PRESIDENTS’ DAY MORNING — 50 FISH WITH THE AUSMAN BOYS

WHO I FISHED WITH: This Presidents’ Day Monday I set aside both my morning and evening trips to take soldiers’ kids out on the water fishing through the SKIFF program.

This morning I welcomed aboard the Ausman brothers, Jameson (age 11) , William (age 9), and Samson (age 7).
The boys’ father, U.S. Army Colonel Charles Ausman, is a logistician currently deployed to southwest Asia where he is winding down a 9-month-long separation from his kids and wife, Jessi.
ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.
Next available dates are 26-29 Feb. (AMs)
Here is how the fishing went…

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Jameson, William, and Samson Ausman with a portion of their 50-fish Presidents’ Day 2024 catch from out of Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Jameson and Samson double-teamed this large drum.  It was our final fish of the trip, so, I assigned Jameson as the net man as Samson worked the rod and reel, and by hook or by crook, the fish wound up in the boat!

 

PHOTO CAPTION: William brought this channel catfish (an unusual catch on slabs) to net, and Jameson closed the deal with an accurate, well-timed scoop.

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday, 19 Feb. 2024 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

We got going right at 7:20 this morning and fished until right at 11 AM. Although the two-day cold snap, which began late Friday with an incoming cold front and ended today as southerly winds returned, didn’t help things any, it also didn’t set things back noticeably, either.

 

The fish remained in just about the same locations doing the same things at the same times as they were last week, prior to the cold front. I did note that there seemed to be more actual migratory movement  by fish moving undaunted & straight parallel to the river channel. When I say undaunted, I mean no matter what they might be presented with, their minds were made up that they were just going to keep right on swimming.

 

Only infrequently would one of these fish be duped. Noting this early on, I tried to put the boys on bottom-oriented fish instead, so they did not have to deal with adjusting bait height to suspended fish, nor with detecting a light bite and then setting the hook, given their limited experience.

 

When all was said and done, the boys caught every last one of their fish by doing a slow-smoking, retrieve up off the bottom with most of the fish landed being fish which originated on the bottom and chased the boys’ baits upwards. Birds were helpful for about half of this 3.5-hour adventure. After that, we had to rely solely on sonar. The only bait we employed this morning was the white, 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

If I’d had more experienced anglers aboard, I’d likely have given dead-sticking for those migratory fish, a try, but I just didn’t see the wisdom in that this morning.

 

The boys caught exactly 50 fish, including three largemouth bass, two freshwater drum, one channel catfish, and 44 white bass, every last one of which was legal.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released 

 

OBSERVATIONS: I spotted the first mosquito hawk of the spring this morning, and the first red-winged blackbird just showed up at our bird feeder.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:20A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 35F

Elevation: 16.87 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 52.1F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW 5-10 all morning

Sky Condition: Cloudless, pale blue skies

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 78% illumination.

GT = N/A

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Vic 100 (4 fish), vic 338 (13 fish), vic 1536 (20 fish), vic 074 (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 #austinsubaru

THEY MADE IT A DOUBLEHEADER — 120 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Thursday morning, Feb. 15th, I fished a second consecutive day with long-time Lake Belton angler Bill Pasko and his friend, Mike Adams.  This was an “away game” for the two fishing buddies, as I guided them once again this morning on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

Both fellows are in their late 70’s, both own their own boats and are solid multi-species anglers, and both are Vietnam-era veterans.

The thing I appreciated most about them was their willingness to listen to the suggestions I made concerning the tactics we employed.  I’ve guided for 18 years now, and it is crystal clear that the older and more experienced men are, the less coachable they tend to be.  This simply wasn’t the case for Bill and Mike.

Here is how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Feb. 26-29 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Bill Pasko and Mike Adams with a sampling of the 120 fish they landed this past Thursday morning, Feb. 15th.  The pair worked white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab vertically with a variety of tactics to put together an excellent catch for February.

 

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 15 Feb. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

After a 59 fish outing on Wednesday morning and very little variance in the water from Wednesday to Thursday, we had a pretty good idea of where the fish were going to be and when they were going to be there.

The morning started out much as Wednesday did with widely scattered groups of perhaps 8-20 fish per school cruising a deep flat feeding on both shad and sunfish, thus drawing the attention of gulls.  Feeding loons in the area further drew in more gulls.

The fish were more scattered and less enthusiastic here in the first hour, partially due to thick cloud cover preventing a sudden brightening of the sky.

I had Bill and Mike using the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab worked with an easing tactic to connect routinely in ~24-26′ aided by Garmin LiveScope.

