Another Awesome Pre-Frontal Trip, Stillhouse, 128 Fish, 29 Nov. 2010

In advance of another cold front due in tonight, today’s winds started off calm, then began to push from the SW, then W, then NW. The start of fish activity coincided with the start of the winds and the intensity of the bite increased with the wind’s velocity. I put exactly 127 white bass and 1 largemouth bass in the boat today, all on TNT180’s, most via a smoking tactic, and the rest via a jigging approach.

This 5.75 pound largemouth was ghosting along in a school of white bass, and by the looks of it had consumed at least one unlucky neighbor. This fish took a white and chartreuse 3/4 oz. slab (a TNT 180).

This is what all four of the productive areas I fished looked like before I dropped a slab down.

Fishing was flat (as in — I didn’t boat a single fish — kind of flat) until 9:15. It was at this time that the calm murk and sprinkles cleared out and the first wind of the day began out of the SW.

I boated fish at 4 different areas; each stop was the same … I found ample fish holding off bottom so as to be easily recognizable on sonar. I then dropped a slab and jigged enough to stir up interest, and then used a smoking tactic to catch fish until they lost interest, after which time I would jig again until the school turned off entirely.

Fish were found at:

Area 546: 40 fish

Area 078: 26

Area 089: 4 fish (didn’t stay here long; only small suspended fish were found)

Area 697: 32 fish

Area 698: 26 fish

TALLY = 128 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:15am

End Time: 1:45p

Air Temp: 62.6F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~64.1F

Wind: Winds began at 9:15 and transitioned from SW5 to NNW13.

Skies: Skies were murky grey to the point of light precip until 9:15 when a fairly rapid transition to clear and fair began.

Fished There … Caught That … Got the T-Shirt — Belton, 66 Fish, 27 Nov. 2010

Today saw the return of southerly winds following our coldest cold front of the season thus far. Overnight temperatures dropped to 30F and we had our first area-wide hard frost last night. I chose to fish in the afternoon to avoid the calm conditions forecast through noon today.

I took a houseful of Thanksgiving guests out for a quick afternoon run at the white bass. My nephew, Trent, my brother, Andy, and Andy’s father-in-law, Bill from Atlanta, GA, all came aboard today.

Jeff Warren of Salado Creek Outfitters is giving away logo T-shirts with purchases over $20. I posed in mine with my Belton Lake slab-caught crappie. Yes, that’s a TNT180 3/4 oz. white & chartreuse slab he took a swipe at, and yes, Jeff’s the only guy in town that sells them!

Bill, holding the fish, flanked by Trent (R) and Andy (L) said he swore off any more “bobbers from the bank” routines after this, his first experience pursuing fish by boat at age 66.

Long story short, we just had a fun time chasing birds and letting them point the way to fish today. We found our first bunch of fish via sonar at Area 691 and jigged for 11 fish (10 whites and a crappie).

Later, after 3:30 and until just before sunset, two distinct flocks of birds worked over two different areas, Area 694 and 695/696, and led us to a nice mess of small whites (and 1 short black bass), all caught via a smoking retrieve on 3/8 and 3/4 oz. TNT180’s. These active fish pushed bait up into water as shallow as 13 feet.

By sunset, all was quiet.

TALLY = 66 Fish, all caught and released


Start Time: 2:15pm

End Time: 5:35p

Air Temp: 58F at trip’s start..

Water Surface Temp: ~63.5F

Wind: Winds were S6-7.

Skies: Skies were clear and blue.

Belton Pre-Frontal Fishing was Awesome Despite Wind – 143 FISH

Compressional heating of the atmosphere and high pre-frontal winds are sure-fire clues that a heavy feed is going to take place and today it played out perfectly.

Bob and Bobbie tag teamed 126 fish today including several magnum white bass measuring right at 14 inches.

Bob displays the two largest white bass we boated today — both were long, thick, and healthy.

