This past Monday evening I fished Stillhouse with Californian-soon-to-turn-Texan Rick Snelgrooes, his 13-year-old son, Sean, and Rick’s friend, Stuart Gehrke of the Austin area.
Rick Snelgrooes and his son, Sean, with a pair of 3-year-old Stillhouse Hollow white bass. We downrigged until we found strong congregations of fish on bottom, then hovered over these fish using Spot Lock to then work slabs through the school.
Rick, a sailor at heart, decided to sample the area’s angling opportunities as he and his wife consider buying a home and property in the Georgetown area.
Our time on the water was pretty evenly split tonight between downrigging and smoking slabs. The downrigging allows for a continuous catch of fish while at the same time allowing for a methodical sonar-search of fish-holding areas. When solid concentrations of bottom-hugging white bass were found on sonar, we immediately set up over top of them in a hover to work them over with slabs.
Using the trolling motor/sonar connection known as i-Pilot Link allows me to touch the screen of my Humminbird sonar, place a crosshairs over fish schooling together on bottom, then give the trolling motor a “go to it and stay on top of it” command. As the trolling motor does its job, I have a few moments to clear the downrigging equipment and get slab rods in everyone’s hands so we are all ready to drop slabs on top of the fish once the boat is in a hover over them. Tonight, with 4 rods working, this put a lot of fish in the boat.
As we caught our 50th fish, then our 60th, Sean asked what the average catch was on such a trip. I told him last year’s average was ~72 fish per trip. Once he heard that and realized we were still just short of 72 fish, he redoubled his own efforts to help get us to that mark.
After steadily landing fish and exceeding the 72 fish mark, Sean then asked if it would be possible to catch 100 fish. With about an hour’s time left, I told him that would be possible, but that we’d have to work at it. Due to the sun being obscured behind a thick bank of clouds in the west, “sunset” came earlier than normal this evening, thus cutting down on the time we’d have to make good on our pursuit of 100 fish. After the deep slabbing bite died, we revisited the area where we’d first contacted fish with the downriggers shortly after launching.
Long story short, as 8:44 rolled around, Rick’s rod and Sean’s rod both went off within seconds of one another as they sat positioned in the downriggers’ rod holders. In came two yearling white bass — #100 and #101. We celebrated a bit with that milestone reached and, as we drove in, I told Sean about the truth of Proverbs 29:18 which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”. In this case, had we not set a goal of 72 fish, then of 100 fish, we most likely would not have seen that many fish landed as the inclination to stay focused and work towards that goal just would not have been there.
This was a great trip with great folks and we wrapped up with exactly 101 fish landed on the evening.
TALLY: 101 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 4:45p
End Time: 8:55p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 92F
Water Surface Temp: 84.9F
Wind Speed & Direction: E0-3
Sky Conditions: 100% thin, grey cloud cover still allowing for “squinting brightness” until an early sunset caused by a thick bank of clouds to the west
Water Level: 0.30 feet high and slowly rising; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 185
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1716 to 067 – downrigging for suspended white bass at ~24 feet which led to one episode of smoking for bottom-huggers; 31 fish
**Area 1112 – smoking for 54 fish
**Area 067-1498 – twilight downrigging for a final 16 fish
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)