Pre-frontal? Post-frontal? What’s it gonna be? 51 fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 17th, I fished with Shane LaCanne and his 7-year-old son, Fisher, of Salado.  This was a “Kids Fish, Too!” package trip, tailored just for elementary-aged kids.  Such trips have a reduced duration and a reduced price tag versus adult trips.

Shane brought both of his boys out with me once before, but this trip was just for Fisher, in celebration of his birthday back in July.

Today’s big story was the weather.  Last night, a cold front pushed through very suddenly with brief, strong winds and a bit of rain.  As we were on the southernmost extreme of that system, no sooner did the front pass, than our winds, which blew NW from around 2:30A to 3:15A, turned right back around out of the south. It is really hard to classify this as pre-frontal, because it wasn’t until around 9:30AM that the winds finally changed to a northerly component for keeps.  At that time the fishing, which was average this morning, began to sour quickly.

One thing is for sure, I will be doing sonar training on Tuesday and Wednesday to avoid the no-doubt tough fishing over the next 2 days with light northerly winds and bright, cloudless skies!  

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  7-year-old Fisher LaCanne and his dad, Shane, with the two best fish Fisher landed on our 51-fish outing under “squirrely” wind and weather conditions.

WHEN WE FISHED: 17 August, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED:  The crazy weather definitely impacted the early morning, low-light topwater bite, as it was essentially non-existent this morning.  I spotted only 2 instances of topwater feeding whites all morning, both of which were witnessed after 8AM and only for a few seconds. So, we moved back out to mid-depths, found shad, and began to work near where bait was abundant, but not relaxed (meaning, it was balled up and in a defensive posture). 

We downrigged for a solid hour, putting 17 white bass and 1 blue cat in the boat, all the while never finding a single scenario which convinced me to pull up the ‘riggers and go vertical with MAL Lures.  Since most of these fish were on the small side anyway, we left these fish to look for greener pastures.

The second area we fished was more productive, and was also later in time from the early morning’s frontal passage.  Again, we found abundant bait and that bait was in balls, up off bottom.  I intended to begin searching with ‘riggers down, but almost immediately came upon a sizeable school of bottom-hugging white bass which I felt certain would respond to a smoking tactic with MAL Lures.  We got the boat in a hover over these fish, let the lures down, and the fish were all over them.

Over the next 90 minutes we alternated between downrigging to find schools of bottom-dwelling white bass and then fishing vertically for them as long as they would bite.  We added another 33 white bass to our catch. The catch rate began to slow rapidly around 9:30 when the winds finally took on a northerly direction after swinging from S, through W in the time between pre-dawn and 9:30.

In our final 45 minutes on the water, we caught only 6 fish, and all of them came on the downrigger as we had to get our baits in front of a mess of disinterested fish in order to strain out a few still willing to bite.

TALLY: 51 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Elevation:  2.19′ low, -0.01′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 before sunrise, calming to S6 shortly thereafter, then slowly shifting SSW, SW, W, then WNW by 9:30A Sky Condition: ~15% white cloud cover with light blue skies and low humidity

Moon Phase: Waning crescent with 3% illumination; 2 days ’til new moon

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:  Two wx snapshots I took today; one taken at 4AM, the other at 6AM, as the wind forecast direction changed drastically:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic B0133C to B0024G – 18 fish via downrigging with many small fish in the mix

**Area vic 788 – 2+ hours of catching, tapering sharply around 9:30A with a windshift to the NW

 

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

PLANS TO MAKE THAT FIRST BILLION — 40 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, 15 August 2020, I fished with Cullen Mills and his 10-year-old son, Noah, on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

Cullen makes a living running the family business, Modern TV and Appliance, in Killeen.  This business has been in the family for several generations and was at one time run by T.J. Mills, after whom T.J. Mills Boulevard on Fort Hood is named.

Of the two, Noah is the more “hardcore” angler and was just thirsty for knowledge about fish and fishing.

I was impressed at how well-spoken Noah was, and the sort of pretty insightful questions he asked.

Somewhere in our conversation Noah spoke of having big dreams, including becoming a billionaire.  When I asked if he had a plan to help achieve that dream, he told me of his plans to develop a jet-powered automobile — kinda’ George Jetson-style.  How many 10-year-olds (or 30-year-olds, for that matter) have a goal for their lives?

