WHO I FISHED WITH:  This past Friday morning, Dec. 24, I fished with 10-year-old Ian Hinkel on the 2021 season’s 13th and final SKIFF program trip.  Ian’s aunt Kayla accompanied him, but did not fish.

Ian’s father, Andrew Weidlich, has been in the U.S. Army for 9 years serving as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic and is currently separated from his family while serving in Germany.

SKIFF is an acronym for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. It is a program now in its 12th year, sponsored by the Austin Fly Fishers, and supported by individuals and entities, all of whom desire that kids separated from a parent by that parent’s military duty, be given an opportunity to experience the outdoors through fishing during that time of separation, free of charge.  The program offers a time of respite for the home-front parents who may need a short break from single-parenting.  Reservations for SKIFF trips may be made by phoning or texting 254.368.7411.   Children must be 5 years of age or older.

Here is how the fishing went …


My next few openings will be on January 5th & 12th.  Weekday mornings are always best.


PHOTO CAPTION: Ian Hinkel took two white bass on one lure at the same time.  These two whites fought over this shad-shaped bait, and one got caught on the treble, while the other got caught on the stinger hook.

PHOTO CAPTION:  Ian landed a total of 52 fish during his 3.5 hour SKIFF program trip provided at no charge to kids separated from their parents due to those parents’ military duty (deployment, schooling, TDY, JRTC, NTC, gunnery, field time, etc.).


WHEN WE FISHED: Friday (AM), 24 December 2021


I was hoping for a trifecta on bird action, as a strong showing of gulls had led the way to fish the past two mornings, but that was not to be.  So, we were left to finding white bass “the hard way”, with sonar alone.

We got into fish well at two separate areas and, for the first time thus far this fall/winter caught 100% of our fish on the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.  I never saw fish “carpeting” the bottom at any of the areas we checked, which has been the precursor to a good catch on the MAL Heavy Lure worked vertically for the past several weeks.

For Ian, using a slab in conjunction with Garmin LiveScope was like a video game come to life.  He grasped the concept of what signatures were fish, what signature was his lure, and where he was in relation to the bottom.  With this understood, he effectively worked his lure a majority of the time today.  Especially important was getting his lure to rise directly in front of the direction of travel of fish moving parallel to the bottom.  This was a formula with a near 100% success rate.

Although we caught a few fish here and there, the very first area we fished, and the final area we fished produced the lion’s share of our catch, with a many fish being caught in our final hour as were caught in the first 2.5 hours, thanks to thick cloud cover limiting light penetration.

When all was said and done, Ian landed exactly 52 fish, including 1 largemouth bass, 3 juvenile hybrid striped bass, and 48 white bass.

Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs and MAL Lures found here:

TALLY: 52 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS: For the third morning in a row, the final hour produced as many fish as the first 2.5 hours combined.  Gulls are beginning to get distracted by loons and cormorants.


Start Time: 7:40A

End Time: 11:10A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  61F

Elevation: 2.24 feet low, 0.00 fall, 73 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 60.4F

Wind Speed & Direction:  S11 at trip’s start, building steadily to S15 by trip’s end.

Sky Condition: Fully greyed skies for the first 2.5 hours, then rapid clearing to 20% white clouds on blue sky in the final hour.

Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 76% illumination.

GT = N/A




Area vic B0098G – 27 fish on an eased Bladed Hazy Eye Slab (3/4 oz. white)

Area vic B0022C – 25 fish on an eased Bladed Hazy Eye Slab (3/4 oz. white)



Bob Maindelle

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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