With 20 fish picked up at this first stop and the action waning, we moved on to an underwater draw in slightly deeper water (~32′).  Using the same tactics, with a bit of snap-jigging thrown in when no fish were showing at all in order to draw fish in, Bill and Mike picked up another 18 fish across two locations before that bite waned as the last of the morning’s bird activity was closing out.  Now, we had to rely upon sonar alone to find fish.

On Wednesday around this time we headed to the lower third of the lake and zeroed after 35 minutes of looking.  Today, we checked out the upper third of the reservoir.  I’d found some fish there during a scouting effort on Jan. 27th and Bill was curious what might be going on in that area.  We found chalky to turbid water with lots of flotsam from still-rising water after last weekend’s rains.  We found little on sonar, dropped lines once without result, and headed back downlake.

We went on to fish three more areas, all adjacent to the river channel but in varying depths of water.  Bill and Mike continue to either ease or slow-smoke the white slab at each location.  They added 4 fish at our first channel-related stop, 10 fish at the next, and a whopping 68 fish at our final (and shallowest) stop of the morning.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 120 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  We experienced the first aquatic insect hatch I’ve witnessed thus far in this winter season — a sure sign of a slow warm-up despite ups and downs in the weather.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 12:00P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Elevation: 16.89 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 52.4F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SW winds varying from 3-9 all day

Sky Condition: Grey cloud cover at near 100% all morning, gradually thickening over that time.

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 38% illumination.

GT = 75

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

100, vic 338, vic 1013, vic 267, vic 315, 074

 

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 #SubaruAustin

IT WAS AN AWAY GAME FOR THIS TEAM — 59 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Wednesday morning, Feb. 14th, I fished with long-time Lake Belton angler Bill Pasko and his friend, Mike Adams.  This was an “away game” for the two fishing buddies, as I guided them this morning on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

Bill is a detail-oriented fellow who actually dives into the details I include in my fishing reports. He has been helpful to me through the 18 years I’ve run my guide service, and routinely makes constructive posts on the Texas Fishing Forum.

A few of the things we set out to accomplish came about from such details.  One of the things Bill most expressed interest in was closely studying well-tuned side-imaging on my Humminbird Apex 16 so as to recognize the difference between bottom-oriented white bass and other species showing on sonar.

Neither of the fellows had a great amount of experience with Garmin LiveScope, so, getting to use that technology in a real-world scenario for 4+ hours was also beneficial.

Here is how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Feb. 26-29 (AMs)

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Mike Adams and Bill Pasko hoist a nice take of white bass.  Four of the 59 fish they landed were white bass exceeding 15 inches, with the largest going 16.50 inches.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Mike and Bill landed a “bycatch” of largemouth and drum over the course of the morning in addition to the target species of white bass.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday, 14 Feb. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

You’ve heard the saying “No good deed goes unpunished.”.   Well, I experienced a bit of that today.  Yesterday I had two excellent, well-travelled anglers aboard specifically in pursuit of a freshwater drum for each man.

 

We put in over 8.5 hours of effort and did not land a single freshwater drum despite routinely catching these (and quality largemouth) as bycatch all winter on most every trip.

 

This morning, within the first 40 minutes on the water, three of our first eleven fish were freshwater drum which exceeded 4 pounds!!!  Unbelievable!

 

As we got going this morning, loose bird activity pointed the way to our first area to search for fish.  We made multiple short hops in this 1/8th mile diameter area, picking up white bass, drum, and largemouth bass by working white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs vertically using both an easing tactic and a slow-smoking tactic.  While Bill and Mike worked hard at this, I got in an occasional cast horizontally using a jighead and white curltail grub.

 

The bird action lasted about 90 minutes, after which we were left to search for fish relying solely on sonar.

 

We fished 6 areas and boated a total of 59 fish, of which four exceeded 15″, with the largest going 16.50 inches.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 59 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  Thanks to recent rains and a slow, net warming trend over the last three weeks, the surface temperature has returned to just over 50F and the lake has risen to 16.89 feet below full pool. Fish and bait are beginning to move shallower.  All of our fish came from between 23 and 34 feet this morning.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:30A

End Time: 12:05P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Elevation: 16.89 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 50.3F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SW winds varying from 3-9 all day

Sky Condition: Pale blue, cloudless sky.

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 27% illumination.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

101 (1 short hop), SH0044C (1 short hop), 268, 94, vic SH0016G, and 104.

 

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 #SubaruAustin

ONE MAN’S COOT IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE — 66 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Tuesday morning, Feb. 13th, I fished with first-time guests Jerry Burch and Nathan Rollins.

Jerry had an unusual request.  He and eight friends are in a friendly competition to see who can be the first to capture 100 fish/game species by way of hunting and fishing.

