Discovering Options

Warm Water Fish

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discovering-main

With winter pouncing onto the stage like an attention seeking diva that’s been in self-imposed isolation for six months, i’ve found myself slipping into the mindset i’ve had every year when the cold comes nipping at my heels, namely that warm water fishing was over. So like i have every year, i found my attention shifting from my favorite fishy waters to what i’ve always considered the only option during the cooler months, trout on the Guadalupe.

Well i thoroughly appreciate the hard work that the local Trout Unlimited group (GRTU) does, it can get a little more than monotonous fishing the same waters over and over again for one species for months on end while trying to avoid other anglers. After years of learnt migratory behavior, it occurred to me that there have to be other options for an angler looking to break away from the pack.

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I honestly don’t even remember anymore where i’d heard that Lake Bastrop was a warm water lake that could be fished all year, but it likely started with a post on www.texasriverbum.com, that snowballed over multiple conversations with random anglers i know. Other than the post, it seemed like most folks described Lake Bastrop as some sort of backwater, cess pool that was a cooling lake for a nuclear power plant and where all of the fish had three eyes. In retrospect, it occurs to me that half of these people were just mis-informed and never fished it and the other half were probably doing their best to try and keep me off of some of the most amazing bass water near Austin.

IMG_0657Found pirate booty.

After recent rains and flash floods, with all my usual spots still draining murky flood waters, i finally decided to put my bias against still water on hold and check out what i then surely expected to be a glowing lake of icky ooziness. Instead what i found was a shockingly beautiful lake full of plant life, birds and fish that i would visit twice over just a few days.

The first day i somehow found a couple of largemouth bass that were more than eager to take a large popper, but also smart enough to quickly wrap it’s tippet around any free standing timber, obviously they were professionals. While it was frustrating to lose a few decent bass and get skunked, it occurred to me that all the fish i were losing were bigger than most of the trout i’d otherwise (hopefully) be catching. Once that seed was planted i was champion at the bit to get back, luckily it would only be a few days later.

IMG_0655Entrance to one of the many nirvanas.

On the second trip i paddled laboriously to the far side of the lake and came to the entry of a backwater creek to find a congenial spin fisherman that not only waved me past him, but also offered up words of advice based on the fact that he’s landed eight or so big bass in this spot that day. Thanking him for the tips and taking his advice i switched to a sinking line and streamers only to find myself constantly hanging up on the plethora of standing wood that filled my tiny little new found slice of heaven.

After a couple of hours, frustrated with all the time i wasting retreiving snagged hooks, i switched back to the biggest popper i had and cast under a tree that was leaning heavily halfway on it’s way to a watery grave. The popper hit the water and sent forth it’s ripples with little fanfare. With a slight tug watched the popper lurch forward, and then suddenly slip back into a watery void at the last minute when i heard a loud “BBBBLOOOOPPPPP” that sent shivers up my spine. My six weight instantly doubled over as i tried to apply the breaks, but i quickly found that i didn’t have near enough backbone to move the fish (7-8 lbs.).  Watching the leviathan jump in the air, shake its jaw and somehow dislodge the fly i could only tremble and swear in a manner befitting a sailor, cursing my choice of rod while also noticing that i was shaking from the rush of adrenaline.

IMG_0656Not the biggest, but still enough to leave me shaking with excitement.

I would go on to lose two more fish within the next hour, with the sound of another skunk knocking on the door as the sun was dipping (quickly it seemed) over the tree line. On the fourth take it all came together, i set the hook with emphasis, kept the line high and tight, and applied enough force to keep the bass from making it to the freedom that the gnarled foots projecting from the bank would surely provide him with if given the chance. Landing the bass, i quickly sat him on the paddle board for a fast photo and watched as he rocked from the immense thickness of his well fed body.

It may have only been a third the size of the big one that got away, but it was still a magnificent fish and i suspect a little (relatively) gift from the gods to remind me that it’s good to get out of your comfort zone now and then, break your habits and try something new.

