WHO I FISHED WITH: This past Saturday morning, March 14th, I fished with Cooper (age 8) and Riley (age 6) Harkrider of Buda, TX, and their cousin, Isaac Aguilar (age 10), from Wylie, TX, all accompanied by Dave Dedrick and Joey Harkrider, who came as non-fishing chaperones to help make the kids successful (and who did a great job at that).
Mrs. Sarah Harkrider coordinated the trip back in late January. I shared with her that, due to the technical nature of the fishing this time of year and the lack of variety in the presentations used, this time of year can be tough for taking younger elementary-aged kids out. She assured me there would be ample adult supervision and so we agreed to give it a go.
The families camped out at Dana Peak Park on Stillhouse, and we met up and fished on Lake Belton.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Isaac Aguilar, Cooper Harkrider, and Riley Harkrider with a few of the Lake Belton white bass they caught this morning as a light mist fell and easterly winds blew.
PHOTO CAPTION: Cooper Harkrider with our largest fish of the trip — a zebra-mussel fattened freshwater drum which fell for his slab. I don’t think you can smile harder than that!
WHEN WE FISHED: 14 March, 2002, AM
HOW WE FISHED: With the kids so young and the vertical presentation pretty demanding as far as consistency with speed of presentation, I took longer than I normally would before we left the launch site to show the kids what needed to be done and then “quizzed” each of the kids by having them demonstrate that they understood what needed to be done, thus giving me a chance to coach any adjustments needed before we began fishing.
We found fish in a number of areas today, but, many of these fish were just shut down and wouldn’t bite, or, if they did bite, did all of the biting as soon as we arrived, but then shut down quickly thereafter — very much a continuation of what I observed on Stillhouse yesterday morning with my party of three adults.
We all fished off of the starboard side of the boat so I could watch the kids’ techniques. Joey hunkered down full-time with Riley, Dave kept an eye on Isaac, and I had Cooper immediately to my left so we could all help keep the kids’ presentations consistent.
Even though we never got into a huge group of active fish that fed for long whiles, the action we experienced was steady and spread well over the morning so the kids stayed engaged. Even Riley, at age 6, showed no signs of letting up until we had already planned to make one final stop before heading in. The kids never set down their rods the whole time and were eager (sometimes too eager) to let down their lines at each new location we arrived at.
NOAA called for southerly winds, but we had easterly winds instead; NOAA also called for winds at 10 at sunrise slowly rising to 14, but we had calm conditions through 8:30, followed by a ramp-up from nil to 16 over the next 3 hours. As the old saying goes, “Winds from the east, fish bite least.”. This was definitely the toughest trip of the spring break week.
TALLY: 38 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Still a good many birds — mainly terns — on the lake, but only saw two instances of them working, neither of which led us to active fish.
Start Time: 7:30A
End Time: 11:15A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 70F
Elevation: 0.85′ low, +0.0 24-hour change, 17 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 57.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: Calm for 70 minutes, then going E and building to E14 by trip’s end
Sky Conditions: Grey overcast the entire trip with light mist from 7:30 to 8:00A
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 738/1859/1871 along 18-22′ mark
**Area vic 1736
**Area vic 132 (fished it twice)
**Area vic 097
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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