WHO I FISHED WITH:  This morning, Monday, August 1st, I conducted the eighth Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) trip of the 2022 season.

I welcomed aboard 10-year-old Braden Sepaugh, 7-year-old Tucker Sepaugh, and their mom, Mrs. Amber Sepaugh.

The boys’ dad, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Aaron Sepaugh, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, has served in the military for 14 years.  He is deployed to Europe from Fort Hood.  Mrs. Sepaugh will be teaching elementary-aged kids at Central Texas Christian School in Belton as the new school year begins.

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.

My next open date for a free SKIFF trip for qualifying families will be on August 23rd.

Here is how the fishing went …


PHOTO CAPTION: From left: Braydon, Amber, and Tucker Sepaugh with a pair of fish the boys landed simultaneously.  We release 100% of our catch, and have since going into business on “Day 1”.  These fish on Stillhouse are coming out of deep, cool water and will perish very quickly if not released immediately, thus, I do not hold them in the livewell.

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow

WHEN WE FISHED: Monday, 01 August 2022


It was 100% “smoking”, 100% of the time, for a catch consisting of 100% white bass — 83 of them to be exact.

The boys arrived with just enough prior fishing experience under their belts to be able to take instruction on the proper use of spinning gear to work the MAL Dense Lures (with chartreuse tail)  using a “smoking” tactic.  We invested some time doing a “practice round” of this near the launch site before unleashing the boys on fish.

This investment paid big dividends.  Braydon got right down to catching fish as soon as we halted the boat over top of the first of four schools of deep water white bass we’d find and work over.  Tucker, being younger, took a bit longer to get through the learning curve, but, by mid-trip he was holding his own.

When the first large school of white bass showed up on Garmin LiveScope, Braydon exclaimed, “Whoa, it’s like a tornado of fish!”.

The MAL Dense with its white body and chartreuse tail really drew the strikes today and kept the boys busy to the point that downrigging and/or sunfishing for variety’s sake was not necessary to keep them engaged for the trip’s 3.5 hour duration.

The boys’ final tally was 83 fish which consisted of all white bass with only 1 short fish in the bunch.

This hot, dry, stable weather is super helpful to the fishing, as the fish are in a very predictable routine, behaving in much the same ways at the time times and same places on a daily basis.

The smoking tactic we used is demonstrated here (skip to 2:26):

The entire family of MAL Lures is found here:

TALLY:  83 fish caught and released

OBSERVATIONS:  A high pressure “dome” continues to be solidly set up over Texas which, according to meteorologists, will stay with us for the foreseeable future.  Although north Texas was influenced by a mild cold front which drove south late Friday evening, no effects were apparent here today.  If history is any teacher, this bodes well for fishing.  Topwater schooling by largemouth bass continues.



Start Time: 6:55A

End Time:  10:25A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 79F

Elevation: 7.60 feet low,  0.05′ fall in last 24 hours, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 84.7F

Wind Speed & Direction:  SSW6-9

Sky Condition: Cloudless, pale blue skies

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 13% illumination.

GT = 40




Area SH0150G/SH0032G – smoking MAL Dense Lures for 41 fish

Area SH0211G – smoking MAL Dense Lures for 17 fish

Area SH0212G – smoking MAL Dense Lures for 12 fish

Area SH0213G – smoking MAL Dense Lures for 13 fish


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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