When Daddies are Away — 50 Fish w/ the SKIFF Program

WHO I FISHED WITH: On Saturday, January 13, I conducted the fifth SKIFF trip of the 2024 season. Joining me was 13-year-old Nariyah Cox, accompanied by her mom, Brittany Cox.

Nariyah’s dad, U.S. Army Sergeant (E-5) Rodrick Crowder, is currently stationed in South Korea where he serves as a satellite technician. SGT Crowder has been in the military for 12 years.

ABOUT SKIFF:  SKIFF trips have been provided to military families at no charge since May of 2009.  SKIFF is funded by donations from Austin Fly Fishers, The McBride Foundation, & Austin Subaru.  S.K.I.F.F. provides children of military personnel separated from their families by duty commitments with the opportunity to fish.  SKIFF trips are also provided to Gold Star families who have lost their service member.  In mid-2019, SKIFF began providing trips to kids of bona fide disabled veterans.  I conduct these 3.5 hour adventures on Belton Lake and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir year ’round.  Call or text 254.368.7411.

Here is how the fishing went…


Here’s an up-to-date calendar so you can check availability: https://holdingthelineguideservice.com/available-dates.php

Next available dates are Jan. 9-11 (AMs)


PHOTO CAPTION:  In addition to 47 white bass, Nariyah also landed this quality largemouth bass.


PHOTO CAPTION: Nariyah landed two freshwater drum.  This one stretched to 23 7/8 inches and weighed 6.25 pounds.


PHOTO CAPTION: Our target species this morning was white bass.  Nariyah used two vertical tactics to land 47 of these, only one of which was sub-legal.


Find the Bladed Hazy Eye Slab here: https://whitebasstools.com/

WHERE WE FISHED: Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

WHEN WE FISHED: Saturday, 13 Jan. 2023 (AM)


As a polar air mass bore down on Central Texas, we got on and off before the pre-frontal wind increase and the wind shift to northerly rolled in.


We fished this morning with manageable SW winds with light cloud cover and a slowly warming atmosphere which would hit 62F before crashing around 7:30PM.


We fished four areas, and found/caught fish well at three of them.  The first and last areas were indicated by the presence of birds.


I coached Nariyah on using a combination of snap-jigging and slow-smoking as the attitude of the white bass we found required.  Under low light in our first hour on the water, the fish would not leave bottom, and snap-jigging got the nod.


As the winds picked up and the sun rose higher and brightened the sky, the bite shifted deeper and the fish grew more willing to chase, hence, the slow-smoking tactic came on strong at that time.


100% of the fish Nariyah landed came on the white Bladed Hazy Eye Slab.  I had her using a 5/8 oz. as we snap-jigged early on, then changed her over to a 3/4 oz. version once the fishing moved deeper and the whites began to chase.


By around 10:20, the bite started to wane, and Nariyah mentioned more than once that her toes were starting to hurt.  We had 45 fish in the boat at that time.  I challenged her to catch another 5 fish before 10:30 and then we’d head in.  She accepted the challenge, rose to the occasion, and landed her 50th fish right at 10:30AM.  She and mom hunkered down and we made a beeline to the boat ramp.

Here is a tutorial on the snap-jigging method we used … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGtrnAQ_T94&t=55s

Here is a tutorial on the slow-smoking tactic we used… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIPopSLUYoQ

TALLY: 50 fish caught and released.



The water temperature profile measured on Stillhouse Hollow on 13 Jan. 2024 was:

0 feet, 50.5F
5 feet, 51.4F
10 feet, 51.7F
15 feet, 51.7F
20 feet, 51.9F
25 feet, 51.9F
35 feet, 51.7F
35 feet, 51.7F
40 feet, 51.7F
45 feet, 51.7F
50 feet, 51.7F



Start Time: 7:35A

End Time: 10:35A

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 39F

Elevation: 17.92 feet low, 1 CFS flow

Water Surface Temp: 50.5F on the surface.

Wind Speed & Direction: SW6 building to SW11

Sky Condition: Pale blue sky with 15-20% thin, white cloud cover

Moon Phase: Waxing crescent moon at 6% illumination.

GT = N/A





Area SH0023G – 14 fish snap-jigging & smoking white, 5/8 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0267G – 3 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs
Area SH0268G – 33 fish smoking white, 3/4 oz. Bladed Hazy Eye Slabs


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)

Website: www.HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

E-mail: Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bobmaindelle

Twitter: www.twitter.com/bobmaindelle

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