BEAT BOX AND VIDEO GAMES WITH GRANDPA — 108 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, December 7th, I fished with returning guests Jim Deuser of Georgetown, his son, Dan, and Dan’s son, Jake, both from down near San Antonio.  Jake is in his senior year of high school and just became an Eagle Scout which involves significant project coordination.  Jake’s project involved providing a soothing texture wall for autistic students at a local school for kids with autism.

We were originally planning to go hybrid fishing back during the peak window in late April, but foul weather put an end to those plans.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Three generations of Deuser men — from left:  Jim, Dan, and Jake.  We were blessed with yet another 100+ fish outing with white bass comprising the majority of our catch.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Quality freshwater drum like this one hoisted by Jake are becoming commonplace on Lake Belton thanks to the burgeoning zebra mussel population offering this species a bumper crop of food.

WHEN WE FISHED:   Saturday, 07 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As good as winter time fishing is, it can also be very one-dimensional.  Although other methods will certainly take freshwater pelagics, for consistency on white bass, it is hard to beat the simplicity and efficiency of working a slab vertically.  That is exactly what we did this morning to the tune of 108 fish in right at 4 hours’ time. We used an “easing tactic” to land fish after fish, at first guided by hungry gulls pointing the way, and then by finding fish with sonar.

After everyone had the fundamentals of easing down, I “layered” in the Garmin Livescope and I think that really made the trip for Jim and Dan.  Competitive by nature, they stood side-by-side, both staring into the same Garmin monitor (GPSMAP 1242sxv Touch) and chided one another when the other guy missed a fish that aggressively pursued a slab up off bottom.

Dan likened my fish-attracting thumper device to a “beat box”; it served its purpose today in keeping fish under the boat.

We swapped back and forth with the 3/8 oz. and 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs using the heavier version if I saw suspended hybrid, and using the lighter version if we had mainly bottom-dwelling white bass beneath us.

I told the fellows in my “pre-trip briefing” that our first three hours would be where we needed to do all of our catching as the N. wind was due to run out around 10AM.  Indeed, we hit the 100 fish mark at 10:28, then added only 8 more fish to the count in the 40 minutes that followed, eventually calling it a good day and heading to lunch by 11:10.

 

TALLY: 108 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Birds worked continuously from sunrise through 9:20AM and then the vast majority of them roosted.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  43F

Elevation: 2.76 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   58.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW8 at sunrise through 10A, then tapering down over the next hour to calm

Sky Conditions:  High blue skies in the wake of a mild cold front’s passage.

GT =0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Birds from Area B0197C through 2053 until ~9:30

**Area vic B0201C

**Area between 150 and 1552 – deeper, suspended 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

I’LL TAKE A DOZEN OF THOSE SLABS RIGHT THERE! — 107 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Friday, Dec. 6th, I fished with JR and Patty Bray from near Marble Falls, TX.  JR does periodically required maintenance work on nuclear power plants.  This line of work has him working intensively for several weeks at a time, then having several weeks of downtime before moving on to the next job.  Fishing and RV camping account for a good bit of that downtime.

JR has his own 14-foot boat which he heavily modified and fabricated components for.  He runs Lowrance sonar with a Motorguide Xi-5 GPS style trolling motor.  Some time ago he came out with me for one of my sonar training sessions with that setup.  Today, he lots of questions for me about the Humminbird, Lowrance, and Garmin unit we used to find and catch fish.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Belton’s freshwater drum, a relative of the redfish, black drum, and Atlantic croaker, have grown fat and plentiful thanks to the zebra mussel infestation.  This bad boy went 5.00 pounds on a certified scale.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  White bass were the staple of our catch today with this year’s crop making up much of the catch, with a few 2018 fish like these sprinkled in.  We also landed hybrid stripers, drum, and largemouth bass.

