Sunday, December 31, 2006

Barton Creek Revisited

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday was cloudy and calm and today was windy with gusts up to 26mph and bluebird skies. This apperently did affect the fishing somewhat. Barton Creek did shelter me from the NW winds though which was nice.

I was hoping for a repeat of yesterday but fishing in Barton Creek was a little more work today than yesterday. I had to work to catch the five bass I caught. All were less than 13 inches but spunky little fish. The fish were warm to the touch, too. Most of the fish were caught along the grassline using clouser minnows and cypert minnows.

I ran across a couple of other kayak anglers that were catching some bass as well but nothing bigger than 1 1/2 pounds. I actually did paddle along the grass line and twice saw largemouth that looked to be between 3 and 4 pounds at least.

I'm glad I caught some bass to close out the year on a positive note. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Barton Creek

Following this post I saw on that mentioned someone catching a new lake record 12 pound bass a couple of days ago, I decided to pack my 5wt and kayak and head to downtown Austin and fish around Town Lake around mid-morning. I had taken the kids to Zilker Park a week ago and we had walked down by Barton Springs and the creek that it feeds that empties into Town Lake. I decided this was a great spot to fish since the water there is around 68 degrees year round and it is typically very clear and not too deep. In other words, it's made for fly rodding!

Once I put-in near the high school I paddled directly to the mouth of Barton Creek and paddled up into it. There are running trails and pedestrian bridges that go across it so not a very quiet and peaceful spot but pretty nonetheless. I paddled just past the street bridge to a spot that looked to have fish. It had plenty of weed beds where largemouth could ambush baitfish from. The water also did feel tepid compared to the water in the main lake.

I cast at several spots and finally caught a 10" largemouth on a superhair clouser minnow. I saw a school of minnows around some reeds by the shore as well as on the edge of grasslines so I kept using different baitfish type flies such as craft fur clouser minnows and polar minnows and caught several bass up to 1 1/2 pounds. I lost one that was likely 2 to 2 1/2 pounds. With the water so clear I could see some smaller bass charge the fly and short strike it as well as larger bass follow the fly only to see it up close and lose interest. I tried varying the retrieve but either a slow drop or a fast retrieve seemed to get a strike. I need to figure out how to do a fast two-hand retrieve like the Northeast striper fisherman do in order to speed up the fly and keep the fly right on top of the weedbeds.

I also saw a big largemouth cruising through the grass that could have gone 5 pounds easily! This was a good spot to be in indeed!

Altogether, I caught and released about 7 largemouths and lost another three with just as many short strikes and refusals.

On my way out I stopped to talk with another kayak fisherman who routinely fishes the lake and he indicated he caught a 9 pound largemouth last week where I was fishing! Cool!

I plan on going back to the same spot tomorrow but with a larger variety of flies to try.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

What is fishing anyways?

My definition of fishing is the act of hunting for fish and catching them by means of a line and hook with some sort of bait to entice the fish to put the hook in its mouth. Typically this involves a rod to cast said line and hook. My current preference is using fly fishing tackle. I've even run across specific definitions such as this mediocre one on about kayak fishing.

I was busy most of last week getting ready for the Christmas weekend which we spent in Laredo with family. On our return, we brought back one of my nephews that is close to my son's age and one of his most beloved of cousins. My nephew will be staying with us for a short while during Christmas break and so this afternoon I took my son and nephew to a neighborhood park where I could show him how to catch a fish with a fly rod.

The temperature this afternoon was in the low 60s and the water in the ponds wasn't quite warmed up yet even with the clear and sunny skies but I did entice a few sunfish. I briefed my nephew on the differences between fly tackle and conventional spinning/casting tackle. I showed him the typical cast and he watched as I caught a small sunfish.

My son, on the other hand, has already had this lesson before and proceeded to run around the park like a chicken with his head cut off. After a while, I was unable to hold my nephew's interest and he too went off to play with my son and basically explore the park like young boys do, leaving me to fish on my own. That was fine with me and eventually even though I was done and needed to get home to prepare to cook dinner (mesquite grilled burgers), they insisted on more time in order to "save" a cat. Eventually, my son stepped into the water and soaked his shoes, socks and pants legs and that was the end of the adventures at the park.

Here is a photo I took of the two boys holding one of the sunfish. My son is the one on the left wearing the white t-shirt.

Getting back to what is fishing? Well, in my son's mind, it is more than my meager definition and only a subset actually involves fish and there seems to be more focus and importance on just running around without a care in the world and simply having fun. In some ways, I like his definition better.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


My wife suggested I go fishing this morning. The weather forecast called for cloudy and drizzly morning with temps in the mid-60s and light variable winds less than 10 mph. This looked fine to me so I drove down to Lago Vista and put in at Arkansas Bend park to fish on Lake Travis. I was really hoping to catch a decent bass on my 5wt.

Since the water is still really low, something like 37' below full level, I drove on shoreline that normally is 10 to 15 feet below the water. I paddled around and looked for fish but it was really difficult finding any. The water temperature was in the low 60s as well so it's likely the fish went deep. I think I saw one large carp the whole three hours I was at the lake but got no bites. It's been a while since I've been skunked. I think I didn't catch any fish maybe one other time this year or maybe two. Still, the weather was mild even with the occassional light shower which made for a pleasant four miles of paddling in the yak. I had no problems casting my 5wt either with the light winds even though nothing bit.

Here is a photo I took of a favorite point I've caught fish from. The water is normally where the dark gray boulders are just below the tree line. Lake Travis has very little underwater vegetation so I key in on structure like the ledges you see in the photo. Baitfish will move along close to those ledges and the bass will not be far from them and occassionally hide in irregular areas along the structure that serve as ambush spots.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fishing IS spiritual

I ran accross another blog that I found quite interesting written by a Jewish rabbi. It belongs to The Fly Fishing Rabbi. His recent post on fly fishing for bonefish in the Bahamas was refreshing. It described the difficulties of sightfishing and casting to bones. I think had he worn a good pair of polarized sunglasses, it may have helped. Oi vey!

I recently had a conversation with a local Catholic priest that is an avid fisherman though not yet a fly fisher...yet. In his sermons, it was obvious he was an angler giving some of his personal fishing experiences used as analogies to send home the message in a sermon. I saw him once at a sports store fishing section buying books on fishing for bluegills. I told him that the best tackle for that was a fly rod. I left him my email and hopefully he'll be interested enough in the spring to ask me more about it. When I mentioned I fish from a kayak though, that really piqued his interest.

The priest and I also had an interesting conversation about the whole spiritual experience that is fishing and being outdoors and frequently being in awe of the beauty that only the hand of God could have created. The times I really appreciate that are on an early morning watching a gorgeous sunrise across the water whether it be on the surf, a bay or a lake. Regardless of what the day holds instore fishing wise, your spirit is refreshed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Jerk

Not much to report this weekend since I was sick since Thursday. I ended up thinking I should tie a new pattern that I could use on largemouth bass. I am really anxious to catch a good size largemouth as it's been a while.

Anyways, I picked a pattern called "The Jerk" by Nick Reding from Florida which I saw in an issue of Saltwater Fly Fishing magazine. It's really a pattern that's intended for redfish but it really reminded me of the Bonker Zonker which I have used before with good success on largemouth bass. The rabbit strip is what gives these flies such great action in the water that is the number one ingredient to their success.

