Although it's been a short time I needed to wet a line in one of the clear flowing Hill Country Rivers, so that's what I did Saturday. I had waded this section of the Sabinal just north of Utopia a little over a year ago and I've been suffering a nervous twitch ever since. My only concern was water condition. The Sabinal is a beautiful, clear flowing river, but for a 36 hour period the region experienced some rain that in creased the cfs by 10. So, I had my concerns whether the next day I would be slipping my feet into pristine or murky waters.
Well, that solves that. I was going to have B-E-A-Utiful waters for this morning's wade. The first pool up river from the launch is productive one; mostly loaded with sunfish and small bass. It's a little tricky to fish with a roll cast being the dominant casting technique utilized to maximize the hole.
I caught quite a few sunfish and guad/largemouth bass up to about 10 inches. After this first hole the Cyprus tress quickly enclose as the river gets narrow and shallower. The shallower waters do hold fish, but it's dang near impossible to fish with a fly rod with all the overhanging Cyprus limbs. In between the two pools is a nice little waterfall, so I snapped a photo.
The next hole was a very productive one for me and had large cats (up to 18"), sunfish (up to 9") and bass (up to 20"), though I never could get the alpha bass to bite my fly. Actually, thinking back, each pool I fished (4 total) had an alpha cruising around, but I could not get a single one to follow my fly. Same thing happened a year ago.....so......it's official; I'm on a mission.
Oh, so the last time I fished this section I found a horseshoe sitting in the water. Well this time I found I a dead Armadillo. So, I'm not sure if that's good luck or bad, but it's something; right?
After the dead Armadillo I reached the opposite side of the hole where it began to get shallow and I saw one of the alpha bass cruising. She spotted and me a refused the fly I put in front of her. So, and I'm not really exaggerating, I stood still for almost 15 minutes thinking the bass would establish I wasn't a predator and would relax some.
It didn't work.
I did manage to hook into one of the large catfish swimming around.
But it snapped my tippet when I reached to land it.
After that I hooked into about a 1.25 lbs Guad that gave me a great fight and some aerial acrobatics!
Until it tossed the hook.
So, here are a couple pretty pictures:
After those mishaps, and my watch telling me noon had come and passed, I reached the final hole. Again, there were nice sized catfish, an alpha bass, juvenile bass, and plenty of sunfish. I laid my line out next to a big rock and got an enthusiastic strike. To my surprise it was a Rio Grande Cichlid! Even better was it was one of the largest I've hooked on the fly. I played her slowly, and got her in my hand, about 11".
Feeling great about catching the Cichlid and seeing it was coming on to the 1 o'clock hour I decided to call it a day. Since I had done this wade before I knew there was a large spring at the end of my wade, so I planned accordingly. I pulled out a cigar, fired her up, and relaxed next to the spring for the next 20 minutes.
Not a bad Saturday. Not a bad Saturday at all.