LABOR DAY 2020 WITH THE REED BOYS – 54 FISH

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, September 7th, 2020, I fished with retired U.S. Army Master Sergeant Bryan Reed and his 3 sons — Evan (age 12), Colin (age 10), and Carson (age 8).

After retiring from the military police, Bryan trained and hired on with Edward Jones and hopes to open his own office after spending some time at the office in Killeen, TX.

The boys, who came out with me on a SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trip 2 years ago, all go to school in the Killeen Independent School District, and are involved in karate.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:    The Reed boys in 2020, from left, Colin, Evan, Carson, and Bryan.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2:    The Reed boys in 2018, from left, Carson, Colin, and Evan.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED: Fishing was a bit laborious on this Labor Day Monday.   Thankfully, due to flooding and the fact that public school cranks back up again tomorrow, the crowds were fairly light, in fact, lighter than on a “normal” summer weekend.

We went nearly an hour working to get our first bite, and, even when it came it wasn’t like the floodgates opened and we kept right on catching them from that point on.  The fish were just in a negative mood until about 8AM, then things started happening right up until around 10:15.  

Around 8AM, we began to see larger schools of white bass forming (10-15 fish vs. 3-5 fish earlier on).  The shad began to ball up and suspend versus blanketing the bottom earlier on.  Nearby largemouth began to surface feed versus no surface action earlier on. And, best of all, a little resident flock of terns began to point out the most active pods of fish spread over quite an expanse of open water.

We alternated between downrigging and vertical MAL Lure work to keep fish coming in the boat.  Although the fish were feeding, it was not an aggressive, hard feed.  Only a few times did I find fish in a posture where I felt the MAL Lures would shine, and, when we worked them, the fish only stayed interested briefly, thus necessitating that we return to horizontal work with the downriggers.

By the time the bite in the vicinity of Area 062 began to taper off around 9AM, we’d gone from a tally of 1 to a tally of 38.

We moved on as the action was waning, but before it completely shut down in hopes of finding another population of fish which started their feeding cycle a bit later.  

We were able to relocate fish, this time in the vicinity of Area 453.  We downrigged to find these fish and caught a few on the downriggers, but really made money by using MAL Lures for suspended fish holding in a vertical band from 24-29 feet deep over a deeper bottom.

Once the fish quit the MAL Lure bite, they were about done altogether.  We only landed 2 more thereafter in ~25 more minutes of downrigging effort covering quite a  span of water.

To summarize, we fished a full four hours with the span from 8AM to 10:15 producing all of the fish.  We downrigged about 70% of our time today, with the balance consisting of MAL Lure vertical work.

TALLY: 54 fish caught and released (52 white bass and 2 largemouth bass)

OBSERVATIONS:   A low intensity feed took place today from 8:00 – 10:15A.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:50A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  1.22′ high, +0.20′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow (up 4.18 feet after ~4.50″ began fell on Wednesday – Friday, 02-03 Sep.)

Water Surface Temp:  81.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: SW11 at sunrise, decreasing to SW7 by 8AM, and leveling off there

Sky Condition: Cloudless blue sky

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous with 84% illumination 

GT =25

Wx SNAPSHOT: 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area vic 062 – downrigging and vertical MAL Lure work for 38 white bass by 9A

**Area vic453 – downrigging and vertical MAL Lure work for 16 white bass from 9A to 11A (with only 2 fish after 10:25)

 

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

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#Fitec

HAIL TO THE CHIEF — 70 FISH CPR’d @ STILLHOUSE; MAL LURE GETS A WORKOUT

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, September 1st, I fished with first-time guest Chuck Kimble, the Chief of Police for the City of Killeen. Chief Kimble celebrated his third anniversary in that position today.

Aside from Chuck’s current status as a public servant, he is also a U.S. Army veteran, as is his wife. The Kimbles came to Central Texas a few years ago from Fayetteville, NC, just outside the gates of Ft. Bragg.

Chuck recently bought a pre-owned Bayliner and is slowly getting into fishing as time allows, so, he came not only to catch fish, but to learn new approaches to catching fish this morning.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   Chuck Kimble with some mature white bass we took in deep water on MAL Lures.  Chartreuse did the trick today under 100% grey cloud cover.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED:  Today the weather “wrinkled” on us a bit versus the “cookie-cutter” weather we’ve enjoyed since the passage of last week’s hurricane-influenced weather.  The winds were up early and strong this morning, and we dealt with 100% grey cloud cover all morning, as well.

