One Last Trip Before School Starts — 91 Fish @ Lake Belton, SKIFF Trip #9

This past Tuesday morning, August 2nd, I fished on Lake Belton with the Christenson kids: Zach, Marissa, and Brock. This was a SKIFF program trip provided to the Christenson family free of charge, courtesy of the Austin Fly Fishers. The kids’ father, Ryan Christensen, is a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army and is currently deployed.


Zach Christenson of Fort Hood caught this nice Belton Lake hybrid striped bass while sight-casting to surface feeding fish in the first 2 hours after sunrise.


Marissa Christenson caught this nice Belton Lake hybrid striped bass while sight-casting with a chrome slab selected to match the shad these big predators were chasing.


Despite a wrist already hurting from reeling in so many fish, Brock “pushed through” and landed this nice Lake Belton hybrid striper — his largest of the trip.
To try our best to give the kids’ mother, Erica, some down time, my wife picked the kids up at their quarters on Fort Hood and delivered them to me lakeside after I traveled to Belton Lake separately and got launched and ready for the kids. By 6:35 AM we had shoved off and were on our way to the fishing grounds.

With the dark of the moon upon us now, top water action began quite early and lasted until 8 AM with enough intensity to allow us to cast to surface feeding fish up until this time. Then, top water action continued, albeit more sporadically. This allowed us to know where concentrations of fish were so that we could get to them and downrig for them. We downrigged for another 90 minutes, regularly picking up doubles and triples using Pet Spoons selected to match the forage size on three-armed umbrella rigs.

As we entered into the fourth hour of the morning, the white and hybrid action was sufficient to allow us to keep right on downrigging, however, little brother Brock was beginning to play out and needed both a snack and a change of pace.

We re-rigged and got set up to fish for blue catfish, in open water. In our final hour on the water, the kids landed exactly 20 blue catfish with our baits suspended just above bottom in 32 feet of water. We pulled in our lines at 10:35 to meet mom back at the boat ramp.

Trips like this are available to all military families wherein children are separated from their parent by their parent’s military duty, be it due to deployment, an NTC or JRTC rotation, field time, gunnery, military schooling, etc.  A quick phone call or text to me, Bob Maindelle, at 254.368.7411 to compare calendars is all it takes.

I asked Erica if she was able to relax a little, and, with a smile, she said she was able to enjoy painting a picture of a cross.

The kids landed a total of 91 fish this morning.


TALLY = 91 fish, all caught and released


Wx Snapshot:




Start Time: 6:30a

End Time:  10:35a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp:  85.2F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S9-12

Sky Conditions: 10% white clouds on a fair sky.   Unobscurred sunrise at 7:07.

Water Level: ~7.6 feet high and falling ~  0.65 feet per day with a flow of ~5,200 cfs

GT = 0



**Area 1791 – 947 extended topwater action over deep, open water

**Area 793 – 1792 mid-morning sporadic topwater action that guided us to downrigging locations

**Area SSW of 1070 – blue catfish on fresh, dead shad



Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)