SCOUTING PAYS OFF — 73 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, September 17th, 2020, I fished with Robert Hughes from near Lubbock, TX, accompanied by his grandson, Nathan Elliott, who lives in Gatesville and works in Harker Heights.

Robert, age 74, retired from the janitorial supply business, and Nathan is a professional firefighter employed by the City of Harker Heights, working out of the firehouse on FM3481, near Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir. Nathan coordinated this trip for his grandparents as part of their 57th wedding anniversary during which they drove down to see him.   

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Nathan Elliott and his grandfather, 74-year-old Robert Hughes, shared a day on the water in pursuit of white bass.  Downrigging with Pet Spoons and vertical work with MAL Lures put 73 fish in the boat today.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED:  After getting off a plane inbound from Alaska in the wee hours on Wednesday morning, I slept briefly, then got right out on the water to scout in advance of this trip, as I’d not fished locally since Labor Day Monday and there had been a lot of environmental change since that time (6′ elevation increase, a cold front, and atypical, extended periods of NE winds).  

I opted to invest my scouting efforts on Stillhouse for several reasons: 1) the Corps is releasing water from Lake Belton (a negative factor), 2) the release rate at Lake Belton led me to believe the gates would shut soon, thus introducing another negative variable to an already tough scenario, 3) I got below average reports from those fishing both Belton and Stillhouse while I was away, and 4) my 30+ years of record-keeping indicate that, in a tough scenario, Stillhouse typically outperforms Belton.

The scouting went well.  My goal was to catch 3 fish at a given area and then move on to check additional areas, and, in so doing, I found 4 fish-holding areas which we could fish today.

When all was said and done, we put this morning’s trip together on just 2 of those 4 scouted areas.  Today’s conditions were a bit better than during my scouting efforts yesterday, in that we had both a steady, manageable wind (vs. calm yesterday), and light cloud cover (vs. clear skies yesterday).

We met up at 6:45A, had lines in the water around 7:05A, caught fish via downrigging for 2 solid hours before the suspended, scattered schools of white bass we were targeting dispersed. We landed 33 fish during this time using Pet Spoons on 3-armed umbrella rigs.

We next looked at an area I scouted yesterday (but found nothing present at that time); I did this because the wind was blowing into the area leading me to believe it could have turned on overnight.  It did not.

So, we moved on to a third area I scouted with good results yesterday.  We found fish very active there from 9:20 until around 10:20.   Sonar was quite active with both balled up shad and gamefish as I idled around, so, we began to put downriggers down.  No sooner did Nathan get his set to depth then it went off.  When I saw the aggression level of these fish, I directed Robert to unrig his downrigger, and to send an MAL Lure plummeting for the bottom instead.

Long story short, we sat on a large, moderately aggressive school of white bass for a full hour and pulled another 43 fish without moving the boat, all on chartreuse MAL Lures.  I like the chartreuse whenever there is cloud cover, whereas the white and chartreuse fish equally well under clear, sunny skies.  

Fortunately, both fellows quickly got the hang of timing their presentation of the MAL Lure to the passing of the fish beneath the boat via the use of Garmin LiveScope, doing this just as you would “lead” a bird when shooting a shotgun.  The rest was history.

By 10:20, the wind was quickly coming out of the fishes’ sails, and, after spending our final 15 minutes downrigging and failing to add even a single fish to the tally, we called it a good day and headed back to the dock.

TALLY: 73 fish caught and released (71 white bass, 1 freshwater drum, and 1 largemouth bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   No water has been released from Stillhouse since the recent rains, thus allowing 6+ feet of new water to accumulate, whereas Belton had a flow of 1,645 cfs  this morning and was slowly falling as a result.  During the day (Thursday, 17 Sep.), the COE reduced the flow from Belton to 51 CFS — yet another negative factor I’m glad we avoided).  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  3.14′ high, +0.02′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow (up over 6 feet after ~4.50″ began fell on Wednesday – Friday, 02-03 Sep., followed by another 1.25″ on 10 Sep.)

