GO HORIZONTAL, YOUNG MAN! — 113 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Wednesday, 18 March 2020, I fished with a crew of 5 experienced anglers including trip organizer David Vahrenkamp, two colleagues of his from Bates Nissan — Clay O’Dell and Mike Farris, as well as Clay’s brother, Robin O’Dell, and Robin’s adult son, Tyler O’Dell.

With weather today forecast to be nearly identical to yesterday’s weather, I chose to head to Stillhouse for the quality white bass fishing it has been producing.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Robin, Tyler, and Clay O’Dell, David Vahrenkamp, and Mike Farris, each with mature white bass caught and released this morning from Stillhouse Hollow on bladebaits.  

WHEN WE FISHED:  18 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  These five guys all arrived early and ready to fish — heck, Mike even showed up before my own traditional 30-minutes-pre-trip arrival time!  Once we got handles on the correct side of the spinning reels for everyone, I went over safety stuff and the tactics we’d use as we fished bladebaits for white bass.  We prayed for our nation’s leaders in dealing with the Coronavirus, then we were off to catch fish.

Helpful bird activity led us to our first fish of the morning — a catch of 21 fish at our first stop on a mid-depth flat in about 31 feet of water.

After the birds gave up here, we were on our own to find fish without bird assistance.  I really think the lake’s population of gulls got so used to feeding in a handful of reliable areas all winter, that they are now having to re-figure things out with the water warming and the action moving shallower, hence, they are scattered more than just a few days ago.

We found fish at two more areas, both giving up 1, 2, and 3 year class fish.  100% of my crew’s fish were taken on horizontally worked bladebaits today.  Once the fish up shallow quit biting around 11:05, we were hard-pressed for anymore options.  Every deepwater haunt I searched had only scant bait, if that.  Although we kept looking and tried a few locations, we landed only 1 drum after that 11:05 stoppage.  It was at that time that the first direct sun of the day broke through the clouds and, within the span of 20 minutes, we experienced bright sun, dark clouds, blue skies, grey skies, light rain, a cool breeze, and a return to overcast, balmy conditions as a small “patch” of weather moved through.

The Cicada has been hard to beat these past several mornings worked in a “lift-drop” fashion.  A number of time during the morning the fellows commented on how jolting the strikes were when they came.  I really love these baits because, due to their shape, they very rarely hook fish in anything other than the lip.

As fish move shallower, my dependence on side-imaging gets greater and greater.  Seeing organized packs of white bass patrolling an area in high numbers out beyond the “spook radius” of the outboard is a big deal, and is reason to stop and fish.

We landed 111 white bass, 1 crappie, and 1 drum

 

TALLY: 113 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:30A

End Time:  12:05P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Elevation:  2.89′ low, 0.02 foot 24-hour rise, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  62.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S5-7 all morning

Sky Conditions: Grey overcast all morning with brief breaks from 11 to Noon

GT = 120

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  0302 – mid-depth flats with bladebaits

**Area vic 100– mid-depth flats with bladebaits

**Area vic 713 – mid-depth flats with bladebaits

 

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

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

BIRTHDAY TRIP YIELDS “TPWD BIG FISH AWARD” FOR CHINA SPRING BOY

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Tuesday, March 17th, I fished a “Happy Birthday” trip for 9-year-old Luke McKown from near China Spring, TX, accompanied by his dad, Mark McKown.

A few weeks ago, Luke’s grandmother, Kathy Sievers of Gatesville, TX, contacted me about arranging a birthday trip for Luke after long-time client Steve Niemeier recommended this to her.

Thanks to a returning southerly wind, balmy temperatures and grey cloud cover, the stage was set for solid fishing this morning.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Luke McKown captured this 16.25-inch long Stillhouse Hollow white bass as we fished a 30′ flat under grey skies with southerly winds.  We were working bladebaits near bottom when this white bass slammed his offering.  This fish well-surpassed the TPWD minimum length of 15″ for a Big Fish Certificate.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Even the “smaller” white bass we caught this morning were no slouches!  The fish are definitely moving shallower, chasing harder, and feeding more aggressively now that the water temperature has broken the 60F mark.  From left: Mark and Luke McKown.

