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Category Archive:   Texas Ponds and Lakes

Normally i’m a person that likes to hoof it solo along the creeks and rivers surrounding Austin, partly because of the fact that i’m 40 and need the exercise, but mostly because of the simplicity it provides (as well as my deep seeded nature to be in charge, all the time, the curse/blessing of the Eric name).

However, after a recent excursion with Winston, on the Bull Creek area in his decked out canoe (yes PVC rod holders, and a small trolling motor qualify it as decked out in my book) i’m starting to wonder if there isn’t an equally care free and interesting way to spend a day fishing.

While i will always enjoy catching palm sized sunfish on a one or two weight rod on a small creek, i think i managed to contract a bad case of the “Big Fly, Big Bass” that night. Taking turns guiding the canoe while the other cast from the bow, deep into the shoreline, waiting for the proverbial “SMACK” and all the action that it would entail, it felt an awful lot like the poor mans version of a professionally guided float trip.

It had cost nothing comparatively, but still at some point i mentioned to the boat captain that trolling around with the tiny motor, fishing for large bass, i felt at that moment like the richest man in the world. Maybe it’s just the relaxedness that comes with four decades on this spinning planet, or maybe it’s just the satisfaction that decent size fish can instill in you with each run and jump, either way, i meant every word.

As a long time reader of Alvin Dedeaux’s fishing report, it’s hard to look at these fish and compare them to the specimens routinely hauled out by a trained professional (thanks for raising the bar so high Alvin!), but at the time they felt like mighty beasts, hungry for a fight, if not a little revenge. Plus, being easily three times the size of my average fish, it wetted my appetite for bigger rods, bigger poppers, and bigger fish. Not that i will ever become a strictly “Big Bass Snob”, the Rio Grande are far to enticing for me to stray that far away, still…it’s good for a little variety, it is, after all, what keeps life interesting.

The point? Try something new, you just might like it.

I am so damn lucky. Not only do i have a wife that understands my need to fish, she’s also drop dead gorgeous, intelligent, funny and full of a seemingly inexhaustible supply of talent. (I know…i don’t know how i managed to land this gig either.)

Although she teaches German at a local Austin Junior High, she is an artist first and foremost. Having spent many years teaching both language (an art in and of itself) and art classes with AISD, she ended up with a group or artists (i like to pretend they are an evolved Tagging Gang) that recently put up a permanent installment on the retaining wall at Deep Eddy.

For those of you that don’t live in Austin, this is one of the many spots that “Make Austin, Austin.” If you visit Austin and don’t know anyone that lives here, you might miss it in favor of Barton Springs, but if you live here, or even know someone that does, you know that this is the spot to hit when Barton Springs starts to feel like a Three Ring Circus.

Many, many months ago my wife tried to explain the project to me and asked for permission to use some photos from this blog to create tile pieces for it. It’s hard to believe now after seeing the finished project, but i think i likely moaned and groaned at the time something about loosing creative control or some other inane crap that i seem to conjure up unwillingly.

Looking at the wall now, and the hundred or so fish of “mine” that adorn it, i just feel an immense sense of pride. Not because of my ability to land a fish and snap a photo, but because of my wife’s ability to take what is essentially a selfish act (me fishing) and turn it into something that provides others with inspiration or just happiness.

Of course it doesn’t hurt that she gets to create. For me it’s a tug on the line, for her it’s pulling a color soaked tile from the kiln. We all have our passions, and to me it’s just amazing and so unbelievably fulfilling to have both of ours intersect. There are MANY reasons that i’m grateful to be with my wife, but the ability to cooperate in creativity might be the greatest.

BTW The fish on the wall were all caught in Barton Creek around 2009-2010 before the drought really took it’s toll. I mention this because those fish could have easily have been washed down into Town Lake and swam around below Deep Eddy in the floods of last year, saving them from the drought. Pretty unlikely, but fun to imagine.

Things have been hectic at work and in my home life which unfortunately means that my fishing is currently taking a back seat to my responsibilities. It’s been over a week since i’ve fished and probably a couple since i’ve been able to do the wandering / fishing that helps keep my sane.

So when i looked at the clock yesterday on my drive to work and realized i’d somehow made it out the door early, i seized the opportunity and stopped along the Town Lake trail for a quick respite. With just a few minutes to fish, i fished quickly and efficiently. However, even though i was rushed, i felt like the calm in the middle of the storm. Being on the water and out in nature, even in downtown Austin has a magical way of doing that to you.

The temporary sanity was just what i needed. The fact that i caught a decent size sunfish on the 2 weight, got a little recon in, AND still made it to work on time, within such a tiny window was just a bonus. Carpe diem y’all.

*Not necessarily in that order though.

My comrade Ben and i finally got together again to wreak a little havoc in our own low-key way. Fishing with Ben is always a pleasure, he’s always pushed me in one way or another out of my comfort zone and steered me towards inner and outer adventures. So when he called and suggested doing something different, namely fishing the Colorado River below Longhorn dam, i practically leaped at the opportunity.

On an outing a few months back i arrived, poor lonesome me, to find that Lakeshore Park and Roy Guerro Park had closed all their trails and river access while they worked on improving both these parks. Luckily this day found both parks open and with PLENTY of river access open to the public. So much so that we stumbled on numerous gangs/posses/tribes of young individuals drinking and partaking in various forms of recreation all along the first few sand banks. Almost as surprisingly, we also chanced upon some rediculous flows, somewhere in the 2,500 CFS range that had submerged all but the most astute sand/gravel bars. Suddenly the “fishing trip” turned into a “scouting trip”, a fine distinction that fellow adventurous anglers will likely appreciate. For the unfamiliar, changing that one word “fishing” to “scouting” is the subtle distinction that can turn a ruined excursion full of profanity into a fact-finding trip that is almost enjoyable, even if the smiles are a little more forced.

With such high flows all the fish had obviously headed for their secret spots to contemplate the “end of the world”. After spending one hour hiking/fishing and catching one bass that was about six inches long, but having a great time exploring, we decided to head back to Town Lake, via the “Tunnel of Doom” that runs under Pleasant Valley next to the dam.

While Ben and i talked of all kinds of ideas and plans that not to surprisingly focused on fishing, i sat on the bank, casting my lure into the darkness. After about 20 minutes i felt something hit my line and watched it take off across the water, bisecting lights reflections that were playing on the water’s surface.

While trying to reel in the treasure, being careful not to apply to much pressure to the 2lb. line, it suddenly wrapped the line up in some submerged branches. Handing off the rod to Ben i jumped into the mysterious depths to unwind the line from the branches, i did NOT want to loose this fish after loosing so many big bass lately…fortunately it was only three feet deep, making my heroic leap into the void rather mundane.

However a few minutes later i was holding one of the larger bass that i’ve caught, possibly the 3rd biggest? I felt like a child holding the result of passion and luck. What a rush. The fact that i got to share the moment with a good friend made it all that much more special. Thank (insert god here) for friends, fish and flows, they’re priceless, and surely way cheaper than a shrink.