Sunday, July 17, 2011

texasflymannequin

Thursday morning I drove down to South Padre Island for a short family vacation/reunion. I of course took my kayak and fly rod in the hopes I would get some fishing in.

After getting to the condo and unloading everything in 67% humidity and temps in the 90s that felt like the 100s, we first went down to the beach for a few hours. I took my fly rod but didn't bother using it since the beach had too many people around even out to the second gut. I surely didn't want to snag someone on my backcast or with my fly in the water so I just enjoyed playing in the water with the kids.

Later after sunset I decided I would try and fish along the Queen Isabella Causeway. I waited for about 30 minutes but only the street lights near the middle of the causeway came on. The bridge is almost three miles long so I really didn't feel like paddling all that much. Not that far from the bridge to the south is Pier 19. It used to be a fishing pier for the longest time but now the whole pier is a restaurant and bar. It still has some lights on it though so I decided to go there and try my luck.

As soon as I got there I could see some trout swimming around and people on bridge pointing down and talking about me and what I was doing. I anchored and tied on a cactus shrimp fly as the trout were chasing shrimp along the surface. I could hear the smacks and pops as the trout ate them.

Right away, the people on the pier above were telling me where to cast and that there were a "hundred" trout right where I was casting. Soon I started catching trout but not on every cast. Most of the trout where just shy of keepers. I did catch a couple fat little trout and had one nice one that broke me off. I probably spent two hours there catching and releasing schoolie trout. Eventually after a couple of drunk patrons mistook me for a mannequin (they actually said "dummy") in a "dingy", I decided to call it a night. They did apologize for the mistake though.

The next couple of days was taken up with family visits and other activities but I enjoyed the short adventure paddling the Lower Laguna by the light of the full moon. It was invigorating. It was way better than walking around drunk mistaking live people for dummies.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inks Lake State Park


On Friday, I packed up the truck with kayaks, tents, fishing gear and the family and departed to Inks Lake State Park about an hour northwest of Austin. It was time for our semiannual camping trip which was planned and booked about 6 months ago.

This tiny park is quite popular and gets full quickly. Our camping trips as of the last couple of years have been multi-family events with three other families. This year, due to the extreme drought condition, we couldn't have grills or campfires so it was propane camp stoves and burners for cooking and roasting marshmallows.

The small lake had a couple of short fishing piers that were not far from our lakeside camp so after dark, I went with my son and another boy to try our luck. There were already a couple of folks there so we had to wait until a spot freed up near the deeper water and one of the lights. As much as we tried, we couldn't catch a thing so around 11pm we headed back to camp.

The next morning, my son and I took the kayaks out to fish a bit. He with the fly rod and I with a spinning rod. I ended with one 15" largemouth bass and my son caught a nice brim. The rest of the time we lent out the kayaks to the rest of our party so they could paddle around the small lake.

I expect that due to the small size of the lake and its popularity as a camp site, it must get heavily fished so I felt pretty good about catching at least one fish.

The kids and the rest of the folks did a lot of swimming, paddling and jumping off cliffs into the cool water due to the nearly triple digit temperatures.

It was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to our next camping trip this fall!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

To those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard this country's freedoms, we remember you today. To all the servicemen and women, thank you as well. Everyone have a great Memorial Day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Minnow catcher


My son participated in a two-day youth tennis tournament this weekend where he did well. On Sunday he was too tired to fish but youngest daughter wanted to head to the park and use her dip net to catch minnows. So that is what she and I did.

With her dip net and mason jar, my youngest went around the edge of the park pond swiping the water and collecting tiny fish. She was having fun. In one spot I sort of directed the fish towards her.

So that she could see in the water a little better being it was sunny, I had her wear a pair of Native Eyewear polarized sunglasses that I picked up on sale at REI recently. I had not been able to find my good pair of Smith Optics sunglasses that I have owned for over six years.

Anyways, those sunglasses looked really big on her. We spent about 45 minutes scooping up minnows so she had a couple of dozen in the jar. We released them all and left. She had fun.

One thing I noticed was there were a lot of sunfish in that pond so at some point I will be back with my son with the 5 weight fly rods to catch 'em.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Community Park Fishing

A chunky green sunfish

This morning my wife was helping with coordinating a car wash fundraiser for the high school band so I had the kids. I told my son and youngest daughter to get dressed as I was going to take them to a local park with a couple of ponds that we haven't been to in a long time.

I used to fish this park years ago and it used to contain large brim and some decent bass but droughts and then a really bad flood years ago changed it and seemed to have wiped out most of the bass. The park went through a renovation last year with a new club house with deck, sidewalks, new playscape, parking and boulders placed along the pond shore for small casting decks. It is quite nice now but how was the fishing?

These little guys were super colorful ... and fun!

I only took my son's Albright 5wt fly rod as I wanted him to practice his casting and catch some brim. We started with the quick reminder lesson. His false casts had nice tight looks but whenever he made his final cast, he would drop the tip and open up the loop so we worked on that. It was also very windy which for any fly fisher is a pain. He soon started catching small brim quite regularly.

After a while, he mentioned going over to the second pond on the other end of the park. The only problem with that pond is that except for one spot, it is surrounded by trees. Of course, the one spot faces into the wind so casting was a challenge. However, he was catching some better quality brim. He ended up landing a big green sunfish as well as small bass for some of the better catches from this spot. After a couple hours being at the park, regularly catching brim, we all got hungry and left to get pizza for lunch.

I enjoyed taking the kids out to the park and watching my son fish. I hope to do this again soon.