Water Surface Temp:  81.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE11 all morning

Sky Condition: 80-90% grey cloud cover

Moon Phase: New moon today

GT =35

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1133 to 482 –  downrigging with Pet Spoons on 3-armed umbrella rigs for 33 fish in 2+ hours.

**Area vic SH0033G –  MAL Lures worked vertically in 35′ to the shallow side of this area for 40 fish in ~ 1 hour

 

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

LABOR DAY 2020 WITH THE REED BOYS – 54 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, September 7th, 2020, I fished with retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant Bryan Reed and his 3 sons — Evan (age 12), Colin (age 10), and Carson (age 8).

After retiring from the military police, Bryan trained and hired on with Edward Jones and hopes to open his own office after spending some time at the office in Killeen, TX.

The boys, who came out with me on a SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trip 2 years ago, all go to school in the Killeen Independent School District, and are involved in karate.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:    The Reed boys in 2020, from left, Colin, Evan, Carson, and Bryan.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:    The Reed boys in 2018, from left, Carson, Colin, and Evan.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED: Fishing was a bit laborious on this Labor Day Monday.   Thankfully, due to flooding and the fact that public school cranks back up again tomorrow, the crowds were fairly light, in fact, lighter than on a “normal” summer weekend.

We went nearly an hour working to get our first bite, and, even when it came it wasn’t like the floodgates opened and we kept right on catching them from that point on.  The fish were just in a negative mood until about 8AM, then things started happening right up until around 10:15.  

Around 8AM, we began to see larger schools of white bass forming (10-15 fish vs. 3-5 fish earlier on).  The shad began to ball up and suspend versus blanketing the bottom earlier on.  Nearby largemouth began to surface feed versus no surface action earlier on. And, best of all, a little resident flock of terns began to point out the most active pods of fish spread over quite an expanse of open water.

We alternated between downrigging and vertical MAL Lure work to keep fish coming in the boat.  Although the fish were feeding, it was not an aggressive, hard feed.  Only a few times did I find fish in a posture where I felt the MAL Lures would shine, and, when we worked them, the fish only stayed interested briefly, thus necessitating that we return to horizontal work with the downriggers.

By the time the bite in the vicinity of Area 062 began to taper off around 9AM, we’d gone from a tally of 1 to a tally of 38.

We moved on as the action was waning, but before it completely shut down in hopes of finding another population of fish which started their feeding cycle a bit later.  

We were able to relocate fish, this time in the vicinity of Area 453.  We downrigged to find these fish and caught a few on the downriggers, but really made money by using MAL Lures for suspended fish holding in a vertical band from 24-29 feet deep over a deeper bottom.

Once the fish quit the MAL Lure bite, they were about done altogether.  We only landed 2 more thereafter in ~25 more minutes of downrigging effort covering quite a  span of water.

To summarize, we fished a full four hours with the span from 8AM to 10:15 producing all of the fish.  We downrigged about 70% of our time today, with the balance consisting of MAL Lure vertical work.

TALLY: 54 fish caught and released (52 white bass and 2 largemouth bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   A low intensity feed took place today from 8:00 – 10:15A.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:50A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  1.22′ high, +0.20′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow (up 4.18 feet after ~4.50″ began fell on Wednesday – Friday, 02-03 Sep.)

Water Surface Temp:  81.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW11 at sunrise, decreasing to SW7 by 8AM, and leveling off there

Sky Condition: Cloudless blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous with 84% illumination 

GT =25

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 062 – downrigging and vertical MAL Lure work for 38 white bass by 9A

**Area vic453 – downrigging and vertical MAL Lure work for 16 white bass from 9A to 11A (with only 2 fish after 10:25)

 

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

SOLID RESULTS DESPITE THE FLOODING — 55 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, September 5th, 2020, I fished with Killeen native Keith Carroll and his 5-year-old son, Andrew.

Keith, an Ellison High School graduate, now lives with his wife in Cedar Park, TX, where he makes his living as a graphic artist working in the clothing industry with a firm based in San Marcos, TX.

Since many of you who follow my blog/Facebook page are local, I’ll mention that Keith’s mom, Barbara Carroll was a foreign language and TAG program teacher at Ellison H.S. ‘back in the day’.

