This morning I met Mrs. Shawn Bell and her three children, 12-year-old Morgan, 8-year-old Madison, and 7-year-old Mason for a fishing trip booked through the Fort Hood SKIES program.
From left: Madison, Morgan, and Mason Bell with a sampling of the white bass we caught on Belton Lake in the first 3 hours of our morning trip.
Big sister Morgan got big fish honors taking this hybrid striped bass that taped in at exactly 18.25″. Her mom, Shawn, was very happy for her!
Lieutenant Colonel and Mrs. Bell are now stationed at Ft. Hood for the second time in their military career, and live in Harker Heights. LTC Bell is currently serving as a battalion commander.
We met about a half hour before sunrise today, anticipating some topwater action early on, under low-light conditions, and we were not disappointed. Thanks to some low, grey cloud cover, the low-light period was extended this morning, and the morning bite went about 3 hours, allowing us to use downriggers to catch 29 white bass and 1 legal hybrid striped bass before the fish called it quits.
When the white bass and hybrid stripers had dined sufficiently, we changed up our tactics and went up shallow in pursuit of panfish, and caught a mixed bag of largemouth, smallmouth, bluegill sunfish, green sunfish, and blacktail shiners on bream poles for the final hour of the trip, adding another 34 fish to our tally.
I was pleasantly surprised when, as the Bell’s were departing, Mason, Madison, and Shawn provided me with a “farewell in song” which went something like, “Thank (by Mason) … Thank (by Mason and Madison) … Thank (by Mason, Madison, and Shawn) … Thank you! (by Mason, Madison, and Shawn”. Morgan, the pre-teen, did not participate in such antics, but did also thank me.
SKIES Unlimited stands for School of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills. SKIES Unlimited classes are open to children of active duty military personnel, retirees, Department of the Army civilians, and to Department of Defense contractors.
To enroll in SKIES Unlimited activities, children must be registered with CYSS at Building 121 on 761st Tank Destroyer Avenue (right across from the Chili’s restaurant).
There is no charge for registration; parents must bring an ID that shows their affiliation with the military, the child’s shot records, and the report from a recent physical exam. While the SKIES Unlimited programs are not free, many military families are eligible for sizeable credits toward SKIES Unlimited activities. There is a $300 “Army Strong” credit available to each child when their parent is deployed.
TALLY = 64 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:15a
End Time: 10:15a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F
Water Surface Temp: 86.0F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE6-8
Sky Conditions: A thin. low layer of grey clouds cleared off around 8:45a, leaving <10% clouds on a fair sky.
Note: Lake has dropped 0.11 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 595.08 above sea level, with 594.00 being full pool
Other: GT= 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1001/1069 downrigging
**Area 1492 slipfloats for panfish
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)