SUMMER’S LAST HOORAH! — 63 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 9th, I fished with three returning guests — Dr. Jim Wood of McGregor, TX, and two of his grandkids, Jack (age 12), and Charlotte Bailey (age 9), from Colleyville, TX.

The kids head back to school next Wednesday and this was the last “big event” on their calendar for the summer of 2021.

PHOTO CAPTION: Charlotte and Jack Bailey were treated to a morning of white bass fishing by their grandpa, Jim Wood.  The trio landed 63 fish this morning using downriggers early on, then working white MAL Heavy Lures vertically for the final 45 fish.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 09 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

There is a bit of a “back story” before getting to the fishing.  First, over the weekend the USACE closed the dams at both Belton and Stillhouse for the first time in many weeks, so, we now have a no-flow scenario which is more normal for summertime.  Next, we’ve finally settled into a more normal summer weather pattern with a ridge of high pressure sitting atop us, thus making for “cookie cutter” weather from this past Saturday through at least the end of the week.  Under such conditions the fish get very “patternable”.  So, the trick today was to figure out that pattern so we could catch fish today, and plan for success for the remainder of the week.

Hence, I paid very close attention to the times we fished the various locations we fished, and noted when the fish started biting at a given area, when they stopped biting there, and how relatively aggressive that bite was.

The fishing started this morning close to 7A, just as the sun cleared the eastern horizon and the low bank of clouds just above it.

We took our first 18 fish on downriggers as the fish and bait began to “come alive” with the brightening sky.  Of these 18, eight fish came as doubles on the 3-armed umbrella rigs we were using (x2), each equipped with Luhr Jensen Pet Spoons.

By 7:40A, the fish began to come off that “low-light” feed which, in the summer, is normally the strongest feeding time.

From that point on, we hunted packs of fish in open water, relying on well-tuned sonar and looking specifically for fish holding tight to the bottom.  When we found them, we all worked white MAL Heavy Lures vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope to dupe them into biting.

We had to move often, and all the more so as the morning got later and the fish grew less and less willing to chase.  We wound up fishing 4 distinct areas and doing a few “short hops” at each to keep our strings stretched.  In the end, we added another 43 white bass and 2 freshwater drum to our tally with this approach.

By the time we finished up around 10:50, the winds were going straightline at 16mph with higher gusts, and building.  Today was to be the windiest day of the week, with southerly winds called for all week.

In all, we landed 61 white bass and 2 freshwater drum this morning.

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

TALLY: 63 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) No topwater action observed. 2) USACE stopped releasing water at both Belton and Stillhouse this weekend.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:40A

End Time: 10:50A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Elevation:   0.56′ high, .02′ fall, and a flow of 1cfs

Water Surface Temp: 84.9

Wind Speed & Direction: S11 at sunrise, steadily increasing to S16 with higher gusts by trip’s end.

Sky Condition: 40-50% white cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 1% illumination

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1397 to SH0031G – downrigging for 18 fish until the skies brightened

**Area SH0062G – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass

**Area SH0061G – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass; 2 short hops

**Area 1224 to SH0059C – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass; 2 short hops

**Area SH0063G – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass

 

 

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

AS SEEN ON TV — 22 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, August 5th, I conducted the season’s 8th SKIFF program fishing trip for kids whose parents are separated from them due to military duty.

Joining me were the three sons of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (SFC) Edwin Villalobos — Damion Guillen (age 16), Damien Villalobos (age 16), and Xavier Guillen (age 13).

Also aboard for a portion of the trip was Olivia Levada, a reporter with Spectrum News 1 Texas.  She heard of the SKIFF program and decided to do a story about it.  She met with the kids prior to the trip and interviewed them, then joined us this morning to gather some on-the-water footage. The story should run the week of Aug. 9th.

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 may need a short break from single-parenting.

The boys’ father has been in the military for 16 years.  He is currently serving as a mechanic and has been deployed to Poland for several months.  He is due to redeploy during the month of August.

Those interested in a SKIFF fishing trip may simply call me at 254.368.7411 to coordinate.