Robert W., a Killeen-Shoemaker High School teacher and his daughter, Bobbie, a freshman trackster at Southern Alabama near Mobile whose events include shotput, discus, and hammer-throwing, joined me today for one of our most productive trips of the year.

I got out to Belton around 10am and drove to several boat ramps and observed the wind. It was clear that safety and boat control were going to be very real concerns today. I launched and sought out the very limited number protected areas that would produce fish this time of year, and was very fortunate to find a solid congregation of fish at just west of Area 382 in 26-27 feet of water. I fished over this school for only about 25 minutes and boated 17 fish including 2 keeper hybrid and 15 keeper white bass. I then left these fish alone feeling pretty confident that they would turn off at midday and then turn back on in the late afternoon, and awaited Bob and Bobbie’s arrival.

The pair arrived at around 1:30. We did a dockside introduction to vertical jigging and then headed out after the fish. I commented to Bobbie that I could tell she was an athlete. She really listened to the nuances of the techniques I explained to her; she was able to duplicate the technique necessary to fool the fish consistently, and she remained very focused the entire time.

Within minutes of returning to Area 382, I ran sonar, located fish, dropped a buoy, and we began jigging, boating 4 smallish white bass immediately. We widened the radius of our search out to Area 691 and continued pulling fish, although the pace was slow as these fish were in a neutral mood. For variety’s sake, we spent a short time downrigging in this same general vicinity just to introduce the pair to that method, although the heavy chop on the water made it near impossible for the uninitiated to see a bite in the wildly moving rod tips. We boated two whites and left the downrigging behind.

As the afternoon progressed, the activity level of the increased, reaching a fevered pitch between 3pm and 4:45pm. During this entire time, we were able to leave the jigging behind and use a smoking tactic to boat fish after fish after fish at Areas 619, 692, 381, and 693.

By the time the feed began to taper to nil around 5:05p, we’d boated 126 fish including a number of solid 14 inch long white bass. This trip had an unusually low percentage of the catch made up by hybrid. We boated only 2 more legal hybrid and only a handful of short hybrid, the remainder of the catch was all white bass, and those were of mixed sizes.

From 5:05 until we headed for home at around 5:35, we downrigged back at Area 691 with large Pets trying to target hybrid, and although sonar showed plenty of fish still here, we did not have any takes on our outsized baits.

This trip was originally scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, but, as I looked at the forecast and saw poor conditions coming, I offered to adjust the timing of our trip to hit the pre-frontal fishing. Fortunately, Bob’s schedule was flexible and that adjustment paid off for us big time.

TALLY = 143 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 11:15a

End Time: 5:350p

Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start, rising to the low 80’s.

Water Surface Temp: ~67F

Wind: Winds were S17 at launch time and cranked up to S22 around 1:30-2:30p.

Skies: Skies were ~80% cloudy through noon, clearing to 50% cloudy thereafter.

Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide Report – 22 Nov. 2010 – 66 Fish

With a fairly stiff southerly breeze blowing for the first time since the last cold front’s passage, I was anticipating good fishing this morning.

I headed out and specifically looked for birds but found no bird activity whatsoever. So, the options then are to use past experience and sonar to grind it out and hunt the fish down. This time of year is typically tougher than at other times because fish hold so close to the bottom when they are not actively feeding. As the sonar screen shot below shows, there is just not much there to go on, and, if you add wave action, even high resolution colored sonar can miss such fish.

This Lowrance HDS 10 sonar screen shot shows white bass hold extremely close to the bottom. The sliver of yellow (produced by sound bouncing off of the air bubble in the fishes’ swim bladders) is the only thing that distinguishes these fish from the bottom.

Regardless, I found fish in three areas and caught fish consistently at each of them. At Area 537/545 I found the most active white bass of the trip in 18-22 feet of water and they responded well to a smoking tactic once I got the first few stirred up via a jigging approach. I boated 30 fish here and left these fish biting while still inside the feeding window so I could get a fair read on other locations.