Again, and again, and again, and again, and……

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coverbigimage from www.thisisfly.com

If the above image looks familiar to you that’s because it’s from the video shared here last year entitled “In Search of Grande”. There’s a great right up on this adventure in the fresh new issue of This is Fly #49. In addition to all the regular features (love the soundtracks) there are some great articles on sculpin, tarpon, fishing in Chile, and more (including an interview with Justin Fuller of Good Apples designs).

 

I revel in the idea that fly fishing is an escapist sport, where people and problems can be left behind just by venturing off on a slightly less obvious path. However, the reality is that some problems are so severe that they can actually affect what you find at the end of the nondescript trail.

Thankfully there are a lot of people out there that care, and “Co2ld Waters” is a call to action to motivate those folks to make their voice heard before it doesn’t matter. Check out the video and head over to http://co2ldwaters.org for more information.

ShirtFeat_Fall14_Email_Cups.155316Image from www.howlerbros.com

Howler Bros. is on a roll lately with all kinds of sweet products being released almost bi-weekly. Within 10 minutes of receiving an email announcing the Paradise Gaucho i had ordered mine (receiving 8-10 drooling comments on my first day wearing it) and just days later was informed that these sweet ass Howler Camp Mugs were also available (and quickly jumping to the top of my x-mas list).

If you want your best shot at grabbing some of this awesome gear be sure to sign up for their email lists (at the bottom of their website) because a lot of this stuff is going quick, and for good reason, it’s unique and it rocks.  Howler’s killing it, and as fellow Austin, TX fly-fishers we couldn’t be more proud.

ShirtFeat_Fall14_Email_ParadiseGaucho.174400image from www.howlerbros.com

shooting-trout

There are many definitions for the word “shooting”, but after a day recently spent stocking the Guadalupe river with fellow GRTU members (from Gudalupe River Trout Unlimited) these are the three definitions that seemed to encapsulate the days events as a whole.

*Shooting: definition

  1. To move or pass suddenly or swiftly spurt
  2. To send forth (words, ideas, etc.) rapidly
  3. To put forth buds or shoots, as a plant; germinate.

The first two were obvious from the second we shot the trout into the water, but it was number three that took a while to sink in…

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Meeting early at Rio Raft, i was shocked to pull in and see a plethora of vehicles with occupants sitting in idling cars, wisely staving off the low 30 degree temperature as long as possible, a sensible solution to a surprising condition (the cold). Slipping into my down jacket, i grabbed my coffee and gravitated towards a group of recognizable faces, immediately falling into conversation about each of our recent conquests and adventures.

When the weathered but heated bus arrived we quickly fell into a loosely organized line that filed on with remarkable speed, doubtlessly because of the 80 degree heat that was emanating, invitingly from the buses spartan interior.

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Driving off en masse to our first stocking, a new spot recently acquired, there was an eagerness and excitement buzzing around the orange / yellow transport as though we were all school children headed off on a surprise field trip, dodging class, homework and responsibility for the day, a feeling that only mildly faded as the hours ticked away.

Throwing down the buckets, they were quickly filled with one part water and two-part trout, before quickly being nabbed by eager hands on either side and taken forward, staggering, until being handed off to the conga line that would shimmy them into the water.  You could almost see the confusion in the trouts bodily actions for the first minute or two before they suddenly launched forward trying to inhale anything floating their way (leaf, cypress needles, foam). (Note: I cringe to confess that all i could think was “Dry flies, right now would be so uncouth, but so much fun.”)

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While most spots required the bucket brigade, there were the handful of spots that presented all volunteers aboard with the two showstoppers of:

1) Fish being shot down a long plastic sleeve, much like a water slide, into the clear void of the water.

2) Being shot directly off the side of a bridge into one of the deeper pools, like some shocked and befuddled Olympic diver.

If you’ve never been and have been debating to for years, go and help if for no other reason than to witness these two sites.

