Watcha Want?

All right folks, die Fische wants to hear from you, so crack those knuckles and get ready to tickle your keyboards. In an effort to step up the quality, layout, and abilities of this blog, i’ll be taking it pro over the next couple of weeks with a whole new layout and set of features.

As part of the huge revamp, i’d love to know what sort of features or information your looking for. Google fishing maps? Videos? Product reviews? Stories on adventures? A store with “die Fische” hats and stickers? Photos? More Twitter and Facebook updates? Stories from other contributors? Do you read the blog on a PC, iPad, or smartphone? Water levels? Etc.

Feel free to “comment” and leave as many suggestions (good and bad) as you have. As anyone that writes a blog knows, a lot of time you’re writing in a vacuum with “stats” as your only indicator on peoples feelings about your work. Instead i’d like to open this blog up to you and tweak it (as much as i can) to your interests.

Please ponder and respond so i can help make this something special for the Austin (and beyond) fishing community.

petri heil,

die Fische

Fishing With Pan

As i walked out of the house and headed to the Pedernales (again) i had that nagging feeling that i was forgetting something. I had the rod, reel, fly boxes, two tons of water, AND the net, but something had obviously been left out of the kit. About one hour of driving and 30 minutes of hiking later i realized what it was, the Gar flies i had made out of nylon rope! I realized this because at that moment of realization a three foot long Spotted Gar was about two feet from my knees and obviously interested in me since it was cruising straight at me in an unsettling way. Without hesitating i tossed my Shallow Water Clouser between the fishes trajectory and my quivering knees. With a slight twitch of the rod the unbelievable happened. Suddenly the Gar was jetting away from me shaking it’s head violently as though it were listening to a Slayer album…oh yeah…it also had my hook embedded in it’s head banging, bony  jaw.

The whole thing lasted about 30 seconds, and eventually the dashing, tail walking gar snapped the 5lb. test tippet like it was thread, before absconding with my fly. Damn.

Luckily i’ve spent enough time on the Pedernales to know that this would surely only be the beginning of the many surreal curveballs the river would throw at me. If you’ve never been there, let me just say that fishing at Pedernales State Park is ALWAYS like dropping down the rabbit’s hole. I have yet to walk away from a day fishing there without having some sort of crazy SOMETHING happen. (Don’t believe me? Then check out this report at Texas River Bum of fellow anglers Brandon (One Bug is Fake) and Shawn (Lines in the Dirt) and their first time adventure in these eventful waters.

Expecting strangeness, i was only half surprised to spot and land the biggest Drum i’ve landed yet. If you’ve never fought one, you owe it to yourself to get out there now and try it. If a Guadalupe or Trout fight like a Mercedes, then these fish fight like F150’s. On a 5WT they are fun, but on a 3WT they take the fight to a whole different level.

A few bass later the river took strange to a whole different level when i was trying to land a Guadalupe Bass. While fighting the fish i glanced over my shoulder to check out some “clacking” i heard on nearby rocks. As the fish took my line, i saw a herd of goats working their way to me. I’m not a total nervous wreck (maybe) but being submerged in the water up to the waist, having a decent size fish jump all over, while watching good size beasts with horns approaching you at eye level can be a little intimidating to say the least. (CRAP! DO THEY GORGE THEIR PREY?! CAN THEY SWIM?! ARE THEY DEADLY?!)

As i stood up, they left, but still somehow managed to leave some sort of psychic imprint on the day with their unexpected appearance, so much so that i honestly wasn’t even remotely surprised to land a gorgeous Channel Cat, and a few decent bass after their appearance.

A few hours later and empty handed i started thinking about the heat and the laws of diminishing returns. I should have enjoyed my luck and left early on, but something about the day kept me going even though all signs were saying i should leave. After a few hours of nothingness it became apparent that i had over stayed my welcome and i headed to the car. As i walked the long trail back i started getting frustrated with the fact that the trail kept shifting slowly 40 to feet to the right before slowly heading 40 feet to the left, the heat and exhaustion taking over. As the trail became less trail and more vision i started to see Pan (the goat) and all the fish i had caught that day dancing in a joyous circle dance in front of my eyes, hooves and fins raised in joyful celebration. Truthfully it was quite beautiful, but i’m here to tell you that it was the heat messing with me like no other.

