AND-SONS TIME — 56 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 4th, I welcomed aboard first-time guest Kyle Simank, accompanied by his boys, 9-year-old Barrett, and 6-year-old Ryder. Kyle, a friend of another one of my clients, Dwight Stone of Georgetown, owns Guns Plus located on North Austin Avenue in Georgetown.  Here’s a link: Guns Plus Being a long-gun buff myself, I enjoyed the conversation with Kyle, and his perspectives on how COVID-19 and the current civil unrest has impacted his business.  His tale of his Alaskan caribou hunt was quite entertaining!

  PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: The Simank crew: Barret (age 9), Kyle, and Ryder (age 6) on a hot, still, post-frontal day on Stillhouse Hollow.  

 

WHEN WE FISHED: 04 August, 2020, AM  

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow  

 

HOW WE FISHED: I opted to fish Stillhouse over Belton this morning because I expected tough, post-frontal conditions with light winds.  For whatever reason, Stillhouse usually fishes better when the conditions are tough. I had hoped to start the morning with some low-light downrigging, but, after surveying several areas with sonar and with downriggers down, we managed only 2 caught fish and 2 missed.  The thing that concerned me was the posture of the bait.  Due to an incredibly successful shad spawn this year, there was a 3-4 foot thick layer of bait along the bottom in the areas I searched.  When the bait carpets the bottom, it is relaxed.  When the bait is suspended and balled up, it is threatened.  Relaxed bait amounts to tough fishing.  So, I cut that effort short and we headed up shallow to put some sunfish in the boat a bit earlier than I intended, but with a plan to return to search for white bass so as to offer the boys some variety later in the trip (hopefully with some wind moving the water).   The sunfishing went well with both boys quickly getting the hang of watching their float and responding appropriately.  They landed a combination of redears (x3), bluegill, and longears, to the tune of 38 sunfish in all.   Around 9AM, we broke from sunfishing to give the white bass another try.  We found our quarry in two different locations, neither of which had yet produced thus far this summer.  Both scenarios were the same — fish feeding on suspended bait from 25 to 30 feet down over a deeper bottom, with occasional fish chasing all the way to the surface.  We downrigged to find these fish and, when sonar verified a solid density of them, hovered atop them with the Ulterra on Spot-Lock to work vertically with the MAL Lures.  The boys wound up putting another 16 white bass (all 2 and 3 year class fish) in the boat this way.  By just after the 3.5 hour mark, Ryder expressed what we were all feeling … “I’m hot.”  The boat ride back evaporated the sweat on our skin to cool us down as we wrapped up for the morning.  

 

TALLY: 56 fish caught and released  

 

OBSERVATIONS:    Post-frontal fishing today … tough.  

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:20A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Elevation:  1.57′ low, 0.04′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE breeze the entire trip, starting pre-dawn at ~5mph, and slowly tapering to ENE2 by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Full moon +1 today

GT = 50

 

  Wx SNAPSHOT:  Tough post-frontal conditions with light winds, clear bluebird skies, and heat. 

 

  AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 200 and 239 for sunfish

**Area vic 1440 – downrigged to find whites, vertical work with MAL Lures to capitalize **Area Vic 910/197 – downrigged to find whites, vertical work with MAL Lures to capitalize

 

 

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  

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

 

HIGH COST OF LIVING — 121 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 3rd, I fished with a crew of four first-time guests.  Mr. Bart Dutton coordinated this trip some six weeks ago and brought along his son, Sean Dutton, his stepson, Trevor Holterhaus, and his neighbor, Mike Polcyn. Bart escaped the rules, regulations, taxes, politics and high cost of living near San Diego, CA, and moved his trucking business to Texas.  Now, doing the same work he was doing on the West Coast, he’s enable to enjoy the fruits of his labors instead of forking his earnings over to the government just hoping to scrape by. Sean just followed in his father’s footsteps and arrived here last week.  Trevor is headed to 8th grade in the Killeen Independent School District, and Mike is an active duty U.S. Army Warrant Officer.  

