TOP TEN HYBRID IN 17 YEARS — SEE PHOTO!! — 102 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday afternoon, 23 November, I fished with returning guests Steve Niemeier, his adult daughter, Emily Haberer, and Emily’s daughter, seven-year-old Zoey Haberer, all from right here in Central Texas.

Steve is a real plan-ahead guy who understands how the fishing ebbs and flows through the seasons.  He always books well ahead for the peak fishing from late March to late May, and again for the autumn peak, normally from late October to mid-December.

We had two trips booked for Steve for this past Monday so he could accommodate as many grandkids as possible during their Thanksgiving break, but the weather turned wet and cold, so, we wound up doing just one trip today.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Mrs. Emily Haberer and her daughter, 7-year-old Zoey Haberer, hoist Zoey’s 7.75-pound Lake Belton hybrid striped bass.  This fish was taken on a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook.  It is one of the top 10 heaviest hybrid I’ve had clients land in 17 years of guiding.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Emily & Zoey Haberer and Steve “Babu” Niemeier with a few of the solid white bass we caught in our take of 102 fish this afternoon.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 23 November 2022 (PM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

As I mentioned in my previous report, our lengthy downward trend on water temperature continued today, making it an unheard of 13 consecutive days over which at no time did the air temperature exceed the water temperature.  This has led to one of the fastest lake cooldowns I’ve seen in my 30 years on Central Texas reservoirs.

Although the weather (big picture) is far from stable, this afternoon’s weather (small picture) was not as crazy as this morning’s was, and the fish did feed throughout the afternoon.  It was not a very aggressive feed, and we wound up moving pretty frequently as we observed that the fish would not stay “fired up” very long, but were were able to put together a solid catch.

Thanks to the quickly dropping water temperature, I’ve re-rigged my primary rod/reel combos with the Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached.  This is a lure of my own making, incorporating the time-tested features of a slab with the fish-attracting flash of a spinning blade which has makes the Mepps MAL Lure so effective.

We used a “slow-smoking” tactic to work this bait up through the fish we saw suspended on sonar, as well as to draw fish up off the bottom.  This kind of fishing can be tedious and demanding when done correctly, so I was very impressed at how well Zoey did.  She stayed focused, adjusted her technique when need be, and was rewarded routinely for her efforts.

When all was said and done, this crew landed 102 fish including 2 legal hybrid (one @ 7.75 pounds), 8 short hybrid striped bass, 4 freshwater drum, 2 largemouth bass, and 86 white bass.

TALLY: 102 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) 8th consecutive trip helpful bird activity.  Birds active 3:50-5:00P today. Water temperature profile was as follows:

0 feet 61.5F
5 feet 61.2F
10 feet 61.1F
15 feet 60.9F
20 feet 60.9F
25 feet 60.3F
30 feet 59.0F
35 feet 57.5F
40 feet 57.1F
45 feet 56.9F

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 1:15P

End Time: 5:15P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 60F

Elevation: 13.43 feet low, 0.01′ fall in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 61.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SE4-6

Sky Condition: Solid grey sky all afternoon.

Moon Phase: New moon at 0% illumination.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Area 1942/B0155G – slabbing for 4 fish

Area B0012C/B0119C – slabbing for 29 fish

Area vic 1141- slabbing for 26 fish

Area 1548 w/ 2 hops – slabbing for 27 fish

Area B0043G – slabbing for 16 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

#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 #mepps

THEY KEPT THE CADENCE — 51 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday morning, 23 November, Mr. John Matthews and his wife, Retta, treated three of their grandkids, all sisters from Humble, TX, to a fishing trip on Lake Belton.

This was a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip just for kids, hence, it was both a bit shorter and a good bit less expensive than a standard adult trip.

Joining their grandparents were Eva (age 14), and twins Madison and Bradie Smith (age 11).  Two of the girls had never fished before.

