Saturday, February 24, 2007

Had Better Days

This morning my wife wanted me out of the house and told me to go fishing before the wind picked up. By the time I got to the lake, the gusts were over 26mph. I spent 15 minutes there and went home to pickup my waders to fish the San Gabriel instead.

Sometimes, things just don't go your way. I put in and the water was higher with a higher flow than usual and as I paddled upriver, gusts of wind would hit me and it was real work making any headway.

I made it to the rapids and pulled the yak through it to the large pool I usually find carp but the wind on the surface made it difficult to see them. There was also a lot of floating silt or maybe tiny bits of algae that also inhibited sight casting. I stayed there for a while and then decided to head upriver to the flats.

At the flats I did find a depression holding carp and eventually hooked one on a nymph but he spit it out. The flats are nothing but shallow water running over smooth limestone bottom. I was having difficulty keeping my footing as there was about an 1/8" of silty algae on the limestone. Even with my felt bottom it was still slippery because it wasn't getting through the algae to the rock underneath. In places where it was thickest, it was like walking on ice. I ended up slipping and falling flat on my back. Water entered my waders through my back. Crap!

Something told me I should go home but I stuck it out and let the winds dry out my sleeves and shirt. I ended up paddling up a bit and found lots of carp but the winds made it difficult to stay in one spot. I stepped out of the kayak and tethered it to my wading belt. The winds kept moving my kayak around. There were times when carp would get into casting range and then my kayak would swing around and spook them. Doh!

I paddled up further and tethered my kayak to my belt again and then a big gust pulled the rope from my belt and there goes my kayak floating downriver! I tried to follow it but I kept slipping on the slime. I fell in the water again and hit my elbow on the rock floor. Ouch!

After what seemed like half an hour, I finally made it to my yak that had luckily floated to a very shallow section. I kept fishing for a while longer, lost some more flies and didn't catch anything. I ended up going home wet and frustrated.

There is a saying, "A bad day fishing beats a good day at work". You know, I really question that saying right now. I hope the Alleve I took will last through the night.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Fully stocked fly box

I was finally able to get some fishing in this weekend. I took along one fly box with me containing streamers, most of which I tied on the cold weekends while not fishing. The box contains some new minnow patterns I tied that I want to prove on some white bass sometime this month.

I also finally finished filling my brim/carp fly box yesterday after tying a half-dozen Skip's Dads crayfish flies which I intend mostly for carp along with some damsel nymphs. As you can see from the photo, I really like beadhead nymph flies. I find I get many more strikes from subsurface flies and the beadhead hare's ear type nymphs do catch fish.

At some point, I may want to learn how to tie stimulator dry flies with elk hair for when the fish are hitting bugs on top but it will have to be when I have more space in this box.

Town Lake

The morning was beautiful and the temperatures were supposed to reach the mid 60s with mostly clear skies.

So, I headed to Town Lake with my kayak around mid-morning and put in at the drainage ditch near Austin High. Just before I got my kayak in the water I talked a bit with a kayak angler who fishes the lake almost every day since he retired. I also found a paddle on the grass and it didn't belong to the gentleman I was talking to so I left it on the bumper of my truck and am going to post a lost+found on the kayak forums.

I paddled into the mouth of Barton Creek and fished it for the first two hours and got no hits at all. I did see some fish in the clear water but it's possible that some were among the underwater grass. I paddled all the way to the back of the creek trying to get a bite. I turned around and had a beautiful swan following me, possibly hoping for a handout from me but I had none.

I finally paddled back out and around 1pm at last found a small school of bass in between the grassline and trees on shore. I found that when the minnow fly was stripped at a very fast pace they would chase it and commit to eat it. I was then able to rapidly catch around a dozen bass though they ranged from 10 to 13 inches but at least I got into some action.