Saturday, December 30, 2006
Following this post I saw on GitBitFishing.com 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.