WHEN WE FISHED:   Friday, 06 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:   Thanks to an incoming coldfront, dry NW winds spurred on fish and bird activity this morning.  Shortly after sunrise, birds began working over baitfish pushed toward the surface by aggressive gamefish below, consisting mainly of hybrid striped bass and white bass.  We did not necessarily have to be right under the birds to get bit, rather, we let the birds be a guide to the general location of fish, and then let side-imaging seal the deal by revealing where high numbers of fish were congregated.  Once we Spot-Locked on fish, we stayed for a while working both the aggressive fish up in the water column, as well as the less aggressive fish down on bottom.  We enjoyed action with bird-assistance through 9:20 when the birds began (I suspect) have a tough time feeding due to the strong wave action as the wind velocity increased.  Smaller boats left the scene around this time!!

We moved on depending now solely on sonar to find our fish while keeping an eye peeled for follow-on bird action.  We did get a glimpse of a handful of birds attempting to feed in open water about the time the fish we’d found on sonar were tapering off, so, we moved on out slowly through the sizeable waves and found what we were after.

We used a slow smoking tactic on occasion to tempt the active fish in the water column with larger, 3/4 oz. slabs.  When the fishing got tougher, we slowed down and downsized our baits to 3/8 oz. slabs worked closer to bottom with an easing tactic.

We used white Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger attached.  JR was so impressed with the performance of the baits that he bought a half dozen of both sizes on the spot!

The fishing tapered out between 10:45 and 11:00 just as it did under similar conditions on Wednesday.  By this time we’d landed exactly 107 fish.

 

TALLY: 107 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Birds worked continuously from sunrise through 9:20AM, then quit, I suspect, because the wind was churning the water so much they had difficulty seeing/plucking food.  I base this on the facts that 1) birds continued to patrol, 2) that sonar stayed lit up with bait and gamefish, and 3) that we continued to catch fish well up until around 10:40

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  51F

Elevation: 2.75 feet low, 0.00′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   58.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW13 at sunrise , increasing to NW17 with higher gusts

Sky Conditions:  High blue skies as a cold front moved in.

GT =0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0197C

**Area 715 and south to 953

**Area triangulated by 1152/B0098C/B0031C

**Area B0182C/B0118C

 

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

WAS THAT A QUADRA-FECTA OR A FOUR-FECTA? — 136 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Wednesday, December 4th, I fished with returning guests David Vahrenkamp and Jerry Worley, as well as first-time guest Charles Vahrenkamp, David’s father.

Jerry owns the Jerry Worley Insurance Agency in Harker Heights, David works at Bates Nissan in Killeen, and Charles is a long-time employee in the Austin tech industry (long-time, as in since the mid-70’s).

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  We enjoyed quality …

PHOTO CAPTION #2: … and quantity this morning.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 04 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:   David and Jerry have fished with me twice previously this autumn as the white bass bite has gone into overdrive, capitalizing on the high numbers of smaller fish available at this time of year.  On this third outing, I thought we’d try to mix it up a little and add some quality to the quantity by trying a little live bait.  Ever since the (somewhat) reliable bird activity has been occurring in the mornings, I’ve noticed suspended hybrid stripers chasing shad in the middle of the water column very actively while the white bass tend to stick to bottom.  As a hedge against tough fishing (which I anticipated due to light north winds which were forecast, but which actually blew quite adequately until around 10:15), I went out early and netted threadfin shad.

We fished live shad from sunrise until 9:50 and caught exactly 41 fish, the majority of which were hybrid striped bass, but only 3 of which were in excess of 18″ (the legal length for that species for those who keep fish).  We also landed large white bass, largemouth bass, drum, and blue catfish.

As the morning moved on, the interest in shad grew less and less despite an abundance of both bait and fish in the area.

At this point we re-tooled with spinning gear and closed out our trip fishing with artificial offerings for smaller, but more abundant, white bass.  In the final 70 minutes of the trip we landed another 95 fish, including mainly small white bass, a few short hybrid, a few keeper white bass, a few largemouth, and a few drum.

During this time when we were “whacking and stacking” (thanks for that awesome fishing term, Steve Webb!) on slabs, I put out three baited lines on the backside of the boat.  One had an 8″ gizzard shad, one had a 6″ gizzard shad, and one had average threadfin of about 3″ in length.   Now catch this:  during the 70 minute span in which we landed 95 fish on artificials, we got exactly 4 pulldowns on the live bait, resulting in 1 white bass and 1 drum being landed.  For whatever reason, the fish nearly completely ignored the live bait while tripping over themselves to get to the artificials.

