This morning, Wednesday, August 9th, I fished with 12-year-old AmiLee Tortorich and her 8-year-old brother, Brayden. The kids’ mom signed them up for this “Fishing 101” activity through the Fort Hood SKIESUnlimited Program.
AmiLee and Brayden Tortorich landed 36 fish during their 4-hour Fort Hood SKIESUnlimited trip on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir. The siblings were introduced to downrigging, vertical jigging, and sight casting under unusually cool August conditions.
AmiLee landed our largest fish of the trip and didn’t hesitate to grip it like a pro for a quick photo before it was released. This largemouth bass struck a silver Pet Spoon with a white feather tail.
Our weather was still a bit out of the ordinary for August, with a cool north wind blowing this morning taking the surface temperature down a bit overnight and dropping the air temperature to around 76F.
We primarily used downriggers this morning as the fish were scattered and a bit reluctant to strike. Quite a few times we saw large schools of fish which, under typical August weather conditions, would strike when the downrigged baits got near them. This morning, the majority of those encounters resulted in those fish refusing our offerings.
Around 8am we made a move and found some light, scattered surface action driven by largemouth bass chasing shad to the surface. Mixed in with these largemouth, and lower in the water column, were white bass.
We remained in this active location for the remainder of our trip; this allowed the kids to continue downrigging successfully, but also allowed them to do some vertical jigging and some sight casting to the largemouth on top. With about 45 minutes left in our trip, I offered that we could either continue pursuing the white bass as we had been doing, or head up shallow and catch more, but smaller, sunfish.
To my surprise, the kids opted to stick with it for more white bass action, as they really enjoyed setting and operating the downriggers. This choice got them 6 more fish in the last 45 minutes of our trip, including the trip’s one and only “triple” where AmiLee caught 3 fish at a time on her 3-armed umbrella rig.
SKIESUnlimited stands for Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills.
SKIESUnlimited offers dozens of activities for military and Department of Defense kids of all ages, ranging from gymnastics to piano lessons, from academic tutoring to various forms of dance, and more. Monetary credit for such courses is available for children whose military parents are deployed.
To participate in such courses, children must first be registered with Child and Youth Services.
Registration is free and is accomplished by contacting Parent Central Services at 254-287-8029.
Once registered, parents may go online to enroll their children for the myriad courses available.
TALLY: 36 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:30am
End Time: 10:30am
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F
Water Surface Temp: 83.8F
Wind Speed & Direction: N breeze 4-6 mph the entire trip
Sky Conditions: ~10% cloud cover.
Water Level: 0.1 feet high and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 484-1221 downrigging under low light conditions with a grey cloud bank in the east obscuring sunrise
**Area 1510-1316 a mix of downrigging, sight casting, and smoking for a largemouth/white bass mix
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)