In reality i probably shouldn’t have been out wandering the shores of my beloved Pedernales. I had spent the previous week with an illness that found me slowly slipping back and forth between 14 hour days of sleep and walking around my work like a zombie trying to keep busy just so i wouldn’t notice how miserable i really was.
While i was lucky enough to acquire many wonderful traits from my parents, i was also unfortunate enough to inherit a healthy dose of stubbornness that causes me ignore the advice of others (“Go home and get some rest!”) and do what i think i need to do (“Strap on a 20 pound pack and head out to wade in a raging river and try and catch some fish dam it!”) despite the fact that i really probably should have waited for the illness to leave and the flows to get back down to something resembling normal.
This scenario played itself out recently when i hiked into the lower waters of the Pedernales with all intents of breaking up the monotony of the sleep/cough/zombie shuffle. Although flows were only hovering around 250CFS that’s enough of a flow in this shallow riverbed to turn the water into heavy flows from bank to bank. Pools that had previously been waist high and wadable were now over head high and full of such powerful flows that simply trying to stand your own was a chore.
Making my way along the shore i eventually found temporary reprieve in a small pocket out of the main current. Working the ubiquitous black Wooly Bugger through the mellow waters i felt a sudden tug that i figured would likely be an eager sunfish trying to scarf down a quick meal.
As the line went taut, i struggled to catch a glimpse of the sunfish only to find myself playing tug o’ war with a small gar that seemed a little peeved to have been fooled. I oohed and awed over the fish, snapped a couple of quick photos while informing him/her that he/she was my first gar of the season, a noble title to be sure, but the fish just kept eyeballing me without any discernible change in attitude.
Shortly after that spotted, and needle jawed wonder, i turned and headed back to the car, sweating, exhausted and seriously wondering if i could make it back to the car without passing out. Maybe everyone else was right and i should have stayed at home?
Not that there was ever really any question of course, the great thing about stubbornness is that it not only makes you want to prove everyone else wrong, it also makes you want to prove yourself right.
Exhausted but smiling, i made it to the car, returned home, laid down and immediately fell into an incredibly restful sleep where i dreamt of flowing crystal waters, lines tearing into backing, stalwart cypress, endless sand, majestic black spots and radiant, prehistoric golden scales glistening in the sun.
Maybe stubbornness isn’t always bad after all.
With all the recent rains we’ve had here in Texas the fishing is less than ideal, but fortunately there are an incredible amount of top notch fly fishing videos pouring fourth on Vimeo.
One of those amazing videos is “Welcome to Iceland” a great piece of art by the folks at www.brothersonthefly.com. It takes a careful look at the “catch and release” ethic (in flux in parts of Europe) while also showing off some amazing fish, scenery and camera work that will likely have you itching to visit this amazing land.
Those iconic fisherman at All Water Guides have put together a great video that premiered at the Fly Fishing Film Festival a week or so ago here in Austin. It beautifully sums up what this blog has been saying all along, namely that there are endless possibilities for fish scattered in and around the ATX area (and likely your own town / city if you just color out side of the lines!)
“Thank you.” to All Water Guides for making this video and helping tune so many folks on to local fly fishing around Austin! (Also, congratulations to the many friends featured in the video!)
If you have any sort of access to Spotify you’ll be able to enjoy this new playlist of loud, screaming music that is sure to get you and your co-pilots banging your heads so hard that you’ll likely stop worrying if you’re going to run out of gas before you make the next small town at dusk after a long day of enticing giant fish with tiny flies. It’s not for everyone, but for those that love the rabid intensity of metal, it’s a compilation sure to amp you up to eleven.
Listen to the playlist HERE.
An inspiring video on some amazing work being done in Guyana to help provide a livelihood for the local community while helping save the Arapaima and bringing them back from the brink.
It happens every year around this time, the previously dormant Barton Creek slowly comes alive again. Multi hued sunfish are once again seen striking the surface for any available morsel and active bass looking to put on a few calories can be seen lurking in the shadows ready to ambush any protein that unknowingly passes by.
Not coincidentally, this is the time of year that i find myself once again making my way up and down the many dirt paths and waterways of Barton Creek that i’ve come to know intimately over the years. There is something about spending so many hundreds (thousands?) of hours together that pulls me towards looking at this waterway more as a good friend with whom i’ve shared deep and intimate secrets, rather than a simple ditch pulling and pushing flows through it.
Over the last week i’ve been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time around and in this liquid temple and have been lucky enough to see these vivid waters start to flex again for the first time in months.
Some of the things i’ve learned in the last few days are;
- Sunfish are starting to hit the surface, small poppers kill it.
- Bigger bass are digging deep sinking streamers, they aren’t hitting surface flies yet.
- With last years floods much of these fishes plant shelter are gone, making the banks much more likely holding spots than the middle of the creek.
- There are significantly less consolidated fish post floods of 2015 than there were the last five or so years.
- They are far more scattered (due to the floods) than they have been in the past few years. Reports of bass from Lost Creek all the way down to Barton Springs Pool have been continuously coming in.
The ARE there, they’re just a little more difficult to find now that they have such a huge canvas of water to cover with their eclectic and iridescent mix of laser light colors.
A light rod, a variety of flies, and a curious nature will open up an entire world along these waters if you let it. Sure they’re tight quarters, but if you walk (wade) slowly, pay attention, and keep the commotion to a minimum, you might be lucky enough to have a quiet conversation with one of the many small members of the flock. Should your steps, movements and skills be sufficient you might even find yourself tied into one of the few “Pound Plus Priests” that seem to deliver their sermons in the deepest, stillest waters.
For me at least, Barton Creek is a special place to feel connected to things that are much larger than me, a mecca, temple, a shrine to all things watery and mysterious. The fact that these holy waters sit in the heart of this blossoming town is mind boggling. Luckily the waters are nondenominational, so feel free to visit them regardless of your beliefs, and bow to the fish as much as you can. They might just repay you with the best day of fishing you’ve ever had.
In a bit of perfect synchronicity, our new stickers showed up on the die Fiche doorstep today just in time for the Fly Fishing Film Tour tomorrow. If you can afford to toss me a bone or two for one that’s great, but if not just introduce yourself, tell me a fishing story and ask for one.
As soon as the FFFT is over i’ll be posting these for sale on our virtual storefront at diefische.myshopify.com. Stay tuned, there’s plenty more in the works!