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Category Archive:   Texas Rivers

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.


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.

Okay…I’m officially done with the Trout on the Guadalupe. The last 3 times i’ve been there i have gotten skunked. So that’s it. No mas.

Of course i will go again, it’s just that by saying i am officially done with that stretch of river and it’s inhabitants, i am telling all that i don’t need to catch anything there. And i’m cool with that.

The water is WAY to low, 44CFS, the water is to clean, the ospreys have eaten their share, to much sun, p2190001to much angling pressure, poachers are ruining it all. There are a lot of valid reasons i could use to explain why i didn’t catch ANYTHING, but the following is my hypothesis that i worked on all day while casting to wet water. I CAN’T catch hatchery fish, they are born and raised body to body in chutes with their food flowing to them on the artificial current. Couch potatoes watching television while snacking on junk food comes to mind. 

No. The fish i catch are born and raised in a difficult world that rewards that are cunning, resourceful and let’s face it, lucky. They might be the native trout of New Mexico, Colorado, or Oregon. img_33353The SeaTrout and Red Fish of the Gulf Coast. The sunfish and bass, gars and cichlid that call Texas home year after year. I’d prefer to catch them, the wild fish that have existed for generations in the creeks and pools that abound around here, before stalking some pellet raised snob that doesn’t even know how good that Trico imitation might be. Spoiled Trout.

To this affect i finally received B.L. Priddy’s “Fly Fishing the Texas Hill Counrty” in the mail today. I decided to go with the old school original instead of the new version with all the GPS sites and up to date information because, well, it’s the old school version. Coordinates and all would be nice, don’t et me wrong, but i hope with the older version to spend many hours circling around trying to find that elusive spot that coordinates with my written directions. It will make finding that spot just that much more special.

Speaking of special, i finally found GRTU site 6b. If you’ve ever looked for it you know how special that is.

Okay so the title for this post is from N.W.A. lyrics. It just popped in my mind when looking at my only true catch p20500011from the Guadalupe this week. Halfway through my day weekday off, which means time spent alone on the Guadalupe, i was adjusting the strike indicator on my leader. The dropper fly which i believe was a size 22 Prince Nymph caressed the water for barely a a second before “wham” this tiny fingerling attacked it and took it in regardless of the fact that i, a giant to the fish, was right there. The one fish that i held all day and i didn’t even have to cast my line.

I learned a lot today. At some point later in the day it dawned on me. If the person working the fly shop, who is one of my favorite people by the way, has told everyone that a Chartruse Egg Pattern with a size 22 RS2 is the way to go then—-everyone is hitting the water with the same set up—-then the fish are biting on these—-then they are remembering getting stung the next time they see them—-then i am standing there like an idiot casting to fish that know better. It’s my fault of course for not improvising on the spot. I did improv on the spot today and it should have paid off better than it did. I was basically standing on a gravel bank at the L&L fishing a two foot deep seam when a trout leaped in the air 30 feet to my left in the DEEP pool going after something riding the surface. I had just switched it up and tied a size 8 Wooly Bugger that i tossed quickly to the ripples…one strip, two strip and “BAM” a hog started taking my line with abandon i went to set the hook and unfortunately lost him. As i reeled the fly in, all i could thing was “Damn what i do wrong THIS time.” However he was simly to big. The hook had been snapped clean off in the midst of the fight. Needless to say i’m going back this week with a bigger fly.

PS Here is the perfect one day vacation for anyone living in the Austin/San Antonio area.

1) Wake up early to make it to Sattler and grab a Kolache from Sweetie’s Donuts by 10AM.

2) Hit the trailrace between Canyon Lake Dam for an hour and consider whether or not to img_3319keep the trout you catch, then let them go regardless.

3) Spend the next 5-6 hours fishing ANY PLACE BUT THE LAZY L&L!

4) Head into Gruene by 5:30 so you can hit Gruene Outfitters before they close and ask what you did wrong/right while enjoying a beer they are almost sure to offer you.

5) Mozy across the road, literally, to the Texas Wine Tasting room. Enjoy three FREE tastings then order a glass to take outside.

6) Find a nice picnic table, light up the headlamp (the Princeton Scout is great for this), crack a book and read.

7) Relax, you’re in heaven.