21 DEC. 2022 SUMMARY PLACEHOLDER – 37 Fish

Fished only 3 of 4 hours with Charles and Gilda C. and their 14-year-old grandson whose parents did not want to appear/be mentioned on social media.

Landed 37 fish on Lake Belton.  Wrapped up early as clients were under-dressed for 49-51F weather.

Fish were temperamental all afternoon until ~3:40p when birds began to work.  We took our count from 22 fish to 37 fish in a matter of minutes, but by then the family was too cold to continue.

Found fish at:

B0171C thru B0173G

B0186C

B0005G

120/1373 under birds

THE LULL BETWEEN THE FRONTS

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 20th, I was joined by long time client Steve Niemeier, accompanied by his granddaughter, Macy Fowler, who is a veteran of many trips with me, as well.

Steve and I put this trip on the books when he knew he’d be able to take his grandkids out fishing during their Christmas break from school, but, neither of us had a crystal ball for weather when we did so.  As it turned out, the weather was just so-so — a day stuck in the middle between fronts and one on which the fish were neither truly fired up nor completely turned off.

My next weekday opening is on 02 Jan. My next weekend opening is Sat., 07 January 2023.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

PHOTO CAPTION: Steve Niemeier and his 14-year-old granddaughter, Macy Fowler, with a few of the white bass they worked for on this cool, grey day in between fronts.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 20 December 2022 (PM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

The bird activity today (the 21st consecutive fishing trip during which I’ve enjoyed helpful bird activity) mimicked the fish activity — both came in brief spurts spread across the afternoon with one final, hard feed right before dark.

Our approach was to take advantage of the bird action when it existed, not so much to fish under the birds, but to use them as an indicator as to the general location of fish and bait.  Once the birds got us close, we closed the deal with sonar, relying mainly upon side-imaging looking for large groups of bottom-oriented fish instead of the aggressive, suspended fish up near the surface which the birds were focused on.

When the birds quit, we relied exclusively upon sonar.  Things were tough when the birds were not flying, as the reason those birds quit feeding was because the fish below them quit chasing aggressively.  In this regard, the birds were truly a barometer of fish activity.

We fished with white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs all afternoon until we got into fish under a heavy flock of birds right at last light.  The birds fed so closely to the boat that I could see with great detail the size of the shad they were plucking from the water.  This caused me to bump Steve and Macy’s slabs up to the 3/4 oz. size to more closely match the adult threadfin shad the fish and birds were feeding on.

As it grew darker, the fish up closer to the surface were by far much more likely to strike our presentations than those down lower in the water column.  So, using Garmin LiveScope, I encouraged Steve and Macy to try to single out specific fish and to time the rise of their lure to pass right off the tip of these fishes’ noses by observing the direction the fish were swimming,  This tactic accounted for multiple fish in our final 30 minutes of fishing.

As the fish quit roughly 10 minutes after the final bird activity of the day faded, Steve and Macy had landed a total of 55 fish, including 4 short white bass, 1 short hybrid striped bass, 1 largemouth bass, and exactly 49 legal white bass.

 

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 21st consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.  2) Temperature profile to 55′:

0 feet 58.2F
5 feet 58.2F
10 feet 58.2F
15 feet 58.2F
20 feet 58.2F
25 feet 58.2F
30 feet 58.2F
35 feet 58.2F
40 feet 58.2F
45 feet 58.2F
50 feet 58.2F
55 feet 58.2F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 1P

End Time: 5P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 48F

Elevation: 13.17 feet low, 0.00′ change in last 24 hours, 24 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 58.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNW12 all afternoon

Sky Condition: Fully greyed skies all afternoon

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 5% illumination.

GT = 45

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 1177 – 15 fish

Area 970 – 4 fish

Area 1152- 6 fish

Area 1177 – 13 fish

Area 1270 to 976 – 17 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

INCREDIBLE BEGINNER’S LUCK STREAK — 58 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 18th, I conducted the 2022 season’s 15th SKIFF trip for military kids separated from their parents by their parents’ military duty.

