30 May 2010

Lake Amistad NRA, San Pedro Canyon

"And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it:  because that in it he had rested from all his work which God had created and made" Genesis 2:2-3 (Scofield Reference Bible, 1909).  As it was with the first sabbath, on this sabbath the fish rested, save one Bluegill...until 2 p.m.!

We put in at San Pedro Canyon, a new destination for Cody Mood Bell, but reading the map's "hot spots," it looked like it would produce fish.  When Ken Burns created his Lewis and Clark:  The Corps of Discovery documentary, at the end of the part one, he said Lewis and Clark were about to learn the difference between mountains on a map and mountains in real life.  Today, Cody and Julia fully comprehended Burns' words and learned the difference between hot fishing spots on a map and true hot spots.

We saw fish, had fish turn to look at our flies and nudge our flies, and even watched several inhale and promptly spit out our flies, but catching them eluded us dramatically.  We should have known that the day was going to be difficult when Cody hung his fly on a submerged tree.  We trolled over, as we always do, and Cody attempted to free his fly from the tree.  Unfortunately, it was too wrapped around the branch, so Cody decided to break off and sacrifice the Creek Crawler fly to the waters.  When Cody went to tie on a new fly, he realized that the rod's tip section was missing and had become separated when he broke off the fly and his line popped through the guides.  Well, Cody tells me he's going snorkeling, and as soon as he turns his back, that TFO 7# tip section bobs up in the water--tip down.  We have to be very careful trolling to it so that the water wake does not flood the open end.  Gratefully, Cody is able to pinch that tip and retrieve it from the waters.  Cody switches rods, and we continue fishing the San Pedro Cove--with no luck!

We had made a deal before beginning to fish, that if neither of us liked where we were fishing, we had to tell the other, and we would move to a new spot.  With no fish to our credit and well in to our second hour on the water, we headed to the flats, which were supposed to be hot for Largemouth's from May - October.  No nips, no hits, no fish--the flats were cold regardless the season's temperatures.  Thus, Cody ate and in my desperation, I tied a beautiful blue dragonfly pattern to my floating line in the attempts to catch one of the many carp that constantly crashed the surface.  (Those who know my fishing preferences have just been given CPR to read that I deigned to fish for carp; I strongly dislike carp, regardless of the fact they are nicknamed the golden bonefish and give an excellent fight; I do not like carp!)

We gave up on San Pedro Canyon, even though there were several coves that looked like the Texas shoreline of Lake Texoma, and motored to Rough Canyon.  We knew the day would be exceptionally crowded, but NPS needed to have a traffic officer directing boaters.  Cody got sprayed and drenched by one show-boating wakeboarder (due to me snapping his photograph, eging him on), and Cody had a few choice words for the ole boy, which can not be repeated here--not curse words, but not acceptable for print, either. 

We worked our way around other boaters in Big Canyon to a nice rocky cove, and four hours after putting in, we started to catch fish.  Bluegills, and small ones at that, but fish nonetheless began to eat our flies.  The curse was off and the good karma flowed.  It took a lot of different flies before we found the ones that would land fish.  For Cody it was the CodyBugger, red lips, and me, the Bonefish Bitter, brown.  By the time I quit fishing my bitter, the head was the only thing left, but fish kept taking the fly, so I didn't change it until absolutely necessary.  We worked on casting, calling shots, and calling fish, but we kept catching the little fellows.

Tired and watching the sun begin to wan, we made our way back to San Pedro Canyon, at least an hour's boat ride.  Now, in all fairness, Cody's flats boat is only equipped with a 25hp Mercury motor, which equates to about 15 mph, as long as someone sits on the casting platform, which Cody did while I drove.  We both decided the Texoma-esque shoreline proved too tempting, so we fished the boulder-lined coves until our arms fell off.

Not wanting to call it quits because there were still fish to catch, we fished a big, beautiful cove just west of the U.S. 277 bridge.  We tried poppers and Miss Prissys to no avail.  Cody tied on a CodyBugger, and I a Swamp Monster, and just as the sun dipped behind the canyon, Cody landed his second bass for the day--a 1.75lb Largemouth.  Thankfully, God gave us Bluegill; otherwise, the boat's fish count for the day would have been two!

I have not checked today's weather history, but I can tell you that a front moved in or something else caused the barometric pressure to drop.  I have heard it said by old men, that if the cows are sitting, the day's not fit for fishing.  I should have remembered that saying/lesson, and we could have snorkeled even though the waters were not clear like the previous three days--another sign of the changing barometric pressure.  We head home, Monday, and with the freeways being congested with Memorial Day travelers, it looks like it is the backroads (I am happy) for us.

