STILL CAUGHT MORE THAN WE WOULD HAVE BY SITTING AT THE HOUSE — 25 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday afternoon I fished our only locally available option — Stillhouse Hollow — with Mr. Rick Snelgrooes of Georgetown, TX, accompanied by his son, Sean, and Rick’s father-in-law, Steve Rohner, visiting from southern California.  Rick also brought his neighbor and fishing buddy, Rick Curwick, a transplant from Minnesota, and Sean brought a buddy of his own, Garrison Clopton.

With so much environmental change occurring over such a short period of time, the normally excellent fishing (often on par with or even better than fishing during the spring warmup in March and April) simply hasn’t materialized, and, I don’t know if it will this season.  Not only did our lakes rise nearly 15 feet in a matter of hours, but the temperature fell from the high 70’s to the mid-60’s.  Additionally, there is quite a flow of accumulated flood water being released from both Belton and Stillhouse now.  Belton’s flow is nearly 4,000 cfs, and Stillhouse’s flow is nearly 2,000 cfs.  Adding insult to injury, our most severe cold front just passed through on Thursday, dropping temperatures into the 40’s all day Saturday, and another reinforcing cold front moved in overnight from Sunday into Monday, dropping temperatures through the day Monday down to 32F by Tuesday morning.  We just can’t seem to get any traction with any manner of stability in the weather.

 

From the left: Garrison Clopton, Rick Curwick, Steve Rohner, Rick Snelgrooes, and Sean Snelgrooes.  Working slabs vertically and at a moderate speed was the key on today’s tough trip.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday afternoon,  November 10, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   Since I had fresh “intel” from the morning trip, I tried to capitalize on locating and fishing for the fish I’d already found in the morning, hoping to spend more time with lines in the water than the morning trip afforded as we did a lot of sonar searching during that trip.

The two locations that gave up the fish we caught this afternoon were in the same general vicinities as the fish we caught in the morning.  Additionally, in the limited additional searching I did with sonar this afternoon, I did not find any additional concentrations of fish.

The first group of fish we fished for was in 51 feet of water and was holding tightly to the bottom.  When I first sighted them on sonar, I guessed the school to be about 50-60 fish in number.  These fish fired up pretty quickly, stayed interested for about a 25 minute span, then shut down.  I moved around in this same vicinity, routinely graphing smaller pods of fish (10-25 in number), but couldn’t get more than a fish or two from out of these.  The middle two hours of this 4-hour trip were slow.

As dark approached, I returned to shallower water where the light would still penetrate closer to the shallower bottom.  Here we found suspended fish clearly drawn to and consolidated by the thumper.  We put our last few fish in the boat via a slow smoking tactic bringing the baits up into the bottom of the upper third of the water column where sonar indicated these suspended fish to be holding a majority of the time.

OBSERVATIONS: Saw a number of loons, cormorants, and gulls have arrived with the most recent cold front.  What little bird activity I observed was fueled by loons driving bait or bringing bait to the surface with gulls responding overhead.  I observed no fish-related bird activity.  Belton Lake is now 11.54 feet high and falling about 0.26 feet per day.  Stillhouse is 12.7 feet high and falling by about 0.14 feet daily.

TALLY: 25 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:50 am

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Water Surface Temp:   64.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE 10 at trip’s start, slowly tapering down to NNE3-4 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover with occasional sprinkles in the first hour

Water Level: 12.7 feet high and falling by about 0.14 feet daily

GT = 90

Wx SNAPSHOT:   N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 484 – smoking for more heavily schooled bottom-hugging white bass in the first hour of the trip (1:45 – 2:45p)

**Area 054 – smoking for suspended white bass just prior to sunset (~5:00 – 5:30p)

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

Still Shook Up — 30 Fish @ Stillhouse (AM Trip)

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I fished our only locally available option — Stillhouse Hollow — with co-workers Ray Elliot and Drew Kelm of CSA Construction, as well as Drew’s wife, Jessie, and Ray’s nephew, Bobby.  Drew is part of the crew constructing the new drinking water treatment plant adjacent to the Kempner Water Supply Corp. plant on Stillhouse.  All but Bobby came out with me once before around this same time in early November last year when our conditions were much more conducive to catching a nice bunch of fish.

