S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) exists to take the children of deployed and deceased soldiers on professionally guided fishing trips at no charge to the family. These trips are provided through my guide service, Holding the Line Guide Service, with funds generated by the Austin Fly Fishers, and with the support of businesses and individuals from all over the U.S.
Here is my report for today’s trip…
Megan’s big bass anchored our string today. Look at that smile!!
Dear Austin Fly Fishers,
This morning, Saturday, Sept. 25th, I was joined my Mrs. Martina Patterson and two of her children, 8 year old Megan and 5 year old David, all of Kempner, TX. Sergeant First Class Justin Patterson is deployed to Iraq from Fort Hood, TX, on a one year tour of duty which will conclude in April of 2011. He has served a combined 27 years in the National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, and on active duty, where he now serves.
Stillhouse Lake is nearly back down to full pool after rising ~5 feet following the passage of Tropical Storm Hermine, and the fishing is improving after taking a hit for a while following the flooding.
We met at 7:00am and, in order to engage little David right away, got busy fishing for sunfish in the shallows around Area 239. Knowing that David’s attention span wouldn’t hold out near as long as his sister’s, we kept all 7 of the sunfish we boated in the livewell. They would provide entertainment while big sister kept hard after the big ones later in our trip.
A simple slip float rig did the trick for a nice mess of sunfish — we boated 7 before the sun came up!
After our first sunfish stop, we began the search for larger quarry and found a mix of largemouth and white bass in two distinct locations. The first location (Area 665 to 205) held a lot of bait, but the bait was relaxed and blanketing the bottom, not in tight, suspended balls, indicating the lack of a threat by predators. As expected, the bite was soft here. In about an hour of fishing we boated 5 fish (2 largemouth and 3 white bass).
Next, we headed to between Areas 668 and 671. As we came off plane and the sonar began to reveal a detailed picture of what lay below, a smile came to my face as I saw multiple large schools of white bass holding just below tightly schooled shad in 38-40 feet of water, over a slightly deeper bottom. We downrigged for these fish at first and caught fish every time we passed over a school. At one point in time, we found a school about 6 feet thick and about 15 yards long. I tossed a buoy over these fish, brought in the downrigging gear, equipped the kids with spinning rods, and we simply dropped slabs down to bottom and reeled them back up through the school, accounting for 14 fish in less than 10 minutes.
Once that school dissipated, we returned to trolling for a bit longer, boating 3 more white bass and another largemouth. By around 11am (four hours into the trip) the sun was getting hot, the light breeze died, and the novelty of things was wearing off so, we had some snacks, snapped some good photos, had a big time re-catching all of the fish in the liveweill with our hands and releasing them, and enjoyed the “fast” ride back to the dock to say farewell. Our tally for the day stood at 39 fish, including 7 sunfish, 7 largemouth bass, and 25 white bass, of which 24 were of legal size, with two exceeding 14 inches.
Mrs. Patterson and her two junior anglers with two of our larger white bass taken from nearly 40 feet of water this morning.
As always, thank you for your efforts, support, donations, and all that you do to make these trips happen for our troops’ families!!
Start Time: 7:00a
End Time: 11:00a
Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~81.2F
Wind: Winds were light from the NNE at around 1-3.
Skies: Skies were partly cloudy for the duration of the trip. Only 90 minutes following the close of the trip, a mild cold front began to push through bringing NE winds to 10 with higher gusts, rain, and a 10 degree temperature drop.