The pattern was inspired by the jerk worm hence the name. It is really a simple fly to tie. Here's the recipe:

Hook: Tiemco 811s size 2
Thread: Chartreuse
Tail: Polar Fiber or Foxxy (craft) fur and Krystal Flash
Body: Crystal Chenille or Krystal Flash rope
Wing: Rabbit strip threaded on hook
Head: 1/16 ounce painted lead eyes or 5/32" nickel I-Balz
Weed guard: optional

Like I said, the fly was easy enough to tie and I chose white rather than brown, olive green or black though I expect those colors would work well also. I chose chrome/silver for the body and pearl flash for the tail to be closer to shad colors.

I am one more week away from vacation for the rest of the year so hopefully I will get a chance to try it out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Stocked trout

I went to Blue Hole park on the south fork of the San Gabriel river in Georgetown to experience a stocking of rainbow trout by TPWD. I was only there a short time after the trout were released. They were mostly in the 8 to 10 inch range.

The experience was anti-climactic at best. I had hoped for more but it seems strange trying to catch these small fish that have been hatchery raised and not wild. Of course they couldn't be wild; this is Texas and with the exception of some parts of the Guadalupe river, coldwater trout can't survive long in the warm waters of our state. The fact that the fish simply schooled around the area surrounded by anglers casting Mepps spinners at them was akin to the expression "like shooting fish in a barrel". It almost didn't seem sporting though some folks weren't catching any and some were catching enough (once you get your limit of 5 you are done). I think it would be great for kids but releasing fish on school day doesn't allow for many kids to participate.

Anyways, I don't mean to sound harsh because it serves a purpose though I doubt I'll ever do it again. I did catch and release my one rainbow trout but didn't bother taking a photo of it. I left shortly afterwards.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A new camera to capture fishing adventures

Seeing as my camera phone sucks and it would be difficult to explain to the wife that I ruined the family camera by dropping it in the water, I decided to look for a camera of my own.

I like Canon digital cameras and the ELPH series are small enough to carry easily in a shirt pocket so I looked at getting an older model off ebay. I figured I could get a quality used camera at a reasonable price. I settled on the 3 megapixel PowerShot S230 ELPH camera. A water-resitant or waterproof model would have been better but those seemed obviously a bit more expensive.

Anyways, the camera I decided to bid on was luckily being sold by someone in the next town so I contacted the seller who indicated I could pick it up rather than pay the $15 shipping cost since I was local. That gave me a $15 advantage over other bidders so I set my max bid at $80 and I won it later that day. I picked the camera up from the seller today.

Not a bad deal for a camera that 3 years ago sold for around $399. It came with two batteries, the charger, USB cables, manuals, and a 128MB CF card as well as a 32MB and a couple of 16MB CF cards that aren't all too useful.

I checked the camera and batteries out by snapping about 80 random photos around the house with the flash and it appeared to work fine. The 640x480 movie mode I took of the dog was pretty decent. This will be a bonus addition to catch those live action shots of fish burning drag, etc.

I'm pleased that my blog will now have better quality photos and possibly video and if I were to do something horrible to the camera, I'm not out $400. Cool.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Some post-Thanksgiving river fishing

After a month away from fishing freshwater, I contacted my friend preast to see if he wanted to join me on the San Gabriel river on Saturday morning to pursue some carp on the fly. He said he may be a little late.

The morning turned out to be beautiful. It was still and crisp but it was really foggy. It was so foggy I could barely make out the outline of the 18-wheeler that was parked across the two lanes of the road! I got around it safely though.

I got to the low water crossing around 8am and paddled upstream. It was a gorgeous morning on the water with the cool air, fog, calm water and the changing fall colors in the trees lining the river.

Fishing was slow, by the time preast showed around mid-morning, I had only caught two carp in the shallow limestone flats. So preast and I returned to a pool downstream where I have usually had better luck. preast indicated he never has much luck there. As it turned out, that would change.

I ended up catching one more carp at the pool and preast immediately hooked up with one that was mudding near him. He kept fishing and caught a couple more nice ones including the one he's holding in the photo here (sorry, but all I had was my camera phone which explains the low quality). I really need to ask for a better digital camera for Christmas that I can use for fishing trips.

So, we kept fishing and continued downstream with no additional luck and called it a day. We discussed getting together again in December to fish the Guadalupe river for rainbow trout which is a fish I have very little experience going after but enjoyed catching last year.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Moonlight on the bays

I went down to Corpus Christi this weekend to fish my cousin George once again. Originally the plans were to do an offshore trip but that didn't pan out as there was no scheduled trip out on Friday.

The first thoughts were to fish some bridge lights from the kayak but we ended up fishing with the sail line at Bird Island Basin since the winds were a fairly steady 20 knots from the East to Northeast. We only ended up with a few undersized trout and one keeper trout. We also ended up with two black drum and so we gave up around 2am.

On Saturday afternoon with took the kayaks out to Deadman's Hole. No sooner than we paddled out to the north in search of redfish and got to the deeper water did we stumble onto a large school of keeper to oversize redfish containing dozens and dozens of fish. The water was bronze with redfish. The only problem is they didn't care for any lure or fly we threw at them which was frustrating. According to my cousin, they were hunting by smell not sight. They saw my spoonfly alright since I saw them swim right underneath it. We did catch a few small trout but no reds that afternoon. We decided to come back with the sail line and some live shrimp for a night wade and see if our luck would change.

That night we came back to Deadman's with waders on since the water was a bit cool. The tide was rising fast and we could actually see the water slowly creeping up on shore. We set the sail line out and then after a while took the baitbucket with shrimp out for some wadefishing by moonlight.

The first thing I caught was a small stingray. George caught a small hardhead and I think I had one to but it came off. These are the downsides of live bait; they attract trash fish. George did manage a rat red but the big schools of keeper redfish we had run into that afternoon. Around 11pm we called it a night. The laguna was beautiful in the moonlight. Even without the fish, it had been a good night to be out and about.

This was an interesting trip since I actually got to use four forms of fishing: 1) fly casting 2) baitcasting with shrimp 3) sail lining and 4) baitcasting with artificial lures and none was particularly productive. Oh well, we'll nail them next time.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Tackle art

I was taking photos of my collection of rods and reels for insurance purposes and decided to create a new wallpaper for my computer from one of the photos. I basically haven't found any fly fishing tackle related wallpaper on the 'net that I've really liked so that's why I did my own.

I took a photo of an arrangment of rods and reels and then ran it through a great piece of open source software called GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) which is very similar to a commercial photo imaging software. I ran the image through an "Oilify" and "Canvas" filter to produce a look of a oil on canvas painting. I hope folks like it...

Edit: I redid the original 1600x1200 and cropped it to a 1280x1024 with a slightly higher oily and canvassy appearance to make it look less like a photo and more like a painting. Here is the new one:
Here is what a cubist painting of the above would possibly look like (used cubism filter along with canvas filter):

More carp fishing on the SG

Sunday morning I went to the same stretch of the river as the previous weekend targeting carp. There was a glowing report from a friend of mine regarding the same stretch of river that made me decide to go again. In his report for Saturday, he mentioned catching his first mirror carp which I didn't know were in the river amongst the common carp. Here is the mirror carp he caught.

So, with those images, I made plans to bring my Sage XP 691-4 6wt with the fighting butt and some new patterns to try.

To make a long story short, I did pretty good that morning with seven carp coming from the same pool above the rapids that I caught carp from the previous weekend. I also caught one more on the shallow "flats" just upriver from there.

