This morning I fished with Mr. Steven Crawford of Beaumont, TX, and his son, Hunter Crawford, who is a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, TX.
From left: Steven Crawford and Hunter Crawford with a few of our nicer fish taken in 38 feet of water with vertical tactics.
This was the first trip I’ve conducted with clients aboard since the heavy rains and flooding ceased late last week. The rains brought Stillhouse from over 13 feet low to just over 3 feet above full pool. The rains also brought a lot of silt and floating debris into the lake, as well. The Corps of Engineers is slowly releasing water from Stillhouse now. Belton, on the other hand, is now over 13 feet high after being over 13 feet low, and no water is being released due to construction work being done in the tailrace area below the dam, which began before all of the rainfall.
In advance of this trip I fished a scouting trip on Tuesday evening and found fish at 3 distinct areas. I fished just until I hooked and landed one fish at each area so I could spend a maximum amount of time covering more water to locate additional productive areas.
This scouting paid off, as a majority of the fish we caught today were caught at two of the three areas I scouted, with one other area I did not scout contributing 4 fish to our total of 39.
Our first success came between Areas 1234 and 160. We found small pods of white bass surface feeding on young of the year shad and were able to dupe them with accurately cast Cicada bladebaits. We boated 4 fish, although the potential was there for a greater catch.
Our most productive area today was in the vicinity of Area 453 in approximately 37 feet of water. I initially approached this area with twin downriggers set with a tandem rig and a 3-armed umbrella rig, both equipped with Pet Spoons. As we moved over this area, I saw aggressive white bass launch off bottom and pursue the downrigger ball. As soon as our baits trailed through, both Steve and Hunter hooked up. As soon as we caught and released those fish, we maneuvered back over that area, Spot Locked on top of these fish with the Minn Kota Ulterra and fished them vertically with both Redneck Fish’n’ Jigs slabs and Cicadas. We landed a total of 29 fish in this area before the bite died.
The last area we hit called for a straightforward downrigging approach in deep, open water. We encountered small groups of 2-6 fish on a routine basis from Area 859 to Area 1253 and from Area 041 to Area 258. For every 5-6 groups we passed over, we could draw 1 or 2 strikes. I feel this area would have fished better during the 8:30 to 9:45 peak time, but, we got on it as the bite was tailing off and took only 6 fish off this area.
End Time: 10:20a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 71F
Water Surface Temp: 78-81F
Wind Speed & Direction: S3-5mph
Sky Conditions: Fair, cloudless skies
Other: GT = 50
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1234 – 160 – four on topwater
**Area 453 – twenty-nine on slabs and blades
**Area Area 859 to Area 1253 and from Area 041 to Area 258 – six fish downrigging deep
Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
Belton Lake Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)