Is That Fish Too Big?? SKIFF Trip #25-2011, 25 Fish, 19 Dec. 2011

The following blog entry appears in the form of a report to those who support the S.K.I.F.F. program …

“The Twins” — Kristian (L) and Kevan (R) were two hardy little campers this morning, braving wind, rain, and chill to boat their catch. That’s me in the middle with my new, lucky, Austin Fly Fishers fishing cap.

The S.K.I.F.F. (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) Program exists to take the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on fishing trips at no charge to the soldiers’ families as a way of showing our support for our troops and providing a respite for their spouses. The following is a note to SKIFF supporters about this most recent outing…

Monday, 19 Dec. 2011

Dear Austin Fly Fishers and Friends of SKIFF,

This morning I fished with 6 year old twins Kristian and Kevan Vaughn of Killeen, TX.

The boys reside with their grandparents, “Nana” Tina and “Pop Pops” Curtis Vaughn. Pop Pops is currently half a world away serving with the 615th Air Cavalry as a staff sergeant overseeing contractor operations based out of Camp Marmal in Afghanistan.

To say the boys were excited about this trip would be an understatement. In fact, there was no aspect of the trip that they weren’t very, very excited about. They liked the ride to the ramp, they liked launching the boat, they liked jigging, they liked downrigging, they liked retrieving the buoy, they liked the rain, they liked the wind, they liked the seagulls … !!

After I picked the boys up and as we made our way to the boat ramp, we spotted the lake for the first time and I pointed it out to the boys. They asked, “Is this water the salty kind or the other kind?” I told them that this was fresh water, the opposite of salt water. Kevan told me he was relieved because he knew

sharks and whales lived in the salty kind of water and he was kind of afraid of those.

The fishing was really good even though the weather was a bit tough. We had prefrontal conditions in advance of some violent weather that moved through later in the evening. The fish were feeding, the birds were showing us the way, and the boys caught fish … 25 of them to be exact, both by jigging near bottom and by downrigging.

We downrigged early for shallower, more active fish in 12-15′, and then transitioned to vertical jigging in deeper (~25-27′) water after the shallow bite went soft on us.

The potential was there for a more sizeable catch, but the jigging tactics we used were pretty technical for 6 year olds to stay consistent on due to the extreme importance of depth control, so we missed a few opportunities, but that’s to be expected with kids onboard. The boys caught their own fish by their own efforts and did the best they could and were rewarded for that with the 25 fish we did catch.

I told the boys at the beginning of the trip that we’d save the first two fish we caught in the livewell and would then cull when we caught larger ones so we’d have the two biggest fish at the end of the trip to take pictures with. As Kristian brought in his 6th or 7th fish, I saw it was a good bit bigger than the 10 or 11 inchers we’d already boated. As it came over the side I exclaimed, “Wow, that’s a big one!” Kristian asked “Is it too big?” I assured him that no fish was ever too big and pointed out that more experienced fisherman never asked that question. I then winked at him, and he understood me completely.

Thank you all for your support, and thank you, too, for including Rebecca and I in the invitation to the AFF Christmas Party. As you see, I’ve already begun squeezing the luck out of the red AFF hat I won at the drawing!! Merry Christmas to each of you.


Bob Maindelle

Start Time: 7:45a

End Time: 11:45a

Air Temp: 52F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 56.2F.

Wind: Winds were SE3.

Skies: Skies were 100% heavily clouded and grey.

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