WHO I FISHED WITH: On Wednesday, August 19th, I conducted the season’s 9th Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) program trip with three young men from Killeen — 7-year-old Marcus Grady, 7-year-old Isaiah Davis, and 6-year-old Elijah Davis.
Their step-father, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Sylvester Grady is currently away from Ft. Hood, serving at Fort Benning, Georgia. He has been in the military for over 20 years.
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: Isaiah Davis, Elijah Davis, and Marcus Grady landed 49 fish during their evening adventure on Lake Belton. This trip was provided free of charge courtesy of the Austin Fly Fishers and other SKIFF supporters.
WHEN WE FISHED: 19 August, 2020, PM
HOW WE FISHED: Since the boys were young, and none of the three of them had ever fished before, we kept it very basic this evening.
Since we were still under the influence of Monday’s cold front passage, I suspected the white bass would be catchable, but would still require more effort than during more ideal conditions, so, I save the white bass effort for just a short part of our time at the end of the trip as the sun was setting.
Prior to that, we hit two areas up shallow for sunfish, where the boys were able to hook and land 40 sunfish, including longear, bluegill, and green sunfish. We used long rods, balsa floats, and small hooks and split shot to present small live baits to these fish in under 4 feet of water.
Around 7:15P, the sun sank below a bank of grey clouds in the western sky, thus immediately dimming the ambient light level and making it cooler to the point of being pleasant, given the low humidity which the cold front brought with it.
From that point forward we began downrigging with two sets of 3-armed umbrella rigs. Each boy got to land 3 white bass over the course of the next hour. By about 8:15, the boys were ready to move on to supper. Hence, we finished up the trip with 49 fish caught and released.
TALLY: 49 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: Thanks to N winds at ~9-10 and some building cloud cover, the fishing began to rebound from Tuesday’s bright, calm, post-frontal scenario. Fish were still a bit reluctant. I watched our downrigger ball present our 3-armed umbrella rigs right to numerous schools of white bass which failed to show any response at all. The shallower and more horizontally spread the pre-sunset white bass were, the more likely they were to strike.
Start Time: 5:15P
End Time: 8:15P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 97F
Elevation: 2.31′ low, 0.04′ fall, 51 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 86.8
Wind Speed & Direction: NNE11
Sky Conditions: 30% white cloud cover on a blue sky; around 7:15, the sun was obscured by a thick grey cloud bank in the west.
Moon: New Moon today
GT = NA
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area B0035G – sunfish
**Area 1583 – sunfish
**Area 085 – early evening white bass
**Area vic B0154C – late evening white bass
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)