SOLDIERS’ SONS LAND 136 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, October 9th, I fished Lake Belton for this season’s ninth SKIFF program fishing trip offered specifically to military kids and teens.  Joining me were Logan Sinks of Belton, and Drake Adams of Killeen.  The two friends are both 15 years of age.

SKIFF is an acronym for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. It is a program now in its 12th year, sponsored by the Austin Fly Fishers, and supported by individuals and entities, all of whom desire that kids separated from a parent by that parent’s military duty, be given an opportunity to experience the outdoors through fishing during that time of separation, free of charge.  The program offers a time of respite for the home-front parents who may need a short break from single-parenting.

Logan’s dad, U.S. Army Master Sergeant David Sinks, is currently deployed to Camp Humphries in South Korea.  He has served for approximately 17 years and is in the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) field.  Drake’s step-father, Sergeant First Class Richard Rodriguez, is an Apache attack helicopter mechanic.  He has served for 21 years and was most recently deployed to South Korea, as well.

My next few openings will be on 9, 16, and 17 November.  Weekday mornings are always best.

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Logan Sinks and Drake Adams landed 136 fish this morning, including 130 white bass, 4 juvenile hybrid striped bass, and 1 freshwater drum.  All fish were taken on the MAL Heavy lure, primarily with a vertical retrieve.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday (AM), 09 November 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

I’ve now had six consecutive trips with over 100 fish per trip.

I’ve been off the water for a week on the annual home-building mission trip to Juarez, Mexico, I make each October with some folks from my church.  We returned around 6:45PM last night, I got a few winks of sleep and then got prepped to receive the boys for 7AM.

The fish were still in the same places doing the same things at the same times as when I last fished on 30 September.

The early morning, low-light bite was weak, with the energy level of the fish rising with light and wind as the morning moved on.

By 9:40, we’d landed 31 fish — 4 via a horizontal “sawtooth” method, and the rest via a vertical tactic in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.  It was at this time that the wind ramped up sharply from about SSE8 to SSE13.  With this increase in wind came an increase in fish activity.

From 9:50 to 10:30, we more than doubled our catch, landing exactly 70 more fish in this 40-minute span, taking our tally to 101.  At the first hint that the bite at this location was starting to wane, I made a final move to a similar area.

From 10:35 to 11:00 we landed an additional 35 fish in those 25 minutes for a grand total of 136 fish boated.

Our primary means of catching this morning was to find fish holding tight to bottom, Spot-Lock on them, work MAL Heavy Lures (white tail, silver blade) vertically up off bottom to about the top of the lower third of the water column, then drop them back while all the time viewing Garmin LiveScope to gauge fish response, and to know when to reel and when not to reel.

The boys got the hang of this quickly, were willing to be coached to smooth out some of the “rookie mistakes” they made with their presentations, and their result benefited handsomely.

MAL Lure fishing tutorials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViVz6D91brM

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 136 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Since I’d been off the water for a week, I wanted to check the temperature profile at depth.  Here are the results … there is no longer any thermal stratification:

0 feet 78.8F
5 feet 79.1F
10 feet 79.2F
15 feet 79.2F
20 feet 79.2F
25 feet 79.2F
30 feet 79.2F
35 feet 79.2F
40 feet 79.2F
45 feet 79.2F
50 feet 79.2F
55 feet 79.2F
60 feet 79.2F
65 feet 79.1F

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:00A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  64F

Elevation: 1.12 feet low, 0.03′ drop, 58 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 78.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE5 at sunrise, increasing to SSE13 by trip’s end

Sky Condition: Skies were 40% clouded at sunrise, decreasing to 10% by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 13% illumination.

GT = NA

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 812 – a few shallow fish in 24-26′

**Area 1374 & 1274 – fish were present, but not aggressive; caught a few and moved on

**Area 714 – fish were present and were more aggressive than they had been to this point, but most fish were smallish; moved on by 9:30 with 31 fish landed

**Area 1392/2053 – excellent vertical bite; 70 fish in 45 minutes

**Area B0099G – excellent vertical bite; 35 fish in 25 minutes

 

 

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 #mepps

Fall Fishing Floodgates Ready to Open — 107 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Thursday, September 30, I fished on Lake Belton with returning guests Larry Brewer and Blake Hoekstra, accompanied by first-time guest Chris Zwern, Larry’s son-in-law.

Larry has been a long-time fixture in the Austin area HVAC business for decades, Blake is a retired accountant, and Chris is working in the medical equipment segment of Siemens in the Houston area.

The fishing is great and will only get better with the arrival of additional cold fronts.  If you’d like to get in on this fantastic fall fishing, let me know sooner than later.  I can introduce you to the multiple tactics I’ve developed for using the MAL Lure, as well as advanced use of sonar to find and catch fish.

My next few openings will be on 11, 12, & 13 October.  Weekday mornings are always best.