Although Andrew has been fishing before, he’d never been on a boat before, but, it seemed no big deal for him as we cruised around 30 mph toward our first fishing area as we awaited sunrise.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Keith Carroll and his 5-year-old son wound up with 55 fish this morning on a day I thought would have been tougher than it was thanks to 3.5+ feet of flood water coming into this ~6.400 acre reservoir. WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED:  I really was not sure exactly what to expect today.  We had a number of negative factors working against us, namely the NE wind, and 3.5 feet of new water brought in by 3 days of rain which dropped about 3.5 to 5.5 inches throughout the Leon and Lampasas River watersheds.

So, we just got out there and fished!  We looked for natural signs of fish activity and we used sonar and wound up piecing together a pretty solid trip. The fish definitely got more active in the last 2 hours than they were in the first two hours.  The first two hours of the trip saw cloud-darkened skies and lighter winds, whereas the winds picked up (although still from the ENE) and the skies brightened to “squinting intensity” in the last two hours. We alternated between fishing for white bass and sunfish as Andrew’s interest level and attention span dictated. 

As we fished for white bass, we encountered 3 instances where the fish were sufficiently congregated to allow for vertical work with the MAL Lure, otherwise, we had to downrig for them.

The sunfishing definitely got easier with all of the flooded vegetation now standing in the 1/2 foot of floodwater versus trying to access them in the matted hydrilla which existed while the lake was nearly 3′ low earlier in the week.  We went after ’em with lightweight floats, small hooks, small splitshot, and small baits presented with a bream pole.

In our first round of white bass fishing, we landed 13 white bass and 1 largemouth.  During our first round of sunfishing, we landed 13 sunfish.  We switched back over to white bass and landed another 22 white bass, then finished up fishing shallow for sunfish, putting a final 6 bluegill in the boat.

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released (35 white bass, 19 sunfish, 1 largemouth bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   Fishing was not nearly as negatively impacted as I suspected it might be with 3.51 feet of fresh floodwater coming in over a 3-day period.

Temperature Profile:

0 feet 82.6F

5 feet 83.3F

10 feet 83.6F

15 feet 83.6F

20 feet 83.6F

25 feet 83.6F

30 feet 83.1F

35 feet 80.9F

40 feet 77.4F

45 feet 75.7F

50 feet 74.8F

55 feet 73.9F

60 feet 65.5F

65 feet 61.9F

 

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:50A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  0.55′ high, +1.18′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow (up 3.51 feet after ~4.50″ began fell on Wednesday – Friday)

Water Surface Temp:  81.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: ENE6 at obscured sunrise, increasing to ENE9 by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous with 90% illumination (full moon +2 days )

GT = 0

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:  N/A  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1395-041 – early downrigging for whites

**Area 914-1102 – early downrigging for whites with 1 round of MAL Lures worked vertically

**Area Sh0121C – sunfish

**Area 671-1447 – late downrigging for whites with 2 rounds of MAL Lures worked vertically

**Area 189 – 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

HAIL TO THE CHIEF — 70 FISH CPR’d @ STILLHOUSE; MAL LURE GETS A WORKOUT

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, September 1st, I fished with first-time guest Chuck Kimble, the Chief of Police for the City of Killeen. Chief Kimble celebrated his third anniversary in that position today.

Aside from Chuck’s current status as a public servant, he is also a U.S. Army veteran, as is his wife. The Kimbles came to Central Texas a few years ago from Fayetteville, NC, just outside the gates of Ft. Bragg.

Chuck recently bought a pre-owned Bayliner and is slowly getting into fishing as time allows, so, he came not only to catch fish, but to learn new approaches to catching fish this morning.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   Chuck Kimble with some mature white bass we took in deep water on MAL Lures.  Chartreuse did the trick today under 100% grey cloud cover.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED:  Today the weather “wrinkled” on us a bit versus the “cookie-cutter” weather we’ve enjoyed since the passage of last week’s hurricane-influenced weather.  The winds were up early and strong this morning, and we dealt with 100% grey cloud cover all morning, as well.

