This past Saturday afternoon I conducted the fifth free SKIFF program trip of the 2017 season, welcoming aboard Mrs. Mylani Cantero and her three children, Chloe (age 5), Boyka (age 6), and Ben (age 17).
Chloe Cantero, age 5, caught this 13.25 inch white bass — the first fish of her life.
Boyka Cantero, age 6, also caught his first fish during a free SKIFF program fishing trip available to all military kids separated from their parents.
Ben Kalio, age 17, took care of his siblings first by helping me operate the downriggers we fished with, and then caught the first fish of his life, as well.
Mylani’s husband, US Army Staff Sergeant Charles Cantero is currently deployed to Kuwait.
Our trip was initially scheduled for this morning, but a slow-moving line of storms which dropped over 3 inches of flooding rains on the Waco area, moved into our area right at sunrise and persisted through 3 PM.
When we met at 4:45 PM, I asked about the kids’ prior fishing experience. None of the kids had ever caught a fish before. I explained that Texas was a great state to catch your first fish in because the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers a “First Fish Certificate” to those landing their first fish in the Lone Star State.
To say that it was hot would be an understatement. We had a humidity level near 100%, cloudless conditions, and the sun shining brightly after the storms passed. This definitely did not make for great fishing conditions, nor great conditions to have young children in the outdoors. The kids were already sweating as they sat still, even before I had them place their life vests on.
My first instinct was to get the boat moving and to do some downrigging so as to create our own breeze and make the trip a bit more comfortable for all concerned. We did so, and with our downrigger ball set around 24 feet, scored a first fish for each of the kids within our first 25 minutes on the water. Each child landed a cooperative white bass.
As is often the case with young kids, even when success is coming our way, the novelty can wear off and the kids start getting fidgety. I am very vigilant about looking for this and transitioning to something new when I see that happening.
So, shortly after everyone caught at least two white bass we moved on to targeting sunfish in shallow water. We were successful at that endeavor, allowing everyone to catch at least two sunfish.
Next, it was back to downrigging for a few more white bass, and then back to sunfishing for a few more sunfish coming off of a thick hydrilla bed.
Because some younger kids just simply can’t make a full four hours on the water, I let Mrs. Cantero know that if we needed to conclude the trip a bit earlier then the planned time of 8:45, that she could let me know that. Around 8:15, our youngest, Chloe, had absorbed all of the fun and sun she could stand and Mrs. Cantero let me know that it would be a good time to head back to the boat ramp.
We concluded the evening’s efforts with 27 fish landed and three First Fish Certificates earned.
TALLY: 27 FISH, all caught and released
Start Time: 4:45p
End Time: 8:15p
Air Temp. @ Trip’s Start: 95F
Water Surface Temp: 84.1F
Wind Speed & Direction: NNE2
Sky Conditions: Clear skies at trip’s start with increasing high, thin haze
Water Level: 0.12 feet high and slowly rising; 0 cfs release at dam
GT = 0
AREAS FISHED WITH SUCCESS:
**Area 1716 thru 157 early downrigging at 24′
**Area 1948 sunfish
**Area 1132 downrigging at 38′
**Area 231 sunfish
Owner, Holding the Line Guide Service
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