Big Fish and Rising Waters!! SKIFF Trip #2012-4, Feb. 20th, 34 Fish

The following blog entry appears in the form of a report to those who support the Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (S.K.I.F.F.) program …

Mason started things off right this morning. Our first fish boated was this 5.25 pound largemouth. Its belly was unusually distended, making me think it had just eaten a sizeable sunfish, drum, or gizzard shad.

Not to be outdone, big brother Tyler boated an outsized white bass today — it measured 14.75 inches.

20 February 2012

Dear Friends of S.K.I.F.F.,

Today was Presidents’ Day and the local schools were on holiday. This coincided with good weather and so I made some arrangements and fished this morning with Tyler and Mason Chapman, the sons of Captain Micah and Mrs. Jamie Chapman. Captain Chapman is a U.S. Army Infantry officer currently serving in Kuwait on the operations staff of his unit as part of the 1st Cavalry Division as he awaits company command. This is his 3rd deployment.

Also joining me today were Kyle and Marty Wall, a father and son videography crew who are supporting SKIFF with their filming talents.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect today as we had nearly 2 feet of fresh water come into the reservoir following the much needed rains this past Saturday. The upper 1/3 of the lake is muddy and thus a no-go for white bass, so, we began our search for fish today in clear water.

Things got off to a slow start as the winds were very light.

We did see some herring gulls looking “fishy” in that they refused to leave a particular patch of water near Area 242, but, as much as they circled and looked interested, rarely did one dive down to the water to indicate the presence of bait driven there by gamefish below. We did pick up our first fish of the day at this location — the 5.25 pound largemouth shown in the photo above — on a 3/8 oz. white TNT180 slab.

Next, we headed for deeper water and began sweeping with sonar over some deep (35-45′) breaklines and rises. We located fish at two distinct locations — at Area 1041, and between Area 873 and Area 1042. The action here started very tentatively with only a single drum and a single white bass boated while the wind was still light. By 9:30, the wind was sustained at 8+ and a grey overcast sky was firmly in place … things were about to get fishy!

Over the course of the next two hours the fishing improved and stayed consistent. The boys managed a total of 34 fish caught today, including 1 largemouth, 2 drum, and 31 white bass. This winter fishing can be productive, but it is also demanding. Your technique must be dead on. Even with biting fish as a reward for good technique, good technique is hard for younger kids to maintain for long spells. So, understanding that, I’ve learned to punctuate the time with “transitions”, such as having a snack, taking photos of the catch, checking on the fish in the livewell, checking on the sonar and reporting back to me what is going on … then we return to jigging afresh and try to maintain focus in bursts.

Our film crew did a great job today. I look forward to showing you some of their work at an upcoming Austin Fly Fishers meeting later this year.

In the meantime, thank you all for your support, and let all of us anglers give thanks to the Lord for the much needed rain we received this past weekend.


–Bob Maindelle


TALLY = 34 FISH all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 11:45a

Air Temp: 43F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 54.8F.

Wind: Winds were S3 at trip’s start, building to S9.

Skies: Skies were 100% greyed over the entire trip.

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