DEEP WATER BUFFER — 131 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This past Thursday morning, May 6th, I fished with Jeff and Pam Stump from near Giddings, TX.

We tried scheduling this trip as far back as December of 2020 but weather and full calendars prevented a good match until this morning.

We enjoyed steady, productive fishing for our first hour and final two hours on the water this morning, with a one hour lull thanks to the cessation of winds.

 

 

MAL HEAVY

PHOTO CAPTION:  Jeff and Pam Stump worked MAL Lures for four hours straight to put together their haul of 131 white bass, all of which were released.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 06 May 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

We finally saw something close to post-frontal conditions this morning as the north winds which began overnight on Monday finally blew themselves out and left us with a calm surface by around 8:30AM.

Calm water and bright skies are never a good combination, but, the “rising metabolism factor” which kicks in from mid-March to around the end of May was definitely in play here and still allowed us an above average catch as compared to the whole-year average of just over 80 fish per trip.

The fish definitely shut down for about an hour from 8:30 to 9:30, then, as winds began to puff light and variable, the fishing started to come back again, although not with the level of intensity we’d seen on Tues. and Wed.

Oftentimes under difficult conditions, finding fish as deep as possible seems to help — it seems to me that the deeper the water, the more buffered the impacts of negative weather seem to be.

The fish we caught from 9:30 to our close at 11AM were all in well over 50 feet of water with the deepest fish coming from 57 feet of water.  I specifically sought these out due to the calm, bright conditions we faced.

We took 100% of our fish on MAL Lures worked vertically in conjunction with LiveScope.

As the fish wound down between 10:35 and 11:00AM, we worked them to the very last drop and finished up with a total of 131 fish caught and released — 100% of which were white bass with the vast majority being 2 and 3 year class fish.

MAL Lures  are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 131 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: We used deep water as insurance against the negative impact of calm, bright surface conditions. Thanks to recent rains, Belton has risen nearly a foot this week and is approaching full pool (just hundreths of a foot away).

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Elevation:  0.05 feet low, +0.16 24-hour change, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 68.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE5 at dawn, tapering to calm by 8:30, staying calm for an hour, then going light and variable thereafter with “puffing” light gusts.

Sky Condition: Clear blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning crescent with 24% illum.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0075C – majority of our fish landed which were landed before the winds went slack

**Area   B0037C- majority of our fish landed which were landed after the 1 hour period of slack winds

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

TOMMY & SYLVIA MAEDGEN — 247 FISH @ LAKE BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This past Wednesday, Cinco de Mayo, I fished with a retired couple from the outskirts of Temple, Tommy & Sylvia Maedgen, who have been coming out with me a couple times each year for several years now.

The Maedgens understand the importance of timing in regards to fishing, and are wise to book their trips with me during peak conditions (mid-March to late May, and late October to mid-December).

Tommy runs his own bass boat and the couple rountinely fishes on their own, but typically for largemouth bass.  They tend to allow me to guide them to white bass and/or hybrid stripers when they have a desire to pursue those species.

MAL Lure white bass lure, best white bass lure MAL Lure

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Tommy and Sylvia Maedgen caught and released 247 white bass on Lake Belton this past Cinco de Mayo.  100% of these fish were taken on the original (5/8 oz.) and heavy (7/8 oz.) versions of the MAL Lure.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 05 May 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Had I listened to the weatherman, we’d likely have postponed this trip … and what a mistake that would have been!  We were due to have clear, calm, cool post-frontal conditions this morning — usually making for the toughest weather scenario there is this time of year.

The one thing that played in the back of my mind was how rising water temperature will trump all else in the spring, so, we pressed on with our plans to pursue white bass on Lake Belton.

When I arrived about 30 minutes in advance of the Maedgens, we had about 60% cloud cover, and there was a sustained light wind from the ENE at about 8 mph.  Neither of these desirable conditions were in the forecast.

As we got down to fishing, we found fish on sonar obviously on patrol up off bottom feeding on shad in the lower third of the water column.  We stopped and caught those fish.

