SKIFF Trip #9 of 2011 – Luis Kruger & Friends, 81 Fish, Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir

This evening’s trip was the ninth S.K.I.F.F. trip I’ve run for 2011.

S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) exists to take the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on fishing trips at no charge to the soldiers’ families. Below is my report to the membership of the Austin Fly Fishers and other SKIFF supporters …

06 May 2011

Dear Austin Fly Fishers and Friends of SKIFF,

When Mike Raymo, a fellow West Pointer (Class of 1999), heard about SKIFF, one particular young man came to mind, and that was 10 year old Luis Kruger, the son of Major Luis Kruger, an Army chaplain now deployed to Camp Adder with the 4th Sustainment Brigade in Iraq. Mike, who is now a professional engineer in the private sector, got to know Luis through a homeschooling cooperative that his own 7 and 9 year old boys are a part of.

Luis Kruger (age 10), son of Major Luis V. Kruger Jr. now stationed at Camp Adder, Iraq.

Mike Raymo and his oldest son, Samuel (age 9).

Little Hudson Raymo (age 7) and his best fish of the night.

The Raymo family contacted me to see if they could chaperone Luis on a SKIFF trip and pay the way for their own boys to come, too. I told them I thought that’d be a great way for Luis to get an opportunity to fish.

Tonight, we made that trip happen.

I’d fished a very productive morning trip, boating 127 fish, and so had “good intelligence” on where the fish would be this evening.

We met at the boat ramp just before 5pm and got right to work. I anchored us out in 25 feet of water and made sure the boys were performing at a least a B- level on their “smoking” technique using a slab spoon before we went in search of fish to practice that technique on. The boys all got the hang of things very quickly, and so we began the hunt.

On evening trips, I typically begin at the deepest areas and work shallower as the light fails. So, this evening I began at Areas 779/073/788 which are in close proximity to one another in about 31-35 feet of water.

The fish were just getting perked up for the evening feed and were a bit sluggish as we arrived, so, we had to keep “hopping” around this general vicinity to provoke still-sluggish fish to hit. We boated a total of 51 fish here by 6:35pm when the bite began to soften.

We looked over a few other areas and I finally saw what I liked at Area 103/549, and that was tightly bunched white bass holding 12-14 inches off the bottom on the windblown side of a main lake topographic feature (a hump). Once I got us into a hover, the fireworks began. When all was said and done, we’d boated exactly 30 more fish here by 7:45.

Due to a thick cloud bank to the west, our “sunset” came early as the clouds obscured the setting sun and darkened the waters prematurely turning the bite off once and for all. Our tally would stand at 81 fish, every single one of which was a white bass.

I appreciate Mike including Luis in his own family’s activities while Luis’ dad is away … what a great way to model concern for others to his own boys.

I also thank all of you who support SKIFF and making it the vehicle for days like this to happen!


Bob Maindelle


Start Time: 4:50p

End Time: 18:10p

Air Temp: 84F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~72.8F

Wind: Winds were S12.

Skies: Skies were fair with a cloud bank to the west that obscured the sunset.

Wind and White Bass — An Unbeatable Combination; 127 Fish, Stillhouse, 06 May 2011

I fished a morning trip with Chris P. of Killeen. Chris is one of the guys on the other end of the line when you call one of the “1-800” numbers for help with your computer. We’ve gotten to know each other through church and agreed on a “horse trade”.

Chris P. with a sampling of the fish we caught and released this nice May morning on Stillhouse.

In return for a fishing trip, he agreed to wring every ounce of speed out of my aging Dell computer via some new RAM sticks, some debugging, some general spring cleaning, and a few other tricks of the trade known only to him I’m sure. Well, my computer is now humming, so, today was the day to make good on my end of the bargain!

We got going around 6:40a, as I was anticipating an early topwater bite around sunrise. That bite did materialize, albeit a bit softer than I’d experienced recently. We fished Cicada bladebaits in silver/silver between Area 674 and the bank in fairly skinny water (less than 5 feet) and boated 21 fish, with several more hooked and missed or hooked and lost at boatside. Of these 17 were white bass and the balance were nice 3 year old white bass, going ~12+ inches. After we’d boated the first dozen or so, we thought all was done, when a flock of ~5 terns came and started diving on schooling fish to our east by ~80 yards or so. We hustled to them and put a few more fish in the boat before fish and terns stopped feeding.

At this point, we experienced a lull in the fishing as the sun brightened and the wind slacked off. We slowly drove and observed and witnessed several mating clusters of longnose gar in the shallows consisting of a single, large female escorted by multiple smaller males. The females were dropping eggs and the males were fertilizing them — and not far behind were channel catfish vacuuming up as many eggs as they could consume.

By around 9:05, a definite, sudden increase in the wind speed occurred and the game was back on. We got right on top of Area 778 and found very aggressively feeding fish tight to the bottom. We used a straightforward smoking tactic with 3/8 oz. white TNT 180’s to boat 58 fish here in around 45 minutes’ time. As the bite weakened, another boater got too close for comfort, and the ideal conditions persisted, I decided to move us to look for another group of very active fish while the “window” was open.

We headed to Area 546 and found fish more scattered horizontally here. I did stop to fish and we boated 9 fish, but they were both smallish and slow to respond, so, we continued to look in more wind-blown areas.

We contacted what would be the last school of fish we’d fish over at Area 529. These fish were very aggressive at first, but settled down more quickly that at the beginning of the morning’s feeding window. We boated 39 fish here, all via smoking with TNT 180’s. By now it was around 11:15 which is when the bite has been beginning to dwindle of late, so, we called it a day and headed to the house with a tally of 127 fish to show for our efforts.

TALLY = 127 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 6:40a

End Time: 11:15a

Air Temp: 64F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: ~71.6F

Wind: Winds were SSE6 at sunrise, then died to near calm by 7:50, then increased suddenly to SSW11 at 9:05 and stayed steady at that velocity for the balance of the trip.

Skies: Skies were fair this morning.