Pre-Frontal Warming is a Tough Nut to Crack — 12 Fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH:

On the afternoon of Thursday, January 11, I fished with Shawnee Tallman, and her nephew, Pat Hartman.
Shawnee is a registered nurse who has worked in quite a breadth of specialty areas throughout her nursing career.
Pat is a camp manager for the Log Cabin Resort located within the Colville Reservation in northeastern Washington, near the town of Inchelium.  The reservation is inhabited by members of twelve tribes: the Colville, Ivenatchee, Entiate, ChelanMethow, Okanogan, Nespelem, San Poil, Lakes, Moses-Columbia, Palus, and Nez Perce tribes.
The campground is situated on Twin Lakes which offers a fishery for rainbow trout, brook trout, largemouth, bass, and crappie (https://www.3-dresorts.com/).
Here is how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 22-25 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Given the weather we are to experience here for the next few days, and the weather Pat is returning to in NE Washington for the next few months, we were all happy to be outdoors with air temps in the 60’s in January!

 

PHOTO CAPTION: If you find yourself making plans to go on vacation in the evergreen forests of NE Washington, tell Pat “you know a guy”!!

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 11 Jan. 2023 (PM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

This afternoon proved difficult to find fish, and that yielded a rather low catch.

 

There are a few scenarios in fishing that run the risk of a yielding a below average trip. Those are 1) a dense fog, 2) cold, clear, calm, post-frontal conditions, and 3) the conditions we had today which is warm, high-wind conditions, experienced well in advance of a front’s arrival , in which the atmosphere is squeezed, leading to compressional warming.

 

This trip was a “now or never” trip, as Pat has a flight back to Washington just a few hours after our trip concluded.  So, we pressed on despite the unfavorable weather scenario which very much limited where we could safely go.

 

Long story short, we covered a lot of ground, found scattered fish here and there, but not a single group which we Spot-Locked on top of got remotely interested, nor acted aggressively, towards our presentations.

 

The fish we caught were all caught on the 5/8-ounce, white Bladed Hazy Eye Slab worked with a slow smoking tactic. Most of the fish followed the lure upward after originating on the bottom. The final four fish landed came as Shawnee and Pat smoked the lure past suspended fish seen on sonar after birds, which were primarily feeding over top of a large flock of cormorants, drew us to an area for a closer look.

 

Our final tally today was an even dozen fish, all of which were white bass.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 71 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 01 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 1:15P

End Time: 5:40P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 62F

Elevation: 15.38 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 53.8F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: High winds at 17-18 gusting higher until about 40 minutes prior to sunset

Sky Condition: Light blue, cloudless sky.

Moon Phase: New moon at 0% illumination.

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area B0003G – 1 fish slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area 1815 – 2 fish slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area 2027 – 2 fish slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area 3116 – 3 fish slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area B0116G – 4 fish slow-smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec #SubaruAustin

LOOKING FOR WINDOWS OF WEATHER — 71 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, January 11, I fished with returning guest Mike Hall, a fellow small business owner from Round Rock, TX.

Mike does home remodeling, including windows, roofing, and siding doing business as Heritage Home Services (https://heritage-homeservices.com/). Although Mike has a boat of his own, he likes to fish with me from time to time to get a feel for what is taking place in the fishery at various points along the way through the annual cycle so he can make the most of his own fishing trips in his limited downtime.

Here is how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 22-25 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Stillhouse reliably produces quality white bass.  These fish, both taken by Mike Hall early in the trip, both exceeded 14″.  All fish today came on a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 11 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Today looked to be the last decent day of weather for the foreseeable future with two arctic cold fronts approaching Central Texas  Just a day and a half apart this coming Friday and then again on late Saturday. We started off at 39° with nearly calm winds this morning.

 

Paying very close attention to bird activity, mainly by ring-billed gulls, we found our first catchable fish of the morning in just under 30 feet of water. Although active, patrolling after shad, and quite willing to strike, these fish would not rise off the bottom.

