28 March 2012

Sea of Sunfish

Lake Springfield has been a haven for Sunfish--Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Redbreast Sunfish, Pumpkinseeds, and Warmouth--this spring.  With the Warmouth, I added my first new species of the year and was really excited, as it was the last fish of the day.

I have been hoping to catch some Rainbow Trout, seeing as this is a TPWD stocking site late in February, and is also a natural, spring-fed water-body.  However, I have struck out in the 'Bow department.  (I guess I should have never cut my hair short!)  (-;  Where I have had the best luck is with Rainbows is their by-product.  They get warm, too warm, die and sink to the bottom of the lake, which is very high due to the wonderfully, plethoric spring rains, and are eaten by the other fish, turtles, crawfish, and other creatures.  With warmer spring temperatures, the Sunfish are spawning earlier, and boy are they fat, colorful, and fun on a 2# rod.  Every third cast, I had FishOn, and from a float tube, there was no other way to have fun this fine afternoon.  I'm glad the rain held off until I walked back to the car and loaded my stuff.




27 March 2012

XS = XL Fun

I attempted to catch supper but with no success.  I am told there are still stocker Rainbows living, but even with a sinking line, I did not find them.  I did catch a Bluegill and small Largemouth Bass, but the fish were particularly picky, so I left the Raptor Center.

A new book was supposed to be released today, so knowing that I'd be going to Barnes & Noble across from Northpark, I ventured a little farther west and hit Caruth Park.  What a genuine treat.  I fished my 2# Finesse, used a spider and then a Pheasant Tail Nymph, and caught tiny, tiny Sunfish.  I love catching these small fish as much as I love catching behemoths.  These fish were absolutely beautiful and emanated great coloring detail.  I enjoyed catching them, and I also enjoyed the young children who came over to where I was fishing asking questions and curious about the fish.  It's difficult to decide who was more entertaining.  Not the day I expected, but what a great day it was!








26 March 2012

Fat Girls Are Running

The Girls are running up the Nolan River!  Now getting to them is going to take some walking or boating. With the rains earlier in the week, the Nolan River is even higher than it was 10 days ago, and according to several fisherman lining the shore, today's water level was a foot lower than yesterday's level!

Leaving the Nolan River Park Boat Launch
This time, we took the Mitzi, but the difficult part was finding a place to launch her. We went to Nolan River Park, and besides a beautiful drive overlooking the plateaus to the west and the gorgeous Bluebonnets, it is a waste of time.  Once at the so-called boat launch, there is not much room to maneuver, it is partially submerged under water, and the likelihood that the good 'ole boys block you in is great.  ACOE, not that it is the institution it was during Robert E. Lee's day, poorly maintains the place, if maintains is even the right word.  Just don't go there; it is a ratty, little place.  The Kimball Bend Park boat launch road is under water, so it is closed.  In between the road that leads to Nolan River Park and Kimball Bend Park is Chisholm Trail Park, really about 1/2 mile from the Nolan Bend Park Road.  They have a decent boat launch, but the put-in is farther north than Kimball Bend by at least two miles, and it is on the Brazos River side.  By the time we navigated through the abundance of driftwood and avoided the once-shoreline trees that are now submerged and part of the riverbed, we had boated 11 miles to reach just north of Rock Creek, which is the creek running through Adair Springs Park.  It was worth it, though.

We found the Fat Girls, nice roe-filled she-White Bass, and they are some hungry mamas-to-be!  We could have driven to Adair Springs, parked, and hiked the two to two-and-a-half mile trek north to where they are feeding and bedding, provided they aren't being caught and hauled out, but the boat ride was really pleasant.  Plus, if we had arrived earlier, we could have fished for the abundance of B-I-G Gar, one was four feet long, hanging around near the extremely wide Nolan-Brazos River confluence, and the short, but fat Common Carp.  It was a fun afternoon with warm, cloudless skies, no wind, fun fish on the fly (White Clouser), and an ever-changing riverbed.
Today
Submerged ledge, no island

3/15/12
I was standing on the island












 @Mouth of Rock Creek looking south
Island is visible
Island submerged 2 1/2 feet
















1 1/2 miles NE of the Confluence




                                         

24 March 2012

Old Lake, Ennis

I have wonderful parents!  They taught my brother and I that we could do and be whatever and whoever we wanted with this caveat--enjoy "whatever" it is we are doing and do "whatever" to the best of our abilities and with pride.  My brother and I took them at their word, literally.