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left, Xavier Guillen, Damien Villalobos, and Dameon Guillen with a few of the white bass they worked for this morning.  The boys were treated to this outing through the SKIFF program while their dad is deployed to Poland.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 5 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Some quirky weather produced some quirky fishing this morning, but, despite their inexperience, the boys listened well, learned quickly, stayed optimistic, and, in the end, were rewarded with a decent catch.

The cold front which moved through early in the week pushed back north as a warm front about mid-day.  Although the weatherman said we’d have southeasterly winds this morning, they were actually still blowing ENE, thus greatly diminishing the likelihood of a topwater bite, which was the whole reason I’d chosen to take the boys to Lake Belton in the first place.

A few minutes after sunrise, we noticed a very light topwater feed and landed our first few fish of the morning while sight casting to those fish.

Olivia got a few photos, asked a few more questions, and by then had all she needed for the story, so, we dropped her off and continued fishing.

Our best action came from 10:00 to 10:45 as we found a school of white bass in a neutral mood laying on bottom as we observed side-imaging.  I positioned the boat so the boys could cast off the port side as they stood abreast of one another.  We used a sawtooth tactic to work MAL Heavy Lures back to the boat successfully, taking our morning’s catch to a total of 22 fish.

The boys really had to stick with it to accomplish this, but, in the end, each of them cast to, retrieved, hooked, landed, and released their own fish a few times over and even asked for an “extension”, so, we spent another 45 minutes on the water before mom’s deadline kicked in and we had to wrap up.

We ended up with exactly 22 white bass this morning.

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

TALLY: 22 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Stillhouse was still releasing at 201 cfs this morning.  Only saw three brief instances of topwater action all morning.  All were light and short-lived.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Elevation:   0.37′ high, .02′ fall, and a flow of 1590cfs

Water Surface Temp: 85.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE under 4 mph all morning.

Sky Condition: Skies were 30% cloud covered at trip’s start, with coverage growing greyer and thicker as the morning moved on with an approaching warm front.

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 9% illumination

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1642 – light topwater just after sunrise for ~10 minutes

**Area vic 172 – sawtooth method with MAL Heavy Lures from 10:00 to 10:45 after a slow mid-morning period

 

 

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

SOLO SIXTY – 60 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, August 4th, I fished with first-time guest John Gossard of Morgan’s Point Resort, Texas.

John retired from the U.S. Air Force, then went on to retire from 3M after working at their Austin location.

As we got to comparing notes about places the military and fishing had taken us both, he had especially fond memories of catching blue and striped marlin out of Cabo San Lucas.

PHOTO CAPTION: John Gossard effectively worked an MAL Heavy Lure all morning in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope to put together a solo 60-fish, 4 hour morning.  Multiple fish exceeded 14 inches.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 04 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

I shared with John about this morning’s trip being the only one of the week I was a bit concerned about after studying the wind and weather forecast.  We are still in a post-frontal situation following the passage of two cold fronts in rapid succession on Sunday evening and on Monday morning.

Today’s winds were supposed to be light and from the ENE, with less cloud cover than we’ve enjoyed the past several days.  Had the forecast had calm winds and clear skies, I would have postponed the trip.  As it was, we were due to have a little of both, so I felt we’d be okay.

As I prepared the boat after launching, I was glad to see more wind and cloud cover already in place than the weatherman guesstimated, and we found the fish in fine form this morning.

We downrigged for our first 9 fish, including two sets of triples, a double, and a single all in a matter of 10-15 minutes before the thin cloud cover let enough light through to illuminate the depths and get the white bass patrolling for shad.

Once I saw fish hunting forage, we immediately changed over to MAL Heavy Lures (I used chartreuse, John used white, and we did equally well) in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.

John watched the pre-trip video I sent him describing the “dos and don’ts” of working the MAL Lure, and did well coming out of the blocks.  With very little coaching, he was effectively using the lure and catching fish steadily.

We looked at five areas this morning, finding fish at three of them, with the results declining at each as the morning moved on, the skies brightened, and the wind settled.

By 10:10 things ground to a halt, and by 10:30 we were back at the dock.