The fish were still generally in the same pattern, but the topwater feeding activity was much reduced today as the winds and cloud cover made the surface more difficult for gamefish to pin bait against. Generally, we downrigged from 6:50 until about 8:00, then found white bass heavily schooled both on bottom and suspended and worked MAL Lures through them until around 9:20. 

We then moved to an area I’d not fished yet this summer and alternated between downrigging and using MAL Lures to close out the trip with exactly 70 white bass landed.

The use of Garmin LiveScope in downward mode absolutely helped put more fish in the boat as we were able to very precisely time the rise of our lures through horizontally moving schools of white bass.  We were also able to track the rise and fall of our lures 100% of the time, thus allowing us to continue retrieving when we saw we were getting followed, and, on the other hand, stop a retrieve short and allow it to return to bottom once we saw no fish expressed interest.

TALLY: 70 white bass caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   About 20 terns were helpful in finding active fish between 8:00 and 9:15.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:25A

End Time: 10:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Elevation:  2.95′ low, -0.06′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 prior to sunrise, slowly increasing to SSW 15 by 9:15, then gusting higher thereafter.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 99% illumination (full moon -1)

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 853 – low light downrigging

**Area 062 to 071 – MAL Lures worked vertically for bottom-hugging and suspended fish

**Area vic 912/1133 – MAL Lures worked vertically for bottom-hugging and suspended fish

**Area 1222 to 668  – alternated between MAL Lure vertical work and downrigging horizontal work

 

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

TECHNIQUE IS EVERYTHING — 51 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 31st, I fished with first-time guest Mark Kieckhafer who brought his 2 sons, Zach (17) and Connor (16), and his girlfriend’s 2 sons, Mason Severn (14), and Griffin Severn (12).

Mark, who has worked for Wilsonart, a decorative laminate manufacturer, in Temple, for over 20 years now, came in a support role to help me help the boys be successful.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   Zach Kieckhafer, Connor Kieckhafer, Mason Severn, and Griffin Severn with a portion of our 51 fish take this morning on Stillhouse.    

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED:   Given the boys’ ages, their prior fishing experience, and how the fishing went this past weekend, I thought we’d be better off at Stillhouse today in pursuit of quality white bass.  

TALLY: 51 fish caught and released (50 white bass, 1 freshwater drum)

OBSERVATIONS:  Largemouth on top, white bass on bottom for middle 2 hours of the trip.  A flock of ~6-7 terns helped us stay on fish in the choppy water, complete with occasional whitecaps.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:  I could basically cut-and-paste Saturday’s notes here with little variation.  Thanks to stable weather, the fish did the same things at the same times and in the same places as they did over the weekend again today.

We began downrigging for suspended fish found in splintered wolfpacks through about 7:50, taking those fish on twin 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons worked at 27-30 feet.  

By 7:50, there was enough light on the water to get the deep bite going on bottom, and abundant shad schools began to show there, as well.

We used MAL Lures in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope to “zig when we needed to zig” — as the LiveScope certainly helps the angler in correctly timing the rise of his bait off bottom so as to intersect with fish moving horizontally.  It seemed the chartreuse MAL Lure had a bit of an edge over the white, perhaps due to the grey cloud cover which was in greater abundance today than over the weekend.

I emphasized over and over to the boys that, when working vertically for white bass, technique is everything.  I provided examples and gentle reminders about using the proper cadence, about how to start the MAL Lure’s blade spinning, how to keep fish from dropping off at the boat, and more.  By the last half of the trip all four boys were remaining tangle-free and landing just about every fish that hit.

The bite weakened around 9:45  — it took us nearly 25 minutes via downrigging to land our last two fish (which turned into 3 fish) as we tried to get our tally to 50 before wrapping up, as the vertical bite completely fell apart by then.

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Elevation:  2.89′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW8 prior to sunrise, slowly increasing to SSW 13, then gusting .