We faced an uncertain weather forecast and, when all was said and done, experienced just about all manner of weather, short of frozen precipitation and a tornado, but, the girls were troopers and just kept smiling, talking, and catching fish through it all.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Eva, Madison, and Bradie Smith with a few of the white bass they worked Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs vertically to catch.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  John Matthews gives his grandaughter, Madison Smith, a hand hoisting the 6.50 pound blue catfish she took from out of a school of white bass feeding on bottom in about 31 feet of water.

PHOTO CAPTION: Everyone celebrated Eva’s catch of our largest of three legal (18″ minimum) hybrid striped bass.  This one took a downrigged Pet Spoon worked about 3′ off bottom; it weighed 4.25 pounds.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Madison also landed both of the morning’s “triples”, catching three fish at the same time on each of the three Pet Spoons used on the 3-armed umbrella rigs were were downrigging with on occasion over well-scattered fish.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 23 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Our lengthy downward trend on water temperature continued today, making it an unheard of 13 consecutive days over which at no time did the air temperature exceed the water temperature.  This has led to one of the fastest lake cooldowns I’ve seen in my 30 years on Central Texas reservoirs.

Cold-blooded creatures just don’t take well to being chilled quickly — it’s like tossing a snake in a refrigerator and leaving him in there for a few days straight — he won’t come out near as lively as he went in!!

As I waited for my crew to arrive, I saw some very light topwater action on the calm, pre-dawn surface and mentally marked the general area where I’d seen that.  As we got going, I ran sonar over the area and found roving schools of white and small hybrids cruising around and eating shad.  I set us up with twin downriggers, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rigged outfitted with #13 Pet Spoons in a mix of white and yellow feathered tails.   We got right down to catching, with singles, doubles and one triple taken as the girls went through three rounds of downrigger releases each, accounting for a total of 16 fish in our first 45 minutes.

No sooner did this action die down than some bird activity cropped up about a mile away leading us to our next round of catching.  These birds were few in number (perhaps 20 gulls) and they were widely spread.  This typically means fish which are also well spread and mobile.  Sonar confirmed such was the case, so, after a short, fairly unsuccessful stab at vertical jigging, we went right back to downrigging and took another 9 fish fairly quickly.  As we were in the midst of this, a short-lived rain shower moved through and once it cleared, it was as if someone turned off the switch.  The birds disappeared, and the fish got harder to find and much harder to catch.  Even when we found great concentrations of fish and got on top of them, they were still hard to catch.

My water temperature profiling (see details below) indicated that we’ve finally broken that critical 60F mark at depth, so, for the first time since the early spring, I relied on other than the MAL Lure to do my vertical work, choosing the 21 gram (~5/8 oz.) white Bladed Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook to catch our fish.

For the remainder of the trip we relied on this bait worked with a “slow smoking” retrieve to tempt the very reluctant fish we found.

Fortunately, all of the girls have a background in dance and so when I used the word “cadence” and demonstrated how to effectively move the bait upward off the bottom smoothly and steadily to a “count” or “beat”, they immediately picked up on what I meant.

This served them well and allowed for a steady catch of fish right up to the 11 o’clock hour when the fish voted that they were done.

When all was said and done, this crew landed 51 fish including 3 legal hybrid, 9 short hybrid striped bass, 1 freshwater drum, 1 blue catfish, and 37 white bass.

 

TALLY: 51 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slab with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) 7th consecutive trip helpful bird activity.  Birds active 8:30 – 9:20A today. Water temperature profile was as follows:

0 feet 61.5F
5 feet 61.2F
10 feet 61.1F
15 feet 60.9F
20 feet 60.9F
25 feet 60.3F
30 feet 59.0F
35 feet 57.5F
40 feet 57.1F
45 feet 56.9F

 

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:20A

End Time: 11A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Elevation: 13.43 feet low, 0.01′ fall in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 61.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light and variable, never more than 4mph

Sky Condition: Solid grey sky all morning with light fog and occasional brief rain all morning.

Moon Phase: New moon at 0% illumination.