In all, we landed 60 white bass this morning.

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

TALLY: 60 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  1) Very light topwater action by schoolie largemouth was witnessed as the winds went nearly calm around 10am, but the action was so widespread that it was not enough to stop and fish for. 2) USACE is still releasing at 1,589 cfs on Belton.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30A

End Time: 10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Elevation:   0.74′ high, .06′ fall, and a flow of 201cfs

Water Surface Temp: 84.9

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE6-7 at sunrise, slowly tapering to near calm by 10:30.

Sky Condition: Thin grey cloud cover for the first 2 hours after sunrise, then clearing to a hazy, brighter sky.

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 16% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1424 – downrig w/ transition to vertical MAL Lure work as skies brightened

**Area 910/1102 – MAL Heavy in white & in chartreuse worked vertically for solid results on white bass; 2 short hops

**Area SH0059G9 – MAL Heavy in white and in chartreuse worked vertically for solid results on white bass

 

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

STILL BLOWIN’ NORTHERLY – 72 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 3rd, I fished with returning guest Stiles Parker, joined by first-time guest Steve Parker, Stiles’ dad.

Stiles works as a commission-only salesman in the construction industry, and resides in the Georgetown, TX, area.

He and his wife, Sarah, are excitedly anticipating the arrival of their second child, a daughter, in September.

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left, Stiles and Steve Parker with a pair of quality white bass, representative of the quality of fish we took all morning, primarily fishing MAL Heavy Lures vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 03 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Yesterday’s on again/off again rain showers fueled by the passage of a low-level cold front (in the wake of Sunday’s cold front) stopped just before sunset yesterday, leaving cool, cloudy conditions in place for this morning’s fishing.

Stiles and Steve arrived early so as to see how I use my bungee-cord contraption to quickly launch my boat solo.

After that demo, we loaded up and made our way to the fishing grounds.

Steve was excited to see the Garmin LiveScope in action as the last sonar he used had rolls of temperature-sensitive graph paper in them!!  Aside from that, Stiles had really “talked up” the technology from his several previous trips out with me.

With the low-light level made dimmer than usual by the clouds, the deep-water bite didn’t immediately fire up, so, we took a couple of downrigger passes catching fish on each pass until the fish came alive and began to reveal themselves positioned up off bottom and in a feeding posture.

We worked 3-armed umbrella rigs on a pair of identical, limber, fiberglass downrigger rods, with each umbrella equipped with Pet Spoons selected to match the approx. size of the forage.

From that point on we worked MAL Heavy Lures in white color for the remainder of the trip, sitting on our first area for an unusually long hour-plus.  After that, around 9:00, as the bite began to wane, we moved and more briefly fished four additional areas, three of which produced fish for us, through about 10AM, when the fellows decided to call it a great day in the outdoors and head back in.

In all, we landed 72 fish, including 71 white bass and 1 freshwater drum.

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

TALLY: 72 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 1) Saw a handful of grey terns this morning and yesterday morning.  2) USACE is releasing at 1,590 cfs on Belton.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30A

End Time: 10:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:   0.77′ high, .04′ fall, and a flow of 201cfs

Water Surface Temp: 85.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE6-9 all morning

Sky Condition: Light grey cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 24% illumination

GT = 85

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1424 – downrig w/ transition to vertical MAL Lure work as skies brightened

**Area 1968 – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass

**Area vic 198 – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass

**Area SH0052C/1569 – MAL Heavy in white worked vertically for solid results on white bass

 

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

AN AUGUST COLD FRONT — WHAT UNIVERSE IS THIS? — 61 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 2nd, I fished a “Kids Fish, Too!” trip with cousins Luke and Liam Shinners and Cooper Wankerl, all from the Georgetown area. The twins are headed into 5th grade this coming school year, and Cooper joins the 4th grade ranks.

The boys came out with me exactly one year ago on this date, accompanied then, as they were today, by the twins’ dad, Brian Shinners, and Steve Murphy, the boys’ grandfather.

