Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) – 7th Trip of the Season

WHO I FISHED WITH:    This morning I fished the seventh S.K.I.F.F. program trip of the 2019 season. Joining me were Alicia Wegmann (18), Jayden Lamay (11), and Giovanni Lemay (10).  Michelle and Alicia lost Alicia’s father, Sergeant Robert Wegmann Jr. in 2008. Sergeant Wegmann received a Purple Heart after being wounded overseas when a roadside bomb exploded. Sergeant Wegmann and his battle buddy would both lose their lives as a result of this incident.

Alicia really impressed me with her focus and goals.  Having earned an Associate’s Degree prior to graduating from high school a few weeks ago, she now has her sights set on an accounting degree from Texas A&M University Central Texas.  She grasps new things very quickly and is very articulate.  I know she’ll do well.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Alicia Wegmann, Giovanni Lamay, and Jaden Lamay on the seasons’ seventh SKIFF program trip.  The kids landed 56 fish this morning.

 WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  Multi-species

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  12 July 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: With north wind conditions still mixing things up this morning, we tried three different things to both keep it interesting and keep the fish coming over the side.  We did some downrigging early on when I figured the fish would be most active, suspended, and willing to chase.  From there, we transitioned to sunfishing up shallow, and ended with an unsuccessful round of vertical jigging with tailspinners.  Unfortunately the wind tapered down as the morning moved on instead of increasing as it normally does, so the fishing slowed earlier than normal.  When all was said and done we’d landed a total of 56 fish including 13 white bass, 1 channel catfish, and 42 sunfish.

TALLY: 56 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   One more day of north wind is currently forecast.  Zero topwater action spotted this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  0.33 feet high, 0.06′ rise, flow is 1 cfs

Water Surface Temp:   85.5

Wind Speed & Direction:  NE10 beginning right at sunrise and slowly tapering down to NE6

Sky Conditions:   ~25% white cloud cover

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic 1242-1239 downrigging

**Area  vic SH0058C – 1976 downrigging

**Area  1416 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

HYBRID WEATHER — DAY 3!!! — 47 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Wednesday morning, May 1st, I fished with Eddy Howton, Jimmy Cox, and Dwayne Jones on Lake Belton in pursuit of hybrid striped bass.

All three men are retired.  Eddy served in law enforcement and emergency operations his entire career, retiring from Fort Hood.  Jimmy retired from a career as an educator, with his last assignment as the principal at Troy Junior High School.  Dwayne retired as a federal parole officer.

Just for fun: If you ever want to get Jimmy laughing, ask him about the red rod covers I use to protect my hybrid rods during transportation!!

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left, Eddy Howton, Jimmy Cox, and Dwayne Jones.  There is something about those grey skies, humid, warm conditions, and southeasterly breezes that really turn these fish on.  We landed 47 fish, of which 41 were legal (18-inch or longer) hybrid striped bass.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:   Hybrid striped bass using live shad.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:   01 May 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: This morning’s trip was the single most productive hybrid trip of the 2019 season thus far.  Of the 47 fish landed, exactly 41 were legal hybrid up to 5.25 pounds

Once again, we fished strictly live bait in pursuit of hybrid striped bass this morning.  This morning’s best action took place between 7:00am and 8:30am, with a lighter feed from 8:30am to 9:30am, a lull through 10:45am, and then an end-of-morning feed from 11:00am – 12:30am.

Every hybrid we caught today came on livley shad.  Medium-sized shad of about 3.25″ in length seemed to produce best.  Larger shad were readily struck, but often resulted in dead baits instead of hooked fish.  Cutbaits produced no hybrid this morning.

OBSERVATIONS:  Area SHAD014 once again produced sufficient bait this morning with minimal effort.  There is a definite wrinkle in the weather headed our way, and I’m concerned that our water temperature is still too cool to trump the impact which that weather may bring.  Only time will tell.