 

For that reason, we stuck with a snap-jigging tactic through about 9:10 AM. The two things I emphasized on the snap-jigging to Mike was the initial adjustment  of the slab, making sure it was truly suspended inches off the bottom (not hitting the bottom every stroke), and actually snapping the rod up and immediately placing it back where it started so that the lure achieved a freefall (instead of just lowering it).

 

After the birds left and the fish slowed down in this location, we moved progressively deeper and continued to encounter active fish through about 10 AM when we noticed some hesitancy beginning to kick in. Observing this, I moved us to the deepest water I could still find fish in, and we were able to stay in biting fish willing to pursue a slowly smoked slab through about 11 AM.  At 11 AM, we observed what I often refer to as the “beginning of the end”, where fish begin to wrap up their morning feed with little an angler can do to get them re-ignited.

 

All fish this morning came on the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

We closed out the trip with a total of 71 fish, 100% of which were white bass , and about 60% of which were legal fish with our several largest right at the 14 inch mark.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 71 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 01 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:35A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation: 17.86 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 53.8F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: Calm winds for first 45 minutes, then a building SE wind getting up to 12 by end time.

Sky Condition: Bluebird, cloudless sky.

Moon Phase: New moon at 0% illumination.

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area SH0023G – 10 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0266G – 18 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0014G – 14 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area 0250 – 6 small fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area vic SH0241G – 4 fish from a suspended, motionless school which had already turned off
Area vic SH0254G – 18 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area vic 1038 – 1fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec #SubaruAustin

YOUNG MAN LANDS NEW STILLHOUSE LAKE RECORD WHITE BASS – 44 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, January 6, I conducted the fourth SKIFF trip of the 2024 season. Joining me this morning was Zayden Bush, son of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class (E7) Christopher Bush and his wife, Trista.

Zayden, a sharp, cheerful kid and fast learner, is facing about nine weeks of separation from his father as he goes through the US Army drill instructor training course.

ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

Here is how the fishing went…

 


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Zayden Bush used a slow-smoking tactic in combination with Garmin LiveScope to capture this 17.25-inch white bass — a pending Junior Angler lake record in the Junior Angler category.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Most every winter trip targeting white bass is now producing both largemouth bass and freshwater drum as a welcome bycatch.  This fellow went 4.00 pounds.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: This freshwater drum slurped Zayden’s slab up off the bottom as he was using a snap-jigging tactic.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 06 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

A mild, dry Pacific cold front pushed through overnight, leaving the morning air significantly dryer and cooler, and our winds out of the north west. Although the impact of a mild front is always a tossup, this front definitely  benefited our efforts this morning.
As I waited for Zayden and his mom to arrive, birds were working aggressively, and once we covered the preliminary safety and gear issues, we got right under these birds and went to catching.
Zayden landed 16 fish including 15 white bass, and a freshwater drum  as we made three short hops under this first flock of birds.  We used a combination of snap-jigging and slow-smoking.
When this bird action dissipated, I ran sonar, found a group of fish which were not under birds and fished for them. They were not nearly as aggressive. We left them after catching just two.  I used my spotting scope to identify another group of birds working over top of fish. We arrived beneath them and finished out the trip on that location.
In this situation the fish were on, and suspended as much as 8 feet up off, bottom in about 42 feet of water . The fish highest up in the water column were the most active. The thumper served to consolidate the fish and kept them interested while the LiveScope allowed us to present our baits to individual fish right up beneath the boat as we employed a smoking tactic.
Zayden landed a total of 26 fish here, including four largemouth bass . As I watched him get increasingly better at working his slab using the smoking tactic, I watched his bait approach a large fish showing on Garmin LiveScope from beneath. As his lure cruised by that fish, it took his bait, and the fight was on. Judging by the bend in the rod, I assumed this was yet another quality largemouth, however, when it got to the surface, I saw that it was a truly large white bass.
I netted the fish got it right into the livewell to make sure it stayed healthy, and then placed it on a measuring board to check it. It was exactly 17.25 inches, thus beating the current Junior Angler lake record white bass by a half inch.
Zayden landed a total of 44 fish this morning with his last fish coming on the third technique I introduced him to, which was casting with a jig head and curl tail grub. His last fish of the morning, an 11 inch white bass. was the one and only fish he landed on that method.  With that, we called it a good morning and headed in around 10:30 AM.
All fish were taken on a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab this morning.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 44 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 01 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:45A

End Time: 10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 8F

Elevation: 17.78 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 54.3F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW wind at 6-8

Sky Condition: Clear, bluebird sky

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 28% illumination.

