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Archive for March 2014


 

Foreign country. Big Fish. Excellent video. Catch the magazine article in the spring 2014 issue of the Drake.

ffft2014bigimage from https://www.facebook.com/TheAustinFlyFishingFilmTour

Finally, the behemoth of fun which is The Fly Fishing Film Tour is rolling back through Austin. If you’ve attended before you’ve probably already set this date aside, but if you’ve never been (because you’re either new to Austin or just recently got into fly fishing), YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THIS NIGHT! It’s pretty much guaranteed that after this event you’ll want to cash in your 401K, quit your job, and take the next days’ red eyed flight towards an exotic location.

While the films are the obvious draw, it’s also the opportunity to experience the festivities at the historic Paramount Theatera staple of Austin since 1915, that is one of the true highlights of the night. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also get a chance to socialize with your fellow anglers and realize that the Texas fly fishing community is much bigger than you could have ever imagined. After all, if you live in Colorado, Montana, etc. you know that there are fellow fly fishers around, but if you fish around here and see more snakes than fly fishers, you might begin to wonder if you missed a memo.

Be sure to make plans to get there early (5PM) so that you can grab a sweet free lid from Howler Bros. (photo below), check out all the vendor booths, and meet some new folks and catch up with old ones. I for one would love to meet you, so look for the fedora and suit. In the mean time…

Buy your tickets online at: AustinTheater.org

When: April 17th, social hour at 5PM, film at 7PM

Where: Paramount Theater, downtown Austin

Why: Because you must.

For additional information and updates check out the FFFT Austin Facebook.

1926081_647614765304774_695548725_oimage from https://www.facebook.com/TheAustinFlyFishingFilmTour

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Ever since my addiction to fly fishing started i have found myself making a majority of the decisions in my life based on how they might either increase or decrease the amount of time i get to spend in (or on) the water. While many folks close to me have doubtlessly noticed this, surely nobody is more aware of my priorities than my family. For years a large majority of our family outings have centered in some part (if not entirely) around playing on the banks of rivers and creeks, or paddling and floating whatever option might be at hand. While there is an undeniable sense of self interest looming here, it must be said that for nine months of the year around central Texas, cooling off in the water is one of the only ways to not melt in the heat.  Plus, we have seen a lot (and i do mean a LOT) of nature around central Texas that we might otherwise not have experienced.

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However, even though we had visited many amazing places as a family to accommodate the over arching criteria mentioned above (water), there was no denying that my selfishness was keeping us from one spot that my wife had been asking to visit for years, Enchanted Rock State Park.

My lack of enthusiasm to visit the park over the years was due in large part to the fact that web search after web search returned practically nothing, and what did come back made any chance of fishing in the park sound just a shade shy of impossible. Still, i realized that my strangle hold on our adventures should have expired long ago, and it was with a happy heart that i recently packed the car to venture off to the dome, with an extra grin working the corners of my lips as i tossed in my rod and a few fishing loose ends, just in case.

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Once there, and after working our way 425 feet up to the crest of the mammoth pink granite rock we ended up with an amazing panoramic view of the Hill Country spread out before us. From that vantage point it was easy to spot the water that was calling both my rod and my curiosity, Moss Lake.

To keep it short and get to the point, after years of wondering, my curiosity was assuaged, there are fish there. Even though the weather up until then had been unseasonably cold, and the wind was howling so hard it nearly blew us off the top of the rock, i managed to catch a few sunfish and a small bass (out of focus below) in the 30 minutes i had before my son tired of getting whipped around in the extremely hostile wind and asked if we could please go.

Suffice to say, if you live around the central Texas area, and have been putting off visiting here because you’ve thought (like i did) that there’s no fishing fun to be had, pack a rod and the family and get out there before the summer heat does.

I know that this seldom happens this way, but it was great to give up my interests, allow someone else theirs and still have it all work out in the end for everyone (maybe only because i didn’t expect anything).

What did i learn from this? One, it’s not always about me and my desires. Two, always pack a fly rod.

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Carpon-main

I was a desperate man. With my trout appetite completely sated (see previous post) i had voluntarily made the mental jump to warm water fish, eager for something different. I was done with the cold water fishing, but still  the cool weather lingered. It was that cold, combined with my innate stubbornness, that found me at the wheel, staring off in the direction of the Hill Country with the engine idling and the fishing options quickly being filtered out in my head.

Surely, i felt, there was a way to make it all work, even if the timing was premature. White bass seemed plausible, but the idea of hitting the one spot i had heard they were actually at (hint: north of Austin), with elbow to elbow fishing pressure steered me to the “off chance” of running into something at Reimers Ranch west of Austin. It’s not that i really felt they might be running at Reimers, it was more that the worst that could happen would be that i would catch nothing in peace. Conversely, if i did catch something there, i could probably do it without anybody else being the wiser. Either way, it sounded like a win-win situation.

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First making a brief stop at Sportsman’s Finest to pick up some Rio Versileaders (an amazing option to help get the fly down quickly when a sinking line on a dedicated reel is unaffordable), i made it to the park and quickly huffed it to the far end in an effort to avoid as much angling pressure as possible.  After fishing with the regular setup for half an hour with zero takes, i looped on the new leader, cast (if a bit awkwardly at first), watched the fly and line sink quickly and rapidly felt a constant succession of half hearted strikes. Thanks to the quick sinking qualities of the Versileader it didn’t take much time to land this small, yet energetic bass (above) that was working the riffles four feet below the surface.

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Working my way upstream i eventually came to a small hole that i’ve come to call “Bending Branch Pool”. I’d been here a week ago and seen a few shadows creating wakes in the shallow waters as they bolted, spotting me 20-30 yards away. This time i was wise enough to approach with the sun in front of me, enabling me to keep things calm until i saw the first shadow work across the current, followed closely by a second and than a third.

It took a good thirty minutes to slowly work my way up the pool behind them as they systematically made their way to the top of it. After working the head of the pool for a few minutes they turned around, floating gingerly along with the current , and within easy casting range. Even at fairly close (20 yards) proximity i managed to miss the first, and watched as the second completely ignored the streamer cruising across the current, inches from it’s nose. On the third fish things got strange for a second as the last carp (above) suddenly broke from the pack with such urgency and speed that i felt for sure he had seen me and just happened to be bolting the direction of my line. The bend in my 3WT proved otherwise.

The deal has been sealed. The warm water fish were starting to stir, wander and eat. From here on out, sunfish, bass, drum, and  gar should quickly be added to the mixtape that is spring fishing in Texas. The options are opening up and being spread before us with every day that passes.

That thought brings me piece of mind, and suddenly i don’t feel so desperate anymore.

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