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Larry Brewer, Blake Hoekstra, & Chris Zwern, all with healthy Lake Belton hybrid striped bass taken on MAL Heavy Lures (white blade, chartreuse tail) in ~42 feet of water.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 30 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

I’ve now had five consecutive trips with over 100 fish per trip.  Of these, this morning’s start was the slowest thanks to bright skies (albeit with a haze), and lack of wind.  These conditions persisted until 8:40.  The wind ratcheted up and the skies grew quickly overcast at the same time in about a 20 minute span.  By 9A, it was game-on.

We fished a few areas prior to 9A, just scraping a few fish here and there.  At 9A, the fish began to chase bait clear up to the surface, occasionally breaking water, a handful of Forster’s terns began working around us, and sonar (2D, DI, & SI) all started to load up with fish.  We fished three areas, all with the same approach.

We fished vertically when the fish were aggressive, and quickly changed over to horizontal tactics when the action cooled a bit.  I keep two separate sets of rods on the boat for each tactic so I can collect up what we’re not using as I distribute the rods we will be using, and change everyone over to a new tactic in about 30 seconds.  This preparation puts more fish in the boat than otherwise.

When the fish were piled up under us, we’d use the MAL Heavy with silver blade/white tail to crank up through them and watch their reaction via Garmin LiveScope.  The higher the fish suspend, the more prone they are to striking.  I therefore coach my clients to pay particular attention to those high-riding fish and attempt to “lead” them as they retrieve their lures past those fish.

When the “haystacks” of fish thinned out, but side imaging showed them patrolling around us, we’d cast horizontally and work MAL Heavy Lures with white blades/chartreuse tails along the bottom using a sawtooth tactic.  The rod and reel combo I use for this is different that the combo used for the vertical work in that the spool diameter is greater and the gear ratio is higher, resulting in a faster moving lure (given an equivalent handle turn speed).

We have abundant rains moving in Friday and Saturday, then the autumn’s second cold front due in Sunday.  That cold front should cement the turnover process, opening the floodgates to fantastic fall fishing a bit earlier than the late October date at which it normally occurs.  Can’t wait!!!

MAL Lure fishing tutorials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViVz6D91brM

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 107 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Found fish down as deep as 53′ yesterday — deepest fish I’ve found since late May/early June.  The foul, septic odor which often accompanies the fall turnover can be detected now and then as this process begins.  3 terns helped point the direction we needed to “short hop” in as the bite slowed at our 2nd and 4th stops.

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:00A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  73F

Elevation: 1.01 feet low, no elevation change overnight, 72 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 78.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE3-4 until around 9A; then increasing as clouds moved in from the SE to SE9-11

Sky Condition: Skies were hazy but cloud free until ~9A, then became 100% greyed over from then until trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 36% illumination.

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1275/086 – fishing was slow until we moved to this location, and was slow here, too, until wind/clouds positively impacted the fishing; 47 fish landed here, incl. 3 of the 4 legal hybrid we caught.

**Area 1298 – plentiful, but small, white bass here.  We landed 19 in short order and moved on while they were still biting.  3 short hybrid in the mix.

**Area B0040G, from the waypoint to the breakline with fish carpeting bottom.  41 fish here, including 1 legal hybrid and 1 mature drum.

 

 

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 #mepps

Going Even Deeper — 116 Fish

Gary, now retired, is one of the founding partners of Davidson Freedle Espenhover & Overby, P.C., a certified public accounting firm in Kerrville, and got to know Ken through his line of work.

The fellows drove in from the west on the coat tails of a storm system which moved through Central Texas beginning around 6:45 PM last night, dumping 1.5 inches of rain area wide.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Gary Davidson landed our one and only legal hybrid for this trip.  Although we were gunning for white bass, we also picked up smallmouth and drum as a bycatch.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left:  Ken Cox and Gary Davidson with a few of the mature white bass we landed on MAL Heavy Lures this morning.  It seemed the later it got, the more small fish we picked up.  We never caught a short fish until around 9:10 with over 50 landed by that time; thereafter a majority of our fish were smallish.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 29 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Although a low pressure system moved through overnight from the west with gusting winds and rain, this morning’s fishing conditions were much the same as they’ve been since late last week.  Accordingly, the fish were in the same locations doing the same things at the same times as they have been over the past week or so since our first major cold front passed on 21/22 Sept.

The shallowest we encountered fish this morning was in 23 feet of water.  They made a brief feeding foray there, allowing us a catch of 19 fish on MAL Heavy Lures with white blades before they moved out to deeper water at a steady clip as we followed by keeping tabs on them with side-imaging.

We found a significant congregation pausing around 32 feet on a fairly flat bottom and caught them well for a while until they drifted off, after which we moved on out to ~40-43 feet and continued catching them.  As these fish got to this deeper, 40-foot water, they occasionally drove shad to the surface for seconds at a time.  This was just long enough for us to get a bearing on them, scoot to them, and fish atop them.  We caught our first fish of the morning with a vertical presentation and MAL Heavy Lures with silver blades/white tails at this time, although the response to that vertical presentation was tepid.  Once the fish grew disinterested in the vertical work, we changed rods and threw the MAL Heavy Lures with white blades instead to continue catching.

