HE CAME 3,147 MILES FOR LAKE BELTON WHITE BASS — 141 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, November 25th, I fished with father/daughter pair Warren Howard and Kristi Hendrick.  Military duty pulled Kristi’s husband away for the holidays and so her dad flew down from Alaska to make sure she didn’t eat turkey alone.  While he was at it, he thought spending some time in Texas’ well-lit outdoors (they’re only having ~ 3 hours of light each day in Fairbanks, Alaska, right now) and warmth would be a great idea. So, although he is much more accustomed to fishing for grayling in moving water, Warren decided to give Texas white bass a try.

Kristi shared a crazy story that illustrated how austere life can be in Alaska.  Fairbanks is one of Alaska’s 6 largest cities with a population of 31,516 according to the 2018 U.S. Census.  Kristi said that folks in Fairbanks were very excited about soon being able to go to the new Sonic restaurant being built in Wasilla, a short SIX HOUR DRIVE AWAY (yes, that’s one way)!

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Belton’s freshwater drum, a routine bycatch while fishing for white bass, have become fat and sassy with zebra mussels as a new food source.  If you leave a slab holding near bottom very long, the drum will beat the white bass to it!

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Warren landed this beautiful crappie on a slab.  As we vertically jigged for white bass, a small bit of wood cover showed up anchored to bottom as we watch LiveScope.  Out of that wood came this crappie.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #3:  And of course Warren and Kristi caught a mess of white bass this morning under very pleasant late-November conditions.  It was down to t-shirts by 11:00am!

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday, 25 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  The fish were a bit more relaxed today, as is often the case in the mild weather lulls between fronts.  We found some birds working, but not aggressively, and not for an extended period of time.  The catching today was a slower, steady take of fish with most of the fish very much bottom-oriented (versus suspended as we found them on Saturday with post-frontal, breezy conditions.

We stuck with the 3/8 oz. slab for all of our work today and used an easing tactic to catch every last one of the 141 fish we boated.  Our catch once again included a bycatch of solid drum (which I know for certain are devouring zebra mussels, as quite a number of the drum we’ve caught have regurgitated them), hybrid stripers, and a single crappie.

We hit 6 areas in 4 hours to put together this catch, hence an average of 40 minutes’ worth of action at each of the locations we fished.  Well adjusted down-imaging sonar was the key to seeing fish which are barely separated from the bottom.  This necessitates a leveled transducer adjusted at slow forward speed and the resulting boat angle.

TALLY: 141 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Birds worked less aggressively today and for only about 65 minutes from sunrise.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:20A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  55F

Elevation: 2.60 feet low, 0.02′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  58.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW4-6 at sunrise, increasing to SW11-12 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Fair blue skies

GT = 100

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1579, vic 1924, and B0197C

**Area encompassed by B0189C/960/B0190C

**Area  B0195C, B0196C

 

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

FATHER AND SON TEAM PULL 184 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, November 23rd, I fished with first-time guests father-and son team Frank and Marcos Sumner.  Frank is a retired U.S. Army veteran residing in the Ft. Hood area where he now serves active duty soldiers by helping improve their eyesight by providing various medical procedures, just as he did while on active duty.  Marcos, who, while in college aspired to be a writer, now works for J.P. Morgan in the finance industry based out of San Antonio.

 

Lake Belton Fishing Guide

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Frank Sumner with a Lake Belton hybrid striped bass which fell for a 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Shad with stinger hook in the first hour after sunrise.

 

Belton Lake Largemouth Bass

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Marcos Sumner with a Lake Belton largemouth bass taken from 22 feet of water.  As the water cools, the number of largemouth showing up as bycatch has increased sharply over the past week and a half.