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 97% illumination

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 854 – SH0058C – low light downrigging

**Area 062-194 – vertical work with MAL Lures for whites under largemouth

**Area 1427 – vertical work with MAL Lures for whites under largemouth

**Area 258 – last 2 fish caught here on the slope from among a larger, disinterested group

  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

MY SWEET LITTLE BROTHER … THE POTLICKER!!! — 103 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday evening, August 29th, I fished for a second time with the entire Olds family from the Austin area.  Joining me this evening were Brian, Tasha, Katelyn (age 12) and Connor (age 8).  They previously came out with me back in November of 2016.

Both Brian and Tasha work in the computer industry, and 2020 has been a very busy one for them thus far. 

They got to squeeze in a few vacation days for the first time in a long time last week, and wanted to do this fishing trip together before the busyness of the new school years with sports-filled weekends, etc. kicks in.  

PHOTO CAPTION #1: The Olds Family — August 2020

PHOTO CAPTION #2: The Olds Family — November 2016  

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

HOW WE FISHED:   As I thought ahead on how to conduct this trip and keep the kids engaged, my chief concern was the combination of very hot weather and the possibility of slow action in the first half of the trip, leaving the kids too worn out to enjoy the typically solid action from white bass about 1.5 to 2 hours prior to sunset.

Since the kids fished with me previously in November, and since that was 4 years ago, I thought doing something different on this trip would keep them engaged, so, I chose a few shaded areas where I felt our chances at catching sunfish would be strong.  Sunfish typically fall out of my catch by mid-October, but, the hotter the water, the better they bite. We hit two shallow water areas using bream poles and, with Brian’s capable assistance, we kept both Connor and Katelyn on the fish for a full 2+ hours, landed bluegill sunfish, green sunfish, and 1 longear sunfish.

As the kids fished, I noted that Connor had a “tendency” to flip his rig right into the same spot Katelyn had just pulled a sunfish from instead of fishing with confidence in his own areas.  I chuckled when I saw this and told the kids that in the fishing world, this is called “potlicking” and that a person engaged in potlicking is called a potlicker. 

Defined, a potlicker is someone who, instead of having the confidence in their own abilities to find and catch fish, simply looks for others who have found fish and then horns in, uninvited, on top of the person who has already put the work.  After introducing the term, as siblings will, each accused the other fairly routinely of potlicking for the remainder of our trip. Potlicking aside, the kids boated 62 sunfish.

Around 6:30-6:45 we shifted gears and changed our focus to hunting white bass in open water using downriggers.  The fishing was pretty straightforward as we used 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.  We got right into fish after setting the balls to depth, and the frequency of our hookups increased as dark approached.  We took singles, doubles and two sets of triples right up until dark, putting 41 white bass in the boat. 

You can bet the sibs were quite competitive on the downrigging fish count, as well!!  

TALLY: 70 fish caught and released (69 white bass, 1 largemouth bass)

OBSERVATIONS: No observed topwater action.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  4:30PM

End Time: 8:30PM

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 100F

Elevation:  2.75′ low, -0.05′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  86.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE8.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 86% illumination

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0032G and B0036G 62 sunfish in first 2 hours

**Area 085 – center of mass for evening downrigging for white bass.  Fished out deeper than this area up to around 7:50, then moved on the shallow side of this area for the last minutes of light.    

 

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 BASS MOSH PIT – 70 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, August 29th, I fished with brothers Stiles and Miles Parker from the Austin area.

Stiles works in the building supply industry, and Miles works in the custom auto industry.  The two share a boat and do a bit of fishing on their own, usually on Decker Lake east of Austin.  Today was, at their request, more of a learning trip than a catching trip, although the catching went very well.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Stiles (left) and Miles Parker with a few of the white bass we downrigged for early in the morning before the vertical bite kicked in allowing us to work MAL Lures beneath the boat for even more fish.

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Miles with a rare 16.25 inch long white bass.  I see 15,000 to 18,000 fish come over the side of my boat each year from Belton and Stillhouse, and not 3 of them will reach this size — a real prize!

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

HOW WE FISHED:   The first 75 minutes of the morning was straight downrigging with 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.   As the skies brightened and the wind picked up from the S, then swung SSW, the bite improved as the fish moved onto a deep flat with largemouth working shad near the surface, and white bass working shad near bottom.  