Once these fish quit, we moved on.  By this time the wind was at ENE12 with a bit less cloud cover.  We only fished four locations, finding ample bottom-oriented fish at each which were very willing to follow their hooked schoolmates well up into the water column, thus indicating a high level of aggression.

We began our trip at 6:50AM.  By 8:49AM the Maedgens had boated their 100th fish.  By 10:03AM their 200th fish came over the gunwale, and by trip’s end at 11AM, they had managed to land a grand total of 247 fish.  Of these, 246 were white bass, with one largemouth bass thrown in for good measure.

As we experienced during the first three hours of the previous day’s trip, there were very few sub-legal fish in our catch this morning, with the majority of the fish going at least 11.5 inches, with a few reaching or just surpassing the 14 inch mark.  Our single largest fish went 14 5/16 inches

Every single fish the Maedgens landed came on the MAL Lure in chartreuse.  Sylvia stuck with the original (5/8 oz.), while Tommy started and finished with the original, and put in about 90 minutes of work with the heavy (7/8 oz.) version while the fish were really going crazy.

MAL Lures  are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 247 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: No Franklin’s gulls observed for the first morning since they first arrived back in March.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:50A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 55F

Elevation:  0.22 feet low, +0.18 24-hour change, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 67.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE8-13

Sky Condition: ~60% white cloud tapering back to 30% .

Moon Phase: Waning crescent with 33% illum.

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0022C – handful of fish at first light which moved on pretty quickly

**Area 1012 – solid action on MAL Lures

**Area 1489 – solid action on MAL Lures

**Area 0404 – produced over 150 fish for us on MAL Lures

 

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

EXCEPT THAT ONE WITH THE CONCUSSION — 164 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This past Tuesday I fished with returning guest Jerry Saikley.  Joining him were three first-time guests including his wife, Cheryl, and friends of theirs, Mike and Ann Foegelle.

With a cool front moving in as we fished, we saw steady action all morning.  I positioned the ladies so as to share one Garmin LiveScope screen on the starboard side and the fellows on their own shared screen on the port side.  Doing so guaranteed some good-natured ribbing and competition.

Perhaps the most memorable event of the day happened just after our last fish was landed.  As is my custom, I wanted to get a good group photo to commemorate the trip with and to send to everyone aboard afterwards.

I got everyone lined up abreast of one another, got the sun’s light just right, got the fish positioned so their broad sides were to the camera, and snapped a few good shots as everyone held their fish using Rapala fish-holding devices which work like a smooth-jawed pair of vice grips.

When the photos were done, I was about to say, “Okay, if you just go ahead and spread the handles of that fish-gripper apart with the fish hanging over the side, they should just drop back in the water and swim off well.”

Well, all I got out of my mouth was, “Okay, if you just go ahead and spread the handles of that fish-gripper apart…” and we all heard a THUD on the floor of the boat as Cheryl (very literally!) followed my directions and released her fish inside the boat.

Everyone looked at her as if to say, “Why did you just do that?!?” as she started laughing uncontrollably at what she’d just done.

I put the boat in gear and started to idle away from our last fishing area just as all the laugher was about to die down and said, “Yeah, everyone’s laughing … except that fish back there with the concussion!”  More laughter…

It was  a great trip with some great folks!

 

sand bass lure, best sand bass lure

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Jerry and Cheryl Saikley, and Ann and Mike Foegelle.  This crew of four landed 164 fish (all white bass) on Lake Belton as a cold front blew in from the NW.

sand bass fishing guide

PHOTO CAPTION:  Greedy!  This Lake Belton white bass had obviously just fed on a huge threadfin shad which was still not all the way down its gullet when it pursued one of our MAL Lures and was hooked.  The fish are definitely feeding hard as the water warms!

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 04 May 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Fishing was made pretty easy this morning thanks to an incoming cold front which had NW winds cranked up to ~12 mph before sunrise and increasing to ~15 with higher gusts by mid-morning.  This followed a night of turbulent weather in which local communities saw thunder, lightning, high winds, rain, and some hail.

