WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, August 11th, I fished with sisters Brilynn (age 11) and Kate (age 10) Fults of Liberty Hill, Texas. The young ladies were joined by their dad, Brandon Fults, and family friend, Russel Martin, who did not fish but were there to help me help the girls be successful.
Whenever all anglers participating are under the age of 17, and adults are not also fishing, such trips are eligible for my “Kids Fish, Too!” rates. These trips normally go 3.5 hours versus 4+ hours for adult trips, and, they start at $195 for up to two kids. I don’t know of too many guided trips out there for that price point anymore — it is my way of trying to make guided fishing available to families and get kids engaged in the outdoors.
My next open date will be on August 23rd.
Here is how the fishing went …
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Brandon and Kate Fults, Russel Martin, and Brilynn Fults with two quality white bass the girls hooked and landed as they worked MAL Dense Lures horizontally along a clean bottom using a sawtooth tactic on spinning rods with light braid to enhance the lures’ sink rates.
WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow
WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 11 August 2022
HOW WE FISHED:
At exactly 3:15pm yesterday, a cold front pushed far enough south into Central Texas to bring clouds, wind, a rapid temperature drop, and just a few drops of rain. By nightfall, the weather had calmed. This morning, a very light north breeze and some cloud cover was in place, thus putting a huge question mark over what this weather had done to the fishery.
Fortunately, Brilynn and Kate are both athletes, competing in softball, and therefore were both well-coordinated and accustomed to coaching. They both very quickly got the hang of smoking vertically and using the sawtooth method horizontally, so, their learning curve was short.
I mentioned in my past several reports that the white bass interest in horizontal tactics over vertical tactics was becoming apparent. Today’s results really cemented that in place. Of the 52 fish the girls landed, only about 10% came vertically, with the sawtooth method and downrigging taking the lion’s share of our fish.
Our best bite came from ~7:40-8:50 in an area which had a slow slope and averaged ~45 feet in depth. As we sat in one location with calm winds and the trolling motor on Spot-Lock, we were never facing in the same direction for very long as we got pushed by every little boat wake and puff of wind which came by. As our position shifted, I kept a close eye on side-imaging and could see fish around us in every direction. Where a few could be seen, many more existed (as not every fish out there is going to show on sonar, especially if they are very tight to the bottom).
As the girls cast out and worked their MAL Dense Lures (w/ chartreuse tails) back to the boat, the fish responded well during this span of time. Roughly half of our fish were taken during this bite.
As those fish disbanded, we retooled and got setup for downrigging with twin downriggers, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig towing three #12 Pet Spoons. The downrigging produced well as we encountered mobile schools of suspended white bass routinely. The girls landed singles, doubles, and triples, but, we never did find any additional congregations of fish as large as that first one which produced so well for us up until ~8:50A.
Even though we did not encounter large collections of fish, we found a few groups large enough to stop atop of and work over. We typically picked up a fish or two or three and then had to move on.
We never had any consistent wind to even ripple the surface for more than a few minutes at a time all morning. To land 52 whites on a calm summer morning following a cold front was far more than I anticipated and a tribute to the girls’ abilities and persistence.
Our 52 fish tally included only white bass, three of which were short. Although we hooked two largemouth and got them near the boat, they both “spit the hook” as they jumped and shook their heads.
The smoking tactic we used is demonstrated here (skip to 2:26): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
The entire family of MAL Lures is found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 52 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: The white bass’ preference for horizontal movement over vertical movement was quite clear this morning. I suspect “thermal squeeze” is the root cause, keeping the fish confined to the cooler water just above the thermocline. I suspect they are reluctant to rise up into increasingly warm water nearer the surface.
Start Time: 6:50A
End Time: 11:10A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F
Elevation: 8.17 feet low, 0.04′ fall in last 24 hours, 1 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 83.9F
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm to near calm all morning
Sky Condition: 10% white cloud cover on a blue sky.
Moon Phase: Waxing gibbous moon at 100% illumination.
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Area vic SH0209G – best area of the morning w/ ~70 min. bite on sawtoothed Dense Lures
Area 872 to 864 – steady downrigging action on Pet Spoon/umbrella leading to some sawtooth/smoking work
Area SH0208G to SH0221G – – steady downrigging action on Pet Spoon/umbrella
Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service
Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
254.368.7411 (call or text)
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