WHO I FISHED WITH: This morning, Saturday, 02 May, I conducted the 5th Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) trip of the 2020 season. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, I had this family on my SKIFF list, scheduled for Saturday, April 11th. The boys, Matthew and Caleb were separated from their dad, Ryan, as he was on a temporary duty (TDY) assignment away from Fort Hood. Because Ryan’s assignment had concluded by this time, he was able to join his sons on the water.
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, Ryan, Matthew, and Caleb with a sampling of their catch of 100 fish, which included 97 white bass and 3 freshwater drum.
WHEN WE FISHED: 02 May, 2020, AM
HOW WE FISHED: Fortunately, the weather cooperated this morning, complete with a stiff southerly breeze which kept some anglers home and other anglers off of the open water so the zoo-like weekend conditions often encountered on Belton did not materialize this morning.
Because I continued to scout baitfish and gamefish locations on my own during the shutdown, I was able to keep up with the movement and locations of both, and was able to put the fellows on fish from start to finish.
We fished 4 locations, all in deep, clear water, and found very willing white bass congregated in large schools at each. Using my white, ¾ oz. Hazy Eye Slabs with stinger hooks attached, we fished vertically while the boat was held still by the Spot-Lock feature on my trolling motor.
Using the smoking tactic, we got the fish excited and kept them that way for an extended period at each of the places at which we stopped.
We began our trip at 7AM, and by 10AM had amassed a catch of 88 fish. Based on what I saw on sonar, I felt we still had a shot at hitting 100 fish, even though by this time the morning bite was definitely waning.
At this point, I changed up a bit (primarily to offer Caleb a bit of variety), and introduced the fellows to downrigging. Our first pass over a group of white bass holding near bottom in 40 feet of water yielded a triple – one fish on each of the 3 lures on the 3-armed umbrella rig we were downrigging with.
We stopped atop these fish and worked them until we landed our 100th fish right at 10:30AM.
TALLY: 100 fish caught and released, including 97 white bass and 3 freshwater drum
OBSERVATIONS: High winds reduced heavy weekend boat traffic, particularly on open stretches of water. Shad spawn going full-throttle.
Start Time: 7A
End Time: 10:30A
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 66F
Elevation: 0.80′ high, 0.03 foot 24-hour rise, 17 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 68F
Wind Speed & Direction: S9 at trip’s start, tapering up to S17 by trip’s end
Sky Conditions: 20% high white haze on blue skies
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 677
**Area vic 2059
**Area vic 1743
**Area vic 472
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)