ALL IN THE FAMILY – 186 FISH @ LAKE BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This morning, Tuesday, May 11th, I fished with a crew of five including David Vahrenkamp who coordinated the effort, his father-in-law, Jerry Marlatt, David’s buddy, A.J. Shiller, A.J.’s dad, Jackie Shiller, and A.J.’s father-in-law, Jerry Worley.

Of the entire crew, only Jackie had not been out with me previously.

As with many of my scheduled parties from mid-April to present, we’d hoped to be thick into hybrid fishing by now, but that simply has not materialized, so, we’re takin’ lemons and makin’ lemonade!!

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Jerry Worley, Jerry Marlatt, Jackie Shiller, A.J. Shiller, and David Vahrenkamp with some of the mature white bass we landed on cool, wet May morning.

PHOTO CAPTION: Above, Jerry Worley with a 6-pound class bluecat which fell for a live shad.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Jerry Marlatt with the first hybrid striped bass he’s ever landed.  Taken on live shad.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 11 May 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

With a chill in the 59F morning air and damp, cold front conditions facing us, I decided we’d hit the white bass hard early, and stick with them until I found a reason to do otherwise.

As is often the case on mornings with heavy cloud cover, the bite got off to a slow, soft start this morning.  I believe this is because the sudden brightening of the sky which occurs on clear days serves as a feeding trigger, and, on grey days, that trigger is absent or diminished.

We experienced moderate action at the first two areas we fished, with fish “flaring” with excitement as soon as we got our presentations to them initially, but then losing enthusiasm quickly thereafter.  We made multiple short hops at these areas, putting together a catch of 74 fish in our first 2.25 hours, all on the original MAL Lure.

The second area we fished (Area 152), held mainly small fish and, although we could have kept hopping and catching more, I decided to move during this “window” when the feed seemed to be perking up to see if we could find another school of fish offering better quality.

We really hit the goldmine with this decision.  Area B0077G was teeming with fish and the fish were actively feeding on shad when we found them. In the next 50 minutes, my crew of five caught 106 more fish before the bite weakened.  During this frenzy, A.J. gave the new MAL Heavy a try and really liked its faster sink rate.

It was now around 10AM.  I offered a few options: 1) we could keep looking for white bass, but, compared to what we’d just experienced, that would likely be anti-climactic, or 2) we could fish with the live shad I brought and give it about an hour to see if we could score on hybrid.

My crew opted for option #2, and we hung baits for about 75 minutes, landing 1 legal hybrid (Jerry M.) at 4.25 pounds, 1 quality blue catfish (Jerry W.) at over 6 pounds, and 3 more white bass.

We ended the morning with 186 fish caught and released.

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

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 186 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: The air temperature was 11 degrees cooler than the water temperature before dawn this morning; no shad spawning observed at multiple areas surveyed.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 11:20A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 59F

Elevation:  0.34 feet high, +0.08 24-hour change, 27 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 70F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW8-9 all morning

Sky Condition: Grey skies with occasional light mist all morning

Moon Phase: New moon

GT = 90

Wx SNAPSHOT:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic 1482 w/ short hops

**Area 152 w/ short hops

**Area B0077G – outstanding fishing for white bass; 106 fish in under an hour

**Area B0089C – 1 legal hybrid, 1 blue cat, multiple white bass

 

Bob Maindelle

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

FISHING WITH THE CANNADY FAMILY – 177 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This past Wednesday, April 28th, I fished with the Cannady family of Morgan’s Point, TX.

Adrian Cannady, his wife, Melissa, and their kids, Dylan, Tristan, and Cortland accompanied me on a multi-species trip on Lake Belton after bidding on a fishing trip at a Ralph Wilson Youth Club fundraiser back in 2019.

Adrian leads the Temple Economic Development Corporation and is a fellow West Pointer, so we had plenty in common to talk about during our trip.

