Bob Maindelle Guide Lines Dec. 10

Retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Mac McElroy, of Harker Heights, and his party landed 87 fish Monday during ideal pre-frontal conditions on Belton Lake. His guide, Bob Maindelle, uses each and every one of the items mentioned in this article to consistently put clients on fish year-round on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.

Courtesy | Holding the Line Guide Service

If you are reading this column, I will assume you are interested in fishing. The problem for anglers, however, is that the ones buying your Christmas presents may not be so interested in the sport.

This is the kind of disconnect that finds a tournament angler desiring a landing net for Christmas being on the receiving end of a cast net instead; or a serious weekend angler hoping for a particular high-end crankbait being presented instead with a tub of stinkbait.

To help you avoid such holiday woes, I have composed a listing of gift ideas ranging from $5 to $5,000.

You will simply need to cut this out of the Sunday paper, circle or highlight the item you are interested in and leave it in a conspicuous place for your gift-giving loved one to “discover.”

$5 Gift

A 6-inch-long pair of stainless steel, curved-tip hemostats. These are invaluable for removing hooks from fish which become deeply hooked. The curved tip is superior to straight tipped versions as they allow you to see into the fish’s mouth better as you do not block your own view due to the offset design.

If you are still using needle-nosed pliers, this is the gift for you.

Search “curved hemostat” at for a variety of options.

$10 Gift

The Carhartt C-Touch glove liner is a thin, stretchy, warm glove perfect for fishing in 25- to 50-degree weather. The forefinger has a conductive pad built into it to allow for the use of touchscreens on phones and sonar units. The product is classified as a “liner,” but I use it as-is. After trying a bunch of similar products, I like this one best.

Search “C-Touch” at

$15 Gift

The T-Reign stainless steel accessory retractor allows the angler to attach commonly used accessories (hemostats, line cutters, etc.) to his person via a carabiner. Use the accessory attached to it by pulling against the well-made retracting spool, and stow the accessory by releasing it and allowing the spring-loaded spool to retract and snug the accessory back to its original position on a belt loop, lanyard, boat console, pedestal seat, etc.

Search "T-Reign” at

$20 Gift

The RoboCup is a two-cup holder made with industrial strength, spring-loaded jaws which allowed those padded jaws to grip onto any vertical, tubular accessory on your boat such as a bow rail support, a handrail, a pedestal seat base, etc. The two-tiered cup holders can hold anything from a narrow water bottle to a large foam cup or other commonly accessed accessories.

Search “RoboCup” at

$50 Gift

The Z-Launch is just the thing for anglers routinely launching their boat by themselves. This is essentially a super-strong “bungee” cord with a carabiner on either end. One clip attaches to the bow eye on the boat, and the other clip attaches to the trailer winch strap. With the Z-Launch attached, the driver backs the boat and trailer slowly into the water, the boat floats off the trailer and backwards The driver then pulls forward and the boat centers itself behind the trailer and beaches right on the boat ramp.

Search "Z-launch" at

$100 Gift

The Ambassadeur 5500 LC line counter-style casting reel is an indispensable tool for those who troll, downrig or fish with live bait. The durable, accurate line counting device allows you to precisely meter the amount of line let out and retrieved. The reel is built on Abu-Garcia’s time-tested 5500 series frame and, unlike many reels in this smaller freshwater size, is made of metal, not graphite.

Search “5500 LC” at

$200 Gift

The Cannon Easi-Troll manual downrigger allows the angler to present even lightweight baits at exact depths and keep them there indefinitely while trolling slowly forward. This is the single most effective tactic for summertime white bass on our Central Texas reservoirs once the thermocline develops.

Search “Easi-Trol” at

$350 Gift

If you are still lifting lids, digging around in your battery compartment and fooling with alligator clips after every fishing trip to charge your batteries, the Minn Kota 3-bank, 15 amps per bank battery charger is just the gift for you. Ring connectors allow you to connect positive and negative leads from the charger housing mounted in your boat to each of your batteries. When you return from a fishing trip, you simply plug the charger’s three-pronged cord into an extension cord leading to your house power, and you are done. The charger controls the amperage and maintains the battery even in cold, longterm storage situations.

Search Minn Kota MK-345PC at

$500 Gift

A compact, quality spotting scope is essential for spotting bird activity and distant topwater feeding activity. The Leupold GR 10-20X40 spotting scope is small, rugged, nitrogen sealed and adjusts from 10 power to 20 power and can do extra duty while hunting or at the gun range.

Search Leupold GR at

$1,000 Gift

Lithium-ion technology represents the state of the art when it comes to portable 12-volt battery power in a lightweight package. I have used a set of four 12-volt lithium ion batteries on my guide boat without a single issue for 2½ years of well-above- average usage. These can be charged without specialized charging equipment, weigh a fraction of what a lead-acid battery does, and are designed for 3,000 to 5,000 discharge/recharge cycles.

Search “12V 80AH” at

$1,700 Gift

Having an i-Pilot equipped trolling motor complete with its Spot-Lock capabilities is a real-game changer for the angler who either has no trolling motor or is still using a foot- or hand-controlled trolling motor.

The Minn Kota Terrova trolling motor comes in various sizes, voltages and shaft lengths. The 24-volt, 80-pound thrust model with a 45-inch long shaft will perform well on most boats around 20-feet long. Once the Spot Lock button is pressed, the motor steers and powers itself to keep the boat in a hovering position freeing the angler to focus on presentation.

Search “Terrova” on

$3,500 to $5,000 Gift

Current state-of- the art fishing sonar by Lowrance or Humminbird allows the angler to use mapping, traditional colored sonar, down-looking sonar and side-looking sonar all at the same time on large 12-to 16-inch screens.

Search “Humminbird Solix” (about $3,500) at or Lowrance Carbon 16” ($4,999) at

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