All the fish fell for a fly created by a master tier in Tyler, Texas Jim Green called his "Texas Charlie" which is a variation of a Gotcha or Crazy Charlie tied with a chenille body. The carp seemed to prefer the reddish brown and orange variations probably because they likely resembled fleeing crawfish.

Here is a photo of one of Jim Green's creations (originally intended for redfish though) that was not destroyed by the carp.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Cool River Fishing

Due to the plenty of recent rains, I decided to try fishing the San Gabriel river east of Georgetown at the intersection of Highway 29 and CR100, a.k.a. Mankin's Crossing. The only thing was that a cold front came through and so the north wind was blowing 15-20mph and the morning temps started in the upper 40s so I set my expectations kind of low. Fishing a cold morning right after a front usually have not been too productive in the past. This was the first since the start of the year that I donned breathable waders and it was good thing I did.

I got to the low water crossing to launch my kayak at around 9am. The water was suprisingly slightly above average and clear with no signs of floating algae/scum anywhere. The water was moving well also.

I paddled upstream to before the first rapids and saw carp "puffs" (sediment stirred up by carp I was spooking) but other than that no brim or bass and I did see small baitfish and the occassional schools of juvenile carp.

Just as I was about 80 feet from the rapids something jumped onto the boulders and a log strewn across the rapids. It was an adult bobcat about the size of a medium-sized dog! First time I've ever seen a wild one. That was cool! He jumped to the other side of the bank and disappeared in the trees before I could snap a photo of it.

Looking around the section below the rapids looked somewhat different. There was evidence of flood waters that had receded and reshaped this section a little to where a new pool below the rapids existed and the sand bar moved downriver about 50 feet from where it used to be.

On the other side of the rapids the pool there also looked a little different and I could see plenty of carp roaming. Here the occassional wind could be felt in the more open area. I decided to stalk my first carp.

I ended upwith my first carp along a hump near the center of the pool. It gave some great runs and I was wishing that my 5wt had a fighting butt and a foregrip so I just loosened the drag a bit so I didn't put too much pressure on it. The fight lasted a good 10 to 15 minutes and I removed the fly from the carp's mouth without ever taking the fish from the water. The fish likely weighed about 5 pounds.

About 20 minutes later I hooked up with the second carp which was a bit smaller, likely around 3 1/2 or 4lbs, and also removed the hook without taking it out of the water. I then waded closer below a riffle that came to the pool that held several carp. I waded slowly and stood still and occassionally had carp school less than 3 feet from me before getting spooked. I wasn't able to hook any more from the pool so I headed upstream.

Upstream from the pool had the river turn and face right into the north wind so it felt colder and I was getting chapped from the wind constantly in my face. I found plenty of carp suspending in the current along the shoreline like rainbow trout waiting to pickoff morsels brought to them downstream by the current. I kept trying different flies and drifting it to them but they would just reposition and ignore me. After about 30 futile minutes and getting a headache from the cold wind, I headed back to the first pool.

I spooked several carp back at the pool but saw two that had not seen me that were right along the bank below a tree. I overshot my cast and the fly landed on the grass on the shore and was snagged a bit. When I pulled the fly and it plopped into the water, it got the attention of one of the carp and it inhaled the fly and carp #3 gave some good runs for about 10 minutes.

There were so many carp in the pool active, it really surprised me but I didn't get any further hookups except for a foul hooking of one on the back which I won't count.

I proceeded back below the rapids and found some carp below it so I cast into them. I think I almost foul hooked one because they all exploded and the fly flew back at me on the hookset.

On my way almost out, I saw a large carp below a tree to which I cast to and the fly sunk out of sight and so did the carp. I thought I spooked it but seconds later I felt the pressure of it and strip-striked and it exploded out of the water and broke my tippet right at the knot. Man! That carp was likely around 10lbs and would have been a real test on the 5wt.

BTW, the fly that caught all of the carp was a #10 Flashback Tri-Tail nymph in black with a gold beadhead that I got from an Orvis trout fly sampler. Since it was my only one, I need to learn how to tie one since it turned out to be a pretty productive carp fly.

I ended up leaving at 12:30pm feeling pretty good but I may likely bring the 6wt with the fighting butt next time if all I target is carp.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Post "cold" front fishing

Yesterday afternoon we had a cold front come through. It really didn't bring any arctic temperatures but it did bring some cooler weather. I was working from home all day and my wife said to head to the pond while the kids were at soccer pratice so I got to the pond about a half hour before sunset. Even though I was there for a short time (about 45 minutes), the brim were going nuts. They were simply attacking the #12 beadheaded olive hare's ear I was casting on my 4wt. It was a brim on almost every cast below a large willow tree.

Maybe this "cold" front has triggered something in the fish to start feeding for winter. I intend to fish the lake near my house for a couple of hours tomorrow morning to see how the bass and brim behave there.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Granite Shoals on a full moon

I went fishing with Preast last night at a cove in Granite Shoals about 6 mile west of Marble Falls. It's always a challenge finding the park where we launch.

The cove had about a dozen underwater green lights and the night had a slight breeze but not too bad. The full moon started rising pretty much after sunset. It was a nice night. The bugs were out in force around any light so when I turned on my headlamp to retie a fly, it had to be fairly quick or I'ld have bugs on my glasses.

Once the lights were on for a bit, we could see plenty of baitfish in the water yet not many larger fish. Eventually I found one of the lights had a couple of large carp sipping something off the top; maybe some of the bugs attracted to the lights. They refused my flies and spooked easily.

At that light I finally hooked a decent fish which I think had to have been a white bass, it came unhooked when I put too much pressure on it near the kayak.

Fishing was pretty slow. Not much fish swarming the lights or attacking the baitfish. The full moon lit up the water nicely though. Preast had about the same luck I did and caught a couple of bass that gave themselves away when they passed through the lights.

I found one light that seemed to generate most of my fish for the night and landed a medium size white bass, a couple of small largemouth and some really big bluegills. One of those bluegills was caught on a #2 zonker strip fly which was amazing. It had to have been larger than my hand at about 8 1/2" and fought impressively on the 6wt.

By about 10:30pm it didn't look like the action would pickup so we headed back to the putin and loaded up and left around 11pm. I was a great night to be fishing the lights though some more action would have been nice. I bet in the early spring the place is hopping with white bass so I'll be back then.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Baitfish flies

I really want to do some night fishin' next weekend since there will be a full moon out. I was thinking of what sort of new fly I should try so I tied up this variation of a Cactus Minnow similar to a Murdich Minnow using pearl cactus chenille, some white craft fur, super hair and silver and pearl krystal flash. I did two on TMC811S #4 hooks thinking they should work in saltwater as well. One with a blue back and this one with green. I'm going to post up on some of the fishing forums to see if any locals want to join me next weekend.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

SeaWorld Star

I took the family to SeaWorld San Antonio this Saturday since it was my youngest daughter's 6th birthday and that is what she wanted.

The park was relatively empty due to the season ending which was nice. Had a good time. I wish I could've packed a 4wt fly rod. The ski lake area by the Mango Joe's restraunt was crawling with huge monster sized voracious bluegills. They looked like pirahna.

Anways, I digress. We were about an hour early to the last Shamu show and the kids were goofing off in front when two park attendents came up and started talking to the wife. They asked if my youngest daughter would participate in the show! Cool! She said yes and they led us into the empty arena before the rest of the public.

Finally, it came time for her to take part and we were pretty nervous but she did really well. They gave her a necklace with a wooden carved shamu tail on it.

I don't think we could've planned a more memorable birthday for her.