WHEN WE FISHED:  17 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED: We didn’t get off to a great start this morning as Mark and Luke ran into fog before hitting I-35 in Waco, thus delaying their arrival.  The birds had already been working for a while before by the time we got to them, but, we started catching as soon as we could.  I gave my normal safety brief “on the fly” and described what we needed to do to catch fish as the Minn Kota was Spot-Locking us on fish — both things I normally do in a more relaxed manner at dockside.

Long story short, we were able to find actively feeding fish on flats of various depths from our first cast until around 10:15 when the nice grey cloud cover broke a bit and allowed some direct sun on the water.  The fishing faltered a bit at that time, but, we got in almost another productive hour of fishing from 11:15 to 12:15 once the skies darkened again and the southerly winds continued.

All of our fish caught on the flats were taken “chunking and winding” bladebaits.  The fish we caught from 11:15 to 12:15 were congregated on a breakline and were much less aggressive.  We used both slabs and Gulp! 3″ Minnows on jigheads to tempt these more reluctant fish.

We took 51 fish on the flats before the sun interrupted us, then took a final 10 fish on the breakline before they shut down for the morning.

TALLY: 61 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:30A

End Time:  12:15P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation:  2.91′ low, 0.01 rise, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  62F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S9-12 all morning

Sky Conditions: Grey overcast with light mist prior to sunrise, continued grey skies through 10:15, then partly cloudy, then a return to full grey by 11:15A thru trip’s end

GT = 50

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  0304 – mid-depth flats with bladebaits

**Area vic 1897– mid-depth flats with bladebaits

**Area 531 thru 100 – multiple short hops on mid-depth flats with bladebaits

**Area vic 746 – handful of reluctant whites on slabs

**Area SH0019G – 10 whites on slabs/Gulp! & jigheads

 

 

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

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

GOLD STAR GAME WARDEN — 42 FISH FOR GARY YODER

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Monday, 16 March, I conducted the 2020 season’s fourth SKIFF program trip, welcoming 13-year-old Gary Yoder III of Belton, Texas, aboard.  The Belton Independent School District was one of many districts which extended spring break over concerns about the corona virus.

Gary is a member of a U.S. Army Gold Star family.  In most of American life, a gold star is a good thing.  In the Army, Gold Star status means you’ve lost a loved one while he/she was serving on active duty.  Gary lost his father, Captain Gary Yoder II, while he was on active duty, stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana.  Captain Yoder was 33 years old when he passed away, leaving his wife, Lisa, and two boys, Gary III and Levi, behind.

Retired Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Warden Major Jeff Gillenwaters learned of Gary’s situation through his mother, Lisa Yoder, and provided my contact information to her. She contacted me late last week and I got Gary on my schedule as quickly as possible.

As it turns out, Gary is considering becoming a game warden when he grows up, so, during our trip I pointed out  various fish species, their length and bag limits, various kinds of fishing equipment we observed (trotlines and juglines), and coached Gary on operating my boat and using trim to enhance boat performance.  Oh, yeah — we also caught plenty of fish!

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: Gary enjoyed some mixed-bag angling this morning.  Our catch of 42 fish included 4 species — white bass, hybrid striped bass, freshwater drum, and blue catfish.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  This aggressive blue cat hit a bladebait late in the morning as we worked over a school of white bass as they livened up near midday with increasing light levels following a very murky, grey morning.

WHEN WE FISHED:  16 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  We once again had a pretty challenging weather forecast to fish against this morning.  When I headed to bed last night I was encouraged by the wind shift to the south at 10mph we were to experience overnite.  I awoke to a very different forecast (and reality): we had a northeast breeze with a cool mist mixed in which was supposed to shift through the east then to ESE but remain low velocity all morning — pretty hard to get excited about.

Nonetheless, we got out there and used our “fish sense” and our sonar to observe and piece together clues, and we wound up making a pretty nice catch of 42 fish, including some mature white bass for a change.

