I thought last week would be my last river trip of the year, but things worked out for me again this Tuesday. After sitting down on Monday and trying to figure out how I could make it happen, I opted for a quick trip down a stretch of river I haven't been in at least six years. Time wasn't going to be on my side. I needed to drop the kids off at 8am and get to the launch fast, or as fast as the speed limit will get me those 22 miles.
I had a full day of things that had to get done,
including giving a devotional at my kids school at 12:30. (Not something
I can be late for.) Then of course the afternoon was full as well. I
was determined, so off I went.
I get to the launch and
immediately feel my old friend, the wind, tapping me on the back. I
can't always have it my way, I guess. It was 33 degrees (brrrrrr for us
Texans) and a 15mph wind.
I remember this stretch of river as narrow and shallow in many parts.
Similar to the other sections, but less traveled because of the work
involved. But at the drop in, it's wide, deep, and filled with all types
of fun cover.
The wind was pushing me around and I think I got hung on every
underwater structure that was out there. At least a dozen times in the
first 15 minutes. I didn't remember all that being there, but as I said,
it's been years since I got the yak wet at this spot.
couple hundred yards, it went from deep and wide to narrow and shallow.
This was the first of many swift moving paths I would march up to get to
the next fishable pool.
Once I got through that, it stayed narrow for a while, and looked like
perfect fly fishing territory. Only problem is, i'm not what you would
call a "pro" fly fisherman. I'm sure there's plenty of people that would
drool over fishing in a straight away like that. Not me, not with that
canopy of fly stealing tree limbs. It would look like a Christmas
celebration with all my lures hanging from every limb like ornaments.
Of course when it does open up a bit, it's gets real, real shallow.
The next areas were beautiful and mostly calm. The wind couldn't quite
get it's hands around our throat this deep in woods. It was definitely a
give and take. More work, less wind. But oh, don't think for a minute
it wouldn't start howling the minute I want to start casting.
The river continued it's back and forth in between different depths, never staying too long before changing again.
The water seemed to get a little more attitude the further I went. It
was a chore getting in, out, in, out, and at this point I still didn't
have a fish in the boat yet.
I was starting to remember why I didn't go this route very often. The
temperature at this point was at 37, and my hands were getting a little
numb. I had gloves for this, but the constant dragging, pulling, pushing
had made them wet and a bit chilly. But I persevered and kept moving on
to bigger water and bigger hopes of that prized fish.
After all the work, I continue fishing the whole way through. Then,
without any rhyme or reason, I set the hook on what's possibly the
biggest bass in the whole world, and then...*snap*. What in the....hey,
where's my line, and where's my...ahhhh poopsicles.
It's been a long time since I snapped a rod. I guess it was just my
turn. Fortunately I have two more on board, so as heartbreaking as it
was, I could still continue. So after a quick eulogy for my dear
departed rod, I commenced to getting around my next hurdle...a rather
slippery and tree choked dam.
You might be wondering, "why bother going through all that work and now
you have to portage a dam too?" Well, check out what's on the upper part
of the dam. That's some prime fishing right there, that's why.
And look, I even found a friend along the way. Although he did choose to unfriend me shortly after this photo was taken.
I moved on up river, casting everywhere, determined to get some slime on
the yak today. Finally, a big hit...fish on. I reeled him in and
measured 19 inches. Yeehaw. I start to get the camera out of my pfd
pocket, but i'm having trouble. My fingers are a bit numb. So I lay that
big ol' feller on my lap for two seconds and get the pocket unzipped.
But while I did that, the bass had an uncontrollable urge to get back in
the water. It flopped hard and as I reached to grab it, it slipped out
of my hands, like a football lathered in grease. Plop. And away he went.
Leaving me staring at his tail-end swimming away. I went through a few
stages in a matter of seconds...denial, then anger, then more anger,
then depression, and finally acceptance. As I sat there enjoying a nice
pity party, I happened to see my watch. It was 11:15. Uh-oh. I gotta go,
and fast. I'm nearly 2 miles up a river I have to push, pull, and fight
to get back from and I need to be at the school in a little over an
hour. So just as quick as the bass darted away, so did I, back to the
I made great time and was loaded up and back on
the road by noon. It's amazing how fast you can go when you don't fish
every stump and lily pad every two feet.
I got to the school in
time, finished most my projects in the afternoon, and went to work for
about three hours. All in all, not my best day on the water or most
productive, but it was good to do a little scouting, and i'm happy with
this being the close to my 2014 season.
Plus, 2015 is just a few
weeks away and i'll be hitting the water in January, but it sounds so
much more dramatic if I say it's the last time I can get out this year. :)
Thanks for coming along,