WHO I FISHED WITH: On Tuesday evening, 31 May 2022, I conducted the fourth Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) trip of the 2022 season.
Joining me was Mrs. Angel Pavey and her four kids: Lana (14), Shane (11), Wyatt (9), and Oliver (6).
Mrs. Pavey’s husband, U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Josh Pavey is currently training at Ft. Irwin in California’s Death Valley at the National Training Center. SFC Pavey has been in the Army for 18 years and is currently classified as an electronic warfare specialist.
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.
Here is how the fishing went …
My next openings will be on July 12th – 14th. Weekday mornings are always best. Saturdays are available for on-the-water sonar training sessions (only) until after Labor Day when I’ll again offer Saturday morning fishing trips (until mid-March 2023).
PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Wyatt, Lana, Oliver, Angel (Mom), and Shane Pavey with a few of the 51 fish they caught and released.
PHOTO CAPTION: Within minutes of sunset, the action really heated up. We landed three legal hybrid striped bass during this flurry with Shane and his mom connecting with two nice fish at the same time!
WHERE WE FISHED: Lake Belton
WHEN WE FISHED: Tuesday (PM), 31 May 2022
HOW WE FISHED:
Trying to figure out how to keep four kids ages 6 thru 14 engaged for 3.5 hours of fishing was a bit tricky today.
Normally, with fewer kids aboard, I can mix in some shallow water sunfishing, but, with four in the boat (and a stiff breeze), that just did not seem like a recipe for success. So, we stuck with what has been working very well of late, and that was fishing MAL Lures vertically for white bass grouped heavily on bottom.
Given the kids’ very limited experience, I went with MAL Dense Lures (with white tails now that the threadfin shad spawn is over) used in deep water with a “smoking” tactic. These sink the fastest, thus enabling the kids to be in the strike zone near the bottom consistently while avoiding tangling with one another by keeping lines very vertical. I chose barbed hooks so we were sure to land a greater percentage of those fish which were hooked by avoiding losing them while transferring them from the water into the boat, as can happen when using barbless hooks.
As is often the case on afternoon trips (especially as the summer approaches), things started off slowly and picked up right before sunset.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly all of the kids got the hang of the technique at our first stop. Angel helped Oliver a bit at first, and, after that, he did just fine on his own.
Despite catching 51 fish, every fish which came aboard brought a new round of screams and cheers. I’m not getting any younger and I find working with young kids takes more energy that it used to, but, it is energizing to see kids get so much enjoyment for something which for me is routine.
We left the water right at sunset, around 8:35PM.
A complete description of the vertical “smoking:” method is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDSvfXgrAUE
Our 51 fish catch included exactly 48 white bass, & 3 legal hybrid stripers.
The entire family of MAL Lures is found here: https://whitebasstools.com/
TALLY: 51 fish caught and released
OBSERVATIONS: After witnessing the first sightings of white bass feeding on young-of-the-year shad witnessed in the first full hour of light this morning, I also noted such activity taking place right at sunset despite the breezy conditions.
Start Time: 5P
End Time: 8:35P
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 94F
Elevation: 4.39 feet low, 0.02’ fall in last 24 hours, 32 CFS flow
Water Surface Temp: 77.3F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSE13-14 the entire trip.
Sky Condition:50-60% white cloud cover on a blue sky all afternoon.
Moon Phase: Waning crescent moon at 1% illumination.
GT = N/A
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
Areas B0058G, 2053, B0024C, 683
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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