GT = N/A

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area SH0016C/SH0002C – 16  fish snap-jigging & smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area 0133 – 2  fish snap-jigging white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area vic SH0241 – 26 fish smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec #SubaruAustin

EQUAL PARTS COACHING & CATCHING — 85 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Thursday, January 4, I fished with first time guest, Mr. Bill D., a retiree who spent his working life in both the onshore and offshore oil industry.

 

Bill found me through a Google search on the Internet and booked a trip with me while he and his wife were staying in their travel trailer in the Waco area on a little getaway from their home outside of Houston.

 

Bill has his own 17-foot Express center console with basic sonar and trolling motor equipment aboard, and wanted to experience more about white bass fishing than simply pulling a slab up and down off the bottom.  He told me, “I’m just a retired engineer who is looking to improve his self-taught fishing methods.”.
Here’s how the fishing went…

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Bill’s primary interest was in exploring tactics beyond just bouncing a slab up and down at “spots” that may have produced in the past.  I exposed him to four cool water tactics, and provided him with a practical, successful experience with three of them.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Just about every half-day trip is producing multiple largemouth bass with a least a few surpassing four pounds.  This morning, the first five fish we landed were largemouth!  This was Bill’s largest of the trip; it weighed 4.25 pounds on a certified scale.

 

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 04 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

We had a dense fog all across Central Texas this morning, so I pushed us back 15 minutes and, with fog still in place as we began our trip, provided Bill with a thorough explanation of why I brought the tackle I brought. I brought  slabs for snap-jigging, I brought slabs for smoking, I brought jig heads with soft plastics for fishing horizontally, and I brought jig heads with soft,plastics rigged for deadstick fishing for suspended fish. So, however we found the fish presenting themselves, we were prepared with a presentation to approach that scenario with.

 

We found that while the fog persisted, the fish were very sluggish, therefore, we used snap-jigging to target these fish which were so close to the bottom, there was no target separation between them and the bottom as viewed on Garmin LiveScope.

 

As I observed Bill‘s technique, I found that he, like many folks, was essentially lifting and lowering his slab, instead of snapping it upwards, and allowing it to freefall to a sudden, jolting stop.  I have done a lot of experimentation with this and found that the latter is much, much more productive. Using Garmin LiveScope to help guide our efforts, I worked with Bill on the fine points of his jigging stroke, and he almost instantly began to improve his results.

 

With the fog still in place, but with the orb of the sun now visible through the thinning fog, fish began to get more active to the point where we saw that a slow-smoking tactic would begin to out-produce snap-jigging. We rode that slow-smoking horse as long as practical , using the thumper as a metronome and using Garmin LiveScope as our guide as to when to engage in the slow-smoking tactic, and how far up off the bottom to bring the lures with that tactic.

 

As we begin slow-smoking, we started off with white, 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs.  As the fog cleared and the sun brightened, we found fish deeper and changed over to a 3/4 oz. slab to get to bottom more quickly.

 

Right around 11 AM, we observed a noticeable slowdown in fish activity. Fish were still suspended, but nearly immobile. This allowed me to bring on the third tactic to introduce Bill to, which was dead sticking with a soft plastic  on a 3/8 oz. jighead tied so as to hang perfectly horizontal.

 

Once again, using LiveScope to focus on fish highest up in the water column, we continue adding fish, albeit at a slower pace, right up until they quit around noon.  If you’re a detail oriented person, note this detail:  Over 70% of the fish we caught on the deadsticking tactic were hooked on the stinger hook tied to the line tie of the jighead, NOT on the jig’s single hook.  That is statistically significant!

