We caught whites, we caught blacks, we caught sunfish … 69 Fish, Stillhouse, 20 Aug. 2011

With sunrise only 20 minutes away, I welcomed Lynn H., his old buddy from church, “PaPa Butch” B., and Butch’s grandkids, 11 year old Leah G., and 9 year old Alexander G. aboard for a fun morning of fishing.

Alexander kicked things off with a sassy largemouth that hammered his White Willow Spoon down around 30 feet.

Leah’s strong suit was vertical jigging. She needed next to no coaching and was a “natural” at it. Consequently, she bagged a bunch of white bass using TNT 180’s today.

We caught a bunch of sunfish today, both bluegill and greens, and clicked this shot of Leah with a particularly colorful one.

The fishing has been so consistent lately due to the “cookie-cutter” weather patterns we’ve been having, that I was able to make a good gameplan before hitting the water that would ensure the kids enjoyed success from start to finish — and it worked!! (Although it doesn’t always.)

The plan was to downrig during the low-light period until around 8:30am for scattered, suspended white bass, then to target sunfish for what has been a predictable “slow period” in the mid-morning for white bass and largemouth, and then finish up strong with some slabbing for white bass in the last 45 to 60 minutes of the trip.

I worked with the kids before we left the boatramp area to show them how to use both spinning equipment and the downrigger rods so we could take advantage of all the fish that came our way and not be fumbling when there was a fish on the line. The kids took to both kinds of gear very well and with that lesson complete we were on our way to the fishing grounds.

We downrigged the expanse of water from Area 040 to Area 864 and found most of our fish right on or just over the breakline running SW to NE here. We put a Pet Spoon on one rod and a White Willow Spoon on the other rod to match the larger shad now found in this area. By 8:30 we’d boated 22 fish including 21 white bass and 1 largemouth, and the bite was starting to wane.

We switched over to panfishing for about an hour or so using maggots on slipfloat rigs to catch bluegill sunfish (26 of them) and green sunfish (3 of them) relating to deep hydrilla weedbeds. By 9:45 the novelty was wearing off of that technique, so we returned to open water.

For the last hour or so we searched for bottom-oriented, tightly schooled white bass using sonar. Due to the light winds and bright sunshine, I knew strong schooling action on the surface wasn’t very likely, so we didn’t depend on seeing fish to find them, but rather relied on sonar. At Area 250/884 we found exactly what we were after. We let our slabs (3/4 oz. TNT 180’s in white and in silver halo) down to the bottom and worked up a nice mess of 17 white bass and 1 schoolie largemouth that was hanging out with the big boys.

As we approached 11:00am, the kids had all the fun and sun that one morning could bring so, we broke out the snacks, cleaned up the boat, and headed back in with a great morning of fishing to look back and remember as summer break gives way to the new school year ahead.

Thanks Lynn and Butch for all your hands-on help and encouragement for the kids!!

TALLY = 69 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:40a

End Time: 10:55a

Air Temp: 81F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~86.8F

Wind: Winds were SSW45 at trip’s start, building to SSW7 by trip’s end.

Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.