My advice? Get out early, and then get out of there early.

Seriously. (Unless you like having visions from heat exhaustion.)

Deja Vu

Three o’clock in the afternoon, with the temperature hovering around 106 degrees, my incredible wife, who knew i was starting to fray at the ends, asked me, “Want to go fishing?”

My brain reeled at the idea of heading out so late in the day with the sun creating such mind numbing heat. But my piscatoral addiction seemed to embrace my vocal chords in a giant bear hug, managing to squeeze the words “I’d love to go fly fishing!” out of the perplexed sound tubes.

And so it was that i found myself back in the same spot that i had been just a week before, where i had broken on through to the other side and caught my first Carp (as well as a menagerie of other freshwater species). The only difference was that this time i had come armed with my 7’6″ 3WT instead of the 10′ 3WT that had helped me achieve so much personal victory the previous week. The idea was to get the ultimate fun out of a good fight, while simultaneously keeping my fly out of the low overhanging branches that lined this one particular stretch of water.

It didn’t take long to spot and snag a Drum that was identical to the one from last week, if not the exact same fish. The two and a half feet of missing rod (7’6″ vs. 10′) made the fight seem twice as burly as it had the week before. The runs and mad dashes were so intense i started sweating more from excitement than the 100+ heat.

An hour later i had moved into position and had spotted a feeding carp cruising the shallows. As i used my new-found Heron stalking skills, i slowly crept toward the fish, keeping as much to the shadows as i could. Shaking with anticipation i tied on a small brown Wooly Bugger that i managed to lay right in the cruising fishes path. As i made some super slow strips that cruised right by the left side of his head i suddenly saw the fish stop, turn and lunge for my fly. And just like that it was fish on!

As we danced together all i could think was “PLEASE do not me loose this, it’s to good to be true.” Keep in mind that a week ago the carp that i landed was something i’d been trying to do for years, so to have my second carp EVER on the line just a week later was intensely magical.

As i stumbled back to the car with the light of day quickly being replaced by the darkness of night, and feeling exhausted from the sun, heat and excitement, i thought the following to myself.

Once is luck. Twice is me actually knowing what I’m doing.

Than again, it might be nothing more than just REALLY good luck.

15 Minutes

Man, what a ride. A couple of weeks ago i woke up to find that the previous day this blog had over 1,000 hits, far above it’s usual amount. At first i figured it was some sort of error or malicious spamming. While i checked my comments it slowly dawned on me that something out of the ordinary had happened. As i approved comment after comment, all seemingly devoid of the usual spam comments in such cases, i realized that this blog had been featured on the landing page for the blog provider (wordpress.com) i use.

The first day and a half it felt amazing to be recognized by the staff at WordPress for meeting at least a handful of their Feature Blog guidelines, quality, content, grammar and decent images. Approving comment after comment from around the world that provided positive reinforcement was quite exhilarating to be sure. But quickly the comments from the other side of the fence came flying in that aren’t even worth elaborating on, suffice to say that people that didn’t fish, had looked at a few images, read a few lines and jumped to assumptions about me and my ilk displayed the usual lack of tolerance for people other than themselves.

I only mention this because my stat board has finally readjusted itself to my usual numbers, and the comments coming in are once again full of insight and intrigue. I don’t need the adulation, and i surely don’t need the negativity and hate speech. I’m happy just to be a part of a community of people that are curious enough to venture out into nature regardless of personal discomfort or drought induced handicaps, only to return inspired by what they found, and willing to share it with strangers as if they were close friends.

Thanks for being there,

die Fische

Carp Numero Uno – Video


The video isn’t very good, and the fish isn’t the biggest carp ever caught (not by a long shot). It was however a huge notch in my fly fishing belt and something that i thought i’d share for inspiration. If i can catch one of these, you can too.