Once these “breakline” fish settled down, we went looking in the 40-45′ range for more fish.  The next batch of fish we found was willing, but averaged pretty small.  We caught a few, saw the trend, and left these fish biting.

At this point, we’d landed 66 fish and I asked the fellows if they had any curfew as we entered into what would normally be our final, fourth hour on the water.  Neither had plans, so, with their permission we changed over from working to catch fish to scouting new fish locations.

We checked a number of areas, finding fish at two of them.  The first area was at the end of an underwater draw in 53′; there were fish here both on bottom and suspended and moving, thus making them hard to pin down.  We landed a dozen and moved on.  2-3 of these fish pursued our MAL Lures from off the bottom in 53′, making them the deepest fish I’ve yet found this fall.

Our next success (after checking 4 areas without success) came in ~32 feet of water on a blunt, underwater point.  We landed 32 fish here, with the majority of them on the small side.  Although fish were seen throughout the water column, only those in the middle third of the water column would follow and strike our MAL Heavy Lures.

Our final success came in 40′ in open water.  On a bare, limestone bottom, I saw just a few fish on down-imaging, but, given the late hour, I knew not to expect much more than that.  As our lures fell vertically, the bottom came alive with fish — hundreds of fish.  We all caught three fish in rapid succession, but all three were this year’s crop of ~6-7″ fish.  We decided we’d end on a good note and left those little guys biting at around 12:30 pm with exactly 116 fish landed for our efforts.

MAL Lure fishing tutorials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViVz6D91brM

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 116 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Found fish down as deep as 53′ today — deepest fish I’ve found since late May/early June.

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:00A

End Time: 12:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  68F

Elevation: 0.94 feet low, .14 foot rise due to overnight rainfall, 72 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 78.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE5-6 at dawn, then varying from SSE to SSW at no more than 8mph through 10:30, then picking up to SSE13 for the remainder of the trip.

Sky Condition: Skies were 100% greyed over at sunrise, slowly and completely clearing by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Last quarter moon at 46% illumination.

GT = 140

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 813 – shallowest action of the AM under low light conditions; horizontal MAL Heavy work in 23′

**Area B0180C – caught whites as they transitioned away from shallow water as the skies brightened; horizontal MAL Heavy work in 32′

**Area 1205 to 1151 – mid-morning fishing for white bass in ~40-43′; some spotty topwater helped us stay atop the fish with short hops w/ the trolling motor; first vertical work with MAL Heavy Lures here although fish were still sluggish.  Once they lost interest, we kept catching by going horizontal.

**Area  1298 – strong vertical bite with lots of small fish; we left the small fish biting

**Area 1235 – suspended fish only; caught 12 and kept looking for fish dwelling on bottom

**Area vic 956 – scouting led to a moderate bite from primarily small fish; left them biting

**Area 098 – largest, most aggressive congregation of fish we found all morning; all small 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 #mepps

Horizontal when it’s tough; Vertical when it’s easy — 134 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Tuesday, September 28, I fished on Lake Belton with Gerry Collier and his son, Geoff, who is in for a visit from Tucson, AZ.

Gerry works in the supply field for Baylor Scott & White and has been out with me for an on-the-water sonar training previously.  Geoff manages a Jiffy Lube store back in Arizona.  He drove about 13 hours with his German shepherd just to spend some downtime with his folks, enjoying Texas BBQ and beer for a few days.

When I had an unanticipated opening on my calendar, I posted about it on Facebook over the weekend, and Gerry was the first to give me a holler as the opportunity jived perfectly with his son’s visit.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Gerry Collier with a 4.25 pound hybrid taken on the MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail from out of 42′.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Gerry and Geoff Collier with a sampling of the white bass catch.  Horizontal “sawtooth” tactics worked best when the bite was tough prior to the shift/increase in wind around 9A; after that, a vertical presentation drove ’em wild.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 28 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Although still quite solid, the fishing was a little different and a bit slower than yesterday, thanks to a near cloudless, near windless start to the morning.  With lack of cloud cover, the skies brightened quickly and just about eliminated any low-light shallow bite.

We didn’t catch but a few fish in under 25 feet this morning.  After about 40 minutes on the water, a solid bite developed out in 30-32 feet of water allowing us to begin catching with regularity for the first time this trip by casting MAL Heavy Lures out horizontally and retrieving the back with a sawtooth method.  This would remain our staple presentation through 9:30AM.

On occasion, we’d see a “hot” school of fish pile up directly under the boat and show a willingness to chase vertically, but, this was often short-lived, after which we’d switch right back to the horizontal work.

About 9AM, a wind shift and wind increase took place which, by 9:30AM, turned the fish on very well for another full 90+ minutes.  By 9:30, we’d pieced together a catch of 74 fish, including 2 legal hybrid, 3 drum, and 69 white bass.  From 9:30 to 11:25, we landed another 60 fish.  These fish were much, much more aggressive, with 100% of them falling to a vertical retrieve using the MAL Heavy Lure with silver blade and white tail.  This catch of 60 included one more legal hybrid, two more drum, and 4 juvenile hybrid (from last year’s stocking, which is a welcome sight!!).

MAL Lure fishing tutorials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViVz6D91brM

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 134 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Fishing was a bit tougher today than on the past two outings, but still well ahead of the grind-it-out summer fishing we’ve experienced since June.  Today’s less enthusiastic fishing was driven by a lack of cloud cover and a lack of wind well into the morning.

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 6:50A

End Time: 11:25A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  68F

Elevation: 1.09 feet low, .04 foot fall, 72 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 78.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE1-4 through 9:10, then increasing to S9 for the rest of the morning

Sky Condition: Skies were cloudless through 9AM, then 20% white cloud cover on a blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 55% illumination.

GT = 15

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  812 – shallowest action, albeit pretty weak this AM

**Area  B0098G – the catch of a single via downrigger led us to find a nice group of fish feeding actively in the lower half of the water column here; we fished vert. and horiz. to capitalize.

**Area 1791/B0155C –  Vertical & horiz. MAL Heavy work

**Area  V1275 – this is where we were when the wind shifted and increased and the bite began to improve rapidly.

**Area 714 – final ~2 hours of the trip here for a final 60 fish, all vertical with LiveScope and MAL Heavy in silver blade/white tail.

 

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 #mepps

A GRAND, POSITIVE CHANGE — 139 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Monday, September 27, I fished on Lake Belton with returning guest Gary Jones.

Gary came out with me once before with three buddies in the late spring after being the high bidder on a fishing gift certificate I’d presented to the Ralph Wilson Youth Club for a fundraiser.

Gary appreciated the intentionality with which I’d designed my guide boat after seeing it and fishing from it that first time, and, as a result, ordered a similar boat.  So, in many ways, this was a ‘dry run’ for Gary, nailing down how to use the boat, sonar, and other accessories to pursue freshwater pelagics.

I appreciate clients who come ready to learn and who are willingly coached — Gary is one of those fellows.

PHOTO CAPTION:   Gary Jones with a couple of the 139 fish we boated this morning from the surface all the way down to 42 feet deep.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 27 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

We caught fish from shallow to deep, and from top to bottom this morning.  That short, intense cold front’s passage last week really has spurred a grand, positive change in the fishing.  The surface temperature was below 80F for the first time since the spring today, and the fish are moving into deep water areas they have not occupied for months.

We started our morning looking and listening for fish popping shad on topwater and caught 4 by sight-casting MAL Originals with silver blades/chartreuse tails.  We then used side-imaging to find fish in under 25 feet of water as they moved deeper with the brightening sky.  We chose to cast off the port or starboard side based on the look of side-imaging, and scored regularly from a fixed position by holding into the wind with Spot-Lock.  We used MAL Heavy Lures with white blades and chartreuse tails for this work.  We landed 13 more fish in this manner.

As the schools of white bass pressed deeper with the increasing light level, they eventually scattered sufficiently to make me think downrigging would be the better option, and, given that Gary had never downrigged, but planned to do so with his new boat, I used this as an opportunity to show him the ropes.  He got the hang of things after just a few iterations, and we routinely landed all singles today on the 3-armed umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons. We took an additional 12 fish on the ‘riggers.

By about 8:50 AM, these fish played out and, despite precisely presenting downrigged baits to the bottom-hugging schools of white bass we could see on sonar, they no longer took chase and bit.  We moved on to greener pastures.

As I searched with sonar over some open water areas, we spotted some topwater commotion about 200 yards away.  I shared with Gary that at this time of the morning, the topwater action is typically just the tip of the iceberg, with the real story playing out well beneath the surface.  This was the case in this situation.  As we slipped over top of where the topwater action had briefly occurred, there were white bass and hybrid striped bass all throughout the lower 2/3rds of the water column.  We stopped, got the Garmin LiveScope gear focused on the fish, and then worked MAL Heavy Lures with silver blades/white tails vertically for an easy dozen fish, including two 4-pound class hybrid, before this wandering school of fish moved on.  Our tally now stood at 41 fish.

It was now just shy of 9:30 AM.  We continued searching out fish and bait in the 40-foot range.  The next school of fish we found on sonar would keep both of us busy full-time for the next 90 minutes to come.

Once again, we geared up with MAL Heavy Lures with silver blades/white tails for the vertical work we were about to do, assisted by Garmin LiveScope.  From the time we first dropped our baits to the final time we reeled up to head back in, there was never fewer than three dozen fish on the screen with, literally, hundreds of fish appearing at times, all heavily congregated and moving with a purpose pursuing the shad also found in the area — just incredible.  We landed another 98 fish here before Gary threw in the towel at around 11:10AM.

MAL Lure fishing tutorials:

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 139 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Since last week’s cold front, the season’s first coots have migrated down; I also spotted a pair of bald eagles, multiple large flocks of teal, and multiple osprey.

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 6:50A

End Time: 11:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  64F

Elevation: 1.05 feet low, .04 foot fall, 71 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 78.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: S5-7 all morning

Sky Condition: Skies were under ~55% white cloud cover on a blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 65% illumination.

GT = 225

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1746 – 4 fish sight casting on MAL Originals; 13 fish on horizontal retrieve w/ MAL Heavy Lures

**Area vic B0180C – 12 fish on downrigged 3-armed umb. rigs

**Area B0097G –  Vertical MAL Heavy work w/ LiveScope; 10 fish

**Area 1298 –  Vertical MAL Heavy work w/ LiveScope; final tally 139

 

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 #mepps

MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENT – 122 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, September 25, I fished with returning guests Dr. Josh Good and his 14-year-old son Jacob.  Also joining us were two first-time guests — Josh’s wife, Jamie, and Josh’s father-in-law, Jim, from the Shreveport/Bossier City, LA, area.

The trip was in celebration of Fathers’ Day for Jim, however, Jacob also turns 15 tomorrow, so, we had to treat him well, too!!

Josh is an anesthesiologist with Baylor Scott & White, Jim retired from working at the airport in Shreveport, Jacob is a freshman at Central Texas Christian School in Belton, and Jamie works to make Josh, Jacob, and his 13-year-old sister, Jenna, successful.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Josh, Jamie, Jacob, and Jim.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Josh and his son, Jacob, in 2018, and today.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday (AM), 25 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Today was one of those days that make you glad you’re a fishing guide.  The fish were where they ought to be for the conditions we had, and they bit for a full 4 hours.  My clients were willing to be coached, and, as a result, they caught fish from start to finish with a handsome final result.

We began our day up shallow, anticipating a low-light bite with the returning south winds following Tuesday/Wednesday’s first significant cold front of the autumn.  Side-imaging revealed plenty of fish with hardly a boat in sight, which, on a Saturday, is nothing short of miraculout.  We cast MAL Heavy Lures with white blades/chartreuse tails on light braid horizontally and worked them back to the boat with a sawtooth retrieve which I’d coached everyone on before we left the launch site.  We put 17 fish in the boat, including 16 white bass and one hybrid striper before the sun rose, and then followed the fish back offshore as they moved,.

As the fish retreated to deeper water, they scattered, so, we used twin downriggers to present Pet Spoons on 3-armed umbrella rigs very precisely 2-4 feet above the level at which these fish were holding — out into as much as 40 feet of water.  We took singles and doubles for about an hour’s time before these fish quit.  The downriggers produced 31 additional fish.

What we experienced next is where the “measurable improvement” comes in.  Thanks to the recent cold front, and the several nights with lows in the 50’s which followed, the thermal stratification which has existed all summer has begun to break down (see temperature profile under the Observations segment below).  For the first time since late May/early June, I found congregated fish on bottom in more than 40 feet of water, and these fish were ready to eat.

We spent a full 90 minutes at the first of two such deepwater areas, putting another 54 fish in the boat by working MAL Heavy Lures with silver blades and white tails vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.  We milked this area until the fish quit, as I was not sure if this was now going to be the rule, or an early fall exception.  Once the bite here quit, though, it was time to find out.

I went to another ~40-foot deep area, combed it over well with sonar, and, sure enough, more congregated fish on bottom.  We put a final 20 fish in the boat on two “short hops” in this area and, with the family’s previous trip tally of 120 fish now bested by 2 fish, called it a good morning as the bite finally died.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 122 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The temperature profile as detected from the surface to 60 feet this morning using a FishHawk TD device was as follows:

0 feet 81.2F
5 feet 81.5F
10 feet 81.5F
15 feet 81.5F
20 feet 81.5F
25 feet 81.5F
30 feet 81.5F
35 feet 81.5F
40 feet 81.5F
45 feet 81.5F
50 feet 81.3F
55 feet 81.3F
60 feet 81.1F

 

Start Time: 6:45A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  60F

Elevation: 0.97 feet low, .04 foot fall, 71 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 81.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW5-8 all morning

Sky Condition: Skies were under 15% white cloud cover on a blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 81% illumination.

GT = 95

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1802 up to 813 – 17 fish on horizontal MAL Heavy Lures

**Area 1933 to 834 to 840 – 31 fish on downrigged 3-armed umb. rigs

**Area 098 –  Vertical MAL Heavy work w/ LiveScope; 54 fish

**Area 214/vic 905 –  Vertical MAL Heavy work w/ LiveScope; final tally 122

 

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 #mepps

KINDA, SORTA PRE-FRONTAL — 64 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Tuesday morning, September 21st, I fished with brothers-in-law Stacey Meeks and Robert Anderson both from here in Central Texas.

Stacey, who operates his own small business as a welder, coordinated the trip and let me know in advance that he would arrive with a hundred questions as he tries to sharpen his own skills at finding and catching white bass.  Robert is an internal medicine physician at one of our local hospitals.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Robert Anderson and Stacey Meeks with a pair of white bass we took under low-light conditions around sunrise using the MAL Heavy Lure with white blade and chartreuse tail.

