07 May 2012

Amistad's Diablo East 2012

Trying to acclimate to Amistad's low water levels is an adjustment.  We put in at Diablo East, today, and boating under the bridges and seeing the high water marks really puts the 2011 drought in to perspective.

We headed south towards the dam in choppy, occasionally white-capped waters, and then turned NW heading to the many coves opposite the dam.  Winds were blowing 20 mph out of the SE, so setting the boat up to drift correctly and keep us out of the many exposed trees was not easy.  We cast to the eastern shore, even though we saw no fish.  The fish finder showed no fish, too.  For whatever reason, Cody turned to see if I was casting and saw a "turtle" swimming just under the water line.  Cody asked if it was a turtle, and we both said no, it's a fish.  Cody, using his sinking  line with one of my Bass Brunch, Gizzard Shad flies, immediately cast to it, she turned and inhaled the fly, and Cody brought her in.  That Largemouth Bass fought and jumped like crazy.  It was an enjoyable treat to watch.  We weighed her, and she tilted the IGFA-certified Boga scales at 3 1/4 pounds.  Cody enjoyed it immensely.  While not that easy, we wished the remainder of the day had gone more smoothly.

While snapping the photo, I did see a beautiful Spotted Gar running along the shore.  Those two fish were it for that cove.  The fishing was incredibly difficult.  Coves that had always been productive, holding many different species, had zero fish.  We did find fish at the mouths of the coves about 12 feet deep in the water column, even though the depths were approximately 57 feet deep.  Even though we fished heavy sinking lines with big rods, we had not hits, no catches.  We cove-hopped two more with no success.

Upon entering our fourth cove, we found a unique feature--a rock wall, N 29°29.184 W 101°05.133.  We're guessing it was built in the early/mid 1990s, when the lake was approximately 100 feet low, because the wall was built into the rocky bottom.  We saw young sheep on either side of the wall and a nice pond formed on the shallow side.  I got off the boat and stood on top of the wall to fish.  Seeing that the water level had dropped, Cody and I decided if we even caught anything, we would release it on the lakeside of the wall.  I cast a sinking line, Bass Brunch, Gizzard Shad fly, and on my third cast, caught a nice 1 3/4 pound Largemouth Bass.  Cody walked the shore, casting his 2#.  He saw large minnows and many young Bluegill.  Cody then walked the lakeside all the way down to the point.  This cove was deep, had few trees, and several fish.  We each had timid hits, and we saw our first and only carp of the trip, so far, but caught nothing.

Dark clouds filled with rain, lightening, and thunder loomed on the Mexican side just behind the dam, so Cody checked the weather GPS.  Deciding not to press our luck by waving a 9 foot lightening rod, instead of casting a fly rod, we headed back to the boat ramp.  No sooner had we arrived than five other boats showed up, while one decided to launch.  Cody talked with folks in the other boats, and only one guy had caught five fish.  Everyone else caught one or none, so I guess we upheld the average for Diablo East.  The barometric pressure was changing, and even though we had a mostly full moon, finding the fish, much less catching the fish, was extremely difficult.  It was strange to be off the water before sunset, and with a 60% chance of rain during the night, we hope the fishing picks up at Box Canyon, Tuesday.

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