The front was pretty mild, with a sunrise air temperature dropped down only to 68F.

We fished just three areas this morning, finding fish at all of them and working the MAL Lures vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope to make the most of what we’d found.

The first area we fished required that we move routinely in “short hops” a few boat-lengths at at time, as the fish were a bit reluctant to move horizontally to come to the commotion we were creating by catching fish.

The catch we made from 44 to 51 feet at this first area consisted of the best proportion of quality whites to sub-legal and just-legal fish I’ve had come out of Belton thus far in the 2021 season.  All fish were spawned out, but not thin or lanky-looking.  They have definitely been feeding and had some bulge to their abdomens.  Many regurgitated partially digested shad and/or defecated.

Around the 3 hour mark we made a “bio-break” just as the winds were peaking around NNW16 and opted not to return to the exposure of the area we’d just left thereafter.  Instead we headed to a more sheltered area. We’d landed 121 fish up to this point.

After doing some looking, I found fish in two more areas, the first in 44′, and the second in 41′.  We landed a total of 43 more fish at these two areas, but only a half-dozen of these were keeper size and those were just barely so.

We closed out the trip right around 11AM with 164 fish landed for our efforts. 100% of the catch was white bass.

MAL Lures  are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 164 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation:  0.41 feet low, +0.15 24-hour change, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 69.6F (after a very windy, hot Monday afternoon, hitting the 90’s area wide before the storms moved in around 10PM

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW12 at sunrise, ramping steadily up to NNW15-16 by mid-morning.

Sky Condition: ~60% white cloud cover the whole trip with bright sun shining though the clouds.

Moon Phase: Waning crescent with 43% illum.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 835 to 344 – 5 fish on live shad including our only 2 legal hybrid

**Area B0083G – a suspended band of white bass between 45-50 feet which were tapering off as we encountered them

**Area 1469 to 295 – caught most of our white bass here with 6 short hops

**Area B0077G – added a final 12 to our count here around noon as the bite was shutting down quickly

 

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

IT’S STILL NOT “HYBRID TIME” – 94 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This past Monday, May 3rd, I fished with Jack Oliver and his three sons, Asa, Isaac, and Eli, as well as Jack’s brother, Joe, and one of Jack’s old high school buddies, Darrell Connally — a six man crew.

We planned back at the start of the year for this to be a hybrid striper-focused trip, but the hybrid fishing has been a big disappointment thus far — I’m not catching them, my fellow guides are not catching them, the bank fishermen fishing the morning shad spawn aren’t catching them.

This is normally the time of year for big numbers of these quality fish, but, thus far, it has been a bust.

Jack and I discussed this several days prior to this trip and agreed we’d give it a few hours right off the bat, but that I’d come prepared to change over to targeting white bass if the hybrid did not materialize yet again.

Belton Lake Hybrid Fishing

 

PHOTO CAPTION: First-time guest Darrell Connally of Waco scored one of the two hybrid we labored long and hard for this morning.  No, it’s definitely not “hybrid time” — in fact, I’m wondering if there will be a “hybrid time” this spring at all.

Belton Lake Hybrid Fishing

PHOTO CAPTION: Long-time client Asa Oliver took the other of the two hybrid we scored on live shad this morning.

PHOTO CAPTION: Isaac Oliver came up with a surprise … this 7-plus pound smallmouth buffalo slammed his live shad and was cleanly lip-hooked with the Gamakatsu Kahle-style hooks we set out this morning.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 03 May 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

We put in 2.75 hours of effort trying multiple areas which typically hold hybrid by mid-April. Now, in early May, there are still precious few fish in these areas.  During this time we landed 2 legal hybrid, 1 blue cat, 1 smallmouth buffalo, and 4 white bass on large, hand-picked, quality threadfin shad.