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left, Dylan, Tristan, Adrian, Melissa, and Cortland (in foreground), with a portion of their 177 fish catch made on MAL Lures.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Tristan Cannady poses with his dad, Adrian, after landing this 6.25 pound Lake Belton hybrid striped bass on a chartreuse MAL Lure.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 28 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Easy fishing for high numbers of aggressive white bass was just right for a boatful of fairly inexperienced anglers.  None of the kids had caught fish before, and Adrian had primarily saltwater experience previously, so, working through the learning curve required a bit of doing at first, but, after a while of ‘trial by fire’ everyone got the hang of the intricacies of using the MAL Lure correctly and, from that point on, it was catching, not fishing.

The weather remained ideal, with wind and grey cloud cover, although by mid-morning, the winds got so high (18+mph with higher gusts) that I had to go looking for fish in more protected areas.  Fortunately, these areas also held fish and so we were able to keep right on catching until 11 a.m. when we called it a good morning and headed in to the dock.

For me, there were two remarkable highlights.  The first was listening to the kids, especially 7-year-old Cortland, as eacj hooked and landed their first fish.  There was disbelief, screaming, excitement, and celebration all rolled into one 15-second package.  The second highlight was when Tristan hooked and brought to net a 6.25-pound hybrid while working his chartreuse MAL Lure through some white bass holding tight to the bottom.  After growing accustomed to the smaller white bass we were landing, the strength of the pull and the duration of the fight from this hybrid was a whole new experience for this young man.

We worked MAL Lures vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope all morning  — like they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  This is a deadly combination!

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

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 177 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: High winds dictated we move to areas I’d not recently fished (see last two areas shown below), but, we managed to find fish anyway.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:15A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  0.92 feet low, no 24-hour change, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 65.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE12 at trip’s start, steadily increasing to SSE18 with higher gusts

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: One day past full moon

GT = 20

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 691; MAL Lures

**Area vic 1369 with 3 short hops; MAL Lures

**Area 381; MAL Lures

**Area B0028C; MAL Lures

**Area B0080C; MAL Lures

 

 

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

THREE GENERATIONS, FOUR HOURS, 190 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday afternoon, April 1st, I fished with first-time guests Bennie Goddard, his daughter, Ashley Goddard, and his father-in-law, David Barkemeyer.

This trip was Bennie’s Christmas gift to David and came at a perfect time in the season.

David has retired (multiple times) and lives in Cameron; Bennie just retired from Dow Chemical on the Texas coast and now lives in Morgan’s Point, and Ashley works as a mobile physical therapist, also living in Morgan’s Point.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Bennie Goddard, Ashley Goddard, and David Barkemeyer with white bass we took from out of 26 to 52 feet today as the ENE winds blew.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (PM), 01 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Today was one of those days where our afternoon results were actually stronger than our morning results (which is atypical).  This was thanks to a lack of wind in the morning and due to sufficient winds for most of the afternoon.

Given the light winds, and cloudless skies, I began our search for fish this afternoon in deep (52′) water.  We found an abundance of fish tight to the bottom on a gently sloping bottom and began working my 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs in their midst with immediate, strong results.  As the fish began to lose interest in the slab, we fired them back up with the MAL Lure, once my three guests had already gone through most of the vertical fishing learning curve while using the slabs in combination with Garmin LiveScope.

We boated 84 fish in our first 90 minutes on the water, through ~5P.  At this time, the ENE breeze we’d enjoyed went slack.  I searched unsuccessfully for the next 50 minutes under calm conditions and found nothing to fish for.

Around 6P, the ENE winds returned at about 6-7 mph, which was enough to ripple the surface.  I found fish in ~32 feet of water, and we took our tally up to 145 fish caught and released through 6:50P.  All of these fish aggressively pursued the chartreuse MAL Lure.

From 6:50P through to sunset at around 7:35P, we landed a final 45 additional white bass in ~26′.  Unlike the previous two groups of fish we located, this group was suspended and patrolling in the lower half of the water column.  These, too, were taken on the MAL Lure worked at a moderate cadence and vertically.

