We headed to the Elm Fork of the Trinity River Tailrace just below the Lake Lewisville Dam on Sunday for our monthly outing. While the ambient temperature was a little warm, the water temperature was a nice, cool 74 degrees F. As they so often are when the dam is generating, the Buffalo were thick as thieves, and after about 15 minutes of fishing, I landed one. Cody came to help, and I finally have a decent picture with a Smallmouth Buffalo, though I need to adjust my Buff better, so that I don't look so much like a nun. Though many Buffalo were hooked and several landed, the carp would not take any offerings I made. Cody was able to hook two with a CodyBugger, and farther downstream, he hooked something that fought in slow motion with slow deliberate headshakes. Somehow, whatever species it was came unbuttoned and left us pondering what in the world Cody hooked. It was another great day on the water.
11 June 2023
10 May 2023
Today was the DFF outing to the Brazos River. Several attendees cancelled due to the rains that moved in 13 hours early. It wasn't a heavy rain, a hard rain, or falling fast enough to raise the river water levels. It did affect the water clarity, so it was a mostly blind casting kind of day. That was okay by me, as I hooked five species, landing four, and none were Sunfish, except the odd Largemouth Bass that has a possible distended jaw and no traditional LMB markings.
I had seen what I though was a carp playing about in skinny water near downed trees holding on the upstream side of a bridge pillar. I targeted it, but no luck, so I began fishing the waters behind a big boulder. Nip, nip then a pick up and recast, and BAM, FishOn. It what was a serious comedy of errors, I somehow managed to land the Bigmouth Buffalo and snap photos. Still amazed the fish didn't come unbuttoned, but it didn't, and so, I hit the 98 mark. I added a White Bass, a Channel Catfish, and a strangely marked Largemouth Bass, and then targeted one and enjoyed six additional hook-ups with Spotted Gar. It was a marvelous day on the water!
15 April 2023
The club's favorite, annual outing is to Sugar Ridge Ranch during peak Bluebonnet season and the Ennis Bluebonnet Festival. Always well-attended, the four ponds and wildlife offers an almost-guaranteed day of catching, but this year, I learned of a new skill I have--I can mimic a turkey hen effectively enough to garner the attention of a Tom Turkey! 😁 I also petted a hen turkey, worked on my roll cast, and hooked the same bass I landed five minutes previously.
We loved another day at Sugar Ridge and appreciate the kindness and graciousness of our hostess and hosts.
09 April 2023
As Cody was out-of-town visiting his family this Easter, Momma and I enjoyed a good, but quite Easter dinner and afternoon fun. After hearing from several DFF members who attended the March Nolan River Outing, I decided to fish the Nolan at a time many found most productive this odd-weather spring. Going prepared with White Bass flies, I was shocked at the low, but steadily flowing waters. Where I caught fish in previous years were high-and-dry this year, and I could not find the White Bass. Not to be dismayed for long, I kept seeing Gar, almost stepping on some of them. Keeping on my rather flashy fly, I set to work.
In my life, I've had six gar hook-ups with only one being luck. The other Five were purposeful targets in the last two years. I don't target gar the way I hear most presenters discuss, which is a "Crossing the T" method, with the gar being the stem and dragging the fly perpendicularly to the gar, the "T" crossbar. The reason I don't do this comes from a SCUBA show I saw friend William Seals give at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (and many times since his 2013 presentation). When the diver would feed the fish, even though the bait was dead, every time the Gar fed, it sidled on its prey, and when it ate, it was a quick jerk of the head to no more than the 11:00 or 1:00 o'clock position. Once, I saw the gar backpedal to get in align in order to feed. Sometimes, they align close to their hinge--prey was small--and sometimes, they aligned closer to their nose tip--prey was larger, but regardless, they ate from the side and never head-on. It remains the same for whether they are in captivity or the wild.
I typically find gar in slack water, near the shore, surrounded with good cover. I spotted one 15 feet from me with his head facing downstream; I cast downstream about 20 feet and parallel to the gar, pulled the fly upstream past his left side at a bout a five inch, constant but not fast retrieve. He did not take the fly, but he reacted, as his fins started moving, but he held his position. I cast again, lined the fish, got the fly line off his body (he never moved or reacted to the fly line), pulled the fly parallel to the gar, and he ate hard, close to his hinge. I strip set; he thrashed, and the fly worked its way closer to the tip, but a harder strip set stuck. I got him in the net. Once in, he opened his mouth, the fly dropped out, and I tried to take him from the net for a photo, but it was just too awkward, so I snapped his photo in my net. Voila! not only was this my first gar to-hand, Mr. Spotted Gar made my 97th species on the fly!
30 March 2023
|My 96th species on the fly!
29 March 2023
Life has been busy, and Cody and I have just not had the opportunity to fish. I had to visit a fellow DFF Board Member, and he graciously provided us with rigged rods and allowed us to fish his ponds. We only had about 30 minutes, but we were guided to just the right spots. Thankful for good, fishy people and to finally get to fish! We do have an outing tomorrow where we will get to devote the day to fishing, so all will be well.
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