Happy 43rd Wedding Anniversary!! 57 Fish, Stillhouse White Bass Fishing Guide Report, 01 March 2013

This afternoon I fished with Ransom and Phyllis O. of the Austin area. The couple celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary this week. Phyllis took Ransom to a show in Austin on Thursday, and Ransom brought Phyllis out fishing today!

Phyllis caught the trip lunker today — this 2.25 pound fish was mixed in with a school of white bass down around 55 feet.

Still dating after 43+ years!!.

Weather played a huge role in our trip today. As we began, it was nearly 63F, windless, bright, and sunny (all bad for fishing, but nice to be outdoors in). By the end of the trip, it was 5 degrees cooler, blowing a near-gale, and cloudy grey (with the fish in overdrive!). We caught our fish in the happy medium between the two extremes.

Fishing was pretty straightforward this afternoon — we found fish near the old river channel, vertical jigged to check their interest level, stayed if the fish warranted, or departed to find greener pastures if the fish were lazy.

We found fish at two distinct areas today. We found our first patch of fish right on Area 074 in ~27 feet of water. We made 3 “short hops” in this area to try to stir up some fish. Each time we let our slabs down we’d catch 3-5 fish, then they’d shut down on us indicating very passive fish not really in the eating mood. We boated 13 fish here in about 40 minutes and decided to keep searching.

Our next stop came in ~55 feet of water at Area 946. The fish were oriented to the windward side of this feature. I dropped a buoy right on them, circled back and hovered atop these fish for nearly 2 solid hours. The fishing started a big sluggishly, but, as the wind increased and as the cloud cover increased, the fish continued to turn on more and more. We boated a total of 44 fish off of this one area. Around 4:30, the wind shifted due N. and increased sharply by ~6 mph. This caused the fish to back off their intense feed a bit, but, the fishing was still better than when the calmer, bright conditioned had prevailed.

By 5:00p, we’d boated a total of 57 fish with willing fish beneath us still interested, but, with dropping temps, a setting sun, and increasing winds, the comfort level and fun factor was waning, and the couple made a good decision to be content with what they’d enjoyed catching and called it a day right then. So, in about 3 hours’ time, we’d managed 55 white bass and 2 largemouth for our efforts. Every last fish today came on a TNT180 slab in 3/4 oz. fished either by vertical jigging, easing, or slow smoking.

TALLY = 57 fish, all caught and released

back to home page

Get my fishing reports sent to your Facebook page


Start Time: 2:00p

End Time: 5:10p

Air Temp: 61F at trip’s start, further dropping to 57F.

Water Surface Temp: ~55-57F

Wind: Winds were NNW2 increasing to NNW12, then shifting to N18.

Skies: Skies were clear on the NNW wind, then grew cloudier on the winds shift around 4:30p

Laisse le Bon Temps Rouille!! (Let the Good Times Roll!!) 133 Fish, Stillhouse, 28 February 2013

This afternoon I fished with Taylor and Carla Carmouche of Killeen.

Taylor and Carla with lagniappe!

Both are bona fide Cajuns from well south of New Orleans. I’ve never met a Cajun that didn’t fish well, and these two were no exceptions!! We specifically delayed the trip today so as to enjoy the benefit of the winds that were to peak at around 16 mph with some higher gusts. Cold, bright, still mornings seem to put a damper on the fishing, and, with the temperatures dropping to the low to mid-thirties overnight, it is much more comfortable for my guests to fish at this time.

We got on the water at 2:00p caught just one fish in our first 45 minutes on the water, then moved and found fish further downlake. Thanks to a couple of loons who had worked to find bait, I was able to find some fish near that same bait just off the river channel in about 35 feet of water, and that led us to fish. We found fish a big “cranky” at first, unwilling to go for anything not within a foot of the bottom. From Area 1172 we boated exactly 56 fish before the action faded out. Every one of these fish came on a vertically jigged TNT180 slab, ¾ oz. white.

