On the occasion of his 18th birthday, I took Brandon T. of Killeen and his younger three siblings, Maddisen, Kayleigh, and Ian out on Stillhouse Hollow for an afternoon fishing excursion.
In order, from youngest to oldest are … Ian …
… and Kayleigh …
… and Maddisen …
… and Brandon!
It seems the Killeen School District gave the kids an early out this Halloween, so, after leaving the schoolhouse by 1:30p or so, eldest brother Andrew brought the foursome down to boatramp and we were hunting fish by around 3:45p.
The conditions were very pleasant — temps in the 70’s, dry, sunny weather, fair skies, and a SSW breeze at 5-6 which is about the bare minimum to kick the fish into gear.
We started off searching deep water for schooled white bass and as we ran sonar over the second area I chose to search (Area 944), we found fish, buoyed them, hovered over top of them and jigged away with our trusty TNT 180 slabs (3/4 oz. in silver/white). In no time (less than 30 minutes) we’d boated 28 fish, including several for 5 year old Ian, which he caught 100% by himself!
After the bite died down to nil, we went looking in similar areas in the 35-41 foot depth range. We again encountered a nice school of fish at Area 945 and worked them over with our slabs with nearly the same result – plenty of fish for all four kids for a 15-20 minute run, then things went quiet after boating 22 more fish.
I continued searching like areas and as I did, I noted, as the sun grew closer to setting, that the bait was drawing nearer and nearer the surface.
With this observed, I felt the time to transition to shallow water was now upon us (around 5:40p or so). We put away our jigging equipment and geared up for downrigging over 20-25 foot depths. Between Areas 644 and 484 we encountered a lot of bait spread from top to bottom, with the majority within the top 15 feet of the water column. We put two lines out and staggered our downrigger weights at 15 feet and 20 feet. No sooner did we set the 20 foot rod than it went off with a healthy white nailing the Pet Spoon we’d chosen. Over the next hour we boated 7 more fish here including 2 largemouth and 5 more white bass. In addition to the downriggers, I also flatlined a Reef Runner Rip Shad 200 to cover the 8-12 foot range as I began to see white bass on sonar venturing that close to the surface as we came within minutes of sunset. The flatline accounted for 3 of the 8 fish we took in this area.
All four kids did great tonight, each landing their fair share of our haul. I was especially impressed with Brandon. He takes his role as big brother seriously and, though it meant giving up a shot a a few fish, tended to the needs of his younger siblings before his own as they encounter tangles and the like beyond what I could immediately keep up with. It’s rare to encounter such selfless young men these days.
TALLY = 58 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 3:00p
End Time: 7:00p
Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~71.0F
Wind: Winds were SSW3-6.
Skies: Fair and cloudless.