Fishin’ & Shootin’: A Texas-style Birthday, 28 May 2011, 43 Fish

This morning I welcomed 3 young men aboard — Chris E., Andrew W, and Matt L. — all in celebration of Chris’ birthday.

With limited experience and great attitudes, these boys were ready to catch fish, and catch fish they did!!

It was a tough day to be an aluminum can out at Stillhouse today!!

Chris’ mom and dad, Laura and Joey, had coordinated ahead of time to plan a special outdoor outing including just a few of his friends. After discussing things, we agreed that a bit of shooting, a bit of fishing, and perhaps a bit of swimming would fit into a 4 hour morning before it got too hot and the Memorial Day recreational traffic got too crazy.

We met at 7:30 and were headed for adventure in no time. I brought two Crosman air rifles with iron sights, a bag full of aluminum cans, and a box of BB’s. We beached the boat, put sticks in the tops of the cans to keep them from sinking once shot, tossed the cans in the water and fired at them as they drifted away. When the cans got out of range, we cranked up the boat, picked ’em up and started all over again. The boys were all pretty good marksmen. Along the way we observed a blue heron, a water snake, limbs chewed by our local population of beavers, and the shell of a freshwater mussel.

Once I saw the conditions improving for fishing (much wind and brightening conditions) I let the boys know that our “window of opportunity” was beginning to open. So, the shut down the shooting gallery and we began the hunt for fish.

I’ve been on top of fish at Stillhouse for a long while now and that enabled us to go right to where the fish were. We made 3 stops and boated 43 fish in just over 2 hours’ fishing time.

Our first stop came at Area 806 in ~27 feet of water. I saw small groups of 10-12 white bass spread here and there over a 30 yard diameter area here while watching sonar. We got the boat positioned, lures down, and caught fish in spurts of 2 or 3 as nearby curious schools would see and feel the commotion of our jigging and come in for a look. In our first 30 minutes or so we boated 12 fish, thus allowing all 3 boys to “break the ice”.

We moved on looking for a stronger concentration of fish and found good sonar readings at Area 702/798. We made two “short moves” here over an hour’s time to amass the catch that we made, consisting of exactly 30 additional white bass. We boated about 2/3 of these via smoking and the balance by “blasting”.

With our “be back at the dock” time drawing near and the fishing action here tapering off, we headed to look over one more area on the way back in — Area 807. This presented much the same situation that Area 806 did — small clusters of bottom-oriented white bass appeared here, there, and everywhere on this feature, but no strong concentrations anywhere. As we put lines down, Chris came up with one last fish. We agreed it was appropriate to let him have the honor of boating the final fish of the day, seeing how it was his birthday and all, and so we called it a good trip right there.

Somewhere along the line (around fish #30 or so) I did ask the boys about swimming, and they very quickly and very unanimously “voted” to keep fishing. (Imagine that!)

Chris, Happy Birthday! You’re a fine young man and have chosen your friends well.

TALLY = 43 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp.: 76F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~78F

Wind: Winds were S8 at trip’s start, slowing ramping up to S16 by trip’s end.

Skies: Skies were hazy.

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