A Sonar-intensive Morning – 70 Fish, Stillhouse, 06 July ’17

This past Thursday morning, July 6th, I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse with Travis McLeod and his adult daughter, Ann Vandergriff.



While vertical jigging over a school of white bass in 40 feet of water, Travis came up with this nice largemouth mixed in with them.  I routinely have 4-5 pound largemouth follow smaller hooked white bass to the surface, occasionally nipping at them.  Once in a while they get too close for their own good like this one did.


Ann landed this 2-year old white bass in one of the many areas we stopped at which only produced a handful of fish prior to the wind kicking in from a single direction for any length of time.
Travis owns and operates McLeod Auto Sales in Killeen and runs his own center console fishing boat with a preference for white bass and for flyfishing;  Ann is a professional photographer and mom of three.

Travis had previously come out with me on a sonar training to get the basics of his Humminbird Helix sonar which is connected to his Minn Kota trolling motor via the i-Pilot Link system.

For Travis, today’s trip was as much learning sonar and seeing equipment put to good use as it was about catching fish.

We had a bit of quirky weather this morning, and that always puts the fishing off a bit. We began the day with light winds out of the east, and by the time we came off the water the winds were blowing just slightly north of west – – a full 180° plus wind shift over the course of 4.75 hours.

We began our day by downrigging with balls suspended above the fish we saw on sonar which were suspended about halfway between the surface and the bottom. We saw a lot more fish on sonar than we caught this morning as the fish were in an apathetic mood. By the time we had invested about an hour in the downrigging, we had landed only 12 fish coming as singles and doubles.

I moved us to deeper, clearer water and, with the winds light, hoped to find some fish feeding on the surface that would give away the position of even more fish beneath them. This did not pan out. Every fish we caught after we finished downrigging we had to seek out by looking at different areas using sonar.

This is a bit of a time-consuming process and a necessary one if there are no other natural signs pointing the way to fish.

Travis and Ann were good troopers and hung in there through some slow fishing as we checked one area after another typically putting just one, two, or three fish in the boat and never really seeing the fish turn on like they are apt to under more stable weather conditions.

After the skies cleared, the wind stayed out of the west northwest for about 40 minutes, and the winds built to 11 to 13 mph, we finally got some consistency in the fishing. I pulled up onto a deep underwater point that the west wind was blowing onto and we saw a good density of fish suspended at about the 30 foot mark over a 40 foot bottom. I Spot -Locked on top of these with the Minn Kota Ulterra, we got baits down, turned the thumper on, and the fish began to consolidate under the boat.

Long story short – – we added nearly 40 fish to our tally in the final 45 minutes of the trip under these more favorable conditions, ending our morning with exactly 70 fish landed for our efforts.  Travis landed our largest fish of the morning during this last burst of activity, a 3+ pound largemouth.

TALLY: 70 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:15am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 80F

Water Surface Temp: 83.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Started at E6, then shifted through SE, to S, to SW, then to WNW building to 12-14mph in our final hour on the water

Sky Conditions:  <10% clouds under all wind directiosn

Water Level: 0.36 feet high and steady; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0





**Area 1951 – 176 – limited downrigger success

**Area 157 – limited downrigger success

**Area vic 1957 – slow slab bite

**Area vic 039 – slow slab bite

**Area 1958 – strong 45 minute slab bite for ~40 fish from 10:15 to 11:00


Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

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