Fishin’ from a Boat with Her Papa – 55 Fish for Owen

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Tuesday, August 8th, I fished with first time guests Mr. Stephen Simank and his 7 1/2 year-old granddaughter, Owen. When Stephen first reached out to me, he let me know that Owen had landed a few sunfish under his tutelage, but she was now asking to catch “big fish“, and he was coming to me to help accomplish that before this young lady headed back to school.

I first got to know the Simank family through Mr. Dwight Stone of Georgetown, another one of my fishing clients. He introduced me to Stephen‘s son Kyle, who runs Guns Plus, a well-stocked, family-owned gun store with an on-site gunsmith located just east of the interstate in Georgetown.

Here is how the fishing went…


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

Next available dates are August 21 – 24 (AM)


PHOTO CAPTION:  That’s 7 1/2-year-old Owen doin’ it all by herself!  Owen landed 55 fish on her 3.5 hour “Kids Fish, Too!” trip accompanied by her Papa Stephen.


WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 08 August 2023


This was a “Kids Fish, Too!“ Trip, so, Stephen was there to help me help Owen be successful and not so much to catch fish on his own.

Whenever I have kids aboard under the age of nine or so, I understand attention spans are likely going to be short, so I come prepared to offer a variety of techniques for a variety of species.

This morning I came ready for white bass, catfish, and sunfish.  Fortunately, all three species cooperated.

We began our morning looking for the telltale signs of white bass feeding on shad on the surface. When white bass feed on young-of-the year shad, as they are doing now, this task is difficult enough. Couple that with any kind of chop created by the wind, and you really need a trained eye to see this activity.

We were fortunate to spot such activity right at 6:42 AM. We took advantage of what we found by running downriggers in and around the activity, and only casting when the action was literally at the boat. In this way, I was able to keep Owen engaged for the duration of the topwater bite. She landed singles, doubles, and an unheard of four sets of triples. All of these fish were taken on three armed umbrella rigs equipped with #12 Pet Spoons on one rig, and #13 Pet Spoons on the other.

With 30 fish in the boat and the sustained, low-light topwater action now ended, we continued looking on the surface for “popcorn“ activity, which we could sight-cast to. In this situation, Stephen and I would do the casting, and have Owen do the reeling and catch what she could, while Stephen and I also cast and handed hooked fish off to her. We found  action, but it was well-dispersed, so we left that behind fairly quickly and turned our attention tp catfish.

Before my crew’s arrival, I baited an area on bottom and just above the thermocline in order to attract catfish and get them to linger in the area for when we returned. I threw out a buoy to precisely mark the area and set a waypoint as a back up.

When we returned to the baited area, I set out three rods equipped with slip floats with a prepared bait mashed onto a treble hook equipped with a spring. We fished about 16 inches off the bottom.

The action was pretty solid and we wound up catching another seven catfish, including six channels, and one blue, and missing about the same number before Owen got antsy once again.

I relocated us to a new area, put downriggers down, found a school of fish fairly active in about 24 feet of water, and picked up one fish on the downrigger as we move through. I Spot-Locked and we worked this area over with MAL Heavies with white tails and picked up another five white bass before moving on to close out the morning with a round of shallow water sunfishing.

We ended the trip with Owen taking 55 fish and getting an introduction to multiple techniques and multiple species of fish on her first fishing trip by boat.

Our 55 fish catch consisted of 41 white bass, 6 channel catfish, 1 blue catfish, 1 longear sunfish, 5 bluegill sunfish, and 1 black-tailed shiner.

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released.

See a tutorial on the Smoking Method here:

Here is a tutorial on the Sawtooth Method:

Find the entire family of MAL Lures  here:

OBSERVATIONS: Here was the water temperature profile down to 50′ (Lake Belton, Monday, 07 Aug. 2023):

0 feet, 86.4F
5 feet, 86.5F
10 feet, 86.7F
15 feet, 86.7F
20 feet, 86.7F
25 feet, 84.7f
30 feet, 77.9F
35 feet, 72.7F
40 feet, 68.2F
45 feet, 65.6F
50 feet, 64.3F



Start Time: 6:30A

End Time: 10:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Elevation: 15.79 feet low, 56 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 86.4F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction:  S12-13 at trip’s start, then sustained at S13-14

Sky Condition: 0% cloud cover on a slightly hazy blue sky.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 49% illumination.

GT = 50




Area vic 347- downrigged in and around topwater for 30 fish

Area vic B0227G – 5 whites sightcasting to topwater action on MAL Minis

Area 1506 – 7 cats on prepared baits after chumming (6 channel, 1 blue)

Area B0042C – Found active whites by downrigging, the worked MAL Heavies – 6 fish on slipfloats

Area 1583 – 7 panfish on float rigs



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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