With so much environmental change occurring over such a short period of time the normally excellent fishing (often on par with or even better than fishing during the spring warmup in March and April) simply hasn’t materialized, and, I don’t know if it will this season.  Not only did our lakes rise nearly 15 feet in a matter of hours, but the temperature fell from the high 70’s to the mid-60’s.  Additionally, there is quite a flow of accumulated flood water being released from both Belton and Stillhouse now.  Belton’s flow is nearly 4,000 cfs, and Stillhouse’s flow is nearly 2,000 cfs.  Adding insult to injury, our most severe cold front just passed through on Thursday, dropping temperatures into the 40’s all day Saturday, and another reinforcing cold front moved in overnight (Sunday into Monday).  We just can’t seem to get any traction with any manner of stability in the weather.

 

From the left, that’s Drew, Jessie, Ray (who brought his own lawnchair and the best in “red dirt” music, complete with portable, waterproof speakers), and Bobby.

 

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning,  November 10, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   I covered A LOT of water with sonar, primarily looking for bait, assuming gamefish would not be too far away.  We found fish in 2 distinct areas, one on the main basin and one in the upper third of the reservoir.  The fish we caught from the first area were caught via a smoking tactic using 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached. These fish were suspended when I first found them on sonar, and they responded well to thumping, consolidating under the boat at 20-25 feet deep over a deeper bottom.  A moderate “smoking” retrieve did the trick for these fish, although many fish passed on the presentation, as well.

The second distinct population of fish we found were in about 52 feet of water on the lake’s main basin.  These fish were also in an area with an abundance of bait, however, these fish presented on sonar as tightly bunched schools holding on or within 3-4 feet of the bottom.  These fish were much more aggressive — as soon as we got Spot Locked over top of them using the Ulterra and got our slabs down to them, they immediately responded to a smoking tactic with a moderate retrieve.  However, as is often the case on “cold front fish”, the feeding spree was short-lived.  Although the fish were still present in good numbers, they just turned off and only occasionally could one then be duped into taking a slab.

We wound up with exactly 30 fish today.  I was thankful that all aboard had a good bit of prior fishing experience so they could understand that we faced an uphill battle today with the variety of environmental factors working against us.

OBSERVATIONS: Saw a number of loons, cormorants, and gulls have arrived with the most recent cold front.  What little bird activity I observed was fueled by loons driving bait or bringing bait to the surface with gulls responding overhead.  I observed no fish-related bird activity.  Belton Lake is now 11.54 feet high and falling about 0.26 feet per day.

TALLY: 30 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:50 am

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Water Surface Temp:   64.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE 10 at trip’s start, slowly tapering down to NNE3-4 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover with occasional sprinkles in the first hour

Water Level: 12.7 feet high and falling by about 0.14 feet daily

GT = 90

Wx SNAPSHOT:   N/A

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 054 – smoking for suspended white bass

**Area vic 644-1239 – smoking for more heavily schooled bottom-hugging white bass

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

It Just Takes Patience — 18 Fish with the Olivers on Flooded Lake Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning I fished on Lake Belton for the first time since the flooding with Mr. Joe Oliver and his 88-year-old dad, “Paw” Oliver.  Using a non-Corps of Engineers launch site, and with assistance from a buddy, my wife, and my mother, we made this trip happen.  Joe’s main goal was to spend time in the outdoors with his dad and so, despite a poor fishing forecast, he gave the thumbs-up to run the trip.

In summary, we found Lake Belton flooded by 14.80 feet of new flood water and still rising.  That water was around 67F on the surface, versus 78-79F just 10 days prior.  The fish we found were scattered and suspended, as were the schools of shad we located on sonar.  Even if the water condition was not as it was, this was a less-than-fishy weather setup with calm winds, blue skies, and bright sun.  Just tough no matter how you slice it.

It’s just hard to get excited about fishing right now with the water in the state it is in, regardless of the access issue.  I’ve lived through this plenty of times before … it just takes patience.

 

After putting a few fish in the livewell for “flood memento” photos, I drove over to a location that most folks who fish Belton would recognize — The Central Texas Sportsmen’s Club’s floating fishing dock.  This first photo shows Joe and Paw with their fish, the “closeup” shows the walkway which normally leads down to the dock, cocked upwards at an odd angle thanks to the recent flooding.

This “closeup” of the Central Texas Sportsmen’s Club fishing dock shows the walkway which normally leads down to the dock, cocked upwards at an odd, steep angle thanks to the recent flooding.

