Fished a half-day morning “S.K.I.F.F.” trip on Stillhouse with brothers David and Jonathan Dalcourt of Harker Heights. This was the third S.K.I.F.F. trip that I’ve run. S.K.I.F.F. stands for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. The Austin Fly Fishers (AFF) have commissioned me to take the children of soldiers deployed in harm’s way and the children of soldiers killed while on active duty on guided fishing trips. S.K.I.F.F. trips are funded by donations both given by and collected by the members of the Austin Fly Fishers. The boys’ dad, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Dalcourt Jr. is serving with 1-227th Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Calvary Division, out of Camp Taji, Iraq. This is his 2nd tour to Iraq.
DAVID WITH OUR FIRST LARGEMOUTH OF THE DAY – IT HAD A CONCAVE BELLY TYPICAL OF LARGE FISH TRYING TO MAKE A DIET OF SMALL SHAD
DAVID AND JONATHAN WITH A PAIR OF HEALTHY WHITE BASS TAKEN ON DOWNRIGGERS THEY SET AT AROUND 26 FEET DEEP.
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 11:15a
Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 84.3F
Wind: Winds were flat calm with only an occasion puff from the SSW.
Skies: Skies were clear with 10% cotton ball clouds here and there.
I picked the boys up and it was off to Stillhouse to start our big adventure. Casting lessons were the first order of the day. I chose closed face reels for the boys as they told me they had little fishing experience. They were fast learners and soon the were launching 60-70 foot cast and fairly straight at that. Next we talked safety and then it was out to the fishing grounds.
At Stillhouse in the summer no wind = no topwater and today was no exception. It was obvious that we needed to start at mid-depths and so we got the downriggers down doing what they do best and immediately began putting fish in the boat.
I noted two concentrations of boats where “last weekend’s” fish were (Area 222 and 061), but those fish were long gone. We opted to avoid the crowd and slipped off by ourselves to between Areas 452 and 453. With the riggers set at 24 and 27 feet, we caught 1 drum, 3 largemouth, and 6 white bass in right at an hour. Things then got a little quiet so we headed out to look for more bait and gamefish on sonar.
We looked over Area 462 and found little.
We then went to between Areas 056 and 126 and, as we were idling in, saw occasional small, single largemouth popping shad on top. I could tell by looking at these that they’d present a marginal opportunity for casting, but we went ahead and tried it so at least the boys would get some casting under their belt. I worked a Cork Rig and caught 2, they threw Krocodile’s and each hooked but lost 1 — all short largemouth. So, we went back to downrigging and, over the next 2 hours boated 15 more gamefish (10 largemouth, 5 white bass), all on Pet Spoons and with all the downrigger work done by the boys — I just steered and used sonar to keep us in the fish — great teamwork!!
By around 10am I let the boys know we’d likely have active fish for another hour based on when the fish shut down on trips run earlier in the week. I gave them the option of continuing what we were doing or of bobber and bait fishing for a change of pace. They went with the latter option.
We headed to Area 203, broke out out the floats and nightcrawlers and got both boys accustomed to placing their baits where the fish were — in cover and in shade — and they did well, landing 5 fish each including 2 blacktail shiners and 8 bluegill sunfish.
By 11:15 it was already in the 90’s, there was not breeze and all 3 of us were sweating through our clothes, so we wrapped it up with 36 fish to show for our efforts.
Tomorrow the boys head to Piney Woods summer camp. I suspect they’ll be inquiring as to whether there is any fishing tackle available for signout!!
TALLY = 36 FISH, all caught and released
Bob Maindelle, Owner, Holding The Line Guide Service and Kids Fish, Too! Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide, Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Lake Georgetown Fishing Guide, Walter E. Long (Decker) Lake Fishing Guide. Offering Salado Fishing, Killeen Fishing and Ft. Hood Fishing