 

Hazy Eye Slab with Stinger Hook

PHOTO CAPTION #3:  My 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye slabs were a spot-on match for the forage (threadfin shad) the gamefish we encountered this morning were feeding on.  This shad was regurgitated by a hybrid striped bass as I unhooked it and prepared to release it.  The lure and the shad are both 2 1/8 inches in length.  Many slabs have a more slender, minnow shape versus this sway-bellied shad shape.  I find the fish respond to this shad-shaped lure much better.

 

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 23 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  The post-frontal fishing with a NW breeze this morning was nothing short of spectacular.  We caught fish from sunrise at around 7:20, right up until we departed around 11:30.  The fish fed well this entire 4-hour stretch.  We enjoyed the first episode of widespread bird action leading to feeding fish thus far this autumn.  The birds worked, sometimes more aggressively and sometimes less, continuously for the entire morning.

Fishing was super simple.  We found fish on sonar assisted by bird action; we focused on bottom-dwelling fish as those fish we found suspended were “fast movers” and hard to pin down; once we found a concentration of fish on bottom, we Spot-Locked, activated the thumper, got our slabs down where the fish were and commenced to catching them until the school we were over dissipated.  We wound up hopping about seven times over the course of the 4 hours.

Although the majority of our catch was comprised of our target species (white bass), we also caught numerous hybrid striped bass, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum.

TALLY: 184 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:10A

End Time:  11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  41F

Elevation: 2.57 feet low, 0.04′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  59.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW8 the entire trip; tapering down as we departed around 11:30A

Sky Conditions:  Bright, clear post-frontal bluebird skies

GT = 35

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0194C

**Area bounded by 1923/1804/840/1791

**Area bounded by 496/1866/837

 

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

LET THE SLABBING BEGIN!!! – 216 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Friday, November 22nd, I fished with long-time friend and client Jerry Worley and, for his second time out with me, David Vahrenkamp of Harker Heights.  Jerry owns and operates the Jerry Worley Insurance Agency, co-located in the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce building on Knight’s Way in Harker Heights.  David is part of the sales staff at Bates Nissan dealership in Killeen.

As the days went by and the forecast got more grisly, the size of our party dropped down to just two.  These two were bound and determined to catch at least as many fish as the last trip when they were accompanied by two others.  The tally that day was 125 fish for four anglers.  We persisted today, did a lot of looking and, in the end, blew their goal away, landing exactly 216 fish, thanks, in part, to frontal activity really stirring the fish into a feeding mode.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: David Vahrenkamp (left) and Jerry Worley with 1, 2, and 3-year class fish.  These fish, all spawned in March and April each year, are now 1 year and 7 months old for the 2018 year class, 2 years and 7 months old for the 2017 year class, and 3 years and 7 months old for the 2016 year class.  All of these year classes are of legal (10″) size now.  This year’s crop (7 months old) are around 7 inches and are in great abundance, making up the majority of the catch on Belton.  If the forage base holds up, we ought to see the 2019 year class do very well going forward.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday, 22 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: The operative word today was: SLABBING.  The fish, due to falling water temperatures, have turned off to the faster, flashier tailspinners now and are falling hard for the slab.  We caught 100% of our fish today on white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs of my own making, complete with stinger hooks attached.  The stingers accounted for about 40% of our catch today, and this percentage will rise as the water temperature drops.

You can find those here: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/fishing-guide-product.php

Although we experimented on occasion, the go-to tactic was the easing tactic this morning.   We caught all of our fish in the first 2 hours from around the 25-foot mark; all of our fish thereafter came from around 33 feet.

I truly believe the zebra mussel infestation has provided the freshwater drum with a bumper crop of food.  These fish are bigger and more abundant than ever before.  A slab “snap-jigged” on bottom instead of “eased” was more likely to catch drum than white bass.

We didn’t find fish everywhere we looked, but, where we found them, we found them in abundance.  The bite got stronger as the day progressed and as the front continued to move in.

Although birds are not yet abundant, they are present.  Only one of our six successful areas fished was indicated to us by bird action, and this was very tentative behavior by just 4-5 gulls.

