Sunday, January 11, 2009

No Monster Fish but a few Monster Trucks

I didn't get any fishing in this weekend. My brother-in-law had invited my son and I to go with him, his brother and my nephew to San Antonio to go see the Monster Jam at the Alamodome on Saturday afternoon. This was our first experience at a monster truck rally.

We left around 3pm and got to the Alamodome just before 5:30pm when the gates opened for the 7pm show. The parking lots were full already and we were able to find a parking spot near a Mexican restaurant where they charged us $20 to park! No matter, it was relatively close to the Alamodome and it looked like it would give us better chance to get out of the area sooner than had we parked at the Alamodome.

After a short walk we found some of the trucks parked outside the south entrance and snapped a few photos. We then went in to look for our seats and get something to eat. The Alamodome is quite nice and the seats we had on the second level were quite good. My brother-in-law got my nephew a Monster Jam 2009 shirt and a "Grave Digger" cap.

The actual show was somewhat mixed. The first part of it were races which were somewhat boring. Just after intermission, they had these jet powered cycles come out that were really cool. They were also extremely loud but we had all brought along ear protection so the only way I could tell was by the folks around us all cupping their hands on their ears. When the riders turned the after burner flame on, you could feel the heat even up where we were.

The second part of the show was the really fun part with the freestyle competition where the trucks run the obstacle course jumping over cars and ramps. They had a couple of old buses that were a challenge to some trucks but the better drivers were able to handle it easily which the crowd loved. The "Grave Digger" truck flew over one bus and landed square on the roof of the other bus collapsing the entire roof and everyone went nuts! It was great!

After the show, it took us a while to get out of the area and we finally got home around 1am in the morning. Can you believe that seats for the 2010 Monster Jam go on sale today at 6pm?! Folks really like these shows. One piece of advice if you ever go and sit at the bottom level close to the arena, "Wear good ear protection". Those trucks and jet engines can get pretty loud.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Second casting lesson

Yesterday afternoon I took my padawan learner to a small pond to get some additional practice casting with his fly rod. This time, we tied on a leader and fly so we could also work on retrieve techniques.

Among learning how to retrieve a fly, we also worked on picking up the line from the water. We also covered the haul as we did this to increase loading the rod for a forward cast. In addition, I showed him how to use his index finger and thumb on his line hand to create a "guide" for the line to shoot through.

All in all, there was a lot of information provided and I let him soak it in and practice his casts into the water. He did quite well. The lessons will continue...

Commitment Issues

This morning I fished Barton Creek right off Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. The creek is spring fed and so is warmer than the main lake. I was hoping the warmer water in the creek would attract bass in from the main lake. This, as it turned out, would be the only hope I had that would come true.

Paddling along the creek was like paddling in a swimming pool. The water was gin clear. I could see down to nine feet deep quite easily. This, I think, was partially to blame for the difficult fishing.

First of all, between the pedestrian bridge and the street bridge that crossed over the creek, I found that the creek was absolutely loaded with bass. Most of them were in the 2 to 3 pound range but there were plenty there that were 4, 5, 6 pounds or bigger. I had never seen such a concentration of healthy bass in one small area before. I have also never had a school of bass in this size all follow my fly in such large numbers. I would have 5 to 8 bass at a time trail my fly. This is where the good news ended.

No matter which fly or which type of retrieve (slow, jigging, burning, start & stop, etc.) I tried, I could not get them to eat it. They would follow it until the leader itself passed trough my tip guide and then they would thumb their nose at me and swim off. Very frustrating!

I had folks on the bridge or the running trail yell things at me like, "Hey buddy! There's a huge fish right behind you!" and I would reply, "Yeah, thanks.". After three frustrating hours without a single bite, I decided I had had enough of these bass with commitment issues. I told them to all see a shrink and let me know when they were over their inadequacies so I could catch them all. I won't hold my breath.