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While the new spots, the launched fish, and the school bus atmosphere were all fun in their own special way, for me it was seeing so many young folks, coming out for the first time that really inspired me. There is a die-hard crew that i deeply respect that has obviously kept this amazing program ticking for years, but even at 43 i’ve often felt like a child among wise and learned adults. This time however there were a handful of youngsters probably close to half my age that were the first in the water and obviously eager to take part in something so wonderfully new to them.

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I’m sure i wasn’t the only to notice them, and doubtlessly i wasn’t the only one to think that this new group encapsulated “Shooting” definition number three:

To put forth buds or shoots, as a plant; germinate (def: germinate – to develop)

As only one of many GRTU members i can only speak for myself, but i imagine that others out there agree, it was refreshing to see a new group of caretakers taking part in something that means so much to not just them, but to all of us. They are the stewards of the future, not just of the water and the fish, but also the continuing success of this amazing program that is Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited, and i for one hope their enthusiasm is not only sustained, but also contagious.

P.S. If you live in central Texas and haven’t signed up yet, i highly recommend signing up with this amazing group to help promote fishing education, camaraderie, and also give you something to fish for during the onslaught of cool days that lie ahead.

P.P.S. This post has been approved by Jimbo if you are a concerned GRTU member.

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What’s that? You like big fish AND beautiful backgrounds? Then start your work week right with this great video from Hooké.

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Today Texas Parks and Wildlife posted the schedule for the upcoming 2014 season and it’s fair to say that we’re chomping at the bit to hit a few select spots we enjoy haunting (especially Camp Mabry which one of can hit up on his lunch break.) While we’d prefer a stocking program of more exciting native fish like the gar or Guadalupe bass, we’re more than happy to while away the cold days, eyes glued to our strike indicators watching for the tiniest ticks, we’ll just have to remember to bring the port to stay warm.

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Maybe you’re tired of hitting the water only to find that your favorite fly rusted when you absentmindedly pierced it back into the foam months ago on your last fishing excursion? Maybe you’re just tired of throwing your wet flies on your dash board with the intent of them drying only to watch them plunge into your ventilation duct at the first right hand turn?

If this sounds like you, here are four simple steps to create an ultra low cost fly drying container. All you’ll need are:

  1. a drill
  2. a fly box container from your favorite local fly shop
  3. a small strip of velcro
  4. a pair of scissors

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1)  If you EVER buy flies from your local fly shop you probably have more fly containers lying around than you know what to do with. Grab one and a drill and go to town drilling some ventilations in one.

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2)  Pick up a small inexpensive piece of velcro from almost any craft, grocery or convenience store for chump change and cut off a 1-2 inch piece depending on your container.

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3)  Grab whatever piece (male or female) you want to use depending on your needs and through the magic of adhesive glues adhere it to the bottom of your new dry box.

4)  Now just put the other piece of velcro on your car’s dashboard, go fish, stow the flies in your container as you use them, and adhere it to the dashboard when you’re done and let your flies dry without loosing them to the nooks and crannies of your car.

NOTE:  Many vests and packs have velcro on them, so be sure match up your proper velcro strip (male or female) to them if you’d like to also use this ventilated box on them as well (works super well on the new Patagonia Vest Front Sling pack i’ve been trying out.)

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“Hey eric, heres my foal pic.  A bit sentimental I suppose, but I’m as proud of this fish as any I’ve caught myself.  My daughters first trout on a fly, on the same river I learned to fly fish on 10 years ago.  Chattahoochee river, Ga”. – Adam Metzger

Hooray for parents getting their children out of the house and on the water (with a tenkara rod no less!) Thank you Adam!

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Woo hoo! I love it when i come home to find something in the mail other than the usual bills and credit card offers. Today it was a no-nonsense manilla folder from the Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited with my member hangtag and a pin that will enable me to fish for stocked trout up and down the Guadalupe this year.  If you live anywhere around central Texas (or even further out) i highly recommend signing up for the upcoming season. While there are a myriad of great reasons to become a member of the program (philanthropy, education, environmental stewardship) one of the most obvious is that you’ll get to fish for an unusual species (of Texas) that will help you “up your game” without having to travel out-of-state to do so.

