Wichita sisters put it to the fish, each other

The sisters are two of the top business types in Wichita. Missy Cohlmia rides herd on communications for Koch. Carol Skaff pilots her own marketing firm.

Sisters Missy Cohlmia, left, and Carol Skaff took time from being business executives to go fishing amid Thursday's heavy rains. Hard to tell if they had fun, huh?

Both are widely respected for their involvement in civic, social and church programs.

And last night I had them drenched from head to toe, wading through tall, wet grass and slipping and sliding through gooey mud while they laughed and caught fish after fish.

I got wrangled into taking the sisters fishing last year when Carol shocked her friends and entered a raffle for a guided fishing trip at The Eagle’s Christmas open house.

She won. We went with Missy along.

Nothing but fun has followed on fishing trips to local lakes and pristine Flint Hills streams.

With spouses and other friends we’ve also shot semi-automatic handguns, blown up jugs of water with high-powered rifles and stuffed ourselves at a March “Beast Feast” with 10 courses of wild game dishes.

Thursday’s  fishing trip to Harvey County was met with threatening weather and quick success.

Both sisters caught nice bass on their first cast. (I lied and told them the fish were the exact size so their famed sibling rivalry was a bit delayed. Carol’s was a bit bigger, though.)

Rain started the second we arrived but the sisters kept fishing while I rigged more equipment and kept my eyes on the skies for signs of close lightening.

Once when I returned from getting a stringer I thought Carol had taken a direct hit.

Then I remembered her face always looks like that when someone (me) jams a writhing fish in her hands and leaves.

(She’s fine with fish on her line or plate. It’s the touching while they’re alive that gives Carol the creeps.)

Close lightening and heavier rain made us take shelter in the pick-up where we spent the 20-30 minutes needed for the sisters to empty a bag of venison jerky.

After Missy’s umpteenth “It looks like it’s slowed enough, right?” we stepped into rains that had diminished from like being in a car wash to just a downpour.

We were quickly as wet as the three bass that hit our lures on our first cast from the pick-up.

During probably 90 minutes of actual fishing I’d estimate we caught 35-40 fish. I put enough on stringers to give Carol a nice meal with a friend and Missy a feast with all kinds of planned company.

We released more than we kept.

As well as the fishing action the trip held other fun and accomplishments.

We had a gorgeous rainbow above us for 20 minutes. As the trip ended we watched horizontal lightening spread like neon spiderwebs across the eastern sky.

Carol eventually got to where she’d touch fish after only 10 seconds of encouragement. Her innate ability to place a cast as well as a perfect phrase got even better.

Missy became more self-sufficient at fishing.

She followed my “Don’t worry about being gentle. Push the hook back out the way it came as fast as you can” advice for unhooking fish.

Soon she was dragging fish ashore, man-handling the hook out and casting for another within seconds.(She’s such an outstanding Republican!)

My biggest enjoyment was watching a sibling rivalry that reminds me of my kids when they were very small.

It’s the first time I’ve seen fish tossing become a competitive sport.

But as I filleted fish Carol and Missy were at the water’s edge, seeing who could chuck the skeletal remains the greatest distance into the lake.

And a warning for those who know her…

Do not ask Missy who was the only one to NOT catch a big bass on their last cast of the day.

Instead ask her who caught the biggest bluegill. I’m sure she’ll be glad to fill you in.