I fished a neat group today — Uncle Rodd L. of the Reno, Nevada, area came down to Texas with his son, Nick, to visit, among others, his 3 nephews living in Temple.
Uncle Rodd holds camera-shy Merrill’s fish for him as the other boys (L to R) Nick, Josh, and Kris proudly display their hard-won catches from a pretty tough morning on the water.
Start Time: 6:50a
End Time: 12:15p
Air Temp: 45F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~52.6-53.1F
Wind: Winds were light and variable until 10, then blew SW at ~9 thereafter.
Skies: Skies were bright and clear until the wind shift, then went fair and transitioned to 30% cloudy.
On a whim, Uncle Rodd called me late Sunday afternoon and wanted to get all five on the water the following morning. So, this morning, at 6:39am, a minivan full of expectant anglers arrived on the shores of Stillhouse ready to get after it. The party included Uncle Rodd, his son, Nick, and nephews Josh, Kris, and Merrill, ages 12, 10, and 8. I had planned on their arrival a bit later so as not to get them too cold by getting on the water before the sun rose, so, we stayed in a protected area and worked on their vertical jigging technique while time allowed so they’d know just what to do once the fish began to cooperate. As luck would have it, we landed 2 white bass sitting right there practicing!!
As the day got underway, things started off tough and didn’t improve all that much by trip’s end. The day was clear, cool, bright, and nearly windless until around 10am. Windless days are just tough on both Belton and Stillhouse. There were some birds out, but they were patrolling like we were, and rarely dropping down to the surface to actually feed. We hit a number of areas and scratched up a fish or two, but did not encounter schooled fish at any point.
At around 10am, very suddenly, a SW wind began to blow. The velocity went from light and variable to SW at 9 in literally 20 seconds. I moved us adjacent to the river channel at Area 401 and just like a light switch, the fish turned on. We jigged for 14 white bass and 2 drum in about 30 minutes. Because we had fairly light slabs and the water was quite deep (nearly 50 feet), the boys were getting more hits than they realized, so we missed some opportunities there, but, that’s part of the learning process. Uncle Rodd and I could see the boys’ rod tips twitch and told the boys to set the hook when we observed that, but often that hint came a bit too late.
These fish slowed down fairly quickly, so I then moved us to Area 549 and the surrounding area hoping the wind would be working its magic in much shallower water, too, but that was not to be. After failing to find any action on sonar here, we returned to the vicinity of Area 401 to scratch up anything that remained active in this area. By now, it was getting towards 11:30am, which is traditionally the time the morning feed is wrapping up barring any extremes in weather. We put an additional 5 fish (3 whites and 2 crappie) in the boat, but it was like pulling teeth. By 12:15 we called it a day with 25 fish boated. Each of the boys had an opportunity to catch several fish even though the action was slow.
TALLY = 25 fish