Ospreys Point the Way to Topwater Action — 49 Fish — Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Charter, 19 April

This morning I fished with Rick R. of Austin on his second outing with me. Our focus was hungry white bass returning to the reservoir following the spawn.

Rick show our 3rd and 4th largest white bass of the trip. Why not show the 1st and 2nd largest, you ask? Well, in an interesting turn of events, they flipped out of the boat seconds before the photo was to be taken!!.

The Spring warmup is underway and, despite a mild cold front that blew in yesterday and left NW winds in its path this morning, the fish were not really deterred at all from feeding. This is totally opposite of what you find in the heart of winter where water temperatures are falling and cold fronts only speed that fall further. Rather, in the Spring the water is warming, and cold fronts, if severe, delay or slightly reverse the trend, but, once the fishes’ metabolism starts to rise, they have to keep their bellies full to keep up.

Rick is a small businessman and had to honor a commitment to get a bid in early this morning, so, we were delayed in getting him on the water by about 45 minutes, but, this gave me an opportunity do some scouting and, when he arrived, we drove straight to the fish I’d found earlier, boated four white bass on top of Area 1198 on TNT180 slabs and moved on after the fishing tapered off.

Our next stop came in the vicinity of Area 101. We spotted two osprey in “hover & dive” mode over a school of shallow white bass driving shad to the surface. Unlike gulls and terns which key in on the shad, the osprey are after big game — the white bass themselves! We saw an “up close and personal” grab as an osprey hovered, folded its wings, dove, and successfully snatched a white bass from just below the surface where it lingered a bit too long chasing shad. Anyway, we began working this area with down riggers and came up with 7 fish, including 3 sets of doubles, and realized that downrigging was NOT the most efficient way to angle for these very abundant and aggressively feeding fish. So, we switched over to bladebaits and fished them in the top 10 feet of the water column until the fish began to settle back down, after which we vertically jigged for them. By the time all was said and done here, we’d boated another 43 fish here in the 1, 2, and 3 year classes.

When the fishing at Area 101 died, the morning feed was just about over everywhere else. We did not spot a single additional school of white bass in feeding mode from this time (~11:05) until the time we wrapped up at 12:30.

We did a lot of looking, finding schools of shad quite regularly, but found no white bass. I spotted some light gamefish action on bottom at Area 1057, buoyed that area, and began fishing it. Richard came up with a deepwater largemouth and a white crappie, and I hooked and lost what I suspected was a white bass, but, no schoolmates rose up off bottom with the hooked fish.

Realizing we’d hit the point of diminishing returns (about a half hour earlier!!) we decided to call it a good day right there with 49 fish boated including 47 white bass, 1 white crappie, and 1 largemouth bass.

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TALLY = 49 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 12:30p

Air Temp: 40F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 66.2F

Wind: Winds were WNW11 at trip’s start, tapering up to NNW16 by trip’s end.

Skies: Skies were fair and cloudless.