Notable this morning was the shift of fish activity into shallow water.  We did not land a single fish in over 22 feet of water, with some coming from under 10 feet of water.  Even in deep water, the life (bait and gamefish) was suspended up high in the water column.

We used a combination of vertical jigging (easing with my 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs) and horizontal casting (with Cicada bladebaits) to put together our catch.

Gary, who enjoys football and history, stuck with the program and stayed focused, ignoring his cold hands and feet and breaking only now and then for a snack.

When all was said and done, we headed to Sol de Jalisco in Morgan’s Point for a quick bite of lunch (which I like because I can keep an eye on my boat as I eat), just before the Presidential request went out to avoid restaurants and bars.  Gary wolfed down a bean and cheese burrito and a Sprite with no ice in record time!

TALLY: 42 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   A very definitive shift up into shallower water has taken place quite rapidly.  We caught all 42 fish in under 22 feet of water, with some from less than 10 feet of water.  Saw the first signs of bank-running shad this morning midway back in the  B0049C Cove.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:30A

End Time:  12:05P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 59F

Elevation: 0.85′ low, -0.02 24-hour change, 17 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  59F

Wind Speed & Direction: E7-8 for 2 hours, then SE3-4 for 1 hour, then calm the remainder of the trip

Sky Conditions: Grey overcast the entire trip with light mist from 7:30 to 8:00A

GT = 0

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic 0142/0138 – sparse whites on slabs during low-light bite

**Area vic B0049C Cove mouth – whites and hybrid running shad into and out of cove. Used LiveScope to time presentation as fish passed beneath boat

**Area B0001G – mature white bass under birds for a short span on slabs

**Area 0188 – about an hour’s worth of action on gently sloping terrain throwing bladebaits with lift-drop tactic

 

 

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

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

END OF SPRING BREAK 2020 – 38 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Saturday morning, March 14th, I fished with Cooper (age 8) and Riley (age 6) Harkrider of Buda, TX, and their cousin, Isaac Aguilar (age 10), from Wylie, TX, all accompanied by Dave Dedrick and Joey Harkrider, who came as non-fishing chaperones to help make the kids successful (and who did a great job at that).

Mrs. Sarah Harkrider coordinated the trip back in late January.  I shared with her that, due to the technical nature of the fishing this time of year and the lack of variety in the presentations used, this time of year can be tough for taking younger elementary-aged kids out.  She assured me there would be ample adult supervision and so we agreed to give it a go.

The families camped out at Dana Peak Park on Stillhouse, and we met up and fished on Lake Belton.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:    From left:  Isaac Aguilar, Cooper Harkrider, and Riley Harkrider with a few of the Lake Belton white bass they caught this morning as a light mist fell and easterly winds blew.

PHOTO CAPTION: Cooper Harkrider with our largest fish of the trip — a zebra-mussel fattened freshwater drum which fell for his slab.  I don’t think you can smile harder than that!

WHEN WE FISHED:  14 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED: With the kids so young and the vertical presentation pretty demanding as far as consistency with speed of presentation, I took longer than I normally would before we left the launch site to show the kids what needed to be done and then “quizzed” each of the kids by having them demonstrate that they understood what needed to be done, thus giving me a chance to coach any adjustments needed before we began fishing.

We found fish in a number of areas today, but, many of these fish were just shut down and wouldn’t bite, or, if they did bite, did all of the biting as soon as we arrived, but then shut down quickly thereafter — very much a continuation of what I observed on Stillhouse yesterday morning with my party of three adults.

We all fished off of the starboard side of the boat so I could watch the kids’ techniques.  Joey hunkered down full-time with Riley, Dave kept an eye on Isaac, and I had Cooper immediately to my left so we could all help keep the kids’ presentations consistent.

Even though we never got into a huge group of active fish that fed for long whiles, the action we experienced was steady and spread well over the morning so the kids stayed engaged.  Even Riley, at age 6, showed no signs of letting up until we had already planned to make one final stop before heading in.  The kids never set down their rods the whole time and were eager (sometimes too eager) to let down their lines at each new location we arrived at.

