THEN AND NOW — 127 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, 04 January 2020, I fished with Dr. Craig Molyneaux and his adult son, Christian Molyneaux, of Salado.  Craig, a retired dentist, now serves as the Associate Pastor of Ministries at Memorial Baptist Church in Killeen.  Christian is a U.S. Airforce airman serving in his first enlistment, and is currently stationed at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

I’ve had the privilege of knowing the Molyneaux family since 1995 when they first arrived in Killeen to establish a dental practice (Killeen Dental) from the ground up.

I’ve fished with Craig and Christian a few times in the years since, hence the “then and now” photo below…

PHOTO CAPTION: Then (September 2007) and now (January 2020).  Both the boy and the fish grew considerably!!

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Well, the old man’s still got it.  Craig landed our biggest fish of the morning!  This Lake Belton hybrid striper went 5.00 pounds on a certified scale.

PHOTO CAPTION: Father and son landed 127 fish on a beautiful, clear, dry, breezy Texas winter morning.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 04 January 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: After shaking the fog which made fishing pretty tough of late, a nice, stiff cold front pushed all of that out to the east on Friday, leaving cool, dry, but still breezy conditions this morning.  The northwest winds typically mean bird action, and this morning was no exception.  After finding our own fish on sonar along a deep breakline, bird action erupted about 70 minutes after sunset and stayed “fishably intense” right through 11:30.

By “bird action”, I mean the scenario in which migratory, fish-eating birds, namely ring-billed gulls and Forster’s terns, concentrate on one patch of water and begin rapidly and repeatedly feeding on dead and crippled shad which gamefish, namely white bass and hybrid stripers, are pushing toward the surface as they feed on those shad from the bottom, upwards.

During the 70 minutes or so during which we fished for bottom-hugging and less aggressive white bass, we used a slow, easing tactic equipped with Hazy Eye Slabs of my own making.  We used white, 3/8 oz. versions with stinger hooks attached.  (You can find those here:  SLABS).

Once I observed the bird action and looked at the relative intensity of it, I felt we’d be dealing with more aggressive fish, and with more hybrid striped bass.  For this reason, we changed out our 3/8 oz. lures for the 3/4 oz. version (also in white and with stinger hooks attached).  These have hooks which are one size larger (5’s versus 6’s) and they sink more quickly.  As we began fishing under the birds, we switched over to a more aggressive smoking tactic.

Some clients grasp the tactics I try to coach them in more quickly than others, and, to their credit, Craig and Christian came out of the shoots really executing the easing tactic and the smoking tactic very well, and their results this morning reflected that.  When I saw flaws in their technique, I pointed them out and they adjusted well, and then continued to fish more efficiently thereafter.

TALLY: 127 fish caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  34F

Elevation: 3.04′ low, 0.00′ 24-hour change, 20 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   54.0F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NW7-9 all morning

Sky Conditions:  Post-frontal, bluebird skies

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 2038 easing for white bass

**Area 1275 through 1749 for mixed bag under birds

 

 

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

DOCTOR IN “TRAIN”ING — 101 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, 02 January 2020, I fished with Dr. Jim Wood of McGregor, TX.  Jim is “essentially” retired, but still works a few shifts now and again in his specialty of wound care over in Harker Heights.

Jim runs his own bass boat with Lowrance electronics, but enjoys doing a guided trip now and then in pursuit of something other than largemouth.

I’ve got an Alaskan vacation planned for later this year with my mom and wife and was picking Jim’s brain about it since he’s been up that way with family three times now.  As we were discussing all this, a recent trip he’d made to a model train museum on the East Coast came up.  As it turns out, Jim’s had a lifelong fascination with model trains and even worked for the railroad in Houston during his summer breaks while working his way through college.  I don’t know if Mrs. Wood knows this yet, but Jim shared that he’s planning on converting one of his bedrooms to a train room over the course of the next year — he’s got something like 28 large U-Haul boxes of accessories to equip said room!!!  I remembered thinking to myself about this time that a plan is really only a wish if your wife hasn’t bought into it yet.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Dr. Jim Wood of McGregor, TX, had a 101 fish morning on Belton.  98 white bass, 2 largemouth, and 1 drum, all on the 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook affixed.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday, 02 January 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  We’re definitely in winter fishing mode and the fish are “moody” as they typically are from now until the warmup in March.  We found fish as shallow as 16 feet and as deep as 32 feet this morning, and their responses to our presentations were all over the map.  We had stopped the boat and let down lines at ~15 distinct locations this morning; at only two were the fish really geared up and ready to bite; at another 2 or 3, the fish were just turned off — we could get them to raise perhaps a half-foot to a foot off bottom, but they would not chase any further, nor would they bite.  The rest of our stops saw action somewhere in between — we’d roll up on the fish, catch a few eager ones right off the bat, then the fish would throttle back, allowing us to catch a handful more before turning off and forcing us to move on.