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 21 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The big unknown this morning as we started out was whether or not the incoming cold front would cause a wind shift while we were on the water, thus allowing us to take advantage of some pre-frontal activity as this first significant cold front of the season moved in.

As it turned out, the front arrived later than initially forecast, and the only help we got from the atmospheric scenario came as the north wind just began to ripple the water around 11am.

With the southerly winds blowing either side of sunrise, we first looked up shallow for low-light feeders.  I’d fished the previous evening and witnessed no low-light topwater action, which is common a few days either side of the full moon.  There was once again no low-light topwater action this morning, but, fish did come up shallow in under 22 feet of water to feed.

After finding fish on side-imaging, I positioned us cross-wind from them and we cast MAL Heavy Lures with white blades and chartreuse tails using a sawtooth retrieve.  We landed 15 fish in short order before the light level increased and drove the fish deeper.

Because Stacey expressed an interest in downrigging, we next pursued these fish as they moved deeper with 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons, landing just two and deciding to move on to greener pastures.

By now, the wind from the SSE had subsided and went light and variable.  After a short spell of calm winds, a ripple developed and as it did so, we noted two schools of whites driving shad to the surface, about a hundred yards apart from one another.  The action didn’t last long, but we were able to both take fish from these schools, and work the area over for a few more fish after they sounded.  The winds went calm again and the action here died.

We checked a slow-tapering area out and sonar lit up with bait and small schools of suspended white bass over a roughly 2-acre area.   I suspected these might be small, and, as we ran the downriggers once again to quickly cover water, these suspicions were confirmed.  We put 6 shorts in the boat very quickly and, with the wind now blowing again, returned to the previous area, this time fishing it vertically and more thoroughly.

There were fish present, but they were definitely not enthusiastic.  We added three fish to our count and had to move on.   Our tally now stood at 31 fish and the time was 10:40.

After making sure the fellows were both okay with extending the trip a bit to allow us time to look over a few more areas, we covered water until two distant, simultaneous bursts of water spray caught my eye.  I took us off plane and just watched and continued to see additional bursts of spray.  I felt this was likely either white bass, largemouth bass, or both, so, we closed in to investigate.

We found yet another roughly 2-acre patch of water with multiple surface-oriented schools of white bass present from bottom in 36 feet of water up to about 28 feet of water, and with the fish spread throughout the water column.  We used MAL Heavy Lures with silver blades and white tails (with the sun now shining) to catch white bass by sight-casting, by working these lures vertically when Garmin LiveScope showed fish beneath us, and by working these lures with a sawtooth method when the fish were not visible on the surface nor on LiveScope.  In the 55 minutes that followed, we more than doubled our catch of 31 to a final tally of 64 fish.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 64 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:

Start Time: 6:50A

End Time: 12 Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  78F

Elevation: 0.81 feet low, .05 foot fall, 41 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 81.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE4-5 for the first hour, light and variable for the middle 3 hours, then NNW3-4 from 11A to Noon

Sky Condition: Skies were mostly cloudy and grey at 60-80% with some fine precipitation for just a few minutes falling around 9:30A.  As the wind shifted to the NNW, the skies cleared and the sun shone intensely.

Moon Phase: Full moon at 100% illumination.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  813 – low-light action

**Area 817 – moderate action tipped off by 2 short bursts of topwater feeding (2 stops)

**Area  B0128C thru 725 – downrigging for shorts

**Area 215 to 905 to 188 – aggressive action in conjunction with the wind shift

 

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 #mepps

PETE ‘N’ MOMMA — 39 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Yesterday afternoon, Monday, 20 September 2021, I fished with Jackie Holmes and her son, Pete Isgett.  Jackie was in for a quick visit from the East Coast with her son and daughter-in-law who live in Killeen.  She’d not been on the water in quite some time and, fish or no fish, wanted to leave land behind for a few hours.

My schedule was already full for this week, but, I worked the two in for a shortened 3-hour evening trip so the two could fish together before Jackie’s return flight on Thursday.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Jackie Holmes and her son, Pete Isgett, with 2 of the 39 fish they landed in the 3 hours prior to sunset this past Monday on Lake Belton.  Downrigged Pet Spoons caught our fish early, then MAL Heavy Lures landed the final 24 fish.

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (PM), 20 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

As is my custom on evening trips conducted from June through the summer months, I told Pete and Jackie, “We’ll likely catch as many fish in the last 45 minutes as we do in the two-and-a-quarter hours prior.”

Summertime afternoon fish activity is typically squeezed into a short window just before and after sunset.  This pattern certainly held true today.

We set out around 5pm, looked at 4 areas with sonar, and fished two of them by downrigging after seeing bait and some suspended fish present.  By 6pm, we’d landed 7 fish.  At 6:15pm, while downrigging, we encountered the first organized, bottom-oriented school of white bass we’d seen to that point (all others had been suspended).  We witnessed several fish come up off the bottom and chase after our downrigger weights from out of this school.  As the 3-armed umbrella rigs passed by seconds later, they got hit, producing a double.  At this point I stopped the boat and Pete and I began working MAL Heavy Lures horizontally in the vicinity of the school to see if they were yet excited enough to chase and strike.  They were not.