TALLY: 47 fish caught and released – including 41 legal hybrid

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 12:30p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  75F

Elevation:  1.96 feet high with a 0.20 foot 24-hour drop, and a flow of 2706 cfs

Water Surface Temp:  69.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SE10-12mph

Sky Conditions:  leaden grey skies with sparse, short-lived episodes of drizzle

GT = 85

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 717 early

**Area vic B0150C late

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

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

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

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

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday evening, 14 March

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

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

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

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

TALLY: 34 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 3:15p

End Time: 6:25p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

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

Water Surface Temp: 58F

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

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

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

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

 

 

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

SEASON’S FIRST SKIFF TRIP YIELDS 82 FISH FOR SOLDIER & SON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, February 2nd, I fished with Austin Fly Fishers member Dave Bush.  We welcomed aboard 8-year-old Jarrett Rowell for the first Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (S.K.I.F.F.) trip of the 2019 season.

Jarrett had been patiently waiting for this trip since before Christmas, as foul weather forced two postponements.  Jarrett’s mom, Lesa Rowell, initially contacted me after hearing of the S.K.I.F.F. program from another mom at her church.

SKIFF serves to put the kids of soldiers on the water at times when duty pulls parents away from their families.  Begun in 2009, SKIFF offers trips free of charge to any military family wherein kids are separated from their parent due to that parent’s military obligations from short-term commitments like gunnery or field time at Ft. Hood, to lengthy deployments, and anything in between.  Simply call me, Bob Maindelle, at 254.368.7411 to reserve a date.

 

From left: U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Matthew Rowell, his 8-year-old son, Jarrett, and Austin Fly Fishers’ Dave Bush landed 82 fish on the first SKIFF outing of 2019.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir
 
WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 02 Feb., 2019

HOW WE FISHED:  It just so happened that on Sunday, January 27th, Jarrett’s dad, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Matthew Rowell, redeployed to the United States from a split tour to Iraq and Kuwait as a field artilleryman.  Therefore, he was able to join his son on this SKIFF trip!

The ambient temperature was about 55F as father and son stepped aboard my boat at 7:30am on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just west of Salado.  The reservoir stood at 4.79 feet above full pool and was dropping fairly quickly, with a 24-hour fall of 0.61 feet as the Corps of Engineers released 3,180 cubic feet per second of water through the dam.

After a safety talk, adjusting equipment for my guests, and a word of prayer, we headed to the fishing grounds strictly relying upon GPS to navigate in the thick fog.

As we reached a main lake point, we deployed a pair of crankbaits to attempt some flat-line trolling for white bass.  In about 30 minutes of effort we got only one strike which resulted in a missed fish.

I had warned everyone that our first hour would likely be slow, as it typically is with foggy, calm conditions.

Around 8:20 am, our luck changed when the lightest of ESE winds began to ripple the surface.  This kicked off the morning white bass feed.  As white bass fed on threadfin shad from below, they drove bait toward the surface where ring-billed gulls dipped down to pick up dead and injured forage.

The white birds were tough to spot in the fog, but we got to them and confirmed the presence of fish with sonar.  The fish were tight to the bottom, but were ready to feed.

We all dropped 3/8 oz. slabs of my own design, equipped with a Hazy Eye Stinger Hook, to the bottom and used a “smoking” retrieve to tempt these active fish.  Young Jarrett went 5 for 5 on his first several attempts at the technique, each time landing a white bass between 12-13 inches.

As we three adults also hooked fish, we passed them off to Jarrett to reel in if he wasn’t already engaged with a fish of his own.

We fished three distinct locations over the 4 hour span of the trip, amassing a catch of 82 fish including approximately 4 drum, 1 blue catfish, and the balance consisting of white bass.

One of these fish is a pending lake record … but more on that when TPWD certifies the catch!!

As the trip concluded, we presented Jarrett with his own red tacklebox with an assortment of gear inside, a closed-faced rod and reel, and a red, logoed S.K.I.F.F. ballcap, all provided by Dave Hill and Manuel Pena.

OBSERVATIONS:  Calm, foggy conditions (as usual) produced poor results; once the slightest of breezes began and the light level rose a bit, the fish turned on and stayed actively biting from about 8:20 through to around 11:30.

TALLY: 82 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 55F

Water Surface Temp: 53.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were calm through 8:20, then began out of the ESE at 3-4, slowly increasing to 7-9 and turning SE.

Sky Conditions:  Grey, overcast conditions the entire trip.

