THE FISH WENT TO T.O.W.N. –55 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Saturday afternoon I fished with Beverly Travis of Belton and Alex Castillo of Austin on Lake Belton following a tough morning of fishing on Stillhouse.  Beverly tried to get her and her grandkids out with me last year, but foul weather prevented.  After visiting my booth at the Central Texas Boat and Outdoor Show the week before, we made plans to try again today.

I offered the option of more, but smaller fish at Belton, or fewer, but larger, white bass at Stillhouse.  Beverly, who coordinated the trip, opted for greater action at Lake Belton.

This time, Beverly brought Alex Castillo.  The two ladies met through a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department program called Texas Outdoors-Woman Network (T.O.W.N.).  The mission of T.O.W.N. is to provide all women the opportunity to experience outdoor activities in a safe, non-threatening, and supportive environment.  The program was started by several graduates of TPWD’s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop.

 

PHOTO CAPTION:   From left: Beverly Travis, a Christian counselor from Belton, and Alex Castillo, who works in the environmental field in Austin, teamed up through TPWD’s Texas Outdoors-Woman Network (T.O.W.N.) to split a half-day white bass fishing trip on Lake Belton, landing 55 fish on a tough day of fishing.

WHEN WE FISHED:  Saturday, 01 February 2020, PM

HOW WE FISHED: I was prepared for a tough afternoon today.  As I rolled into the launch area, long-time Belton multi-species angler Mike P. was on his way out after having fished a long morning and into the afternoon for just 24 fish as he chased white bass, resulting in just 2 legal fish in his catch.  I had similar difficulties not finding fish, but getting them to bite, over at Stillhouse, landing just 20 fish between 7:15 and noon.

Before we left the launch area I provided a thorough explanation on the very slow, methodical tactic of “easing” we would rely on to catch our fish this afternoon, emphasizing how important very slow movement was, and demonstrating it for Bev and Alex.

The ladies got the hang of the tactic very quickly.  As was the case on Stillhouse this morning, finding fish was not all that challenging, but getting them to bite was another story.  Routinely, when I found fish on an area, there were several dozen fish in the schools I Spot-Locked atop of.  Such a school would typically yield 2-4 fish fairly soon after we began jigging, and then the fish, though still present, would shut down.  Seeing this trend develop, we adjusted our approach and moved very readily to new “batches” of fish soon after a given school would shut down.

We did well, given the conditions, boating a total of 55 fish, including 3 drum and 52 white bass.  One interesting note was the intensity of this evening’s low-light bite.  As we used the trolling motor to ease into our final area of the trip, I saw fish suspended in the water column from halfway to bottom, all the way to the bottom.  This was the first time I’d seen fish more than a foot off bottom all day (Belton or Stillhouse).  As we fished for these fish and began catching them, the fish suddenly turned on well.  We took our tally from 36 fish to a final count of 55 fish (hence, 19 fish caught) in the last 20 minutes of the trip.

We relied on the very reliable white, 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab, with stinger hook attached.  Roughly 80% of the fish caught today (Belton and Stillhouse) came on the stinger hook, as has been my experience for several years now when the water temperatures reach near annual lows.

TALLY: 55 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Experienced a hard low-light feed at and just following sunset tonight, following a day of tough fishing. 19 fish in 20 minutes from fish all throughout the lower half of the water column.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    2:00P

End Time:  6:15P

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  66F

Elevation: 3.00 low, -0.02′ 24-hour change, 17 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:   53.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: NW7-0

Sky Conditions: Clear, cloud-free, blue skies

GT = 30

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:   

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  B0113C to 1671 to 565 : 3 short hops early, then one final stop near sunset

**Area 1845 to 1619: 3 short hops early, then 2 short hops later on second visit here

 

 

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

REAL NICE FOLKS FROM MINNESOTA — 223 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning I fished with 4 members of the Kovar family from just west of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Mr. Dale Kovar, his wife, Linda, and their daughter, Chelsea Rademacher, all flew down to Texas to see their son, Rhett, before he deploys to Iraq as a member of the Minnesota National Guard.  Rhett only recently completed basic training and AIT, then got called up and has now been at Fort Hood living in the barracks since October.  Two other siblings were unable to make the trip.

 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  From left, that’s Linda, Chelsea, Dale, and Rhett with a few of the 223 fish they landed under breezy, post-frontal conditions.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:  Linda landed the top two fish of the trip this morning, including this nice hybrid and a freshwater drum which went 4.75 pounds.

WHERE WE FISHED:  Belton Lake

WHEN WE FISHED:  Monday, 02 December 2019, AM

HOW WE FISHED:  Fishing was easy this morning.  Birds started feeding and leading the way to fish just a few minutes after sunrise.  The bird action was most intense in the first hour after sunrise, but did not quit entirely until around 10AM.  We used two different methods this morning, depending on how the fish were presenting on sonar.  If the fish were very active and chasing bait throughout the water column, we used a slow version of a smoking tactic to cover the water column; and, if the fish were less aggressive and holding on bottom, we used a slower, lower easing tactic. We used a stinger-hook equipped 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slab in white color for both jobs.

While the birds worked, we made 4 stops under them as they moved about feeding, and typically began by using a smoking retrieve until the fish settled, then mopped up with an easing retrieve, and then moved to a new bunch of fish once the easing slowed down.  We boated our first 100 fish by 9:19AM.

After the birds quit, we spent our final hour atop a school of white bass holding on a breakline.  I layered in Garmin LiveScope at this point to help keep everyone engaged.  These fish quit just a few minutes before 11AM.  We finished up with 223 fish including white bass, hybrid striped bass, freshwater drum, and largemouth bass.

On two separate occasions the fish fed so aggressively that Rhett and Chelsea wound up catching two fish on their slabs at the same time — one fish on the treble, and one fish on the stinger hook.

Of course, when all was said and done, I directed them to the good care of Mr. Dirk over at Miller’s Smokehouse for lunch.  I just wouldn’t be right to come all the way from Minnesota and not dine there.

TALLY: 223 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  I noted that in ~23 feet of water or less, even when birds were working fish and bait aggressively, my outboard would spook fish from directly beneath the boat.  Therefore, I used side-imaging to find large concentrations of fish, then put my cursor on the H’bird Solix on those fish and let the i-Pilot Link system take us more stealthily to those fish instead of running over them with the outboard.  It seemed that only those suspended fish were negatively impacted in this way.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:    7:00A

End Time:  11:00A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  40F

Elevation: 2.69 feet low, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 34 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  57.4

Wind Speed & Direction: NW11 at sunrise and tapering off just a bit to NW8 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions:  Post-frontal bluebird skies

GT = 70

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Areas B0153C, vic 1804, vic B0159C, B0197C – 4 stops along a line connecting these areas, all with bird-assist

**Area vic B0118C

 

 

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

Windy and Windy, with a Chance of Wind!! — 114 Fish, Lake Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday I fished with Mr. Matt Laakso and his adult son, Mitch, both from the north Austin area. Matt did a sonar training with me soon after getting his own boat which is now about 3 months old.  After experiencing the sonar training, he decided to come fishing with me, as well.

IMG_4430

 

From left: Father and son Matt and Mitch Laakso with a sampling of the white bass we caught on what turned out to be an extremely windy morning as a dry cold front moved into the area.

IMG_4426

 

Matt took our largest fish of the trip, a nice 20″ hybrid, just before the waves began to whitecap as straight-line windspeed reached 13mph.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday morning, 18 November 2017

HOW WE FISHED:  There were quite a few predictions as to the timing of the dry cold front’s arrival this morning, based on various meterological models.  We experienced near-calm conditions with a solid “pre-frontal” bite for nearly two full hours, the first hour of which took place under helpful gull activity.  Once the wind began to increase and shift through the west toward the north, the bite moderated.  We had 87 fish landed through 10:20, then worked another hour and twenty minutes to reach and exceed the 100 fish mark.  All of our fishing was done vertically using 3/8 oz. slabs before the heavy winds began around 10:30.  Once the winds peaked, we bumped up to 3/4 oz. slabs in order to maintain good contact with bottom and to effect good line control.  Before the front hit we used a smoking tactic; after the front began racing in, we used an easing tactic.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) Boat traffic this morning was unusually light due, in part, to “the weatherman’s” prediction of high winds this morning. 2)  I noted that as the wind ramped up rapidly from 9:45 to 10:30, the bite went soft, but, once it reached peak velocity, the fish turned on again.

TALLY: 114 FISH, all caught and released

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:45a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F

Water Surface Temp: 68.3F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW under 5mph for first 90 minutes; wind shifted to W, then WNW, then NNW by 9:45 all around 9mph; wind began to ramp up quickly and steadily to NNW18 by 10:30 and was blowing NNW20 with higher gusts by trip’s end at 11:45.

Sky Conditions: 10% cloud cover

Water Level: 2.36 feet low

GT = 10

Wx SNAPSHOT: N/A

 

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  2035 thru 592 — fastest fishing of the morning under birds in low light conditions, smoking with 3/8 oz. slab with Hazy Eye Stinger Hook

**Area  593 – smoking with 3/8 oz. slab with Hazy Eye Stinger Hook

**Area  1747/1552 – smoking & easing with 3/4 oz. slab with Hazy Eye Stinger Hook

**Area  2052- smoking & easing with 3/4 oz. slab with Hazy Eye Stinger Hook

**Area vic 2041 – easing only with 3/4 oz. slab with Hazy Eye Stinger Hook

 

Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

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