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: Mike Polcyn, Sean Dutton, Trevor Holterhaus, and Bart Dutton.  This crew of first-timers cashed in on a pre-frontal weather scenario to the tune of 121 fish in 3.5 hours.

 

WHEN WE FISHED: 03 August, 2020, AM

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

 

HOW WE FISHED: Today’s real story was the weather.  We had a very mild cold front move in today with a barely perceptible wind shift from south, through west, to the northwest.  This was like a slower, milder version of the same sort of weather that moved through last Friday. There was a strong topwater feed this morning under low-light conditions, then, after the fish left the surface as the sun’s direct rays shone on it, the fish almost immediately began feeding more sporadically in open water for just seconds at a time. This can be frustrating, as it is rare to sight these fish, then be able to get to them in time to cast, however, seeing multiple schools pop up repeatedly in a defined area reveals their position and makes them vulnerable to downrigging. We took advantage of the aggressive low-light bite, which yielded 79 fish in 65 minutes, most of which came on the MAL Lures in both white and chartreuse, with a few taken on downriggers before the action began, and again after it was tapering off.   As this action ended, we moved on to an area where, at any given time, one or two schools of topwater feeding whites could be seen churning the surface in a stretch of about 1/8 of a mile.  We took a steady feed of singles, doubles, and a few triples from out of this area with 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with silver/white #12 Pet Spoons and silver/yellow #13 Pet Spoons.  Only one time did we run into a scenario where we could Spot-Lock atop fish and work MAL Lures vertically for them.  Under the pre-frontal conditions we were experiencing, I felt we could do better, so, we left fish to find fish which we could fish vertically for.  Our tally now stood at 104 fish. In our final 40 minutes on the water (bearing in mind we wrapped up about 30 minutes early when my crew had enough of the Texas heat), we found just what I was hoping to find.  As the sonar screen lit up with fish from mid-depth to bottom in about 34 feet of water, both downriggers went off simultaneously.  Once we cleared those fish, I went back over that mass of fish, hovered over them with the Ulterra, and we worked MAL Lures through them to put a final 14 fish in the boat before Bart voted we call it a day.

 

TALLY: 121 fish caught and released

 

OBSERVATIONS:    We enjoyed yet another pre-frontal scenario, albeit quite mild, complete with a S to W to NW wind shift and solid fishing to match.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F

Elevation:  1.56′ low, 0.05′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: See NOAA graphic; winds followed forecast exactly today.

Moon Phase: Full moon today

GT = 5

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:  Once again, a pre-frontal weather scenario — exciting!!!

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 013 to B0180C – low-light topwater action

**Area  B0024G thru B0106C – downrigger fish spotted from “popcorn” schooling **Area vic 847/830 – downrigging leading to vertical work with MAL Lures

 

 

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    

 