The fish were still generally in the same pattern, but the topwater feeding activity was much reduced today as the winds and cloud cover made the surface more difficult for gamefish to pin bait against. Generally, we downrigged from 6:50 until about 8:00, then found white bass heavily schooled both on bottom and suspended and worked MAL Lures through them until around 9:20. 

We then moved to an area I’d not fished yet this summer and alternated between downrigging and using MAL Lures to close out the trip with exactly 70 white bass landed.

The use of Garmin LiveScope in downward mode absolutely helped put more fish in the boat as we were able to very precisely time the rise of our lures through horizontally moving schools of white bass.  We were also able to track the rise and fall of our lures 100% of the time, thus allowing us to continue retrieving when we saw we were getting followed, and, on the other hand, stop a retrieve short and allow it to return to bottom once we saw no fish expressed interest.

TALLY: 70 white bass caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   About 20 terns were helpful in finding active fish between 8:00 and 9:15.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES: 

Start Time:  6:25A

End Time: 10:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Elevation:  2.95′ low, -0.06′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 prior to sunrise, slowly increasing to SSW 15 by 9:15, then gusting higher thereafter.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 99% illumination (full moon -1)

GT = 5

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 853 – low light downrigging

**Area 062 to 071 – MAL Lures worked vertically for bottom-hugging and suspended fish

**Area vic 912/1133 – MAL Lures worked vertically for bottom-hugging and suspended fish

**Area 1222 to 668  – alternated between MAL Lure vertical work and downrigging horizontal work

 

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

TECHNIQUE IS EVERYTHING — 51 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 31st, I fished with first-time guest Mark Kieckhafer who brought his 2 sons, Zach (17) and Connor (16), and his girlfriend’s 2 sons, Mason Severn (14), and Griffin Severn (12).

Mark, who has worked for Wilsonart, a decorative laminate manufacturer, in Temple, for over 20 years now, came in a support role to help me help the boys be successful.

PHOTO CAPTION #1:   Zach Kieckhafer, Connor Kieckhafer, Mason Severn, and Griffin Severn with a portion of our 51 fish take this morning on Stillhouse.    

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

HOW WE FISHED:   Given the boys’ ages, their prior fishing experience, and how the fishing went this past weekend, I thought we’d be better off at Stillhouse today in pursuit of quality white bass.  

TALLY: 51 fish caught and released (50 white bass, 1 freshwater drum)

OBSERVATIONS:  Largemouth on top, white bass on bottom for middle 2 hours of the trip.  A flock of ~6-7 terns helped us stay on fish in the choppy water, complete with occasional whitecaps.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:  I could basically cut-and-paste Saturday’s notes here with little variation.  Thanks to stable weather, the fish did the same things at the same times and in the same places as they did over the weekend again today.

We began downrigging for suspended fish found in splintered wolfpacks through about 7:50, taking those fish on twin 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons worked at 27-30 feet.  

By 7:50, there was enough light on the water to get the deep bite going on bottom, and abundant shad schools began to show there, as well.

We used MAL Lures in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope to “zig when we needed to zig” — as the LiveScope certainly helps the angler in correctly timing the rise of his bait off bottom so as to intersect with fish moving horizontally.  It seemed the chartreuse MAL Lure had a bit of an edge over the white, perhaps due to the grey cloud cover which was in greater abundance today than over the weekend.

I emphasized over and over to the boys that, when working vertically for white bass, technique is everything.  I provided examples and gentle reminders about using the proper cadence, about how to start the MAL Lure’s blade spinning, how to keep fish from dropping off at the boat, and more.  By the last half of the trip all four boys were remaining tangle-free and landing just about every fish that hit.

The bite weakened around 9:45  — it took us nearly 25 minutes via downrigging to land our last two fish (which turned into 3 fish) as we tried to get our tally to 50 before wrapping up, as the vertical bite completely fell apart by then.

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 82F

Elevation:  2.89′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW8 prior to sunrise, slowly increasing to SSW 13, then gusting .

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 97% illumination

GT = 55

Wx SNAPSHOT:    

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 854 – SH0058C – low light downrigging

**Area 062-194 – vertical work with MAL Lures for whites under largemouth

**Area 1427 – vertical work with MAL Lures for whites under largemouth

**Area 258 – last 2 fish caught here on the slope from among a larger, disinterested group

  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

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#Fitec

MY SWEET LITTLE BROTHER … THE POTLICKER!!! — 103 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday evening, August 29th, I fished for a second time with the entire Olds family from the Austin area.  Joining me this evening were Brian, Tasha, Katelyn (age 12) and Connor (age 8).  They previously came out with me back in November of 2016.