TALLY: 216 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: The damp cold front conditions got the fish fired up this morning.  The cooling water, now teetering at 60F has shut down the tailspinner bite and turned on the slab bite.  An easing tactic was best.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  1:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  55F and falling with an incoming coldfront

Elevation: 2.51 feet low, 0.03′ 24-hour rise, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  60.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW14-15 entire trip with incoming cold front

Sky Conditions:  Grey overcast the entire morning, with drizzle in first 45 minutes

GT = 105

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas  B0193C/B0191C/960, B0192C, vic 1909, B0122C/B0186C, 327/B0009C, 1943/1815

 

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

81 WHITE BASS BEFORE MILLER’S RAN OUT OF CHICKEN

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, November 20th, I was joined by Dwight Stone on what would be his fifth trip out with me since mid-September of this year.  After a solo trip with me on his first outing, he has brought a buddy out with him each time thereafter.  Today, I welcomed Jay Stien aboard for the first time.  He and Dwight first became acquainted at the church they both attend down near Georgetown, TX.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  We left high numbers of smaller white bass behind at Lake Belton this morning in pursuit of larger white bass over on Stillhouse and were not disappointed.  That’s Dwight Stone on the left and his friend, Jay Stien.  The largest white bass we landed (in Jay’s right hand), taped at 14 3/8 inches.  All but one of our fish came on a Hazy Eye Slab equipped with a stinger hook.  The 3/8 oz. version in white did the trick.

 

WHERE WE FISHED:  Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED:  Wednesday, 20 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Since this was to be Dwight’s fifth trip with me since mid-September, I offered an option to the high counts of mostly smaller fish which has been the trend this fall at Lake Belton.  I offered that we could introduce him to Stillhouse Hollow in hopes of catching better quality fish.  The weather looked very good (grey clouds and wind) and I had successfully scouted on Stillhouse last Wednesday just for such an occasion.  I explained the downsides would be a lower tally, and that catfish would not be an option — Dwight was okay with all of the above, so, at 7AM we launched and began the search for fish.

All of our fishing took place today within yards of the old Lampasas River channel as the white bass we found came and positioned on the breaklines from the old flood plain down into the channel proper.

Four tentative gulls led us to our first stop where we landed only one white and missed several more in addition to missing a nice ~4 pound largemouth, all on bladebaits.

After this, we switched over to slabs (with stinger hooks) and used a long easing stroke to tempt fish successfully in under 15 feet of water.  Eventually, these fish quit biting after we’d boated another 47 fish at this location.

Around 9:30 we made our next move into deeper water — about 36′ — and this time encountered schooled, suspended fish between 25 and 30 feet deep.  Using Garmin LiveScope to gauge fish location and response to our presentations, we brought our slabs up past these suspended fish to provoke a response.  We noted that our catch included quite a number of both largemouth bass and freshwater drum.  The largemouth are very clearly  drawn to the thumper.

By 10:45 this school of fish, from which we’d caught another 30 fish, dissipated and we continued our search.  We found one more small “patch” of fish about 80 yards from our previous stop, landed a final 4 fish and, with the wind now gusting to over 20mph, checked two more areas, found nothing, and wrapped up in hopes of getting Dwight and Jay over to Miller’s Smokehouse in Belton before Mr. Dirk ran out of smoked chicken!

Not only has a visit to Miller’s become a part of Dwight’s routine when fishing with me, he also has his wife addicted now.  They made a special, non-fishing related trip up this way recently, and stopped in only to find that the chicken was sold out by around 1pm.  He was not going to let that happen to Jay today!!!

TALLY: 81 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: As the water cools, it has become obvious that the thumper is again becoming more helpful in drawing and keeping fish below the boat.  The suspicion I had about the tailspinners’ efficacy tapering off at the 60F mark was further confirmed today.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:25P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  46F

Elevation: 2.6 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  61.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: S8 at obscured sunrise, slowly ramping up to S17 with higher gusts by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Grey overcast the entire morning, with the lightest veil of fog before sunrise.

