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Category Archive:   Warm Water Fish

Let’s see now, where was i…OH YEAH, trying to win a Diablo Paddleboard by coming in first place on the Texas Hill Country contest being put on by Texas River Bum.

Since getting back from my trip to Colorado i’ve managed only a couple of days on the water and most of those were about as unproductive as it gets around here. With the dog days of summer beating down on us, and the waters flows slowing to a trickle, it’s not surprising that the fish are hunkering down and lying low until conditions improve. But on my recent day off i couldn’t take the indoors any more and needed an excuse to get out and stretch my legs, besides, there HAD to be some fish out there feeding, maybe just not the fish that everyone is looking for (bass). Slowly the wheels turned, i remembered the contest and the fact that i still needed a carp, who love the sun and heat, to score some points. Ten minutes later i was out the door, and little more than an hour later i was standing in the middle of my favorite river, rod in hand and ready to get down to business.

Before Colorado i had taken the contest possibly a little to seriously (okay, way to seriously), a  symptom of my extremely competitive nature. However, during my stay in Colorado i hooked into fish after fish that offered me nothing more than the adventure and experience of being tied into the wildness of nature and life. It didn’t matter if i caught one fish or twenty, and so i was able to rediscover the joy of fishing just for the sake of fishing, something that i hadn’t done in a while. Now, as i stalked the shallow waters of the Pedernales, i was able to find a happy medium, being able to target the fish i needed with a concentrated focus, but at the same time appreciating the random small catch like this Rio with warmth and affection.

I guess that somehow my attitude pleased somebody or something out there (or in there), because after a few hours of hiking and fishing under the heat lamp of a sun i stumbled onto 30 minutes of fishing nirvana.

Rounding a bend in the river i chanced upon a couple of active carp that hadn’t noticed me approach, a welcome change from the 20 or so earlier that day that detected me before i even saw them. After casting a small black Wooly Bugger directly in front of the closest one, i found myself tied into 21 inches of stubbornness that took my 7’6″ 3WT and i close to ten minutes to land (top photo). It was an incredible rush as i netted my first carp of the year and snapped all the required photos to enter him for some points all the while thanking him for allowing me to catch him.

No more than fifteen minutes later i was targeting a drum lurking in a deep pool a few yards away. After a few cast i stripped the line, watched the Bugger lunge forward, the drum suddenly spotting it, accelerating rapidly to strike and looking bewildered and confused as a mysterious shadow shot up from below and stole the Bugger inches from the drum’s mouth. Reeling in the thief i was shocked to find a channel cat was the culprit. BINGO, one of the other species i needed.

Releasing the fish i suddenly felt giddy, so much so that i started laughing a little eerily out loud. In less than 30 minutes i had landed two of the species i needed, and most importantly, both were caught happily and merrily, without the dying sense of urgency that previous fish in this contest had been caught (other than the gar, that was an immense joy).

With the sun beating down (103˚ that day), and my water depleted i reluctantly ended the awesome fishing streak and started the two mile hike back to my car, after all, passing out dehydrated where nobody knows you are is a sure way to loose a contest. Passing the remaining half of a Tarpon kayak i had last encountered broken, battered and beached here over two years before, it dawned on me how fast the time goes. The kayak encounter seemed like a year but was actually two. The last carp? Seemed like a few months but had been close to ten. Up until then It seemed like i had all the time in the world to fish and win, but it suddenly dawned on me that it’s really little more than two months, that will undoubtedly pass by in a blur. But it can be done, i just need to keep myself in check, bring more water, and above all else, remember to smile.

After returning from Colorado a week or so ago i was stunned to see that the many plants in my yard had gone berserk with new growth, happy victims of some hard rains while i was MIA in the Rockies. Unfortunately even a few heavy rains can’t break the stranglehold that the drought seems to have on this part of Texas. If you need proof that we need water, all you have to do is paddle the normally flowing Colorado River, marvel at the lack of flow, and the abundance of plant life now vying for space on the water’s surface.

That’s exactly what i was lucky enough to do recently with a wonderful group of people on a recent day off. The day started early at the always helpful MOC Kayak just a ways below Longhorn Dam on the east side. Although it was early, the entire crew of folks seemed to be in good spirits, hoping for a great day of fishing.

Other than the super rad folks i got to spend the day with, the highlight for me was getting to fish for gar in a wide deep pool that i’d actually been dreaming about since my last visit there. It should have been much more fruitful, after all, just like last time they were surfacing left and right, gulping air and diving quickly, but unfortunately it wasn’t in the cards. I managed to get ten or so to bite but was only able to get one huge fella, around four feet long, to run with the hook for a couple of minutes before casually dislodging it and tossing it aside.

Not long after that i managed to lose a good size Guadalupe in the same spot that i had caught one on the previous trip, bummer upon bummer. Rounding a corner in the river i headed to a spot that FINALLY offered up my first actual catch of the day, a feisty 16-18″ largemouth that skated and flipped across the water like a teenage gymnast on meth.

As much as i would love to steer business to Danny at MOC, i have to say that now is not the time to be hitting the Colorado. However, if we get any rain in the next month or so you might want to call ahead and book him before everyone else does. The fall, and the bass fishing, aren’t far around the corner, and in case you didn’t know, it’s stellar.

Thanks to Rob, Ron, Banning, David and especially Jose for the awesome dinner and conversation at Shady Grove.