Joining me this afternoon was Michael Gilman III.  His dad, Michael Gilman Jr., is a U.S. Army Sergeant who served previously in the U.S. Marine Corps.  In all, SGT Gilman has served for 11 years.  He is currently deployed to Europe as part of a Field Artillery unit.  The Gilman family is from south Georgia.

Mrs. Jessica Gilman, the homefront parent, towed her other three kids, all younger than Michael, with her to and from our meeting site in order to make this opportunity become a reality for her son.  The Gilman’s heard of SKIFF through Mrs. Denise Igo’s Ft. Hood Area Events Facebook page.

Although Michael had gone fishing before, he’d never caught a fish, nor had he ever been on a boat.

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

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

PHOTO CAPTION: Talk about beginner’s luck!!  Michael had never fished before, nor been on a boat before.  During his 3.5 hour SKIFF trip, he landed (from left) a 19″ hybrid striped bass, a 3.00 pound freshwater drum, a 2.875 pound largemouth bass, a 4.75 pound blue catfish, and a mess of nice white bass, all on the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab!

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Sunday, 19 November 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

I normally don’t fish on Sundays, but, with cold and/or wet weather forecast for the week ahead, and a pending request to get 8-year-old Michael out on the water, I wanted to fish with him while the water and the air were still warm.  If this coming Thursday’s cold front pans out as forecast, we likely will not see water the temperature it is now until well into March.

I had my work cut out for me this evening with an 8-year-old who had never landed a fish nor been on a boat.  Fortunately, Michael was very enthusiastic and willing to be coached in order to enjoy success.

I kept it simple by just working a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab vertically through fish we found both under birds and/or on sonar.

We enjoyed about an hours’ worth of strong bird action.  This allowed Michael to gain experience through repetition as he hooked (and also missed) fish.  This also gave me an opportunity to point out small adjustments he could make in his technique to improve, one at a time.  By the time the birds settled down, he was fishing very well and was then able to take on the tougher conditions we experienced as the fish became less aggressive as (obscured) sunset approached.

Michael and I fished side-by-side as we watched Garmin LiveScope and landed a total of 58 fish including 1 legal hybrid, 1 short hybrid, 2 drum, 2 largemouth bass, 1 blue catfish, and 51 white bass.

TALLY: 58 fish caught and released

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

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 20th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 2:00P

End Time:  5:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 54F

Elevation: 13.17 feet low, 0.03′ fall in last 24 hours, 24CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 58F

Wind Speed & Direction:  ESE10 all afternoon

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all afternoon

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 29% illumination.

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

B0169G to B0120C – 16 fish

B0184G – 10 fish

B0186C – 20 fish

BDH008 – 12 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

THEIR CHRISTMAS FISHES CAME TRUE — 134 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, 17 Dec., I was joined by returning guests Richard and Linda Schneider, accompanied by their daughter, Ashley, and Ashley’s friend, Armando Leos.

Everyone was able to take a little break this morning from their weekday routine, where Richard drives an 18-wheeler, Linda works for one of our Central Texas cities’ water department, Ashley helps prevent fraud at a local bank, and Armando works as an estimator at an automotive paint & body shop.

This trip was in celebration of Ashley’s 22nd birthday.

My next weekday opening is on 27 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 07 January 2023.

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Richard, Linda, & Ashley Schneider and Armando Leos with four of the 134 fish they landed on a chilly December morning on Lake Belton.

PHOTO CAPTION: In addition to our target species of white bass, we also picked up a nice by-catch of hybrid striped bass.  We landed 5 legal (18″ or greater) hybrid, and 14 additional hybrid, all but one of which were 16-17 inches in length.  This bodes well for a Lake Belton hybrid rebound!

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 17 December 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

This morning’s bite rode a “bell-shaped curve”, starting at zero activity prior to sunrise, then quickly climbing to a peak, plateauing at the peak until around 10:25, then declining rapidly to nearly zero activity once again by around 11:15.

My crew did one thing and did it well today, and that was to slowly and steadily work the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab vertically in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.  They all knew their goal was to get fish to chase their lures and then to keep a steady cadence even as the fish chased — not speeding up, slowing down, stopping, pausing, or prematurely setting the hook.  Everyone got off to a strong start on this discipline, and then continued improving as the morning went on.

