In my continuing search to find some white bass running in local Texas waters that harbored not only the spawning bass, but also clear water, some scenery and a modicum of “wilderness”, i recently ended up on the Llano near Kingsland for the second time in a week.

The week before i had driven out there against my better judgment, knowing that my family needed help with domestic duties that day and unsurprisingly proceeded to get skunked hard core after miles of hiking and a thousand casts. Lesson? If your gut says fishing that day doesn’t feel right, it’s probably best to heed the call, the fish have your number.


Before this second outing though, i had waken early, packed lunches, gotten the family on their way and worked like a banshee for three hours cleaning as much of the house as i could before packing the rods in the car and heading west with visions of clear, cool water and bass dancing in my head.

Luckily, Sportsman’s Finest just happened to be on the way out of town, and fortunately all the A-team staff was there to dispense information and help turn me onto a fly that would help me catch everything i caught in the ensuing hours, the Hill Country Clouser.

To keep it short (or as short as i can), the fishing was pretty damn good. The first cast quickly resulted in a tangled line, mostly because it was the first time using my 7’6″ 3WT with the sinking leader i had recently purchased just for the white bass. No joke though, on the second cast i landed my first wiper (white bass and striped bass hybrid) of the year (above photo) and quickly felt the desperation and anxiety of searching unproductively for this species over the last few weeks wash away in a single moment of contact.

Wiper Face Shot

Minutes later a second, and then a third were caught, all on that same marvelous fly. At the end of the evening, a total of seven wipers had been brought to hand, and double that amount were missed either out of lack of aggression on their part, or slow reflexes on mine.

Later in the day, with my ambitions full to the brim, and feeling slightly fatigued, i made my way back to the car for food and water, considering making the hour and a half trip home in the light. Fortunately for me, my curiosity and wandering spirit kicked in and i loaded my pack with some rations and headed upstream of the low water crossing, expecting very little in the way of fish, but driven at the same time to see what was around the corner, or more exactly, what was out of reach of your average wanderer.

Wiper 2

The Llano in this particular area, especially with its current flow, is a daisy chain of small pools of crystal clear water framed by all manner of Hill Country plant life and it didn’t take to long to round the bend and find a scene that filled the bill of what i’d been looking for that day (photo below). 

It was shortly after though that the true magic happened. Pausing at a spot in the river where the river rock had been worn down over the millennia to resemble a semi circle couch, i sat down and propped my head on my pack before temporarily drifting off to sleep. Slightly later i woke to the sight of a storm cloud that blocked half the sky, slowly making it’s way past off to the right of the river and working wonders with the setting sun.

Sitting there in the comfort of the rock couch, slightly out of the storming winds, i watched for a good hour as the sky and clouds created breathtaking scene after breathtaking scene. The photo in the title was taken in a moment where all things aligned and i felt an overwhelming sense of awe as colors leaped from everything around me. The developed land around this natural treasure faded into the background as the sky, full of cold blues and fiery reds seemed to punctuate the day by tagging on an explanation mark, as if to say…

“This was an incredible day!”

Er, yes. After weeks of trial and tribulation, i had experienced success with a tricky species in crystal clear water, followed by a nap on a couch created over thousands of years, and a sunset that went down like a fire works show drunk on warm tequila. Yeah, that’s a good day.

Note: The spawn runs are almost over, but with the right fly (Hill Country Clouser from Sportsman’s Finest) and the right spot, you can probably have a day like this before it’s to late. Go now!

Llano Upstream