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Archive for 2017

It took a long time, as many things in marriage do, to understand that when my wife asked how my fishing day went, what she was inquiring about was the day as a whole, where what thought she was inquiring about was the actual fishing itself. Needless to say, many days i would respond that the day had been fruitless and frustrating which of course lead her to believe that i’m sort of masochist (maybe?) and that all i was getting from a day on the water was heightened anxiety, cuts and bruises.

At some point it finally clicked that she wasn’t asking about THE FISH, she was asking about THE DAY and that if i wanted to continue to have days on the water, i better start observing the day through two different (and completely legitimate) lenses and recall alternate versions based on who i’m interacting with.

After a week and a half of non-stop driving and fishing throughout northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado during early March i’ve compartmentalized the experience and there are two editions of the trip that i recall based on my audience.

1)  For non-anglers: “It was amazing, I froze my butt off camping at 12,000 feet and tread through snowbanks waist high with nobody around for miles. I saw the Rio Grande canyon, Taos, fished the San Juan, saw most of the Southern Rockies pan across my window, fished two legendary Colorado waters (Cheesman and Eleven Mile), camped on two beautiful lakes in New Mexico, and stayed at my parents modest but beautiful house where i quaffed quality red wine sitting on their front porch taking in the unparalleled panoramic view of the Rockies.”

2)  For fellow anglers: “It sucked.”

I’ve spent a good decade fishing these locales, but it’s always been late in the summer after the snow has gone from a solid state to liquid, causing the rivers and creeks to once again pulse with life, reinvigorating both the fish and curious anglers such as myself. I knew suspected making these rounds this early in the year would likely through a wrench in the works, but i would never had predicted the fishing spiral that was about to unfold.

It began on a good note, with the first day of fishing on the infamous San Juan river in northern New Mexico, catching trout on the legendary San Juan worms i’d tied up the night before at the campground. The water was low and the crowds almost comical, but still multiple trout were caught that day, causing me to fall to sleep with images and dreams of fruitful days ahead, traipsing around the mountains landing trout after trout.

The next day however turned out to be the flip side of the coin, endless hours of hiking, wading and casting that wound down at sunset without a single bite having landed on my radar. The third day was more of the same. Downing freeze dried beef stroganoff and red wine that night while collecting my thoughts in the hammock, i decided to hedge my bets and head out first thing in the morning for familiar waters in central Colorado, waters that i was sure would help turn my luck back around.

Unfortunately that turn around never happened. A full day on Cheeseman, hiking far up into the heart of the canyon, nothing. The next day spent casting from behind giant boulders on Eleven Mile, certain that on this extra familiar water SOMETHING…ANYTHING might be landed, but still nothing. Another day on Eleven Mile…nothing.

It was strange, wading through these beautiful trout waters that i knew were teaming with trout stacked like cordwood, but casting endlessly and not even receiving a lethargic bump to let me know they were there. Occasionally my steadfast focus would briefly be broken and i’d look up only to be surrounded by panoramic vistas so drop dead gorgeous that occasionally i would get dizzy from the brown and green angles and the overwhelming sense of grandeur that they generated. Then the gaze was back on the water…staring…focusing…with first frustration setting in, and then eventually a deep malaise that signaled it was time to get back to the family before nature sucked me in and swallowed me up.

Heading south i received a text from a good fishing friend asking how the trip was going, and since the roads in west Texas are long and straight and devoid of distractions, it was easy to text back “Awful…heading back.” I didn’t have to explain what i meant, he’s an angler and his fished those waters, he knew that it was beautiful but that the fishing was obviously off.

Four hours later though, as i pulled into my neighborhood, i purposely pushed the lack of fish to the back of my mind while also pulling visuals of the snow capped Rockies to the forefront. I conjured up images of geese, heron, beaver and deer as i exited the car and walked to the front door, excited to share my amazing adventure with my wife and son.

Legendary local guide Alvin Dedeaux of All Water Guides is finally blowing up as both a Howler Bros. ambassador and a key player in the new fly fishing feature from Yeti that will be showing next Monday at the Yeti flagship store here in Austin!

Swing by the newly opened YETI Flagship on South Congress Avenue for a night of cold drinks and fly films. We’ll be premiering our newest YETI Presents film, The Devil’s, and showing some of our classic fly favorites. 

Our friends from Howler Brothers will be onsite with a popup experience and the fellas from All Water Guides will be there with info on their Austin-based guide services. 

To sweeten the deal, buy a YETI Colster and YETI will buy you a beer from the Barrr.  – The Yeti Facebook Page

Keep an eye out for a dude in a fedora (me) that will have a grip of die Fische and Gruene Outfitter stickers to hand out!

Hanging out at the new job at Gruene Outfitters and watching the beautiful rides parade through!

FYI: Want to see more vehicles that might cause you to consider throwing your fly rods in and driving off into the horizon? Maybe you have a photo you want  to share? Then visit us on Instagram at to see more photos, or add the tag #fishridedaydream to one of your photos to share it.

The winter never seemed to happen, the summer slowly dragging out unto itself. Here we were, knee deep into February and already the stocked trout seemed lethargic after endless 80˚ plus days. The heat not only slowed the fish down, it also meant that waders and boots could be left behind if you wished, this was not the winter trout fishing i’d become accustomed to. Add to that strangeness the fact that the flows off of Canyon Lake were suddenly being cranked up to four times their “new norm” of 300cfs (meaning they were above 1,200cfs) and the bass waters were starting to seem like good alternatives, despite being early in the season for these warm water fish.

The San Marcos

My first recent bass adventure was when i was headed down I-35 and suddenly realized that my wading boots (much needed footwear for the Guadalupe River) were still sitting in my back yard drying out. Equipped with nothing more than a rapidly deteriorating pair of Reef sandals, i decided to seize the last few hours of daylight by pulling off into the San Marcos area to wet wade with my 7’6″ 3WT, expecting to enchant a few sunfish to my fly, and nothing more.

With flows slightly higher than normal and many folks wading, paddling, and rope swinging into the pool i was desperately trying to work, my hope to catch a sunfish seemed like a best case scenario. After a few decent sunfish, i cast tight against the bank, stripped once or twice and felt my hook set into what i was sure was a downed log. After a few roll casts and tugs on my part to set the hook free, my line suddenly darted back and forth across the pool, with whitewater being kicked up left and right. Eventually the culprit, a healthy sized largemouth, came to hand seconds before i felt sure the tiny three weight would crack under pressure.

San Marcos largemouth.

A day later i took a cue from the budding Red Buds and headed out west to the Llano river in hopes of encountering the beginning of the annual white bass run. After slowly sifting my way across the seemingly endless sand i ended up near the junction of the Llano and Lake L.B.J (The Slab area). Although I’d been coming to this spot like clockwork for the last few years, the flows were higher than i was used to, making the deep pockets much less obvious and all but eliminating the sight casting i’d become used to in years previous.

After hours of wading, casting and cursing, i ended up on a familiar sandbar casting into a four foot deep bend working the Hill Country Clouser (from Sportsmans Finest) across the current with precious nothing to show for it. Confused i tried shuffling 15 feet above the pool and casting directly into the opposite bank, allowing the fly to sink enough that it allowed the fly to flow into the pool already scraping the bottom of the river, and just like that…BAM! Fish on!

I was so shocked at how well the minor adjustment worked that i spent the next three hours trying multiple variations on the theme, but unfortunately it seemed to be a one time deal, at least this time.

A few days later i met up with my good friend Nathan in south Austin, anxious to introduce him to some very fishy waters on Barton Creek that are easily accessible but seldom fished. Both of us recently purchased some tenkara rods from Tenkara Rod Co. and eagerly tucked them into our small daypacks before heading down into the heart of Barton Creek.

Making our way past the crowds casting tentative toes into the still cool waters, and the numerous dogs out walking their owners, we made our way to the special spot that i wanted to show Nathan. I was nervous, knowing it was still early for these waters, but still i hoped that we could somehow coax a fish or two out of the shadows just so my friend could see what these waters were capable of.

After a few casts into the shadows of a steep bank were met with little to no fanfare, a 2.5 pound bass (see title photo) visibly lunged out of the shadows, engulfed the wooly bugger and put such a bend in the Tenkara rod that i was convinced the rod tip was going to snap, although a passerby would be hard pressed to notice my concern since i was laughing maniacally. Needless to say, Nate now understands why i was hyping this spot up as much as i was, and i’m thankful to have a spot not only live up to, but exceed, the hype i built up around it.

Now is the time! The waters are coming alive and the fishing for bass will only get better over the next month, so do what you must, but get out there now and enjoy some of the best bass fishing of the year (on the flowing waters) before the heat sets in. They’re out there, and you should be too!