As with previous adventures with David and Jerry, new phrases were coined again today.  A pair of terms — synonyms — were crafted by these fellow:  quadra-fecta and four-fecta.  The definition of these terms is the same:   a situation in which four anglers hook up on four fish simulanteously, all resulting in landed fish.  We enjoyed at least three such scenarios on the water today.

The go-to bait was the 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab equipped with Stinger Hook, and we fished in 30-38 feet of water, primarily led to fish by bird activity, although we found the fish remained biting well after the birds moved on to more surface-oriented gamefish and baitfish.

TALLY: 136 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Birds worked continuously from sunrise through ~10:15am.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  43F

Elevation: 2.75 feet low, 0.00′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  58.4

Wind Speed & Direction: NW12 at sunrise, slowly tapering to NW2-3 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Post-frontal bluebird skies

GT =50

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0153C to 1802 – primarily short hybrid on bait until around 8:10am

**Area 1656 through 787 – birds fed throughout this stretch of water from 8:10 to 10:50 and then quickly tapered to nil thereafter

 

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

FISHING FOR PERCH…KINDA! — 156 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Back this past summer, I got a request to donate a fishing trip for the benefit of Mr. Marion “Perch” Daniels.  The nice lady who contacted me was Laurie Fleet, a lifetime resident of Salado, and 4th generation SHS grad.  Here’s what she let me know about “Perch”…

Our good friend Perch is fighting the battle of his life and a battle that many other’s have fought. He has been diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma and you can imagine all the struggles that go along with this. There’s never been a nicer guy than Perch and I know all his friends will want to come together and help help help. He and Laura need us right now and I know we will all gladly do so.

Mr. Reed Smith of Flat, TX, bid on the fishing trip I offered to Laurie for that benefit event, and today Reed brought two buddies out for a morning of white bass fishing.  He let me know Perch’s cancer is in remission and that he’s slowly regaining his health.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  From left, Reed Smith, Scott Stephens, and Bobby Jenkins landed 156 fish on their 4-hour morning trip on Lake Belton.  Their catch included white bass, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum.

 

 

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 03 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  We struggled to find fish during the first hour of the trip as the 10-11 mph S. winds which had been forecast had not yet materialized.  As soon as the slightest ripple began, the fish turned on and we stayed on fish continuously for the remainder of the trip, having to stop at only 3 distinct locations to stay in the action.

The easing tactic using 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hooks was the only tactic we had to employ this morning.  Once the fellows quickly got the fundamentals down, I layered in Garmin LiveScope, and they were off to the races as they observed their presentations and fish responses, both positive and negative, to those presentations.

Reed asked a great question today which was, “What is it about these areas that causes the white bass to be there?”   I pulled up the depth highlighting feature on the Humminbird Solix, highlighted in bright green all of the water from 30-36 feet deep (adjusted for the lake being down ~3 feet), and pointed out how slow-sloping areas in that depth range were the common thread.

TALLY: 156 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: No helpful bird activity this morning thanks to calm winds after the winds reversed direction around 8pm the previous night.  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:10A

End Time:  11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  44F

Elevation: 2.73 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  57.2

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm at trip’s start with a light S. breeze beginning around 8AM and building to S13 with gusts to 15 by the end of the trip.

Sky Conditions:  Post-frontal bluebird skies

GT =100

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0201C and B0202C (2 hops)

 

