Very Deep, Very Slow — 26 Fish with Gracie McCombs

WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday afternoon I fished the year’s first SKIESUnlimited Program trip with 9-year-old Gracie McCombs.  Not to be confused with SKIFF (for kids separated from a military parent by that parent’s military duty), SKIESUnlimited is available to all military kids at a reasonable fee.  That fee may be paid for through credit families receive when a military sponsor deploys.  Gracie had fished before in Oregon and remember catching what she called “some kind of a bottom-feeder”.


This sonar screenshot taken on my Lowrance Carbon 16 shows a school of white bass in 68 feet of water and in a feeding posture.  One of the white bass we caught from this group regurgitated a nearly fresh 2.5″ long threadfin shad.


Thankfully, Gracie did not tire with the repetition it took to put fish in the boat as we carefully timed the slow rhythm of our retrieves to goad the deep, sluggish fish into biting.



WHAT WE FISHED FOR: This was a multi-species trip focused on white bass using artificial lures.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 20 January 2018

HOW WE FISHED:   Fishing was slow in the first 3 hours of our trip, allowing us just 9 fish (and a few more missed).  The fish turned on, as is typical under the conditions we faced, during the last hour leading up to sunset.  During this time we nearly tripled our catch, taking our tally up to 26 fish.  We landed 25 white bass and 1 largemouth.  The fish were very deep and very sluggish.  I found some fish up to 70 feet down.  We used both deadstick tactics with soft plastics, and extremely slow “smoking” tactics with slabs to catch the fish we caught after finding them with sonar, then using the i-Pilot Link function to put fish on down-imaging in the crosshairs and send the trolling motor to park on top of them.

OBSERVATIONS/NOTES:   1) Snap-jigging would draw fish, but the slow-smoking and deadsticking is what triggered the fish to bite.  2) Schools of fish are tightly bunched in deep water.

TALLY: 26 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 1:30p

End Time:  5:50p

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  63F

Water Surface Temp:  47.4 to 48.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S16 and tapering to S10 by trip’s end

Sky Conditions: 10% thin, white cloud cover

Water Level: 3.9 feet low

GT = 0





**Area 1319 thru SH0006C

**Area vic SH0007C


Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)




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