WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Thursday, January 18, I fished with first-time guests Mike Henry, David Rogers, Nick Sukup, and Brian Mascho.
The fellows all first got acquainted while “working dirt” doing earthmoving construction projects during that time of year in which the soil is thawed enough to be moved up in Alaska.
Our date to fish was a bit of a moving target due to all four fellows’ travel schedules and this crazy Texas winter weather.
Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Mike Henry, Nick Sukup, David Rogers, and Brian Mascho relied primarily on slow-smoking a Bladed Hazy Eye Slab to put 54 fish in the boat this morning between polar weather systems.
PHOTO CAPTION: Brian took this 6.25-pound largemouth from 41 feet of water on a slow-smoked 3/4 oz. white Bladed Hazy Eye Slab at mid-morning just after the SW wind began to pick up noticeably.
PHOTO CAPTION: Nick picked this 4-pound class largemouth up by slow-smoking with a 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slab from out of 31 feet of water just after noon.
Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/
WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir
WHEN WE FISHED: Thursday, 18 Jan. 2023 (AM)
HOW WE FISHED:
Most notable of this entire report is the rapid temperature drop Stillhouse experienced since this most recent polar air mass moved in late on Saturday, Jan. 13. Here is a comparison of water temperatures down to 50 feet, taken at 5-foot increments on the morning of 13 Jan., and again this morning, 18 Jan.
That much environmental change in a short period of time never bodes well for the fishing.
I observed several things this morning, some expected, and some not. First, I noted that the areas where I found fish were essentially the same areas where I was finding fish prior to this prolonged freeze.
Next, I found the fish much more reluctant to hit our baits, even when we snap-jigged and kept the lure motionless just off bottom, and even when an abundance of fish were present.
Next, I found that whatever bird action we witnessed involving gulls (not terns) was oriented on fish, whereas much of the bird action by gulls prior to this cold snap was oriented on loons.
Next, I noted that most of our fish came soon after we stopped at an area while the fish found our presentations novel; it did not take the long to tire of our baits and ignore them.
Finally, I noted that the deeper we fish, the more likely fish were to pull up off bottom and suspend or move parallel to bottom in a horizontal band, and, those fish which pulled up off bottom were more easily fooled with a slow-smoking tactic.
We employed three tactics this morning: snap-jigging, slow-smoking, and working curl-tail grubs with a sawtooth method. The snap-jigging was all done with 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs, the slow-smoking was done with a combination of 5/8 and 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs, and the sawtooth work was done with a pinched down 3″ grub on a 1/2 oz. head.
The sawtooth method produced best under low-light conditions before the wind began. The slow-smoking put the most fish in the boat after the first hour had passed, and the snap-jigging only added a few fish to the count, typically after fish “cooled off” and headed back to bottom, after rising up off bottom and going for a slow-smoking tactic for a while.
Fishing was steady, but slow, so, I extend the trip about 90 minutes. At our last area, and as we were, literally, wrapping up at the 5 hour mark, I graphed some fish — the single largest group of fish I’d seen all morning. We quickly got on them and found these fish would follow a slow-smoked slab up from directly off bottom — something we’d not seen the rest of the morning.
We caught more fish in that final 30 minutes than at any other location fished all morning, taking our tally from 33 fish, up to 54 fish.
That 54-fish count included 4 largemouth bass (best was 6.25 pounds by Brian), and 3 freshwater drum, with the balance of 47 fish being white bass, 100% of which were legal with the top 3 or 4 fish surpassing 14 inches. All fish were caught and released.
Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ
TALLY: 71 fish caught and released.
OBSERVATIONS: See water temperature comparison for pre- and post-freeze above.
Start Time: 7:35A
End Time: 1:00P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 32F
Elevation: 18.02feet low, 1 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 45.0F on the surface.
Wind Speed & Direction: SW winds varying from 4-9 all morning
Sky Condition: Pale blue, cloudless sky.
Moon Phase: First quarter moon at 54% illumination.
GT = 5
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
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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