NOAA called for southerly winds, but we had easterly winds instead; NOAA also called for winds at 10 at sunrise slowly rising to 14, but we had calm conditions through 8:30, followed by a ramp-up from nil to 16 over the next 3 hours.  As the old saying goes, “Winds from the east, fish bite least.”.  This was definitely the toughest trip of the spring break week.

TALLY: 38 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Still a good many birds — mainly terns — on the lake, but only saw two instances of them working, neither of which led us to active fish.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:30A

End Time:  11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Elevation: 0.85′ low, +0.0 24-hour change, 17 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  57.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm for 70 minutes, then going E and building to E14 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: Grey overcast the entire trip with light mist from 7:30 to 8:00A

GT = 0

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 738/1859/1871 along 18-22′ mark

**Area vic 1736

**Area vic 132 (fished it twice)

**Area vic 097

 

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

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

SPRING BREAK 2020 – 60 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday morning, March 13th, I fished with three buddies who all became acquainted through Temple Bible Church — Shawn Leverington, Paul Spinn, and Adam Kuykendall.

Shawn is a U.S. Army company commander at the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Hood, and fished with me once before when he and his dad, a missionary in Turkey, joined me over this past holiday season.  Paul works at Grey Base, the joint use military/civilian airfield on West Fort Hood, working operations for chartered military aircraft, and Adam is a student — going back to school at Temple College in Temple, TX.

It was a bit surreal being out on our own little island (my boat) while the global spin-up around coronavirus began to have significant local implications around us — hording at grocery stores, school cancellations, limiting of public gatherings, imposition of airline flight restrictions, and more.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:    From left: Paul Spinn, Shawn Leverington, and Adam Kuykendall, each with mature, girthy white bass taken on mid-depth flats using bladebaits in a horizontal presentation.

WHEN WE FISHED:  13 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Fishing started a bit tougher this morning despite the now-routine gull activity, as the winds were dead calm and remained that way for the first full hour of the morning.  We found fish scattered and feeding on mid-depth flats, but the number of fish and the activity level of these fish was much reduced versus this first hour of low-light in the previous four mornings this week.

Around 8:30, a light SE ripple began to disturb the surface and we experience the strongest 45 minute period of the day as this wind became sustained (albeit still quite light, under 6mph).  During this time we fished bladebaits horizontally and scored on every 3rd or 4th cast while working these vibrating lures in 30-34 feet of water.

Once that activity tapered to nil, around 10:20, we began searching channel edges for fish.  We did find what we were after, but, in addition to a few pockets of active fish, we also encountered fish very reluctant to feed, or, which fed as soon as we made our presentations, but then quit short afterward, refusing to “fire up” for any sustained period of time.

TALLY: 60 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No more Sandhill Cranes noted migrating today despite southerly winds to carry them north.  Likely they’ve all moved through now.  Credible reports of fish arriving at Gravel Crossing/Log Jam areas.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:35A

End Time:  Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation: 2.93′ low, +0.0 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  62F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm for 70 minutes, then light SE breeze at 6

Sky Conditions: Grey overcast the entire trip

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1960 – light action on blades under birds over mid-depth flat

**Area vic SH0010G – light action on blades under birds over mid-depth flat

**Area vic 553 – light action on blades under birds over mid-depth flat

**Area vic 0288 – brief action on slabs by channel-oriented whites

**Area vic 0234 – brief action on slabs by channel-oriented whites

**Area SH0018G  – brief action on slabs by channel-oriented whites

**Area vic SH0011G  – brief action on slabs by channel-oriented 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

SPRING BREAK 2020 – SKIFF TRIP #3 – 67 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This evening, March 11th, 2020, was Day 3 of the week-long spring break for most of our local school districts.

Joining me this afternoon on Lake Belton were siblings Michael and Leilani Brown, accompanied by their mom, Santa Brown.

This trip was a SKIFF program trip which I provide, free of charge, to children who are separated from their parents by military duty.

