This morning I fished with Phillip and Myron Crossley on this, the 24th SKIFF Program fishing trip of 2013.
Phillip’s smile really tells it all! We had fun catching fish today.
Myron, a frequent snacker, took a little less intense approach to his fishing than brother Phillip.
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 (examples: field time, gunnery, NTC, deployment, etc). These trips are funded by the Austin Fly Fishers and a network of supportive individuals from all over the U.S.!
Phillip and Myron’s parents are both on active duty. Their dad, Staff Sergeant Roderick Crossley is assigned to the 581st Medical Battalion, and their mom, Sergeant First Class Isilee Crossley, is assigned to III Corps. Isilee contacted me to arrange for the trip after being assigned to go to the Army’s Senior Leader Course (SLC) which took her away from Fort Hood.
Pre-frontal south winds blowing around 13mph in advance of an approaching cold front due in later tonight got the fish biting early and kept them biting right up until it was time to meet back at the boatramp. The fishing was best in the first hour and 20 minutes of our trip during which time the boys boated 24 fish, including 3 triples (a fish caught on each of the three lures attached to the umbrella rig we were downrigging with). This umbrella rig (or Alabama rig) outfitted with Pet Spoons has been a very consistent producer this year.
While it was still quite murky out, following the obscured sunrise, we were treated to the sight of a pair of wild bald eagles fishing together over open water near us. Myron used the spotting scope I keep on board for just such occasions and tried to zero in on the birds. While he didn’t quite locate the birds, he did locate the western shoreline and, given the 24x magnification, quickly took the device away from his eye and exclaimed, “Whoa! Too close!” He thought we were about to shipwreck!!
After the downrigging approach failed to yield anymore fish at the first area we tried, we moved out to deeper water and used sonar to locate tightly schooled fish holding near bottom. We then hovered over these fish and used ‘blasters and TNT180 slabs vertically to tempt these fish. Although it took about 30 minutes of searching, once we found fish, we caught them steadily for the final 2 hours of our trip.
The boys wanted to give a “shout out” to their Uncle Joe in Savannah, GA. Evidently he got them into fishing and he did a pretty good job of teaching them. Phillip was a very good caster and needed next to no instruction on that, and Myron had all the basics down and listened well to the pointers I gave him and more than held his own.
To those of you who have contributed to SKIFF, thank you for doing so. This gives kids a chance to do something they often have never done or rarely get to do, it gives parents (who, for a time are essentially single parents) a little down time, and it lets the parents who are separated from their families know that people in their community appreciate the sacrifices they make because the wear the uniform. For these reasons SKIFF enjoys a good reputation in the local Fort Hood community. Thank you for making that possible.
TALLY = 53 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 7:20a
End Time: 11:20a
Air Temp: 78F at trip’s start.
Water Surface Temp: 81.6F
Wind: Winds were SSE13.
Skies: Totally greyed over.
** 1221/1241 downrigging for first 80 minutes
** 866 & 1252 smoking ‘blasters and TNT180s for last 120 minutes
Holding the Line Guide Service