Fort Hood SKIES Program Fishing Trip — 23 Fish with Evan & Johnny

This morning I fished with 10-year-old Evan Darsam and his brother, 8-year-old Johnny Darsam, of Ft. Hood.


This big channel catfish required a little brotherly teamwork to get in the boat.  Great job Evan and Johnny!!

Evan and Johnny are the eldest two sons of U.S. Army Specialist Mattew Darsam and his wife, Jennifer.  The boys woke up at 5am this morning and met me at 6:15am for a 6:30 trip start time on Stillhouse Hollow.  We waved goodbye to mom and little brother and got right down to business with a brief talk about safety and then a short introduction to the equipment we’d be using today.

While the boys were stationed at Ft. Stewart, GA, they fished unsuccessfully on the Savannah River, so, we had a pair of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department “First Fish Awards” at stake today.  The boys had also never been in a boat before.

To allow for some instant gratification, I chose to pursue sunfish with bream poles to start off our morning.  This turned out to be a great choice as the boys really liked it and stayed engaged in pursuing sunfish for about 2 1/2 hours, which was longer than I thought that would keep their attention.  Indeed, Johnny caught his first fish, a blacktail shiner, and Even caught his first fish, a bluegill sunfish, within 15 minutes of being on the water. Both went on to catch several more bluegill sunfish and green sunfish.

After the novelty of sunfishing wore off, we set out in pursuit of larger quarry — the white bass.  For this hunt, we used umbrella rigs equipped with Pet Spoons on downrigging gear to present these small baits at between 27 and 31 feet down where we found these fish suspended and scattered using sonar equipment.

Johnny’s rod was lucky and he wound up catching a white bass first, but, not to be outdone by his little brother, Evan bounced right back and landed a double — two fish on one rod at the same time.  Somewhere in there the boys also landed our largest fish of the trip, a nice 3.5 pound channel cat.

This fishing trip was conducted as part of the Ft. Hood SKIES Program.  SKIES stands for Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills and falls under the larger banner of the Army’s Children, Youth, and Students Services (CYSS).  It took a good bit of work to become qualified to conduct such trips, including a lengthy background investigation, providing proof of liability insurance, and going to CPR, First Aid, and Child Abuse Awareness classes, etc., but now with all that behind me, I’m looking forward to focusing on the fishing.


TALLY = 23 FISH, all caught and released






Start Time: 6:20a

End Time:  10:30a

Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start:  77F

Water Surface Temp:  84F

Wind Speed & Direction: SSW9-13

Sky Conditions:  80%  cloud cover.

Note: Lake has dropped 0.14 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 622.49 above sea level, with 622.00 being full pool.  Gates expected to shut early/mid next week

Other: GT=0




**Area 1258

**Area 200

**Area 1440


Bob Maindelle

Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service

254.368.7411 (call or text)

Salado, TX

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