Jerry had seen some of my posts indicating a routine bycatch of freshwater drum as I guide clients to catch white bass.  He reached out to me to see if we might be able to help add that species to his list, and to Nathan’s.

If that went well, I had a contingency plan to pursue channel catfish and smallmouth bass, as well.

Along the way we drew a humorous correlation between “serious” anglers fishing for drum, and “serious” waterfowl hunters hunting for coot.

Here is how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Feb. 26-29 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Jerry Burch and Nathan Rollins with a nice pair of white bass they took as we made a day-long effort to capture a freshwater drum for both men.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: All winter long as I guide for white bass, I see largemouth bass and freshwater drum caught as bycatch.  Today, this largemouth cooperated, but our highly sought after drum were in short supply.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday, 13 Feb. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Although I routinely catch drum without doing anything special beyond what is necessary to lure white bass, since we desired to catch drum this morning, I did changeup a few things.  First, instead of the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab, I used a slab with a bead-filled glass vial encapsulated within it so as to make extra noise which I have seen drum respond to positively in the past.  Additionally, instead of slow-smoking or easing, we stuck with snap-jigging so as to keep the lures on or near bottom 100% of the time.

It was tough watching so many opportunities to catch white bass go by, but Jerry and Nathan stuck with it.  By the time 1PM had rolled around, they’d landed 27 fish, including 26 white bass and 1 largemouth bass, but no drum.

We took an off-the-water lunch break and reconvened at 2:25 and fished until 5:20PM.  We added another 39 fish to the tally, every single one of which was a white bass.

So, after 8.5 hours of intelligent effort, we did not come up with a single drum.  Regardless, Jerry and Nathan enjoyed their outing, learned much, and were particularly enthused about using Garmin LiveScope.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 66 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  Thanks to recent rains and a slow, net warming trend over the last three weeks, the surface temperature has returned to just over 50F and the lake has risen to 16.89 feet below full pool.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:30A

End Time: 5:20P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 32F

Elevation: 16.89 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 50.4F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SW winds varying from 4-9 all day

Sky Condition: Pale blue, cloudless sky.

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 47% illumination.

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Vic. SH0239G, 0095, SH0134C, SH0247G, vic 1950, SH0279G, and SH0094C

 

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 #SubaruAustin

HAS DEADSTICKING DIED? — 20 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Thursday, February 8, I fished with long-time client and friend Gary Davidson from Kerrville, Texas.

We have both been intrigued by the potential which wintertime deadsticking holds, but both admit we have not yet figured this sort of fishing out to the extent we have other effective white bass and hybrid stripe bass techniques.

This morning we intended to dedicate the trip to deadsticking for suspended, shad-oriented fish and do some comparisons with bait size, bait color, the use of scent, and lure movement.

Here is how the fishing went…


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Feb. 21, 22, 26, 27 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Gary Davidson of Kerrville with a bonus bluecat which slowly approached and then slurped in his deadsticked pink fluke from about 48 feet of water.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 08 Feb. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED:

Long story short, I suspect this now three-week-long, slow warming trend, which has put our surface temperature back between 52 and 54 degrees, has halted what was developing as a good deadstick bite as the water temperature fell below 50 degrees and continued to cool slowly by around the middle of January.

This cooling definitely pulled shad together and nearer, if not directly over, the main channel. On this morning’s trip we found no bait in such locations.

We fished for five hours and spent the first 3.5 hours searching for bait and game fish. Although we caught fish at each of the locations where bait and gamefish were found, and did so using deadstick tactics, we never saw the kind of horizontal bands of interested fish which needs to form beneath the boat in order for a good result to be had.

After seeing this repeatedly, we spent the tail end of the trip looking for bottom-oriented fish in more traditional locations. Although our single best producing stop came at one of these areas, and the fish there were caught by easing or slow smoking a slab, these fish were still very reluctant. This came as no surprise as we had next to no wind all morning.

When all was said and done, we had landed exactly 20 fish including 2 blue catfish, two large mouth bass, one short hybrid, and 15 white bass of which about 12 were of legal size. Gary nabbed the largest fish of the morning with an 8.75 pound blue cat which fell for his dead sticked bubble gum pink fluke on a jig head.

Gary and I agreed that with what little we have seen and learned of deadsticking thus far, we both now have more enthusiasm about fishing in January and February, and we look forward to continuing to experiment, but, it looks like that experiment will restart in 2025, Lord willing.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 20 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: Here was the water temperature profile taken down to 55′ on 08 Feb.:

0 feet, 54.2F
5 feet, 52.9F
10 feet, 52.3F
15 feet, 52.2F
20 feet, 51.9F
25 feet, 51.7F
30 feet, 51.4F
35 feet 50.9F
40 feet, 50.5F
45 feet 50.2F
50 feet, 49.9F
55 feet, 49.0F

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:30A

End Time: 12:20P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 59F

Elevation: 13.85 feet low

Water Surface Temp: 52.6F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE/SSW <4 all morning

Sky Condition: Grey skies all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 0% illumination (new moon was yesterday).

