WHO I FISHED WITH: On this cold, rainy Monday, January 24th, I fished with three of the four Fullerton brothers – Ian (age 12), Josh (age 10), and Christian (age 7), on what was the 2022 season’s second SKIFF trip.
The boys’ dad, U.S. Army Chaplain Derrick Fullerton, is currently deployed to Europe; we’d been talking about putting this trip together since well before he departed.
Since the boys mom, Karen Fullerton, homeschools all four of her boys, their schedule is flexible. When I saw low pressure weather moving our way and moderate temperatures accompanying that weather, I reached out to see if the older boys could make it.
SKIFF is an acronym for Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun. It is a program now in its 13th 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 31st and February 2nd. Weekday mornings are always best.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Josh, Ian, and Christian Fullerton endured very tough weather conditions to put together a mixed bag of 71 fish, including white bass, hybrid, largemouth, and drum.
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Monday (AM), 24 January 2022
HOW WE FISHED:
What a crazy weather scenario! Meteorologists began calling for a chance of rain today as far back as last Thursday, but, with each passing day, the chance of rain and the forecast accumulation grew less and less.
As I left the house, there was between 31 & 61% chance of rain over the 4 hours I’d be with the boys, and only 7/100th of an inch accumulation called for. Well, you guessed it — we had a cold, continuous rain the entire morning with air temps starting at 50 and falling to 48 by 11AM. We got more than a half-inch of rain!
The boys were true troopers and so eager to catch fish I just didn’t want to let them down. Their mom told me as she dropped them off that this trip had been the topic of conversation for a few days, and that the boys were in no way difficult to rouse this morning.
We endured a dark, wet, cold first two hours, landing only 5 fish during that time. With the boys all wet to the skin, we took a warm-up break with all 4 of us huddled in the single cab of my truck with the heater blasting on our reddened hands. Snacks helped get the boys’ mind off the cold and, after about 30 minutes, they were chomping at the bit to get back out again!
Fortunately, although a light drizzle continued to fall, the skies had brightened and the light SW breeze continued. Through rain-speckled glasses, I stared at the rain-splattered side-imaging absolutely scrubbing it for any signs of white bass life we could find. At 10:55, we had a breakthru!
I got on the fish I’d found in 31 feet of water, Spot-Locked on them, got the boys ready for action and our luck instantly changed. For the next hour and twenty minutes the boys watched their baits descend on Garmin LiveScope into fish piled up on bottom. As they retrieved their slabs (white, 5/8 oz. Hazy Eye Slabs) upwards slowly, the fish followed, overtook them, and struck. We caught white bass, juvenile hybrid, largemouth bass, and freshwater drum. By making 3 “short hops” in the same general area, we added 66 fish to our tally in that final effort before mom’s minivan pulled up about quarter past 12.
Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs and MAL Lures found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 71 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: The water temperature profile was as follows:
0 feet 53.1F
5 feet 53.2F
10 feet 53.5F
15 feet 53.5F
20 feet 53.5F
25 feet 53.6F
30 feet 53.6F
35 feet 53.6F
40 feet 53.6F
45 feet 53.5F
50 feet 53.2F
55 feet 53.2F
60 feet 53.2F
65 feet 53.2F
Start Time: 7:30A
End Time: 12:15P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 50F
Elevation: 2.8 feet low, 0.02 fall, 34 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 53.1F
Wind Speed & Direction: SW6-8 all morning.
Sky Condition: Varying degrees of grey with precipitation 100% of the trip
Moon Phase: Waning gibbous moon at 62% illumination.
GT = N/A
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Areas 097 – 5 fish early, then B0103C/1614/473 in the last 1.5 hours
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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