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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.

It was a relatively early morning on Barton Creek this Thursday morning. I managed to make it out before 9:00. Fished “Pool 4” right from the get go. At first it didn’t seem as though anything was interested in the Wooly Bugger variation i was throwing their way. Eventually i was able to coax this Red Breast Sunfish onto my hook which made for an excellent fight. The colors on these fish never ceases to amaze me.

I also managed to get a slightly larger bass to hand. Any prominent markings were strangely absent but I’m thinking it’s a smallmouth bass. At 10″, it’s definitely  one of the largest basses i’ve caught yet, especially on Barton Creek.

The Rio Grande is by far my favorite fish to catch in Austin waters. The amazing iridescent colors have no equal in local waters. Their patterns hint at constellation maps lit by slow burning jewels pasted to their sides This one was a beautiful 9″ Rio Grand taken from the Secret Pool on Barton Springs.

 

p9210052_2I can’t believe i was lucky enough to head down to the bay so soon after the previous trip. On the first trip down i felt completely caught off guard and unprepared because it was so new. For this trip i felt much more mentally and physically prepared.

Ben, Andy, Adam, Wayne and Germain (dog) all met at the Labay Bay House late Friday where Ben and Andy’s dad Ed gave us the lowdown of the current conditions. The conditions were pretty much, “Mosquitos, muddy water…and mosquitos, with a 99% chance of mosquitos.” Later that night Andy presented Ed with a photo journal he had compiled and had printed. The book  was of the Bay House and the importance it had/has played in their family. Although i just recently met Ed it was nice to see that such a rock of a man could be moved by images and memories that were obviously important to him. After the photo book we all called it an early night in preparation of waking up at 5AM or so.

The next morning brought lots of Kolaches and fog which made our departure rather difficult since even on a clear day it takes a good hour to make it across Matagorda. p9200028The up side was that the last time i was here the waves were easily 3-5 feet high and were now only 1-3’. So we couldn’t see where we were going but the ride was quite a bit smoother this time. It was hard to believe i was the first one to land a fish, a small 12” Sea Trout that i managed to get on my line in the first 30 minutes that we were in the water. Unfortunately that was my only fish for the whole trip and none of us really landed much of anything because of bad water conditions. After an hour or so of not getting any bites we all made our way to the dunes so that we could crawl over and check out the beach. 

It’s really hard to do the scene justice since words are not my forte. As i came down on the beach my jaw dropped, as far as i could see up and down the beach there was a massive 30 foot wide line of debris. p92000081Ladders, buckets, televisions, porches, furniture, DVD’s, etc. All of it literally the fallout of Galveston’s run in with Hurricane Ike the week before.We all kind of just set off on our own rummaging through the chaos each surely thinking our own various thoughts. Mine pretty much revolved around Nature and her spiteful feelings about what we are doing to her and her eagerness to throw our waste back in our face as if to say “You deal with it for once.” Anyway, it was quite a site and something i hope never to see again.

Later that Saturday we headed back to the Bay House to grab all our equipment and head out to an island to set up camp in an area that we thought would be good for fish. Unfortunately it was bad for fish but good for the adventurous spirit.p9200040We set up camp on a small gravel peninsula jutting out from the tiny island and proceeded to pull out what little food, beer, wine and fireworks we had thrown in our bags. This was the point where the plan had been to have fish tacos but the bay apparently decided it should be health bars instead, luckily we’re all low maintenance so we pretty much just devoured the beer and wine around a raging bonfire made from debris courtesy of the hurricane mentioned above. As i grew tired and headed for bed i thought through my decision to camp a couple inches below everyone else only a few feet away on a bank of fine sand, the tide was at it’s peak and I’d be fine i thought as i drifted off to sleep. Of course i woke sleeping on what felt like a waterbed. The wind had shifted and pushed the tide up and now my tent was sitting two inches deep in the bay. But as a testament to the amazing engineering of Mountain Hardware tents, already my favorite, i have to say that there was not a drop…seriously…not a drop, of water in my tent. Thirty seconds later i was on higher ground and free from the bays sneaky ways. But i couldn’t sleep after that for fear of ending up at the bottom of the sea. How many people can’t sleep because of that? It’s spelled A-D-V-E-N-T-U-R-E…I LOVE IT!