RSS Feed

Search...

Apparently my brother David flew down from Portland, Oregon yesterday. Obviously he was also fishing the same stretch of river that i was. Guess he caught one twice the size of mine (see previous post). Weird…i don’t remember seeing him there. Nice job David, next time point a couple out for me.

Wow. 

What a day. It was around 45-50 degrees today with some nasty wind making casting ridiculously difficult at some points throughout the day. Never the less, it was a beautiful day. It was after all the first day of Trout season for me today. Trout Unlimited and the Texas Parks have been stocking the Guadalupe below Canyon Lake since last Friday. It was my first day off since the stocking and i was hoping that the trout had had enough time to at least get slightly settled into their new place. Unfortunately a cold fron came in late yesterday evening that brought freezing temperatures and even some sleet to our neck of the woods. 

So it was time pull out the waders and thermal underwear. Time to string up the tandem fly rigs, and string up the strike indicators. And last but not least, time to fill the flask with a little port for the late afternoon numbness that was sure to set in.
I started off at Hueco Springs which was beautiful, but exceptionally low. This is where the TPWD stocks but i didn’t see any sign of fish except for a medium size sunfish that i coaxed out of one of the deeper pools. Things didn’t get interesting until i headed upstream to the Lazy L&L. It was there that i ran into a nice fisherman that gave me the tip “Midges…midges!” He was catching trout on size 24 midges and then tossing size 10-12 Wooly Buggers and still landing them. While taking a snack break some fly fisherman and an entire entourage loaded down with HUGE video cameras, sound equipment, etc.  showed up and pretty much took over the pools that i was working. It was pretty strange to see this stretch of the river go from two people to twelve people in the blink of an eye. I hope they got some good shots but geez, it was weird watching it be about the video instead of the fishing. At one point one of the guys was on the top of the cliff near me (snacking) pointing out to the “actors” where the fish were.

 

“No, no, no, a rod length in front of you…45 degrees to your left is a rock. There’s a 20 incher hanging out under a ledge.”

 

Hmmmmm….i’m sure it will all look great on the screen but it seemed like blatant cheating to me.

 

Anyway, after they all left the other lone fisher took off and it was just me. I worked my way back up to the pool that i had gotten some strikes on. After casting all day with practically nothing it was a little awkward when it finally happened. One second the strike indicator was there, and then…nothing. SET THE HOOK! Suddenly water shooting skyward with a Rainbow at the epicenter. Next thing i know my 5WT is bowing to the fish as if it was the second coming of Christ! YEEEEESSSSSS! As i brought the fish in close i saw that it was about 18-20 inches and solid muscle. It was probably only thirty seconds but it felt like forever as i stood there staring at the fish on my fly.

 I have no net so it just lay there in the water looking at me as the thoughts raced through my head. They switched from sheer astonishment, to thoughts of fishing limits, from bewilderment to thinking about the case for releasing all fish. And as my gears locked up the fish saw it’s chance and tossed the hook. I plunged my arm after it in the icy water, but he/she was gone. For a brief second i was so upset i could spit nails. But then i cast again and realized what that fish had given me. My cast was effortless and free of tenseness for the first time all day. The first trout had been caught, everything else for the next three months would just be icing on the cake.

Finally it was here. After waiting for close to a year the Patagonia Stormfront pack was here in my hands. Durable, waterproof and (it must be said) a little bit dull. I assured myself that this merely meant it was much less likely to be noticed by intelligent fish and the not so intelligent thieves lying in wait. But the important thing was that it was here and i had a full day off to enjoy it in the wilds where there was nobody around to care what it looked like…AMEN! So this last Wednesday i took it and the 4WT out to fish the incredible Pedernales River.

After spending a good part of the summer on a particular three mile stretch of the river i finally decided to ask the park ranger for their recommendation on the best area to fish.

Only one section i was familiar with crossed their lips. Two other medium sized pools as well as a very large pool at the base of the falls were mentioned. Although i’d explored the falls quite a bit before, i somehow had missed the large pool at the base of the falls that was about 50 yards wide and 80 yards long. It had incredibly beautiful blue/green water and a large sandy beach. I know where i’ll be next summer.

From the large pool i slowly worked my way downstream following the “deer trails”, a series of unofficial trail networks created by both human and animal foot traffic alike. What i originally thought would be a four mile trek in and back ended up being closer to nine miles. A lot of hiking with some fishing thrown in. Even when i thought i was in for a few miles i thought the Stormfront might not be a good idea for such a hike, but after nine plus miles i have to say that i utterly forgot it was on my back except for when i was hauling it through low lying thicket, and even then it fought bravely and came out unscathed.
The main joys of the day were the river banks carpeted in fallen Bald Cypress needles that were shaded of red and brown. Seeing some sort of bass the size of my leg sitting in about seven inches of water. I tried desperately to land him, but you don’t get that big by being caught. Guadalupe Bass working the currents like wise Trout.

Eventually finding the Sunfish that were so hungry they actually jumped out of the water and over obstacles to take a bead head wooly bugger. The crazy clouds that brought winds so violent that standing in place on the moons landscape (the Falls) was almost impossible, my rod actually started skating away from me on the limestone following the winds whims. 

***

I took my son Paolo to nearby McKinney Falls State Park. After a brief hike we set up camp below the Lower Falls where he could run around and i could fish with my 4 WT. As it turned out i had left my reel in the car so the two and a half foot “practice rod” outfitted with line and leader that is Paolo’s “fly rod” became the rod of the evening. I’ve tried half heartedly a couple of times before to catch something on this set up with no luck. I thought this was going to be the case again until i spotted a 5″ sunfish working a side current. On the second cast he ate the popper and had the “rod” bowing a fair amount. After unhooking the fish Paolo tried his hand at the roll cast i’m trying to help him perfect. If he hadn’t slapped the water so much before finding his rhythm i’m sure he could have landed a couple. But the fish were spooked and all it took was a couple errant casts to send them to the warmer and deeper depths. Oh well…practice makes perfect, by next summer i think he might be outfishing me.