Water Level: 4.79′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.61 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 3180 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0063C to 1697 to SH0092C – snap-jigging/smoking/easing for~65 fish

**Area vic 1195- snap-jigging and easing for 6 fish

**Area vic 1309 – snap-jigging and easing for 11 fish

 

 

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

FULL DAY TRIP YIELDS 174 FISH & NEAR-FLOOD CONDITIONS

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday I fished a full day trip with Belton, TX, native Eric Martin and a friend of his since the 8th grade, Christian Hunter.  We fished lake Belton from 7:15 am until 5:00 pm with an off-the-water lunch break from 11:45a until 1:00p (a typically very slow time fishing-wise).  Eric works at Grime Fighters based in Harker Heights, TX, and had good things to say about his boss and co-workers there; Christian works at Wright Tree Service and has his eye on real estate investing in the future.

This trip was presented to Eric as a Christmas gift from his grandmother, Sandra Gehler.

Eric Martin with the largest of the several hybrid striped bass we landed while focusing on white bass.  The winter months, through to the first part of March, always seem the toughest for consistently landing keeper-sized hybrid.

 

Longtime friends Christian Hunter (left) and Eric Martin cashed in a Christmas fishing gift certificate and then cashed in on a 174 fish day on Lake Belton just as rising flood water threatened to shut down lake access for the second time in just 3 months.

 

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday,  January 4th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Snap-jigging was the foundation of today’s trip.  We were using spinning gear geared for white bass with 20 pound braid, 25 pound fluoro leader, and white 3/8 oz. slabs with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks attached.  Once Eric and Chris got the hang of snap-jigging, I introduced another layer of complexity by turning on the Garmin LiveScope sonar gear and showing them how to tempt fish that presented higher up in the water column than the fish we were snap-jigging for on the bottom.  Eric really got the hang of this quickly, and, once Chris overcame his too-powerful hooksets, he, too, became successful at “sniping” for these fairly lethargic high-riding fish.

OBSERVATIONS: The morning bite was very solid today.  The 4 areas we fished required no short hops.  Once we got on fish, we stayed on fish as they continued to be active and filter in beneath the boat.  As the winds decreased in the afternoon, fishing was much tougher.  Thanks to a 40-fish spurt from ~4:20 to 5:00, our afternoon tally was good, however, the period from 2:30-4:30 was slow, with only a few fish right away each time we stopped at a new area, but with no bite duration at these areas.

TALLY: 174 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 5:00 p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F

Water Surface Temp: 49.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: WInds blew at WNW10 through 10:30, then decreased to under W6 for the rest of the day.

Sky Conditions:  Bright, cloudless blue skies

Water Level: 9.31′ high with an overnite rise of 1.81 feet and no flow from the dam  

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 565/1659 (AM)

**Area vic 691 (AM)

**Area vic B0112C (AM)

**Area vic 211 (PM)

**Area vic B0121C/B0124C (PM)

**Area vic B0116C (PM)

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

An Afternoon Quick Trip — 28 Fish with Brianne and Family

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Tuesday evening, November 20th, I fished with Mr. Jim Stoa from the Houston area, accompanied by his granddaughter, Brianne Padilla from McAllen, TX, and Matthew Morrow from Arizona.  The family converged on central Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday spent with relatives living near Belton.

Because Brianne did not have a lot of prior fishing experience, her mom thought it best to shorten the trip from the normal 4 hours, especially given the cool weather.  So, we fished from around 3:00pm until dark, around 5:25pm.

Brianne Padilla of McAllen, TX, (right), her grandfather, Jim Stoa of Houston, and Matthew Morrow of Arizona all on an afternoon family outing on Stillhouse Hollow.

Brianne landed the biggest fish of the trip.  This hard-fighting freshwater drum weighed in at 5 3/8 pounds.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday evening,  November 20, 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   The fish did not really perk up this afternoon as we struggled with cloudless, bright skies and a lack of breeze.  All of the fish we caught were taken either out of suspended schools of fish over deep water which responded to thumping, or came from smaller packs of a handful of fish per pack up in shallower water towards sunset.  We used a slower cadence for smoking with slabs the entire trip.

OBSERVATIONS: No helpful bird action this evening thanks to near-calm winds and bright skies.