Fishing by me, camera by Uli, music by Manos de Agua.

The Graduate

Every now and then all the things you’ve read, watched, and heard seem to magically come together. The moment seems to slow down and things that up to then had been wrought with frustration and failure seem to happen effortlessly, almost as if of their own accord.

Pulling into Pedernales State Park recently , i had the feeling that this might be a good day after spotting a Roadrunner, two Jack Rabbits and three deer crossing the park road in front of me, all within less than a minute of driving.

Having arrived just as the sun was starting to loiter on the water, the temperature actually felt bearable, which is saying a lot since 100+ has been the norm around here for the last two months. After having my last visit here cut short by an involuntary body piercing, i’d returned with the same goal as before, I WAS GOING TO CATCH A CARP. I’ve actively been trying to catch one for the last couple years and half heartedly for the last five. Granted, most attempts were usually aborted when i saw a bass hitting the surface, but this time would be different, NOTHING was going to distract me from my mission.

The magic started when i saw a Drum, possibly the one that taunted me last time, sticking out visually with it’s telltale fin fanning the water as it cruised within casting range. Spotting the fish 20 yards away, i let the size 18 nymph fly and sink just a couple of feet in front of it’s feeding path. Seconds later i was astonished to land the Drum in my net, sight fishing on the Pedernales was on, and it would only get better.

Stalking the sand beds, i could spot the Carp easily, cruising back and forth in their routines, sucking up sand and filtering out their food. Having cast to these fish hundreds, if not thousands, of times i wasn’t really expecting what happened next. One second i was stripping a size 18 Hare’s Ear Nymph along the sand, and the next i almost locked up as i saw a Carp turn it’s head and inhale my tiny fly. As i quickly snapped out of it and realized that the Carp had taken my fly, it simultaneously realized that it had been tricked and bolted about 30 yards to the distant shore. Watching the Carp pull my line out quickly enough that i actually had to “palm the real”, all i could think was “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE…let this all work out in the end.”

A few minutes later i was easing the 20 inch Carp back into the water, shaking and nearly crying with excitement the whole time. Having tried so hard for so long and obsessing for years about catching one, it felt unreal to actually have it all go right and be returning one to the water. The feeling of true joy was so intense i actually let loose with a massive yelp that caused nearby trees, as well as my soul, to shake a little bit from the sonorous exaltation.

Having finally landed my aquatic albatross i felt like i was moving on in my fishing, graduating to the next level so to speak, although i’m not exactly sure what that might be. Pondering that thought, i slowly worked my way upstream and back out of what felt like a dreamworld, partly because of the fish, and partly because of the intense heat. Along the way i fished a random assortment of nymphs, poppers, and streamers feeling like a liberated man, free to finally fish without the weight of trying to catch a carp. Along the way i was rewarded with a variety of bass and sunfish as well as a few Rio’s to round the day out.

If feels good to have finally scratched that itch and net a carp, but i have a sneaky suspicion that only means the rash is going to spread. Oh well, at least i finally have some idea of how to treat it, maybe now i can get some sleep.

Thank you Carp.

Adaptable

Dang. What a night. With an hour of sunlight left, i pulled onto the Lost Creek low water crossing, practically hopping out of the car, rod in hand before the vehicle even came to a halt. Sprinting down the path to one of my favorite spots on Barton Creek i could practically feel the excitement coursing across the surface of my skin, elated at the prospect of some good sized bass slamming down some Poppers.

Cruising into position on the bank i drew the rod pieces from their warm cloth and to my horror found that i was holding FIVE sections of my two weight rod…which just happens to be a FOUR piece rod. In my excitement while packing, i somehow managed to grab the broken rod that Echo was kind enough to replace months ago without requesting the broken rod in exchange (their warranty / customer service is amazing by the way)

After the required freak out i decided there was no way i was going to let something so trivial as a broken rod get in the way of catching SOMETHING…ANYTHING! Removing some shock cord from my backpack, i fastened the reel to the top three sections of my rod and proceeded to cast a whopping 10 feet whereupon my fly and line hit the water in a balled up coil. Luckily with a little practice i was throwing line 30-40′ in about 30 minutes. Unfortunately by the time i figured out how to do that the sun had set and all i had managed to catch were a few small sunfish. However, since i was only using the top 3/4 of my 2 old two weight the smallest of these fish felt twice their actual size.

