Red Eyes, Green Fish — 71 Fish, Stillhouse Fishing Guide Report, 09 July 2012

This morning I fished with (Grandpa) Steve K. and (Grandma) Rose K. of Killeen, TX, and their 12 year old granddaughter, Madison, of Bryan, TX.

The white bass “window” was open for about 90 minutes this morning … we made hay while the sun shone!!.

This hefty largemouth bass was our largest fish of the trip, tipping the scales at 3 1/8 pounds.

I first met Steve and Rose over at Belton Lake during the shad spawn back in April as we were pulling our boats out about the same time. We struck up a conversation and, long story short, got to fish with them and their granddaughter today as a result of that encounter.

Madison was a bit bleary-eyed this morning as her flight in from a summer trip to the East Coast was delayed and she didn’t arrive in Central Texas until after 3 AM this morning. Undaunted, she was ready to roll for our 6:30 AM meeting at the courtesy dock.

We started off making sure she could cast a spinning rig accurately enough to take advantage of any topwater we encountered (which was not to be today).

As we headed out, the residual clouds from rain overnight kept the light level very low, so, we hung some bait for largemouth to wait for the skies to brighten and to see what the winds were going to do. No takers on the bait this morning.

By 7:15, we had thinning cloud cover and the SE winds had gone all but flat with a light and variable S. breeze just barely puffing now.

We checked out Area 041/480 and found abundant suspended white bass with a bit of baitfish thrown in. We got ‘riggers down and immediately began putting fish in the boat. The first 90 minutes of the day was by far the strongest action. We boated 24 fish within that time at this one area, and had 6 sets of doubles come up wherein two fish were caught at a time while using a tandem rig (Madison boated every one of these 12 fish).

The next hour was a bit slower, giving up only 8 more fish, primarily at Area 197, again on the tandem rig fished 22-26 feet deep depending on where fish appeared on sonar as we passed overhead.

Steve, who typically fishes by trolling crankbaits, was really intrigued by the downrigging setup we were using. The beauty of the downriggers is that, when used in combination with quality sonar, you can see the gamefish you are after, you can see your downrigger ball relative to the position of those fish, and, if the right lure is selected, you can know right where your lure will pass relative to the fishes’ position. In simply using crankbaits, Hell-Pet rigs, divers, or dipseys, there are so many more variables that you wind up never really knowing where your bait is, at least not with the “down to the inch” precision that you do with downriggers.

I half-jokingly told my wife after I got home from the trip that I thought Steve might stop by at Academy before even going to the house following today’s trip, given his excitement about downrigging.

By around 10 AM, we all knew the gamefish were about done for the morning, so, we turned our focus to the shallows and the sunfish they hold. I never know how older kids are going to react when we go from catching larger white bass to catching smaller sunfish. Today, however, I knew right away that all was well!! As we got to our first cove (Area 200), the moment her float went under and a lively sunfish came over the side, Madison said, “Now THIS is some SERIOUS fishing!!” and she proceeded to put the lion’s share of 39 more fish over the side of the boat from off of this area and Area 1111, as well.

By quarter to twelve the hot sun, long flight, and fading fish action all added up to a good reason to hang up our rods for another day, and we headed back to the dock.

TALLY = 71 FISH, all caught and released

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Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 11:45a

Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 83.3F

Wind: SE3 early and until 7:30, then going slack for ~1.25 hours, then picking up out of the SW7-8 for the remainder of the trip.

Skies: Skies were hazy and ~35% cloudy.