Back to downrigging.  Two more fish caught out of a similar scenario.  No response as we cast to them.  Back to downrigging.  Two more fish caught out of a similar scenario.  No response as we cast to them. Back to downrigging.  Two more fish caught out of a similar scenario. This time, we hit paydirt as we “probed” with casting.  The sun had dimmed enough to trip some internal trigger in those white basses’ brains that told them to start eating.  It was now 6:55 and we had 15 fish in the boat.

Pete did all the heavy lifting because, true to her word, Jackie pretty much just sat in the front of the boat relaxing after reeling in a handful of the fish we’d tempted with the downriggers early on.

Over the next 55 minutes the action got steadily better and moved shallower until our last strike at 7:50 pm.  In those closing minutes, we landed a final 24 fish, more than doubling the tally from the first 2 hours.  All of our fish taken by casting were taken using the sawtooth method with an MAL Heavy Lure with white blade and chartreuse tail.  I have really come to prefer this white blade in low-light conditions.

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 39 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  With two mild cold fronts having already passed this month and another strong front on its way tomorrow afternoon, I’m already starting to see migratory bird species increase in numbers, namely teal and osprey.

Start Time: 5P

End Time: 7:50P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  99F

Elevation: 0.77 feet low, .03 foot fall, 41 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 84.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12-13 at trip’s start, tapering off slowly to S6-7

Sky Condition: Bright skies w/ ~10% cloud cover in combination with compressional warming from prefrontal atmospheric conditions

Moon Phase: Full moon at 100% illumination.

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 812, from the actual waypoint, and toward deeper, 34′ water for downrigging and the first few fish landed via the sawtooth method

**Area 1070 to 1746 via the sawtooth method as the fish moved shallower with the failing light.

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec #mepps

102 WHITE BASS ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning I fished with a crew of five from the U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group (ASOG), headquartered at Fort Hood.

Included in the crew were Mike Stock, who coordinated the trip, D.V. Dvareckas, Chaplain Steve Kim, Matt Getz, and Julian Rey.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Chaplain Steve Kim, Julian “Doohickey” Rey, Mike Stock, Matt Getz, and D.V. Dvareckas, all of the USAF’s 3rd Air Support Operations Group

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 15 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Due in part to yet another marginal wind forecast (I was concerned about winds too high to be out in open water on either Belton or Stillhouse today with forecasts for 15mph straight-line, gusting 22), and good success on Lake Belton yesterday, I opted to run this morning’s trip on Lake Belton so I’d have some options on protected water.

We got right onto fish this morning, doing the same things in the same places as yesterday morning, thanks to near-identical weather.  These low-light fish were up in about 24 feet of water, grouped tightly, and ready to feed.  Four of my five fellows had prior experience with spinning rods, so the casting accuracy and distance required to reach out horizontally to these fish was not an issue as we employed the “sawtooth method” using MAL Heavy Lures with white blade/chartreuse tail.  The gusts of wind were a bit of a challenge at times as I had all 5 men abreast of one another casting straight out in front of themselves.  In this situation, the wind would blow a belly of slack downwind into the next guy’s “lane”, but, for 4+ hours of casting, we had relatively few tangles.

We landed 18 fish very quickly before that early surge of activity died down.  The cloud cover thickened up at that point, and it actually got darker out.  The fish did not respond well to that, and we went about 35 minutes before contacting fish again.   When we did, they were in ~35 feet, still grouped tightly, albeit a bit less aggressive.  It was at this point that I introduced the vertical tactics we would alternate to over the course of the morning, making use of MAL Heavy Lures (with white tail) seen clearly on Garmin LiveScope used in downward mode to monitor both fish and baits.  We added another 18 fish to our count by working vertically, taking our tally to 36 fish by 9 a.m. as we saw this bite taper off.

Watching 5 active duty airmen acting like kids in a candy store over the Garmin LiveScope was a comical thing to hear to behold.  As Julian reeled his MAL Lure up off the bottom and timed its rise to intersect a school of white bass moving parallel to the bottom and up about 4 feet off of it, he watched the red signature of his lure and the red signature of the fish merge into one as his rod loaded under the weight of the fish he just hooked.  He (literally) yelled (and quite loudly), “YES, I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!!  I GOT A FISH ON THE DOOHICKEY MACHINE!!”.

It was around this same time (just after 9 a.m.) yesterday that we made a move which set us up for a very productive final two hours, so, I made that same move today, and once again it paid off.

We found fish using side-imaging, positioned the boat cross-wind from them and within a cast’s distance, then barraged these fish with MAL Heavy Lures cast horizontally and worked back to the boat using a sawtooth tactic.  Since the men already had exposure to, and success with, the Garmin LiveScope, I left the transducers in the water and three units turned on so everyone could monitor the water column beneath them.  Whenever a “pack” of fish moved under the boat, they’d change over to a vertical presentation, then return to a horizontal presentation once these fish directly beneath the boat had moved on.