GT = 10

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas SH0136C, vic SH0071C, vic SH0028C, SH0135C

 

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

PERSONAL BESTS IN ABUNDANCE – 160 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, November 19th, I fished with returning guest Marcus Mitchell, accompanied by a buddy of his from church, Eldon Lindberg.

Both men are a part of the Union Hall Baptist Church in Liberty Hill and decided to take a half-day of downtime from work to spend out in Creation.  Marcus works for a company which produces products to track down “bugs” in complex computer server systems, and Eldon is an accountant for a law firm.

Both fellows enjoyed a “Personal Best” in terms of number of fish landed on an outing, and for biggest fish of a given species.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Although this morning’s focus was on catching high numbers of white bass, we certainly didn’t turn away larger fish, nor those of other species.  We took a few hybrid and more than a few drum this morning along with our white bass.

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Marcus Mitchell, left, and Eldon Lindberg with a few of the 160 fish we landed this morning, the majority of which were white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 18 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Today’s conditions were nearly identical to yesterday’s, therefore, I retraced our successful steps from yesterday and we put together a 160 fish tally in just over 4 hours’ time.  Once again, with the water now just slightly below 60F, we caught fish upon our arrival at a location via tailspinners, but, the fish quickly soured on them, instead preferring a slab worked with an easing tactic.  We found white bass, largemouth bass, freshwater drum, and hybrid striped bass all grouped together and feeding primarily in the last 3 feet of the water column, although we did encounter fish rising to within 10 feet of the surface in about 26 feet of water just before sun fully shone on the area we were fishing.

My observations  today reinforced my belief in “staying put” via the use of Spot-Lock.  Two other boats invited themselves uncomfortably close to us today and caught just a fraction of what we caught as they moved around constantly by manually controlling their trolling motors.  I strongly believe that Spot-Locking on an area makes that the center of attention where the action of my slabs, the vibration of my thumper, the commotion of fish being caught, and the rain of feces and regurgitated fish from those fish we hook falling to bottom, all create a very localized frenzy.  Such a frenzy never has a chance to develop beneath moving vessels.

Although plenty of birds were present today, none led us to fish.

TALLY: 160 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Slabs (equipped with stinger hooks) continued to outperform tailspinners today, which was the second day the overnight surface temp. dropped below 60F.  No organized bird activity although plenty of birds are beginning to arrive.  Our short to legal ratio of white bass improved greatly today; 1 in every 2-3 fish was of legal size.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:25P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  46F

Elevation: 2.53 feet low, 0.0′ 24-hour change, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  59.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: WNW2-3 at sunrise, slowly going calm for about 90 minutes minutes, then shifting ESE5-6 thereafter.

Sky Conditions:  Clear and cloudless for the first half of the trip, then wispy white clouds building at high altitude in the southern sky

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0191C to B0190C – fish moved steadily deeper as the morning moved on; started in 25′, ended up in 38′

**Area vic 150 (at the high point of the feature)

 

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 REAL “OLD NAVY” MANEUVERS ON BELTON – 159 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, Nov. 18th, I fished with returning guest Mike McLaughlin and his buddy, Alan Creekmore, who joined me for his first time aboard my boat.  Mike’s wife, Christa, got him a fishing gift certificate for his birthday a few weeks back, and today was the day he decided to cash it in.  Mike is retired from the Texas Dept. of Public Safety, after which he worked for various other law enforcement agencies.  Alan is retired from the State Attorney General’s Office.

Both fellows are veterans of the United States Navy.

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From the left, that’s Mike McLaughlin and his buddy, Alan Creekmore.  These fellows put 159 fish in the boat this morning including white bass, drum, and a single largemouth.

 

WHERE WE FISHED:  Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday, 18 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  I did a bit of exploring today after seeing migrating gulls in several areas on Lake Belton last week.  Well, that exploring paid off in that we found fish where I went looking, but, there was no significant bird activity, thus, all of our fish finding was done by methodically combing with sonar.  Also, we did a bit better on the keeper to short ratio today, but, there was still a lot of small white bass in our tally.  I think this is just going to be a fact of life on Belton this season, as no matter where I go and what I throw, I’m catching a lot of small whites, as are others I routinely compare notes with.

This morning we caught fish in four distinct areas with each area producing progressively longer bites right up until we decided Miller’s BBQ sounded better than catching more fish at around 11:30.

One very significant note today … the water dipped down below 60F in the overnight hours last night.  Coinciding with this was my observation that slabs (equipped with stinger hooks) outperformed tailspinners today.  The tailspinners would catch the most eager fish from the first time we dropped down and for a few minutes thereafter, but, as soon as those fish quit and the fish got hesitant, the slab performed like a super-star, and kept right on performing.

We took a total of 159 fish today including 1 largemouth bass, 7 freshwater drum, and 152 white bass, with about a 1:6 legal to short ratio on the white bass.

TALLY: 159 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: Slabs (equipped with stinger hooks) outperformed tailspinners today, which was the first day the overnight surface temp. dropped below 60F.  No organized bird activity although plenty of birds are beginning to arrive. There was an interesting hatch of some sort of beetle today.  These beetles looked like traditional red and black ladybugs in shape, but had yellow shells with black dots.  There were thousands of them covering the water’s surface with most coupled together as if mating or grouping together to stay afloat, much like fire ants will do.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:35P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  45F

Elevation: 2.52 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  59.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: WNW11 at sunrise, slowly tapering back to WNW4 before going calm for about 30 minutes from 10:15 to 10:45, then shifting ESE4 thereafter.

Sky Conditions:  Clear and cloudless.

GT = 40

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     N/A

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas vic B0106C, B0111C/B0117C, vic 560, B0189C

 

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GEORGE! – 84 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning I welcomed a tight-knit family out in celebration of George McLaughlin’s birthday.  Celebrating with him was his wife, Debbie, his son, George, and one of his daughters, Tori McClosky.

George is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, MD, from the Class of 1965, so we had a bit in common and gave each other some ribbing about the upcoming Army-Navy football game.

This family had fished a bit in years past, but, we started with the basics on how to hold and use spinning equipment, then layered in techniques and small refinements over the course of the morning until everyone was confident and was pulling fish in independently and routinely, leaving me to just keep us on fish and to unhook and release those fish my crew caught.

No one was particular about a given species or tactic, so, we caught what sonar revealed in the way of white bass up through around 10:45, then left a bit of time to try to help everyone get a catfish, as well.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From the left, that’s George McLaughlin, his daughter, Tori McClosky, George’s wife, Debbie, and George and Debbie’s son, George, all with some of the better white bass we landed today on tailspinners.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Tori landed our best fish of the morning.  We managed several legal hybrid on artificial baits this morning, as well as a number of drum nearly as large, and a few short, but still stong-pulling hybrid stripers.  These fish were mixed right in with the smaller young-of-the-year white bass which made up the majority of our catch.

 

WHERE WE FISHED:  Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 16 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  The fish are solidly in cool-season mode now.  Their locations and habits have become very predictable once again.  The weather is the big variable.  Changing weather and a moving barometer mean fish will be more aggressive, higher up off bottom, easier to spot on sonar, and more willing to bite and stay biting.  On the other hand, days, like today, in between fronts see fish in the same places but less active, tighter to bottom, more difficult to spot on sonar, and willing to feed as soon as lures are dropped amongst them, only to throttle back quickly giving anglers a choice of staying and working for more, or running and gunning for more “easy” fish at a new location.

Today, with water temperatures still in the low 60’s, we kept right on using tailspinners and they yielded well for us.