By the time i walked out of the water i wasn’t exactly shaking with excitement, but at least i prevented the night from being ruined by something as trivial as a broken rod. Dripping warm green stagnant water as i climbed the bank, i reached down to collect the fly box in the cargo pocket of my pants. Figures. The box was gone, obviously floating out of my pocket when i had to go chest deep to retrieve an errant fly from an overhanging branch, so back in the warm bath water i went, alternately wading and treading water while scanning the surface with my headlamp. Eventually found the box that holds 50 or so of my favorite poppers and streamers in it, tucked under some branches in the murky, deep end of the pool.

Had i had this experience a few years ago i might have pissed and moaned the whole way back to the car about how the Fates had it out for me while simeltaneously cursing and shaking my fist at the heavens. Instead i just wandered quietly back to the car thinking

“Well, that’s fishing.”

The San Marcos Might Have to Save Us All

Another Family Fun Day (Sunday) has come and gone, and it’s got me a little worried, although that probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone.

Having just one day where all members of the Mokamp Clan (my wife, my son and i) get to spend the whole day together has always put a lot of pressure on the decision making process. If we’re up early, it might be Guadalupe State Park, The Llano, or Inks Lake. Slept in? Alright, let’s hit Bastrop State Park, Town Lake, the Pedernales or maybe even the Crown Jewel, Tacodeli followed by a picnic, horseplay and fishing at Campbell’s Hole.

With the drought and the INCREDIBLE heat it’s less a question of luxury and more a matter of survival.

1) Is there water there?

2) Is it spring water? If not, does it feel like bath water that someone forgot to let down the drain two weeks ago?

3) Are there so many people there that the water level of the water is actually raised significantly because of the mass of flesh in said body of water?

If the answers are; 1-yes, 2-yes, 3-no, then i’m all over it.

The San Marcos before about 3 o’clock is a perfect example. Spring fed and therefore cool as a cucumber, it has the ability to refresh like only spring fed water can. The bonus to this river is that if you can make it there before all the college kids have stumbled out of bed, purchased their daily allotment of Budweiser to ward off the night before, and set sail in their inner tube yachts, you just might get a glimpse of heaven.

Today my family enjoyed that feeling as we set up a mini camp along it’s banks. With shade provided by our new Sportbrella i purchased at my work, we were able to hang out on the bank in an area where lesser mortals (or at least those without shade) might have melted and been carried off on the current of the river.

It was there that my son and i created an exotic yet simple Tic-Tac-Toe board out of the rivers resources. Stone, grass, and a little bit of inginuity were all that was required to push me to share the finer tactics of the game with my son, a strategy fanatic to the core.

After a while i headed downstream alone, barefoot and walking slowly, to spend a few minutes alone, and indulging in my favorite past time. Within seconds i had a couple of sunfish take the tiny popper down, right off the waters surface. A few minutes later it was a bass that had hardly hit it’s teen age years, but seemed to fight like a hard headed sixteen year old wanting to take the Jaguar for a spin.

Had i’d been anywhere else these fish might have sunk into the category of so-so. As it stood, i was chest deep in 70 something degree water, catching bass, and knowing that my base camp had a loving family hidden in the shadows of the 100+ degree weather that seems to be doing it’s best to dry my soul out.

Maybe the options are limited, and maybe we will be screwed for a while, but if i can sneak a day or two like this in every now and then, i just might be able to make it through this trial.

So, if you find yourself snapping for no reason at coworkers, family and friends, get out of the heat, wade until you’re chest deep, wet a line and suck in the glory that is the San Marcos. It has cool water, the fish are biting and it really might be the one place that can get us through all this.

