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