GOLD STAR FISHING WITH BRADLEY WARNER — 57 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: In just about anything else American, earning a gold star is a desirable outcome.  In the military, it means you lost your life while on active duty.

Today, I fished with Bradley Warner, the son of a Gold Star soldier, the late U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Warner.

Bradley showed up punctually and eager to fish.  I was particularly thankful today for all those who have helped SKIFF come into being and expand through the years.  Over the holidays, Bradley’s mom, Jennifer, picked up on a SKIFF posting on the Fort Hood Area Events Facebook page, felt a trip would be a good fit for her son, and, in a matter of a few days, I was welcoming Bradley across the bow of my boat.

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

 

PHOTO CAPTION:  Bradley Warner of Killeen with a pair of hefty Lake Belton white bass.  During our 4-hour trip, we also landed hybrid striped bass and freshwater drum.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Tuesday, 07 January 2020, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Following a very chilly 36F start, complete with a north breeze making it even chillier, we began our catching for the day by finding bottom-hugging white bass holding on a deep breakline at right around 8:10AM.  The sonar returns were scarce at first, but, knowing few other forms of life would be in the areas we searched, we went ahead and dropped baits on what we saw.  Before long we were boating small white bass routinely, landing a total of 19 before our luck ran out at this first stop.

We looked over 3 distinct areas thereafter and found little.  I headed on to a fourth location and, as we found fish and began slabbing, the only bird action we witnessed all morning materialized right on top of us.  It was great to be able to ride out this entire episode of bird action from its start at 9:44 to its conclusion around 10:40, which coincided with the cessation of the wind.  The most intense bird action took place in the first 40 minutes, from 9:44 to 10:20, then tapered off afterwards.  Although a few birds remained flitting around beyond 11AM, the bite all but ended when the wind laid down.

Interestingly, the slower the action got, the deeper the fish moved until, just before it got slow enough for us to call it quits, we were taking white bass off the bottom in over 60 feet of water.

Prior to the bird action, the lighter of the two slabs I traditionally rely upon (the white 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab with stinger hook) used with an easing tactic worked best.  As we encountered more mobile, aggressive fish under birds (and a greater proportion of hybrids mixed in), we bumped up to a 3/4 oz. slab and used a slow smoking tactic.  Several times this morning we had white bass and drum regurgitate whole shad, and each matched the length of the larger 3/4 oz. slab.

Bradley was a fast learner, and had a very natural, easy hookset motion, which served him well. He also played the larger fish he hooked very patiently.  As a result, we lost very few of the fish we hooked this morning.

TALLY: 57 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   NNW wind = bird action.  We experienced the deepest fish activity I’ve encountered thus far this winter with white bass caught on bottom in 62′.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:45A

End Time:  11:45A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  36F

Elevation: 3.07′ low, 0.01′ 24-hour change, 20 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   53F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW7 at sunrise and for 2 hours thereafter, then slowly tapering to calm by 11:10

Sky Conditions: Bluebird skies

GT = N/A

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1390 – easing for bottom huggers

**Area 682 thru 953 under birds

**Area B0013G endpoint of AM action in 62′ water (with lake -3′)

 

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

BEAT BOX AND VIDEO GAMES WITH GRANDPA — 108 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Saturday, December 7th, I fished with returning guests Jim Deuser of Georgetown, his son, Dan, and Dan’s son, Jake, both from down near San Antonio.  Jake is in his senior year of high school and just became an Eagle Scout which involves significant project coordination.  Jake’s project involved providing a soothing texture wall for autistic students at a local school for kids with autism.

We were originally planning to go hybrid fishing back during the peak window in late April, but foul weather put an end to those plans.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  Three generations of Deuser men — from left:  Jim, Dan, and Jake.  We were blessed with yet another 100+ fish outing with white bass comprising the majority of our catch.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Quality freshwater drum like this one hoisted by Jake are becoming commonplace on Lake Belton thanks to the burgeoning zebra mussel population offering this species a bumper crop of food.

WHEN WE FISHED:   Saturday, 07 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As good as winter time fishing is, it can also be very one-dimensional.  Although other methods will certainly take freshwater pelagics, for consistency on white bass, it is hard to beat the simplicity and efficiency of working a slab vertically.  That is exactly what we did this morning to the tune of 108 fish in right at 4 hours’ time. We used an “easing tactic” to land fish after fish, at first guided by hungry gulls pointing the way, and then by finding fish with sonar.

After everyone had the fundamentals of easing down, I “layered” in the Garmin Livescope and I think that really made the trip for Jim and Dan.  Competitive by nature, they stood side-by-side, both staring into the same Garmin monitor (GPSMAP 1242sxv Touch) and chided one another when the other guy missed a fish that aggressively pursued a slab up off bottom.

Dan likened my fish-attracting thumper device to a “beat box”; it served its purpose today in keeping fish under the boat.

We swapped back and forth with the 3/8 oz. and 3/4 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs using the heavier version if I saw suspended hybrid, and using the lighter version if we had mainly bottom-dwelling white bass beneath us.

I told the fellows in my “pre-trip briefing” that our first three hours would be where we needed to do all of our catching as the N. wind was due to run out around 10AM.  Indeed, we hit the 100 fish mark at 10:28, then added only 8 more fish to the count in the 40 minutes that followed, eventually calling it a good day and heading to lunch by 11:10.

 

TALLY: 108 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Birds worked continuously from sunrise through 9:20AM and then the vast majority of them roosted.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  43F

Elevation: 2.76 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   58.1F

Wind Speed & Direction: NNW8 at sunrise through 10A, then tapering down over the next hour to calm

Sky Conditions:  High blue skies in the wake of a mild cold front’s passage.

GT =0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Birds from Area B0197C through 2053 until ~9:30

**Area vic B0201C

**Area between 150 and 1552 – deeper, suspended 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