Grippos and Ale-8-One — 51 Fish, Stillhouse Hollow, SKIFF Trip #27 of 2014

This morning, December 26th, I fished with Alex Gibbs of Harker Heights, TX.  This was the 27th SKIFF trip of the 2014 season.  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.


Alex Gibbs with a nice pair of Stillhouse white bass taken on Reef Runner Cicada bladebaits up shallow.


Two of our 51 fish today were largemouth bass.  This one went for a Storm Wiggle Wart fished in ~13 feet of water.

Alex is an easy-going 16-year-old student in his junior year at Harker Heights High School, where he is a part of the swim team. Alex is also a Boy Scout who recently completed his Eagle Scout project and now is waiting for the paperwork to clear to receive that distinction.  He oversaw the revision of a playground at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Killeen.

Alex is the son of U.S. Army Major Lex Gibbs and his wife, Mrs. Carrie Gibbs.  Major Gibbs, now involved in his fourth deployment, is serving as a regimental executive officer stationed in the Sinai Peninsula on what we be nearly a year-long deployment.  If having dad gone weren’t tough enough, Carrie just had her gall bladder removed on Monday and is now recovering at home.  She is thankful for her unselfish, caring son and daughter (Sara) willing to pick up the slack while dad’s gone and mom’s down for a while.

Alex didn’t have a lot of prior fishing experience, but, his athleticism and coordination picked up where experience may have run a bit short, and he did very well today.  We had what will probably be the highest water temperature for the remainder of the winter as we began today with surface temps at 54.5F.  A series of cold fronts are due in which will push our temps lower and lower until the traditional warmup in late February or early March.  Despite the warm water and grey skies, we lacked wind for the entire trip and the fish were a bit sluggish as a result.  We had a very slow start, boating only 5 fish in the first hour on downriggers targeting scattered fish.  As the sun brightened the skies through the still-grey clouds, the shallows began to produce fish and, using a combination of casting bladebaits horizontally and jigging slabs vertically, we were able to end on a strong note with 51 fish boated for our efforts.  Our catch today included 49 white bass and 2 largemouth bass.

As we got to talking, Alex shared he has a “standing order” for his Christmas wish list each year, including two very uniquely “Kentuckyan” items: Grippos Chips and Ale-8-One soda.  He is a huge fan of the University of Kentucky basketball team and has UK and the University of Louisville on his college prospects list.  It’s great to see kids that have their heads screwed on straight, who give credit to the Lord for seeing them through rough patches in life, and who are thinking ahead.

In closing, Lex and Carrie, you’ve raised a great young man.  If there are others in your unit whose spouses could use a break and whose kids would like to spend some time outdoors, I can be reached at 254.368.7411 or  We look forward to your return!

TALLY = 51 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 7:20a

End Time:  11:40a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  52F

Water Surface Temp:  54.5F

Wind Speed & Direction:  Light & Variable

Sky Conditions:  Greyed over entire time with very light mist falling on occasion.

Other: GT=0



**Area  1310/1510 downrigging under birds for 2 fish

**Area  1512 downrigging for 3 fish

**Area 1351 flatline trolling for 2 fish

**Area 550/110 up shallow casting bladebaits for 19 fish

**Area 1502 vertical jigging for 25 fish


Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX

Leave a Reply