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Pulling down to the boat ramp where $100,000 boats were being backed in to the lake via their $60,000 rides i felt completely out of place as i waited for my turn to unload my beat up paddle board off of my worn and depreciated Element. It was an unfamiliar scene for me for sure, a world of money, privilege and luxury unimagined by folks living just a few miles downstream from the boat ramp. What the hell though, i had wine and i had time, since the bass wouldn’t be biting for a while, so i simply sat on my tailgate and watched the parade or prosperity proceed until it was my turn to slip in.

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Paddling out across the lower end of Lake Austin, i instantly made my way across the width of its waistline to Little Bee Creek to revel in its steep limestone canyon walls, abundant ferns and ceaseless spring water pouring forth from the seemingly solid wall. In the past i’ve encountered decent size bass here as well as copulating couples, but this time, other than the saturated scenery, nothing was biting…or humping.

Puzzled by the lack of activity i slowly made my way up the main Bee Creek, working every square inch of the elaborate and exotic boat docks that i could find. Poppers, floating lines, streamers, sinking lines, split shot, etc., nothing seemed to be able to change the fact that the Fates wanted me to get skunked.

As the desperation to catch a fish quickly dropped with every empty casts, it was suddenly replaced by a hunger of food and drink. With the thought of a guaranteed satisfaction swelling inside of me, i adjusted course and made a b-line for Hula Hut (an Austin institution located on Lake Austin).IMG_5472

Thirty minutes later i was enjoying their signature appetizer, the stuffed avocado, along with a decent glass of white wine on the dock and fixating on what i had done wrong to get skunked. Right about that time i glanced over to see a mass of corn chips being ejected over the railing by a party calling it quits. As the chips landed like clouds on the still water they were quickly inhaled by 6 to 20 pound grass carp that were circling the water like sharks on a blood binge. “Well hell.” I thought as i started tossing various foods over the railing, thinking of the various flies i had that might match tortilla chips, tomatoes, and the jalapeños they seemed so fond of. Eagerly paying my tab i made my way the short distance back to the marina which housed my small paddle board in the giant maw created for boats and people much more affluent and care free than i, and set out to make the most of the moment,

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A few paddles later i found myself nervously casting underneath the docks that housed hungry customers that wordlessly made it apparent that having someone fish under them while they ate their fish tacos was not one of the highlights of their day.

Working over to the other side of the pier i found less people staring at me as i made awkward casts trying to toss line underneath the pier and into churning water of chaos. Eventually i did hook up with one of the grass carp monsters, working the 6WT with much finesse to keep him from wrapping around the pylons, a move that they obviously pride themselves on. Keeping just the right amount of tension on the carp, i brought him within an arms length, dipping the net below him and barely brushing his tail fin with the basket. “BOOM.”

Just like that, the 10 lb. tippet snapped and my fish was off jostling his way back through the crowd of fellow carp to enjoy a freshly fallen sprinkling of salty chips. Freed from the skunk i too set off as the sun was vanishing, into the anarchy of Austin traffic, imagining corn chips raining from heaven, every automobile a hungry carp fighting for sustinence.

Don’t forget, opportunities abound, they might just not be what you expect.

Now if i could just figure out how to tie some tortilla flies.

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