I found suspended, smallish white bass holding over the feature at Area 148 and boated 10, and then left to find other fish.

At ARea 067/073 I again found bottom hugging fish, got them stirred up with a jigging tactic, then cleaned up with a smoking tactic, putting exactly 25 in the boat here before the bite began to die off quickly.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, here’s something to take serious note of: Fish only have short feeding windows over the course of a given day. Wind, light, pressure and other variables serve to shorten or lengthen that window. If you ever hope to find new, fish holding areas that will produce for you in the future, you MUST EXPLORE THESE NEW AREAS WHILE FISH ARE IN A FEEDING MODE. This means leaving biting fish to gamble on finding other fish that you’re not as certain about. That takes a bit of discipline.

Obviously, I’d never do this with clients on board, but do this very regularly when fishing scouting trips by myself.

The average angler’s tendency is to stay on top of biting fish as long as he can, then, look for more biting fish once those fish he’s located stop biting. However, it is probable that the whole population of fish in a lake is behaving in a similar manner at a given time. That makes it very tough to find “new areas” if the only time you hunt for them is when fish have already turned off.

On my way back to the dock I stopped briefly at Area 567 looking for white bass in deeper water. I found bait here, so, I dropped a slab and came up with a drum. No white bass were apparent, so, I wrapped it up at that point.

TALLY = 66 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:45a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp: 72F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~65.4F

Wind: Winds were S13 and humid.

Skies: Skies were ~80% cloudy and there was a balmy feel to the morning.


I fished with Englishman Richard H. today, originally from Sheffield, U.K., and his son, Alec. I suppose, then, that I could blame the London fog we had shrouding us the first two hours of the day on these chaps! Indeed, I’ve never in 18 years fishing on Belton and Stillhouse found fish feeding aggressively during foggy conditions and today was no exception. We struggled to boat just 4 fish in the first 2 hours of the day downrigging between Areas 502 and 509, and near Area 133. However, by around 9:30 things started “looking brighter” literally and figuratively.

Alec boated this 1.50 pound, 14 7/8 inch white bass to clinch the Jr. Angler lake record for Belton Lake, previously set in August of 2008 (1.28 pounds)

Not to be outdone, Richard landed our largest fish of the day, a nice 3.75 pound hybrid that fell for a TNT 180 in the 3/4 oz. size.

Around this time, we headed to Area 551 to 132 and looked along the long east-west breakline here separating 20 foot water from 30 foot water. Sonar showed some interesting signs on bottom near Area 132, so we hovered in this general area and began to pick up fish with a jigging approach. Soon, we began to see action on top (BA: 20HG) and the action ramped up, peaked, and tailed off over a 75 minute period. During this time, we primarily used a smoking technique with both 3/4 and 3/8 oz. TNT 180 slabs to boat 61 fish including a 3.75 pound hybrid striped bass landed by Richard, and a pending new Junior Angler Belton Lake record white bass landed by Alec. It tipped the scales at 1.50 pounds on a certified Boga Grip and measured 14 7/8 inches (mouth shut, tail pinched as required by TPWD). When the smoking tactic cooled off, we jigged, and when the jigging tailed off, the bite was over in this locale so we continued the search.

I looked over one deepwater area, but this entire week deepwater has just not been holding fish. Most all action I’ve found all week has been in 27 feet or less.

We headed to the vicinity of Area 689 and were blessed to discover some topwater action taking place here, too (BA: 5 HG) with fish chasing shad ~3 inches or more in length to the surface and popping at them. These fish were, on average, a bit smaller (~11 inches or so) than we’d found previously, but hit better on the larger 3/4 oz. TNT 180 as it did a better job of imitating the bait they were feeding upon.

By the time this brief flurry had come to a close, we’d boated an additional 18 fish for our efforts. It was now around 11:30 and I didn’t hold much hope that we’d see any more action from this point through midday, so we called it a great morning with 83 fish boated including the new lake record, and headed back to the dock.

TALLY = 83 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:05a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp: 58F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~62.9F

Wind: Winds were S at 7 at sunrise, increasing to S11 for the remainder of the trip.

Skies: Skies were foggy until around 9:15, then went 80% cloudy.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report – 20 Nov. 2010 (PM Trip) – 59 Fish

Following this morning’s fishing trip which concluded around 11:30am, I came off the water and awaited the arrival of my guests for this afternoon’s trip, Mr. Mike B. of Ft. Worth, and his children, Bailey and Blaine. I peeled out of several layers of clothes as the afternoon warmed, broke open my cooler and had some cold, leftover pizza and some green tea to wash it all down with.

Mike and the kids were due in around 2pm, so, I thought I might catch a quick catnap before they arrived. I left the boat tied up at the courtesy dock, the windows rolled down in the truck and fell asleep in the otherwise vacant parking lot. I drifted off only to be awoken at 1:15 by the one-note screech of a distant lone seagull (perhaps only a fishing guide would be tuned into this in his subconscious). I got out my spotting scope and watched as one bird turned into three, as three turned into eight and then as several began to dive to the surface of the water to feed. All of the sudden I went from drowsy to full-throttle. I hustled down to the boat, cranked up, got sonar pinging, made a beeline to the birds, marked fish and got a buoy on top of them. I worked a slab over these fish vertically and also cast out horizontally to try to get an idea of how large the school of fish was, boating 5 white bass and a hybrid striper in the process. I was then hoping that these fish wouldn’t turn off before Mike and the kids arrived. It was now 1:40. Again I was blessed today to look up and see at that moment Mike’s SUV pulling in the parking lot early!! I raced back to the courtesy dock, did a hasty introduction, explained the urgency of the situation and got us back out on top of the buoy and the fish to “make hay while the sun shone”.

Ya’ think he might be happy about that bass he just caught??

Bailey and Blaine with a few of their prized catch taken just after sunset.

Fortunately, the kids had been fishing before, including making a saltwater excursion for some inshore fishing in Florida, so, they both knew how to handle a spinning reel. Long story short, in 1 hour and 40 minutes spent over top of these fish, Bailey and Blaine boated 39 fish including white bass, hybrid striped bass, and largemouth bass, all using 3/4 oz. TNT 180 slabs. All of these fish came via a smoking retrieve from between Areas 676 and 473.

Once things got quiet, we moved on to Area 475 finding little and boating only 2 short hybrid here.

After that, we moved on down to Area 097 and spotted some topwater action (BA: 7HG) and got on top of some fish in 17-19 feet of water. We boated 8 fish here during a brief feed. The topwater action moved further and further west and into shallower and shallower water and we followed right along. By trip’s end the kids were throwing light Rattlin’ Raps and blade baits into 2-9 feet of water for whites and small hybrid up in pretty skinny water out from Area 607 and boated a final 4 more fish here to cap the evening off with 53 fish boated during the trip, not including the 6 I boated while waiting on my guests to arrive.

As the light began to fail, we snapped a few photos of dad and the kids near the waterfall and headed back to the dock.

TALLY = 59 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 1:40p

End Time: 5:35p

Air Temp: 70F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~62.9F

Wind: Winds were S11 for entirety of the trip.

Skies: Skies were about 50% cloudy the entire time.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report – 19 Nov. 2010 – 36 Fish

I fished a half-day morning trip today with brothers Larry and Keith H. The two chose a lake located half-way between them (San Angelo and Houston) and I was the lucky fellow who got to take them out.

Larry holds our best fish of the day, a 3.75 pound hybrid striped bass that hit his 3/4 oz. TNT 180 slab.

Keith poses for a quick shot of one of the many short hybrids we boated today before immediately releasing it. Short or not, these 16-17 inch hybrid put up a great fight on the medium-light spinning tackle we selected.

Although we do have some resident birds (gulls and terns) on Belton now, they weren’t all that helpful early in the morning today as they have been. At 7:20am, just as the sun began to brighten the water, gulls began to circle a bit, but then settled right back down and didn’t give many clues.

We downrigged in the vicinity of Area 024 and picked up 2 white bass but then hit into a dry spell.

I witnessed another boat in the vicinity of Area 302 boating fish briefly, but didn’t want to crowd them, so we left that alone and continued the search.

We struggled for a good while, but then around 10am, things began to turn around. The S. wind reached its peak velocity for the morning, and we began to graph some fish (most suspended ~3 feet off bottom)just NW of Area 080. We stopped and jigged here, picking up one crappie, but, based on the number of suspended fish I was seeing on sonar and the fact that they were responding sluggishly to a slab, we went with a downrigging approach.

Once the downriggers were in and we began to cover some ground, we found suspended fish and bait all through this area from NW of Area 080 to Area 133, all in 19 to 26 feet of water. We boated 7 fish on the downriggers in no time, including white bass, hybrid striper, and largemouth. As we moved along, the shallower we got, the closer the fish were hanging to the bottom. Once we got to 19 and 20 feet deep, the fish were belly on the bottom. This again demanded a slabbing approach, so, I buoyed a congregation of fish and we went to work.

Over the next hour, we boated 24 more fish, again including white bass, hybrid striper, crappie, and largemouth bass. At first, a smoking retrieve did the trick, then, as the fish slowed down, a jigging approach worked best.

We finished up the trip around noon with making another couple downrigger passes after the fish quit hitting the slab altogether. We boated two last small white bass on large Pets and then called it a good day.

TALLY = 36 fish, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:05a

End Time: 112:00noon

Air Temp: 38F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~62.9F

Wind: Winds were S at 7 at sunrise, increasing to S13 at it’s peak around 10:00-10:45.

Skies: Skies were bright and clear today.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report – 13 Nov. 2010 – 44 Fish

I welcomed Taylor T. and Matthew H. back aboard this blustery morning on Belton Lake. A cold front began pushing through around 5:30pm yesterday and steadily cooled and dried the atmosphere and shifted the winds to the NW.

The boys, both in middle school, had fished with me once previously during the warm months when we were mainly downrigging for white bass on Stillhouse. The boys departed from that trip figuring out how they could pool their resources and any birthday clout they might have to come out again with me. I told them at that time that no two trips are alike, and especially if they occur in different seasons. And so it was, this trip was very different from the one they’d experienced previously.

Taylor (L) and Matt (R) with a nearly twin pair of hybrid striped bass that nailed our slabs as we worked over a near-surface school of hybrid forcing shad to the surface in open water.

The boys arrived a bit early, so, we got reacquainted with the equipment while waiting on the sun to rise (which seems to kick things in gear this time of year).

As the sun rose, we spotted fish feeding near the surface and could see large shad (4+ inches) trying to escape the gamefish driving them to the surface, as well as the splashes the gamefish made as the reached the surface and turned back quickly (BA: 24HG). This action began at Area 023, then another burst of activity erupted at Area 027. This school of fish was spread in quite a lengthy ellipse all the way back to between Areas 014 and 016. During the 75 minute span that these fish stayed active, we caught them with 3/4 oz. TNT 180 slabs, with large swimbaits, and 3/4 oz. Cicadas. Regardless of the lure, we counted them down from the surface to about 3/4 of the depth of the water we were in and then did a quick, straight retrieve. These fish were mostly hybrid striped bass from 16 to 19 inches, with occasional smaller hybrid and white bass mixed in. The boys boated 24 fish during this spree.

Once this near-surface action died, we moved to just NW of Area 024 and vertically jigged for 2 more keeper hybrid. By this time Matt’s hands were too cold to handle the reel any longer, so, we switched over to downrigging and boated 3 more fish (1 keeper hybrid and 2 keeper white bass) on large Pets.

When the action in this vicinity died for good, we set out to look for some white bass that we could jig for and found fish at two areas: 686 and 688. Both areas offered the same fishing — smallish white bass and hybrid that would get very briefly excited at the appearance of our slabs for the first few drops, and then quickly lose interest. Between these two areas the boys boated an additional 15 fish by around 10:45, including a keeper largemouth for Matthew. After this time, the fishing really got tough, and, by 11:25 after giving 2 more areas a try with the slabs and after downrigging a bit more in hopes of scratching up just one more active fish amongst all of the inactivity, we called it a great day.

The boys recalled that we’d boated 34 fish on our previous trip, so, with 44 boated this morning, and many of them legal hybrids, this trip saw an improvement in both quality and quantity. The boys left understanding what I meant when I told them no two trips are alike.

I want to congratulate both boys on making the middle school basketball team this week. I guess fish are the only things they can put in a net!!

TALLY = 44 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:20a

Air Temp: 42F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~66.7F

Wind: Winds were NW at 9 at sunrise, increasing to NNW17 by trip’s end.

Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide Report – 12 Nov. 2010 – 67 Fish

While still officially in the middle of my “stay-cation” I awoke to a strong, pre-frontal S. wind this morning and, though I hadn’t really planned to fish, couldn’t pass up these conditions this time of year.

Lowrance downlooking StructureScan on 4x zoom shows these white bass holding in a tight school right near bottom on the windward side of Area 145.

A traditional sonar shot showing 7 jigging strokes near bottom, followed by a fish taking my slab, being reeled to the surface, and being pursued by approximately 13 other schoolmates near Area 175.

I kissed Rebecca goodbye, agreed to meet her back at the house by 10am for home-made waffles, and headed out to Stillhouse.

Long story short, I did a quick troll by Area 116 and boated a nice, 2.25 pound largemouth on a crankbait, but was actually checking for shallow whites, so, finding none, I moved on.

I hit two areas and both were loaded down with fish. First I hit Area 145 and fished the side being impacted by the wind. As often happens this time of year, there was barely of trace of life to be seen on sonar, but, I must say, the confirmation now offered by the downlooking feature on the StructureScan does make that chore easier (albeit still not easy — you really have to look and have all the setting tweaked just right). Anyway, I dropped a slab, jigged it twice and had a fish on. This fish came on so aggressively and there we so many other fish that just materialized after the first on was hooked, that I switched over to the 3/4 oz. slab from the smaller 3/8 oz. I had on, knowing the faster the slab sank, the quicker I’d get another hookup. Well, this continued and I ripped through 38 fish before the frenzy weakened. It was at that time that I put the trolling motor in hover, went back to the console and played around with my electronics in order to capture the images below.

After things went quiet here, I moved on to between Area 067 and 175. Pretty much the same thing happened here … there wasn’t much to see on sonar, but, once I got a slab down there, the fish came up off their “belly to the bottom” posture and began thumping the slab everytime it got in front of them.

I boated 29 nice white bass here by about 9:20, and knew I’d better not be late for brunch, so, with a drizzle beginning to fall, I left the fish biting, cranked her up and headed to the dock.

TALLY = 67 FISH caught and released


Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 9:20a

Air Temp: 68F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~67.7F

Wind: Winds were strong from the S. at 16 bringing pre-frontal conditions in advance of a coldfront that arrived right around 5:30pm.

Skies: Skies were turbulent with 100% grey cloud cover.

Belton Lake Fishing Guide Report – 11 Nov. 2010 – 63 Fish

I fished a morning trip today with two young men in the first grade, Daniel and Noah, accompanied by their moms, Anne and Cheryl. I’d had the pleasure of fishing with Daniel and Anne over the summer months, and was glad he enjoyed the fishing enough to bring a buddy this go-round.

Daniel (L) and Noah (R) with a few of the hybrid we caught and released today.

And a sampling of the white bass the boys really worked the slabs hard for today.

I was honestly a bit concerned about this trip given the young age of the boys and the fact that our shallow sunfish bite is over now, not to return until spring, so, that gives me very limited options for younger kids. I like to have them do things that are both productive (to hold their attention) and not too technical (so they can do all that I ask of them and be successful at it). Then, with a S. wind forecast for the day, but a nearly ESE wind actually blowing at launch time, I thought things were going to be difficult.

We did some downrigging to start things off around Area 677 just to get the boys to learn the basics of getting the line properly metered out behind the boat and to await the rising of the sun.

As sunrise (obscured) I spotted some action between Area 080 and the bank in 10-21 feet of water (BA:14 HG). When we arrived on the scene, there were hybrid chasing large bait at or near the surface, but sonar showed they were well-scattered.

Since the boys’ casting ability was limited, we went with a downrigging approach and, over the next 45 minutes, boated 16 fish on large Pets including 4 keeper hybrid. As the action waned, the fish moved S. into deeper water (30+ feet) and became less and less willing to bite.

We moved on and checked several areas before finding fish once again in the vicinity of Area 677 (BA: 5 HG). I saw Mr. George O. here and he said some hybrid had moved in then back out and that the bite was on the decline in this area. As I ran sonar, I noted a lot of smaller, suspended fish in the area. We rigged up with twin downriggers baited with small Pets, and two flatline trolling rods rigged with Ripshad 200’s and proceeded to steadily catch fish from the top 14 feet of the water column for about 45 minutes. We boated a total of 8 fish here. This was going well, until, as happens with 1st graders, the novelty wore off. Daniel was the first to pipe up and say he’d like to do something new.

So, we left fish biting, hoping to go find other fish near bottom and, hopefully, talk these boys through the process of working a slab for white bass.

We got to the vicinity of Area 686 and found fish in 27-28 feet here. I could get them to follow my bait, but I was doing a lot of “fancy footwork” to make it happen. In the end, I used my slab to keep fish teased up off the bottom, while Daniel and Noah attempted a “smoking” retrieve. As they got the hang of things, they were working their baits effectively on about 1 in 5 attempts, and caught fish about 1 out of every 3 or 4 times they got it right. In the end, the boys added 9 fish to our tally from this location when, at around 10:30 both they and the fish appeared to have had enough.

I looked at the moms and they knowingly nodded that this would be a good time to call it a day.

We headed on back to the dock and had some fun posing for pictures using the Boga Grips and then let all of our photo subjects return to the water.

The boys, both scouts, and both sons of soldiers, were in a particularly patriotic mood today, it being Veterans’ Day and all. I’ll not soon forget the habit the boys made of singing The Star Spangled Banner at the top of their lungs as we moved from place to place to occupy their time when they couldn’t have lines in the water. I half-jokingly told Cheryl and Anne that the sound resembled something between a boys’ choir and a number by the Chipmonks.

We finished up the trip with 33 fish boated by the boys.

Afterwards, given that I have a number of forthcoming trips on the books, I laid over for about 90 more minutes and did some scouting in areas we didn’t have an opportunity to fish at today.

Over those 90 minutes, I boated an additional 30 fish split equally between Area 686 (out a bit deeper than we’d fished earlier) and Area 688. At Area 688, I started off directly on this waypoint, but saw fish begin to feed as the skies began to clear and brighten over the deeper water to the NE of here. I eventually wound up casting to fish feeding near-surface over 54 feet of water in this same general vicinity. I boated these near-surface fish on swimbaits.

TALLY = 63 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp: 68F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~67.9F

Wind: Winds were SE at 6-7.

Skies: Skies were leaden grey with low cloud cover until ~11:15 when some sun began to break through.