Friday, October 22, 2010

Lake Travis on a cloudy day

I got up before 7am today which is late for me but it was my day off and I still had my kayak and gear in the truck from yesterday so no need to rush. This gave me time to have a muffin and coffee and contemplate on where on the Lake I would go today. Since I pretty much had not been to nearby Lake Travis in months, I decided to go to nearby Sandy Creek park and launch from there.

I was on the water by 8am and the sky was still very overcast with some sprinkles which was actually a good thing. I like fishing under these conditions. One thing though, it was starting to get a little windy. This I don't like as it tends to push my kayak around and my casts start to get worse than normal.

A minute after I got on the water, a gentlemen with a spin rod and fishing vest popped onto shore and asked me if I had any luck. I mentioned I had just gotten here. He said he could see some activity but hadn't had much luck and off he went. This was slightly disappointing as I know it is peak full moon time and sometimes that does affect the catching during the day. I was not going to be deterred and continued on.

One reason I decided on Lake Travis is that it is close to my house and this week's fishing report that I read last night said folks were catching bass in 5 to 8 feet of water with plastic worms and top waters. Those are fly rod accessible depths. I ended up leaving the Gurgler fly tied on that I used yesterday when I fished the Llano river.

To get out of the wind, I went around a cove and started pounding the banks. I came across one of those PVC pipes that people use to draw water out of the lake. In the past, I usually have had pretty good luck catching fish around them. For some reason they are attracted to this structure. My fly got some nibbles from some small brim. Suddenly, the fly disappeared and my line started moving and I set the hook. At first it felt like I had gotten it snagged on a log as my rod tip bent over. It was a fish! For a few seconds it ended up pulling my kayak along. Fortunately I had my small hand net and netted a nice largemouth bass that had the fly hook in the skin on the inside of its mouth. The bass measured just shy of 18" and seemed a little thin for its size but it had still put up a good fight. I was excited now as the fish was caught in about 3 feet of water so I was hoping more were close to the banks.

I ended up catching a couple of smaller fish at the end of the cove in the back of boat docks. I had to force one over one of the mooring lines so it didn't tangle me up. The wind started to pick up again and after it blew my hat into the water, I decided to call it a morning. I was only on the water for two hours but it was still great fun plus I caught a few bass. Better than working in the office y'all!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fishing on the Llano RIver

I have today and tomorrow off. Originally, I was planning to go down to the coast to fish the Laguna Madre but my cousin called and said we would have to postpone. So, since I still had the time off, I decided to fish a river that I have been wanting to for some time, the Llano. With some information from the Fly Fishing the Texas Hill Country book about the access points available. I picked a section along a low water crossing off CR-103 just west of the town of Llano.

It was a nice hour and a half drive out to Llano this morning and the access point was easy to find. Presumably the deeper water was upstream from the crossing so I put in there and fished to about 500 yards upstream.

The water is very clear and it makes it hard to determine the depth of the water. Fish get easily spooked in clear water as well so I was going to have to be careful. I noticed a lot of baby frogs so I tied on a Gurgler top water fly. This fly would turn out to be pretty productive. I ended up catching about 8 or so small largemouth and Guadalupe bass along with several brim. A couple of bass really killed the Gurgler when I dropped it on the water. In one section, I paddled right over a hole that held a 2 pound bass. In retrospect, I should have fished it before paddling over it. Oh well.

This river has a lot of granite along it and unlike the San Gabriel, it tends to be wide in most parts. I also noticed that not a lot of trees line the river bank which is something I really like about the San Gabriel. Comparisons aside, I liked fishing this river and hope to do so again.

Later in the morning a southerly wind started to really pick up making it difficult to stay in one spot (in some wide open sections I was getting blown upstream) and cast well so I headed back to the low water bridge as I was getting hungry.

On the way back through Llano, I stopped at the famous Cooper's Old Time Pit BBQ restaurant. I got some sausage and brisket and a large cup of sweet iced tea. The place was packed! That was a great way to end the adventure this morning!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Land that time forgot?

I need a snack. Seen the FGFF guys around?

This weekend the family and I traveled north for a weekend of camping with three other families at Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose. This is the hometown of my casting instructor, Mr. Allen "Ol' Al" Crise, who passed away earlier this year. I was looking forward to fishing the same river, the Paluxy, that he did since it ran through the park.

The first morning I did some recon of some of the spots on the river and found most of them were clear and very shallow but running. Eventually we did find a pool called Blue Hole that seemed deep. There were also several dino tracks along the shoreline. This what the river looked like from the top of the canyon.

The river is well known for the various dinosaur tracks imprinted in the limestone riverbed that can be seen better when the water is really low though we did see quite a few. They were discovered in the early 1900s. They weren't as big as I thought. Supposedly some human like prints were found nearby as well which are thought to be fakes or those of smaller dinosaurs and they just happen to look like human prints. I wish there were some prehistoric size bass in the river. While looking into the head of the pool, we saw a couple of really nice bass over 16".

We then went back for our gear and found some spots to fish and started to fish the pool. The boys also did a little bit of exploring. We weren't there for very long when all of a sudden like 40 people started coming down the trail to the river edge making all sorts of a ruckus. And as they say, "that was that". The boys left the rod and did some more exploring. Eventually, we gave up as people kept pouring in a returned to camp. My son said there was a spot to wade in the shallows down river from the pool so I decided to return in the afternoon.

In the afternoon when I returned there were still quite a few people but not as many so I decided to give it a try once again. This time, a troop of about 50 boy scouts came down. However, I think they scared a small school of bass to my side of the river and I was able to catch one. People were swimming in the pool so I headed upstream to explore a bit. The water was cool, clear and not as deep. Unfortunately, after a mile or so I did not find another deep pool so I came back and headed back to camp.

The next morning the whole gang hiked down to another section of the river that I had not been to so we could look for more tracks. There were a few here and I walked down to a sandy bend that had a decent hole away from everyone. However, we had to return to camp to pack to leave. So even though I didn't get to fish it, the weekend was lots of fun hanging out with all the families at camp. We were already planning our next multi-family camping trip. I was hoping for something along the coast but most likely it will be one of the camps along the East Texas piney woods, hopefully with a lake or river near camp. Can't wait.