More Fish than All My Other Trips Combined! 31 Jan. 2013, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Report, 20 Fish

I fished with Jonathan O. of Coppperas Cove this morning. We caught a total of 19 white bass and 1 largemouth bass by jigging slab spoons vertically in 27-31 feet of water.

Jonathan caught on very quickly to the vertical jigging technique that puts a majority of the fish in the boat from mid-December through mid-March. This one went 13.75 inches.

We had a forecast for an overnight low of 39 degrees and 15 mph SW winds at sunrise. What we got was an overnight low of 31 degrees and a 5-7 mph WNW breeze — that makes a big difference to fish!! Accordingly we did not boat a single fish until around 9:45a when the winds had shifted SW and the wind speed increased to ~12 mph.

At that time, we found some suspended gamefish amidst a concentration of suspended gar between Areas 1163 and 373. We hung around long enough to boat 1 largemouth and 1 white bass.

Around 10:15 we moved to Area 1164 and graphed white bass holding very tightly to bottom in 27-31 feet of water. Using TNT180 slabs (white, 3/4oz.) we boated 18 fish here steadily over the next 1 3/4 hours. We would hover over an area, begin jigging, catch 2-3 fish only to have the fish lose interest, so, we made short “hops” of just a few yards each time to get our baits in front of “fresh” fish, and this paid off well for the duration of the trip.

As a side note, bird life was plentiful today. We spotted ringbill gulls, terns, loons, white pelicans, coots, blue herons, cormorants, and even one osprey. The cormorants seemed to be driving the train and everything else that ate fish was eating the fish those cormorants were stirring up.

Despite the trip getting off to a slow start, Jonathan said repeatedly that we had truly landed more fish in this one trip than in all his past trips combined. He noted how we were quite intentional in our approach. No tossing out the line and then sipping coffee waiting and hoping for some thing to happen. We actively pursued fish from the time we got on the water until we found them and then enjoyed catching those we’d worked hard to find.

TALLY = 20 Fish

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Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp: 32F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 56.6F

Wind: Changing steadily from NNW to SW over the course of the trip.

Skies: Clear skies transitioned to fair over the course of the trip.

S.K.I.F.F. Trip for Two Soldiers’ Daughters, 28 Jan. 2013, 34 Fish, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

Trish (L) and Jessie (R) with our first 2 of 34 fish taken. The fish Trish holds is the first fish of her life and won her a Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. “First Fish Award”.

The S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) Program exists to take the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on fishing trips at no charge to the soldiers’ families as a way of showing our support for our troops and providing a respite for their spouses. The following is a note to SKIFF supporters about this most recent outing…

Monday, 28 Jan. 2013

Dear Friends of SKIFF,

This morning I fished on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir with two young ladies– Jessica Casper (age 16) and Trish Reeves (age 11).

Jessica is the daughter of the late Major Mike Casper and Mrs. Susie Casper. Mike, a former Army Kiowa helicopter pilot passed away while on active duty. Carrying on the military tradition, Jessie just won 1st place in the female division of the Physical Training (PT) competition at a big ROTC event up in Dallas this past weekend. The Harker Heights High School team she represented also took 1st place in the team competition there!! Way to go, Jessie and fellow Harker Heights Knights!

Trish is the daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Dwayne Reeves and Mrs. Nita Reeves. Dwayne is currently stationed at Ft. Belvoir, VA, while his family remains here at Fort Hood. Trish is half-way through her 6th Grade year at Nolan Middle School in Killeen.

The day was humid, and heavily overcast with the lightest of an occasional drizzle falling now and then. A strong S. wind pushed at 13-16 mph all day. The pre-dawn temperatures were an unseasonable 66 degrees, and, due to a lengthy warming trend, our water surface temperatures were at ~56F, up from 50-51 just a week ago.

We got going around 8am and immediately found helpful bird activity that put us on our first 16 fish of the day. We used a flatline trolling technique to find the active fish and then used a vertical approach to take advantage of what we’d found. Trish had been fishing before but had never landed a fish, so, first fish honors went to her when the first white bass smacked one of our crank baits. After that, 15 more were caught on TNT180 slabs in 3/4 oz. white using a slow smoking technique in the vicinity of Area 1054.

After the initial aggressive feed, the rest of our action came using a combination of downrigging for suspended fish holding very definitively at 18-21 feet deep over the old Lampasas River channel in the vicinity of Area 371 to 1163. Based on what we saw fish chasing and regurgitating, the forage size was pretty large in this area, so, I fished with one double rig of Pet Spoons on one downrigger and a single Storm ThinFin on the other. We also found fish on bottom at Area 1162 and 1163 at 25-30 feet and used an easing tactic and a deadstick tactic to attract these fish, again, on the TNT180’s.

By 11:45am things began to play out and by 12:15 the fishing, which got off to a late start due to the cloud cover, came to a close for the morning.

In all, we caught 34 fish, including a “First Fish Award” 14.25″ white bass for Trish.

It is such a pleasure to be able to offer such trips to our Army’s kids!! Thank you for your support of S.K.I.F.F.!!