We found white bass willing to bite well through about 10:15am, then, with calm winds and the brightest sky of the morning, the fishing slowed a bit.  We headed in for a restroom break, caught a few more white bass after that, and then refocused our efforts on catfish to try to add to the variety of species my crew landed.

George (the elder) is a fan of Jeremy Wade’s “River Monsters” TV show, and was fluent on some of the habits of some of the species we took.  He asked good questions, as well, to help expand his knowledge while we were on the water.

TALLY: 84 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:20A

End Time:  11:45P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  34F

Elevation: 2.47 feet low, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  62.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm under fog for about an hour, then the lightest of SE breezes blew until around 11a, when the breeze picked up to SE8

Sky Conditions:  Clear and cloudless for the first 3+ hours, then wispy, high clouds beginning to build in the final hour.

GT = 135

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas 1618, B0188C, 327, and vic 163 – for white bass

**Area B0171C/382 for 5 cats in the last half-hour

 

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

I’LL HAVE A LITTLE SONAR TRAINING WITH THOSE FISH, PLEASE! — 34 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Due to the possibility that the gentleman I fished with this past Friday afternoon may or may not have actually been as ill as he may or may not have led his employer to believe, he requested that I not use names or photos in this blog entry.  Hey, what happens at Belton can stay at Belton if you so request that!

Originally, Mr. X was supposed to be accompanied by a buddy on a fishing trip today and then the two were to come out on a separate sonar training on their boat on another date, but that buddy suffered a heart attack recently and we scaled back to a one-man combination fishing and sonar introduction/training today only (the buddy is recovering well).

The three things I emphasized before we even got on the boat concerning sonar fundamentals were 1) having a leveled transducer, 2) understanding the shape of the sonar beam for 2D, down-imaging, and side-imaging and how they compare and contrast, and 3) understanding the “black area” running vertically down the center of the screen on a down-imaging view.   With those things pointed out, we began our fishing trip.

SCREENSHOT #1:   A large school of white bass is shown circled here in 31 to 34 feet of water on a gentle slope.  We found these fish with pre-FishReveal Lowrance DownScan technology, then found the identical school using the lower quality Humminbird Solix 15 down-imaging, then placed a cursor on the fish on the Humminbird screen and used i-Pilot technology to Spot-Lock on top of these fish and caught them until they quit biting.

 

SCREENSHOT #2:  Here, a smaller, but more active school of white bass is shown amidst a massive amount of bait (threadfin shad).  These fish were more active in that they were higher up off the bottom when they initially presented on sonar, and they were more willing to feed than those tightly bottom-hugging fish shown in SCREENSHOT #1.

 

SCREENSHOT #3:   This is the 2D screenshot of the same fish and bait shown in the screenshot above.  Due to its very nature, 2D sonar distorts targets by elongating them, making them “bleed” into other nearby targets, and thus making fish harder to single out than on down imaging technologies.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Friday, 15 November 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:   We did a lot of “running and gunning” this afternoon for a few reasons.  First, we had bright skies and calm winds and the fish were less than enthusiastic.  Once we found some, there typically weren’t a mess of them, and they typically didn’t stay fired up very long.  Second, I wanted to first show Mr. X what to look for, then have him find and point out to me what we were looking for before saying anything to him first, so we could test whether or not he was interpreting fish signatures correctly.  The more practice, the better, so, once a bite started to let up, we were gone looking for another bite. Finally,  I had a request come in from Clay Lohse out in Abilene to send some screenshots, so I wanted to grab a few while Mr. X was training.  Clay is behind the “Respect the Fish” YouTube channel and is putting together a video about cool season location of white bass

All of our fish came on tailspinners fished vertically.  There was no bird action although a few birds have begun to show up.

