‘Twas a White (Bass) Christmas for Matt Laakso — 120 Fish @ Stillhouse

WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Tuesday morning, Christmas morning 2018, I fished with returning guest Matt Laakso of Cedar Park.  Matt and I first got acquainted when he booked an on-the-water sonar training session on Stillhouse.  Later, he and his son came out white bass fishing with me, then hybrid striper fishing with me, both on Lake Belton.

Matt came solo on this trip to Stillhouse, which allowed for me to be a lot more instructional concerning some of the techniques we employed with which he was not familiar, namely deadsticking.  We also sharpened his game up when it came to the use of slabs in response to “reading” fish activity levels.  We went on to land 120 fish during this outing, including a 15.25″ white bass, which qualified him for a TPWD Big Fish Award, one step in the process of becoming a recognized TPWD Elite Angler.

Matt Laakso landed this 15.25″ white bass on a Cicada bladebait on Christmas morning.  White bass over 15″ qualify for TPWD Big Fish awards, which are the first steps toward Elite Angler status.

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

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday,  December 25, 2018

HOW WE FISHED: This trip broke down into 3 distinct portions.  We began in shallower water (under 25′) early, throwing bladebaits, however, blades did not produce as strongly as they had the past several trips.  I suspect this was because the light fog reduced light penetration and so the fish never had that “switch” of the sky’s sudden brightening goading them into their first feed of the day.  We actually did better snap-jigging, even though these shallow water fish were bottom-hugging and well-spread; they positively responded to thumping, thus providing us with a nice, steady feed of fish under the boat.  We landed 25 fish by 9:00am

Our next stop was a brief one, intended strictly to demonstrate the deadstick tactic to Matt.  I found a small congregation of white bass holding right along the channel break in about 42′.  They had a lethargic posture — relatively still and suspended over the river channel in a loose group.  We used jigheads and shad-imitating softbaits to draw these fish in with very slow, deliberate movements while keeping an eagle-eye on sonar for the fishes’ responses.

Our last stop came under birds which were barely visible through the thin fog.  There was a mix of gulls and terns over the water and loons in the water with fish and bait well-spread over a ~90 yard area.  We started off scoring routinely with a smoking tactic, downshifting to a snap-jigging tactic, and then finally a deadstick tactic as the energy level of the fish slowly decreased to nil by right at 11:30am.  We landed 95 fish between 9:00 – 11:30am.

OBSERVATIONS:  For a second day in a row, the last 2 hours of the morning was more productive than the first two hours.

TALLY: 120 fish caught and released



Start Time: 7:15 a

End Time: 11:30 a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 56F

Water Surface Temp: 53.8F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE3 at trip’s start, slowly increasing to SSE8 by trip’s end.

Sky Conditions:  100% overcast with just the thinnest blanket of fog; this fog was not dense enough to keep the birds from feeding, and it was not accompanied by calm conditions, so we still enjoyed a strong morning feed.

Water Level: 4.37′ high with an overnite fall of 0.25 and a flow of 1494 cfs 

GT = 15

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow





**Area v1697 – low light, shallow bite with blades to start and snap-jigging to end up.

**Area SH0086C – a brief stop over more lethargic, suspended fish to demonstrate deadsticking

**Area SH0085C – deep work via smoking and then snap jigging and then deadsticking under birds


Bob Maindelle, Belton Lake Fishing Guide

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide


254.368.7411 (call or text)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www/twitter.com/bobmaindelle

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