GT = 100

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Area 1404/472 – downrigging

Area 0006/086 – downrigging

Area vic B0166G – downrigging

Area vic 1469 with multiple short hops – slabbing

Area vic 1280 – slabbing

 

 

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 #mepps

WATER TEMPS ON A DOWNHILL SLIDE — 98 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, 22 November, I fished with returning guest Mike Tomberlin, accompanied by his sons, Josh and Sean, and by Mike’s friend, Donna.  This was Donna, Josh, and Sean’s first time aboard with me.  The trip was in celebration of Josh and Sean’s forthcoming birthdays.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Sean, Donna, Mike, and Josh with a portion of their take as we pursued Lake Belton white bass under cool, grey conditions with cooling water.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 22 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

As much as I hate to say it this early in November, I think we’ve moved “past peak” on the fantastic fall white bass fishing which, in some years, has held on through late December.  This long downward slide we’ve had on water temperature ever since the Veterans’ Day cold front tore through has cut 4-5 degrees from the surface temperature in just over a week and the fish certainly haven’t taken a liking to it.

I noted that even when we were at peak feed times today with fish driving bait close enough to the surface to interest the birds, the fish were not moving with the speed and agility that I saw just a week to ten days ago.  Corresponding with this was an increased number of “refusals” on our baits where fish either outright ignored the baits, or, followed half-heartedly a few feet and then gave up.

I’m sure things will rebound a bit when fish get used to the “new normal” if/when we get some stable and/or warming weather, but a rapid cooldown like we are now experiencing never helps.

Still, we managed a 98 fish outing, but everyone had to stay on their game for the entire time to make that happen.

We used MAL Originals with white tails the entire trip, fishing them vertically with a smoking tactic.  I did try a slab now and then, but the fish weren’t any more or less interested in that than the spinner.

When all was said and done, this crew landed 98 fish including 1 legal hybrid, 9 short hybrid striped bass, 2 largemouth bass, and 86 white bass.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 98 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) 6th consecutive trip helpful bird activity.  Birds active 8:30 – 9:50A today.

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Elevation: 13.42 feet low, 0.03′ fall in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 60.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Calm with fog for first hour, SSE4 for middle 2 hours, NNW3-4 for last hour

Sky Condition: Solid grey sky all morning with light fog in the first hour.

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 3% illumination.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

B0167G through B0052G – whites on slope under birds

Area vic 151 – under birds

Areas B0013C/1543/966/967/715/1544 – under birds

Area B0102C/B0042C – after bird activity ended

 

 

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 #mepps

(DIS)COMFORT MASTERS — 157 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, November 19th, I fished with a full boat of 6 anglers from the Comfort Masters DFW crew.  These fellows are focused on commercial and residential HVAC work.  Fortunately, these guys were all accustomed to working out in the elements, as we had some serious elements to work through today.

As a damp cold front slowly eased into Central Texas overnight, the sunset temperature of 51F on Friday evening fell to 37F as we launched this morning.  When we arrived back at the boat ramp four hours later, the air temperature was still just 39F.

Mr. Stephen Moore honchoed the whole event, initially reaching out to me to make reservations.  Accompanying him were father-and-son team Jim & Cameron Moore, Matt Johnson, Rondel Campbell, and Reese Patterson.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

PHOTO CAPTION:  Back row, from left: Matt “Yankee” Johnson, Rondel “First Fish” Campbell, Jim “Group Shower” Moore, & Stephen “Boss Man” Moore.  Front row, from left: Reese “Best Behaved” Patterson, and Cameron “Above Average” Moore.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 19 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Cold fronts with persistent, damp conditions like this one just don’t have the fish-motivating power which fronts like that which came through on Veterans’ Day do.  That Veterans’ Day front had a turbulent lead edge, but, once the rain moved off, the weather dried out and cooled down rapidly.

So, the fishing was a bit tough this morning.  We found interested fish everywhere we went, but, they were not overly aggressive and they typically did not stay interested very long.  This simply required that we move frequently to stay on top of fish which we could coax into striking.

We used the MAL Original Lure with white tail to catch 100% of our fish this morning, and used a vertical “smoking” tactic with a moderate retrieve speed with these lures.