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

 B0263G, vic B003JWG, B0264G, B0265G, vic B0042C

 

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 #SubaruAustin


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Feb. 5, 6, 7, & 8 (AMs)

PHOTO CAPTION: This 4.25-pound largemouth was a personal best for Jackson.  He lured it in, hooked it, fought it, and brought it to net all by himself.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: That is a pair of bonafide 15″ white bass, considered trophy class fish by TPWD, taken just 40 minutes apart under cool conditions with a diminishing fog.  The fish both struck a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday, 02 Feb. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED:

As water temperatures continue to rise, thanks to slightly above average temperatures for February for several consecutive days, and nighttime temperatures overnight in the low 60s,  a noticeable uptick in fish activity levels has been apparent.

 

We got off to a great start right at 8 AM with a light south breeze and fairly heavy gray cloud cover.

 

Jackson quickly got the hang of the slow-smoking tactic.

 

While sitting atop a feeding school of white bass, Jackson landed his first three fish after getting the hang of smoothly and continuously reeling his white, 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

No sooner did we begin firing on all eight cylinders, then an unexpected, heavy fog moved in, and, quite literally, put a damper on things . We struggled for the next 30 minutes as what was a brightening sky began to darken once again, bird activity slowed to nearly zero, and the bite soured.

 

Slowly, the skies brightened, even though the fog remained, and the fish began to start feeding again, as did the birds, although we nearly had to be directly beneath any birds to actually see them due to the fog’s thickness. We only fished three locations all morning with the fishing getting gradually more productive at each one.

 

By the time the fog finally lifted just after 11 AM, the bite was on a downhill slide.

 

Boom-Pa, as Jackson refers to Dwight, and I both thought Jackson was just about done around 11:10 or so with 47 fish to his credit. We weren’t sure if he was going to get up and grab a rod again after mentioning that his wrist was sore, and sitting down to take a granola mix break.

 

I challenged him to make it an even 50 fish or to fish until 11;30, whichever came first.  By 11:25, Jackson had landed his 50th fish of the trip and began to rally. He asked if we could stay a little longer so that he could catch 52 fish. Of course, we did just that, and headed in around 11:35.

 

Although Jackson may not have set the hook on every one of those 52 fish, he did reel each one in and hoisted each one over the gunwale to me. His catch included 47 white bass, two of which measured right at 15 inches, two largemouth bass, the largest of which was 4.25 pounds, and three freshwater drum.

 

Before leaving the parking lot, Dwight made plans to do this same thing in May for his granddaughter, Jemma who will turn 10, and we kicked around dates in September to do likewise for his grandson,  who will turn five.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 52 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: Here was the water temperature profile taken down to 50′ on 02 Feb.:

0 feet,52.6F
5 feet, 51.4F
10 feet, 50.0F
15 feet, 49.9F
20 feet, 49.9F
25 feet, 49.5F
30 feet, 49.2F
35 feet, 48.8F
40 feet, 48.7F
45 feet, 48.4F
50 feet, 48.3F

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 8A

End Time: 11:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F

Elevation: 17.23 feet low

Water Surface Temp: 52.6F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: S4-9 all morning

Sky Condition: Grey skies quickly turning into a morning-long fog

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 45% illumination.

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 1950 – 3 fish slow-smoking with the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab
Area SH0083C/2020 – 23 fish slow-smoking with the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab
Area SH0268G – 26 fish fish slow-smoking with the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab

 

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 #SubaruAustin

A PERSONAL BEST FOR HIS 8TH BIRTHDAY — 52 FISH w/ JACKSON ROGERS

WHO I FISHED WITH:

On Friday morning, February 3, I welcomed aboard eight-year-old Jackson Rogers, chaperoned by his grandfather, Dwight Stone, for a 3.5 hour “Kids Fish, Too!” fishing trip in celebration of his eighth birthday.
“Kids Fish, Too!” trips are less expensive and shorter in duration than my standard trips, and all of the focus of the trip is on the children’s success.
Here is how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Feb. 5, 6, 7, & 8 (AMs)

PHOTO CAPTION: This 4.25-pound largemouth was a personal best for Jackson.  He lured it in, hooked it, fought it, and brought it to net all by himself.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: That is a pair of bonafide 15″ white bass, considered trophy class fish by TPWD, taken just 40 minutes apart under cool conditions with a diminishing fog.  The fish both struck a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday, 02 Feb. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED:

As water temperatures continue to rise, thanks to slightly above average temperatures for February for several consecutive days, and nighttime temperatures overnight in the low 60s,  a noticeable uptick in fish activity levels has been apparent.