TALLY: 34 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    1:30P

End Time:  5:40P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  62F

Elevation: 2.44 feet low, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  62.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm

Sky Conditions:  Clear and cloudless

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas 1659, 1845, vic B0124C and B0188C – for white bass

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

FISH ON FIRE – 140 FISH @ BELTON BEFORE THE FRONT

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Veterans’ Day 2019, I fished with long-time client Steve Niemeier and two of his granddaughters, 11-year-old Macy Fowler, and 4 1/2 year old Zoey Haberer.  Steve is one of those fellows who (wisely) specifically plans his trips around peak fishing times of year — always coming out between mid-April and late May for the best hybrid striped bass fishing of the year (a quality fishery), and also coming out between late October and mid-December for the best white bass fishing of the year (a quantity fishery).

It amazes me that more folks don’t fish this time of year.  Both this past Saturday and again today, on a holiday, there were only 3 vehicles with trailers in the parking lot at a time when our fish tallies typically exceed 100 fish in a 4-hour trip.

I was excited for Steve and the girls as the weather forecast which, beginning last Wednesday showed the possibility of us cashing in on some strong, pre-frontal fishing action, held together long enough for us to take advantage of it.  Often, the timing of a big cold front’s arrival will speed up or slow down as the forecast matures, but this one stayed dead on.  We got in a full 4+ hours between 7-11am under perfect conditions — manageable breezes from the SW, then W, and with a nice layer of grey clouds.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Everything was biting and biting well today.  This is a mix of blue and channel cats we took out of 38′ after the girls caught so many white bass they got bored with the success.  That’s Macy Fowler on the left with the hefty blue cat (3.75 pounds), and Steve helping his other granddaughter, Zoey Haberer, display her channel catfish while also holding his own blue cat.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   The white bass were really fired up.  We took 89 fish from one area without moving over a 1.75 hour span.  The only reason I moved very far at all was to create a little transition and distraction to get the girls to refocus at a new location using the same successful tailspinner tactics. We took 129 white bass in all.

PHOTO CAPTION:    Steve saved the best for last.  He boated our largest fish of the morning, this nice 20″, 4-pound hybrid right before the front moved in.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  11 November 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Fortunately, with a 4 1/2 year old onboard in the cool season when sunfish are no longer an option, we had pre-frontal weather to fire the fish up and provide lots of action.  For once, I was actually glad for all the small white bass Belton has produced of late, as it provided ample, constant action which was just right for my two youthful anglers.

We fished four distinct areas for white bass.  In actuality, we could have stayed put at any one of these and kept right on catching my moving the boat a tad, but, a boat ride tends to help kids refocus and gives them a renewed sense of expectation so they re-engage and focus better.  At all of the areas we fished, the tailspinner continued to produce well and outproduced the slab I tried on occasion, thanks to water which is still in the mid-60’s from top to bottom.

When little Zoey had all the fishing she could handle, she became the “fish-putter-backer”, using my dipnet to deposit our caught fish back into the lake very gently.  When that novelty wore off, she became the “chum-chucker”, freshening up our catfish spread with new chum to keep the fishing coming in and biting.

We landed 129 white bass, 3 channel catfish, 7 blue catfish, and 1 hybrid striped bass this morning, all in 4 hours’ of effort, for a grand total of 140 fish caught and released.

TALLY: 140 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  One really nice, unintended consequence of using the tailspinners is that all white bass are lip hooked every time.  Due to the length of the lure and the fact that the fish are approaching it from beneath and getting caught by the belly-hook, the length of the lure fit cross-wise in their mouths prevents the lure from being swallowed which is not the case with slabs.  This makes for very fast catch-and-release so when they are really biting hot and heavy my anglers can maximize their results;  of course, it is gentler on the fish, too.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  64F

Elevation: 2.37 feet low, 0.02′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  66.1F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SW10, scaling back and shifting to SSW5-6 before the “hammer dropped” and the cold front came in

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies the entire trip

GT = 30

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     This is what a perfect fishing forecast looks like — 7a to 11a !!