Helpful bird activity did develop albeit only for about 75 minutes mid-morning.  The bird activity followed the fish activity in that the birds would work aggressively but briefly over a patch of water, then quit, then reignite some distance away, then quit, etc. as the gamefish which were driving the feeding cycle did likewise.

There was lots of cajoling and good-natured trash-talking amongst friends on this trip, and the banter plus the steady pick of fish helped keep everyone’s minds off there cold hands, feet, and faces.  One highlight was that Rondel caught the first fish of his life, which was ironic since he grew up on an island in the Caribbean!

When all was said and done, this crew landed 157 fish including 10 short hybrid striped bass, 8 largemouth bass, 4 freshwater drum, and 135 white bass.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 157 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) 5th consecutive trip helpful bird activity.  Birds active 8:30-9:45A.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time:  11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F

Elevation: 13.33 feet low, 0.00′ change in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 62.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NW10-12 all morning

Sky Condition: Solid grey sky all morning

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 23% illumination.

GT = 71

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Vic BG0026 (28 fish), 1325/150 w/2 hops (39 fish), Vic 1489 w/2 hops (33 fish), Vic 354 w/2 hops (34 fish), B0054G (10 fish), B0201C (13 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

#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 #mepps

OCTOGENARIAN DAY — 58 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, November 17th, I fished returning guest Floyd Falter of Temple, and his friend, Mr. Doyle Davis of Moffat, Texas.

The two became friends through their Sunday School class at First Baptist Church of Belton.

Floyd, a U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army veteran, is 89 years old.  Doyle, once a Texas National Guardsman, recently turned 80.

Our target species was white bass on Lake Belton.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Mr. Floyd Falter (age 89) and his buddy from Sunday School, Mr. Doyle Davis (age 80), came up with 58 fish this morning under increasingly tough post-frontal conditions.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Doyle finished out the trip with a bang, landing a “triple” — one fish on each of the 3 spoons on the 3-armed umbrella rig we were trolling at the time.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday, 17 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Given Floyd and Doyle’s age, I had to really think through some of the things I often take for granted when it came to launch site selection, passenger loading and unloading, seating & moving about in the boat, and the fishing tactics we’d employ.

Even though this morning’s weather was (much) less than ideal for fishing, it made for a safer, more enjoyable outdoor experience.  We had skies clearing to cloudless and wind diminishing to calm as our Veterans’ Day cold front finally played out today and went “post-frontal”.

The whole “watch your bait on LiveScope while adjusting your retrieve to fish response” thing wasn’t something the fellows really caught onto all that well, nor was horizontally presenting baits via a sawtooth method of retrieve, so, as an alternative, we did a lot of downrigging today.  This allowed the fellows to stay seated and enjoy a steady catch rate from start to finish this morning.

I upsized the baits to #13 Pet Spoons (versus the #12’s I use over the summer) and mixed white tails and yellow tails together on the 3-armed umbrella rigs in order to best imitate the size of shad we are encountering this time of year.

For the fourth consecutive trip, gulls were helpful in getting us to the general location where we would catch our fish.  I then used sonar, especially well-tuned side-imaging, to find the spot on the spot.

When all was said and done, the fellows fished for about 3.25 hours and were ready to head back in by around 10:30.  By that time, we’d managed a catch of 58 fish, including 3 hybrid striped bass and 55 white bass.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 58 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) 4th consecutive day of helpful bird activity.  Birds active 8:15 – 9:00, then 9:45 – 10:15.  2) Temperature profile yesterday was as follows:

0 feet 63.7F
5 feet 64.1F
10 feet 64.3F
15 feet 64.4F
20 feet 64.4F
25 feet 64.4F
30 feet 64.4F
35 feet 64.4F
40 feet 64.4F
45 feet 64.3F
50 feet 64.1F
55 feet 63.8F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time:  10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Elevation: 13.30 feet low, 0.05′ fall in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 63.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  WSW4-6 for the first hour, then tapering back to light and variable.

Sky Condition: A grey bank of clouds in the eastern sky quickly cleared to a bright, cloudless sky.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 41% illumination.