David made it a point to tell me at the trip’s conclusion that what he experienced exceeded his expectations …  he thought we’d get into one good group of fish and enjoy the lion’s share of our success from that find, so, he was pleasantly surprised when were were able to spread the wealth over the full 4 hours of the trip by fishing for the 3 distinct groups of fish we located.  I really appreciated him sharing that with me.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 190 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this afternoon.  The fish quit as the sun dropped below the horizon.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  3:30P

End Time: 7:40P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F

Elevation:  0.79 feet low, .02 foot 24-hour drop, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 61.7 F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light ENE winds around 6-8mph, save for the period from ~5-6P (our toughest window)

Sky Condition: Cloudless skies the entire trip.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous at 81% illum.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0077G – 84 fish in 90 minutes out of 52′ primarily on 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs

**Area 817 – 61 fish in about an hour on MAL Lures

**Area B0187C- 45 fish in about an hour on MAL Lures

 

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

AN AMAZING COMBINATION — 200 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, March 25th, I fished with returning guest Gary Davidson of Kerrville, TX.  Joining Gary for the first time aboard my boat was his son, Russell, and Russell’s friend, Josh Taylor.

Gary is a semi-retired CPA who also serves as coach of the Schreiner University shotgun team.  He’s a very good angler and wingshot.

Russell makes his living as a pharmacist in Kerrville.

Josh got his start in the aerospace field after studying engineering at Baylor.  Now, he’s begun making his own line of shallow water, aluminum-framed, jet-driven, flat-bottomed boats, called Rockfish Boats made in Kerrville.  https://www.rockfishboats.com/

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Russell and Gary Davidson and Josh Taylor with some of the spawn-laden white bass we got on in a big way this morning thanks to an amazing combination of rising water temperatures and overnight frontal activity.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: This is an example of one of the line of shallow water, aluminum-framed, jet-driven, flat-bottomed boats, called Rockfish Boats made in Kerrville, TX, by Josh Taylor.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 25 March 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Thanks to a mild cold front’s passage during the early morning hours, we were treated to fish that were both nudged on by slowly rising water temperatures and by the barometric influence of that passing front – an amazing combination which fueled strong fish feeding activity.

The white bass fed voraciously during the time from 7:30 to 8:50, during which time my three anglers landed their first 100 fish.  I had no time to put a line in the water as I went from one man to the next trying to quickly release fish so my guests could “make hay while the sun shone”.

These fish were patrolling throughout the lower half of the water column and were very densely schooled.  We used 3/4 oz. white Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached in this water which was just nipping at 58F on the surface.  Despite the aggressive fish activity and despite the fact that a number of Forster’s terns were patrolling nearby, these birds only got off the water and fed noticeably for two brief periods during this frenzied feeding we fished atop of.

After this area slowed down around 9:15, our count stood at 141 fish. We moved to a more wind-exposed location and caught fish from off bottom at a slower pace.  I noted that the water was a bit chalky here and that the surface temperature was 58.14F, the highest I’d witnessed in the morning on Lake Belton at any point this calendar year.  Although fish did present in a suspended, moving manner, they didn’t respond well to slabs.  On a hunch, I dropped the MAL Lure (in chartreuse) and it took a fish on my very first trial.  I switched the whole boat over to MAL Lures and we caught fish here steadily on them until the wind made the water too chalky and we had to move.

We ended the trip in deeper, clearer, cooler water, thus we switched back to slabs.  It was around 11AM and we had 179 fish tallied thus far.  Everyone wanted to get to that magic 200 number, so, we really worked the fish and scrutinized LiveScope to make this happen.  With most other clients I would have headed us back well before we wrapped up this morning, but, as long as these fellows stayed engaged in chasing that 200th fish, we stayed on them, as I knew each had the ability to convert a strike to a landed fish  — something less experienced anglers would struggle to do.

Around 12:15PM, Russell announced, “Fish on!”. I unhooked our 200th fish of the trip and we called it a great morning.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 200 fish caught and released including 2 drum, 2  largemouth, and 196 white bass

OBSERVATIONS: The “metabolism trumps all” factor has definitely kicked in, and this morning it was further fueled by frontal activity.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:25A

End Time: 12:15P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 52F

Elevation:  0.74′ low with a 0.06’ 24-hour rise and 26 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 58F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were NNW6 for the first 80 minutes on the water, then began to increase, slowly ramping up to 16mph by trip’s end

Sky Condition: We had clearing grey skies as early morning thunderstorms cleared from W to E.  Skies no sooner cleared than a bank of thick grey clouds began to move in from the NW, putting cloud cover back to ~70% by trip’s end.

