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Archive for May 2018


Fly fishing is not magic. Like many things in life it can be magical, but it in and of itself is not magic, or at least that’s been my mindset for the last few months as I’ve suffered through some sort of “big fish ” deficiency while everyone around me has seemingly effortlessly racked up big fish after big fish.

Then I hooked into the first gar or the season, and as the water around it exploded with unruly frustration, the line went tight and the rod bowed slowly as remembering how to play a fish far outside of it’s capacity, I recalled that fishing IS magic.

Five days later (and still high from the first gar) I was at Pedernales State Park with my good friend Nate when we spotted a plethora of carp feeding aggressively in pool after pool. We spent a lot of time hiking but eventually turned our attention  to the waters inhabitants where we proceeded to collect a vast array of sunfish and Guadalupe Bass. Eventually I moved over to a black wooly bugger and started casting to the endless array of common carp, feeding and muddying the waters. After having my heart broken by having a Jurassic Park three foot carp pounce on my fly only to somehow miss the hook-set, I eventually snuck up on the beauty below, watching in the skinny water as it went for it and ended up running me out to my backing three times before eventually working it in to my net.

Landing that carp and lifting it from the net into my hands I felt like a magician suddenly pulling a rabbit out where before there had been nothing. It felt like absolutely pure magic, the way that fly-fishing should feel.

Finally finding a little free time to dive back into the fly fishing culture. Starting with the Thrasher magazine of the fly fishing world because…well, because it’s the Thrasher magazine of the fly fishing world.

Can’t go wrong with Southern Culture on the Fly!

I love Texas. I also love wandering.

Unfortunately less than 2% of Texas is public land, which makes wandering and exploring almost as difficult as trying to explore a distant planet. As a reminder to those that venture to far to far, barbwire is an ever-present deterrent around here. There are also a wealth of signs that practically beat one over the head with suggestions, warnings or out right threats that might or might not be enforced. All of which is to say, you never, ever know in Texas. You are equally likely to be greeted by a hand squeezed lemonade as you are a salt rock shot in the ass.

Unless you’re connected to wealth some of the best spots to meander in Texas are the state parks, which is exactly why I found myself at one of my favorite spots, the South Llano State Park.  I was here alone, in search of a couple of days of relative solitude in an effort to re-charge my batteries and squeeze in some fishing time that wasn’t book ended on either end by drives to and from the water. I’ve camped / fished here for years and have always found the park to be one of the more mellow parks, likely because of its rather limited amount of campgrounds as well as its distance from any major cities (it’s 3 hours from Austin).

Upon arriving  I started wade fishing the stretch that any person visiting the state park would decide was the obvious route. I ventured from the low water crossing (most upstream access at the park) all the way down towards the “Tube Exit” sign without landing a single fish. We’re talking hundreds of yards, all with no observable foot traffic ahead of me, multiple flies tried and not a single bite. However, immediately after passing the aforementioned sign I found myself hooked into the beautiful bass above that instantly put the 3WT through its paces and made the entire evening worth it.

The next morning I was on the water early, sliding the paddle board into the river at the second crossing, visions of an epic day of thigh length bass and endless pools of gullible, gaping mouths ready to inhale anything I through their way. The downstream wind quickly assaulted and aggravated, turning a leisurely upstream paddle into some sort of death march that if paused, even for a second,  would send me downstream faster than the current could carry me. The day was not what I was hoping for, the one or two fish landed were a small reward for hour upon hour of relentless paddling against a headwind.

Still, at least I was experiencing the illusion of wandering even if it was hemmed in by a limestone cliff to my left and a two lane highway a few yards over my right shoulder. I have to say though, if I’m going to spend my time constrained to a space of flowing water between two opposing banks of private property, Texas is where I want to do it. Warning signs be damned.

 

A wonderful celebration of the local fly shop. This dude is in it for all the right reasons! Support your local fly shop.