Thermal profile:

0 feet 57.5

5 feet 57.5

10 feet 57.6

15 feet 57.6

20 feet 57.6

25 feet 57.6

30 feet 57.6

35 feet 57.6

40 feet 57.6

45 feet 57.6

50 feet 57.6

55 feet 57.2

 

TALLY: 28 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 3:00 pm

End Time: 5:25pm

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 60F

Water Surface Temp:   58.3F

Wind Speed & Direction: <NNE 5

Sky Conditions: No cloud cover all day today

Water Level: 11.77 feet high and falling by about 0.14 feet daily

GT = 25

#whitebass #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0062C – deep, suspended fish worked up with thumping early

**Area vic 054 – shallower, small pods of fish which were on a light, low-light feed as sunset approached.

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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

LIL’ SQUARED — 77 BIRTHDAY FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished with Yvette Garcia, her 5-year-old daughter, Lilee, and Lilee’s friend from church, Lilli Moss.  This trip was in celebration of Lilee’s 5th birthday which took place on August 13th.  This same trio came aboard on August 1st last year in celebration of Lilee’s 4th birthday.  Last year the girls lasted about 3 hours and landed 48 fish.  This year, with a bit more age and experience under their belts, they hung in there for the full 3 1/2+ hours of their “Kids Fish, Too!” trip, and landed 77 fish.

That’s the birthday girl, Lilee Oliver, with a pair of fish she caught as a “double” (two fish on the same rod at the same time) as we used a 3-armed umbrella rig down between 33-36′ feet to target hungry, suspended white bass.  Beside Lilee is her buddy, Lilli Moss, and that’s the birthday girl’s mom, Yvette Garcia, in the background.

…and here’s the same crew celebrating Lilee’s birthday this time last year!!

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning, 25 August 2018

HOW WE FISHED: This morning, no matter how good the fishing, we “kept it moving” so that young Lilee was sure not to lose interest.  We began fishing for sunfish up shallow using bream poles and slipfloats with live bait.  We fished two distinct areas and landed a total of 3 species of sunfish while tallying 21 fish, all from less than 3 feet of water near thick beds of hydrilla.  By 7:45am, we were moving out to deep, clear water  — the domain of the white bass — and using downriggers to target schools of these pelagic shad-eaters.  After the downrigging worked its magic (and was still working its magic), we changed up to keep things interesting and used spinning rods equipped with tailspinners over top of a particularly thick school of white bass.  We landed a handful of white bass in this way, but Lilee expressed a preference for the downrigging, so, we returned to downrigging for a spell until the white bass action was past peak.  We wrapped up the white bass effort with exactly 30 of that species boated.  We closed out our trip fishing in a third location for sunfish once again, and topped off the trip with a final 26 additional sunfish before calling it a good morning and heading on in while the girls were still energetic and the sun was not yet blazing.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: We fished atop the only surface action I witnessed since Wednesday morning.  This morning’s topwater action was fueled by schoolie largemouth popping young of the year shad over ~40 feet of water with white bass in great numbers hanging below them.  We experienced our fastest, most productive white bass bite during the 35 minutes or so when this topwater action was taking place.  As the surface feed went, so went the white bass fishing.

TALLY: 77 fish, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 10:35a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp:   84.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were calm at sunrise, building to SSE5-7 by 7:45, then shifting slowly and increasing to S8-9, then SSW9-11 by trip’s end.

Sky Conditions: 30% cloud cover.

Water Level: 7.68 feet low and falling

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 201 & vic 423 for 21 sunfish early

**Area 1440-SH0040C downrigging & tailspinners for 30 white bass

**Area SH0038C – for 26 sunfish late

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

80 FISH ON THE CRUZ CRUISE – SKIFF TRIP #9

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished the 2018 season’s 9th SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) program trip provided free of charge to the Cruz family of Fort Hood.  Mrs. Katy Cruz, originally from Illinois, accompanied her four kids on this morning’s excursion, including Dakottah (age 14), Makenzie (age 12), Makayla (age 10), and Gavin (age 6).

Staff Sergeant Jose Cruz, originally from Puerto Rico, has been in the U.S. Army for 12 years now.  He has been deployed approximately 3 months on an overseas deployment which is forecast to last approximately 9 months.  SSG Cruz is a medic and is currently involved in training with NATO partners.

SKIFF serves to put the kids of soldiers on the water at times when duty pulls parents away from their families.  Begun in 2009, SKIFF offers trips free of charge to any military family wherein kids are separated from their parent due to that parent’s military obligations from short-term commitments like gunnery or field time at Ft. Hood, to lengthy deployments, and anything in between.  Simply call me, Bob Maindelle, at 254.368.7411 to reserve a date.

The girls, from the left: Dakottah, Makayla, and Makenzie, and little brother Gavin who was decidedly NOT in favor of touching the fish he caught!  During this morning’s trip, the kids all landed the first fish of their lives, thus earning TPWD First Fish Awards, and went on to land a total of 80 fish including 54 sunfish and another 26 white bass.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday morning, 20 August 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  We broke this morning’s trip down into two distinct parts.  First, we nailed down some basics up in shallow water by fishing for sunfish with slipfloats and live bait in under 4 feet of water, landing bluegill, green, longear, and redear sunfish.  For part two, we headed out into deeper, clearer water in search of white bass.  Fortunately, the fish were in a feeding mood this morning to the point of driving bait to the surface, making them able to be spotted with the optics I have onboard.  Once we got near the commotion, I verified the exact location of the fish and bait using sonar and we sealed the deal with the pair of Cannon downriggers rigged up with 3-armed umbrella rigs and Pet Spoons.  After making a few runs at the fish with the downriggers and connecting each time, and to provide some variety for my young clients, we identified an area with a particularly heavy concentration of white bass holding near bottom and used the Minn Kota trolling motor’s Spot Lock function to establish a hover over these fish through the i-Pilot Link system which allows the Humminbird sonar (which I use primarily for side imaging) to be used as a remote control for the trolling motor.  Once we were hovering, I equipped the kids each with a spinning outfit and showed them how to work tailspinners vertically through the fish.  When the novelty of that tactic wore off, we did one more round of downrigging and then called it a morning before the temps hit the 90’s.  In all, we landed 80 fish including 54 sunfish and 26 white bass.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:  A mild cold front is due in in the early afternoon today and is due to change the wind direction to northerly for the remainder of the day today and all day tomorrow.

 

TALLY: 80 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 10:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp:   83.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds S7 at sunrise, slowly moving to SW and increasing to 12 through 9:30a, then backing off to SW9-10 for remainder of trip

Sky Conditions: ~70% cloud cover, tapering to 40% by trip’s end

Water Level: 7.47 feet low and falling

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 201 & 420 for sunfish

**Area SH0054C thru SH0044C for white bass located beneath fish crashing bait on the surface and accompanying tern activity

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

Leon and the Grandsons Take on Stillhouse — 39 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished a multi-species trip with Leon Kyrish’s grandsons, Connor and Will, just about a full year since their first trip to Stillhouse Hollow with me in 2017.  The boys reside north of San Antonio and Leon lives near Canyon Lake, north and west of San Antonio.  The boys and their grandparents came down early and “staged” at a hotel in Salado to avoid an extra-early morning wake up.

 

We had to work for our catch today, but the boys stayed enthusiastic the entire morning.  We landed a total of 39 fish under cloudless skies with light winds.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday morning, 17 August 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   We fished 4.25 hours this morning, spending all but the time from 9:30 to 10:15 (fishing for sunfish) in pursuit of white bass via downrigging. We covered 4 large,distinct tracts of water, finding fish at just two, and that action was pretty light.  We had the brightest skies and lowest wind velocity of any day this week this morning and noted that natural sign was hard to come by.  We saw no bait moving, no largemouth schooling, no terns patrolling or diving on bait, and sonar returns were much reduced versus trips earlier this week.  We wound up catching 19 white bass, 1 freshwater drum, and 20 sunfish.  It was a pretty tough morning.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES: Light winds, zero cloud cover and minimal natural sign today.

 

TALLY: 39 fish, all caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp:   82.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: No wind for first 90 minutes, then picking up from SSW under 8 for the remainder of the trip.

Sky Conditions: 0% cloud cover

Water Level: 7.31 feet low and falling

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  201 – sunfish

**Area  1447-495-1970 – white bass via downriggers and tailspinners

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingelleTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

SKIFF TRIP 2018-6: 67 Fish for the Ycaro siblings and 2 “First Fish” Awards

EXCERPTED FROM THE KILLEEN DAILY HERALD, 30 JUNE 2018:

It seems we humans have a thing for “firsts.”

We recall how Babe Ruth was the first to slug his way to 50 home runs in a season. We recollect how Roger Bannister was the first to break the 4-minute mile.

We celebrate the Wright brothers, who made the first mechanically powered flight in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., and the list goes on. But what about fishing firsts?

Thanks to the Angler Recognition Program run by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, anglers can now preserve the memories of their first catch.

That is exactly what siblings Christian and Delilah Ycaro did last week while fishing aboard my boat.

The youths’ mother, Angel Garcia, contacted me requesting a free fishing trip for her kids offered through the Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun program to youths separated from their parents by their parents’ military duty.

The children’s step-dad, Army Sgt. Christopher Garcia, is currently deployed to South Korea where he works in the information technology field. Their father, John Ycaro, a veteran, and their step-mom, Alyssa Ycaro, reside in San Jose, California.

Angel and I agreed that Wednesday would be a mutually agreeable date on which to take the kids on their SKIFF trip.

From June through the end of August I always opt for a morning trip whenever kids are involved, for a number of reasons. Winds tend to be lighter, the morning bite tends to be longer and stronger than the evening bite, and, of course, mornings are much cooler and more enjoyable.

Angel drove Christian and Delilah to the boat ramp on Stillhouse Hollow Lake where we had agreed to meet, along with her 7-month-old baby. So she could care for the baby, Angel left the older kids in my care and met us back at the boat ramp some hours later.

I provided Christian and Delilah with a safety briefing and a basic introduction to the equipment they’d be using, prayed with them, asking the Lord for safety and success, and we then headed off to the fishing grounds.

On this particular morning, we began fishing in an area which had been impacted by the southerly winds for several days. In 30 to 35 feet of water, sonar clearly revealed great numbers of baitfish which appeared as suspended clouds in the water column beneath the boat. Soon, the gamefish there to feed on those baitfish began to show on sonar as well.

Using a pair of Cannon Digi-Troll 10TS downriggers, we presented Pet Spoons on three-armed umbrella rigs just slightly above the level at which the fish appeared on sonar.

The three-armed umbrella rigs each allow three Luhr-Jensen Pet Spoons to be presented at a given time, one on each downrigger, hence, there are six baits in the water in total.

By keeping the boat moving slowly forward, these Pet Spoons, which are similar in size, shape, and color to the young of the year shad that most gamefish are feeding on this time of year, appear to swim horizontally, parallel to the bottom.

We did not go even 50 yards before Delilah’s line sprang out of the downrigger’s release clip, indicating a fish had struck her presentation. As it was her first fish ever, I carefully explained what she needed to do to successfully bring the fish boatside. Delilah listened well and, after about a minute or so, she brought not one, but two fish to the surface at the same time, one a white bass and the other a largemouth bass. She had just earned her TPWD First Fish Award.

As soon as we measured, photographed and released Delilah’s fish, I put the boat back in gear and we worked on resetting her rod while Christian’s rod remained deployed. Within seconds of beginning to motor forward, Christian’s line also sprang out of the downrigger ball’s release clip, letting us know he, too, had connected with a fish … or so we thought.

As Christian worked to bring his fish in, it soon became clear that he, too, had hooked into a double. In this case, there were two white bass on his line. One was under the 10-inch minimum length limit, so we immediately released it, but the other larger fish we kept just long enough to measure and photograph prior to releasing it as well.

Just minutes into the trip we had already boated four fish and both kids had already earned their First Fish Awards. Christian and Delilah went on to catch and release 67 fish on this outing, including largemouth bass, white bass, freshwater drum and several species of sunfish.

Those wishing to commemorate their first catch may do so by going to tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/programs/ and downloading the PDF found under the Fish Records and Awards link. This form and a photo of the angler holding the fish are then submitted to the TPWD’s Austin headquarters at the address shown on the form. This can be done by mail or electronically.

Ron Smith of TPWD processes these applications and sends the applicants an 8½-by-11-inch certificate suitable for framing, complete with a gold, raised Seal of the State of Texas affixed to it. On the certificate, the details of the catch, including, angler name, date, water body, species, etc., are recorded.

Anglers requiring assistance in working through the submission process are welcome to call upon me for assistance at 254-368-7411 or  email me at Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com.

This program is open to anglers of all ages.