This morning I conducted the fourth SKIFF Trip of the 2014 season and welcomed aboard Mrs. Nancy Phimmasone and her three children, Asia (13), Qwentin (10) and Aiyana (6). The kids and Nancy lost their father and husband on the April 29, 2013, while he was serving on active duty in the U.S. Army with the 1st Cavalry Division as a mortarman.

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.

This week the family returned to Fort Hood to allow the kids to participate in the “Good Grief” Camp, put on specifically for military kids whose parent lost their life while serving the nation.

This (Super-) mom departed the DeSoto area near Dallas around 3:30 a.m. for a timely arrival at the boat ramp for our 7 a.m. push back.

The morning was very pleasant for June in Texas — calm, dry, and around 67F in the wake of a mild cool front’s passage.

With a 6-year old on board, we split the trip into two distinct halves: downrigging early for white bass and casting up shallower later in the trip for sunfish.

Things are still a bit slow as we transition from a slow-developing spring into summer, as the thermocline has not yet set up.  Regardless, we managed 11 white bass fishing with a pair of 3-armed umbrella rigs.  Of these 11, six came in the form of “doubles” when the kids pulled in fish two-at-a-time on these rigs.

Around 9 a.m. the novelty wore off the downrigging, so we turned our attention on shallow sunfish buried down in the blossoming hydrilla beds.

Asia and Qwentin hung with the program, but the early wake-up was starting to take its toll on little Aiyana. We used slip corks baited up with Gulp maggots to fool another 10 sunfish before the Texas heat and calm wind let us all know it was time to call it a morning.

Nancy and her family headed on to a hotel in Killeen awaiting check in at the Good Grief camp tomorrow. She was looking forward to a few days of down-time without kids as the camp runs Thursday – Sunday.

She expressed her thanks to me and all of you who make SKIFF happen for giving her and her kids some time to unwind before what will be an emotional but necessary few days ahead.

We caught 21 fish today and enjoyed one another’s company while doing it!

TALLY = 21 FISH, all caught and released


Start Time: 7 a,m.

End Time: 11 a.m.

Air Temp.: 74F

Water Surface Temp.: 79-80F

Wind: Calm

Skies: Bluebird

Other Notes: GT0


** Vicinity of Area 1395 to 862 downrigged for white bass

** Vicinity of Area 1394 slipfloats for sunfish

(1) comment


Fantastic story, Bob. Nice to hear of a Gold Star family taken care of like that.

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