In this case, the kids’ dad, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Brown, is away on extended field time.  Brown has served in the military for 14 years and currently works with drones.

Mrs. Brown is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Chemical Corps.  I met her and her children at the Neighborhood Walmart Market about two weeks ago when I noticed the kids staring at the fish logo on my wife, Rebecca’s, car.

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:   Michael Brown III and Leilani Brown show part of their catch made on a spring break SKIFF program fishing trip while their dad is away from home on military duty.

WHEN WE FISHED:  11 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED: I opted to take the kids to Lake Belton this evening, as the evening bite on Stillhouse is typically pretty weak when it comes to white bass.  Also, the high numbers of small white bass now in Belton would help ensure the kids stayed engaged.

We found three different schools of willing white bass in two distinct areas and fired them up with a slow-smoking tactic.

Unlike the fish we’ve been catching at Stillhouse, these fish were not relating to the river channel, rather, they were on a gentle slope leading to a deeper basin area.

When all was said and done, the kids landed drum, largemouth, and white bass and lasted right up until sunset, amassing a catch of 67 fish.  We relied on the white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook to get the job done.

TALLY: 67 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Lake Belton still has a strong bird population.  We spotted strong numbers of gulls resting on the water in loose groups.  The only activity from the birds was that of feeding on insects; nothing helpful to finding fish this evening.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   4:00P

End Time:  7:45P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Elevation: 0.93′ low, +0.06 24-hour change, 17 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  58.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE8-9

Sky Conditions: Partly cloudy with 60% white clouds

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0195C

**Area B0130C/B0117C

**Area B0017G

 

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

SPRING BREAK 2020 — NOT JUST FOR KIDS — 65 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, March 11th, 2020, was Day 3 of the week-long spring break for most of our local school districts.

Joining me this morning was Mr. Jeff Arbogust of Kempner, TX.  Jeff retired from the landscape architecture business to a ranch outside Kempner fairly recently, and gave me a call to discuss sampling the fishing this area had to offer.

Jeff previously lived east of Austin where he kept a kayak for fishing on the Colorado River, and kept a boat for fishing on Walter E. Long Reservoir.

Today we pursued white bass on Stillhouse.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   For a third day in a row, we took quality largemouth on deep flats while working bladebaits for white bass.  This largemouth weighed 6.50 on a certified scale.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Fat, egg-laden female white bass were once again ready to eat this morning.

WHEN WE FISHED:  11 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  We enjoyed the “standard” sunrise bird action this morning, but, as soon as it was over, we experienced the deadly combination of sun and lack of wind.  Things got pretty quiet until a SSW wind began to push around 9:50AM.  I hated to lose that magic low light period, but, there was nothing to be done about it.

Once the wind picked up, the fish immediately went into gear and engaged in a late morning feed.

We fished under the birds for 21 fish over two distinct mid-depth flats, picked up another 25 fish as soon as the wind began blowing as we located over the river channel breakline, then finished up the trip with a final 19 fish at yet another channel breakline.  We worked 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks for these channel-oriented fish.

TALLY: 65 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Temperature profile down to 35 feet:

0 feet 58.3F

5 feet 58F

10 feet 58.2F

15 feet 57.5F

20 feet 57.1F

25 feet 56.9F

30 feet 56.6F

35 feet 56.5F

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:40A

End Time:  12:10P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 67F

Elevation: 2.97′ low, +0.01 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  58.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable thru 9:50 when a SSW developed and ramped up over the next hour to SSW12-13

Sky Conditions: Partly cloudy with 40% white clouds on a blue sky all morning

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  1980 – blades for white on mid-depth flat

**Area  551/552- blades for white on mid-depth flat

**Area vic 0111/0114 – channel breakline congregation of whites

**Area vic 0234   – channel breakline congregation of 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

SPRING BREAK 2020 – FOWLER/GILMORE CREW – 95 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, March 10th, 2020, was Day 2 of the week-long spring break for most of our local school districts.

Joining me this morning were fishing buddies Caleb Fowler, age 14, and Tevin Gilmore, age 17, both of Belton.

