HAPPY 54th BIRTHDAY, MATT — 104 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  Each year for quite some time now, Matt Laakso has booked at least one fishing trip with me on his birthday, April 23rd.  Upon the conclusion of the trip, he has typically asked me to set aside that same date the following year.  2019 was no exception, and I had 23 April 2020 set aside for him.

Last year, COVID-19 forced the closure of all non-essential businesses, including my own, so, upon getting word of that in late March of 2020, I reached out to Matt, and, without batting an eye, he asked me to put him down for his birthday in 2021.  Today we conducted that trip which was 2 years in the making.

Fortunately, Matt’s son, Mitch, was able to make it in from the San Francisco Bay Area to participate.

The details of the fishing are found below, but, you guessed it … at the close of the trip we put another date down for April of 2022, Lord willing and weather permitting!

Fishing Lake Belton

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left, Mitch and Matt Laakso landed 101 white bass, 1 blue catfish, and 2 legal hybrid during their 4-hour birthday celebration for Matt who turned 54 on this date.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Friday (AM), 23 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Having fished every morning this week, I was quite in tune with where the fish were, what they were biting, and when they were biting it.  At the outset of the trip, I suggested that we devote our first 2.75 hours to white bass fishing using MAL Lures in combination with Garmin LiveScope to work for high numbers of post-spawn white bass filtering back down into the lake from up in the tributaries, and then to consider investing the remaining time in pursuit of fewer, but larger, hybrid striped bass.

We worked the MAL lures in ~30 feet of water in the way described in my tutorial video (link appears below).  I had one dedicated LiveScope monitor for each angler, so both Matt and Mitch had plenty of elbow room.

Due to the foggy conditions we encountered at the beginning of the trip, there was no sudden brightening of the sky as is encountered on a less cloudy/cloudless days.  This nearly always causes the bite to take off slowly, and today was no exception.  At our first area, we could scarcely get fish to follow our lures; at the next area we caught a few, then a few more with a higher level of aggression at our third area, and, finally, we slayed ’em for a good 45 minutes from 9:00 to 9:45AM at our final stop for white bass, taking our total catch to exactly 101 fish by that time.

At this time, I revisited the possibility of taking the live shad I’d come prepared with and putting them down on tight-lines to fish intentionally for hybrid striped bass.  I warned Matt and Mitch that doing so would, at best, be slow fishing, as the hybrid fishery has not gotten off to a strong start so far this spring.

In the next 75 minutes that followed, we used large threadfin shad to provoke 4 takedowns resulting in the catch of one white bass and two legal hybrid striped bass, the largest of which was exactly 5.00 pounds on the certified scale I keep aboard.

This was a great way to end an already productive trip, and added some variety and quality to the “numbers” fishing for white bass we’d done earlier.

Looking back, I do not think it would have been wise to devote an entire 4-hours to chasing hybrid on bait quite yet — I think we just need a bit more heat and stability in the weather before the hybrid switch is flipped on.

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

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 104 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  This was the first morning all week in which the overnight temperature did not drop below the water’s surface temperature.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:00A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 62F

Elevation:  0.95 feet low, .02 foot 24-hour fall, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 62.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE10-12 all morning

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 82% illum.

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0071; MAL Lures

**Area  1369; MAL Lures

**Area  968; MAL Lures

**Area  B0086C;  MAL Lures

**Area  835/1541; first 2 legal hybrid landed on live shad for the 2021 season

 

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

HAPPY 91st BIRTHDAY, PA! – 180 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Thursday morning, April 22nd, I was honored to be called upon by the Oliver family of the Temple/Belton area to take Mr. Billy Joe “Pa” Oliver out fishing for his 91st birthday!

We originally had this scheduled for the afternoon, but a late-breaking cancellation opened up the morning for us, which I prefer to fish at any time of year anyhow.

This schedule change allowed for Pa’s grandson, Thomas Oliver, to accompany us, in addition to Thomas’ dad (Billy Joe’s son), Joe Oliver, who has been fishing with me annually for about 11 years now.

Pa is a retired teacher, coach, and principal, Joe is a retired school district superintendent, and Thomas is currently teaching at-risk kids in the Temple school district.

I chose the most wind-protected area with a solid courtesy dock so we were sure not to have any mishaps as Pa transferred from land into the boat and back again.  That went well, and we were soon headed out fishing.

White bass fishing

PHOTO CAPTION:  Billy Joe “Pa” Oliver went fishing for his 91st birthday aboard my boat this morning and caught his fair share of the 180 white bass we caught and released.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (AM), 22 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The fishing has been fast and furious and very “cookie-cutter” this week.  The fish have been cranking up right at sunrise and feeding strong through around 10:30A, after which they begin easing off the throttle pretty quickly.

Once Pa got onboard, we had him sit on a water-proofed pillow right on top of my shad tank located in the “pickup bed” of my boat, between the leaning post and the outboard.  From there, he never had to move, save a few raises to allow us to slip a few choice fish in the tank for photos near the end of the trip.  Pa sat facing the starboard gunwale and had a head-on view of the LiveScope, which he took full advantage of.

We used the very versatile MAL Lure in a vertical presentation this morning, coupled with that Garmin LiveScope to “wear ’em out”.

Since Thomas had to get back to his classroom for the afternoon, we wrapped up around 11 AM.  In those 3.5 hours, my three anglers landed a total of 180 white bass.  Once again, not a single specimen of any other species was landed.

One added bonus this morning … around 10:15AM some of the gulls (correctly identified by fellow angler Steve Webb as Franklin’s gulls) which had been flitting around all morning, began to circle and focus on a ~30 yard diameter patch of water.  In the chop, I could see some splashes (of white bass) and flashes (of shad) below the birds.  We hustled over and enjoyed a nice close to the trip with very aggressively feeding white bass located up well into the lower half of the water column just about the time the previous area we were fishing was about to fizzle.

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

Tutorial on how to fish MAL Lures is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE

TALLY: 180 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Early morning white heron/egret activity is beginning to pick up, indicating an increase in shad spawn intensity.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:35A

End Time: 11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 52F

Elevation:  0.93 feet low, .04 foot 24-hour fall, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 62.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE10-12 all morning

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 73% illum.

GT = 20

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1618; MAL Lures

**Area  vic 0187; MAL Lures

**Area  B0071C to B0074C with 3 short hops; MAL Lures

**Area  709;  MAL Lures

**Area  382; MAL Lures (under gulls)

 

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

COLD FEET, HOT FISHING — 277 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday morning, April 21st, I fished with returning guests Derrick Fontenot and Veronica Merritt, accompanied by first-timers Myron and Christina Dillingham.

Derrick, Veronica, and Myron are all U.S. Army veterans.  Myron has been on the Houston, TX, police force for 26 years, and Christina is a retired school principal.

We scheduled this trip long ago, anticipating it would fall in the spring “hybrid window” when the fishing for hybrid stripers using live shad goes off the charts, but, thanks to chilly water with at least two more cold fronts on the way, that hasn’t materialized yet (and likely won’t for several more days), so, we agreed ahead of time to focus on the cooperative and abundant white bass which are now present in high numbers after returning from their annual spawning run up the various tributaries.

Central Texas white bass fishing

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Christina and Myron Dillingham, Veronica Merritt, and Derrick Fontenot with white bass caught on MAL Lures under unusually cool spring conditions.  The air temperature was just 41F as we launched on this late April morning. 277 fish caught and released.

Lake Belton Fishing

PHOTO CAPTION: Indoorsy women!

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 21 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

In a single sentence: We found fish on sonar and fished MAL Lures vertically for four hours straight to catch 277 fish.

As was the case yesterday, there are so many fish feeding so aggressively for long spans of time that they really “popped” on well-tuned side-imaging thus making them very easy to spot, even at quite a distance away.  Once found, I used the Minn Kota i-Pilot Link function to direct the trolling motor to the exact location where the fish were holding.  While the trolling motor was performing that task, I handed out rods, got the Garmin LiveScope tranducers aligned, and provided reminders to each client about the technique we’d use, and then let them loose to catch fish.

This morning’s bite was really enhanced by the still-blowing north wind which began with a dry cold front’s arrival around 2P the day before.  This, plus increasing wind velocity and increasing cloud cover, really got the fish fired up and minimized traffic on the lake, as it was only 41F at sunrise.

My crew came prepared for the weather; as you can see from the photo, the ladies brought an “outdoor blanket” which was windproof and waterproof.  However, Veronica discovered she didn’t quite bulk up enough in the sock department as she dressed for the day.  Thinking that Derrick had worn two pairs of socks, she tried to discreetly ask him for one of those pairs of socks.  When he loudly declined the request, the cat was out of the bag.  At one point, Veronica offered to trade Derrick a pair of socks for the chance to reel in a hybrid striper if she were to hook one!  Other attempts at barter (then extortion) were attempted, all to no avail.