For the 19th consecutive trip (since mid-November), birds (mainly gulls now with a few terns mixed in) were helpful in pointing the way to fish location.  This morning we enjoyed a full 3 hours (of our 4 hours on the water) with bird assistance.  These birds were not always on the most fish, but they pointed the way to active fish and to a point where I could “close the loop” with side-imaging.

Our final total was 134 fish landed, which included 5 legal hybrid, 14 short hybrid, 4 largemouth bass, 1 freshwater drum, and 110 white bass of which ~30 were short.

TALLY: 134 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 19th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.  2) We had a much higher percentage of short white bass in our catch today than I’ve seen thus far this fall/winter.  3) 3+ hours of solid, helpful bird activity.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 43F

Elevation: 13.12 feet low, 0.03′ fall in last 24 hours, 24 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 58.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NW10 at sunrise, slowly increasing to NW13 by trip’s end

Sky Condition: Broken grey skies for 1.5 hours, slowly clearing to cloudless, blue skies by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 39% illumination.

GT = 85

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area vic B171G – 48 fish (~50% short whites under stationary birds)

Area vic B0101C – 4 fish (under moving birds)

Area B0097G – 18 fish (under moving birds)

Area B0061G – 8 fish (under moving birds)

Area 835 – 40 fish (under birds as feed began to wind down)

Area B0183G – 16 fish (stationary, suspended fish over deep water as morning feed ended)

 

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

SORTA SOGGY, SORTA SLOW — 74 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Monday, December 12, I fished with long-time clients from the Oliver family. Joining me this morning were brothers Jack, Joe, and Jamie, as well as Jack’s adult son, Asa.

My next weekday opening is on 14 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 31 Dec. (New Year’s Eve)

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Jamie, Joe, Jack, and Asa Oliver.  These fellows had to work for each fish they landed today as the very foggy conditions left the fish in a funky mood all morning. Slowly raised Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs were the ticket to getting bit, but for every bite there were many, many other outright refusals.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday, 12 December 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Today’s fishing was made difficult by an unforecast, persistent fog which, in an atypical fashion, actually grew heavier towards the end of the trip. Fog is one of just a handful of weather scenarios which really make me concerned about client success.

We experienced a slow buildup of fish activity over the first 75 minutes on the water, then, just as the fog begin to thin, the skies begin to brighten, and the birds begin to work, we enjoyed a very brief window of moderately successful fishing, then struggled once again as the fog returned, even devolving into an occasional, light drizzle.

The fishing was pretty tough and pretty technical, in that we had to present our lures consistently at a very slow speed to fish which were very reluctant to leave the bottom and chase. As is often the case with stubborn fish, we found that by moving frequently and catching a few fish before our presentations’ novelty wore off, we were able to put at least a few fish in the boat at each of the numerous places we stopped at today. When all was said and done we caught 100% of our fish on a slowly smoked, white, 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook.

This was the 18th consecutive trip in which birds contributed, at least in part, to finding and catching fish. As I have noted previously, these birds were only focused on small groups of very mobile fish, and were no guarantee that an abundance of fish were present where they were working. Having seen this now for multiple consecutive trips, I have begun to use the birds more of a barometer of fish activity, than a shortcut to the location of heavy concentrations of fish.

Our final total was 74 fish landed, which included three short hybrid, six short white bass, two freshwater drum, and 63 legal white bass.

TALLY: 74 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 18th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.  Persistent fog hindered our efforts.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:30A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Elevation: 13.04 feet low, 0.01′ fall in last 24 hours, 24 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 60.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light ESE breeze all morning around 4-6

Sky Condition: Fully greyed sky all morning with fog and then drizzle in the last half of the morning.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 84% illumination.

GT = 20

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 1151 – 3 hops – 34 fish

Area 1945 – 14 fish

Area 354 – 7 fish

Area B0054G – 2 hops – 13 fish

Area B0196C – 6 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

ARMY COMES TO NAVY’S AID — 151 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, December 10th, I fished with returning guests Mike McLaughlin, his son-in-law, Keith Duncan, and Keith’s son, Alex, age 16.  Joining me for the first time was Keith’s younger son, Tim, age 15.