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Cullen and Noah Mills with a sampling of Stillhouse Hollow’s quality white bass.  The two plump specimens Noah displays each exceeded 14″ in length.

WHEN WE FISHED: 16 August, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED: As we met at the courtesy dock around 6:30, I went over the morning’s game plan.  We would employ two tactics for white bass: downrigging and “smoking” vertically with MAL Lures.  We’d also save time at the end of the trip to introduce Noah to fishing for shallow water sunfish so that either on foot or on his grandpa’s boat, he could be sure to catch fish during the warm-water season.

This game plan worked out well for us.  The fish were a bit “reserved” in the first 90 minutes of the morning as the winds were barely moving the water’s surface.  We graphed a lot more fish than we had bite, but kept a steady feed of singles and doubles coming in the boat, and, every one of them were in great shape, length-wise and girth-wise.  We even managed one triple! All of these fish were suspended in small “wolfpacks” of 6-20 fish, holding at 28-35 feet down.

We ran our downrigger balls at 28 and 30 feet with a silver/white trio of #12 Pet Spoons on one ‘rigger and a silver/yellow trio of #13 Pets on the other.  The smaller white/silver did seem to do a bit better, albeit barely.

As the winds came up and shifted from S to SSW, I began looking in shallower areas where the bottom was located shallower than the thermocline.  Two of the areas we checked held fish in the lower 3 feet of the water column, thus allowing us to fish MAL Lures vertically to catch a number of fish quickly while sitting atop these fish in a hover.

I noted a tendency in these fish which I also noted this past Friday on Lake Belton … that was for these fish to move on pretty quickly.  Even though we were catching fish, and even though I beat the surface to create commotion to imitate surface feeding to draw fish in, we would only pick up a few fish at a time before having to “jog” one way or another to reconnect with the fish.

By the time 10:15 rolled around, the white bass were beginning to get really sluggish and unresponsive, so, we closed out that portion of our trip and headed up shallow to introduce Noah to sunfishing.

The dropping water level hindered the sunfishing a bit, as the coves where these fish tend to locate are somewhat clogged with hydrilla now left matted over on the surface, which makes presentation of baits much more challenging, especially for kids not accustomed to using the poles I incorporate into this technique. Regardless, Noah yanked 5 sunfish in 8 strikes and, when asked by his dad, “Are you having fun?”, Noah replied, “Too much fun!!”.

TALLY: 40 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: As they did at Belton on Friday, the white bass seemed reluctant to “stay put” once located this morning, forcing us to move and make “short hops” when fishing vertically with MAL Lures.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:55A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Elevation:  2.13′ low, -0.05′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.7F

Wind Speed & Direction: S13-14 before sunrise, dropping off to S11 right around sunrise.

Sky Condition: ~15% white cloud cover with light blue skies and low humidity

Moon Phase: Waning crescent with 16% illumination

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic SH0030G – low light downrigging for suspended wolfpacks of white bass

**Area vic 197 – vertical work with MAL Lures for fish holding on bottom, shallower than the thermocline

**Area vic SH0052 – downrigged here briefly and moved on after seeing only a few, widely spread schools of suspended white bass

**Area vic SH0122C/662 – vertical work with MAL Lures for fish holding on bottom, shallower than the thermocline

**Area SH0132C – sunfish

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

WHAT’S THE GOOD WORD?? — 108 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Friday, August 14th, I fished with Bob “Paw Paw” Word, and his three grandsons, Justin Word, Jordan Word, and Travis Scott.

Bob retired from civil service as a welder and resides south of Killeen.

Justin and Jordan are brothers, and Travis married their sister. 

All of the grandsons live around Austin where Jordan works as a building inspector, Justin works for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), and Travis is a K-9 police officer.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   From left: Travis Scott, and Jordan, Bob, and Justin Word, all with 2-year old white bass taken with a combination of downrigging and vertical work with MAL Lures.  

WHEN WE FISHED: 14 August, 2020, AM

 WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

 HOW WE FISHED:  We looked for “easy” topwater action this morning but found none, thanks to the heavy chop on the surface.  So, we downrigged for the fish that were still there and feeding, but not showing themselves on the surface.  We wound up with 8 fish and moved on just as the sun rose.

