Air Force Kids Catch Fish, Too! — SKIFF Trip #16 of 2013, Stillhouse Hollow, 52 Fish Caught

This morning I was joined for a “S.K.I.F.F.” fishing trip by brother and sister pair Hayden (age 13) and Jasmine (age 9) Hovsepian and their mom, Nila.

Jasmine shows one of three fish she caught at the same time on an experimental umbrella rig we used this morning.

Hayden, a self-confessed “indoor guy” was glad he ventured out-of-doors for a spell today.

SKIFF (Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun) trips are provided free of charge to families whose children are separated from a parent due to that parent’s military service thanks to the Austin Fly Fishers and a network of supportive individuals from all over the U.S.

Hayden and Jasmine’s dad, U.S. Air Force Major Hovsepian, is currently deployed to Afghanistan for a 6 month tour. His family is stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. To date, this is the only military family from that base to take advantage of the SKIFF Program, and the family who has traveled the greatest distance to attend such a trip.

I was concerned about my prospects for putting the kids on fish today because the high pressure which has dominated our weather and allowed for amazingly consistent fishing this summer broke down yesterday, allowing north and east winds, cloud cover, and turbulent weather to slip in.

As the old saying goes:

Winds from the west, fish bite best.

Winds from the east, fish bite least.

Winds from the south blow the hook in the fish’s mouth.

But winds from the north, the fisherman goes not forth.

Still, the high water temperatures have these cold-blooded animals’ metabolisms in overdrive, so, although they didn’t feast heavily this morning, they still ate, and we took advantage of what we could find. When I saw fish tightly schooled together in a posture which, under high pressure conditions I knew full well would result in a multiple hookup, today they may or may hot have pursued and struck our baits. Again, when under high pressure conditions there would normally be some amount of topwater feeding taking place, today, there was none. And so it went, the low pressure definitely negatively impacted the fishery today.

We worked to put 52 fish in the boat today including 1 freshwater drum, 6 bluegill sunfish, and 45 white bass in the 1 to 3 year class. The majority of our success came today using downriggers which allowed up to keep our baits right where these reluctant, suspended fish were hanging out. Today I experimented with a light, 3 arm umbrella rig and I was pleased with the results. On two occasions we landed 3 fish at a time on the device. We began our day downrigging Area 040/1246, then downrigged Area 908 until 10:15.

For variety’s sake, we did a little sunfishing with poles and slipfloats up shallow at Area 200 and pulled 6 sunfish from the vegetation there before they wised up to us.

We finished the trip in 25-27 feet of water between Areas 1248 and 1249 by “smoking” slab spoons for schooled, suspended white bass that forced bait near enough to the (nearly calm) surface for us to see the bait skipping out of the water in an escape attempt. We boated a final 6 white bass here before concluding the trip.

The trio planned to make a stop at Round Rock Donuts for one of their famous “Texas Sized Round Rock Donuts” (for $5.99 each, chocolate or glazed, don’t ask me how I know!) as they headed back south from one of the last “big events” before heading back to school on the 26th of August.

TALLY = 52 FISH, all caught and released

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Start Time: 7:15a

End Time: 11:30a

Air Temp: 74F at trip’s start.

Water Surface Temp: 86.1F

Wind: Winds slowly turned from ENE, through E, to ESE, all at under 6 mph this morning.

Skies: 100% grey skies in conjunction with a mild cold front that approached from the NE yesterday .

Bob Maindelle

Holding the Line Guide Service


Salado, Texas

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