Slowly but surely we put together a decent catch.  By 11:30A, we’d landed 88 fish.  I suggested to Jim that we either fish until we’d caught 100 fish or until noon, whichever came first, as I had to scoot over to Stillhouse for a sonar training by 1:30P.  Well, at exactly 11:53A, our 100th and 101st fish came aboard and we began wrapping up at that time.

With the exception of 4-5 smaller white bass which we landed while working small Cicada bladebaits horizontally in 16-18 feet of water, every other fish was taken on the white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook attached.

OBSERVATIONS:  Fish behavior varied greatly today, even amongst small schools geographically near to each other.

TALLY: 101 Fish

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  50F

Elevation: 3.07′ low, 0.05′ 24-hour change, 20 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   54.0F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SW8-9 all morning

Sky Conditions:  100% grey cloud cover with light rain in the final 30 minutes

GT = 25

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 826

**Area vic B0184C to 1619

**Area vic B0028C to 2032

**Area vic 788 (shallow blades)

**Area vic 381 to B0071C

 

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

 

 

STARTING 2020 OFF RIGHT — 50 FISH ON SEASON’S FIRST SKIFF TRIP

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, New Year’s Day 2020, I kicked the season off with a S.K.I.F.F. program trip just for 14-year-old Emani Frazier of Killeen, TX.  Emani is an 8th grader at Union Grove Middle School where she enjoys playing volleyball.  She’ll head to Harker Heights High School for her freshman year next year.

Emani’s mom, Melissa Frazier, is a disabled U.S. Army veteran and single parent to her 5 daughters, of which Emani is the youngest.  Melissa left Queens, NY, in her early 20’s to join the military and was honorably discharged as a sergeant after multiple enlistments.  She is active with the Central Texas Wounded Warrior Project and, through their Facebook page, learned of the S.K.I.F.F. program.

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

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: 14-year-old Emani Frazier and her mom, Melissa Frazier, worked up 50 fish on a pretty raw, cool, cloudy, damp morning on Lake Belton.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 01 January 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Both Melissa and Emani had a little prior fishing experience, albeit with bait, before this morning’s trip with me, so, I assessed what they already had a good grip on and then built on that.

Both were good listeners and fast learners and, in no time, had the “easing” tactic which is so effective this time of year down pat.  We used light spinning gear with the very reliable 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached and wound up catching white bass, largemouth bass, and hybrid striped bass.  No freshwater drum this morning.

Today’s weather was just an average “between fronts” kind of day, and the fish activity reflected that.  The fish were not shut down, but they weren’t fired up, either.  Each time we found fish using sonar, we caught a few (perhaps 5-10) and then had to move on as the remaining fish there quickly lost interest, and we did not draw other fish in with the commotion our hooked fish caused.

By 11:20, we’d landed 43 fish and I could tell that Emani was getting cold, despite dressing well.  I suggested we fish until 11:45 or until we’d landed 50 fish, whichever came first, mainly to give Emani a goal to shoot for and a known end time so she could anticipate warming up again.  The ladies were both good with this challenge, and, by 11:40, we’d landed our 50 fish and were taking photos to commemorate the morning.

Thanks to the cloud cover, we found fish up shallow, and, thanks to the cooling water, we also found fish deep.  We caught fish from 16 to 28 feet deep this morning.