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If you’re a parent with a child age 10-17 this is the perfect time to get them into fly fishing as an additional pass for them is free. The likely tug of a trout is pretty much a sure-fire way to get them pumped on fly fishing, and think of all the quality time you can spend with them while they net your fish for you!

Word on the street is that the first stocking is happening soon, so head over to GRTU, sign up, get the lowdown, help stock, and enjoy fishing for trout locally!

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Gene Slusher. Fisherman
Brandon Wade. Picture taker
Winston Cundiff. Net man
Cumberland River w/ Cumberland drifters guide service.  -Winston Cundiff

An amazing brown caught by Gene Slusher and submitted by Winston Cundiff of All Water Guides here in Austin, TX. Nice job team!

 

A wonderful new take on the fly fishing video by a bunch of the way younger generation (18 years olds!) from Europe.  Check out their website at www.fleyepro.com for more tasty morsels, or hit them up at their Facebook site to stay in the loop.

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Fishing plans are infamous for deviating drastically from their original intent, so it is with great astonishment that i’m here to report that once in a blue moon they actually do turn out as planned.

I’d been checking out this particular stretch of the Colorado river for a while on my computer, noticing a backwater pool that appeared to be an ideal gar stomping ground. For one reason or another, i had never actually visited it, even though i’d checked it out religiously online for over a year, as if a digital image taken from space was somehow proof that this spot was still there, and in my mind plump with gar.

In an odd twist, it was my own work with the Gar Bros. collective over the last few days, and all the positive vibes from it that inspired me to finally get off my ass and seek out the spot i’d been pining over for so long.

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Putting in at Big Webberville Park, it didn’t take long to paddle down and find the mysterious looking off shoot of the river that would float me to my destination. Ducking in and under the over-hanging foliage, i had images of “The African Queen” waltzing in my head as the current quickened and pulled me through the lush green hues that walled the banks.

After a sharp turn and some calm water, i started to get the tingling feeling of deja vu, and realized i was approaching the spot i’d come to be so familiar with, even though i’d never plied its waters. I was feeling confident this was it when a four-foot long nose gar breached the surface and made the “CLACK” sound that every gar angler hears in their dreams.

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Paddling into the pool, the reason for the murkiness displayed in its satellite image quickly become obvious. It was a shallow, no more than two feet deep, and teeming with clacking jaws of all sizes. Living in such shallow waters, they continuously stirred up the sediment as they hunted and darted around the pool, scooping up bait fish that had pulled in off the main current, doubtlessly looking for a rest stop only to find themselves on the menu.

Tying on the rope fly, it didn’t take long to snag a decent three-foot gar that was hovering at the entrance.  Pulling him onto the paddle board to snap a photo, i was reminded again how incredibly difficult it is to take a photo of a gar when by yourself.  They are long, they are feisty and energetic, and they are not shy about the fact that they’d love nothing more than to sink a hundred of their needle like teeth into your thigh. Trying to frame a shot with them is something akin to trying to feed a rabid Doberman beef jerky with one hand tied behind your back.

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A short while later after exploring the pool, i holed up near the entrance and made a couple of last casts before heading on back. Letting the fly sink deeper than usual i stripped the line only to feel it snag on the bottom. Giving a hard tug on the line to free it from the branch it was doubtlessly hung up on i felt a surprising force pull the opposite direction in reaction. In a fraction of a second i saw a head snap to the side, a fly get tossed and a five foot longnose gar bolt upstream, and jump out of the water in triumph, crashing back into the surface like a marlin, all before i could realize what had just transpired.

I will be back.

P.S.  In the mean time, if you want to go, this is the pool that i’ve drooled over for so long. If you see me there please paddle on, and i’ll be sure to do the same for you.

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Hey diefisch(e),
A rare Lochhaven Brown Trout caught at the end of September by Chris Andrews (thats me in the floppy hat) on the Provo River in Utah (even though I live in TX). A Lochhaven Brown differs from other brown trout (like the german brown) in that it has all black spots. This was a little over 20″. Probably won’t make the cut but I wanted to brag anyway. Keep up the cool blog and website. – Chris Andrews

Aw yeah, the pictures are pouring in for the new #FOAL contest!

Just a quick note, unlike every social media outlet out there i will not take credit for, claim ownership of, or sell your photos.  Your art is yours. That seems obvious but i thought i should address it anyway.  Keep them coming folks!

Oh yeah, make sure your images are the highest resolution you have and at least 610 pixels in width, this blog is bigger than you think!

foalcontest

Okay, here’s the deal, this sight is NOT about big fish and big egos, but it just so happens that some of the nicest people we know are catching big fish.  To this end we’d love to introduce a new ongoing “contest” where the only prizes are bragging rights and the occasional schwag i can round up from reps or dark back alleys.

IMG_9654Angler: Egan Jones – Photo: Tanis Jones – Species: Smallmouth Buffalo

More than anything this new page (found right below the title bar above) will be a spot for anyone that wants to send in photos of any fish that they feel are their own personal best, regardless of species or size.  In my mind a heroic sunfish could easily win, but really it’s up to you and your fellow readers as i’ll have no say in it.  I promise not to be hard ass about submissions, but until i get a grip on what i might have to sift through i ask the following;

1)  They are catches from the current month (or at the most two).

2) One submission a month so choose wisely and send it to diefischeblog@hotmail.com.

3) All submissions should include species caught, a rough location, anglers name, photo credit.

3) At the end of the month we’ll shoot out a poll, let folks vote and announce the winner you’ve chosen.

More details as we iron out the kinks! Instagram, Facebook and Twitter at #foalcontest for your entry!

P1000109_1_1Angler: David Feldkamp – Photo by Alex Freddi – Species: Steelhead

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It seems like some of the best ideas sprout forth from the subconscious when there is so little going on, that the mind starts swinging around on the jungle gym and comes up with all kinds of thoughts to entertain itself.  Case in point, on a recent trip where i happened to run into Gabe from theflyriverturtle.blogspot.com, the bass fishing was so off that we quickly found ourselves spending most of our time in dialogue about what turned out to be a mutual passion…nay, obsession, gar.

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Gar aren’t for everyone (thank goodness) but we both feel (although we might be insane) that gar are not only the most exciting warm water fish to catch, but also the next awkward fish that will hog the limelight and inspire entire lines or gar rods, gar lines, and gar flies.  Doubt that?  Then think back to how you felt about carp just five years ago.

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So why are we doing this?

  1. We’re both a little nuts and obsessed by this fascinating beasts.
  2. This much aligned prehistoric fish needs somebody (or an entire posse) to stand up for it because i’m sick to death of hearing anglers bitch about how they ruin the ecosystem while they catch them and throw them on the banks to suffer and die.
  3. Mankind has been around for about 200,000 years, gar for around 100 million.  If that doesn’t make you respect them, you should probably take up golf.
  4. Because there isn’t an entire scene around them.  Use what you want to fish for them, even if there was a special “Gar rod” and “Gar Line” you wouldn’t need it.  Try something new and relax in the comfort that you’re trying to catch something that most people would say was uncatchable.  Also, remember this is exactly what people thought about carp before they invented an entire marketing campaign to tell what it would require to catch THEM.

So get out there and catch one, treat it with respect and awe, snap a photo, release and post your shot on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter with the hashtag #garbros.  Hopefully the more we share and talk about this amazing fish, the more people will search for it, care about it and try to protect it.  At the very least, they’ll get the warm water fight of their life.

Check us out at our new Gar Bros. Facebook page!

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P.S. Due to the huge response we’ve received for Gar Bros. we’ve ordered trucker hats that will be available soon via this blog!  Stay tuned!

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ShirtFeat_Fall14_Email_Howlerween.152052image by Howler Bros.

For today only, Howler Bros. is including a sweet, previously unreleased orange Shaka Hat with every order placed over $50.  Perfect time to order any of the items you’ve been drooling over for the last few weeks.  www.howlerbros.com

 

Skinny water, mangroves, and fish that hit like rockets: what’s not to love about this great video by Livit Films?!

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Chapter One:  I Am a Snowflake

With my float coming to an end, Shady Grove and the Oktoberfisch event it was hosting were just a few paddles to my left, i remembered the small creek nearby that i had noticed from shore earlier in the day.  Strangely enough, i hadn’t seen anyone paddle up it, likely because they were all after Guadalupe bass, and it was pretty obvious that this backwater creek with its swampy, trailer trash feel was a little to low brow for the Guadalupe, but perfect for one of my passions, gar.

Paddling up the small tributary i was starting to feel like a unique adventurous soul, scouting odd waters for even odder fish.  It was becoming pretty obvious to me that i was a special, unique snowflake until i rounded the corner and saw a familiar figure on a Diablo.

“Gabe?”  i asked with disbelief.

“What’s up man?  I’m looking for gar!”  Gabe replied as my ego, and it’s corresponding snowflake melted in the Texas sun.

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Chapter Two:  Behold, the Public Access

It had been years since i’d been out to the magical spring fed waters of the South Llano.  Back then it seemed the same as most other rivers in the Hill Country, amazing water and fishing, but questionable and sometimes outright scary access, usually with super friendly hand painted signs with uplifting messages like “We shoot first and ask questions later!

The reason (other than the fishing) i was back was the Fredericksburg Fly Fisher Club’s annual Oktoberfisch festival.  In addition to the usual vendor booths, stellar classes, films, etc. they were running shuttles as part of the event.  Locating a driver and loading my boat, i hopped in the trucks cab and prepared myself to brave some sort of scene where i might be trying to slip my boat into the water as dueling banjos played in the background.

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Being accustomed (after 11 years) to the Texas mentality when it comes to water access, i could never have dreamed up what i saw instead.  To the casual observer, it was a bridge with some exotic features, but in reality it was so much more.  This was a temple to Poseidon, a concrete homage to Tiberius.  This was a structure for any in central Texas that feel that the water is the most enjoyable respite from the brutality of the heat, and the suffocating oppression of the day-to-day.  This my friends was a bridge built with the explicit purpose of providing the public with not only access to the river via the steps and boat ramp, but also the ability to float through it easily if coming from the upstream direction, intent on downstream missions and fish.  In short, this is the fly fishers Xanadu, i highly recommend it friends.

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Chapter Three:  Six Degrees of Pat Cohen

After being shocked to the core by running into Gabriel Langley (of the blog TheFlyRiverTurtle) on the creek, we hung out for most of the evenings Oktoberfisch festivities, all the while running into various friends that were awesome to catch up with.  After food and wine (for me) we agreed to float the upper stretches the next day and try to make our way to the source of the South Llano, hundreds of interconnected springs and buffeted by a wide and inspiring staircase of falls.

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Hooking up that next day, we discussed the plan and headed out for what i imagined to be the an endless tug of bass on my line.  Surprisingly, all i could manage were average size sunfish after average size sunfish.  Eventually i did manage to land a smallish bass (above) in a backwater area, but clearly the fishing wasn’t going to be the highlight of the day, no matter how well-intentioned it was.

While the scenery was drop dead gorgeous, with long pools joined by fast flowing tiny water containing herons and egrets, as well as limestone cliffs standing at attention along the river, laced with buzzards and hawks, it was the camaraderie that really made the day complete.  As any usual reader knows, i’m a fairly anxious personality that loves being around mellow folks, and Gabe was that in spades.  Even though we never made it to the falls we were looking for, we had a great time on the water, alternating between tons of private space and close-knit paddling conversation.

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Taking out our boats, after hours of paddling and chatting about our mutual appreciation for all gar, Gabe blew my mind by showing a bunch of flies that he had gotten from the infamous up and coming fly tier Pat Cohen.  If you’ve never come across one of the many articles on this phenomenal talent, let me set the scene.  Shaved head.  Big burly beard.  Massive spacers in ear.  By all appearances he should be in a punk rock band, but luckily the lack of conformity he emits is not only personal, it’s also evident in his insane and individualistic fly tying skills (check out www.rusuperfly.com).

