And the “First Fish Award” Goes To … — 41 Fish, SKIFF Trip #16

This past Friday morning I conducted the 16th SKIFF program trip of the 2017 season. Joining me today were two 5-year-old boys, Tyler Haas and Jayvion Charleston.  Mrs. Jessica Charleston came along as a chaperone.  We fished on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.



The 3.5 inch sunfish was the first fish of 5-year-old Jayvion Charleston’s life.  It earned him a TPWD “First Fish Award”.


Tyler Haas scored on some nice 2-year class white bass.


Jayvion with a typical central Texas white bass taken from deep, clear water on a downrigged bait.
Both boys’ fathers, SSG Christopher Charleston and SSG David Haas, are staff sergeants in the U.S. Army, both are Cavalry scouts, and both are currently deployed to South Korea.

Although Jayvion had been on a boat before, he had never before landed a fish, so, that was priority number one. Given the boys’ age and what I suspected of their attention spans, I chose to start off the day fishing for sunfish up in shallow, cover filled water for the sake of “instant gratification”.

After explaining to the boys how the bream poles that we were going to be fishing with worked and why we were cutting the bait (earthworms) into such small segments, I decided to go one-on-one with the boys at first as they worked their way through the learning curve of reacting to their float being pulled under by a sunfish.

Jayvion’s hook, line sinker, and slip float were in the water, literally, less than three seconds when the first fish of his life pulled the float down; Jayvion reacted well and latched into a 3.5 inch juvenile sunfish. His smile was bigger than the fish.

After taking a few photos so we could apply for his TPWD “First Fish Award”, we released that fish and went on to catch 11 more — six sunfish for each boy– before moving on to something different.

Our next chapter in the day was to fish deep water with downriggers in hopes of landing some larger white bass. Fortunately, the first area I chose to search out with sonar revealed enough suspended fish present to downrig for. We got two downriggers in the water and, over the next 50 minutes, were able to put six singles and a double in the boat thus taking our fish count up to 20.

Both boys seemed more interested in investing our remaining time in pursuing more sunfish and so, that is exactly what we did, right up until about 10:15, when little Tyler wore out on us. We split another 21 sunfish across two similar, shallow, cover-filled areas and finished the trip with a total of 41 fish boated.

“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: 41 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:40a

End Time: 10:20a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F

Water Surface Temp: 86.5F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW breeze 8-10 mph the entire trip

Sky Conditions: 20% white cloud cover

Water Level: 0.02 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses of ~0.02 feet per day; 0 cfs release at dam

GT = 0





**Area 239 –  sunfish under low light

**Area 041-1962 – downrigging for white bass

**Areas 1418 and 1416 – sunfish on slipfloats


Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)




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