Over the next 2 hours we worked our tally up to 89 fish by 11 a.m.   Since we’d gotten off to a bit of a later start than I’d hoped for, I told the fellows we’d stay until 11:25 or 100 fish, whichever came first.

By 11:18 we saw the morning’s 100th fish swing over the side, then, just for good measure, we landed 2 more as I was prepping the boat for travel back to the dock.  Our catch consisted of 100% white bass today.

The horizontal fishing was accomplished using the MAL Heavy Lure with a white blade and with a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 102 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker, Hurricane Nicholas, has moved inland north and east of Louisiana; we saw the last of the outer bands of cloud cover through around 10:45, then rapid clearing and brightening took place.

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.60′ low, .03′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 41cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.4

Wind Speed & Direction: NE8-12 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Hurricane Nicholas which is NE of Louisiana

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 60-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Hurricane Nicholas passed overhead; the final bands of clouds cleared by 10:45; skies brightened quickly thereafter

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 68% illumination.

GT = 38

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 813

**Area vic 1933/B0132C

**Area 171/788

**Area B0116C

 

 

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 #mepps

WHITE BASS FIRST-TIMERS – 136 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Due to a marginal wind forecast (I was concerned about winds too high to be out in open water on either Belton or Stillhouse today with forecasts for 15mph straight-line, gusting 22), I opted to run this morning’s trip on Lake Belton so I’d have some options on protected water.

I fished this morning with U.S. Army Major Jon Austin and his wife, Lauren.  As a man directly involved in his unit’s operations, MAJ Austin’s schedule is full all the time.  When he earned some much-needed downtime, he and Lauren dropped their 6-year-old twin boys off at school and came and joined me for a little time spent together and away from life’s pressures for a few hours.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   U.S. Army Major Jon Austin and his wife, Lauren, on their first-ever white bass fishing trip.  The couple used vertical and horizontal tactics to catch the lion’s share of their fish, with a bit of exposure to downrigging and topwater sight-casting, as well.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 14 September 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

This trip allowed me to compare and contrast Belton versus Stillhouse under similar weather conditions.  In general, the bite was better in the latter part of the morning on both lakes, but we caught fish steadily in the first two hours on Belton, whereas Stillhouse was shut down tight for the first two hours after sunrise yesterday.  Generally, there were more, but smaller, fish to be had on Belton, with much better quality over on Stillhouse.  Finally, the ratio of fish caught on a vertical presentation versus a horizontal presentation was roughly 1 to 5 in favor of the horizontal (or “sawtooth”) retrieve on both lakes.

We encountered fish in three distinct areas this morning, catching 28 fish in our first two hours of fishing in 30-38 feet of water after spotting loosely assembled white bass on or near bottom, Spot-Locking close to them, fishing very quickly with a vertical presentation (aided by Garmin LiveScope) until the fish turned off to that, then immediately transitioning over to the sawtooth method.

Same went for our second area which we fished in the third and fourth hours of the trip, only our fish count went way up as the fish seemed to get more aggressive as the wind and light level rose (through 100% grey skies).  In the second two hours we landed 78 more fish through 12:05 p.m.

After we had essentially packed it in and were heading back to the boat ramp, I spotted multiple schools of white bass which had forced shad to the surface and were feeding on them there.  Even in the chop created by the 11-12 mph N. wind, the white spray from these primarily 2-year class fish could be see fairly easily.

We eased in with the trolling motor in advance of their direction of travel and caught them as they came to us, as surrounded us, and as they moved beyond us.

We added a final 30 fish to our tally in an unplanned additional 15-20 minutes throwing MAL Heavy Lures in white to these fish.  Most fish regurgitated multiple young of the year shad between 1 1/8 and 1 3/4 inches in length.

The horizontal fishing was accomplished using the MAL Heavy Lure with a white blade and with a “sawtooth method” which I describe in detail here:

SAWTOOTH METHOD LINK

We landed 128 white bass, 7 undersized hybrid stripers, and 1 largemouth bass.  As it turned out, the wind never really would have been an issue, but, better safe than sorry in this business!

MAL Lures are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 136 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The major weather-maker right now and for the next 2 days is Hurricane Nicholas, which made landfall early this morning.

Start Time: 8:00A

End Time: 12:45P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:   0.57′ low, .02′ 24-hour fall, and a flow of 41cfs

Water Surface Temp: 81.8

Wind Speed & Direction: N8-12 all morning thanks to counter-clockwise rotation off of Hurricane Nicholas which is in the Gulf north of Galveston

Sky Condition: 100% light grey cover at trip’s start, alternating from 20-80% thereafter as bands of clouds off of Hurricane Nicholas passed overhead.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 57% illumination.

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1933 to 1791 – 28 fish at a slow, but steady pace in our first 2 hours

**Area vic 691 – 78 fish at a strong pace for our final 2 hours

**Area 1562 – strong topwater feed from mouth to mid-point

 

 

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 #mepps