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

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CAT HERDING — 70 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, August 1st, I fished with a boatload of boys from Georgetown, TX.  Joining me were Luke and Liam Shinners (twin 9-year-olds), and Cooper Wankerl.  Luke and Liam were chaperoned by their dad, Brian, and Cooper was joined by his grandfather, Steve Murphy, who first fished with me last fall when treating an old high school buddy to some time in the outdoors. Steve and Brian are neighbors, and since the boys are all about the same age, they thought a fishing trip might be fun while Cooper was in town visiting for the summer. With the boys all being the same age, and all being buddies, plus the novelty of a boat ride and the anticipation of catching fish, the boys had a bit of sensory overload going on.  To say they were distracted from time to time would be an understatement.  A couple times I looked up at Steve who was smiling and shaking his head, silently wondering how I was maintaining sanity enough to actually help these three young guys consistently put fish in the boat.  The old cliche about herding cats was definitely appropriate here. Nonetheless, all turned out well!
PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: Cooper Wankerl, Liam Shinner, and Luke Shinner with a trio of the 45 white bass we took through 9AM via downrigging and vertical work with MAL Lures on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir. PHOTO CAPTION #2: Cooper Wankerl with a nice 2.25-pound largemouth taken from 34′ of water in over 50 feet of water.  It was found near a large school of threadfin shad nearly 4″ in length. WHEN WE FISHED: 01 August, 2020, AM WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir HOW WE FISHED: This trip broke down neatly into three parts.  Part one was early morning downrigging for white bass holding between 30-35 feet down over a deeper bottom.  This yielded 21 fish in the form of singles and doubles over the first hour-plus on the water, including 19 white bass, 1 drum, and 1 largemouth.  As this action died down, some very light schooling action broke out on the surface, fueled by schoolie-sized largemouth forcing shad to the top.  I moved to the action and found white bass feeding on the same forage fish, only down deeper in the water column.  Steve, Brian and I worked hastily to get my MAL Lure-equipped spinning rods in the boys’ hands and get the lures headed beneath the boat to where the fish were showing to be holding on sonar.  We used a smoking tactic to work these fish, doing three “short hops” with the jog function of the Ulterra trolling motor to keep up with these fish as they slowly moved about. Over the next hour, the boys put another 26 white bass in the boat before the action began to wane around 9:10AM.  If I had adult anglers aboard, we would have certainly stuck with these fish longer and pulled more out, but, the boys were accustomed to the fast and furious fishing, so, when several minutes passed between bites as the feed was winding down, I sensed them losing interest quickly, so we left the white bass while they were still biting and made a shift to sunfishing at that time to finish out the trip. We hit 3 distinct areas, all up in shallow cover, for our sunfish using floats with live bait suspended beneath.  The boys wound up with 23 sunfish, including a mix of bluegill and longears.  Right around 10:30, as Cooper landed the 70th fish of the trip, we decided to wrap it up and head back in. TALLY: 70 fish caught and released OBSERVATIONS:   Albeit light, this morning’s topwater feeding by largemouth was the first I’ve seen on Stillhouse since the last full moon. TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: Start Time:  6:30A End Time: 10:30A Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F Elevation:  1.44′ low, 0.05′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow Water Surface Temp:  84.3F Wind Speed & Direction: NNE breeze the entire trip, starting pre-dawn at ~6mph, and slowly tapering to NNE4 by trip’s end Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon w/ 2 days until full moon GT = 20 Wx SNAPSHOT:  
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS: **Area vic 040 early downrigging **Area vic 070 to 866 – whites under topwater largemouth using MAL Lures **Areas 203, BOW004S cove, and 1948 for shallow sunfish   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) #WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

HE – 1,000 QUESTIONS; SHE – 1,000 FISH; 144 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning, July 31st, I fished with long-time Belton Lake multi-species angler Steve Webb of Harker Heights and his 11-year-old daughter, Bailey (nicknamed Skeeter). Steve books his fishing trips like I book my fishing trips in that he has a purpose in mind and a goal he wants to accomplish by the time his trip with a particular guide is concluded. Today, he came out with me specifically to “pick my brain” about summertime downrigging.  He wanted to see how it is done in a real-world scenario, then do it himself so he can enjoy the results when he returns to his own boat and fishes on his own. I encouraged Steve to come with a prepared list of questions, which he did, neatly written down in a rain-proof notebook.  Most of the questions I answered on the water, the balance we reserved for the parking lot as the trip concluded. In addition to all of this, Miss Bailey has been tracking the number of fish she’s landed this calendar year.  Coming into the morning, her count stood at 988 fish; just a dozen shy of 1,000.  A secondary goal of ours was to see her reach her 1,000 fish goal.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  That’s Steve Webb and his daughter, Bailey, with a few of the white bass we took with both downrigging tactics on Pet Spoons and vertical tactics on MAL Lures under pre-frontal conditions.   PHOTO CAPTION #2: That’s Bailey’s 1,000th fish of the year, caught sight-casting to schooling white bass under low light conditions using a MAL Lure. WHEN WE FISHED: 31 July, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED: Given the SSE wind and humid feel to the air, I felt pretty confident that topwater action would emerge under low-light conditions this morning and we were not disappointed.  We enjoyed an hour-plus of moderately aggressive topwater action, with Steve and Bailey seated to the left and right of me on my boat’s front casting deck with me in the middle manually running the trolling motor and taking off fish as they landed them on nearly every cast using MAL Lures cast long and worked quickly.  As the direct sun hit the surface, the fish quit and we had to move on. We had a short lull in the action as the low-light bite stopped and the open water bite developed, aided by a mid-summer cold-front’s arrival, complete with a wind shift out of the west and accompanying cloud cover. The action built to a crescendo, peaking between 8:30 and 9:30 as the west wind’s velocity peaked during that time and cloud cover built to 100%.  During this time we had briefly schooling white bass  within 100 yards of us about 50% of the time.  Even though these fish did not stay up long, they appeared frequently enough for us to get a bead on where the fish were and where they weren’t.  Downrigging put a slow, steady feed of fish in the boat, but, more importantly, allowed me to observe sonar for heavy concentrations of fish worthy of stopping atop of to work vertically for. We did just that on a number of occasions, really racking up the numbers on MAL Lures worked fast and vertical.  After reading about the MAL Lures all summer, this was Steve’s first opportunity to see them in action for himself.  Long story short, he bought 6 of them on the spot in the parking lot after our trip was concluded!!   Read about MAL Lures here: MAL LURES Around 9:30, the white bass were still feeding hard, but, one other thing Steve had requested for this trip was that we leave some time to do some of the shallow water sunfishing with Bailey which the two of them had read of in my reports. We left the white bass biting and headed up shallow to work live bait under light floats for sunfish, landing 31 of them before calling it a day and rolling home just ahead of a line of storms which pushed in from the WNW.  A great day of fishing with a great student of fishing and his pretty daughter!!