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

REAL NICE FOLKS FROM MINNESOTA — 223 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning I fished with 4 members of the Kovar family from just west of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Mr. Dale Kovar, his wife, Linda, and their daughter, Chelsea Rademacher, all flew down to Texas to see their son, Rhett, before he deploys to Iraq as a member of the Minnesota National Guard.  Rhett only recently completed basic training and AIT, then got called up and has now been at Fort Hood living in the barracks since October.  Two other siblings were unable to make the trip.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  From left, that’s Linda, Chelsea, Dale, and Rhett with a few of the 223 fish they landed under breezy, post-frontal conditions.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Linda landed the top two fish of the trip this morning, including this nice hybrid and a freshwater drum which went 4.75 pounds.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday, 02 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Fishing was easy this morning.  Birds started feeding and leading the way to fish just a few minutes after sunrise.  The bird action was most intense in the first hour after sunrise, but did not quit entirely until around 10AM.  We used two different methods this morning, depending on how the fish were presenting on sonar.  If the fish were very active and chasing bait throughout the water column, we used a slow version of a smoking tactic to cover the water column; and, if the fish were less aggressive and holding on bottom, we used a slower, lower easing tactic. We used a stinger-hook equipped 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab in white color for both jobs.

While the birds worked, we made 4 stops under them as they moved about feeding, and typically began by using a smoking retrieve until the fish settled, then mopped up with an easing retrieve, and then moved to a new bunch of fish once the easing slowed down.  We boated our first 100 fish by 9:19AM.

After the birds quit, we spent our final hour atop a school of white bass holding on a breakline.  I layered in Garmin LiveScope at this point to help keep everyone engaged.  These fish quit just a few minutes before 11AM.  We finished up with 223 fish including white bass, hybrid striped bass, freshwater drum, and largemouth bass.

On two separate occasions the fish fed so aggressively that Rhett and Chelsea wound up catching two fish on their slabs at the same time — one fish on the treble, and one fish on the stinger hook.

Of course, when all was said and done, I directed them to the good care of Mr. Dirk over at Miller’s Smokehouse for lunch.  I just wouldn’t be right to come all the way from Minnesota and not dine there.

TALLY: 223 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  I noted that in ~23 feet of water or less, even when birds were working fish and bait aggressively, my outboard would spook fish from directly beneath the boat.  Therefore, I used side-imaging to find large concentrations of fish, then put my cursor on the H’bird Solix on those fish and let the i-Pilot Link system take us more stealthily to those fish instead of running over them with the outboard.  It seemed that only those suspended fish were negatively impacted in this way.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  40F

Elevation: 2.69 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  57.4

Wind Speed & Direction: NW11 at sunrise and tapering off just a bit to NW8 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Post-frontal bluebird skies

GT = 70

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0153C, vic 1804, vic B0159C, B0197C – 4 stops along a line connecting these areas, all with bird-assist

**Area vic B0118C

 

 

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

BIRTHDAY FISHIN’ WITH JEB & FRIENDS — 73 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: During the afternoon of Saturday, 30 November, I fished with three young men, all from Salado, TX, in celebration of Jeb Hercules’ 14th birthday.  Joining Jeb for this outing were his friends, Kase Maedgen, and Zane Roche, as well as Jeb’s dad, Chris Hercules.

Jeb’s mom, Michele, set the whole thing up about a week in advance.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Jeb Hercules (right) and friends Kase Maedgen (center), and Zane Roche, all of Salado.

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Fittingly, the Jeb the birthday boy landed the evening’s largest fish.  This hybrid striper took Jeb’s slab as it fell back toward bottom, whereas most white bass strike as the lure is rising.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 30 November 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED: Fishing was a bit tough this afternoon as the Pacific cool front which passed by around 10 AM moved quickly east.  During the entirety of the afternoon we faced slowly decreasing wind speeds, starting around 8 mph, and tapering to near calm by sunset.  The skies were high and clear.  We found plenty of fish in plenty of places, but they were just reluctant to bite.  As I found them on sonar, they were still concentrated around the 33 foot mark as they had been in the morning, but the fish were more spread out, they were tighter to the bottom, and they refused to chase very far or very fast.

We wound up “hopping” 11 different times —  a testament to how loathe the fish were to move to us; rather, we had to move to them.  Most of the fish we caught we caught right off the bat upon arriving at a location and dropping down.  We would catch the fish that were there and no more, as fish were not moving toward our commotion very eagerly at all.

We used an easing tactic with 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached to catch every one of the 73 fish we landed.  Our catch included white bass, hybrid striped bass, freshwater drum, and largemouth bass.