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Scant bird activity this morning with more terns than gulls doing a lot of looking and feeding on surface-oriented shad, but not working over fish. After the trip concluded, I scouted several additional areas, finding fish at B0058C, B0010G, and B0072C, landing 5 fish at each and moving on while the fish were still biting.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  48F

Elevation: 3.01′ low, 0.02′ 24-hour change, 20 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   54.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm and foggy conditions which were very localized.  The entire area was not foggy, only the lake’s surface due to the temperature disparity between the cold air and the warmer water.

Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by grey cloud cover which served to stabilize the temperatures overnight and into this morning

GT = N/A

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 818 to 1024; 4 short hops

**Area vic 1659

**Area vic B0003G; 3 short hops

 

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

 

 

 

GOOD JOB, JACK! ATTA-BOY, ROY! — 161 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, December 28th, 2019, I fished with three generations of the Oliver family who drove in from Marble Falls, TX, for a 7:35AM launch time to do some serious white bass fishing under ideal conditions.

Grandpa Jack Oliver had two of his sons, Isaac and Eli, and his daughter Emily’s two boys, Jack (age 9) and Roy (age 6), all joining him for today’s productive, albeit slightly damp, fishing trip.  Jack and Roy Martin are in visiting from Kalispell, Montana.

This trip came together kind of “last minute” when I posted on Facebook that I had a late cancellation yesterday afternoon.  Jack hopped right on the opportunity (literally, about 2.5 minutes after I posted the opening!) and it turned out to be a win-win.   I was a bit concerned about having a 6 year old out at this time of year when your presentation needs to be spot-on and there is not much variety for me to offer, but, that turned out to be a non-issue, both boys did very well.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Back row, from left: Grandpa Jack Oliver, Isaac Oliver, Eli Oliver.  Front row, from left: Roy Martin and Jack Martin

PHOTO CAPTION: Jack Martin took “big fish” honors this morning with this 4.75 pound Lake Belton largemouth bass with fell for a 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook affixed and in the white color.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 28 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:   If I could custom-order weather for white bass fishing in the winter season, this morning’s weather is what I would order.  We had warm temperatures overnight, warm, humid conditions this morning with grey cloud cover and just a touch of precipitation from time to time — barely a mist.  The winds were from the SW around 10-12 and, perhaps most important, we had a cold front coming in, which would hit around 2:45P.  Every single place we checked had at least a few fish present, and a few places had hundreds of fish present and actively feeding up off bottom where they were easily detected with sonar.

Every single one of the 161 fish we landed was caught from off bottom as we used a slow, steady “easing” tactic to tempt these fish in the 55.2F water.  Our deepest area fished was 28′, and we caught our earliest fish (while sky conditions were dimmest) in only 17′.

All fish were landed on the 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook affixed and in the white color.  My standard setup for these includes a roughly 24″ Sufix fluorocarbon leader and 20 pound Sufix 832 braided line.

Jack’s in-laws were due in to Marble Falls for a steak cookout at 1PM, so he gave me a “back to the dock” time of 11AM to catch our fish.  We hit 100 fish at 10:05AM, then added icing to the cake for the next 35 minutes, putting a final 61 fish in the boat during that short time span.

 

TALLY: 161 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this morning.  I found fish as shallow as 8′ deep in the 55.3F water.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  12:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  48F

Elevation: 2.98′ low, 0.00′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   55.3F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm and foggy conditions which were very localized.  The entire area was not foggy, only the lake’s surface due to the temperature disparity between the cold air and the warmer water.

Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by fog through around 9:30A, then slowly clearing to mostly cloudy with white cloud cover, followed by heavier coverage of grey clouds

GT = 45

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0013C to B0002G – 3 short hops

**Area vic B0112C

**Area vic  171/1024

**Area vic  B0066C

 

