This morning I had the pleasure of fishing with a 10-year-old young man, Keyonte’ Charleston, who first came out with me last week and caught the first fish of his life through the SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) program. Keyonte’ enjoyed the outing so much that his mom enrolled him in the Ft. Hood SKIESUnlimited program and signed up for a “Fishing 101” trip.
Keyonte’ Charleston with the largest of the 95 fish we landed this morning, including 79 white bass, 1 largemouth bass, and 15 sunfish. The 9-10am window was our most productive as we sat over a moderately aggressive school of white bass for nearly an hour and landed 41 fish from out of that school using tailspinners.
With a falling barometer in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, a gentle ENE breeze, and grey skies greeting us during an obscured sunrise this morning, we found the bite, which started right around 7am, very aggressive and longer than the 2 hour feed that had occurred Tuesday through Thursday this week. As the skies got brighter (although through 100% cloud cover), the third hour of the day turned out to be our most productive.
We landed 20 fish in our first hour mainly via downrigging, 19 fish in our second hour mainly on bladebaits, and 41 fish in our third hour mainly on tailspinners with some cleanup duty via downriggers as the bite softened. By 10:30am, the bite was done. Keyonte’ then specifically requested that we do some sunfishing, as we had only pursued white bass up to this point. With exactly 80 fish in the boat, we put the downrigger rods, tailspinner rods, and bladebait rods away and went up shallow for sunfish.
The sunfish were also very active, as the wind and waves brought them further out from the cover they would typically be buried into during brighter, calmer conditions. Keyonte’ landed an additional 15 sunfish in under a half-hour, taking his tally to 95 fish by the time we spotted his mom pulling into the parking lot to pick him up.
I was really impressed with how quickly Keyonte’ picked up on several skills. He handled the rigging of the downriggers very deftly and he learned to cast with spinning gear on this trip. After about 4 “work the bugs out” casts, he was effectively working a 1/2 ounce bladebait in 32 feet of water right along side me and was catching fish steadily.
What I do on the water during a SKIFF trip and a SKIESUnlimited Fishing 101 trip are identical. SKIFF trips are available free of charge when kids are separated from their military parent due to that parent’s military duty obligations; kids are eligible for one trip per parent’s absence. The SKIESUnlimited program is fee-based, however, when a parent is deployed families may obtain credit towards activities and use that credit before paying out of pocket.
SKIESUnlimited stands for Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills.
SKIESUnlimited offers dozens of activities for military and Department of Defense kids of all ages, ranging from gymnastics to piano lessons, from academic tutoring to various forms of dance, and more. Monetary credit for such courses is available for children whose military parents are deployed.
To participate in such courses, children must first be registered with Child and Youth Services.
Registration is free and is accomplished by contacting Parent Central Services at 254-287-8029.
Once registered, parents may go online to enroll their children for the myriad courses available.
TALLY: 95 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00am
End Time: 11:00am
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 76F
Water Surface Temp: 86.1F
Wind Speed & Direction: ENE8-10
Sky Conditions: 90% grey cloud cover the entire trip; light sprinkle as I drove to the launch around 6:15a
Water Level: 0.49 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 699-131 downrigging for 20 fish in our 1st hour
**Area 558 bladebaits for 19 fish in our 2nd hour
**Area 331 tailspins, then 332-558-104 for 41 fish during the 3rd (+) hour
**Area 667 sunfish
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)