102 WHITE BASS ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning I fished with a crew of five from the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group (ASOG), headquartered at Fort Hood.

Included in the crew were Mike Stock, who coordinated the trip, D.V. Dvareckas, Chaplain Steve Kim, Matt Getz, and Julian Rey.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Chaplain Steve Kim, Julian “Doohickey” Rey, Mike Stock, Matt Getz, and D.V. Dvareckas, all of the USAF’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 15 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Due in part to yet another marginal wind forecast (I was concerned about winds too high to be out in open water on either Belton or Stillhouse today with forecasts for 15mph straight-line, gusting 22), and good success on Lake Belton yesterday, I opted to run this morning’s trip on Lake Belton so I’d have some options on protected water.

We got right onto fish this morning, doing the same things in the same places as yesterday morning, thanks to near-identical weather.  These low-light fish were up in about 24 feet of water, grouped tightly, and ready to feed.  Four of my five fellows had prior experience with spinning rods, so the casting accuracy and distance required to reach out horizontally to these fish was not an issue as we employed the “sawtooth method” using MAL Heavy Lures with white blade/chartreuse tail.  The gusts of wind were a bit of a challenge at times as I had all 5 men abreast of one another casting straight out in front of themselves.  In this situation, the wind would blow a belly of slack downwind into the next guy’s “lane”, but, for 4+ hours of casting, we had relatively few tangles.

We landed 18 fish very quickly before that early surge of activity died down.  The cloud cover thickened up at that point, and it actually got darker out.  The fish did not respond well to that, and we went about 35 minutes before contacting fish again.   When we did, they were in ~35 feet, still grouped tightly, albeit a bit less aggressive.  It was at this point that I introduced the vertical tactics we would alternate to over the course of the morning, making use of MAL Heavy Lures (with white tail) seen clearly on Garmin LiveScope used in downward mode to monitor both fish and baits.  We added another 18 fish to our count by working vertically, taking our tally to 36 fish by 9 a.m. as we saw this bite taper off.

Watching 5 active duty airmen acting like kids in a candy store over the Garmin LiveScope was a comical thing to hear to behold.  As Julian reeled his MAL Lure up off the bottom and timed its rise to intersect a school of white bass moving parallel to the bottom and up about 4 feet off of it, he watched the red signature of his lure and the red signature of the fish merge into one as his rod loaded under the weight of the fish he just hooked.  He (literally) yelled (and quite loudly), “YES, I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!!  I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!!”.

It was around this same time (just after 9 a.m.) yesterday that we made a move which set us up for a very productive final two hours, so, I made that same move today, and once again it paid off.

We found fish using side-imaging, positioned the boat cross-wind from them and within a cast’s distance, then barraged these fish with MAL Heavy Lures cast horizontally and worked back to the boat using a sawtooth tactic.  Since the men already had exposure to, and success with, the Garmin LiveScope, I left the transducers in the water and three units turned on so everyone could monitor the water column beneath them.  Whenever a “pack” of fish moved under the boat, they’d change over to a vertical presentation, then return to a horizontal presentation once these fish directly beneath the boat had moved on.

Over the next 2 hours we worked our tally up to 89 fish by 11 a.m.   Since we’d gotten off to a bit of a later start than I’d hoped for, I told the fellows we’d stay until 11:25 or 100 fish, whichever came first.

By 11:18 we saw the morning’s 100th fish swing over the side, then, just for good measure, we landed 2 more as I was prepping the boat for travel back to the dock.  Our catch consisted of 100% white bass today.

The horizontal fishing was accomplished using the MAL Heavy Lure with a white blade and with a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

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

TALLY: 102 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker, Hurricane Nicholas, has moved inland north and east of Louisiana; we saw the last of the outer bands of cloud cover through around 10:45, then rapid clearing and brightening took place.

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.60′ low, .03′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 41cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.4

Wind Speed & Direction: NE8-12 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Hurricane Nicholas which is NE of Louisiana

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 60-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Hurricane Nicholas passed overhead; the final bands of clouds cleared by 10:45; skies brightened quickly thereafter

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 68% illumination.

GT = 38

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 813

**Area vic 1933/B0132C

**Area 171/788

**Area B0116C

 

 

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 #mepps

WHITE BASS FIRST-TIMERS – 136 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Due to a marginal wind forecast (I was concerned about winds too high to be out in open water on either Belton or Stillhouse today with forecasts for 15mph straight-line, gusting 22), I opted to run this morning’s trip on Lake Belton so I’d have some options on protected water.

I fished this morning with U.S. Army Major Jon Austin and his wife, Lauren.  As a man directly involved in his unit’s operations, MAJ Austin’s schedule is full all the time.  When he earned some much-needed downtime, he and Lauren dropped their 6-year-old twin boys off at school and came and joined me for a little time spent together and away from life’s pressures for a few hours.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   U.S. Army Major Jon Austin and his wife, Lauren, on their first-ever white bass fishing trip.  The couple used vertical and horizontal tactics to catch the lion’s share of their fish, with a bit of exposure to downrigging and topwater sight-casting, as well.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 14 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

This trip allowed me to compare and contrast Belton versus Stillhouse under similar weather conditions.  In general, the bite was better in the latter part of the morning on both lakes, but we caught fish steadily in the first two hours on Belton, whereas Stillhouse was shut down tight for the first two hours after sunrise yesterday.  Generally, there were more, but smaller, fish to be had on Belton, with much better quality over on Stillhouse.  Finally, the ratio of fish caught on a vertical presentation versus a horizontal presentation was roughly 1 to 5 in favor of the horizontal (or “sawtooth”) retrieve on both lakes.