Here she is with two of the trainers on the big screen

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Well, last week I decided to sell the Sage SLT 7wt 2-piece. It is a gorgeous rod but I like the 6wt and 8wt XPs more now so rather than let the rod sit in the closet, I sold it. I got just a bit more than I bought it for which was nice.

With the sale of the SLT this leaves me with four 4-piece XPs now. I hope I don't make any more rod purchases for a while. I will miss the simplicity of putting together a 2-piece (especially at night) but there are some advantages to a 4-piece that I think will make it better off (the ease of travelling with one for example) in the long run.

Maybe I'll purchase a 2wt or 3wt SLT one of these days when they end up being discontinued and I can fetch one at a discounted price.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Lake Travis sunday morning fishing

I went out to fish one of my favorite areas of Lake Travis around Arkansas Bend park for a couple of hours in the kayak with my 6wt. As I was paddling out of the shallow flat I putin at around 8:30am, I saw one very decent carp cruising in the clear water and then to my right I saw one of the biggest carp I've ever seen pass me. It had to have been at least 40 inches long! This carp would rival a bull red. It was huge!

This morning out was the first real fishing trial for the XP 691-4. First fly I tied was the yellow and orange #2 gurgler I tied the night before. I was easily able to cast that fly over 45ft. The XP generates amazing speed and even with my poor casting abilities I am able to get the fly an inch off the shoreline from a considerable distance when I concentrate enough.

The water was smooth as glass and so that gurgler just seemed a logical choice. Coming around one of the first points I put the gurgler to the test on a drop off and caught my first small bass. Very nice! The rod tip bends well and the backbone in the rod is amazing. I caught three more fish that morning and left around 10:30am as the temperature rose.

I truly like the XPs. I think the combination of backbone and soft tip. There is also a feeling that if I were a better caster I could really tap into the full performance of that rod. One thing I like today that even with some of my sloppy casts I never once produced a bad enough tailing loop that it caused a windknot in my leader. That may be a first for me.

Yesterday I played around with my new XP 486 and that little rod is a rocket. Same characteristics as the bigger brothers but smaller and leaner. Even the cork handle is smaller than that on the 5wt. I'm not sure I like that much but I will get used to it.

I hope we get a lot more rain so I can do some river fishing soon. I'ld like to catch a nice carp with the 6wt and see if it can tame one. I think it can.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Being that my first redfish was caught on a gurgler I decide to learn how to tie my own of this versatile, effective and easy to cast fly.

I chose to use large cactus chenille instead of the hackle for the body as some folks use. I like the flash and the water repellency of the cactus chenille. Here are my first three versions using yellow closed cell foam. The yellow is fairly easy to see at a distance (plus it's what I had at hand) and I just varied the cactus chenille and thread colors. I think I may try these on some largemouth bass in the morning to see if they are light enough to cast with my 6wt. I tied them on a #2 size Tiemco 811S hook so I can use them in saltwater as well. I would like to tie some mini-gurlers on #4 or #6 hooks but I need to get some thinner foam first.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Inventory turnover

Last week I put up for sale my VT2 6wt and Launch 4wt and 5wt and they sold (for a total of $490). The new owner of the VT2 has already received it and is thrilled with the rod. I'm happy he's happy and the new owner of the two Launch rods will be picking them up next week. I can't say I became attached to the 5wt and 6wt but I'm probably going to miss the little 4wt a bit...maybe. I'm waiting for the arrival of a new Sage XP 8' 6" 4wt rod I picked up for 40% off which will take the place of the Launch. I've been having fun with the 5wt XP recently but I expect that to be more of a lake rod while the 4wt will be my small lake and pond rod for small bass and brim.

So, with the turnover in the recent couple of months it looks as if I'm pretty much an XP man now (486-4, 590-4, 691-4, and 890-4). This also completes the conversion from 2 piece to 4 piece rods. Well, not completely...there's still the 2 piece 7wt SLT. I'm really torn with that rod. It is such a sweet rod but having the 691-4 and 890-4 now, I don't really expect I will get much use from it. I do believe I can recoup the $250 I bought it for easily or get more for it but it's such a gorgeous rod though. *sigh* I'll have to mull it over some more I guess. Maybe when I have to pay my property taxes in a month or two will I have that decision made for me. *sigh*

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fish, Eat, Sleep...Repeat!

I just got back this Sunday afternoon from spending almost three days in Corpus Christi for a few days fishing with my cousin. It's good to be back home.

I arrived in Corpus on Thursday afternoon. As soon as my cousin got home from work and we had dinner we prepared for some fishing that evening at a new spot my cousin indicated reds could be caught on the fly in abundance. No kayaks though since he said they could be caught from shore. I was determined to catch a redfish on my new XP 8wt on this trip.

First we stopped at the new Packery Channel. We noticed that there were lots of pinfish and perch dead onshore as if from a fishkill. We also found three reds in about a foot of water. I didn't have my fly rod then so I went back to the truck to get my rod and when I got back there was a woman in the water and she spooked two of the reds! My cousin had fortuntely caught the third one but it was an undersized red and was released. The fishkill made us think this wasn't a good place to be so we left so my cousin could show me a couple of spots for when I went solo fishing in the kayak the next morning. BTW, my cousin later reported the fish kill to the proper authorities.

We drove down the road to an entrance to a place called Deadman's Hole. We drove down the road trying to figure out a path close to the water and my cousin didn't switch his truck into 4wd mode and we got stuck in some clay mud. It was no use, we were stuck pretty bad. We ended up calling my cousin's wife to bring her jeep before sunset to tow us out which she did. In the process of trying to get us out, I accidently broke the tip off my cousin's spinning rod so no fishing that night and we went back to rest so I could head out early the next morning to Wilson's Cut and head to the back lakes of Shamrock Cove while my cousin was at work.

The next morning I left the house at 5am and with my handheld GPS, found the entrance to Wilson's Cut and in the darkness got everything ready by 6am to put in with kayak and fly rod and make the paddle out to Shamrock Cove. The wind this morning was picking up between 15 to 20 mph from the South to Southeast. I expected an easy paddle out but it was going to be a bear paddling back into the wind later in the morning.

I found someone fishing one of the lake entrances in a power boat and so I kept going and found a sandbar and tidal pool that looked to contain some tails. Large tails though they looked grey not red without a dot so I thought sharks or maybe big black drum but something didn't look right. Regardless, I beached on the sandbar and spent about 15 minutes casting to these tails until I hooked into whatever it was and it shot out like a bat out of hell! It put a serious bend in my 8wt and took my reel well into the backing. Eventually it tired and I was able to bring it closer and I could see splashing and realized it was a big stingray!

I went ahead and beached the ray and then purposely broke the leader since I wasn't getting anywhere near with it trashing it's tail around. I estimated the ray was around four feet wide.

I eventually left this spot and paddled into a nice shallow lake with a few tiny islands and mangroves. The water in there was clear and I could see open sand potholes amongst the grass that were ideal to cast into. I decided to switch to a gurgler topwater fly. I eventually found two tailing redfish amongst mere inches of grass and water and cast to them but my fly got blown behind them though one turned and started going after it and then it saw me and they spooked! Man!

I eventually went back to the first lake where the power boat had been and headed to a large mangrove area that had lots of baitfish in it. I cast to a spot between the shore and the grassline and got a monster hit from a redfish and took off directly along the shoreline and buried itself in grass and I eventually got it to my legs. It was about a 23" redfish! Success! I didn't have my net so when I started removing the grass from all around it's head so I could get a good grip on it it threw the hook and left. No matter, I had intentions of releasing it but didn't get a photo. Still, I was feeling really excited now.