 

We got off to a great start right at 8 AM with a light south breeze and fairly heavy gray cloud cover.

 

Jackson quickly got the hang of the slow-smoking tactic.

 

While sitting atop a feeding school of white bass, Jackson landed his first three fish after getting the hang of smoothly and continuously reeling his white, 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

No sooner did we begin firing on all eight cylinders, then an unexpected, heavy fog moved in, and, quite literally, put a damper on things . We struggled for the next 30 minutes as what was a brightening sky began to darken once again, bird activity slowed to nearly zero, and the bite soured.

 

Slowly, the skies brightened, even though the fog remained, and the fish began to start feeding again, as did the birds, although we nearly had to be directly beneath any birds to actually see them due to the fog’s thickness. We only fished three locations all morning with the fishing getting gradually more productive at each one.

 

By the time the fog finally lifted just after 11 AM, the bite was on a downhill slide.

 

Boom-Pa, as Jackson refers to Dwight, and I both thought Jackson was just about done around 11:10 or so with 47 fish to his credit. We weren’t sure if he was going to get up and grab a rod again after mentioning that his wrist was sore, and sitting down to take a granola mix break.

 

I challenged him to make it an even 50 fish or to fish until 11;30, whichever came first.  By 11:25, Jackson had landed his 50th fish of the trip and began to rally. He asked if we could stay a little longer so that he could catch 52 fish. Of course, we did just that, and headed in around 11:35.

 

Although Jackson may not have set the hook on every one of those 52 fish, he did reel each one in and hoisted each one over the gunwale to me. His catch included 47 white bass, two of which measured right at 15 inches, two largemouth bass, the largest of which was 4.25 pounds, and three freshwater drum.

 

Before leaving the parking lot, Dwight made plans to do this same thing in May for his granddaughter, Jemma who will turn 10, and we kicked around dates in September to do likewise for his grandson,  who will turn five.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 52 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: Here was the water temperature profile taken down to 50′ on 02 Feb.:

0 feet,52.6F
5 feet, 51.4F
10 feet, 50.0F
15 feet, 49.9F
20 feet, 49.9F
25 feet, 49.5F
30 feet, 49.2F
35 feet, 48.8F
40 feet, 48.7F
45 feet, 48.4F
50 feet, 48.3F

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 8A

End Time: 11:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F

Elevation: 17.23 feet low

Water Surface Temp: 52.6F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: S4-9 all morning

Sky Condition: Grey skies quickly turning into a morning-long fog

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 45% illumination.

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 1950 – 3 fish slow-smoking with the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab
Area SH0083C/2020 – 23 fish slow-smoking with the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab
Area SH0268G – 26 fish fish slow-smoking with the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab

 

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 #SubaruAustin

As Iron Sharpens Iron, So One Man Sharpens Another — 100 Fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH:

This morning, Tuesday, January 30, I fished with fellow professional, full-time fishing guide, Jason Weisberg, who now operates exclusively on Richland-Chambers Reservoir year-round, primarily in pursuit of hybrid striped bass and white bass.
I invited Jason to join me on Lake Belton to help me sharpen up my game on winter deadstick techniques.
You can read further to find out why, if you want to learn to deadstick for hybrid striped bass, you’ll find a great coach in Jason and his REEL Fishing Guide Service (Facebook).  Richland-Chambers is a very fertile body of water with a high density of bait and hybrid.  Contact him at (512) 368-1788.
Here’s how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Feb. 3, 5, 6, 7, & 8 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Fellow full-time, professional fishing guide Jason Weisberg of REEL Fishing Guide Service on Lake Richland-Chambers joined me today on Lake Belton to provide me with an on-the-water workshop on winter dead-sticking tactics and options.

 

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday, 30 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

I got on the water around 8 AM and fished solo until Jason‘s arrival about an hour later.

 

This was learning point number one. Jason finds that fishing for open water fish does not necessarily require an early start, in fact, he has noticed a trend  of excellent fishing in the afternoons on Richland Chambers. Indeed, the fastest action we experienced, albeit from bottom-oriented fish, was at the very last area. We fished just after 1 PM.

 

Prior to Jason‘s arrival I used my traditional slow-smoking tactics with a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab to land nine white bass, and one drum from out of a school of bottom-hugging fish I’d found in around 35 feet of water.

