Saturday, August 25, 2007

Paddling up the ol' San Gabriel river

I love having a kayak. It is the ideal pack-up-and-go watercraft for river fishing. Last night, I told my wife I was going to try the San Gabriel again and see if it was more fishable than the previous time I tried a month or so ago.

I headed out to Mankin's Crossing outside of Georgetown around 7:30am and was in the water paddling against the upstream current by 8am. It wasn't too difficult and while I was glad there was no wind to make me work harder, it was pretty warm already since this is, after all, August and it is Texas.

My first obstacle to get to my first carp hole was a set of rapids that are normally walkable but this time they were really roaring. I had to try a couple times to follow between the inner seam of the two sides of the rapids so I could land in a patch of dirt then walk up through it without getting in the heavy stuff. I took a short video clip of it with my camera so you could get a feel for the rush of water but the video is no comparison to the real thing.

Once I got past this section I paddled across the pool I normally find carp in and beached the kayak and did some wet wading in knee deep water. Did I mention the water was cold? It was cold at first but refreshing after getting hot from paddling against the current. I found a few carp but spooked them with my misplaced casts.

I then moved upstream a bit to some limestone humps sticking out of the river through which rapids and chutes were and found a cool "wave" caused by a sudden drop then rise in a chute. It was so cool, it must have been three feet high and you could see clearly though it and the swirling bubbles within.

I did find some mudding carp and had one pick up my fly but it quickly spit it out as I tried to set the hook.

I also saw about six people paddling kayaks down the river. They probably putin at San Gabriel City Park upstream earlier in the morning. I bet it was a fun float though I can't see being in my kayak without a fishing rod.

I noticed there were lots of dragonflies and damsel flies around. They kept landing on my fly rod which I hear is good luck. I found a stone that had what looked like emerging damsel flies and nymphs on it so I took a photo of them. I had some of my carp flies with me but the damsel nymphs were in a different fly box.

I also noticed the water was full of spotted gar. I was able to hook one of about 19" but it jumped and broke my line. It's always iffy taking the fly out of their toothy mouths anyway.

I started my way back downstream which was way easier than paddling upstream and stopped at the first carp hole to try my luck before heading out. Within a few minutes I spotted a mudding carp and dropped my crawfish fly about 6 inches from the side of its head. I let it fall to the bottom and then twitched and it went for it. Fish on!

The carp fought well although it was likely only 3 or 4 pounds. After about 5 minutes I brought it to hand and released it and headed back to the putin which again was much easier than the paddle upstream.

All in all, it was a memorable trip even though there were not a lot of fish caught. I hope to get back on the SG later when the temperature starts dropping just a bit and see how it looks then.


Jorge said...

Nice blog !!

Bye from Spain !

texasflyfisher said...

Muchas gracias Jorge! Encontre tu blog y tambien es impresionante!

Carl said...

Interesting post. We have kayaked down it recently. Rocks are a problem in places, but fun otherwise. Will be doing some fishing later today.