This morning I fished with long-time clients Jim and Shena S. of Cedar Park, TX. We were anticipating vertical fishing today for white bass on Stillhouse.
Shena, rosy-cheeked from the cold, with a few of the larger white bass that came from among the first 80 fish we boated in our first 2 3/4 hours on the water.
Jim used a combination of “easing” and “smoking” to boat these 13+ inch white bass.
On the heels of a 100+ fish day yesterday, I was hopeful we could squeeze out yet another trip eclipsing the century mark. The forecast looked “just okay” the closer we got to start time … easterly winds all morning from 4-7mph. As I launched, we actually had a SW breeze at ~6mph which, fortunately, lasted about 2 3/4 hours. It was during this time that we caught the majority of our fish.
We fished in the vicinity of Area 1146/1150 and channel-ward from there. We found white bass in large schools moving steadily through this area and feeding as they moved, primarily in the lower half of the water column, but occasionally pushing bait to the surface (BA:6HG). We began up shallower early in 25-28 feet, and, as the sun rose higher, moved deeper into as much as 36-38 feet.
We began with an “easing” technique using light TNT180’s in 3/8 oz., but the fished showed they were plenty aggressive enough for us to switch to larger baits (TNT 180’s in 3/4 oz.) and a faster presentation, so, we “smoked” for a majority of the time the favorable SW wind blew.
During the time the SW wind blew, we boated exactly 80 fish (78 white bass, 2 largemouth). At around 9:45, the wind died, and with it the fishing. In less than 10 minutes’ time after the surface went calm, the fish completely went off their feed, and we boated only 3 more fish during this time.
We then spent the next hour and 45 minutes searching for fish with sonar, primarily in deep water which occasionally buffers the impact of calm conditions. We found bait, but no fish, save a lone sunfish out in no-man’s land.
As the noon hour grew closer, I decided to deploy the downriggers so we could have baits in the water, running near bottom so that lethargic fish holding so close to bottom that they remained undetected by sonar could be tempted by these low riding baits. This tactic produced very quickly, producing two sets of doubles on tandem-rigged Pet Spoons. These hooked fish, as they were reeled in, caused their schoolmates to get agitated and rise slightly off bottom, just enough for sonar detection. Once I saw them, I buoyed them, and the game was back on.
We fished over these buoyed fish near Area 148 for about an hour using blade baits with a “lift-drop” technique, and boated another 27 fish, about 40% of which went 13+ inches (3 year old fish).
By 12:45 we’d pulled just about all the fish off this area that it was going to give up and so, at the six hour mark decided to call it a good day having once again pushed pass the magic “100 fish trip” milestone.
TALLY = 112 Fish, all caught and released, including 4 largemouth bass, 1 bluegill sunfish, and 107 white bass
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 1:00p
Air Temp: 33F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 64.5F
Wind: SW5 at trip’s start, calm from 9:45 to 11:00, then ENE to NE wind at 5-6 thereafter.
Skies: Skies were clear.