Flats Fishing the Hill Country

Man, the day was going so well. I’m not sure what was worse, the fact that i’d spent 15 minutes trying with all my might to rip the size 12 nymph out of my arm in 105 degree heat, or the fact that the biggest drum (which i’d been stalking for twenty minutes) swam back and forth over and over in tight loops, inches from my feet.

I’d made it down to the banks of the Pedernales around 8AM, hoping to land a fish or two before the sun and heat caused all the fish to hunker down. There are hardly any people out there because of the lack of water and the almost unbearable heat, but with water this low it only takes one person to put all the fish in a pool down for the rest of the day.

Since i’d been working the small pools up to this point, i tied on one of the aformentioned bead head nymphs and projected it forward with the aid of my small, but somehow burly, 2WT. After a few casts and some SSSSLLLLOOOOWWWW strips i felt the line go taught and watched in amazement as the tip of the rod acted like a Divining Rod, constantly pointing to the energetic fighting fish on the other end of the line. The stranger turned out to be only the third catfish i’d ever caught, but when it  made multiple runs, the joy of catching one soon came rushing back to me. If you’ve never caught one, you owe it to yourself to try and make it happen, they fight like fish twice their size.

(Tip: Now’s the time. Shallow waters mean you can reach them. Nymphs or small Wooly Buggers in olive, let to sink, and then stripped slowly will pay off.)

Still high on life and shaking with excitement from the fight, i tied on a popper and had it instantly inhaled by this (Guadalupe?) Bass. As it skated across the waters surface i felt the passion to let out a monster YELP, but even this early in the morning the sun and heat demanded conservative celebration, best not to pass out and become vulture food, so instead i just gave the river a thumbs up and used the rest of my energy to hike a mile downstream.

Working the shallow bank down river was almost surreal. With the banks running two feet at their deepest, and being clear as glass, i could actually stalk my fish as if i were on the flats. A school of Redhorse would pass, then the huge and picky Carp, then a handful of Bass, followed soon by a squadron of Catfish cruising in packs. All of this action, just a few feet from you, it was like fishing in an aquarium, while being jacked up on caffeine, the feeling of all these fish cruising by, and in easy sight was pretty unreal.

After landing my second catfish for the day along this bank, i saw the Drum. It was easily twice the size of any Drum i’d caught. Stalking it for 20 minutes and offering my nymph over and over again, only to be refused i decided to sit down, regroup and tie on something else. Then, somehow the line tangled around me or my pack, and before my ass hit the ground i had a hook in the back of my arms up to the fur. As i watched the Drum swim back and forth, all i could think was, “DAMN IT! OF ALL THE TIMES!”

As i tried to rip the fly out it would catch on the tinniest bit of barb, i crush all my flies so it was hanging under my skin by the most minuscule pieces of metal. After nearly passing out from pain, while trying to yank it out for about fifteen minutes, i stood up, saluted the Drum and headed back, sad to have such a great day end so abruptly from some sort of user error.

Thirty minutes later, after trying to drive AND simaltaneously  rip the fly out, i ended up pulling into the eerie parking lot at the Johnson City EMS. Trying to stay calm and cool, i thought about how having this mistake removed was going to cost me one line and 20 new flies, or about $100 dollars. Clamping my hemostats down at the base of the hook, i counted…ONE…YANK! With an audible “pop” i actually heard the hook rip out. And where i should have been thinking about pain, and health, and all the stuff grown ups are supposed to think about, i actually thought this…

“Now i can get back to my fishing, what an inconvience.”

P.S. Anyone out there had this happen to them? The hooking of thyself that is? And i mean DEEPLY not the surface scrape.

Crazy From the Heat

People have lost their minds. Pulling into a small town gas station, and watching a crazy scene of otherwise (probably) normal people erupt like a volcano spitting epitaphs into the air, and then mutating into a full-blown fist fight over a parking spot that was baking in the sun proved it to me.

In the Austin area it’s been almost exclusively triple digit weather for the last month, and according to weather.com there’s no end to this heat wave, or the drought, coming any time soon. So most people around here have been doing what they can to avoid bursting into flames, which pretty much means staying indoors with only the briefest forays to any water source that’s managed to not dry up. I know that for the most part they’re doing so, because i’ve been “Out There”, and have found a crazy amount of solitude (for Texas) available for anyone stupid enough to venture out into the heat, i.e. me.