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday morning,  October 26, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   I covered A LOT of water with sonar, primarily looking for bait, assuming gamefish would not be too far away.  We found fish in 2 distinct areas, one on the main basin and one in the Leon River tributary.  The fish we caught from the first area were caught via a smoking tactic using 3/4 oz. white Hazy Eye slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached.  The fish we caught from the second area were caught via downrigging with a 3-armed umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons.  These fish were holding at ~22′ below the surface.  Strangely, although these fish stayed in the same general area for about 45 minutes, our two attempts at working them vertically yielded nothing.  These fish would only go for a horizontal approach.  When all was said and done, we landed 15 white bass and 3 freshwater drum in about 4.5 hours worth of effort.

 

TALLY: 18 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30 am

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 52F

Water Surface Temp:   67F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm at trip’s start, shifting to the SE at <4by trip’s end.

Sky Conditions: Low, patchy fog for first hour, then clearing to cloudless

Water Level: 14.80 feet high and still rising slowly

GT = 80

Wx SNAPSHOT:  N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 168 – drum on slabs via jigging

**Area vic 1606 to bank – smoking slope

**Area vic 1634 – downrigging for fish holding 22′ down

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

My Three Sons — S.K.I.F.F. Trip for the Reed Boys (34 fish)

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, October 13th, S.K.I.F.F. put three more youngsters on the water, this time on Lake Belton in pursuit of white bass.  Evan (age 10), Colin (age 8), and Carson (age 6) came aboard just after a pre-dawn round of thunderstorms cleared the Lake Belton area moving from south to north.

The boys’ father, U.S. Army Master Sergeant Bryan Reed, has served in the military police branch for over 22 years.  He has been deployed seven times during his career with his most recent tour taking him to South Korea, where he has been sent two previous times.  MSG Reed’s other deployments included tours to Iraq, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, and Kuwait.

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.  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.  I coordinate and conduct these 3.5 to 4 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just outside the gates of Fort Hood in Bell County, TX.

U.S. Army Master Sergeant Bryan Reed’s three sons (from left): Carson (6 years), Colin (8 years), and Evan (10 years).  The boys landed 34 fish in about 3.5 hours on Lake Belton.

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning,  October 13, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   

The morning’s weather was very unsettled with dark, grey skies, occasional drizzle, and gusty winds.  The fish were a bit more challenging to come by than earlier in the week, but thanks to the help of a hungry osprey we spotted diving for food, we got a break and quickly put 22 fish in the boat, including one hybrid striped bass and 21 white bass.  We initially caught these fish using downriggers, but then switched over to a vertical jigging approach once we saw fish were congregated on and near bottom in this area.

After the action at this area dissipated, we continued our search, finding one more group of fish in about 27 feet of water on a sloped bottom facing toward the stiff SE wind.  We added another 12 fish to our tally here, taking our trip sum to a final total of 34 fish landed.  I continued to recon for additional fish-holding locations given the change of seasons now underway.  I found 2 additional locations, caught 4 fish at each to confirm size and species and then departed.

By 11:00am, Colin and Carson had played out, although I think Evan could have stuck with me for another 4 hours, so, I got them back on dry land and proceeded to continue to scout for more fish until weather threatened around noon.

 

TALLY: 42 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30 am

End Time: 11:00 am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Water Surface Temp:   76.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE7 at trip’s start, shifting to the S at 14-17 by trip’s end.

Sky Conditions: 100% grey clouds with occasional light drizzle during the trip.  A storm cell passed over the area prior to sunrise.

Water Level: 4.17 feet low and falling

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:  N/A

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 212 – downrigging and smoking; tipped off by working osprey

**Area 1606 – smoking in 27′ on slope

**Area B0102C – bottom-oriented white bass found after the trip

**Area B0103C – bottom-oriented white bass and hybrid stripers found after the trip

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

New Water Pushes Fish Upwards — 78 Fish on Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Friday, October 12th, I fished with Jerry Worley, owner of the Worley Insurance Agency of Harker Heights, and his friend, retiree Jerry Blalack, also of Harker Heights.  Both men came out with me previously this past spring.

 

Jerry Blalack of Harker Heights with one of many hybrid we landed as incoming fresh runoff from Tuesday’s rains pushed the lake elevation up 0.70 feet.

