This past Thursday morning I fished a multi-species trip on Stillhouse with retired doctor and Navy Captain Ray Johnson, accompanied by his neighbor, Chris Lewis, who serves as the band director at Eastern Hills Middle School in Harker Heights.
Largemouth bass were schooling on the surface in force this morning under grey skies and light winds. Sight casting to these “wolfpacks” of fish as they aggressively pursue young of the year shad is challenging and engaging, requiring accurate and timely casts. Ray Johnson was up to the challenge.
Ray’s neighbor, Chris Lewis, had fished Stillhouse on a number of occasion but caught his first fish from this 9-mil-long reservoir today.
Now into our third day with northerly winds, this morning’s weather presented with full coverage of gray clouds for the entire 4.75 hours of our trip.
The combination of a light breeze and grey cloud cover served us well, as it allowed for the very first widespread top water action I’ve seen thus far this season on Stillhouse to occur.
Our first stop this morning came in about 37 feet of water on a breakline adjacent to the river channel. Here, white bass were suspended in the lower two thirds of the water column and loosely schooled feeding on young of the year shad. We used a smoking tactic to take a number of these fish over a span of about 45 minutes.
Just about the time this bite, which never really got very aggressive, was about to taper to nothing, I spotted consistent bursts of water in the distance – – the telltale sign of fish forcing shad against the surface and feeding on them there. As we slowly motored near these fish, then turned off the outboard and closed the last few yards with the electric trolling motor, I could see we had a mix of white bass and largemouth bass feeding on shad about 1.25 inches in length.
Over the next 45 minutes both men were able to sight cast using smoke colored grubs on 1/4 ounce jig heads to tempt a number of largemouth bass ranging in size from 11 to 15 inches.
After this action died, and with a total of 25 fish now landed for the morning, I headed to deeper, clearer water in search of schools white bass that we could either downrig for or vertical jig for.
Once again, surface feeding fish, including a mix of white bass and largemouth bass, gave away the location many more fish holding closer to the bottom in the lower half of the water column, as revealed by sonar.
We spent the balance of our trip using a smoking tactic equipped with three-quarter ounce slabs to which my hand-tied Hazy Eye Stinger hooks were attached, to land and additional 126 fish through 11 AM.
We wrapped up our trip today with exactly 156 Fish boated for our efforts, including primarily white bass, with a number of largemouth bass and freshwater drum included in that count.
TALLY: 156 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:15a
End Time: 11:15a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F
Water Surface Temp: 83.6F
Wind Speed & Direction: NNE7-9
Sky Conditions: Grey 100% of the trip
Water Level: 0.08 feet high and slowly falling; 200 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 992-1951 – low light vertical tactics for white bass on breakline in 38′ — 8 fish
**Area vic 649 – schoolie largemouth topwater action on grubs — 17 fish
**Area 1687 thru 989 thru 1047 – deep white bass action on slabs in 41-49 feet under open water largemouth action –126 fish
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)