Since the water levels around here have obviously been incredibly low, i’ve been trying to turn a bad thing into something positive, hitting up many of my local stomping grounds to check out their floor structure and file the contours in my head for whenever we actually get rain again (not too long i hope). But after having a secret source reveal a special spot, which they asked me to call “Location X”, i took the whole “checking out naked creeks” project to the next level. I’ve been sworn to secrecy about the exact spot but i don’t think it’s giving away to much to say that it’s on a MAJOR river in the Austin area.

Easing my SUP, newly dubbed the “Dawn Treader”, into the water it was obvious that being where i was most other days would have me under about 20 or so feet of water, a strange feeling to be sure. As i paddled upriver and was embraced by limestone cliffs soaring to the sky like giant Roman cathedrals, the feeling intensified as i sunk further into the hypothetical river. As the cliffs narrowed i found myself 30,40, then possibly 50 feet or more below the average waterline for this river. Caves and columns of limestone were everywhere, normally hidden they seemed to breathe in the air and enjoy the attention that my saucer shaped eyes lavished on them.

I almost got skunked, only being saved by a tiny Bluegill that i released immediately since as i was reeling him in, a Largemouth Bass in the four pound range tried to inhale him right as i yanked him free from destruction. I’m also pretty sure i was on the brink of heat stroke again, thanks Mexico, since i was downing water like it was out of style (by the way, is it?), but i wasn’t urinating or sweating for the whole 8 hours, even though i was in 100+ heat paddling my heart out AGAINST 20MPH winds!

I mentioned this to a friend at work, saying something to the effect of “I love to put myself out of my comfort zone.”

To which they responded “That IS your comfort zone.”

Touche. And well played.

Adventure. Explore. Report and Inspire.

That’s my new mantra for this blog. I wish i could share this spot with you, and inspire to get you out there, but i’ve promised to keep it under wraps. If your resourceful and clever you can find it, and many more spots that will, hopefully, soon be gone when the waters return.

By the way, Secret Source, i’ll call it “Location X” if you wish, but a name that occurred to me as i paddled past the rusty abandoned anchors and random signs of a fallen fishing and boating empire seemed a little more appropriate, yet still ephemeral……..”ATLANTIS”.

Shallow Waters

I’ve been dreading swinging by Pedernales State Park for the last month or so. Looking at the charts over the last month, showing flows of 0 CFS, was sort of like knowing that a good friend was in bad health. Long time readers will likely know this, but Pedernales State Park is my de facto Temple of Texas, something about the water and the land that butts against it makes me feel at home. Of course this home is haunted and full of creatures that stir the imagination, but that’s a different story.

With some time to kill i finally sucked up the courage to see my sick friend and was slightly relieved to see that the river was obviously hurting, but it wasn’t dead. Like many other bodies of water in Texas right now, there wasn’t enough water to keep the throngs happy, but there was JUST enough water to appease the hard core water seekers…me included.

Avoiding the first few pools that had more swimmers than fish, i eventually ended up splitting one of the larger pools with some Canadians that were dredging parts of the pool with a massive net. It was there that i tied on a tiny Pheasant Hair Nymph in search of Carp. It seemed bizarre to tie on such a small fly for such a big fish, but since i’ve tried to catch Carp for the last few years without any success i figured i had nothing to loose by trying something that seemed to small to succeed. Minutes later i was pulling in a 14″ Drum that actually took line off my reel, something i wasn’t really used to.

Minutes later i had another Drum repeat the preceding battle with only the slightest variation. The highlight of the day had to be when i found a school of huge Carp and let the fly do it’s magic. With my hands shaking, i slowly retrieved the Nymph while watching the Carps bodies stir up wakes on the waters surface, some of them even heading for my fly. Suddenly the water stirred as a Carp that was an easy 10lbs. bolted with my fly, line, and nerves in tow. After trying my best to put the breaks on the Rogue fish, i suddenly felt the tippett snap and reeled it in only to find a birds nest of 3X tippett tangled up in itself like a vain movie starlet.