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Start Time: 4:20p

End Time: 7:45p

Air Temp: 83F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~66.7F

Wind: Winds were stiff from the SE at ~13, increasing to SE16 by trip’s end.

Skies: Skies were fair with cloud cover increasing from 10 to 25% over the course of the trip.

True or False: Better to be Lucky than Good?? 35 Fish, Central Texas Fishing Guide Report

I fished with Greg and Meagan Uzee this afternoon. The Uzee’s are a young married couple transplanted to Temple, TX, from Louisiana where they met at Louisiana College.

As often happens in the winter, we caught this largemouth out of a school of white bass. I believe the largemouth “ghost” along with the school and eat smaller fish from out of the school as the white bass wander the lake in search of shad. It’s a fish-eat-fish world out there!

Greg and Meagan are both now working at Scott and White Hospital in Temple. Meagan bought Greg a fishing gift certificate last fall and today was the day to cash it in. We chose the afternoon due to a forecast for fog and N. wind this morning, and that was a good call. We found fish at 3 separate areas today from 55 feet deep early to 29 feet deep late. When all was said and done we’d boated 32 white bass, 2 drum, and 1 largemouth. Despite the fact that Greg had more experience (he was good), Megan, shall we say, more than held her own (she was lucky)! Which is better? I’ll let you decide. Thanks for a great trip, guys!


We found fish at Area 946 and 947 around 2:30-3:30 in ~55 feet of water and vertical jigged for these fish with 3/4 oz. TNT180 slabs in white. Our conditions today were less than favorable with a N and E component to the wind for much of the trip, and light winds for the duration of the trip. Once we pulled all the fish off of these areas that would go for our offering, I moved us downlake in search of fish but we came up with nothing.

We returned to Area 947 and picked up a few more fish around 4:45p and then headed back uplake.

We definitely encountered more birds uplake but found most of the birds were feeding over the numerous loons now calling the lake home for the winter. We did find one more patch of fish right on Area 572 in 29 feet of water and found them much more interested in an easing technique than in a standard jigging technique.

We fished right until the bite ended a few minutes after sunset and then took some photos, so this photo came out a bit grainy due to the failing light.

TALLY = 35 Fish

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Start Time: 1:30p

End Time: 6:10p

Air Temp: 63F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 52F

Wind: Changing steadily from ENE to ESE over the course of the trip.

Skies: Bright grey the entire time with partial clearing around 4:30.

We’re Back in the Saddle Again!! 72 Fish, Texas White Bass Fishing Guide Report, 21 Jan. 2013

If you are a regular blog follower, you’ll know there was an unusual 4+ week gap between my last post and this one. That’s because I received a very special gift for Christmas: Rotator Cuff Surgery!! Too much fishing, I guess?!? Well, the good Dr. Lichota at Scott and White cleared me to shift my standard transmission and do “routine movements”. Since I’ve fished for 42.5 of my 43 years of life, I assume fishing is a routine movement and therefore conducted my first trip of the year today on Stillhouse.

I welcomed John, Kelly, and Matthew M. of Temple, TX, back aboard for an “incentive-follow through” trip for Matthew from his mom and dad for maintaining grades and generally flying straight.

Everybody caught lots of fish today after the winds picked up steady and constant from the NNW as a mild, dry front blew in today.

This fish of Matthew’s just couldn’t hold any more shad; his little belly was tightly packed and these two shad were burped up as we unhooked him.

One of Matthew’s reward for playing by the rules of the house.

We met at 7:30 (sunrise) and got on a few fish right away along and down in the belly of the channel at Area 746/754 via vertical jigging as the winds were from the SW. We picked up 5 white bass and 1 largemouth here, all on vertically jigged 3/8 oz. white TNT180’s. About 40 minutes into the trip the winds went slack, then turned N, then went slack, then turned back NW, and then finally came NNW once and for all as a mild, dry front pushed through. This vacillating wind put a damper on the fishing for about an hour and a half, but, after that NNW took over and blew steadily for 20 or 30 minutes, things settled down and the fish went on a significant feed.

By this time, I’d moved us on to another part of the lake as we searched for some bird activity. I spotted some birds working over the trough between Areas 914 & 862 and as we eased into this area sonar just lit up with both fish and bait.

For the next 90+ minutes we used a modified “smoking” technique to target both bottom-oriented and suspended fish using white 3/4 oz. TNT180 slabs. The fish here were solid 13-14 inch fish on average and were all just stuffed full of shad around 2″ in length. Most fishes’ bellies were tight and “football” like given how stuffed full of shad they were. Several fish regurgitated shad at or in the boat as we unhooked them.

By around 11:15 the action was on a downhill slide so, we gave downrigging a try to attempt to keep our baits in front of the few still-active fish suspended up off the bottom. We boated 2 singles on a pair of tandem-rigged Pet Spoons down around 47-52 feet, and, for a grand finale, Matthew managed to land a double (two fish on the same rod at the same time).

In all, we landed 72 fish today, including 2 largemouth bass, 1 drum, and 69 white bass.

TALLY = 72 Fish

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Start Time: 7:30a

End Time: 12:00 noon

Air Temp: 43F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 51.5F

Wind: NNW8-9.

Skies: Fair, clearing to clear.