Our next (and last) stop came at Area 981, again, right on the edge of the river channel. I eased into this area based on recent success enjoyed here during a scouting trip late last week. These fish were just a few yards upstream of where I’d last encountered them. At first, we attempted a slow “smoking” retrieve for these fish, but they seemed a bit reluctant to pull up off bottom despite a great number of fish initially showing on sonar in a very aggressive posture. So, after pulling fewer fish than I thought we might by smoking, we went back to vertical jigging, picked up a few more fish, but this time, as we reeled in those fish from bottom, the entire school lifted up into the water column. So now we had fish at 24 feet down to 32 feet over a 40 foot bottom. We wore these active, suspended fish out with a smoking retrieve, taking our count from 57 fish up to 133 fish by the time we’d thinned them out and they lost interest.

As we closed in on a 100 fish day, the excitement was building. Carla and Taylor had a little friendly competition going on over who was going to boat that 100th fish. I just put my rod up at around fish #95 and let the two of them “work that out” themselves.

After #100, then #101, then #102 and so on came over the side, Taylor said, “Now this is lagniappe!” – that’s Cajun for “a little something extra; a bonus”.

When all was said and done we had boated 131 white bass and 2 largemouth bass. Today, the big one really DID get away. Taylor had a largemouth that would have gone about 3 pounds do a classic boatside headshake and disappear for good before we got him in the boat.

I appreciate the Carmouche’s having faith in my call on the weather. When they saw such cool temperatures and higher than moderate wind speeds, they thought twice about coming, but, I assured them these were great conditions for this time of year – stable weather in an unstable season. They let the guide be the guide and were rewarded for it.

TALLY = 133 fish

back to home page

Get my fishing reports sent to your Facebook page


Start Time: 2:00p

End Time: 6:25p

Air Temp: 57F at trip’s start

Water Surface Temp: ~55-56F

Wind: Winds were NNW16 at trip’s start slowly tapering off to NNW9.

Skies: Skies were fair on the NNW wind.

Topsey-Turvey Weather’s Making it Tough, Central Texas White Bass Run 2013, 50 Fish, 21 Feb. 2013

Despite the topsey-turvey weather and wind of late, I’ve made an attempt to stay on top of the fish movements. We had a net loss of 2 degrees F on our surface temperatures over this past week on Stillhouse, and the forecast seems to indicate we’ll likely just maintain or even lose slightly in the week coming up.

I got out today in the face of a stiff NW breeze and heavy gray cloud cover. The air temperature actually fell 3 degrees after sunrise and a wind chill factor was kicking in. Bird activity early in the morning was scant (from 7:00 to 10:00a). I was able to find a few scattered schools of fish on a gentle slope near the old Lampasas River channel in about 27 feet and stayed on these fish from 7:30 to 9:45a between Areas 984 and 985. I was catching these fish slowly but steadily over this time. Each time I hooked a fish, one to three more would rise up just 2-3 feet off bottom to half-heartedly follow, but would not be any more aggressive by the time I got my slab back down to them.

Over the 7:30 to 9:45 time span I boated exactly 25 fish (all white bass). I was happy that I put together a limit on such a poor weather day, and decided to head back in, but kept an eye out for natural signs of activity as I went.

As good fortune would have it, I spotted about 4 terns looking “fishy” over a stretch of river channel bounded by Areas 1168, 1170,1169, and 432. Well, 4 terns turned to 8, and 8 to 20, and in just 8-10 minutes there was a full-blown feed going on with white bass littering the bottom third of the water column in about 40 feet over quite an expansive area. Because many of these fish were as much as 12 feet off bottom, indicating they were very active, I used a slow smoking approach to target the most active fish among this large shoal of fish. In 35 minutes time I was able to easily double my catch to 50. As that 50th fish came over the side, the birds began to do more flying than diving and I knew the best was now behind me.

I headed in to enjoy some Ford F-150 heat blowing on my now nearly numb hands.

TALLY = 50 fish, all caught and released

back to home page

Get my fishing reports sent to your Facebook page


Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 10:50a

Air Temp: 41F at trip’s start, further dropping to 37F, then warming slowly.

Water Surface Temp: ~54F

Wind: Winds were NNW13.

Skies: Skies were 100% clouded and grey.

Sons of Soldiers Go Fishing – SKIFF Trip #2013-2 — Stillhouse Hollow, 18 Feb. 2013, 19 Fish

Go Army Families!! From L to R Front Row: Will M., Noah M., Reece M., and Austin B. From L to R Back Row: Stephanie M., Chloe B., and Jen B.

The S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) Program exists to take the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on fishing trips at no charge to the soldiers’ families as a way of showing our support for our troops and providing a respite for their spouses. The following is a note to SKIFF supporters about this most recent outing…

Monday, 18 Feb. 2013

Dear Friends of SKIFF,

This morning I fished on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir with three boys from two families, all off from school for the Presidents’ Day holiday. Will and Reece Moore are the sons of U.S. Army Captain Ramey and Stephanie Moore, and Austin Bayless is the son of U.S. Army Captain Wyatt and Jennifer Bayless. CPT Moore is on his 3rd deployment and is currently with the 4th Brigade of 1/9 Cavalry in Afghanistan. CPT Bayless, also a combat veteran with several deployments under his belt, is on an extended Observer/Controller assignment in the Mojave Desert.

I was betwixt and between on running the trip due to the forecast for high winds, but knew there would be 3 very disappointed youngsters with not much else planned for the day and no corresponding break for their moms, so, with marginal fishing conditions but wind speeds still low enough to allow for a safe trip, we bucked the wind for 4 hours and came up with a respectable catch.

The boys’ time on the water was like a mini reunion, as they’d not seen one another since a friend they had in common moved on to Fort Bliss some time ago. So, despite the tough fishing, the boys enjoyed the catching up, kid jokes, an extended explanation of the difference between knots and lashes, and, of course, snacks (all of which were consumed within 35 minutes of launching).

We boated a total of 19 fish today, including 16 white bass taken in the vicinity of Area 1167 and Area 566 using white, 3/4 oz. slabs fished using an easing technique. Our last 3 fish, all nice 13.5″+ specimens, fell to trolled crankbaits used between Areas 105/352 once the winds got so high that boat control sufficient to use a vertical presentation was no longer possible.

As we approached the dock at trip’s end, it was like sailors returning to a home port homecoming. Moms and younger siblings were waving and the boys on the boat with me were waving back. I invited everyone on board to take photos — which is normally no big deal, however, with the lake low due to drought, the courtesy dock resembles a broad playground slide canted at a 45 degree angle. So, the moms and siblings had some “fun” sliding down to the end and just about tumbling into the boat!

CPT Moore and CPT Bayless, thank you men for serving.

Friends of SKIFF, thank you all for making a day like this for the captains’ sons possible!

–Bob Maindelle

back to home page


Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp: 68F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 56.2F

Wind: Winds were high from the S at 16-18 at trip’s start, ramping up to SW20-22 with higher gusts by trip’s end.

Skies: Skies were murky until around 10am, then cleared to 20% partly cloudy.

Gotta Make Hay While the Sun Shines! 92 Fish, Central Texas White Bass Fishing Guide Report

Jerry and Daniel, spurring one another on with some good-natured competition, both stay focused on their technique and reaped good results for their efforts.

A 3.25 pound largemouth thrown in for variety’s sake never hurts!

This morning, Friday, 15 Feb., I fished with Jerry W., owner of the Jerry Worley Insurance Agency of Harker Heights, and one of the young men, Daniel K., that Jerry has worked with through his years as a lay leader in youth/young adult ministry at Memorial Baptist in Killeen. Daniel is a student at Central Texas College.