TALLY: 73 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   No helpful bird action this evening.  It is atypical to find fish white bass clearly presenting on sonar (positioned sufficiently high off the bottom that there is target separation on down-imaging) and not biting well, but, that is exactly what we encountered this afternoon.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    2:10PM

End Time:  5:50PM

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  76F

Elevation: 2.67 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  62.5

Wind Speed & Direction: NW8 tapering slowly and evenly down to near calm over the course of the trip

Sky Conditions:  Post-frontal bluebird skies

GT = 5

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1000, 3 hops

**Area 327/211, 4 hops

**Area 1882/1819, 2 hops

**Area vic B0199C

**Area vic 1802

 

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

WACKY WEATHER WHITE BASS – 128 FISH @ BELTON (AM TRIP)

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished with Mr. Mike McLaughlin of Georgetown, TX, his son-in-law, Keith Duncan, and Keith’s 13-year-old son, Alex.  Alex has been out with me every year in the autumn, with the exception of last year during the massive flooding, since he was just 6 years old.

Mike is retired from law enforcement, Keith is in the tech industry, and Alex is working his way through homeschooling at the eighth grade level.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: Mike McLaughlin, Keith Duncan, and Alex Duncan with part of our catch of 128 fish, all taken from ~33 feet of water this morning.

 

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 30 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Fishing took place in two distinct spurts this morning, all driven by the weather.  It all began last night around 7PM when a warm front moved into Central Texas, taking the temperature quickly from 53F, up to 71F in a matter of a few hours.  This warming caused the lingering fog of the daytime hours to dissipate, but the atmosphere remained humid.  This morning, I had light mist on my windshield driving to the lake, but our fishing hours were all dry.  As we launched, there was a 13 mph SW wind and thick grey cloud cover.  Once it got light enough to illuminate the depths, the fish began to bite under clouds and wind.  Soon, that wind died to calm and we caught zero fish during that entire span (nearly 2 hours).  Finally, around 10AM, the lightest ripple began from the SW and quickly shifted W, then NW a a mild, clearing Pacific cold front moved in.  We took our fish count from 28 to 128 in the 1.75 hour span between 10AM and 11:45AM.  All of the fish came on an easing tactic using only 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached.

TALLY: 128 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   No helpful bird action this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:10AM

End Time:  11:50AM

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  71F

Elevation: 2.67 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  61.0

Wind Speed & Direction: SW12 @ obscured sunrise, followed by a 2 hour period of calm, murky, warm conditions, followed by clearing, drying conditions with the arrival of a minor Pacific cold front.

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies and warm, humid conditions through 10AM, then clearing and drying with the arrival of a Pacific cool front

GT = 5

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0199C / 1292 — fished this area twice, once as the wind blew before the calm and again after the wind started again after the calm;  caught 28 the first time and 60 the second

**Area vic B0012C — 40 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

WHITE FRIDAY — 106 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: No crazy shopping mall scenes nor door-buster drama for Mr. Sam Simon and me.  Nope, just a foggy, deserted Lake Belton and hundreds of white bass ready to get all over our slabs on this Black Friday turned White Friday here in Central Texas.

Sam, a retired U.S. Army veteran, has been out with me once before and fishes, mainly for largemouth bass, from his own boat, so we run into each other from time to time.  Sam was planning on his brother visiting from Thomasville, GA, for the holiday and booked the trip for the two of them, but, when that didn’t pan out, Sam thought fishing was still better than turkey leftovers and college football, so, we made an afternoon of it.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Retired U.S. Army vet Sam Simon of Killeen and I had the lake to ourselves this cool, damp November 29th.  The fish were already wet, so they didn’t mind a bit.

PHOTO CAPTION #2: These are the tools getting the job done right now – Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached.

 

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday, 28 November 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  As I looked at the forecast as my evening trip wrapped up on Wednesday before I took yesterday off, I saw some funky weather I preferred to avoid forecast for this morning.  I consulted with Sam, and we agreed to fish in the afternoon instead.  That turned out well.

The morning weather had a lingering, more persistent fog than was called for, along with cool, windless conditions — not good.

This afternoon’s weather saw the fog lift and become more of an occasional mist, with a little bit of heating and a little ESE breeze — not great, but enough to get the fish going.

We met up at 1:00p and were on fish by 1:15p.  The first area we fished (of a total of five) was the only one where I had to locate fish using sonar exclusively.  The remaining four areas were indicated by light bird activity.  Each of the five areas we fish gave up for for about the same 30 to 40 minutes or so, and then went quiet, necessitating a move.

Once again, and as will be the case for some time to come, an easing tactic using slabs equipped with stinger hooks was the way to go.  The white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook did the trick over and over and over again.  I make and sell these myself now after some “supply chain issues” in the past caused delays for my clients in purchasing them elsewhere.  Check this link: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/fishing-guide-product.php

Even if you don’t use my Stinger Hook, at least use someone’s stingers or make your own, but don’t fish a slab without one!!

I really made a believer out of Sam when it came to stinger hooks this evening.  In my pre-trip brief, I told him why I used the stingers and that they would likely account for 50-60% of our hookups.

If I had $5.00 for each time Sam said, “That stinger hook really jacked that fish up,” meaning it was the hook which caught the fish versus the treble hook which was hanging outside the fish’s mouth, I believe I could have doubled my fare tonight.

All of our fish were caught in 26-33 feet of water and were located in the lower third of the water column.

As the fog began to redevelop around 4:20p, thus diminishing the light, we noted the fish were hesitant to come more than 4-5 feet off the bottom.  This was made very evident as we watched the fish react to our presentation on Garmin LiveScope.  So, we adjusted our presentation accordingly and continued to get bit.

We hit the 100 fish mark at 3:56, and fished our last area until it went dry at 4:26, then called it a day a bit early with exactly 106 fish landed including 2 largemouth, 12 drum, 4 hybrid stripers, and 88 white bass.

TALLY: 106 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Fish showed a definite preference for the 3/8 oz. slab versus the 3/4 oz. this evening.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    1:00P

End Time:  4:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  53F

Elevation: 2.67 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  58.2

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE3-6

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies and list mist/light fog

GT = 5

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0119C/B0012C

**Area vic 1656 (w/ birds)

**Area B0200C  (w/ birds)

**Area vic 1802  (w/ birds)

**Area B0104C/B0197C  (w/ birds)

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

WE CAME BACK TO REALITY, AND IT WAS GREAT! — 139 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This Thanksgiving Eve I fished with returning guest Danny Marriott of Georgetown, TX, and his son-in-law, John Griffin, from the Houston area.

Danny is the operations director at First Baptist Church in Georgetown, and John is a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden covering the Houston area.  John and his wife and daughter drove in this morning to be with his in-laws for Thanksgiving and got in a little off-duty outdoor time for a change.

If you follow me here on Facebook, you know we had a heck of a day yesterday with rare prefrontal weather conditions which really turned the fish on.  Today we were faced with cooler conditions and northerly winds and it was “back to reality” with our results more in line with the season.  Regardless, with water temperature still hovering around 60F, the fish were still readily found and caught.  We ended up with 139 fish boated this evening.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  From left, John Griffin and Danny Marriott with a Thanksgiving Eve’s catch of white bass from Belton Lake.

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Danny landed our largest fish of the trip, this zebra mussel-fattened freshwater drum that fell for his slab in about 33 feet of water.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 27 November 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  Fishing was pretty one-dimensional tonight as it will be for quite some time to come as we ease into the cool-water period of the year.  We found fish, relying primarily on Lowrance StructureScan (pre-FishReveal software) to do an excellent job of target separation in deep water, thus allowing us to distinguish fish from the bottom.  Once fish were found, we used the i-Pilot Link system (Minn Kota trolling motor and Humminbird Down Imaging) to mark and then park on top of the fish.  We kicked on the thumper, let down our Hazy Eye Slabs (white, 3/8 oz., with Stinger hook attached) and used an easing tactic to tempt the fish until they would no longer fall for our charade.  Then, we moved on and repeated this process, all to the tune of 139 fish boated, including white bass, drum, largemouth, and hybrid stripers.

TALLY: 139 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No helpful bird action this afternoon.  Fish were a bit finicky given the cloudy, cold-front conditions we faced.  Fish did not stay interested very long after their initial expression of interest in our presentations, therefore, we had to move a good bit to keep the action going.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    1:00P

End Time:  5:25P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  55F

Elevation: 2.63 feet low, 0.02′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  60.2F (thanks to 67F air temperatures through 2:00AM this morning, just before the mild cold front rolled in)

Wind Speed & Direction: NE12-13

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies

GT = 95

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0184C/1679 – 2 hops

**Area vic 1819

**Area vic 1827

**Area B0199c/B0124C

**Area vic 817

 

 

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

THE RIGHT TIME, PLACE, WEATHER, & CREW – 276 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Yes, that title is no joke!  My 3-man crew this morning landed fish, literally, at a rate of more than one fish per minute for 4.5 hours straight on Lake Belton.

This morning, Tuesday, November 26th, I welcomed aboard long-time client Steve Niemeier, accompanied by his grandson, Caleb Fowler (age 14), and his great nephew, Tevan Gilmore (age 15).

With a cold front due in around 11pm this evening, we had pre-frontal activity which is always among the best weather scenarios one can encounter if timed correctly.

Adding to this was the fact that all three anglers have fished with me before, and, more importantly, have used the tactics we used today (vertical jigging with slabs) previously, so there was no learning curve to get through.  Finally, the boys were very competitive with one another which kept them engaged and their concentration levels high. Finally, my crew set a high goal for themselves.  On a previous outing on Stillhouse (15 March 2015) which included just Steve and Caleb and also occurred in pre-frontal conditions, the two landed 256 fish in just under 4 hours.  My crew wanted to beat that tally today — and they did!!

Steve very much appreciates the consistency and productivity of fall fishing, and routinely books several trips in November as far in advance as July or August to make sure he and the kids get to cash in on this high-numbers bonanza.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  From left, Tevan Gilmore, Caleb Fowler, and Steve Niemeier landed 276 fish on Lake Belton under ideal pre-frontal conditions during this morning’s half-day trip.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 26 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Despite the fish being in overdrive this morning, there was no helpful bird action to key off of.  I suspect this might be because the water was already whitecapping before the (cloud-obscured) sunrise, thus making it difficult for these birds to spot subsurface activity.

So, we relied upon good old sonar to get the job done.  We fished only 3 areas this morning and used a fast easing tactic to provoke the fish we’d found into striking.  These areas were all gently sloping, all in 31-35 feet of water, and were all relatively clean bottoms with ample baitfish in the vicinity.

Our bait of choice was the smallish 3/8 oz. white Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook attached.  The stinger accounted for easily 45% of our catch this morning.  We had very few other bycatch species today — only drum.  No largemouth, no hybrid, no crappie, no bluecat, which was also surprising given how ramped up the white bass were.

I often fish alongside my clients as it helps create and maintain the commotion which keeps fish interested and holding beneath the boat as fish are caught and then regurgitate and defecate, thus creating a natural chum-line of sorts.  Today, there were many instances where I just put my rod up in the holder and unhooked and released fish because the catch rate was that high.  The thumper also did its part to draw and hold fish beneath the boat.

With the water temperature fairly stable at around 60F and only a mild, short front due in overnight, plus being in the dark of the lunar cycle, I anticipate the fishing will stay strong for as long as our current weather forecast looks ahead (about 5-6 days).

TALLY: 276 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No helpful bird action possible due to strong winds.  Had credible report of evening bird action which occurred under “calm before the storm” conditions prior to cloud-obscured sunset.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:20A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  55F

Elevation: 2.60 feet low, 0.02′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  58.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW4-6 at sunrise, increasing to SW11-12 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Fair blue skies

GT = 100

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   NOTE THE WINDSHIFT DUE AT ~9PM AND THE WESTERLY COMPONENT TO THE WIND THE ENTIRE DAY PRIOR TO THE FRONT’S ARRIVAL

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0156C/B0132C – 185 fish caught here by 9:36am

**Area B0003C/B0195C

**Area B0198C

**Area B0199C (successful post-trip scouting)

 

 

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