The only cure Derrick offered for Veronica’s cold feet was some hot Miller’s Smokehouse BBQ at the end of the morning.

The entire crew was quite competitive.  After reading in my blog about the crew of two which boated 231 fish on their full-day trip two weeks ago, this crew wanted to try to beat that number in half the time, but with twice the anglers.  By the time the 4-hour mark rolled by, they amassed a catch of 277 fish, every last one of which was a white bass — no hybrid, no drum, no crappie, and no largemouth or smallmouth — which is quite atypical.

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

TALLY: 277 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: I shook my head in disbelief to see a strong, long-lived shad spawn taking place in the vicinity of Area SHAD 029 with not a single bird cashing in on the easy meals.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:15A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F

Elevation:  0.86 feet low, .03 foot 24-hour rise, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 62.2 F

Wind Speed & Direction: NE10-13 all morning

Sky Condition: 100% grey cloud cover all morning

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 63% illum.

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 0187; MAL Lures for 40 whites

**Area  692; MAL Lures for 110 whites

**Area  B0072C; MAL Lures for 65 whites

**Area  381;  MAL Lures for 19 whites

**Area  968; MAL Lures 43 whites

 

 

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

SPAWNERS RETURN! – 133 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Tuesday morning, April 20th, I fished with first-time guest Frank Fajkus of Killeen.

Frank was originally due to attend with his life-long fishing buddy, Mike Barkley, but, Mike fell ill with COVID just a few days earlier and had to bow out.

Frank knew enough about the fishery to understand that rescheduling at my next open date in June mid-June would be well after the peak spring bite which accompanies the warming of the water and goes up until the thermocline develops in early June.  So, he stuck with this date and attended solo.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Post-spawn white bass are quickly filtering back down the tributaries on their way to back to the deeper waters of the Leon River, Cowhouse Creek, and the main basin of Lake Belton.  Frank Fajkus cashed in on that spring migration today.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 20 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

Fishing was very straightforward this morning.  We enjoyed mild, pre-frontal conditions with a SW wind in advance of a dry cold front which would arrive around 2P that afternoon.

Fish were aggressive and on patrol, as evidenced by their posture holding up off bottom, thus making them quite easy to spot on well-tuned side-imaging.  Once fish were found, we used the i-Pilot Link technology to precisely position on the fish, then got our MAL Lures down to them and let them work their magic.

With the water temperature in the low 60’s (despite a bit of a drop over the weekend), a faster retrieve with the MAL Lure was suitable today during the peak of the feed.  We had to throttle back on the retrieve during the start of the trip and at the end of the trip as the fish were just ramping up, then as they started ramping back down.

Although I brought one other set of rods in case we encountered some early morning topwater action, the only rods we touched this morning were those with the MAL Lures tied on.

We found fish in 30 to 43 feet of water this morning, and fished 5 areas to put together our catch of 133 fish.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 133 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: No widespread shad spawning observed yet – just dribs and drabs here and there.  The number of white herons and egrets is beginning to increase and they are visibly patrolling long stretches of shoreline at first light looking for spawning shad.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:45A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 54F

Elevation:  0.89 feet low, .02 foot 24-hour fall, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 62.2 F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW all morning, increasing from L&V to ~11mph by trip’s end

Sky Condition: ~60% broken white/grey cloud cover to start the day, clearing 30% by trip’s end

Moon Phase: First quarter moon at 52% illum.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 574 ; MAL Lures

**Area B0191C; MAL Lures

**Area B0074G; MAL Lures

**Area BG0015CH @ 38′ mark;  MAL Lures

**Area 2059-187; 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

WHITE BASS WERE EVERYWHERE — 173 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Monday morning, April 19th, I fished with returning guests David Burke of Belton, and Glen Waggoner and Steve Pennington from the DFW area.

David is a U.S. Navy veteran.  Back in the day, he was a shipboard helicopter refueler.  He went on to become a counselor after the military.  Glen manages an estate in the DFW area, and Steve owns his own business, Wind Deflector, producing wind blocking devices for high-end convertible automobiles.

David has been out with me four times previously, Glen’s been with me thrice before, and this was Steve’s second outing with me.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   White bass galore today — 170 white bass, 1 short hybrid, and 2 smallmouth came over the rail this morning.  When all the fishing was done, I sent these three buddies to Sam’s Southern Eatery in Temple after they asked about where to go to have fish for lunch.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 19 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

A year ago when this trip went on the books, we had hoped to devote our efforts to catching hybrid stripers on live bait.  Unfortunately, the season has not progressed to the point where I am confident/satisfied that I can put quantities of quality hybrid in the boat quite yet, mainly due to the lagging water temperature.

I was very upfront with the fellows about this situation days in advance of our trip, and they were fine with targeting white bass instead.

Still, I came prepared to go after hybrid full-bore, but, each location we checked on yielded the same results which included outstanding fishing for white bass, but an utter lack of hybrid stripers.

We’d find fish on sonar, Spot-Lock in the vicinity, then get live baits down, only to have white bass show in great numbers within minutes.  These white bass would typically terrorize our bait spread, swallowing smaller baits and harassing/killing the larger baits they couldn’t swallow.  We’d then change tactics to catch the white bass which presented themselves, and did quite well on that species.

We repeated this five times over in water ranging from 22 to near 50 feet deep and in a variety of bottom settings — whites were just everywhere.

Everyone got the hang of using Garmin LiveScope to zig when they needed to zig and it was game-on with the original MAL Lures we were using (all chartreuse today).

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 173 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: No widespread shad spawning yet – just dribs and drabs here and there.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:15A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 47F

Elevation:  0.87 feet low, .01 foot 24-hour fall, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 63.5 F

Wind Speed & Direction: SE under 8mph the entire morning

Sky Condition: ~60% broken white/grey cloud cover to start the day, clearing 30% by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent at 42% illum.

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 0187; MAL Lures

**Area B0115C; MAL Lures

**Area B0147C; MAL Lures

**Area 1819; MAL Lures

**Area B0065C; 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

FULL-DAY GETAWAY – 231 FISH @ BELTON/STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Monday morning I fished a full-day trip with Steve and Debra Soukup who traveled in from Helotes, TX, near San Antonio to fish with me as part of a 4-day getaway which involved a stay in Salado, visits to area quilt shops, taking in a few meals from local restaurants, and, of course, fishing.

The couple, parents of 5, retired from running a roofing business a while back.

My full-day trips “cherry-pick” the best of the morning and the best of the evening fishing.  Regardless of time of year, we fish the first 4 hours around sunrise, and the last 4 hours around sunset.  Between the two, clients are free to enjoy a long lunch, snooze, or whatever they like to do, then, we reconvene for the afternoon shift.  I normally offer such trips only Oct.-Feb. when the days (and the wait between AM and PM segments) are shorter, but made an exception after an enjoyable conversation with Steve by phone as he shared his plans with me.

I explained all of the options we had open to us as I checked in with the Soukups on Saturday morning prior to the trip, and we agreed we’d pursue quality white bass on Stillhouse in the AM, then quantities of white bass on Belton in the PM.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Debra and Steve Soukup with a few of the quality white bass taken early in the morning on bladebaits fished on Stillhouse before targeting quantities of white bass on Belton that same afternoon.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow (AM) / Belton Lake (PM)

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday, 12 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

One of the reasons I suggested hitting both Stillhouse and Belton was because I felt Stillhouse would give us an opportunity to work bladebaits which I felt was not likely at Belton based on recent observations.  Steve was as much interested in seeing my approach to fishing as he was in catching fish, so, to see multiple tactics in play was of interest to him.

As we got going just after 7A, we saw light topwater action taking place thanks to light winds.  Assuming each fish was saw was just the “tip of the iceberg”, we worked bladebaits for the dozens of fish down beneath, and wound up landing 38 fish on the blades prior to that topwater action drying up.

Next, we had a bit of a slow spell as the sun got brighter, but the winds remained light.  I did some flatline trolling to keep baits in the water while covering large expanses with side imaging.  We pulled 4 fish on the trolled lures before I found what we were after.

We located 2 sizeable congregations of white bass holding just off the river channel and worked them over with MAL Lures in a vertical presentation aided by Garmin LiveScope.

By 11:10AM, we amassed a catch of exactly 100 fish on Stillhouse, the majority of which came on the MAL Lure.  The catch consisted of 97 white bass, 2 crappie, and 1 largemouth bass.

We met up again at 3:45P and fished Lake Belton.  As is normally the case (unless a weather change is on the way) the fishing started slow (we only landed 8 fish in our first hour), and built steadily up to sunset.

We fished the MAL Lure 100% of the time on Belton and landed another 131 fish, including 130 white bass and 1 largemouth bass.  The fishing was pretty straightforward for these strongly congregated, bottom-hugging, post spawn white bass  — find ’em on sonar, Spot-Lock atop them, then work the MALs for all they’re worth.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 231 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: The catch was nearly all post-spawn fish today.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:55A, 3:45P

End Time: 11:10A, 7:45P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F AM, 83F PM

Elevation: Stillhouse: .04 low, .04 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow; Belton: 0.90 feet low, .01 foot 24-hour fall, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 65.9 F Stillhouse; 68.8F Belton

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE all day, beginning around 9A

Sky Condition: 30-60% thin grey cloud cover all day

Moon Phase: New Moon  0% illum.

GT = 100

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

AM

**Area  110-0120 – blades for fish feeding near surface

**Area  764-374 – flatlining

**Area  SH0075C – blades and MAL

**Area 094 – MAL (most productive)

PM

**Area  B0188C – MAL (slow)

**Area  B0020C – MAL (better action)

**Area B0064G – MAL (lots of small fish)

**Area  B0080C – – MAL (average)

**Area B0126C – MAL (rapid fire low light bite)

 

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

PAYBACK IS HEAVEN — 160 FISH @ LAKE BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Thursday afternoon, April 8th, I fished with brothers Jeffrey (age 14) and Jacob (age 11) Long, accompanied by their neighbor, Mr. Brad Phillips who came not to fish, but to help me help the boys be successful.

Brad runs a local home inspection business and has fished with me previously, which is what led him to call on me to show the boys he brought out a good time.

Mr. Phillips had a water line to an icemaker break during the “big freeze” of ’21, which, in turn caused much ceiling damage.  Well, despite the cold and the messy work, the boys (and their dad who is in construction) hauled over tools and materials sufficient to make the house useable and livable until a permanent repair could be effected.

Today’s trip was Mr. Phillips’ way of repaying the boys for their help and kindness.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Jeffrey Long (age 14) and his brother, Jacob (age 11) wore the white bass out this evening with the fishing greatly enhanced by approaching storms.  Check out that grey sky in the background.  The MAL Lures they used put 160 fish in the boat in just under 3.5 hours.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday (PM), 08 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

We started our hunt for fish this afternoon under light blue skies with a high, thin, white haze and SSE winds at 13-14 — not “made to order” weather, but decent.  As the afternoon moved on, we got more wind (up to 16 straight-line with brief, higher gusts), and, more importantly, we had some turbulent weather move in on us from the north and west in the form of a storm cell which would later drop damaging hail on Belfalls, Westphalia, and other nearby communities.

As most afternoon trips do, this trip began a bit slowly.  We found fish without much problem, but we had to present to quite a number of fish to get just one or two to perk up and strike.  Add to this the fact that the boys were new to the tactics we were employing, and, as a result, we did just okay during our first 70 minutes or so.  We fished three “short hops” at one vicinity and pulled 36 fish.  By the time we left, the fish were beginning to perk up, and the skies were getting greyer by the minute.  It was fixin’ to get good!

Our next stop saw the boys, now much more experienced and making none of the rookie mistakes they were making at the beginning of the trip, take another 73 white bass from one Spot-Lock position.  The weather was definitely causing the fish to stir.  It was still prior to 6P, and already the fish were beginning to rise up off the bottom, well up into the water column, and were beginning to chase shad swiftly.

Once this area’s productivity began to fade, I moved us right away (not waiting for the action to grind to a halt) as I knew we could find and catch fish more quickly elsewhere.  We checked two more areas.  The first was a bust.  The second was a gold mine.

We set up over about 36 feet of water.  The white bass were 2.5 to 3 feet thick on bottom, and more active fish were just swarming throughout the lower half of the water column.  As I got us set up with Spot-Lock and got the Garmin LiveScope aimed well, we could hear the distant rumbling of thunder to the NW.  Hamilton Co. was under a thunderstorm warning. The weather was turning these fish on, but the threat of being driven off the lake by that very same weather became a very real concern.

At 6:50P, the boys let their MAL Lures down into the feeding frenzy and the fish literally swam upwards to meet their falling baits.  The boya landed fish after fish after fish, most 12-13 inches, for 35 minutes straight, taking our tally from 109 to a final count of 160.  That’s 51 fish in 35 minutes;  I couldn’t keep up taking fish off the hook — I handed Brad a pair of curved-tip forceps and he backed me up!

We’d planned to stay until 7:30 at the latest, but, at 7:26, the wind suddenly shifted 180-degrees and picked up speed, and, the temperature begin to drop sharply.  We hauled in all the gear and made a beeline back to the boat ramp.

We never did see a bolt of lightning nor have a drop of rain fall on us, but, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Bell Co. between the time I dropped my crew off and the time I got my boat on the trailer.

What an evening of fishing!!  We finished up with exactly 160 fish, including 157 white bass, 1 smallmouth bass, and 2 freshwater drum.  100% of these fish were caught on my MAL Lure retrieved with a moderate cadence.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 160 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: No bird assistance this afternoon.  Fish activity was spurred on by turbulent weather.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  4:00P

End Time: 7:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Elevation:  0.80 feet low, .04 foot 24-hour fall, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 66.2 F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE13-14, increasing to SSE15-16, then turning NW suddenly around 7:30 in advance of storms

Sky Condition: Cloudless for first hour with high, thin haze, then grey skies slowly sliding in and thickening over the remainder of the trip.

Moon Phase: Waning crescent at 12% illum.

GT = 45

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area V0153 – 3 short hops for 36 fish; MAL Lures

**Area B0064G – one stop for 73 fish; MAL Lures

**Area 564 – one stop for 51 fish; 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

104 FISH FATHER-SON OUTING ON BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday afternoon, April 7th, I fished with first-time guest Nathan Young and his 6-year-old son, Rob.

Nathan works in real estate appraisal, and Rob does a combination of home-schooling and participation at Providence Preparatory School in Belton.

Although my preference is to fish mornings, as the bite is typically a bit longer and a bit stronger then versus afternoon’s, a combination of Nathan’s schedule and the incoming weather made the afternoon our best option today.

Nathan let me know ahead of time that he actively follows my fishing reports and very much wanted to witness first-hand the use of the various sonar technologies aboard my boat in a real-world find-and-catch scenario.

I was a bit concerned that accomplishing that while at the same time trying to keep a 6-year-old engaged would be a bit tough, but, as it turned out, Rob was quite advanced for his age in his ability to handle a spinning rod.  Further, he was quite articulate, grasped the whole sonar concept (especially Garmin LiveScope) very quickly, and contributed handsomely to our 100+ fish tally.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Nathan Young and his 6-year-old son, Rob, with a few of the early-afternoon deep-water fish we took on Lake Belton.  The father-son team would go on to land 104 fish on the evening.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (PM), 07 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

After another dark, murky morning which got uncomfortably humid and warm in the calm before the dry cold front moved in, we enjoyed favorable windspeed sufficient to move the water and motivate the fish all afternoon.

Due to the lack of cloud cover, we began our afternoon search deep and moved progressively shallower, catching fish well over the entire 4 hour span.

The slowest fishing occurred earliest in the afternoon.  We used 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs in 50+ feet of water to get quickly down to bottom-dwelling fish.  For every 15 or 20 fish we observed on LiveScope, we were able to get one or two to strike.  Once a fish was hooked, many nearby schoolmates would briefly fire up, thus allowing for doubles to be taken routinely.

The lower the sun got, the easier and shallower the fishing became.  We wound up having to fish only 4 distinct areas, making to “short hops” at the first three areas to fish them thoroughly, then “camping out” on top of an abundant school of white bass at our final stop without having to move at all.

By the time we got to our third area and found fish in ~34 feet of water, these fish were fired up enough to chase and overtake the MAL Lure, so, I switched Nathan over to that first and we could see the definite preference the fish had for that active bait versus the more reserved action of the slab Rob was still using.

Before long, we got Rob trained up on the MAL Lure and from that point on that was all we used.

We’d amassed a catch of 62 fish prior to moving to our last area around 6:50.  Over the next 40 minutes Rob and Nathan quickly landed another 40 fish after setting our sights on 100 fish by 7:30, the time by which I felt the fish would slack off significantly due to the setting of the sun.

