WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Tuesday morning, November 24th, I fished with contingents from the Van Riper clan and the Howley clan.

The patriarch of the family, George Van Riper, a U.S. Army veteran who resides in Harker Heights, loves fishing, owns his own boat, fishes our local reservoirs routinely, and has fished with me on numerous occasions.

Nearly two months ago, knowing the Thanksgiving timeframe is a busy week for me, George set this trip up for his daughter, Nancy Howley, his daughter-in-law, Kim Van Riper, Nancy’s boys, Kaden and Jacob, and Kim’s son, Gregory.

Nancy is a public school teacher, and Kim is into real estate.  The boys are doing the best they can with a COVID-impacted school year.


PHOTO CAPTION #1:   This was Tuesday morning’s (slightly damp) crew — from left, Kim & Gregory Van Riper, and Kaden, Jacob, and Nancy Howley.


PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Kim gives Gregory a hand hoisting this 8-pound blue catfish which consumed Gregory’s MAL Lure near bottom in about 46 feet of water, no doubt attracted by the falling bits of shad regurgitated by the white bass we were catching.


PHOTO CAPTION #3:  This young man, Kaden Howley, is a fishing machine.  He did not snack, he did not banter, he did not take a leak … he just stood in one spot in the middle of the starboard gunwale all morning and flat caught fish after fish after fish.  He was as excited about his last fish as he was about his first fish (after 4 hours of catching!!) This is our 100th fish of the morning, caught by Kaden, at exactly 9:28AM.

PHOTO CAPTION #4: Jacob Howley with our one and only hybrid striped bass of the morning.  This 3.75-pounder came out of 43 feet of water and was among the first fish to strike as we arrived at a new location.


WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 24 November 2020


For the second day in a row, we were blessed with grey skies and wind — and, unlike yesterday’s NE breeze, this morning’s wind blew from the SSE.  Overnight we experienced warming and increased humidity in the atmosphere as the overnight temperature rose from 59 at sunset to 61 at sunrise.

Anytime we have wind and cloud cover, I get pretty giddy about having folks – especially kids – on the boat.

Before we left the dock I gave my MAL Lure demo, then had each person demo it right back to me to be very sure everyone knew what to do when we found fish.  This pays off when, instead of having to coach out bad technique as we are fishing, that coaching can be done before risking the loss of fish.

With everyone “MAL-qualified”, we set out to find fish.  It did not take long, in fact, I was surprised at how quickly I found fish given that the skies were pretty “murky” with dark cloud cover and a light drizzle falling at the time.

We fished 3 general areas this morning with the first and last stops seeing moderate action, and our middle stops (accounting for the middle two hours of the trip) producing the lion’s share of the fish.

At long last we were aided by gulls this morning.  A small flock of ring-billed gulls began to circle and pluck shad from the surface over top of actively feeding white bass in over 40 feet of water.

We “short-hopped” in an area perhaps 2-3 acres in size to stay on these fish, all the time working 5 MAL Lures with a smoking retrieve to keep fish coming over the side and keep the commotion generated near bottom going so as to feed the “chain reaction”.

Between 11AM and 11:15AM, the action died hard, the winds picked up to over 14mph, and it looked like a good dose of rain was going to fall once again.  At this point only the moms and Kaden were fishing, when Kim gave me the “let’s call it a good morning” sign and we headed in with exactly 175 fish landed.

See the MAL Lure here:

See tutorial video on how to work the MAL Lure here:

TALLY: 175 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   During the mid-morning period a small flock of ~8 gulls helped us find very active white bass feeding on bottom as they picked off dead and crippled shad driven to the surface by the most active feeders in these white bass schools.


Start Time:  7:30A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 61F

Elevation:  0.83 low with a 0.04’ 24-hour fall, and 34 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 64.0F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were SE11-14 all morning

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover with sporadic light rain throughout the morning

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 72% illumination

GT = 50




**Area B0012C, 18 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Areas B0052G, BG0026, 1392, and B0058G, 141  fish on MAL Lures with “short hops” in and around these 4 areas as indicated by gulls (SP)

**Area B0059G, a final 16 fish on MAL Lures (SP)



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:




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