Both Brian and Tasha work in the computer industry, and 2020 has been a very busy one for them thus far. 

They got to squeeze in a few vacation days for the first time in a long time last week, and wanted to do this fishing trip together before the busyness of the new school years with sports-filled weekends, etc. kicks in.  

PHOTO CAPTION #1: The Olds Family — August 2020

PHOTO CAPTION #2: The Olds Family — November 2016  

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

HOW WE FISHED:   As I thought ahead on how to conduct this trip and keep the kids engaged, my chief concern was the combination of very hot weather and the possibility of slow action in the first half of the trip, leaving the kids too worn out to enjoy the typically solid action from white bass about 1.5 to 2 hours prior to sunset.

Since the kids fished with me previously in November, and since that was 4 years ago, I thought doing something different on this trip would keep them engaged, so, I chose a few shaded areas where I felt our chances at catching sunfish would be strong.  Sunfish typically fall out of my catch by mid-October, but, the hotter the water, the better they bite. We hit two shallow water areas using bream poles and, with Brian’s capable assistance, we kept both Connor and Katelyn on the fish for a full 2+ hours, landed bluegill sunfish, green sunfish, and 1 longear sunfish.

As the kids fished, I noted that Connor had a “tendency” to flip his rig right into the same spot Katelyn had just pulled a sunfish from instead of fishing with confidence in his own areas.  I chuckled when I saw this and told the kids that in the fishing world, this is called “potlicking” and that a person engaged in potlicking is called a potlicker. 

Defined, a potlicker is someone who, instead of having the confidence in their own abilities to find and catch fish, simply looks for others who have found fish and then horns in, uninvited, on top of the person who has already put the work.  After introducing the term, as siblings will, each accused the other fairly routinely of potlicking for the remainder of our trip. Potlicking aside, the kids boated 62 sunfish.

Around 6:30-6:45 we shifted gears and changed our focus to hunting white bass in open water using downriggers.  The fishing was pretty straightforward as we used 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.  We got right into fish after setting the balls to depth, and the frequency of our hookups increased as dark approached.  We took singles, doubles and two sets of triples right up until dark, putting 41 white bass in the boat. 

You can bet the sibs were quite competitive on the downrigging fish count, as well!!  

TALLY: 70 fish caught and released (69 white bass, 1 largemouth bass)

OBSERVATIONS: No observed topwater action.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  4:30PM

End Time: 8:30PM

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 100F

Elevation:  2.75′ low, -0.05′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  86.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE8.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 86% illumination

GT = 50

Wx SNAPSHOT:  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area B0032G and B0036G 62 sunfish in first 2 hours

**Area 085 – center of mass for evening downrigging for white bass.  Fished out deeper than this area up to around 7:50, then moved on the shallow side of this area for the last minutes of light.    

 

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

WHITE BASS MOSH PIT – 70 FISH @ STILLHOUSE

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, August 29th, I fished with brothers Stiles and Miles Parker from the Austin area.

Stiles works in the building supply industry, and Miles works in the custom auto industry.  The two share a boat and do a bit of fishing on their own, usually on Decker Lake east of Austin.  Today was, at their request, more of a learning trip than a catching trip, although the catching went very well.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: Stiles (left) and Miles Parker with a few of the white bass we downrigged for early in the morning before the vertical bite kicked in allowing us to work MAL Lures beneath the boat for even more fish.

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Miles with a rare 16.25 inch long white bass.  I see 15,000 to 18,000 fish come over the side of my boat each year from Belton and Stillhouse, and not 3 of them will reach this size — a real prize!

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

HOW WE FISHED:   The first 75 minutes of the morning was straight downrigging with 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.   As the skies brightened and the wind picked up from the S, then swung SSW, the bite improved as the fish moved onto a deep flat with largemouth working shad near the surface, and white bass working shad near bottom.  

We swapped back and forth between downrigging to find concentrations of bottom-hugging white bass and Spot-Locking atop them to work MAL Lures (white and chartreuse — it didn’t matter which) through them vertically. The fellows were really blown away as I introduced them to Garmin LiveScope technology. 