 

Once Jason joined me, we no longer searched for fish on bottom, but instead, focused on finding large concentrations of bait with at least a few gamefish signatures mixed in. This was learning point number two. The initial presence of great numbers of gamefish is not necessary in order for an area fished with deadstick tactics to really turn on and produce. This is because this method slowly draws fish in and, courtesy of both thumping and splashing, accumulates these fish under the boat while the fishing is taking place.

 

We hit seven areas together, and fished each of them in much the same way. We both used small, fluke-like baits. Jason used a multicolored lime/red pattern, whereas I used white. We really did not see much of a preference from the fish.

 

This technique depends heavily on Garmin LiveScope used from a Spot-Locked position (after we discussed the pros and cons of Spot-Locking versus drifting or controlled drifting). Our fish typically showed up at the interface between the lower part of the middle third of the water column and the upper part of the bottom third of the water column.

 

Once the fish were seen moving in from the left or right hand side of the screen, we would position our baits on a collision course with the fish as they moved towards us, and would then very slowly ease the lure past the fishes’ noses prior to them swimming by. If the fish showed interest, we would continue lifting slowly, hoping for a pursuit and a strike.

 

Some places produced better than others, but all places produced at least a few fish. The final big learning point for me today was the sorts of bottom topographies which are good candidates for this wintertime tactic.

 

After selecting what he felt were some ideal areas, Jason encouraged me to choose a few likely areas of my own toward the end of the trip.  It was a real confidence builder to find an area I suspected would hold fish, see what we needed to see in the way of shad and gamefish, and then get baits in the water and catch fish there after observing just a few times.

 

With 75 fish in the boat, we wrapped up the trip targeting another bottom-hugging school of white bass in 42′.   Jason fished the same bait in the same manner as when we were deadsticking, while I changed over to the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab so we could do an apples-to-apples comparison on the baits.  We put another 25 fish in the boat before quitting at 100 fish even; both baits produced the same for these fish as they flared up quickly, and also died down quickly.

 

Our final count today was exactly 100 fish, which included 5 freshwater drum, 1 largemouth bass, and a roughly 60/40 split of hybrid/white bass.  This was, by far, the greatest number of hybrid I have landed in several years.  All but one of these hybrid were short, with most going right at 17 inches with a healthy (but not plump) body condition.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: Here was the water temperature profile taken down to 55′ on 30 Jan.:

0 feet, 49.4F
5 feet, 49.4F
10 feet, 49.2F
15 feet, 49.0F
20 feet, 48.8F
25 feet, 48.7F
30 feet, 48.6F
35 feet, 48.4F
40 feet, 48.3F
45 feet, 47.9F
50 feet, 47.5F
55 feet, 47.3F

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:55A

End Time: 1:20P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 45F

Elevation: 14.2 feet low, 40 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 45.0F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: WSW winds varying from 4-9 all morning

Sky Condition: Pale blue sky w/ ~30% wispy white cloud cover.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 81% illumination.

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 1552 – 10 fish easing/slow-smoking with the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab
Area B0072JWG – 6 fish deadsticking fluke baits
Area B003JWG – 10 fish deadsticking fluke baits
Area vic 1519 – 9 fish deadsticking fluke baits
Area vic B0090G (over channel) – 5 fish deadsticking fluke baits
Area B004JWG – 9 fish deadsticking fluke baits
Area B005JWG – 15 fish deadsticking fluke baits
Area B0262G – 11 fish deadsticking fluke baits
Area vic B0151C – 25 fish easing 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab & fluke bait

 

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 #SubaruAustin

A GOOD BITE, BUT THEY DRESSED LIGHT!! — 88 FISH, SKIFF PROGRAM TRIP

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Saturday, January 27, I ran the sixth SKIFF trip of the 2024 season, welcoming aboard George Garza Jr. and Cameron Garza, the sons of U.S. Army veteran George Garza Sr. and U.S. Army active duty Staff Sergeant Ayeisha Garza.

George is a 100% disabled veteran.  Injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device (IED) blast forced him to medically retire.  SSG Ayeisha Garza is still on active duty with 22 years of service under her belt.

George also paid the way for his sons’ two friends, Darryl Price and Logan Sherman, to come along this morning.

ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

Here is how the fishing went…

 

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 30 & 31, and Feb. 1 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Darryl Price, George Garza Jr., Cameron Garza, and Logan Sherman (with no gloves or loaner gloves!) show off the biggest of the white bass they landed on a chilly, windy morning as a cold front made its way into Central Texas.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 27 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

In summary, the fish were fired up this morning, thanks to NW winds on the rise with an incoming cold front, but the combination of snotty conditions above the water’s surface and the boys’ very light clothing caused them to get pretty cold pretty quickly.  We fished for under two hours with the entire time under steadily thinning, grey cloud cover.

 

Birds once again led the way to the fish we caught.  Most all of the action right now is taking place within 200 feet of the river channel.

 

White bass were patrolling on the flats adjacent to the channel in small groups.  By using the thumper, we drew fish in from around us, giving the boys a shot at catching each time a group cruised by on bottom directly beneath the boat.

 

I had everyone rigged up with white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs and using a slow-smoking tactic.  I helped the boys keep the proper retrieve speed by using the thumper as a metronome.  Garmin LiveScope aided the boys’ efforts.

 

The boys had very little prior fishing experience, so the learning curve was a bit steep this morning. Each took a bit of time to get used to the smooth handle-turning which the slow-smoking tactic requires, and each lost a few fish after they were hooked by either turning the spinning reel’s handle backwards or allowing slack in the line by moving their rod tips excessively while fighting fish, but they all learned from their mistakes and finished much stronger than they started.

 

The cold got to the boys and we had to head back in prior to 10AM.

 

As each hopped off the boat, I gave him a “high-five” and a little ribbing about not wearing Crocs or slippers the next time they come fishing with me in the winter.  Each sheepishly grinned!   There are just some things kids have to learn the hard way.

 

After returning the boys to civilization, the birds were still quite active, so, I headed back out to do some scouting and found fish in two additional locations adjacent to the channel.  I moved short distances at each of the two locations several times as LiveScope in forward mode and/or Humminbird Side Imaging revealed fish, catching 70 additional fish before wrapping up around 1P.

 

I alternated between using the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab vertically, and sawtoothing for shallower fish using a jighead and grub.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 18 fish caught and released by clients; plus 70 additional fish landed during scouting after clients’ early departure = 88 fish caught and released

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 27 Jan. 2024 was:

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 8:05A

End Time: 9:55A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 49F

Elevation: 17.30 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 49.7F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: NW15-17 with slightly higher gusts all morning

Sky Condition: Grey skies until 10:30, then slowly clearing to 60% white cloud cover on a blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 97% illumination.

GT = N/A

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

WITH CLIENTS:
Area SH0016G – 10 fish slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0260G – 8 fish slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
SCOUTING AFTER CLIENTS’ EARLY DEPARTURE
Area vic 1167 – 39 fish @ 3 short hops with 3/8 oz. jighead and white curl-tail grub
SH0271G – 31 fish @ 2 short hops slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

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 #austinsubaru

Wacky Winter Weather Whiplash — 54 Fish @ Stillhouse

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, January 18, I fished with first-time guests Mike Henry, David Rogers, Nick Sukup, and Brian Mascho.

The fellows all first got acquainted while “working dirt” doing earthmoving construction projects during that time of year in which the soil is thawed enough to be moved up in Alaska.

Our date to fish was a bit of a moving target due to all four fellows’ travel schedules and this crazy Texas winter weather.

Here is how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 22-25 (AMs)

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Mike Henry, Nick Sukup, David Rogers, and Brian Mascho relied primarily on slow-smoking a Bladed Hazy Eye Slab to put 54 fish in the boat this morning between polar weather systems.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Brian took this 6.25-pound largemouth from 41 feet of water on a slow-smoked 3/4 oz. white Bladed Hazy Eye Slab at mid-morning just after the SW wind began to pick up noticeably.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Nick picked this 4-pound class largemouth up by slow-smoking with a 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab from out of 31 feet of water just after noon.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 18 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Most notable of this entire report is the rapid temperature drop Stillhouse experienced since this most recent polar air mass moved in late on Saturday, Jan. 13.  Here is a comparison of water temperatures down to 50 feet, taken at 5-foot increments on the morning of 13 Jan., and again this morning, 18 Jan.

That much environmental change in a short period of time never bodes well for the fishing.

I observed several things this morning, some expected, and some not.  First, I noted that the areas where I found fish were essentially the same areas where I was finding fish prior to this prolonged freeze.

Next, I found the fish much more reluctant to hit our baits, even when we snap-jigged and kept the lure motionless just off bottom, and even when an abundance of fish were present.

Next, I found that whatever bird action we witnessed involving gulls (not terns) was oriented on fish, whereas much of the bird action by gulls prior to this cold snap was oriented on loons.

Next, I noted that most of our fish came soon after we stopped at an area while the fish found our presentations novel; it did not take the long to tire of our baits and ignore them.

Finally, I noted that the deeper we fish, the more likely fish were to pull up off bottom and suspend or move parallel to bottom in a horizontal band, and, those fish which pulled up off bottom were more easily fooled with a slow-smoking tactic.

