WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, May 9, I welcomed a crew of six first-time guests aboard for a morning of catch-and-release white bass fishing on Lake Belton.

Mr. Mark Ratcliffe put everything together and provided a great outing for his two adult sons, Justin and Jeremy, as well as three friends of theirs from the Netherlands. Sven Van Den Oever is Mark’s future son-in-law, and joining Sven were his dad, Antoon Van Den Oever, and Sven’s uncle, Johan Holland.

The Ratcliffes run Technique Flooring and Restoration in Killeen, Sven is pursuing his masters in business administration, while coaching soccer at a Christian college in Oklahoma, Antoon develops drawings for construction, and Johan is a welder.

If you are wondering about the title, ‘Vissen met Vrienden‘ means Fishing with Friends (or at least that is what Sven told me, but, if I get banned from Facebook overnight, you’ll know Sven did me wrong!).

Here is how the fishing went…


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability:

Next available dates are June 21, 22, 27, & 28 (all AM)



PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Mark Ratcliffe, Antoon Van Den Oever, Jeremy and Justin Ratcliffe, Johan Holland, and Antoon Van Den Oever with some of the white bass they caught and released using a combination of smoked MAL Lures and downrigged Pet Spoons.



PHOTO CAPTION:  Triple!  Antoon landed both of our two sets of triples as we downrigged for white bass late in the trip.  We used silver #13 Pet Spoons with silver prismatic tape on the bodies and yellow tails behind umbrella rigs.


WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday, 09 May 2023 (AM)


In what has become the norm of late, we had a great low light bite from about 6:50 to around 8:10AM. During this time, the fish were as active as they would be over our entire trip, with fish pursuing our smoked MAL Lures aggressively, and for long distances up off the bottom. The fish themselves were often positioned several feet up off the bottom, and they were seen moving quickly as they swam horizontally passing under the boat.

Around 8:10, the bite began to cool off rapidly, and we had to work for our fish from that point until around 10:10 AM. During this time I moved from group of fish to group of fish as seen (typically) on side imaging, I then Spot-Locked us atop these fish and, with the assistance of Garmin LiveScope, we fished them only until the initial surge of interest waned, and then we moved on.  To stay any longer just saw the law of diminishing returns kick in and the fish & fishing get slower and slower with time.

For our final hour, I planned ahead to downrig as both a means to catch our final fish of the morning, and to offer some variety.

Earlier in the trip I asked Mark, of the six people in his party, which would he identify as the two most mechanically inclined. He said his sons and Johan, the welder, would be his picks. I went with the English-speaking brothers and recruited them to be the ones working the downriggers so I would be free to watch sonar and pilot the boat from group of fish to group of fish as they appeared on sonar.

Justin and Jeremy did a great job keeping baits in the water and fishing effectively. In our final 50 minutes on the water, we boated 31 more fish, taking our count from 75 up to 106. This included two sets of triples, both landed by Antoon, as well as a numerous doubles and singles. These all came on three-armed umbrella rigs equipped with # 13 Pet Spoons.

Our 106-fish catch this morning consisted of 104 white bass and 2 short hybrid stripers.

Here is a video I put together on the Smoking Tactic:

And, here is a video I put together on the Sawtooth Method:

TALLY: 106 fish caught and released

Find the entire family of MAL Lures here:

OBSERVATIONS:  The migration of Franklin’s gulls looks like it is all but over now with but a handful of these very helpful birds witnessed this morning, for the second day in a row.  A few small flocks of Forster’s terns still remain, and ample white and blue herons are still signaling where the threadfin shad spawn is strong each morning.


Start Time: 6:45A

End Time: 12 Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Elevation: 13.71 feet low, 24 CFS flow, 0.01′ rise over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 70.2F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE8-9 all morning

Sky Condition: 100% moderate grey cloud cover all morning.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 91% illumination.

GT = 45




Area 473 – 15 fish on smoked MAL Heavy Lures with chartreuse tails

Area 1975 – 36 fish on smoked MAL Heavy Lures with chartreuse tails (2 hops)

Area vic B0041G – 20 fish on smoked MAL Heavy Lures with chartreuse tails (3 hops)

Area vic 187 to B0041G – 31 fish on downrigged Pet Spoons



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)





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