DAD, I KNOW WHAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS!! — 126 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, I fished with Brian Linford of El Paso, TX, and his “homeless” father, Larry Linford, who is weighing his options after selling his home in Idaho Falls, ID, and is considering becoming at least a winter-Texas given that his adult kids all live down this way.

The two were visiting relatives in the Belton area and decided to give Lake Belton a try.  Larry hadn’t done much white bass fishing before, and Brian was eager to see how I put sonar, in particular the GARMIN LiveScope, into practice in a “real-world” fish-finding scenario.

After seeing what he saw, but knowing his wife would not be wild about the possibility of another sonar purchase, Brian considered his alternatives and informed Larry, “Dad, I know what I want for Christmas.”   Larry just laughed.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   From right: Larry and Brian Linford with a few of the 3-year class fish from our haul of 126 fish taken from Lake Belton on MAL Lures this morning in advance of a dry cold front which came in around 1PM.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (AM), 02 December 2020

HOW WE FISHED:

It was a pretty crazy weather day today which resulting in me having to postpone my afternoon outing due to forecast high winds.

We had a mild, dry cold front approaching from the NW, but this morning’s trip did not coincide with the pre-frontal wind shift in advance of that front, so, we had enjoyable conditions, but pretty average fishing.  We were aided by light, grey cloud cover, but hindered by a lack of wind.

When the wind blew, the activity level of the fish rose noticeably, but, the opposite was also true.

We put our 100th fish in the boat today right at 11:20, the, because I had already made a call to postpone the afternoon trip and was under no time constraints, we hit an area I haven’t fished in a while to scout it out a bit.  I found fish in about 35′ on bottom, and we fished them until they quit, putting a “bonus” 26 fish in the boat and taking our final tally to 126 fish.

In that mix was 1 freshwater drum, 2 smallmouth bass, 8 largemouth bass, and 115 white bass.  No hybrid striped bass in the mix this morning.

See the MAL Lure here: https://whitebasstools.com/

See tutorial video on how to work the MAL Lure here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE&t=239s

TALLY: 126 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   No gull activity today after a 4-day run of solid bird action.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:30A

End Time: 11:50A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 45F

Elevation:  0.87 low with a 0.01’ 24-hour drop and 34 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 60.8F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light SE breeze at trip’s start, then just short stints of light breezes from the SW thereafter in the hours immediately preceding the arrival of yet another mild, dry cold front which started with a northerly wind around 1P, and which led to the postponement of this afternoon’s trip due to high forecast winds (18, gusting 25)

Sky Condition: Grey skies all morning with occasional mist, as well as occasional, brief breaks of sun through the clouds.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 96% illumination

GT = 60

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 1483; 15 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 1489; 21 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 354; 34 on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic B0051G; 31 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 579; 25 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

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

IT’S A CRIME TO PAY MORE THAN A DIME – 100 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: If you’ve ever heard the phrase “It’s a crime to pay more than a dime.” — you were most likely listening to a McLeod Auto Sales radio commercial.

This morning, Tuesday, December 1st, I fished with returning guest Travis McLeod, co-owner, along with his wife, Diane, of McLeod Auto Sales at 1601 E. Rancier Ave. in Killeen.

The McLeods have been in business for over 20 years selling used cars.  To take a break from that from time to time, Travis likes to get out and do some hunting and fishing.  Today, he braved some pretty tough weather to pursue white bass and sharpen up his own game on this abundant gamefish species on Lake Belton so as to be able to treat his own family, namely his grandkids, to some similar fishing.

Although we both enjoyed the catching, Travis also came to pick my brain a bit about tactics and sonar use.  He came away with a few valuable lessons, namely, that he’s likely been looking too shallow in his autumn fishing, and too dependent on the down-looking technologies of down-imaging and colored sonar, while not making full use of his side imaging on his own Humminbird Helix unit.

Travis is a well-traveled hunter and in that arena I picked up a tip or two from him, namely that I need to set aside time to go to the Dallas Safari Club’s Convention and Sporting Expo held annually in Dallas.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   Travis McLeod with one of several hybrid striped bass we took from about 40 feet of water as we focused on white bass using a combination of MAL Lures and Garmin LiveScope.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (AM), 01 December 2020

HOW WE FISHED:

After a sweet run of fishing for very aggressive fish spurred on by frontal activity this past Saturday and again yesterday, things settled back down to more normal conditions today as a southerly wind returned overnight after a very short post-frontal calm just at and after sunset last night.

Under these conditions, fish feed, but not for extended periods.  Fish chase, but not for extra long distances, and the energy they exhibit is generally less than when a rapid change of atmospheric pressure is taking place.

Today we wound up fishing 4 general locations, short-hopping a bit at the first three to keep up with the fish (under birds), to put together our catch of exactly 100 fish.  By 10:30, the winds, which were forecast to max out a 13 mph straight-line, actually rose to 16-17, with higher gusts.  It was such that we vacated open water for our last hour and fished more protected (but still wind-impacted) water.

Until we hit our last area, our ratio of young of the year fish to legal fish was very low, but, of the last 20 we landed, approx. 17 were shorts.  Regardless of size, it sure is fun to work individual fish while peering into the depths below with the LiveScope technology.

We ended up with exactly 100 fish caught this morning, including 3 hybrid stripers, 4 largemouth, and 93 white bass, with one big drum missed right at boatside which did not go on the “clicker” to be counted.

See the MAL Lure here: https://whitebasstools.com/

See tutorial video on how to work the MAL Lure here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE&t=239s

TALLY: 100 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   2.5 hours worth of solid gull activity in the middle part of this morning’s trip.  First “killing” frost of the year occurred overnight.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  7:30A

End Time: 11:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 37F

Elevation:  0.86 low with a 0.03’ 24-hour drop and 34 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 60.9F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S12 at trip’s start, ramping up to S16 with higher gusts to 20+ by 10:30A

Sky Condition: High, thin white cloud cover at ~20% on a light blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 99% illumination

GT = 45

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0098C; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 086 to 1551; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 1391; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area vic 844; all fish on MAL Lures (SP)

 

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

COULDN’T GET ENOUGH — 277 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday afternoon, November 25th, I fished with first-time guests Jeff and Sue Madden and their twin 12-year-old sons, Cash and Cooper.  The Maddens came down from Lewisville, TX, to gather in Salado for Thanksgiving with family and planned about a month ahead to do some fishing with me on Lake Belton the day before.

Because Jeff was pretty certain Sue would only come along if the weather cooperated, I suggested booking an afternoon trip, which they did.

All four of the Maddens really worked at catching fish the entire four hours on the water, and, thanks to weather conducive to a strong catch, they wound up boating 277 fish.

Toward the end of the trip, a request came in from a client to release their date with me on Saturday morning due to forecast damp, cool conditions.  Jeff thought all of about 2 seconds and told me he’d take that slot!!  So, I’ll be seeing at least him and the twins again on Saturday, rain or shine!

PHOTO CAPTION #1: The Madden family, from left, Jeff, Cooper, Cash, and Sue, with but a few of the 277 fish they landed during their 4-hour afternoon trip on Wednesday, Nov. 25th.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Mom (Sue Madden) landed our largest fish of the trip — a nice Lake Belton hybrid striped bass  — on a correctly worked MAL Lure.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #3: White bass and hybrid stripers weren’t the only species feeding on the MAL Lure, as Cash discovered when this Lake Belton largemouth bass went for his.

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday (PM), 25 November 2020

HOW WE FISHED:

Thankfully, the north wind which treated us well this morning continued blowing this afternoon, thus we did not encounter difficult, post-frontal, calm conditions.

This family of four put 277 fish in the boat in just under 4 hours thanks to a few factors.  First, was the wind I’ve already mentioned. Second, everyone got the hang of using the MAL Lures early and executed the retrieve correctly and consistently.  Third, because no one minded catching smaller fish and, instead, enjoyed the non-stop action they provided, we did not engage in time-consuming fish-hunting hoping to find areas holding larger fish (thus, we did not leave fish to find fish).