We swapped back and forth between downrigging to find concentrations of bottom-hugging white bass and Spot-Locking atop them to work MAL Lures (white and chartreuse — it didn’t matter which) through them vertically. The fellows were really blown away as I introduced them to Garmin LiveScope technology. 

With the settings set where I have them, we were able to see all of our lures simultaneously, as well as several feet fore and aft of the boat down in ~40 feet of water.  This allowed us to see schools of white bass cruising toward us, thus allowing us to time the rise of our MAL Lures precisely to get bit — just like “leading” a flying bird while shooting a shotgun. On multiple occasions we had large, dense schools of white bass (several hundred in number) bass directly beneath us.  Stiles nicknamed these “mosh pit whites”. 

Whenever the action slowed, we downrigged, found more fish tight to the bottom, and then switched over to vertical work once again. The bite was just about done as 10:30 rolled around, so, once our 70th fish came over the gunwale around that time, we called it an “educational” morning, and headed on in.

TALLY: 70 fish caught and released (69 white bass, 1 largemouth bass)  

OBSERVATIONS:  Black bass on top meant white bass on bottom.  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Elevation:  2.80′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: S4-5 through around 8:45, then increasing to 8-9 and shifting SSW.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 86% illumination

GT = 65

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1976 to SH0031G to 854 – downrigging with balls around 29 for suspended fish

**Area 070 – first stop for vertical work with MAL Lures

**Area vic SH0033G – vicinity of widespread largemouth/white bass 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

Time to “Rest & Digest” – 103 Fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Friday, August 28th, I fished with Nathan and Trisha Ratliff and their four kids, Amelia (11), Hannah (10), Hunter (7), and Clara (4), of Harker Heights, TX, on a Kids Fish, Too! adventure on Lake Belton.  

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Back row: Nathan and Trisha; front row, from left: Amelia, Hunter, Clara, and Hannah.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

 

HOW WE FISHED:   The Ratliffs arrived with no prior fishing experience and no prior boating experience, so, I planned ahead to have them show up a bit earlier than normal so as to cover things more thoroughly than I might with a family that had prior experience.

Trips like this, with quite an age spread over several kids, can be a bit tough as what it takes to interest and engage an 11-year-old is quite different from what it takes to interest and engage a 4-year-old. My plan was to seek after quantity, and let quality fall where it may so as to keep fish coming over the side of the boat and maintain the kids’ interest over the 3 1/2 hours these kid-specific trips last for.

We started out looking for topwater action which did not materialize thanks to the heavy chop on the water, but, that kept the traffic light and allowed us to get onto fish without company nearby until right as the fish were winding down their low-light feed.  We had the fish to ourselves for about 40 minutes, during which time we put singles and doubles in the boat on downriggers equipped with 3-armed umbrella rigs; only once did we stop to fish MAL Lures, primarily because in the time it would take to make everyone proficient, we’d miss a lot of opportunity for fish on the downriggers which everyone was already now familiar with. 

By the time the low-light feed was over, we’d landed 28 white bass. We gave the white bass time time to ‘rest and digest’ (Amelia really like that term) from their early morning binge by heading up shallow to do some sunfishing with plans to save our final hour to pursue additional white bass out in deeper water. The shallow sunfishing went well.  We landed 40 sunfish (bluegill, greens, and longears).  By around 8:45 AM I was hoping to get back in open water to start hunting white bass again, and, by this time, the kids had landed 30 sunfish.  Amelia asked if she could catch ‘just one more’ about 10 times!  Yep — she’s hooked!  Anyway, we sunfished another 15 minutes and put 10 more fish in the boat for a total of 40 sunfish, then, around 9AM we headed back out for a final hour’s worth of white bass fishing.

We hit two areas, finding fish suspended at 25-27′ deep at the first and finding fish on bottom in 25′ at the second.  In our final hour or so, we landed 3 sets of triples, about as many doubles, and plenty of singles, all in the 0, 1, and 2 year class.  By 10AM, the time we’d all hoped all four kids would be able to make it through, we had 94 fish in the boat.  This time it was dad urging the kids to push on ’til we’d reached 100 fish for the morning. That took all of about 12 minutes as we landed our final triple, four singles, and one double in that span of time.