With the settings set where I have them, we were able to see all of our lures simultaneously, as well as several feet fore and aft of the boat down in ~40 feet of water.  This allowed us to see schools of white bass cruising toward us, thus allowing us to time the rise of our MAL Lures precisely to get bit — just like “leading” a flying bird while shooting a shotgun. On multiple occasions we had large, dense schools of white bass (several hundred in number) bass directly beneath us.  Stiles nicknamed these “mosh pit whites”. 

Whenever the action slowed, we downrigged, found more fish tight to the bottom, and then switched over to vertical work once again. The bite was just about done as 10:30 rolled around, so, once our 70th fish came over the gunwale around that time, we called it an “educational” morning, and headed on in.

TALLY: 70 fish caught and released (69 white bass, 1 largemouth bass)  

OBSERVATIONS:  Black bass on top meant white bass on bottom.  

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Elevation:  2.80′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.0F

Wind Speed & Direction: S4-5 through around 8:45, then increasing to 8-9 and shifting SSW.

Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous with 86% illumination

GT = 65

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1976 to SH0031G to 854 – downrigging with balls around 29 for suspended fish

**Area 070 – first stop for vertical work with MAL Lures

**Area vic SH0033G – vicinity of widespread largemouth/white bass action  

 

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

FROM ROOKIE TO AMATEUR IN 4 HOURS FLAT – 101 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Tuesday, August 25th, I fished with Shane Stovall and his sons, 14-year-old Connor, and 10-year-old Cooper, all of Salado, TX.

Shane works as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) for a local hospital, and was referred to me by Clint Tippett, who makes his living as an anesthesiologist, and also brought his sons, Carson and Carter, out with me back in July.

The boys slowly but surely warmed up to white bass fishing after being sluggish early on.  Their dad and I kidded them about getting lazy and too used to sleeping in over their 5-month-long Spring Break, courtesy of COVID-19!

Perhaps this morning was a good “dry run” for when Salado schools go back in session next week!?

Over the course of the morning, Cooper’s confidence level rose and, after my father-and-sons crew boated their 4th “triple” (three fish caught simultaneously on the 3-armed umbrella rig), he exclaimed, “I think I’ve gone from rookie to amateur.”  He then double-checked that statement with his dad to make sure he’d indicated positive progress. 

 

PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left: Connor, Cooper, and Shane Stovall with a portion of their 101-fish catch on Lake Belton during the last week of their 5-month Spring Break. WHEN WE FISHED: 25 August, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED:   I’ve been doing more sonar training than fishing lately, given the unstable weather we’ve been experiencing.  Today was the “calm before the storm” in regards to weather in that the impacts of Hurricane Laura are due to be felt beginning tomorrow.

Although the winds were northeasterly today, this was not caused by frontal activity, and, as such, the fish fed well all morning, right up through around 10:50A. We began our day looking for low-light topwater action and found it.  We were able to both downrig around the outskirts of the action for singles and doubles on white bass taken on my 3-armed umbrella rigs, as well as stop over top of several schools of white bass to work MAL Lures through them vertically. We wound up with 31 fish during this low-light bite before the sun got high enough to kill this bite.

We moved on and found fish the remainder of the morning at each of the 3 additional location we searched, but all locations held primarily small fish.  After encountering our first batch of small fish (landing 5), we changed up and headed up shallow to fish for sunfish to give the boys some variety from what was fairly slow downrigging at that point.  I used this time to give the white bass some time to get into more of a feeding mode, hoping either wind, cloud cover, or both might develop. The boys did great at sunfishing for first-timers.  They wound up boating 40 sunfish, including a mix of bluegill, longears, redears, and greens. 

Around 9:30AM, we broke from that and once again pursued white bass.  By this time our fish count stood at 36 white bass and 40 sunfish.

We hit two more areas between 9:30 and 10:50AM, finding ample fish and bait at both.  At both areas small white bass were seen routinely corralling fish to the surface and feeding on them briefly before continuing the pursuit underwater and out of sight.  Also on the nearly calm surface we could see abundant shad feeding in pods right at the surface.

By the time the 4-hour mark rolled around, we’d landed 94 fish and were doing pretty good, albeit still on small fish.  I asked the boys, who by now were sweating through their clothes, if they wanted to press on to try for a 100 fish morning.  They never batted an eye and gave me the thumbs-up. In under 8 minutes we landed another 7 fish, putting our final tally at 101 fish for the morning.

TALLY: 101 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  An abundance of shad feeding on the surface under near-calm conditions from 9AM on were noted this morning.

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:55A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 73F

Elevation:  2.57′ low, -0.05′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  83.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: Light winds under 3mph from the ENE due to counter-clockwise rotation of the atmosphere impacted by Hurricane Laura

Sky Condition: Clear blue skies and low humidity

Moon Phase: First quarter with 47% illumination

GT = 30

Wx SNAPSHOT:

  

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 1781 – initial contact with low-light topwater fish

**Area vic 903 – combination of downrigging and working MAL Lures vertically for low-light fish away from the crowd

**Area vic B0040C – downrigging in ~22′ for smallish fish — moved on

**Area B0034G – 40 sunfish

**Area vic 1097 – downrigging for small whites

**Area 475-477 – downrigging for small 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

#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

Pre-frontal? Post-frontal? What’s it gonna be? 51 fish @ Belton

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 17th, I fished with Shane LaCanne and his 7-year-old son, Fisher, of Salado.  This was a “Kids Fish, Too!” package trip, tailored just for elementary-aged kids.  Such trips have a reduced duration and a reduced price tag versus adult trips.

Shane brought both of his boys out with me once before, but this trip was just for Fisher, in celebration of his birthday back in July.

Today’s big story was the weather.  Last night, a cold front pushed through very suddenly with brief, strong winds and a bit of rain.  As we were on the southernmost extreme of that system, no sooner did the front pass, than our winds, which blew NW from around 2:30A to 3:15A, turned right back around out of the south. It is really hard to classify this as pre-frontal, because it wasn’t until around 9:30AM that the winds finally changed to a northerly component for keeps.  At that time the fishing, which was average this morning, began to sour quickly.

One thing is for sure, I will be doing sonar training on Tuesday and Wednesday to avoid the no-doubt tough fishing over the next 2 days with light northerly winds and bright, cloudless skies!  

PHOTO CAPTION #1:  7-year-old Fisher LaCanne and his dad, Shane, with the two best fish Fisher landed on our 51-fish outing under “squirrely” wind and weather conditions.

WHEN WE FISHED: 17 August, 2020, AM

WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton

HOW WE FISHED:  The crazy weather definitely impacted the early morning, low-light topwater bite, as it was essentially non-existent this morning.  I spotted only 2 instances of topwater feeding whites all morning, both of which were witnessed after 8AM and only for a few seconds. So, we moved back out to mid-depths, found shad, and began to work near where bait was abundant, but not relaxed (meaning, it was balled up and in a defensive posture). 

We downrigged for a solid hour, putting 17 white bass and 1 blue cat in the boat, all the while never finding a single scenario which convinced me to pull up the ‘riggers and go vertical with MAL Lures.  Since most of these fish were on the small side anyway, we left these fish to look for greener pastures.

The second area we fished was more productive, and was also later in time from the early morning’s frontal passage.  Again, we found abundant bait and that bait was in balls, up off bottom.  I intended to begin searching with ‘riggers down, but almost immediately came upon a sizeable school of bottom-hugging white bass which I felt certain would respond to a smoking tactic with MAL Lures.  We got the boat in a hover over these fish, let the lures down, and the fish were all over them.

Over the next 90 minutes we alternated between downrigging to find schools of bottom-dwelling white bass and then fishing vertically for them as long as they would bite.  We added another 33 white bass to our catch. The catch rate began to slow rapidly around 9:30 when the winds finally took on a northerly direction after swinging from S, through W in the time between pre-dawn and 9:30.

In our final 45 minutes on the water, we caught only 6 fish, and all of them came on the downrigger as we had to get our baits in front of a mess of disinterested fish in order to strain out a few still willing to bite.

TALLY: 51 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: 

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:30A

End Time: 10:15A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F

Elevation:  2.19′ low, -0.01′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  84.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: S12 before sunrise, calming to S6 shortly thereafter, then slowly shifting SSW, SW, W, then WNW by 9:30A Sky Condition: ~15% white cloud cover with light blue skies and low humidity

Moon Phase: Waning crescent with 3% illumination; 2 days ’til new moon

GT = 25

Wx SNAPSHOT:  Two wx snapshots I took today; one taken at 4AM, the other at 6AM, as the wind forecast direction changed drastically:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area  vic B0133C to B0024G – 18 fish via downrigging with many small fish in the mix

**Area vic 788 – 2+ hours of catching, tapering sharply around 9:30A with a windshift to the NW

 

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

TURKEY SHOOT!! – 232 FISH @ BELTON

WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Monday, August 10th, I fished with Pastor Robert Butts, his 17-year-old son, Jack, and long-time client Marcus Mitchell, all of Georgetown. Robert leads the Union Hall Baptist Church, located in Liberty Hill, TX.  Marcus works for a company which produces products to track down “bugs” in complex computer server systems, and Jack is entering his senior year of high school.

 

  PHOTO CAPTION #1: From left:  Marcus Mitchell, Robert Butts, and Jack Butts with a sampling of their 232-fish haul from Lake Belton, taken on the new MAL Lures.

 

PHOTO CAPTION #2: Although I don’t like to target them in the summer due to poor survivability and concerns about delayed mortality, hybrid still show up in the mix with white bass routinely.

WHEN WE FISHED: 10 August, 2020, AM

 

WHERE WE FISHED: Belton Lake

 

HOW WE FISHED: I panicked a bit this morning when, at 6:19AM (with a planned trip start time of 6:30AM), Marcus let me know his party would be delayed due to a car fire on U.S. Hwy. 190 which had morning traffic backed up.   

As it was, this delay only cost them about 10 minutes, but, when low-light topwater action lasts only for a brief 40-50 minute window, I was concerned that the nice catch and fast action which normally accompany that would be jeopardized this morning. When everyone arrived, they hustled to the boat.  I postponed my safety briefing, but not my prayer, and then we took off for the fishing grounds. 

Over the next 50 minutes, we enjoyed non-stop catching to the tune of exactly 40 white bass landed, all on my new MAL Lures (found: here). When the sun hit the water, the fish hit the road and shut down in this locale.  We went searching for fish away from the crowd and found good results in two distinct locations.  My plan was to cover water with the downriggers to find active fish and then fish for them vertically with MAL Lures.  However, sonar revealed fish ready to feed before we even got ‘riggers in the water.  I Spot-Locked on these fish, initially in 28 feet of water, and we went to work with the MAL Lures simply dropping and reeling them up, expecting strikes as the lures rose off bottom.  When the fish slowed a bit, I jogged us 2 or 3 boat lengths deeper to ~32 feet and we kept right on nailing fish. I had Garmin LiveScope playing so the fellows could know when to crank their lures up as fish passed by.  As one particularly large, suspended school of fish passed beneath the boat, Marcus exclaimed, “Oh, man, it’s a turkey shoot!”.  It was a pretty wild morning.

By the time the fish slacked off in this area, we’d taken exactly 119 more fish for a tally of 159 fish by 9:30AM.  A thorough sonar scrub of the area revealed that the fish departed this area very shortly following a wind shift from S to SW.

We moved on to one final location where I’d been finding some fish suspended in over 40 feet of water in the late morning last week.  Again, my intent was to downrig to find fish and then work MAL Lures through them to capitalize on what we’d found.  As we downrigged, I noted a large shoal of fish off to our left with my side-imaging manually set to 130 feet to the left and right.  I set a waypoint on the center of mass of these fish, then used the i-Pilot Link system to send the trolling motor to the waypoint with GPS precision.  As the boat moved, we cleared the two white bass which struck the downriggers as we made our way to the fish, stowed the trolling gear, and got ready to work the MAL Lures vertically. 

Long story short, in our final 40 minutes on the water Robert, Jack, and Marcus bagged another 73 fish, including 2 hybrid stripers and 71 white bass, to end the 4-hour trip with a take of 232 fish, every last one of which were released.

TALLY: 232 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:   Temperature profile from surface to 60′:

0 feet 84F

5 feet 84.8F

10 feet 85F

15 feet 85F

20 feet 85F

25 feet 84.7F

30 feet 83.7F

35 feet 81.2F

45 feet 76.4F

45 feet 72.1F

50 feet 69.1F

55 feet 67.4F

60 feet 66.6F

TODAY’S CONDITIONS/NOTES:

Start Time:  6:40A

End Time: 10:40A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F

Elevation:  1.86′ low, -0.04′ 24-hour change, 51 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp:  82.9F

Wind Speed & Direction: S11 before sunrise, increasing slowly to S13, the shifting and increasing to SW13-14 around 9AM

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous with 61% illumination

GT = 75

 

Wx SNAPSHOT:

 

AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:

**Area 813 to B0018G- aggressive low-light topwater action — 40 fish in ~50 minutes

**Area vic 788 – 2 short hops; vertical work with MAL Lures — 119 fish in ~90 minutes **Area vic 1411 – one Spot-Lock; vertical work with MAP Lures — 73 fish in ~40 minutes  

 

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