It wasn’t the healthiest i’ve ever seen the river, not by a long shot, but it’s there and it’s till kicking. I’m pretty sure the river would’t mind if i asked you to do whatever you can to help bring rain. It’s not dead yet, but watching the tiniest trickle from pool to pool, it became obvious that if something does’t happen soon it could be. Pray for rain.

Strange Tales of Instant Karma

After sending out a call for help earlier this week to help save some Guadalupe on Barton Creek, i was AMAZED to see another person coming down the trail the other day, bucket and fly rod in hand. Winston had driven all the way down from the Georgetown/Round Rock area during rush hour, but still managed to show up with a smile, ready to help in whatever way he could.

With Winston on the net, i’d chase hundreds of fish towards him while he’d make a quick grab for the larger ones. Although the 12 inch Guadalupes i saw the other day had been eaten by some animal higher in the food chain (Heron, Racoon, Human?) we managed to net some much smaller Guadalupes, as well as a few good size Long Ears, Bluegill and possible Warmouths. Something about the buckets, net and the silliness of the whole thing made me feel like a kid again. It was likely the belief that such a small action could possibly help the world in any way, i see it in my seven year old son’s eyes a lot.

Winston had never fished Barton Creek, so after hauling our buckets and setting our catch free, i felt obligated (in a good way) to play the role of host and show him some of the magic that this water has. After a slow start, likely due to the fact that the creek currently feels like warm bath water, the fish started coming around to some carefully placed poppers. While i was congratulating myself on pulling 6-8 decent sized Green Sunfish out of a spot that worked for me the other day, Winston waded deeper into the pool than i’d ever managed to make it and snagged the good sized Green Sunfish pictured above. Within an hour he managed to pull out multiple good sized Sunfish, as well as a few bass that put my quarry to shame (the smallest one he caught is pictured below). As he pulled in multiple decent sized fish i found myself more excited about his catch than mine, after all, he was a guest and i wanted him to enjoy himself. Unfortunately i was so excited about all the fish coming to hand that i barely remembered to pull the camera out of the Guayabera and take photos. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it, the fishing was incredible, especially for the 2 and 1 weight rods we were sporting.

We did the creek (and ourselves) a favor, and it seemed to repay us by offering one of the most rewarding days i’ve spent fishing it in many years, not just in the amount of fish i was lucky enough to catch, but also in the overall sense of happiness i felt while wading the waters, getting to share one of my secret joys with a complete stranger.

Thanks for your help Winston, sorry about the wet boots. Blame it on the bass.

The Last Days of Barton Creek


This might be the end of the universe as we know it, because i somehow managed to take my own advice today, approaching the banks of my beloved Barton Creek well before 7AM this morning ready for whatever the Fates had in store.

Approaching the base of the “Hill of Life” i entered one of my favorite pools that just happens to be one of the few pools on Barton Creek (that i know of) that is still more than a couple feet deep.  With the second cast of the 2WT hitting the water, well before the sun even approached the  waters surface, i had a nice 9-10″ Green Sunfish tugging the line and putting up an incredible fight for it’s size. Although they’re stories for other days, i’ve had some fishing excursions lately that have really depressed the hell out of me and almost made me want to hang the rod up until the clouds stop being so frugal with their moisture. Fortunately bringing that beautiful fish to hand and admiring it’s fin markings, colorations that reminded me of the amazing Brook Trout, i had the feeling of competence wash over me.

After working the pool for about 45 minutes and landing 15 or so good size sunfish i decided to check out the damage wrought by the recent drought. Heading over the dam in the above photo, i actually stopped in my tracks. As far as i could see, what was once a healthy creek that varied from 2-7 feet in depth was nothing but a barren rocky moon scape.