I found another kayaker in the lake and spoke to him for a bit. He had caught one keeper trout and redfish on topwaters. It was almost 11am and so I started back through the lake trying to find an entrance back into the cut for the paddle back. I found a small grassy island with an oyster bed in front of it and stayed there for a bit. The sun was high so I could see fish much better and got a cast at a decent redfish that was at least 26". I saw the copper color of it strike my gurgler and miss. It's head came right out of the water! Cool! It charged my fly once more and then saw me and spooked. This was exciting and frustrating all at the same time. Sightfishing is a really exciting way to fish and it reminded me a lot of flyfishing for carp.

I then headed out around 12pm and it was a long tough paddle into the wind but I needed to rest for fishing that evening.

That evening we went out to Bird Island Basin on Padre Island for sail line fishing. It was a slow night and we had only one bite at midnight though it was 28" redfish. By 2am, we had one more 22" redfish and then we let the line stay out while we slept in the truck. At 5am on Saturday morning we checked the line and had a 29" redfish on it which we tagged. The fish was a striking red as opposed to copper color. By 6am we were packing up to head home. We ate breakfast, cleaned up and went to take another 2 hour nap and then got up around 11:30am to prepare for fishing the Shamrock Cove back lakes again.

My cousin hadn't been on his kayak or at Shamrock for a while though he has fished it a hundred times. The wind was still going a 18mph - 25mph. We fished it for about four hours and only caught two undersized reds and trout. The water was no more than a foot in most places. I did beach the kayak at a mangrove island that was a duck blind and found about four small reds on the opposite side in the tall grass that I inadvertently spooked.

We paddled back out and left and considered our options on the way home. We could try fishing the lights under one of the causeway bridges but the wind seemed to keep getting stronger and we were both pretty beat so we decided to take his wife out for dinner instead and clean the fish we had along with all our gear and so we did.

As always, my trip was an adventure (they always are). I learned several things and had a couple of first time events for me that I will always try and remember.

Here is a photo of the 29" redfish and also a photo of all three we caught that one night. As you can see, my fishing shirt is all puffed up. That's from the strong winds behind me. If you only knew how sore I was that first day of paddling several miles in the wind. I actually feel better today. Thank goodness for ibuprofen! :)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Two more for the quiver

I got a call back from my local fly shop, Sportsman's Finest, that they could offer a 25% discount on the XP. I told them that was good enough though I wish it had been a deeper discount. Still, seeing as I haven't really supported the only real fly shop in the area since last December when I purchased a Sage Launch from them, I was intent on giving them my business. BTW, the fly shop in Cabela's south of Austin doesn't count. They just aren't the same when it comes to a true fly shop.

I went down and picked up the Sage XP 691-4 I had cast and really loved. I asked if the same discount would apply to a XP 590-4. I already have a Sage Launch 590-4 but really wanted to pick up another XP since I was there so I cast it and there is something about those rods that just scream performance so I purchased it, too.

Now to sell the Sage VT2 and Sage Launch since I don't expect to be using them now and it will help offset the total cost I paid though I did save $300 so it wasn't all that bad.

I also got an email from my cousin asking me to come fish the coast with him the weekend of August 26 so you bet I will be taking both the XP 691-4 and 890-4. I hope to baptize at least one or both in the brine on some reds or trout!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Morning Star Lanyard

I often head to the the local ponds with my 4wt to catch the occassional brim and go pretty light and carry just the essentials. Usually it's a small fly box with a few choice flies, a line clipper and hemostat. I usually just stuff them in pockets but often times I wear a polo shirt so it means stuffing them in my jeans which is uncomfortable and I've lost at least three hemostats that way.

Enter a fly fishing lanyard from Morning Star Lanyards I bought a week or so ago. It's very well thought out in design and just what I need to carry those essentials in a convenient place...around my neck. The lanyard also has an alligator clip so I can attach it to my shirt so it doesn't move much. I hate anything pulling on my neck but the weight of the lanyard is neglible. You soon forget it's there except if you run and I don't run with a fly rod in hand. Besides the clip, there is a neoprene fly patch and a retractor which I use for holding the hemostats. I wish the rectractor line was also braided steel with a nylon covering like the lanyard itself rather than braided nylon which may added some additional service life to it. The pad at the top of the lanyard is very comfortable.

I really don't know why I didn't try one before but will certainly keep using it. It's great! I really want to see if the lanyard continues to be comfortable when sitting in the kayak with my PFD on. I think it will but will have to test it further.

The only negative about wearing this lanyard is that my wife refers to it as my "fly fishing necklace". I really hate that. :(

Second deer hair fly

OK, my first attempt at a deer hair fly was horrible. Here is my second attempt. A little bit better. I would have said a whole lot better but I think I set the eyes too far ahead and didn't pack more hair but at least it doesn't look as butchered as the first one.

Again, you can tell how fond I am of orange. I even put some orange cactus chenille under the flaired out deer hair near the hookbend for a little flash.

I have yet to test to see how the fly even behaves in the water.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Southern Fly Fisher

I was looking around for information on Sage's new replacement for the XP called the "Z-Axis" and ran across another blogger with a very nice blog containing the information about it plus a whole lot more. It was The Southern Fly Fisher and I'll be visiting it more often.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sage XP being discontinued?

There is a recent discussion in the Fly Anglers Online website's forum discussing that as of August 1, the Sage XP are being discontinued by Sage and dealers are starting to offer discounts of 25% to 40 % !

Now I wonder about that deal I got wasn't just one of those discounts on a discontinued model. The price I paid was exactly 40% off original price after all. It makes sense; there were a lot of XP s but then again there were also a lot of Xi2s. I also have noticed that the San Francisco fly shop Leland's is selling several new XPs on e-bay. Maybe there is some fact to this rumor.

But how can there be something better to replace the XP? Maybe it's time to call the local fly shop and see what I can pay for an XP 691-4.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another Borski Fly

Here's yet another photo of a Borski fly I've tied. This one is the Haystack but with my favorite shade of cactus chenille, orange.

First attempt spinning deer hair

I figured it was about time to try and create my first fly with spun deer hair so I chose another Borski fly, the Bonefish Slider which supposedly works on redfish as well.

Well, it was a messy 30 minutes to create my first spun deer hair fly and apperently I need more practice with it. I did learn that I need to pull harder, pack it tighter and don't over wrap. I also learned that I should buy a new razor instead of trying to use a recycled old dull one which should help speed out trimming which ended up being more like sawing this time.

Here is the fly. You can see some extra red thread showing through the head which kind looks like gills so maybe it'll pass for them though this is supposed to look like a shrimp and last I remember they don't have gills. Anyways, I also had trouble spinning the hair over the eyes without getting any in the hook eye which is why it's all thread instead.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Chernobyl Shrimp or Chernobyl Craw?

In an earlier entry I mentioned how I had tested out another Borski design called a Chernobyl Shrimp but in a freshwater lake and got a monster hit. I was thinking that maybe the fish thought the fly resembled a crawfish.

I tied a new variation of the same fly but with a larger hook (#2) and longer cactus chenille body in orange with root beer hackle collar and lighter weight eyes (5/32" nickel I-Balz) so I can hopefully cast it with my 7wt or maybe even 6wt. I still kept the tan craft hair tail as the original with purple bars added with permanent marker.

