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.



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





**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)

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WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished a multi-species trip with Kris Wagner and his sons, 14-year-old Nick, and soon-to-be 10-year-old Charlie.  Kris makes his living as a urologist at Scott & White and enjoys biking. Nick is the real fisherman of the family, looking for opportunities to fish whenever and wherever he can, be it for sunfish in Nolan Creek or catfish at summer camp.  Charlie landed our fish for the record books — a spotted bass.  More about that, with a photo, in my Sunday “Guide Lines” column on Aug. 26th, though.


From left: Nick, Kris, and Charlie.  Because our fish were coming up from 35+ feet this morning where the water temperature was much cooler, we had to handle our fish quickly to ensure they could be released in excellent shape.  These three fish were actually all caught by Nick at the same time on his 3-armed umbrella rig.  I unhooked them, handed one to each family member, and we snapped a photo — all in a matter of seconds.  We then watched these all dig back down to that deep, dark, cool water they’d come from.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday morning, 18 August 2018

HOW WE FISHED:  We fished 4 areas and found fish at three of them.  I also ran sonar over 2 other areas and passed on them due to lack of fish and bait.  When fish and bait showed on sonar, we downrigged successfully and, whenever a mass of bottom-oriented white bass would show on sonar (typically setting both downriggers off as we passed over), we would stop the boat, hover atop of them and work tailspinners vertically.  This approach yielded 54 fish including 2 drum, 1 spotted bass, and 51 white bass through around 11a.  As we headed back to the ramp, I spotted some surface feeding action on a flat adjacent to the river channel.  Sonar revealed heavy schools of young of the year shad present with white bass throughout the lower third of the water column right there with them.  We went right to working tailspinners given how concentrated these fish showed to be on sonar, and wound up staying an additional hour working these fish over, and taking our tally up to 102 fish (adding 47 white bass and 1 drum to our prior total of 54 fish).

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:  It was surprising to see fish feeding so aggressively at Area SH0053C between 11a and noon after the strong bite we’d experienced elsewhere had clearly died to nil.  This was the best topwater action I’d seen since Monday.


TALLY: 102 fish, all caught and released



Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F

Water Surface Temp:   83.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light winds under 4mph from S for first 90 minutes, pick up up to WSW12 for the remainder of the trip.

Sky Conditions: ~20% cloud cover

Water Level: 7.36 feet low and falling

GT = 55




**Area   SH0052C thru 1425 – scant

**Area  1448-495-1970 – white bass via downriggers and tailspinners

**Area SH0053C – 48 white bass between 11a & noon – location revealed by surface action in SW wind at 12 mph


Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)




Twitter: www/