 

Jerry Worley with a pair of nice Lake Belton hybrid striped bass taken on the downriggers set around 40′ and equipped with a trio of medium-sized Pet Spoons on each rod.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  We landed white bass, hybrid stripers, smallmouth, and largemouth.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday morning,  October 12, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   

We found that downrigging in the vicinity of topwater commotion would provide steady action. This also allowed us to cover water while catching fish until we either witnessed topwater schooling action or witnessed tightly grouped fish at depth on sonar.

When we encountered fish on the surface, we sight-cast to them.  When we encountered fish at depth,  we hovered atop of them using the Spot Lock feature on my Minn Kota Ulterra trolling motor and then fished vertically for them using slabs.

After observing the size of the bait the fish were herding to the surface, I changed my downrigger presentations over to size #13 Pet Spoons, and we used my own Hazy Eye Shad slabs with stinger hooks in the three-quarter ounce size to imitate the shad.

I also noted that when we were on fish which had been schooling on the surface and those fish then sounded, we continued catching them well by counting our slabs down to a 15-count and then retrieving them rapidly (at the same speed we had used when fishing near the surface).

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: 1) the fresh water from Tuesday’s rains bumped the lake level up 0.7 feet and pushed fish and bait toward the surface, 2) Thermocline observations taken on 12 Oct.  The temperature down to 40 feet was 2.1F cooler than this past Monday:

 

0 feet 77.9°

5 feet 78.1°

10 feet 78.1°

15 feet 78.1°

20 feet 78.1°

25 feet 78.1°

30 feet 70.1°

35 feet 78.1°

40 feet 78.1°

45 feet 74.4°

50 feet 67.4°

55 feet 64.3°

60 feet 62.9°

TALLY: 78 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:15 am

End Time: 11:50 am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F

Water Surface Temp:   77.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE7 at trip’s start, shifting to the SE at 14 by trip’s end.

Sky Conditions: 20% grey clouds on blue skies all morning with just a bit of increased clouding in the last hour as the wind rose.

Water Level: 4.29 feet low and falling

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT:  N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1556 and to the ESE for a full mile out over open water

**Area  489-344 vertical work for whites after finding them on a 12′ incline via downrigging

**Area B0094C – largemouth and smallmouth taken in the top 1/3 of the water column after giving their location away by popping shad on the surface

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

SKIFF Trip with the Carrillo Boys — 55 Fish Between the Storms

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Monday evening, Columbus Day 2018, I fished with the wife and sons of U.S. Army Captain Alfredo Carrillo on this season’s 13th SKIFF program trip.

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.  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.  I coordinate and conduct these 3.5 to 4 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just outside the gates of Fort Hood in Bell County, TX.

As of this report, SKIFF has placed 427 kids on the water.  Those children have landed 10,565 fish, an average of over 24 fish per child.

 

Above:  Dave Hill (left) of the Austin Fly Fishers stands with Matthew Carrillo as he grips our largest fish of the trip — a white bass that went right at 14″ long which fell for a downrigged Pet Spoon in about 36 feet of water between rain storms.

 

Above: 4-year-old Sammy Carrillo gets a little help from his big brother, 14-year-old Matthew Carrillo, as the boys landed a simultaneous double and triple of white bass.  The boys wound up landed 55 fish during their Columbus Day afternoon outing.

Above: 4-year-old Sammy Carrillo and his mom, Amy Carrillo with Sammy’s first “big fish” landed after he scored over a dozen smaller sunfish earlier in the trip from a quiet cove.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday evening,  October 8, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  The Killeen Independent School District, to which a majority of Fort Hood’s children go for their education, had Columbus Day off on Monday, October 8th.

Mrs. Amy Carrillo contacted me about a month in advance, interested in her two boys, Matthew and Sammy, going on a S.K.I.F.F. fishing trip on that day.

The boys’ father, U.S. Army Captain Alfredo Carrillo, is currently deployed to Iraq for his second tour there.  He is a commissioned officer in the Army’s engineer branch.

Mrs. Carrillo joined us for this trip, as did AFF member Dave Hill who, after the trip, presented the boys each with their own closed-face spinning outfit and a S.K.I.F.F. logo ball cap.

We fished the first hour of the trip in the rain with an ambient air temperature at 82F.  Sammy, age 4, needed some coaching, so I worked with him one-on-one showing him how to tempt and land sunfish using a bream pole (much like a Tenkara outfit).  At age 14, Matthew simply observed what I was showing Sammy, and was very successful working independently on the opposite side of the boat.

We fished for about 90 minutes in a quiet cove, landing 36 fish including redear, longear, green, and bluegill sunfish.

We devoted the last half of the trip to chasing “big game” (as compared to the diminutive sunfish) in the form of white bass.  Although our window to successfully chase these fish with downriggers in the deep, clear waters of Stillhouse Hollow was limited by incoming weather, we landed 19 of them as one storm passed and before another arrived.

This included 2 sets of triples (3 fish landed on one rod at the same time using an umbrella rig) for Matthew, and 2 sets of doubles for Sammy.  We ended the trip with 55 fish landed.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:  Based on my own observations on Stillhouse’s lack of topwater/bait/bird action, and the input I gathered from many tournament anglers involved with the Lake Belton Fishing for Freedom event yesterday while interviewing them for my weekly news article, there was definitely a depressed bite through 11am yesterday under dark, damp, murky skies with light winds.  We came off the water by 11a, but those tournament anglers I spoke with reported an enhanced bite with enhanced light levels and wind from 11a on.

 

TALLY: 55 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 3:45 pm

End Time: 7:30pm

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Water Surface Temp:   79.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE4 at trip’s start, then going calm after about 90 minutes’ worth of gentle rainfall.

Sky Conditions: Damp, grey, overcast skies all morning with a light drizzle falling on occasion, clearing to 60% clouds with some breaks of blue sky in the hour from 10-11a

Water Level: 7.96 feet low 

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 420 for 36 sunfish

**Area 854 through SH0059C for 19 open water white bass via downrigging action under murky weather conditions

 

Bob Maindelle, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

She’s a Natural! — 101 Fish with Babu and Macy

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, 08 October, I fished Lake Belton with Steve Niemeier and his granddaughter, 10-year-old Macy Fowler of Temple.  Macy had the day off from school at Pirtle Elementary and spent the first half of it with her “Babu” (an African name for grandfather which Steve earned from his mission work on that continent).

 

Steve is one of my most frequent clients and has fished with me many years now, introducing his grandkids to the sport one at a time as they have come of age.  I enjoy having him aboard as he is a godly man, he always encourages the kids, and has a good attitude regardless of the weather and the attitude of the fish.

Along with 85 white bass, we landed 12 hybrid this morning, 5 of which were legal size.  2 blue cat and 2 largemouth rounded out our catch of 101.  Macy excelled at every technique we tried, and got the hang of casting with a spinning outfit in just 2 attempts.  She’s a natural!!

 

Nick-named “Snot Shark”, this blue cat fell for (and really slimed up) our 3-armed umbrella rig as we “mopped up” with downriggers in the final hour of the trip

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  We landed 85 white bass and also landed 12 hybrid, 2 blue cat, and 2 largemouth.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday morning,  October 8, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  Thanks to fairly quick brightening of the skies (albeit through 100% cloud cover), the fish cranked up early this morning, right around 7:30a.  We did a downrigger pass or two in the vicinity I anticipated fish would feed in and, as we caught fish and viewed sonar, the fish turned on, catching the attention of several fish-eating birds, which, in turn got my attention.

We had a solid bite for 3 straight hours this morning, alternating between working 3/8 oz. slabs vertically and, on occasion, casting them to surface-feeders busting shad in the swell pushed in the 12 mph wind.  A smoking tactic definitely got their attention.

As the bite wound down in the 4th and final hour of the trip, we “mopped up” by covering ground and presenting 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons via downriggers.  We caught 92 fish in our first 3 hours and 9 fish in the final hour.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:

Thermocline observations taken on 08 Oct.:

0 feet 80.3°

5 feet 80.2°

10 feet 80.2°

15 feet 80.2°

20 feet 80.2°

25 feet 80.2°

30 feet 80.1°

35 feet 79.9°

40 feet 78.1°

45 feet 71.7°

50 feet 66.3°

55 feet 64.3°

TALLY: 101 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:15 am

End Time: 11:15 am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Water Surface Temp:   79.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE11-12 at first light and maintaining that velocity throughout the morning

Sky Conditions: Damp, grey, overcast skies all morning with just a bit of clearing and brightening in the last hour (10:15-11:15).

Water Level: 5.00 feet low and falling

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:  N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 2049-1143-B0100C – vertical jigging and sight casting to aggressively feeding white bass with hybrid and largemouth mixed in

**Area 839-B0101C – mop up downrigging in last hour on a sharply declining bite

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

A Day of Firsts with 3 Generations of Thomas Men — 52 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Saturday morning, October 6th, I fished with Dave Thomas of Humble, TX, accompanied by his two sons, Will (who turned 9 the next day), and Mark (age 5).  The boys’ grandfather, Steve Thomas, joined us as well.  I initially met Steve this past February when he and a buddy booked a trip with me on Belton.  Today’s efforts were focused strictly on the boys in the form of a “Kids Fish, Too!” package trip which is a bit shorter than an adult trip, and focuses on quantity over quality.

Neither boy had ever caught a fish, nor had either been fishing before today’s adventure.

 

Big brother Will with a “triple” — 3 fish caught on the same rod at the same time.  Note the girth on the largemouth; the abdomen is nearly twice the diameter of the head thanks to abundant shad in the area.

 

Not long after Will’s hookup, Mark scored his own “big fish” for the trip.  This spunky largemouth cleared the water twice before ending up in the net.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on sunfish, with a “side-excursion” for white bass, which actually yielded white bass, largemouth bass, and a single channel catfish.

WHERE WE FISHED: I chose Stillhouse for a number of reasons, chief among them the abundant sunfish population which would keep fish coming over the side and keep the boys engaged.  Additionally, a ~250 boat tournament, plus normal weekend traffic, on Belton would have made that lake a poor choice with young anglers on this particular weekend.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning,  October 6, 2018

HOW WE FISHED: This morning we started and ended up shallow hunting sunfish in dense hydrilla beds, and spent some time in the middle of the trip (once the skies brightened and the wind blew a bit) after white bass using downriggers.  The downrigger bite was soft and, I expect, will stay that way through turnover as it normally does in this transitional month of October.  Regardless, we did a bit of downrigging to give the boys exposure to something other than the sunfishing they’d done for the first hour-plus of the trip, and to give them a shot at a fish larger than the sunfish they scored early on.  Will was first to battle some open-water species as his rod went off and yielded a triple, consisting of 2 small white bass and a largemouth bass caught all at once on one rod using a 3-armed umbrella rig.  Mark then hooked up with a 1.75 pound largemouth, and then Will scored once again bringing in a channel cat.  Due to still-high water temperature (just under 80F) the sunfish are still thick in the shallows, so, after the novelty of downrigging subsided, we wrapped up the trip back shallow, putting the last of our 52 fish in the boat.

Both young men earned a TPWD “First Fish Award” for their efforts this morning.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:  Based on my own observations on Stillhouse’s lack of topwater/bait/bird action, and the input I gathered from many tournament anglers involved with the Lake Belton Fishing for Freedom event yesterday while interviewing them for my weekly news article, there was definitely a depressed bite through 11am yesterday under dark, damp, murky skies with light winds.  We came off the water by 11a, but those tournament anglers I spoke with reported an enhanced bite with enhanced light levels and wind from 11a on.

 

TALLY: 52 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:15 am

End Time: 11:00 am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Water Surface Temp:   79.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE4 at trip’s start, slowly increasing to SSE12 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: Damp, grey, overcast skies all morning with a light drizzle falling on occasion, clearing to 60% clouds with some breaks of blue sky in the hour from 10-11a

Water Level: 7.98 feet low and falling

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas 201, 203, and 189 for sunfish, in that order

**Area vic 862 for spare open water downrigging action on murky weather conditions

 

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

High Fence Fishing with Glenn and Ryan Morrison

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, 01 October, I fished Lake Belton with father and son team Glenn and Ryan Morrison.  Glenn’s mom, long-time Killeen resident Bobbie Morrison, got the fellows a gift certificate back in May.  Ryan poured over my blog entries from years past to see when my good fishing results overlapped with his options for taking some time off, and this morning was the morning.

Glenn retired from working for the City of Killeen and now builds custom homes and Ryan works for a heavy equipment company called DTAC up in Midlothian, TX.

At one point during the two most productive middle hours of our trip, we were catching them so predictably that Ryan, referring to hunting inside a high-fenced area, called what we were doing ‘high fence fishing’.  We all kind of chuckled at that one!

 

 

This one’s for you Granny Bobbie!!  Mrs. Bobbie Morrison’s grandson, Ryan, and his dad, Glenn, boated 60 fish on this overcast early October morning on Lake Belton.

TRIPLE!!  Although singles and doubles were pretty common this morning, Glenn landed our one and only triple of the trip as the action peaked between 8 and 10am.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  We also landed 3 hybrid and 1 largemouth.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday morning,  October 1, 2018

HOW WE FISHED: Due to the murky, dark skies and the posture of the fish as seen on sonar this morning, we stuck with the downriggers to find fish and then, only when we observed bottom-oriented schools, did we stop over top of them to vertical jig. When we first began to jig, slabs did well, but, when the fish turned off to the slabs, we reenergized the bite using tailspinners. Ospreys were helpful in pinpointing fish, but no sustained topwater action occurred this morning on the whites and hybrid.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:  The fishing at Belton was remarkably similar to the fishing at Stillhouse under these damp, grey morning skies we’ve been experiencing of late.  The first hour and the last hour tend to be slow, with all of the fish catching taking place from ~8a to 10a.  The water temperature is slowly trending downward with cooler days and extended bouts of cloud cover.  Fish that bit were primarily found in the uppermost part of the lower third of the water column.  Bottom dwelling fish tended to be turned off.

Thermocline observations:

 

0 feet 79.4

5 feet 79.4

10 feet 79.4

15 feet 79.4

20 feet 79.4

25 feet 79.4

30 feet 79.4

35 feet 79.4

40 feet 79.1

45 feet 72.5

50 feet 66.6

55 feet 63.8

60 feet 62.3

TALLY: 60 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00 am

End Time: 11:00 am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F

Water Surface Temp:   79.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE4 at first light, peaking at SE6 for the middle two hours, then falling off to SE2 or less in the last hour

Sky Conditions: Damp, grey, overcast skies all morning with a light drizzle falling on occasion

Water Level: 4.83 feet low and falling

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:  N/A

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 903-794 under low light

**Area 1273-1143-2094 strong bite from 7:50 to 9:50

**Area vic 904 scraped up a few small fish from out of a large school of turned off white bass after the bite died hard at 9:50

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

Wicked White Bass — 54 Fish with Zach, Martin, and Markus

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, September 29th, I fished with Zach Eldridge, his father-in-law, Martin Janssen, and Zach’s brother-in-law, 16-year-old Markus Janssen.  Zach’s wife was due to join us, but duty at OB-GYN called and she couldn’t make it.  We put 54 fish in the boat today under pretty tough conditions.

Not long into the trip Markus and I discovered a common interest in the show “Wicked Tuna”.  In the midst of battling childhood kidney disease, Markus’ family and the “Make a Wish Foundation” came together to grant a request from Markus to fish with one of the crews followed by the TV show.  Markus spent a full day on the water with Dave Marciano and a crew mate fishing for giant bluefin tuna on the Atlantic ocean.  Athough they went home empty-handed, and although Markus was seasick most of the trip, he really lit up while recounting the adventure.

 

From left: Martin Janssen, Markus Janssen, and Zach Eldridge with a sampling of the white bass we downrigged for this morning.  As seen in the background, our skies were very murky which did not bode well for a topwater bite today.

 

This shot was originally taken by Zach, then, using some spiffy app or feature of the “smart” phone, Markus enhanced the view of just the fish, making his schoolie-sized largemouth look like a leaping tarpon.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning, 29 September 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  Due to the murky, dark skies and the posture of the fish as seen on sonar this morning, we stuck with the downriggers nearly 100% of the time today, steadily picking a lot of singles, a few doubles, and one triple (which Markus landed).

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: We fished six different areas today, finding at least a few fish at each.  At each location the fish were scattered and suspended at 32-38 feet.  When we came upon fish, they would all be holding within a 2-3 foot horizontal band, but only a handful of fish would show on sonar at any given time.  The fish were not tightly schooled, and we never encountered a single instance of topwater action.  Only once did I see fish even close to being schooled up tightly enough to work tailspinners for (and even that was doubtful and did not payoff with even a single fish taken that way).  Downrigging accounted for 100% of our catch this morning.

 

TALLY: 58 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00 am

End Time: 11:35 am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Water Surface Temp:   79.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE5-6 all morning

Sky Conditions: Damp, grey, overcast skies all morning with a light drizzle falling from 7:00-7:30a

Water Level: 7.94 feet low and falling

GT = 105

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1419-1433

**Area 1447-1222

**Area 1254-1424

 

 

 

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@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle