Sunday, January 27, 2008

Fishing in a swimming pool

This morning I went down to Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin to look for some largemouth bass. I decided since the water would be warmest coming out of Barton Springs I paddled into Barton Creek.

First thing I noticed was that even though the water was crystal clear it was also lower than I remembered. This might be due to less water being released upstream since the drawndown of Lake Austin upstream is probably complete.

I ran into another kayak angler that indicated there were fish in the creek yet with the water clarity he was having difficulty enticing them. I paddled past him and sure enough found lots of bass. Some of them looked to be in the four pound range if not slightly larger but they seemed to not be interested in anything I threw. Actually, that isn't entirely true, I threw a Gurgler topwater fly and had one small bass try to take it but I was to quick on the hookset this time.

I stayed there for about two hours then decided to throw in the towel. So many bass but all of them were wise to me in such clear, shallow water. I also saw one huge carp and what looked like shad but they were about 10 inches long.

I hope next weekend I can fish Lake Travis at night and see if any white bass show up.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I gotta work on my hookset

I left mid-morning today to fish the San Gabriel river. Most of this week had been cold and drizzly and today was turning out to be a nice day with highs expected in the 60s.

The intention of this outing was to catch some carp on the fly. The water was cold but I did find lots of carp along the shoreline of a large pool that looked to be feeding. I had three takes and couldn't get a good hookset. Maybe the month away from the fly rod was to blame. My casts were also horrible. Still, I was finally able to get a good hookset on a carp, fought him for a bit and my leader broke at the knot to the fly. Sheesh!

I traveled up to the shallow flats and stood there for a bit until the carp got comfortable and did a few drifts with one pick up and again I screwed up the hookset!

Eventually, I headed back out and paddled the pool with the kayak to sneak up on a whole school of carp feeding and dropped my fly in front of them and got a solid hookup! Once I got the carp on the reel and tightened up drag it took me for a sleigh ride around the pool. After he gave up and I released him, I paddled back and left.

I didn't take my camera today due to the fact that the battery was dead. I wanted to do some night fishing tonight but am too tired. Instead, I'm going to rest up and fish for bass tomorrow on Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A new blade by my side

About two months ago, I purchased a new knife from It is model based on design improvements done by survival expert Doug Ritter to the standard Benchmade Griptilian which I have a couple of. I am a big fan of the mini griptilian and found Doug's blade geometry, high flat ground blade and S30V steel choice to be worth the try. So far I have been very, very pleased with the choice I made and have carried the knife almost daily. The model is the Mini RSK Mk1 and is sold exclusively through which donates some of the proceeds to support the non-profit Equipped To Survive Foundation which seems like a good thing.

Lately, I have been considering a new choice for a fixed blade knife to take along with me while fishing and camping. I've considered the Benchmade Nimravus (too tactical), Ontario RAT-5 (too tactical), Striders (way too expensive and again too tactical) and a few other production choices. I then realized that Doug Ritter created a great medium sized fixed blade based on the same blade geometry of the Mk1 that would be an ideal choice. It has a blade length of 4.5" which is just enough for my needs. So as soon as I gather the funds, I will be back to to order one. I just wish the Mk3 came with yellow or orange G-10 handles but alas it doesn't yet.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Year of the Fish

This February is supposed start the "Year of the Rat" according to the Chinese Zodiac. After returning from a successful two day trip to Corpus Christi, I think this should be the "Year of the Fish". Of course, there is no fish in the Chinese Zodiac (but there should be).

The first day I arrived we set out in the afternoon to fish a spot in the Laguna Madre near the JFK causeway but did not end up with anything so we got ready to fish the evening at Bird Island Basin with the sail line. That night was cold and having only caught two slot redfish and having lost the wind we turned in at 10pm to rest and set out the next morning in the boat.

The next morning we loaded the boat and went to several spots trying to catch trout or reds with live shrimp but we couldn't even lose the bait. We didn't see any fish in the clear water on that clear bluebird day. The water also felt cold. Things were supposed to change along with the wind direction that night so we went back to Bird Island Basin later that afternoon.

This time we got there early around 4pm and set the sail line out with a decent south easterly wind and the water seemed to have warmed up as well. We could see plenty of bait fish in the shallows and as the sail line went out just past the drop off and within minutes had fish on. We made four runs that evening until midnight and each one contained fish. All in all we ended up with eight trout of which two were a very healthy 25 inches and several in the 17 and 19 inch length. We also ended the night with 8 very nice black drum. The 100 quart ice chest was stacked with fish.

That night there were also two older gentlemen that had set out a sail line and caught a whopping 32 inch trout! They released it but very likely the odds are it won't survive. It would have been best to have kept it.

After arriving home to Austin I prepared the grill and broiled the fresh redfish on the half shell (fillets with the skin on) prepared with lime juice, salt, pepper, garlic and some chili pepper. It was very good!