With so few hybrid to show for our efforts, and under ideal conditions (grey skies with good southerly winds), we decided at that point to change our focus to white bass.

We found fish at three distinct areas and, after extending the trip by about an hour, managed to put a total of 84 more fish in the boat — all white bass — for a grand total on the morning of 92 fish.

Unfortunately, the early hunt for hybrid came at the expense of targeting white bass during the better (low light) portion of the morning, but, it was a risk we were willing to take.  IF the hybrid turn on this year, one party willing to roll the dice like this will be the first to cash in.  One silver lining: with some operations taking their business to other lakes due to Belton’s poor hybrid action thus far this season, there is now no crowding to contend with on weekdays.

The white bass are quite abundant and continue to filter back downstream following their annual spawning run.  The rigors of spawning and the rising water temperature have these fish hungry and feeding aggressively for long periods of time. Even when the weather is off, these fish can still be caught in abundance right now.

We gave the original MAL Lure a workout with 6 rods going constantly and everyone tuned in with Garmin LiveScope to make up for some lost time in loading up on the white bass we caught and released.

MAL Lures  are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 92 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Shad were running hard in a number of areas this morning, thanks to a balmy southerly wind and an air temperature greater than the water temperature experienced overnight.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 12:00 Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  0.56 feet low, +0.13 24-hour change, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 66.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12-14 the entire morning with gusts 15-16

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover at trip start time, steadily clearing to blue skies with <20% white cloud cover by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Last Quarter with 53% illum.

GT = 35

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 835 to 344 – 5 fish on live shad including our only 2 legal hybrid

**Area B0083G – a suspended band of white bass between 45-50 feet which were tapering off as we encountered them

**Area 1469 to 295 – caught most of our white bass here with 6 short hops

**Area B0077G – added a final 12 to our count here around noon as the bite was shutting down quickly

 

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

3rd SKIFF TRIP OF 2021 — 137 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, May 1st, I conducted the third SKIFF trip of the 2021 season.

SKIFF is an acronym for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. It is a program now in its 12th year, sponsored by the Austin Fly Fishers, and supported by individuals and entities, all of whom desire that kids separated from a parent by that parent’s military duty, be given an opportunity to experience the outdoors through fishing during that time of separation, free of charge.  The program offers a time of respite for the home-front parents who made need a short break from single-parenting.

This morning I was joined by 15-year-old Matthew Merchant of Copperas Cove.  Matthew’s dad, US Army Captain Courtney Merchant, is currently separated from his family attending a course qualifying him to become a hospital chaplain.  He has been away from his family for over a year’s time now.

Following Chaplain Merchant’s graduation later this month up in Washington, the entire family will relocate from Fort Hood to Fort Gordon, Georgia.  Having been the son of a soldier and having attended three high schools in four years, I sympathized with what Matthew and his sister, Allison, are facing.

 

Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide, Central Texas Fishing Guide

PHOTO CAPTION:   Matthew Merchant, son of US Army Captain Courtney Merchant and his wife, Michelle, enjoyed a catch of 137 fish on Stillhouse.  This trip, offered free of charge, was sponsored by the Austin Fly Fisher’s SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) program.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday (AM), 01 May 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

This trip came together, literally, overnight.  I had another trip planned with a pair of brothers, aged 12 and 14, but, when their mom saw the rainy forecast, she opted to reschedule.  I knew there was great potential for success given the low pressure system causing the rain, and, since I’d fished with Matthew once before and knew he was pretty resilient, offered to take him on last-minute’s notice.

As I arrived at lakeside and prepped for the trip, I did so in a steady, light rain.  As Matthew arrived at 7:30AM, we got him into a “loaner” rainsuit, as it was still raining.  It continued to rain as we made our way to our first fishing area, but then had stopped by the time we arrived.  It never rained another drop for our entire 4 hours on the water.

We spent an unproductive first hour flat-line trolling in shallow water because 1) it was so grey and gloomy, I felt shallow water fish would be our best option (where light was penetrating to bottom well), and 2) I suspected late-returning spawned out white bass would be around.  This did not work out.

