Fished a half-day morning Fathers’ Day trip on Stillhouse today with 3 generations aboard — Grandpa Bob B., his adult son Wyatt B., and Wyatt’s son, 6 1/2 year old Austin B. Bob is retired Navy and now works for the USPS, Wyatt was just commissioned as a junior officer in the US Army as a Scout, and Austin is a Cub Scout who just made the A/B honor roll for a great end to his 1st Grade year.
WINDY FATHERS’ DAY FISHING 2009 – L. to R. – Wyatt, Austin, and Bob with a variety of year classes of white bass. It was blowing so hard we had to seek calm water just to take the photos!!
Start Time: 6:20a
End Time: 12:30p
Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~81.3F
Wind: Winds were SSE at 14+ before sunrise, and increased to over 20mph by trip’s end.
Skies: Skies were partly cloudy in the morning with a grey cloud bank in the eastern sky. The sun rose above this within 30 minutes and sparse clouds remained with mostly sunny conditions the remainder of the trip.
I was to meet the boys at the boatramp at 6:30a in an attempt to get them on the very consistent topwater action we’ve been enjoying thanks to the stable weather conditions. The Army had other plans. Wyatt got one of those calls every lieutenant hates — a 4am call from the local authorities that a soldier was acting less then soldierly. He had to tend to business on Ft. Hood, so we pushed back the pickup time to 7:30. I was concerned that this would make it difficult to keep young Austin entertained as the topwater fishing tends to be a lot more enjoyable for the kids.
I set out pre-dawn to search out any topwater fish available, hoping that if I found them, I could put the boys on them before they headed deep for the rest of the day. I did find abundant and aggressively feeding white bass and largemouth bass in the vicinity of Area 061 right at sunrise. I caught 16 fish in 18 casts and then left them alone so as not to draw a Saturday morning following of potlickers. It was now 7:04 — the next 26 minutes went by ever so slowly as I waited for the boys to show up just hoping the fish would stay up long enough to get them on ’em.
At 7:30, Bob and Austin arrived — Wyatt was still doing the Army thing. I took grandpa and grandson back to see if the fish were still up and was relieved to see them still slashing bait on the surface. Both immediately got hooked up on topwater baits and wound up boating 13 fish in the next 75 minutes until the fish settled down around 8:50. This was a neat experience for Bob as he’d never caught fish on topwater before, nor had he seen fish feed so aggressively. By now, the wind was up to 17-18 and the clouds were nearly gone.
By then, Wyatt called in that he’d made it to dockside, so, we picked him up, and, while there, did a little bream fishing with a pole and float just for Austin. He caught 2 shiners, 2 longear sunfish, and 2 juvenile bluegill. We then headed back out with all 3 aboard and began probing the depths for suspended fish relating to schooled bait.
We found the magic depth today was 26-30 feet. The fish stayed reasonably active for a good long while — about 3 1/2 hours. Our first fish taken on downriggers was our largest of the day, a largemouth just a shade over 3 pounds, and the largest that Wyatt had ever caught. In all, we boated 38 fish on the downriggers including 33 white bass up to 15 inches, 4 largemouth, and 1 drum. There were a number of occasions where we had doubles on, and we really never had a lull in the action until they settled down at the end of the morning feed, around 12:30 or so.
Little Austin was a hoot. He did real well following directions. He learned to cast a spinning rod on today’s trip and caught a number of fish totally unassisted. To my surprise he passed up a number of opportunities to catch fish, preferring instead to “transport” the fish from point to point in the boat using my Boga Grip once I had taken them off of dad or grandpa’s hook. He very dutifully asked each time a fish came over the side if he should put it in the livewell for a picture, or if he should let it go back into the lake. He also serenaded us continually being that he has just learned to whistle. Now, that said, most of the songs he selected included only the two notes he has learned to whistle thus far. For that reason, an occasional deafening gust of wind was not nearly as negatively looked upon as it might normally be on a family fishing trip such as this one! His dad and I just smiled at one another and recounted our own boyhood milestones – learning to whistle, learning to snap your fingers, learning to blow a bubble with gum …
By the time the day was done, 73 fish had come over the side of the boat (including the 16 I picked up prior to my guests’ arrival).
As we approached the courtesy dock at trip’s end Austin got to steer the boat a little and then got to hand-catch the sunfish we’d captured earlier and release them. This was a wonderfully enjoyable trip with some good people.
TALLY = 73 FISH, all caught and released
Bob Maindelle, Owner, Holding The Line Guide Service and Kids Fish, Too! Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide, Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Lake Georgetown Fishing Guide, Walter E. Long (Decker) Lake Fishing Guide. Offering Salado Fishing, Killeen Fishing and Ft. Hood Fishing