First SKIES Trip of the Season — 80 Fish

WHO I FISHED WITH:   This past Memorial Day Monday I fished the season’s first SKIESUnlimited trip with the Pak family.  U.S. Army Chaplain Richard Pak is pursuing an advanced degree at TAMUCT, thus, he and his family will be in the Fort Hood area through December when he graduates.  Mrs. Sara Pak and the couple’s daughters, Samantha (age 14)  and Addyson (almost 12), accompanied him in this assignment.

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.

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, including my own “Fishing 101”.


PHOTO CAPTION:  From left:  Sara (mom), Samantha (14), Addyson (11), and Rich Pak with a pair of the white bass the girls landed early on in our multi-species trip.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Samanatha Pak boating them 3-at-a-time!  We used a light, 3-armed umbrella rig to take white bass in shallow water under early morning low-light conditions.

WHAT WE FISHED FOR:  White bass and sunfish

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED:   27 May 2019, AM – Memorial Day

HOW WE FISHED:  As the Pak family arrived at boatside on Memorial Day Monday, I asked about the girls’ prior fishing experience.  They had both bottom-fished in saltwater for flounder off the Washington coast with their maternal grandfather, but not much else.  So, I tried to work in as many successful tactics as the season and the conditions would allow for so as to give them a well-rounded experience on the water.

This past Saturday I conducted a sonar training session for a Garmin LiveScope owner and spotted surface-feeding white bass gorging on shad over the span of at least 40 minutes or so.  I cruised by this area for our first stop of the morning and taught the girls how to cast with spinning gear.  They were equipped with paddle-tail grubs on 1/8 oz. jigheads and picked up the mechanics of casting very quickly.  Unfortunately, the fish never appeared on the surface for more than a few seconds at a time, so, they didn’t catch any fish via casting, but, at least we knew fish were in the vicinity, which led up to our second tactic … downrigging.

Using 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons, we ran twin ‘riggers and kept our baits about 2 feet above the level which most of the fish seen on sonar were holding at.  Success came quickly, as Samantha boated the first downrigger-caught fish of the season, and made it a TRIPLE at that!!!  That means she landed one fish on each of the 3 lures on the 3-armed umbrella rig, all at the same time.  We went on to land another half-dozen fish on the ‘riggers before the brightening skies drove the fish out of the shallows.

Next, we worked tailspinners vertically on spinning rods in 48 feet of water to catch 5 white bass very quickly.  We then moved to a mid-depth area and landed another four whites on the tailspinners before the fish got finicky.  I immediately switched over to downrigging to see if a horizontally presented bait would be preferred over a vertically presented bait.  We got one more white bass right away, making me think we might be on to something, but, after 20-30 more white bass seen on sonar refused to budge, we knew it was time to try something else.

Our final shot at the fish came in the form of fishing with a simple slip-float rig using worm as bait for sunfish up shallow in flooded terrestrial vegetation.  The girls watched me demonstrate what to do one time, and they were then off to the races.  Over the final hour of our trip, the sisters landed an amazing 61 sunfish (quite literally a fish per minute), including bluegill and green sunfish.  With the water temperature right at 80F, they just kept coming!

OBSERVATIONS:   Although we weren’t exclusively focused on white bass today, the white bass bite was softer again this morning as the weather went back to having some turbulence to it, with varying levels of light coming through the clouds, and varying wind velocities, including gusts up to 16+.

TALLY: 80 fish caught and released



Start Time: 6:45a

End Time: 11:00a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:   74F

Elevation:   8.01 feet high with a 24-hour fall of 0.1 feet on a flow of 933 cfs

Water Surface Temp:    79.2F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSE the entire morning, gusting from 10-17

Sky Conditions:  Grey skies all morning with “squinting brightness” from 8:15 on

GT = 0

#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow




**Area vic 110/540 – 9 fish on downriggers

**Area vic 1063 – 5 fish in a short-lived burst of action on our first several sets of drops with tailspinners

**Area vic SH0118C –  4 fish in a short-lived burst of action on our first several sets of drops with tailspinners; 1 on a downrigger

**Area SH0038C – 61 sunfish


Bob Maindelle

Full-time, Professional Fishing Guide and Owner of Holding the Line Guide Service

Belton Lake Fishing Guide, Stillhouse Hollow Fishing Guide

254.368.7411 (call or text)





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