I spotted multiple occasions of “popcorn” schooling as I surveyed calmer waters, but these fish did not stay up long, so, we passed on them.

We eventually found fish in 25-29 feet of water, and they “carpeted” the bottom, a good sign of their willingness to strike lures presented vertically.  Indeed, the fish were willing to strike, but, they were also very prone to moving. 

Seeing this, we simply bounced back and forth for the remainder of the morning between downrigging to both find and catch fish, and then stopping on top of any large (100+ fish) schools we found in order to work MAL Lures vertically.  We’d catch a few before the school moved on using the MAL Lures, then, it was back to downrigging to repeat the process.

A mixed presentation of white/silver #12 Pet Spoons on one 3-armed umbrella rig and yellow/silver #13 Pet Spoons on the other 3-armed rig worked equally well.

We wound up with 108 fish landed in right at 4 hours.  This included fish in the 0, 1, and 2 year classes.  Looks like a great crop of white bass was spawned this year based on the size of fish I’m seeing from this spring’s spawn (we caught ~10-12 of them, all right about the same size and looking plump).

TALLY: 108 fish caught and released  

OBSERVATIONS:  Low-light topwater fish were definitely “off” this morning, thanks to a heavy chop created by the 13+ mph wind we experienced.  Fish were present, but did not pop up on top for an extended period of time.  After sunrise, “popcorn” schooling took place briefly through about 8AM, then the fish went down for good.  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A  

End Time: 10:45A  

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F  

Elevation:  2.09′ low, -0.12′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow  

Water Surface Temp:  83.5F  

Wind Speed & Direction: S13-14 before sunrise, dropping off to S11 right around sunrise.   Sky Condition:  No cloud cover, with light blue skies and low humidity

Moon Phase: Waning crescent with 24% illumination  

GT = 50  

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:  

**Area  vic 813 – downrigging in under 20′ on wind-impacted shoreline for low-light white bass action hindered by strong wave action.

**Area vic 1024 – back and forth between downrigging to catch and find fish, and then dropping MAL Lures on active fish to take advantage of what we’d found.  

 

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

S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) – 60 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH:  On Wednesday, August 12th, I conducted the season’s 8th Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) program trip with Victoria (age 8) and Derrick (age 6) Rosado, accompanied by their mother, Valerie Gonzalez.

Neither child had ever been on a boat, nor landed a fish before this evening.

U.S. Army Specialist Christian Rosado is currently deployed to Poland. Shortly after his return, he will leave once again for training at Fort Irwin, California.

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

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Derrick and Victoria Rosado landed 60 fish tonight on Lake Belton.  This was their first fishing trip ever!  You can see little Derrick was still not real sure about those fish coming too close to him!

 

WHEN WE FISHED:  12 August, 2020, PM

HOW WE FISHED:  Just as the last hour (which is typically the hottest and brightest) of a summer morning trip is often the least productive, so the first hour (also typically the hottest and brightest) of a summer evening trip is often the least productive.

Understanding this, we focused on fishing for sunfish up shallow on a (shaded) west shoreline until around 6:45PM, when I felt the first of the evening’s white bass feed would begin in open water.

Derrick took a long time to warm up to the idea of fishing.  While Victoria jumped right in there and landed sunfish after sunfish, including longears, bluegill, redears, and greens, Derrick landed his first and then retreated to the safety of mom as his sister amassed a handsome catch of 30 fish.

By around the 1 hour mark, the novelty of sunfishing had begun to wear thin, and Victoria expressed an interest in doing something different.

We began pursuing white bass with downriggers in open water and this kept the kids’ attention right up until the close of our trip at sunset.  We added 29 white bass to the 31 sunfish they’d landed, for a total of 60 fish for the night.

We caught fish equally well on silver/white #12 Pets and silver/yellow #13 Pets.  We set the ‘rigger balls at ~22’ and never moved them.  We landed singles, doubles, and one triple (way to go Derrick!!).

TALLY: 60 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Too windy for topwater action tonight.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  5:15P

End Time: 8:45P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 100F

Elevation:  1.98′ low, 0.05′ fall, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  87.6F

Wind Speed & Direction: S8-9

Sky Conditions: 75% white cloud cover on a blue sky

Moon: Waning crescent with 42% illumination

GT =  NA

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0163C  – 31 sunfish

**Area vic 085 – 29 white bass all via downrigging

 

 

 

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)

 

#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

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

WE QUIT AT 100 – LAKE BELTON FATHER & SON TRIP

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 11th, I fished with father-and-son team Kyle and Luke Halfmann of Rosebud, TX.  This trip was a gift from Luke’s grandparents, Grammy and Papa, from this past Christmas. 

Luke will turn 8 in September and had done a bit of fishing previously, primarily for small bass in a stock tank using closed-faced gear.

Kyle is a construction superintendent in the family’s building/real estate business.

Our first order of business was to get Luke up to speed on casting with spinning gear so he could fling his lures far enough to tempt the white bass feeding on topwater which we were anticipating.  After 4-5 tries he got the hang of this, so, we headed out just before sunrise to hunt fish.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Kyle Halfmann and his son, Luke, caught and released 100 fish on Lake Belton during their 4-hour morning trip today.    

WHEN WE FISHED: 11 August, 2020, AM  

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake  

 

HOW WE FISHED:  We began our day looking intently at the choppy water for telltale signs of white bass forcing shad to the surface.  Although hard to see, they were present.  We sight-cast to these fish before they left the surface about 15 minutes before the sun’s direct rays struck the water (a bit earlier than has been the case lately).  During this feed, we landed 18 white bass.

Next, we moved to an area where white bass had begun “popcorn” schooling a bit earlier than usual.  These fish would herd shad to the surface, feed there for just a few seconds, then sound.  We made one attempt at getting to these and sight-casting, but quickly realized we’d seen multiple briefly-appearing schools from a distance, not just one school feeding at length.  Understanding this situation, we went with a downrigging approach and put a steady stream of fish in the boat until the topwater action subsided and we moved on.

We hit a new patch of water this morning and, upon arrival, found fish holding in abundance on bottom in 26 to 30 feet of water.  We evidently arrived just as the fish were beginning to feed here, as our first couple of attempts at Spot-Locking on the fish and working MAL Lures for them vertically got a so-so reception.  As we stuck with it, the feeding intensity grew greater and greater, then peaked, then, around 9:55, began to fall off. By this time our tally stood at 70 fish, including 69 white bass and 1 largemouth.  Both Kyle and Luke got the hang of using Garmin LiveScope in conjunction with their MAL Lures.

At seven years of age, Luke had hung in there longer than I though he would, but, he was definitely ready for a change of pace, so, we finished off the trip up in shallow water with some fast-paced sunfish action.  Luke went through exactly 30 sunfish in as many minutes.  We stopped fishing as the 100th fish was swung aboard.  

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

 

OBSERVATIONS:  Low-light topwater fish were tough to see this morning due to the chop on the water.  As occurred under similar conditions one day last week, the high winds correlated with a much shorter topwater bite, ending 12-15 minutes before the direct sun struck the water’s surface.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

 

End Time: 10:45A

 

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

 

Elevation:  1.92′ low, -0.06′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

 

Water Surface Temp:  82.9F

 

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 before sunrise, increasing slowly to S14

 

Moon Phase: Last quarter with 52% illumination

 

GT = 30  

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

 

**Area  010 to 1656 – drifting with the wind and sight-casting to low-light, topwater whites with MAL Lures; 18 fish

**Area vic B0030G – some sight-casting leading to downrigging; 8 fish

**Area vic B0172C through 691 through B0040C; 44 fish; most on MAL, then downrigger for mop up after the fish got finicky

**Area B0033G – 30 sunfish

 

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

TURKEY SHOOT!! – 232 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 10th, I fished with Pastor Robert Butts, his 17-year-old son, Jack, and long-time client Marcus Mitchell, all of Georgetown. Robert leads the Union Hall Baptist Church, located in Liberty Hill, TX.  Marcus works for a company which produces products to track down “bugs” in complex computer server systems, and Jack is entering his senior year of high school.

 

  PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left:  Marcus Mitchell, Robert Butts, and Jack Butts with a sampling of their 232-fish haul from Lake Belton, taken on the new MAL Lures.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Although I don’t like to target them in the summer due to poor survivability and concerns about delayed mortality, hybrid still show up in the mix with white bass routinely.

WHEN WE FISHED: 10 August, 2020, AM

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

 

HOW WE FISHED: I panicked a bit this morning when, at 6:19AM (with a planned trip start time of 6:30AM), Marcus let me know his party would be delayed due to a car fire on U.S. Hwy. 190 which had morning traffic backed up.   

As it was, this delay only cost them about 10 minutes, but, when low-light topwater action lasts only for a brief 40-50 minute window, I was concerned that the nice catch and fast action which normally accompany that would be jeopardized this morning. When everyone arrived, they hustled to the boat.  I postponed my safety briefing, but not my prayer, and then we took off for the fishing grounds. 

Over the next 50 minutes, we enjoyed non-stop catching to the tune of exactly 40 white bass landed, all on my new MAL Lures (found: here). When the sun hit the water, the fish hit the road and shut down in this locale.  We went searching for fish away from the crowd and found good results in two distinct locations.  My plan was to cover water with the downriggers to find active fish and then fish for them vertically with MAL Lures.  However, sonar revealed fish ready to feed before we even got ‘riggers in the water.  I Spot-Locked on these fish, initially in 28 feet of water, and we went to work with the MAL Lures simply dropping and reeling them up, expecting strikes as the lures rose off bottom.  When the fish slowed a bit, I jogged us 2 or 3 boat lengths deeper to ~32 feet and we kept right on nailing fish. I had Garmin LiveScope playing so the fellows could know when to crank their lures up as fish passed by.  As one particularly large, suspended school of fish passed beneath the boat, Marcus exclaimed, “Oh, man, it’s a turkey shoot!”.  It was a pretty wild morning.

By the time the fish slacked off in this area, we’d taken exactly 119 more fish for a tally of 159 fish by 9:30AM.  A thorough sonar scrub of the area revealed that the fish departed this area very shortly following a wind shift from S to SW.

We moved on to one final location where I’d been finding some fish suspended in over 40 feet of water in the late morning last week.  Again, my intent was to downrig to find fish and then work MAL Lures through them to capitalize on what we’d found.  As we downrigged, I noted a large shoal of fish off to our left with my side-imaging manually set to 130 feet to the left and right.  I set a waypoint on the center of mass of these fish, then used the i-Pilot Link system to send the trolling motor to the waypoint with GPS precision.  As the boat moved, we cleared the two white bass which struck the downriggers as we made our way to the fish, stowed the trolling gear, and got ready to work the MAL Lures vertically. 

Long story short, in our final 40 minutes on the water Robert, Jack, and Marcus bagged another 73 fish, including 2 hybrid stripers and 71 white bass, to end the 4-hour trip with a take of 232 fish, every last one of which were released.

TALLY: 232 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Temperature profile from surface to 60′:

0 feet 84F

5 feet 84.8F

10 feet 85F

15 feet 85F

20 feet 85F

25 feet 84.7F

30 feet 83.7F

35 feet 81.2F

45 feet 76.4F

45 feet 72.1F

50 feet 69.1F

55 feet 67.4F

60 feet 66.6F

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  1.86′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  82.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: S11 before sunrise, increasing slowly to S13, the shifting and increasing to SW13-14 around 9AM

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous with 61% illumination

GT = 75

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 813 to B0018G- aggressive low-light topwater action — 40 fish in ~50 minutes

**Area vic 788 – 2 short hops; vertical work with MAL Lures — 119 fish in ~90 minutes **Area vic 1411 – one Spot-Lock; vertical work with MAP Lures — 73 fish in ~40 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

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FROM VERY DIFFERENT WALKS OF LIFE — 79 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Friday, August 7th, I fished with a group of 4.  Mr. Mike Monk of Salado, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who went on to work in both the oil industry and for the State of Louisiana as an auditor, kindly sponsored a trip for two young men.  Those young men were Alex Angulo, accompanied by his youth pastor, Louis Crooks, both of Killeen, and Gary Yoder.  Gary is a U.S. Army Gold Star family member from Belton, and Alex’s dad is currently overseas where he serves as a government contractor. Everyone had limited prior fishing experience, so, I tried to keep it simple yet effective for our 3.5 hours on the water.  