"Some boys are really dumb!"  The last time I said that, I had just heard the "let's be friends" talk from a boy I really, really liked when I was in high school.  We both played sports, excelling well.  Unfortunately, I could shoot free throws better than he could, and while we never competed against one another, his friends razzed him about it.  Now, he could dunk a basketball, which at 4' 10" the only thing I was dunking was a donut, but it didn't matter; he dumped me.

Today, I went to Ennis to fish Old Lake to try to continue to add to my species list for the Bret's TX Fishes contest, and to celebrate Mom's 72nd birthday enjoying a really beautiful day.  I brought my waders and float tube.  A guy was out fishing in his paddle boat, and four others were fishing from two mini Bass Boats.  One guy from one of the Bass Boats just chortled loudly at me.  His buddy asked me if I thought I was going to catch fish.  I shouldn't be surprised at their stupidity, because this happens a lot when I fish by myself.

There is a little island that typically is productive.  Once I put in, I headed toward the island, but the paddle boat guy, and one of the Bass Boats decided I could only fish the west end.  So I looked at my surroundings, applied what I knew about fish, and kicked far, far away from the very dumb boys.  One of the Bass Boat group left, but he returned a couple of hours later with a different buddy.  The guy kept saying, "Just give me my worm; that's all I need to catch bass is my worm."  They did pay attention to where I had been, because as I was getting out, they headed to where I fished.  I watched them for awhile, and they did catch one Largemouth Bass.  As for me, I don't know silly boys, can this girl catch fish?






The day's totals--caught seven, netted five, all on a fly rod!

Pending No Longer

It's official!!!  I set an IGFA World Record for Bluefin Trevally in light class tippet, 2kg!

I had begun to lose hope that I would set the record.  I kept thinking my tippet won't break at the correct strength.  We didn't submit all the correct photos.  Our photos didn't show enough detail, and many other myriad of negative thoughts.  As I was getting ready to go take my bath, I decided I would make my weekly check to the IGFA website, because I have received no notifications--yes, you did it/no, you did not do it--in the mail.  I actually checked it on Thursday, too, and I was still Pending.  Poor Cody was already soundly asleep when I visited the website.

One of the IGFA's menu choices is Pending Records, which I always go to, because I was the only person pending for Bluefin Trevally.  When I visited that page, tonight, no one was listed there, not even me.  So, I visited the Saltwater Records page, slowly scrolling through the men's conventional tackle records, then the women's conventional tackle records, then the smallfry and junior records, then the men's fly fishing records, until I finally came to the women's fly fishing records.  The  1 kg/2.2 lb women's record is vacant, so no one's name is there, and I stopped.  I didn't scroll any further.  I took a deep breath, scrolled to the next line, and awoke Cody with squealing, screaming, and hysterical dancing.  It's not very nice to awaken someone that way, I know, but I just couldn't help it.  I have wanted this for 2 1/2 years.  Cody, ever the wonderfully great guy, got up and hugged me (a dangerous thing since the man has to take Ambien to sleep).  Now, he's pretty excited, too and can't fall asleep. I should have known to just wait and check it on this date; after all, it is both my wonderful Mom's and Nephew's birthday today.  Great things always happen to our family on this day!


