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.
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.
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.