Mr. Steve Niemeier had arranged for he and Caleb, his grandson, to fish this morning, but a death in the family kept him from participating, so, Tevin got the nod and filled in.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Tevin Gilmore (left) and Caleb Fowler did some fishing on their spring break from Belton Independent School District.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Tevin Gilmore with a nice deepwater largemouth caught while working bladebaits under birds.

WHEN WE FISHED:  10 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Fog was a bit of a curve-ball this morning.  As I left the house, the skies were clear with stars shining brightly.  As I approached the lake, the temperature must have just dropped to the dewpoint as the lighter it got, the heavier the fog became.  That fog, and the typically windless conditions which normally accompany fog, made spotting birds tough, made travel slow, and had the fish in a bit of a funk.  Thankfully, the warming water and impact it has on fish metabolism is starting to trump all else.

We fished only three locations this morning.  The first, under birds, was on a mid-depth flat for fish actively patrolling for small sunfish and shad.  The last two areas we hit were both on the channel breakline.  We fished the fish on the flats with bladebaits and we fished the channel-oriented fish with slabs.

The flats gave up 32 fish.  The first channel break gave up 16 fish, including a catfish of great proportions landed by Caleb, which will be the subject of a stand-alone article soon to follow; the last channel break gave up the remainder of our fish (47 fish), for a total of 95 fish landed this morning including white bass, several freshwater drum, one largemouth bass, and once blue cat.

We fished the Cicada blades with a “lift-drop” tactic and we fished the Hazy Eye Slabs with an easing tactic, save for about a 25 minute span when the feeding peaked and we used a slow smoking tactic.

 

TALLY: 95 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Saw first flocks of north-bound Sandhill cranes migrating this past Saturday, 07 March.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:40A

End Time:  11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F

Elevation: 2.98′ low, +0.02 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  58.3F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable

Sky Conditions: Varying densities of fog all morning

GT = 55

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 302/SH0039C – scattered fish under gulls

**Area vic SH0014G – channel breakline congregation of whites

**Area vic 234/746  – channel breakline congregation of 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

SPRING BREAK 2020 – VAN RIPER/HOWLEY CREW – 120 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, March 9th, 2020, I kicked off the week-long spring break for most of our local school districts with a multi-generational trip for 5 eager anglers.  George Van Riper, grandfather extraordinaire, planned early and reserved this date months in advance for his son, Geoff Van Riper, and three grandsons — Jacob Howley (14), Kaden Howley (11), and Greg Van Riper (8).

Fortunately, the weather, despite being quite skewed as compared to NOAA’s forecast, more than cooperated with balmy temperatures, grey skies, and light winds.

Although Lake Belton is still producing good numbers of white bass, the quality pales in comparison to the jumbo white bass on Stillhouse this season.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Greg Van Riper, “Papa” George Van Riper, Kaden Howley, Jacob Howley, and Geoff Van Riper

PHOTO CAPTION:   Jacob Howley with a plump 4.25 pound Stillhouse largemouth.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Greg Van Riper and his dad, Geoff, with a 5.25 pound freshwater drum.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Kaden Howley with his largest fish of the morning.

 

WHEN WE FISHED:  09 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As has been the case over the past month as water temperatures have hovered between 51 and 56F, we found better quality, scattered white bass on mid-depth flats primarily in the first two hours following sunrise, then found greater quantities of smaller (but still healthy) fish using the old river channel breakline and holding there.

Regardless of where we found the fish, the go-to tactic remained the same.  We used an “easing” tactic with my white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with Hazy Eye Stingers attached to draw fish upwards and goad them into striking.  At one area we fished this morning the fish really got fired up around 10AM and we began to encounter suspended fish instead of just bottom-hugging fish.  When this occurred, we changed over, briefly, to a slow “smoking” tactic with good success.

We managed to boat 5 species of fish today: white bass, largemouth bass, crappie, freshwater drum, and a bluegill sunfish.

Thanks to the clouds and wind, the birds stayed active through 10:40AM, although they only pointed us to scattered fish on the flats, not to the larger, channel-oriented groups of fish.

 

TALLY: 120 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:40A

End Time:  11:55A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F

Elevation: 3.00′ low, +0.02 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  56F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW2-4 all morning

Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover with a light mist the entire trip

GT = 80

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area v 1960 – scattered fish under gulls

**Area v SH0002G- scattered fish under gulls

**Area vic SH0015G – channel breakline congregation of whites

**Area vic SH0016G – scattered fish under gulls

**Area vic 1502  – channel breakline congregation of 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

BUDDIES SINCE BASIC — 103 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, March 3rd, 2020, I fished with Josh Abbatoye and his friend, Shawn Poole.  The two men went through Army basic training together and have been friends ever since.  Both have now chosen to live in the Central Texas area post-military.  Josh operates a very unique small business named Spotless Crime Clean LLC in which he and his wife pick up the pieces and help families impacted by crime put their homes back in order when damage has occurred as a result of crime.  Shawn is happily retired.

Josh contacted me hoping to expand his horizons when it comes to white bass fishing, particularly in the area of sonar use.  Accordingly, during our trip I made every effort to point out how my electronics were helping me make decisions which got us on fish and kept us on fish.  Both men walked away extremely impressed with the means by which I’ve put Garmin LiveScope to use on my boat.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Despite calm, foggy conditions, the increasing day length (photo-period) and increasing water temperature (going on a 5th day of warming prior to a cold front’s arrival tonight) trumped the negatives and produced just over 100 fish for us this morning in right at 4.5 hours on the water. That’s Josh Abbatoye (left) and Shawn Poole.

WHEN WE FISHED:  03 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Just as Josh and Shawn arrived, a light blanket of fog began to form over the entire reservoir as the warm, damp air was chilled by the lake’s cooler surface temperature.  Gulls have been very routinely starting to feed atop loons and white bass in four or five very predictable areas.  These areas typically have produced moderate action until enough light begins to penetrate the depths to get larger concentrations of white bass utilizing the river channel on the move.

Without being able to see birds from any distance, I started us off at two of the general locations where these birds have been massing.  Both paid off.  In fact, at the first location, the fish became active enough for about the first 30 minutes that we were able to do some deep water bladebait work with Cicadas, thus covering bottom more thoroughly than we could by simply going vertical, given that we could see on sonar that multiple “wolfpacks” of white bass were moving around at a pretty fast clip over these two moderately deep flats we were working.  By the time we got to the second flat, the fish had already throttled back, thus, we slowed down an went vertical from that point on.

By 8:30, despite persistent fog at lake level, the sky above was brightening, and we began to encounter fish along the river channel beginning to feed.  We caught the vast majority of our fish in two such locations with one other quick stop under birds over a third mid-depth flat between those two channel-oriented stops.

The fish never got super aggressive today, which I expected thanks to the low-wind situation; and, they turned off a bit earlier today as well.  We absolutely ground it out for our last few fish in order to intentionally surpass the 100 fish mark right around 11:20AM.

Both Josh and Shawn immediately appreciated the power of Garmin LiveScope.  Once they got the fundamentals of our technique down, the LiveScope provided real-time input on precisely when to put the technique to use and when to be patient and allow fish to accumulate before attempting to lure them with the artificial baits we chose for today’s work.

With the exception of about a dozen whites taken early on bladebaits, the remainder of our fish came on my 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook attached in white color.  We landed about a dozen drum; all other fish were 1, 2, and 3 year old white bass and all were very healthy with plump bellies and wide backs.

 

TALLY: 103 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:00A

End Time:  11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F

Elevation: 3.25′ low, +0.02 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  56F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm all morning

Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover  with a varying thickness  of fog the entire trip

 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area v 1980 – scattered fish under gulls active enough to take deep bladebaits

**Area v 1063- scattered fish under gulls with loon activity

**Area vic SH0014G – channel breakline congregation of whites

**Area vic 1528 – scattered fish on mid-depth flat

**Area vic 1154  – channel breakline congregation of 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