With 102 fish in the boat right at 7:30, and given that Nathan had expressed interest earlier on my downriggers, I offered that we may be able to “strain out” another fish or two via downriggers, primarily just to show him how they worked.  We set a single 3-armed umbrella rig out behind us, armed with #13 Pet Spoons, and set the ball to run at 20 feet on our first pass and then at 35 feet on our second pass.  Both passes resulted in a hookup on a single white bass — enough for Nathan to connect all the dots and see how this form of controlled-depth trolling was very efficient and effective.

We headed on in with 104 fish landed and released.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 104 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: First trip fished in shorts and during which I “wet waded” for boat launching.  Just a handful of laughing gulls observed which offered no assistance in fish-finding. A majority of the deeper fish we took at our first two areas (717 & 150) were obviously spawned-out fish — very gaunt sides.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  3:30P

End Time: 7:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F

Elevation:  0.81 feet low, .01 foot 24-hour rise, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 63.2 F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW13 with higher gusts during the first half of the afternoon, tapering down to NW7-8 by sunset

Sky Condition: Cloudless skies the entire trip.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous at 20% illum.

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area V717

**Area V150

**Area B0009C thru B0003G

**Area B0080C

 

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

STILLHOUSE QUALITY OVER BELTON QUANTITY – 54 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, April 6th, I fished with first time guests Randy and Sherie Garrett of Temple.  This retired couple bought a gift certificate from me for Randy’s birthday last year and finally waited through COVID, etc., to redeem it today.

Randy will turn 70 this year, and the two will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2021, as well.

NOAA called for high winds today, so, we headed to Stillhouse to try to escape the worst of it.

For two lakes so near one another, Stillhouse and Belton certainly fish and produce fish very differently.  I’ve told clients for the last several years (if they have a preference) to choose Stillhouse for quality and Belton for quantity.

Today, despite very dark, murky skies, Stillhouse produced quality white bass for us.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Randy and Sherie Garrett accompanied me on Stillhouse Hollow this morning.  We heeded the NOAA wind forecast and fished Stillhouse instead of risking being denied access to areas I’d have fished if we had headed to Belton.  The quality of the white bass at Stillhouse is hard to beat in this part of the Hill Country.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 06 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

This morning was very “murky” grey.  There is a big difference when it comes to early morning fishing on light levels being reduced by cloud cover.  When I say “murky” I mean sufficiently dark that your eyes need not squint without sunglasses on to filter out light to a comfortable level.  This is usually not a good omen for a great start to a trip.  On the other hand, skies can be fully greyed over, yet with enough light still coming through to make you squint (or want to put on sunglasses) due to cloud cover thickness — such a light level is something to get excited about.

This morning, unfortunately, we endured the former and struggled in the first hour to put more than a handful of fish in the boat at any of the three stops we made.

The later and brighter it got (although still 100% greyed over), the better the bite got.  We found scattered schools of white bass on flats adjacent to the river channel and caught them on bladebaits by casting horizontally; we found tighter, larger groups in a few similar areas and worked MAL Lures through them vertically; and, we found a few small fish driving bait to the surface and visibly/audibly feeding on them there.  We cast Cork Rigs to these fish and did well during the short span during which that took place.

Our best fishing of the morning took place from 10:40A to 11:20A as we enjoyed the first, albeit brief, breaks in the clouds letting direct sun come though, accompanied by a sharp increase in the wind speed from ~12mph up to ~15-16mph.  During this time, fish appeared suspended at mid-depth in 23 feet of water and they were moving horizontally very rapidly.  Fish on bottom rocketed up off bottom to chase our MAL Lures, and we caught nearly as many fish in this window as we had for the entire balance of the morning.  By 11:30A these fish shut back down to the low energy level we’d seen most of the morning, and we called it a good morning right around 11:35 with 54 fish landed, including 52 white bass, 1 largemouth bass, and 1 freshwater drum.

The largest of our white bass stretched to 14+ inches and still were plump with spawn.  The Garretts had never fished for white bass before and their catch of 54 fish was the greatest number of fish they’d ever caught in a single trip.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 54 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Only 3 gulls spotted anywhere on Stillhouse today, and they were not feeding.  Cormorants, white pelicans, and ospreys were present.  Most of the coots have now moved on and the white herons are beginning to show up. Whippoorwills can be heard in the cedars before sunrise now — the first I heard was on 04 April.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:05A

End Time: 11:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F

Elevation:  0.08 feet high, .02 foot 24-hour drop, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 61.5 F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE12 through 10:40, then increasing sharply as some sun broke thru the clouds to SSE15-16

Sky Condition: Murky grey cloud cover for first 3 hours, with a few breaks beginning 10:40a

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous at 28% illum.

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0130C – low light action on fish under birds driving shad to surface and breaking surface routinely

**Area 764 – hesitant fish on blades

**Area 094 – light topwater on cork rigs

**Area SH0043G – best action on MAL Lures (S)

 

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

GOOD WIND & CLOUD COVER – 150 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, April 5th, I fished with returning guests Jered, Don, and Tyler Benedick, this time joined by first-time guest, Sandy Detherage.  Don and Sandy are Tyler’s paternal and maternal grandfathers.

Jered, Don, and Tyler’s last trip out with me was an evening trip back on June 5th of 2020.  We landed 70 fish with four aboard on that effort, so the talk at the dock as we met up was centered around hitting that 70 fish mark.

Jered works as a youth counselor, focused on kids with anxiety and depression, Don once worked for a major insurance company, then went into ministry up in Ardmore, Oklahoma, Sandy is a retired FAA air traffic controller, and Tyler is working his way through middle school where he enjoys playing golf and football.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION: From left:  Sandy Detherage, Jered, Tyler, and Don Benedick.  This crew wound up with 150 fish on their 4-hour morning trip on Lake Belton.

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 05 April 2021

HOW WE FISHED:

The morning started a bit darker and more dreary than we’ve encountered lately, and that thick, grey cloud cover hung on for about 3.5 of our 4 hours on the water.

We enjoyed a nice SSE breeze between 10-13 mph.  Thanks to heavy clouds all weekend and overnight air temperatures which were cooler than the water surface temperatures, we saw just a bit of a cooldown on the surface, which registered between 59-60 just about everywhere we fished this morning.

We started with MAL Lures this morning and used them to catch all except our final half-dozen fish.

We hit five areas this morning, with birds assisting us in finding fish at our first two locations, then we were on our own to use sonar to find everything else after ~9AM.

This morning’s feeding was definitely front-loaded.  We took our 100th fish at exactly 9:01AM, and ended the trip at 11:15A with 150 fish, thus, our catch rate decreased by 50% in the last half of the trip.

Fishing through 10:45A was pretty straight-forward:  I found fish with a combination of down-imaging, side-imaging, and colored sonar, then Spot-Locked atop them, tuned in the Garmin LiveScope, and let properly worked MAL Lures take care of the rest.

When I say “properly worked”, there is a lot to that.  I explain all of that here: USE IT RIGHT!

As we entered our fourth and final hour on the water, the fish really started to slow down.  As we screened what would be our final stop of the morning, we had boated 143 fish.

Because the MAL Lures would have to be moved too quickly off bottom to get the blade started for the mood these fish were in, I switch everyone over to 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks, given the 52′ water we found these fish in.

As Jered landed the 144th fish, it was right at 11A.  I challenged everyone to really work the fundamentals and scrutinize the LiveScope to try to hit that 150 fish mark by 11:15.  With about 90 seconds to spare, Ron came up with our 150th fish of the morning and we called it a solid trip and headed on in.

Hazy Eye Slabs, MAL Lures, and Stinger Hooks are found here: https://whitebasstools.com/

TALLY: 150 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Two separate episodes of bird activity (including laughing gulls now in the mix) helped keep us on the fish this morning for our first two of five areas fish.  The fish really downshifted at 9A despite no obvious trigger.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:05A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 57F

Elevation:  0.80 feet low, .02 foot 24-hour drop, 26 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 58.8 F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE9-14 all morning

Sky Condition: Thick grey cloud cover all trip with a few breaks beginning 10:30a

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous at 38% illum.

GT = 35

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0130C – low light action on fish under birds driving shad to surface and breaking surface routinely

**Area 748 – aggressive action on MAL Lures

**Area 960 – aggressive action on MAL Lures at start, but fish really slowed down while we were here ~9A

**Area BG0015CH – moderate action on MAL Lures, and the last mid-depth area we would fish before going deeper to close out the trip

**Area 1403 – a 20-minute long, slow, tough bite on slabs to finish out the trip

 

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