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The river wasn't a big one by most standards. Brandon Fox of Sea Level Apparel and I had decided to take a drive and see if we could find any hill country carp.The cypress trees along the river, buttressed against the threat of flood, spread branches thickly curtained with Spanish moss. A dense deposit of rounded cobble and gravel crunched and shifted underfoot, sculpted by years of flood. In the shade of one of the towering cypress, we stepped lightly into the water.   Minnows scattered from around our legs and curious bluegill stared for a moment before darting away. I moved downstream, casting where it seemed I should. Cool, clear water embraced my calves as a light layer of bottom muck covered my toes. A few panfish nibbled to indicate their interest, and a sudden bump prompted me to lift the rod into the first bass of the day, a little guy who was swiftly returned to the water.

As he darted for the deep, I turned and studied the bank downstream. It curved lightly back to the left, with several large trees shading the inside curve. There was a shallow mucky area right before the curve, and a dropoff just past that. It looked like prime carp territory. I carefully approached the shallows, scanning for any signs of mud puffs or cruising fish. No one was home on the flat, so I eased over towards the dropoff.

A shadowy spot underneath a big cypress caught my eye down the way, and I laid out a cast to see if any fish were willing to play. Nothing for the first and second casts, but I caught a nice redbreast sunfish on my third cast. Encouraged, I laid one more extra long cast past the shadow, working the fly slowly along the bottom.

Hop... hop... the fly stopped with the subtle feel of a sunfish strike. I struck back, raising the rod and coming tight to a fish that suddenly grew much larger than the bite had indicated. I didn't know what I had, but I knew it was a good fish; it ran hard enough to take some drag and made me think I had latched onto a big channel catfish. The fish came up and showed its flank; my first thought was holy crap! That's a bass! A big bass!

After a few tense moments, the fish was in hand. It was the biggest bass that either myself or Brandon had seen landed on that river, and my personal best on fly. I will never catch a bigger bass from that river system, fly or otherwise.

 

BassSalt396

 

I recently took a jaunt up the I-35 corridor with intent of visiting some family and friends. I let it be known that I was going to be passing near several of my friends and hoping to wet a line with some of them. My call was answered; fish were nearly assured.

 

First stop was a spot near Gruene, where I slowed down and spent some time with Courtney and Eric of Not So Creepy Critters. I had met them and their parents in Corpus, and let me tell you, they're a first-class family. The kids have done a tremendous job of building up a business of educating local schools and other public groups about so-called creepy critters - spiders, snakes, lizards and the like. Along the way I think they end up teaching a little something about tolerance too, which can only be for the good. Check them out, invite them to put on a presentation for your group!

 

After checking in with them, I headed out to an arm of Lake Austin, via canoe -

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I toodled on up the highway to the DFW area, where I got invited out to try some of the spring crappie action fishing along the dam of Lake Dallas from a bass boat.

The first fish of the day.
My second fish. At this point, the other guy is waaaay ahead.

The fishing started to slow down and the water skiers moved in close and began to be obnoxious; we were about ready to wrap it up when Mike bumped a curlytailed grub right off a rock into this bucketmouth's face. A solid fish anywhere; nice catch Mike!

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