This morning I had a crew of four aboard for the 10th SKIFF trip of the 2014 season — Mrs. Elizabeth Turner, her oldest son, Jason (age 10), her middle son, Javier (age 9), and her youngest son, Jabari (age 6). 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. All it takes is a phone call from a parent to me at 254-368-7411 to reserve a date.
L to R: Justin (age 10), Elizabeth, and Jabari (age 6) with two nice hybrid from the same school that struck our downrigger rods just seconds apart.
Javier (age 9) and his mom with his biggest fish of day — a hybrid striped bass weighing just over 3 pounds.
Mrs. Turner heard about SKIFF through a posting on the Fort Hood Area Events Facebook page run by Denise Igo whose children I took out this past Thursday. Mrs. Turner is a U.S. Army veteran and served a three year enlistment, including a tour to South Korea where she met her future husband, Jason Turner. Sergeant Jason Turner is in the Army’s Chemical Corps and has been away for the last month training in California. He’ll return shortly, only to depart again to go to an Army school which is necessary for him to advance to the next rank of Staff Sergeant.
The boys were excited to go fishing, to say the least. Although they’d fished before with their grandpa down in Corpus Christi, they’d never been on a boat, so, that was a fun experience for them in and of itself.
Today’s fishing was a bit less productive than it has been for the past few days, and I attribute that mainly to very turbulent weather. We got an area-wide rain at 4:15am, winds varied from near calm to near 20mph and had turned more easterly, skies were bright one minute and nearly dark the next, and it sprinkled on and off today for the entire four hour trip. The fish I found were in the same places they have been for most of the week, but they just didn’t feed as long or as hard today. The high winds no doubt dampened the excellent topwater bite we’ve had, as it made bait fish harder for gamefish to see and gamefish harder for me to see in the whitecapping chop.
Regardless, we caught fish fairly consistently from start to finish today. We caught exactly 40 fish, including 6 legal (18+ inch long) hybrid striped bass and a mixture of 34 white bass and “short” hybrid. Approximately 70% of our catch came on downriggers set between 12 and 25 feet, and the balance of our catch came on flatline trolled umbrella rigs fished in and around the few pods of topwater feeding fish we could find.
When all was said and done, each boy had caught at least one “keeper-sized” hybrid, and each boy had landed either a double or a triple (multiple fish landed on a single rod at the same time).
As I walked up the boatramp with the Turner’s headed back toward their family vehicle, Elizabeth was very thankful for the opportunity this SKIFF trip afforded her boys. She assured me that SGT Turner’s phone would be “lit up” with messages from his sons about today’s trip.
TALLY = 40 Fish
Start Time: 6:25am
End Time: 10:25am
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 75F
Water Surface Temp: 81.8F
Wind Speed & Direction: ESE13-17
Sky Conditions: 100% heavily greyed over nearly the entire trip, with occasional sprinkles
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 147 topwater at first light
**Area 845/1273 suspended white bass and mixed sizes of hybrid suspended at 21-25 feet
**Vicinity of Area 154 topwater and suspended fish high in water column (flatlined and downrigged)
**Vicinity of 847/831 fish in lower 1/3 of water column (downrigged)
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)