29 May 2010

Lake Amistad NRA, Box Canyon

What an adventurous day; we fished, we explored, we followed the map locating interesting points, and we visited old places.  We started the day fishing a nice little cove teeming with Bass, Bluegill, and Carp.  Cody landed four bass and two bluegill in about 10 minutes.  We made another pass and caught a couple more bass.  Then, we motored to another cove which was crystal clear 14 feet deep.  We watched the fish reacting to our flies and began to call which one we would catch to make that catch count.  Cody ate and I fished, but the wind kept wreeking havoc with the boat alignment, so I decided to eat.  Well, just like Thursday, first cast, Cody catches a 2 lb. bass.  Cody decided I needed to eat more often.  Knowing the lake so well, Cody took us to a nice little cove that was stocked with some fat Bluegill, who out-weighed the bass!  With CodyBuggers tied on our lines, it was Fish On! until we decided to stop fishing. 

The wind would not cooperate, so we decided to cool off by motoring to some unique sites.  Lake Amistad's development began in 1968.  According to the initial reports presented to Congress, Mexico stated that they owned all the land that would become the Mexican shoreline.  I don't think that was necessarily true due to the evidence of towns and buildings which existed at the time of Amistad's construction and which are still present today--underwater.  We wandered over to Mexican waters to view the Catholic church, whose steeple just nudges above the waterline.  Closer to the present-day shoreline, the map delineates many buried but existing structures.  However, we did not have a Mexican waters pass, nor did we feel like having to go through US Customs once we returned to shore, so we didn't snorkel the area. 

Even though the winds picked up and created white capping, we boated northward looking for the Good Enough Springs site, which we found marked with a boat tie-off buoy, but the springs exist 130 feet below.  Cody then moved on to an area where they used to camp when he was young.  Being the trendsetters Nonna and Pa Bell are, we saw four families camping in the same spot with their boats parked on shore!  Cody fished the area for old-times sake.  Cody, the supreme gadget guy, marked buoys 15, 16, and 21 on his GPS before we headed back.

Trying to escape the high winds and spotting a great-looking cove, we headed in to what turned out to be some of the best fishing.  We studied the cove on the map, and since it looked like an anchor and had no name, we dubbed it Anchor Cove, and boy did it produce bass!  We tossed CodyBuggers and Creek Crawlers on 300 grain sink line, and we could set the hook just as soon as we saw the flash.  We must have pulled 10 bass out of that hole alone.

With much calmer waters we began heading back to the boat ramp, but we decided to fish the cove where Cody hammered the fish during last year's trip.  It proved fruitful again.  Cody fished a popper that the fished loved, and I fished a pale Creek Crawler, which the fish loved.  Aching, tired, and fast losing sunlight, we left the cove and made the short trip to the boat ramp.  It was a fine day at sea, regardless of the high temperatures.  Tomorrow is fisherman's choice (we'll study the map and look for the "hot spots" on paper).

28 May 2010

Lake Amistad NRA, Diablo East

Phew, 10 degrees hotter and the fishing tailed off drastically compared with yesterday.  However, seeing as these are Cody's home waters, he did not disappoint--bass, bass, bass, then bluegill for the afternoon.  We went up to Castle Canyon, found a beautiful cove, and began fishing it.  Cody caught two bass, but as pretty as the waters were, the lack of structure proved a lack of fish.  The two Cody caught were hiding under a nice boulder.  Castle Canyon serves more the boaters, skiers, jet skiers, and divers than fishermen.  We did take our snorkel gear, but did not take the opportunity. 

The CodyBugger proved to be the hot fly again today.  Still, TailWaters receives my thanks.  One of their .25 cent flies I purchased at their birthday bash Saturday landed me a 1.25 lb. bass.  Unfortunately, it was my only fish of the day, but I'll take it.

We tried some different fishing strategies today.  There are many coves across from the dam.  As we approached the rocky shorelines, we dragged the SeaAnchor and let the wind push us across the rock beds before entering the coves to fish.  Waters were so clear and various hues of greens and blues, at times, it looked like we were fishing saltwater, not freshwater.  The coves offered rocky beds with deep drop-offs which we could clearly see to the bottom--10 feet below. 

We worked hard today, so we called it quits a little earlier than normal.  We stocked up on KFC for tomorrow's lunch, and with temps projected in the mid-90s, we may be snorkeling more than fishing.

27 May 2010

Lake Amistad NRA, Rough Canyon

Day 1 turned out to be pretty good fishing for both of us, except neither of us was hot when the other was.  Cody caught 10 fish in the first 20 minutes; I had fish nibble my fly and turn off.  Lake Amistad amazes us each time we fish it.  Its waters are so clear, we watched our flies and saw how the fish reacted to them at 8 feet below the surface!  We caught small, fingerling fish, which were absolutely as beautiful as some of the bigger fish, and we caught 2+ lb. largemouth bass.  Cody ended up with 29 fish, and I had 13.  Lake Amistad yields the prettiest bluegill, even when they are the p-i-g HOG sized ones. 

The best fish story of the day occurrred at 2:30, when I decided to have lunch.  Cody had a TailWaters Creek Crawler fly tied to his 7#, asked if I minded if he fished while I ate, to which I gave him the go ahead, and Cody says I think I'll catch me a bass, and he did!  First cast, barely finished declaring his intentions, and 2lb. bass was fish on!  Now, if anyone had driven by at that time, they would have thought we had ShareLunker #500; we do love catching our fish!

In Satan Canyon, we found a cache of vultures--a little more than 100 (I really don't know what a group of vultures is called)!  Let me just say, I am glad that I was not injured, because they could have picked me clean by midnight there were so many of them, and in Satan Canyon they stayed.

Four Poles turned out to be a Bluegill haven; those fish just loved the CodyBugger fly, regardless which one of us was throwing it.  Regardless the wind's contrariness, we fished that hole for two hours, landing fish about every fourth cast.  The sun began to sink, so we headed back slowly to Rough Canyon.  We fished a new shoreline, which yielded some fish, but, what we began to see were the fish crashing the surface.  At sunset, we stopped to fish a Smallmouth shoreline.  Cody caught a largemouth on topwater, and I called last cast.  Fortunately, it was perfect, and we ended the day with a small largemouth on the fly just as the sun was sinking and before the full moon rose.

The fish are so active, there is no reason to kill ourselves getting up at the crack of dawn, so we'll hit the water, Friday, when we hit the water, and with our great selection of flies, we hope to have another high fish-count day!

25 May 2010

Lake Amistad NRA

It is time for our annual trek to Lake Amistad, and we are excited!  Del Rio just received seven inches of rain, Monday, so we will see what the fishing holds for us.  I will be taking my 8# sinking, 6#sinking, 5#, 4#, and 2# floating rods.  Of course, the boat will be a little crowded, but it will be fun, because pristine, clear waters await.  We are also taking our snorkeling gear, hoping to get some up-close views of fish habitats, and see some springs.

Cody and I finished the repairs to my 4 weight rod, and I must admit, that for the first epoxy job without Norm's tutelege turned out pretty good.  Of course, I could hear his instructions from rods past, so it wasn't completely without Norm.

Like my neighbors to the east and west of me, we got the yard mowed and weed eated, tonight, and as I was finishing watering the plants on the front porch, Mr. Snake lay across my front door threshold.  I hollered, was grateful Cody opened the side door instead of the front door, and Cody pushed him off the porch, as I pulled the furniture away.  I do not know from where he came, but I hope he goes away and leaves the baby birds alone.

More to come from Del Rio and Lake Amistad NRA.  Happy Memorial Day weekend to all!

08 May 2010

Lake Fork Marina, Bass On The Fly Fishing Tournament

Well, the 1st Annual World Championship Bass on the Fly Fishing Tournament is in the books.  As excited as I was, as many flies as I tied, as positively as I thought, I caught one fish, a nice Bluegill but that was it--one fish, no bass.  For the tournament, our boat did not submit a bass, so needless to say, we didn't win.  Don't let your sympathies start, though, because Cody Bell cleaned house!

I was the one who wanted to participate, and Cody just entered, so I could.  Yet, Cody won first place in the Distance Casting Competition for which he received a shirt, 1st place in largest Bluegill for which he received a check, he won a raffle item which he choose another shirt, and Cody won the grand prize--an ADG Titanium 7/8# rod!  Oh, I forgot to mention, the Bluegill--it is a Fly Fishing Water Body Record for Lake Fork, weighing in at .54 lbs., 8" long, and 8 11/16" in girth.  We completed the paperwork and will be submitting it and pictures to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department!

Not a bad day fishing!

01 May 2010

1st Annual World Championship Bass on the Fly Fishing Tournament

Cody and I have returned to reality since coming home from Belize.  We do have our eyes on the Lake Fork Fly Fishing Bass Tournament next Saturday, and since this is designed strictly for fly fishers, we are excited that fly fishing is getting an opportunity to experience a tournament for trophy bass.  The DFF outing happens to be this weekend, so we could enter as a team, as well.

Arranging our bass boxes, we need to tie some bass flies!  We added some Creek Crawlers from Tailwaters, but I need some CodyBuggers, black SMPs, and Swamp Monsters.  Floating lines and sinking lines are ready, as well as the reels and spools.  The boat is ready, but being a flats boat, there is no live well.  That conundrum will be our focus for the week.  Getting that problem solved and we will be good to go.  Can't wait for the tournament and I hope the week does not crawl slowly.
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