It’s always nice to be able to “finish strong”, especially with kids on board.

TALLY: 103 fish caught and released (62 white bass, 1 hybrid striper, 40 sunfish)

 

OBSERVATIONS:  ~12 mph chop put would-be surface feeders down this morning, so there was no topwater action where we were.  Sonar lit up and provided ample downrigging opportunities.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 81F

Elevation:  2.70′ low, -0.06′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light winds under 3mph from the ENE due to counter-clockwise rotation of the atmosphere impacted by Hurricane Laura Sky Condition: Hazy blue skies

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 78% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 903 – combination of downrigging and working MAL Lures vertically for low-light fish away from the crowd; lasted until ~7:40

**Area B0163C – 40 sunfish

**Area vic 684 – downrigging for whites (+ 1 hybrid); fish at 25-27′ suspended, balls at 23′

**Area B0021G through B0030G  – downrigging for whites; fish at 25′ on bottom, balls @22′

 

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

FROM ROOKIE TO AMATEUR IN 4 HOURS FLAT – 101 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 25th, I fished with Shane Stovall and his sons, 14-year-old Connor, and 10-year-old Cooper, all of Salado, TX.

Shane works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) for a local hospital, and was referred to me by Clint Tippett, who makes his living as an anesthesiologist, and also brought his sons, Carson and Carter, out with me back in July.

The boys slowly but surely warmed up to white bass fishing after being sluggish early on.  Their dad and I kidded them about getting lazy and too used to sleeping in over their 5-month-long Spring Break, courtesy of COVID-19!

Perhaps this morning was a good “dry run” for when Salado schools go back in session next week!?

Over the course of the morning, Cooper’s confidence level rose and, after my father-and-sons crew boated their 4th “triple” (three fish caught simultaneously on the 3-armed umbrella rig), he exclaimed, “I think I’ve gone from rookie to amateur.”  He then double-checked that statement with his dad to make sure he’d indicated positive progress. 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: Connor, Cooper, and Shane Stovall with a portion of their 101-fish catch on Lake Belton during the last week of their 5-month Spring Break. WHEN WE FISHED: 25 August, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED:   I’ve been doing more sonar training than fishing lately, given the unstable weather we’ve been experiencing.  Today was the “calm before the storm” in regards to weather in that the impacts of Hurricane Laura are due to be felt beginning tomorrow.

Although the winds were northeasterly today, this was not caused by frontal activity, and, as such, the fish fed well all morning, right up through around 10:50A. We began our day looking for low-light topwater action and found it.  We were able to both downrig around the outskirts of the action for singles and doubles on white bass taken on my 3-armed umbrella rigs, as well as stop over top of several schools of white bass to work MAL Lures through them vertically. We wound up with 31 fish during this low-light bite before the sun got high enough to kill this bite.

We moved on and found fish the remainder of the morning at each of the 3 additional location we searched, but all locations held primarily small fish.  After encountering our first batch of small fish (landing 5), we changed up and headed up shallow to fish for sunfish to give the boys some variety from what was fairly slow downrigging at that point.  I used this time to give the white bass some time to get into more of a feeding mode, hoping either wind, cloud cover, or both might develop. The boys did great at sunfishing for first-timers.  They wound up boating 40 sunfish, including a mix of bluegill, longears, redears, and greens. 

Around 9:30AM, we broke from that and once again pursued white bass.  By this time our fish count stood at 36 white bass and 40 sunfish.

We hit two more areas between 9:30 and 10:50AM, finding ample fish and bait at both.  At both areas small white bass were seen routinely corralling fish to the surface and feeding on them briefly before continuing the pursuit underwater and out of sight.  Also on the nearly calm surface we could see abundant shad feeding in pods right at the surface.

By the time the 4-hour mark rolled around, we’d landed 94 fish and were doing pretty good, albeit still on small fish.  I asked the boys, who by now were sweating through their clothes, if they wanted to press on to try for a 100 fish morning.  They never batted an eye and gave me the thumbs-up. In under 8 minutes we landed another 7 fish, putting our final tally at 101 fish for the morning.