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0171C/788 (89 fish in 1.75 hours), B0185c/2041 (up to 110 fish), 1675 (up to 122 fish), and 1882 (our final 8 fish) – for white bass

**Area 1909 for catfish in ~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)

 

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

LORALEE, THE 10-YEAR-OLD FISH MAGNET – 139 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Saturday afternoon I fished with 3 generations of ladies from the same family.  Melissa Kelley coordinated the trip well in advance so as to coincide with the 10th  birthday of her soon-to-be ten-year-old niece, Loralee Walker, the eldest daughter of Melissa’s younger sister.  Also joining us was Melissa’s mom (Loralee’s grandma), Sharon Kelley.

Grandma Sharon told me that given a choice between doing something more traditionally “girly”, like shopping, or being outdoors on the lake or in a deer stand, Loralee would choose the outdoor option every time.

The idea to celebrate Loralee’s birthday with a fishing trip stemmed from a fond memory Melissa had of a birthday spent in pursuit of striped bass on Lake Whitney back when she was a girl.  The memory always stuck with her, and she wanted to do something memorable like that for Loralee.

About 30 minutes into the trip I gave Loralee the nickname “Fish Magnet” because, more often than not, as I watched sonar and let everyone know when we had a nice school of fish under the boat, Loralee would already have her rod bowed over and a fish reeled halfway back to the boat.  Heck, there were even times when the sonar didn’t show ANY fish and Loraless would still have her rod bowed over and a fish reeled halfway back to the boat.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Loralee Walker, birthday girl and fish magnet, with the best fish of the trip, a 19.5 inch Lake Belton hybrid striped bass.  Don’t let the dress, pastel rainbow and unicorn fool you — this girl can fish!!

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From the left, that’s Loralee’s aunt Melissa, then Loralee, and Loralee’s grandma, Sharon.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  09 November 2019, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  I was actually scheduled to fish an AM and PM trip today, but, after considering the weather (heavy fog early followed by dead calm and bright skies) and my clients (a granddad, dad, and two elementary-aged boys), I postponed that one.  The afternoon’s southerly breeze, however, looked promising, as it was the first returning southerly breeze after a cold front.

We did a bit of spot-hopping to put together our catch this afternoon, but, with the water still near 66F, the fish were readily taking what we offered (tailspinners) whenever I found them on sonar.

After hitting 3 separate areas and “short hopping” at two of them, we amassed a catch of 100 fish by 4:25p.  We then took a restroom break and continued on fishing until sunset, hitting another two areas, both of which produced fish for us.

As has been the case this fall, we encountered a lot of small white bass, although this evening’s ratio of shorts to keepers was the best I’ve seen since the fall fishing has kicked in.  Additionally, we boated 4 legal hybrid and several that were barely short — all of which gave a tremendous fight on the ultralight rods I’ve retooled with so as to make the catching of the plentiful small white bass sporty.

A moderate-speed, plain-Jane retrieve on the tailspinners produced consistently until right at sunset.  At sunset, the fish, although still present and willing to bite, were unwilling to chase.  I switched tactics very quickly, putting a rod rigged with a Hazy Eye 3/8 oz. slab/stinger hook combination in everyone’s hands and gave them a quick-and-dirty lesson on the technique of “easing”.  This accounted for our last half-dozen fish or so.  After the sun set, it started cooling off quickly and so we called it a good day right then and headed the boat back to the dock.

TALLY: 139 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:    1) we had a better (5:1) short to legal white bass ratio today. 2) We had more legal hybrid (and hybrid overall) in the catch this afternoon than in any trip since the water has begun cooling off. 3) In areas with slick water (due to being sheltered from the S. wind) schools of small shad could be seen feeding on the surface this afternoon on a widespread basis.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    1:30P

End Time:  5:40P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  63F

Elevation: 2.33 feet low, 0.03′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  65.8F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S5-6 the entire trip

Sky Conditions:  Light blue skies

GT = 80

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:     

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0185C, B1086C, vic B0121C, vic 1882, vic 1024

 

 

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