Not only does Texas have some incredible fishing, it also has some amazing talents. One of those folks is Davis Finn James, an individual that is wildly adept behind a lens. Luckily for us Texas anglers he recently decided to share his fishing short “Come and Take It” with the public via Vimeo! It features fish, friends and some great camera and production work from Davis. Check it out on his Vimeo site and be sure to leave a comment there (trust me, people that work hard on stuff love to get feedback…wink, wink.)
After taking a year off, the Guadalupe Trout Unlimited chapter is bringing back the annual Troutfest. This year finds the festivity relocating to the Lazy L&L campgrounds (secretly my favorite spot on this stretch of the water) from February the 17th thru the 19th.
Whether you’ve just taken up fly fishing or are a seasoned veteran, this event is a great way to learn new skills, try out gear, or simply catch up with fellow anglers from all across Texas.
For more details on the event or volunteer to help make it the best year ever, visit the GRTU Toutfest site.
We’ve finally found a place on the virtual city map that feels like home for a small business blog trying to sell simple wares. Thanks to that arrangement we’re back to offering trucker hats for $15 as well as including a free sticker pack of all our stickers and one bonus one from one of our friends (Patagonia, Simms, Orvis, et. al) with every trucker hat or coffee mug!
See the widget to the right or go here for all of your options!
Steelheading’s patron saint has got to be Sisyphus, the ancient king of Ephyra who was punished for his vanity and deceitfulness by being forced to roll a giant boulder up a hill, only to have it come rolling down the hill again, an action that he would repeat for all of eternity. Lamenting his struggle and the obvious connection, i cast, raising the tip abruptly, tracing the outline of the “D” with the 12′ rod, followed the imaginary rim of the sombrero, and set my anchor before launching the streamer halfway across the Deschutes. After the tell tale splash i watched the line like a hawk, making sure to keep all of the bends out of the line, just as my brother had instructed me. It was an action i repeated over and over ad-nauseum like Sisyphus, the only change in pattern being that i worked my way downstream a few feet after every cast, in hopes of covering every last bit of roaring water between me and the next riffle or bend.
It’s an extraordinary thing, fishing for steelhead. It’s about the polar opposite of fishing in Texas where you can usually avoid a “skunk” just by tying on a smaller fly and targeting a panfish, Rio, or what have you. Steel head fishing is all or nothing…period, there is no hedging your bets, you either get one or you don’t.My brother David, a first class steel-header who also happened to be our local guide had informed me on the drive in that the fishing was at an all time record low. Up until this trip he’d fished 10 days in a row without a bite, and he knows what he’s doing. Upon hearing this i immediately tossed any chance of catching a steelhead right out the window, it’s hard enough when things are perfect, and apparently conditions were far from that.
Strangely enough i managed to hook into one of the quarry midway through the first day, but was foolish enough to allow it the luxury of the deep water and fast current. Breaking it off and glancing at my brother who had been trying to wave me to shore i suddenly had the sinking feeling that i had royally screwed up. Reeling in the taut-less line with ease all i could think was “Ten days of nothing leading up to this and i let that one slip away.”
Fortunately our luck turned around the next day, starting with my father hooking into a 40+ pound salmon that quickly let him know that it wasn’t in the mood to play by breaking him off. Encouraged by the simple act of a hook up, we scoured all the best spots for the rest of the day, eventually making our way back to the parking lot as the sun retreated to the other side of the hills. Making our way back after a long day and within minutes of the parking lot i scurried down into one of the more popular runs, spey rod in hand and quietly hoping to at least feel a tug after a day of nothingness. Shooting the line half way across the river i felt like a matador, constantly leading the line to the left in a graceful arc of posibility. I worked it out of the main current, fleetingly along the seam and towards the submerged rock. As it passed through the cushion in front of the submerged boulder the line shot out of my guides, the surprised reel humming and my knuckles getting smacked relentlessly by the blur of a knob.
My eyes scanning the implied direction of my line, i was surprised to see my steelhead jumping like a madman 50 yards upstream from where i thought it was. Panicked and wary of repeating the previous days mistakes i called to brother for guidance. Like a pro he delivered, walking me through the steps to help land a fish that was easily eight times the size of anything i ever catch around here. A memory to be sure.
Fortunately my brothers generosity was repaid on the third and following day when he landed a steelhead minutes after we hit the water, and a second shortly before leaving. It was incredibly gratifying to see all his work in making this trip possible for my dad and i come to fruition in front of our eyes. I’m lucky to have such a wonderful brother / steelhead guide.
It’s hard to explain to non-anglers how one fish in three days can be seen as a success, but that’s the world of steel-heading. It’s a universe where the odds are inherently stacked against you, every failure or success is exaggerated, and where days can be compressed into minutes.
On the flight back, after a couple of complimentary Chardonnays loosened the gears, i put pen to paper as i ruminated on the experience. There were pages of thoughts, but this one seemed to sum it up best.
“Hundreds of meaningful but empty casts for one fish. One muscular, wild, screaming fish that felt the connection and tore the water asunder.”
Thank you David, dad, and the Deschutes.
Image from www.Kammock.com
I’ve worked in the outdoor industry for three decades, and while i’ve seen a lot of innovative stuff come and go i don’t think i’ve ever seen anything as cool as the new tent / hammock called the “Sunda” from local Austin company Kammock. It’s a two person tent when pitched on the ground and a one person haven when strung between two trees. They’re running a Kickstarter again (the same way they launched their incredibly successful company) which almost immediately reached their goal, but you can still get in on some sweet deals if you are so inclined. I can’t recommend this enough.