This afternoon’s SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trip exemplifies what SKIFF is all about, and it is what motivates me to work with others to perpetuate this program. Please read on.
Carrolyn Lascano gave our local population of white bass and hybrid stripers a “reel” workout tonight!
Danny “Bubby” Lascano mixed in a little fishing with his shoreline saunter with Mrs. Rebecca, supplemented with plenty of snacks along the way.
Mrs. Kacie Lascano is the wife of U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Danny Lascano. Danny is currently deployed and is working alongside the U.S. Air Force in the United Arab Emirates . Kacie, therefore, has a Herculean task before her. While her husband is away, she will single-handedly served as the parent, caretaker, guardian, and teacher for her two small children. True, many military moms do this well. However, Kacie’s situation is made infinitely more challenging by the fact that her youngest child, 5-year-old Danny (nicknamed “Bubby”), is profoundly autistic.
I am obviously not a physician, but, from just 4 hours on the water yesterday, I could see an unusually bright boy whose body won’t quite cooperate with all his mind is rapidly processing. I also saw the resulting frustration in Bubby at that lack of synchronization. One of the most startling results of all of this is Bubby’s lack of fear to the point where his sense of self-preservation is diminished. Things like jumping into water of unknown depth or latching onto something sharp or pointy are just not things Bubby would balk at. So, Kacie must be truly on-guard 100% of Bubby’s waking hours. This is a tremendously tough, energy-intensive, and tiring job. Bubby has come a long way with the help of his parents, teachers, therapists, and his big sister, Carrolyn (age 6), but there is still a long way to go.
So today, my wife, Rebecca, and I sought to provide Kacie with 4 hours of down time by way of treating Bubby and Carrolyn to a fishing trip on Belton Lake. Kacie’s plan was to have dinner with a girlfriend of hers before that friend moves with the military away from Fort Hood. To accommodate this, Rebecca picked the kids up just outside the gates of Ft. Hood and dropped them back off after the trip to give Kacie as much time as we could and still work within the kids’ school and bedtime schedules.
Normally, I conduct these trips solo, but with hooks, and water, and a prop turning 6,000 rpm, I enlisted my wife’s aid this evening, and I’m glad I did. While Carrolyn stayed engaged in the fishing the entire time, Bubby got restless after our 4th bluegill came over the gunwale, and we had to invent some alternative options. We decided that I would continue fishing on the boat with Carrolyn while Rebecca took to the land with Bubby.
We left the protected cove we were in (which gave up a total of 8 sunfish and 1 largemouth bass), and headed to an area with flatter topography for Rebecca and Bubby to walk on. The beaching operations went smoothly, and Bubby was immediately taken with throwing rocks (lots of rocks!!!) into the water. Rebecca and I agreed to stay in sight of one another and in cell phone contact.
I have no doubt that the Lord transplanted just enough fish to the area all of this happened to take place in to give Carrolyn a wonderful time right up until dark. No sooner did we drop Rebecca and Bubby off than the sonar lit up with fish where I did not really expect to find them. We used downriggers at first and caught both white bass and hybrid striped bass on 3-armed umbrella rigs with Carrolyn doing all the button-pushing on the keypad of the Digi-Trolls to raise and lower the downrigger balls to keep our baits near the fish. Eventually, more fish began to crowd into this area as the sun was about to set, and we simply set the i-Pilot on Spot Lock and sat over a boat-sized area and “wore ’em out” with slabs fished vertically.
We wound up catching 36 white bass and hybrids in all in this area, with our final few fish giving their positions away during a light topwater feed right before dark. Back on shore, Bubby and Rebecca found lots of treasures, covered lots of ground, ate lots of snacks, but were ready to rejoin us when Carrolyn and I returned to shore to pick them back up.
When we got back to the launch site, we quickly transitioned from the boat to my wife’s car, got the kids car-seated, booster-seated, buckled up, and headed back to town while I stayed behind to do all the post-trip chores of draining and cleaning the boat up, re-organizing tackle, etc.
Thanks to the efforts of Dave Hill and Manuel Pena of the Austin Fly FIshers and their work with Cabela’s, as we said farewell to the kids, we were able to give each a tackle box with some basic tackle inside — a mermaid box for Carrolyn and a Spiderman box for Bubby.
Kacie’s plans for dinner with her friend went just right, and, by around 8pm she and the kids headed back through the gates of Fort Hood to prepare for bed and the last school day of the week.
SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trips are provided free of charge to families whose children are separated from a parent due to that parent’s military service, thanks to the Austin Fly Fishers and a network of supportive individuals, organizations, and companies from all over the U.S. All it takes is a phone call from a parent to me at 254-368-7411 to reserve a date. SKIFF is open to children in elementary and middle school, as well as youth in high school.
TALLY = 44 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 3:30p
End Time: 7:30p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 74F
Water Surface Temp: 76F
Wind Speed & Direction: SE8-10
Sky Conditions: Fair skies with 20% cloud cover.
Note: Lake rose sharply due to heavy rains on 24 Oct., but is now being drawn down. Elevation fell 0.69 feet today. Elevation now stands at 597.30 above sea level, with 594.00 being full pool.
Other: GT= 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1200 panfish
**Area 1617 low light bite on smoked slabs
**Area 040 and to the shoreline – post sunset light topwater action
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)