GT =  0

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

-Downrigged within that patch of bottom bordered by Areas B0013C/1543/966/967/715/1544

-Smoked for a few fish under bird at B0159G/B0042G

-Finished up downrigging at vic 714

 

 

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 #mepps

EVERYONE JUST CALLS HIM “COACH” — 161 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, November 16th, I fished returning guest Coach Bob McQueen.  Bob recently brought out three neighbors of his, had a good time fishing for white bass with them, and so decided to bring out another crew of three neighbors/friends today.

Joining Coach McQueen were Joe Maines, Donnie Carpenter, and Mitch Longley.

It seems like everyone around here, regardless of age, gender, level of interest in sports, or former high school affiliation, knows Bob McQueen and simply refers to him as Coach.

“Coach” led the Temple Wildcats football team to their first state championship during his 28 years of coaching, but, besides that, he is a godly fellow who demonstrates love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, and self-control — all the marks of someone who follows Christ.  Those qualities draw others to him.

Our target species was white bass on Lake Belton.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Coach Bob McQueen with a dandy Lake Belton smallmouth bass taken on an MAL Original from out of a school of white bass and hybrid striped bass feeding hard on threadfin shad.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Coach Bob McQueen and his long-time friend Joe Maines, a native of Florence, Texas, with our largest fish of the trip — a Lake Belton hybrid striped bass which fell for Joe’s MAL Original.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Mitch Longley, Coach Bob McQueen, Joe Maines, and Donnie Carpenter with a sampling of the white bass we took with a vertical “smoking” tactic using MAL Original Lures aided by Garmin LiveScope.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 16 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

At trip’s start, the air temperature was 41F and the winds continued out of the NW (5th day in a row) following the strong Veterans’ Day cold front.

A low deck of thick, grey clouds kept it from getting colder overnight, and also kept it from warming up to any great extent this morning.

Once again, we were blessed with gull activity early and late in this morning’s trip, requiring that I find fish solely with sonar only during the mid-morning at two locations.

Whether the fish were under birds or not, with ~64F water down to a depth of 50 feet, the white bass were turned on and quite willing to chase.  The timeframe from 8:45 to 10:30 was the best of the best, with a taper up to that peak activity early on, and a taper down from that peak activity noticeably around 11AM.

Every single one of the 161 fish my crew landed today came on the MAL Original with white tail worked vertically with a “smoking” tactic.  The only thing we altered was the retrieve speed based on the aggression level of the fish, as gauged by watching Garmin LiveScope.

Our 161 fish tally included 3 legal hybrid stripers, 6 short hybrid, 1 smallmouth bass, 1 largemouth bass, and exactly 150 white bass up to 13.50″.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 161 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) 3rd consecutive day of helpful bird activity.  Birds active 7:30 – 8:30, then 10:15 – 11:25.  2) Temperature profile was as follows:

0 feet 63.7F
5 feet 64.1F
10 feet 64.3F
15 feet 64.4F
20 feet 64.4F
25 feet 64.4F
30 feet 64.4F
35 feet 64.4F
40 feet 64.4F
45 feet 64.3F
50 feet 64.1F
55 feet 63.8F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time:  11:25A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Elevation: 13.25 feet low, 0.05′ fall in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 63.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNW-6-8 all morning

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 51% illumination.

GT =  35

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Areas vic 1390 (25 fish), 862 (15 fish), 952 (21 fish), B0173G (23 fish), vic 294 (16 fish), vic 787 (61 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

#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 #mepps

GULLS AND HANDWARMERS MADE OUR MORNING — 101 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, November 15th, I fished returning guests Jim Downing and his aunt, Sally Hardeman.  Stepping aboard my boat for the first time was Jim’s wife, Tiffany.

Our target species was white bass on Lake Belton.  As we headed out, I wasn’t super-certain on what our rapid cooldown had done to the fishery … but, we soon found out.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Sally Hardeman, and Tiffany & Jim Downing dressed in layers and showed up well-prepared for a chilly morning on Lake Belton which produced 101 fish for them.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 15 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

As I launched, it was 39F and there was a bite to the ~13mph wind still blowing from the NW following the strong front which pushed in on Veterans’ Day and has since been reinforced by more cold, Canadian air.

It was also obvious that the lake’s normally clearish-green water was a bit more colored thanks to runoff from Friday’s rains, high winds, and additional light rains yesterday.  The water has also cooled fairly quickly — about 3-4F on the surface since Friday when the front now influencing our weather first pushed through.

Our first hour was pretty quiet.  We found only small group of fish and found them unmotivated to chase and bite.

Things really kicked off around 8:15A.  At this time I spotted a tentative flock of gulls looking hard at a specific patch of water — not flying in a straight line and covering ground as they do when just patrolling for food.

I found a few fish in this general area and got us set up to fish while keeping a close eye on that flock of gulls.  As anticipated, those gulls soon began to get more animated and, after a few more minutes, they began striking the water’s surface, indicating that white bass were aggressively herding shad up to the surface.  We moved in and started catching.  The catching ebbed and flowed but never stopped until right around 11A.

We wound up putting exactly 101 fish in the boat.  Our sole tactic was “smoking” using the MAL Original with white tail.  We did have to adjust speed from time to time, but the fish, despite the water’s cooldown, were still quite turned on to this technique.

In all, we found and fished under 3 distinct flocks of gulls, using their presence to get close to the fish, then using sonar to find the “spot on the spot”.

Our 101 fish tally included 7 largemouth bass, 1 freshwater drum, and 93 white bass.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 101 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1)All of this morning’s fish were found with the aid of gulls.  2) The water has been made dingy by the recent rain and winds. 3) The fishing started later today — around 8:15A.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7A

End Time:  11:20A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation: 13.20 feet low, 0.04′ rise in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 64.8F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNW13-14 at trip’s start, settling back to NNW12 after the first 75 minutes.

Sky Condition: 60-80% white cloud cover on a fair sky most of the morning.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 60% illumination.

GT =  90

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Areas B0083G (39 fish), B0075C (27 fish), 1483 (38 fish), 1152/355 (7 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

#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 #mepps

IN THE COLD FRONT’S WAKE — 200 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, November 12th, I fished with new clients Brandon Ray of Belton, TX, and Tom Buckner of Corpus Christi.

The two first became acquainted when Brandon, then a college student pursuing his master’s degree at A&M Corpus, served as mate on a sportfishing charter boat Tom captained on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Brandon now works in the construction industry and Tom is nearing retirement from teaching physics at a parochial high school.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Tom Buckner’s 16.75″, was among the top 10 white bass I’ve had a client land from Lake Belton in 17 years guiding and in 30 years of fishing that body of water.  That’s a 14-incher next to by comparison.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Tom Buckner and Brandon Ray enjoyed “pole-to-pole” action this morning thanks to a steady NW wind in the wake of a strong cold front’s passage around 10A yesterday, complete with a tornado, multiple hailstorms, multiple severe thunderstorms and some much-needed runoff-producing rains.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 12 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Man were the fish turned on by the weather which followed the passage of a cold front yesterday!

The winds kept right on blowing overnight and well into the morning right at 13-14 mph.  My experience in dealing with the autumn cold fronts tells me that the fishing will normally be excellent right up until the winds peak; once the wind velocity begins to taper, so does the bite.  Once the winds die, the bite does likewise, normally until a southerly breeze returns.

It was only necessary to fish 4 areas this morning.  Less moving and looking meant more productive time spent catching.

I was drawn to the last 2 of those 4 areas by bird activity — the first helpful bird activity of the autumn on Lake Belton.  Although there were only 9 gulls working, they worked for a full 2 hours.  Once they left, the fish stayed active for another 20 minutes or so, and then the fishing began a downhill slide

We used the “smoking” tactic described in the video link below to catch 100% of the fish we boated today, varying our retrieve speed as the fishes’ enthusiasm level ebbed and flowed with time of day.

We began the day in under 30′ and used MAL Originals (white tails) for that work, then moved deeper as the sun rose higher and the clouds thinned and used MAL Heavy Barbless lures (chartreuse tails) for that work.

