WHO I FISHED WITH: On Thursday, January 4, I fished with first time guest, Mr. Bill D., a retiree who spent his working life in both the onshore and offshore oil industry.
Bill found me through a Google search on the Internet and booked a trip with me while he and his wife were staying in their travel trailer in the Waco area on a little getaway from their home outside of Houston.
Bill has his own 17-foot Express center console with basic sonar and trolling motor equipment aboard, and wanted to experience more about white bass fishing than simply pulling a slab up and down off the bottom. He told me, “I’m just a retired engineer who is looking to improve his self-taught fishing methods.”.
Here’s how the fishing went…
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Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)
PHOTO CAPTION: Bill’s primary interest was in exploring tactics beyond just bouncing a slab up and down at “spots” that may have produced in the past. I exposed him to four cool water tactics, and provided him with a practical, successful experience with three of them.
PHOTO CAPTION: Just about every half-day trip is producing multiple largemouth bass with a least a few surpassing four pounds. This morning, the first five fish we landed were largemouth! This was Bill’s largest of the trip; it weighed 4.25 pounds on a certified scale.
Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/
WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir
WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 04 Jan. 2023 (AM)
HOW WE FISHED:
We had a dense fog all across Central Texas this morning, so I pushed us back 15 minutes and, with fog still in place as we began our trip, provided Bill with a thorough explanation of why I brought the tackle I brought. I brought slabs for snap-jigging, I brought slabs for smoking, I brought jig heads with soft plastics for fishing horizontally, and I brought jig heads with soft,plastics rigged for deadstick fishing for suspended fish. So, however we found the fish presenting themselves, we were prepared with a presentation to approach that scenario with.
We found that while the fog persisted, the fish were very sluggish, therefore, we used snap-jigging to target these fish which were so close to the bottom, there was no target separation between them and the bottom as viewed on Garmin LiveScope.
As I observed Bill‘s technique, I found that he, like many folks, was essentially lifting and lowering his slab, instead of snapping it upwards, and allowing it to freefall to a sudden, jolting stop. I have done a lot of experimentation with this and found that the latter is much, much more productive. Using Garmin LiveScope to help guide our efforts, I worked with Bill on the fine points of his jigging stroke, and he almost instantly began to improve his results.
With the fog still in place, but with the orb of the sun now visible through the thinning fog, fish began to get more active to the point where we saw that a slow-smoking tactic would begin to out-produce snap-jigging. We rode that slow-smoking horse as long as practical , using the thumper as a metronome and using Garmin LiveScope as our guide as to when to engage in the slow-smoking tactic, and how far up off the bottom to bring the lures with that tactic.
As we begin slow-smoking, we started off with white, 5/8 ounce Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs. As the fog cleared and the sun brightened, we found fish deeper and changed over to a 3/4 oz. slab to get to bottom more quickly.
Right around 11 AM, we observed a noticeable slowdown in fish activity. Fish were still suspended, but nearly immobile. This allowed me to bring on the third tactic to introduce Bill to, which was dead sticking with a soft plastic on a 3/8 oz. jighead tied so as to hang perfectly horizontal.
Once again, using LiveScope to focus on fish highest up in the water column, we continue adding fish, albeit at a slower pace, right up until they quit around noon. If you’re a detail oriented person, note this detail: Over 70% of the fish we caught on the deadsticking tactic were hooked on the stinger hook tied to the line tie of the jighead, NOT on the jig’s single hook. That is statistically significant!
We wound up with 85 fish in the boat, including 4 freshwater drum, 7 largemouth bass, and 74 white bass.
Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ
TALLY: 85 fish caught and released.
The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 01 Jan. 2024 was:
0 feet 54.3F
5 feet 54.7F
10 feet, 54.9F
15 feet, 54.9F
20 feet, 54.9F
25 feet, 54.9F
30 feet, 54.9F
35 feet, 54.9F
40 feet, 54.7F
45 feet, 54.2F
50 feet, 53.6F
Start Time: 7:45A
End Time: 11:50A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 41F
Elevation: 17.77 feet low, 1 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 54.3F on the surface.
Wind Speed & Direction: SE wind at under 3mph while foggy, then SE6-8 thereafter
Sky Condition: Heavy fog through 9:45A, then clearing rapidly
Moon Phase: Last quarter moon at 47% illumination.
GT = 65
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Area SH0225G – 5 largemouth snap-jigging white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0262G – 20 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0234G – 25 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0261G – 35 fish snap-jigging and smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
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)
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