We encountered fish in three distinct areas this morning, catching 28 fish in our first two hours of fishing in 30-38 feet of water after spotting loosely assembled white bass on or near bottom, Spot-Locking close to them, fishing very quickly with a vertical presentation (aided by Garmin LiveScope) until the fish turned off to that, then immediately transitioning over to the sawtooth method.

Same went for our second area which we fished in the third and fourth hours of the trip, only our fish count went way up as the fish seemed to get more aggressive as the wind and light level rose (through 100% grey skies).  In the second two hours we landed 78 more fish through 12:05 p.m.

After we had essentially packed it in and were heading back to the boat ramp, I spotted multiple schools of white bass which had forced shad to the surface and were feeding on them there.  Even in the chop created by the 11-12 mph N. wind, the white spray from these primarily 2-year class fish could be see fairly easily.

We eased in with the trolling motor in advance of their direction of travel and caught them as they came to us, as surrounded us, and as they moved beyond us.

We added a final 30 fish to our tally in an unplanned additional 15-20 minutes throwing MAL Heavy Lures in white to these fish.  Most fish regurgitated multiple young of the year shad between 1 1/8 and 1 3/4 inches in length.

The horizontal fishing was accomplished using the MAL Heavy Lure with a white blade and with a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

We landed 128 white bass, 7 undersized hybrid stripers, and 1 largemouth bass.  As it turned out, the wind never really would have been an issue, but, better safe than sorry in this business!

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

TALLY: 136 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker right now and for the next 2 days is Hurricane Nicholas, which made landfall early this morning.

Start Time: 8:00A

End Time: 12:45P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.57′ low, .02′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 41cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.8

Wind Speed & Direction: N8-12 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Hurricane Nicholas which is in the Gulf north of Galveston

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 20-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Hurricane Nicholas passed overhead.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 57% illumination.

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1933 to 1791 – 28 fish at a slow, but steady pace in our first 2 hours

**Area vic 691 – 78 fish at a strong pace for our final 2 hours

**Area 1562 – strong topwater feed from mouth to mid-point

 

 

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 #mepps

I’LL TAKE THAT AS A COMPLIMENT — 66 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: After a lengthy break from fishing our local waters, I returned to Texas Saturday, and guided my party of three this morning on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

I’d spent a week vacationing with my wife in Oregon last week, and, due to bright, calm conditions forecast for the entire week prior to that, I only conducted sonar training at that time, so, I’d not actually wet a line on Stillhouse since Aug. 26th.

This morning, I fished with a trio of returning guests.  Shawn Leverington, a U.S. Army officer working out of North Fort Hood booked the trip while his dad, John Leverington, a soon-to-retire missionary, would be in Texas for a visit.  Shawn also invited his friend, Jerry Saikley, who works with military contractors on West Fort Hood, along for the trip.

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left, John and Shawn Leverington, and Jerry Saikley with white bass they took on the MAL Heavy with white blade using a sawtooth tactic.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 13 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Generally speaking, the fishing is just so-so right now, and will likely continue to be that way until cooler fall weather arrives and the water temperature begins to trend downward.  The bite today, as it had been for most of the latter half of August, was a late morning bite, with nearly all of our action coming in the last 2+ hours.

Although we found fish in the first two hours, these fish were moving slowly if at all, they were tight to the bottom, and they were very reluctant to chase.  After a 7:15 a.m. start, we’d only landed 2 fish and missed a third by 9:00 a.m.

The window of time from 9:15 a.m. through 10:35 a.m. produced best for us this morning.  During this time the fish became much more active, rising 3-5 feet off bottom to patrol aggressively for shad.  The fish responded to both vertical and horizontal presentations.  The horizontal fishing was accomplished using a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

A big key to the sawtooth method is knowing which side of the boat the greatest number of active fish are on, and about how far from the boat they are located.  This is all gauged via very well-tuned side-imaging sonar (I’m using my H’bird Solix 15 for this task).

The go-to bait for the sawtooth fishing this morning was the MAL Heavy with white blade and chartreuse tail.

Between 10:45 and 11:45 we saw a slow taper from post-peak to nil, and wrapped up at 11:45.

After landing his fair share of the fish, and as we fished our last area of the morning, John hooked up with three fish in quick succession.  He “lamented” at that point, “Man, my wrist is really sore,” to which I replied, “Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

We landed 66 white bass.

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

TALLY: 66 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker right now and for the next 3 days will be Tropical Storm Nicholas which is now in the Gulf between the Tex/Mex border and may strengthen to a Cat. 1 hurricane overnight.

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.18′ low, .03′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.7

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE6-11 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Tropical Storm Nicholas which is in the Gulf between the Tex/Mex border.

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 20-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Tropical Storm Nicholas passed overhead.

Moon Phase: First quarter at 46% illumination.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 251-SH0066G – 23 of our first 25 fish landed here, starting around 9:15.

**Area 828 – 25 white bass here, mostly via sawtooth method

198/SH0057C – final 16 fish landed here from 10:40 to 11:45 (at a slower catch rate than previous two areas as the bite tapered off).

 

 

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 #mepps