WHILE BEATING THE BUSHES FOR FISH, WE FOUND THIS …

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Monday morning I fished with James and Will Schnitker.  James has been a part of the radiology department at Scott & White for over 30 years.  His son, Will, came home from college up in Wichita Falls for Spring Break, and the two spent a part of that together in the outdoors with me in pursuit of fish on Lake Belton.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Yep, just when we thought we anglers were safe from all the political shenanigans, “they” sent out the black helicopters to spy on us!  We spotted this unusual sight on the small island just across the Leon River channel from Morgan’s Point Marina.  Hmmmm…

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday morning, 18 March 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   The tough fishing which has persisted since last Wednesday continued on today, along with the cold temperatures resulting from clear overnight skies.  Add in a wind with a northerly component, and precious little of it, and there is a recipe for a tough morning of fishing.

James, Will, and I boated a total of 27 fish this morning by grinding it out on bottom and vertical jigging.  Although we used Garmin LiveScope, it did not help in putting extra suspended fish in the boat as there were simply no fish suspending this morning.  Everything we caught came off bottom and very few fish moved in from around us.  We essentially caught just the few fish I first spotted on sonar when we first stopped at a location, then had to keep moving as no additional fish were drawn to the commotion of schoolmates being reeled in.

OBSERVATIONS:   The tough bite continued today.  No bird action, chilly north winds, clearing and calming conditions all led to very tough fishing once again today (and since last Wednesday when the temperatures dropped sharply.

TALLY: 27 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  41F

Elevation:   1.1 feet high with a 0.15 foot 24-hour drop

Water Surface Temp:  56.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NW9 at trip’s start, tapering to NE1-3 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  70% thin grey clouds which burnt off by 10am

GT = 50

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0110

**Area  B0144

**Area  B0116

 

 

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

A GLIMMER OF HYBRID HOPE — 55 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday I fished with Michael and Tanya Baird of China Spring, TX, their sons, Preston Rieger and Keegan Baird, and Preston’s girlfriend, Meagan Davis.

As fate would have it, Michael works at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries office in Waco, which is the office which has responsibility for the majority of our Central Texas reservoirs, including Belton and Stillhouse.  Michael has been an instrumental part of the team which does the sampling, stocking, monitoring, etc. on our lakes for several years now.  His wife, Tanya, works for a property management company.  Preston is an E-4 in the U.S. Army where he works on diesel-powered equipment out of Ft. Stewart, GA, Meagan is in college working toward becoming a teacher, and Keegan is working his way through elementary school.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left:  Meagan Davis, Michael Baird, Tanya Baird, Keegan Baird, and Preston Rieger, each with a “keeper” hybrid of 18+ inches which fell for my small, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab/Stinger combination this past Saturday on Lake Belton.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday evening, 16 March 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  All of our action on this trip took place in the last two of the four hours we fished.  It was during this time that the brilliant sun which shone from 3:15 to 5:15p was muted by cloud cover moving from SW to NE.  This thin, grey layer cut the light levels which got fish moving and feeding and invigorated the birds to begin flying, thus giving away the position of the fish we were after.

We first started catching fish via snap-jigging for fish that were tight to bottom and reluctant to move far or fast to feed.  Slowly, I began to notice fish moving up in the water column.  I got the LiveScope turned on and mimicked the screen of my GPSMAP 1242xsv Touch on a second screen (a 12.9″ iPad) so everyone had a view of what was going on beneath the boat.  As the birds turned on, we moved to the action and were treated to steady catching from about 6:15p to 7:30p.

One one occasion, as we were catching white bass from 25 feet deep down to bottom over a 40-foot bottom, a group of signatures came in on the LiveScope up around 17′ deep.  These were larger, darker targets and were moving with a purpose — much more quickly than the white bass which were just milling around.

These turned out to be hybrid stripers.  We hooked up with 5 at a time, and wound up catching a total of 7 before the pack moved on and we returned to catching white bass.  It was nothing short of a miracle that a boatload of 5 people using light spinning gear landed 5 of 5 hybrid without tangling in other lines, the outboard, or the trolling motor, but, everyone listened to the coaching I tried to provide and it went really smoothly.

