Hot Fishing Before the Cool Down — 48 Fish, SKIFF Trip #2 of 2015

This morning I fished with Emily and Joshua Reynnells of Harker Heights, TX.  This trip was provided to the Reynnells kids absolutely free of charge under a program called “SKIFF” which stands for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun.


Emily landed this nice 4.50 largemouth from out of 27′ of water on medium-light spinning gear while vertical jigging.


Today was just right for fishing with kids — consistent action spread over the majority of the trip, fueled by temperate, pre-frontal weather.  Josh and Emily boated 48 fish this morning.

Emily (10) and Joshua (6) are the youngest 2 of the Reynnells’ 3 children.  U.S. Army Major Steve Reynnells and his wife, Johanna, made a tough decision which they hope will benefit their kids in the long run.  After being stationed at Ft. Hood for several years, MAJ Reynnells came up on orders sending him to Ft. Polk, LA.  With their eldest daughter about to go to college, a strong connection to their church, a home already bought, and more, they decided Johanna and kids would stay put and Steve would serve out his assignment at Ft. Polk unaccompanied, visiting home as frequently as possible.  Steve operates the simulation center at Ft. Polk, in which military units from all over the world come to practice working and communicating together before having to do it for real when bullets are flying.

The fishing was great today, thanks to an approaching cold front.  The winds were in the process of shifting from S. to N. through the west all morning, and that always makes for great fishing.  The grey cloud cover and past several days of warming was icing on the cake.

We fished only two areas this morning, spending about 45 minutes and landing just 2 fish on downriggers at our first location, then moving on to fish beneath some helpful ring-billed seagulls.  These birds pointed the way to 46 more fish, all caught in about a 40 yard diameter area, using a combination of vertical jigging and dead-sticking.

Emily was engaged from start to finish and enjoyed every aspect of the trip.  Josh’s attention span gave out a bit sooner, but, we found helpful jobs for him to do including releasing the fish Emily caught, keeping the livewell well-aerated, keeping the deck tidy, and distributing snacks as necessary.

After boating about 25 fish, Emily latched onto a fish that we knew right away was no white bass.  The rod was bent well into the butt section and the fish took drag two times.  When she surfaced, a big round mouth came out of the water first as I slid the net under this nice, 4.50 pound, 20.25″ largemouth bass.  The kids were ecstatic!!  By 11:40, the wind died a bit and got suddenly cooler, then picked up again from the NW.  The fish shut down, and I knew it was over for this morning.

As we returned to the launch area, I had a bit of a treat for the kids.  A real friend of SKIFF, Roxanne Coleman, who is the Senior Field Marketing Manager for Youth Programs at Pure Fishing (think Shakespeare, Abu Garcia, Mitchell, Fenwick, Penn, Berkley, Stren, and more), sent me a “really big” box of Shakespeare fishing gear bags last autumn, specifically to give to my youngest clients as a little something special.  With bags in hand, as I went about loading the boat on the trailer, the kids did some shoreline exploring, coming up with lures, shells, rocks, and, (my favorite) crawfish claws, to load their new bags up with.  Thank you, Roxanne, and thanks to all of you who contribute to SKIFF to allow us to offer this to our military families.

SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trips are provided free of charge to families whose children are separated from a parent due to that parent’s military service, thanks to the Austin Fly Fishers and a network of supportive individuals from all over the U.S.  All it takes is a phone call from a parent to me at 254-368-7411 to reserve a date.


TALLY = 48 FISH, all caught and released




Start Time: 7:00a

End Time: 11:50a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 64F

Water Surface Temp: 53.4F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW10, swinging through the west gradually all morning

Sky Conditions: Entirely greyed over,

Other: GT=0


**Area  1316, downrigging for 2 white bass (method a bit too fast for cold fish)

**Area 1527-1528, vertical jigging and deadsticking for 45 white bass and 1 largemouth


Bob Maindelle
Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide
Belton Lake Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)

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