SKIFF Trip #8 for 2012 — New Lake Record!! Stillhouse Hollow, 01 Sept. 2012

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 which serves to put the children of deployed or deceased soldiers on the water at no charge to their families…

Mattieu caught 3 sets of “doubles” today (that’s 2 fish at a time on one rod rigged with a tandem rig). These are 2 of our 4 largest white bass.

Ryan proudly displays this pending Lake Record crappie, measuring 14 3/8″ and weighing 1 3/8 lbs. Ryan also boated the first fish of his life earlier this summer while fishing with an uncle near DFW. Hey Kevin Van Dam, look out for this little guy — he’s on the fast track!!

01 September 2012

Dear Friends of SKIFF,

Today I fished with Matthieu Bull, the son of Staff Sergeant Erik and Mrs. Suzanne Bull of Killeen, TX. SSG Bull is on a year-long deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan where he serves in an Army engineer battalion. Matthieu is a brand new 6th grader going to Manor Middle School, and is big brother to 2 younger siblings.

To fill out the boat today, I also welcomed Mr. Al N. and his 5 year old son, Ryan, aboard. Ryan just started Kindergarten at Saegert Elementary School in Killeen. The boys hit it off well and did a great job of helping one another and taking turns catching the fish so all was pretty even by the time the trip had concluded.

Our conditions today were ideal — a moderate SW breeze with wind having just returned to this direction from a NE blow over the past 3-4 days. Traffic was light as folks either traveled this Labor Day weekend, or opted for dove hunting.

Simply put, we got on fish within 10 minutes of our start and stayed on them for 3 hours and 15 minutes straight. By 10:15am we left the fish still biting in order to introduce a bit of variety in advance of Mrs. Bull’s return to the courtesy dock for Matthieu.

70% of our effort today came on the downriggers in an area bounded within Areas 1130/1132/196. We ran twin ‘riggers with tandem rigs, thus putting 4 baits in the water at a given time. We found very willing schools of white bass ranging in size from a half-dozen up to 50+ individual fish in the school. Most of the fish were solid, 3 year old 12.50-13.75″ fish. We used modified Pet Spoons to imitate the small threadfin shad these white bass have been foraging on and caught fish very consistently within 6 feet of bottom. As one boy caught a fish, the other would bring in the downrigger ball, then they’d swap roles and do it all over again. Over the course of 3 1/4 hours, we boated exactly 60 fish, including 2 drum, 1 crappie, and 57 white bass.

Of these 60 fish, 14 of them came in a flurry of action as we e-anchored in the vicinity of a large, active school of white bass which we initially located as we were downrigging for them. We worked these fish over thoroughly with Cicada blade baits and the fish responded well to a hasty retrieve.

As we neared the 4 hour mark, both boys were ready for a change of pace, so, we left the still actively-feeding white bass behind and went shallow to target sunfish using poles and slip floats baited up with maggots. We spent all of 30 minutes or so getting the hang of things in this very delicate style of fishing, and the boys were able to put 6 more fish in the boat fro off of Area 200.

One special note: the crappie that Ryan N. boated will replace the existing Junior Angler Lake Record which has stood since 2009. Ryan’s crappie measured 14 3/8 inches and weighed 1 3/8 pounds on a certified scale. Congratulations, Ryan!!

I thank all of you Friends of SKIFF, and in particular the Austin Fly Fishers for providing opportunities like this for kids whose parents are serving in harm’s way, or have given their lives doing so. I appreciate your efforts.

TALLY = 66 FISH, all caught and released

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Start Time: 6:50a

End Time: 10:50a

Air Temp: 76F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 85.5F

Wind: SSW7-10.

Skies: 40% early morning cloudiness decreasing to 20% cloudiness by trip’s end.