Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cheap Trick at SXSW

I am a product of 80s music for the most part. While Hendrix is probably the only exception, I was a teen during the 80s so the music of that period is some of my favorite. During the 80s, I went to many Spring Break concerts on the beaches of South Padre Island. I saw Steve Ray Vaughn a couple of times as well as a lot of the popular bands of the day and one of my most memorable was the one with Cheap Trick. I thought Cheap Trick was such a cool band. I went out and bought the "At Budokan" live album and really liked it. I have a "best of" CD somewhere that I have played for the kids a few times. All my kids know "I Want You to Want Me" and "Surrender".

Yesterday evening, I went with my wife and family downtown to Austin's Auditorium Shores for a free concert for the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival headlined by no other than Cheap Trick. Lots of freaky looking folks around but once Cheap Trick took the stage at 8pm, all was forgotten and we enjoyed the music until about 10pm. It was like 1986 all over again. Cool.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Milton Reimers Ranch Park

This morning my wife informed me that my son had a tennis lesson and my youngest daughter had a birthday party to go to and suggested I got fishing. I had taken vacation this week to get some things done along with doing things with the family such as when we went to the Star of Texas Rodeo yesterday. I decided to go to a place I haven't been to in years; Milton Reimer's Ranch Park near Dripping Springs.

Reimer's was acquired by Travis County in 2006 from the original owner as part of the county park system. It offers bike trails, hiking, rock climbing and of course fishing. During the early spring, it is a popular destination for the annual white bass run as the white bass enter the creeks and rivers from Lake Travis to spawn. That is, when there is water. This year, thanks to all the rain we've been having, the Pedernales river is running at peak capacity.

So, being unprepared, it took me some time to get all my gear together this morning and load up my kayak. Since white bass was the target, I took my 5wt with Teeny T-130 sinking line and a selection of Clouser minnow and Cypert minnow flies.

I arrived at the park around 11am and finally was in the water about 15 minutes later. There were several folks fishing by the time I got there. I found a spot I could wade and proceeded to fish.

While I was able to see fish in the water, I was only able to catch one keeper white bass in the almost hour I spent there so I started heading upstream. I paddled about a mile and a half to a set of rapids and there were about three guys fishing around them so I kept going but the next set of rapids were too fast and there wasn't enough sandy bottom there so I turned back.

As I passed the first rapids I noticed two of the guys had moved downstream so I beached just below the rapids. This spots looked ideal because there was slower water with seams meeting up to the faster water. Additionally the water had a little more color than where I was fishing the first time. And lastly, the bottom was sandy.

Within the first two casts, I caught my second keeper, a 11" male. In the next hour and 45 minutes, I caught around 20 white bass from 11" to 12" with one going 14" so they were mostly males.

The bite was really on for a while and all the fish were caught on an olive green and white translucent supreme hair clouser that I eventually snagged and lost. It also had a bit of peackcock flash on it plus brass dumbell eyes to keep it on the bottom.

That seemed to be the trick, keep the fly bouncing off the bottom so that basically required me to cast the sinking line and then stick the rod down towards the river bottom so there was no slack in the line. The bite was sometimes hard to detect and just the lightest of pressure.

The fish all fought hard for their size. I was thinking of staying until I got 20 on the stringer but my wife had mentioned she was going to go out with some of her friends so I started my way back to the put in.

Just as I was getting in sight of the primitive launch, I saw a couple of empty anchored kayaks start shaking and one flipped all on its own. Very weird sight. It shook violently and a couple of PFDs came off the kayaks. A boater nearby told me it was a small water spout that did it. Weirdest thing I've seen in a while.

Once I got home, I cleaned all 14 fish which took a while. I forgot how small the fillets are but it should be enough for dinner tomorrow. I am very grateful for these fish and the chance to get out on such a nice day. I hope to do it again soon.