Mike is an 80-year-old U.S. Navy veteran and retired state trooper, Keith works in the tech industry, and the boys are home-schooled and working their way through their high school studies with Alex also working at a retail furniture store.

Now, today is the 2nd Saturday in December, which means it is Army-Navy football day.  As a proud West Point grad of the Class of 1991, I (reluctantly) held off in inviting divine preference in the game during my opening prayer, however, Mike still felt it necessary to take a cheap shot by goading (probably bribing) his grandsons into shouting “Go Navy, beat Army!” as they left the parking lot at the end of the trip.  Anyway, back to fishing …

My next weekday opening is on 12 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 31 Dec. (New Year’s Eve)

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Three generations aboard this morning!  From left: Mike McLaughlin, and Alex, Tim, and Keith Duncan with a mess of white bass, all taken on the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab (with stinger hook).

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 10 December 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Thanks to a nice SE breeze which started right at sunrise, the fish started feeding right around 7:40 this morning — no delay due to calm conditions.

In addition to the fish getting going right off the bat, the birds (gulls) got going right along with them.  This made it the 17th consecutive trip in which the birds assisted in finding fish for at least a portion of the trip.

Although helpful, the birds were hot on the trail of very active, very mobile fish which were pushing bait to the surface where those birds could get to that bait.  Trying to keep up with, then park atop these fish is difficult, allowing for a few fish to be caught before those fish moved on chasing shad.

After seeing this pattern repeat itself, we actually left the birds to go find larger groups of fish holding tight to bottom.  When we found what we were after, we found these fish more cooperative and holding in one area for much longer spans of time.

Once again, as will be the case at least until the water temperature drops to around 50F, we used only Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs (white, 5/8 oz.).  We used a “smoking” tactic — reeling the lures up off the bottom thus drawing fish up off bottom which would overtake and then strike this lure.

The biggest key to fishing that Bladed Hazy Eye Slab in conjunction with LiveScope is to keep right on reeling without breaking cadence when being chased by a fish.  The second key is delaying a hookset until the heft of the fish on the line is felt, thus resisting the urge to set the hook at the first indication of contact.

When all was said and done, we landed 151 fish including 3 just-legal hybrid stripers, 7 short hybrid striped bass, 1 freshwater drum, 6 largemouth bass, 12 short white bass, 1 blue catfish and 121 legal white bass.

TALLY: 151 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 17th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:20A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F

Elevation: 13.04 feet low, 0.01′ fall in last 24 hours, 24 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 61.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SE breeze all morning, starting at a ripple, and building to 9mph

Sky Condition: Fully greyed sky all morning

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 95% illumination.

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 1381 – 13 fish

Area 1378 – 10 fish

Area 1142 – 11 fish

Area B0173G – 14 fish

Area 354 – 16 fish

Area B0054G – 8 fish

Area 1945/B0037C – 30 fish

Area 1325 – 16 fish

Area B0005C – 33 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

7.75 POUND HYBRID AT BELTON – 101 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, December 8th, I fished with returning guest Kyle Johnson of Salado, TX, accompanied by his friend and first-time guest, Bobby Turner.

The men work on the same crew as professional firefighters in one of the north Austin communities.

Aside from the fishing, Kyle just got a “new to him” center console fishing boat which is in the shop having Garmin LiveScope added, so, he was keen for a crash course in LiveScope.  Fortunately, the fish cooperated and he left the lake looking even more forward to getting his new sonar equipment back than when arrived.

My next weekday opening is on 12 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 31 Dec. (New Year’s Eve)

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Bobby Turner took this 24.50″, 7.75-pound (certified scale) Lake Belton hybrid striped bass on a white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab fished in ~30 feet of water as Kyle Johnson worked beside him.  After checking this girthy fish against the existing catch-and-release record (25.75″) and finding it came up 1.25″ short, we released it in excellent condition.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Mature white bass were the mainstay today, making up 81% of our 101 fish catch this morning.