It's still basically a Chernobyl Shrimp and should still work in the salt but I'm pretty sure it will work in freshwater, too. Only one way to find out...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fishin' at the YMCA lake

I had to do some grocery shopping but took the 4wt and my younger two kids first to the nearby YMCA to fish their lake for a bit. I thought maybe spending 45 minutes at the Y would help me unwind and the kids would have some time with dad and mom some time for herself at home, too.

The kids wanted to play tether-ball first so we did and then walked down to the water. I found a spot beneath some cedar trees where I could see sandy spots were brim had been and proceeded catchin' bluegills, greenies and red-breasted sunfish on almost every cast. I was using a size #14 hare ear's n ymph in olive. The kids preferred to help me unhook each fish and return it to the water insead of casting. They were also busy with a couple of plastic cups catching tiny baitfish and releasing them.

I did end up catching one small bass at the end before my time was up. It seems like I caught and released at least 15 sunfish in those 30 minutes of fishin'. It was actually pretty nice.

First thing I did though when we got to the grocery store was take the kids to the restroom so they could wash the fish stink from their little hands. :)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Lake Travis is hot...literally!

I went yesterday morning for a few hours to fish Lake Travis around Arkansas Bend park in Lago Vista. With the level 25 feet below normal, the ramp there was finally closed. I drove around the point of the park in what is normally underwater and launched the kayak around 6:30am.

The water temperature is around 85 degrees which is probably still comfortable for some bass at night but they likely are suspending in 15 feet or deeper during the rest of the time. Too deep for my fly line.

Still, today was mostly to get a feel for the new XP. The XP cast very similar to the SLT but with a shorter stroke which was good in the kayak. I also got a good 5 to 10 feet more than the SLT on each cast. I had to get used to not overshooting a cast at targets. The XP cast a very bulky #2 Dave's Swimming Frog deer hair diver fairly well but it cast a #6 clouser minnow really well.

I caught one bluegill on the clouser all morning which was no match for the 8wt. :(

Around 9am, I decided to head back in but stopped at one point to test cast a saltwater fly I had tied with heavy chrome barbell eyes in a Chernobyl Shrimp pattern. It was tan with orange and brown. I cast it, but not very efficiently, to shore and as I was stripping it back, something hit it!

I was able to finally feel the backbone in the rod as I continued stripping and the fish seemed to dive. I got it about 10 feet from the kayak when the fish came unbuttoned. Since the fish never surfaced, I can't really say what it was. It could've been a freshwater drum, a carp or nice size bass. I was hoping it was a bass but I guess I won't ever know. One thing for sure, regardless that the fly was meant for saltwater, I surely will give it another try though I will likely tie another with slightly smaller eyes such as one with a 5/32 size hourglass brass eyes instead.

After blindcasting and paddling for about 4 hours, my arm didn't feel bad at all. I did order a Lamson Velocity 3.5 reel just for the XP. This will allow me to carry the 6wt with the current Lamson V3 when I want to cast different size flies without constantly re-tying. It should also give me some extra room on the spool for the WF8F line without removing backing.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Got my new Sage XP today!

I arrived to find a well packaged box containing a Sage tube with the Sage 890-4 XP and unfilled warranty card in it waiting for me! The rod looked absolutely new and in perfect condition! I was just thrilled it arrived in time to try it this weekend.

Now for first impressions. I put the rod together and it was incredibly light. Even though it states it weights 4 3/16 ounces, in the hand it feels lighter than the Sage VT2 6wt I bought not long ago which is around 3 3/8 ounces. It even seems to feel about as light as my Sage SLT 2-piece 7wt which is 3 3/4 ounces. Amazingly well balanced rod. I can see casting this rod all day without any fatigue.

I went ahead and put on my Lamson Velocity 3 reel with a spool of WF8F line and went out to lawn cast it. This rod loads easily and casts so easily and beautifully. It doesn't even feel like a fast action rod. You can cast out to 65 feet with ease! I bet if I get the casting stroke just smooth enough and produce a tighter loop, I can get the line out to 75 feet.

In addition, the XP may be a fast action rod but it does not feel stiff at all. My VT2 6wt seems stiffer in comparison. I wonder if it's the soft tip that makes it not feel as fast or stiff as folks seem to make it out.

Craftsmanship-wise, the XP is on par with the SLT. The cork is very nice as is the rest of the hardware. The wraps and epoxy are immaculate. The dark green color of the blank makes the rod appear black almost except when in direct sunlight when you can see the bands of green. All in all, a very attractive rod!

In summary, I can't wait to fish this rod! I expect it will have the same fish fighting feel as the SLT when a fish is on and should offer at least 10 feet or more in additional casting distance over the 7wt SLT. Man, I now wish most of my other rods were XPs! I consider this is an excellent buy for the $360!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

new sage xp

I told my wife today that I got lucky and immediately she knew it had to do with a fly rod purchase from ebay!

As I mentioned before, I was looking for an 8wt to replace the Scott SAS 8wt I sold a while back. I was considering an Xi2 and XP but found favor with the XP so that at least I could use it in freshwater for bass buggin' for largemouth as well as on the flats for reds and specks. I was concerned with the specialty of the Xi2 and I had sent a question to Sage about the XP to which they replied:

The XP is a fast action rod and the Xi2 is even faster. For current model, the VT2 will be faster than your SLT but not as fast as the XP. I believe the XP is the most versatile rod we produce. The XP is fast but sensitive, it fishes very well and delivers the fly in the most demanding conditions. The XP rods are the best selling rod family that we have ever had for a reason, and the beauty in them really lies in their versatility.

So with that, I felt better about my decision so I kept an eye for a good deal on one on ebay. Finally last weekend I saw several Sage rods with warrantees go on ebay from a seller and I placed the starting bid of $360 on a new 9' 8wt XP 4 piece which retails for $600 and was going to wait until tomorrow night when the auction was scheduled to close to see how I did. Interestingly enough the seller ended all his auctions early today and I won! Come to find out the seller is a fly shop/outfitter in New Hamsphire so I feel good about the purchase. I can't wait to get it and hopefully have a shot soon at fishing it at the coast!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

TCEQ San Gabriel report

I recently got a copy in the mail of the investigation report from a complaint I opened on June 12, 2006 with the Texas Commission om Environmental Quality because of the horrible smell and algae on a part of the San Gabriel river that I fished the weekend before that date.

Here is what the investigation comments said:

A complaint investigation was conducted on June 22, 2006. The complaint alleged that the San Gabriel River had excessive algae and odor below the dam at the San Gabriel Park in Georgetown. No odors or excessive algae were noted at the dam. Downstream from the dam no excessive algae or odors were noted. The City of Georgetown's San Gabriel Wastewater Treatment Plant discharges to the San Gabriel downstream of the dam and was inspected on February 23, 2006. The plant is compliant with it's permitted discharge limits and has reported no excursions since the inspection. There has been a significant rain of almost an inch since the complaint so the algae may have been washed downstream by the river flow. No violations were noted during this complaint investigation.

No Violations Associated to this Investigation
So, I gather that the rain flushed the section of the river enough to where nothing was noted. Oh well, I tried. This makes me think I shouldn't go fishing way downstream of there now. I was hoping to. *sigh*

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Gator trout photo revealed!

I was finally able to get a copy of a photo taken by a friend of my cousin's with a disposable camera back from a trip in March of this year. I had gone to Corpus Christi to fish with him near Bird Island Basin on the Upper Laguna Madre.

The photo shows me holding a 28" gator speckled trout we caught. I believe it was either the first or second trout we caught that evening just after sunset. We also caught some other keeper trout up to 24" that night but that 28" one made them all look small.