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left:  Gary Yoder, Louis Crooks, Alex Angulo, and Mike Monk.

WHEN WE FISHED: 07 August, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

HOW WE FISHED: This morning, we started off in search of some “easy” topwater fishing for white bass pushing shad to the surface.  Unfortunately, due mainly to a stiff SSE breeze, the bite did not last all that long, allowing us a total of 14 fish before the action was over as the sun’s rays struck the water. Next, we headed to a slightly more steeply sloped area and did a lot of looking with sonar as we put twin downriggers in equipped with both #12 and #13 Pet Spoons.    We got right into fish as we downrigged and then found a school of “bottom-huggers” in about 24 feet of water.  I quickly got us Spot-Locked on these fish and transitioned everyone over to fishing MAL Lures vertically.  We landed another 4 fish this way before the school dissipated.  We continued downrigging, picking up a single and a triple.  I decided to move because, 1) the fish were smallish, and 2) I did not see any surface action in the area leading me to believe there was an abundance of active fish in this area. It was now about 8:15.  I chose to take the boys up shallow to gun for sunfish to give them a very different experience than the open-water angling we’d been doing thus far. 

As we began our sunfishing effort, we had 22 fish in the boat.  By the time we left the sunfish grounds a short 45 minutes later, we had added another 48 fish to our tally, including longear, green, and bluegill sunfish.  The boys thought it pretty cool when we spotted a 2.5′ longnose gar up in shallow water which showed some interest in swiping at one of the hooked sunfish we tried tempting it with. In our last hour, I headed us back to deep, open water once again in pursuit of larger fish. 

We downrigged to find fish while catching them as we looked.  We landed several fish and then witnessed a large school of white bass herd shad to the surface.  We scurried to that location with downriggers still down, caught several and then set up in this area to work MAL Lures vertically for another 4 white bass.  Once these fish slacked off after just a few minutes, we wrapped it up right at 10AM.

TALLY: 79 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Stiff breezes and a plethora of boat kept topwater action to a minimum this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.71′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 before sunrise, scaling back to S7-8 thereafter

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous

GT = N/A

Wx SNAPSHOT:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 018 to B0154C- downrigging in and around topwater schools for singles & doubles (14 fish in 40 minutes)

**Area vic  B0131C – ‘rigging & jigging

**Area vic 1583 – sunfishing

**Area 1081 – ‘rigging & jigging

 

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

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SUNFISH SANDWICH ON WHITE BASS BREAD! — 153 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Wednesday, August 5th, I welcomed aboard the Puente family who signed up for a family fishing trip through the Fort Hood SKIES Program.  Joining me was Mrs. Denise Puente and her three children, Mario (age 13), Cecilia (age 7), and Pablo (age 5). 

The kids’ father, U.S. Army Master Sergeant Mario Puente is a combat engineer with 18 years in the military. SKIESUnlimited stands for Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills.

SKIESUnlimited offers dozens of activities for military and Department of Defense kids of all ages, ranging from gymnastics to piano lessons, from academic tutoring to various forms of dance, and more. To participate in such courses, children must first be registered with Child and Youth Services. Registration is free and is accomplished by contacting Parent Central Services at 254-287-8029. Once registered, parents may go online to enroll their children for the myriad courses available, including my own “Fishing 101”.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left:  Cecilia, Mario Jr., and Pablo Puente with three of the 153 fish they landed on a trip which saw each youngster catch the first fish of his/her life.  

WHEN WE FISHED: 05 August, 2020, AM  

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake  

HOW WE FISHED:

This morning, we began and ended with white bass, and fished for sunfish in the middle  … a sunfish sandwich on white bass bread!

Since I had two young children aboard, and since none of the kids had previous fishing experience, I opted not to use any tactics involving casting this morning.  So, when the white bass began to feed on topwater as I anticipated they would on a southerly wind, we ran twin downriggers each equipped with 3-armed umbrella rigs in and around the schools to take singles, doubles, and triples for the first 50 minutes of the morning.  Once the sun’s rays struck the water, the topwater action was over. By this time, the kids had landed 34 fish, including the first fish each had ever caught.

We moved on to deeper water and found sparse action near Area 313/B0186C, and picked up 6 more fish here.  By now, Pablo was “spoiled” by the easy, early fishing, and was getting pretty antsy pretty quickly. I decided to head up shallow and target sunfish.  Mario got the hang of this instantly, then Cecilia got to where she could present to and land fish independently, which left Denise to work one-on-one with Pablo, and me to untangle lines, unhook fish, and re-bait hooks.  We parked in one boat-sized area, fishing within 20 feet of the boat on the port and starboard sides, and landed exactly 101 sunfish here before the bite waned, the air heated up, and Pablo needed another change of venue.

I suggested since we’d begun the trip with downrigging, and then got to experience sunfishing, that we might now once again use downriggers to find more white bass, but, this time, to fish for them vertically using spinning gear and MAL Lures, once (if!) a school of this species was found on bottom using sonar. Fortunately, we made a move to the right place at the right time and were able to put a final 12 fish in the boat, including one fish per child using the MAL Lures retrieved straight up off the bottom in about 32 feet of water. Pablo’s statute of limitation expired at the 3.5 hour mark, and we called it a great morning right at 10AM with 153 fish landed for our efforts.  

TALLY: 153 fish caught and released  

OBSERVATIONS:  Southerly breezes had the fish back in a feeding mode and making up for lost time from yesterday.  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.62′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: S6-8 the entire morning

Moon Phase: Full moon +2 today

GT = N/A  

Wx SNAPSHOT:

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 018 to 811 – downrigging in and around topwater schools for singles, doubles and triples (36 fish in 50 minutes)

**Area vic 313 to B0186C – another half-dozen fish on ‘rigger from out of smaller, suspended, roaming schools **Area B0032G – sunfish galore **Area vic 1576 – late morning white bass; downrigged to find; MAL Lures worked vertically to catch

 

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

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FATHER-AND-SONS TIME — 56 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 4th, I welcomed aboard first-time guest Kyle Simank, accompanied by his boys, 9-year-old Barrett, and 6-year-old Ryder. Kyle, a friend of another one of my clients, Dwight Stone of Georgetown, owns Guns Plus located on North Austin Avenue in Georgetown.  Here’s a link: Guns Plus Being a long-gun buff myself, I enjoyed the conversation with Kyle, and his perspectives on how COVID-19 and the current civil unrest has impacted his business.  His tale of his Alaskan caribou hunt was quite entertaining!

  PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: The Simank crew: Barret (age 9), Kyle, and Ryder (age 6) on a hot, still, post-frontal day on Stillhouse Hollow.  

 

WHEN WE FISHED: 04 August, 2020, AM  

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow  

 

HOW WE FISHED: I opted to fish Stillhouse over Belton this morning because I expected tough, post-frontal conditions with light winds.  For whatever reason, Stillhouse usually fishes better when the conditions are tough. I had hoped to start the morning with some low-light downrigging, but, after surveying several areas with sonar and with downriggers down, we managed only 2 caught fish and 2 missed.  The thing that concerned me was the posture of the bait.  Due to an incredibly successful shad spawn this year, there was a 3-4 foot thick layer of bait along the bottom in the areas I searched.  When the bait carpets the bottom, it is relaxed.  When the bait is suspended and balled up, it is threatened.  Relaxed bait amounts to tough fishing.  So, I cut that effort short and we headed up shallow to put some sunfish in the boat a bit earlier than I intended, but with a plan to return to search for white bass so as to offer the boys some variety later in the trip (hopefully with some wind moving the water).   The sunfishing went well with both boys quickly getting the hang of watching their float and responding appropriately.  They landed a combination of redears (x3), bluegill, and longears, to the tune of 38 sunfish in all.   Around 9AM, we broke from sunfishing to give the white bass another try.  We found our quarry in two different locations, neither of which had yet produced thus far this summer.  Both scenarios were the same — fish feeding on suspended bait from 25 to 30 feet down over a deeper bottom, with occasional fish chasing all the way to the surface.  We downrigged to find these fish and, when sonar verified a solid density of them, hovered atop them with the Ulterra on Spot-Lock to work vertically with the MAL Lures.  The boys wound up putting another 16 white bass (all 2 and 3 year class fish) in the boat this way.  By just after the 3.5 hour mark, Ryder expressed what we were all feeling … “I’m hot.”  The boat ride back evaporated the sweat on our skin to cool us down as we wrapped up for the morning.  

 

TALLY: 56 fish caught and released  

 

OBSERVATIONS:    Post-frontal fishing today … tough.  

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:20A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Elevation:  1.57′ low, 0.04′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNE breeze the entire trip, starting pre-dawn at ~5mph, and slowly tapering to ENE2 by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Full moon +1 today

GT = 50

 

  Wx SNAPSHOT:  Tough post-frontal conditions with light winds, clear bluebird skies, and heat. 

 

  AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 200 and 239 for sunfish

**Area vic 1440 – downrigged to find whites, vertical work with MAL Lures to capitalize **Area Vic 910/197 – downrigged to find whites, vertical work with MAL Lures to capitalize

 

 

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  

 

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HIGH COST OF LIVING — 121 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 3rd, I fished with a crew of four first-time guests.  Mr. Bart Dutton coordinated this trip some six weeks ago and brought along his son, Sean Dutton, his stepson, Trevor Holterhaus, and his neighbor, Mike Polcyn. Bart escaped the rules, regulations, taxes, politics and high cost of living near San Diego, CA, and moved his trucking business to Texas.  Now, doing the same work he was doing on the West Coast, he’s enable to enjoy the fruits of his labors instead of forking his earnings over to the government just hoping to scrape by. Sean just followed in his father’s footsteps and arrived here last week.  Trevor is headed to 8th grade in the Killeen Independent School District, and Mike is an active duty U.S. Army Warrant Officer.  

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: Mike Polcyn, Sean Dutton, Trevor Holterhaus, and Bart Dutton.  This crew of first-timers cashed in on a pre-frontal weather scenario to the tune of 121 fish in 3.5 hours.

 

WHEN WE FISHED: 03 August, 2020, AM

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

 

HOW WE FISHED: Today’s real story was the weather.  We had a very mild cold front move in today with a barely perceptible wind shift from south, through west, to the northwest.  This was like a slower, milder version of the same sort of weather that moved through last Friday. There was a strong topwater feed this morning under low-light conditions, then, after the fish left the surface as the sun’s direct rays shone on it, the fish almost immediately began feeding more sporadically in open water for just seconds at a time. This can be frustrating, as it is rare to sight these fish, then be able to get to them in time to cast, however, seeing multiple schools pop up repeatedly in a defined area reveals their position and makes them vulnerable to downrigging. We took advantage of the aggressive low-light bite, which yielded 79 fish in 65 minutes, most of which came on the MAL Lures in both white and chartreuse, with a few taken on downriggers before the action began, and again after it was tapering off.   As this action ended, we moved on to an area where, at any given time, one or two schools of topwater feeding whites could be seen churning the surface in a stretch of about 1/8 of a mile.  We took a steady feed of singles, doubles, and a few triples from out of this area with 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with silver/white #12 Pet Spoons and silver/yellow #13 Pet Spoons.  Only one time did we run into a scenario where we could Spot-Lock atop fish and work MAL Lures vertically for them.  Under the pre-frontal conditions we were experiencing, I felt we could do better, so, we left fish to find fish which we could fish vertically for.  Our tally now stood at 104 fish. In our final 40 minutes on the water (bearing in mind we wrapped up about 30 minutes early when my crew had enough of the Texas heat), we found just what I was hoping to find.  As the sonar screen lit up with fish from mid-depth to bottom in about 34 feet of water, both downriggers went off simultaneously.  Once we cleared those fish, I went back over that mass of fish, hovered over them with the Ulterra, and we worked MAL Lures through them to put a final 14 fish in the boat before Bart voted we call it a day.

 

TALLY: 121 fish caught and released

 

OBSERVATIONS:    We enjoyed yet another pre-frontal scenario, albeit quite mild, complete with a S to W to NW wind shift and solid fishing to match.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F

Elevation:  1.56′ low, 0.05′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: See NOAA graphic; winds followed forecast exactly today.

Moon Phase: Full moon today

GT = 5

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:  Once again, a pre-frontal weather scenario — exciting!!!

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 013 to B0180C – low-light topwater action

**Area  B0024G thru B0106C – downrigger fish spotted from “popcorn” schooling **Area vic 847/830 – downrigging leading to vertical work with MAL Lures

 

 

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