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

SNOWBIRDING BY HORSEBACK – 100 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, December 27th, 2019, I fished with Jerimy Fox of Wyoming.  He and his wife are now retired (she from the U.S. Air Force, and he from teaching high school science) and, with the flexibility to escape winter’s wind and cold, chose to do just that by setting up camp, along with their 3 horses, at the Parrie Haynes Equestrian Center here in Central Texas (I believe Jerimy calls this a horse-hotel).  They’ll spend the next few months there awaiting the spring thaw, thus avoiding high winds, extended bouts of sub-zero temperatures, snow drifts of over 7-feet, and the incessant snow-plowing that goes along with that.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Jerimy Fox with a pair of nice Belton Lake white bass.  We fished bladebaits shallow and slabs deep today for a 100 fish outing.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday, 27 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:   About a week ago Jerimy phoned me, let me know he’d be in the area for about 4 months and that his schedule was flexible, so, if I saw some ideal conditions develop, I could just give him a call and he’d be ready to go.  After putting together a string of five consecutive 100+ fish days, and after seeing the forecast for today, I was confident I could put Jerimy on 100 fish, and so I called him and let him know that.

We fished today and we did, indeed, catch exactly 100 fish.  However, we had to put in more effort than I anticipated, and I stayed a bit longer than usual to make it happen.  As often happens the weather that was forecast was not the weather we actually experienced.  The first two hours of the trip were bright and calm without the fog of the past several days and without the wind that I was really counting on blowing early on.

We vertical jigged for all the deep fish we found today and, after learning a lesson from yesterday about spooking shallow fish, we did a bit of successful horizontal casting with bladebaits, as well.

Toward the end of the trip, even as conditions were improving (grey cloud cover with wind), the bite remained tough.  For the first time this season I gave snap-jigging a try after the fish refused to get excited about the easing tactic we were otherwise relying upon.  When fish showed tight to bottom on sonar after we caught a few via easing, a good mop-up tactic for the few catchable fish remaining was the snap-jigging.  This also seemed to add more “bonus” drum and largemouth to the tally.

 

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this morning.  I found fish as shallow as 8′ deep in the 55.3F water.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  12:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  48F

Elevation: 2.98′ low, 0.00′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   55.3F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm and foggy conditions which were very localized.  The entire area was not foggy, only the lake’s surface due to the temperature disparity between the cold air and the warmer water.

Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by fog through around 9:30A, then slowly clearing to mostly cloudy with white cloud cover, followed by heavier coverage of grey clouds

GT = 45

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic  826 (2 hops)

**Area vic  788 through 172 (3 hops with blades)

**Area vic  B0003G through 1679 (3 hops)

**Area vic  B0005G

**Area vic  B0003G (fished it a second time with 2 hops)

 

 

 

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

ILLINOIS EXCAVATOR REALLY DIGS TEXAS FISHING — 118 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, December 26th, 2019, I fished with Troy Hensley Jr. of Killeen and Frank Cattani.  Troy is a U.S. Army veteran turned stay-at-home dad of 3 (and soon to be 4!!) and Central Texas College student, and Frank and a partner operate a heavy equipment business focused on excavation up in Illinois.  Back in the 70’s, Frank did a stint in the U.S. Army Reserves, as well.

Frank and Troy’s mom drove down for a visit from their home in Illinois.  Frank did well adapting to the tactics necessary to put fish in the boat this time of year.  Although he has his own small lake to fish up in Illinois, the primary species in it are cover-loving fish like sunfish and bass, so fishing for open-water pelagics species without bait was a bit new to him.  Frank caught the first hybrid striped bass of his life on this morning’s trip.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Troy Hensley Jr. and Frank Cattani loaded up on the white bass this morning.  Their catch of 118 fish included white bass, hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday, 26 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  For the fifth consecutive trip we had calm, foggy conditions with bright light conditions within the fog thanks to the fog being localized and just hovering over the lake’s surface, thus allowing the sun to illuminate it from above.

A trend has emerged during these calm, foggy mornings.  It seems the fish are biting well under the cover of fog, then slack off after the fog clears as the calm conditions remain and as the skies become clear and bright.  A late morning increase in action then takes place as either light cloud cover and/or a light breeze develops.

I’ve also found fish, albeit most of them smallish, up very shallow.   I suspect this is because the water temperature has actually risen slightly over the past week thanks to balmy conditions for late December.  We caught fish as shallow as 8′ deep this morning, and had multiple schools of fish under the boat in 13-18 feet of water.  These fish typically either spooked or moved on quickly on their own, as we rarely caught more than a handful of fish from these shallow congregations before sonar went blank.