 

We wound up with 85 fish in the boat, including 4 freshwater drum, 7 largemouth bass, and 74 white bass.

 

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

 

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 85 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 01 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:45A

End Time: 11:50A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Elevation: 17.77 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 54.3F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SE wind at under 3mph while foggy, then SE6-8 thereafter

Sky Condition: Heavy fog through 9:45A, then clearing rapidly

Moon Phase: Last quarter moon at 47% illumination.

GT = 65

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area  SH0225G – 5 largemouth snap-jigging white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area  SH0262G  – 20 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0234G – 25 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0261G – 35 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec #SubaruAustin

IT WAS NOW OR NEVER — A FREE SKIFF TRIP FOR ARMY KIDS

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Wednesday morning, January 3, I conducted the third SKIFF trip of the 2024 season. My young guest this morning was Lohann Ngounou. Lohann turns 10 in February and had never fished nor been aboard a boat before.

 Lohann‘s father, Stephane Ngounou is what is known in the military as a “geographical bachelor“. This means that he, for the sake of family stability, has left his family in one place, while stationed at another. In this case, Sergeant Ngounou’s family is in the Orlando, Florida, area  for continuity’s sake in schooling, jobs, healthcare, etc., while he is here at Fort Cavazos. He knew upon receiving orders to Fort Cavazos that it would not be long after his arrival that he would be headed overseas on a deployment.  Sergeant Ngounou, originally from Cameroon, came to the U.S. in 2019 and has served for three years as a mechanic in the U.S. Army.
ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.
Here is how the fishing went…

 


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  When you are REALLY cold, and still trying to smile because you just caught the first fish of your life!!  That’s young Lohann Ngounou (age 10), son of U.S. Army Sergeant Stephane Ngounou, originally from Cameroon.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday, 03 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

We had a raw, cold, damp, north wind with gray cloud cover, preventing any kind of a warm-up this morning.  Under normal circumstances, I would have recommended postponing this trip, however, Lohann was only in Texas for a short window while on holiday break, and I had no other open dates to offer before his scheduled return to Florida, so, we pressed on.
Unfortunately, although they attempted to follow my clothing recommendations, both father and son arrived underdressed without gloves, hood, or neck wrap, and only light clothing, albeit layered.
Anyone reading this who has done likewise will recall that you can only get so cold before that cold  completely commands your attention. Before wrapping up the trip early due to cold, both fellows were shivering pretty hard as they held up the fish Lohann landed as a memento of this father and son time spent together.
On top of all of this, the fishing was pretty difficult . Although birds did materialize, they only stayed active for minutes at a time chasing fast moving schools of hybrid as they turned on and turned off just about as quickly.
Lohann landed a mix of white bass, largemouth, bass, freshwater, drum, and hybrid stripers, with an unusually heavy stringer when it came to hybrid stripers. 6 of the 17 fish Lohann landed were legal sized hybrid.
With his pair of loaner gloves on, I had Lohann using the three-quarter ounce slab just so he could feel it strike the bottom, and so it could pull line off the spinning reel spool, even when his gloved fingers  added some resistance over top of the reel’s spool.
I found that observing the bird behavior closely allowed me to get in front of the direction of the fast moving hybrid stripers. I would simply leapfrog with these flock of birds, allow Lohann to fish for the hybrid as they passed under and around the boat , and until they had completely moved upwind of us, then I moved the boat upwind of the birds once again, and so on, until the birds finally dissipated.
This is one of those trips that I am sure neither father nor son will ever forget; it wasn’t too much fun living through the cold, but it will be much more fun to talk about in years to come!!  Adversity builds character.

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 17 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Lake Belton on 03 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.2F
5 feet 54.9F
10 feet, 55.2F
15 feet, 55.2F
20 feet, 55.2F
25 feet, 55.2F
30 feet, 55.2F
35 feet, 55.2F
40 feet, 55.2F
45 feet, 55.2F
50 feet, 55.2F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:45A

End Time: 10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Elevation: 15.43 feet low, 40 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 54.2F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: N12 all morning

Sky Condition: Heavy grey, damp cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 56% illumination.

