Memorial Day’s trip on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir was the tenth S.K.I.F.F. trip I’ve run for 2011.
S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) exists to take the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on fishing trips at no charge to the soldiers’ families. Below is my report to the membership of the Austin Fly Fishers and other SKIFF supporters …
30 May 2011
Dear Austin Fly Fishers and Friends of SKIFF,
On this Memorial Day 2011 I welcomed aboard Seth Westerfield of Killeen, and his friend, Joseph Henry, also of Killeen.
Seth Westerfield with 2 of the 54 fish we boated today.
Joseph with a beautifully colored longear sunfish he caught in the shallows early in our trip.
Seth is a pretty easy-going middle school student who lost both his mother and father not too long ago. His uncle and aunt, Staff Sergeant Keith and Kim Peterson took Seth in and are now Seth’s legal guardians. Keith is currently on a 1 year deployment with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq where he’s serving in the Field Artillery until his return in August. There have been some uncertainties in Seth’s life, but his frienship with Joseph has been a good constant for both of them. Joseph enjoyed a SKIFF trip during the very first year of the program’s existence, and “came along for the ride” today to be with his buddy.
The day’s winds were supposed to surpass 20mph by noon (and they did), so, we planned our trip from 6:45a to 11:00a with me picking the boys up and Joseph’s mom returning for them.
Seth had never been in a boat before and couldn’t remember the last time he went fishing, so, I coached him accordingly, starting with the basics. We angled for some sunfish in the shallows near Area 667 and in about 50 minutes boated a mixed bag of 28 bluegill sunfish, green sunfish, longear sunfish, and some jumbo blacktail shiners, all on maggots under slender balsa floats.
Once the sky rid itself of the grey, low murk to the east, I headed out over open water and searched for concentrations of white bass. The fish I’m finding right now are between 22-30 feet on breaklines near the main river channel and are slowly making their way down to the eastmost, deep end of the reservoir where the majority of them will spend the summer.
We found fish in 3 locations today and caught fish each time we found them, but, the bite was definitely off under the influence of the SSE wind versus the great success we’d experienced over our previous trip with a wind from the due S. At each of these areas, we’d find fish on sonar, position over them (or at least NEAR them, as the wind was blowing so hard that boat control was difficult), catch 3-4 very quickly, only to have the school settle down and become disinterested, giving up fish only occasionally until eventually the fish quit altogether.
We boated 7 white bass at Area 769; we boated 6 white bass at Area 760; and we boated 12 white bass and one tiny channel cat at Area 765. All of our fish were caught either on TNT 180 slabs in 3/8 oz. white or chartreuse or on Strike King Sandblasters in white or chartreuse.
As we ran back to the dock for an on-time link up with Mrs. Henry, we had to run directly into the waves (which included swells by now). The boys got such a kick out of hitting the waves hard and taking on spray, that I trimmed the motor in to “amplify” the effect of both! Oh, I wish my kidneys and knees were still that resilient!!
Well, there is no doubt that these boys enjoyed the adventure, the outdoors, the fishing, and one another’s company.
Thank you, one and all, for what you’ve contributed to make this happen for kids like these.
Start Time: 6:45a
End Time: 11:00a
Air Temp: 77F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~78.0F
Wind: Winds were SSE12 at launch tapering up to SSE22 by takeout .
Skies: Skies were about 80% cloudy with a fully obscuring cloud bank in the E. until around 8:00am.