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent at 86% illum.

GT = 150

Wx SNAPSHOT:  Well, fortunately, the good folks at NOAA were really off on this morning’s forecast.  We experienced neither the high winds they forecast for the early morning, nor the steady clearing skies they forecast for mid-morning; both worked in our favor.

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0190C – fast action on aggressively feeding fish found throughout the lower half of the water column; 100 fish landed in 80 minutes by three anglers.

**Area B0145C – steady action by bottom-oriented fish until the winds caused the area to take on a chalky cast due to wind-induced siltation.

**Area 1469-1552 – deeper, clearer water gave up our final 21 fish, but it took over an hour of focused fishing to accomplish it.

 

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

ALL IN THE FAMILY – 62 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I welcomed my brother, Andy Maindelle, his son, Trent, and my brother’s son-in-law, Paul Stenstadvold, aboard for a rainy, cool morning of fishing.

My brother works in Austin’s corporate scene, Trent, a TAMU Sea Aggie ROTC graduate, is headed for his U.S. Army Field Artillery officer’s leadership training course this month, and Paul is working his way up the ladder running tugboats on the Texas coast.

We had planned to gather Saturday evening one last time as a family before seeing Trent depart for ~5 months, but, when the forecast went south, I moved the father and 10-year-old son I had traveling in from Houston to fish with me back to Monday, and offered my more weather-tolerant family members a shot at catching fish, albeit in a blowing rain.

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Trent Maindelle, Andy Maindelle, and Paul Stenstadvold with a half-dozen quality fish taken at our first stop of the morning.  We let these go right away and right where we’d landed them so they could carry on with their spawning efforts.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Andy with our largest fish of the trip, and the only fish which was not a white bass of the 62 we landed this morning in a steady, cool rain.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday (AM), 13 March 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

As we got underway with heavy grey skies and rain falling, I noted 2 distinct groups of birds working over fish in deep, open water.  These birds were few in number, and were pretty tentative, so I passed on them in favor of shallower action.

Despite the lack of bird activity up shallow, we were able to quickly look over large tracts of bottom with side imaging and find patrolling, schooled white bass.  We wound up fishing three distinct locations in 14-18 feet of water and doing well at each by working bladebaits horizontally with a sawtooth-style retrieve.

The last of these three areas gave up the greatest number of fish and the greatest variety of year classes of white bass.  While at this location I witnessed the first topwater action of the year with white bass chasing shad to the surface on several instances over a ~45 minute span.

Around 10:05, the fish, which I was watching move in and out of the “sheet” of sound generated by my side-imaging out to the sides of the boat, dispersed fairly quickly.  From that point on we saw no further fish activity nor bird activity; I did not find any more fish to fish for on sonar despite another half-hour of searching.  We called it a (cool, wet, soggy) morning right at the 4-hour mark with 61 white bass and 1 largemouth bass landed.  Bladebaits accounted for 100% of our fish this morning.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 62 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Had a 2.75 hour window of activity today after which the fish just shut down despite lack of an obvious weather/environmental trigger.  Non-stop action from 7:20 -10:05

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:45A

End Time: 10:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation:  0.45′ high with a 0.00’ 24-hour change and 1 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 57.3 F 

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were SSE7-11 the entire trip.

Sky Condition: Murky grey skies with light to moderate rainfall 100% of the trip.

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent at 1% illum. (1 day past new moon)

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 745/SH00752 (2 short hops)

**Area vic SH0104C (season’s first topwater)

 

Bob Maindelle

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text) Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

#BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing

#bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

A PRETTY FAIR DAY ON “FAIR DAY” — 59 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, February 8th, I fished with Todd Hudler of Academy, Texas, and his sons, Luke (age 13), and Hunter (age 11).