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area  1151, B0088G, B0100C, 1543 – all fish taken smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec #SubaruAustin

WE THREADED THE WEATHER NEEDLE — 105 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Tuesday morning, January 2, I conducted the second SKIFF trip of the 2024 season, welcoming aboard Miss Aaliyah Smith, age 10, and her friend, Nevaeh Ponce, age 6.

Aaliyah‘s uncle and father figure, US Army Staff Sergeant (E6) Danny Roybal recently left active duty where he served as a cavalry scout, and joined the Texas National Guard.  He is bound for the El Paso/Juarez area to help secure our nation’s southern border there.
Nevaeh’s dad, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant (E6) Leo Escadero, is an infantryman currently on active duty at Fort Cavazos, and is away from home participating in field training exercises prior to deploying to Eastern Europe later this year.
The two men served together both a Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, and now here at Ft. Cavazos.

 

ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

Here is how the fishing went…


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Nevaeh Ponce (age 6) and Aaliyah Smith (age 10) with a few of the white bass they caught using a slow-smoking tactic with Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Most every trip on Stillhouse sees quality largemouth coming aboard as bycatch, despite focusing strictly on white bass. This bass landed by Nevaeh Ponce weighed 4.25 pounds.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Beginner’s luck was with Miss Nevaeh this morning!  This freshwater drum was more than half her size!

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday, 02 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

We really threaded the eye of the needle today weatherwise. We began the morning with chilly conditions, but avoided the calm, clear, post-frontal scenario that hit us in the overnight hours.  We got to fish with some scattered clouds, slowly warming temperatures, and an easterly wind, which, only hours later would usher in a cool rain event of about seven hours in duration.  This storm system would drop about an inch and a half of rain area wide.
Our fishing took place in the relatively balmy temperatures and easterly winds in advance of that rain, and the fish really responded well to it.
Aaliyah had limited prior fishing experience from a previous trip with me when her dad was away at a school toward the end of his time on active duty, and Neveah had no prior experience. Despite that, the girls landed a total of 105 fish with a majority of those fish coming in the last 90 minutes as the easterly winds peaked.
With my two young, inexperienced anglers aboard, I kept it as simple as possible and focused only on using the slow smoking tactic with Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs (5/8 oz. & 3/4 oz. in white) complemented by Garmin LiveScope. Whenever the fish slowed down, instead of transitioning to snap-jigging as I would have experienced anglers do, I simply moved the boat, and tried to find fresh fish and get an initial, aggressive reaction to the novelty of our lures appearing amongst them.
One interesting observation over the past several trips on Stillhouse… I’ve noted that the deeper the water I fish in, the higher the fish are to rise up off bottom and suspend above it. I’m going to continue to observe this and see if there appears to be a trend here.

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 105 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 01 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:45A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation: 17.78 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 54.3F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE wind at 6-8, increasing to ESE11-12 at 9:45

Sky Condition: ~60% coverage of off-white/light grey clouds on a pale blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 65% illumination.

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area  02013/1047 – 7 fish smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area  1047  – 7 fish smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0260G – 18 fish smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0261G – 73 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec #SubaruAustin

STARTING OFF THE NEW YEAR RIGHT – 124 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Monday morning, January 1, I conducted the 2024 season’s first SKIFF Trip just for military kids.

My young guest today was Bentlee Carlucci (age 8).  Bentlee’s father, U.S. Army (retired) Sergeant Anthony Carlucci is a bona fide 100% disabled veteran who medically retired and now serves other veterans through his employment at the Veterans’ Administration (VA) hospital in Temple, TX.  SGT Carlucci served for 8 years in the 14T military occupational specialty, working on the Patriot Missile system.  Anthony joined his son on today’s trip.