TALLY: 144 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Classic pre-frontal conditions and fishing today.  Fishing was solid under low light with southerly winds, then under brighter, mid-morning conditions, the westerly wind shift took place and the fishing improved sharply, staying excellent until scaling back a bit as the winds tapered before turning NW with spotty storms spawned along the front all afternoon.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  1.42′ low, 0.05′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE7 before sunrise, steadily shift through S, to SW, to W during our time on the water.  There was a peak wind velocity from 8:30 to 9:30 went the winds went westerly, during which the fish activity also peaked. Sky Condition: 20% cloud cover with white clouds on a clear sky, slowly transitioning to full, bright grey coverage as the winds went westerly

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon w/ 3 days until full moon

GT = 70

Wx SNAPSHOT: Look at that windshift — a fisherman’s dream!!!

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  013 to B0039G topwater progressing WNW to ESE through the low-light period, 42 white bass

**Area vic 684/685/688 – downrigging leading to vertical work with MAL Lures; 71 white bass **Area vic 502 – 31 sunfish  

 

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)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

NO PET BUFFALOS – 105 FISH

 

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday morning, 29 July, I fished Lake Belton with two young lady anglers — Lils and Zoey Haberer, accompanied and assisted by their mom, Emily, and their grandfather, Steve Niemeier.

Zoey is 5 years of age, and Lils is 8.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  That’s Emily and little Zoey with a buffalo nearly as long as Zoey is tall!

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Lils Haberer with an 11th hour largemouth we picked up downrigging after causing havoc for the local sunfish population for over 2 solid hours.

WHEN WE FISHED: 29 July, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED: With girls so young, I had a fairly limited amount of time to find some “easy” fish before they became disinterested. In a scenario nearly identical to the day before, although our forecast called for SW winds, we actually had ESE winds during that critical low-light time from just before sunrise to just after it during which much shallow water topwater feeding typically takes place. That easterly wind just seems to put the brakes on the topwater bite. We actually spotted fewer suspended fish than the day before, and saw no early topwater fish at all this morning. After patrolling, looking, and downrigging a bit, by the 1-hour mark we’d managed to lose 2 young of the year white bass (which were all of about 4″ long), and land another.

I decided at that point that we needed to provide some “instant gratification”, so, we headed up shallow and proceeded to put a hurt on the local sunfish population.

Over the next 2.25 hours, the girls landed exactly 102 sunfish, including bluegill, green, and longear sunfish. Lils was ably assisted by Steve, and Zoey was coached by her mom. This was just the ticket to refocus the girls after a very slow start.

