This past Tuesday morning, February 7th, I fished with retired military friends Jaime Gonzalez, Ruben Cavazos, and José Chapa. José is a retired US Army Command Sergeant Major, Ruben is a retired US Army Sergeant First Class, and Jaimie is a retired US Air Force Major.
Retired U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Ruben Cavazos, retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Jose Chapa, and retired U.S. Air Force Major Jaime Gonzales put a total of 153 fish in the boat during their 4-hour morning trip this past Tuesday morning on Stillhouse Hollow.
Jaimie contacted me about two weeks ago after reading one of my articles in the Killeen Daily Herald. The three friends went in on a fishing boat together, but as Jaimie put it, “We sure don’t pull in the numbers that you do”.
So, today was both intended to be a fun day of fishing for friends, as well as an introduction to more productive fishing tactics used in this season on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir. The forecast indicated we were to have 11 to 13 mile-per-hour winds all morning, and as I rose just before 5 AM in preparation for the trip, there was indeed a stiff west southwesterly wind already blowing. However, as sunrise approached, this wind slacked off and our first hour on the water was spent under fairly bright, calm conditions.
By 8 AM, a high white, thin layer of cloud cover begin to build in and a south southwesterly breeze returned, slowly tapering up to 13 mph.
During the time of bright, calm conditions the fishing was slow and required a very methodical approach. We used a combination of easing and slow smoking to put approximately 30 fish in the boat during our first 90 minutes on the water.
As the clouds and wind built, more bird activity became noticeable, and sonar revealed that fish were beginning to move higher up off the bottom and into a feeding posture. We hopped to three different areas under these breezy, conditions and enjoyed consistent catching, albeit for mostly smaller fish.
By the time we hit the 60 fish mark around 9 AM, I offered to “leave fish to find fish” in hopes of finding a school of larger fish.
This turned out to be a good gamble, as we found an ample school of 2 to 4 year old fish in 62 feet of water and stayed on this school, which numbered in the hundreds, right through our last fish caught at 11:10 AM. This area produced over 90 fish, 75% of which were over 12.5 inches, with some just touching the 14 3/4 inch mark.
For this deep work, I chose white, three-quarter and three-eighths ounce slabs equipped with Hazy Eye Stinger hooks. Over 60% of the fish were caught on the stinger hook, begging the question would those fish have been caught had I not used a stinger hook? I have long since answered that question for myself – – that is why every single slab I use is now equipped with such a stinger hook. This is a super effective addition to any vertical presentation involving slabs.
When all was said and done we had voted 153 fish, including approximately six large mouth bass, approximately 10 freshwater drum, with the balance consisting of white bass.
TALLY = 153 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:50a
End Time: 11:15a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 68F
Water Surface Temp: 55.7°F
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm at sunrise, increasing to WSW13
Sky Conditions: Fair skies with light white cloud cover by 8:30a
Water Level: 0.19 feet above full pool
GT = 20
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Areas 1049/996, 1886, 1894, vic 648/1527, 923
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