After work recently, i managed the near impossible, cramming a one hour fishing excursion in between the responsibilities i left behind at my job and those that would be waiting for me at home. For the second time in a few weeks i strolled the pedestrian path along Shoal Creek making mental notes of holding spots so that i can add a new entry to the maps page soon.

While catching numerous Redbreast and Bluegill, i was once again bewildered by the fact that these fish were able to survive at all in this environment. The flows on Shoal Creek are usually one of two things, either a raging torrent or non-existent depending solely on the rain, not to mention that it pretty much acts as a drainpipe for downtown Austin, with much of it being strewn with all manner of human waste and consumption. When one spots life  amidst all this it’s enough to put a smile on your face…even if no one is around to see it. (That smile can take on almost psychopathic proportions when one spots a bass over a foot long scurrying in and out of sight, glad nobody saw me looking like a Cristopher Walken extra after spotting a few.)

Languidly coming around a corner in the creek, i glanced down to see a sight i’ve come to know well, a sight that, at least for me, says summer is here. In stark contrast to the usual darker, undisturbed areas of the creek bed, you find majestic crop circles of rocks that look as though they’ve been polished by mermaids, and placed in circular mounds late at night by mystic fish wishing to signal aliens  that they welcome them with open fins. Truth be told, they are probably nothing more than spawning beds, but one can dream.

After the initial surprise of seeing the beds started to dissipate, i started to make out a decent size fish hovering over the darkest circle (you can barely make him out in the photo). Crouching down and crawling into position i chucked the 2WT line, tipped with a tiny Wooly Bugger, toward the opposite side of the ring, where it landed and was dragged back across the rocky pad. Instantly the fish attacked and proceeded to leap though the air like Michael Jordan on a cocaine binge. I worked the fish in quickly, in an effort to hurridly get it back to it’s nest un-exhausted. Bringing it to hand and snapping the photo op, i stared in astonishment, i was expecting one of the usual hardy suns, a Bluegill, Redbreast, or a Green, instead i’d landed my favorite local fish, the Rio Grande Cichlid.

Quickly getting the fish back in the water i couldn’t help but stare in fascination at it’s celestial markings, they seemed to glow like star maps, laid out on a living and breathing 3D surface. Walking back to the car, starting to get soaked by the oncoming rain, it started to dawn on me that maybe the connection between fish, spawning beds and aliens isn’t that absurd…after all, there are many worse things that one can believe in. Thinking that fish have a connection to the heavens seems pretty tame by comparison.