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

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#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

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#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

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#Fitec

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

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

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

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

PHOTO CAPTION #1: The Olds Family — August 2020

PHOTO CAPTION #2: The Olds Family — November 2016  

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OBSERVATIONS: No observed topwater action.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  4:30PM

End Time: 8:30PM

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 100F

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

Water Surface Temp:  86.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE8.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 86% illumination

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

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

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

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

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#Fitec

NO PET BUFFALOS – 105 FISH

 

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday morning, 29 July, I fished Lake Belton with two young lady anglers — Lils and Zoey Haberer, accompanied and assisted by their mom, Emily, and their grandfather, Steve Niemeier.

Zoey is 5 years of age, and Lils is 8.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  That’s Emily and little Zoey with a buffalo nearly as long as Zoey is tall!

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Lils Haberer with an 11th hour largemouth we picked up downrigging after causing havoc for the local sunfish population for over 2 solid hours.

WHEN WE FISHED: 29 July, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED: With girls so young, I had a fairly limited amount of time to find some “easy” fish before they became disinterested. In a scenario nearly identical to the day before, although our forecast called for SW winds, we actually had ESE winds during that critical low-light time from just before sunrise to just after it during which much shallow water topwater feeding typically takes place. That easterly wind just seems to put the brakes on the topwater bite. We actually spotted fewer suspended fish than the day before, and saw no early topwater fish at all this morning. After patrolling, looking, and downrigging a bit, by the 1-hour mark we’d managed to lose 2 young of the year white bass (which were all of about 4″ long), and land another.

I decided at that point that we needed to provide some “instant gratification”, so, we headed up shallow and proceeded to put a hurt on the local sunfish population.

Over the next 2.25 hours, the girls landed exactly 102 sunfish, including bluegill, green, and longear sunfish. Lils was ably assisted by Steve, and Zoey was coached by her mom. This was just the ticket to refocus the girls after a very slow start.

By the time the second area we fished for sunfish played out, we were right around the 3.5 hour mark and Zoey had just about played out, and I suspected Lils wasn’t too far behind. I suggested that we give downrigging just one more try to see if we couldn’t end the day with some larger fish.

Since the girls could move around and snack while we downrigged, and because this was a change of pace from the sunfishing, that suggestion went over well.

We put in all of about 20 minutes’ worth of downrigging during which time Lils came up with a nice largemouth bass — her largest fish of the trip. Not to be outdone, Zoey (with much help from Emily, or perhaps it was the other way around), landed a 16.00-pound smallmouth buffalo.

The whole boat erupted in cheering when the fish was secured in the net. We revived the fish, took some photos, and released it. It was then that Emily noticed Zoey was pouting up in the front of the boat with her head down.

When asked what was the matter, she shared with her mom that she wanted to take the buffalo home as a pet and was therefore very sad that we had released it.

Besides that, we had a good trip even if the white bass weren’t cooperative.

TALLY: 105 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The presence of an easterly wind these past two mornings has just killed the low-light bite. After the sun gets up and the wind starts to move the water, occasional “popcorn” schools of briefly appearing whites could be seen for just seconds at a time out in open water.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.35′ low, 0.06′ 24-hour change, 54 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE6-7 during the first 2 hours, shifting to SE thereafter.

Moon Phase: First Quarter Moon +2 (a.k.a. waxing gibbous moon)

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1583 and B0158C for sunfish

**Area vic 1604 for light action on downriggers late in the AM

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

WE WENT TOPLESS! — 46 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, 28 July, I fished Lake Belton with Dwight and Connie Stone of Georgetown. Dwight gave me a ring about this time last year and has since booked a number of trips with me, and has also referred a number of others, for which I’m very grateful.

Dwight is a retired small businessman, a good angler, a Christ-follower, and so the two of us just hit it off right away.

This was the first time Miss Connie came aboard. She does the term “better half” much justice!!

We set out with high expectations of topwater action after yesterday’s resurgence following Hurricane Hanna’s weather anomaly. That topwater action just was not in the cards, however. Between an easterly component to the wind and a more dry than humid feeling to the air, the morning just didn’t have that “topwater feeling” to it.

