This morning, Tuesday, 22 August, I fished the season’s 18th SKIFF program trip with the Minchew family currently stationed at Fort Hood.
9-year-old Julia Minchew landed this nice Stillhouse white bass in our first hour on the water during this morning’s SKIFF trip.
6-year-old Rachel Minchew held on tight as this big ol’ white bass gave her a run for her money.
Donna Minchew contacted me as her husband, a US Army major, was completing a deployment to Afghanistan where he served as an information operations officer. She hoped to get her girls, 6-year-old Rachel and 9-year-old Julia, out fishing before school went back in session and life suddenly got much busier.
SKIFF stands for “Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun”. SKIFF provides free fishing trips to the children of soldiers separate from their kids due to duty requirements. “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.
We met at 7:00am on Stillhouse Hollow. Given the girls’ ages and what their mom had relayed to me about their prior experience, I came prepared primarily to downrig, then to do some sunfishing, and, possibly, to try some vertical jigging if the fish cooperated.
We were fortunate this morning to encounter some topwater action driven by largemouth bass as they fed on shad on and near the surface. This gave away the location of bait, and the bait led us to handsome quantities of white bass suspended at 25-35 feet beneath the surface and ready to eat.
We had 90 solid minutes of non-stop action catching singles and doubles on our 3-armed umbrella rigs catching white bass in the 0-, 1-, and 2-year classes, as well as a few small largemouth mixed in. After this peak feed ended around 8:30am, we continued riding the curve as the fish wound down for another hour. By the time the white bass quit, we’d landed 36 fish and missed a few more.
We invested the remainder of the time introducing the girls to fishing for sunfish using bream rods. The girls both did very well at this, landing longear, bluegill, redear, and green sunfish — 14 in all — before the sun got hot and it was time to head in.
We landed exactly 50 fish this morning. The girls shared early in the trip that they had grown accustomed to sleeping in over the summer and that getting up early was a bit painful. When all was said and done, they were glad they got up early this morning.
TALLY: 50 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00am
End Time: 11:00am
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 78F
Water Surface Temp: 85.9F
Wind Speed & Direction: S breeze 8-11 mph the entire trip
Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip
Water Level: 0.38 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 699-139-1986 – topwater largemouth pointing the way to suspended white bass
**Area vic 1981 – downrigged white bass after the fish went past peak feeding
**Area 832 – sunfish
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)