This afternoon I conducted an after-school Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) trip for Eli T. and Jaythan S., both of Ft. Hood, TX.
Eli T. with one of the many white bass that we caught on the 3-armed umbrella rig equipped with Pet Spoons this evening.
Jaythan S. caught the first fish of his life on this evening’s SKIFF trip.
This past Friday afternoon I conducted the season’s 21st Soldiers’ Kids Involved in Fishing Fun (SKIFF) trip. I had the pleasure of fishing with two energetic seven-year-old boys, Eli and Jaythan. Both boys’ fathers are away from home for training. Eli has fished with me once before when his dad was pulled away from the family by military duty, and this was Jason’s first trip out with me; in fact, he had never caught a fish before.
We begin our day under warm, humid, nearly calm conditions. We first encountered fish suspended at around 30 feet deep over a slightly deeper bottom and downrigged successfully to boat singles, doubles, and triples using umbrella rigs equipped with small Pet Spoons. This effort allowed for the capture of Jason’s first fish, thus qualifying him for a T PWD “First Fish Award”.
The downrigging at this first area we fished gave up a total of 31 fish before the action died, sending us looking elsewhere. We encountered a bit of a lull in the action between 5 PM and 6 PM, picking up only six more fish at the second area we fished that during this time.
Thanks to some building and fairly heavy grey cloud cover in the west, sunset was obscured and the low light preceding it came a bit early, right around 6 PM. At this time we moved to the third area we would fish and found both bottom-oriented, and suspended fish. The suspended fish were holding at two levels, one group at around 23 to 27 feet, and another group just 12 to 14 feet below the surface. We employed downriggers at both depths and caught fish consistently at both depths right up until 7 PM. At 7 PM, the fish made a very distinct move shallow and surfacewards with occasional fish feeding on the surface. At the same time, the wind very suddenly picked up to about 8 to 10 mph out of the north in advance of a mild, dry, cool front that would continue to make its way into this area overnight. That wind shift really sucked the energy out of what is normally a very aggressive, low light bite at this point in the evening. Although we continued to catch fish right until 7:35 on downriggers and flatlined tandem rigs, and continued to see some light surface action, this was nothing in comparison to what it has been over the past several days with more stable, southerly winds in place.
The boys, already familiar with one another from school, and being the same age, really hit it off well. They realized following instructions directly impacted their success, and listened very well to the somewhat technical instructions pertaining to downrigging. When all was said and done, the boys landed a total of 67 fish consisting of a mixture of short hybrid striped bass, short white bass, and legal-sized white bass.
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, organizations, and companies 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. SKIFF is open to children in elementary and middle school, as well as youth in high school.
TALLY = 67 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 3:45p
End Time: 7:45p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 92F
Water Surface Temp: 84.0F
Wind Speed & Direction: Light and variable until ~7:00p, when the N. wind picked up suddenly 8-10
Sky Conditions: Mostly cloudless conditions on a fair sky with building clouds in the west, sufficient to obscure the sunset
Note: Lake has dropped 0.02 feet in the last 24 hours and now stands at 593.34 above sea level, with 594.00 being full pool
Other: GT= 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1609 steady early evening success on downiggers
**Area 1601 slower fishing on downriggers from 5-6p
**Area 085 downrigging leading to smoking
**Area 811 end of evening downrigging and flatline trolling
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
254.368.7411 (call or text)