22 March 2012

TX Fishes Spring Contest

Bret Bolton is hosting the 6th annual Texas Freshwater Multispecies Angling contest again--YEAH!  I discovered it quite by accident, last year, but I have been on the lookout for it this year.  The contest runs throughout the spring season, and while I didn't win, last year, I had a respectable showing.  My goal for this year is to have an even more respectable showing, and since I started fishing for the record on the second day of the contest, I am hoping for 20 species, five more than last year.    Anyone can participate and it is open to both conventional and fly fishing, and anglers can choose to mix it up, if they desire.  I do not; I am a fly fishing purist, even though I have been told I will not come close to winning by fly fishing.  I can not fish conventional tackle, but then, I haven't really tried to learn it after attempting it during my teens.  Fly fishing just makes more sense to me, especially in controlling the retrieves.

Cody had some errands to run for the Dallas Fly Fishers auction, so I decided to hit Old Lake in Ennis, and landed a Largemouth Bass.  I had a catfish on, but it won the tug-of-war and swam away--photo untaken.  A Norther' blew in, temperatures dropped 10 degrees in seven minutes, and the fish stopped biting.  My rod will be in my car for whatever hole I happen to pass by in my travels, so I can add to the species list.  You know, I really would like to catch a Gambusia affinis--a Mosquitofish.


16 March 2012

Urban Fly Fishing

One of the purposes behind the Dallas Fly Fishers' creation of the Friday Fly Fishers was to assist anglers in discovering local, urban fishing spots that offered opportunities to catch fish on fly rods.  Cody and I had never attended a Friday Fly Fishing event, until today. Are ShareLunkers on the menu?  No, but using ultralight rods will mean a great deal of bend and fun.

Being Spring Break and desperately wanting redemption from the Nolan River's cruelty, we decided to give it a try.  Country Brooke is located @ Frankford and Voss, just west of the Tollway.  It is a pretty park with plenty of access and plenty of healthy, young Bluegills and Largemouth Bass that loved the Cody and GirlieBuggers on floating lines with long leaders stripping slow, long retrieves, and a sink tip line with moderate, medium retrieves.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will revisit this park, especially since we had seen evidence of two spawning beds, and got a kick out of the female who began building her nest during the middle of the day.  I pretty much stayed in one very productive spot.  A female LMB came very close to shore, and my shadow, casting, and catching fish did not deter or run her off.  I tried to do what Casey Ryan did with his Bedded Bass video, but the water was too murky.  I did get some nice stills and enjoyed seeing the Bluegill in their myriad shades. It was a fun morning on the water.











15 March 2012

Nolan River White Bass Run

With Spring Break winding down, Cody and I decided to hit the White Bass run on the Nolan River at Adair Springs Park just south of Blum on FM 933.  Fishing on the Ides of March probably wasn't a good idea; I kind of know how Caesar felt.

Problem #1:  Every one else in Texas has the same Spring Break. There must have been 14 trucks parked along the roadside, and we arrived at 2:00 p.m.!  We get to the water, and it is not congested with fisherman after fisherman, thank goodness, but we have no idea where they have gone, nor how they got to where they were going. Evidence that people had been before us lay everywhere.  Humans are trashy, and why that good ole' country boy can't tote that beer bottle or can, those cigarette wrappers, and fishing paraphernalia out is beyond me.

Problem #2:  Heavy rains occurred on Sunday 11 March 2012.  The water looks like brackish hot tea, and  the levels are up 2.9 feet above normal.  Unlike last year, there was no way to wade across from east to west, and farther down, there was no way to wade across the little feeder creek at the end of the White Austin Rock Boulder shelf.

Problem #3:  Floating lines are useless.  Fish with either a full or intermediate sinking line or sink-tip line.  Plenty of whites crashing the surface, but not one person caught a fish on topwater.  I caught zero fish.  Cody's first hook-up was on a Beck's Sililegs Bonefish fly. His second hook-up and caught fish was on that same fly; both were at the north side confluence of the Adair Spring Creek and the Nolan River.