TALLY: 101 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  An abundance of shad feeding on the surface under near-calm conditions from 9AM on were noted this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:55A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  2.57′ low, -0.05′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light winds under 3mph from the ENE due to counter-clockwise rotation of the atmosphere impacted by Hurricane Laura

Sky Condition: Clear blue skies and low humidity

Moon Phase: First quarter with 47% illumination

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1781 – initial contact with low-light topwater fish

**Area vic 903 – combination of downrigging and working MAL Lures vertically for low-light fish away from the crowd

**Area vic B0040C – downrigging in ~22′ for smallish fish — moved on

**Area B0034G – 40 sunfish

**Area vic 1097 – downrigging for small whites

**Area 475-477 – downrigging for small whites

 

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

SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) — 49 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Wednesday, August 19th, I conducted the season’s 9th Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) program trip with three young men from Killeen — 7-year-old Marcus Grady, 7-year-old Isaiah Davis, and 6-year-old Elijah Davis.

Their step-father, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Sylvester Grady is currently away from Ft. Hood, serving at Fort Benning, Georgia.  He has been in the military for over 20 years.

ABOUT SKIFF:  This fishing trip was provided to this military family at no charge.  S.K.I.F.F. stands for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun.  This program began in May of 2009.  It is funded by the donations and fundraising efforts of the Austin Fly Fishers and other organizations they have partnered with.  S.K.I.F.F. provides the children of military personnel separated from their families due to duty commitments with the opportunity to go fishing.  SKIFF trips are also provided, free of charge, to Gold Star families who have lost their service member while he or she was on active duty.  In mid-2019, SKIFF also began providing trips to dependents whose parents are bona fide disabled veterans.  I coordinate and conduct these 3.5 to 4 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just outside the gates of Fort Hood in Bell County, TX, year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Isaiah Davis, Elijah Davis, and Marcus Grady landed 49 fish during their evening adventure on Lake Belton.  This trip was provided free of charge courtesy of the Austin Fly Fishers and other SKIFF supporters.

 

WHEN WE FISHED:  19 August, 2020, PM

HOW WE FISHED: Since the boys were young, and none of the three of them had ever fished before, we kept it very basic this evening.

Since we were still under the influence of Monday’s cold front passage, I suspected the white bass would be catchable, but would still require more effort than during more ideal conditions, so, I save the white bass effort for just a short part of our time at the end of the trip as the sun was setting.

Prior to that, we hit two areas up shallow for sunfish, where the boys were able to hook and land 40 sunfish, including longear, bluegill, and green sunfish.  We used long rods, balsa floats, and small hooks and split shot to present small live baits to these fish in under 4 feet of water.

Around 7:15P, the sun sank below a bank of grey clouds in the western sky, thus immediately dimming the ambient light level and making it cooler to the point of being pleasant, given the low humidity which the cold front brought with it.

From that point forward we began downrigging with two sets of 3-armed umbrella rigs.  Each boy got to land 3 white bass over the course of the next hour.  By about 8:15, the boys were ready to move on to supper.  Hence, we finished up the trip with 49 fish caught and released.

TALLY:  49 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Thanks to N winds at ~9-10 and some building cloud cover, the fishing began to rebound from Tuesday’s bright, calm, post-frontal scenario.  Fish were still a bit reluctant.  I watched our downrigger ball present our 3-armed umbrella rigs right to numerous schools of white bass which failed to show any response at all.  The shallower and more horizontally spread the pre-sunset white bass were, the more likely they were to strike.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  5:15P

End Time: 8:15P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 97F

Elevation:  2.31′ low, 0.04′ fall, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 86.8

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE11

Sky Conditions: 30% white cloud cover on a blue sky; around 7:15, the sun was obscured by a thick grey cloud bank in the west.

Moon: New Moon today

GT =  NA

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0035G – sunfish

**Area 1583 – sunfish

**Area 085 – early evening white bass

**Area vic B0154C – late evening 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)

 

#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

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle