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

ALL ABOUT EATER CATFISH – 21 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday evening, May 1st, I welcomed returning guests Rick Powell and Ricardo Cisneros aboard.  During the Coronavirus shutdown, I took my wife, Rebecca, and a handful of friends out fishing specifically for blue catfish on Lake Belton.  Ricardo, who regularly follows my Facebook posts, saw this and hoped to duplicate the effort on occasions where he hoped to catch a few “eating-sized” catfish (12+ inches).

He requested I take he and his friend (and boss) Rick Powell out to show them what I’d learned.

No, I’m not starting to guide for catfish and don’t intend to do so in the future, but, as the fishery offers consistency and as the quality of these fish continue to improve on Lake Belton (due to zebra mussel consumption, I suspect), I will no doubt routinely mix in some catfishing in my multi-species trips. Additionally, my 100% C&R policy still pertains to this species.

 

PHOTO CAPTION: This is what the methods I’ve pieced together (with a good bit of help from Steve Webb) typically produce – smaller “eater-sized” blue catfish, two of which provide 4 fillets — just enough for a 1-person serving if kept and cleaned properly. Most fish are 12-15 inches, like this one held by Ricardo Cisneros.

WHEN WE FISHED:  01 May, 2020, PM

HOW WE FISHED: First, I search for blue catfish concentrations on sonar.  Next, I Spot-Lock and chum with range cubes, then get right down to fishing vertically with my “Catfish Plumb” bait holders tipped with fresh, dead shad or non-stink doughbait.  To enhance things, I’ve brought Garmin LiveScope to bear, which allows slightly suspended fish to be targeted.  Otherwise, the default bait position is just inches off bottom.

Concentration is a must, as the catfish typically take only one swipe at the bait, during which time a quick, hard hookset is a must.

In 3.5 hours’ time, some of which was set aside for Humminbird side-imaging explanation and Garmin LiveScope explanation, we put 22 blue cat over the side of the boat with just as many missed on the hookset.

 

TALLY: 22 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: As I searched for spawning shad, a definite, shallow-water and shad-oriented fishery is also ripe for picking, albeit short-lived with the action drying up about the time the direct sun peeks over the eastern horizon.

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   4:00P

End Time:  7:30P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Elevation:  0.77′  high, 0.06 foot 24-hour rise, 17 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  70F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S17 at trip’s start, tapering to S14 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: 30% high white haze on blue skies

GT =28

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0073C (fished it at start of trip and end of trip with 2 other non-productive stops in between)

 

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

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

PRE-FRONTAL WX SETUP YIELDS 106 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, March 2nd, 2020, I fished with returning guests Tommy and Sylvia Maedgen from near Troy, TX.  Tommy has fished with me twice before, both in pursuit of white bass on Stillhouse.  Sylvia joined him for one of those trips.  Then, just last month, they both returned in their own boat to do some sonar training with new Lowrance gear installed on both console and bow.  Our next trip will be after Belton hybrid in May, Lord willing.

I was excited about getting on the water this morning, as I am any time pre-frontal conditions are brewing.  Making this morning even sweeter was the fact that it came on the end of a 4-day warming spell.

 

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   Tommy and Sylvia Maedgen joined me for a nice Texas late winter morning of white bass fishing on Stillhouse.  The couple’s last trip with me yielded 53 fish; this morning, we persisted until we doubled that figure.  The grey skies and southwesterly breeze helped fire up the bite this morning until right around noon.

WHEN WE FISHED:  02 March, 2002, AM

HOW WE FISHED: As hard as it was to ignore bird activity this morning, that is exactly what it took to put fish in the boat.  The “resident” population of wintering gulls on Stillhouse have become conditioned to feed every morning in about 4 distinct locations, whether or not white bass are present.  Although there are a few white bass in these areas, this morning sonar quickly revealed they were few and far between.  Most folks fail to recognize the root cause of the gull action right now is loon activity, not white bass activity.  These loons kill and cripple sunfish which then float or linger near the surface and become easy targets for the gulls, which then draw anglers. A few anglers draw more anglers, and , before you know it, there’s a whole lot of boats and none of them catching anything. Thanks to a state holiday, a few areas with this gull/loon scenario looked like boat parking lots this morning, but few fish were taken in those areas.

Rather, the breakline dropping into the old Lampasas River channel continues to be a steady producer of not only quantities of fish, but quality fish, as well, especially in comparison to the unusually high number of smallish white bass Belton has been pumping out since September.

A few times we commented on how slowly the fish were swimming and reacting to our presentations, all because their surroundings are still in the low 50’s.  Indeed, one white bass I pulled up near trip’s end when the air was warmest felt like an ice pack when touched.

Accordingly, presentations were painfully slow this morning, but consistency in that regard was rewarded over and over again as we used an easing tactic in combination with “match-the-hatch” sized 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached.  Garmin LiveScope was the ticket to knowing when to move the slab and when to lay off.

I’ve arrayed my infinitely-adjustable LiveScope transducer to view both downward and along the starboard gunwale of my boat.  I position as many clients on that side as possible.  I have two Garmin GPSMAP 1242xsv Touch units mounted on that gunwale so as many as 5 anglers can watch what is happening below them in real-time.  Although the same raw sonar data is being fed to both units from a single transducer, the displays are independently adjustable so those toward the bow can isolate their little “patch” of bottom, and those clients toward the stern can do likewise.  This way, everyone gets a zoomed view of just the vertical segment of water they are working.  It is a sweet setup.  It keeps everyone engaged, enhances their success, and makes us very efficient.

Every once in a while we encountered slightly more active fish up higher in the water column which required a “slow smoking” retrieve, but most fish were bottom-oriented this morning.

Our bite wound down to nothing by noon, with peak activity from 9:15 to 11AM.

 

TALLY: 106 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  Spotted the first couple mosquito hawks of the year last night while working outdoors.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:   7:00A

End Time:  Noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 65F

Elevation: 3.27′ low, +0.01 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  54F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW8-12 the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 100% grey cloud cover

 

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1512 – scattered fish under gulls with loon activity

**Area 988/2017- scattered fish under gulls with loon activity

**Area vic 1358 – channel breakline congregation of whites

**Area vic SH0001C  – channel breakline congregation of whites

**Area 103/746 – channel breakline congregation of whites

**Area vic SH0023C- scattered fish under gulls with loon activity

**Area vic SH0014G – channel breakline congregation of 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

WE PASKO-TIZED ‘EM — 60 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday morning, January 15th, I fished with long-time friend Bill Pasko on Lake Belton.  Bill is a great multi-species fisherman originally from upstate New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario.  After a short stint as a U.S. Army Infantry officer in Vietnam, Bill worked through age 55 putting his chemistry background to work for him and others.  He’s now retired and fishes nearly as much as I do!!

The main focus today was to introduce Bill to many of the capabilities of the Garmin LIveScope technology. It also served as a scouting opportunity for me, as I’d not fished Belton since 04 Jan. when the lake flooded once again. Bill called me the day before after seeing my 11 Jan. 2019 post comparing the spread diameter of two kinds of cast nets at depth. His curiosity was piqued and so, off we went this morning in search of fish.

 

Long-time Lake Belton multi-species angler Bill Pasko with a pair of hybrid we caught over 50′ of water.  These fish were suspended and on the move, but readily identified using the Garmin LiveScope technology.  We used soft plastics on jigheads to seal the deal.

 

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This trip focused on white bass.  

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  January 15th, 2019

HOW WE FISHED:   Today’s fishing was focused around the 34-37 foot mark and involved both snap-jigging with slabs for fish we saw on bottom and sniping with soft plastics on jigheads for fish which were suspended.  The deeper the water, the better the fish responded to the thumper.  The fish activity correlated with windspeed.

OBSERVATIONS:  I was pleasantly surprised to see even smallish white bass eagerly strike Bill’s 4″ long soft plastics as we sniped for suspended fish.  I’ve traditionally defaulted to smaller presentations.  We experienced one episode of helpful bird action offered by ~8 terns over a short 10 minutes span, despite hundreds of ring-billed gulls sighted over open water.

TALLY: 60 fish caught and released

 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 42F

Water Surface Temp: 49.9 – 51.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Winds were calm through about 9:30, then blew SSE6 for the remainder of the trip.

Sky Conditions:  100% coverage of light grey clouds

Water Level: 10.75′ high with 24-hour drop of 0.21 feet; slowly falling water flowing @ 2,984 CFS 

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

 

 AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic B0107C – snap jigging

**Area vic B0110C – snap jigging

**Area B0117C to B0111C – slow smoking/sniping under minimal bird activity

**Area B0129C – sniping for suspended “thumped” fish

**Area 1291 – deep, slow smoking for “thumped” fish in 50′

 

 

Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

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