I began searching deeper and we finally put the puzzle together finding fish around the 30-foot mark, just as they have been at Belton Lake lately.  We fished 4 areas successfully, all with vertical tactics using the MAL Lure on spinning gear.  Each scenario was nearly identical … we’d spot fish on sonar holding within a foot of bottom, Spot-Lock atop them, get them stirred up by working our lures, then, once the first fish or two was hooked, the whole school in that vicinity would engage and we’d catch the fire out of them for 10-15 minutes until the flurry settled back down, tapered off, and necessitated a move.

Sonar was the key today.  There were no birds feeding, no bait skipping on the surface, no fish boiling, nor any other clue to the fishes’ presence other than sonar signatures.

We finished up at 11:30 with 137 fish landed, 100% of which were white bass.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 137 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Rain driven by low-pressure often yields better than average results and, as was the case today, just about cleared the lake of other boaters/anglers.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:30A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F

Elevation:  0.27 feet low, +0.01 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 68.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE9-11

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning; sun breaking through as we arrived back at the dock

Moon Phase: Last quarter; 53% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0005C – 52 whites on MAL Lures

**Area vic 810 – 10 whites on MAL Lures

**Area vic 547 – 32 whites on MAL Lures

**Area vic 074 – 43 whites on MAL Lures

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

SECOND SKIFF TRIP OF THE SEASON — 62 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday evening, April 29th, I conducted the second SKIFF trip of the 2021 season.

SKIFF is an acronym for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. It is a program now in its 12th year, sponsored by the Austin Fly Fishers, and supported by individuals and entities, all of whom desire that kids separated from a parent by that parent’s military duty, be given an opportunity to experience the outdoors through fishing during that time of separation, free of charge.  The program offers a time of respite for the home-front parents who made need a short break from single-parenting.

On this SKIFF adventure, I welcomed aboard Mrs. Ashley Patton and her two daughters, Willow and Athena Tripp.

The girls’ father, U.S. Army Sergeant Brian Tripp is currently away from Fort Hood attending short-term training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.  Tripp, who has served for nine years, serves soldiers by providing communications connectivity to remote locations.

Patton is herself a veteran, having served as a U.S. Army combat medic.  She and Tripp met while on active duty.

Patton heard of the SKIFF program through a posting on the Fort Hood Area Events Facebook page.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Athena Tripp, Ashley Patton, and Willow Tripp with a few of the 38 white bass the girls landed from over 30 feet of water using MAL Lures as a wet cold front moved into Central Texas on Thursday afternoon.

PHOTO CAPTION:  We started off simply by fishing with pole and float for sunfish at the trip’s start, and got more technical as the afternoon moved along.  Here is Willow Tripp with her largest bluegill sunfish.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Athena Tripp didn’t let a little cool drizzle ruin her after-school fishing trip.  This was one of the first sunfish she landed from shallow water.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (PM), 29 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

As a mild, wet cold front made its way into Central Texas, Patton arrived at Lake Belton around 4:30 p.m. after picking her girls up from school.

As the primary guide for the SKIFF program, I was present to welcome the family, provide them with a safety briefing, adjust the equipment to the girls’ statures, and help them be successful.

We began the trip fishing for sunfish with poles to which fixed lengths of fishing line were attached.  We targeted small fish in shallow water with this simple approach, and then layered in more complexity as the trip continued on.

By the end of the girls’ afternoon on the water, they were reading sonar, using custom-made MAL Lures to fish vertically for white bass in water well over thirty feet deep, and they did an amazing job at luring, hooking, and landing fish after fish.

In just over three hours’ time the sisters landed sixty-two fish, including twenty-four sunfish, and thirty-eight white bass.

We fished only two areas for this entire time.  Thanks to the incoming cold front, and despite the uncomfortable conditions above the water line, the fish really turned on as the winds shifted to the north and began to pick up speed.  The white bass we encountered stayed up well into the lower half of the water column the entire time we fished for them in about 32 feet of water.