It was blowing around 25 knots the whole night until around midnight when heavy fog rolled in. The trout was caught on a sail line and at first I thought we had snagged a small shark until we got a good look at her. She was huge! Her mouth was so large that my cousin was able to stick his fist up to his forearm in that huge mustard colored mouth. We didn't weight her but we estimate she weighed between 7 and 8 lbs.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Fun with popper

After all my chores this weekend and with a full moon rising this evening, I went an hour and half before sun down to the pond for some perch-jerkin' with the 4wt. Not too much action but I was able to get some big hits on a #8 trim jim popper. I had a big swirl on it near sundown that maybe was a largemouth. On some successive casts though I let it sit and something sucked it down and the line started moving away and then I set the hook. I was hoping it was a small largemouth bass but ended up being a 8" bluegill! Cool! That made my evening.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Flashy Nymphs

Since I still haven't had an opportunity to fish, I've been tying some new creations for brim using braided krystal flash for bodies as an experiment. If nothing else they do look pretty! My kids also gave me some plastic beads from a necklace building kit and some of the beads are just the right size for these small hooks.

The nymphs pictured have lots of blue in them as well as peacock and ostrich herl. The larger fly is tied on a size 10 wet fly hook with a black metal beadhead and the two smaller ones on size 14 nymph/scud hooks.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Czech nymph

I haven't really had a chance to fish since the San Gabriel trip so I've been tying some new creations. Since the last trip yielded lots of brim on tiny flies I started looking at creating some new ones in size #12 or #14. I found instructions in a fly tying magazine on tying czech nymphs so I did some using pearl tinsel, mono line, some scud dubbing on size #14 nymph hooks. The end product looks really convincing and is easy to tie.

I spent about 40 minutes at a local pond before work this morning trying it out and caught brim on almost every cast! First cast caught one. It was cool! I have to remember to tie more of these little critters!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I love ebay!

I sold three fly reels today on ebay that I had lying around and got around $300 for them! On the average that's pretty close to what I paid for them altogether so I'm pretty happy! I've made some great buys on ebay like my Teton Teton #5 reel with spare spool that was new for $100, the Sage VT2, my Sage SLT (had the warranty card and was like new-in-tube for less than $260), and on and on.

Now, what to do with the proceeds ? I sold my Scott SAS 8wt last year (on ebay and made a slight profit over what I paid for it) and have yet to replace it. I'm really considering a Sage XP or Xi2 this time. I've seen good buys on new or lightly used ones with warranty cards on ebay for between $350 and $450 which beats paying $630 for one. It's either that or just buying a Sage VT2 8wt but I'ld really like the premium rods and with the extra cash in hand, I don't think my wife would be to opposed me paying an extra $100 or $150 out-of-pocket for one (or maybe she would).

The 8wt would be primarily for whenever I need to cast large/heavy flies, windy conditions on the lake or when I get the chance to go after redfish at the coast. But since I don't go to the coast every month, I'm not sure if the Xi2 is the way to go though I really want that rod!

Oh well, I guess I just have to go cast each of these three side-by-side and decide and then look for a good deal on ebay. Man! I love ebay!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Doctor visit

For the past three days I had some swelling and what appeared to be an infection in my large toe that likely was due to bacteria getting under the soft wet cuticle while I waded this past weekend so I went to see my doctor this morning. I explained the nasty water and he agreed it was likely as I explained and went ahead and drained the infection and prescribed antiobiotics to take care of it. I also told him I wanted a Tetanus booster since it had been a while since I had one just in case so they gave me one. Hopefully the infection will clear up quickly. I'll probably fish out of the kayak a bit more until the water conditions in the rivers improve.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Opened a water quality/spill report

After I mentioned the nasty conditions of a certain section of the San Gabriel river to some fellow fly fishers, one suggested I open a report with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). I went ahead and called the TCEQ hotline this morning and did just that. I explained as where the section that was foul was and what we encountered, e.g. areas of unpassable bright green floating algae, and they gave me a report number after I gave them all the details and my contact information. They told me they would turn it over to the regional arm of the TCEQ to investigate the water quality. I sure hope something good comes from it. I don't consider myself any more of a environmentalist than anyone else but something had to be done about it.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Adventures on the San Gabriel River

Yesterday I intended to fly fish a new section of the San Gabriel river on the north fork below the Georgetown Lake dam. I met up with my friend Andy at 7am and he had been there 30 minutes before me with no luck. We found no flow so he asked about other spots to try. I told him that the San Gabriel City Park put-in may have more of a flow and was near. So we went there.

The water seemed to be flowing so we waded. Right off, I noticed the water looked less clean than usually and there seemed to be more slime and silt on the bedrock. We caught a few bass and I caught a very nice Rio Grande Perch and we waded down to the first long pool before a small dam below a railroad bridge. On the way, I also ran across a 3ft long snapping turtle pictured here. I wouldn't want to step on one of those suckers in waist deep water!

Without kayaks the tidal pool would be kind of difficult to pass. Luckily, we saw one of the kids whose dad owns the property around there and got permission and where led over the railroad bridge and some paths to fish the other side.

The water was algae green and not like it usually looks plus there was a smell of sewage. We fished there for a while and caught several small bass and kept going past the small dam. The farther we went the worse the algae and scum got and the water smelled like a pig pen.

We spent close to 6 hours wading and while we caught fish, I was glad to go home and shower. I'm sure Andy went to sleep since he was really worn out.

This morning, I met up with another friend, Richard, at the original spot below Georgetown Lake and proceeded down the trail to a low water crossing. There was a decent pool above the crossing we tried first with no luck. The water though looked much better than where I was yesterday.

We then proceeded downstream and found a some pools with a couple of carp. Eventually, we determined that the brim wanted any fly in size #10 to #12. With a size #12 zug bug, I'ld catch one bluegill, red breast sunfish, green sunfish and rio grande perch after another on almost every cast. We probably caught at least 50 or more each. This was definitely a spot for my 4wt.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I like the VT2!

I'm starting to really like the faster action found in this rod. I didn't catch any big bluegills today but just a few dink bass but the rod performed very well. I discussed with a friend of mine going Saturday morning to wade fish the San Gabriel river. Of course I intend to take the VT2 along!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Early VT2 trial tomorrow!

I had lunch in the office then went to a nearby park that has a small lake and retention pond for a walk. The lake is where I caught my biggest bass and I've seen some big bass around 5lbs in the pond though I've only caught up to a 2lber.

The water in the main lake was algae green. Such a shame. Since the owners of the lake (a local church) started building next to it, it seems the water quality has suffered.

The pond on the other hand looked fairly clearer than usual and that let me see lots of HUGE bluegills protecting nests! I also saw some bass cruising like sharks amongst the nests.

So, I think I will stop by the pond early tomorrow morning before work to see how they attack a fly. If they take it eagerly, I will be back on Saturday morning with my kayak since with all the trees surrounding the pond, it is difficult to cast from shore to some of the choice spots plus I'll be able to approach the 'gills and bass more quietly.

Yet Another Sage Fly Rod

I purchased a 4-piece 9 foot 6wt Sage VT2 off ebay last week and got it yesterday. I paid half-price for it and it was new. It still had a plastic ring to hold a price tag on the stripping guide sans the price tag. The cork still had what I call "cork dust" on it indicating it was unfished. The only thing was it didn't come with a warranty card or the case. I have a case already and I can live without a warranty though it would've been nice.

