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If you’re in a hurry i’ll start with the end. I caught a beautiful Guadalupe Bass today while meandering along miles of shoreline on the Pedernales River. If you’re pressed for time that’s the story…if on the other hand you, like me, have a few minutes before you drift off to sleep in your hammock under your Christmas lights then please read on.

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While Pedernales State Park may not have the best fishing around, it seems to be my spiritual center in  Texas. While i enjoy MANY other parks within a few hours of Austin, and even though many more have better fishing, i keep returning to this place, my personal temple if you will. I think it’s partly the Bald Cypress, the rapids, the pools, the intense sun, the sand and definitely the herd of goats that stroll by with Pan taking the lead…horns as crooked as his demeanor, my hero. Anyway, i like being there.

Today i ventured quite a ways down from the “Beach” and explored some of the deeper pools down there that i hadn’t seen yet. Strolling through green/blue water up to my waist with the sun beating me like i did something wrong, i felt like i was stalking the flats. The feeling would have been complete except the wind was howling and causing distortion on the waters surface. Regardless i was still able to make out shapes cruising by so large that i almost ran for the bank. Seriously. There are either EXTREMELY large bass and catfish in there or somehow man/women eating alligators were released in there by accident. Seriously…BIG FISH.

p30500092After a few fruitless nibbles i ended up shocked by the sight of a 12″ catfish on my black Flash Wooly Bugger. The fight was so different than anything that i was used to that i paused just long enough for him to throw the hook. If it feels like your fly just got back from the holidays, added a few pounds and suddenly gravitates to the bottom of the river, you have a catfish. 

That was pretty much the extent of the striking fish until the aforementioned Bass. In between the entertainment was helping lost ladies from Dallas get oriented back to their RV’s and being bemused by nude sun worshipers and their dogs playing in one of the most productive pools. The water is low, the carp don’t like you, the bass are wary and the sunfish apparently stepped onto some alien ship heading to the outer reaches of our galaxy.

Somewhere along here the day melted back in on itself and time seemed to stop waiting for me to notice it’s new nose job. The ripples on the water turned into miniature waves knocking tiny Trico sailing boats to and fro as they searched for gold on the sandy shores. The green water became so deep that i dived head first into the depths, holding my breath as Atlantis unfolded before my eyes…

Or at least it felt like that, i guess that’s what a large unspoiled, wild, sun soaked, temple of a place can do to you.

I’ve been slowly saving over the winter and finally purchased my 2WT outfit today. I ended up buying a Temple Fork Professional that stokes3is an 8′ three piece. I’ve spent WAY to much time researching all the possible rod and reel combos and finally went with the Temple Fork Pro because i have a 5WT model that while not “Super Special” at least is trusty and reliable. Thirty minutes after getting my outfit from a local chain, hint…it has lots of dead animals in it, i was on the water at John Stokes Park on the east side of San Marcos. 

I was worried that the 2WT wouldn’t be able to toss poppers, but boy was i wrong. Size 10-12 poppers were a perfect match and 6-8 just took a little practice. Within three casts i had a beautiful Red Breast on the line that put the rod to the test right away. It was exactly what i hoped it would be, an incredible fight with an 8″ sunfish that made the 4WT seem like a stiff, pretentious bore in comparison.  

Just like at Barton Creek yesterday there were young fish in schools all over the place striking this fly that was as big as they were. Get a school of fish together and they seem to think they’re indestructible. The most amazing part of the day was seeing the incredible spawning colors that the fish were exhibiting.

A couple years ago while snorkeling this river it decided to take my brand new $100 goggles p22600012as some sort of payment for revealing to me the secrets of it’s depths. Today it took my freshly stocked fly box of warm water flies. After retracing my steps three times i finally just through my hands in the air and decided that the river was in control of the situation.  I love this river so much but it’s turning into an expensive love. Anyway enjoy the flies if you find them…i recommend the “Sneaky Pete’s” in black, size 10.

After all the “No-Bite” days spent on the Guadalupe i decided to head to an old standby today after work for a couple hours of fishing. Barton Creek is an extremely popular Greenbeltbarton-creek4 that runs from the Hill Country out west right down to it’s confluence with the Colorado river in the heart of downtown Austin. Before moving here i’d never seen anything like it. The creek can flow right from a spring in the ground for a few hundred yards before disappearing all together below ground into it’s seemingly endless underground tunnels. It’s a creek that disappears and reappears according to it’s own whims. Most people visit the areas closer in, where it’s been dry for the last two years. As you go further up though there are pools that expand and contract drastically with the seasons. 

I’m kind of hesitant to even mention this area to the couple that read this site, but so far they all seem to live out of town so what the heck. I’ve been fishing what are essentially p22500081four pools for the last few years and in all that time i have only seen one person fishing, and that just so happened to be the first time i was there 2 1/2-3 years ago. The pools are crystal clear and the fish are probably the smartest i’ve encountered so far, i imagine that comes from living in pools that shrink from 50′ wide down to 5′ through the summer as well as all the herons, raccoons, and humans that are stalking these small and fragile pools. In my time fishing here i’ve caught Sunfish, Guadalupe Bass, Large-mouth Bass, catfish as well as my favorite, the beautiful Rio Grand. 

I headed out there today for the first time in about a month and was shocked to find pools 6-8 feet deep that only months ago had been MAYBE a foot deep. Back at the end of last year when it was at it’s worse i watched isolated pools quickly have their fish, large bass and Rio Garand’s, depleted due to shallow waters and lack of coverage. One year ago there were more sunfish than you could count, as well as quite a few bass larger than a foot cruising back and forth. I’m sad to say that there not there for the most part, but if you look hard you’ll find the occasional 12″ bass. Luckily today i did see large fresh school of Large-mouth fingerlings that hopefully will make it to the end of the summer if we’re all lucky and get some rain.

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This is a great book that i take with me when scouting new fishing areas. While the book is great in it’s own right, the website is spectacular as it allows you to break down the fish selection by drainage. It’s amazing the amount of fish located in a state with such fluctuating water levels. Lampeys, paddlefish, gar, Rio Grand’s, and even the Rainbow Trout…booooo.

Knowing someone that works on collecting this information for a living, it’s quite astounding that it can all be captured in such a notable book.

An incredible resource for any Texas angler. Check out the website here.