Fishing & Boating News

On the Dock with Rick Smith

by: Rick Smith,

Gerald Poboril of Temple, TX, holding his 10.09 Lake Stillhouse Hollow largemouth bass.
Photo by Rick Smith
(Dec. 15, 2010 - Belton, TX) The rumor on Lake Stillhouse Hollow is that all the big bass are dead. After several years of fishermen catching 7 plus pounders, all the big fish seemed to have disappeared. On Saturday the 11th, 160 fishermen descended on the lake for the final qualifier of the 11th Annual TuffMan Trail. The morning started out with strong south winds, making it a rough ride from the headquarters at Stillhouse Marina, to the main fishing areas. Weigh master, Steve Karlik, started the tournament by asking all fishermen to turn off their engines and to stand while he played the National Anthem. Then as dawn broke, he called the team numbers for the boats to pass by his viewing area, so that he could check livewells.

As the day progressed, the winds shifted to the north making fishing conditions very uncomfortable on the main lake, where several boats were positioned. These boats were searching for shad bait balls located from 20 to 50 feet. The shad were being pursued by large schools of white and black bass. Fishermen were using their electronic fish finders to follow the fish. Rough water created difficult and dangerous conditions in trying to maintain boat positions. Fortunately no one fell overboard and several teams were able to come away with winning stringers of fish.

In first place was the team of Jack Powe and Gerald Poboril, who not only had the largest weight stringer of fish at 12.9 pounds, but also had a monster 10.09 big fish. Gerald said "We had trouble staying over the bait balls due to high winds. We caught around 40 white bass trying to reach the deeper blacks. Finally by using 1 ounce jigging spoons, we were able to catch several largmouths but only two were keepers. I switched to a spinning rod with 10 pound test line and using a drop shot technique I was able to land my 10 pound fish. I hooked him at 45 feet and at first was not sure what I had. When I got him about 10 feet off the bottom he dove on me and the fight was on." Gerald went on to say that the fish went under the boat on him but with the help of his partner they were able to land the fish after having quite a fight on their hands.

For their winning stringer Gerald and Jack not only qualified for the championship but also won almost $3,000. Second place went to the team of Gilbert Miller and Artemio Contretras with 5 fish at 11.29 pounds and second largest fish at 5.32 pounds. Their winnings were close to $2,000. The top 12 teams qualified for the Championship to be held January 8th, during the Central Texas Boat Show at the Bell County Exposition Center in Belton, where over $20,000 will be awarded to the winning teams.