Bentlee’s father found out about this fishing opportunity on the Fort Cavazos Area Facebook Page, courtesy of Mrs. Denise Igo.

ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

Here is how the fishing went…


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  I’ve fished Stillhouse for over three decades, and have never seen as many largemouth bass mixed in with my white bass catch as I am seeing this year.  I have had better quality fish show up as bycatch, but nothing like the numbers I am seeing this year.  Young Bentlee Carlucci latched onto this 4.25-pounder with a Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  SGT (retired) Anthony Carlucci is a disabled veteran now serving disabled veterans through his work at our local VA hospital.  He and his son, Bentlee, landed 124 fish in 4 hours as a cold front pushed into Central Texas.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: A 1/2-pound to 1.5-pound white bass is one thing, and Bentlee got accustomed to hauling plenty of those in, but, when a submarine-like freshwater drum bit, it took him a bit more time to subdue it!

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday, 01 Jan. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

I was very encouraged by the weather forecast this morning because although I knew it was going to be cold, that cold was being brought in by the passage of a cold front, which meant the incoming winds would be from the north and west and would be increasing.

That scenario played out perfectly between roughly 9:30 and exactly 11:33 AM, during which time the northwest winds steadily rose to ~14mph with higher gusts.  During this time, the fish really turned on well.  In our first two hours on the water (7:30 to 9:30), Bentlee and his dad landed exactly 21 fish.

As the wind picked up, they landed an additional 103 fish in the last two-hour block.  If that doesn’t underscore the impact a cold front’s arrival has on fishing, I don’t know what does!!

We relied on just one tactic today in an effort to keep it simple and keep fish coming over the side of the boat for my young client.

We simply employed 5/8 oz. and 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs using a slow-smoking tactic used in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope and a thumper.

Now, if I’d had more experienced folks aboard, we would have used a snap-jigging tactic after the fish slowed down and no longer expressed interest in slow-smoking, but that technique was overly technical for an 8-year-old, so, whenever the fish slowed down, I just moved us to a new group of fish, and that panned out well.

When all was said and done, the Carlucci’s put together a 124-fish catch, consisting primarily of white bass, with 4 largemouth bass and three freshwater drum mixed in for good measure.

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 124 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS: 

The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 01 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:30A

End Time: 11:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation: 17.89 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 54.3F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW10 at trip’s start, spiking to NNW13-16 at 9:30 thru 11:33, then dying back

Sky Condition: Clear, cloudless bluebird sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 74% illumination.

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area  0133 – 4 fish smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area  vic SH0080C  – 3 fish smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area vic SH0240G – 13 fish smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area B0258G – 1 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area B0259G – 103 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec #SubaruAustin

McLeod Auto Sales Goes Fishing! — 109 Fish @ Stillhouse

WHO I FISHED WITH: On the morning of Friday, December 29th, I welcomed aboard a great crew from McLeod Auto Sales in Killeen.  The trip was arranged for the ‘the boss’, Travis McLeod, but, he fell ill and wasn’t able to join us.  Attending were Emily Oakley, Chris Ochoa, and Jay & Lindsey Moses.

All had at least a little prior fishing experience.  The cold and wind were factors, but, fortunately, everyone dressed well for the occasion.

Here is how the fishing went.

————————————————————————————————————-

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (mornings)

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Jay Moses landed two personal bests on this trip, starting out with a 5.50 pound largemouth, then shortly thereafter improving that to a 6.75 pound largemouth, both taken on the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Emily also took two quality largemouth of her own on the same white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Chris joined the largemouth party with a sweet fish of his own on, you guessed it,  the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab, before dancing to the beat of a different “drum”.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: And, no monster largemouth for Lindsey, but her drum was impressive!  The full ski suit was no overkill and kept Lindsey in the game from start to finish.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Oh, yeah … here is a shot of the species of fish we were actually going for!!

