White Hot White Bass!! — 147 FISH, Stillhouse, 06 Aug. 2011

As I made my traditional night-before-the-trip phone call to Melissa R., I told her I expected that we’d do very well on this morning’s trip. Melissa had arranged a few weeks earlier for this trip for her son, Coleman, as a 14th birthday present to him.

Coleman with our two best white bass of the morning, both going just shy of 15 inches, and both falling for a 3/4 oz. TNT 180 slab.

Craig nabbed our only black bass of the day, also on a TNT 180, out of a school of white bass feeding hard on shad about 2.25 inches in length.

Chris, whose face here clearly communicates, “I am not a morning person.”, chipped in with his fair share of white bass, too.

Coleman was also able to invite his two buddies, Craig and Chris, along. The three of them will be entering Killeen High School in a few weeks as freshman in the class of 2015.

Knowing that 1) the white bass fishing has been excellent of late, 2) that the weather is extremely stable, and that 3) I’d have young men old enough to precisely follow the guidance I provided on the techniques we’d be using, all added up to a good forecast — and the fish did not disappoint!!

We met at 6:30a, shoved off, and did some on-the-water training on how to properly use a slab on a spinning rod if/when we encountered bottom-hugging white bass on today’s trip. The boys got the hang of the technique very quickly, so I was then especially hopeful that we’d find some fish schooled tightly enough to jig for, thus letting us maximize our fish-catching potential.

As we got underway, we started fishing for suspended fish by using downriggers rigged with Pet Spoons. Over the past 2 weeks, the action has been nearly the same on a daily basis — suspended fish appear in the lower third of the water column at sunrise and until about 8:00 to 8:30, then small schools of white bass begin moving towards shore and congregating on the bottom. Next,largemouth bass begin to feed on the surface around 9:00a with larger white bass schools underneath. The action then comes to a peak, followed by a slow tapering off of the action by around 11am.

This same pattern played out again today. We downrigged for 24 fish from 6:48 to 7:55a, all in the vicinity of Area 040. We then spotted our first bottom-oriented school of white bass. We worked these fish over with TNT 180 slabs in both silver/black back (3/8 oz) and white (3/4 oz). The 3/8 oz. bait was definitely closer to matching the forage size and definitely caught more fish for us. We encountered these fish at Area 863 and spent over 45 minutes on them, catching fish continuously, and taking our fish count from 24 up to 81 fish boated. When the vertical action ended, we added a horizontal component by “blasting” with tailspinners to add a few more fish to the count. After most all of the school dissipated, we moved slowly into the wind and along the same topographic line to try to find another nice school of white bass. We put the downriggers in, and, no sooner did we do that, than we nailed 2 whites, saw the sonar screen load up with gamefish, tossed a buoy, and went back to e-anchor and fish for these fish We had about 25 minutes on top of these fish right at Area 864, and, while continuing to slab for them we managed 22 more white bass.

Again the action slowed, and again we searched out fish, found them with the downriggers, and manuevered back on top of the fish we’d found and again jigged for a final haul at this area (Area 865) of 42 white bass and our sole largemouth bass of the day.

By 10:45 bait was beginning to relax and the fish were turning off, so we neatened things up, took photos of our catch, and delivered America’s 3 most enthusiastic new anglers back to mom who was anxious to hear of their adventures.

Happy Birthday, Coleman!!

TALLY = 147 FISH, all caught and released.


Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 10:50a

Air Temp: 82F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~86.4F

Wind: Winds were SSW7 at trip’s start, building to SSW9 by 10:00, then stabilizing.

Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.

Guess What State We Caught These Fish In?? — 118 Fish — Stillhouse — 04 Aug. 2011

Mr. Ryon D. and his kids had such a good time out on the water Monday, they came back again today, AND brought friends with ’em!!!

L to R — Logan, Waylon, Brooke, and Lorna team roped a mess of white bass today!!

It was 6:32am, the winds were calm, the day was as cool as it was going to get at 84F before sunrise, and out of the Dunlap family pickup came four very excited cowboys and cowgirls!!

We got everyone suited up with lifejackets and headed out to the fishing grounds. At 6:49 we boated our first fish just seconds before the sun came up over the horizon. We kept right on boating fish, 61 of them to be exact, until the novelty wore off around 10:15. Along the way, siblings Lorna and Waylon learned how to fish with downriggers as cousins Logan and Brooke had on Monday’s trip, and they both got really good at it.

We also captured a live mayfly, plucked a dead threadfin shad and a dead crawfish out of the water, we wore Mr. Bob’s bait net on our head, we got to practice landing fish using a landing net, we ate snacks, we had brother/sister squabbles, we practiced taking turns and using good teamwork, we ate more snacks, we “popped wheelies” as I throttled up to go from place to place, and, did I mention, we ate snacks. It was a very active 3 1/2 hours, afterwhich I told Ryon that I thought I’d be taking a nap this afternoon (which I did!).