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday, 08 December 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

We had a very slow start this morning thanks to unforecast windless conditions.  By 9:04 we’d only landed 3 fish.  Finding fish was no issue, but getting them to do anything more than half-heartedly look at our baits, much less follow and strike them, was challenging.

Just after 9A, the lightest bit of southerly breeze began and, combined with the nice, grey cloud cover already in place, this got the fish going.  I commented to Kyle and Bobby, based on what I was seeing on sonar beneath us and around us, that if we could just get a little wind the area we were fishing, I felt as if it would really light up.  Well, about 12 minutes later the breeze came and the fish lit up.  We caught the majority of our fish (54 fish of a total of 101) right on that area.

Once again, as will be the case at least until the water temperature drops to around 50F, we used mainly Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs (white, 5/8 oz.).  Additionally, when abundant fish showed on side-imaging, (mainly) Bobby tossed an MAL Original (with white tail) and worked it using the sawtooth method, and added his fair share of fish to the count.

The biggest key to fishing that Bladed Hazy Eye Slab in conjunction with LiveScope is to keep right on reeling without breaking cadence when being chased by a fish.  The second key is delaying a hookset until the heft of the fish on the line is felt, thus resisting the urge to set the hook at the first indication of contact.

Since I’ve have a number of folks here and on the Texas Fishing Forum ask about what gear I use while fishing these lures in this manner, I’ve once again included the details here for you:

Reel: Florida Fishing Products Osprey CE 2500 Ultralight Saltwater Spinning Reel with 5.2:1 gear ratio
Link: FFP Osprey Reel

Rod: 8′ Russ Bailey Signature Series Spinning Rod by B ‘n’ M Poles, Model CWRB82 (2-piece)
Link: 8-foot Rod

Braid: 15 pound test Sufix 832 Advanced Superline in Coastal Camo color (alternating blue and white coloration)
Link: 15 Pound Sufix Braid

Swivel: 25 pound test Invisaswivel tied to main line and leader with improved clinch knots
Link: Invisaswivel Fluorocarbon Swivel

Leader: 25 pound test Sufix Invisaline fluorocarbon leader
Link: Sufix Fluorocarbon Leader

Terminal Connection: Tactical Anglers Micro Power Clip in 25 pound test secured with Palomar knot
Link: Micro Power Clip

Lures: Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook in 3/8 oz., 5/8 oz., and 3/4 oz.
Link: Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

When all was said and done, we landed 101 fish including 6 legal hybrid stripers, 3 short hybrid striped bass, 3 freshwater drum, 2 largemouth bass, 5 short white bass, and 89 legal white bass.

TALLY: 101 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 16th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.  Water temperature profile:

0 feet 62.3F
5 feet 61.2F
10 feet 60.8F
15 feet 60.6F
20 feet 60.4F
25 feet 60.3F
30 feet 59.6F
35 feet 59.4F
40 feet 59.4F
45 feet 59.4F
50 feet 59.4F
55 feet 59.4F
60 feet 59.4F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:20A

End Time: 12:20A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Elevation: 13.02 feet low, 0.01′ fall in last 24 hours, 32 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 62.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Calm at sunrise, starting SSE at ~9A and increasing to SSE6 by trip’s end

Sky Condition: Fully greyed sky all morning

Moon Phase: Full moon at 100% illumination.

GT = 47

Wx SNAPSHOT: Unfortunately, this wind forecast did not match the conditions “on the ground”.

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Areas 1944, 1378, 1749, vic B0100C, and B0149C

 

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

NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN — 103 FISH @ LAKE BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, December 6th, I fished with first-time guests Rusty Nicholls and his friends Bill and Sandy Sager.

Rusty is a retired nurse, and Bill and Sandy, though retired, are still involved in ministry.  Bill was both a military chaplain and then served in a local church, as well.

Although everyone certainly wanted to catch fish, Rusty was keen on learning the approach I am taking to finding and catching winter white bass.