I had high hopes for today’s trip after we postponed this same trip last week due to cold front conditions. Today’s forecast was for mild weather in advance of a late-morning, mild cold front’s passage. If the timing worked out, that meant we’d enjoy both pre-frontal fishing and fishing as the winds ramped up with the cold front’s passage. Timing is always questionable on these Texas weather events, but, the National Weather Service and the Air Force’s 3rd Weather Squadron on Ft. Hood both hit a homerun on this one.

As we began our day we had some helpful bird activity point the way to fish over top of Areas 1167, 334, and 556. In each case these fish were just off the old river channel by a few yards and were in distinct groups. We’d catch 10-12 fish, then bump a few yards over to get our slabs in front of some “fresh” fish, catch 8-10 more, and so on. All of these fish came on 3/4 oz. white slabs. By 9:45am we’d boated 61 fish. It was at this point that the lead edge of the front rolled in with winds from the NE immediately increasing to ~16mph. Almost instantly the bird action ended and we struggled for about 45 minutes until the fish settled back down and began to feed, albeit much more sluggishly than before.

To help overcome the impact of the front, we fished deeper now. Our first spot of luck came at Area 1166. It was at this same time yesterday while on the water with a client helping to get his sonar adjusted that some light bird action allowed us to fine-tune his unit to show fish, the rise and fall of a slab, etc. I pulled in here at nearly the same time 24 hours later and sonar revealed fish close to the channel lip in ~35 feet of water. We really worked for the fish we caught here and wound up boating 18 more white bass before things went soft here after about 40 minutes of fishing.

We made our last stop over top of Area 074. As we idled over this area sonar just lit up with fish showing in a very strong feeding posture about 1-2 feet off bottom and in quite a large school covering several yards horizontally. We got right to work and actually caught our first 6 fish out of this school by slowly “smoking” our slabs through the school. As often happens under the influence of cold front conditions, though, this bite cooled really fast. I told the fellows this was the “beginning of the end” and, indeed, by noon or so, despite seeing plenty of fish laying belly-to-the-bottom and having our slabs dancing and pausing before them, it was like pulling teeth. By 12:15 we called it a day with 92 fish boated including 3 largemouth, 1 drum, and 88 white bass.

TALLY = 92 Fish

back to home page

Go to our Facebook page


Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp: 47F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 56.8F

Wind: NNE7-8 prefrontal; NE14-16 as front came in.

Skies: Fair skies prefrontal, with increasing high, thin clouds following the front’s passage.

On-the-Water Sonar School, 14 Feb. 2013

That thumbs-up means “My sonar is a fine-tuned piece of fishing machinery!”.

I’ve been receiving an increasing number of calls lately from fellows who have purchased excellent sonar equipment, but who are having trouble getting the most out of it. In addition to trips totally dedicated to fishing, I also offer trips totally dedicated to sonar setup and interpretation, as well as trips that offer a combination of the two, all at my standard rates.

Such was today’s trip with Mr. Reese M. of Belton. Reese is a U.S. Navy veteran of the 1950’s and served as an electrician in the Seabee’s.

Some time ago he bought a Lowrance Elite 5x sonar unit, which is a great, feature-packed unit in a small package and with a good price. Trouble is, all the button-pushing and menu options were confusing. Reese said he’s more of a visual learner than a nose-in-the-book kind of guy, so, we dedicated today trip to getting his sonar fine tuned.

I started with the basics of transducer inspection, then powered up and went through all the common menus to give him the best chart views and sonar views the unit was capable of providing. Once everything was just right, we went riding looking for shad, timber, dropoffs, roadbeds, etc. so he could see what these things look like.

After I showed him all these things, it was his turn. We turned the unit off, and I threw different scenarios at him, allowing him to think through what button-pushes to use. He passed these pop-quizzes with flying colors.

Just as we were about to wrap up, an unusual but helpful event occurred (I call these blessings!). On a calm, bright, sunny late morning, about 5 terns began to feed about 200 yards from our location. We motored over there and found a school of small white bass feeding on shad in about 33 feet of water. This was the perfect opportunity to show all the unit could do. We stopped the boat dead still and I dropped a 3/4 oz. slab down to the fish near bottom. We watched the slab fall, watched it rise and fall, and then get struck by a white bass. We then watched that fish get reeled in, all on Reese’s sonar. We did this 3 times over before the school moved on.

By the time he rolled out of the parking lot, Reese was both confident and competent in the use of the sonar he’s spent his hard-earned money on. Thumbs-up!

back to home page

Go to our Facebook page

Fishing — It’s for the Whole Family! 90 Fish, 09 Feb. 2013, 2013 Texas White Bass Run Report

Can you tell Joseph REALLY liked today’s fishing trip?

Jasmine was the picture of concentration today. She stayed focused on feeling the hit and watching her rod tip and caught a bunch of fish.

Mike was a “late-bloomer”, but, once he figured out how to get his slab set just right, there was no holding him back!

This morning we awoke to heavy grey skies, and a cool drizzle driven by a SE wind. I knew it’d be a day for lots of fish and few fishermen!

I met Mike, Jasmine, and Joseph at 7:15a, did a little safety briefing and an introduction to the techniques we’d use today and we were off to hunt fish.

We were met with immediate success at our first stop at Area 108/143. In this area we found small, separated schools of 12-20 fish each holding tightly to the bottom in 20-22 feet of water. Due to the still low light level, these fish were not very aggressive, so we went to work with the downriggers to move baits past a lot of inactive fish to get our baits looked at by the few just-getting-active fish among them. This worked very well for us as we used Pet Spoons in white and silver to tempt a total of 28 fish including one “double” for each person (that’s 2 fish caught on one rod at the same time).

If we’d ended the trip right then and there I think this family would have gone home ecstatic about what they had caught, as they we really enjoying the entire experience, but, there was much more to come!!

By 9:30 this shallow action had died, forcing us to look deeper and to look elsewhere.

We found light action between Areas 344/566 in 27 feet of water, and jigged for 3 fish before heading elsewhere. For jigging today, we used the TNT 180 in white, 3/4 oz.

Next, we gave Area 719 a try and picked up 17 more fish here by jigging.

Our last, and most productive, area was Area 074. We sat in one spot and boated exactly 42 fish in our last 80 minutes on the water. Mike really got the hang of the importance of adjusting your slab to an appropriate depth and working it very carefully. He must have said a dozen times (concerning his previous attempts at fishing), “Man, I have been doing this all wrong!!”. Well, he did it right at this last spot and added more than his fair share to our total.

When everything was said and done, we had boated exactly 90 fish, every single one of which was a white bass today.

TALLY = 90 Fish

back to home page

Go to our Facebook page


Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 12:15p

Air Temp: 53F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 57-58F

Wind: SE8-10.

Skies: Soupy grey and heavily overcast to the point of drizzle.

Women Welcome Aboard!! 87 Fish, Central Texas White Bass Fishing Guide Report, 08 Feb. 2013

Charlotte (L) and Sheri (R) vertical jigged slabs today for a total of 87 fish despite the tough, post-frontal conditions.

This is afternoon I fished with Sheri W. of Killeen and Charlotte M. of Harker Heights. Sheri’s husband, Marty, also joined us as our videographer. I wanted to put together a video very intentionally showing ladies fishing and being successful so as to encourage more women to get on the water and let them know it is okay to call up a guide and book a trip.

We elected to fish this afternoon which helped us avoid what would have been an uncomfortably cold morning for the ladies, as well as avoid the tough fishing that normally accompanies winter cold fronts with winds due north as we had at 14 mph this morning.

I actually got out on the water in advance of my party’s arrival in order to take some sonar shots for a seminar I’m doing at the Cabela’s store in Buda, TX, on Saturday, 16 Feb. Once I finished that chore, I had about 20 minutes to spare, so, I probed around and was able to find some fish, so, I marked them hoping to return soon to allow Sheri and Charlotte to take advantage of the fishing.

Everyone arrived punctually and, after a little class on technique at dockside, we were off. We went straight back to Area 1164 and found the fish right where I’d left them. We only picked up 8 fish as the ladies got the hang of things, and those fish were smallish and sluggish, so, we moved on.

We next connected at Area 946 in 52 feet of water. Long story short, we caught 67 fish off this one spot without ever moving the boat. The ladies’ technique and hookup percentages improved as they became accustomed to feeling and reacting to biting fish. Once they relaxed and didn’t have to try so hard to maintain their technique, we got to talk about everything from chickens to homeschooling, and from burgers to inspirational one-armed basketball players!! When we began catching only small fish and they got few and far between we left those fish still biting and moved on.

We made one final stop within 20 minutes of sunset at Area 948 in 56 feet of water. Again, the ladies vertically jigged with white slabs (TNT 180’s in white) while I experimented with some “Splinter” spoons sent as samples from Johnson (a Pure Fishing subsidiary). All slabs fished equally well, and we put another even dozen fish in the boat before losing our direct light.

As we closed out the day, our catch stood at 85 white bass and 2 freshwater drum, with our largest white bass (shown in photo) going right at 13.75 to 14.00 inches.

Great job, girls!!

TALLY = 87 Fish

back to home page


Start Time: 2:30p

End Time: 6:30p

Air Temp: 59F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 57.8-60.2F

Wind: ENE7-8.

Skies: Post frontal bluebird skies.

Mobile Sonar Doctor Makes House Calls! — 45 Fish, Stillhouse Fishing Guide Report, 04 Feb. 2013

The purpose of our trip was twofold this morning. Besides catching fish, we fine-tuned Claude’s own sonar equipment to provide him with all the fish location potential it is capable of.

Did something a little different this morning … I guided but did so on my guest’s own boat. I teamed up with Claude C. of Ding Dong, TX. He’s fished with me several times and noted how I make use of marine electronics to find and catch fish. As a result, he’s upgraded his own sonar units on his pontoon boat to a Lowrance HDS-5 and a Lowrance HDS-7 with StructureScan capability and asked me to accompany him to get his electronics “zero’ed” in.

We started with the basics of making sure the transducers were mounted properly and level. We then powered the units up and made sure the “sourcing” was correct, meaning that each unit was programmed to receive the intended sonar and StructureScan input being sent to it. Next, we went deep into each unit’s menus and got the units tweaked just right for the conditions we encountered today. Then, it was off to the fishing grounds.

What great white bass weather today! It was cloudy overnight, balmy this morning, overcast, and with a SSW wind — you couldn’t special-order better weather than that!

We found ample bird activity this morning equally divided between fish-induced bird activity and loon/cormorant induced bird activity.

Claude’s trolling motor battery had some troubles bucking the wind, so, we lost some opportunities there but tried to compensate by anchoring where appropriate.

Despite a shortened fishing effort due to the sonar tinkering and low batteries on the troller, by 11:30am we had boated exactly 45 white bass all on horizontally worked blade baits in no more than 27 feet of water and with some coming from as little as 8 feet of water, which wasn’t surprising given that the surface temperatures have climbed to 55-57 F with the mild weather of late.

Our best success came at Areas 054, 595, and 107.

If you find yourself, like Claude, owning quality electronics that you are not sure how to use or adjust, please give me a call and we can plan a trip around getting you to the next step in making the most of your investment.

TALLY = 45 Fish

back to home page


Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 11:30p

Air Temp: 59F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 55-57F

Wind: S to SSW at 9-11.

Skies: Totally greyed over skies with varying levels of indirect light penetration; occasional cloud breaks near trip’s end.