By the time the second area we fished for sunfish played out, we were right around the 3.5 hour mark and Zoey had just about played out, and I suspected Lils wasn’t too far behind. I suggested that we give downrigging just one more try to see if we couldn’t end the day with some larger fish.

Since the girls could move around and snack while we downrigged, and because this was a change of pace from the sunfishing, that suggestion went over well.

We put in all of about 20 minutes’ worth of downrigging during which time Lils came up with a nice largemouth bass — her largest fish of the trip. Not to be outdone, Zoey (with much help from Emily, or perhaps it was the other way around), landed a 16.00-pound smallmouth buffalo.

The whole boat erupted in cheering when the fish was secured in the net. We revived the fish, took some photos, and released it. It was then that Emily noticed Zoey was pouting up in the front of the boat with her head down.

When asked what was the matter, she shared with her mom that she wanted to take the buffalo home as a pet and was therefore very sad that we had released it.

Besides that, we had a good trip even if the white bass weren’t cooperative.

TALLY: 105 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The presence of an easterly wind these past two mornings has just killed the low-light bite. After the sun gets up and the wind starts to move the water, occasional “popcorn” schools of briefly appearing whites could be seen for just seconds at a time out in open water.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.35′ low, 0.06′ 24-hour change, 54 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE6-7 during the first 2 hours, shifting to SE thereafter.

Moon Phase: First Quarter Moon +2 (a.k.a. waxing gibbous moon)

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1583 and B0158C for sunfish

**Area vic 1604 for light action on downriggers late in the AM

 

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)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

WE WENT TOPLESS! — 46 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, 28 July, I fished Lake Belton with Dwight and Connie Stone of Georgetown. Dwight gave me a ring about this time last year and has since booked a number of trips with me, and has also referred a number of others, for which I’m very grateful.

Dwight is a retired small businessman, a good angler, a Christ-follower, and so the two of us just hit it off right away.

This was the first time Miss Connie came aboard. She does the term “better half” much justice!!

We set out with high expectations of topwater action after yesterday’s resurgence following Hurricane Hanna’s weather anomaly. That topwater action just was not in the cards, however. Between an easterly component to the wind and a more dry than humid feeling to the air, the morning just didn’t have that “topwater feeling” to it.

So, when I say we went “topless”, I mean we did not have ample opportunity to sight-cast to aggressively feeding topwater feeding fish this moring whatsoever.

PHOTO CAPTION: A dry atmosphere and winds just east of SE put the fish down today. They bit, but not on topwater. Our fish were caught via downrigging and working MAL lures vertically.

WHEN WE FISHED: 28 July, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED: We tried mightily in the first 70 minutes under low-light conditions to find topwater action, but there was none to be found. I noted a number of the weekday “regulars” also spot-hopping looking for a topwater bite, but finding none.

By 7:40, we gave up on that, settled in to use the downriggers to find fish, and then, when the situation allowed, sealed the deal with MAL lures worked vertically.

We hit 3 distinct areas, catching best early on, then finding the bite waning slowly toward 10:45 when we called it a day and headed in.

We only found one opportunity to work lures vertically. All of the other scenarios in which I identified bottom-hugging white bass resulted in those fish moving off before we could get locked on them, despite our efforts to hustle and get on them promptly.

Summer, with its high water temperatures, mean fish metabolism is at a peak. These fish must feed to meet the demands of their bodies, and the white bass are nearly constantly patrolling after shad, not staying put very long.

TALLY: 46 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Beating/thrashing the water definitely kept fish pulled in under the boat and helped reignite a waning bite several times in the one instance we had to fish vertically with MAL lures today.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.29′ low, 0.03′ 24-hour change, 54 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE6-7 all morning

Moon Phase: First Quarter Moon +1 (a.k.a. waxing gibbous moon)

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0123C – encountered multiple, hesitant schools of mid-depth white bass in ~20 feet of water; took 3 on downriggers anticipating they would emerge on the surface shortly thereafter, but, they never did.

**Area B0031G – the one location where downrigging resulted in a nice take of white bass fished vertically, hitting MAL lures in about 38′.

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)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle