This morning, Friday, June 16th, I fished with Mr. Mike Russell and his 6-year-old son, Cole, on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
Mike hoists our largest fish of the trip — a largemouth taken in 41 feet of water. This fish was likely stalking the yearling white bass that we found spread across the bottom and caught on downrigging gear.
Summer time is for father and son time.
Mike makes his living as an attorney in Temple, and Cole is a newly minted Kindergarten graduate.
With this week’s very consistent weather came some very predictable, consistent fishing – just right for when young anglers like Cole are aboard.
We began our day making two “listening stops” both looking and listening for topwater action which is due to start in the mornings on Stillhouse any time now. None was to be found this morning, however, so, we took to deep water and began presenting young-of-the-year shad imitations to gamefish (both white bass and largemouth bass) holding right near bottom in 30 to 42 feet of water by using downriggers.
Using two rods, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig (not to be confused with an Alabama rig), we presented 6 baits at all times and regularly caught singles and doubles (no triples today), taking our tally up to 21 fish.
Around 8:30am we encountered a large, bottom-hugging school of white bass which just begged to be jigged for. I got the Ulterra in the water, turned on Spot Lock and we hovered over these fish for about a half hour, regularly catching white bass using a smoking tactic rigged up with ¾ oz. white slabs retrofitted with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks. We took our tally up to 36 on these slabs.
Around 9:00am I felt Cole could use a bit of a transition to help keep him engaged, so, instead of returning to downrigging right away (which certainly would have still produced fish), we headed shallow to fish for sunfish with bait and slipfloats. This was also intended to give Mike an idea of what he could do to make Cole successful and keep him engaged while fishing from the shore. Father and son landed exactly 20 panfish in one stop, including bluegill sunfish, longear sunfish, green sunfish, and blacktail shiners.
By 9:45am our panfishing was playing out given how many fish we’d already taken from this one area, so, we moved to another area and wrapped up the trip with yet another round of downrigging. The downrigging immediately began to produce doubles, which led me to sample the area to see if the fish were able to be lured in under the boat with the thumper, consolidated, and smoked for . Well, they were! We took our tally from 56 fish up to 78 in the closing half-hour of the trip catching fish very consistently on slabs using the smoking tactic.
TALLY: 78 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:15a
End Time: 10:30a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F
Water Surface Temp: 81.9F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSW8-10
Sky Conditions: Fair skies with 20% cloud cover.
Water Level: 0.50 feet above full pool and falling; 400 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1128 thru 1112 – white bass and largemouth on downriggers with smoking tactic used when large congregation of whites seen on bottom @ vic 1112
**Area 1098 – sunfish on slipfloats
**Area 1741 thru 1364 thru 1537 thru 1950
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