With such strong high pressure set up firmly over Texas, the cookie-cutter weather has made for some incredible predictable fishing. The fish are doing nearly the same thing at the same times each day.

As we got started, we downrigged with Pet Spoons from Area 040 to Area 853. By 8:00am, the fish had shifted north slightly and were best caught between Areas 854 and 862 also via downriggers. We did have a brief shot at some bottom-huggers right on top of Area 862, but it didn’t last long, so we resumed downrigging. By around 10:15 the winds were slacking off, the sun was getting high and hot and the kids ready to head to the house, so we made our way back in, took some photos, and said our good-byes.

Our highlight of the trip today was a magnum white bass caught by Miss Lorna. This fish measured 15 1/16 inches long, and therefore qualified her for a Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. “Big Fish” award. This is the second trip in a row in which we’ve boated a qualifying white bass. If you fish for whites much, you’ll know a 15+ incher doesn’t come along too often.

As we headed in, I noted some schooling largemouth action on top just getting going. After getting everyone safely to shore and getting photos taken and fish released, I headed back out to the scene of the crime to investigate.

The hotter, brighter and more still the conditions, the harder those small largemouth would feed as they silhouetted the shad against the surface and then used the surface as an edge to trap that bait against. The lake had long cleared of any other boats, so I had these all to myself. Between 10:40 and 12:45, I boated 57 more fish, of which 44 were largemouth bass ranging from 12 to 15 inches, with the remainder being white bass that I picked up off bottom below the largemouth whenever the topwater action lulled.

TALLY = 118 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:35a

End Time: 10:15a

Air Temp: 84F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~86.3F

Wind: Winds were SSW4 at trip’s start, building to SSW7 by 10:00, then tapering to near calm thereafter.

Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.

One Tough Cookie!! — 51 Fish — Stillhouse Fishing Guide Report — 01 Aug. 2011

I fished this morning with Mr. Ryon D. of Salado, and his children, Logan and Brooke.

Brooke and proud papa Ryon smile behind her 15 3/8 inch white bass which qualified her for a Texas Parks and Wildlife “Big Fish” award

Logan matched his big sister fish for fish right to the very end of the trip.

I knew right off the bat that Brooke was my kind of fisherman. Last night, her horse, Roanie, ran her right into a barrel as she did her best at the rodeo. That cost her 3 stitches (right above a previous injury that took 6 stitches) and a very stiff leg this morning, but, she hopped out of her daddy’s truck with a big smile on her face and a big cowboy hat on her head and let me know she was excited to go fishing — during which time she worked spinning gear, baitcasting gear, downrigging gear, and lip-handled over 2 dozen fish by herself, including a magnum white bass measuring 15 3/8 inches. Did I mention she’s a 4th grader???

Little Logan did well for about 2 hours’ time and then faded on us a little, but, that’s what 5 year olds do, even on the best of fishing days. He definitely got the hang of “poppin’ ’em loose” when fish hit the downriggers!

Well, suffice it to say we all had a good time on the water this morning. The impacts of Tropical Storm Don were very minimal on Saturday, essentially just turning the morning sky red and the winds easterly for a few hours. Today, we’re back to high temperatures, clear, dry skies, and high pressure dominating the weather.

We started off with slabbing lessons just in case we hit into bottom-oriented and schooled white bass, and then went downrigging. We nailed 17 white bass and 1 largemouth by 8:05am between Areas 040 and 854, then went in search of bottom-hugging white bass holding beneath surface-feeding largemouth bass. The action was tentative as the S wind was in the process of shifting W, but was nearly slack for the time being.

To wait out the wind, we headed to Area 231 and fished with poles baited with maggots and tore up the sunfish (all bluegills today) on slipfloat rigs, boating 16 of the little rascals by 9:30, thus taking our tally up to 34 fish.

Once the wind picked up from the WNW, we headed back out to open water and searched. We found fish (largemouth up high in the water column and white bass down low) at a section of water bounded by Areas 860, 857, 658, and 858. We polished off the day here by 10:45 by boating an additional 17 fish here (16 white bass and 1 largemouth) using mainly slabs, with a bit of downrigging thrown in for good measure.

TALLY = 51 FISH, all caught and released (except to “pet” sunfish that went home in their very own Gatorade bottles destined for the home aquarium).


Start Time: 6:30a

End Time: 10:45a

Air Temp: 78F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~86.1F

Wind: Winds were SSW5 at trips start, going nearly slack 8:00 to 9:00, then picking up WNW thereafter.

Skies: Skies were ~10% cumulus clouds on a blue sky.