Todd is part of the Nuclear Medicine Department at Baylor Scott & White in Temple, Texas, where he manages the mobile PET Scanning operations.

Both of the boys are involved in the Academy Future Farmers of America (FFA), and, at a recent fund-raiser, their dad bid on a fishing gift certificate I had donated.

The boys were off from school today for “fair day” which is when the kids involved with FFA make preparations for showing their livestock at the Bell County Expo Center, so they invested the morning in pursuit of fish then got down to business in the afternoon.  The boys both raise rabbits and were planning on getting their prep done after the fishing trip.

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Todd, Hunter, and Luke Hudler of Academy, TX, with slab-caught white bass taken under cool, foggy conditions this morning on Lake Belton.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 08 February 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The prevailing weather factor this morning was a persistent fog which cut visibility to about a third of a mile through around 10:30A when it finally began to thin (although it never cleared during the trip’s duration).

Given this scenario, I started looking for fish up shallow this morning where the limited light would be illuminating the bottom more so than in deeper water.  We took our first 7 fish in under 25 feet of water after making a few short hops to target “fresh fish”.

Our next move was out to 30 feet of water.  We found 3 pods of fish on a slow-tapering bottom and found them willing to strike as soon as we arrived, but also found they would shut off pretty quickly.

As I was looking for our fourth pod of fish in this same vicinity, some helpful bird activity pointed the way to our best fishing of the morning in terms of both quality and catch rate.  About 30 terns aggressively worked a patch of water about 200 yards in diameter for about 30 minutes.  Although the fish still were not uber-aggressive (after all, the water temp is just 53F), they were willing to chase MAL Lures better than the slower Hazy Eye Slabs we’d been using up to that point.  Once the bird action subsided, our catch rate dropped back off, and we moved on to our two final areas, both in deeper (50+ foot) water.

We found primarily small fish carpeting small segments of bottom at two distinct areas and were able to tempt perhaps one in every 15 or 20 that showed themselves with some target separation off bottom.

We finished up right around 11:15 as the bite was slowing to a crawl with exactly 59 fish landed in our 4.25 hours on the water.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 59 fish caught and released (2 largemouth bass, 2 drum, 55 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   The fog, as usual, made it tough (but not impossible) to excite fish today … I wish I understood that connection.  Understand it or not, there is definitely a connection between fog and slow fishing.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 11:15 A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 50F

Elevation:  0.60′ low with a 0.04’ 24-hour drop and 34 CFS flow thru the dam.

Water Surface Temp: 53F 

Wind Speed & Direction:  SE all morning at 9mph

Sky Condition: Light fog all morning to 10:30, then slight clearing to 100% grey cloudy conditions

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 12% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: N.A.

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas: 606 thru 099 (shallow), B0111C thru B0117C (short hops), 1859 thru 1733 (bird assistance), BG0026 (deep), vic 1391 (channel side)

 

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

IT’S A CRIME TO PAY MORE THAN A DIME – 100 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: If you’ve ever heard the phrase “It’s a crime to pay more than a dime.” — you were most likely listening to a McLeod Auto Sales radio commercial.

This morning, Tuesday, December 1st, I fished with returning guest Travis McLeod, co-owner, along with his wife, Diane, of McLeod Auto Sales at 1601 E. Rancier Ave. in Killeen.

The McLeods have been in business for over 20 years selling used cars.  To take a break from that from time to time, Travis likes to get out and do some hunting and fishing.  Today, he braved some pretty tough weather to pursue white bass and sharpen up his own game on this abundant gamefish species on Lake Belton so as to be able to treat his own family, namely his grandkids, to some similar fishing.

Although we both enjoyed the catching, Travis also came to pick my brain a bit about tactics and sonar use.  He came away with a few valuable lessons, namely, that he’s likely been looking too shallow in his autumn fishing, and too dependent on the down-looking technologies of down-imaging and colored sonar, while not making full use of his side imaging on his own Humminbird Helix unit.

Travis is a well-traveled hunter and in that arena I picked up a tip or two from him, namely that I need to set aside time to go to the Dallas Safari Club’s Convention and Sporting Expo held annually in Dallas.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   Travis McLeod with one of several hybrid striped bass we took from about 40 feet of water as we focused on white bass using a combination of MAL Lures and Garmin LiveScope.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 01 December 2020

HOW WE FISHED:

After a sweet run of fishing for very aggressive fish spurred on by frontal activity this past Saturday and again yesterday, things settled back down to more normal conditions today as a southerly wind returned overnight after a very short post-frontal calm just at and after sunset last night.

Under these conditions, fish feed, but not for extended periods.  Fish chase, but not for extra long distances, and the energy they exhibit is generally less than when a rapid change of atmospheric pressure is taking place.

Today we wound up fishing 4 general locations, short-hopping a bit at the first three to keep up with the fish (under birds), to put together our catch of exactly 100 fish.  By 10:30, the winds, which were forecast to max out a 13 mph straight-line, actually rose to 16-17, with higher gusts.  It was such that we vacated open water for our last hour and fished more protected (but still wind-impacted) water.

Until we hit our last area, our ratio of young of the year fish to legal fish was very low, but, of the last 20 we landed, approx. 17 were shorts.  Regardless of size, it sure is fun to work individual fish while peering into the depths below with the LiveScope technology.

We ended up with exactly 100 fish caught this morning, including 3 hybrid stripers, 4 largemouth, and 93 white bass, with one big drum missed right at boatside which did not go on the “clicker” to be counted.

See the MAL Lure here: https://whitebasstools.com/

See tutorial video on how to work the MAL Lure here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE&t=239s

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   2.5 hours worth of solid gull activity in the middle part of this morning’s trip.  First “killing” frost of the year occurred overnight.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:30A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F

Elevation:  0.86 low with a 0.03’ 24-hour drop and 34 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 60.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S12 at trip’s start, ramping up to S16 with higher gusts to 20+ by 10:30A

Sky Condition: High, thin white cloud cover at ~20% on a light blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 99% illumination

GT = 45

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0098C; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 086 to 1551; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 1391; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 844; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

 

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

WISH THEY MADE THAT SCENT IN A CAR JAR – 204 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Tuesday morning, Election Day 2020, I fished with father-and-son Gary and Nathan Smith of Belton.  The Smiths heard good things about the fishing from the Niemeiers and decided to give it a try.

Gary is the president of Centrifugal Castings in Temple, which is an employee-owned company he’s been a part of for several decades.

Nathan works as an accountant for Baylor Scott & White.

Since Gary lives just a few blocks from the Arrowhead Point boat ramp and requested I pick him and Nathan up there, I gladly did so.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Gary Smith with our largest fish of the trip — a hybrid striped bass which was the first fish out of a large school of fish to rise quickly after Gary’s white MAL Lure and engulf it.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Minutes after Gary took two nice hybrid from the same school, Nathan came up with one of his own, also on a white MAL Lure worked vertically.

PHOTO CAPTION #3:  In addition to the hybrid, we landed several white bass in the 3-year class.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday (AM), 03 November 2020

HOW WE FISHED: 

We got off to a bit of a slow start thanks to calm conditions as sunrise.  We looked deep hoping depth would reduce the light levels which the calm surface and lack of wave action did not accomplish.  We found a small school of fish right around 7:35 after about 30 minutes of searching.  This school fired up for a short while, giving up 8 fish as Gary and Nathan got the kinks worked out of their MAL Lure retrieval technique.

Next, just as the SE wind began to ripple the surface, the season’s first light bird action on Belton led us to two groups of fish within 200 yards of each other.  These two areas produced the lion’s share of our fish.  As I observed the birds and tried to zero in on the fish they were indicating, I noted the odor of baitfish being fed upon wafting in the air.  This isn’t really a fishy smell – it is more like a cross between cut grass and watermelon rind.  It means gamefish are tearing up bait and the oil from that bait is rising to the surface where the wind carries that odor downwind.  I’ve speculated that because shad eat algae, and algae contains chlorophyll, the odor of the chlorophyll (also found in green grass and the green rind of a watermelon) gives it something in common with those other two forms of plant life.

I love that smell because I know some serious catching is about to happen – I wish Yankee Candle made that in a manly Car Jar.

Anyway, once these fish wound down, around 10:05, we moved one final time to 44’ of water and worked over one last school of white bass until they quit, right at 10:50.

100% of our fish came on white MAL Lures fish vertically an at a moderately-paced retrieve.  We landed 4 legal hybrid striped bass, 1 short hybrid, and 199 white bass with one largemouth which escaped by jumping right at the boat (and which was therefore not counted).

TALLY: 204 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Today marked the first day this autumn where migratory, fish-eating birds helped lead the way to fish.  Although few gulls are present, approx. 7 ring-bill gulls worked a ~2 acre patch of water and helped me find two distinct schools of fish.  When we arrived under the birds, the air smelled of shad (cut grass/watermelon rind), further indicating a feed was underway.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:45A

End Time: 10:50

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 46F

Elevation:  0.50′ low with a 0.02’ 24-hour drop and 0 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 66.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE breeze starting light and variable and slowly ramping up to 12-13 at trip’s end

Sky Condition: <5% white cloud cover on a blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous at 93% illumination

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas vic 354 – white bass on vertically retrieved MAL Lure; count to 8 (SP)

**Area vic B0078C /B0149C – white bass on vertically retrieved MAL Lure; count to 24 (SP)

**Area vic 1483/B0031C– white bass on vertically retrieved MAL Lure; count to 146 (SP)

**Area vic 682– white bass on vertically retrieved MAL Lure; count to 204 final (SP)

 

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

DIVE BAR BUDDIES HIT A HOMER — 217 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, Oct. 24th, I fished with 4 buddies, all from the Hutto, Texas, area.  Toby Godfrey did the legwork and arranged the trip for Willy Sikkema, and father-and-son team John and Evan Gakeler.

The group had a smattering of prior fishing experience, some in saltwater and some in fresh, but none had ever pursued white bass, nor used either of the tactics we used today — downrigging and vertical use of the MAL Lure.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: Willy Sikkema, Toby Godfrey, and Evan and John Gakeler with but a few of the 217 fish we caught following the passage of yesterday’s cold front, but before high pressure built in strongly.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 24 October 2020

HOW WE FISHED: 

Weather was the driving factor in the fishing today.  As I went to bed last night, I knew I could put these fellows on the fish IF the forecast held true.  Normally, as a cold front passes, fishing will remain solid as the north winds peak and then ramp back down as long as there is cloud cover and some velocity to the winds.  Once the skies clear and the winds die, high pressure has arrived and normally kills the bite.

We rode the downward taper of the northwest winds this morning following the arrival of yesterday’s cold front at around 11:15AM.  We enjoyed grey cloud cover and winds at 10mph as we got going before sunrise; winds increased to 14mph at the bite intensified through about 10AM; the winds then began a slow fall to under 10mph beginning around 10:20AM, and with this came a sharp dropoff in our success.

We began the day downrigging in open water for ~50 minutes while a low-light bite by very mobile, large schools of white bass worked shad in the lower third of the water column.  We ran downrigger balls at between 26-30 feet over a slightly deeper bottom to tempt 22 white bass which were caught as both doubles and singles on the twin 3-armed umbrella rigs (with Pet Spoons) we were running.

This action was over by 8AM.  We then moved out deeper, to between 35-50 feet of water to find more stationary, heavily congregated fish by using sonar.

We found our first strong concentration of fish in 43′, spot locked on them, and, by exactly 9:09AM, took our tally up to 100 fish landed.  We left that area about 10 minutes thereafter with a tally of 116 fish.  100% of these fish were taken on the MAL Lure (in either white or chartreuse, which we used interchangeably).

We moved to our second stop of the morning and spent just under an hour there, adding another 88 fish to our count (total now stood at 204 by 10:20A).  At this point, when the fish we were over quit, the wind dropped sharply, the sun began to break through, and the fishing dropped off sharply, as well.