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday, 29 Dec. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Brrrrrrrr!  We got off to a frosty 31F start this morning.  I initially started off with two sets of two anglers with backs to one another — on pair on the starboard gunwale and one pair on the port, but, with the wind and the waves, keeping everyone dialed in on two separate LiveScope systems while trying to unhook fish, occasionally untangle lines, etc. got to be a chore, so, I wound up fishing everyone on just the starboard side — and it worked out.

The McLeod Auto Sales crew did very well as they used the slow-smoking tactic in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope and a thumper/metronome to retrieve their lures upwards off the bottom at just the right speed.

Fishing started slow when the skies were most dim and the wind was lowest, then improved with increasing light and wind velocity.

As we hit what would be our final area fished for the morning, their 4-angler tally was 41 fish at around 10:20AM.  By 11:20AM, we were headed back to the boat ramp with final tally of 109 fish.

The winds peaked during a roughly 40-minute window, and we were at the right place at the right time to take advantage of it.  As this would be the deepest water we fished (over 40′), I upped everyone’s lure weight to a white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab at this location only.

Our final tally for the morning was 109 fish.

 

Here is a tutorial on the smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 109 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  The water temperature profile measured on 27 Dec. was:

0 feet 55.6F
5 feet 56.5F
10 feet, 57.1F
15 feet, 57.1F
20 feet, 57.1F
25 feet, 57.1F
30 feet, 57.1F
35 feet, 57.1F
40 feet, 57.1F
45 feet, 56.9F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:30A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 31F

Elevation: 17.84 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 55.3F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: WNW6 at trip’s start, increasing to WNW15 by trip’s end

Sky Condition: Cloudless, pale blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 94% illumination.

GT = 45

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Areas 0253, 2022/SH0239G/SH0240G, SH0254G

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec

ALL IN THE FAMILY – 63 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: On the morning of Saturday, December 30th, I welcomed family aboard for a bit of a fishing reunion.  I chose Stillhouse, both for better quality fish, and to avoid the holiday weekend “boat show” which can develop over on Lake Belton now that birds have taken up residence there.

Joining me were my brother, Andy Maindelle, his son (my nephew), Trent Maindelle (both from Austin) my brother’s brother-in-law, Coby Davis (from Jonesboro, Georgia), and my brother’s son-in-law, Paul Stenstadvold (from Spring, TX).

Here is how the fishing went.

————————————————————————————————————-

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (mornings)

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Paul Stenstadvold, Trent Maindelle, Coby Davis, and Andy Maindelle with a few of the white bass which fell for both slow-smoking and snap-jigging tactics this morning.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  My brother, Andy Maindelle, with a personal best 5.50-pound largemouth bass taken on a 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab (white) with a snap-jigging tactic.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  My nephew, Trent Maindelle with a freshwater drum taken from over 50′ on a white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab using a slow-smoking tactic.

 Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 30 Dec. 2023 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

With water temperature now just below 55F down to over 50′ deep (other than at the highly variable surface), I find we are teetering between tactics right now with slow-smoking taking fish consistently, especially 1) during the mid-morning once the winds have come up and the sun is shining brightly and illuminating the bottom in deep water, 2) when we first arrive at a new area and the slabs we are presenting are novel, and 3) when weather conditions have fish turned on to the point they are willing to leave bottom and stay up off bottom in a suspended mode.

Otherwise, snap-jigging is now entering into the picture especially 1) after we’ve caught fish at an area and the fish are no longer responding to a slow-smoking tactic, 2) during the first and final hours of a 4-hour trip, and/or 3) if the fish refuse to leave the bottom.

With fish routinely being found on well-tuned side-imaging in as much as 55′, I go prepared with each trip with both a set of rods with 5/8 oz. white Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs and a separate set of rods with 3/4 oz. white Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs.

This morning, I arrayed everyone on the starboard side, four abreast and had everyone looking on at one of two Garmin LiveScope monitors on that starboard side.  We used a combination of snap-jigging and slow-smoking to piece together a 63 fish catch one fish at a time.

At no time did we get a frenzy to develop allowing us a prolonged catching streak, nor did we have multiple fish boated simultaneously.