My next weekday opening is on 12 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 31 Dec. (New Year’s Eve)

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Rusty Nicholls and Sandy and Bill Sager with a sampling of the white bass which fell for their Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs this morning on Lake Belton.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   If we’d have been in a bass tournament, we’d have fared pretty well today.  Our by-catch included 8 “keeper” largemouth like this chunky one.  All these gamefish eat shad, and the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab is just a dead-on imitation of a threadfin.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 06 December 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Since Rusty booked the trip and expressed his interest in learning upfront, I tried to give detailed explanations of how and why we were doing what we were doing this morning, especially when it came to the use of sonar and the trolling motor.

Although fairly light and limited in duration today, the birds (both gulls and a few terns) worked in such a manner as to aid me in finding fish for the 15th consecutive trip.

This kind of “ho-hum” bird action is typical when we are in a weather lull between fronts.

We enjoyed bird action right at the start of the trip, around 7:30 to 8:00 and then then popped up again for another 40 minutes or so beginning around 8:40.

As will likely continue to be the case until the water temperature drops below 50F or so (if it even does so), we used Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hooks (white, 5/8 oz.) all morning using a “slow-smoking tactic in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope.

The biggest key to this is to keep right on reeling without breaking cadence when

Since I’ve have a number of folks ask about what gear I use while fishing these lures in this manner, I’ve put together the details here for you:

Reel: Florida Fishing Products Osprey CE 2500 Ultralight Saltwater Spinning Reel with 5.2:1 gear ratio
Link: FFP Osprey Reel

Rod: 8′ Russ Bailey Signature Series Spinning Rod by B ‘n’ M Poles, Model CWRB82 (2-piece)
Link: 8-foot Rod

Braid: 15 pound test Sufix 832 Advanced Superline in Coastal Camo color (alternating blue and white coloration)
Link: 15 Pound Sufix Braid

Swivel: 25 pound test Invisaswivel tied to main line and leader with improved clinch knots
Link: Invisaswivel Fluorocarbon Swivel

Leader: 25 pound test Sufix Invisaline fluorocarbon leader
Link: Sufix Fluorocarbon Leader

Terminal Connection: Tactical Anglers Micro Power Clip in 25 pound test secured with Palomar knot
Link: Micro Power Clip

Lures: Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook in 3/8 oz., 5/8 oz., and 3/4 oz.
Link: Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs

When all was said and done, we landed 103 fish including 3 short hybrid striped bass, 3 freshwater drum, 8 largemouth bass, and 89 white bass, of which 8 were “short” white bass.

TALLY: 103 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 15th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:20A

End Time: 11:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F

Elevation: 12.99 feet low, 0.00 change in last 24 hours, 41 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 59.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSE6 at sunrise, increasing to SSE10 by trip’s end

Sky Condition: 60% white cloud cover on blue sky until 9A, then gully greyed sky thereafter.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 97% illumination.

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area 181 – 5 fish

Area B0196C – 16 fish

Area 086 – 14 fish

Area 098 – 14  fish

Area 1152 – 9 fish

Area vic 1483 – 30 fish

Area B0063G – 15 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

LOW AND SLOW — 67 FISH @ BELTON W/ THE MILLERS

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, December 3rd, I fished with father-and-son team Clay & Riley Miller of Morgan’s Point, TX.

Clay is the owner of Miller Custom Leather Tool Co. in Temple (https://www.millercustomleathertoolco.com/).  Even if you have no interest in leatherworking, you should look at the beautiful work in his photo gallery!

Riley is 18 and one of a set of triplets, with his siblings both being girls.  They are all seniors at Lake Belton High School and will be in the first graduating class which spent all four years at that new school.  Riley has his sights set on college.

This trip was rescheduled from an earlier date when thunderstorms forced a postponement.

My next weekday opening is on 12 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 31 Dec. (New Year’s Eve)

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Riley Miller and his dad, Clay Miller, with a few of the 67 fish they landed on Lake Belton after a cold front pushed into Central Texas overnight.

PHOTO CAPTION:  As we target white bass, other species often strike our shad-imitating baits, as well.  This morning our “bycatch” consisted of 2 short hybrid striped bass, 1 freshwater drum, 2 largemouth bass landed, with another 2 largemouth bass which threw the hook on the jump before making it into the boat.  Is it just me, or does Clay look cold?

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 03 December 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Fishing was a bit tough this morning.  We got on the “backside” of the cold front which pushed in overnight, and, as a result, we encountered decreasing wind speeds the entire morning, starting around 17 mph, and dropping down to 12-13 mph by trip’s end.

The best of the best “frontal” fishing, as we encountered on Wednesday this week, takes place when the winds are shifting from west to north and the wind velocity is increasing.  When that takes place during daylight hours, excellent fishing will be normally be encountered.

Although we missed out on that window today, we still found fish routinely, but they took a lot of convincing to bite.  One of the beauties of Garmin LiveScope is that it shows everything there is to see wherever you point it.  So, we saw a lot of follows not resulting in strikes, a lot of refusals, and a lot of fish moving very slowly this morning.  Although some would be disappointed at this, it is all still better than not seeing it at all.  By seeing this, we were able to adapt the speed of our presentations to what the fish were doing and still enjoy solid results.  That speed was “low and slow”.

Although we didn’t knock the ball out of the park today, Clay and Riley landed a full, 2-man limit of white bass (50 fish over the 10″ minimum), as well as a few short whites and a few other species which came along as bycatch.

Of the 67 fish they landed, 63 came on the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab, and the other 4 came on the MAL Dense worked with a sawtooth method when we saw a large school of bottom-oriented white bass moving into the wind on the starboard side of the boat and cast out to them.

As was the case on Thursday, although gulls were present and helpful, they were focused on what turned out to be very small schools of mobile, feeding fish near the surface.  They rarely led us to large collections of fish holding on bottom which we could sit on and catch for long whiles.  Eventually, we left the birds to go use sonar to find less mobile fish.

When all was said and done, we landed 67 fish including 2 short hybrid striped bass, 1 freshwater drum, 2 largemouth bass, 10 short white bass, and 52 keeper white bass.

TALLY: 67 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 14th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.  Birds were active from 8A-10:30A.  Birds have begun to work over loons and cormorants, not just gamefish.

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 54F (with temp. falling to ~51F before bouncing back up due to incoming cold front).

Elevation: 12.95 feet low, 0.01 fall in last 24 hours, 41 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 59.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNW16-17 at trip’s start, backing off to NNW 13-14 starting around 9:50A

Sky Condition: Fully greyed sky.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 79% illumination.

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

Area B0202C – 6 fish

Area B0171G, (3 hops) – 33 fish

Area vic 2038 – 8 fish

Area B0005C – 12 fish

Area B0063G – 8 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

TFF WHITE BASS WORKSHOP — 110 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, December 1st, I fished with Dennis Christian and Cliff H. who goes by the “handle” Cliffshot on the Texas Fishing Forum.

If you aren’t familiar with the Texas Fishing Forum (TFF is found at texasfishingforum.com), you’ll find it is a wealth of information, especially if you are a new or less experienced angler, as it is a place where many experienced folks freely share information about catching all manner of fish.

I met Dennis and Cliff through the TFF some time ago, but, today was the first time we had a chance to meet in person.

We had much in common in that each of us are followers of Christ, each of us is retired/semi-retired, and each of us love figuring out the white bass puzzle through the changes in seasons and weather.

Both men are excellent white bass anglers, so, instead of being the guide today, I got to just settle in and be comfortable amongst peers.

My next weekday opening is on 7 Dec. My next weekend opening is Sat., 31 Dec. (New Year’s Eve)

Here is how the fishing went …

______________

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  From left: Cliff H. and Dennis Christian with typical Lake Belton white bass.  We took all of our fish in 28-42 feet of water this morning with a majority of our catch coming on the white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hooks.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  I got a rare chance to be on the front side of the camera today as Cliff took this snapshot of me with our only keeper hybrid of the morning.  It, too, came on a Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED:  Thursday, 01 December 2022 (AM)

HOW WE FISHED: 

Wow!  Where to start?  I kicked off our trip this morning trying to nail down what would make Dennis and Cliff’s 2+ hour drive from the Malakoff/Athens area worth their while.  They expressed an interest in 1) seeing how I was using side-imaging to find white bass in deep water, 2) how I used the i-Pilot Link interface between my Minn Kota trolling motor and my Humminbird Solix to position on fish, 3) how I used spinning gear to fish the Mepps MAL Lure (as both men primarily use casting gear),  4) seeing Garmin LiveScope applied to white bass fishing scenarios, and 5) seeing the bite shut down around the 4-hour mark as it typically does on both Belton and Stillhouse.

The fishing today was pretty average.  We endured a short span of classic post-frontal conditions with light wind, clear skies, and cold temperatures, but, the residual north wind from yesterday’s front turned quickly through the east then southeast.  Some light grey cloud cover kicked in and the fish got in a biting mood by around 8A, and stayed interested through around 11:30A.

The gulls assisted us in finding fish today for about 2 hours, but, that was a double-edged sword.  The fish the birds helped us find were in fairly small groups and those groups were really on the move, so, we caught a few fish under each group of birds we chased, but no more.  Finally, I decided to leave the birds alone and to seek out fish in larger schools holding on bottom topography.  As it turned out, even though this was not just incredibly productive, we were able to catch more fish and for longer whiles as we did this, thus ignoring the bird action.

The majority of our 110 fish catch consisted of legal-sized white bass (89 in all).  Cliff and I worked side-by-side using my go-to bait for this time of year, which is my white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.  I guess you could say Cliff and I were the “control” in this experiment.  Dennis tried various presentations including multiple Mepps Aglia baits and a Little Cleo-style spoon (different from a slab), so, I guess you could say he was the “variable”.

We fished until just after 12:30.  As for the objectives we hoped to accomplish, we thoroughly covered all of the sonar-related topics simply as a by-product of finding and catching fish.  Both fellows gave the spinning gear a fair shot and felt there were pros and cons to using it.  As for the bite going soft in the fourth hour after sunrise, I felt there was both subtle and some not-so-subtle evidence of that, but left it to Dennis and Cliff to make their own conclusions.

I had two valuable “take-aways” of my own today.  The first was a neat tactic Dennis uses once action dries up at a spot he’s been fishing.  That tactic was to take the trolling motor off of Spot-Lock, turn the motor ~90 degrees to the keel, and then spin the boat in a 360 using the trolling motor while observing side imaging in order to inspect the surrounding area for additional, nearby fish before taking off to hunt fish elsewhere.

The second take-away for me was finding out what Dennis like to do when he gets a strike which does not result in a hookup while using his version of what I call the sawtooth method.  Back when I used to use bladebaits, I would always kill my retrieve after missing a strike, thus allowing the lure to return to bottom.  Dennis said he has found that continuing his retrieve will bring about a better result.

What a great day on the water to exchange ideas and opinions and to solicit some advice for all concerned!

When all was said and done, we landed 110 fish including 1 legal hybrid, 5 short hybrid striped bass, 4 freshwater drum, 1 largemouth bass, 10 short white bass, and 89 keeper white bass.

TALLY: 110 fish caught and released

Find Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs with Stinger Hook here: https://whitebasstools.com/

OBSERVATIONS: 1) This was the 13th consecutive trip with helpful bird activity.  Birds active from 8A-10:20A.  Bird action was less intense, more widely dispersed, and more mobile than over the past few days.  Here is the water temperature profile taken this morning:

0 feet 59.2F
5 feet 59.2F
10 feet 59.2F
15 feet 59.4F
20 feet 59.4F
25 feet 59.4F
30 feet 59.4F
35 feet 59.4F
40 feet 59.4F
45 feet59.4F
50 feet 59.2F
55 feet 59.2F
60 feet 59.2F
65 feet 59.2F

 

WEATHER DATA:

Start Time: 7:15A

End Time: 12:35P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 34F

Elevation: 12.91 feet low, 0.03 fall in last 24 hours, 41 CFS flow.

Water Surface Temp: 59.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NW0-4 for ~40 minutes, then swinging thru E to SE at 7-9 for the remainder of the trip

Sky Condition: Clear, cloudless, “bluebird” skies at sunrise, quickly clouding over to fully grey by trip’s end.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 60% illumination.

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:  We had winds from 3 of the 4 compass directions today!

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  N/A

 

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