So, when I say we went “topless”, I mean we did not have ample opportunity to sight-cast to aggressively feeding topwater feeding fish this moring whatsoever.

PHOTO CAPTION: A dry atmosphere and winds just east of SE put the fish down today. They bit, but not on topwater. Our fish were caught via downrigging and working MAL lures vertically.

WHEN WE FISHED: 28 July, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED: We tried mightily in the first 70 minutes under low-light conditions to find topwater action, but there was none to be found. I noted a number of the weekday “regulars” also spot-hopping looking for a topwater bite, but finding none.

By 7:40, we gave up on that, settled in to use the downriggers to find fish, and then, when the situation allowed, sealed the deal with MAL lures worked vertically.

We hit 3 distinct areas, catching best early on, then finding the bite waning slowly toward 10:45 when we called it a day and headed in.

We only found one opportunity to work lures vertically. All of the other scenarios in which I identified bottom-hugging white bass resulted in those fish moving off before we could get locked on them, despite our efforts to hustle and get on them promptly.

Summer, with its high water temperatures, mean fish metabolism is at a peak. These fish must feed to meet the demands of their bodies, and the white bass are nearly constantly patrolling after shad, not staying put very long.

TALLY: 46 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Beating/thrashing the water definitely kept fish pulled in under the boat and helped reignite a waning bite several times in the one instance we had to fish vertically with MAL lures today.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.29′ low, 0.03′ 24-hour change, 54 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE6-7 all morning

Moon Phase: First Quarter Moon +1 (a.k.a. waxing gibbous moon)

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0123C – encountered multiple, hesitant schools of mid-depth white bass in ~20 feet of water; took 3 on downriggers anticipating they would emerge on the surface shortly thereafter, but, they never did.

**Area B0031G – the one location where downrigging resulted in a nice take of white bass fished vertically, hitting MAL lures in about 38′.

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

AFTER HURRICANE HANNA – 102 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, 27 July, I fished with Mr. Terry Spidell of Harker Heights, TX, accompanied by his two grandsons, 17-year-old Kristian Barr, and 12-year-old Adrian Booker, also of Harker Heights.

Terry joined me once before, accompanied by his son back in May when the fish were still bottom-oriented and the water much cooler, so, today was a very different sort of trip fishing for bait-oriented fish with an existing thermocline.

Lake Belton white bass fishing
PHOTO CAPTION: Terry Spidell, Adrian Booker, and Kristian Barr with a portion of our 102-fish catch.

WHEN WE FISHED: 27 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: After laying off the fishing this weekend due to poor conditions generated by Hurricane Hanna, I was back at it this morning under solid conditions, complete with grey cloud cover and SE winds.

The cloud cover was actually a bit heavier than desired, with some light drizzle falling until around 7:10. The fish got off to a later start thanks to the dreary, grey skies, but, around 7:15 things started to happen and the fishing stayed solid right up to around 9:20, then tapered down over the hour that followed.

We started off casting MAL lures to topwater feeding fish for about 40 minutes up shallow, in under 22 feet of water. Once they quit, there was no residual downrigger bite to be had, so we moved on.

Over the next 75 minutes an open-water topwater bite began, peaked, and fell, allowing for downrigging, sight-casting, and some vertical work with MAL lures.

By 9:30, we’d landed 88 fish and hoped to hit 100 by 10:30. We moved to a new area to try to find some fish with the downriggers which we could then sit atop of and work MAL lures vertically for. As it turned out, the fish we found were pretty scattered, so, we just stuck with the downriggers. At 10:30, we had 95 fish, and I told the boys we’d fish until 10:45 or until we hit 100, whichever came first. They redoubled their efforts at keeping up with the downriggers and playing their fish well. By 10:40, we hit 102, thanks to a couple doubles

TALLY: 102 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Although the low-light topwater action lasted the longest I’ve seen so far this summer, there was no open water feed thereafter from 8-10AM in the locations such feeding had occurred Mon. – Wed. this week.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.26′ low, 0.00′ 24-hour change thanks to light rains over the weekend spawned by Hurricane Hanna, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  85F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE5-6 all morning

Moon Phase: First Quarter Moon

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0123C low-light topwater

**Area B0123C – shallow topwater action & downrigging

**Area B0105C – shallow topwater action, downrigging, and some vertical work

**Area vic B0024G – late morning fish feeding from bottom to halfway up in the water column in ~25-27′

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

HALF-AND-HALF

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Friday, 24 July, I fished with Mr. Rick Sacket and his wife, Paula.