Looking through Gabe’s box of Pat’s flies was like stumbling through the Louvere in waders.  There was so much beauty and brilliance it was almost overwhelming.  High on this fly tying art, i was blown away when Gabe gave me a gar fly, tied by Pat.  I’m not sure if it will ever be used since it’s a freakin PROTOTYPE GAR FLY FROM PAT VIA GABE, but until i decide, it will live on my straw fedora fishing hat where it receives praises daily from folk that don’t even know what it’s beauty is capable of.

All in all the entire weekend was unreal, an absolutely mind blowing experience, and one i had just for paddling up a creek i thought nobody else had, looking for a fish i thought nobody else wanted.

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If you want to go:

Closest town:  Junction, Texas which got its name from the fact that it sits at the junction of the South Llano and the North Llano rivers.

Fly shop: the closest is The County Flyfisher Shop in Fredericksburg, Texas which is a unique shop experience in and of itself (in a good way.)

Campgrounds: Morgan Shady Park sits on the bank of the river in Junction and provides both tent and RV camping.  South Llano River State Park is a few miles up river and provides tent and RV camping as well but with the addition of endless amounts of hiking trails to explore.

Other visitor information: Texas Parks and Wildlife in partnership with the town of Junction have done an amazing job of supplying not just access to an amazing river, but clean, safe and stress free access.  Check out TPWD’s paddling trail site for more information on paddling this river as well as many others in Texas.  

I also highly recommend picking up a copy of Texas River Bum’s “South Llano River Pocket Guide” that is an indispensable guide to this majestic river.

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Like to keep the sun off of your eyes when you’re hauling in a five pound bass or trout?  Then enter for your chance to win a collection of six hats from Orvis, Teva, Patagonia, Mountain Khaki, Yeti and Towee Boats!

Super simple rules:

1)  Leave a comment to this post letting us know where you’ll sport them if you win.

2)  The entry dates are 10/26/14 – 10/30/14 (at midnight).

3)  The winner will be chose by random number generator on 10/31 and announced that morning.

Please feel free to share this with your friends!  And as always we appreciate your help in getting us one step closer to making this blog a full time passion!

 

 

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Every one of us has that special body of water nearby that we covet as though it were an original and obscure limited edition pressing on virgin vinyl by our favorite band.  For me and many of my fellow local anglers it’s Barton Creek here in Austin, TX.

With cooler temperatures and school back in session (a big deal when you are located in the same town as the University of Texas), the party crowds are thinning out and the local waters are quickly falling back into the hands of the curious and adventurous. Surely this isn’t limited to Texas, i imagine it’s a time of the year that many anglers look forward to, an actual chance for undisturbed waters and fish after months of trying to avoid the cooler toting crowds.

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In an effort to avoid the throngs of beer swilling revelers and their migraine inducing drum circles, i stayed away from one of my favorite spots for most of the summer.  Just the other day though i shuffled on down the Hill of Life (below), cautiously keeping both ears alert for any sound of off beat djembes echoing though the valley.  Fortunately all i heard was the beautiful white noise of water tumbling over rock and onto (and into) itself,  a sonic affirmation that the creek was alive and flowing.

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The fishing was good, with a few healthy and zealous bass putting a hardy bend in my 2WT.  Not  neccesarily the kind of fishing day that might expand from humble and fun to epic and legendary in my mind as that day fades into the past.  Really though it doesn’t matter, the fish were just playing a secondary role, the main draw of the day being the ambiance provided by a wealth of cool air, cool water, lush greenery and the complete absence of humanity and its debris.

Solitude, water, white noise and fish minutes from home.  It surely can feel like nirvana, but really it’s just fall on your favorite small water.  Time to rig the lightweight rod and reacquaint yourself with yours.