Stillhouse winter fishing typically gives up a predictable mix of quality white bass up to or exceeding 15″, quality largemouth bass with multiple fish exceeding 4 pounds coming over the side routinely, and several bonus freshwater drum also exceeding 4 pounds on most every trip.

This morning was no exception as Andy landed a personal best largemouth weighing in at 5.50 pounds on a certified scale.

For those accustomed to the fairly easily read bird action on Lake Belton, Stillhouse bird activity is much, much more subtle, with a majority of the birds focused on loon activity.

Here is a tutorial on the smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 63 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  The water temperature profile measured on 01 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:30A

End Time: 11:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation: 17.84 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 54.3F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: NW8 to 9 all morning through 11, then tapering down thereafter to NW6

Sky Condition: Cloudless, pale blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 89% illumination.

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 0133 – 12 fish

Area 1045 – 10 fish

Area 1952 – 28 fish (2 hops)

Area B0245G – 5 fish

Area B0255G – 4 fish

Area B0256G – 2 fish

Area B0257G – 2 fish

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#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

LiveScope First-Timers — 39 Fish @ Lake Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: On the afternoon of Thursday, December 28, I fished with first time guest Mr. Bryan Jones, and his two boys, Ben, age 17, and Ethan, age 15. Also accompany us, but not fishing was Bryan‘s brother, Mark, in visiting from New Mexico.

Here is how the fishing went.

————————————————————————————————————-

Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (mornings)

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left, Mark, Bryan, Ethan, and Ben Jones with a portion of their afternoon catch of 100% white bass taken on Lake Belton, December 28th.

 

Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 28 Dec. 2023 (PM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Bryan and crew arrived about 30 minutes early, so we went ahead and got going around 12:45 instead of 1:15 PM. The first hour of an afternoon trip is normally slow, and this afternoon was no exception. We had no issues finding fish, but the fish we found were very reluctant to come off bottom and strike the slabs we were using.

 

The middle two hours of the afternoon proved to be a bit better, although the fish never really got overly aggressive, nor was there any fish-related bird activity at all this afternoon.  One of the things working against us was a decreasing wind from the NW.  It was blowing around 14mph as we got going and slowly tapered down all afternoon.  This typically never helps.

 

Those fish we caught we caught using the white, 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slab. As the shadows began to get long and the atmosphere began to cool off around 4 PM, the fishing cooled right off with it.

 

Despite the fishing being less than stellar, one of Bryan’s hopes was to see how the various forms of sonar played into the fish-finding equation.  All afternoon he got a real-world demo on how fish appeared on DI, SI, and 2D sonar as we searched for them, and then how Garmin LiveScope aided us in gauging fish response to our presentations after we found them.

 

The boys and their dad really seemed to enjoy their first on-the-water experience with bringing Garmin LiveScope to bear on the fishing.  It truly helps folks stay more engaged and for longer periods of time when they can see with their own eyes that there are fish present to work for and to try to catch.

 

Our final tally for the afternoon was 39 fish, 100% of which were white bass.

 

Here is a tutorial on the smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 39 fish caught and released.

 

OBSERVATIONS:  The water temperature profile measured on 27 Dec. was:

0 feet 55.6F
5 feet 56.5F
10 feet, 57.1F
15 feet, 57.1F
20 feet, 57.1F
25 feet, 57.1F
30 feet, 57.1F
35 feet, 57.1F
40 feet, 57.1F
45 feet, 56.9F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 12:50P

End Time: 5:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 32F

Elevation: 15.48 feet low, 40 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 55.4F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: NW13-14 at trip’s start, dying back to NW7-8 by mid-afternoon

Sky Condition: 10% white clouds on pale blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 98% illumination.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Areas 1679, 1678, B0184G, B0253G, 1743, B0013C

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide #BeltonLakeFishingGuide #stripers #stripedbassfishing #rockfish #sandbass #freshwaterfishing #fishing #bass #bassfishing #whitebass #panfish #crappie #fishingonaboat #fishingtackle #fishinglife #fishingsport #fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday #Fitec