Sunday, June 24, 2007

A couple of hours at the range

I finally got to go with brother-in-law to the pistol range and fire my new Springfield Armory XD-40. I put about 250 rounds through it and think it's a great pistol. My brother-in-law liked it as well and thought it was very smooth overall. He also liked the additional features such as the visual and tactile indicators indicating when it is cocked and chambered. He also liked the stainless steel high capacity magazines.

I compared it to my brother-in-law's Glock 27 and while I do like the accuracy of his Glock, they are fairly comparable at 10 yards though my XD-40 is a bit larger since his Glock is a sub-compact. I took along different rounds and got some good groupings and results from the Winchester USA 180gr JHP bullets. We'll probably go back out to the range to put another 300 rounds though the XD and break it in further. I'm pretty pleased with this pistol.

When we went to his home to clean the pistols afterwards, the XD-40 was very easy to disassemble, clean and re-assemble. My brother-in-law had a little bit of trouble in disassembling the Glock.

Fixin' to get a salt fix

I talked to my cousin on Friday and it's time to get salty again. I'll be heading to the coast this week for three or four days and hope to get into some reds and trout. My cousin mentioned taking his boat down to Baffin and fishing there and then possibly camping out at the Mansfield Cut. I'll have a full report when I return. I will take my 8wt an 6wt XP fly rods along with my favorite Kistler Helium med-light casting rod.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Finally hit the lake

These past few weekends have been spent working on the house with projects such as replacing the carpet in the bedrooms with laminate wood flooring and cleaning out the storage shed out back which has meant no fishing...until this weekend.

I took care of mowing the yard during the week since the days are now longer so that I would have the weekend free. I took out the kayak yesterday and cleaned off the cobwebs and drained water it held inside from all the rain we've been having lately.

Speaking of the rain, I was eager to see what the lake looked like since all reports indicated that due to all that rain, the lake was now 102% of full pool. They were finally releasing water from the dam downstream to maintain pool level. Back in a December post I mentioned that Lake Travis was 37 feet below pool level and after that post before the rains really started in March it had dropped to around 40 feet below full.

The days lately have been warm and muggy with temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s making it feel much warmer so I decided I would do my fishing at night. I got all my gear together and went to bed at 9pm on Friday and set the alarm for 2:30am.

Well, 2:30am came around and I just couldn't get up! So I reset it for 4am. I did get up later, had breakfast and headed to the lake and was in the water by 5:30am. The water level was right up to the top of the ramp! I launched and headed to the boat slip I wanted to fish since it was usually surrounded by lots of bright lights. Denied! The lights were not on so I had to find something before sunrise. I found one set of green lights with baitfish and some predators and had one hookup with my black Bonker Zonker fly but it came unhooked a few seconds later. I had a couple of other short strikes but didn't land anything by the time sunrise came around 6:30am so I moved on.

I again got a strike but no hookup near a swimming platform. I saw some splashing around me but some of those spashes were from carp and some appeared to be from bass pushing baitfish to the surface. I noticed one splash on the opposite shore and I headed directly to it and cast in the same spot.

I was stripping the fly back to me when the line got heavy about 8 feet from shore and then it dove! Fish on! It was pulling very nicely and when I got it up near the surface I saw it was a nice bass! I played the fish and I'd almost forgotten what a nice fight a keeper size bass puts up on the 5wt especially when it wants to dive into deeper water! I think I've been fishing for brim on the 2wt for too long.

I landed the fish and it was a nice, healthy 15" largemouth. I released the fish and kept paddling around the back of the cove. Sections of this cove were high and dry not long ago. I explored some of the area and fished it with several more bites but no other fish landed.

I decided to head back just before 8am as it was starting to get pretty warm and muggy with light winds. As I was walking up to my truck after leaving my kayak at the ramp, I saw a rather large spider strolling across the road. Since I figured last night I was going to be night fishing, I didn't bring the camera with me. I got really close and it looked like a Texas Brown Tarantula but it could have been some other kind of tarantula. I found a photo that best looks like the spider I saw on wikipedia which I have linked to this post. It was a beautiful tarantula. It was heading for my truck and since I didn't want to accidentally run over it, I gently redirected it with my shoe. Boy, can those tarantulas move fast when they want to! It scurried for the wooded area on the other side of the road and it was gone.

Even though I didn't land a bunch of bass, it was great being on the lake again and catching a nice fighting LMB as well as seeing the lake back to full level again. I also enjoyed seeing the wildlife. Besides the tarantula, I spotted a Jackrabbit and diamondback water snake as well as some herons. I'll hopefully be out on the lake a few more times this summer.