This morning I went white bass fishing on Central Texas’ Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, nestled between Austin and Waco. This was a father and son trip for Dr. Chad McCormick and his 9-year-old son, Timothy.
L to R: Chad and Timothy McCormick put 67 fish in the boat today. We had good fishing at both ends of the trip with a lull in the middle due to some near-windless conditions.
Dad got the best of the bunch today with this white bass that went just a shade over 13.5″.
The McCormick family now lives in Belton after traveling the country as both Chad and his wife worked their way through medical school, residency, and more, stopping in Kansas and Pennsylvania to end up here in central Texas where he practices as an oncologist and she practices as a pediatric hospitalist.
The night before our adventure I contacted Chad in order to understand the experience level Timothy would bring to the trip. I learned that he had never used spinning gear before and, knowing that would be vital to success today, I planned to do an on-shore lesson on casting before we launched so we could take advantage of all we found.
Once again today the low-light bite occurring right at sunrise with obscured sun was fairly strong, lasting right at about 50 minutes. It also produced the most consistently large fish of the 3 areas we located fish at today. We landed 13 white bass during this low-light feed under sparse bird action. All fish went 12 to 13.5 inches. As this bite died, I tried downrigging two areas for scattered fish, but the bite died pretty hard and the lack of wind did not help things.
Once the low-light bite was over, things got pretty tough as the winds had not yet picked up and conditions actually grew a bit more dim under near foggy conditions. Seeing this develop, I knew from experience our best bet was going to be fishing shallow in the more well-illuminated water under 15 feet deep. We did so and were rewarded for the move. We worked bladebaits in 11-15 feet of water and kept on throwing them horizontally until the fish were no longer interested. We then expanded our reach by doing a bit of flatline trolling in the same general vicinity. The two tactics added 20 fish to our tally. Most of our fish taken on the bladebaits were smallish, while the crankbaits took considerably larger but fewer fish.
Just as we began trolling, the wind shifted very distinctly to the south and picked up 3-4 mph to around 9mph. I let this wind work for about 20 minutes to begin moving the water, and we then headed out to deeper, more open water where the full impact of the wind could be felt. As I checked the first area I felt might turn on under these conditions, we found white bass just swarming over the bottom in 27 feet of water. These fish showed very distinctly on sonar as they came as much as 3-4 feet up off bottom to feed. We hunkered down over these fish and proceeded to “wear ’em out” for about 45 minutes, putting an additional 34 fish in the boat in short order. These fish were so active, we skipped the traditional vertical jigging approach and used an easing tactic a majority of the time to maximize our catch with 3/8 oz. white Redneck Fishn Jigs model 180’s. The majority of these fish were smallish white bass.
By the time these fish lost interest, Chad and I observed that Timothy was just about to do the same. He had long since consumed all snacks single-handedly, the fish were beginning to slow down, and I could see that his technique which has been pretty good for a 9 year old, was beginning to get a little sloppy. Chad and I looked at one another knowingly and decided to call it a great day right then.
For our efforts today, we caught and released 66 white bass and 1 largemouth bass.
TALLY = 67 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:15a
End Time: 11:50a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 52F
Water Surface Temp: 57.4 to 58.3F
Wind Speed & Direction: SE2-6 until 10:30a when the wind shifted suddenly and increased to S9
Sky Conditions: 100% grey skies with no direct sunlight.
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1501 for 13 fish under low-light conditions
**Area 1350 up shallow during a calm mid-morning period
**Area 1502/1197/1492 near channel fishing under better wind conditions at late morning
Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
Belton Lake Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)