WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, New Year’s Day 2020, I kicked the season off with a S.K.I.F.F. program trip just for 14-year-old Emani Frazier of Killeen, TX. Emani is an 8th grader at Union Grove Middle School where she enjoys playing volleyball. She’ll head to Harker Heights High School for her freshman year next year.
Emani’s mom, Melissa Frazier, is a disabled U.S. Army veteran and single parent to her 5 daughters, of which Emani is the youngest. Melissa left Queens, NY, in her early 20’s to join the military and was honorably discharged as a sergeant after multiple enlistments. She is active with the Central Texas Wounded Warrior Project and, through their Facebook page, learned of the S.K.I.F.F. program.
ABOUT SKIFF: 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. SKIFF trips are also provided, free of charge, to Gold Star families who have lost their service member while he or she was on active duty. In mid-2019, SKIFF also began providing trips to dependents whose parents are bona fide disabled veterans. 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. Call or text 254.368.7411.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: 14-year-old Emani Frazier and her mom, Melissa Frazier, worked up 50 fish on a pretty raw, cool, cloudy, damp morning on Lake Belton.
WHEN WE FISHED: Wednesday, 01 January 2020, AM
HOW WE FISHED: Both Melissa and Emani had a little prior fishing experience, albeit with bait, before this morning’s trip with me, so, I assessed what they already had a good grip on and then built on that.
Both were good listeners and fast learners and, in no time, had the “easing” tactic which is so effective this time of year down pat. We used light spinning gear with the very reliable 3/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached and wound up catching white bass, largemouth bass, and hybrid striped bass. No freshwater drum this morning.
Today’s weather was just an average “between fronts” kind of day, and the fish activity reflected that. The fish were not shut down, but they weren’t fired up, either. Each time we found fish using sonar, we caught a few (perhaps 5-10) and then had to move on as the remaining fish there quickly lost interest, and we did not draw other fish in with the commotion our hooked fish caused.
By 11:20, we’d landed 43 fish and I could tell that Emani was getting cold, despite dressing well. I suggested we fish until 11:45 or until we’d landed 50 fish, whichever came first, mainly to give Emani a goal to shoot for and a known end time so she could anticipate warming up again. The ladies were both good with this challenge, and, by 11:40, we’d landed our 50 fish and were taking photos to commemorate the morning.
Thanks to the cloud cover, we found fish up shallow, and, thanks to the cooling water, we also found fish deep. We caught fish from 16 to 28 feet deep this morning.
TALLY: 50 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Scant bird activity this morning with more terns than gulls doing a lot of looking and feeding on surface-oriented shad, but not working over fish. After the trip concluded, I scouted several additional areas, finding fish at B0058C, B0010G, and B0072C, landing 5 fish at each and moving on while the fish were still biting.
Start Time: 7:45A
End Time: 11:45A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 48F
Elevation: 3.01′ low, 0.02′ 24-hour change, 20 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 54.1F
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm and foggy conditions which were very localized. The entire area was not foggy, only the lake’s surface due to the temperature disparity between the cold air and the warmer water.
Sky Conditions: Sun obscured all morning by grey cloud cover which served to stabilize the temperatures overnight and into this morning
GT = N/A
#WhiteBassFishing #LakeBelton #StillhouseHollow
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 818 to 1024; 4 short hops
**Area vic 1659
**Area vic B0003G; 3 short hops
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)