We fished only four areas, and the Maddens put their 100th fish in the boat by 2:32PM, just over an hour into our trip.

Jeff and the boys were very enthused with the “video game-like qualities” of the Garmin LiveScope, and it kept their attention, helped them focus, and helped them be efficient with their retrieves.

Everything really came together well this afternoon and it was very gratifying to be able to give a family the experience which the Maddens got this day on Lake Belton.

See the MAL Lure here: https://whitebasstools.com/

See tutorial video on how to work the MAL Lure here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE&t=239s

TALLY: 277 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Although I feared the north winds would go calm during our time on the water, they kept right on blowing, and the fish kept right on biting well, right up to sunset, when they quit abruptly.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  1:30P

End Time: 5:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 65F

Elevation:  0.82 low with a 0.01’ 24-hour rise, and 34 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 63.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Winds were NW8 at trip’s start, tapering down to NW4 by trip’s end

Sky Condition: Cloudless blue skies in the wake of last night’s cold front passage

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous at 80% illumination

GT = 45

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1000, 66  fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area 409, 64 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area B0070C, 132 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

**Area 694/968, 15 fish on MAL Lures (SP)

 

 

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

FALL FISHING BEGINS – 50 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Tuesday, 29 September, I fished with Pollyanna Casey of Belton in pursuit of white bass on Lake Belton.

Polly was introduced to fishing by an aunt in Arizona at age 11.  Equipped with an old Orvis bamboo flyrod and some mismatched flies and tackle, Polly slowly but surely figured things out.  More recently she’s become a part of a bass fishing club in Copperas Cove and has added spinning and casting gear to her arsenal.

Today was about getting out and doing a kind of fishing she’d never done before.  She told me in the still-dark parking lot before we got going, “If I can catch just one fish, I’ll be happy.”    We then got in the boat and proceeded to exceed those expectations…

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   Although it has been a while since I had one come aboard, one of the 50 fish Polly landed this morning was a “pygmy” hybrid striped bass.  This one launched off bottom in 46′ of water to chase this lure about 15 feet upwards as we watched the whole chase scene on Garmin LiveScope.
 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday morning, 29 September 2020

HOW WE FISHED: After sitting out a day yesterday due to a mild, dry cold front’s passage which had straight-line winds at 21-22 with gusts to 30 all day yesterday, I was pleased to see a NW wind was still forecast to be blowing today before post-frontal, calm, bright conditions settled in.  This typically means good fishing in the fall.

As I prepared the boat for Polly’s arrival, I checked the temperature profile down to 60 feet and found the thermocline has disappeared a bit earlier than normal.  This is a major development which very few anglers will recognize or respond to.  This opens the gates to fall fishing and fish that can locate just about anywhere in the water column and at any depth, thanks to complete oxygenation of the lake.  

We began covering water this morning by downrigging under low-light conditions and found active white bass in ~35 feet of water feeding throughout the lower half of the water column.  We worked these fish over trying to “make hay while the sun shines”, suspecting that, due to the cloudless skies, the fish would shut down once the direct sun hit the water for any length of time (and they did).  We landed 12 fish before moving on.

There was a bit of a lull between leaving this first population of fish and finding another willing school to fish for.  Our next run of success came in ~40 feet of water on a barren bottom with a gentle slope.  I spotted the white bass heavily congregated on the bottom, and carpeting the bottom for about 3 boat lengths as I idled over them.  We Spot-Locked on ’em, got the MAL Lures going to work for us and boated another 32 fish in about a 75 minute span — not on fire, but not having to pull teeth, either.

Once these fish shut down around 10AM, the wind was letting up and we moved into more classic post-frontal conditions.  In our final hour on the water, I looked over 4 distinct areas (all deep, given the clear, bright skies and nearly calm surface), finding fish at only one of them, and working to land our final 6 fish of the morning to top us off right at 50 fish for the morning

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released (1 hybrid, 2 freshwater drum, 47 white bass)

OBSERVATIONS:  Temperature profile indicating the thermocline is nearly dissipated…

0 feet 76.3

5 feet 76.4

10 feet 76.4

15 feet 76.4

20 feet 76.4

25 feet 76.4

30 feet 76.4

35 feet 76.4

40feet 76.4

45 feet 76.4

50 feet 76.6

55 feet 76.6

60 feet 76.4

65 feet 71.6
 
 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:45A

End Time: 11:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 48F

Elevation:  0.50′ high with a 0.24′ 24-hour drop and 1,670 CFS flow thru the dam

Water Surface Temp: 76.3F

Wind Speed & Direction:  NNW breeze at 8 at sunrise, increasing thru 10 A to NNW13, then slacking off the NNW 6 by trip’s end.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 95% illumination

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 085 to 488 – low light downrigging for 12 fish

**Area B0078C – vertical MAL Lure work for 32 fish

**Area  B0043G – vertical MAL Lure work for 6 fish  

 

Bob Maindelle

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

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

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

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow #BeltonFishingGuide #LakeBeltonFishingGuide

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

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

#fishingaddict #fishingpicoftheday #fishingtime #fishinggear #fishingday

#Fitec

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

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

NO PET BUFFALOS – 105 FISH

 

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Wednesday morning, 29 July, I fished Lake Belton with two young lady anglers — Lils and Zoey Haberer, accompanied and assisted by their mom, Emily, and their grandfather, Steve Niemeier.

Zoey is 5 years of age, and Lils is 8.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  That’s Emily and little Zoey with a buffalo nearly as long as Zoey is tall!

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Lils Haberer with an 11th hour largemouth we picked up downrigging after causing havoc for the local sunfish population for over 2 solid hours.

WHEN WE FISHED: 29 July, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED: With girls so young, I had a fairly limited amount of time to find some “easy” fish before they became disinterested. In a scenario nearly identical to the day before, although our forecast called for SW winds, we actually had ESE winds during that critical low-light time from just before sunrise to just after it during which much shallow water topwater feeding typically takes place. That easterly wind just seems to put the brakes on the topwater bite. We actually spotted fewer suspended fish than the day before, and saw no early topwater fish at all this morning. After patrolling, looking, and downrigging a bit, by the 1-hour mark we’d managed to lose 2 young of the year white bass (which were all of about 4″ long), and land another.

I decided at that point that we needed to provide some “instant gratification”, so, we headed up shallow and proceeded to put a hurt on the local sunfish population.

Over the next 2.25 hours, the girls landed exactly 102 sunfish, including bluegill, green, and longear sunfish. Lils was ably assisted by Steve, and Zoey was coached by her mom. This was just the ticket to refocus the girls after a very slow start.

By the time the second area we fished for sunfish played out, we were right around the 3.5 hour mark and Zoey had just about played out, and I suspected Lils wasn’t too far behind. I suggested that we give downrigging just one more try to see if we couldn’t end the day with some larger fish.

Since the girls could move around and snack while we downrigged, and because this was a change of pace from the sunfishing, that suggestion went over well.

We put in all of about 20 minutes’ worth of downrigging during which time Lils came up with a nice largemouth bass — her largest fish of the trip. Not to be outdone, Zoey (with much help from Emily, or perhaps it was the other way around), landed a 16.00-pound smallmouth buffalo.

The whole boat erupted in cheering when the fish was secured in the net. We revived the fish, took some photos, and released it. It was then that Emily noticed Zoey was pouting up in the front of the boat with her head down.

When asked what was the matter, she shared with her mom that she wanted to take the buffalo home as a pet and was therefore very sad that we had released it.

Besides that, we had a good trip even if the white bass weren’t cooperative.

TALLY: 105 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  The presence of an easterly wind these past two mornings has just killed the low-light bite. After the sun gets up and the wind starts to move the water, occasional “popcorn” schools of briefly appearing whites could be seen for just seconds at a time out in open water.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:20A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  1.35′ low, 0.06′ 24-hour change, 54 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84F

Wind Speed & Direction: ESE6-7 during the first 2 hours, shifting to SE thereafter.

Moon Phase: First Quarter Moon +2 (a.k.a. waxing gibbous moon)

GT = 40

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1583 and B0158C for sunfish

**Area vic 1604 for light action on downriggers late in the AM

 

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

1st FISH OF THE A.M. = 1st FISH OF HIS LIFE

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Saturday, July 18th, I fished with Clint Tippett and his two young sons, Carter (age 7) and Carson (age 5).  We attempted to make this event happen last year, but dates didn’t work out.  Then, again in February we tried to set something up for March and COVID saw to it that those plans were foiled.  So, the third time was a charm this morning.

This trip was specifically focused on the boys’ success, so Clint, an anesthesiologist at Baylor Scott & White in Temple, helped me help them.

Prior to this morning’s trip, Carson had never landed a fish, and Carter only had a handful to his credit.

PHOTO CAPTION:   5-year-old Carson Tippett proudly displays the first fish of his life, a Stillhouse Hollow white bass landed just after sunrise while downrigging in deep water.

PHOTO CAPTION: 7-year-old Carter Tippett with the largest of the 50 fish we landed today.  This white bass fell for a Pet Spoon – one of three presented simultaneously on a 3-armed umbrella rig.

WHEN WE FISHED: 18 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Clint and I spoke by phone the evening before this trip (which was originally just to include Carter) and agreed that Carson would join us.  I laid out what to expect based on my experience in fishing with kids this age and in this season of the year.

We planned to fish for white bass early on when the kids’ attention span and enthusiasm level was high, then move on to fishing up shallow for more cooperative and abundant sunfish later in the morning.

These plans worked out pretty well. The white bass action was more subdued this morning than over the past few trips, but the boys both landed 4 white bass a piece, included Carson’s very first fish ever, thus earning him a TPWD First Fish Award. By around 8:15, the deep action on white bass was waning, and so we retooled and headed up shallow.

All of these white bass came on downrigged 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.  At no time did I see a congregation of white bass which I felt warranted stopping to work vertically for.

We made two stops up in shallow water specifically targeting sunfish.  We landed 36 sunfish at our first stop, then made a tally of 50 fish (which would require each boy catch 3 more fish) our goal at our final sunfish stop.  The boys handily met that goal and, now at the 3.5 hour mark, dad and I knew it was time to wrap up before the boys got too (choose any combination):  hot, bored, hungry, irritable, whiny, distracted, etc.  Thus, we ended on a good note with the boys landing roughly equal numbers of fish.

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Temperature profile at depth:

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F

Elevation:  0.9′ low, 0.05′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  87F

Wind Speed & Direction: S6 at sunrise, increasing to SSE12 by trip’s end

Moon Phase: Waning crescent moving to a new moon on 20 July

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 062 thru SH0031G – serpentine downrigging pattern for deep white bass in lower third of water column

**Area 200 and 189 – 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)

#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

FISH SATURDAY … GET MARRIED MONDAY — 40 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, July 11th, I fished with returning guest Shawn Leverington who has been out with me twice before.  Accompanying Shawn this go-round were his sister and brother-in-law, Sarah and Matt Todd, as well as his soon-to-be father-in-law, Mike Carroll.

Shawn is to be wed this coming Monday to his fiancee, Kelly, in an evening ceremony at the Dead Fish Grill on Lake Belton, so family from both sides have come to town for the event.  Sarah, a teacher, and Matt, a federal fire fighter, drove down from Wisconsin, and Mike, a estate planning attorney, came in from Austin.

Shawn is a U.S. Army Reservist working full-time at Fort Hood as commander of the Warrior Transition Unit there.  The WTU’s stated mission is to provide command and control, primary care, and case management for soldiers in transition to establish conditions for healing and to promote the timely return to the force or transition to continue serving the nation as a veteran in their community.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Sarah and Matt Todd, Mike Carroll, and Shawn Leverington

PHOTO CAPTION: Triple!!  3 fish on the 3-armed umbrella rig simultaneously.

WHEN WE FISHED: 11 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: After experiencing just so-so fishing on Belton yesterday morning, and given that I expected a heavy weekend crowd there, I fished with Shawn and crew on Stillhouse today and was glad we made that call.

Summer fishing is always a challenge, but, thanks to some wind from the SSW, we did alright today.  The bite started just as the sun cleared the eastern horizon and went strong until around 8:15, after which fishing slowed dramatically.

As has been the case for the last few weeks, and will be the case for weeks to come, we found and caught fish on the downriggers, which allowed us to cover ground with sonar and to cash in on the occasional “patch” of bottom-hugging fish via vertical jigging with MAL lures.  The ‘riggers were equipped with 3-armed umbrella rigs rigged with Pet Spoons.

We actually gave vertical work a try before our first downrigger run this morning, as I saw a nice 50-60 fish school right on bottom in water just over 45 feet, but, it was still pretty dark down there and we just couldn’t get them excited.  We stopped to work vertically about 5 times this morning, catching fish on two of those pauses.

We witnessed no topwater action today, which was not surprising, as there was next to zero cloud cover.

We finished our morning right around 10:30 with 39 white bass and 1 largemouth landed.

TALLY: 40 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  No clouds, no topwater action.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:15A

End Time: 10:30A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  0.57′ low, 0.04′ 24-hour fall, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83F

Wind Speed & Direction: S7 +/- 1 mph all morning

Moon Phase: Last day of the waning gibbous, moving into the last quarter moon tomorrow.

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area SH0030G to SH0031G to SH0032G  – downrigging and vertical work

**Area vic 878 –  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 WORKED FOR ‘EM TODAY — 27 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Friday, July 10th, I fished Billy Champlin of Killeen, TX, and his father-in-law, Tom Estes, of Florence, TX.  Billy’s wife, Teri, put the trip together as a Fathers’ Day gift to the both of them.

Billy serves as a TPWD Lieutenant Game Warden here in Central Texas and has been in law enforcement off the pavement for over 20 years now.

Tom retired from the quarry/stone business and just this year began a post-retirement job of substitute teaching in Florence’s public schools.

Both fellows had fished a good bit previously.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Tom Estes and his son-in-law, Billy Champlin, with a few of the white bass we worked to catch from Lake Belton this morning.

WHEN WE FISHED: 10 July, 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED: Fishing was tough today.  We had lightly whitecapping waves (w/ a ~13 mph wind) prior to sunrise and no cloud cover for about 90 minutes.  The wind relented a bit and broken white cloud cover built in as the morning progressed.  There was no topwater action in the areas I searched during the key topwater time right before, during, and just after sunrise.

We wound up covering a lot of water today with downriggers, encountering small schools of white bass with roughly 20-30 fish in each school.  These schools were typically 2-6 feet off bottom but were not carpeting the bottom, rather, they were “balled up” and appeared similar to shad when they form into bait balls, except the individual fish in the school were clearly visible, especially on Garmin DownVu.

On a number of occasions (probably 9 or 10) we saw excellent sonar returns, pulled the downrigging gear in quickly and circled back to Spot-Lock on top of the fish we’d seen, only to find them a) gone, b) present but in lower numbers than we first encountered, or c) unenthusiastic.  Over the course of our trip, we only landed 3 or 4 by fishing vertically.

Around 8:30 I noticed some light topwater action fueled by white bass chasing very large shad (4+ inches) over about a three-quarter acre area.  We tried pinning these fish down to fish for them, but they were in very small, splintered groups and moving quickly.  After failing to catch any by patiently waiting for a boil and sight-casting, we again tried a vertical approach resulting in 1 fish, and then went back to downrigging to cover water, and picked up another 4 fish this way.  Covering water was the key for these moving fish.

 

TALLY: 27 fish caught and released, including 26 white bass & 1 freshwater drum

OBSERVATIONS:  Only sporadic topwater action under a waning gibbous moon as we just passed full and are heading into the new moon which will occur on 20 July.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:15A

End Time: 10:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  0.05′ low, 0.02′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  82F

Wind Speed & Direction: S13 +/- 1 mph all morning

GT = 0

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0025G to B0026G – downrigged with some success after keying on sporadic, light topwater

**Area 1975 to 687 – downrigging

**Area vic  -1604 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