This morning, Saturday, September 2nd, I conducted the 19th SKIFF program trip of the year taking out 15-year-old Jayce Chesworth and his step-brother, 14-year-old Tyrel Allred, both students at Harker Heights High School in Harker Heights, TX. We fished this morning on Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir.
From left: Jayce Chesworth and Tyrel Allred with a “double-double” — two sets of two fish caught simultaneously on 3-armed umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons.
I first got acquainted with the boys’ family when their younger brother, Logan, participated in a SKIFF trip earlier this summer while his step-dad, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Chesworth, a US Army Apache helicopter pilot with 15 years of military service, was pulled away from home to participate in recurring gunnery training. Jayce and Tyrel are both self-confessed video game junkies, with Battlefield and HALO being their top picks.
Earlier this week I actually rescheduled a trip when I say bright, calm conditions called for this past Friday. Bright, calm conditions are the worst of the worst for fishing, so, we bumped that trip up a day to Thursday where NW winds were to blow at 7-9 mph. Today, NOAA forecast SSW winds at 6-8 all morning after yesterday’s winds were flat calm all day, as predicted. Unfortunately, this morning brought flat calm, as well and we struggled badly for 3.5 hours, putting only 4 fish in the boat during that time.
Fortunately, around 10:30, a SSW breeze picked up very suddenly at 8-9 mph and the fish responded instantly. We put 20 additional fish in the boat through 11am, when Mrs. Chesworth was supposed to return to pick her boys up. We “filed for an extension” which Mrs. Chesworth graciously granted, so, we were able to keep right on fishing beyond the usual 4 hour mark, and, in doing so, picked up another 13 fish in the next 45 minutes which followed.
So, we went from a tally of 4 fish by 10:30 to a final catch of 37 fish by 11:45 — crazy!!
As we made our final run in to the boat ramp, I turned around and told the boys, who were seated on the baitwell behind me, “If that isn’t a testimony for persistence, I don’t know what is!”
On three separate occasions today, just after catching fish on the downriggers from out of large schools of fish that were initially holding on bottom, we attempted to double back to “Spot Lock” on top of these fish with the Ulterra, but the fish, though present, would not respond. I tried using both bladebaits and tailspinners; the tailspinners were presented with both a slow and a moderate cadence to no avail.
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 network of supportive donors and allies they have developed along the way.
TALLY: 37 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:00am
End Time: 11:45am
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 72F
Water Surface Temp: 80F
Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable through 10:30a, then a breeze at S8 picked up very quickly and blew for about 75 minutes, then went calm again.
Sky Conditions: <10% white cloud cover the entire trip
Water Level: 0.56 feet low and slowly falling with only evaporative losses; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1983-1986 – two sets of downrigged doubles at the same time, then the bite went sour
**Area 1150 – 33 fish in the only 75 minute window during which the wind blew this morning, from 10:30 – 11:45
Bob Maindelle, Central Texas Fishing Guide
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)