WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Tuesday morning, August 6th , I conducted the eleventh SKIFF program trip of the 2019 season. I welcomed aboard Lana (11), Shane (8), and Wyatt (6), the children of Sergeant First Class Joshua Pavey and his wife, Angel. On this trip, Angel left the kids in my care, as she also has a 3-year-old to tend to.
SFC Pavey had just returned from a rotation at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California, and, just days later, left home again to participate in a situational training exercise (STX). SFC Pavey has been in the Army for 15 years and serves as an electronic warfare specialist.
Angel is the person behind Fort Hood’s Operation Phantom Cakes, which provides free birthday cakes to military kids!
This fishing trip was provided to this military family at no charge. S.K.I.F.F. stands for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. This program began in May of 2009. It is funded by the donations and fundraising efforts of the Austin Fly Fishers and other organizations they have partnered with. S.K.I.F.F. provides the children of military personnel separated from their families due to duty commitments with the opportunity to go fishing. In mid-2019, SKIFF also began provide trips to dependents whose parents’ military-related disabilities prevent them from taking their own children fishing. I coordinate and conduct these 3.5 to 4 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir, just outside the gates of Fort Hood in Bell County, TX, year ’round.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Wyatt, Lana, and Shane Pavey with a few of the white bass which fed aggressively during the first hour after sunrise.
WHAT WE FISHED FOR: Multi-species targeting white bass and sunfish
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: 06 August 2019, AM
HOW WE FISHED: This morning’s trip began at 6:20am as we began searching for topwater white bass. The bite was about 30 minutes long on top, then transitioned to a downrigger bite for about another 20 minutes thereafter. We picked up a few casting shad-imitating slabs with me doing the casting as the kids had no prior experience with spinning gear, and because there were a lot of moving parts with 3 kids on board. We did much better downrigging 3-armed umbrella rigs over fish that had already sounded. By 7:40a the aggressive white bass action was over. We’d landed 13 white bass and 1 hybrid striped bass by this time.
All three kids earned their TPWD “First Fish Award” during this trip.
With fairly calm winds, hot weather, and three younger kids on board, it was now time for sunfishing. We hit two areas and found all four species of sunfish very cooperative, along with some “bonus” blacktail shiners. The kids got the knack for catching these abundant fish very quickly, and enjoyed it, so, we stuck with what was working well. The kids went on to catch exactly 66 sunfish, taking our morning’s total up to exactly 80 fish before little Wyatt gave out, followed shortly by Shane throwing in the towel. Lana, on the other hand, I believe could have hung with me all day. Her favorite phrase of the the morning was, “We’ve got a new friend!” each time she brought in another sunfish.
TALLY: 80 fish caught and released
Start Time: 6:20a
End Time: 9:30a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 77F
Elevation: 0.26′ high, 0.01′ 24-hour fall, 69 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 87
Wind Speed & Direction: S5-7 entire trip
Sky Conditions: Under 5% cloud cover on blue sky.
GT = 0
#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 813 topwater white bass action
**Area B0129C to 1657 – post-topwater downrigging
**Area 502 (south side) – sunfish
**Area B0162C – sunfish
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)