The deeper the fish were this morning, the longer they stayed put and kept biting.  All of our fish came on the good old 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Shad in white color with stinger hook attached.  A consistent, slow easing tactic caught fish very efficiently.

 

TALLY: 118 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this morning.  I found fish as shallow as 8′ deep in the 55.3F water.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  12:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  48F

Elevation: 2.98′ low, 0.00′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   55.3F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm and foggy conditions which were very localized.  The entire area was not foggy, only the lake’s surface due to the temperature disparity between the cold air and the warmer water.

Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by fog through around 9:30A, then slowly clearing to mostly cloudy with white cloud cover, followed by heavier coverage of grey clouds

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    N/A

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1671 with 2 short hops

**Area vic  826

**Area vic 788

**Area vic  681

**Area vic  B0004G

**Area vic  1882/B0009C/B0003G

**Area vic 1624

 

 

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

WHO’S YO MOMMA?!? — 135 FISH W/ THE GLADDENS

WHO I FISHED WITH: Yesterday morning, Christmas Eve 2019, I fished for a second time inside the space of a week with the Gladden family of Harker Heights, including Kelvin Gladden Sr., his wife, Angela, and their boys Kelvin Jr. and Tevin.  Kelvin is a retired U.S. Army veteran, Angela works for the Children, Youth, and Student Services (CYS) organization on Fort Hood, Kelvin Jr. works for Walmart in Harker Heights, and Tevin is now entering his final semester in college up in Anchorage, Alaska, where he’ll graduate in May with a degree in computer science.

Even though our conditions this morning were similar to our conditions last Saturday during the Gladden’s first holiday trip with me, we managed a 35% increase in our catch as everyone was more experienced and paid much closer attention to their technique today.  The Gladdens amassed a catch of 135 fish.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Largemouth Bass

PHOTO CAPTION:   This is the fish that led to the title for this log entry.  Angela’s younger son, Tevin, started off the fishing trip fast and furious, landing 8 fish at our first location and within the first 20 minutes or so while the rest of the family had only managed 1 or 2 fish each during that same time.  Tevin thought it necessary to taunt the rest of the family by reminding them of his personal total, all of which consisted of average-sized white bass.  When Angela set the hook on this 4-pounder, her rod bowed deeply and I scrambled for the net.  We landed the largemouth bass, took it out of the net, and I put a clamp on it for Angela to hold for a photo.  She took a deep breath, let it out, looked squarely at Tevin and said, “Who’s yo’ momma?”   Everyone laughed out loud and I told them right then and there that was going to be the title for this summary of our trip! 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Lake Belton gave up some plump wintertime white bass today.  A slow, vertical presentation with small, shad-imitating slabs was the ticket to success once fish were located.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 24 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Once again we had calm, foggy conditions with the same, bright light conditions within the fog thanks to the fog being localized and just hovering over the lake’s surface, thus allowing the sun to illuminate it from above.

From their trip on Saturday, everyone knew going into this morning’s trip how critical correctly executing the vertical jigging tactics we employed was.  A consistent jigging speed, consistent contact with the bottom, and intentionally slow movements were all necessary from start to finish this morning.

We caught fish best under the darker conditions caused by the fog.  Once the fog cleared, the fish activity slowed as we were then left with clear, calm conditions.  We move around a good bit, finding small clusters of fish willing to bite.  Not until a significant breeze finally kicked in around 11:30 did the fish get back into a strong feed.  This lasted right about an hour and then tapered off.  We landed 44 fish under fog cover, another 35 fish during the last hour with wind blowing, and the other 56 fish came more slowly in the calm, bright conditions between the fog and wind.  We wound up fishing 8 different areas, and did a few “short hops” at several of those 8 areas.

TALLY: 135 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  12:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  34F

Elevation: 2.97′ low, 0.02′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   53.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm and foggy conditions which were very localized.  The entire area was not foggy, only the lake’s surface due to the temperature disparity between the cold air and the warmer water.

Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by fog through around 9:40A, then slowly clearing to calm and bright, followed by the arrival of a light SE breeze around 11A

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic  B0113C

**Area vic 1671

**Area vic  B0002G

**Area vic  172 to B0172C

**Area vic  380 (sparse)

**Area vic  B0071C (sparse)

**Area vic  1882 (sparse)

**Area vic  B0003G

 

 

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

9 SHORT YEARS LATER — 218 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, Dec. 23rd, I fished with the Einboden clan — brothers Josh, Kris, Merrill, and Orlan, and Kris’ wife, Maddie.  Way back on the 28th of June 2010, these same boys came out with me for a trip on Stillhouse when their dad, Allen, worked in Temple.  The family is having a holiday reunion here in Central Texas which began when the Idaho contingent of Einboden’s flew in to Austin at 4:35 this morning.  They chose to spend part of their reunion together on Lake Belton in pursuit of white bass.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left:  That’s Orland, Maddie, Kris, Merrill, and Josh today on Belton.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left:  Here are the same boys — Josh, Kris, Merrill, and Orland back in June of 2010.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday, 23 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Once again we had calm, foggy conditions, but very different from the calm, foggy conditions of this past Saturday.  Today, only the lake was fogged over.  My drive over to Belton was clear as a bell, but, thanks to the temperature disparity between the ambient air and the lake’s surface, along with a lack of wind, the lake was fogged over heavily.  Despite this, the conditions were still bright (not dim, dark, and gloomy), because the sun was unobscured by clouds and was brightening the sky above the thin layer of clouds over the lake.  This was evidently all the difference the fish required, as the results today were “night and day” different than Saturday’s grey, dark fog.

With 5 anglers aboard, I wanted to do as much as I could to get everyone “in sync” with the vertical jigging tactic of “easing” before we encountered fish so that 1) everyone’s potential to hook and land fish was maximized, 2) common mistakes could be avoided, and 3) we could proactively avoid time-consuming tangles.  So, I gave a thorough demonstration of what to do right at dockside with everyone looking on, and then went over what not to do, as well.  I emphasized the importance of the slow, steady motion essential to success with this tactic.

We got on and stayed on fish from our first drop right on through around 11:45 and as the weather went from foggy and calm, to clear and calm, to clear with a light SE breeze.  The fish action stayed consistent throughout.  We worked five distinct areas and found fish arrayed pretty much in the same manner at each — in a feeding posture just up off bottom but not moving or chasing very much (thanks to 53F water).  As I employed the thumper, fish did draw up off bottom up higher in the water column toward the boat, but we did not fish for them given perfectly catchable fish carpeting the bottom.

Every one of the 218 fish we landed was caught on a 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with a stinger hook attached using the easing tactic.

TALLY: 218 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this morning.  Once again (3rd consecutive trip) over 30% of our catch was made up of 2 and 3 year class fish (~half today).

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  33F

Elevation: 2.95′ low, 0.01′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   53.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm and foggy conditions which were very localized.  The entire area was not foggy, only the lake’s surface due to the temperature disparity between the cold air and the warmer water.

Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by fog through around 9:40A, then slowly clearing to calm and bright, followed by the arrival of a light SE breeze around 11A

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1671

**Area vic B0172C

**Area vic 171/172

**Area vic 380/B0066C

**Area vic B0071C

 

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

HE RECOMMENDED MOOSE’S TOOTH … 100 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, 21 Dec., I fished with the Gladden family of Harker Heights.  Mr. Kelvin Gladden Sr. coordinated the trip for his wife, Angela, and his sons, Kelvin Jr. and Tevin.  Kelvin Sr. had this event in mind since the summer months before his son Tevin headed back to college in Anchorge, Alaska.

I was looking forwarding to getting the inside scoop on Anchorage from Tevin because my wife and I plan to take my mom to Alaska and base our travels out of Anchorage sometime next year.  When I asked Tevin about what was not to be missed in the area, the one thing he mentioned which I had yet to research was Moose’s Tooth Pizza.  Well, that is now officially on the list now!

As for fishing, we had pretty tough conditions with calm, foggy conditions, followed by cloudy but still calm conditions thereafter.  Nonetheless, the Gladden’s persisted and wrapped up our morning with exactly 100 fish landed, including white bass, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, and freshwater drum.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Tevin, Kelvin Sr., Angela, and Kelvin Jr. each with a sampling of the white bass we (really!) worked for today.  The clear skies you see in the background of the photo did not appear until after noon.

WHEN WE FISHED:   Saturday, 21 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  As is typically the case on foggy and/or calm mornings, this morning’s fishing was very tough.  We did a lot of looking, caught a few fish here and a few fish there, and, over a span of nearly 6 hours, put together a catch of exactly 100 fish.  When the fog finally lifted and the lightest of NW breezes began to ripple the water, the action did pick up, but we never got into a flurry where we had multiple rods bent over any appreciable span of time.

The key this morning was “low and slow”.  We used small, 3/8 oz. slabs fished with an “easing” tactic very slowly near bottom to provoke these fairly lethargic fish.  Most all of the fish hit our slabs on the rise this morning, and we witnessed very few suspended fish and very few schoolmates which followed hooked schoolmates up toward the boat.

The lion’s share of our catch consisted of white bass with fish from 0 to 3 years in the mix.  We landed a number of largemouth, drum, and hybrid striped bass, as well.

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this morning.  Once again (2nd consecutive trip) 30% of our catch was made up of 2 and 3 year class fish.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  1:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  48F

Elevation:2.94′ low, 0.01′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   53.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable breeze with fog, followed by cloud cover with a light northerly breeze beginning around 10A.

Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by fog, then clouds, followed by clearing skies after noon time.

GT = 45

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1827

**Area vic 826 to 1659

**Area vic B0172C to 691

**Area B0001G

**Area vic 1659

**Area vic 1882

 

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

THIS JUST IN FROM TURKEY … 100 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, 19 Dec., I fished with Mr. John Leverington and his son, Shawn Leverington.  John recently returned to the United States from Turkey, where he serves as a counselor to aid workers ministering in southwest Asia.

Shawn is a U.S. Army Reservist working full-time at Fort Hood as commander of the Warrior Transition Unit there.  The WTU’s stated mission is to provide command and control, primary care and case management for soldiers in transition to establish conditions for healing and to promote the timely return to the force or transition to continue serving the nation as a veteran in their community.

Before heading away from Central Texas to visit family in the Chicago area, this father-and-son pair spent some time together with me on Lake Belton in pursuit of white bass.

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: John and Shawn Leverington.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   This was the sole hybrid striped  bass we encountered this morning while working artificials for white bass on Lake Belton.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Yep, that’s 23 degrees Fahrenheit showing just before dawn this morning at lake level as I was backing down the boat ramp.  I’m thankful to whoever invented the balaclava!!

WHEN WE FISHED:   Thursday, 19 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As the winds went, so went this fishing this morning.  We started out with near-calm conditions and fish that were quite lethargic.  As the wind’s velocity increased, so did the fishes’ activity level.  By the time our first hour on the water had gone by, our fish count was still in single digits.  As the wind peaked around 10 mph toward trip’s end, we put a final 22 fish in the boat in under 20 minutes just before the fish turned off from their morning feed.

Early on, while the fishing was slow, we relied on the thumper to pull in suspended white bass which we “sniped” using slowly presented lure in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.  As the winds increased and as a bit of high, thin, white cloud cover began to build, the fishing off bottom turned on well and a more traditional “easing” tactic and even a slow version of smoking came in handy.

On significant, positive change today was that perhaps 30% of our catch was made up of 2 and 3 year class fish which is an improvement over the 1:6 or greater legal to short ratio that Belton has been offering up since the fall cool-down began in October.

We landed at least a dozen largemouth mixed in with our white bass, as well as a handful of drum, and 1 hybrid striped bass, which just barely 18 inches.

 

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No bird activity this morning.  30% of our catch was made up of 2 and 3 year class fish.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:30A

End Time:  Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  24F

Elevation:2.94′ low, 0.02′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   53.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light WSW through 9A, then increasing and shifting to SSW8-11 thereafter

Sky Conditions:  High blue skies through 10A, then high, thin white clouds developing thereafter

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 488

**Area vic B0188C

**Area vic 826

**Area vic 1659

**Area vic 1827

**Area vic B0122C

 

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