The Sackets came out with me once before for a sonar training session on their Lowrance Hook 12 unit conducted on Stillhouse Hollow. However, due to some health issues, they weren’t able to get right back out on the water and put into practice the things I showed them, and so they desired a “refresher”, especially since adding a Humminbird Helix unit to the bow of the boat.

We did a split “half-and-half” fishing/sonar training trip so I could demonstrate how the sonar I have was useful in finding fish and what it takes to catch white bass consistently in the summer months, and so I could review and set up the sonar units for Rick on his own boat. Note: this is not something “new” that I’m offering — rather, it is a unique scenario for a couple who had already been through my 3-4 hour sonar session.

Lake Belton Texas white bass caught via downrigging
PHOTO CAPTION: Rick and Paula Sacket with a few of the 37 fish they landed in just under 2 hours on a day made tough by the north wind. We went on to do a sonar training afterwards on Rick’s boat, which he trailered to our fishing trip and left in the parking lot as we pursued white bass.

WHEN WE FISHED: 24 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As the old saying goes, “Winds from the north, the fisherman goes not forth.” We had a northerly breeze blowing well before sunrise this morning thanks to the counterclockwise spin of the atmosphere induced by Tropical Storm Hanna, which is sitting in the Gulf of Mexico poised to come ashore around Corpus Christi this weekend.

This really killed the bite today, despite being on the dark cycle of the moon.

We observed all of about 15 minutes of topwater action before sunrise, had these fish to ourselves as long as they fed, and put just 12 fish in the boat before they sounded. Neither Rick nor Paula were real strong on casting with spinning gear, so that hindered us a tad, but, the greater factor was the wind significantly dampening the action.

My desire during that portion of the trip we dedicated to fishing was to demonstrate topwater action and how to respond to it, downrigging, and vertical work for fish located on/near bottom while downrigging.

As soon as the topwater bite was over, we moved on to downrigging. We picked up a single, then two sets of doubles before encountering a large school of bottom-oriented fish.

This allowed us to retool with spinning rods equipped with MAL lures and work vertically, allowing us to catch a final 20 fish all from one location in about 28 feet of water. We concluded our fishing efforts at 8:15, with a catch of 37 fish in just under 2 hours.

TALLY: 37 fish caught and released (in just under 2 hours)

OBSERVATIONS:  Although the low-light topwater action lasted the longest I’ve seen so far this summer, there was no open water feed thereafter from 8-10AM in the locations such feeding had occurred Mon. – Wed. this week.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 8:15A (ended fishing effort, began sonar training)

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Elevation:  1.2′ low, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  85F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE 2-5 all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent (New moon +4 days)

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

Lake

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 016 – brief pre-sunrise topwater action

**Area B0023G – downrigging leading to vertical work with 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)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

EVER CAUGHT A SUNFLOWER FISH?

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, 23 July, I fished with 5-year-old Jed Miller. Ned is the son of Dusty Miller, and grandson of Dirk Miller, all of Miller’s Smokehouse fame in Belton, TX.

Today, Pappy Dirk came along in a support role simply to enjoy and encourage his grandson, and to help me help Jed be successful.

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Dirk Miller and his grandson, Jed Miller, with a pair of the 34 white bass we took under ideal summertime conditions for a low-light topwater bite.
PHOTO CAPTION #2: Jed landed two fish on one lure at the same time on his very first attempt with a topwater after doing some previous damage with an MAL lure retrieved sub-surface.
PHOTO CAPTION #3: Once the sun hit the water and the white bass sounded, it was sunfish time. Jed landed this beautiful longear on live bait fish under a float.

WHEN WE FISHED: 22 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Thanks to a gentle SE breeze and thin cloud cover, the environment was just right for some low-light topwater action just before, during, and after sunrise. We essentially drove from the boat ramp directly to fish just beginning to push shad to the surface and then proceeded to catch them non-stop for about 70 minutes.

