This morning I fished with husband and wife John and Michelle Stapleton of Killeen. John is in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood, and Michelle works in the procurement department at Metroplex Hospital.  The couple has three young adult children.

I first met John when he was invited along on a guided fishing trip with me by his old Army buddy, Rob Stubblefield, who has since transitioned into civilian life operating underwater ROV’s (remotely operated vehicles) in the oil industry.

We fished Stillhouse today, as my last morning trip on Belton under murky skies and with a SE wind made for some very tough fishing. Indeed, even on Stillhouse we struggled a bit for the first two hours while the winds were from the SE and the skies were grey, but by around 8:30 or 9 a.m., after boating only six fish up to that point, the skies began to clear and the winds shifted just west of south and the fishing immediately picked up, staying solid through 10:30 a.m.

We fished up shallow over hydrilla beds using large baitfish and targeting largemouth bass while it was still early, and before the sun began to shine through the clouds.  We managed to boat three largemouth bass, two sunfish, and one white bass while fishing along a deep edge of hydrilla, topping out at 12-15 feet below the surface.

I searched a number of deeper areas, down to 30 feet, some with only sparse hydrilla and some with no vegetation at all, to no avail.

We made a move to a different section of the lake and, on a moderately defined hump topping out in 22-25 feet of water, we graphed some fish holding both together and near bottom (this is a feeding posture).  We got into a hover over these fish using i-Pilot technology and put baits down. Our largest fish of the trip, a well-proportioned 3 pound largemouth, hit our bait before we could get the fourth of our four rods down in the water.  This was just the tip of the iceberg, as fish continued to use this hump for the next 90 minutes, allowing us to consistently boat largemouth bass, freshwater drum, and (mainly) white bass.

As we allowed the bait to do its job, I suggested we also work artificials. Soon, John was putting on his own show on the starboard side of the boat catching white bass in the 11-12.5″ range consistently on his silver blade bait worked very near bottom.

When all was said and done we’d boated 33 fish. Michelle said at least three times from the time we reeled in the last rod in preparation for our travel back to the ramp and the time we said goodbye in the parking lot, “That was really fun!”  And it was!!

The fishing is not “off the charts” right now as we just now are beginning to transition to summer fishing with the formation of the thermocline, but we worked at it and put together an enjoyable morning with several nice largemouth bass to show for it.

TALLY = 33 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:30am

End Time: 11:00am

Air Temp.: 74F

Water Surface Temp.: 79-80F

Wind: SSE5-6, shifting to SSW12-13

Skies: Grey skies for first 2 hours, then fair skies with 30% white clouds

Other Notes: GT0


** Vicinity of Area 1394 – 6 shallow fish of hydrilla beds

** Vicinity of Area 803/805 – 27 fish off mid-depth hump

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