Avoiding pools that were full of fish crammed into dying pools the size of my bathtub, i hiked further into the bleak landscape until i found one of the larger pools that was spring fed and therefore not subject to the intense mood swings that all the rest had been subject to, although it was still a shadow of it’s former self. There wasn’t necessarily a lot of water in the pool, but that didn’t keep the Bluegills and Redbreasts from attacking the Chartreuse popper with intense energy, so much so that one snapped the 3X and absconded with my size 6 popper. I was done talking myself out of feeling bad about loosing the $6 fly when it suddenly rose to the waters surface, obviously thrown by the fish. As i slowly started wading the 20 yards toward the fly it suddenly got engulfed and disappeared again, showing up a few seconds later further away than before. It was an endless parade of sunfish taking the fly in the jaw and then shaking the crushed barb free. Over and over this scene repeated itself as i slowly stumbled around trying to figure out exactly who had the fly at any given moment. If you’ve ever seen the football scene in the Marx Brothers “Horsefeathers” you have some idea of what i’m talking about.

On the way back out i came upon a scene that drove me to sadness and then despair. There, in a pool that was about 20′ long, 3′ wide and so shallow that the larger Guadalupe in it could barely keep their body submerged (4 inches deep), were a couple hundred fish packed fin to fin in a pool that surely can’t last another week before drying up completely.

NOTICE: I am a hopeless romantic that struggles with a pessimistic outlook on everything. That said, unless anyone out there can give my a scientific reason to let these fish die, i’d like to propose the following…

I have a large fish net that i use for my backyard pond. I also have a feed bucket, as well as some spare time this week (family out of town), and a HUGE desire to save these fish from unneccessary death. Since these fish would be up or down the creek if there was ANY sort of flow i can’t see why they shouldn’t be faried down to the deep pool 40 yards away.

So i’m planning on heading down there Tuesday around 6-6:30 bucket and net in tow, unless one of you egg head scientist can talk me out of it. Hell, i’ll even bring a box of wine and an extra bucket if anyone wants to join me.

TUESDAY-6ish-BOXED WINE ON ME! COMMENT ON THIS POST IF YOU WANT TO BE A PART OF THIS POSSIBLY FUTILE EVENT. I’LL EVEN BRING PRIZES FOR ANYONE THAT ATTENDS!


Embrace the Insanity

Well, the rain never came today, at least down here in South Austin. Screw it though.

After my last entry i received a couple of comments from readers that managed to pull me back from the despair i was starting to feel due to this oppressively hot and dry drought we’re currently going through. Armed with a few tips from readers as well as some friendly vibes, i’ve decided to embrace the insanity and dance with it.

If i had any hesitation about my choice, the deal was sealed when i happened on this video just a little while ago. I mean, COME ON, he doesn’t even have a tree in sight! That’s intense! I’ve at least got trees and shade…I CAN DO THIS!

I Wonder Why I Can’t Find Any Fish?

I wish i could say that i didn’t expect what i saw. I also wish i could say that i somehow pulled endless bass and sunfish out of the water, but that didn’t happen. The only advantage to today was that i was with my family and i managed to get my line wet even though there was only one strike by a tiny sunfish.

I hate to admit this, but last night at dusk i got skunked on Barton Creek, and today on the San Marcos. I’ve said it before, but if you expect to catch anything so far this summer you NEED to be on the water early. I wasn’t expecting to catch anything, i really was just there to hang out with the family, but it still was depressing as hell to not even catch a tiny sunfish.

Drought. Heat. The people have nowhere to go and cool off. Unfortunately the fisherman and fish don’t either. Guess i’ll have to smile more and lower my expectations.

Please, pray (or do what your belief system prescribes) for rain.

Scenes like this are ridiculous.


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die Fische?

die Fische (dee-fish-uh)

German for "all the fish".

Exactly the fish we are concerned about catching and sharing with you. Everything from the Cutthroats of New Mexico to the Guadalupe Bass of the Hill Country and the Red Fish of the Gulf Coast. We want to inspire you to get out and enjoy your passion.

We sure are.

die Fische Report:

Barton Creek at Lost Creek

Colorado River at Austin

San Marcos River