OK, now for a short first impression of the rod. Even though it says it weighs in at 3 3/8 ounces, it feels heavier. It feels heavier than my 2-piece Sage 7wt SLT (this rod is smooth as butter) which supposedly is 3 3/4 ounces and my 4-piece Sage 5wt Launch which is 3 1/2 ounces. Both these latter rods are medium-fast action rods though they have plenty of backbone. The VT2 definitely has some backbone and is stiffer. I expect it feels heavier due to the faster tip which may be where it has additional weight compared to the other rods even though overall it's supposedly lighter. I have to say though that the color of this rod is very nice. It has similar qualities to the Launch in that the color changes slightly depending on the light and perspective. Head on it looks a deep blue but sometimes it looks like an aqua or blue-green color.

OK, so how does it cast? It's pretty accurate and easy enough to cast even though it's slightly stiffer than the other two mentioned rods I own. It loads well and allows less false casting before shooting the line out to 60ft without much trouble. It casts a 6wt and 7wt WF line easily enough. It also roll casts well.

I still like my SLT 7wt more but I think I'll get used to the VT2 and expect to sell the Lamson Radius I have on it and put the Lamson Velocity 3 I have on the 7wt since it seems to balance better and replace the Velocity with a Ross Rhythm 3.5 that has slightly more backing capacity.

I'm going to try and fish with the new rod this weekend for bass (and maybe carp) and see how it does.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pond stress relief

Work this week has been a bit stressful so I left earlier than usual from home to head to a neighborhood pond with my 4wt for a 45 minute stress relief session before heading into work. Fishing was slower than usual but this big Green Sunfish hit my dry fly like a freight train which was cool. These fish are ultra aggressive for their size. I didn't have my digital camera, just the one in my phone which is why it's such a low quality photo.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Yarborough Pass Report (5/20/06)

I went down to Corpus Friday afternoon to fish with my cousin. We set out for Yarborough Pass which is located about 15 miles south of PINS entrance. I took the kayak down to Corpus but left it at his house since the winds were a good 20 to 25 knots and there was little doubt it was going to let up. I took the 7wt fly rod and a casting rod but never pulled the fly rod out unfortunetly.

We got to the pass entrance and checked it out before going full throttle through it to avoid getting stuck in the sand. Good thing we checked because there was a horse trailer stuck in the pass. It had a small Jon boat in it along with two 55 gallon drums loaded up with water! It was being pulled by a duelly diesel dodge ram but the hitch was too high. Eventually they were digging it out with shovels and winching it. After about an hour and a half they finally got it out so we went through. My cousin's Z71 4x4 went through the pass without a problem.

We made a hasty camp in order to set out a sail line for the evening. We got out there just as it was getting dark. We ended up with four trout from 19" to 26" and one nice black drum. The fish were caught on soft plastic eels at the dropoff past the grass line. A friend of my cousin's ended up with several larger trout up to 28" and one slot red.

It was pretty much a slow night. By 11pm the bite seemed to have really ended though my cousin's friend ended up with another nice trout around 24" after midnight.

The next day we pretty much grilled meat, swapped lies and had a good time. There were some ranchers with a large camp there with several teenage boys and small boys that were fishing and running around all day. We did a little wade fishin on the flats for a while with topwaters but no luck. Most of the fishing parties there fished for hours with a couple of reds to show for it.

We were particularly impressed with a 9 or 10 year-old cowboy kid that never stopped. That kid was a hardcore fisherman. He finally hooked a good red as we watched. That was pretty cool.

That evening we ended up catching a couple of more fish. I caught a nice keeper black drum on a clear soft plastic minnow with blue flecks that I had found on the shore! Want not waste not.

We left around 2am Sunday morning. It was not the most productive trip but it was still lots of fun. The flats had clear water with lots of grass. There were some spots though loaded with rays so it required an eye out for them.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Borski Haystack

In preparation for Yarborough Pass this weekend, I tied a new fly pattern based on Borski's Haystack pattern. I chose this one because I've liked the action of rabbit fur strips lately so I wanted to try something similar for the salt. I think the fly came out really well for my first one and it was relatively easy to tie. I did forget the weedguard which I am going to retrofit before I leave. I tied it in black & purple because I probably will be using it in low light conditions in the early morning.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

If I had a Barbie fishing rod

Yesterday, we went to Academy's Sports & Outdoors store to get my 8 year old son a youth compound bow (and a quiver with arrows) and my 5 year old daughter asked for a Barbie fishing rod to replace the hand-me-down Scooby Doo rod from my son. We've been practicing casts all day. You know, I own lots of high end tackle (conventional and fly) but to see how happy that $10 rod made her and the accomplishments of casting 30 ft where she wanted it to go was pricessless. Next task is to get her catching lots of brim at the pond. If your wondering why she's got a jacket on, no it's not cold. We started getting light rain and that did not deter her, she went inside and grabbed a coat and came back out to keep casting. She obviously has her daddy's attitude! :D

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Still my biggest bass

The end of this month will mark three years since I caught my largest largemouth bass to date. She weighed 8.1 pounds and was 24" long. I caught and released her at the small quarry lake I was fishing. I had caught a small male a few minutes before and it had torn up my last plastic worm (yes, I was using conventional tackle) and so I switched to a watermelon green color plastic lizard bait that I rigged Texas-rigged style. I cast it out and felt a hit and set the hook. Next thing I know, this humongous bass leaps out of the water! It did that three times with it's tail slapping the water but luckily I was able to bring her to the kayak. I was also lucky in that I had my digital scale and a disposable camera with me. So I took her measurements, took a couple of photos and let her go. I never saw her again. I've caught several four and six pound bass but nothing close or larger than that eight pounder. Hopefully, I'll get a double-digit bass one of these days.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Two weeks 'til Yarborough Pass

Looks like I'll get a chance to head back to the Texas coast in a couple of weeks. I talked with my cousin from Corpus Christi and he's planning a fish-a-thon at Yarborough Pass. Cool! YP is located about 15 miles south of Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi. I finally get a chance to satisfy a salt fix. The last time I fished saltwater was in March (that trip yield a 28" gator speckled trout but that's another story to tell once I get a copy of a photo of the trout). YP is in a fairly remote location that needs a 4x4 vehicle to get you there but once you get there there are some prime flats on the Laguna Madre side to catch redfish and speckled trout. I'm pretty excited about this. Hopefully, I'll get to catch my first slot red for the year that weekend!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bonker Zonker

Since the majority of my fishing occurs in Central Texas in freshwater lakes and rivers, my favored target is largemouth bass and so I'm always in search of that one fly that will always entice them to bite plus catch quality size bass. I think I have come close with that after having discovered the Bonker Zonker. It's simply a rabbit fur strip with some pearl cactus chenille. So far the bass seem to really like this fly. Since I prefer sub-surface flies, this seems to be a good one in that it has so much action plus it's weighted enough to sink as fast as I need to such as when fishing the lake though I can strip it quicker, like most streamers, if need be when river fishing. I'll likely take a couple of these to try in saltwater. I expect they will be liked just as much by speckled trout as by bass.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Catchin' these little fish is fun!

I had a blast with my Sage 4wt fly rod catching greenies and redbreast sunfish after recent thunderstorms added more water to the local pond. All these little guys plus the small bass were hanging out at the intake to the pond for whatever comes down the pipe...including my flies. ;-) I really enjoy catching large redfish, speckled trout, largemouth bass, and carp when I can but brim (what we call them in Texas; other folks might say call them bluegill) can be just as fun on ultra-light tackle when they're biting...and they were biting. :D