bass-on-the-ped-main

Two days off in a row.  It’s something many people take for granted, but in the retail / management world it almost never happens. After recent store floods absconded with my day off, it was an absolute pleasure to recapture that day, pack the Element and head to the Hill Country. The recent rains that had soaked much of Austin as well as my store fortunately meant that flows were once again back at Pedernales State Park, my favorite fishing spot in Texas and one that you should absolutely check out if you’ve never been there.

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Arriving at the campgrounds to find my favorite spot taken, i quickly opted for one spot over in hopes that it had sufficient trees for me to try braving the elements and imaginary danger by sleeping in my ENO hammock.  I’m sure this seems absolutely rediculous, but for whatever reason, the lightest and thinnest of tents is like some sort of safety blanket to me, protecting me from not only scorpions, snakes, and other creepy crawlies, but also lions, tigers, bears, and all sorts of other things that bump in the night, where the exposure of a hammock causes me to feel like i’m going to be hauled off in the middle of the night by bandits riding on the backs of grizzlies.

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After quickly setting up camp, i headed down to the base of the falls and started flogging the water like a madman.  Working my way down from the big pool at the base of the falls through some fast water and down into some of the more secluded pools i was bummed to continuously feel nothing on the other end of my line.  It was shocking to say the least that all this gorgeous water was flowing with nothing playing in the flows, but memories of the last few years reminded me that these waters and flows have been more or less non-existent for the last few years and now there are is a ton of water but few survivors to enjoy the opulence temporarily provided.

Making my way back up to the narrow chute of whitewater at the very base of the falls, i was flabergasted to catch four bass, in a quick 30 minutes, each getting progressively larger in size, like some Russian nesting doll operating in reverse.

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Reeling in the first and smaller of the bass (above), he quickly became a streamer fly for a much larger bass easily four times his size that was trying to inhale him with  aplomb and vigor.  It all happened so quick that the larger bass actually had my smaller catch halfway in it’s mouth before i jerked the little guy out of the maws of death just as he surely thought himself to be bass jerky.

On the very next cast, i managed to land the fish in the title image that seemed like a powerful adversary as he used his moderate but impressive girth (this is after all the Pedernales, no the Colorado river, so sizes are all relative) to bend the 5WT a decent amount and get me fairly excited.

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However, as mentioned above, the fish seemed to strangely expand in size with every tug, and it was the fourth fish that thoroughly rocked my world.  With the Clouser dropping like lead, and the line suddenly going taught in the whitewater, i figured that i had hung up on some of the debris that surely washed down during the recent flood.  As the bass bolted into a side pool with obvious intents on cutting the tippet on an obviously sharp rock submerged just a few feet below the surface i struggled to try and apply the brakes, digging the butt-less end of my 5WT into my hip and quickly feeling two thoughts at the same time; 1) I need a 5WT with a fighting butt. 2) These flows and this fish in particular were rapidly making me feel under gunned.

Snapping a photo of the bucket mouth, releasing him, and watching his wake part the water above him, i felt eternally grateful for the exciting moment that we both shared.  It was a feeling that continued for the next couple of fish less hours before sunset and through out the less than remarkable day that the following day would bring.  Oh well, it’s for moments like that bass tearing my line off the reel that we all fish for, and at least i got to have one.  It’s also a painful / pleasant reminder of how wonderful and productive our local waters can be if we’d could just get out of this drought…

Oh yeah, i’m finally over my tent / hammock fear, so i’ve got that going for me.

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