We employed three tactics this morning: snap-jigging, slow-smoking, and working curl-tail grubs with a sawtooth method.  The snap-jigging was all done with 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs, the slow-smoking was done with a combination of 5/8 and 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs, and the sawtooth work was done with a pinched down 3″ grub on a 1/2 oz. head.

The sawtooth method produced best under low-light conditions before the wind began.  The slow-smoking put the most fish in the boat after the first hour had passed, and the snap-jigging only added a few fish to the count, typically after fish “cooled off” and headed back to bottom, after rising up off bottom and going for a slow-smoking tactic for a while.

Fishing was steady, but slow, so, I extend the trip about 90 minutes.  At our last area, and as we were, literally, wrapping up at the 5 hour mark, I graphed some fish — the single largest group of fish I’d seen all morning.  We quickly got on them and found these fish would follow a slow-smoked slab up from directly off bottom — something we’d not seen the rest of the morning.

We caught more fish in that final 30 minutes than at any other location fished all morning, taking our tally from 33 fish, up to 54 fish.

That 54-fish count included 4 largemouth bass (best was 6.25 pounds by Brian), and 3 freshwater drum, with the balance of 47 fish being white bass, 100% of which were legal with the top 3 or 4 fish surpassing 14 inches.  All fish were caught and released.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 71 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: See water temperature comparison for pre- and post-freeze above.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:35A

End Time: 1:00P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 32F

Elevation: 18.02feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 45.0F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SW winds varying from 4-9 all morning

Sky Condition: Pale blue, cloudless sky.

Moon Phase: First quarter moon at 54% illumination.

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area SH0023G – 6 fish snap-jigging white 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs & casting grubs
Area SH0239G – 2 fish snap-jigging white 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0269G – 13 smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs ( two hops )
Area SH0270G – 9 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area vic 239 – 3 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area vic 1185 on shoulder – 21 fish slow-smoking white 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

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 #SubaruAustin

When Daddies are Away — 50 Fish w/ the SKIFF Program

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Saturday, January 13, I conducted the fifth SKIFF trip of the 2024 season. Joining me was 13-year-old Nariyah Cox, accompanied by her mom, Brittany Cox.

Nariyah’s dad, U.S. Army Sergeant (E-5) Rodrick Crowder, is currently stationed in South Korea where he serves as a satellite technician. SGT Crowder has been in the military for 12 years.

ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

Here is how the fishing went…

 


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  In addition to 47 white bass, Nariyah also landed this quality largemouth bass.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Nariyah landed two freshwater drum.  This one stretched to 23 7/8 inches and weighed 6.25 pounds.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Our target species this morning was white bass.  Nariyah used two vertical tactics to land 47 of these, only one of which was sub-legal.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 13 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

As a polar air mass bore down on Central Texas, we got on and off before the pre-frontal wind increase and the wind shift to northerly rolled in.

 

We fished this morning with manageable SW winds with light cloud cover and a slowly warming atmosphere which would hit 62F before crashing around 7:30PM.

 

We fished four areas, and found/caught fish well at three of them.  The first and last areas were indicated by the presence of birds.

 

I coached Nariyah on using a combination of snap-jigging and slow-smoking as the attitude of the white bass we found required.  Under low light in our first hour on the water, the fish would not leave bottom, and snap-jigging got the nod.

 

As the winds picked up and the sun rose higher and brightened the sky, the bite shifted deeper and the fish grew more willing to chase, hence, the slow-smoking tactic came on strong at that time.

 

100% of the fish Nariyah landed came on the white Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.  I had her using a 5/8 oz. as we snap-jigged early on, then changed her over to a 3/4 oz. version once the fishing moved deeper and the whites began to chase.

 

By around 10:20, the bite started to wane, and Nariyah mentioned more than once that her toes were starting to hurt.  We had 45 fish in the boat at that time.  I challenged her to catch another 5 fish before 10:30 and then we’d head in.  She accepted the challenge, rose to the occasion, and landed her 50th fish right at 10:30AM.  She and mom hunkered down and we made a beeline to the boat ramp.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 13 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet, 50.5F
5 feet, 51.4F
10 feet, 51.7F
15 feet, 51.7F
20 feet, 51.9F
25 feet, 51.9F
35 feet, 51.7F
35 feet, 51.7F
40 feet, 51.7F
45 feet, 51.7F
50 feet, 51.7F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:35A

End Time: 10:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation: 17.92 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 50.5F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SW6 building to SW11

Sky Condition: Pale blue sky with 15-20% thin, white cloud cover

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 6% illumination.

GT = N/A

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area SH0023G – 14 fish snap-jigging & smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0267G – 3 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0268G – 33 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

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

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