As is often the case as we watch the fish we are fishing for on Garmin LiveScope, those fish highest in the water column tended to be the most eager to chased down and bite the MAL Lure.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 62 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  4:30P

End Time: 8:00P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 67F

Elevation:  0.86 feet low, +0.04 24-hour change, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 67.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm for first 30 minutes, then ENE under 6 for balance of trip

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Two days past full moon

GT = 100

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  504 for shallow sunfish

**Area  1362 for white bass spurred on by incoming coldfront in 32′

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

TODAY’S STORY WAS LAST NIGHT’S WEATHER — 77 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This past Thursday, April 29th, I fished with Mr. Eddie Dunn of Troup, TX, and his long-time friend and fellow teacher, coach, and school administrator, Joe Oliver.

Back when we first put this trip on the books, we’d hoped to target hybrid, but the hybrid fishing has been dismal thus far this 2021 season, hence, I explained all of our options and our chances of success accompanying those options, and Eddie and Joe decided they would like to chase high numbers of white bass instead, agreeing that the time on the water was as much about fellowship as it was about fish-catching.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left, Joe Oliver and Eddie Dunn with a few of the 64 fish we took on MAL Lures in the opening 2 hours of our trip, before retooling and dropping live baits down in hopes of luring hybrid striped bass.  They went on to land a total of 77 fish in conditions made tough by a wet cold front moving in.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 29 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The big story today was the weather story last night.  Starting around 8pm last night, the lead edge of a storm cell moved into Central Texas from the west and cleared out around 4am.  The storm dropped rain area wide and was accompanied by sporadic bouts of violent weather (high winds, hail, tornado warnings, etc.).  Additionally, a mild, wet cold front also advanced into the region causing a wind shift.  This definitely impacted the steady feed of grey clouds and southerly breezes we’ve enjoyed of late, and put the fish off a bit.

The fish were still plentiful and still fed pretty readily, but the numbers of fish seen rising into the water column, and the speed and aggression level they demonstrated were both much reduced versus the past few days with their ideal spring weather conditions.

When I arrived at Lake Belton pre-dawn, the lake was calm, and the skies were grey with thin cloud cover (with indirect moonlight from the near-full moon showing through).  I was reassured that we’d be able to catch fish despite the abrupt change in weather when I witnessed abundant spawning shad this morning at Area SHAD029.

When Eddie and Joe arrived, I went over the correct use of the MAL Lure and we set off to find and catch fish.  By 9:45 they had boated 64 fish (all white bass in the 1, 2, and 3-year class) and we could have kept right on going, however, I offered that we could change things up a bit by running live baits down on tight lines in an attempt to catch some hybrid striped bass.

By now, a light easterly wind was developing and a very fine mist had begun to fall.

We put another 1.75 hours of effort into it, fishing 4 distinct areas.  We found results much the same at the first three in that the out-sized threadfin shad I had hand-culled were attacked by 3- and 4-year class white bass before anything else had a chance to come near.  Once sonar indicated that the whites had saturated the area, we moved on.  We wound up catching 13 more fish, including 12 white bass and 1 smallmouth bass.  We had one pulldown by a hybrid, but didn’t connect with it.

We wrapped up around 11:45 with 77 fish landed on the morning.

MAL Lures  are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 77 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: I was pleasantly surprised to see shad spawning in the morning calm just before (obscured) sunrise this morning despite the turbulent overnight weather; this is atypical.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:15A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Elevation:  0.86 feet low, +0.04 24-hour change, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 67.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm for first 30 minutes, then ENE under 6 for balance of trip

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Two days past full moon

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0172C; MAL Lures

**Area vic 1369 to 381 with 3 short hops; MAL Lures

**Area B0028C ; Live shad; several large white bass

**Area B0082G; Live shad; several large white bass & 1 smallmouth

**Area 192; Live shad; several large white bass

**Area B0066G; Live shad; no takers

 

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

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec