Pre-Frontal Fishing with David and Pastor PJ — 116 Fish @ Stillhouse

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Monday morning I fished with Mr. David Lynn and his pastor, Pastor PJ Condit, of Community Christian Church in Round Rock.  David had been trying to treat PJ to such a trip since before the flooding began in mid-October and I kept putting him off until we turned the corner and the fishing got solid once again.  We eased into that situation going into the week of Thanksgiving, and the fishing has steadily improved.

David is a small business owner, operating Hallmark Services in Georgetown.  His company specializes in installing flooring, doing bathroom and kitchen remodeling, decking, doors & windows, and other miscellaneous repairs.

Since both Belton and Stillhouse are fishing well right now, I laid out the pros and cons of each lake and listened to David’s input, leading us to agree upon fishing Stillhouse.  The pros of Stillhouse: less traffic, bigger white bass, good fishing grounds protected from the forecast north wind.  The pros of Belton: more but smaller white bass, the possibility of landing hybrid stripers.

As we fished during the arrival of a mild, dry cold front which hit around 9:45am, the white bass bite spiked and stayed strong right up until the winds began to subside around 11:30.  During this time we landed 115 white bass and 1 drum.  The white bass had good bodies —  plump bellies, good width across the back, and were generally in very good shape.  They are, no doubt, beginning to develop eggs and milt for the spawn.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday morning,  December 03, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   We found scattered but active fish over a 25′ flat using Humminbird side-imaging on the 1.2 MegaHertz frequency with CHIRP activated.  I observed groups of 10-20 white bass in all directions, so, we Spot Locked with the Minn Kota and began throwing bladebaits.  We scarcely went more than 2-3 casts without one, two, or all three of us hooking up on white bass from ~7:45 through about 9:15.  The action lulled a bit as the usual low-light, early morning bite began to die.  However, the bite was re-energized as a mild, dry cold front pushed in on a sudden wind velocity increase right around 9:45.  Fishing stayed solid through 11:30.  After the flats fishing died down, we relied on vertical tactics with a smoking tactic far out-performing easing or snap-jigging this morning.  We relied on the Cicada for our flats work and on my own Hazy Eye Shad slab/stinger hook combos for the vertical work.

OBSERVATIONS:    The gull/tern population, though still paling in comparison to that at Belton, has about doubled on Stillhouse over this past week.  The white bass are definitely showing signs of fattening up for the spawn.  Fish caught today had excellent body conditions, were defecating grey feces indicating they’ve been feeding well, and several regurgitated partially digested shad, indicating they were feeding hard.

TALLY: 116 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 49F

Water Surface Temp: 57.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm at trip’s start, turning light N by 7:45, then increasing suddenly at 9:45 with the arrival of a mild, dry cold front.

Sky Conditions:  Bright and cloudless at trip’s start, clouding up to 90+% grey clouds in a “snowmobile track” pattern.

Water Level:  8.84′ high with a 0.39′ overnight drop and a flow of 1,539cfs

GT = 50

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0068C to SH0075C – bladebaits on a mid-depth flat

**Area SH007C to SH0071C – smoking slabs

**Area SH0076C – smoking slabs while the bite was still strong, then slowing down to slow easing as the fish shut 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

WINDS FROM THE WEST … FISH BITE BEST — 127 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I fished with a great bunch of fellows, three of whom work together as civilians on West Fort Hood.  Jerry Saikley coordinated the trip and was patient enough to wait through a few weeks being “on hold” as we contended with the recent flooding issues after his original date was scratched due to the high water closing Belton’s ramps.

Joining Jerry were Jason Woods, Jeff Burns, and Mark Lockhart.  We caught a real break and had a stiff westerly breeze blow all morning, beginning around 7:50.  As the old saying goes, “Winds from the west, fish bite best.”  This morning was no exception.  Although the bird activity I thought we might encounter fell short of what it could be this time of year, anytime the fish feed a full 4+ hours is a good day in my book.

During this trip Jerry eclipsed his personal best fish which previously was a ~7 pound largemouth bass.  He landed a 14-pound class yellow cat, followed by a 14-pound class smallmouth buffalo — both on a light spinning rig intended for white bass.

 

Everything was biting on this morning’s west wind.  Jerry Saikley took this “personal best” flathead (yellow) cat which we fished over a school of white bass.

From left: Jeff Burns, Jerry Saikley, Mark Lockhart, and Jason Woods

 

White bass have begun to orient on bottom in non-current induced areas away from the river channel.  Jason caught two at a time on the same lure using a slab with one of my Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached.
 
A bumper crop of drum is present on Lake Belton, possibly a positive side-effect of the zebra mussel invasion.
And for his final act, Jerry landed a second “personal best” in the same trip — a smallmouth buffalo which fell for his slab down in about 40 feet of water.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  We also landed drum, yellow cat, smallmouth buffalo, hybrid striped bass, and largemouth bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday morning,  December 01, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:     Due to a technical issue with an on-board battery which I had to swap out, we got off to a slightly delayed start, but, with the skies bright and the winds calm, not much was going on anyway.  It wasn’t until the west wind kicked in around 7:50 that things began to happen for us.  At that time, fish began to feed, and, by 8:30, we encountered the one and only instance of birds leading the way to fish of the entire morning.  We enjoyed a “steady pick” of fish using both a snap-jigging tactic (roughly 90% of the time), with an occasional departure to using the smoking tactic when I observed more active, aggressive fish in the area, based on sonar observations.

OBSERVATIONS:   Received credible reports of suspended fish found in more current-influenced segments of the lake.

TALLY: 127 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  55F

Water Surface Temp:  58.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  W10 beginning at 7:50, building to W16 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  100% grey cloud cover

Water Level: 3.3 feet high and falling by about 0.57 feet daily w/  ~3,700 cfs flow from dam

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  353 to B0107C – snap-jigging

**Area B0109C to B0110C to 738  – snap-jigging with some smoking at times with some bird activity (~15 minutes max)

**Area  099 to B0107C – snap-jigging

**Area B0022C  – snap-jigging

 

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

BELTON BOUNCING BACK

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday morning, November 30th, I fished with Mike and Tammy Thompson.  Their daughter, Elizabeth, got them a fishing gift certificate for Christmas last year and today was the day they decided to cash that in. Mike retired from Extraco bank and Tammy retired from the Texas Dept. of Transportation.  They spoke highly of their church, First United Methodist Church in Belton, where they serve together as volunteers in a food bank ministry.

We originally scheduled for this past Tuesday, but the 30F sunrise temperature forecast for that day deterred them.  In the mean time, multiple additional Belton Lake boat ramps opened, and I was able to fish with them on Lake Belton.  This was my first trip with clients since the flooding began in mid-October.

Mike and Tammy Thompson enjoyed the balmiest day in quite some time on newly reopened Lake Belton.  Tammy took this hybrid on a 3/4 oz. slab this past Friday, November 30th.  By trip’s end the couple had amassed a catch of 80 fish.

PHOTO CAPTION #2: White bass have begun to orient on bottom in non-current induced areas away from the river channel.
PHOTO CAPTION #3: A bumper crop of drum is present on Lake Belton, possibly a positive side-effect of the zebra mussel invasion.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.  We also landed numerous drum, hybrid striped bass, and largemouth bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday morning,  November 30, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:     

The first fish we located were on bottom in about 28 feet of water. I saw a few birds tentatively searching in this area and suspected that bait, if not game fish, were present. We started off with an aggressive vertical tactic which I call “smoking.”

This was too aggressive as I noted the fish stayed put on bottom and did not respond well to this retrieve. We scaled back and slowed down and instead used a snap-jigging tactic. This got results, but we could see that there were many more fish present than were willing to feed, so we left this area to return to it later and moved on.

The second stop we made was under aggressively working birds — a mix of gulls and terns. About 30 birds fed on shad forced to the top of the water by white bass and hybrid striped bass beneath them.

These fish were obviously aggressive and did fall for the smoking tactic as we presented larger, ¾-ounce slabs to them.

 Once the birds settled down and rested on the water, we once again downshifted and used smaller baits with a snap-jigging tactic close to the bottom. Once the fish turned off to this, we moved.

 

We returned to the first area we had fished and found those fish now more cooperative, although there was no more helpful bird activity observed the remainder of the morning.

We continued using the snap-jigging tactic with lighter, 3/8-ounce slabs through the conclusion of our trip at around 11:45 a.m.

By that time, we had amassed a catch of 80 fish, including hybrid striped bass, white bass, largemouth bass and freshwater drum. Our largest fish was a 4-pound hybrid striper which fell for a ¾-ounce slab as we fished under the birds.

OBSERVATIONS:     Temperature profile from 0 to 60 feet:

0 feet 58.2F

5 feet 58.2F

10 feet 58F

15 feet 58F

20 feet 58F

25 feet 58F

30 feet 58F

35 feet 57.8F

40 feet 57.8F

45 feet 57.8F

50 feet 57.6F

55 feet 57.6F

60 feet 57.6F

 

TALLY: 80 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  67F

Water Surface Temp:  58.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE6-10

Sky Conditions:  100% grey cloud cover

Water Level: 4.37 feet high and falling by about 0.57 feet daily w/  ~3,700 cfs flow from dam

GT = 40

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0104C under low light –  snap-jigging

**Area B0105C/6C/7C – best action of the morning under birds ~35 minutes – snap-jigging

**Area B0104 to 1804 to 812 – snap-jigging

**Area B0108C – snap-jigging

 

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