WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning I fished with Dan Gretch and his 16-year-old son, Blayne, of Helena, Montana. The Gretch family had always wanted to do a little vacationing in Texas and this was the summer they made it happen. Along the way they got to take in Austin, some local fishing while staying in the Temple area, and from here will head to Arlington for a Ranger ballgame before flying back home. Dan is a professor at Carroll College, a private Catholic college with a student body of just over 1,400 in the capitol city of Helena. Blayne is working his way through public high school while holding down a job at Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply where he loads a lot of feed for the cattle, sheep, and pig farmers in the region.
PHOTO CAPTION: 16-year-old Blayne Gretch of Helena, MT, took this 33-inch monster of a smallmouth buffalo on light spinning gear intended for the white bass we were targeting. We all watched the fish rocket upwards in pursuit of the 1-ounce tailspinner while viewing LiveScope. The fish was cleanly hooked in the upper left lip, measured, and released. We estimated 30-35 pounds.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Dan Gretch with a Stillhouse largemouth bass, and his son, Blayne, with a Stillhouse white bass.
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: Multi-species
WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir
WHEN WE FISHED: 11 July 2019, AM
HOW WE FISHED: Summertime wrinkles in the weather really make me nervous. Things began getting tough yesterday when the winds went flat calm most of the day in advance of a cold front’s arrival overnight. When we first got on the water this morning and I began running downriggers, it was quickly evident that, as I anticipated, we were going to have to work for each fish we caught under today’s north-wind conditons. The fish would have nothing to do with a quick, horizontal presentation via the downriggers. So, after covering what I felt was our best terrain in that key low-light period and coming up with only one fish while seeing very few others, we moved and went vertical.
I keyed on spotting just handfuls of loosely schooled fish holding together in the lower third of the water column to choose where to focus our efforts. I tried to choose the “center of mass” of any collections of fish I found on side-by-side down imaging and colored sonar on the Lowrance Carbon, and then used the iPilot Link function of the Humminbird Solix to lock on top of that center of mass. I then relied on Garmin LiveScope to keep the area scanned in real-time as we worked tailspinners vertically. The action slowly improved as the light level increased in the 35-52-foot waters we were fishing.
The white bass that came through came through in groups of 30-50 fish and were typically moving quickly, allowing at most just 1-2 fish per angler before they moved on. Fortunately, these schools appeared frequently enough to keep the catching steady and engaging. Over the next few hours we put 1 largemouth, 1 drum, 1 smallmouth buffalo, and 45 white bass in the boat including mainly 2-year class fish. The fishing definitely moved deeper as the skies got brighter and hour got later.
TALLY: 48 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: At least 2 more days of north winds are currently forecast
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 11:10a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F
Elevation: 0.22 feet high, 0.05′ rise, flow is just 1CFS
Water Surface Temp: 85.5
Wind Speed & Direction: We experienced a 180 degree reversal of the winds beginning last night around 10p with the arrival of a mild cold front which moved in from the NNW. This morning the winds came up quickly to 10mph by dawn, then peaked at NNW13 by 9am, then backed off NNW11 for the remainder of the trip.
Sky Conditions: About 70 minutes of 100% grey clouds in the eastern sky, then clearing to 40% coverage thereafter
GT = 0
#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic SH0120C
**Area vic 878
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)