I looked over several areas without finding anything I could get excited about, and finally stopped on a marginal area mainly so we could end the trip with a few more fish caught.  We dropped lines one last time and put a final 13 fish in the boat in about 20 minutes’ time and then called it a good morning with 217 fish caught and released to fight again another day.

All but the 22 fish taken early on the downriggers fell victim to the MAL Lure worked with a moderate cadence in a vertical orientation.

See the MAL Lure here: https://whitebasstools.com/

See tutorial video on how to work the MAL Lure here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE&t=239s

TALLY: 217 FISH (216 white bass, 1 short hybrid striped bass)

OBSERVATIONS:  Once again saw a handful of ring-bill gulls flying SE in the time between first light and sunrise.  These gulls were initially resting on the water and took flight as we approached.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  7:05A

End Time: 11:25A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 50F

Elevation:  0.28′ low with a 0.01′ 24-hour drop and 0 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 72.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NW breeze all morning, starting at 10, increasing to 13-14 by ~10, then ramping back down thereafterl

Sky Condition: 90-100% grey cloud cover

Moon Phase: A waxing crescent moon at 60% illum.

GT = 65

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic  B0155C to B00156C – low light downrigging for 22 whites with balls at 26-30′

**Areas vic 1021/B0037C – 94 fish on MAL Lures worked vertically (SP)

**Area vic 1482 – 88 fish on MAL Lures worked vertically (SP)

**Area vic B0005C – 13 fish on MAL Lures worked vertically (SP)

 

 

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

TEACHING TEACHERS — 72 FISH @ BELTON (AM)

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, 03 October, I fished with Leander elementary school teachers and fishing buddies Charles Wilkerson and Dan Sullivan.

Charles and Dan went in together on a small fishing boat and fish when their schedules allow, primarily on Lake Georgetown.  Like many anglers, they’ve enjoyed success when fishing is easy (topwater white bass on summer mornings), but struggle thereafter.

They came aboard today not just to catch fish, but to learn more about how to catch fish.  Aside from their interest in seeing sonar put to use in a real-world scenario, they were also specifically interested in my approach to sunfishing, so, we saved some time to demonstrate that at trip’s end.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   From left: Charles Wilkerson and Dan Sullivan with a few of the white bass we took under typical Central Texas early autumn conditions this morning.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning, 03 October 2020

HOW WE FISHED: 

We enjoyed manageable 10 mph SE winds this morning, but the skies lacked cloud cover.  Hence, the early, low light bite was average and fairly short.  We found schools of white bass congregated on a gentle slope from 29-35 feet deep and downrigged parallel to the slope to put 14 fish in the boat by around 8AM when the rising, brightening sun killed that bite.

The remainder of our efforts at fishing for white bass, which extended until around 10:30, involved slowly combing over 35-45 foot water with sonar, finding fish, hovering atop them with Spot-Lock, and then fishing for them vertically using MAL Lures in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.

We added 53 fish to our downrigger tally using the MAL Lures before the morning feed tapered to nothing right around 10:30.  Our total now stood at 67 fish.

We changed up our tactics and location at this point and moved up shallow to target sunfish.  I introduced the men to the tactics I use during the summer months involving light floats, small hooks, small weights, long poles, and small baits.  We put another 5 fish in the boat (all bluegill) in a matter of minutes, then called it a good morning, but not before the fellows each bought a pair of MAL Lures “for the road”.

TALLY: 72 fish caught and released (5 bluegill, 67 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:  Traffic was light thanks to the opener for archery deer season this morning, and a cool, 52F start to the morning.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:45A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 52F

Elevation:  0.1′ high with a 0.05’ 24-hour drop and 51 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 73.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  10-11 mph SE breeze all morning

Sky Condition: 0% cloud cover, bright sun

Moon Phase: Full moon +3 today

GT = 62

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1804 – low light horizontal downrigger work for 14 fish thru 8:00

**Areas vic B0089C, Lost Rod 2, and 187 – vertical MAL Lure work for tightly grouped, bottom-hugging fish

**Area 502 – 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