Honestly, we were in a good area at a great time and got these fish.  There really was no trend to find, and I had little confidence even after seeing how and when these fish came in to the boat that I could continue putting clients on hybrid this early on.  My “opening day” for hybrid this year will be Tuesday, 09 April, and that may even be a bit too optimistic.  We’ll see.  Bottom line: I’m glad we caught these hybrid, but I think we are still a good ways away from seeing these fish turn on to live bait and go gangbusters.

After the “hybrid hustle” we finished out the trip gunning for additional white bass feeding in the lower 1/2 of the water column in ~32 feet of water under a second flock of birds we spotted.

Every fish we caught today came on the Hazy Eye Slab/Stinger combination.

OBSERVATIONS:   

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 3:15p

End Time: 7:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 58F

Elevation:   1.31 feet high with a 0.02 foot 24-hour drop

Water Surface Temp:  57.4F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NE3 at trip’s start, picking up to NE6-8 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Nearly cloudless blue skies through 5:15p, then a bank of high, thin, grey clouds moved in from the SW to NE and aided our efforts

GT = 90

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0141C

**Area  B0131C / B0133C

**Area  B0142C to B0143C

 

 

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

POST-FRONTAL FISHING WITH THE PENNINGTONS — 32 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I fished with returning guest Brian Pennington of Harker Heights, and his adult sons Eric and Alex.  Brian has been working at the Operational Test Command (OTC) at West Fort Hood for many years testing military equipment before turning it over to our troops to use.  Following his graduation from Texas A&M in College Station, Eric went to work for the A&M library at that campus, and Alex is in pursuit of his bachelor degree at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left:   Alex, Brian, and Eric Pennington with some fat, healthy Stillhouse Hollow white bass taken under tough, post-frontal conditions characterized by clear skies, light winds, and low temperatures.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday morning, 16 March 2019

HOW WE FISHED: As I wrapped up my evening trip at Lake Belton the night before this trip, the NOAA weather forecast painted a pretty grim picture of bright, cold, calm conditions.  Seeing this, I phoned the Pennington’s, explained what I saw and how such conditions typically negatively impact the fishing, and gave them the option of cancelling, rescheduling, or going forward with the trip as planned.  With his boys now being out on their own, coordinating time together is difficult, so, Brian chose to press on with our plans.

We were fortunate in that the weather that was forecast did not actually come to fruition until about 75 minutes before our planned wrap-up time of 11:30.  During that final portion of the trip, the fishing tapered to zero and just finding fish to fish for was challenging.

During the first part of the trip, however, we were blessed to have some unexpected grey cloud cover.  This allowed for a light morning feed.  We found fish with the help of birds for about the first 2 hours, then relied on sonar for our fish-finding after the bird action died off.

The white bass I’m finding in shallower water very much seem to be in small packs of 3-8 fish each, not in larger schools which allow you to sit in one place and catch with steady regularity.  Thus, we used the “jog” function on the Minn Kota Ulterra quite extensively today, catching a few, then moving a few boat-lengths to access “new” water, catching a few more, and so on.

We used Cicada blade baits for the majority of our catching today, although the fish are still sluggish and we got a lot of short strikes and missed fish thanks to a lack of aggressive pursuit of these lures.  Never did we have a hooked fish come to the boat accompanied by schoolmates, which is common when fish are more aggressive in warmer water.

OBSERVATIONS:  Most bird action was focused on dead/wounded bluegill, not yet on shad.

TALLY: 32 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 44F

Elevation:  0.46 feet high with a .05 foot 24-hour rise

Water Surface Temp: 56.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NE3 at trip’s start, picking up to NE6-8 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: Light grey skies due to overrunning moisture coming from the SSW right at sunrise gave us about 2.5 hours of cloud cover, which then cleared about the time the birds quit and the fishing got progressively tougher.

GT = 50

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0099C – snap-jigging and blades

**Area 730/SH0089C – blades until the birds quit

**Area vic 052 – snap-jigging as the skies cleared and the bite died

 

 

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

DEAD FISH (GRILL) – 55 FISH WITH THE WELCH CLAN

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Friday afternoon I welcomed aboard Josh and Steve Welch and their mom, Carol Welch.  Josh makes his living in the land development/building field here in Central Texas, Steve is pursuing credentials in the field of computer science from TSTC in Waco, and Carol, among other things, works on keeping her boys in line.

No sooner had the trip started than a 4-hour long debate over where to go eat dinner ensued. There was no style of food, price point, or locale which didn’t get consideration.  In the end, proximity beat out all other variables, and my wind-chilled, hungry fishing friends headed to the Dead Fish Grill directly.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left:   Josh, Carol, and Steve Welch with a nice Lake Belton largemouth bass which was holding in some isolated cover we got near as we vertically jigged for white bass.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday evening, 15 March

HOW WE FISHED: Thanks to continued cool weather and persistent northerly winds, the fishing is still not where it could be by this point in the season.  We were fortunate to have manageable wind velocity from the NE, and, best of all, some grey cloud cover for the majority of the trip.

We used vertical tactics the entire trip, scoring on both snap-jigging when the fish were bottom-oriented, and on slow smoking when the fish were suspended (and typically accompanied by bird action above).  Whenever we encountered suspended fish we put the Garmin LiveScope into action and were therefore able to be precise in our presentations to individual fish.

As  has become the norm, a significant portion of our catch consisted of freshwater drum, but the majority of our catch of 55 fish was still made up of white bass.   We also managed 2 largemouth bass.  All fish were taken on my Hazy Eye Slab/Stinger combination.

OBSERVATIONS:   Starting to see threadfin shad in great numbers in the upper 15′ of the water column.  

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 3:15p

End Time: 7:25p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation: 1.34 feet high, with a 0.09 foot rise over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 58F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NNE13 at trip’s start, tapering to NNE6

Sky Conditions: Grey skies due to overrunning moisture coming from the SSW in the face of a NNE wind

GT = 10

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0110C

**Area B0007C

**Area B0131C

 

 

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

THE “DRUM MAJORS” FROM HOUSTON — 34 FISH WITH THE CRIDERS

WHO I FISHED WITH: This third day of Spring Break fishing I welcomed aboard the Crider family from Houston.  James Crider’s mom (from Austin) treated him to this trip for his birthday.  Accompanying him this afternoon was his wife, Lisa, and their three kids, Avery (14), Olivia (11), and Jacob (9).

PHOTO CAPTION: From left:  The “drum majors” – Olivia, Avery, Jacob, James, and Lisa.  As very high pressure built in following the passage of two cold fronts in rapid succession, freshwater drum seemed much more amenable to biting than did any other species.  Of the 34 fish landed on this trip, about half were drum, with white bass, largemouth, and blue cat filling out the balance.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday evening, 14 March

HOW WE FISHED: This afternoon’s trip was a shorter one in that we stopped at 6:25 instead of 7:30 due to a prior commitment the Crider’s had.  I was concerned about our efforts after having a really tough trip on Stillhouse this morning.  I found fish at only one of the several places I searched for them, and wound up fishing that area twice.  The area was in 46 feet of water on a gentle roll down into deeper water.  The fish were all very tight to the bottom and heavily congregated and included a lot of freshwater drum and small white bass.  In fact, we probably landed as many non-white bass species (drum, largemouth, bluecat) as we did white bass this afternoon.

After this area stopped producing by around 5pm, I went and quickly checked a number of areas with sonar, finding very scant results.  After letting the area described above rest for a bit, we returned and continued catching fish, although the fish were not as aggressive on this second visit.

All but one fish was taken via snap-jigging on the 3/8 oz., white Hazy Eye Slab/Stinger.  The one exception was a small white bass taken on an easing tactic.

OBSERVATIONS:   High pressure and high winds following a double cold front was more than the fish were willing to deal with; we had a very tough morning.

TALLY: 34 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 3:15p

End Time: 6:25p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation: 1.19 feet high, with a 0.27 foot rise over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 58F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NNW16 at trip’s start, tapering to NNW12

Sky Conditions: Bright “blue bird”, nearly cloudless skies

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0070C (fished this area twice with about an hour in between after it stopped producing on our first visit).

 

 

 

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

3 GENERATIONS OF HANLONS – 13 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This third day of Spring Break fishing I welcomed aboard Stephen Hanlon, his adult son, Tavish Hanlon, and Tavish’s nine-year-old son, Conner Hanlon.

Steve is retired from the Veterans’ Administration, Tavish is a driver for Mission Foods, and Jacob is an aspiring marine biologist.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Conner, Tavish, and Steve Hanlon — 3 generations aboard for Spring Break 2019.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday morning, 14 March

HOW WE FISHED:  If you follow my reports, you know I “call ’em like I see ’em” without sugarcoating or fluff.  Today we had a very tough time with very limited results.  With the passage of 2 cold fronts in under 24 hours, the fish just called a time out and were hard to find, although we did catch fish when we found them.

I never hesitate to postpone a trip if I feel our chances of catching fish are going to be greatly diminished by weather.  Although the forecast for this morning was accurate, looking back I overestimated the potential for the morning due to the limited temperature drop that we were to experience.  The high winds and high pressure definitely trumped the mild cool down, and the fish just turned off.

Our go-to tactic was snap-jigging with small slabs, although before the wind came up and while the light level was still low, we were able to pick up two white bass and a single largemouth in under 17 feet of water by casting Cicada bladebaits.

OBSERVATIONS:   High pressure and high winds following a double cold front was more than the fish were willing to deal with; we had a very tough morning.

TALLY: 13 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:50am

End Time: 12:15pm

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 62F

Elevation: 0.19 feet high, with a 0.09 foot rise over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 57.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NNW16-18

Sky Conditions: Bright “blue bird”, nearly cloudless skies

GT = 50

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  106/1167 – low light slabbing

**Area  SH0075C – blades

**Area  SH0085C – 570 – deep slabbing

 

 

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

HOUSES ON THE ‘HOUSE – 77 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This second day of Spring Break 2019, I fished with Brian House of Harker Heights, his son, David, his daughter, Claudia, and Isabella Hagains of Killeen, a friend of Claudia’s. All three kids are students at Saint Joseph’s Catholic School in Killeen.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Isabella Hagains, David House, Mr. Brian House, and Claudia House.  David’s freshwater drum weighed in at 4.25 pounds on a certified scale.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday morning, 12 March

HOW WE FISHED:  The heaviest fog cleared slightly during our first hour on Stillhouse Hollow, allowing for about three-quarters of a mile of visibility.  We did a bit of flatline trolling to see if the slow warmup we had enjoyed since the previous Wednesday had brought fish any shallower, but results were scant — 2 white bass and a drum.

We moved out to deeper water and I brought everyone up to speed on how to use the snap-jigging tactic effectively.  We had limited success at two areas under scant bird action, picking up another half-dozen fish. We moved to a third area – the deepest we would fish – and found what we were after.

The sonar screen just came alive with fish which were heavily congregated together in about 38 feet of water and on a sloped segment of bottom.  I could tell by the posture these fish appeared in that they would not require the very slow snap-jigging method we had been using, but would instead respond to a faster tactic which I refer to as “smoking”.

Indeed, as soon as my four anglers’ baits touched bottom and they began using this smoking tactic, the fish started coming over the side of the boat.  The bite went soft one time thanks to a cessation in the wind for about 25 minutes, but, once the wind returned, the bite fired right back up again.  When noon rolled around, we had managed a total of 77 fish, including a 4.25 pound freshwater drum landed by David.

OBSERVATIONS:   The bite directly correlated with wind speed on this very foggy morning.

TALLY: 77 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 8am

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Elevation: 0.73 feet high, with a 0.07 foot rise over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 57.6F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were ESE5-10

Sky Conditions: Leaden grey skies with heavy fog.

GT = 45

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas SH0096C, SH0097C, and SH0098C all produced well on slow-smoking in conjunction with LiveScope

 

 

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

WE’LL HAVE TO PLOW – 81 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This opening day of Spring Break 2019 I fished in the afternoon with a couple, Thomas and Sharon Sexton, visiting from Cadillac, Michigan.  Thomas now works in the maintenance area for Martin-Marietta in that area, and Sharon is a labor and delivery nurse.  The Sextons came to Texas to visit an old Army buddy of Thomas’, and left behind 0F weather and a pile of snow.  Despite the fact that our Texas weather on this afternoon wasn’t all that balmy, they were enjoying the break from the extreme cold up north.  While here in Texas, the Sextons got word that freezing rain had caused power outages in their region up north, so they weren’t sure what they were heading back to.  One thing was for sure according to Thomas … he said “We’ll have to plow.” — meaning plow snow with a vehicle-mounted plow in order to get to his house!!!   I’m so glad I left upstate New York in 1986!!

When not working, the Sextons enjoy bowhunting for deer with their kids — Tom with a bow and Sharon with a scoped crossbow.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Tom Sexton with a Lake Belton hybrid taken in under 15 feet of water on a Cicada bladebait after cormorants and terns pointed the way to feeding activity.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Tom and Sharon Sexton display a few of the better white bass we landed using both snap-jigging and smoking tactics with the white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab/Stinger combo.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday afternoon, 11 March

HOW WE FISHED:   This afternoon we enjoyed success throughout our 4+ hours on the water.  The bite started of a bit slow and tentative as afternoon trips typically do, but the action increased as time went on right up until the fish shut off just prior to tonight’s obscured sunset.

We started of by snap-jigging in about 32′ for clusters of fish I found with sonar, as there were no birds offering a shortcut to the fish finding.  About the time our first area was waning, I spotted a flock of 30-40 terns aggressively feeding near the bank in 10-15 feet of water.  As I approached, I could see cormorants were working this area, as well, but, even after the cormorants spooked, the terns kept working, giving me hope that there were at least a few gamefish present.  Given the shallow depth, we threw blades and connected with 1 drum, 1 white bass, and 1 hybrid striper.  Nothing to write home about, but, this was by far the shallowest I’ve found gamefish since October.

Our next several “hops” came under yet another flock of terns working over 38-42 feet of water.  These birds were strictly working atop fish.  Seeing the scenario unfolding before us, I put the Garmin LiveScope into action, thus allowing all 3 of us to see our moving baits in real time as we arrayed ourselves along the starboard gunwale.  Sharon and Tom quickly got the hang of timing the presentation of their slabs to get to the suspended fish in such a way that tempted them consistently to bite, and it was game-on for about an hour.

After the fish settled and the birds dissipated, we had success snap jigging at two more locations before the slightly foggy conditions obscured the light and killed the bite for good around 7:15pm.

OBSERVATIONS:   The slow warming trend we’ve enjoyed since last Wednesday morning has definitely begun to move fish and bait shallower and has increased the energy level (metabolism) of the fish in general.

TALLY: 81 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 3:15p

End Time: 7:15p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 58F

Elevation: 0.73 feet high, with a 0.07 foot rise over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 54.4F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NE7-8 all afternoon

Sky Conditions: Leaden grey skies with light fog.

GT = 33

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0111C – snap-jigging during the slowest part of the afternoon

**Area  B0140C – light, shallow water action indicated by cormorants and terns

**Area  B0139C – best, most prolonged bite of the afternoon (3 short hops) under birds for aggressively feeding white bass throughout lower 1/2 of water column

**Area  vic 097 – snap-jigging as the bite wound down

**Area  vic 560 – snap-jigging as the bite wound down and finally died

 

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

PLAYIN’ REDNECK ATARI – 71 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This opening day of Spring Break 2019 I fished with Mr. Steve Webb of Harker Heights.  Steve is a multi-species angler who tends to focus on Lake Belton catfish.  His wife and daughter, Bailey, were to join us but fell ill the night before, so, instead of a family outing, I tried to turn this into a “techy” trip for Steve’s sake, focusing on the application of the Garmin LiveScope technology.

Steve, originally a farm kid from Greasy Corner, Arkansas (yep, look it up if you don’t believe me!), took one look at the Garmin and said, “Man, that’s like redneck Atari!”.

We enjoyed comparing notes all morning.  As a result, I’m planning to take a peek at his “Sun Up Sun Down” YouTube channel, primarily focused on fishing Lake Belton. The fish we landed were just icing on the cake this morning.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Steve Webb with a 14″ Stillhouse Hollow white bass taken out of 44 feet of water under birds using a 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday morning, 11 March

HOW WE FISHED:   We spent a good portion of this morning’s trip chasing birds which were working atop fish which were really not in an overly-aggressive feeding mode.  Each place we searched with sonar did indeed hold fish, but they tended to be in small clusters.  When we stopped to fish for them vertically via snap-jigging, we caught what was there, but nearby fish did not “pile on” and come in to the commotion created by our jigging, thumping, and catching.

So it was until around 11:40a when, just as the majority of the birds had ceased to work, we encountered a nice concentration of fish on a breakline adjacent to the Lampasas River channel in about 42 feet of water.  We quickly took our fish count from 29 fish up to 71 fish and then left them biting by 12:30pm. We used a slow smoking tactic for these fish, thus getting Steve his first fish ever caught via this method.

The 3/8 oz., white Hazy Eye Slab with Hazy Eye Stinger attached did the trick for all but 3 of our fish, and those were taken on Cicada bladebaits.

OBSERVATIONS:   Once again, birds were helpful in finding fish, but the fish under them tended to be well-spread and not very aggressive.  The primary fish these gulls were feeding on were stunned sunfish, and there was much more flying and looking by these birds than there was diving and eating.

TALLY: 71 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:45am

End Time: 12:30pm

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 56F

Elevation: 0.14 feet high, with a 0.07 foot drop over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 56.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NE8-10 all morning

Sky Conditions: Leaden grey skies with periods of light mist and light fog.

GT = 25

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic SH0044C to 1508 – light action under birds in deep water

**Area  vic 1537- light action under birds in deep water

**Area vic 1345 – light action under birds in 25′ on both blades and slabs

**Area  SH0095C – best action of the morning in the last 50 minutes with aggressively feeding fish in entire lower 1/3 of the water column turned on to a slow smoking retrieve

 

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

Colonel Dave and Raptor Robert — 50 Fish on Stillhouse

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, March 9th, I fished with U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel David Bowers, Robert Smith (a friend of David’s mom), and David’s two kids, Kayden (age 6) and Keira (age 4).

David is a battalion commander at Ft. Hood, and Robert is retired from the glass industry in the Cincinnati area and now serves at Raptors, Inc. which cares for injured birds of prey and educates the public about these birds.

Strangely enough and evidently in an aerial display of appreciation for Robert’s efforts, we were treated to a rare sighting of a pair of bald eagles flying slowly from SW to NE directly overhead around 9:15 am!!

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Robert Smith, Kayden, Keira, and David Bowen with a sampling of the white bass we landed today on vertical tactics used in deep water.

 

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip was a multi-species fishing trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning, 09 March

HOW WE FISHED:  This trip was nearly a carbon copy of the past two trips on Stillhouse this past Wednesday and Friday in that the still-cold water has the fish still fairly deep and fairly sluggish.  We therefore vertically jigged using the “old faithful” snap-jigging method to take the lion’s share of our catch this morning from fish on bottom in 45-50 feet of water.  The fishing was steady right up until 9:50a, at which time a narrow band of showers moving from west to east dropped about 10 minutes worth of rain on us.  This rain was the lead edge of a mild cold front.  Immediately after its passage the fishing got tough as the skies cleared and the air got cooler and drier.  After a lull in the wind which had been blowing from the SW, about 20 minutes after the rain ended, the winds began to rapidly ramp up to NW18.  As the winds increased, the bite bounced back and allowed us to enjoy a bit of slow smoking in 36-42 feet of water for fish that were just a bit more perky than those we’d encountered earlier.

OBSERVATIONS:   Once again, birds were helpful in finding fish, but the fish under them tended to be well-spread and not very aggressive.  The primary fish these gulls were feeding on were stunned sunfish, and there was much more flying and looking by these birds than there was diving and eating.

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00am

End Time: 11:30am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation: 0.27 feet high, with a 0.03 foot drop over the last 24 hours

Water Surface Temp: 55.6

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were SSW7-8 until the mild cold front’s passage at 9:50, then shifting NW and building quickly to 18 mph

Sky Conditions: Light grey skies with 90% coverage and little direct sun showing through until the mild cold front’s passage at 9:50, then clearing quickly to cloudless with noticeably less humidity

GT = 20

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 350/339 (low light bite under most helpful bird action of the AM)

**Area SH0094C

**Area  vic 1537/SH0024C

**Area vic 1317

 

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