Problem #4:  When the after-work crowd appeared, they were loud, abundant, fished a spot someone else was fishing, and were keeping fish that did not meet the 10" minimum length requirement, but by-golly! they were going to get their 25 bag limit no matter what.  The run right now is just the males, but I hate to think what it's going to look like when those fat girls filled with roe start running, probably around the middle-to-end of next week.  In ALL the years I have had a fishing license, never once in my life have I encountered an official of any kind.  The Game Wardens could make a killing on fines on the Nolan.  Not many people had licenses, and they were bragging about it.

Two guys fishing the south side confluence of Adair Spring Creek and  the Nolan had caught four fish.  They kindly let me get a shot of their catches.  Cody and I each saw two really large, just under 2 lbs., White Bass, but the rest were average size males--3/4 to 1 1/4 pounds.  Now, the Alligator Gar were HUGE.  One that swam by was at least 3 feet long, conservatively!  (I had my fly rod laying on the ground while I tied on a new fly and measured the Gar against my rod.)  The other two were around 2 feet.  Cody caught another fish on a small lead-eye red and white Clouser Minnow.  We are definitely going to hit the Nolan again when the females make their run, but in a boat!  Here are some pictures from April 2011 and today.

At least 7' feet lower than today

Shallow crossing

No worries about hitting rocks

Crossing submerged 5' +

11 March 2012

Fly Fish Texas 2012

Ahh, the second Saturday in March is always great fun, because it is Fly Fish Texas at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. THE definitive place where people can become good anglers. The Dallas Fly Fishers have several roles they play in Fly Fish Texas, and one of them is demonstrating catching fish in one of the aquariums. We used to demonstrate in the Catfish Aquarium, but now we demonstrate in the Stream Exhibit. In the February 2008 Texas Park and Wildlife Magazine, page 49, a Larry Hodge 2007 Fly Fish Texas photograph of Cody fishing the Stream Exhibit appeared. Demonstrating catching fish has always been one of our favorite things to do. This year we split the duties with Diane Blair. After having a delicious BBQ sandwich, we headed to the pavilion and tied flies. I worked on a Ball Joint Popper for Lake Fork for Ted Warren's Bass On The Fly Fishing Tournament 12 May 2012. Cody tied some very pretty Guadalupe Special flies that he donated to Fly-A-Thon 2012. They do catch some pretty trout, especially at Broken Bow, OK.

Unfortunately, many volunteers and public let the weatherman dictate their fun for Saturday. The temps were in the low to mid 50s, and the rain did not show up until 2 p.m., but there were lots of activities indoors, as well. We finished at 4:00 p.m., and the TFFC held a raffle for the volunteers. Orvis gave away a reel; Rick Pope gave away a rod of the winner's choice, and Ted Warren gave away a dozen of Brother's Flies. Unfortunately, neither Cody nor I won, but we still had a great time.


I was bummed by our photography equipment. I had not too long ago charged my camera. Yes, I used it to video some fishing shots, but I really didn't think it had a low battery. Before we left, I debated as to whether or not to take the charger. I decided not to, which was a mistake. (My car has an electrical outlet in it, so I could have charged the battery on the drive over--arrgh!) Cody has two GoPro cameras, and he used his Hero2. We got some video with the GoPro, but for the second time, there was a recording glitch and every photo and video shot afterward is not readable!!! Cody caught a new species--a koi; I caught the Black Crappie, which has grown from last year; Cody caught one of the three 18-20" Rainbows; I caught a tiny Bluegill, one of my favorite of all fishes to catch--all of which are on the GoPro that won't play the files! Larry Hodge did happen to get us catching a Rainbow, and I did get a little video of Cody before the battery was exhausted, but the really fun pictures and videos are trapped in SD Never, Never Land. Maybe Cody can rescue them. That just gives us a new reason to ensure we are at Fly Fish Texas 2013. For more of Larry Hodge's photography, visit the Freshwater Fisheries Center facebook page, and make plans for the second Saturday in March 2013, regardless the weather.


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