On that trip, the boys landed exactly 70 fish, of which 23 were sunfish.  I normally reserve sunfishing for younger and/or less experienced kids.  This morning we pursued only white bass, given the boys’ ages, experience level, and level of interest.  They stuck with the program and did very well.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left, Luke Shinners, Cooper Wankerl, and Liam Shinners with the “first fruits” of our morning effort on Stillhouse on a morning greatly influenced by an atypical summer cold front’s arrival.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 02 August 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The 800-pound gorilla in the room this morning was weather.  We had a cold front move over Central Texas around 5pm last night, and then a mild, low level cold front pass this morning.  I felt that as long as we had wind and cloud cover, we’d be able to catch fish.

We delayed our intended 6:30A start to 7:00A as an ominous storm cell worked its way toward us from the Florence area.  It fizzled within 30 minutes, after which we got down to business.

The morning activity started strong and slowly but steadily tapered to nil by 11:15A.

We bounced back and forth between downrigging with Pet Spoon-equipped 3-armed umbrella rigs and using white MAL Heavy Lures presented vertically with the aid of Garmin LiveScope, finding quality fish all morning within 4 feet of bottom.

As we came off the water, the ambient air temperature had risen from 75F to only 78F, and would only make it to the mid-80’s in the heat of the afternoon.  Crazy!  And wonderful to be out in!

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

TALLY: 61 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 1) The shad which our fish regurgitated this morning was of a much greater size than the young of the year shad I’ve seen of late.  2) USACE is releasing at 1,595 cfs on Belton.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:   0.82′ high, .05′ fall, and a flow of 201cfs

Water Surface Temp: 87.3F

Wind Speed & Direction: WSW3-9 all morning

Sky Condition: Varying degrees of cloud density with completely greyed skies all morning; three brief shots of light rain.

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 32% illumination

GT = 20

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area triangulated by SH0048G/258/950 – downrigging, transitioning to vertical MAL work with LiveScope & back again for 58 fish

**Area 1741 – downrigged for 3 fish from the same suspended school at trip’s end

 

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

…HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR MORGAN, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU — 101 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday morning I fished Lake Belton on a birthday trip for Morgan Locklin of Belton.  Morgan’s dad, Jason, put the whole thing together for Morgan and three of his buddies.

One of those buddies took ill at the last minute, so, only James Bateman and Brennen Brautigan were aboard a friends for the birthday trip.

We booked this as a “Kids Fish, Too!”-style trip, so, only the boys did the fishing while Jason helped me help the boys be successful.  Jason was a huge asset, helping to untangle lines, take fish off the hook, keep hooks out of kids, set the downriggers up, keep the kids focused, and more.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left, James Bateman and Brennen Brautigan helped Morgan Locklin celebrate his 14th birthday in the outdoors, as arranged for by Morgan’s dad, Jason.  The boys landed 101 white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

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

HOW WE FISHED:

This trip divided nicely into two segments.  Segment one was a low-light bite which started with catching fish which were slowly warming up to the idea of feeding as sunrise approached.  We caught these fish by way of downrigging.

As we downrigged, surface action began, but was very short-lived.  Everyone got in some good sight-casting — just enough to whet our appetites … then they quit!  Where the surface action ended is where vertical work with MAL Heavy Lures began.  All told, we boated 24 fish in our first hour on the water employing these tactics.

Segment two began with much brighter conditions and with a near-calm surface which had me a bit worried.  We downrigged to cover ground while still having baits in the water.  We did not have to look long before we found a small area holding a lot of fish.  I positioned the boat so all three boys could lob casts over these fish and work their MAL Heavy Lures (in white) back through the fish using a sawtooth tactic.  See a detailed explanation of that here: SAWTOOTH

As this school of fish meandered about, I was able to keep up with them using both side-imaging and Garmin LiveScope, and made constant, small adjustments (with the Minn Kota “jog” function) so the boys were constantly throwing into the “center of mass” of the fish we were dealing with.

Occasionally, a break-away school of fish would pass right beneath us and I had the boys drop their MAL Lures straight down and work them vertically until the fish dispersed.  We would then rely on side-imaging to see where they went, and get right back to catching by casting horizontally.

By the 3.5 hour mark, we were right at 100 fish.  I told the boys we needed just one more to make my report credible.  Morgan took the challenge, hooked and landed #101, and we all enjoyed the self-created breeze of the boat ride back to the dock as the day got hotter and more humid.

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

TALLY: 101 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: USACE is releasing at 1,595 cfs on Belton.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20a

End Time: 10:10a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:   1.26′ high, .12′ fall, and a flow of 1,595cfs

Water Surface Temp: 84.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable to calm through 8:50, then a WSW4-5 breeze picked up

Sky Condition: 20% high white cloud cover on a hazy blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 70% illumination

GT = 35

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1802 downrigging, transitioning to vertical MAL work with LiveScope

**Area 164/165 – sawtooth method for the lion’s share of our catch

 

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

WHITE NIGHT BITE — 68 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday evening I fished an evening trip with U.S. Army retiree Garrett Ralston and his 14-year-old son, Liam.

I normally decline trips on summer afternoons, especially if kids are involved, because the first 2.5 hours of a 4 hour trip will be predictably slow.

Garrett had limited time to spend with Liam before he headed back to California to start the new school year, and my mornings are full for the next several weeks, so, I offered a “short trip” just to take in the 3 hours of light.  Garrett agreed that would work for he and Liam, so we planned on it.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Liam Ralston and his dad, Garrett, with 4 of the 68 white bass they landed in high heat and humidity just before sunset using MAL Original Lures in chartreuse.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (PM), 28 July 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Summer afternoon fishing is predictably tough.  No matter where I’ve looked or what I’ve done in the past 29 years on Lake Belton, the white bass just don’t fire up until after 6PM, and, truth be told, most of the catching takes place minutes before, during, and after sunset.

This trip was a prime example.  I scaled back the duration of the trip to 3 hours.  In the first 2.25 hours, we landed 22 fish.  In the final .75 hours, we landed another 46 fish, for a grand total of 68 fish.

Around 6:45, as we ran downriggers to cover lots of ground, watching my H’bird Solix’s side-imaging like a hawk, we began to see small schools of white bass beginning to coalesce and patrol.  I would spot them on side-imaging, mark them, then navigate back to them using my mapping function on my sonar unit.  Some schools moved before we got back to them, but some didn’t, and those that didn’t would yield a fish or two each.  Before long, enough schools were milling around in the area we were patrolling that I felt we could get them to respond to a vertical tactic using MAL Lures.

We chose MAL Heavy Lures in white for this work, and steadily caught singles and doubles as Garrett and Liam got accustomed to the assistance Garmin LiveScope offered them.

After about an hour at this, the light finally dimmed enough to spur fish to rise to the surface and trap shad there.  Although the feeding was not violent or splashy (because the bait is small and doesn’t require aggressive chasing on the part of the predator fish), it was noticeable on the nearly smooth lake’s surface.

We had the fish all to ourselves as the fed on topwater for about 40 minutes.  I had Garrett on my left and Liam on my right up on the bow casting deck as I ran the trolling motor manually seated between them, keeping them in casting distance and taking off fish as fast as they could catch them.

For this work, I chose long rods, large diameter spools, light line, and the MAL Original Lure in chartreuse.  The Original, although it doesn’t cast as far as the MAL Heavy, also does not sink as quickly, so, when I wanted to be sure my clients were keeping their retrieves up high in the water column where the fish were, I went with this 5/8 oz. bait over the 7/8 oz. bait.

By the time the fish quit right at dark, we’d landed 68 fish, 100% of which were white bass.

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

TALLY: 68 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: USACE is releasing at 1,595 cfs on Belton.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20a

End Time: 10:10a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:   1.36′ high, .12′ fall, and a flow of 1,595cfs

Water Surface Temp: 90.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: S under 3mph

Sky Condition: 20% high white cloud cover on a hazy blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 78% illumination

GT = 9

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 085 downrigging, transitioning to vertical MAL work with LiveScope

**Area 1641 to 014 – productive low-light topwater action

 

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

2 DAYS, 6 GRANDKIDS, 155 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  After reserving dates more than four months in advance, Mr. Joe Oliver treated two of his three sets of grandkids to morning fishing trips on Lake Belton this week.

DAY ONE:  First up was Joe’s eldest son, Corey, now residing in Utah.  His kids, 11-year-old twins Cullen and Presley, and 9-year-old Harper, were the focus of our attention this day.

DAY TWO: On day two I welcomed aboard Joe’s only daughter, Amber Pugh, now residing in Academy, TX.  Her three kids, Ben (14), Beau (7), and Addie (6), were the focus of our attention this day.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Day 1 Crew: From left, Presley, Harper, Corey, and Cullen Oliver

PHOTO CAPTION:   Day 2 Crew: From left, Beau, Ben, and Addie Pugh.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Largest fish Day 1: Presley Oliver, 4.75 pound hybrid striped bass.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Largest fish Day 2: Beau Pugh, 8.25 pound smallmouth buffalofish.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday and Tuesday (AM), 26 & 27 July 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

On Monday, we enjoyed near-calm conditions around sunrise, thus allowing for excellent sighting conditions to see white bass forcing shad to the surface just before, during, and after sunrise.  Once these fish got up on top and stayed there a while, I was able to maneuver the boat to give everyone a shot at casting to these fish.  Prior to that topwater action, and then again just after it ended, the downriggers produced well.

Once the downriggers stopped producing (as the fish slowed the pace of their patrolling and became more sedentary) we worked MAL Heavy Lures in white vertically for fish we spotted individually and in schools on Garmin LiveScope.

For the topwater fish, we were using the MAL Heavy in white.  For the downrigged fish, were were using 3-armed umbrella rigs with Pet Spoons.

Around 8:15A, the fishing died down and we went to shore for a “bio break”.  Things were quiet for about an hour, during which time we headed up shallow to target sunfish.  The sunfish, though catchable, are just not congregated in coves as they would normally be under more stable water conditions.  The still-falling elevation (about a tenth of a foot per day) has prevented this.  Still, we hit two areas and landed 8 panfish on longrods with bait and let the kids get that out of their system.

Around 9AM, we spotted topwater action by white bass over deeper, open water and pursued these until the wind came up, increased wave height, and killed that bite right around 10:15AM.  Our tally on this trip was 83 fish, including 76 white bass, 1 hybrid striped bass, and 6 sunfish.

On Tuesday, some things were the same and some things were different.  First, we had a well-rippled surface at first light, so there was no visible topwater action.  All 18 fish we caught during this “low-light bite” came as singles and doubles on the downriggers.

After the downrigging no longer produced, the two younger kids weren’t really able to retrieve the MAL Lures as needed to provoke fish to bite when fished vertically in conjunction with LiveScope, so, we cut away to sunfishing a bit earlier than on the day prior.

Up shallow the situation was the same, with falling water leading to fewer, more scattered sunfish than under normal summer conditions.  We spent about an hour, from roughly 8-9A, fishing bait under floats for a total of 13 sunfish.

Around 9A, with favorable wind conditions, I looked over the same broad stretch of water which produced mid-morning topwater action for us yesterday.  Just like clockwork, a few fish from a few schools got things started, then, within ten minutes the action built, with multiple large schools all forcing shad to the surface simultaneously.  Numerous fish we landed regurgitated as many as five or six freshly devoured threadfin shad.  This action tapered back down within an hour’s time, and, by 10:10 it was over.

I made an observation yesterday which led me to make a bait change on the topwater rods versus my lure choice for the day before.  Given that the kids were not all that experienced, I noted some delay from the the time the bait hit the water to the time the retrieve began.  With the MAL Heavy, the bait sinks very quickly, which is counterproductive for topwater fish.  On Tuesday, I used MAL Originals, which are 1/4 oz. lighter, and accompanied that with some specific coaching on getting the bail flipped quickly and quickly starting the retrieve so as to keep the lure high up in the water column.

Our tally for Day Two was 72 fish, including 58 white bass, 1 smallmouth buffalofish, and 13 sunfish.

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

2 DAY TALLY: 155 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Sunfishing is definitely off correlating with rapidly falling water.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20a

End Time: 10:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F  on Monday, 73F on Tuesday

Elevation:   1.61′ high, .11′ fall, and a flow of 1,597cfs on Monday, 1.50′ high, .10 fall, and 1,597 CFS on Tuesday

Water Surface Temp: 82.4F on Monday, 84.1 on Tuesday

Wind Speed & Direction: S4-9 all morning on Monday, S3-7 all morning on Tuesday

Sky Condition: Cloudless with a white haze; bright both mornings

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 93% illumination on Monday; waning gibbous moon at 86% illumination on Tuesday

GT = 130

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

Day 1:

Day 2:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

DAY 1:

**Area 1070 – low light downrigging while waiting on topwater to develop

**Area  1070 to 1924 – moderate topwater action

**Area vic 1924 – vertical work with MAL Heavy Lures in white with Garmin LiveScope

**Area B0160C & B0054G – sunfish

**Area B0027G through 1586 – mid-morning topwater action

DAY 2:

**Area B0153C to 1933 – extended downrigging due to lack of topwater action

**Area 710 Cove – sunfish

**Area 1381 was center of mass for widespread mid-morning topwater action

 

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

SOLDIERS’ KIDS GO FISHING — 55 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday morning, July 22nd, I conducted the season’s 7th SKIFF program fishing trip for kids whose parents are separated from them due to military duty.  I was joined by Mrs. Reva Farris and her two kids, 10-year-old Oakley Farris, and 6-year-old Jaiton Farris.

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 may need a short break from single-parenting.

The kids’ father, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Jairod Farris, has been in the military for 11 years.  He is currently serving as an infantry platoon sergeant and has been away from home training cadets at Fort Knox, KY.

Reva is a “permanent substitute” teacher at one of the elementary schools in the Killeen Independent School District.

Those interested in a SKIFF fishing trip may simply call me at 254.368.7411 to coordinate.  Those willing to donate to SKIFF my send tax-deductible donations by mail to:

Austin Fly Fishers

ATTN: SKIFF

P.O. Box 10504

Austin, TX 78766-0504

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  While Sergeant First Class Jairod Farris is away at Fort Knox training cadets, his son, Jaiton (age 6), and daughter Oakley, age 10, were treated to a free SKIFF program fishing trip.  Their mom, Reva, a public school teacher, came along and helped me help them be successful.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 22 July 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The fish were really in a feeding mood after being negatively impacted by the unusual cold front which moved in earlier in the week, dropping both rain and temperatures.

I initially planned to put a pair of downriggers to work for us, each one equipped with a three-armed umbrella rig outfitted with silver Pet Spoons. The fish were so aggressive and so numerous, I could only get one downrigger set at a time for our first 20 minutes with lines in the water during which time we landed three single fish and two sets of doubles.

Eventually, I got both downriggers set and the fish just kept right on cooperating. By the time an hour had gone by, we had landed 19 healthy white bass. By this time, as kids his age often do, Jaiton showed some signs of losing interest, so that was my signal to change tactics.

Over the entire time we had been downrigging, I had witnessed numerous large schools of fish holding on or near the bottom out to both sides of our boat. These fish showed up quite clearly on my Humminbird sonar unit’s Side Imaging display.

I marked the next such school that showed up on sonar, programmed my trolling motor to take us to those fish and hold us over top of them. This allowed us to change over to a vertical presentation using spinning gear equipped with white MAL Heavy Lures.

Oakley worked independently while Reva assisted her son in letting the lures sink to the bottom, then reeling them up briskly through the feeding fish as we watched all of this taking place in real time on Garmin LiveScope.

When fishing and video games combine, kids stay interested for a good long time! Eventually, it was not the kids’ interest that waned, but their wrists, which got sore from reeling in fish after fish.

By about 9 a.m., both kids needed a break as it was hot and the winds were light. As they prepared to snack, I reset the boat for one more round of downrigging. Our fish count stood now at 48 white bass landed.

With snacks still in hand, the kids scrambled back to the rear of the boat as both downrigger rods went off simultaneously with what would turn out to be our 49th and 50th fish of the morning landed right around 9:15 a.m.

About this time, Jaiton made a request that we try to catch some smaller fish (yes, his wrist really was sore). To accommodate, I moved us up into shallow water where the kids used long poles, floats and worms as bait to land a final five panfish for the morning.

I have found that 3½ hours is just about right for most elementary school-aged kids, and Jaiton and Oakley were no exception.

We ended up with exactly 50 white bass and 5 sunfish this morning.

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

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Over on Belton, USACE is still releasing at 2,132 CFS.  Stillhouse is releasing 201 CFS.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30a

End Time: 10:10a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   1.44′ high, .04′ fall, and a flow of 201cfs

Water Surface Temp: 84.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE2-3 all morning

Sky Condition: Cloudless with a white haze; bright.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 96% illumination

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic SH0031G  – downrigging leading to vertical MAL work

**Area  SH0059G – vertical MAL work for fish spotted as tightly grouped on bottom via side-imaging

**Area vic  203 – sunfish

 

 

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

A COLD FRONT IN JULY — 65 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, July 20th, I fished yet another multi-generational trip with Mr. Steve Niemeier, his adult son, Andrew Niemeier, Andrew’s son, Henry Niemeier (age 11), and another one of Steve’s granddaughters, Zoey Haberer.

Andrew works as a corporate accountant up near Chicago and brought his family down to the Belton, TX, area for a visit “back home” with grandparents and extended family.  The visit ends tomorrow, so it was “do or die” on this fishing trip as there were no backup dates to push back to.

Given the young ages and limited experience of both kids, I decided to take them to Lake Belton to pursue a combination of white bass and sunfish.  Our job was certainly made no easier by the truly unusual mid-July cold front which blew in beginning around 3pm yesterday and dropped 1.5 inches of rain and lowered the air temperature this morning to a cool 72F.

Only the kids fish this morning, as Steve and Andrew helped me help the kids be successful.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Cousins Zoey Haberer and Henry Niemeier landed 65 fish this morning following the arrival of a freak summer cold front which brought rain and 72F morning temperatures to Central Texas overnight.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 20 July 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

All things considered, we did pretty well this morning.  I had cold front conditions, 2 young, inexperienced anglers, and a light fog to contend with.

Rarely will summertime fish feed on topwater with a north wind blowing on Lake Belton, so, we really didn’t get our hopes up about that.  I still kept a set of two-hook MAL Lures at the ready, but they did not see action today.

Rather, I felt (and confirmed) that the fish would be present but reluctant to strike.  In this scenario, the downriggers are my go-to tools.  We downrigged with twin ‘riggers, each equipped with 3-armed umbrella rigs for a total of 6 baits in the water at any given time.

The fish were very tight to the bottom the entire time they stayed active, which was for about 90 minutes beginning just after a cloud-obscured sunrise.

During this time we pulled 24 white bass using Pet Spoons on the downriggers.  These came as singles and doubles as we worked these baits ~3-4 feet above the fish.

Side-imaging made it quite obvious when the feed ended (which it did pretty abruptly).  At that point, we made a quick restroom stop and then opened up chapter two of the trip, fishing long poles with bait under floats for smaller, but more numerous fish, and the non-stop action that goes with them.

The kids landed 41 fish from the shallows today, including bluegill sunfish, longear sunfish, green sunfish, spottail shiners, and even a small largemouth bass.

We ended up with exactly 24 white bass taken via downrigging, and a mixed bag of 41 “other” fish taken on bait this morning, for a total of 65 fish.

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

TALLY: 65 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: USACE is still releasing at 2,132 cfs on Belton.  No topwater action witnessed this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20a

End Time: 9:45

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F

Elevation:   2.38′ high, .09′ fall, and a flow of 2132cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: A damp NNE7-8 breeze all morning.

Sky Condition: Grey cloud cover was at 100% to the point of light fog for the first 2 hours after sunrise, then slowly cleared to white cloud cover at 70%.

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 83% illumination

GT = 136

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1802 – downrigging for 24 white bass

**Area B0158C – shallow sunfishing

**Area 1583 – shallow sunfishing

 

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