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If you have any inclination to get insider information on the inner business workings of fly fishing, i heavily recommend checking out Angling Trade, a fascinating read to see what’s going on behind the scenes and what new products lie down the road.

In the most recent issue there is a great article entitled “How Fly-Fishing Videos Can (MUST) Get Better” by Marshall Bisset.  There are some valid annoyances with the quality of fly fishing videos in this article that i can completely agree with, but more importantly there are also some incredibly insightful tips that if adhered to can help us all get beyond the 30 minute video of uncle Bob false casting on You Tube.

Shortly after reading this article i happened upon “Fixed for Fly Fishing” by Movi-Media which i personally think is one of the finest videos i’ve seen yet, and felt that this was another notch in the evolutionary development of our sport / hobby.  Check out both the article and the video and see if you agree?

P.S.  To Hudson and Chris at www.shopdundeecycles.com, this is the video we’ve been waiting for. Bikes and rods unite!

loop-to-loopartwork by Uli Fluss

On my recent trip to Colorado i was replacing my leader and redoing the connection when i was abruptly stopped by the guide and informed that i was doing it all wrong.

What the…!?!?

Turns out that one of the most common mistakes guides see is the one i was performing, running the tag end of the leader through the loop of the line and then back through the loop of the leader, resulting in an obtrusive connection that has a hard time working its way through the guides causing hang ups that can at worst can result in a broken rod tip (once), or at the very least a lost fish when reeled in close (many times).

Double check yourself using the above illustration and make sure you’re doing it right before you get out there and learn the hard way that you’ve got it all wrong.  After all, nobody wants to look like a chump, especially to a lost fish (or a guide).

Check out RioProducts website to see an additional image on the right and wrong way to make the connection.

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The folks at Southern Culture on the Fly have once again unleashed a digital juggernaut with the brand spanking new issue #13.  Known amongst fly fishers in the know as “The White Issue”  it’s a great mash up from the crew and hopefully doesn’t signify the beginning of the end as the Beatles famed album did (knocking on wood, Norwegian wood at that).

P.S. They also have a sweet contest going on over at their Facebook site where you can win a rod and much more, check it out!

813L0r4lPJL._SL1360_image from www.amazon.com

“Well, looks like we got ourselves a readah’.” – the late great Bill Hicks

For all the advice and information that Google can spit put at us with just a few keywords, there is still something magical about staring at the contrast of black ink on paper, especially when you’re reading it on a stream side boulder that oddly enough contours to your body, or waiting out the daytime heat coddled in a hammock strung between two cypress.

For those of you that are new to the sport, or maybe just aren’t familiar with fly fishing literature, we’re here to help.  The first few suggestions will be obvious to most of you that have ever browsed the fishing section of your local bookstore, but you have to start somewhere, so here we go.

Book #1:  ”Trout Bum” by John Gierach  -  So you want to be a fly-fisher?  This is the first book that you need to take with you on all of those initial maiden voyages.  While scouting out new locations, make sure to leave a copy of this book on your dashboard, even if that means buying a second copy to be destroyed by the intense rays of the sun.  Any fly fisherman with integrity will cut you a healthy swath if they see this book poised dutifully on the dashboard of your car.

As with all Gierach books, this is two part story, and one part “How To”.  Being the zen like fisherman he is, Gierach doesn’t lay out his words of advice in step by step prose, but for the curious angler with a highlighter there are a wealth of tie bits packed between the covers.

This book has been in print since 1986, but you would never know it as every chapter seems as relevant today as it did almost thirty years ago, likely due to the fact that other than the “life changing technology” our sport is constantly screaming about, with cutting edge rods and reels, it’s still really the same simple and meditative discipline it was back than.

I don’t think that he’d like this comparision, but i think of Gierach as the Lorax of the fly fishing community.  He has a lot to be upset about, but also a lot to teach us, and if he ultimately gives up on us anglers, he might just hoist himself by his waders and fly off for Kamtchatka.

 

As an amateur designer of sorts, it’s nice to see that me getting excited about certain fonts, logos, or color combos isn’t as strange as i thought it was.