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.
Kei and Taryn followed instructions to a “t” today and were very successful as a result of their attentiveness.
The twins kept up the teamwork and kept the fish coming over the side. Here, Kei is hooked up with a white bass and Taryn clears the downrigger line to prevent a foul-up for her brother at boatside.
The following is my report to the membership of the Austin Fly Fishers and other SKIFF supporters who make this program possible …
28 July 2011
Dear Friends of S.K.I.F.F.,
This morning I fished a “S.K.I.F.F.” trip with 8 year old twins Kei and Taryn Klamert, the children of Sergeant Chris and Mrs. Julie Klamert. SGT Klamert is a U.S. Army cook serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Iraq. He has 10 months remaining in his tour.
The kids were really a joy to have on the boat. They were well-mannered, considerate of one another, and enthusiastic.
As we started our day, I explained to the kids that we’d mainly be fishing in two ways: downrigging to both catch fish and find big groups of fish, and then jigging with slabs to take advantage of any big groups of fish we found. With this said, before the sun rose and the fish began feeding, we practiced the necessary jigging technique until both of the children were able to get the cadence and action down well enough to catch fish. We then put the jigging rods away and headed out to search for fish with the downriggers.
The ‘riggers worked their magic this morning helping us consistently boat fish that were primarily suspended and scattered. We landed 18 fish in our first 2 hours on the water, all on the downriggers using Pet Spoons. These fish came from between Areas 258 and 853, with the stretch of water from Area 258 to Area 040 producing best.
At around 8:30a, we spotted the first indicators that the fish were beginning to school up in advance of a good feed. We saw “wolfpacks” of largemouth bass chasing shad at the surface and coalescing groups of white bass forming on the bottom. We brought in the ‘riggers and I began making sonar sweeps over the areas where we spotted such activity. Eventually we found what we were after on sonar and I e-anchored over these fish and put the kids to work.
The “practice” round done before the fish got going really paid off here as there was no learning curve for the kids to go through. As soon as their slabs hit bottom, they knew what to do and they began catching fish immediately.
Our last two hours on the water consisted of spot-hopping from place to place as we found topwater action, fleeing bait, and white bass bunched together on bottom. In the last two hours Kei and Taryn caught 33 more fish, nearly doubling the catch rate of our first two hours. We boated fish at Area 857, 858, 859, 860, and then, after this shallower bite settled down, found them out at Area 856 in about 5-6 foot deeper water.
By 10:30 we were idling through the no-wake zone for an on-time linkup with mom who was able to enjoy some kidless down time for 4 hours. As we neared the dock, Kei looked up at me and said, referring to our catch today, “Not too shabby, Mr. Bob.” I smiled a very big smile!!
We kept our last two fish in the livewell for a bit of show-and-tell and a quick photo op with mom.
We ended the day with 51 fish caught, including 47 white bass and 4 largemouth bass. Kei had visions of boating a longnose gar, and indeed we saw a number of them surfacing today, but the capture of one would elude him … thereby establishing grounds for another trip in the future!!
Thank you AFF and friends of SKIFF for providing opportunities like this!
Start Time: 6:30a
End Time: 10:30a
Air Temp: 78F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: ~85.2F
Wind: Winds were S5 at trip’s start turning SSW6 my mid-trip, then WSW4 by trip’s end.
Skies: Skies were ~10% cumulus clouds on a blue sky. A grey cloud bank in the east obscured the sunrise for ~10 minutes, then cleared to bright and near-cloudless for the remainder of the trip.