25 June 2024

Great Blue Heron Rescue

I absolutely despise and loathe trotlines/juglines/throwlines.  I don't think it's really fishing; people forget where they put these unmanned lines spanning creeks, rivers, and other water body areas, not to mention a line may not be longer than 600 feet, have no more than 50 hooks, and spacing must be 3 feet or greater per hook.  Whoopie! some restrictions there.  

In early 2020, Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission did change the regulations requiring anglers to check their unmanned lines every six days instead of every 10 days, so that's something, and in 2024, 15 specific water bodies and all community lakes cannot have trotlines.  There is so much bycatch entrapped in these lines, that this method of catching should be outlawed.  Pick up a rod and go fish for goodness sakes.

Being outside and on the water, fly fishers are invariably conservationists, as well, which also means, knowing how to reach a Game Warden when needed.  Fortunately, TPWD publishes its Game Wardens and their contacts by county.  Skip 911; skip the state park; skip the operator; instead, access the Game Wardens by County webpage before heading out for a day's fly fishing excursion, and take a screenshot of the warden(s) in the county with their contact phone number.  That list is available here:  Game Warden Contact Info by County.

Regrettably, we needed a Game Warden recently, as we discovered an injured Great Blue Heron who had become entangled in an abandoned trotline or throwline.  We were able to free the bird, who did move to land on its own, and contacted a Game Warden, after phoning and leaving messages with three others, who did not return our call.  We do not know the status of the bird, who was in definite need of human assistance, as we had no idea how long it had been entangled.  We never saw a Game Warden arrive, though we had been told it would be awhile before he could make it to the area, but that he would come that date.  Even with the "improved" six-day maintenance, I don't think the Heron would have survived.  This line was old; the hooks were rusted; the bird was a victim of inane fishing practices that offer zero accountability.  

The Dodo YouTube Channel posts stories like these often across social media channels, and though we have seen many, this was the first encounter we have ever had.  Hopefully, we did some good by freeing the majestic bird, who suffered a wounded left wing, a wound to its neck, and hopefully by freeing its left foot, which it did start moving in the water, it did not lose the use of it.

23 June 2024

Birthday Fly Fishing

 Every year, I ask to go fishing around my birthday, and this year was no different.  After much prepping, a new trolling motor battery, and several dry runs, the boat was ready.  We loaded our fly rods, boat bags, fly boxes, and planned a day of catching.

Not long after we got out on the lake, we began to experience a engine problems.  Being the handy person that he is, Cody had our engine problems solved, and off we continued.  Seeing and casting to fish, and then having them chase the fly is oh so much fun.  Cody had more fun, as he caught fish; first of the day, a Gasper Goo.  I had followers but no takers.  Then, Cody caught a rather nice Bluegill.

Gasper Goo

Having targeted all the fishy spots and shady spots, we moved locales.  I missed much of the trip as I needed to change from floating reel to sinking spool, and make a better fly choice.  Cody continued catching, adding a Blue Catfish to his list.  Finally, I was able to add a Largemouth Bass, not big, but I was thrilled I wasn't skunked.

Penguin Photobomber

Moving locales, we found our attention was needed.  We then set out to purposefully catch very small Sunfish, which Cody succeeded.  My job was to keep them from escaping the net, I almost executed my duties completely, but Cody added Green Sunfish and Bluegill.

Sacrificial food source 

We moved again, and though the area looked incredibly fishy and fish lit up the fish finder, we both left the area with no catches.  Cody let me pick the next area, and Voila! it was teeming with some of the biggest Sunfish I've ever seen in our boat.  I kept getting hits, while Cody was catching...and weighing, yes, weighing Sunfish.  Upon examining my well-fished GirlieBugger, it had NO HOOK!  Yes, that's right, all the teasing hits, and the well placed casts with a 350 grain sinking line was for naught.  Somewhere in the evening, I had a particularly enthusiastic hit that blew up my fly.  Mollified that I wasn't as bad an angler as I had believed because I couldn't set the hook, I was disheartened because I waited so long to inspect the fly.  Meanwhile, Cody continued catching a weighing Sunfish, all of which exceeded 3/4 of a pound, with one being an ounce away from weighing a pound.  These were P-I-G hogs!  

1 oz. shy of a pound!

We enjoyed a gorgeous sunset-to-dusk-to-night ride back to the docks glad to be here celebrating another trip around the sun.

07 June 2024

Charleston, SC

 It was a brutal day fly fishing South Carolina, as the 35 mph winds blew in from the north-northeast, and muddied the waters.  There was not much sightcasting, but we did get to target some fish.  We had told Fab #5 to practice in windy conditions, which he did, but as this was his first saltwater outing, casting in winds that destroy a backcast was a first.  Pat, of Redfin Charters, did a great job of offering tips and pointers and even came off the polling platform and demonstrated a way to cast to help protect the backcast.  I enjoyed getting to spend the day fishing new-to-me-waters with family members, even going tight on a small Bullhead Shark, and I appreciated the efforts and energy Pat gave to a first-time saltwater fisher.  Our Near Shore excursion scheduled for the next day was canceled, as the winds kept gusting over the next several days.  We hope to make it back to Charleston before its time for Fab #5 to return to college, but if not, we do plan on making some Gulf Coast trips together.

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