Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Another season over...

 Our journey back home to Manitoba began earlier than originally planned. Due to an accommodation misfire, the fly rods, reels and flies were packed by March 3rd and we hit the road on March 5th. Bobbie found some driving energy and we hit our snow covered yard on the 6th. Whew, what a drive. Had another great year in the Texas hill country where I sampled all sorts of fishing and met many wonderful folks. Texas people are truly friendly!

Fishing was only average this year with my biggest rainbow just under 18" while the browns were planted in the Guadalupe on the day I left Texas. This year the sunfish co-operated in numbers and even a few nice bass were fooled by my flies.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Warm water on the Guadalupe

There has been little of note to report on my Guadalupe fishing since the last post. Rainbow fishing has been average, with some good days and some bad. Not the numbers of last year nor the size; my biggest to date is about 18". I'm not enjoying indicator fishing at all and direct contact fishing only slightly more. Streamer fishing, which I love, has been less productive than the former methods but has still resulted in some good days.

Today, I decided to fish further downstream on the Guadalupe, in areas where warm water fish are the norm and trout are absent. I also spent a bit of time on the Comal River, one of the shortest rivers in the world...a mere 2 miles long. It was there I caught a small sunfish that has been identified as a red-spotted sunfish. A new specie for me!

On the Guadalupe, did much better, catching over a dozen nice sized redbreasts and a few bluegills.

The scariest fish of the day was this Guadalupe bass. I was fishing a 3/4 wt rod for sunnies and the area I was fishing has several large bits of cover in the form of branches in the water. At one point the bass wrapped around a branch but a bit of slack, and a lot of luck, got him into open water again.

Friday, 27 November 2015

First Guadalupe rainbow and more sunnies

The weather has been hot and with water temps hovering in the 70 deg range, the fish are in an uncomfortable range and the stress of being caught can be fatal, especially if kept out of the water for pictures. Yesterday, water temperature sat at 69 deg and I jumped into my kayak and fished the tail of the pool near my home.

It was my first serious attempt at "direct-contact" nymphing with my new rod; a 3 wt Grey's Streamflex XF2 plus designed especially for czech nymphing or dry fly fishing. You can have a 9 1/2 ft dry fly rod or by including a 6" piece hidden in the reel seat convert it to a 10' euro-nymphing rod. I managed 5 rainbows to the net and 9 hooked. I suspect my high loss ratio came from the way I had rigged my split shot and I'll try rigging the flies/split shot differently next time out.

I also took along the Steffen 3/4 wt and again had a blast with the sunfish. I caught a number of bluegills and redbreast sunfish within 50 feet of where I caught the rainbows.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Cabela's CGR 2 wt or I'm a convert now...

The US mail yesterday dropped off another package, ordered in a vain attempt to assuage my thirst for glass. This time the package contained 2 rods from Cabela's; a CGR 2 wt and a CGR 7/8 wt. What to do? I was already in the anticipatory phase of Happy Hour and the morning's attempt at finding some stripers was already just a bad memory. After some difficult deliberations about the possible effects of missing Happy Hour and the onerous task of launching my kayak from the muddy banks below our rental property I found myself on the water with the 2 CGR wt, a Redington Drift 2/3 reel, a Hook and Hackle 2 wt WF fly line and a #14 wet fly.

The rod. I had whipped the rod back and forth on land as fishermen often do and was a bit dubious about the way the rod flexed. Even a slight flick of the wrist sent the taper into a bow right down to the handle. And that was without a fly line tugging at the glass from the backstroke. I needn't have worried, after only a couple of casts to get used to the slower action required the rod performed beautifully. Despite being in my new, slightly tippy SOT kayak and floating backwards toward some fast water I was able to place the fly accurately to within a foot of shore at distances of what may have been up to 40 feet. A less generous observer would likely say it was only 35 feet but why quibble over a mere 5 feet.

The fish. Here is where the rod expressed it's true personality! I only managed two bluegills before the darkness forced me off the water but each had me wondering how tarpon had found their way into the river. At least that's how I remember it today. Suffice to say each fish put a tremendous bow into the rod while telegraphing each tail thrust and circular dive in it's attempt at freedom. I couldn't be happier about the rod and it will be my go to rod for all "small fish" waters. It doesn't have the power at the butt to handle the larger fish that my Redington CT graphite 2 wt has but does cast more accurately at short distances and telegraphs any action at the pointy end better. This rod gets 2 thumbs up!

Thursday, 19 November 2015

We're back! And loving it already!

The Guadalupe flooded this year and damage all along the valley is evident. Clean-up crews are working at many sites and flows on the river are still very high, running at 634 cfs as I write this. Last year during my stay flows never breached the 100 cfs mark. But there is also some good good news in all this, the river is apparently full of stripers and I'll be looking for them in the coming days.

I've succumbed to a particularly virulent case of fiberglass fever and have ordered a number of rods in an effort to deal with my affliction. Yesterday the first rod arrived, a nice 7' 6" 3/4 wt Steffen built by Leiderman.

Where to check it out? The river fish are too big and the San Marcos and a few other rivers are running high and dirty so off I went to Fischer Park in New Braunfels. All told, I had a great day. I started catching onto the slower casting motion of glass and certainly had no trouble feeling the bites. I caught a couple dozen long-eared sunfish and what looked like a bluegill hybrid and sizes ran from tiny to smaller. Even the smallest sunnies put a bend into the rod and I must admit I now love glass after only one date. The one decent fish, about palm sized, missed the photo session when the camera operator failed to show up.


There is a downside to these sensitive rods. After hooking a big fish (and thinking I had on the Mother of all Sunnies) I let it run several times and after some close calls with some shoreline brush I finally spotted the fish. Ugggg, it was a channel cat and small to boot. The fiberglass rod had made it feel like a 2 lb. sunfish. On further reflection that might not be so bad after all.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Closing down for this winter...

Here is my second last fish on the Guadalupe; a nice feisty specimen that fell to a San Marcos River Nymph fished with my 2 wt. The last fish was my "teacher" fish of this trip. The 12" rainbow kindly pointed out that 2 wt rod tips, although having enough backbone to tame some heavy fish, still require a delicate touch and proper technique when netting a fish. A warning would have been sufficient but the fishing muses can be cruel.

This year I ended up fishing 3 rivers; the Guadalupe, the San Marcos and the Pedernales; all treasures that will hopefully be preserved for generations to come. Here is my home river, looking from my back yard on the day I returned. A casual glance will reveal that an ice auger might be a better fishing tool than a fly rod. But that will change in only a few short days. That's it for this year. Next year, if circumstance permit, will be spent in Texas or Florida.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Pedernales River sampling...

Sample? Yes it was and unfortunately, it only lasted about an hour. A special afternoon with new friends at their riverside home, a great meal, a dry Reisling, a 3 (or was it 4?) berry desert and the topper...an hour of fishing from the backyard. I managed 5 hook-ups and 3 came to the net. Of course the biggest and baddest fish was instantly lost but I still brought in those 3...one of which was a new species for me.

 The new specie was a red eared sunfish which put up a credible fight on the 2 wt.

My second fish was what we decided must have been a spotted bass. Toothy tongue, 10 dorsal spines, mouth ending near mid eye and spots below the lateral line.

The last was a little bluegill.

Our hostess landed a generic sunfish on a top-water fly, an event that capped one of those wonderful days we sometimes run into. She also introduced me to a 1 wt Sage SPLCA center axis rod that I instantly fell in love with. After viewing some discussions on the UL forum and being allowed to handle the above Sage I can see a 00 wt Sage of some sort joining my arsenal in the coming year.