Brandon and Tom landed exactly 200 fish including 190 white bass, 6 hybrid striped bass, 2 largemouth bass, & 2 freshwater drum.  Tom’s largest white bass, which was just shy of 16″, was among the top 10 white bass I’ve had a client land from Lake Belton in 17 years guiding and in 30 years of fishing that body of water.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 200 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1)The first helpful gull action took place this morning with 9 gulls working over a ~80 yard patch of water for ~2 hours.  2) I saw the first evidence of whitetail deer rutting today.  3) a lot of migratory bird activity was going on (Sandhills, gulls, waterfowl, hawks, osprey, cormorants).

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 6:55A

End Time:  10:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 36F

Elevation: 13.17 feet low, 0.15′ rise in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 67.6F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNW13-14 & steady

Sky Condition: 60% white cloud cover on a blue sky at sunrise, tapering to cloudless by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 85% illumination.

GT =  109

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Areas 1362/B0016G (27 fish, majority smallish), Area B0064G (18 fish), Area B0155G/1942 (14 fish), Area vic 1140/0149 (141 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

#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 #mepps

Ryan, the 9-Year-Old with a Bucket List! — 91 Fish Before the Storm

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Veterans’ Day 2022, I conducted the 14th S.K.I.F.F. program trip of the 2022 season, welcoming aboard 9-year-old Ryan Howell Jr.

Ryan’s dad, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Howell Sr., has served in the military for 16+ years.  He is currently deployed to Iraq as a military policeman.  Mrs. Meisha Howell arranged for this trip after Mrs. Denise Igo was kind enough to make the Ft. Hood military community aware of this opportunity (thru her Fort Hood Area Events Facebook page) I set aside for the Veterans’ Day holiday when the kids from the Killeen Independent School District would be out of school.

Ryan is quite experienced for his age, having fished with his dad and grandfather quite a bit.  He told me he was really excited when he heard his mom had arranged for the trip because catching white bass was on his bucket list!!

ABOUT SKIFF:  This fishing trip was provided to this military family at no charge.  S.K.I.F.F. stands for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun.  This program began in May of 2009.  It is funded by the donations and fundraising efforts of the Austin Fly Fishers and other organizations they have partnered with.  S.K.I.F.F. provides the children of military personnel separated from their families due to duty commitments with the opportunity to go fishing.  SKIFF trips are also provided, free of charge, to Gold Star families who have lost their service member while he or she was on active duty.  In mid-2019, SKIFF also began providing trips to dependents whose parents are bona fide disabled veterans.  I coordinate and conduct these ~3.5-hour  adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just outside the gates of Fort Hood in Bell County, TX, year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Nine-year-old Ryan Howell Jr. with the first two “Bucket List” white bass he landed as the fish went absolutely wild in advance of a major cold front’s arrival this Veterans’ Day 2022.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday, 11 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

The fish were just incredibly aggressive this morning under true “pre-frontal” conditions.  As I arrived at the ramp this morning, it was uncomfortably humid, 70F, and flat calm.  By 9:45A, the temperature would drop to 55F very suddenly with the arrival of a major cold front.  That front’s lead edge caused hail, heavy rain, and severe thunderstorms all across Central Texas for about a 40-minute span.

We launched knowing that our trip would likely be curtailed by weather, and I let Ryan know that when we heard thunder rumbling in the west we’d need to pack up.

Well, he was a real trooper, donning some raingear I loaned him, his rubber boots, and some warm clothing beneath to stick it out with me in the blowing rain to cash in on this fantastic fishing.

We stayed as long as I felt was prudent.  About the time we heard the first rumble of thunder way out to the west of us, the National Weather Service sent out a severe thunderstorm warning for a “fan” from Burnett east toward Salado. We were well north of that, but didn’t want to take any chances.  We called it a great day with 91 fish taken in right at 2.5 hours of fishing.

Fishing was super simple, as the fish were present at the first (and only) two places I looked for them.  They were way up off bottom chasing bait hard and therefore showed up on sonar quite well.

We used MAL Originals with white tails to load the boat with 91 fish in a short but sweet, rapid-fire sequence.  The fish were still biting when we left.

Ryan and I fished side-by-side as we watched Garmin LiveScope and landed 77 white bass, and 14 short hybrid striped bass.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 91 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: Classic pre-frontal, frenzied feeding activity was observed this morning from (obscured) sunrise until we could no longer safely stay on the water.  The fish were still biting when we departed.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 6:55A

End Time:  9:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F (falling to 55F by 9:45A)

Elevation: 13.32 feet low, 0.01′ fall in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 69.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Calm at sunrise, then quickly ramping up to NW15-17 as the lead edge of the front blew in.

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning, with rain added after the front moved in.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 91% illumination.

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Area vic 1000 (26 fish), Area B0184C (65 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

#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 #mepps

MOST PRODUCTIVE TRIP SO FAR THIS FALL – 220 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, November 9th, I fished with returning guests PJ Condit and Scott Smith — both pastors serving here in Central Texas. PJ is the lead minister at Community Christian Church in Round Rock, and Scott is the senior pastor at Crestview Christian Church in Copperas Cove.

PJ brought with him two first-time guests including his 17-year-old son, Caleb, and John Byrd who works in the church’s ministry to kids.  Caleb has his sights on petroleum engineering after college, and John retired from a company focused on industrial temperature control devices.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left:  Caleb and PJ Condit, Scott Smith, and John Byrd with a few of the 220 fish they landed on MAL Lures worked vertically under warm, breezy, mostly-cloudy conditions.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 09 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

‘Twas a carbon-copy, cookie-cutter kinda day out there.  Once again, low visibility due to early morning fog, a warm, moist SE breeze, mild temperatures, and abundant cloud cover made today’s fishing nearly identical to the solid results of Monday and Tuesday and the early part of last week.

The fish did the same things in the same places and at the same times as they did since last Friday/Saturday’s cold front passed.  Our results were better simply today because we had more rods working, but the per-man catch of ~50/person over a 4-hour span was in keeping with the results from earlier this week.

When the conditions are right, like they have been these past few trips, fish are just easier to find as they position further from bottom as they feed, thus, there is greater “target separation” between them and the bottom, making them easier to spot, especially at great distances on well-tuned side-imaging.

Once the fish are spotted, I’m using the i-Pilot Link system connecting my Humminbird Solix with my trolling motor to very quickly and accurately position atop these fish, then get baits down to the fish quickly so as to keep their attention and prevent them from moving off.

We relied on MAL Originals with white tails and MAL Heavy Lures with chartreuse tails and barbless hooks (for multiple, quick releases and extra weight to get lures to bottom more quickly), and both performed the same, although everyone had to be careful to leave ~4 feet of line hanging down past the rod tip to prevent lost fish right at the boat.

We used the “smoking” tactic described in the video link below to catch 100% of the fish we boated today, varying our retrieve speed as the fishes’ enthusiasm level ebbed and flowed with light level and time of day.

My 4-man crew landed 220 fish including 201 white bass, 17 hybrid striped bass, 1 largemouth bass, & 1 freshwater drum.

TUTORIAL SMOKING VIDEO (Vertical): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
TUTORIAL SAWTOOTH VIDEO (Horizontal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC3FMEQHOMQ

TALLY: 220 fish caught and released

Find MAL Lures here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) a 40 cfs flow continued today, 2) I once again spotted multiple single gulls, but none helped locate fish, 3) the lake is now slowly falling again at a rate of ~0.03′ feet/day.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 6:55A

End Time:  11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation: 13.25 feet low, 0.03′ fall in last 24 hours, 40 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 68.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SE5-6 at (obscured) sunrise, steadily increasing to SE12-13

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover through ~9:45, then partly clearing to ~50% white cloud cover on a blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 99% illumination.

GT =  P

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

Areas B0171G (13 fish), vic B0159G (22 fish), vic 0404 (28 fish), 187 w/1 short hop (124 fish), 294/2059 (33 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

#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 #mepps