5-year-olds need variety to keep them focused, and so when I sensed that Jed was getting antsy catching fish on my custom MAL lure, I switched him over to a topwater plug so as to add a visual aspect to the fishing. About the time he was losing interest in that, the fish sounded as the direct sun struck the water, thus allowing us to begin downrigging.

The downrigging produced two sets of doubles which Jed was excited about, then, once the novelty of downrigging wore off, we dove into yet another experience — that of sunfishing, or, as Jed called it, “sunflowerfish fishing”.

By the time we left the white bass behind, Jed had landed 34 of them.

As the heat intensified at the second of two stops we made for sunfish, Dirk and I saw Jed’s interest quickly fading and knew the time to wrap things up had come so as to keep this a memorable and positive experience for Jed.

With our tally now standing at 68 fish, Dirk told Jed he’d take him to lunch if he could land two more fish to make it an even 70 for the morning’s effort. Jed knuckled down and landed a juvenile largemouth for his 69th fish, and, shortly thereafter pulled in a final bluegill sunfish to make it an even 70.

We snapped a few photos to commemorate the trip and then headed to the dock.

TALLY: 70 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Although the low-light topwater action lasted the longest I’ve seen so far this summer, there was no open water feed thereafter from 8-10AM in the locations such feeding had occurred Mon. – Wed. this week.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 9:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  1.17′ low, 0.07′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE 4-7 all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent (New moon +3 days)

GT = 85

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 013 to 1792 – low light topwater action

**Area 1792 to 292 – post-topwater downrigging

**Areas B0029G and 492 – 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)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

TOPWATER TIME – 107 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, 22 July, I welcomed Gary and Kathy Janacek aboard for a morning in pursuit of white bass on Lake Belton.

Gary is the retired CEO of the Scott & White Credit Union in Temple, where Kathy also more recently retired from.

I donated a fishing trip again this year to the Morgan’s Point Fire Department fundraiser held each Valentines’ Day, where the Janacek’s bid on it. Today was the day they chose to redeem it, and that turned out to be a good choice.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Gary and Kathy Janacek with a few of the 107 Lake Belton white bass we took using a combination of downrigging, sight-casting, and vertical jigging.

Spend enough time in the outdoors, and you’ll see all manner of sights … this floatplane took a few passes over us this morning.

WHEN WE FISHED: 22 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: After a poor result under low-light conditions impacted by an easterly wind yesterday, the fish more than made up for it this morning by feeding aggressively on the surface for right at an hour just before and after sunrise. These fish were herding shad to the surface and feeding upon them voraciously. Most of the fish we landed regurgitated 2 to 8 shad and were going for more when they hit our lures.

This action wrapped up around 7:30. We then went searching for fish, hopeful that we would find fish revealing their locations by feeding on topwater out over open water as has been the case the last two mornings.

Indeed, we were able to find a school of fish absent of any other boats and caught fish in abundance before any other boats arrived. As the fish wrapped up their topwater feed around 9AM, they continued to feed subsurface. This is where the downriggers really shined. They allowed us to effectively cover water while presenting 6 baits at the exact depth the fish were holding at (25-30 feet), and then stop over top of exceptionally large schools revealed by sonar. Once atop these fish, we worked MAL lures with their exceptional strike-to-land ratios until the fish dissipated, at which time we then resumed downrigging. We went through 6 or 7 such iterations between 9AM and the time we called it quits at 10:10AM.

TALLY: 107 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Temperature profile at depth:

0 feet 86.1

5 feet 86.1

10 feet 86.1

15 feet 85.9

20 feet 85.1

25 feet 84.5

30 feet 83.1

35 feet 80.7

40 feet 75.7

45 feet 71.2

55 feet 69

55 feet 67.6

65 feet 66.4

65 feet 65.5

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Elevation:  1.1′ low, 0.11′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE 4-7 all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent (New moon +2 days)

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0104C – low light topwater action allowing for sight casting

**Area vic 506 – mid-morning topwater action over open water lasting briefly, but leading to downrigging and vertical jigging success

**Area vic 155 to 1975 – found fish with sonar, downrigged until large schools were found, then worked vertically to capitalize

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle