This morning, Wednesday, August 16th, I conducted the 17th SKIFF program trip of the 2017 season. Joining me today was 10-year-old Keyonte’ Charleston. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because I took his younger brother, Jayvion Charleston, on a SKIFF trip just last week. We fished on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
This 13 1/8″ white bass was the first fish of 10-year-old Keyonte’ Charleston’s life. It earned him a TPWD “First Fish Award”. Mr. Dave Hill of the Austin Fly Fishers, sponsors of the SKIFF Program, came along as a capable first mate. Dave holds up 4 fingers indicating Keyonte”s landing of 4 fish all at the same time, 3 fish on one rod immediately followed by 1 fish on another.
Keyonte”s father, SSG Christopher Charleston, is a Cavalry scout currently deployed to South Korea.
Keyonte’ showed up this morning with a big smile that never went away in 4 hours of fishing, even during some slow times at the start of the trip when the sun was hidden by clouds and the fish weren’t yet playing their A-game.
Also showing up this morning was special guest Mr. Dave Hill of the Austin Fly Fishers. Dave and Manuel Pena are the two men who carry the lion’s share of the fundraising and donation work behind the scenes that make SKIFF happen. It was great to have capable help onboard to rig lines, undo tangles and unhook fish.
Prior to this trip, Keyonte’ had never before caught a fish. He has watched all manner of fishing shows, he has studied fish behavior and knew about the behavior of various sorts of fish, and he even owns his own fishing rod and reel (which mom got him for his most recent birthday), but, despite all of that, he had never caught a fish.
Well, he ended that drought in a big way this morning. As we got our lines in the water (2 downriggers, each equipped with a 3-armed umbrella rig) and downrigged across the mouth of a cove near where an old streambed and the old Lampasas River channel join, sonar revealed a nice school of fish holding just below the level our downrigger balls were set at. The starboard rod went off first with a triple (3 fish at a time). As we moved a few yards further, the port rod went off as well with a double. Keyonte’ landed the triple, then had one of the fish on the double drop off, so, we wound up with 4 of those 5 fish on the “fish counter”, but, what a way to land your first fish! This scenario earned Keyonte’ a TPWD “First Fish Award”.
We went on to fish 2 more areas, each producing better than the one before, and taking our fish count up to 27 fish by 10am. At this point, I switched gears and introduced Keyonte’ to sunfishing with a bream pole. He landed 4 bluegill sunfish before we had to make the rough ride across open water to get back to his mom on time at 10:45.
Keyonte’ ended his morning with 31 fish caught and released, including 25 white bass, 2 largemouth bass, and 4 bluegill sunfish.
Yes, lightning struck twice — both Charleston boys landed the first fish of their lives just days apart!
“Homefront” spouses with a husband or wife away from home on military duty (not just deployments) are welcomed to call me at 254.368.7411 to arrange for free 4-hour outing for your children. Homefront parents are always welcome to attend, but are equally welcome to take some downtime from their own children and leave them in my care for this time on the water. This is all made possible through the sponsorship and work of the Austin Fly Fishers and the supportive allies they have developed along the way.
TALLY: 31 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 10:45a
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F
Water Surface Temp: 86.5F
Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze 11-15 mph the entire trip
Sky Conditions: 20% white cloud cover
Water Level: 0.20 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area vic 202-400 – 5 downrigged white bass under low light
**Area vic 1198 – 6 fish downrigging for white bass
**Area vic 668-820 – 13 fish downrigging and 3 fish smoking tailspinners
**Area 1098 – 4 sunfish on slipfloats
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)